The Cincinnati Reds are adding to their pitching staff for the second day in a row, this time around by adding right-handed pitcher Nick Martinez. He, like Emilio Pagan (who signed on Wednesday), signed a 2-year deal with Cincinnati but has the choice to opt-out after the first season. The deal was first reported by Yusseff Diaz of Pelota Cubana. Jeff Passan of ESPN was the first to have the length of the deal, as well as that it was for $26,000,000.

In 2023 Nick Martinez pitched in 63 games for the San Diego Padres. He made nine starts in there and threw 110.1 innings while posting a 3.43 ERA. That’s about what he did the previous season, throwing 106.1 innings with a 3.47 ERA in San Diego. The four seasons before that were spent pitching in Japan. You can see his career stats here.

Martinez has been a very different pitcher since he returned to Major League Baseball. The Padres have used him mostly out of the bullpen, but he has made 19 starts over the last two seasons to go along with his 91 relief appearances. Statistically, at least traditional stats-wise, nothing really stands out for Martinez. He’s limited hits, but his walk rate is merely solid, and his strikeout rate is low for the current era – he’s struck out 201 batters in 216.2 innings over the last two seasons.

But there is also plenty to like and point to from a more advanced statistical side of things, too. He’s a groundball pitcher, generating grounders on 54% of the balls in play against him last season (league average is just 42%). In 2023 the exit velocity against him was 84.7 MPH. That was the lowest in the game among pitchers with at least 250 batted balls against them. The exit velocity on fly balls and line drives was also the best in baseball at just 89.5 MPH – nearly a full mile per hour better than anyone else (Ryan Yarbrough was second at 90.4). The average distance on a ball put in play against him was just 136 feet – 4th best in all of baseball.

Martinez is a 4-pitch guy. He throws both a 4-seam fastball and a 2-seam fastball to go along with a change up and a cutter. He uses them all between 14% and 29% of the time, so it’s a good mix. It’s his change up that he throws more than anything else.

It’s unclear at this point whether the Reds plan to use Martinez as a starter or as a reliever. The Reds are returning Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Andrew Abbott, Graham Ashcraft, and Brandon Williamson – all of whom were starters last year. Depth is always good to have, but if Martinez is going to be a starter then someone from that previously mentioned group is going to get pushed out. If the club plans to use him as a reliever, it would be interesting to see how that is deployed given that he’s been a multi-inning guy with San Diego.

There’s a big small sample size alert here, but it’s interesting to see how Nick Martinez performed in different roles in 2023. When he came out of the bullpen and pitched one or fewer innings his ERA was 5.03 in 33.1 innings pitched. When he pitched more than one inning out of the bullpen his ERA was 3.21. In his nine starts for the Padres in 2023 his ERA was 2.32, but he also had his highest walk rate and lowest strikeout rate in that role.

221 Responses

  1. JC

    This is exciting news. I thought Martinez or Lugo would be solid options for 2024. This also gives us the chance to still make a trade for a #1 or #2 starter. Go Reds!

  2. Old-school

    Quality arm and good depth

    I suspect AAA louisville could have a stellar rotation in the queue when called upon.

    • JaxDan

      I am seeing Phillips, Spiers, Stoudt, Roa and Richardson be the rotation

  3. Tom Reeves

    What’s the Reds committed salary up to for 2024? There’s has to he some more room to pitching.

    • Steve

      Mlbtraderumors.com says it was at 58 mil before this deal, so somewhere around 71 million seems like the current projected salary.

      • JayTheRed

        I still think the team payroll ends up around 90 to 100 million. If that is the case we still have some room to do some big things.

      • Chris

        What’s interesting is that in 2013, the team payroll was about $110 million. So a DECADE LATER, we’re talking about them potentially hitting that mark as an extremely positive development. I find that both sad and hilarious at the same time.

  4. CI3J

    Seems like the Reds really did decide to “get the pitching”, if the early offseason is anything to go by.

    These aren’t splashy or flashy signings, but they will help tremendously.

    I wonder if they still plan to get a true starting rotation piece. These have been FA signings so far, but the Reds probably need to make a trade or two to really round things out. They certainly have enough pieces to get it done.

    Looking forward to seeing what’s next.

  5. AMDG

    The Reds just spent over $40M on good-not-great bullpen guys.

    Hopefully they left enough $$$ to upgrade Diaz with somebody worthwhile, and to find a starter.

    • Steve

      They’re not upgrading Diaz. Hader is the only free agent closer that would be better than Diaz and he’s going to get close to 20 million a year.

      • Alex Reds

        These are good moves considering where they are, what they need, and that getting someone to sign in Cincy is hard and requires overpaying. I’d rather have spent the $22M a year they just spent on two above average relievers instead on one elite closer like Hader.

      • AMDG

        Sure, why not?

        He was very bad for a closer over the final 3 months of the season, and outright horrendous over the final month.

      • Steve

        This is nonsense, yes Diaz had a rough September after being overworked throughout the year. His final 3 months were certainly not bad for any closer as in August he gave up just 3 total earned runs and in July he gave up just 3 total earned runs. In fact, his ERA from June 30 to August 30 went from 2.00 to just 2.18…so not bad by any means. Diaz is one of the top closers in baseball and he doesn’t need replaced, just needs to, hopefully, be in fewer close games which can be done by upgrading the bullpen. Many times in 2023 the game was not going to be a save situation until the bullpen came in and forced it to become one. Spending major resources on a closer isn’t going to happen.

      • AMDG

        “His final 3 months were certainly not bad for any closer”
        Huh? He surrendered a 4.45 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP from June 30 to Sept 30.

        If that is not considered “bad” for any closer, then the bar is being set incredibly low.

        Among the 30 MLB “closers” this year, he was in the lower half in ERA, WHIP, and K/BB.

        Half of the closers in the majors this year pitched 60~70 IP (including Diaz). I’m not sure this means he was “overworked”, unless they all were?

    • jmb

      Diaz should be the 7th inning guy. He was real good last season, but they relied on him too much and he simply got worn out. Philips should be in the pen as should Greene. So they’ve got their late inning guys, though having a lefty for the late innings would be a good addition. Hader would cost a lot, but he’s the best out there. Perhaps Greene could be traded to free up a little salary.

      • Steve

        Is this real life??? Honestly, I think I need to avoid the comments on this website. Diaz to the 7th inning??? Because we have reliable guys for the 8th and 9th??? Trade Greene to free up salary??? He has a 6 year 53 million dollar contract…it is extremely team friendly and will not free up salary, all it would do is put the starting rotation in a deeper mess. I need to log off the internet if this is how today is going to go.

      • Chris

        @jmb, do you even know who Diaz is? Do you know this discussion is about the Reds? Seriously, what in the world are you thinking?

      • AC

        Jumbo Diaz hasn’t pitched for the Reds for a few years. No need to worry about him.

    • Mike

      Martinez will likely start, or at least be given the chance, for the money he’s getting. You don’t give 14 mil to a long reliever

      • David

        David Bell will need a new paradigm for bullpen use. Martinez looks like a true Long Reliever and spot starter.

        Maybe there is a book he can read about this.

        I dunno. But Martinez does look like a valuable signing.

      • Melvin

        “Maybe there is a book he can read about this”

        haha 😀

  6. Melvin

    Sounds like the kind of pitcher the Reds need. He’s a decent reliever who’s able to start if injuries occur. I wouldn’t hold my breath on a front line starter though. We shall see. The Reds actually have pretty good starters when healthy.

    • Michael E

      I sort of agree, but the part about the “Reds actually have pretty good starters when healthy” needs an aseterik. They have the POTENTIAL to be pretty good, but so far Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft, Williamson and Abbott have only shown flashes of very good, sandwiched by just as many pretty bad starts. NONE of them are anything above average yet. Potential to be, sure, but they’re all looking at 4.00 ERAs for the year unless one of them improves greatly. I do think eventually Greene, Lodolo and Abbott will be 3.00 ERA guys (or better) consistently, but it might still be two more years away.

