The Cincinnati Reds have reportedly checked with the Arizona Diamondbacks on the availability of pitcher Zack Greinke. Jon Morosi of MLB Network was the first to have this report.

This is just another rumor out there that suggests the Cincinnati Reds are acting like a team that is actually trying to improve their team for 2019. A team that is no longer content on waiting around and seeing what happens from within, but trying to add talent from the outside. And it seems that the rumors we keep seeing are ones in which the organization is shooting for the moon, too.

Zack Greinke is coming off of back-to-back seasons of 200+ innings pitched and ERA’s of 3.20 and 3.21. He’s lost some fastball velocity over the past few years, but he’s kept up a high strikeout rate despite that. Where things would get tough with acquiring Zack Greinke is figuring out the salary. He’s owed $34.5M in 2019, and then $35M in each of 2020 and 2021 before he would become a free agent. That’s a whole lot of money for one player on any team. On the Reds it would be 35% of what their 2018 payroll was. Now, the payroll is reportedly going up, but still – it would be a huge percentage of the team spending.

Assuming he would remain somewhat healthy, and productive to the expectation, Zack Greinke would absolutely improve the Reds pitching staff. Even if he were to take a step back over the next few years, he would still project as an above-average pitcher. The question is would it be worth the salary, and what you’d have to give up in order to acquire him. The bigger the amount of salary the Reds would pay, the smaller the prospect package that the team would have to send to Arizona. But if the Reds want the Diamondbacks to pay some of the salary, and they absolutely will have to, then it’s going to cost them some actual prospect value in return.

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46 Responses

  1. Brad

    Following scenario’s what would the prospect package be:

    Reds take on all salary

    Reds have Dbacks bay 5m per year

  2. Boiler

    Greinke, 10-15 M, plus top 5 prospect for Homer and a top 15-20 prospect

    • MK

      So Arizona is going to take on $58 million, give up a top prospect, a number one pitcher for a marginal prospect and a bad armed 1-game winner for 2 years. Think Arizona would be looking for a new GM after that one.

      • AirborneJayJay

        If only Dave Stewart was still the Dbacks GM and Tony LaRussa was leading the front office.

      • Colorado Red

        Do not think they would do it.
        They might pay the 10 mil per year,and no prospects or Homer.

      • Boiler

        How did you come up with 58. Homer has 23 plus 5 million buyout plus the throw in 10-15.

  3. Norwood Nate

    I think there’s an avenue to explore here. If the Reds can get Grienke’s salary down to $25m/season (29.5 million total paid by AZ) I think it’s doable. Then the Reds trade Hamilton, largely to move the salary commitment, then sign a Gonzalez, Holland, even Harvey type with the remaining $11m. ($30m budget increase + $6m in Hamilton savings makes the math work).

    Senzel takes over in CF. The rotation is Greinke, Castillo, mid-tier FA, Disco and Mahle/Reed/Stephenson.
    The Reds keep their top tier prospects.

  4. Stock

    If the Reds could pull off the following they may well be favorites to make the 2019 playoffs.

    1. Trade

    To Indians: Homer Bailey, Billy Hamilton, Scott Schebler, Wil Myers, Taylor Trammell, $15 million

    To Padres: Suarez, Stuart Fairchild, Shed Long, Robert Stephenson

    To Reds: Carlos Carrasco, Franmil Reyes, Manuel Margot

    2. Free Agents

    Happ, Ottavino and Andrew Miller.

    The Reds come in under budget or at budget if they need to overpay for FA.

    Huge upgrade in SP with the additions of Happ and Carrasco
    Huge upgrade in RP with the additions of Ottavino and Miller
    Huge upgrade in the OF with the additions of Reyes and Margot
    Hit at 3B with Senzel for Suarez.

    Best SP in the NL Central. Best RP in the NL. Very good offense.

    Not sure Indians would take Bailey but if not then we are on budget. Also maybe go from Trammell to India if they don’t take Bailey.

    • Colt Holt

      That trade is confusing, but to be giving up Suarez and Trammell, that return is not even close to enough. That return wouldn’t be enough for Suarez alone, not to mention the other 7 guys in the trade. Bailey has negative value, but certainly not enough to give away those six players to give him up.

