Kevin wrote an excellent article a few weeks ago about potential trade partners and returns for Aroldis Chapman. Kevin nailed the potential return value. The Reds are likely to get a top 50 prospect and a B prospect or possibly a couple players in the 50-100 range. This article provides some explanation as to why they might receive that package. Kevin outlined what the Reds might get from Tampa Bay, Seattle, Texas, or Toronto.

Recently, Jon Morosi reported that the Washington Nationals had called the Reds with interest in landing the Cuban Missile. While these talks seem preliminary in nature, they could turn into something substantial at any time. So to build off Kevin’s excellent work, we will here explore what the Reds might get from the Nationals for Chapman’s services. Luckily, the Nationals have some nice pieces for the Reds to explore. Here are some quick scouting reports on pitchers and position players of interest in the National’s system. I note the rankings of each player in the Fangraphs’ top 200 list and the Baseball Prospectus top 100 list.

Pitchers

Lucas Giolito (Fan #7, BP #6) is the Nationals top prospect. He hit 95 MPH as a fifteen year old, which is pretty amazing. Gioloto just turned 21 and has a 30.2% strikeout rate in 39.2 innings for the Nationals’ high A club. His stuff is elite, and the Nationals aren’t giving him up anytime soon.

Reynaldo Lopez (Fan #57, BP #72) throws even harder than Gioloto, which is interesting because when he signed in 2012, he only threw in the upper 80s. Lopez hit 100 MPH many times in 2014 and subsequently shot up prospect lists. I like the way that Baseball Prospectus describes his fastball: “comfortably operates in the mid 90s.” Comfortably being the key term. Lopez can dial it up when necessary much like we see Johnny Cueto do at times. Lopez has struggled some in high A to begin 2015 as a 21 year old likely because of a .345 BABIP, but he is striking out batters at a solid rate. His off speed stuff still needs work apparently, but with an elite fastball, the Reds would at least be interested and may have a chance at Lopez.

A.J. Cole (Fan #143+, BP #30) is a polarizing figure as you can tell by the disparity in rankings between Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus. Cole has a mid 90s fastball and solid off speed stuff. Some scouts see him at a number 4 starter and nothing more. Others see him as a top of the rotation type pitcher. His minor league numbers are solid but not dominant, and he posted a 4.48 FIP in AAA last year. It’s unclear just how high the Nationals view him, but Cole seems like a reasonable option in return for a relief pitcher, even if that relief pitcher gets three outs by making hitters look silly.

As a 23 year old, Cole has pitched some for the Nationals this year, making one start and three appearances. In 9.1 innings, he has a 5.79 ERA. I’m conflicted on Cole as I don’t see as big an upside as I’d like, but he is likely a major league starter in the future.

Erick Fedde (Fan #95, BP N/A) was the 18th overall pick in the 2014 draft even though he was rehabbing from the dreaded Tommy John surgey. Before the surgery, Fedde would have days where his fastball sat 90-93 and days where it sat 92-95 and top out at 97. Scouts view Fedde as a mid rotation starter with a slight chance for something better. His floor is probably a late inning reliever. All of this is predicated on Fedde returning well from surgery. He hasn’t thrown a pitch as a professional yet and until he does, the Reds should probably stay away.

Joe Ross (Fan N/A, BP N/A) has a solid fastball (92-95 MPH) and secondary stuff that has above average potential. At his best, he is a mid rotation guy. At his worst, he at least provides value out of the bullpen. He has had an impressive year thus far in 2015 and even made three starts in the big leagues with a 2.66 ERA. Ross’ fastball in 3 starts has averaged close to 93 MPH. His nine starts in AA this season were also impressive as he had a career high 26.2% strikeout rate. At 22 years old, Ross could definitely improve and become a solid rotation piece much like Mike Leake. Maybe more.

