3 under-the-radar contract extensions the Reds should consider

Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Lucas Sims (39
Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Lucas Sims (39 / Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
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The Cincinnati Reds have only player under contract heading into next season. After Hunter Greene signed a six-year contract extension last month, the right-hander is the only player on the roster guaranteed to back with the club in 2024.

Of course there are others who will be tendered contracts prior to next season. In fact, the majority of players on the Reds roster are under team control for the next several seasons.

When it comes to contract extensions, names like Jonathan India and Nick Lodolo will almost certainly emerge. But there are also some under-the-radar players who should be considered as well. Let's look at three Reds players who could in line for a possible contract extension.

1. The Reds should consider offering Jake Fraley a contract extension.

Jake Fraley was part of the return last spring when the Cincinnati Reds dealt Eugenio Suarez and Jesse Winker to the Seattle Mariners. Fraley suffered through some lower body injuries last season, but has looked very good through the first month-plus of 2023.

Fraley is up for arbitration this offseason and does not become a free agent until after the 2026 season, so there's no rush on the part of the Reds front office to get a deal done with the Pennsylvania native.

The harsh reality is, however, that the Reds outfield depth in the minor leagues is incredibly thin. There may be some position changes coming in the near future, but at the moment, the left-handed hitting duo of Fraley and TJ Friedl are the club's best options.

Inking Jake Fraley to a contract extension would not cost the Reds an arm and a leg. The soon-to-be 28-year-old has a good eye at the plate and absolutely crushes right-handed pitching. Over the last three seasons, Fraley has an on-base percentage of .347 and has slugged .437 off right-handed hurlers throughout his career.

The downside, of course, is Fraley's inability to hit against southpaws. But is a true inability or lack of opportunity. Fraley has a similar makeup to former Reds outfielder Jesse Winker. But Fraley is faster and a much better fielder. Signing Fraley to a contract extension may be something to keep an eye on as the season progresses.

2. The Reds should consider offering Lucas Sims a contract extension.

There's bound to be a little hesitation on the part of the Cincinnati Reds front office to sign Lucas Sims to a contract extension after missing most of the 2022 season due to a back injury. But from we've seen in 2023, it looks like the Lucas Sims of old.

Sims has been putting up zeroes in 2023. Literally, the 29-year-old has yet to allow a run so far this season. Sims owns a 0.00 ERA in nine appearances out of the Reds bullpen. The right-hander has 10 punch outs over 8.1 innings of work and a 0.720 WHIP.

Sims' performance thus far is eerily reminiscent of his 2020 performance where he racked up 34 strikeouts in 25.2 innings of work with a 0.935 WHIP. From 2019 - 2021, Sims had an ERA+ of 117 and 3.69 FIP.

Lucas Sims is under team control for just one more season and will become a free agent after the 2024 campaign. He's currently signed for just under $1.3-million. A three-year contract extension that would keep Sims in the Queen City through his age 32 season would be mutually beneficial for both parties.

Outside of Alexis Diaz, the Reds don't have many arms in the bullpen they can trust. If there are injury concerns on the part of the Cincinnati Reds, these contract extensions can always include incentives that allow the player to gain more money for hitting certain criteria while also keeping the base salary low in the event of a prolonged stint on the IL.

3. The Reds should consider offering Nick Senzel a contract extension.

Oh boy, this is sure to ruffle some feathers. Next to Joey Votto, there may be no more polarizing player on the Cincinnati Reds than Nick Senzel. But what Reds Country has seen from Senzel this spring has to be encouraging.

For the first time since his rookie season, Senzel looks comfortable in the batters' box. On the season, Senzel is hitting .263/.333/.415 with six of his 22 hits going for extra bases. Senzel also has two stolen bases on the season.

Senzel is under team control through 2025. That means the Reds have his services for two more seasons beyond this one. Senzel and the Reds avoided arbitration this offseason and agreed on a one-year deal worth about $2-million.

When you talk about Nick Senzel, you have to consider the injuries, right? The former first-round pick has ended three of the past four seasons on the IL. That's problematic. But, since returning to third base, Senzel has shown why he was taken with the No. 2 overall selection in the 2016 MLB Draft.

Signing Senzel to a contract extension should definitely be a wait-and-see situation. But, if Senzel continues to hit and play defense like he has to begin the season while also staying healthy, there could still be a future for the 27-year-old in Cincinnati.

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