How should the Reds approach the 2021-22 offseason?

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The Cincinnati Reds could go either way this offseason. Photo from WIRC.

The Cincinnati Reds offseason plans 2022 are becoming clearer as the weeks go by. This is a team that was in the middle of the pack in the National League last season.

The Reds finished their 2021 campaign third in the NL Central, 12 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers and five behind the St. Louis Cardinals. This means that whatever the plan is for the Reds this offseason, the team needs some changes to increase its competitiveness in the toughest top-to-bottom division in the National League.

Reds offseason plans 2022

The sad reality for Reds fans is that this offseason is more about cutting costs than anything else. Cincinnati General Manager Nick Krall basically said as much earlier in the offseason saying, “Like I said the other day, we’re aligning our payroll with our resources.”

This is not a quote a GM says right before a team goes on a spending spree. This was clear early in November when the Reds made a couple of moves within 24 hours that did not upgrade, or even maintain, their level of player from a year ago.

The first move saw Gold Glove-winning catcher Tucker Barnhart sent to Detroit and in return, the Reds picked up a minor league infielder in Nick Quintana. Quintana could exceed expectations and work his way into the Reds’ lineup, but the main motivation behind the move was cutting the $7.5 million that Barnhart was to be paid in 2022 from the books.

The second move the following day was one that significantly weakened their pitching rotation, but which again saved money. Wade Miley was a 13-game winner in 2021 and as one of the potential Reds free agents, the club had a decision to make. Instead of picking up an option on Miley that would have cost the club $10 million in salary, they let him walk. Miley was swiftly picked up by the Chicago Cubs, strengthening a division rival that seems to be paying to win and hurting the Reds’ talent level in the process.

Not signing and then trading Miley given his value as a potential asset makes it even more clear the Reds simply don’t want to spend money this offseason.


A third domino also fell when Nick Castellanos decided to opt-out of his contract. The Reds tabled a qualifying offer that ensures a draft pick in compensation, but the Reds decided not to throw money at their All-Star outfielder. This is because they knew it would cost too much to keep him.

Reds offseason targets

That is not to say that there are no Reds offseason targets. The Reds offseason plans 2022 are looking like a partial rebuild at a cut cost, so most of the big-name free agents aren’t on their radar.

Instead, Cincinnati will look to build in a different way, streamlining their roster to get maximum value out of each position.

There are certain areas where the Reds could look for help. The most obvious of these is in the outfield where they have to try to replace Castellanos.

This is going to be an almost impossible task replacing the All-Star at less cost, so don’t expect the same level of production from just one player. Finding someone that can produce 70% of Castellanos and then finding the other 30% from other positions is a more realistic goal.

Another position that the Reds could use help is at closer. Cincinnati went for a group approach in late innings last season, but one player to be THE guy is always best. Brad Boxberger is a name that wouldn’t break the bank, but that provides a bullpen option that is reliable both in terms of performance and durability on the mound.

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