With the trade deadline approaching, the Reds appear to be aggressively looking for anyone who can potentially help them in the last two months of the 2011 season, and Chone Figgins too. That makes a lot of sense (well, not the Figgins part), as the defending N.L. Central champions currently sit at 4.5 games back in the highly competitive division and a whopping 9 games behind the Braves in the wild card standings. And the Reds aren’t shying away from big names either, as reports last week had them talking to the Rockies about acquiring Ubaldo Jimenez. The Rockies asking price for their ace is incredibly high, however, and Ubaldo probably isn’t going anywhere this year.

On the other hand, reports that the Rays are willing to trade starter James Shields are much more interesting, if only because I’m pretty sure the Rays are serious about it, and would like to work out a deal with someone this month. Shields is currently having a career year, putting him at peak value, and the Rays are quickly finding themselves fringe contenders at best as the Yankees and Red Sox pull away from them. The Rays have a talented young rotation and a lot of pitching talent in the minors, including the best pitching prospect in baseball in Matt Moore, but also have a lot of holes offensively they’d like to fill, and trading Shields could go a long way to that.

This is where things get interesting, because the Rays two most obvious holes are at first base and catcher, which makes Cincinnati, with Yonder Alonso and Devin Mesoraco/Yasmani Grandal to dangle, a very attractive trade partner. And the Reds, whose starters currently have the worst FIP and 4th worst xFIP in the National League, could certainly use Shields, who currently boasts a 3.17 FIP in a division that includes two of the best offenses in baseball, and a 3.92 mark for his career. If you assume those numbers will improve at the margins as he moves from the A.L. East to the N.L. Central, there’s no question that Shields could represent a legitimate anchor for the Reds’ rotation.

Additionally, Shields is far from a rental, as he’s currently under team control through 2014, on a series of three club options between now and then. And if that wasn’t enough, the buyouts for those options actually get smaller each year, culminating in a $1 million buyout of a $12 million option after 2013. It’s an absurdly team friendly contract that gives whomever has Shields at the time a ton of flexibility. So rather then trading away top prospects for a rental who may or may not carry you to the 2011 playoffs, whomever lands Shields will be acquiring a durable innings eater with the ability to dominate a game on any given night who will be making a below market value salary for the next 3 seasons.

And while I don’t want to be too much of a downer, the 5 ton elephant in the room for the Reds is Joey Votto’s contract. The Reds only signed the MVP to a 3 year deal last winter, giving them payroll stability through Votto’s arbitration years, but not buying out any of his potential free agent years. To be blunt, with his arbitration year salary guaranteed, there’s no reason for Votto to accept a discount on any of the years in which he’s eligible for free agency, and once he hits the market all bets are off. If I were the GM of the Reds, I would be operating under the assumption that the 2013 season will be Votto’s last in Cincinnati, and doing everything I could to maximize wins between now and then.

A deal for Shields would certainly be pricey. I can’t see the Rays giving him up without at least getting Mesoraco or Alonso and Grandal, and I can even see them demanding Mesoraco and Alonso in return, given his contract. In either case, I still think it’s a good deal for the Reds. It only improves the big league team at the margins over the next few seasons, and in the worst case scenario the Reds would still have Grandal and Ryan Hanigan behind the plate in the organization. That’s not too shabby. It’s a near perfect fit for both teams.

171 Responses

  1. Steve Mancuso

    Kevin Kennedy (former manager and Rays broadcaster) was saying yesterday that there is a good reason to believe that the improvement Shields has shown this year will last.

    He apparently radically revamped his pitching motion so he “is less of a spinner and now comes straight over the top.”

    That sounds to me like what Johnny Cueto has done, too. It’s sort of ironic in Cueto’s case that his new big turn to the back has really reduced his spinning in the front. Whoever came up with that idea should be congratulated.

    Not sure the Reds should give up Mesoraco – I’d kick in a better third player along with Alonzo and Grandal to avoid that – but otherwise I strongly support this move.

    It will help in the short term but also be a key step for building a rotation that can compete with playoff teams.

    • CharlotteNCRedsFan

      It’s sort of ironic in Cueto’s case that his new big turn to the back has really reduced his spinning in the front. Whoever came up with that idea should be congratulated.

      If we can identify who that is. That is the $64K question.

  2. vegastypo

    So you’re telling me that we could get James Shields and the cost could be Grandal and Yonder, period? … Am I nuts for saying I’d do that deal YESTERDAY? If they can keep Mesoraco, and they’d have a few more years to find a successor to Votto at first base, I think I could live with a rotation of Cueto, Shields, Bailey, Chapman (gotta happen!) and Leake. (If/when Travis Wood comes around, the Reds still have starting pitching depth.)

  3. Bill Lack

    I’d hate to give up Mesoraco…he certainly appears ML ready now, and they’ll need him next season.

  4. Steve Mancuso

    @vegastypo: I’d guess that a third player would have to be involved and in most cases I would say a pitcher (Travis Wood?) but the Rays are stocked with pitchers.

  5. littleleo1

    a flat NO on Mesoraco .. period . Hang on to him

  6. vegastypo

    @Steve Mancuso:

    My thinking, too. It’s that third piece of the puzzle that worries me somewhat, but Shields is the one guy among the rumor mill who I think would be worth dealing for. … I’d like to think that if Walt is interested in doing a deal like this, he’d do it fairly quickly, before a bidding war of sorts escalates (if it hasn’t already)….. I’d also be very, very glad to see a deal made with an AL team, as opposed to doing a deal with the Rockies or Astros and then having to get punished by the players we traded away several times a year!

    • Jared

      @Steve Mancuso:
      do it fairly quickly, before a bidding war of sorts escalates (if it hasn’t already)…..

      I’m more worried about the season being lost before a deal gets done than the price getting to high.

      I want to believe, but I don’t think there’s any way Joey Votto stays.

    • CharlotteNCRedsFan

      @Steve Mancuso: Grandal/Alonso/Hamilton

      I don’t know. How many SBs does Hamilton have? 70?

      • Bill Lack

        I don’t know.How many SBs does Hamilton have?70?

        71…but he also has 29 errors. He has been hitting better of late though.

  7. Brien Jackson

    @vegastypo:

    Depending on what lesser prospects they’re willing to add, yeah, I think a package headlined by Alonso and Grandal could probably pry Shields out of Tampa is there isn’t a better offer on the table.

  8. Vottoeroticism

    @CharlotteNCRedsFan: And his average is probably still below .200. Hamilton is probably 3-4 years away from Cincinnati at the minimum, and we are in win-now mode with Votto.

  9. colinepete

    @Brien Jackson: I would rather trade Grandal and another lesser prospect than Mesoraco, under the assumption that Mesoraco can catch right now and all of next year, whereas Grandal is a couple years away.

    Keeping Mesoraco also gives you the flexibility to still flip Hernandez for a reliever, bench upgrade, or prospect. I wouldn’t mind seeing them deal him for a lefthanded bench guy with power, something this team is really missing.

  10. Jason1972

    No way I give up Mesoraco unless the pitcher in return is a CY candidate. But Alonso and Grandal ismvery doable.

  11. vegastypo

    @Brien Jackson:

    It’s funny, I’ve been so reluctant to trade because I fear getting fleeced and not being able to climb over three teams to win this year, but I’d be so on board with this deal, provided a third player wouldn’t cost the Reds too much.

    My fear, by the way, comes from hearing the names of Chone Figgins, Todd Coffey, CoCo Crisp, etc. Please let that be a figment of someone’s imagination

  12. Brien Jackson

    @Bill Lack:

    He’s certainly doing well at Triple-A, but Grandal has also hit .289/.391/.476 across the minor leagues thus far. Given Shields’ contract and durability, I wouldn’t absolutely refuse to give up Mesoraco for him, though I’d definitely try very hard to get a deal done without him if possible.

  13. Brien Jackson

    @Jason1972:

    Well Sabathia, Verlander, and Weaver are running away with that, so that’s a very unreasonable standard. Shields is 8th in the A.L. in fWAR amongst SP and 4th in innings pitched though.

