Why are some Reds fans upset about the Hunter Greene contract extension?

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Hunter Greene
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Hunter Greene / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

I'll be the first one to admit that I've been critical of Hunter Greene. There's a lot of expectations that come with being the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, and the first year-plus of Greene's career has been a bit of a mixed bag.

But there's a section of the Cincinnati Reds fanbase that is actually upset with the team for signing Greene to a six-year contract extension. Sorry, but that just doesn't make any sense at all.

For the last year-plus, Reds fans have lamented the fact that the team doesn't spend money. Now, Bob Castellini and the Reds ownership make a $53-million investment by signing one of their core players and it's met with criticism. Why?

Why are some Reds fans upset about the Hunter Greene contract extension?

Feel free to call me naive, but I don't think the Cincinnati Reds are done locking up their young talent. Hunter Greene is likely the first of two, three, or maybe even four contract extensions that Reds fans can hope to see signed over the next year or so.

So for those of you that are saying it should've been Nick Lodolo, or Jonathan India, or Tyler Stephenson, or Graham Ashcraft, or even Elly De La Cruz, just be patient. The Reds aren't done.

The average annual value (AAV) for Greene's contract extension is just over $8-million. The Reds paid Mike Minor $10-million to serve up gopher balls in 2022. This isn't an expensive contract and will not preclude Cincinnati from signing some of their other core players. In fact, you could argue that it "sets the market" for pitchers like Lodolo and Ashcraft.

What if the Reds were able to sign the trio of Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Graham Ashcraft for a combined AAV of $32-million per season? Would you take that deal? For reference, Cincinnati is paying Mike Moustakas $22-million this season to play for the Colorado Rockies.

The Reds negotiated a team-friendly deal with Hunter Greene.

Just last year, Spencer Strider agreed to a six-year/$75-million contract with the Atlanta Braves after just over one year in the major leagues. Strider had a 3.1 bWAR at the time of his contract extension, while Hunter Greene has a bWAR of 2.7.

By the way, that phrase that some Reds fans like to use by claiming that Greene is a thrower and not a pitcher; the same can be said for Strider. The Braves starter goes to the heater 63.8-percent of the time per Baseball Savant. Strider will throw his slider nearly 31-percent of the time while his changeup is barely thrown over 5-percent of the time.

Compare that to Greene's repertoire, and you'll see a lot of similarities. Greene goes to the fastball 57.8-percent of the time and uses his slider 39.9-percent of the time. His changeup is very much a work-in-progress and the right-hander, according to Baseball Savant, will go to it 2.3-percent of the time.

Hunter Greene's contract extension shows that the Reds are serious about winning.

This contract extension does three things; 1) it gives Hunter Greene financial security, 2) it gives the Reds cost control moving forward, 3) it serves a signal to the fans and the players within the clubhouse that the organization is serious about winning.

This isn't the Cincinnati Reds doling out $105-million to Homer Bailey in 2014 at age 27 with a 49-45 record and 4.25 ERA. This is the Reds locking up a 23-year-old pitcher who could be the face of the franchise and an All-Star caliber player heading into the prime of his career.

Is there risk? Absolutely. But this is how business is done in Major League Baseball. Don't you think the Milwaukee Brewers had wished they'd negotiated contract extensions with Corbin Burnes or Brandon Woodruff earlier in their careers? Both pitchers are now poised to leave via free agency or cash in for double or triple what the Reds just paid Hunter Greene.

If you're pessimistic, I get it. As a Reds fan, you haven't had much to cheer about lately. But this is a move that should be celebrated, not chastised. We're entering a new age of Cincinnati Reds baseball, and signing Greene was just one piece of the puzzle. I, for one, can't wait to see what's next.