Winter Forecast

For those who may have missed it over the weekend, I had a piece at ESPN that looked at the offseason outlook for each of the National League Central teams.

You know, the Reds are in the NL Central. So, it’s quite possible that I discussed the Reds. And it’s also possible that I dreamed about Jacoby Ellsbury and Giancarlo Stanton when talking about the Reds. You won’t know unless you go read it.

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Join the conversation! 34 Comments

  1. Good article, Chad. According to Matt Eddy of Baseball America via Twitter, the Reds have signed OFer Jason Bourgeois to compete for a bench spot.

  2. Great article! I look forward to see what moves WJ makes…

  3. The most immediate question for me is, “do the Reds make Arroyo a qualifying offer.” Local media consensus is that they don’t. That would be crazy, IMO. The Reds could really use the draft pick and he’s not taking a one year offer when there are teams desperate for pitching out there.

    • @Richard Fitch: Agree 100%. The Reds would be crazy not to make him a qualifying offer. He’s gonna get a 2 year deal w/ an option from somebody. There’s just too many teams looking for innings eaters….

      • @Sultan of Swaff: Totally agree Richard and Sultan.

        Especially with the 34 mil that the Freak got. Bronson is going to score a nice payday. offer him the 14 mil.

        It is a no brainer. If he accepts it, we have a good/great pitcher back for another season without giving up any trinkets.

        Then we could trade a Mike Leake for added offensive help

    • @Richard Fitch: I could also see a case where the Reds make the qualifying offer, and several teams back away from signing Arroyo because they don’t want to give away a draft pick. If so, that could make it easier for the Reds to get Arroyo back on terms more accommodating to the team.

      By the way, does the decision on whether to make a qualifying offer to Arroyo shed any light on the Chapman decision? … That is the decision that I think needs to be made fairly quickly before deciding how the rest of the offseason should proceed.

      • @vegastypo: In Arroyo’s case, I don’t think a team wouldn’t be giving up a pick. The Reds would get to pick ahead of them. There was a change in the new CBA.

        In the case of Choo, the Reds get their pick.

      • @vegastypo: Regardless, why is that the Red’s problem. If they didn’t make an offer for that reason all their doing is helping another team.

    • @Richard Fitch: Agree. Plus, what’s the harm if he accepts a one year deal? I think the Reds would bring him back if he didn’t want the long contract.

  4. Great work Chad!

    I agree, passing on Arroyo is a big mistake. Even if he comes it would give the Reds great depth for the starting rotation. But, if he did return, we would argue those dollars could have been spent elsewhere for an outfield/bat.

    Tough call for WJ, but I would roll the dice with the offer!

  5. Nice piece. I particularly enjoyed the use of the word “boorish.”

  6. About Billy Hamilton Chad said “he’s unlikely to be a significant offensive contributor.”

    I’ll have to gently take issue here. I want to nip this perception that a low average and OBP will be significant obstacles to him making a meaningful contribution. Billy is a whole different breed of cat, and run creation is the only stat that matters for him. If we assume the worst about the guy, say a .233/.283 average and OBP, that would put him on base 170 times (140 hits, 30 walks) over 600 plate appearances. It’s not unrealistic to presume he’ll steal second 50+ times to go along with 20+ doubles. Throw in another 20+ steals of third and it becomes apparent that he’ll be in scoring position as much (if not more) than a guy with a higher OBP but no speed.

    I think his floor right now is average ML center fielder. If he gets on base anywhere north of .330, you’re looking at a perennial All-Star.

  7. I agree with everyone on here, if we do not extend a qualifying offer to Arroyo, that’s NUTS!

    Off the top of my head, I could see the Mets, Twins, Cardinals, Brewers, Dodgers, Angels, Seattle, and Arizona could give Arroyo a three year deal to fill a hole in the rotation.

