It’s another slow news day for the Nation as Walt Jocketty works his behind-the-scenes magic. Here are a couple items for discussion:

Homer Bailey has earned a $4 million raise, give or take $100,000 or two. Matt Schwartz at MLBTR analyzes Homer’s situation and explains that Bailey’s arbitration-based salary will be in the zip-code of $9.3 million. Nothing controversial, but the article does provide insight into how baseball arbitration works in a specific case.

The Cardinals have signed Jhonny Peralta, presumably to play shortstop. The size of his $53 million/4 year contract is surprising, especially coming off a PED suspension. Eno Sarris discusses the pros and cons of the deal. Steve Adams at MLBTR double-checks his initial reaction that the contract was an alarming overpay. The signing says more about the market for established players than it does the specific case, according to Dave Cameron. Ken Rosenthal writes that the Cardinals have provided incentive for players to cheat. You have to wonder if the signing would be receiving more criticism if it weren’t made by the media-darling “smart” organization. 

I’m thinking of spending a week in Arizona this March watching spring training.

Are the Kansas City Royals a good trade partner concerning Brandon Phillips? Reports of interest from the Royals’ side. Kansas City has a relative surplus of young, major-league-ready pitching. Mark Sheldon wrote a long pros and cons article about trading BP. Keep in mind, the trade may not be about what the Reds can get in return for their 32-year-old second baseman, instead it could be a way to free up payroll space to help sign a player like Shin-Soo Choo or extend Homer Bailey. In possibly related news, Billy Hamilton played 55 games at second base his rookie-league season in 2010.

If you missed it yesterday, our own Richard Fitch was interviewed about Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips on the Hot Stove show on the MLB network.

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! 60 Comments

  1. In possibly related news, Billy Hamilton played 55 games at second base his rookie-league season in 2010.

    I don’t know if Billy Hamiltom will move to 2B or stay in CF, but if WJ & Co. are not discussing and/or considering such a move, they are not as creative and competent as I believe(d) they are. Beyond HenRod, the Reds have no one in their minor league system even remotely capable of playing 2B at the major league level. I really don’t know how WJ & Co. evaluate HenRod as a major league prospect. Personally, I think he can play 2B at the major league level and I think he can hit at the majoe league level. The point to consider is that the Reds minor league system has Ervin, LaMarre & Rodriguez as potential future CF candidates at the major league level with Josh Fellhauer, Felix Perez & Bryson Smith all capable of playing CF, not to mention Winker coming up as a corner OF. That’s a lot of possible options for CF with virtually no options for 2B coming up through the minor league system.

  2. Schumaker is still not signed and the 40 man roster still sits at 40. The delay in signing Schumaker does not concern me, but I do believe that it reflects the necessity to move someone(s) currently residing on the 40 man roster before Schumaker will be signed. I’m sure that WJ has discussed the delayed signing with Schumaker to alleviate any concerns. Either that or the Reds are putting Schumaker through one intense, complicated physical.

  3. Ssshhhhh. WJ is asleep. He is all tuckered out by those Pena and alleged Shumaker negotiations. He needs his rest for Redsfest next week and the Winter Meetings the week after.
    While WJ fiddles, Cincinnati burns.
    I am really disappointed in WJ so far this winter.
    The pennant winning Cards are shoring up any perceived weaknesses they have, while WJ does…..whatever WJ is doing.
    Heck, WJ cannot even get a coaching staff together and announce it.
    WJ==Asleep at the wheel.

    • @WVRedlegs: Patience. There are some big moves coming. Like the Latos and Choo signings, they will come without warning and will help the club.

      • @Drew Mac: Most real trades are announced only after they are made, much to the chagrin of the national blogger scribes.

      • @Drew Mac:

        I know. I’m just trying to prod WJ along from 220 miles away. Those trades didn’t come until December. Things may be perculating just beneath the surface. The Pirates have done less than the Reds, so I shouldn’t complain. I’m hoping soon for that same feeling for when WJ traded for Latos. You know that,”Wow, Did WJ just do that? Wow. Wow” kind of feeling. One that gets you pumped for Opening Day, even though it’s not even the first day of winter yet.

