One of the highlights of this last season was how much the Reds cut spending. General Manager Nick Krall’s November quote about “aligning our payroll with our resources” has been repeated as Cincinnati has separated from notable players like Sony GrayAnd Valley Miley And Jesse Winker In the money-saving moves with almost no effort to keep the free agent Nick Castellanos.
The Reds reinvested some of the money saved into modest one-year deals with free agents Tommy FamAnd Donovan SolanoAnd Hunter StricklandAnd Colin Moranin addition to incurring more than $7 million in payroll expenses in prince garrett–Mike Minor Swap with the royal family. Those moves present, along with the Cincinnati farm system that has seen its stock soar over recent years, were factored in in a March edict from Reds President and COO Phil Castellini to the masses with “You have little faith in what we do with your team of Cincinnati Reds.“
Fans weren’t too happy about Castellini’s comments, as the unit on paper will come out in 2022 that has far less star power than the 2021 team. The team also entered the new season with payrolls $9 million lighter than the previous year (according to Cot baseball contracts) . With so many young bowlers making their way to the team’s roster at extremely affordable prices, an argument could be made to keep at least one of the team’s departing stars.
Early on Tuesday, Phil Castellini joined WLW 700’s Scott Sloan and Mo Egger and was asked why fans should maintain faith in the Reds’ leadership. Castellini responded to this question as well as calls from some fans to sell the team:
“Okay, where are you going? Let’s start there. You mean selling the team to whom? That’s the other thing — do you want that discussion? If you want to look at what you’re going to do with this team to make it more profitable, make more money, compete more in the system.” The current economy this game is in – you will have to pick it up and move it somewhere else. So be careful what you order […] We are doing our best using the resources we have.”
It is strange to see a royal figure take such a defensive stance towards criticism and threaten all fans, especially on opening day when the Reds sold more than 43,000 tickets. (Wednesday attendance, for every Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer, it was 10976 – although the weather certainly affected that total).
Castellini’s comments also come on the heels of a second consecutive season punctuated by deals more geared toward lowering salaries rather than improving the product in the field. Demanding patience from Reds fans is particularly brazen given that the team’s recent rebuilding efforts are still fresh in the fans’ minds. The Reds, from 2015 to 2016, replaced the likes of Aroldis ChapmanAnd Todd FraserAnd Johnny Quito And Mike Lake – The vast majority of those trades come in generally empty.
What followed was a streak of three consecutive Finals finishing last in the National Central League from 2016 to 2018, followed by fourth place in 2019. The Reds averaged $95 million during that streak from last place, where they ranked 25th, 25th And 22 on the payroll all the way. Cincinnati came out of that rebuilding/retooling process and spent big on signing in the 2019-20 season Mike MustafaAnd Nick CastellanosAnd Shoujo Akiyama And Valley Miley. The stage looked set for the Reds, buoyed by strong rotation and a host of impressive breakers, to return to their now drawn-out winning mentality.
Instead, the Reds went 31-29 during the pandemic-cutting 2020 season, drifted into the post-season without scoring a run, and immediately began taking another step back. Rizel Iglesias Traded with the Angels in a net salary dump, the Reds didn’t bid on two major acquisitions on the trade deadline: Archie Bradley And Brian Goodwin. Krall talked about reallocating these resources to other areas of need. Months later, on opening day, Sean Doolittle He proved to be the Reds’ only major league contract – at one year and $1.5 million. The 2021-22 season later kicked off with the aforementioned “aligning payroll with resources” comments from Krall that preceded a further payroll cut.
Despite this frustrating sequence, Castellini More preaching The patience and loyalty of fans all day yesterday drew comparisons to the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals who surprisingly emerged from a string of losing seasons en route to a Super Bowl appearance (and ignited their fan base) two months ago. Regarding the team’s payroll, Castellini also added that “It’s still far more than the revenue we make to achieve. […] Over the past 16 years [we’ve] We invested in excess of market size each year.“
The comments caused an uproar among Reds fans who have not seen their team win a playoff series since 1995, and Castellini has since managed. Walk them back. It also comes along with comments from Castellanos to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, criticizing the Reds’ ownership for “choking on” baseball in “a great city like Cincinnati”. Castellanos made those comments for a clip that was shown before Castellini made his comments on Tuesday, but while it’s not a direct reaction, the timing nonetheless is flawless.
Besides angering the fan base, the club president’s comments are likely to shed some light on the team’s plans going forward. If the team is already running a stalemate while in Cincinnati, payroll isn’t likely to go up much anytime soon. Of course, there is no way to validate Castellini’s claims, as teams choose not to open their books to the public. But it’s worth noting that following MLB’s off-season broadcast agreements with Apple and Peacock, each club is now set to receive approximately $65 million in national television/streaming revenue alone. This does not take into account portal revenue, local broadcast deals, and a myriad of other revenue sources for league clubs.
Perhaps in an additional nod to the organization’s future direction, Castellini revisited the club’s “Big Red Machine” name days in the 1970s, noting that the best way to emulate that successful era of Reds baseball was to invest in team talent and grow from within. The focus on internal development is certainly a practical approach, but it is sure to raise skepticism from the fan base in the context of the Reds cutting back on payroll at a time when they have already graduated a large number of young talent for disciplines. Cincinnati only has $44.5 million on the books in 2023 and doesn’t have any guaranteed contracts for the 2024 season.