Later today The Winter Meetings will come to an end, following the Rule 5 Draft (scheduled for noon – if the Reds pick, or lose a player, we’ll have the coverage). At least as this is being typed at 1:43am on what is technically Thursday morning, the Cincinnati Reds haven’t gotten much done that they had seemed to set out to get accomplished in San Diego. Free agents Zack Wheeler and Didi Gregorius, both of whom it was reported the Reds were going after, signed with other organizations.

But fortunately the season doesn’t start tomorrow. The Reds will still be able to try and get things done for the next four months. They did lose out on some of their targets, but several other known ones remain available. One of those guys they’ve stated their interest in is Japanese outfielder Shogo Akiyama. We’ve written about him a few times this offseason and whether he could be a good fit for the Cincinnati Reds.

What was unknown before yesterday was what kind of contact it would take to sign him. Bruce Levine of 670 The Score in Chicago, where the Cubs are also showing interest in Akiyama, notes that the 31-year-old outfielder is seeking a 2-year deal worth $10M. That feels like a much lower ask than I would have thought, by quite a bit. If that’s the true asking price it almost feels like a deal without any risk at all, and one with plenty of upside, too.

A left-handed hitter, Shogo Akiyama has posted an on-base percentage between .385 and .419 every season since 2015. In the last three years he’s also upped his power output. And perhaps something that isn’t valued enough by some of us – he’s played every single game for Seibu since the start of the 2015 season. For a team that’s in need of finding more baserunners, this could be a valuable add if the scouts believe his skills would translate.

Tanner Roark chooses Toronto

Cincinnati was attempting to reunite with starting pitcher Tanner Roark, who began the season with the Reds. But they moved him to Oakland at the trade deadline for prospect Jameson Hannah. The Reds seem to still be looking to upgrade their rotation. After losing out on Zack Wheeler, they were reportedly interested in lefty Madison Bumgarner – who still remains a free agent. But Roark, while not on par with those two, would likely be an upgrade for the #5 spot. He chose to sign a 2-year deal with the Blue Jays for $24M.

Could the Reds lose anyone in today’s Rule 5 Draft?

If you are gearing up for the Rule 5 Draft, which can be streamed (audio only) at at noon ET, you can check out who the Reds could possibly lose in the draft to other teams at Outfielder TJ Friedl seems like the most likely to be selected, but a few other options could be there. A true wild card could be a team deciding to take a chance on rebuilding Brandon Finnegan, who would be available.

Who could the Cincinnati Reds lose in the Rule 5 Draft?

45 Responses

  1. AirborneJayJay

    It is a Deja Vu All Over Again off-season for the Reds.
    What a snooze-fest this winter meetings turned out to be. Reds were being the Reds. All talk and no action, again.
    All-in for 2020? Looks like the Reds are halfway all-in again, too.
    What a lame off-season, again. What a lame Reds front office. One step forward, two steps backwards, as usual with this Reds front office. The story of this Reds team again, all talk and no action.

    • TBD

      “One step forward, two steps backwards, as usual with this Reds front office.”

      We’ll maybe they should just turn around and walk towards the other direction in order to get where you want them to go.

  2. James H.

    Am I the only one who doesn’t like losing guys like O’Grady and Friedl to giveaways like waiver claims and the Rule 5 draft when they could be used as throw-ins for a decent trade package? The organization has spent a lot of resources on these guys, and we as fans follow their development consistently thru sites like redsminorleagues (love your work there), and then these guys are basically just tossed. Leaves me shaking my head and thinking “okay, don’t get too attached…”

    • BK

      As of this morning, we have only lost O’Grady to a trade for a PTBNL. Friedl is still a Red; Baseball America didn’t list him among the 50ish players they profiled leading up to the Rule 5 Draft. He may go, but it’s a little early to get excited.

      In short, these are really marginal prospects with negligible trade value. Another way to look at this is that it’s an indication of depth on the 40-man roster–depth is a positive indicator of our overall systems health.

