According to Joe Frisaro, the Miami Marlins site reporter for MLB.com, the Reds are “open to trading” Aroldis Chapman. Here is an excerpt from Frisaro’s column today Should the Marlins go after Chapman?

Since finding the ideal starter isn’t easy, perhaps the Marlins should consider building a super bullpen. If they are leaning that way, Aroldis Chapman would be a logical option.

We don’t know if the Marlins are thinking this way, but what is clear is the Reds are open to trading Chapman, their fireball-throwing lefty closer.

Cuban-born, Chapman would be an immediate fan favorite in Miami. He also would make the entire pitching staff better.

The fact he is 26, and doesn’t reach free agency until 2017 means he could be with the Marlins at least two seasons. Entering his prime, he also is affordable. In 2015, he is set to make $5 million after collecting 36 saves and striking out 106 in 54 innings last season.

If the Marlins do acquire Chapman, then what happens to Steve Cishek? Teams have checked in on Cishek’s availability. Like Chapman, the 28-year-old is entering his second year of arbitration.

The Marlins have a lot of young controllable position players that could interest the Reds. Our own Steve Mancuso pointed on Twitter today that “Chapman can opt out of the $5 million for 2015 and enter arbitration. He’ll do that and should make north of $8 million.” With Chapman becoming more pricey, trading Chapman could be a good idea for the Reds if the return is right.

Chapman had the best FIP of anyone in baseball with 50+ innings last season at 0.89 (next best was Wade Davis at 1.19). The problem is that Chapman only pitched 54.0 innings, and even if he is healthy all season, $8 million is a lot to spend on a guy only pitching around 70 innings. If the Reds can get someone to overpay for that, go for it.

More to come.

151 Responses

  1. Steve Mancuso

    I’d be surprised if this happens. But I’ve said for three years the Marlins make the most sense as a landing spot because of the Cuban fan base.

    The Reds should not trade Chapman. They should make him a starting pitcher. He’d be a massive bargain at $8 million in that role. That would allow them to trade one of the other pitchers for a bat and be within budget.

    But if the Reds have made the decision to keep wasting Chapman in the bullpen, they would be better off trading him. They would undoubtedly get more value than he’ll provide pitching 20 important innings a year (18 of which some other pitcher could do just as well).

    • kmartin

      Chapman is my favorite pitcher since Don Gullett. I guess I have a thing for left-handed fastball pitchers. But I agree with Steve. If we are going to waste him in the bullpen we should see what we can get via a trade.

    • ManuelT

      I hope they at least give him a shot this year just to see how he works out. I’d hate for him to go to another team and hit it big.

    • JuniorGriffey'sRecliner

      Chapman will never ever ever ever be a starting pitcher in MLB. People still bring this up, but it just isn’t happening. Ever.

      The Reds can’t make him do anything. If they forced him to start, he would not perform. He does not want to start. He will not start. Ever.

      His refusal to start may explain why Bob would even think of trading him in the All-Star year.

      • charlottencredsfan

        They can make him relocate to another city.

      • Mark Bradford

        I can’t wait until he is traded so people will stop whining about him not starting. He isn’t a starter.

      • lwblogger2

        I’m inclined to agree with this. I’ve stopped responding to the Chapman should be starting debate because it’s the same argument for and against and it’s just repetitive at this point. The heart of the matter is that Chapman doesn’t want to do it. Unless that changes, he will remain in the pen, no matter who he plays for.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Chapman started in Cuba, started in the minor leagues for the Reds and started in several spring trainings. So it’s just flat wrong to say he isn’t a starter.

        Chapman says now he wants to close. But he’s never “refused” to start. He says he has a preference for closing. That’s valid until he says he wants to start. As he gets closer to negotiating his next contract and seeing the difference between closer and starter money, he could quickly change his mind. How hard is that to imagine? Or, he might wake up one day and say he’s willing to do whatever is best for the team. Again, is that so hard to imagine? Do you want me to dig up the quotes from him where he says he prefers to start, he said that right before he said he preferred to close.

        How can fans of a team that watched Alfredo Simon last year believe it is impossible for a much younger player to convert from a reliever to starter?

      • lwblogger2

        He was a starter and actually expressed a preference to starting before he got exposure as a closer. Of course he may at some point change his mind and contracts may be the driving factor in changing his mind. Until he changes his mind however, I don’t see it happening and I don’t see it happening in Cincinnati. We don’t know if he can be a good starter or not and will never know until someone tries it. We are talking an elite arm, not the Danny Graves experiment all over again. Logic would say he’d be a good starter. It’s easy to see your point of view. It’s just as long as he wants to remain a closer, he is very likely to remain a closer.

    • earmbrister

      I am as big a supporter of the “Chapman needs to be a starter” as anyone. But I’ve moved on, as have the Reds (unfortunately). For this, people want to blame to blame Dusty, Waltie, or Mr. C. But I have to wonder if it’s Chappy … If he’s expressed in no uncertain terms that he doesn’t want to be a starter, then it’s like dragging a horse to water.

      I’m all for dealing him if you can get a quality player or two in the process. Now I’d understand if WJ has to sell the other team, as well as Mr. C on the deal (though way less funny than the Hal Morris story).

      • eddiek957

        i remember seeing him start 2 games at Louisville 1 game less than 5 pitch count the other game 5 innings blister

    • Drew

      At what point do we give up on this “Chapman” as a starter? It’s not going to happen,he has said he doesn’t want to start and the Reds seem content on him in the bullpen.

    • RM

      It has been a while since the Reds has done a blockbuster trade, but I have one.
      Chapman, Brandon Phillips and Mike Leake for

      Carl Crawford, Dee Gordon and Jansen-the Dodgers closer.

      This may put the dodgers in the World Series, but would really address several of the Reds needs.

      • lwblogger2

        Yikes, I wouldn’t want Crawford or Gordon honestly.

  2. charlottencredsfan

    Read on MLB-TR that Walt says that they need to get money off the books (move payroll) before making any moves. As was suspected by many, this is the fly in the ointment. Very curious to see how they manage this. The Wizard of Oz would have his hands full with this task.

    Reds going through all sorts of gyrations to make a run in 2015. Just can’t see it. One has to wonder, is it all worth it.

    • Grand Salami

      Money is directly correlated to veterans. Trading the CF, 3rd baseman, and catcher gets virtually no money off the books, relatively speaking.

      I take this to mean that the team would be willing to give up BP for a ham sandwich and even Bruce could be had as was rumored.

