It’s that time of year again(between January and December) when trade rumors involving Adam Dunn are swirling. I’m not completely against trading Dunn but I’m not sure the Reds are going to get anything close to value for him. There aren’t many teams out there that appreciate the Three True Outcome type of hitters.

What worries me more, though, is that GM Wayne Krivsky might be looking for a closer as the main piece in the trade. Krivsky has shown he doesn’t see a problem with trading everyday players for relief pitchers.

Ignoring the question of why the Reds want to trade Dunn, would trading him for a closer be a good idea? We saw the way last year’s Kearns/Lopez trade worked out. While Kearns and Lopez haven’t hit well for Washington, the Reds really haven’t gotten anything out of the trade, yet.

What this situation reminds me of is the Kansas City Royals trading Johnny Damon in 2001. Damon would be a free agent after the 2001 season and the Royals had determined there was no way they would be able to afford to keep him. GM Allard Baird had also made it a point to talk about how much the team needed a closer.

In a three-way trade involving the A’s and the Devil Rays, the Royals gave up Damon, Mark Ellis and a PTNBL for Roberto Hernandez and Angel Berroa. While Berroa was a decent prospect at the time (C+ according to John Sickels), Hernandez was the target of the trade. In 2001, the Royals won 8 fewer games. Hernandez had 28 saves but a 4.12 ERA to go with it. He followed that season with 26 saves and a 4.33 ERA in 2002. Berroa has had an undistinguished career with the Royals after a ROY campaign in 2003.

There’s a saying about a pig and lipstick. Even with a “closer”, the Royals were still awful.

That is where the Reds find themselves right now. This team plays poor defense, has a terrible bullpen and has 3 positive offensive contributors in Dunn, Brandon Phillips and Ken Griffey Jr. Trading one of them for, essentially, Maybelline for Rosie O’Donnell, doesn’t get this team closer to contending.

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9 Responses

  1. John

    They don’t need a closer. They need guys who can get them to the 9th with a lead. Weathers hasn’t been the problem (though one could argue that making him the closer in the first place is the reason why this team has few reliable setup guys).

    Still, McBeth and Bray have closer potential. Try ’em both. It’s not like there’s any such thing as “more dead last.”

  2. Chris

    I don’t disagree with your central premise, but think you’re underestimating the Reds’ strengths:

    – You forgot Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Hamilton, who both contribute on offense (and are likely to improve).

    – The starting pitching is good.

    I think this team is about 4-5 players away from contention — and those five players are the easiest five to find (3 good relievers and a solid backup IF and backup slugger).

    Trading Dunn to (assuming no repeat of last summer’s fiasco) fill one, or even two of those five spots would be a mistake, because they’d be left with a gaping hole in their lineup.

    The simple point is this: It’s a lot easier to find a reliever and the other spare parts they need than to find another Adam Dunn.

  3. Shawn

    I don’t know that a closer is actually what they are looking for, unless the press stories about an imminent return for Eddie Guardado are plants. I think they are counting on Everyday Eddie for that.

  4. Eric

    Chris- No one said that people would post comments disagreeing with me.

    I remembered Hamilton and Edwin but didn’t count them because I’m not convinced the Reds will let Edwin be a positive contributor. He was last year but hasn’t been this year. He certainly could be and should be, though.

    I’m not sold on Hamilton yet. Great story so far but I want to wait before I consider him someone we can count on to contribute offensively.

    As for the starting pitching, I’d argue it’s decent…which to us…seems really good. Arroyo has not been good this year but Harang has been his same reliable self. Belisle has taken some great steps this year. Lohse’s performance has been like my stock portfolio’s the past few months…all over the place. And Bailey is going to take some serious lumps this year.

    I agree we have some good pieces but we’re further away. I don’t think many of us want to pay for one year of contention rather than a consistent stretch of good play

  5. GregD

    I agree that Encarnacion should be added to the offensive contributor list. I think the jury is still out on Hamilton. Saw this on Rosencrans’ blog

    Hamilton said he’d been feeling weak for a couple of days and went to the doctor and had bloodwork done on Wednesday. He said there is a history of diabetes in his family, and they’re looking into that in addition to other things. Yesterday was the first day he felt dizzy and he didn’t want to come out of the game, but didn’t want to hurt the team.

    Hopefully, Krivsky has learned from his experiences. Experiences that have shown him that he can get Eddie Guardado for Travis Chick, Marcus McBeth for injured Chris Denorfia, and Scott Schoenweis for at the time AAAA pitcher Justin Germano. Hopefully, he sees that moving an everyday player for a reliever is completely overpaying.

  6. Eric

    Shawn- I hope you’re right though I’m not sure relying on Guardado is a good plan either. of course it’s certainly less expensive.

    Krivsky may not be looking for a closer and I hope you’re right.

  7. Phil Rizzuto Parmesan

    Scott Schoenweis for at the time AAAA pitcher Justin Germano

    IIRC, we gave up Germano to net the immortal Rheal Cormier.

    I agree with Eric on the starting pitching. Like the old blues line, “been down so long, looks like up to me”, we are so used to a batting practice rotation that any improvement gets translated to “we’re good now”.

    I admit being surprised by Harang, but I think he’s the real deal. Even when he’s not at his best, like last night, he seems to keep enough of his composure ti get the job done and keep us in the game.

    Belisle has potential and Lohse just enough stuff to tantalize you about the possibilities if he could just tame it so Dr Kyle took the mound each call. Homer is very much a work in progress but one we certainly should feel optimistic about.

    Then there’s Bronson. If Arroyo isn’t injured, I think we are seeing a reversion to career norms. That process started the second half of 2006 and continues now. He’s likely to be come a league-average innings eater good enough for the fourth or fifth slot and that’s a valuable commodity in a good rotation. It’s just not $10M+ valuable in ’09 and ’10. If I’m right and without another major “market correction”, that contract will make Arroyo difficult to trade.

    So it’s not like we couldn’t use a reliable starter. If Dunner is going and the best deal we can make for Dunn is a starter plus one or two useful parts/prospects, so be it.

    I agree with the comments on Hamilton. Let’s wait until he gets through one season (and the off-season), before counting him as a sure piece of the puzzle.

    I agree we have some good pieces but we’re further away. I don’t think many of us want to pay for one year of contention rather than a consistent stretch of good play

    Absolutely agree, Eric. Winning a weak Central one year and then returning to mediocrity because we shot our wad on one roll of the dice is exactly what I don’t want to see.

  8. rickNmd

    Germano pitches well for two months after being discharged by three teams in less than two years and some of you act like Bob Gibson was let go. You conveniently forget the Reds’ very horible need for bullpen help to make a run last year, a run in which people were screaming “do something.”

    I read on a blog somewhere the simple analysis of the Cormier/Germano deal: “Where do you think he fits on this staff? He doesn’t.”

    I also think the mainstays of this board are obsessed with Dunn when in fact they should be thinking about what the Reds could get in return for Griffey. To me, with his contract and the way he’s swinging the bat, he brings more than Dunn.

  9. GregD

    Good catch. Schoenweis was for a PTBNL. My point remains that none of those relievers required an everyday major leaguer to acquire. Cormier had a 1.5 ERA at the time and Shoenweis had a sub-1 ERA with the Reds. There are cheaper ways to acquire good bullpen help than trading Dunn.