Cincinnati Reds are looking to sign minor league free agents and start trade talks at Winter Meetings

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cincinnati Reds have to reference their off-season to do list in working their way through the Winter Meetings.

The Cincinnati Reds’ top off-season priority is to find a new home for Brandon Phillips.  In an ideal world the Reds would get left-handed and salary relief in exchange for Phillips.  For that the Toronto Blue Jays make sense, but Phillips thus far has only expressed interest in waiving his no trade clause for a SoCal team.

The Reds have been verbal about interest in bringing in a veteran starter for the backend of their rotation.  They have a pair of strikeout specialists who could bring in some starting pitching help in relievers Blake Wood and Raisel Iglesias.  Iglesias could bring in a very nice starter, but Wood is likely only worth a mid to low end prospect.

The Reds are also looking for another catcher to go with the trio of Devin Mesoraco, Tucker Barnhart, and newcomer Juan Graterol.  They likely will have to go to the free agent market for this player.  A trade for a short-term back-up catcher would be cost prohibitive for a rebuilding team.

They also have the Rule 5 Draft on December 8 when the Reds should add a pair of players to their forty man roster, while potentially losing one or more of their own.   The Reds will be focusing on pitchers who could develop into starters in the future.  There are also a couple of left-handed relievers that the Reds could target in the draft.

There are a handful of starting pitchers that the Reds could target as minor league free agents to add to the mix.

Their top target could be Tommy Milone.  He had a 5.71 ERA in 2016, but he has a career record of 44-33.  He won double digit games in 2012 and 2013 for Oakland, but has had trouble holding down a rotation spot since then.

Another interesting add could be Mat Latos who was trade away to get current starter Anthony DeSclafani.  Latos pitched for the Washington Nationals and Chicago White Sox in 2016, but it’s unclear that either team was satisfied with his play.  The Reds may not be interested in a reunion because Latos’ wife was very critical of the front office at the time of the trade.

Another former Red that the front office may be interested in bringing back is Travis Wood, who was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Sean Marshall.  Wood has pitched primarily in relief but would potentially fit the middle of the Reds current pitching rotation.  Wood could find his price escalating quickly as he is lefty that can competently pitch multiple innings.

Next: Reds' Winter Meetings Rumors

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Ideally, the Reds would want to sign any of these pitchers to a minor league deal with heavy incentives to keep roster spots open for other deals.  Milone may be interested in one, but Latos and Wood likely will demand major league contracts.  The Reds can wait on the free agents as they have to focus on Phillips and getting ready for evaluating players in spring training.