Bruce Springsteen wrote “Badlands” about a guy down on his luck. Angry. Living the same repetitive burnt out life. Monday night, it felt like the line, “lights out tonight” was a reference to the Cincinnati Reds’ 2015 season.

Lights out tonight

Trouble in the heartland

Got a head-on collision

Smashin’ in my guts man

I’m caught in a crossfire

That I don’t understand

I don’t give a damn

For the same old played out scenes

There are Reds fans turning 25 this year who have never seen their team in the World Series. At the same time, the memories of our neighbors in St. Louis holding Commissioner’s trophy are all too easy to recall. Our neighbors in Pittsburgh have held the Lombardi, and Cleveland has made it to the World Series a few times.

Being a fan in the Queen City doesn’t much feel like royalty these days.

This last loss to Milwaukee felt different than past losses. It felt like the end of an era. The Votto-Bruce-Cueto-Bailey era that started out so promisingly five years ago was supposed to end in front of changing leaves, not on a hot Sunday in July. There have been calls to trade Votto, Bruce, Cueto, Chapman, and everything not nailed down in Great American Ballpark. I have even heard that Viva El Birdos is looking to acquire our own Steve Mancuso for their next two first round picks in the Blogger’s Amateur Draft.

It is easy to say let’s start all over again. The Reds don’t have to do that. The Reds can compete and win in 2016.

Honey I want the heart, I want the soul

I want control right now

Talk about a dream

Try to make it real

You wake up in the night

With a fear so real

Spend your life waiting

For a moment that just don’t come

Well don’t waste your time waiting

Losing for sports fans is a strange paradox: every spring brings a hope of something better but, for every team save one, the season will end in a loss. Sometimes in heart breaking fashion, sometimes in front of half-empty stadiums, but for 29 of 30 MLB teams it ends the same way: watching another team celebrate. In the midst of a 25 year World Series drought, sometimes you feel like you are waiting your whole life for a moment that just won’t come.

In an environment starved for offense, the Reds head into 2016 with a solid core of players: Votto, Mesoraco, Bruce, and Frazier make up a strong 2-5 in our lineup. Conservatively, these players will put up 14.5 WAR next year with a ceiling much higher than that. At the premium defensive positions, shortstop and centerfield, we have two of the best defenders in the league. Billy Hamilton is on pace for a 4 WAR season because he has saved 13.5 runs in the field. Zack Cozart was playing the best baseball of his life when his season was ended abruptly.

This doesn’t mean that the Reds should be spending their life waiting for a championship. As Steve wrote earlier this season, the changes need to be throughout the organization, not just on the field. But here is the critical point the “burn down the city” crowd is missing: the Reds can exercise control over how they reshape their franchise.

The Reds should move Cueto and Leake when they find the right deal. The “right deal” should involve triple- or double-A players with a lower “bust” potential than amateurs coming out of high school or college. This is going to be one of the best sellers’ markets in years, so the Reds should be able to receive a player who can make an impact at the major league level sooner rather than later.

After trading Cueto and Leake, the Reds will have 20-30 million to use in free agency. On top of this, expect the Reds to expand their payroll by another 5-10 million next year, and perhaps more if they decide to start spending the new television contract money early.

The Reds will also clear the following contracts off the books: Sean Marshall (6.5M), Marlon Byrd (8M), Manny Para (3.5M) next year, and between Gregg, Marquis, and Pena will clear another 4.4M.

The Reds can replace some, but maybe not all of the talent they are losing due to free agency.

Poor man want to be rich

Rich man want to be king

And a king ain’t satisfied

Till he rules everything

I want to go out tonight

I want to find out what I got

Every team in baseball ships off players who are near the end of their contracts if the team can’t make the post-season. The Reds can – and should – consider moving players they either cannot afford or can’t resign. The difference between a normal selloff and “burning it down” is that “burning it down” involves moving players under long(er)-term contracts. For the Reds, that would mean trading players like Frazier, Bruce, Votto, Mesoraco, Hamilton, or Bailey. Moving any of these players would amount to an all-out rebuilding effort and send the following message to fans: see you in five years.

