From a Q & A session he did in Pensacola, where he was touring the new facilities:

Q: How did you feel coming out of winter meetings?

A: For us, it was very frustrating. We tried to do a lot of different things. We still have a lot of things pending. We spent a lot of time and effort trying to get some deals done. We’re looking mainly for pitching, so I think we made enough progress that we may be able to do some things in the next few weeks, next few days.

Q: Do you feel pretty good about something happening in the next few weeks?

A: There are two deals we can do right now, but it would probably take a lot of our top prospects and I’m always a little nervous about doing that. So I’ll spend a little more time analyzing that.

Does anyone NOT feel that they have to make a big deal or two to be competitive next year? I’m not saying make ANY deal, but don’t be afraid to make a deal.

53 Responses

  1. per14

    They need to make a move, preferably for either a shortstop or dependable starting pitcher.

    In the last several off-seasons, it seemed WJ was making moves just so he could say he was making moves. This off-season has been somewhat the opposite: glaring holes that need to be filled with no activity whatsoever.

    What do you think the two deals are? One most certainly must involve Alonso.

  2. Matt WI

    Dear Walt, to paraphrase Peter Venkman: “If someone asks you if you want good pitching, you say YES!”

  3. Steve Mancuso

    Yes and no. For the Reds to compete for the NL pennant and World Series, yes, they have to substantially improve with a front-line SP and a RH left-fielder who can bat clean-up.

    But given the Cardinals loss of Pujols and assuming that Fielder doesn’t land in St. Louis or Milwaukee, I think the current Reds team would be competitive in the division. No to mention Braun’s possible 50-game suspension.

    I don’t want Walt to trade away our top prospects for a borderline improvement, like Andrew Bailey or Gio Gonzalez, just to make us feel like we are doing something.

    On the other hand, for a player who could really move the needle, like James Shields, I’d be willing to load up the plane with several of our top players – Alonso and Grandal, for instance, and more.

  4. Aaron Lehr

    WJ is right to worry about trading several top prospects. However, I think the past 2 years clearly illustrated the problem with not having a solid 1-2 punch at the top of your rotation. And last year clearly illustrated the problem with doing nothing.

  5. Myles

    I think one key (assuming Jocketty does actually make a frickin deal this year) is whether he can manage to get a team to take a guy like Homer Bailey (for example) and a top prospect instead of throwing in additional minor league players and prospects. Does he end up with a pitching staff consisting of NewGuy1, NewGuy2, Arroyo, Bailey, Volquez, Wood, Cueto, Chapman, Leake; and then down a bunch of prospects? It’s time to jettison Volquez and maybe a couple of the other wanna-bes that never were.

  6. Sultan of Swaff

    I agree with all the above comments, including Walt being cautious. I believe he is reading the market correctly, that the team w/ prospects to deal and patience will get a better deal in late January. By then, the market for closers will collapse as most teams have filled their needs, so we shouldn’t have to give as much. At the same time, the pressure on teams who needs 4th/5th starter types to eat innings will heat up. Because we’re loaded w/ those guys, we will have more leverage. Neither scenario will necessarily land us a #2, but I believe it strengthens our hand.

  7. BJ Ruble

    I don’t think they HAVE to make a deal. I would like another top of the rotation starter, a reliable guy to end games, and an upgrade at SS/LF but they have enough talent to win the division without doing anything. I like the fact that he is gauging the market rather than jumping at the first deal out there and giving away all your chips for relatively nothing. It may be a case that the Reds don’t make a significant move until midseason.

  8. Greg Dafler

    They don’t HAVE to make a deal to be COMPETITIVE, but they need to make a deal to separate themselves from the considerably weakened Cardinals and Brewers.

    I wonder if part of the wait is getting owners buy-in to increase payroll?

  9. Sultan of Swaff

    What a suckfest! The left side of the Brewers infield in 2012 is going to be Alex Gonzalez and Aramis Ramirez. How can you not like that??

  10. Red Leg Bill

    Walt is the man that made St. Louis a dynasty. He knows that if he trades Alonso, then we have 1 or 2 years to win, but wouldn’t be able to repeat, because Votto is gone in 2 years. He is building for the long term, not the one year wonder.

