Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Inbox: How will Reds fix 'pen at Deadline?

Beat reporter Mark Sheldon answers fans' questions
@m_sheldon
August 10, 2020

CINCINNATI -- The Reds are 16 games into this most unique 60-game 2020 season and finally have their first day off. Despite some great starting pitching, Cincinnati has yet to gain traction amid lineup and bullpen inconsistency. That has added up to a 7-9 record, when the Reds could have

CINCINNATI -- The Reds are 16 games into this most unique 60-game 2020 season and finally have their first day off.

Despite some great starting pitching, Cincinnati has yet to gain traction amid lineup and bullpen inconsistency. That has added up to a 7-9 record, when the Reds could have easily been 9-7, or perhaps even 11-5.

Let’s dive into some of your questions about the club:

What’s the Trade Deadline this year and how many relievers should the Reds be interested in?
-- @heckjeck, on Twitter

The Trade Deadline is Aug. 31, and it could be one of the more intriguing ones in recent history. The season will only be a month old and the postseason will be a month away. With an adjusted postseason format that provides 16 teams with a chance at the World Series, more teams will be in the race and less likely to be sellers.

As for relievers on the market, the Reds will likely have to address the weakest portion of their roster if troubles continue. Pedro Strop is currently out with a right groin injury and Michael Lorenzen has continued to give up runs at an alarming rate. The only reliever who has been smooth throughout is lefty Amir Garrett.

There is some depth the club could tap into, however. Tejay Antone and Tyler Mahle have impressed in both starts and long relief. No. 2 prospect Hunter Greene hasn’t pitched in games since 2018 (Tommy John surgery) and those were as a starter at Class A Dayton. But Greene has triple-digit velocity and could be a bullpen option if he looks good at the club’s alternate training site at Prasco Park.

And as MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand pointed out, only players in the 60-man player pool can be traded, which means that many top prospects -- especially those at the lower levels -- are off-limits for an in-season trade.

If the season were to end today, what do you think the Reds would do in the offseason?
-- @skfudbejd, on Twitter

First, let’s hope the season doesn’t end today. I really want to see this season go through October. But one offseason area that will need attention is the rotation.

Yes, I said the rotation. It’s the club’s best strength, but it’s going to take a hit this winter with Trevor Bauer and Anthony DeSclafani able to leave as free agents. Both pitchers have so far done a nice job building up their credentials for the open market. If they split for another team -- and that seems highly likely for Bauer -- president of baseball operations Dick Williams and general manager Nick Krall could have to replenish the starting five.

Do you see Jose Garcia becoming the regular shortstop this year? What about Tyler Stephenson at catcher?
-- Fred H., on Facebook.

If this short season was a rebuilding or development year, Stephenson would be a very good bet to emerge behind the plate. It’s possible he still could, if something were to happen to Tucker Barnhart or Curt Casali. Stephenson's first game in the Majors was quite successful -- 2-for-2 with a home run, a single and a walk vs. the Cubs on July 27.

Garcia has great defensive skills that would probably hold up well in the big leagues. But he’s never played above Class A Advanced Daytona and was slated for Double-A Chattanooga until the pandemic. With the big league club having ambitions for the playoffs, it would be a tough time to put that on Garcia as a hitter. Besides, Freddy Galvis is handling the position just fine.

In three years, who will be the best three Reds on the roster, not including trades, etc.?
-- @jasonmwalter, on Twitter

Stephenson, Garcia and Greene would sure be a good place to start if they pan out as expected. But you can’t discount two veterans -- Eugenio Suárez, and if he doesn’t opt out after 2020 or ’21, Nick Castellanos.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook.