The Cincinnati Reds outfield is crowded as the offseason begins. Nick Castellanos elected to remain in Cincinnati for the 2021 season. Along with him, the Reds also have Nick Senzel, Jesse Winker, Shogo Akiyama, and Brian Goodwin under contract for next year. There’s also Aristides Aquino – though it seems that for right now he’s viewed more as a 5th outfielder type by the organization.

With all of that said, that doesn’t mean that the Reds won’t, or shouldn’t be looking at outfield options in free agency. Just because they have everyone under contract for 2021 right now doesn’t mean that will be true on December 5th. Trades can take place. The non-tender deadline is December 2nd, and it’s certainly possible that the Reds could non-tender Brian Goodwin due to the crowded outfield as well as the fact that they are likely going to be trying to trim as much payroll (like it seems every team in baseball is trying to do this offseason) as they can. Goodwin is projected to make somewhere between $2.7-3.6M in arbitration if he’s tendered a contract according to MLB Trade Rumors.

That non-tender day could play a big role in free agency, as it’s expected that many players of quality will be non-tendered and become free agents rather than the typical non-tender day which sees more fringy big leaguers finding their way to free agency.

While we don’t know who will be non-tendered yet, we do know who the other free agents are. For the Cincinnati Reds, as the roster stands today, if they are going to look at outfielders, finding one who has the ability to play center field seems to be key. Adding someone who can’t would just create more of a corner outfield jam.

Shogo Akiyama can play center if asked, but it seems that he’s more of a good corner outfielder than a good center fielder at this point in his career. Brian Goodwin fits the same mold.

The biggest name in the market among the center fielders is George Springer. He would clearly make the Reds a better team – he’s a multiple time All-Star. But he’s also going to be expensive (at least by comparison to the current market), and he’s a starter. Unless the Reds have a plan to revisit the Nick Senzel can play shortstop option, Springer simply doesn’t make a ton of sense given the current roster.

When we start to look at guys who may fit the 4th outfielder/occasional starter role there could be some good options. Brett Gardner isn’t quite the same guy he used to be, and at age 37 most of us aren’t, but he’s still a quality big leaguer. In 2020 he hit .223/.354/.392, good for a 108 OPS+. He spent more time in left field than in center in 2020 with the Yankees, but he’s still a plus runner and can cover some ground in the outfield.

Mallex Smith stole 86 bases between the 2018 and 2019 seasons, but only played in 14 games during 2020. He’s a career .255/.325/.361 hitter. There’s not much power to speak of in his game, and he’s struggled to hit since 2018 ended – he hit .227 in 2019 with a career low .635 OPS and then just .133 in limited action in 2020. If the belief is that he can return to his career norms, he’d bring some speed to the team and could provide a little backup center field depth.

You can see the entire list of current free agents at MLB Trade Rumors. When it comes to center fielders the crop of free agents this year isn’t deep. There are some corner guys out there, but unless the Reds make trades to open up spots on the roster it doesn’t seem they will even consider a corner-only player.

If the Reds stand pat on their outfielders as they head into 2021, they have a solid start cast with upside, and plenty of depth. Outfield is one spot where they shouldn’t feel the need to make a move. If there’s one there that will clearly improve the team, that would be something that makes sense – but there’s not a hole that needs to be filled with their current outfield looking towards the 2021 season.

38 Responses

  1. Klugo

    Michael Brantley would be my choice. OBP machine.

  2. west larry

    A excellent outfielder is a luxury the reds cannot afford to chase, imo. Brett Gardner is too old at 37, Bradley Would require a trade, and the price would be steep. I think their main focus in free agency is a shortstop, and resigning Bauer if that’s within their budget restraints. Votto is all but impossible to move, but they should try to move a catcher to make room for Stevenson. He looks to be a great prospect, and I think they need to play him as their primary catcher.

    • Mark Moore

      +500

      Getting Gardner would be a little like getting Edmonds at the tail-end of his career. Not where we need to make moves.

  3. Mark Moore

    FA shortstop only unless Springer literally falls into our lap. Non-tender Goodwin as we don’t need that kind of “depth” as I see it.

    Yes to trading a catcher so Stephenson can play a regular role.

