Soon after the 2014 All-Star break, it became apparent that the Reds needed to make a move. Some believed that the Reds needed to start selling, and rebuild for the future. Some believed that the Reds needed to improve their team for one last run in 2015, with the players they had under contract. Whichever side you were on, everyone knew the Reds had to do something. Standing by and hoping for the best simply would not cut it anymore.

We waited. And waited. And waited some more.

It was starting to look like the Reds and Walt Jocketty were simply going to roll the dice and hope for the best in 2015 with their current roster.

Then yesterday happened. Steve gave us great insight yesterday about the Reds big moves.

The most important thing that happened yesterday was that the Reds set a clear direction for the future. The Reds are going to rebuild a bit, and I think it is a great decision.

Some may disagree with me and say that the Reds have only halfway conceded right now for the future. Some of that may be true, but the Reds have now positioned themselves much better that if 2015 doesn’t work out, they can sell more at the deadline. The Reds have made it clear that they aren’t all in 2015. Even if the Reds were to go out and sign a guy like Melky Cabrera and another starting pitcher, they still wouldn’t be all in for 2015.

The Reds minor league system was not great before yesterday. Baseball America ranked the Reds minor league system 26th in October. The Reds needed to restock their farm system, or the Reds future would be in a lot of trouble. This is what the Reds acquired for two starting pitchers they likely wouldn’t resign after next season:

Pitcher, Jonathon Crawford – 2013 first round draft pick, and #2 prospect in the Tigers system

Pitcher, Anthony DeSclafani – #2 prospect in the Marlins system, who pitched at the AAA level last season (could make the 2015 MLB rotation)

Shortstop, Eugenio Suarez – MLB ready, 23-year old SS, who posted a .362 OBP over his career in the minors (played 85 games in the majors last season with an 85 wRC+)

Catcher, Chad Wallach – 2013 fifth round draft pick, who posted in a .906 OPS in single-A last season.

At first glance, it feels like the Reds got a steal from the Tigers for Simon (Crawford and Suarez), and didn’t get a great deal from the Marlins (DeSclafani and Wallach). However, the Simon deal was such a ridiculous steal that maybe we are undervaluing the Latos deal a bit.

Our friends at Fangraphs suggested however that DeSclafani might be better than Latos is 2015. Whether you believe that or not, the important thing here is that the Reds have finally set a clear direction. 2015 will be a little tougher for the Reds, but the future is a little bit brighter. The Reds got four players with around 24 total years of team control (six years each), for two players they were going to lose after the end of next season. Well done Walt Jocketty.

All prospect rankings courtesy of MLB Pipleline. All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs.



152 Responses

  1. JoshG

    Boston is still looking for a #1 starter
    Cueto, and Cozart for Xander Bogaerts, Joe Kelly and Mookie Betts?
    and maybe a prospect swap or two

    • ToddAlmighty

      Not even slightly an even trade. Bogaerts was ranked pre-2014 as Baseball America’s #2 prospect. Betts was #75. Joe Kelly is a career 3.41 ERA pre-arb starting pitcher with four years of team control left.

      Could maybe get Betts or Kelly for that, but not both, let alone those three. Plus I don’t think they even need/want Cozart.

      • Carl Sayre

        I think that a team that can hit a little would find Cozarts glove appealing. Here is a scenario what if Suarez is the starting SS coming out of spring training and the Reds can’t find value for Cozart, would it be a bad situation to have a top tier defensive middle infielder on the bench at his salary?

      • JohnU

        A top tier defensive guy on the bench is a gold mine at the trading deadline. Look at the 1990 Reds for proof. Or Paul Janish. Teams in the hunt are looking for gloves down the stretch, guys who can play twice a week to let the bats heal … Cozart, with his knowledge of NL hitters, would be a stash for sure. That was why I was delighted that the Reds were able to snatch a glove in the Simon trade.

      • ToddAlmighty

        This is where I don’t understand the Reds. They always seem to use their bench for good defensive gloves. My question is… why? They’re bench players. They are most likely going to be used more as pinch hitters than defensive replacements. Even more so considering other than LF, it’s a very good defensive team already.

        Other than the 4th OF and 2nd C, the rest of the bench should be focused heavily on offense.

    • JRS1972

      Reds would have to offer more and Cueto would have to be willing to sign an extension, but that would be awesome long term.

    • RM

      The Reds clear direction for the future is last place. The more ai think about these trades, the more upsetting it is. The Reds starting pitching kept them competitive in the first half. When Bailey went down, that was it.
      If they wanted to clear payroll. the main way to do that is with big contracts.
      The Reds better do something for their fan base or there will be many empty seats at Great American Next year. It is time for management to step up to the plate and let Cincinnati know they are serious about fielding a winning baseball team

      • charlottencredsfan

        They can’t move the big contracts or I believe they would. Rock and a hard place. I understand your frustration but don’t see a way to realistically compete in 2015. I believe they were showing their seriousness by the fact of the Votto, BP & Bailey contracts; it just didn’t work out and they are stuck with them, at least for now.

    • Hotto4votto

      I think we could get a Cueto for Kelly/Marrero/Nava(Holt) especially if we threw in a minor league pitching prospect (obviously not named Stephenson, Lorenzen, or Iglesias). Maybe even including Pena, as Cueto’s personal caddy, because the Sox want a back up C. Marrero may be Cozart-esque offensively, but there is some projection, and they still need to shed an a OF or two. With their need/desire for a frontline starter, I think we could get this done. Now, whether or not we would be better off for 2015….it depends on how well Kelly did. But there would likely be some drop off.

  2. JRS1972

    It’s way too early for a “Well done” on this.

    • pinson343

      It is too early for a “well done” in terms of there being a lot more to do before the 2015 starts. But if you mean it’s too early for a “well done” in terms of how the trades will work out, it’s always too early for a “well done” just after a trade is made.

      • lwblogger2

        This…Is…Very…True… It’s also why after having slept on it, I’m not quite as aggravated as I was yesterday.

    • tct

      But you have to judge a gm’s moves by what they knew at the time. They are not psychic. I like yesterday’s moves because they show some self awareness of the situation the team is in. Ever since Ludwick went down on opening day in 2013, the front office has been delusional expecting guys to do things that they have never done before and aren’t capable of. Yesterday at least shows that they realize the bind they are in and that their short term chances were too slim to risk their long term future.

      • Robby20

        That delusion started long before the Ludwick injury.

      • ToddAlmighty

        Like the delusion in 2012 that Cozart was a leadoff hitter. Or Rolen was still a starting caliber 3B and Frazier was not.

  3. ToddAlmighty

    I’d really prefer them to be all in or all out, though. Might be too decisive of a move for Jocketty though.

    • Michael E

      They can still do that. A Cueto, Leake, Phillips or Bruce at the trade deadline would bring back a nice haul (varying by traded asset) and cut payroll. If things fall apart in May/June, they can go mostly all-in on a QUICK rebuild for 2016.

      You don’t need to go “all in” right now, not at all. I’d be fine if all that is done is acquire a LF that might can platoon with Boesch in a lefty/righty way….and then re-assess 2015 chances in July.

  4. Michael Smith

    Reds Minor League website disagrees strongly with 26th ranking for the the farm.

    • JohnU

      Ranking minor league systems is silly, Minor league systems don’t make the majors, good players make the majors. You find a Hamilton or Frazier every couple of years. Who cares if the Dayton Dragons finish last?

  5. Tyler Burdett

    Possible destination for Cozart is the mets. I know they’ve been looking for a shortstop for a few seasons now. They have some decent talent in the minor leagues, especially in the outfield department when it comes to major league ready players

  6. earmbrister

    Well said Nick. Many of us were looking for a LFr in return, but would that really make sense? Any new commitment to the OF past 2015 would block Winker/YRod/et al. The two areas of strength in the farm system are OF and pitching. The Reds leveraged their glut of expensive pitching to restock the farm and provide a MLB ready pitcher and middle IFr. I’m pleased, and I’m among those that believe that the $ freed up yesterday will be used to land a stopgap LFr and some bullpen help.

    • Nick Kirby

      Exactly. We don’t need more aging players. Go young, young, young, and more young.

      • TL

        I love the trades. If we commit any money to LF now then we are going against the direction that it looks like we are going in. We are going to have to understand that we may not compete this year…I would rather have that then 2015 be a bust and we put ourselves in a really bad spot for the next 6-7 years.

