Big free-agent class ends with a dud

CARLSBAD, Calif. – It was only two years ago when the Cincinnati Reds were arguably the winners of the MLB offseason.

The Reds signed Nick Castellanos and Mike Moustakas to four-year, $64 million deals, the largest free-agent contracts in franchise history. They signed Shogo Akiyama, the first Japanese-born player in club history. They added Wade Miley to their rotation.

Cincinnati Reds right fielder Nick Castellanos (2) celebrates with his team in the dugout after hitting a solo home run in the fifth inning of the MLB baseball game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

It was their biggest splash into free agency, signing four players to multi-year deals for $164 million. The Reds spent more money in free agency that offseason than they did in the previous 10 years combined. After missing the playoffs for six consecutive seasons, it was a public declaration the rebuilding phase was over.

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