Reds acquire Kevin Newman – MLB trade rumors

The Reds and Pirates agreed on a trade within the divisions, sending infielders Kevin Neuman to Cincinnati for helpers Dauri Moreta. Both teams announced the deal.

Newman changes organizations for the first time in his career. Pittsburgh picked him with the 19th pick in the 2015 draft, and he made the majors about three years later. He struggled all the way in 31 games as a rookie, but he put in a solid performance as a sophomore. The University of Arizona product hit .308/.353/.446 on 531 plate appearances in 2019, securing the primary shortstop job.

He held the role for the next few seasons, but his offensive productivity waned. Newman had well-underperforming numbers in both 2020-21 and 2020-21, averaging just .226/.268/.302 combined through 726 plate appearances. Even with strong defensive metrics in 2021, its overall production hovered right around replacement levels. However, the rebuilding of Bucs continued to present him with opportunities, and he raised the ship sufficiently that year that they managed to find a trading partner.

The 29-year-old scored a .274/.316/.372 mark on 309 plate appearances last season. He lost over two months mid-year to a left groin strain, but his batting performance was the best since 2019. The right-hander’s overall offensive profile hasn’t changed much over the course of his career. Newman makes a lot of contact and puts the ball in play early to stifle both his strikeout and walk totals. He has very little power, with just 20 home runs in his career – 12 of which came in what was arguably the liveliest ball in league history in 2019. He relies on a good in-game batting average to shore up his numbers, but looks like a decent option for the bottom players if enough singles come around.

Newman’s calling card is his ability to play down the middle. He has logged over 2500 big league innings at shortstop and typically has a rating at or slightly below the league average. He pulled quality marks in 2021, but for his career he underperformed an estimated nine runs according to Defensive Runs Saved and underperformed six runs according to Statcast’s estimate. Public metrics have him slightly underperforming in just under 800 career frames, even at second base.

The presence of Oneil Cruz in Pittsburgh, Newman edged out at the shortstop. The Bucs could have counted on him at second base but they may prefer to keep a longer look at the 23-year-old Rudolph Castro with an eye on eventually making things a potential client Nick Gonzalez or Liover Peguero.

Cincinnati has less clarity with the shortstop Jose Barrero so far not been able to conquer the position. The Reds treated Kyle Farmer to the Gemini tonight and could use a stable option to hold the position pending the arrival of the top prospect Elly cross, who turns 21 in January and graduated in double A this year. Newman is eligible for a second arbitration hearing this winter and is projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $2.8 million. He is controllable until 2024.

Moreta, 26, received his first big league call in late 2021. The 6’2-inch right played in four games at the track but had a decent run last season. The Reds called on Moreta for relief 35 times, and he worked his way through 38 1/3 innings to a 5.40 ERA. Moreta beat out a decent 24.4% of opponents against an average walk rate of 8.1%, but he was crushed by big home run problems. He gave up 10 longballs (averaging 2.35 per nine innings), in large part due to a very low groundball rate of 32.7%.

That extreme flyball bias made him a rough fit for Cincinnati’s hitter-friendly home environment, but he might have a better chance at the roomier PNC Park. Moreta has a fastball that averages just under 96 MPH and he’s missed at-bats on a solid 11% of his offerings this year. With a cheaper home park, it’s possible he’ll convert those decent strikeout and walk counts into viable middle innings. He will not reach arbitration until at least the end of the 2024 season, and he is still eligible for election to the minor leagues in either of the next two seasons. It’s a big league capable option with medium relief depth.

Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Rob Biertempel first reported that the Reds would take over Newman. beer temple was report first Cincinnati would receive Moreta in return.

Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.

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