A fan favorite for some and an unnecessary salary burden in other’s eyes, the three-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner is one of the last remaining pieces of a Reds core that made the playoffs in 2010, 2012 and 2013.
Big names Johnny Cueto, Jay Bruce, Aroldis Chapman and Mike Leake all have moved on since that last postseason appearance.
As with all Major League teams, the Reds have had some high-profile trades over the years. Here’s a look at nine memorable trades the Reds have made.
1. Ken Griffey Jr. from the Seattle Mariners, Feb. 10, 2000.
This one was huge for so many reasons when it happened. Aside from the fact that the best and most marketable player in the majors at the time was coming to town at the peak of his career, it also was the return home of a Moeller kid whose dad was Big Red Machine royalty.
It never quite panned out the way it was supposed to, as Junior managed a solid yet injury-plagued nine years here. He did manage 210 home runs and three All-Star Game appearances in that span. The key player heading to Seattle in the trade, outfielder Mike Cameron, proved to be a nice piece for Seattle for a few season, but would bounce around the majors the rest of his career.
2. Frank Robinson to the Baltimore Orioles, Dec. 9, 1965.
This is likely the worst trade in Reds history. Robinson had already established himself as a superstar, having won National League Rookie of the Year in 1956 and NL Most Valuable Player in 1961.
Needing an infusion to its anemic pitching staff, the Reds would use their biggest bargaining chip to get pitchers Milt Pappas and Jack Baldschun from the Orioles, along with outfielder Dick Simpson. The lopsidedness of this trade could be seen immediately, as Robinson would win the Triple Crown and the American League MVP in his first season with Baltimore. Meanwhile, Pappas played three seasons for the Reds, going 30-29. Baldshun and Simpson each only lasted two seasons here with very little production.
3. Todd Frazier to the Chicago White Sox, Dec. 16, 2015.
This one hit Reds fans hard, as it came the same year Frazier solidified himself as a fan darling as the star of All-Star Game weekend in Cincinnati. His dramatic performance in winning the Home Run Derby at Great American Ball Park was the highlight of an otherwise dismal season for the Reds. He also was one of the top-performing third basemen in all of baseball in 2015.
But in the age of teams selling high, this one could still prove to be a great trade in the long run. Jose Peraza, whom the Reds received from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the three-team trade, had an excellent run in the big leagues last season and is one of the team’s hottest prospects.
Outfielder Scott Schebler, also acquired in the deal, has also shown promise.
4. Tom Seaver from the New York Mets, June 15, 1977.
On the heels of the Big Red Machine winning back-to-back World Series, the Reds added Seaver, a future Hall of Famer and one of the most dominant aces in baseball in his time with the Mets.
Seaver’s mere star power made the trade high-profile, and while he never duplicated his workhorse Mets’ numbers, he gave the Reds a solid six seasons, going 75-46 with a 3.18 ERA.
His best season, 1981, was limited by a work stoppage. He finished the strike-shortened season at 14-2 and second to the Dodgers’ Fernando Valenzuela in Cy Young Award votes.
5. Johnny Cueto to the Kansas City Royals, July 26, 2015.
Like the Frazier trade, this one was a tough blow to Reds fans as they saw the first big piece of the Dusty Baker-era teams fall. While it wasn’t unexpected -- it was clear the Reds weren’t going to shell out the huge market value salary for the ace -- it was still painful so soon after the good feelings of hosting the All-Star Game in Cincinnati. Cueto was also coming off a 2014 season in which he went 20-9 and finished second in Cy Young balloting.
Also much like the Frazier deal, the value of the trade remains to be seen. The Reds acquired pitchers John Lamb, Brandon Finnegan and Cody Reed from the Royals. If they pan out, it could be a success.
But what’s definitely a success is Cueto, who won a World Series ring with Kansas City in 2015 before signing a huge deal with the San Francisco Giants and becoming an All-Star with them in 2016.
6. Joe Morgan from the Houston Astros, Nov. 29, 1971.
In a trade astrosdaily.com called the worst trade in Astros history, the Reds gained one of the cornerstones on its Big Red Machine dynasty as well as two other key pieces.
Morgan would win two MVPs and two World Series rings with the Reds en route to a Hall of Fame career. The Reds also received Cesar Geronimo and Jack Billingham in the deal. Geronimo became a defensive stalwart for the Reds in their ‘70s glory days and Billingham was a key contributor on the pitching staff for those teams.
Meanwhile, the Astros received Lee May, Jimmy Stewart and Tommy Helms from the deal.
7. Pete Rose from the Montreal Expos, Aug. 16, 1984.
From a production standpoint, this wasn’t a big move. But from a symbolic and historical standpoint, it was massive.
Rose was certainly in the twilight of his playing career, but was also on the cusp of breaking the all-time Major League base hits record, a feat he would accomplish on Sept. 11, 1985. To have him do it in a Reds uniform meant everything to Reds fans.
Also upon his return, he became manager, serving in the rare duel role as player and manager. As we know, his career as a manager didn’t end well with gambling issues and an eventual lifetime ban from baseball, but Cincinnati couldn’t have been happier than when its favorite son returned home to become the Hit King.
8. Tony Perez to the Montreal Expos, Dec. 16, 1976.
This is the trade that began to take apart the Big Red Machine. Perez’s big bat and ability to drive in runs were huge reasons for the Reds’ success in the ‘70s. Seen as expendable since prospect Dan Driessen was ready for a starting role at first base, Perez would be moved for pitchers Dale Murray and Woodie Fryman, neither of whom would make an impact here.
Perez would have some solid years for Montreal and the Boston Red Sox, but was never an All-Star again after seven appearances with the Reds. He would make a late-career return with the Reds and had a very brief stint as manager.
The rest of the Big Red Machine core would leave in the years following Perez’s departure, most notably Rose in 1978 and Morgan in 1978, both via free agency.
9. Adam Dunn to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Aug. 11, 2008.
This trade was not unlike the Phillips deal in that Dunn was a fan favorite to some and seen as a salary albatross to others. His big home run totals and Paul Bunyan-like reputation for hitting monster blasts endeared him for years, but he also had a penchant for walking and striking out... a lot.
Much like with Phillips, Dunn was part of a core group that included Austin Kearns, Dmitri Young, Sean Casey and Pokey Reese that would eventually break apart in favor of rebuilding.
The Reds received Dallas Buck, Wilkin Castillo and Micah Owings for Dunn, none of whom would make much of an impact.
Dunn went on to play for four more teams after the Reds, making one All-Star appearance along the way.