2011 Reds

Jose Reyes at Shortstop?

Blog Red Machine is reporting that the Reds have been in discussions with the Mets concerning all-star shortstop Jose Reyes. The blog says several “insiders” have reported the Reyes discussions.

Reyes is under contract for one more season with the Mets for $11 million. According to Reds public comments concerning budget, that would be a large contract to absorb, but if the Reds compete at a high level again next season attendance will continue to rise and additional ancillary items will also sell building the Reds revenue stream.

As Blog Red Machine says:

Jose Reyes is one of the best leadoff men in baseball when he is healthy. The last two seasons he has had some injury problems, but his speed on the basepaths scares anybody. Having Reyes and (Drew) Stubbs in the same lineup would put pressure on any defense.

Then there is this:

The Reds would almost certainly have to give up either Mike Leake, Travis Wood or Homer Bailey. And in addition, the Mets could be looking for two more prospects, one a top tier prospect and another lower level prospect. There has been much discussion regarding which of the three starting pitchers listed above would be most likely to be traded. Leake, I believe, would probably be Walt Jocketty’s last choice with Wood or Bailey going before him.

It is not believed that Jocketty wants to trade Yonder Alonso, and the Mets already have Ike Davis at first base.

If it were up to me, I’d try to move Edinson Volquez instead as he will be getting paid more than the younger guys which would help soften the blow on the salary issue. As for choosing between Wood, Leake, and Bailey, I believe Bailey has the highest ceiling of the three and we could use Wood as a lefty starter. I’m still not certain what to make of Leake. He had a very good rookie year and took everyone by surprise. Depending on your perspective it could be said he was mature in his development or it could be said that he’s walking a fine line with his skill set when it comes to long-term major league success.

My feeling all along has been that the Reds need a stud shortstop to take them to the next level. I’m a fan of Paul Janish’s glove, but I do think his offensive ability will be challenged as a full-time player. Reyes is almost a year younger than Janish and has played nearly 700 more major league games.

I don’t know what kind of package it would really take to get Reyes and I don’t know who the Mets would play at shortstop without him. Reyes missed about a month last season due to a thyroid problem and 20-year-old Ruben Tejada filled in, but hit only .213 in 78 games. The Mets drafted a second baseman, Brad Emaus, in the Rule 5 draft, but he hasn’t played shortstop in the minors. John Sickels, author of the yearly “Minor League Handbook”, wrote in November that the Mets’ farm system isn’t that bad, it’s just missing some top flight candidates. He rates shortstop Wilmer Flores as the Mets’ top prospect, but he’s only 19 and was still in High A ball last season.

I don’t know who the “insiders” are that are discussing Reyes, but I do think he’s the kind of player that the Reds should be pursuing to take the team to the next level.

The Reds have some shortstops in the minor league system, but I don’t know that last year’s AAA starter Zack Cozart has a high enough ceiling to improve the Reds. Cozart is an interesting blend of power with a little speed and a good glove, but isn’t projecting as an impact player. Cozart’s skill set reminds me of J.J. Hardy and — in my opinion — Hardy’s not the kind of player to carry a championship team (Hardy was traded to the Orioles yesterday, his third team in three years). The Reds younger prospects aren’t ready, and Billy Hamilton, who I thought may be the best of the lot, played 55 games at second base in 2010 and only 13 at shortstop.

81 thoughts on “Jose Reyes at Shortstop?

  1. @Steve Price: So is it fair to say you expect him to put up a BABIP south of .250 next year? The Pokey comparision is interesting, but not really germane except as a counter point to those suggesting last year was proof he can hit. That wasn’t my argument. I’ll accept that I perhaps overstated my position when saying “absolutely nothing”, but I think placing one’s faith in MLEs from 3, 4, 5 years ago rather than more recent performance is not the strongest argument.

    As for the MLEs, do we have any assessment of their predictive value? I ask that earnestly. We have enough trouble projecting major leaguers who are more or less fully developed. Yes, Janish hits too many fly balls for a guy with so little power Yes, a Janish line drive is likely weaker than a Votto line drive. But compare Janish to other low BABIP players from the last 3 years. OF guys with at least 600 PA since 2008, 34 players have a collective BABIP over that time frame of less than .265. How many of those 34 have a LD% equal or better than Janish’s 19.5%? 4. I’m not suggesting that Janish is going to have a .300 BABIP, just that it will be closer to last year’s .283 than the .243 he put up in 2008-09.

    • : So is it fair to say you expect him to put up a BABIP south of .250 next year? The Pokey comparision is interesting, but not really germane except as a counter point to those suggesting last year was proof he can hit. That wasn’t my argument. I’ll accept that I perhaps overstated my position when saying “absolutely nothing”, but I think placing one’s faith in MLEs from 3, 4, 5 years ago rather than more recent performance is not the strongest argument.

      These are the srongest arguments. Quoting last year is using a small sample size. As for predicting the player’s performance, let’s just say Bill James who made all this public is now employed by the Boston Red Sox and there’s a lot of money changing hands on this subject matter.

