The Reds contract with Will Myers for the year 2023, with an option for 2024

The Cincinnati Reds have signed free agent Wil Myers to a deal for the 2023 season with a mutual option for the 2024 season. Mark Sheldon mentioned That deal is $6 million for 2023 and there’s a $1.5 million buyout for the 2024 option. That guarantees at least $7.5 million for Myers in the deal. ESPN’s Jeff Bassin reports that the deal could be worth up to $9.5 million based on playtime bonuses and a trade bonus if the team moves him before the deal expires.

Will Myers turned 32 a week and a half ago. He’s spent much of his time in the big leagues in the outfield, though he’s played a lot of first bases over the years as well. In 2013 and 2014 he played with Tampa Bay (and won Rookie of the Year) before moving to San Diego. He has spent the last eight seasons with the Padres.

In 2022, he had his worst offensive season since 2019, but was still an above average hitter. In 77 games played, he hit .261/.315/.398. While on the surface it doesn’t look like the .713 OPS will be good, thanks to the way Petco plays the shooter, it’s good for 108 OPS+. This is in line with his career 111 OPS+.

Looking back on the 2022 season, there are some reasons for concern. Last year saw Myers record his lowest ever walk rate – just 7.3%. His strike rate was 30.1%, the second highest ever (only 2019 was higher). His isolated hit (SLG-AVG) was 0.138 and was the second lowest in his career (2014), far from where he has been since the start of the 2015 season.

On the flip side of that, Myers has been doing much better after coming off the injured list that cost him much of the summer. He hit the injured list in May and was hitting just .234/.276/.307 at the time. When he returned in August, he had played 45 games through the end of the year and batted . 285/.349/.482.

Historically, he hasn’t had huge platoon splits, but he did in 2022. He posted 659 OPS against right-handed pitcher, while posting a 0.815 OPS against left-hander. The sample size was smaller in 2022 due to injuries, so take that for what it is – some useful data, but not enough to think it’s something to focus on a lot.

For the Cincinnati Reds, the fact that Myers can play some first bases could be insurance against Joey Votto being ready to start the year after his shoulder surgery. If Votto is ready, Myers can slip into the outside corner and/or designated hitter role on occasion. Although he’s not quite a good defender on the field, he is capable of playing there and that gives the Reds some options.

For Myers, going from a friendly ballpark in a (mostly) National League West stadium to a friendly ballpark in a (mostly) friendly division could be very beneficial. If he can put up some good offensive numbers, that could help build a lot of value for 2024 as he can turn down his option and become a free agent to try and land a better contract.

That deal pushes Cincinnati’s 2023 payroll to around $80 million (salaries for arbitration-eligible players make that an educated guess). Adding Myers to the roster brings the Reds’ 40-man squad to 40.

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