Dave Cameron outlines a hypothetical deal between the Reds and the Red Sox. The Reds would send Johnny Cueto and Sean Marshall to Boston for Yoenis Cespedes and a pitching prospect. The Reds receive a power-hitting left-fielder who they might be able to sign long-term (more likely than signing Cueto long-term), additional depth in young pitching and payroll relief in moving Marshall. Read the entire piece to see Cameron’s reasoning.

We’ve analyzed this concept already this fall. Nick Kirby (Should the Reds Trade for Yoenis Cespedes?) explains the case for the trade based on the dramatic offensive upgrade in LF as shown by this table: new

Nick’s main concern – that Cueto for Cespedes wouldn’t be a fair straight-up trade – is addressed by Cameron. The Reds would also receive pitching depth and ditch $6.5 million in salary which could be used to sign a one-year free agent SP to help replace the loss of Cueto.

While no pitcher on the free agent market can be expected to replace Cueto’s production, remember that the Reds’ strong defense will improve any starter’s numbers.

List of available free agent starting pitchers. To offer an idea of what that free agent SP market might look like, the starting pitchers who signed one-year major league contracts last year (for $10 million or less): In parentheses are their one-year salary and the fWAR they earned in 2014. Bruce Chen ($4.25 million, 0.1 WAR); Gavin Floyd ($4 million, 0.5 WAR); Jason Hammel ($6 million, 1.7 WAR); Dan Haren ($10 million, 1.0 WAR); Roberto Hernandez ($4.5 million, -0.5 WAR), Ryan Vogelsong ($5 million, 1.0 WAR); Edinson Volquez ($5 million, 0.7 WAR) and Jerome Williams ($2.1 million, 0.3 WAR).

In my series on Getting the Offseason Right, I wrote that the Reds need to be open to trading Cueto and Cespedes was on my list of possible LF trade targets.

Here’s what I wrote about Cespedes a few weeks ago:

Hitting: Short on OBP and BB% criteria but elite power and availability put him on our list. Sluggers with .200+ ISO are extremely rare. Only walked seven times in 51 games for Boston. Youngish for this group.

Defense: LF is his primary position. Superman’s arm. Other defensive skills neutral. Struggled with unusual LF in Fenway Park.

Contract Status: Owed $10.5 million in 2015, then free agent in 2016. One-year rental.

Conclusion: Red Sox might try to extend Cespedes, but he doesn’t fit their template of patient and disciplined hitters. Cespedes might have been the player the Reds were discussing at the trade deadline in the rumored Mat Latos talks. Boston needs SP, so that’s a fit. Given health uncertainty with Latos, Cueto is probably only Reds player that gets Cespedes.

Cespedes’ age is worth repeating. He’d play at age 29 this season for the Reds, which means a 3-year extension would take him through age 32, which is much preferable to signing a multi-year deal with the typical free agent who might be 33-34 already.

There might be concern that Cespedes doesn’t get on base much (even though he’d be an upgrade from the Reds LF last year). His elite power might be enough to offset that.

This is one type of trade the Reds could seek this offseason. It moves SP and salary for hitting, which in principle is what they should be looking at.

74 Responses

  1. Corry Goodpaster (@cgoodpaster44)

    I highly doubt Cespedes would sign a 3 extension. He’ll be in his prime, starting to decline, and he’ll likely be looking for his one big free agent deal. So its basically would we rather have Cueto for one more year or Cespedes for one year? Not enough OBP for me to bite on Cespedes personally.

    • Thegaffer

      Agree. But I still think we can get him for 1 year and I dont think it takes Cueto. They want him gone in bean town.

  2. Alex

    If I’m the Red Sox, I’m falling over myself running to the phone to complete this deal. Trade 1/2 a season of Lester for 1/2 a season of Cespedes and a “prospect” for a full season of Cueto and exclusive rights for a year to extend him? Where does Boston sign?

    • redsfan06

      Alex, on top of that the Red Sox received the A’s compensation pick in that trade. So they get that pick and the pick for Cueto if he goes elsewhere after the season.

      The Beantown boys would be smoking stogies and walking around with their chests puffed out talking about the results about these two trades.

  3. Dale Pearl

    Cespedes stats are already in a decline pattern and Cuetos stats appear to be on an incline.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Cespedes 2014 > Cespedes 2013.

      Please back up your claim about “decline pattern” with specifics.

