10/18/2010

Zack Greinke?

Golf trip is over, and I’m back in the saddle. Today’s topic: Zack Greinke.

The Royals are likely to deal their ace hurler, and Buster Olney ($$$) lists the Reds as a possible destination. Some of you are nodding your head in agreement with that idea; many of you are wondering why GM Walt Jocketty would look to add a pitcher, since the Reds already have a bevy of starters, and the Reds have other positions that need to be addressed first.

You’re all correct. Certainly, the Reds have a number of good candidates for the 2011 starting rotation, as we’ve been discussing. Also, it’s clear that the mess in left field should be the primary off-season focus.

You should not, however, be surprised to see the Reds pursue a top-flight starting pitcher, if one is available. Jocketty went after Cliff Lee in mid-season, and I can see how Cincinnati’s performance in the National League Division Series could convince Jocketty that the Reds really need a clear #1 starter if they want to take that next step.

Greinke would fit the bill. His numbers last year were just average, but take a look at what he’s done in his career. Wow (love that 205 ERA+ at age 25). When you consider that he’ll just be entering his age-27 season, it’s clear that Greinke would look very nice indeed in a Reds uniform.

In addition, Zack Greinke’s contract situation is favorable, as far as I’m concerned. He’s signed for the next two seasons at $13.5 million each season. That’s an exceptionally reasonable contract, considering the production you are likely to get from Greinke.

The question, of course, is what the Reds would have to give up to get Greinke. That probably starts with Yonder Alonso, and may include names like Devin Mesoraco, as well. I really have no sense of what it would take, other than that the Royals are likely to want serious prospects in return. I’d trade almost anyone in the minors, frankly. Greinke is likely to be worth the steep price.

Yes, it’s probably all a pipe dream, but that’s what the off-season is for: dreaming.

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

Join the conversation! 81 Comments

  1. Greinke is nice. A mostly a ground ball pitcher with good K rates. Do you think the move to GABP will affect his numbers? Of course playing behind the Reds bats and gloves should help any pitcher (boy does it feel good to say that.)

    • @lookatthathat:

      Greinke is nice. A mostly a ground ball pitcher with good K rates. Do you think the move to GABP will affect his numbers?

      Moving to the NL will trump any GAB effect.

  2. Also, has anyone heard about an Adrian Gonzalez move outside of from my 5 year old cousin? The more I think about it, the more I start thinking that the Reds are one of the best clubs in terms of prospects for the Padres to look at. I’m not saying it’s likely, but if you have the chance to get a guy like A-Gon, you do it and worry about logistics later. Even if it’s just flipping him for some more prospects or a big left field bat or 5.

  3. I think it’s clear the Reds need an ace. Jocketty went after Lee which is encouraging to me because it means he agrees. If it takes Alonso plus a few others to get him I say go for it. In today’s format, playoff baseball renders starting pitching depth and bench depth (two of the Reds biggest strengths in 2010) somewhat useless. I live with a Royals fan and followed Greinke closely the last 2 years… his talents are remarkable. A top 5 pitcher in the AL and still young.

  4. I would imagine that, to get Greinke, you’re looking at starting with Mesoraco, Alonso, a pitcher, and then haggling over a couple of minor prospect to throw in.

    • I would imagine that, to get Greinke, you’re looking at starting with Mesoraco, Alonso, a pitcher, and then haggling over a couple of minor prospect to throw in.

      I would make that deal in a heartbeat.

      I really like Mesoraco, and Alonso as well, but for a chance at an ace? I think you have to do that deal every time.

      I wish we still had Willy Taveras. He’s just the type of low-OBP disaster that the Royals love. 🙂

  5. I’d be very hesitant about giving up Mesorasco. If we could get Grienke for Alonso, Fransisco, and Bailey, I’d be ecstatic.

    But, I could just be a fan that thinks more highly of his teams than they’re really worth.

  6. *teams prospects

  7. Alonso, Francisco, Volquez. Meso stays, period.
    If money is an issue, you might have to flip Arroyo in a sign and trade to another team, which means you might recoup a single decent prospect.

  8. He’d be our own Roy Oswalt.

  9. The Royals have a lot of young corner infielders (and a few top prospects). Not sure they would be too interested in Alonso/Francisco. Alonso would obviously be blocked by Billy Butler, for instance. They would be interested in a pitcher though!

