The trade market is rife with starting pitching talent — much more so than in recent years. For a Cincinnati team desperate to improve its rotation, this is welcome news.

The free-agent market for starters is fairly top-heavy, giving the Reds a lot of competition to overcome to sign a big name such as Patrick Corbin or Dallas Keuchel. Cincinnati doesn’t have the payroll to compete with some of the other organizations. Where the Reds do have an advantage is in their deep farm system. That means Dick Williams, Nick Krall, and company may turn to wheeling and dealing to improve their roster.

In the latest edition of the Fixing the Rotation series, it’s time to take a look at the trade targets reportedly available for the Reds to pursue. Some notes to keep in mind as you read:

  • These are all pitchers reported to be available via trade. No wild speculating or fantasizing about pitchers that aren’t even a possibility.
  • The age listed is how old the pitcher will be at the start of the 2019 season.
  • The free agent year is listed just the way you’d find it on Baseball Reference or Fangraphs—2020 means the pitcher’s contract expires after the 2019 season, 2021 means their contract expires after the 2020 season, etc.
  • Earliest possible free agent year is listed. Option years will be noted.

(Also: if you missed it, check out parts one, two, and three of the free agent pitching series.)

Noah Syndergaard

Why the Reds should make the move: Thor is the crown jewel of the starting pitching trade market. No starting pitcher averages more velocity on their fastball (97.6 mph). Among starting pitchers who threw each respective pitch 300 or more times last year, no one has a faster slider (92.0 mph) or changeup (90.3 mph), either. Unsurprisingly, he’s incredibly tough to hit — both his slider and changeup rank in the top five among starters in whiff rate. Those traits alone make him extremely valuable. But his age and team control take his value to the next level. If the Reds acquired Syndergaard, they’d have him for three full seasons before he becomes a free agent. Even better: he’s only projected to earn $5.9 million in arbitration this offseason. If the team doesn’t compete for an NL Central title in 2019, they’d still have him for two more years afterward as it heads into a more realistic window of contention.

Why the Reds should stay away: Crown jewels ain’t cheap. He’ll cost a boatload if the Reds are going to pry him away from Queens. The New York Post’s Joel Sherman reports the Mets want both MLB-ready prospects and players to boost the farm system in return. Translation: it’d be a steal if the Reds get Syndergaard for anything less than Nick Senzel and then some. The price may drop as the market develops, but the Mets are undoubtedly asking for a top-10 prospect in the game. Syndergaard also comes with an injury history, although it’s hard to find many pitchers who don’t have one at this point. He made only seven starts in 2017 due to a torn lat and missed a month-and-a-half of the 2018 season due to a strained ligament in his right index finger.

Zack Greinke

Why the Reds should make the move: Few pitchers have been as durable as Greinke in the last decade. Fewer pitchers have carried this level of success into their mid-30s. Since 2008, he’s only failed to throw 200 or more innings three times (’11, ’13, and ’16). Following a rough start to his career in the desert, the last two years have been some of his best at ages 33 and 34. The right-hander still strikes out hitters at an above-average rate and is consistently in the top 10 leaders in chase rate thanks to his highly effective changeup, slider, and curveball combo. Moreover, he has always been one of the best control pitchers in the game — only 10 active pitchers have a lower walk rate since 2008. Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported the Reds have already shown some interest in Greinke.

Why the Reds should stay away: The contract is the biggest reason for pause with Greinke. He’s still owed $104 million over the final three years of the mammoth deal he signed with the Diamondbacks before the 2016 season. Arizona could include some money to ease the burden on the Reds’ payroll, but taking on such a large contract would hinder the team’s flexibility to sign more help. The length of the contract also means there’s no pressing urge for the D-Backs to deal him unless they get an offer they can’t refuse. Age is another concern for Greinke, even if it hasn’t slowed him down much to this point. He turned 35 in October and will be 38 when the deal expires. Some signs of age have already showed in the form of a velocity dip. Greinke also has a no-trade clause for 15 teams, and the Reds are on that list; he only comes to the Queen City if he wants to.

Trevor Bauer

Why the Reds should make the move: Bauer has many of the appealing qualities of Syndergaad, minus the extra year of control. Namely, he’s still young and at the peak of his career. While he is eligible for arbitration and projects to earn $11.6 million in 2019, that’s a bargain compared to his FanGraphs projected value of $49 million in 2018. He’s always had sky-high potential and finally busted through with the best season of his big-league career in 2018, finishing sixth in AL Cy Young voting. He very well could’ve won the award had he not missed time due to a stress fracture in his fibula. Bauer has finally learned to convert his electric stuff into his performance on the field, seeing his strikeout rate rise from mediocre (20.7%) in 2016 to elite in the last two years while reducing his once-alarming walk rate.

Why the Reds should stay away: When a player has a breakout season, the biggest question is always about whether they can replicate it. Bauer still owns a career 3.94 ERA, 3.82 FIP, and 3.92 xFIP. This was his first season with an ERA below 4.00. His whiff rate jumped from 9.2% in 2017 to 13.3%. Those are huge jumps to try to maintain, and it’s probably not reasonable to expect a 2.21 ERA moving forward. Bauer will also cost a lot in return, as the Indians are looking for both outfield and bullpen help; that could leave Taylor Trammell and Raisel Iglesias as their targets. Finally, Bauer has an outspoken social media presence. Most recently, he stated he was better than teammate Corey Kluber in 2018 and seemingly faulted manager Terry Francona for not using him in the postseason. It’s possible he was joking in both cases, but this stuff does raise some red flags. Even if the perceptions about his loyalty as a teammate are off base, this could give the Reds hesitation about introducing him to their clubhouse.

