Deadline Day: Initial Reaction
It is over. The emotions and stress are finally put to bed. The initial reactions and feelings have had time to settle, it is now time to assess deadline week in Cincinnati. July 31 came and went. The Reds were expected to be one of the big sellers come deadline day. With big trade chips in the like of Matt Harvey, Raisel Iglesias, and Scooter Gennett, it was only a matter of time until the Reds replaced current big names with future ones.
It is now August 3 and the Reds roster contains the names Harvey, Iglesisas, and Gennett. Their decision to keep these names are controversial, but it is not the worst idea for the Reds. The one that will receive the highest criticism is keeping Harvey, but we do not know what is going on in the minds of the front office.
When the Reds sent Devin Mesoraco to the Mets for Harvey, the move was seen essentially as a trade for a future trade. The results of the Harvey deal were expected to be based on who the Reds received when they dealt Harvey. Retaining Harvey after the deadline never seemed like it would happen, but alas, here we are with the former ace taking the mound every fifth day.
Retaining Harvey is not as bad as it seems. Since coming to Cincinnati, Harvey may not have found his former self, but he is much closer than he was in New York. His 4.44 ERA in 14 starts does not sound impressive, but compared to his recent stretch with the Mets, it shows steps to finding the old Harvey. If he continues to improve at a slow but steady rate, the Reds could possibly resign him at a cheap price in the offseason.
Harvey has expressed interest in staying in Cincinnati, but with an agent like Scott Boras, it could still be an expensive piece for a team that needs a top tier starter. If the Reds can score a discount for a pitcher who felt like his career was given a second chance in Cincinnati, then they should buy in on Harvey.
For the most part, relievers are coveted deadline pieces but do not bring a nice return. Iglesias, in his fourth year, owns an ERA under 3.00 and has been one of the top closers since his sophomore season in 2016. It was expected he would bring back quality prospects because he is under team control through 2021, but after the last time the Reds dealt an elite closer, the city may be on edge.
Iglesias is still a Red, and that is perfectly fine. The Reds plan to be competitive as soon as next season. If the Reds plan to be competitive over the next few seasons, it makes sense to have a top-tier closer rather than trade for one when the back end of the bullpen is struggling during a playoff run.
Team control is one of the biggest factors when trading a reliever. Iglesias will be in Cincinnati when the team is ready to compete. It would not have been a bad decision to trade him, but people are upset that he stayed put. If the Reds play at the expected level next season, fans will realize having a closer as consistent and dominant as Iglesias will be a key reason why.
Gennett was by far the most confusing case of where a player will end up on August 1. The fans love the Cincinnati native and he loves playing for the team he has wanted to play on since he was a child. He also has one more year on his contract. That extra year makes him extra valuable as a trade chip, and extra valuable as an asset to a team that thinks they are on the verge of October baseball.
The third of the trade trio follows the same path as the previous two. Meaning they all could be traded and it would be alright, yet they could stay on the Reds and that should still be alright. Gennett is thought of as a player who will not sustain the success he has produced over the last year and a half. Since moving to his hometown he has produced at an All-Star level, including getting a nod in the 2018 All-Star game.
Gennett is coming off his worst month of the season, where he batted .259, bringing his average to just .316. In his second worst month in his Reds career, he still maintained an average above .300. Gennett seems willing to take a hometown discount. He also is willing to play anywhere on the diamond as long as he can help his hometown team. The haul for Gennett may have been a solid one, but keeping a player that has been an all-star since showing up and wants to play here, it is hard to be mad at the team’s decision.
The Trade That Actually Happened
The Reds did make a surprising move, however, sending Adam Duvall to Atlanta. The outfield at Great American Ballpark was crowded, and someone had to go. Duvall drew the short stick, which ironically means competing for a playoff team.
The trade is not one that will make headlines, but it was a fantastic trade for the Cincinnati side. Duvall has produced stats that seem like an outstanding season until you look at his average. While 15 home runs and 61 RBIs are eye-popping numbers, .205 at the plate is not.
The Reds were still able to find a decent return, even if it is in the form of potentially washed up prospects. Preston Tucker, a 28-year old outfielder will assume the roster spot of Duvall. A player with potential from the University of Florida, was never able to find consistent playing time or a consistent swing, but did drive in a run in his Cincinnati debut.
Former first-round pick Lucas Sims was considered a top arm in his class. It has been over six years since he heard his name called, and his stats are less than impressive. In 68 major league innings, his ERA is a hair under 6.00. The Reds hope is that a change of scenery for the first rounder will spark the potential he once had.
The other pitcher joining the organization, Matt Wisler has seen almost the same level of success, which is not much. Wisler has an ERA of 5.27 in 74 appearances, 49 being starts. The Braves had always hoped Wisler would be a successful pitcher but have given up on the 25-year old. When the playoffs are in reach but not in your hands, teams will give up on projects and another team will jump on it, the Reds hope they found the right project.
Deadline Day: Final Thoughts
People will criticize the Reds for their failure to move certain players, but that should not be the case. They were able to flip a player that should not see the field as a starter, for three players who were at one point considered legitimate prospects. They kept two players who will be on the team when they compete next year and want to play in Cincinnati. The player they were supposed to trade loves being a Red, and could potentially resign. If Harvey leaves, they missed out on most likely a single project.
July is in the past and the season is essentially over. The Reds did not ace the deadline, but the moves made, or not made, could make them winners in the future. The key to the story will be next season. Will the players they did not trade push them to October, or will the lack of moves come back to haunt?
“From Our Haus to Yours”