My reaction to the week for the Reds
Tucker Barnhart is a Tiger. Nick Castellanos is not a Red.
Fact: Barnhart was not going to be the Reds starting catcher. Tyler Stephenson's time had clearly arrived.
The Reds were not going to pay Barnhart $7.5M to be a back-up and make 40-50 starts. So, they were left with paying Tucker a $500,000 buyout to not play for them. Instead, they flipped him to Detroit for a low level prospect and saved the $500K.
Reality: This is what good teams do. They scout, draft and stack talent to establish a pipeline. They hope a player produces while the next guy in line develops. Then, if/when that happens, the torch is passed. That's Tucker to Tyler.
If only it had been presented that way by GM Nick Krall. Instead, he offered this:
“Trading Tucker was a very difficult decision. Having been drafted and developed by the Reds, our entire organization has a connection to him, and our fans love him,” Krall said. "But going into 2022, we must align our payroll to our resources and continue focusing on scouting and developing young talent from within our system. We are grateful for Tucker’s contributions on the field and in the communities throughout Reds Country. He will be missed.”
Imagine me slapping my forehead with the palm of my hand.
There was no reason to mention payroll and resources. Krall's statement should have simply focused on an appreciation for Barnhart's time in Cincinnati AND his invaluable mentoring of Stephenson. Krall should have proudly touted both players as shining examples of the scouting and developing in their system. And pointed to the excitement for watching Stephenson continue to blossom as he steps into a full-time role in 2022. Krall would have delivered a feel-good, win-win quote to kickoff the hot stove. Instead, he offered a talking point that sets a much different tone that fans will pair with his "reallocation" quote from last March.
As for Castellanos, he would have opted out of his 2-years left at $34M no matter what team he was playing for. This was simply about the mechanism in the contract and his ability to seek his value in a free market. I hope this is understood by fans.
If Castellanos does not return, and I do not believe he will, the really interesting question becomes what the Reds decide to do with his $34M on their books.
We are less than a week into the offseason and Krall has already managed to make things more difficult for the Reds than they already were.
By Sunday we will learn another indicator of the offseason when the organization has to decide on Wade Miley's option: Pick it up for $10M or decline it and buy him out at $1M.