Later today The Winter Meetings will come to an end, following the Rule 5 Draft (scheduled for noon – if the Reds pick, or lose a player, we’ll have the coverage). At least as this is being typed at 1:43am on what is technically Thursday morning, the Cincinnati Reds haven’t gotten much done that they had seemed to set out to get accomplished in San Diego. Free agents Zack Wheeler and Didi Gregorius, both of whom it was reported the Reds were going after, signed with other organizations.
But fortunately the season doesn’t start tomorrow. The Reds will still be able to try and get things done for the next four months. They did lose out on some of their targets, but several other known ones remain available. One of those guys they’ve stated their interest in is Japanese outfielder Shogo Akiyama. We’ve written about him a few times this offseason and whether he could be a good fit for the Cincinnati Reds.
What was unknown before yesterday was what kind of contact it would take to sign him. Bruce Levine of 670 The Score in Chicago, where the Cubs are also showing interest in Akiyama, notes that the 31-year-old outfielder is seeking a 2-year deal worth $10M. That feels like a much lower ask than I would have thought, by quite a bit. If that’s the true asking price it almost feels like a deal without any risk at all, and one with plenty of upside, too.
A left-handed hitter, Shogo Akiyama has posted an on-base percentage between .385 and .419 every season since 2015. In the last three years he’s also upped his power output. And perhaps something that isn’t valued enough by some of us – he’s played every single game for Seibu since the start of the 2015 season. For a team that’s in need of finding more baserunners, this could be a valuable add if the scouts believe his skills would translate.
Tanner Roark chooses Toronto
Cincinnati was attempting to reunite with starting pitcher Tanner Roark, who began the season with the Reds. But they moved him to Oakland at the trade deadline for prospect Jameson Hannah. The Reds seem to still be looking to upgrade their rotation. After losing out on Zack Wheeler, they were reportedly interested in lefty Madison Bumgarner – who still remains a free agent. But Roark, while not on par with those two, would likely be an upgrade for the #5 spot. He chose to sign a 2-year deal with the Blue Jays for $24M.
Could the Reds lose anyone in today’s Rule 5 Draft?
If you are gearing up for the Rule 5 Draft, which can be streamed (audio only) at MLB.com at noon ET, you can check out who the Reds could possibly lose in the draft to other teams at RedsMinorLeagues.com. Outfielder TJ Friedl seems like the most likely to be selected, but a few other options could be there. A true wild card could be a team deciding to take a chance on rebuilding Brandon Finnegan, who would be available.