This is the most pivotal offseason for the Cincinnati Reds in the last decade. Moves need to be made, trades need to be had, and improvement from outside help must come, should any hope of improvement come. The free agent picture is coming into focus, and there are a lot of intriguing option that Cincinnati should kick the tires on, outside of who’d you expect.
A lot of fans, myself included, really are hoping for some way that Dallas Keuchel agrees to pitch for the Reds. Patrick Corbin, Clayton Kershaw, and guys like that have been thrown around as wishful targets. Lets take a look at five other candidates who could offer immediate improvement that haven’t been constantly talked about, in no particular order.
Trevor Cahill – He’ll be 31 this next season, but he fits the mold of a solid number four starter. Cahill’s career ERA is 4.08, but last season he pitched to a 3.76 clip. In 110 innings pitched, he struck out 100 and kept his WHIP at 1.19. Most importantly, for a Reds staff looking to not give up as many home runs, Cahill allowed just eight. At $1.5 million for last year, he was a bargain for the thrifty Oakland Athletics, which should make him more than affordable for 2019. The only bit of concern, which should keep him cheap, is his home-road splits from last year. He had a 1.84 ERA in 11 starts at Oakland Coliseum, but a 6.41 mark in nine starts, anywhere else. Maybe not a target, out of the gate, but he should be on the Reds’ radar.
Charlie Morton – That other pitcher that is becoming a free agent after pitching with the Astros a bit, Morton I no longer a kid Pirate at 34 but has reinvented himself with fantastic results. He was an All Star, last season, going 15-3 in 30 starts. He compiled a 3.13 ERA in 167 innings while piling up a career-best 201 strikeouts. In fact, his wins, ERA, strikeouts, starts, and 1.16 WHIP were all career bests. He wont be quite as affordable as Cahill, but he will be a better option and not too expensive, relatively speaking. The biggest question will be if he actually is available. He’s contemplated retiring, but also said he wants to remain an Astro.
Nathan Eovaldi – He’ll be 29, next season, and he’s coming off a year of improvement. He pitched well for the world champs and may end up staying there, but if he’s available, he’s exactly the kind of guy who could be a number three starter for the Reds. He averaged 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings and five strikeouts per walk. His command was strong, keeping his walks per nine at 1.6, a much-needed trait for Reds pitching in 2019. He made just $2 million last year, and may be due for a raise, but I don’t think it will be a monumental jump. He was hitting a high number on the rdar gun, in the World Series, which may draw attention from other clubs, but the Reds should not be dissuaded by competition to get their guy.
Adam Ottavino – This one is ambitious. He’s going to be highly coveted, and he’s got a bit of a tender shoulder, but he has been one of the best late-inning right handers in the game, the last two years. He’s going to command some money, but this will give the Reds depth in the bullpen and help them maintain their strength, throughout 2019. David Hernandez and Jared Hughes were phenomenal finds for the front office, last year, and will factor into 2019. But their usage really seemed to weigh them down, toward the end of 2018. If you have a healthy Michael Lorenzen and a man who has a 3.36 ERA over the last three years helping bolster the offerings outside of Raisel Iglesias, that would be one of the best bullpens in the league.
Tyson Ross – More of a flyer than bonafide game changer (though he could still be that), Ross finished the season a Cardinal, in 2018, and pitched 26+ innings with a sub 3.00 ERA, mostly in relief. He could be a candidate to push the kids for the fifth starting spot, and may even be available closer to spring training. He’d be a decent fallback option with little risk as he only garnered 41.75 million last season.
Keep it tuned to Locked on Reds throughout the offseason for plenty of coverage and thought-provoking content. Okay, well, there will be news, anyway.
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Should the Reds Sign or Trade Puig?
With the way he has struggled, and the Reds’ current pace, we may see Puig on the move before the trade deadline.
Yasiel Puig gave this team energy in December. The Cincinnati Reds haven’t had excitement in December in years. Acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Dodgers, Puig came to town with a lot of buzz. You may remember him parading around town posting on social media about how much he loved Cincinnati and how excited he was to be a Red. I was thrilled. The talks of 30+ home runs and reaping the benefits of GABP had many fans following the Reds once again. Fast forward to mid- June and no one is too excited about the .213 hitter. The Reds’ chances at making the playoffs seems slim and it might be time to move some rentals. With an expiring contract the question is this: should the Reds look to trade Puig at the deadline?
