With the top free agents signing elsewhere, it appears that the Cincinnati Reds may enter the season without addressing the shortstop position. Marcus Semien, Andrelton Simmons, and Didi Gregorius had already agreed to new contracts, leaving the free agent market pretty bare. With Jonathan Villar signing with the New York Mets, who’ll play shortstop for the Redlegs in 2021?
Before the offseason really began, Reds General Manager Nick Krall said that the top two priorities this winter were to add relievers with minor-league options remaining and a shortstop to replace Freddy Galvis. Cincinnati has addressed the former, but not the latter.
Kyle Farmer could be the Reds starting shortstop.
If the season started today, in all likelihood, Kyle Farmer would be the Cincinnati Reds starting shortstop. I’m fine with that decision should the team go in that direction, but many throughout Reds Country disagree, and it’s obvious from his comments that Krall feels the need to add another shortstop as well.
To be fair, the Reds recently added shortstop Kyle Holder, though he’s never played above Double-A. Holder is a defensive-minded infielder whose bat is severely lacking. It’s a possibility that David Bell could platoon the left-handed hitting Holder and the right-handed hitter Farmer at shortstop for the upcoming season.
That won’t sit well with many of the Cincinnati faithful after watching their beloved Redlegs hit just .212 last season; the worst in the National League. Farmer’s career .242 batting average and Holder’s .667 career-OPS during five minor league seasons are not going to move the needle.
The Reds could make a trade.
There are a few trade candidates remaining. Cincinnati’s front office could swing for the fences and make a deal for Tampa Bay Rays’ shortstop Willy Adames. Amed Rosario, recently dealt to the Cleveland Indians, could be available was well.
Adames would show Reds fans that the team is serious about contending this season. Adames possesses a solid glove at shortstop and put up an OPS of .813 in 2020. The issue is what it would cost, not in terms of dollars and cents, but prospects. Adames is under team control for four more seasons and would require the Reds to surrender a lot.
Adding Rosario isn’t as exciting, but it may be more doable. The former Mets infielder is due $2.4M this season and his lack of production at the major league level means that it’s unlikely to cost Cincinnati any of their top prospects.
The Cincinnati Reds ownership has painted themselves into a corner. There’s still a chance that top infield prospect José García could showcase his talents during spring training and force his way onto the roster, but the prevailing thought is that the 22-year-old needs more time in the minor leagues.