Fay: Reds' trading Dan Straily to Marlins stinks for fans sick of losing

Williams counting on long-term dividends
Posted at 1:15 PM, Jan 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-19 15:46:22-05

CINCINNATI -- It’s perfectly understandable why the Reds traded RHP Dan Straily. They got him for nothing and flipped him to the Miami Marlins for three prospects -- two of whom are rated highly and close to big-league ready.

But if you’re a fan and planning to buy tickets for 2017, it stinks.

It’s an admission that the rebuilding process is not over and expectations for 2017 are not high.

Straily, 26, was the Reds’ best pitcher in '16.  He’ll almost certainly be better in ’17 than either Luis Castillo or Austin Brice, who are coming to the Reds.

“It was a very tough decision given what Dan did for this club this year,” president of baseball operations Dick Williams said. “He really stepped up for us. But you really have to make decisions with the long-term in mind. I am committed to bringing us back to championship baseball, and you’ve got to take risks. We felt this was an opportunity to take someone who had built up a lot of value last year and could bring us back impact talent that we couldn’t pass on.”

But, again, this trade won’t likely help in 2017.

Castillo, a 24-year-old right-hander, is rated as the Marlins' No. 2 prospect by Baseball America. Brice, also a 24-year-old right-hander, reached the big leagues last year. He struggled in limited time with the Marlins but he put up very good numbers at Double-A and Triple-A. The outfielder the Reds reportedly got, Isaiah White, is 20 years old and a former third-round draft pick.

Brice will compete for a bullpen job. Castillo will almost certainly start in the minors -- maybe even Double-A. But down the road, the Reds hope they have a bigger impact than Straily. 

Williams said the Reds and the Marlins started talking about a Straily trade early in the offseason. The Reds held out for the package they got.

“I sensed that their interest was increasing over time,” Williams said. “We got more serious over about the last two weeks. In the beginning, we identified some of these guys as guys we were absolutely targeting. And we made it clear we wouldn’t go forward if we couldn’t get access to those guys. Over time, they became available. They were not at first.”

The trade has a good chance of playing out well for the Reds long-term. But after three straight losing seasons, fans are ready for some winning to go along with the rebuilding.

I thought the Reds had an outside shot at playing around .500 this year, but subtracting Straily, who went 14-8 with a 3.76 ERA and threw 191 1/3 innings, makes that much more difficult.

The trade opens things up for Robert Stephenson, Amir Garrett, Cody Reed and all the other Reds' pitching prospects. But we saw what happened last year when the Reds went with Stephenson and Reed before they were ready.

Williams did not rule out the possibility of adding a veteran starter. The Reds have three spots in the rotation spoken for with Homer Bailey, Anthony DeScalfani and Brandon Finnegan.

“We’ll continue to monitor that market,” Williams said. “I would feel better about having someone else in the mix from an innings perspective. We’re still very hopeful that those young pitchers will get a chance to pitch and come up in the big leagues and have an impact.

“But I do think there’s a chance we’ll add someone else.”

That’s how they got Straily after all.