This post was written by Warren Leeman, better known in the Nation as Shchi Cossack.

Unless the right opportunity evolves, I’m not in favor of trading any of the minor league prospects right now. I’m not convinced that any of those prospects, except Jesse Winker, are an absolute lock for a solid major league career. I am convinced that the Reds have enough really good prospects that some of them will develop into solid major league players, but if the Reds trade the wrong prospects without getting a proper return, then there goes the future. The free agent market is completely picked over with nothing but over-priced scraps left for the taking. The short-term trade rentals are over-valued and over-priced. Winker will be the starting LF on opening day of 2016 and will dominate NL pitching for the following 6-8 seasons, but Winker needs time at AAA to fully prepare for his major league debut.

The Reds already have the bats (if and when healthy) to provide the necessary middle-of-the-order punch. Joey Votto, Devin Mesoraco, Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier can match up with any team. If those four hitters are not healthy and productive in 2015, then LF is probably irrelevant. What the Reds don’t have are hitters who get on base consistently and frequently. The Reds are apparently committed to Billy Hamilton hitting at the top of the lineup. We have to hope that Hamilton will ‘get it’ while developing at the major league level and become one of the hitters the Reds need who get on base.

The Reds need two outfielders to fill out the 25-man roster and have two openings on the 40-man roster. Unlike other contributors on this site, I believe that the poor man’s roster solution of an outfield platoon could actually make sense. This is not an altruistic option designed to ‘give the kids a chance’.

Internal options could provide a viable solution for the LF dilemma in 2015. The Reds already have the top-of-the-lineup hitter they need in Votto and plenty of thumpers to hit behind him in Mesoraco, Bruce and Frazier. The issue then becomes the LF platoon to hit in the #6 hole in front of Brandon Phillips and Zack Cozart/Eugenio Suarez. I will add one BIG disclaimer and caveat … Skip Schumaker must be relegated as the fifth OF and the last option for any regular playing time.

Any time Donald Lutz has had consistent, healthy playing time, he has produced.

.306/.363/.617 (0.981 OPS)   Apr 2012-May 2012 (A+)

.211/.294/.513 (0.807 OPS)   Apr 2013 (AA)

.274/.308/.484 (0.792 OPS)   Aug 2013-Sep 2013 (AA)

.271/.344/.432 (0.776 OPS)   2013 Mexican Winter League

.360/.412/.685 (1.098 OPS)   Apr 2014-May 2014 (AA)

.250/.321/.434 (0.756 OPS)   Aug 2014-Sep 2014 (AAA)

.280/.363/.473 (0.837 OPS)   2014 Mexican Winter League

The Big Lutz is already on the 40-man roster. He also has a significant platoon split, hitting +0.100 OPS better against RHP. That makes him a solid candidate for a LH platoon and a LH pinch hitter off the bench. If Lutz falters, Felix Perez is waiting in the wings to step up and take a shot at a LH platoon option.

I initially considered Steve Selsky as the best internal option for a RH platoon partner, but Selsky lacks the power expected from a corner OF and also lacks the severe platoon split. Selsky did manage a solid OBP (0.379) against both RHP and LHP over four minor league seasons and OBP is exactly what the Reds lack as a team. Selsky’s upside is a utility outfielder at the major league level, so the Reds wouldn’t be sacrificing the development of a top prospect.

I looked for another internal option as a RH platoon partner and Jason Bourgeois stepped up and smacked me upside the old noggin. I have never been a fan of Bourgeois since he signed a minor league contract with the Reds prior to the 2014 season, but Bourgeois has a severe platoon split, hitting +0.260 OPS better (310/.358/.405) against major league LHP. If Jason Bourgeois falters, Steve Selsky is waiting in the wings to step up and take a shot.

If Hamilton continues his 2014 second-half performance during 2015, Jason Bourgeois provides an alternative in CF as part of a platoon or for resting Hamilton. The Big Lutz provides an alternative for resting Votto at 1B while keeping Frazier at 3B. If Winker continues to destroy minor league pitching (0.890 OPS over 3 minor league seasons & 0.999 OPS in 2014 AFL) and the Reds are in the playoff hunt in August, Winker can get the call in August (see ya Schumaker!) and start in LF.

Then we can play the ‘what if’ game. What if the Big Lutz puts up an 0.800+ OPS or even a 0.750+ OPS over 400+ PA in 2015? Suddenly, the Reds have a cost-controlled, slugging OF asset with Winker and Bruce (and possibly Hamilton) locked in to start in the Reds OF for 2016. How valuable would such an asset (or possibly Bruce after reestablishing his productivity) be during the 2015 off-season? A cost-controlled, slugging OF could be the key to obtaining the starting SS the Reds are going to need in 2016.


[Picture: The Old Cossack and one of the Little Cossacks on her first Opening Day road trip. The Old Cossack grew up in Mt. Healthy (way back when the band football team could beat the JV football team in 7-man scrimmages) rooting for Vada Pinson, Frank Robinson, Gordy Coleman, Leo Cardenas, Jim O’Toole, Joey Jay and Jim Maloney at Crosley Field and listening to Waite Hoyt. The Old Cossack cried real tears the day the Reds traded Frank Robinson.]


154 Responses

  1. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I van agree with a lot of this. I still think Walt is going to bring in someone like Aoki, though. Or, thinking out of the box, he may be trying to bring in a 3rd baseman and moving Todd to LF. Todd did say LF was his favorite position.

    • Redsfan48

      We need a left fielder that can get on base, so Aoki makes a lot of sense. If we are going with an in-house option, Lutz or Yorman Rodriguez both make the most sense, although both of them would benefit greatly from another year in AAA to develop.

      As for Frazier, the Reds would be out of their mind to put one of the top 5 offensive 3rd basemen in the league, and had he played 3B the entire season, likely a gold glove finalist, in Left field, where his fielding would me much worse, and his offense wouldn’t look quite as impressive.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        I can understand what you mean. But, if it meant not being able to bring someone in for LF but being able to bring someone in for 3rd to help this offense, I am pulling that trigger. We need to consider helping this offense more and helping the defense less. Of course, it can depend on who that someone at 3rd would be.

  2. iceturkee

    hey, i lived in mt healthy too in skyline acres. left in 1962 but not before i saw my fair share of games at crosley field as well!

    • Shchi Cossack

      Go Owls!!! We were virtually neighbors and never knew.

      • ohiojimw

        And I always thought the school where I went was the only one where the unofficial teams could beat the official ones 🙂

  3. Thegaffer

    All I can say to this article, no way! I have watched most every game for many years, but without a decent LF I will not, period. I would prefer to watch a team of rookies than the shell of this team being a player short, AGAIN.

    BTW, Frazier at third is a must. He is a poor defensive LF and 1B, but a good 3B.

    • Shchi Cossack

      Gaffer, you and I completely agree regarding planting Frazier at 3B and leaving him at 3B. Frazier plays GG caliber defense at 3B and can hit along with the best #B in the league.

      • lwblogger2

        Yeah, I’m not wanting to move Frazier either. He’s an excellent 3B and his bat plays above average there too. He has more value at 3B than anywhere else.

  4. Carl Sayre

    I think that WJ was going to try to get a LF and missed and now is going to do just what this article is stating. The trash left on the FA heap is a non factor unless they want a year at league minimum. I do think however the Cossack who I have enjoyed reading his post misses the point with Billy Hamilton IMO the kid just wore down he had never came close to that many games in a season. I was all for Aoki to begin with but upon further investigation I say don’t waste the money.

