On Monday afternoon the news broke that the San Diego Padres were the victors in the bidding war/negotiations with Korean shortstop Ha-seong Kim. The Cincinnati Reds were seen as a potential suitor for the shortstop, and there had been some lower-level rumors floating around that they were involved. At the end of the day it was the Padres who got the deal done, though, as first reported by Dennis Lin of The Athletic.

Cincinnati’s priority, at least publicly stated, this offseason is to find a shortstop. Whether that’s for the 2021 season only, or for the foreseeable future, we aren’t entirely sure. As has been said many times on the digital pages here at Redleg Nation, though, having too much talent is never a problem.

In a free agent market with multiple quality shortstop options, the first domino to fall was Ha-seong Kim. That’s not entirely surprising. He’s the youngest of the group, and there was a deadline in order to sign him. Now that he’s off of the board, though, the rest of the shortstop market could get moving. The teams who were in on Kim and lost out now have to begin looking at other options.

The trade market is going to be there, but you don’t really know who is and isn’t available there. We’ve got rumors that superstars like Francisco Lindor and Trevor Story could be available. It’s the free agent market that should see more traction, though. Didi Gregorius, Andrelton Simmons, and Marcus Semien are the top of the crop among free agents.

Without knowing what it would take to sign each player, both in terms of dollars and years, it’s tough to say who would be the best fit for the Cincinnati Reds. But, if the organization is going to get a shortstop on the free agent market, these are the three guys they are likely wanting to focus on. When looking only at the 2021 season, here’s what the ZiPS projections from Dan Szymborski project for each of the three players:

Didi Gregorius .275 .321 .473 1 2.6
Marcus Semien .257 .333 .442 3 4.2
Andrelton Simmons .273 .318 .376 12 2.5

ZiPS is clearly in favor of Marcus Semien, who has a comp in the system to former Reds bench coach Jay Bell as his #1 for the 2021 campaign. Gregorius and Semien are both projected to hit well while playing solid defense. Simmons, on the flip side, isn’t really expected to hit much, but is expected to be among the best defensive players in the game and do so at a premium defensive position.

If the Reds, like other teams were waiting to see where they stood with Ha-seong Kim, now they know. It’s time to move forward to the next option and see what can be accomplished. If the premise it to improve the offense, then Simmons is the guy you want to avoid among the three options. But if you have some faith that the offense will come around as expected in 2021, then maybe you try to bolster your defense at shortstop with a guy like Simmons to help make up some ground on the fact that you aren’t (likely) bringing back Trevor Bauer and the team is going to give up more runs as a side effect to that.

There’s still time between now and the start of spring training to get some things figured out. But the sooner that Cincinnati can land their shortstop for 2021, the easier it will be to figure out the rest of the things that they need to do in order to get their team in the best position to win.

79 Responses

  1. TOM

    If it means losing Gray or Castillo to sign Gregorious, Siemens or Simmons, I would rather keep Gray & Castillo.

  2. Burtgummer01

    I highly doubt the Reds were even interested
    They’ll get some scrub for league minimum

    • Rob

      The Reds have shed over $45,000,000 dollars in salaries including losing Bauer so how much more do they want? They are stuck with Votto and salary for good or bad. Will they spend anything?

  3. Bred

    They have their SS. Farmer and the rule 5 SS they picked up.

  4. Rut

    Agree with previous posts.

    I think we will get the 2021 version of “We have Jack for that” (back when Jock was referring to Hannahan).

    • RedAlert

      Yep – Jack Squat – cause they ain’t gonna do anything but sell bobbleheads and put on fireworks show . Same crap , different season . Please sell this team to someone that gives a crap about winning .

      • JayTheRed

        Colorado Red… Does it honestly matter if they move the team? There are lots of Reds fans in Wisconsin. Do you really think they care if they stay in Cincinnati. I am not saying I want the Reds to move but I don’t think where they play in todays world matters as much as it used to.

        Come On Mexico City Reds lol.. Kidding

  5. Mark

    Simmons would be ok but if we signing him for defense mainly we already have that in Garcia m.

  6. The1rosstaman

    I believe the reds have an offer to DiDi, who is waiting for the Lemaheiu situation to play out. If the yanks resign dj, no room for didi and he signs with the reds.

