The Reds reportedly pursued Sonny Gray; Interested in Tyler Glasnow
Right-hander Sonny Gray He reportedly agreed to a three-year, $75 million deal with the Cardinals. According to a report from Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, the Reds pursued Gray and were “close” before Gray settled with the Cards instead. Sheldon adds that the Reds are interested in the righty Tyler Glasnow of the Rays, who is believed to be on the trading block.
Shooting in the target zone is an obvious target for the Reds this winter, given there is a surplus of players at their positions. They have enough options for their lineup that they declined their club option on the franchise icon Joy Photowith President of Baseball Operations Nick Krall explaining that the club did not have the playing time it needed for him. Jonathan India He could be in a similar boat, despite his reputation as a solid presence in the clubhouse and winning Rookie of the Year honors in 2021. Reports have suggested a trade is a possibility, though Krall has backed away from that.
Regardless of whether India is available or not, it is clear that the staff is the right place for the club to commit some resources, something Kral acknowledged. The talented lineup nearly carried the Reds to the 2023 postseason, but ultimately came up short while fielding an injury-marred and insufficient pitching staff. The club’s hurlers had a 4.83 earned run average on the year, which placed them ahead of only five teams in the league. The rotation was particularly problematic, as the starters posted a combined 5.43 ERA that was better than only the Athletics and Rockies.
Health was an important factor there, as several young pitchers hit the injured list. Left-handed Nick Ludolo He had a solid debut in 2022 but was limited to just seven starts last year due to a stress reaction in his left leg. Hunter Green He missed two months with hip pain and posted a 4.82 ERA in his 22 starts. Graham Ashcraft He went to the IL with a left calf contusion and a stress reaction in his right big toe, and was limited to 26 starts with a 4.76 ERA.
If all three are healthy next year, it gives the club a strong young core. Left-handed Andrew Abbott And Brandon Williamson He should be in the mix after decent rookie seasons in 2023, as Abbott posted an ERA of 3.87 in 21 starts while Williamson was at 4.46 in 23 outings. But Abbott’s 79.9% was a bit high, making his 4.20 FIP and 4.33 SIERA a bit questionable in his ERA, while Williamson posted acceptable results despite a sub-20% strikeout rate.
There’s obviously a lot of talent in this rotation mix, but everyone is somewhat inexperienced. In 2023, most of them were either infected, had lukewarm results, or both. Bolstering this group with a steady arm could raise the ceiling while also improving depth, reducing their chances of being injured again in 2024.
They appear to have some funds available for such an endeavor, based on this report. Although we don’t have any details on what kind of numbers the Reds put up for Gray or if a formal offer has been made, it appears the Cards have closed the deal at $25 million per season. The Reds could have offered a higher two-year average annual value or perhaps offered a four-year deal with a lower AAV, but the fact that they appeared to be in the running suggests they have some ability to add to a contract of that size.
This aligns with interest in Glasnow as well, as he has one year remaining on his contract at that set amount of $25 million. That’s a good deal for a pitcher of Glasnow’s quality, as he has a 3.03 ERA over the past five years, striking out 35% of batters while walking just 7.7% and keeping the ball on the ground at a 47.2% rate. It won’t really help with Cincinnati’s injury instability since he just returned from Tommy John surgery that wiped out much of his 2022. The 120 innings he pitched in 2023 are actually career highs, as he dealt with several other ailments throughout His professional life. But he would immediately jump to the top of the rotation in Cincy if they could get him. MLBTR’s Anthony Franco recently took a look at 12 teams that make sense for Glasnow, and the Reds were one of them.
Whether they can actually get it is another question. The Rays have every intention of continuing to compete and are not rebuilding. The only reason Glasnow is considered available is because of his contract and ongoing payroll concerns for the Rays. Sheldon adds that the club will be looking for an MLB-ready starter in return.
This makes sense when looking at things from Tampa’s perspective. In the 2023 season, both Shane McClanahan, Jeffrey Springs And Drew Rasmussen He underwent major elbow surgery and all three are scheduled to miss most or all of next season. That leaves them with Glasnow, Zach Evelyn And Aaron Seval In their rotation. Shane Baz He should be in the mix but he missed all of 2023 recovering from his Tommy John surgery. Taj Bradley The rookie campaign was somewhat uninspiring. Zach Little He could play a role but has recently been moved from the bullpen to the tackle.
There’s a lot of uncertainty there, and that’s especially true if Glasnow is removed from the equation. If the Reds were to strike Glasnow, they would likely have to include one of their young players, allowing the Rays to save money while keeping their rotation competitive. After the Reds missed the playoffs, Kral spoke to reporters about the club’s lack of activity at last year’s deadline. “I don’t regret not doing anything,” he said. “I still wouldn’t give up players on our roster for short-term assets.”
Glasnow only has one year left on his deal, so he will be a short-term asset. Despite acquiring Glasnow in the offseason rather than the deadline, there would at least be a chance to redeem a draft pick later via a qualifying offer extension at the end of the 2024 campaign. Perhaps this makes Krall more willing to accept the cost of a buyout to acquire short-term assets, but it also Something the Rays will take into account in their asking price.
Time will tell whether or not a Glasnow deal can be reached, but even if it doesn’t happen, the Reds appear to have at least some willingness to add a big contract to their books as a way to improve their rotation. Roster Resource estimates their payroll at just $52 million for 2024, as of today. They are worth $83 million in 2023 and have reached $127 million in the past, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts. Even if they added a $25 million contract, it would only be $77 million, leaving more room for bullpen/bench additions as they look to take another step forward next year.
(tags for translation) Sonny Gray