2013 Reds / Reds - General

The evolving outfield market [updated]

With an established closer signed, finding an outfielder who can play LF and/or lead-off remains the most important off-season shopping list item for Reds’ GM Walt Jocketty. John Heyman of CBS Sports has a solid article laying out the current status of the OF market. He talks about the teams who are looking for OF and ranks a list of the available players. He also briefly discusses which teams might be interested in which players.

To catch you up with current events: (1) Yesterday, the Atlanta Braves signed free agent centerfielder B.J. Upton to a $75 million/5–year contract, and (2) this afternoon, the Washington Harpers acquired Denard Span, bromantic favorite of many here in the Nation, in a trade for an A-league pitcher. According to Mark Sheldon, the player the Twins received from the Harpers isn’t major-league ready. Given that, I’m surprised that the Reds hadn’t made a stronger offer than that for Span. Maybe they didn’t see Span as a significant overall upgrade to Drew Stubbs. But that’s water under Brent Spence now.

The Reds have steadily increased payroll from $73 million to $88 million over the past four seasons. A straight-line projection for 2013 would put total salary around $92-93 million.

With the salary the Reds already have tied up in 2013 contracts ($75 million) and expected arbitration awards ($18 million) it appears they have little extra salary room to chase a significant free agent OF, including Ryan Ludwick. Yet, John Fay reports that the Reds are talking to Ludwick about rejoining the club. So there’s that.

Unfortunately, the left fielder may have Ludwhacked himself out of the Reds mid-sized market with his rebound 2012 season. Maybe Reds ownership will be more aggressive in boosting total payroll. Or maybe Jocketty has some slick Jedi cost-saving moves up his Hawaiian shirt sleeve.

But as you contemplate the nightmare of Dusty Baker managing Aroldis Chapman on an innings limit, don’t overlook the possibility of a trade – maybe a big one. One of our friends over at Red Reporter speculated on the acquisition of OF/lead-off hitter, Alex Gordon/drool/ or 3B Mike Moustakas from the Royals by trading Homer Bailey and a top minor league pitcher. They conclude, probably correctly, that Gordon is ultimately too expensive and Moustakas too left-handed.

And it’s hard to see the Reds trading away one of their top four starting pitchers, given how diligently they have accumulated the arms. But that magnitude of a trade wouldn’t totally surprise me.

UPDATE: John Fay just posted that the free agent OF market may be shifting toward the buyers, which could make it more likely the Reds will re-sign Ryan Ludwick. Fay guesses the Reds could offer the left fielder $13 million/2 years. But he also notes the Reds may be more focused on finding a lead-off hitter. Shin Soo Choo is an attractive trade target because he gets on base (.381 career OBP), hits for power, plays Gold Glove defense and swipes twenty bases, too.

97 thoughts on “The evolving outfield market [updated]

  1. @earmbrister: Well, Jonathan Broxton was a free agent who was hoping to cash in big but he failed and now returned to the Reds. Similarly last year Ryan Madson (who wasn’t acquired by trade) failed to receive a big deal and came to the Reds.

    I don’t think the Reds were at all certain when they traded for Broxton that they could retain him – they just hoped they could. He was likely to only be with the Reds for a few months in 2012. I think they’d consider trading for an outfielder (like Choo) without the expectations of keeping him for longer.

    Bourn and Choo are in completely different positions – Bourn is looking for an expensive long term deal that’s out of the Reds’ price range but Choo has another year on his current deal and plays for a team searching for pitching help. Neither his current team nor the Reds are likely to be able to extend Choo any they may have to settle for draft pick compensation.

    I’ve recommended David DeJesus, without the expectation of extending him or getting draft pick compensation (he’s not worth a qualifying offer) after this final year of his contract.

    Jermaine Mitchell does sound interesting, but what Tom posted suggests that he might miss spring training to rehab his knee. After that I’m not sure if they could count on him to be ready for opening day. I’m all for searching the scrap heap. Hopefully Grady Sizemore will consider the Reds.

    • Jermaine Mitchell does sound interesting, but what Tom posted suggests that he might miss spring training to rehab his knee. After that I’m not sure if they could count on him to be ready for opening day.

      Sorry, that BBA scouting report snippet was from last winter. He should be ready to go in the spring.

      • Sorry, that BBA scouting report snippet was from last winter.He should be ready to go in the spring.

        Oh. Well, his knees working is a big plus to me, especially for a speedy outfielder.

  2. I would be satisfied with aquiring Kim or re-signing Luddy. I personally would like to see Votto at lead-off. He has the on-base percentage and his hitting is shifting from a hr hitter to more of a doubles hitter.

  3. Reds history has been to only sign large deals with players who have been in their system before (exception: Cordero. Yeah.). That’s what makes me think Bourn’s out unless he falls into their laps. I like the Mitchell idea, although I don’t know if the Reds will be able to entice him to come here. I think he’s more likely to go to a team that won’t be contending, which would give him a better chance to establish himself as a major league regular.

  4. So the Reds re-signed Phipps and Negron. Also a career minor-leaguer named Jose Diaz, a right-handed pitcher. Not much impact, but more minor league depth …

  5. What about Hisayoshi Chono? He’s a contact hitter with power to the gaps, and has gobs of speed. He also plays excellent defense. If they can get him on a plane, he may be a good fit at leadoff.

  6. @TC: I’m for it, but only if he walks up to Drew Stubbs on the first day of spring training and says, “You have . . . no . . . MAAHBELLS!”

  7. Yay for Angel Pagan being crossed off the list of remaining free agents. I didn’t want him dropping to the Reds.

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