CINCINNATI -- The lockout is over, and now it’s time to prepare for a flurry of activity as teams scramble to prepare for the start of Spring Training.
The Reds are among the clubs that have plenty of unfinished business. Before the extended pause, the Reds made some unpopular transactions in an effort to reduce payroll, transactions that have left general manager Nick Krall with some holes to fill.
Here’s a look at what’s been accomplished, and what’s left on Cincinnati’s agenda:
On Nov. 5 the Reds lost left-handed starter Wade Miley on waivers; he was claimed by the division-rival Cubs.
Which of the Reds’ free agents have signed elsewhere?
Reliever Michael Lorenzen signed a one-year, $6.75 million contract with the Angels.
Might there be a reunion with any of the remaining free agents?
Other key free agents include right fielder Nick Castellanos, who declined a qualifying offer in November, and reliever Mychal Givens. Much of the fanbase would love to see the Reds bring back the popular Castellanos, who batted .309 with a .939 OPS, 34 home runs and 100 RBIs in an All-Star 2021 season. That is likely wishful thinking, though, unless ownership has a change of heart about cutting payroll.
What are the team’s biggest remaining needs?
The Reds could add a right fielder if they don’t want to proceed with a combo of Tyler Naquin and Aristides Aquino. With the bullpen missing Lorenzen, Givens and Tejay Antone, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, adding quality relievers and, possibly, a closer-type arm would help.
Who might they target to fill these holes?
Considering their pre-lockout payroll constraints, the Reds aren’t expected to chase high-profile or pricey free agents. For outfield help, that could mean finding fits with such second-tier free agents as Marwin Gonzalez, Kevin Pillar and Joc Pederson.
As for the bullpen, the Reds got through the season by relying heavily on veteran non-roster relievers who made the team or waiver claims. Though that worked in short spurts, it was not a tenable formula for long-term success. Bargain-priced relievers on the market include veterans Brad Boxberger, Tyler Clippard and Jesse Hahn.
Are there any players they are looking to trade?
This is where we could learn a lot about the Reds’ intentions for 2022. Two key rotation members -- Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray -- were part of trade rumors throughout November because of their club-friendly contracts. Castillo, especially, could net a large return of Major League-ready young talent, but moving him would signal that Cincinnati has entered a rebuilding phase.
Which outstanding arbitration cases are on the docket?
Third-year eligible: RHP Luis Cessa, OF Tyler Naquin
Second-year eligible: RHP Luis Castillo, SS Kyle Farmer, LHP Amir Garrett, RHP Tyler Mahle, OF Jesse Winker
First-year eligible: RHP Jeff Hoffman, OF Nick Senzel, RHP Lucas Sims
How many open spots are on the 40-man roster?
The roster currently has 38 players, leaving room for two.