      • Dale Pearl

        wow. call me out like that. I am so shocked coming from you. You are right I was only looking at his stats while with Boston. Go ahead and trade him. I personally do think he will become irrelevant 3 to 4 years prior to Cueto but there is no way to back that up statistically. If Cueto can maintain health he would be a solid picther in his 36037 years but Cespedes would be lucky to have a starting job when he turns 33. I would look at trading him for Bruce straight up that one makes more sense to me.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Agree, the only part of the proposed Cueto for Cespedes trade, I like, is unloading Marshall. But that would not justify trading JC for 1 year of Cespedes. Let’s go after someone we really need and want – Christian Yelich. Yes, it would take a third party to get it done but go for it. I think Cameron must be a Red Sox fan.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Wasn’t singling you out – asked a couple other folks for data to back their claims, too, just on this post alone. Nothing personal.

      • Thegaffer

        Cespedes has been amazingly consistent since he arrived in MLB, but his OBP which has always been poor is slightly decreasing.

  4. droomac

    No thanks. This is a split the difference kind of trade that doesn’t help the Reds in the long-run and doesn’t provide enough of a short-run benefit to go for. If a Reds team with Cespedes on it and Cueto off of it was much more likely to win in ’15, then perhaps. However, if the aim of the trade is to win in ’15, it is still a trade of a three win player for a six win player. If the aim of the trade is to get prospects, then trade Cueto for prospects.

    A more viable split the difference proposition would be Cueto for Nava, Henry Owens, and another prospect. This, I could go for.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Cueto projected as 2.7 WAR for 2015, Cespedes for 3.1 WAR (Steamer).

      • RedsFaninPitt

        I would definitely pass. I think the Reds need to take a page out the Red Sox player profile or ‘template’ as you put it – which, as you say, Cespedes doesn’t fit. He is not a disciplined or patient hitter. Last time I checked, the Reds were lacking – except for one player – in that particular skillset. With the breakouts of Mez and Frazier and the hopeful return of a healthy Votto and Bruce, the Reds shouldn’t need more power> They need players (more than one, IMO) who can get on base at more than a .350 clip. If Cespedes is not good enough for the Red Sox’s template – and they certainly have more players who presently fit that template than the Reds do – then he certainly shouldn’t fit the template for what the Reds should pursue this winter.

      • charlottencredsfan

        OBP is great as long as it is weighed to the “hitting” side of the equation. We need guys that can actually hit more than anything else.

      • Michael Smith

        That projection seems very low. His 2011 season with over a month missed had a similar war.

      • tct

        Agree with you on most things, Steve, but sometimes you just got to take the projections with a grain of salt. Right now, steamer has Homer Bailey at replacement level and they have Bryan Pena getting 567 pa next year and putting up -2.0 fWAR. Pena is projected to get like 200 more PA than Mesoraco next year. Steamer has the reds as the 3rd worst team in the NL, which is depressing, but when you look at the individual projections, some of their playing time estimates are just bonkers. They also have the reds starting rotation as the worst in baseball by WAR.

      • Steve Mancuso

        I don’t take those Streamer projections as gospel. Most of the WAR estimates are a function of playing time assumptions, as you point out. And those are highly unpredictable (although, in a way, that’s part of the point – pitchers, including Cueto, more vulnerable to injury loss). I was just citing that as a quick response to the claim that Cueto is a 6 WAR player. I agree with Cameron that Cueto is more valuable than Cespedes, so there has to be additional value for the Reds. Taking the Marshall contract alone is worth 1 WAR, unless you think he’s going to be productive next year – a big gamble.

      • tct

        No, I don’t think Marshall will be productive next year. But I also don’t think giving Walt an extra six mil to spend on the free agent market is worth 1WAR. He’s just as likely to spend that money on a two year deal for a sub replacement level player as he is to get a solid 1-2 win player with it. He has been horrible at finding solid free agents.

      • droomac

        I understand that projections can be helpful and these may turn out to be accurate. My concern is that Cueto, when it comes to certain teams leading up to 2015, could bring much more long-term value in return if dealt this offseason.

