The Reds introduced that they’ve signed catcher Curt Casali to a one-year cope with a mutual choice for 2024. In a corresponding transfer, infielder Mike Moustakas was designated for project. Mark Sheldon of MLB.com studies that Casali will likely be assured $3.25MM, which takes the type of a $2.5MM wage and a $750K buyout on the choice. There’s additionally a $250K project bonus to be paid to him within the occasion he’s traded.
Moustakas, 34, signed a four-year, $64MM cope with the Reds going into the 2020 season. On the time, he was coming off a five-year stretch with the Royals and Brewers the place he hit 130 residence runs and produced a batting line of .264/.325/.491. That amounted to a 111 wRC+, indicating he was 11% higher than league common in that point. He had additionally diversified his defensive skills, taking part in 47 video games at second base with the Brewers in 2019 after being a major third baseman previous to that.
The primary season of the deal went superb sufficient, as Moustakas hit .230/.331/.468 for a wRC+ of 105. Nonetheless, the previous two seasons have been disappointing, with Moustakas battling varied accidents, together with a heel contusion and a calf pressure, and struggling to supply when on the sector. He performed simply 62 video games in 2021 and 78 in 2022, hitting .211/.289/.356 for a wRC+ of 73.
Although Moustakas has one yr remaining on his deal, it appears the Reds weren’t eager about letting him play it out. Over the previous few years, they’ve seen Jonathan India take over the second base job and prospect Spencer Steer appears prepared for an prolonged audition at third. Moustakas has additionally performed a little bit of first base, however the Reds have Joey Votto there and in addition added Wil Myers into the combo by signing him in the present day. Catcher Tyler Stephenson may additionally think about with the membership now having three backstops. Extra on that beneath.
The Reds will now have per week to work out a commerce or cross Moustakas by way of waivers however it’s unlikely they’ll discover a deal. Moustakas remains to be owed $22MM within the type of an $18MM wage and a $4MM buyout on a membership choice for 2024. Provided that he’s been injured and/or underperforming for a few years now, no crew will need to take that on. The Reds may theoretically provide a prospect in a commerce to sweeten the deal, however it wouldn’t make a lot sense to do this as it could merely subtract younger expertise from the rebuilding membership. The more than likely state of affairs is that Moustakas is launched and turns into a free agent. Any crew may then have the ability to signal him and pay him the prorated league minimal for any time spent on their lively roster, with that quantity being subtracted from what the Reds pay.
As for Casali, 34, he’s a superbly serviceable large league catcher, although he’s by no means actually been a membership’s major choice. Although he has 462 profession video games performed, he’s by no means tallied greater than 84 in any particular person season. He’s typically been a powerful defender behind the plate, having tallied 16 Defensive Runs Saved in his profession and a barely above-average mark when it comes to framing. He’s not a legal responsibility on the plate both, with a profession batting line of .223/.316/.392. That quantities to a wRC+ of 92, which is 8% beneath league common general however roughly common for a catcher. His 27.8% strikeout price is certainly on the excessive facet however he additionally has drawn walks at a powerful 10.7% price. He’s additionally drawn curiosity from the Giants and Cubs this winter however will as a substitute go to Cincinnati, the place he spent the 2018-2020 seasons.
Casali is the second catcher signed by the Reds this offseason, as they’ve additionally added Luke Maile earlier. These two will be part of Tyler Stephenson to provide the membership a three-headed catching corps. Stephenson appeared to emerge because the membership’s catcher of the longer term with a 2021 breakout that noticed him hit .286/.366/.431 for a wRC+ of 110 together with stable defensive numbers. Nonetheless, he was restricted to simply 50 video games in 2022 as a result of a concussion, a damaged thumb and a damaged clavicle. He’s additionally seen a while at first base and will theoretically do this extra this yr, yielding among the catching time to Casali and Maile whereas preserving his bat within the lineup.
The membership’s payroll is now as much as $81MM, per the calculations of Roster Resource. That’s nonetheless effectively shy of their $114MM determine from Opening Day 2022, per Cot’s Baseball Contracts, although the rebuilding membership may not add way more. C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic relays phrase from normal supervisor Nick Krall, who says they’d “must nice artistic” so as to add extra money.
Photographs courtesy of USA In the present day Sports activities.