The Astros, Cubs, and Nationals have made it fashionable to “burn it down” and start from the ground. Prospects like Kris Bryant, Bryce Harper, and Stephen Strasburg have made baseballs’ amateur draft feel more the NBA draft: The team that picks first becomes king. Any blackjack player knows that plenty of players will win if they hit on 17. That still doesn’t mean it’s wise.

Plenty of #1s have busted or failed to become Hall of Fame players. The recent run of great drafts shouldn’t change our opinion that draft picks are unpredictable. Yet even when these players do turn into good (or great) MLB players, they develop at their own rate: Jay Bruce, Baseball America’s #1 overall player, took 3 years to make it to the show, Todd Frazier took five years, and even our own Joey Votto — MVP winner, one of the best players in baseball — took half a decade to make it to Cincinnati.

I would rather not put my faith in an 18-year-old “prodigy” when we already have Frazier, Votto, Mesoraco, Bailey, Bruce, and Chapman under contract for 2016.

The Astros and Cubs decided to “burn it down” because each organization was a mess. These franchises had neither developing talent nor the financial flexibility to improve. Due to this, these front offices felt they needed to stockpile both gold and talent by shipping off their few talented players for salary relief and letting their remaining lack of talent do the rest.

For the ones who had a notion

A notion deep inside

That it ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive

I want to find one face that ain’t looking through me

I want to find one place

I want to spit in the face of these badlands

“Badlands” is one of Springsteen’s highest energy songs. During this bridge, however, he slows down to as if to tell the listener about seriousness of the statement: That it ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive. The song then erupts for a final few minutes into elation and wildness. There are lulls before great crescendos.

The Reds both have the talent in our farm system and the financial flexibility to succeed next year. The team returns a rotation of: Bailey-Lorenzen-Disco-Iglesias-Cingrani. If that is too inexperienced, the Reds can spend some of their newly found buckets of money cash on a starting pitcher (remember Alfredo Simon?). The Reds could trade Cueto for a pitcher who can replace Leake or sign a high on base-percentage left fielder. Or both.

I’ve read some people say that it doesn’t matter if the Reds lose 80 or 100 games next year. This could not be further from the truth. Losing 100 games next year would be a disaster of historic proportions because of the pending Reds television contract negotiations. New television contracts have allowed the Dodgers, Padres, Rangers, and Angels to fundamentally reshape their organizations. Tanking right before these negotiations would change the number of people tuning into the Reds and alter the overall value of the deal. It’s true that in terms of making the playoffs next year it doesn’t matter if we lose 80 or 100 games, but in terms of how many times we make the playoffs for the next 10 years, it absolutely does.

Nation, it ain’t no sin to be glad in what we got. The foundation is there. The future is in the pipeline. We have the financial flexibility to sign what the team needs. There will be roster readjustments in the next few weeks, but October 2016 is still in sight.

70 Responses

  1. cory (@thecvail)

    I disagree wholeheartedly with this. You ignored the raises everybody gets next year.

    Payroll is at $82 million right now for 2016 for Votto, Bruce, BP, Homer, Frazier, Mesoraco, Iglesias, and Badenhop.

    Chapman (~$10M), Cozart (~$4M), Hoover (~$1M), Mattheus (~$1M) are arbitration eligible, so there’s ~$98M for 12 guys.

    Even if the rest of the roster is 12 guys around the minimum (~$500K x12 = $6M), you’re at ~$105 million with something like $10M for a free agent.

    • redmountain

      The Reds are spending much more than that now. I would say they will have 30 mill by your calculations.

    • PDunc

      I would propose attempting to trade Phillips this season allowing Cozart and Suarez to man the middle-infield with De Jesus and Negron as utility guys. If you can get Phillips to accept a trade and package him with one of our pitchers, another team would probably take his salary. That would save $13 million.

