Apparently, it’s permissible for teams to add players to their roster for the playoff drive.

MLBTR is reporting that the Pirates just traded for OF Marlon Byrd and catcher John Buck.

Given that salary, it’s a surprise to see that the Reds didn’t place a claim to block the Pirates from acquiring him. Cincinnati is just 3.5 games out of first in the NL Central while the Pirates are a half-game back of the Cardinals. All three NL Central teams would be in the playoffs if the season ended today, but the Reds and Pirates would face each other in the one-game Wild Card playoff.


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 isΒ Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 76 Comments

  1. Now that is what a team does if they are in it to win it. Or a win-now mode.
    Where is WJ???? He was MIA before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline (AGAIN).

    Some bullpen help is needed along with a nice bat. At this time it can be either RH or LH, just go get a good bat. One that could possibly slot in at the #2 hole.

    • @WVRedlegs: WJ has built a team that looks like it will contend for several years, yet people still complain about what happens at the trade deadline. It looks to me like that’s a big part of why this team doesn’t suck.

      Another big part of why they don’t suck is because most of their games are against teams that aren’t in St Louis. πŸ™

      • @Jared:

        Yes. You’re right. Lol.
        WJ’s history, at least with the Reds, is that he is not a big trader in July. Maybe a little band-aid August trade.
        He has worked his little magic in the winter, but doesn’t pull the trigger much in July. The Reds need some help now, not in December.
        To quote Edmund Burke, ” All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
        Evil==Cards, Pirates.
        Good men==WJ and front office.

      • @Jared: They’ll contend for several years, but they won’t win in nay of those years without the necessary in-season adjustments.

        WJ just waited for Ludwick to return. He waited for Broxton and Marshall to return. We already know about Broxton, and Marshall is still not close.

        • @pinson343:
          Can’t make traded when you don’t have the pieces to trade. Farm system is shallow with not a lot of expendable parts

    • @WVRedlegs: The problem, as has been pointed out on this site several times, is that the Reds don’t have holes that they are willing to fill (except for maybe a reliever, I am surprised WJ didn’t add one).

      The quote above notes that they were surprised the Reds didn’t put in a claim on those guys as a block, not to acquire them. The Reds weren’t going to play Byrd or Buck ahead of the guys they have. Putting in a claim would have meant risking that they had to eat the salary for guys they actually weren’t interested in. So I’m not surprised they didn’t.

      • @al: Not only eat the salary, but also jettison someone from the 25-man roster to make room for a rental. If blocking was without risk, everyone would always block.

  2. This is awful Walt. Unless I am missing something on why the Reds couldn’t claim before the Pirates and block a trade.

    What’s the worst that can happen:

    Walt – “I will give you a C level prospect for the rental, Marlon Byrd”

    Alderson – “No…we want Stephenson”


    At the end of the day, the Pirates still would not have Byrd.

    • @rfay00: No, the worst that could happen is:

      WJ: I’ll give you this low level prospect.
      Alderson: We don’t want that guy, you can just take him and his salary, thanks.

      Then the Reds have to pay guys that they don’t want just to keep them away from the Pirates.

  3. Someone please give me some plausible, rationale reason why WJ would not (at least) block this trade. There has to be such a reason, right? . . .

    • @Drew Mac: He was giving Dusty a good ole talking to?

      • @rfay00: Is it somehow possible that Walt did not want to stand in the way of the Pirates getting a bit stronger, considering the games they have left with the WLBs? . . . I suppose Walt may believe the Reds perfectly capable of beating the Pirates regardless. Just guessing, but I have to tell myself something here.

    • @Drew Mac: How about if he makes and claim he might get them? Do you want these two players on the team over someone who is already here? Please!

  4. Geez. Arm chair GMs. I trust WJ’s judgement more than everyone here.

  5. Pirates make a move to make themselves better. Reds stand pat, as usual. What does Jocketty do all summer? He hasn’t done one thing all year to improve the team, not one thing.

  6. The Pirates gave up a good 2B/Inf prospect, Dilson Herrera, that was in their top-10 prospects (#9).
    This is what is said about Herrera. “Dilson Herrera and Reese McGuire rounded out the tier, and the top ten. Herrera is putting up some impressive numbers at the age of 19. Herrera is doing enough to put himself in the conversation, and definitely enough to make a very talented top ten.”
    He played Single-A ball here. Very good player. One month+ of Byrd and Buck didn’t come cheaply.