Corey Kluber

Why the Reds should make the move: It’s not often a two-time Cy Young winner becomes available in his prime. Kluber leads all pitchers in fWAR (31.0) since the 2014 season, in large part because he rarely misses a start. He’s thrown over 200 innings in each of those years and failed to reach 30 starts only once — and even then he still got to 29. Only three pitchers best him in ERA, xFIP, and SIERA over that time; only four are better in FIP. Kluber is also one of the foremost strikeout artists of this generation (28.5 K% since 2014) and rarely walks a batter (5.2 BB%). The Reds would get the ace for multiple years, too. Kluber can become a free agent as early as the 2019 offseason, but he has two team option years that could make him a Red through 2021, well into the years the club expects to start seriously competing for NL Central and World Series titles.

Why the Reds should stay away: Cleveland is trying to dump salary, but it still has the pieces to compete. That means they’ll look for prospects who are close to MLB-ready in return. That would put Senzel and perhaps Jesse Winker on the table as a return from the Reds. Trammell, who should see time in Double-A this season, and Tony Santillan, who should begin the year in Triple-A, could also be targets for the Indians. That’s a lofty price to pay for a pitcher in his mid-30s, even one as gifted as Kluber. While there’s no reason to think a decline is imminent, how long can the Reds reasonably expect him to continue pitching at an ace level? Cost is also a major factor. As one would assume by the fact that the Indians are shedding payroll, Kluber has a hefty contract. He’s owed $17 million in 2019 and his two option years are worth $17.5 million and $18 million, respectively.

Carlos Carrasco

Why the Reds should make the move: Carrasco has a team-friendly deal and two years left on his contract, the latter of which is a team option. As one of the most underrated pitchers in the game for the last several seasons, he’s earning far less than he would on the open market. He’s owed $9.75 million in 2019, and his 2020 option is $9.5 million. Carrasco’s performance over the last two seasons has been worth a combined $86.9 million, according to FanGraphs. The right-hander finished fourth in Cy Young voting in 2017 and had an even better year in 2018, though he was bizarrely left off of all ballots. Only Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin had a higher whiff rate than Carrasco (15.3%) among starters last season. Over the last two years, Carrasco ranks in the top 10 in the following categories: strikeout rate, walk rate, FIP, xFIP, and SIERA. Long story short: he’s a bargain at his current contract even if he does decline slightly.

Why the Reds should stay away: The Indians know Carrasco is a bargain, and they aren’t just going to give him away. The asking price is “high” for both him and Kluber, according to Morosi. If the Indians expect a smaller return for Carrasco than they do for Kluber, it won’t be by much. Hunter Greene, Trammell, Tony Santillan, and Jonathan India will likely all come up in any trade conversations. That’s even if talks get that far. The Indians may try to maximize Carrasco’s value even futher, as Ken Rosenthal reports the Indians are discussing an extension with Carrasco that would take him off the table. From a performance standpoint, Carrasco did experience a small dip in fastball velocity in 2018. His heater fell from 94.4 mph in average speed to 93.8 mph, and his hard contact rate spiked along with it. Only nine pitchers with at least 300 batted balls allowed gave up a higher average exit velocity (89.1 mph).

Madison Bumgarner

Why the Reds should make the move: Practically since the day of his debut, Bumgarner has had no trouble getting big-league hitters out. He’s never had an ERA less than 3.37 in a season. The man also has an undeniable competitive spirit, winning the 2014 World Series MVP as he practically willed the Giants to victory. He’s not the pitcher he was two years ago, but Bumgarner is still a dependable arm when healthy. That said, a decline in his dominance brings his price down to a potentially more affordable level. San Francisco reportedly wants young pitching in the trade — could the Reds possibly acquire Bumgarner without giving up Greene? That would’ve been unthinkable even a year ago; now, it seems more plausible. MadBum is owed $12 million, a reasonable value for the Reds as long as he maintains decent peripherals.

Why the Reds should stay away: Bumgarner comes with a history of success but a lot of risks. He’s a one-year rental coming off back-to-back injury-laden seasons. Granted, the injuries were freak accidents — one coming off the field in an ATV accident and the other coming when he was hit by a line drive — but the fact is he’s only made 38 starts the last two years and the strength of his left shoulder is a concern. On the mound, his performance has remained strong, but the peripherals have dipped considerably. His strikeout rate dropped for the second straight year — down from 27.5% in 2016 — and his walk rate, while still above average, was the worst of his career. It’s reasonable to assume he wasn’t 100% healthy, but can the Reds take that risk when they’d only get him for one season?

Mike Leake

Why the Reds should make the move: If the Reds want an innings eater, they could bring back an old friend. Leake hasn’t had the same success on the mound since leaving Cincinnati, bouncing between three teams and posting an ERA of 4.32 over the last three seasons. However, his peripherals are still strong (3.96 FIP, 3.94 xFIP) as he’s gone from a solid control pitcher to an elite one. Josh Tomlin and Clayton Kershaw are the only two pitchers with a lower walk rate than Leake (4.4%) since 2016. The team can also count on him to toe the rubber every five days. He’s made more than 30 starts in seven consecutive seasons and is 11th among 329 qualified pitchers in innings pitched since 2012. His lack of flashy stuff means the Reds could acquire him from the Mariners without giving up a top prospect, and they would control him for as many as three years if both sides agree to pick up his mutual option in 2021.