      Also would try to trade Chapman. He may be the best relief pitcher in the game, but as you show above the finances of this team make his salary unreasonable for this team. Walt should also be able to get a good return for him. That would save another $10 million.

      That would leave around $30 million to then spend in free agency.

      • CP

        I posted this in another thread the other day. This is what the high profile free agent hitters from last offseason looks like now:

        Hanley Ramirez: 4 years/$88 million. -.5 WAR
        Melky Cabrera: 3 years/$42 million. -.8 WAR
        Pablo Sandoval: 5 years/$95 million. -0.6 WAR
        JJ Hardy: 3 years/$40 million. 0.4 WAR
        Chase Headley: 4 years/$52 million. 0.6 WAR
        Billy Butler: 3 years/$30 million. -.6 WAR
        Adam Laroche: 2 years/$25 million. 0.2 WAR
        Michael Cuddyer: 2 years/$21 million. -.3 WAR

        The only productive FA bat signed appears to be Nelson Cruz (1.8 WAR, at 4 years, $58 million).

        On the offensive side, I just don’t know what you can expect nowadays from free agents. Teams lock up good hitters through their prime. You have to develop and trade for good hitters.

      • jim t

        i agree CP if we had 50 million we still wouldn’t be out bidding the major markets for players. we can sign our own on occassion or trrae for a player but we must develope our own.

      • Big56dog

        What you are saying makes sense to me, people want to trade Frazier since he will be washed up at the end of his contract. I disagree with that in a sense but possibly all these players that can demand big contracts are being paid for their prime years that they have already had and are currently on the decline.

      • GreatRedLegsFan

        good point, don’t forget Nori Aoki, he was having a good year before got injured

      • JB WV

        It’s hard to quantify in $, but Chapman brings people to the park. I’ll be conservative and say 500 per game, or 40,000 per year, one sellout. $50 per person with tickets and concessions= a couple mil. My math is arguable, but you get the point. Cueto too. These are guys you pay to see.

      • Matt WI

        You could probably chart home attendance of Cueto games vs the other starts. But even that is confounded by opponent, day/night, etc. I have a hard time believing that many people are going to a game and intentionally spending money on the mere hopes that the Reds will be leading by 3 or less runs in the 9th inning. Especially now that he’s a known quantity. Who hasn’t seen what Aroldis can do by now, either in person or tv? One might make the argument that Chapman keeps people in seats for the length of the game, but doesn’t put them there to begin with.

      • Steve Mancuso

        That’s an interesting point about keeping people in seats. I’ve long been skeptical of the claim that Chapman as a closer draws fans. A fan could never be sure he was going to pitch. He appears in fewer than half the games.

        On the other hand, I’ve always suspected that Chapman would have been a huge draw on nights that he was starting. Too bad we’ll never get to find out, or even try it.

      • JB WV

        At Matt WI, good points, but consider the season ticket holders who know they’re going to see him often during the course of the year. And it never gets old watching him pitch.

      • kmartin

        I think as a starter Chapman would have been a huge draw on nights he pitched. However, even though he is a closer I definitely go to more games now than I did pre-Chapman hoping I will get to see him pitch. I suspect I am outlier on this.

      • Bill Lack

        I’ve had this same argument with another friend…I completely disagree on Chapman. I don’t know one person that goes to the park on the off chance that the closer might get into the game. Now, when he does pitch, the energy level in the ballpark, the stands, and neighboring zip codes goes through the roof, but I don’t believe that a closer (no matter who it is) sells any tickets.

    • Steve Mancuso

      The Reds have been steadily increasing payroll the past couple years, in lockstep with higher revenues from the national television contracts. The next wave of increased spending, associated with a new local television contract, should start next year. I’d be surprised if the Reds don’t see at least $30 million more from their new deal (an increase from $30 million to $60 million/year plus some equity). Similarly, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them spending $150 million/year on the 2017 payroll, and split the difference in 2016 at $132 million.

