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Reds looking to deal Johnny Cueto and more

The Cincinnati Reds are not going to make the playoffs. After reaching the National League postseason in 2013 as a Wild Card team, the Reds faltered in 2014 and have been fairly dreadful in 2015. With less than two weeks remaining until the trade deadline, that means it is time to restock the cupboards by trading some quality talent on expiring deals.

The main trade chip in general manager Walt Jocketty’s arsenal is ace Johnny Cueto, who made the All-Star team for the second consecutive season. Cueto has been dazzling on the mound in 2015, posting a 2.73 earned run average and miniscule 0.90 WHIP with 113 strikeouts. Cueto is only 29 years old, making him the ideal candidate for a team to trade for and then sign this offseason.

There could be a trade partner in the Los Angeles Dodgers, who despite leading the National League West by a comfortable margin, are looking to load up. Los Angeles has not been to the World Series since beating the Oakland Athletics in 1988, and believes it can get there with a bit of help. To that end, the team is hoping to add a starting pitcher to compliment the All-Star duo of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, according to Mark Saxon of ESPN.

“It’s starting to sound like a broken record, but we’d like to bring in a little more starting pitching — both for quality and depth,” said the general manager, Farhan Zaidi. “That’s not a surprise to anybody.”

On Friday, the news broke that Cincinnati is in fact looking to deal both Cueto and starting pitcher Mike Leake, hoping to bring back a nice haul on both, per Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Leake is 6-5 with a 4.08 ERA this season, but could slot in as a middle-of-the-rotation hurler for a contender.

Jeff Sullivan of FOX Sports wrote about what Cincinnati might be able to get back for Cueto:

For Cueto, then, you’d be expecting a good but not fantastic prospect as a centerpiece. It wouldn’t be a one-for-one, presumably; around the main prospect, there would be other interesting bits.

The thing going in the Reds’ favor is the lack of great pitching on the market. The American League is so jumbled that every team still has a chance of making the playoffs, although Oakland could be looking to deal free-agent-to-be Scott Kazmir before July 31.

If Kazmir is not put on the market, Cueto is far and away the best player available. When teams get desperate and know there is competition, a nice bidding war begins. Jocketty is a veteran general manager and a wise one. He will take full advantage.

This is not a full-blown rebuild for the Reds. Cincinnati still has plenty of young talent, but the group needs a makeover. Jocketty has a great chance to speed up the process.

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