2014 Reds

If You Like Your Brandon Phillips, You Can Keep Your Brandon Phillips

This pretty much sums it up. Am I right? That’s the interpretation being assigned the Commander-in-Chief’s remarks yesterday. It goes something like this:

“We went online at the MLB marketplace. We got on the phone. We would have loved to have bought ourselves a little better coverage, particularly at the plate. And yes, the coverage in the field is turning out to be a bit more expensive than we would like. But, hey, in the end we’re happy with what we have.”

The narrative continues: the Reds acted rashly, out of spite, attempting to thread a narrow needle of opportunity in an effort to get rid of a sometimes productive player turned miscreant—and the window has now closed—making a bad situation with their second baseman only worse. According to Ken Rosenthal, someone will have to “overwhelm” the Reds with an offer, who will now have to be bowled over with not only a willingness to take on Phillips’ considerable contract, but kick in player(s) as well. Rosenthal opines that the Reds—who have lost Choo—cannot afford to lose what he considers to be Brandon’s considerable offense, as well. And the whole Redsfest plea is an attempt to rescue a troubled marriage.

Let’s dig deeper and take these suppositions one at a time. But, first, let’s look at what Jocketty actually said, first on the radio to Chris Russo on MLB Network Radio, then the more expansive remarks as reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer:

“I talked with Brandon yesterday… I also told him that we are not in any talks to trade him. Not saying that we wouldn’t trade him, but I told him …we’re a better team with him here.”

“We had a nice long talk (Tuesday), we talked about his place on the club and I told him I don’t really have any talks going with any clubs right now, not that that couldn’t change, but as of right now you’re part of this club and Redsfest is an important part of our program,” Jocketty said. “(I told him) you love the fans, the fans love you and I think it’d be disappointing if you weren’t there. I think he might end up showing up.”

“I did make it clear to him that right now he is part of this club,” Jocketty added.

1. The Reds are no longer shopping Brandon Phillips.
Well, they say they are not actively shopping Brandon at this point. By all accounts, the Reds either initiated or openly welcomed these trade discussions—take your pick. The horse is out of the barn. Lips were loosened. Clubhouse confidentialities were spilled. Everybody knows the Reds are open for business on BP. The Reds haven’t been able to sell at their opening price. We always knew Walt wouldn’t simply give Phillips away without playing this out to see exactly how much, if anything, he could get in return. Just as Jay-Z knew all along he wasn’t getting $300M for Robinson Cano, Jocketty knows he’s unlikely to get salary relief and a meaningful talent. But, you have to ask. Then sit back—and wait.

2. There are few trading partners left and we pretty much know who they are.
Yes. And No. Trading Brandon has never been the linear proposition that many assume it to be. It’s not a question of simply identifying the teams who are in need of a second baseman. Needs are fluid as players come and go. GMs change course. No one shows their hand before the river card. Raise your hand if you saw respected GM Dave Dombrowski trading away Doug Fister—perhaps the best #4 starter in Baseball—for what is widely viewed as a rather paltry package?  Who would have foreseen Billy Beane of all people handing out $10M next year so some guy not named Rivera do that overrated closer thing for him?

3. This is an “emotional” and thus a “bad” move.
Maybe. The really emotional move was the new contract in 2012. While the owner may be angry with his employee and have his own motives for wanting him gone, the GM may simply see this as an opportunity to use a set of circumstances to undo some buyer’s remorse, like a husband returning that new set of irons.

4. Choo’s offense is gone. You can’t afford to lose Phillips’ offense, too.
The Reds cannot survive another year of Brandon Phillips with an OPS+ of 92. If the Reds have any hope of signing Choo, they must rid themselves of DatDude’s contract. If Choo is too expense (as I think he will be), you have to replace Choo AND find at least find one more sizable bat. There’s not enough pitching depth or prospects to barter away, unless the Reds are willing to set their future ablaze. That means spending more money. Either way, Brandon’s contract has to be moved even if it brings little in return.

5. The “Come to Redsfest” plea is an attempt to patch things up.
The Reds are drunk-dialing BP now? I don’t think so. Common sense says do not make things worse than they currently are. He’s still an employee. His reputation for fan friendliness needs to continue—now more than ever. As Marvin Lewis would say, “Be a pro.” If no reasonable trade can be cobbled together in the coming days, hold everything together until an injury in Spring Training somewhere else makes a deal possible. Until then, keep the lid on. A little decorum, please. After all, we are not the New York Yankees here.

