That’s a spicy headline, isn’t it? Well, those are the words of one general manager according to Peter Gammons’ latest piece at The Athletic. Depending on where you sit, the words “The price for Tanner Roark is untouchable” can be both good or bad.

The “Go for it!” Crowd

If you find yourself in the “go for it” crowd, then the idea that Tanner Roark is likely sticking around is good. The pitching of Roark isn’t sexy. The numbers don’t blow you away. But he’s good, and the numbers have been, too. His ERA is 3.95 on the season, with an ERA+ of 115. He’s thrown 107.0 innings, allowed 14 home runs, walked 34 batters, and he’s racked up 106 strikeouts. Very little in his stats suggest that his ERA is a lie and he’s due for some serious correction.

Tanner Roark makes the Reds better in 2019 from today through the end of the season. He’s a better starting pitcher than anyone they would replace him with right now if he were traded away. He’ll help the Reds win more games in August and September than the other option. And if you are on board for “win as many games as possible in 2019 and figure out the future later”, then those words from an anonymous general manager work for you.

The “Trade any free agent!” Crowd

If you believe there’s little point in the Reds trying to win as many games this year as they can, those words don’t sound so great. Cincinnati is currently 49-55 and they are 6.5 games out of a playoff spot. It’s going to take a whole lot of winning like they haven’t shown any ability to do this season the rest of the way in order to make the playoffs.

Believers that Fangraphs has it right, and the Reds only have a 4.8% chance of making the playoffs want to see the Reds plan for the future. Tanner Roark, among a few other players, aren’t likely a part of that due to their free agency status. Getting something, anything for them, seems better than keeping them around to win 77 games and letting them walk away for nothing.

The “Trade him if the value is there” Crowd

Then there is the crowd that would be fine with both scenarios. There’s some value in actually winning baseball games in August and September, even if the team isn’t going to go on a run of .650 baseball and make the playoffs. Cincinnati has lost 90+ games for four straight seasons. Losing eats away at a fan base. The offseason saw the Reds try to make moves for winning. And at least on television and at the gate, fans still seem to be happy with that plan. People are still tuning in on Fox Sports Ohio to watch the games in high numbers. And attendance is up, up from 2018 more than most teams around the league. At the same time, if someone is going to overpay for the Tanner Roark’s of the world, let them.

Talking it out

There’s more than one way to get things done. In the end, everyone wants the Reds to get better. In some circles that means winning now, selling more tickets (both now and in the future, as winning improves future ticket sales – though this is a long term play as it takes years of winning to make this effective), making more money and then spending that. Within other circles it means cashing in your soon-to-be-gone assets now and trying to “get what you can”. Some are more split, willing to stand pat and try to win some games now unless someone is willing to pay more for your assets than they are worth.

We’re going to find out in the next two days where the Cincinnati Reds front office sits. Dick Williams, the Reds President of Baseball Operations has said that they aren’t just going to trade guys away to save money. Before they came out of the All-Star break and went 3-7, there was talk that they were looking to be buyers. That seemed to change, at least in the non-team stated rumors, to being buyers for players who could help in 2019 and beyond – not just in 2019.

The Reds have impending free agent pitchers Alex Wood, Tanner Roark, Jared Hughes (team option for 2020), and David Hernandez (injured list – can’t be traded unless activated). They also have impending free agent position players in Scooter Gennett and Yasiel Puig. There have also been rumors that the team has been willing to listen on offers for relievers Raisel Iglesias and Amir Garrett.

There is no longer a “waiver period” trade deadline at the end of August. Wednesday at 4pm ET is the trade deadline for players on the 40-man roster. That means there’s 29 hours before trades can no longer take place. The Reds have some real decisions to make, both for 2019 and for the future. Get out your phone and set an alarm. You get to voice your opinion on what the franchise did, or didn’t do, very shortly.

34 Responses

  1. Tom

    Maybe the Reds can trade for Phillip Ervin! I mean, I thought he was on our team but since I never see him play, I’m guessing he’s not…

    • Steve

      He’s not an everyday player. Not good enough right now

      • Bill

        Which brings up an interesting point . . . wonder if someone might or already have inquired about an Ervin trade? Would the Reds FO bite?

