Titanic Struggle Recap

Cueto and Negron to the rescue! Reds end losing skid

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (61-61) 3 11 0
Colorado Rockies (47-75) 2 6 0
W: Cueto (15-6) L: Ottavino (0-4) S: Chapman (26)
Box Score | Play-by-Play | Game Thread | Photos | Win Probability

game graph

The Reds ended their three game losing streak with a 3-2 win. Cueto pitched 8.0 innings of two run baseball, and the Reds struggling offense was able to scratch across three runs against the Rockies, despite not having their two best hitters, Frazier and Mesoraco in the starting lineup. The Rockies scheduled SP, Franklin Morales was scratched from the start because of the birth of his child. The Reds got a bullpen game from the Rockies, who started former Red, Matt Belisle, and then brought in another former Red, Nick Masset immediately following Belisle.

Biggest Play of the Game

According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (wining percentage added), the most important play of the game was Kristopher Negron’s RBI single in the 9th inning, giving the Reds a 3-2 lead. That play increased the Reds chances of winning by 34.4% (from 47.1% to 81.5%)

Other important plays (+/- indicates how much each play increased or decreased the Reds chances of winning):

  • +22.7% – 9th inning – McKenry lined into a double play to end the game. Chapman pitching
  • +10.4% – 6th inning – Cueto strikes out LeMahieu to end the inning, bases were loaded
  • +10.2% – 6th inning – Cueto strikes out Culberson, bases loaded, 2 outs
  • +9.6% – 9th inning – Chapman gets Rosario to fly to leadoff the inning
  • +8.5% – 4th inning – Santiago RBI single, Reds lead 2-1
  • +8.2% – 9th inning – Santiago singles to leadoff the inning
  • +7.3% – 4th inning – Hannahan leadoff double
  • +6.3% – 3rd inning – Hamilton single, runners on 1st and 2nd with 0 outs
  • -22.6% – 6th inning – Dickerson RBI double off Cueto, game tied at 2, runners on 1st & 3rd with 1 out
  • -10.8% – 9th inning – Hamitlon flied out with runners on 1st & 2nd, 2 outs
  • -10.1% – 9th inning – Chapman walks Culberson with 1 out
  • -9.8% – 2nd inning – Arenado solo HR off Cueto, Rockies lead 1-0
  • -8.2% – 5th inning – Bruce grounded into a double play. Bases empty, 2 outs
  • -7.8% – 1st inning – Ludwick lined out with runners on 2nd and 3rd, 2 outs
  • -6.0% – 6th inning – Arenado single off Cueto, runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out

Player of the Game

Kristopher Negron: 4 for 4, 1 RBI, 0.45 WPA

Kristopher Negron is absolutely awesome. I love watching this kid play. His speed was very impressive in the first inning, when he bunted for a hit. He made some nice plays in the field, flying all over the place. He had four hits tonight, including the game winning hit in the 9th inning. Negron can play EVERY position except Catcher. He should be on the Reds roster next season, as the Reds utility guy. Negron is literally Santaigo and Schumaker wrapped into one (as he fills the need of a backup SS and utility guy), except he is a significantly better defender, and has a lot more speed.

Positives

Johnny Cueto pitched yet another gem: 8.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 6 K. Cueto now has a 2.06 ERA and 0.91 WHIP on the season. Tonight was the 11th time this season that Johnny Cueto has pitched 8.0+ innings, where he has allowed 2 ER or less.

cueto

Jack Hannahan ended his 0 for 14 start to the season with a leadoff double in the fourth inning. Ramon Santiago followed with a single to give the Reds a 2-1 lead.

Zack Cozart made a tremendous play in the 6th inning, just barely throwing out the speedy former Red, Drew Stubbs. Cozart entered play today with 19 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved), which is the most among MLB SS, and the 4th most of any player at any position in the MLB.

Billy Hamilton and Ramon Santiago each collected two hits tonight.

Ryan Ludwick went 1 for 3 with a walk tonight. This coming off last night, when he went 3 for 4 with a HR.

Negatives

Aroldis Chapman got his 26th save tonight, but his incredible MLB record streak of 49 relief appearances with a strikeout came to an end. Chapman was a little shaky, as this was only his 4th appearance in August.

Jay Bruce went 0 for 5 tonight, and is now hitting .219/.299/.374 on the season. He did collect an RBI, which tied the game in the 3rd inning. It however came on a weak ground-out, when the Reds had runners on 2nd and 3rd base with 1 out. The play actually decreased the Reds chances of winning by 0.6%. I still believe in Bruce, but this has really been a tough season.

