Reading in a couple places today the suggestion that Dexter Fowler might be a possible trade target for the Reds. John Fay speculates:

But Fowler is ideal. He hit .300 with a .389 on-base percentage and .474 slugging percentage last year. He made $2.3 million and is abitration-eligible for the second time. He’s only 26 and the Reds would control him for two years. That works well. Top prospect Billy Hamilton is a year or two away.

But, again, the price would be steep. The Reds would probably have to give up either Daniel Corcino or Tony Cingrani, two top pitching prospects, as part of the package.

Fowler *might* be an upgrade over Drew Stubbs. But his home/away splits are a huge concern. He success seems tied to the friendly confines and high altitudes of Denver. Fowler’s career slash outside of Coors Field: .248/.331/.367. Despite his speed, he’s not very good at stealing bases. In the past three seasons, Fowler has stolen 37 bases (and caught 21! times). Over that time he’s hit 24 home runs.

Stubbs career: .241/.312/.386. In the past three seasons, Stubbs has 51 home runs and 100 stolen bases (23 CS).

Is Fowler better than Stubbs in CF? Meh. I surely wouldn’t give up the farm, or even an important piece of it, to find out.

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! 138 Comments

  1. i agree it would be better to pass on Fowler given that cost, those road splits seem lousy, even considering playing games at SF, LA, SD as notable pitcher parks plus some pretty good pitching.

  2. Fowler would be a move just to make a move. That is not WJ’s motifs.

  3. I agree with the splits outside Coors. However, he did hit well in GABP last season. And, for his career so far, he has hit well in St. Louis, GABP, and Pittsburgh as well. If it’s just Corcino or Cingrani, maybe with a couple other smaller players for a package, I say pull the trigger. Even with his low BA, it’s still better than Stubbs. As well as, his OBP is way better than Stubbs. He won’t be called on to steal many bases, Votto will hopefully be driving him in.

  4. The biggest value in obtaining Fowler would be WJ’s ability to protect the lineup from Mr. Baker. Fowler is a switch-hitting CF to hit leadoff. Mr. Baker would plug him into the #1 slot and leave him there. That in and of itself is a big benefit. Fowler had a monster year last year with a BABIP of .390. I don’t think that’s sustainable, so the Reds shouldn’t pay for his 2012 performance, but Fowler’s performance for each of the past 3 years has improved compared to Stubbs’ performance for each of the past 3 years has deteriorated.

  5. As was inferred above, GABP as a home park for Fowler is probably a wash at worst compared to Coors as a home park. Plus parkwise, the rest of the NL central is pretty much an antithesis of the rest of NL West.

    He would come with only two years of club control guaranteed; so, there is the need to be careful not to overpay. To that end, I think sending both Cingrani and Corcino might be too much. But there is certain room for WJ to deal.

  6. In critiquing Fowler’s split home and away from Coors Field, you need to look at Stubb’s splits home and away from GABP too. Stubbs BA is .040 higher at home than away. His OBP is .040 higher at home than away and his SLG is .090 higher at home than away. Fowler’s BA is .040 higher at home than away. His OBP is .050 higher at home than away and his SLG is .120 higher at home than away. A major plus is that Fowler hits against RHP & LHP equally well. There is no question that Fowler is a significant upgrade over Stubbs, especailly hitting leadoff. The question is at what cost.

  7. I’m gla someone else caught this too. ESPN’s Buster Olney has gone so far as to write that he believe the Reds will trade for Fowler.

    Someone mentioned the Reds could do a Leake for De Ava trade.

    • From MLBTR:

      The Twins might not receive much more than a No. 4 starter in exchange for Josh Willingham, an AL executive tells Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities Radio. “There’s no doubt Josh has a very good contract, but I really doubt a team would trade a viable starting pitcher for a guy with a strong bat but who is limited defensively,” the executive said. “It’s a lot easier to find a left-field or DH-type than to trade a good starting pitcher for one and then have to backfill the rotation spot.” The 33-year-old Willingham is owed $14MM through 2014 and posted an .890 OPS last season, but another AL executive says Denard Span is a better trade chip for Minnesota.

      That would be a Leake for Willingham deal and the Twins could sign Ludwick for LF to fill Willinghan’s spot on a 3 year contract.

    • In the same article referenced above, Fay further speculates:

      I think it’s much more likely that the Reds go smaller and add a left-handed hitter to share center field with Drew Stubbs. Stubbs was fine against left-handers this year. He hit .283 with a .324 on-base percentage vs. left-handers and .186/.259 vs. right-handers.

      Who that left-hander hitter may be I don’t know, but think someone less pricey than Fowler.

      Maybe a FA like Scott Posednick if WJ really trusts Mr. Baker to effectively manage a CF platoon (a BIG IF) would be an option. That would put the pieces in place until some of the Reds’ minor league OF talent becomes major league ready.

      • In the same article referenced above, Fay further speculates:

        Maybe a FA like Scott Posednick if WJ really trusts Mr. Baker to effectively manage a CF platoon (a BIG IF) would be an option.That would put the pieces in place until some of the Reds’ minor league OF talent becomes major league ready.

        No, please, not another platoon. I can understand it, but I wouldn’t like to see it.

  8. If Walt is also bringing in (or back, in the case of Ludwick) someone to hit fourth, I would give up Corcino and Heisey for Fowler in the less than the amount of time than it takes a Chapman fastball to reach home. The problem? . . . It should take considerably more than that to land a guy with a 3.5 oWAR last year. Also, I’m not so worried about the park differential. I consider GABP to be a wash with Coors. If Walt is only able to do one thing, he should make sure the four hole is filled. Of course, this means we will just have to hold our breath and hope that there is a LH stick somewhere to platoon with Stubbs and that, ahem, Dusty presses the right buttons.

  9. Homer for Fowler?……..Don’t do it Walt! There is a good chance that Homer will now be what everyone always wanted Homer to be.

    • Homer for Fowler?……..Don’t do it Walt!There is a good chance that Homer will now be what everyone always wanted Homer to be.

      Presume this is in reference to the blurb on MLBTR that Foxsports has folks inferring a Fowler for Bailey matchup might be in the works.

      Some times what you have to do hurts like the big trade last year that landed Latos.

      According to Baseball Reference, counting 2013, Fowler has 3 years of team control left; and, Bailey has two. That might make it a good trade for the Reds if they could then turn around and pick up somebody like Jurgens or Lanan off of the nontender heap to bolster their starting depth.

  10. I still think Bailey has more value at this point than Fowler, as a known quantity both at home (pitching in a hitter (Homer, if you will) friendly ballpark) and away. Also as a potential two starting pitcher. Fowler simply has too many questions connected to him.

  11. My only thing is I feel like the Reds NEED to get rid of Stubbs somehow in a trade. If Stubbs is still in the orginization, he will start more often than not. Dusty will see to that. Only way to fix that is trading him away.

  12. Let’s be clear here. The MLBTR piece does NOT say that a Bailey for Fowler trade is in the works. It says that the Rockies like Homer and that the Reds like Fowler. And it says “Now the question is whether their mutual interest crystallizes into trade discussions during the Winter Meetings.” Meaning there have been no trade discussions yet. Morosi used the exact same phrase in the yardbarker piece linked to above. So not only are trade discussions not happening, but Fay has already tweeted that he doesn’t think the Reds would make that deal. There’s going to be lots of unfounded speculation this week. Keep calm and carry on.

  13. Talk about the splits all you want, but keep in mind Fowler’s road BA is 45 points better than Stubbs’ .217 at GABP (a hitter’s park?) If it means Stubbs sits the bench and Fowler plays center, with Chapman (potentially) replacing Homer in the rotation (or maybe Cingrani or Corcino eventually) I’d love to see it!!! I realize the Chapman to the rotation issue is still uncertain; still, I think about a postseason rotation of Cueto/Latos/Chapman and think the only thing that could cost us would be lousy offense (i.e. Stubbs in center, Cozart batting near the top of the lineup, Frazier on the bench…which cost us our postseason series in 2012)…was severely disappointed to hear that idiot was renewed as manager. He’s managed some good/great teams, and let’s count his postseason success…uh…

  14. @MarvinBakerDustyLewis: Not sure why you’d want to see that. Bailey > Fowler. Won’t happen unless there is something coming with him, say for example Kyle Parker.

  15. I hope Bailey is untouchable. He may be as good as any Reds starter right now.

    • I hope Bailey is untouchable. He may be as good as any Reds starter right now.

      I don’t disagree with this but when you’ve already got a 1 and 1A. if you can really milk the other guy for return, doing the deal is something to consider. We saw that from the other side last year in the Latos trade. Of course really milking them means getting more then Fowler coming back.

      I’d look for WJ to try to convince the Rocks they’d be better off taking Leake and one of the two between Cingrani and Corcino. However if they insist Homer has to be the center piece them make them pay big time.

  16. I’ve been a big supporter of Homer Bailey for a long time, and he’s the same person he’s always been, the pitcher fans wanted to see traded away for years. I’m surprised that now that he’s had a good season everybody wants him back after previously hoping he’d be traded for far less than Dexter Fowler. If the Reds are serious about converting Chapman I believe that Homer Bailey has been demoted to the 5th starter role.

