Dennis Lin, the San Diego Padres reporter for The Athletic, is reporting that there have been talks between the teams that would be built around Corey Kluber coming to Cincinnati.

As was written yesterday, the Padres have been interested in Nick Senzel, and even Eugenio Suarez this offseason. They need a third baseman and the Reds seemingly have two of the better options around.

Now, it needs to be noted that all that Lin is reporting that Corey Kluber is really the only name he’s hearing. While he uses Nick Senzel’s name, he’s simply saying that’s the guy the Padres would like in their end of the deal. So much so that he notes the Reds don’t want to move him.

The Reds have been linked with the Indians and Corey Kluber most of the offseason. It seems that if a deal were to happen involving the two straight up, it would have by now. That does mean that it’s possible a third team would need to be involved.

The Padres have one of the best farm systems in baseball. But their top prospect, Fernando Tatis Jr., is much like Nick Senzel. He’s a prospect that the Padres probably aren’t trading in a deal. They, like Cincinnati, have tons of depth in their system beyond the top guy, though. It’s possible that they have players the Indians are interested in that the Reds don’t.

All offseason the Reds have been linked to just about any quality pitcher that has hit the market. The team is still reportedly interested in Sonny Gray, according to Jon Heyman.

It’s clear that Cincinnati is still trying to get the pitching. If the fit simply isn’t there, they’ll look elsewhere. Just like they have been doing since the offseason began. The team has already added 40% of their starting rotation for 2019. And they continue to say that they aren’t done trying to add talent. Spring training begins in a month. It’s going to be an interesting ride between now and then.

113 Responses

  1. Matthew Hendley

    Trading Suarez a year after signing a team friendly deal that effectively gave away his peak years would guarantee that no extension would ever happen in Cincinnati for probably a decade without a No Trade Clause.
    Nick Senzel will be playing for the Reds this year, Not their affiliates, not the bats (minus the 2 weeks to “work on the Defense”)
    I really think that Cleveland has overplayed their hand with Kluber. He’s 33, his best days are behind him and he is expensive. CLE wants the moon for this guy and is not willing to pay down his contract. In addition, If someone does trade for him, and it does go south, and the options are declined we would have effectively given up 7 years of Senzel for a year or 2 of a busted bill of goods. Adding the Padres doesn’t make sense because they also have players that they would like to move, including the 15 or so people that play outfield for that team ( yes that is a Joke).
    I think this is another rumor, by an increasingly agitated baseball fanbase waiting on Brice and Manny to make up their minds.

    • Matt

      I think it is a combination of both. Senzel does not have a position. India makes Senzel somewhat expendable. Knock off the garbage about Kluber being busted stuff. 2 time cy young winner in his prime. On a cheap contract for that WAR. If the Reds have Kluber, they will win the central.

      • matthew hendley

        Amazing, everything you said was wrong

      • Joe

        I think saying Kluber is in his prime is, objectively, incorrect. It varies player to player but, generally, a player’s prime years are ~24 to 31.

        One of the big complaints about the structure of MLB contracts right now is the fact that the team that controls a player basically devours all of their prime years, making free agency nothing but 30+ year olds who were not re-signed by their original team. Machado and Harper, players who were so good they began their careers at age 19, are outliers in the system. Most players begin their career around 23 or 24, making their age 29 or 30 season the first season they are eligible for free agency.

        But, back to the original point, Kluber is on the back end of his career and trading one of the best prospects in baseball for up to 3 years of a declining career is just risky. It may end up being worth it, especially if they win the central, like you said. But it’s risky.

        And India is not close to the prospect that Senzel is.

      • greenmtred

        Kluber is great, no question. But he’s 33 and would really only make sense if the Reds were serious contenders lacking one good starter. You seem to feel that they are, but I disagree. The Reds have more than one question to answer (correctly) before they will seriously challenge for the WS.

      • Jeff Gangloff

        The fans and the organization have been “patient” **air quotes** for 5 years now. Don’t get too aggressive and throw everything we’ve built down the drain. I’m happy with the moves the Reds have made this off season and am pretty content going into 2019 as is. The Reds will be more competitive in 2019 and the organization still has the cupboard completely stocked, good talent on the every day roster, and a butt load of cash to spend going into 2020 to continue to get the pitching. That should make Reds fans excited.

        Now is not the time to leverage the rebuild. Let’s continue to see how players progress this year and then see if its worth adding a guy like Kluber to put this team over the top.

      • LWBlogger2

        I agree with Jeff and Greenmtred here. Everything they said in response to you is 100% correct in my opinion.

  2. Eddiek957

    I’d kind of like to see what our pitching coach can get out of younger pitchers. I wonder if the front office thinks India makes nick worth trading for an older ace

  3. WVRedlegs

    Just not Senzel. Can’t make much of this without knowing other names involved.
    This kind of talk is the by-product of not trading Scooter earlier. Holding on to a player too long again.
    Now India is the same age as SD’s Tatis. SD could pair those two for the left side of their future INF. They might be able to advance India quickly in 1 or 1 1/2 years. It might take another top 10 prospect to go with India.

  4. CI3J

    Giving up Senzel for Kluber is a really, really, REALLY bad idea. You simply don’t trade one of the top prospects in all of baseball for a 33 year old pitcher who admittedly has put up some nice seasons recently. But the fundamental rule of smart valuation in baseball is not to pay for past production, but future projection. It’s fairly well documented that players in or approaching their mid-30’s can suddenly and dramatically fall off a cliff, and Kluber is very likely no different. He might be good this year. He might be good next year. But I would be shocked if he’s anything more than a mid-to-bottom of the rotation starter in 3 years.

