3 Reds offseason moves that already look bad

Nobody panic, but...
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Emilio Pagan
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Emilio Pagan / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

It's still very early. Maybe even too early, right? No, Reds fans should not be panicking barely two weeks into the 2024 season. But you have to admit, there've been some things that have you questioning some of the Reds offseason moves, aren't there?

For the first time in a long time, the Reds invested heavily in the free agent market this offseason. Cincinnati spent more than $100 million to help shore up the infield, the bullpen, and the starting rotation. You can't say that Reds President of Baseball Operations Nick Krall didn't try, because he did.

But just making additions won't amount to a hill of beans if they aren't the right additions. There's still plenty of baseball left to played this season, but these offseason moves haven't paid dividends during the early-going.

3 Reds offseason moves that already look bad

Reds signed Emilio Pagán to two-year, $16 million contract

This was one of Cincinnati's first free agent acquisitions, and it showed that at least the Reds recognized the problem that haunted them down the stretch last season. The Reds bullpen was gassed. Adding Emilio Pagán brought a veteran presence to the relief corps, but does his style of pitching fit well at Great American Ball Park.

Fans were concerned about the high number of home runs that Pagán had surrendered earlier in his career, but after seeing just five balls leave the yard while playing for the Minnesota Twins in 2023, the hope was that the right-hander put those mistakes behind him. So far this season, Pagán has struggled with that facet of his game.

There's still time for Pagán to get back into the good graces of Reds Country (and he looked great on Friday night in Chicago). The 32-year-old has a solid track record, has kept the base paths clear of free runners, and commanded the strike zone well. But if the big flies become a bigger concern, that could change the fanbase's perception of this free agent signing.

Reds signed Jeimer Candelario to three-year, $45 million contract

At the time, not many Reds fans understood why the club added Jeimer Candelario in free agency. After all, the Reds had too many infielders as it was, and cited that as a major reason for letting Joey Votto walk this past offseason.

But the fanbase quickly saw, after injuries and suspensions took their toll of the Reds infield this spring, that Candelario's presence may be more of a necessity than a luxury. But the Candy Man hasn't seen the results on the field quite yet.

Given the contract that Candelario signed, Reds fans won't remain patient for long. Candelario hasn't strung together too many quality at-bats, and is near the bottom in terms of batting average and OPS. Candelario has also been striking out at an alarming rate.

Given Candelario's history in the league, there's great optimism that the 30-year-old can turn things around, but at the moment, this signing is looking problematic. At least Candelario's defense has been better than expected. The third baseman has yet to commit an error in 2024.

Reds signed Nick Martinez to two-year, $26 million contract

The questions surrounding this signing always had to do with Nick Martinez's role. So far, Martinez has operated as a starter. But with Nick Lodolo returning to the Reds starting rotation, Martinez is now ticketed for the bullpen.

Will that role suit Martinez better than his first two starts? Reds fans certainly hope so. Martinez struggled during his first two games as a starter. Martinez has the highest ERA (7.20) of any Reds starter this season, and only Carson Spiers has a higher batting average-against.

Martinez is getting paid like a starter, and there may be times throughout the season when the Reds need him to start a few games. But look for the right-hander to settle in to a relief role. Will it work? Only time will tell, but at the moment, Reds fans are certainly questioning Martinez's fit.

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