      If you assume all those players in your second paragraph – Chapman, Cozart, Hoover – return, what exactly do the Reds need to spend more money on to be competitive? Maybe a one-year deal on a starting pitcher. A better bench.

      If the Reds have more like $30 million to spend, they can adequately address their needs and put a postseason-contending team on the field.

      There are precious few examples of “burning it down” actually producing a championship team.

      • cory (@thecvail)

        If they spend more like $130M, then sure, they could put together a team.

        But it sure seems like if they could have added payroll, THIS YEAR would have been the time to go get an actual left fielder.

      • Steve Mancuso

        I agree with that. I’m confused by why they didn’t spend more this season. It’s a pause in payroll increase – maybe just a lull between the national TV contracts and local TV contract. Kind of strange that a business wouldn’t smooth out the expected revenue into payroll steps. Jocketty at one point in the offseason said the Reds payroll was going to increase by a good amount, and then it didn’t. I wonder if he left money on the table or if ownership pulled back.

      • ohiojimw

        I believe part of the issue this year was the $10M the club spent on the ASG prep. Maybe they just hadn’t allowed for it or maybe they thought it would seed a larger revenue stream of some sort which has yet to kick in but which they thought would be realized sooner rather than later.

        P Castellini was quoted as saying that all the money spent on capital improvements was previously budgeted for over a period of several years; but that it made sense to go on and do them all now. However even if the money was eventually in the budget to thus create a long term cost wash, they still presumably needed short term cash flow to pay for it in the present. And back around late October to early November 2014, they certainly started talking and behaving in baseball Ops like somebody that just realized they had cash flow issues.

      • greenmtred

        Which left fielder, though? Nobody who was available looks like a big improvement over Byrd. The problem with free agents, besides their usually high prices, is that they are, usually again, well into their careers, and therefore at the point where burn-it-down enthusiasts want to get rid of them. An occasional well-chosen free agent, particularly for a wealthy team, can obviously provide critical help, no argument, but success for a small or mid-market team has to rely mostly on developing talent. I completely agree with Mike’s premise: Trade whom you must trade, build around the remaining talent you already have.

  2. Moses

    Love the Springsteen reference. The lack of proofreading, not so much.

  3. WVRedlegs

    The offensive cornerstones are there, Votto, Frazier, Moesoraco and Bruce.
    The pitching foundation is a work in progress. Bailey won’t be back until second half of 2016. If the Reds go into 2016 with Lorenzen/DeSclafani/Iglesias as their top 3 in the rotation, 2016 is going to be a long, long season. What happens if the sophmore slump hits one, two, or all three of these guys? The Reds have to get back a top of the rotation piece in one of the trades they make.
    I’m not sold on Iglesias being a starter. He hasn’t shown he belongs in the rotation yet.
    Please re-visit this after the trade deadline and after Iglesias has about 10 starts under his belt to see what he really has. The muddy waters for 2016 might have cleared some by then.

    • redmountain

      Check out the post about Stephenson. He could be ready next year. You are forgetting Moscot, and Cingrani. I also think there will be money that can be spent in free agency.

  4. PDunc

    I completely agree that there is a reasonable path towards competing in 2016.

    Trade upcoming free agents Cueto, Leake, Byrd, Parra & Pena. Also trade Chapman and Phillips (hope BP will wave his no-trade clause for chance to compete for championship).

    Cut or let walk, Marshall, Schumaker, Gregg, Marquis, Boesch, and Bourgeois

    Using Cots for salary info…

    That would leave a roster looking something like Votto (1B), Bruce (RF), Frazier (3B), Mesoraco (C maybe OF), Barnhart (C), Cozart (SS), Suarez (2B), Hamilton (CF), Negron (Util), De Jesus (Util), Bailey (SP), DeSclafani (SP), Lorenzen (SP) Iglesias (SP or RP), Cingrani (SP or RP), Badenhop (RP), and Hoover (RP) for a total of about $80 million.

