Cincinnati Reds: What could a realistic 2019 starting rotation look like?

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 08: Trevor Bauer #47 of the Cleveland Indians pitches in the sixth inning against the Houston Astros during Game Three of the American League Division Series at Progressive Field on October 8, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 08: Trevor Bauer #47 of the Cleveland Indians pitches in the sixth inning against the Houston Astros during Game Three of the American League Division Series at Progressive Field on October 8, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Projecting your 2019 Cincinnati Reds starting pitching rotation through one blockbuster trade and a low-key free agency acquisition.

The Cincinnati Reds need pitching, that is a given. How they acquire said pitching and where they are placed in the rotation are major questions. Here is the optimistic, yet realistic projection for assembling your much improved 2019 Cincinnati Reds starting pitching rotation.

No. 1 Starter:

Analysis – Keuchel would be a great addition for the Reds given his arsenal of pitches and left-handedness, but, I don’t believe the Reds will be willing to spend the kind of money he will be demanding on the market, especially after the mega-deal Corbin just received (6 years/ $140 million).

As for trade options, “Thor” would be the splash fans drool over but, unfortunately the asking price for him is extremely high and there are certainly prospects the Reds just aren’t willing to give up to acquire him. This leads me to what may seem as a long shot to most but could and should happen for Cincinnati. Land your drone in Cincinnati Mr. Trevor Bauer.

Live Feed


  • Nick Castellanos gave bat in question to young Reds fan in awesome gestureFanSided
  • Yadier Molina victim of most innocent fan trash talk ever (Video)FanSided
  • Mike Shildt has umps check Nick Castellanos bat after grand slam (Video)FanSided
  • Joey Votto flips out on umpire for awful third strike call (Video)FanSided
  • Avisail Garcia steals Max Schrock's hopes and dreams with home run robbery (Video)FanSided
  • I love what Luis Castillo brings to the table as a power pitcher, but, he really fits in well as a No. 2 pitcher to Bauer. A potential prospect/major-league ready package bringing Bauer to Cincinnati might look like this: Cincinnati sends Hunter Greene, Tyler Stephenson, and José Lopez for Bauer and Tyler Naquin who could hit well in GABP in a platoon role.

    No. 2 Starter:

    Analysis – Castillo in the two spot would be ideal as it would mean Cincinnati went out and landed a number one starter not currently on the roster. Wheeler as a trade option is unlikely due to his comeback season in 2018 and retaining the core of Jacob deGrom, Syndergaard, and Wheeler should be a priority for the Mets.

    Eovaldi wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize however, as the flame-throwing righty ended the season strongly with Boston as he eventually pitched from a relief role in the World Series for the Red Sox. The left-handed Yusei Kikuchi was posted Tuesday by the Seibu Lions and will garner a lot of attention on the free agent market, Cincinnati just won’t be a team bidding for his services.

    As I am writing this article, the St. Louis Cardinals traded for Paul Goldschmidt. In a speculative but clearly possible move tweeted recently, the Reds could potentially make an under-the-radar move and snag Robbie Ray from the D-backs.

    What the asking price would be? I’m not sure given the fire sale they seem to be starting down there in the southwest. My projection is Luis Castillo ends up in the two spot to start the season behind Bauer.

    No. 3 starter:

    Analysis – The most likely option in free agency now given his 2018 numbers and the real need for a left-handed pitcher, is Wade Miley. He would be a welcome addition to a Cincinnati Reds staff that hasn’t had a legitimate left-handed starter in some time.

    While his season improved upon his arrival in Cincinnati, Matt Harvey did not have a head-turning season making him worth spending what he will be looking for, especially when there are cheaper, albeit older options on the market.

    JA Happ could easily fill the same role as Miley, I just see him getting a larger contract than what Cincinnati would allocate for one player in the middle of the rotation, and unfortunately, a player his age is due to regress.

    Read. Could Billy Hamilton replace Billy Hamilton?

    Mike Leake, the plus-hitting pitc……..wait, you have Michael Lorenzen, oh never mind. The three remaining years of his five-year/ $80-million contract aren’t worth taking on. This leads me to believe the Reds go older, cheaper, but still efficient by signing Wade Miley to a deal. Let’s say 1-2 years at $5-6 million per season, thus pushing Desclafani and Mahle into the Nos. 4 and 5 starter competition

    Nos. 4 and 5 starters:

    • FA options – Derek Holland
    • Trade 0ptions – Sonny Gray
    • In-house options – Desclafani, Mahle, and Michael Lorenzen

    Analysis – It has been rumored the Cincinnati Reds were pursuing Sonny Gray of the Yankees in a move that would reunite him with his college pitching coach, Derek Johnson, the Reds new pitching coach.

    The only way I make this happen if I’m Dick Williams is to offer a player to be named later with the intention the Yankees eat some of his salary. Otherwise, no dice on this one.

    A not-so-sexy but analytically backed move is to sign Holland, who pitched well in San Francisco last season. He could be had at a reasonable price as he continues to try and prove the promise he once showed in the Rangers organization.

    I cannot foresee the Reds making a deal for Sonny Gray or offering a deal to Holland with the options they already have in the organization. Given Lorenzen’s strong showing at the end of the season and solid numbers, he deserves a fair chance at winning the No. 5 starter spot.

    Projected Rotation:

    • No. 1 – Trevor Bauer
    • No. 2 – Luis Castillo
    • No. 3 – Wade Miley
    • No. 4 – Anthony Desclafani
    • No. 5 – Tyler Mahle or Michael Lorenzen

    With the Winter Meetings set to begin on Sunday in Las Vegas and several big moves being made throughout Major League Baseball, hopefully the Cincinnati Reds enter the fray and begin to make some moves on either the free agent market or via a trade.

    Billy Hamilton's five greatest moments for the Reds. Next

    Reds fans are chomping at the bit to see their team make a big splash this offseason. Adding a player like Trevor Bauer would certainly qualify as a big splash. Keep a careful watch Reds Country, the Winter Meetings begin on December 9th.