The Cincinnati Reds have once again been linked to Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber in very preliminary discussions of a 3-team trade. The Reds could have a lot to gain by going through with the deal.
Reports have circulated indicating that the San Diego Padres have inquired about Cincinnati Reds top prospect Nick Senzel and working out a three-team trade between the Reds, Indians, and Padres. The deal would involve the Indians acquisitions being from the Padres, the Padres would get Senzel, and the Reds would get RHP Corey Kluber.
Like I said, these discussions are very preliminary. There is a very good chance that the Reds will not go through with it, especially considering how insistent they have been on not moving Senzel already this offseason.
The Reds have a lot of good reasons for holding on to Senzel, chief of which being that he’s a talented player and their current second baseman (Scooter Gennett) is in his final year of arbitration. But, there are also a lot of good reasons for going ahead with the deal.
Corey Kluber is a very talented pitcher. He was 20-7 in 2018 with 33 games started and a 2.89 ERA. That alone makes him a good acquisition for the Reds. The best ERAs for Reds starters last season were Michael Lorenzen with 3.11 and Cody Reed with 3.98. They were the only two Cincinnati pitchers with ERAs under 4.00.
Reds fans also have to look at the other starters in the rotation for the coming season. The only definite starters are Alex Wood, Tanner Roark, Anthony DeSclafani, and Luis Castillo. None of them are ace pitchers. Castillo has the potential to be, but he’s not there yet.
Additionally, three of those four pitchers will be free agents at the end of the 2019 season (assuming the Reds don’t sign any of them to extensions). Which would put the Reds right back here next off season, trying to find pitching.
There is a better than decent chance that some of there in-house pitchers will develop this year under the new pitching staff. Young players like Tyler Mahle, Cody Reed, and Sal Romano in addition to Castillo could develop into soldi pieces in the Cincinnati Reds rotation. All three of those pitchers made several starts last season, but ultimately ended up being pulled from the rotation.
Kluber has the experience and the ability to go deep into games and put up good numbers. He also has 3 years of team control left on his contract before he reaches free agency. These younger guys can learn a lot from a 3-time All Star and 2-time Cy Young Award winner in that amount of time, and the Reds will not be starting completely over again next offseason.
Nick Senzel is a talented player and he will likely do great in the Major Leagues once he finally does make his debut. I would be sad to see the Reds let him go. But there is also a lot of good in getting Kluber in Cincinnati.
It’s hard to say exactly where the chips will all fall, and I can see good arguments and opinions from both sides. But, I definitely think that if moving Senzel can bring in a good starting pitcher who will be around for more than one year, then it is a deal worth considering.