The Reds have acquired closer Archie Bradley in a last-second deadline deal with the Diamondbacks, per announcements from both clubs. Utility man Josh VanMeter and outfield prospect Stuart Fairchild are headed to the D-backs in return for Bradley, and Arizona will also reportedly kick in $100K to help cover Bradley’s remaining salary.
Bradley, 28, is in his second season as Arizona’s primary closing option and has been a quality member of the ’pen for the past four years now. The former No. 7 overall pick was long one of the game’s most highly regarded pitching prospects, but he struggled in 34 big league starts before finding a home in the D-backs’ relief corp. Dating back to 2017, Bradley has pitched to a strong 2.98 ERA and 3.17 FIP with averages of 10.1 strikeouts, 3.2 walks and 0.7 homers per nine innings (despite pitching in a hitter-friendly home park).
Controlled through the 2021 season, Bradley agreed to a $4.1MM salary in arbitration this past winter. That’s been prorated to about $1.48MM in this year’s shortened schedule, and roughly $617K of that sum remains to be paid out. He’ll be eligible for arbitration once more this winter.
Bullpen help has been a major area of need for the Reds throughout the 2020 season, as their relievers have combined to post a grisly 5.48 ERA and 5.20 FIP. Closer Raisel Iglesias has struggled to an ERA north of 5.00, while some of his top projected setup men, Michael Lorenzen (6.75 ERA) and Pedro Strop (designated for assignment) have not risen to the occasion. Cincinnati has received strong showings from Amir Garrett, Lucas Sims and Tejay Antone, but an established arm has long looked a sensible addition as they look to tread water in a disappointing NL Central that has seen the Cubs pull away from the pack for the division lead. The Reds, Cardinals and Brewers are all sub-.500 clubs vying for a second-place seed and perhaps a Wild Card spot.
As with most of the Diamondbacks’ trades today — Arizona also sent Starling Marte to the Marlins, Robbie Ray to the Blue Jays and Andrew Chafin to the Cubs — they’ll pick up an MLB-ready asset who can jump right onto the roster in VanMeter. The D-backs also added lefty Caleb Smith in the Marte swap and lefty Travis Bergen in the Ray deal. Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen and his staff have regularly chosen to prioritize controllable MLB pieces as the returns in their trades rather than pure prospects, and that trend carries over to the Bradley swap as well.
VanMeter, 25, is out to a 2-for-34 start in 2020 but posted a .237/.327/.408 slash in 260 plate appearances last year. He’s also a career .287/.353/.536 hitter in 573 plate appearances at the Triple-A level, pointing to potential for growth at the plate. Beyond his minor league track record, VanMeter possesses plenty of positional versatility, which is another hallmark of D-backs players under Hazen’s watch. He’s primarily been a second baseman in the big leagues but also carries experience at all four corner positions (plus 810 minor league innings at shortstop).
That said, Fairchild is very arguably the bigger get for the D-backs in this deal. A second-round pick in 2017, he’s regarded as an above-average runner with an above-average arm and the ability to play all three outfield slots. Fairchild posted big numbers in two very pitcher-friendly leagues last year, slashing .258/.335/.440 (130 wRC+) in Class-A Advanced and .275/.380/.444 (142 wRC+) with just a 12.8 percent strikeout rate in Double-A.
Fairchild was generally ranked in the Reds’ top 15 prospects, landing 10th at Baseball America, 11th at MLB.com, 13th at FanGraphs. That there’s not a more highly regarded prospect within the deal likely speaks to several factors: the team’s opinion of VanMeter and Fairchild as well as some possible pressure from ownership to reduce payroll.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic first reported the deal (via Twitter). John Gambadoro of 98.7 Arizona Sports reported the return (Twitter link). The Athletic’s Zach Buchanan added that the D-backs were sending $100K to Cincinnati as well.
Nooooooo! I have him as closer in a couple H2H category teams. He better not go to the 8th inn. Cmon Dbacks don’t you know these transactions affect more people than both clubs fanbases? Haha -yea right!
This is going to be the best .480 team in history.
Hahaha, at least they did SOMETHING to try and close they gap with the Cubs. The Cards did NOTHING and the Brewers actually subtracted.
Brewers subtracted in the offseason
Not sure how Archie Bradley evokes such a thought, but okay.
archie slept with your wife or something?
That’s the impression I’m getting from his litany of negative Archie comments lol
Ooh, you demonstrate real original brilliance…or something!
I’m being snarky but I’m legitimately surprised/disappointed at the difference between Cincy’s talent on paper and the results in the standings (last year, too). I feel bad for Reds fans. I hope they can put it together on the field.
Ah, yeah I agree with you on that.
It’s the manager. David Bell is awful.
The manager is not the reason the star hitters aren’t hitting.
If they can get up a little over 500 they make the playoffs, and if Castillo gets straightened out, they are NOT a team you want to face (Bauer, Gray, Castillo).