Ultimately, it’s hard to see this marriage survive. The man who came from the Cleveland Indians under a cloud seems to be channeling his younger self. The famous Molina dust up, the quick accusation of racism aimed at a Pirates player–only to be dropped just as fast, calling out the owner, the ugliness with Rosecrans—all suggest a pattern. The whispers that he lockers away from his peers, that he’s happier losing and going 2 for 4 than he is winning while going hitless, are disconcerting. It suggests his peers don’t trust him. The fact that we know this little secret says they’ve had enough and feel comfortable voicing it, even if under a cloak of anonymity. After replacing a manager with a year left on his contract, after a stated desire to bring a different culture to the clubhouse and following that up by paying Skip Schumaker above market price based in part on his clubhouse bona fides, does the front office really want to saddle their new, inexperienced manager with this roiling undercurrent? With Phillips approaching 10 and 5 status, it’s trade him soon or forever hold your peace.

At his heart, Brandon Phillips is a good guy, which makes all this so sad. Brandon Phillips also carries with him some high maintenance swag. Above all, Brandon Phillips needs to be loved—a lot. You see it in every tweet. You see it reflected back in the face of every fan who crowds the railing hoping for a special moment with his dat dude-ness.

Sorry always seems to be the hardest word. This time, it’s probably not enough.

64 thoughts on “If You Like Your Brandon Phillips, You Can Keep Your Brandon Phillips

  1. I pretty much see it the same way. I don’t think any other team likes that contract, especially when you couple it with the high-maintenance baggage. We are probably stuck with him.

    To me, he belongs in about the 6 or 7 hole in the lineup, but he would take it as an insult.

  2. The other thing that bothers me is that he is always the last guy out of the dugout, so he can make “an entrance” onto the field by himself. Shows the “me” in “me guy”, at least that’s the way I see it.

    I don’t see how they reconcile at this point.

  3. This has turned into a mess. You can’t try to keep the guy and pretend nothing happened after actively trying to trade him for a couple months. So then not only will he likely be a clubhouse distraction, he’ll be an EXPENSIVE clubhouse distraction.

    See if you can package Phillips with somebody else in exchange for Kemp and some money. It’d be $77.5m more than Phillip’s contract but spread over 2 more years, and on a 4 year younger player and one who has been voted #2 in MVP voting before. If you could package some prospects with Phillips in exchange for some cash to make the difference between their contracts less (it’s not like the Dodgers don’t have plenty to throw around) then it wouldn’t be too heavy of a burden.

    Then you’d have Kemp/Hamilton/Bruce as your outfield (LF being easier on Kemp’s knee than CF) and a batting order of Hamilton/Votto/Kemp/Bruce/Frazier/Mesoraco/H Rodriguez?/Cozart/P.

    • @ToddAlmighty: Ah, crimp in that plan. I didn’t see that they signed that Alexander Guerrero kid. BUT, Hanley Ramirez is a FA after next season, so they might still need a middle infielder if either Guerrero isn’t ready for the bigs, or if they want to move him back to SS if Ramirez leaves.

    • @ToddAlmighty: I would have to agree with BP being more of a clubhouse distraction. And, that’s why I would look to shop him. He’s more of a “me” type of player than a team-type of player. He use to be good for 1-2 screwups a season. Last season, he had several more screwups. I can’t help thinking it’s only going to get worse.

      But, I don’t trade him unless one of two things (preferably both):
      1) I have a plan B ready for 2nd base
      2) I shore up a hole I currently have. I wouldn’t have a problem trading BP to shore up one hole we have even if it creates another hole at 2nd. As far as I would be concerned, it would be a wash with that, but still probably a positive because there would be no more of his distractions.

      So, for instance, if I was Uncle Bob, I would have no problem getting rid of BP because he essentially called me a liar. But, I don’t do it and get back only a handful of beans or something. I still look to get back a quality player.

  4. I think most players have heard their names connected to trade talks. Making a bigger deal of it with Phillips would seem more think nurturing the guy’s childish ego. Hell, even Votto was mentioned in a trade rumor a few years back — a deal we all wish had been made.

