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Team Is Getting as Much Production From Long-Retired Griffey Than From Half the Quartet Making More Money

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Shogo Akiyama Has Equaled Griffey's Home Run Totals Over the Past Decade


Sure, it looks like Cincinnati fans have every right to upset with the owners of their baseball team. Less than twenty four hours after MLB and the players association signed a new working agreement designed to discourage tanking, the Reds seemed to do exactly that.

Three All-Stars, including an ace pitcher, were dealt away in trades. Cy Young candidate Sonny Gray went to the Minnesota Twins for a prospect, while third baseman Eugenio Suarez and outfielder Jesse Wenker headed to the Seattle Mariners for a trio of youngsters.

Then, still less than a week after the so-called anti-tanking agreement, Cincinnati traded All-Star reliever Amir Garrett to the Kansas City Royals. He will now be in the same division as the Gold Glove winning catcher the Reds traded after last season, Tucker Barnhart now of the Detroit Tigers.

Unfortunately there will be more moves by the Reds, who are obviously more focused on cutting the payroll than capturing a pennant. Starter Luis Castillo will be a trade target, as other veteran players near the top of the Cincinnati salary chart.

Reds fans should not be too discouraged, though, for the team does have a highly-paid All-Star and Most Valuable Player on the payroll, in addition to Joey Votto. He is even more of a legend in the Queen City than Votto himself, but he did not play in a single game last year. Nor the year before. Nor even in the previous decade.

The fifth highest -paid player on the Reds payroll is none other than Ken Griffey, Jr., who last suited up for Cincinnati fourteen years ago. Votto, third baseman Mike Moustakas, outfielder Shogo Akiyama and recently-acquired pitcher Mike Minor are the only four Reds currently making a higher salary than the $3.9 million Griffey receives in deferred money from the deal he signed back in 2001.

Even though Junior has been retired for a decade and a half, he still has managed to hit as many home runs as the outfielder who is one-fourth of the quartet out-earning Griffey. Well, earning might be the wrong verb here, for Shogo Akiyama has hit exactly zero home runs during his two seasons with the Reds.

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During that same span, another of the highest-paid quartet has fared not much better than Akiyama. Moustakas, whose salary is double that of the outfielder's, has averaged seven home runs while batting just .217 in his two seasons with Cincinnati.

As sad as it is, almost twenty percent of the Cincinnati payroll has resulted in seven home runs and a .220 batting average. The trades the Reds are making now may appear to be poor decisions, but they are not nearly as bad as the team's commitments to Akiyama and Moustakas back in 2019.

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