The Reds are willing to listen to trade offers for virtually any player on their roster, according to a pair of reports from C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. While there was some hesitation to embark on a complete fire sale prior to the non-waiver trade deadline, sources tell Rosenthal that owner Bob Castellini is now on board with the idea that a more dramatic retooling of the roster is needed.
“I don’t know if we’re in a position to say there’s any untouchables,” president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty told Rosecrans. “There’s certainly guys who would be much more difficult to move, but we have to be open minded to whatever we can do to improve the club for the long term.” Jocketty said the Reds have made it “pretty explicit” to other teams that they’re open for trades.
Jocketty told the pair of reporters that at entering the season and even this summer, the Reds “wanted to be somewhat protective of our club,” but the year didn’t pan out as hoped. Asked by Rosenthal if he was ready to trade Aroldis Chapman and Jay Bruce after backing down on trade scenarios involving that pair prior to the non-waiver trade deadline, Jocketty responded, “I would say probably.”
The availability of Chapman and Bruce has been widely expected, but Rosenthal further tweets that the Reds will even be open-minded on third baseman and reigning Home Run Derby champion Todd Frazier, who is under control for two more seasons.
Frazier, 30 in February, had a monstrous first half (.284/.337/.585, 25 homers) but slumped badly following the All-Star break (.220/.274/.390, 10 homers). His cumulative season batting line was still strong, and when paired with his plus defense at third base it led to a strong overall year worth about four wins above replacement, per Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs. But, the second half was a nonetheless disappointing outcome for Frazier, who looked to be on the verge of a superstar-caliber breakout.
Frazier will earn $7.5MM in 2016 — the second season of a two-year contract signed to buy out his first two seasons of arbitration. The former supplemental first-round pick can’t become a free agent until after the 2017 season, so any club interested in trading for him would be picking up two years of club control at a highly reasonable rate.
Chapman is controlled for the 2016 season only, with MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projecting a $12.9MM salary in his final trip through the arbitration process. Bruce is owed $12.5MM in 2016 and has a $13MM club option ($1MM buyout) for the 2017 season.
Those three players represent the Reds’ most logical impact trade chips, as the remaining $199MM on Joey Votto’s contract is daunting even after his MVP-caliber rebound season in 2015. Votto’s contract also comes with a full no-trade clause, further complicating the thought of trading him. Brandon Phillips would make a logical trade candidate, as he, too, enjoyed a nice rebound season, making the remaining two years and $27MM on his contract look fairly reasonable. However, Phillips has 10-and-5 rights (10 years of service time, including five straight with his current team), thus affording him full trade veto power as well.
While Jocketty, of course, won’t tip his hand as to what he’d seek in return for pieces such as Chapman, Bruce and Frazier, it seems that the idea in Cincinnati is to aim for a quick turnaround as opposed to a lengthy Astros/Cubs-style rebuild. Said Jocketty to Rosecrans and Rosenthal: “…I think we really started at the deadline knowing that ’16 was going to be a transition year and ’17 and ’18 will be the timeframe we think will be able to be stronger and more competitive.”