    Winker (LF) and Stephenson (SP) are possibilities to help the big-league club in 2016 for a minimum salary.

    Targets in trades made this season should be prospects that are near ready to contribute to a big-league club. Hope we can get at least 1 or 2 prospect that will be ready sometime in 2016.

    That would be around 20 or 21 roster spots taken for next year for around $85 million. If the Reds keep a similar payroll to 2015, $115 million, that leaves $30 million to spend in free-agency to fill out the roster.

    If the trades and free agency signings are done well, this team can contend in 2016.

    • cory (@thecvail)

      That’s still the 4th best team in the NL Central.

      Most of the hitters are at or past their peak, and the pitchers are unproven.

  5. Eric the Red

    OTP, but does anyone know what the weather ended up being like in DC last night? It seems the Nationals were awfully quick to call that game, given it was the last meeting of the year. They were pretty banged up, so they had a lot of incentive to call the game off….

    • vegastypo

      It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if they pulled the plug to wait for a better time to face the Reds, who likely will be weaker if/when the game is played. And the Nationals were missing five regular position players on Tuesday night. … They can’t come right out and say that’s the reason obviously,but why would a contender risk a loss if they see an alternative?

      • Eric the Red

        Exactly. But I hope a RLN reader in the area can give us an idea of whether they could have waited it out and played or not.

    • WVRedlegs

      I understand what you are saying, and that would give the Nats plenty of incentive to do that. But the Reds had some too. It was travel night. They had a charter jet ready to depart after the game for Miami. They would have had to pay the charter service to have the plane and crew on stand-by for 3 or 4 more hours. Then the Reds would have arrived in Miami in time for sunrise. They’ve had that already with two recent road trips, arriving at the next city in the wee hours of the morning. The Mets swept the Reds in 3 games that were winable in one of those instances. So, the Reds are probably better off heading to Miami for a 4 game series pretty fresh.
      I understand it is another make-up game, which makes for 3 they have now. But look at the bright side, if there is one, is that if these games are made up in September, it should be an extra game or three we get to see the young prospects and call-ups play before the season ends.

  6. Steve Schoenbaechler

    The offense might be there. But the pitching will be even worse than it is now. As of now, if we lose Leake and Cueto, and odds are Homer isn’t going to be ready at the start of next season, our #1-2 guys to start next season are going to be DeSclafani and Lorenzen. While I have been impressed with these guys, they aren’t #1-2 material yet. And, I doubt they will be at the beginning of next season.

    Our pitching staff is going to be lacking next season, as of now. If we trade anyone, we should be trading for major league pitching. If we don’t get major league ready pitching, we better be hitting the FA market for some top pitchers, aka overpay for FA’s. If we don’t do something for next season’s starting pitching, we are going to be having a bunch of #4-6 guys in our starting rotation at the beginning of the season. Adding Homer to that when he does get better, assuming he does come back better than ever, isn’t going to be enough for next year’s starting staff.

    We won’t even go into the bullpen.

  7. Yippee

    It’s time to hit the reset button, but the Reds realistically probably won’t do that. This organization decided years ago that their main cornerstones were going to be Votto-Bruce-Phillips-Bailey by locking them up and so that’s who we’re stuck with for better or for worse for a while longer. Five years ago it made sense, these guys were young and there was talent coming up around them, things looked promising. But the window has now closed and we will be stuck (much-like the Phillies fans) with a semi-rebuild around an aging core of guys who all would require career years to make a semi-rebuild work in 2016. The Cards continue to be the Cards, Pirates and Cubs are good now and improving…it’s going to be beyond 2016 before this team makes the post-season again. I predict Cueto-Leake will get traded, possibly Byrd, too, (shipped off to KC, PIT, or NYM) and that’s about it. Methinks Castellini shares the same sentiment as the author above. and we’ll be stuck with Utley and How– errr, Phillips and Bruce for the next few years.

