Ranking the 3 best options to upgrade the Reds rotation without breaking the bank

Whether through a trade or free agency, the Reds still have opportunities to bolster the starting rotation.
Cleveland Guardians pitcher Lucas Giolito
Cleveland Guardians pitcher Lucas Giolito / Ron Schwane/GettyImages
3 of 3

1. The Reds could trade for Dylan Cease without breaking the bank

To be clear, the Cincinnati Reds would be giving up a bunch in prospect capital in order to pull off the deal. While the Reds may be able to land Shane Bieber by including one of their Top 10 prospects as part of a trade package, it'll take at least two, if not three top prospects to pry Dylan Cease away from the Chicago White Sox.

And with good reason. Cease, unlike Bieber, is under team control through the 2025 season. That extra year will cost a lot in terms of prospects. Reds fans would have to be okay with the organization parting ways with players like Chase Petty, Rhett Lowder, Sal Stewart, and others.

But that's the cost of doing business on the prospect-side of things. In terms of money, Cease wouldn't cost much at all. The right-hander is estimated to take home $8.8 million per MLB Trade Rumors. That's just a touch more than Cincinnati paid to bring Emilio Pagán into the fold this winter.

Cease is arguably the least accomplished of all three pitchers mentioned, but has perhaps the highest ceiling. Much like Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease is a very durable starting pitcher. That's a tough factor to ignore after watching Nick Lodolo and Graham Ashcraft end the season on the 60-day IL.

The White Sox are said to be waiting out the chase for Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Once the star pitcher from Japan is off the market, teams who missed out may come begging for Cease's services.

Outside of maybe the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers, no team has the prospect capital like the Reds to get a deal done. Cease wouldn't break the bank, but it would still be a costly transaction.