Earlier this afternoon, Jon Morosi (MLB Network, Fox Sports) reported that Anthony DeSclafani was on their list of candidates for the rotation.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 22, 2016
Anthony DeSclafani is worth a lot. He put together a solid 2015 (3.2 WAR for FanGraphs, 1.3 WAR for Baseball-Reference) in his first full season as a major league pitcher, with a strong second half. His 2016 starts have been comparable. The Reds have at least four more years of his control. He pitched 184.2 innings last year, demonstrating durability. He’s a #3 starter, with a shot at becoming a #2.
DeSclafani has considerably more trade value than Jay Bruce or Zack Cozart because of the years of control. The fact that he’s put together an entire year of solid performance puts him ahead of Adam Duvall. (I don’t understand all the calls to trade Duvall. He hasn’t done enough yet to qualify as a legit sell-high candidate. Other organizations aren’t stupid. Except maybe Arizona, a front office who should be sent lopsided trade offers weekly.)
The Reds are deep in pitching relative to position players. If they trade DeSclafani for hitting, that could be smart as long as they get the right kind of hitter. That player should offer (1) above average power, (2) strong plate discipline manifested in an above-average walk rate, (3) at least 5 years of team control and (4) a graduation date no later than 2017. Ideally, you’d also want solid defense.
The Rangers have a strong farm system, with several position players ranked in various Top-100 lists. Grant Freking mentions Nomar Mazara. Doug Gray adds the name Jurickson Profar to the conversation. Those two players are already with the Rangers. The two teams could be a good match.
Bottom line: We know the Reds (over)value pitching, so they won’t give DeSclafani away. If they move him, the key is what kind of position player they look for. Another slap hitter whose main asset is speed? No thanks. No. No. No. That said, DeSclafani isn’t going to win the Cy Young. You listen to offers and move him if the return is right.