From today’s Enquirer, comparing the Reds hopes for a turn around to Tampa:

Tampa Bay had more room for defensive improvement than the Reds, but it’s still a sound strategy. The Rays changed players everywhere but catcher, first base and left field. The Reds should change everything but catcher, first base, right and center.

His idea for 2009:

The Reds’ makeover should include going after Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts with a trade package of Edwin Encarnacion, minor-league infielder Chris Valaika (he’s in the Reds plan for 2010; the Orioles don’t have any minor-league infielders on the cusp) and any two young Reds starting pitchers who aren’t named Volquez or Cueto. If the Oriloles want somebody more major-league ready, sub Chris Dickerson for Valaika and give the O’s one of the pitchers.

The Reds are weakest defensively at third base and shortstop, the latter of which could be solved by moving second baseman Brandon Phillips to short and making room for Roberts at second.

On the idea of going after Adrian Beltre and the future of the 3rd base position:

If the Reds were closer to contending and farther from having their third baseman of the future up here by 2010 , we’d suggest going after Seattle third baseman Adrian Beltre, who was 23 runs above average defensively last season. Even if he was only 10 runs above average defensively, he’d be a 25-run improvement on defense over Encarnacion.

But the Reds have third base options on the cusp: Valaika, Todd Frazier and Juan Francisco. Later, look out for Neftali Soto; he’s only 19, but man can he hit.

If the Reds don’t trade Encarnacion, they should move him to left field. Ryan Braun made the same move for the Brewers last year and went from a 23 runs below average third baseman to a nine runs above average left fielder. Even if he were only average defensively, he’d be as valuable to the Reds as Phillips. Don’t believe it? Check the ’08 stats.

And his beliefs on what to do with the infield:

We like moving Phillips to short. True, Phillips likes second base; it got him a big contract. But that’s not the Reds’ concern; fielding a winning team is.

Even if Phillips is only average at short, and Roberts “is what he is” at second, then defensively the Reds would net 5-10 runs. But together they would gain about 40 runs, because of their offensive ability; that’s a net five more victories. Phillips would be “replacing” Jeff Keppinger at short. And a Keppinger-and-Gonzalez platoon at third, would hold things down till the cavalry arrives in 2010.

Interesting ideas, should bring about some spirited discussion…

16 Responses

  1. Charlie Scrabbles

    i think Hanigan would be fine as a starting catcher. his defense is solid and his OBP in the minors is a robust .383. he has little to no power, but as long as he plays plus defense and gets on base at something like a .340-.350 clip, he is an average major league catcher. and he is paid the league minimum, which makes him incredibly valuable.

  2. Brothers

    Hmm, we could trade a bunch of prospects for Roberts (.828 OPS), or we could just get Orlando Hudson for 3-5 years from Free Agency, get similar (maybe slightly less) production, and still have trading chips for other positions.

    If we are waiting until 2010, then our likely lineup is as follows:

    2B: Hudson
    LF: Votto
    1B: Alonso
    RF: Bruce
    3B: Frazier
    SS: Phillips
    CF: Stubbs
    C: Hanigan/Trade for some stud

    SP: Cueto, Volzquez, Harang, Thompson, Bailey (or Ramirez, Wood, Owings…)

    And that’s assuming that Valaika won’t prove to be a dynamo offensive second baseman.

    So why do you trade for a position of strength when we still have a year until all the pieces of the puzzle are ready?

    Wait a year, see how things develop, and then unload Encarnacion, Phillips/Hudson (if Valaika progresses like he should), and who ever else.

    I’d say unless they can get a top flight CF or Catcher, I wouldn’t trade any of my prospects yet.

  3. Brothers

    And yes, I’m implying the Reds should trade Arroyo at some point in the next year or two to make way for some of the younger starting pitchers.

  4. Aaron B.

    Enough with the Beltre crap already! Its not coincidence that he puts together his best seasons when he is heading for free agency. Otherwise he is a BUM who will make 5 times the salary of EE.

  5. Dave E.

    Dan, as usual, I agree with you on everything except your disdain for Javy. I think an adequate switch hitter who can catch is hardly a waste of a roster spot. I always disagreed with Dusty’s and Narron’s opinion of his catching skills (that he was essentially unplayable there). I attributed Mackanin’s minor success to paying Javy more in 2007…

  6. Aaron B.

    Beltre has made like 33M the past 3 years. Why would he all of a sudden become a bargain? You watch this guy day in and day out and you’ll be wondering how the Reds could have handed him a wad of cash. EE’s defensive problems are typically throwing are they not? I’ve seen him make many incredible stops at the hot corner. I just don’t see how we can throw him away and pay 10M+ for Beltre’s services. I am not sold on Encarnacion in left field. Has he ever played any outfield at any level before? It would make more sense to move him to first base and move Votto to left. Votto’s defense was pretty suspect at first I don’t think a switch to left would mean worse defense from him, and he did it the year before last. I wish Dusty had the cajones to experiment more with our personnel when our season was clearly finished, but you know the man just can’t throw in the towel he has that reputation to worry about…

