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Reds Deadline Grade


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Now that it's over time to grade their performance.

 

I'll give them an A-. They needed to get a offensive prospect, but the pitching prospects they got in the deals were way above what I thought they would get. The only way this deadline could have been better was if they traded Chapman for a nice return.

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A They made the moves that had to be made to maximize their return on their investment. Bottom line is this team is better than they would have been with just compensatory picks coming their way. They can still trade Chapman over the winter if they want or wait until next year's deadline.

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From Bleacher Report...

 

The Trade

 

The San Francisco Giants acquired Mike Leake from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for High-A pitcher Keury Mella and Triple-A first baseman Adam Duvall, per ESPN.com.

 

 

 

Cincinnati Reds

 

The Reds received a solid return for Leake. Mella is San Francisco's No. 1 prospect, according to MLB.com, while Duvall has 26 home runs this season in the hitter-happy Pacific Coast League.

 

Not bad for a middle-of-the-rotation rental arm.

 

Grade: B+

 

 

 

San Francisco Giants

 

After trying and failing to land David Price and Cole Hamels, per CSNBayArea.com, the Giants settled for a second-tier starter to augment a rotation that's littered with question marks after ace Madison Bumgarner and surprising rookie Chris Heston.

 

Yes, they gave up a lot. And yes, Leake will be a free agent at season's end. He's a nice add, though, for a club looking to repeat as champions.

 

Leake should certainly benefit from a move out of bandbox Great American Ball Park and into the pitchers' paradise that is AT&T Park, as his 4.93 home ERA and 2.28 road ERA attest.

 

Grade: B+

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From Bleacher Report...

 

The Trade

 

The Kansas City Royals dealt a trio of minor league southpaws—Brandon Finnegan, Cody Reed and John Lamb—to the Cincinnati Reds for Johnny Cueto, one of the biggest aces on the block, per MLB.com's Jim Callis.

 

 

 

Cincinnati Reds

 

Trading away your best pitcher always hurts. But Cueto is an impending free agent who was almost certain to bolt for richer pastures in the offseason.

 

And the Reds got three quality arms that each "have a chance to be big league starters," according to Callis. Finnegan in particular, Callis noted, is a name worth following, as he "made history in 2014 as the first player to appear in the College World Series and World Series in the same calendar year."

 

Could the Reds have received even more if they'd held off to the deadline and lured the clubs that missed out on Price and Hamels into a bidding war? Possibly. But they found a willing buyer in Kansas City and got a nice return.

 

Grade: A-

 

 

 

Kansas City Royals

 

Dealing away highly regarded, cost-controlled talent for a rental is always a calculated risk, particularly for a team with a limited budget like the Royals.

 

But Kansas City understands that its window is now. After coming agonizingly close to a championship in 2014, the Royals are going all-in for a return trip to the Fall Classic. You've got to respect that.

 

Grade: A

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Minorleagueball.com provides this evaluation of the prospects the Reds received.

 

22-year-old LHP Cody Reed

 

A prospect who shot up draft boards thanks to a velocity uptick, Cody Reed was selected by the Royals with their second round pick of the 2013 draft. Some were concerned the only explanation for Reed’s velocity increase was a thirty pound weight gain. However, Cody has dropped forty pounds since signing with the Royals and his velocity has remained in the mid 90s. His slider, like his fastball, also grades out as a plus pitch. His change-up has potential to be a 50 grade in time. Assuming Reed does not add a fourth offering to his arsenal, I think the 22-year-old has a decent chance to stick as a starter. His delivery is very simple and the southpaw is able to get great extension using a high leg kick. Reed has good command of all three pitches; he’s allowed fewer walks than runs this year. With two plus pitches and good control, Reed profiles as a future No. 3 starter. Reed’s floor is that of a dominant reliever or LOOGY. He’s a nice complementary piece for the Reds.

 

22-year-old LHP Brandon Finnegan

 

Ranked the number one Royals prospect by our own John Sickels prior to the 2015 season, Finnegan is clearly the headliner of the Cueto trade. Brandon has primarily been used as a reliever for the Royals, but he should be able to make the transition to a starter if the Reds choose to go that route. In his repertoire, the left-hander has a mid-90s fastball, an above-average slider that is lethal versus lefties, and a great change-up that he throws with good deception. The combination of a hard fastball and a mid-80s change elicits visions of peak Fernando Rodney. But that may not be the pitcher Cincinnati is looking for. If he wants to start, Finnegan needs to iron out his delivery and be more consistent. Right now, his motion errs on the high-effort and jerky side. That probably explains Brandon’s 4.8 BB/9 this season. I do think his delivery can be fixed, though. And should he be able to repeat his motion with more sucess, Finnegan has the potential to be a No. 2 or No. 3 starter. The southpaw has three above-average to plus pitches in his slider, fastball, and change-up. That’s a plenty good enough arsenal should he improve his command. If the bullpen is Brandon’s final destination, he has shutdown closer potential that can be realized very soon.

