Cincinnati Reds: Robert Stephenson should replace Matt Harvey if he’s traded

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

Matt Harvey had another solid outing for the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday. If the Reds move Harvey at the MLB trade deadline, Robert Stephenson should take his spot.

Matt Harvey had an outstanding outing for the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night in Atlanta. With trading Harvey likely imminent, the Reds need to focus on who they call up to replace him. Their best option is the former first-round pick, Robert Stephenson.

In probably his best start since joining Cincinnati, Harvey allowed only 1 run through 6.2 innings against Atlanta in the Reds’ 5-3 win over the Braves. Since allowing 3 home runs to the St. Louis Cardinals on June 8th, Harvey’s thrown 3 straight games without allowing a long ball. He’s struck out 10 batters during that span and only walked 4.

His ERA has steadily improved over the last 3 games from 5.97 to 5.28. In fact, in those 3 games, his ERA is a solid 3.06. Harvey was always thought to be a trade chip for the Reds once July rolled around, and with him appearing to be gaining momentum, a contending team in need of starting pitching will likely come calling sooner rather than later.

So, if the Cincinnati Reds are likely to move Harvey at the trade deadline, who will replace The Dark Knight in the starting rotation? While the prevailing thought would be the return of Homer Bailey to the Reds, Robert Stephenson is the pitcher whom Cincinnati should call up.

Bailey has had his chances. He’s currently in a rehab assignment with the Louisville Bats and he’s been no better in Triple-A than he’d been in the Majors this season. In 2 games with the Bats, Bailey’s gone only 9 innings, struck out only 2 and has a 12.00 ERA. Through 12 games with the or Reds this season, Bailey was carrying a 6.68 ERA and allowed 15 home runs.

Bailey still has one year left on a massive deal, and what the Reds chose to do with him going forward is beyond my knowledge. But, I know this, Robert Stephenson is the guy Cincinnati should look to if Matt Harvey is dealt before the trade deadline.

Robert Stephenson or Cody Reed?

Brandon Finnegan was just removed from the starting rotation in Louisville and is headed to the bullpen, so if you eliminate Bailey from your choices, you narrow your selection of Harvey’s replacement to Stephenson or Cody Reed.

When comparing Stephenson to Reed and their number thus far in Triple-A Louisville, Stephenson’s ERA (3.72) and WHIP (1.32) are better than Reed’s (3.92 ERA and 1.44 WHIP).

The biggest knock on Stephenson has been his command. Last season in Cincinnati he had a 1.62:1, but while in Louisville this season, Stephenson has improved that number and is now 2.11:1 in 14 starts for the Bats.

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So much of what the Reds decide to do will be predicated on if they trade Matt Harvey and what they get in return. Regardless, it’s time to set the sights forward for this team and Stephenson is a guy that deserves a chance to show what he can do at the Major League level.