    Right?

    Every single guy in pro baseball, save those with Votto type deals, has to expect he’s part of that conversation.

    I think it’s maybe dependent on the motive. If a guy is discussed as trade meat because of his talent, one thing. If it’s because he’s pi$$ed off the owner, another.

    And all the while, we keep saying the fans love this guy, he loves the fans … yabba dabba doo …

    My advice, if solicited: Shut up and play 2B until we tell you otherwise.

  5. In short, Walt never did say, “We will never shop BP.” Walt has always said, “We will always listen to whatever package anyone brings us. We will only follow through if we believe it will make us a better team and ballclub.” I wouldn’t be surprised if Walt shops BP next week at the meetings.

    As for BP’s offense, much of that was because of Choo and Votto getting on so often. Without Choo, we aren’t going to see 100 RBI’s from BP, even if he is in the 4-hole 162 games taking every AB for this team.

  6. I don’t believe Walt said much of anything that indicates that he is unlikely to be traded. If Cano signs in Seattle, the Yankees can save face by pointing to the McCann and Ellsbury signings while also playing the “we offered Cano a lot of money, but he wanted more” card (much like the Cardinals with Pujols). Then, if they were to get Phillips, they could consider their team markedly better even without Cano.

    They have one extra outfielder. The way I see it, his name is Gardner. He would look good in red.

  7. This is damage control by Walt. That’s all.

    He still wants to trade BP, but had hoped to have done so by RedsFest. Instead, he’s making BP’s absence at the event BP’s doing, not the Reds.

    Walt placed the call, said words that sounded conciliatory(ish), but still left plenty of room to deal BP. (“Right now, right now, right now.”)

    Not very slick, but about as well as he could do. Personally, I have little regard for a fan- and writer-baiting ballplayers who lug a 92 OPS+ around, so I still hope they trade him.

  8. Wow, the Royals just stole Aoki from the Brewers. He would have looked good in LF (or RF, with Bruce moving to CF).

    • @Drew Mac: Unfortunately, the Brew Crew was never going to deal Oaki to the Reds or Cubs or Bucos or Birds, but getting a young middle reliever with upside does not seem like an equitable return for Aoki who is on a very team friendly contract and under team control through 2017. That’s a steal for KC.

    • @Drew Mac: The interesting scenerio would be for KC to flip him for a better return to the Reds or Bucos. If Choo could play CF adequately, so can Aoki.

      • @Shchi Cossack: Considering what was/is a very low price, I would be just fine with using Aoki in RF and LF (with Bruce playing some CF and Hamilton playing there as well). Ludwick could start against the LHPs and some of the RHPs. Basically, this would amount to Bruce playing every day and the other three sharing two spots. However, I believe this is all moot, as KC is likely intent on keeping Aoki.

      • @Shchi Cossack: Not interested in Aoki at all… Replacing Choo with Aoki is a HUGE downgrade. How much better will Frazier, Mez, and Ludwick have to be, to make up for losing Choo. We can all HOPE that they get better, but I’d rather fill a hole with a proven commodity. I heard someone say Trumbo. That’d be nice.

        • @VaRedsFan: No on Aoki because he’s a downgrade, but Trumbo would be nice? I’m sorry, but your comment does not make sense.

  9. I just don’t see the big deal here. I see no reason in dealing Brandon unless you get fair market value in return. Monies are not an issue with ANY major league team given all the revenue streams coming in. I believe I read where ML salaries constitute the least % in reguards to team revenues of any pro sports. The Reds can keep Brandon and it won’t hurt payroll.

  10. The Aoki deal only annoys me because I didn’t figure he was really available.

    Trading inside the division always bothers me, though the Reds obviously have done it several times (Marshall).

    The good part is that this pest is out of the division.

    But man, I would love to have that OBP.

  11. “At his heart, Brandon Phillips is a good guy, which makes all this so sad. Brandon Phillips also carries with him some high maintenance swag. Above all, Brandon Phillips needs to be loved—a lot.”

    Great quote, I’ve often tried to sum up how I feel about BP and couldn’t come up with the words to cover the complexity. Thank you Richard for summing it up so well.

