Dear Mr. Jocketty,

As you begin the annual Winter Meetings, there is only one request that we, the Nation, have for you, the General Manager of our beloved Cincinnati Reds. Please acquire a hard-hitting left fielder.

I know you’ve said that it wouldn’t break your heart if you didn’t do anything big at the Winter Meetings. Further, I know you said that our present LF, Jonny Gomes, “did a great job last year.” Yes, we understand that you can’t put all your cards on the table; you have to say certain things publicly while you keep some cards close to the vest.

In fact, despite our abiding love for all things Gomes-esque (primarily the mohawk and the all-out Sabo-tastic intensity), Jonny was one of the two worst starting left fielders in the league last year. From my vantage point, the easiest way to improve this ballclub is to obtain a LF who can mash the baseball.

Best of all, Mr. Jocketty, you have plenty of trade chips with which to entice other teams. We know you are taking calls about Yonder Alonso. You also have a surplus of pitching, and every team is interested in acquiring pitching. Why not use some of those assets to fill this team’s single most important need?

It may take some creativity to get a deal done, but we have faith in you. You’ve been around this block before (no, I’m not going to mention the Mark Mulder trade), and you know what it takes to put together a package that will improve this team.

Please, just get it done. Return to Cincinnati with a left field upgrade, and you’ll earn our enduring gratitude.

Thank you, Mr. Jocketty. Good luck.

Sincerely,
Redleg Nation

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.

You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Join the conversation! 59 Comments

  1. I agree with all of what you say here Chad. I think he will come through. I have much more faith in a man with his track record than I would have if this were a Bowden team. Scott Podsednik seems to be the obvious choice from what I am hearing. I was wondering what you thought about Scotty? Werth is gone, Crawford is a pipe dream since Joey the “not-so-C Town friendly” Votto will make a mint for a 3 year deal or less. I would love to hear some optimistic, hopeful, and possible options for a left fielder that is attainable by trade.

  2. P.S. Do not pay any attention to what Mike Rizzo just did. Players do not “continue to improve in their mid-30s,” and giving HUGE, seven-year contracts to “send a message” is a horrible idea.

  3. Podsednik is old and brittle. His OBP is far from elite. But he’s a big upgrade from Mr. Gomes. FOR A ONE-YEAR DEAL in the low seven figures, he’s a reasonable choice.

    That said, Chris Heisey’s almost certainly a better player in 2011.

  4. Really?! The strikeouts scare me. I did notice that Podsednik’s OBP was lower than 6 guys or so that were on our team last year. Maybe it’s time for Micah Owings to get the Rick Ankiel special…lol

  5. @Red Leg Bill: BJ Upton, Jacoby Ellsbury, Ben Zobrist, Chris Young, Nick Swisher, Brett Gardner, Josh Willingham, Shin Soo Choo. That’s probably the extent of the list in terms of potentially attainable, offensive upgrades for LF who wouldn’t be a total butcher on defense.

    • @Red Leg Bill: BJ Upton, Jacoby Ellsbury, Ben Zobrist, Chris Young, Nick Swisher, Brett Gardner, Josh Willingham, Shin Soo Choo. That’s probably the extent of the list in terms of potentially attainable, offensive upgrades for LF who wouldn’t be a total butcher on defense.

      I’m in for Choo.

  6. Please excuse my disappointment if those are our options! I would then have to agree on Chris Heisey. He is a good defense and will end up being a 260 hitter, but with a .320 OBP…can we live with that?

  7. Please, no, to Podsednik. I’ve seen his name mentioned, too, and I’d rather work with our current options.

    As for Alonso, if we cannot sign Votto, I think our hands are tied with him UNLESS we get a huge offer. I’d still rather upgrade the shortstop position if we were to deal him. It’ still easier to get a left fielder.

    Oh, do we have to like Gomes’s mohawk?

    • Please, no, to Podsednik.

      Steve P.: Absolutely. I’ll even add another “NO !!!!!” Pos is not “hard hitting” by any stretch. His entire game is based on speed and he is 35 and is slowing down. He was terrible for the Dodgers last year after they picked him up.

      In any case, WJ has said there’s nothing of interest in the free agent market (which would include Posednik) and he’s going to look into trades.

      The Natural wrote up a list of possible candidates above. Every one of them would be a better choice than Posednik, and most (I won’t argue which at the moment) would help the Reds.

  8. @TheNatural: What is a reasonable price for Upton or Elisbury? Alonso + a pitcher like Bailey? Two young pitchers and a prospect?