One thing we all know about Puig is that he’s an emotional player and a big personality. This season, hitting and getting on base has been a struggle for the Wild Horse. A .213 average and a *squints* .256 on-base percentage are awful. 62 K’s to 13 walks is not pretty, either. Sitting at a -0.3 WAR you wonder what’s going on. 11 home runs and 9 stolen bases are positives. He has a strong arm in the outfield as well. While a walk off hit and “I am going to fight an entire Pirates’ team” were memorable moments of the season and, fun as hell, I am not sure if he’ll have a chance to make many more moments like these. So what teams are looking for a corner outfielder who is struggling and is maybe “a bit too much of a personality” for some? That might be the problem. The first corner outfielder off the market was Jay Bruce (name sounds familiar) to the Phillies. The amount of contending teams needing a corner outfield bat is not high and honestly there are simply better options available.
On paper, you would not see a larger return for a player with his stats. Look at his track record, a career .273 hitter that is no doubt a talented player. It might take an injury on a contending team to get his value up. A trade of “we lost a player and need to replace him” not a “let’s see if we can upgrade from our current player” type of trade. When the Reds traded Bruce to the Mets they took a flyer on an injured former high prospect Dilson Herrera. Sometimes taking a flyer on a prospect who might need a change of scenery can pay off big time. Someone did mention they could trade him and try to sign him back in the offseason. While true, I think the Reds would not trade him if they plan to sign him to an extension.
Signing Puig to an extension would pretty much set the outfield for a few years. Winker, Senzel (assuming he stays there), Puig. But with Taylor Trammell approaching quickly where would that put him? Ervin, Schebler, Sirri, Siani, and others could play a role in the future. Puig is not going to be cheap, either. What he does from here on out will give us a better idea but at only 28 years old he has many years left in him. Plenty of expiring contracts will need to be resigned and, well, the Reds don’t have Yankees-type money.
The trade deadline is coming soon and the Reds making the playoffs is very unlikely. Look for the front office to move some players for prospects and for Puig to be a prominently rumored player on the move.
Locked On Reds – 6/13/2019 Reds Split with Indians
Thursday’s episode is up!
Scooter Get Off The Pot
Scooter Gennett is a dude who will be hard to say goodbye to. The team’s current makeup, however, makes it seem that is coming, sooner rather than later.
Jeff has brought up a lot of talk about who we as fans would hate to see get traded this year. For me there is only one answer. Scooter Gennett.
Without a doubt it has to be him. While I completely understand if they do from a financial and bigger picture stand point, it will eat my soul. I haven’t seen a Cincinnati native this well liked since Barry Larkin.
Everything about him including his name screams a Cincinnati Reds ballplayer. You can see it in his play, character, leadership, and communication that this guy LOVES playing for his home town team. The man is already a Reds legend after smacking 4 home runs in a game. A game that, by sheer luck, I was able to witness. It was, by far, the best moment I have ever witnessed in person at GABP. He put up the best numbers of his career in 2017 only to follow it up with a better season as an All Star in 2018.
Scooter has made it clear he would like to remain a Red and loves this organization. I was really hoping the Reds would extend him to a short term deal last season after an incredible season that almost saw him win a batting title. I even tried starting the #ScooterGetOffThePot trend. Instead, like many things in recent memory with this team, good things go wrong quickly. He suffered the worst injury of his career with a severe strained groin.
Making the case for extending him even more difficult has been the off-the-wall performance by Derek Dietrich. Another free agent find who has been as wildly entertaining and likable. Dietrich has already made himself the face of the team this year with his kid like swagger for the game. Dietrich was just named second basemen of the month of May by the MLB. Per Stats by STATS Dietrich played in 55 games with a .706 slugging percentage. The only other player in baseball history to match that in there first 55 game with an organization was a HOF 2B Rogers Hornsby. The Reds also have control of Dietrich’s contract next season being an arbitration year. If you remove Dietrich from the equation it’s not any better.
Jose Iglesias is a must start for this team, currently, at shortstop. Iglesias is the best defensive infielder the team has had since Brandon Phillips. Iglesias also currently holds the highest batting average on the team nearly two months into the season. Meaning Jose Peraza has no place left to play but filling in for guys on their day off. Peraza also seems like a guy that, come next season, will more than likely be the starting shortstop simply because of his age and salary.
The Reds have their current center fielder, Nick Senzel, who has been the spark to this offense since coming up to the big leagues. The Reds have averaged nearly 2 more runs a game since Senzel has been playing for the team. Senzel definently stands a chance to be Rookie of the Year. Most importantly he seems to a guaranteed core player of this team’s foreseeable future. Senzel is a player who could, hypothetically, be the Reds starting second baseman for 2020. Plus they have Johnathan India, last year’s first round pick, quickly making his way up through the minors. He could potentially take that spot if not next season the following year.
None of this leads me to believe Scooter will be playing for this team next year. He is the perfect trading chip if they are looking to have a sale at the trade deadline or add a missing piece as well. I think what I enjoy about Scooter Gennett most is his GRIT. There is no denying the dude has GRIT. Something many of the players on this team currently do not have. More than anything that is why I will hate if he is traded.