Recently, I’ve developed an affinity for wearing Hawaiian shirts. With no hint of exaggeration or hyperbole, my free time activity of choice has become browsing Goodwill or other thrift stores for absurd, flowery torso wear. This shift — my entire life before this summer has consisted of earth tones — has derived of a combination of three factors:

  1. I just finished my undergraduate studies and what screams of the “good ole days” more than a Hawaiian shirt.
  2. At some point in their lives, I believe all men gain an appreciation for more billowy garments. I’m getting older is what I’m saying.
  3. My life is changing dramatically in the next three months and so my natural response has been to change my perceived personality as a result.

“What does any of this have to do with the Reds?” you ask. Well, humor me for one more paragraph.

The most dramatic part of my dramatically changing life is The Move, from St. Louis to Chicago. To be frank, the two cities aren’t that different. St. Louis is a little sleepier and Chicago can get colder, but largely they house the same types of people with the same things to do. For me, The Move really boils down to four and half hours up I-55 because I’ll still have the same number of Reds’ games to catch every year.

My point is this: Change, no matter how insignificant, is scary and prompts irrational reactions in all of us. Which is why every year when the trade deadline rolls around I cannot even fathom how baseball players can stand to hear their names in trade rumors with next-to-no input on where their change will take them.

I’ll never understand that particular horror, but all of my thinking about change and moving and being forced to only watch Reds’ away games for half a decade has made me wonder: Can we quantify how easy or hard it will be for the average fan to adjust to their team trading a player?

So welcome to The Trade Palatability Index (TPI), or in other words, why we just can’t let Scooter Gennett go.


Composed of:

  • Player’s attachment to the city (0 — 10)
  • Player’s ability to contribute in the future (0 — 10)
  • Attractiveness of trade return (-5 — 0)

So a player’s TPI becomes a value 0-20 with 0 being the fan’s literally do not care, why haven’t we traded this guy to 20 being lifelong emotional distress.

Player’s attachment to the city

Seeing this, you probably think, “Oh well that’s easy, hometown hero, easy 10.” And, like, kind of. The Attachment Rating is definitely highly skewed if a player is a hometown hero but that’s not the entirety of it. Factors include longevity with the team, iconic moments with the team, and random intangibles like being born there.

Some examples then:

— Scooter Gennett (present): Hometown hero who grew up a Reds fan (3 for intangibles); A Red for 2 years (1 for longevity); 4-HR game and All-Star appearance (3 for iconic moments). Attachment Rating: 7

— Todd Frazier (traded 2015 offseason): Winning HR Derby and two-time All Star (4 for iconic moments); Five years as a Red and came up through system (3 for longevity); Cool nicknames, Little League World Series backstory, penchant for hitting one-handed homers (2 for intangibles). Attachment Rating: 9

— Ken Griffey Jr. (traded 2008 deadline): Father played for Reds, grew up in Cincinnati, living legend (3 for intangibles); Played eight years as a Red but really was he ever not a Red at heart? (3 for longevity); Hit his 600th home run with the team, the Father’s Day homer (4 for iconic moments). Attachment Rating: 10

Player’s ability to contribute in the future

Ah yes, the calculus that we all understand to be at the center of every trade. One team trades away someone who can contribute now and potentially in the future for someone who cannot contribute now but hopefully in the future. Contract status also finds its way into this variable as does team market size and hopes of contention.

Our examples:

— Scooter Gennett: Another year under contract for reasonable price (2); Leaving peak years but should still be productive (4); Blocking other potentially competent second basemen who could replace value (0); Could contend during current contract (1). Future Contributions: 7

— Todd Frazier: One year left on contract and set to be paid $7.5 million (0.5); Declining production from 2014 peak but still 4 WAR player (2.5); Blocking Eugenio Suarez though that’s not a huge deal at the time (1); Hard rebuilding (0). Future Contributions: 4

— Ken Griffey Jr.: $16.5 million club option the next year and current $8.5 million salary (0); Essentially a replacement-level player at 38 (0); Can still hit dingers (1); Blocking Jay Bruce from regular playing time (0); Hard rebuilding (0). Future Contributions: 1

Attractiveness of trade return

This final variable works backwards because it makes any trade more palatable. I remember how distraught I was when Junior was traded even though I completely understood the baseball reasoning behind the move. He was my favorite player being shipped off unceremoniously instead of finishing his distinguished career in his hometown. I couldn’t tell you a single player the Reds got back without Googling it, and that’s why the attractiveness of that trade’s return did nothing to help with its palatability. Ultimately, Attractiveness is made up of two parts: 1) do the returning players hold outsized value and 2) would an average fan recognize their name.

