4:29 pm: The Jays also had interest in Gray and Castillo before the lockout, tweets Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. That’s hardly a surprise, given that all three Cincinnati arms figure to draw plenty of attention from rival clubs whenever the transactions freeze ends.
12:51 pm: The Blue Jays had Tyler Mahle on their radar as a trade target before the lockout, as TSN’s Scott Mitchell hears from a source that the Jays “were very interested” in the Reds right-hander. The exact timing of the Jays’ interest isn’t specified, or whether or not the club may have moved on from big-ticket pitching acquisitions after signing Kevin Gausman.
Cincinnati GM Nick Krall began the offseason with a quick trade of catcher Tucker Barnhart to the Tigers, and followed that deal up with his now somewhat infamous statement that the Reds “must align our payroll to our resources and continue focusing on scouting and developing young talent from within our system.” Wade Miley (who had a $10MM club option for 2022) was then placed on waivers and claimed by the Cubs, thus sparking even more speculation about just how much payroll the Reds were looking to shed.
As such, players like Mahle, Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, and many other veteran Reds players were immediately seen as trade candidates, even though Cincinnati didn’t make any other overt cost-cutting transactions before the lockout hit. As MLBTR’s Anthony Franco speculated last month, it could be that between the Barnhart/Miley moves and Nick Castellanos’ likely free agent departure, the Reds might have already gotten their finances in order. On top of that, the Reds were reportedly open to discussing Gray in trade talks but not either Mahle or Castillo.
This isn’t to say that the Reds wouldn’t at least listen if Toronto or another team came calling with a big offer, and if the Reds still had designs on contending in 2022, the Blue Jays could offer some combination of both young talent and big league-ready pieces. Cincinnati would likely only accept such a significant trade package for Mahle given that he is both controlled through the 2023 season and coming off the strongest of his five years in the majors.
The 27-year-old righty has been both durable (227 2/3 innings) and effective since the start of the 2020 season, posting a 3.72 ERA and a 28.3% strikeout rate, though Mahle’s 8.9% walk rate was below the league average. Mahle did have strong fastball spin rates in both seasons, and 2021 saw Mahle post far and away the best hard-hit ball rate of his career.
Mahle seems overqualified for a fourth or fifth starter role, yet that might be where he lines up in a Toronto rotation that also consists of Gausman, Jose Berrios, Hyun Jin Ryu, and Alek Manoah. Ross Stripling is penciled in as the fifth starter for the moment, though as Mitchell notes, Stripling “profiles better as a swingman and spot starter” than as a regular rotation member. Top prospect Nate Pearson is likely going to be on an innings limit after two injury-plagued seasons, so while a Pearson/Stripling combo isn’t bad on paper, the Jays might prefer to shift both pitchers into depth roles and cement their rotation by adding some sort of veteran starter, perhaps even one as accomplished as Mahle.
While it remains to be seen if Cincinnati will ultimately deal any of its three starters, the fact that all three may be available to some degree gives the Reds some leverage in talks. In that sense, the Jays aren’t only bidding against other teams interested in Mahle, but also against what other teams (like the Dodgers or Angels) might offer the Reds for Castillo and/or Gray. Given how aggressive Toronto GM Ross Atkins has been in searching out pitching options over the last few years, it is probably safe to assume that the Jays have also checked in on obtaining Castillo or Gray, though only the Blue Jays front office knows which Cincinnati starter is their chief target.
Another great Article, Mark- thanks. And I support Rogers Communications!
I absolutely agree. very good article. certainly a reasonable analysis
Mahle is a good pitcher and that would add great quality depth to the BlueJays rotation. But they can’t ride this guy through the playoffs though. For that the Jays need a Alpha Dog front of the roation start that they need to acquire,
And they need a real 3B that can rake.
Sell the farm and go for it.
I could see a Kris Bryant acquisition. Seems like there could be a fit for both there.
As long as Rogers Communications is willing to accept the fact that Bryant will likely average around 3 WAR per year of actual production for the next 3 years. God Bless.
As a Jays fan, no thx unless a very favourable contract which I dont see happening
I couldn’t agree more. The Jays have a good team and a couple more additions would make them great. Do what it takes to get it done.
The Reds would prefer to move Gray. But, they could trade Mahle and Moose or Suarez for a couple of solid minor leaguers. This allows the Reds to move one of their youngsters to a SP spot, move Senzel to 3B and shed some money.
Taking Moustakes would significantly decrease Mahle’s value.
2 years left before becoming a FA
No guarantee of a draft pick compensation when he hits the market under the new CBA
Id offer Gunnar Hoglund, Otto Lopez, and Samad Taylor
I say buyer beware on Mahle. His raw stuff is very good, but his shaky control scares me. He will never be a guy who pitches deep into games because he requires too many pitches to get through an inning. He also pitches from behind in the count more than I’d like. He may have had good luck last year limiting hard contact in the NL Central, but try to get through an AL East lineup down 3-1 to every hitter. The numbers will look different. Maybe another team or just another year of experience will make a difference, but I see Tyler Chatwood when I look at Mahle.
Sounds like the exact same criticism that Robbie Ray received before he joined the Jays.
Very true. I hope it works out the same way. Maybe the Jays have the magic.
But you’re right. It could just as easily be a Chatwood. If the prospect cost isn’t too crazy, might be a worthy gamble.
Pete walker just got wood.
