The Cincinnati Reds are nipping at the Brewers' heels, but it remains to be seen how aggressive the Reds will be ahead of the 2023 trade deadline. If they lean more aggressively, Barlow would help a volatile bullpen, and a hurt one at that.
The Reds bullpen features several arms, including Nick Lodolo, on the 60-day IL as the postseason push starts. Sure, closer Alexis Diaz is a great guy in save situations, but he has barely 100 MLB innings under his belt and no postseason experience. I was surprised to learn that only one of the Reds' notable bullpen members has postseason experience. Lucas Sims has some from the 2020 postseason, but 2 2/3 innings is hardly anything to hang a hat upon.
Barlow doesn't either, but he at least has high-leverage situational experience. He would be the third-best Reds bullpen pitcher, including Diaz, with RISP. It is a bullpen already full of righties, but hey, they all produce in their own ways. Alex Young is a dependable lefty in the bullpen, leaving room for improvement among the right-handed pitchers.
The Reds are a tweener ahead of the trade deadline. They are a cold stretch away from the postseason and a hot one away from a divisional crown. It is a tough predicament, but trading for Barlow would tell the league that Cincinnati is making a postseason push. The Reds still have a very strong farm system after shortstop Elly De La Vruz graduates in the coming days. They could dip into that deep prospect pool, send out some top 30 prospects to make adjustments in the margins of error, and hope the young core stays hot. MLB fans will not have to wait much longer for buyers to separate themselves from the sellers, though.