Reds no-hit wonder Miley claimed by Cubs

November 5th, 2021

CINCINNATI -- The exodus of key Reds continued on Friday as left-handed starting pitcher was claimed off waivers by the Cubs. Miley's contract has a $10 million club option with a $1 million buyout.

Miley, who will turn 35 on Nov. 13, was 12-7 with a 3.37 ERA in 28 starts during the 2021 season. That included his pitching a no-hitter at Cleveland on May 7.

Reds general manager Nick Krall said the move came after the club had tried to find a trade partner for Miley over “the last couple weeks,” but received little interest.

“We didn’t have a buyer at that point in time, so we ended up putting him on waivers to see if someone would claim him before we had to make the option decision,” Krall said. “We made the decision that we weren’t going to bring him back, so we put him on waivers and he got claimed by the Cubs.”

Unable to work out a trade over the last month, Cincinnati had a decision to make in regards to Miley’s contract. Obviously, the club could have paid the $1 million buyout or the Reds could have picked up Miley’s $10 million option then continued looking to swing a deal this offseason or into next season.

Instead, they opted to avoid that risk -- and escaped having to pay the buyout when the Cubs claimed Miley.

“It was trying to save the buyout. It didn’t make sense to pay the buyout if you didn’t have to,” Krall said. “But like I said the other day, we’re aligning our payroll with our resources. That’s where making this move today made sense for us.”

Three players from 2021 have departed the Reds in the past three days. Catcher Tucker Barnhart, who had a $7.5 million club option for ’22, was traded to the Tigers on Wednesday. Right fielder Nick Castellanos exercised an opt-out clause in his contract on Thursday to decline the final two years and $34 million on his four-year contact, becoming a free agent. Krall said the team plans to extend a qualifying offer to Castellanos ahead of Sunday’s deadline.

Though this week’s moves came as a surprise to some, Krall made sure the players were not caught off guard.

“Look, Tucker and Wade, both players I felt like I had a good relationship with. I actually talked to both of them before any of this happened and let them know a few days in advance,” Krall said. “I actually talked to both of them at the end of the season just to let them know where we were and what we were thinking and walk them down the road. I, personally, like to be up front with the players and want to make sure that we're all on the same page moving forward, whether it's good, bad or indifferent.”

Despite those key losses, Krall said the franchise is not entering a rebuild coming off an 83-79 season.

“Obviously, losing some quality players off your club, [but] we’ve still got some good players,” Krall said. “We’ve got some good young kids up to the club, and hopefully, they can be some difference makers next year.”

Krall specifically mentioned a trio of young pitchers -- Reiver Sanmartin, Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo -- when discussing potential options for replacing Miley’s 163 innings from this past season.

The 25-year-old Sanmartin posted a 1.54 ERA in two late-season starts after making his MLB debut on Sept. 27. Greene and Lodolo, meanwhile, are the club's No. 1 and No. 2 prospects, respectively. The right-handed Greene had a 3.30 ERA across 21 starts between Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville last season, while the left-handed Lodolo posted a 2.31 ERA across 13 starts between those same two levels.

“The one exciting thing about our team is we’ve got some younger pitchers who are in Triple-A, have pitched in Triple-A,” Krall said. “They’re going to come into Spring Training and compete for a job on the big league club and see where that goes. Hunter has to be protected this year, so we’ll obviously protect him. We do have some young pitchers that, moving forward, it will be good to see at some point in the future.”

In other news, lefty reliever Justin Wilson will return next season after he exercised his $2.3 million player option for 2022. The Reds declined the conditional option to extend Wilson’s contract for 2023.

Cincinnati’s 40-man roster is now at 35 players.