Everyone’s favorite columnist Paul Daugherty had a rather hot take yesterday at The Cincinnati Enquirer. He had a take on the Cincinnati Reds offseason and the biggest move they will make. Was it trading for a shortstop that can get on base? Nope. Maybe it is signing a free agent catcher with some pop in his bat, right? Not that one, either. Perhaps it was acquiring a reliever to help the bullpen? Wrong again.

No, the biggest move in the mind of Paul Daugherty that the Cincinnati Reds will make this offseason is who they hire to call the baseball games in the place of Marty Brennaman. Is Brennaman a legend in the city of Cincinnati? Absolutely. Will people miss him when he’s no longer calling the games? Definitely. Is the guy calling the games on the radio going to change anything at all for the Cincinnati Reds? No, it’s not.

Fans aren’t buying tickets or cable packages (which is where the team makes it’s money) because of who is describing the baseball games. They buy those things because of what’s being described. It’s the product that is on the field that matters. A winning baseball team being described slightly less than is going to make a much larger impact than a slightly better described game for a bad baseball team. Winning is what matters.

The Cincinnati Reds have about 15 people right now that are calling baseball games between the radio booth and the television booth. Fans aren’t not tuning in when Marty Brennaman isn’t making the call. That’s not why they turn on the radio to begin with. They tune in to hear if the Reds are winning or losing. Over the years Brennaman has been the guy to describe all kinds of great seasons, great games, and even great plays. When there’s a situation that warrants a great call, Marty Brennaman is right there near the top of the list with the best around. And that certainly beats the ever living heck out of someone who is dry and emotionless in their call of those types of plays.

But it’s those plays that matter. Whoever the Reds hire to replace Marty Brennaman is going to be a disappointment to many fans who have never known anyone else. But they are still going to listen to the games on the radio when they aren’t at the game or watching in on television. They’ll do that because they root for laundry. They are fans of the Reds and they want to know what’s going on with the team down on the field.

The biggest hire for the Reds isn’t always going to be a player. Perhaps it’s a manager. That won’t be happening this offseason. Last offseason the biggest hire for Cincinnati may very well have been their pitching coach. They won’t be getting another one of those this year.

Of course, that hiring of Marty Brennaman’s replacement take wasn’t even the hottest one of the article, it’s just the one that got the headline and the most words. Buried in the article, under a bolded portion about Sonny Gray, was this:

They should give Jose Iglesias four years, if that’s what it takes to keep him. And then, who knows?

Four years for Jose Iglesias. This is the same Jose Iglesias who couldn’t get a Major League contract after the 2018 season. That same 2018 season that was in every single manner that we know of when it comes to measuring performance on the baseball field that was BETTER than his 2019 season.

Jose Iglesias has gone from an OPS+ of 88 to 84 from 2018 to 2019. Jose Iglesias has watched his wRC+ go from 89 to 83 from 2018 to 2019. His WAR? It’s down in both the Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference versions. His fWAR was 2.5 last year. This year it’s 1.3. His bWAR was 2.2 last year. It’s 1.4 this year. Context matters and the way that the baseball is changing offense in 2019, despite the numbers being higher in certain columns, the degree in which those compare to the league make his season worse than the one just a year ago.

If the Cincinnati Reds hand Jose Iglesias, who currently ranks by fWAR as the 23rd best shortstop in baseball out of 26 qualified shortstops a 4-year contract extension then the front office deserves every last bad thing that anyone has ever said about them, warranted or not.

When the Reds were able to sign Jose Iglesias to a minor league deal this past offseason I was confused. Not because they signed Iglesias, a move that I really liked. But because he somehow had to settle for a minor league deal. He is a Major League caliber player. He was last year and he is this year. And even in a year in which he’s not as good as he was in 2018, he should get a guaranteed Major League deal for 2020. And that’s because he’s a Major League player.

What Jose Iglesias shouldn’t be counted on is that of an every day player. He doesn’t have power. He doesn’t get on base. The numbers show this over and over and over. But Iglesias brings value to a team. He’s the kind of guy you want as your utility infielder. He’s the kind of guy you are fine with stepping in as your starter if your starter goes down with an injury up the middle. Heck, he might even be the perfect guy to be a stop-gap in the first half if you have a stud prospect middle infielder that you want to get a little more time in the upper minor leagues before you hope they are ready to step into the Major Leagues in June or July.

