Another brutal season for the Reds has ended and left us with nothing again but hope for next season. There are, however, legitimate reasons for hope for next season. We actually now have in place the makings of a good pitching staff and a core of talented bats.

There still remain areas for significant improvement that will have to be addressed for the Reds if they hope to put a winning team on the field for next season. Below is a position-by-position breakdown of the Reds to help us identify their needs for next season and then a list of the Reds free agents and arbitration eligible players who they will have to make decisions on this winter.

Hitting

RK Pos   GP   AB   R    H  2B 3B  HR   TB RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
12 Reds 161 5435 700 1346 268 24 185 2217 673 .248 .321 .408 .729 
   NL   161 5505 730 1435 294 30 162 2275 697 .261 .331 .413 .744 

Our offense ranked 12 out of 16 in the NL and we dumped our best hitter two-thirds of the way into the season. We will definitely have to add some offense to be successful next season.

Catcher

RK Pos   GP  AB  R   H 2B 3B HR  TB RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
11 C    162 538 56 126 23  2 12 189  57 .234 .330 .351 .681 
   NL   162 579 63 148 31  1 15 224  76 .254 .327 .385 .712 

Name         AB  OPS
Bako        299 .626
Ross        134 .747
Valentin    129 .737

Reds catchers were 11th out of 16 offensively last season. Bako and Valentin are free agents and I think I’d let them both go. Bako should never have been here to start with. I’m done with the three catcher situation; it’s left the roster tight on numerous occasions already, so I’d let Valentin go and find a new LH PH. Hanigan will be a fine backup. The Reds should have a starting catcher on their shopping list this off season. I’d make calls on Shoppach, Clement, and Saltalamacchia.

First Base

RK Pos   GP  AB  R   H 2B 3B HR  TB RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
 5 1B   162 606 75 177 41  3 25 299  91 .292 .366 .493 .859 
   NL   162 614 88 170 37  2 28 294 103 .276 .358 .479 .837 

Name         AB  OPS
Votto       526 .874

Votto is a very good player. I’ve heard thoughts of picking up a 1B and moving him to LF. I’d leave him at 1B and pick up a LF for the sake of strengthening the defense.

Second Base

RK Pos   GP  AB  R   H 2B 3B HR  TB RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
10 2B   162 645 89 165 26  7 21 268  84 .256 .305 .416 .720 
   NL   162 633 90 171 35  4 15 259  74 .271 .338 .409 .747 

Name         AB  OPS
Phillips    559 .754

I’ve always thought Phillips bat was overrated and this season, he was just above average for an NL 2B. He’ll be grossly overpaid in 2011 at $11M. I’ve always wanted him moved back to SS but that is obviously not happening. Great defense and average bat, just keep him out of the four hole and away from the top of the lineup.

Third Base

RK Pos   GP  AB  R   H 2B 3B HR  TB RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
 6 3B   162 591 80 148 34  1 28 268  78 .250 .339 .453 .792 
   NL   162 618 83 164 35  2 23 272  86 .264 .334 .440 .774 

Name         AB  OPS
Encarnacion 506 .807

Everyone keeps saying he is going to break out. I always thought of him as a solid .800 to .825 OPS kind of guy. Solid bat and rough on defense. He’ll get a big raise in arbitration. I see him back next season unless they can get a 3B in return in a trade.

Shortstop

RK Pos   GP  AB  R   H 2B 3B HR  TB RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
11 SS   162 657 76 179 39  3  6 242  60 .272 .321 .368 .689 
   NL   162 641 85 177 35  6 12 259  61 .275 .333 .401 .734 

Name         AB  OPS
Keppinger   459 .657
Hairston    261 .871

I like Keppinger, though I don’t like him as the everyday SS. He’s a better hitter than he showed this season, though. Hairston had a career season at 32 years old and can’t be counted on producing like he did this year. I’ll believe Gonzalez will be back when I see it. Shortstop is a position the Reds need to upgrade, unless they buy a clue and move Phillips over, in which case they need a 2B.

