Mark Sheldon is reporting that Reds’ right fielder Jay Bruce is interested in negotiating an extension that would essentially make him a Cincinnati Reds player for life.

Reds right fielder Jay Bruce has long-term commitments on his mind of late — both of the personal and professional variety.

In a couple of weeks, Bruce will make a lifetime commitment to his fiancee when the two celebrate their wedding day. On the baseball side of life, the 25-year-old would like to sign an extension that would enable him to possibly finish his career in Cincinnati.

Bruce is interested in adding another six years to the deal. The timing might seem odd since he is already under a contract that is guaranteed through 2016.

“[Bruce] made it clear that he wants to be a Red his entire career,” Bruce’s agent, Matt Sosnick, said. “[Joey] Votto is in his wedding in a couple of weeks and he wants to play with him. He has a lot of friends there. He and his fiancee are very comfortable in Cincinnati. Jay asked me to approach the team and see if something is there. We’ll see if the team has any interest.”

Bruce is already signed through his age-29 season in 2016. Plus the Reds have club option in 2017 for $13 million. JoeyMVP is signed through the 2024 season.

Bruce is coming off a 2012 season where he performed in line with 2011: .252/.327/.514. He hit 34 home runs and drove in 99. He was arguably the Reds 2012 MVP.

We know what Marty Brennaman thinks about this. What say you, Nation?

 

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! 87 Comments

  1. I’d like to see him prove that he will increase his batting average over the next year or two. Otherwise, let the next coming of Adam Dunn go sign with another team after 2016/17.

  2. If he wants something, he needs to give up something. FO should probably look for lower annual salaries somewhere, especially towards his later years. I would also look for some protection, like a buyout or contract becomes null-n-void if he becomes so seriously injured he can’t play for an extended period of time, talking over a year.

  3. This is a good thing. Bruce is not an Adam Dunn. Are you kidding me? First, he isn’t the offensive weapon Dunn was. 40 HR, 100 RBIs, 100 Walks. That was Adam Dunn. Second, Adam Dunn was a defensive liability. Jay Bruce is not. Third, Adam Dunn had a lackadaisical attitude, Jay is a worker. If, and this is a big if, Bruce ever reaches his full potential, wouldn’t you want to pay him for what he’s worth now, rather than try to extend him in 2016? I don’t see him relaxing just because he knows he’s going to be paid for the next 12-14 years.

    Thanks Jay for telling the world Cincinnati is a great place to play.

  4. This should be a discussion for next winter. Lets see how he does in 2013 first. Can he FINALLY break the 100 RBI barrier?? Can he FINALLY hit more than .255 in a season?? Does he progress trying to hit to the opposite field, a la Votto, or does he continue to flail away in crucial at bats?? Re-visit this idea next winter. Since he is signed thru 2016 there is no rush or urgency needed for this. This winter work on extensions for Cueto, Latos and Bailey.

    • This should be a discussion for next winter. Lets see how he does in 2013 first. Can he FINALLY break the 100 RBI barrier?? Can he FINALLY hit more than .255 in a season?? Does he progress trying to hit to the opposite field, a la Votto, or does he continue to flail away in crucial at bats?? Re-visit this idea next winter. Since he is signed thru 2016 there is no rush or urgency needed for this. This winter work on extensions for Cueto, Latos and Bailey.

      I agree. One season, even if it’s a good one, won’t affect how much we pay him 4 years from now. The priority needs to be Latos and Bailey.

  5. I don’t know what kind of contract I would think is fair or if it could be a good thing but I love that Bruce wants it. He has the kind of attitude that makes a player truly admirable. I hope one way or another he is a Red for a long time.

  6. Torii Hunter–2years, $26million. What a joke. Last 3 years the walk rate has gone down, the strikeouts up, and the BABIP was way out of whack in 2012.

    Unless we’re talking major hometown discount, you can now kiss Ludwick goodbye.

  7. I am hopeful that RL Nation will reprint the article on Tony Cingrani that was on hte minor league baseball site, milb dot com. It is a very good read, especially during a slow news week. It will give Reds fans a little insight into Cingrani. Especially about the pitches he throws. I have added him to my favorite Reds player list.

  8. @Sultan of Swaff: They are estimating Ludwick to get a Willingham type deal, 3 years at around 10-12 million a year. So yes, good bye Ludwick.

  9. Hmm. I’m a big fan of Bruce, but right now, he’s signed through age 29 at a very reasonable price. One of the better deals in baseball. If you extend through age 35ish…you start getting into those years where his skills will deteriorate rapidly. And as a RF, there is nowhere to move him on the diamond if he can no longer play defense (he certainly won’t go to 1B).

  10. @WVRedlegs: It was a pretty good article.

  11. @per14: ?? You couldn’t move him because he’s already in one of the position where they put players with diminishing skills. Your post confuses me a bit.

  12. Finding a leadoff hitter, filling the hole at 3B/LF (depending hos it’s filled), find a closer (Chapman to SP) & extending Latos & Bailey beyond arbitration should certainly be the teams priorities, at least through January. By that time, those questions and issues should be resolved. If the Reds can then move their focus to Bruce, I think this may be the perfect time to talk such an extension. A six year contract extension at $12MM per year would be reasonable right now. That’s what a 2.4 WAR translates to in value and Bruce has trended down to a 2.4 WAR in 2012 and that’s pretty much what Phillips received in his extension. If Bruce wants more than that, then I agree, the Reds probably want to take a show me approach for 2013.

  13. Navarro was signed by the Cubs…seems like the catcher market it closing fast.

    Maybe the Reds make a move for Napoli, trade Mesoraco and prospects for Longoria from the Rays…hahahaha, I’m kidding.

  14. @TC:

    It just makes you like Cingrani that much more, doesn’t it??

  15. The Cubs have signed catcher Dioner Navarro according to his representatives at MDR Sports Management. Man I was really hoping he would resign with the Reds.

