Lots of pitching news…

…starting with the fact that Johnny Cueto left last night’s game early with a tight left hip flexor, whatever that is.

Jared Burton returned from the disabled list to pitch terribly last night, and Micah Owings is expected to return soon (perhaps to take Cueto’s next start).

Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo cleared waivers. Let’s say one or both are traded soon, saving the Reds some money. Can anyone explain where the Reds would get five pitchers for 2010’s rotation? The money the Reds would save by moving these guys wouldn’t be enough to really reshape the starting staff, wouldn’t it?

Finally, the Reds are reportedly “far apart” in their negotiations with first round draft pick RHP Mike Leake. With only a week left in the signing window, this isn’t good news.

On the other hand, what leverage does Leake have? He was a senior at Arizona State, so he can’t go back to school. I guess he can go the Matt Harrington route and sit out a year, but that wouldn’t be a total loss for the Reds, as they’d get a compensation pick in next year’s draft in the same spot as Leake’s from this year’s draft.

I imagine this deal will get done at the last moment, like Yonder Alonso’s signing last summer.

37 Responses

  1. Bill Lack

    My concern is they sign him to a last minute major league deal and it screws up the 40 man roster even more than it already is.

  2. Chad Dotson

    I’m in a conference and can’t check. Was he just a junior? I was going by memory.

    That certainly changes the analysis. I can’t imagine Leake thinks he will get picked much higher next year. I still think he will sign.

  3. Dan

    True, it’s unlikely he’ll do better than he did this year… but still, I do think he has options.

  4. Dan

    It’s too bad we didn’t sign Leake in July, b/c then we could’ve traded him and a few other young pitchers for Jim Edmonds or someone Cardinal-y and leadershippy at the deadline next year.

  5. David

    Leake – The problem this year is that there are a lot of small market teams paying WAY above slot. That is having an impact on every team. Leake was only a junior. While he risks injury, getting drafted lower, etc. ASU girls v. Zebulon/Louisville girls…. Hmmmm….

    Harang/Arroyo – You can deal without one of these guys. If you lose both, then you may be in some trouble. The Reds do have some options yet. Cueto, Owings, Bailey are three locks next season. Maloney, Thompson, Ramirez, LeCure and Wood are also possibilities. There are a number of FAs that I suppose you could sign for less than the 11 or 12 million owed to these guys, but you wouldn’t be saving a ton of money.

  6. Sultan of Swaff

    Most (including Leake)were suprised he went so high. I would think whatever money he gets will be much higher than what he would’ve gotten as a late first rounder, and his agent probably knows that too. But it is what it is, and I suspect this is all a bunch of hot air.
    I’d love to see Arroyo moved, even if we eat some salary, for an on-the-cusp #4 starter.

  7. Dan

    If Arroyo or Harang is moved, it will be for a bag of balls. It will just be salary dump. (The fact that none of them got claimed on waivers shows that no one thinks they’re worth what they’re paid.)

    The only way we get any player of any value at all is if we pick up a LARGE chunk of the money owed to them, and I just don’t see that happening.

    I’m guessing they’ll stay here, and if they do get moved it’ll be for a complete non-prospect, and several million will go to the other team.

  8. Glenn

    I don’t like the idea of getting rid of Harang and Arroyo. Who will replace them?

  9. David

    Dan,

    I posted this elsewhere, but it’s worth a mention here. Just because teams didn’t claim either Arroyo or Harang doesn’t mean that interest isn’t there.

    Arroyo’s contract is bad. He has been “worth” only 700k this season. That’s down from $10.1 last year. Why? His FIP has jumped from 4.50 to 5.42. He’s already given up 25 HRs in 144.2 IP as compared to 29 in 200 IP last season. His K:BB ratio this season is 1.60 as opposed to 2.40 last year. His K/9 is down too. Overall, his numbers are bad and his contract is bad. Nobody is going to touch him unless the Reds eat a significant portion of his contract. He won’t net a prospect. If he doesn’t rebound, he will be a VERY expensive long reliever in 2010.

    Harang on the other hand, is “worth” $10.1 million. His K:BB ratio is good. His K/9 is good. His FIP is 4.08 making him a solid #3. I still think he is a fit for LA with all the injuries they have. If the Reds paid the remaining portion of this year’s salary, the Reds could probably get back a 50-60 grade prospect.

  10. moore2ax

    Your 2010 Cincinnati Reds starting rotation:

    1. Aaron Harang
    2. Johnny Cueto
    3. Homer Bailey
    4. Micah Owings
    5. Matt Maloney

    Sigh.