  10. @CaptainTonyKW: With the DH, Alonso would still be a good fit.

  11. I’d trade just about any Minor Leaguer other than Mesoraco, Yorman, Juan Duran, and Billy Hamilton to get Grienke

  12. What sort of players were moved recently for Halladay, Cliff Lee (3 times) and Erik Bedard? Those are recent top of the rotation pitchers moved in the past couple of seasons.

    “Alonso, Fransisco, and Bailey”
    “Alonso, Francisco, Volquez”
    etc.

    I don’t see that any major league team had to trade 3 players with major league experience to get those pitchers.

    If you include a starter like Volquez, you don’t also trade Alonso AND Francisco. If you trade Alonso and Francisco in the same deal, then the other minor leaguers are either lower ranked prospects or further away from the majors, IMHO.

    Especially if Greinke has just 2 years left and the Reds take on his payroll. Now, if the Royals are asked to take on some of the payroll, then additional or more higher rated prospects are on the table. This was why the Reds had to include 2 pitching prospects in the Scott Rolen deal.

    And I think the Reds should hang onto Mesoraco. They have plenty of other valuable players that they could move for Greinke. And since they are acquiring a pitcher, they could even afford to move someone like Mike Leake, who at this point without Greinke is looking like he is, at best, fighting for the #5 spot in spring training.

    If you believe in Stubbs, Dave Sappelt (CF) is the 2010 fast riser in the system that I would look to move.

  13. @Jello: That’s what I was thinking. I think Hanigan/Hernandez is an above average catching duo, but I’d guess Hernandez will fall off shortly in the next few seasons. I’d like to keep Mesorasco.

    That said, if we could end up with Grienke without dealing any of the Magnificent Seven, we could worry about a catcher (or any other position) later. Like Chad said, any minor leaguers would be fine, and even with the big club, I think Votto is the only true untouchable.

  14. @Greg Dafler: I think Grienke’s salary is a complete non-issue. I don’t see how any team, regardless of their current budget and payroll situation, could pass him up at $13.5m. I’d hate for Grienke to end up somewhere else because someone else swoops in while Castellini is haggling dollars and cents. Give them the players they want and call it done.

  15. If they trade for Grienke, they must also do something close to or equally worthy to help out LF or I cry negligence. Actually, from now on, given it’s priority, it shall hereby always be referred to as The Leftfield Issue.

  16. @Jared: No, the salary is a huge issue. Contract is what in part determines prospect cost. If Greinke cost 25M/year, no one gives up anything for him. If he’s free, it takes Jay Bruce.

    His contract is very reasonable, which increases the prospect cost some…but Greg’s right in that Lee cost basically only Smoak. Now, that was for 2 months. Oswalt is older so the return is a bit less. But I don’t see it quite costing Alonso and Bailey either. I’m sure they’ll ask for that, but they probably won’t get it or equivalent return from anyone.

  17. My guess is that it takes something similar to: Cueto, Billy Hamilton and Dave Sappelt.

  18. @Doug Gray: That sounds about right.

    I’d move on Greinke in a heartbeat.
    I’d also make sure to trade a starting pitcher in return.

    But, I maintain my original premise: One or more of the Reds current starters could be this elusive “ace” by midseason. If not, trade for Greinke THEN, at a reduced price. I’d much rather they spend their assets ($ and prospects) on a multi-faceted LF. (To be clear, this DOES NOT mean 32 y/o Jayson Werth, for whom Scott Boras wants $120M).

  19. @Matt WI: I disagree that dealing for Greinke calls for an move of equal magnitude for LF. To me, one position out of 8 is not a glaring deficiency, esp if Heisey fills the gap and plays like he did this year (and hopefully improves a little with experience). Not having an ace does become a glaring deficiency in the playoffs.

    If a Greinke moves constitues as “blockbuster”, I would settle for something a bit less to solve LF and SS, such as “major” or “slightly above average”.

  20. @Ethan D:

    When you start excluding your top prospects from potential trades, you’re not serious about landing someone like Greinke.

  21. Sorry, but I just don’t see it. Other than 2009 Grienke’s stats don’t scream “Staff Ace” at me. It’s more like a solid #2 guys stats, and we already have 2 or 3 of those. Look at his WAR #’s, again – other than 2009 thats not what you would call an ‘ace’.