  16. @TC:

    Yes, exactly. If he were a CF or a middle infielder, then you’d now that you could move him when his defense starts to slip. But, it’s hard to move a RF especially when Votto is at first. I suppose you could move him to LF but there is little difference between LF and RF.

  17. *know, not now

  18. Note–I’m not predicting Jay Bruce turns into Adam Dunn as an OFer. But, you have to take into account where he’ll play when he’s 35 (which is where an extension might take him through). It’s likely that at 35 he’ll be a sub-par OFer.

  19. I told you guys Ludwick would be expensive.

  20. Jay Bruce, I appreciate that he is getting out the message that Cincinnati and that he wants to stay. On the other hand he’s already signed to a long term contract and I think they’re years away from needing to worry about an extension.

    Ludwick, after Torii Hunter got a huge contract despite being older I doubt Ludwick will return.

    Navarro, I’m surprised he was signed so quickly but I’m happy he’s not returning to the Reds. Pitching and defense are the things the Reds prioritize and both Hanigan and Mesoraco are much better defensively.

    • Navarro, I’m surprised he was signed so quickly but I’m happy he’s not returning to the Reds.Pitching and defense are the things the Reds prioritize and both Hanigan and Mesoraco are much better defensively.

      I’d love to hear how the organization that always prioritizes pitching and defense decided to play Navarro over Mesoraco last year. Perhaps…just perhaps…they care more about hitting than you think.

      • I’d love to hear how the organization that always prioritizes pitching and defense decided to play Navarro over Mesoraco last year.Perhaps…just perhaps…they care more about hitting than you think.

        Navarro had a rough couple of games his first time up; but when he came up to stay he was no chump behind the plate. Certainly not Hanigan but a better receiver, handler of the pitchers, and overall defender than Meso had been in his extended trial. Plus, he could actually contribute offensively with some regularity,

        At $1.75M I’m guessing the Reds felt Navarro was over priced. It will be interesting to see what the rds do now at catcher, as their behavior with Meso in September certainly makes one doubt they are willing to go into the 2013 with teh tandem being Hanigan and Meso.

      • I’d love to hear how the organization that always prioritizes pitching and defense decided to play Navarro over Mesoraco last year.Perhaps…just perhaps…they care more about hitting than you think.

        Nope.

        Once again they chose to keep the better fielder (Mesoraco) while not trying to retain the worse fielder who hits better (Navarro).

        Walt Jocketty has recently said that he’s not interested in paying for Michael Bourn or Angel Pagan’s offense offense while making it clear that they’re reaching out to Broxton, Ryan Madson, and Joakim Soria. As usual they’re prioritizing pitching and defense over hitting.

        I think a big test is whether they consider Cincinnati-native Kevin Youkilis (and his .384 career OBP) as a 3b/right handed cleanup hitter (moving Frazier to LF). Such a move would adequately replace Ludwick and Rolen while sacrificing defense at 3b. If they care as little about defense as HankAaronsTeammate believes they’d strongly consider it.

        • Nope.

          Once again they chose to keep the better fielder (Mesoraco) while not trying to retain the worse fielder who hits better (Navarro).

          Walt Jocketty has recently said that he’s not interested in paying for Michael Bourn or Angel Pagan’s offense offense while making it clear that they’re reaching out to Broxton, Ryan Madson, and Joakim Soria.As usual they’re prioritizing pitching and defense over hitting.

          I think a big test is whether they consider Cincinnati-native Kevin Youkilis (and his .384 career OBP) as a 3b/right handed cleanup hitter (moving Frazier to LF).Such a move would adequately replace Ludwick and Rolen while sacrificing defense at 3b.If they care as little about defense as HankAaronsTeammate believes they’d strongly consider it.

          This is simply an unbelievably lame response, per usual, to something that I never said. “If they care as little about defense…”. Typical.

          To review, I simply said that your constant claims that the organization always chooses pitching and defense isn’t true, and is shown by the fact that Mesoraco was put behind Navarro last year. Why was that (and I completely disagree with OhioJim that Mesoraco is an inferior defensive catcher to Navarro).

          The Youkilis example is also a strawman argument, really lame. I think most everyone thinks that Kevin Youkilis is deteriorating, and fast. I think it’s pretty unlikely he’s going to put up anywhere near his career OBP next year, and his SLG is free falling the last couple years also. So, when the Reds rightfully do not consider Youkilis, you are going to declare victory and say “see, I told you so”.

          In terms of your other comments, they are incredibly misleading, as usual. Jocketty also said that Torii Hunter makes too much, and he can play some defense. It’s a money and contract length issue more than anything else. The relievers you mention as “proof” that pitching and defense is all they care about are guys they can sign for a year or two at the most. Guys like Michael Bourn are going to cost a lot of money and multiple years. It’s not a proper comparison. But, it does suit your need to distort everything.

  21. I love Bruce, and there aren’t too many thing that would make me happier than to see him as a Red for life… but this is still a weird discussion to be having. That type of super-long-term contract is usually reserved for irreplaceable players. They get these contracts because they are good enough to demand them on the free agent market. If you want to sign Pujols or A-Rod in their primes you have to pay them for 10 years. Bruce is great, but not irreplaceable. I wouldn’t sign him to 10-12 years unless he was taking a *very* *very* *very* steep discount. I’m not worried about slacking, but injuries happen, and there is no reason for the Reds to take the risk.

  22. @WVRedlegs: “Flail away in key situations.” Marty, is that you?

    Bruce hit essentially the same with men on, with men in scoring position, and with nobody on.

    I also love the idea that 99 RBI represents some sort of failure, while 100 would mark a major breakthrough for the young hitter.

    • @WVRedlegs: “Flail away in key situations.” Marty, is that you?
      Bruce hit essentially the same with men on, with men in scoring position, and with nobody on.
      I also love the idea that 99 RBI represents some sort of failure, while 100 would mark a major breakthrough for the young hitter.

