2014 Reds / More Choo!

Let the Offseason Begin

So, until yesterday, I was prepared for a pretty dull offseason. The Reds, I figured, would make a few acquisitions, but mostly, the 2014 team would look a lot like this year’s team. Now I’m not so sure.

For a moment, I have decided to let my imagination run wild, and I thought it would be fun to let you do the same. Trying to keep myself somewhat grounded in reality, this is what I would try to do if I were the Reds:

1. Trade for Giancarlo Stanton. Obviously, it would take a mint to get him, but with only two years of team control left, it’s hard to imagine the Marlins being ready to compete before they lose him. I would literally empty the farm for him, but even that might not be enough. Still, he would be the perfect RH bat for the lineup.

2. Trade Brandon Phillips for whatever you can get. By both fWAR and bWAR, Phillips has been in sharp decline since his peak season in 2011. What’s more, 2Bs tend to fall off a cliff right about now. And then there’s all the nonsense from this year. It seems like Phillips needs a change of scenery, as it were. I would replace him with whatever decent option I could get for a reasonable price on the open market as there’s a solid crop of 2Bs and SS hitting free agency this year.

3. Re-sign Choo. Duh.

4. Let Bronson go. Unless neither Bailey or Latos can be extended, in which case the situation changes.

5. Put Chapman on the block in hopes of landing a middle infielder who is better than what’s available and/or some prospects to help later. Relief pitchers are not as valuable as many believe and tend to be very up and down. Chapman had an 88% save percentage this year. The league was at 88.9%.

So that’s my Plan A, in which case the Reds would have a lineup that looked something like this: Choo, Votto, Stanton, Bruce, Frazier, Mesoraco, 2B, Cozart. That top 4 is going to terrify people.

The rotation would be similar to 2013: Cueto, Latos, Bailey, Cingrani, Leake.

This is not a deep team, at all, but if it stays healthy, it would scare the crap out of the opposition. Can you imagine that playoff rotation?

If Stanton can’t happen, you can execute a plan B that involves Choo in left and Hamilton in center. I believe Hamilton’s speed and defense are valuable enough to make him at least average at the major league level right now.

Anyway, it’s still October. The playoffs are still happening (much to our chagrin). It’s not time to be serious yet, so let’s have a little fun and fantasize. What would you do?

161 thoughts on “Let the Offseason Begin

  1. I’ll put on my GM cap and take a shot at an offseason plan:

    1. Sign a new manager. Bryan Price is my first choice. I’ve also heard Bob Brenly’s name come up, and I think he’d be okay too. Just say no to RIggleman. Whoever it is, move quickly to sign him so that impending free agents and guys who need extensions know that there is stability here.

    2. Try to sign Choo, but do not overpay. Something like 4 year and $60 million is reasonable. If he must have a five year deal, I’d look at adding in a team option year with a decent sized buy out, but no more than that. In the end, I don’t think this will get it done, so he’ll probably walk.

    3. Explore extensions with Latos and Bailey. If both are amenable to long term deals, get them signed and let Bronson walk. If Bailey is resistant, give Bronson the qualifying offer and immediately put Bailey on the block. I’d target position prospects that can play on the left side of the field and SP prospects to restock the system a bit.

    4. Trade Brandon Phillips. The LA Dodgers and KC Royals seem like they might be good fits for Brandon. I like the guy, but he is going to be in full decline mode in a year or two. If they can’t get any decent prospects for the guy, I would explore an Andre Ethier/Phillips contract swap with the Dodgers with the Dodgers kicking in either prospects or cash to even the deal out just a bit.

    5. Sign Alexander Guerrero. The Reds have been rumored to be one of the interested parties, so it’s not all that far fetched. He could immediately replace Phillips at 2B and should be ready to contribute immediately. There’s some risk here since he has never played in the MLB, so signing Kelly Johnson to a short term deal might not be a bad stopgap plan.

    • @AlphaZero: Judging by most of the comments on this site, it’s too obvious to require elaboration that BP had a bad year, is in decline, and should be traded. I crunched a metric that might surprise you: RPI (not the college in Albany, but Run Production Index–runs and rbi minus homers): Joey V accounted for .18 runs per at bat. BP accounted for .25. Games are won by scoring runs. Discount rbi all you like (and many of you do like), but its co-dependency makes it just like all other baseball stats–most others, at any rate. This is not to bash Joey, who had a fine year (but an off year by his own account), but to point out that when you get guys on base you have to bring them home to win. I know that obp is a great predictor of success, but it doesn’t exist in a vacuum: we had the two best obp guys in the league and our season is done anyway.

      • @greenmtred: I like Phillips. He has always been a great defender with a passable bat. A good, sometimes even great player, but not really a superstar. He has posted an OPS north of .800 exactly twice in his career. He will be 33 next year has seen his offensive stats decline steadily for the last couple of years. In 2013, he posted a sub .400 slugging percentage for the first time since he came to the Reds. He has never been good at taking a walk, so his value at the plate has always been tied to his ability to hit for decent average combined with above average power output for his position. Those skills are starting to erode and can go very quickly.

        The red flags are plentiful. This is not the type of guy that a small market team can afford to dedicate $11+ million per year to for his age 33-36 seasons. Again, I like the guy, but I don’t really care what his “RPI” is. He is almost certainly entering his decline phase. The numbers bear that out, and I think he will be a liability in a year or two at best. Now is the time to trade him while he still might have some semblance of value to other clubs.

        • @AlphaZero: I don’t disagree with you about BP’s contract, but I think that he would be harder to replace and harder to unload than many assume.

        • @greenmtred: Should also have asked why you don’t care about RPI. Runs win games, and BP accounted for lots of runs in a “down” season. I think this reinforces the view that no one approach, new stats, old stats or eyeball, adequately assesses a player’s contributions.

        • @greenmtred: Should also have asked why you don’t care about RPI.Runs win games, and BP accounted for lots of runs in a “down” season. I think this reinforces the view that no one approach, new stats, old stats or eyeball, adequately assesses a player’s contributions.

          Runs matter a lot when we’re talking about the team as a whole, but any measure of an individual that includes runs and RBIs as its main components is deeply flawed. RBIs are heavily influenced by the on base abilities of the guys in front of you and runs are influenced by the abilities of the guys behind you. A guy is not elite just because he is surrounded by elite players.

        • @AlphaZero: I see your point, but my point is that, if you value wins, RBI are important, and do require performance. OBP is important, obviously, but its value to the team is also dependent upon the abilities of guys behind you to drive you in.

  2. Before everyone wants to unload BP, I’d like to see a Manager use him correctly in the lineup. Dusty’s lineups never made sense to me so before we go moving all the pieces, let’s see who gets the job. I know, pure conjecture on next year’s lineups but you’ll miss BP’s defense when he gone. I don’t trade him. This team isn’t that far from being even better. Let’s not blow it up.

    • @sezwhom1: It’s not just a matter of using him correctly. A year or two ago, you could make the case that BP was aging gracefully (I did make that case, in fact), but he seems to suddenly be on a steep aging curve and it’s hard to imagine him being good enough to start for a contender for much longer.

      • @Jason Linden: The Reds need to be very careful in delineating between natural decline in BP which not recoverable and injury induced decline which is largely, perhaps even totally, recoverable.

        This year he certainly did not look to be in decline until after being hit by pitches a couple of times, most notably on the wrist during the last week of May. After that he was never the player he was before.

        The training and medical staff should be all over his situation and develop an off season treatment and rehab regimen for him then have a look at him in the spring. That would tell them two things. First, did he have the attitude and desire to follow the plan; and, secondly, was it successful.

        • @OhioJim: That’s a fair point, but it’s also fair to point out that his early season numbers were likely not sustainable. BP has been a good hitter at times, he’s never been truly as good as he seemed to be the first two months of the season.

          If a wrist injury turned him into an offensive zero for 4 months, he should have been on the DL. I’ll give him a few weeks, but not 2/3 of a season.

        • @Jason Linden: Who were the available replacements? Izturis? HRod? Hannahan to 3B and Frazier to 2B?

          Which brings us to what I feel is the biggest failure of the entire season, the front office. I’m well past my conspiracy theory days; so, I don’t believe they put the whole season at risk to leave Dusty twisting in the wind. All that leaves unless BigBob was holding a gun to their head over money is that they are incompetent as witness the later situation involving Byrd to the Pirates (among many other things). The edge and leadership was lost there just as much as with DB. The needed house cleaning was only half done on the management end I fear.

        • @OhioJim: I agree. The front office let this season slip away when they didn’t upgrade the offense after Ludwick went down for most of the season.

        • @OhioJim: Brandon’s always been injury prone in the sense of getting hit by a pitch or whatever and playing thru it with declined offense for a while and then getting on a hot streak. The minor and nagging injuries were always part of his season and always will be and in 2013 he couldn’t produce with them.

          His offensive line of .261/.310/.396 is a STEEP decline. His .750 OPS in 2012 was his lowest as a Red and in 2013 it fell to .706. His defense is still above average but also in decline. He is no longer fast but think he is. If the Reds wait as much as another year, they could be stuck with his contract with no takers. Right now there would be. I discussed the Mets the other day, other people have named other teams. Trade him, free up all that money. Second base can be filled.