  12. BP’s “considerable contract” shrinks every other day this off-season. For example look at what the Cardinals gave Pheralta, who only hits every other year. And now what the Yankees gave Ellsbury. Unbelievable. I’ve pretty much given up on the Reds signing Choo.

    WJ has to come up with a very big bat somehow.

  13. I’m glad that no one has posted an article about WJ’s statement on Tuesday that most likely Chapman will close next year, as that discussion has been so beaten to death. (Yet here I am talking about it.)

    Price has said that the decision will play out in Spring Training. And he’s also said that Chapman will play a “more valuable” role than last year, and will pitch more than one inning at a time. That’s good to hear.

    • @pinson343: You might want to skip the next post then. :-)

      Seriously, without re-hashing the entire issue over the Chapman role, it’s interesting to try to interpret what Jocketty and Price meant with their statements yesterday. And how that relates to possible trade strategies. That’s what the next post is about.

      • @Steve Mancuso: Exactly. . . Walt is pretty shrewd. I would say much of what he said was strictly for the sake of posturing. If he is truly done dealing (with BP staying put), I will be utterly shocked. Mr. C. calls the shots since Mr. C. pays the bills. If Mr. C. wants BP gone, Walt had better get to steppin’.

  14. Trade Phillips to the Yanks for Gardner straight up. Let Gardner play CF and lead off. Use the savings to extend Latos or Bailey. Let Schumaker man 2B with HRod at worst case scenario. Or…go get Michael Young on a 1-2yr deal, and bat him 2nd in front of Votto. If the Reds aren’t comfortable with HRod go get Justin Turner.

    • Trade Phillips to the Yanks for Gardner straight up. Let Gardner play CF and lead off. Use the savings to extend Latos or Bailey. Let Schumaker man 2B with HRod at worst case scenario. Or…go get Michael Young on a 1-2yr deal, and bat him 2nd in front of Votto. If the Reds aren’t comfortable with HRod go get Justin Turner.

      What leads you to believe the Yanks would do that deal? I would be shocked if they don’t resign Cano, and thus they have no need for Brandon.

    • @hotto4votto: Does our leadoff guy have to be the center fielder on into eternity? Seems like that was what we always wanted — CF leads off, SS bats 2nd … just sayin’.

  15. Has everyone taken note of what marginal (back-end rotation) starters are getting in free agency now? I think the Reds can forget about extending Bailey, Leake, Latos or Cueto. If they can’t afford to sign Choo, extending any of those starters will be way beyond their means. I don’t know if even the Dodgers are going to be able to extend Kershaw. As Pinson noted, even Phillips’ contract has become significantly more affordable based on the the talent and contracts from this off season. WJ better load up the farm system to the point of overflowing with premier prospects or get a superior TV deal signed forthwith.

    • @Shchi Cossack: Of course, there is always a chance that Latos (though probably not Bailey at this point) would sign a very team-friendly deal to mitigate the risk of waiting for years to go through the arbitration process and finally be granted free agency.

    • Has everyone taken note of what marginal (back-end rotation) starters are getting in free agency now? I think the Reds can forget about extending Bailey, Leake, Latos or Cueto. If they can’t afford to sign Choo, extending any of those starters will be way beyond their means. I don’t know if even the Dodgers are going to be able to extend Kershaw. As Pinson noted, even Phillips’ contract has become significantly more affordable based on the the talent and contracts from this off season. WJ better load up the farm system to the point of overflowing with premier prospects or get a superior TV deal signed forthwith.

      The Reds are flushed with money just as every other MLB team are, this idea that teams are hurting for money or overspending is a farce. The Reds showed that clearly with the Votto Deal and Phillips deal. The monies are there to extend anyone they want.

  16. John Fay recently said on Twitter that the Reds are banking on Ludwick having a bounceback year and plan to move forward with him in Left, and most likely manning a middle of the order spot. That means that the only significant move the Reds will have made to counter what the Cardinals have done is to give Devin Mesoraco roughly 27 more starts than last season. THAT IS IT. I love Devin Mesoraco, and I think he should have had the starting job last year, but will Devin Mesoraco push the Reds over the limit? If he hits .280 and hits 25+ homeruns, it’s a start…but the Reds are quickly spiraling down a hole of mediocrity. They cannot compete with the Cardinals. And I would be the Pirates make a pretty splash move to improve their lineup too. This went from a promising change-filled offseason, to a status quo nightmare in a hurry. This ain’t right.