    …And, He’s due 27 Million dollars over the next two seasons. Walt should pass on this one. Hell, as far as we know Walt’s not even interested. This is just Buster talking at this point.

  22. @Aaron Lehr: Fair enough, but I disagree strongly with the premise that LF is the only one of the 8 positions causing concern.

    As has been addressed ad infinitum around here, LF, SS, 3B, and C all could use some form of address as offensive production from all three spots is likely to drop (3B, C, LF) or stay below average (SS). I’ve been advocating the premise that shoring up a strong offensive producer for LF can then allow the Reds to absorb possible deficiencies, especially at SS (all due respect given to the defense someone like Janish can bring)… and also allow them to showcase defense at some of those positions without signficantly costing them on offense.

  23. @Greg Dafler:

    I don’t really see what any of those trades would have to do with trading Greinke.

    And the Orioles got Chris Tillman, Adam Jones, George Sherrill and a couple of other prospects for Bedard.

  24. @Matt WI: Yes that is a good point. As has been noted LF is not the only question mark at this point. As a matter of fact, I voted for “a caddy for Scott Rolen” in the poll above. Probably overstating a bit to call it the “most important” area, but as we all know he hit .251/.325/.374 in August and Sept (even more dreadful when you look at Sept alone) and when your second best player is doing that it’s hard to win in October.

    So I agree, the offense needs some help. But if you can get a guy like Greinke I think that need shrinks noticably.

    And @Future City Red… WAR over the past 3 seasons:

    Halladay 20.2
    Lee 16.6
    Felix 16.3
    Greinke 15.6
    Arroyo 6.2
    Cueto 4.0

    I know his 09 helps his other 2 years along, but I would put Greinke closer to those guys at the top. Plus he’s only 26.

  25. Greinke is a stud, and will be for a long time to come. Last year was inevitable to me, given his history of anxiety and the Royals getting worse as a team. I’m actually, knock on wood, rather similarly worried about Votto next year. I think getting on a good team with some offense and a bullpen that allows some breathing room would do wonders for a kid like Greinke.

  26. @Doug Gray: Cueto & Greinke’s 2010 seasons were too similar for me to want to throw in two prospects in addition to Cueto. As Chris said, a guy like Cueto could be that “ace” next year.

    Cueto has improved for the 2nd straight year. He posted a career high in innings pitched, while posting his career low in walks, hbp, and HR allowed.

    I can’t see giving up 3 years of Cueto (at lower cost) for 2 years of Greinke.

  27. @Dave Lowenthal: Jello was talking about convincing the Royals to take on some of Grienke’s salary, which would make the cost in talent even bigger. My point was it’s better to pay Grienke than give up another (or better) prospect.

    I’d love to see Grienke in a Reds uniform, but I really don’t see this happening. The fact that Jocketty was pursuing Lee and didn’t close the deal only makes me feel like he’d go after Grienke and come up short. The team’s budget dictates they need to deal in prospects (or, unfortunately, old men) and cross their fingers.

  28. @Greg Dafler: The biggest thing I saw from Cueto is that he was good for a whole season. I don’t want to give him up, either.

  29. @Jared:

    I’m not sure why one has anything to do with the other. The Mariners ultimately got the guy they wanted all along in Smoak, and the Yankees were offering Montero as well. The Reds don’t have anyone on par with either of those prospects, so why would that situation have anything to do with anything?

  30. @Brien Jackson: For lack of being in the GM’s offices and hearing the names tossed around, I don’t know how else you can speculate on the market value of various players? I think looking at comparable, recent trades for similar players is about the only thing we can look at.

    Bedard had 3 years left when he was traded.
    Lee had 1.5 years left the first time he was traded.
    Halladay had 1 year left when he was traded to the Phils.

    @Aaron Lehr: WAR over past three seasons is only a fair comparison if you are saying that you believe they will each match that over the next three years. Or perhaps, more importantly in this discussion, next two years – which would cover the rest of Greinke’s contract.

  31. If you trade for Greinke, then you either don’t exercise the option on Bronson, or you do and then trade him since he will probably only be with the Reds for the coming year before he explores FA. Approximately $2.5MM difference in Greinke’s and Arroyo’s upcoming salaries.

    You may be able get a LF back in that trade for Arroyo. I would not let Mesoraco go in the trade for Greinke.

