Is Leake next out the Reds’ door?


By Tom Usher - tusher@civitasmedia.com



The feeding frenzy is on with the Major League Baseball trading deadline on Friday.

The trade deadline often reminds me of the old television show “Supermarket Sweep.”

That was the classic show in which contestants would sprint through the aisles of a supermarket with their shopping carts trying to shovel as much food and whatnot into their cart in a timed amount of time. Often, the contestants wouldn’t even know what they had gotten until their items were checked out.

Hopefully, the baseball general managers have a better grasp on what they have collected in the way of prospects.

But there are no sure things.

The Reds traded ace right-hander Johnny Cueto to the Royals for three minor league left-handed, power arms in Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed.

Finnegan pitched in the College World Series with Texas Christian last year, then pitched in the MLB World Series out of the pen with the Royals.

At this point, it’s way too early to say the Reds did well on this deal. Finnegan is the obvious key at this point.

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said the idea is to “stretch Finnegan out” at Class AAA Louisville in hopes of making him into a starter.

One thing we do know.

This trade does not make the Reds better for the future. When you trade an ace in his contract year, you never get back equal value.

But the Reds had no choice but to make a deal.

The fact is that Cueto was going to command close to $25 million per year when his contract ran out this year and the Reds had no chance of coming up with that kind of money over at least five years.

The Royals may not want to pay that either, but their hope is Cueto can be used as a rental to help win them win the World Series.

So who’s next out the door?

Now that Cueto is gone, speculation centers on who the Reds will trade next.

Mike Leake’s value has never been higher and his contract also runs out at the end of the year at $9.78 million. That means he’ll want at least $15 million in his next deal.

Leake is 8-5 with a 3.78 ERA, but is 3-1 with a 1.61 in four starts in July.

Teams are lining up and circling the likes of the Phillies’ Cole Hamels and the Tigers’ David Price. Once those guys either drop, or if Price is taken off the market, Leake’s name may be called for a deal.

Closer Aroldis Chapman is being looked at closely by the Yankees. At this point, the Yankees are holding back from cutting loose three top prospects for Chapman and his 103 mph fastball.

The Giants and Diamondbacks are also asking about Chapman, but probably don’t have the prospects needed to make the deal.

Very few big boppers are on the market. That’s why Jay Bruce has some value, in spite having this year ($12 million) and next year ($12.5 million) left on his deal.

But the Angels acquired Shane Victorino from Boston and left Bruce sitting in the on-deck circle.

Brandon Phillips also has value these days. But he’s owed $12 million this year, $13 million in 2016 and $14 million in 2017. Who wants that for a player who is 34, even if he is a Gold Glove second baseman?

The Reds are in desperate need of a slugging outfielder, especially considering they have an aging Marlon Byrd in left, strikeout-heavy Bruce in right and the weak-hitting, speedy Billy Hamilton in center.

Interesting move of the day

In the headline move on Tuesday, the Blue Jays acquired Troy Tulowitzki and LaTroy Hawkins from Colorado in exchange for Jose Reyes, Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro and Jesus Tinoc.

Tulowitzki and Reyes are big-name shortstops with big deals, but both had trouble staying on the field.

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By Tom Usher

tusher@civitasmedia.com

Reach Tom Usher at tusher@civitasmedia.com or on Twitter at @Lima_Usher.

Reach Tom Usher at tusher@civitasmedia.com or on Twitter at @Lima_Usher.

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