The Cincinnati Reds have come to a crossroads. As with any business, there comes a time when the high-paid suits need to make some difficult, important decisions to better the organization. For the Reds, that time has come. Jeremy wrote about the Reds trade assets yesterday. Today, we look at some potential organizational plans for the next few years.

The Reds essentially have three major options. Each of these options has some variation, but the variation is quite small and depends in part on development from minor league players. Before I present those options, I want to emphasize that this post could easily be 3500 words long. I could write 1000+ words on each of these options, but I felt it was better to lay them out succinctly in one post for discussion sake. I’m sure some details are missing, but these options are reasonable divisions for what the Reds might do. As I see it, the Reds way forward is one of the following.

Option #1 We Believe!

The Reds could stand pat and not make any major changes to their roster. They would try to scratch their way into a wild card spot and hope that Johnny Cueto can propel them past the wild card game. At season’s end, Cueto would leave, and the Reds would get a compensation pick for him and maybe a pick for Mike Leake, depending on how things play out. The front office could then upgrade the bench and hope that Jesse Winker returns to form and readies himself for leftfield. They could also trade Frazier, Bruce, and possibly Phillips in the offseason if they decide to rebuild.

Argument for

The Reds certainly have talent on the roster. With Jason Marquis out of the rotation and Kevin Gregg off the team, they have already improved themselves since the beginning of the season. The young guys have good stuff and could conceivably pitch well enough for the Reds to win a lot of games. Jay Bruce has turned around his season and appears to be improving in many ways (career high BB%, K% is down). Todd Frazier has played like a top ten player in baseball, and Billy Hamilton has to hit better than this? Right?

A wild card spot isn’t that far away. The Reds nine game losing coincided with a rare Joey Votto slump, a Brandon Phillips injury, and a pitching staff meltdown. Maybe that stretch was just a blip on the radar.

Argument against

The Reds needed everything to go right to contend this year, and the injuries to Homer Bailey and Devin Mesoraco doomed the Reds to a mediocre or worse season. The Reds have zero depth and seem reluctant to bring up hot hitting alternatives in AAA (Ivan De Jesus, Steve Selsky, Eugenio Suarez). They have already dug themselves too big a hole and need to go 63-50 the rest of the way just to win 85 games.

Even if they made a run, they aren’t equipped to succeed in the playoffs. Unless they trade assets and get younger, they will eventually become the Philadelphia Phillies, a team whose valuable assets have all gotten old and undesirable.

Option #2 Keep the Core

The Reds could trade their top assets whose contracts are close to expiring. These players include Cueto, Leake, and Chapman. The players they bring back will make them younger and add depth to the organization. They may also get several top 100 prospects out of that group. The Reds could also explore trading Brandon Phillips or Zack Cozart in the right deal as Eugenio Suarez has heated up in May and looks ready to play every day whenever a middle infield spot opens.

Argument for

The core of Bruce, Frazier, Votto, and Mesoraco is too good to completely give up on, but they need young talent around them to win again. Winker, Suarez, Blandino, and whoever the Reds get from trading three or four high-profile pieces will add the talent and depth to contend in at least 2017, likely Frazier’s last year with the Reds. Bruce and Mesoraco are still in their 20s. and Frazier should remain effective through the rest of his Reds playing days.

The rotation could be excellent in a couple years. Bailey will likely be fully recovered from surgery. Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen won’t have any pitch limits and Robert Stephenson, who has struck out 21 batters in his last two games, will be throwing mid to high 90s fastballs in the major leagues. The next wave of Reds starters will enter their primes, and the Reds could win again soon.

Argument against

The Reds do not have the talent or assets to compete in the next few years. Billy Hamilton isn’t the offensive asset we had hoped for. We have no idea what to expect from Mesoraco or Bailey going forward. The Reds do not have much position player talent excelling in the minors and outside of Jesse Winker reaching his potential, they have little to no star talent.

The pieces the Reds would get from Cueto, Leake, and Chapman will likely have a couple years of development left; Thus, the current core will be aged or moving on to other teams by the time the Reds would compete again. The Reds are better off making a run now or selling on this core of players and starting over.