Not so random thoughts……..

Brandon Phillips made his first rehab start for the Louisville Bats tonight. Phillips went 0 for 2 with a walk. Phillips could return as soon as Monday for the Cardinals series according to Bryan Price.

The Brewers are currently losing 2-0 to the Dodgers in the 5th inning as I type this. If the Brewers lose, the Reds will be 5.5 games back in the NL Central.

standings

81 thoughts on “Cueto and Negron to the rescue! Reds end losing skid

  1. If the guy can play everyday why not pencil him in at SS and allow Cozart to be the bench guy? Sorry to say the Reds cannot afford a hitless wonder for a shortstop we need hitters not defenders.

    • I think MLB needs to consider real reform. Lets go with 9 hitters and 9 fielders and thus you get the best of both worlds. You add pop to the game and allow for more exciting baseball.

      • Drew: Interesting stuff, it will happen some day because it will make the game more marketable. Imagine an offense full of bashers and a defense full of Cozarts. The NFL changed from two way players to offensive and defensive in the 1950s, so MLB will probably do it about 100 years later.

        • You would have to add more players to the roster and what would you do if you wanted to change a hitter? I think from an monetary standpoint this would be pretty expensive and would dilute the game even more.

      • I can’t really tell whether my objection to this idea stems from being a hidebound traditionalist (very possible) or is based upon something substantive. I don’t like NFL football anymore, for starters: I liked it better when a significant number of guys played both sides of the ball. It seems over-hyped and mechanical to me at this point, and I would hate for baseball to become the same.

    • I was going to say myself that Negron may (finally) be a guy to push and possibly replace Cozart as the starting SS. It would hinge on how much (little) they would give up defensively with Negron versus how much (little) they would gain offensively with him. That was surely a sweet looking AB which resulted in the GWRBI tonight. He shortened the swing and took it right back up the middle.

      No doubt Cozart has found a way to elevate his defense to another level this year; but, his offense is even weaker than it has been in the past which I think leaves him vulnerable to a guy who would be solid average or better on defense and clearly better than Cozart offensively.

      • What about Negron at second? I’m a BP fan, and don’t say this lightly, but Negron, if he can keep hitting, might be the heir apparent, might he not? In the meantime, he’d be very valuable and would get alot of playing time as a legitimate super sub.

        • Phillips has I believe 4 years of contract left after this year, and with the finish of this season, gains a no trade clause (10&5 rights). Cozart, meanwhile, doesn’t have this much time left with the club. Plus, we argue that defense is the reason Negron isn’t a lock to even replace Cozart, and I personally think that Phillips is at least equal to Cozart in defensive value for the positions they play. If you’re gonna give up the defense, give up Cozart’s because Phillips has a much better bat.

  2. “Negron is literally Santaigo and Schumaker wrapped into one (as he fills the need of a backup SS and utility guy), except he is a significantly better defender, and has a lot more speed” …. with an equal amount of grit.

  3. Bases loaded, 1 out, score tied in the 6th. Cueto pitching at high altitude and has run around the base paths twice. So he retires 8 in a row, 4 on strikeouts, to get the win. Greatness.

  4. Great game by Negron, obviously. Also a good game for Santiago. They came through “big time” (as Dusty used to say) in the 9th.

  5. The Rockies tv broadcasters were talking up Cozart for the Gold Glove. They described how his fielding technique on both the ground ball by Stubbs and the pop up over his head by Morneau allowed him to make a couple of plays that most SSs don’t.

  6. Chapman’s walking Culberson, a .187 hitter with speed, on 5 pitches in the 9th was a very very bad thing. Batting next, McKenry is powerful and an outstanding fast ball hitter. When he was with the Pirates, I recall his crushing a Chapman fastball off the OF wall for a game winning double. I was more than a little nervous with him up in that situation.

    For those who missed it, his line drive into Pena’s glove was scorched.

  7. A few weeks ago I predicted that Hannahan would get his first hit this Sunday, August 17. I missed it by two days. I was thinking he would get his start on Sunday instead of tonight. Didn’t miss by much, but to my knowledge a pool was never organized.

    Anyway I’m happy his hit helped win the game. He did a better job than Bruce and Pena, two LHed hitters who should have been crushing Belisle and Masset.

  8. I think give Negron as many at bats as possible. Next year he’ll come back down to earth once everyone sees him once. So before you ship cozart out just know Negron might just be the next Janish too. Remember when Cozart came up, he too was hitting great the same with Hi-C.

