There are not many times in sports that are more exciting than the lead up to the MLB trade deadline.
Some teams are buyers, meaning they will enter a “win now” mode and send away future prospects in exchange for players to help them win this season. The Los Angeles Dodgers did this when they traded two of their top prospects, Keibert Ruiz and Josiah Gray, among others. But, in return, they added shortstop Trea Turner and starting pitcher Max Scherzer, two superstars at their respective positions.
On the other side of things, some teams are sellers, meaning they will trade for prospects in hopes to bolster their future rosters. This was the case for the Chicago Cubs, as they unloaded a talented roster of stars, turning it into one of the worst lineups in the entire league.
The Trade Deadline brought up a few key ideas for the second half of the Reds season.
A Two-Horse Race for the NL Central
The Reds currently sit in second place in the NL Central, 7 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers and just a few games ahead of the Cubs and Cardinals. The Cubs waved the white flag at the deadline though, dealing Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Craig Kimbrel, and Ryan Tepera all in the matter of a few days. These moves have basically eliminated them from contending in the NL Central.
The St. Louis Cardinals made no moves of note either, practically staying in the same place at the deadline. The preseason favorite to take the Central, the Cardinals, currently sit 9.5 games back in the division practically making the division a battle between the top two teams.
The race for the Central will be a good one, likely taking down to the final weeks of the season to know who the winner will be. The Brewers ride the back of one of the best pitching staffs and bullpens in the entire league while the Reds ride on the back of a star-studded offense and adequate starting pitching. The race will be a good one and it will take the Reds playing some near perfect baseball to complete the comeback.
Making the Necessary Moves
As any follower of the Reds knows, the downfall of the 2021 Cincinnati Reds has been its bullpen. This has been a glaring hole for the entirety of the season. The Reds front office acknowledged these struggles and began to work on them at the deadline. They made three huge acquisitions before the trade deadline.
Luis Cessa, RHP
The first trade made involved two relief pitchers, one being right hander, Luis Cessa. Cessa throws a four pitch mix, mainly surrounding his slider, which he throws 60% of the time. He doesn’t fit the “Spincinnati”(High spin rate pitchers) mold that the Reds have begun to stick to as of late, being about average in both slider and fastball spin rates. Cessa has had a tremendous first half, posting a 2.75 ERA thus far.
Justin Wilson, LHP
The second piece that the Reds added in their deal with the New York Yankees was left handed pitcher, Justin Wilson. Wilson is an interesting player to look into. He currently holds a 6.75 ERA, but many people, including the Reds broadcasting crew, believe this number is a bit inflated. He has thrown 20 innings and surrendered 15 earned runs. But, 1/3 of those runs came in a singular outing in which he didn’t record an out. Without that outing, his ERA would reside in the 4s.
Mychal Givens, RHP
Mychal Givens. Remember that name.
If the Reds make a long run through the second half and into the postseason, Givens will be a huge contributor to that.
Unlike the other two additions, Givens does fit the Spincinnati mold, holding a fastball in the 95 percentile in spin rate(2534 RPM). Givens made a splash in his first appearance for the Reds, striking out Rafael Ortega, Wilson Contreras, and Patrick Wisdom in 11 pitches. In 3 appearances with the Reds, Givens has allowed zero runs while each outing has been in a high leverage situation.
The 2021 Trade Deadline was a huge success for the Reds. They need to get healthy and they can still make a serious push for the division, or even sneaking in a wild card spot over the injured San Diego Padres. It may not seem like much was done by the Reds, but this team is in a prime position to being very, very good come October.
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