    • Michael E

      Thus a huge, short term contract for a top SP (FA or extension on trade), might be the best gamble. Not a long medium value one, but a 1 or 2 yr deal higher than annual value expected to entice the pitcher to sign. A two year bridge of an SP1 or SP2+ is just what the doctor ordered. If we have to give up a good prospect, then choose the one with control troubles (with high velocity) or the one with just two pitches (destined for bullpen). Keep any with 3+ solid pitches or really good control.

      Glasnow, Cease, E Rodriguez, Singer or Hagans from KC, heck, even Keller from Pittsburgh if Pirates are ready to move on before he becomes too costly. Bieber and a few others fading aces would be a decent fallback plan, but their trending down.

  7. TR

    A couple good moves for the Reds. With this young team solid pitching, starting and relieving, is the key to winning.

  8. RedsGettingBetter

    Should we afraid of the FO is landing Martínez to be the so-awaited starter the Reds need? Or Are there another options coming soon from the trade market?

    • JC

      I think we will see a trade over the winter meetings. My guess is Bieber over Glasnow Gilbert or Cease.

      • jmb

        I don’t see the Mariners giving up on Gilbert, but you never know. Depends on the return, of course. Snell says he wants to go home and play for them, so they may want or need to move a starter or two. Seems they’d want to get rid of starters Ray and Gonzalez. But maybe Woo and Miller will be the ones to go, since the return would be perhaps much better. A Cease trade focused on Arroyo works, but I wouldn’t give up Petty in the deal. Bieber should not cost much, but Glasnow is out, now that Martinez has been signed.

      • Colorado Red

        The only concern I have with Bieber, is the elbow.
        If he has TJS, he is gone for the year, and a waste of a little bit of money.
        Trade value is not high do to the risk.

        I still hope they Get the Pitching, if this signing is it, I will be bummed.

      • doofus

        Cease, Gilbert, Kirby or Brash with Hancock?

      • Michael E

        Talk to cheapskate Royals or Pirates too.

        They’re not aces, but Keller (Pit version, not KC version), Singer or Ragans would be nice get if it only takes a couple of high-potential, but years away prospects down in Rookie/A ball.

        Maybe use Arroyo or Barrero as part of a package sense most of us think Barrero will never get beyond AAAA player. The Royals especially need talent everyone and would be willing to gamble on two or three high risk, high reward types.

  9. Klugo

    So taking account the couple decent relievers we’ve lost this off-season, these two signing breaks us about even. Now, go get better.

    • JaxDan

      I will take Pagan and Martinez over Farmer and Law. Would love to have Farmer back but was glad to see Law gone.

    • VaRedsFan

      If you mean they lost two bodies and gained two bodies then you are correct.
      Otherwise, it’s a clear upgrade over the guys that left.

  10. RedBB

    Interesting stat for Martinez….

    Last 6 starts of the year. 0.00 ERA 25 IP 26 SO’s 0.84 WHIP

    Also as a Starter he got stronger the more times he went thru the lineup…

    1st time .627 OPS
    2nd time .501 OPS
    3rd time .422 OPS

    • RedBB

      Also he has a nice 4 pitch repertoire. His FB plays up at 90-92 occasionally touching 94.

    • VaRedsFan

      Good info…thanks.

      In that case, I’m hoping he’s used as a starter.

      What I don’t want to see is Bell using him as a 1 inning guy.

    • Chris

      Bell would not know what to do with that. Martinez would never get to see a 3rd time around with Bell.

      • greenmtred

        Maybe he bases his use of pitchers on which pitchers are available to him.

  11. Colorado Red

    More dumpster diving for the Deads.
    My hope for getting the pitching is down in the dumpster.
    Another moose singing.

    • VaRedsFan

      I don’t think you understand the definition.
      Weaver, Minor, Strickland, Dolittle qualify under your description.
      Not these two signings.

      • Colorado Red

        Not much difference. This is Minor Jr.
        This is the Reds being cheap again.
        Nothing much to help the team.
        One more year and no playoffs.
        Sell the team Bob.
        Note, I am not insulting you, like you did me.

      • LarkinPhillips

        @Colorado Red, Minor had basically zero positive numbers coming into when we acquired him. IIRC, his era the prior year in KC was something in the upper 5s or low 6s. This may not be Ohtani or Scherzer, but Martinez is a far, far cry Mike Minor Jr.

      • Brian Rutherford

        I didn’t notice you insult anyone Va. Simple disagreement on what good signing looks like. In the interest of finding the perfect reliever there are some great relievers on the street who could be signed:

        Mariano Rivera, John Franco, Goose Gossage and Rob dibble just to name a few.

      • BK

        @Colorado, no one insulted you, but your dumpster-diving metaphor in reference to other human beings is pretty demeaning. Moreover, it shows you did little study of either Pagan or Martinez performance history.

      • Chris

        We live in an age where if you disagree with someone, they think you’ve insulted them. Part of the everyone gets a trophy results.

      • Colorado Red

        When you say I don’t think you understand the definition, that is not an insult.
        You can disagree, and that is fine. You do not need to insult each other.
        If (and I hope they do), get a good start, I will retract what I said.
        if not, it is still dumpster diving. Yes, I know what that means.

    • Optimist

      You lost me on the “dumpster diving” comment? In the past few seasons which Reds acquisitions are NOT dumpster diving? That answer likely clarifies what you mean.

    • JayTheRed

      Disagree with you Colorado Red. These are definitely upgrades over Law and Farmer. I think Law and Farmer did a pretty good job, but I also feel like they are the kind of reliever that has random success.

      The two guys the Reds have picked up in the past two days have a little more track record that they will produce solid results. I am in the hopes that they are both going to be out of the bullpen and if someone gets hurt then Martinez can do some starts for a while.

      I truly think they may acquire one more reliever and a shore fire starting pitcher.

  12. Hotto4Votto

    Really like this signing. Good to go out and get a swing man that can either step into the rotation or piggyback with a starter struggling to go deep into games. Martinez gives the Reds options at their disposal.

    • Reaganspad

      I agree Hotto. And one year is fine if that is all it is for either pitcher. We have a bunch of pitching growing up before our eyes. I like our starting 5 and if they stay healthy we will see overall pitching improvement.
      If not, we have depth, although unproven which is why Martínez makes so much sense to cover unknowns and allow us to better an 82-80 2023

    • Justin T

      I like it too, he is the type of pitcher that we need with David Bells style of letting starters go 3-4 innings. Thats another topic. I do hate the fact we are signing guys that can opt out when they feel like it basically. If he pitches well then this is a one year deal basically.

  13. Dan

    YESSS!! Love this signing for the Reds!

    A 100 inning guy in the bullpen will be GREAT as long as we actually use him as a multi-inning guy. (And/or a spot starter.)

    Great work here, Reds!

    Next, Lugo please!

  14. Grover

    Good signing, he can help in a number of ways but man pitching is expensive. The player options they have to give out suck, if they pitch well they will probably leave if they don’t then Reds are stuck paying them another year for poor performance.

    • Westfester

      That’s the market right now. EVERYONE needs to upgrade their pitching.

  15. SultanofSwaff

    Solid signing. Curious to hear what Krall will say about his usage—starter or reliever. If it’s starter, someone who has no business pitching in Louisville might end up there.

    • SultanofSwaff

      Martinez’s fastball and curve as slightly above average according to Fangraphs. It’s his well above average changeup which is his out pitch. He basically pitches backwards, using his fastball just 35% of the time.

    • LarkinPhillips

      I wouldn’t mind seeing him as a starter and seeing Williamson or Lodolo come out of the pen in a multi inning role that can hopefully keep them healthy and deepen our pen. In today’s game, I think a multiple inning guy in the pen is a necessity or your bullpen gets way to worn down throughout the year by pulling starters in the 4th/5th innings and going one inning guys from there on day after day.

      • Phil

        I like the idea of finding as many bullpen options as we can who can throw multiple innings. Starter goes 5 innings then “long reliever” pitches 2-4 innings with the “regular reliever” and/or closer finishing the game.

      • SultanofSwaff

        I’m not sure the bullpen helps the development of Williamson or Ashcraft or Lodolo as starters if that’s the long term goal. But there is a positive to this signing in that this newfound depth will give Phillips and Richardson the time they need to mature (that said, I think Phillips is probably ready to be a #5).

