MLB Trade Deadline: Cincinnati Reds Are Out of the Playoff Race, Trade Away

J.P. WainscottContributor IJuly 23, 2011

Reds GM Walt Jocketty should make some deals regardless of the Reds' playoff hopes this year.
Reds GM Walt Jocketty should make some deals regardless of the Reds' playoff hopes this year.Hunter Martin/Getty Images

After Friday night’s 6-4 loss to the Atlanta Braves, the Cincinnati Reds are out of the Central Division pennant race. Being four games out might not seem like a lot, but it is nearly impossible when you have three teams ahead of you in the standings, and your team stinks.

The Reds stink!

Proof of this claim exists in Miguel Cairo’s two-strike, one-out squeeze bunt attempt with a base open and the pitcher in the hole.

The next inning, Brandon Phillips led off with a single, stole second and then watched three Reds make no effort to move him over or, heaven forbid, knock him in with a base hit.

My favorite moment might have been when Nick Masset let a .220 hitting shortstop reach base before serving a home run to the .182 hitting Dan Uggla in the top of the ninth.

Whatever, the Reds are done. Dusty Baker should be too, but that’s a fight I’ll save for another day.

Despite the joyless and juvenile play of the Cincinnati Reds, I still think the Reds GM, Walt Jocketty, should make some major moves before the July 31 trade deadline.

The Reds’ 2011 hopes are diminished, but they still have a remarkable opportunity to compete for the next two years. That’s as good as it gets for a small-market team operating under Bud Selig’s business model.

Teams like the Reds can only hope the stars align long enough to make a three-year run every decade or so. The main components that led to the 2010 division title (Cueto, Bailey, Leake, Votto, Bruce and Stubbs) are under contract through 2013. The window closes soon after that.

Additionally, the Reds are sitting on one of the top farm systems in the major leagues. They have two elite and offensive-minded catching prospects, which is like having the only banjo at a bluegrass festival.

Yonder Alonso is another above-average prospect that has much more value on another team than sitting behind Joey Votto for a couple more years. Todd Frazier, Dave Sappelt, Juan Francisco, Brad Boxberger, Billy Hamilton, etc. are all tantalizing young talents.

The Reds don’t have time to wait and see that young talent develop in Cincinnati. If they do wait, Joey Votto will be a Yankee, and Jay Bruce will either be in Boston, a bust or a high-dollar superstar whose contract prevents the Reds from addressing other team needs.

Walt, you need to strike while the iron is hot. This doesn’t mean you should go after the rent-a-player types that will be gone at the end of the year. Again, you have no hope to win this year (ex: 18-inning scoreless streak in Pittsburgh).

BUT, if it is true that Hunter Pence is on the market, you tell Houston to take whatever prospects they want, minus one of the two catching prospects.

The Rays are willing to part with James Shields? Throw in the Carew Tower and Fountain Square.

Ubaldo Jimenez is available? Marty Brennaman can call Rockies games. Like the rest of Votto and the Gang, these players would be under Reds control through 2013.

Please, Walt! Give us two years with the supermodel before we marry the postal clerk!

You would be correct to assume that this strategy will leave the Reds a mess when the year 2014 comes around. Who cares! When are the Reds going to have this opportunity again?

I’ll take my chances with the reigning MVP, Pence and Shields/Jimenez, a stellar defense and Jay Bruce’s potential over the likelihood that Alonso and Mesoraco will be the next Perez and Bench.

Get to Dealin’, Walt! You will be retired the next time the Reds see this kind of opportunity.