    • Jimbo44CN

      Agree, I just don’t see where Goodwin brings anything. More time to Aquino to see what he can do in more than just one or two games. I also like the idea of Senzel to second, Moose to first (at least with righties on the mound). We do need a ml shortstop and I don’t think Galvis is going to do it.

      • Jimbo44CN

        Sorry, meant lefties, with Votto playing against righties.

  4. LDS

    Sign a SS, shift Senzel to 2nd, Moose to 1st, bench Votto. I’m still skeptical about Winker, seems streaky. I’d trade him if possible. I’d like to Aquino get more playing time. If he delivers fine otherwise dump him as well. Trade Barnhart as well. And I’ve been remiss not saying this the last couple of days. Fire Bell. Though no one likes to think about it, given the financial constraints implied, it’s rebuilding time again.

    • Corey D

      Did Moose do that much better last season then Votto?

    • Bob Purkey

      LDS. The only change(s) that I would make to your thoughts would be to move Castellanos to 1B and Moose to 3rd. Eugenio, even though he had a bad year, should bring a lot of trade return, especially due to his manageable contract. Yes, Senzel to 2B.

      Yes, platoon Joey for RH pitchers.

  5. DataDumpster

    With the Reds having 6 outfielders, it seems at first to be ludicrous to be talking about potential free agency signings. But this article reminds us that none of the current crop is even close to being a complete outfielder. Shogo doesn’t have a good arm and most of the rest are clearly deficient in defense and none of center field quality. What was the team thinking when they assembled this rather motley crew? So, yes, if they could get one good center fielder and jettison 3 or 4 of the others, that may be worth pursuing. However, they need to address another higher priority (self inflicted) wound at SS first.

    • JayTheRed

      I’m sorry but I feel like Shogo is an adequet CF still. Is he good. not really but he beats a lot of the other choices we currently have in the OF.

  6. Doc

    Gardner’s .223 should jump the team average way up to .2125. That’ll make a huge difference!

    It is an odd mix of outfielders. Why did Senzel miss a month? Covid? No news of cause reached AZ. Wonder where the Reds thinking is on Senzel. His minor league injuries were freak injuries, but his major league record isn’t exactly encouraging when it comes to staying on the field.

  7. RedsGettingBetter

    I think the choices for OF moves would go in this way:
    Reds can optate for no making OF moves
    They should try trading Goodwin for a SP or RP or cash
    If actually want to land an FA OF… They could evaluate getting Joc Pederson
    They could trade Senzel if a key position star player comes in return or believe can afford Springer

    • Scott C

      I was for trading for Pederson a couple of years ago, but not now. Pederson is strictly a platoon player and not a good OBP player. We don’t need another platoon player but we do need an OBP hitter.

      • JayTheRed

        Thank you . We desperately need an on base percentage guy.

  8. Charlie Waffles

    >Non-tender Goodwin.
    >Move Senzel to 2B. Moose to 1B/DH and Votto DH/1B.
    >Sign Jackie Bradley, Jr. for CF. 2 years and $17MM. Winker, Shogo, JBJ, and Castellanos would make for a good 4 man OF mix.
    >Sign Andrelton Simmons for SS. 2 years and $17MM.
    No major moves, but not insignificant either.

    • Colorado Red

      Yes on Goodwin.
      Strong NO ON SENZEL.
      He will never much in the infield.
      Tooooo Injury prone.

  9. HoF-13

    I would kick the tires on Springer. He is a definite upgrade. If it seems possible to get Springer, start looking for a trade of Senzel. I’ve never called for Senzel to be traded previously — I think he will be a good MLB player, but probably not in the Reds organization. I just have the feeling if he were in a different organization that had a different hitting coach and different hitting philosophy, he would excel. (It’s a very frustrating feeling.) I would say change the hitting coach/philosophy but I think he needs a system where others are already doing something different, not one where everyone is doing something new. That means selling somewhat low but I just don’t see him blossoming in time to be beneficial to the Reds. If he can be packaged with others to get a useful part (shortstop if possible), it would help all the way around.

    • JayTheRed

      This coming 2021 season is the last chance for me with Senzel. I’m tired of waiting for him to turn into something.

