Want to know why the St. Louis Cardinals are successful?

Look no further than the bold trade they completed with the Atlanta Braves today. The Cardinals sent SP Shelby Miller and pitching prospect Tyrell Jenkins to the Braves for OF Jason Heyward and RP Jordan Walden.

Jason Heyward (25) is signed for $7.8 million in 2015 and coming off a season where he produced nearly $40 million in value (5.7 WAR average of Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference) for the Braves. He was just named the top defensive player in baseball for 2014. He is eligible to become a free agent in 2016. The Cardinals will almost certainly try to sign him to a long-term extension (and have the money to do it), which makes sense given his age. Heyward will play RF for the Cardinals. His career .351 OBP will also suit leading off for St. Louis.

Shelby Miller (24) has four years of team control remaining. In the first half of 2013, his rookie season, Miller put up dominating numbers (3.07 FIP, 26.4 K% and 6.8 BB%). But he crashed the second half (4.59 FIP, 19.1 K%, 9.4 BB%). Here’s how far Miller had fallen in the Cardinals eyes by the end of 2013: St. Louis played 17 postseason games that year and only allowed Miller to pitch one inning, the eighth in Game Two of the NLDS against the Pirates, when they were behind 6-1. Miller’s 2014 season points to the second half of 2013 as being the real Shelby Miller. His strikeout rate (16.6 K%) continued to tumble and his walk-rate rose (9.6 BB%) while posting a 4.54 FIP.

Looking just as the headliners, the Cardinals seem to have gotten the better part of this deal, even assuming they can’t extend Heyward. They received a tremendous everyday player — one of the best in the sport — at the cost of a below-replacement starting pitcher. They acquired scarce hitting for less-scarce pitching. They’ve made themselves substantially better in 2015.

If that’s not enough, the undercard of the trade further favors St. Louis. Somehow, they ended up receiving the best pitcher in the deal.

Jordan Walden (27) adds a devastating arm to the Cardinals bullpen. Walden has two years of team control remaining. He features a 96 mph fastball (7th best in the NL) and has experience closing (32 saves for the Angels in 2011). He struck out more than 30 percent of the batters he faced last year and has a career 2.80 FIP. I suppose you could say Walden has had trouble staying healthy, but he’s pitched in 215 games the past four years, compared to Aroldis Chapman’s 244 appearances. Walden will move into the 8th inning role, replacing Carlos Martinez who will likely take Shelby Miller’s spot in the Cards’ rotation. With Walden’s experience in the ninth, the Cardinals could move Trevor Rosenthal back to the 8th inning and install Walden as their closer for two years.

Tyrell Jenkins (21) has been a well regarded prospect, but he hasn’t progressed past the A+ level and his strikeout rate has been poor the past two seasons. We’ve seen the low percentage success rate for prospects, and Jenkins’ has a long way to go and his reputation is already trending downward.

***

For those of you not keeping up with current events:

The St. Louis Cardinals were in the 2013 World Series. Since then, they have acquired Jhonny Peralta, Peter Bourjos, Randal Grichuk, John Lackey, Justin Masterson, Pat Neshek and now Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden.

The Cincinnati Reds were in the 2013 play-in game. Since then, they have acquired Skip Schumaker, Brayan Peña and David Holmberg.

***

In the past few minutes, someone tweeted that the ball is now in Walt Jocketty’s court.

Actually, it’s more like the result from filling ten practice ball machines and firing them into an otherwise empty court.

Tennis_0

 

119 Responses

  1. Doug Gray

    I’d argue that Shelby Miller is the second best player in the trade, behind Heyward.

    Miller’s 2014 doesn’t look overly impressive on the surface. It was about as league average as possible. But his second half was outstanding. He cut his walk rate in half to an above-average rate, raised his strikeout rate a small amount to about a league average rate for starting pitchers and he posted a 2.92 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP.

    If Miller is anything resembling the guy he was in 2013 or the second half of 2014 moving forward, the Cardinals get a short term small gain for a long term loss, assuming they lose Heyward to FA.

    As for his lack of use in the playoffs in 2013, the Cardinals essentially shut him down because of his innings workload. He was on the roster as an emergency only. Or so that’s what they told the media.

    • Steve Mancuso

      If Miller returns to something like the first half of 2013, this is a much better deal for the Braves than otherwise. He wouldn’t be the first pitcher the Braves organization fixed. Then again, the Cardinals don’t have a shabby record in resurrecting pitchers either. The concern about Miller to me is that his only above-average stretch was the first half of 2013. His strikeout rate has been rapidly in decline since then. His BABIP (.214) the second half of 2014 explains the ERA and WHIP and that’s unsustainable. First half BABIP (.281) more like it.

      • Doug Gray

        The BABIP certainly explains some of it. But he put together a strong walk rate and a solid strikeout rate. He added a sinker in the second half. He didn’t use it much, but he never used it in the first half. He also threw the curveball more and almost dropped the change up entirely.

        He was certainly a much better pitcher in the second half, BABIP or not. Even if the ERA regresses some because of it, that’s four years of a solid middle of the rotation guy for one year of Heyward and whatever value we want to give to a bullpen arm versus a prospect.

      • lwblogger2

        Yeah, I agree with you on Miller. I don’t think the Braves were fleeced. This is a trade that helps both teams. The Braves get a solid to possibly very-good starting pitcher, with 4 years of team control, for a guy they obviously felt they couldn’t resign in Heyward.

        Steve is right as far as what the Cards get. They give up a player that comes from a position where they have a lot of depth, and they get a high-quality RF for at least this year and perhaps beyond. They also get a good arm for the back of the bullpen.