    So for arguments sake, let’s say Bailey, Alonzo & another propect, or maybe even try to expand the deal and add DeJesus as your LF and leadoff hitter and the add Francisco and maybe another prospect – It’s worth a dream anyway. . .

  32. @Greg Dafler:

    Well 2 of those trades are basically considered to be bad deals on one side, and as a general rule you should just assume that bad deals hold no value as precedent. The Reds aren’t going to give up more than he’s worth because Seattle did for Bedard, and Kansas City won’t give him away just because Philly didn’t get anything for Lee. I guess the closest would be Halladay, but that’s not a perfect comparison either. And Philly gave up a lot of value to get him.

  33. @Brien Jackson: Just wondering, while I’m not sold on Alonso, how much worse of a prospect is he right this instant than Smoak? Especially if you factor in the broken bone. Their minor league stats aren’t that different. Smoak also isn’t hitting for a whole lot of power (both have relatively poor minor league power numbers, from what you’d expect given their pedigree).

  34. @Brien Jackson: I’m not sure what you’re asking; I think people are looking in to my comment for more than is actually there. All I’m saying is $13.5m for Grienke is a great deal. It fits ANYONE’S budget, so his contract isn’t a negative.

  35. @Greg Dafler: (sorry my @’s aren’t linking btw, I guess I’m comment illiterate)

    True enough. Are you saying you don’t think Greinke will have similar WAR levels? Obviously everyone is entitled to their own opinion on that one. Or maybe that Cueto is younger and has improved every year? True, though due to Greinke’s youth I wouldn’t come close to saying that he has peaked.

    Aside from all that though, the gap is so large that I think the point I was making is that you can add in all the other variables and considerations you want and I’d still rather have Greinke than any pitcher on the current roster.

    Also sorry for the typo Furniture* City Red.

  36. @Doug Gray: I think Doug’s trade idea is the closest to the mark.

    It reminds me of whta the Astro’s got for Oswalt, and I’m surprised Oswalt hasn’t been mentioned more here, since he’s the most similar recent trade comp to me. He also had years and money owed to him, and he’s been an ace, but isn’t necessarily always in the cy young discussion.

    And I think trading one of our major league pitchers in the deal would be a must (for both clubs, which is why this might work). True, there’s no such thing as too much pitching, but you have to clear the log jam somewhere.

    What the reds would be saying is, we’re looking to upgrade one of our starters, and it’s worth giving up hamilton, sappelt, and cash to do it. I think that’s reasonable. And I think Jocketty’s persuit of Lee shows that he thinks that we have enough offense to win it all if we had upper eschelon pitching, and I mostly agree.

    A rotation of:

    Greinke
    Volquez
    Chapman
    Arroyo
    Wood

    could be downright mercilous.

  37. @Jared:

    Well, you’d have to extend him to make a trade make sense.

  38. @Brien Jackson: I agree that there is not a “perfect comp” that we can look at and say “this team got X,Y,Z for that pitcher that is just like Greinke so the Reds should trade the same talent for Greinke.”

    What I am saying is that you can walk through a logic just like you outlined – Seattle gave up Jones and others for Bedard, but should have given up X. Phillies gave up Drabek and Taylor for Halladay, and let’s just call that even.

    Greinke is somewhere between Halladay and Bedard so a comparable package would be something in between what should have been traded for Bedard and what was traded for Halladay.

    Obviously everyone will have different opinions on the comp packages in addition to what they think Greinke is worth or ranks on that scale.

    My point is that none of those traded players had MLB experience, except for Jones 150 plate appearances. I have a hard time seeing the Reds give up multiple players, especially 3 players, with MLB experience and still throw in another prospect or two.

    Another trade to look at is the Dan Haren trade after the 2007 season. Arizona traded away a lot of talent to get him (Brett Anderson and Carlos Gonzalez) but still only 1 player with MLB experience at the time of the trade: Dana Eveland.

  39. @Aaron Lehr:

    Yeah…

    08 – 4.2
    09 – 9.0
    10 – 2.4

    …That ONE season REALLY helps the others along.

    I have nothing against Grienke. It’s just that I dont think he’s worth the cost in prospects or $$$. In my opinion he is not an ‘Ace’.

  40. And if the Royals are re-building, do they want a pitcher that is under team control for 3 or fewer years? That plus $$ is why they are moving Greinke, right? If they wanted an MLB pitcher with a longer period of team control, wouldn’t Leake, Wood, or Maloney make more sense for them?

