Horsehoes and bocce, two games where ‘close’ actually means something. The unique concoction that is traderade, however, is pretty much binary at the end of July each normal year, meaning it either happens concretely, or does not.
It appears the Cincinnati Reds looked into making a very precise tincture this recently passed trade deadline, but couldn’t quite come up with the right parts for the right prices in time to see it through. As noted by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Reds had eyes on acquiring Kris Bryant, then of the Chicago Cubs, and using him as a centerfielder for their stretch run.
Latest notes:— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 3, 2021
*Reds inquired about Bryant, well-positioned for stretch run
*Overlooked reason Cubs went all-in on trades
*Future Hall of Fame free agents
*Impact of Marte on A’s
*Twins’ plans for Martin
There are a few pertinent aspects of this information.
For one, it’s an indictment of the current state of affairs in CF. Despite entering the year with SS the clear question mark on the team’s roster, it’s been up the middle in the grass where the Reds have truly found their weakest link. Nick Senzel has been injured repeatedly again, Shogo Akiyama continues to flirt with that ‘b’ word that rhymes with dust, and while Tyler Naquin got off to a scorching hot April, even he has cooled off tremendously since. As a result, the Reds have received a grand total of -0.1 fWAR from their CF position so far this year, the second lowest amount among all MLB clubs.
You don’t think as Kris Bryant as a CF, really. I certainly don’t. He’s been mostly 3B/LF/1B in his career, but he has appeared in CF in 24 career games. This is also a Reds club that has used both Jesse Winker and Aristides Aquino in CF at times, so they’re clearly unafraid to sacrifice some defense out there to add offense to their lineup.
Anyway, a deal obviously never materialized, as Bryant has since landed with the San Francisco Giants as they pursue a fourth World Series title of recent memory. Still, it’s a pretty clear indication that the Reds have identified a pretty clear hole on their roster with a playoff push still in store, one that won’t exactly get a lot less obvious unless Senzel returns healthy and productive, two things he’s yet to put together at the big league level.
Considering how much money was owed to Bryant over the remainder of the season, and considering how the frugal Reds are frugally frugal, this all sounds like serious window shopping to me. Creative in theory, but window shopping with a maxed-out credit card in the wallet. Hopefully, they find a way to make it moot without Bryant, anyway.
(Also, I just wanted to run an article so I could use that picture.)