The Cincinnati Reds Caravan kicked off on Thursday morning, but before the different groups left from Great American Ballpark they interacted with the local media. C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic tweeted out that Cincinnati Reds President of Baseball Operations said he expected the team to add to the big league roster before the start of spring training.

The key thing to focus on here is that Williams said big league roster. That means the 40-man. That doesn’t imply simply signing someone and giving them an invitation to spring training – like the organization did earlier this week with reliever Nate Jones – but signing someone to a guaranteed contract (or acquiring someone via trade) for at least the 2020 season.

The ZiPS projections for the Reds suggest that the team is significantly better than their 2019 record of 75-87. It’s a competitive team as it stands now, at least on paper (which is all anyone can go by at this point in time). There’s something to be said about how valuable an extra win or two can be when a team is competing versus when a team is fighting to win 77 games. Going from 86 wins to 88 wins can be massive. That very well could be the difference between making the playoffs and not making the playoffs. For a team like the Reds, who are in that range – adding to the roster, be it additional depth or adding someone they can count on regularly – it’s the kind of move that could tip the scale.

Teams should always being looking to upgrade everywhere. That said, there are some places where upgrading may be easier than others. For Cincinnati, the place that seems to be the one that could be upgraded and have the most significance is shortstop. Freddy Galvis is the current starter there, and among the position groups (I’m using the term groups here because it feels like the outfield is going to see several guys rotating spots rather than having just three starters, and of course there’s almost always some split behind the plate), he seems to be the weakest link. The Reds have been linked to several shortstops on the trade market this offseason, and they’ve been big names like Francisco Lindor and Corey Seager – but those kinds of players don’t get moved on the cheap. And for now at least, it seems the price is too high to get the deal done.

Unlike the shortstop position, where there really only feels like one option on the current roster – Galvis – the bullpen is an area with a lot of options available for the Reds that are already in-house. But it’s also an area where many feel the team could still use an upgrade. The options on the free agent market aren’t exactly still there in terms of certainty. So like shortstop, if a true upgrade is going to come onboard, it’ll likely have to come from the trade market.

Perhaps the Reds front office has something up their sleeve that they are working on. We’re going to have to wait and see, but pitchers and catchers report in less than a month. We might not have to wait long to see what’s next.

78 Responses

  1. Tom Mitsoff

    Our friend Chad Dotson said on the Redleg Nation podcast that Williams also commented that the Reds’ goal is to win the World Series. I love hearing that, and we’ll see what moves they will be willing to make to get closer to that goal. The off-season moves so far are positives, and have put Cincinnati in position to contend for a playoff berth. But much more needs to be done to take that next giant step.

    • Charles Lackey

      To Dick Williams..in order to win or contend you must obtain very good players. Sitting and giving interviews does not get the job done. It would seem to me just sitting and watching other teams grab top players doesn’t give you wins, nor does talking about seem. Reds are in need of pitching be it a starter or bullpen. And please don’t sign players coming off injuries and no other team wants PLEASE get the big bat & a very good pitcher, those players are still available, as a Reds fan for over 55 years please try to obtain the players to get to the top. Help the Reds win NOW!

      • Annoyed W/Reds Fans

        What do you think they’ve been doing all off season? It takes two to tango.

      • GR8PNT2

        It appears to me that players have options based upon multiple offers that provide choices such as living in a specific city or as in one case choosing a place to raise horses.

  2. SultanofSwaff

    I’d have to think that if Colorado is shopping Arenado that they’d be more than willing to listen on Story.

    Good to see DW in a proactive frame of mind. In previous years (ok, decades), the Moose signing would be the most we could’ve hoped for.

    • jeffversion1

      The home/road splits of guys who play in Colorado are always terrifying to me. Or maybe I just have PTSD from watching Dante Bichette.

      • CI3J

        Wasn’t Dante already in his mid-30’s when he came to Cincy, though? And if I remember, he still hit pretty well, maybe with a slight decline in power, but like I said, he was already in his mid-30’s, so that was to be expected.

