No additional Reds roster transactions have been announced yet, but we have more stories on the Reds payroll situation, and player notes on Chris Heisey and Brandon Phillips.

  • While mlbtraderumors.com continues to speculate on Reds trade rumors without any new sources, Fox Sports blogged that the Reds intentions are not to cut payroll, but “free up dollars and create flexibility for other moves”.

    Thus, everyone on their roster is available except first baseman Joey Votto, outfielder Jay Bruce and third baseman Scott Rolen, according to one source with knowledge of the club’s thinking.

    The team’s highest-priced players — closer Francisco Cordero, second baseman Brandon Phillips and right-handers Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo — all are in play.

  • BaseballAmerica devoted some space to Chris Heisey in their Thursday AFL Notebook.

    He’s played all three outfield spots for the Peoria Saguaros and hit .320/.400/.667 with five home runs in 85 plate appearances.

    “I think he’s just gaining confidence and I think he believes he’s a major league player,” said Saguaros manager David Bell, who also managed Heisey this year at Double-A Carolina. “I think he’s going to create that opportunity for himself.

    “He can do so many things—he’s such a well-rounded player. There’s not anything that he can’t do, and he does a lot of things very well. I think this league has been good for him. It’s given him a little more time to just gain that confidence.”

    An anonymous scouts says:

    “He gets out a little on his front side, but he has such good hands, especially on the inner half,” said one scout. “He’s got solid-average tools across the board. I don’t see any major weaknesses and or any great pluses. For me, he might be a fourth outfielder who plays as an occasional starter. He’s really surprised me.”

  • NL Gold Glove Awards were announced Wednesday. Brandon Phillips was beaten by Orlando Hudson again, the second time in the past three seasons. I think the behavior that led to the pretzel article hurt Brandon’s chances to win a Gold Glove Award.

28 Responses

  1. JasonL

    I’m surprised that Cueto and Bailey are apparently available, though I’m guessing they’d have to be bowled over to part with either of those two.

  2. Sultan of Swaff

    There’s no way he was implying that EVERYONE was available. Stubbs, Bailey, Bruce, Votto, Cueto, and Masset are out of play. That’s the core we’re building around for 2011.
    I think that’s a totally fair assessment of Heisey and if true, makes Dickerson trade bait because he can’t play left or hit for power.
    A lot of the media consider Harang and Arroyo as having little value because their salaries are high. I’ll disagree. The advantage is that these guys are on one year deals. Teams looking to win now can do so w/o a multiyear commitment to an equivalent free agent. We’re stuck with Coco, so if I have to vote someone off the island, it’s Harang. All things being equal, Arroyo has been the healthier of the two. I would even consider an extension to 2011 w/ an option for 2012 if we could bend the cost curve down.

  3. WORLD

    No story on the departures of Wilma and Mark Mann?

  4. John

    “according to one source with knowledge of the club’s thinking.”

    Sorry, but that looks just like the crap you see in supermarket tabloids. No different from “Says a pal.” I get that scouts need to be anonymous for a variety of reasons, but so much of this stuff turns out to be nothing.

  5. Dan

    @Sultan of Swaff: One quick thing here, Sultan… Dickerson has a little pop, and in my opinion, anyone who can play CF as well as he can can learn to play a good LF. It might feel foreign to him now, but if that’s where he needs to be, I trust he can do it well.

    I’m a Dickerson fan. I hope he has a place here and gets some playing time!

    Plus… he recycles! I love that! 🙂

  6. Redsfanx

    Rumors denied mean trades are in the making.

  7. pinson343

    As I said the other day (twice) on a different post, Brandon should have won the GG. I checked the stats, the biggest difference is DPs. Hudson lost his job to Belliard, enough said.

  8. JasonL

    @pinson343: My understanding is that while Phillips > Hudson, so is Utley > Phillips. Utley has, based on all the information I can find been the best fielding 2B in the NL for several years running.

    • Dan

      JasonL: @pinson343: My understanding is that while Phillips > Hudson, so is Utley > Phillips. Utley has, based on all the information I can find been the best fielding 2B in the NL for several years running.

      I’ve read that as well, Jason.

      What stats did you use to compare, pinson?

      • pinson343

        Dan:
        I’ve read that as well, Jason.What stats did you use to compare, pinson?

        I just used the readily available traditional fielding stats, innings played, putouts, assists, errors, double plays, FA. Their (Hudson, BP) FAs are the same. Phillips had more total chances and also more innings, the chances/innings ratios were about the same. The one big difference was DPs, BP 100 to Hudson’s 77. This is weak eveidence, so I asked on the other thread about where Phillips and Hudson rate by defensive metrics (which are also iffy).

  9. Dan

    By the way, I think Torre picked Belliard over Hudson due to hitting. I don’t think anyone would say that Belliard is a better fielder than Hudson, would they?

    • pinson343

      Dan: By the way, I think Torre picked Belliard over Hudson due to hitting.I don’t think anyone would say that Belliard is a better fielder than Hudson, would they?

