The Cincinnati Reds had an exciting 2021 season.
Despite missing the playoffs, the club played meaningful baseball deep into September, and there were a lot of positive developments along the way.
Having said that, if the club wants to take another step forward in 2022, then this offseason is going to have to be a busy one.
There are several players that would make a lot of sense for the team to target this winter, but today, we’re talking about three in particular.
From pitchers to position players, there are a lot of interesting names out there.
Let’s take a look.
3. Collin McHugh
The Reds had a miserable bullpen in 2021.
When all was said and done, Cincinnati’s relievers registered an overall ERA of 4.99, which ranked as the fourth-worst mark in all of baseball.
Needless to say, the organization needs to allocate a lot of money this offseason to its bullpen.
Collin McHugh is one of the top relievers available on the free-agent market, and he’d make a lot of sense for the Reds.
The righty posted a 1.55 ERA, 2.12 FIP, and 0.94 WHIP over 37 appearances in 2021.
It wasn’t his first time having a season like that — in 2018, he posted similar numbers, including a 1.99 ERA.
Collin McHugh, Dirty 77mph Curveball…and Sword. ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/lm4p6zBGrN
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 7, 2021
McHugh would be a massive addition to a poor Reds relief core.
2. Aaron Loup
Sticking with the bullpen, Aaron Loup comes to mind as another intriguing relief option for Cincinnati.
The southpaw just had the best season of his career, and if he can sustain the success he had in 2021, he’s going to become a massive asset to whichever team lands him this winter.
Loup finished the year with a 0.95 ERA, 2.45 FIP, and 0.94 WHIP.
Over his final 37 appearances of the season (32.2 innings), he allowed one run.
That’s a 0.28 ERA, if you’re curious.
It’s probably safe to assume that there will be a very competitive market for the 33-year-old this offseason, but that can’t deter the Reds.
If they’re serious about making the playoffs in 2022, they can’t afford to take any shortcuts.
Adding an elite reliever (or two) might be the only way to repair this bullpen.
1. Nick Castellanos (Re-Sign)
Obviously, Nick Castellanos has to be at the top of this list.
We can talk endlessly about Cincinnati bolstering its bullpen, but if the Reds don’t retain Castellanos, then it’ll be hard to call this offseason a success.
The 29-year-old is coming off of a monster 2021 season in which he slashed .309/.362/.579.
He also had a 136 OPS+ and 4.0 offensive bWAR.
The slugger racked up 34 home runs, 38 doubles, a triple, and 100 runs batted in over 138 games, and he earned his first All-Star selection in the process.
Tank shots only from Nick Castellanos 💥
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) April 7, 2021
Castellanos seems to be entering the best years of his career.
Reds fans certainly want to see him back in 2022, and the organization knows that.
The bottom line is that Cincinnati would be a worse team without him.
If the Reds recognize that, they’ll do everything in their power (within reason) to ensure that the former first-round pick spends his next few seasons in the Queen City.NEXT: 3 Possible Landing Spots For Luis Castillo Amid Trade Rumors