        I also anecdotally remember seeing someone on TV holding up a sign saying “Bash It, Bichette!”. Whatever happened to people bringing signs to baseball games?

      • rex

        I remember Pokey Reese playing half of right field from second that year

      • Matt WI

        Oh man, I completely forgot that Bichette was a Red for a little bit! Shame on me.

        CI3J- I know that at Miller Park they have tables near some of the entrance gates for making signs. Of course the signs are sponsored Kohl’s, so there’s that. My kids have a few in their rooms or wherever… because it’s Very Important that such things never get thrown away 😉

      • BigRedMachine

        Do you mean the Dante Bichette that in his 125 games hit .295/.353/.466 and was pretty close to his career numbers of .299/.336/.499?

      • mtnbro

        I just looked up Bichette’s stats on baseball reference to see how he hit with us. I was absolutely shocked, not at his year with the reds but with his career WAR. His 162 game average was 26 HR, 108 RBI, .299/.336/.499. His career was is 5.7! That stat line is solid but over a 14 year career it only equated to 5.7 WAR.

      • Colorado Red

        I think the difference in altitude makes it hard.
        Breaking balls move differently.
        When DJ went to the Yanks this previous season, he mentioned how hard that was.
        Trevor will do great in BABP, he adds great D, and the ability to steal a base.
        I would please him very close to Lindor, and would welcome a trade.

      • Red rover

        The home/away splits for story are scary. I mean GABP is also a hitters park so it may be a wash. But in all honesty, I would rather just go with Galvis before trading prospects for Story

    • AllTheHype

      Story’s 2019 road split last year is only “slightly” better than Galvis’ overall 2019 slash line. He’s mostly an average SS away from Coors.

      He’d be a slight upgrade at best.

      • Sean D

        You can’t just assume he’s gonna hit like he did on the road. Most people are worse on the road anyways. Also Trevor plays great defense maybe better than Galvis and he’s fast. I think he would be an .830-.850 OPS guy with the reds as opposed to Galvis being .700-.750 which is pretty substantial.

      • AllTheHype

        Marginally better, not substantial, and definitely not worth the wealth of prospects for that marginal improvement.

  3. DB

    Unless they trade for someone, not claiming Villar is looking worse and worse. He’s no game changer, but for the meager price of I think $10 million, it would have been head and shoulders above Galvis. I like Galvis don’t get me wrong, he can have his flashes, but think about if the Reds would have gotten Villar. No prospect capital would have been lost, and they would have had a backup/utility player in Galvis. Huge missed opportunity.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Agreed. That’s one they may look back on and regret not taking action.

    • CI3J

      I’m still baffled why they didn’t get him. He seems exactly the kind of player they’d want, able to play multiple positions, just entering his prime years, and already productive. Maybe his injury history threw them off?

      • Jim m

        I would love to see if they could get Siemen from the A’s.

    • W.Lackey

      Reds have missed so many opportunities to obtain top players it is pathetic. Reds sit and talk about doing this and that. Reds must be doing the THIS instead of THAT. With Reds moves they may win 5 to ten more wins. Team must have 2 or 3 more very, very good players…without giving away the good players the team currently have. Go Reds

      • Justin

        Is it pathetic? Maybe Villar wanted to play somewhere warm? I think plenty of people would take a 10% pay cut if it meant being happier.

        Maybe Gregorious wanted to play for Girardi?

        I think because we don’t have that information it doesn’t enter our mindset on here, but just think about all the factors you’d consider before making a career choice.

      • Tom

        Yeah, I think there’s a chance Grandal and Didi may not have wanted to play for the team who traded them as prospects. That’s it Dick Williams fault.

      • Tom

        Man, I like the Holt move.

        I don’t think the Reds should give up the farm for Lindor or Seager. A trade for 5 seasons of Willy Adames from the Rays would make more sense. The Rays have way too much SS talent.

        But, If that deal or one like doesn’t pan out, I like the idea of adding Holt. If someone gets hurt, Blandino can come back up. Plus, Holt can platoon with Galvis against LHP and I think that mitigates some of the offensive issues.