      I never said or used the word “failure”. It is not so much on this site as it is with the Reds dot com site that many fans claim that Bruce is already a 100 RBI guy when he still hasn’t reached that benchmark just yet. 100 RBI’s is a benchmark for sluggers the last time I looked. He has gotten close the last 2 years, and if the Reds get a legit leadoff hitter I can see both Votto and Bruce surpassing 100 RBI’s in 2013.
      As for the flailing away, there was some improvement in Bruce in those situations last year from 2011. Plus, there was improvement with Bruce hitting against LH pitchers, both early and late in the game.
      My point is, there is still more room for improvement with Bruce before the Reds should start talking a longer extension of his contract. More importantly, that means becoming more of a consistant hitter instead of being such a streaky hitter. When he gets hot, he gets hot. But he also disappears for lengthy stretches sometimes. And sometimes that happens when the Reds really need him. And on defense, Bruce’s field play improved nicely in 2012 over what he did in 2011.

  23. @OhioJim: Two words: Corky Freaking Miller.

    • @OhioJim: Two words: Corky Freaking Miller.

      Noooooooooooooooooooooooo. Make a trade for the Phillies backup C, Erik Kratz. That is if Mez is still on Baker’s double secret probation list.

      • Noooooooooooooooooooooooo.Make a trade for the Phillies backup C, Erik Kratz.That is if Mez is still on Baker’s double secret probation list.

        I don’t see a big problem with having Corky Miller as the third string backup catcher. They assigned him as a personal coach for both Devin Mesoraco and Yasmani Grandal so they could learn how to call games well from him. He’s a good defensive catcher, he calls games well, and he’s worked with lots of the Reds’ pitchers in the minors. I think it’s just a question of whether he keeps playing in 2013 or if he retires to pursue a career as a coach or manager. Also, the Reds are bound to pick up some scrub catchers to fill out the minor league system, like they did last year with washed up Dioner Navarro. Also catching prospect Tucker Barnhart is probably starting 2013 in AA.

        • I don’t see a big problem with having Corky Miller as the third string backup catcher. They assigned him as a personal coach for both Devin Mesoraco and Yasmani Grandal so they could learn how to call games well from him. He’s a good defensive catcher, he calls games well, and he’s worked with lots of the Reds’ pitchers in the minors. I think it’s just a question of whether he keeps playing in 2013 or if he retires to pursue a career as a coach or manager. Also, the Reds are bound to pick up some scrub catchers to fill out the minor league system, like they did last year with washed up Dioner Navarro. Also catching prospect Tucker Barnhart is probably starting 2013 in AA.

          I don’t think there is any way the Reds carry 3 C’s on the 25-man roster. Not unless one of them can play other positions too. And that is not the case with Mez or Miller. Now the Phillies backup C Kratz, that I have advocated to obtain, can play a little OF and 1B. And would be a big bopper as a pinch hitter. The more versatile the player, the more valuable they are.

          • Conversation on Twitter between Delino DeShields (DD) & Alex Pelaez (AP), the Dragons manager and hitting coach.

            AP: sabermetrics is doodoo
            DD: s/o to the to the smartest sounding guy in the room! Lol
            AP: it’s gonna ruin the game. Video room stats.
            DD: you gotta stick to yo guns!

            Very disappointing.

  24. To elaborate, Devin Mesoraco’s crummy hitting in the #8 spot didn’t run the Reds into the ground, he called games well and performed well behind the plate, which the Reds made clear was the primary concern headed into the season – Mesoraco should worry about catching well and prioritize that ahead of hitting. Now he’s proven himself as a catcher and the priority has switched to proving himself as a hitter.

    IF Mesoraco starts 2013 in AAA and Corky Miller catches well and hits 8th in 40% of the games, fine with me. If Corky hits .200 and helps Homer Bailey or another young starter to continue to improve it’ll be a success. If the Reds are going to win they’ll do it through good pitching and defense, not through 40+ homeruns out of the catching spot.

  25. @redsfanman: I heard an interview with Corky just during the World Series. He’s out of work at the moment and chilling in the windy city, but he wants to come back in the right situation.

    I’ve always liked the Stash. He’d have instant respect from the staff and he can pitch in the 18th inning. The problem is his bat. Always has been. Otherwise, he’s the best catcher in the entire Reds organization the past 5 years.

    • I don’t think there is any way the Reds carry 3 C’s on the 25-man roster.Not unless one of them can play other positions too. And that is not the case with Mez or Miller.Now the Phillies backup C Kratz, that I have advocated to obtain, can play a little OF and 1B. And would be a big bopper as a pinch hitter. The more versatile the player, the more valuable they are.

      I don’t mean to indicate that I think the Reds should (or will) carry 3 catchers, but they are sure to have a third string guy in the minors. Corky has been 3rd or 4th on the depth chart amongst Reds catchers for years despite spending limited time with the MLB team. There’s a possibility that things will switch around with Mesoraco heading to Louisville and Corky to Cincinnati for opening day, but we’ll see.

      I doubt acquiring a catcher who plays 1b will be a priority with Todd Frazier and Joey Votto around. Ramon Hernandez used to do that some before Frazier arrived.

      I don’t think Erik Kratz is a likely target. The more I think about it the more I like Kevin Youkilis, the right handed cleanup hitting OBP machine who plays 1b and 3b.

      @redsfanman: I heard an interview with Corky just during the World Series.He’s out of work at the moment and chilling in the windy city, but he wants to come back in the right situation.

      I’ve always liked the Stash.He’d have instant respect from the staff and he can pitch in the 18th inning.The problem is his bat.Always has been.Otherwise, he’s the best catcher in the entire Reds organization the past 5 years.

      I think a big question is if the Reds offer Corky a catching job or a coaching job – both are realistic.

      Best catcher in the organization? Eh, he’s always been overshadowed by more talented guys – I’d give him ‘most MLB ready’ but young Tucker Barnhart is likely to be ready to take over that role before long. Barnhart is one of the best defensive catchers in the minors and is likely to start 2013 in AA while, like Corky, his hitting may be questionable. Unlike Yasmani Grandal and Devin Mesoraco he might not have much to learn about catching from Corky.

