3 Cincinnati Reds trades to strengthen team’s MLB postseason odds

Cincinnati Reds
Alex Hernandez, a groundskeeper with the City of Goodyear, Arizona, tends to the Cincinnati Reds logo, Monday, Feb. 18, 2019. Cincinnati Reds Picture Day 2019 2 19 2019

The Cincinnati Reds entered June with a 24-28 record, seemingly destined to be sellers at the MLB trade deadline. Thanks to a hot streak heading into the All-Star Break, a few win-now moves could help Cincinnati reach the postseason.

In recent years, the Reds lineup has prevented them from being a contender. But everything is clocking in 2021, with Cincinnati’s hitters erupting to create one of the most productive lineups in baseball. For this team to achieve its potential, which includes winning the NL Central, moves need to be made before July 30.

Let’s examine three trades that would help the Reds make the playoffs.

Trevor Story traded to Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds, Trevor Story
May 23, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story (27) during the fifth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati heads into the second half of the season with a lineup that is top-10 in OPS, runs scored and ranks 12th in wRC+. It’s already an impressive turnaround from prior seasons and would be even better if not for the black hole at shortstop. A collective .617 OPS at the position just isn’t going to cut it. Trevor Story is the solution.

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  • Cincinnati Reds trade: OF Michael Siani (CIN’s No. 5 prospect), RHP Graham Ashcraft (CIN’s No. 17 prospect)
  • Colorado Rockies trade: Trevor Story

The Rockies need to trade Story or they’ll lose him this offseason for a compensatory pick. A smarter move, which would have yielded a stronger return, would have been trading him last winter. With the star shortstop now just a half-season rental, the prospect capital heading to the Rockies is diminished.

Story (.775 OPS) is off to a slow start this season, but that might be the result of an IL stint and the team around him. Landing in a competitive atmosphere, in a lineup with All-Star outfielders Jesse Winker and Nick Castellanos, could wake up Story’s lineup. Put him in the heart of the batting order and the Reds are in the hunt with Milwaukee.

Daniel Hudson bolsters Cincinnati’s bullpen

Cincinnati Reds, Reds trade targets
May 21, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Daniel Hudson (44) looks to deliver a pitch during the eighth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals won’t be extreme sellers at the trade deadline, but a few guys will be made available. With Daniel Hudson in the final year of his deal and a bad team having zero need for quality relievers, Cincinnati needs to make a call.

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Hudson is doing everything a manager could ask of a set-up man. Across 25.1 innings pitched, the righty owns a spectacular 36.7% strikeout rate, .176 batting average allowed and a 2.49 ERA. He’s about as automatic as they come, surrendering only a .167/.185/.250 slash line in high-leverage situations.

  • Cincinnati Reds acquire: Daniel Hudson
  • Washington Nationals acquire: OF Ariel Almonte (CIN’s No. 23 prospect), C Mark Kolozsvary (CIN’s No. 29 prospect)

Hudson closed for the Nationals in 2019 and comes with plenty of World Series experience. He delivers what Cincinnati’s bullpen needs and should be one of the club’s top targets.

Cincinnati Reds acquire Andrew Chafin

Cincinnati Reds
Jun 5, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Andrew Chafin (39) stands on the field before the game against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

As the Cincinnati Reds climb the ladder in the NL Central, the Chicago Cubs are sliding. It’s a convenient outcome since Chicago will be making a majority of its bullpen available at the MLB trade deadline. Craig Kimbrel would be fantastic, but his contract likely keeps him off Cincinnati’s radar. With that said, there’s someone else to call about.

  • Chicago Cubs trade: Andrew Chafin
  • Cincinnati Reds trade: RHP Luis Mey (CIN’s No.27 prospect), international bonus pool money

Andrew Chafin makes a ton of sense for Cincinnati. The 31-year-old southpaw is one of the most underrated trade candidates this summer. He’ll enter the second half of the season with a 1.42 ERA, 0.74 WHIP and .141 BAA in 38 innings.

Adding a reliable southpaw to the pen, paired with a Hudson trade, would significantly improve this relief corps. With Tejay Antone and Lucas Sims likely back in July, manager David Bell will finally have relievers he can trust to preserve leads.