    Over the past 3 years Fowler has hit .297 with a .398 OBP at Coors Field vs .254/.335 away. I might be concerned with the splits if the discussion involved somewhere where hitters tend to have trouble (like San Diego), but Great American Ballpark is one of the easiest places to be a successful hitter. If the Reds want a speedy guy who can get on base I believe that Fowler is a great fit.

    I hope Dexter Fowler would be willing to play some LF. I think the priority related to Stubbs is to get him out of the top of the lineup, not out of CF or off the roster. If the Reds could follow up such a trade by signing Kevin Youkilis (who only plays ~120 games per season) to play third base Todd Frazier would be needed for 40+ games in the infield, games I don’t want filled by Chris Heisey.

    Weird arguments brought up here. Dexter Fowler has too many questions connected with him? How about Homer Bailey – was 2012 a breakout season or a one time career year? Has one healthy season erased our memory of all the injuries and struggles he’s endured? Maybe Homer Bailey will build on 2012 and continue to improve… or maybe he’ll go back to his average of ~120 innings and a ~4.50 ERA that he put up between 2009 and 2011. Bailey is more of a question mark than Fowler.

    Trading Homer Bailey does NOT mean that the Reds would be in the market for a starting pitcher like Jurrjens or Lannon. It means Chapman would enter the rotation and Mike Leake would keep his spot while Cingrani and Corcino head to AAA.

    Bailey may be as good as any Reds starter right now? Bailey isn’t close to as good as Johnny Cueto. I’d rank Latos and Arroyo ahead of him now also. Chapman and Cingrani might belong ahead of him, depending on how they perform in spring training. I guess Bailey beats out Mike Leake (then again, he wasn’t better than Mike Leake until this season).

    I think trading Daniel Corcino for Dexter Fowler would be reasonable, to solve the Reds’ leadoff problem. Or Mike Leake for Fowler. I’d want more (maybe utility infielders or a lefty reliever) in return for Bailey now that his trade value is as high as it’ll get.

  17. Dexter Fowler and Homer Bailey have two of the coolest names i BBall today. It would be awesome to have them both on the Reds, perhaps Fowler for Leake and a T-Shirt to be named later?

  18. There is no rough equivalency between Great American Ball Park and Coors Field for hitters. According to Baseball Reference, the Batting Park Factor for Coors was 120 last year. For GABP it was 107. That’s an enormous gap. Fowler’s splits have to be taken seriously.

    Again, is he an upgrade over Drew Stubbs – yes, on OBP. No on power, no on stolen bases, no on defense. Is that worth trading a solid #3 starting pitcher? No way. I seriously hope these rumors prove false.

    • There is no rough equivalency between Great American Ball Park and Coors Field for hitters. According to Baseball Reference, the Batting Park Factor for Coors was 120 last year. For GABP it was 107. That’s an enormous gap. Fowler’s splits have to be taken seriously.

      Again, is he an upgrade over Drew Stubbs – yes, on OBP. No on power, no on stolen bases, no on defense. Is that worth trading a solid #3 starting pitcher? No way. I seriously hope these rumors prove false.

      Agreed on the stats between Coors and GABP. But, Fowler has hit well in GABP, both last year and for his career. I’m not worried about that at all. On power, it’s a wash since Stubbs wasn’t hitting, period, and leadoff isn’t asked to hit for power. Stolen bases are essentially a wash, also, since he wouldn’t be asked to steal much hitting in front of Votto. As well as, since Stubbs wasn’t getting on base, he wasn’t stealing much. Defense would be a worry for me. So, the question, IMO, is what we gain in offense worth what we lose in defense. With a smaller outfield than Coors, I would take that chance.

      I’m not so sure I like to send them Bailey, at least not now. I was calling to send Bailey on myself. And, it was rightfully so, since Bailey hadn’t done anything for his first 5 seasons in the league. Last season was definitely better. He still had his hiccups. He did essentially what a 3 man should do. With the situation like that, after 5 seasons in the league where little is done then the player has essentially a breakout year, I would be interested in giving Homer one more year, to see if last season was a fluke or not. If he repeats, then I look to lock him up. If he goes back down, let him go.

      I would rather see the package include Stubbs myself. Baker has shown me enough that Walt has to make the lineup Baker-proof. If Stubbs is here, I’m convinced Baker will look to start Stubbs all he can.

      That all said, since we are looking for what I would call a rental player, just for a year or two, just until Hamilton is ready, anyone we get isn’t going to be the ideal guy (fast, good offense, good defense, affordable, etc.). Those guys are probably going to cost too much if their teams will even let them go in the first place. So, we are going to have to take some kind of flaw. Given that, I could take keeping Stubbs. He just shouldn’t see the light of day above the 7 hole. If the CF sees action above the 7 hole, we need someone else instead of Stubbs.

  19. Bailey is far more valuable than Fowler. Bailey shouldn’t be moved unless we are doing a blockbuster acquisition.

    • I hope nobody who wanted Ryan Hanigan leading off is complaining that Dexter Fowler is a terrible leadoff hitter because he doesn’t hit homeruns or steal bases. When criticizing Fowler’s offense please keep in mind who the other candidates are for the Reds’ leadoff spot.

      Fowler has seriously awful defensive stats. I know they aren’t perfect, but Fangraphs has him -13.9 and Baseball Reference has him as -.8 dWAR. His UZR over his career is among the worst in all of baseball at -39.

      I don’t think Fowler would have to stay in CF with the current opening in LF, would he? Ryan Ludwick’s return is far from certain. Also signing Kevin Youkilis instead of Ludwick would keep LF mostly open.

      Bailey is far more valuable than Fowler.Bailey shouldn’t be moved unless we are doing a blockbuster acquisition.

      In the past year Homer Bailey’s trade value has raised from zero to sky high, hasn’t it? Fowler and Bailey both had one good year, but it’s a fluke in Fowler’s case and a sign that Bailey has improved. They’re even the same age. The outlook is pretty funny. I don’t think Bailey should be moved unless the Reds are making a big acquisition that improves the team, but I think acquiring Dexter Fowler (and bench help or a lefty reliever) would be such a move to improve the team, particularly the leadoff spot.

      I trust Walt Jocketty not to do anything silly and I’ll be okay with a move that he approves to make Fowler the new left fielder.

  20. Fowler has seriously awful defensive stats. I know they aren’t perfect, but Fangraphs has him -13.9 and Baseball Reference has him as -.8 dWAR. His UZR over his career is among the worst in all of baseball at -39.

  21. @Steve Mancuso: I have heard tell of Coors’ Field throwing off OF defensive metrics in the past as well. A quick Google search didn’t yield much in support of that statement, but I believe they have a higher LD% there, as well as the higher HR rate. I am not super sure how the UZR metrics are done, but I’m not sure that they include batted ball mix. I read once how the altitude and pressure affected the way pitches travel. I’m sure that some effect might occur on fly balls to the fielders as well.

  22. Don’t like it!! Not if the Reds have to give up what we are rumored to have to give up!!

  23. Ah, the winter meetings are finally upon us. All of our wistful speculation can be set aside, or at least augmented, by the real decision makers. Hopefully the next week will bring a flurry of FA and trade activity to satiate our hunger for the return of spring baseball.

  24. It’s not ideal, but what about Nate schierholtz? .287/.360/.466 last year against righties. He doesn’t play center, so that’s a hurdle. But I prefer him to XP(even after XP’ late season boom.

  25. …we are talking about Bailey that threw the first Reds no hitter in years, threw over 200 innings, and looked better than any other Reds starter in the playoffs…right?….right? The same guy from the Reds system that they’ve invested this much in already…the same guy that is even showing some signs of growing up and demonstrating actual maturity??…right…right? Not sure why I’m typing so many question marks because if the Reds have anybody that isn’t one…I’d say it was that Bailey guy.

  26. @Steve Mancuso:
    I think you’re underselling Fowler a bit. He’s not really as good as he was last season (.390 BABIP), but he’s still a pretty significant upgrade over Stubbs. I also don’t think his defense is as bad as the metrics say. Every time I’ve seen him, he has looked pretty smooth in the field. Granted, I don’t watch enough Rockies baseball to say definitively one way or the other.

    I still don’t think I’d give up Bailey for him unless something else was headed the Reds’ way, but he’s still an intriguing target depending on the price.

  27. I think a Fowler for Cingrani and Stubbs would be ideal…I mean, most people on here think Cingrani is just going to be a reliever one day so why keep him and his hype. Sell him while he is hot.

    • …we are talking about Bailey that threw the first Reds no hitter in years, threw over 200 innings, and looked better than any other Reds starter in the playoffs…right?….right?The same guy from the Reds system that they’ve invested this much in already…the same guy that is even showing some signs of growing up and demonstrating actual maturity??…right…right?Not sure why I’m typing so many question marks because if the Reds have anybody that isn’t one…I’d say it was that Bailey guy.

      Yep, Homer Bailey threw a no hitter. You know what that, in itself, means? Nothing. Phil Humber pitched a perfect game before allowing him to be claimed off waivers this season. I think that Homer Bailey has quickly gone from being extremely underrated to extremely overrated. His trade value will never be higher than it is now.