    • tct

      Agree with Droo, and I said the same thing in the comments on fangraphs. I’m all for trading Cueto in the right deal, but this trade is pointless. It doesn’t make them better in 2015, and it doesn’t provide any future benefit either. Cameron suggested the Sox throw in one of two pitching prospects who were decent, but nothing exceptional. They looked similar in value to a guy like Moscot, and the reds have lots of those guys. But they lose the comp pick they would get for Cueto, because Cespedes can’t be offered a qualifying offer.

      Essentially, Cameron is suggesting the reds trade one year of Cueto and a first round comp pick for one year of Cespedes and a mediocre pitching prospect. Why would the reds do that?

      • Steve Mancuso

        It makes the Reds better in 2015 if Cespedes replaces a player who is worse than the player who would replace Cueto. Bracketing off Chapman, the Reds have a pool of capable fifth staters to work from, even if they don’t sign a free agent rental. But they have no plausible LF right now. You’re also leaving out the Marshall piece.

        The Reds might be able to do better than Cespedes in a trade for Cueto. And it certainly isn’t my first choice for what the Reds should do. But given the additional aspects of the deal as proposed by Cameron, I don’t think it’s crazy for the Reds to do it.

        I don’t like the idea of trading Cueto for prospects. And I don’t like the idea of signing Nori Aoki as the LF.

      • tct

        Honestly, I think the difference between Johnny Cueto and Axelrod or Corcino is larger than the difference between Cespedes and a Felix Perez/ Chris Heisey platoon. Now that’s definitely not what I want to see in left this year. I’m just saying that the reds don’t have an obvious replacement for Cueto that will put up similar value.

        I just don’t see the point at all of trading Cueto for a rental. The whole point of trading Cueto is that the reds won’t be able to keep him after this year, unless they take on another huge contract. Trading him for another player that will be eligible for free agency after this year doesn’t help the long term situation at all.

        Why are you against trading him for prospects? There are plenty of prospects out there who could help in 2015. That seems to me to be the best way to get full value out of Cueto. If I’m trading Cueto, I want young position players with lots of team control left. Ideally, a Cueto trade would leave the reds no worse off for 2015, but in a much better situation going forward.

      • Steve Mancuso

        I suppose it depends on what one means by prospects. A top-ten guy who is major league ready? Sure. But I don’t agree there are “plenty” of those guys – especially ones that teams will part with for one year of Johnny Cueto. Trade for three lower level guys with big upside – no thanks. I’m not in love with collecting a bunch of potential. Hardly any of it makes it to the majors, let alone contributes in a meaningful way. I’d rather keep Cueto.

        I’d consider the Cespedes trade because the Reds need another bat more than they need another pitcher. I wouldn’t do it without significant additional stuff from Boston, like taking on Marshall’s contract. You have to factor in the odds that Cueto won’t have a repeat of 2012 or 2014, that’s why the Steamer projection is lower.

      • droomac

        Steve, I typically agree with your analyses. However, I am not sure why one would be averse to trading Cueto for prospects. To me, there are some teams who would give an Addison Russell-type return in exchange for Cueto. The Orioles, Royals, Blue Jays, Dodgers (though maybe not as likely with the new management), Braves, Yankees, Red Sox, Giants, Angels, and Mariners each strike me as a team that could pay a steep price, in prospects, for Cueto. If the Reds were to do the same with Chapman, they would have $20 million to play with for some pieces that could help in the short-run (LF, someone to spell Cozart at SS, bullpen pieces, a couple of reclamation starters (future Kazmirs). So, why not move Cueto (and/or Chapman) for prospects? . . .

      • Steve Mancuso

        Can you get specific (teams and players) about what you think the Reds would get for one year of Johnny Cueto?

        If I thought the Reds could get what the Cubs got in the Russell trade, I’d be fine with that. I’m just not convinced there are “Addison Russell-type” players on many teams, let alone the teams you listed. I don’t want the Reds waiting around for a dream trade that never happens.

        Fans sit around saying – look, why can’t we get a lopsided trade like that – but that’s just not reality in enough cases.

      • droomac

        Steve, I didn’t see your response to the “why are you against trading him for prospects?” . . . What about the money that would also be freed up by trading Cueto and Chapman and how that could be used in the short-run to bridge the gap until Winker, Stephenson, Lorenzen, Iglesias, and the prospects gotten from trading Cueto and Chapman are ready to go? . . . Why not trade Cueto and Chapman, get the prospects (some of them hit, some of them miss), and fill in the gaps? . . .