Why the Reds should stay away: Leake, while dependable and durable, has never become more than a No. 4 or 5 starter. He’s not quite the splash the Reds are probably looking to make in the pitching market unless he’s the second piece acquired after one of the bigger names on this list or in free agency. The M.O. hasn’t changed for Leake since leaving Cincinnati. He still doesn’t strike out many batters, and that means he has to rely heavily on his defense — a major weakness for the Reds that won’t get any better after the departure of Billy Hamilton. The Reds’ defense up the middle, in particular, has only gotten worse since Leake was traded in 2015, with Scooter Gennett and Jose Peraza being a huge step down from the days of Brandon Phillips and Zack Cozart. Making matters worse is his propensity for giving up hard contact. Among all pitchers with a minimum of 300 batted balls allowed in 2018, Leake had the third-highest average exit velocity (89.6 mph).

Sonny Gray

Why the Reds should make the move: Just two summers ago, Gray was one of the most discussed names on the trade market. Now, his stock has plummeted, and the Reds could acquire him for pennies on the dollar compared to what the Yankees gave up for him in July 2017. Even better, New York general manager Brian Cashman is seemingly desperate to get rid of Gray, which could devalue him further in the trade market. The 2018 stats are ugly, but he still has good numbers for his career (3.66 ERA, 3.74 FIP, 3.71 xFIP) and had solid, if unspectacular, peripherals in 2018. The ability to keep the ball on the ground is the most appealing part of Gray’s game for the Reds. Among active pitchers, he has the seventh-best ground-ball rate (53.2%) in baseball since 2013.

Why the Reds should stay away: Gray’s talent has never been disputed. Nevertheless, he hasn’t put it all together consistently on a year-in, year-out basis. His first and likely only full season in the Bronx was a disaster, as the hitter-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium did not treat him kindly (6.98 ERA, 5.98 FIP, 5.10 xFIP). Would he fare any better in another pitcher-friendly park in Cincinnati with a shaky defense behind him? Even at his best, Gray isn’t a dominant arm. He misses enough bats to get by (20.9% career K%, 9.7% SwStr%), but his stuff isn’t dominant. Gray also gets erratic at times, and his walk rate has increased in each of the last three seasons. Finally, he’s another one-year rental and likely doesn’t move the needle enough to make the Reds contenders in 2019 if he’s the best arm acquired.

Marcus Stroman

Why the Reds should make the move: Coming off one of his worst seasons, Stroman’s value is nowhere near as high as it was last offseason. While that could be a reason for the Blue Jays to hold onto him, the team is also entering a potential rebuild and needs to stockpile younger assets. His stock drops a little further in what could be a busy trade market full of other options. When looking at the peripherals, though, you see a pitcher who has a chance to rebound moving forward. The number one reason: Stroman is arguably the best ground-ball starting pitcher in baseball — yes, even better than Dallas Keuchel. Stroman has a ground-ball rate north of 60% in each of the last four seasons, tops among all starting pitchers. The Reds, who are already reportedly interested, would control him for the next two seasons, and his projected salary of $7.2 million in 2019 is more than reasonable, further adding to his appeal.

Why the Reds should stay away: In many ways, Stroman is similar to Gray. The talent is there, but he’s been saddled with inconsistent performance. Although he missed a ton of bats in the minor leagues (28.6 K%), he hasn’t translated that to the majors in his five seasons to date (career 19.3 K%, 9.3 SwStr%). The bases on balls are headed in the wrong direction, too; his walk rate has increased in each season since 2015. The down year in 2018 can be tied to injuries, which both gives hope for a bounce-back and causes some concern for the future. Shoulder fatigue and blisters held him to 19 starts last season. A blister is one thing — pitchers get them from time to time (or all the time if you’re Rich Hill) — but the shoulder trouble creates some unease. As mentioned with the other ground-ball pitchers without strikeout stuff, the Reds’ suspect infield defense could also lead to problems for Stroman.

Who do you think the Reds should target? What should they be willing to give up? Should they explore the trade market at all?

 

Photo Credit: Arturo Pardavila III

Growing up just north of Cincinnati, Matt has been a Reds fan for as long as he can remember. As a kid, he was often found leading the Reds to 162-0 seasons in MVP Baseball 2005 and imitating his favorite players (Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Sean Casey, and Austin Kearns) in the backyard. One of his earliest baseball memories is attending the final night game at Cinergy Field. Matt is also a graduate of The Ohio State University and currently lives in the Dayton area. Follow him on Twitter at @_MattWilkes.

Join the conversation! 93 Comments

  1. 1.. NO to any pitcher with 1 year left. Need at least 2 if not 3 before I would consider it.
    2. I doubt the Mets want to trade Thor, but I would love him.
    3. Zack, is too pricey, unless they take at least 30 – 40 Mil of his salary I say no.
    4. Leake is no better then the dark night, and much higher in price. (no).
    5. Depending on price Kluber or Carlos would be where I would go.
    I would probably have to lose Nick or Hunter, but not both (do not want to trade Santillan at all.

    Not sure what else is out there.nice analysis Matt.

    Reply
    • Greinke also has Reds on his no-trade list. so even if Arizona paid down some of his salary, Reds would likely have to add a year or two to Greinke contract to get him to waive his no-trade.

      Reply
    • Agree on the one year guys. The only way the Refs should be trading for guys with one year of control is if Bailey is going back in return.

      If the Reds become an 86 win team in 2019, then you consider a guy with one year of control

      Reply
  2. Good rundown. Always a plus/minus with each player. There will be some movement … but the waiting is “killing” me.