      His salary is set to go up in future seasons as we watch Cingrani, Corcino, Robert Stephenson, and Nick Travieso work in the minor league system. If they are willing to trade Bailey now seems like the logical time. I don’t necessarily want Bailey traded away but with six veteran starting pitchers (Cueto, Latos, Chapman, Arroyo, Bailey, and Leake) it makes sense to trade one of the later two to fill their need for a leadoff hitter.

      I think a Fowler for Cingrani and Stubbs would be ideal…I mean, most people on here think Cingrani is just going to be a reliever one day so why keep him and his hype. Sell him while he is hot.

      I think Tony Cingrani has exceeded everybody’s expectations but that doesn’t mean he has a future as a reliever. Check out Bronson Arroyo, if you keep performing you can keep a rotation spot.

  28. @AlphaZero – When I’ve seen Fowler in person, including close up in Spring Training, his athleticism has been breathtaking. I generally only trust the defensive metrics when they are consistent from year to year and with Fowler, they have been. For whatever reason, he’s a cut below Stubbs in that regard. But I agree, he’s looked the part the few times I’ve seen him live.

    @steveschoen – Fowler’s plate appearances in GABP are too few for that to be a reliable indicator of how he’ll perform in Cincinnati in the future. He’s likely to be an upgrade over Stubbs in terms of OBP, but a downgrade for defense, power and stolen bases. That’s not a recipe that would entice me to part with Homer Bailey. Mike Leake? Maybe.

    @Jared – The theory that Coors Field may mess up the defensive metrics is interesting. Carlos Gonzalez has a negative dWAR and UZR as well, although less negative than Fowler. Michael Cuddyer, who played for the Twins for ten seasons, didn’t show worse defensive ratings last season in Coors.

    John Fay just posted that he doesn’t see the Reds being willing to part with Homer Bailey based on the scarcity of front-line starting pitching. He does point out that the decision might be influenced by Homer’s willingness to sign a long-term deal with the Reds.

  29. I’ll just say this — I don’t want to see Bailey traded, period. And for a career .270 CF? Absolutely not, with or without prospects.

    I think we need to come up with a new stat, WONG (wins over next guy). I have to think Bailey has a bigger WONG than Fowler would.

    • Congratulations. I just choked on my drink. However, all “WONGs” aside, I agree with your assessment of the Bailey for Fowler debate.

      I’ll just say this — I don’t want to see Bailey traded, period. And for a career .270 CF? Absolutely not, with or without prospects.

      I think we need to come up with a new stat, WONG (wins over next guy). I have to think Bailey has a bigger WONG than Fowler would.

    • I’ll just say this — I don’t want to see Bailey traded, period. And for a career .270 CF? Absolutely not, with or without prospects.

      I think we need to come up with a new stat, WONG (wins over next guy). I have to think Bailey has a bigger WONG than Fowler would.

      Saying someone has a bigger “WONG”…that’s slightly inappropriate. Haha.

      • Saying someone has a bigger “WONG”…that’s slightly inappropriate. Haha.

        It sounds like the future of scouting and advanced metrics.

    • I’ll just say this — I don’t want to see Bailey traded, period. And for a career .270 CF? Absolutely not, with or without prospects. I think we need to come up with a new stat, WONG (wins over next guy). I have to think Bailey has a bigger WONG than Fowler would.

      Best comment. Ever.

  30. Does adding Fowler take us from where we were at the end of last season and put us into the WS? If not, then what is the point. We are at a stage where the move(s) we make need to put us in the WS, getting Mike Staton does that…

    • Does adding Fowler take us from where we were at the end of last season and put us into the WS?If not, then what is the point.We are at a stage where the move(s) we make need to put us in the WS, getting Mike Staton does that…

      I think the commissioner won’t allow Stanton to be traded unless it’s for a top tier talent. The Reds would ideally trade him for a boat load of prospect. That would kill the Marlins market (or whatever is left of it).

  31. Rather than Wins Above Replacements or Wins Over Next Guy how about ‘What the Team Needs’? They need a leadoff hitter, not a 6th starting pitcher for a five man rotation or a power hitter like Giancarlo Stanton.

    Does adding Fowler put the Reds in the World Series? Not necessary, but he eliminates all question about the top of the lineup – he’d be the leadoff hitter, no question about it. No more experimenting with Brandon Phillips, Zack Cozart, or Drew Stubbs in that role as long as he stays healthy. Add Fowler and leadoff ceases to be an issue for two years – cross that off a list, move on and focus on the bench.

  32. @redsfanman: Bailey isn’t a #6 starter. He’s a #3 guy slated to start in the #4 spot.

    People get stuck on how good a guy “needs to be” to pitch at different spots in the rotation. The reality is, the better each spot in the rotation is, the more games the team wins. Trade away a starter and it’s not only his spot that gets worse, but spot below that. I say keep them all unless a ridiculously good offer comes up. And ridiculously good offers don’t come up.

    • @redsfanman: Bailey isn’t a #6 starter. He’s a #3 guy slated to start in the #4 spot.

      People get stuck on how good a guy “needs to be” to pitch at different spots in the rotation. The reality is, the better each spot in the rotation is, the more games the team wins. Trade away a starter and it’s not only his spot that gets worse, but spot below that. I say keep them all unless a ridiculously good offer comes up. And ridiculously good offers don’t come up.

      Bailey isn’t a #6 starter but he is one of the Reds’ 6 MLB ready starting pitchers, not including Tony Cingrani. How much the rotation would suffer by giving a spot to Mike Leake instead of Homer Bailey is debatable. I think Homer Bailey is far more injury prone and likely to miss time. They were comparable in 2011 but Bailey took a big step forward in 2012 – Bailey is a year older, maybe he’s a year ahead in his development.

      What about Homer Bailey for Alex Gordon? A gold glove winning left handed leadoff hitting left fielder? He’s more of a sure thing than Dexter Fowler while also having below average homerun power and rarely stealing bases. Like Fowler Gordon he is a leadoff hitter, no question about it, and a solution to a problem with the Reds’ lineup.

      Homer Bailey for Alex Gordon seems reasonable to me, especially if the Royals cover some of Gordon’s contract or add quality utility players.

  33. @redsfanman: Now, I would trade Bailey for Gordon in a minute. However, Gordon’s contract is too rich for the Reds.

    • @redsfanman: Now, I would trade Bailey for Gordon in a minute.However, Gordon’s contract is too rich for the Reds.

      I believe that Alex Gordon makes ~$9m in 2013 and ~$12m in 2014. Removing Homer Bailey’s contract (Bailey gets what, ~$5m in 2013?) from the payroll (in favor of less expensive Mike Leake) through that trade does off-set a bit of that while eliminating the need for Ryan Ludwick in LF. I think they could work it out without Gordon being a big burdon on the payroll.

      • I believe that Alex Gordon makes ~$9m in 2013 and ~$12m in 2014.Removing Homer Bailey’s contract (Bailey gets what, ~$5m in 2013?) from the payroll (in favor of less expensive Mike Leake) through that trade does off-set a bit of that while eliminating the need for Ryan Ludwick in LF.I think they could work it out without Gordon being a big burdon on the payroll.

        To elaborate, Ryan Ludwick is asking for over $7m/year (and the Reds offered him $5m for his 2013 option) just to play LF while not addressing any roster issues? Trade Homer Bailey for Alex Gordon and the Reds will add about $4m to the 2013 payroll while settling the outfield (Gordon in LF, Stubbs in CF, Bruce in RF) and assuring Chapman of one of five (and only five) spots in the starting rotation while completely eliminating the need for Ryan Ludwick. After that the only remaining priority is the bench.

        • To elaborate, Ryan Ludwick is asking for over $7m/year (and the Reds offered him $5m for his 2013 option) just to play LF while not addressing any roster issues? Trade Homer Bailey for Alex Gordon and the Reds will add about $4m to the 2013 payroll while settling the outfield (Gordon in LF, Stubbs in CF, Bruce in RF) and assuring Chapman of one of five (and only five) spots in the starting rotation while completely eliminating the need for Ryan Ludwick. After that the only remaining priority is the bench.

          Gordan is due: 13:$9M, 14:$10M, 15:$12.5M, 16:$12.5M player option
          MLB Trade Rumors projects that Bailey will get $5.1M in arbitration.

          Actually Ludwick fills the Dusty-proofing RH power hitter to bat 4th between Votto and Bruce which is still not addressed with the proposed swap. It’d be nice if Frazier did, but not sure he’s there yet.

          We’d also have a pretty pathetic 7-9 with Cozart, Stubbs, and Pitcher. It would be nice to offensively upgrade on of CF or SS. Heisey could help ease that pain, but that won’t happen.

          We’ll also need to then find a 6th starter to finish out the year for Chapman. Hopefully, Chapman can last until Cingrani or Cueto show enough to step up from AAA to finish out the year for him.

          We’ll also need another LH relief pitcher.

          We still need a backup SS, since nobody cares for Burriss. 🙂

          We still need a LH bat with some pop for the bench.

          I’d say there would be plenty of roster issues left for Walt to work on still.