  26. Unless the Reds have a plan to extend Hannigan after next year or attempt to resign him, they need to get Mesoraco time with every pitcher immediately.

  27. Toughest AZ Fall Leaguer to strike out in 2012? Peoria SS Didi Gregorius, once every 21 plate appearance.

    Starting pitchers announced for tomorrow’s AFL champ game: Peoria RHP Tim Crabbe vs. Salt River RHP Ryan Perry.

    Day off today before the AFL Championship tomorrow on TV on MLB network @ 1 p.m. AZ (3 p.m. ET).

    After Saturday, the dog days of the offseason kick into full swing with 135 days until Opening Day.

  28. @BloodyHo: This just goes with what I’ve been saying – anybody who thinks that the Reds might dump Brook Jacoby and bring in a hitting coach who stresses patience and taking walks is kidding themselves. That’s not the philosphy being taught *anywhere* in the minor league system. Why would they suddenly decide to apply it in Cincinnati?

    Jacoby might go, but his replacement will be another Dusty pick. And I will not be too terribly surprised if Shane Victorino winds up being the big acquisition this offseason. He’s their kinda veteran.

  29. The Blue Jays have agreed to sign Melky Cabrera to a two-year, $16MM contract, Enrique Rojas of ESPNdeportes.com reports.

    If Melky can get $16MM for 2 years after a PED induced season, and Hunter gets $26MM for 2 years at age 38, the Reds simply have no realistic shot at resigning Ludwick for his final big payday.

    • I agree. Walt will have to work his magic. I have a feeling he is biding time, but has something up his sleeve. After all, who saw the Latos thing coming?

      The Blue Jays have agreed to sign Melky Cabrera to a two-year, $16MM contract, Enrique Rojas of ESPNdeportes.com reports.

      If Melky can get $16MM for 2 years after a PED induced season, and Hunter gets $26MM for 2 years at age 38, the Reds simply have no realistic shot at resigning Ludwick for his final big payday.

  30. I’m beginning to agree (or maybe just hope) that Youklis could be THE big FA aquisition that WJ has really targeted. I also like the idea of adding a CF platoon option(s) to leadoff. Scott Podsednick or Grady Sizemeore from the left side against RHP and Stubbs (or trade Stubbs) or Reed Johnson from the right side against LHP. With Votto & Youklis hitting in front of him, Bruce should vault past 100 RBI and go straight for 200 RBI’s! 😛

  31. With the way it’s looking on the FA market, the Reds may be better off going to the trade route. I’ve been thinking lately and can’t help but dreaming of a trade for Giancarlo Stanton. I know it’s very far-fetched, but hey Jocketty certainly has surprised before, and we’re talking about the same organization that traded Miggy Cabrera (among many other stars).

    Acquiring Stanton would no doubt only be possible with the inclusion of Aroldis Chapman, but I think I would be willing to do this for him. Stanton could quite possibly hit 50 HRs in GABP if he stays healthy for a full season. Stanton is on a HoF projection and hasn’t even played a game as a 23 year old yet. He would give us the best 3-4-5 in all of baseball for the next 4 years and possibly more if we could sign him to an extension. The Marlins would have to at least think about offers including Chapman + some combination of Hamilton/Gregorius/Cingrani/Corcino/Stephenson/Leake. Having a player of Stanton’s caliber would outweigh Chapman’s value in my mind. Obviously an everyday player with MVP potential is more valuable than any closer, so the only way Chapman matches Stanton’s value is as a starter. The problem is we don’t know if Chapman will ever even get that chance, let alone actually reach his potential, Even if he does it’s probably going to take a few years, just in time for him to become a FA. If we could sign Chapman to an extension I might say otherwise, but as is I think his greatest value is as a massive trade piece. Stanton is still making only ~$500,000 so this would allow us to use available money on closer and leadoff.

    • With the way it’s looking on the FA market, the Reds may be better off going to the trade route. I’ve been thinking lately and can’t help but dreaming of a trade for Giancarlo Stanton. I know it’s very far-fetched, but hey Jocketty certainly has surprised before, and we’re talking about the same organization that traded Miggy Cabrera (among many other stars).

      Acquiring Stanton would no doubt only be possible with the inclusion of Aroldis Chapman, but I think I would be willing to do this for him. Stanton could quite possibly hit 50 HRs in GABP if he stays healthy for a full season. Stanton is on a HoF projection and hasn’t even played a game as a 23 year old yet. He would give us the best 3-4-5 in all of baseball for the next 4 years and possibly more if we could sign him to an extension.The Marlins would have to at least think about offers including Chapman + some combination of Hamilton/Gregorius/Cingrani/Corcino/Stephenson/Leake. Having a player of Stanton’s caliber would outweigh Chapman’s value in my mind. Obviously an everyday player with MVP potential is more valuable than any closer, so the only way Chapman matches Stanton’s value is as a starter. The problem is we don’t know if Chapman will ever even get that chance, let alone actually reach his potential, Even if he does it’s probably going to take a few years, just in time for him to become a FA. If we could sign Chapman to an extension I might say otherwise, but as is I think his greatest value is as a massive trade piece. Stanton is still making only ~$500,000 so this would allow us to use available money on closer and leadoff.

      What the…

      This doesn’t make sense to me. The Marlins are cutting payroll and rebuilding. Stanton is the type of player they will rebuild around. They have 5 years of control and he’s cheap. Regardless, I’m of the mind if the Reds give up Chapman for Stanton a haul better be coming back. Today Stanton for Chapman is not an even trade. Today, Chapman has more value. (Maybe not tomorrow, but today) Plus you want to give up some combination of “Hamilton/Gregorius/Cingrani/Corcino/Stephenson/Leake” Ugh.