  5. CP

    Why was June 11 through July 10 omitted from the data? Lutz played nearly everyday for Louisville, and hit .231/.293/.337 (OPS a whopping 0.630)

    I’m willing to give Lutz a pass on his MLB career up to this point because of his usage, but he has never performed consistently well above AA. His power rates are down, and strikeout rate at every level for 2014 is a huge red flag. Even during his “best” period in August 2014, Lutz struck out 27% of the time. Lutz has neither good power, or on base skills to compensate.

    • RedAlert

      Lutz is indeed a strikeout machine – sorry , he’s not the answer in left

      • Thegaffer

        Lutz would be Adam Dunn with less walks and much less power. But, love to see the posts after 3 weeks of him in lineup!

    • Shchi Cossack

      CP, Lutz does indeed stike out more than anyone would like, but most power hitter do strike out too much. The issue I have with evaluating Lutz performance during 2012 & 2013 was the amount of time he was jerked around and riding the pine, rather than getting regular playing time. The 6/11-7/10 period is exactly why I have a issue. After riding the pine for a month, Lutz went back to AAA for a month and then back to the show to ride the pine again. While he was in AAA from 6/11-7/10, Lutz had an OPS of 0.531 from 6/11-6/27 and an OPS of 0.815 from 6/28-7/10.

      • Shchi Cossack

        Ugh…during 2013 & 2014, not 2012 & 2013.

  6. lwblogger2

    The article is a good read but I don’t think an internal option really cuts it if you want to compete this year. If you’re rebuilding, then sure, this works. If they aren’t rebuilding though, the internal options aren’t enough.

  7. charlottencredsfan

    Agree with enough of this article to not nitpick it. Like Cossack, I do not recommend either signing or trading for aging players. Might be tempted to pick-up a Tabata or Dirks at the bargain bin. Let the youngsters fight it out in the Spring Training and may the better player(s) win. If it is Winker, so be it.

    Nice work work Cossack, hope we see more of your extended thoughts in the future.

    • Tom Diesman

      If they trade for someone, I think it needs to be for a young OF with some potential, like the recent Myers deal. I’d be fine dealing from our P prospect depth for someone like a Betts or Van Slyke. If they don’t go that route, I agree they need to go bargain bin and bring in 2 or 3 more guys the same ilk as Boesch. I like Dirks and Tabata above, or maybe someone like Jensen or Peguero who were recently DFA’d, or someone like Carp or Riemold from the FA bargain bin. If they bring in 3-4 of these types and mix and match right they’d have a pretty good chance and bridging the gap to Winker with an average or better production in LF. Also, these guys would provide some good depth for injuries and they are not anyone who would break the bank or who we’d hesitate to move to the bench when Winker is ready.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Tom, for the very reasons you state, I prioritize middle infielders. There are enough LFers in the bargain bin to probably put something together. Even more so with our upcoming OF talent. It appears we have zero when it comes to qualified MI prospects. If Cozart has a 2014 replay, he isn’t a reasonable SS starting option and BP has what, 1-2 years, left in the tank? After that; it looks like a barren wasteland, to me.

        After looking over Suarez closely, both tape & stats, I think he is a long shot to be a productive MLB starter. I’ll put meat on these bones in the near future but he doesn’t look like the answer to Cozart, unfortunately. I would target a guy like Profar.

      • Tom Diesman

        Yes, I’d definitely prefer this route as well. Trade minor league pitching depth for high end MI prospects and go the bargain bin LF option above to bridge to Winker.

      • preacherj

        Charlotte: where do you view tape? I’m an “old schooler” and love to watch game film and scout data, but my sources have for the most part dried up.

      • charlottencredsfan

        MLB.TV. I have a yearly paid subscription but I’m not sure you need one to watch games that have already been played. Maybe someone else can chime in. For me, it would be nice if other bloggers would share this passion; so I hope you join me.

  8. Kyle Farmer

    I still think that getting Kris Negron some games in LF might not be the worst thing in the world. If nothing else, we’d learn how large an aberration the end of last season was.

  9. sultanofswaff

    I too like the idea of a Lutz platoon. At worst, he could be a placeholder for a couple months until Winker has completed his pillaging of the International League. Again, the last thing we want is an overpaid veteran blocking Winker simply because you have to justify the signing.

    Alluding to the reluctance to trade minor leaguers, I have to disagree. Prospects have never been this overvalued (esp. starting pitchers)—it’s a market bubble. We have a surplus of starting pitching prospects that we should be leveraging to help the big club NOW.

    • charlottencredsfan

      I have no problem with the concept of dealing prospects but not for aging rental players. If we trade from prospect strength (SP) for prospect weakness (middle infield), I’m in all the way. We need to differentiate the two, to have a true view of the picture.

    • RedsFaninPitt

      I would have agreed with this suggestion last year and the year before, but the org. has already shown with 2 different managers that they don’t have confidence in Lutz or Bourgeois as regulars or platoon players. From all appearances they are heading for a AAAA stigma which is due more to coach mismanagement and GM lack of providing other options on the market at those times. You can add Soto to this list as well.

      I think there are still good options that the Reds could pursue in a trade. The Rangers and Red Sox are still looking for starters; the Blue Jays are looking for a closer; and the Rays are rebuilding and looking for any young pitching they can get there hands on. Certainly among these 4 teams the Reds could find a solid LF and plug any hole generated by the trade – particularly with the excess young minor league arms they have. I think WJ is either waiting for asking prices to drop or could he be waiting to see how players like Profar, Dirks, Victorino and/or Allen Craig recover from injuries during ST before committing resources. I am open to trades of Leake, Chapman, Pena, and any young prospect not named Winker, Lorenzen, Stephenson, Garrett, or Blandino to obtain Seth Smith, Zobrist, Victorino, or Nava. I am increasingly intrigued by Garin Cecchini and Ryan Rua (an Ohio native) as LF or 3rd base options. I would love a trade that could involve the Rangers bringing Profar, Rua or Smolinsky to the Reds.

      • Carl Sayre

        I don’t like any trade that involves Leake, we have traded away enough starting pitching. That and I think Cueto is going to be way out of reach to keep. I think that Leake is a number 3 starter IMO he will be an affordable Major League pitcher. I may have overstated about any trade but I would like to see if we are going to compete before we try to move him.

  10. Mike

    I am personally a huge fan of two cost saving maneuvers. One, building a bullpen off minor league signings and startin pictures that were once top prospects and didn’t pan out. Second, taking one positions, usually a corner outfield spot probably left field, and working it with a platoon of two cheap players.
    However, while I enjoy the optimistic approach I this article, on this red team, we can’t afford a .240/.340/.300 split at what had been a hole for years.
    I think Walt was smart to avoid the pitfalls of LF free agents this year. There were a couple possible upgrades but at the contracts they ended up with I think we were smart. Anyone want Alex rios for $11 mill? Not me. Aoki is another horrible idea and I pray Walt is waiting for him to agree to one year. I don’t think the guy Walt really wants has been mentioned yet. I don’t get the pleasure of watching winkler an if he is indeed a star born by 2016 that complicated matters but I still believe Walt needs to get a big big bat on an inflated contract. Make it fit by receiving money. Let that player rebuild value this year and I winkler is ready now him them. Josh Hamilton makes sense to me. But assuming it doesn’t work and nothing else is available then stick with the platoon but if it’s lutz n bernardino then we r wasting Curtis last year. I’d rather trade cueto n chapman n set it up for 2016

  11. reaganspad

    this team has more stars than the 1990 championship team, has a better starting rotation and one of the 3 nasty boys.

