A lot of news from the Reds on their off day yesterday.

— First off was this captain obvious story: Jocketty wants to re-sign Choo next season. The article takes the angle of Choo’s enthusiasm in playing for a playoff contender and Jocketty definitely wanting to retain the Reds excellent leadoff hitter.

At 31, Choo is hitting free agency for the first time in his career this offseason. As a third-year arbitration eligible player, he made $7.38 million this season — $3.5 million of that paid by the Indians. He will make much more than that next season and beyond. That could be in Cincinnati, it could be elsewhere.

Surely, Scott Boras is looking at an eight figure, at least 4-year contract for his client. It’s going to boil down to whether the Reds have the bananas to pay Choo’s salary. Would they trade Ludwick to make room for Choo and Hamilton or is Hamilton destined to start 2014 in AAA?

How tough is it to throw out Billy Hamilton? J.J. Cooper of Baseball America broke it down yesterday, complete with stopwatch times between bases and animated GIF’s. Of course, all I had to say was “Billy Hamilton animated GIF’s.”

— Marty Brennaman signed a 3-year contract extension, which keeps him in the radio booth through 2016. I still love listening to the radio broadcast when Marty is disseminating the accounts and descriptions of this game. Unfortunately, too much of what Richard wrote on the subject is true, and it is difficult to listen to Marty’s negativity, especially when he unfairly rails on the team’s best players.

— The Reds have announced a couple of exhibition games next year against their minor league affiliates. First, they’ll play the Pensacola Blue Wahoos on March 28th. On March 29th, the Reds will move up to Louisville to face the Bats.

— The Reds start the weekend one game behind the Pittsburgh Pirates and two games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the standings. There are nine games remaining on the Reds schedule and six of those are against the Pirates. So, when the Reds win the division next week, does anyone have a swimming pool they can jump into?

Join the conversation! 72 Comments

  1. While I would love for the Reds to sign Choo to an extension, I doubt its more than wishful thinking. 1) the Cubs, Mets and others will have a lot of money to throw around, the Reds won’t 2)the Reds have to spend their money wisely, and I think most agree, given the option, any extra monies available should be used to sign either Bailey or Latos to longer term deals.

    But I do worry what a Choo-less Reds offense would look like next year. Haven’t studied what ‘rental’ options might be available, as Hamilton should be given another year to develop before being thrown to the wolves….


    • @zblakey:

      I do worry what a Choo-less Reds offense would look like next year. Haven’t studied what ‘rental’ options might be available, as Hamilton should be given another year to develop before being thrown to the wolves.

      The one-year rental to aquire Choo was alsmost certainly a one-time occurance. The stars just aligned properly to get that deal done. The Indians wanted pitching prospects and wanted to get something for Choo. The Snakes had a well-regarded pitching prospect they didn’t want and coveted a specific player from the Reds. The Reds didn’t need the player coveted by the Snakes and desperately needed a top-of-the-order hitter. Presto-Chango! The Reds do not have the chips available for another high-quality rental to replace Choo, so that option is null and void.

      I agree that BHam needs additional time at AAA, probably just a half season or enough time to keep him out of super two status. If Choo isn’t signed, the Reds definitely need to aquire a top-of-the order hitter, but will have to complete a significant trade to land one. I think one viable option would be Bailey or Leake going to the Snakes for Eaton and top prospects (Owings & Shipley come to mind). There would have to be some balancing players to justify a top shelf starting pitcher.

      If the Reds do sign Choo, they will need to clear budget to accomodate his contract and the only existing salaries significant enough to offset Choo’s salary would be BP and Broxton.

      Unless Ludwick simply explodes offensively during the post season, he would have absolutely no trade value to even move his contract. Of course the Reds could get very aggressive and make several moves that would also include trading trading Chapman or finally making a one-way move of Chapman to the starting rotation. It should be an interesting off-season, but if the Reds simply stand pat, next season does not look particularly promising.

