Tim Dierkes of mlbtraderumors.com was speculating on Monday which players may be non-tender candidates for the 2009-10 offseason. These are players who have not been sufficiently chilled and marinated to the liking of their current team and are allowed to hit the free agent market.

In many cases these players have hit their arbitration eligible years, and their escalating salary starts to outpace their contribution. Other players have had a bad year or two recently, and their team doesn’t like the risk/reward proposition.

You have to look no further than the 2009 Reds to see which players get dumped into the free agent pool. On the one hand you have Jonny Gomes. His numbers had dropped each year he was with the Rays, but had a great bounce back year in Cincinnati. On the other end of the spectrum, perhaps in the kiddie pool, the Reds also found Willy Taveras.

Take a look at his list, and see if you find any names of interest. Are there other players you think may end up being non-tendered that you’d like to see the Reds go after? Given the Reds payroll situation, this is very likely where they will be looking this offseason, trying to find next year’s Jonny Gomes.

Names that intrigue me are:

    Bill Bray – He was on the Reds minor league DL all season, did not accumulate MLB service time, and had his free agency and arbitration years pushed out 1 more season. I would be surprised if he is non-tendered (unless he cannot return from injury.)

    Kelly Shoppach – If Cleveland puts him out there, he should be at the top of the Reds shopping list. He and Hanigan would be a very nice tandem.

    Conor Jackson – Missed most of this season with valley fever. Hit .291/.371/.451 from 2006-2008, doesn’t strike out much.

    Jeremy Hermida – The Red Sox were trying to work out a deal for Hermida in the Manny trade before they ended up getting Jason Bay.

    Aaron Heilman – his K/9 has increased the past two years, but so has his H/9 and BB/9.

    Noah Lowry – Longshot who hasn’t pitched in 2 seasons after, allegedly, being misdiagnosed by the Giants. Trying to comeback in 2010. He could be an interesting 5th starter to follow if he can prove that he is healthy.

37 Responses

  1. th4433

    Kelly Shoppach would be a great addition to the ballclub. I also hope that they keep Bill Bray. If he comes back you just made one of the best bullpens even better.

  2. Matt WI

    Wow, Conor Jackson’s OBP jumps out at me.

  3. Sultan of Swaff

    We need to upgrade our depth at catcher and bullpen, and if we can pluck a Conor Jackson out of nowhere it will be a nice problem to have. My suspicion is that Jackson would go where there’s a possibility of starting.
    If we don’t resign Hernandez on a low cost deal (may not be possible, I’ve read SanFran is looking at him), we’ll need some depth at catcher. I’ll gouge my eyes out with a pen if I see Miller or Tatum in a Reds uniform ever again.
    Given the age of Rhodes and the lack of track record from Masset, we should find these guys some help. The bullpen is absolutely one place you can never stop looking for good, cheap talent.

  4. Dan

    I’m totally on-board with Shoppach and Bray.

    I’d be kind of surprised if Shoppach were non-tendered, but I guess Cleveland does have some stud catcher coming up from the minors, don’t they? I forget his name but apparently he can mash.

    And Shoppach just had a bad year (.214/.335/.399 in 2009, but with career numbers of .241/.327/.449).

    Good call, Greg. He’d be a nice counterpart to Hanigan.

  5. John

    I want to live in a world where people don’t talk about how the Reds can’t afford Jonny Gomes when they’re paying $4m for Willy Taveras.

  6. Glenn

    Couldn’t agree with the Sultan more. Miller and Tatum have no place on a ML roster prior to September of a losing year. I doubt the Reds can keep Hernandez so they’re more than likely going to be looking for a catcher to team with Hanigan. MILLER IS NOT AN OPTION!

  7. per14

    This is totally out of left field: what ever happened to the idea of trading for Jared Saltamalchia (sp?). He seems in the Rangers’ doghouse, had a bad year, but is cheap and has promise.

  8. Sultan of Swaff

    Good old Salty, best nickname ever. If you don’t know the story, his teammates call him “Pits” because his name is so long the letters on the back of his jersey go from armpit to armpit.

  9. Greg Dafler

    The Indians received Lou Marson from the Phillies in the Cliff Lee trade. He finished the year in the majors. Then, from the Casey Blake trade, they have Carlos Santana, who just put up a big year with AA Akron.

    The problem with keeping or even trading Shoppach, is that he is in his 2nd arbitration eligible season, and he made $1.95M last year.

  10. Greg Dafler

    I’m not sure what is in the work for “Pits”. He had season ending surgery on a rare condition, and since he’s at the league minimum, I’d expect the Rangers to hold onto him, at the very least to showcase him to other teams in Spring Training.