    • John Fay recently said on Twitter that the Reds are banking on Ludwick having a bounceback year and plan to move forward with him in Left, and most likely manning a middle of the order spot. That means that the only significant move the Reds will have made to counter what the Cardinals have done is to give Devin Mesoraco roughly 27 more starts than last season. THAT IS IT. I love Devin Mesoraco, and I think he should have had the starting job last year, but will Devin Mesoraco push the Reds over the limit? If he hits .280 and hits 25+ homeruns, it’s a start…but the Reds are quickly spiraling down a hole of mediocrity. They cannot compete with the Cardinals. And I would be the Pirates make a pretty splash move to improve their lineup too. This went from a promising change-filled offseason, to a status quo nightmare in a hurry. This ain’t right.

      This team 90+ games and they are in a downward sprial?

    • @hermanbates: I’m fine with staying put minus trying to get at least a halfway decent leadoff guy. I think Mesoraco playing everyday will help. Ludwick should be better after strength and conditioning and many feel that BP’s injury affected him more than he led on.

      I honestly think the whole team of regulars (i.e. not Choo) minus Bruce and Cozart just had a down year. I’m not saying we should expect everyone to be exponentially better than last year, but I think we can expect Frazier, BP, and Ludwick to be at least somewhat better than last year.

    • @hermanbates: I don’t know if I agree with you Herman. The Reds were good last year (save the end of year implosion cause by manager indifference). I do not see the needs to make major trades like we would have had to 10 years ago.

      Health will be important. Votto’s leg getting to 100 % is the most important thing we need. I am happy with Mesoraco at Catcher. He, Frazier and Cozart will need to improve and I am happy that we have a manager who focuses on getting the most out of every player.

      I really do not want to see them mortgage the top 8 players in the system to get anyone including stanton.

      I am ok with phillips on this team. Shoot we were amused at the thought of Ryan Braun.

      I can play this team as it is with our new coaches in 2014 and be happy. We will be a playoff team again. I do not see the need to keep up with the Joneses, and I am not sure the cards have improved themselves

    • @hermanbates: You forgot.. give Mesoraco more starts, and lose Choo. THAT is the difference.

      If they are really banking on Ludwick coming back then the season might be lost already. If they’re not in the market for another bat, I don’t see how the offense can improve. I also can’t stand another season of Bruce and Votto being split up by Ludwick. If they’re going to break them up with a righty, at least make it someone who legitimately can hit.

      Waiting for Ludwick to return and hope he solves all the problems worked SO well last season, so lets just do it again this season!

      • @ToddAlmighty: Seems like we are locating a lot of eggs in Mesoraco’s basket. While I like his potential, catchers tend to get hurt quite a lot. If we play baseball on a computer, this isn’t a problem.

        But our backup plan behind the plate isn’t even Corky Miller. It’s Brayon Pena.

    • @hermanbates: I agree, status quo for the reds again. Status quo – Choo = an even worse outlook. I hope you aren’t putting too many eggs in the Mez basket. 25 Homers is a pipedream. Until he learns to hit the other way (ala’ Molina), he will just be a 15 homer .250 guy.

      What happened to that influx of money the Reds were getting, from attendence bump and tv deal?

    • @eric nyc: See above comment. There’s a post in the queue about the comments Jocketty and Price made about Chapman yesterday. I’ve got a different take on it than the Bleacher Report article.

  17. I’ve thought all along that more than just the feelings of the owner about BP’s comments and behavior were motivating the trade rumors. Even more than that and plain baseball reasons. BP’s contract may not be upside down right now, but it will be soon, maybe by this time next year. That said, replacing him at 2B may be a challenge.

    But I’ve felt like they need to trade BP to change the clubhouse. Remember the whole business about how they needed a different kind and more leadership from the players. Not just the manager, but the players, too. While it’s just speculation since we’re on the outside looking in, I think it would be difficult to bring new strong leaders into the team as long as BP is around.

    Maybe BP won’t be traded now. But it’s hard to imagine that the team isn’t going to do more than just find a passable CF to replace Choo and count (again) on Ludwick to return to 2012-form, promote Mesoraco and call it a day.

