Reds: Former Cy Young winner could replace Trevor Bauer in the rotation

MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 10: Jake Arrieta #49 of the Philadelphia Phillies delivers a pitch. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 10: Jake Arrieta #49 of the Philadelphia Phillies delivers a pitch. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Could Jake Arrieta replace Trevor Bauer in the Reds rotation?

It’s not a secret that the Cincinnati Reds seem to be dumping salary. Is it a rebuild? Is it and attempt and rope Trevor Bauer back to Cincinnati? Nobody is certain. I still think Bauer ends up calling Flushing, NY or Anaheim, California home, but crazier things have happened.

It’s well known that Cincinnati is rumored to be shopping Sonny Gray as well. Anthony DeSclafani is also garnering quite a bit of interest on the free agent market. Assuming Cincinnati loses all three arms, where will the front office turn for starting pitching? Former All-Star Jake Arrieta provides an intriguing option.

Arrieta has had an interesting career to say the least. The 34-year-old has won a Cy Young, helped reverse the curse as part of the Cubs’ World Series team 2016, and has been a solid, reliable arm for the majority of his career. There is no shortage of starting pitchers on the free agent market, but the marquee names that adorn that list are few, and up there in age.

Arrieta doesn’t seem to be raking in a ton of interest from teams at the moment, maybe his price tag is too high. Perhaps he’s too old for a good majority of teams, or maybe everybody is too focused on signing Bauer. Whatever the case may be, I think the Reds need to take a good hard look at the veteran right-hander.

What would the Reds rotation look like in 2021? As fo right now, it appears to be Luis Castillo leading the charge along with Sonny Gray. Tyler Mahle, Wade Miley will likely comprise the middle of the rotation, and a duel between Michael Lorenzen, Jeff Hoffman, Tejay Antone, and José De Leòn will decide the final spot in the rotation. Not impressed? Neither am I.

Cincinnati still has an ace in Castillo, who struggled early in 2020 but got much better as the season went on. Run support in Castillo’s starts was also abysmal and had somewhat of a negative impact on his stat line. In September, La Piedra was lights out. I expect Castillo to be the Reds Opening Day starter in 2021.

With Gray’s future uncertain, it’s hard to place him in the starting rotation at this moment. Once spring training arrives, if Gray is still in a Cincinnati Reds uniform, I’ll feel much more confident adding him to the starting rotation.

Mahle showed some promise in nine starts, and while he’s still very young and unproven, the right-hander has shown signs that he can be a reliable arm in the rotation. So far though the return on investment after signing Miley last winter hasn’t quite been there. Granted the left-hander was injured for a chunk of 2020.

With no direction as to where this rotation is headed, the Cincinnati Reds may even look to 2019 first-roound pick Nick Lodolo. If Lodolo can succeed quickly in the farm league system, look for him to be in The Show sometime during the 2021 season.

This is where the need for Jake Arrieta comes in. The Reds rotation has a lot more questions than answers right now; questions that I’m sure will be answered as the season draws nearer. At 34-years old, him best years are definitely behind him, but the Reds front office needs to take a look at Arrieta.

His 2020 campaign wasn’t one of his best seasons, going 4-4 with a 5.08 ERA in nine starts. With a sub-.500 record and 4.36 ERA, Philadelphia in general wasn’t the best stop Arrieta’s had in his career, but one would think Cincinnati’s pitching coach Derek Johnson could get the most out of what the former Cy Young winner has left in the tank.

The perfect Reds lineup for 2021. Next

Not many teams are reported to be looking for Arrieta’s services, which might be an indication that his price tag is too high. Arrieta could be a reliable veteran presence in a somewhat young Reds rotation. If the Reds can bring Arrieta in on a team-friendly short term deal, it could pay dividends on and off the field.