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John Fay
John Fay has been the Reds beat writer for the Enquirer since 2001. Prior to that, he served in a variety of roles for the Enquirer: backup Reds writer, UC beat writer, backup Bengals writer and as a general assignment reporter. He is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Elder High School and the University of Dayton.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Something to remember about trades

With all the debate about trades, one thing to remember is things are entirely different in the free agent era. If the Reds trade Adam Dunn for some 22-year-old pitcher with a great arm and little major league service time, they essentially freeing up $13 million of payroll for 2008. Money they can spend on free agents.

That wasn't the case when Frank Robinson was traded. You basically were getting players for life then. And the difference between Robinson's salary and Pappas' wasn't enough to buy free agents -- if free agents had been available.

Last year's trade with the Washington Nationals was a case of that. The Reds got two players not eligible for arbitration, plus a free agent to be in Royce Clayton, for two players arb-eligible. So when Clayton didn't work out -- spectacularly so, I might add -- the Reds simply took some of the money they would have paid Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez and signed Alex Gonzalez. (By the way, that trade would look better from the Reds' standpoint, if they hadn't let Brendan Harris go).

But back to the point: If the Reds trade Dunn, you've got to look at not only what they get but at what they do with the money they would have paid him. Now, getting a good player for him would help, but it's not the only way to measure the trade.


at 2:28 PM Blogger Luke Dooley said...


Can you help me understand something? I've heard different language thrown around with the Dunn deal. From what I understand he has a "Club Option" for next season that is $13 Million. If he gets traded that goes away and he is an outright free agent after this current season.

So why don't the Reds just keep him on for the rest of this season and then not pick up his $13 million option for next season? Then they would essentially be freeing up that money anyway correct?

I'm pretty confident that I've misses some steps in here... if it was this simple everyone would be talking this way. That's where you come in.... can you clear some of the confusion up?



at 2:38 PM Blogger John Fay said...

Two reasons: There's $500,000 buyout on the option, and they would be able to get something for him in trade.

at 2:59 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John -- I'm curious, what kind of salary do you think Dunn would get on the free agent market?

at 3:05 PM Blogger stucky said...

the $500k option may make this question a mute point, but say he becomes a FA would the compensatory pick the Reds received for Rich Aurilia signing with the Giants apply in this case as well or does arbitration have to be offered?

...although I am well aware that draft picks in baseball are the roulette tables of the major sports draft casino, longest odds etc...

for the record I am a Dunn fan and would like for him to stay with the Reds

I really don't think you can get dollar for dollar value in trading him unless your scouting dept. can steal another potential Aaron Harang

at 3:12 PM Blogger Luke Dooley said...

So it really is as simple as I laid it out? The attractive reason to trade him would be to save the rest of this years salary, plus $500,000, plus whatever mediocre (or prospective) chips we get back in trade for him?

So maybe this is the part that no one is talking about.... If the Reds don't trade Adam Dunn this season, is it safe to say that his career with the Reds is over nonetheless? Wouldn't they be willing to buy him out for $500,000 as opposed to spending $13 Million on him next year? That's $12.5 Mil. extra you can go spend on pitching (which is why everyone is so eager to trade him... becuase we are supposedly going to spend all of this money on pitching). Right? Wrong?

at 3:34 PM Blogger John Fay said...

A lot. $13, $14 million a year. But I'm just guessing. It would be some sort of long-term deal.

at 3:40 PM Blogger cscramon said...

I understand from a couple of insiders that Adam Dunn is not very hard working and reason why he has not reach is potential. Trading him now would be beneficial only if they can get quality in return (example: Teixeira)?

at 3:49 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


Are you hearing anything regarding all of the trade rumors and if there is any merit to them?

Also, I don't think trading Dunn would necessarily be a "fire sale" per say. If you haven't noticed, the Reds have had Joey Votto playing LF some in AAA lately. If you trade Dunn for some ready prospects, it wou;dn't be as much of a fire sale as much as a smart business move. That's assuming the Reds wouldn't get an OFer like Kemp back either.

Trading Dunn and Griffey would be a fire sale. Trading Dunn is a smart business move.

Personally, I think it is way too early to trade them both. I like Adam Dunn more then some, but I think it would be a wise move to trade him now, but wait until mid July to decide on Griffey.