  7. For lack of a better place to post it… I finally got around to tabulating how often the other #3 hitters in the league lead off innings (as a % of their total plate appearances). I limited the list to people who have 70% or better of their team’s ABs in the #3 hole. As you can imagine, batting 4th increases your liklihood to lead off innings since the 1st inning can often go 1-2-3. Since #3 hole cannot lead off the first and is the least likely of the 1-2-3 hitters to lead off the 2nd (barring a HUGE first inning), the #3 hitter is expected to lead off an inning less often than any other player on the team.

    Since plenty of talk goes on around here about Votto leading off innings a lot (due to poor hitters batting 2nd) I decided to do some checking! Since fangraphs and bb-r don’t have sortable splits for leading off, I was forced to the dreaded non-sortable espn! πŸ˜‰

    So, without further adieu:

    Player – Total PAs leading off – Total % of PAs for the season

    Joey Votto – 122 – 21.00% (100% 3 hole, save 1 pinch hit)
    Adrian Gonzalez – 109 – 20.76% (80/20 split between 3/4)
    Ryan Zimmerman – 96 – 19.59% (70/30 split between 3/4)
    Andrew McC – 98 – 18.25% (Almost all ABs as 3)
    Carlos Gonzalez – 74 – 17.13% (Almost all AB as 3)
    Paul Goldy – 95 – 16.75% (90/10 split between 3/4-5)
    Justin Upton – 85 – 16.50% (Almost all ABs as 3)
    Matt Holliday – 76 – 15.93% (Almost all ABs as 3)
    Anthony Rizzo – 85 – 15.29% (Almost all ABs as 3)
    David Wright – 67 – 15.22% (Almost all ABS as 3)

    Everyone else (Marlins, Padres, Brewers, Giants) didn’t have a clear-cut #3 that had enough PAs for a good comparison.

    Another interesting stat: a simply weighted average puts all these players at .303/.371/.495 during their ABs leading off an inning. That’s getting it done for NL 3-hitters. Our boy goes along at a .345/.393/.619 clip.

    TL;DR – Votto DOES, in fact, lead off innings more than any other #3 hitter in the NL, both in absolute and relative terms.

  8. Who needs another bat when you have Cesar Izturis as your primary pinch hitter?

  9. I’ve just never been a fan at trades this time of year, unless the Reds were on the selling end. The prices are always too high.

    • @TC: I thought the Broxton deal last year was good. WJ should have quit while he was ahead and let Broxton walk, but I think he helped down the stretch.

      • @al: Broxton definitely helped last year. He pitched well, including I believe 4 saves when Chapman’s arm got tired.

  10. I’m stunned, absolutely stunned that the Reds (WJ) let Byrd pass through waivers. I can understand not claiming Buck, but there was so little to lose and so much to gain by claiming Byrd.

    Byrd is a RH OF who could play any OF position in a pinch and would cost less than $150K. If the Mets withdraw the waiver because a deal couldn’t be consumated, then nothing is lost, but if no deal is consumated, the Mets get nothing in return when Byrd walks as a FA after this season and no one would offer Byrd a qualifying offer.

    .285/.330/.518 Byrd’s slash line for the season to date.
    .311/.358/.547 Byrd’s slash line since the all-star break.
    .286/.343/.527 Byrd’s slash line for August.

    Byrd has consistently hit for the entire 2013 season and has shown no inclination to regress. The Reds have 3 players slashing over .800 (Votto, Choo & Bruce) and none of them hit RH. The Reds have missed a serious RH bat in the middle of the lineup all season and here is a serious RH bat that dropped right into their lap and they passed? Are you serious? The only downside in claiming Byrd would be that the Reds would have to make a move on the 25 man roster if they were successful in claiming or trading for Byrd. That would mean the Reds would have to do something with Ludwick or Heisey, but not necessarily lose either player.

    You’re trying to tell me that the Reds wouldn’t be better off with a lineup of:

    1. Choo
    2. Phillips
    3. Votto
    4. Byrd
    5. Bruce

    or even better:

    1. Choo
    2. Votto
    3. Byrd
    4. Bruce
    5. Phillips

    Simply unbelieveable.

