The Cincinnati Reds have three or four players that will be traded away during the season.
The Cincinnati Reds have tried to reposition themselves this off-season into a more competitive position. Unfortunately, with the trade of Dan Straily, 2017 is all but guaranteed to be another season spent rebuilding. That means there are several players who won’t be of any use to the Reds down the stretch.
Zack Cozart is the most likely trade target in early July. He will start the season as the Reds’ everyday shortstop, but his future is with another team. He has provided the Reds with some of the best defense at short for the past six years.
HIs most likely landing spot is an American League club that needs a shortstop to bat ninth or a defensive back-up middle infielder. If the Kansas City Royals are competing in July, he would fit there. His best fit, though, would likely be with the defending AL champion Cleveland Indians, as a back-up infielder.
Recent free agent signee, Drew Storen, shouldn’t bother unpacking his bags this season. He will either function as the Reds’ primary closer or the Reds will let him go for next to nothing if he is bad enough. Based on past seasons’ trends the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers will be looking for relief help at the end of July.
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After these two, the Cincinnati Reds have a pair of former teammates that need to be examined.
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Brandon Phillips realized that his leverage was quickly widdling away. Once August first rolled around, he would have lost his leverage. The Reds would have exposed him to waivers to see what would happen.
At that time the Reds could have traded him or, if he blocked the trade, just let him go. An AL East team like Baltimore or Toronto wouldn’t bat an eye at his salary at that point. A few million dollars for a playoff run is decent price. That’s why Phillips took the best alternative and went to Atlanta.
Phillips tells a cautionary tale for the other Red with a no-trade clause. If the Reds are doing bad enough, Joey Votto could ask for a trade. While Toronto may want him, other teams could claim him off of waivers.
He may do this to avoid what just happened to Phillips and his leverage.
The question is whether a bad season would cause Votto to want out of Cincinnati or only leave for Canada. Depending on that scenario, the Reds could place Votto on waivers and pull him back if they wanted. If Votto does leave, he should bring back a big league ready prospect.
Unless the Reds are solidly in the wild card chase this season, they need to look for trade opportunities. They don’t need to trade controllable young veterans, but their older players need to move on. Hopefully this is the last season this will be the case.