    @Aaron Lehr: I think Greinke has had one “ace” season in the past 3 and two very good seasons. Cueto put up a “very good” season last year and will be pitching his 25-27 seasons the next three years.

    I think it is more likely that Greinke pitches a “very good” year next year than repeat his 2009, but I don’t really know.

    I know that I would like Greinke on this team, but I just wouldn’t trade Cueto + others for him.

    (if you’re responding via the web, in the lower right-hand corner of each person’s comment is a “reply” button the shows up when you move your mouse over the corner.)

  41. @Greg Dafler:

    Cueto had an ERA that was better, but that is where things stop. Greinke had a better K rate, lower walk rate, 40 more innings and a lower HR rate in a league that has the DH. Don’t get me wrong, I like Cueto, but he is not in the same class as Greinke is.

  42. I know this isnt the right thread to ask but i trust my fellow Reds fans opinion. I just finished my book this morning(catch 22)….i work a double today with 2 hours in between shifts….i need book suggestions men….

  43. I see Yonder going in some sort of trade no matter what. If we can get Grienke for him and another prospect, I’d take it.

  44. Greinke and Cueto have very similar rate stats through their respective age 24 seasons (which was 2010 for Cueto) with the adv during those ages going to Greinke because of pitching in the AL.

    Greinke 106 ERA+, 1.338whip, 1.1 hr/9, 2.4 bb/9, 6.9 k/9
    Cueto 98 ERA+, 1.348whip, 1.2 hr/9, 3.1 bb/9, 7.3 k/9

    So, what will Cueto’s performance be in 2011-12 (at age 25 and 26 compared to Greinke at ages 27-28)? And is it worth the extra $$ to Greinke, an extra year of Cueto, plus prospects? That just sounds like too much to me.

    • Greinke and Cueto have very similar rate stats through their respective age 24 seasons (which was 2010 for Cueto) with the adv during those ages going to Greinke because of pitching in the AL.

      Greinke 106 ERA+, 1.338whip, 1.1 hr/9, 2.4 bb/9, 6.9 k/9
      Cueto 98 ERA+, 1.348whip, 1.2 hr/9, 3.1 bb/9, 7.3 k/9

      106 and 98 aren’t really that similar on a system that is scaled to 100.

    • @Greg Dafler:

      Greinke and Cueto have very similar rate stats through their respective age 24 seasons (which was 2010 for Cueto) with the adv during those ages going to Greinke because of pitching in the AL.Greinke 106 ERA+, 1.338whip, 1.1 hr/9, 2.4 bb/9, 6.9 k/9
      Cueto 98 ERA+, 1.348whip, 1.2 hr/9, 3.1 bb/9, 7.3 k/9So, what will Cueto’s performance be in 2011-12 (at age 25 and 26 compared to Greinke at ages 27-28)?And is it worth the extra $$ to Greinke, an extra year of Cueto, plus prospects?That just sounds like too much to me.

      To do a fair comp with Grienke and Cueto his 20(8-11 3.97) and 21 age(5-17 5.80) seasons should be taken out.

  45. @Greg Dafler: It’s interesting, I don’t know what to make of Cueto. His K/9 rate has dropped every year, but so has his walk rate. I think it’s quite difficult to project him. Lots of uncertainty there.

  46. Check out Big Machine by Victor Lavalle.

    Good stuff. Back to “business.”

    Getting Greinke would be awesome. I think we need other parts of the equation worse.

    Another outfielder, and another 3B are both higher priorities, and more likely to occur, in my opinion

    I want Homer Bailey to get another shot at the majors. His closing to the season and the post-season indicate to me that he’s ready to play ball all year next year. I do not want him getting that chance and running with it for any team other than the Reds. They’ve got a bunch of kids coming into their own on the staff, and I think they should let them do it with the organization. That’s how the little guys play with the big market teams, (or try to).

  47. @Dave Lowenthal

    Good point on Cueto, though I think Greinke is even tougher to project. Obviously his 2009 was out of this world, but no other years come close. He seems to have the stuff to be as good as anybody, but his psyche definitely comes into question. He left baseball for a year or so early on because of mental health issues. He has managed them fairly well since coming back, but being on the Royals can do terrible things to the human brain. If he’s moves to a different team, esp a contending them, and esp a team in the NL, I think there’d be a LOT of room for optimism.

