Ben Zobrist’s name has been in and out of my Twitter feed all winter. The Ray, it seems, would be happy to trade him. I am a Ben Zobrist fan. I have been for years. Yes, he’s getting older, and the power is no longer there, but the man still gets on base. Plus, he’s versatile. So, while the Reds would pencil him in at left, he could easily shift to second if Phillips gets hurt (something that tends to happen once a year or so).

Anyway, this isn’t a serious post. I don’t know how well the Reds and Rays match up. I just wanted an excuse to type this:

  1. Ben Zobrist LF
  2. Joey Votto 1B
  3. Todd Frazier 3B
  4. Devin Mesoraco C
  5. Jay Bruce RF
  6. Eugenio Suarez SS
  7. Brandon Phillips 2B
  8. Billy Hamilton CF

Forget inevitable injuries and stuff for a minute. It’s December 30th. Just be optimistic. That’s a pretty cool lineup, huh? I mean, I could watch that team play. They’d score some runs.

56 Responses

  1. OldRed

    Looks good to me! Pass this along to WJ.

    • Brad

      I would’ve taken Zobrist over Marlon Stinking Overrated Strikeout expert Byrd. Jockety makes no sense sometimes to me…ugh.

      • Carl Sayre

        I would too along with every other team in MLB. Do you think that The Rays come up off of Zobrist without some ridiculous cost like Stephenson or Winker with Cozart and the pitcher that we sent for Byrd who’s name escapes me for a moment being thrown in. The reason he is still in Tampa is they have him way over valued.

  2. dradg

    It’s a great lineup. However, will Price bat Mes 4th? I don’t recall him batting Devon 4th much, if at all, last year, even when Mes was raking.

    • reaganspad

      Sure, price will bat him 4th 75% of the time, those games he catches.

      Unfortunately, we will need a new clean up hitter the other days

      • dradg

        History says otherwise. Consider when Mes was raking early last season ( ). Price wouldn’t move him up the order before struggling Frazier and Ludwick. In fact, Price likes having that power lower in the lineup. Maybe a healthy Votto changes things; I hope it does. But Votto was playing last April, IIRC. See http://www.cincinnati.com/story/redsblog/2014/04/21/devin-mesoraco-is-as-hot-as-hes-ever-been/7980139/:

        Mesoraco went into Monday’s game on a career-high nine-game hitting streak. He’s hit in all nine games he’s played. And it hasn’t been a hit-a-day streak. Mesoraco has had four two-hit games and two three-hit games. His slash line was .515/.553/.970 with three home runs and 11 RBI entering Monday.

        The logical question is when does Mesoraco move up in the lineup. He’s been hitting seventh behind Todd Frazier and Ryan Ludwick.

        “Anything is possible,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “We certainly know that Frazier’s going to start to swing the bat like he did earlier in the season. We’re not concerned about that. There’s guys who are going to have a little bit of ebb and flow with the way they swing the bat. That’s just baseball.”

        “If there comes a time when there’s injury or some significant long-term struggle, we may make some adjustments. But, right now, I kind of like the flow of the lineup as it is. And I like having some weaponry at the bottom.”

      • lwblogger2

        Devin Mesoraco batted 4th in 53 of the games that he started last year. He got more PA (219) in the cleanup spot than any other spot in the lineup. I think you’ll see him more in that spot next year.

  3. Alex

    Lol Can you imagine BP hitting 8th? (He should.)

    • Thegaffer

      Even that is unrealistic and implies Price actually bases lineups on facts or accountability. Also BHam will never bat 8 as he then cannot run as much. Now 9th is a different story! But , alas not likely.

  4. Thegaffer

    Zobrist value is much more as an infielder or part time RF. LF diminishes his value considerably.

    BTW, Seth Smith is gone now too.

    • Jason Linden

      A lot of his value is, but he is still a very, very good hitter. He’d be a 3-4 win player in left.

    • Joey

      Reds should go get Ackley from the Mariners now that they picked up Smith. His trade value has gone down and maybe you could get him for a mid level prospect. He’s not an all star but he gets on at about .300 obp and could have a resurgence in power at GABP. He would be a cheap stop gap until Winker is ready and was brought up at 2b so he could fill in for BP when needed. I think I mentioned this once before on a different thread but this is the type of guy Walt needs to go get. Pick up a guy who won’t block the future but can still contribute to your team in the future. It’s smart and better than throwing a bunch of money at a guy for one year who if he performs well Walt might want to extend for another 2-3 years at the end of a guys career.

    • redsfan06

      Smith went in exchange for a pitcher who struggled as a starter and turned in one year of good work as a reliever. Seems like the Reds could have matched an offer with someone like that. Is Zobrist going to bring that much more than Smith? A reliever plus a mid-level prospect?

      • Thegaffer

        Agree theoretically, but we have no similar relievers. Also, apparently the Padres were ga ga over this guy and have tried to get him for 2 years. Smith is also a candidate for a big drop off so not a huge loss but still indicates how low on money the reds are.

