GM Krall: Reds need to add depth this winter

November 23rd, 2021

The Reds acknowledged that the moves they've made so far this offseason -- letting Wade Miley go to the Cubs via waiver claim, trading Tucker Barnhart to Detroit -- were done because of a plan to realign payroll with the need to focus inward on scouting and player development.

That does not mean additions are off the table.

General manager Nick Krall said Wednesday at the GM Meetings in Carlsbad, Calif., that depth is of the utmost importance for Cincinnati this offseason. A lack of such saw the club fall rapidly during August and September, from seemingly headed toward a Wild Card berth to watching the postseason from home.

“We need depth, I think, across the board,” Krall said. “… We just weren't able to keep our head above water with regards to the depth [last August], and I think that's something we need to make sure that we are continuing to get -- starting depth, bullpen depth. Obviously, we traded Tucker Barnhart, so we need a backup catcher. I think that's something where those would be your main areas.”

It remains to be seen how active the Reds will be in the Hot Stove season. There have been rumors that the club is open to shopping front-end starters Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray -- rumors that have been ever-present over the past couple of years. To this point, the Reds have held pat and will be worth monitoring to see how much they try to replenish the rotation behind that duo.

But just as much at the forefront is the outfield picture. Nick Castellanos has opted out of the remaining three years of the five-year contract he signed before 2020. The Reds extended Castellanos a qualifying offer (a one-year deal worth $18.4 million), receiving Draft-pick compensation when he declined.

The other two-thirds of the outfield? Jesse Winker missed nearly 1 1/2 months with an intercostal strain, and Tyler Naquin suffered a season-ending rib injury in St. Louis on Sept. 11. Both, with Winker a potential MVP candidate before going down, figure to be central to the Reds’ picture in 2022. Naquin, Krall said, would be the de facto right fielder should the season start tomorrow. Aristides Aquino also stands to get some time there.

“It's a wait-and-see process right now,” Krall said.

Then comes catcher. The trade of Barnhart opens the door for former top prospect Tyler Stephenson to serve as the Reds’ everyday catcher in 2022. Behind him? Defensive whiz Roberto Pérez was cut loose by Cleveland and may be an intriguing option for backup.

Additions there and in the bullpen will likely shape the Reds' offseason.