July has come. The month of reckoning. The decisions the Reds make this month will go a long way toward shaping the organization for the next 3-5 years. They are at a critical juncture and can’t fumble the opportunity to improve themselves for the long term. Hold on tight because some interesting things are undoubtedly going to happen this month.

Steve wrote an excellent article this week that brought up an important question: will the trades be limited to Reds players who are walking at the end of 2015? The Reds essentially have two reasonable options that we’ve covered before. Here’s a quick review:

  • They can keep the core intact (Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, Devin Mesoraco) and trade off expiring contracts. Under this scenario, they may even trade Aroldis Chapman because he only pitches 50-60 innings a year and would likely bring back an excellent return. They might even trade Brandon Phillips, depending on how confident they are in Eugenio Suarez going forward and that Zack Cozart will recover well from knee surgery.
  • They can trade anything not nailed to the clubhouse of Great American Ball Park. This scenario would likely include trading all expiring contracts, Bruce, Frazier, Chapman and if possible, Phillips.

Both options make a lot of sense depending on whether you think the Reds can contend in 2016 and 2017.

And the differences between them isn’t vast in terms of who gets dealt. You could make a case for both Chapman and Phillips being trade or kept in the first and both should go in the second. The real differences lie with two players: Bruce and Frazier.

We have seen a great deal of trade rumors involving Jay Bruce, but Walt Jocketty has openly dismissed the idea of trading Todd Frazier. The apparent unwillingless to trade Frazier has led to my greatest fear this deadline: they will move one and not the other.

Let’s face it: Todd Frazier is likely having a career year. His first half was one of the greatest in Reds history before his recent three week slump, and he’s still on pace for close to 8 WAR. If you are going to trade him, now would be a good time.

Jay Bruce is only 28 years old and having a solid year at the plate. He is under contract for another year with a reasonable option year after that. Furthermore, he has seemingly made strides in important areas to improve his game. The best of Bruce might be ahead of us, and teams know that. Bruce wouldn’t net as large a return as Frazier, but he would bring back some really nice pieces.

I’d rather the Reds not trade either of them because I believe the core is good enough to make things interesting in 2016 and 2017, but if the Reds are going to trade Jay Bruce, they absolutely must trade Todd Frazier. Trading either of them essentially ends any chance they have of competing next year.

Even the most enthused Jesse Winker, Kyle Waldrop, and/or Yorman Rodriguez believers can’t possibly expect any of them to put up 120 wRC+ or more and play above average defense. As Steve wrote, Bruce might be their best hitter right now. If he isn’t their best, he isn’t far off.

This works the other way too. If for some reason the Reds trade Todd Frazier (highly doubtful), they need to trade Jay Bruce. Both will bring back excellent returns and a trade of one of them damages the 2016 roster too much to keep the other. Who plays third base next year and makes the Reds a better team if Frazier is traded?

Keeping one of them makes no sense. The Reds need both players to compete in the next two years. Trading one and keeping the other only slows down the rebuilding process at a time when they could get great value for both. They would at best be gambling that they could obtain the same value for the player they kept in the offseason.

Competing in 2016 starts with the core of Votto, Bruce, Frazier, and Mesoraco intact. That’s an excellent 2-5 in the lineup. The Reds need to decide if they have and can add the talent to compete for the next two seasons. If so, they can trade a number of pieces to upgrade 2016 and beyond and make a run at it. If not, trade everyone that isn’t going to be around in 2018.

A trade of either Bruce or Frazier without trading the other will immediately hurt both their chances to compete in the next two years and their long term rebuilding efforts. That would easily be the worst option.

111 Responses

  1. jschroeder011

    Agree 100%. Well written. Let us pray big Bob and Walt can see this as well. BP, Cozy (and Suarez) would be nice 5-7 hole guys. The development of Billy Hamilton is going to be crucial to contending in ’16 & ’17

    • Anthony

      Billy hamilton is as good as its gonna get. Terrible hitter in the minors, terrible hitter in the majors. Don’t hold your breath.

      • reaganspad

        I may or may not agree with this, but if trades are made, Billy should spend some time in the second half in AAA honing the bat tool

      • jdx19

        No point to send him to the minors since the Reds are out of contention… he just needs proper coaching. He can learn against pro-level pitching.

        Only real point to send someone down is if they are actively hurting the team. Billy isnt, since he’s far and away the best option in CF at the moment.

      • Grover

        Terrible hitter in the minors? .280 overall with a .350 obp is not terrible. The problem I see is he simply stopped taking walks at some point which is odd. Get rid of the switch hitting and see where you stand. As poorly as he is hitting he still provides good value overall.

      • doctor

        and Billy may just need time. As comparison of a similiar player, Dee Gordon took parts of 3 seasons before providing value at the plate in his 4rth year.

      • jdx19

        Good point, Doc. Sometimes speed-first guys need to realize that hitting the ball in the air is a bad thing.

      • lwblogger2

        Actually he stopped taking walks at AAA. His reduced walk-rate at AAA and MLB vs earlier in his MiLB career is very likely due to pitchers having much better command at the higher levels. Most AAA and MLB pitchers can pound the zone if they want to and with Billy Hamilton and all his speed w/ little power, trust me, they want to pound the zone. I don’t think Billy Hamilton has changed a ton as a hitter, it’s just the better pitchers have been able to throw him more strikes when they want to. This has led to the much lower walk-rate and OBP.

      • Bill Lack

        I think he also needs to concentrate more on keeping the ball on the ground. I’m not convinced he’s ever going to be an offensive threat, hope I’m wrong.

  2. doublenohitter

    We’ve been down this road so many times I can drive it with my eyes closed.
    The Reds will NOT do anything. They won’t because Castellini still believes they can win. Giving up players for the Reds is like the guy who goes to church and struggles to put the wadded up dollar bill in the offering plate. You have to pry his hand open to get him to turn it loose.

    Oh, they might trade a minor piece or 2. Pena, Schumaker or a bullpen arm. But a major piece? I’m not seeing it.

    They will hold on to Cueto, instead, waiting until the winter, offering him 16 million for 1 season, knowing he won’t take it. They will get their precious draft pick.

    They will do the same thing with Leake.

    As long as the Reds organization continues to operate in the dark ages, nothing is going to change.