    • Steve Mancuso

      The comparison between Utley and Howard and Phillips and Bruce is laughable. The age difference alone, especially regarding Bruce, is enough to pierce the analogy. Utley and Howard are making $40 million this year and producing negative WAR. Phillips and Bruce are being paid about half that.

      This is the first season (age 35) when Utley hasn’t been worth his salary. He’s been a 3-4.5 WAR player the past several seasons even into his 30s, including last year. The Howard contract was idiotic from the start.

  8. msanmoore

    MLB Trade Rumors is throwing Jay Bruce’s name around again.

      • cory (@thecvail)

        yea, 116 OPS+, good glove guys for $12 million are just EVERYWHERE.

        Look, I have no problems with trading Bruce, but don’t do it halfway. You blow it up, or you’re the Phillies.

      • Nick Carrington

        Agreed, Cory. If you are going to trade Bruce, you might as well trade Frazier and whoever else you can. Bruce hitting .301/.384/.536 over the last 190 PA. Striking out less than 17% of the time during that stretch. That’s over seven weeks.

      • Steve Mancuso

        The Phillies are a false analogy. Utley is 36. Howard is 35 and been a negative WAR player for four years. When those players were Votto/Bruce’s age, they were in the World Series. If the Reds trade Cueto, Leake and Byrd, they will be doing more than the Phillies did to trade for prospects.

        Blow it up is an easy thing to say, but there are few examples of it actually working, as Mike points out in his post. The Reds will have managed a nearly complete transition of the pitching staff, if they trade Chapman, too.

      • WVRedlegs

        Bruce isn’t going anywhere. As Nick points out what Bruce has done over the last 7 weeks, I’m sure most other teams needing a hitter have noticed that too. Those teams are just doing their due diligence and inquiring about Bruce’s availability.
        Can you give us some context in how Bruce’s name is being bandied about? It just cannot be that the Reds are actively shopping Bruce.
        Bruce is part of the solution, not part of the problem.

      • lwblogger2

        @WVREDLEGS – Ken Rosenthal reported team sources say Bruce is “as good a bet as anyone” to be moved at the deadline.

    • lwblogger2

      Bruce to the O’s would just break my heart. He’d look real nice in their OF and he’d be playing for my 2nd favorite team. I really don’t get the people who don’t see value in Jay Bruce. He had a terrible 2014 but his numbers this year are trending back to career norms and he’s been pretty darn good after starting the year in a slump.

      • msanmoore

        Agreed. If he went to the O’s I’d never get to see him. Somehow Raleigh, NC is in the DC/Baltimore market so we’re blacked out.

        Then again, a trip to Camden Yards is always an option ….

      • lwblogger2

        That’s a lovely park. I’ve been to several games there and even got to take the field for warmups. There were benefits of playing ball for a USAF team in the Baltimore/DC area (Ft. Meade).

      • msanmoore

        Been to one game there. Watched it from the railing in the outfield near the flower garden. Sprinkled some of my late brother’s ashes there.

      • lwblogger2

        Didn’t know your brother but such a thing seems very fitting for any baseball lover.

      • msanmoore

        Dropped a little of Mike at GABP in the Summer of 2006 as well. He’d definitely approve.

  9. John Bena

    GREAT article. Best thing I have read about the Reds this year. I agree 100%. Well done.

  10. another-bob-in-nc

    “The Astros and Cubs decided to “burn it down” because each organization was a mess. These franchises had neither developing talent nor the financial flexibility to improve.”

    But we’ve got Bob and Walt.

  11. reaganspad

    First of all I would never make this trade:
    “own Steve Mancuso for their next two first round picks in the Blogger’s Amateur Draft.”

    second of all, free agents do not chose Cincinnati. I am also a Trailblazers fan being on the west coast, and have watched them just lose Aldridge to San Antonio.

    The Blazers have all kinds of cap money but no free agent they were after chose them. They will now have to take on salary through trades, which is how the Reds should view building their team.

    There will never be a significant free agent chose Cincy (sorry Coco Codero).

