The Reds recently wrapped up a 75-win season, their sixth consecutive sub-.500 campaign. President of baseball operations Dick Williams and general manager Nick Krall have seen enough. They have every intention of assembling a playoff-caliber roster for 2020.
- Joey Votto, 1B: $107MM through 2023 (including $7MM buyout for 2024)
- Eugenio Suarez, 3B: $54.75MM through 2024 (including $2MM buyout for 2025)
- Sonny Gray, RHP: $30MM through 2022
- Raisel Iglesias, RP: $18.125MM through 2021
- Tucker Barnhart, C: $7.725MM through 2021 (including $500K buyout for 2022)
Arbitration-Eligible Players (projections via MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz)
- Trevor Bauer – $18.6MM
- Kevin Gausman – $10.6MM
- Derek Dietrich – $3.1MM
- Anthony DeSclafani – $5.2MM
- Michael Lorenzen – $4.2MM
- Curt Casali – $1.7MM
- Jose Peraza – $3.6MM
- Matt Bowman – $900K
- Non-tender candidates: Gausman, Dietrich, Casali, Peraza
- Freddy Galvis, INF: $5.5MM club option or $1MM buyout
Most of the Reds’ focus last offseason went to their starting staff, and two of the three key acquisitions they made in that regard couldn’t have worked out much better. Picking up Sonny Gray from the Yankees has been a brilliant move thus far. Tanner Roark, whom the Reds landed in a trade with the Nationals, was effective for Cincinnati for a few months before the out-of-contention club flipped him to Oakland in July. Alex Wood wasn’t healthy enough to pitch for most of the season, so acquiring him from the Dodgers was the one starting addition that didn’t work out for Williams and Krall. But the two front office bigwigs swung a massive trade for then-Indian Trevor Bauer prior to the July 31 deadline, meaning the Reds are now slated to get a full year from him alongside Gray, Luis Castillo and Anthony DeSclafani. It’s unclear who will primarily occupy the last spot on Cincy’s staff (perhaps Wood or another free agent on a one-year deal), but it’s obvious the rotation is no longer a major concern for the club.
The Reds’ main problem at the moment seems to be their offense, which finished 25th in the majors in both runs and wRC+ this year. Although he surprisingly struggled this season, first baseman Joey Votto isn’t going anywhere. Neither is third baseman Eugenio Suarez, who fell one home run shy of the 50 mark.
Aside from Votto and Suarez, the Reds’ position player cast certainly isn’t etched in stone. Nick Senzel will also start somewhere, whether it’s second or center field (where he played in 2019), and his flexibility will afford the Reds the opportunity to shop for help at either of those spots. The upcoming class of free-agent center fielders looks quite weak, however, so unless the Reds swing a trade for someone like Starling Marte of the Pirates or Jackie Bradley Jr. of the Red Sox, odds are they’ll be adding second base help over center field aid. Fortunately for Cincy, free agency will be teeming with passable second basemen once the offseason rolls around. Of course, we’d be remiss to ignore that the Reds have a few in-house second base possibilities besides Senzel. Jose Peraza, Derek Dietrich and Freddy Galvis led the club’s second basemen in starts this year, and all are controllable through next season. However, Peraza and Dietrich look like possible non-tender candidates, while Galvis has a $5.5MM option or a $1MM buyout for 2020. Even if the Reds keep Galvis, his track record indicates he wouldn’t make for more than a mediocre-at-best starter at either second or shortstop.
Short, like second, appears to be a position the Reds could give some attention in the coming months. The trouble is that free agency won’t be loaded with obvious solutions there. Jose Iglesias, who started the vast majority of the Reds’ season at the position, is due to hit free agency. The Reds could easily re-sign the defensively adept, light-hitting Iglesias for what surely wouldn’t be a sizable sum, but they’d be wise to hunt for a better alternative first. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Reds seek a reunion with Yankees free agent-to-be Didi Gregorius, whom Cincy signed as an international free agent back in 2007. Otherwise, would the Reds pursue a trade for the Indians’ Francisco Lindor or the Rockies’ Trevor Story? They’re a pair of star shortstops who are likely to come up in trade rumors during the next few months (the speculation has already started in regards to Lindor).
