2013 Reds / Willy Taveras OBP Watch

The Reds were trying to acquire Willy Taveras again

Not literally, but the 2013 version.

Reds’ GM Walt Jocketty revealed in an interview at Redsfest this weekend that the Reds were on the verge of trading for Ben Revere, a player who is hard to distinguish from Taveras.

Revere is a pure slap-hitter. In over 1000 plate appearances, he has only 33 extra-base hits, with no home runs. That’s less power than Taveras. Less power than Willy Taveras. He hits more ground balls and has less power than any other hitter in MLB.

Also like Taveras, Revere is laughably aggressive at the plate. His walk-rate (5.4%) was similar to Taveras (5.1%) and is way below league average (8.2). Not exactly what you’re looking for in a leadoff hitter. As we’ve pointed out many times here, the problem with an OBP that heavily depends on batting average is that AVG fluctuates quite a bit. Taveras hit .320 in 2007 and .240 for the Reds. Walk-rates don’t slump much. Revere’s batting average (.278) was about the same as Taveras (.274). Revere steals bases about as much as Drew Stubbs although he gets caught stealing quite a bit more.

Is Revere an elite defensive centerfielder? Nope. His positive defensive stats come from playing the corner outfield last year while Denard Span played center. He’s fast, but the Twins GM recently admitted publicly that Revere has a below average arm. He is eerily similar to the Willy Taveras the Reds acquired in 2009.

[Shin Soo Choo, the Indians’ lead-off hitter last year who is now on the trade market, has a career OBP of .381, walk-rate of 11.4%, hits 20 HR/year, averages 88 extra base hits every 1000 PA, steals 20 bases/year and plays strong defense. Choo is a lead-off hitter worth pursuing.]

Who were the Reds going to give up to acquire Ben Revere? We can only speculate. But the Twins traded Revere to the Phillies for pitchers Vance Worley and Trevor May. Worley (25) is a serviceable #5 starter and May is the consensus #1 prospect in the Phillies system. Think Leake and Cingrani.

Think about that, did the Reds almost trade Mike Leake and Tony Cingrani for Ben Revere? /smh/

It’s hard to decide whether to feel an immense sense of relief that this calamity was avoided or serious discouragement that it was the Twins, not the Reds, who saved us.

What is clear is that the centerfield/lead-off position continues to be a devastating blind spot for the organization. To their credit, the Reds in recent years have done an excellent job valuing and acquiring big pitching arms and tight defensive players. But to say the Reds are old-school regarding centerfield/lead-off is a disservice to the idea of old-school. The Reds are Paleozoic. They shop for batting average and speed. They ignore the skill of walking, the stat of OBP or the value of hitting with even doubles-power.

And sadly, the evidence is mounting this isn’t just Dusty Baker’s outlook, it’s also Walt Jocketty’s. Jocketty, after all, was the Reds’ GM who signed Willy Taveras.

169 thoughts on “The Reds were trying to acquire Willy Taveras again

  1. @Jared Wynne: Well said. Stubbs can pull off a decent walk rate (which is mentioned in this topic as being relevant), which will be artificially boosted if he’s asked to start the season hitting 8th. IF – big if – he makes contact more he could easily settle the discussion and win the leadoff job. Lots of people would complain… but too bad. Spring training should be fun to watch. Make of break season for Drew Stubbs.

  2. New question: Why not let Jay Bruce lead off? Bruce is 7/12 with 4 homeruns hitting leadoff in the past three years. He can get on base, has speed, and it’d get him more ABs. If they put Bruce into the leadoff spot I think he’d pull off a good OBP.

    I remember going to a Reds game a few years ago – Bruce was announced as the leadoff hitter. Geez, what was Dusty thinking? Was he that desperate? After his second homerun of the game it seemed like a smart move. After Bruce’s third homerun of the night it seemed brilliant. Forget about Votto, Hanigan, and Phillips – I think they should consider giving Jay Bruce an opportunity in that role.

  3. @redsfanman: I would say you were trolling, but since it’s obvious that you are just baiting people with absurd topics (Jay Bruce leadoff? lulz), you sir are an amateur. Please just grab the username “cardsfanman” and go hone your trolling skills elsewhere.

  4. @redsfanman: More or less, I think we agree. We both think that Revere for what the Phillies paid was too much. In my opinion, acquiring someone that we hope will become Juan Pierre is not a good use of resources, because Juan Pierre was never really that great. He is difficult to project as a good player because of the random nature of his main skillset. He usually would be useful, but never great. I think you are proposing that a Ben Revere type would be ok, because you don’t expect him to be great, just better than what the Reds currently have. I can get behind that, so long as the Reds don’t regard a Ben Revere type as a long term solution worthy of large contracts or massive overpays via trade.

    I am a fan of Billy Hamilton, but I’ll admit, his lack of power worries me a bit, too. Like I said before, I prefer projectability and predictability. I like that I can write Joey Votto, David DeJesus, Shin-Soo Choo, etc down as players who will work the count and hit their pitches. They have enough power to make a pitcher respect them, and so pitchers do not challenge them in the zone as much. I think Pierre (and Revere and Taveras on and on) became contact hitters because they didn’t have the power to force a pitcher to make borderline pitches. If the pitcher is only throwing strikes at you, it’s really hard to walk. If Billy doesn’t get enough behind his swing to make the pitchers throw him borderline pitches, he’s going to be a fast as all get out Juan Pierre.

  5. Juan Pierre isn’t great, by any means, but he was certainly serviceable on the right team. I could see where a good scout would think Revere would be more like Pierre than Taveras.

    • Juan Pierre isn’t great, by any means, but he was certainly serviceable on the right team.I could see where a good scout would think Revere would be more like Pierre than Taveras.

      Optimism vs pessimism.

  6. @CincyGuy: Why is Jay Bruce absurd as a leadoff hitter? He’s better at getting on base than Brandon Phillips, Zack Cozart, or Drew Stubbs. He’s a better option than Joey Votto or Ryan Hanigan. If the Reds want to put a quality hitter and tough out hitting leadoff Bruce is as good an option as anyone. I think he deserves a lot more consideration for that role than he gets.

