Late last night Jon Morosi of MLB Network and Fox Sports reported that the Cincinnati Reds were interested in two different free agent starting pitchers. His first tweet noted that the team was interested in Mike Fiers. Less than twenty minutes later he indicated that they were interested in Anibal Sanchez.

In some ways, the two pitchers are similar. In 2018 they both posted better than average ERA’s. Mike Fiers had an ERA of 3.56 in 172.0 innings. Anibal Sanchez was even better, posting an ERA of 2.83 – but he only threw 136.2 innings. Both pitchers were stingy with walks, and had good strikeout-to-walk ratios. Another way that both are similar is that just one year prior, both did not pitch well. In 2017 they posted ERA’s of 5.22 (Fiers) and 6.41 (Sanchez).

Anibal Sanchez has had more than a few strong seasons in his career. Back in 2013 he led the American League in ERA and FIP while making 29 starts for the Detroit Tigers. From 2009-2014 he posted a 3.47 ERA, a 3.23 FIP, had a WHIP of 1.26, and he threw 981.0 innings. He also allowed just 73 home runs in that span. And then everything changed. From 2015-2017 his ERA was 5.67 and he allowed 85 home runs in 415.2 innings. His home run rate went from above-average to among the worst in the league. And then in 2018, it went back to being solid, and his ERA rebounded in a big, big way.

Mike Fiers hasn’t quite been as good as Anibal Sanchez has in his career. He’s been mostly a league average pitcher for his career – though it’s been a bit up-and-down, too. From 2011-2016 he threw 572.2 innings with a 3.87 ERA. That came with a strong walk and a strong strikeout rate. But then in 2017 his home run rate and walk rate both jumped way up and his ERA followed. In 2018 his ERA dropped, posting that 3.56 mark, but his home run rate remained quite hit. He gave up 32 home runs over 172.0 innings. He did mitigate the high home run rate some by lowering his walk rate to elite levels.

With the Reds targeting pitchers like Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Dallas Keuchel, Noah Syndergaard – these targets seem like a big step down. And it’s true. They are a big step down. But they are also expected to cost a whole lot less to acquire. The highest projected contract that we saw for Anibal Sanchez was a 2-year deal at $22M total. Other places thought he’d only get a 1-year deal and $7M or less. None of these places looked at a contract for Mike Fiers as he was non-tendered and wasn’t scheduled to be a free agent.

Of course, there’s also a reason that both of these pitchers aren’t looking at big deals, or big money. There’s a bunch of risk involved with them – even on shorter deals. If Anibal Sanchez watches his home run rate return to the 2015-2017 rate, things will get very ugly in Great American Ballpark. For Mike Fiers, the home run rate has always been high, and that alone is a big issue. But if that also comes along with the walk rate he showed in 2017, well, that’s going to work out very poorly.

The Cincinnati Reds needed to add multiple pitchers to their roster. They’ve aimed high. They’ve been rumored to have been interested in elite pitchers. And they’ve also been rumored to have been interested in more than a few non-elite pitchers. The Reds are simply looking at every possible option that’s out there to improve their roster.

If they bring in one of these two guys, that’s not likely to be the end of things and them calling it a day. They know that they need better pitching. And they have been targeting just that. And they’ll keep looking to do that as they know these two aren’t the types that will anchor the top of their rotation. As Steve Mancuso showed the other day, the Reds should have plenty of money to spare right now. Even if one of these signings happen, there will still be a good chunk of money remaining to keep trying to get the pitching.

64 Responses

  1. Colorado Red

    I just do not see either one fitting here.
    Getting Tanner takes care of the same spot.
    I would be concerned with the HR rate of both of them.

  2. Matt Hendley

    If i had to choose, and please note the qualifier, I would go with Sanchez. The HR rate for Fiers is a worry. Sanchez also seemed to figure himself out in alanta after his collapse in detroit.

  3. CI3J

    The Reds shouldn’t be looking at mediocre pitchers. They already have that in Tanner. What they need now is a bonafide top of the rotation pitcher to tie it all together. Neither Sanchez nor Fiers fit that bill.