        What could be done with the money saved from selling high on Cueto and Chapman? . . . Colby Rasmus probably wants a one-year deal. He was a 5 win player in ’13 and his ’14 decline was mostly in defense, which could be mitigated if he played most of the time in LF (though he could give Hamilton a break in CF from time to time). He can’t hit RHP all that well, but that’s ok because Frazier could play some LF as well. If he rebounds in ’15, the Reds get a pick after he rejects the QO. At the same time, Jed Lowrie could play 3B when Frazier was in LF, could spell Cozart at SS, and even fill in at 2B if BP is injured. Then, there should also be a few dollars left over for a guy like Brett Anderson or other starting pitcher reclamation project (and/or bullpen pieces).

        To me, this makes much more sense than trading for Cespedes. I mean, two organizations known for their astute evaluation of players have wanted to trade him in the past six months. That is not a good sign.

      • Steve Mancuso

        You don’t use a guy making $10 million, but who earns $20-35 million, for salary relief. Salary relief is unloading Sean Marshall’s $6.5 million salary, like is proposed in the original article. Dump a reliever with chronic shoulder issues coming off surgery, not Chapman. That’s salary relief. (Not that I’m against trading Chapman, but salary wouldn’t be the reason.)

        I don’t understand the point of salary relief if you’re giving up on (rebuilding) 2015. Cueto is gone after this year. Why not keep him in that case and that’s your 4-5WAR bridge to Winker, Stephenson et al.?

        I took a long look at Rasmus for the free agent article. His OBP was well below .300. Not being able to hit against RHP is no small thing when that’s 80% of the pitchers and 100% late in close games. That said, he does have tempting power and I agree with you he may be looking for a one-year deal. I also agree that his defensive liabilities are much less in LF.

        My guess is the A’s regret trading him in light of how their season went. They are both sharp organizations that value plate discipline and that’s why neither one saw Cespedes as a player they particularly wanted to invest in long-term. The A’s were in a playoff run and thought they needed the pitching more. The Red Sox have a surplus of OF. Neither of those situations matches where the Reds are now.

        If the Reds decide to ride with the same five SP, Rasmus wouldn’t be a terrible choice for a relatively low-cost LF. They could afford him if he’s willing to sign for a year.

        I’ll say this again – the Cueto-for-Cespedes trade wouldn’t be high up on my list. But as a framework (Boston would have to give more) it would at least be on my list to consider and not rule out of hand because of structural reasons.

      • droomac

        If I were trading Cueto and Chapman, I would look to a team like the Blue Jays. I would move Cueto for Dalton Pompey and Daniel Morris and the Blue Jays may well be the kind of team to make such a trade. I would move Cueto to the BoSox for Nava and Owens and another prospect. I would trade Cueto to KC for Raul Mondesi and Hunter Dozier. I am not sure what the market is for Cueto, but after watching the Royals in the World Series, replete with starting outfielder and shortstop from trading Grienke a few years ago, I want to move him for prospects while his value is at its apex. The Reds are not going to be able to sign him long-term, nor should they, and the likelihood that the Reds will be poised to be seriously compete in ’15 is not extremely high, I think it is wise to think long-term.

      • charlottencredsfan

        “the likelihood that the Reds will be poised to be seriously compete in ’15 is not extremely high, I think it is wise to think long-term.”

        This is correct. Do not trade anyone for guys over 25 years old. We don’t need that. Disagree heartily with those that say they are not interested in “prospects”. Heck that is all I want + guys like Yelich. I agree, there is no guarantee on “prospects” but neither is there in old guys playing out the string. We need low OBP, low BA, with power guys like we need a hole in the head. I’m tired of being shut-out and near no-hitters. Come on fellows lets join 2010’s before they are over.

        Go the way of the Cubs not the Phillies. We should no longer be interested in players that are way past their prime and/or injury prone.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Cespedes is neither past his prime nor injury prone. And the Reds would be committed to him for one year, his age 29 season. Cespedes career OBP is .316 while the league OBP last year was .314, so it’s also not accurate to imply he is a “low OBP” guy. No one is saying go the way of the Phillies. Sheesh. (although they did win a World Series, lost another one and made the postseason five years in a row)

      • droomac

        I’m not saying deal Cueto and Chapman for salary relief. They should be traded because their value is as high as it can possibly go (though it was higher in July) and the Reds should think long-term. If Homer, Joey, Latos, BP, and Bruce were not coming off of injuries, then perhaps it would be a no-brainer to hold on to both of them. Given the number of variables that have to break just right for the Reds to contend in ’15, I think the smart play is to stock up on cost-controlled talent and sign a couple of guys short-term to get the WAR lost from trading Cueto and Chapman back.

