Major League Baseball’s winter meetings begin this morning and last until Thursday. San Diego hosts for the first time since 1985.

Baseball executives have been doing this for 113 years. What started as an industry practice for inter-team dialogue is now largely a tradition. The annual convention creates a convenient opportunity for team and player representatives to meet face-to-face in a short period of time. Yet, with cell phones, Skype, email and text messages, general managers have no difficulty communicating 24/7/365. Trades, free agent signings and contract extensions have already taken place this offseason. The Cardinals wasted no time in adding Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden.

Clubs have arrived to the meetings with holes to fill. Most every one looking for offense. According to Bob Martingale of USA Today, “Talk to every front office in baseball, listen to every manager in the game, and they’ll tell you how they’re desperately searching for hitters.” Can’t have too much pitching, pitching is baseball’s currency, blah, blah, blah — they’re out-of-date clichés.

The Reds are no exception, they’re in southern California in search of a starting left fielder that can hit and get on base.

The exact strategy the Reds will take remains uncertain. Early rumors by national reporters suggested the Reds might use this offseason for a fire sale. That never made much sense, with the 2015 All-Star game set for GABP and the organization reasonably wanting to use the opportunity to build season ticket sales and display a successful team to network audiences. Plus owner Bob Castellini doesn’t seem like he’s ready to sign off on rebuilding. He’s more of an “add one piece and we can win again” kind of guy. And why would Walt Jocketty, at age 63, agree to a 2-year extension with the task dismantling his current team? Jocketty himself threw cold water on the rebuilding theory this week at Redsfest.

Rather, the Reds’ strategy will come from a range of options between doing little and doing a lot, but invariably building in the short term. With last week’s trade of Chris Heisey and the release of Ryan Ludwick, the absolute least the Reds can do is sign an inexpensive left field free agent like Nori Aoki (no to Nori) or trade for a low-cost outfielder like Matt Joyce who would man the left-field corner for a year until Jesse Winker arrives.

But Castellini’s Reds might choose to do more than just the bare minimum. Hosting the All-Star game doesn’t generate enough excitement on its own to jump start ticket sales. The only things more boring than drying paint are healing quad and flexor mass muscles.

As someone who let his season ticket offer expire on Friday, I can attest that a bold move or two would be welcome to fans. The Reds’ front office is about to celebrate a dubious two-year anniversary of the last time it made a meaningful move. The Reds traded for Shin-Soo Choo on December 11, 2012. It’s been crickets, gritty Skip and ‘we got Jack’ since then.

Clever organizations rebuild without scorching the earth. I’ve outlined and detailed how the Reds could trade Johnny Cueto for a young outfielder, trade Jay Bruce for a young pitcher and use the money they save from those two steps to take on the salary of a significant upgrade in the batting order, like Matt Kemp, whom LA will move. Kemp (30) hit .287/.346/.506 last year and .309/.365/.606 with 17 home runs in a fully healthy final 64 games. That’s just one example of how an aggressive front office can get younger without surrendering. Another would be capped off by a three-team trade for Justin Upton.

The Reds could at last summon the nerve to turn Aroldis Chapman into Madison Bumgarner, or failing that, to trade him. We’re all head-over-heels with the Cuban Missile’s strikeout rate. But in save conversions, the bottom line metric for pitchers who specialize in the ninth inning, Chapman is just one or two games better than league average. His once-a-generation arm would be many times more valuable to the Reds as a starter or in the trade market.

The specifics of Walt Jocketty’s plan might become clear in San Diego. But they might not. Jocketty’s M.O. with the Reds has been to make major moves after the winter meetings, not during. And they often appear as bolt-from-the-blue surprises.

Either way, news out of San Diego should provide kindling for the Reds’ cold stove.

Even if the club doesn’t do anything this week, actions taken by other teams may expedite Jocketty’s plans. As starting pitchers, led by free agent Jon Lester, begin to find homes, it will clarify where the Reds stand with their own players and accelerate discussions with other teams. Clubs that lose the Lester competition may turn to Cueto or Mat Latos. After the ‘t’ in Lester becomes crossed and the contract’s AAV and length apparent, teams will look for pitchers with shorter, less risky contract horizons. The Reds, ahem, have four of those.

