The Cincinnati Reds should have a lot of money to spend this offseason. While we don’t know how much money the team has to spend, we do know that their current payroll for the 2024 season if they decline the options on Joey Votto and Curt Casali is about $37,000,000. That’s more than $100,000,000 lower than their record high payroll that came at a time when there was far less money in the game of baseball. And according to the Reds themselves, they made a lot more money in 2023 than they expected to. The instability and uncertainty of the regional sports network situation (in Cincinnati’s case, that’s Bally Sports Ohio) could add a little bit of hesitation to “go all in” in terms of spending, but either way, there should be plenty of money.

Over at The Athletic it’s former Reds general manager and everyone’s favorite leather pants wearing character this side of Ross Geller took a look at the top 40 free agents this offseason and which teams were the best fits for each player. Cincinnati was listed among the best fits for three of those 40 players.

The top player that is a “best fit” with the Reds among the teams is left-handed pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez. Technically, he’s not a free agent at this point. He has an option that he can exercise once the World Series is over, but he could also choose to remain with the Detroit Tigers for the next three seasons, earning $49,000,000 in the process. The expectation, though, is that he’ll become a free agent and try to cash in after a season in which he posted a 3.30 ERA in 152.2 innings across 26 starts where he walked 48 batters and struck out 143. Bowden projects that he will get a 5-year deal at a cost of $90,000,000.  He’s listed as the 11th best free agent this offseason.

The other two players that have the Reds listed among the “best fits” are both former players. Wade Miley, like Rodriguez, has an option for 2024. It’s a mutual option for $10,000,000 with the Brewers and has a $1,000,000 buyout. The other player is outfielder Harrison Bader.

While it makes some sense that Wade Miley is a good fit for the Reds as they likely want to add a veteran starter and pitching depth, it’s tough to see how Harrison Bader fits in. The Reds outfield has Spencer Steer in left, Will Benson in right, TJ Friedl in center, and Jake Fraley in both corners. Bader is the best defender among the group, and while he’s not a bad hitter, he’s not a better hitter than any of those guys. Given the pricetag, he’s an expensive non-upgrade.

Looking over the list and projected contracts, is there someone that sticks out that would be a good fit for the club? Once you get beyond the top three guys on the list, Cincinnati should easily be able to afford any and all of the contracts projected by Bowden without issue or complaint from any rational person.

89 Responses

  1. AEO

    I’d love them to bring back Sonny Gray.

  2. Mike

    I’m intrigued by ERod, but his advanced stats are just okay. Would rather spend a few mil more/year on Sonny or Montgomery

  3. JB WV

    Assuming Lodolo is healthy and ready to go, the Reds will have three lefties in the rotation already with Abbot and probably/possibly Williamson. Hunter and Ashcraft fill it out, but we saw how the rotation can fall apart with injuries. If you want to bring in a veteran arm I’m for it, maybe work Williamson out of the pen till a starter goes down. But I’d rather see a rightie.

  4. BK

    From a strategy standpoint, I would prefer the Reds to target fewer years and offer higher AAV this offseason. As I’ve stated before, Yamamoto would be the exception this year, but if Bowden’s contract estimate is accurate, it’s a bad value for whoever “wins” his services. From Bowden’s list and using his estimates, my preferences would be:

    1. Bader @ 3 years, $67M – adding the best relief pitcher in the game for 3 years would be a coup.

    2. Giolito @ 2 years, $24M with an opt-out clause after year 1 – at midseason, he was much higher on the projected FA list. His value plummeted after his trade. He’s one of the younger FA starting pitchers, has a good track record and good stuff. He could be the perfect guy have for a year while Lowder and Petty build pro experience in the minors.

    3. Chapman @ 2 years, $12M plus incentives; he’s pitched really well and he would be the third best option behind Hader and Diaz. Given the importance bullpens play in today’s MLB, he would be a steal at this price point.

    • John J

      The bullpen is good but could become really ELITE if we added a guy that could close or 8th/9th innning guy. You confused me saying “bader” lol, I know you meant Hader.

      Personally priority list F/A wise

      1. Sign 1-3 elite closer/bullpen
      Hader, Hicks, Chapman…Etc

      2. Sign a quality SP or trade for a guy like Glassnow and take on the contract.
      (TB might take India and a lower prospect if we pay him???)

      I think we our fine position wise Im hoping for improvements for everyone and Ty steve for a comeback season.

