The Cincinnati Reds were expected to be sellers at the trade deadline. While they did sell off a few pieces, they also became buyers. That’s something that was unexpected, but the front office went bold in a three-way trade between the San Diego Padres and Cleveland Indians. The Padres landed the Reds top prospect to start the season in Taylor Trammel and the Indians landed Yasiel Puig. Cincinnati strengthens their starting rotation by bringing in Trevor Bauer. The 2018 all-star was considered a centerpiece among teams that were in contention for the playoffs. But yet, he’s on his way to Cincinnati. Some experts are saying that the Reds made no sense in this deal. In reality, it makes perfect sense.
What the Reds did was solidify their starting rotation for the rest of this year and next year. Bauer has been a steady pitcher for several years and really good for the past two seasons. This move gives the Reds four good starters for next year in Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, Bauer, and Anthony Desclafani. When the offseason approaches, this is one area that the Reds do not have to worry about. Bauer has pitched well in seven career games at Great American Ballpark. His numbers also look very impressive against National League teams as a whole. Bringing in the 28-year-old Bauer keeps balance in the rotation through the 2020 season.
On the surface, it looks like the Reds gave up too much to land Bauer. But when you look deeper, it makes perfect sense. Puig was going to be tough to resign. The upcoming free-agent class isn’t flooded with good outfielders. In fact, Puig is one of the best outfielders in free agency. He could have resigned with the Reds, but it was projected to come at a hefty price. Trammel was the No.1 prospect in the Reds farm system at the start of the season. A below-average year in Double-A ball brought his value down. Even though Trammel has a lot of upsides still, his hype by far outweighed his production level for this season. He’s got a couple of years before he’s ready and can adapt to big-league pitching.
What most likely allowed the Reds to pull the trigger on moving Puig and Trammel is the emergence of a few other outfielders. Phillip Ervin has been crushing lefties and Josh VanMeter has been crushing everything else. Aristides Aquino, Narciso Crook, and Brian O’Grady are three outfielders that can give this team a boost and increase production. After Trammel struggled for the most part of the season, other players have stepped up. That is the reason this team moved guys like Puig and Scooter Gennett. With both guys, along with Roark, not expected to sign extensions in the offseason, it made more sense for the front office to move them to make room for the youth.
We’ll have to wait and see what the return for Gennett will be, but you can look at it as a compensatory pick. The Reds got Jameson Hannah in return for Roark from the A’s. He was the No. 8 prospect in Oakland’s farm system and has shown good production as a centerfielder. He doesn’t have the hype that Trammel did, but he has been almost as equally productive. And that’s what it’s all about. Production trumps hype any day. Just ask VanMeter.
It baffles me as to how so many in the media are giving the Reds a bad grade on the moves at the trade deadline. I’m guessing that the majority figures that the Cincinnati should completely overhaul the roster, but that isn’t the smart thing to do. This team shouldn’t be sellers just because they aren’t in the playoff race. However, they are in contention in the NL Central still. The Reds are improving and they show a lot of upside for the end of the season and next season. What they needed to do was establish a solid rotation and focus on the other areas this offseason. And they did just that.