2013 Reds

Off Day Thread

It seems like we need a place to talk during the off day, so here you go. I have a challenge for you, though…

If you’re going to make a claim, see if you can back it up with something besides your gut. A lot of people had their guts telling them the season was over 12 games into last year. There was lots of talk about the team “just not having it” that sounds a lot like what I’m hearing now. If you think there’s something real, go to Baseball-Reference or Fangraphs and see if you can find some data to support your ideas.

Speaking of Fangraphs, there’s been a lot of trade talk recently, and they’ve put together a leaderboard of potential candidates. You can find it here. At the top, you can click on different positions to narrow things down.

My thoughts? I’d push pretty hard for Giancarlo Stanton. he still has a few years of team control left, and that makes hims very attractive. I’d give up a lot for him, too. Hamilton, Stephenson, and probably a couple of others. Not sure that would do it, but the Reds to have some attractive pieces for a team that’s starting over.

Okay, discuss…

156 thoughts on “Off Day Thread

  1. Good day for some trade talk. I’m with the majority that our bullpen will improve as it gets healthy in the second half. Still, there’s the elephant in the room—a flamethrowing lefty from Cuba who should be starting. It’s my belief he’ll never start as long as he’s a Red, and that makes him our biggest trade chip in order to solidify this team for the 2nd half. Cingrani/Marshall/Broxton can get the job done, or you pick up another piece at the deadline for cheap. I’d offer Chapman to 3 teams (all the while selling him as a starter, which may be hard to do):
    –Yankees. They desperately need starting pitching NOW, and have shown in the past they’re not opposed to converting mid-season. Chapman for Gardner. He could also take Rivera’s place next year.
    –Mets. Another NY team. They would love to pair Chapman with Wheeler and Harvey. Chapman for Parnell (controlled thru 2015) and Duda (
    .791 OPS, destroys righties, cost controlled).
    –Angels. Chapman for Bourjos. They have a glut of OF’ers. Bourjos would slot into CF, and Choo would shift to LF. Gives us a true CF and dramatically reshapes the lineup.

    • Good day for some trade talk.I’m with the majority that our bullpen will improve as it gets healthy in the second half.Still, there’s the elephant in the room—a flamethrowing lefty from Cuba who should be starting.It’s my belief he’ll never start as long as he’s a Red, and that makes him our biggest trade chip in order to solidify this team for the 2nd half. Cingrani/Marshall/Broxton can get the job done, or you pick up another piece at the deadline for cheap.I’d offer Chapman to 3 teams (all the while selling him as a starter, which may be hard to do):
      –Yankees.They desperately need starting pitching NOW, and have shown in the past they’re not opposed to converting mid-season.Chapman for Gardner. He could also take Rivera’s place next year.
      –Mets.Another NY team.They would love to pair Chapman with Wheeler and Harvey.Chapman for Parnell (controlled thru 2015) and Duda (
      .791 OPS, destroys righties, cost controlled).
      –Angels.Chapman for Bourjos.They have a glut of OF’ers.Bourjos would slot into CF, and Choo would shift to LF.Gives us a true CF and dramatically reshapes the lineup.

      The Reds bullpen is a problem so I don’t see how getting rid of the best guy in the pen helps the team. I certainly wouldn’t trade him for Brett Gardner or Lucas Duda or Peter Bourjos.

  2. Not claiming to know the answer or have any particular insights but when does a team stop trading it projected top talent away at a 2 or 3 to 1 in return ratio to bolster the current MLB roster and instead start building its own next generation.

    Count up the number and positions of the current “home grown” Reds then ask yourself how many seemingly equivalent replacement are there in the minors who figure to be ready when the current MLB crop are eligible to leave/ are no longer under team control.

    • @OhioJim: How many are there really, though? The thing about trading prospects is you don’t know what they’ll do.

      This is not a team that should be thinking about the next generation when most of the important spots on the roster are locked up for the next several years. Trading Alonso and Grandal made sense because they were blocked. Latos has done a lot to make this team a contender.

      I mention Stanton because he wouldn’t just be a rental. Suppose that, having Stanton, the Reds signed Choo and then you have a couple of years of this lineup:

      Choo, Phillips, Votto, Stanton, Bruce, Frazier, Mesoraco, Cozart

      You don’t need to replace any of those players for several years. Then you have a rotation of:

      Cueto, Latos, Cingrani, Bailey, Leake

      Again, those guys are all under control for a while longer.

      So what’s left? The bullpen and the bench. Relievers and bench players are a dime a dozen (I don’t know why the Reds pick the rotten apples when looking for back up infielders). You don’t want top prospects rotting in Triple-A because the older they get, the less value they have.

      The Reds, in my opinion, should be mostly focused on developing players who will be ready in the next 3, 4, 5 years. That starts, probably, with this year’s draft class.

      This is a team that is built to win for several years, and right now, there aren’t a lot of places you can really mess with the ML roster. Correspondingly, fix the stuff you can now.

      What I want, and what I think most everyone else wants. Is a WS. I’ll stomach a few losing seasons down the road for a championship now.

      • @Jason Linden: sadly the bullpen and the bench are 2 areas the Reds do very poorly from a cost/analysis viewpoint. Too much for Cordero, too much for Parra, too much for Broxton, insisting on signing a new aging no bat no glove shortstop seemingly every year.

        • @Eric the Red: Totally agree. I’d never put series resources into the bullpen or the bench unless I just had money to burn. But then, I’m just an English teacher and I don’t get to make those decisions.

        • @Jason Linden: According to cots, the Reds have a payroll this year of $106.8 million. Logan Ondrusek, Jonathon Broxton, Nick Masset, Jack Hanahan, Ryan Ludwick, and Manny Parra are making $12.35 million this year. Not huge, but 11% of their budget is going to a bunch of guys you can expect to be at replacement level or below. Next year that bunch will make $16.5 million. Maybe it’s not fair to lump Ludwick in since he is hurt, but I was personally never high on the signing anyway. It seemed too much like the Gomes signing, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle twice. Mid market teams like the Reds can’t afford to overpay for guys who give them 0 production.

        • @Eric the Red: I don’t know if you remember, but I took a very close look at Ludwick and came ended up okay with the signing. I was very opposed to bringing him in initially, but I do think he’s a solid player and would have been worth his salary this year if he hadn’t gotten hurt.

          But I totally agree on the other guys.