        I think this is a trade that helps both these teams.

    • JohnU

      I suppose we can discuss whether the Braves or the Cardinals will “win” the trade but the bigger issue for me is how the trade affects the Reds as it applies to the Cardinals.
      Already, we’re 12 games worse than they are. If Atlanta wins the NL-E, I couldn’t care less for the moment, but if Heyward makes the Cardinals unbeatable in the NL-C, then it matters.

  2. droomac

    Well, the Cardinals are suddenly the hands-down favorites for the division in ’15. So, of course, they “win” the trade, if we are judging it today. However, let’s see how this one plays out. The Cardinals did trade away four years of cost-controlled ace-caliber starting pitching talent for one year of Heyward and a reliever who, while very good at the moment, is still a reliever and could either be great or terrible in 2015.

    If they extend Heyward and do so on the cheap, then this could work out quite well for St. Louis in the long-run. However, if Heyward walks after next year and Walden craters, then we could be talking about how silly St. Louis was to trade Miller for Heyward.

    My concern with this trade is the impact on the division in 2015. St. Louis now has an even more formidable (that is also platoon balanced) and an improved defense. In my estimation, this lessens the chances that the Reds will compete in ’15 and is yet further evidence that Walt and Bob need to think long-term. It is time to see the writing on the wall for what it is. Don’t be stubborn. Move Cueto and Chapman now.

    • Steve Mancuso

      My only point of disagreement with you is calling Miller “ace-caliber” — something he’s only demonstrated for a few months and not since the 2013 ASG. If you exchange those words with “replacement-level” which I think is more likely, it’s hard to see this trade helping ATL in the long-run or short. The Cards were willing to deal from pitching surplus. Heyward would have been the perfect piece for the Reds if they wanted to seriously contend in 2015. Could they have gotten Heyward for Tony Cingrani?

      • droomac

        I believe there is a virtual consensus on Miller’s “ace-caliber talent,” though he certainly has yet to prove that he can live up to his potential. He actually reminds me quite a bit of 2010-2011 Homer Bailey. His stuff is great but it seems like he just hasn’t put it all together.

        The Reds have no piece similar to Miller (“cost-controlled ace-caliber starting pitching talent”) that they could have used to get Heyward. Cingrani’s bonafides as a starter are in serious question at this point so, no, I believe there was virtually no chance of Atlanta giving up Heyward for Cingrani.

        To me, this is an “all-in” move on the part of St. Louis. They recognize that they have one or two more shots with Holliday, Wainwright, Peralta, Molina, and Jay and decided that the division was ripe for the taking in ’15. I think it is very likely that they will, indeed, win the division in ’15 but I don’t necessarily think that this was actually a good deal, in the long-run, for St. Louis. So much of this deal hinges on their ability to get him to sign an extension this offseason.

      • Steve Mancuso

        You’re going to have to back up the “virtual consensus” claim. Here are a couple of articles about Miller’s stuff written in the past year. One is pessimistic about it, the other a little less so. Both articles say – at best – he has a good fastball. Beyond that, hard to say anything positive. Swinging-strike rate fell from 9.0 (2013) to 7.0 (2014), league average is 9.4. Hardly an ace.

        http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/shelby-miller-looks-broken/
        http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/shelby-miller-fixed/

      • droomac

        I’m not sure what I need to “back up.” The notion that Shelby Miller has “ace-caliber talent” is not particularly provocative or odd. One could simply search for various top prospect lists over the past few years and his name is sure to throughout. As for eye-test talent, he has a fastball that touches 97, averages 93, a nice deep curve that is better when he takes a bit off, and has pitched close to 200 innings in each of the past two seasons. Again, he reminds me very much of a 2010/2011 Homer Bailey. Will this be a good deal for the Braves?…Who knows?….I do know I would have made this or a similar deal if I were in Hart’s shoes.

      • lwblogger2

        I don’t think the Reds could have done the deal Steve. Cingrani has an injury question mark and quite honestly, I think Miller has more upside to boot. The Reds didn’t have a really good comp to Miller that was ready now and with the years of control.

        As for Jenkins, he’s was coming off shoulder surgery and all things considered, I think he’s more than a throw-in. He’s still got a lot of potential and is still just 21. He certainly doesn’t come without his doubts though. The Reds have a lot of people who could have filled the “Jenkins” role in the trade in my opinion.

        This was a very bold move by the Cards but I don’t know if the Reds matched up as well. This is the kind of move that we haven’t seen the Reds’ front-office make since the Choo deal though and it’s tough to see the rival Cards improve themselves with two very talented players.

      • tct

        I think calling Miller a replacement level pitcher under rates him, and calling him a potential ace over rates him. Yes, he was around replacement level this year. But he is only 24, and he was pretty good in 2013. Yes, he has upside, but his k rate is below average and he hasn’t shown consistent secondary pitches at the major league level.

        I think if Cingrani is healthy he should have similar value to Miller. They have both struggled with secondary pitches and rely heavily on their fastballs. Cingrani strikes out way more guys and is left handed. Miller has been more durable and is a year younger. They both are pre arb with four years control left.

        But even if the braves had been willing to give up Heyward for Cingrani, I wouldn’t have wanted the reds to do it, because Heyward would just be a one year rental. I think the Reds chances are way too slim in 2015 to be giving up long term assets for one year rentals. Young players with team control should be the motto for the Reds this offseason, and while Heyward is still pretty young, he only has one year of team control.

  3. jessecuster44

    Wake up, Walt! This is becoming a broken record. What is this man being paid to do? It seems like absolutely nothing.

