2013 Reds

Couple of snippets from John Fay

From January 2nd:

The Reds used some creative financing to sign free agents Ryan Ludwick and Jack Hannahan. Ludwick’s deal is worth $15 million over two years. Hannahan’s is worth $4 million over two years.

But much of the money is back-loaded in both cases.

Ludwick got a $2 million signing bonus and will make $1 million this season. His salary for 2014 is $7.5 million. But he has an mutual option for 2015 at $9 million. The buyout is for $4.5 million, all of which is deferred without interest.

Hannahan will make $1 million this year and $1 million in 2014. There’s a club option for $4 million in 2015 with with $2 million buyout.

Also says that Arroyo has $15M coming (backloaded) through 2021, with no interest.

I guess Arroyo coming off the books next year (other than the backloaded money) is why they felt they could pay Ludwick $7.5M next year? I sure hope he’s worth $7.5M next year, but I have my doubts.

And from January 3rd:

The club hasn’t had any talks with the agents for Homer Bailey and Mat Latos since touching base at the Winter Meetings. Jocketty said the club would like to sign both long-term. A small-market club almost has to do that — given the price of pitching. Anibal Sanchez went 9-13 with a 3.86 ERA last year and got a five-year, $80 million contract from Detroit.

‘It’s been crazy,” Jocketty said. “You want to reach a deal that’s fair to the player and club. It won’t be easy.”

Both Bailey and Latos are arbitration-eligible. The sides exchange salary numbers on Jan. 18. Not much usually happens before then.

It’ll be interesting to see if anything happens on this front. I really hope it does, but am doubtful. But who thought Jocketty would pull the Votto and Phillips rabbits out of his hat? Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see the arbitration numbers that come from Bailey and Latos.

–The Reds have not heard which players will play in the World Baseball Classic. Joey Votto said he will play for Canada — if he feels 100 percent. Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips will likely be asked to play for the U.S. team, and Johnny Cueto will likely be asked to play for the Dominican team.

The instrument to measure the level of my hate of the WBC has yet to be invented….

It won’t bother me as much if the position players play in this thing, but I REALLY hate the idea of Cueto wasting innings in this worthless endeavor.

63 thoughts on “Couple of snippets from John Fay

  1. Aside from being creative with keeping the payroll down in 2013 Ludwick and Arroyo’s contacts both make it more appealing for the team to retain them long term – Arroyo became nearly impossible to trade and Ludwick became easier to justify keeping for a third year.

    Arroyo’s deferred money becomes guaranteed/up front if he’s traded, working as a clever alternative to a no-trade clause, in addition to his 10/5 veto rights. Who needs a no-trade clause when you can add a clause that makes the contract prohibitively expensive if traded?

    It’s interesting that how much Ludwick gets paid for 2013 basically depends on whether both sides pick up his 2015 option. For 2015 Ludwick will get paid $4.5m to leave, or an extra $4.5m to stay…. which sounds much better than retaining him for $9m.

    Personally I place a much higher priority on extending Matt Latos than Homer Bailey. I’ve always been a big supporter of Bailey but he’s still a huge question mark. I’d prefer that they wait until next winter to make a decision on him, and whether 2012 was an isolated career year or a level of performance to expect. Robert Stephenson might be ready when Bailey’s contract is up.

  2. I’m confused about how Arroyo’s contract is backloaded through 2021. Am I missing something? I thought he was a free agent next year?

    • I’m confused about how Arroyo’s contract is backloaded through 2021. Am I missing something? I thought he was a free agent next year?

      Like Ken Griffey Jr’s contract with the Reds, Arroyo’s contract features lots of deferred money, in his case to be paid through 2021, long after he’s retired. A clause in his contract says that the deferred money has to be paid up front if he’s traded. That means the team has more money to spend on other players while he’s around and that it’s much harder to trade him (he probably became un-trusting after the Red Soxs signed him at a discount and quickly traded him away). Whether Arroyo leaves as a free agent or signs an extension he’ll remain on the books for years.

      Some teams seem to like to defer money and I’m not sure if all the fans recognize that the money doesn’t disappear, it just means that the team has to pay it later instead.

