Reds net 4 prospects for Mahle, Drury

Cincinnati stays busy at Trade Deadline, adding up-and-comers plus vet Romine

August 2nd, 2022

MIAMI -- In what has become a familiar sight inside the Reds' clubhouse in the days leading up to today's 6 p.m. ET Trade Deadline, two more players were moved in deals, notified when they got to the ballpark, shook hands with their now former teammates and said goodbye.

Starting pitcher Tyler Mahle was traded to the Twins on Tuesday afternoon, and third baseman was dealt to the Padres a few minutes later. Rebuilding and cost-cutting, Cincinnati has traded five veteran players since Thursday and in turn received 10 prospects.

"It’s really hard to trade the players [and] take them out of the clubhouse, but we know that’s best for our organization," Reds general manager Nick Krall said. "We’ve talked about growing ourselves through our player pipeline."

Twins get: RHP Tyler Mahle
Reds get: 2B/3B Spencer Steer (Twins' No. 7 prospect); LHP Steve Hajjar (Twins' No. 18); 1B/3B Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Twins' No. 23)

"Excited to join a winning club that could go to the playoffs," Mahle said. "I figured something would happen when I got here."

Steer, 24, is the only player at the Triple-A level that the Reds have received in their flurry of moves. The right-handed hitter, who has hit a combined 20 homers at Double-A and Triple-A this season, is the most highly regarded of the group and sits just outside of the top 100 prospects in baseball.

Hajjar, who turns 22 next week, had a 2.47 ERA in 12 starts at the Single-A level. He was Minnesota's second-round pick in 2021.

Encarnacion-Strand, 22, has 25 homers this season combined for High-A and Double-A this season. The Twins picked him in the fourth round of the 2021 Draft.

Padres get: 3B Brandon Drury
Reds get: SS Victor Acosta (Padres' No. 6 prospect)

Acosta, 18, was playing at San Diego's Arizona Complex League club after he was signed last year out of the Dominican Republic.

"He's a guy we liked in the international market a couple years ago," Krall said. "He can play second, short. He's just a young, athletic kid that has a feel to hit."

Mahle, 27, was 5-7 with a 4.40 ERA in 19 starts this season for Cincinnati but had a 2.83 ERA over his last nine games, with at least six innings pitched in eight of those outings. He is making $5.2 million this season and is under club control through the 2023 season.

A homegrown player in Cincinnati's system, Mahle was the organization's seventh-round selection in the 2013 Draft and made his big league debut in 2017.

"They’ve been good to me," Mahle said. "I’m going to miss everyone here, but I’m excited to move on and see what else is in store for me."

Drury, who turns 30 on Aug. 21, signed a Minor League contract with the Reds in March and made the active roster out of Spring Training. Earning $900,000 and a free agent after this season, he enjoyed a breakout year while batting .274 and led the team with an .855 OPS, 20 home runs and 59 RBIs.

"It's been pretty special," Drury said. "I had two Minor League offers coming into the season, and then to have Cincinnati come in here and put my career back on track has been amazing, and I can't thank Cincinnati enough. It's been a huge turning point in my career. I came here and played well and had the opportunity."

Also moved in trades since Thursday have been rotation ace Luis Castillo to the Mariners (Friday), left fielder Tommy Pham to the Red Sox (Monday) and outfielder Tyler Naquin to the Mets (Thursday).

Not moved were a couple of veterans -- including infielder Donovan Solano, who is a free agent after the season, and shortstop Kyle Farmer.

"We had some interest in some other players, and at the end of the day it wasn’t the right move for us," Krall said. "It was just better to keep those players and have them stay on the big league roster for one reason or another."

The Reds did make one acquisition ahead of the Deadline. Veteran catcher Austin Romine was acquired from the Cardinals for cash consideration. Romine, who was designated for assignment by St. Louis on Monday, was batting .176 in 14 games this season for the Angels and Cardinals. The 33-year-old has also played for the Yankees (2011-19), the Tigers ('20) and the Cubs ('21).

Romine gives the Reds an experienced catcher with Tyler Stephenson on the 60-day injured list after he fractured his right collarbone last month.

"We wanted to bring a catcher in that had a chance to be just a good veteran and help the younger pitchers on the staff grow," Krall said.