      • David

        Friedl was a marginal AA player last year. To keep a player from the Rule 5 draft, he has to stay on the ML Roster for the whole season (?). Does someone really want to give up an ML roster spot to a guy who hit poorly in AA ball last season?
        That would seem dumb.

        But I think it was unwise to let O’Grady go through waivers to be lost. I think O’Grady could have helped the Reds at the ML level if he was given more at bats to prove himself.

    • jon

      They didn’t lose Friedl and drafted a guy better than 0’Grady(Payton).

  3. Klugo

    I would think that hitters would love the opportunity to come here while pitchers would not.

  4. Ed

    I’d love to see Marcus Semien as a Red. Contract ends next year, trade for him and extend him. Led the AL in games played, plus 8 WAR. That moves the needle, and what an infield that would be.

    • Ed

      Not that I think they’d trade him. But man- THAT is a guy worth dumping some prospects for. Especially to an organization so dedicated to developing younger talent

      • JB

        I brought semien up before and nobody commented on it. I agree with you on him. The guy improved his defense and his hitting is great. I would start with Greene and go from there.

    • Bill J

      Any ideas, they want a left-handed bat for the outfield.

  5. Hotto4Votto

    I’m not down on the Reds for not accomplishing anything at the meetings, there’s still a lot of offseason to go. The FO has already said that FA is taking priority and trades are currently on the back burner. With only one legitimate upgrade at C and SS on the FA market it was always going to be hard to outbid everyone else for their services. And sometimes factors are out of their control (ie Girardi/Didi connection). The fact that they’ve already signed Moustakas is a good start. I’m sure the groundwork has been laid for other moves.
    I think the Reds need to make about 3-4 more moves that will vary in size.
    They need to add more offense to the OF. Preferably someone who can play RF and/or cover CF. (If we’re truly competing I don’t think you can completely count on Aquino yet).
    They need to trade for an upgrade at C or SS. (Galvis and our catching corps leaves the bottom third of the order pretty weak).
    They need to upgrade the 5th spot in the rotation. (Mahle is good depth but I think we can upgrade there for a reasonable cost)
    Add to the bullpen for depth.

    • JB

      If they are competing they cant count on any of their outfielders. They are all question marks.

    • Scott C

      I agree, we can not say nothing was done at the winter meetings, only nothing was finalized a the winter meeting. So what if they didn’t sign Wheeler, but did we want to go to 120 million. I would have liked Gregorius too, but like you said the Giraldi connection was something the Reds could not control. I look for the Reds to do more. I am hoping not Ozuna or Calhoun, at this point Castellanos is the best bet for OF, but I really think the priority has to be either catcher or SS, having low OBP bats in a third of your batting order is a recipe for failure.

      • TBD

        “…we can not say nothing was done at the winter meetings, only nothing was finalized a the winter meeting. ”
        Well said

  6. Bdh

    Doug – How confident are you that Winker is a red on opening day next season?

  7. JoZo

    Why does everyone act like the reds did nothing and had a terrible winter meetings? I think it went well. They signed a guy who is more than likely going to hit 30-40 dingers and knock in 80 or more. To me that is exciting. Yeah, they missed on a couple of guys but so did the dodgers, and many many other teams. This whiny fan base in Cincinnati is old and tiresome.

    • DHud

      It’s almost like there are 29 other teams vying for the services of these players. Not to mention the players are independent, free-thinking human beings who also get a say on where to take their services

      I swear some people think this is a video game where you just click the button and every FA signs with your team

      “The Reds didn’t sign Grandal AND Didi AND Wheeler AND Moose AND Bumgarner in the last 3 days!? WHAT IS THE FRONT OFFICE EVEN DOING!?”

    • Steve

      I could not agree more, reading comment sections and twitter can be incredibly frustrating. One minute is “I can’t believe we overpayed for Moose, OMG” then the next minute it is “I can’t believe the Reds are just sitting around doing nothing again.” There is no pleasing some people, the Reds by all accounts have been one of the more active teams thus far, sometimes that activity results in a signing and sometimes it doesn’t work out.