  3. The Reds should definitely try to hammer out an extension with Latos. He’s still very young and has already solidified himself as an ace pitcher with 3 consecutive great seasons. He has strike out stuff and a solid pitcher’s frame. Lock him up yesterday.

    Bailey was very good last year, but he has not been a consistent performer and has struggled with injuries at times. I’d just go year to year with him and let him walk at the end of 2014 when he reaches free agency unless he is willing to sign a very team friendly deal.

    Let’s hope that all of this deferred money doesn’t eventually catch up with the Reds. I think they are heavily banking on increased revenues from a new TV deal and increased attendance/interest. Let’s hope this pays off. I’d love to see the Reds get to a level with their payroll where they can afford to keep a few stars and while still being consistently competitive. I think their already pretty close.

  4. I am sure everyone remembers what happened the season after Cueto pitched in the last WBC. I hope he doesn’t go thru with pitching in it again!

  5. @jwahl:

    I hope Cueto remembers what happened to Cueto last time he pitched in the WBC and decides it’s not worth doing again.

  6. Maybe I am crazy but I like the idea of Votto ‘getting his sea legs back’ at the WBC. He is in a unique situation having healed from an injury at the end of the season so he is my only exception to my general distate of the whole money making charade.

    • Also Joey Votto, I believe, has an interesting contract. It jumps to $17m in 2013 before he gets a temporary pay cut at the beginning of his laden extension in 2014. Its interesting to read about.
      Votto in 2011: $7.5m
      2012: 9.5m
      2013: $17m.
      2014: $12m.
      2015: $14m.
      2016: $20m.
      2017: $22m.
      Final 6 years (2018-2023): $25m/year.
      It makes him much, much harder to trade as he gets older, kinda like a limited no trade clause. The only teams that would even want him are contenders with lots of money that are serious about winning.

      Maybe I am crazy but I like the idea of Votto ‘getting his sea legs back’ at the WBC.He is in a unique situation having healed from an injury at the end of the season so he is my only exception to my general distate of the whole money making charade.

      I think the whole point of spring training is getting guys ready for the regular season, and I don’t think the WBC is necessarily any more useful.

      @AlphaZero: Mat Latos has established himself as an ace? I think that’s open to debate – he looks like a second tier ace like Aaron Harang in his prime. I’d say he’s a safer gamble than Homer Bailey.

      Eh, who ever cares about back laden contracts, deferred money, and debts to pay off in the future? Not our government! HA. The Reds do have to hope they do well, as you said, to increase fan interest (which includes making them watch games on TV) and sell tickets.

  7. The instrument to measure the level of my hate of the WBC has yet to be invented….… that was a good line.

    • The instrument to measure the level of my hate of the WBC has yet to be invented…

      Preach on. You are not alone, brother.

      • Preach on. You are not alone, brother.

        Did someone call me?

        I know I am in the great minority, but while I recognize that our CF defense will take a hit, I don’t think it’s going to be doom and gloom bad. Choo has an outstanding arm and he is a good athlete who can cover some ground. Is he ideal, no, but he will be just a smidge below average, IMO. That is certainly worth improving the lineup for. I also anticipate a lot of late inning subbing with Heisey/Bruce in CF, and Choo going to a corner. I think it will be an awesome opportunity for the double switch. Don’t blow it Dusty.

  8. As RFM pointed out, Ludwick’s contract and signing looks even better after the breakdown Fay provided. The club option for 2015 is just $4.5MM with $4.5MM of the 2013 salary deferred to 2015. While I hope Luddy produces through 2014, I also have some concerns about a possible drop off in 2014, but $15MM over two years was a VERY fair-market-value for Luddy after his showing in 2012.

    As Votto pointed out himself, he would only commit to play in the WBC if he is 100% healthy. If he is 100% healthy, I think it might be a good idea. I don’t see the additional playing time for a position player as necessarily detrimental as opposed to the stress and fatigue imposed on a pitcher by the additional playing time. Another player I would like to see with some additional playing time in the WBC would be Choo playing CF. He has so pitifully few games in CF as a professional player, but his numbers for those few games are actually pretty good (small sample size caveat imposed).

  9. Interesting discussion on the most recent baseball today podcast saying the Reds should sign Michael Bourn to a one year contract. Put him in CF, put Choo in LF, and Bruce in RF and Ludwick becomes an awesome fourth OF/trade bait.