  9. Trade Volquez, not Bailey

  10. @Steve Price:

    Agreed!

  11. Yep, don’t trade Bailey.

  12. Put me in the camp of “no to Podsednik.” I’d rather go with Louisville OFer Dave Sappelt if you’re wanting a fast/defensive OFer.

  13. If it is that easy then great. What if the rays want Bailey and not Volquez? How much are you willing to give for the left fielders in question?

    If forced to I would include Bailey in a trade for Upton/Elisbury and not think twice about it. My first offer would definitely not include his name though.

  14. Co-sign the letter, the “no” on Podsednik, and the “no” on trading Homer Bailey.

    I found the suggestion of Logan Morrison (Marlins) and his sweet OBP and low salary to be an attractive idea. I’d certainly be willing to trade a couple of good minor league pitchers for him, maybe even Mike Leake. Not sure if I’d go as far as to trade Volquez for him.

    I’m not that familiar with Morrison’s defensive skills, either, but they would have to be an upgrade over Gomes. Maybe we could include Gomes in the trade for Morisson. 🙂

  15. I would also like to throw my hat in Heisey’s corner if it comes down to him vs Gomes for the majority of the playing time.

    Man-Ram anybody? …kidding of course.

  16. Willingham is intriguing. He is average defensively with better offensive upside than Gomes, but has some injury issues. I bet he can be had for a couple of good, not elite, prospects too.

  17. @Steve: Morrison UZR/150 was -13.9 last year, which is his only year in the majors so there’s no other previous years to see whether that’s a fluke or not. The Marlins don’t trade cheap, productive talent though.

    • @Steve: Morrison UZR/150 was -13.9 last year, which is his only year in the majors so there’s no other previous years to see whether that’s a fluke or not.The Marlins don’t trade cheap, productive talent though.

      They might for cheap, productive pitching.

  18. Jeremy Hermida could be an interesting pick-up.

  19. Brad Hawpe too. Although his UZR indicates that he makes Gomes look somewhat graceful out there.

  20. @Steve: Morrison is a converted 1B. He’s got a good glove and a decent arm, but his routes and jumps are pretty bad and he’s not fast. In short, he is Ellsbury minus the speed ha ha. He will need to develop some major power like he showed in Single A, but not at the other stops of his pro career to be worth his defensive limitations in the OF. Either that or he needs to get Mr. Bruce to show him how to play a smart COF.

  21. I’d bet the Marlins would bite for Volquez + OF prospect for Morrison, though. They have no real centerfield candidate going into the season, and they wouldn’t be doing so hot defensively in the OF with Morrison/Stanton in the corners. The great DiMaggio himself wouldn’t be able to make up for those two together.

  22. @lookatthathat: I’m missing the part where Stanton is a poor defensive RF…

  23. @lookatthathat: The great defensive DiMaggio was Dom.

    More to the point, we’ve got some realistic trade talk going on this thread in that the Marlins and Nats are looking to deal. In particular, the Nats are looking to trade Willingham.

  24. Fay has tweeted that Dusty says Joey wants to stay, he just didn’t want to discuss a lifetime commitment in front of reporters.

    On another thread, a number of us said that it would make more sense to try to sign Votto long term next year.

    I agreed with that, but here’s another thought. WJ wants to get an idea of Joey’s interest in long term before trading Alonso. Kind of obvious, but just saying.

  25. Going year to year w/ Joey won’t be the worst thing in the world if he doesn’t give us some sort of hometown discount. 6 years feels about right.
    Left field—after seeing the salary dump that was the Gonzalez trade to Boston, it makes me even more confident that we have the pieces to acquire someone better than the retreads being suggested on this post. Casey Kelly is highly rated, but you would’ve thought it would take two of him to make this deal. Advantage Reds. Walt seems intent on acquiring a leadoff hitter, and I couldn’t agree more.
    Utility infielder—Houstone has decided they can’t afford Jeff Keppinger. He would get my vote over Cairo given his solid bat control skills and low K rate. I hope Walt is paying attention.

  26. I’d be willing to part with a lot to get Gardner, Swisher, Ellsbury, or Choo. I just don’t think its going to happen. Also, I think the Reds could be okay if they wait to do a deal as the season progresses. Their surplus of pitching is going to look really, really good to other teams. There are just too many teams that need that third or fourth pitcher out there. I think the Reds can afford to be a little patient here. Reds fans are going to drive themselves crazy though…I can just imagine what RN is going to be like if the Reds have a slow start.

