Major League Baseball teams can’t sign free agents right now. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still some rumors being leaked out and one of the big ones we heard about this week is that the Chicago Cubs and Carlos Correa are both interested in each other. Bruce Levine of 670 The Score in Chicago reported that the Cubs have serious interest in landing Correa, but that they don’t want to meet his asking of a 10-year deal to make it happen.

The ZiPS projections are out for all of the teams in the National League Central except for the Milwaukee Brewers, who won the division in 2021. Obviously with free agency halted, and plenty of quality players out there still awaiting deals, those projections are going to change as teams begin to add more players to their rosters. But for now, here’s what Dan Szymborski, the creator of the ZiPS projections, had to say about the four teams thus far and their status:

While we don’t know what the Brewers project to be exactly, chances seem good that they’ll be in that range with the Cardinals and above the other teams in the division. Projections are just that – projections. They are a guideline to start with for expectations. Teams will often outperform or underperform those projections. Players break out, players get hurt, acquisitions take place, sometimes you just win a lot more 1-run games than you lose (or the other way around) – you play the games for a reason.

The Cincinnati Reds, as things stand right now, look to be the 3rd best team in the division. They are within the right range to be competitive for both a wild card spot or the division if a few things go their way. But the stronger the other teams get, the tougher it is for a fringe contender to have enough things work out in their favor to climb up to true contender.

That brings us back to Carlos Correa and the Chicago Cubs. MLB Trade Rumors projected his deal this offseason to be a 10-year deal for $320,000,000. ZiPS projects him to be a 5-win player in the 2022 season. If Chicago were to sign him then that probably puts them right in line with the Cincinnati Reds in the projections as a team and it also puts the Cubs into that “if things go a little bit right” range to be competitive in the division.

Landing a star player, and that’s what Carlos Correa is, certainly moves the needle for any team. But if the Cubs can figure out how to land Correa, he could help change how the division plays out. For the Cincinnati Reds, who aren’t expected to make any big free agent deals will that kind of move leaves them with a much smaller margin for error or randomness or injury or underperformance by anyone if they still want to remain competitive.

30 Responses

  1. Jon

    The Reds need to add to their offense, period. They went 2-4 after the trade deadline last year against the Cubs’ AAA lineup. And that was with Castellanos still on the team. Right now they have Winker in LF with giant question marks in the other outfield spots. I’m not convinced Naquin is the everyday CF, nor has Senzel done anything to prove he deserves the job either. Aquino has proven he is clearly not the answer in RF, as he has never come close to replicating his standout debut month in 2019. (And Barrero needs to stay at his natural position of SS, not CF. Farmer’s one great month in his career during this past season does not earn him the title of starting SS.)

    • Doc

      That’s one more good offensive month than Barrero has had.

      • VegasRed

        Yet. Give Barerò the same chance farmer got, or India, and see what happens. If barerò doesn’t ever at least play at the major league average, then try McLain in 2023-4.

        This team is going head to head with cubbies to finish third anyway so play the kids as much as possible and let’s see what we’ve got.

      • Melvin

        Like Concepcion and Larkin, he has to play. They needed time to get going too. There’s nothing else for him to prove in AAA.

      • Michael E

        Agree. Stick him in as starter day 1 and give him April, May and into June and if he’s hitting .175 then make a move.

        If not, then trade the man while he still has top prospect billing and sign a good SS. Either piss or get off the pot Reds F.0.!

      • MuddyCleats

        If Barrero comes out hot like India did this past season, I have NO problem starting him n ML. However, kid has only played 45 AAA games. Results were mixed at best. Prudent thing to do would b play Farmer until Barrero has EARNed the playing time. It seems that many want/expect Barrero to replace Nick’s production. At this pt, that’s not fair or realistic IMHO. No reason to over stress this kid & maybe hinder his development

  2. Brad

    I agree the Reds need to add people in some areas but that one little sentence keep coming back into my head. “Align payroll to resources” . That tells be little Phil ain’t spending money on quality. You need to spend money to make money. Its going to be a lot of minor league deals and see what sticks on the wall this year. I have a bad feeling that the owners will be happy with a “somewhat competitive team” as long as it doesn’t cost money.
    They do have a good young core, I just hope that they don’t get used to losing like some of the previous years players seemed too. You need to add the right veteran players to help teach the younger players on winning and handling the pressure of a pennant race.

    • brad

      “Align payroll to resources” or “Align resources to payroll”. Means about the same no matter haw you say it. Cheaper.

      • Mk

        Means you guys should but season tickets and add to the resources.

      • Alex

        When it is 1000% confirmed that the owner is hands off on baseball decisions, and the FO proves itself competent to carry out an organizational structure that makes them competitive over the long haul. You are just wasting your money.

