This week’s respondents are Nick Kirby, Chris Garber, Clay Marshall, Ashley Davis, and Steve Mancuso.
Our Daily Reds Obsession: What should be GM Dick Williams’ #1 priority this off-season?
Nick: I think the Reds need to start competing soon, and not only because my patience with the rebuild is wearing out. The Reds need to capitalize on Joey Votto while he is still one of the top five hitters in baseball. I think the Reds need to start making moves that will help the team in both 2018 and 2019. I would like to see the Reds target a legit SP (either FA or trade), a good right-handed platoon bat for the OF, and look at signing Zack Cozart to two year deal.
Chris: My heart says “pestering Bob Castellini for the money to sign Yu Darvish or Jake Arrieta, to position the Reds for a 2018 pennant run.”
My head says, “nothing, other than figuring out the deal with Michael Lorenzen, Robert Stephenson, Cody Reed, and Amir Garrett.” There’s no real reason that one or more of those guys couldn’t dominate the National League in 2018. The Reds should stick with the plan and devote all of their energy into realizing the potential of the in-house options.
Then they can go after Clayton Kershaw in December 2018.
Clay: Much as the Old Cossack recently suggested, I think it’s imperative that Bryan Price be given clear directives regarding playing time for position players and especially pitchers. For much of 2017, it seemed as if Price was managing to keep his job rather than see what the young talent he’s tasked with nurturing was truly capable of. To that end, the Reds’ unexpected hot start probably did more harm than good. If the primary goal of the 2018 season is to set the table for 2019, Price needs to be told in no uncertain terms that he needs to manage with an eye toward the future, or else.
Ashley: This offseason, Dick Williams’ #1 priority should be the pitching. Most fans will probably say the Reds need a veteran starter to complement the young ones, but I think Williams should try to sign one or two solid relievers. There were players who stepped up in the bullpen last season. We know what Raisel Iglesias can do. Wandy Peralta was solid for most of the season. Austin Brice showed flashes of brilliance and if Ariel Hernandez can learn to throw strikes consistently, he will be a top reliever in the future.
But, the Reds’ pitching needs to drastically improve if the team wants to compete this season, and that includes the bullpen, especially if the young starters don’t go deep into the game. I’m tired of watching Blake Wood continue to be mediocre. If Tim Adleman and Lisalverto Bonilla are both in the bullpen for the majority of the year, it’s not going to be fun to watch again. Williams should find better relievers to replace those journeymen pitchers where you know what you’re going to get.
Steve: The Reds will need long-term answers at SS and CF. Adding a front line starting pitcher is also important when they are ready to contend. They’ll likely need a bullpen piece or two at some point. But none of those things are urgent to do this offseason.
Instead, Williams’ #1 priority should be to get full value out of Scooter Gennett and Adam Duvall’s 2017 seasons by trading them. Those moves create important playing time opportunity. Plus either of those guys could provide value to the right team. I’d put Raisel Iglesias in that same category since I think he’s at his high point in value and always an injury risk. He’s undoubtedly worth more to some other team from 2018-2021 than he is to the Reds.
Now, could trading those guys get the Reds a SS, CF or SP? Sure. Then fine. But the main point, especially with Gennett and Duvall, is to get something of value for them, regardless of position. In some ways, Williams’ #1 priority is not adding to the starting pitcher logjam by signing an innings-eating free agent to a major league contract. To stick the rebuilding, Williams needs to prioritize 2018 as another (better) year of finding answers. He can’t have a foot on both sides of the fence.