Is the real Aristides Aquino the one we saw in August or the one in September?
-- Russell K., on Facebook
We should certainly know more next season. I don’t believe Aquino will be as historically prolific of a hitter as he was in August, when he batted .320 with 14 home runs and 1.158 OPS. But I also don’t think his production at the plate will remain as anemic as he showed in September while batting .196 with five homers and a .619 OPS. There should probably be a level that’s more in between -- if he’s able to make adjustments. Pitchers adjusted to Aquino and threw him more off-speed pitches that had him chasing outside the strike zone. If he can shore up some of his deficiencies at the plate, he could remain a very dangerous everyday player.
In your opinion, what is the Reds’ biggest need this offseason?
-- Mike W., on Twitter
In a general need, more offense. Specifically, I would look for an outfielder to provide some of the boost. If the Reds decide Aquino isn’t the answer, they could look for a right fielder. Should they want Nick Senzel to move to second base, that would open center field. Jesse Winker is the likely left fielder, but he hasn’t finished a season healthy in each of the last two seasons.
Any chance the Reds use Michael Lorenzen as a full-time center fielder (plus as a reliever when needed), and move Senzel back into the infield?
-- Pete M., on Facebook.
Manager David Bell showed more willingness to use Lorenzen as a center fielder in September and gave him several starts. But I think the Reds should, and will, pick their spots in how he’s used in 2020. Despite his being a very good defensive player, he batted .208 with one homer last season, and that wouldn’t cut it on a regular basis. Lorenzen’s best strength is still his right arm when he’s used as a relief pitcher. Expect Bell to give Lorenzen more starts on some of the days he’s not available to pitch but not make him a full-time outfielder.
I think the elephant in the room is Raisel Iglesias. Big salary, horrible season. Where do they go from here?
-- Seth C., on Twitter
Unless there is a really good trade offer that helps the club in other areas, I don’t expect Iglesias to go anywhere. He will be the primary closer and -- as I wrote last week -- still get more opportunities in non-save situations, especially if they are important high-leverage moments. Sure, he had a poor 2019 season. But don’t forget that he was one of the most solid relievers in baseball over 2017-18, when he had a 2.43 ERA and 58 saves in 129 games.
Is 2020 the real goal? Or does the Kyle Boddy acquisition mean we should be more patient?
-- Jeremiah, on Twitter
The guru from Driveline, Boddy was named the Reds' director of pitching initiatives/pitching coordinator on Oct. 1. He will certainly be plugged into helping Major Leaguers, when needed, but most of his work will be focused on Minor League pitchers as the organization pushes forward on aligning philosophies and training from top to bottom. Especially based on comments from president of baseball operations Dick Williams, patience and not contending is not really an option in 2020. They hope that Boddy’s presence will help develop more quality pitchers from the system and keep the window of contending open longer once it happens.