Some of the best hitters in Major League Baseball swing the bat from the left side. Freddie Freeman, Yordan Alvarez, Bryce Harper and Shohei Ohtani are all left-handed swingers that do serious damage at the plate.
As a result, one of the most valuable roles on any team is that of a high-leverage, left-handed relief pitcher. In a late game situations, big league managers need a reliable lefty they can turn to with the game on the line when the opposition brings their best batters to the plate.
The Cincinnati Reds are lacking in this department. The team features only one left-handed reliever, Alex Young. Young has been better than advertised, but has reverse splits. Lefties have posted an OPS of .824 off Young, while right-handed batters have a .597 OPS-against.
Lack of left-handed relievers should be cause for concern for the Reds.
The depth issues don't end at the major league roster. The Reds Triple-A affiliate, the Louisville Bats, have zero left-handed relievers. This lack of depth could seriously come back to haunt the Reds as the team looks to position itself for a run at the National League Central Division title.
Reiver Sanmartin provides another lefty option for the Reds, but he currently sits on the 60-day IL. Sanmartin isn't expected to be back from an elbow injury until around the All-Star break.
Cincinnati has three left-handed starters currently on the 40-man roster, though Nick Lodolo is on the 60-day IL. Might one of these starters make a move to the bullpen?
Andrew Abbott has been incredibly dominant over his first two starts, making it impossible to move him to the bullpen. Lodolo has been equally as effective, when healthy. Brandon Williamson has the potential to shift to the bullpen, but it isn't very likely.
The most likely move for the Reds would be to pursue a trade to fill the void. There will be a ton of left-handed pitching options available on the trade market in the next few weeks. The Reds don't need a long-term answer, as some of their lower-level lefties will be ready in the coming years.
The Cincinnati Reds need to find a way to fill this void sooner rather than later. Whether through a trade or a change in roles for a player currently on the roster, the Reds need to add another left-handed reliever to the bullpen. The team is one injury away from having zero options above Double-A.