MLB Trade Rumors hasn’t had much to chronicle regarding the Cincinnati Reds so far this offseason, at least not at the big league level. The Reds currently stand as the only team in all of baseball that has yet to sign a player to an MLB contract since the end of the 2016 season, instead having focused on an endless shuffle of waiver claims and roster churning that has added the likes of Arismendy Alcantara, Juan Graterol, Richie Shaffer, and Tyrell Jenkins, among others, with Graterol having already come and gone to date.
That didn’t keep them from looking closer at the one spot on the team’s depth chart most pundits have identified as needing the most immediate update - the team’s bullpen, which was historically awful for the bulk of last season. Jeff Todd and Steve Adams compiled a list of relief arms that may well fit with the Reds in the back-end of their pen, with a few very notable names making the cut. Guys like Greg Holland, Sergio Romo, and Santiago Casilla all made the list, as did other former other former closers in Drew Storen and Neftali Feliz - who we’ve already seen connected to the Reds in rumors this winter.
There’s a very distinct way of describing most all of those names: a history of being both productive and valuable, just not in their most recent stretch of games. They’re buy-low, bounce-back names, guys who the Reds just might stumble into without much financial outlay that have enough history and upside to suggest they may turn into a fantastic investment, both in terms of helping anchor a bullpen and in terms of the prospect hauls they could command if flipped to a contender later in 2017. That seems to echo what Dick Williams told The Enquirer’s Zach Buchanan just last week, which is that the Reds aren’t looking to tie a ton of money to guys at this juncture, but will be looking for bargains as the offseason trudges onward.
That’s how the Reds ended up with both Alfredo Simon and Ross Ohlendorf last year, of course, and we all know how frustrating it was to watch take the mound. But it’s that same mentality of shopping that also found Dan Straily, who was the second most valuable member of the Reds by bWAR.
In other news, former Cincinnati IF/OF Kyle Waldrop has signed with the Seattle Mariners on a minor league deal. Now 25, Waldrop logged just 23 PA with the Reds last year and became a free agent after being booted off the roster in November.
Over at Reds.com, Mark Sheldon did some Q & A with fans, addressing a number of topics you might ponder on the regular. They’re the obvious ones, of course, since the Reds are pretty well set in an obvious situation during their rebuild: finding playing time for Jose Peraza, which bargain arm the Reds might sign, and how the talented young arms will fit into the starting rotation.
Jeff Sullivan took a detailed look into how catchers are evaluated on their pitch framing, wondering exactly bad some could actually be. While he certainly digs into the numerical aspect of it - which is a fascinating concept to many of us nerdlings - he also provided plenty of visuals that do plenty to help bring to light a concept that tons of folks are just now learning about. People have long talked about how “there’s so much more that goes into being a catcher,” and quantifying the value of pitch framing is one gigantic step into making that a significantly less nebulous statement.
Finally, Redleg Nation’s Jason Linden broke down the big contracts currently on the Reds’ payroll from a $/WAR perspective, highlighting the ceiling and floor in terms of what we can expect from the most compensated players on the roster.