3 players the Reds should non-tender but won't

Cincinnati Reds left fielder Aristides Aquino (44) celebrates.
Cincinnati Reds left fielder Aristides Aquino (44) celebrates. / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
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Major League Baseball's non-tender deadline is Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET. The Cincinnati Reds have some interesting decisions to make over the next few hours.

If a player is non-tendered, he immediately becomes a free agent. Not every non-tender decision is related to a player's salary, but most are.

The Reds roster currently sits at 39 players, and with Cincinnati being rather inactive in the free agent market, the team has little need to clear space on the 40-man roster.

Still, there are a handful of players the Reds could non-tender by today's deadline. But will they?

Let's look at three players the Cincinnati Reds should non-tender but won't.

1. Aristides Aquino, Reds outfielder

More than likely, Nick Castellanos will not be suiting up for the Cincinnati Reds in 2022.

The Reds starting right fielder the past two seasons is currently a free agent and there have been few if any rumblings about a return to the Queen City.

Sadly, that leaves Aristides Aquino as Cincinnati's most likely 2022 Opening Day starter in right field.

Tyler Naquin is another in-house possibility, but the left-handed hitting outfielder is more likely to be used as a rotational outfielder and platooned in both center and right field.

Allan Cerda was recently added to the Reds 40-man roster, but having not played above A-Ball, don't expect the power-hitting prospect to be part of the Cincinnati's Opening Day roster.

While Aquino did see an increase in his walk-rate last season, the 27-year-old posted a 36.8% strikeout-rate and a wRC+ of just 83.

Aquino had an incredible run with the Cincinnati Reds during August of 2019, but since then has been little more than free-swinging pinch hitter.

Aquino is still a pre-arbitration eligible player, so letting The Punisher enter free agency would not save the team any money.

Aristides Aquino has unbelievable power from the right side, but consistency has alluded him.

It's time for the Reds and The Punisher to part ways, but I still think Aquino will be part of the ball club after Tuesday's deadline.

Cincinnati Reds closing pitcher Amir Garrett (50) releases a pitch.
Cincinnati Reds closing pitcher Amir Garrett (50) releases a pitch. / David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

2. Amir Garrett, Reds pitcher

Amir Garrett was completely unreliable in 2021. After putting up terrific numbers in 2019 and 2020, Reds skipper David Bell could no longer count on AG.

Garrett was worth -0.1 fWAR in 2021, and yet, the left-hander will receive a raise heading into the 2022 season. Sorry folks, that's just how the arbitration system works.

MLB Trade Rumors estimates that Garrett is expected to take home $2.2M next season; his second run through the arbitration process.

Garrett's ERA ballooned from 2.45 during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season to 6.04 in 2021.

That's AG's highest ERA since being moved to the bullpen in 2018.

From 2019-2020, over the course of 90 games, Amir Garrett posted 3.03 ERA, 4.19 FIP, and 12.59 K/9.

Garrett's strikeouts took a hit, but his 28.4% strikeout-rate in 2021 is still very respectable.

The southpaw has the stuff to get left-handed hitters to chase, but with the three batter minimum now in place, AG is woeful against right-handed bats.

Right-handed hitters lit up Garrett to the tune of an .882 OPS in 2021. Those same right-handed bats posted an OPS of .806 against AG in 2020.

The Cincinnati Reds lack of left-handed relievers will likely see AG stay in the Queen City and avoid being non-tendered by today's deadline.

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Jeff Hoffman (23) reacts after a strikeout.
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Jeff Hoffman (23) reacts after a strikeout. / Kareem Elgazzar via Imagn Content

3. Jeff Hoffman, Reds starting pitcher

Jeff Hoffman was traded to the Cincinnati Reds prior to last season.

The Reds traded former first-round pick Robert Stephenson and outfield prospect Jameson Hannah to the Colorado Rockies.

In return, Cincinnati received Hoffman, a former first-rounder in his own right, and pitching prospect Case Williams.

Williams eventually returned to the Mile High City at the trade deadline as part of the deal that sent Mychal Givens to Cincinnati.

Hoffman is eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason, and MLB Trade Rumors predicts that the right-hander will land a one-year/$1.1M contract from the Reds.

That's not much at all, but does Jeff Hoffman really add much to the Cincinnati Reds bullpen.

I'll give him this, he performed better out of the bullpen than he did as a starter.

Hoffman posted a 5.20 ERA in 45 innings as a stater last season and saw that ERA drop to 3.54 in his 28 relief innings.

Hoffman, however, was still roughed up out of the bullpen, allowing six of his 12 home runs in relief.

Opposing batters actually had a higher OPS against Hoffman in relief (.809) than they did when he was a starter (.787).

With Cincinnati's young pitching prospects (Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo) ready to make an impact in 2022, Jeff Hoffman should not even receive a chance to be part of the rotation.

Young relievers like Dauri Moreta, Riley O'Brien, Tony Santillan, and Alexis Diaz should all be given the opportunity to earn a spot in the bullpen over Hoffman.

With such a small salary commitment, it's easy to see the Cincinnati Reds hanging on to Jeff Hoffman at the non-tender deadline.

Next. 3 moves Reds must make before MLB work stoppage. dark

The Reds should probably say goodbye to all three players named on this list, but in the end, I don't expect Cincinnati to non-tender anyone by Tuesday's 8 p.m. ET deadline.