  11. Sultan of Swaff

    Throw Travis Wood in there, and that’s a league average pitching staff, if not slightly above. Plus you’ll have Voltron for 1/3 of the season (the part where we’re playing out the string). It gets dicey if you ship out Harang, because then you’re one injury away from the wheels falling off.
    That said, I think Homer is gonna have a nice 2010. You can just see he’s right on the cusp of being dominant for long stretches.

  12. Andy

    Two things will happen if we move Arroyo and Harang. We will eat no salary, and get a no-name prospect back, or we will eat a chuck of it and get some decent players back.

  13. GRF

    Agree Andy, that probably would been how plays out.

    I do not think we can count on Voltron next year. It sounds like a full year is the absolute earliest he will be back, probably best for him to stay in Arizona and strengthen the arm and plan on 2011.

    As for the future rotaion, Wood has to get a shot that point over Owings right? I would not mind seeing Owings in that long reliever role that has been talked about here in the past.

  14. Dan

    Andy, I disagree. If we eat no salary, there will be no Harang or Arroyo trade. All 29 teams passed on them in waivers meaning that they wouldn’t want them (at full price) even if they had to give up NO player at all.

    If anything happens, I think, we’ll have to kick in millions, and we’ll still get a nothing prospect in return.

    I expect both of them to stay Reds.

  15. David

    Dan – It doesn’t matter that a claim wasn’t made. You have to take into consideration that every team puts just about every player through waivers. There are a number of claims made by each team. However, as an organization, you have to be careful about what players you claim. Let’s say the White Sox, who just obtained Rios on a waiver claim, also made a claim on Carlos Lee. They couldn’t afford to take on the salary of both Rios and Lee. So, the Sox prioritized. You make a claim on the one or two guys you definitely want and can afford, assuming you get the claim. Then, if a deal isn’t completed or the player is pulled back, teams look to see what other players passed through waivers.

    If you are the Dodgers, maybe you put in a claim for Doug Davis because he is more attractive than some other pitchers. That doesn’t mean the Dodgers have no interest in Harang. It simply means Davis was the Dodgers’ first choice. Who knows, Harang might be the second choice. If no deal gets worked out, the Dodgers may come knocking on the Reds’ door. I demonstrated above why Harang’s contract should net a decent return.

    Arroyo, on the other hand, is not going to be dealt unless the Reds take an equally bad contract back (Juan Pierre) or ship a ton of cash. On that, we agree.

  16. Dan

    Ah, OK, that’s true, David. Hadn’t thought of the obvious need to prioritize your claims. Good point.

  17. Travis G.

    Those are very good points, David.

    Arroyo has more value during the offseason than he does in a pennant race. He’s a fine back-of-the-rotation guy who will give you 200-plus innings of league-average work, which is a valuable commodity. However, he’s not a difference-maker, which Harang could be. (I happen to believe Harang badly needs a change of scenery, and would benefit greatly from pitching in front of a better defense and staked to a better offense. But those are guesses.)

    The numbers will tell you that Harang is a quality pitcher who could upgrade a rotation. As such, I wouldn’t trade him unless a decent prospect was coming back, even if his new team required some cash in return.

  18. preach

    Arroyo has more value during the offseason than he does in a pennant race. He’s a fine back-of-the-rotation guy who will give you 200-plus innings of league-average work, which is a valuable commodity.

    Bingo. Unless a GM comes to me who has lost his mind, I hold onto Bronson and deal him this winter. No way a deal gets done for him in August.

  19. RedBlooded

    You have to take advantage of others needs and desperation when you can. For instance the Red Sox just lost 4 straight to the evil Yankees are now basically tied for even the wild card. Not making the playoffs is total and utter failure in Red Sox nation. It is totally not acceptable. They are very worried. You can make a tough deal with them if they see some way to improve. They will sacrifice the long term for the short term. They could really use the good Harang and it looks like the good Harang may be back. They have money and they have players. There may be a way to get something of real value back. Plus freeing up some money for a free agent or two. If not, you just don’t make the deal. There is no urgency on the Reds part. There is urgency on the part of teams hoping for post season. This could be a time to deal from strength while other are at a disadvantage.

  20. Glenn

    This may have been the subject of the cellphone conversation WJ was having last night in the booth. Remember how he had his hand over his mouth so all you lip readers out there could evesdrop.

  21. Plowboy

    Exactly, RedBlooded.

