3:29pm: The Reds have now announced the signing of Moran to a one-year, Major League contract. He’s guaranteed $1MM on the deal, tweets Mark Sheldon of MLB.com.
2:10pm: The Reds appear to have agreed to a deal with corner infielder Colin Moran, as C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic tweets that there’s a locker setup for the now-former Pirates infielder in the Reds’ clubhouse.
Moran, 29, was selected by the Marlins with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2013 draft but never played in the big leagues with Miami. Traded to the Astros alongside Jake Marisnick and Competitive Balance draft pick in exchange for Enrique Hernandez and righty Jarred Cosart, Moran got only a pair of brief looks in Houston before being traded to Pittsburgh along with Joe Musgrove as part of the deal that sent Gerrit Cole to the ’Stros.
After a pair of early trades, Moran finally got a long-term look with the Bucs, where he’s spent the past four seasons as a fixture in the lineup. After struggling defensively as Pirates’ primary third baseman from 2018-19, he moved across the diamond to begin logging more reps at first base. Moran’s glove has been better there, but defensive metrics are still fairly bearish on his glove overall.
Through 444 games and 1527 plate appearances with the Pirates, Moran posted a .269/.331/.419 batting line with 44 home runs, 71 doubles and a pair of triples. Moran walked in 8.1% of his plate appearances as a Pirate against a 22.1% strikeout rate. By measure of wRC+ and OPS+, Moran was a league-average hitter in his four years with the Pirates, who non-tendered him this past November rather than pay him a projected arbitration salary in the $4MM range.
While Moran’s glove isn’t going to win any awards and he struggles quite a bit against lefties, he’s a .280/.341/.440 hitter in his career versus right-handed pitching. Cincinnati has lefties Mike Moustakas and Joey Votto at the infield corners, so Moran seems likelier to get in some DH work against right-handed pitching at perhaps serve as the occasional pinch-hitter. At times in the past, Moran has looked as though he might have another gear at the plate; his average exit velocity in 2020 was a hearty 91.9 mph, and he posted excellent barrel and hard-hit rates, per Statcast (13.4% and 43.7%, respectively). Those numbers trended back down toward his career norms in 2021, however.
If the move to a fourth organization — and, more notably, to a much more homer-friendly ballpark — helps Moran take his offensive production to a new level, he could help Cincinnati beyond the 2022 season. With four-plus years of Major League service time, Moran is controlled through the 2023 season via arbitration.
The addition of Moran comes just a day after Cincinnati inked former Giants second baseman Donovan Solano to a one-year deal. The Reds have stripped down what was a competitive roster in 2021 by waiving Wade Miley and trading Sonny Gray, Jesse Winker, Tucker Barnhart and Eugenio Suarez. While the Reds picked up a few prospects, the moves were made not in an effort to rebuild the farm so much as to simply cut payroll. GM Nick Krall opened the offseason by saying the team needed to “align payroll to our resources,” and rather than pursue the maximum possible return on Winker after an All-Star season, he was included in a package deal that was focused on shedding the remaining $35MM on Suarez’s contract.
Krall said yesterday that he’s now focused on adding to the roster, but it appears the Reds will mostly upgrade around the margins after subtracting several key players. Bringing Moran into the mix gives the team a recognizable name, particularly within the NL Central, and adds a competent platoon bat to the bench, but the current Reds roster looks quite a bit weaker than the one that finished the 2021 season at 83-79 and spent much of the season in the Wild Card hunt.
It’ll be fun to see Cincy try and make him a shortstop.
wait…he’s not a 3rd baseman? How can that be?!
I speak the truth
If they gave him more than the veterans minimum it will be too much.
They gave him a million life changing money for us, for mlb players around 25% above minimum.
Curly Was The Smart Stooge
I always wondered if the Reds would get to 3rd base. Your friends are rooting you on.
they don’t even report on, just wait for the media to do it for them.
Shoulda been an A
Mr. replacement level
Moran is perfect for a team that has no aspirations of winning.
A decent pickup for Cincinnati. Since they are rebuilding again.