      For stuff non F/A related

      I am curious if they sign votto back? I feel like he could sign if he would be willing to a job that gives him bench bats against righties. Also he could play some DH, and rare 1B. I know CES needs to play everyday, but if the room is the factor I would be okay trading India for younger prospects.

      The whole problem thing is you can argue Martini is a better votto, and much cheaper. You also got Jacob, Dunn, Hinds, (currently India), senzel, fairchild, steer, as options that are much cheaper and might be more valuable.

      I still give him a contract make it work out, because his leadership and mentorship would be worth it and I think he could hit 20 bombs with a 700 ops+ with 90+ games.

      • BK

        Votto also has significant fan appeal in Cincinnati. If he returns, it would have to be with the understanding that he will get limited PAs if everyone is healthy. How often is everyone healthy? If he doesn’t perform, park him on the IL and recall Martini as you suggested. Votto’s spot will be #13 of the position players. The Reds could do much worse, but I don’t see him staying or going as moving the needle for the team much either way.

      • Colorado Red

        Do not want to waste a spot on the roster for Votto any more.
        Old Man time, has caught up with him.
        Did not move people over, I do not remember any Sacrifice Fly’s etc.

      • BK

        @CR, none of us know how much JV’s surgery was still affecting him. The Reds do know that info. I agree, it the 2023 JV is the best we can hope for then its time to move on. But decisions need to be made based on what the Reds believe a player will do in 2024, not what he did in 2023.

      • Chris

        I don’t want Hader. I completely lost respect for him when he told his manager that he wouldn’t pitch more than 3 outs. His excuse was he didn’t want to put wear and tear on his arm when the games didn’t mean anything, since the Padres were about out of it at the time. That’s a horrible teammate in my opinion. Prior to that I would have loved having that guy on the Reds.

      • greenmtred

        I understand your point, Chris, but from Hader’s point of view his arm is how he makes his living. Maybe he was just being difficult, but maybe he knew that his arm wasn’t up to an extended outing without risk.

    • old-school

      @Bk…I think you meant Hader…not Bader. LOL.

      I like it. Cards are on record as saying they are pursuing 2 high leverage relievers plus some high end starters. Reds need 2 good high end relievers and a good starter for 180 innings. I would also check in with San DIego on the cost for Juan Soto. Few teams are going to sign up for a $33 million player for 1 year but Reds can afford it. The only question is the prospect capital. Soto is a top 5 hitter in baseball and Padres are in a bit of a reset and Soto would be an MVP type hitter in the 3 hole at GABP.

      • BK

        You are very correct … in fairness, the “B” and “H” are close on the keyboard or I could just proofread better 🙂

      • Old-school

        Or you could pay Harrison Bader $ 67 mil!

        Funny stuff!

      • AllTheHype

        @Old = If Soto were a free agent, and only wanted to sign for one year, he’d get $60M easy, perhaps more. Most wanna-be contending clubs would love to have him at $33M. So the differentiator will be prospect capital in trade, and it will be A LOT. Easily a top 50 prospect, and more quality prospects included. You’ll be surprised what he is traded for, IF the Pads trade him.

      • VaRedsFan

        The Padres aren’t in the business of selling parts. They are in the business of trying to assemble a super-team. So I doubt they part with the final year of Soto.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m highly interested in Soto…Fraley/India and a top 10 non pitcher prospect gets me there, then OK

      • Nick in NKY

        Personally, I think Soto will be available for the right price. He’s in his contract year, so the prospect cost wouldn’t be nearly as much as it was when they got him from the Nats. If I were the Reds, I’d be very interested in what might bring him here.

    • Doc

      $67MM to a player who is a bit better defensively and worse offensively. Hard NO.

    • AllTheHype

      Don’t like the Hader idea, but I’m in for Sonny Gray (first choice) and Giolito second. Then I’d be hitting the non-tenders for some relatively cheap depth SP and RP options. Could strike gold there with the right guy.

  5. Magnum44

    I personally would like them to take a stab at a buy low candidate someone like Frankie Montas

    • VaRedsFan

      You take chances on buy-low guys when you are rebuilding, not when you are ready to contend.

  6. Mike

    For the first time in a few years, the Reds have to be a somewhat desirable option as far as building a winning future and being part of something exciting for any potential players.

