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Cincinnati Reds

A Fistful of Free Agents

Jeff

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© The Enquirer-USA TODAY Sports

This is the most pivotal offseason for the Cincinnati Reds in the last decade. Moves need to be made, trades need to be had, and improvement from outside help must come, should any hope of improvement come. The free agent picture is coming into focus, and there are a lot of intriguing option that Cincinnati should kick the tires on, outside of who’d you expect.

A lot of fans, myself included, really are hoping for some way that Dallas Keuchel agrees to pitch for the Reds. Patrick Corbin, Clayton Kershaw, and guys like that have been thrown around as wishful targets. Lets take a look at five other candidates who could offer immediate improvement that haven’t been constantly talked about, in no particular order.

Trevor Cahill – He’ll be 31 this next season, but he fits the mold of a solid number four starter. Cahill’s career ERA is 4.08, but last season he pitched to a 3.76 clip. In 110 innings pitched, he struck out 100 and kept his WHIP at 1.19. Most importantly, for a Reds staff looking to not give up as many home runs, Cahill allowed just eight. At $1.5 million for last year, he was a bargain for the thrifty Oakland Athletics, which should make him more than affordable for 2019. The only bit of concern, which should keep him cheap, is his home-road splits from last year. He had a 1.84 ERA in 11 starts at Oakland Coliseum, but a 6.41 mark in nine starts, anywhere else. Maybe not a target, out of the gate, but he should be on the Reds’ radar.

Charlie Morton – That other pitcher that is becoming a free agent after pitching with the Astros a bit, Morton I no longer a kid Pirate at 34 but has reinvented himself with fantastic results. He was an All Star, last season, going 15-3 in 30 starts. He compiled a 3.13 ERA in 167 innings while piling up a career-best 201 strikeouts. In fact, his wins, ERA, strikeouts, starts, and 1.16 WHIP were all career bests. He wont be quite as affordable as Cahill, but he will be a better option and not too expensive, relatively speaking. The biggest question will be if he actually is available. He’s contemplated retiring, but also said he wants to remain an Astro.

Nathan Eovaldi – He’ll be 29, next season, and he’s coming off a year of improvement. He pitched well for the world champs and may end up staying there, but if he’s available, he’s exactly the kind of guy who could be a number three starter for the Reds. He averaged 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings and five strikeouts per walk. His command was strong, keeping his walks per nine at 1.6, a much-needed trait for Reds pitching in 2019. He made just $2 million last year, and may be due for a raise, but I don’t think it will be a monumental jump. He was hitting a high number on the rdar gun, in the World Series, which may draw attention from other clubs, but the Reds should not be dissuaded by competition to get their guy.

Adam Ottavino – This one is ambitious. He’s going to be highly coveted, and he’s got a bit of a tender shoulder, but he has been one of the best late-inning right handers in the game, the last two years. He’s going to command some money, but this will give the Reds depth in the bullpen and help them maintain their strength, throughout 2019. David Hernandez and Jared Hughes were phenomenal finds for the front office, last year, and will factor into 2019. But their usage really seemed to weigh them down, toward the end of 2018. If you have a healthy Michael Lorenzen and a man who has a 3.36 ERA over the last three years helping bolster the offerings outside of Raisel Iglesias, that would be one of the best bullpens in the league.

Tyson Ross – More of a flyer than bonafide game changer (though he could still be that), Ross finished the season a Cardinal, in 2018, and pitched 26+ innings with a sub 3.00 ERA, mostly in relief. He could be a candidate to push the kids for the fifth starting spot, and may even be available closer to spring training. He’d be a decent fallback option with little risk as he only garnered 41.75 million last season.

Keep it tuned to Locked on Reds throughout the offseason for plenty of coverage and thought-provoking content. Okay, well, there will be news, anyway.

Follow @lockedonReds and @jefffcarr on Twitter.

Jeff has spent his entire life around sports. From playing baseball and golf in high school to traveling with college softball, volleyball, and men’s basketball teams as their media relations guy, sports have always been his focal point. He’s pumped to be bringing Reds content to the Locked on Sports Podcast Network!

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