    Reply
  3. I’d target Alex Cobb as a mid to back of the rotation trade target. He has 3 years/$43M left on his contract but if you could get the O’s to pick up a lot of that or maybe take Homer’s contract, it starts looking better. I think getting out of the AL and especially the AL East would benefit him, and he looked better in the second half last year. The prospects required wouldn’t be too great most likely depending on how much cash the O’s provide.

    Reply
  4. Pet peeve: Over the course of his career, Mike Leake has been amazingly, consistently average. And yet, everyone always says he’s a 4-5. Nope. He’s a 3. He’s always been a 3 in terms of quality. It’s just that the Reds had an awesome rotation when he was with them. But average starters are – by definition – number three starters.

    Reply
    • Based on his ERA (4.36), and his contract 16 and 18 mil, I would say no at this time, unless Sea picked up about 6 to 8 mil (total).

      Reply
      • It’s only a deal if Seattle picks up some salary. However, if they do, I’d try to add Leake and one top of the rotation starter, then rely on internal development of talent for the rest.

        Reply
  5. In my mind, the most likely scenario is that the Reds make a bigger splash by overpaying in free agency (Keuchel), they bring back Harvey on an incentive-laden deal and then make a less substantial trade for someone like Leake or Marco Gonzalez. This plan checks all the boxes: [ ] immediately get better in the rotation; [ ] bolster pitching depth; and [ ] maintain the strong farm system.

    I understand that free agents have to want to come to Cincinnati, but I am still in the camp that you maintain your prospect capital until you are both competitive and have identified the missing piece necessary to put you over the top. In my mind, there is no reason for a 68-win team to trade the No. 6 prospect in baseball unless it is an absolute steal (e.g. the Rays agree to send Snell for Senzel straight up).

    Reply
    • Yes, that seems very likely. But after signing Keuchel and Harvey, how much more do they need? They would still have Mahle, Castillo and Desclafani. That’s 5.
      Not sure where or if Homer fits in, and Lorenzen could still be groomed to be a starter.

      The Reds would still have Cody Reed and Bob Stevenson as alternatives, and Keury Mella is right behind them.

      Reply
      • You can never have too much pitching. Given Harvey and Disco’s respective injury histories and Reed/Stephenson’s performance, it would be nice to add a Leake-like compliment to the rotation as well.

        Reply
    • Agree with this 100%

      Reply
    • Swayne:

      I absolutely agree with you on this. Look at first half of 2019 or all of 2019 as the final shakeout of current young players in majors and in minors. Can Shed Long step-up making Gennett or even Senzel less essential or could he become a more valued trade piece? Can Trammell or Siri be ready by end of 2019 to fill CF or RF or become a more valued trade piece? Are Lorenzen, Desclafani and Reed starters or multi-inning reliervers? Sign for one mid-rotation free agent for 2-3 yr deal (Happ/Cahill/Harvey) Trade for another mid rotation arm under 1-3yrs of control(Stroman/Gray/Cobb)that won’t cost you any of your top 5 prospects and see how your young guys continue to develop. Look at how the Phillies yong pitchers developed in their 2nd and 3rd year in league last year.

      Reply
      • There’s this bizarre narrating that Lorenzen is still a starter masquerading as a reliever. He’s barely mediocre with a sub-par strikeout rate and peripherals that say he was worse than his results. If he doesn’t improve greatly next year then there needs to be a discussion where he fits for the future and it sure as heck isn’t the rotation

        Reply
        • I don’t think Lorenzen is a starter. It’s nice to imagine him hitting HRs once a week as a starter and pinch hitting on his off days, but he hasn’t showed anything to make me believe he would be a dominant starter. I do however like him as the relief pitcher who can hit for himself and pitch multiple innings. This prevents the unnecessary pitching changes just to get a pinch hitter at the plate, and also saves that bench player to be used at a later point.

          Reply
          • Yeah he has the ability to be a good reliever but frankly he doesn’t miss many bats at all. His ERA was pretty nice looking but fip was a full run higher and xFip was nearly 5 so he was incredibly lucky.

        • 2 facts about micheal Lorenzen, he got cheated for the P silver slugger, 2 he is not a starter.

          Reply
        • Regarding Lorenzen: Why don’t the Reds make him their CF? I would love to see his bat in the lineup every day. There is plenty of relief pitchers available in free agency this winter, not to mention the Reds starters who may wind up in the bullpen if they are bumped out of the rotation.

          Reply
          • I would love it if they were creative with him and use him in the field occasionally but he’s a long way from being ready to be a regular. Otani is a proof of concept, although he’s a unicorn in his ability to hit like a middle of the order that and pitch like an ace. I wonder what a workload of like 2 3-inning outings out of the pen and 2-3 starts in the field would be like.

  6. Hard to be tempted by anyone on this list not named Thor, though if Trevor Bauer was available for Trammell and Iglesias I’d be tempted. But I’m still strongly in favor of buying pitching rather than trading for it. The Reds have room to spend, even before Bailey and Gennett drop off the payroll to the tune of at least $33M at the end of next year. Keep the top prospects. Sign a top free agent pitcher and trade for or sign a dependable #3 (Leake? Harvey?). Give me Keuchel, Castillo, Leake / Harvey, DeSclafani and Reed and let’s go to battle. Keep Senzel, India, Greene, Trammell and Santillan in the system and its potentially a long window of playoff opportunities.

