The time between now and the July 31 trade deadline may prove as consequential as any two weeks of the Reds multi-year rebuilding process. The team is close to being a contender. That seemed unimaginable in April. But we Reds fans now sense in our bones the wait is months, not years, for a team in the mix. 

The organization still has a shopping list, though. It includes a few essential big-ticket items. 

A clear-eyed, sound course of action remains ahead. But there’s a risk that ownership and management will allow the team’s recent run of success, and fondness for current players, to get in the way of the rebuilding process reaching its full conclusion. It wouldn’t be the first time meddling by this ownership group botched the timing of a few key trades.

The Reds front office must avoid going wobbly at the finish line. 

As we’ve learned the past three seasons, rebuilding can appear to weaken the team in the short run. An example is trading Todd Frazier without an obvious replacement at third base. Another is dealing Aroldis Chapman without a proven closer in waiting. The Reds allowed Zack Cozart to walk without an heir apparent at shortstop.

Then Todd Frazier became Eugenio Suarez and Scott Schebler. Raisel Iglesias ably assumed Aroldis Chapman’s role. Jose Peraza has done better at short than many expected. And so on. Players who seem difficult to replace at the time, aren’t.

A few needed steps await the Reds. Popular, valuable players must be moved to make room for rising talent and acquire additional pieces to fill significant gaps. The front office must continue to operate from three principles: (1) sell high from positions of depth, (2) take advantage of situations where specific players are more valuable to other teams than they are to the Reds, and (3) place a presumption against moves that require untested, major position changes to succeed.

It’s axiomatic to say the Reds focus must remain on the next four years, not the upcoming three months. It’s important to recognize that advice is just as relevant to trading current players as it is to which ones to acquire.

The front office had a plan in place for the trade deadline, knowing that judgments about players would need to be re-evaluated based on 2018 performance. Dick Williams should take into account what has transpired the past three-and-a-half months. New hard data about individual players is extremely valuable.

What Williams must ignore are gauzy narratives about chemistry and squishy bromides about keeping the team together that operate to frustrate needed roster improvements.

Success breeds chemistry, not the reverse.

The Reds owner and his close counselors need to give Williams, Nick Krall and their hard-working staff the latitude and support for making a few final decisions to optimize the rebuilt Reds.

It’s imperative the front office not get sidetracked by success or lose its nerve as the trade deadline approaches.

Specifics:

1. Acquisition of one or two solid starting pitchers has become the clear-cut highest priority

Luis Castillo’s small step backward should temper enthusiasm from his rookie season. Castillo, who has pitched about a half-run worse in 2018 than 2017, might still become an ace, but it’s clear that can’t be counted on. Anthony DeSclafani has shown he’s healthy enough to be a solid rotation piece. Tyler Mahle, only 23, has a promising future as a reliable starter. On the other hand, Homer Bailey has called into serious question his viability in the rotation. Sal Romano has a long road ahead and is a candidate for the bullpen or AAA to work on another pitch.

While the diminishing role for starters argues against selling the farm to chase an ace, adding one or two strong rotation arms would be a massive benefit to the Reds. Whether this acquisition happens now, in the offseason, or both depends on the market for Raisel Iglesias and Scooter Gennett.

2. Jose Peraza’s 2018 performance has reduced the urgency to look for a top-of-the-organization shortstop

Peraza has hit well for two months. His walk-rate remains low and Peraza is yet to hit with much power. In March, the shortstop position was a gigantic question mark for the Reds. Peraza’s 2018 average-ish performance has shrunk uncertainty to non-crisis levels. I wouldn’t say he’s the shortstop of the future based on a couple of months – Peraza has had these streaks before – but he might be. If Jose Peraza fades in the second half of 2018, shortstop would re-emerge as an urgent need in the offseason. But it isn’t now. That said, organizational depth at short is an issue and remains a second-tier priority. 

Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez (and his brilliant extension) and Tucker Barnhart are locked in for a few years, all having excellent seasons.

3. Trade Scooter Gennett based on organizational depth

Scooter Gennett’s popularity with Reds fans recalls the same affection toward Todd Frazier, as does the opposition to trading him. Gennett’s strong 2018 season has shown 2017 wasn’t a fluke. Sure, his power is off a bit, his defense remains suspect and there are warning signs his batting average is due to fall. But Gennett has proven he has value.

The case for trading Gennett has more to do with the principle of selling high from a position of organizational depth than the risk of backsliding. The Reds have Dilson Herrera now and Nick Senzel next year, alternatives that weren’t as clear in the case of Frazier.

Could the Reds move Scooter Gennett to the outfield? Maybe, but he’s only played 16 games there as a major leaguer, and none this year. Right now, the club shouldn’t rely on it absent an extended trial. Keeping Gennett or signing him to an extension based on the assumption that he’s a passable outfielder is an unnecessary gamble. The Reds have Jesse Winker, who shows early signs of being an excellent major league hitter, and Scott Schebler, who has done well as a leadoff hitter, to play corner outfield.

An extension for Gennett would be a risky use of tens of millions of dollars that could go to other needs. It would start in 2020, a month from Gennett turning 30. The aging curve for second basemen in their 30’s is steep.

If the Reds can get two solid pieces for Gennett, they should move him and create space for Herrera and Senzel. If they can pair Gennett with another player and land one of the starting pitchers they need, it’s an obvious step.

The Reds struck gold in signing Scooter Gennett off the Brewers’ trash pile. He’s been terrific on the field and hit a home run in the All-Star Game. The front office would deserve an A+ if they capitalize on their fortune and turn him into even more value for the future, a la Dan Straily. 

4. Aggressively shop the veteran relievers (evergreen)

Jared Hughes and David Hernandez have been successful signings so far. Each is under contract a second year. Given that free agent relief pitchers are extremely unreliable from year to year, and the H&H Boys have exceeded expectations, it’s the right time to move them. 

Even the best relievers are erratic year to year. For each of the past three seasons, if you made a list of the Top 60 relievers, you’d find fewer than half those names on that same list the following season. About 15% of the Top 60 relievers one season have negative value the next. That’s how fleeting success is for the vast majority of relievers.

Hughes and Hernandez were unsigned by their previous teams. The list of bullpen blowouts the Reds have signed in recent seasons (Kevin Gregg, Yovanni Gallardo, Caleb Cotham, Steve Delabar, Burke Badenhop, Ross Ohlendorf, Drew Storen, can I please stop now?) makes it hard to credit the front office with a secret formula for identifying free agent relievers. They’ve been lucky this time, so far. One good thing can be said, the Reds didn’t spend much money on either guy. 

The case for trading Hughes and Hernandez is finding a trade partner that expects the relievers be reliable for a few more months and next season. Hughes and Hernandez have a lot more value to those teams than they do the 2018 Reds. If either brings back a young spare part or a legit prospect, it would be well worth it.

Always be selling high on relievers, especially ones over 30. Hughes and Hernandez are 33.

5. Trade Raisel Iglesias for a starting pitcher

The urgency to trade Iglesias isn’t high. The Reds could trade him in the offseason or even at next year’s July trade deadline and a healthy Iglesias would remain a significant value to the receiving team. The danger, of course, is that he’ll get hurt or go into a slump. That’s no small consideration. The real threat of a shoulder injury is why the Reds 2016 Opening Day starting pitcher is in the bullpen.

So why look to trade Iglesias now? Because this is the time of year when contending teams are often willing to pay an irrational amount for relief help. Iglesias has appeal for the entire range of contending teams, from big stack spenders to frugal organizations who find extra value in his modest salary.

The case for trading Iglesias starts here: Raisel Iglesias is the easiest path to a compelling starting pitcher. While bullpens overall are important, individual relievers throw about 70 innings a year. Iglesias pitches 12-13 innings a month, several of those aren’t high leverage because of closer rules. Quality starters are much more important. Iglesias is the one asset that guarantees the Reds a huge return.

The Reds have a long list of pitchers who could assume the closer role with little to no drop off. When the Reds were contemplating trading Aroldis Chapman, Iglesias wasn’t on anyone’s list as the Reds next ninth-inning guys. Effective closers come from surprising places. Let’s not hold on to Iglesias too long like the Reds did with Chapman. 

Always be trading successful closers to teams that overvalue them.