Don’t forget that another vital part of building a winning roster is signing current players to extensions. Mike Leake, Latos and Devin Mesoraco strike me as the best candidates this offseason. And the Reds need to avoid the temptation to ink a then-30-year-old Johnny Cueto to a too-long, too-costly, sentiment-driven extension. There’s plenty for the club to get right or not in upcoming weeks.

The Reds’ offseason is just getting started. There’s no trophy for acting first or fast. Only for acting smart. And for that, it’s an awfully nice award.

73 Responses

  1. ToddAlmighty

    I’m starting to wonder if Walt’s inactivity at the deadline last year might have cost the Reds more than we realized.

    There’s a LOT of starting pitching out there in FA/available in trade, but last year at the deadline, starting pitchers who weren’t as good as some of the guys the Reds have were bringing in huge hauls, including closers.

    Can only imagine what the Reds could have gotten in return for Cueto and Chapman if they tried to shop them at the deadline, instead of saying “We have Jack for that.” and staying put.

    – – –

    Hope there’s some kind of excitement this Winter Meeting, though I am not too confident. I think I read somewhere that the Reds haven’t made a Winter Meeting trade since 2008, when they got Ramon Hernandez.

    Probably looking forward to more cold stove.

    • Steve Mancuso

      I’m with you on last year’s trade deadline. Those fluky come-from-behind wins the week before the ASG, while fun, may have convinced Castellini (and/or Jocketty) not to sell, even a bit. As you point out, now everyone is shopping starting pitching.

      • jessecuster44

        Look at the deals that have been made since that trade deadline. Lots of players moved that could have helped this team. Yet the Reds are doing nothing. Sometimes acting fast is important, IF you have a plan.

      • droomac

        Latos, Leake, and Simon are certainly not going to bring back a haul in a trade this offseason. However, Cueto is unique among the starters who could be traded. The only comparable starter who is likely to be traded is Samardzija. Lester, Scherzer, etc. each require long-term investments and the few front liners with only one year remaining are either not as good as Cueto, much more expensive (Price), and/or not likely to be traded (Zimmerman). Of course, I would also move Chapman (if he is not put in the rotation).

        However, I’m guessing that the default Walt/Bob stubbornness will continue. I predict no trades at the Winter Meetings and the best we can hope for is an Aoki/Morse/Rasmus signing. Of the three, the only one that has a chance of truly solving the LF problem (albeit a relatively slight chance) is Rasmus.

    • droomac

      The lack of activity at the end of July was incredibly stupid and the product of stubbornness. By the end of July, the Reds were in first place, the team was a MASH unit and the buyers were paying a premium. Broxton, for one, may have brought what the Tigers gave up for Soria. Who knows what Chapman and Cueto would have returned. I do know that Addison Russell is now in the Cubs’ system.

      • droomac

        Of course, I meant to write “the Reds were in fourth place. . . “

    • dougschloemer

      Not nearly as much for Cueto (as compared to now)
      who was coming off an injury-riddled 2013 season.

  2. charlottencredsfan

    If the Reds put their interest in an All-Star Game rather than the success and prosperity of the team on the field, they will deserve any of the backfire that will surely occur.

  3. WVRedlegs

    What kind of splash will the Reds make at the Winter Meetings? If it were just Walt flying solo, I’d say a guppy splash at best. But he has Trader Jack Kevin Towers now in his ear, something will come out of these Winter Meetings.
    Atlanta is still looking for a good 2B. You’d think a BP + ?? for Justin Upton could be worked out somehow.

    • Kyle Farmer

      I’d drive down to Cincy and kiss Walt right on the mouth if he got that done.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Braves are looking for young players so no longer a good direct match for the Reds. Need a third team.

      • WVRedlegs

        I thought the same thing, about ATL seeking younger players. But Nick Markakis is no spring chicken. And then I listened to Braves GM John Hart on MLB Network radio last week, and they want to compete and contend in 2015. They aren’t really re-building for 2017, new stadium. They are re-tooling with a locker room makeover. I’m not sure what that says about Jason Heyward and Upton.
        My predicition: a big deal with the Tampa Bay Rays to get Ben Zobrist.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        The thing is, who’s at 2nd base for us, then? I’ve said all along, we need a plan B. I believe we should trade BP, also. But, who steps in for BP? Negron may have had a good final of the season, but those were limited AB’s. And, Cozart came up hitting the ball like that, himself. Look at his offense now.

      • Kyle Farmer

        I wouldn’t have a problem with Negron at second base. I know it was a small sample and all but I liked what I saw last season.

