2 Reds who should be signed to contract extensions and 1 who should not

Cincinnati Reds, Tyler Stephenson, Jonathan India
Cincinnati Reds, Tyler Stephenson, Jonathan India / Justin Edmonds/GettyImages
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The Cincinnati Reds are in a difficult spot. The team is obviously rebuilding and in no position to contend for at least another year. But there are several young players within the organization that could be part of the core going forward.

In recent weeks, we've seen players like Joe Musgrove of the San Diego Padres, Daniel Bard of the Colorado Rockies, and Austin Riley of the Atlanta Braves sign multi-year extensions with their respective clubs. The Reds have a few players currently on the roster who should gain similar consideration.

The idea behind extending some of your talent sooner rather than later is that the player gains a measure of financial security sooner than they would through the arbitration process while the team would buyout several years of a player's free agency window at presumably a lower price than if the player were to hit the open market.

We've seen the Reds do this in the past with players like Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, and Eugenio Suarez. With Votto and Mike Moustakas representing the only guaranteed contracts beyond this season, Cincinnati has no financial commitment beyond the 2023 season. Who are the Reds most likely candidates to receive a contract extension in the coming weeks or during the offseason?

The Reds should sign Tyler Stephenson to a contract extension.

The No. 1 player on this list has to be Tyler Stephenson. Whether he's playing catcher, first base, or hitting as the designated hitter, Stephenson is a difference-maker in the Cincinnati Reds lineup and needs to be part of the organization for years to come.

Stephenson does not become arbitration eligible until after the 2023 season and would not enter free agency until after his 2026 campaign. Stephenson is the most valuable player in the Reds organization moving forward and the team needs to do everything they can to retain his services over the long haul.

The question on the minds of every fan is where will Stephenson line up defensively. Some are adamant that Stephenson should switch from catcher to first base once Joey Votto decides to retire. If you ask Stephenson, he's a catcher and has no desire to move from the position he's played throughout his entire career.

Regardless of where he lines up on the field, Tyler Stephenson needs to be part of the Reds organization for the next five-plus years. There's not much precedent in terms of contract extensions for young catchers like Tyler Stephenson.

The last big contract extension for a backstop was Salvador Perez's four-year/$82M contract with the Kansas City Royals. But Perez had already played nine years, earned five Gold Gloves, three Silver Slugger Award, and participated in six All-Star Games. He was also entering his age 31 season. Stephenson just turned 26 years old.