6. Finish the Matt Harvey project

Harvey is a free agent at the end of the season. The Reds traded for him to see if they could turn him around at the deadline. So far, it’s worked better than anyone imagined. If Harvey keeps pitching well, he’ll sign a longish deal as a free agent for more money than the Reds should pay. Matt Harvey isn’t going to agree to a cheap extension with the Reds to pitch in GABP. But every successful start he makes in the next two weeks adds to what the Reds can ask. Simon for Suarez, Latos for DeSclafani, Straily for Castillo.

7. Get something for Billy Hamilton

Billy Hamilton is what he is as a player. Depending on how the rest of 2018 goes, there’s even a reasonable case for non-tendering Hamilton next year. He earns $4.6 million in 2018. His salary could increase to nearly eight digits in his last year of arbitration before becoming a free agent. 

If the Reds could trade Hamilton for a cheaper, better-hitting version of himself, even at the expense of a little defense, they would be doing well. Or they could sign a decent free agent CF in the offseason for a year or two, to bridge the gap to Taylor Trammell. Hamilton (or Adam Duvall) could be a second piece, say along with a reliever or Scooter Gennett, to snag one of those starters. Making a deal for a satisfactory starting pitcher is way more important than holding onto a last few fun memories of Billy Hamilton in a Reds uniform. 

Scott Schebler could play center for the rest of this season, if necessary.

That’s the right plan for the next two weeks as I see it. 

The Reds rebuilding suffered massively from a halting, indecisive start. They have the opportunity now to see it fully through to conclusion. The finish line is not a place to be distracted by shiny objects. The Reds front office must stay focused on its vision of the future and resolutely march toward it.

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 160 Comments

  1. This. this and THIS. Excellent piece, right on the money!

  2. Any guess about the returns especially for Scooter, MATT or Iggy?

  3. excellent article. My only fear is that it will be ignored by the folks that matter…

  4. It’ll be painful to see some of these players traded, but clearly it is the thing to do. The Reds seem to be “almost there.”

  5. Agree with it all, but you said it, will Castellini take his fandom out of it?

  6. I’ve seen no indication that BC & WJ have changed their spots or relinquished any control of all baseball ops decisions. I anticipate that the only trade deadline action will involve Harvey. That’s a sad statement regarding the organization of the Reds baseball ops, but some organizations just don’t learn from past history or simply ignore past history.

    • I could see trades of Iggy, Scooter, Hernandez and Billy at the trade deadline in addition to Harvey.

      I do not want to trade Hughes. He is like a player coach and that is valuable with this young staff. He also has a lot of flexibility, can go multi inning or close if need be. That is great experience to the new young guns who will be up, coming and learning in the pen on the job post trades; Sal, Cody, Finny and all the other starters turned relievers.

      Even with those 4 traded, there are adequate pieces to play out the year and I see that the same record is achievable vs keeping all 5 of these guys:

      Robert Stevenson takes one of the spots. Garrett moves to closer, with Peralta (3 K’s last night) getting back on track to take the LH spot. Who knows when Finnegan will be in the pen, I would have assumed that we would have seen him by now, or Cody Reed.

      Dilson fills in at 2nd and Dixon is back up to fill the open spot. Hergert for Hernandez

      Ervin is back up for the open outfield position and back up CF.

      Past all of the great trinkets we could be getting, I want to see these 5 perform for the 2nd half of this season, and see how the team fares with the new blood.

      Even from this group, some sorting will have to take place in 2019 for Senzel, and if healthy, Homer Bailey. Also, we do not know how many trinkets we get back will be ML ready for 2019

      But the season of sorting is an old story on these pages.

      Cheers to our new future. Go Reds. Keep playing contending ball regardless of who they sort out now via trade

      • Hughes has done a great job so far. But he is the same guy that the Brewers and Pirates released the last two seasons. He’s hardly the only veteran guy out there. But he’s a peak value right now and he’ll never keep up these numbers. Let some other team own the regression.

        • That is exactly right. Peak value for a non-essentaial veteran indicates trade.
          Hughes is a good guy, but he has trade value.

        • Hughes pitches a lot and keeps the ball down. Hes cheap and effective. Hes worth keeping if the Reds are targeting 2019. The Reds have not had success developing their own minor League relief pitchers.

          Virtually all of the Reds good bullpen pieces were FA veterans or starters that got sent down.

          I

      • Red Sox fan here. Just throwing a trade out there to see what you guys think
        Jack Bradley and Brian Johnson for Billy Hamilton and Hughes or Hernandez. Obviously
        I would like Iggy, but not sure Sox have enough to get him.
        Bradley has two more years of control compared to Hamilton’s one and the power
        potential is greater (26HR in 2016 and 17HR in 2017)and has similar defense. Hamilton becomes the Sox 4th. outfielder with great base stealing threat and defense. I think both need a change of scenery.
        As far as Brian Johnson. Former first round pick by the Sox who has a career 2.69 ERA as a starter in the minors. Sox have used him as a spot starter/reliever and not sure that’s the best use for him. Needs an opportunity to start and its not going to happen with the Sox.
        Not a block buster trade, but one that I think would help both teams now and the total salaries match up as well.
        What do you think?

    • Ditto

  7. Takes two to tango as they say…

    What do you think would be a reasonable return for any or all of above?

    My concern is that teams will not offer the “solid starting pitcher” for what we have to offer (Scooter, Rasiel, Harvey, RPs, and post hype sleepers like Reed or Stephenson).

    While I agree with your ideas in principle, they crux of the issue is what we can get in practice.

    No doubt this is where DW/Krall will have to show their worth. I have seen such disparate projections for what we could get with our “tradable” assets (not Senzel, Hunter, Trammel) that I really do not know what to expect.

    Based on the market recently, though, I would not expect much unless we dipped into those “untouchable” guys listed above, and that is a whole different deal than what was contemplated by this article.

    • I would not trade Trammel. His upside potential is pretty big. I don’t think even his impressive performance so far in High A begins to show what he can do.

    • Agreed. Excellent article, but if it doesn’t happen there could be several reasons why and in most cases we won’t know the details so the default will be to blame the FO and Ownership.

    • Getting any true return for anyone listed above other than iggy is a pipe dream no one is going to give us jack for scooter I agree that trading him makes the most sense but I don’t think we get even a top one hundred guy for him.

  8. I fear Uncle Bob will once again stick his big un educated ( in baseball terms ) nose in the picture and put his personal affinity for people before your absolutely logical conclusions and make all decisions against baseball wisdom. Too bad.
    Hope not.

    • There are money considerations in terms of both who is traded and who is received, depending on if the Reds get a player they really might want (starting pitching). My uneducated opinion is that they can get some great prospects if they trade in July, but might get starting material if they trade in the winter months. No team in contention wants to part with one valuable player or pitcher to acquire something else they need.

  9. If your premise is that the Reds should try obtain 1 or 2 good starting pitchers to compete in 2019, I don’t understand why you think that trading Iglasias and/or Gennett is going to get it done. I agree that Iglasias (and to a lesser extent Gennett) could net you a haul, but its more likely a haul of very good prospects who could help in 2020 or 2021. Most teams with a need for Gennett or Iglasias aren’t going to be willing to trade a ML proven starting pitcher who you can count on for 2019. The Indians need Iglasias and could definitely use Scooter. But I’m not sure that they’d put both Mejia and Bieber in a package given that Bieber is currently in their rotation. They might trade an upper minor league pitching prospect, but there’s no guarantee that such pitcher will come to the majors in 2019 and perform. It seems more likely that for the Reds to get the starting pitcher they need, they will need to make a Latos like deal in which they trade prospects, not major leaguers.

    • You might be right, at least partly, about the need to include prospects, particularly with Gennett. I think you might be underestimating the value of Iglesias to certain teams. It’s not easy, for sure. You have to find just the right team who can spare a starter. Cleveland is a good place to start.

  10. Thought provoking and spot- on.
    The biggest issue is we aren’t privy to the actual market for players who didn’t get traded. What was being offered for Billy Hamilton last season? The return for Iglesias needs to be irrationally high. Gennett should net a cornerstone player for the near future or don’t trade him. But, it makes zero sense to extend him with tens of millions dollars now for 2020/21/22 when he’s cost controlled next year and going to be over 30 with Nick Senzel ready. Agree, only squishy bromides make that happen. Spend those tens of millions on pitching.

    I would keep Jared Hughes. He’s a proven ground ball pitcher and throws lots of innings and is good and cheap. You need those rubber arm Scott Sullivans.

