Opinion: Cincinnati Reds Use Surplus to Solidify Rotation

Reds Potential Trade

The Cincinnati Reds were a fun team to watch last year with all the buzz around Elly De La Cruz’s call-up and the rest of the youth movement, Spencer Steer, Matt MaClain, and Graham Ashcraft. The Reds finished the 2023 Campaign with a record of 82-80, good enough for third place in the NL Central behind the Chicago Cubs and division-winning Brewers. 

The Reds have a lot of talent, and the division seems to be up for grabs, as the Brewers are thought to be shopping their ace Corbin Burnes and just lost their Manager Craig Counsell to the division rivals Chicago Cubs, while the St. Louis Cardinals are making moves trying to regain control of the division. The Reds have enough young infield talent to try and pry a true ace off a stumbling AL Central team. Last season, you saw Matt McLain, Elly De La Cruz, Jonathan India, and Spencer Steer mixing it up in the infield, playing with Joey Votto, who is looking for a new home in free agency. The Reds just signed veteran corner infielder Jeimer Candelario, who split last season between the Cubs and Tigers. The Reds have big expectations for Noelvi Marte, a potential candidate to lock down the third base job this coming season. He had three home runs, 15 runs, 15 RBIs, six steals, and hit .316 last season during 35 games and 123 plate appearances. In an ideal world, the Reds would like to have Marte Cover the hot corner, De La Cruz at shortstop, McLain at Second base, and Candelario at first base. That leaves Steer and India left out or moved to the outfield, where Spencer Steer did see some time last season. DH spot seems locked up by Christian Encarnacion Strand, who will also get some starts at First as well. 

The Reds Starting pitching staff has a lot of young arms and plenty of potential, but a true ace could be the leader this group needs to bring it all together. With Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Graham Ashcraft, Brandon Williamson, and Andrew Abbott, they have talent, but they miss that leader. Add Dylan Cease to this mix, and the National League Central becomes much more interesting.

The Chicago White Sox are in a position where they need to add young talent and try to rebuild the team around the future. Cease last season went 7-9 and 14-8 the year before for the White Sox. He is a reliable pitcher, throwing 177 innings last year and 184 innings the season before. Cease is a power pitcher, missing plenty of bats, with a k/9 of 10.88 last year and 11.10 the year before. With three straight seasons of over 200 strikeouts, adding Cease would be a massive boost for the rest of the rotation as they now get to drop in the rotation, providing options and flexibility.

So, what do I think it would take to get Dylan Cease from the White Sox? I would start with Spencer Steer, and then I would attempt to see if Brandon Williamson and another midtier Pitching prospect would get the job done. I would go as far as offering Steer, India, and Williamson for Cease. I do prefer to keep India for a separate trade, but for Cease, I would go this far if needed.

Why this would work for the White Sox? Well, Steer is a top Prospect and has the big-league experience, they could play him in Left or Play at one of the corner infield spots. I think adding Steer to the mix opens options for the White Sox to move additional pieces to speed up a rebuild for the future. India and Williamson both would be upgrades to their respectful positions, in my opinion. India is a better talent than Nicky Lopez, and Williamson would slide nicely into a 2nd or 3rd spot in the rotation.

In the end, I think Cincinnati will be a force to reckon with for years to come with their talent in the system, but landing a pitcher like Cease would make them a serious contender for the NL Central this coming season and for seasons to come.

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