    The 1990 team had a lot of role players with 1st base being the big hole. They had a lot of kids grow up into their roles or stardom (Sabo).

    I am fine to start the season with what we have and know that you have to mix and match to be successful this year.

    I would like our kids to be coming up in our system to the bigs to support the stars we are committed to long term.

    I agree with the old Cossack that I do not want to see one of our budding stars become that player for another team because we needed 3 months of a player in LF this year.

    I do not think this team is as bad as most on this blog. I think win 90 regardless who plays left because we will be healthy this year

    • lwblogger2

      For a whole lot of reasons, I don’t see this team as sharing that “gonna sneak up on ya” trait that the 1990 team had. Anything can happen and I love your optimism but there are too many holes right now for me to share your optimism. Which is kind of sad because I’m generally very positive and upbeat about the Reds. Your point of view is very refreshing though and it’s good to read for a change.

    • RedAlert

      Ain’t no way in this world this team wins 90 games as currently constructed – NO WAY !

      • reaganspad

        I think you need to have more faith that they will not win 90 games than I have to have to think that they will.

        2015 is a question of 2 knees. If they are both healthy for Bruce and Votto, we will easily win 90 games…..they will play to their baseball card career averages

        If they are not, we won’t. I do not believe that the Votto or Bruce we saw last year represents their entire career. It represents an injury season for both.

        I think there is a much higher probability that they both come back healthy than they both revisit 2014.

        If healthy, we easily win 90 games with the team as constructed.

        I continue to think that our best option on the team as constructed is Mesoraco in LF where he can play every day. Mesoraco has to play everyday for this team as constructed. Since offense is what we seek, why sit your best RH power anytime?

        Tucker will be fine platooning with Pena.

      • lwblogger2

        If part of your assumption for 90-wins involves Mesoraco playing more than a handful of games in LF (if he’s in LF at all), then I think you may end up very disappointed. It sounds like you are advocating a full on position change for Mes and even if it is the right move, which I personally don’t think it is, the Reds don’t seem inclined to want to make him a left-fielder.

  12. WVRedlegs

    I think that Lutz will be given opportunities in spring training to win the LH portion of the LF job, or at least to be the 4th OF, if the Reds do not get a more established OF. The RH portion of that equation is not on the Reds roster. That will have to be obtained.
    I would also have to think that Lutz would be an attractive piece in a package in a Rays trade for Zobrist. Lutz has some versatility 1B/LF/DH for TB. The Rays could save $7.5M in a Zobrist trade. Lutz having success could lead the Rays to trade 1B James Loney, owed $7M in ’15 and $8M in ’16, next July or next off-season, or possibly still this off-season. That could net the Rays a savings of $7.5M on Zobrist and anywhere from $8M to $15M (over two yrs.) on Loney. That would be an approx. 18% payroll reduction by TB. Something they seem intent on accomplishing. And net the Rays several young players.
    Lutz will probably be in a MLB uniform in 2015, but it might not be with the Reds.
    If the Rays are going to trade Zobrist, the Reds should make sure they are the ones getting him. And Lutz could help make that happen.

    • reaganspad

      I wish that we had the same view of Lutz, but since we don’t, I would be in favor of this kind of trade for Lutz

  13. reaganspad

    so in 2014 we won 76 games and we all know the issues.

    in 2011, we won 79 games with a broken Rolen, Renteria at SS, Janish and Cairo getting significant AB’s. Zack Cozart hit 324 that year and may thought that we had found the SS of the future.

    in 2010, 2012 and 2013 we won over 90 games. New names have replaced the old: Billy for Stubbs, Cozart for Janish, Mesoraco for Hannigan, Super Todd for Rolen/Cairo. Change happens.

    And sometimes you need a bit player like a Jonny Gomes to provide for a segment of the season. This is one of those times.

    But what remains consistent is the pitching. Our top 4 starters are very,very good. I am listing Cingrani in that top 4 and I know there is debate about him. But he is very good when healthy. And of course if we would add Chapman to the rotation, we would have arguably the best rotation in the league with 3 #1 starters and 2 Left Handers which would be my preference. But regardless of where Chapman is slotted, Pitching remains our strength.

    Bullpens can be fixed. depth can be added. I like that we are not overpaying for that this year.

    But if anything, the Giants have shown me that you do not panic and try to be the Angels or the Dodgers or the Rangers or the Mustard Sox. They haven’t won anything yet. We haven’t either, but I just don’t see that this is a time to panic.

    Patience is tough at this time of year because nothing is happening.

    • ohiojimw

      Part of time passing is change. Change in turn involves aging and injury of players. Frazier replaced Rolen. Meso filled the catcher’s spot (and hopefully provided an upgrade even),

      But now, who steps up to fill the slack of an aging BP? And in what universe is it real to expect Votto (supposing he is whole again) to match what he did in 2010 until the time the he was injured? Those were career years. Who helps fill that slack?

      Kludged together though it was, even left field wasn’t always a black hole. There were periods of solid productivity there involving the platoon of Nix/Gomes and the big second half of Ludwick in ’12.

      Recovering these levels of production across the team as a whole is the concern.

  14. Hotto4votto

    Wonder why you didn’t mention YRod? He’s on the 40-man roster, he’s right handed, can play all three OF spots, and offers some speed off the bench. I understand the thought of seasoning him in AAA, but at the same time he will be out of options after this year, I believe. You could platoon him in LF, and allow him to give Jay and Billy time off or even as late innings defensive replacement. If the Reds were creative, he could find enough AB’s to continue developing and his upside, even next year, is better than Bourgeois.

    • Shchi Cossack

      The nature of a platoon limits the role of the RH hitter in a platoon situation. Yorman is still a prospect and needs to play regularly in order to avoid the development-limiting situations imposed on Lutz the past 2 seasons. Bourgeois is a 32-year-old with veteran experince at the major league level.

      • Hotto4votto

        Fair enough. I guess I just wonder what the point of seasoning him for a back up role accomplishes. If we believe Winker is the future in LF, and Billy and Jay have the other two spots locked down in 2016 still, then where does he play? He must be with the team in 2016 regardless, and can’t be optioned down without risking him to a waiver claim at that point, why not see what he has this year. It would essentially be the same role as 2016, giving Winker a day off against lefties, and spelling the other two guys for rest days. Unless you think he takes over if Billy falters or Jay rebounds and is traded. Either way, wouldn’t you like a little more experience under the belt if he is scheduled to take take over either spot?

        I get that regular AB’s are essential to gain confidence and comfort at the ML level. I also concede your point that the RH portion of the platoon would see a lesser percentage, only about a quarter, of the at bats during the year. But I don’t see where it would have to be set in stone that he and Lutz (or Boesch etc) would have to play a straight-up platoon. Yorman will certainly have the edge in the field, and may end up being the better hitter regardless of handedness.

        Let’s say the Reds play 27 games a month. Let’s say he starts 8 of the games in LF, and gives both Billy and Jay two days off a month, meaning he’s starting 12 games a month. Looking at the bench, he would probably be a top RH PH option, and the top defensive replacement. Meaning he probably gains some more AB’s at the end of games he doesn’t start. Combined he probably gets a floor of 60 AB’s a month, meaning 360 AB’s for the year…and that’s not counting any extended time he could play if someone (God forbid) went on the DL. It’s not a stretch for him to tally 400 AB’s in this scenario for this year. I wouldn’t say that would be a strain on his development, especially considering the upside of having him be around the big league club house, get big league instruction, and familiarization with the league’s pitchers. And, he’d be replacing Bourgeois in this scenario, why not roll the dice if we’re going with internal options?

