10/15/2012

What’s next?

Now that the Reds have signed Dusty Baker to a contract extension, what moves might be next?

(Not saying I necessarily support these, only that they fit the Reds pattern.)

* The Reds will try to resign Scott Rolen to mentor Todd Frazier at 3B. Rolen still plays an important clubhouse role. The Reds do recognize Frazier as the 3B of the future and the future is now. Rolen, particularly if he learned to play a passable 1B, could be valuable as a backup, pinch hitter, teacher and leader. And if someone has to fill the role of aged, veteran infield backup, I’d just as soon it be Rolen.

* The Reds will try to resign Ryan Madson for the bullpen. They may get a home (health care) discount from Madson, who was paid $8.5 million last season and didn’t throw a regular-season pitch for the Reds. Madson can’t be counted on as the closer (more on that in a minute) as his recovery from surgery won’t be far enough along. It takes the better part of a year and a half for pitchers to fully recover from TJS.

* The Reds will try to resign Ryan Ludwick to play LF. Ludwick’s defense was better than expected in 2012 and he certainly experienced an offensive revival. He had three good months and three bad ones. The club would be hoping for the June-August version. Paying full price for a multi-year deal for Ludwick is a gamble.

* The Reds will move Aroldis Chapman to the starting rotation. This has always been the expressed preference of the upper management and also that of Chapman himself. That leaves open the possibility of trading Mike Leake. They may try to keep Leake stashed in the organization until 2014 when Bronson Arroyo’s contract expires. But Tony Cingrani lurks.

* The Reds will speed up Billy Hamilton’s development and give him a good, long look in spring training to see if he can help the Reds in 2013 by leading off and playing CF. A positive result here spells the end of the road in Reds’ uniforms for Drew Stubbs and/or Chris Heisey, who could also become trade opportunities.

* The Reds will try to find another established left-handed relief pitcher for the bullpen, allowing Sean Marshall to be used for entire innings instead of in a match-up role. Marshall had the ninth best fWAR of any relief pitcher in baseball. (Chapman was #2) He could be the closer, but that doesn’t seem to be how the Reds prefer to use him. Thus…

* The Reds will try to find a closer in the free agent market. What they learned with Madson last spring was that the closer market is likely to be a buyer’s market.

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 111 Comments

  1. I see no reason to wait on Hamilton to bring about the end of Drew Stubbs in a Red’s uniform.

  2. @gosport474: I’d agree, except… who is your center fielder?

  3. Resigning Scott Rolen would shock me.

    Rushing Hamilton would also surprise me. I think he is currently the prospect most likely to disappoint. All the speed in the world won’t help him if he can’t get on base at the MLB level. I don’t think we see him until September call ups. If they were thinking about him in CF for 2013, I think we would have seen him this September. I could imagine seeing a non-Stubbs-Heisey one-year signing in CF this year.

    I hope you are right about Chapman, Madson, and Ludwick.

  4. @BenL: Not saying Rolen would agree to caddy for Frazier, only that it makes sense from the club perspective.

    • I agree with this. I really like Frazier but I have a feeling he will be experiencing some serious growing pains next season.

      @BenL: Not saying Rolen would agree to caddy for Frazier, only that it makes sense from the club perspective.

    • @BenL: Not saying Rolen would agree to caddy for Frazier, only that it makes sense from the club perspective.

      I think that would be a nice arrangement in theory, rolen being an upgrade to cairo as a backup at first and third, but the pessimist in my believes that the first time Frazier went into a slump, gee, guess who the new starting third baseman is?

  5. Two players not mentioned in the article (who I believe are free agents, although I could be wrong) are Broxton and Cairo. Personally, I’m ready to see Cairo go, but I’d like to see Broxton back, if possible.

    FWIW, if I have my info correct, the following players are eligible for arbitration this off-season: Bailey, Bray, Heisey, Latos, Leake, Ondrusek, Stubbs, and Valdez.

  6. @BenL: Drew Stubbs never had an OBP in the minors anywhere near what Hamilton had this year (.410). Quite simply, he’s the most promising position player to emerge from our system since Bruce.

    Assuming Hamilton hovers around the .400 OBP mark in the fall league and spring training, I don’t see why they wouldn’t give him the job. After all, even if he can only get on base in the majors at a .340 clip, once you factor in the 60+ stolen bases and plus range in CF, he immediately becomes more valuable than what we have, especially when you factor in the cost. Let’s take the Stubbs money and shore up the bullpen or use it to find a LF.

  7. @corfy: Move Bruce to Center, Frazier to right, Paul and Heisey as backups. Henry Rodriguez as backup for Rolen (if he is back.) If not, sign a free agent or package Leake and Stubbs for another outfielder. Jockety gets paid to do these things, surely he can find a suitable centerfielder somewhere.

  8. I don’t see Chapman in the rotation. It doesn’t seem like Baker’s preference, and he certainly didn’t show us that he can throw more than a fastball consistently for strikes. It’s also a concern that when he had some soreness and could only throw 94 mph, he couldn’t get anyone out.

  9. @Steve Mancuso: I don’t get why you’re advocating for Rolen. It will be worse than the Cairo situation because Rolen can only play one position. Then factor in that he’s completely unreliable because of his health, and I don’t see how the Reds benefit.

  10. @Steve Mancuso: I understand. Personally, I would fear that it might un-Dusty-proof the line-up. (And I’m someone who feels more-or-less positively about the Dusty resigning.) I’m not sure that WJ would worry about such things, though.

  11. @Sultan of Swaff: Like I said. Rolen would be a great teacher/mentor for Frazier. Rolen would be a good pinch hitter. Cairo was none of those things this season and arguably couldn’t play any positions. Rolen is still a strong clubhouse presence. He’d be less likely to get hurt if he wasn’t playing all the time. I said that Rolen should learn to play 1B.

  12. @BenL: I get that. I’ve been skeptical in the past of similar situations with Baker. I really feel like the Reds, including Baker, understand that Frazier will be the better 3B next year. But the Dusty-proofing concern is legit.

  13. Steve, being better than Cairo isn’t setting the bar very high. I want Rolen gone…he’s not hit well in a year and a half (other than very short stretches), I don’t see him being effective off the bench either.

  14. Sooooo many problems with this list. I’ll go over one at a time:

    1. Re-sign Rolen to “mentor” Frazier. Dusty will be around now ( obviously) so as long as Rolen can get on the field, he will play. Period. It’s Dusty, and by now any competent Reds fan will know he’ll take the veteran over the non- vet every time as long as they’re relatively close in ability.

    2. Re-sign Madsen. If the feeling is he can’t close due to the surgery, and with Masset returning, what’s the real point? If he comes cheap, great.

    3. Re-sign Ludwick. Do it. Do it yesterday.

    4. Move Chapman to rotation. Great idea. Rotation would have to be one of best, if not best, 1-5 in baseball. BUT probably won’t happen. We’ve had this pre-season idea the past 3 years. Bullpen necessity has kept it from happening. When we can’t find a closer (or the one that comes in “struggles” like Marshall did at the beginning if this year) Chapman wil be right there again. And it seems Dusty likes him there.

    5. Speed up Billy Hamilton. Agree. Problem is when and if they can’t move Stubbs, Dusty will continue to play him. They will split time at best for Hamilton.

    6. Lefty reliever. Dusty was scared all year to use Marshall in big situations. Why is he going to change that now?

    7. Closer. Good luck finding a good one with the pennies they have left to spend. It’s going to be Broxton if they bring him back (yay), Marshall experiment 2.0, or Chapman will be there again.

    Moral of the story is, while most of these things sound like great ideas, you somehow magically think Dusty Baker will change and embrace these changes. Never has happened, never will happen.

  15. I think I COULD support all these, but some make me nervous.

    1) Rolen: If your vision is indeed what occurs, I could accept a one year deal. I fear, though, that as long as he is on the roster, Dusty will keep him the starter on some theory of “vets have to play.”

    2) Ludwick: Great year; great gamble by WJ. But Ludwick seems like a classic on-year/off-year type player. Plus, he’s 34, which is about the age that many corner outfielders’ careers simply veer off a cliff. That all said–is there a better option out there? I’m not convinced there is.

  16. @Steve Mancuso: This is joking, right? Todd Frazier will be 27 years old next year, and is frequently cited as having a great attitude and approach to the game. He doesn’t need a mentor. He needs playing time.

    (Funny, nobody suggested either a mentor or post-season benching for Zach Cozart, though Frazier was somehow “not ready” to play down the stretch or, apparently, next year).