    (Thanks for the help Greg, but I’m not seeing the “reply” button. I’m at work and we’re on an old version of IE. Could be why)

  48. @Aaron Lehr: I’m on your side with that.

  49. @lookatthathat: I’m with you on Bailey. A lot of people seem to be ready to dump him at the first opportunity, but I really think we haven’t seen what he can do yet.

  50. If this was for 2 years of Cliff Lee, than yes, its a move you try to make. Since its not, I would rather Reds try to address LF and go with the young guns the Reds have now, (Cueto, Volquez, Bailey, Wood, Leake, Chapman) to get a home grown ace(Bailey), or two(Volquez) or three(Chapman). lol.

    Unless KC wants go retro and re-enact a trade from 20+ years ago, except instead of Kurt Stillwell for Danny Jackson, make it “The Great Janish” for Greinke. 😯 Now that would be a trick for WJ to pull off. 😀

    Go 2011 Reds!

  51. @MikeB: he’s got a straight fastball, an average curveball at best, and a splitter he tries to use as a changeup that really isn’t a major league pitch yet.

    according to fangraphs, his fastball is slightly above average, his slider is actually above average but he doesn’t use it much, his curveball is slightly below average, and his splitter is very below average. http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=8362&position=P

    now, i agree with you that age is certainly on his side, and he has plenty of time to improve. but i think that his stuff just isn’t as good as we were led to believe when he was drafted. with what he has, bailey is probably a 3rd/4th starter.

    i was impressed with what he showed in the playoffs though. i wonder if he might not be able to put a little more juice on his pitches out of the pen. If he could be groomed as a future closer, I’d be happy with that. Even then, he still needs an out pitch.

  52. They should go for it. The Reds have one starting pitcher with a proven track record. The rest have great potential and may all turn into 20-game winners. Or they may all turn into a collection of bad arms by next August.

    I wouldn’t trade any of those pitchers, though.

  53. Here’s my position on Greinke… Outside of 2009, he’s been a good not great starter. Throughout the rest of his career, I can’t say that he is any better than Cueto or Volquez. While I like him, he COULD be great, but we don’t know that he WILL be great. I’m all about trading a Volquez with a Francisco and Alonso to get a legit ace. BUT that guy HAS to be light years ahead of Cueto and Volquez. I don’t want somebody who could be I want somebody who is.

  54. @Chad Dotson:
    I added you on facebook.

  55. My first choice would be to trade Volquez. But I don’t think I’d have a problem trading Cueto as well. For one thing, as the two of them are going into arbitration, their prices can only go up. And I doubt they would take multi- year deals this year—-in fact, I doubt they would take multi-year deals at all. Greinke is signed for 2 years at a set rate.
    The Reds need to gather together all the money they can to get Votto and Bruce signed long term. If this means trading away two starting pitchers, I would take this risk. Having Greinke as the #1 starter for 2 years, another year (or more) of Arroyo, Bailey improving by leaps and bounds evry year, plus Leake and Wood—-this sounds like a rotation that could start a dynasty. Seriously. Deride me if you want, but the economics make it look good, especially when you consider most of these guys are not hard throwers. So their risk of injury is a lot lower too.

    I still say let all the free agents go. Don’t resign Hernandez or Gomes. A good option for a catcher to trade for would be Francisco Cervelli. He’s done a good job for the Yankees, picking up the slack when Posada couldn’t play.
    Alonso is friends with A-Rod. The Yankees would probably be interested in an Alonso-for-Cervelli deal.
    As for left, they should either use what they have (Heisey, Nix) until some of the other prospects (like Fraser) show they are ready, or trade for a proven star.
    My big point is, forget free agents. This is a critical time for the Reds. They almost have it. Free agents are expensive and they have too many young players just starting to prove their worth. Committing millions to one of today’s free agents could mean losing 3 of our own. Had the Reds signed Matt Holliday last season, there would not be enough money a few years from now to keep Bruce, Votto or Stubbs

  56. It would be back to square one then

  57. La Russa is coming back for more next year. Suggested new Redleg Nation feature: La Russa’s Weekly Whine Report.

  58. I don’t generally like to play GM, it’s too complex. Grienke would help this team, no question. For 2011, he’d be the ace.

    Some have included Alonso and Francisco in a trade; the Royals wouldn’t want both, and we shouldn’t trade both. The Royals would value Alonso more.

