CINCINNATI — Jim Day, of Bally Sports Ohio, introduced Hunter Greene at a press conference Wednesday morning at Great American Ball Park. Greene sat at a table with General Manager Nick Krall on his left and manager David Bell on his right.
Several of Greene’s teammates, including Tyler Stephenson, Jonathan India and TJ Friedl, watched with the rest of the crowd on hand. Greene’s parents and brother and sister also attended.
One day earlier, the Cincinnati Reds announced they signed Greene to a six-year contract extension that will be worth at least $53 million. The move represented an investment in the future, and for Greene, it’s a contract that gives him a chance to lead the Reds back to relevance.
“Signing this deal, what are the emotions you’re feeling right now?” Day asked Greene.
“I’m fired up,” Greene said. “To be up there in front of you all, that means a lot, not just for myself and my family but for the city of Cincinnati. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes. To be here now is super special. The most important thing is the future we have. We have a lot of great players coming up in the system. We have a lot of great players here now and an amazing staff. To come up through the system and see the development everyone has gone through, including myself, and being able to trust in the system as we continue to rise and keep going, it’s exciting.”
The deal is guaranteed through the 2028 season. It includes a $21 million club option with a $2 million buyout for 2029. According to reports, the deal pays Greene $1 million this year, $3 million in 2024, $6 million in 2025, $8 million in 2026, $15 million in 2027 and $16 million in 2028.
“The commitment we made to Hunter reflects his commitment to this organization and to our community,” said Reds Chief Executive Officer Bob Castellini in a press release. “He is part of the foundation of young players who will continue to help us build a successful Major League team.”
According to Jon Heyman, of the New York Post, this is the “second-largest contract ever for a pitcher with (one plus year of) service time.”
Greene, 23, has been with the Reds organization since being drafted with the No. 2 overall pick in 2017. He made his big-league debut a year ago and was 5-13 with a 4.44 ERA as a rookie. In four starts this season, he’s 0-0 with a 4.24 ERA.
The Reds finished 62-100 in Greene’s first season and have enjoyed two winning seasons since drafting Greene. The franchise hasn’t won a playoff series since 1995.
“I want to be at the forefront of bring winning back to Cincinnati,” Greene said.
Krall thanked Castellini and the ownership group in his opening remarks and also Jeff Graupe, the Reds’ vice president of player acquisition and strategy and Greene’s agent, Ryan Hamill. Krall said the talks about Greene’s contract started early in spring training.
“Hunter’s a talented player, but he’s great off the field as well,” Krall said. “That’s what we want to build around. We want to build around players that come through our system and make the commitment on and field the field.”
Greene signed his new deal four years after undergoing Tommy John surgery that cost him the entire 2019 season and three years after the entire minor league season was cancelled because of the pandemic in 2020. The Reds hope Greene leads a staff that includes two other young pitchers who made their big-league debuts last season: Nick Lodolo; and Graham Ashcraft.
“We think Hunter’s got the chance to be a top-of-the-rotation starter,” Krall said. “Being able to anchor our staff around that is extremely important to helping us win in the future.”