  32. The Reds biggest offensive woe last year besides hitting with RISP, was hitting against RH starting pitching. No-name and rookie RHers just had the Reds flummoxed at the plate. So with all these names being bandied about for a FA signing or for a trade, we have to look at how they produced against RH pitching. For those clamouring for Youk, I believe you are thinking with your heart and not your head. Youk last year vs. RHers: 318 AB, 11 HR, 41 RBI, .220/.316/.377 slash. Not what the Reds need. Victorino: 431 AB, 5 HR, 40 RBI, .230/.295/.332. Definitely not what the Reds need. Some more vs. RH.
    Stanton: 333AB, 27HR, 62RBI, .285/.358/.592.
    Ethier: 335AB, 16HR, 60RBI, .325/.398/.546.
    Willinham:363AB, 20HR, 62RBI, .273/.370/.507.
    JHamilton:387AB, 33HR, 87RBI, .282/.363/.602.
    Trumbo: 386AB, 21HR, 66RBI, .269/.324/.484.
    Cespedes:336 AB, 16HR, 57RBI, .286/.355/.503.
    Longoria:207AB, 11HR, 38RBI, .280/.359/.483.
    Span: 360AB, 4HR, 24RBI, .275/.328/.408.
    Revere: 342AB, 0HR, 19RBI, .284/.330/.345.
    Keppnger: 268AB, 5HR, 26RBI, .302/.352/.403.

  33. @WVRedlegs: My good WVR, please review Youk’s numbers before and after the trade. His skills have certainly regressed from his peak performance, but the terrible atmosphere in Bean Town had a huge impact on Youk’s poor performance before the trade. I expect some resurgence in his performance based on his very poor BABIP from 2012 if nothing else.

    • I’m beginning to come around on the idea of getting Youk. He can play 3B and spot Joey at 1B. He is a high OBP guy who can hit cleanup. If he took below market money, I say get him. Put Frazier in LF and see if Ludwick comes calling a bit later. If not, get a LH bat to platoon with Stubbs in CF. If Ludwick comes calling at the end of the winter willing to take pennies (I doubt he will), put Bruce in CF all year. I know this is not the world’s best defensive OF, but I do not see Walt spending big (Cabrera/Hunter) money for an OF. Of course, if Walt signed Youk and then traded for Choo, that would be optimal. I would take a Choo/Phillips/Votto/Youk/Bruce/Frazier/Cozart/Hanigan lineup all day long.

      @WVRedlegs: My good WVR, please review Youk’s numbers before and after the trade.His skills have certainly regressed from his peak performance, but the terrible atmosphere in Bean Town had a huge impact on Youk’s poor performance before the trade.I expect some resurgence in his performance based on his very poor BABIP from 2012 if nothing else.

  34. @Shchi Cossack:
    Don’t get me wrong, I like Youk. He could rebound hitting in GABP. But its a big roll of the dice. If the Reds were just looking for a 3B that could bat 6th or 7th, I would take the gamble. I would be all-in on Youk in that situation. However, the Reds need a run producer to bat 4th, either a 3B or LF with Frazier taking the other spot. Frazier kind of fits in in the 6th spot. WJ has to be very prudent in addressing this issue. I just think it is too much of a gamble to put Youk in the cleanup role. I could be wrong and it certainly wouldn’t be the first time. That being said, I think going for an established younger hitter that has some years of team control left. That seems like what WJ favors. Baker on the other hand loves that veteran-ness. Me, I’m on the acquire Stanton bandwagon.

  35. On the catching situation…….

    Corky I fear has been caught by father time. He will be 37 on opening day 2013. The fact the Reds brought in Navarro in 2012, also had that other veteran guy, Esposito, in camp, and briefly had Coy Hill in the org during the season all say where the Corker stands in terms of seeing MLB playing time for the Reds.

    As the third (emergency) catcher for the upcoming playoffs, rightly or wrongly, Meso wasn’t even able to get onto the field during the month of September. I don’t see the org suddenly deciding that was a mistake and going into 2013 with him as the second catcher in the tandem.

  36. @Hank Aarons Teammate: Let’s separate “receiver” which includes to me includes calling of the game and “handling the pitchers” from the sphere of total defense.

    As the month of September unfolded, I felt like Navarro established himself as a clearly superior receiver to what Meso had shown at the MLB level.

    I agree that in raw physical talent of catching the ball, fielding, and throwing Meso did show flashes of great ability. However he was very uneven/ inconsistent. There were too few signs of steady growth by Meso.

  37. @OhioJim: We’ll have to disagree. One statement can’t be denied, though: given that one of the two catchers is better defensively, the Reds either (1) chose hitting over defense in the key stretch run and playoffs (if Mesoraco is the better catcher), or (2) if Navarro is the better catcher, then they didn’t care about it this offseason.

    My main beef is that there’s this notion floated by one person here that the Reds look at every decision and make it based solely on preventing runs. It’s just not true. If it were true, for example, then Ludwick would have played behind Heisey.

  38. @WVRedlegs:

    Eric Chavez could be a good solution for a backup at 3B & 1B positions. His 2012 splits:
    against RHP – .365/.543/.908
    against LHP – .231/.152/.382
    overall – .281/.348/.496 with 16 HR

    Chavez is a 35 year old FA who played for $2 milliion last year. If Walt is going to sign an older backup infielder again this year, at least Chavez has some capability of hitting the ball, particularly against RHP. With Phillips, Cozart & Didi, a backup at the corners is more needed than another middle infielder.

  39. Just to stir the pot a little bit, here are two slash lines I ran across…..

    .246/.288./399 (.687)

    .260/.338/.385 (.723)

    One of these lines is Paul Janish in 2010, his age 27 year). The other is Zack Cozart in 2012, his age 26 year.

    Obviously, the one that is better everywhere except slugging is Janish or they wouldn’t have really caught my eye.

    Just some food for thought.