    I have to say that if money weren’t an object, I’d do that. We need to face the fact that Choo is going to be awful in CF.

    • Interesting discussion on the most recent baseball today podcast saying the Reds should sign Michael Bourn to a one year contract. Put him in CF, put Choo in LF, and Bruce in RF and Ludwick becomes an awesome fourth OF/trade bait.

      The idea of Bourn sure makes the Ludwick contract feel a little premature. I think the guy (Ludwick) is very due for a regression, so I hate the idea of signing him to a 2-year deal anyway.

  10. @Shchi Cossack: I’m not sure that they would have any control over where Choo played defensively in the WBC, if he participated. If he were on an All Star Team I expect he’d play a corner outfield spot. I hope he doesn’t participate in the WBC so that he can spend all spring taking flyballs in CF. Otherwise Jay Bruce should spend all spring taking flyballs in CF.

    @per14: I agree that Choo is going to be an awful centerfielder. Jay Bruce is still a candidate for CF depending on how spring training goes. It will be interesting to see what Dusty does as far as defensive replacements – who will leave games earlier, Choo or Ludwick (with Choo moving to LF)? Which will get used as a DH, when possible? I think new centerfielder Shin-Shoo Choo will help fans to appreciate Drew Stubbs’ underrated defense and to set lower expectations for young Billy Hamilton. In 2014 Hamilton doesn’t have to be Gold Glove caliber to be an improvement defensively, he just has to be a better centerfielder than Choo.

    As far as Michael Bourn, I just don’t think he’s even a fit anymore, even if they had the money. Something I REALLY like about Choo is that the batting order is now obvious – Choo, Phillips, Votto, Ludwick, Bruce, Frazier as the top 6 – very little, if any, disagreement. Adding Bourn and removing Ludwick would make that into a mess. Who leads off (Choo vs Bourn)? Who hits second (Choo vs Bourn vs Phillips vs Cozart)? Fourth (Choo vs Phillips vs Frazier vs Bruce)? There would be lots of different opinions. I think the bad defense will be easier for most Reds fans to live with than constant disagreements about the order of the lineup.

  11. @per14: I like the idea of signing Bourn for a year if that is where his market goes. The Reds were able to work a bridge deal with Boras on Madsen so why not Bourn,

    Am I the only one recalling the collusion scandals of the mid to late 1980’s and early 2000’s as these Qualified Free Agents remain unsigned just some two weeks before the arbitration figures exchange date?

    • @per14: I like the idea of signing Bourn for a year if that is where his market goes. The Reds were able to work a bridge deal with Boras on Madsen so why not Bourn,

      The Reds had an opening and a well publicized need for a closer when Ryan Madson was signed, the same is not true in the Reds’ outfield. Even for Michael Bourn’s sake, he could find better opportunities with some of the 29 other teams.

  12. Continuing with my rambling, I’d much rather hear a year of Dusty being criticized for shoving one of the top leadoff hitters in the game into CF just to get his bat in the lineup (most people don’t care about fielding as long as somebody hits well) than hear yet another season of complaining about how he’s unable to select the best option to hit leadoff. If the Reds had the resources to make Shin-Shoo Choo and Michael Bourn teammates they’d just be starting the lineup disagreements all over again after trying to so hard to silence it.

  13. @redsfanman: Where is the better opportunity for Bourn to be the piece which locks down a run deep into the playoffs; and what else could do more for his value in the next off season?.

  14. @OhioJim: If Bourn signs a one year deal I expect his goal will be to play ~155-160 games and get a big long term contract elsewhere. Do you see a real opportunity for him to start 150+ games in Cincinnati? I don’t. I’m sure he wants to get to the playoffs but I expect that regular playing time is even more important.

    If he signs somewhere like Seattle he could hope to be traded to a contender midseason, somewhere that really wants him.

  15. In other news, former Reds player Chris Dickerson was designated for assignment. The Reds could realistically pursue him as an alternative to Xavier Paul or for depth in Louisville, even though they added a somewhat similar player a few days ago in Derrick Robinson.