    That said, I would like to add my 2 cents. If we trade Votto now, it gives us several options. Sign Alonso and Mesaraco to long term contracts and sign Phillips long term as well. Then we can acquire a top level pitcher and a prospect at the 1st base, left field level or a ready for the bigs AAA pitcher for Votto or trade him for someone like Bautista and use the money saved in the short term to sign Oswalt or another good free agent pitcher. If we wait to trade him till 2 years down the road, we will get less for him (Prince Fielder in limbo for example). If teams know they have a couple of years of an inexpensive contract before they have to resign him, they would be willing to give more for him.

    So let’s hear it Reds fans…what do you say?

  11. RedBlooded

    As usual, it all depends. You could get rid of Bailey and he could find his stride. He certainly has shown spurts of being really good. You could get rid of Volquez and he could be fully recovered from his surgery and be what he was two years ago, which was pretty darn good. Chapman could come in as a starter and be lights out. I think Leake will be solid. Wood could be very good. Cozart and Mes could solve our problems at those positions. One of the LF could really impress. Stubbs could put it together, etc. Lots of maybes but some real upside and I think this is a pretty good club as it is. It could be very good. Or it could be mediocre once again. If we get some people in a trade, they could be great or not all that great. Remember Milt Pappas. I would welcome the right trade and I am willing to be patient. I don’t think we are “desperate” and certainly should trade from a position of desperation.

  12. RedBlooded

    @Red Leg Bill: Sign Alonso and Mesaraco to long term contracts?? Based on what? They haven’t even really played in the majors yet. I agree their upside looks good but there can be a lot slip between the cup and the lip. I keep Votto one more year or maybe a year and 1/2. He would look very good to some team trying for the playoffs around mid season of 2013. If it looks like we are headed for the post season in ’12 or ’13 he will look very good being right here. He is the only batter in the lineup that other teams are really afraid of.

  13. Red Leg Bill

    @RedBlooded:

    If you trade him mid-season, you will only get prospects. No one will trade an ace to you in the middle of a playoff run. As far as the prospects being signed long term, the Rays do it. And we take chances in baseball one way or another, so why not take a chance on less money to be able to sign others when needed.

  14. jotaesethegeek

    So…our options are trade (let’s say) Alonso, Grandal, Bailey, Boxberger, Billy Hamilton, and maybe one or two others for…what? James Shields and Gio Gonzalez? No thank you. I don’t take that deal in anyway. I agree with the above commentator…that gives us two years to win, and then we enter another 15 year slump. No thanks. Trade Votto and Volquez for a top notch pitcher, which Shields and Gonzalez are NOT. Volquez just to dump him. OR go for a proven RH power hitter like Batista. Either way. I really think Cueto, Leake, and Chapman can quickly become the best top-3 rotation in the NL…or at least near the top.

    We keep Votto, the Reds have an expiration date…especially if we trade a bunch of young talent for a couple of #2 or 3 starters like Shields and Gio…

    • David

      So…our options are trade (let’s say) Alonso, Grandal, Bailey, Boxberger, Billy Hamilton, and maybe one or two others for…what? James Shields and Gio Gonzalez? No thank you. I don’t take that deal in anyway. I agree with the above commentator…that gives us two years to win, and then we enter another 15 year slump. No thanks. Trade Votto and Volquez for a top notch pitcher, which Shields and Gonzalez are NOT. Volquez just to dump him. OR go for a proven RH power hitter like Batista. Either way. I really think Cueto, Leake, and Chapman can quickly become the best top-3 rotation in the NL…or at least near the top.We keep Votto, the Reds have an expiration date…especially if we trade a bunch of young talent for a couple of #2 or 3 starters like Shields and Gio…

      How about trading Votto, Grandal, Bailey and Wood for Hanley Ramirez, Gaby Sanchez, and Anibal Sanchez? You could then include Cozart, rather than Hamilton in a deal for Price. That would increase salaries by 6.5 million.

      1B – Sanchez
      2B – Phillips
      SS – Ramirez
      3B – Rolen
      LF – Cuddyer
      CF – Stubbs
      RF – Bruce
      C – Mesoraco

      1 – Price
      2 – Cueto
      3 – Sanchez
      4 – Leake
      5 – Arroyo

      I love playing GM!! I only have to be sort of realistic.

  15. jotaesethegeek

    As for Volquez, he has had one good HALF a season (he collapsed in the second half) and has choked in every big game situation he’s been placed in. (loser in All-Star game, loser in playoffs, should have lost opening day). Waste.

