More catchers? Hurrah!

The Reds selected a pair of catchers in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday morning as the 2016 Winter Meetings came to a close.

Cincinnati took Luis Torrens from the Yankees with the second pick of the first round, and Stuart Turner was selected in the second round from the Twins’ organization. Torrens, whom ranked as the 17th-best prospect in the Yankees’ system, was dealt on Thursday night to the Padres for a player to be named and cash.

Okay, just one new catcher added to the organization: Stuart Turner. But he has a couple of connections with former Reds catchers, which is fun.

Turner was drafted in the third round in 2013 out of Ole Miss (alma mater of Zack Cozart). While at Ole Miss, Turner won the Johnny Bench Award, as the best catcher in college baseball.* (Here’s video of Turner accepting the award, along with a good interview, which includes stories about Turner getting to meet Bench for the first time.)

*Johnny Bench was a great catcher, no doubt, but it’s a little odd that the award for top college catcher is named after Bench. After all, Bench never played college baseball, though he did try out for Oklahoma State as a high school senior. OSU declined to offer him a scholarship, and Bench was later drafted in the second round of the first MLB draft.

After being drafted, Turner was assigned to play Rookie ball at Elizabethton. The hitting coach at Elizabethton? Former Red (and member of the 1990 World Series champs) Jeff Reed. Turner gives Reed credit for helping him develop as a professional:

He said, “I’ve been blessed to be with catchers my whole life. My high school coach was a catcher. In college, at Ole Miss, the three coaches (head coach and two assistants) were all catchers. Then to get to my first pro team (Elizabethton) and have Jeff Reed who was a 17 year catcher in the big leagues. It’s kind of like, God continues to bless me and put me in the right places and lead me the right way. I’m just very thankful for that. Reed did a wonderful job with hitters. At Instructs was when I got the most catching coaching from him because he was able to specifically work with the catchers. He was tremendous at what he did.”

Turner will turn 25 later this month. A very highly-regarded defensive catcher, he entered the 2016 season ranked as the Twins’ #18 prospect (by and #14 by John Sickels. His glove has to be great, because Turner isn’t much of a hitter. At Double-A Chattanooga this year, he hit just .239/.322/.363 with 6 home runs.

Mostly, seems like Turner will be depth at the catcher’s position, profiling as a backup, if needed:

“He’s a good defensive catcher,” said Reds assistant GM Nick Krall. “We liked him out of college when he was drafted. He’ll be a good complement on the roster if something happened. He’s just a good depth catcher, a decent prospect as well. He’s close to being Major League ready.”

The Reds are prepared to carry three catchers on their big league roster, if needed, according to Williams. Primary catcher Devin Mesoraco has been injured for most of the past two seasons and Tucker Barnhart is the No. 2 catcher, but capable of playing every day.

“The plan was to add catching so we’d have a contingency plan,” Williams said of the Rule 5 strategy.

Turner will be in the mix to be the third catcher on the Reds roster. (A discussion about the intelligence of using three roster spots on catchers will be forthcoming as spring training approaches.) An odd note: Turner — like Reds left fielder Adam Duvall — has type 1 diabetes.

So, Turner is interesting, but there was some really good news about the Rule 5 draft, as Doug Gray noted:

Perhaps the best news of it all, though, is that the organization didn’t lose a single player in the Rule 5 draft – at least at the Major League phase. It seemed that the team was taking a gamble with multiple players, but everything worked out for them in who they chose to add to the 40-man roster and who they chose to take a chance with by leaving them off of the roster.

I really thought the Reds would probably lose Ismael Guillon, a left-handed reliever who played at Single-A Daytona last year. Guillon — signed in 2008 as a 16-year-old — has a live arm and could be a useful pitcher at some point. So the fact that Cincinnati didn’t lose anyone is nice, and an indication that the roster decisions made in the run-up to the Rule 5 draft were justified.

In three years, I may look back at this post and realize that everything written here is irrelevant and none of these guys ever made any kind of impact on the big league level. Or maybe the transactions today will be key to the next good Reds team. Welcome to baseball writing.

