The Cincinnati Reds wrapped up the trade deadline by making two deals in the last hour-and-a-half. Word of the Tanner Roark for minor league outfielder Jameson Hannah trade broke while Roark was at Arby’s, getting ready to head to Atlanta. The trade of Scooter Gennett to San Francisco for a player to be named later broke after the deadline had passed – along with about 57 other moves around baseball it would seem. In both cases, the deals weren’t viewed nearly as big as the one the night before that brought Trevor Bauer to Cincinnati. That’s left the national media mostly away from weighing in on the moves. But the writers here at Redleg Nation have some thoughts on the moves.
Mary Beth Ellis
The loss of Scooter ranks very highly on the Sad Little Boy index. Today six year olds aren’t discussing his fading OPS or OBP, because they have no idea what those are. They see the front of the baseball card, not the back.
If you’re a casual fan, you’re mad this happened. If you’re into digits, you’re mad this didn’t happen in December. But there’s a part of every baseball fan that reacts to these moments from the gut, and when we’re doubled over clutching ours because they’ve just been punched, we’re not thinking, “Well, his contract expires soon and he’s hitting .217 since the injury…” We’re thinking: “YOU TOOK AWAY OUR SCOOTER WHO JUST WANTED TO HIT HOME RUNS WHILE BEING SHORT FOR US!!!!!”
And I liked Roark and all, but he barely pings the Sad Little Boy meter. You’d stand in line an hour and a half despite a desperate need to pee AND get a drink to meet Puig. You wouldn’t do that for Tanner Roark.
I’m sure that the loss of a favorite player once rang atop the Sad Little Boy Index for a baby Scooter Gennett. He’s probably grateful to even be in a position to snap these tender hearts in two. But that we had him at all, and that he had us, is a beautiful baseball story. A hug good bye is better than no hug at all.
Once the Reds got Trevor Bauer, it was almost inevitable a starting pitcher would be moved. With Alex Wood just now coming off the IL, Tanner Roark was the obvious choice. Jameson Hannah, the return on Roark, in essence replaces Taylor Trammell in the Reds system The pair are within 2 months of the same age; and, Hannah was drafted just 15 players lower (50 overall) in the 2018 draft than Trammell was in the 2016 draft. Both have a legitimate chance to become MLB outfielders. The Reds did quite well here for what was essentially a mandatory trade.
By trading Scooter Gennett for a PTBNL, the Reds underscored that the future has started for the team. My hope is they will stay true to this mantra by giving Josh VanMeter every chance to show during the rest of 2019 that he is the man to be at 2B every day in 2020 with Jose Peraza filling out the rest of the time at 2B. Meanwhile there should be enough work for Derek Dietrich taking some outfield starts while also giving Eugenio Suarez and Joey Votto the time off both need to stay fresh.
These two trades were a lot different than the Trevor Bauer trade. It felt like everyone was expecting Tanner Roark to be moved, even before Bauer came into the fold. Getting back Jameson Hannah, a 2018 second round draft pick of Oakland in return, was a bit better than I had expected. As I wrote in a much longer breakdown of the deal, the Reds paying a good portion of the remaining salary owed to Roark led to them essentially being able to upgrade the return on the deal.
The trade of Scooter Gennett honestly shocked me. If you had asked me if the Reds would trade Gennett by the deadline on March 1st, I would have said absolutely. But after his injury and missing nearly the entire season, that just seemed unlikely. He returned in time to play before the deadline, but he didn’t quite get things going and I just expected him to ride out the season with Cincinnati before hitting free agency. We don’t know the return, as it’s a player to be named later or cash considerations. But it does open up more playing time for Josh VanMeter, who I’m a big believer in. That alone makes the deal worth it. The information gained by getting those at-bats is very valuable.
Both of these deals seem to me to be done with the pure intent of finding playing time for players for the rest of the year, I’d imagine to make some decisions for 2020.
Roark was given away for an A+ player (with good, not outstanding numbers) and cash and Gennett was given away for a PTBNL. Roark was to make room for Wood for the rest of the year, so the Reds can decide whether to make a qualifying offer (or try for an extension), though with Mahle gone until, at least, the middle of August, they’re also going to get a look at Sims, I’d imagine.
Gennett leaving makes room for Van Meter and Peraza to get all the playing time at 2B (assuming Iglesias is the SS for the rest of the season), with Van Meter maybe still playing some OF. Gennett leaving (and the Puig trade) also gives Winker and Ervin a chance to show that they’re more than platoon players.
The rotation is better for 2020, but this team has a lot of holes that need to be filled before Spring Training 2020.
On the Tanner Roark trade: I like with the Reds did, here. Roark was always the most likely candidate to be traded, before the deadline, and they received a decent flyer of a prospect in return. With Bauer coming in, there was going to be too many starters for the rotation, so Roark needed to be moved. From the little bit I’ve read up on Hannah, he is regarded as fast. Fangraphs has his “ETA” at 2021, so we’ll see.
As far as Scooter, I have two competing thought processes. Objectively, love it. Freeing up space for someone to prove themselves for next year, I.e. VanMeter/ Dietrich/ Peraza, and it shows they are willing to make the tough decisions on “fan favorites.” As a fan, though, this will take a second to get over as Scooter was one cool dude and provided a few nice memories, in his short time here.
Ultimately, I think both deals are good for the Reds.
Much less polarizing than Tuesday night’s trade. Getting some value for Roark was a great move that will allow more starts to go to guys under contract next year. I am not a huge fan of Jameson Hannah’s hitter profile but I have zero problem with that trade. The Scooter trade is obviously a harder pill to swallow as he has provided quite a few bright spots the past two years despite losing records. It seemed like the writing was on the wall there and that really is just the less enjoyable reality that baseball is a business as much as it is entertainment. He may be gone but he will certainly not be forgotten!
Photo Credit: Hayden Schiff. Licensing for the photo can be found here.