      • Stock

        Actually, if someone says no it is the Padres. Suarez is in a great contract for the Reds. They have him for 7 years and $65 million. Fantastic Contract but…

        1. They get Franmil Reyes and Carlos Carrasco for 8 years at less than $65 million. Reyes hit 8 HR and had an OPS of .877 in 45 games his rookie year. Suarez hit 15 HR and had an OPS of .884 in 70 games on the road. Basically the same offensive output. But Reyes is 23 and should be better in 6 years. Suarez is 27 and production should be at his peak now with production going down over the next 7 years. Over the next 7 years Reyes will be cheaper than Suarez. Suarez is more of a sure thing but I think Reyes will be better over the next 7 years

        2. The Reds get Manual Margot for the next 4 years. He is not a great addition but an upgrade in CF. He is also cheap right now.

        3. Assume the Indians don’t want Bailey and take India instead of Trammell. I would not hesitate to take 2 years of Carrasco for $20 million and a 1st round draft pick in 2021 for India.

        4. This is overlooked often but Doug made a great point last summer. Senzel has much more value to the Reds if he plays the IF. Why take the risk of Senzel running into a wall? Let him play 3B. Defensively it would be an upgrade. Offensively, a downgrade but not that much.

        The Reds would be without a doubt better the next 2 years if they make this trade. Carrasco is such a huge upgrade.

        Four years from now I see Reyes as more valuable than Suarez and I don’t see a spot of India. Maybe you can move Senzel to 2B if Gennett does not sign an extension. But Jeter Downs may move by India and lock down 2B. You without a doubt do not avoid this trade because of India (or Trammell if the Indians take Bailey).

      • Colt Holt

        Our opinions of Suarez and Reyes are clearly not even in the same realm of conversation. Suarez is what you hope a top prospect might become…and still controlled for 7 years. I am not sure there are more than a handful of guys I would trade Suarez for straight up. Jose Ramirez, Acuna, Soto, Judge maybe. That might be it.

        If I were trading Suarez to the Padres, Reyes might be a third piece. Tatis and Gore would have to be involved (not or…and).

      • Colorado Red

        It is an interesting trade, but I think the Reds say no.
        Agree with you

      • Stock


        I agree 100% that Suarez > Reyes. But that wasn’t my proposal in it’s entirety. Carrasco is a pretty important piece here.

        Carrasco (2019 + 2020) > Suarez (2019 + 2020). Carrasco’s WAR the last 2 years have been 5.5 and 5.3. Suarez has been 3.9 and 3.9.

        Assume Carrasco performs over the next 2 years as he has the last two years. That gives him a WAR of 10.8 with the Reds. Assume Suarez abilities do not decline with age and he has a 4.0 WAR for the next 7 years. That means Reyes needs to average a war of 2.4 to make this trade break even when looking at just these 3 players. In half a season this year (at age 22) Reyes had a 1.2 WAR. Assuming he remains the same player the next 6 years the Reds break even here (I think he will be much better than he was in his half season but will explain later).

        If you look at this the deal is a push. But then there are other reasons that tip the deal in the Reds favor.

        1. Senzel plays 3B instead of CF.
        2. The Reds get Manual Margot
        3. The Reds get the ace they so desparately need.
        4. FA (Happ, Ottavino and Miller) suddenly consider the Reds.
        5. Reyes is a much better player than a 2.4 WAR per year player.

  5. Kap

    If not Greinke then why not Robbie Ray? Cheaper, although he only has 2 years left

    • Bill

      I think this is also a good place to start, but would want a significant prospect like Gimenez coming back to the Reds. With Thor’s injury history I think he and Suarez are roughly equal for the next 3 years in terms of value (contract/WAR). It’s the next 4 years of Suarez that would warrant another piece to make this work for the Reds. I’m not sure the Mets would be up for that, but their top prospect, Gimenez, would be a good fit for the Reds and is potentially blocked Rosario in the majors.

  6. AirborneJayJay

    The money due him is problematic.
    One thing to consider with Greinke, he is one of the best hitting starting pitchers in baseball. Much, much better than Mike Leake. Use Greinke and Lorenzen to supplement the pinch hitting. This would allow the Reds to gain more value in what is due Greinke. This also would allow the Reds to have a 4 man bench and an 8 man bullpen. Syndergaard is about in the middle hitting-wise between Greinke and Leake.

