Cincinnati Reds – MLB Trade Rumors 2020-10-26T00:51:39Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress TC Zencka <![CDATA[Bauer Had More Fun In 2020]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=260663 2020-10-24T19:46:04Z 2020-10-24T19:46:04Z
  • Trevor Bauer had more fun playing baseball with the Reds this season than in any of his prior professional campaigns, per the Athletic’s C. Trent Rosencrans. That bodes well for a return to Cincinnati for the free agent hurler, though the financial component will still have to be figured out by new head baseball decision-maker Nick Krall. Projecting free agent contracts has never been a murkier business than this season following widespread revenue loss around baseball. Bauer figures to be a rare free agent not to have his market diminished all that much, not after a Cy Young worthy campaign.
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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Reds Announce Nick Krall As Head Of Baseball Ops Department]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=258793 2020-10-19T15:27:51Z 2020-10-19T15:17:40Z The Cincinnati Reds officially announced Nick Krall as the head of their baseball operations department. Krall is the current VP and General Manager, but he now steps up to assume the duties as the Reds’ top baseball decision-maker.

    Per the team release, the Reds wrote: “We are excited for Nick to assume the lead over our baseball operations. His hands-on approach as General Manager gives us the opportunity to reinstate that role as the top position in our baseball department and keep the years of hard work that happened under his purview producing stronger, more competitive teams.”

    Previous Team President Dick Williams stepped down earlier this month to take on greater responsibility in his family business. Installing Krall in the top spot on the org chart maintains a strong sense of continuity, despite Williams’ departure. Krall and Williams worked together for 15 years in the Reds’ front office. Krall has been the GM for the past 3 seasons, helping to lead the charge in building a roster that returned the Reds to the postseason this year.

    The Reds have a fair amount of money committed to their 2021 roster with Joey Votto, Mike Moustakas, Nicholas Castellanos, and Eugenio Suarez accounting for almost $64MM in 2021 payroll. The impending free agency of Trevor Bauer will be the first significant decision for the Reds under Krall’s leadership. Bauer went 5-4 with a 1.73 ERA/2.88 FIP to take home the NL ERA crown in 2020.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Exploring The Reds' Shortstop Possibilities]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=258272 2020-10-17T19:12:33Z 2020-10-17T19:07:57Z
  • Shortstop was a big problem area for the Reds last season, and since Jose Garcia struggled badly during over 68 PA in his rookie season, he looks to still be a season or two away from being a big league contributor.  C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic (subscription required) looks at some of the possibilities available to the Reds on the offseason shortstop market, though it remains to be seen if Cincinnati will have the payroll flexibility to pursue top free agents like Didi Gregorius or Marcus Semien.  Rosecrans also notes that the Reds have also scouted Ha-Seong Kim of the Korea Baseball Organization, who wouldn’t necessarily carry quite as large a price tag, though several teams are expected to check into Kim’s services when he is posted.
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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Reds Outright Four To Triple-A]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=257316 2020-10-15T03:35:21Z 2020-10-15T03:35:21Z The Reds outrighted four players to Triple-A on Wednesday, the team announced. Jesse Biddle, Matt Bowman, Matt Davidson, and Travis Jankowski all cleared waivers. Bowman had been on the 45-day IL, but not on the 40-man, so the Reds 40-man roster now has three open spots.

    Bowman is a 29-year-old right-hander originally claimed off waivers from the Cardinals after the 2018 season. He made 27 appearances out of the bullpen for the Reds in 2019, pitching to a 3.66 ERA/3.68 FIP across 32 innings with 7.0 K/9 to 3.7 BB/9. The Maryland native unfortunately underwent Tommy John surgery on September 1st, making the 2022 season the earliest he is likely to return to action.

    Biddle was the 27th overall pick of the 2010 draft by the Phillies, though he never appeared with Philadelphia in the big leagues. He has seen big-league action for the Braves, Mariners, Rangers, and Reds, making one outing with Cincinnati in 2020 before being sidelined with shoulder discomfort. The 28-year-old owns a 4.68 career ERA in 92 1/3 innings across 91 appearances.