Reds are scary with all their pitching come a short playoff series
Archie Bradley is scary, but not in the way you are thinking.
Tbh he hasn’t been that reliable since 2017
He hasn’t been reliable since…….ever.
He was dominant in 2017. MLB network had him ranked as a top 10 reliever in the game prior to the ‘18 season.
He was “dominant’ for half of 2017 in mostly lower leverage situations and as they moved him into the setup role in the second half that “dominance” faded along with his K/9 rate, etc.
That’s it. The highlight of his career. But hey, if you want to put him in a critical role on your team, I’d be more than happy to watch it.
In a corresponding move by MLB, the Diamondbacks will be demoted to AAA
Damn it theo. We needed a closer.
wow thats a steal for CIN
Are you kidding me??? This is a great deal for the Dbacks.
Is it hard work going through life so ignorant utterly stupid?
You tell me.
VanMeter and Fairchild? Wow, I wish the Rockies had gotten him instead of Givens. Would have been much cheaper.
VanMeter and Fairchild are a great return for Bradley for the D’backs. But part of me would have loved to see Bradley end up driving Rockies fans crazy instead.
He wouldn’t have driven us crazy. We are practically immune to bullpen implosions after Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw, and Jake McGee the past 3 years.
VanMeter is one step above worthless. He’s a good clubhouse guy who can play 6-7 different positions. That’s it. He can’t hit; he isn’t great defensively; and he has average speed. Maybe your last guy on the bench (in the Reds’ case, not good enough for that even with an expanded roster).
Fairchild is good defensively and can hit some. But he’s 24 and the highest he’s gotten is 1/3 of 2019 in AA. He’s never going to be much more than a fourth OF or maybe a fringe starter if he plays CF.
Evidently AZ liked these guys a lot more than the Reds did.
Key part you must have missed, since it’s a relative thing and critical context. “For Bradley.”
A replacement level utility player has some value and Fairchild shouldn’t be punished for a lost 24 year old season. He performed well at 23 in the AZFL and if he becomes a good 4th OF for the D’backs along with getting a decent utility player that’s a major win in return for a failed starter who became an unreliable, no plus pitch, reliever that nobody would want anchoring their pen who would be a free agent near 30 after next year anyway.
I guess your argument is that the Reds could have gotten more for VM and Fairchild than Bradley (they have NO use for either one other than as trade bait). I don’t know about that. VM has very little value. You can pick up pieces like him on the FA market as non-roster invites for pretty much the minimum. Fairchild has some value, but he’ last played in AA and was the Reds #15 or so prospect.
No, Bradley is no Mariano Rivera. But everything is relative. The Reds bullpen is AWFUL. They are 15-20; with even a slightly below-average bullpen, they would be 20-15, maybe 21-14. Believe it or not, with the possible exception of Amir Garrett, Bradley is the best reliever the Reds have right now.
Reds keep going for it. Never swayed.
They’re 1.5 games out of a playoff spot.
Sounds like they gave up nothing for bim.
VanMeter is a young, serviceable utility guy. Fairchild was a top 10 prospect in the Reds organization, only 23 and 2nd round pick a couple years ago. It’s a great return for an ineffective closer and long time disappointment.
Lmao you’re it’s hilarious you’re trying to dog Archie, yet trying to think vanmeter and Fairchild are decent returns. stfu clown
I think Archie did something to hurt his feelings….he sure seems to have an axe to grind with him
Oh, so you and “Archie” are apparently on a first name basis. This explains some things fanboy.
It is a good return for what “Archie” is, Mrs. Bradley.
He’s mad because Archie never settled the whole Betty/Veronica debate….
Lmao you’re it’s hilarious you’re trying to dog Archie, yet in the same sentence you think vanmeter and Fairchild are decent returns. stfu clown
Big ol’ fire sale goin’ on in Arizona
Yep it is
Archie was a gas can, very like able but always pitched in and out of a mess. Clearly Mike Hazen has figured out they won’t win this year and who knows if next year won’t be this way. The Dodgers are playing good and the Padres have beefed up. Hazen did the right thing.
Dbacks got a bunch of junk today.
Saved bucks. Still trying to get over all that grienke money
They gave up a bunch of junk (except for Marte). Much more expensive junk. The problem with Marte is they gave up more when they traded for him than they got back when they traded him away.
So you’re telling me that the Marlins couldnt beat that package?!?!
D-backs gave him away. I’m sure reds fans are butt hurt over vanmeter as they love to love below average players like him and Scott Schebler
This looks like a good move by Cincy, and that might be the first time I said that in years.
Was the acquisition of Castellanos not up to your standards? Or the trade for Sonny Gray?
or the bauer and castillo trades?
trade madbum back to the giants
Perhaps this is one of those times when the trade was fair and both teams “won”. It is OK for that to happen, isn’t it?
I’ll never forget Bradley’s triple against the Rox in the 17 Wild Card Game. You’ll be missed out here Archie ! Good luck in Ohio bro.