The Cincinnati Reds have seemed to be in the limbo of rebuild mode for years now. Never quite good enough to win, but never quite getting the proper amount of elite prospects or draft picks. When they make moves, they never seem to fully get back what they gave away. Reds GM Nick Krall needs to tighten up on who he deals, and who he gets back. This is a game of chess, and so far, it seems the Reds have been playing checkers.
Cincinnati Reds Untouchables
As with any sport, teams need to have the core that they build around. For the Reds, there are some real gems.
Luis Castillo (RHP) 26 — Castillo is the young ace for the Reds. With an ERA of 2.71 and a SO/9 of 10.5, few are better than Castillo. The icing on the cake, he is under contract through 2024.
Sonny Gray (RHP) 29 — Gray is unlikely to ever reach his peak performance of 200+ innings pitched with a sub-three ERA, but he is still a very serviceable starter — even getting an All-Star nod this season.
Alex Wood (LHP) 28 — The Reds need to sign Wood and try to get him on a discount. Wood has that great left-handed slider that can leave right-handed batters buckling at the knees.
Amir Garrett (RP) 27 — Garret is one of the best relievers in the league. If the Reds can get good enough value out of him, a trade wouldn’t be out of the question. However, it would have to be a jaw-dropping deal. The Reds have made far to many bad deals to not get a steal with Garrett.
Cincinnati Reds Trade Pieces
Eugenio Suarez, arguably the Reds best hitter right now, is being overpaid on a young rebuilding team. During the winter meetings this year, Suarez could sell for a hefty price tag. The 28-year-old has hit 28 home runs so far this season. Dealing Suarez could help rebuild the farm system with a great deal.
Raisel Iglesias, the Reds closer, has 22 saves this year. Iglesias does an excellent job on the mound to close out games, but his $9 million salary doesn’t justify keeping him around when the Reds need to reload their roster.
Suarez and Iglesias could bring Cincinnati a haul of talented prospects or even young proven players. However, if they believe they can make a run next season (even though the Cubs and Brewers lose practically nobody) here are some scenarios that could help them do that.
On the Red Eye
The first thing Cincinnati should do is resign Alex Wood and Derek Dietrich for as cheap as possible. Wood has some of the best stuff from a lefty in the entire league. In his first game back from injury he looked polished and sharp. With Dietrich, despite the home runs, he’s had an absolutely awful year. However, he is the beating heart of the Reds clubhouse. With Yasiel Puig now gone, the Reds need to sign back Dietrich to keep things light in the dugout.
Jose Iglesias has been one of the Reds most consistent players all year, but he’s set to be a free agent this offseason. Iglesias is batting .278 and has been stout at shortstop. Signing him back and having that veteran leadership will be crucial if the Reds are going for it all next year.
Signing a catcher that can hit well and be a solid backstop is vital for the Reds. There is a very limited supply of catchers that can hit well in MLB, and the Reds haven’t had one in quite some time. If they can sure up the catching position, they will be one step closer to being the real deal. Some notable catching free agents next season are James McCann (should be top priority), Brian McCann, Stephen Vogt (second priority), Russell Martin, Francisco Cervelli, Jonathan Lucroy, and Martin Maldonado.
The last stop is the outfield. VanMeter, Ervin, Senzel, and Winker are all young promising players. However, signing Avisail Garcia next season could help the team tremendously. Batting .278, Garcia would instantly be the top hitter in the Reds outfield.
Future Projected Depth Chart
If the Reds are truly ready to make a postseason push next season and make some of the deals listed above, the best outcome could look similar to this.
This is a team that just might have enough pop in their bats to make a playoff push. Their starting rotation would be one of the best in the league. Castillo, Bauer, Gray, and Wood are all great to elite pitchers, and don’t forget Garrett and Iglesias out of the pen. That’s a legitimate group of arms.
A lot of things would have to go perfect this offseason in order for the Reds to make a playoff push in 2020. Votto and Dietrich will have to have better years. Senzel, Winkler, VanMeter, and Ervin will have to keep improving. Pitchers will have to stay healthy. And free agents will have to want to come to Cincinnati. All of these things can happen, and if they do, watch out NL Central, the Red Legs will be coming for you.
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