I drew the short straw, and get to evaluate the Reds deadline deals.  After the trades, and last night’s game, I barely have the strength.  I’m also leaving on vacation in a few hours, so I’m going to rely on you guys to flesh this debate out in the comments.

I’ll start with the positives:  The Reds traded Jerry Hairston, Jr. to the Yankees for some guy.  Actually, his name is Chase Weems.  He’s a catcher.  And he’s headed to Dayton.

Now, the main event:  The Reds sent third baseman Edwin Encarnacion and pitchers Josh Roenicke and Zach Stewart to the Blue Jays for third baseman Scott Rolen.  The Blue Jays are reportedly going to defray some salary – the best I can figure it’s the difference between what’s owed to each guy the rest of the year – Rolen’s salary is $11M and EE’s is $2M.

Mark Sheldon put it pretty well:

Perhaps, but Jocketty paid a big price in giving up two young pitchers for Rolen. Roenicke, a reliever that had a 2.70 ERA over 11 games in the Majors, had been one of the prized prospects in the organization and the hardest thrower that often topped out at 98-99 mph. Stewart was a 2008 third-round Draft pick that had reached Triple-A Louisville recently. He was 4-1 this season with a 1.67 ERA in 23 games, including 14 starts at Class-A Sarasota, Double-A Carolina and Louisville.

Walt Jocketty’s take on giving up the arms:

“It was kind of the stumbling block. We finally gave in and decided to give up the pitching,” Jocketty said. “There are a lot of things Scott will provide this club that we felt was lacking — leadership on the field with position players. I had a lot of experience with him obviously in St. Louis. I think he brings a lot to our club.”

I’ve already touched on the veteran leadership thing.  As for the merits of the deal:

  • I think Rolen is playing over his true level right now (a .347 BABIP is inflating his line, sayeth Fangraphs).  I think EE is playing well below his true level.  So Jocketty bought high and sold low.
  • More than the talent involved, I just don’t understand the rationale.  Whether the 3B is EE, Rolen, or Mike Schmidt, he Reds are out of it for this year.  So everything Jocketty gave up is contingent on Rolen’s 2010 contribution.  As I said last night:  Add up EE’s 2011 contributions, the extra $6M you’ll pay Rolen next year, and the entire careers of Stewart and Roenecke.  Whatever that is, Rolen has to be THAT MUCH BETTER than EE in 2010 for it to be worthwhile.
  • AND, the Reds need to be legitimate contenders next year to realize the value of Rolen’s increased production. If all he does is lead a 78 win team to 83 wins, there’s no way to justify the lost talent.

the reds trade their best pitching prospect for a 34-yr old 3b? Can i get a copy of that plan please?

how much faith can you have in a gm that passed arbitration and a 1yr deal to sign edwin for 2yr…including 4.75 next yr…?

and the 4 months later realizes the team is better off without that 3b?

I’m not angry about acquiring Rolen, I’m pissed about NOT acquiring a productive older player of this salary level in the off season. We passed on guys like Bobby Abreu and Jermaine Dye, and pissed away any hopes of contention because the offense was put together with Elmer’s glue and toothpicks. Oh, but now we can afford to take on salary while at the same time dealing away prospects??? There’s no discernable logic when you look at the big picture over the last 12 months.