The Cincinnati Reds front office personnel has had a heck of a week. They inked Mike Moustakas to the largest free agent deal in franchise history early in the week. Then on Thursday they held the press conference introducing him to the local media. That was followed up on Friday and Saturday with Redsfest that saw them answering questions on the various stages from fans and sports talk show hosts from all over Reds country.

This afternoon kicked off the winter meetings. That’s a quick turn around from Cincinnati to San Diego, but that’s the job. The Reds have money to spend, whether that’s just flat out in free agency or whether it’s taking on a contract via trade. As President of Baseball Operations told WLWT’s George Vogel earlier in the week, they’ve got the ability to do deals as big as the Mike Moustakas one if it’s the right fit for the team.

The team certainly has areas that they’ve been reportedly targeting since the offseason began. They were linked early and often to catcher Yasmani Grandal. No one on the free agent market is nearly on the same level at the position as Grandal is, but they were at linked as showing some interest in Robinson Chirinos two weeks ago. The trade market remains an option if the team wants to give that a shot, but there haven’t been any rumors of them being linked to anyone recently here.

The other area that Cincinnati has been heavily linked is the starting pitching market. For the fifty seventh time in the last five years, the Reds were linked to Zack Wheeler. This offseason was the first time that he was a free agent, though. The right-handed pitcher wound up signing with the Philadelphia Phillies, though, inking a deal worth $118M over five seasons. Shortly after that announcement was made, the rumors started coming in that the Reds were also looking at left-handed starter Madison Bumgarner.

The team seems to be looking to upgrade the rotation. A rotation that already includes Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, Trevor Bauer, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle. It doesn’t seem likely that they will be in the Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg sweepstakes. But everyone else should be on the table if they were making a legitimate run at Zack Wheeler. And there are still plenty of options available in free agency on the market, too. Bumgarner, as mentioned above, hasn’t yet signed. Hyun-Jin Ryu has psoted an ERA of 2.32 (2019) and 1.97 (1.97 in 15 starts in 2018) over the last two seasons. MLB Trade Rumors predicted he’d sign a 3-year deal worth $54M total.

Last offseason, at least early on, the Reds were linked to Dallas Keuchel. He would end up sitting out the first half of the 2019 season before agreeing to a contract with Atlanta. His 2019 season was pretty much on par with the one before it, just with fewer starts. Former Red Tanner Roark is a free agent and is coming off of a solid season, and would be an upgrade at the #5 spot in the rotation if he repeated his 2019 campaign. And there’s also the trade market to explore for options, too.

Outfield is a spot where Cincinnati has also reportedly looked, as they’ve been linked to Marcell Ozuna. He’s hardly the only outfielder on the free agent market, but he has been the one they’ve been linked to the most. The team is looking to improve their offense from 2019. Add Mike Moustakas certainly is going to help that. But they are going to continue looking, at outfield is one of the spots they could continue to explore. Nicholas Castellanos isn’t known for his defense, but when he got out of Detroit’s home ballpark last year he absolutely raked.

Shortstop, at least in the free agent market, seems to come down to Didi Gregorius or nothing. He’s the only legitimate shortstop on the market. The trade market, though, could be there. The long-shot dream is Francisco Lindor, but the Indians are rumored to be willing to move him in the right deal, too. There could be other options out there if the Reds are willing to pay the right price via trade.

Not all moves will happen at the Winter Meetings. But it’s probably the time where a lot of moves that will take place in the next month really picked up some steam. The trade with the Dodgers last season didn’t take place until two weeks after the Winter Meetings came to an end. Of course, the trade for Tanner Roark actually did take place last year at the Winter Meetings.

There hasn’t been any specific links between the Reds and any relievers, but they are in that market, too.

As everyone’s favorite leather pants wearing former Cincinnati Reds General Manager Jim Bowden noted earlier today, get your seat belts on.

50 Responses

  1. FreeHouse

    Get Didi. Also how about taking a look at Blake Treinen and Dallas Keuchel? Treinen would be huge to our bullpen.

  2. RedsGettingBetter

    I Will satisfied if Reds acquire Ozuna/Castellanos for OF, Didi for SS or trade for Lindor and get Daniel Hudson with LHP Gio Gonzalez or Brett Anderson for instance…

  3. Don

    I really appreciate all the articles and great insight. Your sites are great reads.