          • Gordan is due: 13:$9M, 14:$10M, 15:$12.5M, 16:$12.5M player option
            MLB Trade Rumors projects that Bailey will get $5.1M in arbitration.

            Actually Ludwick fills the Dusty-proofing RH power hitter to bat 4th between Votto and Bruce which is still not addressed with the proposed swap.It’d be nice if Frazier did, but not sure he’s there yet.

            We’d also have a pretty pathetic 7-9 with Cozart, Stubbs, and Pitcher.It would be nice to offensively upgrade on of CF or SS.Heisey could help ease that pain, but that won’t happen.

            We’ll also need to then find a 6th starter to finish out the year for Chapman.Hopefully, Chapman can last until Cingrani or Cueto show enough to step up from AAA to finish out the year for him.

            We’ll also need another LH relief pitcher.

            We still need a backup SS, since nobody cares for Burriss.

            We still need a LH bat with some pop for the bench.

            I’d say there would be plenty of roster issues left for Walt to work on still.

            You think the catchers won’t hit in the #8 spot? 😆 One of Cozart or Stubbs/Heisey will be hitting #1 or #2, unless Dusty has learned the errors of his ways. Doubtful.

  34. Gordon > Bailey. Prospects would have to go with him. Plus there is the whole money thing on top.

    • Gordon > Bailey.Prospects would have to go with him.Plus there is the whole money thing on top.

      To some extent the price of Gordon’s salary would be off-set by moving Homer Bailey’s contract – the difference in salary is less than what Ryan Ludwick seems to want to get paid in LF (let alone what the free agent centerfielders want long term).

  35. … I am in favor though.

  36. In breaking news about a friend of the site, Paul Janish has resigned with the Braves, presumably a major league contract.

  37. More breaking news about a former Reds player. Bill Bray signed a minor league deal with the Washington Harpers, the organization that originally drafted him.

  38. Also in breaking news, the Nationals signed long time Red Bill Bray to a minor league deal and the Giants signed Angel Pagan to a 4 year, $40m contract. I am thrilled that Pagan is off the market – I think he is extremely overrated.

  39. I would’ve kept Bray. His injury was not arm related. When healthy, he is more effective than Ondrusek or Arredondo. Solid lefties are scarce, and we let one walk away for nothing.

    With the Pagan $igning, it shows that Victorino will not be coming to Cincinnati. The only viable options at this point are trade or bounce-back type players (Sizemore)…..or both.

    • @Sultan of Swaff: What an overpay for Pagan IMO.

      I agree. Pagan isn’t much better at getting on base than Stubbs for his career, but he gets $10m/year? Yikes.

      Mariners are looking at Ludwick

      https://twitter.com/JonHeymanCBS/status/275704856239550464

      I really hope Ryan Ludwick gets signed elsewhere to take him out of the equation.

      @cincyreds14: Most things I read about Fowler, about splits at and away from Coors Field are not very reassuring, or about his defense in CF. I’ve heard for a long time that the Rockies had an absurdly high asking price for Fowler and I doubt he’s suddenly become easy to acquire. The reasons you want them to keep Bailey are the same reasons as why the Rockies might want him.

    • Mariners are looking at Ludwick

      https://twitter.com/JonHeymanCBS/status/275704856239550464

      I realize that “looking at” doesn’t mean a whole lot, but after Ludwick’s disastrous time in San Diego and Pittsburgh, I can’t imagine he’d want to go to a bigger ballpark, and into a division with some big-time pitching. True, he’ll still have the Astros to kick around, though.

  40. @Sultan of Swaff: What an overpay for Pagan IMO.

  41. Reds fan here residing in Denver and having seen Dexter Fowler play last year, he would be a BIG TIME improvement over Drew Stubbs. Dexter is 26 and GETTING BETTER – Stubbs has flat lined or regressed. He does not get baseball – that is evident. As a life long Pete Rose fan, I have always looked at a player’s BB IQ – Pete had it BIG TIME – Stubbs is low and seems lost half the time – all raw talent and w/o BB IQ he will only continue to regress. Dexter has it and would turn the Reds on their ear. Dex has stopped running (12 SB in 2011 and 12 in 2012). Get him running. btw, Frazier’s BB IQ is also high (learned last year how to get chop hits). Definitely a keeper!

  42. @redsfanman: Dexter Fowler could be just as or even more valuable – younger and cheaper – Reds GO GET DEX (would hit .300 with 20+ HRs and steal 30 bags at GAB)! The Rockies need pitching desperately and would jump at either Corcino, Cingrani and Stubbs BUT DO NOT OFFER BAILEY – as he is just now coming into his own (pitched lights out in Sept and Oct – waited long enough for him – KEEP HOMER).

  43. And do not forget about Denis Phipps – he was hurt last year after tearing up AAA in 2011. The kid has all kind of talent. We should take a long hard look at him as he could be very valuable to the Reds.

  44. The more I think about it, the more standing pat sounds fine. Boring I know… I wonder what’s available in Rule 5? I’m wondering whether the Reds are going to try to get something done with Rolen? Can Stubbs get any worse at the plate? I’m not sure he can.

  45. I don’t want Ludwick back. There. I’ve said it. He’ll be too expensive, and too big of a risk. I hope the best for him, but I don’t think he’ll be as good in the next two years as he was this one.

  46. @seat101:

    Walt kind of speaking out of both sides of his mouth on this quote. . .Stating that they have not spoken with either COL or OAK, but then saying that Bailey’s name hasn’t been brought up – Well Walt, if you haven’t spoken with them then obviously Bailey’s name could not have been brought up. . . Huh? Kind of makes me believe that there have been discussions of some sort.

  47. Sounds like we need to know what the definition of is is……
    Whom would we be talking to them about?

  48. Sounds like lazy journalism.

  49. Joakim Soria signs with the Rangers for less than half ($8mil/2yrs. w/ option) of what Broxton cost us. You’d think last offseason would’ve taught Walt & Co. that waiting out the market for relievers is the best strategy. Still out there—Rafael Soriano and Mike Adams.

    In addition to my belief that Broxton wasn’t the best talent for the money, I just hate the idea that the Broxton overpay would prevent us from having an extra $3mil or so to buy some bench help.

  50. Joakim Soria is also recovering from Tommy John surgery and is out until halfway through the season. So there’s that.

  51. Gordon has been mentioned a bunch on pretty much all the fan websites. But the Royals think they can contend next year so there is pretty much no way he’s being traded. The Royals have a stacked farm system so why give up Gordon?

  52. I have been so busy with football I havent commented in a while, package Mike Leake with another player make this trade. GABP and Coors Field are probably the 2 best NL Ballparks to hit in. Those NL West ballparks are not good hitting parks I dont know what it is I am guessing its the cool california air, along with the size of those Ballparks. The Reds can not have Drew Stubbs hitting lead off in 2013.

  53. @Tom Diesman: Sadly pathetic as Cozart/Stubbs (2 lowest OBPs in NL) would be 7/8, I still think Baker will bat at least one of them 1 or 2…I’ve read a lot of articles quoting about the Reds “Dusty-proofing” the lineups. How sad!!! Best way to Dusty-proof it was to let him mosey on down the road. Stubbs has no business on any major league roster, much less the roster of a supposed contender, much less starting!!! Fowler would be an improvement, but…Coco Crisp would be an improvement!!!!

  54. @Tom Diesman: I think you missed a back up catcher on the list of needs.

    Meso needs to be down at AAA getting his mojo back if he is ever to be a real help at the MLB level.

    • @Tom Diesman: I think you missed a back up catcher on the list of needs.

      Meso needs to be down at AAA getting his mojo back if he is ever to be a real help at the MLB level.

      Corky Miller is returning to the organization if Mesoraco gets sent to AAA to get his mojo back. I expect Mesoraco will be with the team though. I don’t think a backup catcher is a high priority.

  55. Whether or not the Reds acquire a leadoff hitter is the key to whether or not Cozart or Stubbs hit at the top of the lineup – that’s up to Walt Jocketty, not Dusty. Add a leadoff hitter and #4 hitter and they’ll go to the bottom of the order. Some fans call that Dusty proofing, you can also call it building a well-rounded roster. The primary ‘error of Dusty’s ways’ regarding the lineup is never being given a good leadoff hitter in all his years with the Reds. It’s always easier to criticize Dusty’s leadoff hitters than suggest a decent leadoff hitter on the roster.

    Coco Crisp and Eric Young get mentioned sometimes. I don’t think they’re improvements, they’re just new names to throw into a mix so Dusty can draw out a name. Joey Votto is the only OBP guy whose name he can pull out, and he hits third. Crisp and Young could enter the revolving door of disgrace – the leadoff position for the Cincinnati Reds – but I doubt they’d last any longer or be any more successful than the many similar players who came before them. Stubbs. Cozart. Orlando Cabrera. Taveras. Corey Patterson. The Reds need an improvement, not new names to throw into a void.

    Why would the Royals give up Alex Gordon? Maybe they need pitching help to contend and want to open up a spot in the outfield for Wil Myers. That’s where Homer Bailey fits in. They already signed Jeremie Guthrie (HA) to improve their rotation and they’re supposedly still trying to get rid of Luke Hochevar. Are they going to contend? I doubt it, not unless they improve the pitching staff, and Homer Bailey could help. If Wil Myers duplicates Mike Trout’s rookie season I doubt he can carry that current pitching staff to contention.

