The Cincinnati Reds and catcher Curt Casali have avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year contract for the 2019 season. Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer was the first to report this.

The deal is worth $950,000. That’s a decent discount from what MLB Trade Rumors was projecting, which was $1.3M. Serving as the backup catcher to Tucker Barnhart, Casali play in 52 games for the Reds in 2018. He hit quite well in his limited action. Over his 156 plate appearances he hit .293/.355/.450. He threw out five of twenty-five attempted baserunners during the season (20%). That season was good enough for 0.9 WAR (both Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs versions), if you’re into that sort of thing.

This was the first year he was eligible for arbitration. He qualified as a Super 2 player, meaning that he will actually have four years of arbitration instead of the usual three. Curt Casali and the Reds may have to go down this road again three more times unless the two sides agree to a longer term deal. He will not be a free agent until after the 2022 season.

Reds, Yankees continue to discuss Sonny Gray

The Yankees and Reds are continuing to talk about a move that would bring right-handed pitcher Sonny Gray to Cincinnati. The Yankees, according to Jon Heyman, are interested in pitching prospects Tony Santillan, Vladimir Gutierrez, and Keury Mella.

As the resident “prospect guy”, let me note that Tony Santillan is not in the same category as Vladimir Gutierrez, who isn’t in the same category as Keury Mella. In my most recent prospect rankings, Tony Santillan was the Reds #4 prospect (full scouting report here), while Vladimir Gutierrez was #9 (full scouting report here), and Keury Mella was ranked as the #16 prospect (full scouting report here).

A trade for Sonny Gray for Tony Santillan would be a very, very tough pull to swallow. One year of Sonny Gray should not be worth a Top 100 prospect (Baseball America’s most recent update). You can make the argument that either of the other two guys could make sense for the Reds. But the Reds should simply say no on including Tony Santillan in a trade for a guy who is only around for one guaranteed season.

7 Responses

  1. Matt Hendley

    Kelly mella for gray…i can definitely live with that. Let us all recognize the backup catcher of the future, if there is such a thing.

    • Jreis

      I’d be ok with Melli and Gutierrez for Gray would be fine

      • earmbrister

        I wouldn’t include Gutierrez or Santillan in any trade for Gray. Mella period.

        Sign Keuchel and be done improving the pitching this year.

  2. CFD3000

    This is good news about Casali, though he’ll be around regardless. But he was a nice pickup and a good insurance policy at catcher.

    As for Gray, (Sonny, not Doug), if Mella and another lower prospect brings him into the Reds fold, great. But I agree that Santillan is a hard no. There’s still quite a bit of room in the Reds stated salary limit. Keuchel would indeed be a strong addition, and unlike Wood and Roark, would be around for 2020 and beyond. With or without Keuchel I think the Reds need to be talking extension with Alex Wood from the start and let him know they want him long term. But first things first – Sonny Gray if he’s a bargain, otherwise no, and Keuchel for cash please.

  3. Steve Mancuso

    The Reds still have arbitration process pending with Yasiel Puig, Scooter Gennett, Tanner Roark, Alex Wood, Jose Peraza and Michael Lorenzen. The estimated total for those players is around $47 million.

    Brings total payroll commitment, net Dodger Dough, to $116 million.

    Long way to go.

  4. LWBlogger2

    If the Yanks asked for Santillan for Gray, I’d have to bust out the “BZZZZZZZZZZ! Wrong answer. Try again.” response if I were the Reds GM.

    I don’t think I’d do Gutierrez either. Mella I’d move for him as I think he’s probably a bullpen guy if he really sticks at all. I may add in another non-prospect guy for Gray but that’s as high as I’d go. I really don’t think Gray has a significant chance of being significantly better than our young options.