  4. Matt WI

    If the Reds make some more splashy moves, here’s my “Ancient Aliens” adjacent hot take- Joey made a handshake deal with ownership to retire in say, 2021 if they make an effort to send him to the playoffs before he’s done. 😉

    This feels as plausible as the idea the Reds that I’ve known are going to spend heavy!

  5. Matt WI

    Also, if they would please hold off on any deal until about Sat night or Sun morning, I’d appreciate it. I’m visiting Vegas for the 1st time and want to lay a futures bet on the Reds before the odds fall after they get even better!

  6. Mark

    What I find fascinating is if they are looking for offense where do they get it, what position? If you get Ozuna or Castellanos I would think they would be the starting LF. Ok so then what then do they do with Winker? Do they flip him and casali for instance for Chirinos or a starting pitcher? I just believe they are going to give Aristides Aquino every opportunity to remain starter in RF he really brought excitement the last 2 months and I don’t feel at this point deserves to be replaced. I know this might sound crazy but do you dangle Santillan Senzel and Winker for Lindor? Sign Ozuna or Castellanos for LF and live with Ervin and Siri in CF?

  7. Wes

    Trade TySteve and change for Marte.
    Iglesias and change for corey seager
    Take the rest of your funds and sign Bumgarner
    Let mahle take a spot in back end of pen
    Rotation is stacked

    Winker/Ervin
    Votto
    Marte
    Suarez
    Moose
    Seager
    Senzel
    Tucker
    P

    • doofus

      With all due respect: Seriously, Raisel and “change” will bring Corey Seager to Cincinnati?

      Who the heck is in the “change?”

      “Take the rest of your funds and sign Bumgarner?” MadBum wants $100MM.

  8. RedsFan11

    IMO the Reds more than anything need to sign/trade for a solid proven outfielder. Seems to be a lot of options out there. Relying on all these young guys to produce and stay healthy is to much of a risk.

    • Earmbrister

      The easy answer is Puig. Sign him to a pillow contract to cover the uncertainty in RF. I’m very comfortable with:

      LF: Winker/Ervin
      CF: Senzel
      RF: Aquino/Puig

      I’m expecting a big step forward from Winker and Senzel. Too early to count on Aquino.

  9. Big Ed

    I don’t understand the theory that Ozuna or Castellanos would be an upgrade from Jesse Winker, particularly in light of their salaries.

    Winker (age 27 season in 2020) has a career OPS of .845 and OPS+ of 120. Ozuna (age 29 in 2020) has a career OPS of .784 and OPS+ of 112. Castellanos (age 28 in 2020) has a career OPS off .797 and OPS+ of 113. Castellanos had a very hot 51 games for the Cubs, abetted by a HR/FB of 16.3%, much, much higher than his previous season high of 9.1%. Ozuna had a excellent age 26 season for Miami, but his OPS+ in his 2 Cardinal seasons were 106 and 107, hampered a bit last year by a low BABIP.

    Winker’s perception is lessened by a slow start last year following shoulder surgery. But over his final 62 games, his OPS was .896.

    None are very good defensively, but Winker will catch what he can get to. Ozuna was scary-bad in the post-season last year. Castellanos is a DH.

    Why commit $45+ million for 3 years of these guys, when Winker figures to give almost equal (if not better, when healthy) production, for much less money?

    • gusnwally

      I think you are right on the money.

    • Thomas

      Two words there are key, “when healthy.”

      Winker has proven absolutely nothing because he has been hurt every year with the Reds. Whether that will continue or fade I don’t know, but I what I do know is I trust Nick Castellanos to stay on the field far far more than I do Jesse Winker. I also think that even when healthy, Jesse Winker is nowhere near as good as Castellanos.

    • RedsFan11

      I understand your point but

      1) Winker : cant prove to stay healthy
      2) Ervin : Never has (probably never will get fair shot) to prove he’s every day
      3) Senzel : cant prove to stay healthy
      4) Aquino : completely unproven

      I think you need to sign at least one proven bat in the outfield that can consistently get on the field. (yes no guarantees on health for anyone). Otherwise you will heavily be relying on “hope” for the 2020 season in terms of outfield production

      • gycincy

        I would rather have Corey Dickerson at less money than either of these two

      • BK

        There’s a lot of risk, just as you’ve noted, but a few couterpoints:

        – Winker and Ervin both have a career OPS of .907 against opposite handed pitching … that’s better than anyone of the open market. Ervin has been in the Red’s system for 7 years. Why would you believe he hasn’t been given a fair shot. They have reams of data on his ability. In short, our LF platoon could be the strongest or second strongest spot in our lineup.