    • barry

      I don’t believe it would be wise to use a 30 mil pitcher to pinch hit. Blow a hammy running to first and then miss pitching turns.

  7. scottya

    To make a Grienke trade worth doing we must get his per av down to 20 ish: I don’t believe he is worth 25 million/ year. Fastball (down to 90.0), slider, sinker velocity is in decline and fangraphs projected era (3.84 reflects that).

    104.5 – Bailey 28 – D. Hernandez 2.5 – Billy Hamilton 6 – cash (8 million) = 60 million. One possible example.

    I’d much prefer 4 years 80 million for D. Keuchal.

    If we get either, we must go ahead and add significant others:

    1. Noah Syndergaard 3.59
    2. Dallas Keuchal 3.69
    3. Luis Castillo 3.98
    4. Anthony Desclafani 4.31
    5. ??? Bullpenning Reed, Romano, Lorenzen

    This would put us in the win range to be in the playoffs.

  8. CP

    Love to hear that they are going after top of the market arms. My only concern is a Greinke trade potentially hurts the Reds in the prospect and budget front both. Plus he is on the decline, although he has manage to minimize that decline so far.

    I like the effort, but not sure this one is the best match. Really just depends on the deal in the end. How desperate is Arizona to get him off their books? How much of Grienke’s contract would they be willing to eat? How much would they want in return to pay some of his contract?

    If we could keep Grienke’s budget his to around $25 mil a year and give up say Shed Long, Freidl, and Marinan…? We would be dealing from depth on all three of those players and get the salary relief we need to afford Grienke the next 3 years. Thoughts?

    • Colorado Red

      Probably would not cost a lot in prospects if we can keep it in the 25 mil range per. Might cost more prospects to get it down to 20.

  9. Nep O'Tism

    1. Throw enough trade pieces in for the Diamondbacks to eat a good chunk of salary on Greinke.

    2. Sign Kuechel.

    3. Sign Gonzalez.

    4. Start Senzel in CF.

    5. Aim for back-to-back WS wins with a Grinke/Keuchel/Gonzalez/Castillo/DeScalfani rotation which would be worth anything it does to the payroll/farm.

    • Colorado Red

      Do not think the Reds can afford both with Kuechel (20 mil per year) and Greinke (25 mil, if AZ eats 10).

      • Nep O'Tism

        Colorado, they CAN afford it, they choose not to afford it:

        In 2013, they spent $104m on payroll and the league average was $111m.

        In 2018, they spent $100m on payroll and the league average was $139m.

        In between that time, they got a new TV deal, FOX is throwing money at MLB, they got $50m+ from their share of a sale MLB did, presumably the amount of money they got from revenue sharing increased, and the team became worth over a billion dollars.

        Even the Pirates, who were tanking and are a low salary team, had their payroll rise $20m from 2013 to 2018. While Reds payroll shrank $4m.

    • Stock

      I am not sure if you put your rotation in the 1-5 order but Gio should not be signed by a team hoping to make the playoffs. I would much rather have Cody Reed over Gio

      Swing K %: Cody Reed 10.4% Gio 9.5%
      K/9: Reed 8.79, Gio 7.79
      BB/9: Reed 3.14, Gio 4.21
      K-BB%: Reed 14.4%, Gio 9.1%
      GB%: Reed 61.4%, Gio 45.3%
      Hard hit %: Reed 34.1%, Gio 31.7%
      F-Strike%: Reed 58%, Gio 53.8%
      ERA/FIP: Reed 3.98/3.91, Gio 4.21/4.16
      SIERA: Reed 3.56, Gio 4.73
      FIP/xFIP: Reed 3.91/3.51, Gio 4.16/4.44

      Reed is younger and will improve. Gio has no where to go but down. Gio pitched in a pitchers park. Reed in a hitters park. Reed is cheap and doesn’t cost the Reds a draft pick.

      You can argue that Gio’s history says he is a safer bet. But I say his age argues just the opposite. His FB in his prime was 94 MPH. Over the next 3 years he will be lucky to average 90.

