The Cincinnati Reds are beginning to get contributions from some players on the roster that the front office and ownership consider key pieces for success in the future.
Cincinnati, just last month, locked up one of their biggest stars by signing Hunter Greene to a six-year contract. There've been whispers that the club is looking to the same with other players who will part of the Reds core going forward.
But before committing to some of these players for the long haul, perhaps the Reds front office should take a breath and let the process play out a little bit more. Which two players should have contract extension talks paused for now, and with which player should the Reds intensify their negotiations?
The Reds should pause contract extension talks with LHP Nick Lodolo.
This is not an overreaction to Nick Lodolo's most recent injury, though that certainly has to play a factor in the decision making. The Cincinnati Reds should pause contract negotiations with Lodolo for multiple reasons.
First and foremost has to be his production, or lack thereof this season. The strikeouts are up (12.32 K/9), the walks are down (2.62BB/9), but Lodolo is getting hit hard and taken deep (2.62 HR/9). Lodolo is seeing 27-percent of fly balls hit go out of the yard. That's an insane number that was at 15.1-percent last season according to FanGraphs.
One would expect to see those numbers return to normal, and for all we know, that lingering injury that now has Lodolo on the IL was the cause for all of his struggles. Either way, until Lodolo returns to the mound and proves that his struggles this season are behind him, the Reds should pause any sort of contract negotiations.
Injuries have to factor in, as well. Let's not forget that Nick Lodolo missed over two months of action last season due to injury and did have a few hiccups in the minors as well. The best ability is avail-ability, and until Lodolo proves otherwise, the Cincinnati Reds should be cautious.