    • Doug Gray

      This wasn’t a trade the Reds could really have matched, so I don’t really put it on Walt for not getting something done here. But, he has to make a real move this offseason. No bargain basement hunting. Aoki or Morse seem to be the two most notable guys and while they aren’t stars, they are the bare minimum for me to do something.

      • JohnU

        Let me posit this.
        If the Reds and Braves had agreed on Mat Latos for Jason Heyward, do you make that trade?

      • lwblogger2

        If I’m the Reds, I would trade Latos for Heyward. I don’t think Atlanta makes that deal though. They would only get one year of Latos and if it’s a good year, they are no more likely to be able to resign him than they would Heyward.

      • jessecuster44

        I don’t think they could have swung this deal, but St Louis, Milwaukee, and Chicago(!) have all made moves to improve since the end of the season. Walt hasn’t made a move that wasn’t a salary dump since…. (crickets)

      • Thegaffer

        The players in the deal clearly favor the Cards, but you trade contracts! The Cards took on 10 million. Trading latos or leake would have been stupid for the Braves as the money would balance AND they have only 1 year of control. Reds had no one to match this deal, but you wonder if there is a deal out there that gets the reds ahead of this.

  4. lwblogger2

    Not sure if it was mentioned somewhere else or not but the Pirates have resigned Burnett. Not likely to be a game changing move but he should eat some innings and keep them in the games he starts.

  5. redsfan06

    A player entering his prime with a .351 OBP and excellent defensive skills that only adds $7.5 million to the payroll. That’s a move that’s going to be tough for the Reds to match this off season.

    • JohnU

      I don’t know that Walt needs to compete with this sort of trade. What does need to happen is that the Reds make some roster improvements. When the guys who earn all the money are on the injured list, there needs to be a plan B that doesn’t include Brayan Pena batting 2nd in the lineup.

  6. Brian

    The problem with the current Reds roster that I haven’t seen anyone talk about recently is the fact that they aren’t a team (yes they have lots of talent but they aren’t a team). You look at teams like the Red Sox really every year they have won the world series and the Giants and you see how they just seem to LIKE playing together. With the Reds you never really get that, you hear oh Jay Bruce and Votto are friends and everyone things Cueto is amazing and Chapman is fun to watch as is Hamilton but they don’t really have that vibe of enjoying playing together. All you hear is rumors that Phillips doesn’t get along with people or some of the team doesn’t like him, outside of Frazier you really don’t seem that “team” first mentality and doing not only your job but try and pick the rest of the team up as well. Maybe its the fact that a lot of the Big Red Machine hated eachother that this isn’t talked about much but they still did everything they could to pick eachother up even though they may not have liked eachother.

    In other words I don’t think the Reds need to remake their roster, but I do think they need to figure out where they can create addition by subtraction in order to get the team to gel – maybe it is all on Phillips like the media would like you to believe at times (don’t get me wrong I love Phillips) – but removing the person or people that are creating a lack of team could go a long way in addition to adding a LF and SS.

    • charlottencredsfan

      “Maybe its the fact that a lot of the Big Red Machine hated eachother”

      Do tell.

    • lwblogger2

      See, I’ve heard a lot of the same about Phillips but aside from that, there isn’t that much dissent in the Reds’ clubhouse to speak of. Also, when watching the games, I see a lot of conversation and a lot of smiles in the dugout and on the field when they are interacting with each other. I don’t think the team has a chemistry issue. Besides, on most the teams I’ve played for, the chemistry has come with the winning, not the other way around.

    • Gonzo Reds

      Good point. I’ve said it many times before, we haven’t been the same since Rolen retired. Have a Philly fan friend who hates the guy but bottom line is that he played hard in Cincy and everyone fed off him. Who’s our team leader since?

      Hearing about this trade really pissed me off, again, for the umpteenth time over the past year. Drove home the fact that we’ve done nothing to improve this team since the Choo trade, nothing! Jocketty needs to be run out of town. Personally, I think he’s still being paid by the Cards under the table to keep their biggest divisional rival down. What other explanation could there be for his incompetence? We have pitching depth to trade, make the calls to find the next available Heyward, don’t get caught with your pants down allowing our hated rival to make the trade instead!

      • JohnU

        To be fair, I don’t think the pitching depth has been all that apparent until the last couple of years, since Latos came to the Reds. Before that, Leake was a question and Bronson came out of Arizona one year and couldn’t do anything but serve up gophers.
        That may be not relevant now but we only recently identified that the team is longer on pitching than on hitting and even then, we lost Bailey for the year in August, never really did have a lefty and depended on a journeyman to have a career backbreaking year (Simon).
        I am still not convinced that making a trade is the way to go, though it does make a bigger splash on the national sports forums. I would consider trading for an outfielder but I’d rather see the farm system yield what it’s supposed to yield. Not sure how much of that is up to the GM. The team scouting plays into it a little.
        I won’t address the ‘under the table’ notion. All GMs have to be upfront with the others or risk not getting any deals done at all.

      • Drew

        Lots of assumptions based on no facts…

  7. Brian

    hate is probably the wrong word but you always heard about some ego issues between bench and rose.

    • charlottencredsfan

      That’s the only one I’m aware of but “hate”, I don’t know.. My impression from Reds Fantasy Camp is that was a tight bunch. Maybe Bobby Tolen but the dispatched him early on.

