The deadline to protect prospects from the Rule 5 Draft came and went. While the Cincinnati Reds made several moves to help secure some the organization's best players heading into the future, there's still one very big problem with the current roster - Mike Moustakas is still on it.
There were a lot of Reds fans who were hopeful to see the Reds and and Moose part ways similar to how the Chicago Cubs handled Jason Heyward. The Cubs, despite owing their longtime right fielder $22M in 2023, decided it was best to release him.
It's going to cost the Reds just as much to enter the 2023 season without Moustakas. The owner of the largest free agent contract in franchise history is set to make $18M in 2023 and has a $20M team-option for the 2024 season with a $4M buyout.
There's no guarantee Mike Moustakas will be with the Reds in 2023.
Despite Mike Moustakas remaining on the Cincinnati Reds after the addition of the likes of Elly De La Cruz and Noelvi Marte, the slugger could still be released in the coming days, weeks, or prior to Opening Day next season.
Moustakas has been nothing short of a disappointment since coming to Cincinnati in 2019. The former All-Star signed a four-year/$64M contract and has not lived up to the hype. Moose hit the IL six times in 2022 and his conditioning has been a constant source of complaining among the Cincinnati faithful.
With so many young players being released or designated for assignment just before Tuesday's 6 OM ET deadline, there are number of players that could pique the Cincinnati Reds' interest. Jeff Brigham (Miami Marlins), Bradley Zimmer (Toronto Blue Jays), and Ryan Yarbrough (Tampa Bay Rays) could all be targeted by the Reds in the coming days.
With that in minds, Cincinnati does not have too many other players on the 40-man roster that the front office is likely to part ways with. Buck Farmer Ian Gibaut, and Joel Kuhnel could be let go, but that trio of pitchers is likely to have a bigger impact on next year's team than Moustakas.
There's still plenty of time between now and Opening Day for the Cincinnati Reds to do the right thing and cut Mike Moustakas loose. For Moose's sake, he'd probably prefer to be released now and have the entire offseason to find a good fit heading into next season.