  7. Kyle Farmer

    I was not a fan of Latos being dealt yesterday. My main objection was that I thought he would be the most likely to sign an extension and that Latos and Bailey as 1 and 1A for the next few years seems like a nice foundation.

    However, on my drive this morning, a thought occurred to me. Yes, this is rare. What if Jocketty already has had discussions with each of the three FA pitchers and it looked as if Latos was ready to bolt. If that is the case or his elbow really has turned to mush then the trade looks much better in my opinion.

    I’m always going to be worried about Cueto’s durability which is why I favored trading him over Latos or Leake.

    • Chad Jones

      Latos’ durability has to be questioned as much as Cueto’s. I think DeScalfani will end up being a pretty good pitcher. I was not happy yesterday, but the more I look at the trades combined we got a pretty good haul. Remember, we claimed Simon off of waivers and ended up getting a 1st round pick and potential future SS.

      • ToddAlmighty

        Question health, perhaps.. but not durability.

        After his rookie year, he had 4 straight seasons of 31 or more starts and 180 or more innings. That’s durable. He was just hurt last year. You know who else was hurt last year? Bronson Arroyo. Doesn’t make him less durable.

    • Drew

      On the MLB network they pointed out that all the health issues Cueto has suffered none have been arm or leg related, which is differnt then what Latos as had to deal with and that the injuries Cueto has had are not that concerning to baseball people.

      • Kyle Farmer

        That’s an interesting take and something I had never really thought about. I was interested last year when one of the Nationals pitchers had a strained lat muscle in spring training and was back pitching for the big club in the month of April. Made me wonder why Cueto needed pretty much an entire season to recover. Maybe it was really, really strained.

      • Michael E

        Nevertheless, Cueto does get injured, which causes him to miss many starts and spool up late in the year when teams can’t wait on it. The motion he has will lead to more oblique strains and if it happens mid-summer, he’ll be useless the rest of the season. We already saw that…twice.

      • Michael E

        Cueto is a very good/great pitcher, but I am not real keen on dumping a Votto-level contract on a 29 year old pitcher for 7 years. Just think we’ll be regretting that by 2017 or sooner. I’d rather trade him for some top prospects that are near MLB-ready. I do not want to trade him for some 18 year old A ball player years away, unless its assured he is Mike Trout II (no chance of assurance).

        The Reds can keep Cueto, trade in July or he walks away and we get a low first round pick for him. The best move is to trade for multiple good prospects or one good prospect and dump a salary with him (Phillips maybe). The worst move is paying him $165 million for 7 years. The moderate move is losing him for a first round draft pick (can’t be high pick by rule).

      • Carl Sayre

        I like the thought of tying a BP salary dump to trading Cueto . I don’t think that if he was traded between now and opening day that would be likely but a team with money (Yankees,Dodgers Red Sox or Angels) that thought they just needed that ace at the deadline to win it all may bite. I hope that come the trade deadline we can’t think about trading away our starter for game 1 of the WS but a desperate team is more likely to help us clear some payroll.

    • TL

      Does anyone think that saving Cueto until the trade deadline is a good idea? I think that saving him until we find a team that is desperate to make a push to get into the playoffs may overpay for him…just a thought..

      • charlottencredsfan

        Only thing if he gets hurt, we’re sunk. I like your theory but I’d like to see a trade before ST or there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth; to a degree that the bellyaching at this point, seem like laughter and joy.,

  8. vegastypo

    So before we were ever “all in,” we’re back to rebuilding?? So the good ol’ days will have to be getting no-hit in the playoffs, crumbling with a 2-0 series lead in the playoffs, and dropping the ball in the wild-card game??

    Walt is gonna have to go a ways before Opening Day if he’s going to convince me that this isn’t the beginning of a more intense rebuilding.That’s the “clear direction” I see. I suspect he wants to try to be competitive early in the season, and get to the hoopla of the All-Star Game at GABP. Then when the attention from that fades, rebuild a little more heavily. When do we ever really play to win? Ever?

    I’m not gonna tell a guy ”well done” for this.

    • CRig

      So much unwarranted pessimism.

      We played to win over the last couple season but that structure wasn’t maintainable. Question it all you want, but we made a run in 2010, 2012, and 2013. Plus, we had the pieces for a run in 2014 but were plagued by injuries. In your mind, what would “going all in” mean? As a follow-up where’s the money going to come from?

      To cry foul over removing Latos and Simon is pretty ignorant. Last year at this time, nobody would have though Simon would trade for this. Latos is like Sony, where his pricetag is in part, for his name. Look his worth from without being blinded by what you “think” he’s worth– Beyond that, I have no doubt there are issues that haven’t been released to the general public (medical charts, etc).

      Walt just made the smartest two moves of his tenure (including signing Choo).

      • ToddAlmighty

        They didn’t make a run for it in 2013. Everyone and their mother knew that Ludwick wasn’t going to come back as a mid-30s guy off a major shoulder surgery and just suddenly start hitting a billion homers. The Reds needed to add a bat at the deadline. Everyone thought it, everyone said it, but they didn’t do it. That means they didn’t play to win. They played to be just good enough.

        In 2012 they gave broken Scott Rolen all the plate appearances he could patch himself together for. The only reason Frazier had an opportunity to carry the team was because Votto got hurt. Then the postseason rolled around, the one that Frazier was a big part of them reaching, and he went right back to the bench for Rolen to start.

        They didn’t have the pieces to run in 2014 even before the injuries. Even on this website, people were talking about how poor the 2014 offense was likely going to be.. and sure enough, it was, then people got hurt, and it went from poor to awful. That 2014 team wasn’t going anywhere even if they didn’t get hurt.

        – – –

        I don’t think getting no-hit and swept in 2010, blowing a 2-0 lead with 3 straight home games in 2012 are playing to win.

        At no point did the Reds truly ever go all in. It was a lot of half measures.

      • CRig

        There’s always a hole or two in a team. Yes, it’d have been preferable to have a better LF or 3B in 12 and 13. Yes, it’d be nice to have that LF bat in 2014. You fail to give a feasible alternative. Further, you criticize without knowing what trade fodder is available.

        Plus, you base your “not playing to win” on losses in the postseason. Post hoc ergo proper hoc is a logical fallacy.

      • jessecuster44

        Starting broken down Scott Rolen over Frazier? That’s playing not to win by letting Dusty Baker play favorites instead of the best player at the time.

        They played not to win for 161 out of 162 games in 2013 by not getting a replacement for Ludwick.

        There was plenty of trade fodder available in 2014 to upgrade the OF. Byrd, Bonifacio, Willingham, Mayberry Jr… – the list goes on. And yes, those would be upgrades to the black hole of LF. Plenty of fodder available. Walt/Bob unwilling to move prospects to do so. And now we have more prospects. Hooray.

        It was “essential” (not nice) to have that LF bat from 2013-14 if the Reds were to upgrade the offense.

      • tct

        So, the Reds haven’t been trying to win these last five years? Three 90+ win seasons and two division titles without even trying? The 2012 playoff collapse happened because the GM didn’t go all in?

        Walt’s failure to help the team at all in the last two years have been frustrating. I am not a fan of Walt. But I’m not sure what you have in mind by all in. The Reds were never going to trade off all of their top prospects for veterans with one or two years remaining. Nor should they have. Small market teams need that pipeline of cheap talent. They were about as all in as the Reds will ever be in 2012. They traded away five of their top 15 prospects, as well as Wood and Volquez, for Marshall and Latos. They spent over 10 million on Ryan Madsen. They committed over 300 million dollars to keep Cueto, Bruce, Votto, and Phillips long term, although Cueto and Bruce were after the 2010 season. They signed Ludwick to a one year deal and traded two more prospects for Broxton during the season. I didn’t like a couple of those moves, but there is no doubt that they were win now moves. I don’t see how you can say they weren’t all in for 2012. Then after the season, they traded a top 100 shortstop prospect and Stubbs for one year of Choo. Another win now move.

        If you want to be critical of Walt for his lack of moves since the Choo trade, then I am with you. But to say the Reds didn’t fully commit to winning in 2012 and the off season before 2013 is just not true.

      • jessecuster44

        “If you want to be critical of Walt for his lack of moves since the Choo trade, then I am with you. But to say the Reds didn’t fully commit to winning in 2012 and the off season before 2013 is just not true.”

