What cards does Jocketty have to play? (Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE)

Can the Reds Really Be Buyers?


I don’t think there’s a single Reds fans out there that would say this team should stand pat with the non-waiver trade deadline a mere 10 days away. There are areas where this team could use a little boost. I can easily think of five areas. Yes, five.

But if you checked out the embedded video in my post from yesterday, you’ll hear Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports note there could be a couple of aspects that hinder the Reds making any moves. Those areas are payroll and prospect depth.

Reds fans can grow weary of payroll explanations. The Opening Day payroll for this season topped $100M for the first time in franchise history at $106,855,533. This value is taken from Cot’s Baseball Contracts. That’s a jump of about $19M as compared to Opening Day, 2012. If the Reds look to acquire a player that can help AND has a sizable price tag, they will most likely look for salary relief. Actually, they will have to look for that.

I know that it was reported (as it was here) the Reds inquired on Michael Young, but I would think that unless there is another spring of bills, Walt asked for some dough as part of that deal.

And that leads to Rosenthal’s other point: prospect depth, or as of the moment, the perceived lack thereof.

The Reds did thin their system to acquire Mat Latos. Thinned it just a bit more in order to get Sean Marshall. Lest we forget, a pair of decent prospects went to the Kansas City Royals to nab Jonathan Broxton. At this point, the better talent is at the lower levels of the system, something other teams may not wish to acquire. Some have now tabbed Robert Stephenson, who was recently promoted to Bakersfield in the Cal League (A+), as the organization’s top prospect.

And that could prove to be an Achilles heel for GM Walt Jocketty. He’s might be handcuffed here. Requesting salary relief would certainly mean the other team would request a higher rated, more MLB ready prospect. The recent report about Billy Hamilton might remove what was thought to be the “untouchable” tag. Rival GMs have undoubtedly seen this same report, agreed with its assessment or had it confirmed by their scouts, and simply refuse any deal with him included.

Add the struggles of Daniel Corcino into this, too. Prior to this season, some scouts thought the Cueto clone was ready to take the next step. Instead, Corcino has a 4-11 record, an ERA of 6.40, and a WHIP of 1.722 in 18 games (17 starts) and 90 IP. Doesn’t help that over the past two season, his strikeout rate has diminished and walk rate has bloated. His SO/BB is only 1.23 (58 SO, 47 BB).

So before we start to grovel over the Reds trading for this player or that player, take these Rosenthal points into consideration.

I’ll add my two cents here. Just because some of us may deem a certain prospect as “expendable” doesn’t mean other teams will want that prospect.

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