  3. Dale Pearl

    Reds shopping Chapman? Sounds more like other teams are just asking about him and the Reds are listening… Big difference.

    If the Reds need payroll clearance my gosh start off by trading Cueto as teams would take him in a heart beat. See if we can sucker the Yankees into taking Votto and Phillips. It is starting to sound a lot like much ado about nothing year X2.

    • redmountain

      Is there the possibility that they are doing a feint and going after something else?

  4. jessecuster44

    Did it say anywhere in the article that the Reds were open to trading Chappy? Nope. Just in the headline. Non-news piece.

    Don’t trade Votto. Start Chappy.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Don’t worry, Votto is not tradeable but as soon as he is, absolutely deal him. Maybe mid-season 2015 if we are lucky.

      • jessecuster44

        I don’t see how this makes any sense. Votto is only one of two legitimate sources of LH power on the team. Given the Reds inability to deal for an offensive piece, I think trading Votto is the last thing that they should be doing.

        Caveat: I’m a big Votto fan, and would hate to see him in another uniform

      • charlottencredsfan

        Me too but can we afford him and afford a WS team? That is the question.

        I don’t want to trade Joey because he is not a great player, he is when healthy but he is owed over $200M left on his contract and is already on the wrong side of 30. You might get a couple of opportunities to offload that contract but not many.

        Money is way to big a factor, with 25 of 30 teams, in MLB but it is what it is Bob C played with the big dogs and got burnt.

      • Grand Salami

        The Reds are lucky that he is only going to cost them $13ish million this season. TV contracts will inflate payrolls and subsequent contracts was the logic – we’ll have to wait and see. If he represents 1/5 of the Reds total payroll in five years, there is no way the Reds will be able to compete.

      • lwblogger2

        What Grand Salami said. I think if Votto’s salary still represents 20% of the payroll, that will tie the Reds hands. If however the payroll goes up in general, say to $150+ million, then his salary becomes much less of a burden. I think what we’ve seen the past two off-seasons with contracts has made Votto seem more affordable going forward. There are players in the next 5 years who will be inferior players to Votto and making more money. I’d predict more than a handful of them too.

    • Nick Kirby

      “We don’t know if the Marlins are thinking this way, but what is clear is the Reds are open to trading Chapman, their fireball-throwing lefty closer.”

      • jessecuster44

        How is it clear? Prove it. Just because a reporter says something doesn’t make it true.

      • Nick Kirby

        I never said this was a fact. In fact, the article title starts with the word “report.” I’m not exactly sure why anyone would question my integrity on reposting MLB trade rumors.

      • Grand Salami

        I wouldn’t sweat it. This tail (Marlin’s reporter) isn’t going to wag the dog if you’re right. If he’s a journalist a source should be assumed.

      • jessecuster44

        not questioning anyone’s integrity here. I’m just skeptical, since the article does not support its statement.

      • Nick Kirby

        It wasn’t my statement. I was just passing along a rumor that I saw from an established official MLB writer.

      • jessecuster44

        gotcha. Not a journalist. Unless sources are cited, I don’t read too deeply. Good discussion on trading Chappy though. Start him, pitch him 80+ innnings from the pen, or trade him.

  5. charlottencredsfan

    From MLB-TR: “Whether he’s the Marshall of old or not, he may be a different type of Marshall. We believe he will be back,” Jocketty said. “[Manny] Parra should be back and 100 percent; he’s making great progress. With [Sam] LeCure and [J.J.] Hoover, there’s two guys we feel can be better and should be better. I think there’s things that Bryan [Price] has talked with [pitching coach] Jeff Pico about, there’s some things we hope to try to correct and try to make them more effective next year.”

    Folks, now that is scary talk You bet, if everyone gets better next season; the pen will be in great shape. This does not instill confidence. Would have been better if Walt didn’t answer the question. Halfway through that statement he must of thought, ” what am I saying; who am I fooling?”.

    • ToddAlmighty

      Yeah, I saw that. It looks like their answer for the bullpen is to just replace Ondrusek with Axford and stand pat with the rest and hope for things to be better than last year.

      So yeah, if Votto, Bruce, Hamilton, BP, Cozart, Bailey, Latos, Marshall, Parra, LeCure, and Hoover all get healthy/better, we should be fine. (Sarcasm.)

      • CTRedsFan

        No, they are going to improve the bullpen by trading Chapman!

      • ToddAlmighty

        Chapman pitched 54 innings. Of the 202 PA batters had against Chapman in 2014, only 96 of them were high leverage.

        It’s not like he really contributed much last year to meaningful situations. Meanwhile, someone like Yelich can contribute to 660 PA or so. Relief pitchers will never be worth as much as starting players. Either batting or pitcher.

    • Dale Pearl

      I’m telling ya. Jocketty doesn’t open up his mouth much but when he does it spells doom and gloom for Reds fans everywhere. People are saying that Castelinni is a great owner but if he is going to allow himself to be defined by Jocketty and poor salary management then well he is going to get an F from the fans. Sure he is spending money but he isn’t spending money very wisely. 2015 is going to go down as the legacy of this gm and owner taking one of the best starting rotations in all of baseball and not being able to get them past the first round of the playoffs???

    • RedAlert

      The Red’s brass just needs to get on the plane and go home now – utterly useless waste of time for them to even be at the meetings – pathetic – hey Walt , if “ifs and buts were candy and nuts it’d be Christmas all year round !”

  6. ToddAlmighty

    Could Chapman be the piece that can get the Reds Yelich? Would it have to be Chapman + Someone for Yelich? Honestly, the Marlins asking about Chapman and the Reds listening is the most encouraging Reds rumor I have heard so far this offseason.

    I’d trade for Yelich, and then sign him to a 7 year deal immediately. Buy up all his arbitration as well as a couple extra years as a reduce rate of what he’d make if he improves in 2015. He already had 3.6 WAR as a 22-year-old.

    • lwblogger2

      Which is why it’s my understanding the Marlins are trying to extend both he and Ozuna… I think it would be Chapman + a couple top prospects to land one of those guys.

  7. Jordan Barhorst

    I would be cool with a Yelich/Cishek for Chapman deal.

    • Steve Mancuso

      If the Reds want Yelich, they’ll have to offer more than Chapman (especially with him as closer). Cishek alone is almost worth as much as Chapman given contract status. Closers just don’t have that much value compared to starters.

