Reds-Nats blockbuster: Another look
Most scouts and executives say the Nationals got the better of their eight-player trade with the Reds, reasoning that the deal boils down to the Nats acquiring two 26-year-old position players, outfielder Austin Kearns and shortstop Felipe Lopez, for two middle-inning relievers, right-hander Gary Majewski and lefty Bill Bray.
"There's a very good chance Majewski and Bray might be non-tendered and be on the scrap heap three years from now," one rival GM says. "But Austin Kearns will play in an All-Star game in the next five years."
Not everyone, however, is convinced that the Reds fared poorly.
The dissenters view Kearns as overrated and injury-prone and Lopez as erratic and moody. Majewski, meanwhile, is good enough to have attracted the Braves' interest as a potential closer. And Bray is that rare lefty with two "plus" pitches, a 91-to-94 mph fastball and 81-to-84 mph slider.
The Reds also acquired shortstop Royce Clayton, a defensive upgrade over Lopez; Class AAA infielder Brendan Harris, a potential utility man; and Class A right-hander Daryl Thompson, a highly regarded 20-year-old prospect who underwent shoulder surgery last July, but is back to throwing 92 mph.
The trade provided the Reds with an immediate benefit, stabilizing their bullpen. Majewski will be under the team's control for four more seasons, Bray for five. Then again, few relievers provide consistency for that long a period. And for Kearns alone, the Reds likely could have acquired a starting pitcher.
On paper, it's advantage, Nationals, but trades don't always turn out as expected. Think back to Bowden's first move as Nats GM — infielder Maicer Izturis and outfielder Juan Rivera to the Angels for outfielder Jose Guillen. That deal sure looks good for the Angels now.
The salaries of Kearns and Lopez will rise sharply in arbitration the next two seasons. It remains to be seen whether the deal is one the Reds ultimately will regret.