        – Senzel: former top prospect with boatloads of potential. We have every reason to believe he will improve.

        – Aquino could have the highest ceiling of any of our outfielders. He carries the most risk and the most upside.

        Unless the injuries are related, there’s really not a data-driven reason to imply they indicate a greater health risk down the road.

    • doofus

      Agree. Nice insight.

      A healthy Senzel and Winker have to help the offense and team in 2020.

  10. Frank

    I would like them to go after Contreras.
    He is an exciting catcher and apparently the cubs are willing to let him go for the right price.

    Didi would be awesome, also since I am from Amsterdam as where his father is from.

    Not to big a fan of Ozuna nor Castellanos. Rather have Corey Dickerson then.

    • The Other JB

      I’m big on Corey Dickerson also. I think this is the kind of under the radar move , without spending big money that would really improve the Reds. Dickerson grinds out at bats and his defense is good .

      • Scott C

        I strongly agree with the Dickerson move, although I have not heard about any interest from the Reds. I think he has a good approach in every at bat and shows good power to right which at GABP would really play. He plays a strong defensive outfield.
        Also agree with Didi, I certainly would not be opposed to Lindor or Seager at SS but think that would take a lot to get either one. Contreras I’m not sure about.

      • Big Ed

        I like Dickerson fine, but he is a 30-year-old version of Jesse Winker; he turns 31 in May. His career OPS/OPS+ is .832/119; Winker’s are .845/120. The Reds need OBP, and Winker’s career OBP is 51 points higher than Dickerson, at .379 to .328.

        To those who cite Winker’s durability, Dickerson played 78 games last year in his age 30 season, and played only 65 games in his age 26 season. Dickerson is a better fielder, and is probably faster than Winker (as is my wife), but I don’t see why the Reds would want to pay Dickerson $9-10 million more for Dickerson than they would pay Winker.

      • earmbrister

        I like Dickerson as well, but not for the Reds. The Reds biggest question mark at the moment is RF. Dickerson is not a RFr. Big Ed, I like your rationale about Winker vs Dickerson. I think everyone is underestimating Winker. On another note, Big Ed, can your wife play RF?

      • VaRedsFan

        The only good thing I see with signing Dickerson, is it would eliminate about 4 losses that he puts on us every year as an opposing player.

        Otherwise, havind Winker and Dickerson is redundant. Are you guys already contemplating platooning Aquino with Dickerson?

  11. wizeman

    i think you have 3 untouchables. stephenson, greene, lodolo.

    the dodgers don’t need much but they were a bit unhappy with their bullpen.
    seager fills our biggest need.

    i’d start with iglesias…or garrett and see if you can build package from there.
    santillian
    hinds or callihan

    that enough?

    • BK

      I think it takes more than that. Iglesias is at a low point in his valuation. I would expect the Dodgers would want a couple young players/top prospects (pick two of India, Garcia. Santillan or Mahle) and would likely want us to take on a contract to balance the dollars in Iglesias contract (Joe Kelly’s contract is similar). Alternatively, we could take on Pollock’s larger contract and keep one of the four players I mentioned. Hinds and Callihan are too far off to carry a trade for an All-Star caliber SS. Just my two cents.

  12. Steve D

    Doug,
    Any chance the Reds trade a no name prospect to the Red Sox to take on the David Price or Eovaldi contract. Price is owed $96 million over 3 years. Red Sox want to cut payroll drastically. Would Reds consider trading a no name prospect to take on that contract and maybe even receive $20 million back from Boston. If we did this the contract would be 3 years 76 million contrAct which would essentially be $25 mil per year. If we could get Red Sox to pay at least 20 mil on that contract I don’t think it’s that bad of a contract to take on. Any chance something like this could happen?

    • Big Ed

      I’ve kind of been on the same train, with the added idea of adding Andrew Benintendi but asking for the Sox to pick up less of Price’s contract. The Red Sox need salary relief.

