Record attendance for Elly De La Cruz bobblehead giveaway sends loud message to Reds' front office

Start drawing up the contract.

Cincinnati Reds infielder Elly De La Cruz
Cincinnati Reds infielder Elly De La Cruz / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Over 42,000 fans showed up for Wednesday's game between the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Guardians at Great American Ball Park. While the Ohio Cup oftentimes brings big crowds to the ballpark, the fans in attendance had an ulterior motive for heading down to GABP on Wednesday.

The Reds were giving away an Elly De La Cruz bobblehead — the first such occurrence since the shortstop made his major league debut last season — and there were a limited number of the collectables available.

These bobbleheads are already a hot commodity with reports of eBay listings going for upwards of $150. Elly-mania has taken Reds Country by storm, and the packed house at GABP has sent a loud and clear message to Cincinnati's front office and ownership group — sign De La Cruz to a contract extension.

Sellout crowd at GABP shows that Reds fans want Elly De La Cruz in Cincy for the long haul

De La Cruz has his flaws, but there's one thing you can't deny — he puts fans in the seats. De La Cruz's electric play and his unbelievable raw talent make him a box-office type of player. While he may not be the best player on this year's Reds team, you cannot deny that the potential is there for De La Cruz to become one of the top players in Major League Baseball.

De La Cruz is under team control through the 2029 season. With that, some fans may wonder why the Reds should be in a hurry to sign De La Cruz to a long-term deal. I mean, what if De La Cruz never lives up to the hype?

There's definitely a risk in signing a somewhat unproven player like De La Cruz to a massive contract extension, but there's also risk in allowing him to improve under your watch and fly the coop upon entering free agency. It's a gamble either way.

What might an Elly De La Cruz contract extension look like?

De La Cruz will probably never be cheaper in terms of securing him to a long-term deal than at this very moment. The Reds would effectively be buying out all of De La Cruz's arbitration years and also add several years onto the backend as well.

Somewhere in the range of eight or nine years would guarantee that De La Cruz would remain in the Queen City for the foreseeable future while also allowing the shortstop sensation to enter the free agent market before he's much past his 30th birthday. That would be a win-win scenario for De La Cruz and the Reds.

The Kansas City Royals already locked up Bobby Witt Jr. and the Arizona Diamondbacks inked their young star, Corbin Carroll to massive extensions. Gunnar Henderson will surely be on the Baltimore Orioles' radar, and the Reds need to find a way to come to terms with De La Cruz.

Outside of Hunter Greene, who's under an incredibly reasonable contract (six-years, $53 million), the Reds do not have any payroll obligations that stretch beyond 2026. It's time to add one to the ledger, Mr. Castellini.

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