      • Reaganspad

        I agree Sultan. I like Ashcraft a lot. Lodolo and Williamson are unicorns if they improve as starters and stay healthy

        DJ must be having a lot of fun watching these guys develop

    • Mario

      Sultan, yes you are correct. My guess is Williamson and Phillips both start in AAA if everyone is healthy. That’s some good depth along with Stoudt and Richardson.

  16. Chad James

    I love this signing. Last year, we were really missing this type of pitcher. I thought the Pagan signing was fine, but combined with Martinez and our returning pitchers, our bullpen is looking pretty decent.

    Now, we still need an above average starting pitcher we can count on.

  17. Doc

    The Reds have several candidates for multi year contracts among the youngsters. I suspect they will be saving some cash for those contracts as the season progresses, so I don’t see the available money pile for free agents to be quite as big as many seem to think.

    • Brian Rutherford

      Agree 100%. Excellent point.

    • BK

      extensions would be backloaded with little impact on this year’s budget.

  18. RedBB

    Also keep in mind the Padres signed him to a multi-million dollar contract after a 1.62 ERA year in Japan as a starter in 2021. This past year he was quite good as a starter with a 2.32 ERA and 1.078WHIP and .557 OPS against albeit in limited starts.

    • John C.

      Not sure the Reds are looking at him as a reliever. $14M is a lot for a reliever.

  19. LarkinPhillips

    The one thing I don’t like about either of these deals, is that both have player opt out clauses after 1 season and no team options. Basically, the player performs well, then he is out of Cincy, he performs terrible and we are stuck with him for 2025. I know Cincy isn’t a free agent destination spot, but it’s a solid town with a ton of young exciting talent. I don’t feel like we should be forced to both overpay and give opt out clauses to get any free agent.

    • Kevin H

      I wonder what the ratio is for bullpen pitcher to opt out of a contract?

      I understand your concern.

    • docproc

      Yep, I hate these opt-out clauses. As you noted, it’s a lose-lose scenario for the Reds. Guess it’s the only way we can lure pitchers here.

    • Still a Red

      Get into the playoffs and I bet they stay.

      • Justin T

        Unfortunately i think its the opposite.

      • JayTheRed

        Yes, I was thinking that too. If we get into the playoffs maybe these guys stay that extra year even if they do pitch well.

        Also, they are a little expensive to be just bullpen pieces too. Wish the Reds could move the fences back about 4 to 8 rows to make home runs just a little more challenging. Maybe it would draw more pitchers and we wouldn’t have to overpay as much.

        Also, with these signings I wonder how much Chapman is going to cost a team.

    • MBS

      I don’t like opt outs either, but really we’re just talking about a couple short term singings of relievers.

      I also think Krall was happy to add them in since we have our current 5 starters, followed by the 5 AAA guys, but more specifically Phillips, and Richardson. Along with Petty, and Lowder also likely being ready by 2025. Some of these starters are going into the pen in 25.

      I could see 2025 looking like

      SP’s
      Greene, Abbott, Lodolo, Petty, Lowder

      RP’s
      Diaz, Richardson, Phillips
      Moll, Spires, Young
      Stoudt, Roa

      AAA
      Aguair, Acuna, …, …

      And that’s not counting guys like Duarte, Cruz, Legumina etc. I think we’re going to be in a good spot pitching wise for several years, just like we are with infielders now.

      • Reaganspad

        Agreed MBS, we just need consistency in 2024 and only 1 year of both these pitchers is good work by Krall

      • Doc

        Surprising not to see Ashcraft in your lists.

      • doofus

        Ashcraft, Williamson in the pen or traded?

      • MBS

        It was just an omission, but it further illustrates the point that we are about to be very full in pitching. I don’t know if this is a situation that’s going to continue because we’ve made substantial changes in player development, and acquisition. I do however hope that that’s the case.

      • Justin T

        I do not see alot of big league production there but I hope this year changes that. Every pitcher is prone to an injury of course, but Greene and Lodolo really have not shown the ability to be healthy for long stretches at all. Id love to be wrong.

    • RedBB

      True, but I think that was probably the reason both signed with the Reds so early.

  20. docproc

    They’re not paying this guy 13 mil a season to be a middle-inning reliever. He’s the insurance policy in case one of our young starters goes down. I’m betting this means we’ll no longer be in the market for Glasnow or Bieber–and I’m okay with that.

    • LarkinPhillips

      I am still ok with adding Bieber, not Glasnow, assuming Bieber can be had for a deal such as Acuna/Aguiar and Fraley with maybe a 20-30 level prospect. Sending India or another quality young arm in a trade for Bieber to me is a drastic overpayment that is not necessary.

      • JC

        I agree. Maybe India straight up but would prefer Fraley and a minor leaguer or 2.

      • doofus

        I am ok with dealing for Matt Brash to strengthen the pen. We have the player type(s) that the Mariners would seek.

  21. Kevin H

    I like the additions so far. Not much else to add. LOL

  22. Optimist

    Agree with most of the comments on how positive this is. A good news/bad news view might be that this allows them to take more of a risk on getting a top of rotation starter – namely, someone with questions or issues (no, not the one we don’t discuss) – i.e. Bieber or a similar candidate. That clearly costs less than, say, Snell or Yamamoto, but with big upside. If they sign another good dependable reliever, then they’re all set for a lower $$ signing/trade for a starter. That would be Bieber/Glasnow or similar surprise from elsewhere.

    Also very encouraged by the opt-out and limited terms – it either limits the $$ risked, or frees them up for repeat FA activity next winter.

    Martinez is clearly the long reliever/spot starter or better role, and as Old School notes, Louisville begins the season with a rotation ready for callups if and as needed – no more last gasp veterans or barely AAAA arms there.

    Finally – looking at the 40 pitchers the Reds used last season, it’s apparent that they’ve made a huge upgrade over the final 200-300 ip. Even with another wave of injuries, they have raised the floor and filled in the pool of available arms. Moves like this add a few wins, which is necessary and difficult.

    Still need another good starter and a power hitting OFer.

    • LarkinPhillips

      Interesting that you’re encouraged by the opt out clauses. I read it as a player only opt out clause, which means the Reds either lose a good performer at the end of 2024 or are stuck overpaying in 2025 for a poor performer in 2024. Is it not a player only opt out or am I missing something?

      • Amarillo

        No, you aren’t missing anything. Opt-outs are always bad for the team. But, it’s a strong encouragement to get these guys to sign, which is what we need.

      • Mario

        opt outs aren’t great but it’s a good signing nonetheless. Much needed. Hope he is ready to be a mentor to our young staff.

      • Optimist

        These player options are good for the Reds in either case.

        1 – the player has a great year and opts out – the Reds got more than they paid for, but have to repeat the exercise next winter.

        2 – the player underperformed/injured – separate cases – if underperformed the Reds are only stuck for one more year/if injured they get the next season at the same terms as this season.

        Only 2 year deals, so there is no repeating this exercise continually, and the amounts are hardly excessive, even for the Reds “budget”.

        The incentive is there for the players, and the budget downside is not crippling in the event of a flop.

      • LarkinPhillips

        @Optimist, I can see your points, looking at this from this deal alone. I guess, my view was from the bigger picture and worrying that this would be repeated business. In that case, always taking the losing side of the outcome is not ideal in my opinion. From these two deals, for the next two years, I can understand your viewpoint.

      • Optimist

        LP – it’s true the Reds cannot sustain a team with deals of this sort. Too much turnover and too much cost and risk of clunkers if you keep up the practice. But, these are not core, star players – either top-of-rotation or important position stars.

        I’m thinking that the 2 year limit avoids the Bailey/Cueto dilemma they faced – the whole “small market”/limited budget, allowing only one long term deal. They have to decide which of the many young starting prospects to extend (in addition to Greene), and cannot afford long-term expensive deals for relievers.

        The underlying good news may be that the $42M committed shows how ownership views the peak/valley budget. I think most of us are not disappointed with that as a floor for off season deals.

