2014 Reds / Reds Fest

Below Average

Earlier in the week, Reds GM Walt Jocketty said that the Reds are not going to trade Brandon Phillips.  Friday night at RedsFest, Jocketty told Lance McAlister “right now he (Billy Hamilton) is our starting CF.” With those two questions being answered, it basically tells you exactly what the 2014 Cincinnati Reds starting lineup will look like:

C – Devin Mesoraco

1B – Joey Votto

2B – Brandon Phillips

3B – Todd Frazier

SS – Zack Cozart

LF – Ryan Ludwick

CF – Billy Hamilton

RF – Jay Bruce

This might be the best time to examine the Reds 2014 starting lineup, and see how they compare to the league average.  Let’s begin (note: I will use Billy Hamilton’s numbers at AAA last season since he only had 22 PA at the major league level).

On-Base Percentage:

Joey Votto – .435

Jay Bruce – .329

League Average – .318

Todd Frazier – .314

Brandon Phillips – .310

Billy Hamilton – .308

Ryan Ludwick – .293

Devin Mesoraco – .287

Zack Cozart – .254

Slugging Percentage:

Joey Votto – .491

Jay Bruce – .478

Todd Frazier – .407

Brandon Phillips – .396

League Average – .396

Zack Cozart – .381

Devin Mesoraco – .362

Billy Hamilton – .343

Ryan Ludwick – .326

OPS:

Joey Votto – .926

Jay Bruce – .807

Todd Frazier – .721

League Average – .714

Brandon Phillips – .706

Zack Cozart – .665

Billy Hamilton – .651

Devin Mesoraco – .649

Ryan Ludwick – .618

OPS+ (note: there are no OPS+ numbers for minor league players):

“This statistic normalizes a player’s OPS — it adjusts for small variables that might affect OPS scores (e.g. park effects) and puts the statistic on an easy-to-understand scale. A 100 OPS+ is league average, and each point up or down is one percentage  point above or below league average.  In other words, if a player had a 90 OPS+ last season, that means their OPS was 10% below league average.” – Fangraphs

Joey Votto – 154

Jay Bruce – 118

League Average – 100

Todd Frazier – 96

Brandon Phillips – 92

Zack Cozart – 81

Devin Mesoraco – 77

Ryan Ludwick – 70

wRC+:

“Weighted Runs Created (wRC) is an improved version of Bill James’ Runs Created (RC) statistic, which attempted to quantify a player’s total offensive value and measure it by runs.  In Runs Created, instead of looking at a player’s line and listing out all the details (e.g. 23 2B, 15 HR, 55 BB, 110 K, 19 SB, 5 CS), the information is synthesized into one metric in order to say, “Player X was worth 24 runs to his team last year.”  While the idea was sound, James’ formula has since been superseded by Tom Tango’s wRC , which is based off of wOBA.

Similar to OPS+, Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) measures how a player’s wRC compares with league average.  League average is 100, and every point above 100 is a percentage point above league average. For example, a 125 wRC+ means a player created 25% more runs than league average. Similarly, every point below 100 is a percentage point below league average, so a 80 wRC+ means a player created 20% fewer runs than league average.” – Fangraphs

Joey Votto – 156

Jay Bruce – 117

Todd Frazier – 100

League Average – 100

Brandon Phillips – 91

Billy Hamilton – 82

Zack Cozart – 79

Devin Mesoraco – 74

Ryan Ludwick – 70

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

When you look at the Reds offense for 2014, there are plenty of reasons to be concerned.  This is what this team will have offensively:

Above average hitters:

Joey Votto

Jay Bruce

Slightly below average or average hitters:

Todd Frazier

Brandon Phillips

Well below average hitters:

Zack Cozart

Devin Mesoraco

Ryan Ludwick

Below average hitter at AAA:

Billy Hamilton

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

It gets even worse when you compare this team to the two teams they finished behind in the NL Central:

Cardinals wRC+:

Matt Holliday – 148

Matt Carpenter – 147

Matt Adams – 136

Allen Craig – 135

Yadier Molina – 134

Jhonny Peralta – 123

Kolten Wong – 120 (at AAA)

Peter Bourjos – 103

League Average – 100

Pirates wRC+:

Andrew McCutchen – 155

Starling Marte – 121

Jose Tabata – 118

Gaby Sanchez – 117

Neil Walker – 114

Jordy Mercer – 113

Pedro Alvarez – 111

Russell Martin – 101

League Average – 100

If we just look at wRC+, the Reds will have two above average starters, one average starter, and five below average starters.  Their main competitors will both have eight above average starters (Cardinals’ Wong above average at AAA).  Walt Jocketty has some work to do.