    I’d give up any minor leaguer in our system except Mesoraco. I agree with those who don’t want to let him go – it’s hard to find a defensive catcher who can hit. The Royals are targeting 2013 so they’d be interested in a lower minor leaguer like Hamilton.

    Even though they’re looking well into the future, the Royals would want a major ready pitcher. Since we’re getting Greinke, that should be the easy part of the deal, but who ? I don’t like trading Homer or Volquez because both might turn out to be better than Greinke.
    Cueto is proven at this point and not much worse than Greinke.
    I don’t like letting Leake or Wood go, but seems like it would have to be one of them, and the Royals would want one of them.

    In the end, would I trade Alonso, Wood, and Hamilton (or some other low minor talent with big upside) for Grienke ? I think so, because my bias is to go for it all in 2011.

    • In the end, would I trade Alonso, Wood, and Hamilton (or some other low minor talent with big upside) for Grienke ?I think so, because my bias is to go for it all in 2011.

      This is why I don’t like playing GM. Now I don’t like my own trade above, it’s giving up too much. Alonso and Hamilton and another low minors prospect should be enough.
      But then Leake and Wood are both stuck in the bullpen ?

      KC is supposedly loaded with top prospects. So maybe I’d give up the 3 I said above for Greinke plus a top 3rd base or LF prospect in return.

    • Some have included Alonso and Francisco in a trade; the Royals wouldn’t want both, and we shouldn’t trade both.

      I agree with the first part, but not the second. Alonso is a nice prospect, but the lack of power and defensive flexibility makes him less valuable. To the Reds, he’s useless. Francisco, I have no use for. Maybe Wily Mo Pena soured me forever on guys who can only do one thing – hit the ball a long way.

      He’s struck out 27 times in 84 career PAs at the big league level. And has FOUR walks. That’s roughly a 200-K pace for a full season. He was a little better in the minors – 155, roughly.

  59. I don’t think Chapman will be ready to start at the ML level at the beginning of 2011.
    Further on in 2011, I would hope so. That would give us a surplus of starters. But injuries do happen.

  60. from:
    http://www.kansascity.com/2010/10/18/2327055/royals-notes-sure-greinke-is-available.html

    The Royals will want multiple ready-now prospects in return for a player making $13.5 million over each of the next two seasons

  61. @pinson343: I agree with pinson343 about trying to play GM. Following “our” own players in the minors, get a little bit attached and want them to do well for the reds. LOL.

    Given the KC rotation from last year and how poor outside of Greinke it seems, I would not be surprised if KC asked for two SP from the Reds if any talks do actually happen. From thier POV, Greinke has had 1 great season, only Volquez 2008 is closest to having a “great” season.

    Should be interesting offseason.

    Go 2011 Reds!

  62. I’m a proud Reds fan and never afraid to say it. Grienke? There is upside and it probably would help the team out. Have all the confidence/mental issues been dealt with and in Zack’s past? Only he can answer that question. Do we really want to give up a great bunch of minor league talent/prospects for a possible ace? Maybe. I’m also thinking how will his pitching translate to GABP, it is a hitter friendly ball park. Only Walt J. really knows what our Reds are going to do to get a #1 pitcher. Peace all and Lets go Reds! 😈

  63. I’m in agreement with much of what has been said here. A few points I would emphasize:

    1. Several of our current pitchers *may* yet develop into nearly #1-types. I would put Volquez, Cueto and Bailey into that category.

    2. That said, I do think there is value, in terms of the playoffs, of having an ace-caliber pitcher.

    3. An ace pitcher is NOT crucial for the entire regular season and can be obtained in mid-season, after we see how our own pitchers (and the rest of the team) develop.

    4. Grienke’s contract is favorable, but it isn’t free or forever — it’s only for two years. We shouldn’t give away too much for a pitcher who is only a few million dollars under market value.

    5. One point made here that I thought bore repeating was how signing Grienke would impact the need to retain Arroyo all year. We could trade Bronson in mid-season if the rest of the arms develop as we expect.

    6. I realize the organization can walk and chew gum at the same time, but solving the LF/leadoff problem is a much higher priority. And if there is a trade-off in terms of trading chips, I’d focus on the LF problem ahead of the SP ace.

