Earlier in the month we took a look back at the controversial Los Angeles Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds trade. Today we are going to take a look back at another trade that the Reds made last offseason – this one with the Washington Nationals that saw the two teams swap Tanner’s.

Who was in the trade?

The Cincinnati Reds received: Tanner Roark.

The Washington Nationals received: Tanner Rainey.

The Cincinnati Reds acquired starting pitcher Tanner Roark in the deal. In turn, they traded relief prospect Tanner Rainey to the Nationals. There were a lot fewer moving parts in that deal than the one with the Dodgers.

The thought process behind the trade

The Cincinnati Reds were hoping to improve their rotation, which was arguably among the worst in baseball history over a 2-3 year stretch in the previous few seasons. The acquisition of Tanner Rainey was just one step along the way to making that plan come to fruition.

For the Washington Nationals they were looking at a free agent to be at the end of the year, and they had a bunch of money to spend to replace him. And they did when they signed Patrick Corbin to a huge deal. So they flipped Tanner Roark to take a flier on a high upside, but risky arm with Tanner Rainey.

How the trade turned out

This trade feels like a bit of a rare situation where it turned out to be a win-win for both sides. For the Cincinnati Reds they landed a starting pitcher in Tanner Roark who gave them everything that they seemed to be expecting. In 2018 he posted a 4.34 ERA and made every start asked of him by the Nationals. He was pretty much the definition of a league average starter who also stayed healthy for the entirety of the season.

With the Reds he was a little bit better than that. The right-hander made 21 starts for Cincinnati and posted a 4.24 ERA – good for a better than league average ERA+ of 107. He provided the Reds with 110.1 innings. But with the Reds out of race at the trade deadline short of a miracle (their chances were just under 5% at the deadline of making the playoffs), Cincinnati looked to, and did trade away Tanner Roark to Oakland for prospect Jameson Hannah.

And this is where things really do look favorably for Cincinnati. Jameson Hannah is/was universally rated higher than Tanner Rainey was when he was traded away. Depending on where you wanted to look, Hannah joined the Reds organization and was a Top 10-15 rated prospect in most places. So on a prospect level, Cincinnati seemed to upgrade. But they also got 110.1 innings from Tanner Roark during the season – though they did pay him $6.7M in that time frame and then kicked in another $2.1M to help cover most of the remaining salary in 2019.

The Nationals, who didn’t have what felt like an immediate need for Tanner Roark in 2019, looked to try and add a piece for their future. And that they did. Tanner Rainey has elite level stuff. His fastball has been up to 102 MPH. His breaking ball is all kinds of nasty. But there was, and still is plenty of risk involved in just how effective he can be. Why? Well, he walks nearly a batter per inning.

In 2018 he only saw 7.0 innings in the Major Leagues and walked 12 batters. Small sample size, of course, but even in his Minor League career his walk rate was quite high. In 2018 in Triple-A he walked 35 batters in 51.0 innings. The Nationals liked what they saw, though, and felt the risk was worth the reward. And for at least the 2019 season they were rewarded.

Tanner Rainey spent some time in Triple-A this season with the Nationals, posting a 4.00 ERA in 18.0 innings where he walked 12 and struck out 32. But he spent most of his season in the Majors. With Washington at the big league level he posted a 3.91 ERA in 48.1 innings. Whether he can find a way to keep that moving forward is a big question, though, because he walked 38 batters in those 48.1 innings. There isn’t exactly a set of pitchers with a walk rate that high who have found continued success. Some pitchers have been at that level for a season, and improved and found continued success – but that’s what is going to need to happen for Rainey, too.

As stated above – things seem to have worked out for both sides. The Reds upgraded the prospect value in the trade and improved their team during 2019. The Nationals flipped a piece that they didn’t seem to have an immediate need for, got a good season from Tanner Rainey and saved some money along the way while adding a potential long term bullpen arm.

57 Responses

  1. Alex Reds

    IMO the Reds should have been focusing on 2021 or later all along based on their roster construction and farm system. This is exactly why we can’t compete for a World Series. They lost patience, became desperate, and started to go in too early. We can fight for a Wild Card chance but the Reds not have built the farm system and infrastructure to compete for a WS or even for an extended period.

