2013 Reds / Minors

Baseball America’s Top 10 Reds Prospects

From the Enquirer:

1. CF Billy Hamilton: No surprise here. 155 steals. Hit .323/.413/.439 at high A Bakersfield and .286/.406/.383 at Double-A Pensacola. Hamilton was No. 2 on the list last year to Devin Mesoraco.

2. RHP Robert Stephenson: The No. 1 pick in 2011. Touched 100 mph in Dayton last year.

3. LHP Tony Cingrani: Led the minors overall with a 1.73 ERA last year.

4. RHP Daniel Corcino: Johnny Cueto’s look-alike, throw-alike – was 8-8 with a 3.01 ERA in Double-A last year.

5. RHP Nick Travieso: Last year’s No. 1 pick.

6. OF Jesse Winker: He was one of the supplemental picks in last year’s draft. He hit .338/.443/.500 in 228 at-bats at Rookie Billings — very good numbers for a high schooler.

7. J.J. Hoover: Was very impressive in his two stints with the Reds. Went 1-0 with a 2.05 ERA and struck out 31 in 31 innings.

8. LHP Ismael Guillon: 19-year-old from Venezuela. Struck out 100 in 86 innings last year.

9. OF Jonathan Reynosa: Turned 19 yesterday. From the Dominican. Hit .311 and stole league-high 30 bases in the Arizona Summer League.

10. RHP Dan Langfield: Third-rounder last year. Went 3-0 with a 2.68 ERA at Billings.

The accompaning article notes that the Reds are a little thinner as far overall minor league talent. Because of trades and promotions, 12 of the players on last year’s top 30 list don’t qualify for this year’s list.

The only name on this list that I’d expect to see in Cincinnati this season is Hoover, possibly Cingrani (but not if our starters are healthy). But I think there are some good prospects on this list..

89 thoughts on “Baseball America’s Top 10 Reds Prospects

  1. I’d say that Jonathan Reynosa and Dan Langfield were big surprises on that list. I didn’t think JJ Hoover would still be eligible, I guess it just seemed like he was with the Reds longer than he actually was.

    Stephenson, Travieso, Winker, Reynosa, Langfield, that’s a lot of teenagers. Ismael Guillen is actually about to turn 21, he isn’t 19. Hamilton and Corcino, both 22, Tony Cingrani (23), and JJ Hoover (25) are the old guys. Congratulations to them all.

    I expect we’ll see both Hoover and Cingrani with the Reds in 2013, Hoover out of the bullpen and Cingrani in the rotation. All signs point to Chapman returning to the bullpen and Cingrani returning to AAA as the 6th guy on the rotation’s depth chart, right after Mike Leake.

  2. @redsfanman: do you really think it’s fair to say that “all signs point to chapman returing to the bullpen” when the GM and the pitching coach have said he’s going to be tried in the rotation?

    you may have your hunches, but those seem like two pretty important “signs” pointing to him starting.

  3. i really like the starting pitching that we’re developing in the minors, but we are looking really thin in position players.

    a lot of that is through promotions, with frazier, cozart, and mesoraco all in their second years. and with phillips, votto, and bruce all locked up long term, there won’t be that much turn over.

    so overall, the minor league system is in good shape to suport the big league team, but it’s pretty weak on hitters.

  4. Yeah, “all signs point to…” is making some leaps as to what exactly those signs are. I doubt that Reds’ front-office personnel are saying that Chapman is going to be tried in the rotation, is a PR move to appease the fans. Could Chapman very well end up back in the bullpen? Yes, of course he could and you could argue that Dusty would probably prefer him there. To say that “all signs point to” his return to the bullpen however is a huge leap.

  5. @al: Watch what they do, not what they say. The Reds ‘said’ he would start in 2012. He didn’t. They could have traded away a starting pitcher to open a rotation spot for Chapman. They didn’t. They could have acquired another lefty to join Marshall in the bullpen. They didn’t. They could have brought in a reputable closer. They didn’t, they brought back Jonathan Broxton after he offered to remain a setupman. The players (Hanigan, Arroyo, LeCure) have each expressed skepticism about Chapman’s conversion in interviews and Dusty Baker by no means seems committed to converting him. Chapman got tried in the rotation last spring, did well, and still got dumped to the bullpen before emerging as one of the top closers in baseball, and the Reds have searched for a good closer for a long time.

    As I said, all signs point to Chapman returning to the bullpen. The Reds are advertising that little thread of an opportunity – maybe he’ll get a shot at the rotation! – to keep fans excited about spring training, maybe somebody will buy tickets in Arizona to see him start. Seeing Chapman return to the bullpen is a very safe educated guess based on all the available information.

    Tony Cingrani should be an interesting guy to watch in spring training. If he pitches well and somebody gets hurt in the spring I think he could find his way right into the Reds’ rotation.

    I said I was surprised that so many prospects were under age 19 – I recognize that prospects tend to be young but I was expecting guys like Ryan LaMarre (24) and Henry Rodriguez (22) to make the list. Maybe even Kyle Lotzkar (23) or Neftali Soto (23)… rather than two guys (Reynosa and Langfield) who few people have ever heard of.

    • @al: Watch what they do, not what they say.The Reds ‘said’ he would start in 2012.He didn’t.They could have traded away a starting pitcher to open a rotation spot for Chapman.They didn’t.They could have acquired another lefty to join Marshall in the bullpen.They didn’t.They could have brought in a reputable closer.They didn’t, they brought back Jonathan Broxton after he offered to remain a setupman.The players (Hanigan, Arroyo, LeCure) have each expressed skepticism about Chapman’s conversion in interviews and Dusty Baker by no means seems committed to converting him.Chapman got tried in the rotation last spring, did well, and still got dumped to the bullpen before emerging as one of the top closers in baseball, and the Reds have searched for a good closer for a long time.

      Ok, let’s examine these one by one:

      1.The Reds ‘said’ he would start in 2012.He didn’t.

      I’m sure that had nothing to do with Madson and Bray getting injured, right? Chapman was the best available candidate to take over a bullpen spot since he already had experience and had some success.

      2. They could have traded away a starting pitcher to open a rotation spot for Chapman.They didn’t.

      And why should they? You apparently are not onboard with their new “pitching first” philosophy. Well, I am, and I believe you can never have too much pitching. You NEVER trade pitching unless you absolutely HAVE to, and “opening a spot for Chapman” is not a valid reason. He already has a spot without trading anyone.

      3. They could have acquired another lefty to join Marshall in the bullpen.They didn’t.

      Word is Jocketty is still working on this. In case you didn’t notice, the offseason isn’t over. And failing to do it doesn’t mean they don’t want to.

      4. They could have brought in a reputable closer.They didn’t, they brought back Jonathan Broxton after he offered to remain a setupman.

      So? Who should they have gotten that would have allowed them to still make the other moves they made? I’m curious how you think that works.

