The Reds have been linked to several pitchers already this offseason. Tyler Glasnow was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, but Cincinnati was rumored to be in the hunt. The Reds have also been tied to Dylan Cease and Shane Bieber.
But, if Framber Valdez is truly available this offseason, he should be the Reds' top trade target for one, very specific reason - he keeps the ball on the ground.
Astros pitcher Framber Valdez is the perfect fit for the Reds
There's a lot to like about Framber Valdez. Over the past two seasons, the left-hander has anchored the Houston Astros rotation. Valdez has thrown over 195 innings in each of the past two seasons and has a combined 3.13 ERA with 394 punch outs.
Valdez, however, has one key attribute that is essential for pitching in Great American Ball Park. Last season, according to Baseball Savant, Valdez owned a 55.1-percent ground ball-rate. That was among the 91st-percentile. The year before, his 67.4-percent ground ball-rate was the best in the game.
When you pitch at GABP, balls are going to leave the yard. That's just the way it works when you play for the Cincinnati Reds. Cincinnati's home ballpark is launching pad. And while that will always offer the home team a few extra runs every season, the Reds pitching staff has to endure some cheap ones clearing the fence every so often.
Framber Valdez did give up a career-worst 23 homers in 2023, but in 2022, the southpaw only allowed 12 gopher balls. While keeping the ball on the ground is key to pitching inside Great American Ball Park, Valdez does not induce weak contact. In fact, the 91.5 mph average exit velocity was among the worst in the game last season.
In terms of potential return, with two years of team control remaining, it's safe to assume that the Houston Astros would be seeking a trade package similar to what the Chicago White Sox are expecting to receive for their ace, Dylan Cease.
If the Cincinnati Reds are looking for that frontline starter, Framber Valdez fits the bill. The return would be steep, and the Astros, unlike the White Sox, are probably in the market for more major league-ready talent.