    Reply
  7. If thor gets moved, and that is a big if for a win now Mets, it wont be to cinci. I like Greinke but the snakes will have to throw money in and take homer off our hands to even things out. Gray would be a cheap rental, expecially if he recovered. The price for any of the Indian pitchers is too high. I Really really like Leake. I like him as the second starter that everyone talks about and while he was the number 5 starter last time around, he would defenatly slot as a number 3 this time around. He could be gotten on the cheap (bobby steve trade). Of the names here I like him the most.

    On a couple side notes, for everyone who ‘the waiting is killing me’ 2 words winter meetings. The second is who is REASONABLY outbound targets for the reds. Like individuals mainly prospects that are tradeworthy, but wont damage the reds by trading them like senzel and trammel. Individuals like Aquino before…(still dont understand that one)

    Reply
    • I Really really like Leake. I like him as the second starter that everyone talks about and while he was the number 5 starter last time around, he would defenatly slot as a number 3 this time around. He could be gotten on the cheap (bobby steve trade). Of the names here I like him the most.

      Really, so the best you want for the Reds is a 31-year-old #3 starter? Surely that will be what finally gets them over the hump! I also think it’s somewhat delusional to believe Seattle will part with him for just Robert Stephenson.

      Reply
      • A package based around Stephenson. Him and two >10 prospects, and its not the only move, just one of them.

        Reply
      • Leake is probably only the 3 starter if he were the only addition. Castillo clearly better and I would buy Disco for a better 2019. At his contract? Definitely no. If that’s where you’re looking then stick with what you have. At least you can dream about a young guy breaking through

        Reply
  8. I’d be willing to part with the back half of our top 10 prospects in separate deals to get both Gray and Stroman. Both are huge bounce back candidates, and would only cost prospects who are either blocked or project to be blocked at the big league level. Something like Shed Long and TJ Friedl for Gray, Jose Siri and Vlad Gutierrez for Stroman.

    Reply
    • Doing a deal like this and then signing a guy like Dallas Keuchel makes the most sense for the Reds IMO.

      Reply
      • After researching all this, I think I’d target Stroman or Leake and sign a free agent unless the Reds can get Syndergaard or Bauer without giving up Senzel, which seems unlikely.

        Reply
    • Grey had a 4.90 last year. If you can get him for back end prospects, yes.

      Reply
  9. In my mind,the only one really worth trading for (talent + age + control yrs) is Thor. Yet, generally I would rather that the Reds trade prospects for a proven, All-Star caliber player in his prime than a pitcher. Why? Because of the risk of injury. High-powered pitchers have a higher-likelihood of going with major injuries. Trade for an everyday in the lineup player, sign a FA. Exception to this very general principle: if you’re already a contender and a trade for a pitcher puts the team over the top (possibly) like a Houston did with Verlander. The Reds are not there yet.

    Reply
  10. Gray would be a good target and it might not take much to get him.
    Stroman seems like a good idea as well.

    The other names would likely take too much to get and would end up with high salaries.

    Obtain some younger quality arms and see if the pitching coach can get them on track.

    Not sure what it would take to get Leake, but, I would rather the Reds do that option than sign Harvey as a free agent.

    Reply
    • I’m definitely in on Gray. He was awful in Yankee Stadium but looking at FanGraphs his repertoire was changed by the Yankees and not for the better. He went from throwing 4 seamers 55% of the time in 2017 and no cutters to 35% 4 seamers and 20% cutters in 18. His cutter was TERRIBLE, easily his worst pitch according to Pitch Values. So get him to another organization (hint: the one with his college pitching coach who will tell him to ditch the cutter) and there ya go

      Reply
  11. There are a few other starting pitchers that have been rumored to be available. The guys I can think of are Jose Urena, Dylan Bundy, Mike Minor, Robbie Ray, and Joey Lucchesi. The guy I really like from this group is Dylan Bundy. He’s a high upside starter with 3 years of control who is badly in need of a change of scenery. The Orioles are going into a full blown rebuild, and it should not cost major pieces to get him. The ground ball rate is low with Bundy, but I would be happy to see the Reds give him a chance. Let Derek Johnson work with him as he gets a change of scenery, and good things could happen. What do you guys think?

    Reply
    • Have to think these options are all on the table too if the Reds aren’t looking to give up top prospects. I ultimately went with the guys that would make a bigger splash or are more proven commodities, but I considered including Bundy on the list too.

      Reply
    • The O’s are my 2nd team (my AL team) and I’ve seen Bundy pitch a lot. I don’t know if he works at GABP and in the NL Central in general. I see him as similar to a couple of our young starters with more data on who he really is as a pitcher. Instead of going for him, I’d give one of our in-house guys more reps.

      Reply
  12. I’m with a lot of you that a pitcher with a one year left is a big N-O. Unless there is a team friendly extension also involved. The old trade and sign type deal.

    Reply
  13. I agree on Stroman and Gray as potential “low cost/gamble” options either in terms of dollars or trade return. But as noted in the article, the Reds would love to have ground ball pitchers and most of the REAL options here, including Keuchel, require solid D if they are going to be effective.

    Unless the Reds have plans to address that MAJOR issue also, none of the SP mentioned make a lot of sense. They HAVE TO address the SS issue also. In GASP, you can get away with a CF with less range, but the same can’t be said for SS & 2B with ground ball pitchers. Sign a decent fielding SS with a little pop(doesn’t have to be a great hitter, but replacing Billy Hamilton in the lineup, he doesn’t have to be!) and work with Peraza in CF with Senzel. In year 2, let Scooter walk, move Senzel to 2B and hopefully Trammel is ready for CF(at least in a platoon situation to start.

