2017 Reds

Should the Reds trade Anthony DeSclafani?

DISCO desclafani

No. The answer is no.

This morning, I received a question on Twitter, asking if I thought the Reds should consider trading starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani. Here was my reply:

Then, I saw this piece by Anthony Castrovince over at MLB.com on nine “players under 27 who could be traded.” On that list was…you guessed it:

Anthony DeSclafani, Reds

He qualifies for this list by the slimmest of margins, because he’ll turn 27 two weeks into the ’17 campaign, but, with just 341 innings under his belt, DeSclafani is certainly a young’un.

I include DeSclafani here not because the Reds have an eye on moving him. Quite the contrary, in fact. But with the starting pitching free-agent market as thin as it is, we can’t rule out the possibility of a team, much like the D-backs with Shelby Miller a year ago, getting drunk off DeSclafani’s ’16 breakout (130 ERA+, 3.28 ERA in 20 starts) and cost control (he’s not eligible for free agency until after 2020) and making the still-rebuilding Reds an offer they simply can’t refuse.

I clicked on that piece expecting to be irritated. No, the Reds shouldn’t trade Disco! The Reds are looking to compete within the next two or three years. Number 2 starters who are still 26 years old are supposed to be the building blocks of a “rebuilding” organization. Sure, the Reds have traded a bunch of assets over the last 18 months in the name of restocking the cupboard. But at some point, the unloading of players has to stop, right? The Reds are supposedly at the point in the rebuilding cycle where they can look to fill holes, not just dump salaries and try to get prospects in return.

So yeah, I clicked on that link prepared to be mildly annoyed at what I was reading. But, lo and behold, Castrovince is actually correct. Well, he’s correct to the extent that he’s saying Disco could be an attractive piece for teams that expect to contend, and the Reds should consider trading him under certain circumstances.

I’ve long suggested that no player on any Reds team should ever be considered “untouchable” in trade talks. That’s the case with DeSclafani. If someone wants to break their bank and wildly overpay for Disco, the Reds should take them up on it. Castrovince mentioned the Shelby Miller deal between Arizona and Atlanta. Yes, please, sign me up for a return like that.

However, the reasons that Castrovince lists as to why Disco would be so attractive to other teams — established #2 starter who is under team control for the next four seasons — are precisely why he’s such a perfect fit for the Reds, a team trying to turn the corner on their rebuilding process. Cincinnati management has stated publicly that they expect the club to be “competitive” (whatever that means) by 2018. If they truly believe that — and there’s reason for optimism on that point, I would say — then Anthony DeSclafani should be one of the last players they consider trading.

Disco isn’t untouchable. No one is. But the Reds should demand an overwhelming return from another club before accepting any potential trade. Unless someone is willing to surrender serious value in return*, DeSclafani is probably more valuable starting every five days for a club that is (hopefully) on the rise.

*And it doesn’t necessarily have to be a Shelby Miller-like return — a shortstop who was drafted #1 overall last year, a Gold Glove center fielder, and a good pitching prospect. After all, there was probably only one General Manager in baseball who would have traded all that talent in exchange for a mediocre pitcher, and Dave Stewart is now unemployed.

15 thoughts on “Should the Reds trade Anthony DeSclafani?

  1. At some point, the Reds need to nail down who is a “keeper.” Disco fits the mold. Not sure why you would trade a good player who is two years removed from being a “prospect” for less experienced prospects.

  2. Disco has proven his mettle. If anything we should be looking at an extension to cost control his arbitration years a la SuperTodd.

    As for what else to do. Similar to what Atlanta is doing, I think we could hit the fast forward button on the rebuild by trading away a few redundancies in the lower minors—-prospects from the 8-20 range who will be blocked for years by guys who got to the bigs first and staked a claim. There’s not enough at-bats and innings for all of them. It’s in the Reds best interest to have one legit major league ready guy who is on the same career arc as the group we have emerging. Package two prospects w/ Cozart and Cingrani and you’ll see a team bite.

  3. If the Astros come a calling with a package centered with SS Alex Bregman, RHP Joe Musgrove, and OF Ramon Laureano, then the Reds should sit down and talk. Bregman and Musgrove are ML ready with Laureano about a year away.
    Maybe the Red Sox, Dodgers, Cubs, and Mets might have enough in their minor league systems to make that kind of offer.
    It only takes one team, but it would be nice to have 3 or 4 teams interested and bidding up the price.

  4. As of now our projected regulars for 2018 are something like:
    1B: Votto
    2B/SS: Herera, Peraza, Suarez
    3B: Senzel, Suarez
    C: Barnhart, Mesoraco (maybe)
    OF: Hamilton, Schebler, Duvall, Winker

    It still looks to me like an improvement in the depth of the outfield is needed. Will Hamilton continue to improve at the plate and be able to stay healthy? Will Winker perform as expected? Duvall had a good 1st half of 2016, Schebler a good 2nd half. Do you trust either of them starting in RF for a full season?

    The Yankees, Dodgers and Red Sox are said to be looking for pitching help. If trading DeSclafani got you Betts, Bradley Jr or Benintendi from the Red Sox, Frazier or Judge from the Yankees or Joc Pederson or Cody Bellinger from the Dodgers would you make the trade?

    If trading Disco gets you an impact outfield bat, I would have to strongly consider it. You would still have a pitching staff including Bailey, Finnegan, Straily, Reed, Stephenson, Garrett, Iglesias and Lorenzen.

    • Agree with the yeses. Would you trade disco for Mike trout straight up? If yes, then you’re at the table listening to every offer between trout and lance “meatstick” nix.

  5. Good analysis. You absolutely make the “right” trade if it presents itself. But you don’t rush into anything.

  6. I keep Disco… I feel like he is the only solid choice in our rotation at this moment. He could pitch 200 innings this year and we need that badly.. I look at him as our #2 starter. Not sure behind who yet though for the future.

  7. Duvall and Desclafani for Mike Trout.
    Sure, we could make that trade.

    But seriously folks, it would have to be an attractive package from a contender. And losing Disco would push back the whole idea of rebuilding. Like Atlanta, who knows when all their hot prospects will mature? Most guys just don’t step out of the minors and are major league ready. Especially pitchers.

  8. Agree that Disco should only be traded for an immediate high impact (proven annual multi WAR) return under team control for as long as he is supplemented by one or more prospects at least at AAA in 2017 with clearly solid credentials for MLB in 2018. The Reds already have enough pieces to sort; there is no need to add more to that group. Add top end guys or stand pat.

  9. I agree that unless you get blown away by an offer you stay pat.In fact I expect us to do little or nothing to our roster and we probably shouldn’t outside of an arm or two for the pen.I am more interested in seeing if Zack and BP can be moved so we can find out what we have up the middle.I expect us to be around 500 this year barring injuries anyway so again unless another team wants to give away more then they should I say go with what we have.Let the young guys play.

  10. The only way I’d do it would be for cost-controlled, proven MLB hitting talent. The package would have to blow me away. Otherwise, it is too easy to enter into a perpetual rebuilding cycle. Not something you want to have happen.

  11. No.

    All of this will be true at this time next year, too, except the Reds will have a lot better information about whether they are ready to contend in 2018. Yeah, he might get hurt and they might not sell at his high-value point, but he might get better, too, in which case they are the Dodgers having traded Pedro Martinez.

    Perpetual selling would turn the Reds into the Athletics, or even worse, Kentucky football–always hoped to be better in 2 years. No, thanks.

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