  5. George Mirones

    Speculation is wonderful, glad my CPA can’t spell the word.

  6. OCRed

    I still think Hamilton can be effective as a leadoff hitter. After a slow start, he performed very well, then just wore out as the season went along. He scored a lot of runs by simply getting on base – stealing second, getting to third via steal, passed ball, etc. and scoring on a SAC fly or ground ball. However, Zobrist would be a great addition – he can fill in at second base as needed (as Jason suggests) and hit leadoff when Hamilton needs a rest. With Hamilton hitting leadoff, the following lineup looks great . . .

    Billy Hamilton CF
    Ben Zobrist LF
    Joey Votto 1B
    Devin Mesoraco C
    Todd Frazier 3B
    Jay Bruce RF
    Brandon Phillips 2B
    Zack Cozart SS

  7. droomac

    I like the lineup. The only thing I would do different is swap Mes and Frazier. I want the other pitcher to think long and hard before throwing four wide ones to Votto.

  8. Doug

    Don’t count BP out; he’s due for a big rebound season (as is Bruce). I’d bat Hamilton, Zobrist, Votto, Mesoraco, Bruce/Frazier (perhaps depending on Leftie or Rightie), BP, Suarez, pitcher. On those days Pena catches, I’d move Frazier up to 4th and Pena in the 6 or 7 hole. Like it!

  9. Ryan

    I would be good with Zobrist in left. If you’re WJ, which prospects do you trade?

  10. Steve Mancuso

    Zobrist would look good at the top of the Reds lineup. But the market for his services is so large, he’s going to be expensive to acquire. As the other options (Seth Smith, ex.) dwindle, Zobrist’s price continues to rise. Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs has an article about Asdrubal Cabrera that has an extensive discussion of the market for Zobrist and what would be required to obtain him. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-point-of-asdrubal-cabrera/

    Sullivan says Zobrist is comparable to at least Jason Heyward, who basically fetched Shelby Miller. Given how much Zobrist has dropped off the last two seasons compared to his peak in 2009-2012, I’m afraid the Reds would end up overpaying.

      • redmountain

        Mr. “Do nothing” just pulled another deal. Forget about Zobrist, it’s Byrd and cash for Ben Lively. If this is the whole deal, Amaro just got fleeced.

  11. ohiojimw

    As yet another guy (SS) comes off the board, a person can’t help but wonder what is going on with the Reds “brain trust”.

    Is money really (still) so much of an issue that it is driving the bus? Does WJ have to trade away more salary than he takes on? Or, one of my biggest concerns is that he has payroll flexibility or ceiling to work with but is holding onto all his cards as he tries to put together the one great deal that will use all his available overhead.

    If this is the case and the ship doesn’t come in then as has been noted before and again in this thread, they will likely end up paying more for for less unless they just stumble into the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

    • Carl Sayre

      The SS coming off the board may help the Reds. I know Cozarts bat was beyond terrible but his defense is exceptional. I am not advanced enough to do the figuring and math comparisons that some on here are capable of but after being a student of the game for almost 50 years Cozart is a d#mn good SS. Thinking out of the box maybe trade him to the AL so they can DH for him and leave the pitcher to make out the best he can. 😉

      • lwblogger2

        I agree with you but OhioJimW was talking about Seth Smith.

      • dradg

        Replying to your Mes batting 4th comment. How did you figure that out? I was trying to but couldn’t find that information before I posted. I looked everywhere, because I was sure he batted 4th some last year….

      • lwblogger2

        Go to baseball-reference.com. On the player’s page, click on “Splits” (dark gray bar above main stats). Choose the year you want to see, or career splits. When the page refreshes there will be a section called “Batting Order Positions”

  12. Jake

    Zobrist would be a nice addition, but unfortunately every team in the ML would want him. If rather us not be the team overpaying

  13. Dale Pearl

    You had me at Suarez for SS. Anyone who contends that Zach should still be our starting shortstop would also be happy with us being known as the worst hitting team in baseball. I contend that Frazier and Philips make Cozart better defensively that what he is given credit for. Do I think he is good? He is good with a glove absolutely! Do I think that he would be a starting shortstop on any other team? After his 2014 performance….. not a chance. Not unless you have a Barry Bonds type of hitter on your team you simply can’t afford to carry poor hitters in this pitcher dominated era. You need all your every day starters to close in around .300 OBP as the minimum cutoff .268 just doesn’t cut the mustard for major league talent.

    • Drew

      How do you explain KC making it to the WS last year? Have you looked at thier hitting numbers? IF our true hitters are healthy and show up, then whatever Cozart lacks at the plate isn’t a big deal and is more then covered by his defense.

      • Dale Pearl

        That is a big IF sunshine. I get that there are plenty that have a man crush on Cozart, but why I am not so sure. Yeah he plays a mighty fine defensive but again I add that Frazier and Phillips make him even better than if he had tweedle dee and tweedle dumb playing on his left and right. But regardless he is a one dimensional player and the Reds can’t afford to have one dimensional anything.