    This current team is a bad team, not because it has bad players, but because the whole is not greater than the sum of the parts. It is like a sports car that has been stripped down. A lot of great parts but unless they are assembled correctly, isn’t going to take you far.

    I guess we’ll know more in about 2 weeks.

    • Victor Vollhardt

      I hope you are right about Cueto and Leake and any other “major” pieces, but, I don’t think you are and there will be trades. Too bad–if every effort is made to sign Cueto and if by chance those efforts were successful—then a rotation headed by Cueto and the young pitchers would put the Reds in a very competitive mode for years to come.

      • Doug Gray

        Cueto hasn’t made them competitive the last two years. He’s not going to do so next year either. Holding onto him would be a big, big mistake. Signing him to an extension would be a terrible idea.

      • lwblogger2

        I tend to hate long term deals for pitchers unless they are very young and you’re getting a decent discount as far as AAV. I agree that resigning Cueto is not the smart play.

  3. Anthony

    Like Marty said last month, the core is the problem with this team. Unable to drive in runners from 3rd, prone to strikeout, nobody can bunt. That’s the tip of the iceberg.

    This article is doing the same thing and making the same mistake the franchise has made for the last 15 years and thats trying to find a reason to keep everybody. They need to unload everybody and start over. They need to be very smart with who they trade and who they trade them to. I would use the Houston Astros as my Johnny Cueto bonanza For top prospects that can start right now. They need to step back from having big swing hitters with big holes causing huge strikeouts. What the Reds need to do is understand that you can’t have 4 players or five players of the same type in the same lineup. Some of those players can be shipped off to other places and they need to go after players who can make solid contact. The whole farm system is made up of Jay Bruce type players. The only player that catch my eye, is Steve Selsky.

    I was against the sell-off initially. I didn’t want Aroldis Chapman to get traded. Even I have come to my senses and realized that the team needs to start completely over. Trade Todd Frazier because his trade value will never reach its peak like it has right now. That might be a hard pill to swallow, but the truth sometimes hurt. They are more than enough teams willing to take on Todd Frazier like the New York Yankees and the New York Mets. I propose a trade of Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce with Billy Hamilton for Noah syndergaard and the pitcher matz, along with Wilmer Flores from the mets. The reason I include Jay Bruce in that trade, it’s because his value is not strong enough to bring back a strong prospect therefore he needs to be packaged with someone. If you don’t want to see the Billy Hamilton inclusion, then put byrd in his place.

    Nobody is untouchable on this team. This includes you joey votto.

    • tct

      The core guys are not the problem! I just don’t understand how anybody can think that. I mean look;

      Frazier 3.8 WAR
      Votto 2.7 WAR
      Bruce 1.6
      Phillips 1
      Cueto 2.7
      Chapman 1.5
      Leake 1

      That’s 14.3 WAR between 7 guys. The Reds as a team have 17.7 WAR. So here’s the breakdown;

      The core 9 minus the injured Meso and Bailey; 14.3 WAR
      Entire rest of the team; 3.4 WAR.

      That kinda says it all right there, doesn’t it? Not to mention that almost half of the 3.4 WAR from the rest of the team comes from Cozart who could be considered part.of the core. So without Cozart, the rest of the team has combined for less than 2 WAR.

      It’s pretty simple. They have no depth. They are a stars and scrubs team who are employing too many below replacement level scrubs.

      Also, the whole “Reds are hackers who strikeout all the time” narrative needs to be updated. There are only two teams in the NL who have a lower strikeout rate than the Reds. Bruce, Frazier, Cozart, Pena, Byrd, and Billy have all lowered their strikeout rate this year.

      Stop taking Marty’s word for everything. He has no idea what he is talking about!!!!

      • Gaffer

        Well said. Marty is comparing this team to hitters from the 70s when strikeout rates were generally lower and bullpens had no one throwing 95 much less everyone throwing over 95-100. This team needs help, no doubt but it is the same basically as teams that wine 90-92 games for years. Injuries, a bad bullpen, and a few years with a minor league system in transition has led to this.

      • aceistheplace2

        This honestly might be the best comment I’ve read on this site in 2-3 years. Thank you.

      • Anthony

        But yet near the bottom offensively of several categories.

      • jdx19

        This is completely unreleated to the core argument above that “the core isn’t the problem,’

      • earmbrister

        Well said tct. The core of this team is strong and just needs to be added to. In a perfect world the Reds would hang onto Cueto, Leake, and Chapman, but the economics force the Reds to trade them off (at least the starters). Trading all three should provide an ample return, and can add another stud starter, as well as help to address the other areas of weaknesss.

    • Nick Carrington

      Suggesting that the Reds core players are the problem is as silly as suggesting LeBron James is the reason the Cavs didn’t win the NBA Finals this past season. Blaming really good players for a poor supporting cast isn’t very logical.

      Marty is a great announcer but is terrible at evaluating talent. He has a fundamental misunderstanding of how good teams are constructed.

    • greenmtred

      Getting rid of all of the good players is similar to getting rid of a good car because it needs a brake job. The problem isn’t the guys who are playing well (seems too obvious to need stating), it’s the bench, the bullpen, the injuries and the newly shaky rotation. No, they are not a good team this year, but addressing the actual reasons for that is the only course that makes sense.

    • jdx19

      Votto, Frazier, Bruce, and Mesoraco not being able to bunt is a problem? Let me introduce you to a game I love called ‘baseball.’

    • Heith

      I could not agree more with you Anthony!!!!
      I normally don’t comment but I read everyone’s comments and you my friend nailed it dude.
      We hang on to players wayyyyy to long like Bruce, Phillips, especially! Why there is a people dying to keep Jay Bruce I will never understand from all my years of watching the Reds. People complained about Adam Dunn and Bruce is Adam Dunn light. Phillips also needs to go even though i like him.
      Also that deal with Frazier to the Mets for those stud arms you mentioned would set this teams rotation for a decade!!!!!! We can dream can’t we?

    • lwblogger2

      Ok… Where do I start?

      1st, excluding all pitchers MLB-wide, the Reds K% as a team is 17.9%. They strike out at the 25nd highest rate in MLB, which is the 5th lowest rate in MLB. Average K% in MLB is 19.6%. Jay Bruce at 22.2% is the only guy you mentioned with a K% higher than the league average. Bruce makes up for that and more with a BB% of 12.2% which blows the league average 7.7% rate out of the water.

