What might a contract extension between the Reds and Brandon Drury look like?

Cincinnati Reds third baseman Brandon Drury (22) slides into third base.
Cincinnati Reds third baseman Brandon Drury (22) slides into third base. / Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

It was mentioned by MLB insider Ken Rosenthal that the Cincinnati Reds may prefer to sign infielder Brandon Drury to a contract extension rather than trade him at this year's deadline. Drury is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2022 season.

Drury is having a career-year with the Redlegs and will undoubtedly be looking to cash in on his performance this season. However, Drury's track record suggests his little more than a replacement-level player.

Drury currently leads the Reds in home runs, RBIs, and slugging percentage, and with most of Cincinnati's talent at least two years away from making it to the big leagues, the idea of signing Drury to a contract extension isn't as far-fetched as it may seem.

Which players, who signed contracts in the offseason, are comparable to Brandon Drury?

When trying to evaluate what any contract extension might look like, the best thing to do is to look at what other players of similar position, age, skillset, and production have signed for in recent years. Finding a player who's similar to Brandon Drury isn't that easy.

There were several players in 2021 who, to varying degrees, put up similar numbers to what we've seen from Drury in 2022 and signed free agent deals or contract extensions during the offseason.

Eduardo Escobar, Josh Harrison, Jonathan Villar, Matt Duffy, and Kole Calhoun all signed new deals during the 2021-22 offseason. Most of those contracts were for one year and some had a mutual option attached for the 2023 season.

A one-year extension with a mutual-option for the 2024 season is about as far as the Cincinnati Reds should be willing to go with Brandon Drury. Let's be honest, this is first year where Drury has really found continued success at the major league level.

What type of contract extension should the Reds offer Brandon Drury?

Brandon Drury, though he could have easily been selected to the Midsummer Classic this year, has no All-Star appearances on his resumé. That should push Eduardo Escobar's two-year/$20M contract out of reach. The Reds cannot afford to pay Drury $10M for the next two seasons.

Matt Duffy, just like Drury, is very versatile player. But Duffy's $1.5M contract that he signed with the Los Angeles Angels over the winter seems to be much too low. Besides, Duffy has just 27 career home runs while Drury has blasted 20 round trippers already this season.

That brings into focus the contracts of Jonathan Villar, Kole Calhoun, and Josh Harrison. All three men signed a one-year deal with an option for the 2023 season. Villar's is a mutual-option while the other two are team-options.

Combined, all three players will make $16.7M this season for an average salary of about $5.6M. That feels like the range that the Cincinnati Reds should shoot for if they look to ink Brandon Drury to a contract extension.

Perhaps a one-year/$4.5M contract with a $7M mutual-option for the 2024 season and $1.5M buyout would be enough to sway Drury to remain in the Queen City. That contract would guarantee the Reds slugger $6M and he'd have the ability to reach free agency once again in 2024 if Drury believes his performance next season warrants more than $7M in 2024.

That type of contract extension is more than affordable for the Cincinnati Reds and would be in-line with about what was offered to Tommy Pham this past spring. It's low-risk/ high-reward move that would keep Cincinnati from shopping in the bargain bin this next offseason. It would also give the Reds a designated hitter should the team agree part ways with Mike Moustakas before next season.

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