    • @WVRedlegs: I’m not sure how much “shoring up” Jhonny will do-I’m glad that we didn’t sign him. As for WJ: it’s still early days, and he can only deal if somebody wants to deal with him. Free agents are risky and costly for the Reds, and doing something even if it’s wrong is not a strategy we should endorse, even though the offseason is boring so far. Let’s enjoy the holidays before we get too truculent.

  4. Regarding Hamilton, I would be very much in favor of giving the kid a shot at second, especially given the progress of Ervin and some of the other outfielders.

    When it comes to the Cardinals, I am actually glad that they signed Peralta. This contract will look absolutely ludicrous at some point, perhaps as early as year one (if his PED use significantly inflated his performance). Also, it means that Cardinals fans will have to root for a known cheater (again) and will have to either deny (again) or justify (again) said known cheater.

    • @Drew Mac: Could be fun, listening to WLB fans ripping on the Brewers for having a cheater. Yeah, that’s always good for attendance.

      • @Johnu1: I’m already giving the Cardinals fans I know hell about it.

        • @Drew Mac: Kinda makes me sad that the only suspected juicer the Reds have (maybe) was Ludwick at one time. It’s just a bummer having a team that you can only hate because some guy retired after 18 concussions.

  5. Another interesting article today is “Creating baseball’s perfect first baseman” which rightly mixes in a good bit of Votto.

  6. @Shchi Cossack: I commented about this here on another post a week ago, but I’ll bring it up again. Billy Hamilton is not a capable major league second baseman, nor do I think he has the potential to become one. Putting Hamilton in the infield makes his speed a virtual non-factor on defense. I still miss Stubbs in CF since he was able to track down so many more fly balls than the rest of the league. Hamilton has to have the weaker arm but a little more speed, so I’d guess that Stubbs = Hamilton as far as defense in CF is concerned.

    I remember from seeing Hamilton play shortstop in Dayton that the glovework is just not there at all. Maybe he’d adapt better to 2B over SS, but I think it’d be a pretty terrible experiment. The Reds should be worried if Hamilton sees more than ~20 innings played in the infield.

    • @dc937: Don’t get me wrong, Stubbs was a very good CF. But I want to remind you, before we all forget it, Stubbs was good from left to right. Anything behind him was an adventure and anything in front of him was a hit.

      • @TC: I am not sure I fully agree about him struggling to go back on the ball. There were a handful of times that stood out but for the most part, I think he was decent going back on the ball. He wasn’t like a Gomez, or a Hunter or a Griffey in their prime, but he was good. The eye-test agrees that he didn’t charge the ball very well and he played deeper than you’d think someone with his speed would.

      • @TC: Right on the mark.

      • @TC: Agreed.

    • @dc937: I agree. Hamilton was brutal at SS and and although I didn’t see him at 2B, what I have heard is that he wasn’t so good. It’s very believable since I did see him at SS a handful of times and his arm, hands, and footwork were all sub par. At his best, I think Hamilton could be an adequate infielder. The thing is though, he is already an adequate to average center-fielder with the potential to be an exceptional defensive CF. Moving him back to the infield just doesn’t seem to make sense to me.

      • @LWBlogger: And I agree. Hamilton was progressing very slowly as a SS, maintaining a huge error rate. He’s worked hard to convert himself to an OFer, with a lot more success. He’s still a work in progress and switching him back to the IF would screw him up.

        He’s playing CF in winter ball, not a single game at 2nd base. There is NO resaon to think the Reds are thinking of him as an option at 2nd base, even if they trade BP.

    • @dc937: You may be correct in your assessment that Hamilton can’t field 2B, but I don’t think the evidence you present is particularly compelling.

      In Hamilton’s last season playing SS, he played at Bakerfield and Pensacola. His fld% at Bakersfield was a paltry .935 and his fld% at Pensacola was .968. In addition, at Bakerfield, 68% of his errors were fielding and 28% of his errors were throwing. At Pensacola, 50% of his errors were fielding and 50% of his errors were throwing. BTW, Bakerfield is a pitiful dump of a place to play, but field condition doesn’t effect throws.

