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Wait, what? The latest Reds rumors seem a bit odd. After all the talk of adding a big-name hitter, could the Cincinnati Reds really go after Zack Wheeler?
Fo what it’s worth, I’ll believe it when I see it, but the latest Reds rumors are sure to stir up a buzz throughout Reds Country. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic is reporting that the Cincinnati Reds have interest in free agent pitcher Zack Wheeler. With all the focus so far this offseason on the lack of offense, it seems odd that Cincinnati would pursue another starting pitcher.
Ah, but maybe there’s a method to the Reds’ madness. We saw last season that the front office chose to zig when everyone was zagging. While other teams were concentrating on rebuilding through the draft the way the Houston Astros had done, Cincinnati threw caution to the wind, pulled off a lot of big trades and attempted to compete last season.
Now, it didn’t necessarily work out as planned, but that doesn’t mean it was a bad idea. After all, the Reds did finally emerge from the doldrums of the NL Central to play competitive baseball until mid-August. Cincinnati swung a big trade for Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood and Matt Kemp while ridding themselves of Homer Bailey. The Reds also landed a potential ace in Sonny Gray.
So, might Cincinnati zig when everyone is zagging this offseason as well? According to Rosenthal, that may very well be the case. Rosenthal, one of the best in business, said that one agent expects the Reds to sharply pivot from their failed pursuit of Yasmani Grandal and focus their attention on Zack Wheeler.
Rosenthal also says that, according to league sources, the Reds are one of many teams interested in Wheeler’s services. On the surface this seems crazy, right? I mean, the pitching is the team’s strength. Even if Tyler Mahle is the Reds fifth starter next season, I feel pretty good about the team’s starting rotation.
But, in case you haven’t noticed, the Reds front office has put a lot of emphasis on the pitching. Last offseason, Cincinnati brought in renowned pitching coach Derek Johnson, and the results speak for themselves. This offseason, Kyle Boddy of Driveline Baseball was brought in as the Minor League Director of pitching initiatives/pitching coordinator.
Could you imagine a starting rotation of Wheeler, Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, Trevor Bauer and Anthony DeSclafani? There might not be a better starting rotation in all of baseball. Not to mention, Bauer and DeSclafani are free agents after next season, so adding Wheeler could give Cincinnati insurance beyond just next season.
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Don’t be so quick to dismiss these latest Reds rumors. Rosenthal is usually in the know, and I’m trusting his insight on this one. I’m not saying this is what I’d do if I were running the Reds, but again, it seems like Cincinnati is trying to zig while everyone else zags.