The Reds offseason moves prove they may be closer than many believe.
One of the biggest blockbusters of the MLB offseason took place last week when the Reds acquired Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood and Kyle Farmer for the Reds in exchange for Homer Bailey and prospects.
The #Reds have acquired LHP Alex Wood, OF Matt Kemp, OF Yasiel Puig, IF/C Kyle Farmer and cash from the Dodgers in exchange for RHP Homer Bailey and minor leaguers IF Jeter Downs and RHP Josiah Gray. pic.twitter.com/IjJusbl0Ud— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) December 21, 2018
The deal was a salary dump for the Dodgers, but for the Reds, it was a statement. Despite losing 95 games in 2018, Cincinnati feels they can compete in the National League.
Among the the speculation, the Reds seem to be on to something. The Reds offense finished 18th in the majors in runs scored a year ago. The main reason for the below average finish was the outfield.
Billy Hamilton, who the Reds non-tendered did not provide much offensively, and both Scott Schebler and Jesse Winker battled injuries. Thus, the Reds added two all-star outfielders in Puig and Kemp.
Puig is a career .279 hitter and has hit more than 20 home runs each of the last two seasons. Kemp hit .290 in 2018 with 21 home runs and 85 RBI’s. The stability in the offense pairs perfectly with an already dynamic infield.
The Reds sent three infielders to the all-star game in 2018 in Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez, and Scooter Gennett. There young shortstop Jose Peraza also had a solid season batting .288. Behind the plate, Tucker Barnhart is a steady hitter as well with a career average of .256.
With a complete lineup, the Reds needed to bolster what was a horrendous rotation in 2018. Cincinnati did just that.
regarding yesterday’s blockbuster, loved that the reds made their team much more exciting and interesting. with their 2nd proven starting pitcher added (Alex wood and tanner roark), their rotation is much improved, too.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 22, 2018
The Reds traded for Nationals starting pitcher Tanner Roark who in his career has pitched to a 3.59 ERA. Despite a down 2018 that saw his ERA climb over four Rorak still was an inning eater as he gave the Nationals 180.1 innings.
In addition to Rorak, the Reds reeled in Alex Wood in the trade with the Dodgers.
When the dust settles, Wood may have been the best addition of the offseason for Cincinnati.
The 27-year-old Wood is coming off another stellar season in which he pitched to a 3.68 ERA and held batters to a .248 batting average against.
Wood is just one year removed from a 2017 season where he was named a national league all-star thanks to posting a 2.72 ERA with a .217 batting average against. Rorak and Wood join a rotation with a proven Andrew DeSclafani and a young pitcher with upside in Luis Castilo.
The Reds also may not be done. Many rumors have linked them to former Cy-Young award winner Dallas Keuchel which would bolster a rotation that is already far improved from a season ago.
As for the bullpen finished smack dab in the middle at 15th in bullpen ERA in 2018. There haven’t been too many moves to improve upon that; however, they did sign young closer Raisel Iglesias who posted a 2.38 ERA in 2018 to a long-term deal.
Since the Reds are a smaller market team they made not make a big splash for a free-agent reliever but, they could benefit from a Sergio Romo or Brad Boxburger who could be signed to a team friendly deal.
Overall the big question is are the Reds ready to compete. The answer is it seems like yes.
The Reds no matter what have a bright future thanks to their top 10 farm system but, the moves they’ve made this offseason prove the Reds believe they are there.
Many of the Reds acquisitions (Puig, Wood, Kemp & Rorark) are free agents after the 2019 season. Thus, they’re sending a message to their fan base and rest of the league that they are in the race to win now.
The result remains to be seen as they play in a division with three teams with world series aspirations in the Brewers, Cubs, and Cardinals. Cincinnati is undoubtedly now one of the most intriguing teams in all of baseball, and it will be interesting to see how they are discussed come summer.