But back to my first question, is there any merit to the Dunn and/or Griffey rumors John?


at 3:58 PM Blogger GookiePokeyHomer said...

According to a SI MLB players survey, yours truly Wily Mo Pena was voted as the most underachieving player in the major leagues.

That would fit in well with the current moxy of the clubhouse...Heres to hoping Krivsky can package Arroyo/Hamilton/Harang to get the big slugger back in a Reds uni..

at 4:02 PM Blogger B. Charles said...

The point of trading Dunn is to not only free up money for next year, but to actually get value for him. If you hold onto him for the rest of the season, with absolutely no intention of re-signing him in the off-season, you essentially "lose" his value. The Reds are currently 8.5 games out of first place, and while they still may have a chance to take the division, they have no reason to try to keep a player like Dunn-limited tools for a large salary. Consider it this way- Dunn will not be re-signed, not with Wayne Krivsky at the helm of this ship. Thus, if you hold onto him for the rest of the season, he will be walking at the end of the season- freeing up 13 million dollars. If you trade him now, you hopefully get talented prospects and maybe a decent bat, while also getting the freed up salary next year. The returns will be higher if you trade Dunn.

at 4:14 PM Blogger Ol' Timey Redsfan said...

I see this as being the year that the Reds finally pull the tigger and trade Dunn. He is best suited to be A DH anyway. Not only would trading him free up money and bring some much needed new blood as you have stated, but it would also improve the defense. Plus I think if you plug that spot with someone who can give you some clutch hitting say like a Condine, then you improve the line-up as well. Homeruns are overrated in my book. Give me someone who will put the ball in play in the clutch.

at 4:22 PM Blogger Scott in NC said...

Is it a stretch to say that Dunn and his agent structured the contract this way in order to ensure that Dunn would be a free agent after this year? They had to know that the Reds would be very unlikely to pay him 13 mill next year. If so, then that might explain why Dunn is shrugging all of this off - it's exactly what he (and his agent) planned.

at 4:23 PM Blogger Ol' Timey Redsfan said...

I think this is the year the Reds will pull the tigger and trade Dunn. There are many reasons I can think of to trade him. You have already stated freeing up money for free agents. Some of the best reasons to trade him are because he is best suited to be a DH, the defense would improve (or could) without him, the lineup could improve if the Reds put a clutch hitter like say a Conine in Dunn spot. I think home runs are overrated, give me a clutch hitter anyday.

at 4:49 PM Blogger Chris at Redleg Nation said...

I suspect cscramon's "couple of insiders" = Lance McAlister and his callers.

Anyway, John raises a good point, but there are a couple other issues to fill out the context:

- Trading Dunn frees up $$$ for free agents, BUT
-- Next year's class is weak;
-- Dunn-level production is going to cost $15M (and 3-4 years) on the market; and
-- We'd have to be confident in Krivksy's ability to identify and sign the "right" free agent.

One (mostly) unrelated thought: We might all be underestimating GABP's booster effect on Reds' hitters like Hatteberg, Gonzalez, and yes, even Dunn. (Yes, I know AG has been slightly better on the road this year, but I expect that will change over time).

at 4:52 PM Blogger Chris at Redleg Nation said...

b. charles, I have to disagree with one point: Dunn will not be re-signed, not with Wayne Krivsky at the helm of this ship.

- Dunn already HAS been resigned by Wayne Krivsky. In fact, it was the first thing Krivsky did after being hired as the Reds GM. I think Krivsky's smart enough to recognize Dunn's value.

at 4:55 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you're saying that the Dunn option at $13 million is an OK price, but we need to reallocate the money to pitching -- especially if we can get a prospect by dealing him now, right?

I really don't think that Hopper or Freel is the answer in the outfield. We need someone on this team to hit over .300. I noticed the Angels have 5 guys in their starting lineup that all hit better than our best.

As much as Dunn frustrates me, think about this -- he leads the team in HR's, RBI's, Runs, and durability. Yeah, his strikeouts are a problem but he gets on base more than Hopper or Freel. He even has 7 Stolen bases! Though he's not the best fielder -- I don't really think that costs us too much. By the way, Griffey has 1 more error and 1 less assist than Dunn!

