A contract extension for Matt McLain is the Reds' safest bet
Elly De La Cruz offers all the glitz and glamour that comes from being a high-touted prospect. His ceiling is sky high. But if you're a fan of the blue-collared approach to the game of baseball, you might prefer to see the Cincinnati Reds sign Matt McLain to a contract extension.
McLain offers, arguably, the highest floor of any player currently on the roster. With McLain, what you see is what you get. While De La Cruz has game-changing speed, massive pop, and a cannon for an arm, McLain is no slouch in any of those areas either.
McLain missed the final month of the 2023 season with an oblique strain, and that could have been the difference between the Reds making the postseason and missing out by the smallest of margins. He was that good during his rookie campaign.
The issue with extending a player like McLain is whether or not the team believes he can get much better than what we saw in 2023. McLain has 30/30 potential, but is that enough warrant to a massive contract extension when a player like De La Cruz offers 40/60 potential?
Extending Matt McLain instead of a player like Elly De La Cruz is the safe bet. The UCLA product looks like he could be a solid contributor for the next decade, and no one throughout Reds Country would bat an eye if he were signed to a long-term deal. But will the Reds be looking to play it safe or hit a home run?