    The way I see it, the rotation should stack up like so:

    1. Top-of-the-rotation pitcher yet to be acquired
    2. Castillo
    3. Disco
    4. Roark
    5. Mahle/Reed/Sal/whoever

    Heck, you know what? If the Reds are seriously looking at Sanchez/Fiers, why not just look at bringing Harvey back? But I seriously hope they aren’t looking at that, unless it’s in addition to the top of the rotation pitcher they still need to get.

    • Daytonian

      Yes. I like your rotation. Get a TOR guy. Then plug Mahle into #5, at least until he tires. I too would clearly take Harvey over Fiers and Sanchez. No need to the latter two at all.

  4. scotly50

    I watched Anibal pitch quite a bit last year. He absolutely owned the Nationals. It would be interesting to see his numbers withe the Nationals games excluded.

  5. Steve Mancuso

    More data to go along with what Doug already posted. Solid reasons to expect significant ERA regression for both pitchers.

    Mike Fiers is 33 and he pitched 325 innings the past two seasons. His career ground ball rate is 38.7% (league average is 43.2%). Fiers xFIP and SIERA the past two seasons don’t offer much reason to be optimistic. His 2018 ERA is unsustainable based on a .269 BABIP.

    2017 xFIP: 4.62, SIERA 4.52
    2018 xFIP: 4.51, SIERA 4.25

    Projections for Fiers’ 2019 ERA at FanGraphs (Steamer) and Baseball-Reference (Marcel) are 4.60 and 4.22.

    Anibal Sanchez will turn 35 before Opening Day. He has pitched 241 innings the past two seasons with a career ground ball rate of 43.3%. His xFIP and SIERA the past two seasons were better than Fiers’. Sanchez’ 2018 ERA is even more unreliable than Fiers due to a .255 BABIP.

    2017 xFIP: 4.40, SIERA 4.16
    2018 xFIP: 3.81, SIERA 3.85

    But Sanchez’s projections for 2019, largely due to age, aren’t any better than Fiers: 4.49 and 4.36

    For a short refresher/explainer of FIP, xFIP and SIERA, check out this post:

    • Doug Gray

      I’m intrigued by Sanchez. Not so much Fiers.

      Sanchez cut down on the 4 seamer and 2 seamer, started throwing a cutter a lot, and the home runs went away. If you think that’s the reason why his home run rate came back to Earth rather than why it looked like he was pitching in space the last few years, I can get behind a short, cheap deal.

      With Fiers, there’s not much reason to believe he’s got a chance to be good.

      • Steve Mancuso

        It’s likely a number of factors explained Sanchez being so much better in 2018 than 2017/2016. It looks like pitch mix was one of them. But there were other factors as well, namely BABIP fortune (the Braves’ defense). It could be true that both (1) Sanchez will be better than 2016/2017 because of his pitch mix, and (2) Sanchez won’t be better than league average or Reds in house options because of the other stuff, plus age, plus batters adapting to his cutter.

      • Doug Gray

        If his home run rate from last year is what we can expect, innings aside (I’m not sure that I see him as an innings eater), aside from Luis Castillo, I don’t think anyone else should be expected to match him. Doesn’t walk guys. Misses more bats than everyone should be expected to.

        Don’t expect a 2.83 ERA again. But 3.50-3.75? If the home run rate is where it was last year? I think that’s a reasonable projection. And I wouldn’t put that projection on any internal guy aside from Castillo.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Season-to-season HR/FB aren’t reliable from year to year. Sanchez cut his HR down in part because he’s increased his ground ball rate. There’s a good chance he can repeat that part of it. But any pitcher’s HR/FB is based on such a small sample size that it’s not predictive. That’s not to say pitchers can’t have skill in limiting HR/FR, but not much. That said, Sanchez’s HR/FB in 2018 was 11.2 which is about league norm.

  6. Streamer88

    These pitchers are depth options that the reds simply do not have the luxury of obtaining. They are ideal for larger payroll clubs to insulate from injury.

    The Reds need WAR efficiency from the #1 slot. The person who gets 35 starts as the de facto ace needs to do the most with it (obvi) but even if it’s inefficient money or prospect wise.

    What I mean is – if our top 5 starters are going to produce 14 WAR this year it’s crucial for the spread to be : 7war, 3, 3, 1, 0 and not 3.8, 3.7, 2.5, 2.5, 2.5.