    • Wait… who’s to say the Reds didn’t put a claim in. Perhaps they did. If both the Reds and Pirates made a claim, the Pirates would 48 hours to consummate the deal before the Reds had a chance.

      • @TC: Actually, The Reds would get first shot since they are lower in the standings.

      • @TC: No, there’s a waiver wire order, and the Reds would be ahead of the Pirates. Only one claim counts.

    • @Shchi Cossack: 150K for Byrd compares pretty favorably to the $21 mill they wasted on Broxton (which was a horrible signing regardless of his injury)

    • @Shchi Cossack: Cossack you’ve been around these Reds long enough to know that they aren’t going to displace Ludwick or Heisey.

      • @al: Then maybe it’s not just Dusty that believes leaving the status quo alone rather than making a change that is necessary to improve the team. The only possible positive explanation for not claiming Byrd is that WJ believes Ludwick is ready to compete and produce at a competative level. In defense of that position is Ludwick’s slash line of .360/.385/.520 during his past 8 games. If Ludwick is ready to produce at a competative level, he needs to be hitting cleanup and he needs to be playing every day. Even then, I think a waiver claim still makes sense, even if the Reds intended to make no more than a token attempt to negotiate a trade. If the Reds would obtain Byrd for nothing, they could pull a Washington and flip him to a number of AL teams or even the dreaded Bucos with a real prospect coming their way.

        • @Shchi Cossack: Oh, I think there’s no doubt at all that it isn’t just Dusty. I’ve said for a long time that Walt’s biggest weakness as a GM is his sentimentality.

          He’s a smart guy, clearly. Moves like Latos and Choo were just what the doctor ordered. He understands how to build a team well. But, he doesn’t have that ruthless edge of Billy Beane. He still likes “his guys.” If a player plays well for him, Walt wants to reward that guy (see Broxton, Ludwick) not quit while he’s ahead.

          And just look at the number of guys that Walt has brought to the Reds that have either played on one of his teams or one of Dusty’s teams. They have loyalty. The players clearly like that. Sometimes it’s not the best.

          • @al: Great post, it does capture the bad moves WJ has made, like the 2 year extension for Cairo. WJ had a compulsion his first couple of years in Cincy for bringing in his former Cardinal players.

  11. How ironic.
    Scheduled for tonight’s NY Mets/Philly game: Marlon Byrd T-shirt jersey night.

  12. I have been a WJ fan but some of his moves have made me strach my haad this yr. The Broxton signing, and the fact that he didnt try to add a RH bat.

    • @Larry1980: He said he tried, no one available at a price they wanted to pay. You can say he didn’t go far enough, but he did say that he tried.

      • @al: Tried could mean he made one phone call. I haven’t seen nor heard from him all summer. Does he really exist if no one see him? Maybe there is no Walt Jocketty.

  13. The idea of trading for a roider like Byrd is at best peculiar. If you had no left fielder and needed one, as the Parrots do (their option is a AAA callup) you go for Byrd. If you have three or four (or five or six) left fielders, you just don’t need the guy.

    As for Buck, I always believed in having a dozen catchers in the minors, rather than just Corky. But he has bad knees. These guys **might** help the Parrots win a game or two. Byrd is useful until Marte gets back.

    • @Johnu1: Byrd is better than any outfielder the Reds have not named Choo or Bruce.

    • @Johnu1: It does seem a little fishy that a guy who was reported to be “out of gas” in spring training, one year off a PED suspension, slugs over .500 for the first time in his career in his mid-30s.

  14. MLB Network ‏@MLBNetwork 5m
    #MLBNow Poll: Who would you rather have up with runners in scoring position? Vote #JoeyVotto or #AllenCraig


  15. THis from CTrent.

    ctrent ‏@ctrent 28m
    because they didn’t want to take the change of having byrd β€œ@dallasdrobinson: @ctrent We didn’t claim Byrd, if only to block him from PIT?”

    Obviously, he has no idea what he is talking about.

    • @Hunt4RedsOctober: CTrent is an idiot. Don’t care for him at all.

      • @rfay00: You not caring for him and him being an idiot might not be that closely correlated.

        • @al: Anybody that writes the article that he did about the Reds after a game 3 loss to the Giants last year and then becomes a beat writer is beyond me.

