From the Cincinnati Enquirer:

The question for the Reds this offseason is how to compete next year with an $85 million payroll.

Toward that end, they must 1.) Play the odds, and 2.) Make sure the entire organization is on board with the plan.

An $85 million payroll is enough to compete, but you’ve got to spend it smartly.

Erardi makes the points (sometimes by inference) a number of us have been saying for almost the entire second half of the season …..

– There is a disconnect in philosophy/planning between the front office and the field staff. Walt either needs to get Dusty on board or get rid of him. What happened this year cannot continue into next year.
– You cannot pay players on the back end of their careers for what they HAVE done, you must pay them for what they WILL do. If they want to play here, they have to adjust their expectations to this team’s financial situation.
– There is no one on this roster that should be above being considered to be moved for the right deal.
– Smart teams that aren’t afraid of making tough decisions can compete, but they can’t afford to make expensive mistakes.

Read the article, it’s worth your time.

I’ve been a Reds fan since the late ’60’s, with my luck of being able to attend plenty of games at Riverfront during the BRM era. I was sitting in the Green Seats in the OF when Pete came home in ’84 and was in the Red seats when Glenn Braggs reached over the fence in ’90 to beat the Pirates. I have had many favorites from Jim Maloney to Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin, Adam Dunn, and Jay Bruce.

Join the conversation! 43 Comments

  1. I agree with everything said here and in the article. Let’s hope the front office gets this.

    IMO Volquez should have came back to the majors in the bullpen in Sept with Chapman starting his games.

  2. Here’s my guess. Reds will ask BP to tear up the option and instead do a 3-year deal which sums up to 3 years and 36 million with some deferred. BP will say no, wanting a longer deal (5-7 years). Both parties will fail to agree and he will be gone after 2012, and maybe sooner if the team feels it will be a distraction. I see him as the type who would hold out of spring training if he doesn’t have a deal.

  3. Nowhere did I see him inferring that Dusty should be fired, nor did I read that he wants to let Cordero walk. Rather, he’s willing to give Cordero a $6 million retirement gift while not being willing to pay the most consistently productive second baseman in the NL. His logic is convoluted. Regardless, it’s up to Uncle Walt to wake up from his nap, assess the situation properly, and actively pursue a top tier starter.

  4. I’m spamming this over here from another thread: If the Reds were to truly think like the Rays, they would trade Votto to Seattle for Michael Pineda, Brandon League and a position player prospect (it wouldn’t be Ackley) or two, which would allow them to buy out Cordero and use the savings to sign a LF bat (Cuddyer’s a pretty good option, since he can play a little 3B). Then they’d let Phillips walk after next season, collect the comp picks and use those savings to pay over slot on the guy(s) they drafted.

    I don’t see any sense in trading Chapman unless they plan to use him out of the bullpen again. If that’s the plan, wouldn’t they have to see if they could turn a 60-inning pitcher into an elite position player — which some team would absolutely be willing to give up for Chapman?

    • I don’t see any sense in trading Chapman unless they plan to use him out of the bullpen again. If that’s the plan, wouldn’t they have to see if they could turn a 60-inning pitcher into an elite position player — which some team would absolutely be willing to give up for Chapman?

      The point made in the article is that Chapman will make more money between now and 2016 than he is worth because the Reds have mismanaged his development. If the Reds try Chapman as a starter now, he probably won’t develop into that ace pitcher during the life of his Reds contract.

  5. Has there been anything from the Reds organization since Dusty and Walt took over that leads anyone to think anything is going to change. Men of their age are set in their ways and are going to go about things the same way they always have. I don’t see any major changes this offseason, the “verbage” will be we just need to return to the play we did in 2010 and keep players healthy.

    Dusty doesn’t like youth if given another option and Walt is to scared to trade the youth as he might need it.

  6. @Sultan of Swaff: I didn’t see anything in the article that went as far as saying Baker should be fired, but the disconnect was alluded to multiple times, including “Whatever the Reds do, the entire organization must be on board with it. The final month of this season was an almost total waste of time from an organizational standpoint.”

    And I didn’t read the article to say not to re-sign Phillips, but rather that he should not be signed at that rate of money for more than 3 years. “Smart analysis says that Datdude may be valuable for another year or two, but a team like the Reds can’t get in the business of signing players over 30 to long-term deals. Signing him beyond 2014 is not a risk worth taking.”