    Meanwhile, Senzel is 4 years away from his prime, and will almost certainly at bare minimum be a star player, if not an All-Star. Would you trade 2-3 years of Ace-level production for potentially 10 years of cheap, controllable offensive output? I know I wouldn’t.

    If the Reds trade Seznel for anyone, it has to be Bauer. About to turn 28, right in his prime years, and just had a breakout season. Bauer/Wood/Castillo would give the Reds a 1-2-3 punch like they haven’t had since the years of Cueto/Latos/Homer. Roark and Mahle shouldbe able to replicate Arroyo and Leake’s output, and hey hey, suddenly you have the 2012 Reds, 2.0, and with a young, controllable top of the rotation for at least the next 4-5 years (assuming all 3 could be locked up to longer term deals).

    It would be hard to part with Senzel, but I’d do it for Bauer. I would not, under any circumstances, move him for a 33 year old pitcher, even if that pitcher is Kluber. If the Reds want another pitcher that is age 30+, just sign Keuchel and keep Senzel, either for a future trade, or for his actual production on the team.

    • matthew Hendley

      Bauer I could live with. I have a feeling he Is off the table at this point though. And I would try a workaround that didn’t involve senzel.

      • CI3J

        I just think Kluber is not worth trading for, full stop, given the asking price. If it takes one of Senzel, Greene, India, Trammel, or Siri to get him, it’s not worth it.

      • Kettering Reds Fan

        Bauer you are unlikely to get unless you throw in a full farm system.

        Let’s be rational here. How old is Kluber, how old is Bauer? What are their potential trajectories? And their current compensation? And, most importantly, what does Cleveland have i their own pipeline?

        For the Indians, the whole point of trading Kluber is to keep Bauer for the long term.

        On our side, even though I wouldn’t mind having an ace, is Kluber the ace we want? I’m still not convinced on that score, If he hadn’t signed with the Giants (granted a short-term deal), I could have lived quite well with signing Holland. (This is based on the assumption that we will not be successful on Kuchel, but that’s another separate discussion). The price was right, the age was right, the performance fit the “good enough” category for a starter/long-relief role. The Reds have been competitive before without an uber-starter and what has been done can be aspired to again..

    • Sesdog

      You can’t get “10 years” out of Senzel. Get real. Kluber is an ACE. Trade Senzel all day straight up for Kluber. Senzel is a wish and a prayer. Trade Senzel and more for Kluber. Thinking like you just stated is why the Reds continue to perform below 500.

      • PhP

        Trading away top prospects for aging players with 3 years of control is exactly how to ruin a franchise. Every year people clamor to trade away top guys for players with little control left. Guess what, after a couple years of doing that, there isnt anyone left to trade.

      • doofus

        If Senzel is just a “wish and a prayer,” then why would Cleveland give up Kluber (an Ace) for him?

    • JoshG

      but Bauer (or Keuchel) isn’t as good as Kluber and pretty sure he is only controlled for 2 years, not sure why you would assume wood or Bauer would be willing to do longer deals

      Kluber is a legitimate ace, and some of the best pitchers in baseball are over 34 years old

      I’m starting to worry about stuff starting to pop up on senzel (vertigo, finger, elbow)

      • CI3J

        but Bauer (or Keuchel) isn’t as good as Kluber

        Yes, right now, at this very moment, Kluber is probably a better pitcher. Would you still be able to say that next year when Kluber is 34? How about when he’s 35 in 2 years?

        That was the point of my post. Kluber is not worth giving up one of the best prospects in the game for when he could fall off a cliff at any moment. Declines in the 30’s tend to be sudden and dramatic, and for a team like the Reds, they simply can’t afford to break the bank (either money or prospect-wise) for a player who may only have a year or two of elite production left.

      • JoshG

        I am fairly confident yes, I’d rather have Kluber in 3-5 years even. aces don’t fade that fast … Grienke, lester, Verlander, hamels,

    • Colorado Red

      Bauer has only two years of control.
      I pass.

      • Kettering Reds Fan

        True..but at his current price/performance, the Reds have enough ammunition to make a credible extension bid – one that would not necessarily involve paying for the downside of the trajectory. Think mutual buyout clauses at a set future date. With a Kluber/Kuechel contract on the manifest, that ammunition has already been expended.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Bauer has come out and said he’s only interested in signing 1 year deals when he hits FA. I don’t think an extension is on the table for him anyway, and most extension talk with trades is just that, talk. Rarely does anything get worked out.

        Two years of control is not nearly enough for any of our top 3 prospects. Especially as we’ not likely to compete regardless in year one of control.

    • LWBlogger2

      But doesn’t Bauer only have 2 years of control left? I couldn’t move Senzel for anyone with less than 3 years of control. Not unless I knew that the guy I was getting was going to help my team make a deep playoff run. I’d have to feel my team was 1 pitcher away.

  5. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I can’t help thinking, I would rather have Dallas than Sonny.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      I would have to say, I would have no problem giving up Suarez for Kluber, then plugging in Senzel at 3rd. I would definitely not like to see Suarez go. But, I would rather see Kluber here. If it wasn’t for Senzel being here, I would rather not make this move.

      • Hanawi

        No way. They just signed him to a great deal. He’s very popular and a team leader, and way more valuable than Kluber in my opinion.

