The Reds have made six trades since they fired general manager
Jim Bowden and manager Bob Boone on July 28, writing off the rest
of their inaugural season at Great American Ball Park. The latest
trade was one of the most painful for the players.
Sullivan was a second-round draft pick in 1993. He developed
into one of the most dependable relievers in the majors and one of
the leaders in the clubhouse.
During a 9-3 loss in Arizona on Thursday night, the Reds shipped
Sullivan to the Chicago White Sox, along with some cash, for a
player to be named. Starter Danny Graves heard about it on the
bench when he came out for a pinch-hitter in the sixth and got sick
to his stomach.
"I heard Barry (Larkin) ask somebody who he got traded for, and
I about threw up," said Graves, who sobbed in the clubhouse
afterward. "Sully has been my best friend in Cincinnati since we
have been here. I don't know how to think of it."
Sullivan, 32, was a leader of the team's chapel services on
Sunday mornings and one of the Reds' most respected veterans.
Several players approached reporters after the game to make sure
their feelings were known.
"It's a joke," pitcher Chris Reitsma said. "Sully is the kind
of guy you keep around. It makes me sick. It really does.
"He gets the chance to win now, but for me, he has been a
teacher. He's a model citizen, and he knows how to treat people.
For a lot of the guys in this room, it's a bad day, a really bad
day. He is truly a class act."
First baseman Sean Casey wondered why the Reds would trade
players who were so important to the team's success and its
chemistry the last few years. The Reds have floundered because of
weak starting pitching, the result of budget decisions in the front
"I personally don't think you get rid of a guy like Scott
Sullivan," Casey said. "This is a guy you build around. This is a
guy the young guys can learn from.
"They say no player is irreplaceable, but a guy like Scott
Sullivan is irreplaceable."
The day after the Reds fired Bowden, his assistants followed
ownership's orders and started trading players for prospects and
money. They've dealt All-Star third baseman Aaron Boone, outfielder
Jose Guillen, closer Scott Williamson and relievers Gabe White,
Kent Mercker and Sullivan.
The rotation could get a boost from the trades, but the bullpen
and the everyday lineup have been substantially weakened.
Sullivan led the majors in relief innings over the last six
seasons. Shoulder tendinitis diminished his effectiveness this
season and eventually landed him on the disabled list until early
August. Overall, he was 6-0 with a 3.62 ERA in 50 appearances.
"I have mixed emotions," Sullivan said. "Cincinnati is the
only place I know. It's a great organization, and I have a lot of
friends on this team. But I'm also excited that I'm going to be in
a pennant race."
The Reds are in a rebuilding mode in their first season in a new
ballpark, a stunning about-face for an organization that was
convinced it would contend in 2003.
"I think it's terrible," catcher Jason LaRue said of the
latest trade. "The guy is more than money. He's a valuable leader.
He's a valuable guy to have on a team."