63 thoughts on “Below Average

  1. Hold on. I thought the Reds failed last year because of Dusty Baker. Now that he’s gone the Reds will hit better, right?

  2. Several things. First, we all know that the pitching was the strong point of this team last season. Show the pitching stats, you would see a change. Second, Walt said he wasn’t done. He specifically stated that he would like to get one more bat here. He said it would probably be through trade. He said everyone, including BP, could be involved in that trade. He specified that he listens to all offers brought in front of him and, if it makes our club better, then he takes it.

    Granted, that could still our starting lineup.

  3. Did I miss something? I don’t recall Walt saying that he was not going to be trading BP. I recall him saying that he was not engaged in any talks about BP. Am I wrong about this?

    • @Drew Mac:

      I believe you are right that no promises were made. However, after the very public apparent rapprochement with BP this last week, I think they are looking at a huge to the nth power PR problem if they trade BP in anything less than a huge blockbuster that is perceived to be at least even from the Reds viewpoint.

      • @OhioJim: The Reds have been clear that they are not going to trade BP at a reduced cost just to get rid of him and his contract. That’s a good thing, he should only be traded where the Reds – all things considered – are getting at lest equal value in return.

        • @pinson343: If BP were to be traded, in your mind would just the fact he was involved make it a blockbuster? I’m not really certain myself. I think to keep the public at large happy, they would have to clearly fill at least two holes without creating any new ones.

    • @Drew Mac: You’re correct. He also said, in the context of BP, that no one is untouchable. When Castellini was asked about trading BP, the very first thing he said (according to the reporter) was that Jocketty is always looking to improve the team. A cliche, of course, but one that indicates that BP is far from a sure bet to stay with the Reds.

      I understand the need to talk about something when there isn’t much to talk about, but this article is way premature. WJ’s big trades have come after the Winter meetings, which haven’t even happened yet.

  4. I say deal Chapman. Given his apparent “refusal” to entertain starting, send him somewhere for a stick and/or prospects. Let Lecure, Broxton, Marshall, and Hoover share the ninth inning.

    • @Drew Mac: Agree. Agree. Agree. Enough with it already. What concerns me is that we fans look for signs of a plan that the Reds are following, and they profess to be going to spring training not even knowing Chapman’s role. Wouldn’t it be easier to conduct an offseason when you know what you have currently? …

    • @Drew Mac: I agree, I suppose, but can’t imagine, given frequently stated (here) lack of value of closers and Chapman’s stated lack of interest in starting, that any team would trade a bonafide hitter for him, let alone a hitter and prospects.

  5. Chapman isn’t going anywhere. I say the most likely move? If the Reds get no where with the Homer Bailey talks, they move him and then either get a stop gap through that deal or a smaller trade, or sign a guy for one year for the 5th rotation spot. I don’t think BP is gone because I think the Reds value him more than other teams (although, if Omar Infante sings in KC, the Yankees become a viable option there).

    • @hermanbates: Ken Rosenthal said in his piece this last week that he had learned that all along it was the Reds “ownership” and not the “front office” that wanted to move BP. Everything Jocketty has said in public and on the record the last several days would seem to support this.

      As I said above, I don’t see BP going anywhere now in anything less than a huge blockbuster in which he might not even be the biggest name involved on the Reds side even.

      Bailey and Phillips or Chapman and Phillips could be the Reds core in such a deal with others thrown in.

  6. So nothing is going to be mentioned about the Reds pitching?

    This article is positioned that this is an offense first league which is absolutely not true.

    They can have the better bats, I wouldn’t take either of their pitching staffs over the Reds.

    • @rfay00: This is an article about hiting. Why would pitching be mentioned? Just wait a few more days; they likely have something about pitching coming around.

  7. A (minor) quibble: I think this statistical analysis is overly dismal. Two key players were hampered by injuries; Phillips and Ludwick should rebound this year, although the encroachments of aging might offset their recoveries. Mesoraco clearly performs better with regular playing time, although the effects of increased wear’n’tear might offset that. Hamilton took a while adjusting to AAA and his performance in the last half of the season suggests his stats understate his value. Frazier & Cozart spent a great deal of the season suffering from Dusty’s batting orders and learning how to make the adjustment to being the players they are rather than the players they think they could be (aka: sophomore slump.)