        Reds should be looking at an Iglesias/India package for Kluber with an outfielder not named Winker or Puig as the 3rd piece.

        I would also do Senzel straight up for Kluber, though I suspect the Indians would not, and that’s why a 3rd team is involved.

      • Bil

        Suarez is cheaper, younger and controlled for much longer. I would rather they drop $20 million a year on Kuechel and keep Suarez, than trade Suarez and pay $17.5 million a year for Kluber

  6. Shamrock

    Senzel hasn’t proven anything so far beyond the fact that he is injury prone.
    Is it a possibility that one day he will be as good of a 3B as Suarez or, perhaps, as good of a 2B as Scooter?

    Yes, that possibility does exist.
    However it’s just as likely that the injuries keep adding up and he becomes (at best) AJ Pollock, or, (at worst) David Pollock.
    Honestly, all the kid has going for him at this point is (a lot of) potential.

    Would I give him up for a guy who just finished third in Cy Young voting (after having won the award twice), is coming off a 20-8 season, and has three more years of team control left at a fairly modest price?
    In a New York minute!!

    • Seadog

      Could not say it better. I would give Senzel and more.

      • PhP

        I couldn’t disagree more. You honestly think our window is open to compete for a WS right now? I think with Kluber we still aren’t serious contenders. By the time we are actual contenders we have Kluber for 1 or 2 more years at his age 34 or 35 year old seasons.I wouldn’t trade any of our top 5 prospects this year, especially for an aging (even a legitimate ace) pitcher with only 3 years of control.

      • JoshG

        add a true number one starter then look at a position by position comparison with all the NL Central teams .. The Reds on paper are close, very close

      • PhP

        JoshG –
        I’m with you in that I think the roster is much improved. But even with Kluber I don’t think it’s to the level of “serious WS” contenders. And I don’t think the it’s worth the gamble of 3 years of Kluber vs 7 years of Senzle.

    • Jeff Gangloff

      How has Senzel not proven anything? You cant just discredit all of the production he’s had in the minors…

      Yeah, hes injury prone and yeah, that minor league production doesnt always completely transition to the bigs…but lets not act like he’s just another guy coming up from AAA who has a chance to succeed. The Reds haven’t had a prospect that has produced in the minors or of his caliber in awhile.

      • G-Man

        Very true…but could he also turn out to be another Austin Kearns?

      • Matt Hendley

        Remember jay bruce, joey votto, homer bailey, zach cozart, todd fraizer….. yea there are misses sometimes….nick senzel isnt one of them.

      • greenmtred

        He has. Pretty much everybody has been injured. Being a pro ballplayer means, by definition, that you are injury-prone. The vertigo is one thing, a red herring, but the other stuff is stuff that can happen to anyone.

  7. Matthew Hendley

    Dick Williams gives away a Flyball homerun prone pitcher that would in all likelihood have to have been removed from the 40 man anyway this off season into a 3.5 WAR pitcher for the rotation. (tale of 2 tanners)
    Dick Williams takes two players that 1) were not guarantees to make it anyway 2) reasonably a full half decade away from making it to the majors anyway, and turn them into the following. 1. Yasiel Puig 2. Matt Kemp 3. Alex Wood 4. Kyle Farmer 5. The removal of Homer Baileys Contract 6. 7 Million Dollars.

    I review this because both of these trades were absolute steals for the Reds. Almost ridiculously so. So, someone explain to me why he would then turn around and be so $((%*% dumb to trade away the top reds prospect a baseball top 10 prospect and a very real option for CF this upcoming season. For Anybody, let alone a 33 year old pitcher that has maybe one more year chasing after another CY Young before he regresses. If Kluber or Baier is coming to Cincinnati he is coming via lower level prospects and the pitchers that are out of options in Cincinnati. Not through the highest prospect in the system, who will be playing for the Reds this year.

    Can’t Wait for Dick Williams to surprise us again.

    • Drew B

      I agree it seems like a huge steal in the short term. Dodgers are also freeing future money with players on the last year of deals or last year of arbitration and gained two good prospects with a LOT of upside. Also if it allows them to sign Machado or Harper then the deal was a win for both clubs.
      I hope Puig plays well and loves it here and we extend our RF of the future for 5 more years (since we sent that Homer contract out). Wood is a nice piece and Kemp is trade deadline bait if there are any takers. Something tells me the log jam in the outfield will be resolved before the season starts #Getthepitching

      We don’t know what Senzel will be albeit it’s more likely that his best baseball is in the future whereas Kluber’s best baseball is more likely to be behind him. Lots of unknowns. Senzel doesn’t currently have a spot on this roster but Kluber would.
      To me I’d send Senzel and hold onto Trammel given the needs of the organization if we were to trade one of them.

    • Amarillo

      I’m going to guess that he isn’t that dumb, that’s why this happened yet. It’s still good practice to engage in all discussion imo even without any intent on going for it. Also for all we know this could just be the San Diego beat writer embellishing. San Diego brings up the idea, Indians and Reds both say no immediately…”There was discussion but no deal is imminent”

  8. Burtgummer

    It’s a tough call obviously Senzel has looked good in the minors although he doesn’t have a full season at aaa
    Plus he’s a prospect and that doesn’t mean that he’ll be a good hitter in the majors
    Very tough decision

  9. JB WVjth

    The bottom line in Lins post, “no deal is close”. Slow day at the sportswriter’s laptop. Reds allegedly have plenty of money to spend on pitching without trading any prospects, and a hot pitching coach that can help the young arms step up. This fantasy trade doesn’t exist.