      Situational hitting? Yes, the Reds have been horrible w/ RISP but they have been just about league average in driving in a runner from 3B with less than 2 outs.

      I could go deeper but am at work and just don’t have time.

      • Matt WI

        Wow… thanks for looking up even the team K rate, LW… that is such a perfect, perfect example of a Marty type statement that needs fact checked. Sometimes I feel like WLW would do well to have a Marty fact checker to avoid a slander charge!

    • Charlie

      Joey Votto is untouchable, and it has nothing to with production or talent, but his contract. No team would be willing to take on that contract for a light-slugger on the wrong side of 30.

      • lwblogger2

        It’s really not the AAV of the contract that makes it hard to trade him but the length. That said saying he’s a “light-slugger” doesn’t jive with the facts. He’s on pace for right around 28 HR this year, and could end up w/ 30 2B to go along with them. His average is down but his OBP is about where you’d expect it to be, nearly .400. His power numbers aren’t exactly light. Maybe 10 years ago they would have been but not in today’s run scoring environment. Not too many guys are smacking out 30+ HR anymore.

  4. Tom Gray

    If trades beyond Cueto and Leake are made, trade the entire lineup, veteran SP and closer. Start from scratch. Call up Louisville and Pensacola. Plan to be competitive by 2020.

    • BigRedMachine

      On the bright side, by 2020, Price will have the years of managerial experience you are always posting about. So he should be in his prime, ready to lead the 2020 Reds to the WS!

      (Sorry, had to. 😛 )

    • greenmtred

      Is Tom Gray being sarcastic, or is he serious?

      • tct

        Tom Gray relishes pessimism the way Marty relishes RBI. I have this vision of him in front of his computer with a look of pure ecstasy on your face as he types the following words;

        “…And in 2018 Joey Votto will be eaten by a bear and Homer Bailey will suffer a disastrous lasso accident that causes his right arm to be completely torn from his flesh. The Reds will become the first team to ever go 0-162 when a cataclysmic flood washes away GABP on opening day and the Reds decide to forfeit all their games. But, then it gets worse….”

  5. reaganspad

    I would go the other way. I would sign Cozart to a contract extension right now that he is in recovery. His value was approaching off the charts (for him) the day he got hurt. He has turned the corner with his hitting approach and his walk rates were very good for him. His Slugging is Jay Bruce like

    Now is the time to sign a very team friendly deal, with huge incentives for standard metrics, innings played, fielding percentage (and range) and offensive production.

    Give Zack reassurance that he is signed for a reasonable level that is team friendly, and then give him the opportunity that if his defense gets back to where it was this year, and his offense likewise returns to 2015 levels, you now have a very good ML Shortstop at a favorable price.

    Get the trinkets you can for Cueto, Byrd and Parra, possibly Leake, and let’s build this thing for 2016

    but again if you are not going to get a Mike Trout return for Jay Bruce or Super Todd, hang up the phone. I am not just giving away Chapman either. I am talking blown away offers of a team in the hunt right now.

    Those guys can always be traded after the season. The Fire Sale sign always reeks of desperation

    trade from strength, boys. they will see it in your eyes

    • reaganspad

      if you miss 4 words, this post won’t make sense “very team friendly deal”

    • Anthony

      You would be fired for signing cozart.Another contract that would further hinder this club. There should be a ban on contract extensions for this team until the new G.M is hired.

      Cozart is a horrible hitter who was an overachiever this year. Suarez is a much better all around hitter and fielder with power. He was a steal.

      • greenmtred

        Better all around fielder? What are you smoking? Cozart certainly wasn’t a horrible hitter this year, and the cause appears to have been a changed approach.

      • Carl Sayre

        I am unsure what you are watching to state Suarez is a better fielder than Cozart. Suarez can’t carry Cozarts glove, he has shown that he is a very sub-par defensive player. He is not a major league SS he might be able to play second because he has hit well. His hitting as it goes has been above average but it is a small sample so I wouldn’t get to warm and cuddly about that when pitchers see him again.

      • lwblogger2

        Not ready to say that Suarez isn’t an MLB SS. He’s been bad this year but the range is on the low-side of average and the arm is pretty good. He needs to work on his foot-work and hopefully his hands improve. There have been a lot of very good defensive SS that had rough starts defensively in the Majors. I’m willing to give Suarez a lot more time out there before declaring he’s not MLB SS material.

      • Charlie

        I think the Reds would be smart to move Suarez to 2B, try desperately to move Phillips. Getting Suarez closer to 1B would help his weak arm.

      • lwblogger2

        Suarez certainly has the potential to be a better hitter than Cozart but better fielder? I’m not sure we’re watching the same games.

    • Victor Vollhardt

      To REAGANSPAD: no matter how the “trading season” works out your point about Cozart is right to the mark and should be done. The only “kicker” would be if the team doctors wouldn’t sign off on his physical well being.

  6. jamesgarrett

    I agree with Marty and Anthony.The core guys are the issue and are basically the same player.How many times does one of them get a lead off double and never move off of second.Who can you count on to get a guy in from third with less then 2 outs.I could go on and on.Unless they change their approach at the plate(I like what Bruce is doing) then trade em before their contract is up and get something out of them.

    • Wire_to_Wire

      The contributors to this site are very Jeckel and Hyde in behavior. On one hand I hear that you go off of straight analytical data. Things like clutch hitters don’t exist. Then we have the other side people who put down Bruce because well he has statistics but he gets them all in a few weeks. The stats show us that teams and individuals performance don’t deviate much with running in scoring position and then we get the argument that this core can’t hit with runner on 2nd base. It is proven over and over that bunting should be minimized and then we hear that this team stinks because they can’t bunt. And finally (getting somethings off my chest) I hear “follow the model of the Astros and Cubs” when they have done nothing yet after finishing in the cellar for years and years and years. I’m not sure if it is the same people or just two sides going back and forth.

      • pinson343

        It’s two sides going back and forth, and that same debate is going on wherever people talk baseball. “E pluribus unum” does not hold here, and why should it ?

    • tct

      It’s funny that those core guys won 97 games in 2012 and 90 in 2013.

