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What you need to know about the Reds in 2020

@m_sheldon
January 20, 2020

CINCINNATI -- During this offseason, the Reds already raised payroll and made two significant free-agent signings. All were done with the expectation that 2020 will bring Cincinnati back to the status of legitimate contenders. But before that goal can be realized, much work still remains for the winter. Here’s a

CINCINNATI -- During this offseason, the Reds already raised payroll and made two significant free-agent signings. All were done with the expectation that 2020 will bring Cincinnati back to the status of legitimate contenders.

But before that goal can be realized, much work still remains for the winter. Here’s a primer of what you need to know:

More offense needed
On Dec. 5, the Reds signed veteran lefty hitter Mike Moustakas to a four-year, $64 million contract with a $20 million mutual option ($4 million buyout) for a fifth year. It was the richest free-agent deal in Cincinnati history. Moustakas, who will take over as the everyday second baseman, averaged 34 homers with an .818 OPS over his past three seasons.

That addition should help boost an offense that was ranked 12th in the National League in batting average and runs scored. But realistically, Moustakas alone is still not enough to move the needle for the Reds to contend. Baseball Reference tabulated him at 3.2 wins above replacement for the Brewers in 2019.

The Reds have room to grow offensively, in the outfield and behind the plate. All three primary outfielders -- Nick Senzel, Jesse Winker and Aristides Aquino -- have a question mark going into the new year. Cincinnati agreed to a deal with Japanese outfielder Shogo Akiyama. The club has also been linked at one point or another to Marcell Ozuna and Nicholas Castellanos.

Latest free-agent and trade rumors

Tucker Barnhart and Curt Casali make a fine catching tandem, but president of baseball operations Dick Williams and general manager Nick Krall will still seek opportunities to add a good-hitting catcher.

Bullpen additions wanted
Williams and Krall added to an already-strong rotation with the signing of veteran free agent Wade Miley to a two-year, $15 million contract. The left-hander, who will be reunited with his former Brewers pitching coach Derek Johnson, joins a starting five that also features Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, Trevor Bauer and Anthony DeSclafani. Now it’s time to shore up the bullpen to help preserve leads or hold deficits close.

Raisel Iglesias, Michael Lorenzen, Amir Garrett and Robert Stephenson will be the four holdovers from last year, and they make a solid group. Sal Romano, Lucas Sims, Cody Reed, Joel Kuhnel and Nate Jones will get chances to make the team.

Reds manager David Bell simply needs more experienced options. The bullpen’s ERA was ranked near the top of the NL for a large portion of the season before finishing seventh at 4.28.

Key dates

Feb. 3-21: The window for arbitration hearings.

Feb. 13: Reds pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in Goodyear, Ariz.

Feb. 16: Reds full-squad report date for Spring Training.

Feb. 22: Cactus League exhibition game schedule opens vs. Cleveland.

March 26: Opening Day vs. the Cardinals (4:10 p.m. ET) at Great American Ball Park.

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.