  14. Wil Payne

    I think trading Ramon and calling up Mesoraco is something that should be considered. Ramon, while I love the man to death with his hot first half bat, and pairing him with Hanigan to keep them both healthy has been Dusty’s best idea as manager, but how many 36-year-old catchers have been useful? (He will be 36 next year) Saying he will be a valuable asset in the National League in 2013 is like saying Rolen will retire when he’s 50 (though he does LOOK 50).

  15. Wil Payne

    I was implying he can come in and catch/1B this season if they need him, and DH next year if Damon retires, which he likely will.

  16. Jason1972

    I mean a CY caliber candidate in general, not this year’s CY hopefuls. I sure as heck wouldn’t give him up for a guy having a career season in an otherwise good but nothing special career. He reminds me of Livan Hernandez 5 years ago.

  17. PRoseFutureHOFer

    Can Shields hit? I know what the numbers say, but I think anyone who watches this team on a daily basis would conclude that our problem is hitting (and specifically clutch hitting). Getting shutout by the Bucs in back to back days should have proved that. Watching this team strike out and fail to drive in runners form third with less than two outs has become torturous.

  18. dn4192

    So let me see if I understand, most here really believe adding Shields to our roster vastly improves our pitching staff and overall roster. We KNOW he can pitch and pitch well on teh major league level. But we won’t part with a prospect who might or might not be any good on the major league level? If TB was willing to take Mesco and Yonder for for Shields I am kinda unclear how you don’t make that move? I mean is this young catcher the next Johnny Bench?

    • vegastypo

      So let me see if I understand, most here really believe adding Shields to our roster vastly improves our pitching staff and overall roster.We KNOW he can pitch and pitch well on teh major league level.But we won’t part with a prospect who might or might not be any good on the major league level?If TB was willing to take Mesco and Yonder for for Shields I am kinda unclear how you don’t make that move?I mean is this young catcher the next Johnny Bench?

      If I have Shields in every fifth day instead of Bombs Away Bronson Arroyo, who can’t seem to go six innings anymore without giving up at least two home runs, I think that is an upgrade. … How does that helps our hitting? You’re right, it doesn’t. To me, this deal would be for the longer term as much as for this year…..For this year, I’d like to think that Phillips, Bruce and Votto can come around a little bit, but any lineup as laden with strikeouts as our has been is likely to struggle.

      • CharlotteNCRedsFan

        Bombs Away Bronson Arroyo

        That is probably the best nickname idea I have seen on this board.

        Bravo young man!

        And I like Bronson a lot. As a person only at this point though.

    • cincymatt16

      So let me see if I understand, most here really believe adding Shields to our roster vastly improves our pitching staff and overall roster. We KNOW he can pitch and pitch well on teh major league level. But we won’t part with a prospect who might or might not be any good on the major league level? If TB was willing to take Mesco and Yonder for for Shields I am kinda unclear how you don’t make that move? I mean is this young catcher the next Johnny Bench?

      I have to agree with you. I was surprised reading these first few comments about unwillingness to trade Mesoraco. Of course the Reds are going to say Grandal and Alonso, but when TB comes back and says it has to be Mesoraco…not quite sure how you can so no to that. I am just worried about the (probable) third player they ask for as well. In my estimation TB will probably ask Meso, Alonso, and Leake/Wood, which is probably too much.

  19. Jared

    @Wil Payne: You’re not talking about trading Ramon to Tampa are you? No one that doesn’t need a catcher RIGHT NOW is going to want him.

    Anyway, the best option is definitely to trade all the catchers and pay LLM whatever he wants to come back.

    • Steve Mancuso

      You’re not talking about trading Ramon to Tampa are you? No one that doesn’t need a catcher RIGHT NOW is going to want him.

      Maybe. The team that gets Ramon will inherit the two draft picks when he doesn’t resign at the end of the year. At least that’s what I’ve read. The Rays may well be interested in that part of it.

  20. redsboomer

    What do all of the serious NL contenders have in common? Great pitching. We should do all we can to acquire a guy like Shields. I would rather our battery consist of Shields and Hanigan every 5th day than Leake/Wood and Mesoraco. My point is Mesoraco and Alonso for Shields is still a good deal. Grandal and Alonso feels like a steal.

    • CharlotteNCRedsFan

      What do all of the serious NL contenders have in common?Great pitching.We should do all we can to acquire a guy like Shields.I would rather our battery consist of Shields and Hanigan every 5th day than Leake/Wood and Mesoraco.My point is Mesoraco and Alonso for Shields is still a good deal.Grandal and Alonso feels like a steal.

      If Mesoraco is looking like an All-Star, middle-of-the-order caliber player who is a “catcher”, he can not be dealt for an every 5th day player. No way. Period. How many guys have every met that description? And as some have said, he will be replacing Arroyo as the 5th starter? WTF! Too much trade talk, I fear, is softening some heads around here.

      • jrob45601

        And as some have said, he will be replacing Arroyo as the 5th starter? WTF! Too much trade talk, I fear, is softening some heads around here.

        This is the key, to me at least. If we get a starting pitcher, whoever it is, they will be replacing our 4th starter, not our worst. So it takes an even better pitcher to have much of an impact. I’m not sure Jiminez or Shields is that much better than our 4th best. There just isnt enough time left in the season to get enough starts to have an impact.

      • dn4192

        If Mesoraco is looking like an All-Star, middle-of-the-order caliber player who is a “catcher”, he can not be dealt for an every 5th day player. No way. Period. How many guys have every met that description? And as some have said, he will be replacing Arroyo as the 5th starter? WTF! Too much trade talk, I fear, is softening some heads around here.

        He is a prospect, nothing more nothing less, no more chance of being a stud then a dud, we know Shields is a stud..this is a no brainer you make the deal.

  21. Brien Jackson

    @PRoseFutureHOFer:

    Hitting may indeed be a major concern for the team, but when your starters have your league’s worst FIP as a group, I think it’s safe to say you could benefit from getting some help there as well.

  22. Brien Jackson

    @Jason1972:

    I don’t know that I’d say that. Shields is having a career year because he’s kept the strikeout rate he posted last season while his groundball and HR/FB rates have gone back to normal. I don’t see any reason to assume he can’t keep that up over the next 3 seasons.

  23. Brien Jackson

    @Steve Mancuso:

    No. The Rays get nothing out of trading Shields for Ramon Hernandez, even with the draft picks. It’s going to take near big league ready hitters, preferably at first base or catcher, to make this deal.

  24. redsboomer

    Where is the best place to go for updated trade rumors? Anyone have a preferred site (other than here of course)!

  25. nllspc

    It has to be either Alonso or Mesoraco, not both. The Reds 4,5,6 hitters (Phillips,Bruce,Rolen) are dreadful right now. Alonso and Mesoraco are the only near-mlb ready prospects that project to be a middle of the order bat. Soto would be a big stretch to fit that label but only plays 1B anyways. Votto’s there for a few more years and this team needs help sooner than later. Alonso would be preferred since we still have Sappelt who could also fill the lead-off role and make it possible to move Stubbs down. Never say never but I’d be really hesitant dealing Mesoraco right now. We have to keep at least one mid-order bat and Alonso makes the most sense.

    • dn4192

      It has to be either Alonso or Mesoraco, not both. The Reds 4,5,6 hitters (Phillips,Bruce,Rolen) are dreadful right now. Alonso and Mesoraco are the only near-mlb ready prospects that project to be a middle of the order bat. Soto would be a big stretch to fit that label but only plays 1B anyways. Votto’s there for a few more years and this team needs help sooner than later. Alonso would be preferred since we still have Sappelt who could also fill the lead-off role and make it possible to move Stubbs down. Never say never but I’d be really hesitant dealing Mesoraco right now. We have to keep at least one mid-order bat and Alonso makes the most sense.

      So you will pass on a Grade A pitcher because “maybe” Yonder and Mesoraco might be able to hit ML pitching in teh next 2-3 seasons?

  26. rayman5000

    Great pitching is the most difficult thing to find (and keep) at the major league level. If Shields could be had for Alonso and Grandal, I think there’s no way you don’t jump at that. I would try to sweeten the deal a little by getting Upton (or as someone mentioned Zobrist) and giving them what they want. Hell, Damon would even help for this season…and when you are a small market club, go all in and win now!

