Reds GM Nick Krall spoke with reporters recently during the club’s end-of-season press conference, including Mark Sheldon of MLB.com and Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The presser covered a wide array of topics from the club’s offseason plans and budget, to a retrospective on Cincinnati’s inaction at the trade deadline this year, to the club’s impending club option decision on future Hall of Famer Joey Votto.
Regarding the trade deadline, Krall stood firm on his decision to largely stand pat this summer, only adding left-handed reliever Sam Moll to a club that was in first place in the NL Central on deadline day but wound up with a record of just 82-80 on the season after going just 23-31 after the calendar flipped to August. Starting pitching was by far the club’s biggest unfilled need, as they sported an MLB-worst rotation ERA of 5.91 following the trade deadline.
When asked about the club’s inaction, Krall noted that rival teams set exorbitant asking prices involving players who contributed to the major league roster this season. As relayed by Sheldon, Krall indicated that right-hander Connor Phillips, infielders Matt McLain and Spencer Steer, first baseman Christian Encarnacion-Strand and left-hander Andrew Abbott were all checked in upon by rival clubs this past summer, with Abbott in particular being the requested return for a rental player.
Looking ahead to the offseason, the Reds have a glut of position players between which they’ll need to sort through, to say nothing of potential external additions or the looming decision on Votto. On the infield, the club sports McLain, Steer, Encarnacion-Strand, Noelvi Marte, Elly De La Cruz, and Jonathan India all in need of regular at-bats. Meanwhile, the outfield picture features Jake Fraley, TJ Friedl, Stuart Fairchild, and Will Benson. Nick Senzel is another piece of the puzzle with experience in both the infield and the outfield, but he appears to be a candidate for a trade or non-tender after another weak offensive season where he slashed just .236/.297/.399 in 330 trips to the plate.
Krall made clear that the club hasn’t discussed moving either India or De La Cruz to the outfield as a potential way to clear the infield logjam. He did note, however, that Steer played well in the outfield corners across 38 starts at the positions this season, leaving the door open to more time spent on the grass in 2024. Of course, installing Steer as a regular outfielder would cut into…