Byrd, DeSclafani look to help fill Reds' holes

New faces join outfield, pitching staff; Suarez may challenge at short

Byrd, DeSclafani look to help fill Reds' holes

CINCINNATI -- In the days leading up to the start of Reds Spring Training on Feb. 18, is previewing and examining different areas of the club. Part one covered returning players that need to have rebound seasons. For part two, we take a look at some of the key new players on the team.

When the Reds headed into the offseason, general manager Walt Jocketty and manager Bryan Price felt confident the club could still contend, if the main returning players like Joey Votto and Jay Bruce came back from down years and had strong 2015 seasons. But there was also a hole to fill in left field and upgrades needed in the bullpen and on the bench. An overriding issue to all was to keep the team's payroll within its budget, even if it meant parting with some talent.

The transactions the Reds made the past few months reflected all of the above. Here is a closer look at the new players acquired for this season:

LF Marlon Byrd: Acquired from the Phillies in a Dec. 31 trade for starting-pitcher prospect Ben Lively, Byrd is expected to bring much-needed offense. Although 37, he's coming off two of the best seasons of his career with 24 home runs and 88 RBIs in 2013 and a career-best 25 homers and 85 RBIs last season. Reds left fielders Ryan Ludwick, Chris Heisey and Skip Schumaker hit 19 homers, combined, in 2014. Byrd, who reportedly is getting half of his $8 million salary covered by Philadelphia, is only signed through this season but has a vesting option for 2016. In theory, he could be the bridge to No. 2 prospect Jesse Winker, who could be ready for the Majors next year.

RHP Anthony DeSclafani: One of two young players acquired from the Marlins in the trade for pitcher Mat Latos during the Winter Meetings, DeSclafani is viewed as a leading candidate for one of the two open rotation spots. He began last year in Double-A before reaching the Majors and is considered to have a solid three-pitch mix. ranked DeSclafani as the Reds organization's No. 5 prospect.

Pair of Reds prospects on cusp

SS Eugenio Suarez: Although Zack Cozart remains the regular shortstop incumbent, he could be pushed some this spring by Suarez. Acquired from the Tigers in the Alfredo Simon trade Dec. 11, Suarez had a track record of hitting well in the Minors before debuting with Detroit last season. His glove and range does not stack up to that of Cozart. But Jocketty made it clear earlier this winter Cozart needed to hit better to keep his starting spot or Suarez could potentially step in.

RHP Raisel Iglesias: Easily the most intriguing player in camp, Iglesias defected from Cuba last summer and was signed by Cincinnati for $32 million over seven years. After spending an interim time in Haiti waiting for his visa, he didn't pitch last year until the Arizona Fall League. In his seven games, he worked seven scoreless innings with one hit, three walks and seven strikeouts. The club would likely prefer Iglesias to get some time in Triple-A first, but an excellent camp could make him a candidate for a rotation or bullpen spot in the Majors.

Iglesias' solid relief outing

RHP Burke Badenhop: A late free-agent signing Feb. 7, Badenhop inked a one-year, $1 million contract with a $4 million mutual option for 2016. Although on his fourth team in as many years, he's posted solid numbers including a 2.29 ERA in 70 appearances last season for the Red Sox. This could be a good bargain addition for a Reds bullpen that had the second-highest ERA in the National League in 2014. A good fit for Cincinnati's small home ballpark, Badenhop allowed only one homer in 2014 and had a 61 percent ground-ball rate.

RHP Jason Marquis: Marquis was signed to a Minor League deal Jan. 21 to compete for a rotation spot as a non-roster invitee. The veteran starter did not pitch in the big leagues in 2014, after coming off Tommy John surgery on his elbow in the summer of 2013. In the Phillies organization last year, he posted a 4.18 ERA over nine games and 51 2/3 innings (including eight starts at Triple-A) before he was released Aug. 31.

LHP Paul Maholm: Also signed to a Minor League deal Feb. 1 with an invite to big league camp, Maholm was a swingman last season for the Dodgers. He was 1-5 with a 4.84 ERA in 30 games in 2014, including eight starts. He will be bouncing back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee that required season-ending surgery in August.

Maholm's strong start

RHP Kevin Gregg: Another late non-roster addition, Gregg is a former closer who saved 33 games as recently as 2013 for the Cubs. Last year, he was limited to nine innings with the Marlins and allowed 10 earned runs before having bone chips removed from his right elbow in August.

OF Brennan Boesch: A left-handed hitter who struggled in the Majors the last three seasons, Boesch could be a power option for a Reds bench that currently lacks big hitters. His best year was with the Tigers in 2011 when he batted .283/.341/.458 with 16 homers and 54 RBIs. Boesch will be in camp as a non-roster player.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.