The Cincinnati Reds recent sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals should give fans hope that their team is not out of contention. However, the 7-run lead given up by the bullpen in yesterday’s contest brings some questions to light. How can Reds GM Nick Krall fix the bullpen? The first thing he should do is make a call to the Texas Rangers and figure out how to make a deal for Ian Kennedy.
Kennedy has been the best minor-league signing this offseason; sorry, Tyler Naquin, but it’s true. After spending the past five seasons with the Kansas City Royals, Kennedy inked a one-year minor-league deal with the Texas Rangers that brings a base salary of $2.15M with it.
Ian Kennedy could help solve the Reds bullpen woes.
If the Reds are really serious about competing for the National League Central Division, they must improve the league’s worst bullpen. Cincinnati was counting on Amir Garrett, Lucas Sims, and Carson Fulmer to hold down the fort at the back of the bullpen.
Unfortunately for David Bell, Garrett has the highest ERA among relievers not named Michael Feliz. Sims, while effective, is carrying a 4.70 ERA. And Fulmer is currently pitching for Triple-A Louisville.
Bell needs reinforcements if his team is looking to play baseball in October. Enter Ian Kennedy. Kennedy has been terrific for the Rangers this season. The veteran right-hander owns a 2.53 ERA through 21 games and has 12 saves I 13 opportunities. The former starter is a free agent at the end of the season, so there’s no long-term commitment required on the part of the Reds.
What would its take for the Cincinnati Reds and Texas Rangers to make a deal? Not a lot, as I mentioned, Ian Kennedy is only signed for this season and is 36-years old. Reds GM Nick Krall would, and should, be picky about what assets he might consider surrendering if a deal with new Rangers’ GM Chris Young and President of Baseball Operations Jon Daniels is in play.
Bryce Bonnin, Cincinnati’s third-round pick last year could be a good place to start. Bonnin has a live arm and crossfire delivery that can throw hitters off their game. Bonnin has a plus-slider, and while the Reds currently see him as a potential starter, it may be more likely that he finds his way to the bullpen.
Krall could sweeten thee deal by adding minor league third baseman Debby Santana. Santana isn’t as highly regarded as Rece Hinds or Tyler Callihan, but the 20-year-old from the Dominican Republic has power in that right-handed bat. Both Bonnin and Santana could give the Rangers some solid additions to their farm system.
The Cincinnati Reds have to do something, and in terms of bullpen arms, there’s nothing to speak of in the minor leagues. Sure, the Reds could promote Tony Santillan and Riley O’Brien, but it seems as though the organization would prefer to continue to prepare them for being big league starting pitchers, not relievers.