10 biggest trades in Reds history

December 1st, 2021

CINCINNATI -- Team executives will often say that a good trade is one that worked out for both sides. In their long history, the Reds have made many trades that shook the industry.

Some helped both teams involved, some were overwhelming steals for Cincinnati that helped bring championships and there were a few that did not work out very well at all. Such is life in the baseball world.

Here are 10 of the biggest trades made in Reds history:

1. Morgan arrives from Houston
Reds got from Astros: 2B Joe Morgan, OF Ed Armbrister, RHP Jack Billingham, OF Cesar Geronimo and INF Denis Menke
Reds gave up: INF Tommy Helms, 1B/OF Lee May and INF/OF Jimmy Stewart
Date: Nov. 29, 1971

The Big Red Machine was already up and running for a couple of seasons, but the arrivals of Morgan, Geronimo and Billingham kicked the team into another gear towards greatness. Morgan, who won five Gold Glove Awards in Cincinnati, was the special ingredient and won back-to-back National League Most Valuable Player Awards in 1975-76, as the Reds won the World Series in both seasons. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in '90.

2. Future Hall of Famer traded away
Reds got from Orioles: RHPs Jack Baldschun and Milt Pappas and OF Dick Simpson
Reds gave up: OF Frank Robinson
Date: Dec. 9, 1965

Many believe this is the worst trade in Reds history. Robinson already had NL MVP (1961) and NL Rookie of the Year (1956) awards and seven All-Star Game appearances under his belt. But he was moved to Baltimore, with Pappas being the key to the return. Robinson went on to more greatness and won the 1966 American League MVP honors while winning the Triple Crown and World Series MVP, as well. Pappas only lasted three years in Cincinnati and posted a 30-29 record with a 4.04 ERA in 82 games.

3. Home run power arrives
Reds got from Giants: OF George Foster
Reds gave up: SS Frank Duffy and RHP Vern Geishert
Date: May 29, 1971

This trade was a steal for Cincinnati, as Foster became an important part of the Big Red Machine in left field with menacing power-hitting ability. He was part of both World Series winners in 1975 and '76 and won the NL MVP in '77 while hitting 52 home runs. He is the last Reds player to hit over 50 homers.

4. Tom Terrific comes to town
Reds got from Mets: RHP Tom Seaver
Reds gave up: RHP Pat Zachry, 2B Doug Flynn, OF Steve Henderson and OF Dan Norman
Date: June 15, 1977

In what was dubbed the "Midnight Massacre" by the New York papers, the Reds plucked a fan favorite and face of the Mets franchise for their rotation. New York, in the midst of a roster purge, went on to finish in last place for five of the next seven years. Cincinnati didn't win a World Series with Seaver but reached the postseason in 1979 and had second-place finishes in '77-78. Seaver threw his only no-hitter for Cincinnati in '78 and was later elected to the Hall of Fame with a then-record 98 percent of the vote.

5. Arroyo for Wily Mo
Reds got from Red Sox: RHP
Reds gave up: OF
Date: March 20, 2006

It was then-general manager Wayne Krivsky's first trade while running the club, and it proved to be a steal. Arroyo literally became a rock star of sorts in Cincinnati while playing guitar and singing with his band. But none of that would have mattered if he couldn't pitch. He helped get the Reds back to the postseason in 2010 and '12 and was famously durable. Arroyo never missed a start and made at least 30 in all eight seasons during his first stint with the Reds, and he surpassed 200 innings in a season seven times. Pena, a feared but raw power hitter, lasted parts of two seasons in Boston and hit 16 homers.

6. Dat Dude for Stevens
Reds got from Indians: 2B
Reds gave up: RHP Jeff Stevens
Date: April 7, 2006

A disgruntled former top prospect in Cleveland, Phillips was already designated for assignment when Krivsky pounced early in the '06 season and sent a non-prospect, Stevens, to the Indians. Phillips became the fourth second baseman on the roster but quickly rose to become a cornerstone player for several seasons. He won four Gold Glove Awards and a Silver Slugger Award while making it to three All-Star Games while flashing dazzling defensive skills and versatility in all parts of the lineup.

7. Junior comes home
Reds got from Mariners: OF Ken Griffey Jr.
Reds gave up: OF Mike Cameron, INF Antonio Perez, RHP Brett Tomko and RHP Jake Meyer
Date: Feb. 10, 2000

Griffey, who already had Hall of Fame credentials thanks to his 11 incredible seasons in Seattle, asked for a trade to the team in the city where he grew up and where his father played. Reds general manager Jim Bowden bet big and signed Griffey to a nine-year, $116.5 million contract with deferred money that the club is still paying as of 2018. During his nine seasons in Cincinnati from '00-08, Griffey hit 210 home runs, including career milestone homers Nos. 500 and 600. But injuries dominated his tenure and lowered his production. Between '00-07, Griffey missed 453 games with injuries, including a torn right hamstring. The Reds only had one winning season during his time with the club.

8. Chapman for four players
Reds got from Yankees: 3B Eric Jagielo, RHP , RHP and INF/OF
Reds gave up: LHP
Date: Dec. 28, 2015

Jocketty made several good deals, but this will not go down as one of them. The rebuilding Reds were hoping that a soon-to-be free agent, Chapman, would net a big return in a trade, and one was worked out with the Dodgers during the Winter Meetings. But word of Chapman being involved in a domestic violence incident scuttled the deal, and his value plummeted. Cincinnati still wanted to move the flame-throwing lefty closer and settled on a deal with New York two weeks later. Only Davis is still with the organization, and he missed all of 2018 with a hip injury. Jagielo never reached the Majors and Cotham pitched in '16 but wound up retiring the following year because of a knee injury. Renda played 32 big league games for Cincinnati in '16. Chapman, who was a four-time All-Star for the Reds while posting a 2.17 ERA with 146 saves in six seasons, went on to win a World Series with the Cubs in '16 and returned to the Yankees the following offseason and reached another All-Star Game in '18.

9. The Cobra for Rijo
Reds got from Athletics: RHP Jose Rijo, RHP Tim Birtsas
Reds gave up: OF Dave Parker
Date: Dec. 8, 1987

Parker was a former great but was nearing the twilight of his career when the Reds sent him to Oakland. From 1988-95, not only did Rijo become the Reds' ace, but he posted a 92-57 record with a 2.71 ERA in 236 games, including 206 starts. Rijo's signature year was the 1990 wire-to-wire season, which saw him pitch brilliantly down the stretch. In seven September starts, he was 4-2 with a 1.26 ERA and four complete games, with five games of nine innings pitched. He allowed only one home run over 57 innings during the month. Rijo went on to allow one run in 15 1/3 innings in the '90 World Series vs. Oakland while winning Games 1 and 4 to earn the Fall Classic's MVP honors.

10. Puig, Kemp and Wood come to Cincy
Reds got from Dodgers: OF , OF Matt Kemp, LHP Alex Wood, UTL and cash
Reds gave up: RHP Homer Bailey, prospects Josiah Gray and Jeter Downs
Date: Dec. 21, 2018

The Reds bolstered an already scary lineup by adding Puig and Kemp to an order including perennial NL MVP candidate Joey Votto and sluggers Scooter Gennett, and . They also added a veteran starter to a very young rotation. Cincinnati general manager Nick Krall had indicated earlier in the offseason that the club had money to spend and would do so to significantly improve following four straight last-place finishes in the NL Central. In the process, the Reds also moved on from Bailey, who had been outstanding early in his career and signed a six-year, $105 million contract in 2014, only to be beset with injuries that derailed his trajectory.