Position Players

OF Michael Taylor (Fan #133, BP #57) is another polarizing figure. Taylor is toolsy with great speed and a lot of power. He plays an excellent centerfield and  like Billy Hamilton, could provide everyday value with just his defense and base running. But Taylor and Hamilton are very different offensive players. Taylor strikes out a lot and has intense raw power. He hit 22 homers in 98 games last season in AA before seeing some action in both AAA and the major leagues. His .313/.396/.539 slash line at AA is impressive, but his overly aggressive nature at the plate is not.

In Taylor’s defense, he has posted some solid walk rates in the minors, even posting an 11.3% BB rate in 441 plate appearances in AA. Taylor is 24 and his strikeout issues could improve, but unless it does, Taylor has a high risk of being a bust. Still, his skills are tantalizing and worth a look for the Reds.

SS Trea Turner (Fan # 83, BP N/A) has an interesting trade history. He was drafted on June 13th of 2014 by the Padres, and by rule, they have to wait one calendar year before trading him. Turner ended up being the player to be named later in the Wil Myers trade but because of the one year rule, he played in the Padres organization until June 13th of this year. That oddity hasn’t fazed Turner, as he has played extremely well in 2015 with a .322/.385/.471 slash line.

Turner runs really well, and scouts seem to think he will play an average shortstop. He doesn’t possess a ton of power but enough for a middle infielder. Turner’s upside is a high average/on-base guy who hits 10-12 homers. His speed makes him more valuable as he steals bases and take extra bases when the opportunity presents itself. Honestly, the Reds could use more middle infielders, and Turner has a great chance to play shortstop every day in a few years. Many scouts think Reds 2014 first rounder Alex Blandino will move to second base eventually which may open a spot for Turner depending on how you feel about Eugenio Suarez. Regardless of how good Suarez is, Turner would be a great addition.

2B Wilmer Difo (Fan # 143+, BP N/A) had the backing of some scouts and analysts before the season started as the Nationals future shortstop over Turner. In 2014, Difo ripped up low A pitching as a 22 year old with a .315/.360/.470 slash line and 52 extra base hits. This season, he has hit for a high average in AA (.296) but has walked once in 113 plate appearances for a paltry 0.9% walk rate . He has shown better plate discipline in the past, but his aggressiveness is a concern. Difo is a switch hitter with a wide base and not much of a stride as you can see in the video, which is Difo’s first major league hit.

Difo has some good tools to work with. Baseball Prospectus describes him as an “excellent athlete” while rating his speed very highly. Difo stole 49 bases in 2014 and thus far between High A and AA, he has 9 stolen bases in 10 attempts. Difo may eventually end up at 2B, but he isn’t terrible at shortstop either.

Reds Targets

The Nationals have other players of interest with some tools, but the rest likely project as bench players or potential relief help. The Reds would definitely require one or two players from this list in a trade for Chapman. They may also get another throw in, but the key will be getting a starting pitcher or everyday player or two.

Personally, I’m partial to Trea Turner. He will likely stay at short and has already succeeded in AA as a 21 year old. He had an OBP of .447 in 216 plate appearances in high A. While the Reds have Suarez and Alex Blandino in the organization, they could add depth with Turner, and at the moment, he seems to have a higher ceiling than Suarez.

If the trade return estimates are true, the Reds may be able to get both Turner and Taylor as position players or one of the position players and a pitcher. If I had my choice, I’d take Turner and Lopez, but I’d be happy with other scenarios. I’m weary of Taylor being the headliner as players with an overly aggressive approach frequently have trouble adjusting to major league pitching. If Taylor is the second player in the trade behind Lopez or Turner, I would welcome the risk on a tool shed like Taylor.

The Reds need to trade Chapman to bring an influx of young talent into the organization. The Nationals have a reported interest in Chapman and possess the pieces to get him. If the Reds turn one and a half years of Chapman into six plus years of two good prospects, they will have done well.

73 Responses

  1. Dr. K

    Rick Weiner had the following trade proposal, based on some of Rosenthal’s information regarding trade speculation.

