Why starting pitching is Reds' main focus for Deadline

July 19th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Mark Sheldon’s Reds Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

CINCINNATI -- The Reds rotation has turned in some better results going into and coming out of the All-Star break, but general manager Nick Krall remains a buyer looking for a way to add starting pitching ahead of the Aug. 1 Trade Deadline.

The trouble the Reds are having? Identifying which teams want to be sellers. Some teams on the fringe of contending with starters to potentially move -- like perhaps the Tigers and White Sox -- haven't decided yet.

"I think there's a lot of figuring it out, yeah," Krall said on Monday during a press conference about the promotion of Christian Encarnacion-Strand.

Krall was unable to gauge whether negotiations for any trades might go down to the zero hour of the Trade Deadline.

"I don't know. It's too early to tell," he said. "As of right now, we haven't had a deal to go and engage on and to figure out how to work it out. I think it's just too early to tell."

Despite recent improvement, the Reds' rotation has the 28th-ranked ERA (5.58) in Major League Baseball. There are still no set times for getting injured starters Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo back.

Greene (right hip pain) is thought to be possible for an August return.

"He’s anxious and wanting to get that," manager David Bell said on Tuesday. "We just need him to progress to the next level of his core stability program. Once that happens, we’ll put together a calendar and know more there.”

Lodolo (left tibia stress reaction) is scheduled to throw off a mound for the first time on July 25. Assuming a normal progression from there, it now makes a realistic return likely in September.

That means starting pitching remains a premium need for Cincinnati.

"I think we'd like to figure out how to get guys back sooner rather than later," Krall said. "At the same time, I think it's just about what the trade market looks like, what we have to give up and how it fits with short-term and long-term."

And in case you were wondering, the Reds are not looking to add any bats despite the recent offensive cold spell.

"No," Krall said. "For us, it's just trying to figure out what can we do to help this team and not sacrifice the long-term future of what we're doing."