        • @Eric the Red: Agree with your point, especially about Ondrusek and Hannahan, but Ludwick does not belong on the same list as those guys.

        • @Eric the Red: Hi New Poster Calling Himself Eric the Red. I’ve been posting on this site for a couple of years with that user name. Can you please choose another? Thanks.

        • @Eric the Red: Izturis is an excellent fielder. He can’t hit well. If he could, he’d be starting for somebody, and this is why, although bench players may be a “dime a dozen,” useful ones may not be. They need to be able to play multiple positions decently, for one thing. Nor am I certain that adequate bullpen pitchers are a dime a dozen; a lot of guys in a lot of bullpens (ours, for one) don’t get the job done.

      • I’ll stomach a few losing seasons down the road for a championship now.

        I hear people say this (smart people) all the time. I understand why we think this way. Years of having a small market mentality. The fact is, the Cincinnati market is NOT a small market. I know this is not a new conversation.

        The combined TV markets where every Reds game is broadcast has 4,572,830 households according to September 2012 Neilsen demographics. That makes the Reds market #4 of all markets after NY, LA, and Chicago.

        St. Louis has 1,243,490 households in that market. Just Cincinnati and Dayton combined is 1,396160 which is larger than St. Louis. Yet St. Louis is successful every year.

        I believe the Reds have the pieces necessary to win now. There will be at least 8 teams in the playoffs that have less talent that what the Reds have on this team right now. There is no need to go out and mortgage the future on a player.

        People complain about the status of the bench and the bullpen. The farm system is the perfect resource for providing that much needed help. Don’t win this season on a credit card. The Reds CAN win now. But they don’t need to bet the farm to do it. Developing players how the Cardinals have success every year.

        • @TC: Yes but this team’s attendance is middle of the road – 72% capacity (less than Milwaukee or Minnesota this year). About 30K per game.

          Granted, those are significant improvements over past years but the WLB’s boast 95% of the seats filled per game and over 40K fans. That is a lot of extra cash too even though it’s an old fashioned factor for profitability.

        • @rightsaidred: The Reds can do that if they don’t mortgage the future for the possibility of success now. If they can sustain a competitive team, year in and year out, GABP will be at 95% capacity as well.

        • @rightsaidred: The fact they fill their stadium says less about their market and more about the continuing success of the Cardinals and what that can do for long term revenues.

    • @OhioJim:

      Votto
      Bruce
      Cozart
      Frazier
      Bailey
      Cueto
      Leake
      Cingrani
      Chapman

      Thats a pretty solid core of home grown talent, I really doubt you find many teams with more

        • @LWBlogger: Exactly. And add Hanigan, Mesoraco, and LeCure just of the top of my head.

          At some point a team just needs numbers to fill out the roster; and those guys are either cheap recycled FA’s or guys from the farm system. And often the quality of these “numbers” guys go a long ways towards determining how far the team goes (due to injuries etc.)

          BTW, the Reds have been either very good or very luck or both to have landed XP and Derrick Robinson the last two years. Otherwise, one or two of those guys down at Louisville now could be the outfield depth right now.

    • Not claiming to know the answer or have any particular insights but when does a team stop trading it projected top talent away at a 2 or 3 to 1 in return ratio to bolster the current MLB roster and instead start building its own next generation.

      Count up the number and positions of the current “home grown” Reds then ask yourself how many seemingly equivalent replacement are there in the minors who figure to be readywhen the current MLB crop are eligible to leave/ are no longer under team control.

      The goal is to win in the major leagues and the minor leaguers are there to either help the big team or help get pieces to help the big team. I think so far the Reds have done pretty well trading “prospects” under Jocketty.

  3. Right now would be the absolute worst time for the Marlins to trade Stanton. I highly doubt he is even available unless someone called them up and offered an absurd package of MLB-ready players and prospects.

    • @Vottoeroticism: He is reportedly available because the Marlins don’t see themselves competing until after he’s gone.

      The price tag is reportedly very high, which is why I mentioned two of the Reds three top prospects. It might take Cingrani, too. And I don’t know if I’d do that since he seems destined to take Arroyo’s place next year.

      What I don’t think they want is someone like Chapman who wouldn’t be around for them any longer than Stanton. Though, I do agree Chapman might be a good chip in another deal.

  4. If Giancarlo Stanton is available, then the Reds should go all-in for him. He would solidify the #4 batting spot and the LF spot. He’d be lineup insurance in case Choo opts for FA this winter. You’d be getting a RH hitting Jay Bruce with slightly more power and a slightly better arm on defense.
    Now, I would start off a package with Chapman, Felix Perez-OF(AAA), and give a negotable list of players to the Marlins to pick from. Hamilton(OF), Lutz(OF/1B), Soto(1B/3B), Barnhart(C), Tevieiso(SP), etc.
    Cingrani stays. Stephenson and Winker go on a no-trade list.
    It could be done. It should be done.
    A trade for Stanton would have ramifications up and down the lineup. Only a special few players can you get like that. And Ervin could possibly make BHam a little expendable.

  5. I propose a trade for prospects.

    Trade Chapman and Ondrusek (change of scenery) to the Detroit Tigers who are in need of a Closer as all their other attempts are failing. In return, Reds get the following prospects:

    Nick Castellanos, 6’4″, 210 lbs., RH, 21 years old, LFer, triple AAA, #21 rated prospect by mlb.com, .296, 10 HR, .851 OPS
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=castel002nic

    Bruce Rondon, RH reliever, Age 22, triple AAA – 1.52 e.r.a., 40 K’s in 29 IP, hits 100 mph on the radar gun, currently getting blown up in his first major league stint. But has insanely good numbers all through the minors. Future Reds Closer?
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/r/rondobr01.shtml

    Drew Smyly, LH minor league starter/being used in the bullpen for Detroit right now, was a starter all through the minors. Currently sporting a 2.27 e.r.a. for the Tigers in 27 games out of the bullpen.
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/smylydr01.shtml

    Ramon Cabrera, SH, double AA, catcher, won’t hit homers, will hit doubles and will hit for average, good OBP, 23 years old.
    http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?pos=&sid=t106&t=p_pbp&pid=541608

    OR………

    Drew VerHagen, RH, high A, starting pitcher, 22 years old
    http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?pos=P&sid=t570&t=p_pbp&pid=572403

    Cingrani or Hoover can close.