    Want a strong top of the lineup of guys with relatively good speed who can get on base and hit for power? Stock the best hitters at the top of the lineup so they get more ABs? Bruce-Phillips-Votto. I know most people would be opposed to it but I think it’s worth consideration. Some people want a more typical lineup but it’s worth considering the options.

  7. I’m actually a fan of Revere. I was at a game this summer against the Twins and he lit us up. He gt on base 3 or 4 times and stole several bases. I think Choo would make for a good 1 year patch at leadoff. But if you think about it we won the division last year w/o a leadoff hitter. And if Cueto would have stayed healthy October could have been ours. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

  8. @redsfanman: If it were up to me, I would be getting as many PAs for our above average hitters as possible. Putting Jay in the 1 as opposed to the 5 (or any place in front of Votto) would be just fine with me. I can’t imagine that ever happening for an extended period of time though.

  9. @redsfanman: Why is Jay Bruce absurd as a leadoff hitter? He’s better at getting on base than Brandon Phillips, Zack Cozart, or Drew Stubbs. He’s a better option than Joey Votto or Ryan Hanigan. If the Reds want to put a quality hitter and tough out hitting leadoff Bruce is as good an option as anyone. I think he deserves a lot more consideration for that role than he gets.

    Want a strong top of the lineup of guys with relatively good speed who can get on base and hit for power? Stock the best hitters at the top of the lineup so they get more ABs? Bruce-Phillips-Votto. I know most people would be opposed to it but I think it’s worth consideration. Some people want a more typical lineup but it’s worth considering the options.

    3 words: Solo Home Run

    (continuing to smh)

    • 3 words: Solo Home Run

      Yep, Jay Bruce hit 21 solo homeruns last year, 13 with runners on base. He hits a lot of solo homeruns whether he leads off or hits 5th. Give him more ABs and maybe he’ll hit even more homeruns.

      The Reds’ #8 hitters had a .324 OBP in 2012. Hopefully the bench/pinch hitters will improve production from the 9th spot in the order. Five teams in 2012 got 70+ RBIs out of the leadoff spot. 26 teams got more runs scored out of the leadoff spot than the Reds. I think Jay Bruce would be interesting to watch in that spot.

      • Redsfanman:

        Yep, Jay Bruce hit 21 solo homeruns last year, 13 with runners on base.He hits a lot of solo homeruns whether he leads off or hits 5th.Give him more ABs and maybe he’ll hit even more homeruns.

        The Reds’ #8 hitters had a .324 OBP in 2012.Hopefully the bench/pinch hitters will improve production from the 9th spot in the order.Five teams in 2012 got 70+ RBIs out of the leadoff spot.26 teams got more runs scored out of the leadoff spot than the Reds.I think Jay Bruce would be interesting to watch in that spot.

        The Reds OBP in the 8th spot is due to the terrible placement of Hanigan there. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

        And let me get this straight – Jay Bruce hits a lot of solo home runs…. so let’s put him in leadoff so he can hit even more solo home runs? You do realize that home runs with runners on base score more runs that solo ones, correct?

        I’m not exactly sure how you are defending putting our best home run hitter behind the pitcher, but I’m sure you can come up with some off-the-wall Juan Pierre reference to absurdly defend yourself

        • The Reds OBP in the 8th spot is due to the terrible placement of Hanigan there.Two wrongs don’t make a right.

          And let me get this straight – Jay Bruce hits a lot of solo home runs…. so let’s put him in leadoff so he can hit even more solo home runs?You do realize that home runs with runners on base score more runs that solo ones, correct?

          I’m not exactly sure how you are defending putting our best home run hitter behind the pitcher, but I’m sure you can come up with some off-the-wall Juan Pierre reference to absurdly defend yourself

          Usually Jay Bruce hits 5th. Hitting fifth does NOT mean that people are always on base ahead of him. He had 167 ABs (plus walks) leading off an inning in 2012, 329 ABs with the bases empty, and 231 ABs with runners on. After the first inning I think he’ll have plenty of opportunities to drive in baserunners.

          The Philadelphia Phillies’ leadoff hitters in 2012 had 71 RBIs and 103 runs scored. The Nationals were second with 63 RBIs and 98 runs scored. The Reds were last for RBIs (38) and second to last for runs scored (83). Jay Bruce could change that around with big totals for RBIs and runs scored in the leadoff spot.

          The power hitter would be wasted hitting leadoff, fine. It looks a lot smarter once the team is up 1-0 early on a solo homerun.

        • Redsfanman:

          Usually Jay Bruce hits 5th.Hitting fifth does NOT mean that people are always on base ahead of him.He had 167 ABs (plus walks) leading off an inning in 2012, 329 ABs with the bases empty, and 231 ABs with runners on.After the first inning I think he’ll have plenty of opportunities to drive in baserunners.

          The Philadelphia Phillies’ leadoff hitters in 2012 had 71 RBIs and 103 runs scored.The Nationals were second with 63 RBIs and 98 runs scored.The Reds were last for RBIs (38) and second to last for runs scored (83).Jay Bruce could change that around with big totals for RBIs and runs scored in the leadoff spot.

          The power hitter would be wasted hitting leadoff, fine.It looks a lot smarter once the team is up 1-0 early on a solo homerun.

          I’m going to savor dissecting this gem of a post.

          1) To quote you, “Hitting fifth does NOT mean that people are always on base ahead of him.” Obviously, hitting ANY position in the order does not mean that people will be on base ahead of you. In fact, no position in the order will ever guarantee that. Enlightening point, though. 2) Your cherry picked (and utterly random) stats about other organizations and their leadoff RBIs are irrelevant. You want us to increase our leadoff RBIs by putting our power hitter in the leadoff spot? Obviously, that a) decreases his effectiveness and b) results in worse production from the spot he just left. Your point is, shuffling the lineup does, what exactly? And 3) How on Earth does it look smart to get a leadoff homerun and go up 1-0? If it’s from your best power hitter, obviously it looks pretty stupid considering there was no one on base. In fact, the other team is likely smiling because they’re only down 1 and not more.