Option #3 Fire Sale

The Reds could overhaul the core of their roster and start over. This option would likely mean trading Cueto, Leake, and Chapman but also trading Frazier at his peak value and Bruce. The Reds would also try hard to send Phillips to the highest bidder if he will waive his no trade rights. If anybody wants Marlon Byrd, the Reds would gladly send him away. The Reds need to receive enough quality assets to compete in 2018 or 2019.

Argument for

The current core of players either doesn’t have enough talent around them to succeed, or they can’t be counted on because of injuries and aging. The Reds need to cut their losses and begin building the next winning team in Cincinnati. This rebuilding effort will take several years but will make the Reds competitive sooner than if they let their assets age and get little for them (Phillies).

As Jeremy noted, Frazier would likely bring back a big package. Cueto, Chapman, and Leake would also bring back quality. If Bruce continues to hit and show good plate discipline, the Reds may get something useful for him. He is young and likely has a few more years of quality production ahead. Winker, Suarez, Blandino, the young rotation, and the pieces from the trades are the building blocks for the Reds next World Series’ teams.

Argument against

The Reds have enough talent right now to build around if they are careful. Prospects are unpredictable and giving away all that talent at once is too risky. The tales of Matt LaPorta and Justin Smoke are prime examples. The Reds core is solid and with some shrewd moves, they could again contend in the near future. They have already received some quality prospects for players they couldn’t keep much longer. The Mat Latos trade yielded Disco, who has pitched well thus far. The Alfredo Simon trade brought back a first-round draft pick in righty Jonathon Crawford and a young shortstop playing well in AAA in Suarez. A few more of those moves could change the Reds fortunes quickly without giving up too much talent. Trading known commodities for prospects is risky.

Conclusion

Again, these are overviews meant to spark some discussion. Right now, I would probably vote for number two. I see too much talent to completely blow up the roster, but I think the Reds need to trade Cueto, Chapman, and Leake this month to get as much value as they can. The Reds have enough pitching talent in the system. If they infuse some quality bats through trades, they aren’t that far off form contending again. As bad as the nine game losing streak was, the Reds have good pieces in place for a few more years.

But I ask you, Nation: Which option do you think is best?

66 Responses

  1. jrod226

    I would love to keep the team the same right now and hope we luck into a wild card spot but i feel that is very unlikely. The next three series are crucial to seeing how this team responds to the sweep of the Nats. But realistically i think Cueto, Leake and Chapman need to be traded. Our young pitching has been impressive and we need more good hitting position players. Id say we go with option #2.

    • Nick Carrington

      Doug Gray can answer this better than I, but I think Ervin is still considered a strong prospect. Hot start this year but has cooled off. I think the Reds were hoping a college player would have more polish and have reached AA by now. Hasn’t happened yet.

    • jdx19

      As Nick said, Doug is the man, but my two-cents say Ervin will likely reach the majors, but probably at age 26 or so. A full season in AA next year, a split 20/80 AA/AAA in 2017, and then MLB in 2018.

  2. Redgoggles

    Assuming Phillips will not waive his no-trade clause, I would sell high on Cozart.

  3. reaganspad

    Nick, i did not see option 4

    firing Walt and bring in someone who knows how to build a team. the pitching and bench signings this year show that he is not up to the job.

    Even Ryan Madsen, a guy we had signed before was available in our budget and we missed on that for 2 other rehabbed pitchers.

    Our GM is O-fer his last few years. Yes the Latos trade was a good trade, but a lot of GM’s could have made a Mat Latos trade.

    Wayne Krivsky would have churned the availables to come up with a Cody Ross or Jorge Cantu or Keppinger or Josh Hamilton.

    Wayne would have had Byrd off the waiver wire a few years ago and still had Lively in our organization

    • eric3287

      Walt paid Marquis/Gregg/Badenhop $5.5 million because he apparently likes to light money on fire and laugh hysterically. Gregg had 1 decent year this decade and Marquis hasn’t even been serviceable since George Bush was president. Badenhop has had decent ERA numbers, but saw his K/9 rate drop from 7.2 in 2011 to 5.1 in 2014, a huge red flag. Naturally that number is 3.6 K/9 this year and he has struck out as many guys (7) as he has unintentionally walked.