92 Responses

  1. ohiojimw

    I thought this was a head scratcher of a move. When Dick Williams spoke to the media several weeks ago about the prognosis and plans surrounding the Reds catching situation, the “Plan B” contingency plan sounded like signing a proven MLB journeyman receiver, not drafting a guy in the Rule 5 draft who has never played above AA. The choice is all the more curious given that the Red just acquired Juan Graterol via waivers.

  2. thecoastman

    WOW! Nice dig, Chad, finding that info and connections with Turner. I’ll be curious to see if he can stick. It sure sounds like he has the right attitude and work ethic to eventually make it to the show. My big question, however, and I don’t think you guys have covered this particular issue, is the importance of a catcher when developing young pitchers.

    It seems odd to me that the FO would be all in with these young pitchers and then hand off catching to basically a below average rookie in Barnhart. Correct me if I am wrong, but from what I’ve seen Barnhart has terrible pitch framing numbers and is one of the worst ranked catchers in baseball. Our primary back up now is going to be an even greener AA catcher that is being deemed “close to major league ready.” Seriously?

    It just seems to me that we should have spent a few coins last year on a really solid veteran with plus game calling, pitch framing and defensive skills to see us through this rebuild. In our situation I would think offense from a catcher for a couple of years would have been secondary. Since the FO has admitted that even if Meso is ready this year, which I think is completely unrealistic with his type of injuries, he will be very limited for quite some time. Am I making this into too big of a deal or do the analytics back me up here?

    • jazzmanbbfan

      When he came up the word on Barnhart was that he was major league ready behind the plate but would never hit. If he is now one of the “worst ranked catchers in baseball” I’m surprised. I didn’t think the was bad and he’s defensively better than Mesoraco will ever be (in my opinion). In addition, Cabrera was a terrible defensive catcher so Barnhart looked great compared to him.

      • Bob Foist

        Barnhart was billed as the best defensive catcher in Red’s org….and I didn’t see anything thru out all 2016 season that made me think different.And for a guy who supposedly was weak at thew plate his slashline was .257/.323/.379.No Johnny Bench but as a back up more than adequate.And he’s a Hoosier…always gets high marks in my book 🙂

      • Tom Mitsoff

        Jazzmanbbfan, I’m with you. I haven’t seen the stats referred to above, but the eyeball test tells me Barnhart is above average among starting catchers, with defensive and offensive skills both considered. Perhaps Williams’ thinking is that it makes no sense to bring in a veteran catcher on a guaranteed contract when the Reds are still in rebuild mode, and maybe can find a young player who is a diamond in the rough. Somewhere I read either Williams or one of the assistant GMs quoted as saying that they like the catching prospects in their system, but none is as close to ready as Turner.

      • jazzmanbbfan

        Thanks for the affirmation Tom. I thought maybe my eyes were deceiving me as I get older!! I don’t know much about the catchers currently in the system but the high school kid they drafted a couple of years ago is definitely nowhere near ready and has been dealing with injuries as well.

      • lwblogger2

        The “eye test” and the metrics disagree sharply on Barnhart. He looks like a good defensive catcher to me but his pitch-framing metrics are quite bad. That said, there are some things that the metrics may not consider. For instance, it is much easier to frame up a consistent pitcher who is hitting his spots than someone who is more erratic. It is also a lot easier to frame up a pitcher who has more modest stuff than a pitcher with really good stuff. Pitch-framing metrics are meant to be pitcher neutral but they really can’t be as pitch-framing by its very nature, has some dependencies on who is pitching. I know there has been a time or a hundred where I have probably cost my pitcher a strike call because the ball, although in the zone, wasn’t anywhere near where I expected it to be, so I ended up taking it out of the zone. A pitcher who is always near the target is a lot easier to frame.

  3. vegastypo

    Ya know, some people have said Reds fans were over-valuing the players just traded away, and that’s why the return wasn’t what many expected …. With no players taken from the Reds in this Rule 5 draft, is it possible that we were over-valuing these prospects too?

