Most Cincinnati Reds fans are excited about the trade their team pulled off last week. But, what if it doesn’t work. Don’t worry, it’ll be okay.
Most fans of the Cincinnati Reds are ecstatic over the team’s recent acquisitions of Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood, and Kyle Farmer. However, there are a few exceptions who feel that the Reds are making a mistake by taking on a bunch of one-year deals. To those of you I say, it’ll be okay.
Before we get started, let me be clear, I love the trade. I think the 2019 season, if nothing else, will be exciting. Puig will bring an energy to Great American Ball Park that fans have not felt in years. Wood brings postseason experience to a young pitching staff, and Kemp brings a veteran presence and a solid bat to the lineup.
But, back on the subject of this trade not working. Allow me to calm your fears. Yes, it’s true, the Cincinnati Reds took on three players who are in the final year of their respective deals. But, they also unloaded Homer Bailey and the $28 million he’s owed. That alone should be enough to make every Reds fan smile.
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Bailey had become a malcontent in the Reds’ clubhouse. Not only did he have a sour attitude, his performance on the field was marred by injuries and ineffectiveness. Bailey won just one game last season, made an extended rehab stop in Louisville, and refused to pitch out of the bullpen. From where I’m sitting, the fact that the Reds got anything in return for Bailey is a win.
Onto the subject of losing both Josiah Gray and Jeter Downs. Most fans don’t have any clue what the Reds had in Josiah Gray. Quite frankly, most of what Gray could’ve provided to the Reds was an enigma anyway. A former shortstop in college, Gray is a project who could become a middle-of-the-rotation starter at best.
Jeter Downs is a bit of a different story. Downs was Cincinnati’s No. 8 prospect in their farm system to start the season and spent the entire year at Single-A Dayton. While Downs is a nice prospect, he’s yet to find a permanent spot on the diamond. Some project him as a shortstop, while other scouts peg him as a second baseman or even a future centerfielder.
It was unfortunate to lose Downs in the trade, but the Reds pipeline is ripe with middle infield and center field talent. Nick Senzel, Shed Long, TJ Friedl, Jose Siri, Jonathan India, and Mike Siani all have a lot of upside and play a similar position to Downs. Not to mention, José Peraza appears ready to break out and could easily be Cincinnati’s shortstop for the next five-plus years.
Downs was at least two, if not three years away from making an impact at the Major League level. For Cincinnati to have made upgrades through the trade to both their outfield and starting rotation for this upcoming season without sacrificing top prospects like Senzel and Taylor Trammell is a solid move by the Reds’ brass.
Finally, there are those who say that Cincinnati needs starting pitching, not more bats in the lineup and question why Cincinnati is spending money on hitting rather than pitching. Tom Verducci of MLB Network is one of the national pundits who didn’t see the benefit of the trade from the Reds’ perspective.
So, what if it doesn’t work out and come mid-July the Reds are sitting 10-plus games out of the division lead and/ or the Wild Card? Then it becomes time to start wheeling and dealing. The Reds will have three players, perhaps four if Scooter Gennett is not extended this offseason, entering the final year of their contracts who could be trade chips around the non-waiver trade deadline.
Should the Cincinnati Reds not be in the playoff hunt, plenty of contending teams will come looking for short-term rentals to help them with a postseason push. If that’s the case, guess what? The Reds can then acquire more minor league talent to add to an already loaded farm system.
Personally, I don’t expect that to happen. I expect Cincinnati to make yet another move before the season starts to address the starting rotation, and provided their team remains healthy next season, the Reds could be a dark horse to make a run at the playoffs. The offense is there, they just need to get more pitching. Alex Wood and Tanner Roark were a good start.
So, don’t wallow in the ideas of what if this doesn’t work, but rather enjoy the fact that after several years of little to nothing, the Cincinnati Reds are actually taking chances toward trying to improve the ball club. If it doesn’t work, it’ll be okay. But, if it does work, Reds Country could have a whole lot to smile about.