Ramon Hernandez is still a Red. The Major League trade deadline came and went yesterday with the Reds being neither buyers nor sellers. The only move of any significance the Reds made leading up to the deadline was dealing Johnny Gomes to Washington for a pair of minor leaguers. While some may view this as odd for a team with an outside, but not unrealistic shot at the post season, Walt Jocketty’s moves make sense when you look at the organization as a whole.
The Reds lack of movement really came down to one simple factor: the cost of making a move was more than that of standing pat. At 6.5 games out, the Reds would be deemed by some, including me, as a remote contender for the post season. Then they go and sweep the defending champion Giants. The up and down nature of this club this season has made them rather difficult to forecast, and that more than anything was what kept Jocketty from moving anyone.
On the one hand, the Reds are going to have to climb over three other teams to win the NL Central. On the other hand, neither the Brewers, Cardinals, or Pirates appear poised to run away with the division, even with their deadline acquisitions. It’s not beyond possibility that the Reds could still win the division with the personnel they have, so letting go of a player like Ramon Hernandez (the only truly valuable piece that the Reds would have considered moving) was a signal to the team and fans that they were throwing in the towel.
On the one hand, the Reds have holes to fill in LF, in the lead off spot, and in the rotation. On the other hand, without mortgaging valuable future pieces like C Devin Mesoraco, who were the Reds going to get that would be a significant upgrade from what they have? The simple truth is that this team has the players in place to win the division. With a couple of exceptions, they haven’t performed up to that level. While Edinson Volquez and Bronson Arroyo have struggled, Johnny Cueto has shined and Dontrelle Willis has surprised. Would a pitcher like Ubaldo Jimenez have made that big of a difference. Would Michael Bourn or Hunter Pence have pushed the Reds forward and make giving up that much talent worth it?
The Reds were caught in organizational “no man’s land” at the deadline, still too close to have a fire sale, not close enough to justify giving up prospects. If the Reds stay hot here in August, players still can be acquired if they clear waivers. Then again, if the Reds get hot enough to contend in September, they might not need to replace any of the pieces they have.