    Nets the Reds a starting LFer, and a RH power bat that also hits for average – can fit into the cleanup spot. He’s young. I have no faith that Ludwick will return in 2012 form this season. Too much time off and no guarantees coming back off injury.

    Nets the Reds possibly a future Closer in Rondon who hits 100 mph.

    Nets a good catching prospect who hits for average and doubles, but not much power. And possibly a few pitching prospects to add depth in case the Reds can’t sign all of Bailey, Latos, Cueto, Leake, etc. to extensions.

    Detroit is desperate. Now is the time to strike!!!!!

    I don’t think the Reds miss a beat with Cingrani closing or Hoover or maybe even Rondon. And solves the RH bat situation at cleanup and gains a young talented LFer.

    • @Eric: I would love it if we ended up getting Smyly. I played legion ball with him and got to watch him pitch at Arkansas. I never saw someone who could make the ball zip out of his hand like him. He would lazily run up on grounders to center (when he wasn’t pitching, obviously) to get people to try and score from second. He’d throw them out by about 5 steps. He also has a tremendous up-side. Fantastic left-handed pitcher. He made the Tigers’ rotation last season out of spring training after only pitching a half season of AA ball. Ended up getting beat out by Scherzer, I believe, in spring training this season. Still is having a fantastic year.

    • @Eric: So Castellanos in LF? Ok, not a bad idea but we have no way of knowing if right here, right now, he’d hit any better than the Paul, Robinson, Heisey combo. I mean there is a good chance he will but he’s still a prospect. I’m not sure I want to take that sort of chance in a year when my goal is to win the WS…

      I like your list of players an awful lot. I’m not sure the Tigers would do that deal. There may be a setup guy who could close or another closer who would cost them less as far as prospects given up.

    • @Eric: There is no way we get all those prospects for Chapman and Ondrusek. You’d be lucky to get Castellanos and either Smyly or Rondon. I will repeat one of my first comments: Chapman<Stanton. And that's a Stanton package.

      • @rhayex:
        I politely disagree.

        Other GM’s might make Chapman a starting pitcher. He has all the tools. In fact, most of the league criticizes the Reds for not using him that way. Chapman wants to Close. Baker wants to use him as a Closer. But other organizations, especially those rebuilding (I know that’s not Detroit)……..but a rebuilding organization could spend the time to convert him to a starting pitcher. Even as a Closer, he’s an elite one.

        Latos garnered 4 players – Volquez, Boxberger, Grandal, and Alonso. That’s a former 17-game winner, an either compensatory first round pick (Boxberger) or he was a second round, I can’t remember……..and then two #1 picks.

        Only Castellanos is ranked in the top 100 prospects. Rondon, Smyly and the catcher aren’t. Neither is VerHagen. Maybe Detroit doesn’t do it, but I bet you could find some team to pony up 4 pretty good prospects for Chapman.

        • @Eric: Latos was also proven for two-three years as a low level ace before we traded for him. I concede that I don’t know what other teams are thinking, but I’d think that Jocketty would pull the trigger on that deal regardless of what Baker thinks. It’s that good.

          Don’t get me wrong, a Castellanos and Smyly/Rondon trade would still make the Reds come out as winners in a trade, in my opinion.

        • @rhayex: Although the caveat there is that we do have Jocketty as or GM, and he’s pretty good at squeezing a deal out of other teams. Also, I’ve got a feeling he’s quietly testing Chapman’s trade value. It’s something that would be “unexpected” to many, much like the deals he’s swung in the past (see: Choo, Shin-soo, and Latos, Mat).

    • @Eric: I think you drastically overestimate Chapman’s value. If Ondrusek were anybody’s solution, he’d be with the Reds now, since our bullpen is injured and shaky. Also, if everybody is right, and closers are easy to find and not worth paying much for, why would Detroit part with such a package? They wouldn’t have risen from the ashes if they were stupid.

  6. As much as I think Chapman is wasted in the bullpen, the ideal time to trade him would have been as soon as it was decided he would not start for the Reds. His stock was at an all time high then. After this many years in the closer role I don’t know how many teams would view him as a starter. I also think a GM has to mold a roster to fit his manager. For as bad as Dusty seems to manage the bullpen, imagine him without a “proven closer.” The worst move the Reds can make in my opinion is overpay for a bullpen arm. The name I hear the most is Jesse Crain. Baseball Reference has him projected as a .6 WAR for the rest of the year, better than all but Chapman/Marshall (assuming he’s healthy)for the Reds. .6 WAR isn’t enough to get in a bidding war over. The biggest need is still a LF RH bat in my mind. I’m just not sure what’s out there that is realistic.

  7. MANNY

    He can be signed for little with almost no commitment beyond the season. He will cost nothing in terms of prospects.

    • @rightsaidred: I don’t want Manny in a Reds’ uniform. The guy isn’t a good clubhouse fit and is a distraction. Walt likes character and good clubhouse guys. He has made it a point to build to bring those types of guys in. Manny doesn’t fit that mold.

      Then there’s the fact that Manny is 41 years old. Nobody can be sure how well he can still hit. His defense was horrid when he left MLB and 2 years older is probably even worse. He’s really a bad fit for any NL team and would be a horrible fit for the Reds. Just my 2-cents.

      • @LWBlogger: I agree with those 2 cents. And would add that even if Manny would have a modicum of success, the Reds might be tempted to keep him around into next year, and he seems to really wear out his welcome after a year or two. …

    • @rightsaidred: I think Manny is done in the MLB unless his suspension gets waived for that last drug test. There is no team that is going to sign a guy that still has a 100 game suspension over his head. He retired with Tampa in spring training without taking the last suspension after his last positive test.

    • @rightsaidred:

      I’d do a triple A deal with Manny, with an agreement that if he rakes for two weeks, he’ll get called up. With no guarantees after the season. Make it understood that it is his audition to impress other teams for next year. It would give him incentive to do well and behave himself.

      After two weeks if he’s mediocre, the Reds could release him. If he’s mashing for power and average, there’s nothing to lose.

      Probably include drug testing, although MLB would probably be on top of that with Manny, big time.

  8. As usual, I think people here are overestimating the Reds’ prospects. The Reds have one elite prospect in Robert Stephenson. After that, meh. I like Cingrani, Winker, Travieso, and Hamilton…I just don’t think the Reds’ top 4 prospects would be enough. They just aren’t that good and/or don’t have the upside necessary to get Stanton.

