We detailed earlier in the week how the frugality hat donned by the Cincinnati Reds over the last year and a half has them in a position to enter 2024 with a payroll near the bottom of all Major League Baseball teams.
Do I think they’ll push the lower limits of the spectrum just to do it? No!
Do I think they’ll end up actively trying to cut costs even further than the deep, deep cuts they’ve already deployed? No!
Do I think they’ll suddenly use their gigantic amount of freed-up payroll relative to previous windows to suddenly spend a billion bucks on free agents this winter? No!
That said, I do think they’re going to spend a little bit here and there to finally augment the young, talented club they put together throughout this roster destruction and Phoenix-rising. Maybe it’ll be in the form of a right-handed outfield bat, a hitter in the mold of Tommy Pham or Wil Myers who can actually, y’know, hit for the Reds this time. Maybe it’ll be in the form of some back-end relief help, a lockdown bullpen arm to complement Alexis Diaz, Tejay Antone, & Co. Maybe it’ll be a starting pitcher, even!
With that in mind, and with it being Friday - on which day we list around here - here’s an incomplete list of players I think are both a) in the Reds spending wheelhouse and b) worthy of throwing a wad of cash at to be a Cincinnati Red for 2024 (and a little bit beyond):
- the guy whose 0.39 HR/9 was the single best mark among the 127 MLB pitchers who threw at least 100 IP in 2023
- the guy whose 5.2% HR/FB rate was the single best mark among the 127 MLB pitchers who threw at least 100 IP in 2023
- the guy whose win/loss record was merely .500 so, when he signs, at least one or two old-school talking heads out there (and many Facebook comment-givers) can whine about how much of an overpay he was at the price for which he signs
- the guy whose 2.83 FIP was the single best mark among the 127 MLB pitchers who threw at least 100 IP in 2023
- the guy who logged both a complete game and a save while allowing just 4 dingers in 108.2 IP as a college sophomore, most of those innings being caught by Curt Casali, who may well end up on the Cincinnati Reds coaching staff in 2024
- the guy who, since the start of the 2019 MLB season, has accrued 16.3 fWAR in total, a mark bested only by the likes of Zack Wheeler, Gerrit Cole, Max Scherzer, Aaron Nola, Kevin Gausman, Jacob deGrom, Shane Bieber, Luis Castillo, and Corbin Burnes (among whom only Nola is similarly a free agent this winter)
- Sonny Gray