    • @sezwhom1: I think that perhaps you forget the example of the 1970 Reds. They went to the WS, but then before returning traded for Morgan, Geronimo, Billingham, etc. It meant giving up Edwards, May, and Helms. If you get value for guys, then you trade established players. Phillips could be traded to Atlanta, the Mets, etc. Bailey could be traded to Houston or Texas; Ondrusek, Simon, etc. could be moved. I am not saying they should do this, only that there a pieces to be swapped.

      • @redmountain: To my mind the Reds weakest and lowest ceiling pieces are Frazier and Cozart. At least one of them needs to be folded into a deal that returns an upgrade at his position, much like like the Stubbs/ Choo situation last winter.

        Bailey’s name seems to head everyone’s list of tradable pitchers because he is an FA after 2014. However, if neither he nor Latos can be locked up for several years early in this off season, I think it is a fair question whether one year of Bailey with Latos gone as trade bait might not be a better situation. Latos would figure to have greater trade value; and, given what went down the last week od the season, they may not make it through two more seasons with him without a serious injury or blow up of some sort.

        • @OhioJim: Meant to include here that it would be a roll of the dice but that Bailey busting butt toward free agency would be a strong bet to end up as FA who could bring the Reds a compensation pick. So the team would end up with the talent haul two years of Latos could return plus a compensation pick for Bailey at the cost of two years of Latos performance.

        • @OhioJim: Other teams are aware of the Latos injury situation. I’d be a little wary of dismissing Frazier and/or Cozart too summarily. Cozart started to show some offense late in the year–enough, combined with his excellent defense, to make him a reasonable shortstop on a contender. Frazier is fine defensively and might benefit from a new batting coach. The Reds are going to need defense in a big way–hard to have effective pitching without it. Adding a decent bat someplace in the lineup would be very helpful, but won’t turn them into murderers row: they’ll still be a team defined by pitching and defense if they intend to contend.

  3. I would like to see a Mgr. that motivates and holds BP accountable, kind of the way Dusty did a few years ago. BP is a player that needs focus….Needs help with focus. He is one of my favorite guys, but some of his bonehead nonchalant moves drives me crazy. Giancarlo (Mike) Stanton is a beast when he’s healthy and happy. I don’t know if we can afford the cost of acquiring him, especialy given his recent issues. Our farm system needs a bit of a breather after getting Latos anyway. Bronson is GONE. He has become one of my top ten all time Reds but it doesn’t make sense to pay what he will certainly receive from other teams. I’m really excited, Worried, apprehensive, cautious, about the biggest decision…..The Manager……Should be interesting….

  4. I dont try to trad BP, honestly I dont see another player that will give you that production for 12 million a season. While I would love to havee Choo back, I would have to see what he wants, for instance, I wouldn’t give him more then about 15 million a season, why with all the good he does bring, 15 or more is to high for someone that simply cant hit LH pitching. While I would love to have Stanton, he would simply cost too much, our farm isn’t in good shape as it is, and this move would completely clean it out. I wouldn’t mind trying to pick Cory Hart to play LF, Jason Bay is available as well, and while he hasnt done anything for awhile, he wont cost anything, and might even sign a minor league contract with an ML invite. Also I am not sure Bailey really wants to be in Cincy, he turned down a two year contract last off season, I might see what I can get for him on the market, the last two years he has been very good, very close to an “ACE” we should be able to get a nice return, and then I would resign Arroyo, but only if I got Bailey traded.

    • @tiberius3108: Just for instance, what if you got a legitimate lead off or #2 hitter to play 2B? Perhaps Henry R could give you that and you would not need to trade anyone. There are also viable alternatives in FA that will not be as expensive.

    • @tiberius3108: You say you doubt anyone could give you BPs production for 12M, but that you wouldn’t pay more than 15M are for Choo.

      But, going forward, we have to look at BP as maybe a 2 WAR player. Choo is probably 3.5-4 WAR if we’re conservative. So why is twice the player only worth 3M more? I’d rather have Choo than BP. He’s much better.

      • @Jason Linden: I said what my problem with Choo is, While some believe WAR is a great tool, I believe that you still need to watch a player to see what he can do, and Choo cant hit left handed pitching.

        • @Y-City Jim: He’s better than a platoon player, I think. But he’s a 7th or 8th hitter in the lineup against lefties. If he works at it and continues getting on base at over .300, he’s a fine choice. (Unless we have another good choice, that is, which we may in Chris Heisey, who had the 2nd best triple slash against LHP [behind Mesoraco]). I guess the issue with Heisey was always his inconsistency and those hamstrings.

          Either way, if you are going to pay Choo $15MM a year, you can’t platoon him. Let him walk or play him every day, I think.

        • @prjeter: That was my point, 18-20 million is too much for someone who cant hit LH pitching, hell 15 million is too much for what is exactly a platoon player, but for the OBP and power he brings Id give 15 otherwise, cya Choo.

        • @Jason Linden: Choo is certainly a better hitter, but he’s a barely adequate fielder.Hitting is half, and only half, of the game or a player’s value.

          He’s much better, I do believe above average, on the corners where he belongs.

  5. Stanton provides the “everyman fantasy” that happened with Josh Hamilton, Pujols, even David Wright to some extent.

    As for the Latos-Bailey-Bronson mess, I do not think that Bronson is the “other” alternative to either of those guys. Bronson is at the end of his effective career. He is soon to be a newer version of Jamie Moyer.

    I’d spend less time trying to find a left fielder and more time trying to find a versatile, depending pitching staff. I am less concerned about a “rotation” than having a workbench full of sparkplugs who can win 4 games out of 7.

    An improved hitting philosophy requires zero player transactions until it’s been tried.

    Perhaps we can develop our own Stanton. He could be in the system right now. What we do know is that Reds hitters have spent the last 5 years being taught how to back out of the box on an 0-2 count.

    And let’s begin to USE our farm system instead of ratholing it for “a year from now.” Stephenson has been in the pros for 2, going on 3 years. Give him the ball. Another year at Pensacola is going to help do what?

    • @Johnu1: Stephenson has only pitched 2 years in minors now, for a total of less than 180 pro innings. He still needs 2014 to develop and build up innings, and if he continues to develop, he likely splits between AA and AAA. If Homer is not signable past 2014 per some of reported comments/rumors, then Stephenson is likely the guy to step in that rotation spot for 2015, when he turns 22.

    • @Johnu1: Are you talking about improving the bullpen? If so, I really disagree. Relief pitcher performance is notoriously fickle and they get hurt all the time. There are some good teams out there that do well grabbing relievers from Triple-A or the ML scrap heap. If you have limited resources, RP is the last place you should spend because it’s the hardest spot to guarantee that you will get your money’s worth.

      • @Jason Linden: I don’t think my post suggested improving the bullpen, but the pitching STAFF. A slight difference there. I am not in the market for a lot of middle relievers, which — yes, you are right — are a dime a dozen. But a pitching STAFF is contingent on how it is used, not that you continue to be stuck in the roles mindset that Baker delivered.

        • @Johnu1: Oh, I see. I was misreading your comment. You mean that you want to make sure we have a starting pitching group that can win a short series (top 3, I’m guessing) and are less worried about rotation depth 1-5.

          I can get on board with that.

        • @Jason Linden: I think a lot depends on the notion that managers can think outside the box. Looking at Cincy’s structure now, we have 6 or 7 guys who technically could be starters — if you include Chapman.

          I have some other more complicated thoughts about that, but I do think that the structured bullpen concept is fine for about a month. After that, it gets to be too predictable.

          I just heard way too much moaning in the broadcast booth about pitchers being “outside their roles” this summer, wondering … what exactly do pitchers expect to do when they put on their uniforms for the game?

  6. I’d keep Chapman, but move him to the rotation. The whole point of the Dusty firing was that regular season success is nice, but a deep playoff run is what we should be shooting for. Having a tough LH in the rotation will help with that more than using him as a closer.

    Cingrani’s motion scares me: he looks like a strong injury candidate. So either use him in the rotation and hope he doesn’t break down, or go ahead and put him in the closer’s role. He may still have injury trouble, but it won’t be the same as losing a starter that you’re counting on. (I guess my point on Cingrani is that for now I’d rather bet on Chapman as our power LH starter.)

    • @Eric the Red: The thing about Chapman is you can’t get more than maybe 130 innings out of him in 2014, and that’s pushing it. He has so little time left under team control, that at this point, it might make more sense to cut bait, especially if you can get quality players in return.

      • @Jason Linden: Yeah, I understand. I guess 1) You can never have enough top shelf pitching; 2) In my heart, I want to see what Chapman can do. It will kill me to see him go somewhere else and turn out to be a great starting pitcher. Your point is perfectly logical, but….just imagine what could have been.

