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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Reds do nothing at trade deadline.

So the trade deadline has come and gone, and we have no news of any sort coming out of the Reds front office.  There were rumors that the Reds were in the mix for Alex Rios (who was not traded), and were dangling Mat Latos (I wonder if folks have injury concerns?) and Ryan Ludwick (who would take him?) on the market.  In the end, though, it looks like there won't be a big blockbuster deal of any sort for the Reds until the offseason.  Yes, there can be smaller deals on players who squeak through waivers.  But we won't see big impact deals.

Normally, I am not the sort who will argue to do something for the sake of doing something.  But in this case, I think the Reds really needed to make a decision: are they going for it, or are they done?  For reference, here are BPro's playoff projections, which have usually been among the more optimistic for the Reds this season:

15% isn't completely out of it.  But this is a team that had 50/50 shot as recently as the all-star break.  They've really collapsed, and frankly I think a 0.500 team is more indicative of what the Reds are than where they were at the all-star break.  Maybe I'm just feeling pessimistic.

In any case, here are the Reds options:

They're Going For It

If the Reds are going for it, I think it's almost impossible to look at their current active roster and think that what they have will be enough.  They are currently starting Skip Schumaker, Bryan Pena, and Chris Heisey in three of their starting spots.  I can live with Heisey in left field because of what he does with the glove, but Schumaker and Pena are not acceptable solutions for a playoff team.  It's no surprise, then, that the Reds' offense has been miserable for the past several weeks.

To have any kind of reasonable shot at the playoffs, they needed to add a significant bat.  There really just was no alternative.  I don't know what was available, and maybe there wasn't much out there.  But if you want to go for it, but can't find a good bat, then I think you have to conclude that the Reds aren't going to make it.  In which case, they should go for option two:

Concede the Season

The Reds do not have any major free agents leaving this fall.  But they have a large group of players who would leave the following season: Mat Latos, Mike Leake, Johnny Cueto, and Alfredo Simon.  Furthermore, they have at least one player who has played vastly above the level at which one could reasonably expect him to ever again in Alfredo Simon.  They also have a substantial increase in payroll coming in 2015, thanks to many of their young infielders coming up for arbitration eligibility, and several of their other players getting incrementally more expensive on their contracted deals.  With the market willing to pay for pitching, I think this was a missed chance to sell a part (especially Simon!), pick up some prospects that can help the team in 2015 and 2016, and, perhaps most importantly, re-tool the team to make it more financially viable and flexible next year.

But, they didn't do that.  So we're left with a season that is close to lost.  And really, I'm not sure how much better we can hope that the Reds will be in 2015.  So while I guess I'm glad they didn't do anything disastrous today, I think this was a missed chance to improve the Reds moving forward.