      I read an article on Fangraphs a week or two ago about the best starting infields in baseball by WAR. The Reds had the 3rd best starting infield, and that was with Meso hurt. The problem is LF, the bench, the bullpen, and the back of the rotation. The Reds top 7-8 guys are as good as anybody’s. They just don’t have any talent to back them up. And thats why they have to sell. To get more talent and depth in the organization. But the core guys, outside of the 2 that are hurt, have done their jobs.

      • redsfan06

        TCT, very good at stating the exact case with these Cincinnati Reds. Their top players match up with any other team’s. The bench, bullpen, bottom half of the rotation and the bottom half of the batting order is too much for the core to carry. Cueto and Leake are going to be traded because they aren’t coming back. Chapman is a good contributor but should be traded because he is underutilized by the Reds and should bring back greater value (through greater usage). The rest of the core should be left untouched because they are not the problem.

      • Tom Reed

        You hit it. Left field is a long standing problem since Adam Dunn left town. The Reds have the core, and it’s the fault of the front office for fielding such a weak bench and bullpen. It’s an old song but change starts in the front office.

      • pinson343

        Agreed. But with Cueto and Leake departing, the problematic back off the rotation becomes the front of the rotation. That’s the biggest problem facing the Reds for 2016.

      • greenmtred

        I’m glad you brought that up, Pinson, and will follow with a hesitant thought that runs contrary to almost every opinion expressed here, including, distressingly (because I respect his opinions), Doug Gray’s. Do we actually know that ownership can’t afford to sign Cueto to an extension? I’m not privy to Castellini’s financial information, so I don’t have any idea. Money aside, it makes superficial sense that a long-term extension for a pitcher Cueto’s age is a poor move, but consider: My gut feeling is that the odds of Cueto being effective 5 years from now are at least as good as the odds of whoever we get in trade for him being equally effective. Devil’s advocacy on a Friday morning.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Interesting devil’s advocacy. But the comparison isn’t just how effective Cueto is vs. the player we get for him over 5 years. It’s whether the Reds can do more with $30 million a year for six years than sign a 30-year old pitcher, plus the player(s) we get for Cueto. That’s always part of the “can we afford” consideration. The Reds have the money. But they also have an overall budget.

      • Anthony

        Wow. Are you listening to yourself? If that was the case of them being the same core, dusty would still be here. Your manager has no experience. Dusty got that “core” to over-achieve in order to win. This team strikes out to much , and can’t play small ball. They can’t beat the cardinals, giants, the dodgers, the lowly padres, and many more teams. They can’t play with just “any team”. You folks are delusional. Hit the reset button. Trade Everybody. Especially frazier. His trade value is through the roof. Trade him and bruce for the mets Noah Syndergaard, flores, and any other starter they have. They have 7 starters with no room for them.They want frazier bad

        If the reds do hit the reset button, they could hual back 8-11 top minor leaguers that could be plugged right in the rotation and lineup.

      • tct

        I provided facts and statistics to your original comment to show that you, and Marty, are wrong. The core guys have produced. There is no argument there, and if you don’t see that then you are the delusional one.

        I’m not saying the Reds should hold on to everybody. Far from it. I’ve been advocating trading Cueto since last July. I would also trade Chapman. I wouldn’t shop Frazier, but if somebody offered me the moon, I would probably take it.

        The point here is that the core guys are not responsible for the Reds problems. They are, for the most part, the same core that won in 2012, 2013, and several were.there in 2010. With the exception of BP, they are all still performing as well as they did in the playoff years. The difference here is what they are surrounded with.

        Additionally, I have no idea what Dusty has to do with this. The discussion was about whether the core guys can win or not. And as for your strikeout claim, I provided information above showing that the Reds strikeout rate is lower than league average and is in fact one of the best marks in the NL. Compared to their peers, the Reds do not strike out too much.

      • memgrizz

        The Mets are not going to trade Thor or Matz unless they get a similarly ranked and proven young hitter (e.g. Addison Russell). They aren’t going to mortgage their future for a longshot run this year. What evidence do you have that they “want Frazier bad”? Furthermore, they have Wright at 3B locked up through 2020 There’s no reason to keep bringing that scenario up.

      • azredsfan

        This is a very upsetting season. I agree that the Reds need to trade for the future but MUST have a 5 year plan. I also agree with keeping Cueto and trading Leake, Bruce, Byrd, Parra and others now. Try to trade Votto to the Blue jays in the off season they can make up his salary in new seats sold. I keep Chapman, Frazier if both will sign a long term contact,. If not, trade both off in the off season.

  7. Adam S.

    I am willing to trade every player except Frazier. I want him on the team moving forward

    • Gaffer

      How can Frazier be necessary moving forward but not Votto? He is the only other consistent offensive player on this team and will likely stay that way for years.

    • memgrizz

      The entire point of this article is that if you want to keep Frazier, you’re implicitly under the impression that the team can compete by the time his contract runs out in two years. Accordingly, you’re going to need parts to complement him. Hence, the notion that if they’re going to keep Frazier, they need to keep Bruce as well.

  8. Cyrus

    After reading the main articles from the past couple of days, I have several random thoughts that I’ve not seen anyone else mention:

    1) Does anyone else notice that some of Joey’s stats seems to be trending down since May began? Remember when he was almost automatic with RISP? Not anymore. Does that concern anyone?

    2) There are so many intangibles when you talk about a team in any sport and at any level. What none of us really understands is how the current clubhouse interacts and fits together when it comes to camaraderie/chemistry. We’ve seen articles written alleging conflict (one example was BP/Votto relationship) but players are pretty good nowadays about keeping things “in the family.” We talk about these trades without factoring in how the elimination of a certain player(s) will impact the overall vibe in the clubhouse positively or negatively. If I was managing a company or a team, that is something I would consider when contemplating personnel moves. I’m not discounting the other points raised about expiring contracts, team control, financial outlays, etc. but no one is adding this important element to the discussion. Think about it: no other sport requires a group of men to spend this much time together over as long a timeframe…how can you not give this heavy consideration? I would argue that personnel decisions done right include adequately weighing the impact they will have on the players you are going to keep.