      • Grand Salami

        Careful about what Yelich will cost – that one nearly derailed an entire comment section a couple weeks back! Given the Marlin’ absurd contract with Stanton, I am optimistic that they’d overvalue Chapman. Still , I agree that Yelich for Champan is going to require the Reds to throw in something else – someone from their top 10 list for sure.

      • JRS1972

        Chapman has potential value to the Marlins organization beyond just his play, not enough to get Yelich straight up obviously but I’d think the Reds wouldn’t have to go too deep to find a player to pair with Chapman.

      • Drew

        But I believe great closers have more value in the mind of most GM’s then you value closers. Look at what the Sox just paid for the form Yankees closer who had basically just one season in the role. I think someone like Chapman has far more value in the role of closer then many here think he does.

    • tct

      Yelich is not happening. There are probably only 25-30 players in baseball who have more trade value then Yelich right now, and none of them play for the Reds. The only guy who is even close is Mesoraco. The Reds are more likely to trade Meso than the Marlins are to trade Yelich.

  8. charlottencredsfan

    To add a little more sunshine to the day: Price says the Reds will use the sacrifice bunt more next season. Just what we need to hear.

    • preacherj

      At least we will have runners in scoring position when the bases get clogged up.

    • lwblogger2

      Geez, they bunted a lot last year. To make matters worse, they weren’t exceptionally good at it.

    • ohiojimw

      Yes I just got in from work where I see some sources but don’t post and was looking down the thread to see if anyone had picked up on this.

      For those who didn’t see the entire Enquirer article Price said the biggest difference in him between 2014 and 2015 would likely be that he would “trust his gut” more in making decisions in 2015 and went on to give the SAC bunting as an example. The more time that passes the more Price sounds like Dusty.

      • lwblogger2

        It’s not even that he sounds like Dusty. It’s more that he sounds like most MLB managers. Most of them are still very traditional in their thinking. There are exceptions of course but the Reds are unlikely to hire those types of guys while Bob C is the owner and Jocketty the GM. They are traditional baseball guys and very set in their ways.

    • RedAlert

      Yea , that’s awesome on top of all the nonactivity that they have engaged in at the winter meetings

  9. WVRedlegs

    Rumor mill grist. I don’t think there is any way Bob Castellini signs off on any realistic trade involving Aroldis Chapman. Chapman is going nowhere, and unfortunately, not even to the starting rotation. Next winter, that could be a different story.
    For 2015, the Reds, Castellini, and Walt Jocketty are half-way all-in. Jocketty’s job at the Winter Meetings is to walk around and look dazed and confused. . He is a master at his job.

    • charlottencredsfan

      This a great post on so many levels. Not a Walt basher but he has that look down pat.

    • Grand Salami

      “half-way all-in” is just superb.

      Walt is basically saying but for the need to shed payroll, they are all-in. This reasoning is nearly as stupifying as the ‘we got Jack’ approach.

  10. Art Wayne Austin

    Once Chapman leaves there be a drop in attendance. Fans love going to a three game series knowing he will pitch the 9th. Run production was the problem this year. You can’t save what you don’t earn. The only player worthy of a Chapman trade is Staunton & he, like Chapman, is going nowhere.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Fans love a winning playoff team, with WSC possibilities, more than anything else. I hope Bob C. doesn’t think like you do but I’d bet he does. Did you hear: can’t rebuild this season, we host the ASG.

      Not saying what you think is wrong but I don’t agree with it.

    • Andrewpky

      You don’t spend 3+ hours on a Wednesday night in April just to watch the closer…

    • tct

      This is absurd. If the Reds are winning, the fans will come. There is no way to know beforehand if Chapman is going to pitch in a certain day. Fans are not buying tickets just for Chapman. If he was starting, maybe they would see an increase on those days. But as is, no, trading Chapman will not hurt attendance if it makes the team better.

  11. preacherj

    Chapman to Miami makes sense for both clubs. I would like to see it happen, especially if we could add a minor piece with it and pull Yelich. It may not take a top 10 guy for the Marlins. I’d start straight up and see where it leads.

    I’m not as dismissive of this article as others are. I think it’s possible that the teams are talking.

  12. Chris221

    First time comment! just wanted to say being a reds fan in chicago aint easy, but I appreciate all the work you guys do its great. Im confused why some of you are jumping on nick for just reposting an interesting rumor.

    • jessecuster44

      Sorry – Just wish the Miami writer had cited a source, as you are supposed to do… How does he know the Reds are open to trading Chappy?

      Lived in Chicago for 5 yrs. Always a treat to see the Reds kick snot out of Cubs at Wrigley, esp in 2010! Moved away this summer, just in time – seeing as Cubs and Reds headed in different directions.

  13. Dale Pearl

    If the do nothing Reds go into 2015 and suck gas as I fear that they will then it will be an early baseball season for me. I may have to boycott the Reds until we have a new GM and ownership team. I for one will not consider 2015 a success unless we make it to the World Series. Sorry but the kid gloves come off this year…. And for crying out loud stop calling Bob C a great owner he rehired Jocketty and isn’t mindful of stupid long term contracts that are crippling the team.
    How many years have we had either Cueto, Arroyo, Latos, Leake, Bailey or minus Arroyo and add Cingrani & Simon? How many playoff series have we won? Has there ever been such a solid starting rotation without nothing but goose eggs to show for it?
    #fed-up #insanity #worstgm #clueless #pathetic #designedtolose #basementbound

    • jessecuster44

      Walt is terrible, Bob C is a blowhard. Win now? Whatever. Agree completely.

      The kid who traded his bike for a rainbow pop spent his money more wisely than Bob C.

      • JRS1972

        Let’s not forget that the Reds have won their division twice and been a wildcard once in the 7 years that Castellini and Jocketty have run the show. How good were they in the 7 years before that?

      • ToddAlmighty

        Using mostly players that Walt had nothing to do with. That window was built by the previous GMs.

    • lwblogger2

      I’ve not been real thrilled with the results but I can’t go as far as you’re going. Why? Well, you see those 2000-2009 years stick out to me. For years we all knew the Reds had only minimal chances of .500 baseball and literally no hope of reaching the World Series. I like the fact that our discussions now are can the Reds compete or even win the Central. Look at this years Pennant winning teams. They were both wildcard teams. The playoffs are a bit of a crapshoot once you get there. I’d love to see the Reds win the WS but the favored team to do so is still a long shot. For example, Vegas has the Dodgers at 7 to 1. I personally think the odds are longer than that. The defending Champion Giants? 15 to 1. The Royals? 18 to 1. The Cards? 18 to 1. I’d like to see them be a factor the whole season and hopefully making the playoffs. Once there, anything can happen. Did anyone predict it would be the Royals and Giants in the WS when the playoffs started last year?