  16. I really feel the entire team is set now. We have an average bench, but compared to last year it’s amazing, a very solid lineup, and potentially the best rotation in baseball in Chappy’s transition works out. The only concern I have is Votto may over estimate his health and play before he’s ready. While I doubt anyone really give there all in the WBC, I’m going to have nightmares of Votto sliding into third trying to stretch and double and reaggravating his knee… and getting thrown out in the process.

    • I really feel the entire team is set now. We have an average bench, but compared to last year it’s amazing, a very solid lineup, and potentially the best rotation in baseball in Chappy’s transition works out……

      I do not disagree with this but if Bourn were to become available similarly to how Madsen did last year, I think they should go after him. He is a better fit at CF and lead man than Choo who presumably is also a one year rental. If need be, after signing Bourn, they could turn around and flip Choo for whatever they could get.

  17. They are NOT going to sign Bourn…For Pete’s sake are people that bored/crazy? The Reds have their outfield put together and it is a serious upgrade over last year (except of course for the CF defense.) If they wanted Bourn they would have signed him instead of Ludwig and/or traded for Choo. The 4th outfielder is Heisey the 5th is Xavier Paul. “Turn around and flip Choo??” What is he a house? he is your new leadoff hitter folks…Enjoy.

  18. Bourn for one year an interesting thought… but I’m against it. Choo on a one year deal makes some sense, because we have someone slotted for his spot in 2014. But with Bourn, no matter how well the team does next year, we’d be looking at turning over 2/3 of our outfield the following season. Seems an odd thing to do for a organization that intends to be competitive in the long term.

    I suppose a World Series title might bring in enough extra revenue to resign one or both of them… but still… nah.

    • @OhioJim: Why shouldn’t they pursue Bourn? As I said it would lead to lots of complaining about the lineup, each and every day. Right now Dusty has an obvious batting order but Bourn would throw that into disarray. The Reds are probably happy to have settled disagreements over who should hit where.

      Whether or not it was premature to sign Ryan Ludwick he is here now. Bronson Arroyo was really angry when he signed a discount contract with a team (Boston) and quickly got traded away and I doubt the Reds want to set a similar precedent with Ryan Ludwick. If free agents expect to be shipped out of town after signing with the Reds it’ll be even harder to lure affordable guys.

      I suppose a World Series title might bring in enough extra revenue to resign one or both of them… but still… nah.

      I hope the Reds don’t start planning their future strategy and finances around the assumption that they already won the 2013 World Series and are guaranteed related increases in ticket sales.

  19. @tracedea: Choo was the best option when they got him. If they go into the season with him at lead off and in CF they will be fine.

    On the other hand if Bourn becomes available on a one year deal like Madsen did, and that’s the key, one year versus multiple years at $15M to 20M per year, he would be better for the role than Choo. Choo himself is almost certainly a 1 year “rental” player; and, they will likely have to pay $12-13M for that single year). Why shouldn’t the Reds pursue Bourn if they can land him for a price in the same general neighborhood as Choo?

    At the MLB level it is a business. The players and their agents work the clubs for millions and millions. The clubs move players as they see fit when they see fit as often for financial reasons as much or more than any other reason. So, yeah, in that sense maybe it is like the guy is a house or something but it is the way the business works and he is very well compensated for his ordeal.

  20. @redsfanman: If the Reds signed Bourn and subsequently traded another outfield, I suspect it would be Choo and not Ludwick who was traded. I have been pretty consistent in saying that.

    Now there are all sorts of hurdles in the path for the Reds signing Bourn. First of all the market really does have to be dead enough for him to take a one year deal at a reduced rate like Madsen did. Bourn was at around $9M in 2012. I would think even for 1 year, he would go for at least $12M. I had my numbers crossed earlier. Choo figures to make “only” $8M-10M this year and not 12M as I stated above. So, right there, even if the Reds were to turn and trade Choo after signing Bourn, they would still be expanding payroll by probably $2M-4M.

    There is the issue of the Reds forfeiting their 2013 first round pick (and that $$ allowance in the bonus pool) because Bourn is a qualified free agent. Then again he would figure to be the same this time next year; and if so, the Reds would figure to get the pick back.

    I think these are reasons the Reds might take a pass on Bourn even for a one year rental arrangement. I doubt that worrying or hand wringing over the batting order, either by the club or the public will figure into their decision.

