The Cincinnati Reds aren’t exactly being shy about spending money this offseason. Not that they should be given where the payroll was entering the offseason, but they have added another free agent with the signing of right-handed pitcher Frankie Montas. Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported the deal first.

Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reported on Tuesday afternoon that the deal is a potential 2-year contract. The first year is for $14,000,000 and there is a mutual option for 2025 for $20,000,000 – but a $2,000,000 team buy out. Montas is guaranteed $16,000,000 in the deal, but it could be worth $34,000,000 over two years. Catcher Austin Wynns was designated for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster. Wynns was just signed to a big league deal three weeks ago.

In 2023 Frankie Montas pitched in one game. In the spring he suffered a shoulder injury and wound up having surgery. He was activated from the injured list on September 30th and pitched in relief against the Royals, throwing 1.1 shutout innings that day. It was the only game he would pitch on the year.

The New York Yankees had acquired Montas at the trade deadline of 2022 after Montas had made 19 starts with Oakland and posted a 3.18 ERA. But he struggled in eight starts after the trade with New York, giving up 28 runs in 39.2 innings (6.35 ERA) to finish out the season.

For his career, which spans time with the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics, and New York Yankees since 2015, Frankie Montas has a 3.90 ERA in 593.2 innings pitched that includes 99 starts and 31 relief appearances. Early in his career he was a flyball pitcher, but since moving to the rotation full time he’s been about league average to slightly better than league average at generating grounders. You can see his career stats here.

Coming off of shoulder surgery there’s always going to be some concern about how the stuff looks by comparison to where it was prior to the injury. With just one game to look at, it’s truly tough to say. Montas had a fastball that was averaging somewhere between 96.2 and 96.8 MPH over the previous five seasons. In his lone game last year it was 95.6. The outing was short, and it was just one game, so it’s not all that useful, but felt like it should at least be talked about in the sense that he didn’t lose several MPH due to the injury.

Montas brings four pitches to the table. He’ll mix in a 4-seamer, a 2-seamer, a slider, and a splitter. In the 2022 season the usage for those pitches was nearly even across the board with all of them being thrown at least 22% of the time and none more than 28% of the time. He’s generally thrown plenty of strikes and he’s missed bats at a solid rate.

Cincinnati’s pitching has gotten stronger, and deeper this offseason. They now have starting options with Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Graham Ashcraft, Brandon Williamson, Andrew Abbott, Frankie Montas, and Nick Martinez. That doesn’t include options such as Connor Phillips, Lyon Richardson, Carson Spiers, or Levi Stoudt who are likely to begin the year in the minors. They’ve added bullpen help, too. After a season in which they deployed multiple guys who began the year playing independent league ball, the Reds look like they’re attempting to have enough quality depth to avoid that fate again in 2024.

351 Responses

  1. Colorado Red

    Do not have to give up any prospects. I like that.
    High risk, high reward player here.
    Overall, I like the move, He can provide (I hope), leadership to the younger pitchers.
    Not sure who goes down to the minors, I am thinking Brandon.

    • Optimist

      It won’t be Williamson – it’s a 40-man roster decision. Thinking Legumina, Spiers, Gibault, Roa. Doubtful it will be Barrero or Wynns, but they seem the only bubble guys on the hitting side.

      • Colorado Red

        I was more thinking who is off the 26th man. However, the question of who get DFA’d is value.

      • Jason Franklin

        Why do most of the posters on here want to seemingly let Gibault go in a trade, etc? I just don’t get it. I would rather have him them a few other guys in the pen and especially Farmer.

      • Bubba Woo

        Ugh. Give me Sonny Gray for $25 mil over this. Elbows? take a chance. Shoulder? No way. I’d be fine with this if Bob and “Fortunate Son” Phil were honest about theteam finances. But they’re not, and when this fails, it’ll be one of the excuses given.

      • VaRedsFan

        Putting Gibault in your list is just silly.

    • doofus

      How many of the Red’s prospects will play in the major leagues? How many that make it will make some sort of impact or be productive major leaguers?

      • BK

        When I look at the Red’s prospects, they have a handful in the upper minors, mostly pitchers and outfielders, that will likely be needed this season or next. They also have several very young (A level or lower) that are not as attractive to other teams…yet.

        Also, I think the Reds will contend for their division/playoff spot, but with so many young players, 2024 is not likely their peak season. Both reasons are why I’m glad they have not traded prospects, more of a timing issue.

      • doofus

        BK, with all do respect, you did not answer my question, which is cool.

      • greenmtred

        It isn’t a question anybody can answer, doofus.

      • BK

        @Doofus, sorry about that; I’m not trying to be obtuse. While I don’t know how many will make it, my answer addressed your implication that the Reds should be very willing to trade prospects this offseason and perhaps should have been willing to trade them at the 2023 trade deadline. Please let me know if I don’t understand the point you are trying to make. Now, I’ll be more specific …

        Hinds and Dunn will be at AAA. Both have starting potential in the majors. Hinds cut down on his strikeouts (his most significant blemish) in the latter part of 2023 at AA. No Red’s minor leaguer boosted his stock more than Dunn in 2023. I expect both to make their debuts this year. While both are near MLB-ready talents, their names have been notably absent from trade rumors.

        Arroyo finished at AA. He’s arguably the best defensive shortstop among the better prospects/young MLB talent. After a slow start, his bat showed well through his time at AA. He’ll likely start 2024 at AA. Following a timeline similar to Marte’s, he could make his debut late in the season. Most importantly, he plays the same position as EDLC, who struggled the most among our young players last season. His ceiling is also high enough that he could displace one of our platoon players. His name was publicly reported in trade rumors.

        Petty, Phillips, and Lowder were all mentioned in trade rumors. They are all legitimate MLB rotation candidates. Phillips has already debuted, and Petty and Lowder could debut this season.

        In summary, of the names we’ve seen in the trade rumors, most could help the Reds this season. That’s why other teams want them. The Reds are very deep in prospects in the lower minors. Reportedly, other teams aren’t targeting these prospects in trades. The ones they want are the same ones the Reds plan to use.

      • Michael E

        I’ll answer it.

        One…or two, or three, or four, or five, or six, or seven, or…

        Now the real question is how many will be future hall of famers?

        I’ll answer it.

        One…or two, or three, or four, or five, or six, or seven, or…

        The thing is, trading prospects for mediocre upgrades is great business for the Yankees or Dodgers or Mets or Red Sox, but bad business for the likes of the Reds.

        I’d rather hang on to all of them if all it will get is a mediocre SP like Cease.

        If we could trade a couple and get a young SP1 or SP2, with a few years of control, great, but ain’t no one trading that type of SP. What is on the market is eithe damaged goods, past-their-prime or never-has-beens with maybe one good, distant season or no good seasons, but dazzling arsenal of pitches that never seem to get anyone out.

    • jmb

      It’s not a bad move, but not a great one either. Seems like a lot of money for a guy who has hardly pitched since ’22, and was ineffective after the trade deadline that season. For some reason I always thought a piece or two in the Frazier trade would make it to the Reds, and now it’s happened. I expect a trade of some sort, probably involving a starter and/or reliever, to free up a space or two on the roster.

  2. LDS

    Yes, some potential upside. But they paid a lot for a guy coming off shoulder surgery who reportedly earned on $7.5 million last season. At this point, despite the spending, I give Krall better grades at rebuilding the farm system vs. building the Reds. The results of the physical will be interesting.

    • wkuchad

      LDS, that might be your most positive post this offseason.

      • Jason Franklin

        Hey now. LDS is just the person who can help balance all the homers on this site. 🙂 You need someone to be critical and if it’s LDS, then so be it. I am sometime grumpy and not the most positive either.

    • BK

      How would you have spent the $58M differently?

      • Shannon Little

        Sonny gray and Eduardo Rodríguez. Would have added $45 million to the payroll next season vs the $52 million we will pay pagan, Martinez, candelario and montas.

        Overall gray and Rodríguez were signed for $155 million for 3 & 4 years respectively. The 4 we signed will be paid $103 million over the next 1-3 years.

    • JayTheRed

      I am not against the move it moves the needle a little bit more. None of the moves this offseason have been like wow… Boom! or geez that’s amazing… One thing I will say is if these players are all healthy we have good depth and we have a pretty good team. The Reds have improved from last season.

      • Shannon

        I feel it potentially moves the needle much more than any of the other signings if he returns to form he had with the A’s and doesn’t hurt us if he doesn’t.

        I like the deal fairly well. Candelario was a good deal just not for a team that had 2 younger/cheaper just as good of options. If montas is as good as he was with the A’s then Abbott, Ashcraft or lodolo is optioned to Louisville. Not sure if Ashcraft or lodolo have options left but Abbott does and that would not be good if he has to be optioned as he would be the 2nd best pitcher behind a healthy montas. That is what Martinez is not a good signing. He has to start and with pagan the pen is now full.

      • DaveCT

        Right answer. Especially with the top shelf talent in the system and given the extreme youth of many.

    • Jay

      Anyone remember a former A’s pitcher who was good for them then went to New York and couldn’t settle in ? Now that pitcher ends up a Red (Sonny Gray) IF Frankie is 75% of what Gray gave us its a huge win lmao DJ work some Montas magic ?

      • Trevis

        I have been hoping for this signing even before Martinez and Pagan.. Months fits both possibilities as possible front line guy and easy flip if needed. I think Barrero will be the 40 mom casulty.

    • RedsFan Steve

      All I have seen is LDS asking for this type of high dollar move, and then a meh when the Reds finally make it…sounds like a frustrated armchair GM to me

    • Oldtimer

      PS he was part of the Todd Frazier 3-way trade many years ago.

    • Colorado Red

      Yes, if healthy, It’s not TJS. Recovery time is 9 – 12 months. Should that is done now.
      High Risk, High Reward.
      Happy New Year all.
      Go Reds

  3. Optimist

    Cutting and pasting from the other thread –

    Kaboom! And, a Boras client. And, and, a one-year deal.

    They can even afford another one-year deal like this to hedge against flop or injury.

    Plenty of FA talent left.

  4. Kevin Patrick

    Count me in the excited camp. Perfect match really. The Reds can ease him in however carefully they need to. Get ready for a taxed bullpen again though. If he throws 95, he’ll be just fine in whatever role he ends up in.

  5. Will B

    The 16 mil just sounds like a lot. But I think this shows the pitching market. Stockpiling pitching not a bad thing, but now you’re also dropping someone off 40 man. All these prospects knocking on the door and no roster spots for them

    • Jay

      Honestly tho I’d rather roll the dice on Montas at $16 million than Lucas Giolito at close to $40 for 2 years !!! All they really need now is time for Hunter & Lodolo to take the next step .. This is a good signing no matter the risk , ya gotta take chances in any sport

      • Rob

        I kind of look at it in comparison to Rodriguez. He got $80M for 4 years, or $20M AAV. Think I would have preferred Rodriguez for that price.

      • doofus

        Why not take the risk of Giolito who has been healthy and provided innings over his career vs. taking a chance on Montas who has had shoulder surgery? I believe the Reds were looking for innings.

  6. sultanofswaff

    No risk for the team with money to spend, short term, all the pressure on the player to produce in his post injury platform season. I like it.

    So does someone get pushed to long relief or demoted to AAA? Williamson’s second half ERA was very good but I suspect he will be the odd man out. That said I don’t feel he has anything to prove in AAA and would prefer to see him with the big club all season.

    • wkuchad

      We need starting pitching depth. It’ll likely take 8 to 10 starters to get through the season. Whoever the ‘odd man out’ from suspected starting 5 needs to be in AAA starting and ready to come up when (not if) a starter goes on the IL.

      Heck, I won’t be surprised if we start the season with one of our starters on the IL.

    • Optimist

      Looking at the LHPs – Abbott, Lodolo, Williamson, Moll, Young – IIRC Young has options and Moll seems clearly better. I’d guess the 5/6 starter spot is between Martinez, Montas, Williamson, with either Martinez or Williamson moving to the multi-inning relief role. If it’s Williamson that leaves you 2 LHPs in the pen. It pushes Young to AAA to begin the season.

      Whatever choice they make, they are now clearly managing options for MLB talent spending time in AAA. Been a long time since they’ve had that issue in the pitching staff.

      • Jason Franklin

        The Reds have too many starters who are lefthanded in their top five. Unless they plan on starting with a hybrid 6th man rotation, do one of these guys get traded?

      • David

        With the low number of innings pitched by Lodolo in 2023, I honestly think he might be the pitching staff “swing man” in 2024. Starting occassionally and long relief. Not sure where Nick Martinez fits in, as that may have been his role, too. Starting appearances for Martinez makes him look “promising” if he were in the starting rotation and just left alone to work at it.
        Spring Training will tell who is throwing well and gets the nod. Until then, just so much banter amongst us heathens. I am not against Nick Lodolo back in the starting rotation, but a little worried about how sturdy he will be once he gets to 100 innings in 2024.
        And…….somebody will get hurt. They will need more than 5 starters in 2024 (well…..duh!). My hope is that the starters pitch 850-900 innings in 2024, out of ~ 1400 innings that cover 162 games.

    • DaveCT

      There are still other health issues to be resolved, too. Lodolo, Ashcraft, Greene to some degree.

      Of Montas, Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft, Abbott, and Williamson, as well as Martinez, each and every one will make starts this year.

  7. wkuchad

    I’m very happy with this signing. When healthy, he’s been quite good. Signing a starting pitcher was a must this offseason.

    Two good things about this:

    1) The deal is short-term: We have a lot of potential in our young starters. If a bunch of them blossom in 2024 like the young hitters in 2023, we may not need outside help in 2025. Either way, this allows us to re-evaluate next offseason.

    2) We gave up no prospects: I’m not a prospect hoarder, but the reported asking price of some of our possible trading partners was just silly. On top of that, Montas could easily be better than several of the pitchers we were linked to.

    Great signing!

    • DaveCT

      And we could actually gain a prospect(s) if we flip him or he rejects a QO.

    • Redsvol

      This is where I’m at too. Plus, as Sultan indicated above, a player on a 1 year contract who is 30 years old is going to work very hard to succeed.

      Regarding prospects, teams that are in contention in July and serious about winning it all will add even more pitching via trade. Rangers traded for Montgomery, Diamondbacks added Sewald, Dodgers added Lynne (and wanted ER), etc.. Prospects will be leaving in july if we are in this thing.

      Surely we will now be favored in NL central now! If I was a Reds player, I would be super-amped up and ready to work!