While the Reds could rekindle their relationship with Gregorius, the same holds true for pending free-agent catcher Yasmani Grandal. Clearly the premier catcher set to hit the market in the next couple weeks, the Brewers’ Grandal was the 12th overall pick of the Reds back in 2010. Grandal never wound up playing a game for the Reds, but he’d be a massive upgrade now over the combination of Tucker Barnhart and Curt Casali. That said, signing the soon-to-be 31-year-old Grandal at this point would likely mean forking over $60MM or more in guarantees. If the Reds aren’t willing to go that far, and if they do try to add a somewhat high-profile backstop to upgrade over Barnhart, they could wind up with anyone from the affordable trio of Jason Castro, Travis d’Arnaud or Robinson Chirinos in free agency.
The way the Reds map out their 2020 outfield will depend in part on their plans for Senzel. As mentioned earlier, though, finding an obvious center field upgrade in free agency will be difficult. It’ll be less of an arduous task in the corner outfield, where ex-Red Yasiel Puig, Marcell Ozuna, Nicholas Castellanos, Avisail Garcia and Corey Dickerson are all on the cusp of becoming free agents. The Reds traded Puig in July as part of the Bauer deal, though Krall expressed interest in a Puig extension shortly before that.
Whether the Reds bring back Puig or find one or two players from the outside, their corner outfield does look as if it should be a priority. Cincinnati has in-house possibilities in Jesse Winker, Aristides Aquino, Phillip Ervin and Josh VanMeter, granted. However, they all come with warts. The left-handed Winker was just about unplayable this year versus same-handed pitchers; Aquino came back to reality after a historically remarkable start; Ervin’s decent overall numbers were buoyed by an unsustainable first few months; and VanMeter didn’t produce much outside of a red-hot July.
Meanwhile, the Reds’ bullpen seems to be much less of an issue than their outfield, though it’s still an area they (like just about every other team) could attempt to improve.. Raisel Iglesias has been a prime trade candidate in the past, but if Cincy’s as bent on pushing for a playoff spot next year as it has indicated, he seems unlikely to go anywhere this winter. So, he’ll stay a key member of a unit that will also welcome back Amir Garrett, Michael Lorenzen, Robert Stephenson and Matt Bowman, while Cody Reed, Lucas Sims and Joel Kuhnel could also be among in-house arms pushing for innings. Kevin Gausman, whom the Reds claimed from the Braves in August, may be a part of the unit again, too (or even vie for the Reds’ fifth starter job); however, considering his lofty arbitration projection for 2020, it seems more likely the Reds will non-tender Gausman.
Deciding Gausman’s future is one of the more immediate tasks on the Reds’ plate as the offseason nears its official start. If the Reds do let Gausman go, it’ll further increase spending space for a team that’s all but guaranteed to boast a franchise-record payroll in 2020. The Reds opened this season with an outlay just over $126.6MM, and Williams has said that number will go up next year as the club tries to bring an end to its long-running playoff drought.
“The goal for us now, all we’re talking about is the postseason. That’s what matters,” Williams declared a few weeks ago. “That’s the goal next year. It’s not taking incremental steps in a rebuild. It’s about the postseason.”
Judging by the Reds’ win-now attitude, they could be among the majors’ busiest teams during the upcoming offseason.
Go get Marte, Didi, relievers and cut Gausman, Galvis, Iglesias (unless his price tag is reasonable again), Senzel to 2b and keep the rest of the catchers and move Van Meter, Winker, Aquino in and out of the line up based on match ups.
I would love for DD a red! Go do it a lot!
He was a Red
He didn’t say he wasn’t previously a Red…..
Reds should bring Didi back to Cincy.. they should also go after set up men like Wil Harris and Joe Smith to pad the back end of the bullpen.
Will Harris has been great. You wonder when his run is over.
Sign Grandal and trade for either a big time SS or CF. Go the SS route and that’s about $140 mil payroll. CF route is about $150 mil. Bullpen is solid with Iglesias, Lorenzen, Garrett, Stephenson, Reed, Bowman, Kuhnel, and Sims. Also, look at trying to bring Scooter back on a low risk deal, he’s only going to be 30 years old. A healthy offseason should do wonders. An Alex Wood reunion shouldn’t be out of the question
After seeing the Reds dump Downs, Gray & Trammell, for basically one year of the $19M Bauer, I want Bloom to be on the phone with Cincy, while there is still stuff to pilfer.
Betts & JBJ for Greene and ???
Good point, but because of all that they’ve given up to date, that’s why I think they’ll target FA’s and leave trades alone. They have said as much. They don’t want to keep mortgaging their future for one season.
I don’t think anyone is prying away Greene
Vandals Took The Handles
Pure sports media stereotypical groupthink nonsense.