    While it is gnerally acknowledged the Reds’ offense could be better, games are not decided by whose offense scores the most against the league, they are decided by whose offense scores the most in a given game. A Cueto returned to health, Latos and Bailey continuing to grow (and both are entering their pitching primes), Leake and Cingrani should serve as reminder that there are two sides of the runs equation: not only runs scored but runs given up.

    It is too early to discount your season tickets.

  8. The Reds have the same pitching staff, virtually intact, for 2013 as they will have for 2014. The loss of Arroyo and the addition of Cingrani to the starting rotation will make a stronger starting rotation IF everyone is healthy. Fingers crosses and knock on the Old Cossack’s wooden noggin’ that the starting rotation remains healthy, because the depth of the starting rotation the Reds enjoyed last season will not be there for this season.

    The loss of Choo from the lineup simply can not be overlooked or rationalized away. Choo was a force from the leadoff position. Even with Ludwick back healthy and strong and Mesoraco making the leap to regular playing time, the loss of Choo will hurt, a lot.

    I think the Reds will see a healthier and stronger Votto, a healthier and strong Ludwick, a more productive Mesoraco, a more productive Cozart and a more focused Phillips (I’m not sure that will translate to better production). I think Frazier will continue as an average hitter and GG caliber 3B and Bruce will simply be Bruce (thank you baseball gods!) Major league pitching and scouting will eat Hamilton alive, except when he does manage to reach 1B safely with no one on 2B, and the leadoff position will revert to a black hole…again.

    It’s tough to see the Reds going into 2014 with the old mantra of ‘if everything goes right…’ when we’ve tasted the sweet fruit recently. This is why the last three seasons were so very disappointing with the missed opportunities.

  9. Oh, and I have to mention…

    If Price approached Sam LeCure, Alfredo Simon, JJ Hoover, Logan Ondrusek, Nick Christiani, Curtis Partch, Sean Marshall or even Jonathan Broxton and asked them to take the ball every fifth day in the best interest of the TEAM, does anyone think that any of those pitchers would whine or balk at the prospect of being asked to move to the starting rotation? The Old Cossack has had about all I can stomach from the whiny pitcher with an electric left arm and a chronic severe head case.

    • @Shchi Cossack: Amen. He’s as flaky as one of those Cuban pastries that he likes to load up on. As a starter, he could potentially be an ace. As a closer, he is basically flash with a save conversion rate in line with many other closers who do not suddenly lose 8 mph in velocity for a week at a time. Move him for prospects. I honestly don’t think the team’s save conversion rate would be less at all.

  10. Can someone show me when “Status Quo” got a team anywhere in this league? I’ve never understood why you wouldn’t look to improve your club as much as possible over any offseason. The best argument against a large amount of moving parts is to not mess with the clubhouse chemistry. But that reason got kicked out the door when Dusty was fired. The Reds need to cultivate a different clubhouse. The Cardinals clubhouse goes out every game expecting to win. The Pirates clubhouse has adopted an “us against the world” thing that’s been able to get a less talented squad into the thick of things for the past few seasons deep into a playoff race, and into the playoffs this last year. The Reds clubhouse culture is neither of those things, and it really should be a bit of both. Instead it’s a complacent attitude that’s super frustrating. How do you get rid of complacency? You shake things up. You get rid of the stagnant parts that you can get rid of (Baker, BP) and you deal with the stagnant parts that you cannot, nor would not, give up (Votto). Accountability is the word people were using with Price. Price has been with this team for years, and if that was all that was needed, then great. But The culture shock is something that’s needed, and keeping the same stinkin’ roster does NOTHING for changing that culture.

  11. Pitching stats at Fangraphs reveal that the Cards, Pirates and Reds are very close in xfip and other measures. In most pitching stats the Reds come in third. Pitching was a strength of all 3 clubs last year. I think the Cards and Reds can sustain that success. We’ll see about the Pirates.
    I know Fister ,with 2 years of control, is a different type of pitcher than Homer and it seems like the Tigers gave him away, but he is ranked 11 slots higher than Homer on Fangraphs. Given H.B. is in his walk year, it probably will take him and the Missle or BP to get a right handed hitter with at least a few years of control. Then who replaces them? I hope Uncle Walt is up to the task of improving the Reds. I don’t want to care about football until November.

