Friday, November 13, 2009

The Trade Market Does Not Favor the Reds

Just a few months after acquiring Scott Rolen and the $11 million owed to him in 2010, the Reds are looking to cut costs and move some of their high priced talent.

"The Reds are not cutting payroll, but they are looking to free up dollars and create flexibility for other moves.

Thus, everyone on their roster is available except first baseman Joey Votto, outfielder Jay Bruce and third baseman Scott Rolen, according to one source with knowledge of the club's thinking.

The team's highest-priced players — closer Francisco Cordero, second baseman Brandon Phillips and right-handers Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo — all are in play."

However, herein lies the big problem for the Reds: the high priced players they'd be looking to deal will have a tough time generating serious interest on the trade market. Case in point:

Francisco Cordero: Sure Cordero put up great numbers in 2009 and would be a very useful player for so many contending teams, but it's an impossible task trying to find a taker for Cordero's 2 year/$25 million dollar contract in this economy. Also, there are about seven closers on the free agent market this winter and a handful of others, who are cheaper and more realistic options than Cordero to be traded.

Brandon Phillips: Phillips is probably the Reds most tradeable asset because he is a productive second baseman and is only owed $6.75 million in 2010. However, with Felipe Lopez and Orlando Hudson on the free agent market and Luis Castillo and Dan Uggla available on the trade market; the Reds might have a tough time getting a strong package in return for Phillips. The Reds best chance to maximize Phillips' value would be if a team wants to move Phillips to shortstop because the market for shortstops this winter is painfully weak outside of Marco Scutaro.

Aaron Harang/Bronson Arroyo: The Reds are in a tough spot here with these two pitchers because both guys clearly are not top of the rotation starters at this point, but both guys are getting paid like aces. The Reds have more than $23 million committed to these two pitchers in 2010, which makes both of them virtually unmovable unless:

1. The Reds take a back another bad contract in return
2. The Reds package Arroyo/Harang with a valuable commodity like Brandon Phillips

The problem with the second option is the Reds probably would not receive much value in return aside from salary relief. I'd like to think that the Reds would want more than just payroll flexibility if they are going to move Phillips.

As a small market club looking to cut costs/redistribute their resources, the Reds are going to have a rough time this winter because of baseball's economic climate.


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