  7. Charlie Scrabbles

    moving Votto to LF seems like a bad idea to me. he was actually one of the best defensive 1B in a league this year. his range is simply incredible. the only problem he has is with picking the short hop, and that is something im sure he is working on as we speak. it is a very easily remedied flaw in his otherwise very impressive total game. keep him at 1B.

    im comfortable with EdE moving to LF. i dont know if he has ever played there, but it is a step down on the defensive spectrum for him. give him a few months shagging flies and i think he could be at least league-average there by spring. his arm and his instincts on the ball are solid, and although his footspeed isnt great, i think he would be just fine with a speed demon like Dickerson next to him.

    and if you dont like EdE moving to LF, how about going after Cody Ross from Florida? the dude OPSed over .810 while playing above average CF last year. moving him to LF (he’s played all OF positions very well) would only improve his value defensively, and he shouldnt cost too much to get. the Marlins may be looking to limit payroll and he is arb-eligible for the first time.

  8. Aaron B.

    If you take away Beltre’s one incredible season for the Dodgers I don’t see how you project him as a batter bat than EE. I flatly dispute that notion. I think we could expect a mediocre average and a terrible OBP with some decent power. If he was playing for free agency like he did in his last year for the Dodgers than maybe he would be properly motivated to return to near MVP form but otherwise his offensive stats are pretty horrible for a guy making that kind of salary.

    EE cost us 4 games with his glove??? That’s news to me, man. I watched the first 2 months of the season, every game, and EE’s defense was not a primary culprit in our quick demise. Votto, on the other hand, got eaten up by a few grounders that should have been fielded. I assume he improved towards season end if you say he is one of the better fielding first baseman. If he has good range that would translate to the outfield as well I think. I still like the idea of EE at 1B and Votto in LF and sliding Phillips over to SS. All thi should have been tried in the final month just to see how it worked.

    Lets keep in mind that Sparky Anderson made a lot of defensive changes before the Big Red Machine won back to back world series. Tony Perez went from 3B to 1B, Pete Rose went from 2B to 3B and even played some LF. EE’s bat is still a relative bargain and I think we can find a place for him somewhere if not at 3B.

  9. Brothers

    You move Votto to Left Field simply because in the interim, Encarnacion would play one heckuva defensive 1B, and if/when Alonso forces his way into the major leagues, you have a spot for him. It also means that the Reds would only need to worry about 2B or SS and 3B this off-season.

  10. Brothers

    You move Votto to Left Field simply because in the interim, Encarnacion would play one heckuva defensive 1B, and if/when Alonso forces his way into the major leagues, you have a spot for him. It also means that the Reds would only need to worry about 2B or SS and 3B this off-season.

  11. Aaron B.

    OK, well if Beltre could be had for reasonable then I would want to retain EE and move him to 1B.

    1B EE
    2B Kepp
    SS Phillips
    3B Beltre
    LF Votto
    CF Dickerson / Freel / Hopper
    RF Bruce

    that looks pretty good to me defensively. Kepp and Phillips should have been switched long ago for range purposes. This might be a good plan I could live with it.. its a shame Dusty didn’t have enough sense to foresee the need to try some things out with nothing to lose the last half of the season. I have really soured on him as manager… so I don’t expect any of these things to happen.

  12. rob in stl

    Dan,

    You stole my thunder with the EE for Jonathan Sanchez idea! There could be a match there. The Giants need a third baseman and the Reds rotation is too righthanded. All the minutiae of salaries causes me to glaze over, but both are about even on the wage scale. That trade assumes Arroyo is the fodder to bring the righty corner OF to Cincinnati.

  13. Aaron B.

    Why is Matt Kemp readily available? This is like Sheldon’s absurd claim that Rios is readily available. Other teams aren’t idiots. Kemp became a starter when Andrew Jones tanked so I don’t see why they would let him go unless they were overpaid. He had 606 ABs, 35 SBs and a .290 average. I love the guy but the odgers aren’t going to give him away unless we make it worth their while.

  14. Aaron B.

    Well if we can get Kemp we should do it… but he got more ABs then Pierre & Jones… maybe we give them Homer Bailey and Freel… if they would take that we should do it in a heartbeat.

  15. Mark in CC

    Delmon Young is a problem. If he is traded it would be three teams in three years. He can play but so could Carl Everett. The Reds don’t need that headache.

    Charlie you said Votto was one of the best first basement in the league. He really wasn’t that good. There were alot of short hops he didn’t scoop he should have (Hatteberg and Conine did the year before saving EE some errors) and at times his concentration looked like it was in left field rather than first base. The knock on him in the minors was his defense. I think he improved as the year went on but please don’t put him the one of the best in the league category.

  16. Aaron B.

    Well as I predicted I was chased from the Dodgers board for the mere mentioning of Kemp’s name. Like I said they aren’t idiots. They may have a glut of outfielders but everyone knows Kemp is worth more than the rest because of his age, salary, and great production last year. The Dodgers are not looking to unload him unless they are overpaid.