The Cincinnati Reds have seen a much-improved bullpen over the course of the 2023 season. One thing has always been true, however, and that's the fact that you can never have enough pitching; specifically, left-handed pitching.
The Reds, outside of Alex Young, lack any left-handed options in the bullpen. With Reiver Sanmartin on the 60-day IL and no southpaw relievers to speak of at Triple-A Louisville, this lack of depth could create serious issues down the stretch.
The Reds are, in the words of manager David Bell, going for it. The club has called up some of their top prospects and have officially started their push towards a division title. This decision could cause the Reds to become buyers at this year's trade deadline.
Reds should open trade talks with the Royals immediately for these 2 relievers.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required) recently reported that the Kansas City Royals are making relievers Scott Barlow and Aroldis Chapman available as part of a single trade-package. This package could completely rejuvenate the Reds bullpen at a much lower price tag than many would anticipate.
Chapman spent six years in Cincinnati, establishing himself as one of the league's best closers and going to four consecutive All-Star Games. It's been eight years since Chapman pitched in a Reds uniform, so he isn't the same dominant pitcher he once was. But the Reds don't need him to be.
Cincinnati has one of the best closers in the game, in Alexis Diaz. Chapman's fastball is still sitting at triple digits which has raised his strikeouts per nine innings from 10.7 to 15.3. Chapman, whose one-year/$3.75-million contract exprires after this season, could be a late-inning relief option that would pair perfectly with Diaz.
Barlow, 30, does not become a free agent until after the 2024 season. The right-hander, who's making $5.2-million this season, features two excellent breaking balls. According to Baseball Savant, Barlow's slider has seen hitters post a meager .189 batting average against (BAA) while opponents come up virtually empty against his curveball (.036 BAA).
Adding Aroldis Chapman and Scott Barlow could completely change the momentum of this Cincinnati Reds team and push them even closer toward a "win now" mindset.
According to Rosenthal, it's a virtual certainty that Chapman will be on the move. But, if the Reds want gain control of the left-hander now rather than before late-July brings deadline deals to the forefront, they'd have to take on Scott Barlow or relinquish some higher-level prospects.