      • lwblogger2

        I’d like to see Zobrist in a Reds’ uniform. His utility however would be mostly wasted here I think. He’d mostly be in LF for the Reds where he’d certainly be an upgrade but Zobrist’s utility is what makes him exceptionally valuable. He’ll lose some of that here.

        As to Kyle Farmer’s suggestion of Negron at 2B, I contend that it would be a downgrade both offensively and defensively. The only thing I think that swap would do is free up about $12-million. Now, if the Reds were to put that money somewhere where it would help the team then it would make sense but in a vacuum, Negron at 2B versus BP at 2B is a net loss.

      • Kyle Farmer

        I guess it all depends on which BP you’re getting LW. If he’s on the rapid decline that the editors here are convinced he’s on then I’m not sure it is a net loss but maybe. However, with the current dire payroll situation, that 12 million is needed elsewhere big time.

  4. Kyle Farmer

    Did anyone else find Jocketty’s comments about Winker at Reds Fest as curious as I did? On 11/12, he told an MLB reporter that Winker was “a ways away” after watching him play in an AFL game. Then on Friday, the tells Lance McAlister that Winker is “very close.”

    What changed in three weeks? The only thing that I can imagine is that Walt has found the free agent market too expensive and that the glut of pitching out there has made his pitching trade chips unable to secure a decent corner outfield bat. Therefore, we probably won’t see any move and it’s now more likely than not that Winker comes north with the big club out of spring training.

    I can’t decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing! To me, it sure beats giving a multi-year contract to Aoki or Morse and is probably better than trading for Cespedes.

    • reaganspad

      I’d agree Kyle. I think Winker is ready to go north, but in a perfect world, you would love to see him at AAA for half a season.

      Add in the market for hitters and you get Walt’s different comments on Winker.

      If we can land Upton type player, Winker tears up AAA

      If we land the equivalent of what we had, Welcome North Mr. Winker

      I am fine either way. Someone like Winker with his eye hitting in front of Votto would be welcome in my lineup.

      In a year where hitting is a premium, welcome to the league Mr. Winker because I do not see the trade that the Reds will make to solve this situation.

      • Kyle Farmer

        I still can’t figure ouf the Heisey trade though. If they really are considering going with Winker (and I’m not sure how else to read the shift in Walt’s comments) then I would think keeping Heisey as a backup would be even more important.

        That trade was inexpicable to me.

      • reaganspad

        I agree Kyle. I would not have traded or non tendered Heisey.

        But that move does tell me more than anything that they are more comfortable with the kids than they let on.

        they have 5 OF’s getting finishing over the next few years. That move of itself tells me that they do not want to block anyone.

        2.5 million seemed like good insurance to me

      • droomac

        I agree. The only thing I can think is that one of the two new outfielders (and there will need to be two is Winker begins in AAA) will also be able to play CF. Of the potential free agent candidates, Rasmus is the only one that stands out. Of the potential trade candidates, Kemp and Betts are the only ones that I can think of. However, I just don’t see the Red Sox moving Betts and I don’t believe that Walt/Bob will pay the price for Kemp (in players and salary).

      • ToddAlmighty

        5 OFs who *may* be finished in the next few years. Or may never be useful major league players.

        One more year of Heisey blocks none of them seeing as how even Winker has only had all of 92 poor PA in AA, Ervin hasn’t even gotten to A+ yet, and Rodriguez was in AA last year and had 7 errors in 112 games as an OF. This just smells of the Reds not having any actual plan again. It all feels an awful lot like they just kind of wing it as they go, and poorly at that.

        Now they need two OF, on top of praying Hamilton stays healthy and gets better, and Bruce goes back to being himself. That’s a lot of improvements still needed, and prayers that need answered.

      • earmbrister

        The Sox will move Betts for the right price. They’ve committed $ 70 M to Castillo in CF, and have Pedroia under a reasonably cheap deal at 2B. There’s no room for Betts in the OF, and he’s too valuable a trade chip to sit on their bench. They’ll hold on to Bogaerts, and deal Betts and Cespedes.

    • RedMountain

      I can think of worse things than Winker coming north with the Reds. It may not happen out of ST, but I am pretty confident he will be on the big club sometime this year. I, for one, would think that is a good thing. I also think there will be others to join him, but time will tell.

