Now that the All-Star Game is in the past, the Cincinnati Reds are prepared to deal. The club is expected to be active over the next two weeks, and according to John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer, the Reds are preparing for a fire sale.
Fay adds Reds Owner Bob Castellini has given the organization's front office permission to trade players as it sees fit, which might lead to a handful of deals in the coming days. Todd Frazier, who has posted a .280/.332/.576 batting line to complement 25 home runs and 57 RBIs, is not expected to be dealt. Billy Hamilton, who is batting .221/.269/.287 with three home runs and 19 RBIs likely will not be traded either. Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto, and Homer Bailey all have extensive contracts which makes trading them a challenge and the Reds likely view the trio as a part of their core moving forward.
However, while several core pieces are not expected to be dealt, Fay believes at least four players will be traded before the end of the month. Mike Leake, Johnny Cueto, Aroldis Chapman, Marlon Byrd, Skip Schumaker, and Brayan Pena could be among them.
Leake and Cueto are both set to become free agents at the end of the season and could be dealt to contending clubs in pursuit of starting pitching. Cueto, 29, has proven to be a solid top of the rotation arm and has posted a 2.73 ERA and 3.05 FIP over 118.2 innings this season. Leake has also had a fair amount of success, posting a 3.95 ERA and 4.10 FIP over 120.2 frames. The Tigers, Yankees, Royals, and Astros are all known to be interested in starting pitching and Leake and Cueto would likely boost the rotation of a potential playoff team.
Chapman has saved 18 contests while posting a 1.69 ERA and 1.70 FIP over 37.1 innings to this point in 2015. Jonathan Papelbon, Tyler Clippard, and Francisco Rodriguez could also be dealt and as a result, Chapman might not initially draw a notable amount of interest. Byrd has batted .253/.304/.478 to complement 15 home runs and 33 RBIs over 67 games and would bring power to a contending club's lineup.
In any deal, the Reds are expected to request prospects in return. Fay believes the Reds' primary target is an "impact bat," however pitching depth might also be ideal. Cincinnati is preparing to rebuild and has not sold several major league pieces at the same time since 2003. But at 40-48, the Reds are ready for a fire sale.