The World Series is now over, so that means free agency has officially begun. The Reds wasted no time making a bunch of moves this evening. Here they are:

The Reds declined Skip Schumaker’s $2.5 million option for 2016. The Reds will have to pay Skip $500k as a buyout. Skip finishes his two year stint with the Reds having hit .238/.297/.322. Schumaker’s -2.4 Wins Above Replacement (fWAR) is tied for the 6th worst career mark in Reds history among position players. The five players with lower career fWAR with the Reds all played before 1951 with the exception of Todd Benzinger (-2.8 fWAR between 1989-1991). So long Skip.

The Reds declined Burke Badnehop’s $4 million option for 2016. The Reds will have to pay Badenhop a $1.5 million buyout. This move seems a little puzzling considering the high buyout of only a $4 million contract. Badenhop started out the year really poorly for the Reds, but finished strong. Overall, Badenhop had a 3.93 ERA and 3.74 FIP. This move seems to signal that the Reds will be in a full rebuild mode in 2016.

Sam LeCure was out-righted to AAA-Louisville. That move was to make way for injured players like Bailey and Mesoraco coming off the 60-man DL.

– Sean Marshall, Brayan Pena, and Manny Parra all became free agents today. The Reds could certainly still resign any of these guys, but the chances are probably pretty slim. It will be sad to see Pena go, but Tucker Barnhart seems to have solidified himself as a good backup catcher. Pena was really terrific to the Reds fans. Manny Parra was pretty solid in three seasons with the Reds, posting a 3.91 ERA and 3.45 FIP in 150 games. Sean Marshall was really great on that 2012 team after being demoted from the closer role. However, his Reds career was nothing but injury after injury. Oh what could have been.

Stay tuned… might be a busy off-season.

79 Responses

  1. Kurt Frost

    Thank goodness. I wasn’t 100% sure Jocketty would be able to let Skippy go.

    • ohiojimw

      They probably had WJ bound, gagged, and tied to a chair until they got acknowledgement that the Schumaker move was official and final. 🙂

      • GreatRedLegsFan

        It was Skip or his kingdom…

    • Lord Oracle (@LordOracle22)

      as much as i was on the side that jock didnt do enough when baker was here to get us over the top i think he has learned from his mistakes. If you ask me jock is doing a hell of a job rebuilding this team and well have to see what else he has up his sleeve this year

  2. ohiojimw

    What exactly is LeCure’s status as far as team control? Prior to 2015 (per Cot’s), he was at 4 years, 119 days of MLB service time. I think that is enough to refuse an outright. He wouldn’t have done that prior to the end of the 2015 season because he had the balance of a $1.85M 2015 salary at risk. But what’s in it for Sam to hang around now as nonroster player a little over a year short of unrestricted free agency.

    • David

      Perhaps he feels some team loyalty, and the Reds might have told him he has a chance to make the team out of Spring Training. Or perhaps his agent has no offers from another team. Or perhaps he realizes that his fast ball, such as it was, is gone.
      Sam is a heckuva great guy, but playing in the Major Leagues is not a popularity contest.

      • TR

        I always remember how Sam saved the day in game one of the 2012 playoffs when Cueto went down.

      • David

        So did Matt Latos. Would you like to bring back Matt Latos now? Being facetious, and Sam Lecure is a very personable and likeable guy on a team that seams pretty bland sometimes, but his fastball is not very fast anymore. I wish Sam had a 92 mph fastball that moved and he could locate, but now his fastball is about 86 mph, and pretty hittable.

  3. TR

    The decline of Skip’s option means the Reds are now in full rebuild mode for 2016. Let the trades begin.

    • Gaffer

      I don’t think they trade anyone, other than maybe Chappy. Who else is there to trade, if they plan to win in 2017?

      • GreatRedLegsFan

        I guess Bruce is stil very a very tradeable candidate, see no one else.

      • ohiojimw

        If they are really serious about rebuilding, Frazier is a candidate to be moved. He is controllable through 2017 but only under contract thru 2016. He was a little behind the curve to arrive and something of an age risk for a long term deal at this point.

        He will make $7.5M for 2016 and it is likely that his average annual salary over a five year following period would be as much as (and even more) than they are paying Phillips now.

        The sooner they move him, the more they should get in return.

  4. DHud

    This is the happiest I have been with the Cincinnati Reds since they won the NL Central in 2012.

    • lwblogger2

      🙂 That made me chuckle pretty hard.

