It’s rare when you’re anxious in a good way for the next shoe to drop.

The Reds front office has assured fans that the trades of Mat Latos, Alfredo Simon and Chris Heisey were just the first move in a two-step solution to the Reds problems this offseason. Presumably, that next shoe will be worn by the team’s new left fielder.

Those concerned that the trades signaled financial retrenchment by CEO Bob Castellini, received a bit of assurance (C Trent Rosecrans) from general manager Walt Jocketty yesterday, who indicated the team’s payroll will continue to increase in 2015. “Our payroll has increased every year, despite what some people are writing or thinking, our payroll is increasing again this year,” Jocketty said. “It’s not increasing to the level it would need to have been able to keep the guys we traded. It’s still increasing quite a bit over last year, but everyone’s salaries are jumping up. We knew that going into last year.”

That’s consistent with what we’ve projected since September (The Almighty Dollar, The Reds Payroll Situation, Keep Your Eye on the Payroll). The Reds’ payroll in 2014 was $114 million. Structural increases triggered by contracts and arbitration status would have driven total payroll well north of $130 million, without adding a single player. Castellini gave Jocketty a magic number greater than $114 million but less than $135 million. The guess here is $125 million when all is said and spent, another generous increase. $130 million wouldn’t be surprising, if the right player is available.

Step One was eliminating current obligations. Scratch Latos ($8.4 million), Simon ($5.1 million) Logan Ondrusek ($2.3 million) and Heisey ($2.2 million).

Step Two is acquiring a left fielder who can have a positive impact on the Reds offense.

That’s the part requiring patience. Every day, other teams are finding solutions in the outfield, through trade or free agent signings. Yesterday, the Padres tapped into Tampa Bay’s surplus of outfielders by trading for Wil Myers, AL Rookie of the Year in 2013. The list of OF who have already found new teams is long: Melky Cabrera (White Sox), Nick Markakis (Braves), Yeonis Cespedes (Tigers), Jason Heyward (Cardinals), Matt Kemp (Padres), Michael Morse (Marlins), Alex Rios (Royals), Matt Joyce (Angels), Yasmany Thomas (Diamondbacks), Nelson Cruz (Mariners), Michael Cuddyer (Mets) Torii Hunter (Twins), Justin Ruggiano (Mariners) and Kyle Blanks (Rangers).

The cream of the free agent market for OF has dwindled to Nori Aoki (questionable defense, no power, terrible base-runner) and Colby Rasmus (sub .300 OBP). Trade candidates are out there. Commonly mentioned are Justin Upton and Dexter Fowler.

Speculation appeared yesterday that the Padres will look to move an OF or two. They have Cameron Maybin, Carlos Quentin, Will Venable and Seth Smith to add to their newly minted corners Myers and Kemp. Quentin comes with a one-year $11 million price tag and an über-fragile body. Maybin and Venable wouldn’t help the Reds offense. That leaves Seth Smith.

Smith (32) has two years left on an easy-to-handle contract. He’s owed a total of $13 million for 2015 and 2016, with a $7 million team option in 2017. The time is right for the Padres to shop Smith, since he’s coming off a career year where he hit .266/.367/.440, playing half his games at pitcher-friendly Petco Park. Yes, he’s a candidate for regression. But even at a lower projection (Steamer) of .248/.336/.407, he would still help the Reds offense. And have I mentioned he’s affordable. Smith’s contract would make him easy to unload if and when Jesse Winker knocks down the door.

A possible match for Smith could involve Zack Cozart and a pitching prospect. San Diego is looking for a shortstop who isn’t 36 years old (Clint Barmes) or one who has Cozart’s bat without his glove (Alexi Amarista). The Reds could dip into their surplus of starting pitcher prospects (not talking top tier) to make the deal.

Walt Jocketty pleaded to Reds fans for patience. Yes, it’s worth repeating that trophies aren’t given for teams that act first or early. But it’s also the case that the market may get tighter, not easier, over time. Scarcity has a way of raising the price. The ever-inevitable Nori Aoki is a questionable signing at market value. Overpaying would heap pain and insult on top.

278 Responses

  1. [email protected]

    I would make that trade as you proposed it Steve

    Subtracting Zacks 2.3 that only adds about 5 mil and still money to add bullpen help

    Don’t we still have 2 open roster spots?

  2. MrRed

    Good thoughts. Smith looks to be a much better solution to me than Aoki. I don’t know if the Pads want Cozart but in my mind that would be a plus to unload him as he’s going to become too expensive for the pitiful offensive output he provides. If a deal were to emerge with Seth Smith, it will have to come after Kemp clears his physical and his trade becomes official. That should be any day now.

  3. redmountain

    Seth Smith would work for me, if he can be had.

    • John Carter

      I would like to see us consider Ichiro. I know he is 41 but can still get on base and be a solid 4th outfielder/bench guy. Running low on options.

  4. BearcatNation

    You make a good argument, but I have to be honest, I’m not a fan of Seth Smith at all. I think he’s a prime candidate for regression and would look like a bad move by the dog days. I know he would be cheap in terms of trade pieces, but I would much rather give a little more and get a guy like Dexter Fowler who would significantly improve our offense.

    • MrRed

      You probably won’t find too many that will argue that Smith is preferable to Fowler. Either player could help. But the pertinent concern is the probability at this point that the a deal could be made for either Fowler or Smith. What do the Reds have that the Astros would want and that the Reds would be willing to part with? I can see a workable deal with the Pads for Smith but not as much with the Astros for Fowler.

    • Steve Mancuso

      I’m fine with Fowler. Smith would have to regress enormously to not have above average offense, as I say in the post.

      • HELLSBELLS

        Is anyone else worried about haveing another lefty (that does not hit lefties) in the linueup. Remember what Liriano did to us in the Wild card?

  5. joe

    Seth Smith is a left handed bat. Thought we was in the market for a right handed batter?

    • JU

      If you are starving and somebody offers you a peanut butter sandwich, do you complain that you wanted wheat bread?

      • vegastypo

        With Mes and Frazier and Phillips, I guess I’m not as concerned about right vs. left-handed hitting for left field anymore… But I thought Smith was pretty bad against left-handed pitching. Would we need a platoon partner?

    • Kyle Farmer

      If he’s a one year placeholder for Winker, we might as well get used to the left handed hitting LF.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Emergence of Mesoraco and Frazier nullifies that concern. Ignore the sidedness and get the best bat.

      • lwblogger2

        Right. It doesn’t matter if he hits standing on his head, just as long as he hits.

    • tct

      Only the Rangers and Braves had a worse wRC vs righties than the Reds did last year. They weren’t all that great vs lefties either, but 60-70% of the pitchers they face will be righties. They could use another lefty who mashes right handers.

      • Steve Mancuso

        This made me curious enough I looked it up. The Reds took 77 percent of their plate appearances against RHP last year. Basically 1 out of 5 PA is against a lefty.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Good research. Does anyone want to regress back to Dusty Bakerism’s??

      • tct

        That number will come down a bit next year if Votto stays healthy and Bruce is better. Or if the Reds add another lefty bat, like Rasmus. Once Votto went down last year, there was really no reason to use a lefty reliever against the Reds. I think it will be closer to the 71% vs righties that they had in 2013, when they had Choo and Bruce and Votto were healthy. But, yeah, probably 70-75% against righties.

  6. WVRedlegs

    Seth Smith could be an option. A much better one than Aoki.
    Tampa Bay isn’t done yet. Ben Zobrist could still find his way to Cincinnati.
    What we might see though, is a BHam + a ( a good but not top) pitching prospect to the LA Angels for OF Kole Calhoun for LF. That leaves a hole in CF, but finding a capable CF could be easier than finding that LF.

    • jessecuster44

      I dislike. Billy on the Basepaths is like Chappy on the mound. I don’t see this happening.

  7. JU

    The state of human existence has eroded to a precarious abyss when a .248 hitter will actually IMPROVE your team’s offense.

    • reaganspad

      I am not sure i agree with this comment or not, but it should be an audition for the new writers that Redlegnation is seeking:

      “The state of human existence has eroded to a precarious abyss”

      • JU

        I have no doubt about my ability to write for Redleg Nation. I just don’t have anything to write that fits the footprint.

    • MrRed

      Hmmm…interesting take on how a baseball player carries so much meaning on the state of human affairs. But, if Steamer projects .248 (based on his then presumed home field of Petco), I would be willing to wager that Smith will fare better here and that would be a certain upgrade over what the Red’s can trot out to LF now.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Average batting average in the NL last year was .249. And looking just at batting average (as opposed to OBP and power, too) is sorta outdated, unless you’re a Reds broadcaster.

      • wkuchad

        Does .249 include pitchers hitting? If yes, do they show the average for position players only?

    • lwblogger2

      That .248 average is pretty much right at the NL Average. Scary how much offense has dropped off the last few years huh? I think a lot of fans don’t realize that a guy who hits .250 isn’t that bad of a hitter these days. All of this with the disclaimer that batting average may not be the best way to judge how good of a hitter a guy is. I hit .363 one year at Lancaster and came back the next season to hit .206.

      • lwblogger2

        I now see that Steve said pretty much the same thing.

      • Steve Mancuso

        A lot of fans and a lot of broadcasters. The other night Marty and Thom were doing a show together. They were saying that Zack Cozart’s hitting wasn’t acceptable (can agree there). But then they went on to say that if he could “only hit .255 or .260,” that would be kind of low, but acceptable. They have no clue how low AVG has fallen. They probably think an average batter hits .275. It’s one thing for fans to not keep up with baseball, it’s another thing when professionals in the industry don’t — people whose precise job it is to inform the fans.

  8. JU

    I don’t see a one-year deal for Aoki as a starter is a bad idea. Even if you have him 2 or 3 years, he’s a much better **contact** (bunting) bench bat than some of the other Keystone Cops who have come up to go 0-for-15. If Winker can’t beat him out, that means Aoki is doing the job.

  9. Zach

    Nori Aoki would be the more desireable offensive solution for the Reds LF problem for a few reasons. Although both Seth Smith and Aoki are both left-handed hitters, their respective splits are polar opposites. Not only does Aoki support a higher OBP more suitable to fill the 2 spot in the Reds lineup, he also is not the liability that Smith is against LHP. For the majority of his career, Seth Smith has been viewed as a platoon player struggling to hit lefties while Aoki actually boasts better splits againts fellow southpaws. In front of the the left-handed Votto in the order, Aoki’s ability to get on base at a high clip and his ability to hit LHP makes him clearly more valuable to this particular team. The major issue with Aoki will be making sure not to overextend his contact by guaranteeing a third year for an aging player and blocking prospects on the rise.

