On Tuesday evening the Los Angeles Dodgers ended the 2020 MLB season, defeating the Tampa Bay Rays by a final score of 3-1 to secure a World Series Championship, winning four games to two. This shortened baseball season certainly was weird with different rules, seven-inning doubleheaders, and a handful of teams missing significant time due to coronavirus issues. However, Major League Baseball ended up getting their season in and they certainly deserve a lot of praise for that.
Now that the games are over, the attention has turned to free agency. Teams have already shown that the market is going to be tight this offseason and money probably will not be thrown around as freely as in years past. With teams struggling from having no ticket revenue, not to mention only 60 games to begin with, there simply isn’t the money to go around that you have in a normal free agency period.
— Lance McAlister (@LanceMcAlister) October 28, 2020
So, what are the moves that Reds fans need to watch for in the next couple of weeks?
In Cincinnati, and really across Major League Baseball, all eyes are on Trevor Bauer. After a Cy Young caliber season, Bauer will be courted by just about every team in the league. He recently stated on Twitter that he will be considering any and all offers, but in the past he has expressed interest in strictly signing one-year deals.
The #WorldSeries is over. Free Agency has begun. A couple points:
1) I’ll consider offers from any MLB or NPB team
2) Follow @AgentRachelLuba for accurate information about my free agency. Anything else is speculation.
3) I’m vlogging the off season. It lives on @Watch_Momentum
— Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) October 28, 2020
The MLB qualifying offer is set at $18.9 million for the 2020-2021 season and it is expected that Trevor Bauer will decline that offer today when it is extended by the Reds front office. However, that doesn’t mean he won’t be playing in Cincinnati. Declining the qualifying offer simply makes him a free agent and opens the market up to the other 29 teams across baseball.
***UPDATE*** Just after the time of this post the Reds did officially extend the qualifying offer to Trevor Bauer. If Bauer does end up signing elsewhere the Reds will now receive a compensation draft pick.
#Reds have made a qualifying offer to Trevor Bauer.
— C. ???????????? (@ctrent) November 1, 2020
The other most anticipated off-season move for the Reds was what Nick Castellanos would decide to do with his opt-out option. On Friday, the veteran Outfielder decided NOT to opt-out, so he will be staying in Cincinnati for the 2020-2021 season. This wasn’t really that big of a surprise as he still has three years and $48 million on his contract. Coming off of a disappointing season at the plate, there is no way Castellanos would have commanded that sort of money on the open market.
Nick Castellanos did not notify the #Reds he was opting out, so… he’s back with the team for 2021
— C. ???????????? (@ctrent) October 31, 2020
Anthony DeSclafani, Freddy Galvis, and Tyler Thornburg are the remaining free agents that have decisions to make in the coming weeks. Disco appeared in nine games, making seven starts, and posted a 1-2 record with a 7.22 Earned Run Average. The 30-year-old right-hander has faced injury issues throughout his time in Cincinnati. Especially if they don’t feel confident about retaining Trevor Bauer I would expect to see the Reds try and get DeSclafani on a cheaper contract for a couple of seasons.
If there is any position that Cincinnati needs to upgrade this off-season it is shortstop. They do have 22-year-old top prospect Jose Garcia waiting in the wings, but it is clear that he may still be a year away from actually competing at the big league level. The veteran Galvis played 47 games this season and batted a career-low .220 with 16 Runs Batted In. I think the Reds and Galvis will probably part ways this offseason.
Lastly, 32-year-old right-hander Tyler Thornburg is a free agent. Thornburg pitched seven innings across seven appearances this season allowing six hits and three earned runs. This is a cheap, veteran arm that I would expect to see Cincinnati try and retain for some additional bullpen depth.