  27. Brien Jackson

    @cincymatt16:

    I doubt that. Leake or Wood are probably the 4th or 5th best starter in their rotation in 2012/13. They’d probably want a C-grade positional prospect more.

  28. eric nyc

    Getting Shields for Alonso and Grandal would be a dream scenario. I’d even throw Wood in there if necessary, but I really don’t want to give up Mesoraco.

  29. nllspc

    ugh, that paragraph wasn’t too clearly stated but I was trying say I’d keep Mesoraco and trade Alonso

    • jrob45601

      @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Just because he might replace Arroyo doesn’t make him the “5th starter”

      My point, and I think Charlotte’s too, was that he wouldnt be replacing Arroyo, who has been our worst starter. With his contract (and age), he isnt going anywhere, and if they were going to put him on the DL, wouldnt they have done so already?

  30. CharlotteNCRedsFan

    God I pray that we don’t end up with another Pappas for Robinson deal on our hands. If Mesoraco is as good as I’m hearing he is, and I’m hearing that from “a lot” of different quarters, the Reds better tread very carefully. This could end up being one those huge “whoops” trades even if Shield ends being a very effective pitcher for the next 3 years.

  31. Brien Jackson

    @nllspc:

    I certainly wouldn’t put it on the table, but if the Rays took it down to the deadline insisting a deal HAS to include both Mesoraco and Alonso, I’d probably cave and pull the trigger. Alonso is blocked and can’t help, and I’d be okay with Hannigan and Grandal if I had to be. Though who knows, maybe at that point you can work out a deal to get both Shields and Upton.

  32. eric nyc

    Also, I think everyone needs to take a step back on the Votto situation. 2010 was an incredible year for Joey, obviously. But I also think it was a bit of a fluke. I’d be a little surprised to see him push 40 HR’s again, maybe ever. He’s going to hit well above .300 and knock in 100 RBI’s every year for a long time, and that will make him one of the best contact hitters in baseball, but I honestly don’t think he’s on the same plateau as Pujols and Fielder. This year will probably be a very solid year for him – he’ll probably end up with around 25-30 HR’s and 110 RBI’s. Those are great numbers, but not MVP, ARod-Pujols-Fielder contract numbers. Assuming he has a similar year next year, I dont’ see why, with everyone’s heads out of the clouds a bit, we couldn’t sign him to a fair contract and keep him around a while longer. I get the feeling Joey’s reluctance to sign a longer contract last offseason was more a personal thing – still getting over his dad’s death and not really wanting to tie himself down at such a young age. Give him a couple more years of getting used to being the face of the franchise.

    Of course, as long as people are willing to spend $130 million on guys like Jason Werth it’s all a crap shoot…

    • Ethan D

      Also, I think everyone needs to take a step back on the Votto situation. 2010 was an incredible year for Joey, obviously. But I also think it was a bit of a fluke. I’d be a little surprised to see him push 40 HR’s again, maybe ever. He’s going to hit well above .300 and knock in 100 RBI’s every year for a long time, and that will make him one of the best contact hitters in baseball, but I honestly don’t think he’s on the same plateau as Pujols and Fielder. This year will probably be a very solid year for him – he’ll probably end up with around 25-30 HR’s and 110 RBI’s. Those are great numbers, but not MVP, ARod-Pujols-Fielder contract numbers. Assuming he has a similar year next year, I dont’ see why, with everyone’s heads out of the clouds a bit, we couldn’t sign him to a fair contract and keep him around a while longer. I get the feeling Joey’s reluctance to sign a longer contract last offseason was more a personal thing – still getting over his dad’s death and not really wanting to tie himself down at such a young age. Give him a couple more years of getting used to being the face of the franchise.Of course, as long as people are willing to spend $130 million on guys like Jason Werth it’s all a crap shoot…

      I firmly believe that the reason Votto didn’t want to talk big contracts is because Dan Lozano (Votto’s agent) is also Pujols agent. I’m willing to bet that he told Votto to hold off on the FA year talks and see how much Pujols gets in Free Agency.

    • AnnapolisHoosier

      Also, I think everyone needs to take a step back on the Votto situation. 2010 was an incredible year for Joey, obviously. But I also think it was a bit of a fluke. I’d be a little surprised to see him push 40 HR’s again, maybe ever. He’s going to hit well above .300 and knock in 100 RBI’s every year for a long time, and that will make him one of the best contact hitters in baseball, but I honestly don’t think he’s on the same plateau as Pujols and Fielder. This year will probably be a very solid year for him – he’ll probably end up with around 25-30 HR’s and 110 RBI’s. Those are great numbers, but not MVP, ARod-Pujols-Fielder contract numbers. Assuming he has a similar year next year, I dont’ see why, with everyone’s heads out of the clouds a bit, we couldn’t sign him to a fair contract and keep him around a while longer. I get the feeling Joey’s reluctance to sign a longer contract last offseason was more a personal thing – still getting over his dad’s death and not really wanting to tie himself down at such a young age. Give him a couple more years of getting used to being the face of the franchise.

      Of course, as long as people are willing to spend $130 million on guys like Jason Werth it’s all a crap shoot…

      I 100 percent disagree with this

  33. Brien Jackson

    @eric nyc:

    Votto’s OBP is slightly better right now than it was at the end of 2010. It’s pretty safe to say 2010 wasn’t a fluke.

  34. nllspc

    Alonso has 59gms in LF at Louisville this season. I know the common belief is he can’t play a MLB LF but I’ll wager he’s better than Dunn and probably at least as good as Gomes. This whole “blocked” talk when it comes to Alonso needs to stop. I’ll take his bat and LF defense in my line-up right now.

  35. CharlotteNCRedsFan

    @dn4192: But look Johnny Bench was just a “prospect” at one time too and as all great players were. I just briefly read a little history on this kid Mesoraco and basically this is what I’m finding: a very high draft pick who started slowly in developing but for the last year and a half has progressed at a lightning pace. If anyone can confirm or rebut this, please do. His stats are extremely impressive (power & average wise) and for a “catcher” they are out of this world. AAA, I understand but I would like to hear something to balance out what I have been hearing about him before the trigger is pulled.

    In all candor, I do not follow minor league baseball and would like to hear some opinions on this kid from those that do.

  36. Matt WI

    @eric nyc: Hard to devalue Votto. We celebrate his awesomeness, but then don’t want him to be too good that we can’t afford him, so then we start nit-picking? No thanks.

  37. CharlotteNCRedsFan

    @Brien Jackson: OBP ye,s but his power numbers are of some concern. Granted it may be the total lack of protection he gets from the fourth spot but we just can’t ignore the drop-off as if it doesn’t exist.

  38. eric nyc

    It’s not that I don’t WANT him to be awesome so we can’t afford him, I’m just saying this past offseason we were assuming Votto was on a collision course with a Pujols-type contract when he hit free agency and I’m just not sure that’s going to happen. He might still be too expensive for us, but every time Walt sees him around the ballpark for the next three years he should offer him a contract extension.

  39. RC

    @nllspc:
    Uh, yeah. I was wondering that myself. Yonder’s listed as an outfielder on Louisville’s roster now. Has his defense out there been so bad that he’s not at all considered for the LF spot either this year or the next? Remember, the bar for LF D is set pretty durn low around these parts…

  40. CharlotteNCRedsFan

    @Brien Jackson: First off I do mean this respectfully but what? He hit a HR on average every ~15 ABs last year. This year he is hitting one every ~28 ABs and your telling me that his power numbers are not down? Just because his HR/FB ratio is only of by 10%? Could it be he is hitting more ground balls or striking out more? I was not a math major but I can not, for the life of me, make that work. I really don’t care if every time that the ball was in the air it was a HR. He has had a major, major drop-off in power. Going into denial on this stuff does not make it go away.

  41. cliff

    First of all, the way Tampa develops/scouts players, the minute they say they want someone it should be a red flag that he’s gonna e a stud someday. Just saying. Especially whichever pitcher they want.

    The biggest thing all of you are missing is that shields will NOT be replacing arroyo. He makes too much money not to start on this team. So it’s really about how much of an upgrade he would be over leake/wood. Still substantial, but less than what it would be over BA.