  18. To me, the core of this Reds team is (in no particular order):

    Meso
    Votto
    Bruce
    Latos
    Bailey
    Cueto
    Stephenson (nearly untouchable prospect)

    I don’t move any of these guys without some kind of earth shattering deal.

    With Bronson and Choo for sure goners, the Reds have a bunch of players who are probably fine to keep into 2014 because of cost/upside:

    Leake
    Cingrani
    Frazier
    Cozart
    Hoover
    LeCure

    Everyone else is really expendable, with Phillips and Ludwick being negative value for one reason or another. To me that list includes Chapman and Hamilton who I think are valuable trade commodities. If I could move Luddie and DatDude and get a 4th hole hitter and a serviceable CF, I’d be fine with moving Chapman/Hamilton and several other prospects not named Stephenson (who you figure has to replace Bailey or Latos in a year) to get to done.

  19. Apologies for this crosspost from redsminorleagues.com. It hurts to think hard more than once a day:

    I think it’s a dangerous assumption to think the Reds will make it to the Division series next year. I mean, another one-and-done performance and we’ll be kicking ourselves for not trading Homer in the offseason. I think they need to balance out the win now mindset vs. the long term ramifications of letting Bailey walk for just a hit-or-miss draft pick (that wouldn’t pay dividends for another 3 years). If you trade Bailey, you could get 6 years of a full time player on the verge of breaking in. The problem I see is the gap between the lower level prospects who are a couple years away and the guys who have already arrived. We need a player to bridge that gap and pair with Stephenson to keep the talent coming in small waves. It’s the best thing for sustained competitiveness/payroll flexibility. And like Tim said at the top of the thread, a playoff rotation of Latos/Cueto/Cingrani/Stephenson would be as good as anything we had set up to pitch this year but never got to because the playoffs are a crapshoot. Simply based on the odds, it’s gonna take multiple postseasons for us to break thru, which is a more compelling reason to trade Bailey than keeping him to go ‘all-in’ in 2014.
    .

    • @Sultan of Swaff: What’s tough though is that Bailey is just now starting to come into his early hype and he’s not even fully developed yet as there are a few things he can do that could make him ace-like.

      I agree that Bailey is probably the most expendable, but I’d hate to sell low and rely on Cingrani and Stephenson and be in same boat we were in with Bailey at the beginning. If Bailey makes it known that he would rather go elsewhere anyway, then yes trade him, but it always seems to be difficult to pin down a player’s intentions so far in advance.

  20. Currently the Reds have no proven center fielder, no leadoff guy, no No. 2 hitter, a left fielder with a bad shoulder who is backed up by a guy who is either as good as or worse than Xavier Paul, Chris Heisey, Derek Robinson, Donald Lutz or (whew) … and we have a young catcher who hasn’t had a full season as a regular.

    We have no backup infielders and we still aren’t sure if the best lefthanded pitcher in recent memory is going to pitch one, two or three innings in a game.

    We do have a new manager and a bunch of coaches I have really never heard of.

    And a second baseman who is either disgruntled or loved by all.

    It’s not March yet.

      • @preach: I gave up drinking because I wanted to watch baseball. It’s giving me an ulcer.

        Seriously, I see 2 workable strategies.

        1. Put Hamilton in CF and tell the guy to hit and steal bases.

        or

        2. Put Hamilton in CF and tell the guy to hit and steal bases.

        • @Johnu1: The Billy Show, coming to a riverfront ballpark near you soon

          I will say that he starts day one and hits. Is in the rookie of the year discussion with a 250 average and 75 steals

    • @Johnu1: I agree with everything you say with one exception: Chapman (I assume that is who you mean) may well be the hardest lefthanded thrower in recent years, but he has clearly not shown that he is a pitcher, let alone the best.

