Listen? Maybe. Trade? No.

I’m late to the party on this after a week of vacation but I certainly read the reports that the Reds were “listening” to trade offers for Jay Bruce and others last week. I have the highest respect for Ken Rosenthal and his reporting but I also don’t expect Bruce to go anywhere.

The problem with Hot Stove rumors about teams “listening” about deals or “kicking the tires” on another player or the “mystery team” being interested is you have to wonder what the motivation is of the sources. A team could be trying to get a right fielder from a different team and not like the trade offers. Suddenly, if Bruce is hypothetically on the market — maybe that could make the other dealable player less coveted.

As for listening, I could go to the Apple Store and ask them to listen to my offer of paying $50 for a brand new iPhone 6 and maybe they will. But they obviously won’t be taking it seriously. General manager Walt Jocketty wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t at least listen and judge the landscape from which he is working.

But trading Bruce now is selling low on a player who had a horrible one season and the return on the trade would reflect it. It wouldn’t help the team enough, if it wants to win in 2015. Based on his track record of offense (and defense), I’m willing to give Bruce the benefit of the doubt that 2015 will be better and closer to the average of around 30 homers and 100 RBIs from 2011-13. He will also be only 28 come next Opening Day. And considering that he’s owed $12 million in 2015 and $12.5 million in 2016, he’s here at relatively reasonable price for the offense he provides. Trading him doesn’t address the primary issue of adding offensive punch because there would be few if any choices on the open market that does what Bruce does for that price.

In the bigger picture, if the Reds were to trade Bruce, or Johnny Cueto — it would signal to me that the firesale is here. Because if they’re going to dump them, they may as well prune other contracts out like the others of the starting rotation and Aroldis Chapman and wait for the prospects to come in 2016 and ’17. It would certainly be a painful route to take, especially in what should be a very competitive NL Central. But I really doubt that Bob Castellini would sign off on that and I don’t think Jocketty would have signed a new two-year deal if it meant dumping players and starting a rebuild where he might not be around to see the payoff years down the road.

I never rule anything out in this game and business, but I think the Reds think they can keep the band together for 2015 and make one giant push to go for the division crown again. If things go awry like this year, they can always have said firesale before July 31.

What do you think?


Keeping Bruce is definitely the best bet for right now. If any trade is made during the offseason, it should be for a LF and/or a solid bullpen arm (and there’s still always the option of a FA left fielder like Morse or Aoki). Trading Bruce would only add the to Reds’ offensive struggles.

I definitely agree that the first half of 2015 will be the time period that determines if the Reds stick to their guys and go for a title or if they clean house and get as many big-time prospects as they can.

I can see keeping Bruce, but I have some serious concerns. The guy can’t hit a breaking ball. It burns the team in clutch situations regularly. If you can get someone to buy in that he only had one bad year, you might get the offense you need out of a trade. I think the real question is, can this problem be helped. If he can get in the cage and down South before next season and find the problem, keep him.

Agree, this team has much more potential. Votto will be back, Frazier and Mez continue to show positives. However, if this team doesn’t get RBIs from other bats it won’t matter to a hill of beans. You can have great pitching and defense but if you don’t score runs it’s going to be over before opening day 15. I’m still confused by the Bailey deal. No-hitters are great but I want October wins. All the places we could have used this cash…..

Then there is Bruce. We all say “Well, Bruce just had a bad year” but it wasn’t just a bad year. It was an aweful year. I don’t get attached to the thought of him improving. I say move up or move out. I can’t watch another year of seeing him swat air. He is a silver slugging Major Leaguer so he should play like it. No excuses.

This division will be a grinder and the Reds better prepare themselves accordingly. The days of picking on the Cubs and Pirates are over. I pray to the baseball gods that the front office is taking this seriously.

As a fan you certainly never want to hear the words “Fire Sale.” I myself think this year was an abnormalidty and 2015 will be quite better. The Reds had the double whammy of injuries and poor performan from its core three players. Votto will hopefully be back to 100% and Bruce and Phillips will hopefully put up better numbers. Add to this another step foward for for Hamilton and just a half step foward for Frazier and Devin and you have six very solid everyday players. We do have aight hitting SS but with his glove you can live with an average in the .245 range. I do think we are in need of a solid power hitting LF player and if the fire sale isn’t on its worth the risk to add someone until the farm system can provide that player or we trade a pitcher from a very solid pitching staff to get the last piece.
But if indeed the fire sale starts this Winter or in July please don’t blame the fans for not showing up if the team owners and GM give up. I drive 225 miles round trip at least 10 times a season and I love my Reds with much passion so I am asking for the Reds to PLEASE do not give up on this team.

I fully agree with your position, Mark. If you are going to fire sell it needs to be before the trade deadline with the club out of the race, or after 2015. All that is needed to be more competitive is one good bat and some well paid guys having the kind of season they are paid to have regularly. However, I would not rule out a spot trade at anytime if it will improve the club’s chances. IF Bruce comes back on a 20/80 pace with his usual feast or famine and a .240 BA with a lot of SO’s, move him if you can get what you want to help the club. You can get that kind of production with a platoon and his D is good, not great. He is a very flawed hitter and seems incapable/unwilling to change his approach and style.

Uh, we only have 2 good outfielders as it is. Why in heck would we trade one of them?

Agree with article conclusions. Not being back to full strength after injury, factor also with others not just Bruce. Hopefully 2015 will be absent the horrible injury pattern of ’14. I think last month or so of season was downer for everyone incl. Hamilton. (Hopefully it wasn’t just that opposing teams had his number. From what Hamilton has shown, he should be able to modify his approach for more success. Banged his head pretty good too, at end of season.)