  12. I posted this comment near the end of another thread, so don’t believe many got to see it. But I believe it is more realistic about it’s evaluation of the Reds offense before inserting Hamilton in the line-up. A .651 OPS Hamilton definitely brings down the numbers.

    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.

  13. Winter meetings have started!
    Who matches up as a possible trade partner for the Red?

    Reds need: Bat, CF, Lead-off batter, replace whatever they send in exchange (see below)

    Reds top trade candidates??? Bailey (won’t extend with Reds) Phillips (? Despit WJ’s comments?)

    Who has WJ done deals with in the past?

    • @zblakey: Ah, the Old Cossack is very hesitant to express an opinion (NOT :!: ) but since you asked so nicely…

      LAD!!! as one of WJ’s premier moves.

      As you mentioned, Bailey won’t extend with the Reds (but I don’t think any of the starting pitchers will extend with the Reds either) so the decision is to keep him in the starting rotation during his contract year and issue a qualifying offer he will certainly decline or trade him now.

      Make a deal with the LAD with Bailey and Kemp as the cornerstones of the deal. LAD kick in $30MM towards Kemps contract in the deal.

      The starting lineup becomes:

      2B Phillips (dependent on possible trade for Phillips)
      1B Votto
      CF Kemp
      RF Bruce
      LF Ludwick
      3B Frazier
      C Mesoraco
      SS Cozart

      SP Cueto
      SP Latos
      SP Cingrani
      SP Leake
      Sp (Chapman?, Burnett?, Tanaka?, Parra?)

      • @Shchi Cossack:
        I think I could go for that trade, Cossack. Kemp has 6 more years on his contract, which runs until he is 34.

        The caveat. If the Dodgers kick in $30 million, the Reds are paying him $16 million/year for 6 years. Choo won’t cost mcuh different and he doesn’t cost you Bailey.

        • @MikeC: Regarding that caveat…

          Have you seen the recent updates regrading Choo’s anticipated contract? He’s expected to sign for $20MM+ per on a 6 year contract. If the Reds can sign Choo for $90MM-$100MM, the Old Cossack is fully on board, but I believe that’s now a pipe dream, unfortunately. The way the market is simply exploding, Phillips’ 4 year, $50MM contract has become a non-issue if he is traded.

        • @MikeC: Boras’ has shown he will wait and wait and wait…. In my mind that is as much of a problem for the Reds as the money he is asking asking for Choo. The Reds simply can’t afford to wait and then maybe still not get Choo after other opportunities have also passed them by.

          They either negotiate a way to pay a premium to sign him now or they move on.
          In the unlikely circumstance that the market for Choo should collapse later on, after the Madsen deal, Boras would probably come to the Reds (among others) offing some sort of 1 year swetheart arrangement. And who knows, if that would happen and if the Reds would take it, depending on what they did in the interim, they might be having their cake and eating it too. But don’t hold your breath.

      • @Shchi Cossack: I’d be okay with…

        Hamilton, CF
        Votto, 1B
        Kemp, LF (should be easier on his body than CF)
        Bruce, RF
        Frazier, 3B
        Mesoraco, C
        Rodriguez, 2B
        Cozart, SS

        Offload Phillips somewhere, and the money you save from him, plus the money you get from the Dodgers will eat up a large chunk of Kemp’s contract. Benefit of Kemp over Choo is 2 years younger and doesn’t get absolutely destroyed by left handed pitching. I loved having Choo in Cincinnati, and I called for the trade to happen before it did. Doesn’t change the fact that I remember how absolutely atrocious Choo is against lefties. So bad that he should be benched against left handed starters.

        You can’t pay a player who hit .215/.347/.265 versus lefties that kind of money.

  14. Based on the data I’ve read, Cincy had the third-best team in the NL-C last year and the 5th-best in the NL. Those are just stats, and I don’t know how it would have played out in real time.

  15. I see a lot of comments about starting pitching. Yes, the Reds have great pitching on paper in 2013, but that wasn’t the purpose of this post. It was simply just to point out that the Reds project to have more below average hitters in the lineup than above average ones. Pitching will keep this team relevant, and to contend in the NL Central, but can you see a lineup like this as a legitimate World Series contender? I don’t. It’s also worth noting that the Cardinals and Pirates will both have very good pitching next season too. I have a hard time believing the Reds pitching can provide enough value to cover the gap between the Reds lineup and the Cardinals. There is a lot that can happen during the course of the season, but right now the Reds are simply not as good as the Cardinals on paper.