    • TJ

      Could not agree more. No prospects given up. It gives the Reds another year to evaluate what they have. Do they believe they have so many good pitchers a year or so away that they refused to trade any of them away for a Cease or Bieber, each of which has their warts. Now if they wanted to get Luzardo from Miami or Valdez from the Astros and give up the prospects, I would’ve felt better about acquiring those pitchers.
      Maybe they are looking at another bat. Maybe they are looking at locking up some of their future like the Braves did. I’m not super excited so far, but pleased with what they did so far.

    • Melvin

      “2) We gave up no prospects:”

      I’m glad about that although I’m still concerned it might happen. At least we spent some money which was doubtful. Hope this guy is healthy and WORTH the money.

  8. Optimist

    And Boston gets a prime infield prospect for the Braves getting 2 years of Sale.

    Compare and contrast the FA signing vs. the trade.

    • Optimist

      Check that, seems Grissom is moving to the OF. Still, good to great prospect.

    • BK

      Sale is a free agent in 2025; Boston also send a truckload of cash—essentially, they bought a prospect in the deal for one year of Sale.

      • Optimist

        The report shows it as 2 years – Sale for 2024, and a club option for 2025. Or, does the option expire if traded?

        Though clearly better than Montas, seems like a much higher price and greater risk of injury, and Sale is 4 years older.

      • BK

        It’s a vesting option based on a top 10 Cy Young finish and finishing the season off the IL per baseball reference. In short, if he has a great year, he gets another year.

      • Optimist

        Interesting catch BK – I didn’t read all the way down BRef.

        A curious financial play by the Braves. Basically selling Grissom to the Sox and getting a cheap year of Sale, but if he shines they get a fair or better option price. If he falters they can lower a return offer accordingly.

        No financial risk, but a big risk if Grissom blossoms into any sort of better-than-average regular.

      • BK

        I agree, but the Braves lineup is so loaded they are in a good position to take the risk.

      • jmb

        $17 mil. goes along with Sale, but Grissom looks like a lock. Now Boston is talking about trading one or more of their young outfielders.

  9. Ahimsa

    Wondering how many innings he can pitch this year. He’s only pitched 41 innings the past 2 years.

    • Colorado Red

      Per mlb.com, he pitched 144 innings in 2022.
      only 1 1/3 last year.

  10. Jedi Joey

    I like this! Definitely a risk but if he stays healthy and gets back his old mojo it could be a huge deal for 2024.

  11. doctor

    Given the reported contract dollars, rather have Giolito for only a couple million more and no worries about injury/durability that the Reds have with Montas.

    At least Reds making somewhat of an effort.

    • BhamRedsFan

      Talk about risk! Giolito pitching home run balls at GABP!

      • Jason Franklin

        Agreed. As I stated before, Giolito would be the second coming of Erik Milton. at GABP.

      • Redsvol

        I don’t think the Reds even sniffed at Giolitto due to his home run prone nature and last year’s performance. In saying that, I hope he turns it around.

      • redfanorbust

        Agreed. I was always saying hard no to Giolito.

    • AllTheHype

      Giolito was not just a couple million more. He got an opt out which is eessentially a player option for year 2 @ $19M. Huge difference. Basically if Giotlito bombs in year 1, the Red Sox are on the hook for another $19M.

      • doctor

        Rather spend that money on somebody who made 93 starts over last 3 years and 33 starts last year vs a guy who pitched 1.1 innings last year, yet gets $16M.

      • Michael E

        Yeah, BUT Montas actually has some SP1/SP2 upside. Giolito is a career 4.43 ERA pitcher and nearly a 5.00 ERA in 2023…in the weakest hitting division in baseball. He’s 29, already slightly past his prime. He is what he is, which is an SP4 type. More risk with Montas, for sure, but the upside is a full tier plus higher than any mediocrity that Giolito could reach.

  12. William

    I like this free agent signing. The Reds seem to be getting better. They should have a competitive team.

  13. Kevin Fox

    I wish the Reds could get Shane Bieber and Emmanuel Clase. Does this take the Reds out of getting Shane Bieber and Emmanuel Clase? Are the Reds done making moves? I sure hope not.

    • Colorado Red

      I think the prospect capital was too high. I do think this takes them out of that discussion. I also this eliminates Cease.

      • MBS

        I agree since they are looking to move them as a package. I liked Bieber alone, but we’d be giving up too many prospects to get both Bieber, and Clase in trade.

        This seems like the a nice gap filler with high upside, and medium risk.

    • Michael E

      Not a fan of Bieber. His K/9 just keeps dropping. He’s now a crafty finesse pitcher. Something is not right with his arm the past year plus.

      Bieber K/9:
      Year SO9
      2018 10.2
      2019 10.9
      2020 14.2
      2021 12.5
      2022 8.9
      2023 7.5
      2024? 6.7?

      As for Clase, he was AWFUL in second half last year. I honestly think his arm is also in bad shape. Cleveland would be wise to trade both NOW and get a couple of prospects back. The Reds should stay away UNLESS the price for either drops to just India and some #20 prospect flier.

  14. Redhaze

    I hope this works out for the Reds. I just thought this would be the offseason when they would sign a proven starter without any health risks. If you are coming back from a surgery you could be signed by the Reds. Everyone buy a rabbit’s foot and a four leaf clover.

    • Melvin

      ” If you are coming back from a surgery you could be signed by the Reds. Everyone buy a rabbit’s foot and a four leaf clover.”

      haha 😀

    • Grover

      I agree. When you are a team with a small market you want to sign players who are more of a sure thing exactly because you can’t just laugh off your loss. While there is no such thing as no injury risk pitchers I’d rather have spent my money on a Gray or Rodriguez.

  15. MBS

    Assuming health, he’d make a great addition. He’ll be back in a smaller market, NY isn’t for everyone. It’s not the sexy signing, but the upside could be substantial.

    1 – 5 150 – 180 IP
    Greene, Abbott, Montas, Ashcraft, Williamson

    Long: (100 – 130 IP) Lodolo, Martinez, High Leverage: Diaz, Moll, Pagan Mid/Low Leverage: Sims, Gibaut, Farmer

    AAA Starter: Phillips, Richardson, Spires, Stoudt, Roa

    AAA Pen: Antone, Young, Cruz, Duarte

    • Optimist

      MBS – you’re over-estimating the innings totals. Very doubtful any of these guys get enough starts to get much beyond 150, but without injuries they could have 5 or 6 in the 140-160 range. If they finally get a multi-inning reliever who can get to 75-85 innings that goes a long way to having an effective bullpen of 4 or 5 going 50-60 innings.

      Perhaps the important point is the talent they’d have available at AAA – that looks very encouraging.

      • MBS

        23 Williamson 171 Reds 34 AAA for 151 IP
        23 Abbott 109.1 Reds 54 AA/AAA for 163 IP
        23 Ashcraft 145.2 IP
        23 Greene 112 Reds 14 AAA/ROK 126 IP
        *22 Montas 144.1 IP *Injured 23*

        I think they are all on track to hit 150 – 180 if healthy Montas is a bit of a wildcard since he’s coming off a season off, but he’s done those numbers in the past.

      • MBS

        I flipped the Williams #’s a bit 171 IP total for him if it wasn’t clear

    • Tim R

      They didn’t give Nick Martinez $13mil per year to pitch long relief. He’s in the rotation.

    • Jay

      Sims is easily a ” HIGH LEVERAGE ” guy but yeah something like that looks good on paper !!

      • MBS

        The good news is all of the guys in the pen have been used in HL situations, but when that’s the case, some will continue to be used that way, and some get bumped down to lower situations. It’s what happens when you improve your roster. To me Sims is the best of the final 3 guys, other opinions may vary.

      • VaRedsFan

        Sims is the opposite of high leverage.
        Just because he pitched in those situations, doesn’t make him the ideal guy for the 8th.

    • Runalotte

      If healthy, Lodolo may be the best pitcher on the team. Same with Antone in the pen. If both of them are in full recovery, look out.

      • MBS

        True statements, I hope they are healthy and ready to go in 24.

    • Shannon

      I was thinking:

      1. Montas
      2. Abbott
      3. Greene
      4. Lodolo
      5. Martinez

      Ashcraft and Williamson triple a starting pitcher depth if Ashcraft has options.

      Diaz closer
      Anton 8th inning right hander
      Moll 8th inning left hander
      Sims 7th inning right hander
      Law 7th inning left hander
      Gibout 6th inning guy
      Farmer 5th inning guy
      Pagan long man

      Cruz triple a bullpen depth.

      Lineup looks like:

      1. Friedl center field
      2. McLain 2nd base
      3. Steer right field
      4. Candelario 1st base
      5. Fraley/CES DH platoon
      6. Benson/India left field platoon
      7. Marte 3rd base
      8. EDLC shortstop
      9 Stephenson catcher

      Maile backup catcher. Fairchild or Barrero whichever have options goes to Louisville and the other utility for the reds. Barrero has more positional flexibility but Fairchild the better bat. Fairchild would function as a utility player by moving India or steer back to the infield as needed and Marte & McLain can play 2nd, 3rd or short.

      • Melvin

        “Fairchild or Barrero whichever have options goes to Louisville”

        I don’t think either has options.

      • VaRedsFan

        Ashcraft is not going to AAA. He may very well be the best starter on the staff.

    • Scott

      What about a 6 man rotation adding Lodolo with the rest of the starters.

  16. RedsGettingBetter

    Theis deal is worth $16MM for 1 year. Giolito recently signed for 2 years and $38.5MM. I heard maybe Stroman will be signing for $25MM per year. You can say that is better to land Stroman for an additional $9MM than Montas, however, there are some health risks implicit in both pitchers and Montas is younger having good stuff. Also, this deal still left money room so permits to consider adding another player either through free agency or in trade

  17. Tom Mitsoff

    This is surprising! On the surface it seems like a very high-risk signing, due to the previous injury and surgery. It is also surprising because the front office is willing to spend perhaps above-market value on a high-risk signing.

    I really thought that perhaps they were done because of no high-profile moves for several weeks. Neither Montas or Martinez can be counted upon for an above-average number of innings, but they will provide quality innings and veteran experience (at their full performance and potential). I’d still love to see them get a controllable starting pitcher who has a reputable resume, and I think one of the “young” pitchers on the current roster could be pried from Krall now with this move having been made.

    I’d still love to see them get a power-hitting everyday outfielder. Presuming Candelario is the primary DH and Steer is the left fielder, I don’t see Friedl and Benson (based on performance) as everyday players with power and 100-RBI potential. Krall has to build this team around the power potential GABP provides.

    • Optimist

      If Montas gets past 100ip (and nowhere near Weaverville) this signing is a success.

      Also agree with your other point on the OF need – and this signing is close to making that the top priority. Still think they can add another FA starter giving this is only a 1 year deal.

      • Jason Franklin

        I really think they plan on going with some sort of 6 man hybrid rotation where the 5th and 6th guy go in out of the starting spot and go long from time to time to help stretch them out.

      • CI3J

        If Montas can be even close to what he once was, then a rotation of

        Greene
        Ashcraft
        Abbott
        Montas

        Is a great 4-some to start with, with plenty of really good options for the 5th spot.

        It also means the Reds don’t have to count on Lodolo. Of course, if Lodolo is healthy and pitching like his old self, then having Montas as the 5th starter would make the rotation really solid. And if anyone gets injured, they still have Willamson, Martinez, and Phillips who could step in.

        The Reds just need one final bullpen arm, and I’d say pitching is sorted. I’d prefer Chapman or Suter.

    • BK

      Tom, this is a really interesting and thoughtful perspective. On the other hand, the 2020 and 2021 teams were built for power (Votto, Castellanos, Winker, Suarez). I think the Reds have made a deliberate and correct pivot to a more athletic and versatile team. This team fits the new rules well and can better handle injuries by keeping quality players in the lineup. Also, I don’t believe we’ve seen the full power potential of our hitters. Happy New Year! I always enjoy your posts.

      • MBS

        @BK, Yes, this was a deliberate move that Krall made. I love these guys, and they can all pop out 20 HR’s, so there’s power there. These guys are also young, more HR’s will be coming.

    • doofus

      Wyatt Langford. Texas needs SP to bridge the return of Scherzer, deGrom, Mahle.

      • Michael E

        I’d be all for that, almost no SP off-limits for Langford.

    • Jay

      Why can’t Friedl be an everyday player with just 20/20 potential and GOLD GLOVE type defense ??? Tj Friedl IS an EVERYDAY PLAYER regardless of POWER

      • Tom Mitsoff

        Based on performance history, and I am relying on my eye test, you have basically the same player offensively in Friedl and Benson. Benson clearly has more power potential, but hasn’t shown it yet. I’d rather have a starting outfielder with a major league resume of power hitting and RBI production. I am not in the mindset that giving prospects the chance to develop at the major league level is the way for this team to plan and proceed. Now is the time to go for excellence. I don’t believe that all of the prospects will develop the way many others believe they all will. It just doesn’t happen that way.

      • DaveCT

        Tom, the “major league resume of power hitting and RBI production” you seek far too often comes with high strikeouts, just the opposite of the direction both the club and ML baseball are moving (ie high OPS type players). Further the Earl Weaver 3-run homer approach has failed here for the last 25 years. Seattle just traded old friend Geno and let Teoscar Hernandez depart for this very reason. The club has invested its future in higher contact, speed and power players for a reason. This extends all the ways through the minors, such as the emphasis on drafting and developing players with high contact rates. The trends don’t lie.

      • Melvin

        The stats for Friedl weren’t bad in my view although I do think, because of his arm, he’s more of a LF than CF.

        .279/.352/.467/.819

        In a 138 games:

        22 2B – 8 3B – 18 HR – 66 RBI

        By the way, he SHOULD have played in more than 138 games.

      • Shannon

        I thought Friedl along with McCain and steer were the best hitters on a team of good hitters last season. Doesn’t split wide against left handed pitching like most left handed hitters do, has speed, gets on base. The best bunter the reds has had since Pete rose and can bunt to get on base not just sacrifice bunt. He had 18 home runs last year but also 18 bunt hits. How cool is that?

        He is a true leadoff hitter and one I think we should lock up. If not we might end up back to the days of Billy Hamilton as a leadoff hitter.

      • doofus

        Tom, thank you for being a voice of reason.

