Game Thread

Reds at Pirates (August 31, 2014)

The Reds and Pirates close their series today in Pittsburgh. Will the Reds get a win and close out the month of August on a winning note? Let’s hope so.

1. Billy Hamilton (S) CF
4. Todd Frazier (R) 1B
5. Brayan Pena (S) C
6. Ryan Ludwick (R) LF
7. Chris Heisey (R) RF
8. Ramon Santiago (S) SS
9. Johnny Cueto (R) P

 

Discuss the game here Reds fans!

124 thoughts on “Reds at Pirates (August 31, 2014)

  1. I hope we have a raft of young players to look at starting this week, but for now:

    CF: Billy Hamilton
    3B: Kristopher Negron
    2B: Brandon Phillips
    1B: Todd Frazier
    C: Brayan Pena
    LF: Ryan Ludwick
    RF: Chris Heisey
    SS: Ramon Santiago
    SP: Johnny Cueto

    • If they wanted to show Ludwick had value to waive or trade him, that would have been to play him earlier in the month. His first start in a week is after the waiver deadline?

    • I’d say the chance he plays somewhere next year is close to 100%. He’s playing because he has hit lefties very well this year but this is the first lefty the Reds have faced in a while. He is in an 0 for 17 slump.

        • He’ll get $4.5 million if the Reds don’t pick up his option but he’ll be free to sign with any other team and keep that money + whatever the other team will pay him. He has hit LHP well enough this year for some team to pay him in 2015.

      • Actually I just looked it up and his numbers against lefties have slumped a bit though they are still respectable: .244/.308/.488/.795. I still think some team (perhaps the Reds) will want him in 2015.

  2. Cracks me up that Phillips was put right back at #3 when he returned. He was hitting badly before he was injured, and since he’s returned he’s hitting .174/.240/.217… what a beastly #3 hitter. Either the Reds have some crazy image of what kind of ball player BP is these days, or there’s some ego management going on there.

      • Good point, but there seems to be some sort fear you will disrespect a very average hitter. We heard last year how he played hurt and how a sub-par year if you ignore the RBI( pretty much impossible not to break 100 with the season Choo and Votto had)- he has hit like he is injured and continues to slap Mgmt in the face they made some horrendous contracts decisions over the past 3 years

      • Same question to you. Would you be happier with Ludwick batting 3rd? The two best hitters by wOBA are where they are supposed to be in the idealized sabermetric lineup; 2nd and 4th. Billy’s going to lead off so that’s leaves are candidates to bat 3rd only Ludwick and BP. Given how much Ludwick as struggled for the last few weeks, is it really so unreasonable to bat BP 3rd?

  3. It’s amazing how often Cueto faces LH starters. It’s just another example of how this is a “whatever can go wrong will go wrong” kind of a season, regularly keeping Mesoraco’s bat out of the lineup vs a LH starter because he’s not allowed to catch Cueto. (Or, you know, Mes could catch Cueto since he’s done so successfully and Cueto’s not really chasing a Cy Young anymore.)

    Imagine how depressing it would have been to make the playoffs, find ourselves facing a LH pitcher, and leave Mesoraco’s bat on the bench. Or have him play, but have Cueto be a little out of synch because he’s not used to pitching to Mesoraco.

  4. The Broxton move not only frees up salary, it opens a 40-man roster spot. That’s 2 positives before we even know who comes this way from the Brew Crew.

    • A weakness (the bullpen is near the bottom of the NL in ERA) just got weaker for 2015.

      Hope saving the money was worth it.

      • Meh. Strikeout rate was below league average and his walk rate was above league average. Not good at all for a relief pitcher, especially one who pitches half his games in GABP. About the only thing you could say was that he had a decent groundball rate, but even then nothing spectacular. Gets rid of a bad contract. The bullpen is an issue, but guys who don’t strikeout many guys, who walk too many guys, who are in their 30’s with a fastball velocity that has declined 5 mph in the last 5 years are not the guys you want to build your pen around.

      • Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. The Reds inactivity really appears to have hurt them. Obviously, we can’t know what COULD have been, but there is the potential that they could have had something NEAR what Soria and Street commanded.

  5. Saw Dunn traded to A’s- I think in the Bruce thread he was compared to him and how Dunn never had any rings, just might get one if teh A’s can turn it around

    • Why not bash BP and Homer as well? I really hope that money is not an issue but it is looking like Cueto or at best Latos will not be back because of it, it is hard to let it go.

        • I agree. Cut Votto and platoon Hannahan and Soto. Thank of the money savings! Money that isn’t even mine!

        • Votto almost earned his salary this year. He was paid $12 million and earned 1.9 WAR according to B-R and 1.0 WAR for Fangraphs. Split the difference, say 1.45 WAR and use $6.5 million for the value of a WAR and he’s “earned” almost $10 million of value.

          To say that “Votto’s salary killed the team this year” might be the least accurate thing ever written on the internet.

      • Saving money by getting rid of quality players so you can re-sign potential free agents is a double edged sword. On the one hand, you free up some cash; on the other, you make the team weaker and thus not as appealing to play for. The Reds can never outbid the Yankees, Dodgers, etc. etc. of the world so if they are to keep their good players they have to keep the team strong IMO.

        • Steve he will have missed half of the seasons you cannot calculate a war and use it for the games he didn’t play. Yes I believe hs salary is an albatross for the reds this year and for years to come.

        • That’s exactly how you can use WAR. Not using it for the games he didn’t play, just the ones he did. That’s how easily a player like Votto can earn value.

        • Steve, I think you are seriously missing the point here.

          The point is, Votto has played in the grand total of 62 games this year. That means 62 games where he could potentially have a positive effect on the outcome. WAR aside, he was not proucing at an appreciable level this year due to injury.

          When the Reds signed Votto to his contract, they should have had a reasonable expectation for him to outperform his contract in the early years with the expectation that he may underperform in later years. You could argue that this is debateable given the financial evolution the game will undergo in 10 years’ time, but, as we have seen time and again, the players’ health is every bit (if not moreso) the risk as the long term financial implications.

          A player who plays in roughly 40% of their teams’ games (as Votto has done this year) is not going to have much of an impact on the teams’ success as a whole. You can say Votto “almost earned his salary this year”, but again, that wasn’t what the Reds were paying for; he should not be “almost” earning his salary at this stage, he should be outperforming it by a lot. That’s the price the Reds paid in agreeing to backload the contract and provide Votto with the stability he so desired. So in a purely short termed thinking, sure Votto did just fine this year. But in the long view of things, there is no way anyone can argue that Votto did not perform up to expectations and thus negatively impacted the teams’ success.

        • I agree with what you say, entirely. The best chance for the Reds to see an adequate return on Votto’s contract is piling up the value in its early years.

          But that wasn’t the issue we were discussing. I was simply responding to the *short-term* claim that “Votto’s salary killed the team this year” which is blatantly false. I doubt you agree with that.

    • Agreed. Salary is the owners area of responsibility not the players or the fans. Now if the same owner uses it (salary) as a reason for not making needed moves for improvement then that’s on him/her not the player.

  6. The full terms of the Broxton trade aren’t known. We know the Reds get two players to be named later. Those will be marginal players, don’t get your hopes up for anything. But that’s OK. Just dumping Broxton’s salary is enough to justify the trade.

    The only thing we don’t know is if the Reds agreed to take on any of Broxton’s 2015 salary. And we may not find that out. The teams don’t have to release that information unless they want to.

    I was worried that the Reds might be taking back a bad-salary player from the Brewers but I looked at their roster and they don’t really have anyone like that. I was worried Rickie Weeks might have a year left, but it appears he doesn’t.

    If the Reds managed to get rid of Broxton’s full salary for 2015 and didn’t take on any additional salary in return, this is a slam dunk great move. (Even if it does send up the white flag.)

    • Yes, our bullpen is so much stronger now.

      Did you bother to consider that an area of weakness has been made even weaker?

      • Weaker for the next four weeks, but I imagine a lot of bullpen moves will be made in the off season.

