June is winding down and the Cincinnati Reds are playing better baseball.
Of course that means someone is getting traded sooner or later.
Such is the life of a team that can’t quite get out of rebuilding mode no matter how hard it says it is trying.
The month of July — leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline July 31 — could see the Reds make some tough choices on several players with an eye on next season as much as 2020 and beyond.
We take a look (in alphabetical order) at who could go and who might stay.
The Reds catcher is hitting his prime already having won a Gold Glove and continuing to improve at the plate. He’s been mentioned by at least one national writer as a player contenders might want, which makes sense of course, but it’s hard to see the Reds giving him up.
Buy: He is too valuable to the development of the young pitching staff and in the clubhouse, and there’s no clear candidate in the system who could step in and replace him this year.
The slugger is still hitting .205, but he has 12 home runs and 46 RBIs while playing a superb left field. At 29, he is probably maxed out, but Duvall is still under team control for three more seasons. That adds to his value both to the Reds and another team who could use some more thunder late in games during a pennant chase.
Sell: The price is right, but the Reds need to make room for some players moving through the system. Of course if they don’t get an offer they love in July, they could wait until the offseason to trade him.
This might be the most polarizing player on this list.
Simply put, Gennett has been awesome since being acquired for nothing from the Brewers prior to last season. He could bring back a nice haul for a team needing to upgrade its offense, but is it enough to justify the fan upheaval that might follow?
Buy: The Reds need to hang onto this guy because of what he brings both on and off the field as a hometown guy who wants to be a Red. His future might be in the outfield, but he’s putting up offensive numbers to justify that move.
The speedster has been better recently after a terrible start at the plate, but is it time for the Reds to cut their losses?
Sell: Yes. He’s teased his offensive potential before and never maintained it. If the Reds can get anything for him before the deadline they should because he is likely to command a salary that is more than they want to pay for 2019. Plus they have Jose Siri and Taylor Trammell in the system.
A low-risk trade with the Mets has paid off as the beleaguered right-handed starter is experiencing a career renaissance as a Red. Ever heard the phrase, “You can never have enough pitching”?
Sell: The free-agent-to-be seems certain to have more value to a contender than to a Reds team hoping to finish in fourth place. His reawakening could end at any moment, so the Reds need to strike while the iron is hot.
David Hernandez and Jared Hughes
Combining these guys might bely the value each has brought to the Reds bullpen this season, but they are pretty much in the same situation. If one is traded, both probably will go.
Why is that? Because it will mean the Reds are not worried about next season but instead maximizing assets for the future.
Buy: If the Reds really want to be at least respectable in 2019, they can’t go into it with too many questions in the bullpen. Each of these guys is likely to bring back something useful in a trade, but what are the odds the return is better than what they already have in the system?
What’s not to like? An elite arm who can pitch multiple innings late in games, isn’t terribly expensive and won’t be a free agent until after the 2020 season. On the other hand, perhaps Amir Garrett could step into his role if Iglesias were traded.
Buy: Unless someone offers an offer too good to refuse (we should not rule this out), the Reds should hang onto Iglesias with an eye on a big jump in 2019. Even if they are open to trading him, they could wait until the offseason since he will still be under contract for two more seasons.
A power-hitting outfielder, Schebler is similar to Duvall, except he is a left-handed hitter (righty power is at more of a premium), he is having a better overall year at the plate and he is under team control for even longer (until after 2022). While Duvall is in line for a big raise next year, Schebler is still a year away from arbitration.
Sell: This is somewhat dependent on who else is moved, but at least one outfielder seems sure to be traded. Given the presence of Jesse Winker, moving both is certainly not out of the question. It will be a necessity if they decide to commit to Gennett, who isn’t as good in the field but has the best bat of the four and will have to move to the outfield eventually if he wants to remain a Red.