The Yoshinobu Yamamoto sweepstakes is over. The Los Angeles Dodgers won, again. Yamamoto's signing will have a domino effect on the rest of the free agent market.
While the Cincinnati Reds could certainly use an additional starting pitcher, the New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants, and others will be looking to do the same. Furthermore, the big-market franchise are likely to exceed any number the Reds might offer, meaning Cincinnati could be left out in the cold.
But while the rest of the league is looking to scoop up the remaining free agent starters like Jordan Montgomery, Blake Snell, and Shota Imanaga, perhaps the Reds should turn their attention to the reliever market.
The Reds could solidify the bullpen while others scramble to add starters
The Cincinnati Reds have already signed one, and possibly two, relief pitchers this offseason. Emilio Pagán was the Reds' first free agent acquisition this winter. Cincinnati then added right-hander Nick Martinez to potentially work as a starter, though he also has experience as a reliever.
The Cincnnati bullpen was surprisingly one of the team's strengths a year ago, but the relief corps ran out of gas down the stretch. Players like Alexis Diaz, Lucas Sims, and Ian Gibaut were absolutely exhausted, and their performance suffered because of it.
The relief market has hardly been touched this winter. Reynaldo Lopez, who's said to be receiving a look as a potential starter in Atlanta, is the highest-paid reliever to come off the board thus far.
But players like Hector Neris, Michael Fulmer, and Brent Suter are all still available. If the Cincinnati Reds wanted to entertain a reunion with Aroldis Chapman or Wandy Peralta, both southpaws are free agents this offseason as well.
While adding a starter should still be on the Reds' radar this offseason, securing another high-leverage arm for the bullpen couldn't hurt. Maybe president of baseball operations Nick Krall will choose to zig while the rest of the league is zagging.