Following a 2018-2019 offseason that saw the club focus primarily on pitching additions, offensive improvement is expected to be a chief initiative for the Reds this winter. With that goal in mind, the club will not rule out signing free agents attached to a qualifying offer this offseason, as team president of baseball operations Dick Williams indicated at this week’s GM Meetings (link via Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer).
Although signing a QO-laden free agent would require the Reds to forfeit their third-highest pick in the 2020 First-Year Player Draft, the club does not apparently view that cost as strictly prohibitive:
“We’re very aware of the guys who will have rejected qualifying offers and what that means for the economics of what we’re willing to pay,” Williams said. “I think that’s how the system is set up. That is something we’ll definitely factor in. It doesn’t prevent us from talking to any player. We don’t look at it that way.”
This public stance is especially pertinent considering today marks the deadline for qualifying offer recipients to accept or decline their QO. Four of the ten players who received offers are position players, including first baseman Jose Abreu, third baseman Josh Donaldson, outfielder Marcell Ozuna, and third baseman Anthony Rendon. Given that Cincinnatti’s needs at first and third are likely to be handled by Eugenio Suarez and Joey Votto for the next several years, Ozuna may be left as the presumptive reference point to Williams’ comments.
The early market for Ozuna, in particular, has been said to potentially feature as many as a quarter of MLB teams, perhaps revealing that, like the Reds, clubs are feeling slightly less gunshy about this year’s crop of QO-attached free agents overall. Cincinnati has a wide array of potential avenues to explore in improving their cast of position players, with the outfield, catcher, and second base spots all likely to receive some level of attention this winter.
The Reds think they are going to be way more competitive then they actually will. Another 4th place finish is on the horizon next season.
They’re one of those teams that if a lot breaks their way and sign some good FA I think they can be competitive, but they’re just as likely to be out of it before the ASB.
Yeah. I guess in that division anything can happen as long as your team isn’t the pirates. Everyone in the division other than Pittsburgh should be buyers theoretically. I kind of don’t get the concept of rebuilding a team and then deciding that rebuild is over when your still a last place team. That’s what the Reds did last season and still ended up in 4th place. Something tells me they stood a solid chance of being a 4th place team even if they saves cash and kept a younger core by keeping the rebuild going. The Padres are doing the same thing. I would think that teams would stand a better chance of winning a WS if they just kept rebuilding and adding a ton of young cheap talent through the draft and trades until that core is good enough by itself to make them at least a 2nd place team. At that point the big money spent on free agents will actually make a meaningful difference. That’s what the Braves did. They actually won the division on their last “rebuilding” season and now it is pretty obvious they are gonna be a great team for awhile. The free agent money is only being used to try and push them over the top. The Reds finished in 4th place during a season when their rebuild was over. And that was in baseballs weakest division too. I’m not sure why teams want to mortgage there future to move up 1 spot to 4th place. I know fans and owners want there teams to be more respectable but finishing 4th in a weak division isn’t really that respectable. Now, if the Reds don’t win it all next season (which I’m 99.9% sure they won’t) that trade for Bauer is going to be a huge mistake. Bauer will be gone and so will all those prospects they gave up and the Reds will have nothing to show for it. I guess they want to strike while the division is weak but they should have waited until that young core had already proven they could get into the playoffs before they spent all this money on vets to get them deeper in the playoffs.
what top prospect have the Reds actually gave up? Trammell? a .220 left fielder in AA? he can’t even play CF on the AA team…
what top prospect have the Reds actually gave up?
On a net basis, they gave up Trammell, Gray (~ #80), and Downs (~#90) for one year of a very expensive Bauer, who might well have non-tendered at his salary.
There is no chance of justifying that. Cincy was at 67 wins. A jump to 81 wins would’ve been an accomplishment. If Cincy was at 81, looking to jump to 91. But after a weak 2018, they just weren’t there.
In addition, the value returned was terrible. Kemp was waiver bait. Puig is decent, but Downs & Gray for one year of a 2.5-3.0 WAR Puig?
Cincy all but gave away three top-100 prospects.
REDS ALSO TRADED ROARK FOR AN AA CF. AS GOOD OR BETTER THAN TRAMMEL.
lol no the Reds didn’t… the prospects the Reds traded weren’t even the Reds top prospects at their particular position…
Hannah is unranked.last I looked. FG ranked him as a FV45, which is not terrible, but there is nothing in his minor league stats to suggest he has pro-level ability. 3 HRs with a 128/47 K/W?
