Hunter Greene and the Cincinnati Reds are in agreement on a new 6-year contract worth at least $53,000,000. Jeff Passan of ESPN reported the news later this afternoon.
The deal starts in 2023 and will run through 2028. There is also a $21,000,000 option for the 2029 season that has a $2,000,000 buyout. The extension for Greene is rare for how young he is. Greene is just 23-years-old.
C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic reports that the deal could be worth as much as $91,200,000. There are escalators in the deal that could really move upwards the money towards the end of the contract.
Jeff Passan noted in his report that only Felix Hernandez and Spencer Strider signed extensions at an earlier age than Greene. The deal could potentially buy out two years of free agency for Greene. That is similar to what the organization did when they signed Johnny Cueto to an extension early on in his career and bought out his first year of free agency, though Cueto had already pitched three full seasons in the big leagues when he signed his deal with the club.
While Cincinnati most certainly has players on their roster who will be on the team in 2024, Hunter Greene is the only player in the organization that the team owes money to beyond the 2023 season. Everyone else is someone who could, in theory at least, be released and owed nothing moving forward.
Cincinnati selected Greene with the #2 overall pick in the 2017 Major League Baseball draft. At the time he received the largest signing bonus in the draft’s history since it moved to a slot system. It would not be until 2022 that Greene would reach the big leagues, missing time in the minor leagues after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Since making his debut, Greene has made 28 starts for the Reds and posted a 4.42 ERA while striking out 188 batters in 142.2 innings pitched, giving up 124 hits, and walking 54 batters.
He, along with Nick Lodolo and Graham Ashcraft are viewed as the future of the rotation for the Reds. They are part of the “rebuild” that has shown up a little earlier than some of their positional player counterparts – though Tyler Stephenson and Jonathan India did arrive a little sooner than the big three pitchers. It’s Cincinnati farm system that many are waiting on to provide several more players to step in to help get the organization out of the basement.