Perhaps Cincinnati Reds fans should prepare for massive minor league debuts as the 2015 season forges on. With numerous conversations surrounding several players as the trade deadline drama continues, the starting lineup could literally get plucked apart. Would the benefits outweigh losing Cueto, Leake, and possibly Chapman? Cincinnati Reds execs are busy manning the phones, with these moves imminent sooner than later.
Aroldis Chapman to, um, somebody
Surprisingly, Cincinnati may actually entertain insane offers for their closer. He's quickly accumulated 502 strikeouts in 293 measly innings of relief work, has touched 103 MPH and is only 27 years old. Unfortunately, not every contender has closer concerns. Los Angeles just got Kenley Jansen back, Drew Storen is filling in nicely in Washington, and every other team has pretty good closing pitchers already. Unless the Theo factor grabs Papelbon for the Cubs, Chapman could immediately improve the hapless 9th inning cleanup crew Chicago uses in platoon roles.
Cueto heading to Texas?
The Cincinnati Reds have confirmed that Johnny Cueto is literally heading everywhere. Los Angeles (both of them) seemed to own the inside track, but recent stories have surfaced claiming Houston is "all in" with Cueto. But then again, you can't discount New York teams (both of them, too) who are seeking postseason traction and have dire needs toward the back of their rotations. According to Tweets and rumors, Johnny Cueto is guaranteed to be heading somewhere, although his final destination is somewhat obscured by the several media reports clouding the scene.
Bruce, the almighty Oriole?
Baltimore just signed Chinese phenom Xu Guiyuan, but he'll obviously need time to develop. Not many trade chips exist that would interest Cincinnati Reds management, but that shouldn't stop Jay Bruce from playing at Camden Yards. Other reports have Bruce flying into Angels territory, which makes more sense given their need for outfield platooning. Expect a deal with the Reds OF to close next week, if not by this weekend.
Other players to watch
Joey Votto may get discussed, but his presence is too important for the Cincinnati Reds rebuilding project. Mike Leake (3.92 ERA and 81 Ks) would make an attractive fifth starter somewhere other than Cincinnati, although his command is often called into question. Marlon Byrd still hasn't lost his home run mojo, so watch for some American League team desperate for DH help to inquire about Byrd's availability. If Billy Hamilton steals 80 bases, expect teams with base running issues to kick themselves for not asking about him.
[Photo by Andy Lyons / Getty Images Sport]