    • MrRed

      There’s the rub though. Aoki only makes sense on a 2 year deal not to exceed $7M. If he can’t be had for that, I think the Reds would be overpaying for a guy that’s likely to continue to regress and is at best a stop gap solution.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Aoki is a one trick pony as Steve points out. Nearly zero pop, bad fielder and even worse baserunner. I’m not crazy about pure single hitters in GABP. Not enough space for a whole lot of drop-in fly balls. Aoki would be better suited to San Diego’s park for instance.

        The way the FA signings are going, someone is going to overpay him as well and to add salt to the wound, he may get a 3-year contract. Which means you may have a devil of a time moving him. We don’t need another one of those guys.

        The proposed deal of Steve’s should satisfy all factions of Reds fans: the “all-innners”, the “rebuilders” and the “in-betweeners”.

        For the “rebuilders”, if the team is too far out of it at ASB, he should be moveable and you might even get a better deal than it took to get him. Smith has an interesting split: he is a completely different player in the first half (better) than the second half. Any “rebuilder” should really like this point.

        As far as not hitting lefties, that is a very good point; however, consider that out of 20 projected starts in the NL Central only 5 are lefties. That’s if Garcia recovers and Wood is still a starter on opening day. Any hope of winning the division, you are going to have to do well against STL-PGH-MIL-CHI. Another solid LH bat should help and Smith kills LHP. Just food for thought.

        Nice piece Steve. It is very realistic as well.

      • Steve Mancuso

        The problem with Aoki being a singles hitter is that if his average or BB% drops for any reason, even BABIP-related luck issues, he can quickly become a negative impact player. As you point out, he offers negative value in power and base-running and he’s meh on defense. A wouldn’t want to bet on a 32-year-old guy being able to retain his AVG and BB% for two years.

      • tct

        Yes, Charlotte. Agree on Aoki. If you’re offense is heavily dependent on base hits finding grass in the outfield, then you are not a very good fit for GABP. Aoki played in the largest outfield in the AL last year. Cincinnati has one of the smallest outfields. He would lose some base hits for sure, and he doesn’t have the power to take advantage of the short fences.

        For this same reason, Ichiro would also be a really bad fit. That and the fact that he is 67 years old and hasn’t been a league average hitter since 2010.

      • preacherj

        My biggest concern about Aoki isn’t Aoki, but rather the performance of the batters ahead and behind him. If BHam gets on base at a reasonable clip, Aoki’s skill set plays well to ensure runners in scoring position for the heart of the order.
        If Votto hits like Votto of times past, Aoki’s skill set plays well to cross the plate at a good pace as its not hard to score from first on a gap shot double. If the guy ahead and behind do not perform well, then Aoki’s skill set will lead to base clogging.

    • CP

      The Reds hit LHP better than they hit RHP. They really don’t need to focus on a RH bat. I’ll take the guy with more pop any day. They could pair Smith with a guy like Gomes for insurance.

    • droomac

      Jonny,

      You really need to stop commenting on baseball blogs.

      -Your Agent

      • BringBackJonny

        Come on man. The Cubs are knocking on my door and I just don’t think my mohawk will look right in a “stupid” Cubs uni.

      • droomac

        Good point. Comment away. I’m sure Walt is reading.

    • vegastypo

      My lasting memory of Gomes was him swinging at some pitches in the dirt close to the left-hand batter’s box. Oy.

      • JU

        Gomes was fine after he came back to Cincy from a road trip. Six games into a homestand and he was toast again. Then he’d heal about 4 games into a road trip and the circle continued. So, 2 games out of 12, he was decent.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Not beyond the realm of possibility.

      100% in agreement with this piece. Nail head meet hammer.

  10. droomac

    I wouldn’t mind Smith. However, getting Smith presents a two-fold problem. First off, he will have to sit, for the most part, against lefties. So, they will need to also get a RH outfielder to compliment Smith. In addition, the RH outfielder will also have to be able to play CF. Who will this guy be?

    • Kyle Farmer

      Sounds alot like Chris Heisey. I wonder if they even offered him a contract.

  11. Kyle Farmer

    Don’t forget that Brandon Moss was traded to Cleveland for two pair of used cleats. Dealt with injuries last year and still had an OPS+ of 119. That one’s going to stick in my craw for a long time.

  12. docmike

    I would love to get Seth Smith. The fact that he sucks against lefties isn’t that big a deal, considering that there aren’t that many LHP starting pitchers anyway. Probably would end up being one start per week. It shouldn’t be that hard to find a backup RH-hitting OF who could take that spot.

  13. Steve Mancuso

    Seth Smith’s OPS against LH pitching last year was .744. The Reds’ left fielders last season *combined* for a .623 OPS. So even on his worse side, he’s a tremendous offensive improvement. 120 points of OPS is gigantic.

    • redsfan06

      That .744 OPS against LH pitching included a whopping .424 OBP. If that’s his bad side results, there is no need to worry about platooning him. And, as others have pointed out, the number of LH pitchers is a lot less than RH. Besides, True Grit needs to play once in awhile.

      • lwblogger2

        True Grit hits from the left side too though…. Love that nickname though “True Grit”. I think I’m going to steal that if you don’t mind?

    • droomac

      Come on, that is based on 66 PAs. His career OPS (.606) against LHP is more in line what the Reds could expect. Simply put, no responsible manager would run Seth Smith out there against LHPs. He is widely known for not being able to hit lefties.

      • JU

        Yes but he is today’s most sensible addition to the Reds outfield. Tomorrow, we will focus on somebody else.

  14. sultanofswaff

    The Padres have a glut of outfielders. The one I would target is a player Steve didn’t mention—-Rymer Liriano. MLB #55 prospect who OPS’d .836 at the upper levels of the minors this year. Even better, he also did the majority of his damage as a right handed hitter vs. RHP. He primarily plays LF, so the Padres have nowhere to put him with Wil Myers/Matt Kemp/Seth Smith manning the corners.

    I’m sure the Padres would take Cozart and some combination of second tier starting pitching prospects (which we have in surplus) for him. Even if it’s not Liriano, going the trade route for a pre-arb ML ready outfielder is the smart play here.

    We gotta remember that our offensive fortunes won’t rest with the acquisition of a LF. Instead, it’s going to primarily come from the resurgence of Votto and Bruce and the continued development of Mez and Hamilton. Walt may have to accept a little short grief from the fans by not making a big splash for the bigger reward of having solid pre-arb production later in the year.

    • RedsFaninPitt

      I like the Seth Smith idea. I even suggested it a day or two ago on this site in response to the Dexter Fowler posting who I also like and suggested previously. Let’s see if this trade gets some traction – Garin Cecchini with the Red Sox. I know he is a 3rd baseman, but Steamer’s projections show him as very solid average, and high OBP guy. He is blocked by Sandoval at 3rd and many other OFs for any action out there, and they have a very promising 3rd baseman that they are even higher on behind him in their system. He is a LH hitter who has limited power but is expected to be capable of double digit HRs eventually – and his power would play up with GABP’s short RF. He has been a doubles machine in the minors and he hits righties and lefties equally well. This opens up more opportunities for the Reds down the road in how they handle both Bruce and Frazier’s contracts/trades. Lastly, he is young and under team control for 6 years. The Red Sox are looking for a LH catcher and a LH relief pitcher. I would trade Chapman and Pena for Cecchini and either Henry Owens or Brian Johnson (both lefties) in a LH pitcher-coveted NL Central division. The Reds need more lefties in their rotation. They do well in this division. I would play either Cecchini or Frazier in LF. I think they both could easily handle. Actually, we all talk like there are so few LF opportunities left to pursue. I think there are many more to pursue, we just need to think more broadly.

      Now, this would be way out of Jocketty’s comfort zone to pursue a young guy with very limited MLB experience to fill a big LF hole, but he did get Suarez and may be getting ready to trade Cozart. He could provide himself some insurance by pursuing Tabata from Pittsburgh.

    • Carl Sayre

      The left fielder has to be big league ready or we are looking at Schumaker as our opening day left fielder, that scares me. The other thing is I like the looks of this but I don’t see adding a lot to Cozart. I have come to terms that his hitting or actually lack thereof is not fixable but I sure appreciate his defense. This dragging out of making a move is killing me, everybody and their brother is scooping up outfielders.

    • JMO

      I agree with Rymer Liriano. Would be a great fit. You add him with J Upton, Fowler and Zobrist for my top 4 LF targets.

  15. Joey

    What about trading for someone like Dustin Ackley? He played LF last year but he also plays 2b, not sure if he plays any ss or not I’ll have to look it up. Anyway, he could be a nice piece that the reds could use and keep around after Winker comes up and Shumaker is gone. He’s about a .250 hitter with .300 obp.

    • CP

      Sorry, us sabermetricians already destroyed Ackley’s confidence. He isn’t allowed within 100 feet of Joey Votto or he breaks into tears.

      -Eric Wedge

  16. WVRedlegs

    The LA Angels Kole Calhoun for LF. Angels always in need of pitching.

  17. CP

    Seth Smith’s bat and his contract are far too valuable to trade for Cozart and an unnamed prospect pitcher, in my opinion. Even if the team’s interests line up pretty well, the Reds still have to compete against all the other teams that still need an OF who can hit well.

    Guys like Smith are now a valuable commodity. Cozart, coming off a 1.2 bWAR season, with 1 year left of control, would not be the featured piece in the deal, the real question is what tier prospect you’d be willing to send over? And I don’t honestly don’t know how far you go with that. Assuming Stephenson and Lorenzen are too much, is Steve suggesting the prospect be someone like Travieso? Lively? Moscot? It’s impossible to judge without knowing who that prospect pitcher really is.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Agree with your thinking. This is where the rebuilding folks will not be crazy about a deal that is basically strong prospects for 32-year old guys. No question in my mind, Smithy would make us a stronger and better team to watch next season but not a serious contender. I’d be unwilling to sacrifice any of our potential high end prospects for him.. On the other hand if we are out of it by ASB, Smith should fetch a decent return in a trade. I do like ZC being the “centerpiece” of any deal.

