There were a ton of trades that took place at the deadline. The Cincinnati Reds even made a few trades in the final week of the month. But the biggest deal was made by the Los Angeles Dodgers who acquired Max Scherzer and Trea Turner from the Washington Nationals for four prospects. Scherzer is a free agent following the season, while Turner is signed through the 2022 season. Adding those two players would have been a huge boost for the Reds, but it wasn’t to be for so many different reasons – some largely financial, and some likely due to where the team sits in comparison to the Dodgers.

The question was asked of me on twitter, though, what an equivalent deal would be for the Reds to have to have made to match what the Dodgers gave up to acquire the two stars from the Nationals. We can start by looking at the deal: The Dodgers sent prospects Keibert Ruiz, Josiah Gray (yes, that same one), Donovan Casey, and Gerardo Carrillo. Both Ruiz and Gray are top 100 prospects, while Casey and Carrillo are not and are quite a bit further down the depth chart among the organizations prospects.

Not everyone is going to agree on prospect rankings, but we only have two lists from the national publications worth looking at that have been updated for the midseason. Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospect list just came out on Monday ($$) and they have long been considered the gold standard within the industry. Keibert Ruiz, a catcher, was rated 16th overall. Josiah Gray, a right-handed pitcher, was rated 59th overall. If you wanted to use the Baseball America rankings as a 1-for-1 guide, Cincinnati would have had to counter with shortstop Jose Barrero, who ranked 19th on their list, and Hunter Greene, who ranked 48th on their list.

Now, I am of the belief that Hunter Greene is drastically underrated on this list by about 40 spots. He’s the top prospect in the organization on my just updated midseason rankings. Keith Law of The Athletic rated him as the #3 prospect in baseball ($$) two weeks ago (with the caveat that players in the big leagues weren’t eligible for the list even if they actually were “prospect list eligible”). So perhaps instead of Hunter Greene you have to go with Nick Lodolo – ranked 20th by Baseball America, but unranked in Law’s Top 50. While 2021 1st round pick Matt McLain can’t officially be traded yet, he could be a player to be named later in a deal, and for Law he ranked 31st overall (but unranked in the Baseball America Top 100). Perhaps you could go with a McLain and Lodolo deal instead of Barrero and Greene depending on exactly how you wanted to try and line things up.

That’s a pretty steep price to pay. But of course that’s not the only price. There were two other prospects involved, too. While these two guys matter much less in terms of the “added value” to the deal, there is some value there. From what I’ve read about Gerardo Carrillo and Donovan Casey, a rough equivalent would be for the Reds to include someone like Joe Boyle and Allan Cerda – both have big tools, but flaws in their game that could keep them from getting to the big leagues.

Of course, there’s also the previously mentioned financial side of things. The Reds, hate it as much as most do, simply aren’t going to take on the kind of salary required to make that kind of acquisition. They’ve never really done anything like that in the past, and the last 10 months suggest that they are trying to shoe-string things together. They cut quality relievers to save money, spent less than $2M in guaranteed contracts in free agency, and their trade deadline acquisitions all made very minimal salary. It’s just a difficult sell that they would take on the salaries owed to those two players.

With all of that said, pretend that you are somehow both Bob Castellini and Nick Krall and you’ve approved the salary needed to pay for the two players. Would you have pulled the trigger to make the deal for Cincinnati? Was the cost too high for your tastes because of what it could mean for the long term future? Or is that a price you are willing to pay to truly go for it in 2021, and at least still have Turner around in 2022 and give it a go once again with a slightly different team?

38 Responses

  1. Redsvol

    No way do I do that trade Doug. Even with sherzer we aren’t going to win in the playoffs. And then you have a logjam in infield next year when we really do want to give Barrero a shot. Not to mention the loss of what are two pretty sure mlb prospects. If we were leading the division I’d say go for it because how often does that occur but we are 6 games back. Enjoy watching what we have and target sustained competitiveness.

    • Alan Horn

      Agree. Our starters are pretty solid and SS is ok also. We have Farmer with Barreo on the way. We need relievers and I hope we got enough. With what we got and have returning from the IL we should be ok although I worry about the left side. Not to mention the huge costs of those two. We likely would have no chance to try to keep Castellanos.

  2. Luke J

    Thank you for putting names to the potential prospects in trades. Too many people on this site would mortgage everything for an outside shot with some rentals. Seeing just who we would have to give up should open some people’s eyes. No way would that trade be worth it this year.

