Reds are 'looking to deal'

There’s a lot out there about the Reds dealing some veterans in the offseason. MLB Trade Rumors makes some sense of it:’s Jon Heyman reported yesterday that the Cincinnati Reds might field offers for Brandon Phillips, Francisco Cordero, and Bronson Arroyo.

We’ve heard plenty of speculation that the trade market will be more vibrant this offseason than the free agent market, with so few big names available through free agency. Phillips and Cordero would each match up well with the best free agents available at their respective positions, and even Arroyo posted a 3.84 ERA in 220.1 IP this season. Teams may be more inclined to inquire about their price tags than to dish out long-term contracts to similar or lesser free agents.

The Reds once again finished below .500 last year in the NL Central, and are looking up at the Cardinals, Cubs, and Brewers, who all seem more likely than Cincinnati to add an impact talent this winter. The Reds are not a large-market team; their 2009 payroll sat at $73MM, and we heard earlier this week that it’ll be even smaller in 2010. It makes sense that they would explore the return on a few of their bigger contracts and attempt to rebuild around players like Jay Bruce, Edinson Volquez, and Joey Votto (or top first base prospect Yonder Alonso).

Cordero, Arroyo, and Harang are guys I would try to move. They’re not going to help the Reds make a significant playoff push; by the time we’re ready to compete these guys will either be too aged and ineffective or ready for their contract to expire.

Now Phillips, I don’t trade. At least not in this offseason. Let him come back at an age in which he should be at his prime and see if he can have a career season. We don’t have many run producing hitters that are right handed. I don’t care what kind of stud you think Todd Frazier will end up becoming. Phillips is valuable still to the Reds. You’re not going to recover a bonafide, sure-fire MLB talent in a trade for Phillips. He’s not a malcontent or anything. So keep him around. We had enough trouble scoring last year and they’re kicking around the idea of bringing back Johnny Gomes. Unless you’re desperate for right handed hitting pop, you’re not talking about bringing back Johnny Gomes.

The three pitchers above, I deal yesterday for prospects. I don’t care what Arroyo’s second half ERA was and I don’t care how many innings he and Harang can eat together. ‘Innings eaters’ is just another way of saying that the guys are worthless in every other way. Now we won’t go as far as saying these two guys are worthless, but the days of them being 1-2 in this rotation should be over since we have Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto waiting to take those roles.

Plus, we like the idea of freeing up all that money to lock up the Votto’s, the Bruce’s and the other young studs who arrive on the scene in Cincinnati the next couple years.