    Jankowski came to the Reds from the Padres for international slot money after the 2019 season. The southpaw-swinging outfielder went just 1-for-15 at the plate, appearing 7 times as a pinch-runner, and contributing 49 1/3 innings of outfield defense for the 2020 Reds. The 29-year-old owns a career triple slash of .238/.315/.313 in 350 career games.

    The 29-year-old Davidson surprisingly appeared in 20 games for the Reds in 2020 after spending all of 2019 with the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate. This marked his second return to the bigs after a somewhat prolonged absence, previously returning to the Show in 2016 with the White Sox after making his debut in 2013 with the Diamondbacks. Davidson has been attempting life as a two-way player, and he did make 3 pitching appearances for the Reds, though most of his usage came as a DH or pinch-hitter. He slashed .163/.234/.395 across 47 plate appearances with 3 home runs. On the mound, he gave up 2 earned runs in 3 1/3 innings of work.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Trevor Bauer: A Top Free Agent Like We’ve Never Seen Before]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=256421 2020-10-13T21:52:15Z 2020-10-13T21:52:15Z At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, the upcoming offseason looks as if it will feature one of the most unique free agents in the history of baseball. Reds ace Trevor Bauer is due to reach the open market off what could be a National League Cy Young-winning season, but very few people know how he will approach his trip to free agency.

    The outspoken, offbeat Bauer has mentioned in the past that he would willing to take one-year contracts throughout his career, which would be an odd turn of events for someone who should have the most earning power of all upcoming free agents. Still, based on what he said, Bauer could go that route. On the other hand, Bauer stated in September that he is “not afraid of the longer deals,” meaning it’s anyone’s guess which path the 29-year-old right-hander will choose. Indeed, Bauer added to that earlier this month when he tweeted, “I will consider all offers.”

    Notably, Bauer has acknowledged plenty of teams via his Twitter page since the Reds’ playoff season ended Oct. 1. He seems willing to re-up with the Reds, who now-former president of baseball operations Dick Williams said will do all they can to retain Bauer. It’s unclear whether that’s realistic for Cincinnati, which doesn’t boast a big-market budget. Otherwise, Bauer has mentioned the Dodgers, Yankees, Padres, Braves, Blue Jays, Angels, Orioles and Astros on his Twitter account over the past couple weeks.

    It’s probably fair to rule out the Orioles, as they’re rebuilding and Bauer has made it clear winning is a top priority. The Astros are perennial contenders, meanwhile, but there’s no love lost between Bauer and the organization. Remember, Bauer has taken several jabs at the Astros over the years, even calling them “hypocrites” and “cheaters” as recently as last offseason.

    Conversely, the Dodgers, Angels and Yankees – three high-spending teams – look as if they’ll be active in the Bauer race. A native of North Hollywood, Bauer has made it no secret in the past that he’d like to suit up for the Dodgers.

    “I look forward to playing for the Dodgers one day. I grew up out in Valencia, so I would love to come home,” he said (via dodgerblue.com).

    While Bauer may be a luxury for a Dodgers club that’s flush with pitching, a big-money, short-term deal may nonetheless be up the club’s alley. The nearby Angels and the Yankees have more acute needs in their rotations, meanwhile, as well as the spending power to reel in Bauer. In theory, the presence of Yankees ace Gerrit Cole – whom they signed for a record nine years and $324MM just an offseason ago – could negatively affect a Bauer chase. After all, Bauer and Cole have not gotten along since their days as teammates at UCLA, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today explained back in May 2018.

    “They are opposites, just such complete opposites,” former UCLA assistant Rick Vanderhook told Nightengale, who noted that Bauer is the more analytical of the two.

    Despite their differences, though, Bauer has recently implied he’d consider an offer from the Yankees. He even complimented Cole after he threw a gem on short rest in the Yankees’ Game 5, season-ending loss in the ALDS against the Rays last Friday.

    “Anyone who is willing to come out on short rest to put his team on his back and try and win a must win playoff game has my respect,” Bauer tweeted. “Great performance tonight.”

    While that doesn’t mean he and Cole are about to become best friends, it is notable as Bauer’s free agency approaches. He’s clearly leaving most or all options on the table, though it does seem contenders that would enable Bauer to pitch on four days of rest stand the greatest chance of landing him. It remains to be seen which club will wind up as the best fit in Bauer’s mind, or whether he’ll take a short- or long-term offer, but his decision could be the most fascinating of the offseason.