        • No, weaker for 2015 as well. There are a limited number of options to improve the bullpen as Parra and LeCure are signed for rather expensive contracts and Marshall for an exorbitant one. It’s doubtful any are tradeable. And believe it or not, guys as effective as Broxton was this year aren’t exactly a dime a dozen.

      • I would rather have 85% of Broxton’s productivity at league minimum price and allocate resources towards multiple bats in the offseason. Bullpen arms short of Rivera in his prime aren’t worth $9 million/yr.

        Hopefully Walt was able to make this a straight salary dump or at least close to it.

        • If the performance of the Reds’ bullpen this year doesn’t tell you that just crossing your fingers and assuming that league minimum guys can be almost as effective as good, solid veterans, I don’t know what will.

        • Take a look at the salaries of the Red Sox and Orioles relievers. None of them make an amount Broxton does and they are significantly better than the Reds bullpen

    • And of course it makes Milwaukee’s bullpen, which has only been so-so, stronger as well for 2015.

      I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come; a salary dump mentality that greatly reduces the chances the Reds will contend in 2015.

    • Thanks for your opinion. I hope management doesn’t share it.

      By and large, the Reds have a bad record this year BECAUSE they have a bad bullpen: Red starters are 55-45; Red relievers 10-26.

      • But their bullpen is not bad for lack of money. The reds spent way too much money on the bullpen. I can’t think of any other place on the baseball field where money and production are more unrelated than the bullpen. Relief pitchers have more luck involved in their numbers than regular players because of the small sample size. That and the fact that most of them are failed starters who are relying on one or two pitches that may work one year and not fool anybody the next year make their performances extremely volatile. If you have a decent core of pitchers in your farm you should be able to build a decent bullpen. Add in a few cheap free agents on one or two year deals, guys with talent who have been DFA like Simon or Parra and you should have a decent pen for cheap. You can then spend your money on players who are easier to predict and provide more value.

        • Cross your fingers and hope is now considered a better strategy than getting good pitchers who perform well?

          There are only 12 relief pitchers in the NL who have a lower ERA than Broxton. It’s bad enough to trade him for apparently nothing, but to strengthen one of your main division rivals is a poor plan.

        • Broxton’s performance this year hardly makes him a “bad reliever”. He has a 1.86 ERA (which only 12 relievers in the NL who are better) and is 4-2. He has had a few bad outings lately but for the season his work has been excellent.

        • I wouldn’t say Broxton has been a bad reliever this year. But I sure wouldn’t use ERA and his *wins and losses* to defend that. And plenty of stats point to Broxton as being below average going forward.

        • No let’s not use ERA or wins or losses; after all how many runs a pitcher gives up or whether the team wins the game is utterly irrelevant.

          In general, I don’t put a lot of stock on W-L for a reliever but since we were talking about the overall Red bullpen and how utterly easy it is to just pull up pitchers from AAA and have them perform just as well as sub 2.00 ERA guys, I thought the fact that Broxton was 4-2 and the rest of the bullpen 6-24 was worthy of mention. But by all means please tell us how his FIP isn’t that good or some other minutiae that you feel is a better indicator than the actual fact that Broxton didn’t give up many runs.

        • I didn’t say Broxton was a bad reliever. You can definitely look at the number of runs he gave up to judge – backward looking – how good he’s been. That’s not the point at all. The issue, as I interpreted your concern, was that the trade hurt the Reds bullpen going forward. ERA is a lousy predictor of how a pitcher will do going forward, particularly relief pitchers. Broxton has been better than Hoover, Ondrusek to be sure. But he’s no loss going forward.

        • You imply that the belief that FIP, xFIP, SIERA (the minutiae) are better indicators than ERA of future performance is just a matter of something I feel. It’s actually something that studies of past pitching performers has proven. It’s not a matter of belief, it’s a fact.

        • xFIP is a stupid stat. It arbitrarily places a 10.5% FB/HR rate because that’s league average. But Broxton has never had a FB/HR rate that high in any season he threw more than 30.2 IP. FIP is also of questionable value is predicting future performance in this case; the Reds are an excellent defensive team and will continue to be; why should we prophesy Broxton’s future performance for them as if they are an average one?