    I would trade Matt Harvey but there’s nothing to say the Reds couldn’t compete for him on the open market . He’s not getting 5 years and 100 million and last FA season might make Boras think twice about waiting till February to get his deal. If Harvey pitches well for a contender in August. September, the Reds might be able to target him or another second tier FA early as everyone else focuses on the headliners… Kershaw/ Harper/ Machado etc

  11. Everyone is so ready to give up on Romano as a starter. Whatever happened with “he’s just 24 years old”? We apply that logic to Peraza when he’s struggling but don’t give a guy like Romano who hasn’t even had a full season of MLB experience under his belt the same benefit.

    Also, Romano and Castillo’s years have been pretty similar, but Romano is the weak link in the rotation for some reason…

    Im not against sending Romano down to AAA to try and get him to improve as a STARTER but I’m not willing to give up on him and send him to the bullpen where he isn’t needed.

    • Romano needs a third pitch to be an effective starter. What I said here is the Reds should send him wherever he could best work on that. I didn’t say to give up on him. Romano, however, has pitched nowhere nearly as well as Castillo, even this year. And you can’t just forget what Castillo did last season. For example, Romano’s K% rate is fifth from last in MLB for qualified starters. His walk rate is in the top third.

      • Romano does need a third pitch, and I’ve been dubious about his potential as a good starter, but I’ve also noticed that when he keeps the ball down, as he has in his last few starts, he’s substantially more effective. Reason for hope.

    • That’s a fair question. He’s hit his ceiling this year as a SP. Can he reinvent himself this off season and add something to his repertoire of 2 seam fastball/ slider. Reading previous comments from Tucker Barnhart, he just throws lots and lots of variations of fastball grips and mixes in the slider. That mix plateaued.
      He either needs a curve or change up as a third pitch so his slider and 2 seamer can be better..

    • Peraza has shown a lot more growth this year

    • It’s hard to imagine Romano surviving in an MLB rotation with only two viable pitches. If he is a two-pitch guy going forward, he is absolutely a bullpen guy.

      Romano is not a quality MLB starter right now, but that doesn’t mean I think they should give up on him as a starter. Still, the Reds have to figure out whether they have better in-house options than him. They have two or three guys that could use a look right now. Sending Romano to the minors to work on the changeup wouldn’t be the worst thing.

  12. The priority should be starting pitching, of course.

    I have additional thoughts that Sal Romano is not that far away from being a very good starter. He just needs to add another pitch (change up? maybe Blandino can teach him the knuckle ball!) and be more consistent. There are stretches in many games where he has been impossible for the oppo to square up on. His fast ball and slider have wicked sink. It is not that easy a walk from AAA to being a good ML starter. He is getting better.

    I frankly have a lot less optimism for Luis Castillo, as he has regressed. Great arm (allegedly) but he consistently makes control mistakes in the zone. He is starting to remind me of Cody Reed. Maybe he steps up in the last two months. What if he doesn’t?

    I would also trade Desclafani, before he gets hurt again. This man is injury prone.

    Matt Harvey: What WOULD it take to keep him? What is he really worth? If he is back in the form he was prior to his injuries, is he part of the answer? What is the best allocation of the Reds financial resources? Signing a free agent, or trying to sign Harvey? My superficial impression is that he would like to stay in Cincy. Before someone says “Scott Boras”, remember that Senzel’s agent is…..Scott Boras.

    And how do we get Bob Stephenson up here to start some games this year? He deserves another look in Cincy.

  13. Steve,

    While in general I think your writing is excellent, you are knee-jerking badly in regards to Luis Castillo. In your “Brightening Horizions” piece of March 29, you wrote that Castillo would emerge an ace by July 1. Now, the thinking is “it’s clear he can’t be counted on.”

    Castillo won’t turn 26 until December and as of today, has less than 200 IP in the major leagues.

    ATL and PHI stayed the course with guys like Teheran, Foltynewicz, Pivetta, etc. and they are playing their part in those teams contending now.

    ATL and PHI are good examples of teams not saying “we HAVE to contend this year.” Arrieta was acknowledged as an earlier-than-expected FA signing, because he was available.

    Other than fan (and blog) impatience, the Reds don’t have to force the issue for next season…and should not.

    Good things are coming starting in 2020 (Homer’s $ off the books, full season of Senzel, the next wave of high-end prospects). If team surprises, great. But, don’t force things.

    • You misunderstand what I said today about Castillo. I said plainly he “still might become an ace” – does that sound like I’ve given up on him? I said his step backward so far this year is cautionary data that we shouldn’t pencil Castillo in (“not count on him”) as an ace. New 2018 data means new estimations. In what sense am I not advocating “staying the course” or “forcing the issue” with him?

  14. Also, I think we all agree that the Reds need starting pitching help, but they are going to have to give up something significant to get it. I don’t think Iglesias lands what you’re looking for. I think the Reds will have to decide if they are willing to trade one or multiple top prospects (Senzel, Trammell, Greene).

    Remember the Latos deal? The Reds gave up multiple top 100 prospects plus more to land him.

    • I agree with that. One of those Latos-type deals might be necessary. But are you so sure that Iglesias can’t get Bieber or Whitley?

      • Not sure. Its worth a try, though. We are going to have to give up value to get value, just depends if Iglesius is enough. I would hate to see either Greene, Senzel, or Trammell get traded. I feel like its only a matter of time before at least one of them is unloaded, though.

        None the less, really nice article, Steve. Hopefully the Reds can follow through on recent success.

        • None of Greene, Senzel or Trammell should even be in trade conversations now.

          We need to focus on surplus. We have seen the Reds trade machine not have the ability to speak about more than one deal at a time. Now we are talking about 5-6 trades that need to happen.

          Plus, I would never trade any of those 3

          • Then who exactly are you going to trade in order to get the quality pitcher that the Reds are looking for?

            Again, you have to give up value to get value. Teams (especially rebuilding teams) are going to want young, good prospects in order to part with quality players of their own. I can assure you that if the Reds want a good starting pitcher from another team then the asking price is going to most likely start with either Greene, Senzel, or Trammell.

            It sucks to trade away good prospects, but thats what usually happens when teams need a piece added from the outside.

    • How ironic if they use Trammell’s recent success and peak value to trade him but end up keeping Scooter. I am fine with trading Trammell but I just hope they don’t go all in on Billy

      • Not me,

        I’ll keep Trammell

        thanks

        • So you would keep Trammell even if a good starting pitcher who has shown major league success is offered up for him?

          • Yep

            We have plenty of trinkets to trade. Work those you have first…

            Why sell Trammell so low?

            We had to trade an outfielder when we traded Hamilton and he had MVP numbers the next year

          • A good MLB starter would not be offered for Trammell, in all probability.

  15. I agree 100% with all 7 points. But I can see the Reds front office being a little over-confident about the lineup over the last 2 months. I see very little activity this trade deadline for the Reds. I don’t see a Scooter trade, but an extension coming. I don’t see the Reds trading Iglesias. They should be on the phone daily with the Astros and Braves about Iglesias. I don’t see them trading either of Hughes or Hernandez, but trading one is very remotely possible. I don’t see BHam or Duvall getting traded either with both having an uptick in their hitting. And worst of all, I think it is at best a 50-50 chance of Harvey getting traded by the July 31 trade deadline.
    I firmly believe the Reds front office has fully bought into the Reds play the last 2 months and that they believe the team is a contender for 2019 as currently constructed. That is going to be a huge mistake. A very tough August schedule is awaiting just around the corner and could cause a big letdown in this front office plan. Standing pat is the Reds Way. Unfortunately, it is what they will do at this deadline. They will wait to do any heavy lifting until this winter. Too many things on their plate this winter, that they should take full advantage of this trade deadline re-work the roster and build momentum in August and September for 2019.
    They also have a manager to hire this winter. Can the Reds front office walk and chew gum at the same time? The Reds front office debacle of the Cozart non-trade and Bruce trade at the 2016 deadline are still fresh in the memory bank.

    • It’s important to distinguish between the owner and the President/GM when you talk about “front office.” The owner could easily be influenced by the recent success. I would hope the people in the President/GM offices are influenced only by individual player performances. Where those have been better than expected (Peraza) then you adjust plans accordingly. But yeah, I’m concerned about them standing pat. That’s why I wrote the post.

      • In some cases the two may be distinguishable. In Cincy, it seems like Castellini is the dictator. His way or the highway.