    • Excellent points. Negron does have good speed, though, and looks good defensively (is he really better than Santiago, though?). I wouldn’t be quick to ship Cozart away, either: His fielding is worth a fair amount of hitting, particularly to a team that relies on dominant pitching.

  9. The 40 Man Roster move should be interesting tomorrow. Bailey will go on the DL, so no problem for the standard roster, but if I count correctly, we currently have 42 on the 40-Man with Marshall and Bell on the 60 day list — so there will have to be a 40-Man move to bring Axelrod up.

    I guess either Ondrusek or Cingrani could go to the 60-Day to open a position. If not, it would seem someone will be DFA’s — either Holmberg, Rogers, Elmore, Hannahan, or Soto?

    • Ondrusek pitched for Louisville last night in a rehab assignment so he’s not going on the 60 day DL.

    • Is the 60 day retroactive? If so, Votto could be placed on it and still be eligible to return early in September which seems optimistic.

      • Votto would work for the 60 day Dl to clear a 40 man spot. His earliest return would then be the 2nd week of September (8th or 9th I believe).

      • Votto would work for the 60 day Dl to clear a 40 man spot. His earliest return would then be the 2nd week of September (8th or 9th I believe).

        • I believe we DFA’d Lamarre in order to make room for Iglesias.
          *************************************************************************

          Yes, I concur. This is what I was trying to post here to begin with. I wish this user interface was better.

  10. Just enough offense to win tonight, thankfully. Hopefully when BP gets back, Mesoraco stays in the cleanup spot. Not knocking Phillips but Mes is our best hitter right now

  11. My two cents says for the balance of 2014 we reset our rotation to Cueto Latos Leake Axelrod and Conteras. Move Simon back to the bullpen and be our middle relief and spot starter guy.
    Our lineup bat the starters the rest of the season and see what they give us down the stretch C Mesoraco 1b Pena 2B Phillips SS Negron RF Bruce CF Hamilton and LF Heisey. The balance of this year is going to determine Heisys future one way or another so might as well play him out.

    • As long as we are in the playoff race there wont be any changes. Which is sad because this needs to be done.

    • if you are going that route, then reds really need to playing Soto and Lutz instead of Pena or Hannahan. Playing Pena fulltime makes little sense if you are trying to determine who is ready to contribute for 2015 if I understand your post correctly.

      • I would have put either of their names in there but it is already apparent the Reds organization doesn’t believe in either of them. Sad to say neither Lutz nor Soto has been treated fairly by Reds management. Promote them to sit on a bench at the major league level. I hope Lutz gets traded to Milwaukee and hits 40 homers in a season, he gets jacked around so much it isn’t even funny. Pena or Hannahan over either of those two is just laughable. Hannahan isn’t major league material when he is healthy and Pena is a flipping catcher for crying out loud.

        • You know, I can kind of see playing Pena, he was a pleasant surprise at 1B. However, there were plenty of opportunities to play Lutz, but Price went out of his way to avoid playing him. When Pena wasn’t available to play 1B, Price played people out of position (Santiago at 3rd Frazier at 1st, Bernidina at 1st, Jay Bruce at 1st) weakening the team defensively and offensively. Also, there were plenty of opportunities to play Lutz in the outfield, but again, Price would play Schumaker who is not a good defensive outfielder and a weak hitter in either right or left. When Hannahan came back, Price played him at 1B and DH over Lutz. I do not understand what is up with Price and Lutz.

          Lutz started out in AA red hot (.360/.412/.685) and the Reds called him up to the big club after a quick pass through AAA Louisville. Price let him sit on the bench for 3 weeks and then the Reds sent him back down to AAA Louisville where he struggled. Imagine that, attempting to make the jump from AA to AAA after basically sitting out for 3 weeks. When he finally adjusted and started to hit they called him up again to sit on the bench. I am pleasantly surprised to see that in his 5 games since being sent back to Louisville again, he is hitting
          .318/.400/.545.

          They did him the same way last year. The Reds have essentially robbed Lutz of two full seasons in the minors. He has never played above AA in the minors before this year and he should have had two full season in AAA by now. The way the Reds have treated Lutz and set him back in his development is almost criminal.

      • Pena is signed for 2015. Soto looked completely overmatched when he was up earlier. Lutz was given some chances, but failed to capitalize on them. He also is a very poor fielder at 1B.

