11-15. That’s the Cincinnati Reds record right now. That puts them in third place in the division behind the 17-10 Chicago Cubs and the 9-8 St. Louis Cardinals. Fortunately for the Reds they play in the National League, which has been terrible overall. Only five teams have a winning record right now in the entire league – the Braves, Cubs, Cardinals, Dodgers, and Padres.
A week from today is the trade deadline in Major League Baseball. No one really knows what is going to happen with the deadline, but many feel it’s going to be a weird one, a different one, given how 16 teams make the playoffs, no one seems to want to say that they have money to spend, and the short term impact of “rentals” being limited to 25-30 games (plus the playoffs if you make it).
When it comes to the Cincinnati Reds, their playoff odds actually aren’t that bad right now, though they have been dropping since they’ve lost three of four to the Cardinals over the weekend. Fangraphs has them projected to finish 29-31 and gives them a 46.2% chance of making the playoffs. Baseball Reference doesn’t seem to like their chances nearly as much, projecting a 27-33 finish with just a 22.9% chance of making the playoffs.
That begs the question: Will the Cincinnati Reds be looking to buy or sell over this next week? The answer to that question isn’t easy. If they go to Milwaukee and sweep the Brewers, get back to .500 – it’s not likely they look in the mirror and say “we’re done, let’s make moves for 2021 and beyond”. But if they simply go out and split, or even lose the series to the Brewers, perhaps it would make more sense to see what you can get for Trevor Bauer, Freddy Galvis, and or Anthony DeSclafani – both of whom are impending free agents.
Cincinnati is heading to Milwaukee and they are sending the best that they’ve got to the mound. Trevor Bauer, Luis Castillo, and Sonny Gray will pitch the first three games of the series. The starter for Thursday’s finale has not yet been named. Whoever it is, though, will face off against Josh Lindblom and his 6.65 ERA through five starts. If the Reds are ever going to put together a winning streak, this is the where it’s going to happen. And really, it feels like it has to happen if the Reds are going to avoid the idea of trading away the pitcher that has been, up to this point, the best in baseball (Trevor Bauer), then they have to go to Milwaukee and take care of their business.
Of course, being a buyer or a seller is only a part of the equation. As a seller, we kind of touched on that a little bit already. The Reds have players who are impending free agents who could draw interest. If they move into the buyers side of things – that’s a bit more of a “what do they need” situation. Right now, it seems like there’s a whole lot of options given that the last time the offense got a hit was in the Roosevelt administration. But realistically, the team isn’t going to go out and acquire hitters who play first base, second base, third base, and maybe not even an outfielder given who plays those spots on the team. You can love or hate that idea, but it’s also probably the reality of the situation, too. That may mean the team looks to add a bullpen arm, or a quality bench piece – but it probably isn’t going to be looking at adding a big game changer, either, unless a shortstop or top tier starting pitcher falls into their lap.