  16. dn4192

    I really think this game has passed Walt by and he really has no clue how today’s game is handled both on the field and in the offices. I think he will continue to use the “over priced” excuse throughout this offseason and we will go into 2012 as we did in 2011.

  17. jotaesethegeek

    As for James Shields…look at Bronson’s stats from the same age. Eerily similar. Do we need another Bronson? No.

  18. David

    According to Cots Baseball contracts, the Reds have 47.6 million invested in 8 players (Arroyo, Phillips, Votto, Rolen, Bruce, Cueto, Cairo and Hanigan). Chapman and Alonso are another 3 million. MLBTR estimates arbitration for Bailey (2), Volquez (2.3), and Bray (1). That’s 5.3 million. If all other players make 500,000 or less, we can assume another 6 million to round out the 25 man roster. So, the committed money at this point is 61.9 million.

    We know the Reds needs LF, SS, SP, SP, CL.

    Trade Volquez to the Rockies for Seth Smith, as rumored and pair him with Heisey. Add Michael Cuddyer to the 3 year 3 million deal he is looking for. The team sits at 71.9 million.

    The team needs an experienced guy who can close. Enter Chad Qualls. Is he great? No. Is he sufficient? Yes. He’s as good or better than the remaining FA closers in the Reds’ price range (Aardsma/Cordero). His contract last year was for 1.5 million. The Reds wouldn’t need to worry about closers on the trade market (Bailey/Thornton/Soria – all somewhat damaged goods) costing prospects. Assume a 2.1 million salary based on inflation and closer’s role. Salaries jump to 74 million.

    No. 3 goes to Anibal Sanchez. Sanchez avoided arbitration making 3.7 million. He’s under control for one more season. After a 202K, 3.6 ERA effort in 196 IP, we’ll say he gets a salary bump to 6.50 million. Why stop there? I’m imagining a Reds package including Grandal, Bailey, and Wood. It nets 4.50 to the big league salary when you include Bailey’s salary leaving you at 78.5 million.

    No. 1 starter? James Shields – no thank you. David Price please! Offer Alonso, Francisco, Hamilton and Chapman. The deal actually gives you 1.5 million in salary relief, leaving salaries at 77.

    1B – Votto
    2B – Phillips
    SS – Cozart
    3B – Rolen
    LF – Cuddyer
    CF – Stubbs
    RF – Bruce
    C – Mesoraco

    Bench includes Smith, Heisey, Cairo, Frazier and Hanigan.

    1 – Price
    2 – Cueto
    3 – Sanchez
    4 – Leake
    5 – Arroyo

    Pen includes Bray, Boxberger, Horst, LeCure, Qualls

  19. jotaesethegeek

    One question David-in one year when Rolen retires and 2 years when Votto leaves…how do you fill those two major holes? With Edwin Encarnacion/Wily Mo Pena Jr. (Juan Francisco) and…ummm…who at first?

    I seriously feel if Walt makes a trade dealing Alonso to keep Votto, we will soon be in another stretch of 2000-2009 Reds baseball. Pujols and Fielder have proven we cannot afford Votto. Tampa did the smart thing and took a risk with a guy a few years ago. Rookie year they signed him to a long term low money deal. Evan Longoria appreciated the security, and the Rays have love the money for the contract. Six year, 17.5 million? I offer that or a 7 year 20$ million to Mes and Alonso in a heartbeat. That is the type of risk I take…not “will we have 22 million per year to pay Votto in two years?” Because the answer to that is no.

  20. CP

    @jotaesethegeek: You’re going to need to support this statement. Shields isn’t a power pitcher, but his periphs crush Bronson. You can’t just cherry pick a single year…

  21. jotaesethegeek

    Or…we keep all the trade chips and throw out some money this year and sign Roy Oswalt for a couple years. As much as I’d love price…there is little chance they would ever let him go. 🙂 as for your Mariners trade, that I would do. and then sign Oswalt.

  22. jotaesethegeek

    @CP: I went to baseball reference and compared their W-L, ERA, WHIP, and WAR for their 26-30 years (where Shields is now).

  23. Doug Gray

    Even before the Braun news came out, I felt like we had a solid shot at winning the division with our roster as is. I would like to get in a good starter, but I also don’t think it is something we must acquire to win the division at this point either. Last year, everything that could have gone wrong, did. The odds of that happening again aren’t good. This team, as its built now, has a lot more talent on it from top to bottom, than the 2010 team did and it isn’t really that close IMO. If you are going to make a deal, make it. But don’t overpay just to make the deal.

