The Cincinnati Reds open up the second half of the season tonight in first place. They’re starting a three game series with the second place Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park. A surprise contender thanks to quicker than expected arrivals from the minors coupled with those guys being very good right out of the gate has pushed forward the perceived timeline to contention for the club. And it seems that they understand they could use at least one rotation addition this season. Jon Morosi of MLB Network is reporting that the Reds have called multiple teams, but singled out the White Sox. He notes no trade is close at this point.

Chicago is out of contention and is expected to be sellers. They have two impending free agent starting pitchers in Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn, as well as Dylan Cease who is a free agent after 2025. While we can’t know who all the Reds have called, or which players they have checked on around baseball, we can look at the three pitchers from the White Sox.

Lucas Giolito has a 3.45 ERA, a 126 ERA+, and has thrown 112.1 innings this season in his league-leading 19 starts. He’s struck out 117 batters with just 34 walks this season. In his last year before free agency, he’s making $10.4M this season and would be owed roughly $4.2-4.7M the rest of the way depending on exactly when he were acquired.

Lance Lynn has been bad this season. His ERA currently sits at 6.03 on the season through 18 starts. He’s been plagued by home runs – his 22 allowed are the most in the American League. But he’s also shown an ability to be very good at times this season. Four starts ago he struck out 16 Seattle Mariners. In his final start before the All-Star break he struck out 11 batters in seven 1-hit innings against the Blue Jays. He makes $18.5M this season and has a $1M buyout for next year. He would be owed somewhere between $7.4-8.4M the rest of the season, plus the buyout.

Dylan Cease finished second in the AL in Cy Young voting in 2022 after throwing 184.0 innings with a 2.20 ERA. This season his ERA is nearly twice as high, sitting at 4.30 through 102.2 innings (19 starts). His walk rate and strikeout rates are similar to last season, but his hits allowed and home runs allowed are both up. He’s making $5.7M this season and is arbitration eligible in both 2024 and 2025.

If you squint enough you could see where Lance Lynn could help out if you could lead him to finding more consistency. The other two options from the White Sox would be clear upgrades in the rotation at this point. They would also cost a lot more to acquire – with the acquisition of Cease likely being very high given his 2022 season and two and a half seasons remaining before he’s a free agent.

51 Responses

  1. Optimist

    Ohtani fantasies aside, the White Sox shopping is the obvious start for all deadline rumors. Morosi can cut and paste this article for a dozen other teams.

    That said, they could get Lynn for nominal value, but why? Lynn would be an upgrade from Weaver, but not enough to matter. They need better value and will have to give better in return.

    • Joekr

      I agree that Lynn wouldn’t be much of an upgrade, (if any at all). He should nopt be on the list of players the Reds go for. He is owed more money, and is the worse, by far of the three.

      Giolito is the best fit, as Cease would cost too much.

    • Thomas Atwood

      Lynn’s numbers suggest he has been very unlucky this year: 6.09 ERA vs 4.50 xERA and 4.81 FIP vs 3.74 xFIP. That’s a classic change-of-scenery situation. And he shouldn’t cost a lot in prospects, just cash… which the Reds have. He’s not an ace, but he could provide someone more value than it seems on the surface.

    • Thomas Atwood

      6.09 ERA vs 4.50 xERA
      4.81 FIP vs 3.74 xFIP

      Those numbers say Lynn has been rather unlucky so far this year. It’s the classic change-of-scenery situation. As a back-end guy who shouldn’t cost much more than money, he could bring more than it appears on the surface. At the very least he is an upgrade over Weaver.

      • Optimist

        Yeah – he’s better than Weaver, but will he be enough? I still think 2 good relievers will be much more available and valuable for the return required. Still, they need a starter, and could get lucky with Lynn, and he wouldn’t cost nearly as much as most of the others who are arguably much better.

      • Fish

        I’d be ok with lynn as a replacement for weaver. They should upgrade the bullpen too, but he shouldn’t cost prospects.

    • JayTheRed

      I have zero interest in Lynn. He is no better than what we currently have. With those numbers I don’t even consider him a decent starter. The Reds need to go with someone better than that.

      The other two guys I have some interest in.

