One more day until the Jordan Pacheco Era begins for the Reds. Tomorrow is the deadline for pitchers and catchers to report (a phrase first used in 1924) for spring training in Goodyear, AZ. Most of the players are there already. A little news and reading material to keep you busy:

• Sweet Lou Piniella will serve as the grand marshall of the Opening Day parade. The club recently hired Piniella as a senior advisor to baseball operations in a consulting capacity. The team also announced Piniella will spend time with the team in spring training.

• Mark Sheldon wrote an informative 5-part preview of the Reds season: players seeking a bounce back season, spotlight on Jose Peraza, prospects to watch, uncertainty in the rotation, and projected lineup and rotation.

• The Reds made two of the worst offseason transactions, according to Dave Cameron at FanGraphs. On the Todd Frazier trade:

Taking less long-term value to acquire Brandon Phillips replacement, before you ensure that Phillips would indeed waive his no-trade clause to play elsewhere, means that the team took a lighter package than they could have gotten from the White Sox directly, but also don’t get the benefit of having Peraza play everyday in 2016. And at these prices, the team may have realistically been better off holding on to Frazier, hoping he had another big first half, and then seeing what his market looked like in July. Instead, the team sold low on one of their best trade chips, and now their path back to contention looks even longer.

On the Reds acquisition of Alfredo Rodriguez (which Cameron says has happened, but the Reds haven’t officially announced it yet):

Like with Arizona’s decision to sign Yoan Lopez a year ago, there seems to not be enough of a return on this investment to justify the penalties associated with going over their pool allocation, and the Reds can’t really afford to be leaving talent on the table right now.

Cameron’s list didn’t include selling low on Aroldis Chapman, which surprised me.

• The baseball staff at Sports Illustrated gave the Reds offseason a final grade of D with only one organization, the LA Angels, receiving a worse score.

In addition to light trade returns on All-Stars Todd Frazier, a third baseman who landed with the White Sox after a three-team deal that also included the Dodgers, and closer Aroldis Chapman, who was shipped to the Yankees for an underwhelming package of prospects, the Reds failed to find takers this winter for both outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Brandon Phillips.

• Dave Sheinin (Washington Post) wrote a nice article about Dusty Baker, who begins managing the Nationals this week.

Baker loves being home, even if he never intended to be home so much lately. It wasn’t as if he was pleased to get fired by the Reds after the 2013 season — after a 90-win season that the franchise hasn’t come close to matching — but it did afford him the chance to watch his son play a lot of baseball these past two years, and it meant he could be there to walk his daughter, Natosha, from his first marriage, down the aisle on a summer Saturday in 2014.

“The time off did me some good,” he says. “I didn’t think it would. But it gave me the time to get everything back together — my mind together, my spirit together and my body together.”

• Meanwhile, water is wet. The New York media is discovering Aroldis Chapman is a physical wonder, perhaps the best athlete in baseball and capable of any feat (just don’t ask him to try being a starting pitcher):

According to a person familiar with the situation, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Chapman would beat the 6-foot, 160-pound Hamilton, who stole 57 bases in 114 games last season, in a 100-yard dash. The person said Chapman might be the best athlete in the majors. And it’s more than flat-out speed. Word is other Reds players wouldn’t go into the weight room when Chapman was working out because they didn’t want to be embarrassed by his strength.

• One of many large question marks for the Reds this year is third base. The leading candidate, Eugenio Suarez, has limited experience playing the position.

Third base is not the natural position for Eugenio Suarez. The Cincinnati Reds short-term heir apparent to Todd Frazier has played just 10 major league innings at third with just two chances. Suarez did start 41 games in the minors at third in 2009 and 2010. He had a .926 fielding percentage at third during those two seasons. He never played third in the minors after that. (Robb Hoff)


18 Responses

  1. Jack

    Remind me again, what the White Sox did or might have offered the Reds for a straight-up deal for Frazier and how that would have been better than what the Reds settled for in the 3-team deal?

    • Patrick Jeter

      I think the idea is that the package the Dodgers got in the 3-way deal (OF Trayce Thompson, IF Micah Johnson, P Frankie Montas) was better than what the Reds got. Presumably, the White Sox would have given the Reds the same players for Frazier, rather than involving the Dodgers at all. But, it looks like the Reds just really, really wanted Peraza, so they got him.

    • citzen54

      I follow the White Sox and their farm system is one of the lower rated systems and even then the prospects they gave up weren’t their more highly rated ones. For 2016 Sickels has Montas rated as a B/B+, Thompson B-/C+ and Johnson as C+/B-.

      Thomspon provided 1.5 fWAR and a wRC+ of 144 last year but his BABIP was .341 and Steamer thinks last year was an aberration projecting him to provide .1 fWAR and a wRC+ of 92 in 2016. Micah Johson was almost Billy Hamilton-bad offensively in his limited stint last year, .576 OPS, 62 wRC+.