      • charlottencredsfan

        Yes, someone actually did. Once the playoffs started.

      • lwblogger2

        Was it you? Do you remember who? It was a good call if someone did. I know I didn’t have them both winning the pennant. I thought either were a longshot.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Actually, it was after the wild-card games so I fudged the truth just a wee bit (LOL).

        If the Giants make the playoffs, smart money does not bet against them. Bruce Bochy may not be the greatest manager the game has ever seen but a strong argument could be made he is the greatest post-season manager ever. How many other managers would have used Bumgarner like he did?

    • earmbrister

      Psycho: My name’s Francis Sawyer… but everyone calls me Psycho. Any of you guys call me Francis… I’ll kill ya.
      Leon: Ooooooh.
      Psycho: You just made the list, buddy. Also, I don’t like no one touching my stuff. So just keep your meathooks off. If I catch any of you guys in my stuff… I’ll kill ya. And I don’t like nobody touching me. Any of you homos touch me… I’ll kill ya.
      Sergeant Hulka: Lighten up, Francis. We’re all in this together. One of these men may save your life one of these days, you understand that?
      ‘Winger: Then again maybe one of us won’t.

  14. Tom Reed

    Chapman is an exciting player but he’s being wasted as a closer, and I don’t see any intention of the front office to convert him to a starter. If a trade could be worked out that includes Chapman and Yelich it would solidify the outfield, and when Winker is ready it could make for a trade of Billy Hamilton also.

    • ToddAlmighty

      Neither Yelich or Winker are CF players. So it’d be Bruce who’d be traded before Hamilton. Both because of the CF issue, and the fact that Hamilton would have 1 year pre-arb and 3 years arb, while Bruce would have 1yr/$12.5m with a 2nd year option at $13m.

      So in that situation, look for Bruce to go before Hamilton.

  15. charlottencredsfan

    Miguel Montero is now a Cub.

    • jessecuster44

      That team in Wrigley is looking better each day… Except that Wrigley won’t be ready for them to play in come April.

      Ha ha ha.

      • Mark Bradford

        The reds do not have the money to spend that the cubs have. You can’t thank votto and homer for that.

  16. Brady

    Chapman and Ervin might get you Yelich. You could roll with Yelich, BHam, and Bruce for 2015 and hope Bruce bounces back. If he does and Winker shows he is ready, you move Bruce for pitching next offseason to replace whoever you don’t bring back.

    Two birds with one stone. You get younger, but Yelich is enough of a talent that you can compete this year. Plus, you slash payroll in the process.

    • Brady

      *to replace whatever pitcher doesn’t re-sign.

  17. cfd3000

    Let me jump in on the defending Nick Kirby side of this fence. This is EXACTLY why I come to RLN in the offseason. Walt Jocketty is notoriously camera shy when it comes to discussing possible moves. And I’m not willing to scour the internet for every mention of a possible Reds deal. So I check RLN where Nick and the gang keep me apprised in one stop shopping. Is this a credible rumor? Seriously guys, it’s a rumor. Of course it has questionable credibility. But is it plausible? Sure. Chapman has been and probably will be under utilized (okay, wasted) in the Reds bullpen. But the value is there as long as he’s healthy. So he’s probably worth more in a trade than in a Reds uniform. And he would be a good fit for Miami, both for their on field needs and their demographic. And the Marlins have what the Reds covet in return – young, talented, cost controlled outfield offense. So a deal there makes some sense. I am encouraged that anyone besides us dreamers is actually mentioning that some form of discussion along those lines has taken place. Details? Credibility? Likelihood? Who knows? But I do appreciate the update from Nick. Thanks – fingers crossed now hoping for an actual announcement. Chapman and Mejias-Brean for Yelich and a AA reliever. Said so here first.

    • jessecuster44

      Nick Kirby didn’t do anything wrong! Sorry to stir that up. I’d just like to know how a Marlins beat writer knows the Reds are open to trading Chappy.

      I do enjoy the speculation.

    • doctor

      exactly, heck this “rumor/speculation”, it was good enough to be reported by the MLB Now crew out in San Diego on thier show yesterday. I see no issue why this site would also not mention it.

  18. unc reds fan

    I agree with most of what I read…chapman as a closer is useless to the reds…if they have no intention of starting him…or for that matter if he has no intention to be a starter…trade him for someone who can help us…trading chapman for some hitting might be the most forward thinking move the reds have considered making so far

  19. JohnU

    It’s overly simplistic to say this, but I believe that any big-league pitcher should be able to get 3 outs in the ninth inning.
    Chapman should be in the rotation and he should have been in it 2 years ago.
    The rest of the bullpen will sort itself out.
    If these guys can score 4 runs a game, they can give their starters a chance to win — that aside, this story is nothing more than a beat writer being bored at trying to get paper clips to stick in the ceiling tiles.

  20. earmbrister

    From MLB Trade Rumors …

    There have been 14 free agents to sign for $10MM or more in total, and just two of those deals were with National League teams with zero migrations from the AL to the NL.

  21. Carl Sayre

    My question is with Yelich so young and already in the majors why not Chapman and Winker for him? Yelich is inexpensive with team control left and I don’t see the Marlins considering Chapman for Yelich straight up maybe we could get a better than average prospect thrown in the deal?

    • reaganspad

      we are not trading Winker and someone else for another player.

      I would keep Winker and Chapman in that deal.

  22. Tyler Burdett

    The consensus I’m getting is that Aroldis Chapman is wasted in the bullpen. With that statement, you could pretty much go to all of the good closers in the league (Holland, Robertson, Kimbrel) and make a case that they are being wasted in the bullpen as well. Let the man be a great reliever. There is nothing wrong with being a good reliever. Would you be making this same argument that Mariano Rivera, the best closer of all time, was wasted talent in the bullpen as well? I sure hope not.

    In his role, Aroldis Chapman is very good. How he is utilized, however, is my only concern. Sure, I would like to see him in more tie ball games toward the end of the game as much as everyone else. But if the man is a good closer, let him be a good closer.

    For a comparison, Chapman from 2012-2014 had a 162 game average of 63 innings pitched and in 2014 he missed the first month due to his unfortunate injury. In arguably Rivera’s three best years, 1999, 2001, and 2004, Rivera had a 162 game average of around 75 innings. That’s only a difference of basically 12 games giver or take a game or 2 for chapman.