  21. I just simply don’t see Bourn taking a one year deal anywhere….and don’t really understand the rationalization that he would. I don’t believe the FA market will dry up THAT far.

  22. The rehashed Bourn discussion is strange. That was settled a month ago.

    I wouldn’t mind see the Reds resign Arroyo after the year is over. I realize he might like to go back to Boston at some point in his career, but as one of my favorites and a very likely future Reds Hall of Famer, I’d love to see him finish his career in Cincinnati.

  23. @Bill Lack: Madson was signed by the Reds on 13 January last year? Did anyone see that coming, either that he would sign for a single year or that the Reds would be involved, until it actually happened?

    @TC: Signing Bourn for 1 year if the market breaks that way isn’t really a rehash as it wasn’t on the table a month to 6 weeks ago. Back then, the Reds went out and got Choo, almost certainly as 1 year rental, because he was the best fit contractually and as a player at that point. If Bourn falls to a 1 year deal, he would be a better fit than Choo on the field. The questions would come down to the off the field stuff.

    Yes it is a long long shot that Bourn will fall to a 1 year deal and even if he does that the Reds would be the teram to sign him. However, it is the end of the first week of January and the doldrums of the hot stove period ahead of arbitration season. What better to discuss?

  24. @TC: I think Arroyo originally regretted being traded away from Boston but I expect Boston has lost much of its appeal. After lots of controversies (Bobby Valentine!) and big trades of key players everyone he remembers from there is probably gone, and they are in a much worse position to contend (vs Yankees, Rays, and Blue Jays) than the Reds. If he leaves the Reds I really doubt he’d return to Boston.

    @OhioJim: I don’t think anybody expected Ryan Madson to sign a one year deal with the Reds, but everybody expected that SOME closer would be added to fill an opening on the roster, it was just a question of who. Adding Madson rather than another guy was a surprise last year, but that was totally different from bringing in Bourn to fill the newly acquired Choo’s role.

    Shin-Shoo Choo is a better hitter and better at getting on base (it’s reasonable to expect an OBP between .370 and .400), Michael Bourn is more of a well rounded player and prototypical leadoff guy (OBP around .350, stolen bases). I think Bourn is a downgrade from Choo in the leadoff spot and I doubt they’d give up a draft pick AND pay a big contract to add his defense when they already have 3 outfielders. If Jocketty wanted the best leadoff hitter available I think they already got him.

    • think Arroyo originally regretted being traded away from Boston but I expect Boston has lost much of its appeal.

      Yeah, that was 8 years ago. David Ortiz is the only guy on the Boston roster who Bronson played with.

      Well, except for Dave Ross and Jonny Gomes. They’re up there now.

  25. Re: Bourn. I brought it up, so I’ll say that I don’t think it’s strange discussion at all. He’s UNSIGNED. If you don’t think he’d be an upgrade over the current situation, you’re nuts. And as I also said when I started this discussion: Choo is going to be terrible defensively. He has rated as historically bad in RF and CF. (The idea that the solution is Bruce in CF overlooks that Choo is bad in RF, too.) Choo would be an average LF, though. An outfield of Bruce, Bourn, and Choo would be fantastic and Ludwick would be a great fill-in against lefties and if necessary, trade bait.

    As for, why would Bourn sign with the Reds? Well, right now, he has few options besides one year deals and if the Reds offered him 12-15….

    I’m not saying it will happen and if it were my money, I probably wouldn’t…but, if the Reds really want to go all in for 2013, it’d be a interesting option.

    And finally as someone mentioned, the fact that Bourn is still available makes the Ludwick signing look worse and worse.

    • Re: Bourn. I brought it up, so I’ll say that I don’t think it’s strange discussion at all.

      That makes sense, I guess. :wink:

  26. Yesterday’s RLN outage felt a lot like a power outage at my house. You know how it is when you’re bored because there are no lights, no TV, etc. What does one do when there is no RLN?

    • @TC:

      What does one do when there is no RLN?

      Well I kicked back with a supply of hops and grapes while I contemplated the impact of new collective bargaining agreement on older, high-end FA.

      I didn’t reach any earth-shattering conclusions. I think I had too much focus on the hops and grapes and not enough fovus on the contemplation part.