      These figures are used in arbitration cases and have been for years (James was a common “witness.”) Depending on who’s side of the fence called first, future stats and past stats are compared in the discussions. Teams and players really don’t want to do that anymore.

  2. @Steve Price: Another observation. Janish has hit .226 in his time in the majors so far. Do you think he’s over-performed his talent? That’s not to say we should be terribly excited about a .220-.240 hitter. Janish is not a good hitter, but I see no need to overstate the case.

    • I’m pretty sure there’s no validity to these rumors.

      I wonder about them, too, but my rationale is who would be playing shortstop for the Mets if Reyes doesn’t, unless they’re willing to take a flyer on Cozart (or Janish).

      A player like Reyes may be really annoying if your team is losing, the Mets’ bad contracts over the years have left them short on operating capital, and Reyes hasn’t been the the same player the last two years as before. I think the Reds are re-distibuting their contracts to free-up salary because they know they’re close to contending…not just for a division title, but if Bruce hits like he should and the young pitchers take another step forward, really big things could happen.

      The shortstop issue for me goes back to before last season…I linked it above in the post. It is difficult to win a World Series without a top flight shortstop. And, now two shortstop rumors have popped up.

      There’ getting to be a lot of smoke to have no fire…

  3. Those are some nice numbers for Homer, but he has been in pro baseball now going on now 6 years, so he has had to me more and better training then either Leake or Wood have and yet he just doesn’t seem to show me to be much more then a midlevel pitcher on the major league level. His inning count is low, his ERA is not grand, his win/loss record is questionable. Again I am not saying he is not a major league pitcher, but this idea that he rates higher then either Wood or Leake just baffles me.

    • Those are some nice numbers for Homer, but he has been in pro baseball now going on now 6 years, so he has had to me more and better training then either Leake or Wood

      Wood has been a professional for six years and Leake came through the major league training program, (pardon, uh, I mean, Arizona State); they’ve had the same training as Bailey, only not under a microscope, with little pressure.

  4. I haven’t been posting much this offseason, but I am regularly checking in… This topic demands a response.

    The Reds have the ammo to make A (one, singular, uno) major trade which would significantly upgrade the overall roster. The question is where to put the resources. In my opinion, neither LF nor SS is the place to make the addition. Starting pitcher is the where I want to allocate our excess young talent.

    Here’s the logic. I think the driving force behind “uprgrade LF and SS” is the Phillies series. Don’t let one series erase the fact that the Reds were the best offense in the NL, leading in OPS, AVG, runs, HRs, and OBP (ok actually 2nd in OBP, but for .001). So, while it would be easy to look back at the Phillies series and think TOS, it is an irrational conclusion.

    Here’s my impression of the Reds/Phillies series. “I want THAT,” and by THAT, I mean Roy Halladay. The playoffs actually highlighted the Reds’ weakness last season. When the bats weren’t clicking, the Reds couldn’t rely on that ace to make things happen. Instead, the Reds have a good, not great, rotation. While the rotation is deep, it is without a proven front of the line starter. If we don’t get that guy, then we aren’t going deep into the playoffs.

    So in the end, why waste Alonso, Wood, Leake, Bailey, Francisco, etc. on a left fielder when replacement level LF would be an upgrade? Why waste are youth on a moderately better offensive SS when the offense was not the Reds weakness?

    Guys like Reyes and Choo are fun to play around with, but in the end, neither is going to win the World Series for you.

  5. Three things:

    1) Go look up Joey Vottto’s minor league MLEs, and tell me how well they predicted the last two years. Yeah, I know, PJ ain’t JV, but I have problems with the idea that 3-5 year old minor league stats are as important as last year’s full season stats. That’s the kind of thinking that says Brandon Phillips can’t play shortstop because his fielding numbers from eight years ago weren’t so hot. A lot’s happened since then.

    2) I just don’t *get* Homer Bailey.

    3) We will never outbid the money teams for an “ace” pitcher, when there’s rarely more than one available at a time (unless you consider Greinke one, about which I have my doubts). Not to mention that any “ace” pitcher who can choose his destination is *not* going to choose to pitch in GABP. Our ace is going to have to be grown internally.

  6. Joey Votto had excellent minor league equivalents and his one down minor league showed, too. It also showed his progression as a hitter.

    In 2005, his average equated to .213 at the big league level (A+), AA in 2006 it showed .310, in 2007 at AAA it was .285. It showed development ins slugging percentage from .348 in High A to .541 in AA, then was .471 in AAA. His 2006 season.

    Remember, those numbers would have been what he would have done had he been in the majors at that age. He was a major league capable hitter while in AA.

    Every similulation and projection I saw projected Votto as a big time hitter from his AA days forward.