    • Chad Wilson

      As crazy as it sounds the reds bring their bats when Luke pitches. I will have to admit, I wanted dude gone after 3rd or 4th start. However I’m not sure that’s a great idea, we put up runs when he pitches, and he has been improving over the last couple starts. The guy is realible. You can count on him pitching every 5th start. All I have heard is the Reds need to add starter, I don’t disagree, but all the starters have thrown pretty well last couple weeks, the better they pitch the worse the bats get. Somehow they have to come with the mindset they are down 3 every game. It’s as if they relax with a qualityy outing from our starters. Like I said it’s crazy and I know it’s not sustainable, but at this point we got to get the bats going again. Truth is having CES on midnight train to Cincy would take care of that
      As long as Weaver doesn’t have a major setback the next time he throws Im good with giving the guy a chance to continue to improve as a starter or possibly as a reliever before we cut ties. He competes and is always available

    • jmb

      The Mariners have picked up a couple journeyman starters lately. Why? There was talk that they may go after a Cardinal or two by way of trading Woo and Miller. But why not go after Ohtani instead? They’ve got the young talent to get a deal done. Sure, they’re in the Angels’ division, but the Angels certainly wouldn’t trade Ohtani to the crosstown Dodgers, and who else has the prospects and the willingness to pay $50-60 mil./year?
      As far as the Reds are concerned. S. Gray and J. Gray would be better options than any starter the White Sox have. Giolitto is from SoCal; the Dodgers have been in touch. Kershaw will be out a month. Giolitto to the Dodgers will probably happen.

  2. RedsGettingBetter

    I’d target Giolito as a logical option. He means a mid-cost rental pitcher right now considering the 2-3 prospects the Reds might give. Cease seems a very intriguing option but he is a high cost pitcher to the Reds…

  3. SlippinJimmy

    If the Reds are gonna pull the trigger on a trade, now would seem the time to do it–before these two series against the Brewers.

  4. BK

    Giolito would be my preference from this list, but his FIP indicates he may be due for regression. At least he would be just a one-year commitment. Cease was outstanding last year but middling in all other years. Lynn is not an upgrade.

  5. Soto

    I just don’t think Krall is going to pull the trigger on a starting pitcher. His comments make me believe that everyone’s asking prices are too high. We will see.

  6. LDS

    Can’t see Lynn – another expensive dinosaur. The other two guys are far too expensive. Look elsewhere. Bob isn’t footing that bill and the prospect expense would excessive

    • Optimist

      None of them are that expensive. It’s much more a question of value. Gio and Cease clearly have some, Lynn’s is much more questionable.

      • Jim Walker

        Lynn’s “value” is that the WSox will part with him for less as a salary dump. The question for the Reds is whether they believe he can consistently give them 6 innings while keeping them close enough for the Reds offense to carry the day. The Reds need 1 or 2 guys like this to keep the bullpen imploding.

      • LDS

        To me, it’s more a question of what they want in return.

      • Melvin

        Given the fact that the Reds need “innings eaters” one important factor might be to consider is that Lynn has made it past the 6th inning 3 out of his last 4 starts and from what I understand has been doing better lately.

      • Thomas Atwood

        With 2 arb years left, I expect Cease to be very expensive, if they will even consider moving him. Despite having a down year, I’d expect them to argue he is as much a staff ace as Luis Castillo based on his 2022 season, and LC only had 1 arb year left when he was traded.

        Giolito won’t be super expensive, but being a reliable LHP will elevate his price because there will certainly be multiple bidders.

      • Melvin

        Last start for Lynn – 7 Innings – 1 Hit – 1 BB – 0 ER – 11 Ks

        Not saying I like him necessarily. Just saying he’s more likely the kind the Reds will get.

  7. MBS

    I’m all about Gio. Perfect fit, not too expensive prospect wise. If San Diego throws in the towel for 23, then Snell. Regardless, I’m glad the Reds are talking to teams.

    • Greenfield Red

      Players personal lives are generally not fans concern. However this is in the news and may matter. Read the other day that Gio is starting into a divorce. Might be and unwanted situation. Could affect performance. Could lower his price too.

      • Jim Walker

        Or he could bury his outside issues in the heat of a playoff race.

      • Greenfield Red

        I don’t disagree Jim, but maybe not. It affects each person differently. An unwanted divorce is worse than the death of your spouse because it comes with a heaping helping of rejection. Can be hard to get out of bed let alone pitch in the major leagues.

        If the Reds are not aware of the situation it could be a mistake. To flippantly dismiss it is foolish.

        I never pitched in the big leagues, but I know from personal experience. Until you’ve been through it, you have no idea.

      • DaveCT

        I believe the top five most stressful
        things in life via the DSM diagnostic manual ate death of a spouse, death of a child, divorce, moving, and money. Yes, players are professional. And yes they are human. No management should ignore large life issues.

      • Greenfield Red

        I agree Dave and the thing is, an unwanted divorce checks at least 2 if not 3 of those 5 boxes. I’ll say again, an unwanted divorce being forced on a person is worse than your beloved spouse being killed in a car wreck. Until you’ve been through it, a person can’t even imagine how bad it is.