    But what can be done is the opposite of blowing it up. ADD Contracts.

    With all the talk about trading Phillips, Bruce and Votto in the past 2-3 years every time they are hurt or slump, there must be other players of that caliber out there with contracts that maybe other teams will want to get rid of.

    That is where I would invest my free agent $’s. If you could get a Jay Bruce type player at half price, make the trade to ADD That contract to the Reds. Andre Eithier would have looked good in a Reds uniform this year in retrospect especially if the Dodgers are paying 50% or his contract. I would rather have Jay Bruce than Eithier but you get the point.

    We need talent however we can find it. of course getting ball players is something the Giants would do

    • Steve Mancuso

      Thanks. It’s worth noting I have a no-trade clause in my “contract” (I recall a teacher of mine once saying “the social contract isn’t worth the paper it’s not written on” which comes to mind in this context.) 🙂

  12. seat101

    Thank you for this overview. Depending on whom we trade and whom we get for what we trade, we could very well be competing next year not the “fourth best team in the National League Central. ”

    I do believe that any calculation which includes Brandon Phillips not being on the team next year is inaccurate. I could be wrong, it’s happened before.

  13. Art Wayne Austin

    Great Bruce has come around the 2nd quarter but where was his game the 1st quarter. He was a flailing, smashing ship-wreck in April and May. Being a leader with a hefty salary he needs to contribute from day one. He didn’t and the Reds haven’t.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Bruce was fine in May. April was the bad month and much of that – as many of us kept saying here – was bad luck in batted balls falling in.

    • Nick Carrington

      Bruce’s best stretch of the season was actually in May. May 16th through the end of the month. He raked. We’ll have a piece on his season tomorrow. You’re right that he had an absolutely terrible April, but for most of the season, he has hit like an All-Star.

  14. WVRedlegs

    Reds made a trade with Boston. They picked up RH reliever Miguel Celestino, age 25. He pitched at AA and AAA with an 0-6 record. He got sent to AA Pensacola. No doubt Jocketty is going to transition him to be a starter.
    There wasn’t any word on who the Reds sent to Boston, yet.

    • IndyRedMan

      I want Joe Kelly from Pawtucket/Boston. He had an avg. fastball velocity of 95.5 or something this year. I bet Price could fix him somewhat

  15. ManuelT

    The main article, along with additional comments from Mr. Mancuso, make this article the best of the year. You simply cannot build a winner in the same way that is done in the NBA or NFL. We have a core to build around, as well as some awesome prospects on their way up. Winning in 2016 is a real possibility. The performance of the young guys has been very inspiring.

  16. IndyRedMan

    I don’t know how they can win in 2016 unless they find a way to keep Cueto or convert Chapman to a starter? I like Lorenzen a lot in particular but I doubt any of the young guys are even ready to be #2s by next year? Putting Mesoraco in LF kind of defeats the purpose as well…they need the above average production at C if they’re going to carry guys that don’t walk and don’t homer like Hamilton and BP. In a perfect world they could move Chapman and get BP included as part of the deal. With BP, Byrd, Leake, Sean Marshall, and others coming off the books then they could prob sign Cueto? We’ll know something before July is out? They need to get Inglesias, Cingrani, and Stephenson some starts with the big boys too….lets see what they have? I’ve seen Cingrani bust off some nice breaking stuff at times but he just loves the high heat!

    • ManuelT

      I like the idea of giving those three starts. It’s much more productive than giving them to Holmberg, Axelrod, Smith.

    • IndyRedMan

      Never mind on the keeping Cueto option. I thought Scherzer got a Votto like contract around $20-22 mil but he’s at $30 mil/year ($210mil for 7 years)? That’s insane and he’s older than Cueto.

  17. Rick Brown

    I 100% agree with this post. I am actually quite tired of listening to the “doom and gloom” of this group. It was refreshing to actually read something that was upbeat on our favorite team!

