Has Aaron Harang ever had higher value than he has right now? What about Brandon Phillips? Harang has pitched over 230 innings each of the past two years and is averaging 7 innings per start this year. Phillips provides gold-glover caliber defense, power, and speed while playing at a traditionally weak offensive position. Both are signed to reasonable long-term deals. They are the perfect players to build a team around. So why even consider trading them?
Let's look at the team as a whole. The Reds have 4 solid young pitchers including Harang and if Bailey is included in the group. They have a core of young position players including Phillips, Votto, Bruce, EdE, and Kepp who could be the start to a good team. But there are major issues with this team.
The way the Reds are going, you have to assume we'll see the mid-summer fire sale of Dunn, Griffey, Weathers, Hatteburg, Bako, and maybe others. I'd guess those players as a whole will net 2-3 servicable players and a couple low-level, low-rated prospects. So we're left with holes in the outfield, at catcher, and at a starter. Could Phillips be turned into a decent outfielder and a starter? Could Harang be turned into a ML-ready starter, a young prospect, and a couple decent position prospects?
I don't think the Reds have the guts to make that type of move, but it's time to at least explore the possibilities. This is a team that needs to chart a course and stick to it, or we'll just keep going in circles.