Reds Make Low-Risk Moves with Signings of Wil Myers and Curt Casali

It’s safe to say the expectations for the Cincinnati Reds are not high for 2023. The Reds do boast one of the game’s best farm systems, but many of Cincinnati’s best prospects are still at least a year away from making an impact. Cincinnati diligently continues to fill out its lineup for next season, as the Reds have reportedly agreed to one-year deals with both Wil Myers and Curt Casali. Here’s a look at the two new Reds.

Related: 2023 MLB Power Rankings: Which teams have the best rotations?

A Look at Myers & Casali

We’ll start with Wil Myers, a 32-year-old outfielder who joins the Reds after eight seasons with the Padres. Myers’ best season with San Diego came in 2017, when the infielder/outfielder hit 30 home runs and nabbed 20 bases for the Padres. After that season, though, Myers’ power numbers dipped.

The new Red did play a key role on the 2020 Padres team that made it to the NLCS. Across 55 games, Myers batted .288/.353/.606 with 15 home runs and 31 extra base hits. The former Padre couldn’t replicate those results in 2021, or in an injury-riddled 2022 season. Thanks to a myriad of injuries, Myers played just 77 games last year with the Friars.

Advanced metrics paint a good picture of the type of player Myers is: above-average power and good plate discipline, but has consistently produced below-average strikeout rates. Myers has fielding experience at all three outfield positions, plus first base. All of those tools should be useful for a Reds group in the midst of a rebuild.

As for Curt Casali, this move serves as a return for the 34-year-old. Casali spent time as a Red from 2018-2020. Casali has never played more than 100 games in a season, a theme that will probably continue in 2023. A heavy pull-side hitter, Casali does have some pop. However, high K% rates and a below-average hit tool does has been a problem for the former Vanderbilt product.

The two pickups do come with another move. Cincinnati designated infielder Mike Moustakas for assignment, putting an end to his tenure as a Red.

What it Means

After three seasons with the Reds, Moustakas hit just .216/.300/.383. Moustakas failed to lift the Reds’ offense in a meaningful way, and the former World Series champion recorded below-average K%, Chase%, and Whiff% rates over the past two seasons. In fact, Moustakas’ 29.2% Whiff% in 2022 ranked as the worst figure of the infielder’s career, going back to when Statcast began to record chase rates in 2015.

On the other hand, Moustakas still managed to draw a .300 OBP despite a tough season at the plate. “Moose” can still draw walks, and does possess some versatility in the field. Those assets, coupled with the power shown prior to joining Cincinnati, should make teams take a close look at a potential low-risk buy.

As far as Myers and Casali are concerned, both add depth to a team that is once again expected to finish either at or near the bottom of the NL Central. Cincinnati is knee-deep in a rebuild, but the Reds still need regulars to fill out its 2023 lineup. Casali should provide depth, alongside Luke Maile and incumbent Tyler Stephenson. The 2015 first-round pick was excellent in 2022 (.319/.372/.482), when healthy, Stephenson, though, accrued just 183 PA last season.

For Myers, the infielder/outfielder displayed good pop in 2020 & 2021, before a slide last season. With very few impact players, Myers should be able to slot in the middle of the Reds’ lineup and see time at first base and the outfield. Should Myers excel in Cincinnati, much like new Los Angeles Angel Brandon Drury did in 2022, the 32-year-old could be a potential trade chip come the summer.

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