  42. RC

    @CharlotteNCRedsFan:
    How much of that dropoff is because no pitcher in their right mind will challenge him on 3-1 302 count? Or on any other count, for that matter?

  43. vegastypo

    No, Shields becomes the No. 2 starter, behind Cueto. It would be Cueto, Shields, Homer, Leake, and sadly, Arroyo as the fifth starter FOR NOW, unless the Reds go with Wood again (my choice) or even bring back Volquez (heaven help us!). But don’t take my earlier comment to read that Shields is a fifth starter. Wasn’t trying to imply that at all. He’s high in the rotation, and maybe by next year, he and Chapman (please, Reds) push Arroyo out of the rotation and let Leake/Wood battle for the fifth starter. And depth would be nice, given Homer’s injury history. …

  44. CharlotteNCRedsFan

    @RC: Absolutely. I’m with 101% but that doesn’t mean his power numbers have not dropped off significantly. I’m with you though on your statement and that is why I’m much more interested in getting a great stick to hit behind him. My point is the obvious one: the power numbers are down. Period, with or without good reason..

  45. cliff

    Votto had an above average power year last year and is having a below-average one this year.(by his standards) simple as that.

    His power started tailing off around suggest last year.

  46. Dave Lowenthal

    The Reds and Rays would be in a really interesting situation. The reason is that while Mesaraco is the guy both would want, Grandal isn’t just some guy, he’s a really, really good prospect. I think if push comes to shove the Rays might do it for Grandal. On the other hand, the Reds might cave with how well Grandal is doing. Problem is, for the same reason Brien says the Reds need Shields to maximize the time Votto is here, they also need Mesoraco because Grandal is a year or maybe 1.5 years behind him!

    The idea, though, that “Mesaraco is just a prospect, as likely to be a stud as a dud” is ridiculous. What kind of thinking is that?

    • dn4192

      The Reds and Rays would be in a really interesting situation. The reason is that while Mesaraco is the guy both would want, Grandal isn’t just some guy, he’s a really, really good prospect. I think if push comes to shove the Rays might do it for Grandal. On the other hand, the Reds might cave with how well Grandal is doing. Problem is, for the same reason Brien says the Reds need Shields to maximize the time Votto is here, they also need Mesoraco because Grandal is a year or maybe 1.5 years behind him!The idea, though, that “Mesaraco is just a prospect, as likely to be a stud as a dud” is ridiculous. What kind of thinking is that?

      Real simple, there is zero proof that this kid will be great. He could turn out to be another Dan Wilson or could turn out to be the next Posey, we just don’t know as of yet. We can “hope” he will continue to improve, but there is zero way of knowing till he gets up here and produces. We do know that Mr. Shields can produce on the major league level as he has done it.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Real simple, there is zero proof that this kid will be great. He could turn out to be another Dan Wilson or could turn out to be the next Posey, we just don’t know as of yet. We can “hope” he will continue to improve, but there is zero way of knowing till he gets up here and produces. We do know that Mr. Shields can produce on the major league level as he has done it.

        I’m not sure I disagree with your conclusion that if given the opportunity the Reds should be willing to include Mesoraco in a trade for Shields.

        But your claim goes a little too far. To say there is zero proof or zero way of knowing is wrong.

        It may be right to say there is no way to know *for sure* that his skills translate to the major leagues. But there are entire professions dedicated to watching minor league players and projecting whether they can play in the majors. The consensus of that group right now is that Mesoraco has a great chance to be really successful in the majors. Is that group ever wrong? Sure. Are they more right than wrong? Don’t know.

        But there is certainly some — not zero — evidence that he is the real thing.

        Suppose the probability is that those scouts are right 40% of the time. That kind of uncertainty has to be factored into the equation, not as a zero, but as a percentage times the benefit of the player.

        After all, there is a non-zero chance that Shields busts or gets hurt, too.

      • dn4192

        I’m not sure I disagree with your conclusion that if given the opportunity the Reds should be willing to include Mesoraco in a trade for Shields.But your claim goes a little too far. To say there is zero proof or zero way of knowing is wrong. It may be right to say there is no way to know *for sure* that his skills translate to the major leagues. But there are entire professions dedicated to watching minor league players and projecting whether they can play in the majors. The consensus of that group right now is that Mesoraco has a great chance to be really successful in the majors. Is that group ever wrong? Sure. Are they more right than wrong? Don’t know. But there is certainly some — not zero — evidence that he is the real thing. Suppose the probability is that those scouts are right 40% of the time. That kind of uncertainty has to be factored into the equation, not as a zero, but as a percentage times the benefit of the player. After all, there is a non-zero chance that Shields busts or gets hurt, too.

        The chances of success of determining the ability of player X to be succussful on the major league level is basically the same as guessing what number will come up on a roulette wheel in vegas.

  47. jrob45601

    Here is how I see this hypotheticly working out:
    Arroy began the year as our #2, and hasnt missed a start. He currently has 19 starts on the year, which projects to 31 for the season. So 12 starts left for a starting pitcher to make an impact. And that’s only if he is acquired today and available to start on or around Arroyo’s day.
    But he wouldn’t replace Arroyo, as I and others have said. Cueto has been great; Bailey is out of options. So that leaves Leake and Willis. It is doubtful to me that they would pull the plug so quickly on Willis, who has pitched well in his 2 games and would almost certainly be lost to waivers. So Shields would be replacing Leake in the rotation for the final 12 games.
    So now the question is, “Will Shields be enough of an upgrade over Leake in 12 or 13 starts to be worth it?”

    • jrob45601

      @Dave Lowenthal: Uninformed to answer your question. Is he thought of as a can’t miss???

      There is no such thing as “cant miss.” But here is a more quantifyable question that should be answered:

      How long has it been since the Reds had a legit, major league ready prospect at catcher?

      Hint: I’m 30, been a Reds fan for as long as I can remember, and I cant think of any.

  48. Jared

    I may have missed it, but would anyone be interested in Arroyo? Seems like there’s always someone ready to take on a big contract guy who isn’t having a good year.

  49. CharlotteNCRedsFan

    @jrob45601: That is all I needed to hear.

    Thanks.

    By the way, I know there is no such thing as “can’t miss” but some players, very few, are characterized this way,

  50. CharlotteNCRedsFan

    @dn4192: We agree on so many things but not here. You have to play the percentages. Go look at this youngsters progression and the graet news is, he keeps getting better. Shields has (1), count them (1), exceptional part of a season, this season. After doing just a little research on Mesaraco, you “do not” trade him. You call him up, like yesterday, and trade Hernandez to the Giants for the best available arm they will offer.

    • dn4192

      @dn4192: We agree on so many things but not here. You have to play the percentages. Go look at this youngsters progression and the graet news is, he keeps getting better. Shields has (1), count them (1), exceptional part of a season, this season. After doing just a little research on Mesaraco, you “do not” trade him. You call him up, like yesterday, and trade Hernandez to the Giants for the best available arm they will offer.

      How many players have played well to fantastic on the minor league level only to fail at the major league level, especially at the catcher position. This kid could be great, or good or average or gone after a couple of years. Shields has pitched in the AL in the toughest division and been successful for a couple of seasons. Again any trade is a risk, but to get a quality player you sometimes have to role the dice.

  51. CharlotteNCRedsFan

    @Jared: Could always contact the Cubs. They have a habit of being interested in these types of deals.

  52. jrob45601

    I would trade Hernandez and bring up Mesoraco to start 70% of the games the rest of the way. I’m curios though, is it possible that the front office fears casual fans will see it as entering sell mode and lose interest?

  53. CP

    @jrob45601: I doubt casual fans would miss Hernandez that much. The ones that do, you just use small words, speak slowly, and try to work in “Buster Posey” into the conversation. 😆

    • jrob45601

      @jrob45601: I doubt casual fans would miss Hernandez that much. The ones that do, you just use small words, speak slowly, and try to work in “Buster Posey” into the conversation.

      I agree that most would not miss him. But I could see the thinking turn to “giving up again” and “we finally get some good players and now you are going to get rid of them.” We certainly dont want fans to stop going to games because of the perception that the front office has given up on the season. Of course, if Mesoraco comes up and hits the way Bruce did his first week with the big club, that would help things.