  10. MBS

    Lindor needs to be the big get for the Reds this season. He is one of the few players who the Reds could get, that could change the offense. Putting him in the 3 hole would stabilize the lineup.

    Shogo, Suarez, Lindor, Castellanos, Moustakes

    Having said that, getting Hand would be big as well. With out Bauer, we are likely to use the pen more this season. Plus it will “fingers crossed” be 162 instead of 60.
    Iglesias, Hand, Bradley, Garrett would be a great high pressure situation bullpen quartet. You get the lead to the 6th and it should be locked in, nasty boys style.

    • Jim

      Yes, Shogo, Senzel, Linder, Suarez, Castellanos, Winker, Moustakes. Would be nice, then work in the rest.

      • Tom

        Dump Senzel, Castellanos, Suarez, Winker and Moustakas, part-time Votto and you have Shogo. Lindor is not a given. Maybe then someone who would do more than strike out, walk or hit a solo HR. The Reds offense has been offensive for the last 2 years. Staying with the status quo is not going to work.

    • Doc

      I don’t trade the farm for one year of Lindor. Otherwise I’ll be reading all year the same comments I read about the Dodger trade.

      • Jimbo44CN

        We don’t need another one year player that will bounce. Besides, seriously doubt that Castellini will be spending a lot this winter.

      • MBS

        Lindor will not cost the farm. Final year, and the Indians are wanting to shed payroll. India would be as expensive as I could see him costing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was less.

    • Colorado Red

      No, Story is much better, and probably cheaper.
      Just like DJ, not going between altitude and sea level will help him.

      • Bob Purkey

        Story may be better, but I don’t want another HR/K guy. We have way too many of those already

    • JayTheRed

      I’m really for getting Hand also.. Like you said that bullpen would be quite nice, maybe not as good as the nasty boys but they should be a very productive bunch.

      Also curious is there a Starting pitcher out there you would want that is a free agent to fill in the rotation?

      ps. I’d rather see Miley in the bullpen

  11. KDJ

    This year I’d rather the team spend on two clear upgrades rather than a smattering of comparable or slightly better players.

  12. Kevin Patrick

    Acquiring outfield to have it be worthwhile would be difficult. In order to have room for the new guy, moving other outfielders off the roster somehow would make sense. From my perspective, the only outfielders of “value” the reds have are Senzel and Winker. I don’t think either of those guys have been overly disappointing… the risk in getting someone else and abandoning all that potential would take real guts. I’m probably the only guy here who thinks they need to figure out a way to wriggle the system a bit and bring back Desclafani….or Bauer. If I had faith in predicting relief pitchers, I’d get some… but I just don’t know what to expect or even what the rules of baseball will be.

  13. GreatRedLegsFan

    Reds OF is a mess: Akiyama has no power and no arm, Senzel is not able to keep healthy, Castellanos is a very poor defender, Winker should be out of the equation, Goodwin is no longer a regular player and should be non-tendered and Aquino has not been able to adjust to ML pitchers. So, yes, better off try to make some moves.

    • MBS

      Akiyama is a true lead off hitter, with gold glove worthy defense, Senzel has nowhere to go, but up, Castellanos is a doubles machine, Winker was possible the best hitter on the Reds last season, I can’t think of a positive on Goodwin (sorry), and Aquino has the most power any Red has seen since Willy Mo. There I gave the half full side

      • Tom

        Agree on Shogo, he seemed to adjust to MLB pitchers later in the year. Winker had a good couple of weeks, but did not show up the rest of the season. Seems to think he is a home run hitter swinging for the fences. Castellanos too was hot and cold. Maybe with a better hitting coach and a different approach they could salvage something from that outfield.

    • Tom

      Agree 100%. None of the Reds outfielders should be penciled in for 2021. To take it one step further, the infield is not much better. There are no untouchables among the starting 8.

  14. Dick Paterson

    Move Senzel back to the infield with Votto, Moose, Senzel, Suarez in some configuration. Let Goodwin go. I’m a Casali fan, but he’s the odd man out as they should go with Barnhart and Stephenson. Lorenzen to starter. Let’s see what Lodolo can do. Then put any available resources into pitching, especially relief.