    • redfanorbust

      Agreed 100% Tom with your last paragraph. I have always been advocating getting a big bopper for GABP. Someone who does not have to platoon. I know it would be expensive/difficult to find/sign such a player but not having one is a great waste of space (or the lack there of at GABP) 🙂

    • Shannon

      Friedl is an everyday leadoff hitter. He doesn’t have wide splits between left and right handed pitching. Hits well overall with a high on base %. Best bunter as red since Pete rose and can get on base via bunt not just sacrifice. Good speed. Not going to hit 25 home runs but will hit 15. It’s been a while since we have had that type of leadoff hitter.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Agreed, Friedl is an everyday player and honestly I believe one of the more important Reds players as a leadoff hitter and good defender in CF. With Steer I think that’s two everyday players in the OF. Would be nice to find a RH platoon for Fraley/Benson still.

  18. Rick

    If Montas is right and ready great move.
    Out of our young pitching core, I think that Lodolo has to come out of the gate healthy and effective. Spring training should be like a good MMA match for those eventual 5 starting spots. Greene is the only lock due to his contract. Competition should be fierce. Montas(a lock contigent on being green lighted).

  19. MK

    If Reds struggle Montas could be moved at the deadline for low range prospects.

    • BK

      Or if the young pitchers mature more quickly he can be moved. I really like the flexibility Krall has retained this offseason.

      • Colorado Red

        If he pitches like he did in 2021 and 2022, you can put a QO on him, and get an extra nice draft pick.
        Or try to extend
        The big question, is HOW DOES HE PITCH
        Go Reds

    • Justin T

      Aren’t we past that line of thinking?

  20. JayTheRed

    With this signing I am feeling the Reds are pretty much done. Unless some major trade goes down, I think the team is basically done. Would I love another Starting pitcher who is proven yes maybe on another 1-year deal. Still would love to have Chapman back but I am happy with the general direction the team has taken.

    • Jay

      Chapman or Brent Suter to fill the pen and be a strength then maybe a Teoscar Hernandez who I just think would have his best year yet in GABP half the season !!! That would be a great offseason in my mind … Oh and somehow landing another ELITE prospect by jumping to pick 2 in the draft !!! Idk bout you all but Nick Kurtz or JJ Weatherholt look to be future mashers and 1 a RED !!!

      • Greenfield Red

        Don’t forget Adolpho Sanchez and his 60 hit tool.

      • DaveCT

        Hernandez was just let go be Seattle for the same reason they traded Geno, far too many strikeouts and poorer contact rates than the game calls for today.

      • JayTheRed

        I too think Teoscar would have a mammoth season in GABP. I know he does strike out a lot but perhaps they could help him cut down on that.
        Like I said above I think the Reds are basically done for the off-season .

  21. Rednat

    Its funny i dont follow baseball anymore so i have no idea who these new signings are, but you can always tell how impactful they are by the amount of comments on rln. If there just a few, the classic ” dumpster dive” low impact player.
    Over 50 comments already. This guy must be pretty decent!

    • Jay

      Rednat , my favorite take EVER hahahahahaha

  22. PTBNL

    I would love to see the Reds acquire one more high leverage pitcher for the bullpen as a secondary closer for nights that Alexis is not available (which was often last season), preferably a lefty. A Chapman would fit the bill.

    • Rick

      Chappy would solidfy that backend quiet nicely.

      • Melvin

        Are you listening Mr. Krall? 😉 Most Reds fans would love it too by the way. 🙂

  23. doofus

    I do not believe that these signings have moved the needle all that much. Truthfully, it looks like all Krall did was rearrange the deck chairs. I would call the signing of Martinez, Pagan and Montas 3rd or 4th tier free agent signings.

    The front office and ownership are hoping for the maturation of the youngsters and injury free seasons from them.

    • Optimist

      Oh my check your needle – h/t Bryce Spalding, and here’s his tweet –

      “Bryce Spalding
      @bryce_spalding
      The #Reds won 82 games last season and got:

      21 starts from Luke Weaver
      12 starts from Ben Lively
      6 starts from Luis Cessa
      4 starts from Lyon Richardson who wasn’t ready
      3 starts from Connor Overton
      2 starts from Brett Kennedy
      2 starts from Levi Stoudt

      The Reds likely won’t start a single guy worse than anyone listed there in 2024.”

      • PTBNL

        That’s 50 out of 162 starts, almost 1/3 of the season, yikes!

      • Jason Franklin

        You know that there is a very solid possibility that you will see Kennedy or Overton again if someone gets injured in the rotation?

      • Tom Diesman

        Why is Ben Lively always included in this list? He was not part of the problem last year.

        2023 Ben Lively as SP

        First 11 Starts, 61.6 IP, 3.94 ERA

        Then came the take one on the chin 13 R 4 IP start against the Cubs which he was either pitching injured are injured during.

        I was very surprised he was not kept for SP depth.

      • Optimist

        Jason – lasts season it took at least 3 injuries and a release of Cessa to get to Kennedy. It will take 5 or 6 this season – extremely unlikely. As for Overton – if healthy and ready now, he’d still be a 10th option and contending for a spot on the Bats staff – very unlikely to be an early season spot starter.

        Tom – agree about Lively – I’ve commented he’s the pitching version of Wynn’s signing this season – signed to an MLB contract by the Tribe – was hoping the Reds could retain him with a higher $ guarantee on an MiLB deal.

      • doofus

        Why are there so, so many “ifs” imbedded in our comments about these free agent signings? It seems to me that many of us doubt whether these signings will truly have a positive impact on improving the team.

      • doofus

        So how many starts will Martinez and Montas make in 2024, because after all they have a track record for eating innings. Again, these signings do not move the needle. The FO/ownership are hoping for the maturation and health of the youngsters.

      • Oldtimer

        12 wins in those 21 starts (57%) by Weaver.

        70 win in 141 starts (50%) by all others.

        Hmm. 57% is better than 50% (I think).

      • Shannon

        We might start some next year that have a worse season than lively last year. He basically kept us in it until Abbott arrived.

      • Reaganspad

        Weaver won 2 games in 21 starts last year Oldtimer. Just stop with gaming the stats. 6.87 era and over 9 era in his last 9 starts.

        Weaver was horrible for the Reds in 2023. They cut him. There is ZERO chance the would ever want him in 2024. He is not good

      • greenmtred

        This ongoing conversation about Weaver shows one thing above all others: the number of wins a starting pitcher has is a nearly irrelevant stat, particularly in today’s game.

      • greenmtred

        I should have added that we all saw Weaver pitch: yes, he has a live arm and, yes, he either loses the plot or never knew it in the first place. It seemed like he would be okay for a few batters and then realize that he wasn’t being true to himself and have an implosion in the 3rd or 4th inning. Yes, the Reds won games he pitched but that had everything to do with the pitchers who succeeded him and the hitters who refused to give up and nothing to do with him.

      • BK

        According to ESPN, the 10-game stretch where Weaver’s ERA was 8.79 and the Reds went 9-1 was the highest ERA for a pitcher when the team went 9-1 since ERA began being tracked as a statistic in 1913. In short, this accomplishment was a statistical anomaly.

      • Oldtimer

        Weaver made 21 starts. The Reds won 12 of those games. Fo the math. I learned it in 3rd grade. 12 / 21 equals 57% simple math.

      • Oldtimer

        Mr Green is correct. W-L records by starters mean little or nothing. The Reds SP overall had a losing record. The bullpen was the strength of the pitching staff.

        The 2023 Reds were lucky. Their pythagorean (expected) W-L record was 77-85. Their actual W-L record was 82-80.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Agree Tom, Lively wasn’t an issue for the team last year, in fact often he was a saving grace. He took one for the team one day and his numbers never recovered. Other than that he was solid. There’s a reason he got a ML deal this offseason and those other guys are either unsigned or on minor league deals.

      • Reaganspad

        Lively was awesome for us in 2023. 5 games at 5.2 innings, 2 at 6.2 and one at 7.0.

        While weaver taxed the pen, Lively saved the pen all year long. That said, he is not part of a 2024 playoff team.

      • Oldtimer

        Lively made 12 starts in 19 games. He was 4-7 with high ERA (near 5.0).

        Funny definition of “awesome for us in 2023.” How about Mediocre?

      • LarkinPhillips

        @oldtimer, prior to his last starts, where he ate the bullet for a worn out bullpen due to following a Weaver start, Lively had 3.76 ERA in 14 appearances, 12 starts. Not saying he was Cy young, but he wasn’t Weaver by any means.

      • Oldtimer

        The Reds WON 12 of 21 starts by Weaver.

        How many of 12 starts by Lively did they win? He started off with good ERA but finished at 5.38 ERA. 4-7 W-L record. He got worse as the year went on.

      • Melvin

        You sound like you’re campaigning to bring back Weaver. haha

      • LarkinPhillips

        @oldtimer, would you be happy to see Weaver come back? Answer that simple question. Do you want to see him start 20-25 games for the Reds next year?

        The Reds did win a lot of his starts. They also chewed up the bullpen heavily each of his starts and paid dearly for that the next couple games after each of his starts. I hate most the new stats and wins do matter. But weaver got 2 of those wins himself which show it wasn’t because of him that the Reds won those games.

      • jon

        They did win a majority of the weaver starts.

      • Optimist

        Oldtimer on the Weaver binge is hilarious – the Reds are also undefeated since Novermber 1st (that’s 2 months!) and Weaver has 0 ip in that period.

    • Colorado Red

      I think the need has moved some (not a ton).
      But a few more wins, and being healthy going into the post season, and who knows.
      Saw an video on MLB.com this morning (forget who did it), and before this signing, they had the Reds as the Favs in central.

  24. South Texas Red

    Hope we are not using the same MD that checked out Justin Dunn!
    Just sayin.

  25. tim

    now go out and get a left handed reliever like hometown boy brent suter, or matt moore, and they’re done.

    • LarkinPhillips

      I think this move or chapman is a necessity of the Reds truly want to compete for the division. The bullpen has to be top notch and deep from the start of the season to the end.

    • Eric davis Joe morgan

      Exactly what i was thinking.
      I would also be happy if it was champman too .

      1 of those 3 & i am ready to roar ! Lol

      • MK

        I think Chapman is too expensive for what he has left. I would rather have Wandy Peralta who has developed a nice career with the Yankees the last few years. However with the three batter rule I’m not sure the two lefty relievers we have are enough. Now if you pick up a lefty because they are good against everyone then good but not lefty for lefties sake.

    • Redsvol

      You’ve hit nail on the head (others have too)! Need 1 more – preferably high leverage – pitcher in the bullpen. Lefty would be nice. Moore or Suter or Manaea would be awesome!

      Come on Nick, get it done! Come on Bob, give him $8-10$M more! EDLC will sell that much and more in ticket sales alone. Make the Central ours!

    • VaRedsFan

      With the signing of Buck Farmer, they will not be getting another reliever.
      Buck is probably the weakest in the current pen.

      Who gets removed if they sign Chapman?
      Not Buck, since they just invested.

      I do agree that adding a high level closer-type makes the team better, but there are no more spots.

      • Hotto4Votto

        There’s always spots available if the club can improve. I believe Young, Cruz, and Antone all still have options. Martinez could start in the rotation and someone like Lodolo in AAA rotation instead of the pen. Injuries happen and should be accounted for.

  26. Jj

    Gave up nothing and got positive upside, one more signing to the bullpen could sow up Central division, go Reds

    • CI3J

      I’m still hoping they sign Chapman to the bullpen.

    • Greenfield Red

      The Reds had no choice but to spend this winter, and they have done so. These guys have a high liklihood of being a bridge to the next wave of high end younsters to make a huge impact.

      This even pushes Phillips down to AAA after he was forced to start games last year.

      If these young guys continue to step forward, they can be scary good.

      • DaveCT

        Greenfield, some RML talk here, but I’m seeing Phillips more and more as having a pretty high reliever risk. Case being, he’s max effort as well as max effort emotionally, as per a Jim Day interview last season. Hope I’m wrong, he’s got electric stuff.

      • Greenfield Red

        DaveCT this should give him more time to figure it all out. I would have been ok with just Martinez, Pagon, added to the pen, but this really could take pressure off any number of young guys, Phillips included. Very positive day for the Reds IMO.

  27. Klugo

    Always do a nice, thorough analysis of these players. Thx Doug.

    I’m guessing this may be about it for the Reds off-season acquisitions.

    • wkuchad

      If this is it, I’m honestly okay with it. I was hopeful for a well above-average starting pitcher. Instead we have two guys with potential, and that may be better.

      Anything else they do to improve the team is icing on the cake. I’m excited for next season.

  28. Roger Garrett

    Don’t pay a guy that kind of money not to start if healthy.Its a 1 year deal even if the money seems high to me.Maybe another year of seasoning for the guys rushed up to start in 2023 will be good for them and the Reds.Never ever have enough starting pitching as we found out last year.

    • Colorado Red

      He did pitch before the season was over (only 1 1/3). Should be ready for ST.
      I think we will be healthy.
      I would also think a 140 innings max.
      That would be all good.

  29. CI3J

    Will be 31 this year, so I like that it’s only a 1-year deal. $16,000 seems like a lot, but that can come off the books next offseason.

    Alternately, if he’s pitching well and the Reds find themselves with an abundance of pitching options at the deadline, he could be moved then to another contender for a prospect or two.

    It’s not a “splash” signing, but it’s a good signing. If he can be even close to what he once was, he’s an easy choice for middle of the rotation that should keep the team in most games.

  30. Hotto4Votto

    I really liked Montas when the trade went down for Frazier. I really wished at the time (and in retrospect) that we took the Montas instead of the Peraza package.

    With that said, this surprises me. I thought Krall said we weren’t going to be looking at bounceback candidates, maybe I’m misremembering, but Montas coming off shoulder surgery and poor end-of-year results the year before seems to fall into the bounce back candidate category.

    I do like we went the FA route rather than the trade a ton of prospects, especially at the prices reported in the media. If he’s healthy I think he can be really good. It is a pretty pricey sum to shell out on the hope he is healthy and can bounce back from his most recent results.

    Not going to judge this move at the moment, more of a wait and see how it goes. It has potential to boom and bust.

    • CI3J

      It’s true Montas is a bit like a box of chocolates at the moment.

      I think if the Reds were willing to offer him $16m, they did their homework on him and were comfortable with what they were seeing. The fact that they only offered 1 year could be them hedging their bets a little. But if he pitches well, maybe they try to extend him for another 3 years.