  27. I HATE the WBC with a burning passion. Griffey Jr. batted over .500 during the previous WBC, then hurt his knee in April in the Cubs clumpy OF. Of course he may have gotten injured in April anyway, but nonetheless at that point in his career it was stupid for him to be playing in the WBC.

    Majewski was a good pitcher until pitching in the WBC. A good pitcher for the Expos, that is, and maybe wouldn’t have made it to the Reds if he didn’t hurt his shoulder (thanks Jim Bowden) but just the same.

    More to the point, if Cueto, Votto, Bruce and BP all play for the WBC, it could mess with the Reds chances in 2013. No way that Cueto should be throwing innings in the WBC, but there will be a lot of pressure on him.

  28. Especially with the money that Victorino, Swisher, Pagan have gotten, 2 years of Ryan Ludwick for $15M seems like a great deal to me. In 2013 he got hot and stayed hot, I see no reason for a major regression in 2013. Without him, BP is batting cleanup and Votto sees nothing to hit.

  29. Having Choo in centerfield will probably be a headache all year but I think it’s worth the tradeoff for a better and more stable and balanced lineup. Stability and balance would leave with Michael Bourn as fans argued over who should hit where.

    • Having Choo in centerfield will probably be a headache all year but I think it’s worth the tradeoff for a better and more stable and balanced lineup. Stability and balance would leave with Michael Bourn as fans argued over who should hit where.

      @redsfanman: I am in agreement with you when it comes to signing Bourn but you’re losing me with your focus on lineup stability. The simple truth is that the fans can argue about who hits where all they want and it won’t affect Reds’ management one bit. Or at least it hasn’t in the past, nor should it. I can disagree with Dusty’s lineups all I want but it’s his team and his decision. There’s a reason I’m watching the games from my recliner or from the Mezzanine seats at GABP.

      • @redsfanman: I am in agreement with you when it comes to signing Bourn but you’re losing me with your focus on lineup stability. The simple truth is that the fans can argue about who hits where all they want and it won’t affect Reds’ management one bit. Or at least it hasn’t in the past, nor should it. I can disagree with Dusty’s lineups all I want but it’s his team and his decision. There’s a reason I’m watching the games from my recliner or from the Mezzanine seats at GABP.

        Fans CAN argue about the lineup but with Choo, Phillips, Votto, Ludwick, Bruce, and Frazier hitting 1-6 but there’s probably not going to be much disagreement at all with Dusty’s choices. Whether the shortstop or catcher hits 7th or 8th is just a minor disagreement rather than a fundamental disagreement about how the lineup should be laid out.

        Bring in Michael Bourn and there will be calls for him to lead off, rather than Choo. After all, Bourn is the prototypical leadoff hitter. There will be major disagreements with whichever option, Bourn or Choo, Dusty chooses, like last year with Phillips vs Cozart vs Stubbs (although the caliber of players is much higher). What do you do with Phillips? Lots of people don’t want Phillips hitting 4th (I’m okay with it, it’s much better than asking him to hit leadoff). Is it smart to bat lefties Bourn, Choo, and Votto next to eachother? Dusty doesn’t think so, some fans wouldn’t care. Just a big mess. Instead Dusty has to put up with crummy fielding in CF – a small price to pay.

  30. @redsfanman: I did watch UC basketball, not boring to me because I’m a diehard fan and they had a good (but losing) game against ND. But my main point is that without an RLN-like Bearcats basketball blog, there’s no one I can talk with about their recent miseries. No way to deal with a loss except listen to Mick Cronin talk about how they blew another one.

    RLN, you complete me.

  31. Last nite was a tough sports nite for me. Been a Notre Dame college football fan and a Bearcats basketball fan (starting with Oscar Robertson) since childhood. Both ND contests went the wrong way for me.

  32. @TC: As has been said, the appeal of Boston may no longer be there for Bronson. A lot has changed, I think he’d be interested in staying in Cincy. Even as a big fan of his who was excied by his 2012 season, I would let him go after 2013 though. As smart a pitcher as he is, he still needs his fastball in the high 80’s to be effective. He didn’t have that in 2011. He might not even have it in 2013.

    • @redsfanman: No problem with Dickerson as AAA depth. But an alternative to Xavier Paul ? He would be a downgrade.