    The reason for this is mid market teams can’t stock the cupboard with 2 WAR backups just sitting around (Dodgers, nationals, Red Sox, eg). Thus we need to “ride or die” with a legit 1. If he’s healthy and on point, we’re a WC team. (And also a tough out because we have a true 1). If he’s hurt, well, if a mid markets Ace is hurt does it really matter? We’re not likely to have the resources to replace him.

    Get Kluber. Does not matter the cost. We need an Ace who has 7WAR potential. That’s my take.

    • Streamer88

      My math is off up there. Funny enough, I’d still rather have rotation 1 even though it generates 1 less WAR.

    • greenmtred

      It would be nice to have a pitcher of Kluber’s stature, but I differ with you: It does matter the cost. The Reds are not strong in any general area, and further weakening the lineup–for now or 2020–would more than undo whatever Kluber could do for the team. They’d lose 3-2 when he pitched, instead of losing 6-2 otherwise. The hitting is okay, but not much more than that.The defense is a serious weakness. The rest of the pitching staff is more question than answer. One ace, if we gave up nothing to get him, might make us competitive, but Kluber would cost a lot.

      • Streamer88

        It’s a fair point. Total team success is all that matters. I guess my point is I’d rather sign one pitcher for $30 million per year who produces 7 WAR than twofold $15 million per year who produce 3.5. See what I mean? The former produces more “WAR per start” from the #1 slot, at the expense of “WAR per start” from slots 3-4.

        Same total wins, same total resources spent. Same bad defense. Everything else the same. Move one variable and see whats happens. I’d take the Ace in that scenario.

      • Matt Hendley

        Might be a moot point as clearing alonso off the books has suddenly made CLE more interested in retaining both.

      • greenmtred

        Streamer88’s comment, that is. And why am I suddenly having to fill in my name and email address ever time?

  7. James H.

    As a fan, I would rather stomach what the Reds have versus watch them settle for the mediocre and pay money for it. If they sign someone who is similar to.what they have, they’re wasting starter development time. Or, they may be willing to move some of last year’s starters to the bullpen, hire new starters as a stop-gap with the intent to flip and keep improving versus all at once, thereby prepping a reconfigured bullpen for a 2020 run.

  8. Hotto4Votto

    2019 Steamer projections for Sanchez – 4.49, Fiers – 4.68 vs.
    2019 Steamer projections for Disco – 4.31, Mahle – 4.72, Reed – 4.34, Lorenzen – 4.80

    When we’re talking about a pitcher that will fill the #4 or #5 spot in the rotation I don’t really see how either of these guys will be much of an improvement over what we have in-house for those spots. We all talked a lot about Derek Johnson’s effect on the Milwaukee rotation when the Reds brought him onto the staff, why not just wait and see how he could help our young pitchers out?

    When considering the salary difference between Fiers/Sanchez vs. what any of our guys would make and it would appear that the Reds would be spending money for (at-best) incremental improvements. That money could be better spent elsewhere in my opinion.

    • CFD3000

      Add my name to the “agree” list. I think Romano and Stephenson have missed their window (with the Reds anyway) but I think Mahle will only get better, I love the improvements we saw from Reed last year, and Lorenzen has a lot of upside. The Reds need to be targeting #1 and #2 starters now that Roark, Castillo and DeSclafani are set for 2019 – the back end of the rotation is already fine.

      • greenmtred

        I wonder, particularly with Stephenson, whether a new pitching coach might help him turn the corner. With reliable control, he’d be well on his way to being a valuable starter.

    • Swayne1

      I have no problem signing Sanchez to a short term deal. If 2015-2018 taught us anything, it’s that you can never have enough league-average starting pitching. Assuming the Reds sign Sanchez, that frees them up to include one or more of Mahle/Stephenson/Romano/Reed in a deal for a TOR starter. If the Reds sign Sanchez and that is the last move they make, we all agree that would be a problem.

  9. jgorrell.tcp

    Don’t we have enough mediocre pitching already on cheap deals that we don’t need to waste money or more of it?

  10. scottya

    I’m getting mixed messages from the Reds at this point, is the FO simply pursuing “improving over last year” or are they being bold and pursuing moves that are big steps forward toward being a playoff team?

    The rumor of Fiers and Sanchez fits into a too afraid to make a mistake mentality. We simply don’t need anymore #5 starters (Reed, Mahle, Sims, Romano, Lorenzen, Stephenson). This neither helps in 19′ and definitely doesn’t help in 20 and forward. Although, there seems to be a chance that Sanchez has figured something out and has become a solid #3, there are lots of reasons to doubt this as Steve pointed out above.

