This was originally published in The Athletic.
It took a long time for me to wrap my brain around everything that took place at Great American Ball Park on Tuesday night.
I’m struggling to think of anything else in GABP’s nearly 17 seasons that comes close to rivaling the almost inevitable and very awesome Reds/Pirates rumble that gave a starring role to a just-traded player as he defended very soon-to-be ex-teammates.
I’ll also admit to having a hard time balancing my unadulterated joy over a genuine baseball fight with the frustration of Major League Baseball doing nothing to curb the ongoing clown show that is a Clint Hurdle-managed outfit.
And while processing what led up to and was included in the brawl I’ve at the same time had to come to grips with one of the most significant trades in recent Reds history. But in those few fleeting moments in between finding out that Trevor Bauer’s oft-rumored departure from Cleveland would end up with his arrival in Cincinnati and watching a mid-summer baseball game turn into something resembling the upper deck at an NFL game, the one thought that popped into my head was that four years after it started, the Reds’ rebuild has come to an end.
If the rebuilding process kinda-officially kicked into gear shortly before the trading deadline of 2015, when Johnny Cueto was sent to Kansas City in exchange for three guys whose names are getting tougher and tougher to remember, then it effectively ended on the eve of this year’s deadline. The Reds worked a deal with the Indians and Padres to land the former All-Star Bauer from Cleveland, sending Yasiel Puig to the Tribe and outfield prospect Taylor Trammell to San Diego.
It’s a move, for the Reds, designed mainly with 2020 in mind with hopefully the ancillary benefit of adding to already solid starting pitching to seriously enter the race over this season’s final two months. Even if that’s unlikely, the Reds have a jumpstart on an offseason plan that involves revolving everything around a starting staff with a trio of recent All-Star pitchers. If the rebuild was ever going to come with a payoff, the Reds were eventually going to reach a point where management would say, “eff it, we’re going for it,” while both formulating plans to win within a specific time frame and incurring the risks of trying to field a team capable of winning enough games to compete for something significant.
That’s where the Reds are right now and that’s why I’m very, very on board with this trade.
To read more, go to The Athletic.
(Photo: Getty Images)