    As always, thanks for all the comments. Go Reds!

    • right now the Reds are simply not as good as the Cardinals on paper.

      Let’s just hand them the NL Central and the NL pennant while we are at it since they are the best team on paper.

      • @rfay00: I feel like that’s a little over aggressive there considering the Reds got beat down instantly in the postseason again, while the Cards went to Game 6 of the World Series. He brings up some fair points.

    • @Nick Kirby: What about the Cardinals’ losses offensively (Beltran) and the uncertainty of their additions (Peralta, Wong, Bourjos, Taveras)? Also, what about their unmaintainable hitting with runners in scoring position last year? . . . If one were to project the number of runs scored by their offense in ’13 had the simply led the league in hitting with runners in scoring position by “only” five points, their record would look markedly worse. Their offense cannot maintain this level of hitting with runners in scoring position.

      • @Drew Mac: St Louis believes it upgraded with Hjonny Pheralta at SS. I see zero reason to not consider them the odds-on choice to repeat, regardless of your perception that they have unsustainable numbers. If anything, they improved their hitting by eliminating Freese. The question is if Adams can put up Beltran-type numbers. I haven’t seen a reason they can’t sustain that.

        But your assertion that the uncertainty over their additions weakens them is odd. Uncertainty is a 50-50 proposition.

        Until they don’t win the NL-C, I will say they are the leaders. On paper, on the field and in the computer — the Reds have a lot of work to do to catch the Birds, who are not unlike the Reds and are probably still looking to improve here and there. Nothing wrong with THAT pitching staff.

        Do-able? Cincy was “in it” until the middle of September … the last 10 games, actually.

        • @Johnu1: I did not assert that the uncertainty equates to weakness. In fact, they may prove to be better off with Wong and Bourjos/Taveras in the lineup than with Freese and Beltran. However, I do assert that there is no conceivable way that they will be able to hit with runners in scoring position over multiple seasons the way that they did in ’13. It is simply unsustainable. They hit .330 with runners in scoring position. Take this down to their team batting average and they will be markedly worse in ’14 than in ’13. In fact, look no further than their World Series average of .276 and they appear to be much more pedestrian than their regular season run differential indicates.

      • @Drew Mac:

        Matt Holliday (148), Matt Carpenter (147), Matt Adams (136), Allen Craig (135), Yadier Molina (134), and Jhonny Peralta (123) all had a higher wRC+ than every hitter that will be on the 2014 Cincinnati Reds except for Joey Votto. That is 6 players. The Cardinals don’t have all that much uncertainty to me, they will be good. The uncertainty for me is in the Reds.

  16. Nick,

    I found the article interesting and well-timed.

    I do believe that Walt is going to try to improve the offense (his saying that “right now BH is the centerfielder” is simply a matter of fact, similar to him saying “right now Dusty has another year left on his contract” the day after the loss to the Pirates)

    Your article highlights how important it is for the Reds to try to improve the offense.

    A suggestion…a follow-up article doing a similar analysis of the pitching would also be very interesting and put in context where the Reds stand overall as a team. (ie…are they as much “above average” in pitching as the are “below average in hitting”?

  17. I think the rest of the winter is going to be spent moving around deck chairs. Nothing significant. Hope I’m wrong, but that’s how it’s looking to me right now.

      • @TC: The only thing that has me holding on to the possibility of a big deal is the fact that we just replaced our ‘big name manager’ with a relative unknown who was absolutely handpicked by our GM and owner. He’s gotta be successful early. Right?…..Right?!?

  18. If that is the offense the Reds will take into the 2014 season, then they will struggle to finish above Milwaukee. Below Average was putting it nicely.
    The Cards go to the World Series and don’t stand pat. This is ludicrus wrapped in crazy if the Reds take the field with this offense.

    • @WVRedlegs: This is the rub. The Reds cannot stand pat with the addition of Schumaker and expect to be improved enough to compete for the division crown.

      Call the pitching a wash between the three contenders. Without the addition of a significant RH bat (above average in every respect) in the heart of the lineup, the Reds have little to no probability of anything better than another wild card appearance.

