Impending Fire Sale In Cincinnati?

Murmurs of unrest have started coming from Cincinnati as trade rumors start to swirl all around the Reds. The team is under-performing, going 25-39 so far (one of the Thomas Daniels Mortal Locks of 2007, Reds under 76.5) and have nothing good on the horizon. As such, all signs in Cincy point toward an impending fire sale, likely seeing the exeunt of, at the very least, Adam Dunn (contract expires 2007, 2008 club option voided on trade) and Junior (contract expires 2008, 2009 club option) seem most likely to have a ticket punched elsewhere.

Junior presents the biggest problem, as he’s a 10-5 player and could veto any trade he didn’t like. The Braves have come up as a team he would probably allow. However, I’ve yet to read anything that says the Braves are interested. This doesn’t surprise me.

Think about it. Right now the Braves are sporting an outfield containing a ridiculously under-performing Andruw Jones, Atlanta homegrown OBP-bane Jeff Francoeur, and serviceable Matt Diaz. In their infield, they have Kelly Johnson who is thriving in the leadoff role and playing a serviceable second base even though he came up in the organization as a left-fielder. One of their biggest bats in the line-up, Andruw Jones, has yet to really start hitting and yet they’re third in runs scored in the National League. Now, add to that they have a power hitting BACKUP CATCHER who has started taking reps at first base. If they were able to jettison Scott Thorman (current 1b sporting a line of .228/.259/.389) and replace him with backup catcher Jarrod “If I’m Still On This Team In August It’s Because I’m Playing First” Saltalamacchia, they would be left with a line-up that, excluding pitchers, would be sporting Andruw Jones as their worst hitter with a OPS+ of 104.

Read that again. The worst hitter in their line-up would be Andruw f’n Jones… and someone out there is looking for the Braves to take on $40 million worth of injury plagued contract (during a period where the team is being sold) for offense? K.

Now, on the other hand, the team is sporting a rotation of Tim Hudson, John Smoltz, Kyle Davies, Chuck James, and Mike Hampton’s poster-contract for why you don’t sign pitchers for 8 years. And someone thinks John Schuerholz… one of the top five executives in baseball… is going to bring in offense? If the Braves trade for anyone, they’re trading for a young arm that’s theirs through 2008 or better. Guys on this list on teams that will be sellers: Dontrelle Willis, Brian Bannister (KCR 3.33 ERA), Scott Kazmir (TB 3.92 ERA), James Shields (TB, 3.02 ERA), Roy Oswalt.

If the Reds want to send the Braves Aaron Harang or even a sell-low Bronson Arroyo, they might talk.

I’m sticking with my call of “Angels’ Designated Hitter.”

As for Adam Dunn… pick a team in the NL West. That’s probably where he’ll end up.