Following the bloodletting Monday afternoon, Cincinnati Reds general manager Nick Krall offered these famous last words during a press conference after trading former All-Stars Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez to the Seattle Mariners, "It also allows us to free up some money to work in the free-agent market and be more proactive in the free-agent and trade markets."
You can be skeptical all you want, but Krall is telling the truth. It's because he has no choice. Cincinnati will enter the 2022-23 offseason with just two players, Mike Moustakas and Joey Votto, under contract.
Reds' GM Nick Krall has been give his marching orders.
Obviously, that doesn't take into account salary-controlled and arbitration-eligible players such as reigning National League Rookie of the Year Jonathan India and reliever Lucas Sims, but as of today, the Reds have just $43M in active payroll committed to next year's team. Interestingly, that number doesn't include the nearly $3.6M they will be paying 53-year-old Ken Griffey Jr.
After what we witnessed this week, it's hard to imagine players in their final year of arbitration will remain in the Queen City. As a result, the 2022 campaign may be Reds Country's final opportunity to enjoy the exploits of starting pitchers Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle.
However, yesterday may have provided the road map of how Krall will navigate the 2023 roster. Trading arbitration-eligible players, like Amir Garrett, for veterans who are in the final year of their deals such as newly acquired left-hander Mike Minor.
Additionally, the Redlegs inked journeymen infielder Donovan Solano to a one-year MLB contract, and reliever Buck Farmer to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. Granted, these deals are not going to light up the phones for season ticket sales, but it's a clue as to where the franchise is headed.
Despite having so few dollars committed to payroll next year, there's no reason to believe owner Bob Castellini is suddenly going to open his wallet the way he did prior to the 2020 season when the club signed a number of notable free-agents like Nick Castellanos and Wade Miley. As much as Reds Country may despise the moves of the past few days, Krall has been given his marching orders.
For better or worse, the Cincinnati Reds will be active in the offseason. When Nick Krall says recent trades have freed up resources to pursue free-agents and trades, he's right. Just don't expect to see Aaron Judge and Justin Verlander sporting the wishbone "C" as the Reds open the 2023 campaign.