      Meanwhile, Aaron Harang/Ryan Madson/Jim Johnson are making a combined $7.45 million and are actually contributing positively to major league baseball teams. Harang has been bettter than Marquis pretty much forever. If youa re going to take a chance on a guy coming off injury, it seems more logical to take the guy 3 years younger and with a track record of actually being good. Badenhop/Johnson I suppose could be a coin flip, but Johnson at least had 9.7 K/9 last year (though granted that came with 8 BB/9).

      Walt’s offseason was so awful, so atrocious, I don’t think it can possibly be overstated. What concerns me is letting the same “brain trust” in charge of the rebuild/retool.

      • NCRedsFan

        this is my biggest fear as well with selling off/trading…

      • redsfan06

        It almost makes me want to cry when you list the money the Reds blew on that group. Wonder how it makes Castellinin feel?

      • greenmtred

        Not defending WJ, but DeSclafani and Suarez seem like good additions.

      • Michael E

        Yeah, its not all bad. We get a little over-dramatic about Walt, but maybe its that feeling of him and Castellini being a decade or two past their primes that leads us to feeling complete hopelessness (stubborn old, crotchety types running the show the same failed way year after year kind of feeling).

    • Nick Carrington

      I wanted to avoid the Jocketty talk in the piece, but I’d rather see someone else handle the rebuild/restock as well.

  4. charlottencredsfan

    Option #2 unless Frazier brings an overwhelming return. If that happens and Jay continues to play well, I’d deal him as well.

    Nice way to lay it out, Nick.

    • Nick Carrington

      Charlotte, I completely agree. I’m certainly willing to go full rebuild mode, but I want to be really impressed with what I get back.

  5. Tom Reed

    Is Wayne Krivsky still available to take over the front office if Bob Castellini is up to it?

    • MrRed

      Just as relevant, would Krivsky want the job? He had the carpet ignominiously pulled out from under him by Castellini when Jocketty was brought in as a “special advisor”. Can’t imagine there’s a lot of trust there.

      I’d be up for a younger more forward thinking GM choice that embraces both scouting, development and advanced analytics.

  6. Hotto4Votto

    I agree, option #2 appears to be the wisest move to make. A healthy Votto, Mes, and Frazier should anchor the middle of the line up for a few more years. Keep Bruce and that’s half your line up already, all with proven hitters.

    I would sell high on Cozart before he comes back down to Earth, he will only get more expensive moving forward. Suarez can replace him. I would sell Cueto, Leake, and Chapman back and try to get 3-4 top 100 prospects back in return, and possibly some bench/bullpen pieces as well. I would want one of those players to be a MIF prospect, as insurance in case Suarez/Blandino don’t pan out. I would also like to see some top of order OF bats targeted, as far as position players go.

    After the selling starts I see if anyone wants to take on Phillips and if their is a buyer I sell regardless the return, maybe even eat some money. I don’t think Phillips wants to stick around for a rebuild. Who knows, but I think he’d like to play out his last few years with a chance to contend, so now may be the best time to get him to wave his no trade clause.

  7. Ryan Lykins (@ryan_lykins)

    The most irritating thing about this season has been that everyone knew it was coming and upper management has seemingly not planned ahead very well at all for it. If the team had went all in this year knowing this was the last chance then so be it but they literally have tried to fill their holes with middling crap. I get there are budget constraints but for the core of the team to have been intact for so long and have absolutely nothing to show for it is so disheartening. Luck and injuries and unwillingness on the front office have led the team to this. I just wish the team would have put all their eggs in the basket just once. Maybe then they would have won something. Instead they did what they’ve always dome and continue to do and just prayed everything would work out.
    I would go with option 2 here but boy I hope they know what they’re doing. This front office has really been rather idiotic in its dealings. I’d keep the core but find some new guys to be put in charge of finding the guys to go around them. Walt isn’t the answer and I’m not sure that his staff is much better with Kevin Towers in it. Here’s hoping the Reds come up with a plan and stick to it but also that they do it as smartly as they can. There’s small room for error as we have seen the last 5 years or so.

