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.