      Someone will screw up and sign Gio. The Phillies signed Arrieta last winter even though the underlying stats said run. How is that signing looking now? The Cubs ignored Chatwood’s 6.8% K-BB% and 4.69 BB/9 and signed him to a big contract. How is that signing looking now? Some team will ignore Gio’s underlying stats and sign him. I just hope it isn’t the Reds.

      • Nep O'Tism

        You forgot to mention with all of Reeds numbers that all of his good pitching came while he was a reliever. He is a terrible starter.

        6.89 ERA as a starter.
        1.98 ERA as a reliever.

        1.753 WHIP as a starter.
        1.244 WHIP as a reliever.

        2.00 HR/9 as a starter.
        0.66 HR/9 as a reliever.

        You’re using a 43 inning year where 11.2 of them were as a relief pitcher as a way to argue against a guy who threw 200 innings and was 6th in Cy Young voting in 2017 having a down 2018 on a lifeless Nationals team and was STILL league average with a 100 OPS+ and threw 171 innings, or the 24th most in the NL.

        A league average pitcher (or better) who I can count on for 170+ innings sounds like an amazing #3 or #4 starter.

  10. AllTheHype

    Reds need to STAY AWAY from Greinke. Lost 1.2 mph velocity from 2016-2017. Lost ANOTHER 1.0 mph from 2017-2018. Averaged only 90.0 mph on his fastball last year. See Tim Lincecum, Mat Latos, and many others for how this trend plays out in the end.

  11. Jon

    But if he can block a trade to the Reds then none of this matters. He’s no different than a free agent signing if you have to convince him to come to Cincinnati. Plus you have to give up prospects. That being the case, I would rather have other pitchers especially for the money involved.

  12. Bill

    I think this trade makes sense from the Red’s perspective for a few reasons:

    1. Greinke may be the only way to get some value from Homer Bailey’s contract (I assume Greinke is out of the question unless Bailey goes to the D-backs)
    2. Greinke’s acquisition leads to increased ticket sales which makes his salary burdensome, but doable for the Reds
    3. Likely the only top of the rotation starter that wouldn’t command top tier prospects or major league talent in return because there is no excess value in his contract.

    D-backs may be willing to take on Bailey’s contract as they do no expect to contend this year and moving Greinke gives them lots of flex moving forward. Definitely worth exploring.

  13. SteveO

    Trade Scooter and BHam for some near major league top pitching prospects, start Senzel at 2B and sign Keuchel and Pollock. This should improve the Reds offensively and defensively as well as adding a proven starter. Keuchel, Castillo and Disco are locks and let Johnson work with the others to determine the other 2 starters for the Reds and 5 staters for the Bats. Minus the projected arbitration figures for Scooter and BHam and add the projected salaries of Keuchel and Pollock, plus the $30M additional dollars that ownership has stated that would be added, would leave roughly $10M. The Reds could use that money to add to the bullpen or bench. Or they can simply save the money. The Reds need to win at least 90 games to make the playoffs, so that’s about a 25 game swing in the W-L column. Even if they add 2 starters, to me that would be very difficult. I say add a front line starter for 2019 and another for 2020. We would have additional money to spend once Homer’s contract is off the books as well. Both Keuchel and Pollock sign 4- year contracts and we will have a good 3-4 year window to be very competitive as well as be better setup for the future.

  14. Daytonian

    Jabari Blash anyone? He’s now a FA. Lots of power in the minors. ML hitting has been poor, thus far. Can we get him on a minor league contract?

  15. Greenfield Red

    I see Suarez’ name dropped in trades all the time… including in this thread. In my opinion, he is currently the only non tradeable Red at almost ANY price. Not only is he a budding star who wants to be in Cincinnati, but, he signed a long term contract that while significant in dollars, is already a vast underpay.

    He did that because he wants to be here. It would be a punch in the nose to trade him… and may very well be noted by any future similar situation with another budding young star who wants to be here. Really bad dynamics if he were traded.

