It’s been six years since the Reds have made the playoffs or even finished .500 in a season. President Dick Williams has made it no secret the team’s aiming to turn it around ASAP, though, which could set up for an active Reds winter. Improving a weak offense figures to be Cincinnati’s main focus over the coming months. The Reds’ outfield is one of multiple areas of concern, so it’s no surprise they seem to be looking to bolster that area of their roster. They’re among the teams interested in free agent Marcell Ozuna – arguably the top outfielder available – Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports.
For Ozuna to actually reach free agency, he’ll first have to reject the Cardinals’ $17.8MM qualifying offer by Thursday. That looks like a near certainty, however, and if it does happen and the Reds do sign Ozuna, they’d have to surrender their third-highest draft pick along with however much it could cost to win the bidding for him. MLBTR forecasts a three-year, $45MM contract for Ozuna, who has an extensive track record of quality production and, along with Nicholas Castellanos, looks like the best free-agent outfielder in this winter’s class. The 29-year-old Ozuna slashed .243/.330/.474 with 29 home runs, 12 steals and 2.6 fWAR across 549 plate appearances in 2019, during which he graded as a Statcast darling.
Whether the Reds get Ozuna or someone else, it’ll be an eye-opener if they don’t land at least one somewhat prominent outfielder this offseason. They’re stuck with a largely unproven group at the moment, as no one from the Nick Senzel–Aristides Aquino–Jesse Winker trio has established himself as a truly capable big league starter yet. Speculatively, if the Reds were to sign Ozuna, he could take over left field, leaving RF to a platoon consisting of the lefty-swinging Winker and the righty-hitting Aquino.