          So if that’s what you’re basing your evaluation on you’re not relying on “facts”; you’re relying on general averages rather than specific performance. And that is fallacious reasoning.

        • Well, it isn’t exactly ‘arbitrary’ if it’s based on the league average, is it?

        • I’m not an English teacher. To fix a value in a formula that the individual player is highly unlikely to reach and then claim that the formula is highly predictive of that player’s future performance is obviously flawed.

        • Broxton has his lowest BABIP and LOB % of his career by some significant margins. Regression is coming

          The reds have better positions to spend $7 million on

  7. Only one hit for us so far. It’s telling when only Frazier and Mes are the only two on the team who are consistent

  8. from sheldon………..Jocketty also said no cash was involved in deal, meaning Milwaukee assuming all of Broxton contract. Brewers claimed him on waivers, also

  9. Funny how the Reds own the Cubs, but the Cardinals struggle with them….yet we can’t beat St. Louis

  10. Jocketty told Jim Day that the players that the Reds will get will help the team in the near future. If that is so, then maybe the trade is worth it. We’ll have to see who they are.

    • Doesn’t matter who the players are. The trade will help the Reds in the near future just by getting out of the $10 million salary commitment for an average-at-best reliever.

      • Only 12 relievers in the NL have a lower ERA. When Chapman was hurt, he performed well as the closer. “Average at best”? Ridiculous.

        • look at the career numbers, look at high leverage games since mid-July- Jumbo has put up better stats since he has been up in comparison to Broxton’s during the same period I would bet- Reds middle relievers have been beyond horrible so it skews one’s perception of Broxton

    • Steve wrote;”There have been rumors that Reds CEO Bob Castellini wouldn’t approve any trades that would be perceived as sales. Perhaps the Reds recent skid has changed the perspective on that.”
      I would also think that as long as He thought the Reds had good chance at the playoffs “no sales” and yes the teams most recent performance probably had a lot to do with it. I would believe that He finally relented to Walt.

      • I have seen no evidence to refute this theory. If Ludwick can be unloaded, that would be another productive step toward getting the payroll under control.

  11. Finally signs of management starting the rebuild process. Auditions for the bullpen begin in a day. I think Jumbo Diaz will do well in the 8 and 9th inning. Maybe that is what the Reds are betting on. It is all a gamble but at least the Reds have more money to gamble with.

  12. So what would you have done? What manager did you want? Given the Reds salary situation, who would you have signed? We all know the problems.

  13. I know the Reds are basically out of the playoff race, but lets play for pride and end on a good note, or try to end on a good note for next year. Bruce seems to have mentally checked out for this year. I think what was frustrating (obvisiouly) for all of us this year was the number of 1 run losses. Not just the players, particuarly the bullpen not executing well, but the coaching staff not making the right decisions late in games when the Reds were ahead by one or tied. Examples being:

    3rd Base Coach Smith not using his head, having too many players thrown out.

    Price putting in Hoover or Ondrusek way too much, in high leverage situations. And, both of them allowed to stay with the Reds, instead of being sent to the minors.

    Price’s not PH for Cozart or Shumauker late in games.

    Ect….Ect…..

    Overall, from the Owner, to GM, to Manager, to the Coaches, to the Players, all need to look in the mirror and only have themselves to blame for many of the one run losses. Injuries were bad, but all the above people need to step up, when injuries happen!

  14. Tell u what – I’ll take Negron on my team any day – may not have the most talent of other guys but hustles and gives 100% all the time – Reds need more guys like this

  15. I agree, Heisey & Negron always hustle. Heisey just doesn’t have the talent to play LF all the time, but has done pretty well off the bench. I wish there was a salary cap in baseball. Teams like the LA Angels and LA Dodgers are buying their way to a world series. The Angels now seem to be getting their moneys worth for the big name players.

    • Probably nobody as the trade wasn’t even announced until after the game started. Rosters expand tomorrow anyway.

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