    • DaveCT

      I’d think that any FA signing here will have done a serious check as to whether ownership will commit resources to winning. Getting payroll down is good, but committing to increasing payroll required for serious runs into the playoffs is better. I suspect many top tier FA’s would ask for such a commitment, especially since, you know, “Where are (the fans) gonna go.” That one comment is going follow Young Phil for a long time, as it should.

  7. Klugo

    Reds should be able to add two starters and two relievers and still be under or right around $100M payroll. 2 mid level starters and 2 very good relievers makes the Reds the NL Central favorites , imo. Not that much to ask, really. One problem though is that I believe its harder to convince FA pitchers to come to GABP. So you may be dealing with shrunken pool.

    • Old Big Ed

      GABP shouldn’t bother a guy who is wanting to sign his last contract, like Sonny Gray. Yeah, the ERA might be .5 higher than if the pitcher goes to a big ballpark, but a Sonny Gray type wouldn’t care, because he isn’t fishing for a deal down the road, anyway.

      The potential to play with a winner is what they have to sell, and it is plausible for the first time in several years.

      • Klugo

        I agree. Gray is a good candidate. Miley is too. They’ve been here before and done well, too. But GABP shrinks the pool of potential FAs, imo. It doesn’t dry it up necessarily, it just eliminates some candidates I think. Or they eliminate us,I should say.

      • David

        Gray may be too old.
        Miley definitely is. If you look at Miley’s history over the last 5-6 years, he pitches well one year, then is hurt the next and pitches very little.
        He pitched fairly well for the Brewers this season, so I would expect him to be hurt/injured for most of 2024.
        He pitched 157 innings for the Orioles in 2017, then 80 innings for Milwaukee in 2018. He pitched 167 innings for Houston in 2019, then 14 innings for the Reds in 2020 (the Plague Year). He pitched 163 innings for the Reds in 2021, then 37 innings for the Cubs in 2022. He pitched 120 innings for the Brewers in 2023 (hardly an “innings eater” at this point in his career), and I would guess he won’t pitch much in 2024, if the pattern holds.

        Sonny Gray is 34, and still appears to have good stuff. But he is at that point in his career where he might just fall off the cliff, in terms of performance. He pitched 184 innings (regular season) for Minnesota this year (9 innings in the post season), which is the most innings he has pitches since 2019 with the Reds.

        Sonny, maybe.
        Wade Miley, no.

      • VaRedsFan

        Thanks David. I keep saying the same things about Miley. people act like he’s a durable innings eater. He’s everything but that.

  8. RedBB

    Hard pass on Bader. Starting pitching all the way. 1 or 2 veterans that can give innings would be my target.

  9. Datdudejs

    Yamamoto, hader and Bellinger or ohtani. That should be their list of targets imo

  10. DaveCT

    I have commented for some time that Cincinnati is not a desirable FA destination. Exceptions have been overpays (Moose) and lower tier filler (Minor).

    Two of the greatest barriers have been ownership (“Where are they going to go?) and the rebuild(s). For some, like Sonny Gray, the smaller arena has been beneficial, but for many it’s not near the draw as are locations such as Atlanta, New York, LA, San Francisco, St’ Louis, Boston, Chicago, etc. Nor has it really rivaled clubs like the Angels, Phillies, Padres, Rangers, etc. willing to spend enormous amounts of money. What a difference a successful reload and, hopefully, rebuild can make, not to mention Nick Krall.

    But this presents different set of problems, such as prospective playing time for FA infielders (not that we’d seek any out) and, to a bit lesser degree, FA outfielders. With a semi-loaded outfield, Friedl, Benson, Steer, Fraley, and competition for DH at bats, seeking a big power bat would likely come with thinning the crop in the outfield. Factor in the near arrival of players such as Dunn, Hinds, possibly Hurtubise, and FA’s will be asking a different set of questions about what gives. My take: Fair chance we seek a big bat.

    As for pitching, the newer FA attractions will include working in DJ’s program, a leadership and mentoring role for the young studs, Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft, Williamson, etc, and the chance to pitch in front of a potent offense and young stars. GABP will be hit or miss (homer or miss?) depending on the arm, be it a ground ball machine or extreme fly ball guy. But we’ve gotten pretty good at identifying what kind of pitchers we need.

    Given the new normal, FA signings in 2024 seem designed to fit the needs — a higher level starting pitcher and strengthening the pen.

