Cincinnati Reds: Pursuit of Tanner Roark shows desire for starting pitcher

Former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tanner Roark signed with Toronto Blue Jays. However, the Reds were in the hunt, reveling their desire for another starter.

The Cincinnati Reds are looking at nearly every position. Almost every hour there’s a new rumor about the Reds pursuit of a shortstop, power-hitting outfielder, and even a catcher. However, little attention has been paid to the starting rotation. However, Cincinnati went after Zack Wheeler, and most recently Tanner Roark, in an effort to boost the rotation heading into next season.

Roark was traded to the Reds last offseason in exchange for former prospect Tanner Rainey. Rainey went 2-3 with a 3.91 ERA while playing 52 games for the Washington Nationals last season. Roark provided a steady presence in the rotation, but was traded at the deadline to the Oakland A’s in exchange for outfield prospect Jameson Hannah.

Tanner Roark signed a two-year/$24M deal with the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday, effectively ending the 33-year-old’s first go through free agency. Though we didn’t hear much chatter, apparently the Cincinnati Reds were in hot pursuit of Roark’s services.

According to Jon Heyman, an insider at MLB Network, the Reds were in talks to bring Roark back to the Queen City, but his hefty offer from Toronto was a bit too rich for Cincinnati’s blood. To be honest, an average annual value is a bit much for what would amount to the No. 4 or 5 starter in next year’s rotation.

The Reds already have four quality starters ready to begin next season. Luis Castillo, Trevor Bauer, Sonny Gray, and Anthony DeSclafani already form a solid rotation, with Tyler Mahle the best in-house candidate for the time being.

However, both Bauer and DeSclafani are free agents following the 2020 season, and the Reds already showed a willingness to upgrade the rotation with their pursuit of Zack Wheeler and their rumored interest in Madison Bumgarner. Cincinnati’s interest in Roark is the latest example of the front office’s desire to add another arm to the rotation.

There are several starting pitchers still available on the open market, with Hyun-Jin Ryu and Dallas Keuchel among the best remaining. Julio Teheran is also an option, as is Wade Miley, who had success with pitching coach Derek Johnson in Milwaukee back in 2018.

Next: Reds rumored to be interested in Castellanos

The Cincinnati Reds, while having improved their lineup with the addition of Mike Moustakas, still have some holes to fill. A few options to grab a spot in the starting rotation exist on the 40-man roster, but if Dick Williams and Nick Krall are looking to help guide this team to the playoffs in 2020, another arm in the rotation couldn’t hurt.

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