The month of September has not been kind to the Cincinnati Reds. With less than two weeks remaining in the 2021 season, the Redlegs, who at one time were leading the chase for the final NL Wild Card spot, are trailing the St. Louis Cardinals by three games.
Regardless of what happens over the next couple of weeks, the Reds roster is likely to undergo some massive changes this offseason. The team has a handful of free agents, and some recent coaching changes suggest Cincinnati’s front office may be taking things in a different direction.
So, which players are most likely headed out of the Queen City? With the start of the offseason just two short weeks away, whether the Reds make a playoff push or not, these five players are unlikely to suit for Cincinnati in 2022.
1. Sonny Gray, Reds starting pitcher
While I hate to say it, I think this will be Sonny Gray’s last season in Cincinnati. The Reds’ front office fielded offers for the right-hander last winter, and with a $10.2M salary in 2022, it’s a good bet that Nick Krall will be looking to deal Gray before next season. Gray also has a $12M team-option for the 2023 season.
This season, we saw Gray hit the injured list three times. Despite his up and down season, Gray has still put up solid numbers. Gray’s BB/9 (3.13) is the lowest it’s been since his 2015 season with the Oakland A’s. Gray’s 3.91 ERA, while not awful by any stretch of the imagination, is also his worst since coming to Cincinnati from New York prior to the 2019 season.
Gray is a workhorse and a favorite of pitching coach Derek Johnson. I hate to be the bearer or bad news, but after Kyle Boddy and the Reds parted ways late last week, the prospect of bringing back DJ doesn’t look good. Without his biggest advocate calling the shots for the pitching staff, I don’t see Sonny Gray returning in 2022.
The Reds, however, will be okay without Gray. Two of the team’s top pitching prospects, Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo, seem primed to make the leap to the major leagues next season. While it’ll be sad to see Sonny Gray on another team, Reds fans can take heart knowing that two of the organization’s top young pitchers are likely to join the starting rotation.