    • BK

      I don’t live near Cincinnati, but this forum (not necessarily you) overstate the lack of desirability of Cincinnati for free agents. For short-term free agent pitchers, GABP may be a detractor; longer-term signees have guaranteed income, so they really shouldn’t be deterred.

      As for Ownership, that’s another issue. Phil C.’s public statements were appalling. If he were not the son of the Managing Partner, he would have been fired at least twice now. If I were advising a free agent, Phil C. would not be a factor in coming to the Reds. The bigger question is, will the Reds stick to their strategy of building from within and selectively signing free agents to fill needs?

      Players want their money, and they want to compete for championships. Small market teams can compete if they spend wisely, and teams that spend a lot don’t guarantee success–ask the Mets and Padres. I think this is a valid question free agents will want answered. As a frequent guest, Cincinnati has a lot to offer. Players that want the nightlife of NYC, LA or similar markets are probably not focused on winning enough to warrant the Reds free agent dollars.

    • Rednat

      I ALSO think what we are finding gabp is not the easiest place to hit in. there are no alleys, the ball just seems to “hang in the air” especially late in the season(due to humidity or the wind coming off the riveR ? I am not sure)
      the batting averages for the reds have not been very good over the years at gabp. I don’t believe we have had a 200 hit season at gabp or even close to it.
      pitchers don’t like it because it is easy to give up “cheap homeruns” at times.
      it is a home run ballpark but not a hitters ball park and I don’t think that is good for anyone.
      the best investment imo would be to totally renovate gabp. with huge alleys, high walls and faster surface

      • Doc

        Reds will be better in 2024 without big signings. Getting that first season under their belts will have been big for the pitchers. Those who haven’t made the transition from throwers to pitchers will still struggle. MLB hitters are just too good and see 100+ with increasing frequency.

        Agree, remodel gabp.

      • Still a Red

        Given our current position player roster ( lots of speed, not much power)I think a redesign would be beneficial.

  11. Melvin

    ” without issue or complaint from any rational person.”

    That MAY be a problem.

  12. Votto4life

    For the Reds to acquire a top tier FA pitcher two things must happen:
    1.) the Reds must be willing to spend a large amount of money and
    2.) the top tier FA pitcher must be willing to sign here.

    I don’t see either really happening. The other option is through the trade market. In order for the Reds to acquire a pitching upgrade through a trade, the Reds will likely have to overpay in terms of prospect capital. That is something Nick Krall refused to do just 3 months ago. I doubt he has had a change of heart.

    I suspect the Reds will sign a Mike Minor or Luke Weaver type.

    The Reds might be able to acquire a reclamation project and hope to catch lightning in a bottle. Otherwise, I don’t believe the 2024 opening day roster will be materially different than it is right now.

    • Colorado Red

      I HOPE NOT.
      I think they need to do much better.
      This type of pitcher is negative WAR.

    • Jim M.

      Totally agree. Anyone that thinks this ownership group is gonna open up the pocketbooks and spend money is crazy. Their plan all along is to bottom-out the payroll and go as cheaply as possible.
      The fact they performed so well on the field this year had to shock the heck out of them, and put them in a spot they weren’t planning on for a while: to compete. And to compete, you have to spend.
      One only needs to look at the lack of moves at the deadline to know they will NOT increase payroll heading into 2024. That was a travesty that they didn’t pick up a legit starter when they had the chance. They have an over abundance of infielders and not nearly enough spots for all of them. With a move or two, they could have been right where the Dbacks are: the World Series.
      They WILL troll the scrap heap again, looking for the latest cast-off that will be cheap filler, ie: Weaver, Myers, etc.
      The fans deserve better. Much better. Ownership has the chance to right some wrongs from the past several years if they don’t screw it up; they have some very good young players in place that are forming a winning nucleus that the fans can get behind. I, for one, have little faith they care enough to keep this going. Sure hope I’m wrong.

    • JayTheRed

      Hoping you are completely wrong.

    • Rob

      I hate when the word “overpay” is used in conjunction with the Reds. One team does not own this title. I am not sure what the word actually means in a baseball sense. There is one successful bidder for each free agent. The high dollar offer typically wins. Some free agents will require more dollars than others. Ohtani will take $500M. Luke Weaver probably <$1M. In my mind, you can no more overpay for Ohtani than for Weaver. High dollar wins. High dollar does not equal overpay. Mercedes cost more than Civics. Do I need or want a Mercedes? It will cost.