Finishing our examples:

— Scooter Gennett: Return unknown but theorized as a single Top 100 prospect or pair of a team’s Top 10 or a single Top 10 with a couple of a team’s 11-30 prospects (-1 for value); In all likelihood, none of those names would be recognizable (0). Attractiveness: -1

— Todd Frazier: For dealing Frazier, the Reds got Jose Peraza, Scott Schebler, and Brandon Dixon. At the time, the return was considered light though Peraza was highly-touted. Nowadays, the trade looks like a steal but this is an in the moment statistic (-1 for value); Maybe someone would recognize Peraza’s name, but I didn’t at the time and I live for prospect lists (0). Attractiveness: -1

— Ken Griffey Jr.: The Reds got Nick Massett and Danny Richar in return for what was really a salary dump and a chance for Junior to get a ring. Nothing about this deal was attractive to the average fan as there was no value or name recognition coming back. Attractiveness: 0

Final TPIs

— Scooter Gennett, 13: Trading Scooter would definitely sting, but he doesn’t have the longevity as a Red or the irreplaceable value that would make a deal unconscionable.

— Todd Frazier, 12: Everyone kind of understood that Todd had to go and that the front office had waiting too long after his HR Derby win. Trading Todd was like putting down your 15-year-old dog. It hurt, but in a resigned sadness kind of way.

— Ken Griffey Jr., 11: If Junior hadn’t been 38 and clinging to an MLB roster spot, this trade would’ve been downright cruel. But again, it needed to be done and elicited a lot of the same losing-a-dog emotions.

Something to note here about all three of my examples registering around the same TPI is that these are the deals that hurt a lot but are ultimately good baseball decisions. Trading Matt Harvey would register a 0 because he has no connection to the city, his contract rules out future contributions, and a return will be almost negligible. It’s the trading Manny Machado in his prime that’s going to break the 15 point threshold because wow, that one must have hurt for Orioles fans.

I say this to recalibrate how you think about TPI. Each point above 10 is infinitely more emotionally scarring than a 0-10 ranking could ever bring. So yeah, trading Scooter is going to suck because despite his short Reds’ career, we’ve become so deeply invested in him. But it wouldn’t be tragedy without a purpose, as horrible as that might sound right now. It would just be a move from St. Louis to Chicago. A little bit different and definitely hard to wrap your mind around, but there will be new experiences and players to love right around the corner.


Prospect to Watch: If you haven’t already stashed Justus Sheffield in your dynasty league, do so right now. Like right now, right now. With the Yankees picking up J.A. Happ, Sheffield likely won’t be with the big league club until 2019 but there’s an open rotation spot waiting for him when Happ leaves. Sheff has a 2.44 ERA and 8.62 K/9 at AAA this year, showing he’s got big league stuff. His BB% is still a bit high, but expect him to get opportunities to prove himself down the stretch.

In the standings of authorial views, I have fallen behind Jason Linden but increased the gap between myself and Matt Wilkes. It’s a nice little tradeoff in my opinion. While the competition still rages, I am going to take this Rain Delay to set a new goal for myself: 100,000 views on the season. Is it possible? IDK, you all read this drivel for some reason, but I sure hope so. Also, check out my latest for The Hardball Times, it’s a fun little read.

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27 Responses

  1. cfd3000

    Dick Williams is on record as saying, essentially, no one one the Reds is untouchable, though practically we know there are a very few that are essentially so. Votto and Suarez won’t be traded because they’re too good to let go – fears of Frank Robinson. Barnhart is too valuable without another top line catcher to replace him. And it would take a huge return to let Senzel, Greene, or India go for fear that you just traded away a future hall of famer. Everyone else is at least theoretically available.

