With a full week of trade deadline hindsight at his disposal, CBS's Jon Heyman took a look at some of the more interesting decisions made prior to 4 PM on July 31st. Not surprisingly, the Cincinnati Reds and their decisions to hold on to both Jay Bruce and Aroldis Chapman get a mention, and Heyman didn't hold back in his criticism for them doing so. A source told him it was the Reds getting "cold feet," Heyman himself claims the Reds played things "too safe," and he continues on to criticize the Joey Votto contract (as well as call Cincinnati "baseball's smallest market," which it just plain isn't). Look, the Reds didn't tear down the team to the extent that many media members - Heyman apparently included - hoped for, but they prudently traded away pieces whose half-lives had expired for a bevy of young talent, and in doing so kept a core together that will still put buts in seats.
Not to mention, of course, that the Reds balked at a return for Bruce (Zack Wheeler) who just had Tommy John surgery and isn't even a lock to pitch much at all in 2016, much less 2015. He's a talent, sure, but it's not like it was a blow-away offer that Walt Jocketty bypassed.
As for the 2016 season, the team opting to hold on to Bruce and Chapman would certainly imply that next year won't be a complete punt, yet on MLB Network Radio, Walt Jocketty sure didn't put much confidence in that idea. In this instance, I think there are two main factors in play, and the Reds GM is doing his best to walk the narrow line between them without derailing either plan. First, as mentioned, there's still a chance that the Reds opt to trade either or both of Bruce or Chapman this winter - or even at next year's deadline - and still get solid returns for them, and it's obvious that both are nearing the ends of their contracts while the new group of starting pitchers hasn't yet matured into big league veterans. 2017, in that case, would seem to be the more optimal year to "contend" than 2016 from a pitching perspective, but that's a year removed from Chapman's final year of control and the last year of Bruce's deal (should the option get picked up). Second, and perhaps more important, is that the team's current TV deal is up after the 2016 season, and Walt surely knows that doing his best to ensure a contender is on the precipice will help the team leverage the maximum amount on their new deal, with 2017 being projected year one.
It's all just baseball brinkmanship, folks.
In other news, the recently acquired (and red hot) Cody Reed cracked Baseball America's latest Prospect Hot Sheet at number three this week (h/t @wahoosblog). The hard-throwing lefty that the Reds plucked from the Kansas City Royals has been a pleasant surprise, to be sure. It's also worth noting that Sean Manaea - whose name was sometimes linked in the same deal that brought Reed to Cincinnati in exchange for Johnny Cueto but was eventually flipped to Oakland for Ben Zobrist - checks in at number nine on this list. Man, the Royals truly shed a pile of talented young arms for rentals in the last few weeks, and their starting rotation was already in the toilet. They now stand to lose Cueto, Zobrist, Alex Gordon, Alex Rios, and Ryan Madson after the season, and that coupled with losing Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb, Cody Reed, and Sean Manaea from their 2016 plans could be a true kick in the jimmy to what's been the best team in the AL for the last two years. All in is all in, in this case.
The results of MLB Daily Dish's GM confidence ratings are in, and based on those who took to the polls, nobody really has much confidence in Walt Jocketty. Except for Mike Bates, it seems.
Match.com has partnered with the Cincinnati Reds for AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA wait this is real.
Finally, our friends at Redleg Nation took a look at Anthony DeSclafani's mid-season renaissance, which is a quite cool read.