4 Players the Cincinnati Reds Should Consider Dealing at the Deadline
The Cincinnati Reds sit at just 27-31, and it might seem easy to label them as sellers. However, the season is still young, and they sit just three games back in the wild-card race.
If they stay close to .500 and within a reasonable distance in the wild-card race, Walt Jocketty and the rest of the front office will likely hold out hope for this season. They have been in "win-now" mode for the past few seasons and expected to be in the running this year.
This year hasn't gotten off to a great start, but there is still plenty of time to turn things around. If they are trying to make a playoff run, they will need to improve the offense.
Injuries can be partially blamed, but it is still no excuse for the anemic offense. According to ESPN.com, the Reds rank 28th in runs, 26th in OBP and 24th in average. The Reds should try to target players at shortstop and left field.
Whether they are buyers or sellers at the deadline, the Reds will most likely be listening to offers for their starting pitchers as the deadline nears. All of them have very tradable contracts.
With the return of Mat Latos coming soon, the Reds will have six capable starting pitchers for just five spots. Top prospect Robert Stephenson is also expected to be in the mix in 2015 or 2016.
Depending on where they stand, a nice prospect package or quality bat in the lineup could be enough to pry one of them away.
Aroldis Chapman is a fan favorite and always has everyone's attention when he enters the game. He lights up the radar gun and makes professional baseball players look like little leaguers.
A contender would surely want to acquire a shutdown closer like Chapman. His confidence in his secondary pitches has vastly improved this season—making him even more unhittable.
According to FanGraphs.com, he is now throwing his fastball just 66.9 percent of the time this year. This is down from 82.6 percent of the time in 2013.
Cincinnati will have control over Chapman through 2016, but his salary will rise greatly with arbitration. He has also made it known that he wants to be a closer.
So, how much do the Reds really want to spend on a closer? He is one of the best in the game, but they may be better off trying to acquire some young pieces or a quality hitter.
Jonathan Broxton would also have no problem stepping into the closer role. That is why the Reds brought him aboard in the first place. This was, of course, back when they were considering starting Chapman.
Here are his stats from his 10 appearances:
Mike Leake will never overpower hitters with his stuff, but he is a quality pitcher. He will never be a No. 1 starter, but he is an excellent athlete and a durable No. 3-5 starter with an ERA of 3.29.
His ERA was nearly as good in 2013 at 3.37. He is still just 26 as well.
Leake always gives his team a chance to win. According to RiverFrontBall.com, here is what Reds' manager Bran Price had to say about Leake:
We’re going to want to win every game that he throws when he gives us seven or eight quality innings like he has. If he can maintain this type of consistency, you’ll look at a spectacular season of well over 200 innings, but giving us a chance to win on a regular basis is what makes me happy.
He will be arbitration-eligible in 2015 and can become a free agent in 2016. However, his contract will be manageable next season.
With their depth at the position, the Reds need to decide if Leake will be part of the long-term picture.
Here are his stats on the year:
What will attract teams to Alfredo Simon is his versatility. As a reliever in 2012 and 2013, he posted ERAs of 2.66 and 2.87.
Originally, he was just supposed to be a fill-in starter, but he has been a pleasant surprise for the Reds in the rotation this year. He ranks fourth in the NL in wins (seven) and 10th in WHIP (1.11).
He has played his way into possibly staying in the rotation.
Contenders in need of a starter or reliable arm in the pen will likely be interested in Simon. He is also a bargain at just $1.5 million this year. His contract will likely rise next year, but he will be the cheapest option for teams looking at Reds' pitchers.
Here are his stats in 2014:
Johnny Cueto's stock is at an all-time high right now. It might be smart for the Reds to trade him while his value is at its highest.
If they decide to become sellers, they could receive a nice haul of prospects for Cueto.
If the season ended today, it would be hard to argue against him for the NL Cy Young Award. His numbers put him above everyone else in the league.
His stats and league ranks can be seen below.
While it might be hard for Reds fans to see Cueto go, remember that he has had problems staying on the field in the past. He made 24 starts in 2011 and just 11 in 2013.
For his talent level, he is cheap at $10 million this year and a team option for $10 million in 2015.
Cueto would give the Reds the most back in a trade, but it would need to be great deal for them to give up the player who has been the best pitcher in the league this season.