    • Preach

      That’s my first question as well.

    • ohiojimw

      Amen. Exactly what I thought when the draft had concluded.

      Also I think the fact no one was willing to sink $100K for even a look at Guillon or Weiss who were well rated by media sources outside the Reds orbit despite missing much all of 2016 with injuries underscores what Dick Williams has been up against this off season in trying to extract talent in return for Zack Cozart who finished the season back on the 60- day DL with issues relating back to his major knee surgery in 2015..

    • Tom Mitsoff

      This thought has crossed my mind as well. Statistically, only one of the pitchers in the entire farm system will emerge as an above-average major league starting pitcher. At times, there seems to be an assumption that it’s only a matter of time before Stephenson, Reed, Garrett, etc., are all in the rotation and pitching above-average. If that happens, it would be a complete statistical anomaly.

    • WVRedlegs

      That was my thought too, that maybe the Reds farm system isn’t as well regarded as we thought. Oh well.
      The Yankees, who were considered to have a decent to middling farm system got plucked good. So, a little baseball justice is served.
      The 2 Catchers drafted was a bit of an iffy strategy. Has there been any updates on what the Reds got from SD for the 1st Catcher? I only heard cash and the notorious PTBNL, but no details.
      We’ll see what Turner has in spring training. If Mesoraco is healthy, then Turner wlll get a lot of pinch hitting opportunities. Strange giving those duties to a guy who can’t hit very well.
      Confidence in Dick Williams and this “new” front office is waning daily.

      • lwblogger2

        Considering my confidence level to begin with, that’s not a good thing.

    • Tom Diesman

      If we were over-valuing our prospects, so were others. From BBA JJ Cooper:

      Liking The Reds Players

      If you were going to pick which team is most likely to lose someone, it would probably be Cincinnati. Different teams have mentioned different Reds, but there are a number of Reds who are plausible picks.

      It starts with Guillon and Vincej, but it moves on to righthander Zack Weiss, shortstop Calten Daal, infielder/outfielder Brandon Dixon, lefthander Nick Routt, righthander Evan Mitchell and righthander Alejandro Chacin.

      There are a number of organizations who have more impact talent in the minors, but Cincinnati’s rebuilding effort has the Reds loaded with a number of close-to-major league prospects who have plausible big league futures. They couldn’t protect them all.

  4. Scott Carter

    Head scratcher is the word I would use. Why draft a non hitting catcher that has to be on the 25 man roster when you could have used that pick for a bullpen piece. Now we have one less hitter on the bench and if you carry three catchers, one less bullpen piece. Following the logic, to me this signals that both Lorenzon and Iglesias will be in bullpen. And while that meansthey will probably be used for multiple high leverage innings (let’s hear it for thinking outside the box), it also means that neither will be given the opportunity to start. A terrible waste, of both bench space and arms.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      There is, rightly so, concern that Mesoraco won’t be able to catch full-time again. If that is the case, they will need a defense-first backup for Barnhart.

      • ohiojimw

        I think their experiences the last two years indicate that if Barnhart is the primary catcher, they need more than a defensive specialist with no MLB experience as his backup. Barnhart has been fine catching 4 to 5 days a week but when they’ve tried to stretch him beyond that, his performance behind the plate and at the plate has suffered significantly.

      • WVRedlegs

        I agree with your sentiments. If Barnhart is the main C, he should start about 70%, not 90%-95% which will be the case with Turner as his backup. This is very poor contingency planning. Very poor.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        They had Cabrera who was a decent hitter, but they didn’t like his defense. Looks like they have gone the opposite direction here. Plus, perhaps they don’t want to sign a veteran to a guaranteed contract in the event that Mesoraco CAN catch every day and then Barnhart is the backup. Probably Turner and Graterol (pending any additional moves) will compete in spring training for that contingency third catcher spot.