    If DiDi signs with yanks, the reds have some ideas what it would cost to acquire one via trade. Hence the reason every name with any value has been “floted” in trade talks.

  7. Tom Mitsoff

    What’s going on with the Cubs is astounding. Trading Darvish AND Caratini to San Diego for Zach Davies (with only one year of team control left) and four non-top-tier prospects is just amazing. That is the kind of move that I think we all feared the Reds would make with Gray or Castillo because it screams saving money over competing in 2021.

    Take heart that Cincinnati hasn’t made a move like this yet. (Yes, the Iglesias trade was clearly made with money savings in mind. But the Reds haven’t done this kind of move with a top-tier starting pitcher.) Chicago losing Darvish somewhat offsets the Reds losing Bauer when you directly compare the two teams from a competitive standpoint.

    Regarding shortstop, certainly Nick Krall has a number he is allowed to spend, but we don’t know what it is. He also almost certainly has an order of preference among the shortstops, which we also don’t know.

    We’re certainly disappointed with Cincinnati’s approach to this offseason, but it is notably better than what the Cubs have just signaled — saving money supersedes competing in 2021, and that perhaps a rebuild of sorts is underway.

    • SultanofSwaff

      Davies is no Darvish, but I’m sure Jed Hoyer will sell it to the fans that way. I think the Cubs are trying to walk the tight rope—-stay competitive in a winnable division with (likely) expanded playoffs, yet cut costs and begin the process of transitioning to the next phase of their competitive cycle. Their farm system is so barren, they could be wandering no man’s land for a while after 2021. No wonder Theo left…..it’s head scratching he doesn’t get dinged more for being bad a drafting and development. All the fan base here could do on his way out was to throw roses.

    • RedBaron

      It’s kind of misleading because the prospects they got back are very young international signing. At 16 and 17 no one is gonna rank them very highly. Just look at Jasson Dominguez who has been hailed as the best international signing over the last decade and yet no one is ranking him in their top 35 simply because of age.

      That being said this is probably the best they could get for Darvish as indicated by the fact that the Cubs had to send cash over as well. His contracts is simply too much in a post Covid season.

      • Michael E

        And Darvish is well past his prime AND has varied injury history. He also beat up on NL Central crappy offenses. I think San Diego will be the one to regret this trade, even if they didn’t give up a single top 10 prospect.

        I did/do fear the Reds doing a trade like this with Castillo or Gray. I’d like to see a stud prospect (or two top 6 ones at the least) and not like 5 barely ranked ones that are so young the bust rate is amplified.

    • Manuel Toledo

      The difference between the Cubs and Reds is that the Cubs have recently been dominant with one World Series ring. If I was a Cubs fan, I would be patient. I’m a Reds fan and impatient. Reds ownership acts like a politician who creates the impression they’re trying but it’s mostly smoke and mirrors, as with the trade that involved the Reds/Dodgers two seasons ago. We lost some good prospects so Castellini could act like he wanted to win with one-year rentals.

      • Ryan

        With Gray and Castillo being so much cheaper with controllable years, I’d be upset, too, if they didn’t bring back stud prospects if/when they get dealt. I don’t blame the fans for throwing roses considering Theo b(r)ought WS title – thinking a WS is within reach every year is a fantasy that many fans believe, but when they are fans of large market teams who have limitless funds, it’s hard not to blame them. We can just sit by and hope that some scraps fall off the table like a good Reds fan should

    • Melvin

      So far it seems we’ve only saved money on the bullpen which is the easiest to replace and still stay competitive. Listening to offers on players happens all the time. We’re just hearing about it more this year. We’ll see what happens. If the money saved gets us a good SS while keeping our SP minus Bauer then 2021 still has potential to be a good year – minus Bell’s craziness of course. 🙂

    • Bob Purkey

      Well, it seems to me that a potential Castillo or Gray just took a major hit. San Diego had to be a potential partner with their plethora of top prospects, but now with Darvish and Snell trades, they get all of the SP that they needed and really gave up very little in terms of top prospects.

    • RojoBenjy

      I think the Cubs still have goodwill capital in the bank for winning in 2016–makes their approach easier to stomach for the fans.

