It appears that the Kansas City Royals have interest in improving their starting pitching, and both Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake have caught their eye, according to FOX Sports' Jon Morosi. Morosi added that the Cincinnati Reds are still (grumble) reluctant to jump fully onto the trade wagon (grumble, grumble) despite being a thousand fathoms out of a playoff spot at this point, but that's something we've become accustomed to hearing in here in the land of Bob Castellini's wishes. Kansas City's starting pitchers boast just the 22nd best ERA in baseball at 4.46, and while their bullpen has been lights out again this year, the fact that their starters have logged the fewest innings of any rotation in the game (375.1 IP) is probably the most concerning statistic they're looking at, which makes innings-eaters like Cueto and Leake ultra desirable. The Royals have a bevy of high-end pitching prospects in their farm system (or who have just cracked the majors), any number of whom would make a solid return for Cueto should the Reds ever choose to sign off on the idea.
How much in return the Reds can get for Cueto is tied quite heavily to the health of his elbow, however, as C. Trent Rosecrans opined in The Enquirer this morning. Cueto's elbow is very possibly holding up all of the Reds potential trade talks, since it would only make sense to trade him if he's the first player sold off in the hypothetical sell-off. If the Reds opted to begin trading away other pieces prior to Cueto, other teams would have clear evidence the team was in rebuild mode, and suddenly every other team would have very increased leverage against the Reds' largest possible trade asset. If that's the case, though, the Reds have to give Cueto enough time to return from this most recent "rest" period and show he's fully healthy before shopping him, and that puts everyone else on hold. Maybe, just maybe, that's - CONSPIRACY THEORY ALERT - what is really behind this talk of being "reluctant" to begin trading.
Kevin Ruprecht broke down the pros and cons of the Royals chasing both Cueto and Leake for Royals Review, and he came just short of conceding that it would take Yordano Ventura and 6,000 lbs of barbeque to get Cueto from the Reds.
Over at Redleg Nation, Grant Freking caught up with former Reds reliever Bill Bray for a lengthy Q & A, and it's got some great insight into Bray's experiences both with the Reds and in the minors. They also touch on his Tommy John surgery, Mat Latos' comments upon being traded, and a pile of other things of note. Here's part 1, and here's part 2.
Finally, Tony Blengino took on an interesting project over at FanGraphs in an attempt to determine which players have been the most authoritative hitters of all time, and several players with Reds connections get a mention. It's a fitting thing to read through in the wake of Giancarlo Stanton's dinger off Carlos Martinez last night, which may well have been the hardest damn ball I've ever seen hit. Check that below:
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