          Please continue, I’m enjoying this.

        • I’m going to savor dissecting this gem of a post.

          1) To quote you, “Hitting fifth does NOT mean that people are always on base ahead of him.”Obviously, hitting ANY position in the order does not mean that people will be on base ahead of you.In fact, no position in the order will ever guarantee that.Enlightening point, though.2) Your cherry picked (and utterly random) stats about other organizations and their leadoff RBIs are irrelevant.You want us to increase our leadoff RBIs by putting our power hitter in the leadoff spot?Obviously, that a) decreases his effectiveness and b) results in worse production from the spot he just left.Your point is, shuffling the lineup does, what exactly?And 3) How on Earth does it look smart to get a leadoff homerun and go up 1-0? If it’s from your best power hitter, obviously it looks pretty stupid considering there was no one on base.In fact, the other team is likely smiling because they’re only down 1 and not more.

          Please continue, I’m enjoying this.

          Alrighty, I’m glad you’re having fun!
          1. Yep, either a #1 or #5 hitter can lead off an inning or come up with nobody on.
          2. Put a better hitter in the leadoff spot and I expect the runs scored and RBIs from that spot to go up. There in indeed a tradeoff lower in the order, but who cares about that? We’re talking about improving the top of the lineup. The point is the best hitters are at the top of the lineup and the worse hitters are further down. There’s no correct way to build a perfect lineup with this roster; putting the worst OBP guy at the top isn’t perfect either.
          3. If the team is winning fans tend to be happy, and the earlier the better. At least if the fans want the team to win. You see, I like seeing the Cincinnati Reds ahead. I’d rather see them ahead than requiring a comeback. Are Reds fans really going to criticize Jay Bruce because he hit the first pitch of the game out of the park? No.

          The other team is likely smiling because they’re only down 1 and not more? I think that’s a Cincinnati playing from behind mentality alright. We’re behind, but we’re not behind by enough to start worrying! Interesting outlook. In other places fans are unhappy to see their team behind rather than expecting of it. I guess playing from behind helped the San Francisco Giants.

  10. @rewquiop: I like your logic. Stubbs X Paul would be the ideal platoon split-wise. I’m not sure what the defensive metrics are on Paul vs. Heisey, but I’d guess it’s a wash (I’m vividly remembering some of Heisey’s bonehead dives last year). The only question is whether or not Paul can sustain his hitting/OBP as a starter vs. pinch-hitter. My theory is give him a shot, see how it works out. If he’s terrible, replace him with Heisey and sit Paul back on the bench.

    Which brings us back to the bench – we need some serviceable left-handed hitting! (I’m not looking at you, Willie Harris…)

  11. I am probably alone here (except for a little redsfanman analysis on Stubbs last week which I though was spot on) but everyone seems to be in panic about lead off. The team did win 97 games with 3 rookies starting at some time.

    We have Votto and Broxton for a full year. Those are upgrades. seeing Ludwick get more that 400 abs is an upgrade, as is Frazier getting more abs are both upgrades.

    There is no way that Latos only wins 14 games in 2013. The league only hit 230 against him, better than Johnny.

    Broxton can play the Chapman role, not as dominate, but if he blows 5-6 games, that is the same we have gotten for the last few years with Coco.

    Chapman can be 8-9 with a 4.5 era like Leake was last year as the 5th starter. I think he will be much better than that, but let’s face it, he can be at least that. Johnny will still be good. Bronson can win 12-15 games. I think that Homer will be much better again in 2013 as his confidence continues to grow. and as I said, Latos should be great once he has the Price head adjustment. His stuff is great.

    So why is lead off such a need, even at the risk of hurting our defense?

    It is not. Period. These trade rumors are perfect motivation for Stubbs.

    He now needs to take most seriously that he can, and will be replaced if his slide continues. But for the first half of 2013, we are fine to see how he responds. And we do not need to take any hit defensively for the sake of 16 runs. Stubbs scored 75 runs last year. we all want 100 out of lead off, then all this conversation goes away. Cozart scored 72 and BP scored 86. Phillips has scored 100 before

    So can Stubbs score 100 runs in 2013? He scored 92 and 91 in 2010 and 2011 when his OBP was 329 and 321

    again Stubbs has shown that he can do it. We know that defensively, any replacement at this point will hurt our pitching, and we are doing it for 16 runs scored.

    His trade value will be no worse at spring training or the all star break. I firmly believe that he is the turn around player for 2013 and his value will be significantly higher (to the point where we will not want to trade him for 2013).

  12. @Steve Mancuso:

    Yes, Steve, but Pierre did it in Coors Field, where curveballs don’t curve. Revere played in Target Field, which is death on power. Joe Mauer went from 16 HRs at home and a .641 slugging in 2009, to 1 HR and .406 slugging in 2010.

    Look, we get it, you hate Ben Revere as a ballplayer. I’ve never seen such a meltdown on a trade that wasn’t made, without even knowing what the Reds had offered.

    • Big Ed: Yes, Steve, but Pierre did it in Coors Field, where curveballs don’t curve. Revere played in Target Field, which is death on power.

      Pierre hit .321 on the road that year. Revere hits ground balls. It wouldn’t matter where he plays. I don’t hate Ben Revere. I just don’t like players that are so one-dimensional (speed).

  13. This has been said before, but I think it’s more than a little ridiculous to say that Revere is the same player as Taveras when Revere is just 24 years old while Taveras is 31.

    Obviously, scouts who know a lot more than any of us liked what they saw in Revere. They can project his career better than any of us can, and the fact more than one team was interested in him tells me there is a good chance that many agree that he projects to develop into a valuable player.

    Sure, if you want to look at what a player is NOW, then ok you have an argument that Revere is Taveras lite. But it is incredibly short sighted and borderline ignorant to claim that’s all he will be for his entire career. You simply cannot peg an MLB player by their age 24 season. Get back to us when he has 4 more years under his belt.

    • Obviously, scouts who know a lot more than any of us liked what they saw in Revere. They can project his career better than any of us can, and the fact more than one team was interested in him tells me there is a good chance that many agree that he projects to develop into a valuable player.