      My theory on Cozart is that he fell in love with the power he displayed in 2011 & 2012. This why he hits pop-ups about every third AB. He is a decent contact hitter and if he would be willing to stay within his strengths, I don’t see why he couldn’t be a better hitter (80 to 90 wRC+?).

      SD probably would be a nice fit, because the idea of Zack hitting more than a couple of HRs in that park is laughable. He might give up on that nasty uppercut he has developed because with that approach I don’t see him being anybody’s starting SS for very long.

      That being said, I think there is a better chance of Steve’s proposed deal than we see at first blush.

      • HELLSBELLS

        Cozart was the poster child for decreased power. There was an article here last year that showed his distance on batted balls dropping to nothole levels, lowest in the league. Also, he grouds to SS so much that he hits into tons of double plays. Other teams that see this would be crazy to trade for him.

      • reaganspad

        that is a good call on what Petco would do to Zack’s power there Charlotte.

      • lwblogger2

        I agree with you on why Cozart is struggling so much offensively. He has a power hitter’s approach.

  18. charlottencredsfan

    Whether names like Smith, Ackley, Calhoun get your motor started or not; I believe they are much more realistic than Fowler and Duda. I like this discussion better because of its practical application.

  19. Mike

    An interesting name I’m seeing brought up a bit in trade rumors that I believe makes a lot of sense for the Reds i Josh Hamilton, he’s our former player.
    when I think about targeting someone for the Reds to trade for I think about two things, years of team control and salary obligations. On the surface Josh’s salary, roughly 90 million over the next 3 years, seems to be a door closer. Obviously we’d have to get that number closer to eat $35 million. Posts I’m seeing about the Reds budget are suggesting the Reds can plausibly raise the budget from 114 to 125 mill this year. That’s 33 mill extra in the budget over 3 years not accounting for any additional raises in the next two years. Step one, include Brandon Phillips. I think it’s time he goes. Yes he’s a fan fave, but on the field, defense aside, we can get close to his numbers offensively with new addition Suarez n shumaker I believe. Phillips is owed about 40 mill over the next three years so take that off hamikton and were down to 50 mill. The idea of course is the Angels are interested in Phillips after moving homie Hendrix, want to move hamilton, and r willing to include about 25 to 30 million just like the Dodgers did to move their outfielder to do it. Now look at the prospects the Dodgers got back or kemp and you wouldn’t expect the Reds to have to trade any top end guys, one decent prospect and one or two low level frieng guys ought to get it down.
    So how does Hamilton for r twam and make us better? Well he’s a huge question mark obviously or the Angels wouldn’t be trying to move him. But he has a ton of upside and for a team like the Reds go make cheap controllable players U r either going to have to get a prospec have to wait on or an established guy with question marks marks. To me this is a way better gamble then going with someone like nori aroko or Duda and hoeing they improve. Hamilton can bat forth or six and we still go righty lefty.
    Hamilton
    Votto
    Frazier
    Bruce
    Mesoraco
    Hamilton
    Suarez
    Cosart

    • JU

      That’s a lot of Alexander Hamiltons to be paying out two 2 guys named Hamilton playing in Hamilton County.

    • lwblogger2

      He is owed a TON of money on a heavily back-loaded contract. The Rangers are also talking about having him DH more because playing in the field really wore on him last year. They’d be willing to trade him and I’m sure they’d be willing to send over at least some money in a deal. I just don’t think he’d be a good fit though considering his injuries, age, and back-loaded deal.

  20. JU

    Here’s your Seth Smith story, condensed to a real simple problem.

    “The Padres are mulling whether or not to finalize the trade for Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp after his physical revealed severe arthritis in both hips, a person familiar with the diagnosis told USA Today. The source spoke to USA Today on the condition of anonymity.

    The Padres and Dodgers agreed to a trade last week that would send Kemp, catcher Tim Federowicz and $32 million to San Diego for catcher Yasmani Grandal and pitching prospects Joe Wieland and Zach Eflin.

    However, after Kemp’s physical Tuesday, Padres’ physicians are now discussing whether the arthritis would impact his career.”

  21. WVRedlegs

    I’ve thrown Angels OF Kole Calhoun out there, but with no facts to support the idea. If BHam is not included in that trade, stays in CF, it would give the Reds some lineup flexibility.
    Calhoun is now just 27. LH hitter. A .272/.325/.450, ISO of .178 and a 3.6 WAR. A RF to play LF is not a bad idea. Calhoun’s offense slipped just a tad in 2014, but his defense was much better in 2014. He’s logged a few innings at 1B.
    The best part though, is he can lead off. Or bat second if the Reds have BHam bat 1st. He can let Price bat BHam down in the order at 8th or 9th.
    One more two-step for Jocketty. Get Calhoun from the Angels and then get Zobrist for 2B as you waltz BP out the door to the ATL. And then it’s boot scootin’ boogy time.

    • unc reds fan

      I also find it interesting that our best major league trade chips are a short stop who cant hit and a 2B no one wants

      • tct

        Their best major league trade chip is Mesoraco. Followed by Frazier, Hamilton, Cueto, and Chapman. Leake and Bruce are both ahead of Cozart, as well.

      • RedsFaninPitt

        I don’t think Hamilton is considered that valuable. He may be above Leake – maybe – but I seriously doubt he is considered more valuable than Bruce and definitely not Cueto and probably not Chapman either. Just because he is fast and a great CF doesn’t mean he can hit or get on base. The concern is that he may be considered just another Cozart (only at a different position) with faster legs in a year or two. Also, Cueto probably has more trade value than Frazier given the year he came off of even though he is only one year from free agency. I do agree about Mez having the most value, however.

      • tct

        I don’t think there is any way Bruce has more trade value than Hamilton right now. Hamilton is 24, has five years of control left, will be making 500-600 k for the next two years. He didn’t hit much last year, but he still put up a 3.5 WAR season with his defense and base running. I’m not the biggest Hamilton fan, but if he can just be a league average hitter, you’re talking about a 4-5 win player. A lot of teams would be willing to take that gamble, because he’s young and cheap, and he has value even if he doesn’t hit.

        I like Jay Bruce, but he was one of the worst everyday players in baseball last year. He is owed 25 million over the next two years with a 13 million dollar option on the third. His value is very dependent on his power. If he doesn’t slug around .500, then he’s not worth that much.

        As far as Hamilton vs Cueto or Chapman, I don’t know, you could be right. But I’d rather have five years of a young player that has a really high ceiling, and can be a 2-3 win player even if he doesn’t hit very much, than one year of Cueto at 10 million or two years of a relief pitcher. It would depend on the team you are trying to trade them to and how much they believe in Hamilton’s bat.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Hard to say with any level of certainty on these guys but I think that JC and Mez have to be the top two. at least one would think.

        Billy Hamilton is very interesting case. I have put this guy under the microscope because as he goes, I think the Reds will follow – at least in the short term. Billy has quick hands and can be a very,very good contact hitter. Twice last year, he exceeded ~50 PAs without striking out but at the very beginning of the season and after the ASB, he was probably the worst hitter in MLB. He has issues with his stance, which lead to issues with a very busy front foot. This makes him off balance and an extremely weak hitter. IMO, if he doesn’t fix it he will be a 5th outfielder at best and more than likely a career minor leaguer.

        Bottom line, he will either be a huge asset to the Reds or another team and on the other hand, he could be close to useless.

    • wvredlegs

      Sorry, I made an omission on Calhoun. Four years of team control left and made 500k last year. Very affordable in $$$, but would be pricey in prospects.

  22. unc reds fan

    With Walt’s love for former cardinals why are we even discussing anyone other than Rasmus being the opening day LF…doesn’t it make almost too much sense for a Jocketty kind of move?

    • charlottencredsfan

      Except for the low OBP part, you have a point.

  23. docmike

    A lot of these trade proposals on here suggest trading Phillips. Considering his age, declining skills, and contract, I think if Jocketty can swing a trade involving BP, we should give him a prize.

  24. wvredlegs

    Look at the new breed of MLB General Manager that has been on display this off-season. AJ Preller of San Diego, Rick “Wild Thing” Hahn of Chicago White Sox, Friedman and Zahir of LA Dodgers, Theo and Jed Hoyer of the Chicago Cubs. Bold, aggressive, not afraid to go out and help their teams, and shore up team weaknesses.
    And the Reds have Walt Jocketty. Old, tired, meek and weak.
    No wonder the last two + years the Reds have been trending backwards.

    • lwblogger2

      They were just talking about how active the new, young GMs have been this off-season on MLB Network yesterday. I don’t know if their deals will work out or not but they are sure trying.

    • Kyle Farmer

      Yeah, that tired, meek, weak Jocketty. Should have known last year that Latos, Bailey, Cingrani, Marshall, Chapman, Schumaker, Hanahan, Phillips, Votto, Bruce, Mesoraco would all spend time on the DL. How could he not have aggressively prepared his small market club for that?

  25. concepcion13

    MLB Trade Rumors states the Red Sox are “in active trade talks” with one team regarding Allen Craig. Craig is an ex-Cardinal. I’d bet the ranch that the mystery team’s GM is ex-Cardinal-lovin’ GM Rip Van Jocketty. I shudder at what he would give up to acquire this guy.

    • lwblogger2

      I don’t think Craig is as bad as his drop-off last year makes him out to be. That said, his contract makes it a pretty big gamble for a team that’s apparently cash-strapped to bring in a guy who really struggled last season and may or may not bounce back. Scary thought Concepcion13.

      • RedsFaninPitt

        Give Jocketty more time. Most of you liked his last two trades after you had time to sit back and read and think about it. He knows what he needs to do this winter – even though in past years, particularly at the trade deadlines he has been overly uncertain and hesitant. And, when he knows what he needs to do, he usually pulls off a pretty good deal – i.e. Rolen, Latos and Choo. I have thought for some time that he is waiting for the right trade because he is squeezed financially. My guess is that we will see a trade for involving some of our top pitching prospects or Chapman to get multiple players to meet our needs. I wouldn’t rule out another pitcher for the rotation either since he likes pitching so much and can’t trust Cingrani, Iglesias and/or DeSclafani due to either injury history or lack of MLB experience. He tends to go with sure things on the big trades which is why I am skeptical he will trade for anyone without much experience this next time.

        I would love for him to trade for some young major league ready players who have not yet had a year in the major league experience, but I seriously doubt that he will.

