So this is the Reds' big trade?
July 13, 2006
As a native of Cincinnati, the Reds-Nationals eight-player swap is the kind of deal that only can happen on an afternoon when I have the following conversation:
Co-worker: Are you a Reds fan?
Me: I was frustrated with the previous ownership group, but as long as they can make it past this deadline without doing anything stupid, I'll be OK.
It wasn't more than 30 minutes later that the Reds sent Austin Kearns, Felipe Lopez and Ryan Wagner to the Nationals for Gary Majewski, Bill Bray, Royce Clayton, Brendan Harris and Daryl Thompson.
The initial reaction was shock. After hearing what the Reds sent to the Nats, many assumed the other gigantic shoe dropping in this deal would be Alfonso Soriano. Is there anything further from Soriano than the package of players the Reds received?
There is no doubt the Reds' bullpen is bad. We're talking XFL bad. Carl Lewis singing the national anthem bad. So as far as the bullpen goes, the team is undeniably better thanks to Majewski and Bray. The skipper wants to see you, Esteban Yan.
Kearns' role in the deal is what should perplex most baseball fans. Of all the trade rumors in the past three seasons -- and rumors should be taken with a grain of salt -- Kearns was associated with far greater names than Majewski.
Anyone, Clayton included, is a defensive upgrade over Lopez for the Reds, but at what cost? Lopez is 10 years younger than Clayton and 12 months removed from being an All-Star.
Don't worry, at least the Reds are familiar with Thompson, who is currently pitching in Single-A. Reds team doctor Timothy Kremchek performed shoulder surgery on him last year.
The trade should be equally vexing to fans of the Nationals. Wasn't this supposed to be the one-stop shop for contenders this season? Why are they acquiring bats like Kearns and Lopez while they're allegedly shopping Soriano?
GM Jim Bowden is doing his best to turn the Nationals into the Reds East. Jose Guillen, a player Bowden acquired in Cincinnati, is in D.C. Even Barry Larkin was in town. Now he adds three more of his own in this deal.
The players headed to Cincinnati are not without talent, but if this is the Reds' big move to make a push in the NL central, I'm guessing Cards GM Walt Jocketty is in his office having himself a nice chuckle, realizing he won't have to do anything drastic to keep the division.