    This trade focused on 2019 while also reducing the farm and roster for 2021. With the Nationals getting Corbin, it made a ton of sense for the Nats in 2019 and beyond. I’m sure the Reds would love to have Corbin, but they aren’t able to compete in FA for high impact players, even if they have the same money (unless they significantly overpay). That’s why they have to trade for players.

    As for the prospects, I agree the Reds upgraded the value, but I also think Rainey was way undervalued – and the Nats knew that. Otherwise, why would you trade Roark for a 20th ranked system prospect. Unless it was a dump, but it was not.

    Rainey is more likely to provide more major league value than Hannah.
    If I had to choose between Rainey or Hannah, I’d choose Rainey.
    Hannah has performed very poorly before and after the trade.
    Rainey looks good and has pitched in the critical games as the set up man in the playoffs. Robert Stephenson improved from last year to this year.
    Rainey will keep getting better, too. At an affordable price allowing the Nats to upgrade the rest of their roster.

    I don’t necessarily miss Rainey, though. For a trade to sell tickets and add a couple wins, giving up Rainey was not a big deal. I miss Trammell and Gray.
    The Indians/Padres and Dodgers trades hurt the Reds.
    If Bauer has another poor year or gets hurt, then the Reds can’t even get a comp pick for him. That is the disaster scenario. It happened with Wood in the Dodgers trade.

    The Reds farm system has gone from 6th ranked in early 2019 to 16th ranked. They added 8 wins in 2019 to get to 75 wins, but I don’t see how they can get above 90 wins – unless their payroll was $225M+. Reds have had very poor usage of their salary cap for impact players in 2018.

    P.S. I noticed the Reds.com website took the MLB Standings entirely off their home page and links. While all other teams still have it on there. Sad.

    • Alex Reds

      Update: These MLB teams don’t show the MLB standings on their home page, or have a link to the Standings: Reds, Phillies, Giants, Red Sox, Orioles, White Sox, Royals, A’s, and Rangers.

    • gregmlb

      I would have to agree with most of If not all of this statement. Reds very short sighted on those trades last winter. Much rather have Rainey, Downs, and Gray. Even if Wood and Puig play to norm the Reds were probably only looking at a Wild Card. Why they didn’t try and trade for a more proven player or players with more control if you had to throw in two top prospects is baffling. Plus Roark was only a player you go after if you’re a true contender and need an innings eater to round out your rotation. Just so much mismanagement going on. Instead of sticking with a plan they just go crazy. Reds have so many holes to fill in 2020 they won’t contend unless like you said they have $200 million payroll.

    • Doug Gray

      Why you trade Roark for Rainey: It’s a lottery ticket. There’s a ton of upside with Rainey – the guy throws 102 MPH every so often and he’s got a hammer breaking ball. But he also walks the entire team and your mom.

      There’s also no salary cap in baseball.

      And the reason every team should “go for it” is because when you actually win it has long term good effects. Winning brings in more money, more fans, more ad sales at high prices, which in turn gives the team more money to spend, to bring in better players, which in turn brings in more wins, more fans, more money, more ad sales at higher prices, and so on. The Reds had the right idea last offseason. Unfortunately things happen, like Yasiel Puig having the worst season of his life. And Alex Wood missing almost the entire year due to injury. The plan was solid. Sometimes things just don’t go to the plan. I’ll keep hoping the Reds go with the solid plan – because when you do that over and over and over, it eventually tends to work itself out.

      • gregmlb

        Doug,

        Do you think that if both players played to their norm then the Reds would have been any better than contending for a wild card?

      • Oldtimer

        Puig was not great but it wasn’t the worst season of his life.

      • Doug Gray

        If the Reds plan had played out in a more “expected way” that didn’t involve Puig posting the worst OPS+ of his career, Alex Wood missing almost the entire season, and Scooter Gennett missing the entire first half? I think that certainly puts them in contention for a wild card. “Any better” than that doesn’t really change what they were trying to do, which was make the playoffs. And really, who knows how things play out at the end of July if they were actually contending. Maybe they try to make more trades to help in 2019.