        I am criticizing Walt/Bob for the lack of moves since the Choo trade. They could have traded SOME not all prospects for a replacement bat for Luddy.

        I will forever be critical of Dusty Baker in games 3-5 of the 2012 playoffs.

      • ToddAlmighty

        Never said they haven’t been trying to win, TCT. I said they played just to be good enough rather than all in on a World Series.

        In 2012, Cozart hit .223/.262/.379 in 443 AB while leading off. A team that’s playing to win a world series doesn’t do that. You can say “there’s always a hole or two”, Crig, but that’s not the same as putting .262 OBP leading off for over 440 AB. Or getting your LF hurt in the first game of the season and never replace him, instead putting a .265/.312/.404 line batting fourth. Or having your first baseman out for ONE HUNDRED games and never replacing him, instead having 10 people trying to poorly fill the hole including people who’d never played the position in their life, or saying “We got Jack for that.” Standing pat and praying everyone stays healthy/gets better/has career years is not going all in.

        They’ve done a ton of things that’ve never been indicative of a team that is truly all in for a World Series.

      • jessecuster44

        “In your mind, what would “going all in” mean?”

        “All in” would mean trading prospects for a cost controlled, big bat in LF in April of 2013 after Ludwick blew apart his shoulder. I am most upset over the fact that that trade didn’t happen. Then not getting Byrd at the deadline? Ridiculous. Walt’s reasoning of not wanting to hurt Ludwick’s feeliings and disrupt chemistry? Utter hogwash and an insult to every Reds fan. There was a lack of offense, and they chose not to address it. “All in,” my big red heinie.

        They thought getting Choo was enough, which it might have been if Ludwick had stayed healthy. However, sometimes you have to change plans midseason and look outside the organization for help, which is something Walt/Bob have been terrible at doing.

        The Reds organization played to win from 2010-2014, but they didn’t play like they needed to win – they didn’t make countermoves. They wasted a golden opportunity of 4 excellent starters – one that just doesn’t come along very often. I often think of Mike Leake openly asking for help via trade in late July, and how that request was ignored.

        Could the Reds make the playoffs this year? Maybe. Is there salary relief now? Yes. Will Jesse Winker help the Reds in LF this year? Maybe in September, most likely not sooner than that. Do they still need to upgrade the offense after yesterday’s deals? Absolutely.

        I understand trading Latos and Simon, but I have a tough time digesting the wasted opportunity of 2010-2014, and still not having that LF bat. If the Reds need a LF bridge to 2016, they need to go get it now, before someone else acquires who they want.

        Walt and Bob did some good yesterday, but in no way does that repair the bad that they did before that. There’s still work to do, and they need to get cracking.

      • Michael E

        So you’re upset Walt and Bob aren’t perfect and clairvoyant? LOL. Find a GM and owner that are….good luck.

        The Royals were hardly “all-in” and they almost won it all. The Giants have won it all several times the past 6 years and were never “all in”. The factor that helped those teams? Health and luck. Really, that is all there is too it. They didn’t make any big-time deadline moves that got them there. Just had some good fortune at the right time is all. The Reds haven’t had much good luck when it was needed, in crunch times.

        If the Reds need ANYTHING, it is someone to light a fire under the comatose Phillips, Votto, Bruce and other vets that look like disinterested zombies in playoff games. A Hunter Pence foaming at the mouth would work wonders with the laid-back, effort-lacking Reds. A little luck would have turned us into the Royals a couple of times…or the Giants. We haven’t had it.

        We don’t need to be “all in” EVER. To do that, you sell your future soul and doom yourself to last place for several years. The trades Walt made yesterday are rebuilding/reloading on the fly, while remaining competitive. With a little good luck (we’re due) we can be the Giants or Royals in 2015.

        If they do go “all-in” I will be pissed off, especially if we trade most of our future prospects for one-year rentals. We can’t do that unless you don’t mind tuning out a last place team for 7 years waiting for the next “all in” season.

      • vegastypo

        My point was not that you had to go “all in” to the extent that you trade away every possible prospect for players to help you win now. … And yes, of course the Reds suffered bad luck when, for example, Ryan Ludwick decided to dive headfirst into third base on Opening Day a few years back….

        But to do nothing to try to improve left field when it did happen, that was ridiculous….. And amid a slew of injuries last year, to again sit idle, and even boast of having “Jack for that,” or whatever the quote actually was, was equally insulting to Reds’ fans. Unless of course, the Reds didn’t have the financial resources. But there had to be some relatively cheap options out there … I wasn’t asking for them to foresee the future, just view what had happened right before their eyes!

  9. Joe McManus

    If you don’t feel good about trading Latos, take a look at that fan graphs article. I was skeptical at first, but I’m feeling better about the moves. I just wonder what our rotation will look like next year? I’d love to see us sing Melky Cabrera to a 2 year deal, but I don’t know that he’d be so inclined to do that. I’m interested to see what our rotation looks like next year as well.

    • ToddAlmighty

      Eh, Steamer also thinks Mesoraco will go from .273/.359/.534 in 2014 to .246/.319/.441 in 2015. Frazier will lose .024 on his batting average and become barely above average defensively (0.6 DEF).. they also say Cueto will have a 3.30 ERA. You know, Johnny Cueto, 2nd place Cy Young in 2014, hasn’t had an ERA over 2.82 since 2010.

      I put almost zero stock in them.

      Fact is, Latos even banged up put up a 3.25 ERA. This was after putting up a 3.16 ERA in 2013. DeSclafani put up a 3.49 ERA in AAA which is fairly nice, but then put up a 6.27 ERA in the majors. He also only pitched 135 innings in 2014 between the minors and majors. It means he probably won’t pitch more than 160-170 innings in 2015. Actual production of the two aside, if Latos pitches a full season like he has from 2010-2013, it’ll be hard for DeSclafani to be more valuable by simple lack of innings.

      Silly article to compare a 6.27 ERA against a 3.25 ERA.

      • reaganspad

        I agree with what you posted Todd, but I will point to the fact that every young pitcher, Cueto, Chapman, Homer, Simon all went through a faze where they were not the pitcher they are today.

        Simon was picked up off the waiver wire. So maybe a certain pitching coach who is now manager (Price) knows how to get the best out of people. DeSclafani certainly has the arm.

        A little Price magic and he throws those 170 innings at 3.49, we will all be happy. Actually, if they can do this, we will be saying Mat who?

      • ToddAlmighty

        Sure, if that happens, but I don’t think it’s terribly likely. Not to mention, that’s not a terribly compelling argument.

        It took Chapman 5 years in the majors to get a 3rd pitch. It took Bailey 6 years in and out of the majors to get his ERA below 4.40. Simon wasn’t an effective starter until he turned 33 years old. It took Cueto 3 years in the majors to become good, 4 to become great.

        None of those exactly instill confidence that this kid will hop right in and make us forget about Latos’ production.

      • ToddAlmighty

        That said, I hope there’s some adjustment they think he could make to improve his game on a major league level, and stays healthy, and does great things as a Red. That’d be awfully nice.

      • tct

        It’s kinda silly to expect Latos to put up big numbers this year, though. He lost 2 mph on his fastball last year. His k rate went way down. He had multiple injuries, including elbow problems. He has talked about getting platelet injections this winter. Why are you acting like it’s a foregone conclusion that he’s gonna be a four win pitcher and put up 200 innings?

      • ToddAlmighty

        Because even hurt, even with a slower fastball, he was still a 3.25 ERA pitcher in a little over 100 innings?

      • tct

        Doesn’t matter what he was though, Todd. It matters what he will be next year. If his k rate and velocity don’t come back, then I don’t think there is anyway he puts up a low 3 ERA, unless he gets really lucky on batted balls. And it doesn’t matter at all what his ERA was last year if he is hurt and doesn’t pitch this year.

        Latos’ numbers indicate a downward trend, and when taken with his injury concerns make him a risky bet next year.

      • tct

        Todd, that 6+ ERA was in 30 some innings. That’s too small a sample to make any judgements. His underlying numbers looked good.