      Xavier Paul had a great 2012 season. On the other hand as Reds fans we are no strangers to performance dropoffs and bad seasons by utility/bench players. He had several teammates (Cairo, Valdez, Willie Harris) who had huge dropoffs in performances last season. I hope Xavier Paul earns the 5th outfielder/left handed pinch hitter job but I hope he deserves it rather than gets handed it based on 2012. Dickerson seems like a reasonable candidate to bring in to provide competition. To some extent I believe Dickerson has been hampered as a hitter playing in the AL – how often do they really need a pinch hitter – he could probably put up a decent season like Paul did in 2012.

      @pinson343: I’m a UC graduate and fan but their basketball game wasn’t very interested – they were pretty far out of it before long. Last night’s football game was even more lopsided.

      @TC: I find that I like underdog players and that’s what Arroyo always has been. I like athletes who (at least publicly) set a good example for kids, and I think Arroyo does – be smart and learn to pitch and you can be successful without an arm like Aroldis Chapman’s. He’s also worked hard to earn every dollar of his contract(s). Also the importance of Arroyo’s ability to eat innings has largely been underrated during much of his time with the Reds, amidst many long seasons of underperforming rotations and overworked bullpens. I really doubt the Reds will let him walk away or that we’d see him pitch in another uniform again.

  33. @pinson343: Regarding Bronson…

    There are fans who can see everything going on on the entire field all the time. In fact, I’ve noticed Chad doesn’t miss anything even while tweeting during the game. I’m pretty good about seeing everything going on around the diamond at all times, but the outfield usually sits outside my point of view most of the time. When Arroyo pitches, I don’t see much past the mound. I love, love, love watching him pitch.

    As frustrating as Harang was his last couple seasons in Cincinnati, I was still choked up seeing him pitch his last inning off the mount in Cincinnati. Like most, I’m a Reds fan first, but Arroyo has kind of sneaked (snuck? IDK) up on me. He’s been with the Reds now for what seems like a very long time. And other than 2011, he’s been rock solid the entire time. It’s kind of amazing what he is able to do without a 92+ MPH fastball.

  34. @TC: I’m with you about Bronson. He didn’t sneak up on me, he’s been one of my favorite players since joining the Reds. I liked him when he was in Boston. When he’s on, it’s a beautiful thing to watch him pitch. He plays chess with the hitters, and they get so frustrated.

    Most important, he’s a ballplayer, not just a pitcher. Fields very well, runs the bases well, and is a smart situational hitter. With two outs and nobody on, he swings for the fences and usually strikes out, like he should. With a runner in scoring position, he chokes way up and often punches that single.

    I like Mike Leake partly because I see him as a young Bronson. Bronson has been his mentor, not surprisingly.

    But keeping Bronson on after 2013 ? You have to think about how much he’d want, for how many years, and the team comes first.

    • @TC: I’m with you about Bronson. He didn’t sneak up on me, he’s been one of my favorite players since joining the Reds. I liked him when he was in Boston. When he’s on, it’s a beautiful thing to watch him pitch. He plays chess with the hitters, and they get so frustrated.

      Most important, he’s a ballplayer, not just a pitcher. Fields very well, runs the bases well, and is a smart situational hitter. With two outs and nobody on, he swings for the fences and usually strikes out, like he should. With a runner in scoring position, he chokes way up and often punches that single.

      I like Mike Leake partly because I see him as a young Bronson. Bronson has been his mentor, not surprisingly.

      But keeping Bronson on after 2013 ? You have to think about how much he’d want, for how many years, and the team comes first.

      In some ways I see Mike Leake as a sort of successor or heir to Bronson Arroyo as a reliable soft-tossing inning eater, but he’s also really different. He’ll always be haunted by the fact that he was a first round draft pick – first round draft picks should win the Cy Young or MVP or somebody will be disappointed in them, while nobody expects anything from somebody acquired for Wily Mo Pena. Leake relies on deception, but he’s more conventional than Arroyo. Leake can realistically win a Silver Slugger while Arroyo has a Gold Glove. A big part of Leake’s appeal now is his low salary. I see Arroyo as a #3, middle of the order starter while I see Leake as a 5th guy who’d get skipped in the rotation sometimes. I trust Bronson Arroyo, the crafty veteran, to start playoff games… but I doubt I’ll ever have that same trust in Mike Leake.