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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Joe Morgan Passes Away]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=255307 2020-10-12T15:55:19Z 2020-10-12T14:59:59Z In a year defined by loss, the baseball community was hit with more heartbreak this morning. Baseball legend, Hall of Famer, and one of the greatest second baseman of all-time Joe Morgan has passed away at the age of 77, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (via Twitter). The Cincinnati Reds released a statement of condolences, as many around the baseball community have already started to share stories and praise Morgan’s character and career.

    Morgan played in the major leagues for 22 seasons for the Colt.45s/Astros, Reds, Giants, Phillies, and A’s, most recognizably as a member of the Big Red Machine from 1972 to 1979. Even on a team stacked with all-time greats like Johnny Bench and Pete Rose, Morgan stood out, not only for his iconic wing-flap batting stance, but for his MVP-turn on the field. His acquisition prior to the 1972 season turned Sparky Anderson’s Reds into the juggernaut that we remember them as today. Led by Morgan’s triple slash of .292/.417/.435 – a 9.3 rWAR season – the Reds won the pennant in his first season with the club, falling to the A’s in the seventh game of the World Series.

    That was just the beginning for Morgan and the Reds, however. Morgan won MVP honors in back-to-back seasons in 1975 and 1976, leading the Reds to World Series victories in both seasons. He was a 10-time All-Star and 5-time Glove Glove Award winner. A refined eye at the plate contributed to a stellar .392 career OBP and 100.5 rWAR, 31st all-time. Morgan was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990 with 2,517 hits, 268 home runs, and 2,649 games played from 1963 to 1984. He is a member of both the Astros’ and Reds’ Hall of Fame. The Reds also retired Morgan’s #8 in 1987, not long after the end of his playing career.

    The gregarious and always respectful Morgan took on a second life as a broadcaster after his playing career. Morgan was part of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball broadcast team along with Jon Miller from 1990 until 2010, when he took on a role as special adviser for the Reds’ baseball operations department.

    We at MLB Trade Rumors extend our condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of Morgan. Morgan will forever be an remembered as a baseball legend.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds President Of Baseball Operations Dick Williams Resigns]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=253063 2020-10-07T14:05:03Z 2020-10-07T13:40:33Z The Reds announced this morning that president of baseball operations Dick Williams has resigned from his post in order to “pursue personal interests outside baseball.” He’ll take on a role in his family’s company, North American Properties, per the team’s press release. Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Williams met with owner Bob Castellini in August and informed him that he planned to step away after the 2020 season. General manager Nick Krall will continue to serve in his current role.

    Dick Williams | Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

    The Williams family has been ingrained with the Reds franchise for decades. Williams’ father and uncle are currently minority shareholders with the club, and his grandfather was at one point a partial owner of the franchise as well. Williams joined the team as director of baseball operations back in 2006, when Castellini purchased a majority stake in the team, and he’s steadily climbed the ranks to his current post. Krall, previously an assistant GM, was elevated to GM status in May 2018. He’ll presumably now shift to head up the entire baseball operations department.

    “Dick has been an integral part of the Reds’ success from our first days of ownership in 2006 through our Postseason appearance in 2020,” Castellini said in today’s release. “He took the lead on modernizing every aspect of our baseball operations. Dick was the mastermind behind our incredible facility in Goodyear, drove advances in our scouting and player development systems, expanded capacity for analytics and established our sports science departments, just to name a few. … Dick has an incredible baseball IQ, and his gift for innovation came at the right time in history. We are enormously proud of the contributions he has made to this franchise.”

    Much of Williams’ tenure as team president was spent in a rebuilding process that was embarked upon as former GM Walt Jocketty transitioned to an advisory role with the team. The Reds’ path to this year’s postseason berth wasn’t exactly straightforward, and it’s fair to point out that some of the biggest trades made during the Williams-led rebuild didn’t bear much in the way of fruit. The Reds were left with little to nothing to show for their trades of Aroldis Chapman, Todd Frazier and Johnny Cueto, for instance, as none of the younger talent acquired in those swaps contributed to this year’s winning club.