  2. It’s a nice problem to have since the Reds have been quite good (compared to, say, the previous 15 years) the last few years. Priority one HAS to be signing Latos and Bailey to multi-year deals. Priority two IMHO should be upgrades in left and at third. The left fielder of the future, or at least the next year or four, could be Choo. But it will create a BIG hole in the lineup if he leaves no matter how good Billy Hamilton is next year. Consider that Choo leads all MLB leadoff hitters in OBP, Walks, Runs, and Home Runs. Even though he has struggled at times against left handed starters it’s hard to imagine Jocketty making a better choice to replace Stubbs. There’s a reason Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce are near the very top of the league in RBI, and the Reds are so close to the top in runs scored. Put the top two OBP hitters ahead of them and almost anyone would drive in a lot of runs. Which is not to take anything away from Bruce – he leads the NL in extra base hits. Say what you want about pitching winning games – of course it does – but the top of this lineup with Choo, Votto, and Bruce is really good. Wouldn’t it be nice to ADD Hamilton?

    Sadly, my prediction is that Choo won’t stay unless he gives the Reds an “I love this team” discount. If it comes down to just the dollars and/or the years, I don’t think the Reds can afford him. And as much as I hate to say it, extra dollars should be earmarked first for Mr. Latos and Mr. Bailey. Fingers crossed though…

  3. I love that Walt is even entertaining the notion of competing for Choo’s services. To do so, you’d be looking at shedding Ludwick while possibly eating a couple million of his salary. $5mil savings there. Next you unload arb players like Heisey and don’t sign veteran garbage like Izturis and Hannahan. Instead, you go with HRod and Soto. Yeah, it puts you in a world of hurt if the injury bug strikes, but this isn’t New York.

    That’s the scenario where you’d keep Choo AND Latos or Bailey. If we don’t sign Choo, the offense will be more anemic than this year. Given the pitching depth in the rotation, I think you then have to lock up Latos or Bailey and trade the other. Or, if we’re still in ‘all in’ mode, I sell high on Leake. I mean, a year ago nobody wanted him. Do you trust that won’t be the case a year from now???

  4. I meant to track this down before. It’s the article where Jocketty says he is “hopeful and confident” they can resign Choo. It struck me as a pretty powerfully worded quote from someone who is careful with the words he chooses. “Confident” is a pretty strong word.

    I agree with Chris that signing Bailey and Latos to long-term contracts are equally high priority.

    You’ve got to wonder if Billy Hamilton’s success with the Reds in September (and October) might make keeping Choo *more* likely. Hamilton can play CF and Choo can play LF. They can either figure out something to do with Ludwick in the offseason, or just start the year with Hamilton at AAA and see how Ludwick hits in April.

  5. Hamilton is just crazy-fast and has an incredible talent for reading pitchers. I don’t care what level the opposing team is at … if you make a clean steal like he did on a pitch-out, that’s FAST.

    I’d love to see Choo stay and play LF. His range is good in CF and his arm is great. Move him over and … WOW! Plus it’s been more than a little fun watching us have a legit lead-off hitter. Not sure where you put Hamilton in the line-up, but even if it’s at 6-7-8, you get him in, get him acclimated, and get to watch him steal bases. I mean if he’s batting 8th and leads off an inning, you have a legit shot at him being on 3rd with only 1 out (steal and a Sac Bunt). Plus he gets into pitchers heads in a very special way.

    OK – now let’s burn up the Rats!

  6. Marty has not only become overly negative toward the team and individual players at times, but he also spreads a bunch of misinformation and ignorance to fans. His broadcasting reflects an unwillingness to be even the slightest bit open-minded or curious about new approaches to winning baseball games. And that’s a loss for Reds’ fans.

  7. I agree 100% with wanting to keep Latos and Bailey long term. But I was told from someone that was there, that at a recent broadcaster’s Q&A with season ticket holders, one of the broadcasters (don’t remember who) said he’d been told that Homer is looking for “Kershaw-money” to stay. If that is true, it’s bye-bye Homer.