  11. EKyRedsFan

    I like the Shoppach idea. Could be the perfect fit at the C postion because Jocketty would have to be on drugs to re-up with Hernandez. Dioner Navarro could be a possibility as well.

  12. jello

    I’d like to give Jackson and Lowry a shot.

  13. RC

    Glenn: MILLER IS NOT AN OPTION!

    Why is Miller not an option? We’re talking about a *backup* catcher, and I think backup catcher is as good a place as any other to cheap out.

    I can’t see us paying a dime more than league minimum for a backup catcher.

    Injuries? What injuries…

  14. brublejr

    I could be on board with Shoppach at the right price. I am most definitely on board with Connor Jackson. I would like more power out of LF, but OBP, K rate, BB rate all look real good, plus he can play first to spell Votto. He could be a very good fit. Personally I don’t think Bray will ever get healthy, but if he is healthy I consider him an upgrade over Herrera and then fills the hole Rhodes leaves after next season. I am also not that high on Hermida and don’t like the idea of Heilman at all. Lowry would be OK on a incentive based deal, otherwise I would pass because too much of an injury concern.

  15. EKyRedsFan

    I would take Herrera over Bray any day. Bray cannot stay healthy and I don’t forsee that he ever will.

  16. RC

    Isn’t Conor Jackson reputed to be kind of… “Dunn-y” in the field, as it were?

  17. David

    I don’t know where all the Shoppach love is coming from.

    The guy can’t hit righties (.245/.313/.433 over the past three seasons). The guy can’t hit curveballs (a .139 clip). The guy can’t hit, period. His 64.6% contact rate shows dude has some major holes in his swing (league average is just under 82%).

    Defensively he’s got problems too. He threw out just 15 of 64 which is not especially awful but it’s not good. By comparison Hanigan threw out 21 in 49 attempts. There are far better options out there.

  18. Dan

    What are the better options, David?

    Personally, at catcher, I don’t mind .245/.313/.433.

    Hanigan’s arm is one of the best in baseball too. Sure, I guess Shoppach has a below average arm. I’m OK with it.

    If he comes relatively cheaply, and if he can hit some HR’s and put up a .750 OPS or so, I’d be fine with it.

  19. preach

    I take the chance on arms. Noah Lowry jumps out at me. I would not be concerned if Corky was our backup. How often is your backup catcher going to play anyway? The downside I see to having two young catchers is that our management team might be tempted to go with a third one. I’ve already seen that movie and let’s just say it didn’t win the Oscar. Spend no money on that. Strengthen the bullpen by looking for somebody who can be a long man/sixth starter.

  20. per14

    How about this for a back up catcher:

    G AB R HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
    54 128 18 7 20 21 39.273 .380 .508 .888

    Made 1.4 last year. Don’t know his contract situation.

  21. Dan

    @per14: Oh yeah, I looked at him yesterday. He’s signed by Atlanta for one more year.

    I just can’t believe we released Ross outright… and then paid $6 million for similar version of him (except w/ less power and a worse throwing arm) – Ramon Hernandez.

  22. per14

    Yeah, I agree. Ross was very, very good in 2006 (.932 OPS), marginal in 2007 (.271 OBP but 17 homers), and pretty good in 2008 (.381 OBP). I’ve always felt like he could have been handled better by the Reds. He’s got some skills.

  23. pinson343

    We won’t extend Hernandez’ option, but might make him a much reduced offer. At the reduced rate, I don’t mind Haingan/Hernandez as a duo. Would Shoppach be an upgrade over Hernandez on the cheap ? (I don’t know.)

    Corky is fine as organizational depth, if he’s willing to sign a minor league contract.

    The Reds letting Ross go for no return made no sense. At the time, however, very little fuss was made of it by Reds fans and the members of this blog.

  24. pinson343

    Hang on to Bray, unless the injury is so serious that he’s not the same.

    Noah Lowry if healthy is the classic “crafty lefty” that we could use.

    I’ve always liked Heilman as a reliever, he would give us some genuine depth in the bullpen.

  25. John

    Ross had to have upset someone to get summarily dismissed from the club in the way they let him go. I don’t know that Dusty and Ross really jived.

  26. pinson343

    Dusty’s “jiving” with some players and “not jiviing” with others is a big problem. A manager always likes some players and not others but I’ve never seen a Reds manager whose likes and dislikes so impacted his decisions and negatively impacted the team.

  27. David

    Dan,
    There are a number of guys who would be more capable backups.

    Brad Ausmus – .295/.343/.368
    Yorvit Torrealba – .291/.351/.380
    Greg Zaun – .260/.345/.416

    That doesn’t include potential trades (Salty, Pierzynski, J. Morales), in house options (W. Castillo, Tatum, Miller) or brushing the dust off Javier Valentine who had a better line in ’08 than Shoppach’s ’09 (.256/.326/.411).