  8. Off topic, but Dave Concepcion and Dave Parker are candidates for the Hall of Fame:


    Joe Morgan is on the selection committee, so I think that’s at least one solid vote for Davey C.

    A candidate must get 75% of the vote to be elected. Davey received 50% (8 votes) the last time, so let’s keep our fingers crossed that Joe can twist some arms to get Concepcion elected!

    • @concepcion13: I read the article and I have no idea why they created this “expansion era” committee to reconsider guys who already weren’t voted in by the writers at least 15 times. I understand why we once needed a “veterans committee” to consider Negro leaguers who were unfairly overlooked, and executives and umpires and people like that, but why I the world do the players on this list deserve yet another bite at the apple?

      No disrespect to Davey, but I like having a HOF that sets the standard so high that even a player as good as Davey can’t reach it. Once upon a time, I would have argued that EVERY player elected by the writers deserved to be there. For me, that changed with the election of Bruce Sutter. Since then, the writers have elected several more players who I do not think belong: Gossage, Rice, Dawson, and Blyleven.

      The writers are already lowering the bar – no need to create yet another committee to lower it further.

  9. Nice work on the article Chad.

  10. MLBTR put up their list of the top 50 free agents on the market this offseason, along with a prediction of where they will end up. They picked the Reds for none of them.

    Granted, the Reds are a good team, so they’re wouldn’t be looking to add a ton of guys via free agency, but as Chad puts in his article, the Reds offense could go from decent to not very good with the loss of Choo.

    If the Reds can trade Phillips and get most of his contract taken over by the other team, I think they have to do it, and use that money to bring back Choo. That’s basically trading Phillips for Choo, and Choo will be much more valuable over the next 4 years.

    I just don’t know how many takers there will be though.

    • @al: I have to agree that the Reds offense is, at the moment, quite vulnerable. If the pitching breaks down at all, this team could be struggling to stay above .500.

      The gamble on Hamilton is the one that is the most intriguing. Do we get Willy the Virus (v.2) or something more like McCutchen without the power?

      As much as I believe in pitching pitching pitching and more pitching, I think Walt needs to make sure this offense can score runs in its own ballpark.

  11. On a different offseason note, both the Nationals and the Tigers (the two teams Dusty publicly expressed interest in managing) have gone with young, ex-player managers (Matt Williams and Brad Ausmus) respectively.

    It’s looking increasingly like Dusty Baker’s time as a big league manager is coming to an end. Teams are moving toward younger managers in droves now.

  12. There are so many decisions that need to be made quickly to determine what the Reds need to do after the qualifying offers are made and FA are free to begin negotiations.

    Is Chapman a starter in 2014?
    Can the Reds ink Choo or is Choo gone?
    Does Arroyo get a qualifying offer?
    Is Hamilton ready for the show full time?
    Who plays CF in 2014 if Hamilton is not ready?

    I think the decision regarding Chapman has already been made, but we won’t know until much later.

    Once Boras is able to begin open negotiations for Choo, the Reds are effectively out of the picture. I think WJ will (or has) put his best offer out there as a take it or leave it option before FA negotiations begin.

    If the Reds offer Arroyo a qualifying offer, he will take it. He simply has almost nothing to lose by taking a higher 1 year deal. He would be a FA again next year and would be equally valuable then as now, with another $14MM in his pocket.

    I don’t think anyone in the organization believes Hamilton is ready yet to make the jump to the major leagues. If Choo isn’t signed, I don’t think anyone knows who will play CF in 2014.

    • @Shchi Cossack: Why would Bronson take a qualifying offer when he’s already said he’s looking for a three year deal? Let’s say the Mets come calling with a 2 year, $20M offer? Why would he turn down another $6M on a gamble? Because if he accepts the Reds offer and has a poor year, he’s another year older with no leverage.

      And since Arroyo firmly believes he can pitch until he’s 40, I don’t see him taking a one year deal unless there is literally nothing else out there.