    For me (and I know that’s just me) the palatibility index for all the other players rests solely on the return. I will be happy to say goodbye to Hamilton, Iglesias, Harvey, Hernandez, Hughes, Duvall, Lorenzen, Garrett, Peraza, or Winker if I think the returns makes the Reds better either now or soon. No regrets. And I will be VERY happy to see Gennett go for three reasons. First, I think he’s much more likely to get worse than to get better or even maintain the pace of his last 162 games. Sell high. Second, the Reds have not one but three very promising options (Senzel, Herrera, Long) to take his place. Sell from strength to bolster a weakness. And third, just for me personally, I have no sentimental attachment to Scooter. From a purely sentimental and fully irrational perspective, I’d be more bummed to see Blandino go than Gennett. But the worst scenario for me would be if no one is traded and no solid return is acquired between now and opening day 2019. We know that team plays around .500 ball at best. Why not try to get better? That would be the really unpalatable outcome.

    • Broseph

      I feel the same.

      Don’t care about player attachment as much as I care about a World Series appearance and win. Sure I’d like to see Votto around to get a ring, but lately I feel myself becoming indifferent — missing more games and scores and just not caring

      There’s always a new Griffey, Votto, Larkin etc when your team wins, and even when they don’t. I haven’t heard or seen any comments in months about Frazier. After this year, it will be ppl buying Suarez jerseys.

      Field a winner, then worry about player attachment.

  2. bouwills

    He’s probably just playing down the interest so not as to look as inept as Joketty 2 years ago when he failed to pull the trigger on the Cozart/Gohara deal. There has to be a lot of continued interest in Iglesias, if not Hughes & Hernandezas well. After Muchado was dealt, it appears interest in position players has ebbed.

  3. Bill j

    Seems like contenders are getting the starters & relievers they want while the Reds just keep holding on or maybe nobody wants what the Reds have for the price they want.

  4. Sandman

    Scooter has, quite surprisingly, become an elite level offensive threat. I know logically, it makes sense to trade him (sell high, etc) but it also makes sense bcuz of the logjam of talent that the reds have got at 2B in the minors that are fast approaching. One could almost hate Scooter for becoming so good since joining the Reds bcuz it’s made the decision to trade him that much harder (in a way. Ppl talk about his decline as if it’s inevitable. While that may be true for a lot of plyrs I always maintain that it’s not true in EVERY case. I hear that sooo much on here that I’m starting to get sick of it. It’s a broken freaking record and I just want to throw it in the trash.

    Earlier I had said that one could almost hate Scooter for becoming so good (although that would be illogical if for no other reason than that he does indeed have trade value now). But there’s a flip side to that coin in that one could almost hate the Reds brass for making Senzel a secondbaseman. Why didn’t they recognize that we had a logjam of talent at second in the minors and that our OF was our weakest point offensively (collectively). I will admit though that the OF’s offensive outlook is starting to brighten with Winker and Schebler. But I care nothing for Duvall or Hamilton. So, why didn’t the Reds make Senzel an OF’r? Senzel’s young and hungry, I’m sure his work ethic would’ve driven him to learn everything he could possibly learn about playing the OF.

    Again, there’s a flip side. I think I read on here about how LF is a position that a plyrs bad defense would do the least damage (in all liklihood). So, why not move Gennett to LF, Put Schebler in center (bcuz I still believe he has enough speed to play there) and have Winker man Right? I think I also read something either on here or somewhere else that said that even Gennett’s defense has improved a little AND that his offense vs lefties has improved as well. IF (big if) these are true, then , Scooter has done everything imaginable to improve in all areas of his game. Which means he’s working hard to prove himself to the city and to the organization. IF these are true then all he’s really doing is increasing his trade value even more. Btw I realize that, even if SG has improved the weakest parts of his game, that it’s probably not enough to satisfy the stat gods or even some fans. But you can’t deny that they would be improvements nonetheless (IF it’s indeed true that improvements were made).

    I have long since maintained that I will have no other favorite plyr anymore. That Votto would be the last one. So, Me wanting to hang onto Scooter has everything to do with his elite level offense, and nothing else. Would hate to lose his offense. Yes, I do believe that Senzel will be good offensively (maybe even elite). But, I so wish Scooter or Senzel could be moved to LF. Also, I don’t want to hear from anybody who might say that SG’s offense is not exactly elite, ok! The guy’s got an OPS over .900 (I think and if it isn’t then it’s definitely in the .800’s which is very good) and is batting well over .300. What more can ya ask for, really!