      • Yes, we should distinguish between the owner and President/GM. They may be of different minds. But only one mind counts and it’s clear that it’s Castellini. If he wants a direction to be taken, nobody in the FO is going to change his mind. Let’s hope he concurs with some of these suggestions.

  16. Agree with everything, though the trade market probably won’t be active enough for the Reds to make all of those moves. And frankly the Reds front office isn’t good enough to make them all either. Of all of those moves, Gennett and Harvey are the ones that need to be traded. I’m assuming the guys saying sign Scooter to a long-term deal are the same ones that wanted to sign Cozart last year. Paying premium money to a 30 year middle infielder is not smart business. Especially when it is the deepest position in the system.

    Reds should use the savings from not signing Scooter to sign a free agent pitcher. No need to unload top prospects. Though adding Shed or Siri to a deal to sweeten the return wouldn’t be the worst idea. They have 3 guys (Stephenson, Mella, Guitierrez) who might be able to help at the back end in the next few years. Maybe Santillan gets here in 2021. Overpay someone for a 2-3 year deal to bridge the gap.

  17. Good article, Steve. I like the suggestions to move forward. Personally, I think the Reds can improve now and for the long run by keeping Scooter (a fan/ownership favorite) and trading from other places of depth.

    Seems that a lot of times people only look at the top prospects lists for the Reds’ assets, but they also have several other young, controllable, former top-100 players they could offer for SP. here’s the idea:

    1. Combine Senzel with 2-3 of Stephenson, Herrera, Romano, Reed, or younger top prospects and trade for a young, top of the rotation SP like Snell from TB. Maybe I’m wrong, but if I’m TB I have to at least think about what 5-6 controllable years for 3-4 of these guys could give me.

    2. Sign scooter to an extension for 3-4 years around $12 million per. We would still have Blandino to back up the infield, hopefully with Shed Long ready somewhat down the road if things don’t work out.

    3. Trade Iglesias to backfill the prospects you gave up for the young SP. I would expect to get something like 2 near-ML ready top-100 guys, one of which should be a SP (Iggy to the Indians for Bieber and Mejia, anyone?)

    This effectively just shifts your prospect strength from 2B or 3B to SP, admittedly needing to fill the closer role (Garrett? Lorenzen?)

    • I tend to think this is a more realistic scenario. Either way it’s going to require some cajones to make some shrewd deals.

    • I’m on board with your idea to keep Scooter, and trade your 2B depth for a Snell-type pitcher

  18. So many options, so many decisions to be made, a little bit of this, a little bit of that…

  19. Losing Gennet would hurt me, personally, as a fan, worse than losing Frazier, Chapman, Cozart combined. Losing Bruce, Leake, and Cueto hurt a lot, but was a necessary evil. As is trading Scooter.

    This offense is pretty good right now. But if you’re not moving forward, you’re probably moving backwards. Could we make a move for Realmuto at the expense of Barnhart? Wouldn’t hurt my feelings.

  20. The Reds WS winners had plenty of offense, solid but not spectacular starting pitching, and terrific bullpens. The current team has finally found some semblance of a consistent bullpen which has covered some of the inconsistent sp. Garret is not an automatic replacement for Iglesias as a closer. The thought scares me. Hughes has been terrific, and his ground ball % plays great in GABP. Hernandez is replaceable and might give something back in return but probably not anything better than what he already is. I agree with most of your takes, but going back to a relief corps that can’t be trusted is a recipe for misery.

  21. Schebler to the DL. Now is the time to try Scooter in the outfield.

    • I don’t think Scooter’s shoulder can handle the outfield right now. It’s probably fair to wonder whether he could handle it in the longer term also.

    • No, on Scooter in the OF…his arm needs rehab before trying him there.
      The default will be the other 3 OF’ers,, maybe Dilson will get some work there.

  22. They need to give Lorenzen & BobSteve full run in the rotation for the 2nd half! Sometimes organizations think they need to go outside for answers when some or most of the solutions could be found internally! I’d like for anyone to show me how Romano has been better then BobSteve at any level? Stephenson had a 3.30 era in the 2nd half last year. They can’t get Romano to pull off a 3.30 for 3 starts…unless KC is involved.

    Senzel has vertigo issues. Dilson has missed more time then he’s played at Lville. They’re going to come in and match Scooter’s offense? Its unlikely and it won’t happen anyway. Go read up on when Tony Perez got dealt from the BRM. They were never the same. Scooter is the glue of this team imo.

    They really need Iglesias too, but if they can package him together with Harvey, Billy, Dilson, etc. to get a valuable starter then get it done. They need about 3 good arms to make some noise next year!

    • Uh, you’re comparing Dawgie Perez to Scooter? You really believe that Scooter’s impact in less than 2 full seasons is comparable to 12+ seasons of Atanacio Perez?

      Is Scooter like Gorilla or Super?

      • The relevant comparison is not the respective bodies of work. Scooter this year and, probably last, certainly has impact on the team comparable to Perez’s, partly, of course, because Tony played on a team with HOF-caliber players all over the diamond, and Scooter plays in a lineup that is just beginning to develop its identity.

    • How many chances do you want to give BobSteve, yet you guys(some of you) are willing to write Castillo off after a step back this year?

      You can’t trade the entire bullpen H & H and Iggy! Trade Scooter if you get a nice return, if not keep him until the off season or deadline next year. Trade either H or H(one or the other, not both) if you get something worthwhile back. Trade Harvey for a potential player. He is not going to resign with the Reds.

      Lorenzen has had health problems-you can’t count on him top be a starter, at least now anyway.

      • Who has written off Castillo? He could be an ace or he could be exactly what his performance this year has shown. I think most will agree that Castillo, Stephenson, and Mahle all have potential and need to pitch in order to see if they will reach that potential. However you can’t count on any of them being the ace that is needed to compete in the playoffs at this point in time.

        • Bill: Read some of the comments above. . .One even compared him to Cody Reed? ? ?

  23. the question for management is do we want to be kind of competitive in 2019 or really competitive in 2020.

    I favor the latter. the most duplicity we have in our system is at 2nd base and outfield so to me, trading scooter, winker and or schebler for some top end pitching prospects makes the most sense. yes, we take a couple of steps back offensively for this year and next year but by 2020 Senzel, Trammel, Friedl should be ready to fill the void.

  24. Rarely can I agree with you this extensively, but in this case 6 3/4 out of 7. Should the Reds be able to pry Robles from from the Nats in an Iglesias-based deal it would transform this offense. Other than that Iglesias to Atlanta for a couple of their better arms would be choice. Did you send this memo to BC? WJ? DW? if not please do!

    • Iggy to Clv. Francisco Mejia to Nats. Victor Robles patrols CF at the GABP.

  25. I don’t feel as strongly about moving Scooter at the deadline. If the return is there, take it but don’t sell short just to move him. Top price or hold at the deadline. In the off season, he needs to be extended or traded. With more potential suitors then, his value should not be that much less in trade than at the deadline.

    An extension for Scooter does not have to be a black hole unless the Reds make an error on term or money. Make it 4 years counting 2019 with an option year. This would make him 32 at the end of the fully guaranteed portion (after 2022 season). It would give the Reds the chance to see for sure that Senzel, or Herrera or Shed long could play 2B at an acceptable level.

    In the meantime the term of the contract gives him continuing market value over its entire life. He could be moved at whatever point the performance of the younger guys truly displace him. This is the difference between sorting players to get to a contending team and timely swapping out of pieces on a team which is in a contending mode.

  26. Chase Utley

    28.5 years old = .976 ops
    29.5 = .915 ops
    30.5 = .905 ops
    31.5 = .832 ops
    34.5 = .823 ops

    Scooter could be in that ballpark? Why not? Isn’t the object to put together as much talent as possible? 4 HRs in a game! Game tying HR in the 9th inning of an AS game! Are you not entertained? Sports is entertainment in the end and he’s entertaining. Not to mention he’s a very good hitter! Pay the man and move other pieces around to get better! Jose Altuve would bring a great starting pitcher in a trade, but most teams look at a 5’9 guy and don’t see a difference maker. Scooter isn’t bringing Snell or DeGrom. If he can then I will grudgingly change sides!

    • The money is as important as the term with Scooter. I’m betting every performance like last night is eroding just a bit his inclination to take much of a home town discount. Assuming Scooter is extended for 4 years solid plus a (team) option, the point at which the Reds are probably going to want to move him is at the end of the 3rd year at the latest. He needs to be movable then.