        Get Holt and get some relievers.

    • Bradley D Girdler

      Totally agree with one million percent ! I was just looking at villar and always thinking the same thing ! Over the last 4 years his ave is .265 on base % .332 with 17 homers per year and 40 stolen bases per year ! And he plays good defense and is a switch hitter on top of that ! Reds should have jumped for him ! Would of cost no prospects for him ! Still bummed about that one !

  4. RedNat

    I respect what the FO has done these past 2 offseasons. after missing out on Didi and Grandal they could have easily burried their head in the ground. instead they go out and get Moose and Shogo and Miley.and sounds like they are not done. at the very least 2020, like 2019 will be an entertaining year for us fans.

  5. MBS

    A trade for Hader would be huge. I know in division trades are tough and rare, but what a strong pen we’d have. Bell could use him like he tried to use Iglesias last year.

    Hader, Iglesias, Garrett, Lorenzen, Stephenson, Reed (Sims, De Leon, Kuhnel, Powers, Smith, Shaffer, Romano, Jones). With an outside chance of Santillan or Gutierrez being transitioned into a bullpen guy. I’m sure I’m missing a guy, but there would be a lot of arms competing for the last spot.

    • JayTheRed

      I’m with you MBS. I would love to see Hader with the Reds. Trading for players in the same division can be difficult though. The GM of the Brewers, is a very smart GM. They seem to find talent right at the right moment.

      Me living in the state the Brewers play in being a Reds fan is a little tough, but I get a up close look at what the Brewers have done in recent years.

      Hader is a quality bullpen arm though I worry about how he was used last season. Hopefully it didn’t mess things up for him.

  6. AirborneJayJay

    The Reds have a lot on hand to trade from.
    They have surplus in the OF. One or 2 OF can be traded.
    They can deal from pitching. Sims and Romano do not have any minor league options left and neither is guaranteed a spot in the bullpen.

    One small rumor is the Reds are checking in with the Cubs on C Willson Contreras. That could change things up in a big way. Pitching and Aquino would be the Cubs desire. I think they will live with Galvis at SS if they can get Contreras.

    The other rumor is the Reds are completely out on Ozuna. But they are still talking about Castellanos on a shorter term but higher AAV. Castellanos is still holding out for that 5 year $100MM offer that isn’t coming. That obviously is a $20MM AAV. If the Reds are looking at 3 years in the $60MM to $70MM range with a $22MM to $23MM AAV they might snag him. Adding Castellanos bat to the Reds offense would be a huge step toward going for that elusive playoff series win and a chance for the World Series. Castellanos = no prospect capital spent to obtain, no draft pick compensation to sign him. That frees up some prospect capital to spend for Contreras and a bullpen piece.

    • Justin

      I’m with you on this. Bell proved last year in my mind that if you shift we’ll enough. You can play Winker in center. Certainly Winker in center is no worse that Castellanos in LF/RF.

      I wouldn’t mind a longer term. We might have an availability at 1st base in the final year or two.

      • greenmtred

        You could play my dog Holly in center if you wanted. You could play me, with my 73 year-old knees. Doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

      • Michael E

        Well said Green. Never, ever should Winker play CF. Honestly, Winker belongs as a 1B or DH and nothing else if you put any emphasis on defense (half the game).

        If the Reds get a DH, he would be perfect for that hitting 5th or 6th, but that doesn’t appear to be happening for a few years at least. In the field, hide him in the spot where the least is expected of him and dangle him as trade bait if he starts of hitting well.

    • AllTheHype

      I like the Castellanos option as well.

    • G-Man

      I also really like the idea of signing Castellanos…and think it would definitely put us in the discussion to win the division. In addition, it would give us more trading capital for a reliever/catcher/shortstop. Please Dick, be quick, add another stick, sign Nick!

      • G-Man

        Wow…nobody even commented on my corny rhyme!?!?!? I know it was bad, but it’s been a long week and now I’m looking forward to the weekend! Go Reds!

      • Nick in NKY

        As an enthusiast of cheesy rhymes, I appreciate your comment.