    • Hotto4Votto

      15 or so comments on here and only one specifically negative comment about the winter meeting activities. Three negative comments about the negative comment.
      Post whatever you want, that’s the way message boards work, but complaining about complaining just adds more negativity and creates divisiveness.
      Be the change you wish to see…

      • DHud

        Over pessimism for no objective reason deserves to be called out

        Comments on Redleg Nation are generally more sane because the readers here are typically more informed

        The general fan base, however, is exhausting. As Steve pointed out, other forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and Reds Reporter are home to daily “they’re just going to trade all their good talent” comments. Those “fans” should just go away

      • Hotto4Votto

        Sure, and that can done by clicking the reply button under the post. This JoZo poster though has posted similar complaints about on multiple threads. It’s unnecessary and as annoying to read as the constant complaints. To say “everyone acts like the Reds did nothing …” is just not a true statement. Like I said above, one comment out of 15 at the time, that’s a far cry from “everyone”. More posters mentioned exhibiting patience and cited Moustakas signing as a plus than blamed the FO for inactivity.

        If the issue is with negativity on the internet in general….well I’ve got bad news for you. You might just wanna stay off altogether or learn to ignore.

      • JoZo

        Obviously a few people agreed with what I posted and I’m not the only one that feels this way. BTW hotto4votto, how does it feel to be the one that complains about the person who complains about people complaining? Asking for a friend.

    • AirborneJayJay

      You think things went well for the Reds at the winter meetings? Moustatkas was signed almost 2 weeks ago, not at the winter meetings. I guess with you doing nothing is doing well.
      How is that Bringing Winning Baseball Back to Cincinnati working out for you?? It has been 13 seasons since Big Bob made that bold proclamation. The Reds have had 3 winning seasons out of 13 in the Big Bob era. That means there has been 10 losing seasons under the Castellini’s. PITIFUL!!!!!!
      Are you not sick and tired of the Reds front office and ownership blowing smoke up your rear end for 13 years running now?? Are you not sick and tired of the lies?
      A little less talk, and a lot more action. Please.

      • citizen54

        Did you see what they did last year with the Dodgers? I’m actually glad the Reds haven’t done anything yet during the meetings.

      • TBD


        Was there something specific that you wanted to see them accomplish at the Winter Meetings ?
        I remember a few GMs over the years for the Reds and other organizations use the Winter meetings to get a gauge on interest and availability then they all go back home make assessments; then decide what to do and who to call.
        The winter meetings are more of a time to gather information rather than to make the trades.
        Just my personal opinion

    • Wes

      I’m sure there lack of movement had a lot to do with not jumping on any slew of terrible offers from other GMs hoping to take advantage of the reds.

  8. Joey

    There’s still plenty of time for deals to be made. I know everyone wants the offense upgraded more but boy if we could land Ryu or even Mad Bum as a lefty that would be awesome.I still believe there will be a starting position player for the Reds who is not currently on our roster. Go Reds!

  9. Justin

    I’m guessing the reds trade for:

    An upgrade at shortstop


    An upgrade to the right handed part of the Winker platoon who could possibly play center or right should Senzel or Aquino falter.

    After that, they’ll do what they do best and grab a starter and a reliever at a bargain. Unless Ryu or Bumgarner come at an affordable price, the starter picked up will be someone Mahle could beat out and we could store at AAA.

  10. Chris Holbert

    I think is a little early in the off season to have disappointment. That said, there are a lot of teams that can, and, will be willing, to go higher in dollars on a contract than I believe the Reds. Especially for the SPs, Kuechel, Bumgarner, and such. The OFs will also now command more than the Reds may be willing to spend, despite what has been communicated. Trading may be the best route to upgrade, and I understand some think prospects are gold, but, to get proven and immediate upgrades you have to part with those. The Reds have a couple prospects that probably should not be traded, Stephenson, Lodolo, for instance, but IMO they should pursue you younger proven controllable pieces, and dig deep and be serious when having interest. Let’s be honest most of the Reds prospects, are marginal for potential MLB.

