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Reds acquire right-hander Roark from Nats

December 12, 2018

LAS VEGAS -- With the promise of more to come, the Reds made their first significant offseason deal Wednesday when they acquired starting pitcher Tanner Roark in a trade from the Nationals in exchange for reliever Tanner Rainey.Roark, 32, was 9-15 with a 4.34 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in 31

LAS VEGAS -- With the promise of more to come, the Reds made their first significant offseason deal Wednesday when they acquired starting pitcher Tanner Roark in a trade from the Nationals in exchange for reliever Tanner Rainey.
Roark, 32, was 9-15 with a 4.34 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in 31 games (30 starts) across 180 1/3 innings for Washington last season and worth 3.0 WAR, according to Baseball-Reference.
"We feel like this is exactly what we were looking for in that first deal, get a guy that has a track record of innings, starts, solid performance, veteran, familiar with our league," Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams said. "He checks a lot of our boxes. Good makeup. I think he'll slide right into the rotation and have a good effect on the rest of the guys."
Over 182 games (141 starts) during his big league career, Roark is 64-54 with a 3.59 ERA. He's a pitcher known for keeping the ball on the ground, which would be especially useful at Great American Ball Park. He was tied for fifth in the National League last season by inducing 18 grounded-into-double plays.

"He's a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter that just can come in and anchor our staff," Reds general manager Nick Krall said. "It's a good first step to improving our starting staff. And with what he brings to the table, it's the overall package of him being that middle rotation guy."
The Reds have only one season of club control over Roark, who is arbitration-eligible and projected to earn $9.8 million, according to MLBTradeRumors.com
But the financial commitment to Roark isn't that significant, and coupled with a commitment to raise payroll from the $101 million it was in 2018, there is more money that can be spent.
"We still have some room to operate and get players that we want to acquire and make our roster better," Krall said.
Cincinnati would still like to add a top-of-the-rotation starter and a center fielder.
"We will be making more moves, we fully anticipate," Williams said. "We've been pretty clear about adding multiple starters. We didn't commit that we would have to get two depending on how we mixed and matched. Having one done, it gives us flexibility. We're going to be very active in the starter market still."
Although Rainey was ranked as Cincinnati's No. 23 prospect by MLB Pipeline, the organization did not have to give up much to fill a need. The 25-year-old right-hander debuted in the big leagues last season and had a 24.43 ERA in eight appearances over four callups, allowing 19 earned runs over seven innings (15 of which came in three games). He can touch 100 mph, but has command issues and hasn't developed his secondary pitches. He spent the majority of the season with Triple-A Louisville as a reliever, posting a 2.65 in 44 games.
Once the Nationals signed top free-agent pitcher Patrick Corbin this week, the Reds inquired about Roark.
"It came together real quick here," Williams said.
Roark was surprised that he was traded, but ready to go to a new club.

"I know they can hit the ball. They have a tough lineup. I know that for sure," Roark said. "And also, I'm excited to go in there and do my thing and just attack, attack, attack.
"No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 [starter], it doesn't matter. After everybody has pitched the first five games, there is no more No. 1, you just keep going. So, I don't care about being the oldest guy, oldest pitcher or starter or whatnot there. ... I'm going to spread my knowledge and learn from these guys and get to know these guys. And I'm excited to get to know them."
Williams and Krall remain involved in talks with other clubs and agents. On Tuesday, it was learned that they spoke to the Braves about center fielder Ender Inciarte and reports had Cincinnati in talks with the Dodgers to acquire right fielder Yasiel Puig and lefty starter Alex Wood.
On Wednesday, reports had the Reds in talks with the Marlins to possibly acquire All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto, possibly for catcher Tucker Barnhart and Cincinnati's No. 2 prospect, outfielder Taylor Trammell.
Williams did not disclose the subjects of any trade talks.
"I would say continual progress, continual discussions, continual back and forth. We're still very actively engaged on a number of fronts," Williams said. "We're not on the one-yard line of anything."

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 and listen to his podcast.