3 'bad contract' swaps for Reds infielder Mike Moustakas

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Mike Moustakas.
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Mike Moustakas. / Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Reds could swap Mike Moustakas for Blue Jays' Hyun-Jin Ryu.

This would be a serious gamble on the part of the Cincinnati Reds. Hyun-Jin Ryu has not pitched since June of last year. But the Reds showed with the addition of Justin Dunn this past spring that they are unafraid to take on players with such injury history. That said, Dunn wasn't owed $20M.

That's what it would cost to add Ryu to the roster in 2023. The left-hander is under contract through next season. Ryu signed a four-year deal after nearly winning the NL Cy Young Award with the Dodgers in 2019.

Since joining the Toronto Blue Jays, Ryu has posted a 4.07 ERA and struck out 231 batters. But the southpaw has only stepped onto the mound 49 times during his stay in the Great White North. Ryu appeared in just six starts for the Jays before landing on the IL last season. Ryu underwent Tommy John surgery last summer.

Toronto inked Chris Bassitt to a contract this offseason and are rumored to be after former Cincinnati Reds' ace Johnny Cueto. The Blue Jays already had a starting stable of Jose Berrios, Kevin Gausman, and Alek Manoah.

The Blue Jays do not have many left-handed bats in their everyday lineup. Mike Moustakas could, at the very least, act as the team's designated hitter against right-handed pitchers. With Cincinnati in need of depth in the starting rotation, it's at least worth having a conversation.

The question then becomes, with typical recovery time from Tommy John surgery spanning 12-18 months, would Ryu even appear on the mound for the Reds in 2023? With such a risk on the part of the Reds, they'd have to receive more than just Hyun-Jin Ryu in a trade.