    • Redsvol

      totally agree here Tom. Reds are doing their due diligence while the Cubs are selling at pennies on the dollar. If you look at it, only the Padres and Rays are doing much this off-season. Even the deep pocket clubs are waiting and watching and hoping that asking prices drop. Looks like almost all clubs are concerned about revenue returning to 2019 levels and unwilling to commit to more expenses.

      The korean SS got basically 6$million per year with no MLB experience – but it was from the Padres who are committing to win in 2021. Agents are going to want more than that for an above average MLB shortstop. Maybe 10$M per year on a 2-3 year deal gets a commitment from one of Gregarious, Simmons or Simien? But are the Reds willing to commit to this kind of new $?

  8. Mark Moore

    I can’t help but think that two coming years of uncertainty is driving a lot of the non-decisions we’ve seen so far. Nobody knows what 2021 will look like yet – when we start, how many games, late-breaking rule changes. And 2022 very well could be a shut down year at this point. They had a great opportunity to get early work done on the CBA with all the stuff we expect to be a part of it and yet we’ve heard very little – rumor or otherwise.

    Looks to me like the Cubbies are pulling back for the year. They certainly aren’t stronger after these moves.

    • RojoBenjy

      “ I can’t help but think that two coming years of uncertainty is driving a lot of the non-decisions we’ve seen so far. Nobody knows what 2021 will look like yet”

      I think you’re most likely right here.

    • Bradley Hugh Ridge

      Owners and players will get on the same page as they know that their combined revenue streams are in serious jeopardy. They will be begging for support from TV and the fans.

      • Doug Gray

        Most of the owners of current MLB teams will either be dead or no longer be owners by the time their local TV deals are needing to be renewed. Most current local TV deals are 10-30 years from expiring.

      • Tom Reeves

        I think the Reds will try and trim the team’s salary and operating costs to on par with the TV and other fixed revenue streams. I don’t think they can safely bet on attendance revenues.

        So, I imagine the Reds will try to offload every contract possible to get costs below TV revenue.

        Should make for a fun 2021 season.

  9. SteveLV

    I admire what TB has accomplished and what they have out together for the future. It’s a model I think the Reds should try to copy.

    The Reds have real value in the contracts of Gray, Castillo, and Suarez, but that value is going to evaporate over the next three years on a team that isn’t going to be a real contender and is saddled with some big contracts that won’t be worth the dollars.

    I’m all for a complete rebuild. I know they didn’t do it right the last time, but they’re in a position to get it right this time. I hope they try. I think the alternative is hovering around mediocrity for quite a while. Give me a real winning team or the hope of one. The current roster doesn’t give me either of those.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      In my opinion, what Tampa Bay did is what we all as Reds fans feared Cincinnati would do with Gray or Castillo. Snell is an ace-caliber pitcher with three years of team control remaining at what most would concede should be an affordable price ($13M per year). But the Rays followed up a World Series appearance by trading away their best pitcher for prospects. The front office’s message to their fans — (well, it’s not fit for print).

      • SteveLV

        I think there is a significant difference between what TB did and what I’m suggesting the Reds do. TB got to the World Series and then traded away an ace. The Reds barely got to the playoffs, didn’t hit (small sample size, but not unexpected given the season’s performance), and lost Bauer.
        TB has McKay, McClanahan, and Honeywell all ML ready to take over from Snell and Morton, and a well-stocked system behind them.
        I didn’t make my point about admiring TB well. What I admire is them building a very good team that looks like it will be very good for quite some time, and building it with a significant core component of young, inexpensive high-level players. Not much in that sentence resembles the Reds. I think it’s the path the Reds should take – I think it’s the only realistic path the Reds have to consistent winning – and I think they have the opportunity now to get on that path.

  10. SultanofSwaff

    $7.5 over 4 years for a 25 year old SS is peanuts.

    I see the SS situation extending into spring training, whenever that’ll be. These free agents will blink and the Reds will get a good player at a discount. It’s the smart play, especially when you consider Lindor and Story are also available.

    • Mark Moore

      Only the Friars don’t view him as their SS. He’s a 2B … maybe. And the final tally was far less than what MLBTR predicted. Kind of makes you scratch your head.