      I suppose it is possible, but the big issue to me is whether Price really has much left in the arm. A related deal would be for the Reds to trade for Xander Bogaerts, who starts a 6-year $20mm (or so) contract extension this year.

  13. Big Ed

    I am pretty much all-in on signing Didi Gregorius now. It took some warming up to, but the shortstop market is buyer-friendly right now, with all the logical buyers pretty well set at shortstop.

    I am very optimistic about Jose Garcia, who should be at AA this year, but Gregorius would be an excellent bridge to Garcia at a reasonable price. Even a 1-year deal would allow Gregorius to re-establish his value after his injury, so it works for him as well.

    A reasonable Gregorius signing would keep the door open for Bumgarner, if they want to go there.

    • VaRedsFan

      I doubt that Didi thinks that signing a 1 year deal works well for him.

      • earmbrister

        There was a compelling article at MLBTR that contended that Didi would get paid more, now and in the future, by taking a one year deal now. It was a worthwhile read.

        If Didi does go the 1 year deal route, the Reds should be first in line to get him signed. Sign Didi and Puig to short contracts, sign another # 4-#5 starter like Roark, and sign a reliever (doesn’t need to be a big name). If something of that sort happens, I’d consider the off season to be a big success.

  14. Ed

    What about a trade for someone like Nick Ahmed from the Diamondbacks? He’s a great ball player and not too expensive.

    • Colorado Red

      Would the D-backs trade him?
      They are trying to complete also.
      If we could get him at a fair price, I would go for it.

    • doofus

      I suggested this a few days ago. He is on tap for $6.25MM in 2020 and a FA after that.
      He is VELCRO with the glove, which is “doofus” for this guy is defensively awesome. He is the perfect transition to Garcia, another defense first SS.

      I want defense first at SS. Ahmed provides that and sticks in a timely hit. Defense at SS should attract FA pitchers.

  15. Steve Schoenbaechler

    Story in Enquirer stating the market may become too high for the Reds for Didi.

    That’s what I was thinking of myself. I mean, he would have a high cost value, along with coming off a horrible batting year and injury.

    Yep, if the Reds do anything else, for offense, I believe it’s going to involve any FA’s in the outfield or trades anywhere else.

    • AirborneJayJay

      MLBTR has their prediction for Gregorius at 3 years and $42MM. Heyman says that Gregorius could be looking at 3 years and $45MM, but that it might be too much for the Reds.
      A 3 year and $45MM deal should NOT be too high for the Reds, regardless of the Moustakas deal. They can trade Galvis afterwards.
      If they strike out on Gregorius, then LA’s Seager has to be the top trade target for a SS. It would be a big disappointment if Galvis is the planned SS going into spring training.
      I believe the bidding for Castellanos is getting quite high and that will be out of the Reds reach unfortunately. Ironically, it is reported that the Reds deal with Moustakas is also a factor in driving up Castellanos’s asking price.

      • BK

        I’m thinking the Reds must believe they can sign Didi at an affordable price OR trade for a SS since they passed on Villar. Didi’s 2019 performance and injury risk limit his value. Even at his best, he’s an above average hitter, not a great hitter, carrying a lot more risk than Moustakas or Castellanos. He’s only a good fit for the Reds because the Reds have a need at SS.

      • earmbrister

        MLBTR also has a story saying that Didi might be better served with a one year prove it deal. Now that would be a perfect fit for the Reds.

  16. Steve Schoenbaechler

    Nothing will probably come directly from these meetings. But, things can easily come right after them. When people get back home, discuss things. People from both parties meet, etc. Then, you have a deal.

  17. Bill J

    Read the same thing, Reds raised the price of Castellanos with the Moustakas deal. Madbum is asking for 9 figures over 5 years and Did I will be out of their range.

  18. doofus

    Dick Williams, just now on the MLB network: “If we can continue to find opportunities to add to the offense…”

  19. doofus

    DW: “1st, 2nd and 3rd are locked in.” Shortstop is still in play.

  20. sixpack2

    I like Dallas Keuchel for starters as he is a LH stuff pitcher and would fit very nicely after a flame thrower. Winkler/Ervin are a very nice pontoon and are easy on the pay check. I hate to say this but trade Senzel to a Team that needs a 2nd for a like CF (if one exists). I do not know if Gregorius will be worth the money to sign him, but would be great if he is back.