5 pitchers the Reds could target in the final hours of the MLB trade deadline

There's a little over 24 hours left until the MLB trade deadline passes.

Detroit Tigers pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez
Detroit Tigers pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez / Duane Burleson/GettyImages
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Pitching, especially starting pitching, is a hot commodity with the MLB trade deadline a little over 24 hours away. The Cincinnati Reds seem to have a good enough lineup to make a run at the postseason, but the team could certainly use an extra arm or two down the stretch.

The Texas Rangers made a splash by trading for former Cy Young Award-winner Max Scherzer. The Los Angeles Dodgers landed Lance Lynn in a trade with the Chicago White Sox last week, and the South Siders also dealt fellow starter Lucas Giolito to the Los Angels Angels.

But, there's still plenty of activity still to come in the final hours before the August 1st deadline. With a little more than 24 hours remaining until the MLB trade deadline, who are some of the pitchers the Reds could land in order to bolster their playoff chances?

1. The Reds could target NY Mets pitcher Justin Verlander before the MLB trade deadline.

The Cincinnati Reds have been very loosely linked to the Justin Verlander. The New York Mets starter has been dynamite of late, which is only going to up the price tag in terms of a return. In the end, the cost will likely be too steep for Nick Krall's liking.

Make no mistake, the Reds could easily fit Verlander's massive salary into the payroll for both the remainder of this season and into 2024. Verlander also has a vesting option for the 2025 season.

The only guaranteed money Cincinnati owes next season is the $3-million salary attached to Hunter Greene's new contract. The Reds are on the hook for Joey Votto's $7-million buyout, and will see an increase in pay to the likes of Jonathan India, Tyler Stephenson, Nick Senzel, Jake Fraley, and Lucas Sims through arbitration.

But the majority of players who'll be on Cincinnati's 40-man roster will be making the league minimum. Players like Graham Ashcraft, Nick Lodolo, Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, and Andrew Abbott are all pre-arbitration eligible.

But after watching the Texas Rangers forfeit on of their top prospects (Luisangel Acuña) in the trade for Max Scherzer, it's going to cost the Cincinnati Reds a young player like Edwin Arroyo or Cam Collier in order to secure the services of Justin Verlander. It's not impossible, but it seems unlikely.

2. The Reds could target Tigers pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez before the MLB trade deadline.

Here's a name that's gaining some steam. A few unconfirmed reports have linked Eduardo Rodriguez to the Cincinnati Reds, and there's reason to believe that this deal could get worked out. Much like Justin Verlander, Rodriguez is more than just a two-month rental. Or is he?

There's a major hangup when it comes to Rodriguez's contract, and that's his ability to opt out after the 2023 season. According to Spotrac, the five-year/$77-million deal that Rodriguez signed before the 2022 season allows the southpaw to forgo the final three seasons and re-enter free agency this offseason.

That's going to scare some teams away altogether or lessen the Detroit Tigers ability to secure top-notch draft capital in return. Rodriguez, much like Max Scherzer did prior to his trade to the Texas Rangers, may have to opt in to the remainder of the deal in order to facilitate a trade.

But that's a lot of zeroes on the backend of that deal. Would the Cincinnati Reds really want to go down that road with so many young players looking to score big-time contract extensions in the future?

Don't dismiss the idea of Cincinnati adding Rodriguez at the trade deadline, but the Reds might be one of the few teams who'd prefer to give up very little in return assuming that E-Rod would exercise the opt-out clause after the 2023 season ended.

3. The Reds could target Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty before the MLB trade deadline.

Most Reds fans would completely balk at the idea of trading within the National League Central Division, but the St. Louis Cardinals are in free-fall. After trading away Jordan Hicks and Jordan Montgomery, the Cardinals are waving the white flag.

Former frontline starter Jack Flaherty has had his fair share of struggles lately. Gone are the days when St. Louis would turn to Flaherty on Opening Day, as he looks like little more than a back-of-the-rotation pitcher at this point in his career.

But the Reds aren't looking for an ace. With the likes of Andrew Abbott, Graham Ashcraft, and Brandon Williamson living up to the hype, and the impending returns of Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo, Cincinnati doesn't necessarily need a frontline starting pitcher.

Flaherty is 7-6 with a sub-5.00 ERA on the season. In 20 starts, the right-hander has over 100 strikeouts, but walks have been a problem this season. The 27-year-old has issued 54 free passes this season. No one on the Reds staff has walked more than 43 batters all season.

The price tag won't be exorbitant for Jack Flaherty, and he's done a good job of keeping the ball in the ballpark this season. Luke Weaver, Ben Lively, and Graham Ashcraft have all allowed more round trippers this season.

4. The Reds could target Pirates pitcher Rich Hill before the MLB trade deadline.

If you're looking for the most likely trade deadline addition, look no further than Rich Hill. Yes, this would be another trade within the division, but after swapping Kevin Newman for Dauri Moreta during the offseason, we know that Nick Krall and Ben Cherrington are at least on speaking terms.

Hill makes a ton of sense for the Reds. At 43 years old, it's not going to cost much in terms of prospect capital. Hill is 7-10 on the year with a 4.76 ERA and would be the perfect pitcher to take over as the team's No. 5 starter.

With so many left-handers on the Reds roster, who better to learn from than the veteran of 19 big league seasons. The southpaw throws five different pitchers and would be a tremendous mentor for the young Reds pitching staff.

Nothing on Rich Hill's Baseball Savant page is going to make you salivate. He relyng more on location and deception at this stage of his career. But HIll is no slouch either. The veteran would have the capability to give David Bell five-plus innings every fifth day and allow Cincinnati to move Luke Weaver into the bullpen.

This is the type of deal in which the Reds could sacrifice little more than a low-tier prospect like Tyler Callihan or Jose Torres in order to get a deal done. It's not flashy, but it could be effective. Adding Rich Hill would be a low-risk/low-reward deal; something Nick Krall is probably pondering at this moment.

5. The Reds could target Rockies pitcher Brent Suter before the MLB trade deadline.

This just feels like the type of trade that the Cincinnati Reds should make. While most of Reds Country is hoping to see a top-shelf starter like Dylan Cease join the Cincinnati roster before the MLB trade deadline, the bullpen is in desperate need of some help.

That's not to say that the relief corps has not done their job this season. While Reds fans have been enamored by the play of rookies like Spencer Steer, Matt McLain, and Elly De La Cruz, the bullpen has been the most surprising aspect of this year's Reds team.

The Cincinnati Reds bullpen owns a 3.89 ERA; good enough for sixth-best in the National League. Reds relievers rank fourth opponent's batting average and seventh in strikeouts. But the Reds bullpen is gassed.

Cincinnati relievers have thrown the third-most innings in the league this season, and the majority of that load has fallen on the shoulders of Alexis Diaz, Buck Farmer, Ian Gibaut, and Lucas Sims. Even Alex Young has pitched a lot of innings this season.

While Reds fans eagerly await the return of Tejay Antone and Vladimir Gutierrez, both are returning from major injuries and it's questionable as to whether either one will actually be impactful once they return to the roster.

Brent Suter, a longtime nemesis of the Cincinnati Reds, would being a left-handed presence and 2.79 ERA to the Queen City. A Cincinnati native, Suter is a free agent after the season, so the asking price shouldn't be very high. The Reds desperately need another southpaw in the bullpen for the stretch run.

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