Photo: Redleg Nation Staff
Just before Christmas the Cincinnati Reds designated infielder Mike Moustakas for assignment in order to clear a 40-man roster spot needed after signing catcher Curt Casali. There was next to no chance that anyone would claim him and take on his remaining salary, but as these things go there is a process that has to be followed. Today Moustakas cleared waivers and was officially released by the organization.
Cincinnati will still owe him his salary that was due this year, and if he signs a free agent deal with another team it doesn’t change that – the other team will also just be paying him an additional salary. The Reds will pay Moustakas $22,000,000 in 2023 – $18,000,000 for the season and then a $4,000,000 buyout for not picking up his 2024 option year.
Moustakas, who signed what was (and remains) the largest free agent deal in the history of the franchise at $64,000,000, never really got going in Cincinnati. After hitting 35 home runs and being an All-Star in 2019 with the Milwaukee Brewers, Moustakas hit just 21 home runs in 184 games for the Reds while posting a .683 OPS. Staying healthy was an issue for the infielder, who missed more than half of the season in 2021 and only played in 78 games in 2022.
The Cincinnati Reds don’t have any player under contractual obligation beyond the 2023 season. Joey Votto has an option for the 2024 season at $20,000,000 or the team can buy him out and pay him $7,000,000 to not play for them. Everyone else on the 40-man roster is either under a 1-year contract for 2023 or is still pre-free agency. That gives Cincinnati tons of wiggle room on what they want to do moving forward, but also means that there’s probably tons of work that remains if the team is going to go from 62 wins to the playoffs at some time in the future.