Johnny Cueto is now expected to miss 3-4 weeks. Ryan Ludwick is out 6-12 weeks. Tony Cingrani will be making at least 3-4 starts (unless he bombs).
So what happens if he does exactly the opposite?
It appears likely the Reds are going to let Chris Heisey and Xavier Paul get the bulk of the LF starts with Choo remaining in CF over the next 3-4 weeks. I'm OK with that. However, if Tony Cingrani looks anything close to as good as he's looked in AAA over his first 3-4 big league starts, there is no way the Reds can send him down after that, right?
The obvious logic says Leake to the bullpen. I say, in this scenario, trade Leake to San Diego for Will Venable and Austin Hedges. Pencil Venable into the LF slot and 2 hole of the lineup, at least until Ludwick comes back. If/when Ludwick comes back healthy, platoon the two of them:
Venable career vs. RHP: .774 (180 points higher than vs. RHP)
Ludwick's OPS vs. LHP is .100 points higher in the last two years than it is against RHP. Lasy year, Ludwick's OPS vs. LHP was .937.
If the Reds can get solid .820-.840 OPS out of LF, and replace Leake in the rotation with Cingrani, they will be an improved team. They will also pick up one of the game's better catching prospects in the process (in case Mez doesn't figure things out), and can sign Arroyo to a 1 year deal at a hometown discount to be the 5th starter for 2014 if Corcino doesn't look to be ready to step in. In my view, this is a win-win-win scenario.