Left Field

RK Pos   GP  AB  R   H 2B 3B HR  TB RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
 6 LF   162 582 94 144 29  2 38 291  95 .247 .361 .500 .861 
   NL   162 623 91 169 35  4 23 282  85 .271 .350 .452 .802 

Name         AB   OPS
Dunn        373  .901
Cabrera     115  .710
Dickerson   102 1.021

Dunn was dealt and we didn’t get a bat back, just a couple of pitchers and a utility catcher. Cabrera will be lucky to make the bench next year, if he is even offered arbitration. Dickerson will not hit this much going forward, but could be part of the answer in CF. He’ll be a solid 4th OF at least. This is a position that needs upgraded big-time; the RH bat fits well here. It will be interesting to see who is out in LF opening day next season.

Center Field

RK Pos   GP  AB  R   H 2B 3B HR  TB RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
13 CF   162 659 92 164 34  3 20 264  74 .249 .299 .401 .700 
   NL   162 641 93 171 34  5 19 273  78 .267 .333 .426 .760 

Name         AB  OPS
Patterson   366 .582
Freel       131 .699

Here is another position that screams for attention. Patterson must go. We might be able to get by with a Dickerson and Freel/Hopper platoon of sorts until Stubbs is ready.

Right Field

RK Pos   GP  AB  R   H 2B 3B HR  TB RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
11 RF   162 621 85 151 30  2 28 269  84 .243 .331 .433 .764 
   NL   162 624 88 169 37  4 21 277  84 .270 .343 .443 .786 

Name         AB  OPS
Bruce       413 .767
Griffey     359 .787

Bruce did well for his debut at such a young age. Let’s hope he keeps developing and improving like we expect him to.

PH/DH/Pitchers

RK Pos   GP  AB  R   H 2B 3B HR  TB RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
11 PH   145 251 25  58  7  1  5  82  39 .231 .305 .327 .631 
   NL   140 234 25  54 10  1  5  81  32 .229 .317 .346 .663 

RK Pos   GP  AB  R   H 2B 3B HR  TB RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
 7 DH     9  35  5   7  0  0  3  16   5 .200 .282 .457 .739 
   NL     8  30  4   7  1  0  1  12   4 .239 .307 .399 .706 

RK Pos   GP  AB  R   H 2B 3B HR  TB RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
14 P    153 280 15  32  6  0  1  41  10 .114 .139 .146 .285 
   NL   154 297 16  42  7  0  1  53  16 .139 .177 .175 .352

Threw this in because it looked interesting. PH’s a tad below average; bench upgrade will help that. It will be interesting to see how Owings improves the pitchers hitting numbers next season.

Pitching

RK Pos   GP  W  L  ERA Sv CG SHO     IP    H  ER   R  BB   SO  BAA WHIP
13 Reds 162 74 88 4.55 34  2   6 1442.1 1542 729 800 557 1227 .275 1.46
   NL   162 79 82 4.29 38  4   9 1446   1457 689 749 554 1122 .263 1.39 

Looks odd that our pitching staff ranked 13th out of 16 in the NL and we are still so high on it going into next season. There is good reason for that also, let’s examine it by breaking down the starters and relievers.

Starters

RK Pos   GP  W  L  ERA Sv CG SHO     IP    H  ER   R  BB   SO  BAA WHIP
14 SP   162 51 68 4.97  0  2   0  917.1  996 507 550 343  762 .278 1.46
   NL   162 54 56 4.43  0  4   0  932    959 457 493 335  690 .267 1.39
Name     GS   ERA
Arroyo   34  4.77
Volquez  32  3.21
Cueto    31  4.81
Harang   29  4.78
Fogg     14  7.58

Starters were 14th out of 16 in the NL. There is why the staff ranked so low overall. Volquez was awesome, but he needs to show he can repeat that next season. All the other starters were below average. It’s like we had a #1 starter, three #4 starters, and an armless guy in the five spot.