    I’d like to keep Choo, but the only way I see it is if he likes playing here and wants to stay on a contender. The Cubs/Mets aren’t going to contend in the short term, that’s one of the Reds selling points.

    I’ve been critical over the past few years of Marty. I think he calls a great game, but he’s become, IMO, a bitter old man. I don’t know if it was broadcasting so many bad teams or just being here too long. He has players that he rarely, if ever, criticizes and others that seem to be able to never do enough. I think 3 more years does nothing but hurt his legacy, as I don’t see his negativity, etc getting any better. I feel like he’s forgotten that he’s got a pretty sweet deal and has had since what…’73 or ’74, I can’t remember the exact year.

  8. I like the idea of re-signing Choo. But, I believe it’s going to take more than Ludwick’s contract and a couple of others like Heisey and bench players. It’s either going to take Uncle Bob eating more? Or, I believe one of the Votto, Bruce, BP bunch. I would rather keep all and Choo, but I just believe a big contract would have to go.

    If any of them, I believe BP would be the one we try to let go. But, then, who comes in for BP? That would be the question there. For, most immediate, if Choo leaves, we probably have Heisey in CF. If BP were to leave, who do we put there? If that person is better than Heisey, I say we re-sign Choo and let BP go. If Heisey is better than that player, I say we keep BP and look elsewhere for CF, including Heisey. This from a Heisey fan. I think Heisey can do the job. But, Choo is better.

    • @steveschoen:

      But, then, who comes in for BP?

      I see two immediate, viable option for replacing BP at 2B if that’s how the cards fall.

      1) Henry Rodriguez is a defensive liability at SS & 3B, but his defensive capability is good at 2B and he flat out can hit, at least at every level in the minor leagues. The only way to know for sure if he can hit at the major league level is for him to play at the major league level.

      2) Billy Hamilton struggled defensively at SS, but he had excellent range and a strong arm. He would need very little transition to 2B and his defense at 2B should be at least adequate. He still needs to prove he can hit and get on base regularly at the AAA level before he takes over anywhere at the major league level.

      I would give Rodriguez the first crack at 2B playing time if BP is traded with Hamilton continuing his development at AAA. BP’s contract would virtually completely offset Choo’s contract in both dollars and length and I think Choo’s offensive and total contribution over the length of the contract would significantly outpace the contribution from BP. In addition, trading BP should net a significant return in prospects to help build the farm system back to an elite level.

  9. As good as Choo is at leadoff, I think he would be even better at #2. He’s a perfect #2 hitter (the only one better might be Votto).

    Picture this scenario: Billy Hamilton bunts for a hit. Choo is up. Hamilton steals second. Choo gets a hit. Boom, Reds have a run.


    Billy Hamilton bunts for a hit. Steals second. Steals third. Choo walks. Runners on first and 3rd with Votto up.


    Hamilton gets on HR Choo.

    It’s great fun to imagine.

  10. What I like about Hamilton is it seems like he has taken advantage of his strength, his speed, unlike that supposedly speed threat we had the past 3 seasons. If Hamilton takes to stealing bases like Morgan use to, as in studying pitcher’s moves, concentrating on getting the jumps, etc., I don’t see why Kid Quik couldn’t steal 100 bases in the bigs.

    As far as AAA or major leagues next season, I still believe he starts at AAA, unless something happens, like injury or contracts can’t be worked out or we decide to bring him up and learn on the job, etc. Like someone said, I think Kid Quik will start at AAA, and the Reds will see how Ludwick plays up to midseason.

  11. I’m not sure of the terms of Marty’s contract, but I believe he should probably be taking even fewer games if not sort of be on his way out. To me, Marty’s been getting a bit more cranky this season, something happens to us all at that age, so it’s not like that’s an insult. It just gets awful hard to listen to someone constantly on his way down.

  12. Any hope for the division, I believe we have to go at least 7-2 the rest of the way. And, that may have to include at least 4-2 against the Pirates.