  10. Mark Moore

    Interesting discussions and speculation. I’m still happy with Dick Williams’ patience so far this off-season. I have to believe if something happens, we’ll make the right deal.

    And remember the names are “prospects” as others have said. Nothing is for certain when/if they reach the MLB level.

  11. Walter

    Indians

    Castillo – Suarez – Winker – T. Stephenson

    Reds
    Kluber – Zimmer

    You get to keep your precious Senzel and Trammell

    • Matt Hendley

      Congratulations, this is possibly the dumbest trade suggestion all offseason. I think we found the undercover Cleveland fan

      • Hotto4Votto

        My first thought was this must be a Cleveland fan. But I guess if you’re going to make insane suggestions, make sure you really go for the gusto?

    • SoCalRedsFan

      Did you just purposely come up with the worst trade proposal you could think of? If so, you’re a genius! Genius, I tell ya!

    • LWBlogger2

      So a guy who may be better than Kluber and most certainly will be cheaper than Kluber in 2-3 years; plus an all-star caliber 3B on a team friendly contract; plus a corner OF/DH type player with good on-base skills, a strong hit tool, some power, and 5 years of team control left, plus the best catching prospect the organization has had since Mesoraco and Grandal…. For… A $17-million pitcher who is a legit top of the rotation arm (ace) with 2 more team options available, but entering his age 33 season; plus a 26 year old CF prospect with lots of upside but struggled with the stick in MLB and AAA last year, who has 5 years of team control remaining?

      If I’m Cleveland, I’m in no hurry to trade Kluber now as I want to win the WS this year and Kluber, Bauer, Carassco help me do that. Having said that, I’d pull the trigger on that deal in a heartbeat because that is an offer I couldn’t refuse. It is a the overpay the Indians are looking for.

      I’d be very, very annoyed with the Reds and they would have instantly eliminated all the trust I’d built up in them this year for their prior moves, if they make a trade like that.

  12. Shamrock

    Just imagine what all the hate, a ger, & hoopla would’ve been like around Cincinnati if the Bengals would have traded young stud Elmer “Ickey” Woods to the 49ers for good ole’ Joe Montana back in early January of ’89!?…….
    (Joe “Cool” was about four months shy of his 33rd birthday at the time)

    • Matt Hendley

      Not even apples and oranges, thats apples and potatoes.

  13. Jonathan Linn

    I’m curious what is the history of trading top 10 prospects for older MLB Stars. Doug – would that be something that would be easy to pull data on? We all can speculate that its better to trade the top prospects, but my gut is telling me different. I can only think of the Colon trade from the Expos to the Indian’s which turned out well in their favor.

    • Matt Hendley

      The Colan trade was made during a deliberate attempt to tank the Expoes to make the franchise viable for a move. If memory serves, a “trust committee” would not allow the expoes, who actually seemed to be doing good that year from bringing up any prospects. They had no choice but to trade them. A shame really, i miss the expoes

    • Bud

      You mean like trading Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal for Mat Latos? 🙂 (Granted Latos wasn’t that old at the time, but)
      Two still have MLB jobs.

  14. Bromleyjake

    Jonathan India plays 3b. Add in Any takers San Diego?

    • Shchi Cossack

      Luis Urias has proven capable of playing SS or 2B defensively and his bat profiles as nearly MLB ready. With Tatis the as SD’s SS in-waiting, then Urias profiles as SD’s 2B in-waiting.

      The Reds have considered playing India at SS, but made little progress in that regard during the 2018 season. The issue for the Reds is SS, with options for 3B and 2B pretty well covered. Is Peraza the long-term answer at SS for the next 4 seasons? I mean not just adequate, but a positive force at SS both offensively and defensively. Will Garcia or Rodriguez ever hit to compete at the MLB level? Can India play defense at SS successfully to allow his bat to compete at the MLB level?

      If the Reds do not have a long-term solution at SS, an India/Long swap for Urias might make sense.

  15. CFD3000

    If the cost of Kluber is Senzel, and Kluber is expensive (relative to Senzel) why would the Reds not just sign Keuchel? Senzel has a much higher upside than Kluber – perhaps not in 2019, maybe not in 2020 – but definitely for 2021 and perhaps another 8 or 10 years after that. If the Reds were one pitcher away from a serious shot at a division title and therefore a possible World Series run then I might consider this. But they’re not. And even then how much better would Kluber be than Keuchel? And right now there is plenty of room under the stated salary limit for 2019. Sign Keuchel, keep Senzel. If Senzel is the asking price for a 33 year old Kluber I’m not even a little tempted.

    • SultanofSwaff

      Agreed. Patience is the key here. Let the market play out and see how low the price for Keuchel falls, if at all. At the same time, I REALLY want to see what this new pitching coach can do with our young pitchers. I think at least one or more will figure it out under his guidance and help resolve this pitching dilemma, although the team has clearly demonstrated there is zero patience left with this group.

    • Kyle Farmer

      Agree 100%. I sure hope the Reds don’t give up any of their top prospects while there is at least a chance they can sign Keuchel. Get that done.

