The Cincinnati Reds entered the offseason facing the loss of two starting pitchers to free agency. Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer isn’t likely to return to Cincinnati given the likely contract he’s going to get. Anthony DeSclafani joined Bauer in free agency, though he did not finish the season in the rotation for the club. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reported late on Tuesday night that Cincinnati is among the teams making the biggest push to sign starters along with a handful of other teams.

If the Reds can’t get a deal done, they do seem to have internal options to work with. Assuming everyone is healthy, the rotation is going to include Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, and Wade Miley. Tyler Mahle likely makes a 4th starter. Cincinnati has spoke about Tejay Antone, Michael Lorenzen, and newcomer Jeff Hoffman also getting an opportunity in the spring to win a job as a starter. If you look towards the minor leagues, you also could see a starter options with Nick Lodolo, the 2019 1st round pick by the Reds or Tony Santillan – both of whom spent the year pitching on the alternate roster at Prasco Park. A little later in the season options could include Vladimir Gutierrez, who looked outstanding in his Dominican Winter League debut on Monday night, or top prospect Hunter Greene.

What Feinsand doesn’t mention in his report is who, or what tier of starting pitcher the Reds are looking at. At the top of the market there are guys like Trevor Bauer and Masahiro Tanaka. If Cincinnati is going to be looking into simply adding some depth to the back of the rotation, that’s where things are a bit wide open, and could get a lot more wide open later tonight as teams non-tender players that will become free agents.

After two offseasons in a row where the Reds seemed to go out and try to make real moves to take steps forward, not making an attempt to improve on a team that topped the .500 mark for the first time in nearly a decade would feel disappointing to many fans out there. Given the roster, the rotation and the shortstop position are the two areas where there’s both a big need and plenty of options available for the organization to explore. The winter meetings start on Monday and is usually when we start to pick up on real rumors and even moves – but things are a bit different this year as they are being held virtually. Whether that will slow things down, both in the rumor mill and in terms of getting things done – we’ll have to wait and see.

16 Responses

  1. CFD3000

    Good. Miley, Mahle, Antone and Lorenzen (and maybe Santillan or Lodolo) might be steady after Castillo and Gray, but they’re unlikely to be special. Talk with Bauer. He’ll be expensive, maybe too pricey, but the Reds likely have a slight edge there and should pursue him until it’s obvious he’s a no. Meantime, look at anyone who could be at least a strong #3 starter or better. Until the non tender lists are complete it won’t be clear who all those options are, but it may be a good year to be shopping. Here’s hoping the Reds can do just that.

    On a side note I’d much rather they buy a short term shortstop than trade for one. The prospect ranks are a little thin, and there’s no reason to stress that even further. I know the instinct here is to tighten the payroll, but there’s a big opportunity if the Reds can be bold and buck that trend.

  2. SultanofSwaff

    Haven’t seen much chatter about Disco on the rumor mills which is a tad surprising. Despite his injury history, he’s been a solid pitcher when healthy. A nice depth option which is why the Reds should at least kick the tires on his asking price. He’d settle in nicely at the back of the rotation and give the team lots of flexibility to use Antone and Lorenzen in high leverage swing roles.

  3. Klugo

    Disco should/could be a good bullpen piece.

  4. Troy

    Disco weak rather live with Lorenzen and/or Antone

    • TR

      Maybe you re-sign Disco on a 1 year $2-3 million deal with incentives. Not sure what the market is these days especially with non-tenders. I’m sure he could possible get more especially on 1 year deal, but maybe he jumps for it to have certainty.

  5. Bob

    Here’s a novel idea: How about developing starting pitchers in the farm system, thus lessening the need to sign free agents! The best the Reds can do is bring up starters, then convert them to middle relievers (Stephenson. Lorenzen, Romano, Garrett. etc.) Even Mahle was moved to the pen before injuries forced him back into the rotation. As long as the farm system fails to produce quality major league-ready talent — not just pitching, but throughout the roster — the Reds will continue to be mired in mediocrity or worse.

  6. JB

    Honestly I dont see where Disco provides anything more than the pitchers they have. To me its throwing money away instead of using it towards a shortstop. Wish him well but this team has enough 3-5 pitchers. Stop kicking the tires on retreads.

  7. LDS

    Not seeing a lot of activity across the league thus far today. A lot of front office deal making attempts before announcing non-tenders?

  8. AllTheHype

    Let’s dig into the Disco situation.

    If you take away Disco’s 2 horrific starts this year, where he went a combined 5.2 IP giving up 16 ER, his ERA for 2020 is 3.54. In 2019 he sported a 3.89 in 166.2 IP.

    NL ERA for starting pitchers was 4.41 in 2020 and 4.33 in 2019.

    So basically, ignore 2 starts and he’s been a much better than league average starting pitcher, pitching in a bandbox half of the time.

    Sign me up if you can get him on the cheap, or even not so cheap. He’s the kind of under the radar “get” they should be looking for.

    • LDS

      He’s 30 years old,FanGraphs has him primarily as a flyball pitcher, and not particularly cheap given what he brings to the team. Is he the best fit for the money in the Reds ballpark?

    • centerfield

      Before you compare Disco to league average, minus his worst two starts, you would have to throw out the two worst starts for ALL starting pitchers, right?

      • Phil

        I think the better argument for resigning DeSclafani is that from 2015-2019 he averaged just under 150 IP and had a combined 4.01 ERA, 4.17 FIP and 4.04 xFIP. Showing him to be a solidly above-average starting pitcher.
        If the skillset is still there, I’d put more weight into those numbers than the numbers he posted over 33 innings in 2020. Especially so considering how much 2 poor outings can skew those numbers.

        I don’t know what it would take to resign Disco, and that money might be better spent on a SS. I’m just saying that if he is resigned, I’d expect him to be closer to an above-average starting pitcher, than the 7+ ERA he posted last season.

    • Doc

      Thank you. Most people hate it when factual data get in the way of a theory.

      • New Red Machine

        Disco has had his time in Cincy,let him go.Antoine is the man for that position. We need offense, the hitting coach needs to work overtime with Tucker he’s an easy out and dreadfully slow. You don’t let Bauer go Winker, Nick Castellanos has got to be the outfield Shogo is a no go at the plate and in the field. It’s time for Lorenzen to be used in the field as a starter or left fielder if Winker leaves the bat on his shoulder. Finally Nick is a lock for center field MVP potential if he can avoid injury.

  9. Optimist

    Same HS as Tucker B., but 3 years older – don’t know if it matters at all.

    • New Red Machine

      Forgot to address the shortstop position Kyle Farmer is the man there. That Gives you the money for Bauer.