  13. Marty has been more cranky, and honestly, less certain in his play by play even. More pauses and corrections than I’ve ever known from the man.

  14. IF Hamilton can hit big-league pitching, he’s the leadoff guy we want. He had 3 hits against the AAAstros and the league has no book on him. That will change.

    As for Choo, the Reds CAN afford to keep the guy. They really do.

    My observations of Ludwick seem to shadow those of Rolen. A bad (even repaired) shoulder affects bat speed. That’s a reality.

    As for Marty, there are lots of radio advertising dollars connected to his voice of 40-some years. I’d guess the market research seals that deal.

    Seems somewhat fitting that the Doggies won the West in Phoenix after their mean-spirited incident this year with the beanballs.

  15. It would be so disheartening to see Choo go the stupid Cubs as they get better. The Broxton signing certainly looms large in thinking about Choo’s money, and that which is/isn’t available for the pitching. Sign me up for the Latos/Bailey as a higher priority. Offense may be more glamorous, but we’ll quickly remember what it’s like to have mediocre pitching if we can’t keep them in the fold.

  16. Here’s a quandary for you: Assume that you can sign Leake, but you can’t afford all three of Latos, Bailey, Choo. All other veteran-y players are expendable – go young as SoS suggests. Jettison Heisey, Hannahan, Izturis, and bring in the kids. Which two do you keep?

    I personally would sign Bailey or Latos for as long as you can afford and Choo for three or four. Lock in Leake at a lower annual rate, sign the other pitcher through arbitration and then trade him for prospects (or perhaps a major leaguer) including at least one right handed power bat for 3B and/or LF for the future. At least, that’s what I think this morning.

    • @Chris DeBlois: Great question. My fear would be only getting to keep one of the three. Two out of three would be pretty ideal. And you’re right in that Leakes affordability may trump his trade-ability.

  17. Short of resigning Choo, which I feel falls in the unlikely category, I think Billy is going to have to be the man, ready or not. But I’ll tell you what, if the Reds were of a mind, they couldn’t have had a better showcase September if they wanted to make a trade out of Billy. Walt would be in a pretty good driver’s seat.
    Leveraging someone like Hamilton or Leake just might be in the cards as they figure out how to make this all work.

  18. I looked at the GIF’s of those throws and wondered: Why did the Reds hitter politely back out of the box to give the catcher more room to throw? I’d at least hang in there and give him something out of the corner of his eye to worry about? Is this gentleman’s baseball?

  19. BP & Ludwick contracts make re-signing Choo pretty difficult, don’t they? Let’s hope that the Reds can get creative, but not TOOOOOOO creative.

    Keeping the pitching staff together (as much as possible) should be given the utmost significance. What we’ve seen this year has been that good pitching > good hitting.

    • @CP: Seems like, finishing this season, the number of question marks concerning the pitching are manifold.

      A few:
      Is Broxton going to pitch? I wonder.
      Is Marshall really ready?
      Does Cingrani have a delivery flaw?
      Is Cueto really going to get over the lats issue?
      Is Bronson done?
      Is Leake near or at the “ace” level?
      What do we do with Chapman?
      The Latos/Bailey questions have been pondered.
      Parts of the bullpen looks like it could be jettisoned, but for whom? Ondru and Simon? Parra?
      Danny Corcino?
      Robert Stephenson?
      Greg Reynolds?

      This is effectively who we have … and a lot of teams face similar problems. That’s why it’s so hard to sustain success. Pitchers are just people.

  20. Another thing to consider when considering signing Choo or not are the contracts we have and who else can we sign. Considering that:

    – it looks like Votto’s salary goes down to $12 million, saving $7 million

    – Broson becomes a FA. That could free up $16 million. Or, if we re-sign him, how much does that eat up? With Bronson, if we sign him, we have effectively 6 major league ready starting pitchers IMO (if not more), none who I believe deserve AAA time next season. If we resign Bronson, I believe one gets traded somehow. Possibly even Bronson, like to try sign him low which would increase his trade value.

