As we approach July 31, we will preview what each team is projected to do in advance of the non-waiver trade deadline. For a complete listing of our previews, click here.
Cincinnati Reds: 39-52, 5th in the NL Central
The Reds are definitely out of the mix for a spot in the postseason. They are 12 1⁄2 games behind both for first in the division and two wild card spots.
The Reds have mostly young players right now and they are hoping for greater success in the future. However, they still have some veterans who they may try to get some value in return as they try to finish their rebuilding process and start getting back into contention.
What moves have they made so far?
Cincinnati had unloaded two big names during the offseason, They traded Dan Straily to the Marlins in January for right-handed pitching prospects Luis Castillo and Austin Brice as well as outfield prospect Isaiah White. A month later, they dealt Brandon Phillips to the Braves for left-handed pitcher Andrew McKirahan and right-hander Carlos Portuondo.
They also signed Drew Storen, claimed Scooter Gennett off waivers from the Brewers and signed Bronson Arroyo to a minor-league deal. Gennett has had a nice season, slashing .312/.364/.606 with 16 home runs and 54 RBI, while Storen has had an up-and-down year out of the bullpen and 40-year-old Arroyo ended up on the 60-day disabled list with a right shoulder strain after being terrible in 14 starts (3-6, 7.35 ERA).
They also did drafted and signed high school phenom Hunter Greene. The deal for the No. 2 overall pick included a $7.23 million signing bonus, which is a record for a high school pitcher.
Are they buyers or sellers?
The Reds are clear sellers, but will they find any partners who will need the players they are willing to part with so they can be close to finishing their rebuilding process?
Since 2015, the Reds had at least a few big names they could trade. In December 2015, they traded Todd Frazier to the White Sox and Aroldis Chapman to the Yankees. On Aug. 1, 2016, they dealt Jay Bruce to the Mets.
The Reds have some interesting pieces, particularly at shortstop and starting/relief pitching, that could bring them a nice return. But, will teams even want to fill their needs with these pieces?
Who could they trade?
The Reds’ biggest trade chip that they have is shortstop Zack Cozart.
Cozart is having his best season of his seven-year career in the majors this year. The 31-year-old shortstop became an All-Star for the first time and is currently slashing .310/.392/.536 with nine home runs and 35 RBI. Cozart also ranks among the best defensive shortstops in the game as well.
Unfortunately, few contenders need a shortstop. The only transaction involving a big-named shortstop this year was the Rays acquiring Adeiny Hechavarria from the Marlins. Though Cozart is having a great year, the Reds may not get as much of a return for him because there is not a big demand for shortstops.
Pitching-wise, their two biggest arms they are willing to sell are Storen and Scott Feldman. Both pitchers are free agents after this season.
Storen has a 3.38 ERA in 37 1⁄3 innings pitched. However, he has a 7.20 ERA this month and a 4.70 ERA since June, making his trade stock drop. As for Feldman, he is not having a bad season, going 7-6 with a 3.94 ERA in 18 starts. However, there are plenty of other starting pitchers who are better options for both the short and long term for contenders to try to acquire.
Outside of them, the only other Reds player mentioned in any rumors was closer Raisel Iglesias. The Nationals were interested in the 27-year-old Cuban, who has 16 saves in 17 opportunities. However, the Nationals decided to acquire Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson from the Athletics.
We’ll predict the Reds will keep their team largely intact for now and not make any major moves.
Because of the limited market for shortstops, Cozart will play out his contract. Cozart is open to the idea of an extension with the Reds, but he knows his days could be numbered according to C. Trent Rosencrans of The Cincinnati Enquirer.
And because they are playing in such a tough division, the Reds will turn their focus on getting their young core of players to play better so they can be competitive in 2018 and beyond.