The Cincinnati Reds trade options as sellers have been hypothesized, as have their possible targets if they are buyers at the deadline. Hypothesizing team transactions is always popular because it is so much easier to manage a team from our couches than it is in the front office of a franchise. But the more that I look into this team, the harder I see it for the Reds to drastically overhaul the roster for 2015.
If you aren’t a fan of the 2014 team, don’t expect much difference in 2015.
At the moment, the Reds have only four legit trading chips: Aroldis Chapman, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake and Alfredo Simon. Aside from these four, the Reds’ feature a group of players who are all but unmovable. Here’s why:
Joey Votto: Injury issues, massive contract.
Brandon Phillips: Age, decline in power, massive contract.
Jay Bruce: Injury, inconsistent, increasing contract.
Mat Latos: Injury.
Homer Bailey: Inconsistent, massive contract.
Jonathan Broxton: Large contract.
Sean Marshall: Poor performance, large contract.
Zack Cozart: Inconsistent.
Billy Hamilton: Reds have invested much in him, won’t be traded – plus, unproven and inconsistent.
Todd Frazier: The only lightening rod for excitement on the team, would take heaven and earth to move him.
Devin Mesoraco: The lone shining offensive star on the team, untouchable.
Ryan Ludwick: Age, contract and decline of production.
The bleak future is noticeable when you take into consideration the bump in yearly salaries that will be coming in 2015 for players such as Votto (additional $2 million in contract), Bruce (additional $2 million in contract), Phillips (additional $1 million in contract), Bailey (additional $1 million in contract), Ludwick ($4.5 million buyout), Leake (arbitration), Simon (arbitration), Latos (arbitration), Chapman (arbitration), Simon (arbitration) and Mesoraco (arbitration).
What do all of these numbers mean? It means that the Reds will have a hard time moving a majority of their players without being forced to include money or take a lesser return in a trade. The four players mentioned as legit trading chips are going to garner interest for the same reason the Reds would be interested in keeping them – they are (for the most part) affordable and productive, two important traits. If a team has any hope of landing prospects/players with great potential, they must part with something of equal to greater value – otherwise, why would another team entertain such a trade?
For the Reds, the time between now and Spring 2015 will be rather interesting. After all, the front office felt confident enough in this team last offseason to withhold drastic changes. What would stop them from having the same confidence after 2014?
“We have confidence in our team as is going forward. Before being plagued by injuries last season, we had a team in place that we felt were more than capable of winning the division and making a deep run in the postseason.”
Admit it, you wouldn’t be surprised at all to hear Walt Jocketty iterating such a phrase to the media at some point this offseason.