    • Steve Mancuso

      This report may be right, but you can’t trust Heyman when it comes to Dusty Baker. He’s a huge Baker advocate. He’s the guy who published Baker’s side of the story the morning he got fired and had it wrong.

      • ohiojimw

        It’s probably a fair guess Heyman has gotten a good sniff that things aren’t locked between the Nats and Black. If they were, it would make no sense to advocating for anyone else at all. As to Baker’s role/status, your caution seems in good order.

    • ohiojimw

      Sheldon has retweeted a Bob Nightengale tweet that negotiations with Bud Black are “over” and “They never came close to an agreement”.

      Dusty is supposedly on the clock with the Nats…

      • RedInInd

        And many of the posters at the CBS link above are sure enthusiastic about Dusty . . . Enthusiastically against him!

      • ohiojimw

        The situation with Bud Black was supposedly primarily about money and length of contract secondarily. Dusty has been on the outside hoping to get back in for two years. He is my age; so, I am comfortable saying it would behoove him to jump on the opportunity if he really wants to manage again.

    • ohiojimw

      Looks like it official as of a little after 8AM eastern time that Dusty has been named manager of the Nats. MLB has retweeted an official Nats tweet saying Baker has been named the team’s manager.

      I wish Dusty nothing but the best while wondering if he has one more successful round up left in him given the rapid changes occurring in how the game is organized and run.

      • lwblogger2

        “Retweeted an offical Nats tweet” … Did you ever think you’d say something like that? I wonder what kind of mischief a person could get into trying to hack the Twitter accounts of MLB teams or players? Social media outlets are pretty much established as official news outlets now. There is some risk there I’d imagine.

      • lwblogger2

        Your post just made me think of it from an IT standpoint.

      • jdx19

        Completely agree. I was hoping, years ago, that Twitter would be a fad that would disappear, but with commercial entities getting on board to completely, I think it is here to stay.

      • ohiojimw


        I am a recently retired IT/ Network type myself.

        I avoided Twitter until I decided it was probably the quickest way to follow sports off the field action.

        I still don’t tweet much myself. Now that I am retired and commenting a lot more here and some other places, I probably should be tweeting links to try and build my “brand” I guess but then Charlie (avatar dog) would probably demand huge royalties of dog biscuits for use of his image. 🙂

      • lwblogger2

        Dog biscuits? I don’t think so. Liver treats at the very least!

  5. Dan

    If Dusty leads the Nationals to a world series pennant I am curious how many nay sayers and haters that are Reds fans will click their heels and reverse their negative comments on the old man.
    I’m not a huge fan but man he looks like a freaking genius compared to Price.

    • Carl Sayre

      I was not a fan of Dusty’s but from the time he was fired my question was who are you going to replace him with. I have seen how that worked out. The lack of talent provided by WJ and the injuries would have made it impossible for anybody to win. The fact is Price has had me SMH so much that I have had a perpetual headache. IMO without the injuries and a better bullpen and bench I still don’t think Price wins.

      • jessecuster44

        Sadly, you cannot separate the two. Price made enough bad decisions to make me think he is a poor manager, but without a healthy and deep roster, we’ll never have proof.

    • greenmtred

      I expect that they will say that, of course he won: He had good players. Anybody could win with those players. Unaddressed in that is the question of why it is a manager’s fault when he loses with a team of bad players.

      • ohiojimw

        Isn’t it amazing how DB always seems to be handed groups of good players anybody could win with (wink wink), especially given that many of the same players were often losing together before (and after) he was there.

      • jessecuster44

        Did he win in the playoffs with those good players? Asking for a friend.

      • lwblogger2

        Jessecuster44 has a good point about winning in the post-season. Dusty’s style in general probably doesn’t lend itself well to managing in the postseason and managing divisional games. It will be curious to see how he does in Washington.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Exactly. I believe that was Baker’s excuse always. “We just didn’t have the players. The club needs to go out and get better players.” It wouldn’t be because you are batting Willie Harris in an 0 for 40 slump while Frazier sits because, “We need to get Harris going”? Baker is a joke. The GM’s get the players, and Baker just enjoys the ride, about the only thing he showed me he knows how to do.

      • ohiojimw

        In the end it is a two sided coin. You can’t win playoffs games if you don’t win enough during the season to make the playoffs. There are managers who would probably do better in the playoff setting than DB who never get there because they burn out their teams and themselves micro managing every inning of every game.

        Even Maddon who seems to be a good balance of the two, looked good for his use of Schwarber versus the Cards but not very good for same use of the same player versus the Metz.