    Overall, Chapman is not wasting away in the bullpen. He’s just being misused. If he’s not a starter, thats fine by me. I feel confident whenever he comes in the game that the game will more than likely be over. My best friend, a Detroit Tigers fan doesn’t have that luxury.

    What are everyone’s thoughts? I’d love to hear some feed back.

    • charlottencredsfan

      It’s the comparison model. If Chapman closes 85% of his opportunities successfully, is he worth the same as a pitcher who carries that ratio or better? No doubt, Chapman is a lot of fun to watch.. Britton, Street, Cishek. Rodriguez, Melancon. are not as sexy but are they any less valuable?

    • kmartin

      I believe Rivera had only one pitch, his cutter. Perhaps this is why he was never used as a starter. I suspect one reason many of us think Chapman should start is that, according to Price, Chapman has three quality pitches: fastball, slider, and change. Hence I think the Rivera/Chapman cases are different.

      • lwblogger2

        Agree there. Rivera really was a one-pitch-pitcher.

    • jessecuster44

      He’s a wasted resource. He has the best arm on the team, throws 100+ MPH, and he pitches only 3 out saves? You pay him lots of money NOT to pitch? It’s ridiculous. Pitch him more, start him, or trade him to Detroit.

    • JohnU

      It’s a fair point. In the case of the current starting rotation, the Reds can afford to use AC in the bullpen. If he’s in the pen, why not in the most dynamic way? The issue is when the rest of the bullpen falls on its nose in the 6-7-8 innings. AC sits there going to waste about 5 days a week, it seems. (No, I don’t have the data, so sue me.)
      I think AC should have been a starter 2 years ago.

    • OhioStateRedsFan

      Rivera played for the Yankees who clearly are not under any financial burden when it comes to acquiring good starting pitching/hitting. The Reds, however, do not have that luxury. And I disagree with the notion that Chapman is a guaranteed win in the ninth. His stats and save percentage point to him only being slightly better than league average.

      Its 2014, closers are not as valuable as they use to be. Its more important to have a good bullpen top to bottom, and then a couple decent arms for a closer by committee approach.

  23. JRS1972

    Dream Scenario:
    Cueto to BOS for Mookie Betts
    Chapman and an 11-20 prospect to Miami for Yelich
    Phillips to Atlanta for a pack of gum
    Lock up Latos and Leake with the money saved.

    2015 Lineup:

    Yelich-Betts-Votto-Mesoraco-Bruce-Frazier-Cozart-Hamilton
    Latos-Leake-Bailey-Simon-Cingrani

    • ToddAlmighty

      Pretty legit scenario.

      If it was a true dream though, I would also add in a Cozart+Barnhart+Lorenzen+Corcino (or so) for Corey Seager from the Dodgers.

      Fix LF, SS, and 2B, and this team might be real great.

      • JohnU

        Fix LF and get Votto back on the diamond, and this team will not be great, but it will be in the hunt.

    • tct

      You are vastly under rating Yelich and Betts’ trade value.

      • charlottencredsfan

        After the Lester signing, I would suggest it is Cueto trade value that is vastly underrated. There is still very little that has more value than a true ace starter and JC is one. We will see. Betts for Cueto would be a steal for he “Red Sox”.

  24. Carl Sayre

    What is the chance that Walt the Joke tty doesn’t address the left field issue and just throws Winker to the wolves. I have seen speculation that he could be ready by mid-season. I don’t want to see big money being wasted on a 3 year deal that ends up blocking the talent in the minors from advancing. That is why I think it needs to be a trade instead of FA most any FA is going to want a 3 or 4 year deal.

    • Michael Smith

      Everything I’ve read on winkler is that he is mlb ready as a better.

    • JohnU

      What FA’s want and what they get aren’t always the same.

  25. Dale Pearl

    And the Cubs sign John Lester and sealing our fate to be basement,dwellers for 2015

    • Mark Bradford

      Good for the. Cubs. They have money to spend. The reds do not have money to spend, they spent it on votto and bailey. Not sure what fans expect reds to do with no money.

      • jessecuster44

        I call absolute BS on the Reds not having the money. TV money is coming in. The All-Star Game is coming in. There’s money, there’s just not John Lester money. A LF bat with pop would drive attendance up. Cespedes is available, for ONE year. How much salary would that cost in the long run? A drop in the bucket, compared to the overall payroll. Bob C just doesn’t want to spend any more.

        If the Reds start crying poor, this franchise will be sent RIGHT BACK to the dark ages.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        The increase in TV money isn’t here yet.

        The Homer Bailey was just a stupid contract. Some like to say something like, “That’s what the market is paying for.” Who decides what the market is? Those who make the offers. And, making that offer to Homer was stupid. Some other team willing to pay Homer that kind of money? I would say, “Fine, take it.”

        I still say the Reds will keep either Latos or Cueto, but not both. I can see them going into the season with both, but I don’t see them keeping both after the trade deadline.

        I still see the Reds only signing an average/above average FA for LF for 1-2 years, until Winker or Waldrop are ready.

        It’s not like we were that bad last season. Our record in 1-run games was abysmal, definitely not the norm. Too many people act like that is the norm. If we go 500 in those games, we pick up like 8 games and are in the playoff hunt till the last week. All of that without our best player for most of the year, other key injuries throughout the season, most all the batters slumping the second half of the season, and a poor bullpen. And, 1 run games are games that could easily be decided by the bounce of a single ball or the ball batted 1 inch too high/low.

        Granted, the games are won/loss on the field. If everyone wants what the A’s have been doing, all they need to consider is how the A’s finished during 2007-2011, almost averaging 20 games back each season, how the A’s almost would regularly have a fire sale to stock up on minor league prospects, essentially allowing the season to finish poor. So, if you are looking for the high talent low cost players in abundance, then we are probably talking about being bottom dwellers for a while.

        But, for me, I liked how we played. We hung in there that much, with everything that was going on, and this team still seemed to play hungry. I haven’t seen that kind of play from them for years. Everyone talking about a lack of a sense of urgency for Baker, especially in 2013. I didn’t see that on the field at all.

        I do believe the team got into a lot of bad contracts. Votto’s contract, you just couldn’t expect him to be injured so much. We probably overpaid for BP. I wouldn’t have given Bruce that contract. And, Homer’s contract was just stupid. The Broxton trade was a purge. I expect more. I believe the only reason we weren’t able to get rid of BP and Homer a year or two ago was because we were asking for too much.

