2012 Reds

Three words

“I’m looking forward to embracing the opportunity to go to the Reds and have a chance to really compete and win a division, and hopefully come home after the season with a World Series ring.” — Sean Marshall, 12/23/2011

“World Series ring.”

I’ve read the hundreds of thoughtful posts written here the past few days debating the merits of sending Travis Wood, Dave Sappelt and Ronald Torreyes to the stupid Cubs for Sean Marshall.  Many of the arguments opposing the trade are persuasive.

Over the next few years, Wood might again become a valuable #4 or #5 starter.  Sappelt might have contributed to the Reds in LF this year.  Few relief pitchers are consistent from one year to the next.  Only one year of Marshall.  Solid points, all.  But I’ve found myself drawn to the other side.

Yes, Dave Sappelt may become a nice player and Travis Wood likely already is a nice player.  And it’s not that nice guys finish last.  In 2010, the Reds’ collection of nice players won the NL Central Division.

I loved 2010.  I’ll never forget witnessing Jay Bruce’s dramatic, division-clinching home run, the post-game elation, and catharsis.  I was there for the glorious, but far-too-brief playoff run.  I don’t discount how 2010 was vastly better than the years and decades that had come before.  But the team and fans have been there, done that, two years ago.

“World Series ring.”

It’s time for the Cincinnati Reds to take the next step, to move beyond being an above-average team with an abundance of nice players and promising prospects.  To win the World Series you need more than a 40-man roster of good/great players, you need a 25-man roster studded with elite players.

Mid-level payroll organizations like the Reds must assemble a roster of elite players through a combination of development and trading from depth.  Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, and Johnny Cueto are examples of the former.  The Latos and Marshall trades are the latter — they consolidated several promising-to-good players into a top-tier pitcher.

Without Mat Latos and Sean Marshall, the Reds certainly were capable of winning the NL Central.  But with those two pitchers, the Reds have a stronger chance to compete with teams like the Phillies, Rangers and Yankees.  Yes, crucial moves still need to be made, the players must stay healthy and perform.  But, compared to ten days ago, the Reds have two more players who are elite, difference-makers.

This is how I feel (with emphasis on emotion, note the lack of a single statistic in this post).  It’s a bit of a gamble, but I’m eager for the Reds to go for it.  Ultimately, I’m far less interested in having the best farm system than I am the best major league team.  That’s why three words, spoken by Sean Marshall, sold me on the trade.

“World Series ring.”

99 thoughts on “Three words

  1. BTW Pinson343… you and Preach have always been my favorite posters here. I never stopped reading it, just lost interest in having my opinion out there. You guys are great.

    • @Brian Erts: Great stuff. Makes me want to go out and pick up Todd Coffee. lol.

      Hey, if he sprints in from Washington (or wherever he is as a FA)he might report in better shape!

      You mentioned the TV time for the Reds: I don’t know if they can do a network, but as a resident of Columbus it bothers me to see such in-depth coverage of the Indians, including a lot of their behind the scenes stuff and ‘flashback’ coverage throughout the season and even into the winter, but the only time we have anything Reds related is during the actual broadcast. The Tribe’s coverage is really on a different level. I’ve even gone into BW3’s during December and on one of the TV’s they had Manning and some of their other announcers doing a round table thing about the team’s playoff success in the 90’s. People were watching as they were chowing on their spicy garlic boneless wings. It has to have an impact. We have a superior product, but from my viewpoint have much inferior marketing. And Columbus has always been a Reds town (a Browns one too, but no one is perfect).

      Also, I appreciate the nice words. I’m not a big ‘stat quoter’ and don’t stay up on the minor leagues too much, and sometimes I almost feel ‘in the way’. I just love the game and watch an awful lot of it (ask the wife) and tend to look at things from more of a scout type viewpoint. Thanks.

      • You mentioned the TV time for the Reds: I don’t know if they can do a network, but as a resident of Columbus it bothers me to see such in-depth coverage of the Indians….

        We have a superior product, but from my viewpoint have much inferior marketing. And Columbus has always been a Reds town (a Browns one too, but no one is perfect)……

        I think it was a huge coup for the Indians to get the Clippers as their AAA farm team. They make a great marketing tool for the parent team just as you described.

        I live in the Dayton area; and, I would have to say that it doesn’t seem to work that way for the Reds/ Dragons tie in. I’m not sure if the issue is the Reds marketing or perhaps because the guys in Dayton are still so far down the chain that the connection wouldn’t work regardless. Maybe it is because Dayton has always been seen as part of the Reds primary market. I know my bottom line feeling is that some significant portion of those folks who help sell out the Dragons every game used to go to Cincy to see the Reds a lot more than they used to.