Iggy hit .288 last year, leading the Reds in BA. His lifetime BA is .273 (compare to Didi – who I like – .238 and .264).
Yes, Iggy is not a power hitter. Newsflash – most SS’s aren’t. The man brings Gold Glove ability to the field and saves his pitchers each and every game.
Sure, Lindor and Story would be upgrades. No argument. But they would each take at least 3 players – young, controllable, with established credentials from at least the AA level. Are the Reds so deep that they can afford that?
Vandals Took The Handles
Many times I read on here that some veteran player had a solid year hitting…..I look it up – the guy hit in the .250’s.
MLBR doesn’t like Iggy any more then they have liked Nick Markakis over the years. Yet local fans, announcers, managers/coaches, and teammates love playing with those guys, and speak highly of them.
The issue – want to win in the Rotisserie League or the Major Leagues?
I’d like to see Iggy back too for all of the reasons you mentioned…
Maybe because unlike old groupthink batting average isn’t a great indicator of offensive value. And yes hits do matter, but you can also have a hollow average when you’re not racking up an above average amount of hits nor getting on base at least at a league average clip. Being a punching Judy hitter that derives little value elsewhere offensively isn’t as substantial especially if you’re not a huge running threat that’s imposing from 1st. Fact remains he’s been a below league average hitter, but two years. Defensively you love his value. If you have an offensively viable team, and he’s performing like the guy he was in 2013/2015 than a team has something cooking. There is still somewhat of a barometer as an everyday starter. I used to think the way you did, but I learned in college that we tend to overrate the defensive side of the ball a tad, and it’s hard to win if you don’t have at least 2/3 of your middle posing an offensive presence. The .250 guy that racks up extra base hits, and gets on base is more valuable, assuminh he’s not a butcher and can make the routine play, than the guy that might get one more extra base hit every other week. Because that’s honestly what we’re talking about one extra base hit in a two week span being the difference. There are obviously exceptions, and situations in which you have an explosive hitting offense with average to above average production coming from your C & CF in which Iglesias is a huge huge plus. But when you’re discussing an 85 ops+ it’s har to blame stereotype group think.
Blah blah blah
Blah blah blah- Jesus
Holy smokes it’s 2019 and you’re claiming someone is it isn’t good based solely on average? Pete Rose has a higher career average than Barry Bonds. Would you claim he’s a better player? Iglesias has no power and terrible patience. His glove is unquestionably great but, considering the data, shifts, etc the difference between a great SS and an average SS really doesn’t add enough to compensate for a weak bat
I would take Pete Rose over Barry Bonds (before steroids). Both had approximately 300 TB every year,
I’d take Barry Bonds TODAY over Pete in his prime. Pete was great but Bonds is short-list for best hitter ever.
THE CINCINNATI KID
IGGY WASN’T A POWER HITTER BUT HE WAS ALWAYS GETTING ON BASE, AND I
THINK A REALLY GOOD DEFENDER.
SCOOTER WOULD BE GREAT AND SENSEL
AS A BACKUP AND CENTER FIELD IF
SCOOTER STARTS. BUMGARDNER AS STARTING CATCHER WITH OUR CURRENT
CATCHER AS A BACKUP, BUMDARDNER
WAS A KILLER AGAINST THE REDS
DIDI WOULD PROBABLY BE TOO $$$$$
bring back 3 ex-reds in puig, didi and grandal. try to trade for betts while moving senzel back to 2b
How does this happen? Stop drinking the bong water
Why not sign that new Japanese CF?
That would be bold and I’m for it. It’s astounding they’ve never had a Japanese-born player on the roster. I understand they wouldn’t outbid Bos/NY/Sea etc for the stars but they haven’t even picked up a guy off FA market like Aoki
Might be tough to beat out the Cubs with Darvish a countrymen around.
Vandals Took The Handles
The Reds are doing the same things the Mets are – maxing out their payroll, trading off all the decent prospects in their farm system while ignoring defense, all in the hopes of winning a Wild Card spot and then…..”anything can happen”. Sure. Take a step back and look at that roster.
This sort of panic and delusion is what caused the Pirates to trade 3 solid youngsters for an over-the-hill and highly overrated Chris Archer. The Pirates are now a total mess, and it will take at least 3 years to even stabilize that franchise.
I am reserving judgement on this theory until we see who they target. They’ve given up a lot already in way of prospects but they could and should be done doing that. If they sell the farm for Mookie or Lindor…. That’s pretty aggressive. Short of targeting one of those two I dont think they sell off prospects. I think they’ll target FA’s. I just hope that they dont saddle themselves with 4-5 year contracts paying out big money to guys heading into their middle 30’s.