  40. @OhioJim: I’ll play with this Jim. I like Janish as a reserve middle infielder, a quality defensive substitute, but only in that role, not as a potential stater at the ML level. Janish had a career minor league BA of .259 with his best year in the low minors early in his career, but he did have a good BB rate (10.4%) and a marginally good OBP (.350). Cozart had a career minor league BA of .270 with his best year, his last year at AAA. Cozart had a poor BB rate (7.4%) and a marginal OBP (.332), but he had some pop in his bat. Cozart was simply miscast and misused as a top of the order hitter last year and struggled in that role. He played GG caliber defense at SS and if he hits in the 6-8 slot, Cozart should have a real shot at a good ML career as a starting SS, GG caliber defense, a little pop and drives in a few runs. Janish was simply out of his element as a starting SS at the ML level.

  41. So, I’m wondering. Purely hypothetically, if the Marlins were to trade Giancarlo Stanton, and IF the Reds were to trade for him, what do you guys think it’d take?

    • I believe there are two ways to approach this. On one hand, the Marlins are already renowned for these wholesale roster resets (to put it kindly). The Blue Jays deal was a salary dump. Did they get some prospects? . . . Sure. Are these the top line prospects that one would associate with giving up the players that Miami gave up? . . . No. So, would the Marlins trade Stanton on the heels of the public relations nightmare that was this most recent trade? . . . Unless the Reds send Hamilton, Cingrani, Stephenson, Corcino, Rosie Red, the Joe Nuxhall statue in front of GABP, and a mascot to be named later (bye Gapper!), I doubt it.

      On the other hand, Stanton is understandably upset. He is going to be a discontent if stuck in Miami. Even activating that beautiful home run “sculpture” forty times a year won’t be able to brighten his mood. So, is it possible that the Reds could land him? . . . I believe there is one way. Landing Chapman could be a public relations victory for the Marlins’ brass. So, if Walt is willing to send the Missile to Miami in a package, perhaps Dusty could pencil “Stanton” into the four hole for the next couple of years.

      So, I’m wondering. Purely hypothetically, if the Marlins were to trade Giancarlo Stanton, and IF the Reds were to trade for him, what do you guys think it’d take?

  42. @Shchi Cossack: Don’t really disagree with anything you said.

    I mainly posted the Janish/ Cozart first year MLB comparison as a cautionary thing for folks who think Cozart might suddenly learn to take walks or lower his K rate or somehow manage to significantly increase his OBP; and, that use this line of thinking as a reason to hunker down with Cozart as the long term shortstop and trade Gregorius as a prospect.

    When a guy comes to MLB late, and 26 is late for first exposure to my mind, the likelihood is that what you see is what you’ll get over time, especially if it aligns pretty well with the minor league career. Or alternately as may have happend with Janish, the league learsn more about how to handle the guy than the guy learns about how to handle the league.

    Also I think in looking at Cozart in particular, his career was really pushed along by that hot half season at AAA that far exceeded anything he had done previously offensively as you noted. That was a loaded line up at Louisville that year. One can’t help but wonder at this point how much Cozart’s (and Mesoraco’s) numbers that season which greatly exceeded their previous minor league career numbers were artificially inflated because of the cast of characters around them

  43. @rhayex: Billy Hamilton, Tony Cingrani, Mike Leake, and another bullpen pitcher whether it’s a minor league or major league player.

    That gives the Marlins their future in CF, two long term starters, and another reliever. This recovers most of the players they lost in the Blue Jays trade. Maybe you could swap out Mesoraco for one of the pitchers, but it would be another Mat Latos deal plus some.

    In all honestly, I would pull the trigger to get Stanton and get him in long term at a Jay Bruce like deal. I hope Walt overpays and gets him. Prospects are prospects, and Stanton is proven.

    That’s just my opinion though…

  44. @Drew Mac: I agree with everything you said. IF the Reds really believe that Chapman can’t be a starter, this is the right thing for them to try to do. I see no way the Marlins give up Stanton (a 22 year old all-star who makes the league minimum) for anything less than Chapman.

    And as long as we’re trading mascots, what do you think it would take to get the Philly Phanatic? I’d trade our whole MLB mascot corp for him/her/it.

    • I would trade everything but Mr. Redlegs’ handlebar mustache for the Phanatic.

      @Drew Mac: I agree with everything you said.IF the Reds really believe that Chapman can’t be a starter, this is the right thing for them to try to do.I see no way the Marlins give up Stanton (a 22 year old all-star who makes the league minimum) for anything less than Chapman.

      And as long as we’re trading mascots, what do you think it would take to get the Philly Phanatic?I’d trade our whole MLB mascot corp for him/her/it.

    • @Drew Mac: And as long as we’re trading mascots, what do you think it would take to get the Philly Phanatic? I’d trade our whole MLB mascot corp for him/her/it.

      The Philly Phanatic? Please. That thing is over the hill and has been coasting on its reputation for years now. You might as well bring in the San Diego Chicked. You ask me, the Reds should call the Nationals about Teddy Roosevelt. He won his first President’s race on the last day of the season in 2012 and he’s poised for a breakout year. That’s the kind of young, cost controlled, high upside player the Reds should be targeting.

  45. @TC

    With all due respect to Aroldis Chapman, I’ve prepared a simple graph describing my opinion of the two.

    Stanton>Chapman.

    Chapman has been a closer for 3/4 of a year. Granted, he was a lights out closer, but he was still a situational pitcher. At this point, Stanton is just more valuable than he is. Should Chapman excel as a starter and be the ace that he has the potential to be, that would change the situation; however, he is still unproven in that role, whereas Stanton has dominated for an extended period of time as an everyday player.

    • I’ve prepared a simple graph describing my opinion of the two.

      Stanton>Chapman.

      This was funny by the way.

  46. To conclude, I would take Stanton for Chapman in a heartbeat if I were the Reds. Plenty of talented pitchers in the minors, a relative dearth of position player prospects beyond the top few- BHam, Gregorious, and a few at the lower minors.