        In the short-run, however, there is some additional latitude with salary that comes from trading Cueto and Chapman. However, this is simply an ancillary aspect of dealing both of them.

        As for Rasmus, GABP would certainly be an attractive place to have a comeback year. His problems with LHPs is concerning, but the vast majority of starters are RHPs, so at least there will be some production out of the LF spot in the lineup for the first six innings of each game.

      • Thegaffer

        One reason I do not think Cueto for Cespedes is value is because if you play out 2015, you still can offer Cueto a one year 15 mil deal and get a first rounder when he turns it down. Cespedes has a contract clause that forbids this. So if you give up Cueto and do not win the world series with cespedes, you have nothing left to show for it.

      • Grand Salami

        Steve your “Uber Alles” column convinced me that BB%, ISO and OBP were the markers to evaluate LF (and for that matter all 2015) candidates.

        Now your telling me that the Reds could improve if they trade their Cy Young-caliber pitcher for a LF who slashed .260/.301/.450 last year? Of those three all important categories you’ve highlighted you are advocating we compromise on two of them for this deal? It just doesn’t add up.

        The need for the 2015 club to be healthy and right means that the one category that should rebound for the Reds is power. The OBP may come back a little too but the only thing that changes the complexion of this offense is a player who extends ABs and works the count with patience. The rest, this team, these players, have had in the past.

  5. WVRedlegs

    That’s tempting. But for Cueto, the Red Sox should have to include Mookie Betts instead of a pitching prospect. Betts plays 2B and bats 1st or 2nd. The Reds can then try to trade BP to ATL or TOR for a couple of bullpen arms or that pitching prospect.
    BHam, Betts, Votto, Cespedes, Mesoraco, Bruce, Frazier, and Cozart would score plenty of runs for the Reds without giving up much on defense.

      • wvredlegs

        Yes, but Cueto is just the big caliber bullet to get him though. RedSox are itching to get themselves a top flight pitcher, especially if Lester goes to the Cubbies.

    • lwblogger2

      If the Sox would give me Betts and Cespedes, I’d do the deal, even without shedding Marshall. I don’t see them doing that though.

  6. Matt WI

    Gonna need more from the Sox to pull that trigger. Unless it’s a slam dunk extension, which I doubt, not interested in one year of Cespedes.

    Are the Reds that confident in one of the minor league guys to trade Cueto only to have a left field problem again in one year otherwise?

  7. Tom Reed

    Chapman in the starting rotation and Cespedes in leftfield would work for me.

  8. Gregg

    If Boston gave up Henry Owens as the pitching prospect, then I’d do it. Otherwise, it seems a bit one sided to me.

  9. i71_Exile

    I’d do it. Winker is a year or two away and the salary relief with Marshall is significant. The Reds can’t have too many Cubans as far as I’m concerned. It’s a win/win or as Michael Scott would say, a win/win/win.

  10. Hotto4votto

    I like the idea of adding Cespedes, and certainly of unloading Marshall’s salary from a bloated bullpen, but not sure I’d want to include Cueto in this, if it were Latos or a prospect then yes. Here’s what I’d do if I had the capability to allow the dominos to fall how I’d want them to for 2015:

    I’d trade Phillips and Latos/Leake to the Dodgers for Ethier and Alex Guerrero (and whatever extra parts make this work, maybe a reliever thrown in). For the Dodgers this allows them to unload some salary, alleviate a crowded OF, find a slick fielding/decent offensive 2B so they can move Gordon back to SS, and gives them a solid rotation guy to slot in (and maybe one who’s numbers play up in cavernous Chavez Ravine). For the Reds the initial salary is a wash (taking on 22m and giving up 21-23m) but Ethier is owed more in the next few years than Phillips.

    So, to alleviate that future payroll I call up Houston and offer them Jay Bruce for Dexter Fowler and a pitching prospect (or some other good prospect). Fowler has one year left of control and would be the stop gap in LF until Winker arrives. Ethier takes over for Bruce in RF for the next few years. Bruce should make slightly more than Fowler in 2015, so we should save a bit of money and add a prospect to the system. We’d also get out of 25.5m of the last two years of Bruce’s contract, which combined with the final 27m we owed Phillips for ’16/’17 would almost exactly cover Ethier’s contract for the final three years (2016-2018). That is unless we buy out Ethier’s last year.