    • roger garrett

      I agree 100% and won’t even mention the money that Kluber will make vs what Senzel makes.We all get excited over the number of new faces and the fact we will win more games in 2019 but most if not all of them won’t be here next year.This is not a bad thing because we should have tons of money to spend and there is nothing wrong with doing the same thing next year.As stated we are not one player or pitcher away from beating the Cubs,Cards or Brewers.We may play 500 ball and finish 4th in our own division.So getting giddy over a 33 year old pitcher that will cost Senzel is well not for me.

    • JoshG

      add a true number one starter then look at a position by position comparison with all the NL Central teams .. The Reds on paper are close, very close

  16. Shchi Cossack

    This certainly appears to be yet another example of a tail wagging the dog. Preller wants to fill a roster hole at 3B with cost-controlled, elite talent. Preller also wants to improve the MLB roster without sacrificing the future for the team. There’s no story there.

    Cleveland was considering moving Kluber or possibly Bauer to facilitate a salary restructuring and avoid a tear down/rebuild situation from crashing down on the organization. Cincinnati and Cleveland lined up as possible matches to facilitate the needs for both organizations, but they failed to reach an arrangement that both organizations considered mutually beneficial. Cleveland has now moved past the need for salary restructuring and relief and Cincinnati has filled a good portion of their immediate need to upgrade the starting rotation.

    Cincinnati is now less inclined to deal elite prospects for a short-term fix and Cleveland is now less inclined to deal a premier, win-now asset for marginally good prospects. Cleveland does not need Cincinnati now in order to win the ALCD title in 2019 and 2020. Cincinnati does not need Cleveland now in order field a significantly more competitive team in 2019 and fill a complete starting rotation for 2020.

    San Diego has arguably 10 very good to elite prospects. Cincinnati has 5 very good to elite prospects and all 5 of those prospects have a reasonably foreseeable role at the MLB level some time from 2019-2021. Could Preller provide the overpay in prospects needed to pry Kluber away from Cleveland? Absolutely. Would Preller overpay to pry Kluber away from Cleveland so he could flip Kluber to Cincinnati for less valuable prospects than he used to obtain Kluber? Not likely.

  17. Shchi Cossack

    The 2018 Reds SP was unquestionably bad. For NL:

    WAR => 14/15 (4.5)
    ERA => 14/15 (5.02)
    FIP => 15/15 (4.88)
    xFIP => 10/15 (4.26)
    SIERA => 10/15 (4.40)
    IP/G => 13/15 (5.17)
    HR/9 => 15/15 (1.69)
    HR/FB => 15/15 (17.3%)
    HARD% => 12/15 (39.0)
    SOFT% => 12/15 (17.0)

    Steamer Projections for 2019 Reds SP rotation…

    Wood: 2.1 WAR, 4.00 ERA, 4.00 FIP, 5.84 IP/G, 1.13 HR/9
    Castillo: 2.6 WAR, 4.01 ERA, 3.97 FIP, 5.97 IP/G, 1.25 HR/9
    Roark: 1.5 WAR, 4.56 ERA, 4.50 FIP, 5.92 IP/G, 1.34 HR/9
    DeSclafani: 1.5 WAR, 4.34 ERA, 4.23 FIP, 5.57 IP/G, 1.41 HR/9
    Reed: 0.6 WAR, 4.37 ERA, 4.42 FIP, 5.64 IP/G, 1.16 HR/9
    Mahle: 0.5 WAR, 4.75 ERA, 4.76 FIP, 5.27 IP/G, 1.48 HR/9
    Stephenson: 0.3 WAR, 4.82 ERA, 4.95 FIP, 5.64 IP/G, 1.45 HR/9

    The projections for each and every SP on the 2019 Reds roster should easily exceed the average results for the SP on the 2018 Reds roster, including the 5th starter (Reed, Mahle, Stephenson, etc.) In fact, the projections for each and every SP on the 2019 Reds roster should easily exceed the results for every SP on the 2018 Reds roster. Jettisoning Bailey’s contract, moving Romano to the bullpen, adding a year of experience and a year of health to the young pitchers should provide a big boost to the starting rotation beyond the addition of Wood and Roark. The starting rotation should go longer into games, providing DB and DJ an opportunity to effectively manage the bullpen to a dominating, shutdown performance for the 2019 season. The starting rotation should surrender significantly fewer HR, enabling the offense to turn over significantly more leads to the shutdown bullpen.

    Even without the addition of a staff ace to the starting rotation, the pitching staff (starters and relievers), managed by DW and DJ, should provide significant improvement as a team beyond individual performances. The Reds could be the surprise team of the NL in 2019 and competitive in September without making an all-in move to add a budget-crippling contract for Keuchel or Pollack or an all-in move to complete a prospect crippling trade for Kluber, Bauer, Gray or Realmuto. Of course, if the price is right (years, dollars and/or prospects), then a solid addition to upgrade the roster would be a great move to increase competitiveness for the 2019 season and beyond.

    • Amarillo

      Excellent analysis and stats. I am currently in the camp of Kuechel or nothing. I don’t want to give up any prospects, and also don’t think a mid tier like Gio or Miley is enough of an upgrade over Mahle to warrant leaving him in AAA.

      • Bob Purkey

        I would prefer Kluber over Bauer simply because Bauer(while loaded full of potential) has basically had one good year, you only have have him for 2 years vs. 3 for Kluber. Also, Bauer has quite the reputation of being a bit of a head case and the Reds just don’t need that.

        All that being said, I would not include Senzel in any trade for them. Trammel-yes.