    • I’d be willing to part with a lot to get Gardner, Swisher, Ellsbury, or Choo.I just don’t think its going to happen. Also, I think the Reds could be okay if they wait to do a deal as the season progresses.Their surplus of pitching is going to look really, really good to other teams.There are just too many teams that need that third or fourth pitcher out there.I think the Reds can afford to be a little patient here.

      CP: I like your list of players.
      Your patient approach is how I believe Walt will go.

  27. The more I look at Gardner the more I want him. I’m thinking though that the Yanks need to get Crawford for them to have much of a chance to move him. He’s not arbitration eligible until after next year, his defense is stellar, and he had a great year at the plate last year.

    He would be an IDEAL leadoff/LFers for the Reds.

  28. @Aaron Lehr: He’d be my preference after Choo. Maybe Lee will give the Yankees the middle finger to stay in Texas, which will prompt them to go out and sign Crawford, making Gardner expendable.

  29. Zobrist can also play SS (Preach ducks).

    I was on record on here a loooong time ago to go after Zobrist, but that was before he became expensive when the Rays finally hit the post season. I like him, but not as much as I used to. He can play three positions, I think.

    No to Posednik. That would be Corey part III. I don’t trade one of our pitchers for a corner outfielder, unless it was someone very, very special. SS, perhaps, but not an outfielder. Especially for what I see offered at this point.

  30. @preach: Zobrist’s ability to play anywhere on the field is one of the reasons I listed him.

  31. my feelings is that Walt is waiting on the secondary LF market, ie if the Yanks sign Crawford, then who do the Yanks move(gardner, swisher). possibly Walt may wait thru spring training for say a guy like Grady Sizemore to see if he is healthy and Cleveland wants to rebuild.

    Also, Sultan mentioned Keppinger for Reds, i vote for that move over Cairo. but Kepp got a taste of starting in Houston and may want to find a job somewhere for more regular playing time(San Diego?) instead of utility guy spot.

    Go 2011 Reds!

  32. Great letter Chad. Here, here.

  33. @pinson343: They were both great defenders, but that’s not the point. I’m saying there isn’t a spot for Morrison if you are looking to upgrade the Reds’ defense. Not unless he gets a whole lot better. If you don’t care about the defense, then I’m all for it. I would love to see Morrison play for the Reds.

    Do you really think Willingham will hold up? He gets hurt all the time. I can see it if Heisey spells him and he plays 130 games or so.

    @TheNatural: Sorry, yeah, that was a bad bit of typing. I meant if they were trying to get either to play center field. You know how it is, trying to post at work… 🙄

  34. Also, I wonder if Chris Coughlin might be available from the Marlins.

  35. @Sultan of Swaff: Fay says Walt is already offering Cairo a major league deal.

  36. @lookatthathat: Of course which DiMaggio (of the 3 of them) was the best defender is besides the point, I said so.

    Yes I’d be happy with 130 games of Willingham. There are a number of other options mentioned that I like better, but I don’t know if they actually are or will be options.
    Willingham is available.

  37. I can’t see how Gardner would help as a corner outfielder. No power. He had 5 HRs last year. A total of 9 in 8 years in the minors. He hasn’t shown he’s a great hitter. .268 in parts of three seasons. He can steal a base but if that’s all you want Sappelt probably can give you that. Heisey potentially gives you better balance – some speed, more power, the potential for higher average and good defense. I don’t like any of the suggestions so far with the exception of Choo. If he is available he might be worth going after.

  38. I like Gardner. He has a high-OBP and plays good defense. He’s a clear upgrade.

    Some of my Yankee friends, however, disagree. They say we’ll hate Gardner, though they admit he’s better than Gomes.

    So I don’t know what to think….

  39. @RedBlooded: Just think of him as our speedy, high OBP, lead-off hitter…who’d happen to play LF.

  40. lol. He would instantly become the fan favorite not named Jay or Joey. I’m not sure how you can’t see his value honestly. Besides having a WAR of 4 last season, he’s not eligible for FA until 2015.

  41. Buster Olney tweeted earlier that other GMs now expect the Nats to “throw a HUGE number at Cliff Lee.” Could be good for the Reds. First, the Yanks would have a bunch of money to go after Crawford (there would also be some personal pleasure for the Reds to see the Yanks miss out on ALL major FAs this offseason). This means one of their corner OFs might be on the block…

  42. I am amazed at the love for Homer, I would deal him today if it meant adding a good hitting/fielding left fielder.

  43. @CP:

    Why would Lee want to play in DC? I mean really no matter how much money why would you want to pitch there?

