The Cincinnati Reds fire sale continued today just before the trade deadline. They have traded RHP Tyler Mahle to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for three prospects. The Reds will receive infielder Spencer Steer, third baseman Christian Incarnation-Strand, and left-handed pitcher Steven Hajjar. Each of these prospects ranks in the top 30 of the Twins farm system according to MLB.com. This trade also came on the Luis Castillo deal just days ago, as Cincinnati is now in full rebuild mode.
The 27-year-old Mahle has been decent, if not inconsistent, for the Reds at times this year. The right-hander has a 4.40 ERA across 104 1/3 innings this season with 114 strikeouts. Mahle has not been as good in his home ballpark as he has been on the road. At GABP, hitters were batting .333 against Mahle but only .189 against him on the road. This usher in a new era of Reds baseball, as the young pitchers’ Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo and Graham Ashcraft are now cemented into the rotation.
In return, the Reds receive three really good prospects. Spencer Steer across double and triple-A has amassed a .269/.361/.528 slash line with 20 homers and 62 RBI. He plays both shortstop and third base. Christian Encarnacion-Strand has been a huge power bat in the minors this season. While he can play the corner infield positions, Encarnacion-Strand has a .302 average with 25 homers and 85 RBI. He is likely the replacement in the wings for Joey Votto. Steve Hajjar is a left-handed pitcher with a 3.77 ERA through 45 innings pitched this season.
The Reds are obviously in their rebuilding stage. Trades like this become necessary when players price themselves out of Cincinnati’s small market. Mahle has been good for the Reds since making his debut, but it is time to move on. In return, they bolster their Minor League system, which will undoubtedly be tops in baseball after the deadline. Make this another trade that Nick Krall has done well. But, for now, the Reds will lose some games, but the future is very bright in Queen City.