From yesterday’s DDN:

Untouchables

P Aaron Harang, OF Josh Hamilton, P Homer Bailey, 2B Brandon Phillips.

Harang is the best pitcher fans outside of Cincinnati have never heard of, even though at 6-foot-7 and 275 pounds you couldn’t miss him in a crowded airport terminal.

Hamilton, the baseball story of the year after missing more than three years due to drug and alcohol abuse, is a future megastar — and it won’t take long.

Bailey was rushed to the majors and is paying the price, but has the stuff of stardom.

Phillips has all the talent, but needs to carry a jar of mustard in his pocket to slather onto his hot-doggedness. Phillips’ antics could get him and some of his teammates hurt from errant fastballs due to his showboating.

I agree about the first three. But I don’t see everyone’s love for Brandon Phillips. He’s a decent player, at times a very good player; but untouchable? I don’t think so.

Worth keeping

P Bronson Arroyo, P Jon Coutlangus, OF Ryan Freel, 3B Edwin Encarnacion, OF Ken Griffey Jr., OF Norris Hopper, C David Ross.

Arroyo drives folks crazy with periods of untouchability and periods when he can’t survive, but eats innings and has the stuff.

Any left-hander who strikes out the side and puts an exclamation point next to it by striking out Barry Bonds to end the all-strikeout inning — as Jon Coutlangus did last week — is a keeper.

Freel may not have the most talent and is injury-prone, but his versatility enables him to plug a lot of holes and inject energy into a sometimes-moribund band of Reds.

Encarnacion is an enigma, because just when it seems his defense and offense are equally putrid he has a spell of hitting and defense that may not remind anybody of Brooks Robinson, but he is a decent imitation of a big-league third baseman.

Griffey has shown this year what he can do without bandages, surgical procedures and Advil. He has star power with the fans and is still the best player on the team.

OK, so Ross has long offensive blackouts, but he does hit home runs and hits them in bunches. Plus, he is an A-plus defensive catcher with a Glock arm and is a strong handler of pitchers, a nice stopgap until No. 1 draft pick Devin Mesoraco makes the climb through the system.

Hopper is a little guy with speed, bunting ability, defensive skills and a great guy to have in the clubhouse as the foil of pranks because he always smiles about it, making him a nice extra player.

Freel is worth keeping, but he’s also worth trading if anyone is interested. He can play multiple positions reasonably well, but can’t stay healthty or be effective every day and makes more mental mistakes on the field than any player in recent memory.

My feelings on EE are well known here. He’s 24, he’s got skills, he’s been singled out for some reason by the prior manager for different reasons…leave the kid alone and he’ll progress. He’s not going to be Mike Schmidt, but he’s not going to be Wayne Krenchicki, Ed Vuckovich, or Denis Menke either.

I like Junior. But he’s on the downside of his career and he’s had a propensity for injury since coming to the Reds. The only reason keeping him makes sense (providing you can get a deal he’d agree to (10-5 player)), is to sell tickets as he goes for 600 homers.

David Ross is not a good defensive catcher, period. Has he ever caught a throw from the outfield without dropping it? He does have a good arm, but he had a career offensive year last year, let’s admit it and move on. He should be trade bait if anyone wants him.

I like Hopper as a 25th guy. But he’s nothing more than that and 25th guys are easy to find.

Trade bait

OF Adam Dunn, 1B Scott Hatteberg, 1B Jeff Conine,

P Mike Stanton, P David Weathers, P Todd Coffey,

P Matt Belisle, P Kyle Lohse, C Javier Valentin.

Dunn will be paid $13 million next year if the Reds keep him, but if he is traded that option goes away and any team trading for him risks losing him at the end of the year to free agency. Therefore, before a trade is made, a team must be convinced Dunn will re-sign with them (is that legal?). If a deal can be made, color him gone.

Aging veterans Hatteberg and Conine, both first basemen, can help contending teams with their savvy and ability and probably will be gone before the trade deadline.

Stanton, a well-aged vintage left-handed reliever, could be a nice piece for a contending team’s bullpen. And depending upon how soon Eddie Guardado comes back to be a closer, the Reds might be able to deal Weathers to a winning team for prospects.

Everybody is looking for pitching, so Coffey, Lohse and Belisle could be pitchers other teams ask about. All three have had their good moments, and bad moments and a change of scenery could help them and help the Reds improve their rotation and/or bullpen.

Valentin is, at best, a pinch hitter and a suspect backup catcher because of defensive shortcomings. He is a luxury for a struggling team, but a team pointing toward the playoffs could use a switch-hitting bat and a backup catcher/first baseman.