    Cincinnati Gets: RHP Chris Anderson, RHP Zachary Bird, OF Scott Schebler, 2B/OF Darnell Sweeney and a player to be named later

    Los Angeles Gets: LHP Aroldis Chapman and RHP Johnny Cueto

    Not sure how realistic this is. I also don’t know if this is a better proposal than Nick’s info with a move between the Reds and Nationals.

    The big problem I see with it is that a Kershaw/Cueto rotation with Chapman lurking in the pen makes the Dodgers a formidable opponent in the playoffs should the Reds get there any time soon. Of course, that is subject to the Dodgers resigning both, but they have some deep pockets.

    • WVRedlegs

      Any trade deal proposed with the Dodgers that doesn’t have INF Corey Seager included should be immediately quashed by ownership.

      • jdx19

        Seager isn’t going anywhere, unless maybe it is Cueto + Chapman for Seager and nothing else.

    • CRig

      Scott Schebler is a ball player. He went to my HS. Solid bat and hard worker doing nothing in that loaded organization. Could be a great pickup for the Reds.

      • WVRedlegs

        Schebler is a good power/speed guy. A good LH bat. I like the number of doubles and triples he hits, as well as the HR’s.
        Seager, Schebler, and one of those pitchers or two would be a nice return.

  2. WVRedlegs

    I think I would have to agree with Nick that Trea Turner and Reynaldo Lopez would be ideal returns. Ross isn’t a bad choice either.
    Watch for Toronto lurking in the shadows. They have a big need for a Chapman. A Chapman/Leake deal there is something to watch for.

    • George Mirones

      Good thoughts, and maybe the Reds get a MLB outfielder if we throw in Byrd.

    • Kevin Michell

      That Toronto bullpen absolutely IMPLODED over the weekend. Loup and Cecil both look like they’re not fooling anyone. I bet you’re right, WV, that series probably stoked a little fire underneath them to fix that problem. Best thing is, a little desperation could lead to a nice overpay by the Jays if Walt plays it smart.

      • WVRedlegs

        We can only hope that Walt plays it smart. He is sitting in the cat bird’s seat.
        I saw a quote from the Blue Jays GM Anthony Anthoupolous this weekend, and he said that he is the only GM willing to deal right now. He said no other GM is wanting to do anything this early. I guess he meant no other GM he has talked to.
        A starter and a closer and the Blue Jays should be rolling. It would be huge if the Reds could get Marcus Stroman from the Jays. They can’t use him at all this year so he can’t help them win it this year. Stroman would be a nice replacement for Cueto and could be the leader the rotation will need until Bailey returns.

  3. George Mirones

    Nick;
    Thanks for the work and info.
    To my eyes after reading your article, the position players seem to be a reflection of what the Reds already have in the minors. Why would the Reds do that? It may be too early to trade Chappy just yet. The Nationals are one injury away from demise, Harper, and they know it..

    • Nick Carrington

      Our own Doug Gray (who is excellent) ranked only two infield prospects in his Reds top 20 and one of those was number 20: Gavin LaValley. The other is Alex Blandino. If the Reds got Turner or Difo, either one would immediately become the Reds first or second best infield prospect. I’d say that makes infield prospects a position of need.

      Taylor may be redundant in some ways but besides Winker who has started to hit and is a top 40 prospect, the Reds outfield prospects are far from sure things.

      As the Reds have shown this year, pitching depth is essential. The Reds may start their ninth starting pitcher of the season this Saturday. We also know all about the Reds bullpen struggles. They could use any of these guys.

      That’s just my take. They have needs, and they better not wait too long to get some young talent back into the system.

    • tct

      I think the Reds need to approach this the same way they approach the draft; best player available. Work out how they fit together and where they play later.

      Most prospects don’t make it, and many that do make it change positions, so you shouldn’t worry about one prospect blocking another. Remember at the end of 2012, the Reds had arguably the best trio of young shortstops in baseball. Cozart was coming off a strong rookie year, and they had Hamilton and Gregorius in the minors. But they traded Didi, moved Billy to center, and when Zack struggled they really had nobody else. In 2013, four of the Reds top 5 prospects were outfielders; Billy, Ervin, Winker, and Yorman, yet here we are in 2015 and the Reds still don’t have a left fielder and still don’t get much offensive.production from their outfield.