      As a minor league SS, Hamilton had a fld% of .941
      As a minor league SS, Gregorius had a fld% of .946
      As a minor league SS, Phillips had a fld% of .943

      Gregorius has always been considered an excellent defensive SS, but fielded no better than Hamilton. Phillips has been a GG defensive 2B but fielded no better than Hamilton at SS. I don’t believe the Reds gave up on Hamilton as a SS so much as moved him to CF in order to create a place for him to play at the major league level since Cozart and Phillips had the middle infield positions locked up and CF was a waste land at the major league level for the Reds.

      • @Shchi Cossack: Great points you Old Cossack you.

        I will take exception with one point:

        “but field condition doesn’t effect throws”

        Having to field a ground ball in a cow pasture versus a legitimate ball field does impact the time that you have to throw the ball, which can impact accuracy

        • @reaganspad: Bakersfield faces the wrong direction but I don’t think it’s a cow pasture. It’s a typical Class A baseball diamond, probably a little on the hard side.

          Part of a SS’s ability to look good is if the first baseman can handle the bad throws. You have to look at throwing errors from both sides of the ball.

          As for fielding errors, part of that is range and part of range is knowing good footwork. Part of that can be taught.

          I agree that Hamilton was moved to CF because he will be needed in the outfield. But he can be taught to play better SS. Barry Larkin might be useful.

        • @reaganspad: Dag Gum It All to Heck, I hate getting called to task, especially legitimately, for embellishments, but you are absolutely correct. I will admit to a bit of embellishment with that comment thrown in, but the point stands on its merits.

          • @Shchi Cossack: Dad gum it…. oh yes the days of Hoss Cartwright

            now if we are talking about Steve Sax throws with the dodgers then we are talking about throwing issues.

            regardless, intriguing thinking about Hamilton at Second base.

            What a difference a year makes because we would not have had this conversation last year

      • @Shchi Cossack: My memory is, from watching Hamilton at Dayton for 15-16 games, was his defensive problems weren’t his glove, but his inaccurate arm. I may be misremembering though…

        • @Bill Lack:

          My memory is, from watching Hamilton at Dayton for 15-16 games, was his defensive problems weren’t his glove, but his inaccurate arm.

          I had the exact same recollection, so I was completely surprised to find the results I found when I reviewed the 2012 saeason. I was also surprised to see the minor league results from Gregorius and Phillips.

    • @dc937: I agree with you about BH at second–it makes sense to keep his great speed in play on both sides of the ball. And, indeed, the reviews of his infield glovework were uninspiring. Chris Welsh (I think) said late in the season that BH’s arm was better than expected.

  7. Are the Kansas City Royals a good trade partner concerning Brandon Phillips?

    The Old Cossack has a hard time envisioning the Royals making the trade for Phillips, simply from a historical perception, but they do seem to be in a win now (I mean right now!) mode after the trade for Shields last season and the Vargas signing this season. I guess perception falls right in line with the vaunted ‘eye test’.

  8. I’m just glad I was able to find the Maloney no-hitter film (posted on the Cozart thread.) Any baseball at all in November is better than the rumors wire.

    All the same, I have to believe the Reds are going to pull the trigger on something big.

    Hanigan has to be a choice morsel for anybody who believes they need a real catcher. Trust me, there are PLENTY of teams who need a real catcher. I hope WJ doesn’t settle for some “prospects” unless they are a year off from impact players. I doubt many impact players have gone under the radar, however.

    Aside from that, my only real concern going into 2014 is whether our new Don Long hitting coach strategy is actually going to improve the offense. I have contended over the last 4 years that the Reds’ biggest problem was Jacoby.

    He’s gone now and I am still wary. What does Don Long offer this team?

    • @Johnu1: I’m curious…can anyone point to a team that a hitting coach came onboard and made an immediate difference from one year to the next?

      • @Bill Lack: I don’t know that they keep that statistic, but I have to hold out some hope. If it’s true that a pitching coach can help pitchers, I have to assume that a hitting coach can help hitters. If not, why have one?

  9. I watched Mozeliak’s press conference yesterday and I must say I was impressed by the guy. Smart, funny, honest. It was very interesting.