    3) But when you speak of trading partners, I don’t think there is a more likely candidate than the Nats…and for several reasons. Expectations for this team have been high each of the last three years and they have failed to meet those expectations. The age of the owner adds credibility to the belief that this is the type of team that would overpay for what they consider a “can’t miss” solution to a key hole. Chappie would be like an ace starter to this team due to the frustrations they have faced and the key games lost by the back of their bullpen. No one else in MLB will offer more for him than the Nats (I’m a Washingtonian so I know a bit about these things).

    It will be fun reading the analysis of the trades that do take place between now and the trading deadline.

  9. pinson343

    The Nats/Chapman thing has been talked about in some places, especially on mlbnetwork.

    Joey’s numbers with RISP have dropped this year but the argument is that they even out over a career into the same as the general numbers. I believe that’s usually true but at the same time I used to get excited when he was up with a runner or two in scoring position, now I don’t.

    My main concern with Joey is that his slugging pct. is below .500, as it has been ever since he hurt his knee. Before then, it was never under .500, not even in his rookie year.
    His MVP year, it was .600.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Instead of looking at SLG you should look as ISO. Batting average (singles) is a component of SLG, so the fact that Votto’s AVG is down for BABIP reasons is dragging down his slugging. His ISO is lower than his MVP year (of course). But Votto changed his approach after 2010 and before he got hurt. His ISO in 2011 was .222 which isn’t much different from his ISO today.

  10. George Mirones

    Ownerships thinking probably won’t be “blow it up”. My thinking is that TCT may have the right point of view. The short comings are not the expected starters. When one of them goes down there is nobody (with MLB talent) left to put out there. There is a reason they are less costly and on the bench. The bullpen has been “Russian Roulette” that Mancuso wrote about a while back. The injuries are real yet other teams seem to thrive on the adversity. The last two weekends(Fri., Sat., Sun). have demonstrated the team we have with or without Votto, Frazier, Phillps. Those six games produced 1 win and 5 losses. The Reds were outscored 46-13 in those 6 games. Pitching, pitching, pitching.
    Defense, defense, defense. Bruce, Votto, Frazier, Byrd, and Phillips played those 6 games. An average of 2.2 runs per game doesn’t win much either. They are the core of the 2015 Reds. To expect Mes and Cozart to come back and make the difference after a year off due to injury is unrealistic. Blowing the team up and basing 2016-2017 hopes on talent that isn’t here (in reds system) or coming from other teams minor league teams is like going to Vegas to pay your rent. While individual stats may show that a player is meeting or exceeding the norm doesn’t translate well when the team is losing the way it has been. The team goes to the playoffs together not one player. If the team isn’t constructed to win and meets that standard I really don’t care what the stats say Team wins are what show up in the standing, not the fact that somebody isn’t as bad as he has been. Blowing up the team will lead to several lost years when not even hope can be expressed.

  11. jay johnson

    This mteam has 3 problems
    2]management on field and off
    look at the Mets.All they have is pitching .There other players could easily be at Louisville,yet they are contending.
    Can anyone argue ?

    • Matt WI

      For all the focus on the “core” I think you have a solid point. In several of the posts above, there are assessments that this same team won 92 games vs what they are doing now. The everyday players are more or less the same. What’s vastly different is the Reds will no longer have a rotation of Cueto, Bailey, Latos, Leake, Arroyo. That was really special.

      Unless Stephenson really is “the one,” I worry about a Bailey, Disco, Stephenson, Lorenzen, Iglasias, whoever. I think it will take 2 more season just for them to develop into who they will need to be for a great team (Bailey excepted), if that happens at all.

  12. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I’m for keeping “some sort of core” (maybe not the list stated above), enough that would build about a 500 ballclub. Then, turn most of the resources to development of the minors. Scouting, instruction, etc.

    Advantage/disadvantage – even though we may not seem to be going “all in”, we aren’t fireselling like the Astros and being satisfied with three 100+ loss seasons. I don’t believe I could sit through that. At the same time, we are still developing what I believe is every club’s most important resource, their minor leagues.

    The thing is, I believe this is for long term change. For short term change, the biggest things wrong with this team are the bullpen and the medical/training staff. Those are more than obvious. And, even if we do our due diligence in developing the minors, once they get up here with this bullpen and medical staff, I still believe we are stuck.

  13. Jennifer Campbell

    I don’t agree that trading Bruce and holding on to Frazier is a bad thing. You aren’t considering that in all those trades of Bruce, Cueto, Leake , Parra , Pena and Byrd, odds are, we could get some hitters that are knocking on the door of the big leagues in at least one or two of those deals . There are guys on contending teams that are blocked by guys at the big league level that would be able to step in and help the club. The odds are pretty good that we could get some players that could help us in the long term.

  14. Gregg Lestina

    Keep Frazier. Trade Bruce and everything else not nailed down.

    Imagine the following:
    * trade Cueto, Leake, Chapman, Bruce, Byrd, and if possible Phillips
    * Gain $50 million (w/o Phillips) – $60 million (with Phillips) in payroll flexibility
    * Getting a healthy return of prospects.
    * Next year’s hitters: Votto (1B), Suarez (2B), Cozart (SS), Frazier (3B), Meso (C), Hamilton, (CF), Winker (LF/RF), FA/Prospect (LF/RF).
    * Next year’s SP: Bailey, Lorenzo, DeSlafani, Stephenson, Iglesias/Moscott.

    That line up is nearly as good as the current team and the payroll and farm system are vastly improved enabling the hope that the Reds fans need.

    • lwblogger2

      How can you be sure that Winker will even be ready next year? What FA are the Reds going to get for under $13-million that replaces Bruce’s production for $13-million in RF? I love the payroll savings but agree with the original post that you either hold onto Bruce and Frazier or you trade them both. The ONLY reason to hold onto Frazier and trade Bruce would be to not upset a fan base that is in love with Frazier (at least until his first marginal year).