    • west larry

      correction, excluded their top three pitching prospects-Ryan Poiplot, Bobby Miller and Kneck.

      • west larry

        Wrong spot. should be following my comment below

  3. west larry

    No way I’d do that deal either. First of all, the dodgers farm system is so deep, they excluded their top four prospects in any deal. That still left two highly sought after prospects and two other good prospects. If the reds could exclude their best four prospects, that would make the deal feasible. I still wouldn’t do the deal. Scherzer
    is a rental, and he stated he wanted to go to av west coast team. Even if he waived that condition, that’s a lot to pay for a rental. Turner is only signed through 2022. Not a rental, but certainly not a long term piece. As you stated earlier Doug, Turner is a shortstop/second baseman primarily, and we are in pretty good shape (with Berrios) at both positions. I would say no, no way. Besides, we would still not be the favorites to win the world series. Pass.

    • Doug Gray

      Keibert Ruiz was their top prospect. Josiah Gray was their #4 prospect, but using the Baseball America Top 100 list, he was basically equivalent of the guys who were 2 and 3 (the three of them all rated between #56 and 59 on the Top 100). So at least on the Baseball America list they did not exclude their top 4 prospects.

  4. Scott C

    Too high for where we are. If we had had a decent bullpen all year then yes.

  5. SteveLV

    Agree with everyone above.
    And I think the conversation with Scherzer would have been pretty short. “Max, we’re trading you to the Reds.” “Oh no you’re not!”

  6. LDS

    Nope not a good trade. Scherzer is a great pitcher but he’s 37+ and making nearly $35M. He plays about every 5 games. Turner on the other hand would have been a good pickup. The Nats needed a catcher and a 3rd baseman. I’ll be surprised if the Reds pickup the Barnhart option, too expensive for the Reds FO. So a deal was there to be had. Barrero has great potential but is still unproven. If he doesn’t live up to the hype, I.e. another Senzel, then there’s another big hole in the lineup.

    • LDS

      What? You think benching the hottest player on the team against RH’ers but playing the worst hitter in baseball doesn’t make sense? Come on, man. Bell is just too far beyond us to comprehend.

      • LGR

        If you REALLY want Votto to get a off day with another off day tomorrow, then you need to play TS at 1st, let TB catch, and put Schrock at 3rd. Bell normally tries to go 4 right 4 left, but today against a elite RHP decides to go 3 left 5 right because he also has Aquino over Akiyama, who if I’m not mistaken, had 2 hits yesterday? Why are we benching people who have do well the prior day. It’s Lopez’s 4-5 all over again.

      • MCT

        It ended up working out. The dude went 5-5.

      • jon vera

        This isn’t aging well.Fans have to realize they don’t know more than the Reds staff about their players. I’m sure Votto was fine with it.Sure he would not have been 5-5. lol

    • BZ

      It makes no sense to give Votto a day off today. If there is some compelling reason why Votto can’t wait until next week with Moose and Senzel back, just let Tucker get another start at catcher and put Stephenson at catcher. Tucker was pulled early last night so he got extra time off.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        Maybe because a 37-year-old has played approximately 20 days in a row (relying on memory and not actually checking) and you don’t want someone this hot to get too worn down. Never a good time during a pennant race, but the manager has to take factors other than what’s best for today into account at times.

  7. Votto4life

    I think focusing on the talent we would have to give up misses the larger point and also gives a an out to a the Red’s pwner. The main point being, even if the Reds were seven games up at the deadline that trade does not happen. We all know why.

    Bob Castellini is too cheap to take on addition payroll. He has more than proven that in the past 12 months. Sure he is willing to take on a two months salary for a reliever earning less than $4 million (who he can cut after the season). But that’s absolutely the extent of Bob going “all in”. To expect any different would be asking Bob not to be Bob.

  8. RedsGettingBetter

    Taking the financial issues aside, if Reds would be leading the NLCD right now perhaps this trade could make sense whether they are going for it this season but they are second-place and 7 games out of first so this becomes the trading unlikely . Basically, bring Max and Turner for 4 prospects would mean losing all 6 players by 2023.

  9. Charles

    The Reds and Dodgers are just in different leagues. If you look at percentages of revenue vs payroll the Reds and Dodgers are both within a point of each other (48% vs 49%). But that revenue gap translates dodgers being able to outspend the Reds by 2-3 times. Thats a big hurdle for the Reds that’s almost impossible to overcome.