  8. VaRedsFan

    Lance Lynn – Absolutely not!!
    Cease – Yes, since he has controlled years left. Maybe Arroyo and Senzel or Barrero type of deal
    Giolito – Would rather not do a rental, but maybe Barrero and a #15-20 prospect.

    • VaRedsFan

      Throw in a fairchild to the Cease package and get Graveman while they are at it.

    • Thomas Atwood

      The Reds got Steer and CES for Tyler Mahle.
      Tyler. Mahle.
      Arroyo + Senzel/Barrero will NOT get Dylan Cease.

      • Optimist

        Interestingly, Trade simulator shows a close to even deal is Steer and Friedl for Cease.

      • Thomas Atwood

        Wow, nice! Off the cuff, I’d have guessed it would take one more guy. But the longer I think about it, it sounds about right. Both are producing very well in the bigs.

        (Hmm… Are we sure that a high-A SS and a platoon OF aren’t basically the same thing as Steer & Friedl? Trade season is always entertaining.)

      • jmb

        Steer and Friedl for Cease? Ah…Cease looks good in a White Sox uni.

    • Fish

      I think those are fair, but deadline deals are rarely fair for the buyer. A TON of teams are going to be in on giolito. I don’t see the white sox giving up on Cease mid season for a non haul. I do think lynn is worth getting as an upgrade over weaver with no prospect cost.

  9. VaRedsFan

    India out of the 3 spot.
    Would still swap Steer and India. Maybe in a month or so when games matter more *sarc*

    CF TJ Friedl L
    SS Matt McLain R
    DH Jake Fraley L
    3B E. De La Cruz S
    2B J. India R
    1B Joey Votto L
    LF S. Steer R
    C T. Stephenson R
    RF Will Benson L

  10. Cincinnatus Rex

    I read a rumor that mentioned three prospects in exchange for Giolito. I don’t know if there’s any legitimacy to the rumor, but Chase Petty was listed as the top trading chip. Thoughts on giving up Petty?

    • Optimist

      Not for Giolito. Petty’s trade value already exceeds Gio’s. Wouldn’t be trading Petty in anything less than a real blockbuster.

      • Thomas Atwood

        Yep. Petty for 2 months of Giolito would be significantly overpaying.

    • Harry Stoner

      Would be a very shortsighted move.

      I’d be quite disappointed in the Bull.

    • Tar Heel Red

      I would think the Reds would be inclined to try for Mike Clevinger than Lynn or Giolito. Maybe something like Siani and Spiers for Clevinger would get it done?

      What if they offered Fairchild, Boyle and Jorge for Giolito? I think the Sox would at least consider it.

    • Thomas Atwood

      The thought of trading with the Cardinals makes my stomach turn.

      However, Trade Simulator says Luke Weaver plus a lower lever guy should net Jordan Hicks. I’m intrigued with that (although I have no idea why the Cardinals would agree). Anybody else… no.

      • Tar Heel Red

        Seriously doubt the Reds and Cardinals hook up in a trade. The last one they made was 26 years ago (Dmitri Young for Jeff Brantley). These two team genuinely do not like each other.

    • Fish

      I actually think Hicks could be good to trade for if he’s cheap. A lower level prospect, but no more.

  11. Melvin

    Reds possibly interested in Cardinals Jordan Montgomery?

    • Optimist

      If nothing else, the front office should be discussing these with the Cardinals just to see who the Cards are most interested in amongst Reds MiLBers. Compare and contrast with internal evaluations.

      Then, string them along while you make a deal with one of the AL Central teams.

  12. Patrick

    Likely Giolito and Anderson are going to the Dodgers. Lynn and Cease would be a good fit for the Reds in exchange for top level AAA players,

  13. Tampa Red

    Easy to dismiss Lynn as an upgrade, but he’s been extremely unlucky this year. As long as the cost is right, he’s exactly who the Reds should be targeting to get them through the rehab of Greene and Lodolo.

    If you think about who the Reds got in return for say, Tyler Mahle, you’ll realize anyone more than Lynn will decimate the farm system. Is that going to be worth it?

    • Redsvol

      I think Lynne could be a good fit. We need starters for more than this season. And he has shown an ability to eat innings. I can’t see how the prospect cost would be prohibitive since we would be eating 8M$ in remaining salary.

      I would say even expand the trade and get 1 if their relievers. They have several guys having good years that have 1-3 years of control remaining. Perhaps barerro, And 1 decent prospect like hinds or Rivera.

      Cincinnatis M.O. has always been to get guys that are more than just pure 2 month rentals. I don’t see them going after giolito or snell- no control in 2024.