  15. Va. Reds Fan Richard

    The fact is trades are all about contracts not winning. Not about putting the best team possible on the field, but the best team that a budget allows. Seems one thing that money should be spent on is scouting, may not more, but more better and get a solid minor league system. Look no farther that St. Louis for that proof.
    Be honest here, Cueto or Leake neither one has a 12 and 2 record right now, they have been lights out one game, but beat up some to. There will be one real good prospect offered for each, dont expect the next Trout to be given up for either. Champman if a contender has only one weakness and that is closer then he brings a top talent still not Trout. If someone wanted to spend some money and time to make him a starter may be worth a bit more. Keep Bruce, he may be hardest worker on team. Byrd was to get the team to Winker considering his age may not get much more than saving millions. Phillips, still is as good at second as anyone, age and injuries catching up with him to, don’t see much for him either.
    Now that talent no one has even spoke of Billy Hamilton, he other than Frazier may just be the one who brings the best prospects.

  16. ncmountie1

    This statement stood out to me….”The best of Bruce might be ahead of us, and teams know that.”
    Haven’t fans been saying that since he came up? Bruce is who he is—good fielder and a streaky hitter, with EXCEPTIONAL months, career .250 hitter & career 2.0 WAR. It’s not going to get any better IMO.

    I read the blow up vs. core debate and I’m not sure which side I fall on except this…looking at WHO is going to make any trades. ZERO faith. Jocketty is from a model of baseball that has passed IMO. Comment on Adam Dunn above is right on—patchworked LF since he left with aging sluggers or the dreaded Dusty “platoon” or both. 4 hole & leadoff have been weak spots–even during the good years —and never been adequately addressed (sans rent of Chin). How many ex Cards has he ran through Cincy?

    IMO ANY dealings need to start by getting rid of Walt and looking at a long term plan from there.

    • Steve Mancuso

      From 2010-2013 (4 seasons), Bruce averaged 3.6 WAR/season ($20 million+ value). That’s an average of Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference WAR calculations.

      • ncmountie1

        You know what’s interesting (to me) is the swings in those 2 calcs with Fangraph being much more consistent at 5.1, 3.0, 2.5 & 4.2 as compared to BR at 4.7, 2.0, 1.9 & 5.3. I wouldn’t even begin to try and debate WAR with you as I’m not versed enough in it, but I still believe my orginal question is valid. Best 4 year stretch of his career–will he ever be better than that? If we could trade him for more consistency would it be worth it? IDK the answer. I’ve read various articles on Bruce on here and IF we could get something of value for him I wouldn’t be opposed to it. IF in my mind is the biggest question given WHO is doing the trading.

      • Steve Mancuso

        The swings are entirely on defensive WAR. Bruce’s wRC+ (contribution toward runs) from 2010: 124, 119, 120, 117 – that’s almost unbelievable consistency. His wRC+ this year so far is 119.

      • Steve Mancuso

        While I wouldn’t be looking to trade Bruce, I get that there are reasonable arguments on that side. But offensive inconsistency isn’t one of them.

      • ncmountie1

        Ok but would you agree or disagree with Nick’s statement? “The best of Bruce might be ahead of us, and teams know that.” IMO we’ve seen what we’re going to see. I don’t see his stats improving…with Reds anyway, perhaps they would with a change of scenery.

      • Nick Carrington

        I said “might.” I didn’t say it would happen or even predict it. I said it might based on improving peripherals that would suggest he might be getting better. That’s good evidence, but I didn’t say he was going to.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Yes, I agree with Nick. I think there’s a good chance that Bruce will reach a higher level of production by the end of this year. The evidence Nick lays out about Bruce’s walk and strikeout rates is compelling to me. Plus I’ve seen the way Bruce has hit for several months. Even in April, when the balls just weren’t falling in, he was hitting the ball hard. I’m more optimistic about Bruce than I have been for a few years. That’s why I hope the Reds haven’t given up on him and trade him just for the sake of shaking things up.

      • earmbrister

        Yes, I DO NOT want to see Bruce traded. His salary is reasonable for a middle of the order bat. And last I looked, the Reds (like many teams) are looking for more offense. Trade Bruce and now you are looking for two corner outfielders.

  17. WVRedlegs

    The problem is, when Cueto and Leake are traded, this team will have lost 100% of its starting rotation in less than a season. That is hard for any organization to overcome. Other than Robert Stephenson, and he hasn’t arrived yet, the replacements have been marginal. None have shown that they are anything more than #4 and #5 starters.
    The Reds front office has seen this coming since before they traded away Simon and Latos. Bailey won’t be back until after next year’s all-star game.
    Yet the front office/GM failed miserably to adequately prepare for this situation. It is the front office/GM that has made this bed, and it is the front office/GM that makes the manager/coaches and players lay in that same bed.
    At least one top of the rotation pitcher ready for the Reds rotation in 2016 needs to be a priority in any return of players in the upcoming trades.
    What a mess Walt Jocketty, et al, have made. They have 2 weeks to get things under control.

  18. WVRedlegs

    Jumbo Diaz is back. Contreras goes back to Louisville.
    The shake up begins.

    • jay johnson

      I replied to a different story how Price was responsible for destroying Jumbo.He is a very sensitive guy and Price destroyed his confidence.He went down and after regaining his heart,he was unhittable.Put him into some games now,not in pressure cooker spots,let him regain his major league confidence and this one simple move changes the entire structure of the pen.It would give us two 7th inning guys[jumbo/Parra]hoover in the 8th and chappy to close.Only use badenhop ,villain,and the cockster,when games are out of hand.Mattheus seems to be decent most of the time when he starts an inning,so only use him in that roll.Tony C will be back next and if not used as the number 5 starter,the bullpen appears to be decent.
      I’ve heard Petey criticize Price quite frequently for his misuse of the entire staff and couldnt agree with him more.13 pitchers is ridiculous,especially when our bench is SOOO terrible.I’m pretty sure Price could get by with 11 if he ever would let a guy pitch more than one inning.He’s protecting these arms like we’re going to need them to be fresh for the second half to contend or need them in the postseason.Wake up Bryan.

      • azredsfan

        Jumbo should thank God each and every day for pitching for the Reds. or any other major League team. I thought Jumbo was throwing the wrong pitches. What happened to his split finger/ fork ball? As far as losing his confidence, Suck it up, throw strikes and listen to your manager.

  19. IndyRedMan

    the replacements have been marginal. None have shown that they are anything more than #4 and #5 starters.

