Small market teams need to lock their younger players as early as possible. Building that core is essential to any hopes of contending. Such is the case with the Cincinnati Reds.
The Reds have taken their first step to locking in their young core. As reported by Jeff Passan of ESPN, the Reds have signed young pitcher Hunter Greene to a long term deal. He will receive $53 million over six years, with a team option for 2029 and escalators that could make the deal worth $96.2 million.
Hunter Greene worth the gamble for Cincinnati Reds
There is no questioning Greene’s potential. His fastball routinely hits triple digits and has placed him amongst the hardest throwers in the game. His wipeout slider has given him another strikeout pitch while his occasional changeups could be another weapon as they become more refined. At 23 years old, the future would appear to be bright for the Reds’ flamethrower.
That is what the Reds are paying for – Greene’s future. He has been decent enough over his career, posting a 4.42 ERA and a 1.248 WHiP over his 142.2 innings, striking out 188 batters with 54 walks. The problem is that Greene has not exactly pitched deep into games, completing six innings in just nine of his 28 starts. But that is something that Greene will learn over time. As that happens, he could truly develop into that top of the rotation arm they need him to be.
Greene could just be the beginning. The Reds still have exciting young players such as Nick Lodolo, Jonathan India, and Graham Ashcroft who are starting to establish themselves. Locking in several of those pieces could help to get the Reds back on track. That path has to begin somewhere, and that somewhere is with Hunter Greene.
The Cincinnati Reds have locked up a piece of their core in Hunter Greene. His extension is a gamble, but it is one they have to take.