        I said somewhere below that I thought Dusty needed an aggressive bench coach to run high leverage games for him as a compliment to his style which works so well over 162 games.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      If Baker does lead the Nats to a pennant, the success will be most likely, just like it was here, to the GM’s who brought the players in. Seriously, simply too many examples where Baker was simply a poor manager. You don’t keep batting a veteran journeyman who’s in an 0 for 40 slump because “We need to get him going” and keep a player like Frazier on the bench. You don’t keep throwing Stubbs out there with his ridiculous batting, saying, “He needs to play through it,” but then bench others simply because they go hitless in 2 straight games.

      You don’t ask Larussa for a weather report. Larussa, a guy who would lie to his own mother if it meant getting a managerial advantage in a game.

      Nope, the reason we won in 2010, 2012, and 2013 was because of the players the GM’s brought in, especially Krivsky and Obrien.

      I find it so funny, also, that people tend to forget that we didn’t do anything in 2008, 2009, and 2011, when we had losing records. Baker was the manager during those times, also.

      Nope, Baker’s only strength seems to be his players enjoy playing for him. Everything else, Baker is simply along for the ride. Everyone remembers how everyone was talking about how the players weren’t playing with any kind of sense of urgency at the end of 2013. Well, I saw that numerous times during the season. Baker simply had no clue about how to fire the players up for big games, how to get them to “step it up” when they needed to. Thus, Baker’s winning record during the season, one of the best ever, and his losing playoff record, one of the worst ever.

      • Rob

        Well said…plus I believe most Giant and Cub fans would agree with that assessment.

      • CI3J

        Here’s a thought: The Nats were roundly picked to be World Series contenders this year, but didn’t even make the playoffs. Would you say they underperformed? How much of that was the managers fault?

        Conversely, if they make the playoffs with Dusty this season, will that finally serve as proof that maybe, just maybe, the manager matters?

      • lwblogger2

        Depends on other factors like injuries and who else is brought in for 2016. It could serve as some evidence if most other factors remain constant. That’s what makes the whole controversy about how much managers make a difference difficult. There are so many other variables aside from just who’s sitting in the dugout as the field manager.

      • CI3J

        I know it, it’s one of those things I think can never truly conclusively be answered. You can pick either side and find your own evidence to support your position.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Yes, the Nats did have bad luck with injuries, also, this season. There was suppose to be some locker room turmoil, though, also. Like Baker is one who can take control of a locker room? BP’s rant? Right. . .

      • Carl Sayre

        “step it up”, fire up players for the big games? These men are professionals and as such the thought of a manager motivating them is beyond my comprehension. A player that needs that extra push is not one I would want on my team. When you have a month and a half of ST and then 162 games to get to what could be a long post season if you keep winning the manager needs to know when to give a player a day off but as a motivator these are not little leaguers.

    • David

      I’ll always give Dusty plenty of credit for helping the Giants win the World Series. It just took him managing the opposing team and not the Giants. If the Nationals win a pennant, it will be despite him and not because of him.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Entirely agreed. Just too many examples of why Baker is a poor manager.

    • jdx19

      I think none.

      In many of our opinions, Dusty was a very poor manager here. He didn’t do a whole lot with very talented teams and misused many assets.

      Winning in Washington won’t change what he did here. He couldn’t win a series with peak Barry Bonds, so I doubt he can win with peak Bryce Harper either (who just had the best offensive season since Bonds).

      • lwblogger2

        Not a fan of Harper’s but man can he play ball. Assuming decent health, there may be a few records broken before he’s done.

  6. Carl Sayre

    I like all the moves made by the Reds today, the extremely high buy out of Badenhop was a poor decision when it was signed. I do wish Pena’ well he seemed like a genuinely likable guy and seemed willing to do whatever was asked of him. He played a poor first base but he tried and he at least had an idea about a hitting approach.

    • ohiojimw

      The interesting part about the Badenhoff situation is that WJ was quoted yesterday as saying that from the beginning they never had the intent of rolling over the option.

      In other words, the $1.5M buyout was essentially done as salary deferment since the Reds put buyouts on the books against the next season’s salaries.

      One has to wonder if this is revisionism in action. If Badenhoff would have had a lights out 2015, would the Reds really have paid him $1.5M to leave versus putting up an additional 2.5M (plus the buyout amount) to stick around for 2016? Would they have traded him quick and dirty to somebody willing to pay him $4M in 2016?