      I’d say the Reds now have 3 question marks on their pitching staff:

      Montas
      Lodolo
      Antone

      If the best case scenario happens and all 3 can pitch like the best versions of themselves without getting re-injured, the Reds could have a pretty formidable pitching staff with some real depth.

      I think they need one final bullpen arm to really put the icing on the cake, either Chapman or Suter.

      Imagine this pitching staff:

      SP Greene
      SP Abbott
      SP Ashcraft
      SP Lodolo
      SP Montas

      CL Diaz
      LHP Chapman/Suter
      LHP Young
      LHP Moll
      RHP Antone
      RHP Sims
      RHP Martinez
      RHP Pagan

      And still pitchers like

      Phillips
      Williamson
      Stoudt

      Giabut
      Farmer
      Cruz

      Still hanging around too.

      This is some serious depth.

      • BK

        I would like to think that if the Reds have questions about Montas’ health, he would not be receiving a contract.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Well of course they did their homework, it would naive to think the Reds didn’t look at available medicals, look at the background and circumstances, underlying numbers, projections, etc. But doing your homework on a guy isn’t a guarantee it’ll work out the way you hope. Sometimes teams see things they want/hope to see. Sometimes you think you can fix something you can’t. Some things are more unpredictable, such as injuries or accurately predicting the aging curve and a player’s ability to bounce back and make adjustments. Thinking a ways back, I’m sure the Reds did their homework on Ryan Madsen but he still was injured and missed the entire season. More recently, I’m sure they did their homework on Moose, Akiyama, Weaver, etc but things either happened out of their control or their estimations of how much those guys could contribute were off. FA is always a crap shoot, especially with pitchers, because you’re often paying for what a guy has accomplished in the past and projecting how that may continue in the future, not only that but you are projecting that onto a player who is aging and putting more mileage on their arms.

        There’s a lot of reasons to be optimistic about this signing. There are a lot of positives in making a short term signing over giving up a bunch of valued prospects. It could really work out well for the Reds. At the same time the guy hasn’t pitched/pitched effectively for about a year and half. He’s coming off an injury that he hasn’t really been able to demonstrate he has bounced back fully from. There’s a a lot of potential for this deal to be a bust too.

      • Hotto4Votto

        CI3J, I do like what I see. Depth and quality have improved a lot from beginning of last season to now.

        A few notes, Gibaut is out of options and will need to be in the pen. I’d guess Antone if healthy may get some AAA time to get reacclimated to pitching regularly.
        Also I’m not sure the Reds are counting on Stoudt for anything. I see him as swing man in Louisville. At this point the AAA rotation is likely Williamson, Phillips, Richardson, Kennedy, and Roa.

        I do agree with you and others that an additional back end bullpen guy would be nice. Would love to have Chapman back. I also think a RH outfielder to platoon with Benson/Fraley could be a need but not crucial. I just don’t think India is it. He was awful against LHP last season, and we have no clue if he can adequately play in the OF. Not a platoon option in my opinion and both Fraley/Benson need one.

      • BigBill

        Thinking that Lodolo may switch places with Martinez as a long reliever with some starts as he missed almost an entire year. Gives him an ability to get innings without trying to get all the way back to 150 innings plus. Also, gives you a more high leverage Lefty in the bullpen if needed as the year goes on.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Yeah, I could see a competition of sorts breaking out between Martinez and Lodolo for the 5th starter. Outside of some unforeseen circumstances I believe Greene, Ashcroft, Abbott and Montas have a spot in the rotation. Lodolo needs to walk less guys and become more pitch efficient to remain in the rotation. Either way, I’m hopeful both help the Reds out next season in whatever role they fall into.

      • BK

        @Hotto, fair point. Several Cashman quotes in an Athletic article chronicled how good Montas’ medical assessment was when they traded for him in 2022. There are certainly no guarantees, even with the team conducting due diligence.

    • JayTheRed

      Originally Krall did say no reclamation projects or prove it type signings when the offseason started. Perhaps with the trade prices being so high he decided to take a different approach.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Ok. Again, overall on first take I like the signing’s upside. Montas has generally been a good pitchers when healthy, and outside of the Bronx. But it is a “prove it” contract or bounce back contract, which is something Krall said he’d stay away from. Probably why the less the GM says about his offseason plans the better, then no need to recant later when the market didn’t turn out the way you thought it might.

      • Optimist

        This seems a bit different than a “reclamation”, or perhaps even a “bounceback” contract. More of a “prove-it” deal. Montas is clearly a slightly better than average MLB starter, or better, when healthy. And while shoulder and elbow issues are always concerning, if the physical shows he’s fit, this is a pillow/prove it deal – there won’t be a surprise if he’s effective.

        See the Reds more recent deals which relied much more on hope and change in the expectations.

        I expect Montas to be much more all-or-nothing – namely, extremely effective or lost to injury. This won’t be a Minor or Weaver situation of many consecutive awful starts.

      • Hotto4Votto

        I don’t think he’s reclamation (like Minor/Weaver) but I don’t split hairs between prove it/bounce back. If you have something to prove then you need to bounce back from recent results/injury history. Both are true for Montas. His most recent production on the mound in the 2nd half of 2022 leaves a lot to be desired, coming off shoulder surgery carries a lot of uncertainty especially as he’s not had any extended time to prove he’s fully back to previous levels.

        Again, overall my feelings are mostly positive and I have liked Montas when healthy, just trying to balance my hopes with the reality that there is a lot of boom or bust within this signing for next season.

        That and point out that Krall said he wasn’t going to seek out “prove it” contracts but then went back on that. I won’t hold that against him, because the market changes and generally I think the less GMs say about plans the better. But it should be noted for future reference.

  31. 2020ball

    I like this deal a lot, everyone upset about the price is ignoring that its for only one year. He provides a bridge for one of the younger guys to establish themselves this year.

    • BK

      I agree. Also, we’ve just passed the midpoint of the offseason, and the Reds have checked off all areas of need:

      – Veteran starting pitcher: Montas
      – Long reliever/swingman: Martinez
      – Mid-to-high leverage reliever: Pagan
      – RH Bat: Candelario
      – Backup catcher: Maile
      – Bullpen pitching depth: Farmer

      Early shopping likely costs a bit more than waiting would have. Given the multiple seasons of rebuild in the last decade and the sharp increase in attendance, I believe it was important for the Reds to address their needs.

      Now, they can afford to be opportunistic. Like some others, I would like to see another LH reliever added–I like Chapman, Manea, and Suter. But at this point, Young is the reliever who would likely be bumped to AAA if everyone is healthy, and he’s a solid pitcher. Perhaps Brandon Woodruff remains available and can be signed/transferred to the 60-day IL when Spring Training starts.

      • JayTheRed

        I don’t know why people are so willing to push Young down to the minors. The guy has been a great pickup since we got him. I can’t recall a bad outing by him, and I watch just about every game. If one of the good relievers is signed from the group above them it’s going to be a really good dog fight for the bullpen.

      • Reaganspad

        I agree Jay, I like Young. And him and Moll means you do not have to ear him out like last year

      • BK

        It’s not about being down on Young at all, it is about building quality depth in the offseason via free agency to prepare for the inevitable injuries. This strategy addresses depth in the offseason to avoid the sellers market for pitchers at the trade deadline. That Young is statistically the worst pitcher on the team speaks to the quality of the bullpen compared to last season.

  32. RedBB

    Great signing…only gave up Castellini Money. Would have preferred a second year option but it is what it is

    • Colorado Red

      Frankie is betting on himself. I like that.
      If he comes back really good, we put a QO on him, and he gets paid. If not. He walks anyway.

    • RedBB

      Also, best case scenario is he pitches back to his 2021 form and we QO him and we get a draft pick for him.

  33. JB WV

    I guess I’m in the minority here but I really don’t want to see Chapman back. His best days are behind him and not sure, with his temperament, that he would fit in the clubhouse.
    Reds have three quality lefties vying for a spot in the rotation. I don’t see all three starting there. Someone (see Williamson) will be moved to the pen as that elusive lefty reliever. Last year showed what a lack of pitching depth can do to a rotation. Krall has provided quality arms to hopefully avoid the journeymen fill-ins. AND not traded away any key young talent. Well done.

    • Mark Moore

      I’m pretty much right there with you. I think we have better options and that’s one risk I wouldn’t want to see Krall take.

    • CI3J

      I think Williamson goes back to AAA to stay stretched out as a starter and keep working on things so when the inevitable injury happens, he’ll be the first one up to step into the rotation.

      If not Chapman for the bullpen, then Suter would be good.

      • Colorado Red

        The other option is the long man in the rotation.
        We seemed to need that quite often last year.
        If you got a reliever who can go 5 or 6. that is a big deal.

      • CI3J

        I think Martinez will be the long man.

  34. redfanorbust

    Those guys would be welcome Tim but I am hoping for a power OF bat that does not have to platoon. GABP is made for such hitters.

    • Colorado Red

      I would not rule spencer out of that role. Especially playing 1 position.
      He hit 23 last year, I could see that number improve to 30

  35. Old-school

    Reds have spent $105 million in new FA money.budget now $102 million Theyve lost nothing in prospect capital

    Sp depth deeper
    RP depth better

    Quality innings added.

    Some narratives taking a beating

    • JayTheRed

      Agree the team is moving in the right direction and is definitely, improved. I am good if our offseason is done. I’ll be surprised if more comes.

  36. Zach

    I don’t love the $16M salary the Reds gave a pitcher coming off injury. But hey, that’s the market. At least he’s rested?? The Reds completed their roster with this move (I believe). They have depth all over.

    Originally, I was thinking it would be best to trade India, but now I like him as a depth piece. The Reds fell apart towards the end of the season due to injury- and it’s going to happen again next year…. as many teams do. I like having this deep roster. Most importantly, no prospects were sacrificed.

    Real talk- if the Reds core young pitchers and position players take a step forward- this team could win it all next year.

  37. Indy Red Man

    Why not? He was hurt last year and got bombed on the road in 2022 in a weak division, but he was a workhorse and could potentially get it back. They have a lot of depth now and don’t have to count on a few guys to carry them. I’m penciling in Martinez for 100-130 innings with a sub 4. I also think Lowder breezes through AA and could be ready by July. Could be fun?

  38. Tom Reeves

    This could turn out a few different ways. One, he’s back to his pre-injury form and if that’s the case, this is a huge move by the Reds. Two, he’s able to provide valuable innings to preserve a young but immensely talented rotation. Or three, it’s a total bust and the Reds wasted $16m but lost no prospects. Definitely worth the shot.

  39. CI3J

    So right now, the 26-man looks to be (with preferred batting order):

    STARTING 9

    CF Friedl
    2B McLain
    SS EDLC
    LF Steer
    DH Candelario
    1B CES
    3B Marte
    C Stephenson
    RF Benson

    BENCH

    C Maile
    INF India
    INF ???
    OF Fraley
    OF Fairchild

    ROTATION

    SP Greene
    SP Abbott
    SP Ashcraft
    SP Lodolo (hopefully)
    SP Montas

    BULLPEN

    CL Diaz
    LHP Young
    LHP Moll
    RHP Sims
    RHP Antone (hopefully)
    RHP Martinez
    RHP Pagan

    I REALLY hope they aren’t planning to carry 3 catchers again. If Steer is primarily an OF now, they actually could use another INF signing, believe it or not. I wonder if they’re keeping the spot open for a possible Votto reunion….?

    I would not mind them signing an OF with more power to replace Fairchild.

    Also, a lot of depth for the rotation and bullpen now, with guys like Williamson and Phillips available for the rotation, and Gibaut, Farmer, Cruz available for the ‘pen.

    So the Reds haven’t really made an “splash” moves this offseason, but they are definitely in a better place now than they were when the season ended. I think a few more signings would really put a bow on it (the above-mentioned OF, another bench bat, maybe another bullpen arm), but if this is all they intend to do this offseason, the team is in a good place as is.

      • Melvin

        That’s what I was thinking and wouldn’t mind at all especially if he has a good ST.

      • South Texas Red

        I agree, can play Inf and Of and you don’t have to give up a prospect or any additional money. This will be make it or break it time for him, one last chance. If he has a decent spring let him have the shot.

    • Jeremiah

      Yeah I don’t get the 3 Catchers thing…I actually was hoping they’d make a bold move and trade Tyler Stephenson in a deal to get Salvador Perez. I like Stephenson and his potential, but thought maybe bringing in a veteran for this staff who won a World Series would be a bold move that could add a little extra energy. I’m not quite as sold on Maile as the backup either, but I know they like him. Stephenson will be interesting to see how he plays this upcoming season. I think the injuries, concussion have slowed him down a bit in his career.

    • Shannon

      You are close to what I think. Same starting lineup but EDLC and his 40% strikeout rate bats 8th not 3rd. I have steer batting 3rd, candelario 4th and CES 5th and candelario playing 1st and CES DH. I have benson batting 6th followed by Marte, EDLC and Stephenson.

      Pitching I have Martinez in the rotation with Ashcraft optioned to Louisville if he can be, if not lodolo if he can be and if not it would have to be Abbott. Williamson also in Louisville to start the season. With Martinez in the rotation and moll the only left hander you have I have law in the pen but the rest the same.

    • Amarillo

      They will carry 13 pitchers, so remove the ??? and add another reliever.

      • Shannon

        Yes. The other relief pitcher is gibout. Thought he had him in there.

    • Jeremiah

      I guess he may have no choice, but I have a hard time believing India is going to accept quietly a bench role. I don’t think he’s going to cause clubhouse chaos, but I guess I think a trade may still be in the works for India or trading one of the young guys like CES where it’d open up playing time for India.

      • Shannon

        Yes I don’t like the idea of benching India either. He is a better than average hitter especially for a 2nd baseman but he is not as good of a hitter as candelario McLain or Marte. McLain or Marte can play second base. India is a better hitter now than EDLC but after reds fans have gotten a taste of EDLC and his power, speed, arm and potential they will boycott if he is not in the lineup so pencil him in at short and move McLain to 2nd. Marte 3rd and candelario 1st.

        I had read a quote from krall after the candelario signing that steer is moving to the outfield permanently and India would see time in the outfield. Based on the current roster that would seem steer (also a better hitter than India) in right field and indie in a platoon in left with benson. EDLC is athletic enough to play anywhere including center in which case McLain could play short and india 2nd but Friedl is one of the best leadoff hitters in mlb and I think established himself as the everyday center fielder last year.

