The Stove Is Hot and the Moose Is Loose

Perhaps before last season’s offseason in which the Reds made a big splash for the first time in years, it would have been a huge surprise to see that the offseason hot stove got turned on by the Cincinnati Reds, but here we are. The Reds have signed 31 year old free agent Mike Moustakas to a 4 year, $64 million deal to play second base, easily the largest free agent signing the Reds have ever made. Announced the same day that the Reds parted ways with struggling young infielder Jose Peraza, Moustakas presents an immediate upgrade (3.2 WAR vs Peraza’s -0.9). Moose’s power bat, which has yielded 101 home runs across the last three seasons, should play nicely in hitter-friendly GABP.

While Moustakas is on the wrong side of 30, not the best defensively, and pulling in a massive salary, this is a great move for Dick Williams and Reds front office. The name of the game these days is power, and Jose Peraza just wasn’t the answer there. If Moose can have another season of 30+ homers, .800+ OPS and bring his leadership and playoff experience to the Reds clubhouse, we could be in for a special season. Reds fans were quick to bemoan the front office when Yasmani Grandal got snatched up by the Chicago White Sox earlier this offseason. They assumed we weren’t willing to shell out for a player of his caliber and we’d end up missing the boat entirely this offseason. The Reds proved that wasn’t the case today, signing Moustakas to a very expensive deal. If he plays as well as last year, Suarez continues to improve, and Aristides Aquino proves last year wasn’t a fluke, the Cincinnati Reds could have three of the best power bats in the National League.

This wasn’t a move we really saw coming, as Steve didn’t even have it as a possibility in his offseason preview blog, and it’s tough to say where it might signal that we go from here. Initially we were expecting a move for someone more suited to fill the shortstop position, with guys like former Reds farmhand Didi Gregorious or Jonathan Villar in mind. That move could also open up Senzel to move back to second, and center field could be filled with a dream trade for a guy like Mookie Betts or Ketel Marte. With Moustakas pretty unlikely to see any time at short and Jose Peraza non-tendered, that essentially leaves Freddy Galvis as the man at short. I wouldn’t be opposed to bringing back Jose Iglesias on another short deal, but that also seems unlikely. The outfield feels pretty locked down now, unless one of those guys like Senzel or Winker becomes a trade chip himself (very possible). Could we make a move to get a big pitcher, like Zack Wheeler into the rotation? Who knows. And that’s exciting.

Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long to find out. If this offseason goes anything like last year, Dick Williams and Nick Krall will be pretty busy over the next month or so. I’ll be pretty interested to see how the rest of the lineup and bench shapes out. Big acquisitions of proven players is a great way to build excitement and provide some veteran leadership and spark, but the Reds shouldn’t waste the young talent they still have. Though some guys have fizzled our (like Peraza) and others made great trade pieces, I still think there’s a contributing spot on the team for guys like Josh VanMeter, Phil Ervin, and Alex Blandino. And how soon we will see recent 40-man roster adds like first round draft pick Tyler Stephenson and Jose Siri make appearances for the big club. And of course, that’s before you even consider what the Reds have cooking with the pitching staff. We’ll save that discussion for another day.

No matter what direction the Reds go, it’s pretty safe to say they aren’t done. It’ll be fun to see how everything shakes out. The stove is hot, and the Reds are cooking. Trades are one thing, but our Redlegs becoming major players in the offseason free agent market? Wild. After a disappointing last year given all the moves the Reds made last season, it seems like the front office is really ready to go all in and bringing winning baseball back to Cincinnati, Ohio. And I can’t fucking wait.

Keep following us @ATBBTTR on Twitter and Instagram and make sure to subscribe to the podcast Reds Country Radio anywhere you listen to your podcasts – I think it’s time Rob, Steve and I end our little offseason hiatus and get back behind the mic pretty soon to catch up on all the moves so far this offseason. Go Reds!

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