  7. I agree that a team like the Reds has to play the odds. The question is what are the odds. Coco was an effective closer this year. He probably will be an effective closer next year. He finds ways to save games. No one is perfect. (yes, Paplebon, I’m looking at you) After next year the odds get worse and worse. The best case is to extend CoCo for one year. A two year deal an acceptable if not that attractive. I don’t think he will take it so I think you have to hang tough. Next yr only with a new, hopefully smart manager who will be trying out others for the closers role. On Brandon a two year deal is best. The Reds best shot for the post season is 2012 and 2013. It doesn’t look too good after that. Brandon is not going to sign a 2 year deal. Having Brandon’s contract on the books after 2013 is not going to be a very good return on your money. It also may well not matter. I don’t think the Reds are going to be very relevant in 2014, 2015, 2016. If I had to choose between a one year and a five year deal (which is what Brandon will probably insist on I would go for one.

    I’m not sure whether Dusty and Walt are or aren’t on the same page. At least I know what page Dusty is on. He is pretty consistent. And I disagree with it completely. I don’t know what page Walt is on.

    Remember, if you think it is hard to be a Reds fan, be glad you are not a Red Sox fan.

  8. Speaking of odds, the odds said getting Carl Crawford would be a good idea if the money was right. Some here even recommended it no matter the cost. Carl Crawford was not a good idea at any price. He was even seriously outperformed by Chris Heisey this year.

  9. I don’t think the point is that Dusty should be fired. The point is that the GM and the Manager are on the same page. One of them has to change. Ultimately, everyone in the organization has to do what’s best for the Reds and their fans. Unfortunately this didn’t seem to happen this last month. We were out of contention. We should have used the time to hold an early spring training and answer some questions. For some reason this didn’t happen and I think we’ll see the effects of this missed opportunity bleed into next year.

  10. @Big_Red_Fan: And it might be a fair assumption that the power(s) higher than WJ actually are more of a mind similar to Dusty than to WJ but trust WJ to run the overall organization. That would certainly go a ways towards explaining why both Walt and Dusty are back. The owner(s) wants them both; and thus the one that would normally have the leverage to force a change of behavior from the manager or put a different manager in the position does not have that leverage. I guess the question might be why did he just accept a new 3 year deal??

  11. @Travis G.: Well the good thing is that the Reds don’t have think exactly like the Rays. That extra $40 million does have some benefits. The bad thing is that the Reds are completely inept at utilizing the extra money.

    Sometimes I think the Reds would be better off with a hard $60 million payroll, with the big contracts going to Votto, Bruce, Cueto, Chapman, and “Pitcher to be traded for”. Like you mentioned, anything the Reds save should go into signing actual elite draft picks. Everyone else should be a recent Louisville Riverbat. Occasionally a veteran player could be signed but only for 2 years or less.

    When you look over at the Rays and see that the largest Rays’ contract on the roster is $5.2 million, it really makes you sad to see Bronson’s money sucking contract on the payroll.

  12. Because he thinks Dusty will only be around for 1 more season…

  13. The disconnect between front office and field staff might be less Jocketty and more Bob. I believe it was Ken Rosenthal that talked about that at the deadline it was Castellini who didn’t want to trade the veterans. Now, maybe Jocketty was on board for that as well, but I doubt it otherwise the news wouldn’t have gotten out. This isn’t the first time an owner has stepped in for the Reds and kept the GM from doing the job he was hired to do. I am sure it won’t be the last. But I really dislike when it happens. I know he owns the team and can do what he wants…. but it just rubs me the wrong way. If you want to play GM, become the GM. If not, let the guy you hired be the GM.

  14. @Doug Gray: You may be correct. In the last week or so of the season, the pregame radio sessions between Marty/ Jim Kelch and Dusty were pretty interesting as Dusty somewhat stepped out of his “players’ manager” public persona and talked openly about what he did not like about 2011 and what needed to change come 2012 (without of course naming names out loud).

    He sounded very much like a man that would have no problem moving someone he had admonished (in private) and who had not heeded his words. I think part of Dusty’s problem this year may have been a disconnect that some of the players did not understand that just because he had their backs did not mean they had a pass not to do what he said or perform to their best. It sounded like they were being set straight in his personal exit interviews.

