Even the casual Reds fan knows how shaky the bullpen has been in 2014.
Entering Thursday, Cincinnati's relief core ranked dead last in K/BB (1.97) and second-to-last in the National League in earned run average (4.24). In other words, not only are Reds relievers surrendering a high proportion of walks relative to strikeouts, but they are also giving up runs by the boatload. Furthermore, their 12 blown saves as a collective unit ranks as the fourth-most.
Needless to say, the Reds could use a boost in the 'pen.
This is where San Diego closer Huston Street may come into the picture. Well, at least according to former general manager and current ESPN analyst Jim Bowden. In his most recent column, Bowden identified four teams who may be interested in Street's services as the trade deadline. Naturally, Cincinnati was among the suitors.
Here's what Mr. Bowden had to say about the possibility:
Why? The Reds might just be one impact set-up reliever away from getting back to the postseason. The Reds have one of the game’s most dominant closers in Aroldis Chapman, and if Cincinnati can get Street to close the door in the seventh or eighth inning, this team will be hard to beat in the second half. The Reds have one of the best rotations in the game, and with Devin Mesoraco and Todd Frazier emerging as All-Stars, their biggest need is in the pen.
Who: The Reds have a lot to trade even when you consider that right-hander Robert Stephenson is untouchable. The Padres will then demand outfielder Jesse Winker and a lower-level prospect. The Reds will probably still decline. Winker, 20, was the Reds’ first-round pick back in 2012, the 49th player taken overall. His minor league slash line is .299/.404/.491, with 35 home runs in a little more than 1,000 career plate appearances. Although he’s never hit more than 16 home runs in a season, he projects to be a 20 home run hitter from the left side and is probably two years away from the majors. This is one of the situations where the incoming Padres GM can tell the Reds: "No Winker, no Street."
Will it happen? Possible, but unlikely. I think it's more likely the two teams swing a deal for someone like Joaquin Benoit, but never bet against GM Walt Jocketty at the deadline.
Like Bowden admitted, a trade involving the Reds and Street isn't likely to happen. He would simply require the Reds to give up too much in return. And giving up a top tier prospect wouldn't make a ton of sense considering the Reds may have a suitable option in recent signee and Cuban defector Raisel Iglesias.
With that being said, it would be awfully nice to see Bryan Price run out Street in the late innings of a tight game. Street's brilliant track record of getting hitters out in the clutch speaks for itself.