        But it also goes back to my whole point of “winning today helps the future” because winning brings people in, which brings in revenue from tickets, merch, ad sales, which then gives you more money to spend the next year, and you do it again, and then the next year, and so on.

        At some point you’ve got to actually try to win. The Reds tried that in 2019. Finally. The plan didn’t quite work out as they hoped. That’s going to happen sometimes. Just because the dealer caught that 8 in blackjack to get 20 when you were sitting on 19 doesn’t mean you messed up not taking a card. It means the odds were in your favor and didn’t work out. That’s what happened to the Reds in 2019. The plan was solid. It didn’t work out.

      • Doug Gray

        And oldtimer, Yasiel Puig posted a 95 OPS+ in his time with the Reds. That was the lowest of his career. It was, actually, the worst season (at least with the Reds, he performed better with Cleveland – 109 OPS+) of his life.

      • Oldtimer

        I count the 2019 season as March/April to October. In that six month timeframe, Puig did not have his worst season ever.

      • Oldtimer

        OK when in doubt, look it up. I don’t use OP+ exclusively. Others might.

        Runs. YP scored 76. 2nd highest among his 7 seasons to 2014 (92)
        Hits. YP 148. 2nd highest among 7 years to 2014 (165)
        HR. YP 24. 2nd highest to 2017 (28)
        RBI. YP 84. Highest ever in his 7 years.
        SB. YP 19. Highest ever in 7 years.
        BB. YP 44. 3rd highest ever. Highest was 2017 (67)
        TB. YP 254. 2nd highest ever to 2014 (268).

        Arguably his worst year was 2015. Next worst 2016.

    • Wes

      The reason u don’t do it like that Alex is that you never know what you are going to get out of the draft- so it’s insanity to try to rebuild and succeed through the draft.

      For every 1st round that pans out- theres 2-3 that don’t and the further u get from the 1st overall the more quickly the probability of a successful pick drops.

      There was no more sure fire draft pick than nick senzel at the time drafted. Now look at him today. His value has plummeted. Trammell played outstanding for his whole pro career but still projected as a corner outfielder w below average power in a home run hitting league. Royce Lewis regressed this year too.

      The A’s go for it every year and never have had a good farm while willing to trade any farm piece at any time. There commitment to win has changed the whole dynamic of their fan base and now their attendance is soaring. I hope reds ownership follows a business model like than banking on drafting well and player development.

      I was thrilled reds were playing meaningful games in August this year !

      • Pete

        Wes: what about the Astros, are they not a success?

        “so it’s insanity to try to rebuild and succeed through the draft.” Lets’ look at the homegrownplayers in the WS:

        Nationals: Rendon, Soto, Robles, Strasburg, Zimmerman

        Astros: Bregman, Springer, Altuve, Correa, Gurriel, Alveraz

        Yes, both teams finished their roster building with a couple of FA’s and trades but they also picked through some junk piles and found some real value……….but the core was built through developing their own talent. Reds haven’t, it’s a huge problem and not going to be fixed by one or two trades or free agent signings.

        For God’s sake, go look at the Dodgers, Yankees, and Cards rosters and you will see the same. Your point doesn’t hold water upon inspection….

    • Dollar Bill

      Reds sold the farm in 2019 for a 75 win season with a horrible manager.
      Shedrick Long
      Taylor Trammell
      Tanner Rainey
      Jeter Downs
      Josiah Gray

      Reds fans got a rock. Again

      90 losses and all those pieces still in the system would have been a much better option.

      And now they talk about gutting what’s left for Mookie Betts. Beyond pathetic.

      They need to tear it all down and start over except they can’t even do that right .

      Hopefully the team goes up for sale and new owners clean house and put some real baseball people in charge.

      Four more years of the great Votto is all we have to look forward to.

      • Oldtimer

        Long for Sonny Gray. I’d do it again.

        Trammell and Puig plus Moss for Bauer. Too early to tell. If TB pitches like 2018 Reds win. If he pitches like 2019 they don’t.

        Rainey for Roark. Reds won that in 2019. In future, maybe not.

        Downs and Gray for (net) Kyle Farmer. LAD wins that in 2019.

