Improving the Pitching
It is looking more and more like the Reds will have to acquire pitching through a trade rather than free agency. They already traded for former Nationals’ pitcher Tanner Roark, but are still searching for more.
Two pitchers have been linked to the Reds so far this offseason, New York Yankees’ Sonny Gray and Toronto Blue Jays’ Marcus Stroman. Gray has been talked about all offseason, while Stroman is a relatively newer name.
Despite both players having down years in 2018, they are both pitchers that have had a solid career up to this point and should improve the Reds’ rotation if they are able to acquire one, or both. The question is, who would you rather see in a Reds’ uniform.
At the start of the offseason, the Reds knew they needed to get pitchers, they also knew Patrick Corbin, who signed with the Washington Nationals, was more of a fantasy than a reality. They know that it will be difficult to match teams when it comes to the next best free agent Dallas Keuchel. J.A. Happ was a player they would at least consider, but the team is looking for younger pitchers than the 35-year old, not to mention he has since re-signed with the Yankees.
Gray has been linked to the Reds since the beginning of the offseason. A career ERA of 3.66 and a WAR of 13 in seven seasons between Oakland and New York, Gray has had a nice career so far. There are big red flags though when it comes to Gray.
Gray has been a great pitcher overall, but had his worst year in 2016 and his second worst coming in 2018. Two of his worst years in the last three seasons is a red flag indeed. Granted, he did have a 3.17 ERA on the road last season, but was awful at Yankee Stadium. Yankee Stadium is difficult to pitch in, but Great American Ballpark is a hitters’ ballpark as well.
The Reds would still be more than willing to make a trade for Gray if they could find the right price. The problem here, the Yankees are overvaluing Gray, making it hard to make a deal. The Yankees originally asked to swap Gray for Reds number three prospect Taylor Trammel. Cincinnati wisely refused the deal, as Trammell may become a staple in the outfield for the Reds.
Stroman has just recently been connected to Reds trade rumors. With Toronto not expecting to truly compete in a tough AL East, they will be looking for young talent. Stroman is not exactly the definition of a proven pitcher, but has had two great years, 2014 and 2017, in his five-year career (he only pitched in four games in 2015, but did have a 1.67 ERA).
Stroman would fit well in Cincinnati. He is known to be a ground ball pitcher, something the Reds need due to how often balls leave the yard at Great American. He has the tenacity the Reds need. Watching him pitch it is clear he is a true competitor.
Another pro in the Stoman argument, is that he could possibly be cheaper as well when it comes to the return, due to the fact that the Blue Jays are not quite ready to compete. Neither team is necessarily looking for major league talent, but the Yankees have more money and will demand more because they believe they have multiple suitors for Gray.
Although this indicates nothing, Stroman has liked multiple posts on social media relating to the Reds interest in him. This could potentially mean he wants to play in Cincinnati, but it could also just mean that he enjoys hearing of teams interest in him. Who is to say what it means besides the man himself?
Who Would You Take?
Nick Krall and company will do their research and make the move that is best for the club. The front office has shown they know what they are doing and will make the right decision. Whether it is Gray or Stroman, they will weigh the prices and trade for who ultimately improves the club immediately and for the future.