      • ohiojimw

        I don’t doubt your logic. I just think it is a very weak plan. If nothing else, all the youth on their pitching staff should dictate that the contingency guy be a seasoned MLB journeyman receiver.

      • I-71_Exile

        I’d agree if the Reds were planning on contending in 2017.

      • ohiojimw

        Regardless of how good Turner’s technical skills are isn’t it a bit penny wise but pound foolish if the Reds young pitchers end up throwing a significant number of innings to a guy who is also an MLB newbie versus a guy who could help teach them how things work at the ultimate level?

      • earmbrister

        If the Reds are carrying 3 catchers, they will have both Meso and Barnhart working with the pitchers and the rookie C, or alternatively sitting on the bench next to the pitcher and the rookie C.

        The Reds have more than enough experience between the two of them to share. In addition, the position flex of players like Peraza and Duvall will help greatly in working with a 3 catcher scenario.

      • ohiojimw

        I guess I’m not convinced Meso will be physically with the team much of the time. To me it is at is least as likely he starts the year on the DL and is left behind for extended ST as it is he breaks camp and comes to Cincy with the team.

      • Old-school

        I think mesoraco will make the club and play 2 days a week and be a pinch hitter stick with a scripted 2-3 month rehab…they want him with major league trainers and facilities.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        Mesoraco is a complete wild card. We have no idea whether or not he can catch, whether or not he can play any other positions, and whether or not he will be able to hit with any power. They need to plan as though he will not be a regular player, and if he does re-emerge as one, that’s just an unexpected plus.

      • Hotto4Votto

        They also had the option to sign a minor league FA where they wouldn’t have to guarantee ML money. Good defensive catchers with ML or AAA experience shouldn’t be hard to find. If Mes is out extended time, I’d prefer a guy who’s a little more experienced at higher levels. The Reds own Joe Hudson spent all last year at AA and is regarded highly as a defender. Why not just use him or Wallach or Graterol as insurance? Then the Reds could have taken someone who might actually help this club this year and moving forward. I have a hard time seeing Turner as that guy, especially with Okey coming up quickly behind him.

      • jazzmanbbfan

        Regarding the idea of Barnhart, or pretty much anyone else, catching 90-95% of the games that wouldn’t happen regardless who the backup is. 90% would be 144 games. Barnhart appeared in 108 games as catcher, starting 106 of them in 2016 or about 2/3 of the games. Mesoraco started 13. Johnny Bench never started as much as 140 games at catcher and never over 130 after his age 23 season (per Baseball Reference).

      • Tom Diesman

        They have also signed two more C to minor league contracts.

        Rob Brantly is a 27 year old LH hitter who has hit .225/.286/.317/.603 in 392 PA in the majors with Miami and the Chicago White Sox. He has put up a .256/.287/.378/.665 line in 1068 AAA PA.

        Shawn Zarraga is a 28 year old switch hitter who has hit .236/.294/.311/.605 in 182 PA in AAA. He has put up a .305/.392/.380/.772 line in 689 AA PA.

      • lwblogger2

        I think the Reds should look at Wellington Castillo as I don’t think he’s going to break the bank and I’d start him over Barnhart. I wouldn’t rely on Mes at all and if Mes does come back, Barnhart is a 3rd catcher and both he and Castillo may be assets with trade value later in the season.

      • ohiojimw

        Agree 100% on your concept. Count on nothing from Mesoraco and deal with the good fortune of getting significant contribution if and when it materializes.

        Castillo on a multiyear deal should get them to Okey at least.

      • lwblogger2

        Looks like my O’s are going to sign him. He also looks to be coming a little more pricey than I anticipated. Not a complete bank-breaker but probably more than the Reds would have wanted to spend.

    • redmountain

      What about the fact that Lorenzen is a better than average hitter? Just because he is a reliever does not mean he could be used to pinch hit or to hit when he is already on the mound or,has been in the last inning. In each case he would be available and save the use of someone to only hit.

