Really good stuff here from The Ringer's Michael Bauman...
The cumulative effect of these deals is evidently comparable to signing Machado and promoting multiple top prospects, at least according to PECOTA in 2019. And even then, it might not be enough to get the Reds back to the postseason. Cincinnati is, after all, in a division with the Brewers and Cubs, who had the two best records in the NL last year, as well as the Cardinals, who won 88 games, added Paul Goldschmidt, and will probably get more than the 122 2/3 combined innings they got from Alex Reyes and Carlos Martínez in 2018. Even the Pirates figure to be close to a .500 team this year. And this Reds team, while formidable, is far from perfect—they still lack a true no. 1 starter, and their defense is going to be problematic in spots.
But even if they fall short of the playoffs, the Reds are more relevant and interesting now than they’ve been in five years. In an age when the so-called “smart” teams are thinking about controlling costs years in advance, the Reds bucked the system and made a series of savvy short-term investments to return to relevance in the course of one offseason. What the Reds did this winter represents an almost cheekily nonconformist approach to team construction in this day and age, and whatever happens to them in 2019, it’ll be fascinating to see how this experiment plays out.
Read: The Reds’ Nonconformist Rebuild Is One of Baseball’s Coolest Experiments