It's fair to say that several positions on the Cincinnati Reds roster are not up for grabs. Joey Votto is cemented at first base, Jonathan India will be starting at second base, and Jesse Winker will trot out to left field on Opening Day.
The battle for the starting shortstop job will be intense as Jose Barrero and Kyle Farmer are likely to go head-to-head during spring training. With Tucker Barnhart off to the Detroit Tigers, Tyler Stephenson is now the unquestioned starting backstop for the Reds heading into 2022.
But there are still a few gaps throughout the Reds lineup. We all know that Bob Castellini isn't typically known to open his wallet, so whoever Cincinnati may target in free agency is unlikely to command a gargantuan salary. Which free agents should the Cincinnati Reds target once the lockout is lifted?
1. Reds should target Tommy Pham after the MLB lockout is lifted.
Even though they should, the Cincinnati Reds are unlikely to pursue Nick Castellanos once free agency opens. With that gaping hole, Nick Krall will need to find some way to add a right-handed outfield bat to the Reds lineup. Tommy Pham could be a nice stopgap option.
Pham has spent the last two seasons in San Diego. During that time, Pham slashed .226/.335/.370 with 18 home runs, 61 RBIs, and a wRC+ of 97. No, those numbers are nowhere close to what we saw from Castellanos, but like I said earlier, the Reds are unlikely to spend big once free agency opens.
The nice thing that Pham brings to the table is patience at the plate. The 34-year-old owned a 13.6% walk-rate the past two seasons. It was rumored earlier this offseason that Pham would even entertain the idea of playing first base.
Sure, the Reds have Joey Votto installed as the everyday first baseman, but at 38 years old, it's doubtful he'll start 150-plus in the field. Votto could take over DH duties for a couple games while Tommy Pham and Mike Moustakas split duties at first base.
Adding Tommy Pham to the roster will not replace Nick Castellanos' production, but it'll take away some of the sting. Adding Pham would also allow David Bell to platoon Nick Senzel and Tyler Naquin in center field. Senzel hasn't shown that he's able to stay healthy, so having a backup plan up the middle of the outfield is crucial.