      • Alex

        Alot of people are saying that the trades look bad but I think I disagree. If we were to trade Bauer and Sonny gray for prospects right now we would get a out equal value as what we gave up? And another big reason the farm looks bad is because senzel graduated and he was a top ten prospect which is always going to be hard to replace

  2. gregmlb

    The Reds do it’s just not in usual place. It’s on the drop down list from the top left corner. Not sure why anyone would try and find something wrong especially since it has nothing to do with anything related to this article. You’re being bidder just for the sake of being bidder. Maybe try focus on more positive things.

  3. MK

    Add Rainey to the list of college relievers that the Reds tried to turn into a starting pitcher. They found out early with him that maybe the college coaches knew what they were doing. After a miserable year starting in Dayton, they allowed him to revert back to the pen in Daytona. Just have to wonder if this slowed his development. When you think of similar situations from past that created control problems or arm injuries (Cingrani, Howard, Lorenzen, Iglesias, etc.) it was not a successful strategy.

  4. gregmlb

    Also what do the Reds have to show for all of these losing seasons? Senzel looks like a light hitting injury prone player. India looks like he’s over matched for professional pitchers. Greene we really have no idea what they have. Lodolo looks very promising. There doesn’t really seem at this point to be any game changers in the later rounds as well. They have nothing from Frazier, Chapman, Leak trades. This rebuild as been as bad of a rebuild as I could only imagine. They did well with Diso, Sonny, Suarez, and Castillo. But they still have so many questions for 2020 and beyond. Please someone help me with some optimism for the future.

    • Doug Gray

      On paper, the Reds are sitting at about .500 heading into 2020. They’ve got a whole bunch of money to spend to add to that team. Short of Bauer, everyone is also around for 2021. The future isn’t as bleak as you make it out to be. But, they’ve got to make some moves still.

      • gregmlb

        I just don’t feel confident in all 3 OF slots. 2B and SS both have questions. 1B has a lot of questions. Catcher is a problem offensively. Who’s the 5th starter. PB needs a Closer and another LHP. They might spend money but do they have that much to make a difference or do have the confidence they will spend accordingly? Reds don’t really have anything on the Farm to hep with any of these holes either.

      • Oldtimer

        Agreed. Reds are roughly a .500 now (roster as is). 80 W or so. Reds have been there before (more than 10 times in my lifetime – born 1951). Most recently in 2011 going into 2012.

      • Doug Gray

        Greg, do not get me wrong – the farm system is down. But the Reds have probably, at least $40M to spend for free agents in 2020. That’s a good chunk of money. Or they could use some of the good prospects they do have to trade for high end talent. Tyler Stephenson, Nick Lodolo, Hunter Greene, Jonathan India, Jose Garcia, Tony Santillan – those dudes have plenty of value. If the Reds wanted to make trades for very good players – they can.

      • Doc

        It’s sad, but obvious, that the same people are writing the same complaints as they were when I first discovered the site. Much of it appears close to cut and paste.

        You wrote a nice, well-reasoned analysis of the Tanner for Tanner trade, but the commenters can’t seem to confine themselves to that analysis of that trade. They have to bring in a bunch of unrelated deals, deals that didn’t result in spectacular Reds’ wins, to take luster off of a decent Reds’ trade. It’s a shame.

        Your work is well-reasoned and supported by data, even in analyzing in hindsight. Keep it up, Doug.

  5. Colorado Red

    And for the one Tanner, baseball is gong.
    Good luck Tanner in the WS.

  6. AirborneJayJay

    This trade with the Nationals was a neutral trade that benefitted both teams. That really is what you want in a trade.
    That Dodgers trade was much, much more than “controversial”. It was ill-advised, stupid and a downright disaster for the Reds. And don’t look now, but the Reds and Dodgers are matching up nicely for another blockbuster this winter. That will need to turn out better for the Reds sake.
    However, not as high on Jameson Hannah as most are. He needs to get with it with the bat this winter and next spring.

    • gregmlb

      Reds traded a cost controlled reliever that throws 100mph for a 5th starter who they got a light hitting IF. Rainey helped Nats this season don’t you think that he could of helped the BP this season? I don’t think this was a win/win. Nats have a guy who should help them for the next 4-5 years and possibly even close games. Chalk that up to another Reds Dud. Hope I am wrong.