    Then I call Seattle and inquire about Chris Taylor. I start by offering Waldrop and Cozart and move on from there. Taylor is blocked for the most part by Brad Miller. Seattle has been looking for a LF/1B that can hit. Waldrop fits that description. Miller is not a great defensive SS so adding Cozart makes sense for a late inning replacement. If they don’t want Cozart thenI would probably non-tender him to save the 2m or so he’ll cost. We could sweeten the deal with prospects (outside the top ten or so). This allows both teams to trade from strength/surplus and gives the Reds a high OBP (397 at AAA, 407 career minors) SS for the future that is cost controlled for six seasons.

    Then the Reds could roll out a line up of (2014 OBP/SLG)
    LF – Fowler 375/399
    CF – Hamilton 290/355
    1B – Votto 390/409
    3B – Frazier 336/459
    C – Mesoraco 359/534
    RF – Ethier 322/370
    2B – Guerrero 364/613 AAA
    SS – Taylor 397/497 AAA

    With Cueto, Bailey, Latos/Leake Simon, and Cingrani/Axelrod/Corcino/Holmberg etc.

    • VaRedsFan

      I was all for your 1st statement…”if it were Latos instead of Cueto” I would give Latos for YC straight up…Since it is not Cueto, then we would have to keep Marshall, who we might get some insurance money, if he sits all year.

      For me, no interest in Ethier. Nor a Fowler for Bruce deal.

    • reaganspad

      Wow

      “If they don’t want Cozart then I would probably non-tender him”

      Just wow

      • Norwood Nate

        Why should the Reds pay 2m or more for a guy with no positional flexibility to be one the worst offensive players in the league when someone like Negron could give more offensive value while providing solid defense for a quarter of the price?

      • tct

        No positional flexibility? He’s one of the best defenders in baseball at the hardest position to play. Cozart could be a great defensive player at second or third. His bat just doesn’t play there, but if the reds got another shortstop and needed Cozart to be a utility guy, he could do that. If you can play shortstop at the major league level, then you could play any other spot in the infield as well.

  11. Eric the Red

    I’m still confused about qualifying offers. Can anyone confirm: if we did this deal–which I’m completely against FWIW–could Cueto and Cespedes still get qualifying offers at the end of the season? If they can, it’s another strike against this proposal as I think it’s more likely we’d give a qualifying offer to Cueto than to Cespedes and thereby keep him another year or get a draft pick.

  12. ToddAlmighty

    I’m just not feeling trading Cueto for a one year rental. Even if it’s not a “right now” help, I think you need to trade Cueto to improve the minors for the future. Either a major league player with multiple years of team control, or some minor league players who’ll be a huge help in the next couple of years.

    Only reason I can think of trading a Cy Young caliber starting pitcher… and I AM in the trading Cueto is a good idea crowd.

    I doubt any one year rental the Reds can get will have a bigger impact than 2012 Choo.. and the Reds gave up Stubbs and Gregorius for that. Combined they aren’t close to Cueto. So it seems like the Reds would be giving up more for less.

  13. ManuelT

    This is all wrong. We should trade some of our best prospects for good hitting, keep all of our starting pitching, and see who far we can go in 2015. Our talent is significant and, with some good moves, we will find ourselves in the playoffs once again. Writing off 2015 sucks with our talent level.

    • ToddAlmighty

      I’d argue that the “significant” talent level some people think the Reds have is not all that much. In 2014 the Reds had what, 2 players with an OPS+ over 100? (Mesoraco and Frazier, Votto would make 3 if you want to count a guy who missed 100 games and is falling apart.)

      That’s 2 out of 9 in your batting order being above average, meaning 7 out of 9 are below average. That’s terrible. Combine that with a poor bullpen and a starting rotation with both Latos and Bailey as injury question marks and who knows what to expect from the 5th starting spot.

      Not nearly as talented of a team as some would like to think. Pretty positive the Reds have already wasted their main window with Dusty and Jocketty 2010-2013.