      As far as how much he’d want to return, I think it’s worth recognizing that he’s never acted like a greedy guy who is desperate for the biggest deal. I expect he’d accept an extension for what he and the Reds consider to be a fair deal rather than hold out for top dollar. I think he’s a team-first type guy whose priority is to reach the World Series, and he probably recognizes that he has a better chance to win the World Series (again) with the Reds than the Red Soxs or any other team that would bid to his services when he’s ~37.

  35. How about some possible Choo controversy?

    A certain high profile player agent who also happens to be the agent for Choo seems to be having a hack of a time getting any of his Qualified Free Agents signed; and this comes on the heels of him having to sell short on Madson last year.

    As Mr Boras looks over the landscape and sees Choo as a likely QFA after the 2013 season, what if he decides to change gears a bit? Suppose he decides that at least for several years until this QFA situation can get worked out more to the players’ advantage that it was in the best interests of his client Choo to try and get signed him ahead of free agency for at least 3 years. That would allow time for the QFA situation to be more completely defined and still put Choo on the market while he still had a shot at a bigger 4 or 5 year deal to follow.

    What should the Reds do if Mr Boras calls Mr Jocketty and offers Choo for 3 years at say a midpoint salary of 15M?

  36. @OhioJim: By midpoint, I’m guessing you mean $15M in his second year (2014). We talk a lot about Hamilton, but I’d prefer not to bet the ranch on him. Besides, if he gets the call late this year and sticks at the end of Spring Training of 2014, do we really trust him to lead off his rookie year? That makes me a bit squeamish. I’d love Choo for 2 years, but three would be okay with me too. It’s the $15M midpoint that bothers me a bit. Because of the oddness of both Votto and Phillips’ contracts, that would make him to highest pay player on the team in 2014. That, to me, is hard to rationalize.

    BTW – I think the reason so many of Scott Boras’ clients are still unsigned is because I believe there are teams that won’t work with him. Teams are tired of getting screwed. Add the fact you have to give up a 1st round draft pick. The closer you get to SP, the more leverage a team has. The lead off hitter market is by no means settled, but time is short and teams are finding their guy without paying big bucks for Bourn, nor forced to give up a 1st rounder.

    Bourn is one of my favorite non Reds players, but at this point I’d prefer to have Choo. The only Offensive state Bourn is better in SBs. Bourn is a top shelf CFer, but that’s not worth $10M and a 1st round draft choice to me.

  37. @TC: I meant the 15M as the annual average with not necessarily evenly rising salary. I was thinking more 11, 14, 20. However I apologize because I have crossed my figures again on Bourn and Choo like I did further up the thread. You are probably right that from the club’s view 15M is too high for the midpoint.

    Actually Choo is projected in the $8M to 9M range for 2013 if he goes to arb this year. So, a deal like I was talking about should come more with 15M or a little more at the top end, although for buying 2 years of free agency, that is probably too low.

    The QFA amount for this off season was $13.4M. So maybe a 3 year Choo deal might look more like 8M this year, 14M for the second year and 16M for the third year. That gets him for the club at the low end of arb projections this year; and, the at what would figure to be around the QFA amount for the two following two years.

    Part of my thinking when I was advocating for the Reds signing Bourn was that while they would forfeit their 1st round choice and matching money from the signing pool for this year, they would likely pick two first round picks along with the money overhead in 2014, one for Bourn and one for Choo. Thus they could end up with 3 first rounders over the 2 years.

  38. @OhioJim: The Reds are optimistic about top prospect Billy Hamilton as the leadoff hitter and CF of the future. They want to give him one year in AAA and Choo fits right with that timetable. If Scott Boras calls I’d expect Jocketty to hang up. Choo isn’t in the long term plan.

    Ludwick is already signed long term and they didn’t extend him with the intention of dumping him. They already made their choices for 2014 outfielders before the start of 2013: Billy Hamilton (CF), Ludwick (LF), and Bruce (RF).

    The Reds have been pretty successful with draft picks and I don’t want them to start throwing draft picks away. Sign Bourn and they’d be doing just that.

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