        As for steamer, it’s a formula based on years and years of data and research. But it’s still a formula and can’t tell the difference between a player struggling cause he was hurt instead of just struggling. It seems Cueto putting up a ridiculously low BABIP and thinks he is due for regression, instead of seeing that Cueto appears to have a skill for limiting hard contact. As for Meso, it sees two poor years followed by a great one. It doesn’t know the circumstances around those first two years, so it projects Meso to regress some, which honestly is probably what will happen. I think Meso will be good, but not as good as last year.

        But that doesn’t mean the projections are worthless. I believe they are meant to be like a 50th percentile prediction, meaning half the time the player will be better and half the time worse. Everyone scoffed last year at the projections having the Reds as an under 500 team.

      • Captain Hook

        (/scarcasm font) Hey, DeSclafani was 2-2 last year in the bigs. A .500 record for your 4th/5th starter ain’t bad.

      • Carl Sayre

        I think Mez’s numbers will have a lot to do with those around him.Votto and Bruce healthy and hitting like they have in healthy years. The chances are there will be runners on when Mez comes to the plate depending who we get for LF he may have some protection behind him in which case I think he matches last year. A 2014 version of Bruce or BP another year older hitting behind him and we could see a sizable drop off.

  10. Drew

    Friend of mine who is a Braves fan says he is hearing alot of a possible trade of the Reds sending Phillips to the Braves for BJ. I can’t see it as BJ makes about 7 million more over the next three years, but that would give us a left fielder…

    • ToddAlmighty

      Please please no. BJ Upton is awful. .198/.279/.314 hitter over the last two seasons (over 1,000 PA) while putting up -1.6 WAR. 30 years old, and is still owed $46m.

      It’d give the Reds a left fielder in only the most technical sense.

      Donald Lutz’s career in the majors he has hit .211/.239/.284, and isn’t owed $46m. If you’re going to just intentionally make a black hole in your roster, at least don’t pay ridiculous sums of money to do so.

      • Drew

        Maybe he just needs better coaching? His numbers in TB were not that bad and it’s only $7 million more then what we are paying Brandon over those same 3 years and we just cleared $17 million.

      • ToddAlmighty

        Except he’s been a negative WAR player the last two years. Even with BP’s strongly declining offense he still at least isn’t a negative WAR player.

        In 2012 in TB, Upton hit .246/.298/.454.. that’s not exactly inspiring.

        I’m 99.999% positive that “better coaching” doesn’t make a 30-year-old man suddenly go from being an Interstate Hitter, to being worth $46m over 3yr.

        The Reds would be paying BJ Upton (208/.287/.333 in 2014) a higher AAV than the Padres will be paying Matt Kemp (.287/.346/.506 in 2014).

      • jessecuster44

        Excuse me, did you just say that the Reds organization knows how to teach hitting? Ha ha ha.

      • Carl Sayre

        If the Reds had better coaching we wouldn’t have had a team batting average south of my wifes weight and she is a small gal. I like Melky Cabrera if we can get him down to 3 years. I like him best because he has some pop but an economical plan B could be Aoki not much pop but a great OBP and would be reasonably priced. He would be reasonable enough that we could keep him as the 4th outfielder if Winker is big league ready in 16 and Schumaker will be gone.

    • Chad Jones

      That’s not happening. We’d be adding more salary for a terrible player with a worse, if possible, attitude. That trade makes zero sense, hence, it will not happen.

  11. Steve Schoenbaechler

    And, the thing is, that’s what all good clubs do at some point in time, restock/rebuild/reload/etc. They are never standing still, but they are never just changing the entire lineup around.

    Before any of these moves, with what we had, we were looking at a platoon of Schumacher/Heisey, I believe, in LF, which I believe would still have been better than what we had out there in LF with Ludwick. But, with Heisey gone, I believe we will need someone to come in. Also, with 2 starting pitchers gone, but one right in the wings in Cingrani, we are going to need to find the 5th starter. That will probably come from who we have now, I believe. Which, as far as I am concerned, is about what a 5th starter should be coming from.

    So, I believe we will be able to fill the 5th starter position easily enough. The rotation won’t be as good as last season, but who could have figured Simon to be as good as he was. And, Latos didn’t contribute that much last season. Leake has another season of experience. If you ask me, as far as success with the starters go next season, the question mark is going to be Homer. Is he finally going to take his place as a #1/#2 guy and earn that contract he got? Or, is it going to be struggles and injuries again?

    The question mark for me is LF still. Again, before all of this, we may have been able to make a platoon. But, I don’t see a platoon now.

    What I’m wondering about is, only wondering, what will the Angels do about 2nd? I was just thinking, didn’t BP have a list of teams he would be traded to on his contract? Were the Angels on that list? If we were to able to get them BP, could we get one of their young starters here? And, then, what about maybe starting Suarez at 2nd?

    • JohnU

      Nori Aoki strikes out about .08 rate. I think he moves into the No. 2 hole real well, IMO, ahead of Votto and behind the Kid.

      • jessecuster44

        Aoki needs to hire you as his agent.

      • JohnU

        Aoki makes the Reds offense relevant.

      • Carl Sayre

        I like Aoki leading off and hitting BHam in the 7 or 8 hole leading off while learning to play at the major league level probably slowed him last year. That and his drop off second half especially near the end was just flat worn out IMO. The kid shows he is getting on base at a 320 clip then I like your thought real well.

  12. JohnU

    OTS … most bizarre signing today … Mark Reynolds to the Cardinals.

  13. George Mirones

    The “Cossack” and I know who the LF’er will be in 2015, Steve Selsky, Walt’s secret weapon. plus he can back up 1B.

    • Shchi Cossack

      A lot of good baseball evaluators and bloggers see much less in Selsky than the Old Cossack. I don’t think Selsky has a huge upside, but I do think he could be a very good utility OF/1B and injury filler at the major league level. But that brings us to the LF decision for 2015. The Reds need a RH thumper with good hitting skills or a RH top-of-the-lineup hitter for LF in 2015. Winker will be the starting LF in 2016. That’s as big of a lock as any minor league prospect. The cost of a RH thumper would be steep, either in dollars and/or prospects. Could Selsky play LF and effectively hit #2 in the lineup for one season at the major league level?

      2012 @ A/A+ (.317/.377/.515) SO%=20.0% BB%=6.8% ISO=.198
      …vs RHP (.313/.373/.525)
      …vs LHP (.328/.386/..489)
      2013 @ A+/AA (.274/.367/.440) SO%=20.0% BB%=9.5% ISO=.166
      …vs RHP (.249/.347/.430)
      …vs LHP (.339/.414/.466)
      2014 @ AA/AAA (.275/.389/.355) SO%=25.4% BB%=14.2% ISO=.080
      …vs RHP (.278/.382/.356)
      …vs LHP ( .268/.404/.354)

      Selsky’s lack of power and high SO% severely limit his upside and potential, but for one season, hitting #2, could Selsky fill a need at the major league level for the Reds? His success against both RHP & LHP is a plus and his BB% improvement to an elite level is a huge plus. If healthy, the Reds have the thumpers they need in the middle of the lineup (Votto, Mesoraco, Bruce, Frazier). What they need is someone to hit in the #2 hole and set the table. If Selsky provides one effective season hitting #2, he could then move to the utility OF/1B position on the roster and make way for Winker in 2016. Did anyone else hear that tapping? Could that be Steve Selsky knocking on the door?

  14. sultanofswaff

    The national media is sleeping on the Reds minor league system. We’ve consistently produced a position player or starting pitcher every year for nearly a decade now (where have the vaunted Cubs been?). In 2015 we’ll likely see Winker reach the majors and meaningfully contribute to the Reds for the next 6 years……possibly Yorman as well……..and don’t forget about Iglesias! In 2016, there’s a strong likelihood that Stephenson and/or Lorenzen plus others will be ready. Even with injury/nonperformance, we will have more pitching options than available spots.

    It’s not much of a stretch to say that we sort of needed to clear the decks for these younger, cost controlled players. Ideally, that would’ve been after 2015, but best practices says the time to trade Simon and Latos is now. I don’t feel this diminishes our chances to make the playoffs because the responsibility to do that largely rests with the offense.

    • JohnU

      If I could “like” this comment, I would.

    • al

      I don’t know, the Reds minor league system was very good for a while, when we brought up Votto, Bruce, Frazier, Mesoraco, Cueto, etc. But that’s been a few years back now. Last year Hamilton was decent, but all of his value was in defense, he was basically terrible at the plate.