    At the same time, Williams struck gold in the trade that sent right-hander Dan Straily to Miami and netted the Reds Luis Castillo. Both his decision to buy low on Sonny Gray and the corresponding contract extension look nothing less than brilliant at this point. Despite likely being out of contention in July 2019, the Reds under Williams took a big swing with an eye on 2020 and acquired NL Cy Young candidate Trevor Bauer in a three-team trade with the Reds and Padres. He was also in charge of baseball operations over the winter when the Reds hired president of Driveline Baseball Kyle Boddy to further a strong push into data-driven innovations in the organization’s pitching program.

    Recent success notwithstanding, Williams spoke in today’s press release about a desire to spend more time with a young family that he does not see nearly as often as he would like.

    “In order todo this job right, you are at a ballpark, either in the major or minor leagues, every single day, night and weekend from mid-February until deep into the fall,” Williams said. “That was a lot to ask of my young family, and they supported m every step of the way. It is time to pour some of that energy back into them.”

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Dick Williams Discusses Reds’ Offseason Plans]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=251532 2020-10-03T00:29:01Z 2020-10-03T00:29:01Z After a rough start to the regular season, the Reds went on a late-year tear to finish 31-29 and earn their first playoff berth since 2013. But the postseason didn’t go well for the Reds, who failed to score a run in 22 innings during a two-game sweep against the Braves. The Reds’ offseason is now underway, and president of baseball operations Dick Williams discussed their plans with reporters (including John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Bobby Nightengale of the Enquirer and Mark Sheldon of MLB.com).

    In the wake of a pandemic-shortened season, the Reds aren’t sure how their payroll will look in 2021, as Williams said, “Unfortunately, as you go into next year, I think we’re all still dealing with some very large unknowns.”

    Re-signing NL Cy Young candidate and pending free-agent right-hander Trevor Bauer would presumably drive the Reds’ payroll way up, but they’re nonetheless hopeful they’ll be able to bring him back. If not, though, Williams said the Reds could turn to Tejay Antone, Tyler Mahle, Michael Lorenzen or Jose De Leon as replacements in a starting group that could also lose Anthony DeSclafani on the open market. And they do have veterans Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray and Wade Miley already locked in for next year.

    Turning to the offensive side, Williams said he expects Tyler Stephenson to compete for a regular catching role prior to 2021. Stephenson, the 11th overall pick in the 2015 draft, posted outstanding numbers during his Double-A debut last year and logged a .294/.400/.647 line with two home runs in his first taste of MLB action this season, though he totaled just 20 plate appearances and struck out nine times. He figures to compete with Tucker Barnhart and Curt Casali for a job in a few months.

    Meanwhile, the Reds could lose right fielder Nick Castellanos to free agency, as he has the ability to opt out of the remaining three years and $48MM on the four-year, $64MM deal he signed last winter. Williams, though, does not expect Castellanos to leave. That’s not surprising news, considering Castellanos’ numbers plummeted after he began the season on a hot streak. The 28-year-old ended 2020 with a pedestrian .225/.298/.486 line and 14 home runs in 242 plate appearances.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds Set Wild Card Series Roster]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=250588 2020-09-30T14:23:10Z 2020-09-30T14:23:10Z The Reds have formally set their 28-man roster for their three-game Wild Card Series showdown against the Braves. Here’s how it breaks down:

    Right-Handed Pitchers

    Left-Handed Pitchers

    Catchers

    Infielders

    Outfielders

    The Reds made the decision to leave off starter Anthony DeSclafani and reliever Sal Romano. Instead, they’re carrying right-handed-hitting infielder Matt Davidson as an additional weapon against left-handed pitching and outfielder Travis Jankowski to provide some speed off the bench and a potential late defensive upgrade. Versatile Kyle Farmer is listed with the team’s infielders but could just as easily have been listed as a catcher. He can play all over the infield and has gotten some outfield work in 2020 as well, but Farmer has nearly 2900 innings behind the dish between the big leagues and the minors as well.