But what Jose Iglesias isn’t is a guy teams hand 4-year contracts to.

31 Responses

  1. PhoenixPhil

    I do support laundry. Especially one with a wishbone ‘C’ on it (and I encourage pants). (Although I do root for former Reds player in addition (and non-coastal teams during the playoffs (except Tampa Bay)).) (I think I got my parenthesis correct. :))

    Fairly ambivalent on Marty.

    JI should not be a starter on a contending team. Agree with your points on him.

  2. SultanofSwaff

    2 guaranteed years would likely get the deal done. He and Galvis up the middle, as BACKUPS, is how big market teams fill out their rosters…with veterans in utility roles. I’d shift Senzel to SS to protect his health, and go to spring training with VanMeter at 2B (somewhat reluctantly). I’m certain the Reds don’t feel that way.

  3. Daytonnati

    I think the days of the “radio voice” of a team is coming to a close. I can’t imagine Tommy Thrall, or whoever gets the Reds gig, being here until 2075. I can’t imagine anyone under the age of 40 listening to a game on radio. It is hard enough to watch sometimes, and I am a diehard baseball fan. Once all Reds games became available on TV, I doubt if I have listened to Marty more than a handful of times. Usually while running an unexpected errand. I have listened to the Reds since the late Waite Hoyt era, as a kid, all the way through Claude Sullivan, Jim McIntire, and Al Michaels. Michaels is still my favorite and I was disappointed when he left. It took a while to warm to Marty, but I did, and I hate to see him go – just as a traditionalist. But watching Lee Corso every week on Sportscenter, remember some of Nuxie’s cringe-worthy late-career episodes, I applaud Marty for knowing it’s time, and to leave while everybody’s wanting more.

    • Eric

      “I can’t imagine anyone under the age of 40 listening to a game on radio.”

      …which is why MLB Gameday ought to turn the radio feed loose – for FREE – on the Gameday cast of the ballgame.

      Just DO that, MLB! What has anyone got to lose? Herb Tarlek gets to tell the guy at Red Wigglers (“The Cadillac of Worms™”) that his spot will reach a broader audience, MLB gets more eyes on their site, so their advertisers will reach a broader audience, too…seriously, this CAN’T be that hard!

      • Don

        Before I starting buying the MLB TV package for Reds games (2 years now), I used to use the MLB APP on my phone and the radio broadcasts were free on the mobile app. using a computer the radio was not free but I could use on my phone/tablet with the MLB app and the radio broadcasts were free.

        I would have Gameday playing and listen to the radio broadcast for any game everynight. The radio is usually about 5 seconds behind the gameday update but I could hear the radio

  4. Doug Gray

    The fact that everyone else has also sucked doesn’t mean the Reds should try to keep Iglesias. They should go out and get someone better. And probably do that at several positions.

    • Eric

      Nope…I’m with Doug here. Bench player – two years, no more.

      Every single one of the Great Eight…WOWED people.

      He doesn’t wow people. He’s the guy you want to have, in case the guy you DO have – who wows people – can’t suit up on a given day.

      How’s that commercial go? …Just OK is Not OK?

    • Bill J

      Jason Linden said in an article that the Reds need to find 4 – 6 position players, beside shortstop what are the other 3 – 5 positions you think the Reds should look for or is JI the only one.

    • JB WV

      Isn’t Gregorius a free agent? Has he collapsed or still viable?

    • greenmtred

      Well, he actually does wow people–with his glove. He also came up with a number of key hits this season. Maybe that’s not repeatable, but nobody knows that for sure. Of course, if the Reds can get a shortstop who is a good hitter and is decent defensively, that’s what they should do. Unless, of course, they have to dismantle the starting pitching to do it.

  5. Don

    Jose Iglesias is hitting 255 with 2 strikes in 2019, He career average is 236 with 2 strikes. The league average for hitting with 2 strikes is 174.
    63 of his 137 hits are with 2 strikes.

    Most likely he will fall closer to his lifetime or league mean in 2020.