      • wvredlegs

        You know, $5.5M in 2015 for Craig might not be that much of a risk. Then this time next year, if he has a fairly decent year (.275/.335), the Reds could flip him if Winker is ready. Possibly get a better package back than what they would give up for him.
        Craig lost .100 points on BA and OBP from 2013 to 2014. It would be reasonable to think he would at least get half of that back from being healthy, and some add on from having 81 games in GABP.
        If it didn’t work out, the Reds would have another BP contract on their hands. Craig gets $9M in 2016 and $11M in 2017. Thats enough to scare a buzzard off of a stink wagon. What to do, what to do?

      • lwblogger2

        Yeah, it’s the 2016 and 2017 commitments that really represent the risk. If it was Craig for $5.5-million and 2015, maybe I’d consider taking a flier on him. There are better options out there though.

      • Kyle Farmer

        The only way a trade for Craig would work is if the Sox kicked in significant cash. Otherwise, even if the Reds give up next to nothing, it’s a pretty bad/risky trade.

    • reaganspad

      That is funny right there:

      “Rip Van Jocketty”.

  26. cslezak221

    Very Interesting article Steve. Out of curiosity, what do you think it would realistically take to make a J Upton trade happen? and also what would the financials look like for him next year and beyond?

  27. HELLSBELLS

    Allen Craig moving . . . but where?

    • wvredlegs

      Rumor says it to the Reds for Cueto. Can’t be right.

      • charlottencredsfan

        No way. This would be the worst trade since the Babe was traded from the Red Sox to the Yanks for $100K.

      • Redsman

        Sure as heck hope not! St. Louis lovin’ Walt strikes again?

      • DevAJS

        If that’s true then I would be really mad. I gave him the benefit of the doubt with the Latos trade, but we would be taking just as big of a risk on Craig and giving up our best pitcher. Yes a LFer is needed, but what’s the point if you give up all of your pitching? We’ll be right back to the Dunn and Griffey era.

      • Redsman

        Cueto for Craig, Betts and Bogaerts?

      • reaganspad

        I got a rumor that Cueto is going straight up for Trout…….

        i am just finishing typing said rumor in the line above

  28. Hammer

    I would have my own 2 step plan which probably has no chance to ever happen. I think we can all agree, it’s pretty unlikely that we’ll ever retain Cueto unless he takes a HUGE discount. I would also like to get maximum return for him, ie. a bunch of prospects vs. 1 compensation draft pick. If we keep him now, it’s going to be that much more difficult to get the talent we need to be competitive this year.

    So, first, I would sign James Shields. Overrated? Maybe, but he’s a consistent and solid innings eater with more post-season experience than our entire team. The projections I’ve seen seem to think he can be had on a 5 yr, $90 M or so contract. Sure, he’s not as dominant as Cueto, but the Royals made it to Game 7 of the World Series with him as their ace.

    Trade Cueto to Braves/Dodgers/Red Sox for an MLB LF bat and a load of prospects. I’d go after a bullpen arm or two and another that can help us in future. Not entirely sure what the potential return could be, it kind of depends on the quality of the bat we get with the deal. But we get more, younger, cost-controlled players.

    I’d also try to extend Leake. This way, we still have 3 solid, proven MLB starters anchoring the rotation, and are able to get max value for Johnny Beisbol. Helps us now, helps us later, helps keep payroll low without a ridiculous contract for Cueto. It might not be a WS winner, but it beats the other options of mediocrity now vs mediocrity later.

    • Kyle Farmer

      I like that plan. Outside the box but actually something that could possibly happen.

  29. Shchi Cossack

    OK, I’ve tried to avoid bringing this up, but I keep finding myself looking back at a 28- year-old FA, LH corner OF with 3 years of team arbitration control remaining. I would like to know if anyone has any additional insight, information or opinions.

    Career major league slash line of .276/.332/.413 in 1063 PA over 3 seasons.
    …vs RHP (.278/.333/.418)
    …vs LHP (.265/.328/.392)
    SO%=16.3%; BB%=7.2%; ISO=.137

    Career minor league slash line of .289/.350/.428 in 1354 PA over 5 seasons.
    SO%=14.3%; BB%=8.3%; ISO=.139

    He missed the entire 2014 season following back surgery for a microdiscectomy in March 2014, but made a 13 game, 40 PA minor league rehab, slashing .286/.375/.371. He’s a FA and 1st year arbitration eligible after making $1.6MM in 2014 and missing the entire season.

    The back surgery, on top of a bothersome back his entire career, sends up red flags galore, but also makes him available on the cheap. As a short-term, low-cost option with some upside potential, could he be a possibility for a LF starter or a LF platoon option in 2015. He’s not Dexter Fowler with a career .366 OBP (for $9MM + trade costs) or Nori Aoki with a career .353 OBP (for $16MM over 2 years plus as a FA), but wouldn’t Andy Dirks for $1MM-$2MM + incentives on a major league contract be worth at least a look under the hood? What better place than the black hole in LF at GABP to establish value after missing a full season and needing to prove your worth and durability? When we are talking about Colby Rasmus as the best available remaining FA and a possibility for LF with a career slash of .225/.287/.467, why not take a flyer?

    • Dale Pearl

      I never even heard of the guy. I wouldn’t be surprised if Walt even knows that he is alive. I do think it is a smarter move than others that have been mentioned. That move would be a low risk on money but a high risk on performance. Of course I am in the camp that every single Red returning from injury is also a high risk so,we might,as well add him in. That would also leave us monies to continue building up our bullpen. It wouldn’t bother me if I saw all new players in the pen for 2015.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Wonder if the Reds could sign him to a minor league contract or a low base salary with lots of incentives? I like your thinking out of the box. We’ve quite a bit of this today.

    • tct

      Rasmus career line is .246/.313/.438. He had a wRC+ of 103 last year and 129 in 2013. Plus, he is a decent defender and can play center in a pinch.

      Dirks career line looks decent, but it is buoyed by a crazy 2012 where he had a wRC+ of 132, based largely on a .365 BABIP. In his 2 other years in the majors he has had a wRC+ of 89. His value seems to be based mostly on his BABIP, as he doesn’t have a lot of power and doesn’t walk a lot.

      I’ve only seen Dirks play a couple times, and don’t remember much about him. I don’t hate the idea, but I think he needs to be plan B or a fourth outfielder if you are wanting to win this year. It’s a good find, though, of a guy nobody is talking about and should be pretty cheap.

      • charlottencredsfan

        I thought his normal position in Toronto was CF.

      • tct

        Yeah, but he’s no Hamilton out there. Just saying he could be the back up centerfielder and starting left fielder.

    • CP

      Dirks would be an okay LF, but basically an acknowledgement that the Reds don’t really intend on competing next season. Which it doesn’t really look like they can right now (arguably, I think a Dirks, Hamilton, Bruce OF is the worst offensive OF in the NL unless Bruce is spectacular)

      Also, not sure where you got Rasmus’ slash line (career)… looks off, unless you’re referring to someone else.

      • CP

        Dirks would be an okay 4th OF, that is… basically the role he played in DET.

  30. Steve Mancuso

    The Dodgers-Padres trade involving Matt Kemp has been approved. The Padres have that surplus of outfielders.

  31. tct

    Oh, an article on Fangraphs today about the biggest remaining lineup needs in baseball by projected WAR. Guess what was first, or last depending on how you look at it. Reds LF. Right now, the Reds are projected for -0.7 WAR from LF. Now, we all expect somebody to be added before the season starts. But still, the way they do projections and regress everything, you have got to have some bad players to be projected at below replacement level.

    Also, that article also mentions Dirks as a possibility.

    • Carl Sayre

      I am not sure about Dirks as the answer but if he is cheap enough how about in addition . Jocketty has done so many things wrong since he came here he should make some kind of decision one more stupid one nobody will be surprised.

  32. ToddAlmighty

    Can we get the Padres’ GM on loan for the offseason? They needed OF help and went and got Kemp at $15m/yr, and Wil Myers.

    Sounds a lot nicer than the eventual Aoki signing we all know is going to happen.

    • JU

      Padres also got Hanigan. I did not see that one coming.

      • lwblogger2

        Yeah, he came over with Myers. They needed a catcher because they gave up Grandal in the Kemp deal and got back Federovich. Federovich isn’t a starting MLB catcher but Hanigan is.

        I think the Kemp move is going to bite them in the butt in the next couple years but hey, what do I know? I think getting Myers should pay off big time for them though.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Also picked up Derek Norris from the A’s to catch. Padres are acting strange (LOL).

      • lwblogger2

        Forgot about Norris. Good call.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Just traded Hanigan for Middlebrooks. No doubt they will be dealing an outfielder or two. Pretty good chance one ends up in Cincy?

      • lwblogger2

        Certainly possible. They are dealing like mad.

    • Dale Pearl

      If the Padres pull it off and turn around their franchise, make it to the playoffs they are going to make Reds management look foolish. I have to think that San Diego has made themselves into a playoff team over night. I am curious to,se how bad that stadium affects the stats of their newly acquired offense players.

    • Mark Bradford

      The Padres made moves because they had money to spend. Reds do not have the same amount of money to spend. Not sure how you think Walt should trade for kemp with no money.

      • lwblogger2

        They got back a good chunk of money in that deal but probably not enough for the Reds. Kemp represents a pretty big risk and he isn’t who I would have gone after. That said, the constant “The Reds have no money” talk every time someone brings up a move has moved beyond tiring. Jocketty has said the payroll will be higher than last season.

  33. Dale Pearl

    Here is a legit question. Is our #1 need one additional high OBP guy? If that is true who is out there readily avail by free agency or by trade that we could acquire that would give better results than an unproven rookie?

    • JoshG

      if you are just talking OBP, then Aoki is clearly the guy

    • CP

      No, the Reds number one need is a good hitter. Good hitters typically have high OBPs, but not always. It’s hard to break it down by one stat, but if you had to do so, look at wRC+ or OPS+.

      • JU

        My interest in Aoki is what he brings to Billy Hamilton. Being on base is fine, but not striking out would already improve the Reds offense. Having somebody in the 2 spot who can tap a 6-hopper to the left side has to help Hamilton. My concern with Hamilton is that in order for Aoki to be functional, Hamilton has to be on base.