      Torre picked Belliard over Hudson due to the total package. Whatever Hudson’s defensive “brilliance” it didn’t overrule the benching. It happened very late in the season, so didn’t affect the voting. If had happened earlier, of course it would have.

      Bret Boone was the best defensive 2nd baseman for a couple of years while Biggio was winning gold gloves. Boone had no chance because he would get benched occasionally for a lack of hitting, one year he was briefly sent to the MLs for a lack of hitting. As I’ve said, it’s a popularity contest, and players respected Biggio more.

      Usually the bias for GG glove is in favor of the better hitter, which makes Utley an anomaly if he really is the best fielding 2nd baseman.

      None of the above has anything to do with whether BP is a better fielder than Hudson or Utley. I was trying to get a bit of a discussion going and learn what the defensive metrics and fellow bloggers think.

      Often hitting is a big factor in the voting

  10. Sultan of Swaff

    Utley has less range than Phillips, but he’s better on the turn. It’s silly that in the year where Phillips offensive numbers should’ve allowed him to get the GG, he didn’t win. Yeah, he had a couple silly errors, but he’s the best defensive 2b in the league.
    Dan, Dickerson slugged .373 this year. That’s zero pop. I like him too, but he’ll never hit w/ enough power to play LF, and now he’s blocked in center and you have a more versatile player in Heisey ready to step in. In my eyes he’s expendable yet valuable. Given the scarcity of CF free agents, I’d entertain offers for the guy.

  11. Dan

    @Sultan of Swaff: Give me numbers when you say “Utley has less range than Phillips.” What stat says that? If you mean based on your eyes, then I don’t buy it.

    I’ve read articles that say that, by the numbers, Utley’s the best 2B in the NL (defensively) and has been for a few years in a row.

  12. Dan

    @Sultan of Swaff: By the way, re: Dickerson, using only his 2009 slugging is cherry-picking to make a point, in my book.

    His career slugging is .440 in the majors.

    Anyway, I don’t mean he’s a slugger. I mean he’s got enough pop. He hits the ball hard and will get XBH’s.

    I agree that if he’s a corner OF, his power will be less than average. But his above average OBP and defense (I’m assuming) could make it OK.

    In my book, Dickerson and Heisey are the two with the best tools to bat #2 in the order.

  13. pinson343

    Last line of my above post should have been deleted.

  14. Dan

    There was something very interesting published somewhere (hardballtimes.com maybe?) by John Dewan, the “Fielding Bible” guy, that specifically compared Phillips and Utley.

    Dewan’s numbers (I think his is the +/- system) always rate Utley the best defensive 2B.

    Anyway, he broke it down in all kinds of ways (plays to his left vs. RHB’s, plays to his left vs. LHB’s, etc.) and basically his numbers made it pretty clear that Utley was superior — VASTLY superior — in one area only, and it was on groundballs to the “pull” side (up the middle for RHB’s, and deep in the 1B/2B hole vs. LHB’s).

    His conclusion was that basically Utley does it with positioning — he shades guys to pull more than any other 2B, and therefore gets to FAR more balls on the pull side than any other 2B does.

    It was interesting, and compelling.

    I’ll go see if I can find it…

  15. Dan

    This theory would also explain, by the way, why Utley doesn’t look all that quick or flashy or athletic, but he regularly gets to more balls than anyone else.

    Pretty cool breakdown.

  16. brublejr

    I think Utley got robbed on the GG. Phillips is very good also, but this year Utley was outstanding again. Hudson winning the award is why GG are a joke, just like when Palmeiro won the award playing 19 games in the field. It is based on two things: 1.) Past Reputation (like Hudson this year), 2.) Hitting Ability. The miss more often on this award than any other.

    I can’t say I could give an award like this to a player who lost his starting job. They might as well give the SS award to “hands of gold” Castro while they are at it…

  17. preach

    Utley’s positioning does indeed merit consideration for GG. He is the absolute best at it. It’s why he doesn’t make all of the athletic plays Hudson and Phillips does, he simply doesn’t have to. However, I can say that I completely agree with Sultan that Utley’s range is not as deep as Phillips. I don’t need the measuring sticks for that. No way Utley gets to the balls in short center that Brandon does, period. However, Utley positions himself so brilliantly that he often has no need to. But we know that flash brings in hardware (Ozzie Smith anyone?).

  18. preach

    Also, based on hitting, why in heck wouldn’t Utley get the award? He’s superior to any other contender in that arena.

    • pinson343

      preach: Also, based on hitting, why in heck wouldn’t Utley get the award? He’s superior to any other contender in that arena.

      Yep that’s why I called it an anomaly. I think the above comments are all right on. I can certainly believe that Utley is the best according to the most sophisticated metrics, but he’s not flashy like Hudson and Phillips, and even the players are impressed by flash. Still I would rather that Utley was robbed by BP than by Hudson (obvious bias).

  19. erik

    those +/- ratings are UZR. you can find that stat at fangraphs. it’s not necessarily reliable for one year, but over a few years you can start to see how good a guy is on the field. Utley has been exceptional, Phillips has been well above average, and hudson has been pretty much average the last few years. Utley will probably never win a GG even though he’s deserved one at least the last 3 years.