        It is kind of a mess and why I was not a fan of the candelario signing even though one of the better deals of the off-season. Replacing indias bat with candelarios only made us marginally better and even though we have done enough to win the division now (since the cubs and brewers have done nothing) we could have used the candelario money along with the Martinez money to sign sonny gray a proven ace that was not hurt last year.

        Montas is the first of our signings I have liked but as others have said question marks about his health.

      • Shannon

        Yes I don’t like the idea of India becoming a utility player either. He is a better than average hitter but we now have so much offense he is not a better hitter than McLean, steer freidl, Marte or candelario and he can’t play catcher. He is a better hitter than EDLC now but since reds fans have seen the speed, power, arm and potential of EDLC they would boycott if he is not in the lineup.

        The infield looks to be candelario 1b, Marte 2nd, EDLC short and Marte 3rd. I had read a quote from krall after candelario was signed that steer would move to the outfield permanently and India would play some in the outfield. Looks like steer in right, Friedl in center and India in a platoon with benson in left. He could also be used as a utility coming in to play 2nd and moving the other infielders around as needed since candelario can play 1st & 3rd and McLain, EDLC and Marte can play 2nd, 3rd or short.

        This is why I was not a fan of the candelario signing even though it has been one of the better value deals of the off season. Like my wife buying something she already has 2 of because it was a good deal. Money along with Martinez money would have been better spent on a top of the rotation pitcher like sonny gray even now that we have signed montas. I felt we needed 2 top of the rotation starters when the off season ended and we might have one if montas comes back like he was for the A’s.

      • Hotto4Votto

        India had a .642 OPS vs LHP last season (not good at all) and has a career .732 OPS vs LHP (below average). India is not a good platoon option, even if he could transition to the OF capably on the defensive end (still a question mark until we see it). For contrast Fairchild has the exact same career .732 OPS vs LHP but is proven as a capable OF defender and bench option.

    • Justin T

      Youre probably right and thats not a bad lineup. My biggest concern is there is no emphasis put on defense or getting on base and the roster now reflects that. You cant keep moving guys around everyday its common sense to everyone except the manager of the Cincinnati Reds.

      • BK

        Here’s the list of the projected opening day position player roster and their on-base percentages with the Reds in 2023. The Reds are clearly emphasizing getting on base:

        1. Benson, .367
        2. Marte, .366
        3. McLain, .357
        4. Steer, .356
        5. Friedl, .352
        6. Fraley, .339
        7. India, .338
        8. Candelario, .336 OBP
        9. CES, .328
        10. Fairchild, .321
        11. Stephenson, .317
        12. Maile, .308
        13. EDLC, .300 (.398 at Louisville, International League avg.: .356)

        .320 OBP was the MLB league average in 2023.

      • Justin T

        @BK

        Candelario has a career .325 OBP and only has been above .350 once in a full season. Thats not prioritizing high contact/OBP hitters. Marte played a quarter of the season, the jury is out.

        Only 3 teams struck out more than the Reds and the Reds didn’t have a player that hit 25 or 30 homers.

        The Reds had 29 sac flies and the league average was 41. That speaks to not having high contact/situational hitters. Or a manager who is busy looking at his notes rather than being in the moment.

        The Reds batted EDC leadoff alot last year. Is that prioritizing OBP? I think that says the manager could care less about OBP. A leadoff hitter with a bad OBP and k’s 40% of the time is putting emphasis on OBP? Thats why i say its not prioritized. Benson, you had a great OBP so lets bat ya 9th and only play part time.

        Sidenote: Guess who lead MLB in caught stealing? The Reds. Yes, all those pickoffs count as caught stealing.

        The word defense has hardly been mentioned this off season. All Ive heard is moving guys around again and trying new positions. India is the worst defensive second baseman in the league? He’d make a good left fielder now? These are simple examples.

  40. Amarillo

    This offseason has been exactly what I wanted to see from the Reds. We used our cash as the primary resource. We didn’t give up any prospects or anyone expected to be on the 26 man roster. There is depth across the roster including in the rotation.

    Maybe I would have added different players, but the process is exactly how I would have handled it.

  41. Mark S.

    Would I have preferred a trade for a Luzardo/Valdez/Skubal-type pitcher? Of course! With that said, I am thrilled the Reds have not given up high-end prospects for guys like Cease/Bieber/Glasnow. A big trade better be for a consistent and durable top-of-the-rotation arm without recent injury history (like the M’s did for Castillo). Montas offers high reward if he is past the shoulder issues. I wouldn’t mind another bullpen signing (LHRP) and a big trade for Arozarena!

    Alternative approach: I can’t believe I am saying this but I could go for another high risk, high reward 2-3 yr signing of Woodruff while Bob has the wallet open. Keep stacking the pitching depth without giving up prospects for overhyped #2-3 starters at best (i.e. don’t trade the farm for guys that aren’t aces because of a lack of patience). The right guy has to be there for a big trade. They just need to keep making good roster moves, drafting/developing talent, and spending wisely in FA without taking too much long-term risk. Basically run the team with a hybrid approach (Rays/Cards/Braves mix).

    • Harry Stoner

      “…i.e. don’t trade the farm for guys that aren’t aces because of a lack of patience…”

      Well put.

    • Optimist

      I very much appreciate the 1-year higher $ pitcher signings.

      – limits the $ risk
      – bounceback incentives
      – broader market of available SPs to add another similar deal
      – preserves the farm, and puts proven MLB talent in AAA
      – if the youngsters thrive opens up mid-season trade possibilities.

      At their best nobody on the staff may be a top-3 CYA candidate, but if 2 of the youngsters develop (Abbott/Greene?) at all, it should be a good enough staff. If 3 or more develop and Montas/Martinez pitch to form it will be very good. If any one of them truly excels they look good well into the playoffs.

  42. Jason Franklin

    Off-subject, but I want to say that the forums here on redlegnation are so much more civil and usually open to other opinions. We hardly ever bring up religion or politics and that is a good thing. I was on MLBTR and someone disagreed with my views on a subject and literally brought up politics and questioning my manhood all in one go. Anyway, you guys are a good group of knuckleheads and thought it would be good to share.

    • wkuchad

      It rarely happens here, and typically Doug puts an end to it ASAP when it does (thankfully).

    • Indy Red Man

      It’s a great place with alot of good people.
      I got bullied and banned at Stampede Blue just because my screen name was Denver18. Alot of division in Indy when they forced PM out and brought in Luck.
      I never cursed or threatened anyone. Banned from the other Reds blog because I rode Dusty pretty hard. Again wasn’t profane or anything and maybe 30% of what Bell gets here on a daily basis.
      You can have an opinion here and I like that. Just remember opinions are sometimes wrong. Mine, yours, and the next guys too

    • Colorado Red

      I am have been yapped at a few times, when I mentioned dumpster diving,
      But, nothing really bad. Doug does a good job on taking care of that.
      It would nice, if we had an edit feature. Sometimes in the past, I have typed work hello, If I do that I want to correct it quickly.

      • Jason Franklin

        I was also guilty of using the term dumpster diving. I understand how they can be demoralizing. So we are in the same boat, Colorado.

    • CFD3000

      That’s down to Doug Gray (and the folks that preceded him). Doug has done a fantastic job moderating and it sets expectations for civil banter. And the posters appreciate the value in that so things rarely get out of hand. Thank you Doug for keeping this a great place to be a Reds fan, and thank you fellow fans for making it a daily must read instead of a typical internet quagmire. Go Reds!

      • Redsvol

        Yes absolutely. It’s the only sports site I regularly comment in. Doug does a great job.

        If anyone is reading this- please go to Patreon.com, look up this site and send doug some $ to keep it going! Consider it a maintenance fee.

        This site is going to blow up in 2024 ( in a good way) with all the exciting stuff happening in Reds country. Doug’s other site – redsminor leagues.com is also a really good site! And probably why many of us never want to see a prospect traded!

  43. Frankie Tomatoes

    This deal feels very much like a Reds deal. Let me explain

    Frankie Montas has plenty of upside but he could also be less than good for plenty of reasons. That sounds like the rest of the rotation, the guys behind them in the rotation, most of the bullpen, and nearly everyone on offense. Lets all hope that more of these guys fall on the upside side of the ledger.

    We’ve added a lot of depth but despite talking about getting a number one they have not done that and instead added guys at the back of the rotation. We will need someone to step up.

    • Optimist

      Mostly true, but they are certainly doing better limiting the downside. Will Montas be better than Weaver or Minor? Could he be worse than either? The answers to those 2 questions show improvement.

      But yes, they will need someone (or two or three) to step up, but that is what the depth does – even if they repeat the injury wave of last season, they are already 3 pitchers better on the 26 man, and 4 or 5 pitchers better in AA/AAA. There’s a lot to be said for statistics, and being 6-8 pitchers better than last season is a good statistical base.

    • Jeremiah

      Number 1 starter is next year when they sign Corbin Burnes to a 35 million a year deal for like 8 years!

      • Colorado Red

        Yanks or Dodgers?
        not the Reds.
        With TV money, up in the air. They are not doing that.

      • Redsvol

        Not only they aren’t doing that but they shouldn’t do that. Draft, sign and develop. That is what got us to the point. of competitiveness and that is what should continue.

        I should also add- sign a few of your own developed guys to give your fan base someone to latch onto. Hunter Greene, Spencer Steer, Andrew abbot, etc.

    • Mauired

      Not the sexiest move but this has a ton of upside. Big if he comes back from the shoulder issue but he was pitching himself into a 100 million dollar deal when he went down. He had a good run in Oakland. If that sounds like alot, well Gioloto just got $40. He’s not a good pitcher. But if Montas is the number 1 for this season and Reds get a nice draft pick in 2025, not a bad deal at all. The Reds have been drafting pitching pretty well lately.

      2015-Alexis Diaz 12th round
      2017-Hunter Greene 1st round
      2018-Lyon Richardson 2nd round
      2018-Josiah Gray 2CB round
      2019-Nick Lodolo 1st round
      2019-Graham Ashcraft 6th round
      2020-Christian Roa 2nd round
      2020-Joe Boyle 5th round
      2021-Andrew Abbott 2nd round
      2021-Julian Aguilar 12th round
      2023-Rhett Lowder 1st round
      2023-Ty Floyd 1st round

      That’s a pretty great list and hard to beat across MLB. The starting pitching depth is looking pretty good with six or seven (depending on how Martinez is viewed) starters possibly on the big league roster on opening day. Williamson was pretty good last year. More likely that he is the left handed version of swingman role. Then Phillips, Richardson, and Spiers in Louisville and on the 40 man, making 10 starting pitchers. Then to top it off, not too far away if needed in the second half some of the best pitching in organization with Lowder, Pretty, and Aguilar.

      *If healthy this team has playoff potential for the next several years.

      • TR

        Your summary of the Reds situation is right on target. Krall is building a solid team without giving up young talent which I’m sure many teams want included in possible trades.

  44. Jeremiah

    Well it seems like overpaying for Montas at 16 million/year but as someone mentioned, that is the current market. Hard to believe Giolito got 19 million/year after how bad he finished they year last year. Teams are desperate for pitching and their seems to be more money obviously in the game. It reminds me of the NBA years ago when bench guys who didn’t play a ton started getting like 10 million a year and more.

    But I like the depth adding Montas. I think the good thing is he is more a hopeful signing then someone they are depending on to be a #1 or #2 starter. In my opinion the rotation is still dependent on Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft, so if Montas is good it’s a plus, if not, they don’t get their money’s worth, but I don’t think it’ll hurt them a ton. It’d be great though if he turns his career around on the Reds.

  45. Greenfield Red

    How good should Louisville be this year? All this pitching. Dunn, Hinds,ect.

    • DaveCT

      What is, “Very good,” for 500 please, Alex.

  46. gusnwally

    I have been coming here every day for years. And the general theme is Boy, the Reds are cheap. So I am in disbelief that I am seeing so many here complaining that the Reds have spent too much money on a player. Montas has been a solid big league pitcher in the past. Sure, he was injured and there is some amount of risk. But, every time a pitcher throws a ball, he is risking injury. I am thrilled with the pickups we have made this offseason. And even more thrilled that Lowder, Petty and Arroyo are still waiting in the wings. Also as far as the site basically being friendly. A number of years ago, I went to another site frequently. I made a mention of my fond remembrances of Richie Ashburn. WOW, I was told all about my dementia and how Alzheimers had riddled my brain and other assorted malady’s that I obviously had. So, Yea this is a great place and Doug does a fabulous job for us.

    • Greenfield Red

      The Reds are cheap. They did nothing to improve the pitching last August, and they’ve done nothing to improve the team this Winter. They wasted money on Candelario. And almost forgot, prospects are suspects.

      You will hear all of that and more here, although none of it is true.

    • VaRedsFan

      Gunswally, that’s only been a narrative by a few on here. It was the very definition of fake news. They spent when they thought they had a team worthy (2020). Some people aren’t happy unless we aren’t spending like the Dodgers or Yankees…and that’s just being unrealistic.

      Some were saying the Reds payroll would be 60 million this year. Fake news from guys just trolling to get a reaction.

    • Justin T

      I think that the eternal optimists just do not understand the criticism of the more skeptical fans. Its not complaining that too much money is/was spent on any single player as much as it is just listening to what has been told to us by this front office. The bad contracts (Moustakas etc) turn out to be crippling when its time to improve the team (like possibly helping the 2023 team at the break). When a team like the Reds miss on a free agent it turns out to be disastrous because the margin of error is smaller. Thats alot of the reason signing a guy coming off major surgery (and almost 2 years off) is frustrating to see when there were guys available who pitched pretty well last year.

      For me personally I have watched the manager peddle with the lineup and bullpen to the point of pulling hair out. I have never seen a manager affect the games like DB does. So giving him more ambiguity is a bad thing. If he could just get out of his own way and let the game come to him…At this point he is what he is. I can only speak for myself but he is the dark cloud hanging over this current team. To see EDC run us out of an inning only to do it again the next day shows the lack of accountability which these young guys need tremendously.

      As far as Krall, if you take what he has given up to get what we now have, the jury is still out. Two of baseballs best starting pitchers were traded away and Wade Miley walked without getting a thing in return. The obvious pickup this year was Sonny Gray and we lost him to our rivals. Those are signings that move the needle. Signing a guy coming off 2 years of basically non activity is the type of signing that gets fairly criticized. So complaining about the complainers just highlights the difference between how some choose to see the situation. Bottom line is the Reds havent had any postseason success and frustrations will come from that. More than anything it seems like the Reds found a manager who will get you around .500 with a good/decent roster (2020-2021) qnd that will lose 100 with a bad roster. I dont see how that is even arguable, if it is, its not based in facts. That same manager is on his second extension in 5 seasons. That shows how important winning is versus just being competitive.