      • @Jason Linden: you really think it would be that few, 130?? I mentioned Sale in comment below as example. He went from being LH reliever with 71 innings, to starter throwing 192 and 214 innings the past 2 years. Your benchmark makes sense for younger pitcher but Chapman is going to be age 26 next year, fully mature physically. I would think 180 not out of line and still be conservative.

        • @doctor: I suppose it could be more. It’s hard for me to imagine really counting on him for more, though. And assuming the Reds are a playoff team in 2014, then what? If you’re going to make a run, don’t you want him available? But he might not be able to handle the additional 20 or 30 playoff innings.

      • Jason Linden: Why can’t you get more than 130 innings out of him? That’s the continuation “old school” thinking. Pitchers are going to get 100 pitches, no matter what … and shut down under the Verducci code …

        Let the guy pitch.

    • @Eric the Red: regarding Cingrani, he has fast tracked thru Reds system fast. Drafted in 2011 and in majors sept-2012. His injuries, it might be a conditioning thing, he was a reliever in college and reds converted him to starter in pro’s. he may have to build up some strength/flexibility to help him avoid that injury in the future. I am excited to see him in rotation full time next year.

      Chapman to rotation likely only happens if Price is manager. Organizationally, reds have to be fatigued on this topic. I am beginning to agree with many other posters, chapman best use for Reds now is trade chip. I would like to be wrong and Price helps Chapman become Reds version of the White Sox Chris Sale.

      • @doctor: How much of Chapman do people have to see before they realize he isn’t a starter? He can not control his off speed stuff, and has a hard enough time locating his fastball.

        • @tiberius3108: True. Chapman’s high hard pitch usually works in the 9th. inning because batters are going to be swinging. As a starter, the opposition would wait him out with his erratic control.

      • @doctor: Doctor–are you really? If so, please forgive my dilettantish ramblings–my concerns about Cingrani have to do with his motion. I’m not a bio mechanical expert, but he seems to really torque his arm and elbow in an unconventional and frightening way. This year it was his back, but long term he looks to my untrained eyes to be a collection of torn ligaments in waiting. I of course hope I’m completely wrong about that.

        • @Eric the Red: LOL, while I am called Doctor at my place work but its just a nickname. So no deference required, I am just a reds fan like everyone else here. :D

  7. Jason – regarding trade for Stanton. I just don’t see it happening. Sure reds have the chips to do it but teams like Texas and others would have one more chip to throw into the pot to get him. Florida would make a team over-pay, and rightly so, to pry Stanton away from them. I think Stanton being traded will happen, I hope its not the reds

  8. The only advantage the Reds have in the trade for Stanton race is that we have a Cuban with team control we can swap along with other prospects.

    Would Miami take a Chapman, Hamilton, Winker, and Travieso for Stanto?

      • @Jason Linden: He might be a huge upgrade, or he might be expensive, injury-prone and defensively challenged. I could see trading something for him, but not cleaning out the rest of the organization’s top talent. We’ll need Stephenson, since we’ll be down several starters, and Hamilton has unique game-changing potential (yes, I know it’s largely still potential).

  9. None of this will be easy, but I think that everything revolves around 2 players:

    1. Chapman – If the front office feels that he can be a starter, that gives you a lot to work with. If not, you trade him as he is something that a small market team can’t afford to over pay for. If he can be a SP, than that gives you options with any of the following trade options-Latos, Bailey or Leake. Not that I want to get rid of them, but if you can’t get a reasonable long term deal with Latos or Bailey, then 1 might have to go. Bronson is history regardless, but I think that they do owe him deferred money for a number of years however.

    2. Choo- If you can get him reasonably, then you do it, but do you want another 32-33 year old player with 5 years at big money? As much as I liked BP, that contract was silly. You can see his skills slightly declining every year, and he still has 4 years left on the deal. What will he be 37-38 at that time, still paying him big money? I didn’t like that deal at the time, and I still don’t like it, unless my payroll was $150MM. I just don’t see them doing that with another 32 or so year old player.

    I just feel that everything that the Reds do this off season will hinge on what happens with those 2 players, and the dominoes will fall from there.

  10. I just can’t fathom that Choo is an option for the Reds.

    Some team (Cubs, Mets, etc.) is going to throw silly money at him. Reds should make the qualifying offer in order to get the draft pick – IMHO

    Same for Arroyo. Make the offer, get the pick. If he comes back, you have other chips to play with for a possible trade for a RH power bat.

    What are the options for renting a RH-bat for one year – a guy that is in a similar situation to Choo’s – free agency following 2014, but would like the spotlight of playing on a contending team, who’s home ballpark allows for greater home run production? Is there anyone out there like that?

    Sign the Cuban middle-infield prospect, and rotate him between BP and Coz.

  11. Trade Cueto rather than Chapman. have Chapman take his place in the rotation. Cueto could probably get more in exchange. I have concerns about Cueto’s healthy and attitude.

    • @Y-City Jim: Health I’ll give you, but where does the attitude concern come form? I’ve never heard anything but goo about Cueto’s work ethic. Chapman, on the other hand, has had some weird extra-curricular stuff go on.

        • @Jason Linden: He may be referring to some comments surrounding the Dusty’s firing which alleged that Cueto “refused” to work out of the pen upon his return in August/ September.
          My best guess is that Ken Broo said something along these lines to Bill Cunningham around 1PM Friday on WLW. Sorry I can’t source it better as things were flying out of the woodwork from all directions about then.

  12. 1. Extend Latos
    2. Take the risk with Chapman going the Sale route and allow him to go 180-190 innings next year.
    Rotation would be Cueto, Latos, Chapman, Cingrani and Leake
    3. This allows us to trade Bailey. First call I make is to the Rangers and ask for Profar.
    4. Give QO to Arroyo and hope he doesn’t accept. If he does, we try to move another pitcher and plan to have Stephenson ready for 2015 to take Arroyo’s spot.

    Position Players:
    1. Start BHam in center to start year and have him bat 8th
    2. Frazier and Cozart are solid defensively and are cheap still.
    3. Bruce and Votto are just fine where they are.
    4. Meso gets lion’s share of the starts
    5. Assume Profar at 2B from above
    6. Re-sign Choo assuming contract is not crazy amount.

    Choo, Profar, Votto, Bruce, Meso, Frazier, Cozart, BHam, P

    Assuming above, we can trade BP for some prospects. If Choo can’t be signed reasonably, we ask Dodgers for one of their OF in exchange for BP. If we can’t get Profar, sign Guerrero and get prospects for Bailey.

  13. Who wants to be less lazy than me and estimate the total payroll for the guys signed for 2014?

    Choo was a stud this year, but I see a drop-off as he ages (and continues getting plunked), so I’d be averse to locking him up long-term.

    Think it’d be wise to try to find a buyer for BP.

    With Chapman, either let him start or sell high. In the bullpen, he’s a waste of money and talent.

    Sadly, you have to let Arroyo go. That amount of money is much better spent on someone who can help you win every day, as opposed to once every 10 days (meaning, Arroyo is approx. a .500 pitcher, pitcher win/loss records be damned).

      • @Jason Linden: and to add on to Jason’s comment, likely payroll will be close to $100M+ for the arbitration cases (Bailey, Leake, Hanigan, Heisey, Lecure, Simon, X.Paul) plus renewals for players like Frazier, Cozart and Mesoraco. So not much room if Reds budget is the $106M payroll they had in 2013. Even though Choo and Arroyo are off the books, overall there is about $20M in raises for signed Reds core in 2014, basically canceling out Choo/Arroyo.

        So unless ownership opens strings some more, if Walt makes a big signing, say Choo, then likely is would seem Reds are moving a starting pitcher to free up some payroll.

  14. 1. Hire a manager, but more importantly than that, ensure that all of the things that we now know with regard to analytics will be seen on the field. This includes defensive positioning, lineup construction, platoon realities, pitch selection, etc. If this means that a “new school” guy is hired, then that is fine. If it means that an “old school” guy is hired but, prior to hiring, he agrees to (a la Hurdle) to fully embrace the numbers. Bryan Price may be the right guy. However, I would prefer to lock him up in his present position (and perhaps pay a premium to do so) and give him full dominion over pitching. It would not bother me if he had a longer contract than the manager of the team.

    2. Trade Chapman to the Yankees for Brett Gardner and a solid prospect. A Gardner/Hamilton/Ludwick CF/LF split in the outfield would likely leave the team with better overall production next year than it had out of these same two positions. Gardner could play LF against RHP (with BHam in CF). Ludwick could play LF against LHP with either Gardner and BHam in CF. Plus, this means that Ludwick would be able to PH in the later innings if a LHP is brought in. Gardner is going to be a free agent after next year, so he is essentially Choo-lite (this also means that the Reds are more likely to get a solid prospect in addition to Gardner). Offer him a qualifying offer after the season and gladly take the draft pick. Ludwick is off the books after ’14 as well. So, at that point, it’s tabula rasa in LF.

    3. Thank Choo for his service and take the draft pick. It is time to restock the farm.

    4. Sign Michael Young. Plan on Michael Young getting 500 plate appearances. Spot him at 3b, SS, 2b, and (rarely) at 1b (Joey should take a day off from time to time, as should BP). He will help to fill the “Rolen void” that was apparently missing this year. Also, I guess Jack Hannahan will make a million bucks to play at Louisville next year.