 

25-year-old LHP John Lamb

 

The Reds basically are playing the lottery with John Lamb. Once ranked the 18th best prospect in at the game by Baseball America, Lamb’s career was seemingly derailed after undergoing Tommy John surgery in the middle of the 2011 season. He would return at the end of the 2012 season and post a combined 13-24 record over the 2013 and ’14 season. But this season has been an entirely different story. In 17 starts with the Royals Triple-A affiliate in 2015, Lamb has cruised to a 9-1 record and 2.67 ERA. And, in even better news, his stuff appears to have returned to post-TJ form. Lamb’s fastball has reportedly maintained velocity from 91 to 93 miles per hour and has been clocked as high as 96. Assistant GM JJ Picollo thinks Lamb is finally return to pre-surgery form. "His changeup is looking more like the changeup he had prior to surgery, with good arm speed and deception. The curveball’s got better shape. And he’s doing a much better job of being aware of the running game as well". At 25, it may finally be time for Lamb to prove his worth at the major league level. His strong fastball-change combination lead me to believe John can find a slot in the Cincinnati rotation in the very near future. Like Reed, in the worst case scenario Lamb can still contribute as a LOOGY or late-inning reliever.

 

Overall, I think this is a fair trade for both sides. Kansas City received the true ace they will need in a short series. Cincinnati gets three solid prospects, all with starting potential and a high floor. The most intriguing part of this deal will be to follow the Reds’ development choices with Finnegan. The organization clearly regards him highly, but they must be careful to avoid another Neftali Feliz situation.

 

Keury Mella:

 

In the preseason top 150, John Sickels rated the 6'2, 200-pound right hander as the 104th best prospect in the minors. Mella was recently rated by MLB as the Giants' top prospect despite not being ranked in their top 100. He was signed by the Giants for $275,000 as an 18 year old, two years after he went on the market. In his first two years, he performed reasonably well in Rookie ball. He was noticed, but many wanted to see what he could do outside of Rookie ball. Sickels called him a sleeper prospect.

 

In 2014, Mella kept on rising through the system and jumped up on prospect lists, earning a strong B from John. MLB.com also noted that he had one of the highest ceilings in the Giants system, although that's not saying much. He did have a torn rotator cuff scare, which prompted many to look at him with caution.

 

In 2015, Mella was assigned to the extremely hitter-friendly California League, and he has held his own, with a 3.31 ERA and 83/26 K/BB in 82 innings, allowing just 66 hits. If all goes well, he can be projected as a solid number three starter, or possibly a number two. He features a fastball that can hit the mid-90s and both his curveball and change-up can be plus pitches.

 

Adam Duvall:

 

Drafted as a senior in the 11th round by the Giants, Duvall signed for 2,500 dollars. He was a shortstop and second baseman in college, but at 6'1" was too big for those positions in pro ball and was moved to third base. But even at third base, he does not seem quick enough, and has throwing issues to boot. He has been moved to first base and that is where he profiles for the future.

 

He has a very stiff swing, as noted by Sickels in the Baseball Prospect Book 2015. Despite this, he has hit well at every stop in the minors and has had double-digit homers in every full season he has played, including 26 already in 2015. He strikes out a lot, but if he can hit even .240, he should be a bench player in the majors as long as he maintains his power. Ironically, his first major league home run was against Mike Leake.

 

Reaction:

 

I feel this is a pretty fair trade, as the Giants needed a starter and the Reds supplied, although the Giants did give up a good prospect in Keury Mella. I like Mella more then some, and feel they shouldn't have traded him for a half-season rental. Both sides should be satisfied, although-again-the Giants might regret this trade in a few years.

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3 mid-rotation starters in Lamb, Reed, Mella and a 4th as a potential ace/lock-down closer in Finnegan. Three of which are lefties, sweetens the deal in my opinion. Also a bench piece slash platoon guy with pop and still young in Duvall. I give the Reds a B+. They gave up two months worth of production from 2 pitchers that at this point weren't going to make a difference. If anything they might have provided the Reds with a few extra W's and held the Reds back from gaining a top 5 pick in next years draft, which at this point I have no problem saying I hope they receive especially at the expense of watching a young pitching staff grow and gain experience.

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