    A lot of you don’t seem to realize just how far Chapman’s trade value fell when he was named the Closer. Crappy teams like the Marlins don’t care about closers. They rarely use them. They don’t need a “project” who is only a couple seasons away from arbitration. They want cheap guys who are close to the majors.

    The only teams that need closers are other teams in contention. Teams in contention don’t trade starting LFs for closers, unless they have another guy ready to step in. It just doesn’t happen.

    In addition, the Reds aren’t going to trade their best bullpen arm in the middle of the season while they’re still in playoff contention. If they fall out of it, yeah I could see it…don’t be expecting Stanton though.

    I think Reds fans better get used to his idea: if the Cardinals, Rays, Rangers, Mariners, or Pirates want Stanton, they’ll get him.

    • @CP: I don’t think Stanton leaves Miami, at least during the season. But I agree with you that teams like the Cardinals have deeper minor league systems, and they are more likely than the Reds to get Stanton, if Miami pulls the trigger on that.

      The Red Sox and the Tigers may want to trade for Chapman, but I don’t see the Reds trading Chapman when the bullpen is struggling. I agree with the idea of trading him, but I doubt it will happen.

  9. Ok, I am the Marlins and you’re Walt and you’ve asked me “What will it take to get me Stanton?” Here is my answer:

    “I don’t want Chapman. Yeah, he’s Cuban and could be a hit here but he’s going to be arbitration eligible and I don’t want to pay him for 3 years if we aren’t going to the playoffs with him. We aren’t quite that close… You want Stanton? Let’s see, I want Hamilton, Stephenson, Corcino, and either LaMarre or Winkler.”

    Honestly, I’m not even sure that would get it done.

  10. I would consider giving Mesoraco some games in left field, particularly against lefties, on the days he isn’t catching. I believe Choo won’t hit lefties (some say he can’t hit junkballing lefties), so let’s put him in left and either Robinson or Heisey in center.

    Mesoraco wouldn’t be the first guy to improve his hitting after being moved from catcher. Dale Murphy is the best example, but there are several others, and I understand that he is likely not Dale Murphy. Mesoraco had a 3-level OPS of 1.035 in 2010, and was at .855 at AAA in 2011. He can hit, but like any young hitter, needs ABs. Mes, however, is not an elite defensive catcher and will not be elite. He doesn’t have the softest hands, and doesn’t frame pitches too well, for what that is worth (and there was one strike on the knees yesterday that I checked yesterday, wondering “where was that pitch?”).

    Some scoffed at putting him next to Choo and having a disastrously bad defensive outfield, but I’m not sold on that. First, he wouldn’t play next to Choo all that much under the Big Ed Plan. Second, Choo has improved the last few weeks. Third, why should we assume that Mesoraco would be a bad outfielder, or at least could not develop into a decent outfielder? He has an excellent arm, and I’ve long thought that a good arm in left field is completely undervalued–a leftfielder throws to home more than the other two outfielders. Also, Mesoraco is not slow, and probably every bit as fast as Ryan Ludwick. Ludwick is no Barry Bonds in left field, himself. And he can’t possibly be worse than Adam Dunn was. Finally, as a disgusted Lee Mazzilli said when he was shifted from centerfield to left, “Left field is for idiots.” Anybody can play left field.

    If it works, a back-up catcher would be pretty cheap and easy to find, and I don’t mean Corky Miller. Plus, in the meantime, Mes could continue to catch 2 of 5 games. Mesoraco has a chance to be a pretty good major league hitter, and he it is possible that his being pigeon-holed as a catcher is holding him back.

    • @Big Ed: That’s definitely thinking outside the box. I don’t know if the middle of a pennant race is a good time to experiment with a position change but your idea is certainly creative.

    • @Big Ed:

      I would consider giving Mesoraco some games in left field, particularly against lefties, on the days he isn’t catching.

      I had considered this option early on after Ludwick went down and it became obvious the Dusty was continue to limit Meso’s playing time in favor of Hanigan. Then Hanigan went on the DL and I never looked at the option again. Your comment refreshed the Old Cossack’s memory (no small task!) and I looked at the option again and I like the idea now more than before.

      I would propose that Meso start in LF against every LHP and spell Hanigan behind the plate for 2 of 5 games. This might alter the catching rotation, but Meso’s bat in the starting lineup against every LHP will help the pitching staff get over that issue quickly. I also agree the Meso has the necessary physical capability to make the transition to LF with relative ease. Then against RHP, start XP in LF, not Robinson. Paul kills RHP like Meso kills LHP:

      Meso v. LHP .318/.412/.455
      Paul v. RHP .269/.358/.454

      Leave Choo in CF. He’s doing fine in CF and LF becomes a non-issue any longer. Then, let the opposition throw as many LHP against the Reds as they like. If Hanigan does need to leave a game, Meso transitions to catcher for the remainder of the game and there are plenty of options available to cover LF on the bench.

      Robinson is available to spell Choo in CF or as a late inning defensive replacement in LF. Heisey is available to PH. While we’re at it, keep HRod on the 25 man roster as a PH and to spell BP at 2B and DFA Izturis to AAA if he clears waivers. With Meso playing every day, he may also help light a fire and invigorate the team. Meso may also develop into the hitter we (at least the Old Cossack) anticipated at the major league level if he is playing every day.

      If Ludwick comes back fully productive this season, great, but I don’t believe that happens, not this season, maybe not ever.

      • @Shchi Cossack: OF all the in-house options. Moving the backup catcher to left field simply to bat against LHP is the craziest. It also happens to be the one I like the best.

        Mesoraco is elite hitting catcher when you consider his line against lefties is a vacuum. It is absurd not to maximize the when you consider he is a young and developing player in desperate need of more playing times, especially more ABs.

        This is something we will never see but it’s the one thing that should be done before shipping out a bunch of prospects for a stop-gap.

      • @Shchi Cossack: I’ve been dying to post this but never found a spot: Last game of the Pirates series. Reds down by 2, LHP on the mound. Dusty lets LH Lutz and his sub .300 OBP bat VS A LEFTY instead of using Mesoraco who gets on base at a .455 clip vs LHP. Reds predictably lose. Everyone blames the loss on the pitching or the hitting or something, completely missing the 9th inning elephant in the room.

