Shortstop stands out as an area of need for the Reds at the moment, and owner Bob Castellini has indeed pushed the front office to address it this offseason, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports. The Reds even asked the Yankees for shortstop Gleyber Torres and then some in talks centering on right-hander Luis Castillo, but New York turned Cincinnati down, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.
Cincy’s shortstop reps primarily went to Freddy Galvis and Jose Garcia in 2020, but the team can’t count on either as its solution in 2021. Galvis is a free agent, after all, while the 22-year-old Garcia may not be ready for prime time just yet. Garcia hadn’t advanced past High-A ball before the Reds promoted him last year, when he batted .194/.206/.194 without a home run in 68 plate appearances. He also notched far more strikeouts than walks (26 to one), and his 3 wRC+ ranked second to last among 388 major leaguers who amassed at least 60 trips to the plate.
Garcia’s first-year struggles seemingly set the stage for the Reds to at least find a veteran stopgap at short, though it’s unclear how aggressive they’ll be during what has so far been a payroll-cutting offseason in which they’ve already said goodbye to the likes of Raisel Iglesias and Archie Bradley. Moreover, several of their notable players – Castillo, Sonny Gray, Mike Moustakas, Nick Castellanos and Eugenio Suarez among them – have come up in trade speculation, while reigning Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer is a free agent who seems likely to sign with another team before next season.
The good news for the Reds is that this offseason’s free-agent class features a few proven starting shortstops, with Galvis, ex-Red Didi Gregorius, Marcus Semien and Andrelton Simmons leading the charge. Gregorius is a possibility for the team at this point, Rosenthal relays. Reuniting with Gregorius would be a significant move in an NL Central division whose teams have made more notable subtractions than additions this offseason. As of now, aside from the last-place Pirates, it seems like just about anyone’s division to win.
Castillo, meanwhile, will “very likely” remain a Red, Heyman writes. There’s no reason for the Reds to part with Castillo for anything but an enormous offer, as he’ll make just $4.2MM in 2021 and has two more years of team control remaining after that.