    • burtgummer01

      They are absolutely in different leagues
      The Dodgers owner and FO want to win the Reds ownership and FO wants money

      • Tom Reeves

        Please, enlighten us with the exact profit the Reds ownership has taken as a shareholder distributions since Bob C and the current group bought the club? I’ll wait while you back up that ridiculous claim.

        Or maybe you think team estimated valuation versus what the ownership group pay for the club is profit. It WILL be profit but it’s nothing until there’s a liquidating event.

        But, again, I’ll wait as you do the math that backs up your claim.

      • Doc

        Did you read the previous comment? Reds payroll spending as a percentage of revenue is essentially the same as the Dodgers payroll spending as a percentage of revenue. The difference is not the Reds owner being too cheap; the difference is the Reds not generating the income necessary to spend more. I was at the game against the Cardinals Sunday (and I live in Arizona). The reported paid attendance on a beautiful Sunday afternoon against a rival was reported as just under 22,000. No way on earth was that stadium more than half full. So where were all the people who write in claiming BC doesn’t spend? Sure weren’t at the game.

      • Doug Gray

        Watching at home on their local cable provider that pays Bob and company an undisclosed large amount of money every year – that, weirdly enough, the team and network won’t provide details of despite us knowing the details for every other teams television contract in the game – on a network that is also partially owned by the Reds.

  10. Votto4life

    I remember when Scott Scudder was considered “untouchable”.

  11. Tom Reeves

    I don’t make that trade. The Reds are opening a window with a lot of high caliber prospects, rookies, and cost controlled players. The Rookies are all performing really well and have lots of room to improve India, Stephenson, Gutierrez, Santillon, There are cost controlled players like Winker. We have some years of the starting pitchers controlled. And then we have three potentially high impact rookies near ready – Greene, Lodolo, and Barrero.

    The one disappointment is that Castellanos won’t likely be on those teams if the Reds are going to make a big deal, I’d make that one for so many reasons. But it does depend on what the deal is. But it doesn’t cost anything but money to make a deal with Castellanos.

    The bullpen will likely need stocked with FA arms each year but the Reds once again have the revenue. Having cost controlled players as a core really allows the team to compete in free agency to fill in talent gaps.

    I wouldn’t waste that window by making this trade. The Dodgers can buy their way out of roster mistakes. The Reds cannot.

  12. MBS

    Would have been a bad idea for the Reds, too much prospect capital to expend for a starter. We do not have a glaring need for a starter, SS, yes, more pen yes, but not a starter.

    The Kimbrel deal would have been something the Reds should have pursued, and I’m not saying they didn’t, I have no idea.

  13. Old-school

    I like where the Reds are with a resurgent Votto at 1b looking like the winning window gets extended a year and a new emerging core to transition past the WInker/Moose/Akiyama contracts.

    I like the players in or near entering their prime- WInker, Castellanos, Castillo, Mahle.
    I like the young players in India/Stephenson/Senzel/Antone/

    I like the major league ready players in the upper minors or right there- Barrero/Santillan/Gutierrez/Lodolo/Greene.

    They just needed a shut down controlled lefty and could have had one for a lower minors prospect.

    • Redsvol

      Who would that have been old school?

      • Alan Horn

        I agree but don’t think we have one right now other than Lodolo and he is a starter. He may be talking about a starter rather than a reliever. We are short on LHs in both positions.

  14. Kevin

    Reds are too far behind some really good teams to make that trade. If that trade strengthens a team on the cusp of competing for World Series, I’d make it. But I wouldn’t do it for a team that needs a lot of help just to make the playoffs. If you make that trade and go home after losing NLCS or WS, at least you were close. If you make that trade and miss playoffs… that hurts a lot.

  15. Colt Holt

    The bigger what if is, what if the reds did the rebuild right…7 or 8 years ago and followed the recipe of the Cubs, instead of the “we have the all star game and want to be competitive” nonsense that cost years of rebuild. Reds don’t have the funds to cover giving up prospects (like gray, downs, trammell, etc.) I am actually pleased with the deadline activities since they added to the bull pen with basically no prospect cost.

  16. AllTheHype

    McLain is not eligible to be a PTBNL in a trade, ironically due to the so called “Trea Turner” rule pf 2015, which prohibits draftees from being traded, and also being named as PTBNL, until after the World Series of their draft year.