      • ohiojimw

        Rose and Bench allegedly despised each other back then. Many of the pitchers supposedly did not like throwing to Bench to the point of some personal antagonism being involved. Tony Perez was of course the publicly acknowledged “glue” and peacemaker. Less known at the time was the strong personal friendship between Morgan and Rose which allowed Joe to also play a more behind the scenes role as a conciliator. Last but not least, never forget the work of the Main Spark in keeping everybody pulling together.

  8. charlottencredsfan

    From what I have seen and heard of Heyward’s character and given his age, I’ll be shocked if the Cards don’t lock him up for an additional 5 to 6 years. This could be a huge game changer for the Birds. I can’t see how this can be painted any other way.

    Reds need to begin the rebuild process more then ever.

    • lwblogger2

      Considering his age, if he has a good season, he may be looking at least a 6-year deal. I don’t know if the Reds need a total rebuild but their path to winning the NL Central just got a lot harder. The Cards add a very good every day player and a fine bullpen arm. They subtract a guy from the back of their rotation but who has upside to be more. Only considering 2015, the Cards just made themselves a lot better.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Looking at the Cards depth chart at MLB.com, they list in rder: Wainwright, Lynn, Lackey and Garcia. So now out of Martinez and Wacha, they pick their 5th starter. Marco Ganzales is looking MLB ready in 2014. I not sure if Miler could have made the teams’ starting rotation. I’d bet they extend Heyward before the 2015 season, he isn’t going to get any cheaper. This is not a Carlos Beltran rental situation, more like a Holliday situation.

        If the gun was to my head and I was forced to pick the 2015 WS Champs, it’s the Cards.

        By the way, no way in the world that Jason remains a lead-off hitter. He and Holiday will bat 3 & 4 in some type of order.

      • lwblogger2

        Beltran was signed to a decent deal, so he really wasn’t a rental in my book. I agree that the Cards will try to resign him sooner rather than later.

        Yes, the Cards have a lot of depth in their rotation. If Garcia can actually stay healthy, then this rotation is deadly.

        Not ready to declare the Cards WS champs yet, but they sure do look strong and it may end up that I predict it. I don’t do much as far as projecting this early in the off-season.

        With Carpenter leading off, I could see Heyward hitting 3rd with Holiday hitting behind him. I could also see Heyward/Carpenter hitting 1/2 in some order.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Yeah, that’s why I said “gun to my head”.

        I can see the Cards building around Heyward, Wang & Carpenter for the next half decade. Not quite the same with Beltran but you are correct, Beltran was not a rental. I stand corrected.

      • lwblogger2

        Honestly Charlotte, I thought the Beltran deal was going to be a stinker for the Cards. He had injury riddled seasons and wasn’t getting any younger. When the Cards signed him, I poo pooed the deal. Boy was I wrong.

      • charlottencredsfan

        I really don’t mind throwing a little money at an aging veteran if it puts you over the top. If the Reds could compete this year, a one year deal for Tori Hunter would make great sense.

        I expect the Cubs to do the same mid-season this year if they have a legit shot or next off-season, more likely. Don’t see the Cubs making a major haul of Free Agents this off season as many do. This would be the year to evaluate their young promising players to separate the the wheat from the chaff. Next year is the season for the them to go all in.

    • droomac

      If I am Heyward right now, I’m looking at Stanton’s contract and thinking that I am due for a nice eight year deal.

      • lwblogger2

        At his age, not out of the question. I’m guessing a 6-year deal.

  9. Paul

    I can say this for a fact: Pete Rose and Johnny Bench do not like each other at all. I was an A/V Tech and had to set up a “roast” for Willie Mays at the Las Vegas Hilton in the mid 90’s. There were some names there: Duke Schneider, Frank Robinson, Reggie Jackson, Pete, Johnny…and of course Willie. There might have been a couple more HOF’ers but I can’t remember. What I do remember (after getting my autographed baseballs) is the specific instructions given to me when setting up the room: Pete Rose on one end of the table…Johnny Bench on the other. You could feel the tension between them any time they were in the room together.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Didn’t they have issues over being co-owners of a car dealership?

      • ohiojimw

        I’ve heard it said that in general Rose just had trouble as the native son accepting the way the Bench was accepted and as feted as the new kid in town. And for his part Bench was never accused of being humble back in the day and thus at the least did nothing to help the situation and in fact may at times have aggravated it. I believe that for a time at least, they shared the same “advisor” (i.e. agent) who did pair them in some business ventures but any troubles between them over the business were likely more symptomatic of the underlying issues rather than being the issues.

  10. Shchi Cossack

    The Old Cossack harkens back to 2009 and Matt Holliday then fast-forwards to 2015 and Jason Heyward. This while the Reds flounder for a LF with the likes of Ludwick, Heisey, Schumaker, Robinson, Paul, Lewis, Gomes, Nix, Dickerson and Balentien. The Reds may not have been in play to obtain Heyward, but 6 seasons (going on 7) with the inability to fill the hole in LF is strictly on WJ. During the same period of time, the blasted Birds have filled EVERY hole immediately with a quality player and without sacrificing a beat. This has been WJ’s legacy.

    • redsfan06

      Cossack, you’re hurting me with that list of LF.

    • Dale Pearl

      This is a sad thing. If i were to have the exact same thing i would have been blasted for being negative. I am not sure there is a deal out there that the Reds can do to improve them to Third in the division.

    • JohnU

      Left off Darnell “Old” McDonald.

      • i71_Exile

        I don’t see Heyward in the same mold as Holiday. Holiday is (more “was” at this point) an offensive monster and defensive liability. Heyward was touted as this transcendent talent and has turned out to be an exceptional defensive player and good hitter. Would I have liked to see him in a Reds uniform? Yes. Will he dominate like Holiday has for the Cards? No. Not in my opinion (for what that’s worth).