  47. @rhayex: I started this post by arguing with you. But as I was putting my argument together, I came around to your way of thinking. Stanton would be a great piece to have and overall more important to the team than Chapman. I stand corrected. Well done.

    Still though, I would be shocked if Miami moves him. It would have to be a haul for Miami to do it. The Reds would have to way over pay. Another problem is he starts to get expensive next year.

    • @TC:@rhayex:

      I started this post by arguing with you. But as I was putting my argument together, I came around to your way of thinking.Stanton would be a great piece to have and overall more important to the team than Chapman. Still though, I would be shocked if Miami moves him.It would have to be a haul for Miami to do it.The Reds would have to way over pay. Another problem is he starts to get expensive next year.

      TC, RH, The future (like 2014) cost for Stanton is one reason why I think this might just be possible. With the large Cuban community in Miami and celebrity status of Chapman in the Cuban community, Stanton and Chapman as the cornerstones of a trade, might actually make this doable. Chapman is cost controlled longer than Stanton and Chapman might very well prefer and enjoy playing in Miami (so he might possibly be open to extending his contract for a reasonable cost). I also think extending Stanton next year might be possible with the back-loaded structure of Votto’s and Phillip’s contracts.

      Certainly something to contemplate anyway during these days when baseball has very little happening of any consequence.

  48. I think we need a new thread…the Jay Bruce discussion has been over for a while.

  49. How about another fantasy FA and trade thread?

    Oh, and saw Melky Cabrera was signed by the Blue Jays. If the PEDs hadn’t been an issue, I wouldn’t have minded the Reds picking him up for that price. Even without drugs, i think he’ll have a solid .275-.300 avg season with some power.

  50. @rhayex: I disagree in regards to the Milk Man. I think he will thrive hitting in front of Bautista though. Which will make his average look better than expected.

  51. I would like to offer Ichiro two years at 17 mil. I know…free agents that are old hardly ever pan out. That said, If the yanks dragged their feet, he MIGHT just be willing to play for another winning team. There is your leadoff hitter until Hamilton is ready. Oh…and he plays outfield. I’d play him in right where he belongs and move Bruce to center. I’d play Frazier in left…move cozart to third and play Gregorius at short. I’d try to convince Rolen to come back as a bat off the bench in the Cairo role if he could do it cheap enough. As if all that wouldn’t be controversial enough…I would unload salary to do it by trading Arroyo and his contract for good prospects. Rotation of Cueto Latos Chapman Bailey and Leake.

  52. 1] Suzuki
    2} Phillips
    3] Votto
    4} Frazier
    5} Bruce
    6] Cozart
    7] Hannigan
    8} Gregorius

    Rolen Stubbs Paul Mesoroco Rodriguez (so long Heisey…Stubbs late outfield replacement pinch runner… Rolen pinch hit play third late replacement move cozart to short if bat needed…Rodriguez switch hitter occassional day off for phillips. I think Paul proved he is a gamer)

  53. I’m in a quandary about Bruce, I agree with both side of the discussion on some points. One thing I do like is that he *wants* to have a long term career in Cincinnati. I think he fits well into the lineup and stadium and the other players seem to like playing with him for what that’s worth. But he is signed until he’s 29 and the dropoff starts a few years after that. I would like to see him raise his OBP but I’m still not convinced one can learn that. It seems a lot of guys get bumps in OBP then revert to old habits. I have absolutely zero data to back this up, just playing hunches so flame away if you want. 😎

    One thing is this magical 100 RBI threshold. I don’t get that at all. RBI are lineup dependent, period. And Jay Bruce batted 4th/5th most of the year with the Major League leading OBP player ahead of him out for seven weeks. I’m pretty confident that if Votto was in the lineup for 160 games then Jay Bruce would have gotten at least 101 RBI’s, thus satisfying the criteria for a great slugger.

    Interesting stat on OBP: Stubb (.277) + Cozart (.288) combined (.565). Votto was .474. That’s only 9% more for TWO players. Put two .340 guys up there and I’m pretty sure Bruce is well over 100 RBI w/o Votto.

    Steve

  54. @rewquiop:

    Ichiro’s OBP combined last year was .307 plus he’s 38. I’m not sold on Stubbs by any means but I’d take him over Ichiro.

    And Phillips needs to bat 5th or 6th, he’s not a top of the order guy. I’d bat Frazier or gasp, Hanigan 2nd. I want guys on base for Votto so they can’t pitch around him as much. 2 out, bases empty is a guaranteed walk these days for Votto it seems.

    Steve

  55. If you switched gregorius and hannigan in the order…it would be dusty heaven with left and right alternating throughout the entire lineup.

  56. @slappy80528: Ichiro finished strong last year and he hardly ever strikes out. He runs the bases really well and is a veteran around a lot of youth. I’m a Stubbs fan too… but I’m tired of seeing him get as many at bats as he does. Ichiro is a true leadoff guy except for the walks. I can’t tell you how refreshing it would be to see a contact hitter in that lineup somewhere. As far as Hannigan second…whether its right or wrong…It’ll never happen…it just won’t.

    • @rewquiop: Aside from age and obviously deteriorating offensive numbers, Ichiro is not a CF. I would rather that Walt wait, keep his money in his pocket, and see if Ludwick or Ross or some other OF/3B solution comes calling. I am thinking that all of the first movers in this market have overpaid to this point.

  57. @rewquiop: Interesting idea to trade Arroyo. However, it can’t happen. For one thing, he has 10/5 rights, which means he can veto any trade. For another, his contract is structured such that if he were to be traded, he’d be owed a bunch of deferred salary immediately. I’m not sure how much it would be, but it would totally counteract any salary releif gained by trading him.

    Also, your idea of moving Cozart to third and starting Gregorious at short is interesting. That would be an outstanding defensive infield. But a horrible offensive one. Cozart does not hit anywhere near well enough to play third.

