Can Reds add high-end pitchers to rotation?

Beat reporter Mark Sheldon answers fans' questions

November 12th, 2018

I was curious with the Yankees interested in moving , would he be a good fit for the Reds and if they [would trade] for him? What is a hypothesis of who they would have to give up?

-- Wade B, Plainfield, Ind.

The Yankees have made it clear that they want to trade Gray, since he did not work out in New York after success with Oakland. Especially with Gray's former college pitching coach being new Reds pitching coach Derek Johnson, it seems like a good fit for the starting pitching-starved club.

However, the Yankees' top need is also starting pitching, and short of (whom I wouldn't deal for Gray), I don't see anyone that New York would want in return. But I would be shocked if the Reds haven't reached out to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman about Gray.

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Does signing or trading for someone, short of or Zack Greinke caliber, really improve this pitching staff enough to do it? Just doesn't make sense to me if all they signed was a or type guy.

-- @Redsaholic2020 on Twitter

Even if the Reds signed just Keuchel, or someone like , that wouldn't be enough to assure a winning season. But it doesn't mean that they shouldn't try because what they've done hasn't worked. The expectation is that one or two additional starters could improve the rotation while other pitchers in house -- such as Castillo and -- continue to get better.

I've heard the Reds may look at signing an outfielder. Is that really a need, especially considering our well-documented, massive starting pitching need? Or is this just following the Brewers' blueprint of adding more bats when they couldn't get the free-agent starting pitchers they wanted?

-- @Slepat2B on Twitter

There's nothing wrong with looking at or signing a guy if it makes the team better. Trying to add bats doesn't mean they're not trying to also add starting pitchers. It just has to all fit in the payroll, and after four straight seasons of 94 or more losses, you don't close your eyes to signing or trading for anybody if it can be done and makes sense.

I'm a longtime Reds fan that lives in upstate N.Y. Just wondering when the rest of the coaching staff will be put together, and do you think any of the current staff will be held over by [new manager David] Bell?

-- Dan D., Mechanicville, N.Y.

I'm surprised we haven't heard about the rest of the staff by now, and I would think it'd be any day now. Between the time it has taken, and that president of baseball operations Dick Williams has repeatedly discussed new voices in the clubhouse, I wouldn't be optimistic that many, or any, of the coaches on the previous staff will return.

What will the Reds do with the young starting pitchers if they sign multiple starting pitchers? Would we trade them, move them to the bullpen or send them down?

-- Benji K., Cincinnati

I'm sure some combination of all three options will happen. But remember that attrition in pitching staffs happens all the time and depth is big. The Reds used 32 pitchers last season, tying the 2016 franchise record. They're not going to sign or trade for five starters. There will be holdovers, and several of them have Minor League options left. I could see pitchers like and, of course, , being flexible enough to pitch in either the rotation or bullpen.

Is there one person that oversees the development of pitchers throughout the organization, or is that a part of overall player development? It would seem that MLB teams would have that position, but I have not heard mention of the position for any team, only individual pitching coaches at each level.

-- Ron H., Coloma, Mich.

Johnson's hire as pitching coach was made with that idea in mind. Williams said during the announcement on Nov. 2: "This is all about creating an organization and philosophy that's aligned. That's something Derek is really excited about, and we are as well. It's something every organization strives for, but it's an ongoing challenge. You have to get the right personnel with the right message and right personalities to make it happen."