    Not sure why Rolen would be a good pinch-hitter (he has all of 23 PH PA in his 2038 game career). His history is such that he’d likely be unavailable, even for that duty, for weeks on end.

    • Not sure why Rolen would be a good pinch-hitter (he has all of 23 PH PA in his 2038 game career). His history is such that he’d likely be unavailable, even for that duty, for weeks on end.

      In the last three years, Rolen has had 16 plate appearances as a PH. He has reached base nine times (that’s an OBP over .500). In those 16 PA, he has three HR, one double, three walks and seven RBI. Small sample, but pretty great in the role. Is there another 3B bench player who you expect to do a better job than that?

      If he’s on the DL, someone else will be there, which is what the Rolen-opponents seem to want. Kind of like “The food is terrible, and such small portions.” Chances are he can minimize the injuries when he isn’t playing much.

    • (Funny, nobody suggested either a mentor or post-season benching for Zach Cozart, though Frazier was somehow “not ready” to play down the stretch or, apparently, next year).

      I think that’s probably because there wasn’t a veteran shortstop on the team who had outperformed Cozart over the last three months of the season, as there was at third base.

  17. We have Phillips, Bruce, and Votto who have all been signed to long-term deals. They need to be be the clubhouse leaders, not Rolen. Rolen served his purpose for this team admirably, it is now time to move on.

  18. Rolen after the All-Star break: .297/.376/.473

    Frazier after the All-Star break: .269/.321/.455

    • Rolen after the All-Star break: .297/.376/.473Frazier after the All-Star break: .269/.321/.455

      Arbitrary end points anyone?

      I think the most likely outcome is Rolen is prety much done, which we can all seem to agree on, and that Frazier will probably never duplicate the success he had in his first trip around the league. I don’t think you can afford to have both on the roster. Roll the dice with Frazier, but have a better back-up plan than Rolen.

  19. @Steve Mancuso: If they expect Rolen to hit 3 HRs every 16 PAs as a pinch hitter, you’d re-sign him for 10M for a year.

    More likely, Rolen will match his typical numbers as a pinch hitter.

    • More likely, Rolen will match his typical numbers as a pinch hitter.

      Certainly. But someone had asked what evidence was there that Rolen could be a good pinch hitter. His record of pinch hitting is evidence of that. Even his regular numbers would be great for a bench player.

      Who are the better free agent third basemen out there who would agree to sign as a bench player?

      • Certainly. But someone had asked what evidence was there that Rolen could be a good pinch hitter. His record of pinch hitting is evidence of that. Even his regular numbers would be great for a bench player.

        Who are the better free agent third basemen out there who would agree to sign as a bench player?

        I agree. My point is, though, that Rolen as the backup 3rd baseman would be fine, but I just don’t think he’d remain the backup.

  20. Scott Rolen, I think he’s implied that he either wants to play regularly or to spend more time with his kids. I think Rolen is more interested in his own kids than he is in Todd Frazier. I doubt he’ll choose to return as a bench player or that he’d consider switching positions at this stage of his career. His shelf of Gold Glove Awards is a big part of why he’s still around.

    Ryan Ludwick, I think they should pick up their half of the $5m option, take it or leave it. Maybe he’s worth more than that to some teams but I don’t think he is to the Reds. Last winter the Reds filled LF with a washed up free agent (named Ryan Ludwick) and they can probably find somebody else interested in playing for a contender. Frazier’s flexibility allows them to consider thirdbasemen in trades or free agent signings.

    David DeJesus, I’ve mentioned him before. I think he would be a great trade target, especially if Ryan Ludwick leaves. He’s a left handed leadoff hitter who gets on base but doesn’t strike out much. Providing a capable leadoff hitter is key to ‘Dusty Proofing’ the lineup. He plays CF, LF, and RF and is under contract with the Cubs for $5m in 2013. On the other hand he’s terrible against LHPs, doesn’t steal bases, and doesn’t hit homeruns. Still, a capable leadoff hitter and stop-gap solution until Billy Hamilton is ready.

    Closer: Know how Jonathan Broxton became a closer for the Royals in 2012? He signed with the Royals and took over when their closer had Tommy John surgery. Maybe another former closer will take a gamble on the role opening up in Cincinnati. It seems like Cincinnati would provide a great opportunity for Ryan Madson to rebuild his career with all the uncertainty about Chapman’s role. Madson choosing to return makes sense (at least if Broxton isn’t extended) and that goes beyond loyalty he may feel. If the Reds need to start 2013 with Sean Marshall closing and Madson and Masset pitching setup, fine.

    Lefty Reliever, Bill Bray is under contract. Hopefully he can stay healthy. He missed almost the entire season (and probably wishes he didn’t pitch the little he did) but he’s still around.

  21. @Steve Mancuso:
    Will Scott Rolen continue as a pinch hitter extraordinaire and personal instructor to Todd Frazier or retire to spend more time with his kids? I predict the later.

    • @redsfanman:
      Will Scott Rolen continue as a pinch hitter extraordinaire and personal instructor to Todd Frazier or retire to spend more time with his kids?I predict the later.

      Me, too.

  22. @Sultan of Swaff: Double A is not MLB, and even if it was, Hamilton only has 50 games there. Many players have destroyed AA hitting and failed at the MLB level. I think we should let the guy work his way up, learn his new position, get confident against AAA hitting, and then call him up in September. The fact that the Reds didn’t call him up this September, despite an awesome year, suggests they are thinking similarly.

    Let me clarify my “most likely to disappoint” comment: I’m excited about Hamilton. I expect him to be a viable MLB player, and there is certainly a chance that he’s the next Ricky Henderson, or whatever… but people talk like he’s a once in a generation player, and those only come along… well… once in a generation, so some skepticism is justified, I think. My argument is that we just can’t know yet what he is going to be, not a criticism of Hamilton.

  23. Has Rolen gone on record saying he wouldn’t be willing to be an IF coach? That’s a role I’d love to see him in within the Reds organization.

    • Has Rolen gone on record saying he wouldn’t be willing to be an IF coach? That’s a role I’d love to see him in within the Reds organization.

      Rolen has implied in the past that he has no interest in coaching and that when he retires he wants to spend more time with his little kids.

      @BenL: The thing that worries me about Billy Hamilton is that some people are placing really unrealistic expectations on him, Homer Bailey style – Billy Hamilton is now a future superstar and the solution to all that is wrong with the Reds. Cozart and Cueto were lucky that nobody ever expected anything from them while Bailey and Bruce have failed to live up to unrealistic expectations by failing to win a Cy Young Award or MVP, respectively.

  24. @Sultan of Swaff: And for the record, while I expect Hamilton will be much better at the major league level than Stubbs, and my argument has nothing to do with Stubbs (I expect the Reds will sign someone off the free agent market as a stop gap), Hamilton and Stubbs have nearly identical OBP for their minor league careers. .363 vs .364.

  25. the time for Frazier is now, whether its 3B or LF. Hopefully 3B.

    Regarding CF, I dont see Hamiliton being rushed, likely spending time in Pensacola. Also Reds have another CF prospect in Ryan Lamarre who should in AAA 2013, in some ways Drew Stubbs 2.0. More likely Lamarre would be rushed being a college player from UofMichigan. He has stole 55 and 30 bases last 2 years with .350oba.

    Chapman to rotation. Given past Dusty comments, I believe when I see it. Dusty would have be to really arm-twisted by Chapman having a great spring, along with Price, Walt pushing Dusty AND have a Broxton/Madsen type on the team.

    I worry about Ludwick and LF situation. What is it going to take to sign him? 3yr/$21M? or more? Likely Ludwick last chance at a big multi-year deal. I am thinking some AL team sweeps him up.

    For those wondering about arbitration eligiblity, here is the list plus Reds free agents:
    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2012/05/2013-contract-issues-cincinnati-reds.html

  26. Fay said this and I agree, as long as Dusty is manager, Chapman will be in the pen and probably the closer.

    I love Rolen, but he needs to do a Chipper and walk away….

  27. My gut says Rolen retires. I just don’t see him killing himself to get ready for spring training, fighting a bad back and a bad shoulder to carry Todd’s water bottle.

    I see no way Hamilton comes north with the Reds in 2013. The organization doesn’t believe in rushing developing players. They waited with Cozart. Hamilton is moving to a new position. We’ll be lucky to see him in Sept. Instead, you’re going to see Jocketty looking for a 1 year stop gap player who can bat leadoff and play CF. I’d bet my lunch money on it.

    You’ll pry Chapman out of the Closer’s role from Dusty’s cold, dead hands. I’ll bet they pull the same act they did last year: prep his as a starter, keep him in the Closer’s role “to start the season” under the pretext that he needs to keep his innings low to keep from being shut down. Then he just ends up staying there the moment there’s a bullpen crisis.