  11. SultanofSwaff

    Man, a lot of low batting averages in the lineup as currently constructed. Going to be a boring offense to watch.

    They made their free agent splash already. Besides picking up complementary pieces, the last item on the to-do list is to trade some prospect capital to add that 3-4 WAR player and round out the starting 8. if I’m in charge, I keep an open mind about Senzel’s position. Depending on who I can trade for, he would line up at SS or CF for me.

    I’ll be curious to see what kind of deal Jose Iglesias gets….

  12. JB WV

    If they can get. Bumgarner, fine. But if not I’m comfortable with what we have- not giving up early on Mahle as #5. He could certainly still blossom as an outstanding ML starter and so could Santillan. The key now is to get a top tier ss. I’d hate to go into the season with Galvis as the starter.

  13. jim walker

    In addition to Akiyama, per late last night (Weds), the Reds are rumored to be in on Kole Calhoun who was nontendered by the Angels.

    Calhoun are Akiyama are both LH hitters which leaves me wondering where Jesse Winker fits into the Reds plans.

    Calhoun is clearly a corner OF. As Doug noted in the post, Akiyama has played CF but is at that age where a move to the corners would seem to be in the cards.

    • Scott Beard

      Jim Walker are you by any chance from Indiana ? I ask because I used to live a half a block from a Jim Walker in a small town in Indiana. And I also remember that Jim Walker was an Oakland A’s fan. Just curious to see if I know you

  14. AirborneJayJay

    Jon Morosi tweeted this out in the middle of the night that has gone largely unnoticed.
    “Sources say #Rangers and #Reds showing continued interest in Nicholas Castellanos, one of the best available hitters after Anthony Rendon signed Wednesday.”
    Continued interest in Castellanos? The Reds haven’t been linked much at all to Castellanos. Maybe there is still hope in this off-season.

    • TBD

      I agree. If the Reds are truly interested in upgrading the offense the Castellanos seems to be the obvious choice to target.

  15. FreeHouse

    Reds should look into David Price and Chris Sale. They may have to eat some money with Price but he’s still solid and I think he’ll be very good in the NL. As for Sale he’ll cost more but those elbow problems might be too risky for the Reds to take.

  16. SteveO

    Reds select Mark Payton, an OF from the A’s. He is L/L. That makes 10 OFs on the 40 man roster. There will definitely be some movement to reduce that number. Trade in the works?

  17. RedsFan11

    The question is, how well will Shogo translate to MLB? With an OBP like that this offense could look similar to 2013 with Votto and Choo going #1&2 in the league in OBP. That team won 90 games

    For me the biggest hole on the this team is Galvis and SS. Have to figure out how to plug that hole. Maybe signing/trading for an OF and move Senzel if possible

    • JB

      Absolutely. Galvis is the biggest hole. He is a bench player. They need to upgrade there. What they also need is a proven outfielder. Every outfielder they have is a question mark. They cant go into the season with so many “ifs” in the outfield. I think they are going to find a partner and make a trade for something.

    • jon

      The Senzel to SS ship sailed away for good.

  18. DHud

    Man, that’d be a PR mountain. You’re absolutely right, he’s the perfect buy low candidate, but how much of an appetite does the organization and its fan base have for that baggage? Reds track record on this sort of thing is a bit of a mixed bag (brought chronic drug abuser Hamilton in, shipped Chapman out on the next plane, resigned Simon…all different circumstances, but interesting nonetheless)

  19. DHud

    There’s also the on field aspect of it, obviously. He was not very good at baseball last year

    • Dave

      I agree. Just wondered what people would think. PR nightmare for sure and he did have a bad year but if he had a good year wouldn’t be available. I really thought they would cut bait last year.