  34. kmartin

    Steve, you say: ” Scarcity has a way of raising the price. The ever-inevitable Nori Aoki is a questionable signing at market value. Overpaying would heap pain and insult on top.” It seems your worry is that left field demand will exceed supply. However, given that Aoki has lasted this long makes me think that the market demand for him is low. In other words, “the supply of Aoki exceeds the demand for Aoki.” Shouldn’t Aoki now be going for a below market price? Thanks.

    • Jeff

      I tried to find some research on supply and demand of free agent baseball players, but the papers that I read did not seem to address your very good point, which as I read it is this “Teams that needed LFs have passed on Aoki, so his demand should be pretty low which means that he is in oversupply.” On the face I agree with this and it may even be true. We do tend to see a few free agent guys who near the start of Spring training or as the rest of free agency dries up, end up taking what appears to be a below market contract so they can sign somewhere.

      First I think it’s important that we remember that free agency is not a true supply/demand curve but an auction style supply and demand. Even though they play the same or similar positions each player brings a different value and set of skills to the auction block. Even if you and I both value WAR and think agree on a set value for WAR, say 5 million for 1 win, you may have a preference for slugging where I value OBP and defense, thus if we are both bidding on the same player I may be willing to pay more for the player if he has low power but high OBP, assuming I have the budget. So the important takeaway is that each player always has the same supply of 1, but the demand is what can change.

      So Aoki is sitting up on the auction block with all of the other players and one by one teams are making their purchases and possibly walking away from the auction. It appears that the demand is dwindling so his bid price/reserve price must be falling since no one else wants him. Right? Possibly. But also quite possibly we are down to Walt and 1 or 2 other bidders. How deep are the other bidders pockets? Do they know how desperate the Reds are for a starting LF?(YES.) Are they desperate for a LF? Are they making sure that other teams do not pay too little for a starting LF? Are they willing to over pay a platoon player to make sure that a competitor does not get a good deal or has a glaring weakness? Many of these discussions assume rational players, how rational do most baseball GMs seem at times?

      So is Aoki’s value falling or rising? Without seeing the bidding in real time, only time will tell. If he signs soon I would bet that he is overpayed for his value. If he is not signed soon and his free agency drags out then he may sign for a contract that benefits the team.

      I hope this makes sense, it feels as if I rambled quite a bit.

      • kmartin

        Jeff — thanks for the thoughtful reply. I think you are correct that the free agent market is like an auction versus supply and demand of a regular commodity. Free agents (in this case left fielders) are a heterogenous rather than homogenous group and I had not thought about it that way. Nevertheless, the unique bundle of “attributes” that define Aoki does not seem to be in high demand unless there is some sort of gaming going on that we are not aware of.

        I am at a university and we compete against other universities when making faculty hires. Each candidate is unique and has a different set of attributes to offer. However, early in the market it is clear which candidates are the top ones and they go fast.

  35. RedsFanForLife

    My suggestion to Reds management would be Chapman, Cozart, Lively and Crawford for Evan Longoria. Chapman would fill their closer role, Cozart is a good defensive ML shortstop, Lively a AA, possibly AAA pitcher with high rating and Crawford a highly regarded young prospect. Chapman lives in Florida offseason and Lively and Crawford are Florida natives. Our lineup would be BHam, JV, Longoria, Frazier, Bruce, Mes, Phillips, Suarez and P. Top or bottom of the first scenario, BHam on first via BB or hit, JV hits a gapper and BHam scores or 2nd and 3rd, Longoria base hit to score 2 or SF to score BHam, Frazier, Bruce then Mes to follow. Possibly 2-3 runs in the first, starting pitcher more confident with the lead. I like JV batting behind BHam. BHam should see better pitches, and when he gets on in front of JV, more opportunities to steal or score. JV sprays the ball to all fields and likes the gaps. Plus being a lefty in the box, the opposing catcher would have a more difficult time with BHam. Santa, I’ve been good this year. Please grant me my Christmas wish

    • lwblogger2

      That is an awful lot to give up, even for Longoria.

      • lwblogger2

        And if the Rays want to move Longoria, would they want to take on Chapman’s salary? I don’t think they would.

      • RedsFanForLife

        Chapman and Cozart combined would not equal Longoria’s salary, so their salary for 2015 would actually go down.

  36. wizeman

    We keep talking about finding a bat for left field. What about Marlon Byrd? 2 years at 16 million?

  37. charlottencredsfan

    Per MLB-TR, Braves are close to dealing Justin Upton. Interested parties are thought to be: A’s, Rangers and Mariners. No mention of the Reds; however, BJ Upton is probably available.

    • Kyle Farmer

      Walt is wrapping his present to Redleg Nation?

    • lwblogger2

      The thought of BJ Upton for what he’s signed for, roaming the Reds OF, makes me a little sick to my stomach.

      • charlottencredsfan

        I wouldn’t take him for league minimum.

  38. charlottencredsfan

    MLB lists Jurickson Profar as #2 in the Rangers depth chart at 2B and he can play SS. As recent as pre-2103 he was everybody’s #1 Prospect. Should the Reds have any interest and if so, do we have the goods to get him? Kid is all of 21 years old. Reds have apparently zero in the pipeline for middle infielders.

  39. Kyle Farmer

    Guess not. Rosenthal says it’s the Padres. Big arms race out west.

      • Kyle Farmer

        Oops. Trying to reply above. Rosenthal says J. Upton to Padres.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Can’t be unless they include Myers in the package. Upton, Kemp & Myers are not CFers. Doesn’t make sense.

      • charlottencredsfan

        They just pulled the string on the deal. Very weird.

  40. WVRedlegs

    The Padres are wheeling and dealing. And the Reds, well, the wheels fell off.
    Cross ANOTHER potential LF candidate off the list.
    Two overwhelming needs for the Reds, LF and bullpen, and to date neither has been addressed.
    One word sums up the Reds off-season so far. Lame!

    • Drew

      How can you rank the “offseason” when it’s not over. How about waiting till opening Day and then rank what Walt did in the offseason.

      • wvredlegs

        I didn’t rank it. I called it Lame “so far”.

      • Carl Sayre

        When players that the Reds should be in the market for end up on other teams again and again and again it is a safe assumption that the offseason is a dud. There is one outfielder Smith, that might be available and Aoki is available but he is available for a reason. I like Aoki’s ability to get on base but his defense is suspect and his power is non-existent. This late in the off-season we are picking through the close out bin.

      • Drew

        What players have moved so far that YOU believe the Reds should have gotten?

      • JU

        Defense in left field is right next to de gate. A LF should play the corners, hit the cutoff man and hit the baseball when it’s pitched. Some baserunning brains helps.

    • JU

      The bullpen has been addressed. There are two open spots with Partch and Ondrusek gone. Bullpen positions are won in spring training, not during the trading period. Nobody should be trading for middle relief. You find guys on the spring roster who can get hitters out.

      • JU

        As well, Broxton will be replaced and there’s no chance Simon goes back to the bullpen.

  41. wvredlegs

    Reds Outfield.
    Bruce LH hitter. BHam is a switch-hitter, but hits better from LH side. Schumaker LH hitter.
    Three in-house candidates for some LF playing time, Lutz LH hitter, Felix Perez LH hitter, Brennan Boesch LH hitter.
    And now SD’s Seth Smith, LH hitter, is now at the top of the list of potential LF for the Reds?
    A RH OF for LF or at least for the 4th OF spot is going to be needed. And the Reds great brain trust traded away a good RH hitting 4th OF.

    • CP

      And yet, the Reds hit better against starting LHP and RHP in 2014, largely thanks to Mesoraco and Frazier who crush LHP, and two guys that don’t seem to care all that much (Votto and Bruce).

      LHP: 236/.301/.377, tOPS+: 104

      RHP: .238/.295/.362, tOPS+: 99

      The Reds don’t need to be super picky about the handedness of the guy out in LF. They just need a good hitter.

      • JU

        Half the time in GABP, it doesn’t matter … the fences are short. Hit a line drive and the fans in the front row will be happy.

  42. charlottencredsfan

    Padres remind me of the Marlins of a couple of years ago. Doesn’t seem to be a real plan just pick up random players that have value. Is Kemp going to play CF at Petco? I wouldn’t recommend it.

    • Kyle Farmer

      I’ll bet Kemp plays first base.

      • JU

        I’d bet he spends half the year on the DL.

  43. User1022

    I think someone needs to tap the Padres on the shoulder and gently inform them that, despite what they may have read somewhere, MLB did not increase the number of outfield positions from 3 to 5……

  44. Carl Sayre

    I may have been unfair to WJ he may be trying to get something done and can’t get through on the phone because the Padres have all lines tied up.

  45. wvredlegs

    Padres are still dealing. Sent C Ryan Hanigan to Boston for 3B Will Middlebrooks. Hanigan with his 3rd team in two days.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Okay, I think we can say it’s official: the Padres have lost their minds or are crazy like a fox. Can’t remember a team involved in so many deals in such a short period of time. I wonder if their GM is sure whom is on the roster. Heck, it’s not even noon yet.

    • HELLSBELLS

      Actually Hanigan has not been traded even once yet as the Myers deal is still not finalized.

      • Drew

        And now they add the A’s catcher…get two catchers and trade a third away…WOW

  46. charlottencredsfan

    Don’t really know if SD’s new GM has a plan or is just antsy but it would have been interesting if Bob C. would have brought in new blood, instead of sticking with Walt.

  47. Captain Hook

    The “Uncle Walt napping at the trigger” bit is getting tired. I guess some people just love moves for the sake of moves…

    • charlottencredsfan

      Agree Cap. Some would be better off Padre fans.

    • jessecuster44

      When items are flying off the shelf, you may have to make choices sooner than you want. I get the feeling that Walt operates at his own pace – always – regardless of market conditions.

      I don’t advocate dealing just to deal, but the offensive shortcomings of this team have NOT been addressed, and the pool of talent to acquire is getting smaller.

      If Walt isn’t asleep at the wheel, he is certainly giving the appearance of nonchalance. At this point, he needs to pull a rabbit out of the hat. He’s proven that he can do this (Latos, Choo). Many of us are getting impatient.

      • WVRedlegs

        Its like when the meteorologists tell us for 3 days a big snow storm is coming. Walt Jocketty is the dude that shows up at the grocery store about an hour before the storm is to hit to get his milk, bread, and goodies. Then finds the shelves bare, starts looking around all dazed and confused, and starts asking whats going on.