    • My gut says Rolen retires.I just don’t see him killing himself to get ready for spring training, fighting a bad back and a bad shoulder to carry Todd’s water bottle.

      I see no way Hamilton comes north with the Reds in 2013.The organization doesn’t believe in rushing developing players.They waited with Cozart.Hamilton is moving to a new position.We’ll be lucky to see him in Sept.Instead, you’re going to see Jocketty looking for a 1 year stop gap player who can bat leadoff and play CF.I’d bet my lunch money on it.

      You’ll pry Chapman out of the Closer’s role from Dusty’s cold, dead hands.I’ll bet they pull the same act they did last year:prep his as a starter, keep him in the Closer’s role “to start the season” under the pretext that he needs to keep his innings low to keep from being shut down.Then he just ends up staying there the moment there’s a bullpen crisis.

      I think it’ll be much simpler. They’ll just say it ain’t broke.

  28. Agree with much of the dialogue. Stubbs has to go, and I don’t think we can count on Hamilton being a sure thing. I would trade Stubbs, Leake and Ondrusek for Ellsbury which would provide a left handed leadoff hitter. If Hamilton comes around within the next 2 years, it would be a nice problem to have. With Ellsbury at leadoff, much of the lineup angst we all have about Dusty would go away with Ellsbury, Phillips, Votto, Ludwick, Bruce, Frazier, Hanigan and Cozart on a regular basis.

  29. Steve, I agree with you on Rolen. I said the exact same thing on an earlier thread. Unfortunately, I don’t think he would agree to be a bench player.

  30. The only two things that have to happen for Chapman to be taken out of the closer role are these: Jocketty sign an established closer, that player stay healthy.

    The view that Chapman had a crazy, super dominant year closing is based on stats (K/9, ERA, FIP etc.) that aren’t direct measures of closer effectiveness. I posted these save-percentage stats on the previous thread:

    Aroldis Chapman’s save percentage 2012: 88%
    Coco Cordero’s save percentage 2008-2011: 86%
    David Weathers save percentage 2007: 85%
    Danny Graves save percentage 2004-5: 86%:
    Sean Marshall in 2012 before being lifted from role: 89%

    Most guys who get to the closer job have reasonably similar save conversion rates. If Chapman can be an effective SP, that’s something much more uniquely valuable.

    • The only two things that have to happen for Chapman to be taken out of the closer role are these: Jocketty sign an established closer, that player stay healthy.The view that Chapman had a crazy, super dominant year closing is based on stats (K/9, ERA, FIP etc.) that aren’t direct measures of closer effectiveness. I posted these save-percentage stats on the previous thread: Aroldis Chapman’s save percentage 2012: 88%Coco Cordero’s save percentage 2008-2011: 86%David Weathers save percentage 2007: 85%Danny Graves save percentage 2004-5: 86%:Sean Marshall in 2012 before being lifted from role: 89%Most guys who get to the closer job have reasonably similar save conversion rates. If Chapman can be an effective SP, that’s something much more uniquely valuable.

      That’s just it. Chapman hasn’t been an effective starter. The report on him was, in AAA several years ago, he could get to the 3-4 inning fine. After that, blow up city. If he can’t show he can go 6-7 innings on a consistent basis, keep him where he is.

      • That’s just it.Chapman hasn’t been an effective starter.The report on him was, in AAA several years ago, he could get to the 3-4 inning fine.After that, blow up city.If he can’t show he can go 6-7 innings on a consistent basis, keep him where he is.

        How’s he supposed to show it?

        • How’s he supposed to show it?

          As stated, he started several games at AAA. Even last ST, he averaged less than 4 innings per. Most effective starter in ST, yes. But, then, going by that, Cueto was the worst. So, we should dump him?

          • As stated, he started several games at AAA. Even last ST, he averaged less than 4 innings per. Most effective starter in ST, yes. But, then, going by that, Cueto was the worst. So, we should dump him?

            So a handful of AAA starts is a sufficient body of work? Never mind pitchers tend to get better with age (he’s still a pup!). That’s not an argument for Chapman not starting.

      • That’s just it. Chapman hasn’t been an effective starter. The report on him was, in AAA several years ago, he could get to the 3-4 inning fine. After that, blow up city.

        He also wasn’t an effective reliever back then, either. Remember that he had to be sent back to AAA. Chapman was the best *starting* pitcher for the Reds this spring. The Reds have to give him a try there. A pitcher throwing 150-200 innings is worth a lot more to a team than one throwing 60.

        • He also wasn’t an effective reliever back then, either. Remember that he had to be sent back to AAA. Chapman was the best *starting* pitcher for the Reds this spring. The Reds have to give him a try there. A pitcher throwing 150-200 innings is worth a lot more to a team than one throwing 60.

          He probably won’t be throwing that many if he was starting (Strausberg syndrome). And, in ST, his average number of innings was less than 4, which was just before he would blow up in AAA.

    • The only two things that have to happen for Chapman to be taken out of the closer role are these: Jocketty sign an established closer, that player stay healthy.

      The view that Chapman had a crazy, super dominant year closing is based on stats (K/9, ERA, FIP etc.) that aren’t direct measures of closer effectiveness. I posted these save-percentage stats on the previous thread:

      Aroldis Chapman’s save percentage 2012: 88%
      Coco Cordero’s save percentage 2008-2011: 86%
      David Weathers save percentage 2007: 85%
      Danny Graves save percentage 2004-5: 86%:
      Sean Marshall in 2012 before being lifted from role: 89%

      Most guys who get to the closer job have reasonably similar save conversion rates. If Chapman can be an effective SP, that’s something much more uniquely valuable.

      What people miss most of all is what a shutdown starter can do to a postseason. See Verlander, Justin.

      I have no idea if Chapman can be that kind of guy…and neither does anyone here, including those that claim to know. Could he? Yes. Could he blow out his arm? Yes (which he could also do as a stopper). Is it worth it to try to find out if he can be a good to great starter? Yes, I think so.

      • What people miss most of all is what a shutdown starter can do to a postseason. See Verlander, Justin.I have no idea if Chapman can be that kind of guy…and neither does anyone here, including those that claim to know. Could he? Yes. Could he blow out his arm? Yes (which he could also do as a stopper). Is it worth it to try to find out if he can be a good to great starter? Yes, I think so.

        I can understand. But, comparing him to Verlander would be entirely unfair. Pitchers like that come around maybe a couple of times a generation. But, he’s proven he can close games. And, he would be cheaper than any closer we could probably find.

        In short, fantasy team, sure, I would say go for it. But, practicality for the team, just my and many with the same opinion, keep him at closer.

  31. I read the Reds resigned Baker. That was expected. Price also. But, not Jacoby. Walt said something about keeping continuity in leadership. Not when the guy hasn’t done much of anything. The players still don’t know how to bunt. Situational hitting can be practiced. And, with as much as we struck out last year, we K’ed more this year.

    I don’t see Rolen coming back. Possibly at a tremendous discount, reduced role, etc. But, Frazier should be the starter next year at third. Even if we lose Ludwick and put Frazier in LF, then we should be looking for another regular 3rd baseman.

    I can agree with Madson, depending upon how his recovery goes. Keep Chapman where he is. No need to string him along again. We would probably need to look for a closer if he goes to the rotation. That person will probably be more expensive than Chapman is.

    I just don’t trust Broxton for the closer or even a pen role. Something just doesn’t sit right with me about him.

    I could understand Ludwick coming back. He didn’t have All-star numbers, mind you. But, he was a benefit last season.

    Not unless Hamilton adjusts to playing CF quickly and shows he can handle AAA pitching, I still give him at least a year. What worries me is Baker will still start Stubbs in front of Hamilton.

    The extra left hander in the pen would be nice. But, then, effective ones aren’t cheap.

    I can see Leake still up here. For a #5 starter, his numbers were about what you expect. I would like to see a left handed starter, though.

    Walt is also going to have to figure out a lot of contracts. From what I remember, he has something like 9 arbitration cases and 2 FA to decide upon.

  32. I think Stubbs deserve another year on the team to get his bat in order. I also think he should be nowhere near the top of the order nor guaranteed a starting spot. If he can bat .250+ he will score a lot of runs. Frazier should start. Hamilton should be carefully groomed and not rushed. Best case scenario Stubbs figures it out and we put Hamilton in LF. All of our lineup woes will be solved!

  33. Baker did not sign Aroldis Chapman for $35 million dollars. Walt did it with Uncle Bob’s money. Chapman going into the rotation is a decision that will be made above Baker’s head, that much I am certain.