    • jdx19

      Since such a high percentage of minor leaguers bust, you take talent where you can get it. Personally, if I had 50 good SS prospects in the minors I wouldn’t bat an eye. After all, a SS can defensively move to any posiiton and be fine (except maybe catcher) with minimal effort.

  4. Kevin Michell

    Fantastic stuff, Nick- thanks for the love for my article! Really like the Turner/Lopez package. It’s not founded on anything concrete, but I just feel like Lopez ends up in Chapman’s role when it’s all said and done, what with the mechanical adjustments and a not-yet-effective changeup.

    Poor Trea Turner… It’s got to feel kind of like a backhanded complement for a prospect to be traded- especially more than once- before making the big leagues. Although, Anthony Rizzo turned out just fine.

    On that note, I thought I saw chatter about MLB changing the wait period on trading signed draft picks (or maybe eliminating it entirely)- did that happen? If so, the Nats drafted Mo Rivera Jr. in the fourth round- that’s a pretty good pedigree…

    • IndyRedMan

      Chris Archer w/the Rays went from Cleveland to the Cubbies to the Rays….it happens. Its def not an exact science

    • WVRedlegs

      It is one of the things the new commissioner is going to look at and also looking to add the foreign players to the draft. Possibly no more free agent contracts for the foreign players. No more Chapman, Puig, and Garcia type of deals for the Cubans. The way it is now harshly penalizes the American players. And it is the best way for the bad teams to get better more quickly.

    • hof13

      The wait period on trading draft picks did change. They can now be traded after the World Series.

  5. bohdi87

    Great article. Unlike Frazier and Cueto, I won’t be too upset to see Chapman go. The Reds have mismanaged him so much that that frustration offsets watching him throw 100+.

    Given the way Price has used Chapman, trading him shouldn’t negatively affect the team’s current competitiveness too.

    • greenmtred

      Considering the state of the Reds’ pen, I have disagree with you. Chapman’s use has arguably been too limited, certainly, but if they trade him, a lesser pitcher will take his place. May not be a really big impact, but they will almost certainly be less competitive.

      • jdx19

        True, they’ll be slightly less competitive, but even the Reds dumpster fire bullpen rarely gives up 3 runs in an inning, which is the situation Chapman seems to be most used in.

  6. Carl Sayre

    Is Chapman the trade piece that is going to bring the most return? I know there is an additional year of team control and that is huge but I would think that a team in the playoff picture would get more out of Cueto especially if they have deep enough pockets to be in the mix to sign him. The other thing i am wondering is Leake affordable for the Reds and wouldn’t it be worth considering to keep him if the price is right? I don’t see a big return in trade value but i like having a proven middle of the rotation guy because of Bailey’s injury and Lorenzen and Desclafini look like our future but they are still gonna hit speed bumps..

    • bohdi87

      Cueto and/or Frazier would have higher returns but this isn’t an either/or situation. The Reds should, at the very least, be listening to offers on all three.

    • Nick Carrington

      Whether Cueto or Chapman brings the most return is an interesting question. Hard to tell because Chapman is unique. Elite relievers and hard throwers get traded, but Chapman at his best is dominant on a level that few in history can match. I used the Fox Sports and Kevin articles as my base because those are the best estimates I’ve seen.

      I’d be happy to keep Leake at the right price. I think they should at least explore it. Maybe not do it but explore it.

      • reaganspad

        I agree Nick. You listen to offers for everyone on your team if that trade would knock your socks off and make your team better.

        You talk with all your players about extensions. I wish we would have extended Cueto a few years ago when he was hurt. that is how you can leverage a small market, you have to get lucky on value contracts for players you know are premiere.