    • RedAlert

      Nope – what’s getting tired is that this has been going on for 2 plus years now

  48. CP

    Well, it’s safe to say that someone has to go from the SD OF. I think the market for Smith will be extremely competitive if he’s available, but Venable also seems like a pretty good option also for the Reds. He’s cheap, plays pretty good defense, can play some CF, and is one year removed from a 120 wRC+.

    Of course, the Pads may want to keep Venable because that defense in their OF is putrid.

    • HELLSBELLS

      They need a SS, Cozert for Smith is nearly fiancially a wash.

  49. Tom Reed

    The Padres are bulking up for a run in the big show at season’s end. The Reds need a rental in left field who can get a runner in from scoring position at least one out of three times. Making contact is the key, not homerun power. We’ve got enough of that with Bruce, Frazier, Phillips, Votto and Mesoraco.

    • lwblogger2

      So he needs to bad .333 w/ RISP? Not a lot of guys that do that consistently. Only the ones who generally hit .333. This may not be that realistic.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Phillips actually is a contact hitter. Good and bad news I guess, he hits into a ton of DPs.

  50. Ron

    Go get Duda from Mets…NYM need a shortstop……….

  51. HELLSBELLS

    Kyle Jenson released, pick him up!

  52. George Mirones

    Steve;
    Jocketty said. “It’s not increasing to the level it would need to have been able to keep the guys we traded. It’s still increasing quite a bit over last year, but everyone’s salaries are jumping up. We knew that going into last year.” I don’t hear the commitment to acquire a LF’er I hear that payroll will be increasing due to already planed and anticipated contract increases and the trades offset those increases. I think that we(Reds fans) are perceiving that he (Walt) is going to get a LF’er. If payroll was decreasing then Seth Smith, who would be making about 7M more than Heisey, even with arbitration, does not fit dollar wise. You mentioned Steamer 2015 projections, which are a good bet. Steamer has Heisey (avg. .233, OBP 279, SLG..373) and Smith (248/.336/.407), using the numbers you posted, fairly close for 2015 until you look at extended numbers wRC+, wOBA that is where the value of Smith makes a statement. For some reason I just don’t think Walt can justify adding those dollars for a place holder. My best guess is what I have said before, if Winkler shows well by July 1, 2015 then he will be in left-field replacing Schu.

    • charlottencredsfan

      If Cozart were to be included in the deal, I think Smith could work dollar wise.

      If I was GM, I would focus on a long term solution to the middle infield and get a very low cost stop gap in the OF. Say, someone like Jose Tabata. The Reds system seems to have a relative abundance of OF prospects and middle infield talent is a veritable wasteland. BP and Zack are not the answer.

      Middle infielders like Correa and Profar. It would take a sweet package to get either but I’d shoot for it.

      • George Mirones

        The Reds have the newly acquired ss as back up to cozart, so my thinking is that they feel they have it covered.

  53. charlottencredsfan

    Honest to goodness, the Padres also picked up catcher David Ross. Kind of like cornering the gold market with catchers. Need a catcher? Better get in touch with SD.

      • charlottencredsfan

        As long as it’s not Mesoraco.

      • George Mirones

        From what I have read the two main parts of the Latos trade are being replaced, Grandal and Yonder, and both of them have newer contracts for more than the minimum.

    • preacherj

      Sheesh. Fifteen years from now Ross and Arroyo will find themselves as battery mates again somewhere.

    • tct

      I think the Padres moves were as much about creating buzz and getting the fan base excited as they were about winning. They traded away 10 of their top 15 prospects, as well as young guys with team control, like Grandal. What did they get back? One year of Upton. Five years of Kemp, who may have arthritis in his hips, is off injured, has become one of the worst defenders in baseball, and will be getting 15 mil per year from the Padres.

      And then there is Myers. A former top prospect who has been traded by two different organizations in the last two years. His value is dependent on him hitting for power, and now he goes to one of the toughest ballparks to hit for power in baseball. I would have liked him alright in GABP, but I don’t know about Petco.

      It’s a super high risk strategy. If they don’t win, they could set their team back five years. On the other hand, they weren’t winning anyway. I just don’t think we should be critical of the Reds for not being as aggressive as the Padres, because I don’t think this strategy would fit the Reds circumstances.

      • wvredlegs

        Look at what the Padres did. They kept their top 3 prospects. Think if the Reds could have obtained Myers and Upton without having to give up Stephenson, Lorenzen, or Winker. We would have all said perposterous! No way. But the Padres then added Kemp, and Norris still without giving up one of their top 3. The GM of the Year resides in San Diego.

      • wvredlegs

        Plus the Reds didn’t need all the players San Diego picked up. They just needed one. ONE!!! And Jocketty couldn’t even pull that off.

      • tct

        So if the Reds traded Garett, Romano, Daal, and Yorman for one year of Upton, you would have liked that? I wouldn’t..

        Or how about Frazier for Matt Kemp at 5/75? No thanks.

        I will give you Myers. I think he could be good in Cincy. But there is also a reason that two teams have traded him in the last two years. They must feel that his reputation and trade value are greater than his actual value. And those teams know more about him than anybody else

        It’s easy to like those trades when the prospects involved don’t mean anything to you. But I guarantee that if the Reds has given up similar packages of their prospects that many people would be upset. Because we follow the Reds prospects and we know their upsides. We also know that the Reds have to have that pipeline of cheap production to compete.

        I wish the Reds had some younger blood in the front office. I wish they were more analytical and aggressive. But just because a GM is making lots of moves doesn’t necessarily mean they are good moves. I really don’t know much about the prospects involved, so I can’t give an expert opinion. But I do know that I wouldn’t give up much for one year of Upton, especially in San Diego. I do know that Kemp is a huge gamble. And I do know that Wil Myers value is tied to his power.

      • ToddAlmighty

        TCT, I am not sure how you got Frazier = Yascheater Grandal, a A+ pitcher with a low K/9, and another minor league pitcher who’s only thrown 95 innings total since the end of 2011.

        Plus you forgot the AAAA Catcher, as well. who has hit .320/.394/.544 in 1,004 AAA PA and hasn’t gotten a suitable chance in the majors yet. Which makes Kemp at 5yr/$75m even better.

      • tct

        Yeah, Todd, I was having a tough time coming up with a comp for Grandal on the Reds as far as trade value goes. The best I could come up with was what Meso’s trade value was before this year started.

        But the more I though about it, I think Cingrani is a good comp for Grandal as far as trade value goes. Both young, cheap with multiple control years left. Both had short stretches where they showed they could be above average players in the majors. But both have questions too, with injuries, Cingrani’s secondary pitches, and Grandal PED scandal and ability to stay at catcher.

        If Kemp was a free agent today, I can’t see anybody giving him 5/75. That’s close to what Hanley and Sandoval got, and they are much safer bets. Somebody may give him 15 per year, but not for 5 years. So there is very little, if any, surplus value for the Padres, and they throw in Grandal too?

        It is worth acknowledging that the Padres have a difficult time attracting free agent hitters in that ballpark. So maybe they thought that this overpay was not as bad as they would have to overpay free agents. Either way, 5/75 for Kemp is the last thing the Reds need with the situation they are in with long term contracts. Even more so if they are actually trying to sign Cueto.

      • ToddAlmighty

        Fair enough, TCT. I just knew that Frazier has three years of being an above average player now, including having more WAR last year than Grandal has in his career. I could get behind the Cingrani = Grandal more or less right now.

        That said, I still think that the catcher the Padres got could be a huge part of that deal. He’s absolutely destroyed AAA pitching and hasn’t gotten a fair shot in the majors yet. Little older, but catchers generally are.

        I think Kemp might have gotten near 5yr/$75m if he hit free agency this offseason, though. Sure there’s the arthritis hip thing, but it’s not like that became a thing just now. He played 150 games last year with it. He IS a pretty awful defender, so I would throw him in LF in the small GABP and let Hamilton cover extreme left field… but I still think he would have gotten paid around what he’s making with the Padres. Teams would see a right handed hitter who slashed .309/.365/.606 after the All-Star break. That’s enough to earn a payday despite injury concerns.

        As for Cueto, even if they are serious about trying to re-sign him, they shouldn’t. There’s almost no way giving him at least a 6yr/$150m contract would work out well for the Reds.

      • jessecuster44

        Of course the Reds aren’t going to flip their roster like SD. However, if you look at the individual deals, the Reds could have found a fit with at least one of these players. Reds need ONE bat. One. Padres just got about six in the course of 8 days. Very frustrating.

      • tct

        I understand. I have been frustrated with management too. I’m just not going to criticize Walt for not getting Kemp or Upton because I don’t think those guys are good fits for the Reds. Upton walks after the year and the Reds are not for sure contenders in 2015, so giving up a prospect package bigger than the Padres gave up for one year isn’t a good idea. And Kemp isn’t a good fit because the Reds already have issues with huge long term contracts and giving that money to a player with serious injury concerns is not a good idea.

        Myers could have been a nice fit. Fowler would have been a good idea last year and the Astros got him for cheap. I think it’s fair to criticize Walt for not being in on those guys.

  54. RedAlert

    And Nero Jocketty continues to fiddle while the trade and free agency market burns down around him – lip service at its finest !

    • George Mirones

      What is lip service to some is corporate speak for “it ain’t gonna happen” for others.
      A persons perception is their truth and if what he said in my earlier post is perceived to be we are going after a ML LF’er then it becomes their truth. I haven’t heard him say those words. I have heard “tweak”, “fine tune”, “adjust” which is what I am seeing.

  55. lwblogger2

    Pirates apparently are signing the oft-injured Corey Hart. Looks like the plan may be to have him play some 1B.

    • George Mirones

      I agree as the Pirates are going to put their 3rd baseman at 1st with Hart as backup and PH.

  56. preacherj

    I like this idea. You could do far worse than Corey Hart coming off the bench. As long as you don’t depend on him for 100 games, it’s a solid boost.

  57. docmike

    The Padres just traded for Justin Upton, after already acquiring Matt Kemp and Wil Myers. They have put themselves in a position where they HAVE to trade Seth Smith now, he is too expensive to be a backup.

    Hope the Reds can put together a good offer and get him.

  58. charlottencredsfan

    The Yanks just traded Martin Prado to Miami. Maybe the Yanks are looking at BP to play 2B?? Stay tuned.

