Cincinnati Reds: Hot Stove Update As December Begins

Cincinnati Reds: Hot Stove Update As December Begins

by December 1, 2020 0 comments

It has been more than a full month since the last pitch was thrown in the World Series, and even longer since the Cincinnati Reds took the diamond.

The turn of the calendar to December is a sign that the Winter Meetings will commence in just a few days, though in 2020 they will be done remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions. Free agency has started and rumors have swirled, with a few deals getting done as well.

Here are some bits of information that have trickled out regarding the Reds.

Cincinnati acquires RHP Jeff Hoffman

On Wednesday, the Reds announced they acquired Hoffman in a four-player trade with the Colorado Rockies. Right-hander Robert Stephenson was dealt the other way in the deal.

Hoffman was a first-round pick in the 2014 MLB draft out of East Carolina University. He has pitched in five seasons and owns a career 6.40 earned run average. His strikeout margins were 20 in 21.1 innings pitched this season while he walked nine. The 27-year-old has been used both as a starting pitcher and out of the bullpen, the latter of which was where he was used the most in 2020.

Cincinnati also acquired Case Williams, who was selected in the fourth round of this past summer’s draft. Williams is now the No. 29 prospect on the Reds’ Top 30 prospects list, according to MLB Pipeline

The team also dealt outfield prospect Jameson Hannah to the Rockies and he ranks as the Rockies’ No. 14 prospect. Cincinnati’s top-ranked outfield prospects include Austin Hendrick and Michael Siani, neither of which have played above Low-A.

Cincinnati covets shortstop

According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, the Reds are prioritizing a starting shortstop. The market for such a player is large, with several options available via trade or free agency.

Morosi reported Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor and Colorado’s Trevor Story were two names being pursued. Both will become free agents after the 2021 season, and both would have had the highest batting average among Cincinnati’s starting lineup in 2020.

Lindor will command high value in trade and Story would not be far behind. Lindor has hit at least 32 home runs, 40 doubles and has stolen at least 15 bases from 2017-19. He will enter his seventh season in baseball next year, and his 61 hits were tied for 13th-most in the American League this season.

Story amassed at least 24 homers in each of his first four seasons and was a 20-20 hitter in 2018 and 2019. His 15 stolen bases in 2020 were most in the National League, but his 63 strikeouts would have been third-highest among Reds hitters.

Didi Gregorius, Marcus Semien and Andrelton Simmons were also mentioned by Morosi and represent free agent options.

Gregorius made his major-league debut with Cincinnati in 2012 and will be 31 years old next season. He played in every game for Philadelphia this year after shoulder injuries limited him to 82 a season ago.

Semien has taken his play up a notch the last two seasons, finishing third in 2019 AL MVP voting with 43 doubles and 123 runs scored. His on-base percentage dipped in 2020 to .305.

Simmons’ defensive skills have heralded him over the years. He will play his age-31 season next year and hit .297 in 30 games this year for the Los Angeles Angels.

Sonny Gray being shopped

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported on Nov. 23 that Cincinnati is doing due diligence in listening to calls for Gray.

Gray has two more seasons left in his contract, which includes a club option for 2023 that was worked out with the Reds following the trade from the New York Yankees. Named an All-Star in 2019, Gray has confidently pitched in Cincinnati and formed a relationship with Trevor Bauer since the latter joined the Reds.

Gray allowed 26 runs across his 11 starts in 2020, and struck out 72 to finish with the third-most in the starting rotation.

A trade of Gray would leave Cincinnati with much less power next season should Bauer not resign. Anthony DeSclafani is a free agent, so the Reds would have to address which arms would fill those voids.

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