    • Jeremy Conley

      I don’t think you can criticize the front office in 2012, they had a great team, ran away with the division, and added pieces down the stretch. Cueto got hurt in game 1, Dusty mismanaged games 3 and 4, and we let the Giants come back. The Giants went on to win the World Series. If Cueto doesn’t get hurt there, the Reds were probably the favorites in the NL.

      In 2013 they pulled off a great trade to get Choo, who was exactly what they needed, and they made the wild card, despite a lot of down years.

      That was when they needed to start to rebuild, and they didn’t, and for that they should probably be let go. But I don’t think you can say they never pushed their chips in.

  8. lwblogger2

    I’m thinking option 2 at this point. We’ll have to see how Cueto does and hope he pitches well enough to remove doubts about his elbow. That’s the only way the Reds get a good return for him. I’d listen on players beyond Leake, Cueto, Chapman but wouldn’t actively shop them. I’d look to move Byrd so as not to deal with his vesting option. I’d check the waters to see what the return might be for Bruce. I’d talk to BP now about rather he’d be willing to waive his 10/5 rights to play for a contender. If he says “no”, then you nod and say “ok” and assume he’s going to be your 2B. Then maybe I start actively shopping Cozart because I’d want Suarez to start at SS or 2B as early as later this year.

  9. Tom Gray

    Going nowhere without MLB quality manager. Eventually Price must go for Reds to succeed.

    • jfifer

      i could not agree more. Gardenhire would be a great choice in my opinion.

    • Carl Sayre

      The biggest hit the Reds took with all of the injuries last year was that Price got a pass for being a bad manager. The bult in excuse of the injuries gave Price an extra year before ownership comes to understand as a manager he is a pretty good pitching coach.

  10. Raul Acedo

    Option 1 is not much of an option, inning limits on Lorenzen and Iglesias would not allow them to pitch in the rotation past August (maybe relief only). Depth is not there yet on SP to make a playoff run. Number 2 sounds wisest, although not much $$ flexibility until ’17, money freed up from trades would compensate for upcoming contract and arbitration raises.. Maybe $$ for bench only and 1-2 medium tier relievers. Trades would have to materialize into talent relatively fast.

    • reaganspad

      I am guessing that Stephenson is with the big club by then if Moscot has not already been promoted

  11. IndyRedMan

    Resigning Chapman as a closer doesn’t make sense but couldn’t the Reds find a way to keep him if they could convince him to become a starter?

    Chapman
    Lorenzen
    Bailey
    Tony Disco
    Inglesias/Cingrani

    That looks like a top 5 rotation in my book!!

    • KhalVotto

      I think the Chapman to rotation ship sailed a long time ago. Getting him stretched out may be realistic in one offseason/spring training. I read a few years ago he was pretty stubborn to it, regardless. Oh, what could have been.

      • CaliforniaRed

        Not using Aroldis as a starter is up at the top of the list of the many frustrating things the Reds have done/not done. I was at his last start in spring training when he threw 5 scoreless completely dominant innings vs. Pads in Peoria. My son and I were so excited and about a week later the announced he was going to the pen. Frustration Nation!

      • Michael E

        Yep, he should have NEVER went to the pen…EVER. He should have been put in as a starter, sent to AAA if needed to season and kept there. Dusty Baker and Walt screwed that up so bad it makes me sick. Now Chapman sees he can make tons of money, get tons of oohs and ahs and Sportscenter highlights, all while pitching a mere 60 innings a year or 3 innings a week. He is laughing at how easy life is since leaving Cuba.

        He should never had the chance to choose being a closer…he is the employee, not the owner.

