Detroit Tigers Call Number 3: The Cincinnati Reds
The Cincinnati Reds will probably be fielding a lot of phone calls (or texts, as it were). They seem to be in the process of rebuilding again, and they have a trio of interesting pitchers due to be free agents after the 2023 season. Luis Castillo is the best of the group, but that means he’d also be the most expensive in a trade. Tyler Mahle doesn’t have a long track record of success, but he had a real breakout last year, and he’s the youngest of the trio, so he also figures to costs a lot. And then there’s Sonny Gray.
Gray is still just 32, so he’s not an old man, but his age combined with his contact figure to make the acquisition cost a bit more palatable. His contract isn’t prohibitive by any means — he’s due $10 million this season, and has a team option for $12 million next year with some performance escalators. That’s peanuts compared to what a healthy Sonny Gray can contribute to the Detroit Tigers.
Over the past three seasons, Gray’s numbers compare well with Eduardo Rodriguez’s:
Recall that Rodriguez is getting $15 million a year from the Tigers, and it’s generally viewed as a bargain. The Tigers could probably put together a deal for Gray that doesn’t include any of their top five prospects, and the teams have already made one trade this offseason, so presumably the Reds would have a list of targets ready.
These three moves probably wouldn’t have the Detroit Tigers getting fitted for World Series rings, but they could move the club much closer to being a real playoff contender in 2022.