Mainstream media outlets and irresponsible fanboys alike keep breathing new life into the rumored trade that sends Jermaine Dye to the Reds for some undefined package centered around any of pitchers Homer Bailey, Josh Roenicke and Matt Maloney.
On the surface, you could argue the Reds need another bat to fill the void left by dealing Adam Dunn, and Dye would no doubt feast upon National League pitching (even as he advances a bit more in his years). Likewise, the Sox’ appetite for young arms may be the most voracious in the sport, and it’s not like they’ve never worked wonders with other teams’ prospects.
Unfortunately, what’s left out of the discussion is that the three pitchers being thrown about are either very rough projects, or simply not very good at all. Bailey in particular is a long way from 2005’s #3 prospect in baseball, and Dye is strangely too valuable a piece for the Sox to send packing just yet. As it stands, there’s Carlos Quentin in left and. . . um, still a gaping hole in center, and shipping out Dye for Cincy’s reclamation projects means the pitching staff just got shakier while the lineup just got considerably weaker. Even as a fielder on the decline, Dye’s bat is still important considering where the Sox play 81 of their games each year, and you’d like to think he could net something better than a question mark.
At the same time, as a fielder on the decline, Dye’s stock will probably never be higher, either – unless he shines next season while the Sox tank, and suddenly a very desperate contender is willing to overpay.
The optimistic types will say this is just a piece of the puzzle, and this is actually just the first in a long chain of dominoes Kenny Williams has been setting in place. But really, what could possibly be the move to replace Dye while cutting payroll and getting younger – sign Chip Ambres? Please.
Then again, you never know. Talk by this team’s front office is usually just talk, and on opening day 2009, when we all look out at the outfield of Carlos Quentin, Pat Burrell, and, oh, let’s say Bobby Abreu, we can say to each other, “That’s 100 wins right there, minimum. Maybe more.”