  13. GJF

    The operative word is “top”. No confidence in Big Bob and little phil.

  14. LDS

    I’ve not been impressed with Bowden’s past prognostications. I suspect this year is no different. I agree with those who stated that the Reds likely aren’t a choice FA target. It’s a smaller media market. The ownership sucks and apparently lacks the commitment to winning. And finally, Bell’s approach doesn’t play well universally. Maybe the Reds get lucky this year, but for the last several years, those FAs with whom the baseball press associated with the Reds, signed elsewhere.

    • JayTheRed

      Have to agree Bowden is not the best source when it comes to baseball knowledge. Now and then he gets something right but it’s not that often.

    • Nick in NKY

      Bowden’s ‘best fit’ lists seem to always be 6 or 7 of the ten biggest markets, plus whatever team the player is already on. Maybe one more flier if the player has been associated with the [City here] Foundation for Blind Orphans or something. Other than that, I’ve seen comments here that are just as well-considered as anything he publishes for the Athletic.

  15. MK

    I’m sure the Yankees would love to cut their payroll and luxury tax. I wonder if they would make a deal with the Reds giving Stanton for Senzel and India while paying 2/3 of Stanton’s contract going forward. This would put Stanton’s big contract on the Reds books and NY would not be liable for the penalty dollars even though the are paying a big part. Would be the right handed outfielder they need.

    • LDS

      Stanton is 33, hit .191 last year, and .211 the year before. Do these numbers not concern you? That’s no better than Votto. The goal should be to upgrade, not recycle players. No more Minor, Weaver, etc type signing.

      • MK

        Inthink of what a failure many are with the Yankees and mpve on to be their old selves once out of there. Sonny Gray is a rescent example. His power cpuld be devastating in GABP.

  16. MBS

    Giolito (12M*2), Bieber (12M) (for India)

    Chapman (6M*2), Hicks (10M*3)

    • Fralm

      Getting Hader or even a Chapman along with Sims and Diaz could lock a game down if the starters have a lead after 6.

    • west larry

      I would love to have Bieber, but I think it would take India plus a decent prospect
      Chapman and Hicks would be great. Several of us bloggers have suggested both in the past. I don’t like Gioloto. Go for Sonny Gray or Rodriquez or even
      Miley, The reds cold afford a package like this.

      • JayTheRed

        I’m in the camp that Miley probably is a risky choice at this point in his career. I love the workhorse that he was while in Cincy, but I just have worries he won’t be anything like he was before when he was here.

      • Still a Red

        Miley was a workhorse…until the end when he pooped out.

      • VaRedsFan

        @Still a Red – Miley is anything but a workhorse. Look at his last 5 years.

      • Still a Red

        Well workhorse is indeed a misstatement…but he was the Reds most effective pitcher in 2021 through the month of August.

    • JayTheRed

      I would be happy with those moves.

      • John J

        Most Interesting comment from MBS, maybe trade for Bieber?

        One year left on his contract for a good pitcher? I wonder if cleavland would do something like Acuna, India, and Hendricks? Its hard to say his value really.

        Someone said Gio is a bad option but

        1. Greene
        2. Abbott
        3. Ashcraft
        4. Williamson
        5. Lodolo?

        Other Options
        Phillips, Lyon, Spiers, Lively?

        You are already have a full rotation? So getting a guy like Gio would be much cheaper and lets say lodolo plays fine then you can use Gio as maybe long relief if he is good enough.

        My guess is Im sure 1-2 may get hurt in the first 2 months so having Gio, Phillips, and lively as options will surely help this team if the rest of the SP are any wear near their potential last year.

  17. Greenfield Red

    I see no reason the Reds can’t spend $50 mil per year for the next 3 to 4 years in free agency.

    A high end starter and 2 tough relievers and they would have money left over.

    We, as fans, should hold them to it or turn our backs on them.

    I think Giolito would be my top target if he checks out physically.

    If it is true about his divorce, it’s at about the 6 month mark he will turn the hurt into determined performance in his work. That’s about where he will be.