  7. Mark Tokarski

    The success of the Reds under Dusty and failure under Price serve to remind me that I know very little about this game. One suspicion however, is that the position of manager is a bit like the Student Body President in a high school … Pretend authority.

    • jessecuster44

      Dusty is a bad postseason manager, period.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Baker’s only strength, his players want to play for him. That’s it. Past that, he’s just along for the ride. He has no clue how to get the players to step up, no idea how to run a clubhouse, etc.

  8. Peter Pond

    Good start for the offseason. Now there’s roster flexibility to add new players to the mix. Pena is the one that hurts leaving for his good attitude. But if Mesoraco is ok, they’ll be fine at C.

    On Dusty, he’s too much of a player’s manager for my taste and lacked the sense of urgency in the postseason. Wish him well, though.

    • ohiojimw

      IMO Dusty always needed an aggressive in game bench coach he would listen to to compliment his ability to pull together and motivate teams over the long haul.

  9. redmountain

    I would not be surprised to see the Nats in the playoffs again next year. The Nats tried a tough manager and got nothing, now they are going with a player’s manager.

    • CI3J

      Yep, I would almost take that one to Vegas. NL East will be down to Mets and Nats, dogfight to the end.

    • jdx19

      The Nats still have a very good shot at going far next year. They basically had all their good offensive players (except Harper) get hurt or play poorly last year.

      The odds of that happening twice is pretty low, I’d guess. They’ll lose Zimmerman, I think, but still with Scherzer, a healthy Strasburg, Gonzalez, and maybe Roark, their rotation is almost as good as NYM, but their lineup SHOULD be considerably better, unless Rendon and Zimmerman the 2nd forgot how to hit for real.

      Hard to say because we don’t know what moves will be made, but WAS is still one of the most talented teams in the NL and has the best hitter in the NL and one of the best 5 pitchers in the NL to lead its rotation.

  10. Hotto4Votto

    The Reds cleared 7 players the other day from the 40-man to get it down to 40 guys. They didn’t need to out-right LeCure to make room for the 60-day DL guys. He was likely outright due to being arbitration eligible and losing his stuff over the past year or so. In fact, with the declined options and FA’s leaving the Reds are down to 34 players with another 4-5 guys that could easily go (and probably should).

    LaMarre and Holt are redundant and one could easily be cut loose. There is no need for four catchers on the 40-man and Skipworth struck out something like 40% of the time in AA. Mattheus and Contreras are both out of options, I believe. Mattheus is arbitration eligible and is due to make around 1 million. I think we can find someone else to replace his “production” for cheaper. Contreras is a nice depth piece, but really doesn’t have a place on the 25-man and will probably be let go sometime this winter.

    • lwblogger2

      I don’t think Mattheus arbitration cost should be a deciding factor in rather or not the Reds keep him. The league minimum is over half a million so the savings for bringing in a cheaper player or using someone from inside the organization are rather meager. The Reds need to take a look at him, decide what he brings to the table, and decide if he’s a player they want to keep. I don’t think as a first year arb guy, the salary considerations should really be a part of it.

      • ohiojimw

        Maybe they just need to send him to a psychologist to figure out why he always does himself wrong just when he seems to have things going his way/

  11. David

    Maybe Dusty will tell Bryce Harper to stop clogging up the bases with that OBP.

    • CI3J

      Or maybe Dusty can teach Bryce how to stop being such an arrogant jerk.

      • lwblogger2

        That’s probably more what Rizzo is hoping.

      • jdx19

        I’ll never understand where the animosity towards Harper comes from.

        Harper is, as far as I can tell, about as good of a guy as a young man can be nowadays. He’s never hit his girlfriend, held out for a contract, got caught with a DUI, etc.

        Brandon Phillips is an arrogant jerk (but he’s our arrogant jerk 😉 ). Yordano Ventura is an arrogant jerk. Kelvin Hererra is an arrogant jerk. Jose Bautista is an arrogant jerk. Johnathan Papelbon is an arrogant jerk. David Ortiz is an arrogant jerk. Harper is like none of these guys, from my vantage point.

      • CI3J

        I think when Joey Votto tells you you’re playing the game wrong, you’re probably playing the game wrong.

        Also, there’s this:


        “One scout called him among the worst amateur players he’s ever seen from a makeup standpoint, with top-of-the-scale arrogance, a disturbingly large sense of entitlement, and on-field behavior that includes taunting opponents.”

        “He’s just a bad, bad guy,” one front-office official told Baseball Prospectus. “He’s basically the anti-Joe Mauer.”