  11. LDS

    The Reds continue to disappoint as they have for a long time. They haven’t had a decent manager since Baker and somedays, Bell makes me miss Price. The bottom line is that the ownership isn’t committed to winning, the FO is clueless on how to build a winner (saw somewhere yesterday that they were dead last in draft quality), and Bell couldn’t win with whatever they built for him. San Diego and the Dodgers are starting to look like teams to follow. The Reds? Not showing much these days.

    • west larry

      “…and someday, Bell makes me miss price…” Who are you kidding? I watched every game last year, and seldom though he was worse than Price. Mistakes for sure, but nothing close to that Dumpster Fire known as Price. …they haven’t had a decent manager since Baker…don’t you recall that when Baker managed, this blog was all over him like white on rice. They (the bloggers) hounded him every day for months. I still think that their was a racial element to those demeaning comments. Bell is no Dave Roberts, but he’s close. I think that they’ll sign a shortstop for under three million a year.

      • west larry

        Roberts isn’t great at all, and I think Bell is close to his ability, less the players.

      • Melvin

        To me Price was the best out of the three of Baker, Bell, and Price. The big difference is Price had no chance with what he had to work with especially in the area of pitching. I would have loved to have BP coaching this last years team over Bell.

  12. Justin

    I think the rule is that everyone has to wait until the Padres are done. That’s when the rest of us can make moves.

    • Michael E

      Never thought I would hear that in my lifetime. The Padres have been run by tightwad owners and incompetent GMs (think Pirates the last 30 years). They did trades right, got back high upside players and not MLB ready crap and drafted well. They appear to be set to be good for a while, even IF Darvish and/or Snell are busts.

  13. CI3J

    This should come as a surprise to no one who was paying attention. As I said in the previous post on the topic, I don’t think the Reds were ever seriously in on him.

    There’s something really wonky going on with the financials in baseball right now. It seems like half the teams want to dump salary at any cost, and the other half want to stock up and make a run for the post season in 2021. It’s almost like there is one side betting 2021 will be a mostly normal season, and the other side betting that it’s going to be another weird season like 2020.

    We’ll see who comes out on top.

    • LDS

      San Diego has players under control for more than 2021. Very good moves by their FO. No reason that 2021 shouldn’t be normal. Then there was no reason for the 2020 debacle either.

    • Tom Reeves

      It’s easy to figure out the teams betting it all on 2021 and those that are cutting costs – the capacity of the organization to survive 2021 with little or no attendance revenue. The teams that can afford to absorb that risk will bet the farm. The teams that can’t will sell the farm. The Reds are definitely sellers.

      Franky, we should be hoping they sell everything possible so the franchise comes out the other side of the pandemic stronger. Sacrifice 2021.

  14. Steve

    If the Reds had a manager who understood the game of baseball and an owner who could make up his mind we would win now. The problem is not the roster, but is the fact that Bell won’t let star players be stars! Guys need to play with regularity. Platooning is for less talented players not guys who sign big free agent contracts. Bell can’t make out a lineup card without a computer telling him who to play. And we have seen how terrible that works. But if that is what ownership wants they will continue to have it. Mediocrity! However, Cincinnati fans don’t want it and won’t put up with it much longer. Get used to the way the seats looked last season because they will keep on looking like that as long as they continue to run a two bit operation!

    • Michael E

      Yep, paralysis by analysis…or is it analytics?
      Never go ALL IN on any method, big mistake.
      I agree on letting the “good” players play. Before all this platoon crap got going, stars could hit both armed pitchers fairly well. Even now we see LH hitters with actually good LHP results, yet they’re still platooned because the “Baseball for Dummies” book says they should play an RH hitter, no matter how awful they are against either armed pitcher.


      Same thing with overuse of bullpens when you have good SPs, only because your Dummies guide says third time through the order, ABORT, ABORT. Poor Walter Johnson would never get a shutout in his entire career if he pitched for the modern Reds.

  15. MK

    Need to give the Reds, like Tampa, a little CoVid break. I imagine the financial loses were tremendous in 2020. The uncertainty of 2021 is a reality. Will there be enough fans allowed to make any impact. I’m not crying for them as a lot of mom and pop small businesses no longer exist. As a fan it is disappointing but so has life been in 2020. If it were me I’d play Alf-Rod to start the season. Defensively he is more than ready.Give Garcia half a season of AAA. At mid season decide which one is ready to finish up. You don’ retard Garcia’s development that way and you don’t end up holding him back when offense is ready because you gave someone else a multi-year contract.