  44. The guy cares about money so I can think of 175 million reasons. If you don’t like that number, insert a smaller/bigger one. I don’t understand why he’d leave a talented Rangers team to go to a declining Yankees team, uprooting his family again, for less than 10% difference between offers…but that is the most likely scenario.

  45. I didn’t mean to sound so sarcastic in the above post…just meant to say that I have no idea what number equals “HUGE.” Law school finals make me 👿

  46. I know part of the desire for a LFer is getting a LF that can mash. However, if you can escape from that line of thinking, there really isn’t any reason to prefer a power guy over Gardner. Like everyone has said, he’s a great OBP guy with speed and GREAT defense. And the Reds don’t have anybody for the top of the lineup. What we do have is guys at typically non-power positions that DO hit for power (namely Stubbs and Phillips).

    I’m not sure why Yankee fans think we’d hate Gardner… do they hate him? Seems like a maximum effort guy who does all the little things.

  47. The question is what would you have to trade to get Gardner. I wouldn’t disagree about signing a player like this as a stopgap free agent, but I wouldn’t trade much to another organization to acquire him.

    I like Gardner’s high OBP, but a SLG lower than his OBP (both in 2010 and his minor league career) is not that valuable an OF bat. As fast as he is, he only got 20 doubles & 7 triples in 477 at-bats.

    I’d rather keep the tradeable assets and play Heisey or Sappelt in LF than trade much of value for Gardner. (personally, I’m a big fan of Daniel Dorn, but the Reds won’t even protect him on the 40-man, so there’s no way he’s getting a shot next year.)

  48. My Yankee fan friends like Gardner. The Yankees also like Gardner, and Cashman wants to go younger and cheaper. So they’d ask for a lot in return.

    If the Yankees get Crawford, that would probably put Swisher on the trading block. I’m ambivalent about Swisher, he has pluses and minuses. How much does he make ? He’d be an upgrade over Gomes, but how much of an upgrade ?

  49. The word “huge” comes to mind. 😀

    I’m not sure how interested the Reds would be in Swisher…depends on the cost. He’ll make @ $6 million this year and then be a FA. He’d still be an instant upgrade in the offense. But I think Dusty’s head would explode trying to figure out a way to make the lineup with no lefties batting back-to-back. So there’s that.

  50. @CP: $6M seems worth it to me. Of course there’s the question of who we’d have to give up to get him.

    And he’s a switch hitter.

  51. @pinson343: He’s an average to slightly below average fielder and was the 14th best offensive OF in baseball last year. Even with Crawford, the Yankees wouldn’t be scratching to move him, since he only makes $6.75 million. We’d have to have something they need/want, which for the Yankees usually means young pitching.

  52. Eh don’t know how I forgot he was a switch hitter. I agree $6 million is a value (actually its closer to $5 million!). Who knows what the Yankees would want for him…he was extremely productive last year and is cheap.

    I know the Yankees want to get younger but Swisher is only 30 and any trade involving Gardner will probably have prospects involved who are close to MLB-ready.

  53. @CP and Natural:

    Swisher made $6.75 in 2010, in 2011 his salary goes to $9M, with club option in 2012 for $10.25M/$1M buyout. So his price is a little steeper than you thought.

    However, given a reasonable trade(hopefully including Gomes 😈 ), I would go for having Swisher be the guy in LF, batting in between Votto/Bruce with rolen at #6. His splits vs RHP/LHP are solid, plus he has put in 255 games at 1B, thus provide a true thumper backup for Votto when he needs a break, instead of Cairo or Ramon (bleh) . And i would think his D would look gold glove compared to Gomes. That would seem to really strengthen the lineup, both offensively and defensively.

    Go 2011 Reds!

  54. I don’t see NYY parting with either Gardner or Swisher, even if they get Crawford, plus Swisher makes too much$$. A player I think could help is Angel Pagan. He’s pretty cheap, has speed with decent OBP, switch hits and has a decent glove. Can also play CF and could leadoff. I also agree with the thought above on Keppinger. he may not be full time SS material, but could be a valuable mid IF sub/PT SS with Janish, and is likely to hit more than Cairo. He’s also cheap. Not sure why Reds and many fans are so hot for Cairo? He was a pleasant surprise LY but a poor bet to repeat, plus he can’t help at short and doesn’t provide the type of bat we’d prefer at 1B/3B. Another guy that could help in the mid IF is Mike Aviles.

  55. Yeah forgot we were dealing with an A’s contract…three years at $400k or less and then jumps to $3, 5, 6, 9, and a club option. Still a decent value but it definitely makes a deal for him less likely.

Comments are closed.

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. You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

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