The Cincinnati Reds have been busy this week. They’ve signed reliever Emilio Pagan and picked up Nick Martinez, who may be able to join the rotation or fill a big void in the bullpen as a multi-inning option. All of this happened before the winter meetings, which will begin next week and is usually a time when teams really kick things into gear. And Cincinnati seems to still be on the prowl for more pitching. Jeff Passan of ESPN noted this morning that they are among the teams still looking for “frontline starting pitching” to add this offseason, adding that the club has what it takes to put together a package strong enough to entire the Chicago White Sox for starter Dylan Cease.
Passan doesn’t say that the Reds are necessarily in on Cease, just that Cease is a guy who could be available via a trade and that he fits what Cincinnati needs and is looking for. While the Reds have added some payroll in the past week with the signings of Pagan and Martinez, there should still be plenty of room for the club to add to it without it becoming any sort of issue as current projected payroll is just over $50,000,000.
While free agency is out there, it doesn’t seem that will be the road the Reds front office goes to if they are looking to add a frontline starter. We can have a debate on whether or not it makes any sense or if the club “can afford” it, but I would say that we all agree that they simply aren’t going to go looking to compete for $125,000,000+ contracts for a “frontline starter”. That just isn’t something they have historically done and is literally twice as high (or higher if you go beyond) as the largest free agent deal the club has ever handed out. To note, though, they have handed out 9-figure deals to two players who were already with the club – Joey Votto and Homer Bailey.
Everyone has phones in their pockets today, so it’s not like 1986 and trade talks were only happening during business hours when someone in the front office could pick up a phone when it rang at their desk. But things still do seem to move a little bit easier when everyone is together at the winter meetings.