Inbox: Could the Reds go after Keuchel?

Beat reporter Mark Sheldon fields questions from fans

December 18th, 2018

Hope everyone is enjoying their holiday time with family, friends and pets. Thank you all for reading and following along, and I wish you a fantastic 2019.
Now, let's dive into the latest edition of the Reds Inbox.
Do you think the Reds are willing to give the 5-6 year deal in the $100 million-plus range that he's wanting?
-- @CincyPicker on Twitter

Even after the blockbuster deal with the Dodgers that brought Alex Wood to the rotation and the Winter Meetings trade that delivered from Washington, the Reds have made it clear they aren't done making moves. They aren't ruling anything out and are keeping all potential free agents on their board.
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However, they are going to be very careful and likely hesitant, to say the least, before taking that kind of risk. Keuchel is turning 31 in a few days and as my colleague, Manny Randhawa, pointed out recently, the left-hander has had some mixed results since he was the 2015 American League Cy Young Award winner for the Astros. However, he also has a high ground-ball rate and low barrel rate, which are factors that would play well at Great American Ball Park.
Taylor Trammell hit .277 at high Class A last year and teams want him in a deal according to all these rumors. Why would the Reds have any issues dealing him? Plus, they have , T.J. Friedl, etc., that are not far behind.
-- @gehlert3 on Twitter

Don't write off a prospect because of one stat like batting average. For prospects, especially elite ones, organizations and scouts look at potential as much as results. Trammell can drive the ball, steal bases and is very athletic. All are among the reasons that MLB Pipeline ranks him as Cincinnati's No. 2 prospect and No. 17 overall. The only drawback I've heard is about his arm in center field.

Will the relationship with and the front office will be strained with all the trade talk?
-- @Tex1737 on Twitter

I'm sure Barnhart wasn't thrilled to hear his name in a trade rumor with the Marlins when he just finished the first year of a four-year contract with the Reds. But it's also part of the business, and all players understand this. What we don't know is if the Reds offered Barnhart in reported trade talks or if a club asked about him.
After two consecutive very good seasons, Scooter Gennett would seem to be in line for an extension. The Reds don't appear too enthusiastic about signing him. Is there a reason why?
-- Tony G., Stone Mountain, Ga.

What's in question, probably, is whether Gennett can keep producing at the rate he has in Cincinnati over the length of a multi-year contract at whatever cost it would be. I would also believe that with Nick Senzel on the cusp of the big leagues and also a second baseman, the Reds know they could replace Gennett with a potentially dynamic player who would make the minimum salary.
It's definitely a tough one. Gennett has been great for the Reds and loves Cincinnati. The fans love him back. He's good in the clubhouse and is the kind of player most want to see stick around.

With GABP being a very hitter-friendly park, do you believe Reds' scouts are putting extra emphasis on the number of ground-ball outs induced when evaluating potential pitchers?
-- Adler R., Batavia, Ohio

Scouts and front offices look at the whole picture, but those with a sinker that moves and who can keep the ball on the ground consistently are certainly attractive. It was a factor in why the Reds signed free agent reliever Jared Hughes a year ago. It played a part in why they traded for Roark.

Will be given a chance of winning a starting pitching role for 2019, or is he going to be in a long relief role again?
-- Bernie R., Olney, Ky.

During the recent Winter Meetings, new manager David Bell didn't commit to a role for Lorenzen but knew the right-hander would be prepared and ready for anything. Bell said he'd have "no hesitation to putting [Lorenzen] in any role, any position." Bell was also open to giving Lorenzen occasional chances in the outfield, but noted the team would have to be careful to not overuse him.