3 ways the Cincinnati Reds can win the trade deadline

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Tyler Mahle (30) reacts after striking out a batter.
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Tyler Mahle (30) reacts after striking out a batter. / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
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2. The Reds cannot include Mike Moustakas in any trade this summer.

Unless the Cincinnati Reds are just giving away Mike Moustakas, and only Mike Moustakas, to the highest bidder, the third baseman should not be traded this summer. I'm well aware of his $16M salary this season, and I'm also aware that the Reds will owe him $22M next year.

But Cincinnati cannot make the same mistake with Moustakas that they made earlier this offseason with Eugenio Suárez. Nick Krall talked about the team's desire not to include prospects in trade just to get a player's high salary off the books. But he never mentioned using a high-performing major leaguer in order to accomplish that goal.

Jesse Winker was traded to the Seattle Mariners this offseason for one reason; in order to get the remaining three years of Suárez's contract off the books. Period! I don't care what kind of lame excuse Nick Krall wants to give about liking the players they received in return, trading Winker and Suárez was about saving money.

The Cincinnati Reds cannot afford to do that with Mike Moustakas. Attaching Moose to any potential trade will automatically diminish the return. In fact, it would destroy whatever value a player like Luis Castillo or Tyler Mahle may have.

At this point, Cincinnati should accept the fact that they'll be paying a combined $54M (that include the combined $11M in buyouts for both contracts) for Joey Votto and Mike Moustakas next season. With no other guaranteed contracts on the payroll, I think Bob Castellini can stomach that one.