    Speaking of things over Dusty’s head, Hamilton will not be moved up until after the ASB at the earliest. He would have to start in AAA at the season’s start for that to make any sense, and I don’t know if the relative dumpster fire that is the Louisville Bats can even help him get on base at the major level.

    The Reds really have an embarrassment of riches in the bullpen. If Madsen comes back at a discount, I can see him being a closer after the ASB with Simon or Broxton closing the first half.

    I can see Rolen signing a 2-year deal under the pretense of being the backup, but then again I can’t see that playing out.

    Everyone wants Ludwick back, including Ludwick. He might also get a 2-year deal or a 1 and 1 option, but he needs to be back.

    If Price and/or Speier leave the organization, this re-signing of Baker wasn’t worth it.

  34. I think Scott Rolen will retire, for much the same reason that Chipper Jones has retired–he just doesn’t want/need the lifestyle anymore.

    I’m with Steve on Chapman. If Cordero can close, anybody can close.

    They have to address centerfield. I’d trade Stubbs, for whatever you can get. I would actually consider Zach Cozart there, and play Didi Gregorius at short. Cozart is a good shortstop defensively, but Didi projects to be better. I think Cozart’s future is as a super-utility guy, capable of playing several positions very well.

    And I believe in regular churn in the bullpen. Arredondo and Ondrusek are expendable, and somebody would give the Reds something for them.

  35. Also, if you ever get upset at the Reds, remember you could always look at the NHL for total lack of organizational fidelity and integrity.

  36. For anyone who’s interested, there’s a lot of discussion about Chapman as a starter in the “Dusty Baker signs” thread.

  37. Here is the “I just woke up in paradise” scenario that I have been daydreaming about (these are in no particular order):
    1) Ludwick is resigned.
    2) Josh Hamilton does not get the multi-year deal he is looking for. He signs a one-year deal with the Reds for 15 million (kind of like the Madson deal). He is healthy, hits .325 with 40 bombs and 120 ribbies. Meanwhile, the Reds all quit chewing/dipping as a show of solidarity and become spokespeople for Big League Chew. People magazine even does a story on them.
    3) Bruce plays CF and does a capable job. Stubbs or Heisey is the fourth OF and XP is the fifth OF and LH bat off the bench.
    4) Rolen is signed on a one-year flyer. However, Walt tells Dusty that Frazier is the starter. Rolen learns how to play 1B to spot Votto.
    5) Walt picks up a couple of good utility guys. Keppinger and a capable LH hitting utility guy (not named Willie Harris) work for me.
    6) Chapman is moved to the rotation, learns to master that slider, and becomes the Cuban Randy Johnson. Hell, maybe he will even sport a mullet. Cueto, Latos, Bailey, and Chapman function as four #1’s all summer long and Bronson is Bronson. Leake spends a bunch of time hanging out with friends in Louisville. He pitches out of his mind and fetches something useful in a trade.
    7) Broxton and Madson are signed. Walt finds another LHP for the ‘pen and the bullpen is as good as 2012.
    8) Mesoraco gets it together and learns quite a bit about calling a game from Hanigan. He also hits 15 home runs in 300 PAs.
    9) Votto’s healthy and finds his power stroke again.
    10) Billy Hamilton sets the world on fire in AAA and comes up late in the summer. He gets some playing time down the stretch and is added to the postseason roster.
    11) Chris Carpenter has to tell his son that the 2013 season resulted in a fourth place finish for the WLBs. Holliday, Craig, and Molina are busted for PEDs.

    Well, I’m going to go ride my unicorn now.

  38. I wouldn’t deal with Theo to get Dejesus when there are better free agent options. I know Bourn has been mentioned a few times here but he’s paid $6.8 million this year and is looking long-term. My ideal move would be Angel Pagan, .280 career hitter/.333 OBP, switch hitter, steals bases. His 10 jacks a year playing for the Mets and Giants could easily turn into 14-15 at GABP. He’s making $4.8 in SF this year and I think he could easily be had for a bit more than that especially since the club made 7-8 million dollars hosting those 3 playoff games.

    • I fear PEDs with Pagan. I wouldn’t be surprised if several of the Giants didn’t have the “Melky connection” working this year.

      I wouldn’t deal with Theo to get Dejesus when there are better free agent options. I know Bourn has been mentioned a few times here but he’s paid $6.8 million this year and is looking long-term. My ideal move would be Angel Pagan, .280 career hitter/.333 OBP, switch hitter, steals bases. His 10 jacks a year playing for the Mets and Giants could easily turn into 14-15 at GABP. He’s making $4.8 in SF this year and I think he could easily be had for a bit more than that especially since the club made 7-8 million dollars hosting those 3 playoff games.

  39. Pagan is only 30 and his numbers aren’t really up this year from last or really any other year in his career. He’s been extremely consistent the past 5-6 seasons so I don’t think it’s fair to suspect PEDs just because he plays for a certain team. Are the Oakland A’s all PED users because Bartolo Colon got caught?

    • Pagan is only 30 and his numbers aren’t really up this year from last or really any other year in his career. He’s been extremely consistent the past 5-6 seasons so I don’t think it’s fair to suspect PEDs just because he plays for a certain team. Are the Oakland A’s all PED users because Bartolo Colon got caught?

      No, but the Cardinals are all PED users because they all outperform their minor league numbers. At least it seems that way.

      • No, but the Cardinals are all PED users because they all outperform their minor league numbers.At least it seems that way.

        Everyone on RN is so cute and naive. The drug testing labs check a players urine for its ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone, which is normally 1 to 1 for adult males. In the MLB, a test is not considered positive until the ratio reaches 4 to 1, so players know the exact line they need to stay under.

        EVERYONE IS ON PEDS. EVERYONE. Quick, think of your favorite player. Yep, he’s probably on PEDS. Sorry guys, Santa isn’t real either.

        Only the dumb or unlucky players get caught. 😀

        • Everyone on RN is so cute and naive.The drug testing labs check a players urine for its ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone, which is normally 1 to 1 for adult males.In the MLB, a test is not considered positive until the ratio reaches 4 to 1, so players know the exact line they need to stay under.

          EVERYONE IS ON PEDS.EVERYONE.Quick, think of your favorite player.Yep, he’s probably on PEDS.Sorry guys, Santa isn’t real either.

          Only the dumb or unlucky players get caught.

          I was joking around, of course. I do suspect Molina is juicing, though. The other guys, well, it’s just crazy what happens in that organization.

    • I was just speaking to my assumption that everyone who plays near the Bay are likely to be on PEDs.

      Pagan is only 30 and his numbers aren’t really up this year from last or really any other year in his career. He’s been extremely consistent the past 5-6 seasons so I don’t think it’s fair to suspect PEDs just because he plays for a certain team. Are the Oakland A’s all PED users because Bartolo Colon got caught?

  40. Was there any mention here of this article when it came out a few days ago?

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2012/10/scott-rolen-expected-to-retire.html

  41. @Drew Mac:
    Great post! How was the unicorn ride? Seriously though, the idea of Cueto, Latos, Bailey & Chapman in the rotation should scare the hell out of the league. Just think of two years out, another year for them to develop- what will Latos & Bailey be like in two years. Oh don’t forget Chapman. Then there are young studs on the farm so pitching looks good for now

  42. I am totally against the Rolen move if it happens..Baker has a track record of wanting to put Rolen in the lineup even when Rolen wasn’t producing and as soon as Frazier goes into a slump Baker will likely put Rolen in there and keep him in there too long. Rolen is washed up he can’t get around on a fastball anymore and I am tired of hearing about leadership when Rolen’s name is brought up . Where was Rolen after game 3 of the playoffs showing leadership to pump up the team like Hunter Pence did with the Giants. How is the most glaring offensive problem going to improve …which is hitting with RISP… if Baker has Rolen as an option to put back in there at the cleanup position or anywhere in this lineup.

  43. Can someone please explain this high opinion on Hamilton? I want to see a full year in the minors and productive in both the field and plate before I am ready to even consider him for the major league roster.

    • Can someone please explain this high opinion on Hamilton?I want to see a full year in the minors and productive in both the field and plate before I am ready to even consider him for the major league roster.

      It’s really not very complicated. A better than .400 OBP and about 345,897 steals.

      What his OBP will be in the bigs is a really interesting, open question.

      • It’s really not very complicated.A better than .400 OBP and about 345,897 steals.

        What his OBP will be in the bigs is a really interesting, open question.

        But those have come in the low minors. Plus is the weak arm criticizim true and would you want that as your CF?