        I still like Mahle a lot and I think Kuechel is better suited for GASP. A lot more potential FA starters available next year if you don’t get Kuechel this year and you will have a ton on money coming off the books next year to spend on pitching; Roark, Scooter, Kemp, Puig, Wood-something like $60MM or so with those guys alone.

    • PhP

      Agree 100%. I think the improvements made in the starting rotation can’t be underscored enough. Subtracting Bailey and Romano for Roark and Wood completely changes the starting rotation outlook. Not even mentioning the natural progression Castilo and Mahle should make.

      I feel those things are more likely than not, then if we get hopeful that the new pitching coach adds additional improvements and Disco returns to pre-injury form – this is a solid rotation.

      I don’t think Senzel (plus others) is worth 3 years of Kluber if we are already going to have a competent, albeit unspectacular rotation.

  18. Hotto4Votto

    Personally if we’re trading a top 3 prospect I’d rather it be Trammell. Senzel is closer, as in ready now, and has the ability to play a couple different positions giving the Reds flexibility. Senzel is the best prospect we’ve had since Bruce, and it would be a hard pill to swallow to give him up now. Kluber is a real talent but it’s at a huge prospect cost as well as actual salary cost.
    I am really high on Trammell but he’s not nearly as safe a bet as Senzel. He’s at least a year and a half away, has yet to make the toughest jump in the minors up to AA, and there are still some questions as to whether he’ll have the arm to play CF. CF is an area of depth, and we have OF corners who are controlled for at least 4 years moving forward.

    That said, I’m just not sure there’s a good deal to be had with Kluber. If there was it probably would have happened, as was mentioned up top.

  19. Matt Hendley

    As for 3b for the padres…mike mustakas is still out there. I think SD is trying to avoid the inevitable.

    • Mark Moore

      Likely the case. And we know Moose will take a 1-year deal (again), or at least presume he will.

  20. Mark Moore

    BTW (and off-topic) …

    Chad D – did you see my Orange take out the Duke clan at home last night? Are your Cav’s ready to rumble and send Duke to their 2nd consecutive ACC loss?

    Run them hard like we did. Looks like their NBA-caliber talent gets tired when you do.

    • VaRedsFan

      UVA just manhandled #9 Va Tech tonight.
      The Cavs don’t run and never will.

  21. JayTheRed

    Plain and simple.. Cleveland is not going to do a deal with us unless we offer at least 2 or our top 10 prospects or One major league ready OF and a top prospect at least.

    A lot of people here seem to think pitchers fall off a cliff when they turn 33 or so. There are solid examples of that not happening until after age 36. Some even older. I also am not saying that these players won’t decline but I highly doubt Kluber goes from a top of the rotation pitcher to a # 4 or 5 Pitcher in the next 3 years.

    I still dream that we get Kluber and get Kuechel. If that happens this team is definitely a contender. Will it happen probably not but I can dream.

    I’m still interested in Realmuto and what happens with that. It would be a very big upgrade at catcher. I think in the next week or two something is going to happen. I just have this feeling.

    • Matt Hendley

      If the Dodgers dont pick up realmuto (Russell Martin is better suited as a backup) then i think the marlins will start thinking they missed the bus on him and reduce his price. Then we swoop in for the discount.

    • Matt Hendley

      Justin Verlander is an example….you indicated plural, and no a half season of hamels doesnt count.

      • Joe

        Examples I’ve seen thrown around are Greinke, Lester, Verlander, Scherzer and, to a lesser extent, Jake Arrieta and Carlos Carrasco (and Kluber) as early 30s pitchers that have not yet fallen off.

        It’s a relatively small group and not really convincing to me, but that’s the argument.

      • JoshG

        lester, greinke, Scherzer, .. heck even Happ, Morton

      • JoshG

        anyone have examples of elite #1 starters nose diving in their early to mid 30’s ?
        I mean ones who have been top 10 in the CY young voting for at least 5 years straight like Kluber

      • LWBlogger2

        Josh…

        Roy Oswalt is one example. Josh Beckett, Adam Wainright, and James Shields come to mind as well.

        Not saying it will happen to Kluber but it does happen sometimes.

    • scottya

      Two significant steps is what is needed. Really two significant steps + some smaller ones will be the smartest move. I can’t see it being Keuchal and Kluber. However, Kluber, and JT Realmuto and add a Jared Hughes type bullpen piece, buts us right in the thick of the playoff hunt. At that level we would not be the favorites, but we would be real close to the Cards and Cubs.

      My favorites dreams:
      1. Sign Keuchal
      2. Trade for Realmuto
      3. Trade Winker+ for Enciarte or Kike Hernandez
      4. Trade Kemp for cost savings and to give more ab’s to Senzel in his utility role.
      5. sign a jared hughes type middle relief option to a hughes contract.

  22. BigRedMike

    Not many teams trade top hitting prospects for pitching. Look at the successful teams at this point, they are led by young position players. Pitchers get hurt, giving up 7-8 years of a top prospect is risky at best.
    Senzel has vertigo, his injury was a fluke last season.
    The 2B market is really hurting the Reds at this point. Gennett should have been traded a long time ago, but, guessing there is no market for him.
    The Reds appear to be in paralysis mode in regards to what to do with Gennett.
    The Reds have a ways to go to get closer to the top 3 in the NL Central, trading young cost controlled hitters is a bad idea.

