AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
The Cincinnati Reds are reportedly open to trading starting pitcher Sonny Gray but are keeping Tyler Mahle and Luis Castillo off the market.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reported Mahle and Castillo are “off limits” this winter.
Gray’s no stranger to the trade block, with rumors swirling around him over the last two seasons. He posted a 7-9 record with a 4.19 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in a disappointing 2021 campaign but remains a name that will generate significant trade buzz.
The Reds owe Gray $10.2 million in base salary for 2022 and have a club option for $12 million in 2023, a number they will almost certainly accept given how vastly Gray has outperformed his deal. Any team that trades for Gray is getting a top-of-the-rotation arm for $22.2 million over two years, making him one of the best veteran bargains in baseball.
Cincinnati is coming off a promising 83-79 season and could choose to keep Gray around if it wants to make a playoff push in 2022. The Reds could easily revisit trade talks next winter or in the season if they fall out of contention.
Mahle and Castillo are both under team control for 2022 and 2023 before they can hit free agency. Both right-handers are still in their 20s, while Gray turned 32 earlier this month, so that likely explains why he’s considered the most expendable of the trio.
It would be a surprise if the Reds didn’t broach the topic of new contracts for Mahle and Castillo this offseason.