… the prospects the Reds traded weren’t even the Reds top prospects at their particular position…
They didn’t magically appear on BA’s top-100 list. Even on Fangraph’s LAD listing, before 2019, they were LAD’s #7 & #8 prospects in a loaded system.
But that’s not even the point. Let’s say they were #110 & #120 before they were #80 & #90. What’s the point of trading away the future for no current year gain? Unless going from 5th place to 4th place is the objective.
That’s kinda what I was saying before all these Red fans started acting butthurt. They are gonna be better in the immediate but most likely just enough to maybe bring them up to third place next year. That’s not a very successful rebuild. It’s like they spending more money to have a less successful rebuild that won’t last as long just so they can get it over quicker. And yes, whether the Reds fans want to admit it or not, they did give up several good players in the Bauer trade. The chat hosts and writers on this site talk about how they can’t believe how well Cleveland did in that trade all the time. Those guys weren’t ranked so high for no reason. The Reds certainly gave up significantly more for Bauer than the Mets gave up for Stroman. Like twice as much. Stroman is actually a better and cheaper pitcher at this point so they should ave just gone after him.
^Yep. Reds could’ve had Stroman. Twins could’ve had Stroman. Yanks could’ve had Stroman. Houston could’ve had Stroman and save money and prospects they gave up for Greinke.
That’s kinda what I was saying before all these Red fans started acting butthurt.
For me, it is all about the timing. They weren’t bad last year, but nowhere near enough to go all-in They should’ve signed someone for 1-2 years before trading two talented kids.
Would even the most devoted Reds’ fan have noticed if the Reds didn’t have Puig & Kemp last year? And say they miraculously combined for a 5 WAR? Would anyone care if the jumped from 75 wins to 80 wins?
And I speak as a Raiders’ fan. They spent a decade trying to go from 6 wins to 8 wins. I don’t want 8 wins, I want a championship. My second happiest day as a Raider fan, was the day(s) they trade Mack & Cooper and decided they needed to rebuild.
As a RS fan, I would take Ruiz, Gray & Downs for Betts. That is about the equivalent of Trammell, Gray & Downs.
On a side note Khalil Mack is a great player but I can’t believe what Chicago gave up to get him. I would have made that trade if I were the Raiders as well. Being “respectable” is meaningless. Give me 9 last place finishes and one championship every time over 10 average seasons. Nobody brags about their team not being terrible. They only brag about winning it all. I guess the Reds didn’t care about bragging. They were just tired of being made fun of.
The Raiders lucked out on that trade BTW. Only the Chicago Bears would be dumb enough to do that. We’re talking about a team that traded a ton of valuable picks to move up one spot in the draft so they could draft Trubinsky. They could have just kept their picks and taken Watson or Jackson. The year before that they could’ve just taken Patrick Maholmes. All of those would have been better options and they would have kept their picks. I guess they did the same thing for Jay Cutler though so it should probably be expected from such a disfunctional organization.
P.S. I’m glad the Raiders don’t have to pay Antonio Brown anything. That guy is a joke and a clown. He can’t even figure out how to rub two brain cells together. It’s probably because he doesn’t have that many.
* We didn’t exactly pay -0- for Brown. I thought a #3 & a #5 was a good price, but as well as we did in the draft, just imagine two more mid-level picks?
* It was a high price for the Bears, but at least it was correct directionally. The most important function for a GM, imho, is to know where the team is. The Reds had no chance last year, so why give up two fringy top-100 prospects? BA and TO held on to Machado & Donaldson at least a year too long. If you are going to miss the playoffs, you need to re-load.
* And the draft might be the best thing about football. Everything matters. I think the Raiders picked up a conditional #7 for a punter. Maybe that can be packaged with a #5 to move up up 4 slots to get a guy you thought should’ve been 4th rounder.
It’s entirely different, since fans might know something about Crosby, for example, so the NFL draft will always be better than the MLB. But the MLB can make it much better. They should allow the trading of draft picks. The Reds might love Betts, but might not want to wipe out the top level of their farm. So maybe instead of adding Stephenson, they offer their #1. BB needs to be able to sell draft the draft better. After the spectacle at Nashville, the NFL can sell this as a can’t-miss event.