    Some of you guys are just haters when it comes to our pitching? Lorenzen is at 3.29 as a starter. Disco is at 3.65 (really 3.41….Since Price is an idiot and put him back in the 7th recently vs the Twins after 100+ pitches and then bring in Badenrocket to make sure Disco’s runners scored). Inglesias was hitting 95-96 the other day and has a nice stress free delivery. Personally I would take another shot at begging Chapman to try starting (and to make starter money $$ after next year). Tell me this rotation wouldn’t look good?


    If they could somehow move BP and keep Bruce that could be huge! They’ll have Cueto, Leake, Byrd, and Marshall’s money already coming off the books. They could afford a real weapon FA in LF and some arms to help Hoover in the pen and still be way under their 2015 budget in that case.

    • Armflapper8

      INDYREDMAN, you beat me to your very thoughts by 5 minutes! Touché, sir!

    • Matt WI

      It’s potentially great, but Chapman as starter has sailed. I think it’s also potentially mediocre, or at least top heavy (two strong starters out of Bailey/Disco/or Stephenson and then guys that are a bunch of 4’s or 5’s.). None of the guys after Stephenson were ever projected to be the next Matt Harvey or Snydergaard. Plus, as we’ve seen, one injury to a top guy will be a heavy blow.

      On the other hand, it’s what the Reds have and with luck, it’ll be ok. At the moment I’m more down on the immediate starting pitching performances over the next year to two. I don’t think we’ll know until then.

    • WVRedlegs

      Indy, not a hater, just a realist.
      We’ve been taught on here that ERA is not the best of indicators on future performance for pitchers.
      Lorenzen: 5.15 SIERA, 4.85 xFIP, 3.53 ERA, -0.6 fWAR.
      DeSclafani: 4.51 SIERA, 4.35 xFIP, 3.65 ERA, 1.4 fWAR.
      Iglesias: 3.82 SIERA, 3.94 xFIP, 5.90 ERA, 0.6 fWAR.

      These guys are rookies and should be cut some slack. They will learn to pitch better and a couple of years down the road, they may be top of the rotation material. But now, and especially for 2016, none of these 3 should be considered for the #1 and #2 spots in the rotation. Unless you want another season of futility.
      The Reds could have Toronto’s type of offense in 2016, but if two of these 3 guys are sitting in the #1 and #2 spots, it will be a long long season of frustration, AGAIN.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Nice analysis.

      Strong young core and money to spend? What’s not to like?

  20. Armflapper8

    We all know that we’ve beaten this particular topic to death these last 5 years, but it’s something I haven’t seen anyone bring up in awhile considering Cueto and Leake are likely gone:

    Since there will be no top line starters next year without Johnny, does anyone think that the Reds would FINALLY try Chapman in the rotation? I only bring this up again since his contract is nearly up anyway, and if he actually turned out to be something, they could always trade him next year at this time with an even higher sell point if the Reds weren’t competing – especially if Homer isn’t able to contribute like we’re all so concerned about (God forbid he doesn’t make it back).

    I know this is very unlikely considering management’s handling of him so far, but since he’ll probably sign elsewhere anyway, why not finally see what they still have considering the circumstances. I mean, if Cueto and Leake are gone, all they have are high upside guys in the rotation to start next season who aren’t even legitimate #2s, let alone even #3s perhaps right now due to their inexperience. Disco, Lorenzen, Iglesias, (and eventually Homer and maybe even Stephenson) are all works in progress, and so would Chapman be, of course, but with incredible upside.

    BUT, here’s the kicker. Unless, Homer comes back even better than before (highly unlikely at least for next season) they simply are not going to have a #1 starter for 2016. And if they could somehow miraculously contend next year, considering they trade NONE of their core AND could have Cozart and Mes return to form AND have no major injuries AND everything finally go just right…….haha, I know, LOTS of ANDs there!

    But just think. If they COULD make the playoffs in a perfect world scenario, who in the heck would be their #1 that could give them a shot at winning? So, with that said, does anyone think they might actually do it now? Finally? By “it” I mean do the unthinkable: Start stretching Chapman’s innings out to get him ready for the rotation next year. What do they have to lose? Guys, please no nasty replies, haha! I understand the unlikeliness of this, of course, and we’re ALL sick of the Chapman (non) usage, yes. Still, why not now?

    • Tom Reed

      I thought the manager said in the off-season that Chapman would pitch more than just the 9th. inning. So far we’ve not seen it happen.

      • Tom Gray

        I don’t think the current manager is smart enough to even know when it’s the 9th inning.

  21. Brian

    doesn’t really speak to the core conversation, but mlbtraderumors is saying the reds are prepared to trade cueto and leave. i sure hope the discussions aren’t just starting and are more coming to a close. but regardless shows that they at least are acknowledging 2015 is over which is a huge step for the front office.

    • Joe McManus

      I saw that as well and breathed a sigh of relief. I’m thinking they have a general idea of the deals available to them. We should see some moves within the next few days. Leake is scheduled to pitch tonight, so we’ll probably see him make that start, but I sure hope we move Johnny before his scheduled Sunday start. Then I hope Parra, Byrd and Pena aren’t far behind him, along with Leake.

    • earmbrister

      The Reds have been linked to about a dozen teams on Cueto and Leake. They can sit back and wait for a deal that blows the others out of the water. Both of these guys are coveted and will provide for at least a quality prospect (plus some) in return.

  22. David Potteiger

    The difference between trading Frazier and Bruce is that Frazier is at the peak of his value and Bruce is at or near rock bottom with a flicker of hope the past two months that he’s trending upward. You’re not going to get value for Bruce. Given that he is controllable and cheap (relatively), there is no need to trade him. The time to act on Frazier is now. Always, always sell high.

    • Steve Mancuso

      When you say that Jay Bruce is “at or near rock bottom” what measures are you referring to?

      • Armflapper8

        Steve, IMO, you’re the most educated and forward thinking guy on this site. Will you please honor me with an opinion on my (clearly irrational) question about Chapman, please? Is it totally out of the question? Even at this point? Would management even remotely consider it? And why wouldn’t they at this point of all times? Just curious of your opinion, which I highly value. Thanks, regardless.

      • Steve Mancuso

        No one has beat the Chapman-should-be-a-starter drum more than I have – for four years. I’ve come to the conclusion that the Reds have ruled it out in part because Chapman wants to close (which I don’t understand from a financial standpoint and don’t understand why the organization cares what Chapman wants) and in part because the owner loves watching Chapman run out of the gate to close games.