    • Wonder how many people who say Reds should give Gennett an extension and use the 4-homer game as part of the reason (I’m not saying you did, I’ve seen that elsewhere) are the same people who think the Reds gave Homer Bailey his extension because of his no-hitter and thought that was dumb?

      • Personally I’m looking at Scooter from a marketing aspect on whether he will actually be moved. That seems to be more important to big Bob then actually winning a WS. The local boy/underdog story makes good, etc, etc. Billy is in the same situation. Bob C. has already said as much. Sometimes it makes sense on the field and sometimes it clashes. I just think Scooter is worth $55 for 4 or whatever it would take. Homer got $100 with 1 sub 3.50 era. That was insane imo!

        • “Marketing aspect?” What are they marketing? They still can’t put fans in the seats at the GABP.

        • I don’t go to GABP to see Scooter Gennett. The only individual I have gone to see in the last 5 years is Votto.

  27. The problem with waiting to make trades is injury or regression. I’m not saying trade just to trade but if you get value back trade. I believe I seen where the Nationals offered Robles to the Fish for Realmuto, wonder if the Reds could pry him away for Iggy & Scooter.

  28. Trading Harvey and Gennett are the most obvious. If Gennett is not traded, then Senzel and Herrera should be traded. It is very inefficient for an organization like the Reds to have talent underutilized. Deciding that the status quo is the best would be an unwise decision.

    As Steve noted, keeping players based on likability and popularity is not a good plan. Fans will worry if Gennett is traded and then will love Senzel and forget Gennett ever played for the Reds.

    The Reds are at the point where smart decisions are needed, making decisions similar to a high school popularity poll is not the way to go

    • I’m beginning to think Dilson Herrera was called up to be a preview for trading instead of Gennett. And by preview, we mean looking through a keyhole rather than really seeing the whole picture. So they can get less of a valuable return and just run with the guys that people like a lot. Oi.

  29. Your comment about success and chemistry is ignorant. I’m not sure if you ever played sports or not, but chemistry is an absolutely essential aspect. It doesn’t come just as a result of success. There are plenty of talented teams who failed because of a lack of chemistry.

    Regarding the moves mentioned, Scooter should absolutely not be moved. The return will not be worth the sell….Also, I don’t see a point in trading Hamilton. His value is just too low to be worth selling. I do agree with the need for a top end ace. Those are hard to find though, so we’ll see what happens.

    • I hear you, but If we don’t trade Billy, what do we get? Are we going to pay $7-9m next year in arb? God I hope not. If we don’t, then we are wasting value in order to win a few more games in a lost season. If he gets more than a bag of balls, trade him (and thank him for his service).

    • Was the return for Gennett made public? Its hard to make a judgement on if the return is worth it if we don’t know what is being offered. If the return is not good, don’t trade him. If the return is good trade him. However I think we have seen that Castellini wants to extend him, so he is not going anywhere.

      Why trade Hamilton? Because paying $6 million for a bench piece is not a good strategy for a small market team. Especially one that is paying $21 million for a pitcher in AAA

      • He isn’t a bench piece, though: He’s the starting centerfielder, and one of the very best defensive centerfielders in the game, at that.

  30. Great analysis. However, I would disagree about trading Hernandez, Hughes and Iglasias. Have we all forgotten the horrible bullpen that gave up lead after lead after lead in 2015-2017? Hernandez and Hughes are both having excellent years and they may continue to have excellent years. Why assume that they will not continue to do well? And who would we replace them with? The relief pitchers at AAA aren’t doing much. If we got a great haul, I would trade Iglasias. My 2 cents worth…

    • I agree,why build a bullpen just to trade em.there is a definition for that haha

  31. We seem to always have a wait and lets see with our players.From Frazier to Chapman to even BP we just keep hanging on for one more roll of the dice and maybe just maybe nope snake eyes we lose and we lose for years while trying to recover.If we did 3 or 4 of the 7 then we come out really well.The Iggy trade and the Scooter trade are really no brainers to me.We don’t need a closer and they are always over valued by somebody and Scooter isn’t about him its about the money that is freed up to go and get a starter which will cost extra to come to GABP.Steve said as much and he is exactly right.Absolutely is a great article and I agree 100% on everything.

  32. I definitely get what Steve is saying I just cant help but to remember Tony perez,i said when they traded him after 76,they wouldn’t win again and they didnt.now I’m saying scooter is doggie but he has been mr clutch this year and last year,he just keeps coming up with big hits,just hate to lose that bat.i used to be in trade em boat but now I’m baling

  33. Just read C Trent tweet on updated BA rankings and Reds have 4 top 50 at 4/20/31/46 in Senzel and Trammell and Greene and India.

    Senzel and Trammell are untouchables. This is Barry Larkin and Eric Davis part 2. Off limits

    • John Sickels posted his mid-season Top 50 a couple days ago, even better at the top: Senzel #4, Trammell #17 (and surging), Greene #21. Not sure if he’s considered India yet.

      • The Reds are surging . Trammel and Senzel seem like position anchors for a decade and sooner rather than later.

        The reds can go young at position play and bullpen x for votto and then target SP and extensions of core players.

    • I’d like to think Senzel, Trammell and Greene are untouchable. That said, the NY Mets were very enamored with India leading up to the draft. Most draft analysts were mocking India to the Mets with the 6th pick. But the Reds intervened and took him at #5.
      If the Reds could work out a deal this winter with the Mets for Syndergaard or deGrom, it could center around India. But it would have to be heavy on other top-12 Reds prospects like Santilan, TStephenson, Downs, Siri, Long, VGutierrez, Fairchild and Mella. India plus 3 or 4 of these others might land a Syndergaard. A package of prospects from #4 through #12. What would interest the Mets? Now that would be a Latos-style trade with jet fuel. But it would have to wait until winter when India could be traded after the world series.
      I’d like to see the Reds get a LHP starter too. Really like the LA Angels LHP Andrew Heaney. Nice sinker and a heck of a curveball. He could be obtained this trade deadline. Heaney, like Syndergaard, has 3+ years of team control left. But the Angels are said to need MLB ready pitchers/players in return, or very near ready. Angels lost 8 starting pitchers to injury this year and some won’t even be back next year. They need a couple of young starters, a 2B and an OF. Reds seem to have depth at just those spots. RStephenson, Romano, and Herrera could make it a reality. Tis package would alleviate any concerns with the Reds with no options left on Stephenson and Herrera. They easily would stay on LA’s 25 man roster, but maybe not Cincinnati’s. You would have both starters for 2019, 2020, and 2021. About the time Greene will be ready.
      Now you’d be looking at a 2019 rotation of Syndergaard, DeSclafani, Heaney, Mahle, and Castillo. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Reds will do much of anything at the deadline again this year.

      • I like your thoughts on that Mets trade. I find it hard to believe that if the Angels need pitching, that they would get rid of Heaney. I’d much rather pursue Lefty Blake Snell. (under control thru 2022)

  34. The Reds have potential trade chips in:

    Harvey – pitching well and free agent at end of season

    Scooter – will start getting expensive. at peak value now. free agent after 2019. lot of prospect depth at his position, including teams top prospect

    Iglesias – many contending teams will be looking for relief pitching, some may pay a high price for it. Talent and contract make him attractive to other teams

    Hughes & Hernandez – older relief pitchers who are unlikely to continue their current level of success

    Prospect depth – big names like Senzel, Greene, Trammel and India. Also a lot of depth with Santilian, Shed Long, Siri, etc.

    Some of these pieces should be used to upgrade the starting rotation and in center field

    The Rockies, Brewers, Dodgers, Nationals and Red Sox are near the bottom of the league in WAR from their second-baseman and may be interested in Scooter.
    The Indians, Rockies, Cardinals, Dodgers and Nationals are in the bottom 10 for bullpen WAR and may have interest in Iglesias, Hughes and/or Hernandez
    Near MLB ready, high impact prospects should be the target such as Robles from the Nationals, McKenzie or Bieber from Cleveland or Verdugo from the Dodgers. Tucker or Whitley from the Astros would be great as well if they decide to upgrade their bullpen

    The Reds could also talk to rebuilding teams looking to strengthen their farm system. Fulmer from the Tigers, Archer or Snell from the Rays, DeGrom, Syndegard or Wheeler from Mets, Bundy or Gausman from the Orioles could all be good options. All have shown some level of success at the MLB level and have multiple years of team control remaining.

