Could the Reds trade Mike Moustakas to the Blue Jays?

Cincinnati Reds third baseman Mike Moustakas (9) looks on from the dugout.
Cincinnati Reds third baseman Mike Moustakas (9) looks on from the dugout. / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Once a new collective bargaining is reached and the MLB lockout is over, you have to assume that the Cincinnati Reds will continue to attempt to shed payroll before the start of the 2022 season. Mike Moustakas represents a huge chunk of the payroll, but his lack of performance the past couple of seasons may make it difficult to trade the three-time All-Star.

Perhaps the Toronto Blue Jays would be a fit for the 32-year-old. Our friends over at Jays Journal recently discussed the possibility of the Jays trying to land Cleveland's Jose Ramirez. The Guardians' third baseman will be a hot name after the lockout, but Toronto may be able to get a two-for-one and not sacrifice near as much in order to land Moose.

Could the Reds ship Mike Moustakas north of the border?

Let's be real; Mike Moustakas is past his prime. The former World Series Champion is also owed a lot of money. The Reds are currently on the hook for the remaining two years and $38M on Moose's deal. Moustakas will take home $16M in 2022, $18M in 2023, and has a $20M team-option for the 2024 season with a $4M buyout. Yikes!

But, some teams can afford to take on such a salary if certain concessions are made. In this case, I'm suggesting that the Cincinnati Reds attach two-time All-Star Sonny Gray to a potential deal with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Gray's career turned around once he arrived in Cincinnati back in 2019, and though he battled through injuries last season, the 32-year-old still made 26 starts and posted a 4.19 ERA and racked up 155 punch outs over 135.1 innings of work.

In order to sweeten the deal a little more, perhaps the Reds would have to include a mid-tier prospect. Maybe former third-round pick Tyler Callihan would be enough to get the ball rolling on a potential deal.

So what would the Redlegs receive in return? Eh, not much. But remember, this is a cost-cutting move and not so much about what Cincinnati would get back. How about pitching prospect Zach Logue and right-hander Anthony Castro?

Logue is a southpaw whose cutter has developed into a tough pitch for opposing batters to hit. Whether Logue is a back-of-the-rotation starter or a lefty out of the bullpen has yet to be determined. Castro had a cup of coffee with the Detroit Tigers in 2020 and pitched out of the Toronto bullpen in 2021. The right-hander put up a 29.4% strikeout-rate in 24.2 innings last season.

Losing Sonny Gray would be tough, but don't forget that the Cincinnati Reds are ripe with starters at the Triple-A level. Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Reiver Sanmartin will all be competing for a spot in the starting rotation this spring, and don't count out Graham Ashcraft either.

Next. What's the Reds ideal lineup with the addition of the DH?. dark

If the Reds were somehow able to shed the $26M-plus worth of payroll attached to the contracts of Mike Moustakas and Sonny Gray, perhaps Cincinnati could go after some higher profile free agents who are still on the open market. A certain All-Star right fielder comes to mind.