      In 2013 we got basically no contributions from the minor leagues whatsoever. So over the last two years, we really haven’t gotten much help from the minors. That’s not good for a small to mid-market team.

      Now we do have some decent looking prospects coming up, but Winker has only played 21 games at AA and put up a .677 OPS. I think it’s too early to say that he’s going to be making significant contributions at the big-league level this year. Could he? Sure. But more likely he’ll play most of the year at AA, and potentially get promoted to AAA. Maybe a September call up if the circumstances are right, and certainly a good look in spring training of 2016.

      Yorman Rodriguez repeated AA last year and put up a .720 OPS with 9 HRs. He will most certainly start at AAA this year, and he’s really never shown that much in the minors. He could very will be the next Chris Heisey, which is a nice piece to have, but no one should be counting on him to be part of the core of the Reds position players going forward.

      Now that we’ve traded for two prospects that are major league ready, we should get some contributions from rookies this year, but as far as talent that we drafted, I think 2016 is more realistic. Which will mean that there was 3 year run where the only thing we got from the farm system was a defensive specialist in CF.

      That’s why the national media doesn’t like the Reds farm system very much.

      • ToddAlmighty

        Very solid post, Al. I don’t think people realize how much of the Reds success during the 2010+ window was from the previous GMs. I know I made a post on this before Jocketty got signed to his patented 2 year deal, but it was something like… players that Jocketty brought into the organization had something like 6-ish WAR, and players that Jocketty had nothing to do with bringing into the organization had like 26-ish WAR in 2014.

        He’s contributed amazingly little that’s positive if you look at the major league roster from last year and see who he brought to the Reds and who he didn’t.

      • al

        I agree. Jocketty’s drafts haven’t been terrible, but he’s drafted a lot of high school talent, and he’s traded a lot of his top picks. The result being that the system just hasn’t produced much over the last few years, and the guys that came up before that were drafted by previous GMs.

        Jocketty has done better in trades, brining in Latos, Choo, Marshall, and Rolen, who were all very solid contributors.

        If that was all he’d done, trades and drafts, I think I’d be OK with him as GM. Not thrilled, but OK. His biggest problem though has been the free agent deals (like Ludwick, Parra, Schumaker etc) and the extensions (Bailey, Marshall, Ondrusek, Broxton, etc).

        He clearly just doesn’t understand who is a good bet to give money to.

      • reaganspad

        I really miss Wayne.

        But I will give Walt credit on Simon, that is nowhere near Hamilton and Phillips, and going out to get a Jonny Gomes and Lance Nix when you needed a LFer.

        Walt loves him some pitching

      • JuniorGriffey'sRecliner

        Batting .250 in 2014 is by no stretch “basically terrible at the plate”. Hamilton’s OBP wasn’t very good, but he wasn’t terrible.

      • charlottencredsfan

        To be objective, BHam for 3 months of the season was really, really good: .303/.335/.449, wRC+ = 117. April 15 to the ASB. The first two weeks of the season, and after the ASB, he was just plain horrible; no need to sugar coat it.

        The problems are easy to see: open stance and moving around in the batter box before the pitch is delivered. It made him off balance, slow to the ball, and near zero pop.. Fortunately these things are simple, if not easy, to correct. The kid has all the tools but history is littered with guys that had the same and never panned out. If Billy can be the “good” Billy, the Reds have a tiger by the tail. I’m looking forward to seeing which Billy Hamilton shows up in 2015 – it is critical to the team’s success. He is fun to watch, hard working, and loves the game. How can you not pull for a guy like that?

      • ToddAlmighty

        His OPS+ was 83. So he was 17% worse than the average player. Plus led MLB in caught stealing. Plus was hands down the worst leadoff hitter in MLB.

        He’s exciting, but really wasn’t very good. His ISO was .105.. which is enough to say Turrible. His OBP was below .300, his 5.6% BB is bad, his 19.1% K isn’t good.

        Totally could turn it around in year two and be something special, but as it stands right now, without his great range in CF, he wouldn’t be a good starter at all. Needs to increase the walks and power, while decreasing the strikeouts and caught stealing.

        At the very least, his first major league offseason should help with the power a little, put some muscle on that 6’0, 160lb frame.

    • ToddAlmighty

      Most of that was pre-Jocketty drafting as far as people coming up from the minors for the last decade. As far as actual Jocketty-drafted folk who have contributed in the majors go, it’s pretty much Leake, Cingrani, Hamilton. Done.

      • earmbrister

        Not quite done. Leake, Cingrani, Hamilton, Barnhart, Grandal, Boxberger, Alonso,

        The last 3 were traded to land MLB talent. They all have contributed in the majors.

        Other WJ draftees that were flipped in trades include Stewart, Sappelt, Puckett, Joseph, Sulbaran, and Fellhauer,

        The drafting has been fine. Most draftees in MLB never sniff the big leagues.

      • al

        I definitely agree Michael, I think we are in the process of catching up. I think starting in 2016, the Reds farm should start producing major league talent again, and hopefully this time they can sustain it. I think 2015 is just a year too early to think that that’s going to happen.

        When we look back, the gap between 2012 (when Frazier, Mez, and Cozart were rookies) to 2016 (when hopefully we get Winker and some pitchers up) will seem like a pretty bleak time for the Reds minor leagues.

      • ToddAlmighty

        No coincidence that Frazier, Mez, and Cozart were all drafted before Walt.

      • tct

        Man, Todd, you keep making me defend Walt. There are plenty of things to be critical of him for, but some of the things you are putting on him aren’t his fault.

        As for the draft, Walt doesn’t make the picks. He’s got enough to worry about without trying to keep up with the hundreds of high school and college prospects each year. Plus, he’s not a scout. Chris Buckley, and the rest of the scouting department, handle the draft. He was here before Walt, and was responsible for the 2007 draft that got Mesoraco, Frazier, Cozart, and Soto. The 2012 draft may go down as a good one too, with Winker, Travieso, Romano, and Garett. All those guys were high school guys, so you won’t see an immediate return. But overall, I think Buckley has done a good job. But he is the one who deserves the criticism or praise for the drafts.

      • tct

        Oops, got my drafts mixed up. 2011 brought Stephenson, Cingrani, Romano, and Garett. 2012 was Winker, Travieso, SMB. Also 2009 was Leake, Hamilton, Boxberger, and Barnhart. 2007, 09, and 11 really stand out. 08 and 10 were clunkers, but they did get the Reds Alonso and Grandal to use as trade chips.

      • ToddAlmighty

        I think one of my biggest problems with the Reds minor league system is that it’s almost all OF and SP, and all the OF is still in AA or lower. It’s why the Reds went 100 games without an actual first baseman in 2014 when Votto was out (unacceptable). Or why LF and RF were such black holes in 2014. They’d pretty much have the same problem if they lost Frazier, BP, Cozart, or Mesoraco for 100 games. There’s no depth to the organization. Their backups are mostly whatever bad former-Cardinal Walt has signed to a 2 year deal because of this.

        There’s some sparkly OF prospects, but most of them will likely be starting in AA or lower in 2015. Starting pitching is pretty much the only thing I really have any confidence that the Reds farm can provide good replacements for if injuries happen.

      • JohnU

        Just to be argumentative for the fun of it, I don’t know how many farm systems can take a hit like the Reds took at some of the peculiar times that it did. It just seemed that the minute the train got rolling, a wheel fell off. Price was forced to play “pull a lineup out of a hat” …
        No point rehashing all that … I just don’t know how much MLB-ready bench a team can have and I don’t know for sure how many teams can take the kind of weird hits the Reds took last year in a season that IMO was lost the day Chapman got hit in the face.
        Trying to make Pena the centerpiece of a batting order for most of a month is, at best, a Shakespearean comedy.
        Truthfully, the Reds backup first baseman was Yonder Alonso. They never tried to fix that after he left, mainly because in 2013, Votto played 162 games.

      • jessecuster44

        Agree 100% on the “weird hits.” The Reds will probably go a decade without having to deal with so many injuries at the same time. The Reds played chicken at 1B with Votto’s only backup – Jack Hannahan – being hurt himself. And not bringing up Soto and sticking him at first for at least week? Confounding.

        And if Pena was a Shakesperian comedy at the center of the lineup, then Jay Bruce at first was right out of a Mel Brooks film.