      5. The players (Hanigan, Arroyo, LeCure) have each expressed skepticism about Chapman’s conversion in interviews.

      Again, so? There are equal numbers of cases of relivers succeeding in the transition as there are of them flaming out. But remember this: Chapman was a starter in Cuba. It’s not like this is something totally new for him. The players, I think, are just trying to temper expectations to protect Chapman from too much pressure.

      6. Dusty Baker by no means seems committed to converting him.

      Ok, point taken.

      So of all your “signs” only one I would think would be a legit sign that someone in the Reds don’t want Chapman in the rotation, and it is no secret that person is Dusty Baker. However, Jocketty gave Baker the tools to make the conversion and I think Dusty will have to stick with it this time unless the bullpen gets decimated by injury again this year.

      The Reds genuinely want Chapman to start. They didn’t pay 30 million dollars for him to close. That’s the last thing to consider is their financial investment and, in this business, finances rule all.

    • @al: Watch what they do, not what they say. The Reds ‘said’ he would start in 2012. He didn’t. They could have traded away a starting pitcher to open a rotation spot for Chapman. They didn’t. They could have acquired another lefty to join Marshall in the bullpen. They didn’t. They could have brought in a reputable closer. They didn’t, they brought back Jonathan Broxton after he offered to remain a setupman. The players (Hanigan, Arroyo, LeCure) have each expressed skepticism about Chapman’s conversion in interviews and Dusty Baker by no means seems committed to converting him. Chapman got tried in the rotation last spring, did well, and still got dumped to the bullpen before emerging as one of the top closers in baseball, and the Reds have searched for a good closer for a long time.
      Seeing Chapman return to the bullpen is a very safe educated guess based on all the available information.

      Safe guess? Maybe. All signs? Hardly.

      Yes, Chapmen went to the pen last year, but that was after 3 of the top bullpen arms got hurt. Now they have Hoover, Simon, and Broxton.

      And there’s no way the Reds would pay Broxton $7mil per year to set up. None. The market for closers has gone way down, and that’s way more than they can afford for a set up guy anyway. And, Broxton is a good closer! He had 23 saves with the Royals last year, and a low 2s ERA.

      As far as trading a starting pitcher goes, the Reds pulled off the rare feat of having only 5 starters last year. Do you think it would be smart for them to assume that they will do that again, with the same 5 guys? I think going into the season with 6 starters is much more intelligent.

      So no, I still see a lot of signs pointing to them trying Chapman in the rotation.

    • @al: Watch what they do, not what they say. The Reds ‘said’ he would start in 2012. He didn’t.

      That by no means does it mean “all signs point to chapman returing to the bullpen”. Chapman went to the pen last year because Bray was down and we only had Marshall from that side. Chapman went to closer only because Madson went down. Make no mistake, it was all by “happenstance”, nothing planned at all that Chapman was in the pen last year.

      Given that, I hope that Chapman goes back to the pen myself. The pitching staff was what carried the team mostly last season. Given that, I always say “Why fix what’s not broke?” I can understand what they did. And, I think it could work out. But, I would feel more confident going into the season with the same staff.

  6. @LWBlogger: You doubt that the front office is advertising that Chapman will get a chance to start as a PR stunt to appease the fans? I think that’s exactly what they’re doing. They know lots of fans will be angry if Chapman doesn’t get a chance in the rotation, so they’re leaving open that possibility and giving him a ‘chance’. If he struggles in the spring rotation he’ll be shipped to the bullpen like last year, no questions asked, limited bad publicity. If he pitches well in spring training he’ll STILL be shipped to the bullpen just like last year, but it’ll be more of a mess. If he sustains a minor injury in the spring he’ll return to the bullpen as a result. I think it’s clear that the organization expects Chapman to return to the bullpen but they don’t want to anger fans with that controversial decision.

    • They know lots of fans will be angry if Chapman doesn’t get a chance in the rotation, so they’re leaving open that possibility and giving him a ‘chance’.

      You don’t put on a dog and pony show with a player’s position to please a fan base. If fact, there’s quit a split on what is the right way to use Chapman… either way they’ll be frustrating someone.

      I think a pretty reasonable assertion can be made that they are trying out Chapman as a starter because it makes good baseball sense.

      It’s Walt and Co.’s job to work outside the noise of us fans. I don’t believe the Reds would see a negative financial impact (shortage of season tix sales, t-shirts, etc) if they didn’t pretend to make Chapman a starter. That’s the only time a club does something to please fans… to keep the money coming in. I’d argue that if pleasing the fans was so important, more people would want to have Dusty removed than have Chapman start… of course the discerning fan would desire both!

    • You doubt that the front office is advertising that Chapman will get a chance to start as a PR stunt to appease the fans? I think that’s exactly what they’re doing.

      This doesn’t mean “All signs point to Chapman returning to the bullpen” at all. This means “I believe that Chapman will return to the pen”. Where would the signs be that points moving Chapman would be a PR move? I don’t see any signs of that. The only sign there’s been of anything involving Chapman is signing Broxton at a “closer’s salary”, which would be a sign that they are interested in moving Chapman to the starting rotation. You think they would sign Broxton to a “closer’s salary” just to appease the fans of Chapman moving to the starting rotation, for Broxton to be a set up guy, a position we can fill very well right now for a lot less money? That would be a ludricrous move for that money.

      The only people who would know that “Chapman to the starting rotatio” is a PR move would be the highest front office personnel in the club.

  7. Besides, prepping for the 2012 season as a starter led to a dominant season as a closer, no reason to mess with that by having him approach spring training different from last year. Go with what worked. Dusty, Jocketty, Bryan Price, and others in the organization don’t want to be seen as closed minded for failing to consider Chapman and I think they’ll do what they can at this point to entertain and appease fans. Either way Chapman has a closing job and is competing for a rotation spot that isn’t open on a team that shows no serious commitment or motivation to convert him.

    • Besides, prepping for the 2012 season as a starter led to a dominant season as a closer, no reason to mess with that by having him approach spring training different from last year. Go with what worked.

      Wow, I mean… wow.

      Does he need to get another speeding ticket at some point?

  8. I can’t argue too much with this list. As far as the state of the Reds’ minor league system, the solid lineup at the major league level for 2012 will hopefully continue for the next few years and allow the young talent time to mature and develop. The Reds will need: two solid seasons from Ludwick in LF, consistent performance from Frazier at 3B and Cozart at SS. Meso needs to show he is the catcher of the future or Hanigan needs to be resigned. The opportunity is there waiting for BHam in 2014 if he continues his development in 2013. Those questions should be answered in 2013.