        It’s been a gigantic screw-up since day one. Dusty Baker played a role. I think he won a struggle with Walt Jocketty because the owner sided with Baker. Bryan Price had said nothing but positive things about Chapman starting when he was the pitching coach. Then, when he got the keys to the car, he was told Chapman was going to close and changed his tune overnight.

        So no, I don’t think there’s any chance the organization would even try him as a starter now. Sad as that is.

      • Armflapper8

        Thanks, I’m sure you’re correct, sadly enough.

    • tct

      I think Bruce’s trade value is up a little from where it was this off season. But I think he’s become kind of under rated. I love the career high walk rate and the lowered K rate. And I’m fine with the contract, even if theres not a lot of surplus value there. I’m ok with trading Bruce for the right return. But I don’t think his trade value is high enough right now to bring back what I would consider a fair package.

      • IndyRedMan

        Jay Bruce? I have to admit the guy drives me nuts and I don’t know why? He usually has numbers at the end of the year but all I ever remember are games like the last one. Cueto gets Suarez’d for 3 runs so we’re down 3-1 and the next half inning we can momentum right back when Frazier doubles down the line w/Votto on first. The ball seemingly rolls for 2 minutes down the line but Votto slows into 3rd then Bruce pops up and Byrd makes an out. I think my problem is a guy that streaky can’t be 4th or 5th EVER on a championship team! 6th would be perfect in a perfect world. I could be irrational here? Again I don’t know why…its just that I think anyone with 16-17 HR power in California or a pitchers park like Seattle or Detroit could hit 25 in our bandbox and we wouldn’t have to pay $15/mil a year for it? I do agree that we prob wouldn’t get value for Bruce and if they ship him out then that’s more or less running up the white flag for 2016.

        Carlos Gomez would be nice in a perfect world…..only $9 mil for 2016 and could play CF if Hamilton never gets any better? More realistically….surely they could find a .350 obp leadoff guy somewhere that is major league ready for Cueto, Leake, and possibly Chapman? This leadoff guy could play LF, 3B, SS, 2B, or RF if we deal Bruce?

  23. Ryan

    I dislike the premise that if they trade Frazier they must trade Bruce, especially if you mean at the deadline. I think if they trade Frazier they probably should trade Chapman, because 2016 looks pretty bleak at that point. Bruce is under contract until 2017 though, and its too early to punt 2017. For that reason and the fact I believe Bruce has turned a corner, i do not trade Bruce, at least until this time next year.

    If Cueto, Leake, Chapman, Frazier, Byrd(who could bring back a decent piece) were to all be traded, and that return was mostly prospects, the farm would be stocked to the gills. Trading Bruce would likely add redundancies, especially if pitching was included in his, and any of the other trades.

    2017 projected rotation: Bailey(the earliest I’m expecting much from him), Stephenson, Lorenzen, Disco, and Iglesias. That leaves Moscot as 6th man. Then you have Travieso, Garrett, Ramano ready or close to it. Jonathan Crawford, Barret Astin(looking like a great return from the Broxton salary dump) are wildcards and could certainly put their names in the hat for rotation duty. Seeing as how that’s 11 guys for 5 spots, the bullpen could look a whole lot different than it currently does. Throw Cingrani, Josh Smith, potential bounce backs in Contreras, Jumbo to the bullpen mix and the pitching staff could be nasty, from Bailey to the 7th reliever.

    With Votto, Bruce, Mesaraco, Cozart, Hamilton, B-phil, Suarez you have a nice core to get you started. Throw in Winker and potentially add Blandino, Y-Rod, Waldrop, Philip Ervin and you could have some nice cheap role-players that aren’t hitting the Mendoza line.

    That scenario doesn’t include any prospect the Reds are likely to receive in the next few weeks, nor the massive haul Frazier would bring by himself.

    • Tom Gray

      You could be right.

      I don’t see 80 W (per year) from 2015 through 2018.

      I’ll be happy with 75 W average those 4 years.

      Trades are coming. MiLB prospects are coming back.

      • Armflapper8

        Thanks, Steve, to my request above about Chapman.

        Yeah, sorry to beat a REALLY dead horse, but considering the circumstances of a poor 2015 squad, I thought it might be worth mentioning one more time – out of desperation. 😟

        Guess we’ll probably be rolling the dice with Disco, Lorenzen, Iglesias, ?, ? To start 2016….ouch.

      • Armflapper8

        Also, I’m of keeping the core intact. BUT, only if a #1 or #2 starter can be found within the next 2 years.

        Homer COULD still be that guy, but who knows? Playing those odds aren’t exactly money, as all of us Homer fans know so well. That’s the only reason I brought up trying to finally stretch out Chapman since, surely, Stephenson is at least a year away, and probably not a prospective #1 for 2- 3 years or so.

        Hence, throw EVERYTHING we have into Chapman NOW. He’s likely the only real chance the Reds have for a top line starter for the next few years unless Walt (hopefully some other GM) pulls off some miraculous deal. And, of course, this is pure speculation that Chapman could even translate over to a starter as well.

        Still……the guy has the best stuff on the staff! Get your money out of your investment! What is Bob, Walt, and Bryan not seeing that we all are??? At least tell us why not! He has 3 devastating pitches, though he’s reluctant to use much beyond the fastball, obviously. But they ARE there.

        I just hate to see this core go to waste. Even BP (as many here will disagree about). Let’s be real. When these guys are on, they ARE a playoff team. 2010-2013 wasn’t a fluke. They just need a better bench, bullpen, and NOW….with Johnny and Mike gone…..at least one elite starter. Injuries aside, Aroldis MIGHT just be that guy. Can’t win in the playoffs without THAT GUY.

        Management simply MUST make that call, whether Chapman likes it or not. Simply have to try it if Cueto is gone. And, well, he is.

        And if they’re worried about filling seats, one things for sure, they’ll pack the house every time he starts a game. I know I’ll go – along with my wife and 5 kids. How ’bout that, Bob? Please, make a smart call, or at least explain the factors of why you won’t, or even cant, in your mind. Reds fans just want to know.😟

        Otherwise, shoot for 2018. But I’m not getting any younger.