  2. After last years bullpen results, one relief pitcher does not a great bullpen make. They need another reliever and an every day top of the order or 4 hole hitting left fielder.

    I like Heisey as the 4th OF because he’s pretty good coming off the bench and he can play around the outfield. I also like him as a defensive substitute in late innings. But as far as I can tell, the Reds are short an OF so something will have to be done.

    Daniel Dorn is a possibility as a 5th OF, but (I think, just an impression, not checked the stats) he has more time at 1st base.

    Juan Pierre is still my vote as a free agent pickup. for leadoff I assure you, he would not be a Corey Patterson or Willy Taveras (ringing my collar with my index finger, gulp).

  3. @redmountain: Spending comes in different forms. In the Marshall case, we spent prospects rather than money to acquire talent. I think it’s an overpay because the RP market is so glutted. But my point is that you can’t really be ‘all in’ unless you’re willing to take an operating loss one year in hopes of recouping the investment down the road. I don’t get the sense ownership is in that mode yet, but the Brewers tried it and have drawn close to 3million fans the last two seasons because they created a legitimate contender. This goes to the heart of Steve’s post, that for once we have a team capable of reaching the World Series. To that end, a smart payroll bump would pay you back with interest.

  4. If Steinbrenner makes money from the Yes TV network, I am convinced the Reds could have their own TV Channel. They’ve been a top 5 TV ratings team for the past two years. This past year they averaged a 7.44 market share (meaning 7.44% if TV viewers were watching the ballgame every night).

    The rest of the year could be full of local sports personalities such as Mo, Lance, and the hairy one, or coverage of other mid-level sports venues that don’t get any TV time, such as UC/Xavier basketball and the Cyclones.

    Local game coverage for Notre Dame football would be huge as well.

    The rest of the time can be dedicated to War movies and The Man Show (oh wait, this isn’t Spike).

  5. @redmountain: Not saying that anything you said about the current ownership arrangement is definitely wrong because I don’t know for sure that it is.

    However much of what you related sounds like a description of the old ownership agreement which the Castellini/ Williams group bought out. My understanding is that they purchased all of the team except a very small portion that (the now late) Mr Linder held onto (less than 15%). They then turned around and tore up the old corporate structure giving themselves essentially carte blanche control (which they could do because they controlled over 2/3 of previous corporation which was the tipping point under its rules).

    Among part of the new arrangement that has been made public is that the “Reds” company the Casellini group has sold shares in is NOT the team itself but rather a holding company which owns some designated share of the the company that is the actual team; and the Castellini/ Williams group maintains control of both the holding company and the core corporation individually and in total.

    It is my belief that this arrangement allows the Castellini/ Williams group to invest whatever funds they wish into the team without being encumbered by “minority partners” as was the case under the old arrangement.

    Anybody else have a take on this?

  6. @David: David: there are multiple different things you are describing, right?

    1. The enjoyment of owning a franchise; for example, if I’m worth 10 billion, and I lose 10 million per year, I don’t care, even if I sell the team at no gain after owning it for X years.

    2. The idea that an owner might lose a bit of money in operating income in some years (and make some money in operating income in other years), but who cares, since when they sell the team they make a huge profit, so when you bundle it all up, they make a huge annualized profit.

    3. The idea the owners are not actually losing money year to year because they are hiding things, like your YES example.

    I think (1) could be true but almost never is, and (2) is true except that teams almost never actually lose operating income in a given year because of (3). And if they do lose income, they blow up the team and take their socialized profits via revenue sharing, soak the city’s taxpayers for as much as they can get with sweetheart deals, and then claim to be free market capitalists to the bone. That last sentence to me describes Bob Castellini and probably many owners. Sorry, I’m sure that will offend pretty much everyone, but that’s my opinion. Note: more power to them if the cities will continue to fall for it. It’s just hypocritical, that’s all.

