Re: Trade time: Bruce and Leake for a cleanup hitter
I also agree that counting wins is not the correct way to evaluate pitching, but it is one important point of comparison. And wins are THE most important way to evaluate a team.
With only two potential aces in the starting rotation and three league average starters, this team just is too vulnerable if one of those two aces goes down, as happened in the 2012 playoffs. As for the Reds' hitting, clearly this is a team on which the bats suddenly can turn ice cold at any moment, and of course, this also happened during the 2012 playoffs.
Well guess what: we still have the same, vulnerable staring rotation, though a different, but equally big hole in the starting lineup (given the fact that our versatile number two hitter had to be moved to bat cleanup due to Ludwick's injury). Choo/Philips/Votto/Ludwick-new guy/Bruce/Hannigan/Frazier/Cozart would be a far more formidable lineup.
I don't think the Reds should go into the playoffs with just two ace starters and I don't think we can count on Ludwick returning to form this season, even if he does make it back onto the field. I hope I'm wrong, but should the Reds bet a critical, "all-in" season and a $109 million payroll (12th highest in MLB) on these vulnerabilities? I don't think so, especially when we appear to be just one or two players away from the goal.
Again, I say trade Leake and a combination of veteran and promising minor league players for a cleanup hitter (maybe that elusive someone who can play third base or left field). Maybe we should hold onto Bruce. Maybe not. If Ludwick makes it back in true form, we have an even better bench and a team built for the playoffs, and not just the regular season.
Move Chapman to the rotation and Cingrani up to the show. Wth just one or two pitches, maybe Cingrani's blazing fastball would be a good fit in the late-inning bullpen and I can see that the coaches really are pushing Hoover to see if he has the stuff to become a closer. I appreciate the fact that Leake finally may be pushing himself a little harder now that his job is on the line and he has competition for that number five spot, but he's just not the right hurler for this team at this point in time.