      • Justin T

        We arent just talking about “short term relievers” we are talking about the highest paid players on the team now have the ability to opt out if they pitch well this year. Next year they will have to start all over again.

        I just do not have any faith in the F.O. and if you do, its only faith because they havent earned it. Also giving David Bell these type of “swing” pitchers he will find a way to use them wrong. I could see him using Martinez one inning at a time.

  23. WVRedsFan

    Good signing. It appears the Reds are going the direction I hoped they would by bolstering the bullpen and leaving the starting rotation alone so those guys can grow together and get better as starters. Martinez is not only good out of the pen but also good for a spot start here and there.

  24. RedsMonk65

    Two solid singings the last couple days. Both fill needs among the pitching staff. More work to do, however….

  25. LDS

    Another respectable signing, but still not a game changer. I don’t see either of these two helping the Reds escape 4th place. Unless he’s a starter, then the small sample size paragraph is particularly concerning, given Bell’s bullpen usage pattern. Hey, little Nicky, there’s still time to hire a real ML manager.

    • MBS

      @LDS, yes this isn’t enough, but it is a good start in solidifying our pitching. Now we need that cherry on top, Bieber, Cease, or even Glasnow. FA’s are obviously also in play. At the end of the day we need an established starter to anchor our rotation. We have guys who can become that in the future, but none who are that today.

    • TR

      Little Nicky will need the help of Big Bob to get that done.

    • JB

      I have to disagree on the 4th place. Right now I have them ahead of Cardinals because the Cardinals haven’t really upgraded their pitching except Gray. Cubs have done squat and right now have lost players. Brewers have lost the Manager and are trying to shed payroll not add to it. They are in a rebuild. Pirates are the Pirates. A full year of the starting 8 is getting me excited and another year of their young starters is great. I haven’t felt this good about the Reds in years.

      • LDS

        Fangraphs disagrees. They project 4th. Not that I’m overwhelmed by FanGraphs accuracy.

      • Mario

        I like the Martinez addition better than St Louis adding Gibson or Lynn. Assuming Milwaukee trades Burnes and they already lost Counsell; St Louis is probably the favorite and will be tough to beat if Lynn, Arenado, and Goldschmidt bounce back. They might still get Yamamoto, Cease, or someone else. They also have a lot of young talent.

      • Melvin

        “Cubs have done squat and right now have lost players”

        They did invest in a pretty good manager. 🙂

      • BK

        @LDS, I think you justified your point using predictive analytics. What’s up with that?

    • Redsvol

      If not mistaken, I believe Fangraphs had us finishing last in 2023. Not a good source of win-loss or team outcome information. Decent for other types of information.

  26. Frankie Tomatoes

    Solid move. I don’t like the two year deals with the opting out options. Those are one year deals if the player is any good and bad deals if the player isn’t. The only reason those deals are signed is because the Reds are being cheap. I understand how that can be confusing because they may wind up paying more for a bad player in these deals but if the team would offer more than a two year deal to players they would not have to include these kinds of opting out deals that they keep finding themselves offering in many cases.

    Martinez was good in San Diego. But that is one of the best parks for pitchers. This division and gabp are full of hitters parks. Hopefully that will not matter. This is much better than signing Luke Weaver.

  27. Grand Salami

    And/or Bieber if price is acceptable. Pitching will be significantly upgraded and payroll will be under 100m

    Don’t do that.

    • Doug Gray

      Gonna be the only warning I’m gonna give ya. Don’t.

  28. Votto4life

    Another good signing. So far. they have completed 40% of the job so far. Still need at least one more starter and an outfielder. I wouldn’t mind another bullpen arm.

    Like others, I imagine the Reds are looking to use him at a starter. I wonder if that was an incentive for him to sign with the Reds?

    Still, a solid RP who can pitch multiple innings is sorely needed. Hopefully, the Reds are not done. Nevertheless, they are a better team than they were 48 hours ago. The Reds are off to a good start.

    • Optimist

      Completely agree with the 40% comment – and the good news is this was done very early. The good starter and the power hitting OFer will take longer. Another bullpen arm could wait a long while, even into late spring for a trade.

  29. LeRoy

    I think the signing of Pagan and Martinez to a 2 yr. deal with opt outs is fine. You are guaranteed that both will be given max effort and trying to be good enought to use thieir opt out clause. History shows players reaching free agency often have career years in their last year. If this happens the Reds will be greatly improved and probably win a lot of games in 2024. The Reds have an overabundance of pitchers with great, not good potential and with patience and experience, the Reds will still be in great shape for years to come. This was a solid move, but lets not forget that the Reds must continue to let the young pitchers develope to be able to win year after year. Looking forward to seeing what happens next year.

  30. Stock

    I love this acquisition. Pagen is okay. This is very good.

  31. SultanofSwaff

    To be clear, this is not an overpay, this is simply the price of poker. Let’s put it this way, would you rather spend on these two guys (~$18mil/2.8 WAR combined) or Lance Lynn and Kyle Gibson (~$24mil/0.1 WAR combined)? I’d say the Reds did ok.

  32. Greenfield Red

    Definate sea change. In prior years they would sign 20 or 30 guys to minor league deals to fill the last 3 or 4 spots on the 40 man. While they will still sign a bunch of those guys who are hoping to salvage a payday, they’ve filled 2 of the three open spots with legitimate big leaguers.

    I hope they get 1 more. I’m hoping for Giolito on a similar deal (2/28 with an opt out).

  33. wkuchad

    Per Rotoworld, “the Brewers and top prospect outfielder Jackson Chourio are expected to complete a long-term contract extension on Thursday. The deal is expected to cover eight guaranteed years for around $80 million, with a pair of club options. If completed, it would crush the previous record for a contract with a minor leaguer who has yet to play a game in the majors, topping Luis Robert’s $50 million deal with the White Sox back in 2020. Chourio turns 20 in March.”

    We’re in a different situation, as most of highly touted prospects got some time in the majors last year. Which of them would you give this deal today?

    • Stock

      Friedl, McLain and EDLC

      Friedl is the heart and soul of this team (sorry to those who think India is the leader).
      McLain is everything that was advertised when drafted.
      EDLC is a unique talent with a ceiling higher than one can imagine at this point.

      I would have put Greene on this list but the Reds solved this problem last winter.

      • AllTheHype

        For me, Marte and McLain are on top of the extension list, with Ashcraft another strong possibility. EDLC I think we need to see how he navigates/improves discipline and contact this year. He has adjusted at every level and there is no reason to think he will not adjust in MLB.

        Marte in particular had excellent avg Exit velos and hard hit % in both MiLs and MLB, with plus discipline, solid contact rates, much much better contact than EDLC. He uses all fields, good defender, plays premium defensive positions. There’s a good probability he will be a good MLB player, if not a multi year All star.

        McLain for obvious reasons.

        Then there is Ashcraft. He’s a buy low extension candidate now. He might not be after next year. I think his second half was for real. Most of his current metrics are relatively MLB average. But guys who throw a cutter at 96-97 with 7+ inches of movement are few and far between. I think as he refines his other offerings, the cutter will play up even more. He is the pitcher I am looking forward to most this year, to see how he progresses.

        https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/savant-player/graham-ashcraft-668933?stats=statcast-r-pitching-mlb

      • Votto4life

        Stock I agree with you on those three. I know Elly struggled last year but he has the potential to be a once in a generation type player. The Reds need to sign him before he puts it all together, because they won’t be able to afford him once that happens.

      • Stock

        Exactly why he is on my list Votto4Life. He also brings people to the ballpark.

      • Mario

        I like Friedl a lot and he should be the starting CF (no platoon) until proven otherwise but think he will have a tough time duplicating his numbers from 2023.

      • Mario

        Marte, McLain, Elly in that order. No extensions for pitchers until at least 2025-2026. Maybe never.

      • wkuchad

        Mario, I agree with you about Friedl, and the three you’d offer the deal to. One other I might consider adding to the mix is Steer.

      • Redsvol

        For me,
        EDLS – he’s going to be special
        McLain – solid, solid player
        Abbott – lefty, smart, not trying to throw 100 mph so reduced arm injury potential.
        Steer – solid, solid player who has shown tremendous versatility. But he’s really hard to value. Does he get left fielder money or third baseman money. 2 very different contracts.