        Whew. Glad I got that off my chest. Thanks.

        • @Eric the Red: I agree, Eric. More of Baker’s misuse of his players. He talked of how the game at this level moved too fast for Devin. So, what was Baker’s cure? Don’t play him that much, benching him for the last month of the season! That’s ludricrous. If the game is too fast for a player, he needs to play more to be able to pick up the speed of the game.

          I’m confident that’s what was wrong with Devin last season. He went from being “the man” in the minors to not even being “a man” at this level. And, now, if anything, his skills are declining since he’s not playing everyday.

          I won’t ever say Devin will be an All-Star in the majors nor anything like that. But, by not playing, not only will he ever see his full potential, his skills will only decline.

          As for playing LF, my only thought would go back to Alonso. He didn’t work out there. I would be interested to see if Devin can. If he can, great.

          I will say this. For next season, I believe the Reds need to make a decision one way or another with Devin. Either commit to him to “be more of a factor”, aka play more, at the start of next season, or trade him (or put him down in AAA to learn some OF) while we can still get some use out of him. Nothing against Hanigan. I’m fans of both. But, as good as both are, they both deserve playing time. We can’t give it to both.

        • @Eric the Red: As for Baker using Lutz in there instead of Devin, Baker has a history of doing that, not using the second catcher in a game, just in case the second catcher gets hurt in that game. But, still, Baker still does have a decent right handed hitter on his bench. His name is Mike Leake. His BA last season was better than most of the players we had on the bench. Talking about thinking outside the box, I don’t even consider this as thinking outside the box. It’s more like “open the dang box”.

  11. The truth is, the Reds against teams currently over .500 (St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Arizona, Washington, Atlanta, Cleveland, and Oakland), the Reds are 14-24, they are who they are at this point, a division contender. In the playoffs the Cubs, Marlins, and the like don’t show up. The current roster as is, won’t put them over the top.

      • @Greg Dafler: The thing is, there is a trend (not 100% correlation) shown by Jason that if you are going to do well in the playoffs, a good sign (80% true by WS champions the last 5 years), you should have a record close to 50% against winning teams. Like last years WS champion, they had a record close to 50% against winning teams.

        Given that, it is a stretch but not too much of one to assume that if your team isn’t fairing well against winning teams, like 14-24, then they probably aren’t going to do much in the playoffs.

        • @steveschoen: That’s where my “not quite half over” comment comes in.

          In general, I agree that a better record against winning teams would indicate a better probability of winning in the postseason. It’s actually the main reason I wrote the thread last year. All signs pointed towards a Reds/Nats NLCS, and I was optimistic about that matchup.

          However, I doubt there is much, if any, correlation between teams records against winning teams in the first half of a season relative to postseason success. For example, last year, the Pirates tanked and finished below .500. So, their record against the Pirates slides from “winning team” category to “losing team” category.

          A 3-6 record against the Cardinals (thus far) doesn’t really have any indication of what their head-to-head record would be with whatever roster the two teams have in place in a 7-game October series.

    • @charlie.sewell86: The current roster, as is: no Marshall, no Ludwick. Cueto just back and regaining form. Of course I’m in favor of a trade that will help the team, but the current roster as is does not include key players the Reds will have in the 2nd half.

      When will Ludwick return and will he hit with power ? Big question.

      • @pinson343: Also with Ludwick they keep pushing the time back to where one wonders if he will be available soon enough to impact the races even if he is physically capable. On the other hand, if the Reds can get into the playoffs, he may turn out to be a real impact guy there.

  12. Just wondering, whom thought at this time last year the Giants would be the world series winners beating both the Reds , Cards and Tigers in the playoffs?

    • @dn4192: Certainly not I. Personally I thought the team to beat last year was the Tigers. I had them winning it all. This year I have the Rangers winning it all. Of course they still need to get by Oakland in their own division. I had no idea the Red Sox would be this good. I had them finishing 4th!

    • @dn4192: You never know who’s going to get hot in October. Maybe this year it’s the Reds. No one gave the 1990 Reds a chance, even after they won their division.

  13. I’m going to make the most boring suggestion yet for an addition, and won’t even be specific about it. Pick up a LHed bat to hit off the bench, someone who gets on base reasonably often and can hit an occasional long ball. I won’t even mention names, these guys are out there and are inexpensive. I don’t care if he’s fat and 40, as long as he can hit.

    This guy would replace Hannahan, who adds no value whatever (and I wouldn’t even say that about Izturis) to the team. The Reds do not need a corner IFer who cannot hit. Why is he on the roster ? He’s versatile, can play multiple positions. the Reds have enough of those guys, get someone who can hit !

    • @pinson343: Ah, but Dusty must have his veteran backup infielder even if he can’t hit and is a liability in the field!!! He’s still a veteran!!!! /sarcasm off

      • @TraviXDM: Right, of course. The question is: Why does WJ go along with that ? It’s his responsibility to put the roster together, including the bench.

        • @pinson343: I’m not entirely sure WJ is at fault. Its the ownership that loves Dusty, but I’m not entirely sold on the idea that the GM and manager particularly get along. There seem to be a few articles earlier in the year about Dusty lamenting how he can’t have some things his way.

          While WJ is responsible is for putting a roster together, and making an attempt at “Dusty-proofing” the lineup, I guess he can’t do it all. I honestly don’t have an answer for that one, lol.

      • @TraviXDM: If you are referring to Hanahan, he’s not a defensive liability. I wish he could hit, but refer to earlier comment about bench players who can field and hit: they are starters for somebody.

  14. Speaking of the lack of a bat off the bench, the absence of one becomes glaring when the Reds play an AL team on the road and have to use a DH. The DH bats against the A’s ? Heisey and Paul. This puts the Reds at a disadvantage.

    The Reds record so far on the road vs. AL teams: 0-4. And now Texas coming up. They’ll have some monster DH.

    • @pinson343: The Rangers have primarily used Lance Berkman at DH. He’s not the player he was 8 years ago, but has murdered the Reds over the years.

  15. I was reading a couple of days ago an article in USA Today sports about the SF Giants toying with the idea of making Tim Linecum a closer. A return or resurrection of the Fireman type of closer. The 2 or 3 inning closer. The Goose Gossage type. I like that philosophy. I know it would blow Baker’s mind and his head would be rolling around in the dugout. But if you think about it, especially for NL teams, it might give you the chance to reduce the bullpen by one arm and increase the bench by one player. The Reds bullpen seems full of the types that could pull that off too. LeCure, Cingrani, Simon, and Hoover all seem capable of that role. Marshall and Broxton might be too fragile for that at this point in their careers.
    I’d include Chapman, but if he were allowed to go more than one inning, the sun might not come up tomorrow.