        Anyway, nice article. I appreciate your contributions.

  15. lwblogger2

    There’s a guy that isn’t currently a LF but one RLN poster thought that he just may be able to do it and the more I think about it, the more I think he may be able to as well. The question is, would you take this production from a free-agent who hasn’t ever played LF but might be able to convert from IF to OF a la Shawon Dunston back in the day?

    The projection is: .239/.332/.407. No idea what he’ll cost but he is still out on the market and would very likely be cheaper than Aoki or Rasmus. Can anyone guess the player?

    Personally, I think it’s way outside the box for how the Reds generally operate and I’m not sure it would be a great idea considering it’s playing a guy out of position. I do believe that if the price was right, it wouldn’t hurt too badly to try it though.

    • lwblogger2

      Really grasping at straws here, I know.

    • reaganspad

      Ricky Weeks and he is the kid of player I would take a flier on

      • lwblogger2

        We have a winner! Yes… I’m not sure I like the idea but for the right money, he’d be as good of an option as any in LF right now. I don’t usually advocate position changes at the MLB level but he has a lot in common with Shawon Dunston. He’s athletic and I think he could pull it off.

  16. Ken Goldsberry

    I can’t believe that no one is giving Brendan Bosch a shot. He’s younger than Ludwick was when he had his bounceback season with the Reds and a better outfielder. Bosch catching fire for a season is exactly what the Reds need, a solid one year player who if he has a good enough year, could even garner a compensation pick if the Reds make a QO and he walks elsewhere.

    • lwblogger2

      I like that they picked up Brennan Boesch on a minor league deal. I think he may be able to contribute. He’s had some MLB success and raked in the PCL (AAA) last year. He’s always had a lot of potential. The odds of him having the kind of impact season you’re talking about however are pretty long. As a Reds fan, if the Reds don’t do anything else to improve the OF situation, I’d love to see it though.

    • Thegaffer

      No one thought he was worth a major league deal. He is an inferior player to Heisey and they did not play him. Pretty sure he would take 16 million QO even if he hits 30 HR.

  17. jessecuster44

    I think we can all agree that Walt/Bob have bungled the situation in LF since opening day 2013. Currently, there is not one satisfactory option in LF. That’s a low down dirty shame.

      • Ken Goldsberry

        Dunn had said he plan on retiring after the season was over, not sure if he still plans on carrying through or not. Unfortunately, he is not an option defensively for the Reds. I don’t believe he’s played anywhere but 1B for several years now and spends most of his time as DH.

  18. VaRedsFan

    I sure hope Bruce bounces back. A lot of people here are just treating 2015 like its automatic that he will return to form. He had a MINOR knee surgery (as knee surgeries go) and was back in the lineup 2 weeks later, running well and stealing bases. I for one, don’t think he should get a pass for the final 4 months of the season. He hit well for a few weeks when the Reds went on a good run before the break. So the knee was OK then, but not for the next 3 months??? Hogwash.
    Until he starts listening to people that know the mechanics of hitting and change his approach, he will continue to slip into oblivion. He is definitely my #1 fear going into the season….and not because of health reasons.

    • Michael E

      He’s been so pathetic (when he isn’t homering) for so long, I don’t see him improving. He KNOWS how bad he looks and how often, but doesn’t seem to care. The other issue with Bruce is the all-or-nothing production. He is the top hitter in baseball for two different 10 day stints, but the rest of the season he is below replacement level OF. Seriously.

      That shift should be a GOLD MINE for players like Bruce, but his loopy swing allows him NO ability to adjust and hit the ball on a line to LF. A real MLB hitter should have little trouble adjusting to start going to LF for a month, taking teams out of the shift after hitting .300 with 15 doubles and several HRs to short left and left-center. Bruce has enough power to hit HRs without being a severe loopy, pull hitter. He’d hit almost as many HRs, just that they’d only be 8 rows deep instead of 20, oh the horror.

      I am so frustrated with Bruce. His stats are solid in total, but its too concentrated in short bursts with the good version of Bruce lasting 12 days and the bad version of Bruce lasts for 50 days.

      • reaganspad

        I do not agree that he has a loopy swing

      • charlottencredsfan

        100% agree with you Regan. Jay Bruce has a nice a swing as you will find. He is not a pop-up hitter. His swing is not a problem.

      • redmountain

        Perhaps the writer calls the dead pull hitter swing “loopy” as in “it is just loopy to swing like that.” Not being a hitting coach, it seems to me that he pulls off a lot of pitches. Mostly these are balls that if he would go with them would produce a lot of doubles to left.

      • Nick Carrington

        Bruce usually has a few strong months during the season. I might have a piece on him soon as he has to bounce back for the Reds to contend this year. As I’ve looked more closely at his numbers, I’ve noticed just how much swing and miss he has to his game. He has a career 73% contact percentage (numbers of pitches on which contact was made/swings) and an average contact percentage is about 80%. That will have to change if wants to take the next step.

        At this point, he probably is what he is, which is pretty good I’ll add. When he makes contact, he makes HARD contact. His ability to hit for extra bases and play good defense makes his rather valuable when healthy.

    • RedlegA2

      Although I agree that Bruce should not be given a pass for the last 1-2 months of 2014, any type of knee surgery (major, minor, ect) effects ones balance. His poor hitting performance is understandable. Atleast that is what I tell myself!

  19. Jon Brown

    Sign chris dickerson for league minimum. he would be best all around LF candidate from all those mentioned. very affordable. Excellent OBP / Defense/ speed/ occasional pop.

    • George Mirones

      Last year I would have agreed with you. This year we already have 2 or 3 “Dickerson’s” hanging around on the roster.

  20. Michael E

    My hope is Boesch is given the chance and runs with it…maybe platooned for maximum LF production from limited resources. Boesch has raked on several LONG stints, but seemed to always be in the doghouse with Detroit and yanked in and out of a starting OF gig in favor of (much) lesser hitting talents. I haven not seen enough of his ABs to know if there was good reason, but the stats didn’t seem to back up his treatment.

    I guess we’ll all know soon enough. I don’t want to pay the price being rumored for FAs like the underwhelming Aoki, Rasmus, etc, and I don’t want to pay the absurd suggested price of a top 5 prospect for a mediocre Zobrist.

    If we trade a top 5 prospect we should get back a top 5 hitting prospect that has lots of upside and cost-control, not some aging player that has no power or can’t field or both.

    Part of finding a LF means considering the cost constraints AND the dire need for cost-controlled young players given what our payroll will look like the next 5 years with heavy money to a few players (ESPECIALLY if they sign Cueto…I’d rather trade him for a couple of top 6 prospects, hopefully one being a top 2 hitter in his early 20s).

    We can’t trade away top prospects and lose some cost-control’d upside, nor can we trade for or sign overpriced mediocrity when we have similar mediocrity floating around AAA/AA and all over the FA wire that will play for “peanuts”.

    • Michael E

      Find a small-market team with dire lack of quality pitching prospects and offer up a Nick Travieso (I don’t see him making it, but still a top 10 prospect) for a good young hitter. A win-win deal so-to-speak.

