Should the Cincinnati Reds Trade for Jonathan Papelbon?

In case you haven’t noticed, the Cincinnati Reds are off to a pretty good start this year. Last night’s loss aside, the starting rotation has been very good and guys like Johnny Cueto and Anthony DeSclafani already look to be in mid-season form. Aroldis Chapman has been lights out and has a 0.00 ERA right now. And perhaps best of all, the Reds are hitting again, and they look like a completely different team from last year. Joey Votto is finally back and healthy and looks as good as he’s ever been. But all is not right in Cincinnati, and if you’ve been watching the games, you already know what’s wrong. The bullpen, and especially the eighth inning.

The Reds are struggling badly in the eighth inning as the team can’t seem to find their footing or a reliable eighth inning guy. It should be obvious by now to apparently everyone but Bryan Price that Kevin Gregg is not the guy to give the ball to. Jumbo Diaz hasn’t been much better and the Reds seem to have no interest in letting Chapman pitch at all in the eighth inning. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to lose these games in the eighth inning and it’s clear something needs to change.

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So, just for fun I’m going to play GM and say that the Reds should trade for Phillies closer Jonathon Papelbon. I know Papelbon is a closer, but if he could be convinced to pitch in the eighth, he could be perfect for the Reds. Papelbon, who becomes a free agent next year, is coming off a great year where he put up a 2.04 ERA and 39 saves. Putting him as a set-up man for Chapman could help preserve Reds leads, especially with how conservative the team is being with using Chapman.

And it’s not inconceivable to think it could happen. In the coming years, the Phillies will probably look to become younger and start trading away some of their older players for young prospects. And since the Phillies probably won’t have Papelbon next year, they might be in the market to get what they can for him. Considering how good the Reds are playing right now, it’s obvious that if things keep going this way, the Reds are going to be contenders. But with a shaky bullpen, it’s hard to see them going deep in October. That being said, giving up some big prospects might be worth it to give the Reds a legitimate postseason shot.

The Phillies might trade Papelbon for some of the Reds’ top prospect. Outfielder Jesse Winker and pitcher Nick Howard might be enough to pry Papelbon away from the Phillies. I know that’s a lot for the Reds to give up just for one relief pitcher, but if it’ll give the Reds a chance at a postseason run, I’m all for it. What do you guys think?

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