  18. wizeman

    Now this was a good article. one i mostly agree with. Saying “blow it up” is too simplistic.
    cueto is going to go… will hurt deeply… but understandable. leake also. chapman should but bob might not pull trigger. byrd and parra while you can get something.
    we have pitching out of the wazoo. do things have to go right? sure they do. lorenzen, descalfini, moscot, cingrani, iglesias, bailey by july and the wildcard stephenson who ought to be here now. iglesias stuff is electric. hoover no slouch.
    tough division. no way bob throws in the towel. he isn’t in his fifties and if you don’t think that is part of the equation then you do not understand human nature.
    nothing has gone right for a year and a half. hamillton, votto, bruce, meso, frazier whoever is physically able to man shortstop and a left fielder who can get on base or a catcher depending on the hip.
    no need to blow this up. get some pieces for cueto and roll the dice.

  19. IowaRedsFan


    So glad someone finally wrote this. My one problem is the rotation. Bailey-Lorenzen-Disco-Iglesias-Cingrani. Not only do i not see a Number 1 here. I don’t see a number w either. I see 3’s, 4’s and 5’s. I know that wasn’t your main point but winning a title without top of the rotation guys is difficult.

    • sultanofswaff

      Robert Stephenson will be the Reds best pitcher by mid-2016 if not sooner. His stuff is more elite than Homer Bailey’s coming up.

  20. jessecuster44

    Nothing changes until the owner changes his thinking. Walt needs to be shown the door, and Price soon thereafter.

    Lots of sane, thoughtful opinions on the Reds next steps moving forward come from this site. This article is one.

    The entire series of articles on improving the offense last winter is another great example… So the Reds trade for Marlon Byrd on 12/31, after all the other options are gone.

    Management is clearly not interested in being smart, or changing their line of thinking. Until management changes, the Reds fortunes stay the same.

  21. WVRedlegs

    The Dodgers are said to be seriously considering trading OF Yasiel Puig for pitching help. Granted, he can be a head case at times and the new LA front office isn’t as infatuated with Puig as the prior group.
    If you want to contend in 2016, trading one Cuban headcase for another Cuban headcase might be the answer. One that will play in 150 games as opposed to one who might get in 60 games.
    Cueto and Chapman for Puig and Zach Lee. This could fundamentaly change the Reds offense. Insert Puig behind Votto and this offensive lineup could take off.
    Suarez (SS), Votto (1B), Puig (LF), Frazier (3B), Bruce (RF), Mesoraco (C), Cozart (2B), BHam (CF), might be a potent offense to help bring along a starting rotation full of young starters. Puig is signed through the 2018 season, pretty team friendly terms.
    The Reds need to do something bold. The Cards will be even better next year. You know they will be adding David Price to their rotation next year by signing him to a free agent contract this winter. The Cubs will be better and Pirates too.

    • lwblogger2

      I like Puig a lot as a player but I’m not sure he’s the kind of personality I want on my team.

      • WVRedlegs

        I’m with you on that. Love his arm and bat, but not his head. Can always flip and trade him to Miami if it doesn’t work out a year or two down the road. There might even be a Havana Rays team in 2 years to trade him to.

  22. Steve Schoenbaechler

    That whole idea of trading Cueto and Leake I could understand. But, then, with Homer probably not being ready at the start of next season, I can’t go into next season with that starting staff.

    “The Reds could trade Cueto for a pitcher who can replace Leake”

    I just don’t see a team doing that, not unless the pitcher we got was also due for FA soon, as well. It would be like asking for “a glass of milk” for a “a cup of milk”, not much of a difference.

    What I do see, but much more difficult to do, for example only, is trading someone like Bruce for that starting pitcher and then trading Cueto for that right fielder. Or, one trade supplementing what we lose in the other trade.

    Regardless of what we do, I still want to see a competitive team out there. For me, that is a 500 ballclub, give or take, with players who are going to go out and try to win every game, aka that sense of urgency that we all felt was lacking with Baker.