      • Grand Salami

        For 2015 this simply isn’t true. The Reds are projected to have a top 15 payroll but they are only carrying 80 million in guaranteed contracts. That is still lower than the Cards and Brewers.

        The problem is that the Reds are looking at the second highest project arbitration costs: 45 million is second only to the Nationals 50 million (another team who has been absent from all off season discussions)

        Chapman, Leake, Latos, represent three arbitration salaries that are nearly on par with the guaranteed money to Cueto or Bailey in 2015.

      • Dale Pearl

        Fate sealed on poor contracts. Can’t blame anyone except the man who signs the checks.

      • jessecuster44

        Then Bob C is incompetent in the current baseball world. Why sign players to big contracts if you have no wiggle room afterwards? Votto, Phillips, Bruce, Bailey, Marshall, Hannahan, Ludwick, Broxton… Money has been tossed around in this “mid-market” for the last four years. And now there isn’t any more?

        Seems like the right time to cry poor would be 2016, when everyone becomes a FA.

        This organization is one of the worst in baseball.

      • charlottencredsfan

        It appears Bob used his heart more than his mind in the trio of bad signings. If this is the case, he needs to leave the baseball stuff to the baseball guys. It’s not real complicated. If it was Walt, he should have not been extended as he is a poor custodian of Bob’s money. Pun intended, my money is on Bob.

      • charlottencredsfan

        But they have unmovable contracts of extreme value, that is a bigger problem than guaranteed contracts.

      • Robby20

        Castellini is not the baseball guy here. Jocketty is the baseball guy. Bob agreed to the contracts but in my view Jocketty is to blame for this disaster. The Reds with this roster will be picked to finish last in the division in 2015. How did they do such a poor job of managing their resources? How does Jocketty get a free pass on not taking the team to the promise land by acquiring another right handed bat when that was the only missing piece a couple years ago? The window has closed on this roster. Hope Votto gets healthy so the Reds can move him. Otherwise this team is in deep trouble for an extended period.

        And finally small market teams need to do a much better job than the Reds do of drafting and developing talent. That is all on Jocketty.

        The lean years are back I’m afraid.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Problem might be, Bob believes he is a ” baseball guy”. If you right, then Bob made a huge mistake by not letting Walt walk. Either way, IMO, Bob C. does not come out looking good.

  26. earmbrister

    The Red Sox missed out on Lester by $ 20 M. Seems like their plan was to trade for more affordable pitching instead. Their GM has previously said he is open to trading for a pitching with only 1 year remaining. Gives them a leg up on knowing the pitcher and re-signing him.

    The Sox desperately need starting pitching; they’ll get a deal done with the Reds.

    • charlottencredsfan

      I could see that. Hope the Reds ask for the moon and the stars because in Cueto’s case, they’d get it.

      • Robby20

        MLB network is reporting the Sox are looking hard at Hamel.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Bet they pay a fortune……..stay tuned.

      • lwblogger2

        The price for Hammels was very high. If the Phils get a huge haul from the Sox for him, then I’m not going to be happy because Cueto could be worth more.

  27. Matt WI

    So Ken Rosenthal is reporting that teams “know” the Reds are reportedly $17 Million over budget, thus being upon to trading Chapman and Cueto or whoever.

    That’s some serious scratch, and really calls into question what on earth the plan was this off-season. If this is true, they had to know that, and have been sitting idly by while deals have been going on all around them. It’s just bizarre. But hey, they moved Chris Heisey.

    • sultanofswaff

      You could argue they were waiting for Lester to set the market for pitching. That gives them maximum leverage as teams see their first and second options go off the board.

      I dunno, I think the only pitcher I’d be willing to deal is Chapman. But if the budget has to be slashed and starting pitchers traded(doesn’t make sense at face value after the attendance numbers they put up last year), we might be forced to go with someone like Cingrani or Holmberg and pray that Stephenson and Lorenzen really break out.

      This is the sort of high stakes poker that small market clubs are forced to play. It sucks, doesn’t it?

    • Hotto4votto

      I find that hard to believe, and if the Reds are saying it then it better be because they want teams to take on salary for cost-controlled prospects. I have the Reds down for 82m in guaranteed contracts for 2015 (not counting deferred money, but including Iglesias). That includes 11 players, Votto, Cueto, Phillips, Bailey, Bruce, Iglesias, Skip, Pena, LeCure, Marshall, and Parra, plus the two buyouts for Ludwick and We Got Jack For That. Based on MLBTradeRumors projections the Reds have in the ballpark of 41m for eight arb. guys in 2015 (and that’s after taking out Heisey).

      If Iglesias doesn’t come up right away, and the club fills out the remaining spots on the 25-man with rookie-level/league minimum contracts they are currently sitting at a projected salary roughly around 127m for 2015. The Reds rolled out about 114m in 2014. Were the Reds so shortsighted when they offered contracts to Broxton, Ludwick, and Hannahan that extended into 2015? Add Broxton, the pre-buyout money of Luddy/Hannahan, and Heisey to that total it would have brought the projected total about 16m dollars higher, to a grand total of 143m (9m JB + 6.5 in buyouts + 2.2 Heisey – 2m for four league minimum guys). That was the original plan if everybody stayed healthy and produced.

      So I don’t see how an organization can say they’re 17m or so over budget when the contacts they offered and planned on having took them 16m over the number they are at now, and especially when shredding 17m in payroll would take them lower than last year’s budget (in a year we get an All-Star game boost). And if the plan was to offer contracts to shed them it’s worse. In this case the team knew it couldn’t afford such contacts, offered them anyway to aging veterans who almost guaranteed diminishing returns. So you force yourself away pieces with dome value for next to nothing in salary dumps, ie Broxton and Heisey, or build in such large buyouts that you are forced to pay players too much money to walk away, ie Ludwick and Hannahan. No foresight or plan for our arbitration guys and too many bad contracts has put us in a bind. So either they aren’t truthful about the budget or they are really, historically bad, planners, because their actions don’t add up to what they are saying now.

      Luckily the guaranteed money drops next year (shed Cueto, Marshall, Parra, Pena, LeCure, with only a 500k buyout for Skippy. That combined with having fewer arb guys will help a lot. If the Reds move on from Cozart they may only have two guys eligible. (Buying out their arb years would help budget going forward). Add in some young guys and the a reds could extend one-two pitchers easily and still come in at a manageable budget. The key is obviously having young, talented, MLB ready players to step in and contribute.