  15. ohiojimw

    I’ve seen a fair amount of mention of Cingrani as though he is a given for the rotation. I believe his status needs to be viewed with extreme skepticism until he proves differently on the field of play.

    Some 6 weeks ago the Enquirer reported Cingrani had not thrown a baseball (even on flat ground let alone a pitcher’s mound) since he went down to AAA and in short order thereafter to the the DL with shoulder issues back in May/July. The feeling was that hopefully he would be ready to start throwing off a mound by spring training. In the same article, Bryan Price opined that the experience with Cingrani the last two years tended to make him believe Cingrani was best suited to a reliever role.

    Fast forward to 6 days or so ago and there was the same Bryan Price talking Cingrani as a starter, obviously picking up the latest company line based on the planned moves we saw Thursday. However even in in those remarks he hedged his bets a bit that Cingrani’s ultimate role could well be out of the pen.

    • JohnU

      Shoulders are usually the best way to end up pitching in the indy leagues.

      • ohiojimw

        Yep. All involved said Braxton Miller’s shoulder was progressing just fine; then he actually tried to throw a football. Let’s hope the Reds have a JT Barrett or Cardale Jones or several of both waiting in the wings for their chance on the big stage.

      • lwblogger2

        Apparently, it was throwing a football that helped contribute to elbow tendonitis that plagued me for a whole season while playing in the USAF. If you’re a baseball player, don’t throw footballs.

  16. unc reds fan

    The reds were never going to get what they really needed this year anyway and no matter how we looked at it this season was always banking on the healthy return of certain players and whatever rental they got for LF (I realized after the Stanton deal that Yelich was never a realistic option and he was the only option I would’ve found palatable)…As Steve has mentioned numerous times, pitching is relevant and even a mediocre pitcher can look better with quality defense, so trading a couple of guys who probably weren’t coming back after this year for anything considering who they were was favorable to watching them walk and hoping the draft picks garnered were chosen wisely and correctly. Rebuild the farm, save some money, do the best we can and if that’s another losing season, so be it, we are reds fans, after the Griffey years we should be calloused to it, and if it does make us better for the future, then I believe this falls under whatever doesn’t kill ya only makes ya stronger

    • JohnU

      That’s fairly respectable realism for a team that has shown it can get to the water, just doesn’t have a cup.
      All the jockeying for personnel is interesting and fun to evaluate but we know three things have to happen this year — Hamilton has to get to first base, Votto has to be in the lineup and Bruce has to learn to adapt to the supershift.
      The fourth — but automatic — thing is that our pitching has to keep the ball inside the park.
      Lineup churn to get some early runs, and not go squandering them on deadeye throws to home plate by cutoff men.
      I suppose it isn’t as much fun to discuss the games since they haven’t happened yet, but most of the fixes — short or long-term — that make this team a contender are the product of playing better baseball. Hell, I’d take Ryan Ludwick in left field if the guy could hit.

      • jessecuster44

        Bruce has openly stated that he won’t be bunting more, and that he doesn’t believe that the supershift hurts his batting. It’s funny how first Chappy and now Bruce seem to be stubbornly refusing to do something that might help the team.

        Not sure what amount of trades would cure a stubborn “me first” attitude in the clubhouse, if there is one.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Is this recent? Do you have a link if it is?

      • jessecuster44

        It was from an interview at Redsfest. I’ll hunt for the link.

      • lwblogger2

        I don’t want Bruce bunting. I don’t want Bruce adjusting his hitting style to emphasize going the other way. It would be nice if he could do it from time to time when the Reds really need a baserunner late, but overall, I want Bruce hitting like he did in 2013. They shifted on him then and he still was a good hitter. Mostly, he needs to be healthy and needs to get out of some bad habits that hurt his hitting last season. The shift didn’t really rob him of a ton of hits and certainly didn’t rob him of the 10-13 more HR he generally hits in a given season.

      • charlottencredsfan

        LW – He hit “a lot” more ropes to left and left-center in 2013. Have a look at his spray charts of 2013 versus 2014, it’s enlightening. I don’t want him to change his general approach but with 2-strikes and ducks on the pond, I very much want him to use the whole field.

  17. Dale Pearl

    I tried to open baseball americas ranking but I guess it is only for the paying?? Bleacher report had ours at 17th on august and we have only become stronger since then. I think that the Reds are somewhere near the middle upper middle of the pack but certainly not in the top ten, at least not yet.

    • tct

      That 26 ranking is from October of last year and is based on a formula that awards points for having players in their top prospect by league lists. But talent is not spread out evenly between the different leagues. A player might be the best prospect in one league, but only the fifth best on another. Most prospect people had the Reds system in the 16-20 range before the season. I would think they will probably be in the 10-15 range now, but I’m not an expert.

      • JohnU

        I’d settle for the 30th best farm system if it yielded Joey Votto and the 89 dwarfs.

      • tct

        Votto and eight dwarves would probably set the major league record for walks. Pitching and defense would be a problem though.

  18. ohiojimw

    Does anyone else think it is ironic that in moving the salary they needed to clear to go after “the player they needed”, the Reds help facilitate the trade to somebody else of the guy who most obviously fit the profile of “the player they needed”, that being Cespedes.

    The scenario as I read it was that the Tigers approached the Reds “hard” wanting Simon and offering what appeared to be a more than fair deal to the Reds. The Reds of course took it, saving them around ~$5M. The Tigers then turned and immediately contacted the RSox offering Porcello for Cespedes. The Tigers were later quoted as saying that landing Simon was key to them being able to trade Porcello for Cespedes.

    Is it that much of a stretch to fantasize that even as the Porcello/ Cespedes was being finalized that WJ was getting word from his bean counters that he was now in a position to trade $10M in obligations (Latos) for a different $10M in obligations (Cespedes) and trying to raise the RSox on the phone to offer Latos for Cespedes???

    • CP

      I don’t think the deals operate in a vacuum like that anymore (I’d be shocked if the teams aren’t checking in constantly with each other through texting, email, instant messaging, or some other electronic means), but I don’t think they ever truly wanted Cespedes. They probably could have went and got him for Latos or Leake, then offloaded salary somewhere else, but they didn’t. I think they simply preferred the prospects.

      • JohnU

        In some universe, Cespedes is a perfect guy for this team and its ballpark. If some of the other issues were addressed, I think Cincy might have tried to pluck him. No different from guys like Ron Gant or Kevin Mitchell … though they go back to another era. Still, a big warclub … it’s perfect for Redsland.
        This team just doesn’t generate enough small-ball offense to be able to stash another big swish in the lineup.

      • ManuelT

        VERY different from Kevin Mitchell, who was an elite hitter- average, power, on-base, everything.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Accept he couldn’t catch the ball or run but you’re right that guy could flat hit.

      • ohiojimw

        I think someone batting behind Frazier and Votto is going to have plenty of ducks on the pond, or else this team is even worse off than the naysayers you (pretty rightfully IMO) get after think it is.

      • lwblogger2

        Gant was a very rare Jim Bowden coup. After his severely broken leg, the Reds got him for about nothing. What a great pickup.

        Mitchell could flat out rake. The guy could fall out of bed, swing a bat, and hit one to the gap.

    • Michael E

      Cespedes is an arrogant, chemistry crushing player, that only excels in the Home Run Derby. He is a solid, but inconsistent hitter and fielder. He would not be a perfect solution and might have forced the Reds to trade him in June after half the team is ready to beat the crap out of him. He is Puig without the top end talent.

    • reaganspad

      I think we did better on Simon than getting Cespedes for a year with no QO opportunity.

      Cespedes looks interesting but his numbers are declining, he is going to a new league (NL) and may be even worse than 2014, even factoring in GABP.

      I like these trades. both of them. Interesting to see what we can do from here. We have a lot more pieces to go get Byrd from Philly for instance

      • JohnU

        Is it possible, however, that the so-called “glut” of pitching hurt the Reds in this deal? In some other years, I think Mat Latos should get 3 players back, not two. Dunno … unless he’s still a minute or two from truly being real healthy again, and the Fish know that.

  19. Dale Pearl

    I can’t believe the number of haters after the trades. You guys have been complaining for action all winter and then bam!!!! We get two good trades that make us better than what we were before and most of you guys continue to whine about it. I was a bigtime complainer before the trade but seeing some form of vision gives me some hope for 2015 and beyond. 4 picked up for quality young guys 2 of which can play next year and 2 that can definitely benefit us 2016 and beyond. Wallach could very easily switch to another position if his suckage at Catcher doesn’t improve. We could always use a backup for Grandpa Votto.