        Jay Bruce would be a good conversation this year. we see what a Todd Frazier type season can do for you. Jay has a 40 HR season in him as well, then we will be saying we cannot afford him versus saying boy am I glad that we signed him when he was struggling in 2015.

        that said, I do not see Leake winning 20 games. I cannot see paying him $15.0 mil per for a long term just because we have so much pitching on the way. Hitters are a different deal.

        We are not doing bad on the mid contracts (I actually like Phillips and think his contract is fine when he is healthy, I like Bruce’s current contract). I think an extension for Cozart that was team friendly given his injury would be a good discussion right now, I like Mesoraco’s contract

        Yes there is risk, but we are never going to get a top tier free agent at market price so we have to create value where we can.

        I think a contract like Bailey’s will be a good value when he comes back strong next year.

        Don’t like risk? Don’t play major league sports with the big boys

      • Steve Mancuso

        Good points all around. Mike Leake may not be one of the top five starting pitchers for the Reds by 2017, maybe 2016. He’s worth a qualifying offer if they can’t trade him for something better than the compensation pick. A multi-year contract doesn’t make sense for the Reds with Leake.

      • Nick Carrington

        Great post, Reaganspad. I’d take Leake at a price I don’t think he would accept. The Reds should be open to trading anybody.

        I like Phillips too, and I don’t think his contract is that bad. But you hit on an important issue with Phillips: his health. He seems to still have the bat speed to be productive (highest line drive% of his career), but one thing about getting older is it’s hard to stay healthy. This is the third straight year he has started well, got hurt, and struggled. I don’t know whether turf toe and his groin injury will have an affect on him all season, but I’m concerned.

        Cozart is too old for me and knee injuries for a shortstop can be iffy. I think the job is Suarez’s to lose going forward. But I love your point. Sign your young guys and talented players when they have lower value and reap the benefits when they reach potential.

    • tct

      Frazier is by far the most valuable. Chapman and Cueto are probably pretty similar and it will depend on the team. With Cueto, you are only getting a couple months and then you either have to sign him to a huge deal, or watch him walk with no compensation.

      With Chapman, you get him for the rest of this year, plus all of next year. You could even use him for your stretch run and the playoffs, and then trade him in the off season for a good return. And if you keep him for next year, you get the chance to offer a qualifying offer and get a draft pick if he leaves. You don’t get that with Cueto. Also, relievers are always valued very high, and teams often overpay, at the trade deadline because those late inning situations are so crucial in the playoffs. A good team could get Chapman for 2 playoff runs, and if they used him right he could be insanely valuable.

  7. Jake

    This all sounds great, however we know Castellini is unlikely to pull the trigger and allow the trade. Chapman = $$$$. Like others have said, I’d have no hard feelings about letting go of Chapman since we’re not likely to get to the playoffs this year or next

    • IndyRedMan

      They have to trade Chapman….the way they use him is like giving Secretariat to the Amish. So of course Bob C. won’t trade him

      • jdx19

        Well, that was the implication. One I disagree with 100%. No one goes to the Reds game for a 35% chance to see Chapman.

      • jessecuster44

        Disagree. I think there are plenty of casual fans who go to the games, pick up a bobblehead, and hope to see Chappy. Bob C afraid of losing these fans. However if the Reds won more, these people would come anyway. Frustrating

      • jdx19

        Well, if casual fans are coming for a bobble head and “hoping” to see Chapman, they are not coming to the ballpark to see Chapman.

  8. Bill

    I think if you trade Chapman it should be centered around a position player. The Reds have lots of young pitchers. The second player could be a high 90s throwing guy and if he can’t make the rotation throw him in the pen

    • ohiojimw

      And it should be a position player who figures to be in the MLB roster no later than next spring.

  9. Dr. K

    Cueto’s start moved from tomorrow to Friday for more rest. That worries me. He’s not one that normally needs extra rest. Hope he’s not injured.

    • i71_Exile

      This is very concerning…or indication that he’s being moved before the break.