    The strength of the upper tier minor league system is unquestionably pitching, especially starting pitching. The pitching transition at the major league level should be interesting. All five starting pitching slots are set for 2013, in fact over stocked with Leake and Chapman both preparing as starters. The team control for the major league starting pitchers continues through:

    2013 Arroyo
    2014 Bailey
    2015 Cueto
    2015 Latos
    2015 Leake
    2016 Chapman

    I don’t see Arroyo back with the Reds in 2014 simply due to the surplus of starting pitching, but that still leaves a five man starting pitching rotation filled for 2014 with Cingrani and Corcino knocking at the door.

    The possible extentions for Latos and Bailey will be challenging, but I think at least one of those two pitchers will be extended on a contract similar to Cueto’s extention (with a salary increase dictated by the market demands). Remember the Reds tried to extend two starters recently to buy out their remaining years of arbitration and add a couple of years of FA, Cueto and Volquez. One agreed to the extention (Cueto) and excelled. One declined the extention (Volquez) and flopped. The Reds will not be able to afford to resign Cueto after 2015 and by 2016 we will see wholsale restocking of the starting rotation, but that leaves three seasons for the Reds to reap the prior rewards of their minor league system and then look forward to the next waive of talent.

  9. @CI3J: Alrighty, I’m having fun with this. Lets reexamine your points.

    1. Yes, Chapman entered the closer role out of necessity. He emerged as a dominant closer and entrenched himself in that role as a result. Whatever his likely future was I think it changed now. Similarly what he did years ago in Cuba is irrelevant. It’s not 2012 anymore and Chapman’s long term plan is now different.

    2. They kept Leake, Bailey, or Cingrani. Any could have been traded. They don’t seem committed to converting Chapman if they keep all the better candidates. I never said they should have traded them, I said it reinforces the expectation that Chapman will return to the bullpen.

    3. Lefty relievers, there were not many decent ones available as free agents and the ones there were already signed. Jocketty has implied he’s finished with making big moves. Last winter he brought in mediocre lefties to fill the Louisville roster and I expect the same this winter. A trade at this point seems unlikely.

    4. Broxton, I didn’t say there was a better candidate to add, I said that Broxton’s return and willingness to pitch setup implies that Chapman will return to the closing role. Broxton was a worse closer than Chapman in 2012 and will be in 2013.

    5. The players – Hanigan, the student of the game who plans the pitch by pitch plan for the games expressed skepticism about Chapman’s conversion. Two crafty guys who know what it takes to pitch (Arroyo, LeCure) implied that it’s a bad idea. That is NOT a good sign. I don’t care what Chapman did in Cuba, that was years ago and things have changed. Regardless of PR releases the individual opinions of relevant people in the organization seem to be opposed to the conversion.

    7 (yes, skipping 6 because we agreed, but you added another) – Reds didn’t pay $30m over 6 years to Aroldis Chapman to close? The argument of ‘closer money’ vs ‘starter money’ is nonsense – they paid Sean Marshall ~$5m a year to pitch setup, and a similar annual salary to Jonathan Broxton to pitch setup. They paid Chapman a lot to pitch well for the Reds, and he’s done that as closer.

    Whether or not you agree with each individual point, there are lots of things to consider and most of them suggest a return to the bullpen.

    @al: No way the Reds would pay Broxton $7m to set up? I heard the same argument last year when Sean Marshall was acquired with a salary around $5m. They would NEVER pay that much money to setup… but he became a setupman. Salary is a pretty bad way to determine a guys role – it’s just how much they paid to keep him with the team.

    Why was Broxton with the Royals? Was it because he was a great closer who had been lured to a contending team? No. After struggling as the Dodgers’ closer in 2010 Broxton has a horrendous 2011 season before latching on with the Royals as a setupman in hopes of rebuilding his career. He took over the Royals’ role after Soria got hurt, and they traded him for whatever they could get at the trade deadline. With all due respect to Broxton, he’s has had 2 good years in the past 4 seasons. Broxton and Marshall could both hold down the closer role but they are both a downgrade from Chapman.

    I doubt the Reds can go through the 2013 season with the same five guys, but I expect they’ll start with the same five guys. Then move on to Tony Cingrani and Daniel Corcino when necessary. After that scrub starters like Redmond, Lotzkar, LeCure, and Alfredo Simon. All while Chapman closes.

  10. @redsfanman: Not trading a starter away is proof of nothing but good sense. Everybody understands A) Someone could get hurt B) Chapman may not work out as a starter. We just need a fair chance to see. You talk about pitching and defense all the time. This is the pitching side of that phrase.

    It would be terrible business for the Reds to trade themselves into a position where Chapman had to start. In fact the only reason they would do something like that is because Walt has to force Dusty’s hand into making the appropriate decision in the first place. (#Dustyproofing).

    He emerged as a dominant closer and entrenched himself in that role as a result. Whatever his likely future was I think it changed now. …. So he’s too good not to close? Is that like too big to fail?

  11. @Shchi Cossack: Chapman isn’t signed through 2016, his six year contract is through 2014. Two seasons until he becomes a free agent and leaves the Reds. Not to imply that he’s a factor for the rotation, because he’s returning to the closer role.

    I doubt Homer Bailey will be extended. I think he’ll be traded when his value is high because he’s unpredictable and will be asking for too much money. I’ve been a big supporter of his for a long time but after years of struggles he’s finally had a good year – I doubt his trade value will get higher. Moving him to open a door for Chapman would have made sense, but no. I think Bronson Arroyo’s loyalty to the Reds, veteran experience, and popularity with the fans makes him far more likely than Bailey to be extended.

    • @Shchi Cossack: Chapman isn’t signed through 2016, his six year contract is through 2014……

      Cot’s baseball contracts has a difference of opinion with you on this. I am not sure of the copyright status of their pages; so I’ll post the link instead of the actual content….

      http://www.baseballprospectus.com/compensation/cots/national-league-central/cincinnati-reds/

      To summarize, the contract runs through the 2015 season unless Chapman meets certain benchmarks which would payout the contract money as bonuses but leave him under team control via arbitration eligibility.

      However even at the end of the contract Chapman won’t be a vested FA because that is based on actual major league service time (6 years required) not just being on a major league contract (whihc starts the option clock etc). The time he spent at AAA his first year pushes back his earliest possible vested free agency to after the 2016 season as I read it.

      • ….. The time he spent at AAA his first year pushes back his earliest possible vested free agency to after the 2016 season as I read it.

        Looks like Baseball Reference agrees with me:

        http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/c/chapmar01.shtml

        They say 2017 as earliest possible free agency but by the way they report it, that means for the 2017 season which means the same as after the 2016 season….

    • @reaganspad:

      …come all star break, once Leake is no longer needed to piggyback Chapman, Arroyo could be traded especially if other teams kicked in $’s for all that deferred money.

      Your point is good, but Arroyo’s contract is written to make all deferred money due immediately if he is traded. When he extended his contract with he Reds, he agreed to defer a large sum until after the contract expired, but only to the benefit of the Reds. No one else will gain that benefit if he is traded and they will be on the hook for all the deferred money.