    • DaveCT

      I’d take Miguel Rojas in a heartbeat, even as a complement to AlfRod.

  16. AllTheHype

    I have to disagree with Doug here. There are more SSs available than there are viable suitors. It’s a buyers market, and the Reds would be well served by waiting out the market, perhaps even into Spring Training, and see how desperate the SS trade and free agent market becomes. They are likely to get more of a bargain if they wait.

    • Doug Gray

      And if you are then left without a good option because you sat on your hands hoping to save 3%?

  17. AWA85

    Why do I feel like we finish with Galvis for about $1 million.

    • TR

      My guess is the Reds will end up with Didi on a three year contract.

  18. AllTheHype

    This is THE slowest MLB free agent off season market in memory, much more so than even 2017-8, when guys like Moustakas ended up signing for one year, $6.5M in Spring Training 2018 after being pegged for 5 years and $85M by mlbtraderumors. Many other examples of that Moustakas signing that offseason.

    Reds should not be anxious to set the market. 3% discount? Hardly. Could be 30-70% discounts in this buyers market if the Reds are patient and play it right. It’s pretty obvious teams are waiting out the market, and they should be.

    • Doug Gray

      Waiting out the market only works if you still get your guy. Being proactive lands you the player you want. Go get the player you want.

      • AllTheHype

        Reds might not have a “guy” though, and might accept the guy that falls in their lap at a reduced price after other teams set the market and then remove themselves from it, lessening competition.

        With Semiens, Gregorius, Simmons, Lindor, Story and a few other names potentially available, Reds needn’t be hasty. The market will come to them in 2-3 short months.

      • Doug Gray

        Lindor’s been “on the market” for 2 years now and he’s still there.

        I’d rather go get the guy I want, and I can promise you there’s a guy at the top of the Reds list, rather than hope things work out and wind up re-signing Freddy Galvis on March 8th because, well, things didn’t work out. Call me crazy, but if I’m actually trying to win, I’m going to go try and do that and not try to wait out everyone else and hope things work.

      • AllTheHype

        I just don’t see the Reds being aggressive filling out the roster in a year where winning won’t see a corresponding increase in gate sales. It makes business sense to be clandestinely cautious this year.

        I think they’ll wait and hope their guy (or guys) falls into their lap and if it doesn’t work out that way, oh well, 2022 is the real target anyway.

        BTW I think most MLB teams are in that same boat, and no one, or not many, want to be market setters this off season.

        It’s a bad year to be a free agent.

  19. MBS

    OK, now that Kim is gone, I’m back to dreaming about Lindor. Even Didi seems like a compromise at this point. Maybe if the Reds hadn’t cut 2 very good relief pitchers, Didi would seem like a nice fit.

    Who ever ends up with Lindor will be giving up a small package. We need to hope the Yanks resign LaMahiue. That should keep them away from the SS market (1 less team) and we know they’d spend the $$$ to take on Lindor’s salary. Most teams right now wouldn’t. I realize the Reds are probably lumped in with most teams in that last sentence, but what an opportunity they could have.

    • MBS

      So the Reds have saved 29m + so far this season. Lindor is probably getting 22m in 21. Still saved 8m+, while improving dramatically. There were rumors that Lindor would be open to negotiations with his new team for a new contract. Let’s say the Reds offered him 30 X 5 years buying out his last year of arbitration.

      21 (30m)
      22 (30m) Reds shed Lorenzen 4.25m, Barn 4.2m, Miley 8m (16.45m)
      23 (30m) Reds shed Shogo 8m, Sonny 10.8 (18.8m)
      24 (30m) Reds shed Votto 25m, Castellanos 16m, Mouse 16m (57m)
      25 (30m)

      I know there are options on some of these contracts. I also know there will be new Arb contracts to consider. The only point is the Reds could realistically make a move like this and not raise payroll by much at all. They are already stuck with these contracts listed above, lets get the most out of the next 3 to 5 years.

      • Mark Moore

        If I’m not mistaken, this is Lindor’s walk year and not an arb year. He’s a 1-year guy unless you negotiate a contract that precludes him from hitting the FA market next year (and beyond). The Indians have zero incentive to just hand him over to somebody, so they’ll ask for players … and not AA level guys either.

