The pitching market is about to explode, and oddly enough, the next three players to come off the board could be southpaws. After seeing Yoshinobu Yamamoto reportedly sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the next tier of free agent pitchers likely to find a new home are all left-handers.
Jordan Montgomery, Shōta Imanaga, and Blake Snell are all left-handed pitchers. If there's one thing the Cincinnati Reds have, other than an abundance of middle infielders, it's left-handed starters.
Nick Lodolo, Brandon Williamson, and Andrew Abbott will all be in the mix to be part of the Reds rotation next season. With that in mind, perhaps Cincinnati should shift their focus to only right-handed starters. If so, who makes the most sense?
Lucas Giolito should be on the Reds' radar.
There are two right-handed pitchers who are on that next tier of starters available in free agency. Both Lucas Giolito and Marcus Stroman could fit nicely in the middle of the Cincinnati Reds starting rotation.
Neither Giolito nor Stroman are frontline starters. Both would probably be considered a solid No. 2 on most pitching staffs throughout Major League Baseball, and no worse than a No. 3 starter on a playoff contending team.
Giolito had his ups and downs in 2023, but playing for three different teams certainly didn't help. Giolito pitched well for the first half of the season with the Chicago White Sox, but faltered once he arrived in Anaheim.
After appearing in six games for the Los Angeles Angels, Lucas Giolito was plucked off wiavers by the Cleveland Guardians. Home runs were a major problem for Giolito last season, but the right-hander is a workhorse who'll consistently get swings and misses.
Marcus Stroman would be a good fit pitching at the Reds' home ballpark.
Stroman is that ground ball-pitcher that so many fans throughout Reds Country want to see. The right-hander owned a 57.4-percent ground ball-rate in 2023, but you're not going to get many strikeouts from Stroman.
Marcus Stroman, except for last season, does a good job of keeping the base paths clear of free runners. But his strikeout-rate generally stays around 20-percent. Stroman relies mostly on his fastball-slider combo, but isn't afraid to mix in a cutter or changeup either.
Both Giolito and Stroman would be considered an upgrade to the Cincinnati Reds rotation, and not offer the redundacy that left-handers like Shōta Imanaga and Jordan Montgomery would.
The only problem is that Cincinanti won't be the only club looking to add Lucas Giolito and Marcus Stroman. With that upper-tier of free agent starters shrinking, other teams will be looking to offer big money to Giolito and Stroman. It'll probably take a multi-year deal to land either pitcher this offseason.