Reds need to become sellers


It’s great that Reds Chief Operating Officer Phil Castellini is out campaigning for Todd Frazier.

The Reds host the All-Star Game on July 14 at the Great American Ball Park. The hope is they can showcase Reds third baseman Frazier in the starting lineup.

As of Monday’s latest voting, Frazier stands in second place in the fan voting, 63,000 votes behind the leader, St. Louis Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter.

Frazier deserves to be the starter, as he’s hitting .290 with 25 home runs and 53 RBI. He has 21 doubles. But even if he isn’t elected as the starter at third, he’ll easily be named as an All-Star reserve.

It should be some party in downtown Cincinnati, with the All-Star Futures Game at 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 12, followed by the All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball game.

Then comes Home Run Derby at 8 p.m. on Monday, July 13. The All-Star Game is set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 14.

Picture Opening Day in Cincinnati on six cups of coffee and you get the idea.

The reality is that the All-Star Game is simply a smoke screen in Cincinnati.

Once the circus leaves town, owner and president Bob Castellini must decide the future of the Reds. He must figure out how he’s going to get the Reds out of this quicksand of a mess.

This year is quickly going nowhere. At best, the Reds (currently 35-40) are a .500 team.

Trading options are limited with Jay Bruce, Joey Votto and Homer Bailey all tied up to long-term deals.

But with the trading deadline of July 31 quickly approaching, the Reds must be in the selling mode.

Ace Johnny Cueto will be a free agent at the end of the year and will expect top-of-the-line money. Right-hander Mike Leake is also a free agent at the end of the year will expect his fair share, as well.

Closer Aroldis Chapman will be a free agent after next season.

There’s no question Cueto will be gone at the end of the year. Leake could be gone, while Chapman is a year away from taking a stroll out the GABP front door.

In order to start the reconstruction, the Reds need to deal Cueto and Chapman by the deadline. Cueto isn’t in the Reds’ budget.

And what team muddling along with a losing record needs to pay big money for a closer?

A serious effort has to be made to sign Leake, but money will be a big issue there, as well.

The Reds are stuck with big-money deals on Votto (through 2023), Bruce (through 2016, team option for 2017), Phillips (through 2017) and Bailey (through 2019, option in 2020).

Frazier should be the anchor to build around, but everyone else is on the market.

If Class AA or AAA quality prospects can be gathered for Cueto, Chapman or even Leake, the time to do it is now.

At this point, what do the Reds have to lose?

The real problem is the person in charge of “backing the truck up” is general manager Walt Jocketty. At this point, he hasn’t shown he can piece a team together in 2015.

Just this past offseason, Jocketty signed Kevin Gregg (since released), Jason Marquis (since released) and left fielder Marlon Byrd (hitting .229 with 12 home runs). On the plus side, he did get Anthony DeSclafani (5-5, 3.35 ERA) from the Marlins for Mat Latos.

The first move Castellini has to make is to get a new G.M. to oversee the major overhaul.

Then, and only then, will the Reds be ready for 2016 and beyond.

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

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