  54. CP

    @Ethan D: If he didn’t tell Joey Votto that, the agent is 1) incompetent; or 2) would have breached his fiduciary duty.

  55. CP

    @jrob45601: I honestly believe you’re overthinking it. Reds win=casual fans are happy. The reds trade Chris Heisey for Ryan Ludwick and start winning, all the casual fans will be thrilled, even if Ludwick hits .240/.300/.350 the rest of the way. Everyone will start talking about his intangibles, leadership qualities, etc.

  56. jrob45601

    @CP:
    Thats a good point. Cabrera got a lot of credit last year from a lot of fans.

  57. George Culver

    All things being equal why not offer the Rays Alonso straight up for a top prospect pitcher (such as Matt Moore, talent that they’re so deep in) instead of emptying the farm system totally. Trade from strength for strength of position of each farm system. Shields is good but as another said, this year is almost over and how much do you enhance this year by doing this now. Plus your assuming the more expensive years of his contract which the could strain the Reds payroll budget.

    This team has to think like the successful small market teams such as the Rays and the Twins and not jump too quickly away from the build from within plan. Hold on to Mesoraco and dangle Grandal.

    Listen to what others want as a third opinion of what your talent is worth to them and NOT let them be stolen from you. We cannot jump at the quick fix.

  58. CP

    @George Culver: Shields isn’t the quick fix though. He’s locked up till 2014, for cheap. As for Matt Moore, there is 1) more risk; 2) Rays are even more money adverse than the Reds; and 3) Moore is far more valuable than Alonso. You start talking about multiple prospects for a single prospect…well GMs are reluctant to trade their blue chip guys because its even riskier than the trade deadline deals involving vets for prospects. You have the prospect of giving away unlimited upside for absolutely zilch.

  59. Dave Lowenthal

    @dn4192: The point is that you can say that every prospect “could” be a dud. It’s just a way out.

  60. jrob45601

    @dn4192:
    With all due respect, you seem to be thinking along the same lines as the Reds front office. We saw early in the season that Janish and Renteria cant hit, while Cozart was raking in the minors. But he could be as bad as them, so they left him there and did nothing. Same can be said about left field, and to a lesser degree leadoff. The guy with the biggest block in front of him is Mesoraco. But given that Hernandez is about as marketable as any position player could possibly be right now, that shouldnt be much of a block.

  61. Steve Mancuso

    We can scout Shields for ourselves. He’s pitching against the Yankees in one of the regional broadcasts on the MLB channel.

  62. dn4192

    In today’s game I really don’t think fans follow players like they use to but just follow teams. The Reds could trade Votto tomorrow and if it brought in a good return that resulted in winning that is what would get fans going. The “era” of fans following players is fading…

  63. George Culver

    @CP: There’s risk both ways in the unlimited upside. Moore may or may not be more valuable than Alonso but it is still about dealing from abundance of each system. They need a first baseman, Reds need pitching. Each has what the other needs. It doesn’t necessarily have to be Moore but a fair evaluation of both parties in value. Either, neither or both may end up doing well or not.

    Shields may not really expensive but he’s heading there real fast.

  64. Dave Lowenthal

    @George Culver: I’m all for offering Alonso for Matt Moore, but then when the Rays tell the Reds to get real, the Reds would have to throw in Grandal too, and then that is definitely still not enough.

  65. Dave Lowenthal

    @George Culver: Matt Moore is 10 times more valuable than Yonder Alonso. It’s got nothing to do with abundance.

  66. Dave Lowenthal

    @dn4192: Drew, with all due respect, that’s possibly the most ridiculous comment I’ve ever seen on this blog

    • dn4192

      @dn4192: Drew, with all due respect, that’s possibly the most ridiculous comment I’ve ever seen on this blog

      Okay we agree to disagree, knowing how player X will perform on the major league level is a gamble, he may or may not prove out to be a worthy player, but there is no way to tell for sure by how they play in the minors. Many “top” prospects have flamed out while “unknowns” have gone on to very good careers.

  67. Dave Lowenthal

    @dn4192: That does give me an idea though. Jocketty could call up the Rays and offer to take Shields for putting all Reds minor leaguers on a roulette wheel and giving the Rays 3 spins.

  68. EdEddandEdWerder

    @BrentSGambill Doug Melvin & Walt Jocketty just arrived for dinner together at Nicoletta’s in Cooperstown, NY. #NLCentralGMs #fb

    WJ and the Brewers GM?

    What could this mean?

    • Matt WI

      WJ and the Brewers GM?
      What could this mean?

      Walt’s offering his sage advice: “Doug, you want to win this thing? I mean, are you really ready to win this thing? Get out there and get every last former Cardinal you can. I bet you could get Jim Edmonds back to start.”

  69. Myles

    Why not offer Votto plus guys for Shields and Moore? And keep Meso

  70. EdEddandEdWerder

    @Myles: That wouldn’t be SO bad, if we weren’t trying to win now, while we have Votto.

  71. ArkansasRedsFan

    I would love to have James Shields on the mound. He is really the only name I am interested in from the rumors. Well, he and Chone Figgins, because Chone Figgins is a funny name. I would be upset if we gave up Travis Wood for him. 1.) He’s from Arkansas, and its nice to see Arkansans do well for my favorite team, 2.) All state-bias aside, I believe he can be a very good pitcher for us, and I wouldn’t want to go up against him, and 3.) I bought a Travis Wood jersey t-shirt at GABP this year and it would be a waste of money if that ended up happening. I could have bought a Votto or BP one instead.

  72. ChildePlease

    Shields line tonight against the Yankees:

    7 2/3 1 run, 6 hits, 6 Ks, 3 walks, 117 pitches.

    • secondguessingfanbase

      Shields line tonight against the Yankees:

      7 2/31 run, 6 hits, 6 Ks, 3 walks, 117 pitches.

      Dusty is ruining another arm!

  73. ChildePlease

    @ArkansasRedsFan: He looks like the real deal to me. I wouldn’t include Mesoraco in any deal to get him–I’d wait all the way to the deadline and make them take Grandal–but he would look good in a Reds’ uni.

  74. Myles

    @EdEddandEdWerder:

    I guess I’m not sold that the team is close to winning in the 2012-2013 window where Votto’s going to be around.

    I think they need a lot of pitching help (starting with a new staff of coaches, probably, because they’re not turning the prospects into steady guys).

  75. Fisch

    @CharlotteNCRedsFan: I have watched Mesoraco several times over the past several years. He has the potential to be a VERY special player. He is a definite middle of the order batter with a solid arm.

  76. Fisch

    @jrob45601: The last decent catching prospect was Joe Oliver. It has been a long time.

  77. EdEddandEdWerder

    @Myles: It’s a bandbox stadium. They’ll always need pitching help.

  78. BJ Ruble

    Mesoraco should be untouchable, catchers with his capabilities don’t just grow on trees. I wouldn’t trade him for either Shields or Jimenez straight up, let alone in a package.

    I think Alonso/Grandal and a midlevel prospect would be very fair. Alonso is blocked, Grandal is blocked and they could both help the Rays depth. The only problem with that is both of their deals are more money than the Rays would typically pay team controlled guys, but the quality would certainly over weigh the cost in salary of those two.

    So far Shields is the only name I have heard that I would go after full force. Jimenez is a nice pitcher and would be great, but selling the farm is not a smart move for a team with the Reds budget.

  79. Dave Lowenthal

    @Fisch: Joe Oliver is nowhere near the catching prospect that Mesoraco is. He didn’t hit in the minors.

  80. Dave Lowenthal

    @BJ Ruble: Normally I’d tend to agree, but this isn’t normal; the Reds have Grandal. It’s a rather unusual situation. I do not think I’d deal Mesoraco in a Shields trade for reasons I’ve already said (in a 2012-2013 time frame they’ll not have Grandal quite ready). But I don’t think he’s untouchable, only because they have Grandal. By that I mean in a killer deal I would be willing to include Mesoraco. I don’t know what the deal is.

  81. Dave Lowenthal

    @Myles: The Reds don’t play in the AL East. The 2012-2013 window is a great window for this team; after that the Cards have Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez who’ll be maturing along with Garcia who’s signed to a sweet deal. In 2012-2013 Pujols will (hopefully) have departed also. Fielder will be gone. The Pirates will come back to earth. Etc.