  16. I agree with the gist of what’s been posted thus far. Stanton is someone for whom the Reds would have to pay dearly and it’s highly likely that his cost exceeds the Red’s ‘savings’ within their farm system.

    It really seems as though something needs to be done. Even if it’s to encourage the team to compete harder. Are there other possibilities, like Willingham? Or someone who only has a year left so we aren’t prematurely relegating Ludwick to the bench?

    • @Jason1972: Do you seriously want to add Willinham to this team…now? I hear people complain about too many SO now and adding a player who is striking out over 26% of the time isn’t going to help alleviate that problem. Willingham is hitting .218/.349/.393 and people are alreay complaining about Frazier’s .735 OPS so I don’t see how adding another .743 OPS at a corner OF position is going to help. Also, Willingham in under contract for 2014 so the Reds would be stuck paying both Ludwick and Willingham a nice little salary to play the same position, and neither is a defensive stalwart in LF.

  17. Willingham is not hitting this year: .218/.349/.393. And he’s making $7M. He’d improve the bench, but that could be done a lot more cheaply.

    As for a guy who becomes a free agent at the end of 2013, WJ does not like to trade for 2 month rentals.

  18. @Jason Linden: Thanks for the respite and distraction offered by your Off Day Thread. The Old Cossack was struggling after the 2 pathetic losses in Oakland and this helped with some proper grounding.

    Along the lines of giving credit where credit is due, Beane continues to assemble teams uniquely suited for playing in Oakland, playing winning MLB and doing it on the cheap. Money Ball was his claim to fame, but Beane continues to outmaneuver the big boys.

  19. As for Willingham, if he was playing to his normal standards he wouldn’t be available for cheap. He’d be a gamble, that’s for sure. If he started hitting like he has in past seasons (the change of scenery thing), he’d be a real asset.

    It won’t happen.

  20. Willingham also has the advantage that he hits lefties and righties nearly equally.

  21. While looking around the fan graphs leader boards, I noticed a few stats about homer bailey I hadn’t realized. He has been an elite-type stuff pitcher this season whether you are looking at traditional stats (6th in strikeouts and 5th in K/9) and saber metric stats (6th in FIP, 3rd in xFIP) (all stats among NL qualified pitchers)

    Not what you would expect from his ERA.

  22. I’ve looked at the lists and I just don’t see too much out there for the Reds to get. I could maybe see them getting another reliever, but that’s about it. There just isn’t that many bats ou there to be have, even for a loaner that are that appealing.

    Looking at the free agent to be list the only guy that I see I get curious about for maybe a cheap loaner and depth with and it’s a dude with a ton of IF’s is Delmon Young. He’s a bit of a nut, he’s not really hitting in Philly, but there is the Cincy connection in his family with his brother Dmitri Young who played and had success with the Reds. He wouldn’t cost much and doesn’t get paid much, so you never know, might get lucky… I realize this is a pretty big stretch, but the Reds really don’t have any outfielders ready at AA/AAA other than Lutz and no righty bats with some pop.

    The rest of the list is pretty barren.

  23. Was looking at that trade list. I would actually be a fan of picking up Aoki. You may argue that his numbers aren’t particularly better than Robinson’s, but that’s Robinson in a platoon role versus Aoki every day and bats above averagely against both lefties and righties.

    Robinson is pretty horrid versus right handed pitchers (.244/.311/.293), just like Paul is absolutely *horrid* against left handed pitchers (.141/.208/.155 career). So Aoki could come in and play LF, and then when the Reds play against a left handed starter, Robinson could come in and play CF for Choo who has been pretty terrible against lefties this year (.144/.316/.178)

    That way the Reds wouldn’t keep playing Choo against lefties where he’s been absolutely terrible. Also, when they play right handed starters, the first three player’s OBP would be:

    Choo- .419
    Aoki- .371
    Votto- .437

      • @ToddAlmighty: I was thinking Aoki would be a good pickup. I like him and it goes beyond the stats. He’s a LH-hitter though so I don’t know if he’s a really good fit. Maybe if the Reds were to move Robinson or Paul as part of the deal. I also don’t think Baker would be too keen on having the order be: Choo (L), Aoki (L), Votto (L), Phillips (R), Bruce (L)… Lastly, Choo is going to play against LHP. Walt brought him in to play every day. When he sits for a normal rest, it should be against tough LHP though.

  24. What everyone fails to realize is that Stanton is a major injury risk. As a major league player, he’s hit 150 games in only one season. 123 last year, only 35 this year. 100 games his rookie year. That’s misleading because he started the years in the minors, but a trend is developing. It’s still early enough to buck that trend, but developing regardless. The Marlins won’t get 3 A level prospects for Stanton. Two at most. Hamilton and Cingrani/Stephenson. Then we start filling out the trade. High floor player that’s a B level prospect who will make it to the majors, Ryan Wright. C level player with a long shot at making it, but upside there? Bryson Smith.

    I think Willingham is a marvelous idea. He’d benefit from the bandbox home park, he’s right handed power. Perfect really. Michael Morse makes sense in a lot of ways.

    But what about this-the Reds have good starting pitching. You don’t want to mess with that. But you pick up the phone and say “Hey. I’ve got Tony Cingrani and Homer Bailey. I want Trumbo, and you only get one.” Who says no? The Reds are dealing from depth, and I think Greg Reynolds down in Louisville gives you the leeway to make this deal. You need a spot starter, he’s been killing it, and his peripherals finally look as good as the final product. His strikeouts aren’t high, but that’s why he’s your sixth starter. The Reds are gonna have to give to get. Trumbo in left, batting fourth? That’s a cool thought.

    Sure with Bronson leaving you’ve got a spot in the rotation open, but not having to pay Homer allows you to re-up Latos long term, and then get a guy for one season before Stephenson takes up his spot in the top of the rotation. I don’t know if it’s an agreeable idea, but Cingrani or Homer for Trumbo makes a lot of sense to me.