    Do Cozart, Stubbs, and the pitchers’ spot make a pathetic 7-8-9 spot? I don’t think so. Teams tend to stick their worst hitters in those spots, not just the Reds. In a full season I’ll bet the Reds would get more homeruns and stolen bases out of those spots than most teams if Cozart and Stubbs keep hitting down there.

    Bailey is expected to get ~$5m in 2013, then up again thanks to salary arbitration. And up again. Alex Gordon is about $4m more per season, but I expect the difference to remain similar for the next several years. Bailey isn’t getting cheaper either, even if he signs a long term extension (which they haven’t even considered doing yet).

    • Whether or not the Reds acquire a leadoff hitter is the key to whether or not Cozart or Stubbs hit at the top of the lineup – that’s up to Walt Jocketty, not Dusty.Add a leadoff hitter and #4 hitter and they’ll go to the bottom of the order.Some fans call that Dusty proofing, you can also call it building a well-rounded roster.The primary ‘error of Dusty’s ways’ regarding the lineup is never being given a good leadoff hitter in all his years with the Reds.It’s always easier to criticize Dusty’s leadoff hitters than suggest a decent leadoff hitter on the roster.

      Coco Crisp and Eric Young get mentioned sometimes.I don’t think they’re improvements, they’re just new names to throw into a mix so Dusty can draw out a name.Joey Votto is the only OBP guy whose name he can pull out, and he hits third.Crisp and Young could enter the revolving door of disgrace – the leadoff position for the Cincinnati Reds – but I doubt they’d last any longer or be any more successful than the many similar players who came before them.Stubbs.Cozart.Orlando Cabrera.Taveras.Corey Patterson.The Reds need an improvement, not new names to throw into a void.

      Why would the Royals give up Alex Gordon?Maybe they need pitching help to contend and want to open up a spot in the outfield for Wil Myers.That’s where Homer Bailey fits in.They already signed Jeremie Guthrie (HA) to improve their rotation and they’re supposedly still trying to get rid of Luke Hochevar.Are they going to contend?I doubt it, not unless they improve the pitching staff, and Homer Bailey could help.If Wil Myers duplicates Mike Trout’s rookie season I doubt he can carry that current pitching staff to contention.

      Do Cozart, Stubbs, and the pitchers’ spot make a pathetic 7-8-9 spot?I don’t think so.Teams tend to stick their worst hitters in those spots, not just the Reds.In a full season I’ll bet the Reds would get more homeruns and stolen bases out of those spots than most teams if Cozart and Stubbs keep hitting down there.

      Bailey is expected to get ~$5m in 2013, then up again thanks to salary arbitration.And up again.Alex Gordon is about $4m more per season, but I expect the difference to remain similar for the next several years.Bailey isn’t getting cheaper either, even if he signs a long term extension (which they haven’t even considered doing yet).

      Right. Dusty isn’t responsible for consistently putting the 2 least equipped guys 1-2. Got it. 😀

      The Royals must really love Jeff Francoeur out in RF. Always err old, that’s what I always say…

  56. Something is brewing in the Music City today. WJ is off and talking to the Yankees of all teams. Is Brett Gardner about to become an OF for the Reds?? Is Frazier about to become a Yankee?

  57. more likelyCozrtor Gregorius.Shiftonetothird.

  58. kindle.

  59. WJ also talking to the Pirates for OF Starling Marte. Discussions centered on SS Didi Gregorius, P Kyle Lotzkar or Daniel Corcino, and OF Chris Heisey. Might take a bit more than this to pry away Marte from the Pirates. Gregorius would allow the Buccos to trade their SS Barmes and his high salary for a P. Heisey would help form a very good platoon in LF with Travis Snyder. They already have good OF’s in McCutcheon and Jones and Alvarez to play OF and 3B.

  60. @Steve Mancuso:
    A guest on MLB radio. Didn’t get his name. They were talking Pirates when he said the Reds were interested in Marte and what he thought was offered.

  61. Marte is just another young guy with “potential” but no plate discipline, right? As I recall, he strikes out a lot more than he walks…

  62. To expound, I believe that it’s more likely Cozart or Gregorius would be traded to the Yankees. They could shift whoever they traded for over to third, which would solve the ARod problem. I don’t think that it would cost much to get him, as my buddy has told me that the Yankees don’t think very highly of Gardner. He wasn’t even a starter the second half of last season.

  63. I think we’re mixing two concepts here.

    1) Fowler is clearly better than Stubbs. [The splits bother me, but even with those considered, Fowler is better. What really concerns me, though, is Fowler’s defensive stats. Notwithstanding those, Fowler is still superior to Stubbs.]

    2) But Fowler is by no means fair value for Bailey. Maybe if you take their contracts into consideration, it gets close. I’m not adverse to trading Bailey but Bailey straight up for Fowler would be a steal for the Rockies.

    • I think we’re mixing two concepts here.

      1) Fowler is clearly better than Stubbs. [The splits bother me, but even with those considered, Fowler is better. What really concerns me, though, is Fowler’s defensive stats. Notwithstanding those, Fowler is still superior to Stubbs.]

      2) But Fowler is by no means fair value for Bailey. Maybe if you take their contracts into consideration, it gets close. I’m not adverse to trading Bailey but Bailey straight up for Fowler would be a steal for the Rockies.

      That’s what I was trying to say earlier. You just did it better.

  64. In all the “Fowler is better than Stubbs” talk, keep in mind:

    OBP: Fowler better than Stubbs
    Power: Stubbs considerably better than Fowler
    Defense: Stubbs considerably better than Fowler
    SB: Stubbs enormously better than Fowler

    Sure, OBP may be the most important of these indicators. But let’s not ignore the other stuff.

  65. I like the Alex Gordon talk. Two time GG winner in LF. But he is a LH hitter. KC’s Billy Butler (DH) can play LF too. A RH hitter. Better hitter but not as good defensively as Gordon. Both have signed Jay Bruce-like extensions. Gordon is 28 and Butler is 26. However, KC also has Wil Myers that could play LF. He’s 22 and a RH hitter. Great defense. It would take a haul to get him, the 2012 minor league player of the year. I would empty out the coffers for him, but keep Hamilton and Cingrani as untouchables. I would start with Leake, Stubbs, Corcino, Lotzkar, KC needs a 2B so include H-Rod or Didi Gregorius, and whoever else KC would want. That would address KC’s 3 biggest needs, SP, CF, and 2B. Or maybe some other combination of players.

  66. Starling Marte (24) is a right-handed left fielder playing for the Pirates. He was signed as a 17-year old from the Dominican Republic and spent six years in the Pirates system. Last year, he saw some time with the Pirates – 182 plate appearances.

    In the minor leagues, Marte was known for being a power/speed combination hitter, and had a .361 on base percentage.

    In his time with the Pirates last year, he hit .257/.300/.437 – which is a 4.4 BB%. He had 12 SB (5 CS), 5 HR and 6 triples! Over 162 games that wold be 17 HR and 41 SB. His dWAR is positive, but that’s very unreliable given its based on such little MLB service time. Otherwise I can’t say anything about his defense.

  67. @WVRedlegs: Agree on Alex Gordon. Wonderful defense. He could lead off. Being a LH hitter is OK because of the separation between batting first and JoeyMVP batting third. No crossed streams there. In fact, the Reds could use another LH bat in the lineup. Solid power.

    His walk-rate was over 10% last year, which is well above league average. He wouldn’t fit in on the Reds at all. 🙂

    There might be a match with the Royals that wouldn’t involve Homer Bailey. Solving the LF and lead-off problems with one person would be a positive

    • @WVRedlegs: Agree on Alex Gordon. Wonderful defense. He could lead off. Being a LH hitter is OK because of the separation between batting first and JoeyMVP batting third. No crossed streams there. In fact, the Reds could use another LH bat in the lineup. Solid power.

      His walk-rate was over 10% last year, which is well above league average. He wouldn’t fit in on the Reds at all.

      There might be a match with the Royals that wouldn’t involve Homer Bailey. Solving the LF and lead-off problems with one person would be a positive

      I doubt there would be a match for both teams that doesn’t involve Homer Bailey – I expect the Royals would want a better pitcher than Mike Leake and the Reds would need to clear Homer Bailey’s contract from the payroll to afford Gordon’s salary. Again, trading Bailey eliminates another problem my leaving five starting pitchers for five spots in the starting rotation – nobody has to worry about Leake winning a rotation spot from Chapman.

  68. Problem is the Reds are still trying to sign Ludwick, so they won’t actually make a trade until they figure that out.

  69. If anybody cares about the five tools that guys like Jim Bowden values so much, Stubbs has four of them – power, baserunning speed/ability, defense, and throwing arm. He lacks the most important one, arguably the only one that Dexter Fowler possesses – hitting for average. Stubbs’ homeruns and stolen bases are likely to go up if he puts together that fifth tool, and he’s still young enough to improve. On the other hand Fowler doesn’t have much power or a talent for stealing bases and isn’t going to be nearly as good defensively.