      Montas looks to be a reliever due to his inconsistent command and mechanics although some scouts do believe that he has the tools necessary to become a starter.

  2. mel reed

    Note that in the FanGraphs piece only one other team besides the Reds was highlighted as making two of the ten worst moves. That other tem? The Arizona Diamondbacks. Let that sink in for a moment

    • Patrick Jeter

      Agreed. After seeing what Dave Stewart is willing to give up in certain situations, it’s amazing that a deal couldn’t be reached.

    • Tct

      Come on guys. I’m not a fan of Walt either, but one of these transactions never even happened! And as someone who was pounding the “trade Frazier” drum since last June, I don’t think it’s fair for me to criticize the return when it was obviously the best package offered. I will criticize them for not trading him at the deadline, though.

  3. Tct

    The off season really hasn’t been that bad. The mistake with Frazier was to not trade him at the deadline. Once they made him available, his market was not as large as we expected. Everyone knew he was available, and this was the best the Reds could get. As Cameron himself says, had there been some other team offering a bigger package the Dodgers could have just taken Frazier with their package and flipped him for the larger package. That’s not what happened, so it’s reasonable to assume the White Sox package, which was not better than LA’s IMO, was the largest offer. It’s not really fair to criticize the Reds for not trading guys and then criticize them when they do trade someone for the largest package available.

    As I noted in the comments on FG, you could make a case that the Reds bought low on two prospects who were more valuable at the start of the season. Everyone wants to buy low on MLB players but they seem to want to buy prospects at their highest value. Makes no sense. Peraza is the exact same guy, with the exact same skills, that was rated a top 40 prospect last off season. His stock was down, but if the Reds believed in him then they were right to grab him up now when his value is low. Same could be said of Schebler, although he was never as highly regarded as Peraza.

    And the other Reds transaction never happened. Doesn’t matter if Cameron says it did.

  4. redmountain

    Front office people refer to sportswriters as mushrooms. This means keep them in the dark and feed them manure. I think cybermetrics are fine, but can be unreliable in predicting how well kids in the minors will do when coming to the majors. I know that Frazier was not that highly rated when he came to the majors, for example.

  5. ArtWayne

    Dusty’s winning percentage was OK but he let Brandon unloose a tongue lashing of a respected sportswriter over nothing. Dusty sit there like a wooden Indian. The team limped into the one game play-off with Pittsburgh in disarray and lost big time. Dusty has a record of eventually losing respect at every stop in the Bigs.

  6. james garrett

    You always trade a player when his value is highest and that usually is at the deadline.I don’t know what was offered for Bruce or Frazier or even Chapman but you can be sure it was more back in July then it was during this off season.We got a great bounty for Cueto who turned out to be just a rental but the Royals won it all and teams will give you more if they think they can win it all.TCT said it all in that we should have traded these guys but we didn’t.Our front office appears to always be a day late and a dollar short but I have hope for Williams once Walt hangs it up.Of course I don’t see that happening for another year or two.

  7. Ben

    I think they were like 200k apart anyway, not a lot of money

  8. kmartin

    Despite our grade of D, I am fired up and chomping at the bit. I decided last night that Michael Lorenzen is going to replace Aroldis Chapman as my new favorite pitcher.

  9. Seadog

    The Sheldon piece reminded me of a few things…First, the Reds had a major league record number of games started by “rookies” in 2015. Remember…. Most teams would love to have a rotation of Cueto/Bailey/Leake/DeScalfani/Iglaises. That is what they went in to 2015 with. Would you take that in 2016? Second injuries. Cozart/Bailey/Mesoraco/. Who would have thought?

    The trades (and supposed signings). How can you give a grade when you are talking about “what if’s” The players from the Chapman/Frazier trades have not even hit the field for the Reds yet. Give it time…then grade the return…Look at his work (trades) players we have seen…Disco/Suarez/Lamb/Finnegan/Reed etc.. Don’t count out Perazza Rookie Davis until we see them. I think Walt has done a pretty good job.

    Do you really think they are going to sign Rodriguez this early? They are smarter than that. Obviously they have an agreement met and are just waiting to announce it until it will not effect the international $$,,

    Think about it people. Some very smart baseball moves.

    • TR

      Seadog: I like your comment. Grading and predictions are fine but they really don’t mean anything until we see how players perform. Spring training should reveal a lot. Looking forward to another season of baseball.

  10. jazzmanbbfan

    Although intriguing, I find it hard to imagine Votto going to LF for any reason. Would be nice to find a way to get Mesoraco a few more games minus the wear and tear of being behind the plate though.