      • Doug Gray

        You’re wrong.

        Go look at the history of baseball and pitchers who walk guys at the rate Tanner Rainey walks them. He’s a scratch off lottery ticket who got insanely lucky in 2019 that walking 7 dudes per 9 innings didn’t come back and bite him. If he doesn’t drastically cut down on those walks he won’t continue to keep runs off of the board. No one ever has.

  7. Oldtimer

    I think you meant Roark below:

    … The acquisition of Tanner Rainey (Roark?) was just one step along the way to making that plan come to fruition …

  8. Gregmlb

    Doug,

    Why is it so-many of us are down on the Reds and feel like these trades were bad and you continue to see some kind of positive? The fact that you think they are a 500 team on paper right now is mind boggling. Can you not see how bad the major league team is now and how far down the farm system as gone? This organization is a mess right now. It looks like they are trying to get systems in place for player development, but as things stand right now it’s a bottom third ran organization. What is it you know that the rest of don’t? Are you trying to play nice to get some work for the Reds? It’s ok to criticize the team.

    • Wes

      What’s so intimidating about cards cubs brewers that you don’t go for it now ?? Every team is riddled with holes and shortcomings.

      Reds are committed to trading their farm to compete, and I’ll admit the returns are lighter than expected but that dodgers deal was reported 2 weeks before it happened. There was nothing else out there so it is what it is.

      Y’all should be WAY more positive about their attempts to put a competitive team out there vs letting things you can’t control control you.

      • Gregmlb

        If they want to contend then that is great. But start making better decisions.

      • Wes

        The only other decision is to not trade and be patient and suck. It took 2 weeks for dodgers trade to be finalized after it was leaked to media. The most common conclusion is that reds were not trying to pay dodgers price and get talent else where. When no other talent was to be found- They went back to LA and overpaid. They Knew they overpaid but it’s either that or more of the same.

    • Doug Gray

      Because I understand what the team looks like on paper next year and you are looking only at the record of the team last year?

      On paper, the Reds look like and project to be a .500 team. I don’t know what the rest of “you” aren’t looking at, but feel free to go look at how the team projects, and it’s .500 based on everything we actually know about projection of baseball players.

      Just because I’m literally not negative on every single thing doesn’t mean I’m trying to “get some work for the Reds”. I was very critical of the Trevor Bauer trade when it happened. Why? Because I felt that they overpaid. But simply because I have a different look on something doesn’t mean I’m trying to get work from the Reds, or go work for the Reds and honestly, it’s a bit insulting that you’d think that.

      • gregmlb

        That’s what I’m asking for is what info do you have that shows an 81 win team? What projections are you seeing? How can you with a straight face not criticize the team for failed trades? They failed miserably on LA deal. Imo they failed the Roark deal because the player they got from the A’s doesn’t look to have the upside as Rainey. They only seem to have one above average player of the Starting 8.

      • Doug Gray

        They didn’t fail miserably on the LA trade, Greg. The trade did not work out. There’s a huge difference between the two things to me. The Reds made the right decision. The decision did not work out. That does not mean the decision was incorrect. You can disagree with that all you want, but I will absolutely not budge on that. If we’re playing blackjack and the dealer is showing a 4 and I’m sitting on 19, I’m not taking a card. The decision is sound. The dealer flips a queen and then takes a card and gets a 7 – it doesn’t mean I failed with my decision. It means it didn’t work out.

        And I’ll agree with you that in 2019 they only had 1 above-average player in the starting 8. But their pitching was outstanding. And that’s why, on paper, the team is about .500. It’s why they need to go out and make moves to add about 10 wins. They need something like a Grandal and a Betts to get where they need to be.

        As for the projections I’m seeing: Go look at the projections of choice for the Reds roster as it is. Look at the general runs scored/runs allowed for that team. It’s going to be about even. That’s a .500 club. On paper. Sometimes that doesn’t work out that way. The Reds this year, on paper, in runs scored/runs allowed, were about an 80-win team. But they didn’t get there. Likewise, the 1987 Minnesota Twins won the World Series despite being outscored in the regular season. Sometimes things happen that don’t quite add up. But on paper, right now, the 2020 Reds look like and project to be about .500 based on the players they’ve got and what is expected from them.