    FA SS could be Jose Iglesias for example. A little better hitter than Billy and only 31 errors TOTAL in last 4 years as Detroit’s regular SS. 98.5% F%. Heck even a guy like Jordy Mercer who can hit a little and is a decent fielder – Neither are exciting by any stretch of the imagination, but both are better options at SS than Peraza, and better hitters than Billy.

    Reply
  14. The more I analyze and look at the trade options, the more discouraged I get. I’m just not willing to part with Senzel and possibly other top prospects for 2-3 years of an Ace’s services on a team that still has a lot of starting rotation and positional question marks. Heck, the Reds don’t even know who is going to play CF or who their 3-4 starters are going to be.

    We give up Senzel and another great prospect for a guy like Kluber….great, then what?

    The Reds have spent YEARS building up the farm system and we are willing to throw it all away for an ace that can anchor a 95 loss team?

    Teams make these kinds of trades when they need a singular piece to contend for a World Series. The Reds aren’t there yet.

    Reply
  15. Stroman likely gives the best value for the age, price, and fit for GABP. His ERA last year seems flukey-high. I’d imagine India and a plate of Reed or Stephenson, plus two C prospects, might be tempting and, if so, I’d love that trade.

    Reply
  16. #1 – Greinke, if we can include Bailey’s contract in it’s entirety ($28M). I would expect the D-backs to pay $6M in signing bonus Greinke is owed and part of his $104M deal and the $2M trade bonus in his contract. I would offer Robert Stephenson, whom would hopefully benefit from a change of scenery and one of Shed Long, Vlad Guttierez or Stuart Fairchild. Trade enables us to make the money currently sunk on Bailey immediately productive. Lessor prospects go back do to the risk of Greinke regressing further. Net cost is $9.5M in 2019.

    #2, Thor or Corrasco in that order. Probably giving up Senzel and Iglesias plus a lesser prospect. Steep price, but worth it if we can add two top of the rotation starting pitchers. Both are affordable, so we’re hitting the market for an Iggy replacement. Iggy and Thors contracts are nearly a wash. Net cost is $0.5M.

    I’m for staying away from the guys at their peak in Kluber and Bauer. I also prefer available free agents over Leake, Stroman, and Gray. That leaves about $26M for free agents.

    #3. Sign LHP Andrew Miller for Fangraph’s projection of 2 years, $22M, but there are others at a similar price point.

    #4. Not a fan of Pollock’s injury history, so I’m going after Jon Jay or Billy Hamilton for $3M, which is what Jay signed for last year. Just looking to bridge the gap with defense until Siri, Friedl or Trammel is ready to take over.

    #5. Bolster the bench with super utility player Marwin Gonzalez and sign him for $40M over 4 years based mlbtraderumors prediction.

    That leaves $2M and still a pretty solid farm system. I’m not sure we’d make the playoffs, but we’d be very competitive and get fans back in the stadium enabling another payroll bump in 2020.

    Reply
    • Wow.. BK has put a lot of thought into this. And I like it!

      Reply
    • I agree on the Greinke idea. His contract minus Bailey’s is a net expense over the next few years for the Reds of around $75 million. Based on Corbin signing today for reportedly six years and $126 million, the top free agent pitchers are likely to be out of the Reds’ price range.

      Reply
  17. I think our most expendable top prospects which we can get the most bang for our buck in return are Hunter Greene/ Nick Senzel/ Jessie winker. a package deal for Kluber or Bumgarner could be made.
    our offense would definitely suffer in 2019 but with our prospects arriving in 2020 I think we will be fine

    Reply
  18. Baseball America’s Top 11 Prospects for the Cubs heading into the 2014 season:
    1) Baez (still a Cub)
    2) Bryant (still a Cub)
    3) Carl Edwards (still a Cub)
    4) Albert Almora (still a Cub)
    5) Jorge Soler (traded in 2016 for Wade Davis)
    6) Pierce Johnson (waved in 2017)
    7) Arismendy Alcantara (traded in 2016 for Chris Coghlan)
    8) Jeimer Candelario (traded in 2017 for Alex Avila and Justin WIlson)
    9) Dan Vogelbach (traded in 2016 for Mike Montgomery)
    10) Arodys Vizcaino (traded in November 2014 for Tommy LaStella
    11) Kyle Hendricks (still a Cub)

    If you look at the prospects heading into the 2015 season it is much the same, with 6 of the top 7 still Cubs (pending Addison Russell) and two top 10s traded for Chapman in 2016.

    What I’m trying to say, I guess, is that it is truly crazy for the Reds to be dipping into the prospect bucket to make trades following a 67 win season. This isn’t how successful rebuilds are run. This isn’t how successful organizations operate.

    Fangraphs just came out with the Reds top Prospect list. The only in the top 10 I am even considering moving is Shed Long and that’s only because he’s behind Senzel and India for a long-term home at 2B. The entire point of extended periods of losing (“rebuilds”) is to be in a position to draft and develop players like Senzel and Trammell and India so you can build a winning team around inexpensive All-Stars. And only then, when you have established your core, when you’re window is clearly open, does it make any sense to start trading prospects that are probably blocked on the big league team anyway.

    If Bob is serious about winning, let him open is pocketbook.