  58. In preparation for the rule 5 draft, WJ adjusted the 40 man roster, leaving one open slot. Ludwick should demand (and rightfully deserves) a 3-year contract on the open market, probably for $8MM per year. That’s out of the Reds’ budget. The same will apply to Cody Ross. Hamilton, Bourn, Upton & Pagan are absurdly over-budget for the Reds. Victorino may be possible if he slides & no one offers up a multiyear contract, but I hope the Reds pass on Victorino. If the Reds were at all interested in Ichiro, I think WJ would have pursued Pierre as a more viable (cheaper) option, so I think Ichiro is out too. That leaves pretty slim pickins on the FA market to fill an OF &/or leadoff position. Maybe WJ will try that lightning in a bottle thing again with Jason Bay, but he looks done to me. Could WJ stand pat, with just a possible utility OF &/or utility IF addition to the roster?

    #1] Paul (LF) v RHP & Stubbs CF v LHP
    #2] Heisey (LF) v LHP & Heisey (CF) v RHP
    #3] Votto (1B)
    #4] Frazier (3B)
    #5] Bruce (RF)
    #6] Phillips (2B)
    #7] Hanigan (C)
    #8] Cozart (SS)

    Would WJ even consider such an option for 2013?

    • In preparation for the rule 5 draft, WJ adjusted the 40 man roster, leaving one open slot.Ludwick should demand (and rightfully deserves) a 3-year contract on the open market, probably for $8MM per year.That’s out of the Reds’ budget.The same will apply to Cody Ross.Hamilton, Bourn, Upton &Pagan are absurdly over-budget for the Reds.Victorino may be possible if he slides & no one offers up a multiyear contract, but I hope the Reds pass on Victorino.If the Reds were at all interested in Ichiro, I think WJ would have pursued Pierre as a more viable (cheaper) option, so I think Ichiro is out too.That leaves pretty slim pickins on the FA market to fill an OF &/or leadoff position.Maybe WJ will try that lightning in a bottle thing again with Jason Bay, but he looks done to me.Could WJ stand pat, with just a possible utility OF &/or utility IF addition to the roster?

      #1] Paul (LF) v RHP & Stubbs CF v LHP
      #2] Heisey (LF) v LHP & Heisey (CF) v RHP
      #3] Votto (1B)
      #4] Frazier (3B)
      #5] Bruce (RF)
      #6] Phillips (2B)
      #7] Hanigan (C)
      #8] Cozart (SS)

      Would WJ even consider such an option for 2013?

      Any lineup that has Heisey as an everyday player is not going to happen. The Reds simply will not allow it.

  59. @AndyS: I think you may be underestimating the veteran leadership that the Phanatic could bring the club. Ever since the Dot Race was eliminated, things have been a mess.

  60. I don’t mind keeping Arroyo… Oh well. Contracts are so confusing to me. I love good infielders. As far as Cozart on third…I think between he and Rolen (every third day) it wouldn’t be too horrible as long as Stubbs is out of the lineup as often. Cozart hits some doubles every now and then.

  61. @AndyS: T-Roos is a tough call. One the one hand, he plays the game the right way; “He speaks softly and carries a big stick,” he says… On the other hand, I’m not sure that he’ll ever be the same after the McKinley assassination.

    Regarding the Phanatic, I know it’s a small sample size, but his parady of Lady Gaga was fantastic. That type of skillset ages well. Get it done, Walt.

  62. *On the one hand…

  63. I don’t know how you can be having a mascot trade discussion and not bring up the Milwaukee Brewer. His professional sliding skills are unmatched and he does it all while holding an adult beverage (no spills). Plus, his mustache could easily replace what we would lose with Mr Redlegs.

  64. Could you imagine a mascot lineup of Mr Redlegs, the Brewer, and Teddy Roosevelt. The mustaches alone would make Corky Miller blush. I would give up Mr Red, Rosie, and Gapper in a heartbeat to make this happen.

  65. Right now I would gues Chone Figgins for PTBNL is the Reds first move.

  66. First, the Reds are NOT going to acquire Stanton from the Marlins. The Reds need a leadoff hitter, and Stanton isn’t a leadoff hitter. Trading Aroldis Chapman for Stanton is a Jim Bowden move but Walt Jocketty knows better – the Reds will go as far as the pitching carries them and a big bat won’t allow them to mash their way to success.

    Ludwick, I hope he doesn’t return for more than 5m.

    Heisey, he’s always been really overrated by certain Reds fans, he keeps getting chances to play more and he keeps blowing them.

    Ichiro, I think he’d be a reasonable gamble for LF if he accepts a cheap one year deal. He’s been a great hitter and might be able to rebuild his career as the Reds’ leadoff hitter in 2013. Get his OBP back up over .350 and it’ll be a success. He attracts attention name recognition more than any other outfielder mentioned.

    Victorino, I thought he was overrated last year and was hoping that the Reds wouldn’t trade for him. If the Reds can sign him for cheap, say $5m or 6m, I think he’s a reasonable candidate to hit leadoff. He IS a leadoff hitter to silence Dusty-critics who fans can’t argue should be placed in another role (like Phillips hitting 2nd, Cozart and Stubbs in the bottom of the lineup). On the other hand he isn’t great at getting on base anymore, but who knows what GABP could do for him.

    I’m glad Juan Pierre is out of the picture.

    Kevin Youkilis, HanksTeamMate says he’s deteriorating fast. So was that washed up bum named Ryan Ludwick, although he came to the Reds and reestablished his career so that he’s raised himself out of the Reds’ price range. Youkilis still hit 19 homeruns and walked 51 times for a .336 OBP in 2012 at age 33, which isn’t much of a disappointment. If he’s willing to take a discount to play regularly for his hometown team I think he’d be a great fit for a quality cleanup hitter in Cincinnati, a good mix of a tough out and a power bat. Whether they sacrifice defense at 3b (by moving Frazier to LF) to add that veteran cleanup hitter will be an interesting question to watch.

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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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