Reds secure Austin Wynns on a split-contract, offering flexibility and catching depth

The Cincinnati Reds signed a new backstop to the 40-man roster.
Colorado Rockies catcher Austin Wynns
Colorado Rockies catcher Austin Wynns / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Reds added a veteran to the 40-man roster on Thursday. No, it wasn't a pitcher. But newly-signed catcher Austin Wynns has the potential to be a very important piece on a Reds team that has playoff aspirations heading into next season.

Wynns signed a one-year deal with the Reds in what's being referred to as a split-contract. Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer first reported that Wynn's salary will be dependent on whether or not he makes the team.

Gordon Wittenmyer of the Cincinnati Enquirer followed that up by reporting that the contract will pay Wynns $900,000 if he makes the Reds roster and will pay him $300,000 if he's sent to the minors.

Reds secure Austin Wynns on a split-contract, offering flexibility and catching depth

Austin Wynns does not have any minor-league options remaining, but it would appear that there's language in the contract that allows for the Cincinnati Reds to send him to Triple-A and retain his services within the organization. The bottom line is the Reds added depth behind the dish.

Blog Red Machine dissected this issue a couple days ago, and even cited Wynns as a possible target for Cincinnati. The Reds needed a glove-first option and got one in Wynns.

According to Baseball Savant, Wynns was one of the best catchers in the game a season ago when it came to throwing out runners. Wynns gunned down an extra five would-be base stealers in 2023, which ranked as the fourth-best in baseball. For reference, Luke Maile ranked 20th and Tyler Stephenson placed 51st.

Wynns' pop-time of 1.91 seconds was 15th-best in 2023, and once again put him ahead of both Maile and Stephenson. Wynns was also much better at framing, while Maile and Stephenson ranked below-average in that category.

As is the case, however, there is some give and take when it comes to Austin Wynns. If you're expecting the 33-year-old to come in and take over as the Reds starting backstop, you've got another thing coming. Stephenson is likely to be the QB1 once spring training commences.

While the Reds former first-round pick struggled at the plate in 2023, his hitting profile is miles better than Wynns'. In 130 at-bats last season, Wynns hit .208/.268/.277 and struck out nearly 27-percent of the time.

Austin Wynns was signed to be a backup catcher and add depth to both the major league roster and the minors. TJ Hopkins lost his spot on the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster and was designated for assignment in order to make room for Wynns.