      The same scouts who sold us Taveras, who was 26 at the time? They don’t always get it right. And the issue really isn’t whether Revere is genuinely good at what he does (run) it’s whether the Reds should even be looking at such one-dimensional players.

      • The same scouts who sold us Taveras, who was 26 at the time? They don’t always get it right. And the issue really isn’t whether Revere is genuinely good at what he does (run) it’s whether the Reds should even be looking at such one-dimensional players.

        The thing is, there is quite a huge developmental gap between your age 24 and age 26 season.

        Case in point: You said Pierre had proved he could hit above .300 before his age 24 season. Well, Taveras proved the same thing when he hit .320 in his age 25 season. So by your logic, he was a good player to take a chance on.

        The fact is, an organization like the Reds has to depend on their scouts to evaluate and bring in young, cheap players with hopes that they will develop into the players they want them to be. To me, Revere seemed like a decent gamble to take since he is so young and could still figure out how to walk.

        If you want a team who stocks their coffers with known commodities who can provide exactly what they know they want, then the Reds are not a team you should follow.

      • Pierre hit .321 on the road that year. Revere hits ground balls. It wouldn’t matter where he plays. I don’t hate Ben Revere. I just don’t like players that are so one-dimensional (speed).

        I don’t mind one-dimensional players if they do a good job, and it’s silly to stereotype or be prejudiced against them all because of Willy Taveras… or somehow hold Ben Revere accountable for Willy Taveras. Once again, the Phillies’ front office apparently projects a career for Revere resembling Juan Pierre’s, you project one resembling Taveras’. At this rate it’s sort of silly to imply that you predicted the future better than the Phillies front office. If this is a battle between Steve and Phillies you’ll just have to wait and see who wins – maybe you outsmarted them.

        The same scouts who sold us Taveras, who was 26 at the time? They don’t always get it right. And the issue really isn’t whether Revere is genuinely good at what he does (run) it’s whether the Reds should even be looking at such one-dimensional players.

        If scouts were wrong about Willy Taveras they must be wrong about all players with a vague similarity to him? Interesting. I’m curious if the Reds fired scouts who now work for the Twins or Phillies.

  14. Just because you buy a girl a drink, doesn’t mean that you want to marry her …

    If you buy into the theory that the front office sees Billy Hamilton as their CF of the future, I don’t see the Reds mortgaging that future with a costly CF acquisition.

    I have to believe that WJ is trying to acquire a stopgap (2 yr. max) CF to bridge the gap to Hamilton. And he’s trying to do so on the cheap.

    Too many bad things can happen during a season to risk it all on an expensive one year rental. I’m fine with an outfield of Jesse Winker, Billy Hamilton, and Bruce for years to come.

    Save your $ for Latos, Bailey, and Chapman.

    • Just because you buy a girl a drink, doesn’t mean that you want to marry her …

      If you buy into the theory that the front office sees Billy Hamilton as their CF of the future, I don’t see the Reds mortgaging that future with a costly CF acquisition.

      I have to believe that WJ is trying to acquire a stopgap (2 yr. max) CF to bridge the gap to Hamilton.And he’s trying to do so on the cheap.

      Too many bad things can happen during a season to risk it all on an expensive one year rental.I’m fine with an outfield of Jesse Winker, Billy Hamilton, and Bruce for years to come.

      Save your $ for Latos, Bailey, and Chapman.

      The problem with that is, if you put all your eggs in one basket, if you drop that basket, you lose all your eggs and don’t get to make your omelette.

      Personally, I think the Reds should get rid of Stubbs and try to bring in Fowler. Then you let Hamilton develop at the right pace, and when he is truly ready, you bring him along slowly since you have that luxury with Fowler already (hopefully) excelling in that role.

      Then IF Hamilton works out, you have another trade chip to fill another need on your team.

      It’s way too risky to put all your hopes on the young shoulders of Billy Hamilton.

      • @CI3J:

        The problem with that is, if you put all your eggs in one basket, if you drop that basket, you lose all your eggs and don’t get to make your omelette. Personally, I think the Reds should get rid of Stubbs and try to bring in Fowler. Then you let Hamilton develop at the right pace, and when he is truly ready, you bring him along slowly since you have that luxury with Fowler already (hopefully) excelling in that role. Then IF Hamilton works out, you have another trade chip to fill another need on your team.It’s way too risky to put all your hopes on the young shoulders of Billy Hamilton.

        You could still make your omlette, but sunny side fried eggs would be out of the question.

        I don’t see it as putting all your hopes on Billy Hamilton. He’s a top 5 prospect but he is (imo) at least a year away, if not longer. I hope that WJ is just trying to give the Reds two “somewhat” decent options in CF for 2013. A cheap (in terms of $ and talent given away in trade), better than mediocre CF, to compete with Stubbs (who might prove to be better than what they can acquire cheaply). I’m not ready to give up on Stubbs, but I’ll concede that another season like 2012 will make me more than ready.

        Stubbs was, I believe, a class Valadictorian (sp?). He’s no dummy and knows that his career as a starter is on the line.

        I think that it is far more risky to acquire a player like Choo for one year, with little or no hope of being able to re-sign him. He gets hurt, or another key player or two gets hurt (starting pitchers in particular) and you would have mortgaged the future on one throw of the dice.

        Find a cheap alternative to Stubbs, and keep the core of the team, and the budget, intact in order to compete for years to come.

        • I think that it is far more risky to acquire a player like Choo for one year, with little or no hope of being able to re-sign him. He gets hurt, or another key player or two gets hurt (starting pitchers in particular) and you would have mortgaged the future on one throw of the dice.

          I don’t think the asking price for 1 year of Choo will be “mortgaging the future” – and if it is, then yeah, walk away.

          Sadly, I pretty much agree with those who think the Choo train blew town the second Luddy signed – I don’t see them even un-seriously considering Bruce in CF. Sad to see the same pattern repeat over and over – we don’t go after a Choo, we go after a Revere. Pleh.