  15. On the bright side…

    Reds Extend Streak Of Not Finishing Last
    The Reds’ third-place finish in the NL Central extended their streak of not finishing last to 28 years, the majors’ longest active run.
    Conversely, the Orioles finished last in the AL East for the fourth consecutive year

  16. @Doug Gray: I agree I don’t think its a good thing for owners to get involved in day-to-day operations especially when they try to keep someone who isn’t worth the money just because they have a “gut feeling” about them. These things rarely work out well. I think that the article highlights the fact that the Reds need to have system based on a mixture of good quantitative measures and sound judgement.

  17. I really have a hard time with suppositions about who did what, when there is really no hard data. Has Castellini really stepped in and adamantly refused to trade veterans? Over has much of a push back from whom? Where does Rosenthal get that? How reliable is it? I think it is healthy to have a lot of back and forth with everybody having input. If Castellini was really cramping Walt wishes, why would he sign on for more of that? I think Walt knows he could have a job somewhere else if he wanted it. I also think if Walt felt strongly about something he could sell it. I think Walt has been confused as to which way to go and may not have made up his mind even yet. It may have been hard not to go in 2011 with what looked pretty good in 2010. That seemed rational to me at the time. But as we know in hindsight it didn’t work out well. This off season may be a little different because 2011 didn’t look all that good and there may be more of a wish and the will to make some bigger changes. Hopefully they will be the right ones.

  18. @RedBlooded: The apparent divergences between WJ and DB are there on the public record starting with the signings of Lewis and Renteria last off season and continuing right on through the use (non use) of Alonso after he was brought up. Walt paints one picture to the media and within a few days Dusty is painting and acting out a different picture. It is pretty hard not to speculate just what was really going on behind the scenes.

  19. shouldn’t we be past the payroll excuse…there is revenue sharing and there is also enough proof out there that the amount of money you spend isn’t the issue…the issue is how you spend said money and how much better you evaluate talent than other teams…

    • shouldn’t we be past the payroll excuse…there is revenue sharing and there is also enough proof out there that the amount of money you spend isn’t the issue…the issue is how you spend said money and how much better you evaluate talent than other teams…

      Well, you can win with less payroll but there’s no margin for error.
      The Yankees could pay Coco $20 million guaranteed, realize he stinks, and go trade or sign someone else. The Reds can’t do that.

      Coco is gonna stink.
      Rolen is not going to put up good numbers and will not stay healthy.
      Arroyo is gonna stink.
      There’s a lot of sunk cost if they hang on to these guys.
      One has to be ruthless running a small market team.

      • Coco is gonna stink.
        Rolen is not going to put up good numbers and will not stay healthy.
        Arroyo is gonna stink.
        There’s a lot of sunk cost if they hang on to these guys.
        One has to be ruthless running a small market team.

        And I don’t think that either the on or off the field management has the resolve to operate in that fashion. WJ just cannot bring himself to this reality and the above example of the Rolen and Arroyo contracts are prime examples. If he does the same with Coco and Phillips this team is in trouble for years to come.

        Dusty is too busy trying to be friends with the players to realize that it’s blinding him to what’s really happening on the field. Overconfidence in veteran players to live up to the back of their baseball cards is riding a dead horse when these players aren’t on the juice as in the past.

        Phillips is playing great but for how long and more than the Reds should pay.
        Coco is still a viable reliever but not at 12 mil.
        Your stuck with Rolen and Arroyo and now have to figure out how best to maximize what’s left in the tank without exposing them over the limits of what they got left in the tank. Rolen can’t play every day anymore and Arroyo should now be in the pen even though he vastly over paid to be a reliever.

        YOUR STUCK WITH THESE MISTAKES LEARN FROM THEM.

      • Well, you can win with less payroll but there’s no margin for error.The Yankees could pay Coco $20 million guaranteed, realize he stinks, and go trade or sign someone else. The Reds can’t do that.Coco is gonna stink.Rolen is not going to put up good numbers and will not stay healthy.Arroyo is gonna stink.There’s a lot of sunk cost if they hang on to these guys.One has to be ruthless running a small market team.