    • Mike C

      Amen…. It’s as if most that fall in the “trade Scooter at all cost” crowd are constantly making their case against the large group of low IQ Reds’ fans. Don’t get me wrong, that group is all for Scooter, because he produces, hustles, he’s local, smiles a lot, etc. None of those are bad things, but they make a guy likable. All of those factors play well, especially in Cincinnati.

      The “trade while his value is high” approach fails to take into consideration that the market demand is very low for second basemen. Yes, he has more value now with team control for another year, but I look up and down the rosters of this year’s contenders and I don’t see a huge need for a second baseman. I would like to see someone put on their GM hat and make a proposed deal that makes sense for both clubs. I’m not saying that it isn’t out there, but the options appear to be limited.

      • Streamer88

        The Dodgers have far more of a logjam of talent than we’ll ever have, and they traded FOR another infield talent in Manny Machado.

        Now, they’re trying to win the WS, I get it, but it helps frame what the Reds really have.

        They have depth, not a log jam.

  5. bmblue

    I have a really bad feeling the reds are going to trade Senzel for pitching and go with the lineup they have now because they are incapable of moving on from players they already have on their team. They either resign them, or hold on to them for so long, well beyond peak value, to the point where they are forced to get rid of them.

    • roger garrett

      Scooter won’t be the reason we lose 90 games this year but the money he will make with us next year and beyond could be used to acquire a good starter.Add that to what you save by letting Billy leave and your up around 15 mil next year alone.I like them both and will live with it when both are here next year but its the wrong decision.Just used Billy as an example because of money owed next year.Losing is losing if you don’t make the playoffs and we aren’t there yet.

  6. Moses

    Weird shirts & weird “science”, Wesley!

  7. Jeffery Stroupe

    I like Scooter, but as far as hating to see him go? Uh no, not that type of player to me. December 16 1976 , now that was something to get upset about. Shame on you Bob.

    • Jeff Reed

      Yes. a Red’s memory hard to forget. Letting Mr. RBI go to the Expos after the WS sweep of the Yankees.

  8. Jeff Reed

    It is a downer that nothing has been done after all the trading possibilities were laid out early in the month, and many other teams have made moves to improve themselves. It seems to be a recent Red’s front office routine this time of year. Four days to go.

  9. big5ed

    I think the consensus is that, other than Harvey, the Reds don’t need to make any trade deadline deals, because they can make as good or better deals in the off-season involving the same assets. They could trade Iglesias (or a couple of others) at the deadline, if they get overwhelmed, but there is no pressure or need to do so. Or somebody could offer a young prospect for Adam Duvall.

    By November, for example, they will have more information on the injuries and rehab of Senzel and Winker, more clarity on Gennett’s shoulder, a better read on the abilities of Dilson Herrera and Phillip Ervin, and know how far away Jose Siri are Taylor Trammell are. And that is just for the hitters.

    I like their patience.

    • Hanawi

      Why would their guys be as valuable in winter than now? Part of the appeal of most of their assets is that they are not pure rentals. Teams would pay more for 1 1/2 years of Scooter than 1 year or 2 1/2 years of Iglesias than 2 years. Every day after the deadline their value goes down. And that’s not even considering the fact that they may get hurt or slump badly in the 2nd half.

      • big5ed

        What team in the hunt really needs a left-handed hitting second baseman? The contending teams are the only trade partners now, whereas in the off-season two-thirds of the teams will be shopping around. Plus, they have time to put together multi-player deals in the off-season, which they can’t do now. AND, the Reds may want to keep Iglesias, depending on what they can do in the off-season. Why ditch a very good contract now, when you may want that contract next year?

        And you have to understand that Scooter just isn’t that valuable. He can’t field; he cant throw (at least until the off-season when he heals); he cant’ run very fast; and his advanced metrics suggest his numbers will fall off. They aren’t getting anybody’s top 5 or even top 10 prospect for him.

        I’ve said that the Astros would be a good fit, now, for a package of Iglesias and Hamilton. But if they don’t offer enough, then just wait. Two years of Iglesias is worth plenty, including to the Reds.