    At the same time, rumors of Jackie Bradley Jr., Ender Inciarte, AJ Pollock, Dallas Keuchal, JT Realmuto, Alex Wood, etc are signs of a FO considering bold moves.

    It seems that the Reds plan is simply to be “opportunistic”, “look for ways to improve”, “stike at the right time”. And maybe to be fair that is the right move at this point of the rebuild?

    I think it’s time to be bold and fearless. Adding 4.40+ probable ERA pitchers isn’t either, especially since they’ve already added Roark.

  11. JERRY

    I would rather the team give a chance to Reed, Stephenson, Garret, Lorenzen or Romano than Fiers or Sanchez. Reds need an ace not a 5th starter. Spend the money we don’t need mediocre veterans. Roark fits the veteran spot. Either put up the money for an ace or trade for an ace. Spend some money relievers too. If the Reds sign any of these two I ain’t buying that “building a winning culture” BS. Quit being cheapskates even if it means overpaying a little!

  12. burtgummer

    I hope ownership is ready for another year of empty seats.Fans shouldn’t have to support a team when ownership doesn’t
    What is it about the Reds and terrible owners ?

  13. Mason Red

    To me this is a sign this franchise knows they are going to whiff on big name quality pitchers.

    • Ray

      I agree, so far it has been all talk. Why sign 2 more Homers !

  14. burtgummer

    I doubt that they’re really trying as long as ownership still gets their pockets lined they don’t care if the team wins or loses

  15. Charlie Waffles

    These rumors are, well, very depressing. We’ve gone from get THE pitching, to get horse crap pitching.
    First it’s Tanner Roark, and now this. This will bring the fans back.
    Reds front office, all talk and no action. And when there is some actual action, it is very underwhelming. There is no Action Jackson in the Reds front office. Just the rather pedestrian Adventures of Dick and Nick.
    What a crappy off-season so far after all the talk. Come on Reds, throw the fans a bone.

  16. David

    Look at Sanchez’s xwOBA for 2018. He gave up a .278 wOBA and had an xwOBA of .272. It wasn’t luck. I’d have no problem buying him at the projected price. Sure, it could be a one off season. Hence, the price.

  17. Eric the Red

    I don’t understand why folks think the Reds can sign or trade for “a true #1 starter.” (Well, trade for one without gutting the farm system.) There is nothing more valuable or rare in baseball than a high quality starting pitcher. If such a unicorn is available, teams closer to contention and/or with vastly superior resources are going to snatch him up. We need to either fix some of the homegrown guys, find a diamond in the rough in another organization and fix him, or try a whole different approach to pitching. We may have more payroll available than in the past, but other teams have even more.

    That said, neither of these guys is terribly exciting. But maybe Sanchez is fixed/fixable. Just don’t expect the organization to land “a real #1”, except in the draft.

  18. scottya

    This pitching staff yields a 3.96 era which should be about 680 runs given up. (pirates 4.00 era 693 runs last year, see mets, phillies, cards also).

    Starters: 4.11 era x typically .59% of innings
    Wood 3.54 (3.45+3.63) 18% .6372
    Castillo 3.99 (3.97+4.01) 18% .7182
    Desclafani 4.33 (4.35+4.31) 17% .7361
    Reed 4.35 (4.35+4.35) 16% .696
    Roark 4.36 (4.56+4.15) 15% .654

    Bullpen: 3.75 ERA x typically .41% of innings
    Iglesias 3.40 (3.66+3.13)
    C. Green 3.26 (3.34+3.17)
    J Soria 3.71 (3.58+3.84)
    M Lorenzen 3.72 (*.**+3.72)
    J Hughes 3.61 (4.12+3.09)
    A Garrett 4.34 (3.92+4.76)
    D Hernandez 3.85(4.26+3.43)
    M Bowman 4.08(3.86+4.29)

    4.11 era X.59 + 3.75 X.41 = 3.96 era

    3.96 staff era (Fangraphs+Bref projections)

    After doing this I’m dialing back my criticism of the Reds moves so far and of the possibility of adding Sanchez. I’m not for Fiers as his GB% + peripherals don’t fit GABP IMO. This assumes we add some big time+ to the bullpen.

