With reports surfacing of the Cincinnati Reds signing Cuban relief pitcher Raciel Iglesias, the assumption from many is that Iglesias will be used to shore up a bullpen that has been faltering often for the Reds in 2014. However, what if such a signing is insurance for GM Walt Jocketty as he fields trade offers for star closer (and fellow Cuban) Aroldis Chapman?
Iglesias is a hard-throwing reliever who possesses a sweeping breaking ball that has successfully kept hitters off balance in his young Cuban career (including the World Baseball Classic). For the Reds, who are borderline sellers at the trade deadline, this would give them insurance and an in-house candidate to replace Chapman should they decide to trade one of their best candidates.
One of the concerns with trading Chapman surrounded the team’s ability to successfully replace him with someone capable. The signing of Iglesias gives the Reds ample breathing room when it comes to listening to trade offers regarding their relievers.
Regarding Chapman, the flame-throwing closer would bring a queen’s ransom in return if he was indeed traded. Aside from Johnny Cueto, Chapman is arguably one of the best available arms on the market as the July 31 trade deadline approaches. And for a Reds team in need of youth and power, he is a trading chip who could help fill many needs of an inconsistent team.
For the time being, Iglesias provides the Reds with much needed depth in the bullpen. With the mighty struggles at times this season from relievers such as J.J. Hoover, Sean Marshall, Trevor Bell, Logan Ondrusek and others, the Reds could not afford to continue to sit pat as their bullpen squandered superb outings from their starting pitchers (just ask Mat Latos).
Expect Iglesias, assuming the reports are true, to make a brief appearance in triple-A Louisville before joining the major league club. It may only be June 16, but Jocketty and the Reds have officially begun their work leading toward the 2014 trade deadline.