Orioles’ decision may greatly impact Reds’ offseason plans

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 08: Jose Iglesias #11 of the Baltimore Orioles plays shortstop. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 08: Jose Iglesias #11 of the Baltimore Orioles plays shortstop. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

Former Reds shortstop José Iglesias could become a free agent today.

Yesterday, we learned that Nick Castellanos would return to the Cincinnati Reds in 2021. Perhaps today, a stalwart defensive shortstop may enter the free agent market. José Iglesias, who dazzled Reds fans with his defense in 2019, may be sent into free agency if the Baltimore Orioles decide not to pick up the $3.5M option.

If the Reds are serious about competing in 2021, they must upgrade the shortstop position. There are many different avenues they could explore, but the simplest fix seems to be finding a free agent that could hold down the fort for a couple years until José Iglesias is ready for The Show.

There are the likes of Marcus Semien, Andrelton Simmons and Didi Gregorius already on the market, but pending Baltimore’s decision on José Iglesias, the trio of above-average shortstops available via free agency would increase by one. Today is the deadline for the Orioles to exercise their team option or send Iglesias on his way.

Hindsight is always 20/20, but I don’t like to dabble in it because it doesn’t change the outcome. Cincinnati’s front office rolled the dice last winter and chose to keep Freddy Galvis as the team’s shortstop and allowed José Iglesias to enter free agency.

It wasn’t as though Iglesias had a tremendous amount of suitors, as he latched on with the Baltimore Orioles, a team that has been out of the playoff picture for sometime and is in the midst of the rebuild. Iglesias signed for $2.5M with a $3.5M team-option for the 2021 season.

Had Cincinnati known what the market was going to be for Iglesias, I believe they would have signed him to an extension last winter. However, the front office decided to go in a different direction, opting to exercise Galvis’ $5M option and inserting the switch-hitting shortstop into the lineup.

The results on the field suggest that the Reds decision was not good, as Galvis hit just .220/308/.404 with seven home runs and 16 RBIs, Iglesias put up a slash line of .373/.400/.556 while racking up three home runs and 24 RBIs in just 39 games.

The Orioles must decide if they’re going to pick up their club option or hand José Iglesias a $500K check and send him into the free agent market. If Baltimore decides to cut bait with Iglesias, Nick Krall should pick up the phone immediately.

Cincinnati’s in-house options to fill the shortstop position do not offer anything close to what Iglesias could put together. Kyle Farmer, a former shortstop at the University of Georgia, got his first taste of the position at the major league level this season. He played solid defense and would be the Reds No. 1 option if the season began today.

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The Cincinnati Reds cannot go into next season with José García as the team’s starting shortstop; he needs more time at the minor league level. Given the current economic situation throughout baseball, it’s hard to see the Reds throwing big money at Gregorius or Semien. If he’s available, José Iglesias should be Cincinnati’s first choice to start Opening Day at shortstop for the Reds.