If we trade him, we're going to need to spend $10 million of those "saved" $ on an outfielder who can hit for average or we're going to have another hole in our lineup while we wait several years for Bruce to come up. Votto's not the answer either -- I hear he's average (at best) defensively even at 1st base. Learning a new position will certainly screw with his offense.

IMHO -- no trade unless someone makes an offer we can't refuse.

at 5:29 PM Blogger John Fay said...

Dunn has gotten the reputation of not working hard. I see no evidence of that. He shows up early, takes extra batting practice. He was one of about seven guys yesterday to take BP. I've heard him ripped for not running to his position. I don't care if crawls out there, as long as he plays everyday through all sorts of injuries. You can rip him for striking out, for his average with runners in the scoring position.

at 5:43 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed 100% John. I also think greatly underestimate Dunn's production and what it means to the offense. He's going to create 200 runs for you every year. That's not easy to replace.

I don't see Krivsky re-signing him, so I think he should be delt, however it will be a big blow to the offense.

at 5:52 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


This is a little off topic, but I am out in San Fran all summer interning and I bought tickets for next Tuesday's A's-Reds game. Now, I think I did the calculation right, and I believe Homer is supposed to pitch in that game. Am I correct in my calculations? If not, who is on schedule to pitch next Tuesday?

at 5:57 PM Blogger John Fay said...

Should be Homer.

at 6:02 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks John, I appreciate you getting back so quickly. Here's to hoping I get to see Homer out in Oakland!

Go Reds!

at 6:10 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

If they don't trade Dunn this year and exercise his option, then they can only trade him to a team he has already ok'd because of his contract so we would get stuck with only being able to trade him to a couple of teams like the Ken Griffy trade in which we would have less bargining power. He has the most trade value now if we are going to trade him at all.

at 6:29 PM Blogger amazinglyrefreshing said...

While I appreciate Dunn for who he seems to be as a person, I honestly can't wait to see him traded. Nothing against him personally, but the strikeouts, fielding, clutch hitting (or lack thereof) far cancel out any home runs he may hit (which always seem to come when the game is either well in or out of hand).

In his 6 major league seasons he's already struck out more than Brooks Robinson did in his 23 seasons. He's already struck out more times than Gary Sheffield has in Sheffield's 20 seasons. He's on pace to break Reggie Jackson's all-time strikeout record in 16 seasons...which took Reggie 21 to set. He'll be #2 all time after just 13 seasons (everyone else in the top 5 currently have played at least 17 seasons...or are in their 17th season in the case of Jim Thome).

Nothing personal, but it's addition by subtraction.

at 6:51 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

John Fay, the new voice of reason.

Which is exactly why many Reds fans won't get it.

at 8:33 PM Anonymous mikec said...

-- Next year's class is weak

The 2008 class is good:


Deal Dunn (or take the buyout) and pair that with the money you get off the books from the Milton deal and you've got some cash to spend on a pretty good free agent crop.

at 9:07 PM Blogger Adam said...

John, did the Reds do a complete scouting analysis on Gonzalez at short? We keep hearing about his defense, but he just missed to playable balls. Further, his errors are up substantially this season.

at 10:56 PM Blogger Ron said...

The point that everyone keeps avoiding is that the Reds have too many 3-4-5-6 hitters and no lead off hitter when Hopper is not playing. Trading Dunn makes room for Hopper to lead off. Putting Hopper and Hatteberg at the top of the line-up provide too quality at bats that is going to make pitchers us up pitches and help the 3-4-5 hitters.
I don't think the Reds need either a fire sale of a complete revamping of their team. But, I think trading Dunn makes sense. I would look for a quality left-handed starter or a veteran right handed batter to come off the bench and to play left field against lefties.

at 11:27 PM Blogger Bengal43 said...

I've been disappointed in Gonzalez also. I bet Castro starts at SS tomorrow.

at 12:07 AM Anonymous ADMS said...

