Cincinnati is currently 12 1/2 games back of St. Louis in the National League Central standings, so it’s a near certainty that the club will be sellers at the July 31 deadline. Johnny Cueto is an impending free agent and a tremendous trade chip. He’s as good as gone. Brandon Phillips has an expensive contract and is not aging gracefully. He could go. There’s even word that Aroldis Chapman may be dealt.
Now comes word from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal that some members of the Giants front office have been scouting Reds right-hander Mike Leake, who is making $9.775 million in his final year of salary arbitration. The 27-year-old has posted a solid 3.95 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in 974 career innings while making half of his starts in one of the least pitcher-friendly home parks in the major leagues.
He’d make sense as an innings-eater for just about any contending team.
In case you missed this wonderful play that Joey Votto made Saturday night at Wrigley Field …
Votto also homered in the game, but the Reds wound up losing 4-3 to the host Cubbies.
The Nationals are set at closer with Drew Storen having a terrific season, but they’re still searching for late-inning bullpen help, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports. Among Nationals relievers who have tossed at least eight innings, only one pitcher — lefty Matt Thornton — has an ERA below 3.70.
Aroldis Chapman is one of the Nationals’ targets, and they’ve reportedly talked to the Reds about a trade, though nothing is close, per Morosi. Chapman has had another terrific year, going 12-for-13 in save situations with a 2.30 ERA and a 45/17 K/BB ratio over 27 1/3 innings. He and Storen would make for a terrifying one-two punch at the back of the bullpen. The Nationals, by the way, finished second in bidding for Chapman back in 2010, as James Wagner of the Washington Post points out.
After demoting struggling starter Shane Greene to Triple-A Toledo on Friday afternoon, the Tigers are reportedly having trade conversations involving starting pitchers, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports.
Greene, 26, started the season off on fire, allowing only two runs in 23 innings. He quickly went off the rails, though, posting an 8.60 ERA over his next 10 starts.
It’s not known which pitchers interest the Tigers the most. Johnny Cueto, Cole Hamels, and Scott Kazmir are three elite pitchers that could be made available at the right price. Lower-tier pitchers who may be available include Aaron Harang, Mike Leake, and Kyle Lohse, among others.
Zack Cozart’s knee injury has unfortunately proven to be as bad as it looked at the time. He’ll miss the remainder of the season with torn ligaments and tendons suffered when his knee twisted as he stepped on first base Wednesday.
He’s scheduled to undergo surgery, which carries an expected recovery timetable of nine months and means his status for 2016 may be in jeopardy.
Cozart’s injury ends what had the potential to be a career-year for the 29-year-old, who had nine homers in 53 games after averaging 10 homers per 150 games prior to this season. In his absence the Reds figure to use Kristopher Negron and Eugenio Suarez at shortstop.
Cozart is making $2.35 million this season and is under the Reds’ team control for 2016 and 2017 via arbitration, but questions about his status for Opening Day and post-injury ability to remain a defense-first shortstop could make him a non-tender candidate this offseason.