    5. Totally abandon the role of closer. Sign a few injury/rehab projects (like Grilli and Gregg and Nathan and like happens every year) that could potentially be solid additions. Otherwise, move forward with Hoover, LeCure, Parra (I believe he is a FA, so don’t overpay), Marshall, Broxton, Simon, etc. and a manager who understands that an out is an out is an out.

    6. Hand the starting catching job to Mesoraco. There will be no more “personal catcher” situations. If your name is Greg Maddux, you get a personal catcher. If not, throw the dang ball and shut up. After ’14, there will be some degree of finality regarding the catching situation either way. Hanigan will be gone after ’14, so reevaluate after the season.

    7. I’m torn when it comes to the rotation. Of course, I would still consider handing the ball to Chapman, but I am afraid that that ship may have sailed. Also, the possibility of getting a Choo replacement and a prospect is too good to pass up at this point. As for Latos, approach him with a team friendly deal and see if he will bite. The same is true, to a lesser extent (the deal would have to be more team friendly), with Bailey. If Bailey doesn’t bite, explore a trade with someone, perhaps Texas. Try to get a two solid prospects out of Bailey. If he doesn’t warrant two prospects, then give him qualifying offer after the year and take the draft pick. So, next year’s rotation would look like Cueto, Latos, Bailey, Cingrani, and Leake. If Bailey is dealt, then give Bronson a qualifying offer. If he takes it, fine. If not, take the draft pick and find a stop gap.

    • @Drew Mac: I hadn’t thought about it, but one of the best things about a new manager will be that, presumably, the weird catcher thing will work itself out. I’d guess any manager will be hired with a certain understanding. Things like: Mes is the catcher and maybe even, Chapman is a starter.

      • @Jason Linden: I’m hoping the catching situation is a done deal. If it turns out that Mesoraco lays an egg in ’14, then management can reevaluate. I cannot help but think that a new manager and environment will help Mesoraco immensely. As for Chapman, I have always thought he should be starting and perhaps they should just run him out there this year. Also, I would be fine with this. However, I also believe that he would still yield a solid return if dealt.

        If they were to keep Chapman, I would be fine with David DeJesus. However, I believe there is a club option/buyout on his services and it is unlikely he will be available via FA.

        Finally, I do believe there is something to this “veteran presence/leadership” thing. I think Michael Young would be the right addition and could play a prominent role, both in the clubhouse and one the field.

  15. There’s 2 reasons the reds NEED Brandon Phillips.
    1) He brings energy to the team that nobody else, except Hamilton, can bring.
    2) he is the most popular Red with the fans. He does so much for the fans and for that reason, the reds need to keep him around.

    Also, a lineup consisting of
    Choo Phillips Votto Stanton Bruce Frazier Mesoraco Cozart
    would be a lefty-righty powerhouse that every pitcher would fear.

    One other move the reds need to make this offseason though is to trade Ludwick for whatever you can get. He historically hasn’t been that great and I think he’s a liability on the base paths. Trade him for a prospect or 2 or even an established reliever.

    • @redsfan48: To me, the only way it makes sense to keep Phillips is if they get a manager who can keep his attitude in check and a hitting coach who can do something with his approach at the plate.

      Phillips has days where he reminds me of Kenny Powers, except I’m not laughing. That whole thing about chewing out Rosecrans with the cameras rolling, the silly “butt tag” against the Astros, talking about his contract in the press — it all adds up.

      • @John: nothing is wrong with Phillips’ “attitude.” sure, he chewed out Rosecrans but any player probably would have if they got called out after having a fine season. The tag during the Houston game wasn’t an issue either, as he was just trying to get the out and turning around may have taken too much time to get the out

        • @redsfan48: Any player would have resorted to personal attacks and profanity on-the-record after a reporter simply stated that BP’s OBP was below league average-ish for a #2 hitter?

          Nope. I strongly disagree. A vast majority of reasonable human beings wouldn’t do what BP did in any professional setting.

        • @John: nothing is wrong with Phillips’ “attitude.” sure, he chewed out Rosecrans but any player probably would have if they got called out after having a fine season. The tag during the Houston game wasn’t an issue either, as he was just trying to get the out and turning around may have taken too much time to get the out

          You are under the mistaken assumption that Phillips had a fine season.

        • @Kurt Frost: Phillips hit in the .260s with around 20 hrs and over 100 RBIs. That’s great for a second baseman. Only one second baseman is better than Phillips, and that is Robinson Cano.

          He also will win a gold glove. Thats the intangible that everyone overlooks, phillips saved countless runs with his spectacular defense.

        • @redsfan48: Countless? According to UZR, he saved 8.6 runs, which is 2nd in the NL behind, you guessed it, Darwin Barney (12.5). Prefer Defensive Runs Saved (DRS)? Phillips saved 1 run.

          He had a few spectacular plays this year, but his defensive value is eroding as quickly as his batting value, IMO.

        • @prjeter: Most people acknowledge the shortcomings of analytics when it comes to defense. Phillips still makes plays that no one else makes. He accounted for more runs per plate appearance than did Votto (I know, Votto was on base for him, but Choo was on base for Votto, and BP had to do something right to drive the runs in or to score them).

      • @Drew Mac: ok, assuming you couldn’t trade Ludwick, bench him then. Use him exclusively as a pinch hitter. He doesn’t deserve to get the starts in left field with the CURRENT roster of Bruce, choo, heisey, and Hamilton, let alone if you throw in Stanton.

  16. Here is my take on what the Reds should do in 2014. Chapman is a starter or trade him, trade Broxton if you can (2 years left at 7 million per season is to much for set-up man), make Hoover or Lecure closer. Re-sign Parra as our other lefty to go alone with Marshall. Let Bronson go (he will be missed) but price tag to high. Find a taker for Ludwick (doubt we can) unless we pay at least half of his salary (he is at best a 4th outfielder). New manager has to change Votto’s mind set with runners on base (he is paid to drive in runs). Votto is a great asset and he is more than good enough to still hit over 300 with a different mind set, he did it in 2010. Choo I would resign but not over pay, (3 to 4 years max 12-15 mil)if not I can live with Hamilton playing there. Instead of trading the house for Stanton I would contact Curtis Granderson and Corey Hart agents and see how much they are going to cost (short term). Anyway what would it really take to get Stanton (Hamilton, Stephenson and then some) no way farm system already bare. I would leave Frazier at 3rd, Cozart at SS for now (give them 1 more year) to prove themselves. I agree they try to sign Bailey long term if not trade him. As for trading Brandon Phillip he needs to calm down, if he remains on team he bats no higher than 5th in lineup. Marty Brennaman thinks the Reds will try to trade Phillips so there may be some truth to this and if so I would go after Alexander Guerrero very hard. Starting pitching would be Cueto, Latos, Chapman or Bailey (if re-sign long term), Leake and Cingrani. If Chapman and Bailey situations are resolved then Leake or Cingrani (possible closer) would move to bullpen. The bullpen needs a few adjustments as far as right handed who they are will work it self out during spring or beginning of season. As far as bench it needs a major over haul, I am ok with Paul but after that there really wasn’t anyone else that made much of a different. Jack Hannahan signed a two year contract so he will be back, he needs to pick it next year he really had a very sub-par year. As far as Catching Devin Mesoraco needs to catch 120 plus games next year, we have no clue what this kid can do long term because of Dusty in my opinion. I know that certain pitchers like to have certain catchers but the Reds need to figure out if Devin Mesoraco is their future or not and these pitchers need to adjust to him. If the Reds could move Chapman, Ludwick, Broxton and Phillips they would be off the hook for 32.2 Million (if they wouldn’t pick any of it up)next year which would take their payroll down to 46 Million before arbitration and any signings. I like these moves because in the big picture only 2 of them played a major part in their 90 season win. With some roster shake-up I still think we are contenders for the next several years and beyond. The Reds just have to decide who is with them and who isn’t.

  17. I really don’t think that Stanton is an option. The issue isn’t just whether Miami will make him available, because I think it’s likely they will. The issue is that there are 15+ teams that would be offering to get him, and nearly all of them would be able to make better offers than the Reds.

    Even if we throw our four best prospects at them, none of them but Hamilton are close to the majors and he’s not a top prospect in the game after a down year.

    • @al: I would throw this at the marlins and then see if they could say no.

      Homer Bailey
      Daniel Corcino
      Nefi Soto
      Another prospect in A or AA ball

      If I were the marlins, it would be hard to say no. Plus, all those players are expendable, as we could re-sign Arroyo or make Chapman a starter to compensate for Homer. Plus I don’t think Homer is all that good, hes our 5th starter in my opinion but would slot in as a #2 on Miami. Soto is also expendable because frazier has 3rd locked down.

      • @redsfan48: Giving up 2 pitchers to get an outfielder is a bit rich, IMO. Stanton is a special talent but I also haven’t heard that the Marlins don’t intend to throw a zillion dollars at him.