  64. In no way shape or form do I trade Devin. A potential power hitting catcher that is still very young is too much to give for two years of a pitcher when you have enough good pitching already. Maybe Bailey, Maloney, and Francisco or Alonso? I wouldn’t trade Cueto either, he is younger and costs less with likely similar production. I’d also be fine in giving up Volquez or Wood instead of Bailey.

    • In no way shape or form do I trade Devin. A potential power hitting catcher that is still very young is too much to give for two years of a pitcher when you have enough good pitching already. Maybe Bailey, Maloney, and Francisco or Alonso? I wouldn’t trade Cueto either, he is younger and costs less with likely similar production. I’d also be fine in giving up Volquez or Wood instead of Bailey.

      Agree that Mesoraco should be off-limits as he (or Grandal) will be needed in 2012 or so to be main guy behind the plate. an offensive capable catcher is an edge few teams enjoy and its looking Reds will be one of those here in the near future. 😀

  65. I couldn’t disagree more strongly with the notion that Mesoraco should be untouchable.

    I love Devin; he’s a friend to Redleg Nation, and he will be appearing on another podcast with us at some point. He had a GREAT season, better than anyone could have imagined, and his defense continues to improve. He’s returned to elite prospect territory.

    We need to acknowledge that we all value our own prospects too highly sometimes. I’ve done that for YEARS.

    That said, he’s just a prospect at this point. A very good prospect, certainly, and I’m not suggesting that the Reds trade him for just anything, but a prospect of his caliber could bring some serious present-day value to the major league roster.

    The Reds are close to being a very, very good team. You have to use all your chips in an effort to get to the promised land.

    Joey Votto and Paul Janish are the only two untouchables in this organization, as far as I’m concerned.*

    *I may be joking about one of those two names.

    • Joey Votto and Paul Janish are the only two untouchables in this organization, as far as I’m concerned.*

      I don’t know, I don’t think Janish’s pitching stats are quite good enough to make him untouchable:

      Standard Pitching

      Game Streak Event Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS GFCGSHSV IP H R ER HR BB IBB K HBPBKWP BF ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
      2009 26 CIN NL 0 0 49.50 2 0 2 0 0 0 2.0 9 11 11 2 2 0 3 0 0 0 17 10 5.500 40.5 9.0 9.0 13.5 1.50
      1 Season 0 0 49.50 2 0 2 0 0 0 2.0 9 11 11 2 2 0 3 0 0 0 17 10 5.500 40.5 9.0 9.0 13.5 1.50

  66. The Royals are also willing to trade David DeJesus.
    The Reds could fill the need for an ace starter and fill the hole in LF and at leadoff by trading for both. DeJesus is signed for 2011 at $6 million and is an excellent fielding LF. With Harang leaving, Greinke and DeJesus would only add about $7 million to the payroll.

  67. @Chad Dotson:

    There’s never, EVER, any such thing as an untouchable player. It’s all about the return you’re getting for them. When you say “untouchable” what you really mean is “no one is going to offer what it would take to make it worth trading this guy,” and that’s rarely true of ANY prospect, unless you’re a really cash strapped team.

  68. Ha ha ha, yeah, wasn’t he the closer at Georgia Tech or something?

  69. How much money has Cody Ross made this postseason.

  70. @lookatthathat: Georgia Tech ??? Janish played for Rice, including their 2003 national championship team. Janish has played SS and pitched in HS, and thought of himself as a pitcher when he showed up at Rice. But Rice had a deep pitching staff, a number of whom made it to the major leagues (maybe I’ll look up who they were), aand so he decided to play SS.

    Jainsh has been hit hard in his relief appearences for the Reds, my theory is that it’s because he throws too hard. Other position players come in and throw 60 mph pitches that drive the hitters crazy. Janish comes in and throws 90+ mph strikes and the hitters love it.

  71. Brien’s right, there’s no such thing as an untouchable player.
    Hypothetically, an offer could be made for Joey Votto that we couldn’t refuse.

    Having said that, trading any one of the following would devastate me, and I would presume that – for all practical purposes – they are untouchable: Joey, Jay Bruce, Aroldis Chapman. We traded Hamilton instead of Jay Bruce. So you don’t turn around and trade another stud OFer.

    I don’t think I have to explain Joey or Chapman. Chapman might not even turn out to be an ace, but right now he stands for hope for a brighter future.

  72. Volquez, Alonso and Maloney; plus KC pays part of the salary.

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About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

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