          Sure, a young fellow like Revere might develop a more dicerning eye at the plate. But not in Cincinnati. Such things not valued here.

  15. The top of the Reds batting order WAS broken last year. The pitching helped overcome it, but that doesn’t mean it was all hunky dory.

    The smoking gun of brokenness (what a tourtured metaphor!) was JV’s RBI numbers. He was 3rd on the team until he had that insane streak, when he finally passed Phillips and tied Bruce. (I don’t remember if he actually passed Bruce at any point.) Then the knee happened. *Maybe* Votto would have wound up leading the team in RBIs had he not gotten hurt. But not by much.

    That’s the difference between having no one on in front of you and having an elite OBP (or even a “decent” one)in front of you. That’s the sound of Votto’s potential output being whizzed down your leg.

    Re: Revere – I’ve said this mutiple times before, but I do not care if our leadoff hitter steals a single base all season. Speed enough to consistently take two bases on a single is sufficient. I also don’t care if our leadoff hitter hits a single home run – *maybe* even a single extra base hit.

    But if you’re a total slap hitter, you’d better have an elite OBP. And as a slap hitter, you *really* should have an elite walk rate, too – pitch recognition and a quick swing are part of the package, right?

    So Ben Revere is just the kind of leadoff guy this organization seems to value, given past experience. Which is what bugs me so much about reading this. We certainly do have a type.

  16. @reaganspad: I pretty much agree with your comment. No need to panic over the lead-off spot. Maybe Stubbs bounces back. Maybe Baker gets more creative and tries Bruce or Frazier leading off. Maybe we can live with Phillips there.

    That said, if the Reds could make a move for an impact player like Shin Soo Choo, they should.

    You point out a lot of areas where the Reds could be better, but they ignore some downside risks, too. Can we expect the starting rotation to stay healthy all year? Will Ludwick revert to his previous form? What if there’s an injury to Bruce or Phillips or Cozart or Frazier? No obvious backups there. Can we expect Votto to be fully healthy?

    Choo might just be a one-year signing, but he’d be a gigantic, enormous (trying to avoid using the clichéd ‘game changer’) upgrade. Power, speed, defense, OBP, experience leading off.

    And the bottom line is he can’t be that expensive because he’s just a one-year rental. I hope Walt is kicking the tires in Cleveland.

    • @reaganspad:Maybe Baker gets more creative and tries Bruce or Frazier leading off.

      Never thought I would see “Baker” and “creative” in the same sentence…

  17. @reaganspad: Thanks for the mention of some support for some aspect of what I said about Stubbs. I agree that the trade rumors have helped to set up a make or break season for Stubbs, as does optimism about Billy Hamilton – and with his trade value at rock bottom it can seemingly only go up from here. I think he’s a safer gamble than some guys the Reds could trade for to replace him.

    I think there are still a bunch of question marks. Joey Votto is optimistic about his knee but during Redsfest it seems like he’s stilllllll rehabbing it. Broxton is only an upgrade to the bullpen if Chapman returns to the closer role; otherwise he’s a downgrade. It’s unrealistic to expect the starters to all stay healthy, especially considering Cueto and Bailey’s history of injuries.

    I want the season to start already. Winter is boriiiiing. I saw a snowflake yesterday. Boring.

  18. Hmmmm…I can’t help but wonder whether the Reds would make their money back offering THE Hamilton one year at 27mil. How’s that for a “pillow” contract. Yep…I’d do that for a year and have faith I’d sell at least 10 mil worth in jerseys. I’ll bet he’s just looking for an excuse to leave Texas for another winner…ahhh…love dreaming in the offseason.

  19. @CP: The offense isn’t going to be very good? I don’t know, that seems like a stretch. There aren’t that many teams that can say they have 7 guys that they expect to hit 15 HRs or more.

    Phillips (15), Cozart (15), Stubbs (15), Frazier (20), Ludwick (25), Votto (30), Bruce (35).

    Having the two worst hitters on the team bat leadoff all year last year, I think it made people think that the offense is worse than it really was.

  20. @redsfanman: If you’re going to put a power hitter leadoff on this team, why wouldn’t it be Votto?

    Bruce’s strength really comes from the HR. It’s great if your leadoff guy hits a HR, but when you have a guy and that’s his primary weapon, you should put him in a place where more people are going to be on base.

    Votto had a .474 OBP last year, and that alone is enough to say he should leadoff. His power is also more doubles power than HR power, which requires people to knock you in.

    I think there are very good arguments for Votto to lead off. It will never happen with Dusty, and hitting him 3rd is fine. I really don’t get Bruce leading off though.

    • @redsfanman: If you’re going to put a power hitter leadoff on this team, why wouldn’t it be Votto?

      Bruce’s strength really comes from the HR. It’s great if your leadoff guy hits a HR, but when you have a guy and that’s his primary weapon, you should put him in a place where more people are going to be on base.

      Votto had a .474 OBP last year, and that alone is enough to say he should leadoff.His power is also more doubles power than HR power, which requires people to knock you in.

      I think there are very good arguments for Votto to lead off. It will never happen with Dusty, and hitting him 3rd is fine. I really don’t get Bruce leading off though.

      I think Votto is best used hitting third where he has an opportunity to knock runners in, guys who can’t bring themselves in otherwise. Votto hits lots of doubles and Bruce has plenty of speed (even though he doesn’t use it to steal bases) to score from first base (unlike Votto, especially with knee concerns, and Hanigan).

      Jay Bruce hits for a similar average and hits homeruns whether guys are on base or not. I think he’d do a good job of getting on base, scoring runs, putting the Reds ahead early, and driving in slower runners (the 8 and 9 hitters). He’s a big independent threat at the top of the lineup, unlike Billy Hamilton (or Juan Pierre, Ben Revere, or Willy Taveras) who doesn’t rely on following hitters to score a run. I just think it’s worth a chance. Don’t like Dusty Baker going with the proto-typical leadoff hitter? I think Jay Bruce is the solution to that.

  21. @Steve Mancuso: By the way, I didn’t mean for that post to sound so condescending, I just think Ben Revere deserves a fair chance to see what he can do in Philadelphia without prematurely being labeled as a failure. The Phillies have a credible office and they obviously see something positive in Revere even if you don’t.