  10. big5ed

    Agreed. Aaron Judge is not even arbitration eligible yet, and the Jankees would have to pay Bryce Harper $25+ million. “Not gonna do it; wouldn’t be prudent.”

    Harper is actually 6 months younger than Judge. Harper is way overrated, if you ask me. Aside from hitting about .220 all year, and having had a bad season two years before, his foot speed on Baseball Savant is between that of Adam Duvall and Scooter. In its “outs above average” ratings, Harper ranks at #214 of 225 guys, pretty much tied at -6 with Jesse Winker and Kyle Schwarber. (Nick Castellanos of the Tigers is the worst, which he showed in the series here: Billy Hamilton is second, but tied at +14 with Ender Inciarte.) Harper can’t hit, can’t run, and can’t field. I don’t get why anybody would give him a big contract. His OPS is only .018 higher than Scott Schebler’s and .002 higher than Jesse Winker’s.

    • BigRedMike

      Harper is still under 26 and put up a 9 WAR season in his career and 5 last year.

      He did hit .319 last year

      • big5ed

        Yes, but in only 111 games. In 2014, he had an OPS of .768, and in 2016, it was .814.

        Good Bryce is very good, but whoever signs him for a big contract is taking an enormous risk. His swing is too complicated and violent for my taste; he’s either gonna get injured or be prone to slumps with that swing, if not both.

  11. BigRedMike

    It does not matter too much if the Reds do not get better pitching and it is possible that there will be activity in the off season.

    But, if the plan is to go forward with 4 players that will decline/not improve/level off in Votto, Gennett, Duvall, and Hamilton

    One great improving player in Suarez

    One player that is doesn’t matter that much since the production will never be elite or awful in Peraza

    Two players that show promise maybe, but, are injured and not reliable in Schebler and Winker

    Catcher is fine

    Lot of question marks beyond the Starting Ptiching

  12. roger garrett

    There were these same issues before the season began and the Reds chose not to do anything.You are exactly right when you say they still have lots of question marks.Hopefully they will try and fix what they know won’t work going forward.

  13. Andy

    Reds want to compete for playoffs in 2019, and expect this to open a window. The impact on 2019 Reds must be considered in addition to next few years after that.

    1) Scooter should be > Senzel for 2019. The Reds must improve roster in 2019 if they want to push into contention, they can’t afford to let strengths slide into mediocrity. I would expect mediocrity for Senzel’s rookie season. I admit near certainty Senzel exceeds value of Gennett in 2020-2025, but I don’t think the difference is great until 2022. So I’m thinking a 4 year Gennett contract (covering 2019-2022), vs starting Senzel at 2B, gives Reds improvement in 2019, break-even 2020-2021, and reduced value in 2022. Senzel would still be under control for 2023, 2024, and possibly 2025. Clearly Senzel has lots of future value, but I think in the next 4 years, he will not improve the Reds current production at 2B slot.

    2)To improve Reds record in 2019, they will frankly need 2 new SP. There is nobody in Reds organization I would trust to start game 1 of 2019 playoffs. The pitcher the Reds must acquire needs to be substantially better than all current options. As no in-house options (before Hunter Greene in 2020-2021?) qualify, the Reds need to spend $$$$$ or prospects. I expect the Reds to do some free-agent shopping, but they do not and will not have the dollars for an ace. The free agent budget I expect from the Reds would possibly buy the 2nd pitcher they need (~$50M), and a Scooter extension (~$45M). I think to get the SP1 they really need on FA market, the Reds would need to spend ~$150M. The Reds are not doing this. They do have three prospects that, I think, could each alone headline a deal that would get the SP1.

    3)Taylor Trammel is looking great and would project to be a clear upgrade over every one of the current Reds MLB outfielders as early as 2020, so trading him robs Reds of near-term in-house upgrade. Hunter Greene is an ultimate lottery ticket, if the TV guy reading the numbers has called out 6 matching numbers and you only need 2 more. His floor is “arm blown out, never contributes to MLB” and his ceiling is “best pitcher in team history, face of Ohio sports now that Lebron left.” I’m sorry, I’m holding that ticket, there is just about nobody I’d trade Hunter for. In addition, the current rotation is a mess and Greene projects to be an improvement over every one of them. This leaves Senzel, currently blocked by Suarez forever and Gennett for 2019 (or longer with extension.) Strong internal replacement candidates include India and Long, and the drop-off from Trammel to next-best-outfielder is bigger.