    • George Mirones

      Michael E;
      The “find a LF player” mantra is unproductive. Walt has his core and knows that last year the Reds were only 1.5 games out before the All Star break without a LF player that everybody wants to find. He has Schumaker as the place holder till the “kids” can come up from the minors. Plus his pitching depth at AAA is deeper than last year (he watched them in the last third of 2014). I don’t see Walt spending any real money or whopper trades till July of 2015.

  21. gusnwally

    The percentage of people who think Jay Bruce will have another lousy year astounds me. Last year was terrible,turrible no doubt. Possibly due to injury, who knows.But, I for one think that he will bounce back to his normal numbers. He hit more HR’s than anyone in the NL for a 3 year period. 96. He had 305 RBI’s and a Bavg about 255. Why would he not do that again as opposed to his one horrible year. Maybe I am just a Pollyanna.However I think he and Joey will be very productive in 2015.

    • Thegaffer

      I think Bruce is so bad when he is bad that he will never have much support here. Especially when we have so many other holes. I have always thought that if you are willing to move Bruce down in the order when he is cold, and have a real LF and even an average SS he is an asset. He is not a plug in the 5 hole guy. This lineup should have have Bruce at 6 and BP at 7. But, you cant do that with no LF.

      Unrealistic stat based lineup

      Seth Smith/Allen Craig or pick um

    • tct

      I’m not 100 percent sure that he will bounce completely back. But his main issue last year, statistically, was his fly ball rate plummeted. His fly balls were leaving the yard at pretty much the same rate they always have, but he just wasn’t hitting as many fly balls. That seems like he was having trouble getting loft on the ball. Not being able to get under it and lift it in the air could possibly be a result of a weak knee.

    • lwblogger2

      The percentage of fans that think Bruce isn’t a good player in general astounds me. I haven’t done my Reds’ players projections yet but I strongly suspect that Bruce’s projection line with be closer to his career batting line than his 2014 line. The myth that he’s hot one month out of each season and slumping the other months has also been debunked by several people but to some, their own perception is the only reality.

  22. ohiojimw

    Does anybody have the backstory on Boesch?

    What was going on with him in 2013 when according to BBRef, he appeared in only 31 games in the Yanks org between MLB and MiLB. This was coming off a 2012 when he was basically an every day MLB player with the Tigers (132 games, 503 PA .659 OPS). What happened with him between 2011 (.799 OPS with 472 PAs) and 2013?

    As far as his resurgence in 2014, I think in general it is good to be a bit leary of PCL offensive numbers. That is a notorious “offense’ league.

    • ohiojimw

      I would definitely agree though that if Boesch were to recover to his 2010/2011 form, he would be at the least a bridge to Winker and possibly be a valuable piece even beyond (his MLB service time is a tick over 3 years which makes him arb eligible but otherwise under team control through at least the 2017 season)

      • charlottencredsfan

        Tom Diesman writes up thread:

        “If they trade for someone, I think it needs to be for a young OF with some potential, like the recent Myers deal. I’d be fine dealing from our P prospect depth for someone like a Betts or Van Slyke. If they don’t go that route, I agree they need to go bargain bin and bring in 2 or 3 more guys the same ilk as Boesch.”

        This approach seems sane enough.

    • lwblogger2

      You are dead on about the PCL and taking numbers there with a grain of salt. It is a hitters’ league. As for Boesch, I like the pickup and am hoping he contributes to the Reds in a meaningful way. That said, he’s never hit lefties and at best he’s the LH hitting part of a platoon.

  23. bhrubin1

    Here’s an off the wall idea. I like the suggestion of Lutz as a platoon option against RHP. But who could be his platoon partner? What if his platoon partner was…wait for it… Kevin Mesoraco, who is going to need a day or two a week off at catcher. I was already thinking it would be great if he could pick up a second position to stay in the lineup, and LF is the most obvious option since it’s the easiest position to learn other than 1B. So, RHP=Lutz in left and Meso catching. LHP=Meso in left and Barnhart catching. What d’ya think?

      • Thegaffer

        I cant inderstand wanting to move Mes to LF. He will probably be terrible defensively and then we have a terrible hitter at C. Now, a back up 1B is an idea I can see. Pena is the back up catcher not Tucker anyway, but hits best from the left side. Barnhart is also a lefty hitter, so that is a less than ideal platoon.

  24. Redsman

    Thinking this team, as now constructed, ‘easily’ wins 90 games is a fantasy. There are WAY too many question marks to begin with. Not to mention the Cards, Cubs and Pirates continue to add players/payroll and all we have accomplished is to add 4 ‘prospects’, thus decreasing payroll. It was the same last off season as well as during the regular season. How did that turn out for us? Yes, of course, some of this was injury related, but we had no answers to the injuries. Other teams in a similar situation acquired and brought up players who helped those teams get into the playoffs or contention for such. Reds went steadily downhill last 3rd or so of season. And we STILL don’t have a viable option for LF. And the options have dwindled significantly.

    All of us hope JV and Bruce return to their former status, but is that realistic? Evidence would suggest Bruce will continue to struggle with shifts, as they are getting more and more prevalent. Also even more exotic. How is he/the coaching staff going to handle these things? Again, evidence would suggest not so well. And what are the chances JV plays 150 games this year? Once more, recent evidence suggests he is more likely to miss extended time.

    Optimism is wonderful, I consider myself an optimist. But reality is a necessity too. And realistically, we need more offense…especially since our SP has been reduced from last year and the pen woes from last year have not been addressed either. LF seems to be the logical place to add some offense. That does NOT suggest Mes be plugged in there though. IF that were to have taken place, wouldn’t it have been prudent to have done something about that during this offseason? Like put him in a winter league or bring in a LF coach or SOMETHING? That ship has probably has sailed. So, can we add offense somewhere else? Maybe, Suarez, but I am certainly not convinced he will be a large upgrade offensively. There are not any easy answers, but LF is the easiest solution available.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      Actually, as constructed, we aren’t that far. Many people never did notice or care to notice our record in 1-run games. It was abnormally horrible, not the norm. If we just play 500 ball in those games, we win 84 games and are in the playoff hunt till the last week of the season. So, we would be talking about 16 additional runs. Work that last year with fewer injuries, then 90 wins isn’t out of the question at all. For this season, considering how some of the younger players that are already here could still improve, especially like Hamilton and Devin, that likelihood goes up even more.

      Now, yes, the Cubs did improve. However, like with the Royals last season, that’s why the games are still played. For instance, will Lester or Arietta become injured? What about the Cubs bullpen?

      But, still, for me, I love our style of play. We are much more runners under Price than Baker. This style of play can be much more dangerous in the playoffs than Baker’s. We still weren’t experts at it, but we played small ball much better.

      Remember last season, the Giants didn’t win 90 games either, and looked what they did.

      • George Mirones

        The 2015 Reds may not need to win 90 games to make the play-offs. After looking at the other teams in the Central Division that have improved on paper, they will be beating each other up all year. Will the Reds “rule” the Cubs as they have in the past? The central Division may be won with 85-87 wins.

  25. charlottencredsfan

    From SB Nation:

    “Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro was arrested in his native Dominican Republic Saturday, in connection with a shooting incident that left six people injured, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPN. Rojas reports Castro was “detained by the authorities for questioning,” though information on the incident is scarce at this point.