    • Lackey

      I agree Ervin NEEDS TO PLAY ALL THE TIME. HOWEVER IF YOU ARE IN THE REDS ORGANIZATION ONCE YOU ARE CALLED UP AND DO GOOD. THE REDS BRASS GETS RID OF YOU FAST OR YOU PLAY NO MORE FOR THEM. Plus ever since Jocketty joined the team the franchise has gone down in the standings. Check it out.

      • jon

        Like who?Who was called up and did good and was traded?

  2. Jeff Gangloff

    If the price for Tanner Roark is “untouchable” then you have to believe the price for Puig and Wood is also “untouchable”.

    I’m not expecting the Reds to make any deals before the deadline…and I’m kind of OK with that.

    • RedAlert

      They won’t because they overvalue their players every year . In the end it will be a another trade for JACK SQUAT , just like it is every other trade deadline . Same crap different year .

  3. Brad

    Would make sense to move any pending FAs and restock Farm System that lost 3 guys ranking 8-15ish.

    Maybe Roark brings back 2, Puig 2, Gennett 1, Alex Wood 2, Hernandez 1, Hughes 1.

    Time to move Iglesias was before this season. Hope they don’t sell low.

    Rest of season should be about determining which young players are part of core moving forward: Mahle, Ervin, Van Meter. Save some $. Can always re-sign Puig, Roark or Wood in FA if desired.

    This team is good enough, talent wise, to make playoffs. Have not been healthy enough or consistent enough offensively. Dug selves too big of a hole in a tough division.

  4. Tv

    Tanner and Puig have to go. Remember the Alfredo Simon for Suarez trade or the Mat Latos trade for Disco? Then when we traded Chapman and Cueto we got nothing. Ya sometimes you find gold in ok players and more often than not the scouting department finds that gold. The more guys you have in the farm the better chance you will find that gold. They should have traded guys the last few years even if it was a bag of chips because sometimes there’s a prize in that bag Plus you dont lose much and might even gain this year. If you can’t extend these guys then you need to find a replacement. You could try inhouse and have time to see what you got for next year. Is Puig really that good this year or just fun? Giving Tanners spot to Wood gives you a lefty and might be more wins. So I think you can do both. Keep a decent team and still win some. Plus if you sell it gives the new team time to learn to work as a team. The biggest mistake the last few years has been trying to win instead of trying to develop. That’s why we still dont know if Paraz or Winker will live up to their potential. Its insane. A small market needs to cash in when they can. They can always flip some of these acquired guys this winter. I want to win 90

    Do not avoid the swear filter. This is your warning.

    • Tv

      Sorry about that you’re probably right I didn’t think the kids might read this sometimes. Wont happen again. Well done!

    • Tv

      Clam down. No need to tweet about it I think we will all be just fine. Also studies have proved intelligent people cures. Just a fact.

  5. RP

    Pete, I literally agree with everything you post.

  6. DocBB

    This might suggest that the Reds and Roark may have an extension agreement in place if he doesn’t get traded

    • Doug Gray

      I think it suggests that the Reds are simply asking for a whole lot. If they had an extension in place then they’d have already signed it.

  7. Gibby

    I truly believe the Reds have the right combination to make the playoffs. The chemistry is there and this combination of players and coaching staff are capable of doing great things. Stay the course Reds organization.

  8. Hanawi

    Reds ask for the moon, then hold on to a player until he’s not worth anything? This is a shocking development.

  9. Will

    This could also mean someone is trying to trade for Roark and this is a negotiating tactic to get the price down.

  10. mark

    I feel you keep Jose Iglesias for his defense first and whatever he gives you with his bat second, think of all the runs he has saved with his wonderful defense this year. He is not having a poor offensive year really, hits the other way, can bunt, drives in some key runs this year.
    In my opinion he brings more to the table than Peraza.
    I think he needs a 2 year deal that would hopefully get you to where Jose Garcia would be ready to debut as Reds SS.
    Is JVM the 2nd baseman next year or is Senzel moved to 2B I think is a key question for next year?