    • JoshG

      they are VERY close
      add a true number one starter and I’d say they have the second best starting rotation
      arguably the best 3B and 2B, pretty good at 1B too
      Peraza actually put up very good offensive numbers at ss last year, you still have put Molina ahead of Barnhart at catcher
      Outfield Potentially be very good offensively
      other than Suarez and Barnhart I am worried about the defense though
      and the bullpen is also very solid anchored by the best closer in the division

      • roger garrett

        Don’t see it and a true number one would cost a bunch which probably means a top prospect or two and a good position player or two or some combination.Value for value.

      • JayTheRed

        In the end it all depends on what the Team Brass think. Our opinions as true baseball fans don’t matter to much. If the Reds make a another big pickup, may it be Realmuto, Kluber, Keuchel, or find a good center fielder I think the common fan goes to more games for sure and the season ticket booth lights up.

        With our lineup and improvements to the rotation I feel like we would be in the hunt at least for the wild card. I even think kemp has a chance to have another good season playing half his game in our tiny park. Puig, I’m expecting to have his best season yet.

    • Colorado Red

      No market for him.
      Try to trade at the deadline, unless for some unknown reason, we are in the race (I can hope).
      Play nick in CF and elsewhere this year. Solid at 2nd next year.

    • Bill J

      The Yankees were interested in Gennett at one time, but don’t know if an offer was made.

      • Colorado Red

        They may have been, but signed DJ, and are not longer interested.
        Ship has sailed.

  23. scottya

    It seems clear that the Reds FO feels that we are close enough to competing for the playoffs to seriously contemplate and to communicate that “more moves are coming.” The rumored moves. 1. Signing Dallas Keuchal 2. Trading for Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. 3. Trading for JT Realmuto 4. Signing AJ Pollock 5. Trading for Marcus Stroman 6. Previous discussion’s re, Grandal, James Paxton etc. These are significant moves designed to put us into contention right away. Will the Reds FO take the leap or will the Reds hold on to the guard rail white knuckled as we ascend the steps to contention.

    We’ll see which choice the Reds make:
    1. Conservative moves – Trade for Sonny Gray or sign Wade Miley + one bullpen piece? Or one or two years of AJ Pollock = 85 ish win season.
    2. Bold & risky moves like: Trading Senzel + others for Kluber, Margot and Chris Paddack. or Signing Dallas Keuchal and trading for JT Realmuto. = 90+ win season

    • Matt Hendley

      First, common sense says all moves of note are on hold til bryce and manny sign. Then I beleive things will move much more rapidly. Second, in the order that you present them. 1. Yes, if philly signs harper 2. No, 3. Unless senzell tramell and green are not involved no, 4. For alot less then he is asking for 5. Hell no. 6 not applicable. The FO has done great so far. Wait until the billion dollar pair is off the board and then we can see what is going on.

      • scottya

        Whoa hot take, It really looks like Realmuto’s market is fading a bit. Hopefully something like: Barnhart, India and maybe Long or Guitierrez or ?? Might get it done, but that is only a guess as the only rumored names to date have been Barnhart and Trammell.

      • JayTheRed

        Hate to say it but at least one of our top 4 prospects will have to be included in a deal for either Bauer or Kluber. If you think otherwise your in for some major shell shock coming if a deal goes down.

        If by some magical manner the Reds pull off a deal for either of those two pitchers without giving up anyone that is a top 5 prospect I would say the FO is genius.

      • matthew hendely

        We got Yasiel Puig and Alex Wood for Homer Bailey, I already think the FO are Geniuses

  24. BigRedMike

    According to Fangraphs WAR, only 3 of the Top 25 starters are over 32, the majority are under 30. Verlander and Greinke are the oldest.
    Kluber is a great pitcher, but, lets not act like there are several examples of elite starters over 30.

    Trading a top hitting prospect for a starter over 30 might not be the best option.

    I would like for the Reds to develop/obtain as many young position players as possible and use the free agent market to fill in the rotation spots each year.

    • JoshG

      Kluber, Verlander, lester, greinke, Scherzer, .. heck even Happ, Morton.. and Hammels and Arrieta aren’t too bad

      • PhP

        You’re mixing up “aren’t too bad” with “legitimate ace”. Most people would trade Senzel for a sure fire legitimate ace. The reason people don’t want to trade for Kluber is because based on his age it’s unlikely he’ll be a sure fire ace for the 3 years of control we would have him for. No one is saying he’ll suck, just it’s not worth trading Senzel for a “not too bad” pitcher. Would you trade Senzel for all the pitchers you mentioned? God I hope not

    • JayTheRed

      Also when I was refer to pitchers being older I was considering the Recent Past 10 years too.

  25. Hotto4Votto

    I read in MLBTR comments section that Kluber’s option years need to be decided on within 3 days of the 2019 season’s end if he’s traded. Don’t know how to confirm that, but it would make sense that there’s some trade qualifiers in there.

    That adds another layer to the deal. Let’s say he pitches well up until September but then is shut down with “soreness” of some kind. Or, let’s say he struggles to adjusts to the change in team/leagues and puts up a mediocre or average season. Do the Reds commit $35.5m the next two years to have Kluber in their rotation? Is there any way they could justify turning down those two years after trading a potential 7 years of Senzel? Part of the appeal of Kluber is that the options came with small buyouts, meaning little future financial risk. But if the Reds have to decide on 20-21 right after 2019 season is done, it changes things a bit.

    • Matt Hendley

      “This is information that would have been better, YESTERDAY!!!” I forgot what movie that is from.

