3. Sign Cheap Free Agent Arms for Starting Staff/Bullpen
With the long list of who the Reds should think about getting rid of out of the way, the Reds can start to think about what pieces to add for 2016. With the trades of Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake at last year’s trade deadline, the Reds were able to get a nice return of pitchers in Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb, Cody Reed and Keury Mella. Both Brandon Finnegan and John Lamb will likely fight for rotation spots in 2016, while Reed and Mella pitched in Double-A and Single-A, respectively, last year and may still need a full year of development. Cody Reed probably has the better chance of the two of seeing some big league action in 2016.
Beyond the pitchers they got in trade deadline deals last season, the Reds still have Anthony DeSclafani, Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias. All three pitched significant innings last season. Beyond these five or six guys who should be vying for rotation spots in Spring Training next season, the Reds also have a few strong pitching prospects in the minor leagues, including Robert Stephenson, who could be ready for a big league role as early as next season.
Despite this seeming wealth of pitching talent, it would be wise for the Reds to entertain the option of signing some cheap, potentially veteran, free-agent pitchers for depth purposes and to take some of the load off of such a large crop of young pitchers. The potential here is for something similar to what was done in Philadelphia last season. The Phillies gave innings to veterans like Aaron Harang and Chad Billingsley, while also making sure their young pitchers got work in both the starting staff and the bullpen. The Reds could also choose to bolster their bullpen depth via free agency if they do want to give most of these young arms chances at pitching in the rotation. With so much pitching depth, the Reds do have options for 2016 and beyond. The key next year for the Reds is finding out which pitchers could be in the rotation in the short-, and more importantly, long-term.