    • CFD3000

      Agree about Jose Iglesias, Mark. He’s serviceable as a starter, especially with the glove, and awesome as a backup / insurance policy. But he’s already better than Peraza so I hope that’s not who he’s backing up! And my answer is Senzel in center and JVM at second – see my post above. But I love that you’re not asking where JVM fits in the outfield – he’s the second baseman of the future.

  11. CFD3000

    Steve sometimes I read your posts and think “how could he possibly think that?” and other times I think “no need to post now – he just said it better than I could.” One of the great things about RLN is that there are so many different opinions and perspectives, and I value that, from thought provoking at least to mind changing at best. It’s gratifying when people agree with you, but I don’t learn nearly as much when they do. I know that’s an odd intro to my main point, which you touched on and I am going to start raising frequently until I change some minds:

    JVM is the second baseman of the future for the Reds. Perhaps he’ll eventually flop, but he’s not a future outfield stalwart. We need to start thinking of him as the new 2B. He’ll be an upgrade there over Gennett and Dietrich, but would be blocking other good players in the outfield. Second is a natural position for him, outfield is not. One nice running catch does not make him a future outfielder. Is there a chance the Reds acquire a great CF and Senzel moves to second? Sure. But it’s much more likely that Senzel stays in center and JVM takes over second. And that’s as it should be. I don’t want JVM taking playing time from Winker, Ervin, Senzel, or even Puig, Aquino or Trammell. But I DO want him taking (all the) at bats from Scooter and Derek, until he proves he’s the new every day second baseman, or flops trying. Free JVM – at second base!

  12. Doc

    Other posts have stated that Roark is not eligible for a QO.

  13. Richard Fitch

    The Reds know rentals bring back little these days. I think Roark is being dangled out there not take some GMs lunch money, but to see if they can swipe a lottery ticket like Sims–a player the organization’s scouts are high on that they believe Johnson & Co. can do something with.

    I can’t see them making a qualifying offer to a #4 guy who will be 34 years old by the end of next season. $19M is just too much.

    They’re asking high because that’s what you do. You can’t put your house on the market for $500K, then ask $550K a month later. Ask for the moon and let the guy on the other end of the phone low-ball you. Maybe he offers more than you expected. It’s an easy thing to do as long as you’re willing to walk away from the table. Let’s remember,
    Roark came here and did what he was supposed to do–help stabilize the pitching staff. Two more months of solid pitching and then goodbye is no bad ending for the Reds.

  14. David

    He is untouchable because of the price that Castellini has instructed Dick Williams and Nick Krall to ask for.
    Well sure.

    Well done, Cincinnati Reds Management. Well done.

    If they wanted to move him for a prospect, that could be done. The only barrier is the asking price. Same with Puig.

    Neither will be extended QO’s after the season, either. We’ll get nothing and like it.

    I am at a real loss as to how to understand what the Reds are really trying to do.
    This is……”The Matt Harvey Syndrom”.

  15. David

    As steep as it has to be to prevent a trade. That’s the Top Management Strategy.

  16. Michael E

    I am in the trade if the value is there club. I mean, I see little point in trading Puig or Roark or R Iglesias or Gennett if the return is some 8 or 9 prospect that has a projection of like 7.5% chance of becoming an every day MLB player in 3-5 years.

    However, even with a couple of recent wins, I hold VERY little hope the Reds can put together the required .600+ winning percentage to sneak into the last wild card spot OR somehow leap 3 teams for NL Central crown. I am and have been hopeful I will wake up to a trade or two that netted us a surprising top 2 or 3 prospect return or two. While prospects are unknown, it would be a mental gain knowing we just added a couple of players that pushed India and Greene and Stephenson down outside the top 5 prospect list.

    If no trade is made, well, then I am all in on rooting for a playoff spot. I feel though that no trade is going to be met with a quick 4-8 record over the first two weeks of August and a “why didn’t we trade these pending FAs?!?” reaction, and a “the Reds screwed up again”.

  17. Mason Red

    I’m sure other baseball executives….especially good ones….couldn’t help but to burst out in laughter when reading TR of all people is “untouchable” according to the Reds. Really? If that’s the case the Reds are in real trouble. A 20 game winner,a .330 hitter,a 50 HR hitter,a sure fire prospect is untouchable. Not a decent at best pitcher who will be a FA at the end of the year. Trading TR and YP should be a simple call to make. The Reds won’t extend either so why is this discussion even being conducted? Oh I forgot. We’re talking about the Reds.