        • @Johnu1: Couple things, first, Stanton has huge power and could probably hit 50+ HRS if he was at GABP half his games. Second, Stanton has team control. I think he’s under control 3 more yrs. Third, neither Homer nor Corcino are top-of-the-rotation pitchers. And lastly, think of what a lineup consisting of:
          Choo Phillips Votto Stanton Bruce Frazier Mesoraco Cozart
          would do throughout the season. Having huge OBP guys in the 1 and 3 spot set the table for Stanton to lead the league in RBIs every year, and a chance to get off to early leads in every game

        • @redsfan48: I probably said a couple of times on this board that Stanton would make the Reds a juggernaut, so I really don’t see a need to rehash what he’s capable of doing. Regardless of whether Stanton is under “team control,” they are likely to throw a zillion dollars at him.

        • @Johnu1: As well, you might throw in Kershaw, Harvey and King Felix. You want to keep Choo and get Stanton, trade off a couple of pitchers you insist aren’t rotation-worthy anyhow … how’s this all gonna work?
          Yeah, I agree … it’s a nice lineup. That gum will rot your teeth.

      • @redsfan48: Dude, sorry, but that offer would get you laughed out of the room.

        Think about what we gave up for Latos, and understand that we would have to offer at least a deal that good, probably more. Corcino had a terrible year, Bailey has one year of team control and is expensive, and Soto is just plain bad. Not only would this deal not happen, the Marlins wouldn’t even want a single one of those players in a deal.

        A deal for Stanton would have to look something like Hamilton, Stephenson, Cingrani, +

        • @al: First, earlier in the year, CBS sports made a case for a reasonable offer for Stanton from the reds. They said
          Corcino
          Soto
          3 other top prospects including a lefty reliever

          Second, I would never give up Cingrani and would like to give Hamilton a shot at the major league level.

        • @redsfan48: Yeah, that was earlier, though. Think of it this way: Hamilton’s ceiling is pretty much Stanton’s floor. Billy just doesn’t have any power and unless it materializes or he learns to walk, his career value is going to be limited to the time before he loses his legs.

          Parting with Cingrani would be tough, but the Marlins are going to be after a lot of team control/prospects. The Reds are going to be after proven commodities who can help right now.

        • @Jason Linden: Jason: Power (in the absence of banned substances) diminishes with age, too. We don’t know Hamilton’s ceiling. He probably won’t be a power hitter, but there are many ways of being valuable besides hitting towering home runs. Adam Dunn hit towering homers and walked a lot, and the Reds were hopeless during his tenure.

        • @redsfan48: sure Reds could make that offer and florida would then turn to St Louis and ask would you top Reds offer with Micheal Wacha, Kolten Wong, Matt Adams, Oscar Taveras.
          Or ask Texas about building an offer around Jurickson Profar, Martin Perez, Luke Jackson among others.

          From reading “experts” articles both those franchises are flush with top notch minor talent. And Texas supposedly touches base often with Florida over trading Stanton.

          Florida is going to try and extort any team wanting to trade for Stanton. I think the Reds right now would be on short end in that poker battle of piling up the trade chips, thus hurting the Reds badly short and long term.

  18. Learning what we have about the Chapman debate, I think he’ll be tested in the rotation next year. With him added, and Cingrani added, I think it’s time to start thinking about trading a starter.

    My choice would be Bailey. He’s only got a year of team control left, after the season he just had he would be in demand, and with his final year of arbitration coming up, he’s going to make a lot of money.

    For Bailey I would try to get an impact bat, with as much team control as possible, but really focusing on 2014. We are already seeing reports that the Reds aren’t going to be active in the free agent market, so a trade is really the only way we’re going to add a hitter.

    I would try to lock up Latos this year, so that our rotation of Latos, Cueto, Leake, Cingrani, Chapman, Reynolds will be set for the next few years.

  19. I think Chapman would be best off as a reliever, but not in the way he has been used. He would be best utilized as a reliever that could pitch multiple innings, say the 8th and 9th for a 2 inning save, 4 to 5 days a week. Dusty would never have used him that way but I hope the new manager might

  20. The biggest problems for this team are the Ludwick, Broxton, and Phillips contracts. The team got a total of 1.8 WAR from them last year and paid $17mil for the privilege.

    Next year that price tag goes to $25.5mil.

    Broxton we’re obviously stuck with since he’s hurt, so hopefully he can rebound and be the closer so Chapman can start. That alone would be worth the $7mil probably.

    But if there are ways that the Reds can unload the contracts of the other two, I think it would be worth trying. That would possibly free up money for Choo and Latos, and open up positions for new players if we trade for a bat.

  21. No one is going to take Ludwick’s contract (8mil?) or Phillips…. You won’t get anything back for either, and probably have to eat some of Ludwick’s to get him gone.

  22. Make Bryan Price the manager
    Explore trading BP, Bailey and Chapman
    Sign Alexander Guerrero
    Hire a new hitting coach
    Resign Choo (if possible)
    Sign Rafael Furcal (back up SS)

  23. I think we’re underestimating how many players on this team could easily land on the trading block if the GM/ownership wants it to be so.

  24. Hmmm, so many different ways to go, I could be satisfied with almost anything the Reds were to do. The first half-step for me is done, honestly. Now, just who will come in, and will they have any rep to either develop young players and/or in-game strategy? For, before, with Baker, I really didn’t care who they brought in, I was confident we were still going to be held short of our potential. For whoever is coming in, I wouldn’t be worried if they had an recent losing record. What is their rep? What can they do for us? I’m willing to give anyone a chance.

    As for the players, in my opinion, in no certain order:

    1) Take care of the contracts of Bronson/Latos/Bailey. For, if all 3 come back and extended, we probably have no more money left for anything significant. I know many have said Bronson is out. But, I will believe it when I see it. Bring back all 3, we have 6+ major league ready starting pitchers (7 if Chapman goes in there now and proves ready). Trade bait? Let Bronson go to free up some money?

    2) Same as last year, plan A) Find a “true” 4 hole hitter, someone that will make the other pitchers pitch to Votto. Someone the standard of Fielder. Referring to, before Fielder, Cabrera was noted as a good hitter. Since Fielder behind him, Cabrera is looking for Triple Crowns. Not that Votto will be good enough for that; part of that would come from people in front of him getting on base for him to drive in. But, that calls for having a real hitter behind him. We lucked out with BP having the success he had this season, and much of that came from Choo and Votto getting on base for him. BP may not have been much with bases empty. But, with RISP, I believe he was much better.
    Plan B) Fill the leadoff hitter spot. I still think Hamilton will start AAA just to refine some skills. I do see him coming up here mid-season. I could see him starting the season up here. A lot will depend upon his ST. He will probably be playing for a starting spot next ST. And, if he doesn’t win it, then who?

    As for the rest, I could probably be happy with almost anything the Reds did. I believe it would all depend upon what kind of team they wanted. I believe it could also depend upon what kind of manager and coaches they bring in. Such as, if they bring in some noted hitting instructors, we may hold off on bringing in better offensive players. If Hamilton does start here, does that mean Choo’s gone or Ludwick? Do we even go as far as letting someone like BP go to free up some more money to do some other things with? Rodriguez was going to step in there. Is he ready? How much will the payroll go up, if any? Devin or Ryan at C? I think we have to commit to one of them. Ideal for me there, Devin plays 4-5 times per week, Hanigan stays as the backup.

    I do think much will depend upon what managers and coaches/instructors come in. For, if they are noted offensive minds and developers of young talent, the FO may hold back on bringing in any high priced FA or make any blockbuster trades.

    As for Stanton, I would forget it. It took us 4 players to get Latos, with 3 minor league studs, 3 players to get Marshall who were either major league ready or minor league studs there. For Stanton, I think it would take even more than Hamilton and Chapman to get him here.

    In the 4 hole, I even think Devin could still be the guy. But, with as much as his talent was wasted these last two years, I’m not sure if he could step in right now. If he had been playing more regular the last 2 seasons, then I do think he could have stepped in there by now.

      • @VaRedsFan: It’s the premise that there might accidentally be a new hitting coach who can help the players do better at the plate. Just saying they can’t do things well is more or less the point here.

        • @Johnu1: Not to mention just playing more would help. Like Chris Welsh said, platooning the catchers were doing nothing for them offensively, that they needed to play more each in order to be able to get into a routine.

  25. I like to live in a fantasy where the Reds could get Jose Bautista. Anyone want to speculate what mountain range has to be moved to get him?

  26. I’m not sure that I’m understanding yesterday’s news correctly. I heard that the last straw for ownership and Jocketty was Baker’s refusal to fire Jacoby as hitting coach. Is this accurate? If it is, Jacoby’s already out the door. He’s got to go. Since many of us are playing the speculating game, would Eric Davis have any interest in that position?

  27. One thing I can’t help thinking of. Only looking for input.

    One of these “If you had your choice, one or the other”-

    Right now, if you had your choice, Choo or BP?