I like Dunn. But the Reds don’t, never have. He’s a magnet for all of their problems. Strikes out too much, bad defense, etc. Never mind the fact that he’s done things offensively no one has EVER done in the long history of this franchise. (100-100-100 seasons, 40 home run season, etc). Because of the way they wrote his extension, he’s going to be hard to trade unless you can get him to agree to an extension with whoever you want to trade him too. Otherwise, you aren’t going to get anything near his value for the final few months of the season.

Hatteburg and Conine have contributed much more than I ever thought they would. Hatteburg has been a pleasure to watch for 2 years. But Joey Votto is ready and if you can get anything for these guys (Good High A prospects) they should be gone.

I’d trade Stanton for a pack of gum the way he’s pitched this season, with his age, and contract (signed through ’08, with an ’09 option that could become guaranteed).

Weathers might bring a prospect, but imagine how bad this bullpen could be without him the rest of the way?

Lohse will be traded. Someone will take a flyer on him and Krvisky should jump all over it. I’d like to hold on to Belisle, I think he’ll improve if they leave him in the rotation. Trading Coffey now makes no sense, don’t trade when value is low. He had a good year last year, having a bad year this year. He’s still young, he’ll comeback.

Won’t be back

Hatteberg, Conine, Stanton, SS Juan Castro, P Mike Gosling,

P Marcus MacBeth, P Ricky Stone.

Hatteberg, Conine and Stanton have been discussed. If Hatteberg and Conine are gone, that leaves room for Class AAA Louisville first baseman Joey Votto, ready to make the jump.

Castro has been a wonderful defensive piece with one of the most pleasant demeanors in baseball, but his time is close to up, and the Reds need to get younger with their extra players, guys who might eventually step in and play, such as Louisville infielder Jeff Keppinger.

Ricky Stone is a journeyman right-hander who can jump from team to team for as long as he wants or return to Hamilton and hang some more drywall.

MacBeth and Gosling are two guys with permanent round-trip tickets to Louisville, two of about five interchangeable pitchers the Reds bounced back and forth between Cincinnati and Louisville.

Castro has a year left on his contract, don’t bet against him. The media and front office seem to love him, despite the fact that he’s HORRIBLE offensively.

McBeth is 27, but didn’t start pitching until ’05 and was in the majors this year. I hope the Reds don’t give up on him. As bad as their bullpen is, I think he’s worth watching. I think the same about Mike Gosling, though he’s been pitching longer, he’s worth keeping in the organization.

About The Author

I've been a Reds fan since the late '60's, with my luck of being able to attend plenty of games at Riverfront during the BRM era. I was sitting in the Green Seats in the OF when Pete came home in '84 and was in the Red seats when Glenn Braggs reached over the fence in '90 to beat the Pirates. I have had many favorites from Jim Maloney to Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin, Adam Dunn, and Jay Bruce.

Related Posts

17 Responses

  1. GregD

    I keep reading that Dunn is “untradable” because his option would void if he’s moved. From a buyer’s standpoint, he’d be a rent-a-player. Isn’t that how a lot of July deals work? Why is his contract voiding such a big deal?

    McCoy’s “won’t be back list” seems fairly uninformed re: castro (unless he knows something more about Castro’s injury than has been announced) and misguided (I hope) re: McBeth.

  2. Bill

    I’m guessing that normally the club option would go with him if traded? The contract voids it if traded. Plus, if he’s not traded before the end of the season, he gets a no trade until next June or something. (Can’t remember exactly.)

  3. Jared

    Castro was brought in specifically to help bolster the defense, while accepting the fact that his offense was crap. He was batting, what, .220 or so at the time? It was Felipe Lopez’s constant errors that triggered it. In a lot of ways EE and Lopez are the same guy. Why Castro is still around and why he EVER pinch hits (ok, maybe once in a while for a pitcher if he has a good matchup) is beyond me.

    I don’t think selling tickets is Griffey’s only plus. He’s still a good player. His cost is high, but what veteran’s isn’t? I like him and having such a class act veteran in the lineup, who’s still batting quite well and has plenty of power is a good thing. With his contract, I think it’ll be tough to get equal value.

    And the administration has NEVER liked Dunn? In 2004 and 2005 he definately WAS untouchable. Miley loved him. Offensively, he has his downsides, but I think he is definately better than what we’d get in return. The only reason I could see trading him is he’s such a liability in left field, or anywhere on defense, really.

  4. Justin

    What about Alex Gonzalez or is still part of the squad:P I think the Reds should ante up the 300 million to sign Arod. Imagine what he would do in the GABP

  5. ChicagoRedsFan

    Hal McCoy has been covering the Reds for a long time and is very good at breaking stories and reporting on the team.

