Chris(tina) Kahrl's reaction to the trade at the time
Kahrl seemed to project Harang over Valentine.
Acquired LHP Chris Michalak from the Rockies for a PTBNL, and assigned him to Louisville; acquired LHP Phil Dumatrait, a PTBNL and cash from the Red Sox for RHP Scott Williamson. [7/29]
Purchased the contract of LHP John Bale; activated OF-R Wily Mo Pena from the 15-day DL; waived C-R Dane Sardinha; traded OF-R Jose Guillen to the Athletics for RHPs Aaron Harang, Jeff Bruksch and Joe Valentine. [7/30]
Traded 3B-R Aaron Boone to the Yankees for LHPs Brandon Claussen and Charlie Manning, and LHP Gabe White to the Yankees for a PTBNL; recalled 3B/OF-R Brandon Larson from Louisville; placed RHP Ryan Dempster on the 15-day DL (elbow inflammation). [7/31]
In total, what was achieved here? Well, first off, the Reds got arms, and lots of them. I was amused by the one comment that Aaron Harang could be ready to step into the Reds rotation next spring. Next spring? Harang was giving up 6.5 runs per nine in Oakland, which is terrible, but it would make him the fourth-best starter the Reds have right now, and that's if he didn't get any better pitching in the DH-less league. At this point, the only starter in the Reds' rotation who ought to have job security is Jose Acevedo, and he just got here. Otherwise, everybody acquired should be taken seriously, because everyone has a chance to outpitch the current lot.
In terms of swag, the Reds did well. The best talents brought aboard came over from the Yankees and Red Sox, in Claussen and Dumatrait, two power arms in an organization desperate for any flavor of pitching. Dumatrait's a good arm, a lefty with velocity who can also change speeds and throw breaking stuff for strikes. He comes over giving up 3.5 runs per nine in the Florida State League, which isn't outstanding, but he's got a good assortment, and he's still picking up command of his power/curve/change assortment. Claussen's remarkably quick recovery from Tommy John surgery hides the fact that he's not quite back to the level of dominance he had before, but he's also not far from getting all the way back. Add in Harang, who ought to be able to stick as a useful starter at the bottom of a big league rotation, the flyers taken on Joe Valentine (hard-throwing reliever, but struggling with his control in the PCL), Charlie Manning (standard issue finesse lefty struggling to make the jump to Double-A), Jason Bruksch (2001 pick in only his second pro season since starring at Stanford), a couple of PTBNLs, and a couple of million bucks, and the Reds came out all right.
As for replacing the talent lost in the present on the big league roster right now, the Reds are essentially fine. Between Larson and Russ Branyan and Ruben Mateo, they should have right field and third base covered, and Austin Kearns will be back before the end of the season. With so many veteran relievers ported out, you might think that the bullpen will be a bit sketchy for the stretch, but that's a small price to pay for the amount of talent acquired. They'll get an opportunity to take a very serious look at Ryan Wagner, they still have Kent Mercker for lefty duties, and they still have the three Rs, John Riedling, Brian Reith, and Chris Reitsma. Calling up journeyman John Bale to tackle second lefty duties rounds things out nicely enough, and nobody's really doing that badly.
How, then, are those people of the future—who are taking steroids every day—going to look back on baseball players who used steroids? They're going to look back on them as pioneers. They're going to look back at it and say "So what?" - Bill James, Cooperstown and the 'Roids