    • CP

      Where are you seeing this small rumor that the Reds are talking to the Cubs about Wilson Contreras?

  7. mtnbro

    Casual fan here. We won 75 games last year. We’ve added Moustakas, Miley and Akiyama. Is that enough to make us competitive? I’ve been reading most of the articles here and have been reading people saying we should contend for the central and playoffs but I don’t see us being that much better than last year.

    Votto is going to be another year older; Senzel and Winker should be solid players if they can stay healthy (which hasn’t been a guarantee the last 2 years); I don’t really know what to make of Aquino; Galvis and Barnhardt should be average player; Moustakas above average and I look for Suarez to continue to be the main offensive producer. I don’t see why the starting pitching can’t be dominate. I think Bauer had an attitude problem last year, don’t think he liked being traded to Cincy, but on twitter and what I read about him here it seems he’s changed his attitude. I look for a return to form with him and that will make our rotation really good; but I don’t see how are lineup is really much better than last year. I see a lot of close game loses like we had last year. The offensive additions may get us to 81 wins but I think 90 is a stretch.

    Am I missing something or just being pessimistic?

    • Doug Gray

      You can’t use last years win total as the starting point. That’s what you are missing something.

    • Steve

      Nobody knows how things will shake out but i think 81 is low. That starting rotation is solid and Derek Johnson is a hell of a pitching coach. Also, the Reds have gone all in with Driveline and a (hopefully) better organizational approach to pitching. The offense is going to be better than last year, adding Moose and Shogo is a good start. The real key to how much better this offense will be is the progression of Aquino, health and progression of Senzel and Winker. I am as excited for this season as I have been since 2014. I understand the pessimism from alot of people but I, for one, am going to enjoy the Reds philosophy change and the fact that ownership and management are making an effort, not all teams can say that.

    • Amarillo

      It’s worth noting that the Cubs and Brewers look worse on paper, and the Cardinals will look worse if they fail to bring back Osuna.

      • Colorado Red

        But a whole lot better, if they trade for Nolan

    • Michael E

      Given our production in 2019 (run differential) indicated a winning record, I’d say yes, if we have at least average record in 1 run games, we’ll be pressing 86-88 wins. A good record in 1 run games and we’re looking at 93 or 94 wins. Given no team in the Central is a juggernaut, I’d think we have just as good of odds of any Central team to win the division. Even if we don’t, we should be in the wildcard hunt, though I think Atlanta, Washington and Phillies will be possibly taking 3 playoff spots themselves, meaning a wild card will be tough to get if we don’t win the Central.

      • Ed

        I keep saying the same thing, and I genuinely apologize if I keep replying this on your posts! But the fact is, the run differential and one run losses were a phenomenon of the first half of the season. If you look, those one-run losses happened back when Puig was in the lineup, before we started giving starts to Bauer/Gausman/Wood who combined for something like 15 losses, before the minor leaguers all had their shots and struggled. The team that closed out the season blew up that positive run differential, we experienced some blowout losses, and the Pythagorean record fell back to earth. I think these new acquisitions will help, but there’s obviously some possibility that things will be rough without more moves. Gray and Castillo could regress, Bauer/Miley are somewhat unproven, the bullpen is mediocre, and the success of the offense hinges on a healthy Winker/Senzel and like 5 other unproven outfielders. If the Cards swing Ozuna and trade for another slugger, it’s gonna be sad for Reds country.

    • BetterRedthanDead

      I think they are improved but the question is have they improved enough to pick up 13-15 wins it will take to win the division? I think they are close but it’s probably going to require one more key acquisition. I think Dick Williams should focus on pitching. I think the offense will bounce back especially with the bats they have added. My concern at this point is that the pitching will regress a bit.

  8. KDJ

    First, I am glad that some moves were made rather than filling minor league spots and hoping young guys get better and older guys don’t regress. That said, the biggest needs were 2B, SS, and C; only one of those was addressed. It does look like a better team, but not as large as I was hoping to see. To make the playoffs, I think we may need more 1-run wins than 1-run losses, fewer IL days, and players having average or better career years.

