Where are the Reds Really at Heading into 2017?

The Cincinnati Reds continue to be a team stuck in the rebuilding process and keep looking for ways to not only improve the team prior to 2017, but in the long term future as well. That entire process begins with things such as the International and Amateur Drafts as well as trading veteran pieces for prospects in return, however, where are the Reds at as of today?

So far this winter, things have been extremely quiet in The Queen City with only a few minor signings and some rumors. Earlier this month, Cincinnati signed free agent, right-handed pitcher, Drew Storen, to a one-year deal and there were also reports that second baseman, Brandon Phillips, once again exercised his no-trade clause and blocked a trade to the Atlanta Braves. Phillips did the same thing last winter with both the Arizona Diamondbacks and Washington Nationals and is said to absolutely love the city, the fans, and everything else that goes into playing at Great American Ballpark.

Last season, the Reds finished in last place in the NL Central with a record of 68-94. In 2015, they also finished last with a 64-98 record proceeding a 76-86 record in 2014 which put them 4th in the division. The last winning season that the Reds had occurred in 2013 under the direction of current Nationals manager, Dusty Baker, who helped the team finish with a 90-72 record.

With that being said, the Reds are going into 2017 with virtually the same team in place and the same merky outlook that they had last winter. While there has certainly been chatter about possible trades involving the aforementioned, Brandon Phillips, along with shortstop, Zack Cozart, and catcher, Tucker Barnhart, nothing has come to fruition.

Going into 2017, the Reds biggest need remains pitching both in their starting rotation as well as the bullpen. Last year, Cincinnati's starting rotation finished 25th in the league with a cumulative ERA of 4.79 in 859.0 IP, while the bullpen was atrocious finishing just ahead of the Colorado Rockies with a 5.09 ERA in 583.0 IP.

Although those aren't the best numbers, not all things are merky when it comes to the Reds rotation especially when it comes to 26-year old, Anthony DeSclafani. DeSclafani is currently slated to be the team's ace this upcoming season and has been a hot ticket on the trade market as teams like the Texas Rangers expressed interest in him last July and at the Winter Meetings. DeSclafani has a 3.99 ERA in 341.0 IP so far in three seasons at the major league level in which he has recorded 282 strikeouts and surrendered 37 home runs along with 90 walks.

On the bullpen side of things, the biggest bright spot over the past three seasons is 32-year old, Jumbo Diaz. Diaz has pitched to the tune of a 3.65 ERA in 138.0 IP over that span, but has been up and down between the big leagues and Triple-A several times in that period.

While the pitching department is certainly in need of some fine tuning, Cincinnati's biggest bright spot right now lies in it's offense headlined by fan favorites, Joey Votto, Billy Hamilton, and Brandon Phillips, long-time shortstop, Zack Cozart, along with youngsters like Tucker Barnhart, Eugenio Suarez, and Adam Duvall.

Last year, Adam Duvall, came out of the cage swinging leading the team with 33 home runs and 103 RBI and participated in the Home Run Derby at Petco Park. In addition, Joey Votto finished the year with a .985 OPS, Billy Hamilton had 58 stolen bases on the year, and Eugenio Suarez led the team with 51 walks in 565 at bats.

All in all, as the 2017 season approaches, the Cincinnati Reds are virtually in the same position that they were heading into last season, but do have a nice offensive core in place along with a starting rotation headlined by, Anthony DeSclafani, who will only continue to get better.

For now, the Reds need to have a strong International and Amateur Draft this season and continue to work with what they have, while possibly fielding offers for veteran players at the trade deadline. Things are bound to get better for the Reds sooner than later.