  19. Jeff reed

    Sanchez and Fiers are both well into their thirties. Is the FO returning to 2015 with Marquis and Gregg types to fix the starting pitching? The Reds have a good farm system and these guys are basically prospects so package a few for a trade or go the monetary way to get an elite starting pitcher. Enough of these also-rans. The Reds need a jolt to get out of last place and around .500 in 2019.

  20. Shchi Cossack

    Last season, I believe there were just 2 teams that exceeded the soft salary cap, as perennial big spenders opted to reset their salary cap overages to avoid stiffer penalties. In particular, the NYY & LAD avoided their routine, lavish overspending ways for FA. This resulted in an implosion of the FA market, causing notable FA’s expecting a big payday to scramble for contracts as December rolled into January and February. No one really knew how the FA market would react this off season, especially with Harper and Machado vying for super contracts.

    I think the anticipations expressed by Reds management and several organizations were reasonable under those conditions. Then $140MM for Corbin, $68MM for Eovaldi, $50MM for Cutch and $30MM for Lance Lynn happened, and the market reset expectations. With reset expectations, Keuchel and Kimbrel are demanding in excess of $100MM and Pollack is demanding in excess of $80MM. The Reds are digging out of 5 seasons of gross mismanagement and incompetence by WJ and BC. Now suddenly the expectations for a sudden, dramatic turnaround of fortunes with the Reds Phoenix rising from the ashes has become an iron clad demand. The Reds could make another 3-year run of success by over spending for FA and gutting the farm system, but in 3 years the Reds would be back to bottom feeders, scrounging for draft picks.

    Richard Fitch provided a nice expose on the Optimist vs. Pessimist: A Winter Meetings Primer. The optimist/pessimist banter has been going on in the Old Cossack’s noggin since Bell was hired, followed by Johnson and Ward, followed by the jettisoning of Hamilton’s contract, then compounded by the rumors surrounding the winter meetings. The optimist in the Old Cossack may be desperately hanging on to the last remnant of a thread of hope that the Reds have reached bottom and turned the corner into the modern age of baseball ops. Nothing the Reds have done during this off season has even the slightest stench of WJ and BC involvement. The activity has been brisk and diverse. The moves and contemplated moves have been purposeful, intelligent and focused.

    Throwing bales of cash at the problem(s) will not solve the Reds problem(s). Gutting a near elite farm system for a dramatic splash will not solve the Reds problem(s). Those are temporary fixes representative of a junkie undergoing withdrawal. The solution is a real lifestyle change or in this instance finding ways to take advantage of market inefficiencies and seeking value to get the Reds back on track. It could happen as soon as the 2019 season if the Reds Baseball Ops can find the right opportunities or it may take a few years to right the ship after WJ and BC gutted the organization after a brief 3-year run using talent prepped for them by the previous regime.

    I applaud the acquisition of Roark as an intelligent and savvy move by a Baseball Ops organization headed by DW, NK and David Bell. I was (and still am) very excited about the possibility of a significant trade between the Reds and LAD, centered around a significant salary cap reduction for the LAD, involving Alex Wood, Puig or Kemp and Bailey, with a kick in of a secondary prospect or 2 from the Reds (I recall Vladimir Gutierrez mentioned as a possibility). The approach of seeking value in one-year contracts for the 2019 season could represent a market inefficiency for the Reds to exploit. Those contracts (including Scooter, Hernandez and Hughes) can be traded at the 2019 trade deadline if the Reds are out of playoff contention, held for a qualifying offer in some cases if the Reds are in playoff contention, and possibly provide the impetus to that one-year turnaround we would all want to envision.

    The addition of Wood and Roark to the starting rotation could likely solidify the starting rotation in 2019 even if not making it elite with a certified staff ace. Puig or Kemp could put up huge, monster numbers playing in GABP. The Reds could focus on completing an elite bullpen. Senzel’s bat would replace Hamilton’s bat in the starting lineup. Winker would be a fulltime starter in LF with a season of experience facing MLB pitching and a fully healthy shoulder for the 1st time in several years. Schebler will be a 4th OF and big bat off the bench. The offense would be upgraded significantly. The pitching would be upgraded significantly. Most importantly, the farm system remains intact with those prospects (Greene, Santillan, Trammell, India, Stephenson, et. al.) one year closer to making an impact at the MLB level, possibly as soon as the 2020 season. If WJ and BC are actually (and finally) out of the Baseball Ops business for the Reds, then I think we need to allow the current Baseball Ops organization to opportunity to do it right this time.