      • ManuelT

        I’d be wiling to bet that we’ll see improvement in Hamilton, Bruce, and Votto. If Frazier and Mesoraco can maintain performance, we can add one or two big bats by trading some prospects, maintain our starting pitching, that’s all a huge difference.

      • ToddAlmighty

        If you’re relying on improvement from 3 players in your lineup, and continuation of career years from 2 more, and then add one or two big bats… then I think we’re already well out of the “significant” talent range.

        That sounds more like a hope, a prayer, and some trades more than significant talent.

  14. Berdj Rassam

    Getting Cespedes would energize and beef up the entire daily line-up. Do it!

  15. hermanbates

    I do not think it would take Cueto to land Cespedes. If you can get Cespedes for someone else, I’m all about it. If you can sign Mat Latos to an extension by making the Cueto for Yoenis swap, I’d probably be for it as well. But with recent news out of Colorado that CarGo is available, I think that is what you have to look at. It’ll take a really good prospect and Latos/Leake, but CarGo is a superior player to Cespedes – when healthy. If there’s a blockbuster deal to be had, CarGo is the way to go.

    • hermanbates

      It has been reported Colorado is likely to eat some salary too, for those who think no deal can be had due to the “economy.” If that is true, there’s a deal somewhere.

    • WVRedlegs

      I used to think CarGo would be a way to go. But there is too much risk involved with him for the price you’d pay to get him. CarGo has a heavily back-ended contract on a 7 yr/$80M deal with 3 years to go on it and owed $53M. In 2015 he is due $16M, ’16 is $17M and ’17 is $20M. His injury history is a bit of a concern. CarGo had two major injuries last year and only played in 70 games. It was his worst season. In ’13 it was 110 G’s, in ’12 it was 135 G’s, and ’11 it was 127 G’s.
      If the Reds trade for a LF, I think they should avoid the types that are in the same boat as Votto and Bruce, coming off an injury filled season and praying for a return to health and old form. CarGo fits that description and also will be 30 years old next year.
      The other side of the coin is, when CarGo was healthy, if I recall correctly he busted the ball at GABP. And another good LH hitter for the lineup would be nice.

  16. jim t

    I don’t make this deal even with the salary relief of Marshall thrown in. Winker or Y-Rod are at most a year away from taking over LF. If they want Cueto I insist they start with Boggerats and add some some flight prospects from there. I also think if healthy Marshall can help this years team and he comes off the books after this year. Really don’t have any interest in obtaining a outfielder but would listen on a SS who can field and hit as a start

    • VaRedsFan

      Marshall has missed most of the last 2 seasons. When he did pitch, he was awful. What makes you think he can help the team? Nick Masset V2.0

      • jim t

        He was awful last year not the year before. Couple that with the fact that his injury is what made him awful it is resonable to think if healthy he could regain his effectiveness.

  17. redsfan06

    Cueto is being paid $10 million this year for a $25 million value, maybe even $30 million if he repeats last year’s performance. Getting $6.5 million in salary relief from throwing in Marshall doesn’t even things up.

    If you look at the WAR value difference between Cueto and Cespedes, Cueto was worth 3 more WAR last year. That’s about $21 million at $7 mil/WAR.

    Plus, Cespedes value as a one year rental is reduced because there is no compensation pick available for losing him.

    That prospect the Reds would be getting better be awful good to make it worthwhile.

    This trade tries to split the difference between saving salary and improving the hitting. It doesn’t do enough of either to make it a good proposal for the Reds.

  18. redsfan06

    While we are dreaming about trades, here’s all the moves I would like to see:

    Trade Bruce, Latos and Iglesias to Colorado for Tulowitxki and a reliever (assuming there is one worth taking). Colorado has been rumored to be considering a Tulo trade again this year, they need pitching and they get two years of Bruce in Coors Field in return.

    Sign Aoki for 2-3 years

    Trade Heisey and a prospect or two to Tampa Bay for Zobrist. Or don’t bother to include Heisey if they don’t want him as a replacement in the OF.

    Lots of hitting. Lots of OBP. Overall impact to the payroll is negligible. The Reds put their surplus of pitching prospects to good use.

    Bottom line is the Reds need to make more than one move to improve the hitting.

    • VaRedsFan

      I don’t mind most of what you said, except the Aoki part. Not interested.
      While we are talking Rockies. I’d love some Tulo/Cargo. I have no idea what it would take….a pretty penny for sure. Their injury history scares me, but we have the best doctors around, right??