    As has been clear for some time now, the Reds will lean heavily on one of the game’s most formidable rotation trios: Trevor Bauer, Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray. The club was able to set up each right-hander to take the ball on regular rest — more than that in Bauer’s case, who last pitched on Sept. 23. This type of setup was the exact scenario the Reds envisioned 14 months ago when acquiring Bauer, and the presence of three legitimate front-of-the-rotation arms makes Cincinnati more dangerous than their No. 7 seed would lead many casual onlookers to believe.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Michael Lorenzen Could Start For Reds In 2021]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=250050 2020-09-29T02:01:38Z 2020-09-29T02:01:38Z Having finished the regular season 31-29, the Reds are gearing up for their first playoff appearance since 2013. However the postseason ends for the club, though, it will face important questions in its starting rotation heading into 2021. National League Cy Young candidate Trevor Bauer (whom the Reds unsurprisingly want to re-sign) and fellow right-hander Anthony DeSclafani are due to become free agents in a couple months, so Cincinnati will have questions to address in its starting staff.

    Fortunately for the Reds, they do have a few notable starters locked into spots going into next year. Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle and Wade Miley are slated to remain in place, so the Reds are already in better shape than a lot of teams even if they lose Bauer and/or DeSclafani. But if a worst-case scenario happens and both players depart, the Reds are interested in moving reliever Michael Lorenzen to their rotation, Bobby Nightengale of the Cinncinati Enquirer relays.

    “He’s put himself in that conversation,” pitching coach Derek Johnson said of Lorenzen. “Where we need to go depends on who is going to come back, who we’re going to get.”

    Lorenzen first debuted in 2015, a year in which he amassed 21 starts in 27 appearances, but has largely served as a bullpen piece since then. The 28-year-old has been a useful member of the Reds’ staff throughout his career, having pitched to a 3.97 ERA/4.28 FIP with 7.8 K/9, 3.71 BB/9 and a 48.5 percent groundball rate across 444 1/3 innings. Lorenzen’s also known for his prowess at the plate (at least, compared to most pitchers), but if he moves into a starting role next year and the universal DH sticks around, at-bats could be hard to come by for him.

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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[MLB Finalizes 16-Team Playoff Bracket]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=249303 2020-09-28T02:00:04Z 2020-09-27T23:53:32Z With a hectic final day of play in the books, the 2020 playoff field is officially set – which visual learners can view here from MLB Network. The defending World Series champion Nationals and their newly-crowned batting champion Juan Soto will watch from home.  The Mets and Phillies turned in disappointing seasons, while the Marlins stunned their NL East counterparts to enter the postseason as the #6 seed in the National League. The Braves weathered a line change in their starting rotation to win their third consecutive NL East title.

    Elsewhere in the National League, Dodgers are the team to beat, while the Padres are the team to watch. The Rockies and Diamondbacks will face some hard questions in the offseason after disappointing years, while the Giants exceeded expectations but narrowly missed the postseason.

    The Central makes up half the playoff field in the National League with everyone but the Pirates continuing into MLB’s second season. The Cubs took home their third division title in five seasons behind stellar years from Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks, but it was a difficult season for many of their core offensive players. They were also the only team in the majors to go the entire season without a single player testing positive for COVID-19, per NBC Sports Chicago and others. The Cardinals will be the #5 seed after playing two fewer games than the rest of the league, Trevor Bauer led the Reds back to the postseason by winning the NL ERA title (in a free agent year no less), and the Brewers backed into the NL’s #8 seed without ever being above .500 in 2020.

    In the American League, small markets had themselves a year. The A’s took the AL West back from the defending AL champion Astros. Speaking of, Houston finished a tumultuous year without their ace Justin Verlander. Manager Dusty Baker will lead his fifth different team to the postseason, this one joining the Brewers as one of two under-.500 teams to reach the postseason. The Angels will reboot after firing their GM earlier today, while the Rangers and Mariners continue their rebuilds.

    The Rays, meanwhile, won the AL East for the first time in a decade and they’re the top seed in the American League. The Yankees settle for second place and the Blue Jays arrive to the postseason a little earlier than expected as the AL’s #8 seed. The Red Sox took an expected step back, while the Orioles performed better than expected, staying in the playoff hunt for most of the season.

    The Twins lost in extras today, but they nonetheless secured their second consecutive AL Central title. Shane Bieber put up a potentially MVP season to get the Indians back to the playoffs. The White Sox arrived in a major way led by Tim Anderson and Jose Abreu. Only a late season slide kept them from a division crown. They’ll head to Oakland as the #7 seed. The Tigers debuted a number of players they hope will be a part of their next competitive team, while the Royals said goodbye to a franchise icon in Alex Gordon’s final season.