Lots of reason for hope here, though. Harang came on strong and looked like himself late in the season. His ERA was a full run higher than usual, so look for him to bounce back. Arroyo fell of the cliff for a few starts; he was his average self the rest of the season. Cueto hung tough and pretty much did like what you’d expect from a young guy in his first year in the bigs. One would expect him to apply lessons learned and improve next season also.

Fogg, Bailey, Thompson, and Belisle combined for 31 starts with an ERA of over 7. We can expect big improvement in that spot next season from Micah Owings if he proves to be recovered from shoulder woes. Bailey, Thompson, Ramirez, and maybe Maloney will be in the mix for the fifth spot also. I can’t remember a year following the Reds where I didn’t think they needed another SP going into the off season.

Relievers

RK Pos   GP  W  L  ERA Sv CG SHO     IP    H  ER   R  BB   SO  BAA WHIP
 3 RP   159 23 20 3.80 34  0   0  519.0  540 219 247 213  456 .269 1.45
   NL   157 26 26 4.06 38  0   0  511    495 231 254 217  429 .255 1.39

Name        IP  ERA
Affeldt   78.1 3.33
Cordero   70.1 3.33
Lincoln   70.1 4.48
Weathers  69.1 3.25
Burton    58.2 3.22
Bray      47.0 2.87
Majewski  40.0 6.53

I was excited to see that the Reds 3.80 ERA ranked them 3rd out of 16 NL clubs. But I find it worrisome that their 1.45 WHIP belies their 3.80 ERA. Cordero did ok; of course, his wildness drove me crazy at times and he is way overpaid for a reliever. Weathers is a free agent and was solid again. The Reds will have to weigh his age and chances on decline against what he is asking for next season.

Affeldt did a good job out of the pen. He, too, is a free agent and I believe the lefty will be sought after and may get priced out of the Reds range and/or enticed to a winning ball club. Burton appears ready to step up into Weathers setup role. Bray was good and could back fill for Affeldt if he leaves via free agency. Lincoln was pretty solid and will be cheap; he should be back as a middle man next season. Majewski better just be gone. Look for Masset, Herrera, and Roenicke to compete for any open spots in spring training.

Fielding

RK TEAM  GP   E FPCT    A   PO   TC 
14 Cin  162 114 .981 1567 4327 6008 
   NL   162  99 .984 1642 4338 6079 

Reds are once again pitiful with the gloves as they rank 14th out of 16th in fielding in the NL. Is anyone else getting tired of hearing the lip service about improving the defense every year. Think they’ll ever do it? Maybe the Griffey and Dunn trades were the first steps. If so, Encarnacion will get dealt next.

Reds Free Agents

RHP Josh Fogg
RHP David Weathers
LHP Jeremy Affeldt
RHP Mike Lincoln
LHP Kent Mercker
C Paul Bako
C Javier Valentin
IF/OF Jerry Hairston Jr.
CF Corey Patterson

Mercker was injured and horrible and is likely to retire. Fogg was terrible and should not be pursued. Weathers and Affeldt had solid seasons and I suspect the Reds will make offers to retain them, otherwise they would have been wise to deal them to contenders at the trade deadline. Price will be a factor with both of them. Mike Lincoln had his moments this season and I would guess he will get an offer to come back next season also.

Bako and Patterson both stunk profusely; don’t sprain your wrist waving goodbye to them. Personally, I’d let Valentin go and find a new LH PH for next season and drop the three catcher notion. Hairston is a bit of an enigma. He played so well this year and appears that he could fill the Reds big need at either SS or CF and at the lead off spot. Problem is, he’s coming off a career season at age 32. If they Reds plan to contend, they don’t make the same mistake they made with Freel and sign Hairston to contract for starter money. He’s a poor bet to continue producing as he is now. If they can get him signed cheap for a super utility role that would be fine.

