Step 3: Trade for some relief pitchers
While some fans felt as though David Bell overused his bullpen last season, that’s not exactly accurate. Cincinnati relievers only pitched 554.2 innings, which is 11th out of the 15 National League ball clubs. That said, the Reds could use a few more arms in the bullpen, specifically, left-handers.
Michael Lorenzen, Robert Stephenson, Raisel Iglesias and Amir Garrett are all likely to return next season. Those four are quality relievers. However, with the departures of David Hernandez and Jared Hughes coupled with the horrendous performance from Zach Duke, the Reds need to reload the bullpen.
While players like R.J. Alaniz, Joel Kuhnel and Matt Bowman had moments of success last season, the front office needs to add to the bullpen. A few names to consider are left-handed reliever Jarlin García of the Miami Marlins, right-hander Scott Oberg of the Colorado Rockies and southpaw Justin Wilson of the New York Mets.
Those players would obviously come with a price tag, but the Reds have a logjam of outfielders currently on the roster and Dick Williams has talked about adding more. Is there enough room for Jesse Winker, Phillip Ervin, Aristides Aquino, Josh VanMeter, Bryan O’Grady and another couple outfielders?
I think the Reds will seriously begin fielding offers for players like Winker and perhaps Tucker Barnhart this offseason. Barnhart was on the trading block last offseason and Winker has underproduced the last two seasons and finished both 2018 and 2019 on the injured list.
The bullpen has been a strength of the Cincinnati Reds the past two seasons, but Iglesias had some struggles last year despite a career-high in saves. Garrett was shaky down the stretch and proved the Reds need another quality lefty in the pen. Lorenzen and Stephenson were the most consistent relievers Cincinnati had in 2019, but they’ll need reinforcements in 2020 if they hope to contend for the postseason.