Days get shorter, nights get longer, and the Cincinnati Reds continue to get linked to the short-end of trade rumors. Last winter aside, it’s become something of an annual tradition.
While Monday will mark the longest night of the year, one of the last bastions of the venerable 2020 Reds pitching staff continues to be linked with an exit. As FanSided’s Robert Murray relayed earlier Friday in a wide-ranging notes column, it’s the San Diego Padres who are interested in the Reds hurler this time around.
Latest notes: Padres interested in Sonny Gray; Yadier Molina update; the appeal of Blake Treinen; Mariners looking for more bullpen help; Angels/Suzuki. https://t.co/AnzRBLKwtt— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) December 18, 2020
The Pads were the darlings of the shortened 2020 season, with Fernando Tatis, Jr. emerging as the game’s next big superstart, the Manny Machado ubercontract finally looking cromulent, and their acquisition of Mike Clevinger rattling newswires at the trade deadline. Clevinger, though, becomes perhaps the most pertinent mention in these Sonny rumors, as he immediately went kaput upon being acquired and will miss the 2021 season altogether, and that paired with Dinelson Lamet’s balky elbow has their once-vaunted pitching staff in need of a human cortisone shot.
Sonny would be just that, of course, and his dirt cheap contract shouldn’t be an impediment to any franchise out there, even if, as Murray relays, the Padres are crying a bit poor at the moment.
(/stares at the Machado, Wil Myers, and Eric Hosmer contracts)
Anyway, the Pads are right to have interest in Sonny Gray, because Sonny Gray is a damn good pitcher. Damn good pitchers get desired, and trading them should require damn good players going the other way. So, I will not fault the Reds for shopping him, and listening about his potential return, and the Padres do have the kinds of pieces that would make moving Sonny palatable if a deal is executed correctly. Still, with MacKenzie Gore surely off the table and Chris Paddack having not exactly taken off, it’s hard to truly expect this to materialize in a way that makes thing seem rosy.
On top of that, as Murray mentions, is the complicated nature of the Padres current coaching staff. The ol’ header picture for this here blog features Sonny in his New York Yankees days, days that were not the most enjoyable for him and his statistics. Pictured with him in pitching coach Larry Rothschild, who is now the pitching coach for the Padres. A very big hmmmm, indeed.
In other notes, former Reds rotation cog Anthony DeSclafani inked a $6 million contract to pitch for the San Francisco Giants next year, officially ending what was mostly a solid stint with the Reds (when healthy). Disco stumbled last year, obviously, but ends his Reds tenure having fired 623.1 IP of 103 ERA+ ball, with a pair of rather brilliant campaigns mixed in. Where things get fun is when you listen to Giants GM (and former Dodgers exec) Farhan Zaidi talk about the 2021 Giants pitching staff, and notice it’s going to feature not just Disco, but no fewer than four former Reds pitchers (with a pursuit of Trevor Bauer potentially on top of that, as well). For the record, a Bauer signing would mean five former Reds arms on a team building to make a playoff push in 2021, and the Reds currently have zero players on their roster from moving on from all five. Fun times.
Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo are going to be nails-level awesome in 2021 and probably crack the big leagues in the process. I don’t have a link for that or any concrete evidence to support that statement at the moment, but damnit, if I’m going to get 600 words into this stupid blog, there’s going to need to be something, anything optimistic to talk about regarding this franchise. So there.
Over at Reds.com, it’s pretty clear that Amir Garrett sees the openings created in the Cincinnati bullpen by the winter cull, and has eyes on claiming the closer’s role. Mark Sheldon spoke with the talented lefty about the idea, which is one I’m completely on-board with endorsing with one small caveat - finding someone to replace Garrett in a setup role. That’s the thing with this entire salary dumping. There are still really, really good arms in the team’s bullpen, but if you move them up in prominence, the cracks begin to get very evident in the 7th inning, especially if it’s your top lefty making the ascent to the 9th inning job.
(It’s worth noting here that while the idea of a ‘closer’ is a bit arcane given the knowledge about how important high-leverage outs are in both the 8th and 9th innings, the fact remains that arbitration hearings still factor in ‘saves’ in their rulings. So while we all largely know that ‘saves’ are just slightly less dumb than ‘pitcher wins,’ for pitchers themselves, they’re a built-in salary bump. I’d want them if I was a reliever, too.)
MLB Insider Jon Heyman had this bit of information on Bauer right before I was about to publish this rambling mess, which is sure to surprise precisely no Reds fan who has watched anything develop so far this winter:
Not a shock, Trevor Bauer is too expensive for Reds. So he will be pitching elsewhere next year. Still, they shouldn’t have too many regrets. He got them to the playoffs and pitched a gem when there, and he won the Reds first Cy Young Award. Plus, they will get a draft pick.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 18, 2020
Ah, well. Nevertheless...