Re: Just why was Reitsma traded?
Well, of course the deal makes no sense if the context is 2004 alone. Philosophically, I had no problem with it.
If we can accept that we are rebuilding -- hot start aside -- that raises the question, what should we be building? I'd argue that an overstuffed pipeline of starting pitching is the precondition to the sustained success we want. With that, we'll have a quality rotation and plenty of depth; we won't have to pay inflated market prices for "proven" pitching; we'll have trading chips to deal for other things we need; and the winnowing-out process will probably help stock our bullpen, too. So anything we can do to accelerate the pipeline-building without giving up a critical part of the next really good Reds team ought to be considered.
Anyway, relievers are among the most unpredictable, most replaceable players there are. Bullpen construction is more art than science, but most people would agree that it's the one part of a team that it's feasible to construct on the cheap. We may have picked the wrong guys this year but that doesn't mean we need to start overpaying. The Sullivan/White type of contracts are a luxury a team in our payroll class can't really afford.
Bottom line: I'd rather get Bong and Nelson now than see Reitsma non-tendered next winter and we get nothing.