    I believe this could be a valid question, depending upon what kind of team the Reds want to place out there. Of course, ideal, I would want both. But, given one or the other, not considering other items like “Who would we stick in CF or 2nd”, I would have to take Choo. I believe Choo means much more to us offensively than BP does. Choo can handle CF until Hamilton is ready. Once Hamilton is ready, Choo can move to RF if needed. Or, Hamilton is probably a good enough athlete to handle RF as well. And, that makes Ludwick expendable. And, BP is on his decline. He isn’t as fast as he once was. The running is a bit slower. The bat is a bit slower. The glove gets a bit slower. We would never be able to replace neither player. However, unless we go with Hamilton and he is definitely ready (probably know more about that come ST), then I would think it would be more difficult finding a player who could do what Choo does than what BP does. Just an opinion. Only an “if you had to choose. . . “

    • @steveschoen: I think I keep Phillips if I have to lose Choo. A middle infielder contributes more to my defense than an outfielder, unless he’s going to stay in CF. Then it’s maybe not so cut and dried. Are you keeping Choo to play LF? If so, the deal is still that BP is more valuable to me.
      Hitting is another topic.
      Age of the player is another topic.
      I mean, I’d rather have Pete Rose, but not at his current age.

      • @Johnu1: Ah, yes, and you would have to include the hitting and age into the calculation, also. Defense, yes, I would have to give that to BP. But, then, even with the 100 RBI’s, I have to give the offense to Choo. Age? Choo is (only?) 2 years younger.

    • @steveschoen: Choo in a walk. Phillips was BELOW AVERAGE at the plate this year. Quit with the 100 RBI stuff.

      BP was 14th of 17 qualified MLB 2nd basemen in WRC+. The following guys were some of the guys better offensively in 2013 than BP:

      Brian Dozier (MIN)
      Ian Kinsler (TEX)
      Jedd Gyorko (SD)
      Daniel Murphy (NYM)
      Marco Scutaro (SF)

      BP was better that:

      Uggla
      Altuve
      Barney

      That it. He was better offensively than 3 other 2nd basemen. If he was average defensively he’d be below replacement-level value.

    • @steveschoen: In a vacuum I would choose Choo.
      Ludwick is not expendable, because i doubt there is any interest in a lame duck contract. It’s the same thing as saying lets get rid of Broxton.

  28. Noticing a bit of a troubling trend that will effect zero, so actual it’s not troubling at all. What are the chances that best qualified applicants for manager, hitting instructor are all in the Reds organization? I do not expect Walt to take this route. I hope he selects the best available talent not just the best available in the Reds ranks.

  29. First off, Ludwick can not be traded. He has a $13MM salary for 2014 ($8.5MM + $4.5MM buyout), so the Reds are stuck with that contract and need to make the best of it. Broxton can not be traded. He will make $7MM in 2014 & $9MM in 2015, so the Reds are stuck with that contract and need to make the best of it.

    BP will make $50MM over the next 4 years. He will be probably be productive for 2014 & 2015, but 2016 & 2017 are iffy. His contract is not outlandish in today’s market so he does have some trade value, but probably won’t have any trade value after 2014. The Reds trade him now or they will be on the hook for his contract through 2017. After seeing Cano’s contract demands, teams will relish the opportunity to land BP and only one team will land Cano. BP’s contract will be no more than a top 2B signed as a FA. Trade BP now.

    Of all the ideas proffered, I personally find the Chapman for Gardner scenario intriguing. Gardner will be entering his 3rd arbitration season with a significant raise from his current $2.8MM pending. I’m not sure Hamilton is ready for even a platoon at the major league level so he would benefit from regular playing time and AB at AAA, at least for the first half of the season.

    Stanton is simply a non-starter for the Reds. The Reds need s fully stocked farm system if they are going to compete long-term and I plan on being a Reds fan long-term (knock on the Old Cossack’s wooden noggin).

    Guerrero is almost a must have option for the Reds, so roll the dice on that Cuban.

    There are back-of-the-rotation starters available as FA this season who should be fairly reasonable (Hudson & Feldman) who could pitch effectively in GABP. Signing one or two would maintain the depth in the starting rotation (even with Arroyo leaving) and enable the Reds to trade one of their elite starters. Of course Arroyo would be my first choice as a FA stater if the Reds could get him for the same contract, but I think he will be looking for more money and more years on his contract.

    I don’t have the same reservations about Choo’s age as other members of the Nation. His game does not depend on power or speed, the two physical tools that will fade with age. The other aspect is his severe split against LHP, but his OBP (.347 for 2013 & .340 for career) against LHP still plays better than most, so I simply don’t see a need for a platoon. As Jason pointed out do eloquently, “he so pounds the crap out of lefties.” If the Reds could sell him on 6 years for less per year, I wouldn’t have a problem with that contract.

    • @Shchi Cossack: Agree with a lot, Cossack. I won’t say that Ludwick and Broxton can’t be traded. But, I will say, if they are traded, we wouldn’t be getting much back for them. Would it be addition via subtraction, maybe allowing the main part of the organization to go on? I do still see them both coming back, though, also.

      I also see the Reds considering trying to get Chapman as a starter again. Either than, or I would look to probably trade him soon. We are paying high (but not as high as Broxton) to close, but that number will only get higher if we try to extend, even as a closer.

      • @steveschoen: The situation regarding Chapman will be one of the most fascinating topics this offseason and heading into spring training. My personal preference is to begin with Chapman in the bullpen as a high leverage (not a closer) reliever covering multiple innings (1+ to 2+). Start lengthening his outings heading into the all star break to get him stretched out and move him into the starting rotation some time after the all star break so he will be available for the post season starting rotation.

        • @Shchi Cossack: And, that’s why I said that I could see the Reds doing any variety of things. It will be interesting. I do think some things need to be done. Will they be able to cover all of them? Does any team cover everything they need? I don’t see trades, unless it will involve a current starter on the team. I mean, just consider, if we go get Stanton, then Ludwick or Bruce have to sit, unless we decide to move Bruce to CF now. But, then, what about Hamilton? If we go get a SS, what about Cozart? I would think he would be part of the package to bring in a SS. Not to say I want these players traded. Only to say, if we trade for a regular player, another regular player has to go.

    • Cossack: First off, Ludwick can not be traded.He has a $13MM salary for 2014 ($8.5MM + $4.5MM buyout), so the Reds are stuck with that contract and need to make the best of it.Broxton can not be traded. He will make $7MM in 2014 & $9MM in 2015, so the Reds are stuck with that contract and need to make the best of it.

      BP will make $50MM over the next 4 years.He will be probably be productive for 2014 & 2015, but 2016 & 2017 are iffy.His contract is not outlandish in today’s market so he does have some trade value, but probably won’t have any trade value after 2014.The Reds trade him now or they will be on the hook for his contract through 2017.After seeing Cano’s contract demands, teams will relish the opportunity to land BP and only one team will land Cano.BP’s contract will be no more than a top 2B signed as a FA.Trade BP now.

      I agree with all of the above, especially with BP having some trade value now but not after 2014. His offensive line of .261/.310/.396 is a STEEP decline. His .750 OPS in 2012 was his lowest as a Red and in 2013 it fell to .706. His defense is still above average but also in decline. He is no longer fast but think he is.

      If the Reds wait as much as another year, they could be stuck with his contract with no takers. Right now there would be. I discussed the Mets the other day, other people have named other teams. Same conclusion: “Trade BP now.”

  30. A quote from Baker found in the Enquirer blog:

    “Sometimes it gets to the point where you’re always blame the teacher (meaning Jacoby). Sometimes it’s the pupils,” Baker said.

    A real freakin’ players manager? He just threw many if not all the players under the bus. He looked to talk of teachers and pupils. Like the principal can’t make a mistake?

    Players manager? Sorry, I just don’t see it.

  31. Anybody see Scott Rolen as a candidate for manager? It would be risky to follow up Baker with someone with no track record of managing, but that hasn’t stopped Price, or Spire from being mentioned.

    Rolen I think is a guy who has shown that he knows what to do at the plate according to the situation, so automatically there would be no buntapalooza’s. He also is known for being able to relate to the younger players and help them elevate their game. I don’t think he would be afraid to push anyone in that dugout.

  32. Just a few thoughts:
    1. There is going to be a new hitting coach. Hopefully, he will be as good for the hitters as Price has been for the pitchers. If he can lift Bruce up near 300 and add 20-30 points to Frazier and Cozart, no moves need to be made there. They are already as good a defensive tandem as any in the division.
    2. Ludwick was injured this year so maybe a LF is not a priority. Also, the Reds have three OF who could be with the big club sometime next season-Hamilton,Earvin, and Yorman.
    3. Jocketty is one of the best at pulling off deals, so I would expect there may be some moves.
    4. The stolen base should be re entered into the offense.
    5. Either a move can be made for a closer, or there are several candidates if the Reds move Chapman to starter.

  33. I think the most revealing aspect of what a poor job Jacoby was doing, is Todd Frazier’s turn around after his conversation with Pete Rose. From what I read Pete told him to go back to being a see the ball hit the ball hitter and it worked. A good hitting coach sees what a hitter needs and re-enforces it with them.