    Reply
    • Eric2287 Thank you for articulating what i have been thinking. In addition, anyone we cant get by trading anyone 10-33 on that list, or select persons on the current roster, we dont trade for.
      Leake is an ace compared the the reds current rotation, and would definitely fit a number 3. A trade with Seattle could wrangle another prospect or cash along with it. Or bailey going back. Getting lynn would compound problems not clear them up.

      Reply
      • Exactly. If Bob is serious about winning, he needs to look at teams that are trying to shed payroll and offer to take on either expensive or bad contracts instead of giving up prospects, or just going out and buying the talent.

        If your roster is so devoid of talent after 4 consecutive seasons without cracking 70 wins and 5 consecutive losing seasons in general, that you have to trade two top 13 prospects in all of baseball than your rebuild has failed miserably. You didn’t build anything, you just lost, and lost a lot.

        Reply
    • I’m with you. No reason to gut the farm system just to get three years of pitching when most of said pitching comes with significant questions marks and when the club is still far from being able to compete. Better just to wait it out instead of trying to make a splash just for the sake of making a splash. Maybe move someone like Shed Long or India where there is an abundance at that position but that’s abut it for me.

      Reply
    • That’s where I am on big-dollar free-agents AND on trading top prospects. I don’t think the Reds are close enough to contention yet. You trade prospect capitol and spend more money when you’re getting close to winning. If the Reds had won even the 74 games I predicted last year, and sorted out a few more things, then maybe I’d be ready to play in that pool but they were even worse than in 2017. They aren’t close. It’s sad but it’s true.

      Reply
  19. My problem with Syndergaard is that he has a knucklehead streak in him. He tore his lat last off-season lifting weights, with the (expressed) idea that bigger muscles would make him throw harder. And he was already pretty much the hardest-throwing starter in baseball.

    He just screams “Tommy John!!” to me, even if he hasn’t had an arm injury yet, or maybe because he hasn’t had an arm injury yet. At the price demanded, Just Say No.

    I am with those who believe the team is probably a year away from pulling the trigger on a big trade. Saving the ammo for a later trade will also allow for a greater possibility that a home-grown pitcher will take a huge step up this year.

    Reply
  20. I am in agreement on no 1 year pitchers, unless an extension is following. That would put my sights on Zach Wheeler of NYM.
    I don’t see Mike Leake wanting to waive his no trade clause and come to Cincinnati. He couldn’t get out of town fast enough in 2015. He still feels slighted about his shoplifting arrest and pleading guilty. Anyone who thinks Leake is a #3 is way off base. Why pay $18M per year for a #4 starter. Beyond Foolish.
    Thor and Kluber should be the top targets. Get one of those 2 and then take in a free agent like Lance Lynn. Lynn would be better and cheaper than Mike Leake.
    Bringing Mike Leake back would be an insult to the fans and a signal that the Reds front office is not serious about 2019.
    I also take Senzel and Santillan off the table.

    Reply
    • I had read that Leake wanted to extend with the Reds, but the Reds chose to go another route. I don’t know why he would feel slighted by his arrest. From all accounts he did steal the shirts which is why he plead guilty. I don’t think this was like forgetting the item on the bottom of your cart at the grocery store and walking out without paying for it

      Reply
  21. Did I see an article where DW is talking about resigning BHam? So it looks like the biggest splash may be our new centerfielder.

    Reply
    • He talked about the possibility of bringing him back on a cheaper deal. The sticking point was the lack of value for $6MM in arbitration.

      Reply
  22. No, No, No on Lynn!

    If you were talking 2011 – 2014 Lance Lynn, fine. However the 2015 – 2018 Lance Lynn? No thanks! He is well past his prime. He walks too many. He would be a disaster in GASP!

    Reply
  23. And corbin is off the board….nationals 6 years near 130 mil

    Reply
  24. Corbin.scherzer.strasburg for the Nationals
    Braves and Phillies on the rise.
    Cubs Brewers 90 win teams. Dodgers aren’t going anywhere. Rockies and cards and good.

    The Reds aren’t winning 90 games in 2019 and passing those teams.

    The Reds need to keep their prospects and continue to build towards 2020.

    Reply
  25. The Reds are in a tough spot this winter when it comes to #GetThePitching. The free agent market is lackluster and full of question marks. Meanwhile, the best pitchers are those available via trade. Even if the Reds truly are ready to spend big money on pitching, what is available in free agency isn’t necessarily worth the expense. At the same time, I don’t want the Reds to give up top prospects (who will each have seven future years of Major League control by the Reds) just to get two or three seasons of an ace pitcher. Giving away a combined 13 years of control of Senzel (7) and Winker (6), plus one or two other prospects, just to get Kluber or Syndergaard seems foolish.

    If it were my decision, I would:

    a) Do whatever it takes to sign Kikuchi.
    b) Negotiate with the Diamondbacks for Greinke…if he will waive the no-trade clause. I would suggest packaging Bailey in the return for Greinke to offset the cost, but it appears Bailey now has 10-5 rights, having gained ten years of service time and five with the same team. This means Bailey would have to approve any trade as well. Ugh…

    Reply
    • I think Bailey would almost certainly approve a trade at this point. The bigger issue would be getting Greinke to waive his no-trade clause to come here.

      Reply
  26. Do you think that the Reds should consider former Reds draft choice Brad Boxberger for a bullpen slot? He was tendered by AZ, did not have a good September at all, but still struck out well 1 per inning.