        All these suckers that get on here and are like, “if only reds fans came out like cards fans we’d have all this money to spend.” Would we tho? Or would their clearly broke selves pocket it? Also, the cards have spent 5 decades running an incredibly competitive franchise that features a constant recipe for success.
        Right or wrong, you aren’t going to get loyalty from a beat down fanbase with this joke of an owner around. Especially when a team lacks even the most basic corporate communication abilities. Want to spark season ticket sales? Probably don’t lead with, “were super broke and need to align payroll to resources.” Almost like the time they went with, “we’ve got no money and are talking to no one.” That entire outfit is so pathetic it’s hard to guess what dumb thing they’ll send out krall to say next.

        Long story short, the only thing at this point that would spark my interest in the team is a sale to an owner who wants to let baseball ppl make the decisions. Honestly, the only hope we have is to starve big Bob out. And that’s what I’ll be doing.

  3. LDS

    My guess is the Reds finish 4th in the division. They’ve done nothing to improve this off season. Acquire more retreads? Promote a bunch of “managers”? Extend David Bell? Just not seeing a lot of reason for optimism. And from the outside looking in, the CBA negotiations haven’t gone anywhere and that’s bad for the game. Short sighted on the owners’ part.

  4. Klugo

    I get the feeling the Reds dont care what anyone else is doing. They’re gonna stay on the sideline.

    • TR

      I have the same feeling. Not much energy emerging from the front office/ownership during this offseason period.

      • greenmtred

        The Reds haven’t done much, but there’s a lockdown, so they can’t do much. If or when the lockdown ends, they still might not make any splashy moves, but they do have a good young core.

  5. Greenfield Red

    More luke warm = more years to a World Series.

  6. Melvin

    Not sign any free agents? Of course we are. Those veteran minor leagues signings invited to spring training could work out big. You never know. If they do make the roster David Bell will play them. You can count on that. hahaha By the way guys, don’t forget to purchase your bobblehead season ticket packages. I sincerely hope you all have a Merry Christmas.

  7. MK

    ESPN is reporting the Dodgers and Bellinger have agreed to a 1-year contract. How can they do this during lockout?

    • Rick in Va

      According to MLB trade rumors: “The deal was reached prior to the sport’s December 1 lockout, but was not officially announced due to the league’s mandate that prevents clubs from discussing player personnel.”

  8. Indy Red Man

    No way the Reds finish ahead of the Cubs when/if next season happens. Miley switched teams and Castellanos, Tucker, and the pen are headed elsewhere. More importantly it’s not a secret that they’re adding and we’re subtracting.

    In reality it would be understandable if the Reds had an actual plan instead of “Oooh this guy has 2 shiny no-hitters (vs Pirates 4A squad) here’s $100 mil and “Hey this fat guy has a shiny WS ring so let’s give him $60 million”. That’s not a plan? That’s masterminds with the vision of Mr. Magoo

    • Old-school

      What if their plan is finally we arent paying 7 figures per year …….over years and years…….. for players over 30 in decline or who will be in that category for the majority of their contract period?

      I will reluctantly wait to see if they truly are committedto drafting and developing young players and playing them. If they trade Sonny Gray for some high minors prospects and sign some decent vets at good prices and have a plan for a young core of players to take over the reins from Joey Votto after 2023, that wouldn’t be all bad.

      • DataDumpster

        This is the faintly optimistic take and I was convinced this has been the plan ever since the “big spend” largely failed and David Bell has shown himself to not be a playoff caliber manager. If the trade ideas mentioned above are reasonably executed, then the sunk costs roll off the books in two years and the outlook and financial situation could be very favorable for a serious manager to take over and win big.
        Just prepare for two more years of “everybody gets to play”. I am also faintly optimistic that David Bell will finally realize that he needs to let Barrero and a few select others get the playing time to see which positions can get “locked down” for the future. Don’t forget that within the next 2 years, probably every field position except 2B, catcher and one outfield position are likely still in play.

      • LDS

        Not a playoff caliber manager? You are indeed being generous this season. I wouldn’t let him coach a little league team.

      • greenmtred

        I don’t believe Bell has shown himself to not be a playoff caliber manager: he’d need to have playoff caliber players to do that. And LDS: Bell might not let you coach a Little League team, either.

      • Melvin

        First of all Merry Christmas to everyone. Second, correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought we made the playoffs in 2020 and didn’t score a run. Not to mention falling apart like a cheap umbrella in September this year. Oh well. Some like him as manager…some don’t.

      • DataDumpster

        Well being the holiday season, I was being a bit generous. Regardless of who is on the team, Bell is a net minus. He is also the means to which the ownership will not improve the team at least the next two years. They know he can’t win and he won’t complain because this is as good as it gets for David Bell.

    • doofus

      “The vision of Mr. Magoo.” I am old enough to get this.

  9. Eddie

    I’m curious if the reds will try to trade for Jeff McNeil from Mets since he be added to trade block after the lockout

  10. Indy Red Man

    Dan Straily turned down an offer from Korea for another season because he wants to come back to MLB. Why not take a shot? The guys baseball IQ is incredible!

    • MrRed

      Meh, might as well bring Scott Feldman back too. There’s a reason those guys haven’t been in the bigs in a while. Now, I would take Dan as a coach/consultant to help develop other pitching prospects. I think he does have talent there.