        • Lutz’s slash line in the majors is .231/.263/.319 in 95 PAs. That type of performance does not get you extended playing time on a contender.

          As to his fielding, in the minors he played 181 games at 1B and made an astonishing 34 errors.

        • Apparently it does if you’re Schumaker. His slash line with consistent playing time for the season in over 200 PA is .239/.291/.321. Lutz’s slash line has been produced by playing around 1 game a week, sometimes 1 PA a week over parts of two seasons while being jerked back and forth between the minors and the big league club with no consistent playing time. His 1B fielding numbers are disappointing, but I still think he was a better option than Bernidina or Bruce or even playing Santiago and Frazier out of position.

        • Lutz was given 8 starts and went 4 for 25.

          Skip is an established major leaguer who came into this season with a .285 career batting average and previous experience as a valuable piece on championship teams. Certainly his numbers this year are disappointing, but he’s made his bones. Rookies have to perform to force their way into consistent playing time (see Kris Negron) unless they have obvious outstanding skills (see Billy Hamilton).

          Lutz will surely be called up in September and will be in the LF mix next year. Hopefully we won’t need another 1B but JV getting any significant playing time in 2015.

        • Yes, Skip has been a disappointment as an established major leaguer this season. He has made his bones, but it appears they are dried and bleached now. Lutz was given 8 starts, but no consistent playing time. Most of the starts were separated by a week or more. It’s a bit much to ask a rookie who has never played above AA until this season to to perform with that kind of inconsistent playing time.

          I like Negron and want to see him on the club next season. But, he is playing way above his head and it is unrealistic to think he can keep this up at the major league level. He is 28 years old and has a well established minor league career. He has played 943 games in the minors with a slash line of .246/.323/.360. That is a pretty good body of work to go by and does not indicate that he will continue to hit at the major league level like he has for the last month.

          Lutz minor league career has been interrupted twice in the last two seasons by the Reds calling him up to sit on the bench. He should be completing his second full season at AAA, but because of the call-ups he has only played a total of 37 games at AAA in his career. That is the real shame here, that the Reds have take two of Lutz’s development seasons away from him.

          I agree, that hopefully we don’t need another 1B next year and that Votto is fully recovered. However, I found it interesting that Joey commited 21 errors in his first 121 games at 1B, very similar to Lutz’s error rate. Joey went on to improve significantly and won a Gold Glove in the majors, although he may have regressed some the last couple years. Joey was playing almost exclusively at 1B while Lutz has also suffered from consistent playing time at one position as they have moved him around constantly from the outfield (LF and RF) and 1B through out his minor league career.

        • Be serious; Joey was 19 years old when he made 21 errors in 121 games at 1B. By the time he reached major league ready, his error rate was down to about half that and he was still only 23 years old.

          Negron seized his moment; Lutz failed to do so. Lutz getting 95 PAs in the bigs is probably worth more than getting 3 or 4 times the amount of PAs in AAA so I don’t see that his development was damaged by having him play in the majors. I suppose he could have declined to do so if he felt his “development” was more important.

          In 2013, Lutz was with the Reds for less than two months yet played only 65 games at AA. I assume he was injured for part of the season which I’m sure is somehow the Reds’ fault. This year he hasn’t been up for even that long yet has only played in 60 games in the minors.

          There’s little reason to believe Skip is as washed up as most posters here insist; he had a decent year last season for the Dodgers and seems to be coming around a bit lately. He’s signed through next year so we’ll be seeing more of him and hopefully he can have a bounce back year.

        • OK, we were having a nice discussion until your “be serious” sarcastic comment. I thought you were making some progress in being a serious contributor. After your “Skip for MVP” comments of the last few days I could say the same to you, but I’ll just go back to ignoring you. I find it hard to take your worship of Skip serious. We’re done.

    • Price indicated to Fay that Simon remains in the rotation and that the organization does not consider any of the AA pitchers major league ready.

      Heisey’s hasn’t hit a lick as a starter and Ludwick is on a bit of a run lately. I’m OK with Negron playing some SS, but Cozart is still providing GG defense and has even started to hit a little (11 for 37; .297 in his last 10 games). I don’t think there are going to be any major changes as long as the Reds remain within striking distance of the Wild Card.

      • That is just silly. Seriously do you think that this team can will a single playoff game? Ownership should be at least considering tanking the rest of the season for better draft picks.

        • Sorry, I don’t find it “silly” to believe this team can make up 3 games against the so-so teams in front of them. 85 wins might even get a wild card spot.

