Cincinnati Reds to Finish Rebuilding This Offseason?

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cincinnati Reds rebuild has been a long and painful process for their fans. Could the the Reds long rebuild finally come to an end this off-season?

While the Cincinnati Reds will not become a contending team overnight, the painful part of the re-building process is almost over. The Reds have three players that they should trade or move on from this off-season to complete change the direction of their franchise in Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, and Homer Bailey.

Phillips is a thirty-five year old player with one year remaining on his contract. He is a valuable player who would be a nice complimentary piece on a competing team. However, Phillips’ contract has a no trade clause that would require him to approve any potential deals, which led to him vetoing a deal last offseason that would have sent him to the contending Washington Nationals. It is hard to imagine Phillips isn’t rethinking that deal considering the respective seasons that the Nationals and Reds are having.

Even with that clause, he is a player who shouldn’t be hard to move, and one who could should make the smart decision to go to a competing team while he still has an opportunity.  Even if his his best seasons are well behind him, his abilities could still make him an asset for a team looking to win now.

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Joey Votto will be a more challenging roadblock for the Reds front office to move. Votto is a thirty-three year old player who is signed through 2024. Finding a suitor willing to take his contract and give a decent return may be close to impossible.

Despite concerns about his contact, Votto has been a very productive player throughout his career but will have to find a team in need of a 1st baseman with the funds to pay his salary. The best fit could be the Toronto Blue Jays, who could use Votto both as a designated hitter and a 1st baseman, especially as Votto is from Canada and the Blue Jays have quite a few free agents this offseason.

If the Cincinnati Reds rid themselves of both Votto and Phillips, one player will remain before they can begin to build their roster again…  Homer Bailey. Bailey has possibly been the biggest miss for the franchise in recent signings.

A thirty-year old pitcher who cannot stay on the field, his limited production does little to justify his $18 Million salary that he received in 2016. What is he doing to earn this contract?  The last two years combined, Bailey has been pitched 33.1 innings. That adds up to more than half a million dollars per inning, add in the fact Bailey has allowed twenty-six runs in those thirty-three innings and his salary looks to be one of the worst in all of baseball.

The Reds have to be considering ways to rid themselves of Bailey’s contract. Bad contract swaps in baseball have become more of a possibility, with the Braves and Padres being the latest teams to pull off such a deal. The Padres dealt the much maligned Matt Kemp in exchange for a troubled Hector Olivera, who they quickly cut.

Cincinnati could, theoretically, rid themselves of Bailey by doing something similar, eating most his salary and taking on another bad contract. While it may seem better to hope Bailey manages to stay healthy, the risk would not be worth taking.

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The Cincinnati Reds have a lot of questions to answer this off-season. If they can move on from these players or at worst manage to move two out of three they can finally begin to focus on again re-building their roster to one who can again begin to focus on competing and not wondering who will be the next player to be traded.