  22. Every player on a major league team must be good because they are on a major league team. Hmm.

    Just because I don’t want the Reds to go after players like Ben Revere doesn’t mean that (a) I hate Ben Revere, (b) think Ben Revere shouldn’t get a fair chance on someone else’s club, (c) think there is nothing positive that Ben Revere offers, (d) think that it’s impossible for Ben Revere to get better. Sheesh.

    You guys are personalizing this argument too much. My point isn’t about Willy Taveras or Ben Revere per se. It’s not that they stink, stunk or will stink. It’s that even at their best, they are what they are. One-dimensional slap hitters.

    It’s not them in particular, it’s the kind of player they are.

    When I said in the headline that the Reds were trying to sign Willy Taveras again, I didn’t mean that Ben Revere was literally Willy Taveras, only that they are very similar type players.

    Ben Revere is what he is. He is fast. He hits ground balls and beats them out. When he’s lucky the ball goes between the infielders. No one – not the Phillies, not the Reds, not Dusty Baker, not Walt Jocketty – thinks that Ben Revere is going to hit for even the tiniest bit of power. No one thinks he’ll start walking at league average all of a sudden.

    The question is whether you want someone like that leading off on your team.

    Some people in baseball, who know way more than I do, value players like him. My claim is nothing more than that view is out-of-date. Players like Willy Taveras, Juan Pierre and Ben Revere don’t contribute enough to a team to pursue.

    If at the end of all these arguments they get reduced to “well, they know more than you do” then baseball blogs like this will be pretty sterile and pointless places. Don’t bother criticizing Dusty Baker because he knows more. Same with Walt Jocketty. No doubt.

    But where’s the fun in that? :-)

    • Some people in baseball, who know way more than I do, value players like him. My claim is nothing more than that view is out-of-date. Players like Willy Taveras, Juan Pierre and Ben Revere don’t contribute enough to a team to pursue.

      I think what set most people off is you are seeming to group Revere with Taveras and say that that is the kind of player he is going to be for his career.

      Again, we are talking about a 24 year old MLB player who hits for a decently high average and seems to have lots of room for improvement. This is a player the Reds, and indeed, a lot of teams should express interest in. Young? Check. Great defense? Check. Improving average every year in the league? Check. High ceiling? Check.

      It is good that the Reds were looking at players like this. There is room for them to develop, and then you can lock them up long term for a cheap price if all goes well. If not, you get rid of them and move on. (What SHOULD happen with Stubbs)

  23. @earmbrister:

    I’m not on board with the Choo signing. I wanted the Reds to get Span or I would be happy with Fowler as well. Revere would have been a decent pickup as well. I’m not on board with any one year rentals; if the Reds get someone, it better be for a fair price and multi years.

  24. @Steve Mancuso: I think it goes back to the Five Tool Player=good, One-Dimensional Players=bad. We’ve seen that five tool players can be bad and one-dimensional players can, on occasion, be alright. It seems strange to classify them by a group and associate them with a worst case scenario, especially for a young player.

    I think there’s a difference between guessing what Walt Jocketty may have offered in a trade for Ben Revere and implying that the Twins saved him from making a foolish, regrettable, and lopsided deal like you did earlier… when there’s no evidence of what he offered. You didn’t want Ben Revere and Jocketty didn’t trade for him, seems like you’d be happy. He’s innocent until proven guilty. Now with your article the Blog has spun from Dusty and Stubbs-bashing to Walt Jocketty bashing, and the implication that he’s part of the problem. If a third party read this would they realize that the Reds finished in first place?

    • If a third party read this would they realize that the Reds finished in first place?

      They would if the read carefully.

      From the OP: “To their credit, the Reds in recent years have done an excellent job valuing and acquiring big pitching arms and tight defensive players.”

      I don’t think it’s unfair to criticize the Reds organization for not sufficiently valuing on-base-percentage. Do you?

  25. @CI3J: High ceiling? I just don’t think a player who can’t hit a home run (or many doubles for that matter) has a high ceiling. Maybe in the category of stolen bases. At the very best he’s Juan Pierre.

    And the great defense claim has yet to be proven. He ran up his positive UZR in the corner OF spot last year. He was actually rated negative in CF. But all those numbers are way too small to be reliable. Still, I personally heard the Twins GM say this week that Revere has a noted liability of having a weak arm.

    Revere is going to be that KIND of player all his career. He may turn out to be great at it – Vince Coleman great – but he’s not going to be anything other than a Willy Taveras KIND of player. The risk with “if not, you get rid of them” is giving up Mike Leake or Tony Cingrani or both for him.

  26. rfay00, how did this work? I did not post this.

    “@reaganspad:Maybe Baker gets more creative and tries Bruce or Frazier leading off.”

    redsfanman, there is so little difference between Coco, Chapman and Broxton as far as results are concerned. How many did you save and how many did you blow?

    all are capable of saving 40 and blowing 5-6. Coco did it with less flare, a lot of walks and moxie, but he was a team leader. Chapman was the sleek version. Broxton will not be accused of that.

    As far as injuries or having a down year, could happen. Dusty could have another heart problem and the team could be sold and the NASD could reach 5,000. will those things happen, probably not.

    So I choose to look at things based on trends and outliers. Johnny’s and Homer’s continued progress as starters are trends. Rolen’s 2012 was a trend Stubbs 2012 is an outlier.

    Frazier, Cozart, Mesaraco? too small of a sample but you have to like what they bring to the table

  27. @RC: i don’t know, report i just posted said the reds are deep in trade talks for choo, would use him in center field, and would have him lead off.

  28. @Steve Mancuso: I think it’s fair to be skeptical of guys the Reds’ pick up but I don’t think it’s fair to predict a worse case scenario for guys they consider. Willy Taveras isn’t the only guy to enter the Reds’ organization in the past decade. The Reds definitely have trouble finding good OBP guy but that doesn’t mean that anyone they consider will be a failure.

