Latest Reds roster moves and injuries signal unexpected target at MLB trade deadline

Which way will the Reds go at the MLB trade deadline?

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Graham Ashcraft
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Graham Ashcraft / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Reds have made a number of curious and questionable roster moves over the last couple of weeks, but the team has also had some unfortunate injuries befall some key players as well.

The Reds made the correct call to option Graham Ashcraft to the minor leagues after the third-year starter had endured a number of struggles. Ashcraft was sent to Triple-A Louisville where the Reds hope he'll be able to regain his control and command. The plan is for Ashcraft to rejoin the active roster later this season.

The Reds also recalled Carson Spiers — who will get his first start of 2024 on Monday — and placed Emilio Pagán on the injured list. It was also revealed by Reds manager David Bell that Brandon Williamson may in fact miss the entire 2024 season if he undergoes surgery to repair his ailing shoulder.

Latest Reds roster moves and injuries signal unexpected target at MLB trade deadline

With all that, plus Frankie Montas' struggles as a backdrop, one has to wonder if the Reds will go looking for a starter at this year's MLB trade deadline. This would not have been on the table earlier this season. The Reds had brought in Montas and Nick Martinez to join their stable of Ashcraft, Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Andrew Abbott.

Montas has been hot-and-cold this season, and Martinez is a far better reliever than he is a starter. Ashcraft is now down in the minors, and while the other young pitchers have been solid, none of those three have necessarily asserted themselves as frontline starters on playoff team.

Both Connor Phillips and Chase Petty — the Reds top two pitching prospects — have endured a tough go of it in 2024, and Rhett Lowder still has a lot to prove before getting promoted to Triple-A (much less The Show).

Depending on where this team is (record-wise) come the MLB trade deadline may well dictate whether the Reds will look to buy or stand pat. But if the Reds are going to be buyers, don't be surprised if adding another starter is at the top of Nick Krall's shopping list.

The Reds are eighth in the National League in ERA and strikeouts among starters. That may be enough to keep Cincinnati in the playoff hunt, but if the Reds really want to make some noise this fall, they're going to need to look to add dependable starting pitching before the July 30th deadline.

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