          Do I think the Reds could win a Wild Card playoff game against Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Atlanta or St. Louis with Johnny Cueto on the mound? Absolutely. You seriously don’t?

          “Tanking a season” isn’t what management or players with any amount of self-respect do.

        • It happens all the time Kevin Brown. It is sadly part of the game that I wish didn’t exist. Since it does exist the Reds might as well join in. We have no chance of extended playoffs.

        • You wish it didn’t exist but want your team, which is only 3 games out with 40 to go, to do it.

          Doesn’t make much sense.

        • The Reds aren’t going to win the world series this year. I sure wish I could bet you on that. If we aren’t going to win the World Series then this season is a tank job. Plain and simple. Start planning for 2015 so we can do our best to try and win it all then.Isn’t it the goal to win the World Series? If you answer yes then you must realize that if you have literally no chance of winning the World Series then you need to consider building until you can. Otherwise we just become a farm system for the $200 million dollar salary teams and we wind up on the perpetual good but not great list like we have been for the past 4 or 5 years now. We are a good team, not a great team. Let’s build this team up to be great and win it all in 2015! Woohoo baby!!!

        • Dale, generally you make a lot of sense but to use the “either or” argument is too dramatic. Either the Reds win a WS or the season is a bust approach isn’t what this team is about. If they make up the difference in the standings and at least get a shot (wild card game) after what we have all seen this year, I would consider the season some what successful. In this particular situation, I will have my coffee without cream and sugar instead of no coffee at all.

        • That the Reds are anywhere near the WC after the barrage of injuries to their best players that they have had this year is a remarkable achievement.

  12. Negron’s 5 years in AAA with a .632 OPS don’t project him to much of a hitter, although he was slugging over .400 this year before being called up. I would keep giving him playing time. He could fill the spot of IF backup so the Reds don’t need to waste money on washed up older players next year. Schu is signed for next year, but Hannahan won’t be back.

    The Reds need to get young players in these positions. While $2.5 million for Schumaker and $2 million for Hannahan isn’t a lot, two young players at league minimum saves $3.5 million a year that could be spent toward keeping a pitcher or paying a better position player. Add in Ludwick’s $9 million, and the Reds are paying their group of older players $13.5 million.

    • that is pretty sad. I am not opposed to 30 year old rookies. I know some folks dream of a 22 year old prodigy but that isn’t going to happen in Cincinnati. If we get a 30 year old player who turns out to be a stud we’ll get them for the better part of 10 years just before they are aged and falling apart. Right about the time we couldn’t afford them so for me I don’t see a difference.

  13. Many of you don’t value defense enough. Cozart has been tremendous, and may very well have won last night’s game with his glove. Next year, with a hopefully productive Bruce, Votto, and Phillips we won’t need to worry so much about how much offense we’re getting from our #8 hitter.

    Before you “trade” him for Negron this season, I’d make another switch where we sacrifice some perceived defense for offense: Mesoraco should be catching Cueto more often. Last time out, Cueto pitched a gem and Mesoraco drove in 6 runs. There were a few times last night where we might have gotten a lot more if only Mesoraco had been in there lengthening the lineup.

    • I for one don’t value defense enough. In this day and age hitters are at a premium so you need to get hits from every position as much as possible. If our pitching is so freaking awesome then we’ll make any defender look good.

      • Cozart’s career OPS is .653 which is only a bit below the MLB average for SS this year which is .680. Given his GG level of defense, his offensive performance has been acceptable. The biggest problem he has had this year is a sudden drop in HRs; he had 15 in 2012 and 12 in 2013 but has hit only 3 this year. If he had produced an HR every 50 PAs as he did in the past his SLG would be 60 points higher and his OPS in the .630s. I admit I have no explanation for this drop off; he’s been healthy so perhaps it’s a fixable mechanical problem.

        • Cozart was slow to the majors. He just turned 29 years old. One reasonable explanation is that he has already turned the corner and started his decline phase, although his power drop off is large for one year given that there is no significant injury we are aware of.

      • This is a ridiculous assessment – “If our pitching is so freaking awesome then we’ll make any defender look good.” Part of the reason the Reds’ rotation has been so good this year is because many have a below-average BABIP. Sure, some of that may be luck. But a big part of it is guys like Brandon Phillips, Billy Hamilton, Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, and – possibly most of all – Zack Cozart playing Gold Glove-caliber defense behind them. Obviously, you can’t have a ton of black holes in your lineup as a sacrifice for defense … but having a #8 hitter with a low average because he’s the best defensive shortstop in the league? Worth it for the run prevention he brings to the table.

