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Inbox: Could Reds deal for mid-rotation starter?

Beat reporter Mark Sheldon answers fans' questions
MLB.com @m_sheldon

Any chance a "significant" trade nets a No. 2 or No. 3 starting pitcher instead of trying to find another No. 5 starter?
-- @HamIAm0023 via Twitter

If the Reds were guaranteed contenders in 2018 and that significant trade was the difference to put them over the top, I could see it. But they have a cadre of young pitchers they are optimistic about -- Luis Castillo, Sal Romano, Robert Stephenson and more -- and they are counting on Anthony DeSclafani, Homer Bailey and Brandon Finnegan to be healthy. I would not rule out a starter being added, but they seem pretty comfortable that their rotation will be assembled from the arms within.

Any chance a "significant" trade nets a No. 2 or No. 3 starting pitcher instead of trying to find another No. 5 starter?
-- @HamIAm0023 via Twitter

If the Reds were guaranteed contenders in 2018 and that significant trade was the difference to put them over the top, I could see it. But they have a cadre of young pitchers they are optimistic about -- Luis Castillo, Sal Romano, Robert Stephenson and more -- and they are counting on Anthony DeSclafani, Homer Bailey and Brandon Finnegan to be healthy. I would not rule out a starter being added, but they seem pretty comfortable that their rotation will be assembled from the arms within.

Do you see the Reds making any small free-agent signings this year in the vein of Scooter Gennett? What positions might they target?
-- @kazahani via Twitter

:: Submit a question to the Reds Inbox ::

Gennett wasn't actually a free-agent signing, rather he was a waiver claim from the Brewers on March 28 -- the day before Spring Training ended. I would always be on the lookout for these kinds of moves from the Reds. They won't overspend in the free-agent market, but as general manager Dick Williams often says, they will be "opportunistic." The club added bullpen help by signing Jared Hughes to a two-year deal, but it still needs a backup shortstop. That will be the focus between now and when pitchers and catchers report.

Will Tucker Barnhart be the Reds' regular everyday catcher? If so, what will the club do with Devin Mesoraco?
-- Bernie R., Olney, Ill.

"Tucker's going to get the lion's share of the playing time now; he's earned that," Reds manager Bryan Price said during the Winter Meetings.

Barnhart, who got a four-year contract in September, is a Gold Glove Award winner and has played well offensively. Mesoraco, who has been limited to 95 games over the past three years because of myriad injuries, will be the backup and late-inning pinch-hitter. Price expected him to catch once or twice a week.

Video: Price discusses Mesoraco's role on the 2018 Reds

I think Michael Lorenzen wants to be a starting pitcher and deserves another chance at it. He'd get more at-bats and in interviews he speaks freely about being ready if Price needs a bench guy. Do you think Price will allow Lorenzen to rejoin the rotation?
-- Sean S., Westfield, Ohio

Lorenzen will be given a chance to start during Spring Training, Price said. But he also noted that the needs of the club would come first. It looks like the manager had a good idea about who his first four starters would be -- DeSclafani, Bailey, Castillo and Finnegan. Lorenzen would have to overtake a lot of guys to get that last open spot.

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.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cincinnati Reds, Tucker Barnhart, Michael Lorenzen