    I’ll be disappointed if Reds trade Senzel, but I’d be even more frustrated if next year’s rotation was some combination of current players. A Scooter trade has next to zero chance of improving that. You could convince me that the Scooter money is better spent on pitcher, but I really believe the caliber of pitcher available for trade will be much better than the ones that fit in Reds FA budget.

    • Hanawi

      I would wholeheartedly disagree with point 1. I think Senzel could begin to provide more value than Scooter as soon as next year and almost certainly by 2020, so any players you can add in addition are surplus value to the club. The player you can get with the money used to extend Scooter, plus whatever prospects you can get from him, plus Senzel >>>>>>> Scooter for 2019 and add about ten more greater than signs for 2020 and beyond.

      • Andy

        I acknowledge that possibility, but I’m trying to make the 2019 club better than 2018. Scooter is providing strong WAR at 2B, so there’s not much room to improve. Even if Senzel comes up and has a 4WAR season in 2019, he hasn’t actually improved the club, he’s just maintaining 2B slot production. SP however, has huge improvement potential, with our current SP4/5 slots providing negative WAR; there is +5War upgrade potential with trade for an ace.

        All that said, I still believe that Scooter provides more 2019 value, He’s 28, the aging curve doesn’t hurt too much for 2 more years. I believe in elite Scooter!

    • REDLEGS64

      Well-thought post. Nice job.

      I think we fall in love with position players on RLN but Andy has it right – we can’t start 2019 with the same rotation. But the pitching is what takes a team to the next level – look what the infusions of Disco & Harvey have done for the 2018 team.

      I can see the Reds sticking with Scooter (because the return won’t deliver what the Reds need) – per Andy’s point. Instead, packaging a group of younger players for a mid-line, proven starter and adding a mid-line, FA starter in the winter will do more to help the team. I think they protect the trio of Senzel/Greene/Trammel but are willing to give up Herrera/Siri/Hamilton/Duvall/Romano/Reed/
      Mahle/Stephenson, etc if they can indeed swap quantity for a quality starter.

      Which teams need quantity? KC, Detroit, Toronto, NYM, Texas…?

      I tend to agree with the Reds stance so far, there’s not a need to hurry into any deals – with the exception of Harvey (and even that isn’t going to solve the pitching depth issues in 2019). If the right deal comes along, then listen – but until then, focus on finding the right manager for the future.

  14. Joel

    Mr. Jenkins, you’re a good writer, and I’ll always read your work. Don’t know if that’ll get you to 100,000, but keep it up. Second, you just graduated from college, you’re not at all old. Don’t even think it. Try again in about 20 years. Enjoy your youth for what it is.

    Third, I disagree in the need to trade Scooter now. I certainly agree that trading Scooter in return for some ray of hope for a future starting pitcher would be well worth it. But, I believe the Reds can lock him up next year via arbitration and still also trade him sometime between now and next July. Further, people are also screaming (it seems) about the “logjam” at 2nd base. To me, that “logjam” is more like wishful thinking. Surely one of Herrera, Dixon, Long, Senzel, Downs will become a starting infielder or outfielder for the Reds, and a couple of those guys will become a solid bench/utility player. But of those guys, one is out for the season with injury, two are essentially ready to get some MLB playing time and the rest are expected to be able to break in sometime between 2019 and 2021. And of the two who are ready for MLB playing, neither are playing well enough to beat Scooter for the job. And in addition to all that, we have some actual outfielders, like Trammell, and a potential ace or high in the rotation starter (Greene) who might be ready for the majors in 2020.

    Point is, there is some validity to being patient now. Next year, the Reds may be good enough to play .500 or above baseball, but I don’t know if they’re ready to contend yet, even if they trade Scooter for a future starting pitcher. But in 2020, given everything they have coming down the pike, they should be ready to make some headway and also have at least one good starting pitcher with a good bit of depth that can be great trade fodder to ship to a re-building team in exchange for additional good staring pitching.