As the MLB trade deadline came to a close on Monday, the Cincinnati Reds struck a last-minute deal to acquire Arizona Diamondbacks closer Archie Bradley.
Archie Bradley traded to the Reds
Bradley, who began his MLB career viewed as a future front-line starter, made the transition to the bullpen in 2017. Since that time, he has been Arizona’s best reliever and could be a nice weapon for Cincinnati.
The trade, first reported by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, sends hitters Stuart Fairchild and Josh Van Meter to Arizona.
VanMeter, 25, has received limited opportunities in the past two years with the Reds. He showed flashes of promise in 2019, hitting eight home runs and stealing nine bases 260 at-bats. However, he was not rated among the club’s top-30 prospects last year.
Fairchild, rated as Cincinnati’s No. 11 prospect by MLB Pipeline, finished last season at the Double-A level. A second-round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, he has worked his way through the farm system slowly and profiles to be a fourth outfielder or below-average regular at his peak.
Bradley is under contract through the 2021 season through arbitration and will then be eligible for free agency in 2022.
Archie Bradley’s impact on Reds’ playoff chances
The Reds entered play on Monday five games back of the Chicago Cubs in the NL East, but just 1.5 games back of the St. Louis Cardinals for a playoff spot. While they have struggled lately, the trade for Bradley further solidifies this pitching staff.
Cincinnati boasts a rotation that is easily capable of beating anyone in a postseason series. Trevor Baer (2.13 ERA, 0.79 WHIP has emerged as the ace of this rotation and is backed by co-ace Sonny Gray (1.94 ERA, 1.01 WHIP). While Luis Castillo has struggled thus far with a 4.10 ERA, he has 52 strikeouts in 37.1 innings this season and is capable of throwing a gem each time he takes the mound.
The trio of starters makes the Reds dangerous if they play in October. Trading for Bradley also now plugs in an electric arm for the bullpen. Raisel Iglesias can be dominant out of the pen and pairs for an electric combo with Amir Garrett (2.45 ERA, 0.64 WHIP).
Bradley is no longer the unstoppable closer who Arizona fell in love with during the 2017 season, when he recorded a 1.73 ERA with a 79-21 K-BB ratio. However, he boasts a 20% K-BB rate this year and could rediscover his 2019 form (3.52 ERA) by working with pitching coach Derek Johnson.
With Bradley now coming in, the Reds can easily cover the final three innings after their starters dominate the first six.
In the end, even making it to the postseason will depend on Cincinnati’s lineup. Once a strength for this club, Reds’ hitters have the third-worst batting average (.216) in MLB and have scored the sixth-fewest runs (135).