Could the Reds swap Mike Moustakas' bad contract for this Mets catcher?

Cincinnati Reds infielder Mike Moustakas
Cincinnati Reds infielder Mike Moustakas / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

Mike Moustakas signed a four-year/$64M deal with the Cincinnati Reds prior to the 2020 season. At the time, the deal was seen as a sign that the Reds were ready to compete.

Fast-forward to the present and the Reds are now rebuilding while Moustakas' injury-riddled 2022 campaign has his future with the team in doubt. Perhaps it's time for the Reds to consider swapping Moose's bad contract for another.

The New York Mets will undoubtedly be looking to unload James McCann from their books. The catcher is owed $24M over the remaining two years of his contract. Could the Reds and Mets work out a mutually beneficial trade?

Could the Reds swap Mike Moustakas' bad contract for James McCann?

Mike Moustakas is owed $18M next season and has a $4M buyout for the 2024 season. Essentially, the Cincinnati Reds are on the hook for $22M for one more season of Moustakas.

The team could decide to hang onto Moustakas, hoping for a bounce-back campaign in 2023, but that seems unlikely. Cincinnati is rebuilding and Moose is little more than a DH at this stage of his career. The Reds have so many young players who need at-bats, it would be a crime to allow Moustakas to take reps away from players like Spencer Steer and Alejo Lopez.

With Tyler Stephenson as the lone catcher currently on the Reds roster, Cincinnati will be in the market for a backup catcher. While McCann's salary would suggest that the veteran should be a starter, his performance of late would suggest otherwise.

McCann played just 61 games last season for the Mets and slashed .195/.257/.282. In fact, McCann's last two seasons in Queens have seen the veteran backstop hit just .220/.282/.328 with 13 home runs and 64 RBIs.

Those aren't the type of numbers that justify paying a catcher $24M over the next two seasons, but Moustakas' .216/.300/.383 slash line doesn' justify the $22M payday he'll receive next season.

When it comes to moving on from Mike Moustakas, the Cincinnati Reds do not have many good options. The club can let him play in 2023, release him and pay the remainder of his contract, trade him for a player who has an equally bad contract, or include him along with some highly regarded prospects in order to get his salary off he books. The latter is not an option the Reds should consider.

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