It’s infrastructure week here as we continue to cover the surprising, .500 Cincinnati Reds. They’re in the thick of it in the National League’s Central division, a division devoid of both a true super team and a truly decent team, and that sliver of an opening towards playoff contention has all of us circling back to dreams of what this season may well become.
Apparently, the Reds front office has taken notice, too, intimating as much in the wake of Andrew Abbott’s historic outing last night as the Reds took down the Houston Astros. In speaking to reporters after the game, head honcho Nick Krall relayed the quote that titled this article, further saying “If we’ve got a chance to make the playoffs, we make the playoffs any way we can.”
MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon had that, and more, from Krall in a series of quotes that should provide both optimism to fans and a boost to the team itself, something that came through in what Tyler Stephenson had to say about it, too.
The team’s glut of excellent young infielders certainly would provide them with the kind of depth from which they could sustainably deal for, say, some starting pitching. Abbott’s arrival has given the club a much, much needed boost, but the fact remains that since April 18th - the day that Nick Lodolo’s season began to unravel before he hit the injured list - Reds starters boast an ugly 5.84 ERA overall.
Only Colorado’s high-altitude staff has been worse in that time, and Lodolo’s now on the 60-day IL with the timing of his return in question. Pair that with Graham Ashcraft’s injury and underperformance and the lack of proven quality from vets Ben Lively and Luke Weaver, and a move to get a big-time pitcher both for 2023 and beyond sure seems like a tasty thing to dream about on-paper.
(Just don’t include moving a certain AAA-masher in those dreams - a big chunk of you have made it clear you want the Reds to find an answer to their problems without dealing a guy with that high of a profile.)
Nobody has a crystal ball out there, obviously. We don’t, Nick Krall doesn’t, and if Bob Castellini does it’s because someone gave it to him - he sure as hell didn’t spend money to buy one. That said, it’s hard not to wonder what the top of this team’s rotation would look like right now with, say, a Luis Castillo or Sonny Gray fronting it. At least it appears clear the Reds both see that and, if the price is right, may be willing to give 110% of what it takes to address that situation.
Lots of moving parts out there, of course, but when you really drill down to the team’s core competencies, the key takeaway is that they’ll be looking for other teams’ low-hanging fruit. Gain some traction and find a real game-changer, even - someone who will really move the needle.