    • @David: David: there are multiple different things you are describing, right?1. The enjoyment of owning a franchise; for example, if I’m worth 10 billion, and I lose 10 million per year, I don’t care, even if I sell the team at no gain after owning it for X years.2. The idea that an owner might lose a bit of money in operating income in some years (and make some money in operating income in other years), but who cares, since when they sell the team they make a huge profit, so when you bundle it all up, they make a huge annualized profit.3. The idea the owners are not actually losing money year to year because they are hiding things, like your YES example.I think (1) could be true but almost never is, and (2) is true except that teams almost never actually lose operating income in a given year because of (3). And if they do lose income, they blow up the team and take their socialized profits via revenue sharing, soak the city’s taxpayers for as much as they can get with sweetheart deals, and then claim to be free market capitalists to the bone. That last sentence to me describes Bob Castellini and probably many owners. Sorry, I’m sure that will offend pretty much everyone, but that’s my opinion. Note: more power to them if the cities will continue to fall for it. It’s just hypocritical, that’s all.

      1) Selling at a loss is almost never true, but that ooey gooey feeling owners enjoy from simply owning a team is a universal principle in economics. For example, if you buy a Picasso, when you sell, you’ll probably sell for a profit as works of fine art typically appreciate over time. However, the only short term benefit you get is the enjoyment of looking at it.

      2) Owners may not lose money in any given year, but organizations, as a separate entity, often lose money.

  7. @TC:

    “Juan Pierre is still my vote as a free agent pickup. for leadoff I assure you, he would not be a Corey Patterson or Willy Taveras (ringing my collar with my index finger, gulp).”

    I mentioned the other day that the Reds have thinned out the OF by moving Gomes, Lewis, Alonso and Sappelt since the beginning of last season. Pierre would be a good pick up as a 4th OF and possible platoon with Heisey, and he could lead off. Pierre had a .430 OBP against LH pitching in 59 games last year. The difference between him and Patterson and Taveras is that the other two guys were never was’s before the Reds got them.

    Others posted against getting Pierre with the opinion that if Dusty got him, Heisey would be sent back to the bench only to be seen on occasion. After thinking about it, that would be my concern also.

  8. @MikeC: Dusty would literally swallow his toothpick if Walt signed Pierre for him. He is the most small ballish player Dusty has ever managed right? There’s not a way across the Styx that Dusty doesn’t play him everyday. As I understand, both Pierre and Dusty are incredible people, they are just massively overvalued baseball men.

  9. @lookatthathat: I’ve always been impressed with Juan Pierre. He is a clutch player and one I hated seeing coming to bat when we couldn’t afford a hit. Is he the best leadoff guy in the game? No. IMO that honor goes to Michael Bourne. But I’d guess him to be in the top 4 or 5.

  10. @MikeC: I’m not sure why the last reply went to lookatthatthat.

    @preach: I love stats, but I don’t always trust them. Especially regarding defense. e.g. According to stats Gomes was a horrible left fielder. I watched every game and thought him to be okay most of the time, good to even spectacular at times, and of course bad at times as well. To my mind, the best way to judge defense is by using both stats and scouting. Start with UZR then verify with the EBT (Eye Ball Test). Stats show tendencies and averages which are always true given enough time and data. But they are not a predictor of what a player will do in a given AB, play, inning, game. People are only their average about half of the time.

  11. @TC: I found a John Fay article from a couple weeks ago that addresses the Reds’ TV situation in as much detail as I’ve seen. Basically, they’re locked into a deal with Fox Sports Ohio until 2018, and it’s believed to pay them $10 million per year. So pretty lousy.

    While they’ve gotten great ratings for the game broadcasts, their market just isn’t very large — even when you include cities outside Cincinnati (oddly, Fay does not mention Louisville; not sure if that’s an oversight by him or what):

    Cincinnati is the 34th biggest market, representing 890,600 homes. A typical Reds broadcast draws between 60,000 to 80,000 in the Cincinnati market. When you add in Dayton, Columbus and Lexington the number goes to over 200,000.

    I’m not really sure which markets Fox Sports Ohio broadcasts Reds games, or whether they’re readily available throughout Kentucky, where there’s a lot of growth potential (and our AAA affiliate). But if I were the Reds, I’d be very interested in exploring a local sports network after the current deal expires. There are lots of colleges in this area, and high school sports are as closely followed here as anywhere in the nation. That’d be a great way to fill offseason programming.

    • @TC: I found a John Fay article from a couple weeks ago that addresses the Reds’ TV situation in as much detail as I’ve seen. Basically, they’re locked into a deal with Fox Sports Ohio until 2018, and it’s believed to pay them $10 million per year. So pretty lousy.While they’ve gotten great ratings for the game broadcasts, their market just isn’t very large — even when you include cities outside Cincinnati (oddly, Fay does not mention Louisville; not sure if that’s an oversight by him or what):I’m not really sure which markets Fox Sports Ohio broadcasts Reds games, or whether they’re readily available throughout Kentucky, where there’s a lot of growth potential (and our AAA affiliate). But if I were the Reds, I’d be very interested in exploring a local sports network after the current deal expires. There are lots of colleges in this area, and high school sports are as closely followed here as anywhere in the nation. That’d be a great way to fill offseason programming.