  35. I’m with Steve on this one … Don’t over-estimate the future value of a current trade possibility and waste today’s deal. Deal from your surplus and secure the parts we need in 2019 and beyond. We are NOT printing any playoff tickets for GABP this year.

    • Well said and exactly right.Lets not get caught up with a team that is10 games under at the break.We can discuss the good and the bad and the ugly of trades when we have nothing else to do.

  36. Completely disagree on Hughes and Hernandez. We finally have a good bullpen and you want to trade two key pieces. Nope. It’s always let’s trade this guy or that guy. We’re not that far away. Let’s add solid pieces, not take away.

    • If this was a playoff team, I would hold H&H. Since they are not, would it make sense to sell high on both now; because veteran relievers are in demand by contenders at the deadline?

  37. There’s no question the Reds have a plethora of players they could trade in the next couple weeks. But I’m afraid possible trading partners will underwhelm the Reds with their offers, and that combined with the Red’s good showing ending the 1st. half of the season will result in not a whole lot getting done. Whatever happens, the acquisition of one or two good starting pitchers, to go along with DeSclafani, Castillo and Mahle, is the key to the Reds moving forward.

  38. I would think all three principles would be obvious but not to this front office. Sell high? Of course. Trade out depth for weaknesses both ways? Sure! Keep guys where they fit? NOPE!

    See the infield confusion, Schebler as a poor right fielder/decent CF, and our bullpen full of relievers turned starters turned relievers (Chapman is gone, but Iglesias, Lorenzen, Finnegan, and natural starter Garrett are all still in relief at various levels). I just hope we don’t trade Harvey for a 100 MPH closer at AA whom we intend to “stretch out over a few years in the minors” so he can replace Hughes and Hernandez in the 7th and 8th in 2020. This is the biggest trade deadline in Cincinnati in half a decade!

  39. According to ESPN.com GM Krall told Scooter he was not going to be traded at the deadline. For whatever that is worth.

  40. Who is this player?
    322/.384/.543/.928 23 HRs 93 RBI

    If your answer is a lefty 2nd baseman who found his stroke later in his career, you’re right.
    But the player is Daniel Murphy, not Scooter Gennett.
    And those numbers are from last year, when Murphy was 32.
    I would hate to do what the Mets did–let go of a star just as he’s coming into his own.
    I vote to keep Scooter.
    BIrd in the hand, gift horse, struck gold–choose your metaphor. But keep Scooter.

  41. Other than Harvey, I don’t see a compelling need to make any of the transactions over the next two weeks. The Reds could make similar and perhaps better conceived deals in the off-season as to Hamilton, Gennett and Iglesias, although I could see moving Iglesias now if some team offers the moon. But I don’t see anybody offering the moon for Iglesias, because other relievers are available.

    Keep the Brothers H. They have good contracts, and they wouldn’t bring elite or even B-level prospects in a trade. If you have a player with a good contract, then keep the player with the good contract. The Reds aren’t like the Marlins, who needed to restock their farm system at all levels.

    • All of this makes perfect sense, but I would think you might get more for Billy from a playoff team this year. It’s going to be hard to unload him the more his salary increases.

  42. And please no Riggleman

  43. Caleb Cotham doesn’t really belong in your “bullpen blowouts” section. He was in the Chapman package, not a signing

  44. Of the current Reds roster 5 players were gotten by trades,all others were draft picks, free agent pickups,waiver wire etc.Disco Castillo,Peraza,Schebler and Suarez.Why do we need to make trades of our current core for prospects?Weve got plenty of prospects now.If you want better pitching go sign a F.A pitcher in the winter,there’ll be plenty available and not give up anyone.The returns that you would get for Scooter,Iggy,Harvey,etc will never equal the value that they are producing.The trade Harvey because were supposed to cry is nonsense.Whoever we will get for him will be far less than his value if we keep and sign him.The guy is back and for real.The return will be nothing more than a AAAA player at best.Boras cant ask for the moon for him either,as every team passed on bringing him in earlier this yr.
    I see this team playing quality ball right now and seem to be better or equal to the rest of the division except for Chicago.
    A pitcher or 2, that we need to sign,would put us in a decent position to being at or near them too.
    The one guy I would definitely trade is Bham.Hes going to want to be grossly overpaid in arb.and his defense makes him an overvalued .200 hitter.Very replaceable.His value right now is peaking.He is less than a .200 hitter with RISP.He wont be missed at all.

    • How can you say the return for any of them will never equal their value? Schebler and Peraza are more valuable than Frazier, Suarez is more valuable than Simon, Disco is more valuable than Latos. Those were all trades where the value returned exceeds what the player traded is providing. If the guy gotten for Harvey never makes the majors it is still better than the return for him leaving in free agency. I don’t understand the logic that trading Harvey means the team can’t sign him later if they want him. Look at the Yankees trade of Chapman; trading two months of Chapman got the top SS prospect in baseball and then they resigned him in the off season.

      • I agree with you on Harvey. He’s too big of a question mark at this point and he’s not going to take a short deal with his injury track record. Why not deal him for the best prospects you can get and then see how he looks down the stretch and in the playoffs. He’d almost have to falter for the Reds to afford him. He seems pretty healthy but make him put up another 80 innings or something and prove it. Of course they can tell him that we’ve been happy to have you and would love the chance to talk about signing in the offseason. They could offer 3 yrs/30 mil now, but he wouldn’t take it?
        Personally I think big Bob will sign Scooter and keep Billy at 5 mil or whatever. They’re still paying Homer next year + Votto so thats about all they’ll spend.

      • I didnt say anything about the return we have gotten before now.I am talking about the current players that are being rumored to be traded now.Scooter,Iggy,Harvey etc.
        In regards to Harvey why wait for him to get other offers after the season.Why not sign him?He has been our best pitcher by far.Dont you think he looks far more professional than any of the others on the hill now?

        • His agent is Boras. He is going to the highest bidder. Once again how do you know what the return for any of them is? If the Reds got a young pitcher who could start for the next six years that could be way more valuable than paying market value for Harvey or Gennett. No one is saying trade everyone away for a 30 year old in AA. Harvey must be traded. Gennett won’t be, but the Reds should explore it. Iglesias could give a huge retiurn to someone in need of bullpen help. If Gennett is extended and Iglesias stays on the team because there wasn’t an offer that would improve the team that is fine. To ignore trade offers because the month of June went well isn’t helping the team compete in 2019 and beyond, with 2020 being the more realistic window of contention

      • Also the trade of Chapman and then resigning him was a rarity.As a matter of fact I wonder if anyone can recall another trade of this nature.Trade a player than sign him back after the season.

        • Your very own Cincinnati Reds did it with Alfredo Simon for Suarez.

          Although, I think he had a full year with Detroit and he wasn’t a Chapman type player, but similar scenario.

        • It is all a matter of being the highest bidder, unless they player really wanted out of that city. Typically the guys willing to resign don’t wait until halfway through the last year of the contract to sign. If they wanted to be there and were willing to take a discount in exchange for stability it would have already happened before the trade deadline. The guys you trade have already made it clear they either want more than you are willing to pay or want to test the market. Chapman tested the market and the Yankees were the winning bidder. If the Reds are the best offer Harvey receives he will probably come back, and I am confident the front office has at least asked what he is looking for in his next contract. Extending talent is not a new idea to the front office. They have done it with Suarez, Votto, Phillips, Bruce, Cueto, Barnhart, Mesoraco, Bailey and others

    • He will certainly be missed by the pitchers and by the other outfielders.

  45. Schebler is on 10-Day DL, unknown who is getting called up yet. Maybe Ervin or Dixon again? Also this probably means that Duvall, Winker and Hamilton is starting 3 for next week plus.

  46. Lots of comments and I didn’t get to all of them, so forgive if this repeats one. Is there any chance the Reds and Matt Harvey agree to extend the revival experiment with a 1-year contract at a fair price? If they really move to wildcard contention next year, let Harvey become their rental player. If not, go through this exercise again a year from this week.

    Granted, they’d need to do this asap, since every good start increases MH’s price, but a fair price also gives him incentive enough to delay jackpot hunting and indemnify another injury.