      • Brian

        If they really have to chop $17MM, I would look for them to try and do what Atlanta is doing with Upton and Gattis. It came out yesterday or two days ago where they were saying if you want Gattis take BJ Upton as well and if you want Justin Upton take Chris Johnson. Thus something like pairing any Pitcher and BP in a trade. The whole Latos/Leak for Cespedes doesn’t make sense to me if they are trying to cut salary as that would essentially be a wash.

      • Hotto4votto

        The only way for the Reds to realistically unload that much salary without taking on any more back and still compete would be to trade Simon and Bruce/Phillips for a young OF’er and then to trade (likely pitching) prospects for young/cheap replacements. Phillips would be the easier of the two to replace and the harder to move, especially for any player of value. But either, without adding salary, would likely represent a downgrade overall for next year. And this move would have to be made in hopes that Cingrani or someone else can step back into the back end of the rotation.

        A pairing of Simon/Bruce could hopefully bring back an OF prospect, and maybe another piece. Finding a team(s) to take on both is the challenge, and you’re selling low on Bruce to cut salary. Then you will likely have to part with Travieso , Garrett, Romano, or Lively (plus maybe more) to get another OF.

        Of course the issue is we have three good OF prospects close, and in this scenario we just added two young OFer’s. Then we are still below average at 2B and SS offensively with a super young untested outfield and question marks on the health of several key players, as well as the bullpen and fifth starter.

        The Reds have certainly backed themselves into a corner with bad, and sentimental contracts and misplaced priorities.

      • Robby20

        The Reds have done an abysmal job of managing their budget and to make matters worse they also have done an equally bad job of drafting and developing talent. Not a good combination.

        Jocketty gets all this credit for the Reds recent trips to the postseason when in fact most of the key players in that run were drafted or acquired by his predecessors.

        One can only hope the Brewers play like they did at the end of 2014. Otherwise the Reds will be at the bottom looking up at the other teams in their division.

      • lwblogger2

        The only thing I can think of to explain it would be that they were certain they could offload Phillips last season. Even at that though, they’d be $4-million over budget. That is assuming that rumor is true.

      • jessecuster44

        They could have offloaded Phillips. They chose not to.

      • lwblogger2

        It’s my understanding that they had a deal worked out with the Yankees and BP used his limited no-trade clause to block it. So, I’m not so sure they were able to move him last year even though they wanted to… At least without taking on some of his salary and defeating a large reason for moving him.

    • Grand Salami

      Cueto and Chapman equal roughly that amount. I think shipping Cueto and something for Cespedes and a great prospect is the best possible deal if they try to convert Chapman.

      They’d still need to shave 5-8 million if the report is accurate . . .

    • lwblogger2

      If they really are THAT far over budget, then they shouldn’t have signed Homer last year. You budget more than one year out. I personally didn’t think the Reds would have signed him if they couldn’t afford him but if they are $17-million over, then clearly they couldn’t afford him. In fact, the only starter they really could afford at that kind of level is Leake. Why? Because Latos if he bounces back and most certainly Cueto are going to command more than the Bailey deal.

  28. sultanofswaff

    Outside of Chapman, I’m not liking the rumors about the Reds trading a pitcher. I think holding onto that talent gives you the best chance to win in the playoffs while also acting as a hedge against another underperforming offense. But at the same time, we still need to acquire hitters. To that end, I strongly feel the Reds are overvaluing their minor league pitchers and should package one or more to help the big club. Here’s why—-you can’t play them all. If you lock up Latos or Leake, that leaves just a couple rotation openings for 2016. First dibs on those spots go to Lorenzen and Stephenson, but you also have Cingrani/Iglesias/Lively/Travieso/Romano/Holmberg/Howard/Garrett/Moscot.
    That’s over 10 players for 3 spots. Even assuming injury and non-performance, we have a surplus.

    It’s this pool of talent that I’d start talking to other teams about a cost controlled SS who can hit. As for LF, I’d go with a cheap platoon until Winker’s ready or the trade deadline, whichever comes first.

    • Hotto4votto

      I believe we need to address our bullpen with some of these guys. You’re 100% correct in that we can’t use them all in the rotation. I would peg most of Iglesias, Howard, Moscot, Lively, and Cingrani to move to the pen full time by 2016/17. The caveat being that if any of them continues to demonstrate legitimate trade value as a starter, in that case if the return is worth more than having a very good reliever you make that deal to address other spots.

      I believe we will extend one of our four arb. guys. Maybe two. Add in Stephenson and Lorenzen to Bailey and one of our current starters and then you need to find a fifth. Maybe it’s Cingrani, Iglesias, Lively, or someone else. But either way, there is still depth. Diaz, Contreras, Guillon, Corcino, Holmberg, Villarreal, etc are all cost-controlled options in the pen.

      Imagine if you added just Howard, Moscot, and Cingrani to Diaz and Guillon. That’s a nice set of RH and LH guys that miss bats. Fill it out with the other options and by 2016/17 the bullpen should be dynamic and not one guaranteed large contract in the bunch.

      And that still leaves Travieso, Romano, Garrett, Wright, etc to use as depth or in trades. Regardless, the next few years should be fun watching where guys fit in, with plenty of good options all around for whatever the plan will be.

    • ManuelT

      I agree- trade prospects to fill holes.

  29. WVRedlegs

    If the Reds don’t make any significant moves at these Winter Meetings, there should be a Fire Walt party at 100 Joe Nuxhall Way on Saturday at noon.
    Boycott buying Reds tickets this year. Boycott Castellini’s grocery stores, wherever they are.
    The time has come for Reds fans to let Castellini know we are very dissaitisfied with Walt Jocketty’s ineptitude!!!!!

    • Robby20

      The Reds are stuck. Everyone knows they need to unload salary. (Very poor job of managing the budget.) Add to that the questions about he health of Bailey and Latos and they are not dealing from a strength. The Reds are in a corner. I’m guessing moves that will be made will be to build for the future. There is nothing they can afford to do to make a run in 2015 – so reload for 2016 or 2017. Sad to see such a quick collapse of a team.

    • JohnU

      Yeah, we can’t kick Dusty around anymore. Let’s go for Walt’s throat.