        I would probably wait 1 more year on the others. I almost listed Ashcraft because I just think he is under-valued and a workhorse. He may end of being a back end reliever but as we’ve seen those players are getting 15-20$M per so even a contract negotiated for a young starting pitcher is going to be ok if the player winds up being a closer or 8th inning setup man.

    • Stock

      I would also consider current minor leaguers: Chase Petty, Edwin Arroyo and Cam Collier. Time to buy low on them?

      • wkuchad

        Stock, the problem is our current team is so young. If they continue to progress, eight years of Arroyo or Collier could hamper us, as they may not be needed at the major league level for a few years.

  34. Stock

    I love this option. I read that many of the posters here don’t like it but I like it for several reasons. The first reason I like it is it provided incentive for Martinez to sign here. I would rather have Martinez here with the option over Martinez pitching for the Cardinals with the same option.

    Second, the option for Martinez is almost certainly going to save the company money.

    As with any option there is a price to pay for this option. WLOG lets assume the Reds offered two contracts. The first contract was a 2 year $28 million contract with no option and the second was a 2 year $26 million contract with the option.

    Possible outcomes:

    Option 1: Martinez stinks and does not exercise his options. The Reds are stuck with the second year and pay Martinez $26 million. But for the two years they pay $26 million vs. $28 million. Result Reds are better off with the option.

    Option 2: Martinez performs about at his contract and decides to stick around because he enjoys playing with this team. Result: Reds are better off with this option.

    Option 3: Martinez performs about at his contract and decides to test the market. Assuming he enjoys his year with the Reds (which I think he will), the Reds can resign Martinez for $14 or $15 Million per year. Result: Reds are better off with this option.

    Option 4: Martinez performs about at his contract and decides to test the market. Martinez signs with another club for $14 or $15 Million per year. Result: Reds are worse off with this option.

    Option 5 & 6: Martinez performs much better than his contract and decides to test the market. The Reds offer Martinez a one year contract and if he signs elsewhere the Reds get a 1st round draft pick out of this trade. If Martinez resigns with the Reds great, the Reds get a great year for $13 million plus built a relationship that helped secure him for another 5 years. If he signs elsewhere the Reds get a great year for $13 million and a 1st round draft pick. Either way option 4 is a win for the Reds. It may not be as big of a win if not for the option but it is a win and without the option he may not be a Red right now.

    6 possible outcomes that I see and the Reds benefit from this option in 5 of the 6 scenarios I listed above. That said options 5 and 6 are wins because he is a Red and not so much because of the option.

    One more thing to consider: Isn’t it difficult for a pitcher to have a career year in GABP? Options 5 and 6 are career years. Option 3 and 4 are probably a career year (at least near a career year).

    • AllTheHype

      Good summary. We don’t know how the negotiations went, but given the widespread interest in Lugo, we can only assume Martinez had multiple suiters as well, since they are similar profile players. So the Reds had significant competition for sure, and Boras is Martinez’ agent. And we know Boras likes opt outs for his clients. I would conclude that the opt out was a pre-condition for all teams negotiating with Martinez.

    • Rick in Va

      Nice analysis and I agree with most of it. But you say “The Reds offer Martinez a one year contract and if he signs elsewhere the Reds get a 1st round draft pick out of this trade.” As I understand it, the Reds would have to give him a qualifying offer to obtain a draft pick and that would have been at the $20 million level this year (probably more next year). I just can’t see the Reds offering him THAT much money . . . after all he might take it.
      My other question is this: It seems that since Martinez signed with the Reds for $13 million this year he must not have been offered significantly more by any other team. So if he performs again at the same level as last year, which seems like a pretty good result for the Reds, why would he opt out expecting to get significantly more from someone else on the free agent market than he was offered this year? It seems like in those circumstances he would probably take the bird in the hand.

      • BK

        In Lugo’s nine starts last year, he was elite. Suppose he makes 30 starts with a 3.70 ERA (that 1.5 higher than his nine starts last year). In that case, the Reds would happily make a qualifying offer to him, because he’ll be in line to earn $50M+ on the free agent market. I would offer that is a realistic outcome even if it is not the most likely outcome.

      • Stock

        I stipulated in my example for 5 and 6 that the Reds do extend him an offer. I forgot to use the term qualifying offer so that is my fault. And the Reds may extend him a qualifying offer if he dramatically outperforms his contract. If his contract value is deemed worth $15 – $18 million maybe not. My guess is if he exceeds his value enough to qualify for options 5 or 6 then DJ worked with him on something and he becomes a very good SP.

        To answer your question I think he probably opts out if he does as expected. Why settle for a 1 year $13 million contract option with the Reds when you can renegotiate and get a 2 year $26 million contract. This way if he stumbles in 2025 he has another $13 million coming his way.

      • Jim Walker

        @Stock, Yes. If the figures I read were correct, Martinez had $16m guaranteed under his control remaining in San Diego and now he has $26M guaranteed under his control with the Reds along with still having the option to opt out after the season to try for more. Nice terms of employment and shell game if a guy can swing it. More power to him.

    • Jeremiah

      In my mind there is always some concern of a pitcher who is average or somewhat slightly above average going from a pitcher’s park like San Diego to Cincy. I think it’s similar in the opposite way for a hitter, a guy who may be average or a little above average playing in Cincinnati, and going to a San Diego or Seattle which seem to be more of pitcher’s parks. If you’re really good like Luis Castillo you can pitch anywhere…I hope Martinez is good, I didn’t realize he may be seen as a Starter for the Reds possibly that is interesting.

  35. Michael B. Green

    Positive direction for Reds. Now we need a RH hitting OF and someone to anchor the rotation – Bieber or Glasnow. Smarter to get a free agent but I’m guessing that Bieber or Glasnow either help CIN contend or they get dealt at the Deadline.

    • Jim Walker

      +10K Solid start. Now keep building on it. Great to see the Reds acting like a team that wants to seriously contend now versus just waiting/ hoping a bunch of prospects reach critical mass together.

  36. redfanorbust

    Agree with Votto4life. If Martinez is a starter then we are still down one relief pitcher from the two we lost. All salaries are aprox best info I could find. Bieber $12 (less what ever we send back in the trade). Aroldis Chapman (he’s LH which is a +) $10M. Teoscar Hernandez everyday RH OF, no platoon, $14-15M. According to my Casio that puts team salary at aprox $105M-108M. That is still about $5-10M less than league average. One of our current starters could then be used as a long relife out of the pen (Williamson?).
    If Reds are going to do this don’t just add enough players so that we can scrape into the playoffs and be bounced out in first round. Anyway fun to speculate. Looking forward to what is next.

    • Stock

      These crys for a RH hitting OF confuse me. Assume the Reds sign Teoscar to play for them everyday. First they need to spend $15 million on him that I for one would rather spend on pitching. But the next question is who do the Reds bench?

      Teoscar had a .740 OPS last year and is weak defensively. In 2022 his OPS was better .807 but not on the superstar level. He is without a doubt on the downside of his career.

      Who is benched:

      Fraley? .837 OPS the first half. The second half he played with a broken toe which destroyed his stats but show his guts.

      Friedl? He was only the best player for the Reds last year. Heart and soul of the team. Good defensively and an .819 OPS so better than Teoscar Offensively.

      Benson? He had a .863 OPS. Markedly better than Teoscar.

      Steer or CES? Both had an OPS north of .800

      Teoscar would be a downgrade from any of these 5 and expensive. You don’t pay someone $15 million to be a short side platoon with Fraley or Benson.

      If the Reds do not make a trade the platoon with Fraley is Steer. Much better than Teoscar.

      I forget who said this (I think MK or MBS) but the perfect 13 man on this team is Bubba Thompson. Their point was speed doesn’t slump so playing rarely will not impact Thompson as much as other players. Bubba is right handed and can play for Benson on occasion vs. LHP.

      In short I pass on Teoscar.

      • BK

        Well said Stock and also on your analysis on why a second year player option worked for both sides WRT Martinez.

