Finding a shortstop is one of the priorities for the Cincinnati Reds this offseason. Mark Sheldon of Reds.com spoke with Reds General Manager Nick Krall about the plans for the team following the General Manager meetings this past week and before the Winter Meetings which will take place in three weeks. While Krall noted that the team believed in Jose Garcia being the shortstop of the future, the team is “keeping their options open with who and what is out there” – and there’s quite a bit out there when it comes to shortstops.

One of the big names out there is Korean shortstop Ha-Seong Kim, who it sounds like will be posted after Thanksgiving by the Kiwoom Heroes according to the team’s General Manager. Daniel Kim of ESPN was the first to report this news on Friday afternoon.

Ha-Seong Kim is coming off of a big season as a 24-year-old. In 2020 he hit .306/.397/.523 with 24 doubles, a triple, and 30 home runs. He also walked 75 times with 68 strikeouts in 138 games. In 2019 he was only a little behind those numbers, hitting .307/.389/.491 with 70 walks and 80 strikeouts in 139 games. There’s always the uncertainty in how the game will translate from Korea to the Major Leagues because of the difference of the level of competition compared to other free agents who have shown their performance in the big leagues. He’s got a lot more youth on his side, though, than the other free agents on the market do.

Didi Gregorius, Marcus Semien, and Andrelton Simmons headline the rest of the free agent market at shortstop. Gregorius is coming off of the best season of the bunch, rebounding from a down year in 2019 as he was coming off of Tommy John surgery. Gregorius, the former Red, hit .284/.339/.488 for the Phillies last year. He’ll be 31-years-old next year. Simmons, known more for his defense than his bat – though his bat has been solid for most of his career, hit .297/.346/.356 last season with the Angels in just 30 games. He, too, will be 31-years-old next season. Marcus Semien, who finished 3rd in the American League MVP race in 2019, struggled to hit a bit in 2020 as he posted a .223/.305/.374 line in 53 games for the Athletics. He’ll be 30-years-old next season.

And then there’s the trade market. One of the best shortstops in baseball is once again rumored to be available, as Cleveland seems set to trade Francisco Lindor. But Lindor isn’t likely the only available shortstop in the trade market right now – just the one everyone seems to know is available.

Simply put: If the Cincinnati Reds are looking for a shortstop then they have plenty of options, and more than a few good options. The market is there for quality shortstops this offseason if you are willing to pay the price in cash or pay the price in both cash and trade.

36 Responses

  1. MBS

    I think this is a good year to need a be able to sign a 1 year contracted player. The players know the contracts will be depressed this season. That being said, obviously Lindor, and Didi are the best options. After them, I’d rather stay inside our system. I have always been excited about Rodriguez, and the 21 season would be a great opportunity to see what he can do.

    Unpopular opinion, but Senzel should be a utility player, a very used utility player 140+ games. If we have no DH, then the outfield is way too crowded. Winker, Castellanos, Aykiama, Senzel, Aquino. Since Senzel can play CF, 2B, 3B, SS, it makes him the obvious choice to take on that role. If you chose to move Moustakes around too, you could stabilize the positions Senzel plays. Senzel CF, 2B, SS and Moustakes 2B, 3B, 1B.

    • Mark Moore

      Other than Senzel can’t play SS to any great degree. Plus moving all these guys around a lot doesn’t seem to work out too well. Senzel is currently our best option in CF. Keep him there as long as possible … or trade him.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Wait. You’re telling me that Senzel, who has played 3rd then went to CF, where he has never played, and played it decently, couldn’t play SS in a utility role?

        I just can’t see that.

      • Colorado Red

        Yes, Senzel cannot play SS.
        CF is the best option to keep Nick healthy
        The SS options train left the station years ago.
        The best option to sign Siemen (sp) to a 1 or 2 year contract.

      • MBS

        He would be a utility guy, not expected to be the regular SS, so his D would fine. Your talking about 1 start a week or so. The man played 3B in college and 2B in the minors, and is a starting CF in the majors. A guy like that can pick up 20 starts at SS in a season.

        We only had 1 OF who was up for the GG, and it wasn’t Senzel. Besides the majority of Senzel’s starts would be CF then 2B then SS.

      • MBS

        @Colorado Red, I think you saw I said Lindor or Didi 1st. But to be fair the train never got started. Also tell the CF wall that it is the safest spot for Senzel.

        Look Senzel may become a good everyday player, but he hasn’t shown it yet. The Reds are in a window to compete for a championship right now.

        They have an offense that was garbage last season. They need to get as many bats into the lineup as possible. If the defense takes a hit for a player being out of position, then so be it. Our defense was bad last year but, we still held teams to a low run per game average.

  2. Sliotar

    After the big 3 free agent SS (Gregorius, Simmons, Semien) … FanGraphs has Enrique Hernandez and Jonathan Villar as positive WAR players for 2021.

    I guess we are assuming a 1-year stopgap until Garcia is ready to take over?

    IMO, Villar is still the best, low-cost, 1-year option out there as a FA.

    • Mark Moore

      I’m in agreement with that. Get Villar for 2 years while Garcia advances.

      • Earmbrister

        I don’t know, Villar had a brutal year at the plate in 2020. In fact, using OPS+ as a metric, Villar has had below average hitting years in 3 of the last 4 years.

        Perhaps the lousy economic climate will allow the Reds to get one of the “big three” at an affordable rate for a short term deal.

