2. Cincinnati Reds Sell Low
While some of the teams above are not quite in the rebuilding stage yet, or have yet to be fully honest with themselves about whether or not they should be in that stage, the Reds clearly are rebuilding as of this offseason. After hosting the 2015 All-Star Game, the Reds made several trade deadline deals, trading away both Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake to the Royals and Giants respectively, for decent returns in both regards.
Despite the obvious need, and agreement from industry sources around the game, the Reds went no further, holding onto Aroldis Chapman, Todd Frazier, Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips, and others. It was clear the Reds had a plethora of trade chips with substantial value, but even so, they held onto the rest of the players for the remainder of the 2015 season. This offseason the team has pivoted slightly, dealing both Frazier and Chapman, but stopped before going any further. Worse than that, both Frazier and Chapman brought back mediocre returns.
While the value of both Chapman and Frazier was through the roof at last year’s trade deadline, circumstances knocked down both players’ value this offseason. Frazier had a terrible second half in 2015, substantially lessening his trade value as the offseason began. Chapman, on the other hand, lost value due to the domestic violence case that suddenly surrounded his name following its revelation during the Winter Meetings after an almost-trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Reds traded both players anyway, but got a substantially smaller return than they likely would have gotten at last year’s deadline. For the Reds, inaction became their worst enemy last year.
Add to that, the failure to trade Brandon Philips, and waiting too long to trade Jay Bruce, and the Reds just have one bungled decision after another. The Reds did get a decent group of prospects back in the Cueto, Leake, Frazier, and Chapman trades, but still find themselves as probably the worst off team in the entire National League. While the Atlanta, Philadelphia Phillies, and Milwaukee Brewers are all collecting numerous good pieces, and excelling at rebuilding, the Reds have fallen flat on their collective face on numerous occasions. This offseason was just another disaster in a long line of Reds’ mistakes.