    @WVRedlegs: I don’t claim to be an expert on the Royals but I assume Billy Butler will continue to DH. I definitely don’t think that Wil Myers is a realistic fit for the Reds’ needs, any more than Giancarlo Stanton or Morse of the Nationals. I think they’re willing to move Wil Myers for a front line ace pitcher but Homer Bailey doesn’t meet that qualification…. and Mike Leake is even further back.

    I wouldn’t mind a trade of extra players for Starling Marte. I’m a big fan of any trade that includes Didi Gregorius, Kyle Lotzkar, and/or Chris Heisey for a young player. Marte is a bit of a gamble but he could be a great hitter.

  70. @redsfanman: You may be right, but I’m not sure the Reds payroll situation is necessarily as tight as everyone thinks.

    • @redsfanman: You may be right, but I’m not sure the Reds payroll situation is necessarily as tight as everyone thinks.

      I guess the Reds haven’t made it clear if they expect to spend any money on improving the infield bench. I’m curious if they’ll fill Rolen, Cairo, and Valdez’s spots with quality free agents, cheap guys off the scrap heap, rushed prospects (like Henry Rodriguez), or by trade. Either way adding Alex Gordon’s $9m contract, that increases every year after, seems tough.

      • I guess the Reds haven’t made it clear if they expect to spend any money on improving the infield bench.

        My guess is the Reds plan to improve the bench a little through the Rule 5 draft on Thursday. Red Reporter has a good article:

        http://www.redreporter.com/2012/12/3/3712488/cba-blues-rule-5-draft-reds-josh-hamilton-jared-burton-brian-moran-marc-krauss

        • @Steve Mancuso:
          I didn’t think of Alex Gordon as a leadoff hitter, moreso as a #4, but I guess he could be. Leake would be a #3 starter for the Royals, with the prospect of being their #2. Hochevar and Chen are their #3 and #4 right now. With Jeremy Guthrie as their #2.I’m sure the Reds could put an enticing package together. But the question is will they??Will they pull the trigger on such a trade that would help both teams??

          Alex Gordon is left handed and definitely wouldn’t be a #4 hitter for the Reds. Dusty Baker is reluctant to hit lefties back to back, let alone three in a row (which I agree with). I read up on Alex Gordon and most of the articles were people complaining about him being removed from the leadoff spot and wanting him back there, where he’d been so successful. He’s not a prototypical leadoff hitter but he is a very good one. Maybe he could get lots of RBIs with Stubbs hitting 8th.

          I still think the Royals will want a better pitcher than Mike Leake in their quest to improve the rotation. They’re being mentioned as seeking James Shields of the Rays. Reds fans want Leake left out of the rotation for his ~4.60 ERA. I see Leake as a fit for a team looking for a reliable inning eater at the back of the rotation… but not an ace.

          That said, hopefully the Royals will make a silly deal trading Alex Gordon for Mike Leake and prospects.

          My guess is the Reds plan to improve the bench a little through the Rule 5 draft on Thursday.Red Reporter has a good article:

          http://www.redreporter.com/2012/12/3/3712488/cba-blues-rule-5-draft-reds-josh-hamilton-jared-burton-brian-moran-marc-krauss

          I assume (but I’m not certain) that the Rule 5 draft is like the regular draft order where the Cincinnati Reds will have around the 29th choice…. so the only Rule 5 picks will be guys overlooked by all the other teams. If there are good players taken in the Rule 5 draft I think it’s a longshot that they fall to the Reds, but we’ll see!

          Rule 5 picks overlooked by all the other team, is that a match or what? Perfect replacement for Miguel Cairo or Wilson Valdez. Yikes :/

  71. There’s no way I would trade Bailey. No way no how!! If Chapman pitches like he did last spring as a starter, then the Reds have 4 legit potential #1 starters. An ace in Cueto, and potential #1’s in Latos, Bailey and Chapman. And the crafty veteran Arroyo. The Reds can spare Mike Leake. They have Redmond and Cingrani to fill in, in case of an injury emergency. And LeCure could start some if a starter went on the 15 day DL. Thats 3 options right there without Leake. And I sense that WJ is going to sign a veteran pitcher to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training like Jeff Francis last year for some AAA depth. That would be a 4th option. Hamilton, Cingrani and Stephenson would be my only untouchables. Leake and Stubbs/Heisey could be packaged up with a host of prospects (Didi, H-Rod, Corcino, Lotzkar, Lutz, Soto, Smith, Phipps, Barnhart, etc.) for a top tier player to play LF and to bat 4th. There are a handful of teams that match up with the Reds here.

  72. @Steve Mancuso:
    I didn’t think of Alex Gordon as a leadoff hitter, moreso as a #4, but I guess he could be. Leake would be a #3 starter for the Royals, with the prospect of being their #2. Hochevar and Chen are their #3 and #4 right now. With Jeremy Guthrie as their #2. I’m sure the Reds could put an enticing package together. But the question is will they?? Will they pull the trigger on such a trade that would help both teams??

  73. What does the Denard Span trade (for one A-level prospect) say about the trade market for Shin Soo Choo? Choo is the better player, but Span can play CF. Span also has three years of team control and Choo only has one. Maybe Choo’s trade price went down after the Span deal and we could trade for him for a year. At least that would solve the corner OF problem and lead-off. Could we get him for a single minor league prospect? Sign me up!

    I’d rather have Choo playing LF and leading off than any other ideas we’ve been discussing.

    • What does the Denard Span trade (for one A-level prospect) say about the trade market for Shin Soo Choo? Choo is the better player, but Span can play CF. Span also has three years of team control and Choo only has one. Maybe Choo’s trade price went down after the Span deal and we could trade for him for a year. At least that would solve the corner OF problem and lead-off. Could we get him for a single minor league prospect? Sign me up!

      I’d rather have Choo playing LF and leading off than any other ideas we’ve been discussing.

      I think it’s worth recognizing that the A-level prospect was the Nationals’ equivalent of Robert Stephenson, a highly regarded pitching prospect who is years away from the majors. Not some no talent bum or career minor leaguer. The Reds seem unwilling to consider trading Stephenson despite him being an A-level prospect.

      I’d rather have Alex Gordon than Shin-Shoo Choo, but I’m okay with either. I’m also much happier with either of them than any other name I’ve heard. It’d be interesting to know who the Indians wanted in return.

    • What does the Denard Span trade (for one A-level prospect) say about the trade market for Shin Soo Choo? Choo is the better player, but Span can play CF. Span also has three years of team control and Choo only has one. Maybe Choo’s trade price went down after the Span deal and we could trade for him for a year. At least that would solve the corner OF problem and lead-off. Could we get him for a single minor league prospect? Sign me up!I’d rather have Choo playing LF and leading off than any other ideas we’ve been discussing.

      Jon Heyman reports that Indians’ efforts to trade Choo have been “hampered” by the Span trade. I think that means the price is about to come down.

  74. I don’t want fowler. I thought much the same that he isn’t much of an upgrade. He is young and could be blooming, but he might have just had a career year…you never know.

    If you want to make a real trade, go after 3B Chase Headley and play Frazier in left field. Wrenching him away from SD won’t be easy, but it would put some oomph into the lineup.

  75. I’m on the Choo train, too, ahve been all along. And I’d think for a guy who’s looking for a big year to earn a juicy new contract, GABP would be a nice cozy spot to spend 2013.

  76. Also read the Red Sox offered Victorino 3 years at $37.5 mil. Uh… good luck with that.

    • @Gregg: I think it’s too late to go after Chase Headley – the Yankees and some other teams need thirdbase help a lot more than the Reds do, and will probably be willing to give up more to get it.

      Also read the Red Sox offered Victorino 3 years at $37.5 mil.Uh… good luck with that.

      That is crazy, in my opinion. Now Victorino has to see if he can find MORE elsewhere. Personally I think he’s worth $6m or $7m/year coming off a bad year.

  77. The final number is 3 years, $39MM to Boston.

    Morons. . .

  78. I really, really hope the Reds don’t stand pat.

    If their biggest moves this offseason are re-signing Broxton and Ludwick – all that does is put us back where we were, albeit with Chapman (maybe) in the rotation. The Harpers have traded for Span and signed Dan Haren and they won more games than the Reds last year.

    I hope we learned our lesson in 2011, when we stood still after making the playoffs in 2010.

    If Choo can be had for a minor league pitcher, I’d make that trade even if we get Ludwick.

    • The final number is 3 years, $39MM to Boston.

      Morons. . .

      The Red Soxs aren’t morons, they just have lots of extra money. Can’t argue with that. I wish the Cincinnati Reds had lots of extra money.

      I really, really hope the Reds don’t stand pat.

      If their biggest moves this offseason are re-signing Broxton and Ludwick – all that does is put us back where we were, albeit with Chapman (maybe) in the rotation. The Harpers have traded for Span and signed Dan Haren and they won more games than the Reds last year.

      I hope we learned our lesson in 2011, when we stood still after making the playoffs in 2010.

      If Choo can be had for a minor league pitcher, I’d make that trade even if we get Ludwick.

