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Inbox: Which big bats should the Reds target?

Beat reporter Mark Sheldon answers questions from fans
@m_sheldon
November 5, 2019

Do you think we will trade for a big-time bat at the Winter Meetings? -- @playerjoe141, on Twitter I get this question a lot -- on here and in person. I guess it depends on your definition of “big time.” It also depends even more on who is being made

Do you think we will trade for a big-time bat at the Winter Meetings?
-- @playerjoe141, on Twitter

I get this question a lot -- on here and in person. I guess it depends on your definition of “big time.” It also depends even more on who is being made available by other clubs. I believe president of baseball operations Dick Williams and general manager Nick Krall will try to be in on any and every available big run producer and not be afraid to make trades. It’s essentially what they did for the rotation last winter. None of the three acquisitions (Sonny Gray, Tanner Roark or Alex Wood) were viewed as big time, but they had value nonetheless. The first two of those guys certainly helped the team improve in that area.

Reds' offseason checklist

On the free-agent side, would Cincinnati go after a free-agent superstar hitter like Anthony Rendon or Josh Donaldson? I don’t see it. (Never mind that they also play the same position as third baseman Eugenio Suárez). I could still see them trying to sign a quality power hitter and run producer, with names like Corey Dickerson, Mike Moustakas and Marcell Ozuna coming to mind.

Should we be concerned about Jonathan India’s poor performance in the Arizona Fall League?
-- Jim D., Facebook

The Reds were not concerned about India’s poor results in Arizona, where he he batted .133 (8-for-60) in 18 games. Ranked by MLB Pipeline as the organization’s No. 3 prospect (No. 93 overall), he developed a nagging wrist injury and played through it. Also, it’s worth remembering that 2019 was the 22-year-old’s first full professional season. He played 121 games and had 512 plate appearances, so it’s possible there was some fatigue there as well.

Should the Reds go after another top-tier pitcher for a longer-term deal since Trevor Bauer will likely only be around for the 2020 season?
-- @TGHRobertHanes, on Twitter

It wouldn’t hurt to look, but I don’t think that’s something they need to worry about at this time. Both Luis Castillo and Gray are under club control through the 2023 season. Anthony DeSclafani and Bauer have the one year left until they can become free agents. Both could potentially be dealt during next season should Cincinnati not contend as the club expects. Looking further down the line, No. 2 prospect Nick Lodolo is expected to move briskly through the system. And assuming there are no setbacks in his return from Tommy John surgery on his elbow, No. 1 prospect Hunter Greene could follow in 2022.

Do you see Travis Jankowski getting a lot of playing time in center field this season?
-- @Kevinprimm55, on Twitter

Assuming Nick Senzel remains the primary center fielder, the Reds aren’t afraid to use Jankowski there also. Senzel is expected to be ready on or close to Opening Day after he had right shoulder surgery, so Jankowski is good insurance. But ultimately, his value will be in his ability to disrupt the opposition as a pinch-runner and helping the Reds as a defensive replacement that can play all three outfield spots. Jankowski had 24 stolen bases in 2018 and a career-high 30 steals in 2016. I’ve seen for myself that the dude can really motor around the bases.

Five questions facing the Reds this offseason

Why do the Reds wear red jerseys on weekend home games, or any other times? Or why do they let their pitchers show red socks? I've sat right behind home plate many times and can pick up pitches with the contrast. The Cardinals always use all white uniforms when at home.
-- Drew T., on Facebook

In recent history, the Reds have worn the red tops for home day games, but they departed from that plan in 2019 to wear them mostly for road day games. That was because of the 15 throwback uniforms worn during the 150th anniversary season. As for the socks being up high or covered by the pants, that’s usually up to the player or pitcher. Many will expose the socks, especially for a throwback look, but sometimes it’s just superstition.

What is your most embarrassing moment in the industry? As a former grounds crew member (Reds) and front office employee (Pirates), I've had a couple of doozies. I'm interested in hearing yours.
-- @justinjerdon, on Twitter

Without a doubt, I’d have to say … eh, never mind.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook.