The Cincinnati Reds finished at 31-29 and made the playoffs for the first time since 2013. Unfortunately, they couldn’t score a run and were gone after two losses to the Atlanta Braves. What do they need to do to make it back to October?
The Reds need a bat or two. Aside from a hole at shortstop now that Freddie Galvis is a free agent, Cincinnati has to get hitters. While they can hope for improvements from young players like Nick Senzel and Shogo Akiyama, the lineup needs to score more runs. Of course, the elephant in the room is if they will attempt to re-sign Trevor Bauer. While it is unlikely, they have a shot if the money is right. Otherwise, the Reds need to try to fill a Cy Young-size hole.
Keys to the Offseason
Shortstop is a Priority
With Galvis gone, the Reds have limited in-house options. Jose Garcia was brought up in August, but the 22-year old didn’t perform well. He had just 13 singles and a walk to go along with 26 strikeouts in 68 plate appearances. He is young and may be the future for the Reds at the position but needs time to develop. There aren’t many true shortstops on the market this year. Aside from Marcus Semien, Andrelton Simmons, Didi Gregorius, and the aforementioned Galvis, the only other choices are to have someone play out of position or trade.
Bring in Pitching
The Reds have little chance at signing Bauer to pitch for them again. They also need to replace Anthony DeSclafani who is a free agent for the first time. With Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, and Tyler Mahle as the likely top three, Cincinnati would be wise to bring in a couple of starters to have a solid rotation one through five. The Reds just traded away closer Raisel Iglesias who saved eight games last season. Amir Garrett was the only other pitcher on the roster to log a save and looks to take over that role. They also non-tendered Archie Bradley which leaves another open spot in the bullpen.
Didi Gregorius, 30, SS
Didi made his major league debut with the Reds in 2012. He was traded shortly after that and turned into a solid shortstop over the past few years. Gregorius proved he was fully healthy last season by playing in all 60 games for the Philadelphia Phillies. He had a good season in 2020 after what was a disappointing one in 2019 coming back from injury. A long-term deal isn’t out of the question, and it may look like a three or four-year deal for $13-$15 per year.
Jon Lester, 36, SP
He has been one of the most durable pitchers over his career. From 2008-2019, Lester started at least 30 games every season. While his effectiveness has taken a hit the past two seasons, he is still a solid innings eater and is only two years removed from an 18-6 record with a 3.32 ERA. At this point, Lester can probably be brought in for a one-year deal at $10-$12 million.
Shane Greene, 32, RP
With Greene, the Reds get to save a little money while getting a solid right-hander to replace Bradley, while also bringing closer experience. Greene may not be a strikeout monster, but he only allowed two HRs in 27 2/3 IP this season which works well at Great American Ball Park. He should get a deal similar to Trevor May at two years and around $6-$8 per year.
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