    According to Deadspin, citing a report in Spanish from El Caribe, seven people in total were detained by police following the incident, which occurred early Saturday at Ocean Club, a nightclub in Montecristi, the town where Castro was born. Castro’s brother and bodyguards were also reportedly involved, along with “a group of men including the driver and assistant to Montecristi’s mayor.”

    This isn’t the first shooting incident Castro has been linked to. Earlier in December, Castro was linked to another shooting in the Dominican Republic, though his agent revealed he was cleared of any wrongdoing in that incident.”

    Reds might want to remove Castro from any “would like to pursue” list, if he was on it to begin with.

    • Carl Sayre

      That may be enough for his visa to not be renewed it seems like the last incident almost cost him his work visa.

      • Thegaffer

        Reports are that he was not involved. Doubt this matters for his visa as many Dominicans have gotten arrested over the years, none lost a visa. Even Fausto. Carmina got back his visa and he wasnt even that person!

      • charlottencredsfan

        2 separate shooting incidents in a month?? Have to wonder if Starlin is mixed up in something.

    • George Mirones

      You should know better than to believe any ESPN reporter without confirmation of sources. Most reports I am reading are commenting on the ESPN report not confirmed sources.
      They have become a “Tabloid” news source, not reliable.

  26. charlottencredsfan offers an Offseason Package where you can get access to the 2014 archives, which includes all games. With this package, subscribers get all TV/Radio Spring Training Games for 2015. The cost is $24.99.

  27. dirtybird

    I say start winker in may and don’t look back if team struggles. WJ is going to blow it up anyways. You’ll see cueto leake Bailly Chapman Marshall get dealt. Along with Bruce and possibly votto and Phillips witch could net a monster haul.

    • Thegaffer

      We could only dream to trade Marshall or Bailey. They are untradeable and great examples of signing your own guys to long deals at free agent rates is not such a great plan. I wish they had the brains to trade Chapman. If they could have gotten a top young outfielder and some other parts for him and did not, Walt should quit.

  28. ohiojimw

    I see where Emilio Bonifacio is still available. He was a darling in 2014 of several folks who hang out here (including the Cossack if memory serves). Has Benifacio’s boomlet gone bust?

    • Shchi Cossack

      Jim, you are correct on both counts. Bonifacio is available and the Old Cossack was a strong proponent of adding Bonifacio to the 2014 roster. The driving factor in the desire to add Bonifacio to the 2014 roster was his flexibility to contribute at multiple positions with open questions going into 2014 rather than his credentials as a front-line starter on the roster. If the Reds would surplant Schumaker (not happening unfortunately) with Bonifacio on the 25-man roster, I would still be a strong proponent of adding Bonifacio to the 2015 roster, assuming the price is right. Many of the questions from the 2014 roster have been addressed by the addition of Suarez &Negron, particularly Negron with the flexibility to fill the utility IF/OF role that Bonifacio would also fill.

  29. gusnwally

    I think Bonafacio would be a nice addition if the price is not too high.I also sense Aoki is getting closer to a reasonably palatable type deal, since he is still out there. I would like him if the price is acceptable. He has a 10% K rate. Could be a decent 2 hole hitter. Billy could run with a good contact man up.

    • CP

      I hate to say it, but it reads like an article written about Jay Bruce during one of his hot streaks. I hope the writer ends up being vindicated though.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Just trying to find anything positive to post. This off-season has not been one of great hope. Guess we can be happy no one has been injured, at least that we know of.

  30. Chip Newton

    here is the answer
    merosco to LF
    platoon catchers

    • charlottencredsfan

      Quite a few folks don’t care for this approach but Devin is the best power bat on the team. I would make it a goal to try to get him to get him into 162 games if possible and that means another position. I would work him out in LF and 1B during ST and see how he responds.

      • dradg

        No way do I put Mes anywhere but C and 1B. Too risky to have him running around in the field. What the Giants do with Posey would be ideal, if we happen to need someone to fill in at 1B. (Wish we could convince Votto to try LF… though even without the knee issues he was reluctant to move from 1B.)

        And if I’m Mes, I don’t think I play LF. Beside the injury factor, I think his playing LF only decreases his value to the Reds or other teams: All-Star caliber catchers are harder to find than All-Star caliber OF-ers (if he could even be one of those).

      • charlottencredsfan

        I admired Ricky Weeks for refusing to try LF for the Brewers for the good of the team, Get what you’re saying about Mes doing the same. Is there a more injury prone position than C? I can’t think of one, otherwise good points

      • preacherj

        This is where I am as well. I think the risk of injury coupled with the downgrade in defense is worth the reward. Get him some time at first, if possible.

      • lwblogger2

        I’m where Preach is on this. I don’t like the idea of Mes in LF, even a little bit. Charlottencredsfan is right though about catcher being probably the most injury prone position. 2B and SS because of the DP turn also are injury hot-spots. I think what SF does with Posey would probably be a better model. Get him in 12-16 games at 1B when JV needs a game or two off. If he catches 120 then you are looking at 132-136 games where Mes’ bat is in the lineup. That’s not the perfect 162 but most guys don’t play 162 in a season. Hunter Pence was the only OF that played every game last season. 10 other OF did play at least 155 though. That’s still about 2 more times a month that Mes’ bat wouldn’t be in the lineup. Because of those extra ABs, I can see where the “Mes in LF” folks are coming from but I am not in agreement.

      • Dale Pearl

        I definitely think that he should get in some experience behind first base. We need a legitimite backup to first so Votto can have rest days, be taken out in blow out games, night to day games, doubleheaders, etc… There is zero change Votto plays 160 games ever again and if he does shame on management for risking our most expensive puzzle piece.

      • lwblogger2

        You know, I said that there was zero chance he’d play 160 games after his two knee surgeries. Then came 2013 where he played the full 162. I think you’re probably right in that he is going to need some breaks; one can never say ‘never’.

      • lwblogger2

        And I think having Mes play some 1B is a good solution Votto needs those breaks.

      • dradg

        Addressing the LF injury issue – I think taking a guy whose knees probably need a day off from catching every now and then and putting him in LF where he’ll need to run, change directions, etc., quite a bit invites injury. I don’t think LF per se is more injury prone than C, but a C in LF is more injury prone than a LF in LF. If that makes any sense.

  31. ohiojimw

    A major problem with switching Meso to LF is that it is just shuffling the deck chairs of offensive ineptitude unless they come up with some better offensive solution than Peña and Barnhart behind the plate. As has been pointed out here before, it is more likely they can find the additional offense they need in the form of a LF than in the form of a catcher.

    I do however support getting Meso time at 1B during ST so that he can spell Votto and first and heaven forbid that Votto go down for a longer period fill in at 1B under those circumstances. 1B should result in less wear and tear on Meso’s legs than catching (unlike LF) and perhaps lead to him being even more effective offensively.

    • reaganspad

      Jim, I was commenting on the roster as it is and what I would do. I would have my best players on the field as much as possible. Chapman would start and Meso would play in LF on days that he was not catching.

      The idea that Meso cannot play in the outfield is silly. Steve Yeager and Joe Ferguson alternated between catcher and RF for the Dodgers when Garvey played every day at 1st base. Why? because you keep your best bats in the lineup.

      Craig Biggio and Dale Murphy played CF at all star and MVP levels after injuries while playing catcher. I would rather have those guys in the lineup every day that get a bump in offensive production at catcher for a few years until they get hurt.

      Devin is a very good athlete and runs very well, close to what Frazier does. He can handle LF.

