Cincinnati Reds should learn roster discipline from Cleveland Indians

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) /

The team to the north should serve as an example for the Cincinnati Reds in roster construction.

As the Cincinnati Reds slowly begin to branch out into free agency to fill-in pieces, the Cleveland Indians take another angle.  The Reds signed reliever Jared Hughes to a two-year deal to help cover the young starting pitchers.  The Indians meanwhile let Bryan Shaw leave this off-season.

When the Indians last went through a rebuild, they traded away most of their veterans players.  CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Jake Westbrook, and Shin-Soo Choo were all traded.  The Reds were the team that Choo ended up with, while the Indians received starter Trevor Bauer and the aforementioned Shaw as part of the three team trade.

The Indians traded Choo the last year before he became a free agent.  Choo was making reasonable money, but the deal allowed the Indians to maintain a passable outfield while adding a pair of young pitchers.  The Indians also received Drew Stubbs from the Reds.

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When the Indians traded away Sabathia, they had another successful trade.  They sent Sabathia away half a season before he hit free agency in exchange for three players and future considerations.  Future considerations turned into All-Star Michael Brantley who has become a cornerstone of the franchise.

The Cincinnati Reds need to take a look at whom fits the mold of an asset ready to move.

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It’s clear that the Reds see center fielder Billy Hamilton as one of these potential pieces.  For the second consecutive off-season the Reds are listening to offers.  Hamilton is under team control through the 2019 season.

Of course the obvious player is catcher Devin Mesoraco.  He is in the final year of the contract extension he signed to avoid going through arbitration.  The question is whether there are any teams willing to pay his salary or take on his injury risk.

Eugenio Suarez is arbitration eligible for the first time this off-season.  

If the Reds can’t sign him to a contract extension, then he might be a tradable asset.  There is no reason to let him leave as an overpriced free agent when the Reds can trade him before that happens.

Next: The Reds have great defenders in the minors.

This off-season has been slower than usual, but the Reds have an opportunity to make it fruitful nonetheless.  They just need to keep the way that the Indians turn over their roster in their mind.  Then the Reds will be ready to act when the right opportunity arises.