    – Masset should be gone, saving #3 million

    – Arbitration eligible players – Homer, Leake, Hanigan, Heisey, Simon, Lecure, and Paul.

    – FA – Bronson, Choo, Masset, and Parra.

    We currently have $79 million committed to the team next season, not including those who aren’t eligible for arbitration and, thus, probably getting near league minimum. $18 million more gets to this years team salary.

    If we decide to lock up Latos and Bailey to, for example, a Cueto-like contract ($10 million next season), that eats $13 of that $18 million, leaving $5 for players like Bronson, Choo, Leake, and Hanigan, not to mention everyone else.

  21. I’ll add this to the conversation, not saying we shouldn’t resign Choo. But he’s in a different age category than Latos and Bailey. We’d be signing Choo for his age 32 season and beyond. Bailey’s extension would start in his age 29 year and Latos in his age 27. Homer may be asking for ace-level money (and may get that from the Rangers) but not really Kershaw money.

  22. My guess is when this thing is settled next week the Reds will be looking back at their “home” game in San Francisco. I’m still ticked about that game, and if they miss out on the division title or home field for the play-in game by one game it’s not going to help any.

    • @vared:
      If they lose out on those things it’ll have more to do with the 8 games they lost to the brewers, rockies, and cubs since around the ASB. Just flipping one or two of those series changes things.

      The Giants rainout was a lose-lose situation all the way around, but they took 5 of 6 from them overall, so its hard to be picky.

    • @vared: Or the Milwaukee game last Sunday, or that 16-inning game against the Cardinals, or … I understand the sentiment, just have a hard time singling out any one particular heartbreaker when there are a handful out there.

      • @vegastypo: The difference is, games the players lose on the field are part of the normal ebb and flow of a season. The “home” game was lost by the front office, which is definitely NOT part of the normal ebb and flow.

        • @Eric the Red: Gotta wonder about the sense of urgency that may have been pressured by MLB … to not create a scenario where a game at the end of the season muddles all the TV contracts for post-season. I would think that the Reds would have had some say in this but for the “greater good,” may have been arm-twisted into making the SF deal.

          • @Johnu1: That’s still on the front office (or ownership). So was being nice and letting the Giants leave town instead of waiting to see if we could get the game in.

            There are lots of disappointing losses in any team’s season. But only this loss was gift wrapped by our own front office/ownership group, which makes it a special case for disappointment.

  23. I’m addicted to Choo’s offense. More of that, please. His extreme struggles against lefties were an aberration, right?

    … As for Marty, I think he should have to do a pregame interview with a player now and then. Might soften him up a bit, and make him think twice before he goes too far off the deep end with some of the negativity. (Kinda like a pitcher in the NL who, if he’s a head-hunter, might have regrets when it’s his turn to step into the batter’s box.)

  24. So many ideas–

    A. Trading Phillips in order to keep Choo? Put this way, who do you think will put up the best WAR? In a nutshell, you’d sell high on BP (100rbi’s) in order to buy high on Choo.

    B. Other avenues would be to trade BP, free up $ for Bailey or Latos, and go hard after the Cuban infielder, who projects as a 2B.

    C. You could also trade Homer, which would yield the LF/3B/SS solution. I’m assuming that player would be young and cost controlled, so the $ you would’ve spent on Homer could be used to resign Choo. Boom, instant offense. Of course, a Chapman move to the rotation would be essential.

    • @Sultan of Swaff: Phillips is untradable. 4 years and $50 million after this season. He’ll be 33-36 during those years. He’s already declining in just about every category besides RBI. He’s walking less, striking out more. He has the lowest ISO of his career this year. He’s making less contact and can’t run anymore. I’m no scout by any means, but my eyes this year back up the statistics. He still grades out well defensively, but I don’t know of that will be the case when he’s 35-36.