While I can see Dunn being shipped out sometime this season given the extra outfielders that we always seem to have, I just can't see the Reds trading Griffey this season or next. Why?
First, the chase to 600 is media gold. We have one of the top players of all-time, one who has been proven to be drug free and media-friendly (unlike everyone's "favorite" cheater out there in San Francisco), and while we can all beat our heads until we black out about how Griffey should be neck and neck with Bonds right now but injuries took him out (see Mantle, Mickey), it still will be a great moment for Cincinnati and one to celebrate with the Reds fans.
Second, Griffey has stated that he wants to be a Red. He came here for far below market value and the terms of his current contract don't hurt the Reds as much as huge contracts can hurt other teams...right Philadelphia and the ghosts of New York Mets of the past? Ken knows his career is winding down. I think he will sit down, restructure another deal that will allow him to retire as a Red and hopefully keep money free for catching and pitching. We've seen that when he is healthy, or able to play through the pain, he is still a great player and the move to right field seems to have eased the wear and tear.
Freel, Hamilton, and Griffey out there - three players that give it their all...and Joey and Norris are right behind.
Last but not least, if this season does go down in flames (there are some flickers of hope now that it won't), having a Cincinnati-friendly fan favorite to help with the rebuilding and the young players will be gold. I would like to think that Griffey makes himself available to the rookies to help them with their game and to show them the ropes.
13 million saved with Dunn is huge and even he has to know he is as good as gone. Same with Ross and most of the bullpen.
Do you see Javi becoming the full time catcher next season? I just wish he had more at-bats. I don't think another Johnny Bench is out there. Piazza in his prime, maybe, but not now.
Like others, I've posted negative things on the forum...and it's easy to do when you get killed by the Pirates and Nationals. There is life out there - the pitching is gelling (finally) and taking 2 of 3 from one of the best teams (Cleveland) is big news. We are playing the California Angels (so sue me Anaheim but the name is just pointless - I lived out there and the fans hate the name as much as the media does) well, but our new curse is not bringing in people in scoring position. We start doing that, we will go on a tear and hopefully be the comeback this season in baseball.

at 5:03 AM Anonymous tony said...

I love Dunn, but do what you can. But keep Griffey no matter what!

at 11:33 AM Anonymous TGO said...

John Fay, thank you for your comment at 4:29pm. The ONLY place I have ever read or heard about Dunn "effort" reputation is from commenters on message boards or radio talk shows. NO ONE from within the Reds organization and no media reporters covering the Reds organization has ever commented that Dunn is lazy or that he doesn't work at his game.

Sorry to talk about The Trade. Since you brought it up, Krivsky was asked a couple of times at the press conference last year if it was a salary dump. His answer was a fairly emphatic no.

at 3:04 PM Anonymous Justin Fernandez said...

I'd rather have Harris than Gonzalez on the Reds. A-Gon's big bat is a fluke. Harris has a big career ahead of him. The Reds have a lousy track record of keeping good players. Obtaining them (Phillips, Hamilton) they're better at. Griffey's trade value is at a high now. Before he tears some muscle off the bone, I say trade him. If any GM is insane enough to give the Reds talent for DUNN, trade him too (Dunn was my favorite player by far until this year's nonsense about how he was going to work so hard in spring and fix his swing and he turns out to be worse this year than ever at the plate). Let spring training 2008 begin next week. This season is over. Many changes need to be made. If we don't get big value for Griffey now, he'll be on the Reds when he's back on the DL. (it happens every summer)

at 3:39 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Getting rid of Dunn to "save" 500k next year will not improve this team. The Reds should focus on acquiring talent -- whether or not its Krivsky or ownership -- this team has not made any serious effort to sign any marquee or known talented players. SI is correct when it says that Krivsky screwed up on the Kearns and Lopez trade by trading away Reds' strength - offense -- and getting zero in return.

Gonzalez is fine -- but to say his signing was a difference maker for the Reds -- look at them. When Krivsky took the helm the Reds were an 80s loss team. Now, they may be a 90 or 100 loss team.

The Reds should keep Dunn and actually try to compete, rather than trade away one of the few good players that they have left. All of Krivsky's acquisitions have been rejects by other teams & most would not start for any other team. I am dumbfounded by some of the extensions that he has given to players -- with the exception of Dunn. Dunn is part of the solution for the Reds -- he is not one of the problems. However, he needs to bat 4th -- as he is currently doing -- not 2nd, 1st, 5th, or 6th as Narron was doing previously.

John - unless they get good prospects in return for Dunn - he should not be traded. I disagree that you save money for next year by trading him -- if they don't want him -- they can simply release him and free up money. He does not have a guaranteed contract for next year.

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