    • Old Big Ed

      Giolito’s FIP since 2020 has gone from 3.19 to 3.79 to 4.06 to 5.27, and he led the league in HR allowed last year with 41 (forty-one). His BB/9 rate was the highest rate it had been at since his age 23 season, when he led the league in walks. His hard-hit percentage last year was his career high. His OPS-against has gone from .577 to .671 to .794 (BABIP was .340 in 2022) to .799 this past season (.275 BABIP, when league average is .296).

      No thanks. Maybe Derek Johnson thinks that Giolito can get it back together.

      The personal issues could have played a part (see Ben Zobrist), but I don’t know how they evaluate that without really knowing the guy. The White Sox were an underachieving mess last year, and maybe Cincinnati would work for him. I suppose if the numbers are right that it is worth exploring.

      • JayTheRed

        I used to be a huge fan of Giolito’s pitching, but his projection path the past few years has been going in the wrong direction. I don’t thik GABP will help him either.

  18. TR

    My opinion is, with the money available, it is ultimately up to the principal owner, Robert Castellini, to give the ok to acquire free agents that this young team needs to win it all. If the money is there, free agents will sign with the Reds regardless of market and stadium size. As an aside, I have memories of the sports page headline regarding the sluggers of the day, Musial, Mantle and Williams, signing contracts for 80 thousand a year.

  19. Hotto4Votto

    I’d like to see them add a middle of the order OF bat. Someone like Soler (who’s RH and splits up nicely with Fraley/Benson). A reliable starting pitcher who could slot into the Reds top 3. A couple late innings relievers would top it off.

  20. Votto4life

    It’s interesting how expectations here are now somewhat tempered. In 2022 and as recently as a few weeks ago, many here were stating that “the plan” was to spend on free agents this winter. This was to be the Castellinis “put up or shut up” winter.

    • Mark Moore

      Mr. & Mr. C are still the overwhelming wildcards in the equation. I have a great deal of respect for Nick Krall, but it isn’t his checkbook. Ultimately, he does what he’d told to do for the most part.

      Well, given the thrashing the Rangers gave the Snakes last night, the hot stove should be heating up shortly.

      • Votto4life

        Sure..but it was always going to come down to the Castellinis though. I didn’t have faith in them in 2022 and I don’t have faith in them now. When someone keeps telling you who they are, it’s a good idea to believe them.

        I know they had a decent payroll in 2021, but how many seasons have the Reds been in the top half in terms of payroll since Bob has owned the team?

        I agree Mark. Let the off-season begin.

      • BK

        Four times in the last ten years, and they were sixteenth in another year.

      • Votto4life

        The Houston Astros was #10 in 2023 with a team payroll of $192,000,0000. I look forward to seeing the Castellinis spend another $160 Million dollars over the next few months. That would put quite a few free agents on the table.

      • BK

        @V4L, What makes the Astro’s 2023 payroll the correct benchmark for evaluating the Reds?

      • Votto4life

        Just pointing out how much the Reds would have to spend to even make the 2023 top ten payroll. They won’t spend that much of course and they don’t have to.

        If they spent say an additional $50 million this winter, they could have a very formidable team and still have a payroll under $100 million dollars. But, they won’t spend an additional $50 Million dollars this winter.

    • Greenfield Red

      My expectation are not tempered in the least. It’s put up or shut up time for ownership. Give us a high end starter or middle of the order right handed thumper and two quality relievers. There is no excuse to not do so

      The Reda can win it all next year. The owners have to step up.

      They can spend up to 50 mil a year for the next 3 to 4 years without much additional investment. That will get the job done

      • BK

        Same here except I don’t see the need for the RH thumper as I see CES filling that role. Ownership doesn’t need to come close to league average spending to acquire players to fill apparent holes. In fact, I prefer they maintain flexibility in the out years.

      • David

        I expect a lot more “shut up!”, especially from the “Error” Apparent, Phil Castellini.
        I don’t expect “put up”. In fact, I would almost expect the Reds will trade someone like Spencer Steer for a poor retread pitcher, like Weaver or Minor, and then expect applause from the fans.
        The Castellini Management group inherited a team that was starting to ascend, with a lot of good talent in the farm system (Johnny Cueto, Jay Bruce, Drew Stubbs) about to emerge. Joey Votto was already here.
        The Castellini’s and Walt Jocketty got them there in 2010 and 2012, and then it all started going downhill. With a few speed bumps on the way (2013, 2020, 2021), it has not been a lot of good years.

  21. docproc

    Would love Hader but the Reds will never pay that much.
    Hicks makes much better sense.
    Give me Gray and Hicks and I’d be a happy(er) fan.