  5. jessecuster44

    So Turner has to stay on the ML roster for the entire season. Which means that if Mez is healthy, the Reds carry three catchers. Neither Mez nor Barnhardt play elsewhere in the field. NOt sure if Turner plays elsewhere in the field.

    Carrying three catchers who don’t play anywhere else is an inefficient use of the roster. I don’t get it.

    • MrRed

      They’re betting that one or both of Mez and Barnhardt will be on the DL for significant periods of time. That’s a solid bet. But still, I’ve got to believe that they could have found a better back-up option at catcher than a kid that’s never played about AA.

  6. sultanofswaff

    I don’t get this move at all. A catcher like this could easily be had on a minor league deal any day of the week. Take a relief pitcher with upside and use him in low leverage situations………the peripherals on many of these types was very promising. Not suprising though—Guillon didn’t get a September callup even when we were desperate for pitching due to injuries. The front office got caught with their pants down yet again.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      The very interesting part of all of this is that the first few picks of the Rule 5 draft were apparently choreographed by the Padres, who apparently talked the Twins and Reds into making picks on their behalf, later traded by those two teams. What that says is that there was nobody available at any position, in the estimation of the Reds front office, who was worth taking and trying to keep themselves with the second overall choice. The same can be said for the Twins. When two teams so in need of young, controllable talent decided to go that route, it says there just wasn’t much there for the picking.

      The Reds will receive a player to be named later and-or cash for their number two pick — probably a player if Luis Torrens makes the Padres roster, and maybe just cash if he doesn’t.

      • Michael E

        or it says the Reds decision-makers can’t judge upside or talent very well. We’ll see if the Padres end up with even ONE good MLB player, they ran circles around Twins and Reds FO

        There is always, ALWAYS a good upside RP usable arm in the Rule V draft. I get that bats aren’t very common, but something was there, just the Reds weren’t prepared or lack advanced scouting of lesser prospects (probably don’t know any of these Rule V available players).

      • Wallyum

        As far as trading partners go, I’d check over anything the Padres sent me with an extremely fine-toothed comb.

  7. Hotto4Votto

    Hopefully there is some sort of plan in place that I’m not seeing and we’re not privy to the details. But so far this offseason has largely consisted of confusing and/or questionable moves. I want to give Williams the benefit of the doubt but it’s hard especially considering he was an internal hire trained under the old regime.

    Carrying three catchers will frustrate the heck out of me next season if it comes to it. The Reds are consistently short a bench player because they go with an eighth reliever often. So not only would it effect the bullpen but also take away a spot from another player who could offer something as a pinch hitter.

    • jessecuster44

      … Over the past 5 seasons, has there been a plan in place that you aren’t seeing? The only plan is that there is not plan.

      • Michael E

        It’s coming and it’s going to be huge. Sorry, just watched SouthPark episode about getting the PS4 or XBOX on Black Friday last year (or 2014, not sure).

        George RR Martin kept saying the dragons were coming…and then that he pizza was coming (neither came).

      • lwblogger2

        The plan exists! It’s in a binder and everything! #RebuildBinder

  8. ohiojimw

    How about the Padres?!?

    They had the Twins and Reds make picks for them at #1 and #2 overall, used their own #3 overall pick for another player, then later in the round had the Angels make yet another pick for them.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      They’re not planning on keeping all four. Maybe one or two. Not a bad strategy though to take a look at four players who were on the fringe of 40-man rosters to see if you can find a diamond in the rough.

      • ohiojimw

        The Pads were all the way down to 33 on their MLB 40, man roster prior to the Rule5 draft; so, they’ve still got some wheeling and dealing left in them. However, it will be interesting to see how many if any of their Rule 5 guys stick even to openign day.

        In a similar vein, I thought the Reds moves with Gabby Guerrero were pretty slick too. Claimed then nontendered him thus making him an MLB level FA which allowed them to then sign him to an MiLB contract outside of the Rule 5 proceedings.

      • WVRedlegs

        Padres have a projected 2017 team salary of $24.5MM at this time. They are also paying a total of $32MM to 5 or 6 players on other teams.