      The issue is how do you get Devin 550-600 abs in a year. He will not do that catching, and he will not be catching for more than 6 years.

      So, how do you use your best assets? You find a way to get him on the field more

      • lwblogger2

        You’re right on Murphy. Yeager and Ferguson did what they did in a different era and some might say that Yeager saw his work behind the plate suffer because he wasn’t getting time off. As for Biggio in CF, he wasn’t a very good defensive catcher and he was a very bad CF. I never saw Murphy catch but he was so athletic that he was a natural in the OF. I don’t think you can say the same for Mes. He’s athletic for a catcher but Dale Murphy was an amazing athlete when he broke into MLB.

      • dradg

        “The idea that Meso cannot play in the outfield is silly.” If this is directed to me (not sure that it is, and not trying to be a smartass), I never said Mes couldn’t play LF. I said he wouldn’t be an AS-caliber LF, whereas he is already an AS-caliber catcher. I’m sure he could play it, but could he play it capably in view of the fact that his knees probably need rest more than a game at LF when he’s not catching?

  32. Michael J Hampton

    If the Reds do not fill the LF vacancy with either a free agent or a trade, then I agree that the internal options could be a workable solution. If Votto and Bruce do not return close to form and Frazier and Mesoraco regress significantly and if Hamilton does not show some improvement, then I don’t think even having George Foster in his prime in LF will help. However, if those players are able to put up the kind of decent numbers that they are capable of, then I think the Reds can compete with the internal options in LF. They might even catch lightning in a bottle. I would rather go with the internal options than sign some aging washed up, high priced free agent or trading pitching and/or prospects for the same.

    I really feel like Lutz has been badly mishandled by the Reds. Had his development not been interrupted multiple times the last 2 years, the Reds might have enough data to determine if he is major league ready or not. Unfortunately, because of their mishandling of him, he has not had any significant uninterrupted AAA time and even his limited AA time was interrupted. However, as you stated, when Donald Lutz has had consistent, healthy playing time, he has produced. He has averaged +.800 OPS.

    However, I see a two big flys in the ointment, Brian Price and Skip Schumaker. Even if Lutz puts up good spring training numbers to go along with his good Mexican Winter League numbers, Price has shown that he leans toward the “known” production of the “gritty” Schumaker (35 years old, career .705 OPS). If Lutz makes the team coming out of spring training, there is no guarantee that Price will play him over Schumaker. Even if Price does play Lutz, unless he produces immediately, Price will relegate him to the bench in favor of Schumaker. At this point in his career, Lutz needs playing time, he needs at bats against major league pitching, in order to produce. Sitting him on the bench for 4 or 5 games a week and then giving him a spot start or a single PH appearance is setting him up for failure. That is what Price did to him last year. Ideally, the Reds would give him a decent shot and time to prove himself. I honestly believe he would put up decent numbers, at least better than Schumaker. He could be a viable option in LF, at least against RH pitching, until Winker is ready. He can also provide backup at 1B for Votto. If he gets consistent playing time this year, the experience may let him more readily transition into the 4th/5th OF/PH and backup 1B in 2016. He might even put up good enough numbers to compete for LF in 2016. However, I have no confidence in Price. Unless the Reds sign a relatively big name LF and have to justify the salary investment, Schumaker will get significant playing time in LF.

    • lwblogger2

      Lutz or Soto should have been playing 1B in September last year. The Reds may have found out if they had anything or not. My suspicion is the Reds don’t see Lutz as a MLB caliber player and they’ve basically given up on him. I see the same with Soto.

      • Shchi Cossack

        Neftali Soto landed back with the Reds on a minor league contract.

      • ohiojimw

        Neftali Soto landed back with the Reds on a minor league contract.
        I do not doubt the accuracy of this; but it is hard to believe the guy reupping after the way he was treated by the org.

      • lwblogger2

        He was outrighted off the 40-man but as far as I know, nobody has picked him up. He may still be in the Reds’ organization. Can anyone confirm?

      • Tom Diesman

        Yes, Neftali Soto has resigned with the Reds, as well as Marquez Smith and Ray Chang.

  33. Dale Pearl

    Is there any chance the Reds just relase Schumaker? Does he bring anything to the team? Isn’t he just another Ryan Ludwick type?

    • George Mirones

      2.5 million reasons with no return, plus the cost of an addition to the roster.

  34. John smith jr

    Why not sign Johnny Gomes he’s available good club house guy already knows left field. Got some pop in his bat and right handed. All we need is a rental cause there is plenty of young guys almost mlb ready.

    • lwblogger2

      I thought about that too. He’s a brutal LF though and probably won’t even produce at the level of Ludwick.

  35. Redsman

    Interesting points, Michael. Sounds like things I heard the last couple of years concerning the recently departed Chris Heisey. And before that, Chris Dickerson, Jonny Gomes, Laynce Nix, etc. Players like these guys either get typecast as platoon players or over achievers and unfortunately, never get the same chances as guys who are getting paid more, or in some instances have found favor in their managers eyes.
    Dusty was especially prone to playing vets and personal faves….like Cory Patterson.

    This may not apply to Donald Lutz, especially regarding his age and lack of experience. But don’t be surprised if he seems to be more of an afterthought during ST. Regardless of how well he seems to be swinging the stick. It seems to be the nature of the game and life in general. Managers have a tendency to lean towards personal preferences, attitudes and processes known only to them. The best are those who ‘put there players in the position to win’. Not many actually achieve that impersonal ability to have the best available talent on the field at any given point in time. And of course, things like injury etc. interfere with this. So in Price’s case, we will have to give him a pass for last year and see how things proceed this year.

    Let us hope the braintrust comes up with an option that makes it easy for Price. Barring that, let there be an open competition during ST and hopefully the young guys, including Lutz, all get equal opportunities to impress.

  36. Casey

    Well, apparently Walt hasn’t given up on the LF hunt, and it doesn’t include a FA… Jon Morosi reported a deal for Marlon Byrd recently fell through, but is in the process of being reworked.

    • lwblogger2

      Did the report specifically say the Reds?

      • Thegaffer

        Yes, but it did not sound like it was new, nor that it was being reworked. It said it “could be revisted”. Sounds like total speculation, other than that it happened in some form.

      • Casey

        Well, the exact language of the tweet, which was reporting from a source, was that it was “still possible trade could be reworked.” I might have mistranslated that by saying that it IS in the process of being reworked, but I don’t think that’s too much of a stretch…

      • lwblogger2

        Thanks for the quick response guys.

  37. WVRedlegs

    Skip Schumaker had a combined -2.3 WAR over the last two seasons (2013 & 2014). Chris Heisey had a +2.3 WAR combined in the last two seasons. I think the Reds front office dumped the wrong salary. This decision just instills more confidence in the Reds front office.
    Its Dec. 29th, and the Reds still have the same problems they faced when the season ended on Sept. 29. No LF, no offensive upgrade at any position, and the same louzy bullpen.
    But hey, Jocketty traded away 40% of the starting rotation. So we can’t say Jocketty hasn’t done anything.
    That Reds front office is working overtime at not improving the team whatsoever. This team keeps trending backwards. The roster, as presently constructed, strikes little fear in to opposing pitchers. Pitch around Votto, and take your chances with the rest of the Reds weak lineup. Lets put another .230 hitting player (Rasmus, Gomes, Craig, Schu, Boesch, etc.) in LF and call it a season.

