The Reds need to deal Mike Moustakas at the trade deadline


The Cincinnati Reds have a Moose problem, and I’m not referring to the largest member of the deer species. What I’m actually referring to is the crossroads that Cincinnati is at with infielder Mike Moustakas, and the fact that the Reds need to deal the 32-year-old sometime in the near future.

When the Reds signed Moustakas following the 2019 season, it was a move that had Reds fans jumping for joy. Cincinnati landed a three-time All-Star, and a World Series Champion; what’s not exciting about that? The front office, for the first time in what seemed like forever, was taking things serious.

Mike Moustakas was the biggest free-agent signing the Reds have ever inked.

Yeah, that’s right, the Reds four-year/$64M deal with Mike Moustakas was the largest free-agent deal Cincinnati had ever been involved in. Moustakas is a heck of a player, don’t get me wrong, but this was a massive overpay. If Moustakas was 26 years old, I’d have no problem with his contract, but he’s not. Moose is 32 years old, and will be 33 before seasons end.

The injuries keep piling up as well. Moustakas has missed nearly 200 games in his nine-year career. That puts Moose missing more than 20 games per season. Since being with the Reds, Moustakas has cost the club $1.8M by not playing baseball. Everybody that has seen the movie Moneyball knows Moustakas has not given a return on the Reds’ investment in him.

Whether the Reds are buyers or sellers in irrelevant.

The Cincinnati Reds can win without Mike Moustakas; they’ve proven that. Moustakas’ AAV of $16M begs the question, what could the Reds have had for $16M a year for a middle infielder? Taking a look at MLB salary rankings via spotrac is enough to make Reds fans sick to their stomachs. It makes it even more apparent that Cincinnati overpaid for Moustakas.

Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, and Javier Baez all of whom are younger than Moustakas are due to make substantially less in 2021. I’m aware that they are shortstops, but baseball is more “positionless” now than it’s ever been. Players being able to play multiple positions without missing a beat has become the new norm.

Since signing a player isn’t an option and the Reds have other positions of need what could trading Moustakas bring in return? Obviously an MLB ready shortstop could be of some assistance, maybe even some starting pitching and bullpen help. Might the Reds and Braves be able to put together a mutually beneficial trade package?

Now before everybody goes crazy just by looking at name value alone, this is a trade scenario that could work for both teams. The peice that makes this trade actually work is Luis Castillo. Reds fans know what Castillo can do, but he hasn’t been himself in 2021.

If he ever was to return to form, Cincinnati would never be able to sign him once he enters free agency. We saw Trevor Bauer leaves town last winter, and Castillo will have similar suitors longing to sign him away. Having Moustakas and Castillo with ample team control remaining also adds a little bow on this present. The Braves are desperate for starting pitching.

The Braves would get an extra power bat in the lineup to help Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acūna Jr., and Austin Riley. Yeah I’m aware that they already have a second baseman in Albies, but if the Reds are to make a deal with the Braves, they’d need to land shortstop Dansby Swanson.

With Swanson coming over to Cincinnati in the trade, Atlanta could to move Albies to shortstop; a position he can play. To sweeten the package the Braves would also get an extra outfielder that they desperately need with the future of Marcell Ozuna being uncertain.

This trade proposal would help both the Reds and the Braves.

Dansby Swanson, a proven shortstop who won’t be a free agent until after next season. Swanson’s stats don’t jump off the page at you, but he, is in my opinion, a player who could definitely benefit from getting 81 games at Great American Ballpark. Whether Swanson become a free agent or is dealt in 2022, by 2023, Jose Barrero may finally be ready for The Show.

The Reds would also get two relievers under team control through 2024 in A.J. Minter and Sean Newcomb. These two have had their ups and downs, but have proven they can get outs late in games and could be an immediate help to shore up the Reds disastrous bullpen.

The sweetest, most intriguing part of this trade package is the last piece; starting pitcher Huascar Ynoa. The 23-year-old has had an interesting ride, but his upside is HUGE. Ynoa isn’t a player that would even be available until August.

Back in May after a frustrating start resulted in an early exit for Ynoa, he punched a bench and fractured his hand. I would think the Braves would have no problem dealing a player on the 60-day IL.

Ynoa is a player who absolutely fascinates me. I believe he would have the potential to one day fill the spot vacated by Castillo. Ynoa comes equipped with an absolutely filthy slider which can be kryptonite to opposing hitters. He also sports an almost triple digit fastball; that’s a plus. The right-hander also makes use of a sinker and changeup, two off speed deliveries that need a little work.

Next. The Reds have finally found their leadoff hitter

This is all hypothetical, and unlikely to happen, but if the Reds could pull off a trade of this magnitude, it could pay big dividends down the road, and also help contend for the division for this season and next. Shedding a little payroll by dealing Mike Moustakas could really help address some issues this coming winter as well.