by Steve Mancuso

Reds Trade Deadline: What today’s Jordan Lyles trade says about the Reds’ market for Tanner Roark

This afternoon, the Pirates and Brewers made a trade where Pittsburgh sent SP Jordan Lyles to Milwaukee in return for Double-A relief pitcher Cody Ponce.

Lyles is 28 and in the last year of his team control. He’ll become a free agent next year. Milwaukee is renting him for two months. Lyles makes $2 million and the Brewers’ share will be about a third of that. Lyles has made 17 starts for the Pirates and has an xFIP of 4.38, which is right around NL average (4.36) for starting pitchers.

The relation to the market for Tanner Roark is obvious. Roark will also be a free agent in 2020. He’s made 20 starts for the Reds. Roark’s xFIP (4.48) is a little bit higher than Lyles’ and he costs more. Roark is earning $10 million this year, so the renting team would be on the hook for around $3 million, or five times what the Brewers will pay for Lyles. Because of his strong career with the Nationals, Roark is probably viewed as a more reliable pitcher than Lyles.

So if Lyles and Roark are roughly similar commodities, what can the Reds expect for a return for their pitcher?

Cody Ponce (25) was the Brewers’ 2nd round pick in 2015. He’s a little bit old to still be in AA. And he’s just a reliever at that level. On the other hand, he’s having a good season (xFIP 2.82). That stat reflects a strong 44-12 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Ponce also has a nice ground ball rate (56.3%).

Ponce is not listed as one of the Brewers’ top-c0 prospects by MLB Pipeline. According to MLB Trade Rumors, Baseball America ($$) currently ranks Ponce as #25 in the Brewers’ system.

Based on reading between the lines of the rumor mill, the guess here is that the Reds will do a little better with Roark than the Pirates did with Lyles, but not a lot. Set expectations accordingly.

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Steve Mancuso is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up during the Big Red Machine era. He’s been writing about the Reds for more than ten years. Steve’s fondest memories about the Reds include attending a couple 1975 World Series games, being at Homer Bailey’s second no-hitter and going nuts for Jay Bruce at Clinchmas. Steve was also at all three games of the 2012 NLDS, but it’s too soon to talk about that.