  9. Old-school

    The reds are better but I don’t know they’ve done enough to get 86+ wins.

    They will have to win head to head against the NL central to have any chance- Cubs and Cards especially .they can’t afford a slow start. Playing the Yankees, Red Sox and Ray’s doesn’t help, nor does 4 against the Indians- while the Cards get 4 against the Royals.

    • Michael E

      Their run differential in 2019 says they should have already been an 84 or 85 win team in 2019. I’d say they’re better and 90 wins should be a good ballpark starting point guess for 2020. If they upgrade any further, I’d be disappointed if they don’t get 90+ wins in 2020 as the team is currently (and after one upgrade to C/OF/SS/RP) and potentially constructed.

      Shogo and Moose alone should add 5 or 6 wins given OBP and experience over the young up n down players. They also make depth better so if any starter is lost a past starter is waiting on the bench.

      • Old-school

        I’ll have some of whatever you are having. Sounds great.Hope you are correct.

      • AllTheHype

        I was going to reply the same thing re: run differential in 2019. The Reds record did not match the run differential. I agree last year should have already been 84 or so. The roster improvements just add to that potential, plus the division is weaker overall.

  10. Bdh

    Reds rumored to be in on Brock Holt which I would be happy about adding to the bench. He’d be the backup shortstop and would give the reds a solid looking bench of

    Casali
    Farmer
    Holt*
    Ervin
    Aquino/Shogo/Winker/Senzel

    • jg

      Package Aquino, India, Santillan, Galvis, and Callihan or Hinds to Cleveland for Lindor. Sign Castellanos and Holt. Win the division and have a team good enough to Compete for the World series. Thats 3 of our top 10 prospects, a stopgap ss, and a mlb ready right handed power bat. Cleveland won’t get a better offer. LA won’t give up Lux for him.

      1b- Votto
      2b- Moose
      SS- Lindor
      3b- Suarez
      C- Barnhartt
      Outfield- Winker, Senzel, Shogo, Castellanos

      Bench- Casali, Farmer, Ervin, Holt

      • Colorado Red

        Reds would love that, not sure the Indians would accept (don’t now if you dong ask).
        I would not expect them to trade Lindor till the deadline at the earliest.

      • Colorado Red

        Looking at baseball trade values, probably have to add someone like Hunter, etc to make it closer.

      • Amarillo

        If that is all it took to get Lindor he’d be on the team already. The Dodgers have more to trade and we do and they haven’t gotten the Indians to say yes either. I’m guessing the Lindor asking price was something like Senzel and Castillo which we of course said no to.

  11. Mark Moore

    It has been fun to watch the off-season. Now, we get to see just how it plays out. Still have room to maneuver on a few fronts, but it feels like the pitching is solid and we have most daily positions set.

    I’m ready for 2020 … just wish I could have figured out how to make a Spring Training trip happen.

    • TR

      It would be a lot easier for a lot of us if the Reds had spring training in Florida where they were located for a long, long time.

      • Mark Moore

        The last time I had a trip to AZ planned I almost died … no, really. Spent a week in the hospital with pneumonia so I burned up my time off. Too expensive to fly out this year. Maybe for 2021.

      • Gonzo Reds

        Agreed. Boycotting ST till back in FL again.

  12. Hotto4Votto

    Holt would be a really nice addition. His LH bat could take the majority of starts at SS vs RH starters, if there isn’t another upgrade to be found on the trade market. If there is he’s a great utility option. Holt’s platoon splits were much better last season vs RHP than against LHP. For his career the difference isn’t as drastic but still favors him against opposite handed pitchers where he’s been above average for his career. He’s not a true SS but can handle the position. He played 33 innings at the position last year, in an injury shortened season, but logged 153 innings at SS as recently as 2018. With the prominence of shifting in today’s game he should fine. In any case he’d give David Bell a lot of options.

    • DaveCT

      Had the chance to see Holt a bunch. First, I’d assume he’d continue to be a really nice addition production-wise. Second, Reds fans will love this guy. Plays his butt off. It’s not so easy to win Boston fans over, but he did. That is, when they’re not jumping off bridges over a strikeout.