    Another 1 year, maybe two tops, no more than 2. If Iglesias is signed let Galvis go.

    With Bell as manager both Iglesias and Galvis will start 150+ games baring injury would make the 2020 Reds not competitive.

  6. TR

    No contract of more than two years for either J. Iglesias, Galvis or perhaps Gregorius. They’re all in their 30th. birthday year in 2020. If Iglesias and Galvis want more, they should move on. I think Peraza could end up as the starting shortstop backed up by Blandino. Offensively Peraza often comes through with a hit in the clutch and his batting eye has improved somewhat. Of course, defensively he doesn’t come up to Jose Iglesias.

    • Chris Holbert

      I don’t think Blandino can play SS effectively

  7. Brian

    Reds have a long history of overvaluing their own players. They will overpay for Iglesias

  8. CaptainHook

    Why a 2 year deal over Galvis (who does not need one, because he is under team control for next year)? Galvis and Iglesias are the same age and play defense at similar levels, but Galvis has a marginally better bat.

    I’d rather ride with Galvis and Peraza next season and hope that Peraza returns to his 2018 form (which was a better year at age 25 than any Galvis or Iglesias have ever had in many more years of trying).

  9. Scott C

    Iglesias is the Juan Castro of the present day Reds.

  10. Lawrence Turner

    I like Kyle Farmer most anywhere he is put in the line up and the same for Lorenzen. You will get a solid effort from both.

  11. Lackey

    KEEP JOSE IGLESIAS& GALVIS they are a good combo. Pick up some htting in the carving & outfield.. Get at least one .ore strong starting pitcher for 2020

  12. Chris Holbert

    Maybe the Reds should try to get some of the A’s or Rays front office people. Their five year records are better than the Reds and they definitely do not have the money the Reds have. They are currently on top of the Wildcard in the American League. I think the Reds fans would take that.

  13. Rut

    P-Doc is almost a living strawman.

    But it does give the rest of us something to poke at, despite the above statement.

    The Enquirer really should move his column from Sports to Opinion or Local. Becuase all he does is create a local issue/story, rarely if ever an actual Sports scoop or info.

    • TR

      P-Doc is a Pirates fan so I never except much in depth from him about the Reds. He has a lot of opinions which is fine, but overall his view of the Cincy sports scene is usually negative and superficial.

  14. Willie

    Do not care what OPS+, WAR, WAR+, or any of those other idiotic terms are. Just because Iglesias does not hit 40 homers that makes y’all mad. Stop it. He’s the best defensive shortstop we’ve had for a while, and so far this year, his bat has been effective. Of course he will want security in years, but I’d say at least two would work.

    • Mason Red

      Don’t upset the analytical Gods.

      • Matt WI

        That’s fine to say, just so long as it doesn’t later come with complaints of “tolerating losing” because ignoring the “idiotic stats” is pretty likely to keep the Reds on that path. Say hello to Marty for us.

      • Mason Red

        I have said “hi to Marty” twice in my life and would gladly do so again if lucky enough to have the opportunity.

  15. John G

    I just turned 40 this year and I was in the stands when the Reds defeated Hideo Nomo for the last ever home playoff win !
    We want the hire that changes that fact
    They can get a robot to call games if it means the Reds are relevant again and can win at least a postseason series.

  16. James H.

    Doug, what does the minor league pipeline look like versus Iglesias and Galvis? Considering what was spent on the international market, hopefully the Reds see a return of investment for the Shortstop position.

  17. Mason Res

    My parents listened to a lot of radio when I was growing up including WHAS in Louisville. Burbank was a DJ there in the 70s before coming to Cincinnati and I became a fan. One of my favorite recollections about Burbank was when he called a store…I can’t remember which…as Gilbert Gnarley because he saw a newspaper ad about their sale on “forehead” (4 head) VCRs. He kept asking about the advantages of having a vcr attached to the forehead and also about the weight. Hilarious lol.

  18. Chris Holbert

    So much for the youth, now you have four infielders 29 or older.

  19. TR

    Instead of a 6th. rebuild year, I hope 2020 will be a rebuilt year for the Reds.

  20. Bill J

    You must remember the Reds are an “all in the family” organization.