Arbitration Eligible

RHP Matt Belisle
RHP Gary Majewski
IF Edwin Encarnacion
IF Andy Phillips
IF/OF Jolbert Cabrera

I think it’s time to release Majewski. Belisle had a good stint in the pen and he shouldn’t be due a big raise this season. Encarnacion is pretty solid with the bat and will get a decent raise. Phillips and Cabrera would both have a hard time making the roster next season and it would not surprise me to see either of them let go.

That’s one man’s opinion. I guess we’ll find out soon what Walt Jocketty thinks.

40 Responses

  1. GregD

    Do you think Bruce is an option in CF?

    If Phillips is on the team next year, Baker will unfortunately keep him near the top of the order.

  2. Chad

    Wow, nice post, Tom. Can’t find much I disagree with.

    I like that the word “hope” is used in this post. It’s the day after the season and we’re already hoping about next year. I guess that’s all we have most years, but we can try to bitterly cling to that.

  3. Dave from Louisville

    One things for Change is coming

    Now will it be the Change we need or Change we can believe in

    I hope Walt is a Maverick and gets Holliday, Beltre, and Furcal while not being an idiot and giving up too much.

  4. Aaron B.

    He wasn’t our best hitter he was batting .237 and while OBP gives him more credibility I would like an example of a similiar type hitter batting in the heart of the order that led his team to a world series. I don’t believe its possible — sometimes yo need to be able to put the ball in play and drive in runs.

  5. Aaron B.

    Beltre is a friggin bad joke. Why does anybody want him? his career year was in a free agent contrct year since then he has been nothing special and he makes way more than EE who there is still hope for.

  6. GregD

    Wow, Cards sign Kyle Lohse to a 4-yr, $41 Million deal. In the press conference, Lohse credits pitching coach Dave Duncan and manager Tony Larussa for his career best season.

    Reading that, I’m having a hard time understanding why the Reds decided to stand pat on Baker’s coaching staff.

    Another things to add about 2009…IMHO, if they start the year with folks like Keppinger and Hairston in starting roles, then we’re going to get a lot of the same we saw this year. If they sign/trade for better players that push the Hairstons and Keppingers to the bench, then I’ll be more optimistic about the team’s chances.

  7. NickP

    One of these days people will realize BA is worthless in isolation.

    Beltre would be an amazing upgrade over EE. He has played in one of the worst parks for right handed hitters and still puts up above average offense. He’d be much better in GABP, plus he’s the best defensive third baseman in the game. Gigantic upgrade. I’d be all for that.

  8. NickP

    Adrian Beltre, OPS on the road: .862
    Edwin, OPS on the road: .759

  9. Dan

    Affeldt was great this year. I wonder why we never gave him a single start? (We really need a LHP in the rotation I think! And preferably an LHP who can blow it by you… we don’t have the defense for soft-tossers.)

    One other thing — just like Affeldt, Bray doesn’t have a bad LHP/RHP split. He should not be a situational lefty! He’s better than that. But Dusty gave him 63 games and only 47 IP. Situational lefty numbers. Dumb. Leverage Bray – he’s good! He can pitch an inning or two at a time.

    The Dodgers finally figured out how to use Kuo this year — another lefty power pitcher who’s almost equally effective vs. RHB and LHB — and look at the numbers they got out of him. (Notice also how crappy his stats looked before this year — nice K’s but bad ERA’s and bad WHIP’s — kind of Bray-like.)

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/k/kuoho01.shtml

  10. Sultan of Swaff

    Good post. I think it’s imperative that we improve our defense on the left side of the field. Of the free agents, I would only offer the going rate to Affeldt, Lincoln, and Hairston. The rest can be filled in when final cuts are made in Spring Training.
    Phillip’s offensive numbers look much better if he were a SS. I’d like to see Jocketty press the issue there, but I also heard JJ Hardy might be made available. I’d trade Arroyo even up for him.

  11. Dan

    Finally, as for moves to make this offseason… I don’t have any great magic bullets, but I will say I hope we’re not looking just at guys like Holliday, Furcal, etc. b/c you’d be buying high on those guys.