      I love BP, but he’s just not the type of guy teams are trading for these days. This reminds me of earlier this year when Ludwick got hurt and people here thought if we just gave Miami Chris Heisey, Mike Leake and a couple other spare parts, they’d give us Stanton.

    • @Sultan of Swaff: Or take it even further, trade Homer & BP to fill the upper and middle farm system with serious (top 100) prospects or major league ready prospects, including starting pitching, middle infield, and 3B/OF hitting. Trade Hannahan, Ludwick, Broxton and Ondrusek as salary dumps. Sign Alexander Guerrero as a major league-ready FA. Sign Choo as a top-of-the-order OF extraordinaire. Extend Leake and Latos for 1-2 years of FA. Let Masset, Izturis & Arroyo walk. Release Dusty and lockup Price as manager or pitching manager. Convert Chapman to a starter. Promote Henry Rodriguez as a utility IF at league minimum. Sign Parra & Duke as LOOGY’s. Get Marshall healthy! Get Cingrani healthy! Get Cueto healthy! Proclaim war on the rest of the NLCD.

      • @Shchi Cossack: I’m on board with all of that except handing 2b to HRod. No matter, the Cuban kid could take that spot.

        • @Sultan of Swaff: OK then, it’s settled! The Old Cossack will ride by and pick up the Exultant Sultan, then we’ll ride down to the Offices at GABP (I believe I recall a hitching post set up on the north side of the offices) before the game on Monday and let WJ know how things need to shake out. WJ may need us to explain these details to BC also, so make sure you have sufficient time alloted for both meetings. :mrgreen:

      • @Shchi Cossack: And tear down this wall!

  25. if Reds could somehow swing a deal to keep Choo would be great, but I would rather not if that means Reds lose out/have to trade one of Bailey/Latos. Those two should be priority in getting signed to multi-year deals. As it stands currently Reds top starters are FA:

    Bronson – after 2013 season
    Bailey – after 2014
    Cueto – after 2015(assuming $10M option picked up which seems an easy decision at this time)
    Latos – after 2015
    Leake – after 2015

    with only Cingrani and Robert Stephenson looking like top-rotation guys, ie “sure thing” given no sure thing when talking pitching prospects. My pref would be let Bronson walk, Cingrani replaces him in rotation for 2014. Get deals on Latos/Bailey. Then if Stephenson progresses next year, then he takes over for who ever is traded/unable to be extended after 2014/mid-2015.

    Or is this where at some point in off season Walt surprises all, resigns Choo, then trades Chapman/Billy/Cingrani to Marlins for Stanton. lol.

    • @doctor: The adage about never having too much pitching and that LF needs to be defended with a bat … I would agree that if the matter came to which guy you let walk, you hold onto MLB experienced pitchers with a generally good track record. Choo isn’t replaceable according to our current criteria of needing a good leadoff guy. But he is replaceable. We just haven’t identified that guy yet. (Ryan LaMarre?)

      Hamilton can lead off, if he can hit. We sacrifice the long ball option with the Kid, but he earns a lot of doubles (and triples) IF he is on base.

      Plus, BP is learning to bunt better.

  26. My 2 cents. I think the Reds have more money than they let on. Keep in mind that attendance will be up by nearly 200,000 and there is a new TV contract pending. I believe there is money in the kitty for Choo. Years will be the issue, not dollars. And, yes, Choo in left and Hamilton in center would be a dream.

    As for extending pitchers, I think Latos should be the only priority. He has to be locked up for 5+ years. With Bailey, let him pitch next year and then make a qualifying offer which he will turn down. We then get a nice first round supplemental pick for him and his place in the rotation will be taken by a young fellow named Robert Stephenson.

    • @homerandbruce: If Reds play in the Playoffs, to any great degree; I would let that be my guide on which of the two, Homer or Mat, to extend. Of course the difference in money & years would be just a large a factor. I’m becoming a Bailey Believer and what can you say about Mat.

      To me, Choo is more about the length of a new contract than the dollars. He is no spring chicken and 2013 might be the pinnacle of his career.