      • citizen54

        I agree with you that the Reds are around a .500 team on paper but I disagree that the Dodgers trade was just a trade that did not work out. It was a poorly conceived trade for the get go. Even if Wood and Puig had performed as expected the Reds still would have been about six wins short of a wild card. I believe at beginning of the season, the Reds were projected to be around .500.

        That means the Reds gave up all this talent for a one year shot at the Wild Card. It’s like the Reds spending a big part of their bankroll just to double down on a 12. Smart front offices spread out their risk rather than put all of their hopes on one year.

        The Reds then compounded their mistake with the Bauer trade. They gave up too much for a 1.2 years of a guy who isn’t even cost controlled. I don’t normally rip on the Reds front office but these short sighted trade really have me scratcthing my head. If Wood, Puig and Bauer would have had more cost controlled years, I would have been fine with the trades but the fact of the matter is the Reds were trading for one year rentals.

      • Jefferson Green

        If Puig and Wood perform as expected, they both could have brought a high draft pick after a QO (or more of trades at the deadline). Additionally, the Reds would have won quite a few more games.
        At age 28 and coming off a season with a wRC+ of 123 in a cavernous, pitcher-friendly home ballpark, it would have been more likely that Puig would have seen gains in his numbers, not reductions. And Wood would have been the Reds number one starter to begin the season had he been healthy.

      • citizen54

        You’re still thinking like is 2015. No one is giving up any good prospects for half year rentals anymore. Just look at what the Cubs gave up to get Nicholas Castellanos who had comparable numbers to Puig and is also a free agent at the end of the year. The Cubs gave up their 16th and 23rd best prospects in a weak system. You could also compare what the Reds got back for Roark who pitched a close to Wood’s projections.

        Also, Castillo would have been ahead of Wood, had he been healthy, going into the season. And if you argue that Puig should have been expected to be better than you could also make the argument that going from Dodger Stadium to Great America Ballpark should have made Wood worse. Right now if he were healthy he’d probably be #5 starter on the Reds. It would be a toss up between him and Mahle. With the way balls were flying out of ballparks this year, I doubt Wood have fared well with his 90 MPH FB.

        If you want to flip guys then take fliers on people like Roark, like they actually did. You don’t trade valuable prospects for one year rentals in hopes that you can flip them again or get a comp pick.

    • Rich H

      Greg, I think their decision making process on the Dodgers and Nationals trades WERE good. So did pretty much everyone who covered or analyzed baseball at the time. Just because it didn’t work out as projected doesn’t mean the process was bad, you have to be able to separate those things.

      I also found the end of this comment pretty insulting, Doug. Thanks for all the work, and sorry you have to put up with stupid stuff like that.

    • Doc

      Doug does this 24/7 for his living. Perhaps that gives a clue, especially when compared to people with non-baseball related jobs they work 40-50 hours per week, excluding commute time, then spend time with family, and follow the Reds as a hobby, commenting along the way.

  9. jbonireland

    Many who are down on the Reds are the same people who were on the Reds blog when in was on the Reds site. The Reds could win five straight titles and they would still find something wrong. We all know they aren’t a top team now, but they have made momentous changes in the last couple of years rather then the same old status quo. Be hopeful not negative.

  10. Scott C

    The reason I come to this site is that I get what i feel is well reasoned and honest analysis. I do not understand why some that have openly negative opinions on the Reds and the front office have to attack Doug as a Reds sycophant, anyone who has consistently read articles here over the past few years know that not to be the case. I personally was very critical of the past front office regime, but I do think the moves the Reds are making now both on and off the field will pay dividends down the road and hopefully that will start in 2020. Everyone has a right to their opinion that is different from mine, but that is no reason to attack another person.

