This week’s respondents are Nick Carrington, Chad Dotson, Chris Garber, Bill Lack and Steve Mancuso.
Our Daily Reds Obsession: Should the Reds trade Raisel Iglesias this offseason?
Nick: The Reds should trade anybody in the right deal including Iglesias. He’s a dominant reliever, and contending teams have paid a premium for such talent in the past. If another teams is willing to improve their starting pitching or position player prospects substantially, the Reds would be foolish not to do it. I don’t want to see Iglesias go because he’s the best pitcher on the staff right now, but relievers are what they are: simultaneously valuable and expendable. If the Reds could somehow package him and a corner outfielder for some premium young talent, deal him. If not, extend him to 90 innings out of the bullpen this season.
Chad: The answer to this is the same as the answer if you replace Iglesias’ name above with any other player in the Reds organization: it depends. I’m a firm believer in the concept that no players are “untouchable,” and there are no exceptions to that rule. Do I want the Reds to trade Joey Votto or Nick Senzel or Eugenio Suarez? Well, no, of course not. But if, for example, the Reds could acquire Mike Trout for any of these players, sure the Reds should pull the trigger. Everyone has their price.
That said, I don’t see any reason the Reds should be actively shopping Raisel Iglesias. He’s an exceptionally good pitcher — even if he’s just a reliever — signed to a relatively cheap contract who will not be a free agent until 2022. He can be a valuable member of the next good Reds team. The flip side of that is that Iglesias could have significant value on the trade market, especially to a team in need of a shut-down reliever. If one of those teams comes calling, GM Dick Williams should not hesitate to trade Iglesias. But Williams should extract maximum value in any such deal. There’s no reason to trade Iglesias unless the Reds get a haul in return.
Chris: Not unless the offer is literally too good to refuse. Iglesias is under team control through 2021. While there’s no certainty that the Reds will be competitive in 2018, if they’re not contending by 2020, they’ll have bigger problems than Raisel Iglesias’ salary. In other words, Iglesias is “part of the next good Reds team,” whenever that is. Which means he stays.
Now, if the Reds follow my advice, the odds are that they’ll regret it. Iglesias could dominate the 2019 post-season. Boiled down, that’s the reason to keep him. (It’s not the regular season value he adds — dynamic Aroldis Chapman basically preserved the same percentage of leads as the frustrating Francisco Cordero. Even elite closers don’t win or lose division titles.) While Dick Williams and I imagine Iglesias pitching 7 scoreless innings in a World Series sweep, it’s much more probably that Iglesias gets hurt or just loses his effectiveness before he ever appears in a post-season game. But down that road lies baseball nihilism. The point of rebuilding is building – assembling the pieces necessary to win it all. And Iglesias is that. Unless he brings back two other key pieces, he should stay.
Bill: I’ll be definitive by saying “depends.” No one on a team that loses as many games over the past two season as the Reds have should be untouchable, but if you’re going to trade one of your best players you’d better be sure and get a valuable return. His value isn’t as high as it would be if he had stayed a starter, but he’s one of the best closers in the game and some teams value that quite highly. If trading him or packaging him would answer one of the questions this team has moving forward (playing time in the OF, 2B, SS, starting pitching), then absolutely. But without knowing the offer the answer is “depends”.
Steve: Yes, always be trading closers. Even the best closers are 2 WAR players. Period. That’s because they don’t pitch many innings and quite a few saves are protecting 2- or 3-run leads. If the Reds can find a trade partner that values Iglesias as more than that, as an elite player at a scarce position, they should do it. He’s also cost controlled through 2021. If Iglesias can help bring the Reds a young, 2+ WAR shortstop or centerfielder of the future, they should definitely do it. Either of those would be a big and necessary piece of rebuilding. The only case, as I see it, for holding off on trading Iglesias is for the Reds to include him as part of the package they use to acquire a big-time starting pitcher before the 2019 season. The downsides of waiting are the risk that Iglesias will suffer another shoulder or elbow injury, and that he would have one fewer controlled years, so less value.