GM Nick Krall: Reds are 'in a better spot right now than we were a couple weeks ago'

GOODYEAR, Ariz. – After the Cincinnati Reds traded left fielder Jesse Winker and third baseman Eugenio Suárez to the Seattle Mariners, Reds general manager Nick Krall said the move gave the team the financial flexibility to add more talent before the start of the regular season.

The Reds continued to build the 2022 roster this week by signing free agent outfielder Tommy Pham to a one-year deal for $7.5 million. Following the trade with the Mariners, the Reds pivoted towards adding veteran players like Pham and depth for the major league team.

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“We had a lot of holes to fill,” Krall said. “Over the last couple weeks, getting to add some financial flexibility and being able to fill those holes puts us in a better spot right now than we were a couple weeks ago.”

Jun 29, 2021; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; San Diego Padres left fielder Tommy Pham (28) hits a single against the Cincinnati Reds during the seventh inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Since the trade with the Mariners, the Reds added about $25 million in payroll. Most of the additions gave the Reds replacements for players they lost over the offseason.

“We talked to Pham off-and-on once we traded Winker and had to fill a hole in the outfield,” Krall said. “We contacted (Pham) and worked through the deal.”

While the Reds lost three former All-Stars this offseason, Krall pointed toward the bigger picture. Here's how the Reds moves look from that perspective.

At the start of spring training, the Reds had Sonny Gray as a consistent, veteran pitcher in the rotation. Gray pitched at a higher level than new Reds starter Mike Minor in 2020 and 2021. Minor is currently dealing with a shoulder injury, and he could miss time at the start of the season. When he returns, the Reds are counting on his experience and his potential that could come from working with pitching coach Derek Johnson.

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jake Fraley (27) hits a single during a spring training game against the Chicago Cubs, Monday, March 21, 2022, at Sloan Park in Mesa, Ariz.

While the Reds replaced Gray with Minor, they added 2021 first round pick Chase Petty into the farm system. According to MLB Pipeline, Petty slots in as the Reds No. 7 prospect, and he's their only top-10 pitching prospect at the low levels of the minors.

It was a similar train of thought in the outfield. Entering spring training, the Reds had Jesse Winker, Nick Senzel and Tyler Naquin projected to start in the outfield with Mike Moustakas as the expected designated hitter. Now, the Reds have Pham, Senzel, Naquin and Jake Fraley, who the Reds acquired in the deal with the Mariners.

The Reds also added infielders Donovan Solano and Colin Moran, who could platoon at designated hitter, and veteran reliever Hunter Strickland.

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The new Reds outfield isn’t expected to hit as well as the old Reds outfield. But the Reds added depth and platoon options plus a top-100 prospect in starting pitcher Brandon Williamson, who was the centerpiece of the Mariners trade.

For those reasons, Krall said he believes the Reds took a step forward this offseason.

Cincinnati Reds non-roster invitee pitcher Brandon Williamson (96) delivers during a bullpen session, Wednesday, March 16, 2022, at the baseball team's spring training facility in Goodyear, Ariz.

“Getting players like Brandon Williamson, Jake Fraley, (starting pitcher) Justin Dunn whenever he’s back (from a shoulder injury), Mike Minor and Chase Petty, that allows us to continue to grow,” Krall said. “It lets us continue to grow with a young core. We continued to add prospects that give us players that we can grow into long term.”

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Reds GM Nick Krall explains Tommy Pham, offseason strategy