Fay: After snore-inducing trade deadline day, Reds seem likely to get worse before they get better

Fay: After snore-inducing trade deadline day, Reds seem likely to get worse before they get better
Posted at 6:20 PM, Jul 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-31 22:50:51-04

CINCINNATI -- The Reds haven't had a such a yawn-producing trade deadline day as this one in a quite a while.

In recent years, they departed with Jay Bruce, Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake at the deadline. The prospects that came in the return were the immediate future. In the year before that, they added at the deadline to try to bolster a playoff run.

This year, they sent Tony Cingrani to the Los Angles Dodgers for a pair of prospects, and I use that word loosely here. Scott Van Slyke, one of the two, is 31 years old. The other, Henrik Clementina, is 20 and hitting well in Rookie Ball. He could help down the line. 

Cingrani could not have been a hot commodity. He had a 14.29 ERA over his last six outings. He allowed five home runs over 5 2/3 innings in those outings.

The Reds' "if it weren't for bad luck, we'd have no luck at all" season came into play as the deadline neared. Scott Feldman and Zack Cozart, two players with some value that it made sense to trade, went on the disabled list.

There was little interest on either, Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams said. 

So they're likely to be Reds as this abysmal season plays out. I say likely because Monday was the non-waiver deadline. Players can be traded if they pass through waivers. I would guess neither would. Their salaries are low enough that other contenders would block deals.

So what now?

I think it's important that the Reds continue with the rebuilding plan. To me, that means two things in regard to Cozart and Feldman:

  1. You can't play Cozart over Jose Peraza because you have to find out if Peraza can play shortstop now that the team is committed to Scooter Gennett at second base.
  2. Feldman shouldn't get starts over Robert Stephenson, Sal Romano and any other prospect.

Cozart and Feldman almost certainly aren't going to be here next year, so the Reds need to make decisions on guys who are.

Williams said Cingrani's departure will open a bullpen spot that one of the struggling young starters could fill, but he doesn't see Cozart sitting once he's healthy.

"I think we can afford to (play Cozart)," Williams said. "Zack's played at pretty high level this year. He's a big part of the team, and I don't see a scenario where he would just sit."

Playing Cozart and starting Feldman will mean more wins, but what difference does it make if you lose 94 or 98 or 102 games?

The emphasis has to be on the future. Cozart and Feldman are great guys and fine teammates, but, again, they won't be here.

If Peraza can't play short, the Reds have to look at other options. One possibility: Move Eugenio Suarez back there. Top prospect Nick Senzel is a third baseman, after all.

The rotation questions are abundant.

The rest of year should be a search for answers -- even if it means a bad season gets a little or a lot worse.