Cincinnati Reds: Adding another starter appears to be a long shot

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 04: Madison Bumgarner #40 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the New York Mets during the first inning at Citi Field on June 04, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 04: Madison Bumgarner #40 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the New York Mets during the first inning at Citi Field on June 04, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images) /
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Madison Bumgarner signed a five-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. This would seem to indicate the Cincinnati Reds are no longer interested in a starter.

Madison Bumgarner was on the Cincinnati Reds radar, but the left-handed starter signed a five-year deal with Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday. Corey Kluber was traded as well, when the Cleveland Indians shipped the former Cy Young Award winner to the Texas Rangers. It now appears that Cincinnati’s interested in adding a starter through free agency is all but over.

Does this mean that the Reds are completely comfortable with their starting rotation? I wouldn’t go that far, otherwise, why have we heard whispers for the past several days regarding Cincinnati’s interest in Bumgarner and Zack Wheeler. However, adding a starter via free agency is highly unlikely.

Hyun-Jin Ryu and Dallas Keuchel, both quality starting pitchers in their own right, have yet to pique the Reds interest. The best remaining starting pitchers on the open market, Ryu and Keuchel have been linked to several teams, but the Reds are not among them.

Jon Heyman, an insider at MLB Network, is reporting that at least eight teams are in the running for landing either Ryu or Keuchel. Heyman listed the San Diego Padres, Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Angels, Chicago White Sox, and Atlanta Braves among others. However, there’s no mention of the Reds, and Cincinnati hasn’t been linked to either starter at any point this winter.

To be fair, there were no rumblings that the Reds were after Mike Moustakas before Cincinnati inked the infielder to a four-year/$64M deal during the first week of December. However, the aforementioned teams seem much more desperate for starting pitching than the Cincinnati Reds.

The Reds have four of their five starting spots filled heading into next season. Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, Anthony DeSclafani, and Trevor Bauer are all locked into their starting roles heading into 2020. Tyler Mahle would appear to have the inside track for the fifth spot in the rotation, but Lucas Sims, José De León, and perhaps, Tony Santillan could give Mahle a run for his money.

To be honest, I’m relieved the Reds have fallen out of the pursuit for a starter. While adding Wheeler made sense for the long-term outlook of the team, the $118M price tag was too rich of a contract given Cincinnati’s current rotation. I’d prefer to see the front office allocate their resources to one of the better bats available on the open market.

Next. What a Reds trade for Kluber may haver looked like

I wouldn’t completely count the Reds out of landing another starting pitcher, perhaps a player like Wade Miley or Julio Teheran may interest Cincinnati. For now, it seems like a prime time to hone in on another upgrade to the lineup. Nicholas Castellanos, Marcell Ozuna, and Corey Dickerson are all available, and would provide some pop in Cincinnati’s batting order.