Yesterday was the non-waiver trade deadline.
Okay, you try writing a catchy lede shut up jeez.
The allure of the trade deadline is the anticipation of a big, splashy, organization-shaking blockbuster. If your team is in it, like the Yankees, you tune in to see if they are going to get someone like Sonny Gray. If you are on the flipside of that, you tune in to see if your team can get tantalizing rebuilding blocks for some of their aging, expensive veterans. Dramatic things can happen at the deadline, and drama is fun.
For the Reds though, this really isn’t their kinda party. This year, that has more to do with bad luck than anything else (Zack Cozart and Scott Feldman, their two most attractive trade chips, are both on the DL), but history tells us they usually just have maybe a drink or two and go home early.
Tony Cingrani was the only player the Reds traded at this year’s deadline. They got an interesting young catcher, but again, this was hardly a dramatic development. 2016 was mildly more titillating, as former All-Star Jay Bruce with the Good Hair was shipped to the Mets. But again, this wasn’t a huge splash.
2015 was more active, as both Mike Leake and Johnny Cueto were traded for a raft of interesting prospects, but this hardly jerked the steering wheel of the organization. A good number of bloghole butt sniffers like me were mostly disappointed, actually. While Leake and Cueto were moved, they kept Todd Frazier and Aroldis Chapman, who were both clearly much more valuable trade chips. If there ever was a time to make a big dramatic organization-changing move at the deadline, this was it. And the Reds passed.
The 2012 and 2013 trade deadlines were big opportunities for the Reds to be on the receiving end of some big trades. Both years, they were clearly one of the best teams in the National League and were in prime position to bolster an already-strong roster with some solid additions. The 2013 squad needed a good bat in left field, but they instead chose to sit tight. In 2012, it was a center fielder. Same story, though.
In fact, you kinda have to go all the way back to 2006 when the Reds made The Trade to find the kind of move that one might call “organization-changing.” Of course, that changed the org in a way they probably didn’t intend.
All this is to say that it seems to be the Reds’ philosophy that the non-waiver trade deadline is not the right time to be making big decisions. There’s probably a good argument for that, too. The arbitrary ticking clock can compel one to be rash and reactionary rather than deliberate and rational. Teams can make dramatic moves that alter the course of the franchise for years into the future, but that can go either way. Temperance is probably a virtue in this situation.
If you were anticipating a big shake-up for the Reds yesterday, history says you were probably going to end the day wallowing in disappointment. It’s just not what they do. Which maybe it isn’t entertaining, but it’s probably kinda smart. Usually.