    However, his analysis is normally pretty weak. I think he oftentimes lets his feelings shape his opinions, he’s not very analytical.

  6. Jared

    Justin, that’d be cool. The faster ARod can break the career home run mark the better.

  7. Justin

    I am so against spending vast amounts of money for signing players. But Here is what i am thinking. The mass sell offs this year of Dunn and anyone else who isnt named Harang, Bailey, Phillips, Gonzalez and Hamilton, the Salary gone from the books. I could handle A-Rods errors at 3rd much better then EE who is very prone to the Error. Heck I can even handle A-Rod making 3 errors in a game because I know he will A-Rod will make up the unearned runs he will have allowed, unlike EE, but that is just me hating on EE I guess an inferior player to A-Rod. And then if we do fall out of contention with A-Rod just imagine the players we would get back for him. It cant hurt. Large investment. I reckon it would cost a 5 year 150 million or 10 year 300 million. Why not. I know it will never happen but boy would that be nice.

  8. GregD

    I would guess that if A-Rod goes anywhere this offseason, he moves back to SS.

  9. Justin

    McCoy is brilliant. No Doubt about it. I would have liked him to be a shade more critical in his overview. But that being said I still can not complain over the years.

  10. GregD

    Beat writers have become more and more publicly opinionated over the past 10 years, especially with the internet and now their own blogs. These guys do well at the job they were hired to do…cover the team’s newsworthy events. However, they aren’t analysts and do not do well at all in that role. Unfortunately, too many people take their opinions as gospel.

  11. GregD

    This blogger’s comment (from the Post’s website) on Dunn’s perceived trade value sums up what I was getting at earlier today:

    Because of the way Dunn’s contract is structured, they may be able to get more in return for Lohse than Dunn(as crazy as that sounds).

    Why is Dunn’s contract an issue to a buyer? To the buyers out there, he is a rent-a-player for the final weeks of the season. Like Lohse would be. Or Conine. Or Michael Barrett was. Or any other 2008 free agent out there who is playing for a last place team/seller. The writers/radio talking heads act like this is some insurmountable weight from which the Reds will never be able to get out from under.

  12. Rob

    I hope this is just McCoy’s beliefs and not based on any inside info. Have I missed the Phillips showboating? Is he talking about his home run jog?

    I strongly disagree that the Reds have never loved Dunn. Only in the past 2-3 years have they soured on him.

  13. GregD

    I don’t know that there’s any evidence that the Reds organization has soured on Dunn, but rather the media has been highly critical of him for a long time.

  14. Bill

    I’m going by the rumors of the Reds trying to trade him…and that’s been every year for what..about 3 years?

  15. GregD

    Trying to trade doesn’t necessarily mean soured on. I wouldn’t think you give someone $10 million + $10 million + $13 million option if you didn’t value him.

  16. GodlyCynic

    Did Hal McCoy really ask if it was legal for a team to be guaranteed that a player would sign an extension before trading for him? Really? He can’t be that forgetful, can he? Griffey’s trade wasn’t all that long ago and I do believe the Reds were guaranteed that he would sign the extension because they had asked for permission to negotiate it with him. Does McCoy really not remember this?

    BP’s probably only untouchable in the sense that he is young, talented, and cheap. Unless the Reds managed to trade him for an A+ pitching prospect, a young position player is only going to get you another young position player and it’s not as if the Reds have some star middle infielder waiting in AA or AAA.

  17. David

    McCoy was scooped on this story by at least ten days. The Philly paper reported (and I posted those comments here) that scouts for the Reds had called every team in baseball making it known that everyone was available except Harang, Bailey, Gonzalez, Hamilton, and Phillips.

    Dunn’s contract is not the hold up. All reports are that it is his defense that has people turned off. Is he a bad OF? Is he a bad 1B? Most AL teams in contention – with the exception of the Twins are set at DH. With Texeria available as well the Angels who would otherwise be a decent fit have Dunn as there second option.

    Included in the problems with Dunn is that Krivsky is asking for an MLB ready pitcher, a top flight prospect and a third warm body. That means to get a deal done a team like the Angels would have to give up Erick Aybar and Ervin Santana. That’s a lot to give up even if you do get an extension worked out. Other rumored teams are the Dodgers (Kemp and Elbert) and San Diego (Hensley and Chase Headley). The Red Sox could get in on it depending on the progression of Big Papi’s knee injury.

    If either Aybar or Headley come over in a deal I think that either moves EdE to left or sends him out the door.