CINCINNATI — Let’s do the math.
The Reds lost 98 games this season. Wednesday they traded away Todd Frazier. Frazier’s WAR (wins above replacement) was 4.0 in 2015.
Four fewer wins would mean 102 losses. That would be a franchise record. The Reds have only lost 100 games once in the club history. That happened in 1982.
The Reds are risking going to such depths because they believe it is necessary to get back to contention. That doesn’t make it easy. Or pretty.
That was the case with the three-way trade that sent Frazier to the Chicago White Sox in the three-team deal that netted the Reds three prospects from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“This was very difficult to do,” president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty said. “It was a difficult phone call to make. But we moved forward with what we set out to do, which is get this team to contention as quickly as a we can. This is part of the process.”
It’s an ugly process to watch.
Frazier is one of the club’s most popular and best players. He led the Reds with 35 home runs and 89 RBI. But he was more than just a good player. He exuded enthusiasm and zeal for the game. Something that was in short supply in the Reds dugout at times.
From a pragmatic view, trading Frazier was something the Reds had to do. He’s signed for 2016 and eligible for arbitration in 2017. It’s unrealistic to think the Reds will contend in either of those years. Frazier will likely get in the neighborhood of $100 million on the free agent market.
So it made sense to move him.
Is it a good trade? Impossible to say. That depends on how the young players develop, but it’s not going to help short-term.
The Reds got infielders Jose Peraza and Brandon Dixon and outfielder Scott Schebler from the Dodgers in the deal. Peraza and Schebler could make the team this year.
The two of them combined are unlikely to have the impact on the Reds in 2016 that Frazier would have had. The Reds have to hope one or both develop into impact players.
The key to the deal for the Reds, Jocketty said, was Peraza. He was the No. 1 prospect in the Atlanta Braves’ organization before getting traded to the Dodgers in July.
He can play second or shortstop. The Reds see him as a second baseman for now.
“Peraza was the guy we focused on,” Jocketty said. “He was a guy we identified who could be a shortstop or second baseman for a number of years. He’s young. He’s had a lot of success of at a young age. He can hit. He’s an above average runner. He’s solid a defensive guy. He does a lot of things well.”
Schebler, 25, could be in the mix in the outfield this year. He’s a left-handed hitter with power. He spent most of last season at Triple-A. He hit .241 with 13 home runs, 50 RBI and 15 stolen bases. He played 19 games with the Dodgers, hitting three home runs.
“He could fit in as a platoon guy or better, depending on what we see when he gets to spring training,” Jocketty said. “He’s a guy with power. We see him hitting well in our ballpark.”
The trade of Frazier means that Eugenio Suarez is No. 1 on the depth chart at third base right now. The acquisition of Peraza means that the Reds are trying to move Brandon Phillips. They reportedly were in talks with the Washington Nationals about Phillips.
Phillips, as a 10-year veteran with the same club for five years, has to approve any trade. But it’s clear the Reds have gone from retooling, as Jocketty said in July, to fully rebuilding.
The club continues to try to trade closer Aroldis Chapman, although Jocketty said Wednesday that nothing was close. Right fielder Jay Bruce could go as well.
Jocketty said the Reds are pretty much open to trading anyone, i.e, no one is untouchable.
“If we feel we can improve our club long-term, probably not,” Jocketty said. "It would be tough to trade Joey because he’s one of our franchise players, but other than that...”
That’s a sound plan. But, again, the process isn’t always pretty to watch.