Reds ready to rev up 2019 plans

Starting pitching, center field options still on table

January 2nd, 2019

CINCINNATI -- The holidays caused offseason maneuvering for the Reds to ebb somewhat. But things are starting to flow once more now that 2019 has arrived with Spring Training just around the corner.

"By virtue of technology, we were able to stay in close communication with each other and other teams. I would say there was a noticeable slow down in discussions just during the week between Christmas and New Year's," Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams said Wednesday. "But I've already had some contact today with other teams. It's expected to pick back up now that we're in the new year."

Cincinnati went into the holidays after a Dec. 21 blockbuster seven-player trade that brought , Matt Kemp, Alex Wood, and $7 million from the Dodgers in exchange for pitcher Homer Bailey and two prospects.

Williams and the club -- which also acquired starter from the Nationals last month -- are still looking at more starting pitchers on the free agent and trade fronts. , , and are among those currently on the open market. has yet to be traded by the Yankees as his club continues to shop him.

Holland told MLB Network Radio on Monday that he's been in contact with the Reds. The left-hander bounced back in 2018 following three rough seasons and posted a 3.57 ERA over 171 1/3 innings with the Giants.

"I don't want to comment specifically on where we are in the process with Derek," Williams said. "We've talked to a lot of the free agents and teams to try and line up as many different options as we can."

Remaining an open question is center field. The trade with the Dodgers gave the Reds lots of corner outfield depth with Puig and Kemp joining , and . But none of those outfielders are true center fielders who could easily replace after his departure on Nov. 30.

"We are continuing to look at external options. But we've said before that we think we've got players physically capable of playing out there, especially in our park," Williams said. "We've seen Schebler and Ervin do it. We'd like to give [top prospect Nick] Senzel the opportunity to do it. If this is the group we go into camp with, I think we'd be open-minded there. But between now and Spring Training, we'll continue to look at ways to address that area."

Some outlets have projected the Reds lineup with Kemp in left field and Puig in right field. Where would that leave Winker, who turned in a strong rookie season for Cincinnati until he underwent right [non-throwing] shoulder surgery in July? Winker has recovered from the operation and should be ready by the start of 2019.


"We are planning on him being at full health and I think he's very much in line to keep his job as an everyday player, or as a very consistent regular contributor," Williams said. "We played really well when he was playing and healthy last year."

How will all the outfielders get enough playing time?

"Good teams have more than eight guys capable of holding down an everyday spot," Williams said. "We do have the challenge of fitting them into the right defensive positions and allocating the right amount of playing time. That's a good challenge to have."