        • But those have come in the low minors.Plus is the weak arm criticizim true and would you want that as your CF?

          CF is a position where you can historically hide weak arms. Plus, most of the reports I’ve seen of Hamilton considered him a fringy-strength wise, but likely good enough to stick. His real issues came down to accuracy and consistency. A borderline SS arm is usually more than enough to be a CF arm anyway.

          I think the Reds would miss Stubbs’ arm. The question is, how much? It all depends on the bat. And if anyone has read the scouting reports on Hamilton, the scouts are still pretty iffy on Hamilton’s mechanics. His approach has improved a ton, but he’s very lungy. His OBP is inflated by bad minor league defense plus the inability of minor league pitchers to exploit his swing.

          • CF is a position where you can historically hide weak arms.Plus, most of the reports I’ve seen of Hamilton considered him a fringy-strength wise, but likely good enough to stick.His real issues came down to accuracy and consistency.A borderline SS arm is usually more than enough to be a CF arm anyway.

            I think the Reds would miss Stubbs’ arm.The question is, how much?It all depends on the bat.And if anyone has read the scouting reports on Hamilton, the scouts are still pretty iffy on Hamilton’s mechanics.His approach has improved a ton, but he’s very lungy.His OBP is inflated by bad minor league defense plus the inability of minor league pitchers to exploit his swing.

            All true, but he can sustain a 60 point drop in OBP and still be a force. Problem is, I have no idea if it’ll be more.

  44. I am willling to bet Chapman is never a starter in MLB, let alone for the Reds. He will build his resume as a closer.

  45. I agree with Steve on Scott Rolen, but only if Drew Mac’s condition is upheld: “Rolen is signed on a one-year flyer. However, Walt tells Dusty that Frazier is the starter. Rolen learns how to play 1B to spot Votto.” I don’t think this is just a paradise dream scenario. Todd Frazer is Dusty’s kind of player (plays hard, never complains) and when Dusty said several times that Frazer’s time is coming, I don’t think he was talking about 2014.

    I don’t understand all the piling on about Rolen. He’s probably going to retire, and if not then for one year he would be an upgrade over Miguel Cairo.

  46. I agree with all of Steve’s predictions except one. And they are predictions, not preferences, he said so. The Reds are not going to rush Billy Hamilton into the major leagues in 2013. He hasn’t played a single game at AAA yet. He also has no minor league experience at all playing CF.

    He’ll have a lot of work to do at AAA: learning to play CF, hitting at that level, even stealing bases. At AA his stolen base success pct. was slightly better than 80%. That’s not good enough at that level.

  47. I think they should move on and let Scott Rolen go in peace. He is on the record as saying he won’t go looking for a paying job. I think that is a pretty clear indication of where he feels he is at physically and mentally. Why tempt him with a million or so bucks (or more) to get him to try and do something he already knows he can’t do the standard he has set for himself.

  48. It seems to me that catcher is also an unsettled position for the Reds looking to 2013. Who is joins Hanigan and what will be the distribution of PT?

    I believe Hanigan and Navarro would make a suitable tandem if they can re-sign Navarro. I would send Meso back to AAA to play everyday (which they should have done this year as soon as it was clear he wasn’t going to catch the majority of the games). They also should sign a guy in similar situation to Navarro at this time last year to be the defacto 3rd catcher in case of injury.

    If Meso takes off at AAA like he did on 2011, then at some point depending on what is happening with MLB club, perhaps he is brought up. However if he comes up he needs to be the primary catcher until such time as he shows he still can’t cut that role.

  49. @CP: All of your remarks on Hamilton underscore why he needs an extended look at AAA. The pitching, the defenses, the umpiring, and the speed of the game there are all as close to MLB as he can get without being in MLB. These will all test his skills and hopefully provide insight as to how would do at the MLB level.

  50. Anyone notice how Holliday’s dirty slide took Scutaro maybe out of the playoffs? Even Cards fans I sampled comments from say it was a dirty play, maybe 70-30.

    That team is really something.

  51. I know people are getting tired of me pushing for Dexter Fowler of the Rockies, but if the Reds would offer Mike Leake and Drew Stubbs in a trade with the Rockies a deal could definitely get done. Dexter turns 27 next spring and he is definitely on an uptick (improving as a player). He could be the Reds next CF and play solid defense and get on base for Joey to drive in. Dexter’s OBP improved to nearly .400 last year and is on the rise (he is definitely improving). He could eclipse .400 in the next year or two and play a solid if not spectacular CF (if he can play CF in Coors Field he can play it in Cincy). Morgan’s #s rose in his late 20s into his early 30s and here’s saying Dexter could do the same (his OBP numbers could keep improving).

    • If the Rockies took Leake and Stubbs in exchange for Fowler, I would say “DEAL!” faster than Mike Matheney began crying to the media about a blown call in the 8th last night with his team already down 5-1.

      I know people are getting tired of me pushing for Dexter Fowler of the Rockies, but if the Reds would offer Mike Leake and Drew Stubbs in a trade with the Rockies a deal could definitely get done.Dexter turns 27 next spring and he is definitely on an uptick (improving as a player).He could be the Reds next CF and play solid defense and get on base for Joey to drive in.Dexter’s OBP improved to nearly .400 last year and is on the rise (he is definitely improving).He could eclipse .400 in the next year or two and play a solid if not spectacular CF (if he can play CF in Coors Field he can play it in Cincy).Morgan’s #s rose in his late 20s into his early 30s and here’s saying Dexter could do the same (his OBP numbers could keep improving).

      • I wouldn’t deal with Theo to get Dejesus when there are better free agent options. I know Bourn has been mentioned a few times here but he’s paid $6.8 million this year and is looking long-term. My ideal move would be Angel Pagan, .280 career hitter/.333 OBP, switch hitter, steals bases. His 10 jacks a year playing for the Mets and Giants could easily turn into 14-15 at GABP. He’s making $4.8 in SF this year and I think he could easily be had for a bit more than that especially since the club made 7-8 million dollars hosting those 3 playoff games.

        Michael Bourn is definitely a better option than David DeJesus, but not necessarily a better fit for the Reds. With Billy Hamilton coming up the Reds need a one year stop-gap solution at leadoff, not a huge free agent contract (Bourn) or big trade for a long term solution (Dexter Fowler, Denard Span). I doubt the Giants, after this successful postseason, will be anxious to trade Pagan. The Sean Marshall trade showed that the Cubs are at least willing to consider fair deals with the Reds.

        Was there any mention here of this article when it came out a few days ago?

        http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2012/10/scott-rolen-expected-to-retire.html

        I think Rolen’s pespective is being ignored. He’s implied a few times that when he’s done playing he wants to spend more time with his kids, he doesn’t want to be a coach or sit on the bench.

        Can someone please explain this high opinion on Hamilton?I want to see a full year in the minors and productive in both the field and plate before I am ready to even consider him for the major league roster.

        Hamilton played 130+ games each of the past two seasons, albeit between single A and AA. He walked 86 times this year, which is a plus. I think he’s given us lots to be optimistic about as far as his ability to get on base. On the other hand all the scouting reports imply that he needs more work and isn’t ready, particularly in the field. After crummy fielding at shortstop he’s beginning the conversion to CF in the Arizona Fall League, which will hopefully go well, but considering how much the Reds value defense I doubt they’ll promote him before he’s ready. Speed is his greatest talent and he’s stolen a lot of bases but the reports imply that he’s been stealing with speed rather than good instincts or moves – his basestealing is something he’ll have to improve if he’s going to try against MLB pitchers and catchers. He looks like he could be the Reds’ long term solution at CF and leadoff but he’s not ready yet, and the Reds know it – that’s why they didn’t promote him this September.

        But those have come in the low minors.Plus is the weak arm criticizim true and would you want that as your CF?

        I’m curious about how his arm works in CF. I forget why Gold Glover Brandon Phillips was moved away from shortstop years ago but I thought it was his arm and throwing errors. Maybe a weak arm for a shortstop is satisfactory for a CF with great range.

        If the Rockies took Leake and Stubbs in exchange for Fowler, I would say “DEAL!” faster than Mike Matheney began crying to the media about a blown call in the 8th last night with his team already down 5-1.

        Remember, trades have to make sense for both teams, and I don’t think that makes sense for the Rockies. I think the Rockies can get much better pitchers in return for Fowler than Mike Leake.

