Will the Cincinnati Reds wind up as sellers at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline? Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
The non-waiver trade deadline is Thursday, July 31, and front offices across Major League Baseball are busy trying to figure out which players to trade, or trade for, in order to improve their team’s chances this year or beyond. For a few unfortunate executives, the choices are even more vexing, as they must first figure out whether they should be buyers or sellers. According to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark, the Cincinnati Reds find themselves in this no-man’s land after spending most of the season as presumptive buyers. As Stark points out in his latest column:
"And the Reds, another team with interest, are reassessing their situation after losing eight of nine since the All-Star break."
Entering the All-Star break, the Reds were streaking toward first place in the National League Central division and had the look of a serious contender. Even with an injured Joey Votto and a broken offense, Cincinnati was arguably the hottest team in baseball.
… the Reds … are reassessing their situation after losing eight of nine since the All-Star break.
Two weeks later, the Reds are still streaking, but in the wrong direction. In the nine games since the break, manager Bryan Price’s club has lost eight times, and their only win was courtesy of a 1-0 gem on Saturday by ace Johnny Cueto. In that span, the Reds have scored just 16 times — total — and the pitching has started to look a bit more pedestrian than the staff that had the feel of a playoff horse in the first half.
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Stark’s assertion that the Reds are beginning to reconsider their position is good news, because most recent rumors surrounding the team have still positioned them as buyers. With so much of the season in the books, and with so much going wrong in the second half, the choice really should be easy for general manager Walt Jocketty.
He can stand pat, or, even better, he can trade a couple of his unexpectedly good players (i.e., Alfredo Simon) for youngsters who can help the club in the future. The worst thing he could do at this point would be to trade prospects for a two-month rental that would help the Reds do nothing but move up a spot or two in the Wild Card standings.