Reds Trade Rumors: Cincinnati opens up shop for Cueto, Leake, more


The Cincinnati Reds will be one of the more active teams at the MLB Trade Deadline, and now it appears they are willing to talk deals.

The Cincinnati Reds have straddled the line between buys and sellers for the better part of two months now, wavering between making a run at the postseason or rebuilding their club for next season and beyond.

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It appears they have no chosen a direction.

With the All-Star Game in Cincinnati now behind them and the team sitting eight games below .500, 15.5 behind the first place St. Louis Cardinals, and 7.5 behind in the National League Wild Card hunt, the Reds can plainly see the writing on the wall. According to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, they have indicated to clubs that the club is now willing to listen on offers for all available players, including Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake.

Of course, the Reds have other commodities to move as well, with Aroldis Chapman likely to have a few phones ringing and the likes of Jay Bruce and Marlon Byrd possibly on the move. However, the current market is stipulating that starting pitching will be highly sought-after and as such, Johnny Cueto will be the the big fish in a small pond. Already, the Toronto Blue Jays, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees are among the teams standing in line for the right-hander.

According to FanGraphs, Cueto ranks seventh in the National League with a 2.7 WAR through his first 17 starts in 2015. Over 118.2 innings, the Reds ace owns a 6-6 record with a 2.73 ERA, a 3.06 FIP, and an 8.57 K/9 ratio. This on top of finishing second in the Cy Young voting in 2014 after going 20-9 with a 2.25 ERA and a 8.94 K/9 ratio over 243.2 innings.

For those in the market for pitching and who may also want to pay a little bit smaller of a price than the premiums being fetched for Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Scott Kazmir, and Cole Hamels, MIke Leake stands as a very solid fallback option. The 27-year-old Leake is 6-5 with a 4.08 ERA, a 4.15 FIP, and a 6.2 K/9 ratio. However, he’s a solid innings eater (114 over 18 starts) and induces ground balls at a rate of 53%, making him optimal for any park.

Like Cueto, Leake is also a free agent at the end of the season. However, he represents an arm that will likely be much easier to sign to an extension, putting more value into acquiring him.

The one man that will truly test the Reds patience will be Aroldis Chapman. The left-hander is a machine in the bullpen and teams will undoubtedly ask for him repeatedly leading up to the deadline. However, Chapman will not come cheaply, as the is under team control through the remainder of this season and next and would easily become the best relief arm available on the market.

His 100 MPH magic was on full display in front of the home crowd during the All-Star Game and had scouts salivating at the chance to make a deal. That deal will cost multiple high-end prospects, something teams are generally hesitant to pay for relief arms. However, we’re talking about a one-in-a-lifetime relief arm and that won’t be discounted.

With two weeks remaining until the non-waiver trade deadline, the Reds will certainly have plenty of decisions to make and they stand a good chance finding some solid return packages across the board.

Let the dealing begin.

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