      Wouldn’t the broadcast area also include parts of Indiana and West Virginia as well? Not the biggest cities, I know, but Richmond area and all of WV that are not Braves fans support the Reds pretty steadily.

      • Wouldn’t the broadcast area also include parts of Indiana and West Virginia as well? Not the biggest cities, I know, but Richmond area and all of WV that are not Braves fans support the Reds pretty steadily.

        I left out those two areas because I assumed that Cubs/White Sox territory began in the Indianapolis suburbs and Cards territory began in Evansville, but I wrongly assumed that West Virginians rooted for the Pirates, which just goes to show how much I know!

  12. I like Danny Dorn. If only because he’s always so nice to the fans.

    But the Reds don’t seem to think that much of him. He’s been left exposed to Rule 5 for a couple of years now. And no one has taken him, so I guess other teams don’t like him, either. Is his glove that bad? Seems like his bat is good enough that someone would take a flyer on him.

  13. @TC: On what planet? Slap hitters have some type of hold on baseball fans.

    Juan Pierre’s best season (in 2006!) had a WAR of 3.3. What was Drew Stubbs’ WAR last year (which has been described often on RN as terrible)? Oh…a WAR of 2.9?

    Unless a guy gets on a ridiculous amount of the time , higher than Juan has his entire career, there is no way he can overcome a .320 slugging percentage. Pierre doesn’t even play good defense.

  14. @CP: Perhaps you are right. I don’t feel strongly enough about it to defend JP. Obviously I misspoke. I guess I just got carried away looking at his career OPS+ of 84, average Stolen Bases per year of 54, average OBP of .345, and his UZR/150 of 4.4 (Drew Stubbs is 2.2).

    But you are right. He is a slap hitter which explains why he strikes out an average 5.7% of the time. Strange, though that he only averages 8.7 GDPs per 162 games. Truly, I find that VERY odd. Most slap hitters have HUGE GDP numbers. But like I said, I don’t feel strongly enough about it to defend the guy. 😉

  15. Well the Red Sox today just got there closer by trading for Bailey of the A’s. So we are just days away from reading..

    REDS RESIGN CORDERO TO 2 YEAR 10 MILLION DOLLAR DEAL.

    REMEMBER YOU READ IT HERE FIRST….

  16. @preach: I read once that 50% of the US population lives with 250 miles of Cincinnati. The Reds market could be a top market.

    I’ll also remind you, I am from Virginia originally. Virginia is a huges Reds area. (Chris Wilson and Chad Dodson are also from Virginia). Anyway, the very point of the Reds having their own channel would be to put it in marginal markets… such as Lexington, Louisville, Indianiapolis (where Cubs games are shown every game), Columbus, Charlestown WV, Richmond VA, Konxville TN, Nashville TN, etc.

  17. @dn4192: Yeah, I think I quoted those very numbers a few days ago. Don’t get me wrong, I will be happy to have Cordero back, but horrified at the price.

  18. @Travis G.:

    There are zero white sox games broadcasted in Indy and not sure but Cubs were on a lower end radio station here in Indy. With Indy being the home of the Pirates and WLW reaching here we don’t have a dedicated station for the Reds either.

    • So……how do we start our own network?

      Step 1. Wait until the Fox Sports deal expires in 2018.
      Step 2. 😕
      Step 3. Profit.

  19. I’m sure that Castellini and everyone else involved with the Reds know that they have a horrible TV contract. But the thing to remember is, before Castellini bought the team, people in some areas (mine for one, bout an hour south of Columbus) only got to watch a Reds game if they were playing the Braves (TBS) or Cubs (WGN). And the team had been pretty bad for more than a few years, so they didn’t really have any leverage to negotiate a good deal. It was basicly “do we want to be on tv or not?” So they took what they could get, and now I have access to well over 100 games per season (Fox Sports will drop Indians games for Reds games, in my area at least, as the former falls farther behind). So he did what he could do to get the team out there. Not sure how much it would cost to buy the rest of the contract out or renegotiate, it may not be enough of a difference to go through the trouble.

