There is an audible cry from the Cincinnati Reds fanbase; they want to the see another starting pitcher added to the roster this offseason.
After seeing so many injuries befall the starting rotation last season, combined with the underwhelming second-season performances from Hunter Greene and Graham Ashcraft, it's understandable as to why Reds Country is clamoring for another addition.
But do the Reds really need another starting pitcher? While no one is going to be upset if Cincinnati signs another mid-tier starter or swings a trade for a pitcher like Shane Bieber, it could greatly effect the development of the Reds' young pitchers.
Adding another starter would push these Reds pitchers further down the depth chart
As it stands at this moment, the Cincinnati Reds 2024 Opening Day starting rotation would likely be comprised of Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Nick Martinez, Graham Ashcraft, and Andrew Abbott. That's a formidable quintet.
Cincinnati would also have Brandon Williamson and Connor Phillips waiting in the wings, not to mention Rhett Lowder and Julian Aguiar. While it might be a bit presumptuous to assume that Lowder will be in the big leagues by next season, last year's first-round pick certainly has a chance to be a late-season call-up.
However, if the Reds were to sign another starting pitcher this offseason, it will be a detriment to Abbott. It will also push both Williamson and Phillips further down the depth chart, effectively making the trio minor league depth rather than major league contributors.
To be sure, having depth in the minor leagues is not a bad thing, and a pitcher like Phillips could probably use some more seasoning. However, Abbott and Williamson are major league-ready.
If the Cincinnati Reds were to add another pitcher this offseason, a swingman in the mold of Nick Martinez might be the best route to take. Signing a free agent like Sean Manaea or Michael Lorenzen, who can work as a starter or reliever, would offer manager David Bell the most flexibility.