    • I know people are getting tired of me pushing for Dexter Fowler of the Rockies, but if the Reds would offer Mike Leake and Drew Stubbs in a trade with the Rockies a deal could definitely get done.Dexter turns 27 next spring and he is definitely on an uptick (improving as a player).He could be the Reds next CF and play solid defense and get on base for Joey to drive in.Dexter’s OBP improved to nearly .400 last year and is on the rise (he is definitely improving).He could eclipse .400 in the next year or two and play a solid if not spectacular CF (if he can play CF in Coors Field he can play it in Cincy).Morgan’s #s rose in his late 20s into his early 30s and here’s saying Dexter could do the same (his OBP numbers could keep improving).

      Part of the reason the Fowler suggestion falls flat with a lot of people is his home/road splits. His batting average is 50-60 points higher in Coors Field than everywhere else. Last year, his slugging percentage was .170 points higher in Coors.

      I’ve always liked him as a player, but his numbers do seem to be inflated by that field.

      2012 Home: .332/.431/.553
      2012 Away: .262/.339/.381

      Funny (or sad) thing is, even his away numbers would be a dramatic improvement in our lead-off spot.

  52. And btw, I agree w/ another Cincy Enquirer site that says we should kick the tires at least on Josh Hamilton. DO IT WALT!!

  53. Yes, let’s set another big pile of money on fire by signing Ryan Madson through next year, while saying that there’s no money to sign an outfielder…

  54. Okay, this is going to sound really bizarre but I’m going to say it anyway. One of the most important things the Reds need to do in the off season is address their social media presence. See, that did sound bizarre!

    The Reds have really made an effort to be fan/family-friendly. From the $5 tickets, to the dollar concession stand, to the great activities at GABP. All this makes it even more crazy to see the Reds allow themselves to be so anti-fan on the web. Yesterday, we saw a Reds employee bashing Pete Rose on twitter for crying out loud.

    The whole #dustylineup thing really showed that a whole new strategy and team needs to be developed in this area and it’s only getting worse. I’d really like to see this addressed in the off season.

    • I think your on to something here. They need to hire a few college students to do this. I don’t think it would take much of an improvement to recoup the money spent to hire the students through an increase in ticket sales. Plus, the younger demographic bodes well for the future and creates much more buzz around the Banks. Well-said and great idea.

      Okay, this is going to sound really bizarre but I’m going to say it anyway.One of the most important things the Reds need to do in the off season is address their social media presence.See, that did sound bizarre!

      The Reds have really made an effort to be fan/family-friendly.From the $5 tickets, to the dollar concession stand, to the great activities at GABP.All this makes it even more crazy to see the Reds allow themselves to be so anti-fan on the web.Yesterday, we saw a Reds employee bashing Pete Rose on twitter for crying out loud.

      The whole #dustylineup thing really showed that a whole new strategy and team needs to be developed in this area and it’s only getting worse.I’d really like to see this addressed in the off season.

    • Okay, this is going to sound really bizarre but I’m going to say it anyway. One of the most important things the Reds need to do in the off season is address their social media presence.

      This is an interesting suggestion. Do you know examples of any other major league teams who are successful at social media?

      My guess is the Reds would be pretty receptive to this. I agree, in general, the marketing division is very effective.

      But moves like this take a leap of faith for established businesspeople who are (putting it delicately) not of the right generation to understand what an effective social media campaign looks like. (And I certainly count myself as being generationally challenged that way.) For example, the Reds may erroneously think they already are on the cutting edge of this because Jamie Ramsey has a Twitter account.

      That’s why if there was another club to point to as an example, it might help the Reds marketing folks take that leap.

      • This is an interesting suggestion. Do you know examples of any other major league teams who are successful at social media?

        My guess is the Reds would be pretty receptive to this. I agree, in general, the marketing division is very effective.

        But moves like this take a leap of faith for established businesspeople who are (putting it delicately) not of the right generation to understand what an effective social media campaign looks like. (And I certainly count myself as being generationally challenged that way.) For example, the Reds may erroneously think they already are on the cutting edge of this because Jamie Ramsey has a Twitter account.

        That’s why if there was another club to point to as an example, it might help the Reds marketing folks take that leap.

        Steve – I am not an expert in this area. What little training I have in social media is in the political arena rather than sports. But, I’ve got to think that one of the cardinal rules is to not antagonize your own fan base on purpose. And, it seems that Ramsey goes out of his way to do exactly that. After the whole direct message incident earlier this year with Ramsey, the club should know that doing social media poorly can have real negative ramifications – and then they came up with the whole #dustylineup meme. Bad, very bad. In the end, I just don’t see the maturity necessary from Jamie to interact with the fans. He needs to stick to media relations and the club needs to consult with some pros in this area.

        On a related note, I’d love to see them give some PR training to the players. I’m still hot over Homer Bailey’s post no-no comments and Bruce wasn’t a whole lot better. The whole “Thank You Fans” stuff gets lost when players and other employees are out actively throwing all fans into one lump and bashing them. And, again, it flies in the face of so much else the club is doing to be fan friendly in other areas.

  55. Suggesting that Rolen should be re-signed with the expectation that he will be used as some kind of mentor and PH is madness with Dusty Baker running the team. It makes me wonder if the entire OP isn’t just a troll.

  56. OK, dusty is back. Oh well, not much we can do about that.

    Chapman will be a starter. This team needs a LH starter. period. Dusty will not throw Cueto and Latos back to back, wants Bronson to break up the rotation. Now you need to break up Latos and Homer. Championship teams built for the long haul have a LH starter. I am fine with Chapman working 5 innings, we have the bullpen to bridge the innings. They say Chapman needs a 3rd pitch, sure maybe that will help, but that never stopped Mario Soto. Fastball, circle change. Soto could win 20 games with this team. It is about growing up as a pitcher. Those who say Chapman can’t grow are the same types who wanted to run Bailey out of town, and at one time also said that Cueto was a head case. Price is a great pitching coach. I look forward to the growth of the starters Latos and Chapman over the next few years. Price has delivered Cueto and Bailey. I am still not sold on Leake, like him fine, but Chapman has far more upside.

    Simon as Closer was an interesting suggestion. That guy has decent stuff and competes. He may have been our most consistent reliever this year. It should be explored as he does bring it 96 and it moves. I think that was a great pick up by Walt.

    I would exercise Ludwick’s option. nice guy, good team guy and you risk not having the chemistry if he is not there, but he needs to have full season to get the big bucks again after have 2 very down years. He should understand that “this is the best clubhouse I have ever played in” and the park he plays in fit his skills very well. He could have a monster 2013 which would put him over 30 HR’s, 100 rbis and show this year was no fluke. He could then command his payday for 2014.

    I would rather take a flier on BJ Upton than pay Ludwick “market value” for 2013. Upton could be interested in the college feel of the Reds team. Clubhouse and field should mean a lot to him, and he could be a bigger star than Ludwick

    No option for Rolen. I am fine with Frazier at 3rd. We also have others in the minors besides Hamilton who will arrive soon. Vidal is an interesting guy, and there are others.

    I do not trade Stubbs. We won 97 games with him playing every day. He really cannot be worse offensively, but he can be much better. If we trade him, those critics of the Hamilton trade will have a new gripe once he succeeds at his very next stop. Now the reason I don’t like Dusty, Heisey should have replaced Stubbs long ago. This is not about Stubbs playing every day until he “finds it” this is about playing the best player, having a starter lose his job to competition, and then see if he is competitive enough to take his job back. That is where Stubbs will either find it, or determine that he should be traded.

    trade Stubbs now and we get nothing for him. Stick him in the 2 hole and require him to bunt every time the leadoff man gets on. It will improve his eye to bat contact, and will require that he learns how to bunt. His swing remains too long, although he did go to right field more in the second half. I wanted Stubbs to bunt on his own with guys on so much, but he did not get it on his own. I would require him to do it. I would also check his vision this offseason,

    on a team that cannot hit, Dusty needs to watch some college baseball over the off season. They constantly bunt the runner over. I also remember Tommy Lasorda bunting Dusty Baker who was hitting in the 3 hole. I thought it was the silliest thing I had ever seen in my young baseball fan life. Last check, Tommy has a few more rings than Dusty.

    I am a fan of bringing Navaro back, that too was a nice pick up

    • trade Stubbs now and we get nothing for him. Stick him in the 2 hole and require him to bunt every time the leadoff man gets on. It will improve his eye to bat contact, and will require that he learns how to bunt. His swing remains too long, although he did go to right field more in the second half. I wanted Stubbs to bunt on his own with guys on so much, but he did not get it on his own. I would require him to do it. I would also check his vision this offseason,

      Every time you have Stubbs bunting over a runner to second, you leave first base open for the opposing team to intentionally walk Votto. With your suggestion, Votto’s BB’s will increase to about 150-175 a year. Why take the bat out of your best hitter’s hands??