    • There is always a chance, but it is probably slightly above zero that Harvey would agree to that. His chance of getting injured is exactly why he will want a multi year deal. If he signed for one year and got injured he may never get another long term deal

  47. Steve;

    I have been really out of “pocket” but after a quick review I haven’t seen any comments on the “secret shoulder” ailment that Scooter has. I even heard the TV announcers during the ASG say that Scooter had told the NL manager, who told Fox reporters, about his “ailment, so only use him as a pitch-hitter or DH”.

    We know how forth coming the Reds are about any illness. We have seen those very weak throws, side armed and under-handed.

    Even if he is traded, will he be able to pass the other teams physical?

    • It just doesn’t make sense to trade Scooter now? We need starting pitching and teams that are in the playoff race aren’t dealing starting pitching that is close enough to help now. We’ve had plenty of AA prospects already. He can get his shoulder right in the offseason and get surgery if he needs it? We can then deal him to somebody that needs his bat and get an established pitcher in return. For example….the Angels don’t have much around Mike Trout. Deal them Scooter, Stephenson, prospects in exchange for one of their lefty starters Tyler Skaggs or Heaney plus a bullpen arm. Something like that makes much more sense! He can DH when needed and rest his arm/shoulder.

  48. Texas seems to be willing to give Shin-Soo Choo away for a song. Any merit in bringing his obp home, giving the position players another veteran to learn from, and letting him retire as a Reds corner outfielder?

    • Trading away prospects for two months of Choo so there can be a five man OF rotation doesn’t sound like a good idea

  49. Random thoughts:

    1 If the Reds keep Scooter, then Senzel should be shifted to right field.
    2 Lorenzen and Garrett need to stay in the bullpen.
    3 Keep Hughes and Hernandez unless you have to use one of them in a package deal.
    4 If Harvey is traded, the open rotation spot should go to Stephenson or a pitcher received in a trade.
    5 Don’t trade Senzel, Trammell or Greene unless you’re getting a pitcher the caliber of Blake Snell in return.
    6 If the Reds don’t get a starting pitcher via trade, then they need to sign either Corbin or Keuchel. Preferably Corbin.
    7 Interview as many candidates as you can for the next manager.
    8 Trade targets:
    Houston: LHP Cionel Perez and RHP Rogelio Armenteros.
    Cleveland: C/OF Francisco Mejia and RHP Triston McKenzie.
    LA Dodgers: OF: Alex Verdugo
    Seattle: RHP Matthew Festa and RHP Wyatt Mills

  50. Steve, I am in full agreement on all of it. I hope they find a great deal for Gennett and don’t ignore phone calls for him. I also want to see the RPs moved if another team is willing to send over a top 2 or 3 prospect (Iglesias) or top 10 in Hughes/Hernandez.

    I really want to see Hamilton gone. He can field, but he can’t really hit and I’d like to see all 8 positions with at least average hitters or average OBPs. No easy outs.

    We need an ace and we need an SP2 so that Castillo and Mahle can ease into SP3 and SP4 roles and not feel any serious pressure.

    We need a REAL CF. I get Schebler is solid, but not great.

    Also would like to see Duvall moved if possible.

    Bottom line for me, I hope the Reds FO is reading this story and comments and I hope they make multiple deals that have a few of the names you listed in them. To hold everything (and then be forced to sign Gennett to a likely $100 million contract to save face) is just plain silly and conservative.

    I hope Krall is aggressive and shrewd. I hope we have two new SP prospects that become our top SP prospects and a CF prospect that has a chance to start as a rookie in 2019 or 2020.

    The pessimist in me thinks we’ll see no trades or one trade so insignificant that we’re actuall offended at how useless it is.

    • All I’m hearing is “prospects”. This team needs established players especially starting pitching. If all they do is trade for more prospects at this moment of time then it’s going to be a long wait for a playoff appearance. By the time the prospects are ready the chance for success,which is now,will be gone.

      • A guy blocked in AAA is still a prospect. Senzel is a prospect, but he could start for many teams. Frazier with the Yankees is blocked there. Many playoff contenders have guys in the minors blocked by someone on the team. If the Reds can get a starting pitcher or CF who is ready, but has no place to play with the current organization, they won’t be waiting for anything but 2019 opening day

  51. I’d like to add a small rant in here, and want to get everyone’s take.

    Did anyone see the article that bobby nightingale tweeted out? Suggesting that the reds stand pat at the deadline?

    I’ll be honest, when seeing that, it made me furious. Over this season, it has seemed like the opinions of John fay and bobby have been very emotional, in-the-moment, and rash ideas. John fay constantly pushes for riggleman to be the full time mananger, and has answered readers on twitter saying that he thinks riggleman is the best for the job. I know bobby is new to being a bear writer, so I don’t want to rag on him too much, but he seems like he has no interest in learning about the game. Many times on WLW I’ll hear him make silly comments about how Justin nicolino could be a bullpen option or how Dilson Herrera is on the 40 man roster in May, when he wasn’t.

    Yet they seem to constantly push a narrative that is very old-school in thought. Hire a manager who is in love with bunting, and as a while, is very old-school. Hire him based on a hot 1.5 months, and ignore many other potentional candidates who could be so much better.

    Now this. Don’t trade anyone. Stand pat. The reds have stood pat for the longest time and have sat on their hands. Why stand pat? What were his reasons?

    1. Boost attendance
    2. Establish a “feeling of winning”
    3. Keep a core together.

    To me, it seems like complete garbage logic and reasoning, and it made me really frustrated with some of the press coverage we get from those guys. It’s almost like they write things straight from the brain of old Walt.

    Thoughts?

    • I don’t know who Bobby Nightingale is, but there is definitely a case to be made for sitting pat at the deadline, with everybody other than Matt Harvey.

      For example, Iglesias is under team control for 3 more seasons, so I believe that they could likely work out a better deal in the winter, or at next year’s deadline. If they get a great offer in 2 weeks from a team like the Nationals, fine, but I don’t think they should feel compelled to move him now.

      Similarly, waiting until the off-season gives them time (and some off-season rest) to evaluate the shoulder injuries to Gennett and Herrera, and hence the feasibility of moving either of them to left field. Plus, they will have more information on Nick Senzel’s injury, and may have given him some reps in the outfield in Arizona.

      Their hard calls are going to be which pitchers get starts the rest of the year, and what to do with the starters over the off-season. Harvey will be dealt, and Romano, Castillo and Mahle will likely push against an innings limit by the end of the year. Stephenson has earned an opportunity; Reed, less so, but is probably due a call-up in September. Bailey has been OK in a couple of recent starts, and as a practical matter, they pretty much have to give him one more shot in Cincinnati. But they need to finish out the “sorting” to decide whether to make an off-season run at a trade for a starting pitcher, or to sign a free agent.

    • The Enquirer lost their two very good baseball writers to The Athletic. John Fay was rehired out of retirement (unfortunately his wife got sick and derailed their retirement plans), and after starting the season without a second baseball reporter hired Bobby Nightengale, who seems very green and still figuring things out, but is the son of long-time baseball writer Bob Nightengale (USA Today). A lot of old-school seems to be in their thinking, for sure.

  52. First, Steve you made the case for why the Reds should not trade their bullpen arms—just consider their past moves. Do we really want to go back to that?
    Second, I remember in the late 80’s when the Braves had no closer and Nick Esasky beat them in ninth three straight games with home runs. I don’t see anyone to replace Iglesias and don’t buy the idea ( which I often read) that almost any pitcher can be the closer.
    Third, what team is going to trade a top starting pitcher for Hamilton, Duvall and another player? I don’t see that happening. Hamilton has no trade value and Duvall’s batting average will not have teams lining up for him.
    Fourth, I think you undervalue Gennett’s contribution in the clubhouse and on the field. The Reds lineup is not nearly as potent when his bat is not in it.
    I am in favor of moving Harvey. I want all trades to help the Reds make the playoffs in 2019– not down the road.

    • No one is trading a good starting pitcher for Hamilton or Duvall, but they might for Iglesias or Gennett.

      Closer is over rated. What the Reds need is guys who can come in from the 6th inning on in a close game and possibly go multiple innings. Iglesias fills this need, so yes he would need to be replaced. Garrett seems the most likely to do this and signing guys like Hughes,along with any guys like Romano, Stephenson, and others who don’t stick in the rotation. You are correct that Iglesias could be traded and no one fills the void, but it is probably just as likely someone else can

      • Just as likely—not in my experience of being a Reds fan for 57 years. Possible—yes. Just as likely—not hardly.