  12. Victor Vollhardt

    Good article—-but no one can decide which option to take until you have some information on the next local Reds TV contract. It’s coming soon I believe 2016 and will have 10+ year term. Because of ratings we know there will be a big bump—but how big? Will they advance and/or promise some money now? If so then some players can be signed and/or extended and you will know who to build around—this includes Cozart-Frazier-Chapman-Leake. In any case the TV people will not stand for a complete rebuild with a two or three year wait to be competitive nor will they want some of the personalities that they have built their coverage on to up and leave. This type of thinking does not sit well with the baseball purists but this is how money is spent and how teams must respond.. It is why Chapman is a relief pitcher–he has a chance to be on TV more often and still do good for the team. It is also why instant replay is being boosted so much. The umpires were never that bad that they need all this help–it is TV driving the show. Same for the Buster Posey rule (catcher collisions)–a new face with great talent but in a position where a wrong move can nullify a personality that is very important to ratings in a smaller (SF) TV market. Every fan wants the right call made and does not want to see a great player hurt—but fans didn’t call for those changes—TV did. All of the options were well thought out , but unless you know how much future money will be available for player payroll (ie TV contract)–you can’t decide which way to jump. By the way one way to maybe get that money figure (and ask their thoughts) is to question Fox Sports–not the Reds.

    • IndyRedMan

      I don’t know? The Cubs have WGN and Comcast and they blew everything up for 3 years. I guess filling 30k in Chicago is a given no matter what the team look like but you’re talking about TV.

    • Jeremy Conley

      Victor, you make a lot of claims that TV is changing everything, but you don’t provide any support for it, and it just sounds like a conspiracy theory. Chapman as a relief pitcher because of TV? C’mon now. Why isn’t Kershaw or Hernandez or Bumgarner or Scherzer a reliever then? Chapman is a relief pitcher because of a) Dusty Baker and b) badly timed injuries to Sean Marshall and Ryan Madson.

      Also, this is the second post that I’ve seen talking about how the TV gods won’t accept a rebuild. Again, there is no evidence for this, and it shows a lack of understanding of how big business works. The TV deal is going to be a multi-billion dollar negotiation that is going to look at many different aspects of the team and its viewership. A one year rebuilld (which will include many exciting prospects) is going to be far down the list of concerns.

      • Victor Vollhardt

        Mr Conley–You are correct as to why Chapman became a relief pitcher–but now with all the problems in the rotation this year and last—- why is he still a relief pitcher? Because he is more valuable to the Reds( and their TV coverage) in that role. As to the other pitchers you mention— their personas are built on being starters. I have no inside knowledge of Fox Sports—but my guess would be that they would not be happy to start out a new deal (more money per game etc). with a lesser product than they have had in the past. I too do not believe in ” conspiracy theories”, but I do believe all businesses work (and make deals) in a way that all parties are satisfied and at least feel that they are getting their monies’ worth. TV at all levels is “run” by a star system not newcomers or prospects —just look as to how the national game(s) of the week are selected and advertised—I agree that this is maybe not the way it should be–but I also believe—it is the way it is.

      • Jeremy Conley

        You’re right that star power drives a lot of ratings, but just look at all the hype around the Cubs this year. They were getting more coverage in spring training on all the networks because of a kid that had never played in the majors, and they’d been terrible for 3 years running.

        Baseball fans, more than ever, love their prospects. I think TV networks now understand that they can market a young rising star as much as they can an established star like Votto.

        I guess my larger point, which I think we both agree on, is that with a deal this big, there is going to be a ton that goes into the valuation. Things like how much the Reds ownership has poured into the stadium, the increased attendance, the increased payroll, the growing population in CIncy, etc. No doubt the likelihood of a championship is in there, but compared to the other metrics that drive ratings, I don’t think a one year rebuild is going to hurt the deal as much as doing nothing would.

  13. GreatRedLegsFan

    Any good decision must pass through replacing WJ first, otherwise “we’re happy with the roster as it is”.

    • Michael E

      Yep, and don’t forget one of these terrible relievers is about to get a 2 year extension at $16 million and stun us perplexed fans into a coma.

  14. Vanessa Galagnara

    I vote option 3. Sadly Walt will do option 1. This is why I don’t have much motivation to vote. I already know I’m in the minority.

    • lwblogger2

      Maybe the minority but not alone. There were a lot of people at the beginning of the season ready for option 3 and with the Reds poor start, I’m sure those numbers are growing. I’m more an option 2 person though.