  57. Sign and then trade Ludwick to an AL team. I would package Ludwick, Frazier, and Arredondo or Ondrusek to Tampa Bay for 3B Evan Longoria. Move Stubbs to LF and go get a CF that can leadoff. I’d talk to the Chicago White Sox about trading Leake for CF de Aza. Then I would sign a free agent LH starting pitcher, maybe a Joe Saunders.
    Chapman remains the closer. Re-sign Broxton. Give Bray a chance in spring training to regain his spot. Rolen retires. Cut ties with Masset, Cairo, and Valdez.

  58. @reagansdaddy: Maybe BP would be willing to do some consulting in the off season. Talk about an effective social media strategy…

  59. @BenL: You can’t teach cool. That’s what BP is in that area. 😀

  60. WV, I do not see why someone would trade for Ludwick if they can sign him as a free agent. Don’t see him signing with the Reds on the option, and I would not pay him multi year at this point.

    Joey does a great job of taking walks, and it only hurts the other team. at one point, his obp was 480. It all comes down to the 4 hitter again for the Reds. If it is Ludwick or Frazier, they have to deliver. I do not buy into the thought that Frazier will not get better. The guy is an RBI guy, and in our park, he can hit 25 HRs and in this lineup deliver 100 RBIs. His power seemed to be fine on the road also. The guy was the best clutch hitter on the team this year. Fraizer and Ludwick had almost identical numbers, I am fine with Todd hitting 4.

    And then Bruce still hits 5. nobody wants to walk a second runner on with one out to face Frazier, Bruce and Phillips/Cozart in 6 hole.

    I also think that Stubbs could beat out a large percentage of sacrifice attempts, and then Votto is up with 1st and 2nd

    The one thing is clear, Stubbs continues to think he is the HR hitter of his first year. That needs to be worked out of his attack. If they come, fine, but shorten that swing

    Like Longoria, but do not think he can be had cheaply

    • WV, I do not see why someone would trade for Ludwick if they can sign him as a free agent. Don’t see him signing with the Reds on the option, and I would not pay him multi year at this point.Joey does a great job of taking walks, and it only hurts the other team. at one point, his obp was 480. It all comes down to the 4 hitter again for the Reds. If it is Ludwick or Frazier, they have to deliver. I do not buy into the thought that Frazier will not get better. The guy is an RBI guy, and in our park, he can hit 25 HRs and in this lineup deliver 100 RBIs. His power seemed to be fine on the road also. The guy was the best clutch hitter on the team this year. Fraizer and Ludwick had almost identical numbers, I am fine with Todd hitting 4.And then Bruce still hits 5. nobody wants to walk a second runner on with one out to face Frazier, Bruce and Phillips/Cozart in 6 hole.I also think that Stubbs could beat out a large percentage of sacrifice attempts, and then Votto is up with 1st and 2ndThe one thing is clear, Stubbs continues to think he is the HR hitter of his first year. That needs to be worked out of his attack. If they come, fine, but shorten that swingLike Longoria, but do not think he can be had cheaply

      Why would a team trade for Ludwick and not sign himas a free agent?? Well to get him at $5MM for 2013. If you sign him as a free agent you may be looking at a 3 yr./ $21-$27MM contract. Ludwick would be valuable to an AL team that could also use him as a DH. And at $5MM he becomes more valuable. I am only suggesting a sign and trade of Ludwick if and only if you get a better caliber of player. A true RH #4 cleanup hitter. Someone like Longoria. But he will not come cheaply. Longoria has a team friendly contract thru 2016 I believe. The Reds and Rays match up fairly well in a trade scenario. The Reds have what the Rays have needs for. The Rays need a SS so Gregorius could be in the mix. The Rays need a LF. And Frazier could replace Longoria at 3B. If the Rays part with BJ Upton they will need a CF and there would be Stubbs to put in the mix. I think that the #4 clean up hitter is a more important piece to get than a leadoff hitter. BP could leadoff if needed, but I would rather he hit second.

      • Why would a team trade for Ludwick and not sign himas a free agent?? Well to get him at $5MM for 2013. If you sign him as a free agent you may be looking at a 3 yr./ $21-$27MM contract. Ludwick would be valuable to an AL team that could also use him as a DH. And at $5MM he becomes more valuable.

        The Reds could only trade Ludwick if they negotiated a new contract. The $5 million optino is mutual, which means not only the team but also Ludwick has to agree to it. Ludwick will never do it – he’s looking a a decent two or three year deal from someone. He can play LF or RF and doesn’t have to DH. Why would Ludwick sign a deal with the Reds only to be traded somewhere else? He could just sign a new deal with that second club, like the Rays.

        • The Reds could only trade Ludwick if they negotiated a new contract. The $5 million optino is mutual, which means not only the team but also Ludwick has to agree to it. Ludwick will never do it – he’s looking a a decent two or three year deal from someone. He can play LF or RF and doesn’t have to DH. Why would Ludwick sign a deal with the Reds only to be traded somewhere else? He could just sign a new deal with that second club, like the Rays.

          They could trade Ludwick after both he and the team agree to the mutual option, at $5MM. Nothing in the MLB rule book about prohibiting that. I know the sign and trade trades are mostly in the NBA game, but it could apply here.
          But what you are saying is that Ludwick would not agree to the mutual option to begin with. Are you saying there is no way Ludwick plays in Cincinnati in 2013, unless he has a 2 or 3 year deal?? That could make finding a true, legit #4 clean up hitter a little bit more possible then, with Ludwick out of the equation. 🙂

          • They could trade Ludwick after both he and the team agree to the mutual option, at $5MM. Nothing in the MLB rule book about prohibiting that.I know the sign and trade trades are mostly in the NBA game, but it could apply here.
            But what you are saying is that Ludwick would not agree to the mutual option to begin with. Are you saying there is no way Ludwick plays in Cincinnati in 2013, unless he has a 2 or 3 year deal??That could make finding a true, legit #4 clean up hitter a little bit more possible then, with Ludwick out of the equation.

            It might not be forbidden but it would make other players think twice before coming to Cincinnati on a team-friendly deal. Cincinnati has become an appealing team for hitters (Ludwick, Gomes, Rolen, so on) to rebuild their careers or players who want to play for a contender (Madson, Jeff Francis, even if they didn’t contribute anything) and trading away guys who sign here could eliminate that appeal.

            Something to consider is if Ryan Ludwick actually is a true legit #4 cleanup hitter and a better option in that role than Frazier and Phillips. Dusty and the Reds are likely to stick him in that role even if another option – perhaps Todd Frazier – emerges, and the more Ludwick gets paid the more opportunities they’ll probably offer to justify their investment. Fans who want the Reds to ‘Dusty-proof’ the lineup might not want Ludwick to return. I think Brandon Phillips is best suited to hit second but he’s also done fine hitting cleanup and can return to that role if needed. On the other hand a ‘true, legit #4 cleanup hitter’ is probably out of the Reds’ budget.

          • On the other hand a ‘true, legit #4 cleanup hitter’ is probably out of the Reds’ budget.

            This time last year, so was signing BOTH Votto and Phillips to contract extensions. But that happened. So, I keep hoping.

          • But what you are saying is that Ludwick would not agree to the mutual option to begin with. Are you saying there is no way Ludwick plays in Cincinnati in 2013, unless he has a 2 or 3 year deal??

            Right. I’d be extremely surprised if Ludwick can’t find a two or three year deal paying more than $5 million/year. So I don’t think he’ll pick up the option year. I do think he’ll give the Reds every opportunity to sign him, but I think they’ll have to pay market rate. And I’m not sure if I’d do that. Definitely not three years.

  61. This pains me to even suggest it, but I would explore the market for Arroyo. His value is at its peak, and it seems like Leake/Chapman/Cingrini are options to replace him. Use the payroll dollars for CF/LF/3B. I am ok with 2/3 of Stubbs/Frazier/Ludwick but I wouldn’t count on all 3.

    It may all be a moot point though because I think Arroyo may be able to veto any trades.

    The other question that I have is I wonder if the organization was sending a message to Stubbs by bringing up Phipps late in the year. Is he a viable solution in CF?

  62. On Frazier…Most of his success was in July and early August and after the middle of August Frazier tanked offensively like the rest of the team
    I am a big Frazier fan but he must get in better shape next year if he plans on being the starting thirds baseman because it sure looked like his bat slowed down toward the end of the year. Rolen should not be an option to play for Frazier when does slump because Baker will favor the veteran over the younger and play Rolen too much. Jocketty should look for a backup infielder with some pop in his bat to spell Frazier and at times Phillips. Cairo and Valdez need to go

  63. @Matt WI: Sure you can. The Reds new twitter handle: DozeDudesInCinci. Cool, huh? Problem solved. 🙂

  64. @Redgoggles: It would take some major work to trade Arroyo… I believe all of his back loaded money also comes immediately due if he is traded. Almost impossible to pull off. He’s staying.