Blue Jays might be able to surpress prospect cost by agreeing to take Moustakas and all of his remaining contract in a deal. The Blue Jays need a 3B and a LH bat, the Reds could probably still get a couple of decent prospects and salary relief.
OR what about taking on Votto and his contract.
He has 3 years 70 mil remaining, will line up nicely to Vlad’s extension.
It’s steep for a DH but it would drastically reduce the prospect cost for Mahle and let’s face it that would be so much fun.
Votto has a full no-trade clause and has stated numerous times he won’t waive it. Probably not even to go play at home.
Have you ever heard a player say they would waive their no trade clause ever?
(Outside old vets chasing a ring on bad teams)
Votto would take a significant paycut if he were to waive no trade clause due to Canadian taxes. At this point in his career I’d think even if he wanted to play for a contender he would also b looking to maximize earnings in limited time he has left. Plenty of contenders in more tax friendly locations.
Depends on what you consider significant. Taxes are payed where the games are played so 81 games would be subject to Ontario tax. Factor in the difference between federal and provincial/state tax rates Votto would pay 7-800k more per year. Is 2.4 million that much to a guy with Votto’s career earnings and a chance at a ring, to play in Canada. He’d make that up in endorsements +++ .
“Paid” teaches me to proof-read when posting at 5 am lol. .
Votto? Really, I think I’d rather go the prospect route or cash instead of another DH type
Good call Rsox. That is what I recommended earlier in the comments. The Reds would prefer to move Gray but, Mahle would be acceptable to them and moving on from Moose would be a salary blessing for them as well. As long as it doesn’t cost the Reds top level prospects, the trade would make since.
Castellini needs to learn from. Mike Brown and spend money on the team to succeed. He’s being greedy! All owners should be made to reveal their financial report.
Can’t go into the season with Stripling as the 5th starter.
Agreed. Ryu needs to be your 5th and Stripling is long man and depth
I agree that stripling should be on the bullpen to eat lots of innings but Ryu ain’t no 5th starter lol. He had a bad year but he can def rebound
can’t count in Ryu rebounding at his age.
Just just need to hope he can be decent enough next year.
He should pitch every 6th day
Pitches better with more time off
Can’t really expect to win a championship with Stripling on the team.lol.
Stripling is such an albatross that his teams made the playoffs his first 5 seasons of MLB and missed by 1 game in the 6th.
Lesser known, Mahle 2021 ERA:
Toronto and San Diego both seem to have a decent prospect pool to draw from.The Reds may want a major league ready center fielder in return. I would like to see Ryan Weathers included in a package with San Diego.
Unfortunately the Padres are looking for a LF, not starters.
Reds new GM has no idea what he saying and doing
Perfect lets take advantage of that!
He’d be costly prospect wise. Still has two full years of control, only 27, led the NL in starts, had a nearly 5 WAR season, a 130+ ERA+ over the last two seasons. Someone like Pearson would have be included, plus additional players.
Mahle would be the number 3 starter behind Gausman and Berrios. Ryu would be 4 and Manoah would be 5. Alek is still on an innings limit building up and a few skipped starts out of the 5 spot is pretty much the ideal situation to have him available for the playoffs. Maybe Ryu is 3 and Mahle 4 just to give Ryu some confidence going into the season but on paper he has a lot to prove this year to become a playoff caliber starter.
I see this move for the Jays as an ideal situation where they’re situated nicely to take on Moustakes or Suarez as a way to reduce prospect capital to acquire Mahle. I think someone like Pearson (or maybe Hoglund) in that situation who is now a bit of a wild card makes sense where as without attaching one of their big third base contracts they would want to unload you’re looking at much more.
Suarez is at a better price than Grichuk, and has put up better numbers. He’s cheap. You will have to give up something for him, not be getting a discount for taking his contract off Cinci’s hands. Cinci’s best chance for making up the loss of Castellanos is A rebound from Suarez. There is no reason for them to reduce the ask on Mahle.
I agree. I should have looked before posting this one. For some reason I thought Suarez was in the 15-20mil range annually which would put him in the negative value zone with the year he just had. He has a great contract with the potential to bounce back. It’s definitely going to be Moustakes as the piece to bring down the prospect capital enough to make Mahle worth while. All depends on how desperate Cincinnati is to dump his contract.
And wow just looking at the Moustakes contract online that is so bad the Jays could look for a bounce back but still get Mahle at a very reduced rate. Might only take fringe prospects if the Reds are desperate to offload payroll. Why not be a vulture if you’re the Jays when Moustakes at third at the moment is a major upgrade and you have the money to spend.
As a long-time Jays fan I hope the Jays organization reads this article and accompanying thread. I love some of the creative trade ideas mentioned in this thread. There are some real good possibilities here.
If I’m the Reds, I just say no when it comes to Mahle and tell teams to focus on Castillo and Gray. Either of them could still package with Moustakas for salary relief or a bad salary swap aka .
Grichuk/Josh Palacios/Kevin Smith
Couldn’t agree more..
I think Grichuk and prospects for Sonny Gray and Mike Moustakas makes a lot of sense for both sides. Obviously would just depend on who those prospects were.
I like that better than Miley. Look, Gray us an outstanding pitcher since he came to the Nati…
It’s true. If anything Gray has been underrated since joining the Reds. His numbers since joining them are impressive, and he hasn’t shown any signs of decline yet really.
Meant Mahle… sorry