      • redsfan06

        I could see not wanting Aoki. I view him as being an additional piece for the changes to the line-up, not the complete answer. He could become the eventual 4th OF/bench player to replace Heisey/Schumaker.

      • ToddAlmighty

        I like Aoki but I am with you on the fact I don’t think he’s the answer, but he could be a good addition. Zero power (1 HR in 549 PA last year) hitter who’s roughly average as far as OPS+/wRC+ goes (career 101 OPS+, career 106 wRC+) who is going to be 33 next season.

        Need more than that to take the offense from putrid to capable of getting to and winning in the postseason.

  19. brmreturns

    The only Cueto trade I would make with the RedSox would have to include Betts and Nava/Holt.

  20. PDUNC

    Do the Red Sox have a talented, reliable, inexpensive reliever we could get back in the deal? If we can 1) upgrade in LF, 2) get rid of a bad contract like Marshal and 3) improve the bullpen I would seriously consider this trade. If the salary savings from Marshal are then used to add a 5th starter, further improve the bullpen, and/or improve the bench I would consider that a successful post-season.

  21. Grand Salami

    Steve is this just a big ‘devil’s advocate’ type of article/approach?

    Cespedes raises significant questions in two of YOUR three big categories for evaluating candidates? Why would the Reds give up their best pitcher for a guy that doesn’t even tick all the boxes of need for the Reds offense?

    This deal is obviously not max return b/c of the Marshall/prospect counterweight. The Reds can and should do better than this deal.

  22. redsfan06

    I’m just not enamored with Cespedes. He had a really good rookie year. Since then, he has become what I think Heisey might be if he played full time. Strikes out a lot, walks seldom, struggles to get on base (.294 OBP in 2013, 301 in 2014), good fielding, and 20 -25 homeruns.

  23. User1022

    Cueto for Cespedes? Really?

    Steve, I think you are buying way too deeply into your own “hitting is more valuable than pitching” argument. Is hitting so valuable that you trade one of the very best pitchers in the game for a slightly better than average hitter?

    • Steve Mancuso

      I said several times this wouldn’t be near the top of my list for trade ideas, but it would be on it to consider. Keep in mind the trade wasn’t straight up. There were two more benefits for the Reds – taking on Marshall’s salary (worth 1WAR) and a decent pitching prospect.

      You can’t assume Cueto will have the same kind of season he did in 2012 and 2014 (mainly for health reasons). I don’t completely agree with the Streamer projections for 2015, but he projects Cespedes as worth more WAR than Cueto in 2015 because of averaging in missed playing time for JC.

      The “OMG, we can’t trade Johnny Cueto” view (not saying you are expressing this) is fatal for the Reds, given the limitations/wisdom of being able to trade any of the rest of the pitching staff.

      • charlottencredsfan

        I’m wondering if Johnny might be out of the woods as far as injuries. My memory is that JC was suffering from lat issues due to the twist windup. He seemed to not be able to avoid the DL for long, in 2013, due to this. Didn’t they alter his wind-up some last year. If I’m a high dollar team, I roll the dice on him. But I would really like to see us go younger.

        You made a good point about Cespedes only being 29 next year but I don’t see the Reds getting it together enough to make real run, at a WS title, until 2017. He will be 31, at that point; the Reds will have to commit serious $$$’s to keep him. The last thing I want to see is another big contract for this club, guessing Bob C. just might agree.

        Your point is very good but we just see the Reds immediate future in a different light. Reds would need so many things to break right in 2015, I can’t see it. Hope I’m wrong. Now Yelich, I’m right there with you.

      • User1022

        I actually agree with Steve that the Reds are pretty close to contending, they just had a horrendous year and some bad luck (although how much of that “bad luck” was actually “bad managing” as evidenced by the number of 1 run losses is up to debate)

        I’m all for trading Cueto, I would just be shocked if they couldn’t get something better than a player like Cespedes. For a player that was a serious Cy Young contender, I would hope for a Silver Slugger award winning hitter.

        Honestly, a player I would love to trade for (that has 0% chance of happening) is Michael Brantley. You trade for him, run this lineup out there:

        LF Brantley
        1B Votto
        C Mez
        RF Bruce
        3B Frazier
        2B BP
        SS Cozart
        P
        CF Hamilton

        Then sit back and watch the wins pile up.