      • Dr. K

        According to Rosecran’s twitter account, Cueto’s agent says he is fine. Not sure I expect the agent to say anything other than that, though. Would like more information, but I don’t expect to get it.

        Chapman is on paternity list, for what that is worth. Not sure when he is expected to return.

      • ohiojimw

        Could be Cueto is somewhere getting a physical for a trade/ contract extension deal. If that’s the case, it could be a blockbuster in the works. It usually leaks out when another team has been granted the time limited negotiation window with the player for this type of deal but it figures if anybody could keep it quiet it would be Jocketty. That seems to be one thing hew has not lost his touch for.

        Of course Cueto also could be back in Cincy for a physical because Castellini has opened the vault like he did with JV and the Reds are about to re-sign him for the long haul.

      • reaganspad

        I am good with either of those Jim

        I would love to see Johnny on a long term deal in Cincy. of course it is not my money.

        I would also love to see Chapman traded if the return of a position player and an arm or 2 is available.

  10. CP

    Are people still under the delusion that Chapman puts butts in the seats? Outside of the original “Chapmania”, I have yet to meet anyone say they’re going to a game to watch the closer pitch. Talk about losing odds…

    You know what drives ticket sales and merchandising? Winning.

  11. cleveredsguy

    I definitely agree that a Lopez and Turner trade for Chapman would be great but I think I’d almost rather go with Giolito and Taylor. Giolito is further away (probably 2-3 years) but a definite stud, Taylor is a boom or bust candidate. Having to wait for the development of a player has to decrease his value somewhat but he is by far the most talented of the bunch.

    • Nick Carrington

      I’d love Gioloto, but I’d be absolutely shocked if Chapman is the one who pries him from Washington.

      • jdx19

        Same. Giolito is a tough get, especially since WAS seems to be in love with the kid.

  12. Steve Schoenbaechler

    In looking at these, sorry, I’m not interested. If a trade doesn’t include at least 1 major league ready high level (aka AAA) prospect, then I would say no trade.

    I mean, for Latos (low salary figure at the time), we gave up 3 high level (I believe major league ready) prospects and one major league (though not star) starting pitcher. For Chapman (higher salary figure), I would think we could get at least 1 major league ready AAA player. Shoot, to get Marshall, we gave up a young major league starting lefty, one of our best hitting prospects at the time, and a middle infielder prospect which left us dry in middle infield “plan B’s”.

    • Steve Mancuso

      4 years of Latos, cost controlled, vs. 1.5 years of Chapman. 800 innings vs. 100.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        That’s one reason why I specified high and low salary figures, Steve, to show it’s not exactly comparing apples to apples. But, it’s not exactly comparing apples to furniture, either.

      • Steve Mancuso

        It’s comparing a pitcher who will contribute 800 innings to one who will contribute 100. So why is it surprising the return on the first one is much higher than the second one? It’s not just money, although that’s part of it, too. The more important factor is the number of years and role. Closers aren’t worth as much as starters for a good reason. 800 > 100.

        Teams in the middle of pennant races don’t give up players who are helping them at the time. That’s why deadline deals are generally for prospects. The kind of trades outlined by Nick here and our other writers in previous posts are exactly what to expect for trading Cueto and Chapman. If the Reds got borderline current major league player back (like Travis Wood) I’d be extremely disappointed. The returns of top prospects have much more potential to help the Reds.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        And, it’s comparing a pitcher who is lights out for that 100 innings and a pitcher who wasn’t necessarily lights out for the 800 innings with a rep of being a headcase.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        “If the Reds got borderline current major league player back (like Travis Wood) I’d be extremely disappointed. ”

        Alright, Steve, just as long as we know that you would rather get a single A player for Chapman, a player who may never help the big club ever, rather than a major league ready player or even a current major leaguer who could help the big club now or, at least, in the very near future. Not to mention for a lefty pitcher, one of the secondary weaknesses our staff and pen have had for a while, the main reason we had to call up Chapman prematurely in the first place and leave the starter idea for him. We see where your standards are.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Well, it’s not just me. It’s every GM who makes trade-deadline moves like this. Just check the past trades. Prospects are gambles, but the top couple prospects in each organization, or the to 50-100 overall in MLB are reasonably good gambles, at least to become a major league player.

