MLB Trade Rumors: Reds Targeting Marcus Stroman in Possible Blue Jays Deal

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 13, 2018

Toronto Blue Jays' Marcus Stroman delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

The Cincinnati Reds are reportedly looking at the Toronto Blue Jays' ace as they attempt to climb out of the basement of the National League Central.

According to Buster Olney of ESPN, the Reds are "interested" in potentially trading for Marcus Stroman. The right-hander has two more years of arbitration coming up but is not set to be an unrestricted free agent until 2021.

The Reds haven't made the playoffs since the 2013 campaign but have been one of the biggest names on the hot stove during the offseason.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported they discussed trades with the Los Angeles Dodgers that could include outfielder Yasiel Puig, while Jon Heyman of Fancred noted they talked about trading for catcher J.T. Realmuto with the Miami Marlins.

Heyman also reported they discussed moving second baseman Scooter Gennett to the New York Yankees, and Jon Morosi of MLB Network said they are looking for more pitching and talked about Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer with the Cleveland Indians.

Stroman would fit the bill as a pitching upgrade, although they already announced one addition—the acquisition of Tanner Roark from the Washington Nationals via trade.

It is no surprise Cincinnati wants to improve its starting rotation after it finished an abysmal 25th in the league in starter ERA (5.02) on the way to a 67-95 record. Both the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs made the playoffs from the division in 2018, and the St. Louis Cardinals already traded for Paul Goldschmidt.

The Reds won't be able to compete with those teams without bolstering their rotation.

Stroman is coming off the worst season of his career in which he made just 19 starts and finished with a 5.54 ERA, 1.48 WHIP and 77 strikeouts in 102.1 innings. It was a drastic fall from the impressive numbers he tallied in 2017, posting a 3.09 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 164 strikeouts in 201 innings.

He is just 27 years old and sports a career 3.91 ERA as someone who has typically played well for the Blue Jays despite last season's struggles. Adding someone like that could help Cincinnati address one of its biggest weaknesses.