The Cincinnati Reds stood pat at the non-waiver trade deadline in July, choosing to let this year’s flawed team sink or swim on its own. They have mostly sunk and have essentially fallen out of contention, but all is not lost. With the August 31 waiver trade deadline still nearly two weeks off, general manager Walt Jocketty still has time to get some value in return for one of his veteran trade chips: righthander Alfredo Simon.
After a stunning run of success as a starter in the first half, Simon has fallen on his face since the All-Star break. In six second-half starts, Simon is 0-5 with a 5.46 ERA after going 12-3, 2.70 over his first 18 starts. He’s an aging pitcher who never made any kind of hay as a starter before this season, so he might have limited trade value on the surface.
Nevertheless, Simon was a very effective long man for the Reds in 2012-13, compiling a 9-5 record with a 2.79 ERA over 148.2 innings, even throwing in a couple of save for good measure. He could be very attractive to a contender that needs some help in shoring up their bullpen for the pennant push.
One such team just happens to be the deep-pocketed Los Angeles Dodgers, who are definitely looking for bullpen help according to Ken Gurnick at MLB.com. Los Angeles has a three-and-a-half game lead on the San Francisco Giants but would surely like to build more of a cushion, and they also seek to bolster their reserves for an October run. Simon could slide right back into his old role and maybe even do some sport starting to allow manager Don Mattingly the luxury of setting his rotation the way he wants for the first round of the playoffs.
What could the Reds hope to receive in return?
Well, even with his late-season slide, Simon is still a valuable arm who gives his team one more year of control through arbitration eligibility. While Dodgers’ GM Ned Colletti won’t part with any of his biggest prospects, one intriguing name farther down the list is that of Chattanooga Lookouts (AA) outfielder Scott Schebler.
At 24, Schebler is not a youngster, but he hits with power from the left side and has nice speed to go along with solid on-base skills. He still strikes out quite a bit, but his most likely position in the big leagues is left field, a position that has plagued the Reds all season. Given that Cincinnati is now left to look toward 2015, September would be a perfect time to give Schebler his first taste of Major League Baseball, right here on the Riverfront.
Is this a perfect trade scenario? Of course not, but the idea is intriguing, and speculation is about all we’re left with as Reds fans in late August of 2014.