      • LarkinPhillips

        I will agree with a lot of what you said about Bell. (I am an admitted Bell hater and can argue that another time with people.) However, the one thing I will point out, the Moose contract and Montas contract are two totally different things. Montas is a 1 year deal that according to most projections was not an overpay. It can be argued that we should have signed someone different, but the signing definitely does not affect the future as the Moose contract did.

      • BK

        @Justin, I enjoy reading the skeptical posts, at least those with a thoughtful argument like the one you laid out above. However, your argument may not be entirely accurate.

        For example, Moustakas contract didn’t work out. I think we all agree on that. However, was it crippling? You assert that it was. I assert that the COVID pandemic is what affected the Red’s spending through 2023. According to Forbes, the Reds lost tens of millions from 2020 through 2022. Not only does Forbes have an excellent reputation for their financial analysis, the pandemic’s impact on the pro sports has been widely reported and well documented. Wade Miley was placed on waivers for similar reasons–it’s revisionist to claim his release was a baseball move.

        EDLC was 21 last year. Expect growing pains and mistakes.

        As for Krall, the Castillo and Mahle trades yielded three MLB starters: Marte, CES, and Steer. One of the prospects was part of the package that brought Wil Benson to the Reds, too. Others are still percolating in the minors. Castillo is very good–no argument there. But I think the Reds are better off from BOTH trades long-term. You may disagree, and admittedly what someone prefers is subjective. But its hard to argue objectively that Krall did anything but CRUSH the 2022 deadline.

        Sonny Gray required a 3-year commitment. Check out Redsminorleagues.com and look at the quality of starting pitching the Reds have in the upper minors. It was the length of commitment not the AAV that likely caused the Reds to pass. It doesn’t take a lot of dreaming to see a wave of pitching ready by mid-year. As for Montas, I will point out he trailed only Castillo at the 2022 deadline. If healthy, and I agree that’s a big “if”, he’s at least a #2 starter on a good team. With a one-year contract, the Reds have minimized the risk.

      • Justin T

        @bk

        Again, you have great well thought out points thank you. My mind can certainly change, but being the eternal optimist for this front office isnt in my cards. The arrogance, for one, has been tough for me to see. After the “where else ya gonna go” debacle I hoped to see a little humbleness/regret from the man who expects thousands of fans to fork over their extra money for the product. It never happened. The Bell extensions, with the lack of results, also speak to that. They basically said we dont care if he wins or not, he doesnt rock the boat. I would bet a mortage payment that David Bell will never take this team where we all want to see it go. He cant help himself from tinkering. His wooden personality doesnt do him any favors either. I just struggle to see anything that resembles smart from the guy. Maybe you do and thats fine.

        On the flip side I see the Bengals who have not only had great results but have had more transparency w the fans and have reaped the benefits. They have earned the benefit of the doubt. It took a long time for that to happen. They have great people in the player personel dept that have built a great roster. The lock up the players they feel are vital (salary cap makes it apples to oranges) and base their philosophy on a system that has produced results. The Reds player personel guys and the on field manager continue to get raises and promotions with bad results.

        Its simple if you really think about it, the optimists are choosing to be optimistic and thats fine. But its not based on results. 82-80? Thats what we get excited about? I dont care if they lost 100 the year before, thats a loser mentality. If the Reds cared about that 100 loss season as much as the fans did they would have gotten a new voice in that dugout.

        Ive never hoped to be wrong more than I do regarding this team. But to see people upset at the skeptics is ridiculous, this front office has earned it.

      • Melvin

        “More than anything it seems like the Reds found a manager who will get you around .500 with a good/decent roster (2020-2021) qnd that will lose 100 with a bad roster. I dont see how that is even arguable, if it is, its not based in facts. That same manager is on his second extension in 5 seasons. That shows how important winning is versus just being competitive.”

        I concur

        True

  47. Grover

    I’d have gladly paid Gray 27 million rather than 16 million to Montas.

    • Colorado Red

      Gray wanted a 3 or 4 year contract. How about 75 million, and did he want to come back?
      He would not accept a 1 year contract. By year 3, good chance he is over paid.

      • LarkinPhillips

        This is a great point. Also, hopefully that extra 9-10 million comes with the Reds adding one more relief pitcher this year such as super, chapman, etc. If so it’s an easy choice to have Montas and RP over sonny for 25 million who is also injury prone and aging rapidly.

      • redfanorbust

        Agreed Colorado Red, a very good chance he is overpaid by year three. Signing Montas to one year is ideal giving younger pitchers time to develop and grow. The risk is small with a one year deal and the $16M is just the cost of doing business these days for pitching. Pitching is a risky injury prone position. Signing them for more than 1-3 years is the riskiest venture of them all IMO and a team like the Reds can ill afford to take that risk.

      • Justin T

        Overpaid in year 3 based off what? He almost won the Cy Young last year and pitched well into October. StL had no problem giving him a 3 year deal and I trust their front office alot more than the Reds. The Reds were outbid and lost him. They found a guy who hasnt pitched well in 2 years and got a bargain so they signed him. Believe your eyes and not your heart.

    • greenmtred

      Gray is 34: young by regular standards, getting up there for MLB players, and the multi-year contract makes him a significant gamble, tpo.

      • Justin T

        Look at the best pitchers in the league last year for example, they arent spring chickens. Sonny will pitch well into his late 30’s. You aren’t supposed to improve in your 30’s either but he has pitched his best the last couple of seasons.

  48. gusnwally

    Grover, what about the other 50 million??

  49. TR1

    Just remember some folks could see you walk on water and say it’s because you can’t swim. Go Reds

  50. west larry

    Most of us bloggers wanted Gray to come back, but not at 3 years and an option for a fourth year, at 100 million or so. At his age, with the back issues he had while a red, there is no way they were going to sign him. And as mentioned earlier, he apparently didn’t want to come back on a one or two year contract. I’m happy with this signing .It’s a one year deal, if he get’s hurt again it’s only a one year deal, and if he’s great and the reds have a sizable lead, they can trade him at the deadline.

  51. Indy Red Man

    My rotation would be Ashcraft, HG, AA, Montas, and Lodolo. Personally I get tired of watching Lodolo walk 3-4 guys and throw 100 to get thru 14-15 outs, but he’s young and you can’t give up now. Obviously we want him to be a good starter, but I see a better chance that he could be a Andrew Miller type reliever. Martinez is the 6th man along with Williamson. I see no need for Young, but I don’t understand bringing back Farmer either? Nevertheless that gives Bell starter depth, long men, and multiple lefties. Phillips and Lowder will be waiting in the wings too. Lyon Richardson’s body type reminds me of a Jeff Brantley type of reliever. Come in throw gas and see what happens.
    He’s even farther away from stretching out then Lodolo as a starter. They’re going to have to make an adjustment with some of these guys? Leading AAA in Ks accomplishes nothing

    • Oldtimer

      I don’t know who will be what but Reds SP and BP are both improved over 2023.

  52. Oldtimer

    49 years ago TODAY the first MLB free agent ever signed a new contract. Catfish Hunter was declared free agent and left OAK for NYY and 5 year, $3.75 M ($750K per year) contract.

    • Redsvol

      love the history lesson. Thanks Oldtimer! A little different than the Kiner-Falea contact huh? I still can’t believe he got $15M from Toronto.

      • Oldtimer

        U R welcome. Imagine what the BRM players in their prime might have gotten.

  53. Michael B. Green

    If this is the direction they are going, then the focus turns right now to winning and this is what we need to do to win the division outright:
    1. Lead the league in SB
    2. Lead the league in fielding percentage (major emphasis)
    3. Lead the league in lowest BB/9 (pitching) (major emphasis)

    • Optimist

      1 is very possible, 3 is very improbable, and 2 is the most important goal, even finishing in the top 5.

  54. Jon

    This has been the strangest offseason for an MLB team that is both a) trying to contend, and b) able/willing to spend money, that I can remember. The Reds have made a handful of signings while keeping all of their prospects. They have upped their payroll, albeit not by a record amount. Yet none of the signings are players that are sure to move the needle next year. Candelario may hit like Castellanos in GABP, or he may hit more like Moustakas as a Red. Pagan’s numbers are worrisome, yet he is getting paid as a top non-closer reliever. Martinez could be at the back of the rotation or in the bullpen, a solid but not flashy signing. And now the $16 million pitcher who ironically was signed to provide stability to the rotation, yet pitched in one game in 2023.

    It certainly could all work out for the Reds in 2024. Depth is never a bad thing. At the same time, I sure would have liked to see the Reds acquire a proven ace for the rotation to lead the young staff. Montas may or may not be that guy.

    • Optimist

      Quantity has a quality in its own right.

      • J

        Yes. I would hate to have seen the Reds sign a huge contract or two plus a few Newmans and Weavers to fill out the roster. Much rather see five or six quality players signed for “reasonable” salaries. Hasn’t everyone noticed how often the mega contracts end up hurting more than helping? Especially teams like the Reds, that won’t add anything once they’ve hit some self-imposed salary cap.

      • CI3J

        Truth.

        These are not journeyman placeholders the Reds are signing. These are actual pieces of a team that is looking to compete. And to do that, you need some quality depth.

        The Reds have that now, but I wouldn’t be opposed to them adding a little more.

    • Oldtimer

      Dave Parker remains the best FA signing by the Reds. And 1983 was 40 years ago.

      Cincinnati is not high in the list on most FA. I think we got four good ones, none great.

      • LDS

        Montas has pitched a grand total of 40 innings which 8/1/22, is coming off of shoulder surgery, and the Reds gave him twice his previous salary. it’s called buying a lottery ticket. You might win the grand prize. You might win a couple of bucks. But usually, it’s just a waste of money. Pagan is a flyball pitcher known for giving up HRs, though he had a good year last year. Martinez is a mixed bag. He could be good for 100+ inning this year, in a variety of roles. He is a groundball pitcher at least though apparently not that hard to hit, .265 BA against for his career. Candelario? Well, a career .243 hitter that may hit better at the GABP or may not. I did see one sportswriter posit that he was signed as much to help with the Latin players on the roster as for his hitting. Apparently, he is known for his leadership of young players. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know, and it was only one writer, whose name has escaped me. So, it’s good to see the Reds spend money, though more impactful spending would have been better. They outperformed most projections last year, including mine and most folks here. Will they this year? Maybe, but with this roster, it’s not a sure thing. I think the 3rd/4th place finish projections are likely good ones, at this point.

      • J

        LDS, which players could the Reds acquire and have everyone agree the team is significantly improved and there isn’t any potential downside? If they commit $100-$200 million over the next few seasons and/or give up India and/or top prospects for a guy who gets hurt and/or never plays as well as expected (see, e.g., many recent huge contracts that teams desperately wish they hadn’t agreed to), that will have a negative effect on the Reds’ chances. If they spend $16 million and don’t give up any prospects, they aren’t going to land a superstar. There’s no magic formula that guarantees a big reward without a big risk. There’s nobody they can add that wouldn’t cause some people to say “well, this might be a great move, but here’s three reasons why it might be terrible.”

      • Justin T

        And to add to that, when his best days were behind him they flipped him for some Rijo kid.

      • Jason Franklin

        After the trade, Dave Parker had a WAR value of -.8 for the last years of his career. Rijo finished his career with the Redlegs and earned 36.4 total WAR. I know that Parker was already winding down his great career at this point but it is cool to see how much value the Reds got out of this trade.

        Also, I know WAR is not the best metric but it is a easy one to compare.

      • TR

        Great will be determined, in my book, after the games have been played.

      • David

        I am not impressed with the Frank Montas signing. Some people have classed it as “high risk, high reward”.
        I would class it as “high risk, modest reward”. Montas may indeed be a real find…or with his shoulder issues end up being another Justin Dunn…too much money being paid out to a guy who spends a lot of time on the DL and a dead spot on the 40 man.
        I certainly HOPE that Frank Montas has a fine year with the Reds….but frankly, “hope” is not a plan.

      • BK

        “… but frankly, “hope” is not a plan.”

        In addition to known injured players entering Spring Training, the Reds started the 2023 season with five additional players on the IL. This is not a “hope” plan; rather the Reds are planning to deal with injuries by acquiring quality players to field a deeper team.

      • MBS

        @David, There is exactly zero downside to signing Montas, unless you think it kept us from signing a more expensive pitcher. Sadley, I don’t think that’s the case.

        1 If he passes medicals, Montas is a big addition, he’d likely be the #1 in the rotation.

        2 If it he does have a good season, we can put a qualifying offer on him to gain additional draft pick next offseason, or even better we extend him.

        3 If he’s just ok, like a 4/5 then we added much needed depth.

        4 if he’s injured and doesn’t contribute Bob spent some money on a bad acquisition, but the team is no worse for wear.

        3 out of 4 ain’t bad.

  55. Indy Red Man

    Candy has 100 doubles, 8 triples, and 51 Hrs last 3 years and that’s playing his home games in 2 of the biggest parks in MLB in Detroit & Washington. No reason to think he can’t do 35+ doubles and 25+ hrs with Gabp and the lineup protection factored in. Steer, Candy, CES 4-5-6 wouldn’t look too bad.

    • LDS

      And it may happen. But I remember the optimism on Moose as well.

      • greenmtred

        Of course. No player is a sure thing.

      • David

        To be fair, Moustakas came in to camp with the Reds out of shape, and not really “baseball fit”. And I think that he arrived in the Plague Year, so maybe didn’t get enough time or was not motivated to work hard enough to get in shape.
        If Candelario bombs out (and he might), the Reds are really not solely dependent on him being great or even good. They do have other alternatives on the roster at this time. He was not who I would have signed, but now he is a Red.
        I honestly do have HIGH hopes for Nick Martinez. He may be the veritable “diamond in the rough” and deliver a lot of value as a pitcher. He is not “like” Tommy Hall (skinny left hander who threw hard), who was a life-saver for the Reds staff in 1972, but he may end up being a guy like that. A reliever (long and short) and a occasionally a starter. Or a sometimes starter who also does long relief.

      • Optimist

        A quick list of some more recent big$ FA or extensions – I’ll omit the Cobra since that was too long ago.

