(Not So) Bad Contracts Worth Taking On 2: Moose

Part of rebuilding is knowing when you next expect to compete. The Reds have been stockpiling talent this year and a quick look at their top prospects lists shows 9 of the top 15 in High A or lower. Only 2 are in AAA. In other words, their next competitive window is a good 3 years away.

That said, it makes no sense to hold onto a high value contract or a reliever who will be gone by then. It does, however, make sense to add upside at the AA level.

So, in this iteration, Moose finally comes to Anaheim. It seems like he’s been destined to come here forever.

Moose is done. He can’t hit, was never great with the glove, and has always been allergic to taking walks. He comes with an $18 million salary for next season along with a $4 million buyout of an option for the following year. So, he costs $22 million, or $1 million more than Thor. And he’s almost certainly DFA’d the second he gets here.

Graham Ashcraft, however, is a solid talent. A 25 year old pitcher who is 15% better than league average and is cost controlled for five additional years is exactly what the Angels need. He’s a perfect Thor replacement. Better, younger, cheaper.

Tejay Antone is a guy we’ve mocked in trades here in the past. He’s a good bullpen arm who had Tommy John surgery last August. As there’s no need for him this year, he can continue to rehab and be a full year and a half post surgery by Opening Day. Antone will be arbitration eligible after 2023, right when the Tepera and Loup contracts fall off the books.

Spencer Steer is the piece the Reds might not part with. He’s a guy who can play second, short, or third but is best at one of the bases. A three year starter at Oregon, the knock on him when he was drafted was the lack of power. He’s added some through the minors and still has options. Given our third baseman made of glass and overall lack of infield depth, I’m sure he’d be with the big club in 2023 and we’d have him for six full seasons.

While I’d greatly prefer Steer (and did a mock trade for him while he was a Twins farmhand), if the Reds balked at Steer I’d also consider Levi Stoudt to create some more pitching depth. Yes, he profiles as a back end guy but I’m tired of paying millions for over the hill back end guys. I’d rather get a pile of guys like Stoudt, Tucker Davidson, Davis Daniel, Janson Junk, and others and save money. And with young guys there’s always a chance of improvement.

In exchange, the Angels ship out both their first and second round picks from the 2021 draft. This gives the Reds two electric fastballs upon which to dream and some more arms in what is an infield heavy system. They might be starters, they might be bullpen studs, but they could be held in the minors for another couple of years while the Reds figure it out.

Considering Thor and Bradley combined to make $27 million last year, this trade saves roughly $4 million for other needs. It might also allow the Angels to get a band aid at shortstop or second base rather than block 2022 first round pick Neto with a mega contract at shortstop.

All in all, better starting pitching, better bullpen, and $4 million less than Thor and Bradley took home. And either a solid infielder or back end rotation depth. After 2023, this deal actually frees up a lot of money while adding multiple pieces.

Love it? Hate it? Somewhere in between.

31 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Senator_John_Blutarsky
Legend

I like it as a Halo fan, but I would expect the Reds to say “no”.

Brent
Super Member
1 year ago

Absolutely not.

2002heaven
Super Member
1 year ago

comment image
Nice job in Cleveland…….ALREADY REBUILT IN 2 YRS!!!!!!
Meanwhile we’re still trying to kick the damm football like Charlie Brown. How pathetic!!!  😠  😡  😭  💩  💩 

gitchogritchoffmypettis
Legend
Reply to  2002heaven

Well, it’s good to see you switch out which man is in your mouth. Farhan Zaidi was getting old. Jedi just made you look sad. Nick Krall just pumped n dumped you. Freidman and Beane are most likely the flavors of your youth. We’re all happy you’ve found a new man.

gitchogritchoffmypettis
Legend

I’d be pretty down to try this. Ashcraft is good, and the chances of both Bush n Bachman being really good are slim.

Angelstan
Trusted Member
1 year ago

Bachman is a number one pick that is supposed to be good. Moose is a strike out hitter that has been hard to be excited about even at his best in the last few years. Rengifo is fine. Rendon is at third. Why make this type of deal?

tanana40
Super Member
1 year ago
Reply to  Angelstan

You are getting three prospects for two in exchange for taking Moose’s salary.

h27kim
Trusted Member
1 year ago
Reply to  tanana40

Yeah, doubtful we’d even keep moose were this deal to go down. Call me greedy, though, I think taking on a full 22 mil in dead salary should get us one more prospect (not top notch, but at least decent) if we are sending back two potential high reward (altho high risk) prospects

Angelstan
Trusted Member
1 year ago
Reply to  h27kim

The Angels don’t have extra cap money to spend on a non-productive player. They are already booked up moneywise. Hence, I don’t see the point. Plus do we assume Bachman isn’t going to be good and was a bad draft pick?? Why do we think prospects from elsewhere are better? I appreciate the creativity but wouldn’t do this deal.

gitchogritchoffmypettis
Legend
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

Yes. The point is to trade 2 guys who may be good if everything falls into place for three guys who are two or three steps closer to being valuable and a crap contract.