      • Drew

        Why? We pay other guys to hit, he is paid to be a strong defensive SS. Frazier is okay in the field but nothing great nad Phillips is in decline so you need a strong glove up the middle. This guy costs us basically nothing and is dependable. This team has far more “real” issues that need to be addressed (LF/RP/SP/Bench) over worrying that our SS isn’t that great of a hitter. Adress all those other issues then maybe I look at it, but not right now.

  14. redsfan06

    That line-up looks a lot better than one with Marlin Byrd in it.

  15. WVRedlegs

    Filling other teams’ needs while re-tooling your own team.
    Trade CF Billy Hamilton to SD for OF Wil Myers.
    Trade RP Aroldis Chapman and 2B Brandon Phillips to Toronto for SP Marcus Stroman, CF Dalton Pompey, and RP Aaron Sanchez.
    Trade whatever package (nothing wrong with overpaying a little) to Tampa Bay for 2B Ben Zobrist.
    Pompey-Zobrist-Votto-Mes-Bruce-Frazier-Myers-Cozart-P
    SP’s: Cueto-Bailey-Leake-Stroman-Cingrani
    Closer: Sanchez

    • doctor

      I like the thinking outside the box. However, given the theme RH power in short supply, Myers would cost more than Billy. Heck trade rumors have Wil as center piece for Cole Hamels.

      From reports on MLBtraderumors and MLB Tonight, supposedly Toronto in a cash crunch so BP and Chapman would be too much money for them to take on. Chapman by himself would get their interest.

      • lwblogger2

        There’s also BP’s 10 and 5 rights to consider. He isn’t going to waive those rights for a trade to Toronto. At least I sincerely doubt he would.

      • lwblogger2

        And apparently there are a lot of folks who aren’t sure that Myers can play a good CF. I agree he’d cost more than Hamilton too. At least WVRedlegs is trying though. It’s hard to know what WJ is doing but I doubt he’s being particularly creative.

  16. vegastypo

    mlb on satellite radio is saying the Marlon Byrd deal could be back on. Suggested the Phillies would get Lively?

    • wkuchad

      FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Reds are set to acquire Marlon Byrd from the Phillies.

      FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi wrote earlier this week that the two sides were close to a deal before it fell apart, but they were able to get it done. Rosenthal hears that prospect right-hander Ben Lively is one of the players headed back to Philadelphia in the deal. The Phillies are expected to send cash to the Reds. Byrd, 37, amassed 25 home runs and 85 RBI in 2014 and has a good chance to continue to post solid power numbers in Cincinnati. He’s owed $8 million in 2015 and has an $8 million vesting option for 2016.

      Source: Ken Rosenthal on Twitter

    • Dale Pearl

      Ben LIvely was one of my favorites… Sad to see him leave but I hope he dominates in his new home. 22 year for a 37 year old…. Not what I was hoping would happen that is sure.

    • Dave

      Looks like we got backed into a corner and had to trade Lively to get Byrd. Hope he is the Byrd of the last 2 years and not his career before that.

      • vegastypo

        The best thing about getting Byrd is that maybe it keeps Schumaker on the bench.

  17. Dan

    News flash: 37-year-olds will soon suck at baseball. If they don’t already. I really don’t like this trade, even if Lively is the only player going back to the Phillies.

    Sigh… Typical Reds.

    Well, at least his .312 OBP will fit right in…

    • Drew

      His numbers were great last season but they didn’t suck…

  18. sultanofswaff

    Hmmm. So we’re giving up 6 years of control of a middle to back end starter for a player who will give us maybe 20% more production than Winker……..for one season and $8mil more.

    Kill me now.

    • Drew

      We are giving up a AA pitcher who may never see the light of a ML roster. OMG how much do we overvalue minor league players. We get Byrd for one season and hope Winkler improves. No way Byrd gets the AB’s needed to vest that 2016 season unless Reds make playoffs…

  19. lwblogger2

    Well yeah. Bryd would NOT have been my choice and I’m not thrilled. That said, he should be an upgrade over what they ran out there last year and he doesn’t have the bad platoon split of Smith or Rasmus.

  20. Joey

    He’s better than what we had or let go and the Phillies are on the hook for some/much? of the contract. Those are positives. I’m not going to mention the negatives because I’m sure someone else will. I don’t know if this is really a complaint or more of an observation, but doesn’t this move solidify Walt’s ineptitude as a GM? I mean he could have picked up the guy for nothing two years ago.

    • lwblogger2

      Yeah, they are saying that “…the Reds will receive a significant among of money in the deal to cover Byrd’s remaining salary…” That helps some.

  21. Drew

    that was two years ago, and it’s easy to say gee wish I would have done that then. I do believe Walt has made some questionable moves, but since not one of us here have any knowledge of what is going on behind the scenes it really isn’t fair to point blame.