  27. Not sure I agree on Bailey – I only see him getting better and stronger. Would love to see him locked in for 4-6 years more. Of course, I’m greedy so I want Choo for 3, Latos and Bailey for 4-6, and Leake for at least a few more years. Arroyo is probably gone after 2013. But I love the idea of Cueto, Latos, Bailey, Leake and Cingrani with Stephenson working his way up. That makes the Reds a playoff team for the next five years.

    I do agree that BP is expendable and his stock is probably at an all time high with his 100 RBI year (and probably another gold glove too).

    But the more I think about it, the first guy I would go resign or extend or whatever is needed relative to his current contract is Bryan Price. Make that guy the highest paid pitching coach in baseball and lock him down for as long as he wants.

  28. Leake is a good trade candidate after coming off a year with better ERA. Long term, it’s hard to see him making the rotation with (1) Latos, (2) Bailey, (3) Cueto, (4) Cingrani, (5) Stephenson and (6) Chapman! ahead of him. Sure, there could always be injuries and Chapman may be permanently consigned to wasting his talents pitching 30 important innings a year out of 1460. But Leake is clearly a cut below that group. His low ERA, misleading though it might be, could attract suitors, especially to a large park where home runs are less of a threat.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I wonder if the scouts of other teams would be inclined to overlook Leake’s apparent deficiencies that seem to obvious to us.

      Chapman seems content in his role. Given a chance in the spring to be a rotation guy, he apparently decided he’d rather close. Or at least that was the story that was handed down.

      • @Johnu1: The year before he said he wanted to be a starter. His agent, if smart, will show him what starters earn vs what closers earn and he’ll be back to saying he wants to start.

        Also, to be blunt, his preferences in this matter shouldn’t mean much. If the non-Dusty parts of the Reds organization believe he can be a starter then he should be a starter.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I don’t think we’ve touched on the Chapman as starter topic here (at least not in detail as a thread subject) in a while, but I don’t see how he transitions to starting next year.

      How many innings could they possibly let him throw as a starter next season? Any of the creative ways to use Chapman that we discussed earlier this year or using him in multi-inning roles didn’t materialize at all. He’s at 60 innings right now. I don’t see how he would make the jump next year with extreme limitations on his innings.

      • @Greg Dafler: Yup. It’s just the circular reasoning that got us here. Entering his 5th season with the organization next year, we still have no idea whether Chap could be a viable starter. I will just never understand the organization’s moves in this regard. Oh well, water under the bridge at this point, I guess.

  29. The obvious trade target for BP would be the MLB Network – they love him there, right?

    My fears for Hamilton next year are twofold:

    1) Dusty will lobby to have him in CF and leading off on opening day next year, and he will do so in that little *way* of his that we’ve all come to know and love. You know Dusty likes the speed.

    2) Dusty’s aggressive approach to hitting applied to yet another another young player…

    Oh, and if trading Chapman would help get Choo back for a few more years, sign me up for that one.

    • @RC: I was thinking about that the other night when Hamilton drew a couple of walks, including the one that put him on base for the go ahead run in extra innings: I wonder if there’s an inverse relationship between walks and time spent in close proximity to Dusty.

  30. I have been hearing that the Reds may be in on this Cuban shortstop, Guerrero. All the scouts say that he doesn’t have the arm for shortstop and will probably have to move to second base. He is expected to sign for 6-7 mil per year. If the Reds can reel him in, then you can do something with BP. Which I would be fine with, because BP’s decline years are beginning and I suspect it’s not going to be a pretty thing to watch.