      @redsfanman:

      Chapman isn’t signed through 2016, his six year contract is through 2014. Two seasons until he becomes a free agent and leaves the Reds.

      I do not pretend to comprehend all the intricacies of the collective bargaining agreement, but I do enjoy reviewing information from websights that do have the expertise I lack. Cots and Baseball Reference are two of those websights I frequent and respect. If you look closely at Cot’s, it lists Chapman’s contract as extending through 2014 with a player option for 2015. What it very clearly omits is any FA status. If you review Baseball Reference – http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/c/chapmar01.shtml – it carefully explains what the collective bargaining agreement details about Chapman’s FA status. Chapman does not gain FA status until 2017 and is under club control through 2016. Cot’s and BR may very well be wrong in their review of the collective bargaining agreement, but quite frankly, I trust those references.

  12. @Matt WI: I agree that either decision with Chapman will frustrate somebody but I think they are working to minimize that problem. It is Walt and Dusty’s job to work outside the noise of us fans, make their own decision on what to do with Chapman – but they know they have to explain it…. over and over again to fans, broadcasters, writers, players, and whoever else.

    I don’t think the Reds saw a ‘negative financial impact’ from unpopular players like Drew Stubbs, Corey Patterson,or Willy Taveras. Or Scott Rolen vs Todd Frazier. What they did see/hear was complaining. LOTS of complaining. Everywhere, seemingly from everyone. Newpaper, TV, radio, internet, whatever. Announcing today that Chapman would close might not provide a negative financial impact but the Reds would face months of complaining when fans have nothing else (Reds related at least) to focus on.

    I didn’t say Chapman was too good not to close, I said he settled into a role and his career trajectory has changed as a result. He’s the Cincinnati Reds’ closer now, not a rookie starting pitcher signed straight out of the Cuban National League. Leaving that job to fill an opening (rotation) that doesn’t exist is unrealistic.

  13. @redsfanman: Leaving that job to fill an opening (rotation) that doesn’t exist is unrealistic.

    Anytime there is a player who is better than the current player at that position, there is an opening.

    I think you are vastly overplaying the role fans play in decisions made. People tend to complain when teams make what appear to be obviously poor decisions and react slowly to change them…. But why risk any injury to Chapman whatsoever by “pretending” to want to start him. If he’s the closer, than he should spend every waking minute of spring training preparing himself for that role. That’s it, or there is gross negligence going on. It’d be like asking Votto to go play SS for a month. The best way for a player to prepare for his season is to train for the job he’s going to do all season. Why would they mess with Chapman’s training and body for a joke?

  14. I do see one way in which Aroldis Chapman enters the Reds’ rotation – if Johnny Cueto or Mat Latos sustain a serious injury in spring training (like a torn ligament/Tommy John surgery) that will keep them out for several months Chapman might get a shot. They won’t want a repeat of 2011′s starting pitching struggles and they’d be motivated to scramble to rebuild a 1-2 punch knowing that the chance of him doing well is better than the fallout from doing nothing.

    If Bailey or Leake are injured in spring training I expect they’d turn to Tony Cingrani as a temporary or full year solution, depending on the extent of injuries and how he pitches in the spring. I think Cingrani could do well and after the top 2 guys fans care more about performance than names (who cares if it’s Leake or Cingrani?). I don’t believe Bronson Arroyo can get hurt so that isn’t worth addressing.

    Oh well. All signs point to Chapman closing and, in my opinion, his only hope to start is a serious injury to Cueto or Latos.

  15. @redsfanman: Are you saying that in your assessment, Chapman wouldn’t come in being better than Leake or Cingrani? Because if it’s about performance and nobody cares if it’s Leake or Cingrani… then they shouldn’t care if it’s Chapman or Leake or Cingrani.

    • @redsfanman: Are you saying that in your assessment, Chapman wouldn’t come in being better than Leake or Cingrani? Because if it’s about performance and nobody cares if it’s Leake or Cingrani… then they shouldn’t care if it’s Chapman or Leake or Cingrani.

      I’m saying that Mike Leake and Tony Cingrani are starters and will be starting somewhere. If Chapman converts he’ll leave a void (closer role) that nobody else will be able to adequately match. Jonathan Broxton is just a repackaging of David Weathers, Danny Graves, and Francisco Cordero – same player, different jersey – and a downgrade I expect fans will notice as the season progresses.

      For Leake and Cingrani the numbers they put up will be all that matters. Chapman doesn’t just have to outperform them, he has to outperform them so much that his conversion outweighs collateral damage to the bullpen (possibly more blown saves, more innings pitched out of the bullpen, worse relievers).

  16. @Matt WI: I’m not saying that the fans are playing a role in the decision regarding Chapman (they clearly haven’t before), I’m saying that the fans are playing a role in how the final decision is being presented and sold. Slowly, calmly, keep everyone happy and relaxed. Good PR. They want the fans to be happy, excited, optimistic (this pitching staff will be great) rather than irritated and angry (“Darn, those idiots didn’t give Chapman a chance, fire them!). PR for a baseball team is similar to that for a company or politician – you should try to make a positive impression even once you’ve made up your mind.

    Last year Chapman went into spring training as a starter. He got to work on other pitches and displayed impressive control. It worked last time and I see no reason to change that. Not only does that preparation seem to work well for him but it makes fans happy. In early in spring training he’ll prepare as a starter but he wont’ be making 7 inning, 100+ pitch appearances. More like two or three inning appearances in the spring. It worked in the past and the Reds probably expect it will work again. As far as what differences in training there are for starters vs guys labeled as relievers, I’m not sure, but I doubt the differences provide any big increased risk of injury.

  17. @redsfanman: The flaw you haven’t worked out that is it it’s about p.r…. they’re going to have the same problem once they put Chapman back in the bullpen. If he tried and looks good as a starter, then people will find them only more ignorant than when they started the charade.

    What it actually looks like from a p.r. perspective right now is that they have a house divided on what do do with Chapman. That is not a pretty message.

    • @redsfanman: The flaw you haven’t worked out that is it it’s about p.r…. they’re going to have the same problem once they put Chapman back in the bullpen. If he tried and looks good as a starter, then people will find them only more ignorant than when they started the charade.

      What it actually looks like from a p.r. perspective right now is that they have a house divided on what do do with Chapman. That is not a pretty message.

      I wouldn’t call that a flaw in the logic. Besides, fans last year eventually reluctantly accepted him as the closer after a successful spring. Chapman will either (in no particular order):
      -Pitch badly enough to justify being removed from the rotation, no problem.
      -Put up mediocre numbers that can be advertised as worse than the alternative candidate.
      -Sustain a mild injury justifying his return to the bullpen.
      -Pitch very well and get removed from the rotation amidst controversy.