  24. CP

    I don’t think the Reds have to make a trade to win the division, but it increases the odds pretty significantly. I don’t think they have much of a chance to move further beyond in the playoffs without adding the pitching either. The other issue for me is…if a starting pitcher is going to cost roughtly the same price now versus during the regular season…pay the price now and get max value from him.

    I really think Reds fans are overvaluing our prospects. Mesoraco is the only elite one right now…Yonder is good but his value is in the certainty. Hamilton has a lot of upside but he’s years away from being ready (and could very well never be ready).

  25. hermanbates

    The type of pitcher the reds need is not available. We need a felix, a cc sabathia. not a james shields or gio gonzalez. So what do you do? Trade alonso for carlos quentin. Carlos home run totals wont drop at all. You can put him in the four hole. And if the reds pony up for a pitcher, the pitcher to do it for is danks. But again, im not all for that. Get quentin, put him at clean up. hope chapman is the man.

  26. Dave Lowenthal

    I don’t see how Jocketty can be blamed without knowing what deals are or aren’t on the table. I do know I can blame him
    for things like waiting too long to call up Cozart. And for Dusty. I think. (Is he under orders on that one?)

    However, those here who say that the Reds don’t need another pitcher and that simply all that could go wrong did, I agree that a lot
    went wrong, but I still think that we don’t know what the Reds are competing against yet. The offseason isn’t over. I am *shocked* that Pujols
    is gone. However, what if, say, the Cards signed Fielder? I don’t think it’s incredibly likely, but to say “well, the Reds need to do nothing” assumes that the Cards do nothing else, which is highly unlikely.

    In addition, I still think this team can’t run around with so many interchangeable #3-4 starters.

    As to David’s point, get David Price, I just don’t see that as realistic. I’d also prefer Price to Shields, but the Rays aren’t giving up Shields easily, so I can’t fathom them giving up Price.

    As to the comparison of Arroyo to Shields…what?

  27. BJ Ruble

    What everyone seems to forget is that a couple of years ago Shields was almost dumped out of their rotation because he had around a 5.00 ERA and was getting beat around. He is a nice pitcher, who had an excellent season. Given his age and the amount of innings pitched (30/249) there is a pretty decent chance that he will have a down year this year. Do you really want to give up 2 of your top 5 prospects for a pitcher you will have for two seasons that isn’t that dominate?

    Another thing every seems to forget is that Volquez was better in his last full season before Tommy John surgery than ANYBODY that has been mentioned for trade. He is now almost two years removed from surgery and should be a candidate to significantly improve, plus he is much, much cheaper. His biggest problem is his control; if he gets that down, he is a top of the rotation guy.

  28. BJ Ruble

    And I will agree with whomever compared Shields to Arroyo, if you really look back into Shields previous seasons his stats are pretty similar to what Arroyo’s were at the same ages. You have to look at the whole picture, not just one season, because your eyes and ears can play tricks on you. Shields is basically an innings eater who had a spectacular year in the AL East, so he becomes a sought after pitcher for desperate teams.

  29. CP

    You guys are nuts. Look at the babips, the k/9, the better gb/fb ratios, the fips…

    Looking at ERA, W/L, and WHIP stats does not tell a complete picture.

  30. BJ Ruble

    Ages 26-29, the difference in the WAR of the two is 2.4. Is that really that big a difference. Shields K/9 is slightly better (age 27 were same), BB/9 were roughly similar, HR/9 very similar (except age 29), WAR almost exact (except age 29), ERA very close (except age 29). The only real difference between the two is that Shields had a spectacular age 29 season (last year) and he strikes more guys out. You take age 26-28 they are basically dead even as far as production, so it isn’t that far off…

    All I’m am saying is he really worth at least 2 of your top 5 prospects? Shields is a good pitcher, but he is not worth selling the farm. I just don’t understand why everyone sees him as an ACE when he was almost wrote off two years ago.

    • Travis G.

      Shields is a good pitcher, but he is not worth selling the farm. I just don’t understand why everyone sees him as an ACE when he was almost wrote off two years ago.

