It’s that time of year again(between January and December) when trade rumors involving Adam Dunn are swirling. I’m not completely against trading Dunn but I’m not sure the Reds are going to get anything close to value for him. There aren’t many teams out there that appreciate the Three True Outcome type of hitters.
What worries me more, though, is that GM Wayne Krivsky might be looking for a closer as the main piece in the trade. Krivsky has shown he doesn’t see a problem with trading everyday players for relief pitchers.
Ignoring the question of why the Reds want to trade Dunn, would trading him for a closer be a good idea? We saw the way last year’s Kearns/Lopez trade worked out. While Kearns and Lopez haven’t hit well for Washington, the Reds really haven’t gotten anything out of the trade, yet.
What this situation reminds me of is the Kansas City Royals trading Johnny Damon in 2001. Damon would be a free agent after the 2001 season and the Royals had determined there was no way they would be able to afford to keep him. GM Allard Baird had also made it a point to talk about how much the team needed a closer.
In a three-way trade involving the A’s and the Devil Rays, the Royals gave up Damon, Mark Ellis and a PTNBL for Roberto Hernandez and Angel Berroa. While Berroa was a decent prospect at the time (C+ according to John Sickels), Hernandez was the target of the trade. In 2001, the Royals won 8 fewer games. Hernandez had 28 saves but a 4.12 ERA to go with it. He followed that season with 26 saves and a 4.33 ERA in 2002. Berroa has had an undistinguished career with the Royals after a ROY campaign in 2003.
There’s a saying about a pig and lipstick. Even with a “closer”, the Royals were still awful.
That is where the Reds find themselves right now. This team plays poor defense, has a terrible bullpen and has 3 positive offensive contributors in Dunn, Brandon Phillips and Ken Griffey Jr. Trading one of them for, essentially, Maybelline for Rosie O’Donnell, doesn’t get this team closer to contending.