The draft is over, and it’s about to be July. That means it’s trading season for the Reds. Chad Dotson wrote an excellent post earlier this week about what the Reds should do to become competitive, but this is going to be more focused on what they should do right now—well, at the trading deadline in about a month—to make themselves ready to compete next year.
First, we need to be clear about what the Reds are targeting. They should be targeting starting pitching first and foremost, and Grant Freking offered thoughts last week about specific pitchers the Reds might be seeking. After that, they can aim for a shortstop and/or center fielder, but they 100 percent need to improve the starting rotation in a meaningful way, which means they should be willing to give up real value in order to get it back.
So who should be on the block?
Raisel Iglesias. Relief pitching is at an incredible premium right now in MLB, and several contenders need it. The Reds have a proven cost-controlled closer who’s under contract for two more years. Iglesias is their biggest trading chip, and any deal involving him should net a starting pitcher who’s major league ready or very close to it.
Scooter Gennett. I know. I get it, I really do. He’s been a revelation, but the Reds are incredibly deep at second and there’s only a year and a half of team control left for Gennett. The only reason not to trade him is if he agrees to a team friendly extension and agrees to move to the outfield. Senzel is much better than Gennett defensively and much younger and much cheaper and has a higher ceiling. Senzel is essential to the next winning Reds team, while Gennett is a risk the Reds probably can’t afford to take.
The Reds have made an unfortunate habit lately of waiting a little too long to trade players. It’s certainly possible Gennett has a Joe Morgan-style aging curve, but that’s unlikely. What is likely is that he has one or two more good years after this season and then starts a genuine decline. Or not. The point is that his career is so odd, predicting his future is almost impossible, but players his age are right at their peak typically, which is exactly when to trade someone.
Billy Hamilton and Adam Duvall. At this point, they’re useful bench players who could return some value. This would leave them shorthanded in the outfield with probably poor defense, but it needs to be done and hopefully a trade somewhere on this list (or a winter free agent signing) will yield a quality CF. (Or, hey, maybe they’ll just let Taylor Trammell blaze a quick path to the bigs if he hits in double-A.)
Shed Long, Dilson Herrera, and Alex Blandino. This is the second base depth category. All of these guys are probably at least average in the major leagues, though Long is probably a year away from being ready. None is going to yield a Gennett-level return, but it might be a good trade for a team that’s, say, deep in the outfield but shallow in the infield. The kind of trade that makes both teams better. If a team needs an infielder and isn’t calling the Reds, it probably needs to hire a new GM.
Matt Harvey. Duh. Harvey was grabbed with the idea he could be flipped. He’s pitched fine. Surely someone will want him. This is the place where I could see the Reds making a real steal with a contender who feels like it really needs another starter as it prepares for the season’s homestretch.
Hunter Greene. I’m calling this a bold move. I don’t trade him unless I get back an all-star caliber player in an area where the Reds have high need, but he’s likely several years away and can bring a huge return. The Reds will certainly not trade him, but he should be on the list.
If the Reds do things right, a lot of fans won’t be happy come August 1. Still, we’ll all be much happier if the team returns to contention thanks to some canny deadline trades.
Jason Linden is a contributor to Nuxhall Way, Redleg Nation, and The Hardball Times. You can follow him on Twitter at @JasonLinden.