      • Matt Hendley

        Seriously though that explains alot. I am a hard no on kluber now. In addition the philles just stated that they wont sign both harper and manny deemed too expensive. So if Harper does sogn with the phillies that makes Dallas much more attractive to the reds as his contract demands would make the philles (another potential suiter) balk at signing him. The quote was from wedding singer.

  26. Scott C

    I just do not see the sense in trading Senzel and his years of control and production for a pitcher north of 30, Kluber or anyone else, that cliff of age can come up pretty quickly once you get past that, particularly for pitchers, )a shoulder, an elbow, a knee, the back). I don’t think any player should be untouchable but, I would want more for Senzel than a couple of years at a high price. (Did I read $52 million). I also would hesitate trading Suarez as well. Yes it will open up a spot for Senzel but I would rather open up 2B whee we have a good bat but below average glove.

    • JayTheRed

      Nobody needs a 2B player that’s the problem. Pretty much everyone has filled that spot for the upcoming season. 3B on the other hand there are least a handful of teams that are still looking for options there.

  27. redsfan06

    Two of the worst trades in Reds history involved the Reds trading an every day player for a pitcher. One was Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas (and Pappas was actually a good pitcher). The other was Hamilton for Volquez.

    I’m not saying they should not structure a deal around Senzel for Kluber, but they need to keep in mind an every day player has more value than a pitcher who plays less than 20% of the time.

  28. REDSMAN

    IF Senzel proves the ability to man CF with the Wink in LF, and Puig in RF, then we have what seems to me to be a formidable OF, with Kemp getting AB’s as platoon OF’er, along with Schebler.

    Peraza seemed to take a big step forward last year. But, I don’t have a lot of faith in his ability to continue that progress…especially on the defensive side of the ball. It isn’t just a question of ability, it has to do with good instincts, which he doesn’t seem to have a lot of.

    Scooter improved last year, thankfully. Is he now at least adequate defensively? ST will hopefully show the answer to be yes. If he cannot sustain his defensive improvement, then we have a problem ‘up the middle’, which is not a good problem.

    That having been said, IF was not our problem last year. It was poor production from the OF. As well as SP! Both of those have been improved, but we still need one more strong starter. Whether or not Senzel is the stud most on here think he is, it seems he will be very good at least. It seems to be a consensus in fact. Which brings us back to SP, or as someone else said, “Get the pitching!” I agree, and because most cringe at the thought of parting with Mr. Vertigo (or is that Verdugo?), then swallow hard and pay Keuchel the cash!!!

    I think that is, or should be, our ‘priority one’…an Ace. Keuchel is probably the closest guy to fit that description that is currently available. Although personally I am fond of Stroman. Get one of these guys! Please!

  29. Shchi Cossack

    Expanding the observation by Redsman, the 2018 Reds OF was more than bad. The OF performance was abysmal. For NL:

    WAR => 13/15 (4.0)
    wRC+ => 13/15 (89)
    OPS => 13/15 (.705)
    ISO => 13/15 (.149)
    SLG => 13/15 (.389)
    AVG => 12/15 (.241)
    K% => 12/15 (24.2)

    Steamer Projections for 2019 Reds starting OF…

    Winker (LF): .284/.377/.439, .815 OPS, .155 ISO
    Senzel (CF): .276/.339/.448, .787 OPS, .172 ISO
    Puig (RF): .275/.351/.500, .851 OPS, .225 ISO

    Steamer Projections for 2019 Reds reserve OF…

    Kemp (LF/RF): .265/.317/.468, .785 OPS, .203 ISO
    Schebler (LF/CF/RF): .240/313/.435, .748 OPS, .190 ISO

    I believe the projections for Winker and Senzel are significantly below the 2019 results for those 2 players. Winker is hungry and healthy with an .850+ OPS and a .180+ ISO reasonably attainable goals. Senzel should demonstrate and utilize the athletic and baseball skills he is reputed to have with an above average CF defense, an .800+ OPS and a .180+ ISO, making ‘Billy Who?’ a common refrain during the 2019 season. Senzel might even supplant Winker in the top of the lineup, providing elite on-base skills with above average speed and base running.

    The projections for all 5 of the OF on the 2019 Reds roster should grossly exceed the average results for the OF on the 2018 reds roster. Turning the inexcusably horrid 2018 OF performance into a strength of the 2019 team should provide a significant offensive boost, creating fewer and fewer opportunities for easy outs in the lineup. A solid offensive start to the 2019 season could catapult the 2019 team into a competitive environment and a winning attitude that becomes self-fulfilling.

    With the new Baseball Ops organization of DW, NK and DB making the baseball decisions and the improved pitching and offense available to the new analytic Reds organization, the 2019 season could represent a classic example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, even without the addition of an ace to the starting rotation. If the market for Keuchel comes down to a more reasonable contract option for the FA becomes available, I hope the Reds sign him, but the Reds still need to make intelligent decisions and prepare for the future while building the present. The 2019 represents what the 2017 and 2018 seasons should have represented without the interference from BC and WJ.

    The Old Cossack is ready and pumped for pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month with the ST opener against the Indians on February 23rd, not to mention the 1st of 10 expanded TV broadcasts on February 24th.

  30. matthew hendley

    don’t need to worry any more…. Cincinnati has signed some pitchers…. wait a minute, who the heck are Buddy boshers and felix Jorge

  31. REDSMAN

    Old Cossack…1+++! Shuffling WJ off to Buffalo, so to speak, was half the battle!

    Seeing in print that we are less than a month from ST reporting date…Woot Woot!