        Bronson has 1 down season due to health and he is now labled as going to stink here on out? Really?

    • shouldn’t we be past the payroll excuse…there is revenue sharing and there is also enough proof out there that the amount of money you spend isn’t the issue…the issue is how you spend said money and how much better you evaluate talent than other teams…

      The only difference payroll size makes is the amount/size of the mistakes you can make and still be competitive.

  20. @David: Very sadly, I think this is close to correct. He could do it in the last year or two of the contract. The Reds are simply pathetic.

    Given that, I would definitely be open to trading Chapman. He’s not going to be a Red beyond 2016. I’ve said this many times in the past, also, that I’d trade him in a second for someone like Shields.

  21. @RedBlooded: How is “effective closer” defined?

    Is it save percentage? If so, I believe that with normal luck this year Cordero would have been down around 80%, and he’s getting older. I submit that he is likely to not be effective next year. Personally, I would not keep him at all. Kept for 4 million, it’s not good (IMO), but not a horrible disaster, but there’s no way that’s happening, it’ll be more than double that, and we all know it.

  22. @Dave Lowenthal: over half ($16M) of Chapman’s money is in the form of a signing bonus being paid out at 1.25M to 1.5M a year from the signing date through 2020. We have no way of knowing if that is a sunken cost to the Reds or whether the future payments on the bonus would go with Chapman if he were traded.

    He is signed through the 2015 season BUT the last year ($5M) is a one way player option. As I count it, with his time in the minors in 2010, he won’t be free agent eligible by his choice any sooner than after the 2016 season (under the contract there are mechanisms/ metrics that could void the contract for arbitration as soon as he has service time to become arb eligible. The way things have unfolded that looks like after the 2013 season at the earliest. Obviously, a team could nontender him at that point thus making him a FA).

    So it is difficult to say there will be costs saved by trading him. That said, if there is a deal to be made for an established mid career #2 for Chapman and not much more, I’d take if some of the outstanding signing bonus could be moved with him.

  23. @OhioJim: I didn’t know any of that. Where do I get the details?

  24. @Dave Lowenthal:
    Dave – Cots seems to be the definitive source many use.
    http://mlbcontracts.blogspot.com/

    Aroldis Chapman lhp
    6 years/$30.25M (2010-15)
    signed by Cincinnati as an amateur free agent 1/11/10

    -$16.25M signing bonus($1.5M at signing; $1.5M each Nov. 1, 2010-13; $1.25M each Nov. 1, 2014-20)
    -10:$1M, 11:$1M, 12:$2M, 13:$2M, 14:$3M, 15:$5M player option
    -Chapman must decide whether to accept or decline 2015 player option within 5 days after end of
    2014 World Series
    -if Chapman qualifies for arbitration after 2012, $5M is converted to a bonus and he becomes
    arbitration-eligible
    -if Chapman qualifies for arbitration after 2013, $3M is converted to a bonus and he becomes
    arbitration-eligible

  25. @doctor: Makes me wonder if his odd year of bullpen work wasn’t on purpose. Get him big league experience but on the wrong track. Then you buy more time when you have to move him to the SP role.

    • @doctor: RE: Chapman “Makes me wonder if his odd year of bullpen work wasn’t on purpose.Get him big league experience but on the wrong track.Then you buy more time when you have to move him to the SP role”.

      This thought has crossed my mind also; however, it was pretty apparent he was not MLB ready at the start of 2010; and he also wasn’t going to make super 2 either as a starter, so I doubt it

  26. @brm7675: Yeah because having mono in March made him pitch terribly even after he was better. If there was something else wrong with him all year or by some medical miracle the mono effected him for 6 months he shouldn’t have been out there every fifth day serving up home runs.

    • Yeah because having mono in March made him pitch terribly even after he was better. If there was something else wrong with him all year or by some medical miracle the mono effected him for 6 months he shouldn’t have been out there every fifth day serving up home runs.

      I’m not too worried about him next year, because he’s motivated to get himself healthy and ready, and I trust him to do just that. But I can’t believe the Reds didn’t give him any time off when he was diagnosed with mono, and I can’t believe he let his “no missed starts” streak hurt the team so bad. I had mono when I was 19, when I was about as healthy and strong as I’ve ever been, and it knocked me out completely for a month (in the summertime, no less), and I was feeling the effects for two or three months after that. And I was just a college student, not a professional athlete.