        I heard about Harper’s antics when he was in the minors, and nothing I’ve seen of him in the majors has dispelled those notions. It could be a degree of confirmation bias, but the way this guy carries himself just rubs me, and a lot of other people (including one Mr. Joey Votto) the wrong way.

      • jdx19

        Can’t see the video link now because I’m at work, but I’ll check later.

        Would Harper tell Votto that he shouldn’t flip out on the umpire and fly at him from first base while spitting in the umpires face?

        Now, I’m not saying Votto is a bad dude at all (the regulars here know I love Votto), but all players, even the “good” and “mature” ones fly off the handle sometimes. Harper seems to be the only one that continually takes flak for it. I think its just unfair. He has a chance to re-write the record books (along with Trout) so we can forget about the terrible human beings like Bonds, McGwire, and Sosa that ruined our fair game.

        I think that’s why I care, maybe… any young player with immense talent I want to root for to do well. We need to embrace Harper, Trout, Machado, Bryant, etc… because I don’t want the ‘roided out cheaters owning the books.

        So in Class A he was 18 when he sparked that brawl. I don’t think that evidence is valid.

      • jdx19

        Also, I understand it’s just a personal opinion thing. A lot of folks don’t like Harper. That’s fine. I won’t try to change anyone’s mind… I just wish we could embrace young talent rather than being mad at them for doing childish things when they are essentially still children.

      • lwblogger2

        In all honesty, I think that Harper may get a little better as a human being, the older and more mature he gets.. At the moment though, the guy really, really rubs me the wrong way.

      • David

        Good call. That seemed to go well with Brandon in the clubhouse.

  12. Chuck Schick

    A good manager is able to take a talented team to the post season….thats it. There is no “style” that works in the post season anymore than there is a “system” to win the lottery.

    Baker had 3 good teams here and went to the post season 3 times. Anything that happens in the post season is almost entirely randomness and luck. While the 2012 was the best team he managed, they lost in the deciding game to an evenly matched opponent with the winning run at the plate…..someone had to lose. If the 2012 Reds played the 2012 Giants 162 times they would likely win between 80-83 games. He lost a coin flip.

    Every time the Cardinals have won 100 games over the past 15 years they failed to win the W/S. The Phillies from 2009-2011 were awesome and didn’t win. Sparky Anderson lost to a 83 win Mets team in 1973. The Yankees have had the best record in baseball SINCE 2001 and have 1 title in 15 seasons. Bobby Cox went to the playoffs 14 years in a row, with the best pitching staff of a generation and won 1 title.

    Baker is an unlucky post season manager.

    • lwblogger2

      While I disagree and believe that managers do make more a different in the postseason and that managing with urgency (as if there is no tomorrow really, or as closely as possible) does make a difference, you make some very good points here. I’ll also concede that yes, there is only so much a manager can do and that yes, certainly luck plays into it and strongly in the postseason.

    • Jeremy Conley

      What was wrong with the 2011 team? Also, Dusty Baker is responsible for Chapman, and for that he should have been banned from baseball.

      • Chuck Schick

        The 2011 team had mediocre starting pitching. To blame Baker ( or Price) for Chapman is absurd. The manager doesn’t have the much power.

        It’s like the meatballs who were going into cardiac arrest and hating Price every time Skip was in the lineup in September. Do you really think the manager unilaterally decides that Chapman is a 9th inning closer? Do you really believe The Manager unilaterally decided to play Skip more often than not in a lost season? Those are “organizational” decisions.

  13. TR

    With the Reds stuck in last place in September, I doubt that the front office told Price to play Skip. With nothing on the line, it would have made more sense to play Duval and see what he could do.

  14. lwblogger2

    Nick, you mention Badenhop starting the year poorly but ending the season well. At one time, I was thinking that the wise move, especially looking at the cost of the buyout and the Reds’ bullpen struggles, may be to go ahead and exercise that option. Steve Mancusco wrote a piece some time ago though that swayed me the other direction. Taking a much deeper dive into Badenhop’s performance, one could easily make a case that he wasn’t particularly good throughout the whole season and it wasn’t just a bad first month and good rest of season. I’m hoping that the Reds’ analytics department did similar analysis and that the decision makers listened to them.

    I commented on Steve’s piece that Badenhop’s option and the Reds’ decision on it, may tell us a lot about their use of analytics.Of course the Reds may just be trying to save as much money as possible too.

  15. Michael E

    You can’t lose that much talent and not take a big step back. Schumaker was the heart and soul of this historically powerful Reds team. We might as well fold the franchise at this point.