    • Tom Reed

      The Yankees are apparently into a youth movement so it’s doubtful that BP will be in their sights

  59. preacherj

    Possible MIA lineup: 2B Gordon, LF Yelich, RF Stanton, 3B Prado, CF Ozuna, 1B Morse, C Saltalamacchia, SS Hechavarria.

    — Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN)

    Someones been doing some Christmas shopping.

    • docmike

      Nothing happens in a vacuum. If one team gets better, another must be getting worse (hello, Atlanta).

  60. ToddAlmighty

    Need some OF help? Just grab $15m/yr Kemp, Wil Myers, and Justin Upton. The Padres way.

    Dang, I would have loved for the Reds to have added ONE of those guys, let alone two or all three.

  61. jessecuster44

    Anybody see that SD traded Ryan Hanigan for Will Middlebrooks? Middlebrooks is a young bat, and would have looked nice in a Reds uni. Perhaps put him in LF or 3B.

    Other GMs are running circles around Walt Jocketty. Jocketty is old and uses old school methods; the new generation of GMs are young and hungry. I fear this franchise will be stuck in neutral for the next two years.

      • Mark Bradford

        Please tell me what moves Walt should make without money to spend. He did his job, he she’d payroll. The reds have a more affordable team now. They should not have resigned votto, Phillips and Bailey if they couldn’t afford them. They gsmbled on increased attendance and list as the fans didn’t buy enough tickets.

      • Carl Sayre

        I don’t know about trades but he had enough money to have played in the Melky stakes. I think the White Sox spent top dollar or close to it but he should be worth that since it was a 3 year deal and it shouldn’t block moving him if the need arises.

      • jessecuster44

        I refuse to subscribe to your “poor” narrative. The Reds just freed up lots of salary with the Heisey/Latos trades. Your tsk-tsk ing of the Votto signing comes about 2 years too late. Money wasn’t the problem last season, and it sure as heck isn’t a problem now. The problem is that there are very few players left who the Reds can target, because Walt/Bob haven’t moved with urgency.

  62. ohiojimw

    So, for the Reds, it must be about bottom line payroll costs at this point, right? If they didn’t need to shed more $$$ to take on more, they could have done several of these recent deals to address their most pressing need, LF.

    • jessecuster44

      They could have shed payroll much sooner than they did, then gotten a LF from a much broader market. Now the Reds have limited choices, if they make a choice at all.

      “Urgency.” It’s a word unknown to most people in the Reds organization.

      • ohiojimw

        I tend to avoid commenting on about individual transactions and why the Reds might not have been involved because there are so many complicating issues going on around contract provisions and finances that we as outsiders will never know about.

        Instead, I look more at trends; and what I’ve seen is that any number of guys who could have filled the Reds needs have been moved in the last couple of weeks. We’ve seen guys from all around the spectrum of cost and contract situations move. We’ve seen a couple of teams send big money along with guys just to move them and accept what seemed to be not all that much in return.

        Somewhere in all of this wasn’t there surely a situation or two where the Reds might have been serious players? And yes we don’t know that they weren’t but on the other hand except for Cespedes, I don’t think there has been a whisper that the Reds were even nosing around as opposed to the whole world seeming to know when they were looking to drop payroll.

        Prado does stand out to me because the Yanks sent $6M against the $22M outstanding on his contract over 2 remaining seasons. So he is costing the Fish a total of $16M out of pocket. Seth Smith is going to cost $13M (counting the buyout of 2017) over the next two years. If the Reds weren’t players for Prado (and admitted, we don’t know for sure they weren’t), can they afford to be players for Smith who probably isn’t quite as good of a match to the Reds needs as Prado would have been?

      • charlottencredsfan

        Have a feeling that networking is not Walt’s strength. Maybe he is just not crazy about people in general? The guy is sharp as a tack and nearly all trades he has put together are positive as well as many bargain bin pick-ups. Honestly, could it be as easy as his personality doesn’t suit that part of the job? If so, can’t Towers be his mouthpiece?

        I’m very serious because we are “never” rumored to be in genuine contention for any of these guys. Seems we do kick a tire every now and then but never make an offer – that is reported or Walt admits to. Best we hear is, “we have talked with their agent but nothing serious”. Huh????

      • Steve Mancuso

        In terms of trades, I wonder if generational style plays a role in this. Other than a couple of exceptions, Jocketty’s network of colleagues from 2005 no longer exists — other than the ones he hires as his assistants. I’m not saying he doesn’t feel comfortable talking to the younger, more aggressive GMs. Or that he can’t make a deal with them.

        But if the new, younger GMs – bold, aggressive, creative – act more quickly and are less risk-averse than GMs in the past, the fits may not work out with Jocketty.

        Not saying one way is better than the other. Only that the age/style difference may partially explain the Reds lack of action the past two years.

  63. earl99

    C’mon guys, it’s going to be Allen Craig. 1. ex-Cardinal 2. right handed hitter 3. can play 1b. I figure they will swap even up for Mike Leake.

    • redsfan06

      Just the fact the Reds were mentioned in rumors to be interested in Craig sent shivers down my spine. I would rather have Smith, Van Slyke, Zobrist, Fowler and probably a bunch of others I can’t think of than Craig.

      Craig is a pure gamble. He is signed for $25.5 million through 2017. Hopefully that is enough to scare away the Reds.

      • ToddAlmighty

        Still would like to see Van Slyke in a Reds uniform. Wouldn’t have a problem sticking him out in LF. Plus if Votto’s leg decides to be troublesome he can play first.

        Need to remember that the Reds need not one, but two outfielders, though. Unless anyone here honestly feels good about having Skip Schumaker in line for 60 or so starts, and one injury away from being a full time starter.

  64. charlottencredsfan

    It’s going to be interesting to see where Carols Quentin ends up. He has a history of a high OBP and respectable power. Can only play LF has a yearly manageable salary but it’s too long and he is always hurt. Would “not” like to see him in a Reds uni but someone will bite. He is not going to sit the bench at those dollar figures, Padres will surely move him.

  65. charlottencredsfan

    MLB-TR – Orioles have been looking at Ichiro as well as considering Aoki and Rasmus. Have to think they might get one of those three.

      • Carl Sayre

        We traded away a 220 something hitting outfielder that could play all 3 OF positions who was projected to make a lot less money than Rasmus.

  66. vegastypo

    I swear I’m becoming increasingly convinced that the Reds think they’ll wait out the market, or what’s left of the market, and get somebody who begins to feel uneasy about not having a job as the offseason wears on. And get that guy to sign for only a year or two, and at less money.

    Can somebody tell me a bit more about Steve Selsky? There was a comment or two about him several days ago. I think I recall Doug Gray saying Selsky likely wasn’t gonna be in the Reds’ plans because he’s a corner outfielder who has no power, but I can’t find the exact comment. If the Reds don’t care about power from a corner outfielder, wouldn’t Selsky be a lot cheaper than Aoki?

    • Brady

      Selsky didn’t hit great at AAA last year, for what it’s worth. High OBP guy though.

      There are a few cheaper options in the system – Selsky, Lutz, YorRod, Boesch, even Winker – but I think they want some ML experience and Aoki can certainly give you that. Out of those options, you’re likely to get replacement-level production at least even if you have to platoon a couple of them. That would likely mean you could get a couple quality bullpen guys also.

      Would the fan base be happy with that? No; especially not now that Upton, Kemp, Myers, etc. have been moved. There’s pressure on Walt to get something done, which is why you’ll see someone outside of the above group signed or traded for.

      I love the Dirks idea but I’m not sure he makes enough of a splash. Selling tickets is important.

    • George Mirones

      Someone who I haven’t seen on any prospect list (Prospect Digest Top 10, Doug Gray’s, John Sickles Top 20)
      Steve Selsky; Birthdate: 7/20/1989 (24 y, 11 m, 11 d) Bats/Throws: R/R Height/Weight: 6-1/205 Position: OF
      Drafted: 2011 June Amateur Draft – Round: 33, Pick: 24, Overall: 1015, Team: Cincinnati Reds
      (http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=sa526361&position=OF)
      Why am I interested, his numbers show learning and progress at each level, or at least by my interpretation. If RLN has written about him, I missed it, but just in case you haven’t found him, I will elaborate.
      Steve has been in the system about 3 years since drafted
      Rookie Ball 89 PA, BABIP .339 , wRC+ 172
      2012 Split season
      Reds A 246 PA’s, BABIP .343 , wRC+ 102
      Reds A+ 307 PA’s, BABIP .402, wRC+ 164
      2013 Split season
      Reds A+ 394 PA’s,, BABIP .352, wRC+ 134
      Reds AA 99 PA’s, BABIP .234, wRC+ 45
      2014 Split season
      Reds AA 205 PA’s, BABIP .383, wRC+ 124
      Reds AAA 11 PA’s, BABIP .353, wRC+ 86

      In Reds A he hit 3 HR, and had 26 RBI, and he had 49 SO and 12 Walks in 228 PA
      In Reds A+ he hit 28 HR’s, and had 132 RBI, and he had 141 SO, and 63 Walks, in 701 PA
      In Reds AA he hit 1 HR, and had 33 RBI, and he had 62 SO, and 39 Walks, in 304 PA
      Observations
      In A+ ball (West Coast) it is believed that power numbers are suspect.
      In 2013 on being promoted to AA his numbers dipped, the learning curve started,
      In 2014 starting at AA his numbers went back up, Learning being put into practice.
      In 2014 on being promoted to AAA his number are slipping again (see Chart on link) but if he is learning again they should show improvement by year end.

      For a June 2011 draft pick to be at AAA in 3 years shows me Walt thinks he has something special and he is keeping it to himself. Steve is now listed at 1b since reporting to AAA. Future??
      So if history repeats sometime next year mid-season or later we just may see Steve Selsky at GABP

    • earl99

      Waiting out the market last year got the Orioles Nelson Cruz for an affordable season of production, but don’t think there is someone out there that good this year.

  67. RedAlert

    Merry Christmas from Uncle Walt and Big Bob – you’ll get nothing and like
    It !!!

      • tct

        Man, that horse has been dead for days! Quit beating it. It’s getting weird and people are staring.

      • Mark Bradford

        And blaming Walt every day for doing nothing isn’t getting old? He doesn’t have the money to make moves.

