Reds offseason primer: Free agents, payroll, offseason needs

The Cincinnati Reds have some crucial decisions to make this offseason.
Cincinnati Reds General Manager Nick Krall
Cincinnati Reds General Manager Nick Krall / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY

Nick Krall received a promotion just before the end of the 2023 season, and he's going to get a chance to show the Cincinnati Reds fanbase why the ownership team has so much confidence in the new president of baseball operations.

While a certain segment of the Cincinnati faithful are still lamenting the lack of action on the part of the Reds front office at the August 1st trade deadline, the offseason is when the groundwork is laid for piecing together a competitive team.

The rebuild has acclerated quicker than expected, and Krall and front office should be focused on turning the Reds from a team on the upswing to one that can compete for a division title. Here's how the Reds offseason breaks down, and what fans can expect.

Reds projected 2024 payroll

The books are about as clear as they've been in quite awhile. Joey Votto's $25-million salary is gone, and the only two players currently under contract for the 2024 season are Hunter Greene and Luke Maile.

According to Spotrac, the Reds 2024 projected payroll is $57.7-million. That is, of course, taking into consideration both Votto's $20-million club-option and Curt Casali's $2.5-million mutual option.

Reds free agents

  • Buck Farmer, RHP
  • Harrison Bader, CF
  • Joey Votto, 1B*
  • Curt Casali, C*

The Cincinnati Reds already re-signed Luke Maile, but Buck Farmer and Harrision Bader are scheduled to hit the open market. If the Reds decline Joey Votto's club-option and Curt Casali's mutual-option, both players will become free agents.

Reds players eligible for arbitration

  • Lucas Sims, RHP
  • Nick Senzel, IF/OF
  • Derek Law, RHP
  • Jonathan India, 2B
  • Tyler Stephenson, C
  • Jake Fraley, OF
  • Alex Young, LHP
  • Tejay Antone, RHP

Lucas Sims is in the final year of his arbitration window, while Jonathan India, Tyler Stephenson, and Jake Fraley are entering Year 1.

Both Derek Law and Nick Senzel are candidates to be non-tendered this offseason. MLB Trade Rumors estimates that the Reds will owe a little over $18-million to these eight players.

Reds offseason needs

Pitching, pitching, and more pitching. The Cincinnati Reds ran out 38 different pitchers last season including the likes of Michael Mariot, Silvino Bracho, and Alan Busenitz.

The Reds would do well to entertain a trade or look to free agency in order to secure at least one starting pitcher and perhaps two to three relievers. Ian Gibaut, Buck Farmer, Lucas Sims, Fernando Cruz, and Alexis Diaz all eclipsed 60 innings pitched in 2023.

Cincinnati may also look to add a right-handed hitting outfielder with power. TJ Friedl, Will Benson, and Jake Fraley all swing from the left side. David Bell would no doubt love to have a right-handed bat to platoon with either Fraley or Benson in 2024.

Reds players eligible for the Rule 5 Draft

  • Yerlin Confidan, OF
  • Jose Acuña, RHP
  • Tyler Callihan, 2B
  • Christian Roa, RHP
  • Rece Hinds, OF
  • Bruce Bonnin, RHP
  • Jacob Hurtibise, OF
  • Javyien Sandridge, LHP
  • Vim Tampanelli, RHP

According to FanGraphs, the Cincinnati Reds have several talented minor league players who are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this winter.

Of note are players like former second-round picks Rece Hinds and Christian Roa as well as international signees like Yerlin Confidan and Jose Acuña.

In order to protect these players, and any others who may be subject to the Rule 5 Draft, the Cincinnati Reds will need to add them to the team's 40-man roster.