Fay: Reds have plenty of factors in play as trade deadline looms at the end of July

CINCINNATI -- As the trade deadline approaches on July 31, the Reds obviously are in the seller category.

When you’re in that place, the rumor mill churns with scenarios of every contending team picking out whatever assets you have.

Zack Cozart, Scott Feldman and Drew Storen are obvious trade candidates. But the report Thursday the Washington Nationals were interested in Raisel Iglesias had a lot of people in the Redsland worked up.

I listened to a bit of Lance McAlister’s show on WLW. The callers seemed split between “you’ve got to listen” and “why do you keep trading our best players?”

Reds reliever Raisel Iglesias has surfaced in trade rumors. (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

I could make an argument for either side.

But first, I'd like to present what I think the Reds should be looking for in trades. I’d go for a starting pitcher on the brink of the majors whom the club controls for at least three years.

A lot like Luis Castillo or Anthony DeSclafani.

That said, there are no sure bets when you’re dealing with prospects, no matter how highly rated. Just look at some recent history. At the winter meetings this year, the Nationals traded right-handers Lucas Giollito and Reynaldo Lopez to the Chicago White Sox for Adam Eaton.

Giolito was as close to a sure bet as you get. He was No. 2 overall on Baseball America’s prospect list in the 2015. Lopez was No. 31 going into 2016.

It looked like the White Sox got a steal. Two can’t-miss prospects for three years for Eaton.

Giolito is 2-8 with a 5.40 ERA at Triple-A. Lopez is 6-5 with a 4.03 at Triple-A. They’re both young enough that they could turn out to be what the White Sox hoped they’d be. But not every prospect turns potential into production.

The Reds have seen that with Cody Reed and Robert Stephenson this year.

So I’d be very hesitant to trade Iglesias for prospects. He’s under contract until 2020 at a reasonable rate, and his stuff is off the charts. I’d be more inclined to move him back to the rotation than move him for a prospect or two.

As for Cozart, Feldman and Storen, sure, you float their names. They are not under control for next season.

I wrote a while back that the Reds shouldn’t trade Cozart and try to make a run at .500 instead -- and consider signing him if he’d agree to a reasonable deal.

Getting back to .500 is a pipe dream now. Scooter Gennett’s continued breakout season has to have the Reds wondering if a Jose Peraza-Gennett middle infield makes sense for 2018. Gennett’s only 27. He’ll be arbitration-eligible for the second time. He’ll likely be cheaper for ’18 than Cozart, even if Cozart agrees to a reasonable deal.

Feldman and Storen have worked out better than anyone could have expected. But they’re only signed for this year. In Feldman’s case, he’s taking starts away from young pitchers that the Reds need to get a look at -- namely Reed, Stephenson, Jackson Stephens, Sal Romano, Amir Garrett and Tyler Mahle.

None of the aforementioned young guys is as sure a bet as Feldman and the Reds (owner Bob Castellini) would like to see a better record this year. But the focus has to continues to be on the future.

Feldman and Storen aren’t going to be part of the future. Cozart probably isn’t either, which is a shame. He’s a great guy who’s turned into a very good player.

So I’d move them if the offers are good enough.

As for Iglesias, I’d hold onto him. Again, he’s signed until 2020. You’ve got to hope the future arrives before then.

John Fay is a freelance sports columnist; this column represents his opinion. Contact him at johnfayman@aol.com.

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