Reds: Extension for Tyler Mahle should surpass Antonio Senzatela’s deal

CINCINNATI, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 21: Tyler Mahle #30 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 21: Tyler Mahle #30 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

If the Cincinnati Reds are hopeful to sign Tyler Mahle to an extension, the price just went up after Antonio Senzatela agreed to a new deal with the Rockies. Senzatela signed a five-year/$50.5M contract extension.

Senzatela, like Mahle, had two years of arbitration eligibility remaining. The Rockies’ right-hander took home $3M this past season while Mahle earned $2.2M. However, Mahle certainly outplayed Senzatela during the 2021 season.

To be fair, Senzatela does play half of his games in the thin-air of Denver, Colorado. But let’s not act as though Great American Ball Park isn’t a launching pad, especially during the heat of the summer.

Antonio Senzatela went 4-10 with a 4.42 ERA and recorded 105 strikeouts last season. Tyler Mahle put up the best numbers of his career, going 13-6 with a 3.75 ERA and 210 punch outs. Mahle was ninth in the league in strikeouts, but the right-hander did surrender 24 homers, placing him in a tie for 12th most in the league alongside Madison Bumgarner and Jake Arrieta.

The Reds should attempt to extend Tyler Mahle this offseason.

The Cincinnati Reds will have a lot of decisions to make this offseason. One of the first orders of business should be to extend starting pitcher Tyler Mahle. Yes, Mahle still has two years of team control remaining, but this is the prime time for the club to work out a deal with one of its rising players.

If there’s one thing that Mahle has done over the last three seasons, it’s improve. Mahle was the forgotten man entering the 2020 spring training, but after injuries befell Wade Miley and Anthony DeSclafani during summer camp, David Bell was forced to roll with Mahle. The California native did not disappoint.

In 2020, Mahle set career-highs in strikeout-rate (29.9%) and K/9 (11.33). His walk-rate, however, did jump from 6.1% in 2019 to 10.4% in 2020. The right-hander remedied that this season by reducing that number down to 8.4%. Mahle’s 27.7% strikeout-rate in 2021 was still pretty impressive.

Reds starter Tyler Mahle is a better pitcher than Antonio Senzatela.

Antonio Senzatela has a phenomenal walk-rate. In 2021, the Rockies starter posted a BB% of 4.8%, brining his career walk-rate down to 7.3%. However, with strikeouts being all the rage inn Major League Baseball these days, Senzatela’s 15.7% career strikeout-rate falls well short of Mahle’s 24.7% K-rate.

Senzatela has 393 punch outs on his career, but Mahle’s 523 Ks are much more impressive. Senzatela is a contact pitcher with a 50.8% ground ball-rate, while Mahle is looking to strikeout nearly every batter he faces.

Both Senzatela and Mahle are roughly the same age, as the Rockies’ hurler will turn 27 years old before next season begins. Senzatela’s contract runs through the 2026 season with a team-option for the 2027 season.

The Cincinnati Reds have an abundance of decisions to make; does the club attempt to re-sign Nick Castellanos? Will Jesse Winker receive a contract extension? How about a new deal for Luis Castillo? Will Wade Miley’s team-option be picked up? How about Tucker Barnhart’s?

Still, Tyler Mahle’s contractual situation should be addressed this offseason. Sure, the Reds could negotiate a one-year deal or enter arbitration, as there’s always next winter to work out a new contract as well. But, with Antonio Senzatela having agreed to a new deal, it gives Cincinnati’s front office a pretty good idea of what it’s going to take to retain one of their better starting pitchers.

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With Miley’s future uncertain and Sonny Gray only signed through the 2022 season, it would greatly behoove Cincinnati to lock up their young hurler for multiple seasons. Let’s hope Senzatela’s deal lays the groundwork for a contract extension between Mahle and the Reds.