Cincinnati Reds Spring Training Preview – Was it a good offseason for the team?

Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /

Was it a good offseason for the Cincinnati Reds?

This is a difficult question for the Cincinnati Reds to answer. Mostly the answer is yes. The team is young and it needed to get older.  They also needed to keep all of their top prospects.

What the Reds did great this off-season was sign some good non-roster invitees, particularly Bronson Arroyo and Louis Coleman. They also did a nice job scouring the waiver wire.  More than anything else, the trade of starting pitcher Dan Straily was disappointing.

The Reds are going to have to start keeping young veterans sooner or later and Straily was a great opportunity. With him anchoring the back end of the rotation for the next 2-4 years the prospects would have had time to develop.  Now Tim Adleman, Amir Garrett, and Robert Stephenson may all be forced into the rotation to start the season.

Signing Drew Storen and Scott Feldman will help the pitching depth, but neither should last the whole season. They should both be flipped when the bullpen is established enough to do without the duo.  That the Reds may end up with Feldman in the rotation due to Homer Bailey’s injury makes the middle of the ball game muddled for the bullpen.

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The additions of Nefi Ogando via waivers and Austin Brice in the Straily deal could both be nice moves. Ogando looks like he could develop into a ground ball, mid-inning reliever.  Brice looks like he could develop into a closer or a number five starter depending on which way the Reds want to go.

The position player situation for the Cincinnati Reds was helped greatly by the Brandon Phillips deal.

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Of course for position players, moving on from Brandon Phillips was the highlight of the off-season. The Reds began the rebuild prior to the 2014 season when they got rid of Dusty Baker, Ryan Hanigan, and Arroyo. Phillips should have been traded that off-season too.

The two players that will benefit the most from the move are Jose Peraza and Jesse Winker. Peraza will be able to settle in as the everyday second base man and bat somewhere in the top half of the order to start the season.

Winker now has a chance to stay up with the big league team because he can back-up all three outfield positions with Peraza at second.

The hole that the Reds still have is at everyday catcher. Optimistically, Mesoraco will play in 115 games.  That means they still need 80-100 games from another catcher between pinch running and defensive replacements.  Tucker Barnhart may be capable of that, but these are the best case scenarios.

If either one of them falls short, there will be a huge hole behind the plate. The move to pick up Stephen Turner in the Rule 5 Draft was good.  He may end up being the everyday catcher if he can hit at the big league level.  The race is wide open.

Next: Trading Dan Straily was a white flag

Overall, the season was passable, but just OK. Signing Desmond Jennings and Ryan Raburn both help, but the Reds appear a catcher short of having a good team.  This year is all about the pitching development.