        As the roster sits now, Fairchild likely makes two starts a week. Benson and Fraley will start against all RHP. Steer, Friedl, Marte, EDLC, McLain, India, and CES will start nearly every day. That leaves a couple of starts each week for a RH platoon bat, and an occasional day off for Friedl. So any offensive upgrades must yield a better cost/benefit value over Fairchild or must be good enough to displace another regular.

        P.S. a couple of pretty good RH-hitting OFs will start the year at AAA–Dunn and Hinds.

        That leaves one roster spot. I like the idea of the speed/defense combo that Thompson brings. However, every player listed above has above average speed. So, Thompson is likely only PR for a catcher on the team as currently constructed. Perhaps Martini’s LH bat or Barrero’s long-term potential outweigh Thompson. I’m not advocating as much as laying out the current options.

      • old-school

        The Athletic surveyed all 30 MLB teams front offices and asked them what they are looking to acquire in the off-season to improve their roster. The Reds Front Office answered quality pitching- both starting and relieving and a RH hitting outfielder. It makes sense because Fraley and Benson have such poor splits against lefties and with the DH a 4th OF can flex as Bell has used the DH as a day of rest mostly for a regular.

        But the need for a right handed hitting OF comes directly from the Reds FO.

      • BK

        @Old School, I believe this is the article you are referring to. No where in this article did the author indicate he had conversations with front office representatives. Although I will point out the Red’s beat reporters like Mark Sheldon have also suggested a RH outfielder. Like the Athletic article, I haven’t seen them cite sources. I just haven’t read that the team’s “need” for an RH corner OF is more than media/fan speculation.

        https://theathletic.com/5052911/2023/11/13/mlb-offseason-team-needs-free-agency/

      • old-school

        @ BK. it was the Nov 3 article. Jim Bowden reached out to all 30 teams front offices and got responses from 28, including the Reds.

        https://theathletic.com/5027438/2023/11/03/mlb-offseason-teams-needs-gm-meetings/

        Quote from the article by Bowden

        “Here is a rundown of the biggest needs for each team, based on what front-office execs told me.”

        Reds:” Starting pitching and bullpen additions with a focus on quality and depth, plus a right-handed-hitting outfielder.”

      • MBS

        @BK, we do have a younger, faster team than our typical team, but Thompson is different.

        Statcast Sprint leaders

        1 EDLC
        2 Witt Jr
        3 Thompson
        the next Reds
        50 Fairchild

        That’s a heck of a weapon late in a game.

      • BK

        @Old school, thank you again, my reply went to the bottom of this post.

        @MBS, like I said, I can see the thirteenth position player used in a few different ways. I wouldn’t be against Thompson as an elite PR/CF, but with the team speed that the Reds have, he may not be as valuable as he would have been a year or two ago. The Reds have significantly upgraded their team speed and athleticism. Perhaps they claimed Thompson for just that reason.

      • Stock

        Thanks BK.

        Oldschool. I don’t mind the Reds picking up a RH hitting OF. I just don’t want to spend $15 million on one. Harrison Bader would be fine. Teoscar Hernandez would not. The RH hitting bat would be strictly a platoon with Fraley. Not a player who plays every day.

        As it stands right now 11 of the 13 players to open with the team are locked in: Stephenson, Maile, CES, Steer, India, McLain, EDLC, Marte, Fraley, Friedl and Benson.

        The other 2?? Barrero Martini, Fairchild, Thompson, Hopkins, Hurtubise, Dunn and Hinds.

        I have Hurtubise, Dunn and Hinds in Louisville so they can play every day.

        Hopkins is in Louisville because I don’t think he is any good.

        Do Martini and Thompson get sent down because they have more options?

        I keep Martini if they think his September was real. I also like Bubba Thompson over Fairchild.

      • Michael B. Green

        We’re on the same page. I think a Robbie Grossman type is the fit. Someone that does not eat into anyone’s playing time, but also allows us to go Steer-Thompson-Grossman against LHP’s and Fraley-Friedl-Benson against RHP’s. Wait…..am I turning into David Bell? Didn’t we all just blashemize platoons? 🙂

      • JayTheRed

        No, you don’t pass on Teoscor. He is going to hit very well in Cincy. Last year he didn’t perform as well as his previous years but that could be because of a lot of things. If we are paying a middle reliever / spot starter 13 million a year, then 15 to 17 million for Teoscor is a steal. I know I am compairing apples and oranges but yout talking to someone who has followed him for a few years now. The guy would do well in Cincy I promise.

      • west larry

        Stock, I agree with almost everything you said in your last couple of posts. Excellent summation of your ideas.

      • Jim Walker

        It is time for the Reds to grow past being chained down by platooning. A team looking to go deep into the post season cannot afford to let its defense and bench be defined by platooning and platoon limited personnel.

        At most, they should restrict their platooning to 1 lineup spot. Choose Benson or Fraley and package the other in a deal. My choice for keeper is Benson. He is younger, more dynamic, and cheaper over the next 2 years.

      • Melvin

        “cheaper”

        May be the deciding factor. 😉

  37. doofus

    I am ok with dealing for Matt Brash to strengthen the pen. We have the player type(s) that the Mariners would seek.

    • RedBB

      Would take a lot to get Brash IMO. Guy is controlled until 2029 and looks like he has closer stuff. Doubt they would swap him for India. Maybe India and Lyon or something like that. Still might be a little light for Brash. India, Lyon and Balcazar for Brash. I would do that and it matches up on Baseball Trade Values, actually a bit overpay.

      • doofus

        Brash and Hancock for Steer and Petty.

      • greenmtred

        I wouldn’t be too hasty to trade Steer. He could turn out to be the most dependable and productive of the young players: 30 homers, 20 stolen bases year after year.

  38. Stoney

    2 quality signings so far. Hope Martinez is used as a starter. Williamson probably odd man out but there will be injuries for sure so he should get plenty of opportunities. Hope the Reds aren’t done and don’t think they are. Looking for one more high quality proven starter. Was hoping for Gray but that ship has sailed. Chapman would be a big help as well.

  39. Mark A Verticchio

    I think we all overlook what Ashcraft could be, he may be the best pitcher they have and I like the chances for Louder to come up in 2024 like Leake in 2010.

    • Reaganspad

      I agree about Ashcraft.

      I see no room for Lowder in 2024, even if he is spectacular. Learning to pitch every 5 days is a chore. If he is that good though, it makes it easier to trade one of our young, controllable pitchers next year for Fort Knox the way Tampa Bay has been doing

  40. BK

    Stock did a great job laying out potential outcomes for Martinez, showing how many of them favor the Reds. I will add, in Pagan and Martinez, the Reds have signed two pitchers who performed very well in 2023 with what appear to be repeatable changes to their pitching.

    Martinez earned the right to enter 2023 competing for a starting rotation spot. His floor is that of a swingman. His ceiling is #2 or #3 starting pitcher.

    Pagan earned more opportunities at the back end of a bullpen. His floor is middle reliever and his ceiling is a solid closer.

    The main risk with both signings is injury–a risk that will be part of every free agent signing. Based on other signings this offseason, the Reds paid the market price for a swingman and a 7th/8th inning setup pitcher. Both pitchers have the potential to pitch well above that price point. Both have long track records that indicate they can earn the two-year contracts they just signed.

    Just like Castellanos’s contract, the Reds will benefit greatly in 2024 if both perform to a level where they opt out. I see the risk shared equitably between the team and the players.

    • greenmtred

      And if they underperform and don’t opt out, we shouldn’t assume that they wouldn’t be good in the second year.

  41. Greenfield Red

    While there is still work to be done, bravo to the Reds front office. I doubt the “Reds are cheap” comments are going away. Just like “the Reds did nothing at the 23 deadline” comments, the mantra has a life of it’s own.

    I will enjoy watching tvese two pitch in 24 along with Sam Moll, and I know the Reds, in two years, have created a monster that will be together for years and has many high end replacements pushing up from below.

    • Votto4life

      Greenfield,
      I am very happy with these two signings and believe the front office deserves a lot of credit. There are still work to do this off season. I think Nick Krall would agree. I don’t except them to drop another $50 M. But I would love to see them acquire another starter or two.