    • @hermanbates: I think yuo’re right no here. What the Reds have is pitching, and there are a lot of teams out there that would kill for a tiny sliver of it.

      Lock up Latos. Cueto is already making a lot of money and he’s the leader of the staff. Arroyo probably couldn’t bring you much.

      But that leaves Cingrani, Bailey, and Leake and with the way Galaraga and Reynolds have pitched at AAA, I’d be fine with trading one of them. If that’s where the trade started, the Reds could get an impact bat.

      But I think Jocketty and Baker are too sentimental to do that. They like “their guys.”

      • @al: I don’t know, Trubo IS the type of right handed power hitter the Reds could really, really use. I think Dusty would love to have a big righty to put between Votto and Bruce.

        I think the Angels might hold tight and try to spend there way out of pitching problems, but that kind of deal would be HUGE.

        I just hope the freakin’ Cardinals don’t think of it first.

        • @earl: I agree, Trumbo would fit, I just don’t really see WJ trading a guy like Cingrani or Leake because they are now “in.”

          Throughout his time with the Reds, Stubbs has been the only guy on the big league roster they’ve traded, and he was clearly “out” by the time the deal went down.

          Then there’s the history of extending guys that are “in” rather than looking elsewhere. Votto sure, but Phillips, Rolen, Ludwick? Those weren’t exactly steals for the Reds. They could have gotten players just as good if not better for the money, but they got “their guys.”

          I could be wrong of course, maybe they’ll deal anyone at anytime. But I get the sense that they care a lot about clubhouse chemistry, and it makes them sentimental for guys who show that they can be a good part of that mix.

  25. The Reds are slumping, yes. Panic time? No way. Time to be somewhat perturbed? Sure. How long will it last? How long will the Cards and Pirates play out of their mind and start to slump themselves? Biggest for me, is there anyone on this roster who could light a fire under them and get them going? I would hope it wouldn’t take another Votto injury or the like again.

    I just don’t think the Reds are going to make any sort of blockbuster trade for something like a LF, at least no until Ludwick is back. If they did, it would have to come with specific ideas what to do once Ludwick does come back, like trade him off, designate him for assignment, something. For, I don’t see the Reds keeping $7 million in one player on the bench. And, I don’t think they would put a player we trade most all of our future we still have left for a player we put on the bench once Ludwick comes back and takes over left field.

    It’s easy to say who we would like to get here. It’s entirely another thing to determine what to with the guy once he does get here?

    Don’t get me wrong. I would love to see Stanton here. And, if Walt does want to deplete our minors to the bone for him, great. I just don’t think Walt nor any other GM would do it, given what is going on with the rest of the roster, most notably what to do with Ludwick then once he comes back.

    Not to mention, for Stanton, we would have to deplete whatever prospects we have left in the minors for a guy we would only control for a couple of years.

  26. What about Alex Rios?

    He’s having his second very good season in a row with the Whitesox, but fangraphs has him as “available.”

    He’s hitting .276/.335/.459 with 11 HRs and playing excellent defense.

    He’s also under contract for next year, and I think it’s time that the Reds have to consider whether Billy Hamilton is going to be ready to be the starting CF on opening day next year.

    Rios is owed $6 mil for the rest of this year, and $12.5 mil next. If CHI put in half of that, and the Reds gave up a medium package of prospects, I think they’d get a solid RH bat for the stretch this year, and have a good option next year when Choo leaves.

    • @al: I think Rios might be able to help, but that price tag I feel like is a no go. The Reds already are paying a 30-something outfielder $7.5m, so I can’t see them picking up anyone who’d add heavily onto that number.

      • @ToddAlmighty: Rios is officially available. I think he makes sense because Hamilton doesn’t seem ready yet. He could be next year’s Choo, which would give Hamilton the time to develop.

        Also, the Whitesox have Jesse Crain, who could be a big help for the bullpen.

        It would be tough, but I would propose a deal like this:

        Cingrani + a position player prospect like Soto + a pitching prospect in the low minors

        For Rios + Crain + $8mil.

        It would make for a bit of a roster crunch when Ludwick came back, but a) we don’t know if and when that will happen, and b) that’s one of those good problems to have for a team trying to win the World Series.

        One thing it would allow us to do is bench Choo in favor of Rios against lefties. Rios, Phillips, Votto, Ludwick, Bruce, Frazier, Mesoraco, Cozart vs lefties would be deadly.

        Against righties you would have to mix and match to get Choo, Ludwick, and Rios playing time.

        But then next year, you have Rios at about $7mil, which is about what we’re paying Choo.

        • @al: Then I totally don’t like that deal. A one year $7m rental of a 33-year-old who career-wise, is spectacularly average. In exchange for a lefthanded starting pitcher who in 7 major league starts went 3-0, 3.15 ERA, 40.0 IP, 46 K, 9 BB…. doesn’t sound good at all.

          Arroyo will be gone next year, and Cingrani will be in the rotation (barring another “I want him in the bullpen” temper tantrum from Dusty). No way do I trade 5 years of control over a good young left handed starting pitcher for a one year rental of a 33-year-old who’ll cost $7m.

        • @ToddAlmighty: As I said, giving up Cingrani would be tough, but they’re going to have to give up something good to get someone valuable.

          I don’t think it’s fair to say that getting the end of this season plus another full season is just a “rental.” That’s what they originally got of Scott Rolen, and I don’t think people thought of that as a rental. WJ seems reluctant to just get a guy for the end of one season (which is what I think of as a rental). But this would set us up for another good year next year.

          I also don’t think it’s totally fair to say that Rios is average. Sure if you count his first two years in the majors, 9 years ago when he was 23, then his career OPS+ is 102. But since then he’s gone 120, 122, 113, 79, 111, 63, 125, 111. That’s solidly above average, although with two down years.

          Also, he’s a very good defender, so if you look at his WAR numbers you see he’s put up seasons of 4.6, 5.6, 5.9, 3.2, & 4.6. Those are all-star level seasons. Jay Bruce’s last 3 seasons have been 4.8, 2.2 & 1.6.

          And then you have to consider getting Crain in the deal also. It’s clearly a win-now move, but that’s what we’re trying to do. If they could get those two for less than Cingrani etc, I’d be happy, but I think I’d still do it.

  27. The biggest challenge is that the easiest place for them to upgrade is LF, but they aren’t going to do it because of Ludwick. Reds fans just have to hope that Ludwick comes back ASAP and is immediately on fire. Neither of those seem particularly likely to me, but fingers crossed.

