Opinion: Three Free-Agent Bats the Reds Need to Consider

Three bats for the Reds

The Cincinnati Reds have already signed the switch-hitting veteran corner Infielder Jeimer Candelario to a three-year 45 million dollar free-agent contract. They still lack a right-handed power bat who can provide pop in a lineup filled with speed. They finished third in the NL Central last year, and many believe that if they had brought up their young prospects sooner in the year, they would’ve been a wild-card team. Below are the top three right-handed bats I would target if I were the Reds.

Justin Turner (3B/1B/DH)

Turner put together a solid season last year with the Boston Red Sox hitting .276 with 23 Home Runs and 96 Rbi’s in Fenway. Turner’s defense in the field might not be what it once was, but still serviceable at first base when needed and even from time to time at third base. His best spot would be at the DH position on the regular, which currently appears to be tied to prospect Christian Encarnacion Strand. If Turner signed with the Reds, I would have Candelario at Third Base, Turner at First, and Encarnacion DH most days, moving Spencer Steer out to Left field. The other big attribute I like about Turner signing with the Reds is the veteran leadership void that Joey Votto leaves, not just leadership, but his championship experience with his time spent with the Dodgers. If the Reds are to make a serious playoff push, they need a guy who has been there to lead this team of young talent to the promise land. For that reason, Turner is my top bat to approach, even though it just adds to the log jam of infield depth. Still, Jonathan India is already rumored to be traded, so there is no need to worry about getting him into the rotation between first base and DH.

Adam Duvall (OF/DH)

Duvall, another ex-Red Sox who missed a portion of the season last year with a broken wrist, played 92 games for the team last year. He played in 92 games with 353 plate appearances, hitting .257 with 21 home runs and 58 RBIs. Duvall, who was playing on a one-year contract last season, is looking to join a contender this coming season as the 35-year-old is looking for a chance at a ring. Adding Duvall to the Outfield mix would provide more depth and roster flexibility for Manager David Bell. Prospect Will Benson showed promise last season but stuck out far too often; this scenario allows David Bell to have Spencer Steer in Left, TJ Friedl in Center, and Duvall in Right, moving Benson to the 4th outfielder spot.

Teoscar Hernandez (OF)

Hernandez is my least favorite of these three but, like Duvall, would slide into the right field spot, sliding Benson to the 4th outfield role and giving manager David Bell options off the bench. Hernandez, last season in Seattle, played in 160 games, hitting .258, 26 home runs, 93 RBIs, seven stolen bases, 29 doubles, and a career-high 211 strikeouts, 59 more than the season previously spent with the Toronto Blue Jays. If he can get the strikeouts under control to previous career norms (155-161) range, the Reds would have a solid addition on the hands with upside hitting middle of the order with plenty of talent surrounding him.

In the end, if the Reds want to take it to the next level, I think the leadership void left by Joey Votto is something to consider, along with the need for additional pop from the right side of the plate. Any one of these three would be an excellent fit for this talented young team. With a veteran starting pitcher added this off-season, we could see the Reds sitting at the top of the NL Central next season, bringing post-season excitement to the Great American Ball Park!!

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