Reds “are prepared to trade” Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake

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Not exactly shocking news, but Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that the Reds “are prepared to trade” both Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake.

That’s been the assumption with both pitchers headed to free agency after the season and it’s why I included Cueto and Leake in my article earlier this week about the best starting pitchers likely to be available at the trade deadline.

Cueto is a legit ace and one of the truly elite starters in all of baseball, whereas Leake is a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter. It’s possible Cincinnati could look to maximize their return by packaging both pitchers in the same trade, trying to entice a contending into giving up a top-50 prospect as part of the haul for a pair of two-month rentals.

No word yet on what the Reds plan to do with All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman, who unlike Cueto and Leake is also under contract for 2016.

Francisco Cervelli shines in his Braves debut

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Last week the Pittsburgh Pirates released Francisco Cervelli. Yesterday he was signed by the Braves. Atlanta gave him the start behind the plate and he went 3-for-5 with two doubles and three runs driven in to help his new team to victory over the Mets. Welcome to Atlanta, Frankie.

Cervelli had been rehabbing from a concussion and hadn’t seen big league action since late May. He was ready to come back, though, and the Pirates — who are going nowhere — gave him his release so that he might join a contender for the stretch run.

The performance he put up last night, obviously will not be the norm for him going forward. But it’s also the case that his early 2019 batting line of .193/.279/.248 is not indicative of his talent level either. He posted an .809 OPS (122 OPS+) in 2018, and if he gives Atlanta anything even approaching his usual production it’ll help stabilize a shaky catching situation for the Braves.