Bring back Iggy, make Moustakas a 2-3 year deal to play 2nd and leave Senzel alone in CF. Bring back Puig and move Aquino to LF. Winker and Ervin 4th and 5th outfielders. They put up good numbers between them platooning in case Aquino isn’t the real deal…
Also…fifth starter…Santillian? Lodolo?
Santillan was awful last year Lodolo pitched a few innings at A ball
While I agree they need a 5th starter it would have to be a free agent
Or Mahle, who still has a really good upside.
A lot of people are enamoured with Mahle I don’t understand it he’s capable but so far in his brief career he’s borderline awful
A lot of young pitchers are awful when they first come up, then turn into reliable and consistent pitchers with the experience they gain…
1 surprise of the off season will be Votto gets traded……
for Pujols? for Cabrera?
why would anyone want Votto?
he’s a 10 and 5 player. Not going anywhere
Quit drinking the other guys bong water
I feel like Nicholas Castellanos would be a good fit for Cincy, if the price is reasonable
I would take Pete Rose over Barry Bonds (before steroids). Both had approximately 300 TB every year,
Agreed…I like that idea…
Michael Lorenzen could be in CF for 500 PAs and still pitch 60 or 70 games. F*** it. Go bold or go home.
Perfect picture of Dick Williams, he looks just as clueless as he is in real life. Will never understand why you would bring a head case, fly ball pitcher into GABP. They gave up their #1 prospect, a very good starting prospect in Moss and arguably the best hitter available at the deadline for 1 yr. of a player who will implode after a few pop-ups clear the right center field wall. Williams had no background in baseball before joining the Reds. He’s here because his dad is a minority owner of the Reds. My only hope is their planning on moving Bauer in the off-season, which is doubtful..
Bauer concerns me as well. He was horrible after coming over, and wears his emotions all over his face…that’s not good…
Moss is a nobody. Trammell is a top prospect but one who’s performed worse each year he’s progressed. And Puig had little trade value, was exactly a league average hitter last year. While I remain skeptical the team will remain as all in on modern analytics and methods, Williams and Krall achieved what they promised last off-season. Improve the team? Check. Record payroll? Check. Acquire pitching? Gigantic check. While there are still gains needed to be made they have earned a modicum of trust. Sonny Gray for Shed Long? Yes please. Reds-Dodgers trade was rolling the dice and dealing a couple redundant prospects.
Wow! They spent 28 million more dollars and had 8 more wins. Not very impressive checks! The Reds front office is inept and Moss is far from a nobody! 4-1 11k/9 and a whip under 1 after trade. Ask Cleveland if they consider him a nobody. They consider him a steal. Bauer was batting practice with the temperament of a child. Horrible trade for a guy who will fail at GABP!
Please add link to other “off season needs” articles. I found them to be very helpful last year.
Isn’t Scott Schebler Super Two eligible?
No, a player must spend at minimum, 1/2 of the most recently played season (86 days) on the big league roster or big league DL to qualify. He was only up with the big league team for 5 weeks this season.
Let’s try looking at this to first put players in their most natural position with upside – like Senzel at 2B. Time for him to lock the position down like Suarez and Votto. They eliminate an annual revisiting of what to do at 2B and immediately improve the defensive efficiency. Go get a CF’er or at least transition piece until they fully develop one on the farm.
I want Grandal signed, J-Iggy signed, and to move Bauer for a controllable SP with upside. Move the rest as needed other than on the staff and two of Ervin, Aquino, or Winker. Grandal leads to Stephenson being brought up as the catcher of the future in 2021 and gives him a couple of seasons to ease into the role. Keep Casali this season for the transition.
VanMeter for utility.
I’m with jstamped, bring back Didi,Grandal, Puig Move Senzel back 2 second, his arm is damaged for cf, pit up Betts, the pitchers can do fine with better runs being scored, those moves make Reds all in for 2020
Some reasonable moves I think they could make:
Sign Grandal to 3 year deal with 4th year club option
Sign Jose Iglesias to 2 year deal (keep spot warm for Jose Garcia)
Move Senzel back to 2nd base
Trade Winker, Raisel Iglesias, Tucker Barnhart, Jonathan India, And a couple more prospects for Betts and Bradley
Yeah, Boston does that fer sure
After the World Series I hope Reds see the importance of good pitching and get another good starter!