Duvall trade made to help present, future

Published 11:32 pm Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Jim Walker

CINCINNATI — It seems that Cincinnati Reds’ Dick Williams is trying to keep an eye on the prize as well as one eye on other things.
The president of baseball operations said Monday’s trade of outfielder Adam Duvall to the Atlanta Braves for outfielder Preston Trucker and minor league pitchers Lucas Sims and Matt Wisler had him looking in different directions at the same time.
“We have been trying to keep an eye on next year but also this year is important. The winning vibe and the winning culture that have been present recently is something we’ve been looking for a little while and we’re pleased to have found it,” said Williams.
“But we don’t want to do anything to disrupt it. At the same time, it’s very important to continue to have a focus on the future. We’re trying to do the best of both worlds. Keep the winning team in a good place but at the same time keep looking down the road and begin planning for the future.”
The Braves first inquired about Duvall earlier this season when the Reds were playing in Atlanta toward the end of June.
Williams was traveling with the team when Braves executive vice-president and general manager Alex Anthopoulos contacted him.
“Alex first expressed interest in Duvall at that point so we had it on our board for a while as a team that was interested. The team has been playing well and we’re pleased with the performance we’ve seen in the middle of the summer,” said Williams.
“When we looked at next year we saw (Jesse) Winker and (Scott) Schebler really emerging as corner outfielders that we think are going to have a lot of success in the major leagues. This year we’ve been rotating everybody pretty even out there getting playing time. It was working but we’re seeing Winker and Schebler really establish themselves as corner guys and when we looked at the projection on salaries in the offseason and the arbitration process, it made us begin to think about how we’re going to allocate our resources moving forward because we see this as a club that is competing with some of the best teams right now and we recognize there are some shortcomings that need to be addressed.
“We want to make as many resources available as we can to address those needs next year. This in a sense freed up some money to invest in other parts of this team and it also brought us back three players who have a chance to play.”
Preston Tucker played 98 games in 2015 with Houston and 48 games the next season. He played in 62 games this season with Atlanta and batted .256 with four home runs and 22 runs batted in.
“Tucker will join the major league team and be a swap out for Duvall in the short term. I would see (Phillip) Ervin benefitting in terms of playing time as a right-handed bat in the outfield,” said Williams.
“We hope and expect that Schebler will be back at some point in the not-to-distant future and be playing for the rest of the season.”
Reds’ vice-president and general manager Nick Krall gave a quick scouting report on the three newly required players and talked about how the two pitchers Sims and Wisler — both right-handers — and the left-handed hitting Tucker will fit into the Reds’ position plans.
“Wisler and Sims were starting and we feel they can start or relieve. Sims is a guy who was a three-pitch pitcher. He can use three pitches at the major league level. He’s got fastball, breaking ball, changeup,” said Krall.
“Kessler has started and relieved as well. We’ll work him out and see what works best there. He’s got three good pitches he can throw for strikes.”
With Duvall gone, the Reds have Phillip Ervin, Mason Williams and utility man Brandon Dixon to play in the outfield along with Billy Hamilton. Schebler is currently doing a rehab assignment and Winker just underwent season-ending labrum surgery.
“Tucker is a mostly a leftfielder who has really hit right-hand pitching in his career and we’re going to put him in the outfield right away and he should be a pretty good platoon guy,” said Krall.
Duvall came to the Reds at the end of 2015 as part of a trade with the San Francisco Giants.
Although he was only batting .205 this season, Duvall had 15 home runs and 61 runs batted in. He batted .241 with 33 home runs and 103 RBI in 2016 and last season hit .249 with 31 homers and 99 RBI.
Trading Duvall wasn’t an easy decision for the Reds’ front office because of his presence on and off the field.
“(Duvall) has been a big-time contributor, a good guy in the clubhouse, definitely a good find by our scouts,” said Williams.
“He made a position change and made himself into an All-Star. This was one of those that was a tough decision but definitely made with an eye on the future. It was an opportunity to get some arms that might help us and free up some opportunities for some other guys. It was a tough decision. We’re very thankful for his contributions.”

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