  18. Optimist

    I can accept both sides of this argument, but wonder if the FO is also hedging a bit on the upcoming FA market, and 2020/21 planning – namely, QO’s for those eligible to get through 2020, and perhaps see if some of them will take 2-3 year deals in a suppressed market.

    Sure, it’s counting on collusion, if not actively participating in it, but it’s a factor in either case. Looks like next year will be a rerun of this year, and the farm system doesn’t help much until 2021.

    And, they could get lucky and someone (hello Mets!) could make them a stupid offer.

  19. Don

    As long as the FO is making a decision and then back the consequences and go forward with a plan that is great.
    No looking back or what ifs.

    Noone here has all the info and the only people telling the truth about possible trades are after the trade is finalized. Everything else is someone saying something for an alternate reason to gain leverage or a perceived leverage.

    Hopefully they are deciding what to do and not deciding to not decide as that results in lots of 2nd guessing and what ifs and loss of confidence.

    If they stand pat, I will be disappointed as I think the players that will be out of options in 2020 and are not playing a lot now should be playing more.

    I believe Ervin, Reed, Sims, Romano, Aquino are all out of options after 2019.
    So the team will need to decide to keep or DFA them all over the winter and in Spring training 2020 without seeing them in some steady MLB action by keeping and playing the veterans the rest of 2019.

    I know what makes sense to me being the 12th place team in a 15 team league.

  20. Gilbert Keith Chesterton

    The Reds aren’t making the playoffs in 2019. I think the organization knows it, and most rational fans know it.

    If the Reds sell off players who are impending free agents, it shows the fan base that they have a plan for winning in the future (such as 2020). They are getting whatever they can to be used to help them win next year, since winning this year doesn’t matter.

    If the Reds stand pat (most likely scenario) and don’t trade the impending free agents, it shows the fan base that they are more interested in winning meaningless games in 2019 over winning future games that could be meaningful in the future. And the only reason they would forsake the future for winning pointless games now is that it generates more revenue in the short-term because the record is slightly better.

    Either way they will be sending a message. What do they value more – money in the short-term, or wins in the long term?

  21. C Holbert

    Sims, I’m okay with, Romano should be down the list of opportunities, he has had the last two years and really showed nothing. I am not saying get rid of him, but others should get their chance before he gets another.

  22. Tservo

    Since I can’t sleep, might as well put it out there:

    Reds acquire Trevor Bauer from Indians; Puig goes to Indians, Taylor Trammell goes to Padres in three team deal according to MLB.com.

    So, was the “Roark is untouchable” line just a stiff-arm to keep anyone from messing up a deal in progress? A sleight of hand by the FO to lure other teams to sleep thinking the Reds were sitting the trade deadline out? A sign that Nick Krall isn’t just a slave to whatever the ownership group thinks?

    I can’t make a call on whether Bauer is better than Roark now or maybe even next year, but I don’t see how this doesn’t line up with the #getthepitching from earlier in the year and it certainly goes against all the hand-wringing about how clueless the FO is as they twiddle their thumbs through another trade deadline. How about we let the baseball people do their thing and we do what fans do; applaud or heckle when necessary and not just because “they” aren’t doing what we want?

    In terms of what we lost, sure Puig is fun to watch, and I’d line him up against any three bodies in the Pirates dugout any day of the week and twice on Sunday, but this blog has been rife with calls to trade him to let the young kids play. Well, it seems like right field is now Mr. Ervin’s to lose. They didn’t discuss the details of the trade, so it’s possible that Puig becomes a free agent again at the end of the year and if Ervin (or whomever else Bell decides should play there – Aquino perhaps?) doesn’t work out, maybe the Reds take another run at him.

    Either way, I don’t see how this trade is a negative for the Reds; just like the off-season trades and rebuilds of the coaching staff that, if nothing else, show that the Reds are at least trying something different besides hoping that Cardinal Castoffs find lightning in a bottle.

    As usual, thanks to all the folks that make this site run, it truely is unique for the range of discussions and talent each contributor brings. Even the comment section is more civil and less rife with rank homer-ism than most of the other blogs.