    • @SirRibShack
      : Yeah because having mono in March made him pitch terribly even after he was better. If there was something else wrong with him all year or by some medical miracle the mono effected him for 6 months he shouldn’t have been out there every fifth day serving up home runs.

      You don’t get over mono in a month, you are looking at a possible 3-4 month time period to get over it and be fully recovered and that is if you don’t go out and get physical and pitch every 5th day in what had to be one of the hottest summers in years. If you DL him for those 3-4 months who do you pitch?

  27. @rightsaidred:
    I understand your point but I think that type of manuevering can be accomplished much easier by having Chapman pitch at AAA and developing as a starter. Unless they wanted to keep him under the eye of Price for some reason the entire season. Regardless, at least the Reds org seemingly have corrected themselves to give Chapman a shot at being a starting pitcher.

    Go 2012 Reds!

  28. @Travis G.: That’s exactly my point. I had it when I was 15 and had it pretty bad. I missed three weeks and when I came back it was probably another two weeks before I was the same (maybe even more time then that). I gave him the benefit of the doubt the first two months but after that you either need to sit and get better physically or pitch better. He did neither and it worries me that he might have gotten that bad.

    • @Travis G.: That’s exactly my point. I had it when I was 15 and had it pretty bad. I missed three weeks and when I came back it was probably another two weeks before I was the same (maybe even more time then that). I gave him the benefit of the doubt the first two months but after that you either need to sit and get better physically or pitch better. He did neither and it worries me that he might have gotten that bad.

      Athletes are not going to remove themselves from playing…ever, that is why you have Managers, GM’s and team doctors. Why didn’t they just tell Bronson at the start of the season, hey we are going to DL until say July and let you rest and get better? Why didn’t they DL say sometime in July or such.

  29. With Bronson, even assuming he can put forth his “average” year, its more an issue that his contract stinks. The Reds are paying something like $12 million a season for a league average pitcher. They could be pitching someone with actual upside, like Travis Wood, for $500k. Or use that $12 million to pay for a pitcher who is above average or even elite. Instead, the Reds will pay Bronson for sucking up innings, complain that they don’t have enough money to make big acquisitions, and wonder why they’re in the bottom half of pitching in the NL year after year.

    • With Bronson, even assuming he can put forth his “average” year, its more an issue that his contract stinks. The Reds are paying something like $12 million a season for a league average pitcher. They could be pitching someone with actual upside, like Travis Wood, for $500k. Or use that $12 million to pay for a pitcher who is above average or even elite. Instead, the Reds will pay Bronson for sucking up innings, complain that they don’t have enough money to make big acquisitions, and wonder why they’re in the bottom half of pitching in the NL year after year.

      I guess I am in the minority but have no issue with 12 million dollars going to a pitcher you know is going to take the mound every 5th day, get you 200+ innings, and more time then not keep your team in the game. Given the youth of the majority of our pitchers, a veteran like Bronson is in valuable to a team like the Reds who “can” afford Bronson and his contract.

  30. Well, Francona is no longer the Red Sox’s manager. I’d love Francona in Cincinnati.

    • Well, Francona is no longer the Red Sox’s manager. I’d love Francona in Cincinnati.

      Why? He was look at as a “players” manager in Boston, which is what we have here now. What makes Terry any different then Dusty?

      • Why?He was look at as a “players” manager in Boston, which is what we have here now.What makes Terry any different then Dusty?

        Well for one thing he actually won the last game of the World Series twice instead of being involved in a meltdown loss of what should have been the last game then also losing the next day.

  31. @doctor: Just back on from last night. Yes on Cot’s for contract details.

    Right now the service times are still as of the end of the 2010 season. So add accordingly.

Comments are closed.

About Bill Lack

I've been a Reds fan since the late '60's, with my luck of being able to attend plenty of games at Riverfront during the BRM era. I was sitting in the Green Seats in the OF when Pete came home in '84 and was in the Red seats when Glenn Braggs reached over the fence in '90 to beat the Pirates. I have had many favorites from Jim Maloney to Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin, Adam Dunn, and Jay Bruce.

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2012 Reds