    @Steve Mancuso: As I said in my first post, if you think somebody needs to hit for power to do well – to have a high ceiling – you won’t like Billy Hamilton. I’m willing to give Hamilton a fair opportunity to perform well rather than define or limit him by what skill he lacks.

    @reaganspad: I never had a problem with Francisco Cordero and I doubt I will with Jonathan Broxton but they are both worse than Chapman. Call it what you want – moxie, energy, whatever – the whole outlook for the 9th inning changes with Broxton.

  29. Stubbs and Didi Gregorius for Shin-Shoo Choo? I’ll believe it when I see it. I suppose that’s fine with me – I’ve been pretty adamant about Gregorius being overrated and hoping he gets traded before other teams find out.

    Hopefully Stubbs could do well in Cleveland.

  30. @al:

    I’d still rather them get Fowler. Younger, and longer team control. I don’t think it makes sense for the Reds to trade anything away for a one year rental.

    If they could somehow lock Choo up long term, ok I’m on board. He could slide to left in 2 years after Ludwick is gone, then hopefully Hamilton excells in MLB. But Choo is a Scott Boras client, so that’s not likely.

  31. I like Choo, but Didi and stubbs is a lot.

    But I like Choo

    but it is a lot

    But I like Choo better than Fowler et al

    That is really gambling that Hamilton is ready in 2014

    But I like Choo. This is one of those baseball trades that could happen because I like Stubbs and Didi also

  32. @redsfanman: it might be the best the indians can get for him. from their perspective, it’s 6 years of didi and 3 years of stubbs.

    then they trade asdrubal cabrera for a haul of prospects, and they would have turned 3 years of expensive team control (2 cabrera, 1 choo) into many years of cheap team control.

    i think didi will probably be as good as cozart. not that that’s great, but there aren’t that many elite offensive shortstops these days.

  33. According to the article, the Reds would get a second player back.

    The thing that really strikes me about this report is the detail about Stubbs and Gregorius. It sounds to me like this deal is very close to happening and not just one of those “could be a match” rumors like we saw with Bailey and Fowler.

    Three years of Stubbs and six years of Gregorius for one year of Choo. Wow. That’s a big trade if it happens.

  34. @al: I think this is the first trade for a leadoff hitter that we’ve heard about that doesn’t involve giving up young pitching. I’m curious who would play CF – Choo or Bruce? Neither has done it with any regularity in years.

    If this gets done:
    1. Sorry to everyone who said Choo (or Alex Gordon) was still an option after Ludwick was signed!
    2. Good job to Jocketty for adding a better leadoff hitter than Fowler or Revere without giving up young pitching.
    3. Congratulations to Dusty Baker, I have a feeling that his lineups will have become much smarter. Suddenly he’ll know how to choose a leadoff hitter.

  35. It sounds like we could get Choo without giving up any pitching. That’s a big plus. Unlike the Fowler deal, where Homer Bailey was mentioned. Fowler’s home-away splits kind of bother me. Choo is a much, much better player than Fowler.

  36. @CI3J: i think the deal would be that they’re banking on hamilton next year, one way or another. this would be for a one year run with choo.

    stubbs was terrible last year, but he’s got lots of potential. it would be hard to let him go, especially selling low.

    gregorious makes more sense for them than us. he doesn’t have a particularly high ceiling, he’s never going to be great. he probably will be decent though.

    but we already have cozart, who is all those things already. trading one of the two of them makes sense.

  37. @redsfanman: The article says Choo would play CF. I think they’d have to give Bruce a look there, too.

    Wow, all the details of this (Choo playing CF, the exact players on the Reds side, the term “deep in talks”) really make me think this is pretty close.

    Holding my breath.

  38. @Steve Mancuso: i agree, choo is a much better player than fowler. and to me, going after fowler didn’t make much sense if they reds are committed to hamilton.

    choo and then hamilton makes a lot of sense to me.

    @redsfanman: for what it’s worth, the report says choo would play center and notes that he hasn’t since 2009. but says that the reds feel they would improve on net. down on defense, up more on offense.

  39. @reaganspad: Is Didi Gregorius and Stubbs really a lot? Stubbs would be demoted to 4th outfielder and Gregorius is blocked long term by Cozart. Two extra pieces traded for a leadoff hitter? I’d do that.

    I definitely don’t think the Reds have a chance to sign Choo to an extension – this would be an all-in one year acquisition. Fine with me. Choo Choo, full speed ahead towards the World Series. HA. Lame.

  40. One year of a player who will be trying to make a case for a huge contract next year? A one year demonstration of the importance of getting on base to an organization who doesn’t see it?

    For a failed CF and a blocked SS?

    Man, I hope this happens.

  41. I would rather trade Stubbs and someone like Stephenson to get Fowler than trade Stubbs and Didi to get Choo.

    • I would rather trade Stubbs and someone like Stephenson to get Fowler than trade Stubbs and Didi to get Choo.

      What are you expecting from Didi Gregorius? Is he likely to take Cozart’s job anytime soon… or outperform Cozart ever? I think Didi’s trade value is at an all time high – move him while they can, like Juan Francisco last year.

      @al: As far as playing CF, regardless of what the article says about who (Bruce or Choo) plays CF for the Reds… the decision is up to Dusty Baker. If that’s the big question in spring training – which outfielder goes to CF and which to right – it should be an easy spring.

      • What are you expecting from Didi Gregorius?Is he likely to take Cozart’s job anytime soon… or outperform Cozart ever?I think Didi’s trade value is at an all time high – move him while they can, like Juan Francisco last year.

        Actually, I was one of those guys who was on board when that report came out that the Reds were considering trading Cozart. HE’S the one with the high value, and you could get a lot for him and stick Didi in there for more years of control, a slightly younger player, better defense, and a possible development on offense. Either way, you could get more for COzart than Didi while not hurting the club much, why not do that?

        • Actually, I was one of those guys who was on board when that report came out that the Reds were considering trading Cozart. HE’S the one with the high value, and you could get a lot for him and stick Didi in there for more years of control, a slightly younger player, better defense, and a possible development on offense. Either way, you could get more for COzart than Didi while not hurting the club much, why not do that?

