The Cincinnati Reds were rumored to be interested in left-handed starter Andrew Heaney who eventually signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for $8.5M. The organization's interest in Heaney was grossly misplaced.
Why in the world would a team looking to "align their payroll to their resources" go after a player like Heaney? The lefty went 129.2 innings last season with a 26.9% strikeout-rate and 5.83 ERA. Heaney was worth 1.0 fWAR.
The Reds interest in LHP Andrew Heaney was misplaced.
The Cincinnati Reds had a better version of Andrew Heaney on the roster heading into next season, and they let him go for nothing. Wade Miley put up some of the best numbers of his career in 2021, and rather than pick up the southpaw's $10M option, they waived him. Miley ended up in Chicago and the Cubs picked up his team-option for the 2022 season.
Miley was arguably the Reds best starter in 2021. He went 163 innings, posted a 3.37 ERA, 49.4% ground ball rate, and was worth 2.9 fWAR. While Miley's strikeout numbers (18.1% K-rate) was not as impressive as Heaney's, their walk-rate was nearly identical.
Heaney's ghastly 2.01 HR/9 should have been enough for the Reds to have turned their attention elsewhere, especially with Miley keeping his HR/9 under 1.00. Considering that the Reds play half their games in the bandbox that is Great American Ball Park, bringing Heaney to Cincinnati would have been a horrendous idea.
Yes, I'm keenly aware that every general manager was looking for the analytics darling that could turn in a performance similar to what we saw from Robbie Ray in 2021, but the Cincinnati Reds had no business even considering bringing Andrew Heaney to the Queen City.
Cincinnati had four solid starting pitchers heading into the offseason. That number now stands at three after Wade Miley's departure and may soon turn to just two should the Reds continue to shop Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, and Tyler Mahle after the MLB lockout concludes.
But the Reds have loads of talent on the farm that would come cheaper and likely be even more effective that Andrew Heaney. Cincinnati has Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Reiver Sanmartin, and Graham Ashcraft all ready to take up arms (no pun intended) and boost the Reds rotation in 2022.
While it's a bit of a relief to hear that Nick Krall and the Reds front office had interest in actually signing a free agent, the team has more pressing needs that a starting pitcher with a lifetime ERA of 4.72. That money would be better spent locking up Jesse Winker beyond his arbitration window or bringing in some bullpen help.