        In other words, the baseball world is not ending. The Cardinals are going to take a step back at catcher.

  11. droomac

    Toronto looks pretty hell bent on competing in 2015. They are also rumored to be spying Trevor Miller and Jon Lester. If I were Walt right now, I would be in contact to see they would deal Stroman, Pompey (BA top 50), and Norris (BA top 50), and perhaps more for Cueto and Chapman. It is going to take this kind of deal to keep the Reds relevant beyond 2015. Of course, this kind of forward looking approach doesn’t jive well with Bob’s general outlook and strategy.

    • JohnU

      I’d agree that the time has probably come to evaluate the sort of team that can contend. Once, I’d have said I would not trade pitching for a left fielder. Now I am not so sure. What this team does not need is a .238 batting average. I don’t much care about home runs, but I do care about doubles.
      Even if the pitching is that good, it’s still losing … what, 30-some 1-run games and 20 or so shutouts.
      I’d rather see the Dunn era back than the boring product we saw last year and that included the most exciting young player in the league — and two or three of the top pitchers.

    • Drew

      I think your final statement is “key” in what is happening with the Reds. I truely believe to some degree Walt’s hands are kinda tied by Bob and what he can do and the players he can get and trade away and I don’t see many here placing the blame on Bob…

  12. chezpayton

    Ok I’ve thought about this and here’s the bottom line
    _________________________________________________________

    Isn’t that nice? Go reds!

  13. RedAlert

    Walt not gonna do jack – ain’t done jack for 2 years – sits idle while Card pass him by every year making moves to improve their club – hands hurt too bad to make calls to other clubs ( from sitting on them so long !!!)

  14. Jeff

    Left fielder for the Reds will be Heisey. Stone. I like him, but I don’t see us doing anything in the off-season. I believe that the team thinks if they had been healthy they would have been good last year and they are making decisions based on that.

    • Dale Pearl

      That is true. And the Reds and most of the fans somehow think that ALL of the injured players return to 2013 form if perhaps even better. Zero chance that Bailey,Votto,Bruce, Marshall, Phillips return to 2013 form or better zero I say. Regression is a big part of baseball and these boys are not getting younger.

  15. ohiojimw

    Whether the Reds could have made this specific deal doesn’t really matter. That the Cards and Braves did, along with some other deals that have been made in the last two weeks just underscores that the Reds front office is moribund. Walt’s thinking and making calls while other people are dealing. Then later he will say there were no deals to be made which strictly speaking there may not have been by the time he decided who he was willing to give up to get whomever.

    Over the weekend Fay postulated in the Enquirer that if the Marlins have the money (from all the various new revenue streams) to sign Stanton to this monster deal (which it now seems is done except for the physical and presser) then the Reds certainly have the money to sign Cueto if they choose to do so (caveat by Fay, he clearly stated he wasn’t saying it was the correct move to make, merely that if Miami could afford the Stanton deal the Reds could afford a Cueto deal if they chose to). To me the thing to take away from it all is that despite the public perception of Big Bob’s supposedly open pocketbook, Fay who was never known for rocking the boat is basically implying the Reds are crying poor when they are not nearly as poor as they are claiming. Or else, they simply lack the creative financial minds to work some of these things through.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Once bitten, twice shy.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Just because a “deal” may be affordable, doesn’t make it wise. To deny a $200 million, long-term contract to a 29 year old pitcher with a history of injuries; is smart not miserly.

      John Fay strikes me as a lazy, ill informed writer. Steve Mancuso would be of much better value to the Enquirer. Steve’s dedicated research and attention to detail would be a welcome change from Mr. Fay. I no longer take the time to read his articles.

      • MrRed

        Look, I’m no fan of John Fay but if you read his article, it’s clear that he’s not advocating that the Reds sign Cueto on a deal like this. I think we can all agree on the risks present.

        As for whether Steve would be a great contributor to the Enquirer’s coverage of the team, sure. Absolutely. But he might find access to the team will be stunted if he takes contrary positions with ownership and management.

      • charlottencredsfan

        How much access does Steve have now?? The access hasn’t been a big help to Fay in my view.

        In a different vein: how much access does Vin Scully have to the Dodger players?? I think Mancuso would do just fine without or without access. Does pretty well right now.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Spending money is not Bob C’s Achilles heal: it’s getting value for the money he does spend. Hopefully the team can get value built up in Joey, Homer and BP and move them on.

        Imagine a 2016 Opening Day outfield of Winker, Hamilton and Yelich. The yearly contracts of all three together would equal, what, a half month of Stanton? You know the Cub way. Can’t believe I said that but I did.

      • ohiojimw

        Fay didn’t say he would (or wouldn’t) do the deal if it was his team and money. He clearly said he wasn’t saying it was the thing to do but that they had the money if they wanted to do it. Compare this to Walt talking poor and starting the bar at mediocre (Aoki. Morse et al) while the Cards are out doing real business.

        Whatever you think of the entire body of Fay’s work, and I have issues with him too, going back to before Baker was hired, Fay has often appeared to have an inside source in the Reds front office (he all but predicted that Baker would be hired before Baker was even on anybody else’s radar),

        So when he says the Reds have money to spend (and repeated it today) and the GM is talking poor it probably indicates just how wrapped around the axle or at odds internally they may be.

    • lwblogger2

      I believe Fay has gotten braver because he’s moving on soon.

      • MrRed

        That’s an interesting thought. I wonder if he would be moving on voluntarily? Maybe the Enquirer pulled a Castellini when they hired Rosecrans as a “special assistant” to Fay?