    • rgslone

      I certainly understand this sentiment. It almost feels like betrayal to trade Suarez after that contract he agreed to in order to remain a Red. But I think his name gets brought up by baseball savvy posters because they know he may be the only trade piece the Reds have that could snag a highly desirable and controllable TOR-type starter. Maybe Senzel + would do it with the right team (based on their needs). But, I think the choice is trade Suarez or Senzel + (maybe) or forget about adding a controllable TOR-type starter. Whether the Reds should make such a trade is, of course, a different question.

      Basically, I think most everyone would agree with your feelings about Suarez’s value, they’re just making realistic trade proposals. The Reds could bundle together as many decent/average players and B prospects as we want, and I still don’t think that gets any consideration for a controllable TOR starter.

  16. Stock

    Why is Franmil Reyes better than than Suarez? Ignore the cost. Reyes will be much cheaper over the next 6 years but Suarez is cheap also. If Reyes is nearly as expensive that means he will be much better than Suarez.
    Reyes struggled when initially called up this year but he adjusted. This is a very positive sign for future performance. Here is a comparison of Reyes’ 2nd half vs. Suarez for the year (I was going to originally compare Reyes’ 2nd half to Suarez 2nd half but that is not a very close comparison because Suarez was not nearly as good in the 2nd half (for example Suarez had a .785 OPS in the second half)).

    Swing K%: Reyes N/A, Suarez 10.1%
    K%: Reyes 21.7%, Suarez 23.4%
    BB%: Reyes 10%, Suarez 10.6%
    K – BB%: Reyes N/A, Suarez 12.8%
    IFFB%: Reyes 8.8%, Suarez 2.8%
    Hard hit %: Reyes 43.9%, Suarez 48.6
    Soft hit %: Reyes 15.5%, Suarez 8.4%
    OBP: Reyes .383, Suarez .366
    ISO: Reyes .222, Suarez .243
    OPS: Reyes .920, Suarez .892
    Reyes is only beginning. However, Reyes’ 2nd half lined up well vs. Suarez 2018 full season stats. This is in spite of the fact that Reyes plays half his games in an extreme pitchers park and Suarez plays half his games in an extreme hitter’s park. He adjusted to pitching. Will the pitching readjust? I don’t know.

    I am just saying that the Reds with Reyes/Margot/Carrasco is a better team than the Reds with Suarez/Schebler/Stephenson. Moving Senzel from CF to 3B is just an added bonus. You can say there is a noticeable gap between Suarez and Reyes. I disagree. You can not say that Suarez + Stephenson > Reyes + Carrasco. Carrasco >> Suarez. Reyes >>>> Stephenson or whomever the Reds place in their 5th spot. When you consider Carrasco fills a huge whole, this trade allows Senzel to move to the infield, it sends a message to other clubs and saves the club about $10 million over the next 2 years it isn’t close.

  17. Ewell

    This is crazy. They’re just getting fans hopes up by pushing these stories out there. They’ll wind up signing someone that gets cut in the last week of spring training. The whole organization is a joke. If anything, add some top notch lefties to go with Hughes and Hernandez. With this pitching staff, you need a lights out bullpen. Not a stud or 2 and a half ass bullpen. 2 crafty lefties. The bullpen matters if you’re pursuing top notch pitchers.

    • Stock

      This is an interesting statement. The Reds have gone from the team that kept things quiet and then surprised to a team that is telling the world they are pursuing these stars.

      Part of me agrees with you. They throw this out and in February say, “well we tried”. And continue on.

      But part of this tells me if they say they will do this and then don’t they will have to understand the fan base will look even more poorly on the franchise so they have to back up their promise.

      Time will tell but I tend to agree with you. They will do nothing and hope the fan base forgives them or forgets quickly.

  18. DanD

    Looks like the Reds need a new CF. Would love to get Ender Inciarte from the Braves….

  19. Eric

    Someone who has not been mentioned as a trade possibility is Alex Cobb. He has 3 years of control and pitched much better from June 1 until end of year. You would not have to sacrifice premium prospects as Baltimore would be glad to shed salary. Sign Keuchel to 3-63 with a mutual option for 24 million and your rotation is


  20. Wes

    He listed cincy in his contract for a reason. What’s changed that would change his mind to come ? This is a non topic

  21. sixpack2

    Not going to happen. Too much $$$$ and other pitchers out there to cost less and could have the same impact.