      One of those four options will go over badly with fans. Three of the four options will result in a return to the bullpen being widely accepted as the logical conclusion. I think they’re hoping for one of the first three options. If he pitches well… they’ll cross that bridge when they come to it – last year it was later accepted as the best course of action (look what happened to Madson, Masset, and Bray!).

  18. @redsfanman:

    Ok, you seem to be desperate to try to find any evidence to back up your hunch that Chapman is going to be returned to the bullpen.

    But like you said, it’s not 2012 anymore. That means Chapman is not needed in the bullpen any longer. The Reds have said he will start. It has nothing to do with how many starting pitchers they have on the 40 man or what players think about it or how Jocketty couldn’t find a decent lefty reliever. Chapman has been designated to start and will be a starter barring some catatstophe in the bullpen again.

    You can keep on digging for your clues that this is not the case while the rest of us will take it at face value and not try to build mountains out of molehills.

    • @redsfanman:

      Ok, you seem to be desperate to try to find any evidence to back up your hunch that Chapman is going to be returned to the bullpen.

      But like you said, it’s not 2012 anymore. That means Chapman is not needed in the bullpen any longer. The Reds have said he will start. It has nothing to do with how many starting pitchers they have on the 40 man or what players think about it or how Jocketty couldn’t find a decent lefty reliever. Chapman has been designated to start and will be a starter barring some catatstophe in the bullpen again.

      You can keep on digging for your clues that this is not the case while the rest of us will take it at face value and not try to build mountains out of molehills.

      It’s not 2012 anymore but it’s the same pitching staff – same starters, same relievers, same manager, same catchers, same coaches.

      You’re welcome to believe what you want. It makes me think of the Nate Silver controversy in the election – many people disliked him because all the evidence predicted that Obama would win the election and they couldn’t accept that. Some people KNEW Romney would win, regardless of all evidence – expecting Chapman to enter the rotation is like expecting Romney to win in late October.

      • It’s not 2012 anymore but it’s the same pitching staff – same starters, same relievers, same manager, same catchers, same coaches.

        You’re welcome to believe what you want.It makes me think of the Nate Silver controversy in the election – many people disliked him because all the evidence predicted that Obama would win the election and they couldn’t accept that.Some people KNEW Romney would win, regardless of all evidence – expecting Chapman to enter the rotation is like expecting Romney to win in late October.

        No, it’s really not. Even as we speak right now, Chapman is preparing to start. Just like last year before disaster struck, he is going into Spring Training as a starter. Saying this is like Obama winning the election when this is something that is KNOWN as opposed to relatively UNKNOWN like the election result is a stretch.

        You are taking small pieces of evidence that EVERY team does (not trading away young cheap starters, using extra starters in the bullpen in emergency situations, etc) and trying to spin it into a special case for just the Reds and Chapman. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

        If Jocketty intended for Chapman to close, why not just let Broxton walk and use that money for other holes? You can pick up a setup guy for cheap. That’s not why they are paying Broxton.

        For every point you have made and tried to spin into it being “Chapman will close again”, there are much LARGER points and evidence (Chapman’s salary, Jocketty telling him to prepare as a starter, Jocketty SPECIFICALLY saying he signed Broxton to close) that point to the exact opposite.

  19. (Off topic, but current to the day’s events) I see LaRoche signed for 2/$24mil. His OPS was nearly identical to Ludwick. $24mil is a ton more than the $15mil Walt got Ludwick to agree to.

    Great job Walt!!

    • (Off topic, but current to the day’s events) I see LaRoche signed for 2/$24mil.His OPS was nearly identical to Ludwick.$24mil is a ton more than the $15mil Walt got Ludwick to agree to.

      Great job Walt!!

      That’s a lot of money for Adam LaRoche, a guy who hit .172 in 151 ABs for the Nationals in 2011. LaRoche and Ludwick both had big comeback years in 2012. It’ll be interesting to see how LaRoche does now that he doesn’t have the ‘Free Agent Effect’ motivating him. The Nationals probably have to move Michael Morse as a result.

    • (Off topic, but current to the day’s events) I see LaRoche signed for 2/$24mil.His OPS was nearly identical to Ludwick.$24mil is a ton more than the $15mil Walt got Ludwick to agree to.

      Great job Walt!!

      Thanks Ryan.

  20. @CI3J: I think the election analogy was appropriate. Polls consistently showed Obama leading in all the states he needed to win the Electoral College and allowed us to make an educated guess weeks in advance, like Nate Silver did. Similarly the intricate details of what the Reds have done all point to Chapman pitching out of the bullpen.

    “If Jocketty intended for Chapman to close, why not just let Broxton walk and use that money for other holes? You pick up a setup guy for cheap. That’s not why they are paying Broxton”. Good question. Lets go back to why they traded for Jonathan Broxton in the first place. Did they acquire him to close? No, they wanted a solid reputable setupman to work before Aroldis Chapman… and they still do. You can pick up setup guys for cheap? True, the Reds had Logan Ondrusek doing it sometimes but they wanted an upgrade in quality rather than a discount. Similarly Hoover or LeCure could set up but they want a better guy, fine.

    Broxton got a few saves last year with the Reds when Chapman was unavailable and I expect he’ll get a few more in 2013. Chapman is ahead of him on the depth chart and Broxton knew that, he even admitted in interviews after signing his new contract that he’s fine with pitching setup.

    The argument that the role will be determined by annual salary is nonsense. Chapman, Broxton, Marshall, Hoover, Leake, Arroyo, Latos – they’ve all signed contracts to be on the 25 man roster but they’re not having their spots determined by cash. Marshall is getting ‘closer money’ but won’t close. Latos is relatively cheap and the #2 starter.

    Back to the previous remark about Broxton’s cash being better used to patch holes if he wouldn’t close – what holes would you patch? If they didn’t sign Broxton his 2012 role as Chapman’s setupman would be the primary hole to patch. By retaining him they retained the status qua rather than made a change.

    • @CI3J: I think the election analogy was appropriate.Polls consistently showed Obama leading in all the states he needed to win the Electoral College and allowed us to make an educated guess weeks in advance, like Nate Silver did.Similarly the intricate details of what the Reds have done all point to Chapman pitching out of the bullpen.

      “If Jocketty intended for Chapman to close, why not just let Broxton walk and use that money for other holes?You pick up a setup guy for cheap.That’s not why they are paying Broxton”.Good question.Lets go back to why they traded for Jonathan Broxton in the first place.Did they acquire him to close?No, they wanted a solid reputable setupman to work before Aroldis Chapman… and they still do.You can pick up setup guys for cheap?True, the Reds had Logan Ondrusek doing it sometimes but they wanted an upgrade in quality rather than a discount.Similarly Hoover or LeCure could set up but they want a better guy, fine.

