The Cincinnati Reds bullpen was awful in 2021. The front office must fix the relief corps if the team has any aspirations to compete in 2022.
Cincinnati relievers ranked 13th in the league with a 4.99 ERA and led the NL in home runs allowed (92).
Since the Reds are aligning their payroll to their resources, whatever that means, Cincinnati will undoubtedly be looking for some low-cost veterans to help fill out the relief corps.
Last year we saw the Reds add the likes of Brad Brach, Heath Hembree, and Sean Doolittle.
There will be no shortage of relievers on the free agent market this offseason, but which veteran hurlers are the Reds likely to pursue this winter?
1. The Reds should target RHP Dan Winkler.
Dan Winkler spent the past two seasons with the Chicago Cubs after beginning his career with the Atlanta Braves.
Winkler had a down-year in 2021 after posting a solid 2.95 ERA in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
Winkler's ERA ballooned to 5.22 last season and his walk-rate was an obscene 15.8%.
There were, however, some metrics that saw an improvement from 2020 to 2021.
Winkler's K/9 jumped from 8.84 to 9.08 and his HR/9 dropped from 1.47 to 1.13.
Dan Winkler's most successful season came in 2017 with the Braves. In 14.1 innings of work, the right-hander posted a 2.51 ERA, 2.81 FIP, and 34.0% strikeout-rate.
Winkler was designated for assignment by the Cubs in August last year and eventually released.
Winkler's fastball/ slider combo plays, and the former Colorado Rockies farmhand even saw a jump in velocity last season.
The Illinois native is not a high-leverage reliever, but David Bell could turn to Winkler in the fifth, sixth, and seventh inning.
Dan Winkler has familiarity within the NL Central and could be a nice addition to the Reds bullpen in 2022.