Friday evening the Cincinnati Reds officially handed out their 2022 team awards on stage at Redsfest. One player was missing, though. Team MVP and Joe Nuxhall Good Guy Award winner Kyle Farmer, who was traded to the Minnesota Twins just over two weeks ago, couldn’t be there to accept his award, instead sending in a video to be played on the videoboard. In his final year with the Reds, Farmer played in 145 games and hit .255/.315/.386 with 25 doubles, a triple, 14 home runs, and 78 RBI.
While it wasn’t in the video, Kyle Farmer had some interesting things to say to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Charlie Goldsmith, that he published late on Friday night.
“No one understands that everyone wants to play in Cincinnati,” Farmer said. “They want to be in Cincinnati. Castellanos wants to be back in Cincinnati. Sonny wants to be back in Cincinnati. Wade wants to be back. Tucker wants to be back. Everyone who comes there wants to stay in Cincinnati. It’s not like people who leave are happy to leave. It’s that they just can’t keep them around. It’s kind of sad. Everybody loves Cincinnati. It’s a sad thing that we all can’t stick around.”
Sad indeed, Kyle. But there’s a difference between can’t keep them around and won’t. The Reds could have kept all of those players mentioned around with the exception of Nick Castellanos, who was a free agent – though he, according to Farmer, wanted to come back.
The Reds ownership has talked about payroll, revenue, money, etc. over the years. They’ve had payrolls in the $140-150M range in the past. Their payroll for 2023 right now looks to be about $70M. The team just got $30M for the sale of the final 15% of BAMTECH (they had gotten about $50,000,000 from the first part of the sale in 2017), which was their streaming company that came out of the company they formed 20-something years ago for MLB.tv. Bob Castellini was sure to tell the Cincinnati Enquirer when MLB owners sold the other 85% of BAMTECH to Disney several years ago that it “wasn’t baseball properties” – which is hilarious given that the BAM in BAMTECH was taken from MLBAM, which stands for Major League Baseball Advanced Media.
Some of that money, though, Castellini said, did go towards the team while “30-35% of it went to the ownership group”. We don’t know if any of the money from this time around will be put towards the team or go to the ownership group.
What we do know is that the Reds have plenty of money to spend on payroll this year if they would like to. Between the local broadcast rights deals and the national broadcast rights deals alone they are bringing in $100,000,000. Then of course there’s all of the other monies they make selling tickets, merchandise, parking, beer, food, etc.
Rebuilding is an option, not a requirement. There’s nothing wrong with trying to go with a younger roster overall. But there should be a problem with not trying to win baseball games. It’s still early December, so there’s plenty of time for the organization to spend money or make more trades to acquire big league talent. But if the Reds go into March with a payroll that isn’t much different than it is today and a team that doesn’t have a single outfielder they know who will be starting every day if he’s healthy and two-fifths of the rotation a complete unknown, it should be something that people should hear about who are in the ownership group and front office.
The Team Awards
Alexis Diaz was named as the Johnny Vander Meer Pitcher of the Year for the Reds. That shouldn’t be much of a surprise to anyone. Diaz posted a 1.84 ERA in 63.2 innings spread out over 59 games in the 2022 season. On a team with about as unreliable a bullpen as you can imagine, Diaz was about as lights out as they come in the game.
On the minor league side of things the team handed out three awards. Elly De La Cruz was named the Sheldon Chief Bender Player of the Year. Alex McGarry took home the Hitter of the Year Award. And left-handed starter Andrew Abbott was given the Pitcher of the Year Award.
De La Cruz, the organization’s top prospect. hit .304/.359/.586 with 31 doubles, 9 triples, 28 home runs, and had 47 stolen bases in 120 games played between High-A Dayton and Double-A Chattanooga. Alex McGarry played in 110 games between Dayton, Chattanooga, and Triple-A Louisville (just 8 games) and hit .264/.316/.543 with 23 doubles, 6 triples, 27 home runs, and had 15 steals. Andrew Abbott, the organiztion’s 14th rated prospect went 10-7 with a 3.81 ERA in 25 games between Dayton and Chattanooga while throwing 118.0 innings with 48 walks and 159 strikeouts.