Yeah. I basically completely agree with everything you just said. When I said zero I meant zero dollars. The Raiders still have to regret that deal. I just meant I am glad that AB isn’t bringing any money home for being a complete jackhole. I bring up questions in the chats about when hosts think MLB might allow draft picks but they never really answer. It needs to happen. There is no reason for it not to happen and plenty of reasons for it TO happen. They allow supplemental and competitive balance picks to be traded but not earned picks. Why should a team be allowed to trade their late first round pick but not their 2nd round pick? In terms of the Tribibsky trade it just didn’t make sense to me. If the 9ers were willing to trade that pick then they probably weren’t going to draft him anyway. Chicago could have held onto their massive draft stock and likely still got Trubinsky. Even if they couldn’t they still would have been better off drafting Deshaun Watson or Jackson instead. Even worse they could have not traded away their pick the season before and drafted Patrick Manholmes. It just seems crazy to me that any team would rather have Trubinsky over Jackson, Watson or Maholmes especially when they get to keep all of those high draft picks when they choose any of the latter three. They basically traded a good if not great QB and a bunch of high draft picks to get a subpar QB. At least they got something of value in Khalil Mack though. They have to have a very decimated future draft class over those two trades though so if Trubinsky doesn’t turn the corner very soon (like Jackson, Watson and Maholmes already have) Chicago is not going to stand a true chance of winning the SuperBowl for a long time.
You’re right about the Reds, too. It’s like their goal is to sneak into the postseason as the worst playoff team and see what happens afterwards. The odds of that even happening are still slim so why not just wait until you know you can force your way in and have a high probability of dominating when you get there? They are trading away their future ability to maybe become dominant for an immediate ability to possibly become relevant. I don’t understand why any fan wants their team to do that. It’s like a Baltimore Orioles fan I was just talking to. He wants the Orioles to sign MadBum because “they need starting pitching and he would make them more respectable.” I’m like WHAT!? Baltimore is going to finish in last place with or without MadBum. The Orioles need to take advantage of this bad situation and use this opportunity to shed salary for future use while also gaining the highest draft pick capitol poasible. That is what is going to bring them to World Championship contention the fastest. Isn’t that what all fans want? Why mortgage that away for a slightly better last place finish?
Why do you bother to comment on an article for such a poor team. Science called, they need you brilliant insights to cure cancer or something. Maybe the lowly Reds fans would like to talk about the upcoming season without trolls
I’m not trolling. Merely commenting. This site is for all major league fans and their is no rule stating that people can only comment on teams they think are gonna win. All I did was point out that a 4th or 5th place team isn’t generally in prime position to end a rebuild. Leapfrogging three teams to win a division is a lot harder than holding onto a division your team already leads. I point out flaws about all teams including my own. If you wanna be a snowflake and live in a safe space fantasy world in order to believe that Sonny Grey and Trevor Bauer are gonna miraculously lead your team from 4th place to a world championship next year you can go right ahead. I was just pointing out the observation that statistically that is exceedingly rare. I can’t help it if facts don’t care about your feelings.
No, you said the Reds think they are better than they actually are. You used no facts or stats. Bro I’m no snowflake, but I will argue with people who talk out of their butts, for no good reason.
Fact: The Reds had the 8th best pitching in baseball last season.
Fact: They need to add 2 + offensive upgrades to have a legit shot in 20
Fact: Reds fans don’t assume a division title is in the bag, but they do see the 3 teams they need to leapfrog are on the decline.
What I meant was a division title is their absolute best hope and the chances of that are the same as finishing in 4th place again. Smart teams don’t end their rebuild out of hope to bring their chances of a division title closer to 25%. That’s because the division title is never the ultimate goal. Their goal should be to win a world series. You end your rebuild and start trading away long term cheap future assets in exchange for short term more expensive assets (ie Bauer, Kemp, Puig, Wood) when the World Championship seems possibly immanent. Wood, Puig and Kemp are already gone and Bauer is only gonna be in Cincy for 1 more season (not that that’s a positive thing with his obvious collapse ever since he put on a Reds uniform). So what did the Reds get out of trading all that potential future performance? A 4th place finish + one more year of Bauer. Smart teams don’t trade their prospects and end their rebuild when they are in last place because they are tired of losing. They wait until the rebuild has gone well enough to make them a 90+ win team on its own. Nobody cares about a 25% chance of winning the worst division in baseball. Especially when it comes along with almost no chance of winning an actual championship.