    • lwblogger2

      I agree that I would have kept Heisey over Schumaker but they wouldn’t have saved any money by releasing Schumaker. They still would have had to of paid him. Schmaker had also played for the Dodgers before and I’m guessing that they didn’t want him and wanted Heisey instead. It’s also very possible that Walt just loves him some Skip Schumaker and there is no way he wanted to move him. That thought should make you a little queezy but there were fans at GABP that insisted that Schumaker should have played RF every day instead of Bruce.

  38. B-town Fan

    Jon Morosi @jonmorosi · 2h 2 hours ago

    Source: Phillies were close to a deal sending Marlon Byrd to Reds before it fell apart. Still possible trade could be reworked. @FOXSports

  39. B-town Fan

    I hope the Reds weren’t going to give up to much Byrd is 37

      • Thegaffer

        Agree, but guarantee the phillies wanted a prospect too. I would give up a 8-15 level prospect like a Moscot or Lively. No way on any of the recent first rounders, but Maybe OK with Ervin.

        Byrd is a good value right now and less worried about him collapsing than some others. More worried he will test positive for something!

  40. Redsman

    So four years AFTER Skippy’s career season, Wally signs him to the most lucrative contract of his career, and for 2 years to boot. I think we have identified a problem here.

  41. Aaron Bradley

    I don’t doubt Winker needs more time to develop, but an ex-baseball player was telling me AAA isn’t necessary for top prospects that it is more a place for guys on the bubble to battle it out while waiting for a call-up. In other words don’t mix your super prospects with guys trying to put bread on the table for their families that may or may not have a career ahead of them… those guys tend to kill people if given the opportunity. Since he told me about this I did start scrutinizing call ups more and I do see super prospects (like Puig and Wil Myers) pretty much skip right past AAA and flourish in MLB. So what I am saying is do you really think a kid like Winker if he is can’t miss would be required to do a year at AAA? Maybe just a half season more to dominate at AA before a call up is more suitable.

    • lwblogger2

      Yes and no about what you say about AAA. Some prospects can certainly use the time there and other prospects don’t need to. More often than not, AAA gives a prospect a chance to play against and with guys who have seen some MLB time. It can be a learning experience and the level of talent is indeed higher than AA. It is less of a jump than Advanced-A to AA however. Some prospects bypass AA all together. It really depends on the prospect and their experience and talent. Look at Leake, he didn’t pitch in the minors at any level prior to landing on the MLB roster. He came out of college and was older too. Then you have a guy like Bailey who was drafted out of HS, rushed through the system, and probably could have used more time in the minors before getting to pitch to the likes of MLB hitters.

      For Winker, it’s hard to say. He didn’t really thrive in his limited time at AA but that may have partly been due to his wrist injury. If it were me, I’d probably start him at AA this season, if he thrives, I’d probably move him up to AAA pretty quickly. Then perhaps, he’d be in the Majors no later than as a September callup. The Reds in general are conservative with prospects though so I’d expect a slower progression.

      • lwblogger2

        That should say “yes, some prospects bypass AAA altogether”

      • Aaron Bradley

        The point this guy was making to me is you don’t want to mix these two breeds of player. Your AA hot prospect guys you don’t want them slumming with guys that may have just gotten a taste of coffee and may never get back again, your Bull Durham types. You shoot those prospects straight up to the majors and then if they flounder perhaps you bring them down to AAA later on for a reality check. It sort of makes sense… some of those AA guys are making big money as top shelf talent while some of the AAA guys have never gotten a decent wage, so you could see how they wouldn’t make for good teammates. He likened the AAA players to the blue collar guys that need to overachieve to make it to the next level, while your young AA top prospects are treated differently. He was speaking from his minor league experience… I just mention it because intuitively one assumes you go thru each level consecutively to earn your way up, but maybe GMs don’t think that way as evidenced by how a lot of guys come straight up from AA and never look back.

      • lwblogger2

        As I responded, it happens. As I also said, for Winker, we don’t know what the best strategy will be. The Reds have also shown, in WJ’s tenure, to take their time with prospects. Winker may be a special case and may well skip AAA as other prospects have done. What I was stating was that considering his limited time at AA, he’d probably start there. I also said I’d probably move him to AAA but I’m not a member of the Reds’ front-office. It is certainly possible that Winker rakes in AA and skips AAA. I’m hoping my earlier post didn’t give the impression that I don’t feel stuff like that happens. What I was saying is that it depends on the player, the organization, and the team’s needs.

    • reaganspad

      Or our own Mike Leake.

      Adam Dunn skipped most of AAA, maybe a half season

  42. lwblogger2

    Not to lower the mood more but ZiPS projections are out for the Cardinals. The only places I see where the Reds are better are 1B (if Votto is healthy), 2B, 3B, and maybe RF (if Bruce is right and you don’t think he stinks like many around here seem to). The Cards rotation and pen appear quite a bit better then the Reds. They have loads of pitching depth beyond their rotation. Read for yourselves:

    • reaganspad

      interesting LW.

      the cards signed Matt Beslisle. a former whipping boy of Reds blogs (not this one). All he did was go to the Rockies at put up great 2010 and 11, fair 12 & 13 and not so great 14.

      and now the cards sign him.

      Matt should have never left Cincy

      • lwblogger2

        $3.5-million for Beslisle is a bit steep. I don’t think the Reds should have tried signing him at those $$. That said, I’ve always liked him and was sad when he left. I thought he had some potential. He’ll be a middle reliever for the Cards in 2015.

  43. John smith jr

    I’d like to see them sign estrebal Cabrera trade cozart to mets for Ike Davis. Colby rasmas is out there he could play left. Only thing is the reds our getting a lot of left handed bats. I like Byrd like I said in a previous postwe just need a one to two year rental cause the youth is almost ready. Yorman, Irvin,winkler, we have a lot of young talent on the way as long as we do t trade them away.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Ike Davis was with the Mets, two teams back. He is now an A.

    • WVRedlegs

      Cabrera is signing with the Rays. Makes Zobrist a little more available now. WJ has the right package to offer the Rays, but doesn’t have the stones to pull the trigger.
      What a slouch GM.

      • lwblogger2

        Looks like Smith is coming off the trade market soon too. Maybe the Reds really don’t have any money to spend and despite what WJ said, the Latos and Simon trades were just straight up salary dumps?

  44. Gary Grider

    I am new to this page, stumbling across it when checking for movement by the Reds. It is fun to play general manager or owner, but I always realize why they have their jobs and I am in mine. They know more than any of us, despite what we want to think. Having said that I am having real trouble with not signing Aoki. Reports say he is looking for 3 years around 21 million. He is an incredibly consistent 280 hitter, good in the clubhouse, a decent fielder, not over the hill and, did I mention he is CONSISTENT? I love our boys but consistence most of them lack. The Reds were going to trade away someone for a 38 year old who hits 260 and pay him 8 million a year? I have to be missing something.

  45. Keith Mullins

    Cincy will end up either platooning Lutz or Rodriguez in left. I’d like to see more of Negron weather it be in the outfield or spelling Phillips or Cozart. The main reason I don’t think we get Aoki or anyone decent in left because Jocketty is a terrible gm and
    will wait until all the really good free agents are snatched up by teams with pro active
    front offices that are willing to spend a little money. That 10 year contract to Votto and giving Bailey the extension over Cueto doesn’t look like the best moves at the moment although Votto may bounce back to be a very good player. I think Bailey is never going to be more than a relatively good pitcher who throws the occasional no hitter. I love my Reds but man they drive me crazy.