        Homer
        Joey
        Madson
        Cordero
        Ludwick
        Akiyama
        Castellanos
        Moustakos

        Some good, some bad, some just nothing.

        How will this season’s 4 perform? Unlikely that all are bad. They really only need to hit big on one, or get good value on 2. That’s the cushion that depth provides.

    • Old-school

      @Indy

      Candy had 64 xtra base hits in 2023 and 62 in 2021 and hit really well in the shortened 2020 season

      Hes a switch hitting extra base hitting machine playing in canyonesque ball parks

      Reds hitters who have done that in the last 5 years are castellanos votto and suarez . Thats it playing in great american small park

      Go back further and its bruce and frazier once and phillips once and Dunn multiple times
      But hey he only hit .243

      Thats better than suarez and Dunn and bruce and Votto post 2020 but that doesnt advance the narrative.

      • David

        Candelario is not a “Zero” or Mike Moustakas. I am not sure exactly what role or position they have in mind for him. 3rd base?
        In my world, I would have CES playing 1st and sometimes DHing.
        Fraley would also likely be a top DH against Right Hand pitching. There are others.
        I don’t think Candelario was signed to just DH, but…we will find out more in the reality of Spring Training.

      • CI3J

        I actually think Candelario might put up some impressive power numbers playing in GABP.

        As to what his role will be, that’s TBD. Hopefully Bell finds a good balance where all the young players get their playing time with Candy also getting his time.

        The priority is still on developing the young players.

      • Hotto4Votto

        While Candelario is a good fit on offense, the defensive fit really still is tricky. Candelario’s best defensive position is 1B where he’s +2 DRS for his career in 85 games (664 innings). Although it should be noted he did not play at 1B at all in 2022/2021 compiling only 145 innings at 1B in the past three seasons, all in 2023 for +1 DRS. CES played 270 innings at 1B in 2023 at exactly league average 0 DRS.
        Marte played 234 innings at 3B at -1 DRS. (where Candelario was -4 DRS at 3B in 2023 in 159 innings and -22 DRS at 3B for his career in 5421 innings) It should be noted that Marte was in his first full season as a 3B and has all the tools to play the position coming up as a SS. Improvement should be expected from Marte, where he already has an edge defensively at 3B over Candelario.
        Candelario may hold a slightest edge at the moment over CES but it’s very close on offense and defense. Last season CES posted an .805 OPS while Candelario posted an .807 OPS. IMO, it’s too close to give the lion’s share of 1B to one player, especially as CES is coming on fast.
        But having them split time between 1B/DH leaves less opportunities for one of Fraley/Benson to DH and overall less opportunity for India period.

  56. Justin T

    Im just here to see all the analytical stats, latin symbols and plus and minuses to justify signing a guy who has been hurt for 2 years. Gets sillier by the day. The most money committed this offseason was to a 30 yr old infielder which basically presents more question marks for the young guys. The top end starter, that was so badly needed, ended up being a guy who hasn’t pitched well in 2 years.

    Krall signing Bell long term last year should make anyone question his decision making. Its not about being negative, its facing reality.

    • J

      There are plenty of valid reasons to question Krall’s decision-making. I’ve certainly done a lot of it. However, none of the recent signings has been wildly out of line with general expectations as far as salaries go. He’s signed four legit major league pitchers and a legit major league hitter, none terribly old, and all for salaries in line with general expectations. While we can certainly question whether he’s done enough to address the most obvious needs (I want a legit right-handed outfielder and wouldn’t mind another proven starter), I don’t think there’s any good reason to believe he’s made any terrible mistakes here. These aren’t Mike Minor-ish deals.

      • Jason Franklin

        I am starting to think that Krall might actually have a master plan. In the past few years he signed some less then stellar starters to cheapish contracts. These may have been done just to fill the gap while the youngsters grew in the minors. He probably understood that his owner, Mr. Kroger, was not going to go out and buy a team. So, he took the losses on the chin for the team and they improved via trades and drafts due to their low chances of making the playoffs. Now, with last year and the trading deadline, he probably realized that the teams wheels were falling off and he didn’t want to destroy what he had built in the minors (and again, Mr. Kroger didn’t want to spend) so he just mostly went with what he had built. I really think Krall never thought they Reds would be as good as they were last year and didn’t want to roast his plan for future competition. So, he kept most of the minors in tact and said sorry to the fans (at least not out loud). Now, we can all argue that keeping Bell was kind of wonky but maybe the players love the dude and being it is mostly a young team, Krall just decided to keep Bell around. Just my rambling thoughts.

      • Colorado Red

        Jason,

        I do not think keeping Bell around was his idea.
        This was Bob’s idea. (do not know if nick liked it or not).
        Bob is a big Buddy Bell fan, and let it show.

        Happy New Year to All,
        and GO REDS.

        If the baseball gods small on us, the Reds make the postseason, and dodgers and dirty brids do not

      • Rob

        J – in assessing Krall’s no major mistakes, I would assume you are talking post October 2023. Compared to the Rangers and Dbacks, he made fatal mistakes at the trade deadline. Two other wild card teams made it to the playoffs on the last 1-2 days of the season. Any semblance of the trades that these two teams made would have gotten the Reds into the playoffs for sure, and possibly much beyond that. And we had a very easy opportunity to upgrade by only improving over the likes of Weaver, Kennedy, Spiers, Richardson, etc. Yeah, it would have cost a prospect or two but we have several in the top 10-15 (including IFs) who are 2025-2026 arrivals. I will never see how we can not call this a major mistake in not acquiring pitching help in order to win 4-5 additional games over the last 2 months. And looking at the the Dbacks and Rangers last gasp qualification, don’t ever believe we couldn’t have similar success in the playoffs. I thought making the playoffs -whether by 1 game or 30 games – was the objective for every GM. Yeah, I know the Rangers and Dbacks so destroyed their farm systems that they will never be competitive again for 5 years. No regrets? No, major mistake especially when you were in first place and only had to do so little. Concerning post October Krall, I think he has done OK. I was hoping for a solid innings eater (maybe), a defensive catcher (?), and Bellinger or Soto. Probably $50M in total vs our $45M+. But he has gotten bullpen improvements for sure, a solid IF bat, and a potential innings eater.

      • J

        Rob, I not only fault Krall for not improving last year’s team with trade, I also fault him for leaving guys in the minors too long (especially CES), trading Minor while getting rid of Miley at the same price, allowing Bell to continue doing dumb things year after year, using the three catcher system, calling up pitchers from the minors to pitch an inning or two before DFI’ing them rather than bringing up a position player who can actually help, and several other questionable moves. I was one of the biggest Krall critics on this site last year. But I’m willing to evaluate each move on its own, and I can’t see anything to complain about with his moves so far other than not getting an outfielder or an “ace” type pitcher, and I’m not sure what his options have really been for those two things, and the offseason isn’t over, so I’m reserving judgment.

      • greenmtred

        Fatal mistakes? Maybe, but the benefits to the Reds of the trades that weren’t made are speculative and cannot be verified–particularly because we don’t know whom the Reds would have had to trade.

  57. Ozzie

    I’m pleased there appears to have been a plan the last couple of years and the front office has been disciplined enough to stick to it. I don’t forsee them signing any large FA contracts this year or in the following years. Drafting well, trading well to keep a stocked farm system, and adding short term affordable free agents to provide depth seems to be the plan. It seems the thinking is the team’s studs, or core, need to come through the minors. If they can start getting waves of prospects knocking on the door to the majors then they can trade off redundant mlb talent to restock the minors. This is the part of the plan that is going to hurt and will take discipline. The most challenging part will be in the future knowing when to trade guys and being willing to trade popular productive guys. In the next three to five years I expect we’ll be having a lot of discussions like the ones we’ve had about trading India because good players will likely be traded for a bundle of prospects. I like the plan (if I’ve described it correctly) because we cannot outbid the big money teams on enough guys to build through free agency. Given the current CBA I think it is the best way to avoid long rebuilding years and giving yourself a chance to be competitive year in and year out. This also means we will not likely see anymore career Reds. That is one cost of this strategy.

    • Colorado Red

      Well said, it is the nature the beast.

    • Greenfield Red

      Ozzie, you said what I ha e been trying to say for the last two + years. This team is about to be really good for a long time BECAUSE of ownership and the Baseball people. The plan is almost too simple, but if you have patience, and they have, The Reds will be really good.

      • TR

        It’s nice to see some long term confidence coming from Reds fans regarding the direction of the club and leadership in the front office.

  58. MBS

    Whoever you like in what role, it’s pretty clear the Reds are a lot deeper than anytime in recent memory. The upcoming 40 man move is either going to be Legumina, or 1 of 3 pretty decent position players Martini, Fairchild, or Barrero.

    That’s a deep 40 man. I wouldn’t be shocked if we get one more guy around spring when teams trim their rosters back.

  59. LarkinPhillips

    A lot people are saying the needle hasn’t moved, and all these signings make zero sense and have question marks. I want to know who you would have signed that didn’t have question marks. Giolito was super Homer prone, Gray is aging and has injury history, Erod clearly had zero interest in signing in Cincy. I’m not saying these signings are perfect. Just curious who most think would have been the perfect signing.

    • CI3J

      Exactly.

      Are these big, splashy moves? No. But they provide quality depth, which is something the Reds need.

      Ultimately, this team’s future success is going to depend on the young core living up to their potential. The Reds aren’t a team who can buy their way to success.

      That said, the Reds should still have some room to add a few more quality players. I’d still like to see them make a few more moves.

  60. Tar Heel Red

    The questions I have are…

    How does the signings of Montas and Candelario effect the 26-man roster?

    1. The Montas signing pushes someone off the roster, either in the rotation or bullpen. Barring an injury, such as Lodolo being determined not to be ready out of ST, I really don’t see Martinez as a starter. To me he replaces Alex Young in the pen, unless they move Brandon Williamson into that role, which I think would be a mistake. IMO, the rotation should be Ashcraft, Lodolo (if healthy), Montas, Greene and either Abbott/Williamson.

    2. Bullpen consists of Diaz, Gibaut, Sims, Martinez, Pagan, Cruz, Farmer and Moll. Abbott or Williamson could be second lefty, although I worry how taking on this role would effect either’s development. One pitcher to keep an eye on is T.J. Sikkema, who the Reds plucked in the minor league Rule 5 draft. I do expect the Reds to look for a LH reliever (but please NOT Aroldis Chapman, who is showing his age big time).

    3. Candelario’s signing I like very much…unless it pushes Noelvi Marte to AAA. I see Marte as a legitimate contender for NL ROY in ’24, capable of hitting for high average with power…assuming David Bell leaves him in lineup on a regular basis. To me Candelario is the DH, which means they have 4/5 guys who are quite capable of hitting 25+ homers in Candelario, CES, McLain, Marte and EDLC (assuming Elly opens the season on the 26-man roster, which to me is not a given).

    4. The last piece of the puzzle, at least for now, is who will be dropped off the 40-man once Montas is made official. The way I see it there or 2/3 possibilities…Alex Young, Jose Barrero or Nick Martini/Stewart Fairchild. The Reds seem to be enamored with LH hitting outfielders, so that eliminates Martini, so it comes down to Young or Barrero. Although I am not convinced Barrero has much value to the major league team, the fact that he hits RH’ed and can play OF keeps him on the roster. So the loser of his roster spot is Alex Young.

    Comments?

    • Hotto4Votto

      Alex Young is a LHRP who put up solid results and has minor league options. He should not be DFA’d. Legumina, Stoudt, Roa, are all pitchers who should be considered for designation before Young who, IMO, is among our top 8 relievers but may start in AAA because of his ability to be optioned.

      I would like to think that the Reds wait to see how injuries shake out in ST before making decisions on Barrero and Fairchild.

      Honestly, as far as position players go, Wynn would be my first choice to be cut, Legumina on the pitching side.

      • Optimist

        Agree on Legumina and Wynn – Stoudt and Roa are still developing starters, at least this season in AAA. Legumina is already set in a relief role, and right at the AAAA level, while Young has the advantage as a LHP.

      • Hotto4Votto

        While I certainly have both Roa and Stoudt further in on the cut line than a couple others, I’m not really sold on either now or down the line. Would love to be wrong.
        But as it stands Stoudt’s transition to the bullpen appears to have begun. He had 8 appearances out of the bullpen out of 29 total appearances between ML and AAA. He posted bad ERA’s regardless of level with a 6.56 ERA in AAA and 9.58 ERA in ML. He’s coming off a 4.78 ERA in 2022 and sports a .475 ERA for his minors career. Honestly he just hasn’t been good for the past two seasons regardless of level.
        Meanwhile, I’ve followed Roa’s minor league journey and never been a believer. Mostly his results have been decent to middling, especially as he’s reached High A with 4.15 and 4.14 ERAs in 2021 and 2022 respectively. His 4.88 ERA in AA and 5.43 ERA in AAA during the 2023 season leaves a lot to be desired. I understand he has “stuff” but he’s never put together a really good season since advancing past the pitcher friendly FSL.
        As far as both being developing starters, we’ll see. Right now I’d peg Williamson/Phillips/Richardson/Kennedy in the rotation at Louisville with Overton/Roa/Stoudt competing for that 5th spot.

      • Tar Heel Red

        Who said anything about Young being DFA’d? He has options left and for that reason will probably be the one to be left off the 26-man roster.

    • BK

      First, Young may start the season at AAA but hevis safely on the 40-man. I see him ahead of Cruz but that could change in Spring Training.

      Also, the Reds acquired Martinez and Montas (pending signing) to compete/build depth ffor the rotation. Pushing one of the Reds young starters to the pen would seem to work against that goal (unless one has a low innings limit).

      Wynns 40-man roster spot seems like the obvious option but admittedly I don’t know if there are timing restrictions associated with split contracts in general or his specifically. Barrero and Fairchild are out of options, so if all position players are healthy, one will have to go (but when is everyone healthy?). Legumina seems like the obvious candidate on the pitching side. Also, the Reds could trade a player from the 40-man roster. For example, if a team inquired about Hurtubise and offered a decent non 40-man roster prospect, I think the Reds would listen.

