Impact deals still to come as 'patient' Reds wrap Winter Meetings

December 6th, 2023

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Reds did not make any significant moves during the Winter Meetings, but that did not make them an outlier by any means.

Transactions league-wide at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center were at a minimum throughout the past four days.

"We didn't do a lot last year, but we didn't have a lot to do," Reds president of baseball operations Nick Krall said on Wednesday as the Winter Meetings wrapped. "This year, it's probably slower than I would have figured."

Only a handful of teams made any deals this week, as much of the industry seemed to be waiting with anticipation for free-agent superstar Shohei Ohtani to sign, thus prompting clubs to pivot to their other options.

Cincinnati made its two major offseason moves ahead of coming to town, signing Nick Martinez to bolster the rotation and Emilio Pagán to fortify the bullpen last week. Both pitchers agreed to a two-year deal -- each with an opt-out clause after one season -- for a combined $42 million.

"Being able to add two players already allows us to be more patient and selective than two weeks ago," Krall said. "We had a lot of conversations. We had meetings. I feel like we had a productive several days. We [just] didn't get anything finalized."

Biggest remaining needs

Starting pitching: The Reds may have added Martinez, but they're still in the market for a frontline arm for the rotation. They were in talks with Sonny Gray and Wade Miley before the two former Reds signed with other clubs. Cincinnati has also been connected in trade rumors with Tyler Glasnow of the Rays, Dylan Cease of the White Sox and Shane Bieber of the Guardians.

Relief pitching: Pagán can handle multiple innings, but the club could still add more depth. In recent offseasons, the Reds have found success in low-risk Minor League signings that paid off. Lefty Alex Young was one of those success stories in 2023, and there should be plenty of available free-agent relievers who can be added as Spring Training draws closer.

Outfield/bat: The Reds have three lefty-hitting true outfielders in TJ Friedl, Will Benson and Jake Fraley, as well as one right-handed hitter in bench player Stuart Fairchild. Utility player Spencer Steer is also right-handed and played left field for the first time in his career last season. Steer could get more chances in the outfield, but picking up a right-handed-hitting corner outfielder wouldn't hurt.

Or they wouldn't necessarily have to be right-handed.

“There’s some things to still work through," Krall said. "I think you could add a left-handed bat. You could add a switch-hitter that plays the infield that could push Steer into the outfield more. It can be more of a complement. I think you can do some different things.”

Moves made

No signings happened for the big league roster. The Reds did agree to terms on Minor League contracts with infielders Erik Gonzalez and Mark Mathias. Both are viewed as depth additions at the Triple-A level.

Rule 5 Draft

The Reds did not make a selection and did not lose any unprotected players in the Major League phase of the annual Rule 5 Draft on Wednesday.

Baseball operations president's bottom line

Of course, the Reds still have plenty of offseason left to make moves, but Krall couldn't predict how long it might take to get other deals done.

"Honestly I don't know," Krall said. "Each entity takes its own time. It depends on where they are -- whether it's a trade or free agent. We're working through it. Some could happen sooner. Some could happen later."