Reds general manager Nick Krall spoke with reporters (including C. Trent Rosecrans of the Athletic and Mark Sheldon of MLB.com) this afternoon about the club’s winter plans. Unsurprisingly, the Cincinnati front office will be on the lookout for shortstop help in the coming months.
“We lost Freddy Galvis. Shortstop would be something you’d like to address,” Krall replied when asked about the roster’s biggest need. Galvis, who led the Reds with 31 starts at the position last season, is now a free agent. He’d figure to come cheap if Cincinnati wanted to bring him back, but it’s arguable the now-contending Reds should pursue an upgrade at the position regardless.
Krall noted the organization remains high on touted prospect José García, but the 22-year-old slumped to a brutal .194/.206/.194 line over his first 68 MLB plate appearances. Krall didn’t rule out the possibility of García competing for a big league job next spring, but further minor-league seasoning seems likely considering García looked overmatched after making the jump from High-A to the majors this past season.
The top of the free agent shortstop market includes Didi Gregorius, Marcus Semien and Andrelton Simmons, as well as KBO star Ha-Seong Kim. Cincinnati also makes sense as a potential Francisco Lindor suitor. It’d be a bit surprising to see the Indians trade the face of their franchise to an in-state rival, but the teams did line up on the three-team Trevor Bauer deal last summer.
Speaking of Bauer, he’s now the only ace-caliber pitcher available in free agency. Krall said the Reds have had preliminary, “not substantial” contact with Bauer’s camp to this point. Surely, the Reds would love to keep the reigning NL Cy Young winner in the fold, but they’ll face plenty of competition for his services. Even if Bauer departs, a 2021 rotation led by Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray and Tyler Mahle would be an enviable group.
One other candidate for the rotation is Michael Lorenzen. The 28-year-old, primarily a reliever in recent seasons, hopes to earn a rotation spot in spring training. That’s a possibility, Krall confirmed, but the rest of the Reds’ offseason moves will shape Lorenzen’s ultimate role. Cincinnati has a few high-end bullpen pieces beyond Lorenzen, but the GM noted the organization is looking to lengthen the relief corps, preferably by adding hurlers with minor-league option years remaining. Optionable players are more likely to be found in trade, on waivers, or via minor-league free agency than by shopping at the top of the free agent market. To that end, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Reds make a low-cost bullpen addition or two this winter.