2 Reds needs that must be addressed at the MLB Winter Meetings, 1 that can wait

The MLB Winter Meetings offer Nick Krall a great opportunity to upgrade the roster.

San Diego Padres pitcher Michael Wacha
San Diego Padres pitcher Michael Wacha / Orlando Ramirez/GettyImages
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The MLB Winter Meetings kicked things off with a surprise trade in the wee-hours on Monday morning when the Seattle Mariners shipped Jarred Kelenic to the Atlanta Braves as part of a salary dump that brought two pitchers back to the Emerald City.

It's been rather quiet on Day 1, but baseball fans know that this is the time of year when the groundwork is laid for some major offseason activity.

Reds fans surely have a shopping list for president of baseball operations Nick Krall as Cincinnati's top executive sets up shop in the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. What are two needs that the Cincinnati Reds must address during the MLB Winter Meetings and one that isn't as urgent?

The Reds need to add one more bullpen arm during the MLB Winter Meetings

The Cincinnati Reds already added Emilio Pagán, but one more relief pitcher would all but solidify the relief corps heading into 2024. The Reds bullpen was greatly overworked in 2023, but it looks as though the front office is taking steps to rectify that issue going into next season.

It remains to be seen how the Reds plan to use Nick Martinez heading into 2024, but for all intents and purposes, he'll be competing for a spot in the rotation to begin the year. Of course that could change as the season progresses, but if Cincinnati intends to compete for the division crown, one more reliever couldn't hurt.

With Pagán, Alexis Diaz, Lucas Sims, Sam Moll, and Fernando Cruz, the backend of the Reds bullpen looks solid. But if Ian Gibaut, Daniel Duarte, and Tejay Antone are your middle relief, there's every reason to believe that's an area that could use an upgrade.

As the Reds did with Martinez and Pagán, signing a relief pitcher to a one-year deal with a player-option would be a wise strategy. A pitcher like Andrew Chafin, Michael Fulmer, or Brent Suter could really help add some extra innings to the Cincinnati Reds bullpen in 2024.

The Reds need to add a platoon outfielder during the MLB Winter Meetings

There's a lot of talk throughout Reds Country about the team's need to acquire a big bat; preferably a player who hits from the right side and plays the outfield. Now, I'm not going to scoff at that idea. Who wouldn't love to see a Teoscar Hernandez or Jorge Soler in a Cincinnati Reds uniform?

But let's not pretend as if the Reds don't already have some big right-handed hitting bats in the everyday lineup heading into next season. Matt McLain, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and Spencer Steer can all easily eclipse 20 home runs playing half their games at Great American Ball Park in 2024.

Let's not forget Noelvi Marte, who could very well be in that conversation as well. Then there's also Elly De La Cruz, who, while he struggled against left-handed pitching, can hit from both sides of the plate.

Nope, the Reds don't need that 20-30 home run per season masher, but rather a platoon outfielder that the club can pair with the left-handed hitting duo of Will Benson and Jake Fraley would be just fine.

Randal Grichuk, Michael A. Taylor, or Adam Duvall (S/O to our friend Alan Cutler at ESPN Radio 1300 WLXG) would all be relatively inexpensive, play above-average defense, and can hit left-handed pitching.

But while the rest of the baseball world is enamored with acquiring starting pitching at this year's MLB Winter Meetings, Cincinnati Reds President of Baseball Operations Nick Krall should find the best right-handed hitting platoon bat available and ink him to a one-year deal.

The Reds can wait to add another starting pitcher

The Cincinnati Reds may not be done adding starting pitching to their 2024 roster, but Nick Krall doesn't need to rush to address it. In fact, after adding Nick Martinez, that need has become a lot less glaring than it was just last week.

Does that mean that the Reds should abandon their pursuit of a free agent starter or end trade talks for a pitcher like Tyler Glasnow or Dylan Cease? No, not at all. But the Reds already added a pitcher who can help the rotation in 2024.

Martinez will likely slot into the No. 4 or No. 5 spot in the Reds 2024 starting rotation and be flanked by Andrew Abbott and Graham Ashcraft with Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo operating as Cincinnati's frontline starters.

If that's the case, the Reds would have Brandon Williamson and Connor Phillips, and perhaps even Levi Stoudt, Carson Spiers, and Lyon Richardson getting their reps in down in Triple-A. That's 10 pitchers who could legitmately be in Cincinnati's rotation at some point next season.

There are other teams who are much more desperate for starting pitching that will be willing to pay through the nose for it during the MLB Winter Meetings. The St. Louis Cardinals already doled out a ton of cash to Lance Lynn, Sonny Gray, and Kyle Gibson, while the Los Angeles Dodgers have sat on their hands to begin the offseason.

Michael Wacha and Seth Lugo are two names to watch. If the MLB Winter Meetings pass and those two players are still available, don't be shocked to see the Reds make a play for one of former San Diego Padres' hurlers as the offseason progresses.

Make no mistake, you'll see plenty of free agent deals for starters this week. While the Reds should not be immune to kicking the tires on a few potential additions, there's no pressing need to get a deal done this week.