    • Michael E

      I vote 3 too and sadly, it will be 1 or it will be 2 with terrible returns.

      Option 2 had some guys staying that won’t help the team. I can live with Frazier staying, but he might never have more trade value than NOW, and I don’t see him getting “better” than he is now either, just more expensive soon.

  15. Jeremy Conley

    I hope the Reds the Reds win their next 20 games and take option 1 all the way to the World Series. Assuming that doesn’t happen:

    I think that there really isn’t a huge difference between options 2 and 3, since they aren’t going to be able to move Votto and Bailey in all likelihood. The guy that it all comes down to for me is Todd Frazier. The Reds need to decide what they are going to do with him, and that will dictate the option that they are taking.

    For Frazier I also see three options:

    1) If they think that by trading guys that will not be with the team in 2017 (Chapman, Cueto, Leake, Byrd) that they will be able to compete for the title in 2017, then you keep Frazier on his current deal and try to win it all in two years.

    2) If they think they need one more year, you could trade guys that will not be with the team in 2018 (Bruce, he’s got the 2017 option year, Cozart) and try to extend Frazier for an extra year or two.

    3) If Frazier won’t sign a short-term extension, which he probably won’t, and they don’t think they can realistically win it all in 2017, they deal Frazier now for the biggest package of prospects you can get. Trade Chapman, Leake, and Cueto, and hope that all those young guys can come up and be good in a year or two.

    I think this front office loves Frazier, and that’s totally reasonable. I don’t think they will trade him, which to me means that there won’t be a total fire sale. With Votto, Frazier, Phillips, Mesoraco, and most of the rotation staying put, the Reds would be effectively “keeping the core.”

    • daytonnati

      We’ve all been looking for a team leader ever since Scott Rolen left. For whatever reason, the logical candidates – Votto, Bruce, Phillips – have not stepped up and assumed that role. It appears that Frazier is willing to. Being selected as the Reds’ “spokesman” for the All-Star game, he appears to be a positive dugout influence, and has the willingness to always be available and hold the team accountable in the media. Even though Joey is the MVP, it seems more Frazier’s team than his? If you trade Frazier, who leads? Mesaroco seems like a logical choice, but we have to seriously wonder if his career – at least the career we all imagined him having after last year – might be in jeopardy.

  16. Victor Vollhardt

    Mr Conley–In this post I like all your points and I especially like (and hope for) your very first sentence.

  17. Eric the Red

    When we talk about having enough pitching talent, I think it’s important to differentiate between having the talent to compete in most games and win enough to grab one of the 5 playoff spots, and having the talent to win a WS once we reach the playoffs. If we trade Cueto, we’re trading a guy who could really make a difference in the playoffs (and we should get a lot of value in return because of that). Personally, I’d try to hang onto a talent like that because it’s important we have strong #3 and #4 starters and we may be developing some of those, but true #1s are rare indeed.

    • Jeremy Conley

      The thing is, how much are you going to pay him and for how long? Nobody wants to see Cueto go. I wish that they had extended him in stead of Bailey two years ago. But they didn’t and here we are.

      He’s 29 this year. Expecting him to be as good in the next 5 years as he has been in the last 5 years is foolish. If the Reds paid him $20M per year (which is probably less than he could get) for those 5 years (which is probably less than he could get) that would mean that through 2019 they would have more than $60M per year dedicated to three players in their 30s. That’s half of their payroll. I just don’t see how they can field a good team in that way.

      • Michael E

        He’ll want, and get, at least an 7 yr deal for $170 – 180 million in the off-season. No way I want the Reds to go anywhere NEAR that. Trade him.

  18. PDunc

    I agree with what seems like most here that Option #2 is the best choice.

    Per this article, the Yankees could use a pitcher like Leake.
    http://www.pinstripealley.com/yankees-analysis-sabermetrics/2015/5/26/8655741/yankees-trades-starting-pitching-kazmir-latos-kazmir-haren-leake-gallardo
    The Yankees also have the lowest OPS from 2B in the league. I’d see if they will take Phillips and his entire salary along with Leake. Anything you get back is just a bonus to getting out of Phillip’s contract.