  65. @Steve Mancuso: Steve, just compare Dexter’s numbers over the last 2-3 years and you will notice a real spike upward. Drew Stubbs? We all know where he is headed. Now, when you ask successful hitters what they needed to do – they will tell you either you make adjustments (change) or the pitcher will rule you. Dexter keeps improving (making adjustments), Stubbs is not (making adjustments). Quite simple. And an OBP near .400 either at home or away would work real well for the Reds.

    • @Steve Mancuso: Steve, just compare Dexter’s numbers over the last 2-3 years and you will notice a real spike upward.Drew Stubbs?We all know where he is headed.Now, when you ask successful hitters what they needed to do – they will tell you either you make adjustments (change) or the pitcher will rule you.Dexter keeps improving (making adjustments), Stubbs is not (making adjustments).Quite simple.And an OBP near .400 either at home or away would work real well for the Reds.

      We also all knew Bronson Arroyo’s career was over after 2011, that Rolen’s career was over after his bad first half, that Homer Bailey would never be decent, that Latos for Alonso was the worst trade ever, that Ryan Madson was a great bargain, that Cueto and Bailey couldn’t stay healthy, that Alfredo Simon was worthless, and Ryan Ludwick was washed up. Things can change fast.

      I think Stubbs had a down year but I expect his OBP to return to ~.325 next year, where it’s been for every other season he’s played with the Reds. If he starts next season hitting 7th or 8th for the Reds it’ll be fine with me. If they replace Stubbs I hope they bring in an improvement rather than write in a new name on the jersey – like giving the job Heisey or Shane Victorino and assume things will go better.

  66. @reagansdaddy: PR Training? Actually I was pretty impressed by lots of the Reds’ interviews this year and I was wondering if they brought somebody in for lessons in spring training. At least they do a great job of avoiding bickering or spreading blame.

    I think Joey Votto should get an interview coach or something in the offseason – he might be the star player but he is super boring in interviews, and even seemed out of place and uncomfortable in a press conference regarding his contract extension. Rob Portman maybe, he’s from Cincinnati and is preparing Mitt Romney for presidential debates, maybe Joey Votto can trade Portman some good seats in exchange for some sort of lessons. I think if Votto is going to be the franchise player with his photo on walls or billboards he should be more interesting.

    Johnny Cueto, one of the broadcasters was saying earlier this season that the next step to becoming an ace pitcher is to give interviews in English. Maybe he’s approaching that point.

    Brandon Phillips and Todd Frazier both do a great job of winning over fans. Even Frazier’s musical selections – Frank Sinatra intro music – gets him publicity. You can’t teach cool but the way they approach fans or publicity is just really different from Votto. Oh well.

  67. I agree with Steve and redsfanman, WVRedlegs

    I am guessing that the only way we see Ludwick back in a Reds uniform is that he accepts the option, or does not try to break the bank on a 2 year deal. That said, if we are paying Ludwick 8-10 mil per over 2 years, we can afford a better player, like Upton.

    That is the squeeze and Walt is good at finding spare parts. Ludwick was a spare part flier 2.5 mil with a 5.0 mil mutual option. It was really a one year deal as if Ludwick was not worth the 2.5 mil, his option does not get picked up by the Reds, and as good as he was, he probably declines the option thinking he is worth more.

    There is zero chance that he would agree to a sign and trade, and Walt is not Jim Bowden. He would not sign him and then turn around and trade him. His signing at market will come like it did last year. I get the last big contract year, etc, but the best move Ludwick could make is exercise the option, play for 5.0 mil and tear it up in 2013. Then he gets the contract he is looking for

  68. I agree with most of Steve’s points; to expand …

    Rolen: We could certainly do worse than to have Rolen on our bench. Yeah, he only plays 3B, but his (somewhat diminished) bat is much better than the likes of Cairo, Valdez, and Mesoraco. When 3/5 of your bench hits .212 or less, with 5 HR’s in 548 AB’s, there’s room for Rolen. If a utility infielder is added, while having Frazier available at multiple positions, you have strengthened your bench.

    Madson: Walt is firm believer in always acting to find more bullpen arms. He got Madson, Marshall, Simon, Hoover, and Broxton on the (relatively) “cheap”, and truly upgraded this bullpen. Madson might not be all the way back at the start of the season, but if he can sign him to a somewhat team friendly deal (ala Arredondo), he would be wise to do so.

    Ludwick: He resurrected his career, and was clutch more often than not. I’m all for trying to resign him, but Ludwick will almost certainly turn down the mutual option of $5 Mil for one year. If the price is somewhat reasonable, I’d be for a 2 or 3 year deal to bridge the gap to our farm system prospects.

    Chapman: I don’t doubt the team’s commitment to having Chapman in the rotation. It wasn’t Baker that deep sixed the move, it was Madson, Masset, and Bray starting the year on the DL. If you don’t believe in the team’s commitment, I have a sign for you: $. Having Chapman in the rotation virtually guarantees a sellout every 5th day.

    Hamilton: Considering that he only has a couple of months above single A ball under his belt, there is NO WAY he will start the year in Cincy. That said, I think he will be moved to CF, and I agree he will have an extended stay in spring training. I don’t see him reaching the majors until Sept., but he is clearly our best hope for solving our leadoff batter issues.

    LH Reliever and Closer: I would be surprised if Walt doesn’t continue to stockpile quality BP arms.

  69. First things first, I would have rathered Walt taken a deep breath and think about the Baker extention. Barring any unforeseen rise of young talent in the minors. The next two to three years will be the best (but not only) chance for the reds to win it all. I like Baker overall, but I am not certain he is the best fit for this team. ‘Player’s Managers’ can work well (Francona and Torre) but so can the alternatives (Anderson and Dallas green come to mind). But is he right for this team? I do like that he rarely calls out players publically, but I am not sure that playing time is merit based and not tenure based. If performace is similar fine go with tenure, but this season is good example of how that can sometimes get in the way, although it was not the cause of their failure in the Giants series.

    Moves I would like to see:

    Let Rolen Walk: 2011 and 2012 he was injured often and seemed to be playing through injury most of the time. The errors and misplays (Pence’s hit, 10th in G4) in the DS seem to really tax him and he looked not 100%.

    Resign Ludwick: I was hopefull at start of season that he could provide some extra pop and he did just that. Showed hustle and professionalism. If he gets a crazy 3-4 year deal with big money, you’ll have to let him go but a 2-3 year deal at a reasonable price near his option amount would be a good thing to have.

    Leadoff hitter: I would still explore guys like span as lead off hitter and CF for the next couple of years until Hamilton is ready. Stubbs has been on a downward trend the last two years and if he is the CF he should be hitting down the order (7/8) to get something out of his power. How to get a guy like span is the real question. In big park, in a division of big parks, the twins might be interested in someone like Leake, or another farmhand. Obviously, a move like this would require deep thinking.

    Bench: 2010 and 2011 the bench was an asset. This year not so much. I think Cairo is in the same boat as Rolen. On top of which he is redundant if Rolen stays and Frazier is back up corner infielder. Vadez as utility guy is fine with me. I’ve seen him play alot in philly and believe he could be a useful toolbox guy next year. Moving Cairo makes room for Rodriguez/Gregorious as corner infielder/utility. Paul as LH 5th outfielder is okay for now, but I would consider an alternative to Heisey, but one does not immediately jump out at me. This all hinges on what Ludwick, Rolen, and the reds decide to do mutually.

    Sorry for the long post but these thoughts have been kicking around for awhile now.

    Looking forward to March 2013

  70. The Reds CAN’T resign RolEEn cause Dusty will play him over Frazier. Dusty can’t help himself, he’ll always go for a vet over a rookie. Cozart wouldn’t have been our every day SS if Dusty had a vet in the wings. I doubt Harper would have played if we had him. Frazier only played because Dusty didn’t have a choice once Votto went down. Frazier was a major reason that we even made the playoffs and Dusty rewards him with sitting on the pine watching RolEEn’s weak D and O. Stubbs needs to be traded, if anyone will take him. If he’s here, he plays. Dusty doesn’t care that he goes 0-40 cause he’s fast!! Too bad that we need to Dusty-Proof this roster, but we do. On Dusty’s watch are two of the worst playoff compasses in Reds history and people are happy he’s back. I just don’t get it.

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

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