    It was a short and bizarre season, but the playoffs – while expanded – aren’t going to be all that different from most years. There will be neutral sites and a wild card round of 3-game series, and playoff bubbles, but once the field is pared down to eight, it’s more or less business as usual for the postseason. It should be an exciting month of October.

    Here’s the final field of 16:

    National League

    (8) Brewers at (1) Dodgers

    (5) Cardinals at (4) Padres

    (6) Marlins at (3) Cubs

    (7) Reds at (2) Braves

    American League

    (8) Blue Jays at (1) Rays

    (5) Yankees at (4) Indians

    (6) Astros at (3) Twins

    (7) White Sox at (2) A’s

    The playoffs begin on Tuesday, September 29.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Williams: Reds “Will Do Everything We Can To” Re-Sign Trevor Bauer]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=249125 2020-09-27T15:03:46Z 2020-09-27T15:03:46Z The Reds are headed to the playoffs for the first time since 2013, thanks in large part to an excellent season from staff ace Trevor Bauer.  Naturally, the team is hopeful of retaining the star right-hander when he hits free agency this winter, though president of baseball Dick Williams said the Reds’ braintrust (which includes owner/CEO Bob Castellini and GM Nick Krall) were still what they hope is a long October run away from discussing offseason plans.

    Well, you know, Bob and I and Nick and the group will do everything we can to make that happen,” Williams told MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon and other reporters.  “I’d love to say yes that there are scenarios where it could happen. It’s honestly not something we’re working on today, right now, we’re really focused on the postseason, but I’d love to think that Trevor would come back.”

    The Reds aren’t strangers to big contracts, as evidenced by Joey Votto’s team-record extension from the 2012 season and most recent deals like Eugenio Suarez’s extension or last offseason’s free agent deals with Nick Castellanos and Mike Moustakas.  This winter’s spending market will undeniably be different in the wake of the shortened 2020 season and the league-wide revenue losses brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, but in terms of pure track record, it isn’t out of the question that the Reds could lure Bauer back to the fold.

    In a pure bidding war for a top free agent, the Reds would be underdogs.  But given Bauer’s rather unique stance towards free agency, Cincinnati might have a better chance than expected.  “I don’t think any team is out of the running to sign me,” Bauer told Sheldon and other media members, and the righty added that he has enjoyed his time with the team — particularly now that the playoffs are a reality.

    I don’t see this team as a losing team.  We lost some games early that we probably shouldn’t have lost, but we’re in a position now to go to the postseason, and it takes a lot of energy to change a culture and to get over the hump initially,” Bauer said.  “Once you do, you set yourself up for a window of success.  Looking out into the future, if you’re talking about the I-want-to-win qualification, I feel like this is a team that I can win with, for sure.”

    As evidenced by the last two weeks, the Reds are a formidable team when everything is running on all cylinders.  Cincinnati is 10-3 over its last 13 games, a well-timed hot streak that booked the Reds a spot in the NL playoff bracket.  Led by Bauer, the club’s pitching has been among the league’s best over that 13-game stretch, and the offense that struggled for much of the season finally began to perk up (a 102 wRC+ since September 13, the tenth-best such mark of any team in baseball).

    It remains to be seen whether or not the Reds can make some noise this particular October, and going forward, the pieces are seemingly in place to make the team a consistent winner.  Moustakas and (if he doesn’t opt out) Castellanos are signed through at least the 2023 season, Suarez through 2024, Sonny Gray through 2022, and younger building blocks like Luis Castillo, Jesse Winker, and Tyler Mahle only become arbitration-eligible this coming winter.

    That being said, Cincinnati definitely placed a win-now focus on 2020 while Bauer was still in the fold.  A little less than $13MM will be freed up when free agents Freddy Galvis, Anthony DeSclafani, and Nate Jones come off the books, though that money may be fully absorbed by the team’s many forthcoming arbitration raises.  It doesn’t leave much room for Bauer to get a big bump up from his $17.5MM salary for 2020, and Bauer’s stated willingness to consider shorter-term deals (on a bigger average annual value) helps the Reds in the longer run but still puts them well beyond their usual financial comfort zone for 2021 or 2022 unless Castellini okays such a splurge.

