Recently the Reds Front Office staff have said that they are willing to open up the checkbook and do what they have to do to make the 2020 Playoffs. It is clear that with a couple moves the Reds could definitely make a playoff run. While they only won 75 games this year, many people would agree that they just never hit their stride or had all the pieces working at the same time. Now the offseason has begun and it is time for the Reds to back up their words with actions. Here are seven moves the Reds should make this offseason to put them in position for a 2020 Playoff run and beyond.
1. Extend Luis Castillo
While this may not be the first solution that comes to mind for Reds fans, it should be. Even with some late-season woes, Castillo had a breakout year. He was in consideration for the Cy Young award basically all year. Also, he joined Sonny Gray in having 200 or more strikeouts this season. The right-hander will be 27 when the next season rolls around meaning that he will be hitting his prime and the Reds should want full control of him for those all-important years. Buying-out his arbitration could also save Cincinnati some money in the long run. Locking down their ace for the foreseeable future can do a lot for the current team’s mentality and also for the potential free agents who are giving Cincinnati a look.
2. Trade for Mookie Betts
It has been rumored quite a bit that the Red Sox may be looking to trade their All-Star outfielder. If this is the case then the Reds should be the first one knocking at their door. The Reds offense was, well, non-existent throughout many different points of the season. Mookie Betts gives the Reds not only a star for 2020 but with an extension added onto the trade, which they can now afford, he could be one of their faces of the franchise for the foreseeable future. Imagine an outfield of Jesse Winker in left, Betts in Center and Aristides Aquino in right with Phillip Ervin as a backup for the next few years, that is quite the outfield for a mid-market team.
3. Move Nick Senzel to Second Base Full Time
Second base was a black hole for the Reds for nearly the entire season. So with that in mind, it is clear that the Reds need to make a move to solidify the position. When looking at the free agents for that position the only options that stand out are Starlin Castro, Chris Owings and Jonathan Schoop. While all of those would be good options, wouldn’t it be better to just have Senzel there as an in-house option and save that money for elsewhere? That is a simple answer, yes. It would hopefully result in fewer injuries and allow him to show just how good of a defender he is at a more natural position.
4. Cut Derek Dietrich
There is no doubt that Derek Dietrich brought a lot of fun and exciting energy to the clubhouse. But, honestly, that may have been the only reason he was still on the team by the end of the season. His struggles in the second half were well documented where he hit .080 with one homerun in the last three months of the season. On top of that, there is nowhere for him to play next season as the Reds will likely add bigger names to the positions he plays. He is due for arbitration this year and likely will be given more than he is currently worth. To avoid that and make sure their money goes towards players who can help them win a pennant the Reds need to cut Derek Dietrich before the December deadline.
5. Sign Tyler Clippard and Jeremy Jeffress
At one point the Reds bullpen looked like one of the best in the league. Then as the season went on they started to wear out and struggled mightily in the second half. Most likely this was due to a couple of different things but most of all they were pitching too many innings with a lot of younger players. Next year there is no doubt that this bullpen can get back to what it was, but they need consistent, veteran arms.
In steps Tyler Clippard and Jeremy Jeffress. Both have playoff experience and a history of success. Clippard specifically has been very good for a number of teams for a long time, and he is relatively cheap. Jeffress hit a bump in the road last season but putting him back with Derek Johnson should allow him to get back on track. Not to mention the Reds can also get him on the cheap side.
6. Bring Back Jose Iglesias
If Nick Senzel is moved to second full time then he should fulfill the need for the offensive issues in the middle-infield for the Reds. While Senzel is a good defender, pairing him up with Jose Iglesias will solidify the infield defensively and still give the Reds a cheap option at the back of their lineup. Iglesias hit incredibly well with two strikes and with runners in scoring position last season. It is likely that he won’t do that again this season but the Reds would still be getting a bargain at shortstop and someone reliable. Also, while Didi Gregorius is a great option that many fans will want, he is injury-prone and the contract he will be looking for will eat into the Reds abilities to make other higher impact moves.
7. Sign a Veteran Starting Pitcher with Playoff Experience
This, is one of the higher impact moves mentioned above. The Reds should already have one of the best rotations in the MLB next season with Castillo, Gray, Bauer and Desclafani. Now what they need is a veteran that is higher tier and still within a reasonable price range. This is normally the move a major contender makes to round-out their team and there are definitely options worth exploring.
The Reds could go in two ways here, either a longer-term deal of three years plus with a younger player, or a short-term one to two-year deal to protect themselves for an older player. Players in the first option could be, Yu Darvish, Wade Miley, Rick Porcello and Zack Wheeler. For the second option, Cole Hamels, Corey Kluber and Adam Wainwright. Most of this type of move will depend on the free-agent or trade that is made for a bat. If they go cheaper on a lineup piece then expect them to spend here and vice versa.
The Cincinnati Reds are going for it in 2020. They already have some great pieces and with their wallets being opened they will have more money than ever to spend. This could be a very similar year as the Royals in 2015 for the Reds. It is without a doubt the most important offseason in this millennium for the Reds and fans should expect them to make as many moves as they can to push themselves into World Series contention. Buckle-up Reds fans, things are going to get interesting.
“From Our Haus to Yours”