          The Reds aren’t a serious player in the post season with DD at SS this year. Maybe in one or two more years but Coz is the guy who fits the Reds ‘window of opportunity’ and he is proven.

  42. Just saw this. Ugh, if it’s true, I’ll feel like we could have gotten so much more than just a one year rental:

    Choo may be Cincy-bound: CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Danny Knobler reports that the Indians are close to finalizing a deal that would send Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds. Choo and a second player would go to Cincinnati in exchange for outfielder Drew Stubbs and shortstop Didi Gregorius. Should the deal be completed, the Reds would use Choo as their center fielder and leadoff hitter.
    (Updated 12/11/12)

  43. @CI3J: what do you do with fowler next year when hamilton is ready?

    so then next year, you’ve lost one of your best pitching prospects, and you have another of your best prospect playing in AAA for the second time.

    if they were going to trade for a CF with years of control, the thing to do would have been to trade hamilton for a corner outfield bat.

    getting ludwick showed that they were committed to keeping hamilton, and if that’s the case, a one year player is perfect.

    • @CI3J: what do you do with fowler next year when hamilton is ready?

      so then next year, you’ve lost one of your best pitching prospects, and you have another of your best prospect playing in AAA for the second time.

      if they were going to trade for a CF with years of control, the thing to do would have been to trade hamilton for a corner outfield bat.

      getting ludwick showed that they were committed to keeping hamilton, and if that’s the case, a one year player is perfect.

      What if Hamilton doesn’t pan out? What if he needs more seasoning? What’s wrong with bringing him along slowly in the majors with Fowler and he sharing time in CF initially instead of just handing him the reins right from the start? What’s wrong with trading Fowler later if Hamilton DOES pan out? What’s wrong with sliding Fowler over to left when Ludwick is done and having a 1-2 punch of Hamilton/Fowler at the top of your order?

      • @CI3J:

        What if Hamilton doesn’t pan out? What if he needs more seasoning?

        Well, that’s clearly a gamble. The Reds obviously think that he will.

        What’s wrong with bringing him along slowly in the majors with Fowler and he sharing time in CF initially instead of just handing him the reins right from the start?

        IF you’ve followed the Reds, you know that Dusty doesn’t like doing this. Also, do you really want a guy as young as Hamilton on the bench? That seems like having 2 good pieces for one spot, which isn’t ideal.

        What’s wrong with trading Fowler later if Hamilton DOES pan out?

        More transaction costs. Who knows what the market will be like then, what you’ll be able to get. They want to win now, and Choo is just better.

        What’s wrong with sliding Fowler over to left when Ludwick is done and having a 1-2 punch of Hamilton/Fowler at the top of your order?

        I believe they would only have Fowler for 3 years, and Ludwick may be around for all of those. At best you could do that in 2015 for one year.

        There’s no way around it. Getting Fowler blocks Hamilton for 2014. You can say that your opinion is that Hamilton won’t be ready for 2014, but that’s just a guess. The Reds clearly guess differently.

        • @CI3J:

          What if Hamilton doesn’t pan out? What if he needs more seasoning?

          Well, that’s clearly a gamble.The Reds obviously think that he will.

          What’s wrong with bringing him along slowly in the majors with Fowler and he sharing time in CF initially instead of just handing him the reins right from the start?

          IF you’ve followed the Reds, you know that Dusty doesn’t like doing this.Also, do you really want a guy as young as Hamilton on the bench? That seems like having 2 good pieces for one spot, which isn’t ideal.

          What’s wrong with trading Fowler later if Hamilton DOES pan out?

          More transaction costs. Who knows what the market will be like then, what you’ll be able to get.They want to win now, and Choo is just better.

          What’s wrong with sliding Fowler over to left when Ludwick is done and having a 1-2 punch of Hamilton/Fowler at the top of your order?

          I believe they would only have Fowler for 3 years, and Ludwick may be around for all of those. At best you could do that in 2015 for one year.

          There’s no way around it.Getting Fowler blocks Hamilton for 2014.You can say that your opinion is that Hamilton won’t be ready for 2014, but that’s just a guess.The Reds clearly guess differently.

          Some rules of thumb that I am glad the Reds refused to break in the pursuit of Fowler
          1. Don’t trade young pitching unless it’s for pitching.
          2. Don’t trade SP under team control if you can help it.
          3. Target based on needs, not wants.

          Fowler is a want, he would have cost pitching and there is far more a question of how his splits translate beyond Coors whereas Choo is almost guaranteed to improve his power numbers with this move. Bottom line: The Reds made the playoffs last year because of pitching, the starting rotation (Sam Lecure said as much on 700 the other day). The Reds needed a lead off hitter and they preserved all their pitching (rotation and prospects) and got the best one available for a year. That is a huge win in my book.

  44. If this goes down as advertised, it really works for both teams. The Indians get two solid pieces to build around for a few years. They aren’t close to winning anything as is.

    The Reds, on the other hand, would be cashing in 2-for-1 to make a huge push for 2013. This isn’t a “make the playoffs” move, it’s a “win the World Series” move.

    • If this goes down as advertised, it really works for both teams. The Indians get two solid pieces to build around for a few years. They aren’t close to winning anything as is.

      The Reds, on the other hand, would be cashing in 2-for-1 to make a huge push for 2013. This isn’t a “make the playoffs” move, it’s a “win the World Series” move.

      If this goes down as advertised, it really works for both teams. The Indians get two solid pieces to build around for a few years. They aren’t close to winning anything as is.

      The Reds, on the other hand, would be cashing in 2-for-1 to make a huge push for 2013. This isn’t a “make the playoffs” move, it’s a “win the World Series” move.

      Well said. I completely agree. The Reds are going all-in, this move makes them the favorite in the NL Central (if there wasn’t any question before – they fixed their main problem without harming the pitching staff (present or future). Didi Gregorius, like Yonder Alonso, is a blocked prospect rather than part of the team’s future.

      So many lame jokes that can come out of his name. The Reds will Choo Choo Choose him. Choo choo, full speed ahead to the World Series.

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