Chicago could fall further, St. Louis could easily fall, who knows what Milwaukee will do. The division is open for them to take a step forward.
You’re weak, shallow and spiteful. I give you no credit whatsoever for your pessimistic attitude, and your lame, couch in your mother’s basement attitude towards my favorite team May they crush you and your attitude to ashes…
That…is a ridiculous generalization, from someone who obviously doesn’t understand their gameplan, and has obviously never see this team play. With the right additions they will own the NL Central…so go back to sleep, your mommy turned the light out..
Could flip Bauer
Don’t need a corner OF’er. Sign Grandal and make the trade for Betts
No, the Reds absolutely DO need a corner OF. Winker and Aquino should be a platoon in RF. Bring in Ozuna or Dickerson for LF. Gregorius is a perfect fit. Grandal would be great, but not for more than 3 years. Need a couple more quality bullpen arms, as well, especially a LHP.
You are correct, they need 2 sign Dickerson LF, add Neil Walker 2 back up Votto and 4 bench, sign Grandal, Didi or another SS, use Winker/Aquino platoon RF, add Scooter 2 bench he’ll b cheap, Trade for Betances or another RP, put Senzel back @ 2nd, get Roark for 5th starter done
You are correct, they need 2 sign Dickerson LF, add Neil Walker 2 back up Votto and 4 bench, sign Grandal, Didi or another SS, use Winker/Aquino platoon RF, add Scooter 2 bench he’ll b cheap, Trade for Betances or another RP, put Senzel back @ 2nd, get Roark for 5th starter done, and a bat for CF
Reds absolutely don’t need a corner OF. Winker and Ervin make a fantastic platoon pair on LF and give Aquino time in RF. A CF is the only need in OF, allowing Senzel to move to second which also fills a hole
A betts get would pretty much deplete the top end of their farm. Who would headline that package? I guess Stephenson since they handed over Trammell to SD
That was the folly of practically giving away Gray and Downs. As a RS fan, guys like Greene & India represent interesting gambles.
I keep hearing that Grandal will go to the Reds but I don’t know what would make him choose them over another team. I know it makes sense because they need a catcher and are gonna spend $ but there are probably a lot of teams in that same position who would give him a better chance to win. I know everyone is expecting the Braves to be cheap and not go for him but I’m not convinced. They desperately need catching and between Donaldson, Teheran, O’Day and McCann the Braves have already shaved over $40 million off their payroll from last season. They have to spend that money somewhere and they have to get a catcher. Plus the Braves are obsessed with players that don’t have the QO attached. I could see the Braves going after Grandal and maybe someone like Ryu and then just starting Camargo at 3rd until Riley is ready again. As the starting third basemen for the Braves in 2017 Camargo was good defensively and close to a .280 20 home run hitter. If I were Grandal I would much prefer to play in Atlanta where I know I will compete for every year of my contract and likely be in the playoffs in each of those years compared to signing with a 4th place team that hasn’t been to the postseason in a while. Other people might doubt it but if Donaldson walks I wouldn’t be shocked if the Braves offered Grandal a 3 or 4 year deal worth an AAV of $20+ million per. If they do that I don’t see the Reds outbidding them by enough to make Grandal want to walk away from a top 5 team in baseball and go to a team that just finished second to last in their division. What does everyone else think?
He will follow the money. The club that will pay him the highest AAV and the most years will win his services. I’m a believer that most FA’s care little about who is a contender or not. Most think they will turn their new team into a contender by signing there.
Turn half of last years 30+ one run losses around and they’re right there at the top… Grandal, one of Puig, Castellanos or Ozuna and either Gregorius, Story or dare I say it…Lindor. That would get it done.
Can go either way for the Reds next year, in my opinion. I think we are all assuming they sign Grandal & Gregorius. If they do get both and add a bullpen arm and bench bat I think they can compete in the NL Central. Those are big “if’s” however
LOL@Reds being connected to everyone.
lol@ knocking a team for trying to improve. FML
The Reds have $40m to spend.Got to be connected to someone.
Spitball thought. Betts and Price for Bauer and Aquino. Gives Boston the financial freedom they want. Reds get a vet pitcher (hope he stays healthy) the get a possible star in Aquino to replace Betts.
That’s quite the significant underpay for the Reds. No way the Sox do that