    • Redsvol

      @TR, I’ll chime in here…..I think the DFA decision starts with who’s vying for the last bullpen spots. I admire what the Atlanta Braves do when building a bullpen each year. They look for pitchers who have made their MLB debut and have presented high strikeout rates. Therefore, pitchers who have made their MLB debut and either not presented a high strikeout rate and/or had a high walk rate is who seems vulnerable.
      – Legumina was not impressive at all in this regard. Way too many walks and he is not an especially young player. It was however his first taste of big leagues and his strikeout rate was ok.
      – Duarte also not impressive at all. Way too many walks, way too few strikeouts. Also this was his 2nd taste of big league action. When I saw him live I found him to get ahead of the hitter and then nibble until he got into a full count situation – which is infuriating.
      – Stoudt also not impressive. Brought up as a starter and was in way over his head. Too many walks and didn’t appear to have any movement. First taste of big league action, part of Marte trade and 26 y.o.

      I would probably start with Duarte just because he’s had 2 chances, is older, and his strikeout rates are very poor for a 1 inning reliever. But really none of them look like they are ready to contribute much in 2024. Richardson, Young, Cruz, Philips, Spiers, and Roa are more likely to contribute as bullpen help from AAA.

      Once you work thru the poor bullpen options then I think you consider the hitters like Martini, Fairchild and Barerro.

      • BK

        Lot’s of great points here. Legumina seems to be at the bottom of the depth chart for pitchers. His performance at AAA really wasn’t good either.

        The Reds moved Stoudt to the AAA bullpen late in 2023. His results improved. I expect him to get more time this year in the bullpen.

        Similarly, Duarte’s expected numbers were very good last season but you hit the nail on the head with him–his walk rate. If his walk rate doesn’t improve, he’ll be an early-season roster casualty. On the other hand, if his walk rate improves, he’ll become a fixture as he seems to limit quality contact.

        This is why signing a league-average reliever like Farmer helped–all of these guys were pushed further down the depth chart.

      • DaveCT

        When we acquired Stoudt, the scouting reports were that he’d need at least 1-2 years to develop as a starter. These reports may or may not have changed, but given his four pitch mix and arm strength as well as prior success at AA, I’d say he stays in the rotation at AAA to see for sure. Also, I thought I’d read his bullpen appearances were to give him some AAA adjustment time to help the ML pen down the stretch.

        As for Roa, I’ve really never been impressed and think he has high reliever risk moving forward. Probably not more that Spiers, who was the closer at Clemson, but right up there. Roa actually reminds me of Boyle and a hundred other kids with big arms — moments of brilliance and long stretches of mediocrity.

      • BK

        @Dave, that’s a good point. I was surprised that Roa was added to the 40-man roster. It will be interesting to see how he and Stoudt start at AAA. What the Reds did with Stoudt at the end of the season may or may not signal how they see him moving forward. It looks like both Roa and Stoudt have been passed by several other starters who will likely start at AAA or AA. Both may now have a ceiling of relievers–nothing wrong with that if they are good relievers. That said, starting pitching is the coin of the MLB realm. If the Reds think they can even be back of the rotation starters, that has more value across the league than any relief role except for a legit closer.

    • Hotto4Votto

      TarHeelRed, it appears as if you did. You started your last paragraph by asking about who gets dropped off the 40-man when Montas is made official. Then end the paragraph by saying Alex Young would be the loser of his roster spot. You never indicated that you had switched topics talking about 26-man spot, and all indications and context of the paragraph still implied you were discussing the 40-man roster spot.

      • BK

        @ Tarheel … this was my read as well. We can only go by what you write.

  61. Tar Heel Red

    You guys are correct. Didn’t make myself very clear. Thanks for bringing to me attention.

    • Optimist

      I think we all get to the same conclusion – namely, much better depth this season, particularly on the pitching side. It comes down to the options available for the inevitable callups from AAA. Interesting that Young and Cruz, who performed very well last season in the pen, and older, have options left. Gives them the luxury of keeping younger arms around to develop without burning options.

      • DaveCT

        The variable, of course, is health, as it’s somewhat likely we have one or more guys who start on the DL or who may have had a spring setback and be rushing to catch up. In other words, it all works out,

  62. SR

    When Chapman came on board with the Reds they initially had him pegged as a starter then slotted him as a closer after a dozen or so starts. I wonder if the Reds have given thought to making Greene a closer? He would touch more games and between him and Diaz we could count on winning most games we led in the eight/ ninth. He also could thrive as a two pitch guy for one inning. Worked pretty well for Chapman. I know Greene has a big contract but most elite closers do, and Diaz is cheap right now. Just spitballing here gang. Frankly I hope Greene turns the corner this year as a starter, but if not…..

    • David

      I think Dusty made Aroldis Chapman into a “closer” because it suited Aroldis’ temperment and personality. I think Dusty saw that Aroldis did not have the type of preparation and work ethic that a starter needed. It is both a mindset, attitude and physical aptitude to be a good starter. Chapman certainly had the “stuff” to be a starter, but became a closer because he really did not have the mindset to be a starter.
      A lot of people blame “the Reds” and Dusty, but I think this was more likely Aroldis Chapman’s personality and preference…..he just didn’t want to be a starter.
      Compare to Michael Lorenzen, who WANTED to start, and Rasiel Iglesias, who also wanted to start, but proved to not be sturdy enough to sustain being a starting pitcher.
      These guys are not robots, who you just wind up. And with respect to Hunter Greene, this guy is really a very smart young man, and WANTS to start and achieve some great things. Don’t underestimate how much personal psychology affects what a player does at the Major League level.

    • VaRedsFan

      Didn’t Chapman start closing because they lost Madsen for the year in Spring?
      Foggy memory.

    • Mauired

      Just my opinion but I think Chapman to closer was more about team need than any mindset or desire by Chapman. Chapman was one of or best young starters during spring training, but the Reds had a very good rotation (Arroyo, Cueto, Latos, Bailey, and Leake) and the closer (Madsen) got hurt. Dusty felt Chapman made the most since to replace him since he was a two pitch pitcher. Maybe he was right because Chapman produced one of the best careers as a relief pitcher in MLB. He’s on track for the Hall of Fame. However I thought and still believe today, he would have been a great starter. He may have only had two great pitches but so did Randy Johnson. In fact there stuff was quite similar. Unusual high powered fastball front the left side and wipeout slider. It worked out fine for Johnson for decades.

      It cracks me up to see comments saying Chapman is too old. Yeah he’s not 25, throwing 105mph with an ERA in the 1s. But no one in baseball is. He did have a 3.09 ERA and struck out nearly two guys every inning he pitched. And still throws 100mph regularly. I could see him pitching to 45 years old if he felt like it. By then maybe he only throws 95.

      • Melvin

        As I recall Dusty said Chapman wanted to close. By the way I watched him throw a pitch 104 mph last year. I’d love to have him back and the Reds need him. He’s still good enough.

      • BK

        Chapman’s 2023 “stuff” was his best in several years, supporting your assertion that he’s aging well. That said, his walk rate, which also improved in 2023, was still 14.5 percent (bottom 2 percent across MLB) last season, and it’s been double digits for five of the previous six seasons. His control is poor enough that teams haven’t used him as a closer in a while. In short, he’s “electric” but “erratic.” So, when his “stuff” regresses, his effectiveness will likely plummet quickly. Of course, it always depends on the price point, but any deal with Chapman should be a one-year deal as he carries more risk than may meet the eye.

        https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/savant-player/aroldis-chapman-547973?stats=statcast-r-pitching-mlb

        Alternatively, Sean Manaea would be an excellent fit. He can start or relieve for multiple innings. He was outstanding in the multi-inning relief role for the Giants. I agree with @MBS that a couple of multi-inning relievers would help the entire bullpen avoid overuse. He also provides depth for the rotation. I expect his AAV to be similar to Chapman’s and would likely require a two to three-year contract.

        Brent Suter is another LHP relief option. He had outstanding results in Colorado, but his stuff is behind the others. He would likely be much less expensive, available on a one-year contract, and give the Reds a different “look” in the bullpen while building depth.

      • Optimist

        BK – I’ve been looking at Manaea as well, and suspect he will go for more than Chapman. He may well be in the range of Montas – they’re very similar – about the same age, Manaea has double the career ip, with essentially league average performance.

        In that sense he is an excellent fill in starter/multi-inning RP.

        But MLBTR projects a 22M/2 year deal which may be a tad low. They also project Chapman at 24M/2 years, but there is the risk you mention, so he may go for a higher 1 year deal with incentives.

  63. Old-school

    MLb traderumors reports Reds one of the busiest theams in off-season free agency having spent $106 million and might not be done.

    Where is V4L and all the Reds FO haters????

    They’ve kept all of their prospect capital which is tops in MLb and Solent mioney to have a complete 26 man roster and a deep 40 man.

    • Rob

      Might as well throw my hat in the ring here. I am not a fan of Krall. Main reasons being that totally botched our chances at the playoffs lasts year by not dealingforapitcher better than Weaver, Kennedy, Spiers, Richardson, etc. Wouldn’t have been difficult at all to get -4-5 more wins over 2 months than the above quartet. Playoffs and who knows what else considering the wildcard Rangers and Dbacks. No, I wouldn’t have bet on either of those teams or the Reds to advance so far. The secondary reason is that we could have traded for whoever wanted given our prospect. treasure chest. Yeah, I know all these guys are going to be HOFs but where are all these 2025-2026 IFs going to play? We all know they are not riding the bench with 150 ABs a year.

      I am not unhappy with Krall’s performance over the winter. It is OK. Not my preferences in spending $50M. I wanted a healthy starting pitcher (ERod?), a defensive catcher for the 8th and 9th innings, and Bellinger or Soto. Yeah, a 5 year$150M guy. A true everyday OF banger. Maybe 10% more $ in AAV. But no, we went half in with Candelario. But I am willing to give Krall a replay in 2024.

  64. Mauired

    I’m starting to appreciate the moves. Nothing amazing. But they have upgraded the roster and not traded away any talent. Essentially they have swapped out:

    Law for Pagan
    Lively for Martinez
    Weaver for Montas
    Votto for Candelario

    Basically replacing bad players for good players through free agency. Not cheap. But if the young talent continues to progress Reds should win division. They have the best young team in baseball. And the next couple years there are going to be even more young stars coming including the #2 pick in draft next summer. I’m hopeful it’s Jac Caglianone.

    • AllTheHype

      Good way of looking at it. Plus, a full year of Marte, McLain, EDLC, & CES replace the PAs from Senzel/Vosler/Newman and some others. Practically every bad or marginal performer from ’23 has been replaced by something better and above average.

      • Dan

        This is true… it makes you realize how important simply STAYING HEALTHY is for the upcoming season!

        (I’d really love to know what teams are working on behind closed doors related to keeping guys healthy. Analytics departments, training staffs… it’s arguably the most important thing in today’s MLB.)

    • Oldtimer

      Law had ERA+ of 127 in 2023. Not bad.

      Votto had OPS+ of 99 in 2023. Not good but not terrible. If healthy, he can have a good year somewhere (not the Reds).

      • BK

        Unfortunately, Law’s expected ERA was 4.77 or more than a full run above his excellent 3.60 ERA, likely indicating at least some regression is likely.

  65. MBS

    Having 7 guys on the MLB roster who could be starters opens up some unique possibilities. I’d love to see the Reds do this.

    A 5-man rotation averaging 5.5 IP per start. Along with 2 long men averaging 3.5 IP per outing, each throwing every 4th day. 6 men to comprise the remainder of the bullpen. If all stayed healthy and pitched these IP listed above this is what it Could look like.

    Greene 182 IP, Abbott 181 IP, Montas 176 IP, Ashcraft 176 IP, Williamson 176 IP, Lodolo IP 144, Martinez 140 IP, Diaz 58 IP, Moll 56 IP, Pagan 52 IP, Sims 41 IP, Farmer 41 IP, Gibaut 41 IP.

    Obviously not everyone will live up to this, and some may exceed this, some will be injured, but it’s a best-case scenario. We’d have worthy replacements for the injured in AAA.

    Phillips, Richardson, and Spiers on the starting side, with Young, Antone, Cruz, and Duarte on the bullpen side.

    Having two long men pitching in this manner would really take the stress of the rest of the bullpen. It also keeps the ball in the best hands for more innings.

    • Mauired

      Obviously the Reds starting pitching has some great young talent, but something is going under the radar in Louisville. By around the all-star break, the rotation down there should be:

      Connor Phillips
      Lyon Richardson
      Julian Aguilar
      Chase Petty
      Rhett Lowder

      That’s crazy. Reds top 5 minor league arms all possibly in AAA in six months and not one of them have a spot in the bigs next year without a lot of injuries to Reds pitching.

      • MBS

        I’m guessing a couple go to the pen, and a few stay in AAA until needed. We are getting deep everywhere. The infield is overloaded, the OF isn’t quite there, but we’ll see how Dunn, Hinds, and Hurtubise do in AAA. This team should be fun to watch!

    • Optimist

      MBS – intirguing, even with your obvious point of some missing time. However, you’re likely on the high side for the starters – very doubtful any of them get to 180 ip, let alone an average for them. The general point still holds even if they average 140-150 – essentially the remainder will be covered by callups and spot starts – Phillips, Stoudt and Richardson combined for 45+ ip last season, and should be good for more and better work this year. Find another similar type (Spiers/acquisition?) and subtract 25-30 from each on your list. They should be able to do so without getting a Weaver type or the various tryouts amongst the other callups last season.

      Their bottom 100-150 ip last season were ugly, and won’t be repeated. Much better depth this season.

      • MBS

        Yep, the AAA guys will play a big role, and our AAA options should be better this year. Williamson, and Abbott feel like the best bets to get the above IP’s.

        As @Maui was saying, we are likely to have even more reinforcements by midseason.

    • OIdtimer

      Some of the best Reds teams in my lifetime (born 1951) had six man SP rotations. 1961, 1975, 1976, and 1990 to name a few,

  66. Tar Heel Red

    Just curious…

    You are the Reds GM and you can pick up an ace starting pitcher (for the purpose of this exercise say it is Framber Valdez) today through trade…provided you are willing to include one of your young starters. Who would you trade? And remember, by rule, Montas cannot be traded until at least July.

      • LarkinPhillips

        +1000. If you could trade Lodolo and his injury history for Valdez, I would do that in a heartbeat.

    • doofus

      Williamson, Jorge and Collier for FV. That is Framber Valdez, not Frank Viola. I do not think Frank is available.

  67. Reds67

    I’m curious with all the India to Redsox rumors this off season was an India for Chris Sales plus 17.5m trade on the table. That would be Sales 10.5m for 2024 with a 20m club option for 2025. I think the Brave will look very smart after this season and if I was going to take a chance on an injured pitcher it would be Sales.