    If Bauer did leave, the Reds would at least get some return in the form of a draft pick.  The club will surely issue Bauer a qualifying offer that will be rejected, thus putting the Reds in line to receive a compensatory draft pick if Bauer signs elsewhere.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Reds Release Nate Jones]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=248728 2020-09-25T19:19:33Z 2020-09-25T19:19:33Z The Reds have released right-handed reliever Nate Jones, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com was among those to report. The Reds previously designated Jones for assignment on Tuesday.

    Jones, a native of nearby Kentucky, joined the Reds on a minor league contract in the offseason and wound up throwing 18 2/3 innings out of their bullpen this year. While the 34-year-old managed excellent strikeout and walk rates (11.09 K/9, 2.89 BB/9), averaged just under 96 mph on his fastball and posted a personal-best 15.3 percent swinging-strike rate, he was nonetheless victimized for a 6.27 ERA/5.49 FIP. A career-worst .400 batting average on balls in play helped cause Jones’ issues, though it’s worth noting he had a miserable 2020 from a Statcast perspective, including ranking in the league’s bottom one percentile in average exit velocity against.

    Of course, it wasn’t that long ago Jones a key part of the White Sox’s bullpen. At his best, he tossed 70 2/3 innings of 2.29 ERA/2.93 FIP ball with 10.19 K/9 and 1.91 BB/9 in 2016, but a series of injuries have helped derail him since then. Jones, in fact, has only combined for a matching 70 2/3 frames over four seasons since his career campaign.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Wade Miley]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=247751 2020-09-23T12:29:28Z 2020-09-23T03:02:10Z
  • Reds left-hander Wade Miley, on the IL with a shoulder strain since Aug. 28, is “pretty close to 100 percent,” according to manager David Bell (via Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer). The playoff-contending Reds are likely to use Miley out of the bullpen if he is able to return this year, Nightengale relays. Signed to a two-year, $15MM contract last winter, Miley has made four starts and thrown 12 1/3 innings of 6.57 ERA ball in a Cincinnati uniform. Fortunately for the team, its rotation has still been among the league’s best because of the work of Trevor Bauer, Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray and Tyler Mahle.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Reds Activate Sonny Gray, Designate Nate Jones]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=247501 2020-09-22T19:39:04Z 2020-09-22T19:14:57Z The Reds have activated righty Sonny Gray from the 10-day injured list, the team announced.  Gray is scheduled to start tonight’s game against the Brewers.  To create roster space, right-hander Nate Jones has been designated for assignment.

    A back strain sent Gray to the injured list on September 13 (retroactive placement to September 11), though fortunately for Gray and the Reds, the injury looks to have been a relatively minor one.  Gray is now also lined up to start Sunday in what would be Cincinnati’s final game of the regular season, though that game is likely to be an all-hands-on-deck type of situation if the Reds need to win to clinch a playoff spot.

    Heading into today’s action, the 28-27 Reds hold the seventh seed as a wild card in the NL postseason field, but the Brewers and Giants aren’t far behind at 26-27, with the eighth-seed Phillies sandwiched in between with an even 28-28 record.  Cincinnati is also chasing the 26-25 Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, which guaranteed an automatic playoff berth.

    Ironically, the Reds have gone 9-2 since Gray was retroactively placed on the IL, though there is no doubt he represents a major addition for Cincy down the stretch.  Gray has a 3.94 ERA, 11.8 K/9, and 2.86 K/BB rate over 45 2/3 innings this season, with ERA indicators (2.92 FIP, 3.16 xFIP, 3.80 SIERA) generally showing that Gray’s 3.94 number is a bit inflated.

    Jones struck out 23 batters and recorded a strong 3.83 K/BB rate over his 18 2/3 relief innings this season, but an ugly 2.4 HR/9 was largely responsible for Jones’ 6.27 ERA.  On the plus side, the oft-injured Jones did stay healthy this year after missing much of 2019 due to forearm surgery, though he was obviously hoping for better performance for his hometown team.  Jones signed a minor league deal with the Reds last winter.

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