        • The same question was posed when Chapman was dealt. Iglesias moved to the bullpen and filled the position. The Reds have plenty of arms, just not many that are working out as starter. All it takes is one of those who have trouble making it through the lineup multiple times to find success for a couple of innings. Lorenzen, Garrett have both done it. Chapman and Igesias both did it. The Reds have Romano, Sephenson, Reed, Finnegan, and some other guys all fighting for a starting position that probably only one of the will get. Finnegan has already been relegated to the pen, Stephenson has to be on the 25 man next year so if not as a starter then let him throw 100 mph out of the pen and see what happens.

      • Bill
        Who/what level starting pitcher do you think you could right now for either Iggy or Gennett?
        Everything I have read is that its a buyers market.Lots of losing teams dumping closers and IF talent seems plentiful around the league that are for sale or rent.Look at how little the dodgers had to give up for machado.I know its only til season end but years past teams would have laughed at so little.
        Same question for Harvey.I think you couldnt get a Cody Reed equal for him right now.

        • If you don’t get a good offer, you don’t make the trade. We’re speculating (fairly based on past deadlines) that VERY good RPs will bring back a top SP prospect or even a young SP already in MLB, just not quite yet a stud.

          The chance of getting an established, SP1/2, that is cheap is miniscule, but getting a projected SP1/2 prospect on the cusp of MLB or AAA is very likely for either Gennett or Iglesias. Hughes and Hernandez would fetch maybe a more green/young, high upside arm or bat that is still in A ball likely or maybe an SP2/3 type in AAA.

        • I don’t have a specific name but San Diego just got the #15 prospect for Hand. Something comparable for Iglesias might be possible. Gennett with the shoulder concerns maybe nothing, but I don’t know what is wrong. Harvey might bring in someone’s 10-20 best prospect, which isn’t much, but the Reds have succeeded on these types before. Schebler, Duvall, etc. If the guy doesn’t make it nothing lost because Harvey isn’t staying

  53. Ron Payne, interview every candidate in the world and Riggleman will still be the manager unless the wheels fall off the 2nd half.

    • Wheels fall off? My good man, have you looked at the schedule in August? 28 games and only 4 against non-contenders. 24 games against teams fighting for a playoff spot. That will be tough. August is going to be an extremely huge test for this team and rebuild. It should give people an idea of just how far the team has come and just how far they have to go over the winter to prepare for 2019.
      August will also make or break the decision on whether or not if Riggleman will be the next manager. August will be a big barometer on just how good the team is. Plus, how many changes will there be to the roster by August 1? Will anyone get traded and therefore the roster likely weakened in the short-term just as a tough August arrives?
      If the Reds can just go 14-14 in August, I think we should call that a good success. September should be much easier, at least on paper.

  54. In the end it doesn’t matter what RLN or any other Reds fan wants to do. Its on the Reds front office and all indications are that Scooter and Billy are staying. I’ve been criticizing Billy for years, but this recent surge of spectacular offense makes me think they could carry him in the 9 hole until Trammell is ready! I know our pitchers have to feel a little more secure with Billy in CF! They just have to make a hole for Senzel next year.

    That would leave Harvey, Iggy, Dilson, BobSteve, H&H, Schebler/Duvall (?) as trade chips to improve the pitching! Duvall fits well with WInker imo. He’s good vs lefties and solid defensively…and cheap! From another teams point of view I’d really be intrigued with Dilson Herrera and BobSteve. Dilson in particular. He looks confident at the plate and didn’t embarrass himself as a 20 yr old with a cup of coffee w/the Mets. A .893 ops in AAA as a 21 yr old is pretty impressive as well! He’s almost too good potentially to be a utility player and that’s about the only fit with the Reds currently?

  55. Uh oh. The Cleveland Indians are acquiring LHP Brad Hand from SD. Iglesias to Cleveland is now a dead issue. Wonder what Cleveland is sending to SD? No Beiber or McKensie for the Reds from Cleveland.

    • LHP Brad Hand and RHP Adam Cimber going to Cleveland. SD gets C Francisco Mejia. That is all that is being reported as going to SD. Helluva deal for Cleveland. Completely transformed their bullpen in one trade. SD gets a top C prospect.

      • Not bad for the Padres either they aren’t going to catch the Dodgers this year or next. They get a top 15 prospect, Cleveland get the bullpen help they desperately needed. I think the Padres now how 9 prospects in the top 100

      • Yeah, not a huge price to pay for two controlled bullpen pieces, one a two time all star and closer with a track record. I am glad the Reds didn’t try to outbid that with Iglesias and other assets.

  56. I missed this from last night.
    Homer Bailey in most likely his last rehab start at AAA, 7.0 shutout IP, 3 BB, 3 K.
    Bailey is not going quietly into the night. He is fighting for a rotation spot. That is good to see. But it sure poses a few question of what happens next. The Reds haven’t yet announced starters for game #4 and game #5 after the all star break.

    • Option 1: Harvey is traded
      Option 2: Romano gets sent down
      Option 3: Castillo gets sent down
      Option 4: Someone has a mysterious injury occur over the break and goes to the DL

  57. Question: What is Herrera’s option status?
    Question: Are Romano, Castille, and Mahle pitch limited at the end of the season?
    Observation: While Nats could use Iggy, I don’t think NAts will give away Robles, even for Iggy + prospects
    Agree: Gennett + less-than-top-tier-prospect(s) only for a bona fide young SP

    If you have a great bullpen, you don’t necessarily need an ‘ace’…but you do need capable starters that can keep the team in a game through 6 innings. great bullpens are not that easy to cobble together. Hard to find someone like Hughes who can keep ball down consistently…I’d keep him.

    • Herrera is out of options. I don’t think their is much of a pitch inning limit if any

  58. Just for fun let’s look at a comparison:
    Player A: .313/.385/.511/.897
    57xBH, 20 HR, 163 games
    Player B: . 310/.357/.526/.884
    46xBH, 43 HR, 233 games.

    In 2019 one would make 550K the other roughly 9-10 million.

    Reds need to finish the rebuild and one way is trading position of depth. Player A is Senzel who is more athletic, more range, better arm, and has better speed overall. Player B is Scooter who is a fan favorite and I understand but they need to flip him to help win a World Series.

    • Senzel has put up those numbers in the major leagues?

      • No that’s just the last two years for each player. I didn’t include Scooters years where he had a subpar on base percentage and a terrible ops for a starter. Senzel stats were from AA and AAA the last two years. So those are the Scooters prime and what Senzel is capable of against upper level pitching where prospects tend to struggle.

  59. Righty Kirby Yates will probably close for the Pads now….if he isn’t dealt as well. He’s allowing a .167 average (.206 last year) with 1 HR allowed in 37 ip. He’s also 31 so probably wouldn’t cost a ton? If the Reds could get him then they could piece together a decent closer/pen from Garrett, H & H, and Yates. That allows them to package Iggy to get a starter!

  60. Sticking to a vision has always been a problem for the Reds.

    • Really? They seem to have largely stuck to their vision for the rebuild, despite our bitter criticism and an extended stretch of losing baseball.

  61. I think your discounting or selling short on the upside to retaining Scooter longer term. You’re oversold us on the risks to signing him long term, but he has tremendous value for this team, not only now, but also in the future with a potential home town discount. Spending tens of millions of dollars over 4 to 5 years for a guy that has put up 130+ OPS the past 900 PA is a risk worth taking IMO. Sure he will regress, but he has plenty of room to regress and still be very valuable. Assuming that Senzel will be healthy is a far greater risk than placing Scooter in the OF. He looked just fine out there last year and if he becomes a Marlon Byrd like liability, they have plenty of options to reposition guys.

  62. For those interested, Brad Doolittle has a thoughtful piece on ESPN.com this morning on the most common mistake made at the trade deadline. Recommended.

  63. Other than Bob Castelliini ‘s Reds, what other teams in MLB would actually play Billy Hamilton every day in CF?At the end of the day, positional peer rankings determines value.

    What GM in MLB right now says I want Billy Hamilton in CF over my guy? What playoff team wants Billy starting in CF every day and getting playoff at bats against Luis Severino or Chris Sale or Justin Verlander.

    Hamilton is a situational super sub.

  64. It’s a shame Williams didn’t read this before today!

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

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