    Reply
  27. The number of teams looking to potentially contend (not in a rebuild) in 2019 by division:

    NL East: 4 (no Marlins)
    NL Central: 5 (assuming the Reds #GetThePitching)
    NL West: 2-3 (Giants rebuilding, Padres unlikely ready to contend, Diamondbacks questionable)
    AL East: 3 (no Orioles or Blue Jays)
    AL Central: 1 (though the Twins may have a winning record)
    AL West: 2-3 (no Mariners or Rangers, Angels likely around .500)

    Reply
    • Reds go to the AL west next season. What about a deal for cueto….the price will never be cheaper, and we can get SF to cover like half the cost. Downside of course is the TJ but we will still have 2 more years after that? Just a wild idea.

      Reply
      • Cueto: $21,833,333 owed in each year from 2019 to 2021, plus a $22 million team option or $5 million buyout in 2022. It really would depend on how far the Giants want to go with a rebuild. If the Giants threw in $35 million to cover 2019 and part of each of the following two years, I would consider it. That essentially makes the contract for 2020 and 2021 just over $15 million per year, not including the 2022 buyout. (Also, not sure whether the Giants have insurance on Cueto’s contract, but if so, insurance may cover Cueto’s 2019 salary.)

        Reply
        • My understanding is that insurance doesn’t actually cover that much and isn’t often used anymore. So the majority if not all of his salary is paid by the team

          Reply
  28. The Reds need to pause.
    We could witness a spending spree like never seen in the NL. Patrick Corbin was supposed to go to the AL and Yankees. He didnt. The Nationals just became a superteam again and now have over $500 million invested in 3 starting pitchers. This could send a tsunami through the NL.

    If the NL grabs both Harper( Magic Johnson is now recruiting him) and Machado( The Phillies are spending Uber dollars per their owner) – the Cubs will respond .The Braves and Brewers and Cards will add as well.

    The net effect will be 3 superteams- the Nationals/Dodgers/ and Cubs with 4-6 other good teams- Rockies, Brewers, cards, braves, Phillies.

    Trading away Nick Senzel and Taylor Trammell as a response to a National league nuclear arms race between super-teams would be foolish.

    Reply
  29. Pause and take a deeeeeeeeep breath.No way to compete when teams just spend spend spend like the Nats just did on Corbin.Don’t blame the player but if this is the market value for Corbin at 140 mil over 6 years there is no way small market teams have a chance.Better yet just flip a coin between the clubs Old School just mentioned and start the playoffs tomorrow.The coin flip determines who gets home field and then lets play ball.

    Reply
    • The Reds could add some affordable pitching FA wise with a starter and bullpen arm and improve while allowing the Scooter and Bailey contracts to expire .Use 2019 to finalize impressions on the under 25 crowd before going on a $60 million spending spree next year for the 2020-23 window . Garrett Cole and Luis Castillo would be a nice 1-2 punch.

      Reply
  30. Corbin is 2 games over 500 in his 5 years in the big leagues and has given up the same number of hits as innings pitched with an ERA just a tick under 4.I think he may have missed a year because of injury but I may be wrong on that one.The market just got blew up.What a mess.Can you imagine what will happen if the Nats don’t win it all?

    Reply
  31. Mets GM just announced today that trade rumors on Thor is overblown and they intend to keep him. Seems it might be a reaction to the Corbin signing. Realistically, Leake, Kikuchi, should be targets, not adverse to Harvey either as long as the contract is Incentive based. Not totally adverse to a Grienke trade either but it will have to meet the take homer Baiely requirements. Kutchel would not be a bad choice either, but i have a feeling he will be too expensive.

    Reply
  32. From where the Reds are, there may well be a lot of sense in just trying to get to an average starting staff in 2019 and holding a substantial money for the future.

    Why pay really big money for 1 guy (or even 2) and burn a year or two of control of them when the team isn’t likely to compete for the playoffs regardless in 2019?

    Reply
  33. If the Corbin deal is a sign of how the free agent market is going to go, the Reds might have to wait it out and shop from the bargain bin after everyone else empty their bank accounts.

    Reply
  34. The chance that the Reds will sign a top flight pitcher like Syndergaard just comes down to talk. Harvey will be retained along with signing a middle ranked free agent and we’ll go from there for 2019. At least the Reds have initiated some organizational change.

    Reply
  35. Goldschmidt to the cardinals….could the snakes be rebuilding…if they are Greinke would be more likely to waive a NTC.

    Reply
    • Pretty steep price for 1 year of a guy but he makes the Cards much better in 2019 than 2018 and they were pretty good in 2018. It’s hard to think the DBacks, who had a nice run last year are rebuilding but this trade is definitely a 2020 and beyond move for them. Not sure if the Reds should go for him or not but I’d think Greinke is quite available and more likely to waive his no-trade clause.

      Reply
  36. Kluber. Reminds me a little of Seaver. Take a breath, I’m not saying he’s Tom Seaver. Same age when Seaver came to the Reds. Good control, still maintaining his metrics, solid selection of pitches, competitive, cerebral.

    I’d build a big deal around him and Suarez. Let’s get the party started!

    Reply
    • with the amount of time that Suarez has left that deal better be Suarez for Kubler straight up and even that is generous.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

About Matt Wilkes

Growing up just north of Cincinnati, Matt has been a Reds fan for as long as he can remember. As a kid, he was often found leading the Reds to 162-0 seasons in MVP Baseball 2005 and imitating his favorite players (Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Sean Casey, and Austin Kearns) in the backyard. One of his earliest baseball memories is attending the final night game at Cinergy Field. Matt is also a graduate of The Ohio State University and currently lives in the Dayton area. Follow him on Twitter at @_MattWilkes.

Category

2019 Reds

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,