It is the most hotly debated day of the entire baseball calendar: July 31, the Trade Deadline.
Today, teams will make moves that they feel can increase their chances of raising the World Series trophy in two and a half months time, while others will trade off players they no longer have use for in hope for a better tomorrow. No matter where any one player may land, only one team can win the grand prize.
There are teams, such as the Reds, that do not yet know their identity. They are a game below .500 at 53-54, they are six games out of the division lead, and the second wildcard selection has become a gigantic cluster of mediocrity.
Without Brandon Phillips or Joey Votto for at least the next month, the team will either attempt to take on water as best they can, or they will make an unforeseen move to attempt to salvage a season that may not necessarily be salvageable.
Below, we will take a look at each and every name that has been even remotely connected with the Cincinnati Reds and analyze whether it will be a good/bad move, how likely it is, and what it would take to get it done.
Therefore, no matter whether the Reds buy, sell, or stand pat on July 31, you will have all your information, right here:
Marlon Byrd – OF – Philadelphia Phillies
Having gotten much older as a collective unit, the Phillies have seen themselves fall from high levels of contention quite rapidly over the past few seasons. Signing Marlon Byrd in the off-season was almost a no-brainer for them due to his high trade value for a time exactly like this. It would be stunning to see Byrd not be dealt by the conclusion of tomorrow’s deadline.
While there has been a whole lot of legitimate trade speculation about the Reds acquiring Byrd, I cannot say I agree with the move. The Reds could have very easily claimed him last season before he would homer off Johnny Cueto in the one-game playoff, and passed. Having to give up some legitimate talent in order to acquire a guy they previously passed on seems to defy logic.
Ben Zobrist – 2B/OF – Tampa Bay Rays
Whether or not the Rays decide to pull the trigger on moving Zobrist is still undetermined, but they are certainly looking at quite the sweet return should they choose to do so.
Zobrist is a player under team control for next season who displays an incredible amount of versatility. He is an ideal fit for the Reds due to his ability to play both second base and the corner outfield spots (both areas of current weakness) exceptionally well. With Brandon Phillips on the disabled list for the time being, Zobrist could be slotted into second base until his return. Upon that occurring, he can transition full-time to left field where he would be the obvious choice to open the season in left field.
What it will take to acquire Zobrist is a bit hazy. Personally, if the highest the price would go would be somewhere along the lines of Tony Cingrani, then I believe the swap would make sense. Should Tampa Bay demand a Jesse Winker, Robert Stephenson or Ben Lively, then the Redlegs are more than likely best off holding onto their chips. Acquiring Zobrist should be a luxury; not a backbreaker.
Alex Rios – OF – Texas Rangers
Rios is the logical jettison for a Rangers club that has fallen so far, so quickly. Owed a pile of money the remainder of the season, if Texas can find someone with a need for Rios, they would more than likely be willing to unload Rios, who has a team option for $13.5 million next season.
While there is no doubt that Rios’ bat would be an upgrade over the current left field situation, fans that follow the Reds astutely recognize that left field is not a glaring issue. Ryan Ludwick has been solid enough in his chunk of playing time to keep from riots ensuing.
Acquiring Rios may be a move that happens more towards the middle to the end of August, should the Redlegs make a push over the remaining two or three weeks and can get their claws on Rios via waivers. That way, they can also significantly save when it comes to what they will need to give up in order to acquire him.
David Price – P – Tampa Bay Rays
It’s not going to happen. Enough said.
Daniel Murphy – 2B – New York Mets
Of all candidates, Murphy may be the most intriguing. Unfortunately, it does not seem likely that the Mets are looking to deal him. Rich in young, talented pitching, the Mets would more than likely not trade off their All-Star second baseman for a package that may include someone like Tony Cingrani.
Murphy presents many of the same attributes as Zobrist with the ability to play second base for the foreseeable future before switching back to left field. Leading the National League in hits, Murphy would plug in flawlessly into the two hole in the batting order upon the return of both Phillips and Votto, even if that means waiting until 2015.
To sweeten the pot, Murphy is under team control for 2015 for what will be his final year of arbitration before hitting the free agent market. Even if the Reds could not retain him for 2016, he would perform at the top of his game next year in order to ensure himself the biggest contract possible. Acquiring Murphy is a move that I wholeheartedly support and feel like the Reds should significantly pursue.
Emilio Bonifacio – UTIL – Chicago Cubs
With the Cubs in complete “play for 2016” mode, they seem to be poised in shipping off Bonifacio, who has had a magnificent year for them, resurrecting his own career. A dynamic base-stealing threat that automatically plugs in at the top of the lineup, Bonifacio can play nearly any position but first base, pitcher and catcher.
Acquiring Bonifacio is a move that I fully expect a whole boatload of teams will ratchet up on during the hours ahead of the deadline, which makes me believe it might be tricky for the Reds to sneak in and snatch him away. A free agent at season’s end, he would be the prototypical rent-a-player for the remaining two months. Unlike Rios or Byrd, Bonifacio is not owed nearly as much money, making me believe that if possible, and at the right price, the Reds should attempt to acquire the speedster.
Although general manager Walt Jocketty has professed to be on the hunt come the deadline, there have been inevitable rumors about current members of the Reds’ roster on the move.
Ryan Ludwick – LF
Reports have come out in the last dozen hours that the Reds are now actively shopping their primary left fielder. The only question the Reds have to be asking themselves at this point is: why not? If another team were willing to take on a player that the organization is going to have to give $4.5 million next year just to go away, they would be insane to not see if someone wants to take that contract off their hands.
Some teams that may make sense: Kansas City Royals, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees
Alfredo Simon – P
While there are no legitimate ties to Simon being on the move, it almost seems to follow the pattern of things being “too quiet.” With the fervor in which teams are looking to acquire starting pitching down the stretch, it seems almost illogical that the Reds could not be fielding calls about Simon. Which leads me here…
It is within the best interest of the club to move either Mat Latos or Mike Leake at this year’s Trade Deadline. As much hype as David Price has gotten due to the fact that he is under team control for 2015, the same holds true for both Latos and Leake. Due to the signing of Homer Bailey’s astronomical 6-year/$105 million deal, it is highly unlikely that the club will be able to re-sign Johnny Cueto AND either Latos or Leake.
Some may see this move as a way of “selling,” but what it really is, is a way of “retooling.” The Reds cannot trudge blindly through the rest of this season with false hopes of October. In order for the 2016 season to not be a nightmare of epic proportions, there has to be an adequate balance of restocking of the farm.
No matter what occurs by the 4 p.m. deadline, the Redlegs will have 55 games remaining on their schedule. It will be a difficult task to reach the Postseason whether they acquire five players, or trade five players, but we will be here throughout the entirety. Stay glued to our Twitter (@BlogRedMachine) account throughout the day for rampant speculation and breaking news once anything goes down.
Tags: Cincinnati Reds