          While he may not be an “idiot” and that may be harsh, writing an article about the Reds fan base after that loss was just wrong.

          • @rfay00: i totally agree on that. that was terrible. i don’t know how anyone can think starting an article off by saying that a city isn’t optimistic is a good idea.

    • @Hunt4RedsOctober: I think I get what he’s saying, and it’s generally what I’ve been saying: they didn’t want to risk getting him if they didn’t have a spot for him. They like Ludwick, Heisey, and Paul, and Byrd can’t play shortstop.

  16. I believe that WJ will add Billy Hamilton to the big team by Friday, and that he will be a larger September factor than Marlon The Byrd.

    I hope, anyway.

    • @Big Ed: I would add Hamilton and dump Izturis. Billy can play infield if needed, switch hit better than Izturis and pinch run.

  17. There is a plausible explanation as to why the Reds did not claim Byrd and everyone needs to stop freaking out about it.

    The worst case scenario from a transactional perspective is not that the Reds would be forced to take on Byrd’s remaining $130K if the Mets simply let him go, the WORST case scenario from an organizational standpoint is that were the Mets to let Byrd go for nothing, then the Reds would find themselves having to make room for him on the 40 man roster and the 25 man active roster (assuming they want Byrd in the playoffs). Who comes off the 25 man roster? Paul? He’s the only LH OF off the bench, and that would leave you with only one LH PH – Hannahan (yikes). Paul is also out of options and so he’d have to be outrighted to AAA IF he cleared waivers. Heisey? Ditto for options and ditto for being outrighted after clearing waivers which he would not clear. A pitcher? You could option a couple guys, but that means the Reds would be short a pitcher until Sept. 1 and then have to go with 11 pitchers during each playoff series. It also means that the Reds would have to remove a player in the minors from their 40 man roster.

    • @David: I believe that Heisey has options and are you really concerned that Pedro Villarreal would clear waivers if they were to DFA him?

      The lack of at least a block move is totally unimaginable. Face palm moment.

  18. While there might be a good reason for not claiming Byrd, my frustration stems from the perception that the Reds aren’t doing a darn thing to improve a team that is highly flawed.

    Did they trade for an impact bat or a bullpen arm? No.

    Did they try? Don’t know. Doesn’t seem like it.

    Are they addressing the Choo is bad vs. lefties problem? No.

    Are they actively drilling players on baserunning fundamentals? Don’t know. Given all the TOOTBLANS, probably not.

    Is Dusty thinking outside the box? Other than an injury dictating a 6 out save for Chapman, no.

    Aggressively rehabbing Marshall or Cueto? No.

    What are the Reds doing to get better? Not much, and that’s a generous statement. They are who they are. And barring an abrupt change in approach, that’s probably not enough to go deep in the playoffs.

    For an owner who said this team was built to WIN NOW, this better be unacceptable.

    • @jessecuster44: I think this hits it on the head (accept for the injury part maybe). But in general, I think it’s frustrating to watch the Pirates get better while we haven’t. I don’t think that was necessarily a great option for us, but if the Pirates are going to get him, then we should have gotten someone else.

    • @jessecuster44: Mostly agree but Marshall has had several setbacks, don’t see how they could rehab him more aggresively. And they are aggressively rehabbing Cueto. His troubled lat muscle has “75%” healed, not fully.

  19. If the Reds were going to deal for Marlon Byrd, it would have been if Ludwick or Heisey were not going to play again. Really both have done ok at the plate since they came off the DL.

    It’s a good pickup by the Pirates, but I don’t really see that either of these players directly would be ones the Reds even would have wanted.

    • @earl: I just can’t imagine the Mets just giving away Byrd. It would have been a bluff that would have never been called. No guts nor imagination for a contingent. Byrd has better stats than anybody not named Votto, Choo, and maybe Bruce.

    • @earl: And RH bat vs LH pitchers at the top of the order instead of Choo.

  20. What if we fly under the radar and take Morneau, put him in left. So what if he is a lefty. Move BP to second and bat him cleanup. This would make a statement.

  21. I think it would make sense to make a move to a team that is out of contention. I wonder if we can get Edwin back and slide Super Todd to left!

Comments are closed.

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 isΒ Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.


2013 Reds