Cincinnati Reds: Free agency pitching dominoes beginning to fall

One of the Cincinnati Reds possible free agent targets, Hyun-Jin Ryu, reportedly signed a qualifying offer yesterday and will stay with Los Angeles.

Hyun-Jin Ryu reportedly accepted his qualifying offer from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ryu was one of the starting pitchers that the Cincinnati Reds had been rumored to be interested in via a free agency acquisition. With Ryu is off the table, where will the Reds look to in order to solve its position of most need this winter?

Knowing Monday was a deadline day for the Dodgers’ left-handed starter to either accept the offer or become a free agent, I kept one eye on what Ryu would do. This afternoon’s news that Ryu would remain a Dodger deflated me to a degree. Ryu posted a 7-3 record with 1.97 ERA and a 2.6 WAR.

Although Ryu was on the losing end of a 3-1 decision on September 11 against the Cincinnati Reds, he won me over during the 2018 postseason, pitching well in Game 2 of the World Series until the Red Sox plagued him for three runs in the fifth inning in a 4-2 loss. I do believe that he would have been a very good acquisition, and would have worked well in the Reds starting rotation for the next few seasons.

From the rumor mill, I have been a proponent of the Reds attempting to acquire Ryu. There are other names that I feel would be good fits as well. Last week I received some criticism following my support of the Reds bringing lefty Derek Holland into the fold.

Maybe I am just suffering from PTSD of recent summers gone by of horrendous starting pitching while having some sort of affinity towards left-handed starting pitchers? Either way, kudos to Ryu as he remains playing for the back-to-back National League Champs drawing nearly $18M in 2019.

Perhaps there will be an opportunity to acquire him via a trade at the trade deadline should the Cincinnati Reds find themselves in the mode of buyers. July 31st seems like a lifetime from now though, and there are many miles to go before we sleep. I still like the idea of Holland becoming a Cincinnati Red, for what it’s worth.

In the meantime, it’s been no secret that the Cincinnati Reds intend to spend money this offseason. Some reports have speculated that the Reds payroll could increase as high as $130M. That would give a lot of negotiating room to not only solidify the starting pitching by signing Matt Harvey but also move to sign another frontline starter.

Does Ryu returning to the Dodgers jump-start a series of moves? Does speculation of a Derek Holland acquisition come to fruition or do the Reds make a move to acquire any of free agent starting pitchers of Dallas Keuchel, Gio Gonzalez, Wade Miley, Nathan Eovaldi, Clay Buchholz, or even a guy like Lance Lynn who knows the NL Central very well? Of course, there’s always Yovani Gallardo; I kid-I kid.

Next: Is Geno the best 3B in the National League?

For now, I will move along from my slight man crush on Hyun-Jin Ryu and what he would have meant to this Reds starting pitching rotation. We will continue to play the free agency speculation game and see what other acquisitions are made in the coming weeks. In related news, former Reds catcher Yasmani Grandal declined his offer and becomes a free agent; more on that later.

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