Trading Cueto makes sense for the Reds

Reds starter Johnny Cueto ranks in the top five in the majors in wins, ERA, strikeouts and WAR. Frank Victores/USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Reds will finish this season with a losing record, but their 2014 struggles may well take them beyond that bit of ignominy. It's possible they will finish last in the National League Central, and they have a chance to finish with one of the 10 worst records in baseball (which would mean their first-round pick in the 2015 MLB draft would be protected from the compensation drain).

They have developed significant needs and are facing a major overhaul that will be problematic in the face of rising payroll concerns, which they began to address when they allowed the Brewers to take reliever Jonathan Broxton last month. Broxton will make $9 million next season, and the Reds need as much financial flexibility as possible.

Their situation is so acute that the Reds should at least think about a bold, aggressive move to improve the team's overall talent and gain better payroll footing: They should trade Cy Young Award candidate Johnny Cueto.

Some rival officials just don't see the Reds making this move, because generally speaking, owner Bob Castellini has never been a big believer in deferred gratification.