    As for your buy low candidates, Jake Fox could be an interesting look. He ended the season in an awful slump (.195/.250/.293 in ending in an 0-16 skid which cut his line down to .259/.311/.468. Until then, he was slash line was .281./328/.520 and his AAA numbers were unreal. I don’t know that he adds anything more than Francisco, but the talent is there.

  28. Dan

    I’ve thought of Jake Fox – I agree. If he has any hope of sticking as a catcher (which he did play in the minors) I think that would be great. However… the Cubs main catcher this year (Soto) got injured, and they pretty much never considered Fox as a replacement. I think that tells you something, unfortunately.

    So if Fox is not a catcher, we don’t need him. We have way too many 1B/3B/LF/RF types as it is.

    As for the rest of your catchers (ignoring the trade guys you mentioned for now), only Zaun would interest me. I think Shoppach is CLEARLY a better hitter than all the rest of them (Ausmus, Torrealba, Castillo, Tatum, Miller).

    I don’t want Javy Valentin back b/c we saw what the Reds did with him — he was a designated pinch hitter and they carried 3 catchers, a total waste.

    So anyway… Fox (if he can catch), Shoppach, Zaun, R. Hernandez (at a reduced rate)… I think any of these guys would be OK.

  29. brublejr

    I wanted Zaun last year, but I think TB is going to bring him back. Hernandez at a reduced rate is all fine and dandy, but that means Hanigan plays 1-2 days a week because of Dusty. I think Torrealba would be OK as a backup as well but only for little money, otherwise you might as well go with Corky as the backup. I can’t see them spending over 2 mil per on a backup catcher.

  30. preach

    I like Scott Olsen. I wouldn’t mind seeing him in a cinci uni working with Dave Duncan.

  31. preach

    Of course, Olsen would have to grow up first. With some maturity and a little better work habits I think he could be very good. He is a jerk, but maybe that could change.

  32. GregD

    @David: I was going by reputation. I had the impression that Shoppach was a good defensive catcher. According to this profile, he’s a good defensive catcher.

    ASSETS: A natural leader behind the plate, he is also a strong defensive catcher with a good arm and the ability to call a good game. Also displays power.

    I don’t really recall much about him in games vs. the Reds. He clearly had an off year offensively. He was below average at throwing runners out (though he threw out 36% of runners his first two seasons…losing his arm or is the Indians pitching staff a contributing factor?)

    Yet, he had an OPS over 800 at every level in the minors. Had good offensive numbers in the majors from 2007-08. We’re talking about players on the cheap, I’d definitely take Shoppach as the backup/potential starter if Hanigan gets hurt.

    I think guys like Miller or Tatum are OK when used like this season, but I wouldn’t want them being the next in line to be the team’s starting catcher.

  33. Jose

    You know who also we should have had this year
    Jorge Cantu… we wouldn’t have had to trade for Rolen had we had Cantu still… but we released him

  34. catcard202

    3B: Rolen’s abv avg glove & steady play are a great assets…Even at $11M.(though I think the Reds gave up too much to get him). Not REALLY sure WJ keeps him past 2010…So, I’ll probably hate this trade by the ASB if CIN is out of it again.

    Cantu: Seemed not to be a good fit for CIN, as they clearly saw him as a downgrade to both EdE at 3B & Votto at 1B. At 3B…Even w/ EdE’s Struggles w/ the glove..Cantu isn’t ANY better. (EdE is a career -12.5 UZR/150…Cantu is a career -14.7 0UZR/150 at 3B)…and IMO, it’s a wash w/ the bat, as well.

    C: I’d be OK w/ either Miller or Tatum as the #2…Both have built a relationship w/ the TEAM & the staff. Chemistry goes a long way over 162g season. But if Shoppach was available & at a fair price. You’d be foolish not to take a look at signing him.

    Conor Jackson: I’d sign that guy in a NY min. I’d love to see an OF consisting of Bruce/Stubbs/Dickerson/Jackson/Balentien or Gomes….Especially if CJ returned to his career avg #’s(.281/.361/.431). He’d fit perfect w/ the mix of talent already on the REDS.

    He’s a high OBP, easy doubles pwr guy that walks about as much as he strikes out(189w/210so 2006-2008) & he puts the ball in play. EXACTLY what the Reds need in the 2 hole. (I seriously doubt he’s let go for free.)

    Brey: I’d hate it for him… If the REDS dumped him after an injury yr…But Herrera, Viola & Tabor have shown very well in his absence. WTS…As much talent as he has…I’d rather give up a yr late, as a yr early.