    Not everyone can be a pitch selection (guess) hitter, some people excel at that and some sink hard. Todd obviously was failing at it, the hitting coach should have known that and helped correct it.

  34. BP has to be dealt. He’s bordering on a pariah in the locker room, and he’ll only get worse as he ages and declines. And, as sad as it may be, a team will find value in BP. He is, by all indications, a “superstar.”

    All in all, what I wold explore as GM is this:

    1) Trade Chapman. There will be 29 other teams interested in Chapman if he’s available, and that’s the truth. I would call the Red Sox and ask for Will Middlebrooks and one of their young pitching prospects, either Ranaudo, Owens or Barnes. The two of those would be worth the deal.

    2) Trade BP to Detroit for Nick Castellanos and Bruce Rondon. The Tigers would love the defense BP provides, plus Leyland would love to use BP the way Baker did. Rondon offers some bullpen help and Castellanos may be able to emerge as a really excellent hitter in left. The presence of Ludwick allows for the Reds to take their time in determining if Castellanos is ready or not.

    3) Sign Guerrero. You can then chose to play him at second and the addition of Middlebrooks makes Frazier a bench guy or the new LF. If you’re sold on Guerrero playing SS, move Frazier to second and then that makes you able to move Cozart and and the influx of prospects in Rondon, Castellanos and the pitcher we get from Boston could be the start of a nice package.

    4) Resign Latos and Bailey, let Bronson walk. Those guys are top of the rotation starters, and along with Cueto, one of the top 3s in all of baseball. With Leake and Cingrani, your rotation is set. Make a couple veteran signings reminiscent of the Gallaraga or Reynolds signings to be your 6th and 7th guys. Also understand that Stephenson is close enough to handle the “spot start” role of a doubleheader, lending to more depth than we’re aware of.

    5) Package Cozart and a young pitching prospect, like Drew Cisco, for Ryan Cook to the A’s. Some more bullpen help that’s cheap and proven.

    So in these five moves, we’ve gotten Chapman and BP off the books, gotten cost-efficient help everywhere, and have gotten significantly younger. With these moves, our lineup would look something like this:

    Hamilton, CF
    Guerrero, SS
    Votto, 1B
    Bruce, RF
    Middlebrooks, 3B
    Mesoraco, C
    Frazier, 2B
    Castellanos, LF

    The rotation:

    Latos, Cueto, Bailey, Cingrani, Leake

    This makes the Reds roster completely different, something that hasn’t worked for a lot of teams recently (Miami 2012, Dodgers 2012, Blue Jays 2013), but this will create a new culture in Cincinnati, something the Reds need desperately. They’re young, but these guys are worth the investment, and having the youth could pay huge dividends for this Reds team, as this lineup has WAY more talent than previous Reds teams. And the farm system is still deep in talent. As the GM, with a new coach, a changing of the culture is of utmost importance. These moves do that.

    • @hermanbates: I couldn’t have said it better. I am surprised that you think we could get Rondon AND Castellanos for Phillips, but I’d be ecstatic if we could. I have wanted to trade Phillips since 2 months into the season and Chapman since he was relegated back to the bullpen. Recent events have only helped to solidify my views on the topic.

      This way we resign Choo, add cheap, young talent, and keep the true core together.

  35. Cross Bob Melvin off your wish list, folks. Just had Josh Reddick sac bunt with none out and a runner already in scoring position.

    • @prjeter: It was like watching the Reds, in a way. Reddick popped up the bunt and the next two guys struck out. No runs scored. Giving away outs! Sigh!

      • @prjeter: same situation in the 8th…didnt try to bunt with Coco…and he fouled out to 1st. In a 0-0 game vs. a pitcher that’s dealing, i agreed with the bunt attempt.

  36. I liked your post. And want to connect a few of the dots.
    You suggest trading chapman and phillips and at 1st suggest trading for stanton. The way closers are over-valued chapman might be a major part of that deal. Hence the Reds would have to get up less

    the main problem with that is that I think the bullpen was one of the Reds major problems this season and we’d be trading away our best bullpen guy. The Reds would then need to sign 3-4 bullpen guys that were good.

    think about who you have confidence in in the Reds bullpen? and in particular after chapman. Lecure and maybe Hoover.

    there might be a simpler way. just sign choo and find a bullpen

    the offense was nothing special but LF was a black hole. Oh and CF defense was wretched. Move Choo to LF and play Hamilton. Don’t you think Hamilton, even if not fully ready could be as productive as the combined LFers were this year???

    the Reds hit .250/.313/.374 in LF this year. That was 26th in baseball. Hamilton in CF can hit .687 ready or not and he can for sure (even with a broken leg) can play better defense than Choo in CF.

    • @mike: Would love to have Choo in LF and Hamilton in CF.

      FWIW I think Ludwick projects to better than .250/.313/.374 in 2014. Maybe not a lot better, but better. Real weight work was not allowed in his rehab. Ideally though he’s a 4th OFer.

      I’ve argued above that trading BP NOW is a high priority. He’s on a steep decline in all phases of his game and that will be all too obvious after 2014.

      For now I am against trading Chapman. Pitching talent of that level can’t be traded for, why trade it away ? Let’s see who the new manager is and what he has in mind for Chapman.

  37. By the “bases” look:

    First base: Votto obviously, but I would like to see him return to form from 2010. I’m in the camp that his knee was still giving him fits, and if that’s the case – hopefully he’ll take the off season and get completely healed. If he get back that MVP caliber season, that would make things so much easier.

    Second base: I would trade Brandon Phillips. His decline seems to be imminent, and the amount of money he is being paid for a team such as the Reds does not compute too well. I would say the Yankees would be a good landing spot for him, if the Bombers cannot retain Cano. As for who can take Phillips spot at 2B, if they can get some kind of package from the Yankees for Phillips, I would try to nab a middle infielder.

    Third base: Frazier had the stereotypical sophomore slump, and I believe this came from the book on him getting out. I firmly believe with a new hitting coach and approach at the plate, he’ll greatly increase his AVG and OBP, by focusing on putting the ball in play and taking a few more walks. If he can get back to a .260/.360/.460 line along with solid defense, I would take that.

    Shortstop: Cozart really began to play his best when he was taken down the order and left there, as I believe it relieved the stress of him batting in front of Votto. If he maintain that .250 avg, but maybe take a few more walks and focus on putting the ball in play (like Frazier, I think he’ll benefit from a change in hitting approach), and get his OBP up around .330 or so, along with him being good for 15-20 HRs and 25-30 doubles, that would be acceptable for me.

    Left field: A proverbial black hole for years, but I believe Ludwick could potentially rebound. If he can get back to his 2012 form, a .270/.350/.480 hitter or so to go with 25-30 HRs and drive the ball as needed to bring runners in, I think he’ll be fine out there with adequate defense.

    Center field: Re-sign Choo if possible, if not – I believe Heisey could take over CF until Hamilton is ready. Heisey is another candidate that may benefit from a change in hitting philosophy. If he can get back to his .260/.330/.480 form, he is a powerful offensive weapon with above average defense and speed, and would be just fine in CF if Choo isn’t put to the ink.

    Right field: Bruce may some leaps and bounds this year, and though it took him a bit for his power to come along, I think he’ll be just fine. He mainly needs to keep avoiding his peaks and valleys he’s prone too, but again – if he can hit .270-.280 range, his defense and cannon arm in right field are dangerous weapons as well.

    Catcher: I believe Mesoraco can be the everyday man. However, he needs to stop swinging for the fences and just focus on putting the ball in play. He has pop, but he needs to let that power come to him as time goes on. I believe he’s good for .270/.350/.450 if he can just use his own natural talents.

    Pitching rotation
    -Cueto is suspect due to his injury history, but if he can make the adjustments, he is still my number one guy.
    -Latos or Bailey, or (preferably both) need to be locked up, but since we can’t – I would go with Latos. Bailey has thrown two no-hitters, but he still seems to struggle with any consistency from what I’ve seen.
    -Arroyo needs to be made a qualifying offer, if he takes it, great – if not, take the draft pick.
    -Cingrani has shown he is ready for The Show, he just needs to work on his breaking stuff which had shown some flashes of brilliance.
    -Leake can be the poor man’s Arroyo if we still need a junkballer. He showed he is still good for 10+ wins a year, and while I don’t get into the advanced metrics much, he has pretty much remained consistent through his tenure.

    -Chapman, I would either have him play winter ball and start getting stretched out to be a starter, or find a team that will use him as such. I’m sure he’ll fetch a good package from a team needing a potential top level starter.

    -Broxton and his contract would be restructured and he would become the defacto closer, but that would be an open job to whomever I thought was the best bet.

    -Hoover, LeCure, Marshall, Parra (who started rough, but became a pretty effective reliever in the year) would all remain as they were all, barring Marshall due to injury, really good this year. Ondrusek would be left in Triple-A, or kept only for mop up duty on blow out games. Reynolds could be effective out of the bullpen as well.

