Thanks to this past off-season and a historically slow start, the Cincinnati Reds will be sellers at the August 2nd trade deadline. It doesn’t take much to know that the way that the 2022 edition of the Reds is constructed, it is not going to win the World Series.
There are some silver linings. Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Graham Ashcraft, and Alexis Diaz are rookies and look to have promising futures. They also have a logjam of stud infielders coming up through the farm system with Jonathan India currently with the club (albeit, injured) with Elly De La Cruz, Matt McClain, and Rece Hinds, among others.
Possible Cincinnati Reds Trade Deadline Casualties
When looking at possible Reds trade deadline moves, players have to actually have some kind of market. As much as some fans would like it, players like Mike Moustakas are here to stay.
— CWEB (@cweb) June 3, 2022
The most likely player to be drafted and the player who will garner the largest return is Luis Castillo. Over the past few seasons, the Castillo-to-the-Yankees rumors ran rampant during the off-season. Castillo has been one of the best pitchers in the Reds rotation.
His 2021 season was, by far, his worst. Castillo led baseball with 16 losses and 75 walks. However, it wasn’t all his fault; the Reds bats did not help him. In his 33 starts, Castillo was helped out to the tune of 2.12 runs in run support while he was in the game. In wins, the Reds scored 4.5 runs per game. In losses, he was left out to dry by the Reds scoring 0.77 runs per game. In his no decisions, 2.57 runs were scored in support. In 20 of his starts, the Reds scored two or fewer runs in support; Cincinnati wasn’t able to score a single run in support 10 times.
This year, Castillo is back to his old ways. His ERA currently sits at 3.55 and his WHIP is the lowest it’s been since his rookie year at 1.12. His fastball is in the 88th percentile in baseball along with 68% percentile in strikeouts. Castillo’s changeup is legitimately lethal and is certifiably insane. 15 of his 34 strikeouts were via his changeup.
Castillo is going to be a hot topic this summer. of all of the Reds trade deadline targets, Castillo is the best bet to be moved. Luis Castillo deserves a shot at winning a World Series. There will be a number of contending franchises vying for his services.
As one of the dollar store Nick Castellanos replacements, Tommy Pham has been a pleasant surprise. In his previous two seasons in San Diego, Pham slashed .226/.335/.370 with just 18 home runs and 68 RBI. Already this season, Pham is slashing .246/.347/.409 with seven home runs and 22 RBI.
Outside of picking fights with former teams and slapping people over fantasy football, Pham has been a bright spot for the Reds. He is in the 95th percentile in exit velocity, 94th percentile in walks, and 91st percentile in hard-hit percentage.
Pham is under team control through the 2024 season. He’s mashing the baseball. Considering how long the Reds have control of him paired with the fact that he needs to continue proving himself, Pham could be one of the last names moved. If he is going to be traded, it’ll be at the buzzer.
Very 𝐧𝐢𝐜𝐞 outing for Tyler Mahle❗️ pic.twitter.com/RklR7UfPvp
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) June 9, 2022
Another name that was expected to be moved before the season started during the aligning of payroll was Tyler Mahle. Over the years, Mahle has shown that he’s had the ability to be a top-end pitcher. The issue that has plagued Mahle is he has been inconsistent. Away from Cincinnati, he’s money. At home? Not so much.
In 50 road games, Mahle has pitched to a 3.84 ERA, 1.288 WHIP, and has given up 27 home runs. In Cincinnati, a 5.16 ERA, 1.408 WHIP, and 56 home runs. Could these splits have to do with his routine for home games vs road games? Or is it Cincinnati that’s his issue?
As he was coming up the ranks, Mahle threw a no-hitter and a perfect game on two instances in the minor leagues. In 2022, he owns a 73rd percentile fastball spin rate and a very nice 69% whiff rate. When he’s on, he’s on.
Mahle, like Castillo, is under team control through 2024. He won’t garner quite the same haul but his asking price will be decent. If the Reds are truly leaning into the “trade away anyone good for cheap prospects” route, Mahle will finish 2022 somewhere else.
Brandon Drury was yet another cheap addition by the Reds after they traded away most of the talent. As is the case with Pham, Drury is well worth it. To date, Drury has played for five teams in eight years.
2022 has been a resurgence for Drury’s career. In terms of WAR, Drury has already accumulated 0.9 WAR, most since his career-best 1.4 in 2017. In a lineup that is noticably better when Moustakas isn’t playing third, Drury has played better than “well, at least he’s not Moustakas.”
Drury is mashing the ball this year. He’s in the 88th percentile in hard hit percentage, 87th in barrel rate, 87th in max exit velocity, 84th in expected slugging, and 82nd in whiff rate. Drury hasn’t played a full season’s worth of baseball in years. As of now, it seems like he’s headed towards getting more playing time than the last two seasons combined.
Whether or not Drury is actually traded before this year’s deadline, he’s not a long-term answer. Cincinnati has a number of infielders coming up through the farm system and even a few who are ready once healthy. Drury is catching fire and with the expanded DH, he could be a worthy Reds trade deadline move.
When the Reds plucked Matt Reynolds off of the waiver wire at the end of April, it was met with city-wide confusion. Reynolds has never been a good player at the Major League level.
He spent his first two years with the Mets, slashing .225/.266/.416 and .230/.326/.301, respectively. In his third year, he appeared in just 12 games for the Nationals and was outrighted to the minors for the entire 2019 season. In 2020, he appeared in just three games for the Royals and played the entire 2021 season at the AAA level for the White Sox.
After appearing in just one Major League game for the Mets at the beginning of the 2022 season, he was designated for assignment. To say his productivity for Cincinnati has been a surprise is a massive understatement. He’s on pace to set career bests across the board.
Reynolds is not part of the Reds long-term plan. First off, there’s a logjam in the farm system in the infield. Second, there’s no reason to think this productivity is set to last. It will be a tough ask to get anything of value in return for Reynolds. However, there has to be a team who is willing to take a shot on a utility infielder for cheap.
Reds fans, look away. Joey Votto has been a staple in Cincinnati ever since he made his debut in 2007. He’s one of the greatest players to suit up for the ole Redlegs. It’s not an unpopular opinion to say that the Reds have wasted Votto’s career and that he deserves a shot to play for a ring.
When he heats up, Votto is one of the better batters in the game, even at 38. He’s led all of baseball in on-base percentage seven times, walks five times, he’s earned MVP votes nine times (winning one in 2010 and narrowly missing out in 2017).
The number 19 will end up retired by Cincinnati. Votto will be enshrined in both the Red and Baseball Halls of Fame. If they want to be logical by getting something in return and do right by him, Cincinnati has to consider dealing Votto to a contender. When/if that happens, it will be a dark day in Cincinnati.
“Where ya gonna go?”
The Cincinnati front office continues to ask for trust and faith yet hasn’t truly earned it. Half of the names on this Reds trade deadline list have succeeded in spite of the Castellinis. There is no real confidence in the decision-makers just yet.
They claim to want to build a contender by dealing veterans and those with trade value in order to get lottery tickets in return. Considering their decisions this past off-season, completing a few of these trades will be difficult, but necessary. If you’re looking to build up a new contender for 2024 and beyond, you have to tear it down to the studs.
The Reds trade deadline moves will hurt fans’ feelings. But if the front office wants to commit to what they claim to be doing, a busy deadline is a necessary one.
Editor’s note: All stats are as of June 8th.