3 items on the Cincinnati Reds' Christmas wishlist

Santa Claus throws out the first pitch.
Santa Claus throws out the first pitch. / Leon Halip/GettyImages
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Merry Christmas, Reds Country. It's time to find out whether the Cincinnati Reds have been naughty or nice. As Santa Claus readies to deliver toys to all the boys and girls around the world tonight, will Saint Nick have any time to stop in at Great American Ball Park and make a special delivery?

To be honest, it seems more likely that Bob Castellini, Nick Krall, and the Reds front office are more likely to receive a lump of coal rather than presents this Christmas. The team has traded Tucker Barnhart, allowed Wade Miley to join the rival Chicago Cubs, and seems unlikely to re-sign last year's All-Star Nick Castellanos.

Unless we see a Christmas miracle, the MLB lockout continues, which prevents teams from making trade and signing free agents. Outside of a minor-league deal here and there, there's been little to speak of since December 1st.

But, 'tis the season to be merry, so let's dust off the pessimistic attitude, grab some Christmas cheer, and see if Ole Saint Nick (not Nick Krall) might bring some much needed optimism to Reds Country this holiday season. What are three things the Reds should have on their Christmas wishlist?

1. The Reds should wish for bullpen help this Christmas.

While losing Tucker Barnhart stings, the Reds have an emerging star behind the plate in Tyler Stephenson. Though Wade Miley was arguably the team's best starter in 2021, Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo are primed to find their spot in the rotation. The biggest area of concern among all of Reds Country should be the team's bullpen heading into next season.

Five of the pitchers that began the 2021 season as part of the Cincinnati Reds bullpen are no longer with the team. The number is actually six if you count José De León who actually began last season as part of the starting rotation.

That's right. Cam Bedrosian, Carson Fulmer, Sean Doolittle, Sal Romano, and Cionel Pérez are no longer part of the Reds 40-man roster. Gone as well are Ashton Goudeau, Heath Hembree, R.J. Alaniz, Edgar Garcia, Michael Feliz, Josh Osich, and Brad Brach.

Picked up at the trade deadline, Mychal Givens is a free agent and unlikely to sign with the Reds once transactions are no longer frozen. Michael Lorenzen went home to California on a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels. And Tejay Antone, Cincinnati's best reliever last season, will miss all of next season following Tommy John surgery.

But, there's room for optimism, as Tony Santillan performed well once joining the Reds bullpen in 2021. Art Warren put up terrific numbers as well. The Reds traded for Luis Cessa, and he looks to be solid piece of next year's pen. Don't forget Lucas Sims either.

Perhaps one of the biggest keys to next year's bullpen will be Amir Garrett. The Cincinnati Reds decided to hang on to AG rather than non-tender the lefty in hopes that he'll return to form in 2022. That's a big gamble, but one the Redlegs are willing to take.

Once the MLB lockout is over, the Cincinnati Reds must look to bolster the bullpen. I'm not crazy enough to think that players like Brad Boxberger, Kenley Jensen, and Trevor Rosenthal will be found on Nick Krall's shopping list. But perhaps pitchers like Dan Winkler or Alex Claudio will make their way to Cincinnati.