    AND we still have a few more weeks before the deadline to see just exactly how desparate teams like the Sox (both Red and White, actually) might get with their playoff prospects in the balance.

    Buy high, sell low. Otherwise, by all means, keep Harang (and Arroyo) for next year, or see if you can actually get something reasonable in return in the offseason.

  22. Dan

    Uh, I think you meant “buy low, sell high” there, Plowboy. 😉

  23. RiverCity Redleg

    Unless Plowboy works in our front office, then it makes sense. 😀

  24. Plowboy

    That said, I wouldn’t mind dumping Harang and Arroyo’s contracts for virtually nothing in return if there was some semblance of possible replacements for them in the minors.

    But, let’s face it, our prospects aren’t even close to proven with guys like Maloney, Wood, Thompson, etc. Of course, that just makes the loss of a prospect like Zach Stewart even more frustrating.

    Plus, I seriously doubt that the $20+ million savings (assuming you can get a couple of teams to suck up all that cash) will actually net anything much better than those two pitchers (via free agency/trade) anyway, so it wouldn’t bother me to see the Reds keep Harang and Arroyo since they’re both going into potential free agency after next year. Is that correct?

    Guys like Harang, Arroyo, and Rolen will all have something to play for in 2010, so they have real incentive to give their best, assuming I’m correct in that those are contract years for all those guys.

    Somebody set me straight on those contracts if I’m wrong (probably), but if I’m right and they don’t move Harang and Arroyo, it certainly gives the impression that they think they can actually win with the core they have in 2010.

    God help us.

  25. Glenn

    I like both Harang and Arroyo. They’re overpaid, but I like them. The problem I see with trading them now is that there are no forseeable, suitable replacements.

    I imagnine the team can get rid of most of their salaries but then we’re back to bottom feeding, for a pitching staff, like the team was back in the Bowden days.

  26. pinson343

    Harang and Arroyo are the closest thing we have to solid starters for right now and next year. Harang has recently has shown a return to form, I would certainly let that play out and see if he’s still got it.

    As far as Arroyo goes, it depends on whether we’ve already given up on 2010. If so, trade him, but only if a good offer comes along. That would mean a significant return in prospects and paying only a fraction of his salary.

  27. shane

    I’d keep Harang and Arroyo….. I haven’t checked the numbers but I’d bet would could have won a considerable numbers of the games those 2 lost if we just had a team that could score more than 1 or 2 runs. yeah, there was a couple of blowouts, but other than that

  28. Matt B.

    I’d keep Harang if he can maintain his current form over the next two starts. Arroyo, however, is expendable. I’m sure the Reds can find a league-average starter in free agency for a significant pay cut.

  29. shane

    not after they have to pay part of Arroyo’s salary along with it

  30. shane

    also, who is gonna take Arroyo with that carpal tunnel thing he’s got going on?

  31. Mike Martz

    uuuuuuuuuuuuuugh!

    I hate this part of the season!

    Every year it’s the same ol’ thing! Gut the roster and hope for the best in spring training!

    I miss the 70’s!

  32. David

    I don’t want it to seem like I don’t like Arroyo in our rotation. I think he is a solid #4/5. His contract was just a bad one given his numbers. He has the stuff to be decent. He posted a 2-3 record with a 3.02 ERA over his last six starts, all quality. Shane raises a good point. He has battled through carpal tunnel, and I wonder how much that has affected him. If we could trade one or the other, I’d like it to be Harang because we could get the most back. Nevertheless, I think that there is enough depth in our system to trade one (both if we grab a less expensive FA).

    Plowboy – You’d rather have Stewart over Maloney or Thompson next year? Stewart may end up being the better of the three, but I’m not sure he will be as successful next season. What’s your rationale?

  33. John

    Very little mention of Cordero in this thread. Moving him will free up $12m, right? That would certainly ease the burden. Closers can be found. Starting pitching not so much. I’d keep Arroyo and Harang for lack of better options and unload Cordero to a team needing a closer. Trouble is, Cordero has 2 years left on that contract and I don’t see him moving until next year at the earliest.

    Of course this makes the loss of a prospect like Roenicke all the more frustrating. That Rolen trade looks a little worse every day.

  34. Steve Price

    I think Cordero should be the first to go, too.

    Stewart may have been a great pitcher, but I’ve yet to see that he can go very deep into games.

    However, he may have made a great replacement for Cordero. Frankly, Stewart’s minor league pitching stats remind me a lot of Trevor Hoffman’s.