Jayman28
Trusted Member
1 year ago

Maybe Moose just needs a change of scenery. Being back in SoCal may help him, but I doubt it, it didn’t work for Duffy or Wade.

But if the trade did happen, I can see Dayton Moore yelling the whole organization “we got bush!”

Eric_in_Portland
Legend
1 year ago
Reply to  Jayman28

I’m against “maybe x will happen” trades, like “change of scenery” or “used to be a highly touted prospect” or “once pitched in a world series”

Jayman28
Trusted Member
1 year ago

Makes two of us

gitchogritchoffmypettis
Legend
Reply to  Jayman28

Yah. I’ll take “once highly touted” as a ST invite or a DFA guy from another team.

clover_black
Super Member
1 year ago
Reply to  Jayman28

pro tip— the change of scenery is never Anaheim

Jayman28
Trusted Member
1 year ago
Reply to  clover_black

Yup

Senator_John_Blutarsky
Legend
Reply to  clover_black

Funny as shit and true.

Senator_John_Blutarsky
Legend
Reply to  Jayman28

Maybe the trick is to have Moose spend time with Albert’s alchemist to find the fountain of youth?

Fansince1971
Legend
1 year ago

If the Moose is Loose, count me out. But an interesting analysis nonetheless. Appreciate the effort – this is one I just don’t agree with. But what the hell do I know?

Fansince1971
Legend
1 year ago

I’m very meh on this but I understand the concept. Take a bad contract off of another team that is years away and enjoy a riches of young players in exchange.

To me this only works if Arte is willing to increase payroll. If not, where is the money for Ohtani going to come from? You are throwing away $22 million.

If your premise is Ohtani is gone, then this move makes more sense if the players received are appreciably better than the ones the Angels are giving up. But I’m not certain on that issue either.

All in all, I am skeptical on this one personally.

Last edited 1 year ago by Fansince1971
2GA2Join
Super Member
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

I’m a little confused. So when does this trade assume “we” will be competitive again (I understand the premise is the Reds are years off).

I guess that is an overall debate that is going on. I wonder if it is a debate at all in Perry’s mind. I guess we have kicked the dead horse enough lamenting how Arte ALWAYS seems to think we are competing each year, and therefore has us stuck perpetually at .500 or so.

Last edited 1 year ago by 2GA2Join
gitchogritchoffmypettis
Legend
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

Yeah… it’s hard to envision, but Just Sandoval, Detmers and Ashcraft actually make for a pretty solid rotation base for the next stretch of seasons.

matthiasstephan
Super Member
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

Do we assume that Bachman and Bush are both 2 years away then? Aren’t all prospects in this scenario in AA now?

Cowboy26
Legend
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

According to Cots, Thor & Bradley combined for a salary of $24.75 million . so not quite $27 Million.

Last edited 1 year ago by Cowboy26
VladimirTrout27
Trusted Member
1 year ago
Reply to  Fansince1971

taking a salary to dump to buy prospects/ players is a good move if your org is into that sort of business. For me it says team is willing to spend X to win. And say you’re losing and under X, then yes, take on some bad deals preferably 1 yr + buyout like Moose and still near X or slightly over for a better future? I’m in. But I didn’t like the pieces you included. I like Bush and 50/50 on Bachman. If I’m eating a chunk of contract, that’s the commitment of bending over, not giving top prospects in addition. I like the idea, not so much this example. But JJ, I’m totally for the effort, but I don’t see Arte as understanding how valuable it is to explore that arena; especially when we’re not talking some low budget franchise, like TB, Oak, Pit. Creative move nonetheless, but it’s the Angels and I don’t see Perry/Arte as that savvy.

Last edited 1 year ago by VladimirTrout27
VladimirTrout27
Trusted Member
1 year ago

I may stand corrected as those are good Reds prospects, but wow what a sales job to Arte to eat that much money on those guys snd give up guys we like. Personally I would take 1 one solid Reds prospect and negotiate the salary for Moose. I think that would be palatable for LA front office