If the Cincinnati Reds plan to be buyers at this year's trade deadline, most fans would agree that starting pitching should be atop the list of needs. Reds starters have a combined ERA near 5.75 this season, which ranks next-to-last in the National League.
There's also the matter of injuries to starters like Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Justin Dunn, and Connor Overton. Greene could be back in a few weeks, but Lodolo won't be back on the field until August at the earliest and Overton has been shut down for the season.
So, if Reds General Manager Nick Krall is in the market for starting pitching, where might he look? Who are are two starters that Krall should target in a potential trade and two pitchers who should be off his radar?
Reds should target Athletics starter JP Sears in a potential trade
The Oakland Athletics are an absolute mess. The franchise is in rebuild mode, occupies the cellar of the AL West, and readying to move to Las Vegas. If there's a team looking to sell at this year's trade deadline, it's the A's.
But is there any player on Oakland's roster that would even be an upgrade for this Reds starting rotation? JP Sears has had a solid season in O-Town, and could be a nice addition at the back end of the Cincinnati rotation.
Sears, a left-hander who was once part of the New York Yankees organization, was part of the Frankie Montas deal last summer that sent tthe former A's ace to the Bronx. This season, Sears has made 14 starts and owns a 4.24 ERA.
The benefit of a pitcher like Sears is his impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio (18.0-percent). Sears has kept the free passes to a minimum, with a 5.1-percent walk-rate according to FanGraphs.
Landing a player like JP Sears in a trade wouldn't require a major return. Sears has minor league options remaining and doesn't even reach arbitration until 2026. Unless a trade like this has a ridiculous asking price, it's certainly one that Reds GM Nick Krall should consider.