  82. Fisch

    @Dave Lowenthal: I agree. I was just commenting that Oliver was the last decent catching prospect to come thru the Reds minor league system. Mesoraco is light years better than Oliver. I would not trade him for Shields.

  83. CP

    @secondguessingfanbase: That’s actually pretty funny. My two favorite Dusty-baker related articles, both courtesy of the onion/sportspicke:

    “Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker is getting most of the blame today in light of the death of Reds starter Randy Mason, who tragically passed away over the weekend in a boating accident. “I’m just saying,” said Reds fan Linda James. “Look at his track record with pitchers – Kerry Wood, Mark Prior. Now this. The one common factor is Dusty.” Police say Mason, who had a 1.6 blood alcohol level, lost control of his boat and slammed into a bridge support on the Ohio River. That’s all the evidence one caller into a Cincinnati sports radio show needed: “I bet his hands slipped off the wheel because his elbow was so tired. Dusty should be charged for murder.”

    Dusty Baker Destroys Aroldis Chapman’s Arm Within Minutes Of Arrival

    CINCINNATI—Within just a few minutes of Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman’s arrival in the United States, Reds manager Dusty Baker had already overused and mangled the 21-year-old’s arm beyond recognition, team sources reported Sunday. Baker, who has been accused of overtaxing young pitchers’ arms in the past, reportedly greeted Chapman with a bucket of 250 baseballs and told him to “hurl them” as fast as he could, later encouraging the fastballer to “go nuts” with his pitching style. “He didn’t even let me stretch out first,” Chapman told reporters through an interpreter. “And when I started to wince from the pain and soreness, he just gave me a thumbs up, winked, and told me to keep throwing.” At press time, Chapman had already been to the hospital for an oblique strain, a torn rotator cuff, and his second Tommy John surgery of the week.

  84. CP

    I do think its interesting how many fans assume we’re the only ones interested in a player. Like…if the Rays are even somewhat interested in dealing Shields, teams are going to be piling on to get him. Normally, an AL East team would probably never deal with the Yanks but the Rays probably don’t give a **** like other teams would (properly imo). They’re only goal is to maximize return. The Yanks have some pretty good pitching/catching prospects (supposedly the 2 best catching prospects in baseball according to BA which is now doubtful b/c of Mesoraco) and usually have no qualms about dealing them.

  85. Brien Jackson

    Okay, a brief word on Mesoraco:

    I definitely agree that he’s a legit prospect who’s raking and could probably come up to the big leagues any day at this point. I’d also point out that though the idea that “no one can predict anything at all” is pretty silly, it’s also true that nothing is a sure bet in moving from the minors to the majors, and catcher in particular seems to be a tough position to make the jump at. As I alluded to, you can use Matt Wieters as an example; absolutely destroyed the minor leagues and was a MUCH more highly rated prospect than Mesoraco, and he’s still struggling to really find his bat at the big league level.

    Basically, I would caution against getting blinders on a guy just because you’ve heard a lot about him and dreamed big on him. That’s not to say you should ship him out for the first offer that comes along or for a rental who might not help, but for a guy who would be the best pitcher on your team right away and is under control relatively cheaply for 3 more years, it’s a no-brainer. Especially when you have another quality prospect at the same position in your system, and when there’s basically no way you could ever afford a similar pitcher on the free agent market.

    • CharlotteNCRedsFan

      Basically, I would caution against getting blinders on a guy just because you’ve heard a lot about him and dreamed big on him.

      No blinders here as I claimed I’ve never seen him play but would like to hear more from people that have actually seen him play. Thanks Fish. Wish others would speak up if they have witnessed the guy’s skills.

      I haven’t taken a poll on RLN but it seems the pro-trade are in the minority and at least that should urge a certain amount of caution.

  86. Brien Jackson

    @CP:

    I don’t know if the Yankees and Rays could possibly match up, only because Shields isn’t a rental. Though if there’s a second wild card coming, the Rays may well not care if they can get a good return on him. But the only thing the Yankees can really offer in terms of position players is Montero, unless they offered them Montero AND Romine, which I really don’t see happening. Given that, I think the Rays would be more interested in Alonso and one of the Reds’ catchers, as that could potentially fill two of their need positions with high potential bats.

    And yes, obviously more teams could get in and affect the price, but as that’s sort of unknowable at this point I just left it aside for the sake of discussion.

  87. Brien Jackson

    Also, after tonight’s game, I’ll throw in a nice hand-written thank you note for the Reds’ front office if they get Shields out of the A.L. East.

  88. Wil Payne

    I think a really neat thing about the deal is that neither team could be considered buyers or sellers. The Rays look like the seller, but they are getting two likely Major League caliber position players that could start soon after the trade passes. The Reds look like the buyer, but with Shields, at his age and level, locked up through 2014, that kind of stability should last long after October 2011.

    The idea of Votto leaving in 2013 gives me the chills. In my dream world, he never leaves the team.
    Also in this world, the Reds are defending their 2010 World Series victory in 2011 and the Reds have enough money that they can wrap a wad of $20 bills and shoot them into the stands, while still paying Votto more than Pujols for the hell of it, and buy Stubbs batting lessons.

  89. Dave Lowenthal

    @Brien Jackson: Brien, I absolutely agree, but again I point to your comment about 2012-2013 being the window, and Grandal just isn’t going to be able to help in that window. I’m perfectly happy to ship Grandal, who’s a really good prospect in his own right, out, for Shields, and normally I’d be ok with Mesoraco, but they need that right handed bat in the lineup next year (actually, yesterday). If Mesoraco does not pan out—next year—they are in a world of hurt because Scott Rolen sure as hell isn’t going to pan out in the middle of the lineup, and I wouldn’t bet the farm Stubbs is either. This team doesn’t have an option there. They aren’t going to sign one on the free agent market either. I’d much rather convince TB to take Grandal, Alonso, and really try to sweeten it with something of value after that if necessary (i.e., instead of Alonso+Mesoraco, give Alonso+Grandal+Wood, for example). Maybe that won’t get it done, I don’t know. If it takes someone like Hamilton, so be it, or whatever. I’m obviously not privy to the talks. If they demand Alonso+Mesoraco and won’t back off at all, then there’s a standoff.

  90. OhioJim

    Riddle me this. How highly rated is Meso within the Reds org if just 13+ months ago they spent the 12th overall pick in the draft on Grandal and ponied up the money to sign him?

    If I am sittting in Tampa Bay or elsewhere doing evaluation, isn’t this probably one of the first questions I ask myself?

    I understand that Meso supposedly had a breakthrough season last year and has continued it this year but still I would be very careful about over valuing him.

    If I am the Reds and somebody insists on Meso for the guy I feel I have to have I let him go and figure a way to bridge the year or so until Grandal is likely to be MLB ready. For one thing Hanigan is already under contract through that period; so it should not be that hard to find a journeyman to catch 2 or 3 days a week to fill the void.

    BTW, under the draft rules, isn’t Grandal still untradable until after the end of the 2011 season or thereabouts?

    • AnnapolisHoosier

      Riddle me this. How highly rated is Meso within the Reds org if just 13+ months ago they spent the 12th overall pick in the draft on Grandal and ponied up the money to sign him?

      If I am sittting in Tampa Bay or elsewhere doing evaluation, isn’t this probably one of the first questions I ask myself?

      I understand that Meso supposedly had a breakthrough season last year and has continued it this year but still I would be very careful about over valuing him.

      If I am the Reds and somebody insists on Meso for the guy I feel I have to have I let him go and figure a way to bridge the year or so until Grandal is likely to be MLB ready. For one thing Hanigan is already under contract through that period; so it should not be that hard to find a journeyman to catch 2 or 3 days a week to fill the void.

      BTW, under the draft rules, isn’t Grandal still untradable until after the end of the 2011 season or thereabouts?

      Because you take the best player and you never have too many good catches just for this reason, you can use one as a trade chip. Just because they took Grandal doesn’t mean they think less of Mesoroco.

  91. Dave Lowenthal

    @CharlotteNCRedsFan: I watched him over here in AZ in the spring. Just one game, but I was really impressed with him.