    • Reaganspad

      Well done you old Cossack you. I too am thinking there is great value to be had from the Dodgers. Nobody has thought there is any value in homers contract. Trading him for Wood is a steal. And not costing us draft picks. I like the 2019 team this suggests.

      I really like the idea of having Greene and Santillan arrive in the next few years along with Trammell and Siri.

      And it is not like we can’t spend $35 million next year when all these contracts come off the 2019 books. I like the idea that our new pitching coach gets a year with all these kids. If he does with Stephenson or Garrett or Reed what he did with the Brewers, we might be glad we didn’t spend $100 mil on one guy.

      If he does, we buy that pitcher next year for that price. Or resign our own free agent Alex Wood to a long term deal in 2020.

      I am really curious to see how they get more out of Lorenzen. The guy needs another 100 abs

    • old-school

      This is a post in and of itself and I agree.
      The Reds simply don’t know what they have in too many areas. They also need to purge the Homer contract and Gennett contract so that 2020 is an open slate.

      Is Winker healthy and a top 5 on base guy in the NL for the next 5 years? Can Schebler sustain his health and power for an entire year and hit 25+ homeruns ?
      Can Desclafani get back to his 2016 second half and throw 165 innings and win 12 games and stay healthy? Is he an extension candidate?
      Can Cody Reed finally figure it out and build on his 2017 season?
      Does Tyler Mahle take 2 steps forward? What does Michael Lorenzen’s role become in 2019 with Bell and Johnson?
      These are hopeful questions where each player has demonstrated strong MLB performance for short to medium periods of time- Reed and Mahle being the shortest, but also the youngest. Its not simply throwing mud against the wall to see what sticks.

      Its not unreasonable that one of Disco/Mahle and Reed become a strong dependable starter.

      That doesn’t include Nick Senzel- an Uber prospect not seen since the Joey Votto and Jay Bruce debuts. Trammell could be in that same conversation of “super-prospect” if he tears up AA the first half 2019. I am excited to see all these players- not to mention the latest Reds anchor and star- Eugenio Suarez.

      Yes, add some pieces and spend some money, but break the window of 2020-23 open and let the light in. Keep the “super-prospects” of Senzel/Trammell as the Reds need more and younger positional anchors for the long haul.

      The NL East cant have 4 teams win 90 games and neither can the NL central. Some huge budget teams are going to be mediocre by July and the Reds could be right there ready to pounce headed into 2020.

    • Hotto4Votto

      You make a lot of great points, which is pretty typical of your well-thought out posts.

      Even with getting an “ace” I’m not sure the Reds are ready to truly in 2019. They just have too far of a climb out the cellar and too many good teams ahead of them in their division. But, 2019 can, and should, be a year that we see progress toward respectability and competitiveness.

      I think there’s a path to being improved while not selling off the future. As mentioned, a trade of Bailey (plus mid-level prospect(s)) to the Dodgers if it includes Alex Wood and Kemp/Puig makes a lot of sense. It helps us improve next season but also all that money still comes off in 2020 to which the Reds can turn around and address needs when the Reds are actually closer to making a playoff push.

      Maybe signing a Sanchez on a reasonable two-year deal makes sense as well. Doug makes a convincing argument that Sanchez has figured some things out by not using his FB/slider much and “pitching backwards” with his cutter and change up.

      A rotation of Castillo, Wood, Roark, Sanchez, Disco (or any of our young guys) isn’t flashy but it’s much improved over the past few seasons. It would give another year for Mahle and Santillan to season and develop. Those guys could slot in the next season or with Wood/Roark/Dodger OF’er/Gennett coming off the books the Reds would have large pool of money to address any needs.

      Good stuff, and something to think on. I do have a lot more faith in DW and NK to actually make the moves they expect will help the Reds than I have in the past where it seemed there was way too much interference from BC and WJ.