There is still the intangible of spirit, drive, and enthusiasm that has been clearly missing, particularly last season. Can/will Price stir this team up ? Also, I may be the lone ranger, but the conditioning program seems to be a weak spot both in terms of the injuries and the recovery times. Another observation–Riggleman’s addition is a plus.

If Bruce has a better year , if Votto comes back from his injury , if Hamilton adjusts to what opposing pitchers did with him , if Phillips returns to form , if they get a REAL cleanup hitter , if they get bullpen help . One thing for sure . Price isn’t going to light a fire under anyone and there isn’t a player currently on the roster that will either . This team ,as is ,will NOT be a serious player in 2015 .

If, ifs and buts were hits and runs, oh what a season 2015 would be.

How about trading jay Bruce while getting someone to take on all the salary. I know I might be dreaming but hear me out. If they do this while getting a couple prospects so be it. We have seen the peak of Bruce.

Sign aoki to a two or three year 15 million a dollar deal. Can be the bridge to winker or Ervin in right. He’s an on base machine with a great glove

Trade latos and a prospect to Red Sox and get cespedes. Lock him up with what’s left of jay Bruce savings and what they were planning to spend on left field. Two players for the price of one.

Cespedes Hamilton aoki left to right

Frazier cozart Phillips and votto 3rd to 1st

Mes and Pena behind plate

This lineup hides cozarts hitting woes

Rotation of

Leake Bailey cueto Simon Iglesias cingrani corcino lively Stephenson. Catch my drift

Looks good on paper. Now jocketty go get it done. I have faith

Bruce and Cespedes are almost identical for offensive numbers. Cespedes is a year older. Bruce is a much superier fielder and has a higher OBP. HR and RBIs about equal though Bruce has a much longer track record of success than Cespedes. Both would get much more money on the open market. Just because its new does not mean its better. No reason to trade Bruce. We should be talking only about the same people as last year. Latos and Phillips. Those are our two pieces that just dont fit right now. The only move and best move right now is to sign a gap player with strong OBP which the Reds need more than anything including HRs, oh we have plenty of guys that can strike out and hit the home run. We need guys that can get on base. Keep our pitchers unless you get something better than the draft pick we would get for Latos, Leake and Simon. Sign Cueto and one more that is not Latos and continue to move forward. I dont see this as end of the world at all. We have soooo many good pitching prospects in the minors we will be fine. What we dont have is good hitters in the minors.

I agree that if we trade a front line, that it is Latos…not Cueto. Cueto wants to stay in Cincy and loves it here; hopefully that will tilt a deal in our direction. Latos is our #2 and if a team can get beyond his injuries, and they are explainable, not lingering injuries, he should go if there is a ‘go’. Cespedes is interesting in LF, but he’s clearly a one-year rental. Maybe the Reds have it right this season…pick up Hunter
for a year; that would be good for us all around and then we could pay him a healthy salary…nothing long term and I don’t know, but at his age I think he may
appreciate a last stop. As for Phillips, I have read absolutely nothing about the Reds or him or another team wanting him. He has passed the 10/5 and that coupled with his contract and waning and decreasing numbers would make it very difficult to trade. On the brighter side, he is spectacular with the glove and the pitchers love the guy at 2nd; he needs to recoup his previous and excellent contact hitting of years gone by. We shall see what Jocketty has up his sleeve; never have I been able to figure out a trade/acquisition before it happens, especially a Jocketty move. One last note…as we continue to talk hot stove, I continue to have grave concerns about uncle Price and his management style and moves. He holds a number of games in his hands based on pitching changes, lineups and strategies.
I trust he matures and stops the ‘uncle friendly softball in the park management mentality’.

Here’s another chunk of hot stove to chew on…
The Red Sox has Sandoval (3B) in fold, and are working diligently on getting
Hanley Ramirez (SS). If they complete a deal for Ramirez there is rumor that
they would trade their young phenom, Xander Bogaerts, for some front line
pitching help. Xander is 21 and looks like a future all star, already putting up
an OBP of .299 in two years, the first one abbreviated. One or two hurdles
with pursuing this kind of tantalizing thinking is, 1) the Reds have publicly
stated they like Cozart at SS, and 2) it would be tinkering with a position that
is not a current necessity; LF/clean up and bullpen are the two stated problems,
and are publicly stated targets. As we all know though, stranger trades have
encompassed other/multiple positions while satisfying the original need.

I can’t help but think that the team as a whole has huge chips on each other’s shoulders. Votto is perturbed and wants to perform, Bruce has been embarrassed
and may be a bit angry, Cozart clinches his teeth more than any other player I have seen…and with returning Mesoraco, Frazier, Hamilton and a new LF, all coupled with our premiere SP, we might well have a pretty decent team this coming season. However, if the flounder, pout, swing-from-the-heels, ignore game situations and play sand lot ball, then we will continue to languish as an ‘also ran’ come October. Much of this, imo, can be attributed to the Manager and Coaches. In our minds eye, we need merely replay last season, with all of it’s few ups and and several downs, but insert a metality and fire of a Sparky or a LaRussa or a Piniella or a Bochy, and I would suggest that the year would have been different as these Managers make their players different. I am not laying the season at Price’s feet completely, but he also
must improve and improve very quickly.

Neb, I agree and also think the Reds had a lot of injuries and we know everything year that the Reds have a strong starting line up when healthy but are not deep. So injuries will destroy another season. But all in all if Votto is healthy this team should be fine. I thought this was a World Series team last year and still think that this year. They have all the pieces needed.

Ifs,ifs and more ifs . There is no fire on this team . Personalities don’t change with the flip of a switch . As for injuries, ask the Cardinals about theirs . Oh , yea, they won the division .

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