July 13, 2006

Reds Trade Kearns, Lopez for a Bunch of Guys You Never Heard Of

You might be interested to know that Wayne Krivsky pulled the trigger on an eight-player deal today with Jim Bowden and the Washington Nationals:

Cincinnati completed an eight-player trade with the Nationals on Thursday afternoon, sending starting shortstop Felipe Lopez and right fielder Austin Kearns, as well as Minor League pitcher Ryan Wagner, to Washington in exchange for relievers Gary Majewski and Bill Bray, shortstop Royce Clayton, infielder Brendan Harris and pitcher Darryl Thompson.

Kriv-dawg likes to emphasize the defense, so dealing Lopez isn't much of a surprise. Personally I didn't think Felipe was doing so bad this year, but maybe I was just comparing him to last year. Such a deal makes you wonder about the prospects of Edwin Encarnación should someone come a callin' for his services.

That doesn't explain trading Kearns, though. And it doesn't heal my broken heart to see him go, either.

Looks like HMZ has some hard facts share, as always:

The Reds get:

* Gary Majewski (righthander who is 3-2 with a 3.58 ERA in 46 games this year after 79 relief appearances with a 2.93 ERA last year)

* Bill Bray (a rookie lefty who's 1-1 with a 3.91 ERA in 19 relief appearances this season)

* Royce Clayton, a shortstop who started this season ranked 2nd among active shortstops in games, starts, innings, total chances, putouts, assists and double plays, trailing only 10-time Gold Glover Omar Vizquel in every category; whose career fielding percentage of .974 entering this year ranked seventh among all Major League shortstops; and who on top of playing much better defense at short than Lopez is hitting .269 with 22 doubles and eight stolen bases in 87 games)

* Brendan Harris, a major-league ready glove at 3B, SS and 2B who has shown signs of being able to hit for average and being a good situational hitter, plus

* Daryl Thompson, a 20-year old pitcher with a fastball in the low 90's and a solid curve and change (in other words, a good pitching prospect if they can get him healthy…20-year old pitchers with three solid pitches aren't easy to find).

I'm afraid my glasses aren't so rose-colored. Sure, there's a lot here, but worth Lopez AND Kearns (and Wagner)?

Krivsky bought himself a lot of benefit of the doubt with Bronson Arroyo, David Ross, and Brandon Phillips. He's already used up some of it with Quinton McCracken and Joe Mays, but he's got enough left for me to reserve judgement for a little while longer, especially since this move means that William Bergolla and--even more important to me--Chris Denorfia come back.

Still, I'm baffled. Does this mean that the Reds have accepted a seller role this off season? I'd love for another shoe to fall to bring someone bona fide with a little name recognition and make this make more sense.

12 comments to “Reds Trade Kearns, Lopez for a Bunch of Guys You Never Heard Of”

  1. Zeldink says:

    Dang, this is surprising. As happy as I am to see Hearthrob back with the team and getting his long overdue shot, I’m about as bummed at seeing Kearns leave. I guess that my [url=http://www.red-hot-mama.com/diaries/comments.php?id=611_0_4_0_C]dream outfield[/url] isn’t going to happen now.

    Reading everyone’s thoughts on Reds sites and general baseball sites indicates that the prevailing opinion is that the Reds lost. Big time.

    I don’t know. I can’t see it as a salary dump or selling away the season. I think this is a genuine attempt to improve the team and the bullpen for this year. And because the pitchers are young, it could very well help for years to come.

    Nothing we Reds fans can do now but cross our fingers and hope. Well, that’s not entirely true. We could also bitch and moan about how stupid Kriv-dawg is and how much everybody who disagrees with our obviously superior opinion is ignorant and an idiot. But I’m sure no Reds fan will stoop to that.

  2. Red Hot Mama says:

    The Reds did at least deal from a strength. Deno doesn’t exactly fill Kearns’ shoes, but he could get there. Castro is hardly a Lopez clone, but he did just smack a homer, plus those manos dorados. I’m not saying that the team isn’t hurt for the loss of the two, but it’s not like there’s no one to take their place.

    I don’t know enough about the relievers to know whether they’re going to make the bullpen more better than the lack of Kearns and Lopez will make the offense/defense worse. If so, I suppose it doesn’t really matter if what we paid is worth the same as what we got.

    It’s just that the idea of getting taken by Bowden…it just makes my skin crawl.

  3. joeberk says:

    IIRC the two pitchers who’ll be joining the Reds are like 23 and 26 years old. If the two guys were 33 and 36, I’d probably feel more aghast at the trade.

    I’m glad that Bowden took on Wagner; I think he’ll end up like Scott Williamson (funky mechanics lead to shoulder problems).

    At the end of the day, pitching doesn’t come cheap. It was impossible for The Kriv to get anyone decent without giving up someone decent.

  4. Red Hot Mama says:

    Pitching ain’t cheap. Truly told.