  13. Per Jon Heyman…

    Bronson Arroyo won’t get a qualifying offer from the Reds, sources said.

    Arroyo has been a very dependable pitcher, but his age and stuff makes that figure seem high, especially for a small-market team like the Reds.

    • @Shchi Cossack: I guess I am in the minority here, but I wouldn’t risk giving Arroyo a qualifying offer. From Arroyo’s point of view, he would likely to accept it, guaranteeing himself $14mm, plus being in the same boat next year. From the Reds’ point of view, that is too much to pay for a right-handed, dinger-prone junkballer who has a high potential for collapse. Does anybody really want to risk Arroyo in a big game against a team with a lot of left-handed hitters? I sure don’t.

      I would much rather use the $14mm elsewhere, even to bank it for later such as at the trade deadline. A good general manager has to know when to part with fan-favorite veterans, so as to deploy the finances more efficiently. Great guy; lousy investment.

      • @Big Ed: I don’t understand where the assumption comes from that he can take the $14 and have the same free agency options next year. He could have a lousy year. A lousy year + another year older means he’s likely done.

        This is his last shot at a multi-year deal. And, yeah, he has value. You may not want him in your playoff rotation, but you need a 5 guys to get you there. He’s never missed a start. He eats innings. His ERA was under 3.79 last year, which puts him above average. There are few pitching staffs in the majors that had a better guy as their 4th or 5th starter.

        It’s a gamble for the Reds to pay anybody to pitch in their late-30s and it’s silly given who is waiting in the wings: Cingrani and Stephenson. But for other teams, I can easily see a 2 or 3 year offer being made. Maybe not for the $13M per year he wants, but he wants his career to continue. If someone offered him 3 years at $27M, I’d bet he’d take that any day over a qualifying offer from the Reds.

        • Big Ed: I’m with you. Early on, I was sure that Arroyo would receive and reject a qualifying offer, but I don’t see any way he could afford to reject a $14MM payday at this point. @Richard Fitch:

          He could have a lousy year.

          And there is the catch. If he has a lousy year, the Reds just paid $14MM for nothing. Objectively, Arroyo has never been injury prone so an injury impacted poor performance is unlikely and he’s the same pitcher now that he has been for the past 4-5 season (with the mono or desert fever issue excepted). He may regress slightly off his performance from 2013, but not much. either way, it’s a done deal now. There are other pitchers available, better than Arroyo, that would also be cheaper than the $14MM required for the qualifying offer. If the Reds are in the market for a 5th starter, I would prefer going after someone better suited to pitching in GABP.

  14. I’m starting to change my mind on the qualifying offer for Arroyo. As anyone who has been here a while knows I want Arroyo back. He’s my favorite pitcher to watch. But he’s not worth $14M when there are real needs.

    Suppose the Reds make the offer, he tests the market, no one bites and he accepts the offer. That’s a misuse of the $14M by the team.

    • @TC: And unlike most of us peeps, you are a big enough man to freely admit it without even being challenged. Good man, TC.

  15. Offering Arroyo seemed like a sure easy way to an additional sandwich to just about all of us.

    One has to believe the Reds had some sort of intelligence that A)Arroyo would take the offer (which did not fit their plans) or B) that Arroyo would not get an MLB deal elsewhere with the surcharge of a draft pick on his head and thus there would be no pick which in turn also feeds right back into A if Arroyo and his agents has the same intel as the Reds

  16. Great work. I’m just not sold on Marshall as closer material. I want a closer that brings heat – seems to me the Reds have been burned too many times by guys that relay so much on the breaking ball in critical situations.

    • @vared: I think Marshall could do the job but I, just as you, prefer a guy who throws hard. What it comes down to though is missing bats and Marshall has had a high strikeout rate, despite not throwing hard.

      • @LWBlogger: and mentality. I think LeCure could do just fine as closer.

        It is getting outs, right? He is good at that

Comments are closed.

About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.


2014 Reds