A collective spasm of anxiety last night left many in the Reds blogoverse rheumy-eyed and white-knuckled when Hunter Greene was pulled from his scheduled start after throwing only two innings. Shit like that can spark wildfires of rumors, as many wondered if he was injured or - worse - traded. But fears were soon doused as it was revealed that the kid was merely feeling a bit under the weather.
Sometimes I wonder if my old heart will survive this whole rebuild.
Piping hot out of the rumor oven is this little dit connecting Matt Harvey with the Brewers. Brent Suter recently hit the DL and they have already been fairly active adding pieces to their bullpen.
But where ever the heck Matt Harvey ends up going, it’s looking more and more like he will be the only Red changing addresses this week. Dick Williams said yesterday he sees the team’s window of contention opening. That could mean a lot of things, but I think perhaps the most interesting is what it means for some of their bullpen pieces like David Hernandez and Jared Hughes.
The Reds have been getting some decent play on these two in the last few weeks, but it does not seem likely that they will be traded. They are both under contract for next season at very reasonable prices and they have both been really stabilizing influences on the relief crew.
Which, I mean, that’s not obnoxiously stupid or anything. But I think it mistakenly assumes a few things. One, it assumes that these guys are going to continue to be elite-level relief pitchers. This is a most dangerous assumption, to which I believe our cousins out in Colorado can attest. They are both pitching a good run better than their career FIPs at this point. It is possible they will continue to do so, and that possibility isn’t merely a small one. But if the rumors regarding them are true, it is a far greater possibility that their value has never been and never will be higher than right now.
Take a look at the recent trades for Zach Britton, Kelvin Herrera, Jeurys Familia, and Brad Hand. None is a perfect comp due to quality and contract, but it should give you an idea of what the market really looks like. The Reds are in a position to turn the meager investments they made in Hughes and Hernandez into robust returns. I’m sure Dick Williams knows what arbitrage is from his days on Wall Street.
Of course, it is also worth mentioning that these guys have provided value not just with their pitching, but also with their mentorship. Folks say good things about them, which is not nothing. Maybe if the team is able to bulwark the rotation without trading these fellas, they really are in position to go for the pennant next season.
In the end, what they ultimately do with these guys isn’t going to make or break anything, but it is some captivating inside baseball stuff.
My subscription to The Athletic is worth far more than I pay exclusively because of Eno Sarris. He’s back at it again writing some awesome stuff about how pitchers age and how we can project them into the future. He has discovered that command ages better than stuff (I mean, kind of, but it’s complicated) and looked at some young pitchers (under the age of 26) and measured their command to see who is among the best at getting strikes looking. Yer boy Tyler Mahle is the youngest on the list and also is among the best at Command+ (the ratio of a pitchers’ called strikes to swinging strikes). Both of these pieces are well-worth clicking to, so if you do not have a subscription yet, I suggest to do it.