  5. RedsFaninPitt

    Although not probably the best regular spot for him, Fowler plays CF. Desmond Jennings from the Rays could also be a possibility or Ozuna from the Marlins. It all depends on who is interested in whatever we are offering. IMO, Leake, Chapman, Latos, Bruce, Simon and then Cueto are the order in which the Reds should probably be willing to trade among current MLB players and those that have good value relative to a willingness on the part of the Reds to trade. Cueto obviously has the greatest value but is probably the one they would least like to trade. Simon has the least value but it probably one that they would love to trade the most since he would not be missed as much. I think Leake knows he is the most likely to go.

    If I were the GM, I would lead with Leake, Simon and Chapman to see where that gets you, and then be willing to move Bruce and/or Cueto if it would then finally get you where you need to be. If you trade Cueto, I would not also trade Latos or vice versa. Of course, all of this depends on what you getting in return and filling all of the holes that need to be filled. I absolutely agree that Walt (probably more likely Castellini) missed a great opportunity at the trade deadline to more fully cash in on the value he had at the time on the team. He should have anticipated the glut in starting pitching. Of course, as this further plays out over the next month, the glut in pitching could just as quickly dry up leading to some good deals late in the game.

    • Brady

      I really wouldn’t like moving Leake. Of all those guys, I’d prefer to give him a long-term deal because he’ll come relatively cheap and will be more durable over time in my opinion.

      • reaganspad

        -1
        Leake is the right pitcher to trade, except we have seen a glut of pitching available right now.

        He should have been traded last year to address needs. 10 years ago he would have been our #1 starter, but with the pitching in this organization, I would hate to have him with a long term contract keeping a better pitcher in the minors.

        You still extend Latos or Cueto. Latos wants to live in Cincy year round. That tells me something…

      • Tom Reed

        I also agree. Leake is a ground ball pitcher which goes good in GABP, and he gives the Reds a lot of innings in the Bronson Arroyo mode. Plus he’s in his prime at age 27.

      • ManuelT

        But he didn’t even make our playoff roster as I recall-

      • jessecuster44

        Leake was not as good a pitcher in 2012. He’s pretty darn good right now.

      • lwblogger2

        I think Leake is one of two guys I’d try to extend and I think I’d try to extend him first. He could probably be signed for Lohse money and he’s a #3 or #4 starter who can occasionally be lights out. He’s a low injury risk and an innings eater. Guy is solid. I’m torn on rather Latos or Cueto would be my other candidate. Latos would probably come cheaper but I have huge concerns about his health. Cueto would be quite expensive and there are a few concerns about his long-term durability. They both have #1 stuff though and Cueto in my opinion was the best pitcher in the NL last year. Kershaw was certainly more dominant but those 7 extra starts, pitching in GABP, and all the extra innings needed to matter more than they did. I thought McCutchen was the MVP too. MVP is not necessarily best player. It’s who was the most valuable to his team. The Dodgers were ok without Kershaw when he was hurt.

      • Steve Mancuso

        I’m with you. Sign Leake if possible. Then, if the Reds sign one more, I’d go with Latos over Cueto. I’m more worried about Cueto’s durability than Latos, although in either case it’s guessing and there is cause for concern with either (as with any pitcher). Latos is a year younger. Latos would be cheaper, probably MUCH cheaper right now. Cueto is looking at 6 years, probably $140-50 million. Lester money, maybe more. No way I want the Reds to do that for a pitcher at age 30. If the Reds don’t sign either Latos or Cueto right now, it’s OK with me. If they can get Latos at a bit of a discount, that’s about all I’d look at. Again, good pitching is becoming much less scarce. Let’s not be one of the last organizations locking up starters as though it’s still 2005.

  6. Kyle Farmer

    Indians get Brandon Moss for a AA infielder. Ugh. What is Walt doing?

    • Kyle Farmer

      Replying to myself to urge patience. There’s got to be something brewing. 🙂

      • jessecuster44

        Other teams, just paaaaaassing the Reds by. Thank goodness Jesse Winker will be in the OF in 2016 to save the 2015 Reds.

    • Drew

      you have to wonder….gotten for so little that another team wouldn’t have offered more…gotta wonder if his health is right after the surgery or he has an ego or something…

    • lwblogger2

      Upon initial glance, that looks like a steal for the Tribe.

  7. JohnU

    Homer Bailey, still in rehab.
    Mat Latos, still in rehab.
    Alfredo Simon, essentially a reliever with a lot of innings.
    Maybe Walt actually knows something we don’t.

