3 moves the Reds still need to make now that the MLB Winter Meetings are over

The MLB Winter Meetings are in the books, but the Reds still have work to do.

Chicago White Sox pitcher Dylan Cease
Chicago White Sox pitcher Dylan Cease / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages
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The MLB Winter Meetings were rather boring this year. Of course, once everyone cleared out of the Opryland Resort on Wednesday afternoon, several deals were finally made.

The New York Yankees traded for Juan Soto, Eduardo Rodriguez will be moving across the country after signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Cincinnati Reds signed one of the top position players on the market in Jeimer Candelario.

And while Reds fans are still trying to wrap their minds around how everyone in Cincinnati's lineup is going to see the field in 2024, president of baseball operations Nick Krall still has some business to take care of. What three moves do the Reds still need to make now that the MLB Winter Meetings are over?

1. The Reds still need to add a right-handed hitting outfielder

It was rumored just as the MLB Winter Meetings were coming to a close that the Cincinnati Reds were interested in signing free agent outfielder Michael A. Taylor. This would be a signiifcant upgrade over Stuart Fairchild and also bolster the Reds lineup against left-handed pitching.

When Cincinnati is slated to face a right-hander in 2024, the club should line up rather well. With Elly De La Cruz, Jake Fraley, Will Benson, TJ Friedl, and the newly signed Jeimer Candelario all able to swing the bat from the left side, the Reds could have a very balanced lineup against opposing right-handed pitchers.

But when a southpaw toes the rubber, that same potency may dissipate quite a bit. De La Cruz struggled mightily against lefties in 2023, as did Fraley and Benson. Friedl was able to hold his own, and Candelario had relatively equal splits as a switch-hitter.

But the Reds are going to need a right-handed bat to fill in for the now departed Nick Senzel. A player like Michael A. Taylor would be a good choice.

Others include Randal Grichuk, Adam Duvall, and even Harrison Bader. If the Cincinnati Reds are ready to compete for the NL Central Division crown, they need an upgrade over Stuart Fairchild.

2. The Reds still need to add a frontline starter

Nick Martinez was a nice signing, but that's not going to move the needle. Everyone throughout Major League Baseball expects the Chicago Cubs to make some big moves this offseason and the St. Louis Cardinals have already upgraded their starting rotation.

In a perfect world, the Cincinnati Reds would swing a trade for Dylan Cease. While the leaked trade package from the MLB Winter Meetings was much too high, one can assume that Nick Krall and Chicago White Sox GM Chris Getz at least exchanged some proposals.

Maybe the two clubs laid the groundwork for a potential trade in the coming days. Cease is a bonafide frontline starter and is under team-control for two more seasons. Chicago's right-hander should be Cincinnati's No. 1 trade target moving forward.

If the Reds are unable to work out a deal for Dylan Cease, the club could turn their attention to either Shane Bieber or Tyler Glasnow. While both pitchers come with some level of injury risk, when healthy, Bieber and Glasnow are frontline starters in the big leagues.

A trade package for Bieber or Glasnow should require less prospect capital than if the Reds were to attempt to trade for Cease. Both pitchers, however, will cost more in terms of salary in 2024 and will be free agents after next season.

3. The Reds still need to upgrade the bullpen

If the Cincinnati Reds truly upgrade the rotation with a frontline starter then this problem fixes itself. The Reds already added Emilio Pagán, and if Cincinnati were to trade for Dylan Cease or Shane Bieber, Nick Martinez likely sees most of his opportunities coming as a reliever rather than a starter.

But, if the Reds believe that Martinez is a better fit in the team's rotation, so be it. However, if that's the case, then Nick Krall needs to add at least one more arm to the relief corps. And while it's not necessary that it be a lefty, it sure as heck wouldn't hurt.

Pitchers like Aroldis Chapman, Jordan Hicks, and Hector Neris could be fine targets in free agency. Cincinnati could also look to upgrade the relief corps through a trade.

If you watched more than a week's worth of Reds games in 2023, it was painfully obvious that Cincinnati's bullpen was overworked. Lucas Sims, Alexis Diaz, Buck Farmer, Ian Gibaut, and Fernando Cruz simply ran out of gas down the stretch.

But if the Reds add just one more veteran reliever, the bullpen will be in very good shape. Adding Sam Moll and Emilio Pagán to the aforementioned five pitchers give Cincinnati a decent bullpen. But one more arm takes it to the next level.

The Cincinnati Reds could then rely on the likes of Daniel Duarte, Lyon Richardson, Tejay Antone, and others to provide depth throughout the season. While Cincinnati's bullpen outperformed expectations last season, they'll need to be even better in 2024.