      I realize they are probably going to give Martinez a shot a starting. But man, I just keep thinking about how good it would be to have him in the bullpen.

      • Greenfield Red

        I agree there is still work to do. The 40 man sits at 39. I’m hoping medium to high end starter or possibly a high leverage lefty for the bullpen.

        I no longer want JI to be traded unless a team bowls the Reds over with an offer. The everyday line up is good but not great… at least not yet. And there is a chance Hinds or Dunn will force himself into the lineup which would make the lineup really good.

        I’ve been thinking 2024 all along. It is upon us. Should be fun.

    • Jason Franklin

      I guess the only rough part is that after 1 year, each player can opt out. But this is still a very good step.

      Now they just need to infuse another starter in there somehow with some experience and a flamethrower reliever. Man… it could be good.

      My real wish is for a power bat to balance out the lineup. Like CES and SOLER back to back or something. Could be fun.

  42. BK

    Thanks Old-School, I just read that article. Bowden, “Again, I reached out to front-office leaders across the league and asked for their team’s most pressing needs. Keep in mind that key needs, even if an exec is being fully transparent, do not cover every type of player a team will pursue in free agency.”

    He did not see which teams he spoke with or that he spoke to every team. He also caveated his statement that teams are sometimes not transparent. Lastly, like most reporters, RH corner OF is listed last. So, let’s say, he got it from Krall … I read him saying the Reds need pitching and a RH corner OF would be nice. Also, if they were looking for a starter vice a platoon partner, why would they care which side the player hit from?

    My point is that RH OF (or any position player) is a relatively low priority in comparison to acquiring pitching.

  43. wkuchad

    Not sure if this is their normal introductory price or a special, but right now you can subscribe to The Athletic for $1 per month (for the first 12 months).

  44. Mark Moore

    I’d call this forward progress. No it isn’t a “marquee name” and the 1-year with opt-out kind of stinks, but I guess that’s the way it goes down for now. Still need a starter and an OF regular IMO. A lot of time before camp opens up to work on all that.

    Had to crack a window in the office since the sun and clear sky are providing a LOT of passive heat in here. Got to love days like this.

  45. Stock

    Before I start this post I will say two things:

    1. I am happy with these two moves.
    2. For the most part Greenwood Red has convinced me that the Reds should not trade prospects for veterans.

    Exceptions to #2 are if a deal is just too good for the Reds or if the veteran the Reds receive for the prospects still have at least 5 years of control.

    For example Bowden suggested a Cease for India and Ty Floyd deal. I would do that in a heartbeat but don’t think the White Sox would.

    I would like the Reds to make two more moves this winter.

    1. Acquire an ace via free agency. Yamamoto or Blake Snell
    2. Trade for Cole Ragans. I would offer Connor Phillips, Carlos Jorge and Jay Allen.

    Suddenly the top of your rotation is Yamamoto, Ragans and Greene. That is as good as any team.

    My starting Rotation would be Yamamoto, Greene, Ragans, Lodolo and Ashcraft.

    I would have Williamson, Abbott, Martinez and Antone as openers, but not one inning openers. In fact if teams loaded up on LH hitters thinking Abbott or Williamson would be gone in an inning they may pitch 7 innings that day. If the load up on RH hitters they go through the lineup 1 time and let the RHSP take over. Antone would be capped at 3 IP.

    • Optimist

      Interesting – but, I suspect Antone will be limited to 1ip or less for most of the season, and never thru one inning into another, if he’s capable from the outset.

      • Stock

        My thinking is that 2 innings every 4th day is far less strain on the arm than a regular RP role.

    • JohnnySofa

      You lost us at #1. Not happening. Today’s signing should be a reminder of the frugal history of this franchise. It ain’t changing in 2023.

      • Stock

        History says you are wrong Sofa. Weren’t Mike Moustakas, Nick Castellanos and Shogo all signed in the same winter?

    • Old Big Ed

      The Royals aren’t trading Cole Ragans. He was the trade-steal of the year in 2023, and they Royals control him through 2028.

      I like the way the Reds are set up for hitters in the minors. They have Dunn, Hinds and Hurtubise who may show up at various times in 2024, with Arroyo and a catcher ready in 2025. Then, they have Carlos Jorge, Ricardo Cabrera, Hector Rodriguez, Cam Collier, Sal Stewart and a few others to watch for later years.

      The MLB window opens this year, and it looks to be open for the rest of the decade.

  46. Jason Franklin

    I think if they can add a 2-3 range starter and another power bullpen arm, then they are on to something. I wonder if Wacha or Lugo would make sense? And maybe a Chapman? I do like the last two signings yet I still hope they can add a real clobberer to the lineup somehow. That makes a difference. Could they squeeze Jorge Soler into their plans?

    • Old Big Ed

      I am all-in for Wacha. He’s had a 127 ERA+ in the last two seasons while going 25-6; he’s pitched in the post-season and won a World Series game; he has a good veteran presence; and he won’t require a long-term commitment or a big salary. He’d be a perfect mentor for the Reds’ young starters.

  47. MBS

    If we don’t trade away one of Sims, or Gibaut our 13 pitchers are basicaly set.

    MLB

    Greene, Abbott, Ashcraft,
    Williamson, Lodolo, Martinez
    Diaz, Pagan, Moll, Young
    Gibaut, Sims, Antone

    AAA

    Duarte, Cruz, Legumina,
    Phillips, Richardson, Spires
    Stoudt, Roa

    Now maybe a trade is really likely and an arm or 2 are heading out, but I don’t see how we sign another pitcher with the guys we currently have.

    • BK

      I don’t think Antone should have a place reserved on the staff. I would like to see two more pitchers acquired. Antone, Young, and all of our starters have options. Now is the time to build a deep staff. If we discover that we overbought, sell at the trade deadline.

      • MBS

        We are already at 21 pitchers on the 40, with 18 position players. I could see going as high as 22 pitchers, but we will be putting ourselves in a tough position if we get any more lopsided than that.

        Antone, and Young are very good, as are the starters with options. To me Sims, and Gibaut are the easiest to part with. I don’t see us DFA’ing them, so a trade scenario is the most likely. They might be a throw in to the Gardians, or Rays if we do a deal with them for Bieber, or Glasnow.

        Glasnow for Stafura, Acuna, and Sims

        Bieber for Floyd, and Gibaut

        We pull those 2 off, and we’re rolling in 24.

      • BK

        Look at the number of pitchers teams are going through in a season. We’ll see more lopsided 40-man rosters in the future to address the trend.

      • Stock

        I think Bieber is hurt so I would pass on that but the Glasnow deal looks fine. Acuna’s value is minimal. Stafura would be replaced by a similar player with a qualifying offer.

        TB would not do this until after the Rule 5 draft because of Acuna’s status.

  48. Mark

    Seems these 2 moves will address some of the pitching need. The Twins reliever replaces Buck Farmer so I think Martinez will be the bullpen help that was needed. If that is the case, we still need a starter. I know Glasnow is expensive and somewhatbut the Rays want to move payroll and he is only a 1 year guy, which should make him relatively cheap as far as prospects go. Keep Williamson, Phillips, Petty and see if Richardson, Stout, Legumina (any 2) would be enough to do a trade. They are young, controllable for many years, and have pitched in the majors. Also a possibility to get Margot as the rh hitting outfielder for a lower level prospect as they seem to want to dump his $10 mil salary.

    If Glasnow walks after next season, we get a draft choice and hopefully the young hurlers have progressed to the point that they may be able to plug into the rotation.. Concerned about Greene and Lodolos injury history and whether they will ever be able to fill starting roles in the years ahead. Hopefully 2024 will be injury free for these 2 young men.

    • Jason Franklin

      I would love if they could add Wacha or Lugo to the mix next. Actually turning out to be a fun offseason for us Redlegians.

  49. Mike Caldwell

    I was hoping for Sonny Gray. 3 years for $75 milliion does not seem out of line and also seems within the range the Reds could have spent. Martinez sound like he may be able to fill the long reliever role the Reds need to bridge from starters to bullpen.