  31. I’m a little late to the party, but here are my (lengthy) thoughts on the Choo situation:

    The Reds had an opening day payroll of about $106 million in 2013. I’d guess that we could reasonably expect to see them stretch to something like $110 million in 2014. Current 2014 commitments total about $76 million with breakdown by player as follows:

    Votto: $12M
    Phillips: $11M
    Bruce: $10M
    Cueto $10M
    Ludwick: $7.5M
    Latos: $7.25M
    Broxton: $7M
    Marshall: $5.5M
    Chapman: $3M
    Ondrusek: $1.35M
    Hannahan: $1M
    Arbitration Eligible: Bailey, Leake, Heisey, Hanigan, Simon, LeCure, Paul

    I’m fairly certain that all of the arbitration eligible guys will be tendered contracts. I think we can reasonably expect Bailey to get $7-$8 million in arbitration and Leake to get about $5 million. Heisey and Hanigan will probably get $2-$3 million each. The other three guys will likely average out to about $1 million each. Cozart, Frazier, Mesoraco, Cingrani, Hoover, Robinson, et al. will still be making the league minimum (~$0.5 million each). Arroyo, Parra, Choo, and Izturis represent the Reds’ free agent crop.

    So with absolutely no extensions, free agent signings, or trades, I’m projecting the Reds opening day payroll to be right at about $100M. I think that means that they’ll have to trim some fat somewhere if they want to fit Choo into the budget since I’m guessing that Choo will get something like $15 million per year on a four or five year deal.
    Obviously, the Broxton and Ludwick deals were iffy at best when they were signed and look even worse now. If Walt could dump them from the books, I think he’d do it in a heartbeat, but I think we’re stuck with them. Hence, we’ll have to look elsewhere.

    Trading Bailey or Leake could net the Reds some good prospects and would free up the necessary dollars, but then you’re left with a big question mark in the rotation since the Reds will have to let Arroyo walk to have any chance at making this work. This certainly wouldn’t be ideal, especially with Daniel Corcino struggling mightily and Robert Stephenson still probably a year away at best.

    If the Reds could get someone to bite on Phillips, I’d certainly consider dealing him. He’s been great for the Reds. He has been a league average bat playing great defense at a premium position, but he’s on the back end of his career. Maybe one of the less sabermetrically inclined GMs will see those 100+ RBIs and try to strike a deal for him. I think this year might be the Reds’ last chance to deal his contract before it starts to look pretty bad.

    Barring some real creativity or a massive trade, I’m not really sure what else the Reds’ could do to slash payroll. Long story short, I love Choo, but re-signing him is going to be very difficult. Maybe Walt has an ace up his sleeve or maybe Bob has been seeing very good returns from the old banana stand, but I just don’t see how it’s going to work, especially if the team is also serious about signing Latos and/or Bailey long term.

    • @AlphaZero: This right here is the problem with MLB claiming it’s a level playing field between the big money and small money teams. The Dodgers and Yankees of the world can afford to make a mistake; if the Reds make a mistake or have bad luck with something like an injury to Ludwick then they’re stuck.

      • @Eric the Red: The playing field is most definitely not level, but I’m not really sure how to fix it. The fact that almost every MLB contract is 100% guaranteed is to me the real root of the problem, but I can’t see how that will ever change due to the strength of the MLBPA.

    • @AlphaZero: Heh!. There’s always money in the banana stand.

  32. Growing up a Reds fan in upstate NY and now living in NC, I still enjoy listening to Marty. Glad he’s back for another 3. Have any of you listened to other local radio broadcasts of MLB? What do you want, Susan Woldman? KC and SF are the only ones that may be as good, and they are markedly better than Cincy’s when Thom is on the radio. Thom is consistently awful.

    • @PeteRose_HOF_NOW: This is the 2nd season I’ve had MLB at-bat and audio access to all the broadcasts (not that I listen to all the broadcasts.) What I like to do, when I have the flexibility, is that when one team is at the plate, I listen to the opponent’s broadcasters.

      • @Greg Dafler: I listen to the other announcers as well, enjoy them for the most part, except the part about Toms River has gotten a little stale.

    • @PeteRose_HOF_NOW: Uecker calls a GREAT ball game and manages not be a cranky pain for Milwaukee. I’d transplant him and Brian Anderson from tv to Cincy if it were possible.

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