The Cincinnati Reds are currently a .500 team as they sit 35-35 following their win last night to open up a 3-game series with the Houston Astros. In a terrible National League Central division, that puts the club just a half-game out of first place. It has them tied with the Pittsburgh Pirates in second place. In less than two weeks we will be at the midway point of the season and be coming up on a month before the trade deadline. What will the Reds do at that point?
Well, a lot of it probably depends on exactly what transpires between today and a month from now. If the club keeps winning, they’ll probably remain in the playoff hunt. And looking at the team as it stands right now, there’s a clear need in one area more than anywhere else – starting pitching. Right now the rotation is a bit of a mess. Nick Lodolo isn’t going to return until after the trade deadline. Graham Ashcraft is currently on the injured list and even before then he had been struggling for over a month. Brandon Williamson has struggled, posting a 5.40 ERA in his six starts. Luke Weaver has struggled, posting a 6.23 ERA in his 10 starts.
Hunter Greene and Andrew Abbott (with his three starts) have been good. But the rest of the rotation sure looks like it could use some help. Of course there are a lot of teams that are out there looking for starting pitchers. And the cost of acquisition isn’t cheap, either. That may not stop the Reds, though.
“There’s nothing I see that is going to impede us from making an acquisition,” Reds general manager Nick Krall told The Athletic on Friday.
Even with the Reds having called up multiple players this year who are now helping the big league club win, there are still plenty of players on the farm that could potentially be utilized in trade(s). Cincinnati’s farm system is one of the best in baseball, not just because of the talent at the very top that we’ve seen in Triple-A and now in the big leagues, but because of the depth of talent there is there, too. Having a strong farm system isn’t always just about having those guys reach the big leagues with your club. Sometimes it’s useful to have those guys to help acquire talent at the big league level when you need it.
Teams tend to wait until closer to the deadline to make moves. We can argue all day how silly that is given that you lose out on having those players sooner and thus should increase your ability to contend, but I guess that’s more for a different story. For now it’s likely that the club waits and sees what transpires over the next five weeks and assessing where they are. But it seems that if they continue to keep winning and hanging around that they might actually go out and try to make some improvements to the team.