      So what? Cliff Lee posted a 6.29 ERA and got sent to the minors in 2007, but he exploded on the scene the next year (at age 29) and has remained one of the best five pitchers in baseball.

      I’m not saying Shields is at Lee’s level, but most of the revealing advanced stats (WHIP, K/9, BB/9, xFIP, SwStr%) show that he’s is a much better pitcher than Arroyo. Shields induces more swinging strikes and walks fewer batters, and he’s amassed more career wins above replacement (21.0 vs. 20.0) in about two-thirds as many starts as Arroyo.

      Looking at his pitch data, it appears Shields has harnessed his cutter, improved his slider and refined his changeup (which has always been pretty good). But the great leap forward on all those pitches did occur last year, so it leaves one to wonder whether the improvements can be sustained. But pitchers often do begin putting things together in their late 20s (see Lee for a recent example), so improvements to “stuff” aren’t quite as flukey as a great BABIP year (which Shields did enjoy last season and suffered from the opposite the previous year). Bottom line, I would gamble a couple of real prospects on him.

  31. OhioJim

    Just throwing into the mix here that per MLB Trade rumors, the Reds have made good on their previously stated intent and tendered all 6 of their arbitration eligible guys.

    Nothing that really jumps out at me yet among the nontenders but then I’ve been more in college football mode of late.

  32. hermanbates

    so…are we just chalkin up left field as yonders unless he gets traded then its heiseys, unless of course, hes traded as well?

    Shields and Gonzalez are the same type of guys. Guys who have had pretty average or even down years who exploded onto the scene. The rays have price and moore, so shields will be there number three. Going into the season last year gio was a three behind cahill and brett anderson. and people want to give up yonder and grandal for these chumps? Cahill i understand. hes a legit #2 fringe #1 groundball pitcher. He’s gonna be the number three in AZ which is scary. The reds have a #2 fringe one with cueto. Volquez is a should be number one type. Chapman is an ace if his arm ever holds up. and leake is a dynamite three. Bailey, wood and arroyo filling that out? arroyo needs the boot, aint happening. Baileys been showing more and more consistency, so he’ll be in our rotation. So that leaves wood as the odd man out. But two years ago, everyone was saying “this guy has number 2 stuff and a number one mentality” he has a down year and everyone forgets that? The reds got really unlucky with their pitchers last year. If we can wisely get rid of yonder and grandal for a four hole hitter and a closer…were good. Really. The reds rotation isnt as bad as people make it out to be. I would almost bet that woods back to rookie year form than last year. He works too hard not to be. And volquez? hes so talented. so much is there. we just need to break his immaturity and let him be dominant. I still think that left field is out biggest hole, with third base being a close second. I just kind of wish rolen would hang em up. Let Juan take over. And maybe we give heisey a chance in left? Or yonder. Mesoraco is a big bat upgrade and yonder batting fifth? thats awesome.

    Phillips 2B
    Cozart SS
    Votto 1B
    Bruce RF
    Alonso LF
    Mesoraco C
    Francisco 3B
    Stubbs CF
    Pitcher.

    Frazier, Cairo, Heisey, Hanigan, Old SS theyll bring in on the bench

    Volquez
    Cueto
    Leake
    Chapman/Wood
    Bailey

    Bray, Boxberger, Ondrusek, LeCure, Masset, Wood/Chapman, closer.

    No moves other than a veteran back up SS and a closer. Looks like a WS run to me.

  33. hermanbates

    above scenario is dumping/retiring arroyo and rolen of course. failed to mention

  34. vegastypo

    I’ve been preaching to be patient with Walt for the time being (and I’m gonna stay the course well into January), based on several factors:

    1) We don’t know what his payroll constraints are, what amount of flexibility he has, regarding ownership.

    2) OK, and I realize I’m stating the obvious here, we don’t know the extent of the “two deals we could get done right now” or whatever, etc.

    and 3) I still don’t trust the intentions of Walt vs. Dusty. The whole Fred Lewis thing from last year tells me that they value players differently, and Walt has to know that unless he brings in a slam dunk player that Dusty CANNOT mess with (as in bench or platoon or whatever), he might be hurting the team more than helping it. … For example, a few have suggested bringing in Michael Cuddyer. I like that idea, but the minute he gets here, he IS the full-time left fielder (OK, until Rolen gets hurt), and our seemingly dozen other left fielders all sit and paint, Alonzo, Heisey, etc., because Dusty’s penchant is not to trust young talent. ….. And I don’t think it’s any secret how much Dusty loves Volquez. Is Dusty lobbying ownership to pressure Walt on who to trade or not trade? I dunno, and maybe I’m a conspiracy nut for thinking of that as a possibility, but last year left a bad feeling about how this team is supposed to be built.