  22. DW

    Trade for one of the Astros or Mariners plethora of younger proven starters. Both of those teams could use some middle infield help, which is a strength to trade from for the Reds. No to Giolito…he does not fit in well at GABP, nor has he proven himself to be a consistent winner. Yes to Yamamoto. Yes to Hicks. Maybes on Gray, Rodriguez, and Hader. Yamamoto or trade would be my choice for a starting pitcher acquisition, given the available free agent starting pitchers.

  23. DataDumpster

    For a mere fraction of the outlay for procuring the coveted free agents and all the uncertainty regarding recent big contract failures and the undesirability of the Cincinnati market for various reasons, ownership could have taken the reasonable path of waiting until season’s end after the predictable implosion and took a flyer to interview a top manager (i.e. Craig Counsell).
    I know, that bird has flown and left its droppings on the field for cleanup duty under the stewardship of David Bell but I still feel uneasy about the overall situation no matter who they pick up.
    I don’t even know why I write this but I am immensely enjoying seeing the WS with two teams that have recent past records like the Reds. Bruce Bochy, defense and fundamentals matter greatly.

    • Votto4life

      It does seem if this team is going to win a championship, it will be with an $80 Million Dollar payroll and David Bell as manager.

      It might be possible, but the Reds will need to draft a lot of college pitchers the next few years and hit on more than they miss.

      During the next re-build in 2027 or so, the organization should focus on developing pitching, they are never going to be able to purchase it.

    • Votto4life

      By the way, apparently the Astros are interested in Craig Counsel.

      • David

        Well, that’s a surprise (NOT!). The Astros remain a very talented team, and they don’t want some hack who has no idea how to manage and win with that much talent.

  24. Russ Speiller

    Similar to others, I have a hard time believing the Reds will spend money in the high end of the free agency pool regardless of the fact that they have the money to do so. It’s just not in ownership’s DNA.

    Therefore, if they do continue to go toward reclamation projects, I would think about Luis Severino or Frankie Montas on a 1-year “prove it” deal, as both of those pitchers should be agreeable. If either of them can get back to their “norm,” then it’s a great deal for the Reds and gives them pitching veteran leadership while leaving the space open in 2025 for a Rhett Lowder or Chase Petty to enter the rotation.

    I love Sonny Gray’s competitiveness but worry that he’ll want a 3 year deal and won’t be able to stay healthy all the way through it. E-Rod is interesting but will likely be overpaid based on coming off of a great season that I can’t see him replicating for 5 years of the commitment a team will need to make.

    Beyond one solid starting pitcher, I hope they’ll fork over the dollars for 2 solid bullpen pitchers, but I can also see the Reds getting this from a trade of Jonathan India, who I love but is the odd-man-out.

  25. west larry

    Now that the world Series has been decided, teams can start trading today. On Monday, teams can start signing free agents. Lets go Reds!

  26. William

    The Rangers won the World Series. A few years ago, they lost over 100 games. I encourage the GM to study some of the things they did differently. Hopefully, we will see the Reds win one.

    • Jim Walker

      It probably should be noted that the Rangers didn’t progress from 102 losses in 2021 to World Champions in 2023 by cutting their payroll drastically and circling the wagons around their minor league prospects.

      In fact, per Cot’s Contracts, the Rangers’ competitive balance tax payroll for 2023 will be more than double the same figure in 2021. ($111.3m/$241.9m).

      • MBS

        TEX 251M, PHI 245M, LAD 240M
        HOU 237M, TOR 214M, ATL 206M
        MIN 156M, MIL 125M

        AZ 119M, MIA 105M, TB 79M, BAL 71M

        There are outliers, but it seems the most likely way to make the playoffs is spending money

  27. old-school

    Bowden has a new article up athe The Athletic on what will occur at the GM meetings and its very informative. He spoke on the business side of baseball and what league issues are being discussed and yes- pitching injuries and strike zone challenge v robo ump is on the agenda. Bowden also surveyed the FO execs of each team to ask what they needed in the off-season

    Reds FO said SP/bullpen additions with a focus on quality and depth and a RH hitting outfielder. That sounds like Reds are targeting at least (1) proven SP and more than 1 quality BP arm. I still think a trade with the Nationals for breakout outfielder Lane Thomas of the Nats would be a great move.