      • ohiojimw

        The publisher’s article on the latest reinvention of the Enquirer ran late last week. Fay was not mentioned by name as someone “moving on” or being reassigned. The only mention I recall of Rosecrans was that activities like the CDot podcast represented a major part the Enquirer’s future direction.

        John Erardi and Bill Koch were identified as sports people “moving on”.

  16. JRS1972

    The Reds’ lack of payroll flexibility is the direct result of the bad contracts WJ has issued over the past 4 seasons. There’s $12.5 dollars tied up in the likes of Sean Marshall, Ryan Ludwick, Skip Schumaker, Manny Parra, and Jack Hannahan.

    I wonder what the Reds could get if they had that extra $12.5 million to spend on a true impact player.

      • lwblogger2

        1B Jack, 2B Jack, 3B Jack, SS Jack… The other two I guess on the bench? LOL

    • dradg

      I don’t think it’s really fair to equate all five of these contracts, other than in retrospect the Reds overpaid for each player. Ludwick was never the same after he got hurt opening day two years ago. Marshall was one of the best left-handed relievers in the league, IIRC. Those to contracts just didn’t work out. No, the other three, please proceed trashing them.

      • lwblogger2

        Yes, while I was not a big fan of the Ludwick contract, I don’t think most folks could have expected it to be as horrible as it turned out to be. As for Marshall, he was a fantastic LH reliever, who had been very durable as well. He was also signed with the possibility that he may be closing games for the team. Although that deal hasn’t worked out, it wasn’t a horrible deal when it was agreed to. I’m with you about trashing the other three too.

      • Steve Mancuso

        The Marshall case is sad and ironic. When the Reds signed him, I wrote a long post praising Jocketty’s visionary approach to the closer role. I believed he had sought out a first-rate set-up guy, and signed him for much less than closer money. I was convinced then (and still believe) that his intention was for Marshall to close, but Dusty Baker was having none of that. Baker gave Marshall a perfunctory look in the ninth inning but took the first opportunity to lock Aroldis Chapman into that role. That weekend, I wrote another long post bemoaning the “temporary” use of Chapman in the ninth, predicting it would make it harder to move him back to the starting rotation. And as they say, the rest is history. (Unfortunately, those older posts were lost inadvertently when we switched servers at the start of 2014.)

      • lwblogger2

        Don’t worry Steve, I remember those posts.

  17. WVRedlegs

    We don’t know if he was, but Heyward should have been a top-3 target for the Reds. Its bad enough the Reds missed on him, but to have him go to your most rival of division rivals, and that just doesn’t settle well.
    When you snooze, you lose. Jocketty is back at what he does best, snoozing the cold days away. Jocketty was too busy dumpster diving for the next Hannahan, Wilson Valdez and Willie Harris to be concerned about LF.

    • JohnU

      Not sure where you’re going. If Heyward was on the short list and the Braves wanted a guy the Reds wanted to keep, it’s not exactly like Walt was snoozing. You assert that JH should have been a target, but you can’t prove that he was or wasn’t. Where exactly has the Dumpster diving occurred this year?

      • ToddAlmighty

        I think the “can’t prove he was or wasn’t” kind of loses credibility when he hasn’t done anything since the Choo trade. December 11th, 2012.

        In the span of over 23 months of inactivity, he loses all benefit of doubt.

      • JohnU

        I don’t know if you can prove he was or wasn’t interested in Heyward. Where exactly was that confusing? Heyward didn’t say if Walt was interested. As for the other 23 months, it has nothing to do with Heyward.

  18. dradg

    Seems like Gattis should be on Walt’s radar, though I’m not sure the Reds have what Atlanta would want for him. Gattis can play LF and also catch and play 1B. He is under team control for 4 years, and made league minimum last year. In 105 games in 2013 he slashed .243/.291/.480 with 21 homers, which in 2014 (in 108 games) improved to .263/.317/.493 with 22 homers. Not sure that his averages hold over 162, but there is no reason to think his upward trend won’t continue since he’s only 27 or 28 years old. Braves are willing to listen to offers for him.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Now this is good suggestion. Gattis should play very well at GABP and gives you a 3rd catcher for emergencies.

      • dradg

        Or, God forbid, Votto is out for long stretches. Mes/Pena could cover 1B and Gattis could be the backup catcher to whomever doesn’t cover 1B.

    • aceistheplace2

      wow. I mentioned this 3 weeks ago and got blasted. I agree Gattis would crush at GABP.

      • Steve Mancuso

        You weren’t “blasted” — only one person said anything in disagreement (me) and all I said was that Gattis is brutal in LF and his OBP will likely be below .300. I agreed the versatility from having a third catcher was a plus and his power is an obvious benefit. Gattis isn’t what I’d be looking for in a LF if I was the Reds.

      • dradg

        I’d certainly prefer Gattis over any of our current bench options! I disagree that his OBP would be less than .300 in GASP, since he’s trending upward, but we can agree to disagree on that. As for his defense…point is well-taken, though I think the change to a smaller LF would alleviate some of those concerns. I don’t think Gattis would be any worse in LF than Morse would be, and if the Braves are looking to 2017, maybe it takes less to get Gattis than it would take to trade for others or to get a FA bat.