        Chapman is worth a lot. That will be repaid by receiving several prospects for him, or a really highly rated single prospect. That’s the way it works. You can say, gee, we should get a great major league player for him. But those trades just don’t happen often at the deadline. They are more common in the offseason when teams can address roster implications of trading away a position player, for example.

    • Jeremy Conley

      Ok, whoa. Travis Wood is a solidly below average pitcher that can really only be a 5th starter on a good team. One of our best hitting prospects? Dave Sappelt was a hero in spring training but has a career .644 OPS. He was never close to being a good prospect. Torreyes has been cut three times since the trade and is currently hitting .200 at AAA. So we got a good reliever for a 5th starter.

      I’m sure someone would give you a Travis Wood type for Chapman, but why would you want that? Just because a guy is close to the majors doesn’t mean he’s that good. Some guys have very low ceilings with their talent levels. Travis Wood never cracked the top 100 prospects in the country, and probably wasn’t very close. The guys discussed in this post may not work out in the long run, but most of them have the potential to be good players, not below average ones.

      • ohiojimw

        A bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush, A guy at AAA who the Reds development staff projects as a solid MLB player or better within 2 years is what they need to get at the top of a Chapman deal, not a bunch of pie in the sky by and by might be guys

      • jdx19

        Problem is, a guy in AAA is not a ‘bird in the hand.’ AAA players can and do bust all the time.

        Given similar talent levels, yes, a guy in AAA is less likely to bust than a guy in AA, but if the AA player has significantly more talent than the AAA player, it could be entirely possible that the AAA player is the bigger gamble. See recent examples like Gallo, Schwarber, Buxton for guys who had so much talent in AA that their teams viewed them as more able to help the MLB club than any other player in that team’s AAA system.

        It’s all risk/reward. A nearly MLB-ready AAA player who is any good (Seager-type) is very, very valuable (low risk, high reward). And even with a Seager-type guy, there’s a chance he busts in the pros. Why not play the odds? I’d take two good AA guys over one good AAA guy every single day of the week. The math is pretty simple.

      • jdx19

        Another way to look at it is expected value (EV).

        Say you have two A-ball guys and two AA guys. The A-ball guys have a projection of something like 0.0 (floor) to 5.0 (ceiling) WAR once they reach the majors. The AA guys have a projection of 1.5 to 3.5 WAR once they reach the majors. So, total expected from the 4 guys is 3.0 to 17.0 WAR. Assume these players have a 75% bust rate. EV of this group is thus 0.75 WAR (floor) to 4.25 WAR (ceiling). If you assume the most likely outcome is something in between, you get 2.5 WAR from this group of players.

        Now, say you have two AAA guys, each of whom is projected as a 0.83 WAR (floor) to 2.5 WAR (ceiling). Now, assume these guys only have a 25% bust rate since they have already proved capable at the AAA level. What’s the EV of these two guys combined? 1.66 WAR to 5.0 WAR, then applying the bust rate, they have an EV of 1.25 to 3.75 WAR. Again, if you assume the midpoint is the most likely outcome, you get 2.5 WAR from these two players.

        In this simplistic example, the 4 guys in A/AA are worth as much as the two AAA guys.

        You generally get better prospects if you get them young (higher risk) and you get more of them. It doesn’t matter if a lot of them bust, because in the long run, if you use this sort of methodology, you won’t be losing anything by going for the moon.

        (The numbers look weird to make the math work, but the principle is what matters).

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Jeremy, first, exactly, Wood is on a major league team. And, we are talking about getting a single A or double A player for Chapman? That’s ridiculous.

        Second, for Sappelt, I said prospect. You quoted his major league number. Did you see his minor league number, what he would have been traded for at the time? His OPS was 784 in the minors. Third, we had good relievers at the time; we didn’t need Marshall.