    • gregmlb

      I don’t want to come off as an attack. We can disagree without it having to be labeled an attack. But I have been on the site for 7-8 years now and Doug seems to be a little different than he was back then. He was far more critical of the team back then. I just don’t see how anyone can look back and say that LA trade was nothing but a disaster. I know it was a move trying to contend but it was short sighted and obviously they don’t know their own players.

      • Doug Gray

        The Reds Dodgers trade projected as such, for 2019, according to ZiPS: 2.7 WAR for Puig, 0.3 WAR from Farmer, 0.1 from Kemp, and 2.3 from Wood. That’s 5.5 wins. The Reds instead got -0.5 from that group. That’s a 6-win swing from the best projection system to what actually happened. Toss in the whole “runs scored/runs allowed” thing not working out being another 5-win swing. Teams can’t build around the whole “luck” factor. The Reds actually won 75 games in 2019. But their runs scored/runs allowed suggested they were actually an 80-win team. Add in the 6 wins that the projections had that they didn’t get from the Dodgers trade, and that’s an 86 win team. I think it’s pretty fair to say that the Reds, on paper, based on what they did in the offseason, was in that 83-86 win range.

        Did it work out that way? No. It did not. But it wasn’t because the Reds were stupid and made a bad decision. It’s because it didn’t work out for a myriad of reasons. Injuries to guys like Gennett and Wood wiped away a whole lot of value. Puig simply didn’t live up to what he was expected to – but if you can find me the guy who said he’d put up his worst offensive season, which would be a very big step backwards for him from what he had done in the past, feel free to start asking that guy for the lotto numbers because he’s a mad genius.

      • Rich H

        The front office is better now than it was in years past, Greg. That’s a pretty good reason to be more positive. Looking back at trades doesn’t mean much of anything. Anybody can look back and say “This trade worked out well, this trade worked out poorly.” The valuable part is looking at what went into the trade. At the time, the Reds got Alex Wood, who had been injured the previous few years but not in a one recurring injury type of way, and none of the injuries are if the particularly troubling sort. Look at his numbers; he has been exceptionally good when he has pitched for basically his whole career. And he was a QO candidate, which meant you got another draft pick if he pitched well and didn’t sign with the Reds. Or, he signs it, and you have 2 years of a very good starter. They also got Yasiel Puig, who was also QO eligible. Again, a player that on paper significantly upgraded your team, and you have for possibly two years, or maybe one and a draft pick. Plus Farmer and Kemp, which I won’t get into. But you got all that for a couple of guys that hadn’t played even a season of AA, with one of the guys looking blocked perpetually at the MLB level.

        I think that’s a good decision making process, and so did the majority of people who are paid professionally to look at those things.

      • Pete

        No other team would employ Williams as President of Baseball Operations and Bell as manager, not a single one. If the Reds are blessed with new ownership, these tow will be the first to be shown the door. It’s a joke. I love the Cincinnati buy I’m getting too old not to be realistic, the Reds are wasting time and digging the hole deeper.

        I totally support Greg and Alex’s positions, they are based on reasoned thinking. Everything the write is logical. Yes, anything is possible but that’s much different than either plausible or likely.

      • earmbrister

        Pete, I couldn’t disagree more. The Reds have become a MUCH MORE ANALYTICAL team. You say that “not one team” would employ Williams or Bell. Seems like a host of teams are looking for new managers. Meanwhile, the Mets hired AN AGENT as their GM. I’m more than comfortable with the direction of the Reds.

      • Pete

        E – I hope your optimism is rewarded but looking at it “objectively”, it doesn’t look good. Yes they buy into modern thinking on baseball, not really a big deal at this point in time. I buy into it but shouldn’t be anywhere closer to a MLB team than sitting in the stands.

        If this FO fails I hope you can get on my page, hire “experienced” personnel from a “winning” franchise with a good history of drafting, developing and trading for talent. It’s all I’m asking. Between the Brown family and Bob C. I realize my request is simple but far from easy. Both organizations value “family” above all else, not stupid people but ignorant and unwise.

        Many Reds and Bengals fans thinking have been warped by years, actually decades, of the Bengals and Reds ineptitude. If those fans could step back and get an objective view, they would be as puzzled and frustrated as I am. In the meantime, I’m praying for a miracle, surely not depending on one. Put all the data in a speadsheet and you’d get back “yikes”.