    In the position the Reds are in (not an unlimited budget, and looking for long-term fixes rather than short-term immediate help), they need to be looking to BUY LOW on some young guys w/ potential.

    Basically… who could be 2009’s Carlos Quentin?

    THAT’S who I want to find — young guys who are undervalued for whatever reason (NOT free agents who are almost certainly overpaid, and also over age 30 so in their decline phase).

    I hope Walt and Bob get that — I really think it’s a fundamental thing (this is what Billy Beane shops around for I’d say) but I keep hearing Walt and Bob talk about needing more “proven” guys.

    I strongly think that “proven” guys are not the answer here. We need more creative and forward-thinking solutions here.

  12. Mark in CC

    Lost our best hitter?

    Phillips is still with the team and I think Votto is still there too.

  13. preach

    For every Carlos Quentin there are a dozen Nick Esasky’s. You need to catch lightning in a bottle (Josh Hamilton, anyone?), but you need, God help me for saying it, veteran presence that are established talent to make it all work. I think Hardy or Beltran would help out a lot. We definately need a power right handed bat. I agree that if we are starting Hairston and Keppinger next season we can just rewind this season. A bench full of guys like that however can help you immensely. I like Holliday a lot, but you will have to overpay like crazy to get him and I don’t think it would be worth it.

  14. Sultan of Swaff

    I agree with Dan totally. We need to be scouring the other organizations looking for situations where a young player is being blocked by a veteran in a long term deal, an arbitration eligible guy who is further down the pecking order in getting paid, or a low budget team/rebuilding team needing to restock their farm system. In each scenario, we have the resources to be competitive, and on the free agent front there is money to spend. I just hope management doesn’t start feeling full of themselves, thinking that one big splash will solve all of our problems. That guy isn’t out there this year.

    Oh, and I like how the doctors found nothing wrong with Eric Bedard’s shoulder during surgery. Glad we didn’t trade for that douche.

  15. GregD

    Phillips the team’s best hitter? HAHAHA HAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHA

  16. NickP

    Lost our best hitter?

    Phillips is still with the team

    Comment of the year.

  17. bill-jh

    i could understand getting a guy like beltre, but then what becomes of EE, you cant let a guy like him walk with his potential and is playing for a relatively cheap salary. Holliday is out of the question in my imagination. Furcal would be a dream at SS but not likely to happen. (remember its Cincinnati we are talking about) But guys like Rocco Baldeli are a possibility to get cheap and have a good year (except for his fatigue sickness is a real concern)

    OR just move phillips to SS and get a second baseman that puts the ball in play and gets things happening, a placido palanco type guy…

    and with the rotation numbers being so deep as they are coming into next year and more young guys on the rise… do you see the organization giving micah owings a shot at playing in the OF to provide some offense? (its a stretch but possible)

  18. Mike

    Sign Halliday to a three year deal and put Encarnacion in left field. Trade Bailey and Thompson to Texas for Saltamachia.

  19. Phill

    Mike, where does Holliday play if EE is in left?

  20. Phill

    oh wait you were talking about Roy Halladay….my bad.

  21. David

    I’ve been saying for awhile now that for the first time in as long as I can remember, the Reds actually have flexibility. The team can go in numerous directions this winter.

    Personally, I hope they continue to build wisely around young talent rather than trade four or five guys for a Beltre or Holliday. I just don’t see one RH bat taking this team to the next level. Maybe Holliday buys you 84 wins but who cares about winning seasons. I want post-seasons.

    As such, since I don’t see this team contending in 2009, why waste all of your youth this winter chasing trades? 2010 is realistic with continued development of Bruce (21), Votto (25), Voltron (25), EdE (25), Cueto (22) and Stubbs (24). Yes, I do think Stubbs is a big part of this teams future – so long as Dusty Baker doesn’t feel the need to bat him leadoff because of his speed.

    The only trade I would make is shipping Harang to Texas for a guy like Taylor Teagarden, Salty, etc.

    The biggest need for me is leadoff and SS. To me that’s answered with FA Rafael Furcal. Despite his age (31), I think if the Reds made these two moves, 2010 would set up nicely and 2009 the team would stay competitive.