      I’m really worried about Ryan Ludwick signing because it might convince them that they’re finished. As long as LF is open they NEED to add somebody with more options for targets. Once Ludwick signs any leadoff hitter they acquire would need to play CF. That eliminates hope of acquiring Alex Gordon or Shin Shoo Choo, both of whom always played corner outfield spots.

      Something that surprised me today was Shane Victorino signing a contract to play LF. It seemed like that possibility (playing LF) was being met with resistance by Reds fans.

  79. Posted this over on the other thread, but mlb.com has an article saying the Reds are waiting for a response from Ludwick on a two-year contract….also said possible trade targets if Ludwick doesn’t work out could be the D-backs’ Kubel and Parra.

  80. @Steve Mancuso: Let’s check out the slugging stats of Stubbs and Fowler before giving this one over. “Potential” doesn’t count…

  81. Tired of hearing how Stubbs has such a power advantage over Fowler…since he became a starter in 2009, Fowler has a slugging percentage of .431 – average, mind you – which Stubbs has only APPROACHED once! (.444, in 2010…back when we thought there was hope he could be a major league hitter)…since then he hasn’t been within 60 points. I realize there are certain advantages to hitting in Coors, but 60 points!!! Why don’t we just bring back Paul Householder and stick HIM in center field?!?

    • Tired of hearing how Stubbs has such a power advantage over Fowler…since he became a starter in 2009, Fowler has a slugging percentage of .431 – average, mind you – which Stubbs has only APPROACHED once! (.444, in 2010…back when we thought there was hope he could be a major league hitter)…since then he hasn’t been within 60 points.I realize there are certain advantages to hitting in Coors, but 60 points!!!Why don’t we just bring back Paul Householder and stick HIM in center field?!?

      Those ‘certain advantages to hitting in Coors’ are the reason why so many people are so skeptical of Fowler’s numbers. Here’s a key section from an article on the topic:

      Fowler’s high SLG and OPS values come from his gap-to-gap power, which is best utilized at Coors Field. The left-center and right-center field gaps at Coors Field measure 420 and 424 feet, respectively. In Cincinnati, those same gaps measure just 379 and 370 feet. Those additional 41 and 54 feet make a huge difference in Fowler’s ability to stretch base hits into doubles and triples.

      Read the whole article and you won’t want Fowler anymore:
      http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1431111-mlb-winter-meetings-dexter-fowler-not-worth-it-for-cincinnati-reds

  82. To elaborate, Fowler has the ability to hit the ball in the gap, something which is unlikely to be quite as successful without the distant outfield walls in Colorado. In 2012 Fowler hit 13 homeruns after hitting 15 combined in his first three full seasons. Stubbs, aka Mr Unpopular, just hit 14 homeruns in his worst full season, down from a career high of 22 in 2010.

    If Dexter Fowler gets traded away from his ideal hitting environment of Coors Field I expect Fowler’s extra base hit totals to be slashed. I expect Stubbs would surpass him in slugging by hitting more homeruns (say, 20 vs 5 for Fowler) and getting comparable numbers of doubles and triples. That is NOT to say that I expect Stubbs to lead Fowler in average or OBP.

  83. @redsfanman: OK, I’ll agree that Fowler isn’t a savior and probably not worth Bailey…but the slash lines listed in the article didn’t mention that Stubbs has consistently regressed each of the past 3 years…I still can’t bring myself to concede that Fowler wouldn’t be an improvement over Stubbs – in fact, I think Heisey and XPaul BOTH would be improvements…but idiot seems convinced that Stubbs/Cozart/Patterson/Taveras/Darren Lewis/Neifi Perez/etc. should be at the top of the lineup. I’d rather have DatDude batting somewhere other than leadoff, but he’s an improvement over Stubbs & Cozart, the two NL starters with the lowest OBP in the NL!!! Sometimes I think idiot chooses his lineups the same way the kids in the Archie comics chose their vacations…spin a globe, put a blindfold on Jughead, and have him throw a dart! lol

  84. @MarvinBakerDustyLewis: Keep in mind that if the Reds trade for Dexter Fowler they won’t be getting the Coors Field version of Dexter Fowler, they’ll be trading for a Great American Ballpark version. If a players’ extra base hit totals getting slashed is to be considered regression, Dexter Fowler is likely to demonstrate it with the Reds.

    Fowler should be an upgrade for batting average and downgrade every other way. At best comparable slugging/power numbers. Worse basestealing. Worse fielding. They’d have to trade a lot for somebody who isn’t much of an upgrade.

    I think you, Dusty, and I are all in agreement that Brandon Phillips should bat somewhere other than leadoff. Unfortunately the rules require the manager to write SOMEBODY into the leadoff spot. I think Dusty knows by now that whether he gives an issue great thought, turns to a statistician, or pulls a name out of a hat most fans are dissapointed with whoever he chooses to hit leadoff – none of the options are acceptable. The only solution is for the front office to add a quality leadoff hitter, a luxury Dusty Baker has NEVER received in all his years with the Reds.

    Here’s the selection processes or hierarchy that I suspect they go through for choosing a leadoff hitter:
    1. Choose the quality leadoff hitter (blank) [Michael Bourn would be an example].
    2. Choose the non-prototypical leadoff hitter who would do a good job (blank) [Alex Gordon would be an example].
    3. Choose the guy who possesses some (but not all) of the positive skills associated with a leadoff hiter (Phillips).
    4. Choose the guy who might possess SOMETHING, such as speed, that you might vaguely associate with a leadoff hitter (Stubbs, Cozart, Taveras, Patterson) [Angel Pagan, Dexter Fowler, Parra of Arizona, Chris Young, Coco Crisp].
    5. Choose a bench player who can’t even hit his way into the lineup (Heisey).

    On that chart I just made Dusty’s options usually start at step 3, although the only candidate (Phillips) is more successful in other roles, so he has to go further down the list. Hopefully they can still acquire somebody (Gordon, Choo) capable of at least meeting the second category.

  85. Can’t completely argue, although I’d like to think, on a competitive team, we wouldn’t have to resort to a leadoff hitter who “might” possess “something” that you might “vaguely” associate with a leadoff hitter…I think Phillips has done a decent job as a leadoff hitter when put in that position the last couple of years…so why not look at 1 and 2 hitters who are not totally incompetent (i.e. Stubbs & Cozart, the 2 lowest OBPs in the NL)…I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they make moves this winter to fill the needs they have, but I have bets out that Stubbs will be our starting CF on opening day and Rolen will be our starting 3B, and Frazier will be on the bench…just like in the disastrous playoffs…Personally, I’d love to see a move for Gordon or Choo, but even if so, not convinced idiot wouldn’t put them on the bench in favor of Stubbs…

  86. Not saying I’m in on Fowler, but i”m not willing to concede on the argument that his extra base numbers go down at GABP…..It still doesn’t change OBP. As long as Joey has a man on first consistently, his doubles power and Fowler’s speed ensures a run. Also, any thought that a smaller outfield boosts his defensive prowess, narrowing the gap between him and Stubbs in that area as well? For the record, I think we can do better than Fowler, but he is more than a marginal improvement all the way around.

    • Can’t completely argue, although I’d like to think, on a competitive team, we wouldn’t have to resort to a leadoff hitter who “might” possess “something” that you might “vaguely” associate with a leadoff hitter…I think Phillips has done a decent job as a leadoff hitter when put in that position the last couple of years…so why not look at 1 and 2 hitters who are not totally incompetent (i.e. Stubbs & Cozart, the 2 lowest OBPs in the NL)…I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they make moves this winter to fill the needs they have, but I have bets out that Stubbs will be our starting CF on opening day and Rolen will be our starting 3B, and Frazier will be on the bench…just like in the disastrous playoffs…Personally, I’d love to see a move for Gordon or Choo, but even if so, not convinced idiot wouldn’t put them on the bench in favor of Stubbs…

      You’d like to think Phillips has done a decent job as a leadoff hitter. I’ll pull up the numbers:
      2012: .202 average, .254 OBP in 114 ABs hitting leadoff.
      2011: .350 average and .417 OBP in 157 ABs.
      2010: .251 average, .302 OBP in 315 ABs.

      Twice (2010 and 2012) he failed miserably in that role, doing way below his overall season numbers. in 2011 he put up unsustainable numbers (Joey Votto could barely keep that up) that skew the long term performance. I don’t think Phillips should be put back through that experiment again.

      You’d like to think that a team has an obvious option, but the facts aren’t always so kind. Unfortunately the lack of a good option is usually blamed on the manager rather than the front office.

      Alex Gordon has never played CF and Shin-Shoo Choo hasn’t played CF since 2006. They play different positions from Stubbs so they would have no bearing on his playing time. Benching either for Stubbs isn’t a (realistic) option. I fully expect Stubbs to be the opening day CF, but I expect he will start the season in the bottom of the lineup. How long he stays down there depends on who they acquire.

      Not saying I’m in on Fowler, but i”m not willing to concede on the argument that his extra base numbers go down at GABP…..It still doesn’t change OBP. As long as Joey has a man on first consistently, his doubles power and Fowler’s speed ensures a run. Also, any thought that a smaller outfield boosts his defensive prowess, narrowing the gap between him and Stubbs in that area as well? For the record, I think we can do better than Fowler, but he is more than a marginal improvement all the way around.