      • Michael E

        It makes tons of sense. Lets face it, $100k to you and I is stiff, but in MLB world, that’s worth a flier IF you have a good set of scouts and scouting network and have some speak highly of lesser thought of prospects.

        If this draft was truly so bad the Reds didn’t want to draft and keep their choice of all but one player, okay, but I would more likely bet money the Padres got it right and will walk away with at least one, and maybe two viable MLB players from this draft.

  9. Bob Foist

    Ramon Cabrera a Free Agent now and Meso is iffy so Turner is depth and not much more.Apparently Cincy think tank not convinced Skipworth or any of the catchers at AAA are close to MLB ready…

    • ohiojimw

      A thought which crossed my mind is really how far ahead of Okey is Turner? Okey seems likely to start the year at A+; and, if he hits enough will probably see AA at mid year. But then I guess they need Okey playing every day to have him MLB ready by 2019.

      • Bob Foist

        Reds did start out 2016 with 2 and a half catchers Meso,Barnhart and Pacheco and then we find out Meso is not is unable to squat behind plate.This sudden interest in more catchers and depth makes me a little nervous concerning Devin…he might be AL bound…

    • Tom Diesman

      Catching Depth Chart looks something like the following right now


      • Hotto4Votto

        That’s seven catchers invited to ST. That seems high compared to past years where you are likely to see 5 or so. I think this is another area where the Reds FO has caught a case of tunnel vision and they can’t operate on more than one thing at a time.

        Recent examples include: Jose Peraza. The Reds fell in love with him and the package the Dodgers were offering for Chapman and couldn’t move on from it. So they make a panic trade of their best trade chip in Frazier for a less than predicted return. Another example: The Jay Bruce trade, were so focused on moving Bruce that they couldn’t multi-task and trade Cozart at the deadline. That’s going to really come back to bite the Reds (like all the failed deadline deals have so far) as the return of Gohara is likely better than anything else they’ll get now. They also got stuck on wanting “near-ready” prospects instead of the best overall. So now we have a glut of fringe MLB/AAAA players in the upper minors with few true prospects of note. If they would have taken couple younger guys with higher upside the farm system as a whole may have been a lot better. But hey, we got Renda, Dixon, Cotham, Davis, and Jagielo, to show for it. Woo-hoo BRM watch out!

        Overall it just seems they were solely focused on finding catching depth, that they neglected anyone else who could have helped (a bullpen arm, an OF who can cover CF). When all along they could have easily remedied their situation by doing what they were doing anyway, sign a few minor league FA’s and let it play out through ST.

        Even the player they got back doesn’t seem to make much sense. VanMeter is a utility guy who doesn’t have much pop and is limited in the field. He posted less than .900 fielding percentage and Fangraphs predicts he’ll profile as a 2B/LF due to a weak arm that isn’t capable of playing on the left side of the infield. But the Reds added to the glut of middle infield prospects in the minors, when VanMeter was rated #30 overall in the Padres system (Fangraphs) and Yimmi Brasoban was #32 and at the top of many Rule V “best available”. The Reds could have asked for Brasoban in return for the #2 pick and come out smelling like a rose, and added real talent without having to keep him on the 25-man all year.

        Nothing about their Rule V draft makes any sense. And I primarily think it’s because the Reds FO has shown little ability to work on multiple things at once or switch gears when they have their minds set on something.

      • jazzmanbbfan

        Do they have more pitchers coming to spring training this year? If so, they need catchers and that could be the reason for so many this year. Just a guess.

  10. ScottyA

    I like the strategy. Seems like a hard working, smart catcher who has very good defensive skills. What pitcher wouldn’t want to have that behind the plate. The defense of our team is still solid and all of this is important as we develop young pitching this year and next year. Barnhart and Turner seem similar and both potentially could be backup catcher for our contending teams in 19′ – 22′.

