2 Reds outfield trade targets to insure against TJ Friedl’s injury troubles

Reds outfielder TJ Friedl can't escape the injury bug.

Cincinnati Reds outfielder TJ Friedl
Cincinnati Reds outfielder TJ Friedl / John Fisher/GettyImages

On Monday evening, Cincinnati Reds outfielder TJ Friedl made an outstanding diving catch to rob Pittsburgh Pirates' infielder Nick Gonzalez of an extra-base hit. Unfortunately, Friedl was injured on the play and was removed from the game.

He looked to have grabbed his right leg shortly after the dive and Reds manager David Bell confirmed with reporters after the game that it looks like a hamstring injury. However, the severity of the injury isn't clear as of right now.

Friedl has already made two trips to the IL this year. He broke his wrist in spring training and broke his thumb shortly after returning from the wrist injury. It's unclear whether Friedl's most recent injury will require a trip to the IL but the point remains that this is becoming a pattern for the young outfielder.

Will TJ Friedl's injury force the Reds to find OF help at the MLB trade deadline?

Friedl made two separate trips to the IL in 2023 as he dealt with hamstring and oblique injuries, making it a total of 80 days spent on the IL in the past two years. It's left the Reds in a difficult spot, as they've had to rely on lesser players in his absence.

As it stands, Friedl is far and away the Reds best option in center field. Will Benson and Stuart Fairchild can handle the position defensively, but neither have the impact bat the Reds need out there. Blake Dunn and Conner Capel both struggled in brief stints in Cincinnati and there aren't great internal options outside of that group.

The best path forward for Nick Krall and the Reds might be to try to find a long term solution at center field on the trade market and do what they can to limit Friedl's innings in the outfield. Friedl is a strong asset for this team but only when he's available, and that hasn't been often enough.

While we're not yet in the thick of trade season, there are some teams already out of postseason contention that might consider doing business a bit early.

The Reds could inquire about Marlins' CF Jazz Chisholm Jr.

The Miami Marlins are cratering at 23-49 and could potentially be talked into trading Jazz Chisholm in the right deal. Chisholm is a well rounded player — solid in most areas without being a star in any particular category.

The asking price for Chisholm might be out of the Reds price range but he'd be a strong addition to this outfield and you'd imagine the power would play up a bit in Great American Ball Park.

Could JJ Bleday be the Reds answer in CF?

Likewise, the Oakland Athletics are well out of the postseason race and have a couple interesting players that might be on the move. Brent Rooker would fit the roster at the moment, but centerfielder JJ Bleday would be a more interesting long-term option for Krall and the Reds.

Bleday won't be a free agent until after the 2028 season, so the A's might be hesitant to move him. But he's been a solid hitter, posting a .254/.337/.462 slash line with good power and serviceable defense in center.

If the Reds are going to make a move to acquire an outfielder, they should do so with the long-term in mind. Both Chisholm and Bleday would arrive with a number of years of control left and either would be an upgrade over the stopgap options the Reds have run out in Friedl's absence this year.

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