    -Corky Miller should be giving a coaching job of some sort, Scott Rolen should be brought back in some measure of coaching duty. Nevin Ashley seems to have proven himself as an effective “break glass in case of emergency catcher”. He is a bit better offensively than Corky.

    I’m sure people will be scratching their heads, but that would my moves based off the little to no research I’ve done. :S

  38. Just a couple of thoughts. Please keep in mind that I said the day after the Wild Card game that there was zero chance of Baker being fired, so I pretty much know nothing.

    1. There is absolutely no way Homer Bailey is resigning with the Reds. He doesn’t like the city. He doesn’t like the fans. He doesn’t like the broadcasters. He gone. So, I say shop him as much as possible and get a long term deal done for Latos as quickly as possible.

    2. I can’t imagine any deal for Stanton that doesn’t include Chapman. Chapman makes too much sense for the Marlins because of his Cuban heritage. I’m also nervous about Stanton’s injury history and attitude.

    3. I have to agree with the Phillips trade talk and it pains me to say it. The CTrent situation and the Cincinnati Magazine article have convinced me that there could be real significant problems down the road as he declines. It’s not going to be graceful.

    I love the at we’ve moved from an off-season of dread to one of hope!

  39. I think the most important thing is to re-sign Choo. I would pull out all the stops to do it, and I would try to trade Ludwick, shift Choo to left and start BHam in center. The everyday lineup looks like this:

    1. Hamilton CF
    2. Choo LF
    3. Votto 1B
    4. Bruce RF
    5. Mesoraco C
    6. Frazier 3B/or Phillips 2B (I actually think Frazier is the slightly better choice due to walk rate, but if management of Phillips’ personality requires reversing the order, that is acceptable).
    7. The other of Frazier/Phillips
    8. Cozart

    Against lefties, I:
    1. leave Choo out of the lineup
    2. BP hits 2nd (look how much better his numbers are against lefties)
    3. Heisey plays LF and hits 7th
    4. Switch Mesoraco and Bruce

    Now, the rotation is the really interesting issue:
    I, like everyone else, had given up hope after last year of ever seeing Chapman as a starter, but with new management (especially the possibility of Brian Price) who knows? If you throw Chapman into the mix, it makes things interesting, because even if Bronson walks, you have six guys (Cueto, Latos, Bailey, Leake, Chapman, Cingrani) any five of whom would make a killer rotation. Two of them would be on innings limits, but those same two have experience pitching out of the bullpen (and are both lefties). Treating all of them as potential starters, while variously trading Chapman and Cingrani in and out of the bullpen, gives you injury depth, it solves the innings limit issue, and if the new manager can be flexible and creative in thinking about pitchers (which a former pitching coach would be)it gives you two lefties on demand for important series. Finally, if all goes swimmingly well all season, and everyone stays healthy, it gives you your choice of any of the six as a deadline trade chip to score something huge.

      • @coletrain: My thoughts exactly. You can’t sign Choo to be a platoon player. If he comes back he’ll play every day. Against LHP you hit him 7th in front of Cozart. And you bat Votto 2nd. Always, IMO.

  40. From what I read, the consensus is to … sign Choo, trade Ludwick, trade Phillips, put Chapman in the rotation. After that, we build fantasy batting orders.

  41. so lets trade two all stars in phillips and chapman and somehow get the franchise player from the marlins? this post is pure fantasy and I’m ashamed I actually wasted so much time reading it.

  42. The only prospect I’d make untouchable is Stephenson. I don’t really think we should worry about prospects as much as we do. Would we really rather have Volquez, Alonso, and Grandal back over Latos? I wouldn’t. And I think there is a pretty good chance Hamilton ends up a AAAA player so his value could be peak right now. That said if I could get Stanton from the fish for Chapman, Hamilton, and a couple of other guys not named Stephenson, I’d go for it. Then re-sign Choo to have the most expensive righty lefty platoon with Ludwick to go along with Bruce and Stanton.

    My lineup would be Choo-Frazier-Votto-Stanton-Bruce-Mesoraco-Phillips-Cozart for most games with Ludwick filling in for Choo against some lefties.

    • @Jason1972: Hamilton’s speed (both on the bases and in CF) will add a lot of value. If he can hit like Cozart, minus the power, he’ll be a 2.5 WAR player, which makes him a decent major leaguer. Much better than AAAA, I think. There’s no reason to think he can’t develop into a .260/.320/.350 player who will play above average D and steam 75 bases. For him, working on bunting and drawing walks should be his #1 priority in the off-season.

  43. I think it’s safe to say we are all waiting for the Choo situation to be settled.

    If trading BP to keep Choo is required, then you have to do it. Detroit, Baltimore, and Kansas City are all teams that would want BP and could return something of value to the Reds.

    My ideal situation is blockbuster deal that involves Gordon from KC and BP. We won’t need to resign Choo if we have Gordon, and that solves the top of the lineup issue.

    I doubt KC drops Gordon though…they want to win while James Shields still leads that pitching staff.

    • @rfay00: KC sniffs a wild-card moment, I think, after this year. I doubt they will want to mess around with the core of their team. They need another quality arm to make a run at it, alleging they weren’t a one-night wonder.

  44. While I’ve said previously what I’d have liked the Reds to do during the year, now that we’re in the offseason I can see trades happening. I can’t see them blowing up the team though. They’ve invested too much time and effort into building this team.

    While I’d like to see Phillips, Ludwick, Broxton, and Chapman(if he doesn’t start) traded, realistically, I’d say that none of them go. Really, the only ones who have even a possibility of being traded are Phillips and Chapman, and it’s such a longshot that it’s hardly worth mentioning. We’d all like to obtain Stanton, but again, realistically, it won’t happen. They’ve traded too much talent away in the last few years. While it has been worth it looking at it from a one-for-one, talent perspective (for instance, I’d take Latos over Boxberger-Grandal-Volquez-Alonso), from an organizational standpoint it hasn’t gotten them to where they’ve wanted (a WS). The trades have helped, but they can’t keep trading away young talent at the rate that they have in the past.

    Hamilton could help start talks about various blockbuster deals, but I can’t see the Reds trading him after all the hype he’s been surrounded with. Personally, I believe he should be traded, as speed doesn’t age well, but I believe that the Reds believe in his talent enough to hold onto him.

    In regards to compensation picks, the only one I can see the Reds receive is from Choo. I don’t believe they’ll extend an arbitration offer to Arroyo, due to the potential risk (14 mil for one year). He could easily accept, then go year to year. While he’s stated his preference for a three-year deal, he has to understand that he’ll probably get a 3/27 or 2/10 deal.

    I think that Ervin is the real deal, and that he should help the team in a year or two, depending on how quickly the Reds progress him through the system. I think Stephenson should be an ace, especially if Price remains, either as pitching coach or manager.

    Finally, manager. I don’t care who we get, or how “fiery” he is, as long as he comes in with an understanding with his role in the organization and what the front-office and owner expect of him. I don’t want another manager who will go and publicly throw his front-office under the bus. I don’t want another manager who will allow a top prospect (Mesoraco) to languish as a part-timer, simply because he rubbed him the wrong way at one time (following the concussion). I don’t want another manager who doesn’t hold his players accountable. I don’t want another manager who will start a petty rivalry with a different team, as Baker did with the Cardinals (he had a past history with Tony L).

    And that’s about it right now. All my personal opinions. Please feel free to critique them if you want.

  45. Sorry, but for all the reasons folks have for wanting to trade Chapman are all the same reasons for wanting to keep him.

    If he was with somebody else, we’d all be looking for “package deals” that could get this rare talent in a Reds uniform.

    Go for the simple stuff. Find a hitting coach. Solve most of the team’s problems.

  46. Somebody send me some of that whiskey being drunk by those who think the Reds will end up with Stanton.

    Even if he is traded, other teams have more to offer.

  47. I’m not of the mind that the Reds should trade BP because of a decline. I’m of the mind to trade him because 1.) the ugly seen with C Trent, and 2.) his salary becomes an albatross.

    However, he won’t be traded. He’s a 10/5 rule player meaning he has to approve a trade.

    • @TC: I had not even considered BP as a 10/5 qualifier. How does the rule actually apply? BP has certainly played parts of 12 seasons, but only the 8 season with Cincinnati were full seasons. The sum total of his first four seasons with Cleveland did not equate to a single full season. I think it would certainly take some incentive money to get BP to approve a trade if he does qualify for the 10/5/ rule.

      • @Shchi Cossack: i dont think he has the 10 years service time. per BPs page on baseball-reference.com, he was at 8.022 service time at start of 2013 year, so add 1 to that. Now is the time to trade him if team wants to avoid the 10/5 rights. Also to consider, did he put any blocks for teams to trade him in his contract? I dont know if he has that clause or not, it just seems thats pretty common to do these days.

  48. What is the rule in the new CBA of trading players that were drafted in the 2013 draft?? Can they be packaged in any trades? I was under the impression that players drafted had to be in the team’s system for a year before they could be traded. Maybe it is for one season and not one full year. If this is correct, then Ervin cannot be in any trade packages this winter. Or any others drafted in 2013.
    We’ll have to keep that in mind as the off-season develops.

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