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Could the Reds and Pirates work out a trade for Richard Rodriguez?

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 05: Richard Rodriguez #48 of the Pittsburgh Pirates looks on during the game against the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 05: Richard Rodriguez #48 of the Pittsburgh Pirates looks on during the game against the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
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Even before the injury to Tejay Antone, the Cincinnati Reds needed a reliable reliever in the backend of their bullpen. Would the front office make a deal within the division for Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Richard Rodriguez?

Rodriguez has been one of the only bright spots on an otherwise horrendous Pirates ball club this season. Rodriguez is 3-1 with a 1.78 ERA and seven saves in 25.1 innings of work in 2021. The right-hander is signed to a $1.7M contract this season and is arbitration eligible for two more seasons.

The Reds front office should make a play for Pirates reliever Richard Rodriguez.

Richard Rodriguez is certainly worthy of trade speculation, as our friends over at Rum Bunter have pointed out. The Pirates reliever had good numbers during the pandemic shortened season in 2020 and has only improved since then. Rodriguez lowered his ERA from 2.70 to 1.78, his FIP from 2.85 to 1.93, and his WHIP from 0.857 to 0.771.

If the Cincinnati Reds are serious about competing for the NL Central crown, they’re going to have to make some upgrade to the bullpen. Cincinnati’s relief corps is worst in the National League with a 5.80 ERA. The bullpen trails only St. Louis’ firemen in walks issued, and only the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies relief squad have allowed more hits.

But what would it take to land a player like Richard Rodriguez? Honestly, the Pirates know that they have in Rodriguez, and they’re unlikely to give up their star reliever unless the inquiring front office is willing to give up a few good pieces.

It would probably cost Cincinnati at least one Top 10 talent from within their farm system. We’re talking about a player like Rece Hinds, Tyler Callihan, or Michael Siani. The Reds would also likely have to part with a pair of lower-level minor leaguers as well.

Would the trio of Siani, third base prospect Debby Santana, and starting pitcher Christina Roa be enough to sway Pittsburgh’s front office to make a deal? Maybe, but that remains to be seen. Rodriguez is likely the best reliever available at the trade deadline, so Nick Krall would have to overpay for the right-hander’s services.

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However, when it comes to relievers, there aren’t likely to be many better or more available than Richard Rodriguez. Pittsburgh is in a complete rebuild and looking to stockpile talent. Ian Kennedy, Yimi Garcia, and Kendall Graveman are more short-term options the Reds could turn to if they decide not to pursue Rodriguez or find the Pirates’ asking price too high.

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