    From Baseball Prospectus 2005: “the best pure hitter in the Reds organization”. They predicted he would replace Sean Casey in 2007.

    then he had his down season in 2005, but still BP said: “ball-crushing power” in BP 2006

    In BP 2007: hits lots of flies to exploit his GAP environment; there’s more breakout potential than you might see

    in BP 2008: power-and-patience first baseman challenging aging (Hatteberg) who can’t hit same-handed pitching. They predicted he would hit .278 with a .357 OBP and a .494 SLP his rookie season. he hit, .297 wiht a .368 OBP and a .506 SLP.

    Their big question, was why didn’t the Reds bring him up in 2008, othar than Dusty blocking him with Hatteberg

  7. Oh, sneaky secret….for a ground ball pitcher, Great American Ballpark is heaven.

    It’s the flyball pitchers (Aaron Harang) that suffer.

    baseball-reference.com reports that GABP scores a 99 for both hitters and pitchers. Baseball-reference says that over 100 favors hitters, under 100 favors pitchers. It scored a 97 for pitchers in 2010.

    When the Reds signed Eric Milton–big mistake–flyball pitcher….

  8. Steve,

    Unless I’m missing something, why would any MLB ballpark not be heaven for a ground ball pitcher? Unless you have Mark Reynolds/EE as your 3B, that is.

  9. I wonder what Reyes’ price tag would look like come June/July when the Mets are out of the playoff race…? That might be the ticket.

  10. I’d say wait til the ASB when the price would be lower both in terms of cost and what we would have to give up.

  11. I would trade Leake, Cozart, and two prospects in a second for Reyes. I am not a huge fan of Reyes personally, but if healthy, he could put the Reds into a legitimate world series contender. I’m not sure the organization would be willing to take on his contract though.

  12. A couple of “reported developments:”

    1) MLB trade rumors.com (http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2010/12/mets-notes-payroll-castillo-perez-young.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MlbTradeRumors+%28MLB+Trade+Rumors%29) is reporting that John Fay has tweeted that Walt Jocketty told him the Reds have had no discussions with the Mets about Jose Reyes. I don’t Twitter so I’m not a recipient. I could not find anything on the “Cincinnati Enquirer” page one way or another.

    2) However, I did find a John Fay posting on the “Cincinnati Enquirer” website that stated the Reds had scheduled a 1:30 press conference for tomorrow (Tuesday). He said the Reds would announce the details of the press conference was about on Tuesday morning. (http://cincinnati.com/blogs/reds/2010/12/13/reds-chat-with-john-fay-at-10-a-m/)

    My opinion…I normally prefer you guys to talk things through, but this conversation was too much for me to stay away from.

    Championship teams almost always have exceptional shortstops. I am not attempting to take anything away from Janish. I’m a huge fan of Janish’s defense. If this was the 1970’s, he’d have had a better chance for a better career. In 2015, defense may be that important again. I do think the defensive quotient is rising.

    However, Reyes is an all-star shortstop that has plus offense, plays average defense, and has star quotient in the field. He and Phillips would either be magic or oil and water from all the flash.

    If the Reds are winning, the Reyes “attitude” would be fun; it they’re losing, it would be truly annoying and a blue collar town that appreciates the likes of Chris Sabo, Aaron Boone, and Ryan Freel would not like it (well, Freel was a hot dog, too).

    I don’t think this deal is as crazy as I would have thought a year ago, especially if it included Volquez, if, for no other reason, so that Baker would not be tempted to think of the volatile Volquez as a number one starter. I thought Baker’s choice of Volquez for game one was his worst decision of the season. He won’t make THAT much money in arbitration and if the Mets really want to move Reyes, that would make the best match.

  13. The press conference tomorrow is to announce the Bruce contract officially. He passed his physical, I suppose.

    This has been a great discussion today, but let’s be realistic. There is NO evidence that this is anything more than a rumor started by some guy in his mother’s basement.

    It’s fun to discuss, and I urge you to keep talking over the possibilities. It’s what we do here, and it’s fun to dream. Jose Reyes isn’t gonna be a Red anytime soon.

  14. Now that is looks like the Phils are getting Cliff Lee maybe we should just fold!

  15. Chad nailed it.

    It should be pretty obvious to everyone by now that Reds fans aren’t going to see the trade coming. WJ is going to do his thing in the shadows and we’ll find out when ESPN/MLB tells us.

  16. Cliff Lee signing with Philly sure does seem to bump the ante to compete. Glad he stiffed the Yankees but dang, on paper, that Philly rotation is impressive.

    regarding this discussion thread, i think its been great to read viewpoints and perspectives on players. good stuff.

    Now, Walt, go trade for Greinke and/or Josh Johnson. While you are at it, kick the tires on King Felix as well. at least thats how I feel right now given the Philly/Lee siging. 🙂

    Go 2011 Reds! Defending NL Central Champs!

  17. Yes, but Freel is a WHITE hot dog, so in Cinci, he’s SCRAPPY…..I really don’t think we will put any deals together prior to the season, more likely the all-star break, but it is nice to finally consider ourselves buyers, eh?

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