So much of the focus surrounding the Cincinnati Reds recent trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers has been the acquisition of Yasiel Puig, but Alex Wood may have the biggest impact on the team next season.
The Cincinnati Reds recently made a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers to bring Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, and Alex Wood to the Queen City. While most of the focus following the deal has been the acquisition of Puig and what he brings with his bat, Alex Wood brings some help to the starting rotation that could extremely helpful in 2019.
Puig is a phenomenal talent and every fan that crams into Great American Ball Park this next season will be dying to see him send one deep over the left field wall and flip his bat on his way around the diamond. However, entering the offseason, fixing the starting rotation was the team’s biggest need. The Reds did that when they acquired Wood.
Wood was a second round pick of the Atlanta Braves in 2012 and spend his first two-plus seasons in the Major Leagues with Atlanta before being traded to the Dodgers in 2015. Believe it or not, the Dodgers also acquired former Reds Bronson Arroyo and Mat Latos in the trade, as well as current Reds shortstop José Peraza.
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During the 2017 season, Wood caught fire in the month of May after taking over Rich Hill‘s spot in the starting rotation. Wood went 5-0 with a 1.27 ERA and 41 strikeouts and won the NL Pitcher of the Month. Wood began the season 10-0 on route to a 16-3 finish and a spot in All-Star Game. Wood finished 2017 with a 2.52 ERA and a 151 ERA+.
The 2018 season didn’t treat Wood as kindly. HIs wins and strikeouts decreased, while his ERA, FIP, ERA+, and WHIP all increased. In saying that, it’s not like Wood had an atrocious campaign last year. His ERA was still a respectable 3.68 and he only allowed 14 home runs through 150-plus innings pitched.
Wood turns 28-years-old next month and has a bevy of postseason success, including two straight trips to the World Series. He owns a 1-0 record in the Fall Classic, with a 2.70 ERA and 8 strikeouts. Having a player on the roster who’s performed on the biggest stage could be an invaluable addition to the young group of pitchers on the Reds staff.
Alex Wood actually finished the 2018 season out of bullpen. That will not be his role with the Cincinnati Reds. Wood will be counted on, depending on who else the Reds may acquire this offseason, to be a top-of-the-rotation starter in Cincinnati. I’d look for Wood to be the Reds No. 1 or No. 2 starter heading into Spring Training.
Wood is a left-handed sinker ball pitcher. I know I’ve been harping on it all offseason, but for the Cincinnati Reds to have success in the NL Central, having at least one left-handed starter is imperative. The National League Central is loaded with hard-hitting lefties, and having a southpaw to run out every fifth day will prove very useful next season.
As the season unfolds, we’ll get a better idea of what this Reds starting rotation is capable of, but for now we can already assume it’ll be better than last year’s debacle. Homer Bailey is gone, Tanner Roark is a solid pick up, and Anthony DeSclafani will enter 2019 with a clean bill of health. If Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle can show some growth, the addition of Alex Wood might be enough to make this a formidable rotation.