And there’s their platoon DH.
lol Reds keep leaking signings to the press
Cincinnati’s locker room appears to be the site of hot takes these days. Just setting up lockers and dropping the mic
I remember when the Pirates tried and have Moran essentially fake it being a 2B and LF back in 2019. Only played a few games at each, but it’s pretty evident he’s a 1B/DH through-and-through.
Why on earth does a team with Joey Votto and Mike Moustakas need Colin Moran?
Seems like a bad fit for all.
He’s a good bench piece for them if they can afford to carry a guy who is basically position-less
They need to sneak an extra fielder onto the diamond for when Mike Minor pitches, and Moran fills that need.
Heh, you could add 3 Morans to the field and it won’t help your defense. He’s awful out there.
New DH rule my friend
Votto is 38 and Moustakas hit .208 last year. The NL has the DH now, so the Reds will find him some AB’s. If the Reds only use him against RHP, Moran could still hit 20+ HRs in Great American.
Moran doesn’t make sense for the Reds as a platoon player. Votto and Moustakas also both bat left-handed. Sounds like there’s another Reds salary dump/trade in the works.
It’s just a signing. You don’t sign a replacement level player as a prelude to another plan.
@Cosmo2 – I guess I’d say you don’t sign a replacement level player at all, unless there’s a need to replace something.
Heh. Good point.
Moran wont hit 12 home runs. LOL 20+
At least their team is filled with all clubhouse guys so that after every loss they can have a post-game group-hug.
Red beard to match the uniform. Very fashionable.
This would have made more sense if they didn’t sign Solano yesterday, unless Solano is going to play SS (where he has played 42 times in his career).
Votto will probably benefit from more DH AB’s and Moose wasn’t healthy at all last season so depth can’t hurt. I do wonder though if the Reds would actually carry Moran and Jake Bauers on the roster at the same time (though the Reds OF is pretty thin right now so Bauers could see a lot of time in LF)
The Reds, Pirates, Orioles, Marlins and Athletics should play a round robin. The team that ends up with the worst record becomes the Omaha Dragons.
Oh boy another bargain basement find. That will put butts in the seats.
I wouldn’t mind him fir just 1 mill. Dude has made a career out of hitting against the cubs lol
I was thinking the same thing. I was hoping he was far away from the central.
Reds offseason summary:
We’re short in the bullpen but have a surplus of starting pitching – don’t need Miley and Gray. We need starting pitching – let’s trade Garrett for Minor.
We have too many infielders and not enough outfielders – let’s trade Winker so we can offload Suarez. We don’t have enough infielders – let’s sign Solano and Moran.
Perfect summation, exception you left out: “We’ve got great catching depth, so why not give away half of it.”
Can’t go wrong. A million doesn’t buy much these days. If healthy will definitely out perform contract. 700 something ops vs rhp. He is a good pinch hitter. Passable at 1b.
Great pickup for a contender which the Reds are not. He won’t move the needle to contender sooner.
A. Non contending teams need to improve too. B. Moran is a replacement level player. He’s the last guy on the bench for a contender, he’s not moving the needle for anyone.
Would have rathered they use the young guys they have. This has been a disaster of an off season to the point Reds fans want this season to be over already.
Yea I can see preferring to throw young guys out there rather than a stale vet like Moran, but they might actually not have any.
Yes! Great signing. Reds had a gap with only 2 other left handed hitting infielders. This is going to make those trades look like genius posturing.
This club…. Looks like a half @$$ rebuild again. That worked out so well in 2015. Just go for it and tear it down.
Joe It All
As a Reds fan all I can do is stay positive and hope for the best. Do they look like a dumpster fire? Yes sir but baseball can be a funny game sometimes. Even if they do what most of us think they’ll do and play absolutely atrocious then at least the Bengals are finally good and have a bright future. We Cincinnati fans have that going for us at least.
We’ll know it’s a complete tear down when this 69 year old has his name on a locker.
40 years ago I played shortstop & batted .231 in the Church baseball league.
But I’ll play for $25,000 & free meals.
40 years ago, I too played shortstop… although apparently you were the better hitter
Mendoza Line 215
A third shortstop,but 50 years ago in high school.
Only was a reasonably good hitter and just in my senior year.
The only position that I really ever wanted to play.
The claim to fame was that Pie Traynor used to attend our games occasionally.
But he was not there to see me play.