2. The Reds should sign former Brewers RHP Brandon Woodruff
Admittedly, Brandon Woodruff comes with a huge red flag - he may not be available to pitch in 2024. While Woodruff has high aspirations of returning from shoulder surgery after the All-Star break, there is a strong chance that the All-Star pitcher does not return until 2025.
Can the Cincinnati Reds really afford to take on that kind of risk? Given that the club has little payroll commitment going into 2024, the answer is, yes. However, the Reds would have to craft the contract very carefully.
There's two ways to go about this. First, the Reds could sign Woodruff to a two-year contract below-market value. Seeing as how the former Milwaukee Brewers hurler would have received an estimated $11-million through arbitration (per MLB Trade Rumors), but could fetch an average annual value of 20-million per season if healthy, there's some wiggle room.
Or, Cincinnati could follow the Boston Red Sox philosophy from two years when they signed James Paxton to a one-year deal with a team-option. Paxton was coming off Tommy John surgery.
Either deal comes with a measure of risk, and the club would be paying a lot of money for a player who's unlikely to suit up next season. But Woodruff would be one of the most coveted starters on the market if he were healthy. This would be a shrewd pickup by the Reds front office.