    And does anybody know the circumstances of Walt’s departure from St. Louis? At least one post said the game has “passed him by” or whatever. I’d be curious why Walt left there after playing a major role there …

    Sorry to be so long-winded.

  35. MikeC

    Just checked Shields stats at baseball reference.com. He gives up an awful lot of homeruns. In his last 5 years, he gave up 28, 24, 29, 34, 26 homeruns. Is that the kind of pitcher you want to bring to GABP? He might challenge Arroyo for leading the team in homeruns. He had an incredible WHIP last year, but was pretty average before that. Do the Reds really need to trade a slew of top prospects for a pitcher with this kind of uncertainty?

    • David

      Just checked Shields stats at baseball reference.com. He gives up an awful lot of homeruns. In his last 5 years, he gave up 28, 24, 29, 34, 26 homeruns. Is that the kind of pitcher you want to bring to GABP? He might challenge Arroyo for leading the team in homeruns. He had an incredible WHIP last year, but was pretty average before that. Do the Reds really need to trade a slew of top prospects for a pitcher with this kind of uncertainty?

      Shields is definitely buying high, and I don’t want to give up 3 of our top 5 prospects or MLB talent to get him, but I think you are to weary of the HR numbers. Tropicana Field is middle of the pack in run factor, so I doubt his HR totals are going to make a huge jump. Maybe a few more when adjusted for the park. With that said, moving from the AL East to the NL Central will probably cancel out the park factor.

  36. David

    @Travis G.: As I mentioned above, I’d like to see a bit more of Shields before I jump on the bandwagon. The Rays are trying to maximize Shields’ return, just like the Indians did because there is a lot of uncertainty at this point. He could replicate Arroyo’s 2006-2009. There is also a possibility he matches Lee’s last three years. The best thing he has going for him is his contract. If Shields is worth 9.2 WAR through 2013, as Arroyo was from ’06-’09, his contract ($28 mil.) is certainly well worth the price. However, the bargain goes away if the prospects he costs in return exceed 9.2 WAR through the same period at more affordable prices. Fangraphs’ fan projections, which have been pretty accurate actually, project Alonso at .287/.361/.459, worth 2.2 WAR after adjusting for a -8.0 fld. If Alonso ends up at 7 WAR over the same time period, then the Reds will really regret this deal. I’m sure that’s what Walt is trying to figure out.

  37. Dave Lowenthal

    @David: But one doesn’t add up the WAR of multiple players when evaluating a multiple for one deal. Trades aren’t additive in that way. (I’m not certain that’s what you were saying, so if I’ve misunderstood, apologies in advance.)

  38. Steve Mancuso

    Interesting thread. The two things I’ll add briefly about James Shields:

    1. The case for him rests on his 2011 jump being long-lived. I’ve heard interviews with Maddon and he says the gain was based on a new pitch development (I wish I remembered the details, but I don’t). It sounded to me like it could be a relatively permanent jump.

    2. Shields pitched in a really tough division. He pitched 15 games (out of 33 starts) against NYY, BOS, TOR and TEX last year.

  39. dn4192

    I guess I am just thinking I don’t see any big moves happening, I think either we overvalue our minor league talent or Walt just doesn’t know how to make deals anymore.

  40. Dave Lowenthal

    @Steve Mancuso: I’m not sure I understand #1 fully. His 2010 season was similar to 2011 outside the homer rate, and wasn’t the homer rate largely a product of bad luck? It seems that way from looking at his xFIP. If it was a guy who had just one good year I’d be worried, but it seems more like two straight good years in a brutal division. And the one good team in his division that really can’t hit is the team he’s on.

    He’s not perfect because he does have those 2008 and 2009 years, but if he were perfect, the DBacks wouldn’t trade him at all.

  41. CP

    @Dave Lowenthal: That’s a solid point on Shields being available because of lack of having a perfect history. His BABIP dropped 80 points from 2010 to 2011, which is crazy.

    It’s weird how people undervalue “good luck” (see Cueto last year and Bronson’s entire career) and overvalue “bad luck”.