    I’d like to see the following:

    1. Furcal SS
    2. Votto LF
    3. EdE 3B
    4. Bruce RF
    5. Phillips 2B
    6. Alonso 1B
    7. Stubbs/Dickerson CF
    8. Via Trade
    9. Pitcher

    Rotation
    1. Volquez
    2. Arroyo
    3. Cueto
    4. Owings
    5. Bailey/Thompson

    If we really want to make a playoff push, we need to stay young and keep these guys on the field.

  22. NickP

    I think we should trade for a super toolsy guy like Franklin Gutierrez. He would be an amazing center fielder for us, and if he starts hitting, he’d be a superstar.

  23. Phill

    There are a few problems in regards to Furcal.

    First is he’s an injury risk.
    Second, he wants to resign with the Dodgers.
    Third, he’s the top dog in a weak weak shortstop free agent market.

    While I’d like to see him as a Red I don’t think we will.

  24. Shawn

    Holliday on a three-year deal? Dream on.

    Neither is a free agent this offseason, either.

  25. Ellis

    Trade targets: Coco Crisp, Josh Willingham, Kelly Shoppach, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Mike Jacobs, Raul Ibanez

    Free Agent Targets: Jorge Cantu, Rocco Baldelli, Derek Lowe, Oliver Perez

  26. Glenn

    Great post Tom. The only difference I might have with you findings is the retention of Valentin. He’s been pretty special as a pinch hitter and his ability to play two positions in a pinch gives the manager some options in tight and extra inning games.
    It’s certainly not a make or break type thing with me, but I think I’d keep Valentin around.

  27. Mr. Redlegs

    Best post I’ve read here in a long, long time is Dan at No. 13.

  28. Flash

    I believe the Reds biggest need is a starting pitcher, preferably a left hander. Harang, Arroyo, Cueto, and Volquez went a combined 47-48 in 126 starts. The combination of Fogg, Belisle, Bailey, Thompson, Ramirez and Pettyjohn were 4-21 in 36 starts.

    Catcher should be set with Hannigan. Dickerson, Hopper and Freel should be okay in the lead-off slot.
    I would like to see the Reds move Phillips to third and Keppinger to second. That would free up EE as trade bait. I do believe EE could help some American League team as a DH/1b man. Say Seattle for bedard. he made have complained a lot, but he had a winning record and an ERA under 4.
    I would also like to see the Reds make a play for Randy Johnson. He is a free agent. He is not the superstar he once was, but he also had a winning record and an ERA under 4.

    The Reds ought to forget about Owings as a pitcher and use him as a right handed bat. The guy can flat out hit.

  29. CG Hudson

    If the Reds “brain” trust would just move Phillips to SS (most likely via divine intervention) then they could go after FA Orlando Hudson for 2B (assuming he’s healthy). He’s only 31 so 3 or 4 years wouldn’t kill them. If Stubbs is really all that on defense, that would be a fairly sweet core up the middle.

  30. David

    An acquisition of Hudson – or any second baseman – is predicated on the idea that Phillips is as good a SS as he is a 2B. That’s a fairly big assumption considering he’s played 19 ML innings at SS.

    Personally, I think a team of Furcal/Phillips makes more sense than Phillips/Hudson. Furcal is a much better offensive player than Hudson. While Hudson has the gold gloves, Furcal has a similar RF and ZR for his position.

    It’s an interesting idea. All things being equal, but why create more questions by switching a gold glove caliber defender to another position if you can add Furcal?

  31. Mr. Redlegs

    Yes, all the people wanting to move Phillips to SS because he played it in the minors. Never mind he didn’t play it very well. In fact, an error about every 2.5 games. But hey, it’s only stats and stats have never been the vehement foundation of rants among Reds fans. Never.

    Phillips is a Gold Glove-caliber 2b. No one in their right mind moves a defender of that quality and weakens two positions–the one he’s taking and the one he’s leaving.