    Latos was never going to be the same player he was and consider how much of a difference our A+ defense aided his stats. We got a guy who throws harder and is younger. Price can work his magic to make him a front of the rotation kind of a guy. Hopefully Suarez cuts Cozart playing time in exactly half and then 2016 we kick Coz to the curb.

    We got better and in mind we now have salary available to leverage in picking up a left fielder.

    We keep Cueto and Leake going into 2015. If we enter suckville We dump Cueto to the team that is willing to unload their farm system in order to win now. Leake we hold onto and make a qualifying offer, if he refuses when we get a compensation pick. 2016 rotation will be babes but hopefully we will have Bailey stronger than before to anchor it down.

    • charlottencredsfan

      If Cueto gets hurt before that trade, this team takes a hit that would be very hard to overcome. Just devastating in my mind – setsbackville- a titanic disaster. With you, I like both trades and the general direction the team tends to be going in. Fingers crossed this continues.

      Another thing I have been thinking about. Every trade rumor we hear involving the Reds seems to involve the words, “the Reds were approached”. Come on Walt be the hunter not the hunted for a change. Try to work something out for that stud Astros prospect Carlos Correa. Yankess have to get in the action at some point and JC in the Big Apple would be something to see, hey could be the third party team.

      Whatever we do, do not let Johnny Cueto go to Sunrise with the Reds for ST. Me telling a bunch a people, “I told you so” is no reward.

      • Dale Pearl

        I am thinking that Jocketty is either a cold faced liar about potential trades, he doesn’t know how to negotiate, or teams simply don’t like to deal with him. The teams. That we didn’t make deals with is a story that we would all love to hear about.

      • charlottencredsfan

        As bad as it would hurt to lose Johnny Cueto, to lose him for a prospect of Correa’s standing world ease that pain. I’m not a big critic of Walt’s but it would be nice to see the Reds really go for a special player – even if the effort failed.

      • Dale Pearl

        Interesting that both trades were initiated by the other teams so yeah I,would like to see the Reds now either go after a solid Left Fielder or get aggressive in trading Cueto.

      • charlottencredsfan

        I’m off the LF trade because of Winker. Correa is a SS. I’m looking for a very high end middle infield prospect. Of course I think the handwriting is on the wall for 2015 and the Reds don’t figure in post-season play. So I ask myself: what is more probable: Reds going very deep in the playoffs or Johnny getting hurt? I think that is the big question when it comes to JC’s disposition.

      • jessecuster44

        Why would the Astros ever trade Correa? And who do the Yankees have that we would want? I would be nice to see Walt take the lead. Maybe he thought that teams would be knocking on his door because of the pitching surplus.

        Lost in all of this truly fascinating discussion (it’s awesome) is the fact that prospects are prospects, and 60% of them don’t pan out. I would hate to trade JC for prospects. I want to see talent that can step onto the field and contribute right away.

      • charlottencredsfan

        I’m thinking the Yankees may have what the Astros want, not the Reds. Can’t believe the Bombers won’t do something big before all is said and done. All this is speculation and conjecture.

        Just like to see the Reds be the aggressor for a change. Maybe they have and we just don’t hear about it. I’d take the chance on the Correa kid. Either way we will have to take calculated risks. I really like they went after Wallach, it showed risk taking. Out of the four, it looks like this kid may shock us.

    • jessecuster44

      They were good trades. I am upset at Latos being gone, but you have to trade someone, and it wasn’t going to be Cueto.

      I expected an ML ready bat from the Latos deal, and was disappointed about that. They need to get that LF soon, before they run out of dance partners.

      • JohnU

        I don’t know that all the left fielders are accounted for. There are a few out there who just don’t get discussed because they aren’t … well, being discussed. A few who won’t raise a brow but night be on a list ,.. Jose Tabata, Logan Morrison, David Peralta, David DeJesus … these guys are all basically retreads or so-so talent but they are still real live players and can be part of a trade. What kind of trade? Use your imagination.
        I think what we all are looking for is some kind of instant reward on the LF situation.
        And well we should after watching this franchise for most of SEVEN years trying to replace Adam Dunn in the one defensive spot that is best defended by a bat,
        But I only mention these guys because it throws people into the conversation who very well COULD be in the conversations between the GMs.
        What I don’t want again, and neither does anybody else, is another cluster of platoon players in LF. I have always abhorred the platoon system and I’ve learned to hate it even more with the last Reds regime and the apparent apprentice approach from Price, who didn’t have a choice.

      • tct

        The reds haven’t went with a platoon in years. A few backups splitting time until one gets hot, or one gets too bad to play, is not a platoon. They used a Nix/Gomes platoon for a while in 09/10, but it went out the window when Nix got hurt and Gomes got hot. Baker was then convinced that Gomes was an everyday player.

      • ohiojimw

        TCT you are so right about the Reds not having a platoon for years. It used to amaze me all the folks who would call for using Heisey, a RH batter who couldn’t hit LH pitching a lick, as part of “platoon” with the Reds LH bat de jour being given time in LF. That’s not a platoon, it is trying to pick the hot horse and ride him till he isn’t hot.

  20. Dale Pearl

    I still consider ichiro the best candidate out there that would gladly take a one year contract. All he needs to do is bat in front of Votto and take walks.

    • JohnU

      Reds could lay claim to a unique statistic that will probably never be duplicated — having two guys on their historical roster with 4,000 hits.

    • ohiojimw

      At this point is there any functional difference between Ichiro and Aoki? Ichiro would probably create more marketing excitement and put a few more fannies in seats because of his legacy; but, on the baseball side what is to choose between now?

      • Dale Pearl

        Aoki will have several sutors and will want more than one year. Ichiro is on his swan song and knows he is going to be year to year for the rest of his playing career, and not that many needs are willing to sign a player over 40. Reds just need one year more or less. They could even platoon Ichiro with one of your rookies that is on the 40 man already and see if he can impart some wisdom. Ichiro could also be a fantastic influence on Billy Hamilton.

  21. Redsman

    Well John, I’m with you on your ‘cluster’ of LF names. Those guys or someone like them is probably who we will end up with. LoMo is the most interesting of them. He had something of a resurgence last year with the Mariners and probably would benefit from a return to the NL. Not sure what it might take to pry him away from the M’s, but now they have Cruz and a few other options minus Michael Saunders…who knows.
    If Wally waits a little longer we eventually won’t have much of a choice. Braves get Markakis, we get BJ?
    Wally couldn’t possibly be interested in him, could he? Considering his salary probably not.

    But the carousel in left is reallllly getting old. Just get us a REAL option out there. Not another retread like Ludwick, Bourgeois, Taveras etc. And please, please, please don’t try sticking Negron at 3rd and putting Frazier in left. There’s nothing in his minors numbers to suggest that his little display of power is anything other than an unsustainable abberation.

    On the flip side, there are a couple good articles at fangrapghs re: our Redlegs, one of them suggesting the moves Wally made are pretty good and that the Reds may still be able to contend this year. (How the Reds quietly won at the winter meetings) We shall see.

    • JohnU

      I am sort of being “raked” in earlier comments about my definition of ‘platoon’ … which is a word that most of the scribes use. I agree that the word implies something of a designed strategy, which isn’t what Baker and Price have done. The problem is that the number of guys we’ve shoved out there now exceeds 10 since Dunn left.

  22. sezwhom

    I’d have to agree “well done” is a bit premature. After a couple years, we may not want to have any of these guys. I have no problem with the Simon deal but think we could have done better with Latos. Waiting to see what other deals fill out the roster.

  23. Redsman

    Concur, sez. In fact, ideally we would throw caution to the wind and run the wink out there, assuming his performance in the spring warrants. I think Doug Gray introduced this thought on another thread. However, I believe no matter what he does in the spring, the brass will say he needs more minor league ab’s and off he goes to Louisville.

    To my way of thinking, Ichiro is DONE! BUT…he would definitely be a good clubhouse influence, ala Scott Rolen et al. How much does that enter into the thought process of constructing a contender? Some think it is highly important, others disagree. Personally, I think chemistry/focus IS important and has lacked in the Reds clubhouse for at least the last two seasons. It may be the difference between guys like BP and JB returning early from injuries and guys like Marshall & Votto lingering on the DL.