  14. Negron has three home runs in 65 plate appearances. Cozart has three home runs in 430 plate appearances. Plus, consider runs created per game. Cozart’s RC sits at 2.8. Negron’s is 5.3.

    Small sample size but something to consider going forward. Yes, Cozart is a defensive wizard but without Votto and BP in the lineup and Bruce struggling all year long, his lack of offense is striking. Nothing wrong with a little competition at SS.

    • amen. It is a time tested method to keep a stellar glove on the bench for the late innings. I see that at Cozart’s future. The Red’s can’t afford a Davy Concepcion type in the 2010′s as we need offense more than we need defense. We have an above average 2B. The best defensive CF in the game. One of the best RF in the game. We more than make up for it at SS. Simply a liability we don’t need to be taking.

      • You do know that Concepcion developed into quite a strong hitter after the first phase of his career? One year, he was even in the mix with George Foster for league RBI leader.

    • Cozart raked his first shot in the majors, too. And his AAA numbers are much better than Negron’s.

      I like Kris a lot and wouldn’t be adverse to him getting some starts at SS while he is hot. But Zack is our starting SS.

      • whether it is Kris, someone down in the minors, or someone outside of the organization the Reds need an offensive upgrade at SS. As I mentioned in another post we have stellar defense all over the field and we can easily afford to downgrade at the SS defensive wise. What we can’t afford to do is not go out and find better hitters. Winker won’t be ready probably until 2016 so whatever we do in LF is going to be for the short term. CF will be BHams for the next 5 years. Bruce is with us till 2018. So where else are we going to upgrade? Phillips is locked, Votto is locked. Our offense is terrible and we aren’t going anywhere unless we find additional hitting. I think 99% of Reds fan would agree on that point. The two spots that stick out consistently are being terrible offensively SS and LF. We have a solution in place in the near future for LF but none in place for SS.

      • Cozart is the starter for the rest of the year; but he is not what the team needs at SS moving forward. They need to find someone who brings significantly more to the table on the offensive side while not giving up too much on the defensive side.

        Truth be told at any given time there are probably a number of guys on MLB benches and in AAA and AA who could make the defensive contribution Cozart makes if they were given the number of MLB level reps Cozart has had. Good field; no hit has been around since before I was a kid.

        Cozart came up raking for 14 games in 2011 until he was injured and hasn’t been a consistently reliable source of offense since. It is time for the Reds to start looking for someone who will be a consistently reliable offensive player at SS. The odds are long that Negron could be that person; but his sample size is moving beyond the sample size (2011) which won the job for Cozart; so, it certainly makes sense to give Negron a longer look.

        • Not sure why there continues to be all this hate on Cozart when it isnt deserved. If our hitters on this team (C/1ST/2ND/3RD/RF and maybe LF) then there us no reason to worry about Cozart in the 8th hole as his steller defense makes him a value to this team.

        • Nobody is hating on Cozart, at least not me. He has had a nice 3 year run as the starting SS and had given them always reliable and sometimes outstanding defense. However his offense has always been lacking aside from the occasional power he flashed (mostly) in his first full season.

          Starting with the 2015 season Cozart is arbitration eligible and thus will no longer come cheap; so, it is a natural juncture where a team evaluates whether they want to move forward with a guy, investing ever more money and time in him, or whether they are best served by starting to look for other options.

          Cozart is 29 years old already. HIs best full season OPS+ was 82; he will have to hustle to stay above 60 this year. His drop in power could be an indication he is already starting decline.

          At the one spot where defense is even more premium than SS the Reds have a guy who is even better defensively at his position than Cozart at his but whose offense looks like it could be problematic, at least in the short run. This guy is also 6 years younger than Cozart and two more seasons away from arbitration. So, which guy are you giving your offensive mulligan to, remembering that every $$$ spent elsewhere is one less $$$ to spend on fixing the black hole in LF where the offense will have to come from to support CF and SS offensive deficiencies.

        • I think getting Gold Glove caliber defense AND above average offensive production from your SS is a bit more difficult than you seem to imply. And getting both without paying what Cozart is likely to get from first year arbitration seems like a complete fantasy.

  15. Still no Frazier tonight. I hope it is nothing lingering or chronic. I would like to see him finish the season strong. He and Mesoraco have been two bright spots this season and I hope that their excellent production this season is just a glimpse of good things to come.

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