      • @rightsaidred:

        What a difference a weekend makes. I was excited last week going into Redsfest and looking forward to the Winter Meetings this week. But the events of this weekend have taken the wind out of my sails.
        First was the news that the Reds would probably be laying low at the Winter Meetings. Big letdown there.
        Second, is the news about Chapman whining again about starting. Tired of his lack of courage. Just like water, he takes the path of least resistance.
        And now the news that Arroyo is talking to the Buccos. If that is the case, hopefully its Bad Bronson who signs that contract and shows up to pitch for Pittsburgh when they play the Reds.
        C’mon WJ. The work is not complete. Roll up your sleeves and get busy.
        DO NOT STAND PAT at the Winter Meetings.

        • @TC:

          Yes, that would be a side benefit, if he signs with PIT. I like his leg kick. He must do yoga on his off days. Wonder if BA is conditioning with that ex-Navy SEAL again this winter?

    • @Johnu1: Fairly interesting. It seems last year was make or brake for Phipps at AAA with his age. He didn’t make it and the Reds didn’t want to spend the relatively paltry sum keeping him at that level.

      It’s made more interesting by the fact he was a true defensive OF and with Robinson gone and Hamilton promoted, the Bats will be relying on promotions or trades to find players to field fly balls.

      • @rightsaidred: You are correct the last season was a make or break chance for Phipps. He is gone becuase the Reds needed the AAA roster spot for propects who are still considered prospects rather than issues with payroll for Phipps. The Bats and Blue Wahoos will have a full contigent of very capable OF at their disposal, but for some, it is time to cut bait or…

  19. Also I think your question about Votto was a little misleading. While his walk rate was 18% this year and 14% in 2010 14% is still well above league average and his k rate was exactly the same in those seasons. Not to mention his obp was .424 in 2010. So to intimate that Votto was a drastically different hitter in 2010 or has made some major change to his approach isn’t entirely accurate.

  20. I’ve seen multiple reports that the Dodgers WANT to trade Kemp for whatever they can. If the Reds could get them to kick in cash to bring the AAV of Kemp down, they should trade for him. He’s apparently not going to cost anything close to a top prospect either way.

  21. An awesome offense negates the need for an elite closer. How many times did the Reds enter the 9th inning in 2013 with more than a 3 run lead? Not very often.
    Nonetheless, if I have to choose between Aroldis Chapman the Closer and an elite RH bat in LF, I would go for the bat.

  22. Hopefully the Reds will get a productive right-handed cleanup hitter, which they have needed for some time, such as Kemp. If not, the 2014 offense will be like this article states, below average.

  23. I still think it’s unfortunate that this roster has been constructed and nurtured with the belief that the CF has to be the leadoff guy.

    As it looks, there isn’t much option but it does tend to limit the type of player we have to watch go through the system every year. We’ve had 24 left fielders, 4 or 5 center fielders, a dozen leadoff guys, and as of today

    ….

    we still need a center fielder and a leadoff guy.

    It’s not like there are options but I have never seen a team that is so dependent on one position player being the leadoff guy.

    And I don’t see that will change in the next 3 years.

    If he plays CF, he has to lead off. Looks like Dusty just carved that one into Rushmore and nobody is going to change it.

  24. The Reds seem to go into every offseason with the same situation: no money to spend on free agents or to take on salary in a trade. If that is the case then this is the reality: you are a SMALL MARKET TEAM.

    The only way that small market teams can ever compete is if they have young talent coming up every single year. They improve by adding through their farm systems. The Reds basically have no one coming up this year, and so they have no way to improve.

    I think the only way that a small market team can have young players coming up consistently is if they are willing to trade their arbitration eligible players for prospects. This is the A’s and Rays’ model, and the Reds need to seriously consider using it.

    This off season, Homer Bailey and Chapman are the guys that I would consider dealing. They can be replaced in their roles without much of a dropoff in performance, and they could give the Reds some young pieces that could improve the team this year or next year.

    To me, it’s either that or get our the checkbook. If ownership really wants to win, and wants to win now, with these guys, then go into the red and get Choo.

  25. I’m sitting here trying to balance the idea of a “short window” for winning, and reloading and I come to this conclusion:

    Don’t trade anymore prospects. Votto, Bruce, Cueto, Bailey, Hanigan, Frazier, Chapman, Leake. A big part of the core and success of this team. All home-grown. All came through the Reds system.

    What do I see for the future: Stephenson, Ervin, Winker, Barnhart, Cingrani, Hamilton, Lorenzen, Lively. The next core with Votto, Bruce, Cueto and Frazier as mentors. I’d trade a meme 2014 for that.

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