  3. LDS

    So a good outline of the options but what do you think will actually be the move?

  4. Corey D

    I’m in favor of Ha-Seong Kim. Young with an eye for the strike zone. Feels like he gives you the biggest potential upside.

    • Mark Moore

      Then what do you do with Garcia?

      • Tom Mitsoff

        Let him develop his hitting in the minors for a year or two. Clearly that is needed.

      • Mark Moore

        2 years is what I’m thinking, Tom. So what do you do with either of them after that period? That was the intent of my question.

      • Ajax

        He is at least 2 years from being beneficial to the team! Kim is young and experienced at as, 3b and 2b. Sign him to 4 or 5 years and move him to second and Moose to first in two years when Votto becomes DH or part time player! The contracts align perfectly for this to work. You would still have Winker if and when Castellanos pots out! You trade Aquino and the late season pick up along with a mid level prospect for a mid range reliever. Sign Hand and if Bauer doesn’t come back we have excellent additions to bp to help through the final 2 so choices!

      • Corey D

        If both Ha-Seong Kim and Garcia end up being good players then the Reds have a good problem.

      • JayTheRed

        Maybe have them at SS and 2b? Just an idea. Though I don’t know where Moose would play then unless we have DH in the NL then Votto DH and Moose at 1b.

      • Corey D

        This is only a problem if they are all injury free and playing well but that is a good problem.

    • Colorado Red

      The concern I have a Kim, is he has played in AAA.
      It may take a while for him to adjust to MLB ball.
      My first choice is Semien on a 1 day deal with a option.
      (know his agent wants more).

      • Corey D

        What are you talking about? (1 day deal)

      • Colorado Red

        Fat finger, or brain. Try a 1 year deal.
        Works for both.

  5. Tom Mitsoff

    I don’t see the Reds agreeing to any free-agent deals longer than a year or two. I also have no real sense for what they are willing to spend, though I suspect it is not very much. How the market develops will have a lot to do with which players end up where.

    I’d love to see Gregorius here on a two-year deal. I think the priority has to be a good bat with at least decent defense. Galvis provided neither on a consistent basis. Marcus Semien would also be great, but his relative youth will make him probably the cream of the shortstop free agent crop, so likely off to a big-market team.

    • Optimist

      2 years, and if they don’t spend now they’re edging into foolishness. Will be the cheapest market for 10-15 years. I understand limiting risk to 2 years, but in return they could spend a bit more.

      The Bauer deal will tell fans a lot – since he’s essentially asking them to do just that.

  6. Colorado Red

    I would go for Marcus Semien for a 1 year deal.
    not sure he goes for 2.
    Lower cost then others, and no prospects.
    The only trade I would make is for Story, and then, only with an extension.

    • Colorado Red

      The Rockies an not likely to trade him (I also would love him here, with an extension).
      Last year, the owner of Rockies (Monfort), said the thought the Rockies where a 97 win team. The Rockies do not like to trade players.
      Again, I would love Trevor here. I think he is better the Lindor.
      Especially once is gets away for the altitude to sea level switch.

      • doofus

        La audace, encore la audace, et to jours la audace

      • doofus

        Story for Senzel. Provides replacement for Arenado at 3B when he is traded to the Mets. Rogers or a Met SS replaces Story.

        Now, to sign Story beyond 2021…

  7. Steve Schoenbaechler

    For SS, it will be interesting. i could understand most any way they decide to go. If they go Lindor, I just hope they don’t trade off too much.

    I, myself, can’t help thinking I would go with Kim. Though the KBO, at least he’s shown some offense. Garcia has rarely shown any offense. So, I wouldn’t count on him.

    I hope the Reds start looking at Senzel as a utility player, actually. Sorry, but with his injury history, you don’t want to count on him starting, only to miss significant time again.

  8. Big Dave

    A shame the Reds didn’t hang onto Jose Iglesias a year ago. Hit .288 in 2019 for us and seemed to make a highlight reel play in the field every game. Was injured this year but hit .373 in 142 AB for the Orioles, who picked up his 2021 option for $3.5 million.

    • GreatRedLegsFan

      I’ve always critized that move, preferred to pick-up Galvis’ option rather than extending Iglesias. Another bad move for the list.

  9. Kevin Patrick

    Galvis wasn’t the only Red who struggled at the plate this year. Honestly, if the choice were between re-signing Galvis and acquiring a decent starter via free agency vs say trading for Lindor for a year… I’d take Galvis again. I can’t believe I’m the only guy who is curious about what Farmer might do there if he played regularly. As regularly as the Reds utilize the shift, I would think it wouldn’t be quite as important to have a longer range shortstop and second baseman. The Reds will have a glaring hole without Bauer in the rotation. I’m not convinced Miley will put it together. We are without Desclafani as well perhaps. Lodolo isn’t ready… Mahle and Sims are fine… but that’s all… I would be surprised if Lorenzen pitched close to 200 innings as a starter. Castillo needs to step forward more. Gray is tough. You can invite the scrap heap to Spring Training if you want, and scour the pile for talent with a metal detector… but you’re going to have to pay to begin to be close to replacing Bauer.

  10. Tom

    It is the offense stupid. The Reds need to upgrade their pathetic offense. Perhaps start with a new batting coach with a different philosophy. Whiffs, walks and solo homers did not work last year. Winker and Suarez regressed big time with whiffs, walks and solo home runs philosophy. Can they be salvaged?