    • LWBlogger2

      I’m not really on board with a Dodgers trade but it IS the kind of trade the Reds need to be looking at. It’s creative and relatively bold. I like Wood a lot. It’s having Puig or Kemp coming back that I’m not too fond of. I’m also not 100% sure from the Dodgers side what exactly it does for them. Bailey is a bigger payroll hit in 2019 than Kemp and Kemp’s contract is off the books in 2019. Puig makes even less sense to move from a Dodgers standpoint. Wood, like Puig is 3rd year arb eligible. If I’m the Dodgers, I’d insist the guy going to the Reds along with Wood would be Kemp. I’d also want a lot stronger prospect than Guerrero because I’m taking on Bailey’s 2019 hit and his buyout for 2020 and I’m giving the Reds a very nice pitcher for somewhere around $9-10-million.

      On another note, I don’t mind putting my name and email address in each time I comment but it was a little more efficient to simply sign-in via WordPress.

  21. Tom

    On the 25 man roster, the Reds have amassed a wealth of underdeveloped starting pitchers. Some are father ahead than others. Derek Johnson has a massive task before him. The Reds must convert these pitchers to legit starters. If they can, the money freed up in 2020 sets up for an all-in type investment. I think adding Roark was a smart move. I still think adding a Top of the Rotation talent makes sense.

    Disco 28
    Castillo 26
    Romano 25
    Mahle 24
    Reed 25
    Stephenson 25
    Finnegan 25

    Castillo came on the second half and has significant upside. Mahle had flashes of brilliance and then fell apart. Romano is a competitor that might be better suited to the bullpen. Can Finnegan find it? He’s quite young and, hopefully, and I hope he’s had a productive offseason. Same for Disco. And, finally, can Reed and Stephenson finally find their control? If so, maybe 2019 is a fun year.

    • CFD3000

      Tom I agree and disagree depending on which pitcher we’re discussing, which in a way makes your point. The Reds don’t need all of these guys to thrive, just a few. I expect nothing from Stephenson and Finnegan, and little from Romano, though perhaps he’ll be a pleasant bullpen surprise. But DeSclafani, Mahle, Lorenzen and especially Reed are all exciting possibilities. The first dependent mostly on health – which I’m guessing even Derek Johnson can’t control – and the latter three ripe for a big step,forward under his tutelage. If that happens then it’s going to be a fun year!

  22. Charlie Waffles

    The Reds have been sorting for 3 straight full seasons. And the gist is that they don’t know what they have yet? So another season of sorting is needed?
    Welcome to being a perennial cellar dweller of the NL Central. Only seeking improvement on the periphials and edges does very little to improve the Reds. They need to churn up the roster. No more sorting. This getting beyond ridiculous.

    • Jeff reed

      Let’s just have another ho-hum year in 2019 and the Reds will compete in 2020 with their new outstanding pitching coach. Sure.

      • greenmtred

        Clearly the Reds need better pitchers to go with the highly-touted pitching coach, but the hope is that one or more of the better pitchers might be found among the under-achievers currently on the team. Might happen, might not. As an aside, I didn’t think that 2018 was a ho-hum year. 2018 made a ho-hum year look like the promised land.

      • Jeff reed

        Another last place finish in 2018 was not a ho-hum year? Of course another sorting year in 2019 should bring the fans back.

      • greenmtred

        Ho hum, to me, means unexciting. The 2018 Reds were exciting, but not in a good way.

  23. Steve Mancuso

    I’m not convinced on Sanchez. He did start throwing his cutter and change-up in place of his sinker. Although, according to Statcast, he threw his 4-seam fastball MORE in 2018 than in 2017. But Sanchez clearly changed his pitch mix to good effect.

    The question is, how repeatable and how much is the value?

    Sanchez obviously improved his performance from his horrible, dreadful 2016 and 2017 seasons. But there’s a LOT of room between being better than 2016/2017 and his 2018 season. Sanchez could easily continue to be much better than his 2016 and 2017 seasons but still not bring value to the Reds compared to pitchers already in house.

    (1) He’ll be 35 on Opening Day, along with that comes the greater risk of injury. He’s missed a bunch of starts the past two seasons and hasn’t thrown 160 innings since 2013. Not to say Sanchez is injury-prone. His DL record is pretty normal. But he’s also not injury avoidant, and with age comes greater risk.