    • Mark Moore

      Only if HDTBell alters course and employs the “long man” when circumstances are right. Seems to me, he hasn’t done that in the vast majority of cases. In fact, that role seems to be on the endangered species list across the league. Strange when the 100-pitch ceiling seems so common.

      • Redsvol

        @MarkMoore, I think we will see it return this year. There have been some articles over at the Athletic talking about how there is likely is going to be a movement to employ a long man to see if it can help avoid pitching injuries and burnt out bullpens.

        The league is even talking about forcing teams to cap the # of pitchers to 12 – which will force teams to rethink their bullpen structure.

  50. Redhaze

    Blake Snell or Jordan Montgomery. Anyone who can make it to the sixth inning. Joe Kelly would help the pen more.

  51. MBS

    EDLC & Phillips for Luis Robert Jr & Cease

    It feels a bit nuts but all the pieces seem to fall into place.

    DH Fraley C Stephenson 1B CES
    2B India 3B Marte, SS McLain
    RF Benson CF Robert Jr LF Friedl
    Maile/Steer/Barrero/Thompson

    Cease, Abbott, Greene
    Williamson, Ashcraft, Lodolo
    Martinez, Diaz, Pagan
    Moll, Young, Sims, Gibaut

    • Beaufort Red

      Your team MVP (Steer) on the bench? The EDLC trading is interesting, but Steer needs to be in the lineup every day period.

      • MBS

        I hear you, but I have Steer in the same role he was in last year. Super utility that plays as much as anyone, but at multiple positions.

      • TR

        Yes, Steer is a very valuable part of the Red’s young team. He’s there wherever he’s needed.

  52. Redsvol

    Love the signing, and the years, and the $, and the opt-outs.

    I see opt outs on 2year deals very differently. If player has a bad year and opts in, he is opting into his contract year before hitting free agency. History shows, players are very motivated to perform well in contract years (see Sonny Gray). So I don’t see much downside.

    Also, the Padres poorly handled Martinez. Its clear he is a starter and refined his skills with years in the Japan baseball league. We are seeing many good starters come back from Japan and perform well in MLB. Others have noted how good his stats were in starting vs. relieving.

    Way to go Reds. 1 more starter and reliever please. The NL Central is ours for the taking. But don’t sleep on the Cubs, they are about to spend some $.

    We still need more depth. Nothing wrong with Abbott and Williamson pitching in AAA until the injuries occur. None of our pitchers is pitching 180 innings in 2024. Philips and Richardson were clearly not ready and need more seasoning. They will be excellent trade chips for when we need a #1 starter at the trade deadline this year.

    • MBS

      Abbott 163.1 IP, Williamson 151 IP, Ashcraft 145.2 IP, Greene 112 IP, Martinez 110.1 IP, Lodolo 41.2 IP, Phillips 125.2 IP, Richardson 86 IP.

      You picked the 2 with the most innings to send down to AAA. If anyone is going to hit 180 it’ll likely be one of Abbott or Williamson.

      • Redsvol

        I guess I should say, major league baseball innings. I Love both Abbott and Williamson. But Abbott tired dramatically and Williamson I just worry about his stuff holding up in year 2 against MLB hitters. They are both going to be solid major leaguers.

        I agree with @BK, we now need an ace – or at least a #2/#3 pitcher. Someone who can take the ball in a playoff game and trust he can get to the 7th inning. We don’t have that. We might feel differently after 2024 but we might also find that we don’t have any playoff starters.

        And keep the powder dry for obtaining a #1 at the trade deadline – Sandy Alcantara would be trustworthy.

    • BK

      I agree with a lot of this, and with MBS points about Abbott and Williamson. I’ll add, if the need is to acquire an ace, we’ve seen the price for good starting pitchers is insane at the deadline. The Reds should lean toward overbuying now. They can always sell at or prior to the trade deadline if one of the pitchers is dominating at AAA and needs to be promoted.

      One thought is to sign a pitcher like Mahle and/or Brandon Woodruff at the start of ST and immediately move him to the 60-man IL and off the 40-man roster. There are some good injured pitchers out there who could help late this year if their rehabs go well (e.g., 14 months post op would put Mahle ready in late July). That would be a good strategy for a small market team to buy low on a couple of high ceiling injured starters.

  53. JohnnySofa

    To the commenter, Stock, regarding history. If you think the signings of Moose, Castellanos, and Shogo shed the Reds’ reputation for being frugal … please.
    Here’s an unrevised version of history:
    The same year the Reds “went big” by throwing away $64M for Moose and giving the same deal to Castellanos, Gerrit Cole signed for $324M, Rendon signed for $245M, Strasburg for $245M, Wheeler for $118M … we can go on. The Reds were playing at the $5 blackjack table, which was a step up from the $2 table.
    And remember, the Reds’ front office had buyer’s remorse for at least two of those contracts long before they expired. That’s when they began to rethink how to compete.

    The Reds just got outbid for Sonny Gray at $75M. Yamamoto will command triple that. So again, it’s nice to imagine, but it ain’t happening.

    History (facts) tells us the Reds have been frugal since they let Pete Rose go. Occasionally, they’ll spend more than usual, but “more than usual” is never “more than everyone else.” Even the Votto contract 10 years ago was the going rate for All-Star caliber first basemen at the time.

    For the record, I’m not critical of the careful spending. In the past 18 months, the Reds have finally identified the direction they want to take. Build through the farm system and invest in prospects. It’s working. What didn’t work was when they made “halfway” moves — to halfway rebuild and to halfway field a major league team. I’m glad we have a team worth watching for years to come.

  54. Jeremiah

    I’ll be honest, I never have even heard of Nick Martinez and I feel like I follow baseball decently, so my first thought was the Reds are giving a reliever I’ve never heard of 13 million a year!

    I think bullpens are kind of hard to predict really, so Pagan and Martinez could be really good or they could be disappointments especially in Great American.

    With that being said, I like both signings, because the Reds are trying to get better and they both seem like solid relievers, and I also like that they are veterans with a little bit of track record. I think every good reliever they sign also takes a little more pressure off of Alexis Diaz.

    Maybe the Reds aren’t going to get a topline starter via Free Agency or a Trade and have decided to just load up on solid bullpen guys. You figure the starters will be at least a little better next year going a little longer, so if you have a really deep solid bullpen, maybe that works with an above average offense (hopefully).

    Right now I feel like the Reds are kind of in that 85 win type of team mode. If they signed a Josh Hader, traded for a Dylan Cease etc., then I think there’d be some real excitement about being a true playoff contender. I don’t feel they’re quite there yet, but it’s early and they are trying to make the team better.

  55. docproc

    Leatherpants is smoking crack again:

    “To get Glasnow from the Rays, the Reds would probably have to start a package with Connor Phillips, who is one of their best pitching prospects, then add Tampa Bay’s choice of righty Graham Ashcraft or lefty Nick Lodolo, and finish it off with one of their third-base prospects, either Cam Collier or Sal Stewart.”

    • MBS

      It’s probably worth Phillips and Stewart or Collier, but adding in one of our current starters is nuts.

  56. LarkinPhillips

    It is rumored Cleveland is also open to moving Clase. I wonder what it would take to get Clase and Bieber in the same deal?

    • west larry

      IS that Santa Clase? He’s a little old but would be a fan draw.

  57. Michael E

    I wanted to make it clear, but I am happy to see Krall, Castellini and Co working to improve pitching. We haven’t gotten that Ace/SP2 we covet to take pressure off ALL those high-potential, but not-consistently-good-yet young SPs. We HAVE gotten veteran, quality depth for SP (Martinez) and SP (Pagan).

    I am seeing my cynical side recede into the shadows of my brain. I was prepared to read, come March, from Krall, “we were in on a lot of FAs and trades, but in the end, we came up just short” and then kind of sleepwalk into Spring Training hoping all young SPs would stay healthy and all would take the next step into 3.00 to 3.50 ERA range (very wishful thinking).

    I still hope we get a Glasnow or Cease or E. Rodriguez or even Bieber (but only if cheap since hes’ fading fast). We need that one veteran starter that is at least on the north side of average, even if only barely.