  92. Dave Lowenthal

    @OhioJim: First, Grandal had to have been taken with the idea that one of Grandal/Mesoraco would be traded soon. Which is not a bad strategy. If the Reds, say, get Shields out of Alonso and Grandal, Jocketty should be commended for his drafting.

    Second, Grandal can not be technically traded until 8/16 but he can be listed as a PTBNL in a deal, say, tomorrow. PTBNL’s must be resolved within 6 months. At least that’s my understanding. Grandal would be resolved well within that time frame.

  93. Brien Jackson

    @Dave Lowenthal:

    Well certainly. If I’m walt Jocketty I’m not picking up the phone and offering them Mesoraco, and I’m refusing to even consider it at least until the deadline is breathing down my neck or the Rays have another team on the line. Here’s my reasoning in a nutshell:

    A) I’d never consider giving up a prospect like Mesoraco for a pure rental. But Shields becomes the best pitcher on the team right now, and you’re getting him for 3+ years. That’s some big value.

    B) In the worst case scenario, in the 2011-13 window, I think it becomes a lateral move, but the Reds are acquiring the safer player in Shields, because he’s already proven he can get it done.

    C) I think it’s probably likely that Grandal is ready by 2013, maybe even sometime in 2012. And I think Ryan Hannigan can be a fine bridge to that point. Certainly good enough if I get a pitcher like Shields in return for it.

    D) For full disclosure, though I very much like prospects and fully believe you have to build any team around cheap young talent to some extent, I’m also pretty inclined to be aggressive about using them to acquire commodities like Shields when they come along. I think that’s because I’m somewhat less of a ceiling guy on prospects once they get to the high minors, and start to look at their flaws a bit more than when they’re baby baseballers.

  94. CP

    @OhioJim: I really don’t think baseball works that way (that just seems like a very football-type approach to the draft). It may have merit, because Mesoraco was struggling, but a lot of teams take a saturation approach to positions like catcher and pitcher. I remember seeing that the Yankees have 4 catchers in their top 10 prospects, and all the rest were pitchers. The nice thing about the catchers is that they can usually be moved out to third base, first base, corner OF spots because they have good arms and are usually above average heads. Unlike the pitchers. 😀

  95. CP

    @Brien Jackson: I pretty much agree with all that. I’m certainly trying to keep Mesoraco. I’m a little more aggro about pursuing the trade early though because its so favorable for 3+ years and I’d prefer just to shut teams out. I still have more than a little disbelief the Rays would get rid of him.

  96. OhioJim

    @Dave Lowenthal: So the official post draft no trade window is 14 months but functionally it is more like 8?

    I know you are looking at that 2012-13 window of opportunity and deciding hold onto Mesoraco because he seeminly fits it and Grandal doesn’t.

    I’m thinking if one has to go, keep the one with the highest projected ceiling which I am guessing is Grandal who I believe is probably already seen as the better receiver of the 2.

    Given the program he played for and the level of competition it played at, projections on Grandal are likely to be more accurate than projections on; and, based on his progress to date he is unlikely to require as much time as AAA as Meso has.

    I am by no means running down Meso here; and, I wouldn’t trade him unless it was the right deal and would only work with him in it (or Grandal).

    I just believe that top of the heap catchers are probably second only to top of the rotation pitchers when it comes to difficulty in finding one. So of the two, keep the one the org sees with the highest top end and find a way to make that work.

  97. Brien Jackson

    @CP:

    It’s a very good move for the Rays. Shields is very good, yes, but he’s getting expensive to them, and they have some REAL holes in their lineup they just don’t have anyone in the system to fill. On the other hand, they do have some pretty good pitching talent in the system. So they basically just have to hope those guys can make the jump, like they did with Hellickson over the winter, and if they can do that and the Rays can fill their 1B/C holes by dealing Shields, it’s a very good long term move for Tampa. And Tampa always has to be thinking with an eye towards the long term.

  98. CP

    @OhioJim: I’m a little curious why you think Grandal has the higher ceiling. Meso is rated higher in probably 9 out of every 10 rankings I’ve seen. The big thing is Grandal is a more polished receiver supposedly but that Meso is more athletic, currents hits better, and is projected to keep improving. Grandal pretty much is topped out at 20 homeruns. Not that the projections are 100% obviously.

  99. CP

    You can really tell by my spelling that I’ve been studying for the bar for the last 11 hours.

  100. ohtheusual

    Its 2 AM, I’m not wafting through 100 + comments to make sure my two cents hasn’t already been said. If it has, I guess this could be disregarded.

    I know we don’t want to give up Mesoraco because he is ML ready. Grandal is just as good of a prospect, but Meso will help us immediately. That is the problem. Meso will help Tampa Bay immediately, which is what they’d want. Grandal would be nice for them, just like he is for us. But, if they’re trading Shields, its just as much for this year as the future, which means they want someone to start tomorrow (Mesoraco). What I think could be ideal would be to shop em Alonso, Grandal AND Hernandez. Hernandez gives them a better hitting catcher than they’ve got for the rest of this year, at least–Grandal in the future. A bit too idealistic, I think, as that would still leave them with a void next year, unless they are as big on the scrap heap as Jockety, and think that Hernandez will be reliable next year too.

    I think if you want Shields, you’ll probably have to give up Mesoraco. I like Shields, I think if we were to get him it would help our playoff rotation. But losing Mesoraco hurts our chances of actually getting to the playoffs. Hate to say that a AAA player would help us get to the playoffs more than a legit ace, but This offense is awful. And not just because of what has happened since the all star break. It was unreliable last year, and its even more unreliable this year. We just used to get lucky.

  101. Brandon Blakeman

    @Brien Jackson: I’m going to make an educated guess and say that you have never seen Mesoraco play in a game before, because if you had seen him play you would not think for one second about including him in any deal. Go watch him play a few times and you will see that he has a presence on the diamond that is unique unto itself. This guy is the future captain of this team, and I would hate to see him shipped off to St. Pete because we wanted to try and win for the next three years that we are guaranteed to have Votto. We were given a promise by ownership that we were building to have a team that not only would be competitive now, but for many years to come; you can’t do that by trading special talents like Mesoraco.

  102. Travis G.

    I wouldn’t trade Mesoraco for Shields unless it was straight-up, which the Rays wouldn’t do. But our surplus matches up real nicely with the Rays’ needs. They need a C + 1B, and we’ve got some nice second-tier prospects to sweeten the deal (Francisco could play DH for TB, for example).

    I don’t see the Rays dealing Shields to a team they’ll be chasing in the standings the next three years, so I think we can rule out the Yankees. The Rangers’ best prospects are mostly pitchers or OF, which the Rays don’t need, so the only other team I could see beating us out would be the Royals, which isn’t as far-fetched as it might seem but still unlikely. I really think this will get done as long as Tampa Bay doesn’t insist on Mesoraco + Alonso.

    At least, I hope we don’t have to do that. Based on what I’ve read about him, Mesoraco seems like he could be a Brian McCann-type of player. That’s awfully valuable.

  103. Dave Lowenthal

    @Brien Jackson: You do make a very compelling argument.

    Of course, you’re a Yankees fan who wants Shields out of your division, right? 🙂

  104. Dave Lowenthal

    @Travis G.: If we knew Mesoraco would be Brian McCann, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. The issue is that Mesoraco isn’t in any way guaranteed to be that good.

    • Travis G.

      @Travis G.: If we knew Mesoraco would be Brian McCann, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. The issue is that Mesoraco isn’t in any way guaranteed to be that good.

      Of course there’s no guarantee. That’s why I used the weasel words “could be” and “McCann-type,” because scouting is an inexact science. But based on the information we have available, I would not trade Mesoraco for Shields unless it was a one-for-one deal. Which I’m pretty certain wouldn’t happen.

  105. AnnapolisHoosier

    I personally think we need Shields and Pence and I believe everybody AAA and below should be available except Mesoroco.

  106. Matt WI

    FWIW: Shields pitched in the 8th last night, out-dueling CC and gave up only 1 run to the Yanks.

  107. dn4192

    Okay so many view our AAA catcher as the next big thing, untradeable and destine for future greatness. So if that is the case, how long do we have to wait?