    • lwblogger2

      Latos is really scaring me too. He’s getting platelet rich plasma injections to try to speed things along. He clearly never was right last season, even though he produced. He may not be ready by ST.

  8. Ryan

    Phil Ervin for Dexter Fowler?
    Ervin and Ben Lively for Justin Upton?

    • charlottencredsfan

      The stuff of what dreams are made of.

  9. RedAlert

    Is anyone absolutely sure that Walt is in attendance at the winter meetings ? Maybe he just put a cardboard cutout of himself at his table to conduct business while he meanders around

    • JohnU

      They do more at winter meetings than just trade for a left fielder.

      • JohnU

        In fact, free agents don’t even GO to the winter meetings. That’s why they have telephones and airplanes. Sometimes they fly into town in January and sign a contract. Sometimes they make trades in February, or … you know … after the Christmas holidays.

    • Carl Sayre

      A cardboard cut out would be more active.

  10. ohiojimw

    MLBTR reports the WhiteSox are about to close the deal with the A’s for Samardzija,

    Deals apparently are there for those with the foresight and courage to make them.

    A major Reds problem is they draw their plans with indelible ink and lack the vision and flexibility to adjust on the fly.

    Maybe what you want isn’t always there’ but, if you take what you can get, so long as it is fair value, you can reshape your plans to end up where you need to be in the end. Or you can watch the world go by and at the end of the day announce that you looked at some things and nothing was really there that could have helped…..

      • jessecuster44

        Brandon Moss would have been a nice bat.

      • Kyle Farmer

        And apparently could have been picked up for a couple of bats some used balls and one of those big tubs of sunflower seeds.

        Not making that deal is going to sting for a long time.

      • JohnU

        Just because the guy was available doesn’t make him a great signing. Winker can put up Brandon Moss numbers.

      • ToddAlmighty

        Winker can *potentially* put up Brandon Moss numbers… but he hasn’t even been able to do it in AA yet, let alone AAA or in the Majors.

        Gregory Polanco came into 2014 rated as Baseball America’s #10 prospect and proceeded to hit .328/.390/.504 in AAA. Got called up to the majors and hit .235/.307/.343 in a little over 300 PA.

        I think Winker will be good, I HOPE Winker will be good. That said, it’s not so easy to dismiss getting Brandon Moss for next to nothing when Winker’s success hasn’t gone past the A+ and Fall League level.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Jocketty said yesterday that everyone in the organization thinks Winker needs time at AAA.

      • lwblogger2

        Pretty much agree with everything ToddAlmighty said and with what Steve said. Winkler is still potential. He also has some issues he needs to work out defensively. I think he’s going to be a very good hitter but it sounds like people are expecting him to be a super-star. To me, his ceiling is more a very good hitting LF, DH, or 1B with a possible All-Star appearance or two in his future. I also feel he’s at least half a year away based mostly on lack of professional experience. He needs time at AAA.

    • JohnU

      This kind of throws cold water over all the angst about what is or isn’t going to happen at the “winter meetings.”

  11. jessecuster44

    I think it is stunning at how Walt and Bob can have one view of this franchise and its needs, while many of the readers of this site have a distinctly different one.

    Is money a bigger problem than we realize? Does Walt have access to information that is vastly different than we do? (Given the preponderance of advanced metrics, I’d say there is less hidden data than in past years) Is there really that high a degree of emotional attachment to players and prospects that would prevent deals from being made?

    For the past two years, the offense hasn’t been good enough to advance in the playoffs, but there have been no improvements to the offense. Now it looks like Walt will wait to sign a FA OF from a thinned out talent pool, or bring up a prospect who many judge isn’t quite ready.

    Cespedes available. Upton available. Moss available until yesterday, and for a very low cost. The list could continue.

    I know it’s their team to run, but what the heck? I don’t get it. Nothing has been done for so long, it’s like they are TRYING NOT TO WIN.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Did your Grandmother ever tell you, “don’t spend all your money in one place”?. The Reds did and have been very unlucky as well. Votto, Homer, BP, Marshall all appear to be unmovable. That is a bunch of money tied up. I’m cutting Walt slack especially, if he is trying to convince Bob to focus on rebuilding.