        Your math is solid in terms of contracts that roll off. But your basis is, I believe, incorrect for Lindor.

      • MBS

        2021 is his last year of arb, and the estimate is 22m.

        I was referencing an article stating that Lindor would be open to negotiations with his new team. How true that is, is anyone’s guess. I could be wrong buy I don’t think he’ll cost a lot in prospects. We will probably see soon enough though.

        If the Reds could get a Sonny Gray situation, and pre negotiate an extension before the trade with the Indians were complete, then I’d give a lot more for Lindor. It’s doubtful, but it would be in the Indians best interest, as their prospect return would increase.

      • Mark Moore

        OK MBS … we were thinking the same thing in the end. This is it for Lindor in Cleveland.

  20. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I don’t believe this was a very good move by the Padres. Granted, you can never have too much talent. But, the talk was moving their current 2nd baseman to the OF; he has essentially no experience out there.

    It looks like the Reds are either going to go with one of the FA’s now, like Didi, trading for someone like Lindor, or going with the next Jose Iglesias.

    • Earmbrister

      Senzel had essentially no experience in the OF before he was moved there, and he was better than average his first year in CF.

      I don’t know the player but the Padres do.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Both Senzel and Hamilton have had a history of injuries from playing out there, mostly from never learning how to play the wall.

  21. Rod Andrews

    I agree. Turn off the computer, and start managing. And you’re right; you don’t sign players to big contracts to platoon them. Players don’t have to play every day., or get an at bat. This is not little league. Play your best and win, or try to win every day.

    • MK

      For many years all I heard at these sites is turn the computer on. Can’t have it both ways. Not that I always agreed.

  22. Kevin Patrick

    I have no idea where this is all headed.. the baseball economic world seems upside down. I think there will be some very good players who aren’t going to end up playing. I speculate that this is some sort of power move against the players union as a tactic…whatever is happening…money is killing my love of the sport.

    • MK

      The baseball industry lost huge money, speculated billions in 2020. There isn’t the money available there has been in the past. I would assume the ability to borrow is even tight. Don’t know yet whether 2021 will be any better.

      • MBS

        I wonder if they actually lost, or lost big. We will never know, but I think when we here how much they lost, they are considering the money they forecasted (162) for 2020 pre covid, vs the money they made (60) in 2020. I am not saying they didn’t lose any money, I just bet it’s not as much as they say.

  23. DaveCT

    What high end free agent would have any desire to go to a cost cutting, small market mid west team when he will likely make more money on a more competitive team in a more desirable location? Last year, Moose and Nick C took high offers on a team going all in, or so it was thought. Yes, there is an open job here, but, no, I’d be shocked if Simmons, Didi, or Siemens came here for 3 years.

    My vote: Trade for Miguel Rojas. Make him king for a year.

    • Hotto4Votto

      I agree it’s hard to see why a FA SS who wants to compete comes to Cincinnati, especially if you’re likely to end up in trade rumors in the 2nd and 3rd seasons here.

  24. docproc

    I’ll say it again:
    Our Opening Day SS will be Kyle Farmer.

  25. Grand Salami

    Doug you didn’t take the graphic that listed SD as a legitimate player in these SS sweepstakes seriously. They have to be the new WS favorites with these moves, no?

    • Doug Gray

      Wrote a tiny bit about that for tomorrow, but no, they are still ever so slightly behind the Dodgers right now.

  26. Ryan

    Let’s see if Larkin will be player/manager for 2021 – 2 problems solved

    • Greenfield Red

      What experience does Larkin have managing? If he wanted to be a major league manager, he should take a minor league position for a year or two. He has shown no interest that I know of. Can anyone correct me?

      • Corey D

        I’m not sure being a manager is a tough job. My guess is that most of the decisions of importance are made by the front office. For experience, Larkin has years of playing and being around managers. Not that I know for sure he will be good or bad at it but something tells me he knows how to be a manager.

    • MBS

      I like it! He could slot in the the 2 hole as well, 3 problems solved

  27. Kevin Patrick

    I don’t know… as long as the Cubs are interested in giving away players… I would offer them several 17 year olds and take Javy Baez… IF they also sent 4 or 5 million along with him. That’s how ridiculous things are getting.