CINCINNATI -- As the offseason nears its end, some Reds players are getting closer to putting Hot Stove rumors behind them and looking forward to Spring Training. One of the last big mileposts of the offseason arrives this weekend with the annual Reds Caravan, and two Reds who found themselves
CINCINNATI -- As the offseason nears its end, some Reds players are getting closer to putting Hot Stove rumors behind them and looking forward to Spring Training. One of the last big mileposts of the offseason arrives this weekend with the annual Reds Caravan, and two Reds who found themselves prominently in those rumors are heading out to meet fans and talk 2019.
Last week, second baseman Scooter Gennett and the club avoided arbitration with a one-year contract worth $9.775 million. A free agent after the 2019 season, Gennett was seeking a multiyear deal. Catcher Tucker Barnhart, meanwhile, factored in trade rumors as the Reds were connected to the Marlins as a potential suitor for All-Star J.T. Realmuto.
"It would have been nice [to sign a long-term contract]," Gennett said at the sendoff for the Caravan. "But at this point, it's fine. I'm on the team for at least another year. I'm happy about that. We made a lot of good moves with the coaching staff, and also on the player side. I'm excited just to be part of it for another year. Who knows what could happen the next few months? I'm fine where I'm at."
Gennett, 28, could still face trade rumors during the season -- especially if the Reds don't contend. A Cincinnati native who has been embraced by fans, it's not something he wants to happen, but he's also not worried.
"The last year or two, I've learned a lot," Gennett said. "Worrying is just a waste of time. It's out of my control. All I can do is prepare as much as I can for this year. If I do well, I should be taken care of accordingly. If I don't, it is what it is. Worrying isn't happening."
On the other hand, being part of a trade rumor for the first time this winter was jarring for Barnhart. A report surfaced during the Winter Meetings that had the Reds discussing a deal that would have sent Barnhart to the Marlins for Realmuto.
"It was stressful," Barnhart said. "It was the first time that I've been a part of something like that. I talked to [former Reds reliever] Drew Storen about it because we were at the Pacers game that night. I love playing here. We're in a position where we're starting to look at the rearview mirror of the rebuild part. Having gone through all of that, I want to see the finish line."
A 2017 National League Gold Glove winner, Barnhart batted .248/.328/.372 with 10 homers and 46 RBIs. A native of Indianapolis who has been with the Reds organization his entire career, he also has no wish to leave.
"I live so close to here in the offseason, it feels like Cincinnati is home," Barnhart said. "For selfish reasons, I want to be part of the winning. It's why I signed, to see the end of the rebuild and us starting to win again."
Barnhart said president of baseball operations Dick Williams did not discuss with him whether there were talks or if he might be dealt.
"I don't feel they owe to me to tell me I'm not going to get traded," Barnhart said. "My agent talked to the Reds and one of the guys who was the main breaker of the rumor, and they kind of shot it down a little bit. It was kind of the assumption that if Realmuto was getting traded, it wouldn't make sense for us to be on the same team. There was a bunch of assuming on all sides. It wasn't a reassurance that I wouldn't be traded. But it was a reassurance that it wasn't necessarily true."
Williams and general manager Nick Krall are still working the phones trying to make additions. The Reds would like to add a front-line starting pitcher and center fielder.
"I still feel strongly about getting something done," Williams said. "We are just still working on multiple fronts. I still can't predict whether it will be more likely through a trade or free agency, so we're keeping moving on both fronts.
"Ideally you keep all of your prospects. But it's why we've built a strong farm system, so we can entertain getting in on guys we otherwise couldn't get."
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 and listen to his podcast.