  20. Here is a simple answer to a TV deal, Fox Sports Ohio is an affiliate of Fox. I found one obscure referenced that Fox only owns 25% of the network. If the Reds purchased FSOhio that would solved the contract issues.

    FSOhio used to cater to the Cleveland Indians until the Indians launched THEIR own network. Are you telling me the Indians have more fans? Pardon me if I’m wrong, but I think the Indians’ market is limited to northern Ohio.

  21. Even so, I wouldn’t give up the affiliation with Fox. There are a lot of benefits with being associated.

    One way or another, it doesn’t work without Jim, Jeff, and (to a lesser extent) The Creeper.

  22. You know, it is entirely possible we will be fighting the Pirates for the division this year. Did you notice they picked up Erik Bedard? I think they intend to be taken seriously.

  23. My two cheap free agent signings to improve the Reds: 1. Wilson Betemit. Switch htter, plays everywhere, solid bench guy and insurance for Scotty. May also allow possibility of packaging a couple of youngsters for a known quantity elsewhere. 2. Jonathon Broxton. Yes, very risky with his elbow surgery, but he has worn out his welcome in LA and the change of scenary will do him good, even if that change is the GABP launchpad. He can be had on the cheap for a one year deal as he seeks to re-establish himself. If he can be dominant again, he can be a closer. If he is still decent he could be a good 8th inning guy to set up Marshall. If he’s not healthy he’s not too big of a gamble.

    Yes, the Pirates are improving and are trying to build on the first half of last year. Resigning McCutheon and adding Barajas were good moves. They recently added a guy on a minor league deal with a Spring invite who has over 200 ML games under his belt and hit .300 last year at AAA while playing pretty much everywhere but pitcher. He’s a switch hitter as well. Thought it was a pretty cool move. I like their direction.

  24. @preach: Actually, I was eying Broxton earlier this evening salivating as I remembered how truly dominant he seemed. It doesn’t seem like such a stretch to me.

    Regarding Betemit, I must admit I’m only familiar with his name but from his stats I like him. He can hit. His WAR worries me a bit and his left side fielding (a stat of little value btw IMO) seems like an adventure. But put him in Great American Small Park and he just might be scary.

  25. I was also eying Brandon Webb but it seems he is having a difficult time coming back from shoulder surgery. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Reds sign him to a minor league deal and send him down to rehab most of the season. The odds of a pay off would be long indeed. He took 2010 off and only pitched 12 innings last year in AA where he was shelled. It would be a shame, but there is a possibility his career is over.

    It is also possible he could come back and would not need a full year to get ready. He is only 32 and was considered one of the best sinker ballers in baseball. Seems the sinker should be the favorite pitch of every Reds pitcher but the only pitcher who seems to have one is Johnny.

  26. @TC: I was away today (yesterday now I guess) but thanks for the good word. It’s nice to have you back posting.

    I agree with you that the Reds potentially have a larger market than people think. It would be interesting to know how big an area was predominantly Reds fans in the 1970s.

    • I agree with you that the Reds potentially have a larger market than people think. It would be interesting to know how big an area was predominantly Reds fans in the 1970s.

      It’s difficult to compare the 1970s media environment with today’s. There was no cable television back then, no Internet, fewer teams, fewer entertainment options in general, stronger radio signals, tuners that pulled in signals much stronger than today’s (I collect old stereo gear, and the difference is remarkable) and, I would argue, baseball was more prominent in the public imagination.

      But the Reds do sit in a fairly large region that includes several significant media markets without Major League Baseball teams. There should be some way to make sure their games are televised or broadcast in all of them.

  27. @TC: He also had the lowest ISO of anyone who qualified. His OBP is heavily dependent upon his average, as he averages only 35 walks per year.

  28. @TC: Yeah, Broxton would have been a really good addition for us. He took a one year, 4 million dollar offer to set up for Soria in KC, however. Which is probably less than what we’ll be paying CoCo here in a bit…

  29. @Travis G.: Of course a lot has changed, but the question remains: in the 1970s, how big a chunk of territory was primarily Reds country.

    Even without the internet and cable, the Reds had a widespread fan base back then. I’d go to a Reds-Mets game in NY in the 1970’s and a lot of young people would have on Johnny Bench or Pete Rose jerseys. That of course doesn’t mean that the Reds had a tv market in NY, but that they had captured the imagination of the nation’s baseball fans.

    Getting back, I’m sure they’ve lost huge chunks of territory since the 1970s, but could reclaim some of that by winning. I wasn’t talking directly about tv, but that would obviously improve their tv market size.

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