Approaching trade deadline can put players on edge

These are nervous times for most major league baseball players, those who do not possess no-trade clauses.

Most players, unless unhappy with playing time or unhappy playing for a losing team, are comfortable where they are. Pulling up roots is not a fun thing.

With the trade deadline approaching like black clouds on the horizon, things can happen fast.

For example, Pittsburgh’s Jordan Lyles was scheduled to start on the mound Monday against the Cincinnati Reds. Instead, before the game, he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, sending manager Clint Hurdle scuffling for a starting pitcher.

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Players in the Reds clubhouse are not certain what the immediate future is for them. With the team seven games out of first place, are the Reds going to stand pat, dump players with the future in mind or add major league players?

Rumors, of course, are floating past Great American Ball Park like flotsam. But rumors are just that. Rumors. What is talked about seldom happens. What isn’t talked about usually happens.

All the insiders had Toronto pitcher Marcus Stroman packaged and delivered to the New York Yankees. Whoops. He was traded to the New York Mets, a deal that was never reported even as a rumor.

Over the past couple of weeks the rumors involving the Reds include Yasiel Puig, Tanner Roark, Raisel Iglesias, Scooter Gennett, Jesse Winker, Derek Dietrich, Luis Castillo, Jose Iglesias and a batboy to be named later. There has been no substance to any of them. Until something happens, speculation is a fruitless exercise.

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Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell knows where he stands. Like singer Kenny Rogers, he says he, “Knows when to hold ’em.”

“I know (trades) are part of it, but I don’t want anything to change,” he said. “We’ve developed relationships and trust. I love what we have going on here. I love the group that we have and you don’t want to ever see anyone go.”

And Bell believes that even though the team has been more down than up this year, scratching and scraping to stay out of place, the players are comfortable in the Cincinnati environment.

“I’m pretty sure that most guys in our clubhouse, if not all of them, really like being here and want to be here,” he said. “But they know that’s part of the game if something was to happen. It is important to me and to the organization to have people here who want to be part of this team.”

But trades do happen. Players leave and players come.

“I’ve experienced it as a player, a coach and in player development and you have to be prepared for anything,” said Bell. “But you can’t think too much about it. It will drive you crazy thinking about it.

“I’m sure it is on everybody’s mind and it can be a little stressful,” Bell added. “The guys who handle it best are those who realize it is all out of their control. They can’t do anything about it so they just keep playing.”

“A lot of times nothing happens,” he added. “You think all this stuff is going to happen and a lot of time not much really changes. You just have to be ready to respond. The big thing is to try to keep things as normal as possible right now,” he said.

Easier said than done.

• TV personalities seemed stunned when Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer stood on the mound and threw the baseball over the center field wall when manager Terry Francona came to take him out of the game.

As it was discussed Monday on MLB-TV, three commentators agreed, “We’ve never seen that before nor have we ever heard of it, except maybe in the minor leagues.”

Research, people, research.

In 1991, Reds relief pitcher Rob Dibble not only threw a ball into the stands, he threw it into the second deck green seats in center field at old Riverfront Stadium.

It was after he got the last out of a 4-3 victory, but he was upset that he gave up two runs and five hits. So he winged the ball over the wall and it struck an elementary teacher on the arm. Dibble made amends by making an appearance in her classroom.

Dibble tells a story about throwing a baseball over the backstop, over the press box, over the grandstands and into the street. His manager told him if he didn’t find that baseball, it was a $100 fine.

So there he was on a street in front of the ball park, looking under cars for the baseball, “Because $100 was a lot of money to a minor-leaguer.”

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