Could the Reds be seriously considering Cole Hamels?
But, should some of these big names be pursued and if so, to what extent?
We have discussed over the past couple of weeks the Reds' need for a right-handed power bat and the possible addition of relief pitching, but the club seems to be showing some interest in other areas as well, namely a leadoff hitter and added depth in the starting rotation.
Let's take a look at some new names circulating around the Reds Rumor Mill and rehash some old links that still have strong roots.
SP Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies has been rumored to be on the block for a while. Rumors recently surfaced and were reported by Jason A. Churchill of ESPN, that the Cincinnati Reds could be contenders for the ace's services.
As interesting as this sounds, I'm not sure this would be a great fit for Cincy. Of course Hamels would be an amazing addition to the Reds' starting rotation, and it is well known that starting pitching takes you deep into the postseason. But, this is clearly a rent-a-player situation and the cost/benefit is out-weighed at this time.
That is unless they could work out a long-term extension, which the report also claims that Hamels is open to.
What should be at the top of Cincinnati's trade "wants" list?
Outfielders Shane Victorino and Juan Pierre of the Phillies have also been linked to Cincinnati in recent days. MLBTradeRumors.com reports that Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports links Victorino to the Reds and Dodgers while ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Reds are showing interest in Pierre.
These two names could be cheaper options than the right-handed power bat that the club should have at the top of it's want list. But it shows that the club may be willing to forgo the power bat in an attempt to patch up the front of the order.
The Reds should approach Pierre with caution, as he seems appealing on the surface, but is 34-years-old and though he maintains some speed, his judgement on the basepaths and game-changing abilities are rather limited. He steals a lot of bases, but gets thrown out a lot as well. He would also be a downgrade defensively in the outfield.
Victorino is interesting though. He possesses that ability to be a game-changer, has pop with minimal strikeouts, steals bases and has a great success rate, and is excellent defensively (three Gold Gloves). He has been in the top 20 in MVP voting two of the past three years for a reason.
Though Quentin's numbers have cooled down, he still remains the biggest possible impact player for Cincinnati. His bat in the middle of the Reds' lineup would completely change the scope of it, providing ample protection for Joey Votto, and allowing Brandon Phillips and Zack Cozart to move into the numbers one and two spots.
The fact that his numbers have hit a cool streak could actually play into Cincy's favor if they pursue him.
Though no new rumors have surfaced recently, the best options for Cincinnati in terms of pitching is to solidify the relief corps and open up Aroldis Chapman to start if needed. The team maintains the 4th-best ERA in baseball at 3.39 and is only 0.19 behind the Nationals who lead all of baseball with a 3.20 team ERA.
The offense and the inability to generate runs has been, and continues to be the problem for this club. It is going to be interesting to see if they fully address this need on the trade market.
One last thought: could you imagine Cole Hamels in a Reds uniform? If the Reds could swing a trade and sign him (though costly), the team would have one of the top three pitching foundations in baseball and would be hard to pass up, even if it isn't the number one need right now.