How Reds can salvage lousy winter

It's not too late for Cincinnati to keep up with the rest of the NL Central

Updated: January 12, 2014, 11:43 AM ET
By Dave Cameron | ESPN Insider

Homer BaileyJoe Robbins/Getty ImagesGiving Homer Bailey a contract extension would prevent the winter from being a waste for Cincy.

Last year, the Cincinnati Reds won 90 games and qualified as a wild-card entry into the postseason, where they were bounced by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Two years ago, the Reds won the National League Central, finishing with the second-best record in the majors, but were eliminated in the NLDS. This is a team that has recently been quite good and has been on the cusp of a World Series run. By nearly any definition of the word, the Reds have been contenders.

And yet, this offseason, the Reds have basically just sat on the sideline. Shin-Soo Choo left to sign with the Texas Rangers for more money than the Reds could afford, but the team has yet to acquire anyone who could replace him in the outfield or batting order. Bronson Arroyo, another free agent, also seems unlikely to return, based on recent comments made by GM Walt Jocketty. With Choo and Arroyo departing, the team will be down two valuable contributors from its 2013 roster.

The Reds' biggest offseason acquisition to date is utility infielder Skip Schumaker, who has been below replacement level in nearly 1,500 plate appearances over the past four years. Their only other free-agent acquisition, Brayan Pena, was brought in to replace Ryan Hanigan as the team's backup catcher, as Hanigan was shipped out to Tampa Bay. In other words, besides adjusting their bench, the Reds have done basically nothing this winter, despite having the roster of a contender with a few real weaknesses.

But the offseason isn't over, and the Reds still have 2½ months until Opening Day. There are moves that could still be made that would restock their roster and put them back in position to keep up with the Cardinals and Pirates again. Let's take a look at a few moves that could salvage Cincinnati's offseason.