This Gold Glove outfielder is not the answer for the Reds Opening Day roster vacancy

The Reds have better in-house options.

Cleveland Guardians center fielder Myles Straw (7) catches a ball
Cleveland Guardians center fielder Myles Straw (7) catches a ball / Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Guardians appear to be moving on from Gold Glove Award-winner Myles Straw. The outfielder was placed on waivers by the Guardians, and according to Zack Meisel of The Athletic, will not make Cleveland's Opening Day roster.

The Cincinnati Reds, meanwhile, would appear to be in the market for a centerfielder. TJ Friedl will miss the first several weeks of the 2024 season after suffering a fracture in his right wrist, and Will Benson is slated to be the Reds Opening Day starter in center field.

That's less than ideal, and the Reds currently have a vacancy on their Opening Day roster after releasing Mike Ford late last week. However, while Straw has an incredible defensive skillset, Cincinnati should avoid bringing the 29-year-old into the fold.

Gold Glove OF Myles Straw is not the answer for the Reds Opening Day roster vacancy

Straw's defensive acumen is incredible. Over the past two seasons, Straw has been worth 23 defensive runs saved (DRS) in center field and 17 outs above average (OAA) per FanGraphs. Straw won a Gold Glove Award in 2022.

But Straw's bat has offered little to nothing over the past two years. During that span, the Guardians outfielder has hit .229/.296/.284 with just one home run. Straw does have elite speed, ranking among the 92nd percentile according to Baseball Savant. But Straw struggles to make hard-contact. The outfielder's expected slugging percentage, hard-hit rate, barrel rate, and average exit velocity all rank in the 10th percentile or lower.

Straw also has a lot of money left on his current contract. The Guardians inked Straw to a five-year, $25 million extension in 2022 and still owe him close to $20 million. If the Reds were to submit a claim, they'd then be on the hook for the remainder of Straw's contract. Given his lack of offensive production, the Reds could invest that type of money elsewhere.

Friedl isn't expected to miss the bulk of the 2024 season, but is likely to be sidelined for at least four weeks. The Reds have internal options, like Stuart Fairchild, Jacob Hurtubise, and Bubba Thompson; all of whom can help bridge the gap until Friedl is healthy.

If Straw somehow becomes a free agent, and the Reds are able to negotiate a new deal that doesn't include the remainder of his current contract, then perhaps Cincinnati could consider adding the outfielder to the roster. Otherwise, this is option that the Reds would be wise to avoid.

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