CINCINNATI -- With a new manager in David Bell, a new coaching staff and several new players, the Reds had a 75-87 record and finished in fourth place in the National League Central in 2019. The four-year streak of 90 or more losses ended, but it was the sixth consecutive
CINCINNATI -- With a new manager in David Bell, a new coaching staff and several new players, the Reds had a 75-87 record and finished in fourth place in the National League Central in 2019. The four-year streak of 90 or more losses ended, but it was the sixth consecutive losing season since Cincinnati last reached the postseason in '13.
The front office has already signaled its intention to contend in 2020, as president of baseball operations Dick Williams revealed in early October that the club-record payroll would increase.
So what are the Reds’ biggest needs entering '20, and what moves have they made to address them? MLB.com is keeping track here. As the offseason continues, be sure to check back for updates.
Offense is Cincinnati’s biggest overall need and second base is one of the more unsettled spots, especially in the event that Freddy Galvis is moved over to shortstop. José Peraza, Josh VanMeter and Nick Senzel are potential in-house options, but two strong free-agent fits could be Mike Moustakas or Starlin Castro. Both have postseason and veteran experience.
The Reds have Senzel, Jesse Winker and Aristides Aquino, along with Phillip Ervin. But Senzel and Winker are both coming off injuries that prematurely ended their seasons. As for Aquino, the question facing the club is if he’s more the sensation who batted .320 with a 1.158 OPS and 14 home runs in August or the sometimes overmatched slugger who batted .196 with a .619 OPS and five homers in September. There are several intriguing free-agent options like Corey Dickerson, Adam Eaton (a Springfield, Ohio, native) and Marcell Ozuna.
This is a spot that Galvis could play, but there are some choices on the open market. The most familiar, of course, is José Iglesias after he dazzled defensively and was solid offensively for the Reds in 2019. Iglesias did not cash in last offseason as a free agent, and he signed a Minor League deal with Cincinnati that paid him a bargain $2.5 million once he made the team out of camp. Another familiar face and free agent, Didi Gregorius, could be a fit as well. A former prospect with the team who debuted with the Reds in '12, Gregorius later became star for the Yankees and has both great defensive skills and power.
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There is a solid core in closer Raisel Iglesias, Michael Lorenzen, Amir Garrett and Robert Stephenson. But there were depth issues beyond them, and it was eventually exposed when Bell relied heavily on his relievers in the middle innings. The Reds need veterans capable of working multiple innings.
Behind the front four of Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, Trevor Bauer and Anthony DeSclafani, it appears wide open for the No. 5 spot. Tyler Mahle is the leading candidate among in-house options despite a rough 2019, but this could be a spot to increase competition by adding to the pool from outside of the organization.
Nov. 1: Galvis' club option exercised
An August waiver claim from Toronto, the Reds picked up Galvis’ $5.5 million option. It gives the club some flexibility since Galvis’ primary position is shortstop, but he could also return to second base.
Oct. 31: Jankowski acquired
The Reds sent international cap space to the Padres to get outfielder Travis Jankowski. A plus-speedster who can play all three outfield spots, Jankowski only played in 25 games for San Diego last season because of a fractured left wrist, but he is a solid basestealer. He could be insurance for the team in case Senzel is not ready for Opening Day while recovering from right shoulder surgery.
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.