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Cincinnati Reds links - Raisel Iglesias as a waiver trade candidate

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Kenny Karst-USA TODAY Sports

Though the non-waiver trade deadline passed on August 1st, that doesn't mean that MLB teams can't still make major additions (or subtractions) between now and the end of the season.  The waiver trade period extends until the end of the month of August, and teams have already been active in that market in attempts to bolster potential playoff runs in both leagues.  Relievers Hunter Cervenka, Pat Venditte, and Arquiimedes Caminero have already been traded in the waiver period, and even the occasional blockbuster tends to go down when there are major contracts involved - such as the absurd 2012 trade between Boston and the Dodgers that included Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, James Loney, Ivan De Jesus, Jr., about a quarter billion dollars, and others.

The Cincinnati Reds are no strangers to the waiver trade process, as they've dumped Adam Dunn (2008), Jonathan Broxton (2014), and Marlon Byrd (2015) in recent years despite there still being decent money left on each of their deals.  When a player gets claimed in the August period, the team he currently plays for has several options:  they can simply let the claiming team have the player and his contract, they can pull the player back and keep him, or they can attempt to negotiate some form of trade.  That, of course, is only after the claiming teams are whittled down based on tiebreakers, if need be, as the worse (or worst) claiming teams get the advantage.  As Mike Axisa of CBSSports.com noted, there are several big name, big contract players that profile as potential movers this month, too.

Though no Reds make Axisa's list, parsing through the current Reds roster brings up a few interesting names worth looking at.  Joey Votto, for instance, would be an instant boost any team that claimed him, but with some 7+ years and upwards of $185 million guaranteed left on his deal, any claiming team would run the risk that the Reds would just let him leave, and that's a massive contract to simply add to any team's budget sans subtracting payroll elsewhere, so odds are Joey won't be going anywhere.  Brandon Phillips has seen a resurgence of late, but he's got $14 million due his way after this season and has shown in the past that he'll willingly invoke his 10/5 rights to block any trade, so it's not so likely he'll be changing hands, either.

The one name that keeps coming to mind as a player that may well have action on him this month is reliever Raisel Iglesias, and that's in large part because of the way I just described him:  reliever Raisel Iglesias.  Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reported this morning that the New York Mets had placed a waiver claim on "a reliever,"and while I've got no way of knowing which reliever that is, it was enough to make me think about the ramifications of a claim on Igloo.  Iglesias the reliever has been absurd in 2016, holding opposing hitters to just a .419 OPS in 106 PA while owning a 0.68 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, and 10.1 K/9, the kind of numbers any bullpen would glowingly add, especially one with eyes on a deep playoff run for a second consecutive season.

The rub, though, comes in several forms.  For one, there's not yet been an indication that Iglesias' career as a starting pitcher is completely done in the eyes of the Reds, and there's obviously a different amount of value placed on a starting arm versus a relief arm.  The Reds were one of the few teams who actively thought Iglesias could be a starting pitcher when they signed him years ago, and when he's been on the mound as a starter in limited time over the last two years, he's been as electric as advertised.  However, shoulder issues have shelved him and forced the team to twice limit his throwing to maintain his prized arm, and other teams predictably would factor that in as a governor to any desire to add him now, or ever.

The thing most complicating any potential claim of Iglesias is his contract.  He's got 4+ years and some $22.5 million guaranteed left on the deal he originally signed with the Reds, though he comes with team control through the 2021 season and the ability to opt-out of his current deal and go through the arbitration process once eligible in another two seasons.  If a claiming team sees any glimpse that he could still be a starting pitcher down the road - especially one with the top tier talent he's shown when healthy - the contract looks like a bargain, but if he's viewed solely as a relief option, that's a lot of guaranteed money for many years for a relief arm, especially if the shoulder issues are the reason he's been scaled back in the first place.

Ultimately, I don't see the Reds taking the risk of letting Iglesias go at this point, even if they've secretly made the determination that he'll no longer be a starter.  In fact, I doubt the team sees any waiver trade of significance this August, since Zack Cozart's market is still saturated and so many of the other pieces are young and unproven.  Still, Iglesias is the most interesting case to watch this month, especially if he continues to slice through lineups two innings at a time the way he has so far.

In other news, Baseball America's JJ Cooper fielded a question about new Reds farmhand TJ Friedel in regards to where he'll rank among the team's crop of top prospects, and gave a great and detailed answer worth reading. Friedl, for what its worth, slotted in as the #12 prospect in the team's system, according to MLB Pipeline.

The Enquirer's C. Trent Rosecrans spoke with both Dan Straily and Billy Hamilton after Hamilton's spinning, highlight-reel catch in Pittsburgh over the weekend, and did so with the premise that both had been huge boons to the Reds so far this season.  I couldn't agree more, and it's rife with quotes that make me like them both that much more after having read it.

Finally, it occurred to me that both Tony Cingrani and Clayton Kershaw have each walked 51 batters in big league games since the start of the 2015 season, respectively.  Kershaw did so in 353.2 innings pitched, however, while it's taken Tony Spaghetti just 81.2 innings to get there.  More of a sprint for the Reds' lefty, it would appear.