The Cincinnati Reds are 7-4, in first-place in the National League Central, and have the third-best record in the NL. So, while there’s no need to panic, a few adjustments need to be made. So, what three moves should the front office make immediately?
The Reds pitching staff has been about middle of the road, which is to be expected at this time of year, especially after losing Cy Young-winner Trevor Bauer, former starter Anthony DeSclafani, and relievers Archie Bradley and Raisel Iglesias. The pitching staff ranks second in strikeouts, but 10th in ERA.
Cincinnati’s bats, however, have been blistering the ball during the first 11 games of the season. Their .851 team-OPS is second in the league and the Reds lead all of Major League Baseball with 75 runs scored and 20 home runs. Yet, it feels as though there are a few transactions Nick Krall could make that would make his club even better.
1. The Reds should option José De León to the alternate site.
This move feels inevitable, doesn’t it? Sonny Gray is set to make his 2021 debut for the Reds on either Friday or Saturday. Unsurprisingly, Cincinnati’s probable starters for those games are Jeff Hoffman and José De León.
After acquiring a fourth minor-league option, De León being sent to the alternate site rather than releasing Hoffman seems like the more prudent transaction. De León has struggled with the home run, allowing four round trippers and eight earned runs over 9.1 innings. That type of production is not going to keep you in the starting rotation.
Hoffman, on the other hand, has pitched the same number of innings while only allowing one homer, nine hits, and four runs. Hoffman is also out of minor league options. Once Michael Lorenzen returns from injury, he’ll likely supplant Hoffman in the rotation.
José De León is a skilled pitcher and has the stuff to be an effective starting pitcher. The Reds could option De León to the alternate site, allowing him to continue to work as a starter, and possibly snag a spot start here and there throughout the 2021 campaign.