  32. GregD

    When the Reds have used players at SS the past two years who weren’t even shortstops in the minors (let alone the majors), it certainly is worth questioning why they would not take a look at Phillips, who was brought up through the minors to play SS.

    Comparing Phillips fielding at SS in his late teens/early 20’s to his fielding at 2nd base at 26-27 (2007-2008) is not a fair comparison. SS fielding percentages are generally worse than 2B fielding percentages. Younger players fielding typically improves over time. Phillips first full years at 2nd base in the majors (2006 with Cincinnati) was below league average.

    The question should be whether he has the range and the arm to play SS. If so, then he was a better choice that Hairston and Keppinger the past two years.

  33. mhopp

    #24 David??? What about Harang in the rotation? The reds need a LHP starter and must either maintain or gain one in the bullpen. DO NOT spend a lot of money, Dusty will only ruin it by utilizing them in some backward manner that no other manager would do. In 2010 is the year to go for it as this is the last year in Harang’s contract as well as several others, including Dusty Baker. If it doesn’t work then fire Dusty. They do need another catcher and CF. Remember all the young starters? Bailey, Thompson and Ramirez? These guys have great potential and will be better next year! Management MUST work with these guys on fundamental play, I don’t remember the Reds bunting hardly at all and their defense is terrible!! Dusty obviously doesn’t value this and it cost them this year.

    Once the young players are a little more seasoned, bring up Rick Sweet since they seem to play very well (at the best of their potential, some people bring out the best, some don’t) when managed under him. Once the Reds are contending in June/July then get a great guy or two to fill in the missing pieces and make a run for it. No sense in going into spring training thinking their going to the post-season.

  34. David

    mhopp – I don’t list Harang in the rotation because, to me, he is the starting pitcher I’d trade. He has more value than Arroyo and the team is making a concerted effort to go young. I don’t see the team contending next season so Harang should be shopped to make room for youth. Doing so allows the youngsters to make a push for 2010 and beyond. Harang, because he is under control for two years, at reasonable value, would bring a load of prospects. I’m not sure the Rangers, who don’t really need starting pitching, would deal for Harang, but the Rangers make the most sense because of the catching surplus.

    I think the Reds would be foolish if they didn’t throw everything they can at Furcal. He provides an above-average glove at SS, is a proven leadoff hitter, and would work a nice DP combo with Phillips.

    I think the needs of a CF are overblown. I see a platoon of Stubbs and Dickerson at CF. Defensively they are probably on a par and Stubbs hits far better against lefties than righties.

    So if the Reds go this way, Harang is expendable.

  35. mhopp

    David—not a bad scenario. I just wonder if someone will want him, given the concern of a possible injury and a bad year. Not to mention he has done well in the NL but not so well in the AL with Oakland, I’d say he’s lost some value but a good idea for Furcal.

  36. Dan

    Trading Harang now would be selling low. As tempting as selling low is (b/c you feel down on the guy), I think we need to suck it up and avoid it.

    If we’re going to trade someone, we need to try to sell high.

    As some other poster mentioned, maybe it’s Phillips we should be considering dealing?

    I’m not saying I like that idea necessarily, but I am saying that his value is still high I think — he might even be overrated by most. (That OBP of his has never even been league-average. He’s a super-talented guy, and I’m glad he’s a Red, but he does have some pretty serious limitations too.)

    Anyway… it’s basic, but it’s all about buying low and selling high.

    Have you noticed when Beane trades his starting pitchers? It’s while they’re still young, while they’re still good, and well BEFORE the final year of their contracts. And he brings in like 4 or 5 very good prospects for them.

    If you sell low (wait til after that bad season, or after an injury, or until they’ll be a free agent in 2 months) you just don’t get much back.

  37. Tom

    Dan is right on about Harang and selling low. That is why if you are going to deal a veteran pitcher you deal Arroyo. He is coming off a strong second half, is not as good as Harang anyway, and will be overpaid the next two seasons with salaries of $9.5M and $11M.