  19. lwblogger2

    One thing to consider when thinking about trades is that some players have limited “no trade” clauses that allow them to block trades to certain teams. Phillips allegedly used his to block a proposed trade to the Yankees last off-season. Juston Upton apparently also has a limited no-trade clause. Although Cot’s generally lists if a player has such a clause, the specific teams aren’t mentioned and sometimes Cot’s misses the clause entirely. It would be interesting to know what players have the Reds on their “no trade clause” list and to figure out how much such lists affect WJ’s ability to do deals. Now, players who haven’t signed new contracts or extensions obviously wouldn’t have such clauses.

  20. WVRedlegs

    Reds are kicking the tires on Seattle’s disgruntled OF Michael Saunders. Could be a nice buy-low situation. New scenary could provide the attitude re-adjustment needed for Saunders.
    Reds focus on Astros OF Dexter Fowler intensifies some.

    • ToddAlmighty

      Ugh… “kicking the tires” makes me think of the Bengals during free agency, which is not a good comparison if you want success. Lol

  21. ToddAlmighty

    Wonder what it feels like to have a GM who is always looking to upgrade the team and fill holes with high quality players even when each of the last four years they’ve been in the NLCS or better in the postseason, including two World Series, one of which was won.

    Must be nice.

  22. preacherj

    Looking at the bright side of this Heyward deal: There may now be more aging Cardinals available. Time for Walt to go to work.

  23. lwblogger2

    More news… Some folks were talking about Zach Duke as a possible LH addition to the Reds’ bullpen. He has reportedly signed with the White Sox for 3yrs/$15-million. That’s a lot of money. More than the Parra deal and not a ton less than the Marshall deal that Reds fans have been hating on. I think that’s an overspend on Duke and am glad the Reds didn’t pony up that kind of money for him.

    • MrRed

      Completely agree with that. I wasn’t convinced he was going to repeat his success from this past year either. The Reds don’t need to address their BP needs by throwing around any more of those types of contracts.

  24. sezwhom

    I’m sure Walt’s on the phone as we speak…ordering a pizza. Go get ‘um WJ. I’m sure another aging, Cardinals castoff will be available. Can sign them for a two year deal.

    • RedAlert

      Yea – here comes Shane Robinson – Walt probably foaming at the mouth after he was released by cards today

  25. rfay00

    I’m confused on why we aren’t kicking the tires on Justin Upton.

    He has one year left on his deal, we have four pitchers with one year left on their deal. We could add a low prospect if we give them a pitcher that they don’t find satisfactory.

    • Steve Mancuso

      The Reds might be looking at Upton. We don’t know. My guess is whatever Jocketty does it will be a surprise, that’s his MO.

      The Braves appear to be looking for the long-term, not reloading for 2015. Their acquisition of Shelby Miller points to them looking to compete in 2017 when their new stadium opens. If they aren’t looking toward 2015, our pitchers with one year of team control won’t be attractive to them.

      • PDUNC

        I agree I think we will be surprised if and when a move is made by the Reds. I wonder if something like Cingrani + mid-level prospect + Marshal for Upton could work between the Reds and Braves.
        The Braves get a good young pitcher under team control in Cingrani and a prospect. The Reds get the outfielder they need and salary relief getting rid of Marshal.
        This would be an all-in type move by the Reds as Upton would be one more player with only 1 year left on contract.

      • lwblogger2

        I’d say probably not. First off, Cingrani had shoulder issues in 2014 which make him less desirable. Marshall hasn’t been healthy for over 2 seasons and carries an expensive contract. I think the Reds could make a move for Upton but it would be for one of our better pitching prospects and perhaps a lower level prospect.

  26. Tom Reed

    I assume the GM’s gathering in Phoenix is over. Reds fans still waiting at the gate for some action.

  27. WVRedlegs

    They were talking on MLB Network radio that the Cardinals are not done by any stretch. They said the Cards are going for a top of the rotation starter through free agency or trade that would make Wainwright their #2. Making a big, big push for Lester.
    They said if the Cards miss on Lester or Shields, and Scherzer goes back to Detroit, that Detroit most likely trades David Price. And that the Cards would be the most likely destination.
    Completely all speculation. But make no bones about it though, the Cards will get their top of the rotation starter, one way or another.
    Meanwhile, back in the Reds War Room, the sound of… crickets. But wait. A faint, but very familar sound is growing a litlle louder. Its the sound of sawing logs emanating from the chambers. Nap time. Then the Reds staff will be off to the Early Bird Blue Plate Special for a 4pm working dinner. Then its the News, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, and then bed time for WJ and staff. Tomorrow is another day. Why do today, what you can put off until tomorrow?

    • lwblogger2

      Yes, MLBTraderumors had some news about the Cards being in on Lester. Of course a lot of teams will be. They have an aggressive front-office and rather it be Lester or someone else, I’m inclined to agree that they’re going to land a #1 or #2 type starter. I hate it, but they are the class of the NL Central for sure. The division is going to be a tough road in 2015 and they know it. They are putting themselves in a position to win it.

    • ToddAlmighty

      Ugh, as if picking up a 6 WAR outfielder and 1 WAR relief pitcher wasn’t enough, they want to add another #1 caliber starting pitcher?

      Can the Reds just wave the white flag until Jocketty runs up his lifetime contract and decides to retire, forcing Bob to hire a different GM?