    The Dodgers are assumed to be looking for a 3rd ace-caliber pitcher to team with Kershaw and Greinke. They are also not getting much out of Jimmy Rollins at SS. I’d offer them Cueto and Cozart in exchange for Corey Seager. If the Dodgers really want to go all in for this season, I’d throw in Chapman and ask for a couple more near ML-ready prospects in return.
    http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2015?list=la
    I personally like Urias, Chris Anderson, Chris Reed, and Austin Barnes.

    I’d trade Byrd anywhere for anything you can get. Anything to keep from having to pay him $8 million next season.

    An infield next season of Votto, Suarez, Seager, and Frazier with Mesoraco and Barnhardt at Catcher and Bruce, Hamilton, and Winker in the outfield I think would be a competitive starting 8.

    A pitching staff including Bailey (once he’s healthy), DeSclafani, Cingrani, Lorenzen, Iglesias, Stephenson, Moscot, and Holmberg is a pretty good start.

    Phillips will make $13 million next year and add in arbitration raises for Chapman and Cozart and the Reds will have saved $25-$30 million for 2016. With whatever free agents could be signed with that savings along with the core players listed above and I think the Reds could be competitive in 2016 or 2017.

    • Carl Sayre

      I have read some rumblings across the web that the Dodgers have a huge interest in Chapman. Those rumors are hard to pin down but if they have that much interest in Chapman maybe we can include a BP salary dump. The fact that BP is playing very well for his age may help the cause. I like him cutting up and seems to enjoy the game and he is still a premier 2nd baseman but the calendar stops for no man.

      • lwblogger2

        Howie Kendrick is playing pretty well. Why would the Dodgers want BP? I don’t see them wanting Chapman quite that badly and neither Kendrick nor BP could really play SS, which is where the Dodgers have an infield need. Cozart would make more sense for them and he’d cost them a lot less in salary.

    • Jeremy Conley

      If the Reds can get Seager for Cueto and Cozart, they should, but I don’t see it.

      As for the pitching staff, Cingrani is a reliever now and Holmberg is and always has been a bad pitcher. He’s got a 4.7 ERA in AAA after putting up a 4.6 ERA last year. All of his other numbers are bad.

      I do like the idea of Phillips and Leake to the Yankees.

      • PDunc

        If the Dodgers aren’t interested in Cueto and Cozart for Seager I’d be fine still trying to move Phillips and going with Cozart and Suarez in the middle infield. Then once Cozart hits free agency hopefully Blandino will be able to step in.

        I was talking about the pitching staff as a whole, starters and relievers. I agree Cingrani is probably in the bullpen longterm, and think he would be our best reliever if/when we trade Chapman. Holmberg might not turn out be any good, but just more the overall point that there is enough pitching talent in the minors to help fill out 5 starters and the bullpen.

  19. WVRedlegs

    Monty Nick, lets go with door #2.
    With what the Reds get back in return from some astute trades, there possibly could be some redundancy that gives them too much depth at a certain position or two. One adjustment I would make to that plan would be for this winter off-season to weed out some top 20 prospects and make another Latos-type trade for a young top of the rotation starter if Lorenzen and DeSclafani are my top two pitchers.

  20. WVRedlegs

    There was an interesting conversation on MLB radio when Bowden’s show started this afternoon. And this certainly could pertain to Homer Bailey’s situation.
    They were talking about front offices and pitchers coming back from TJ surgery. They started with when the Marlins should be expecting Jose Fernandez back from his TJ surgery. He has been out for 13 months now they said and he may be back later in June. They said there was some new research out that showed that is was best to hold out pitchers coming back from TJ surgery for 16-18 months, and not try to rush them back in 12 months like has happened recently with many pitchers. They said that MLB front offices should now plan for that 16-18 month recovery period and it would be interesting to see how it all plays out.
    If that 16-18 month period is correct, then the Reds should not “plan” for Bailey at all in 2016. If he were to come back by late August/September, it now might be wisest to just hold him out until the 2017 season.
    That being the case, maybe a young top of the rotation type starter, like Latos in December 2011, would be in order to get back in any July trades, or a trade this winter.

