Cincinnati Reds 2019 and Beyond- Tanner Roark Edition

The Reds were one of the busiest MLB teams this past offseason. They made 3 trades to try to, as quoted, “get the pitching,” while also making their already bolstered lineup, even better. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing about the 3 trades their front office made and how they’ve impacted the team so far and if it’s really made a difference for the rebuilding Cincinnati Reds.

Bulldog (noun): a person noted for courageous or stubborn tenacity. That is exactly what Tanner Roark has been for the Cincinnati rotation. He’s been known as an innings eater and so far in 2019, he’s ranked 3rd in innings pitched out of the 5 qualified starters at 107.0 with Sonny Gray ahead by a close 2.1. His S09 (strikeouts per 9 innings) is up to 8.6, the highest of his career. His SO/W (strikeouts per walk) rate is at 3.12, which is the highest it’s been since 2014. His ERA currently sits at 3.95, which has been his full season best since 2016 in which he gave up 2.83 runs per games pitched (34). “He’s a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter that just can come in and anchor our staff,” said Reds general manager Nick Krall. Roark has certainly done that.

Acquired from the Washington Nationals during the 2018 winter meetings in Las Vegas, the Reds didn’t have to give up much. Relief pitcher, Tanner Rainey, was the one to go. Rainey pitched 7 innings for the Reds in 2018 but gave up 19 runs on 13 hits and 12 walks. Subsequently, he became a part of the first ever Tanner for Tanner trade in MLB history.

Before 2019, the Reds were a pitching starved organization at the major league level. With the likes of Matt Harvey, Homer Bailey, and then rookie Tyler Mahle in the 2018 rotation, the Reds ranked 24th in Major League Baseball with a 4.63 earned run average. In 2019, the Reds team ERA sits at 3.91. That is .73 points lower than they finished with last year. Sure, it’s the middle of the year. Sure, these stats will change. But it doesn’t change the fact that this team’s philosophy has been going through a massive upheave. Despite their 2019 record so far, the pitching has been one of the biggest surprises and will surely be one of the things to look forward to in the future.

Tanner Roark has exceeded expectations and has anchored the Reds rotation in the middle of this philosophical disposition. Roark is currently slated to be a free agent at the end of the 2019 season. Do the Reds trade him at the deadline? Do the Reds bring him back? Should they? A guy like Roark would be great for a team trying to reach the postseason for the first time since 2013.

Jason Eilers