    • @al: Wants interesting to me is that the Reds could essentially rent a LFer for a year and tell Ludwick not to push his recovery. Take the rest of the year off. I mean, they keep pushing his return date back. Are we to September on that front, or still mid to late August? If they could rent a player, even though I think going after a longer term solution is a better idea, this is the situation to do it with. Let Ludwick recover and take on a rental is a definite possibility, though.

  28. What a great thread!

    A lot of sage observations mixed with polite disagreements and agreements.

    I still read, don’t post much though. Baby is due July 22.

      • @TraviXDM:

        Thank you. If I had known what a blast dadhhod was, I’d have started sooner. My 10 yo wants to play for the Reds. First he wants to sing the National Anthem before a game. I get tired when he practices. Everyone has to stand.

    • @seat101: Oooo, maybe baby will come a bit early and share a b-day with me (7/20)… Really cool. How many children? I have a 6-year old daughter.

  29. One thing I’m a bit tired of hearing is how the Reds are doing great despite injuries to “their cleanup hitter, their top starter, and their bullpen”.

    Well, every team has injuries, and I’m not sure that losing Ludwick, Cueto for a month, and Marshall+Broxton qualifies as much worse than typical. Cueto hurts, no question about it, but Broxton wasn’t good when healthy. Marshall is good, but he’s a setup man. Is that *so* important? Ludwick, well, I just don’t think he’s a dominant player, the likes of which tubes your season when he goes down.

    Aside from the well chronicled Cards injuries, what about the Pirates? Burnett has been on the DL, McDonald hasn’t pitched at all has he?, Morton has been out, Wandy has been hurt…and I haven’t even looked at the position players yet.

    I think the team is going to play better, but I’m just not a huge fan of excuses. It’s not like Votto and Bruce are hurt.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: What I’ve been wondering is where does the Pirates energy come from when both the Dirty Birds and Reds have been putting on a pretty good demostration of what running on empty looks like for the last two weeks while the Pirates surged.

  30. I, for one, think the Reds will go out and grab a bullpen arm like K-Rod, then some bench help, and that’s it. But then again, I don’t think they need to anything drastic besides stay healthy and hope guys like Frazier & Broxton perform better. They also need Mesoraco to grab the reins or Hanigan perform WAY better.

    • @CP: K-Rod has crossed my mind as a guy who could help and might be available. And now worm is turning on Marmol. If he is released and the Reds could get him for the prorated MLB minimum. It might be interesting to see what Ted Power and Price could do with him if there was a way to work with him at AAA through the ASB

  31. Im looking for a little help from people who are familiar with GABP. My family is looking to go to a couple day games in July. Can someone recommend seating locations where we could be in the shade? One game would start at 1 and the other at 4. Thanks

    • @va red: It’s going to be hot so yeah, shade would be good. At 1:00 PM, you won’t get much shade at GABP at all. Your best bet is 3B side and the top handful of rows in the field-box, infield-box, or terrace outfield.

    • @va red: Home plate faces north so 1st base side is to the West. for a 4 pm game you will want to see about something in in the back of infield box on the 1st base side or any club seating. That will all be nicely shaded.

      The 1 pm game pretty much limits you to the top 6 rows of view level (the cheapies) if you want shade all game long – you can aim for section 524 or so behind home plate and it will stay shaded in the top couple of rows all game long.

    • @va red: The overhang is at Rows EE and higher up of the lower section. Of course it depends on the time of game with the sun and everything, but higher than EE on 1st base side should be a good start.

    • @preach: His blood run cold, his knees ache before he even takes to the dirt to stop a wild pitch, and his body from absorbing some many pitches to the chest and facemask that deflect up from said dirt.

        • @preach: Probably not. I like Corky, and hope the Reds find a way to retain him after his playing career is over, a coach somewhere. Be a roving catching instructor in the farm system or something. While his numbers aren’t spectacular by any stretch of the imagination, he just strikes me as someone who knows how to get the best of the Reds young pitchers up and coming.

  32. This was a trade i have been thinking about for a week. I was thinking more of an offseason trade. Trading Johhny Cueto Aroldis Chapman and Zach Cozart What does everybody think about this? I think you could get quite a bit back.

  33. If I am Walt, I’d be on the phone to the Tigers and offer Chapman and Corcino

    for Castellanos, Rondon and Smyly

    That would be a BOOM for the Reds farm system and our future

  34. I hope Walt doesn’t go too much further “all in” on this year. I’m not all doom and gloom, but there’s a high likelihood we could play very well and still end up behind the Cardinals. In which case our season comes down to a one game playoff. Our window is wide enough that Walt should make moves that make us better now and for the next 2-3 years, not that make us better now at the expense of the following years. And in that respect, I think it all comes down to pitching, and who he expects to be able to sign and keep in the rotation going forward.

  35. Yo Linden, I know you get sick of our panic talk (and I don’t blame you), but you want to (further) mortgage the future on Stanton?!??! Talk about panic! I like it!

    I’m not convinced Hamilton is that much better than Derrick Robinson, and certainly that Latos deal looks amazing right now. I just am surprised you would advocate such a major change, given your usual assertions that this offense and team is just fine as is.

  36. When the Reds visited Miami last month, why were most of the front office guys on that trip?? Jocketty was there. Miller and Williams were there. Did they just take their wives on a trip to South Beach? Or were they there laying the groundwork for something big? Stanton was on the DL at the time.

  37. Amidst all this talk, let’s not forget the Cardinals/Pirates will likely land a Peavy or Lee at the deadline.

    The Reds won’t have as much flexibility. At the end of the day, the guys on the roster will have to get it done.

      • @Eric the Red: The Phillies were floundering last year and had valuable chips like Shane Victorino but their asking price was relatively absurd (I do not by the Ondrusek rumor).

        Amaro doesn’t seem to wheel and deal so well.

  38. Lots of unhappiness in Reds Land. Just imagine how miserable fans of the underperforming Angels, Dodgers, and Nats feel. Our “struggles” are nothing compared to theirs. (Especially the Nats. And I have to say, I’m glad. Does that make me a bad person?)

  39. There’s no doubt in my mind that a clean-up hitter such as Trumbo would solidify the Reds into a top flight winning team. But it probably won’t happen, and they will wait for Ludwick to return.

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