  21. I’m trying to figure where the Reds offense is right now compared to 2013. In 2013 the Reds hitting was:
    OBP – 327 – 2nd in NL
    SLG – 391 – 10th
    OPS – 718 – 5th
    Runs – 698 – 3rd
    If Choo’s stats are removed,
    - Ludwick’s career average (lower than his 2012 figures which were the second best year of his career) replaces last year’s LF conglomerate
    - Devin increases his playing time and improves his OBP from 282 to match Hanigan’s 2013 figure of 306 plus improve his SLG to 405 (half way between his minor and major league averages)
    Then the Reds current numbers are:
    OBP – 317 – 7th
    SLG – 397 – 6th
    OPS – 714 – 7th

    This leaves the rest of the team to repeat their 2013 performance as a group (no CF in the calculation to replace Choo yet). Even if Mesoraco improves and Ludwick returns to somewhere near his pre-injury stats, the offense figures to be just above the middle of the pack in the NL right now.

    • @MikeC: I haven’t really run any projections but that’s how it “felt” to me. I figured they would be about middle of the pack in runs scored if they stand pat. That may get them to the playoffs with their pitching but you can’t bank on it. They still need another bat or perhaps two.

  22. Good grief. Walt never does anything big until after the winter meetings. I don’t know what y’all are freaking out over. A deal is coming, I promise you that. You don’t do what they did to Dusty and then leave the job unfinished.

  23. Bob Nightengale via Twitter…

    If the #Yankees lose Robinson Cano to #Mariners or other team, then free-agent OF Shin-Soo Choo is back in play, #Yankee official says.

    Such a scenario would prove interesting. First, the Old Cossack will be floored (note to self: frequent history with the floor!) if the Mariners, or another team swooping in at the last minute, do not lock up Cano before the winter meetings. Second, the Old Cossack can see the Pinstripes spending dearly to sign Choo, just to make a point that they can and will.

    That would leave the Pinstripes OF filled with Suzuki, Wells, Choo, Gardner, Soriano & Ellsbury. The last I knew, there were only 3 OF positions available, even for the Pinstripes and the DH has multiple additional candidates from the Pinstripes hospital ward.

    I don’t see anyone interested in a 40 year old Suzuki at $6.5MM after slashing .262/.297/.342 in 2013 or a 34 year old Wells after slashing .233/.282/.349 in 2013.

    I don’t see the Pinstripes trading Soriano after he put up a 129 OPS+ for the Pinstripes last season after the trade.

    Uh, the Pinstripes just spent a gazillion dollars to sign Ellsbury to lead off and play CF for the next two decades.

    Choo will cost a half a gazillion dollars to play RF.

  24. I know discussion on Seattle signing Cano has started in the Chapman thread, but I wanted to mention it here. Cano for 10 years to Seattle. The New York Yankees need a 2nd baseman. “right now” Tuesday, they were not talking to other clubs. “right now” today, Cashman is on the phone.

    With Phillips, he has always been this way, IMO. “The man who came from the Cleveland Indians under a cloud seems to be channeling his younger self…” Richard provides some recent example of trouble in the clubhouse, but it’s been going on for a while. His run-in with C.Trent gets a lot of attention this year because there’s video, but it was just a couple of years ago that he refused to talk to John Fay because BP wasn’t Fay’s first interview in spring training.

    Phillips was pretty vocal about perceived preferential treatment given to Josh Hamilton in 2007. Then, then next year he voiced complaints about Dunn and Griffey. After they were traded, he was the self-proclaimed “Face of the Franchise” heralding in a new and better clubhouse culture. But it seems like a pattern over the years of Phillips causing the turmoil, not being a solution to it.

  25. The Cano signing brings several things into play. Either the Reds can trade with the Yankees and get Gardner, who is not always healthy, or trade him to someone else for prospects. Seattle has several possibilities in the middle infield, and Atlanta is looking for a 2nd baseman, but who would they give up? Only time will tell, but I think this is going to be an interesting Winter Meetings and Holiday shopping season. Do the Reds try and sign Infante? Do they have enough money to outbid the Yankees? Any trade that the Reds make is going to have to provide either a CF, 3b (Frazier plays LF, or moves to 2b), 2b (if Phillips gets traded),lead off or #2 hitter or Clean up. I think that a pitcher is going to go somewhere. Seattle needs pitching but they also could use a RH power bat. If Choo or Beltran goes to the Yankees they would need to trade or release an OF. It would seem logical if Infante goes elsewhere that the Tigers might be looking for a 2nd baseman, but who would they be able to trade so that they do not open another hole somewhere else? Going to be very interesting to see what happens.

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