      Broxton got a few saves last year with the Reds when Chapman was unavailable and I expect he’ll get a few more in 2013.Chapman is ahead of him on the depth chart and Broxton knew that, he even admitted in interviews after signing his new contract that he’s fine with pitching setup.

      The argument that the role will be determined by annual salary is nonsense.Chapman, Broxton, Marshall, Hoover, Leake, Arroyo, Latos – they’ve all signed contracts to be on the 25 man roster but they’re not having their spots determined by cash.Marshall is getting ‘closer money’ but won’t close.Latos is relatively cheap and the #2 starter.

      Back to the previous remark about Broxton’s cash being better used to patch holes if he wouldn’t close – what holes would you patch?If they didn’t sign Broxton his 2012 role as Chapman’s setupman would be the primary hole to patch.By retaining him they retained the status qua rather than made a change.

      Ok, again let’s respond point by point:

      1. Let’s revisit last year. Do you remember when they got Broxton how people all over the country were scratching their heads saying “That doesn’t really make sense for the Reds, they already have one of the best bullpens in the game.” Yes, that would have been true if they only picked up Broxton for half a season. But Jocketty, just like when he signed Rolen, was thinking beyond the current season; he obviously intended Broxton to step into the role that Madson vacated. This was confirmed when he signed Broxton to the extension and said, emphatically, that Broxton is the closer.

      2. Ok, now you are comparing Chapman’s salary, who essentially signed a 6 year extension from the start, to Latos who has yet to go through arbitration. How about we see if they sigh Latos to an extension? Then you can compare the two. That would be like comparing Mike Trout’s salary to Alfonso Soriano’s salary.

      3. The Reds could have used Broxton’s cash to fill in their bench or upgrade their bullpen even more. There is always room for improvement.

  21. I like the line “the team is positioned for long-term success and was recognized as Baseball America’s Organization of the Year” and “Cincinnati won’t be counting on many prospects to make the jump to the majors in the next couple of years, but it also doesn’t have many holes at the big league level.

  22. So out of the 30ish comments, not many were regarding this list…

    I like seeing the new names on the list. It gives me new names to look for in “Down on the Farm” saga throughout the year.

    I’m surprised to see LaMarre of the list. He seems to have the ability to come up and be a 4th/5th OF in 2014 if we can’t retain or trade the current ones.

    That Winker guy seems like a stud in the making.

  23. @OhioJim: That link you just posted says Chapman is signed through 2014 with a $5m player option for 2015, which he can choose to decline. As I read that (and other similar things on the same topic) he’ll leave for more money after 2014.

  24. redsfanman, you have a lot invested in seeing Chapman in the bullpen. I agree with none of your points.

    Chapman was the best pitcher in spring training last year, period.

    He then was the best pitcher on the team last year. The Reds are doing what they have always planned on doing, making him a starter.

    Not maximizing the amount of innings we have in Chapman would be like having Joey Votto on the bench to pinch hit. Why would you, even if Joey is the best Pinch Hitter in the game?

    And by the way, the Reds spent a lot of money on Affeldt to be a setup man. But not 7 mil per year for 3 years. Marshall got 5 mil per for 2 years because the market for good left handed pitchers for late in the game is expensive.

    And Broxton did not get 21 million to pitch in mid relief. He is the closer.

    Leake was kept so that they can piggyback he and Chapman to keep Chapman’s innings under control.

    trading any starting pitcher this offseason would have been silly. Right now, there is really no need other than Cingrini to be another lefty in the bullpen because he is a reliever.

    I did think your past analysis of Bronson’c contract was brilliant, but come all star break, once Leake is no longer needed to piggyback Chapman, Arroyo could be traded especially if other teams kicked in $’s for all that deferred money.

    Arroyo will not be resigned as you predicted because of all of the pitching we currently have

  25. @redsfanman: no, marshall isn’t getting closer money. that’s the difference. you can’t just say things that aren’t true as an argument.

    chapman may end up in the pen, but i think you’re fooling yourself if you still think “all signs point.” plenty of people on this board have provided you with many pieces of evidence that go the other direction. those are “signs.”

    you’re basically just saying that you think he will be in the pen, based on some things, and that there is no possible way that you can be wrong. it’s not the best way to make a case, especially when you’re being provided with lot’s of reasons to think you might be wrong.

  26. @redsfanman: also, as far as getting broxton last year, it happens all the time that good teams get bad teams’ closers as set up men at the deadline. then those closers become free agents and sign somewhere else to be closers again.

  27. @reaganspad: I agree with all points, except I would be very surprised to see BA traded mid season, especially if we’re contending as we expect. For whatever reason, they overvalue is playoff experience and overall veteraness. I do, however, agree that he won’t be back next year.

  28. Oh, BTW, can we add to the list of potentially “frustrated” people one Aroldis Chapman, who gas seated a preference for being a starter?

  29. @redsfanman: Chapman is signed through 2016. Free agent season is 2017. Six years of team control for international players, just like domestic players.

    Chapman was going to start last year if Madson hadn’t gotten hurt. He was given an important spring training start against the Brewers toward the end and pitched five strong innings. He not only was going to start, he was the best Reds starter.

    Broxton was signed for closer money, at least on the Reds pay scale. Honestly, I think Jocketty wanted Marshall to close, too, when he agreed to the extension. But ran into Baker on that one.

    The failure to trade away a starter may have simply been (a) trades that fell through – we only really made one, (b) keeping Leake around to help manage Chapman’s innings, or as others have pointed out (c) back-up in case of an emergency. Those are all more logical ways to interpret the events compared to the notion the Reds are really secretly going to have Chapman stay in the bullpen.

    I don’t doubt that if it were up to Dusty Baker that Chapman would close. But Jocketty has been pretty clear that Chapman is going to be tried as a starter. Managing his innings is another issue.

    • The failure to trade away a starter may have simply been (a) trades that fell through

      @Steve Mancuso: I heard an interview with Mr Jocketty during Reds Fest (or just after) where he said he entertained many offers for a leadoff guy but they all wanted pitching in return. He went on to say the best thing about the Choo trade was that it didn’t require giving up any pitching.

      I don’t mean to put words in his mount, but I don’t think he’s saying pitching is off the table. He would just prefer not to trade pitching. Leake has options. There is room in the rotation.

  30. Back to the actual thread.

    I’m not only surprised that Hoover was still considered a prospect by their system, but that he wasn’t rated higher. How much more impressive does he need to be? He’s proven to have been effective in the major leagues.

    It makes me feel good to see that we have quite a bit of pitching depth coming along. That’s a really good position for the organization to have some depth. Even if our current batch of starters will be around for a few years (other than Bronson), the depth gives us some compelling trade chips.

  31. @Steve Mancuso: I was also surprised Hoover still qualified for a prospects list.

    I think Hoover’s performance could be key in whether the org’s powers to be have to cave and let Chapman be sent back to the pen.

