The Cincinnati Reds came to the MLB Winter Meetings with a plan, and that was to talk to every team about every player, and eventually, you’ll hit on one of them.
Today, it was announced that the Reds had acquired starting pitcher Tanner Roark from the Washington Nationals in exchange for minor leaguer Tanner Rainey.
It’s a Tanner R. swap!
Roark, 32 years old, carved out a solid career with the Nationals over six seasons. He pitched to a 3.62 ERA during his time in Washington, becoming a mainstay in a loaded Nats rotation. Based on his numbers, Roark figures to slide in as the #2 or #3 starter for the Reds and be a veteran presence in the rotation along some of the younger arms like Luis Castillo, Sal Romero, and Tyler Mahle this year.
The Reds desperately needed pitching help, as last year the team had one of the worst rotations in all of baseball. The rotation still doesn’t have enough talent to compete in the NL Central, but it’s likely to improve with time.
If Reds GM Nick Krall has anything to say about it, the rotation will have more marquee names before spring training. The Reds are right now in talks with the Blue Jays about Marcus Stroman, the Yankees about Sonny Gray, and the Indians about Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer.
Slow down there Reds or you might pop a blood vessel.
Now, these are just rumors, and teams talk all the time about possible trades, but it’s clear that the Reds aren’t done making moves. They’ve also been in contact with the Dodgers about a deal that would send Homer Bailey’s albatross of a contract to the city of Angels for either Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood, or some combination of each of them. They aren’t done there though, because the Reds have emerged as a darkhorse in the J.T. Realmuto sweepstakes.
They are itching to do something this week.
The Reds should be looking to do two things before the winter meetings are done; Find a way to get Homer Bailey off the team, and add as much pitching as possible. Like I’ve said before, the Reds offense is already pretty good. They aren’t like the White Sox or Phillies who need to get Machado or Harper in order to contend in 2019. The lineup is good enough and young enough to carry the team for the foreseeable future. But it’s the pitching that will kill them if they don’t address it now.
While Roark is a step in the right direction, there’s more to be done. If the team isn’t going to sell the farm for Kluber or Bauer, then it’s time to stock up veteran starters. Names like Clay Buchholz, Jeremy Hellickson, Gio Gonzalez, and bringing back Matt Harvey would be perfect arms to integrate into the rotation alongside Roark. In addition, there are relievers to be had on the open market. The bullpen isn’t as much of a concern as the rotation is for the Reds, but they could afford to have someone like Brad Brach, Zach Britton, or Andrew Miller to sure up the back end of the pen.
The Reds seem very motivated to get better for next year, and, hopefully, will act upon it.
Tanner Roark was a good start, now build off of it.
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