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Cincinnati Reds Trade Rumors: Red Sox, Astros interested in Raisel Iglesias

Of course they are. Everyone should be.

Chicago Cubs v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Raisel Iglesias throws baseballs like a ten-foot tall octopus swinging juggs machines turned to high. The velocity is there, as his 95+ mph heater can get run up to 98 if need be. The arm angles are precipitous, as he can drop down and throw as many as three different pitches from a myriad of deliveries designed to confuse the living hell out of the opposition. And at just 28 years old, he’s pretty much in his prime.

Roll all that together with a flexible, long, team-friendly contract, and he’s exactly the kind of pitching asset that any team out there would love to have. So, it’s no surprise that there are teams that are interested in acquiring the Cincinnati Reds reliever - namely the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox, as the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo made note of in his Sunday column.

Just as unsurprising as ‘teams are interested in great, cheap reliever’ is as a lede, so, too, is that ‘elite teams with eyes on a World Series trophy want to bolster bullpen,’ so it’s hardly anything salacious we’re seeing here. Obviously, Houston’s fresh off their championship season and is looking to cement a shot at a second, and Boston enters play today with an MLB-best 56 wins to their credit. However, a quick glance at FanGraphs’ bullpen leaders show that both rank among the Top 5 in all MLB in fWAR accrued by their relievers, meaning there’s not an obvious need for bolstering already impressive units.

However, Boston’s Craig Kimbrel is set to be a free agent after 2018, so perhaps the Red Sox are interested in pairing Iglesias with him for now while replacing him on the cheap for years down the road. As for Houston, they just lost their big offseason relief acquisition to elbow inflammation in Joe Smith, while would-be closer Ken Giles has gradually been losing save opportunities in favor of Hector Rondon as the Astros seem to be in a bit of a bullpen shuffle at the moment.

From Cincinnati’s perspective, it’s certainly nice to hear that the Astros are involved here. Giving up Raisel Iglesias at this moment given his favorable contract situation and excellent performance would require a haul in return, and Houston’s got a rather stacked farm system at the moment. RHP Forrest Whitley is a consensus Top 10 overall prospect and is sporting a 12.8 K/9 as a AA starter despite being over 4 years younger than league average, and he’s the co-headliner of a system that also sports consensus Top 10 overall prospect Kyle Tucker, who’s mauling AAA to the tune of a .904 OPS so far in 2018 in the OF.

As for Boston, their once prized system has seen what many prized systems see when under the guidance of Dave Dombrowski - namely, it’s been gutted due to aggressive promotions and game-changing trades. The Chris Sale acquisition gutted much of their farm, of course, but even the top pitching prospect in their system - Jay Groome - is out for the year after having undergone Tommy John surgery. Add to that top prospect Michael Chavis is a) fresh off an 80 game PED suspension and b) a 3B/SS prospect just like absolutely every single other prospect in the Cincinnati system, and the top-end return options are a bit thin on Boston’s end.

Obviously, this all feels like nothing but preliminary interest, but that’s what you should expect to see on July 1st as the July 31st trade deadline inches ever closer. Rest assured, this won’t be the last time you see Iglesias’ name kicked around, because he’s simply too good of an asset at the moment to not have teams around the league salivating at his potential availability.