      • tct

        I haven’t been real hard on Walt lately. I liked the trades he made at the meetings. But I understand the people who are getting impatient.

        Here’s what silly about your argument, Mark. Trades don’t necessarily cost anything. In fact, you can even dump salary through trades as the Reds have already done.

        In addition, the Reds don’t have a starting left fielder, unless.you believe that Skip, Lutz, or Winker is going to be the opening day starter. Walt has not given any indication that is the case. So, they will have to add someone, and this player will make a salary, no? Nobody is expecting them to get a high priced free agent. But they do have to get a left fielder, and unless the labor union has gone really soft, they will have to pay him.

        Finally, who is responsible for the Reds budget problems? They had the highest payroll in the division last year and will be well over 100 million this year. I’m sure Bob had his hand in some of the long term deals, but Skip, the expensive relievers, and the Ludwick and Hannahan buyouts seem like vintage Walt moves. So defending him by saying he has no money when he was the one who blew all the money is asinine.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Trades can cost a lot, TCT. If the Dodgers don’t pick up so much of Kemp’s salary, that trade with the Padres probably doesn’t happen. With it happening, it still increases the Padres payroll significantly.

        What people don’t remember about Walt is he doesn’t give any idea what he’s doing until it happens. Did anyone see the initial Latos trade? Nope. Did anyone see the Marshall trade? Nope. The initial Broxton trade? Nope.

        At the beginning of the off-season, if Walt didn’t find anyone, I would have been fine with Heisey out there in LF or a platoon of Heisey/Schumacher; it couldn’t have been any worse than Ludwick. But, I would have rathered have someone else, bringing in someone else. Did it have to be a move right away? Nope. Simply put, many of the fanatics simply wanted one right away. I didn’t care if it was the first LF signed. But, I would care if it was the last LF signed. Right about now is when I believe Walt should be getting to signing someone directly. For all we know, he may have been trying to make another trade for a LF. And, what many on here don’t understand, to make a trade, it isn’t only a need we have, but we have to have what the other team wants, we have to be willing to give it up, the other team has to be willing to give it up, and the teams still need to sit down and negotiate, cross the t’s and dot the i’s. Apparently, if Walt had been looking for that, it wasn’t working. Right about now, Walt should probably be looking at a FA, I believe.

        But, then, also, if anyone thinks whoever we get for LF is going to be our savior, you have to think again. Almost regardless of who we put out there, including if we even brought back Ludwick, success from this team this season is going to come from how much Votto and Bruce can come back, how much Devin and Todd can keep their numbers up, and how much Hamilton can improve. Whoever is in LF is going to mean as much to the offense as BP does.

    • RedAlert

      Maybe Walt doesn’t have the guts to make any move ! Sick of hearing the freaking money excuse !!!

  68. Tom Reed

    Three and a half months to Opening Day. All is not lost.

    • lwblogger2

      This is true. It’s also what I keep telling myself. Jocketty has done stuff after the new year before and a handful of moves were even made in February. I think people are getting antsy as the pool of available possibles via trade and via FA is drying up.

  69. JU

    What confuses me about this board in general is that some folks here presume that the only people paying attention to the player movements are the ones who post on this forum. It occurs to me that the manager was interviewed and said the team needs better offense. So at least I can assume that the manager and the GM have at least talked about this. That assumed, why is it so important to keep bashing the GM for not making a trade? It’s not even Christmas. Lots of trades can be made. Just because he didn’t make one on your schedule doesn’t mean there’s a need for all this angst.

      • jessecuster44

        JU – your point is fair, but Redalert trumps it. This team has needed a bat in LF since opening day of 2013. What’s the hold up with acquiring the bat? Too difficult? I’d say San Diego alone in one week has proven how simple it is to acquire an OF with pop.

        Lots of trades can be made before opening day. But the supply is dwindling.

      • JU

        There is no dwindling supply of players who can be traded all the way up until July 31. The list of free agents is dwindling. The Reds had reason to believe going into 2013 that Ludwick could play LF. After he healed, they still believed he could. It’s only because he proved he couldn’t that we are critical of that decision.
        And I think it’s patently silly to say after the fact that we all knew he would fail.
        I am on board with improving the team but to continue this endless harangue about it has produced nothing but the same pointless narrative.

    • ohiojimw

      Catellini has now gone on record that they aren’t rebuilding and will spend more on payroll that they did in 2014. To a degree that shoots the no money song in the foot.

      If they choose to tie up their money in keeping the people they have now, that is their choice and also fair grounds for hotstove dissent.

      Given the people that have moved and what they have moved for, it is difficult to believe the Reds could not have been players in some of the situations.

      The amount of movement to this point is clearing the available candidates and thus making it likely that at some point in the not too distant future the talent market will become a sellers’ market; and by waiting the Reds will eventually pay more for less.

      • CP

        And combined with Jocketty’s comments about payroll, it means they are pretty much hitting their payroll cap, so the no money song’s lyrics may have changed, but the melody remains the same.

        The front office’s actions and inaction the past couple seasons scream interference from Castellini. Castellini wants to keep his boys together and doesn’t want to rebuild, end result is the Reds’ organization gets stuck in the no man’s zone where Jocketty’s hands are tied and he is left with very, very little roster flexibility. Their farm system might be able to bail them out (emphasis on “might”), but having a restricted budget and long term contracts to guys like Bailey and Phillips puts them in a similar position to the Phillies. Not a good position to be.

      • ohiojimw

        As much as I appreciate Joey Votto’s talents and character, the best thing that could happen for the Reds long term might well be that he is unable to continue and the team gets off the hook of his contract with a big insurance settlement.

        I understand the point that has been made that in coming year taken as a snapshot, Votto’s salary is not a payroll wrecker, but down the road, it is hard to see how it won’t be if the team payroll is at or reaching its market’s ability to support it.

      • CP

        I honestly think that was part of the rationale for signing Joey to a long-term contract. If he gets to year 5 or 6 of his extension and is no longer performing at a level he expects himself to perform at, Joey seems like the type of guy that would walk away from the contract and enjoy his money in retirement.

      • Hotto4votto

        Well, in an extreme technical sense, sans any LF, they are over last year’s budget, or at the very least right at it. They have $82m out to 11 players (counting $1.71 to Iglesias) including two buyouts. They also have $27.5 projected to go to 5 arbitration guys (MLBTR estimates) to account for $109.5m. They would have to add 9 more players to get to 25 on the roster, even at league minimum ($500k) it takes them to $114m which is last year’s total, and we know not all those will be exactly $500k (usually they get slight increases each year).

    • Carl Sayre

      The longer he goes without getting the left fielder we need the number available keeps diminishing. That seems like a pretty simple concept but he makes the big bucks so he must know. No I did not keep a straight face typing that. I will say this in defense of WJ the Kemp, Upton and Myers trades were not appealing to this fan. Where WJ is so closed mouth it is frustrating to a lot of fans, it may help in the deal making process but it would be easier to take if I thought he was trying.

    • Thegaffer

      Chapman
      Iglesius
      Gregorius
      Daal
      Half a dozen more that I am not awake enough to remember.

      • tct

        The Reds have signed a lot of international talent. Not only the guys listed above, but also Yorman, Duran, Medina, Aquino, Lutz, Perez, Constante, Soto, Cueto, etc.

        The thing about Korea and Japan is that the young players usually play in their home leagues first. You don’t see many Asian prospects. So by the time they are ready and willing to come to the U.S. they are already stars in their own league and often have contracts that the teams want a huge posting fee to allow them to get out of. That makes them very expensive. Look at what it took to get Tanaka and Darvish.

        The other issue is that the Asian market has not had the greatest track record. That could change with the pitchers I mentioned, but really Ichiro has been the only star. There have been some solid players, like Choo and Matsui. But mostly it has been guys who have had a couple good years and then disappeared, like Dice K, Irabu, Nomo, Park, etc. And then some busts like Kaz Matsui. So, is it worth diverting resources from other areas to be a player in the Asian market?

      • ohiojimw

        Not to mention that most of the Latin American currencies are still very cheap compared to the Japanese and Korean currencies meaning a $ tends to buy more in Latin America.

    • Dale Pearl

      I guess the Reds only look to the caribbean as the source of International talent.

    • preacherj

      New York is listed. Found that kinda funny

    • ToddAlmighty

      24 players.. 9 RHP, 7 SS. Pretty clear what they’re looking for over there.

  70. vegastypo

    So, an as-yet-unidentified team has bid $5 million for a Korean shortstop. You don’t suppose? … Me neither. But I never saw the Chapman signing coming before it happened, either.

    • vegastypo

      and that’s just paying for the right to negotiate with him. Signing him to a contract would be even more money …

    • ToddAlmighty

      Definitely not after trading Simon for a SS.

      • Tom Reed

        It could be if Walt has a trade lined up for BP. Kang would stimulate the Reds offense.

      • ToddAlmighty

        If the Reds have a trade lined up for BP, I would rather the Reds go get Mookie Betts from the Red Sox.

        It’d take $5m just to get the rights to sign this Korean SS. That’s not counting what you’d then have to sign him to. Betts will make like $1.5m for the next 3 years. He also showed in a small 200 PA sample size that he could hit major league pitching.

        Red Sox need a true #1 starter. Reds aren’t going to win in 2015. Cueto + Okay Prospect for Betts, then unload BP. Now you have 2B locked down for the next 6 years at controlled cost. Plus Cueto’s $10m and BP’s $39m off the books to use on a LF (if there are even any left) and a 1-2 year deal for a free agent pitcher.

      • ToddAlmighty

        Not to mention, Kang is heading into his age 28 season. He’ll start heading downhill now. He’s seeing a 4yr/$20m contract. That means you’ll be paying for age 28-31.

        Betts is heading into his age 22 season. It’s all uphill for him and you’ll get him for age 22-27.

  71. preacherj

    David Ross just inked a two year $5 mil deal with the Stupid Cubs. Not bad for a guy who hit .184 last year. Life is good when you are a personal catcher.

    • Dale Pearl

      Life is good as a major league ballplayer. Show up don’t show up. go to the batters box with a hot dog in your mouth. Gain 100 pounds you get paid the same no matter what you do.

  72. JU

    Why are we still discussing the opening day lineup as it will appear because of who Walt Jocketty puts there? Last I heard, Bryan Price makes out the lineup card. Waiting now for the daily ration of …………………