  32. Thought I’d weigh in with an interesting fact…2012, Aroldis Chapman: 38 Saves, 5 Blown Saves. 2011, Francisco Cordero, 37 Saves, 6 Blown Saves. No, I’m not saying Cordero is or was NEARLY as impressive as Chapman, but finding a closer with comparable statistics has historically been considerably easier than finding a starter with Chapman’s stuff…and assuming they make him a starter and Leake is the odd man out, Chapman will have to improve upon 8 wins, 9 losses, 4.58 ERA…
    Having said this, and many controversial posts concerning a certain hole-in-the-bat center fielder, I already anticipate some “I told you so”s should the Reds’ record take a downturn. I feel starting pitching depth will be essential in 2013…we had, really, NO MISSED STARTS by ANYONE IN THE STARTING ROTATION last year. To expect that 2 years in a row is asking for a lot!!! We had the 3rd best ERA in the NL last year, but the 9th best BA, 9th most runs scored, 6th highest slugging pct, etc…Pitching is where it’s at – and I can’t think of a reason to put a potential top-of-the-rotation starter in the bullpen just because we like to see the Ricky Vaughn numbers on the radar…Chapman needs a 3rd pitch to become a starter, and we’ll see how that goes, but all things being equal, if he’s effective as a starter as he was as a reliever, it’s foolish to put him in the pen.

  33. (Sorry to stray from the original thread – I was late to the game lol) So back to the thread – there does appear a distinct lack of position players on the list, but pitching talent can be parlayed into position talent, plus sometimes scouts aren’t exactly right on the mark…I remember in the minors I was MUCH more familiar with Jay Bruce’s performance than Joey Votto’s – when he got called up, I couldn’t have picked him out of a police line-up! (But hey, we had Scott Hatteberg!) And the old adage “you can never have too much pitching” still rings true as well…

  34. As well as Hoover performed for the Reds last year, that’s pretty impressive that he is rated as the 5th best pitching prospect.

    • As well as Hoover performed for the Reds last year, that’s pretty impressive that he is rated as the 5th best pitching prospect.

      Just think, we only gave up Juan Fraansisco for him.

  35. @Steve Mancuso: I can’t remember a player for whom I’m less sure how long his contract is.

    Chapman’s first year was 2010. So, a 6-year deal is through 2015, right?

  36. There are a lot of people (especially one person) who are really sure how the Reds run their organization, when in fact we have no idea what goes on behind the scenes.

    I actually think it’s much more likely that Chapman closes. So, against my better judgment, I agree with RFM. But the reasoning…sheesh.

    We have no real idea if Jocketty wanted Marshall to close when he signed him to his extension. We do know that the Reds will pay 5.5 million to a setup man, because that’s what Marshall is. We’re questioning now whether 7 million is sufficiently more than 5.5 million to mean that Broxton is the closer. It seems a bit silly. (The signing is probably more silly.)

    Basically, it just seems to me that inertia will keep Chapman as the stopper. But we’ll have to see what they do.

  37. Because of the time he has spent in the minor leagues, Chapman has only accumulated two years of major league service time. Four to go. Through 2016. The reason his contract status is confusing is because it had odd terms. In 2015 for example, Chapman can choose $5 million or go through arbitration. In 2016, if he doesn’t reach an agreement with the club, he’ll go through his final year of arbitration.

  38. Regarding Chapman…. OH MY GOODNESS, enough with the conspiracy theories. I think Mr Castellini, Mr Jocketty, and Dusty have EARNED our trust. And while I might disagree with Dusty regarding Chapman, I recognize he has character, integrity and is honest with players and fans.

  39. @TC: Well said TC. While I disagree with Dusty, a lot, one thing I can definitely relate to with Dusty is that we have both been around long enough that we simply don’t give a hoot. I believe character, integrity and honesty has kept the management team of Castellini, Jocketty and Baker together and was directly responsible for Dusty’s contract extention after last season. BTW, one month and 2 days until pitchers and catchers report!

  40. @TC: I agree TC.,

    There is no reason for a team who won 97 games and has pitching stacked to change that. We had been a Offensive team many times in the past 20 years with no real results.

    even the great 70′s teams were loaded with great pitching that often gets overlooked.

    I think Walt wants to see what he has now, with Votto back healthy, Choo, and 2 second year guys in Frazier and Cozart.

    They improved the bench.

    If they start out hot, and on the same pace as last year, Walt will be having a lot of fun as teams will be coming to us

  41. I’m getting tired of talking about Chapman but a few quick responses to various people:

    -Chapman’s contract, yikes, I always assumed he was gone after 2014. I guess not! Neat. I concede that I was wrong about that.

    -Marshall, I think he was acquired as a contingency plan to close (due to lack of faith in Masset and uncertainty over whether they’d sign somebody like Madson) while Broxton was acquired when they lost faith in Ondrusek and it was clear that Nick Masset wouldn’t return. I think Broxton now fills Masset’s intended setup role and has been promoted to the contingency plan/back closer. Francisco Cordero and Ryan Madson were guys the Reds brought in to close but I think Marshall and Broxton were both brought in as contingency plans in case the need arose.

    -Salaries for players have gone up over the years across the board, including for quality setupmen. Guys you pull for discount prices off the scrap heap probably won’t enter the season as the 8th inning guy on a first place team. Last year Marshall’s ~$5m/year contract was frequently called ‘closer money’, this year Broxton’s ~$7m is ‘closer money’. Last year Madson’s ~$8m was a remarkable discount on ‘closer money’.

    -I stand by my assertion that salary doesn’t define a guy’s role. The argument that they didn’t pay somebody this much money to pitch out of the bullpen or this much money to pitch setup, that’s nonsense – ‘closer money’ is nonsense. They pay guys to pitch for the team and the roles are decided later. Latos and Hoover are earlier in their careers than Arroyo and Broxton but their role is unrelated to their salary.

    -Leake’s role will be to piggyback with Chapman in a 6 man rotation for part of the season? Some fans might think that’s a good idea. Maybe somebody in the Reds organization thinks that a good idea. Is that a realistic course of action for the Cincinnati Reds? NO! If there’s a book on how to manage young pitchers I expect the Cincinnati Reds to try to follow it word for word rather than tear it up and write a new one. Bryan Price is the pitching coach and he’s very protective of the pitchers.

    -Leake, ship him to AAA… then what? His trade value goes down if he’s not eating innings. His value to the team – innings pitched and hitting – probably vanishes if he pitches out of the bullpen. His effectiveness would probably decline if he frequently shifts back and forth between the rotation and bullpen. If they wanted to give up on him as a MLB starter I think this winter would have been the time to trade him. Instead, they kept him – I think it would be foolish for him not to be in the Reds’ rotation.

