Yoshinobu Yamamoto has reportedly agreed to a 12-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. While fans can debate about whether or not the Dodgers' massive spending spree is good for the game, at least the free agent market should finally begin to open up.
Baseball's offseason has gotten off to a sluggish start as teams and agents were waiting for Yamamoto and Shohei Ohtani to sign. With those two deals, plus the acquisition of Tyler Glasnow, in the rearview mirror, the rest of baseball can get back to business.
However, with the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and other big-market ball clubs missing out on Yamamoto, the high-dollar free agents are sure to be gobbled up rather quickly. With that in mind, the Cincinnati Reds should immediately target these three free agent starters.
1. Reds should immediately sign LHP Sean Manaea
The Cincinnati Reds have already signed Nick Martinez to a free agent contract this offseason. Martinez, though he's likely to get a chance to be part of the Reds rotation spring, seems like the perfect candidate to split time as a starter and reliever.
The same could hold true for Sean Manaea. Last season with the San Francisco Giants, Manaea appeared in 37 game with 10 starts. The left-hander totalled 117.2 innings of work and struck out 128 batters.
Manaea relies on a three-pitch mix (fastball, slider, and changeup) with his heater sitting in the mid-90s. The southpaw started 60 of 62 games from 2021-2022, so Manaea has the makeup to take the ball from Reds manager David Bell every fifth day.
Sean Manaea does a very good job of keeping the base paths clear of free runners as well. Having another swingman like Manaea is not a bad thing, especially with the extraordinarily young group of starting pitchers the Reds currently employ.
So many of Cincinnati's starters have minor-league options remaining. It's not crazy to think that players like Brandon Williamson or Connor Phillips will begin the 2024 season at Triple-A Louisville.