After a shortened season, many teams may not be spending much money. That likely includes the Reds who spent more than they ever have before the 2020 season on some of the biggest names they have ever brought in. This helped them get to the playoffs where they squandered their chance in a big way. This offseason the Reds will need to wisely go after free agents. It will be interesting to see what the rumors are as the offseason officially begins.
Before diving into this, Trevor Bauer is likely out of the Reds range price-wise. If they were to re-sign him that would likely be their only move of the entire offseason. Because of that, this list looks at a world where Trevor Bauer does not come back to Cincinnati. With that, here are the top three free agents the Cincinnati Reds should go after.
*All salaries and contract numbers are from spotrac.
1+1 Club: $8,000,000 (Y1)/ $10,000,000 (Club Option)
It is no secret that the Reds desperately need shortstop help. While José García may be their shortstop of the future, Reds fans and coaches alike saw that he is still a year or two away at least in terms of at the plate. That means that the Reds will need to find a shortstop that can fill in until he is ready. Normally that means the team could find some veteran and give them the spot for nothing, but the Reds are planning to contend and they need a player who can help them do so now.
In steps Andrelton Simmons. The once uber-prospect has never completely panned out at the plate, that said he is only two seasons out from finishing in the top 15 for MVP in back to back seasons. Oddly, while he did not homer in 2020, he was on his way to having his best season batting average wise. The Reds could use a guy who gets the bat to the ball. Simmons is a low strikeout guy who doesn’t walk much but, he can hit for average and he is arguably the best fielding shortstop of this generation.
If the Reds are serious about contending and spending on a shortstop, Simmons is the guy. It is possible that they may need to add an additional year to this deal as well as spend a little more than what is predicted to bring him to Cincy. That said, it is likely less than Didi Gregorious and truthfully, Simmons is just a better overall fit for the Reds.
Brad Miller– UTIL
1 year: $2,500,000
Yes, signing another former Cardinal that hit the Reds well. The difference is he was not there when Walt Jocketty was running that team. In terms of why the Reds would want him; he is a lefty with power, he can play every infield position outside of first and he is a solid bet to not get any offers for a starting position. Sounds like an ideal candidate for the Reds.
Sure, the Reds would be paying him quite a bit as a bench player. That said, the teams that compete in the playoffs are the ones that are deep and Brad Miller gives the Reds an even deeper bench. Their biggest glaring weakness for it right now is that they need another solid bat from the left side after Brian Goodwin. Miller is relatively cheap and would likely be enticed by a short-term deal to a team that is ready to make a World Series run now.
Tony Watson– LHP
2 year: $3,000,000 (Y1)/$3,000,000 (Y2)
Similarly to their bench, the left side of the bullpen is a bit lacking after Amir Garrett. While Garrett would say he can go anytime, any day and against anyone, the Reds could use another left-handed reliever. Tony Watson fits what they are looking for perfectly.
He has a career 2.80 ERA with only two years above a 3.60. Watson strikes out only about eight batters per inning but, he keeps the ball in the ballpark. Also, he has some solid playoff experience with the Pirates and Dodgers in the past. Lastly, he has pitched his entire career in the National League, which means he will be comfortable against most teams.
Watson may not be a sexy signing in terms of pitchers, but he is someone who would solidify the Reds bullpen as one of if not the best in baseball. If they can’t have the best three starter pitchers in baseball, at least they can have a bullpen that locks it down after the fifth inning.
2021 Payroll and Last Thoughts
With these signings, the known payroll and the anticipated arbitration numbers according to spotrac, the Reds would have something around $143,000,000 in payroll for 2021. This puts them a few million short of what the 2020 payroll would have been without COVID. It does this while still adding pieces that the Reds will want during their run at a World Series title over the next few years.
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