The 2021 Cincinnati Reds are in as interesting of a position as the franchise has been in over the last 10 years.
The Reds entered the All-Star break with a 48-42 record, good for 4 games back in the NL Central and 3.5 games back from the second wild card spot. They sit well within striking distance, especially since they start the second half with a three game series against the first place Milwaukee Brewers.
The Reds have enjoyed plenty of success in the first half. But, like every team making a playoff push, some adjusting needs to be made. There are two keys to a Cincinnati Reds playoff push. Two adjustments to be made that will leave the Reds in the drivers seat as the dog days of Summer close in.
Health, health, and more health
This one may seem obvious. But, almost no team has been hit as hard as the Reds have with first half injuries. Reds Manager, David Bell, has found himself in the middle of the Manager of the Year conversation at the half way mark. This is well deserved and all because of the way he has handled this injury riddled team.
The Reds have seen significant injuries to Michael Lorenzen, Joey Votto, Mike Moustakas, Nick Senzel, Lucas Sims, and Tejay Antone. Wade Miley, Jeff Hoffman, Art Warren, Sonny Gray, and Kyle Farmer have also missed time with injuries of their own.
Through all of these setbacks, the Reds still have significant control over where their season finishes.
Necessary Bullpen Additions
Through 90 games, the Reds kryptonite has been their bullpen. The bullpen has posted a heinous 5.15 ERA thus far, good for fourth worst in the league. They also rank bottom five in WHIP(1.42, T25th), HR allowed(54, T26th), and walks issued(176, 29th). This may partially be a result of the brutal amount of injuries this bullpen has endured. It is obvious, even with these injured players(Lorenzen, Antone, Sims) that the Reds need to be buyers at the trade deadline.
Even though the Reds bullpen has been tremendous as of late, they lack the depth and experience that it takes to lead a team down the stretch. The bullpen doesn’t need a complete overhaul. They just need a little retooling and health, of course.
Here are a few names they could target before the July 30th trade deadline.
Raisel Iglesias, RHP, Angels
Most Reds fans are familiar with this name. Iglesias spent 6 seasons in Cincinnati before being sent to the Angels in the offseason. Iglesias enjoyed a lot of success as the Reds closer. Most of his downfall in Cincinnati came when he was asked to do more than a closer is typically asked to do, pitch multiple innings.
The Angels are currently a middle of the pack team, sitting at 45-44. Iglesias currently holds a 3.46 ERA with 19 saves. If after these next two weeks, the Angels sit under .500, they could very well turn into sellers at the deadline. If the Angels turn into sellers, the Reds could very well be in the market for Iglesias.
Daniel Hudson, RHP, Nationals
As the trade deadline closes in, most teams sit on the fence of whether they will be buyers or sellers. The Nationals are no exception. Currently sitting at 42-47, a successful next two weeks would place them in the middle of the fight for the NL East, where they are only 6 games back.
For the Reds sake though, a rough two weeks wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen. It could result in the Nationals dealing Daniel Hudson, one of their more reliable relievers. Hudson has a fastball that averages 97 MPH and an ERA that sits at an impressive 2.39. Depending on where the Nationals sit in the standings on July 29th, the Reds could be a team that could make a move for this veteran reliever.
Taylor Rogers, LHP, Twins
Perhaps the most interesting, and realistic, option of the three, Taylor Rogers has been exceptional this season. Rogers plays on the Twins, who are 11 games under .500. This gives them the best chance at becoming sellers before the trade deadline. He currently holds a 3.35 ERA with 8 saves.
His impressive season might not be the most valuable aspect of a trade for Rogers. Rogers has an additional year of team control following this 2021 season. That gives him value that the rental trade targets don’t have.
The Reds are in a perfect position to make a deep playoff run. Right now, the ball is in the court of the Reds management and whether they will put together the pieces that it takes to be successful.
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