    I’m sure all these intangibles and more have been crowding Wally’s thoughts. I certainly hope it does not ultimately come down to the bottom line…MONEY, but it likely will be the dominant factor. We shall see how it shakes out. I’m sure we all are anxiously awaiting the next shoe to fall.

  24. Shchi Cossack

    The Old Cossack needed some time to digest the events of the past week and review the thoughts of those with much more baseball savy than the Old Cossack. I’m not sure the tally for this weeks events will be settled for a year or two, but right now this looks like a good week for the Reds.

    I believe the health issues for Latos may be more significant than Reds’ fans anticipated. I hope I’m wrong, but i believe Latos may be headed for the 60-day DL and possible surgery in 2015. That would be enormously bad timing for Latos and his career. I do know, the Reds added 2 top 10 prospects (DeSciafani @ #5 & Crawford @ #6 per That makes for some pretty serious looking prospects stacked up in the Reds’ farm system heading into 2015.

    The Reds starting staff for 2015 looks to be headed by Cueto, Bailey and Leake (possible additional moves caveat is in play). That’s a solid top 3 starting pitchers in the rotation. Maybe not elite any more, but very solid. The Reds have options for the 4th and 5th starters with options available for starting pitching depth if needed. That’s a better formula for success than an elite starting 5 with no options available if any of the 5 go down.

    Last season, the Reds backed themselves into a corner and punted by promoting Hamilton to start in CF before he was major-league ready. Hamilton played stellar defense in CF, but fully demonstrated his lack of development offensively. The Reds lost a year of player control and Hamilton lost a year of seriously needed development. I really hope the Reds don’t let history repeat by promoting Winker a year too early to start in LF for 2015. I’m a big Hamilton fan and a huge Winker fan, but bad short-term decisions have worse long-term impact. Let Winker shred AAA pitching and finish his development for the bulk of 2015 before even contemplating starting his major league service clock.

    • Dale Pearl

      What does that say a out the Reds if Hamilton was not MLB ready he,was second on the team in batting,average and by far our our best offensive and defensive tool from the oufield? He was also a very close runner up to rookie of the year. Sure he has a ton of maturation as a hitter to go through, probably shouldnt be lead off but he is major league ready as compard by the other players wearing Red uniforms.

      • Shchi Cossack

        Dale, I’m not sure what point you are trying to make. Everyone agrees that the Reds offense last season was terrible and the team was decimated with injuries. The fact that Hamilton played on a bad offensive team, decimated by injuries, did not make Hamilton a better player. Holding up his 2nd highest Ba on the team among players with qualifying PA also doesn’t make him a good offensive player. By that measure, Hamilton was 7th of 8 NL CF in BA and 21st of 26 NL OF in BA. That is neither good nor effective. Bringing up Hamilton too early cost him a much needed year of development and did nothing for the Reds except cost them a year of team control if Hamilton does develop as an offensive force. I don’t want the Reds to make the same mistake with Winker because WJ simply doesn’t come up with any other alternative for LF.

      • JohnU

        However, the decision to use Hamilton was predicated on the reality that the alternative in CF was Chris Heisey and we still didn’t have anybody worth a tinker’s nickel in left field. I don’t know for sure which point **I** am trying to make other than, the risk that Hamilton would be good enough was probably a gamble I was OK with them making. I really think we worry too much about “team control” as if on the 30th of September, and a team is in first or fourth place, that the fans are interested in that.
        We are interested in that on these forums because it makes us look smart,.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Great points. I will also add the year of experience in MLB was far more valuable of another half or full season at AAA. For nearly the whole of the pre-ASB, Billy played at a very high level. He didn’t need to be in minors.

        I respect Cossack because he has held this position throughout

      • Steve Mancuso

        As a hitter, Billy Hamilton had one month at a “very high level” — June. On May 31, he was hitting .251 with an OBP of .290. From July 1 to the end of the season, he hit .220 with an OBP of .273. He had one month with a batting average over .260. His defensive range was elite all year, but it’s wrong to say he hit at a very high level before the ASB. Just one month. I wasn’t for sending him to the minors, because he needed the major league AB and the Reds didn’t have a great replacement. I just wanted Price to bat him lower in the lineup.

      • Shchi Cossack

        Charlotte, some people just call that stubborness and a crotchety Old Cossack. I hear that a lot from Mrs. Cossack.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Steve, let’s use wRC+ as are evaluation tool. If I can only use a single stat for offense, it’s the one I go to: By half-months:

        3/31-4/14: 2
        4/15 – 4/30: 122
        5/1 – 5/15: 264
        5/16 – 5/30: 52
        6/1 – 6/15: 108
        6/16 – 6/30: 149
        7/1 – 7/13 : 147 (ASB)
        7/18 – 7/30: 10
        8/1 – 8/15: 39
        8/16 – Aug 31: 90
        9/1 – 9/15: 24
        9/16 – 9/30: -21

        I will contend again, that from mid-April to ASB he played at a very high level, especially when you consider his D and baserunning. Some might say “elite:” baseball.

        The difference? Easy, “good” Billy is square stance Billy, “bad” Billy is open stance Billy. I have went back and probably seen everyone of his ABs at least twice. Maybe this is all coincidental, I’ll let you be the judge but it is certainly there. The more open the stance, the worst the hitter.

        The first part of my career I spent a great deal of my time troubleshooting large industrial control systems (automation). I love to know why things work or don’t work from a mechanical, electrical, and controls point of view esppecially as all three integrated as a whole. I challenge anyone here to tale the time to review my Billy theory and tell me where I went wrong. I really appreciate peer review.

        Crazy I know but I’m a different kind of baseball fan. Also, taught inner city Little League hitting for 12 years and instructing kids (9-12), who many don’t know if they are right or left handed, how use the top hand or bottom hand to hit a ball, is an eye opener. Thanks for hearing me out.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Did your experience troubleshooting large industrial control systems warn you about people distorting claims with statistics using small sample sizes? 🙂 Seriously, you can’t break the numbers down into such small pieces because it undercuts the reliability. Like I said before, on May 31 he was hitting .251/.290. Not elite.

        You said “the whole pre-ASB period” that Hamilton played at a “very high level” when in fact he did that for one month and a few other good games. No one besides you would describe Hamilton’s game as elite other than during a few weeks in June.

        The 5/1-5/15 period is the only one that makes your “very high level” case outside of June. Problem is, Billy didn’t play much during that period. Started only 4 games. 21 plate appearances, 6 hits. That’s the danger of using such tiny time periods. (When I sort those games at FanGraphs it says wRC+ was 177, not 264.)

  25. jnewm777

    I’m encouraged by these two trades, not because I’m glad to see Latos and Simon go, but because it seems to be the first sign in a long time that management and more importantly ownership recognizes that the current structure of the roster was such that that there was no way they could compete at a high level going forward. The Reds don’t have the resources to play the big money game and their best hope is to develop from the bottom up. That is the way they became good in the first place. They drafted and developed their own guys (Cueto, Bruce, Votto, Frazier, Bailey, Leake, etc). Guys that became really good players and at the same time were affordable because they were under team control from the start. Where they went off the track is when they started offering huge multi-year extensions and trading away good, young players for one year fixes. The guys that got back were usually good players too, but they were also guys staring at free agency. This resulted in either losing the player (Choo) or ill-advised, multiple year extensions that took away the flexibility to improve the team. In some cases (Broxton) they’ve been bailed out by the stupidity of other organizations to take on bad contracts, but in others (Marshall) they negotiated against themselves and gave horrible deals that they’re still living with.This doesn’t even take into account the Votto and Phillips extensions, that were well meaning and made the fans feel good, but did not make business sense. I hate the Pittsburgh Steelers, but one reason they’ve been good for so long is that they focused on drafting and developing talent and created a pipeline where they were willing able to let popular players walk when they were no longer affordable. It appears the Reds ownership is finally accepting this reality and is giving their baseball people the flexibility change course. This probably won’t pay off in 2015, but if they stay the course, they will be a much better team in the long run.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Not one single thing wrong with this post. Nice job. Build the foundation and only then compliment with high dollar player(s). If, even then.

      Best case: the Reds are operated like the A’s & Rays but with an owner that is able to spend 2X the money. That should be a good recipe for long-term success.