These 2 rehab assignments that could impact the Reds plans at the trade deadline

Cincinnati Reds left fielder Aristides Aquino (44) hits a home run.
Cincinnati Reds left fielder Aristides Aquino (44) hits a home run. / Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

We've already heard that Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, and Brandon Drury will be attractive targets for opposing teams at the MLB trade deadline. But the return of two outfielders to the Cincinnati Reds roster could impact things as well.

Both Jake Fraley and Aristides Aquino will begin rehab assignments with Triple-A Louisville today. Fraley has been out with a foot injury while an ankle injury has sidelined Aquino.

Rehab assignments have an expiration date. After 20 days, the Reds will have to decide what to do with both Fraley and Aquino. That 20 days will be just after the August 2nd trade deadline. Will either of these players affect how Cincinnati approaches the deadline?

Will Aristides Aquino's impending return impact the Reds deadline plans?

Jake Fraley, who was acquired in the Reds' trade with the Seattle Mariners earlier this spring, has minor league options remaining. When Fraley returns from the IL, the Reds can simply option him to Triple-A Louisville. Cincinnati did the exact same thing with Jose Barrero who's still in the minors.

But Aristides Aquino is a different story. Aquino has no options remaining and would have to be exposed to waivers if the Reds were hoping to send him back to Triple-A after his rehab assignment is completed. Cincinnati has already done that once this season. Would the Reds do it again? They may not have to.

The Reds are currently riding high on a five-game winning streak, but are still 20-plus games under .500 for the season. Cincinnati's good fortunes of late will not change the fact that the Reds will be sellers at the trade deadline.

In addition to Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, and Brandon Drury, there are a couple of other names to keep an eye on. Any player who's nearing free agency (Tyler Naquin, Tommy Pham, and Mike Minor) could be moved prior to August 2nd. Kyle Farmer is on that list as well, but I don't see the Cincinnati Reds trading their starting shortstop.

If either Naquin or Pham are dealt at the trade deadline, it would open a roster spot for Aristides Aquino. The Punisher's bat has been severely lacking this season, but his defense has been terrific. Do the Cincinnati Reds value Aquino's potential enough to keep him on the 40-man roster?

A lot may depend on what the Reds receive in return at the trade deadline. If Cincinnati is able to collect a major league-ready outfielder or two in exchange for one of their highly-regarded pitchers, the idea of keeping Aquino become moot.

The Cincinnati Reds front office has always seemed to have a strange fascination with Aristides Aquino. Yes, The Punisher has all the tools (power, speed, arm strength, etc.) one looks for in todays game, but aside from one month in 2019, Aquino has never been able to put it all together.

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