Krall: Reds might not be done making deals to upgrade team

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Nick Krall interview (July 28, 2021)

Team made two trades Wednesday to help bullpen

The Cincinnati Reds face long odds to make the playoffs with two months left in the season.

They have a 6.2 percent chance to win the National League Central Division, where they face a seven-game deficit, and a 7.9 percent chance to capture one of the two wild cards, according to FanGraphs.com. They are five games behind the San Diego Padres. That gives them a 14.1 percent chance of advancing to the postseason in one way or another.

The Reds (53-49) are not giving up, however, as evidenced by the two trades for three relief pitchers — Mychal Givens, Luis Cessa and Justin Wilson — they made Wednesday.

“We thought that they are going to upgrade our bullpen in different ways,” General Manager Nick Krall said Wednesday, “Cessa’s has got some length with him. Wilson’s left handed. We looked at all three as potential upgrades to our bullpen right now, and that could help us for the rest of this year.”

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The Reds might not be done dealing. The Major League Baseball trade deadline is 4 p.m. Friday.

“I wouldn’t say we’re ever done,” Krall said. “I think we’re looking to always upgrade this club every chance we can. If we can upgrade in any way, we’re going to be open to it and we’re going to listen.”

The Reds had been talking to the New York Yankees for about six weeks, Krall said, and that’s how they acquired Cessa and Wilson for a player to be named. Both made their Reds debuts Wednesday, combining for two scoreless innings in an 8-2 victory against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Cessa, 29, was 3-1 with a 2.82 ERA in 29 appearances this season for the Yankees. Wilson, 33, was 1-1 with a 7.50 ERA in 22 appearances.

“(Cessa) is a guy we’ve always liked,” Krall said. “Even last offseason, we would talk about him. With Wilson being able to be a part of it, we had more of a match as of the last two days or so.”

Discussions about Givens, who the Reds acquired by trading minor league pitchers Noah Davis and Case Williams to the Colorado Rockies, began earlier this month when the All-Star Game was in Colorado. Givens, 31, was 3-2 with a 2.73 ERA in 31 appearances with Colorado.

“Mychal Givens is a guy who’s pitched in a setup role, pitched a little bit in a closer role in Baltimore, and he’s been very successful in that role,” Krall said. “If we had been able to lock down games that we need to lock down, we would have been a lot closer to first place than we are right now. Obviously we’re not, so how can we address it? He’s a guy we feel that can be a really solid upgrade to this team and give us a chance to fight for a playoff spot.”

The Reds bullpen ranks 29th out of 30 teams in baseball with a 5.34 ERA. Krall said they have been trying to upgrade the bullpen throughout the season.

“We picked up Michael Feliz off waivers,” Krall said, “and then he got hurt a short time afterwards. We brought in (Brad) Brach in the middle of the season. We brought in (Heath) Hembree at the end of spring training. We knew we had had some issues there, and we’ve been trying to address them piece by piece all year long and and just trying to find the group that we can put together that has a chance to make a run. This isn’t something where we haven’t we we’ve been trying all season to continue to address our needs. Why now? When you put a deadline on teams, they are more likely to start moving players because they know there’s a deadline.”