      • Steve Mancuso

        That’s not all one place. That’s four players. The reason the Reds money is tight this year (even increasing their payroll) is because of contracts to Votto, Bruce, Phillips, Bailey, Marshall, Cueto and because of arbitration raises to nine players – Frazier, Mesoraco, Latos, Leake, Chapman, Simon and Cozart. That all adds up. It’s just wrong to play “woe is me” because of one or two contracts (that aren’t even that expensive in 2015). Votto making $14 million and Bailey $10 million this year. It’s the cost of thirteen players, not a couple.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Except those four you have to live with. The others can be moved and don’t add up to near the money of the other four – any of which, I would like to move for payroll relief. In other words with most of the other ~20 guys you have a choice, that’s what I’m getting at.

    • lwblogger2

      I guess it’s possible that they don’t have the payroll freedom to have even signed Moss. I guess it’s also possible they don’t like his batting average or maybe his defense. I have no idea. Moss would have been a good fit.

  12. Steve Mancuso

    I think Jocketty is saying they will have to move payroll to take on significant additional payroll. That’s consistent with what I’ve been saying here regarding money. I think they could swing a low-cost free agent acquisition within the budget. But if they want to add an impact bat, they’ll have to move money. See point #3 in the conclusion of this post from September. Trading Leake for Cespedes is an example of that.

    https://redlegnation.com/2014/09/29/the-almighty-dollar/

    • jessecuster44

      Broxton off the books, Heisey off the books. Maybe they are trying to move money, but the longer they wait, the less they have to choose from.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Not enough folks read that piece unfortunately. Still think it will take an amazing sleight of hand to pull off anything of significance.

      • JohnU

        A fair-to-middlin’ FA signing for left field will make the Reds competitive in 2015. How do I know that? Because, there’s no reason they can’t win 15 games a month instead of 14.
        So after 2015, the players who walk are mostly all pitchers. If Bailey becomes the defacto ace, the Reds only need to sign one of the other four guys.
        They will have Cingrani, Holmberg, Iglesias and Stephenson for the rotation. Cueto and Latos can walk. Reds get supp. picks for both.
        Do they sign Leake? Probably.
        Chapman and the rest of the bullpen can sort themselves out.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Anything is possible, I’ll acknowledge that. Working the money angle will be the biggest challenge, IMO.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Winning one more game a month may sound like a small thing, but it’s really pretty large. 6 wins cost $40 million on the free agent market. Only a player like Stanton or McCutchen adds six wins.

        The rest of what you say, I largely agree with. But a mediocre LF signing (Aoki, Morse) won’t move the needle much, let alone anywhere near six wins, if that’s what you’re saying.

  13. JohnU

    I think we are spending a lot of time trying to mix parts together for years past 2015. Any time you plan like that, somebody hits a line drive and breaks your lefthander’s jaw.
    There is no way to evaluate a farm system beyond what you have. Any old quick pickup changes things. Farm systems don’t make the majors. Good players make the majors.

  14. JohnU

    I apparently can’t reply to a reply. I will say that adding Aoki does not give the Reds another win a month IF the team he would join was as good as it could be a year ago.
    How-EV-er, having Votto all year, an improved Hamilton, Frazier, Bruce … etc. brings the team closer to the 90 wins they got 2 years ago. Even with that cluster**** they ran out last year, I thought they were snake-bitten. 83 or 84 wins was doable, just it’s hard to do that with that mess.
    I am bullish on Aoki for a short term fix.

  15. Carl Sayre

    It is a given there is no way we can keep Cueto, Latos and Leake all three. Why not go ahead and try to find a partner for Cueto now? While I am dreaming about what we could get for him how about some addition by subtraction. Any deal for him would be contingent on them taking BP also that would be a way to free up some money. I saw a comment on here that Negron would be a downgrade at the plate and in the field while I agree with that it may not be much and I love his hustle. A replacement free agent middle infielder would not cost as much as BP. I love BP’s glove but his age it will start to decline and he is to expensive. The Red Sox lose out on Lester they would be real interested in Cueto, probably get Cespedes and prospects.

  16. Carl Sayre

    A left fielder who can hit but has some trouble covering ground is something we could live with, Hamiltons speed in CF could make up a little on the defensive side. I look for Bruce to rebound this year. I am not sure he ever did get healthy last year. There is no reason not to think Votto will be back and healthy. Frazier and Mez hold serve we would need a LF that is good for a .270 average and 28 HR or even a .300 average and 15 HR. Who am I kidding anything but Schumaker,