3 MiLB signings the Reds should make to help fuel spring training competition

There are plenty of minor moves the Reds could still make this offseason.

Chicago White Sox left fielder Clint Frazier
Chicago White Sox left fielder Clint Frazier / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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While it's foolish to believe that the Cincinnati Reds are done adding to their roster this offseason, president of baseball operations Nick Krall made it very clear that he doesn't foresee any major moves on the horizon.

But, in the same breath, the Reds' top executive mentioned the possibility of adding to the team's bullpen and perhaps even a bench bat. These types of additions typically come via minor-league signings with an invite to spring training. The Reds have done this in the past with Tyler Naquin and Brandon Drury.

So while it may seem as though the Reds Opening Day roster is set, a little friendly competition never hurt anybody. Which three players should the Reds sign to a minor-league contract in order to help fuel competition during spring training?

1. Reds should sign Clint Frazier to MiLB deal

Here's your chance, Reds fans. For years, it seemed as if the Cincinnati Reds fanbase was obsessed with the team acquiring Clint Frazier. Either that, or the New York Yankees fanbase was obsessed with trying to get Luis Castillo. Regardless, Frazier has been a named tied to Reds fandom for what feels like five years.

Frazier was the fifth-overall selection in the 2013 MLB Draft. Cleveland eventually traded Frazier to the Yankees before the outfielder ever set foot on a major league field. Frazier's first two years in the Bronx were less than expected, but from 2019-2020, it finally seemed to click. Frazier posted a combined OPS of .845 during that two-year stretch and looked like he was going to be mainstay in New York.

But it came crashing down. Some medical issues forced Frazier onto the IL , and eventually the Yankees decided to part ways with talented left fielder. Frazier signed with the Chicago Cubs, but a poor performance led to him losing his roster spot. Frazier ended up on the South Side of Chicago for a brief period of time last season, but spent the majority of the year at Triple-A Charlotte.

There's a contingent of Reds fans who want to see Cincinnati pursue a right-handed hitting power-bat. Frazier posted a .442 slugging percentage in the minors last season. Clint Frazier isn't that big-name that Reds Country wants to see, but perhaps he could push Stuart Fairchild for the 26th spot on the Opening Day roster.

2. Reds should sign Eric Lauer to MiLB deal

Yes, the Cincinnati Reds already have a healthy competition for next year's starting rotation. But you can never have enough starting pitching, right? The Redlegs found that out in 2023, and would like to avoid such a pitfall next season. Perhaps adding Eric Lauer would give the Reds even more depth in their starting rotation.

While the Reds have already added Frankie Montas and Nick Martinez, brining in another veteran arm couldn't hurt. None of the Reds young hurlers, though talented, have thrown more than 150 innings in the big leagues. That's something that Lauer's done once, and almost twice in his career. The left-hander threw 149.2 innings in 2019.

Lauer, as most Reds fans will remember, has plenty of experience in the National League Central as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers. If you take last season out of equation, Lauer's numbers are not bad at all. The southpaw has an ERA of 4.11 and over 500 strikeouts in 110 major league appearances.

The Reds will, of course, be looking to the trio of Hunter Greene, Graham Ashcraft, and Nick Lodolo to provide plenty of innings in 2024. However, with all three seeing time on the 60-day IL in 2023, Reds fans aren't ready to count their chickens before they're hatched.

And while there's growing optimism that Andrew Abbott, Connor Phillips, and Brandon Williamson could all be key contributors during the upcoming season, the sophomore jinx is real. It could befall any of of those three pitchers, so adding another player who has experience can't hurt. Eric Lauer should be on the Reds' radar.

3. Reds should sign Mychal Givens to MiLB deal

First and foremost, the Cincinnati Reds would need to find out whether or not Mychal Givens is fully healthy. Last season, after signing a $3-million contract with the Baltimore Orioles, Givens landed on the IL with both knee and shoulder issues before being designated for assignment before the end of the season.

If Givens is healthy, he should unequivocally be on the Reds' shortlist of players to bring into Goodyear on a minor-league contract. Givens will be looking to reestablish his value after pitching in just six games last season.

The veteran pitcher has over 500 strikeouts in his career and a sub-3.50 ERA. That's the type of production that Cincinnati manager David Bell would love to have in the back of his bullpen. While Alexis Diaz, Lucas Sims, and Sam Moll will probably be the ones handling closing duties in 2024, it definitely wouldn't hurt to have another experienced closer to turn to late in games.

Mychal Givens has been part of the Reds organization before. Cincinnati swung a deal with the right-hander during the 2021 season in an effort to bolster the club's bullpen. A reunion with Givens would have the same result once again. Givens made 23 appearances for Cincinnati that season and recorded eight saves.

Injuries are part of the game, and others players don't live up to the hype. Such is life in Major League Baseball. But with the Cincinnati Reds looking to climb to the top of the standings in the NL Central next season, bringing in some hungry veterans with something to prove could push some of these younger players to perform up to their potential.