    • secondguessingfanbase

      Okay so many view our AAA catcher as the next big thing, untradeable and destine for future greatness.So if that is the case, how long do we have to wait?

      That’s a question for Walt Jocketty. The Reds should have gotten a look at Mesoraco already, but they aren’t trading him, that is a surety.

      • dn4192

        That’s a question for Walt Jocketty. The Reds should have gotten a look at Mesoraco already, but they aren’t trading him, that is a surety.

        I would really hope that Walt would open to trading anyone in the minors for the right major league player.

  108. secondguessingfanbase

    @Matt WI: 117 pitches for Shields last night. That wouldn’t go over well with Reds fans.

  109. CharlotteNCRedsFan

    @Dave Lowenthal: I opine that it won’t happen for the simple reason there has been way too much speculation about it. Not Walt’s style. By the first of August, Hunter Pence will be sporting a Reds’ uni. Just a prediction as I have not been consulted by the Reds’ brain trust. Not a real smart move on their part (to not seek my input). 😀

  110. secondguessingfanbase

    @Dave Lowenthal: The Reds need a catcher of the future, they have one ML ready, potentially middle of the order caliber which is exactly what the Reds are shopping for as we speak, and will have him under their control for years to come. These players come to mind:

    Jay Bruce
    Joey Votto
    Johnny Cueto
    Soon to come: Drew Stubbs

    Edinson isn’t a former Reds prospect but they did offer him a contract at a time when any player’s stock would be low in order to gain control over a pitcher in his prime years before he puts up big numbers and moves on to the American League East. At least that’s what they were thinking when they offered him that small deal this offseason.

    In layman’s terms, no way he gets traded. It will not happen, although I feel Dev is the only obvious untouchable in the system and other touted parts could be shipped out.

  111. Steve Mancuso

    New lineup today. Looks like Jay Bruce is benched for overthrowing the cutoff *again* on Wednesday in Pittsburgh. Baker has Heisey in RF and also has him leading off with Stubbs batting lower. Rolen is out again (he did start on Wednesday) with Cairo at 3B.

    1. Heisey RF
    2. Cozart SS
    3. Votto 1B
    4. Phillips 2B
    5. Lewis LF
    6. Stubbs CF
    7. Cairo 3B
    8. Hanigan C
    9. Arroyo P

    • CharlotteNCRedsFan

      New lineup today. Looks like Jay Bruce is benched for overthrowing the cutoff *again* on Wednesday in Pittsburgh. Baker has Heisey in RF and also has him leading off with Stubbs batting lower. Rolen is out again (he did start on Wednesday) with Cairo at 3B.

      1. Heisey RF
      2. Cozart SS
      3. Votto 1B
      4. Phillips 2B
      5. Lewis LF
      6. Stubbs CF
      7. Cairo 3B
      8. Hanigan C
      9. Arroyo P

      The right lineup (if only):
      Lewis – LF
      Cozart-SS
      Votto-1B
      Phillips- 2B
      Heisey-RF
      Cairo-3B
      Hanigan-C
      Stubbs-CF
      Bailey-P*

      (*) Should skip Arroyo this cycle and let the rest of the starter stay on a 5-day rotation. Can’t afford not to take advantage of any opportunities, for an edge, at this point. But I guess no sense of urgency is necessary at this point – being only 4 games out. 🙄

  112. RedLegHerrm

    @Steve Mancuso: The Bruce benching is a bit concerning considering he’s 5-9 against Jurgens lifetime. We all know how much Dusty loves to use lifetime ABs against as reasoning for who plays, so this makes me think something’s wrong with Jay.

  113. HeiseyOnLife

    Reds and Rays fan here who has seen most Shields (and Reds) starts. Shields only weakness (although a pretty major one, esp at GABP) is an average-at-best fastball leading to a high HR/FB%. Other than that he is just awesome: a devastating CH, the best RHP pickoff move in baseball, 7 CG so fewer CoCo-induced heart attacks, super high pitching IQ, and a competitor deserving of Big Game James nickname. He’d be a great addition not only b/c of his game but his ability to take Cueto to next level. By this I mean increasing his SwStr% and K/9 by honing and increasing the use of his change. Even with Cueto’s 54% GB rate paired with our D a BABIP of .217 just isn’t sustainable and his CH has too much potential to only throw it 10% of the time (Shields throws his 28%).

    As for trade terms, Alonso, Grandal, and Hernandez for Shields might work if the $$ is ok. Rays aren’t quite done this season and have a completely useless C in Kelly Shoppach and REALLY need power now and later.

  114. CP

    @Steve Mancuso: ESPN is saying he’s out due to a minor injury/illness. If the missed cutoff is the reason, then lol Dusty. I can’t imagine Dusty sitting Bruce when he’s 5-9 against him.

    @secondguessingfanbase: You are really going out on the limb there. There’s probably a < 5% chance of a major trade going down with Cincy involved, then about the same odds for Mesoraco to be involved (probably more actually but even if its like 50% for Mesoraco to be involved in a the big trades, it'd reduce the odds to something like 2.5%).

    I wonder how the Rangers feel about trading Justin Smoak for Cliff Lee? It's an imperfect analysis (because the Reds would hopefully be going after a long-term solution versus a rental), but its a pretty apt comparison too because the Rangers also had Mitch Moreland, a lesser prospect versus the "can't miss" guy. Oh…and what division is Seattle and Texas in again?

  115. Dave Lowenthal

    @HeiseyOnLife: MLBTR said now Rays want 2 prospects and three ML ready players. I have no idea what that means. I mean, Edgar Renteria is major league ready.

    • CharlotteNCRedsFan

      MLBTR said now Rays want 2 prospects and three ML ready players.

      Yeah right. That should end any more talks of Shields joining the Legs!

  116. Dave Lowenthal

    @CP: Dusty would not bench Bruce for overthrowing the cutoff man. I mean, if so, he’d have had to bench Phillips for a week for his escapades on the bases in Philly.

    • CharlotteNCRedsFan

      @Dave Lowenthal:

      @CP: Dusty would not bench Bruce for overthrowing the cutoff man.I mean, if so, he’d have had to bench Phillips for a week for his escapades on the bases in Philly.

      Agreed. If we start benching guys for bonehead baserunning and fielding, I don’t think we could field 8 players.

  117. cliff

    I feel like if you have a catcher putting up an OPS of almost .900 at age 23 in triple-a ball you’re very reluctant to deal him. You hold onto him for the same reason other teams want to acquire him, for what he could become.

    In my opinion, using the argument that a prospect might not live up to the hype and is worth dealing for someone who is “proven” is like saying you might not buy a Honda in favor of a porshe because it’s less likely to give you engine problems. The minor chance you might be right is more than offset by the huge cost/money pit you’re potentially investing in.

    Basically, yes shields is more “proven” but if he turns out to be a bum or injury bust once he gets here, we are stuck with a pitcher who we either don’t exercise his options and look like we got fleeced, or paying tenmillion (or about 11% of payroll) for another Bronson. It’s easier to absorb a busted prospect than to absorb a busted multi-millionaire pitcher.

    The drop-off in “known-quantity-ness” from devin to Yasmani is great enough, in my opinion, to pull the trigger however.

  118. HeiseyOnLife

    @cliff: What if the contract comes with a club-option to look like we got fleeced?

  119. cliff

    If we trade for shields, those options are pretty much no longer options. They way the Reds organization is run, they will pick up each and every one as long as he is healthy. Something about not admitting they made a mistake. See Renteria, Edgar and Gomes, Jonny.

  120. cmedley81

    This is only my opinion so dont flip out, but i believe jockety is more likely to trade meso than grandal. Jockety has shown to want to use the players he has aquirred rather than players that were brought in before he was there. Look back at how long it took to get heisey in the line-up while gomes was hitting .180 or so. So I believe he is looking to keep grandal and using meso as his biggest trading chip. And also dont think teams would be considering trading players like ubaldo or shields for anything less. If it was us in selling mode would we want to give up Cueto for anything less than a #1 prospect like meso and more prospects? I think NOT. I dont think it would happen but if we could get shields for meso and a couple other prospects, but keep alonso, grandal, and hamilton, then we should pull the trigger. I just dont want to see meso and alonso in the same deal.