    And you’re dead on about the WAR calculations. One, David’s analysis would basically mean EVERY trade where multiple prospects are given up for a player are lopsided in value. Apparently the Reds, once they trade Alonso, will have no one to play um…whatever position he’s playing. This type of analysis fails to take into consideration:

    1. Replacement players
    2. Present day value of players (Alonso and Grandal are probably locks to one day make a MLB roster…but how would you even place a value on Billy Hamilton right now?)
    3. The premium on quality pitchers
    4. That only 1 of the Reds prospects is actually elite. The Reds’ prospects just aren’t that good.

  42. Greg Dafler

    @Sultan of Swaff: By opening day, the Cardinals may very well not be weakened. I agree that the Cardinals are better off – especially in the long run – having those financial resources available to fill other needs.

    @David: I’m not sure that they have that much payroll room.

    If you look at Cot’s link to the 2011 google salary spreadsheet, they use total owed dollars per year. For example, Arroyo is only taking home $6.5 million next season, when he is actually owed $12 million. A portion of that $12 million is deferred. They won’t pay him the full amount in cash next year, but the cash they will pay plus the liability they owe him is going to still be pretty close to $12 million. According to Cots, given that it is a non-interest paying deferral, the Reds can save approximately $2 million per year, or $6 million overall by deferring. I use $10 million in my estimates. I’m not exactly sure how the Reds account for it.

    So, for players like Rolen & Arroyo, I include their bonus money, spread out over their contract & discounted to a present day value. For players like Chapman, and Alonso, Jocketty has stated in the past that draft & non-domestic bonus pool money comes from a different source, and isn’t counted against payroll.

    I can provide all my details if you like, but I come up with approximately $70 million payroll on the current projected 25-man roster. That’s bumped up to $72 million if you take into account Grandal’s salary (he signed a MLB deal) and Cordero’s buyout.

    I hate to keep harping on it, but their failure to get Chapman starts in the 2nd half of last year really makes it difficult to know what to expect from the rotation. They could spend a lot of financial and/or talent resources to acquire a better starting pitcher, and they could have an ace in the making on their own roster. Yet, even if he is everything the Reds would hope for in the rotation next year, he’ll likely be limited in the number of innings he throws.

  43. redmountain

    @Red Leg Bill: Since when is Oswalt and his back dependable? Others have said we have lots of innings eating #4 and #5 starters. Bull. The reason that they are # 4 & #5 is that they cannot go longer than 5 innings. If Bailey could pitch consistently 7 innings and Volquez the same then they would not need pitching. Cueto, Leake, Chapman, Arroyo, Bailey and Volquez, if they would perform up to their abilities would be a pretty good rotation. The problem is that you have Cueto who has back problems, Leake, Chapman who has shoulder problems, Arroyo, Bailey who forgets how to pitch, and Volquez who could not find the plate if he had a GPS.

  44. earl

    Going into 2012, it is no different than what worked in 2010 and what did not in 2011 – for the Reds to make the playoffs what they have is just going to have to produce.

    The big trade won’t happen this winter. It might mid-season, depending on where they are at before the break – but I bet other than bringing in a mid-level reliever and shortstop – they are going to stand pat. And to be honest, I think it could still work out, just with natural improvement and playing the best players you got.

    They really were not that far away last year and if they would have pulled the trigger earlier maybe on Cozart, dumped Jonny Gomes a month sooner and say if the starting pitching wasn’t so beat up early in the year, it could have been way closer. They let a lot of games slip through the fingers where the year before they made it happen.

    I’m cool with seeing what the kids can do.

  45. vegastypo

    Interesting, too, that there seems to be so much intensity on Walt to make a move NOW when perhaps the guy most often cited as a potential target, James Shields, is the subject of such disagreement here on the website. I can only suspect that the same uncertainty expressed here about Shields is what is holding Walt back from offering too much in a trade.

  46. ARFoskey

    As a small market team, you only get so many opportunities to win now, and you only get guys like Votto once in a lifetime. You need to try and win with this team, otherwise, you are just constantly playing we are waiting for our time. Upper management said last year and this year would be our years, and so far…..Nothing to show for those empty words. I am with most Reds fans when I say I want long term success too, but you have to try and win it all once in a while to make it all worth the while (i.e. Rockies and Rangers)