      • wvredlegs

        Jocketty is THE architect of this disaster. It is all on him. The Walt apologists just don’t get it. Go buy yourself the game of Clue for Xmas, so that way you will at least have one.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Great TV Show: Homicide Hunter. WV, you would make a lousy detective. Old, old saying: “don’t judge a box by its cover”. Look at motivation, who had the interest in signing those bad contracts? Is it nutty to think that it could be Bob? Here is the case:
        a – Walt should know good and well that the Reds can not afford to sign a player to a +$200M contract. Leave that to the Big Boys but for a small market team, that screams “too many eggs in one basket”.
        b – BP was on the downside of his career at a position where guys go down faster than nearly every other position. So sign him to a long-term deal? For the life of me, I can’t believe Walt is that thick-headed. This has all the markings of trying to please the fan base by signing a favorite son.
        c – Sign a good but not great starting pitcher (Bailey) to a #1 or #2 starter’s type contract on a Big Boy team. Walt could not have made it this far in his career making idiot moves like this one.
        d – Given a thru c, could it be that Bob wanting to please the fan base and show his commitment, demanded Walt make these moves? A business is a direct reflection of its owner and how happy was the general fan base when these signings occurred? Owning a baseball is a “highly visible” business to boot as there is a section in the newspaper nearly dedicated to it and has it’s own TV Channel. If Bob did instigate these signings, he did it in good faith but they are no less lousy moves.
        e – If Walt made these moves on his won, why in the heck is he still on the payroll???
        f – As far as signing all these worn out old Card players, didn’t Bob also come from the St. Louis organization?

        I hear you about “get a clue” and I’m not even Suggesting Walt is a good GM but from objectively sizing up the current crisis, my eyes are on Bob. If I am right, BoB needs to butt out of making deals, contracts, etc. and let Walt do his job. Or if not Walt, whomever has that job.
        Is it so hard to believe that Walt is a good company man and is keeping his mouth shut about all this and that’s why Bob C. finds him a nice fit?

        Just playing detective.

      • JohnU

        I would buy your indignation IF I agreed that there was a disaster.
        The Mets are a disaster.
        So are the Rangers and maybe the Twins.
        The Reds are just a few wins away from post-season.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Come on John, if you are a 4th place team and you are over budget by $17M, that is a disaster. Anything is certainly possible but the Reds odds to win the 2015 World Series appear to get longer as the days roll by. I appreciate your optimism, I just can’t get there.

      • wvredlegs

        Are you suggesting then, that Big Bob C. is the Jerry Jones of MLB?? I think Bob C. leaves the roster contruction and contract work to Jocketty and Phil Castellini.
        Maybe Dick Williams is involved too. And I can envision Bob C.’s input on any significant contract or deal. Those deals first have to be formulated by Jocketty and staff before taking them to Big Bob.
        Jocketty is at the root of the mediocrity that has eveloped the Reds since July 31, 2013. The year the Reds got Latos, one more move was needed and it failed to materialize. The year they got Choo, one more move was needed, and it failed to materialize. Both years it was a LF that was sorely needed, and none was acquired. Instead, we get Jack Hannahan, Wilson Valdez, Willie Harris, Skip Schumaker, Roger Bernadina, and an ill-advised contract to Ludwick. That is all on Jocketty.

      • charlottencredsfan

        100% disgree but that happens but I certainly don’t think I’m clueless.

    • Mark Bradford

      How is it Walt’s fault when he doesn’t have money to add people. Bob made the call on Votto, Homer and BP. Each contract is a disaster for players not worth the money they are paid.

  30. Drew

    Just wondering…say the Reds really don’t do much this offseason and bank on health and improved play by young players…what will be “joe” fans reaction and would it result in a revolt?

    • lwblogger2

      I could see that. I see a mostly healthy Reds team as about a .500 team as they stand today.

    • jessecuster44

      “Joe” Fan? Let’s face it – Most Cincinnati sports fans are sheep. They like “going to the game” which explains why they put up with the Bengals. They’ll keep coming to Reds games for the bobbleheads, the fireworks, and to see Chappy pitch once a series, twice if they are lucky. There will be no revolt. Cincinnati fans on the whole do not vote with their feet, and consider themselves lucky to have two pro teams.

      Me? I usually go to multiple Reds games every year – in Cincy or away, as I don’t live in the tristate. I’m inclined not to go to any game, if this “we’re poor!” sideshow continues.

      • Mark Bradford

        The team should have to win games for you to buy tickets and go to the games. I am a fan regardless of how they do. If fans buy fewer tickets that means less money to spend on players. I do not understand why people on this board cant understand that the reds have budget constraints.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Kind of like if your wife cheats on you. You don’t want to believe it when your best buddies say it’s so. If it really helped, I would be on that bandwagon. Better to face facts and then deal with it. I think to go into “true” rebuild mode would pick the spirits of this dispirited bunch up. Staring at the same trainwreck is not only boring but depressing as well. Everyday, just more and more bad news.

        Come on guys, chins up; let’s face the facts and start over. We have value to deal: Cueto & Chapman now and as their value picks up: Homer, Latos and hopefully in time: BP & Votto. If the present situation sucks with no immediate hope, let’s cut the ties and move forward. We are in a far better position to rebuild than the Cubs were a couple of years ago.

        When all the tea leaves say your bad and with the small changes you can make, you will still be bad, time to move forward with a new plan.

  31. RWhittridge

    Ok, so let’s start by moving Votto. After all, his salary alone would solve this ‘deficit’. So much simpler to move one guy than some of the convoluted proposals we’ve seen suggested. Furthermore, many comments keep alluding to Votto’s returning to form as though our offensive problems would thus be solved. I’m not so sure about that. Either his mysterious leg problems are chronic, or he is wound just a little too tightly. Either way his cotributions to the team have dwindled drastically, leading to the question of whether he will EVER be the same again. He is way too expensive to be a doubles hitter.
    As for the Wally or Bob controversy, the old saying ‘the buck stops here’ is appropriate. Castellini is the guy who hired Wally after the cards had the good sense to jettison him in favor of new blood and a new direction. He and Wally seem to be cut from the same cloth – loyal to a fault. That’s the only conclusion to be drawn from the accumulation of washed up cards players/execs and their bloated salaries. In retrospect, it seems Bob got carried away with making the playoffs and coupled with the prospects of yet another wave of TV money pouring into the coffers, he authorized some rather exorbitant looking contracts. In his defense, it happens all the time in major sports leagues.
    Either way, it certainly appears from all the reports/rumors and inquiries we hear about and speculate on in this space, we are more likely to once again this season get only a ‘lump of coal’. Can you say…Delmon Young? ooooooooohhhh, aahhhh!