It’s mid-June and one of my favorite times of each baseball season is drawing closer: the trade deadline. As such, I thought I’d scour the trades of yesteryear and compile a list of the top 5 Reds trades of the past ten years stretching from 2001-2011. I have always been a guy who likes the personnel and business side of any sport, so to me any sort of trading or free agency is fascinating. A trade can make a champion or a chump and is sometimes necessary to put a team over the top. In past years (yes, I’m referring to when Jim Bowden roamed the front office), I winced when news of any move came along. But since, many of the moves found on this very list have occurred and have led to the rise in talent that culminated in that shiny new NL Central title. On to the list…
As beloved as Griff was in the Queen City, it had came time to go in 2008. On the last year of his deal, Griffey waived his no-trade clause to go to the White Sox to pursue the postseason. In return for Griffey, the Reds received Masset and Richar. While Richar is no longer with the team, Masset has proved to be a valuable asset out of the bullpen. The 29 year-old right hander has been a solid set up man for the Reds for the better part of three seasons now: amassing 200 game appearances, 204.2 IP, 48 holds, 2.99 ERA, and 1.21 WHIP. Masset would also be my bet for taking over the closer duties once the Reds courteously decline Francisco Cordero‘s option for next season.
Jose Guillen is just one of those players who I just can’t help but not care for. By all accounts, Guillen has had a lot of talent but never seemed to stay in one spot long due to clashing with teammates personality issues. A winding road brought Guillen to Cincy in 2002 and despite some offensive success (122 games, .314 BA, 27 HR, 79 RBI with the Reds) had him leaving at the trade deadline in 2003. This trade to Oakland netted the Reds a trio of righties headlined by Aaron Harang. Harang went on to serve as the staff ace for Cincinnati from 2004 nearly to his departure to San Diego via free agency during this offseason. Harang is a player that will always be near and dear to my heart as he provided some bright spots through some not-so-good times for a Reds fan. He also didn’t have too shabby of a 7+ year stay in Cincy either, tallying a 75-80 record, 4.28 ERA, averaged 161 K per year, and 6 shutouts.
This trade was part of the big flurry of moves that marked the beginning of the Wayne Krivsky period in Cincinnati, moves that I believe marked the start of the upturn in the fortunes of the Reds. Wily Mo Pena is known for his prodigious power (he did have 54 HR in about 3 years with the Reds) but also his uncanny ability to pile up strikeouts and be allergic to walks. This was flipped for Arroyo, who played a sizable role for the Red Sox 2004 World Series run and provided 170+ innings in his two years with Boston. In the time since, Arroyo has proven to be a rock solid part of the Reds rotation. Logging 200+ innings for the past 6 seasons, Arroyo has been one of the most durable pitchers in the majors over that span. In 2006, his first season with the Reds, Arroyo garnered his only All-Star Game appearance amassing a career high 240.2 innings with a 14-11 record, 3.29 ERA, and 1.19 WHIP. As for today, Arroyo is still providing the Reds with solid innings and providing veteran presence and will for the foreseeable future as he is signed through 2013.
The move acquiring Scott Rolen received mixed reviews upon reception at the trade deadline in 2009. Count myself as one of the dissenters. While my patience grew thin with Edwin Encarnacion at third (how’s that working out for you, Toronto?), I couldn’t see how adding a creaky then 34 year-old third baseman could help any more than Encarnacion. Well, that’s why I’m not in the personnel business. A rejuvenated Rolen has made a big difference with the Reds, especially in the clubhouse. Last season, Rolen provided a huge boost with 20 HR and 83 RBI, his 6th All-Star Game appearance, and a Gold Glove and provided a bit of the something that the Reds had been lacking before. Rolen has to get a lot of the credit for getting the team to the postseason last year, no doubt. And that is totally worth giving up an Edwin Encarnacion.
And the best of them all. Wayne Krivsky’s greatest move brought a desperately needed change of scenery to a very talented but stagnant Phillips in Cleveland. BP went from a player who, though a highly-rated prospect, had been designated for assignment to a 5 year (and counting) cornerstone second baseman for the Reds. Not only has he provided great offense (30 HR & 32 SB in 2006 made Phillips only the second 2B in the 30-30 Club and averaging a .268/.318/.427 with 20 HR, 81 RBI, 22 SB, 81 R per year), and breathtaking defense (just watch the BBTN Web Gems for evidence), but Phillips has come to be quite honestly the most popular Red today and definitely the most fan-friendly. Not too shabby.