  11. Rich H

    I agree with the last few commenters, I think the front office over the last year has given some very encouraging signs and reasons to hope that competitive teams and success are coming. I agree that the Bauer deal left me scratching my head a bit, but I think on the whole they’ve been doing well.

    I’ve got something for Doug or the group that I’ve been kicking around with the Trevor Bauer trade. I’ve been thinking about it a bit, and I think it’s possible the Reds were/are planning on being able keep him for an additional year at a reasonable price (assuming he comes back and pitches well next year). Since he has openly stated that he’s only signing one year deals, a qualifying offer could keep him in Cincinnati in 2021. I don’t know that other teams would be willing to forfeit a draft pick on top of the money for one year of Bauer, following this past off-season’s trends. In addition to Bauer having shown much better ability in the past, he was still top three in innings pitched last year, and that alone could be valuable with the three batter minimum coming into effect.

    Maybe the Reds FO had a deeper endgame with this trade. Thoughts?

    • Doug Gray

      Rich, somehow this whole Trevor Bauer thing is something I’ve never considered, or even seen talked about anywhere else, and I think it’s freaking brilliant. Do you mind if I take it on as an article? I’ll definitely credit you with the idea.

      • Wes

        How come your the only one who gets to use memes ?? Make a patron perk

        Bauer is a BEAST! The doubt is mind blowing. 3rd in innings pitched and 5th in Ks. He will get 25 million plus even with a second round pick involved. Reds show a commitment to win and they may be able to retain his services. 20 mill on the season and 10 in deferred money should be enough to keep him around. After next season.

    • victor vollhardt

      To RICH H—As Mr. Gray says –your thoughts on Bauer are very good and haven’t been brought up before. Here are some other “wrinkles” on the Bauer situation. He may have mellowed as a human being and decided he likes it here. By all reports the Reds clubhouse is very different than most. If that is the case and he continues to pitch well —the Reds may have a “long term” asset. Now there are a lot of “ifs” in that thought. but it would be a great out come, Another wrinkle if he pitches well in 2020 he could be moved to a playoff team and bring back prospects or players (controllable) that would be equal (or better–always a crap shoot) to what the Reds gave up to get Bauer in the first place.

    • James Phillips

      I’ve wondered if the Bauer trade was a piece of getting Boddy. That trade looks better to me if it was in part what landed Boddy

  12. Optimist

    The only thing about all of last winter’s activity which has me jittery is Josiah Gray – seems he could have a real upside. Still, the trades are all fine, as Doug explains in distinguishing “bad” from “not working out”.

    As for 2020, sure, the FA signings are issue numbers 1, 2 and 3, but don’t overlook the possible pleasant surprises. I doubt the pitching could get much better, but the minors may not be as empty as it appears. Better Lodolo/Greene, with chances to move up fast, than 10-15 lottery tickets a la Rainey. Also, while the minors have dropped overall, they aren’t near the bottom. A good year by the FO/field staff should have them bouncing up again by 2021, which is when they’ll truly be needed.

    • Madison Mike

      I 100% agree about gray. He is the only trade piece that I really felt we will regret trading. I was fine with Downs, long and even Trammell being moved for more win now pieces. In glad the FO is making moves but man I do worry about the day when Gray is a perennial all star

  13. Oldtimer

    Joey Votto at 35 did this:

    … Considered one of the best hitters of his generation for getting on base, often managing more walks than strikeouts, Votto was unable to affect games and rallies as he had in the past. He saw his strikeout rate soar and his walks decrease. His .768 OPS was the lowest of his career — as was his .618 walks-to-strikeouts ratio. He hit only 15 home runs, not much of an improvement over the 12 he launched in 2018. Other career lows included his 101 wRC+, 98 OPS+, .252 xBA and 0.7 FanGraphs WAR …

    What will Joey Votto do at 36? Nowhere to go but up.

    Look up how Reds superstars have done at age 36. Frank Robinson (not with Reds at that age), Pete Rose, Johnny Bench (retired at age 35), Joe Morgan, Tony Perez. Only Rose had a really good year at age 36 (1976 with Reds).