    The selection of the 40 man roster has been handled very well by the front office re the rule 5. Losing no players and ending up with two decent options for backup catchers, leaves us with room to sign a bullpen piece that we might flip at the trade deadline for another prospect or two.

    Seems to me so far so good. We need to trade cozart and phillips regardless of the return in my opinion, to allow peraza and Herrera to prepare for contending seasons or see if they flop. I’m afraid it will be a nightmare watching Brian Price juggle the 4 middle infielders position to position and from Louisville back to cincy.

    • Bob Foist

      where is Corky Miller when you need him? 🙂

      • ohiojimw

        My thoughts exactly. Age finally caught up to the Corskster but there have to be similar guys in the weeds that would bring more to the table than a 25 year old Rule 5 guys who has never made it above AA.

      • Bob Foist

        around here Corky is known as the “Mayor of Louisville” only guy I ever heard of who took a beer into shower with him after the game 🙂

  11. WVRedlegs

    So the STL Cards have signed OF Dexter Fowler. That is a nice lineup start for STL now. Fowler: .366 OBP, Diaz: .369 OBP, Carpenter: .376 OBP, Piscotty: .348 OBP.
    And the Cards are talking about adding Justin Turner .339 OBP in ’16 (.370 ’15 and .404 in ’14) or Edwin Encarnacion .357 OBP (.372 and .354).
    Contenders adjust their lineups and make changes. Pretenders (Reds) stand pat.

    • Bob Foist

      St. Louis has cash to play with….and Reds don’t. St. Louis let Albert Pujols walk and Reds…well,Reds did what Reds do 🙂

      • Steve Mancuso

        They didn’t exactly “let him walk.” They offered him $210 million over 10 years to stay.

      • Bob Foist

        And when they couldn’t come to an agreement….they let him walk away. Red’s Front Office…take notice…

      • Patrick Jeter

        Is there some hint of Votto-contract-ism in your statements, Bob?

        If so, the situations were pretty different. Pujols was already into his decline phase when STL “let him walk,” and Votto was solidly in his prime when he was given his deal.

      • Bob Foist

        Just making a casual observation Patrick 🙂

      • Michael E

        Yeah, lots of Cards fans boast about how they let Pujols go and knew it was good move, but like Steve said, they did back up the Brinks truck and just got LUCKY Pujols turned it down. Darn lucky.

    • TR

      A front office that is in gear is one of the many reasons the Cardinals are always in contention.

  12. CI3J

    An odd move. I’m not really sure what they were going for here. And he has to stay on the big league roster all season or else be offered back to his team at half price, right? A no-offense catcher on a team that is offensively challenged.

    I know the Reds are going to compete this year, so maybe they are thinking…. Well, maybe they…

    No, I really don’t understand this.

    • Michael E

      I don’t get it either, but mostly because, we had the #2 pick and picked and traded a catcher.

      The few Rule V picks that stick seem to regularly be high velocity pitchers that can be shoved into a bullpen role and I fully expected the Reds to draft a pitcher with upside (maybe control issues or something). I hoped they’d draft a hitter that their scouts uncovered as MLB ready even if MiLB question mark.

      Instead, we take a golden opportunity to acquire upside talent and…well, jury is out I suppose, we did get a low-hit older catching non-prospect and an IF as the PTBNL that has some pop (not much average). We’ll see.

  13. Sliotar

    To further Coastman’s point, pitch framing is very en vogue as a primary assessment for catchers.

    It’s the main reason that Jason Castro got a 3-year deal with the Twins despite having a batting average of .211 and .210 the last two seasons. Castro has saved 10 or more runs each of the last 3 years, while Mesoraco has been negative in all 3 and Barnhart negative in 2, marginally positive in 1.

    Can’t find any data on Turner, but maybe the Reds feel it’s worth the spot to experiment and see if he can be a good enough pitch framer to stick.


      • Bob Foist

        and if my memory is right Yasmani lead all NL catchers in Home Runs 2016 with 27 of ’em.So there’s that too..

