The Cincinnati Reds have a very interesting offseason ahead of them. They have let interim manager Jim Riggleman walk and have brought on David Bell. They also recently brought on former Milwaukee Brewers pitching coach Derek Johnson. With a solid lineup, an above average bullpen (with a top line closer), and GM Dick Williams saying this will be their biggest payroll ever, it is time for the Reds to make their moves.
This will start with improving a Reds rotation that has been terrible for the last few years. They have some pieces in place but, will likely need some major upgrades if they want a chance at the playoffs.
Here is a prediction of some moves that could be made and what the rotation could look like heading into the 2019 season.
1. Dallas Kuechel
The deal looks something like three years $62 million with a mutual option for a fourth year at $18 million. This is where the Reds really spend their increase in funds.
It is likely that there will be plenty of people vying for his services including teams like the Yankees. What Reds fans should be banking on is that Kuechel wants to be the number one again after being basically the third best pitcher on the Astros’ staff. Also, they should hope that the Yankees or other teams decide to focus on the likes of Patrick Corbin, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Nathan Evoldi.
He’s a former Cy Young winner, gets insane amounts of groundballs and generates a lot of weak contact. In a ballpark like Great American, this is a recipe that should prove to be successful. With this move, the Reds get their guy.
2. Luis Castillo
To think the Reds got Castillo for Dan Straily is still looking like one of the best deals in recent memory. His biggest problem right now is consistency. Some games he looks like an ace and others he looks like he should be in AAA.
With the addition of Derek Johnson, the hope is that he gets Castillo’s head right. What he was able to do in Milwaukee was nothing short of a miracle. He made journey-man pitchers like Wade Miley look solid.
Castillo has amazing potential. The hope is he has an incredible spring and they feel confident in year three that he can be the guy they need.
3. Anthony Desclafani
What else can be said? This guy is rock solid but won’t blow anyone away. He will have an above average ERA, he will have his good strikeout games and he will get you double-digit wins.
Having him go against opponents’ number three pitchers should give him an advantage. If he stays healthy and keeps the ball down in the zone Disco should have a very solid 2019 campaign.
4. Sonny Gray
Trade goes down like this: Gray to the Reds for Sal Romano and Alfredo Rodriguez (Reds 23rd prospect) or someone of similar value. After the James Paxton deal, this seems to be a pretty fair price for a player the Yankees have made clear that they are trading.
This is a pretty low hanging fruit pick lately but the Reds could have traded for him at the deadline. After having a rough season in New York, he seems to prefer a smaller spotlight. While he wasn’t amazing Matt Harvey seemed to focus and get his mojo back to a certain degree after leaving the New York spotlight. It is not out of the realm of possibility that Gray could do the same.
Having his old pitching coach Derek Johnson, from his time at Vanderbilt, should help him. It is not out the question that if Gray can get back in form that he has a sub 3.50 ERA and wins 12 or more games.
5. Tyler Mahle
This guy also has a ton of upside. In case you forgot he has thrown a no-hitter and a perfect game in the minors. While that does not always translate, what it shows is the talent is there. And unlike most minor league pitchers, Mahle’s calling card has always been his accuracy.
The problems with last year were nerves and fatigue for Mahle. When he was in a grove Mahle looked like a very stable backend of the rotation guy if not better. If he can keep his head right, learn from last year’s fall off and take advantage of being the number five he could work his way into being one of the best if not the back-end end rotation guy in the MLB.
If the Reds have a rotation like this then they will be ecstatic. It is vastly improved and gives them a real chance with their lineup, defense and bullpen to make a run at the playoffs.
What’s your realistic rotation/what do you think?
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