One of the more popular teams to connect the Blue Jays with over the offseason was the Cincinnati Reds. Now that they’ve started out just 22-28 and are sitting 4th in the NL Central, I fully expect the rumour mill to bring the two clubs together again this summer.
The same theme applies with the Reds as it has with most of the clubs I’ve already talked about, and it all begins with starting pitching. Despite the fact that he’s had a very rough go of things so far in 2021, the biggest name that will float around will be Luis Castillo.
Assuming the right-hander can get things back on track at some point, he profiles as one of the top-tier starters in the game, and an exciting arm to pair with Ryu at the top of the rotation. However, things don’t look all that enticing over his first 10 starts, as he’s currently carrying a 7.67 ERA and an ugly 1.796 WHIP. He’s been a bit better of late than he was to begin the year, but he’ll be a tough player to determine a value on if the Reds decide to move him. He has two years of arbitration eligibility left after this season, and makes 4.2 million this year. Having said all of that, he’s one arm that I’d be happy to see the Blue Jays gamble on.
Another intriguing option that the Blue Jays have looked at in the past would be Sonny Gray. The 31-year-old started the year on the IL, but has come back and looked pretty good for the Reds so far, posting a 3.40 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP across eight starts. Gray would come with the added bonus of two more years of contract control, as he’s scheduled to make 10 million in 2022 and has a club option for 12 million in 2023 that should be a no-brainer.
If the Blue Jays end up being interesting in an upgrade at third base, the Reds could be a fit for that as well. Eugenio Suarez is someone I’m sure the Reds would love to get off their books, and could be a player that would help bring the cost down for Castillo or Gray if a bigger trade package idea hit the table. Suarez will still make at least 33 million over the next three seasons, but he has been an All-Star as recently as 2018, hit 49 home runs in 2019, and is still just 29 years old.
Another option to help bring the trade cost down could be Mike Moustakas, who still has 34 million and two years guaranteed on his deal after 2021. The 32 year old has struggled a bit this season as well, but he is a 3x All-Star that can play first, second, and third base, and might be a nice solution for the hot corner, especially with a left-handed bat.
Having said all of that, I doubt the Blue Jays are interested in taking on Moustakas or Suarez’s contract’s unless they have to in order to get Gray or Castillo. Even then, it might not be worth it depending on what they plan to do this offseason, or even with other moves this winter. The Reds could be one of the more active teams on the trade market this summer, and depending on how they want to proceed, there could be a match here.