    (2) He benefitted in 2018 from a .255 BABIP, which is 45 points below his career average and league average. Pitchers can’t count on sustaining a BABIP that low. Adjusting for that adds .8 runs to his 2018 ERA. He still improved given that, but not nearly as much.

    (3) League hitters can adjust to a new pitch mix.

    (4) The people who do projections for a living put Sanchez at 4.49 (Steamer/FanGraphs) and 4.36 (Marcel/Baseball-Reference). Those number are above league average.

    You can always say “if the price is right …” Of course. But what specifics? I wouldn’t give Sanchez a 2-year deal. And I wouldn’t pay much for him. I don’t see him as likely better than in-house options.

    • CFD3000

      Agree Steve. At this point it’s #1 or #2 level starters only, otherwise don’t waste the money. And that needs to happen without burning any of the top five prospects. So maybe that’s a creative trade with LA, or maybe it’s Keuchel or another free agent arm. Maybe the most positive thing I can say about the Reds right now is that for the first time in years I have at least moderate confidence that the front office understands this calculus too.

    • Hotto4Votto

      Good point on the BABIP. There are always so many sides to consider when considering the factors that go into season results. That sort of average does not seem sustainable at all.

      In general, as noted above, I’d like to see the Reds go with their guys and see what DJ can get out of them. It’s far more cost-effective and likely comes with similar production. At the same time I’m not entirely against bringing Sanchez in at the right price because I do believe he’d improve the rotation somewhat. And to be honest, I’m having a hard time counting on Disco to pitch a full season at this point, so if anything bringing in a Sanchez type pitcher provides good insurance for the inevitable injuries throughout the course of the year.

      The most important thing to me is that they don’t bring in a guy like Sanchez, who may be a small improvement, instead going for a someone who would really improve the club moving forward. If they could get a guy like Pollock or trade for Kluber with the money I’d rather it be spent there. Yet, as Cossack notes, it isn’t imperative that we find that guy this year. So many factors to consider, it’ll be interesting to see where the Reds end up by January.

    • BK

      So wouldn’t a solution to the issues Steve is raising be to sign him to an incentive laden contract with a vesting option based on innings pitched? If he produces, he gets paid. If he flops, he gets cut. For the record, I prefer a Bailey-centered salary swap with the Dodgers, but I do think there is a way to get this done and address the risk.

    • LWBlogger2

      I agree and I really don’t think Fiers in a good option at all. I hate to bring his name up because I don’t really want the Reds to sign him but honestly, bringing back Harvey would make more sense than Sanchez. He’s younger and even though he presents a rather significant injury risk, his 2019 showed some promise of good health. I don’t think he’s much more of an injury risk than a 35-year old Sanchez.

      I think the Reds really should try to trade for an ace or sign Dallas but if the cost is too high, I’d rather see them just bring back Harvey than go with a Sanchez or Fiers.

  24. Mark Elliott

    Did I miss something here? Was it #GetTheMediocrePitching?

    • Matt Hendley

      I am confident the reds are going after Kutchel. If he doesnt make it to Cincinnati, Chris Sale is a free agent next year. Incidentally so is homer bailey.

      • LWBlogger2

        Chris Sale… Now that’s an ace. That is #GettingThePitching and that may be better served for 2020.

  25. Mark Moore

    I just saw the Mets signed Ramos, so I guess that means we’re still standing in the Realmuto sweepstakes. Only makes sense if we get a top-tier SP (as many have said).

    BTW – How does one login or create a login to this site? My WordPress ID which used to work doesn’t seem to work anymore?

    • Doug Gray

      A part of the problem may be that the site used to be hosted on, and it’s no longer hosted there.

      For now we’re hoping to keep the comments simply into a “fill out the name and email address boxes” situation instead of allowing people to create accounts for the site.

      • Mark Moore

        Thanks, Doug. It actually carried over my WP image, so something is working correctly.

      • Doug Gray

        The site uses gravatar for commenting avatars. So as long as you have an account there (which wordpress doubles as), then when you put in the email address for that account when leaving a comment, it will use the avatar on file there (WP/Gravatar).

      • LWBlogger2

        Thanks for clarifying what’s going on Doug.

  26. matt hendley

    It wont be Matt Harvey Comming back to Cinci, 1 Year with Angels….

    • Matt Hendley

      More details….11mil with 3 in incentives, good deal for Matt. Will be a rotation lock in LA