      • JohnU

        We can’t undo what the Cardinals have done. The organization they have built connects to a lot of events, the main one IMHO is in deciding not to sign Pujols. That was risky at the moment. Turns out, it was simply part of a larger agenda that nobody outside their organization could have even fathomed.
        The Reds had a lot farther to go to catch up and — almost did in 2010. What happened after that was illustrated by the fact that the Cincy operation was fine at the top but that the system just wasn’t strong enough down under.
        I am not sure it’s as bad as most people think. This team can contend in 2015 and it takes no genius to figure out how. They need to hit better and get better relief pitching. The relief pitching isn’t badly broken. Hitting is a totally different animal and there just aren’t enough hitters around that we can get without taking a punch somewhere else.
        Without evaluating players, since we all know who we have, I think any deal the Reds make is going to be radically unpopular.
        Still we’re wondering if/when Walt will make a deal. That sort of thing isn’t connected to the winter meetings. It’s connected to, how do you make the trade work on all ends?
        I honestly think the Reds will unload Chapman.
        I love being wrong about things like that.

      • pinson343

        Pujols was already showing a decline in his health and productivity while with the Cardinals. The Cardinals letting him go was not popular but no way it was “unfathomable”, especially with what the Angels had to offer.

  28. pinson343

    The Cardinals have been aggressive about making upgrades where they need to, and there’s no doubt it’s been a big factor in their success. For example, they have problems in their bullpen every year, but they make adjustments to fix the pen rather than watch the same guys get clobbered over and over.

    But it’s worth mentioning that not all their recent trades have been good ones. And also that this recent trade was set off by a horrible tragedy.

    Trading away Joe Kelly (and Craig) for John Lackey was a bad trade from Day 1, and will most likely look worse in the future. They traded for Peter Bourjos so he could be their everyday CFer, but oops he doesn’t hit much. Justin Masterson was a desperation move and a bust.

    The sudden death of Oscar Taveras made a RF move necessary, and they did very well to pick up Heyward. But Heyward, 5.7 WAR in 2014 and all, is NOT one of the best players in the sport. He doesn’t hit well enough. And there was no way it was in the Cardinals plans to let both Kelly and Miller, two of their most prized young pitchers, go.
    At the time they traded Kelly they didn’t see the need to trade Miller.

    • ToddAlmighty

      How was it a bad trade from Day 1? Allen Craig was hitting .237/.291/.346 for them, got traded, and then hit .128/.234/.191 in Boston. The Cardinals dodged paying him like $27m or so for a guy who was hitting only slightly better than Cozart, but in RF/1B and without the GG-caliber glove. He was sitting on -0.6 WAR. Ended up getting another -0.5 WAR in Boston.

      As for Joe Kelly, he’s a over 4 ERA type starter who when they traded him to Boston put up a 4.11 ERA, 4.7 BB/9, and 6.0 SO/9.

      If Lackey does absolutely nothing for the Cardinals, they still save like $20m and lose no real value. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the two guys they traded both put up absolutely AWFUL numbers in their new home. Pretty sure the Cardinals saw it coming and unloaded them while they could.

      – – –

      Masterson was bad though. Just didn’t even slightly agree that dumping Craig’s salary was a bad trade. If a mediocre starter/reliever tweener with horrible peripherals is the cost of that, not a bad deal.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Lackey will make all of $500K in 2015. Cardinals absolutely got the best of the deal. No doubt about.

  29. pinson343

    I don’t especially care what the Cardinals or other teams do this off-season. The Reds need to seriously upgrade their offense AND their bullpen or 2015 is another losing season, a good chance for last place this time.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Reds need to write off 2015 and start the process of building a solid team. We will look back at the ’15 season as a critical time. What path will the team take?

      • Brian

        The problem is that Bob C. (former part owner) and Walt (fired) care a lot about what the Cardinals do. Regardless of what they say they won’t think of rebuilding because they can’t stand to see themselves as lesser than St. Louis.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Well then the insure they will be.

      • lwblogger2

        I don’t see a need to write off 2015. Depending on everyone who was hurt last year or had off years last year to rebound is obviously unreasonable. That said, expecting none of them or less than half of them to rebound is probably also unreasonable. The news about Votto’s rehab for example is very encouraging. When I consider all the one-run losses and the Reds’ first half performance last season, I see a team that shouldn’t be too far away. No, they may not be able to win the division but I don’t see any reason with better luck and a couple small improvements they can’t be one of the two wildcard teams. It’s a lot harder to tear down now with that second wildcard looming. Both of this years’ pennant winning teams were wildcard teams. Once in the postseason, anything can happen and I don’t see the 2015 version of the Reds as being so lost as to not be able to compete for one of those spots.

        I also think that it’s bad timing for the rebuild. One reason is the All-Star game but perhaps a bigger reason is the timing of a new TV contract. Having a winning team on the field and higher ratings puts the Reds in a better negotiating position on a new TV deal than if they perform a drastic rebuilding. Also, some of the guys the Reds would probably need to move in order to rebuild are going to be extraordinarily hard to move.

        That’s my take anyway.

      • ToddAlmighty

        Say every single person gets healthy, and every single person returns to their 2013 form.

        Then in 2015 other people get injured. It’s going to happen. There’s no such thing as a team without injuries. If Votto, Frazier, or Mesoraco are one of those injuries, there goes your offense again because the organization has zero depth, as proven by the fact that Votto missed 100 games and the Reds STILL never got an actual replacement for him in 2014. Instead it was a combo of Frazier, Bruce, Lutz, Pena, Hannahan, Soto.

        My point is, 2014 wasn’t really rare. Everyone is going to get injuries every year. The Reds have no offensive depth to absorb ANY injuries, so 2015 is pretty close to a write off unless they solve that problem because even at 100% health they’re bordering not having enough offense to compete. It was something everyone said before 2014 even began, before everyone got hurt.

  30. WVRedlegs

    If the Cardinals pick up a big free agent #1 or #2 starter, the Reds will probably counter that with a new long term deal with Cueto. The Reds LF question will still be out there to solve.