    -The 2012 rotation, it was remarkable that they all stayed healthy. Probably impossible to repeat that. Then again, isn’t repeating that kinda a goal? After struggling for over a decade to find five starters capable of pitching 200+ innings are they going to voluntarily break that up on the belief that reliability is unsustainable? Will they ship Mike Leake to Louisville because the 2012 rotation performed too well? I think the obvious approach for 2013 is to start with what worked in 2012. If there are problems – injuries, ineffectiveness, turn to Cingrani and Corcino. The Reds’ rotation has had a high turnover rate as they’ve tried to find guys to fill out the rotation… but all five they found for last year are under contract to return.

    -Bronson Arroyo isn’t getting traded. He has 10/5 veto rights and has said he wants to stay in Cincinnati and, as somebody mentioned, his contract is custom designed to be nearly impossible to trade by requiring lots of deferred money to be paid upfront. If he gets traded another ~$10-15m gets tacked onto his 2013 salary. No team is taking that.

    Alrighty, I’m done with this topic for now – once again I think all signs point towards Chapman returning to the bullpen but we’ll have to wait until spring training to see what happens. It’s an educated guess and a safe bet. At this rate I think we can predict the roster, roles, and lineup and record it with a permanent marker, unless somebody gets hurt.

    Juan Francisco, I was thrilled when he was traded and it’s pretty remarkable what they got in return. Some people might assume I’m supportive of all current and former Reds players – not true with one dimensional Juan Francisco. Not only did they get rid of Juan Francisco but they added a top pitching prospect (Hoover) and opened the door for Todd Frazier.

    • Anyway, today Bud Selig announced in-season testing for HGH amongst players, presumably to distract people from the Hall of Fame and show that they’re doing all they can to prevent drug use.
      http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130110&content_id=40916028&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

      Think anybody will get caught/test positive?

      @redsfanman: Yeah the Francisco for Hoover deal doesn’t quite make up for the Horst for Valdez trade, but it may yet.

      I think Jeremy Horst had a good year but I doubt he can keep it up and I think he’s terribly overrated. I think eventually Hoover will become a setupman while Horst will become a lefty specialist, but we’ll see. Other notable relief prospects traded in the past year or so are Brad Boxberger and Donnie Joseph. I really doubt Horst will have the best career of the four guys mentioned.

      Juan Francisco, on the other hand, I thought was completely worthless. A one dimensional power hitter who strikes out but doesn’t walk and who can’t field, he’s like some combination of Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Dunn without Dunn’s ability to take walks. His only role seemed to be to block Todd Frazier. I’m glad he’s gone.

  42. @redsfanman: I understand your point of view on Chapman, I really do. In fact, I’m only 55% in favor of moving Chapman to the rotation. But I chose to take Walt Jocketty at his word.

  43. It’s amazing how the new CBA is affecting the FA market. The owners may have found a covert way of reducing salaries.

    • @TC:

      It’s amazing how the new CBA is affecting the FA market.

      What will be interesting is the evaluation of the qualifying offers going forward. Players will need to be more selective in turning down the qualifying offer and teams will need to be more selective in extending the qualifying offers.

      What disturbs me about the current system is that it was intended to protect the lower market teams when they lost star players after arbitration, but what we are seeing is declined qualifying offers by:

      Soriano (New York Yankees with a $211MM payroll for 2012)
      Swisher (New York Yankees)
      Kuroda (New York Yankees)
      Ortiz (Boston Red Sox with a $175MM payroll for 2012)
      Hamilton (Texas Rangers with a $127MM payroll for 2012)
      Lohse (St. Louis Cardinals with a $111MM payroll for 2012)
      LaRoche (Washington Nationals with a $94MM payroll for 2012)
      Bourn (Atlanta Braves with a $93MM payroll for 2012)
      Upton (Atlanta Braves)

      Excuse me, but this system was broken before it even got started.

  44. @redsfanman: What an interesting discussion! . . . I have a proposal for you, Redsfanman. You seem pretty sure that Chapman will end up in the bullpen at the outset of the year (since “signs” are pointing that way). I, however, remain certain that the powers that be are committed to giving him every opportunity to begin the year in the rotation (regardless of what Arroyo, LeCure, or Baker say).

    I propose we enter into a wager with regard to Chapman’s status at the outset of the 2013 season. Here are the terms I propose:

    *IF Chapman begins the year on the active roster (that is, he is not injured or traded-in the event that he begins the year on the DL or has been traded, the bet is off) and is not in the rotation, I will change my Redleg Nation moniker from “Drew Mac” to the name of your choice for the entire 2013 regular season. I could be “Redsfanman’s #1 Fan,” “Redfanman’s Oil Boy,” “Moronosaurus,” or any name of your choosing that meets the approval of the moderator(s).

    *IF, on the other hand, Chapman does begin the season in the rotation (that is, he makes a start within the first five games of the season), you must retire your “Redsfanman” name for the 2013 season in leiu of one that I give you.

    So, how about it, Redsfanman? . . .

  45. @Drew Mac: If you win, I’d settle for a 2 post per thread limit for @redsfanman: !

    I hope Walt hasn’t completely closed up shop for the winter. Just like last year, the supply/demand for relievers makes it a buyer’s market. I’d kick the tires on Valverde and KRod if they could be had on a one year deal for <$4mil. And for the record, I still hate the Broxton overpay.

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/01/examining-the-market-for-right-handed-relief.html

  46. @Drew Mac: You might want to amend that last part of the bet related to starting one of the first 5 games of the season… there is, as usual, and off day after Opening Day, reducing the need for the 5th starter in the first turn. Hate to see a technicality ruin a fun bet!

  47. @Drew Mac: Well, I considered your offer/bet on the drive home. Placing bets on baseball but not betting against the Reds (I mean, from our perspectives we’re both betting on the Reds to do what we perceive as being right) and eventually being forced to regret it, that makes me think of Pete Rose. BetsLikePeteRose or GamblesLikePeteRose or IBetLikePeteRose seem like an appropriate name for the loser, if that would be approved by the moderators. ‘Moronosaurs’, as you suggested, has a nice ring to it but it doesn’t seem related to Reds baseball. I guess it depends on the name.

    I think the conditions have to include Cueto, Latos, Arroyo, Bailey, Leake, Marshall, and Broxton all staying healthy (and in the organization, albeit if at Louisville) on opening day, just to be fair. An injury to any of them can force Dusty’s hand. I agree with Matt WI that the first 5 games might not be appropriate, more like within the first two rounds through the rotation, before the opening day starter’s third start.

    In my opinion if there’s a book about the Reds’ rotation its cover would have a big photo of Cueto, Latos, Arroyo, Bailey, Leake, and Chapman (after all, the cover is PR and wants your attention)… but the book would be all about why Chapman will be left out. Heck, I’ve written enough here to fill a small book. Don’t judge a book by its cover, and I think that’s a key point for people excited about Chapman’s conversion.

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