      • big5ed

        I am a little skeptical of pitch-framing stats. The best two guys on that list are catching very good pitching staffs. Kershaw, Cueto, Bumgarner, etc. are always close to the plate and get calls that Cody Reed, who is never close the plate, doesn’t get.

      • Bob Foist

        Reds radio one nite during game and Johnny Bench was on….said in his opinion catchers biggest responsibility is to call the game,everything after that was gravy…

      • Patrick Jeter

        I could be wrong, but I think that is taken into account, along with the umpire faced and his proclivity to be tight or loose.

      • lwblogger2

        Two things on that though… One, it is very possible that Mesoraco wasn’t the catcher the Pads wanted and wouldn’t have gotten the deal done. Two, Grandal took a 50-game PED suspension and guys who get suspended once, tend to get popped again and there is always a question about are they our aren’t they. Personally, I would have rather had Grandal, even when the deal was done (switch-hitting catcher with power and although not a good defender, at least good enough to stay behind the dish).

  14. Sliotar

    If Turner shows promise, it gives Reds the depth to deal Mesoraco and get out from his salary in 2018, should they wish. If he hits as before, but can’t catch a significant amount of games, it’s tough to see where else he plays every day. He might be attractive as Evan Gattis-type (some games at C, DH, can play 1B and LF) to an AL team.

    • Old-school

      What happens if Turner makes the team as a third catcher out of ST and Mesoraco progresses and by june 1….they don’t need Turner….does he go to louisville or back to twins….how long does he need to stay on club?

      • Patrick Jeter

        Back to his old team with some cash. Believe he needs to be on the MLB roster all year.

      • Old-school

        They traded the first catcher to San Diego for cash and a PTBNL….there’s the cash to pay back the twins and they avoided the 2 year $6 million journeyman catcher. So they traded tony renda roster spot for a player to be named later and 2 months of catching insurance and did it revenue neutral.

    • thecoastman

      Not to start talking to myself, but I just thought if we unloaded Phillips and Cozart everyone moves up so maybe the PTBNL makes more sense in that scenario.

      • Old-school

        Nice work. Did this guy start juicing in 2016?????

    • Tom Mitsoff

      He hit 14 homers last year between Class A and AA. I don’t think focus on a specific position is important to Williams when you’re talking about acquiring young minor leaguers. Just identify guys with talent and potential and give them a chance to show whether they can do it or not.

      • Tom Diesman

        Bear in mind that 12 of his 14 HR came in the offense friendly A+ California League. He had hit a total of 3 HR in 750+ PAs before that. His 9.9 BB% is quite pleasant though and his is a LH swinging 2B/3B.

  15. Michael E

    Another gigantic letdown. Why do we bother caring about the Reds?

  16. Steve Schoenbaechler

    We weren’t going to get any world beater in the rule 5 draft. I can’t help wondering about getting a catcher, though, after we have Devin coming back, Tucker and Ramon, in my opinion, played fine last season, and we spent a recent #1 on a catcher. I didn’t say it was stupid. I just couldn’t stop wondering.

  17. ohiojimw

    Listened to Zach and CTrent’s post winter meetings podcast earlier this evening. They both seem convinced the Reds are still laying in wait to snag an MLB journeyman catcher on a Minor League deal with ST invite. If this is true, the selection of Turner seems even more mysterious.

    • Tom Diesman

      Rob Brantly may very well be that guy. I’ve seen his described as having solid catch-and-throw skills and a compact lefty swing. He was once rated as high as #7 in the Tigers BBA prospect rankings and was projected to be a MLB regular catcher. He just hasn’t seemed to be able to put it together at the plate since reaching AAA as a 22 year old. If his defense is still solid, he could slot into a LH swinging extra catcher type of role.

      • ohiojimw

        Wouldn’t they probably prefer a RH bat since the position is a fill in for Mesoraco and Barnhart is stronger as a LH bat?

  18. Tom Diesman

    Yeah, you are correct, they may prefer a RH bat. Just pointing out that they have one reasonable candidate in hand already.