Youth has been the theme for the Cincinnati Reds in 2023, as the club has integrated a record number of rookies into the lineup while chasing a wild card spot in the postseason. The right additions this offseason could set the Reds up for a serious run in 2024 and beyond.
J.D. Martinez, DH, Los Angeles Dodgers
Considering the Reds already roster more (infielders) hitters than they can field on a given day, adding a player who fits only at designated hitter seems like an unconventional choice. Martinez, however, is a pure hitter who would help solidify just about any lineup he’s placed in. It’s what he’s done the latter half of his career. This season for the Dodgers he has hit .261/.314/.538 with 26 home runs and few have noticed.
Cincinnati’s lineup features a number of players who may break out next season and establish themselves as the star the club can build around, but plugging a veteran bat like Martinez into the middle of the lineup could have a big impact. Additionally, with the potential departure (retirement?) of Joey Votto it wouldn’t hurt to add a player with Martinez’s playoff experience to the clubhouse.
Lance Lynn, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Like the lineup, the Reds starting rotation is built around youth. Hunter Greene and Andrew Abbott have shown the potential that they may be a formidable 1-2 punch at the top of that rotation but the club would still benefit from the addition of a proven veteran to help lead the staff. They don’t necessarily need to break the bank by signing one of the big-name options available this offseason.
Lynn, who will turn 37 in May, could be the right option. The veteran has been an innings-eater for much of his career. This year he’s posted an 11-11 record and 5.94 ERA, though that’s been due to a career-high 2.2 HR/9. His strikeout rate and WHIP are still in line with his career marks, in which he’s thrown more than 1,800 innings.
Aroldis Chapman, LHP, Texas Rangers
Bringing back Chapman may not be high on the Reds’ offseason priority list. The left-hander had gone from superstar closer to clubhouse cancer before the club traded him following the 2015 season for four minor leaguers (none of whom provided much return). It’s a cycle he undertook again years later with New York, quickly going from beloved to hated by some of the team’s fanbase.
Chapman has bounced back some this year, first with the Royals and then the Rangers following a June trade. The walk rate is high, 5.2 BB/9, but he’s striking out batters and limiting hard contact. Cincinnati’s bullpen is anchored by Alexis Diaz and Lucas Sims but adding a left-handed reliever who could help in the middle innings would be useful. Chapman has experience in higher leverage situations but may not be called upon for it, which seems to work in his favor.
Source: Yard Baker