With the Reds at 28-34 and hurt by several injuries to key players, Cincinnati will likely be a seller at this year's trade deadline. Their biggest piece to sell is pitcher Johnny Cueto, who is in the final year of his contract.
Cueto is off to a strong start in 2015, with a 2.85 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 85⅓ innings in his first 12 starts. The good start, plus his strong track record, makes last year's NL Cy Young runner up a target for several contenders, three of which are already scouting him, here is a look at each of them:
The Tigers reportedly scouted Cueto's start against the Cubs Friday, in which he allowed four runs on seven hits in seven innings, striking out nine.
Detroit is three games back of Kansas City in the AL Central race and looking to round out a rotation that includes David Price, Alfredo Simon, a struggling Anibal Sanchez and Justin Verlander, who is just back from injury. The fifth spot has been in flux all season with Verlander out and still is after the demotion of Shane Greene.
The most valuable asset the Tigers have to trade for Cueto is 23-year-old outfielder Steven Moya, who has hit .241/.286/.420 between High-A Lakeland and Triple-A Toledo this season. They could also offer players currently in the majors like outfielder Anthony Gose and catcher James McCann.
New York Yankees
New York was also at Cueto's start Friday and is looking to break out of a congested AL East that has four teams within three games of first place.
The Yankees have seen Nathan Eovaldi and CC Sabathia struggle at the back end of their rotation this season and there are the seemingly ever-present injury issues with Masahiro Tanaka for New York to consider, so it is no surprise they are looking to add a starting pitcher.
As for a return for Cincinnati, the Yankees have an emerging farm system and could offer a package of prospects centered around pitcher Luis Severino or outfielder Aaron Judge, both of whom are having strong seasons at advanced levels and could see the big leagues as soon as this season.
San Francisco Giants
Cueto was among the Reds players the Giants scouted this week in Chicago, according to reports. The defending champs are currently 34-30,3½ games behind the Dodgers in the NL West and in the thick of the Wild Card race.
Veterans Tim Hudson and Ryan Vogelsong are struggling in San Francisco's rotation, with ERAs of 4.60 and 4.81 respectively. If the Giants want to repeat as champions, another starter, especially one of Cueto's caliber, to pair with Madison Bumgarner could be key.
If the Giants are serious about repeating, they have several quality pitching prospects to offer Cincinnati, among them right-handers Tyler Beede and Kyle Crick.