    • AirborneJayJay

      I love Brock Holt. On the field a good player who always gives max effort. Would be a huge clubhouse addition. And he has a couple of World Series rings to show off.
      Off the field he and his wife are terrific, wonderful people.

  13. Tom Mitsoff

    I haven’t seen any of Holt, so I don’t know, but could he start at shortstop? He had a 101 OPS+ last year (compared to 92 for Galvis and 85 for Iglesias), and if he could play even an average shortstop, that seems to be an improvement over Galvis. Hopefully there would be an even greater improvement option available.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Over the past two seasons, he’s only played 166 innings at shortstop. That could be because of a guy named Bogaerts being on the same team.

    • Hotto4Votto

      The MLBTR article has him at 186 innings at SS the past two seasons, which is the number I pulled above from baseball-reference (33 innings in 2019, 153 in 2018). Also in the article it stated he’s been worth +9 Outs Above Average over the past two season playing in the infield, though it didn’t break that down by position. SS was the position that he played the 2nd most out of the 6 positions he played, and it was by a decent amount of innings.
      Take that FWIW, but to me it indicates it’s a possibility that he could take a good chunk of the SS at bats if an better alternative is not found through trade.

  14. DHud

    All the talk today is about adding Holt. I keep thinking Alex Blandino is a guy who is forgotten in every conversation. Dollar for dollar would holt be an upgrade over Blandino as a utility piece?

    • Optimist

      Agreed – Blandino seems the perfect 26th man, high OBP, multiple positions, platoonable, etc.. Would take Holt, but still want Blandino and JVM to have chances to determine their value.

    • Hotto4Votto

      I like Blandino. Unfortunately last season he was lost a bit in the shuffle due to recovering from his injury and the emergence of VanMeter. With Blandino, my stance is similar to Aquino. While I really like both and see the upside in each, I think for a team set on competing for a a playoff berth and/or a divisional crown it’s really hard to rely on unproven rookies, who didn’t dominate the minor leagues on the way up. This is likely why the Reds have been connected to corner OF’ers all offseason and eventually brought in Akiyama to assist Aquino as he continues to transition.
      Holt has demonstrated more positional flexibility to this point in his career and his more established of a bat. Blandino simply hasn’t established himself at the ML level, yet. In a building year, it would fine to allow Blandino to grow into the role, but when most of the other pieces are set to compete, I’m not sure it’s a luxury the team has at this point. At the same time, injuries happen and I expect to see Blandino getting more experience throughout the year.

    • VaRedsFan

      If you look at Blandino’s stats you will figure out why he’s being forgotten. He should stay in AAA as the “break in case of emergency” guy

  15. Jeff Gangloff

    Next move should be to install buzzers
    on players and supply trash cans in the dugout.

    • JayTheRed

      No thanks, A lot of people have lost a ton of respect for the Astros organization, players and coaches involved in that mess.

      ps. I know your kidding but I have heard a lot of people are angry at the Astros as a whole.

  16. Bill J

    Another RP gone Stamman signed with the Padres.

  17. AirborneJayJay

    Reds sign another veteran reliever to a minor league deal. LHP Jesse Biddle. Had a rough 2019 and shoulder problems.

    • JayTheRed

      Never hurts to take a flyer on a player that has had success in the somewhat recent past but had a bad season or an injury or two. Might be something good if they are recovered from their rehab or surgery.

  18. SMKRedsfan

    With all the talk of trading for Lindor or Seager (both 2 yrs left) or moving Senzel or Suárez to shortstop, how about this;
    Reds trade Senzel, India, and Santillian to Colorado for Arenado.
    Suárez moves to shortstop, Arenado covers third ( between Arenado and Suárez they should be able to cover that side of the infield).
    Lineup:
    1) Shogo
    2) Votto
    3) Arenado
    4) Suárez
    5) Moose
    6) Punisher
    7) Winker
    8) Barnhart

    That would be an awesome everyday lineup.