      I respectfully disagree about Fowler being more than a marginal improvement. The Reds prioritize pitching, speed, and defense and average/OBP is the only skill in which Fowler provides any sort of improvement whatsoever. I don’t think the concerns about Fowler’s defense in Colorado related to the larger outfield or would be eliminated by the smaller outfield in Cincinnati – I don’t think anybody has questioned his speed in CF. In my opinion his high rate of getting caught stealing eliminates the run game as a threat.

      I wonder how much pitching, minor league talent, homerun power, basestealing ability, and/or defense in CF it’s worth trading for that improvement in OBP that Fowler would provide. In my opinion, not much.

      • You’d like to think Phillips has done a decent job as a leadoff hitter. I’ll pull up the numbers:
        2012: .202 average, .254 OBP in 114 ABs hitting leadoff.
        2011: .350 average and .417 OBP in 157 ABs.
        2010: .251 average, .302 OBP in 315 ABs.

        Twice (2010 and 2012) he failed miserably in that role, doing way below his overall season numbers. in 2011 he put up unsustainable numbers (Joey Votto could barely keep that up) that skew the long term performance. I don’t think Phillips should be put back through that experiment again.

        You’d like to think that a team has an obvious option, but the facts aren’t always so kind. Unfortunately the lack of a good option is usually blamed on the manager rather than the front office.

        You just got sample sized!

        Phillips PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
        Career 4989 .273 .322 .433 .755
        Career #1 691 .265 .325 .426 .751

        Phillips is not ideal for the top of the order, but is still hands down the best option we currently have. He ensures at least one league average OBP hitting in front of Votto, and the extra ABs associated with the top spot go to a competent hitter. He should be in the 2 spot if a better leadoff hitter is acquired or when Hamilton is promoted.

      • You’d like to think Phillips has done a decent job as a leadoff hitter. I’ll pull up the numbers:
        2012: .202 average, .254 OBP in 114 ABs hitting leadoff.
        2011: .350 average and .417 OBP in 157 ABs.
        2010: .251 average, .302 OBP in 315 ABs.

        Good heavens. Please stop abusing these numbers and parsing them out to make your point. We get it, you don’t think BP is good for leadoff. He’s not ideal, but he’s the best until proven otherwise. But please stop ignoring how numbers work to say he’s only likely to be below average. Give him one season, one full season, and if his numbers aren’t close to career norms, that would be something noteworthy. The expectation for BP out of the leadoff spot over any reasonable length of time would be an OBP of .320-.330. That’s it. No great shakes, but better than sub .300.

  87. @redsfanman:

    for BP leading off in 2010, recall his numbers are skewed down because late in year, Brian Wilson drilled him in the hand. Dusty only sat him 3 days, then put in back in leadoff where he went something like 9 for 72 because his hand was still too swollen for him to grip bat properly. Before that HBP, BP was doing well in lead off role.

    i agree it would be nice to have a more typical leadoff hitter, but right now BP seems to be the best Reds have. And given the recent Free Agent deals, pagan/victorino and whatever Bourn will get now, if the reds want to improve then it will likely have to be a trade. Choo sure seems more attractive now as leadoff hitter, though given his defensive metrics, best he goes to LF, while Reds “platoon” Heisey/Stubbs more in CF.

  88. I still think there are options in Japan. The culture of Japanese baseball has more of a OBP mindset. They like their home runs like anyone else, but making contact and getting on base is just more of a part of the baseball culture.

  89. I’d be fine with playing Choo or Gordon in LF instead of Ludwick because of the lead-off role. On the other hand, if you’re looking to acquire one of them in addition to Ludwick, there is the idea that Jay Bruce could move to CF and Choo or Gordon could play RF.

  90. Why not experiment with Stubbs in spring training and bat him 4th?? Put that big swing of his to use. Most cleanup hitters already strike out alot. Just give him a different mindset. Grip it and rip it. Don’t jerk him around like much of the last two years to be more of an on-base guy and then use his speed. He hit 22 HR’s in 2010 before Dusty started with the mind games on Stubbs in 2011. Go out and acquire the prototypical leadoff hitter to play LF or CF and give Stubbs a chance at the cleanup spot. He just might turn out to be better and cheaper option than Ludwick.

    • Why not experiment with Stubbs in spring training and bat him 4th?? Put that big swing of his to use. Most cleanup hitters already strike out alot. Just give him a different mindset. Grip it and rip it. Don’t jerk him around like much of the last two years to be more of an on-base guy and then use his speed. He hit 22 HR’s in 2010 before Dusty started with the mind games on Stubbs in 2011. Go out and acquire the prototypical leadoff hitter to play LF or CF and give Stubbs a chance at the cleanup spot. He just might turn out to be better and cheaper option than Ludwick.

      That’s exactly what I suggested going in to last year. After Stubbs’ year I don’t know if I can on board with this any more. Way too many ABs for a bad hitter.

  91. @Matt WI: Phillips’ attempt to hit leadoff has been a failure and it’s silly to start the experiment over and over again. I really doubt he’ll surpass a .300 OBP in that role in 2013, despite a hot streak back in 2011. I hope the Reds don’t throw him under the bus for a full year to continue that silly experiment. If they’re not going to get production out of the leadoff spot they can waste other guys (like Cozart) instead and at least put Phillips in a position to succeed (hitting second). The experiment went on too long in 2010. Too long in 2012. Hopefully they don’t start it up again in 2013.

    If somebody’s going to be booed for ineffectiveness hitting leadoff it might as well be Stubbs – he’s used to being trashed and booed. Cozart too, he’s used to being a bad leadoff hitter. Phillips is one of the team’s most popular players and a strange choice to throw under the bus.

    • @Matt WI: Phillips’ attempt to hit leadoff has been a failure and it’s silly to start the experiment over and over again.I really doubt he’ll surpass a .300 OBP in that role in 2013, despite a hot streak back in 2011.I hope the Reds don’t throw him under the bus for a full year to continue that silly experiment.If they’re not going to get production out of the leadoff spot they can waste other guys (like Cozart) instead and at least put Phillips in a position to succeed (hitting second).The experiment went on too long in 2010.Too long in 2012.Hopefully they don’t start it up again in 2013.

      If somebody’s going to be booed for ineffectiveness hitting leadoff it might as well be Stubbs – he’s used to being trashed and booed.Cozart too, he’s used to being a bad leadoff hitter.Phillips is one of the team’s most popular players and a strange choice to throw under the bus.

      Couldn’t disagree more. The only reason Phillips wasn’t in the 1 or 2 spot all the time is the Reds failure to supply a competent clean up hitter, or Baker’s failure to think out of the box and bat Bruce 4th where he should be. Put Phillips at the top and leave him there, and he’ll put up OBP numbers close to his career norm like he always does.

  92. @Tom Diesman: Provide a roster that allows Phillips to bat second and I think everyone’s happy, including Walt Jocketty, Dusty Baker, Brandon Phillips, and most of the fans. Bat Phillips elsewhere and a lot of people will be skeptical of the decision, hoping the Reds acquire a more appropriate hitter for whichever role.

  93. Yes, Phillips is miscast as a leadoff hitter. He’s also miscast as a 4 hole hitter, and in a way that accentuates his worst attributes. I mean, I guess it’s admirable that he *tried* to play to the role, but I’m seriously tired of seeing him swing out of his shoes time after time.

    I don’t want to see him leading off, either, but he *should* have been leading off last season, because he would have been much better than the other options. A low bar to be sure, but still true. Hopefully new circumstances will overcome that choice in 2013. I’d love to see him in the 2 spot. Or even the 3.

  94. Looks like more Fowler rumors are circulating. According the MLBTR it would be Fowler for Leake and two prospects. This doesn’t make sense to me. Leake is a bit more valuable in my estimation. Leake may be the #5 on the Reds, there are few teams where he would be the #5. I’m not quite sure why two prospects would go with him. Like I said at the top of this thread, this seems like a move to make a move. Fowler doesn’t impress me. I hope this is just idle speculation on the part of the Rockies beat writer.

    • Looks like more Fowler rumors are circulating.According the MLBTR it would be Fowler for Leake and two prospects.This doesn’t make sense to me.Leake is a bit more valuable in my estimation.Leake may be the #5 on the Reds, there are few teams where he would be the #5.I’m not quite sure why two prospects would go with him.Like I said at the top of this thread, this seems like a move to make a move.Fowler doesn’t impress me.I hope this is just idle speculation on the part of the Rockies beat writer.

      Reds fans often think players are worth more than they are and Rockies fans probably feel the same way about their players. The rumors seem to involve Leake and Stubbs for Fowler, which seems realistic, rather than Reds prospects. If the Reds are serious about starting Chapman Leake or Bailey need to be traded.

      I don’t think it would be a move just to make a move, I think it’s a move that would help to settle the roster, both the starting lineup and the starting rotation. If they sign Ludwick Jocketty’s final important issue to address over the next three months would be adding bench players.

  95. @redsfanman: Stop replying to my comments.

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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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