        Why would we want someone who may very well never see the majors in exchange for one of the premier closers in the league? Majority would rather have a current major league lefty instead of a single or double A player.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Shoot, Sappelt’s OPS for us in our minor league system was about 828 in our minor league system. If he was such a bad prospect, why would the Cubs have taken him, a below average pitcher, and a low level midfielder for one of the better relievers in the game? Either Theo was off on that, or you are off on that. Given Theo’s track record, I would have to bet Theo was correct.

        Not to mention, even since we made that trade, and the Broxton trade, where we let go of another lefty who was a reliever, what has been one of our weaknesses on the staff? No lefty starters and lack of lefties in the pen still, since you still can’t consider Chapman since he closes and, thus, won’t come in mid-game.

      • Jeremy Conley

        Here’s the thing: below average players don’t really help you win in the major leagues. Every team has to have a few, but winning teams have as few as possible.

        So no, I don’t want them to trade Chapman for a guy who, although he’s in the major leagues, isn’t really going to help us win. I would rather trade for a guy with a higher ceiling, who may not make it, but if he does, could be a #2 starter on a good team, or hit 5th for a division champ.

        The point of rebuilding is to get better, not to be cheaper but still bad. You talk about prospects and guys who are playing in AA like they never work out. Yes it’s a gamble, but so is a coin flip. If you got to flip a coin 4 times, you’d feel pretty good about it turning up heads at least once. That’s what a farm system should be like. A lot of decent gambles, at least some of which turn out to be really good, not Travis Wood good.

      • jdx19

        Jeremy’s first sentence sums the whole thing up nicely. Below average (replacement level) major leaguers don’t help you win baseball games. There’s no point trying to acquire them because they are in ready supply in every team’s AAA system.

      • Matt WI

        I’d be careful with the argument that “being on a major league roster” confers that a player has more value than a prospect. See: Renteria, Edgar, 2011. Taveras, Willy (career). And I heard a rumor that Mike Costanzo once played 17 games in the Bigs for some poor team. 🙂

    • tct

      Alonso and Grandal were not top 20 type guys. They were both in the 25-50 range at the time, which is what they are talking about with Chapman.. Boxberger wasn’t even a top 100 guy, and he has turned out pretty well.

      The difference in Chapman and Latos is that Chapman will probably bring back a top 50 guy, like Grandal, and a high upside prospect like Boxberger. Latos being a starting pitcher, and having four years control, got an extra top 50 prospect in Alonso and a mediocre MLB starter with a little upside.

      But I will agree that the Marshall trade was an overpay. I hated that trade at the time.

      • reaganspad

        I rather would have kept Travis. Agreed TCT

        I like Marshall (healthy) but Travis was neck and neck with Leake.

  13. Evan armstrong

    I think there is little to no chance Bib allows Walt to trade him. In fact the only player I think Bob will green light will be Cuteo and now with Cuteos continual arm problems any trade value with him is gone.

  14. WVRedlegs

    Good lineup tonight for rookie Josh Smith starting. BP, Votto, Frazier, Bruce, Byrd, Suarez, Barnhart, Smith, BHam.
    Frazier now in second place in NL 3B all-star voting. Way to go everyone!!!

    • Matt WI

      Hey… WV, did you have a question submitted to “Ask Marty” a week or so ago? About what ballpark features he would make uniform if he had too?

      • WVRedlegs

        No sir, that was not me about Ask Marty.
        Frazier behind carpenter by 1.2 million.

      • Matt WI

        Ah, just curious. I could have sworn it was the same handle and it just made me wonder and I kept forgetting to ask.

      • WVRedlegs

        I usually watch the TV broadcast of the games. If I’m out in the car during the evening I’ll listen to the radio broadcast, or if I’m out walking my dogs around Noggin’ Knob during a game.
        I’m lucky when the Reds play the Pirates, I get both teams TV and radio broadcasts. Like you, I like to check in on the other team’s broadcasts from time to time to see what the are saying about the Reds.