As July 31 approaches or "deadline day" (in baseball circles), what should the Cincinnati Reds do; buy, sell, or sit tight with their hands under their tooshie and wait until next year?
The Reds are about as deep as any major league club as far as kids on the farm are concerned. They have guys that make other teams drool.
Outfielders Drew Stubbs and Chris Heisey, along with first baseman Yadier Alonso are the most MLB ready prospects.
The Reds need to ask themselves, "Do we have a legitimate shot at the playoffs?"
There is not an easier way to get the fans undies in a bunch than to be working on a ninth straight losing season.
On Saturday, July 18th, the Reds find themselves three games under .500, and five-and-a-half games behind the first place Cardinals. Seven of their eight next series are against team with records .500 or above.
Unfortunately for Reds' fans a playoff appearance is not likely.
Do the Reds have anyone on their current roster they would be willing to deal?
As much as Reds' country is divided on Edwin Encarnacion, he would have been gone by now if they were willing to give him up in a trade.
Ramon Hernandez? To a team that is suffering at the catcher position Hernandez would be a nice grab. If the Reds, in return, could get a measly but durable back-up catcher and a top pitching prospect, go for it.
Ryan Hanigan has more than proved that he can start. He handles the staff well, and can hit. He's probably a better hitter than Hernandez, as his stats are much better—the only thing working against him is a small sample size.
Though, for the month that Joey Votto was out and Ramon Hernandez was forced to play first, Hanigan saw a lot of time behind the dish.
Reds' fans saw a lot of Hanigan. They liked what they saw.
The Reds could also trade an outfielder for prospects. Any team that is lacking a left handed bat would surely be interested in Laynce Nix. The only question with a Nix deal would be, what they could get for him? Doubtful it would be very much.
Willy Taveras is useless to a team not in the market for an exclusive pinch runner.
Contending teams usually want more pitching. While the Reds' starting corps is off limits, they may get a good deal for a reliever.
If they could get a ton for Coco Cordero they should consider it. It would have to be a deal that would break another team's minor league franchises. We're talking MLB ready pitchers and a shortstop.
That's not likely to happen.
However, a guy like Arthur Rhodes may gain more than a bit of attraction. He is 39-years-old and having a lights out season as a set-up man. A contender that lacks a closer may even try him in that role.
Again, the Reds should ask for a lot—not "Coco a lot", but a lot. Over the last two years, Rhodes has proven to be a pretty awesome, post-surgery gun out of the pen. Again though, he is 39-years-old.
Another 39-year-old, David Weathers, should be traded to any team that shows interest. If one half decent prospect is involved—jump on it.
This is the most logical scenario for the Reds. Unless another team comes along with a no-brainer deal for Coco or Rhodes (which may happen) they should not even entertain thoughts of shopping—buying or selling.
The Reds finally have a group primed for playoff runs in the years to come.
An offseason deal for an established starting pitcher makes sense. With Alonso's primary position as a first base, and with Votto there he'll have to switch positions to get a shot in the bigs.
So he is big time trade bait.
In the offseason, perhaps they will trade their manager and coaching staff for a Longaberger basket full of chips. Supposedly those Longaberger's are worth around $200, and chips are tasty.
With Rick Sweet at manager, Mario Soto as pitching coach, Ted Power as bench coach, and Soupy Sales (has to be better than Brook Jacoby) as batting coach, the Reds would easily make the playoffs next season—and very possibly beyond.