Rightly sensing that they were going to have a window to compete atop the NL Central in 2020/2021, the Cincinnati Reds started adding pieces for 2020 going back to last year – Trevor Bauer, Sonny Gray, Freddy Galvis, Kevin Gausman among them – and they’re going to continue this offseason.
Next up? A huge four-year contract for Mike Moustakas:
Mike Moustakas' deal with the Cincinnati Reds is for four years and $64 million, sources tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 2, 2019
That’s the biggest free agent contract in Reds history, if you can believe it.
Moustakas will depart the Brewers in favor of the NL Central rival Reds, though it’s not necessarily a “loss” at this moment since he was expected to depart in any case.
But wow. A four-year deal worth $16 million annually is apparently the price of business when you want to get a guy like Moustakas to sign somewhat early with a previously-not-competitive team. The 31-year-old has shown he can play effectively at second base, which is likely where he’ll go with the Reds following today’s non-tender of Jose Peraza. Moustakas has been solidly above average at the plate the last few years, but pretty unspectacular:
Steamer projects Moustakas to be right around that same range again this coming season, so it’s not like he’s not worth $16 million, necessarily, but it’s a pretty sizable total commitment for a guy who does a lot of things just average. He hits a lot of dingers, though, and that’ll probably continue in Cincinnati.
Speaking of which, I’m sure Reds fans are going to be happy about this deal, because they can dream on a lineup that could realistically feature an above-league-average hitter at every single position except shortstop (Freddy Galvis) and catcher (Tucker Barnhart), where they are at least covered nicely defensively.
Of course, there’s also obvious downside risk throughout the lineup, too: maybe Moustakas slides in his 30s, maybe Joey Votto’s down 2019 was the beginning of the end, maybe Aristides Aquino was a fluke, maybe Nick Senzel is never healthy, maybe the Cubs stop pitching to Eugenio Suarez.
All in all, though, it’s a Reds team with tons of offensive upside, plenty of talent in the rotation, a good defense, and a good bullpen. This is a big signing for the Reds going into 2020. No other way to spin it.