During the days leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, Reds country was expecting to see names like Matt Harvey, Scooter Gennett, Raisel Iglesias and Billy Hamilton on the move, or at least one of those four in a new uniform when August began. It is now August 25 and all four players remain in Cincinnati.
Deadline Day Part Two
As of August 22, a glimmer of hope, that either Harvey or Hamilton would be dealt after both were claimed off waivers. Waivers work in a much different way than the July 31 deadline. The respective league of the player placed on waivers gets a first chance to claim a player before opening it up to both leagues. The team with the worse record gets the rights if they desire.
Originally, both Harvey and Hamilton were claimed by mystery teams. Friday was the last day that the teams that claimed each player could make a deal. From the Reds standpoint, Harvey was a must to be dealt, while Hamilton could be traded now, or in the offseason, but preferably now.
Matt Harvey’s Mystery Team
The Brewers emerged as the mystery team in the Harvey sweepstakes. They had until 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time to work out a deal with Milwaukee. The Reds traded Devin Mesoraco for Harvey, who has produced somewhat solid numbers compared to how he performed since his 2015 season.
In Harvey’s 18 starts before the deadline since arriving in the Queen City, he has accumulated a 4.16 earned run average, his lowest since his phenomenal 2015 season. These numbers are by no means eye-popping, but they could provide value, or better yet, prevent value from other teams the Brewers are chasing.
With the young talent in Cincinnati’s organization, there was no reason not to work out a deal for Harvey. Although the young pitching has not been performing at or near expectations, there is no use in keeping players who are clearly not a part of the future. Whether a player is a top prospect or draws a comparison to a bucket of balls, a trade should have been made.
No one knows when a star will be drafted, especially in baseball. John Smoltz (round 22), Mark Buehrle (Round 38), Kenny Rogers (Round 39), and when the draft was longer Mike Piazza (round 62). The point here is, Harvey should have been traded and it does not matter who it was for, because any return is better than watching him walk in the offseason.
The deadline came and went, and Harvey is still in Cincinnati. Failing to trade Harvey at the first deadline was less than ideal. Failing to trade Harvey to the Brewers after they claimed him is nothing short of disappointing. Harvey’s time in Cincinnati should be appreciated, but it should have ended when the Brewers claimed him.
It is all but certain the Reds will not resign Harvey for the 2019 season. It is not Harvey’s fault he was not moved and no one should treat it as such. If the Reds hope to re-sign him, the Reds should hope for slightly above average starts to keep him affordable. If they plan to let him walk, we can only hope he puts on a show every fifth day for the fans to enjoy some Reds baseball.
As of Friday afternoon, the mystery team in the Hamilton sweepstakes is still unknown. However, it does not appear he will be leaving Cincinnati either. General Manager Nick Krall said that Hamilton will remain with the club until season’s end.
Keeping Hamilton in the organization makes more sense than Harvey, due to his team control, but will create an outfield jam in 2019. The 2018 version of the Reds definitely benefit from having an elite speedster manning center field, but his team control is another reason he should have been dealt while his value is as high as it will probably ever get. Phillip Ervin and Scott Schebler need to take over center field for the remainder of the season while Hamilton competes for a playoff spot. This will not be the case and Hamilton will finish his sixth season as a Red.
Krall or Castellini?
It is worth wondering if this is Krall’s call or the work of owner Bob Castellini, who is on record saying that he wants Hamilton to be a Red for life. It is unclear why Castellini’s infatuation with Hamilton is as strong as it is, but the owner makes the final call, which is one explanation no trade was worked out. If an owner values a player with little value as high as Castellini does with Hamilton, moving him is nearly impossible.
With Hamilton still under contract one more year, the Reds might be able to flip him for a serviceable player. For some odd reason, the Reds have been able to flip their low-quality players for top prospects, such as Alfredo Simon for Eugenio Suarez and Dan Straily for Luis Castillo. If they strike gold one more time, perhaps they can flip Hamilton for a young stud, although it seems unlikely.
Deadline Day: 0-2
Another opportunity has come and gone. The Reds roster remains the same since the Duvall trade and will not be changing until the offseason. Since Harvey will be a free agent at the end of the season, we can only begrudgingly attempt to enjoy the end of the Harvey era. The Hamilton era might not be over yet, but he could be playing his last month donning a Reds uniform.
Whether you are a fan of the moves, or rather, non-moves, Harvey and Hamilton are here to stay. The season is essentially over in Cincinnati, time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the rollercoaster 2018 has been.
“From Our Haus to Yours”