With five days left until Tuesday’s trading deadline, the Cincinnati Reds have made their first definitive deal.
The Reds have sent defensive back Tyler Naken and Triple A loyalist Philip Dale, of Cincinnati, to the New York Mets for two possibilities, the teams announced Thursday night.
The two low-profile candidates are 19-year-old bowler Jose Acuña, who will report to Low-A Daytona, and 18-year-old quarterback Hector Rodriguez, who will report to the Arizona Rookie League.
“We had several teams that were interested in Tyler,” said Reds general manager Nick Krall, who began his press conference by thanking Naquin for his contributions to the club. “This was what we felt was the best deal for him and we felt we had added good players to our pipeline.”
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Nakuen, who lost 7-6 on Thursday to the Miami Marlins, became a free agent at the end of the season, making him an obvious commercial candidate. He was hitting .246 with seven homers, 12 doubles and 33 RBI in 56 games.
The Reds have three outside players on rehab assignments in Triple-A Louisville – Aristides Aquino, Jake Fraley and Albert Almora Jr. Stuart Fairchild, who was promoted to the major leagues on July 12, received 14 players in the racket.
This is just the beginning for the Reds, who will be deadline sellers and arguably the best sellers. The Luis Castillo is the best pitcher available on the commercial market with a Tyler Mahle one tier underneath. Brandon Drury, Donovan Solano, and Tommy Pham are other top players in the final year of their contracts.
“I’ve said this before, we have to build through our own pipeline,” Krall said. “For us, we have to make sure that we constantly stock this player’s pipeline. Having conversations about these players doesn’t mean we’re going to trade with them. It doesn’t mean we won’t trade them. We’re working now to see how we can do our best to build ourselves to achieve long-term and sustainable success. ”
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Acuña, the Venezuelan national listed at 6-foot-2, 175 pounds, has a 3.16 ERA in 25 2/3 innings between rookie and Low-A ball with 36 strikes and seven runs. The right-handed twice started in Low-A, touched 94 mph with the fastball, and will still be at that level.
“He added 3 mph to his Fast Bowl from last year to this year,” Krall said, noting that the fastball, skate and change in all of his grades are above average. “You can see him develop and grow. He’s 19 years old. He has a chance to be a legitimate player at the start of the league.”
Rodriguez scores .356 between four doubles, four triples, three hurdles and 16 RBI in 26 games, which includes two games in Low-A. 5-foot-8, 186-pound Rodriguez of the Dominican Republic stole 12 bases in 15 attempts, and has drawn six times on nine strokes.
Why did the Reds choose two would-be teenagers compared to a more experienced one?
“We’ve had conversations about some top-tier players as well, but we’ve taken into account the upside with these two players,” Krall said. “With Hector Rodriguez getting the chance to be a midfielder, and the chance to have a quality instrument, that can be played, you can’t get these players at the top levels. They become excellent opportunities for teams to trade. Acuña is the same way.
“These things are hard to get as you go up the levels. You’ll probably have one instead of both, but we felt it was the right thing for us in this organization to take on two guys at the lower levels.”
Krall said trade talks have intensified over the past several weeks, with talks beginning before the start of this month’s MLB draft.
Naquin signed with the Reds ahead of the 2021 season in a minor league deal, but quickly made his way into the squad as a man who hit well against the right throw. Injuries plagued him during his five seasons in Cleveland, but he played 127 career games last year while hitting 0.270 with 19 home runs, 24 doubles and 70 RBI.
The 31-year-old right-footed player missed a month this year due to a hamstring strain. He owes about $1.6 million for the remainder of the season.
Left Diehl, a Muller graduate, has made five appearances for the Reds this year. Allowed seven strokes and eight runs in 5 2/3 runs (11.12 ERA). He had a 4.24 ERA in 25 appearances in Triple-A Louisville.