    • jdx19

      Fernandez threw his first ‘game’ yesterday in extended spring training. He pitched 3 innings and struck out 7 of the 9 guys he faced, touching 97. Pretty impressive first action!

      I think 16-18 months sounds long. I’d be interested in seeing the study and understanding their data set. With Fernandez, it’s been 13 months and he just threw for the first time in real action. Like you said, if it’s end of June or early July, it’ll be 14 months, which isn’t far off of 16-18. As with most things, I’d say it depends on the player and how his body responds.

      • WVRedlegs

        Bowden was talking about it just after their show started at 2:00pm EDT. During the first 15 minutes. I’m sure Bowden cited whatever it was. You might be able to find it on their website on a re-play of the show.

  21. jdx19

    Thanks for the article, Nick!

    Right now I’m somewhere between Option 2 and 3. I wouldn’t want to get rid of both Bruce and Frazier, but if Bruce keeps hitting, unloading him would be reasonable. Or unloading Frazier would be reasonable if the return is right.

    I think Cueto, Leake, and Chapman need to go for sure.

    • Michael E

      I am with you JDX. I also want to see them move Byrd and maybe one other pitcher that might have some value (Hoover, Parra?).

  22. redsfan06

    Was talking to a co-worker here in Wisconsin about the sad state of the Brewers and Reds. He commented that at least the Reds had some good players to work with. With the core of Votto, Mes, Bruce and Frazier going forward, it does seem like making the right moves to augment that group could produce a contender. I would like to see a stab at Option #2.

    Of course that vote depends somewhat on who the Reds can get for Cueto, Leake and Chapman. Trades where Leake is thrown in with BP just to move BP’s contract may help the team financially over the next few years, but it doesn’t bring in new players who can help.

    • Nick Carrington

      Excellent point. All of this depends on how well the Reds do in trading whatever pieces they do decide to trade. Many prospects do not work out, so they better be confident about the return they get.

      • Michael E

        and quality over quantity. The last thing we need are more mediocre low A ball types floundering for 5 years before being minor league FAs.

  23. CommonSense

    Until Price and Walt is gone, I don’t care about the rest

  24. BigRedMike

    Chapman should be the first to be traded, the Reds do not need an expensive player that rarely pitches. Get something for him and there is enough on the current pitching staff to find a “closer”

    • Michael E

      I’ll take over closer role for the minimum salary. The Reds closer never pitches anyway, so shouldn’t be very hard to replace Chapman.

    • Michael E

      If we can keep him there for a month, a big sigh of relief. I hope they trade him for anything (bag of peanuts) to some contender needing a RH bench power bat that can platoon in the field once or twice week. We’ll take a rookie ball prospect in return.

  25. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I will give a combination of a couple of choices. I say, at the major league level, go with what you have but don’t try to build on that nor tear it down. Fill in with average FA’s as we lose players through the next several years. For example, BP’s contract comes up, don’t resign him, unless he gives a super discount. If we have someone ready to replace him at AAA, use him. If not, don’t go out and sign the best FA nor the worst FA, just one who can do an average job of filling the hole. If someone offers something for one of our main guys, consider taking it or not. But, I wouldn’t just jump at it. Maybe try to extend the core a bit more, like Frazier a couple of years or Devin a couple of years. But, I wouldn’t do anything along the lines of a $15-20 million per contract for a player like a pitcher who has barely cracked double digit wins in a season.

    More important for me, put more resources toward developing your minor leagues. I believe Krivsky and Obrien had the right formula. Develop the building blocks of the organization. Then, when the big club loses players, you have players ready to step in. When you want to make a push to finally pull a trigger on a trade, you have some trade pieces you can use. You have some “Plan B’s”. But, like now, we have no trade pieces. Many have been talking about the lack of depth we have. That would be similar to the lack of position players in the minors. At one time not too long ago, we were stacked with them. But, not currently.

    Advantage – the team doesn’t necessarily become a cellar dweller overnight, and we still concentrate on what the organization needs to be doing to come back to prominence.

    Disadvantage – it takes time. One big move this past off season wasn’t going to help this season.