Will Reds use Greene's deal as springboard?

April 19th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Mark Sheldon’s Reds Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

CINCINNATI -- Fans who have mourned the departure of popular players from the Reds in the past year of the rebuilding process can perhaps see some light.

In what could be the beginning of an effort to retain the core of its next generation of players, Cincinnati signed starting pitcher  to a six-year, $53 million contract on Tuesday.

Until this signing, the Reds had no contractual obligations beyond 2023. ’s 10-year, $225 million contract comes off the books after this season, as does the $22 million that was owed to released third baseman Mike Moustakas.

Greene’s deal, which has performance escalators that can earn him over $95 million, gives the Reds cost certainty on their payroll by avoiding his three arbitration years and at least one year of eligibility for free agency.

It is reminiscent of more than a decade ago when the Reds gave Votto his first contract, a three-year, $38 million deal, in 2011.

A year later, Votto signed his big extension that kicked in to begin in ’14. Ahead of the 2011 season, Jay Bruce avoided arbitration with a six-year, $51 million contract. Brandon Phillips signed a six-year, $72.5 million contract, also in 2012.

Although the budget was reduced dramatically in 2022 and ’23, Greene’s contract signals the Reds are open for business again to potentially secure deals with their other young players -- especially before they hit their arbitration years. Fellow rotation members and  come to mind first.

But there will eventually need to be decisions on whether players such as , or Alexis Diaz will be part of the future, long term.

Further down the line they might want to look at club-friendly deals with prospects who still have yet to debut, such as top prospect Elly De La Cruz, ,  and others.

For now, though, Greene’s commitment is a big moment for the Reds.