    Kriv-dawg may wind up looking bad in this deal no matter what because the general public doesn’t appreciate how tight the market for pitching is. Hopefully one or more of these new guys blows us away and makes this an obvious win for the Reds.

  5. kmanq says:

    Starting pitching may not come cheap, but relief pitching? C’mon. Many of the best relievers are failed starters. The Reds and all of baseball have plenty of those.

    Lopez is on pace for about .270, about 20 homers, 40 steals and almost 90(!) walks. How many middle infielders in baseball are that good offensively? Defensively, he loses some of that advantage, but I doubt he loses all of it.

    Kearns is more understandable, though I would have thought they could have got more.

  6. Geki says:

    FRAR says Clayton is worth 1/10th of a win or one run over the rest of the season defensively over Lopez. VORP says Felipe is worth about 14 runs more than Clayton, or roughly one and a half wins. That’s a significant downgrade there. It’s tough to get a read on Deno because he’s a rookie, but I think it’s fair to expect a win or two downgrade from Kearns to him as well. Two relief pitchers simply don’t make that up.

  7. joeberk says:

    I think the alternative to this deal was hoping Paul Wilson and Grant Balfour could help. That doesn’t exactly warm my heart.

  8. Joel says:

    Here’s my take on the trade (as a metaphor): Wayne Krivsky was looking at a room full of 162 people. Also in the room are a couple of mosquitoes carrying malaria. Now these mosquitoes have taken out a few of the people and Krivsky is trying to figure out how to stop them. He tried some of the simple options, waving his hand, fly swatter, and even trying a little bit of bug spray. None of that seemed to work, so then he upped the ante by bringing out his shotgun. He’s a pretty good shot, so he’s gonna kill some of those mosquitos, but as we all know, a shotgun sprays it fire. So, in doing this, Krivsky may have just killed a few of those people as collateral damage. The question that remains is whether he has killed more with the shotgun than the mosquitoes would have killed on their own. I guess that’s what we’ll find out the rest of the year.

  9. JinAZ says:

    I keep hoping that I’ll see this filed under Fake News. The longer I think on it, the less I like it. -j

  10. Zeldink says:

    Actually, I’m the opposite. The more I think on it, the more I like it. [url=http://www.vivaelbirdos.com/story/2006/7/14/61259/2453]Iboros’ take on it over at Viva El Birdos[/url] rang true with me.

    There’s a chance it’s wishful thinking, but I can see this trade turning out to be something very, very good.

  11. Red Hot Mama says:

    lboros is welcome to enjoy the view of a trade from half the division away, Zeldink, but just because he brings two anecdotes of trades that looked like they wouldn’t work but did hardly means this one is going to. All lboros really says is that he admires Krivsky’s moxie.

  12. KC2HMZ says:

    No trade is ever a sure thing – but I think Iboros may have come as close as anyone to the thinking in the Reds’ front office. This isn’t about Sabermetrics. It’s about baseball. Baseball isn’t about computers and spreadsheets. The players are human beings, not Strat-O-Matic cards. If that stuff were all it were cracked up to be then Billy Beane would have a handful of World Series rings right now. Last time I checked in Oakland, he was still looking for his first.

    No, this trade is about improving two of the team’s most glaring weaknesses, namely its bullpen and its defense.

    Now, what’s Krivsky been doing since he got here? Improving the pitching (Arroyo, Guardado, Majewski, Bray) and defense (Hello to Hatteberg, Ross, Phillips, Clayton; goodbye to Lopez and Wily Mo).

    Which, come to think of it, is exactly the same thing the last two World Series winners did to go from also-rans to champions.

    Sounds like a plan to me, and looks to me like the Reds finally have a GM (and an owner) who care about the baseball side of the operation and not just the business side. After so many losing seasons in a row, I count this as a Good Thing.

    Those who have pointed out that pitching isn’t cheap are right on the money. There are a lot of teams in baseball looking for pitching. It’s a seller’s market. You either pay the price, or go to the end of the line and try again next year. Just like poker – ante up or leave the table. The Reds have been doing that since Lindner and Bowden were running things.

    Giving up Kearns (when he’s easily replaced by Denorfia or, if Heartthrob doesn’t work out, Freel), Lopez (oh, and although nobody seems to have said this yet, if Clayton doesn’t cut it they can move Phillips to shortstop – Brandon’s natural position anyway – and insert Freel at 2B), and the remains of Ryan Wagner after Bowden had his hands in Wagner’s career the first time is cheap when you consider who some of the alternatives (Dunn or Griffey, or some of the top-notch prospects like Bailey or Joey Votto) might have been.

    And finally, without Kearns to drag the Reds into an arbitration case next year, Krivsky has created salary room to be active in the free agent market this coming winter.

    So, after years of leaving the table, the Cincinnati Reds have finally decided to ante up. I say it’s about !#$%&* time. Now I’m going to go get some popcorn, and sit down and watch the rest of this season. I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be interesting.