  10. Just listened to the Richard Fitch phone interview on the MLB Network’s Hot Stove coverage. No surprise that he was thoughtful, respectful, and well spoken. I’m just an avid fan who is happy to have a home for Reds info, insight, and camaraderie here on RLN, but I was pleased to see one of our own represent us all so well. And for what it’s worth, I can’t wait to see what kind of year a healthier Joey Votto playing for a smart new manager might produce next year. Tell me again – pitchers and catchers report when?

  11. The Royals have Tim Collins and Aaron Crow available, both relatively young and effective relievers with some serious heat. Those two for BP? Yes please.

    • @hermanbates: No way that happens. Maybe one of those guys would be part of the deal. The only way I could see the Reds getting both would be to send prospect(s) of their own or a large bit of cash. Just my opinion.

  12. Thoughts–
    1. To me, the net effect of the the Bourjos/Peralta deals is a wash. Taking at-bats away from Jay will lessen their offense, but PB will help their defense. Peralta MIGHT hit better, but he’s not the best glove. I don’t get the fuss.
    2. The Peralta/McCann deals strengthens the Red’s hands in trade negotiations. Drive a hard bargain, Walt.
    3. Could the Reds be considering Beltran? After a BP trade, a 2 year deal makes more sense than a 5 year deal for Choo. That said, the first priority has to be locking up Latos and/or Bailey, but we haven’t heard a peep.
    4. I’d like to see the Reds move Leake. A year ago, the guy had no value. We should sell high.

    • @Sultan of Swaff:

      1 agree
      2 agree
      3 agree
      4 agree. Give our needs and surplus, this is the prime time to trade Mike Leake

    • @Sultan of Swaff: The more I see and the more we evaluate the FA market, it seems like the team WOULD be better served to deal a starting pitcher — as much as I stand my my belief that trading pitchers is worse than not signing extra catchers.

    • @Sultan of Swaff:
      1. Bourjos is INSANE out on the OF grass though. There are a lot of folks who say he’s in Gomez’s territory. Jay is a non-zero with the bat, and a sub-par CF. I think Bourjos has a shot at matching him offensively, but he makes the Cards OF defense at least average, even with Holiday and Craig playing next to him. Which is laaaaame.
      2. Yes!
      3. Beltran is supposed to be looking for 4 years (!), which almost certainly puts him with an AL team. I’d love to see him re-up with the Royals. Maybe they could be talked into an Alex Gordon deal after that…
      4. Definitely move Leake if it brings back something. Swydan at ESPN just wrote a piece regarding Arroyo as having second the highest FIP – ERA differential in the NL. And…..Leake was 3rd. The Twins are showing “heavy interest” in Arroyo, makes me think they would be dancing all over themselves to trade for Leake.

  13. 4yr/$53m for a 31 (will be 32 shortly after the season starts) year old SS who’s been suspended for PEDs, AND has only had a 2.0 WAR or higher in 2 of his last 6 seasons.

    Wow… that’s an absolutely horrible contract.

  14. With the Cards signing of the PED-guilty Peralta, might this re-shape WJ’s thinking on, as Steve Mancuso posed a couple of weeks ago, obtaining OF Ryan Braun from the Brewers?? Ever since Steve threw that out there, I have warmed up to that idea more and more. If WJ could pull that off, it would send a thunderbolt throughout the NL Central, and NL. That, or maybe getting Kemp as a plan-B.

    • @WVRedlegs: There’s a report out this afternoon that when the Mets asked the Brewers about Braun, Milwaukee said he wasn’t available.

    • @WVRedlegs: Even if a deal could happen, I don’t know how I would feel about taking on Kemp at $21m a year for each of the next six years. He’s not played over 106 games in either of the last two seasons, and is coming off a .270/.328/.395 half season. That’s a bit sketchy for taking on 6yr/$120 or so.

      • @ToddAlmighty:

        I read somewhere that Kemp had minor surgery on his shoulder again this offseason. He is coming off an ankle injury, leg injury and a bothersome shoulder. He seems to be falling apart. I’d take a pass on Kemp at this time. The risks outweigh the rewards. The rewards would be huge if he were to regain most of his MVP form. So, that tells you how big the risk would be. Pass.

  15. So the Schumaker deal is now official with Derrick Robinson DFAed to clear the 40 man spot.
    Schumaker gets $5M guaranteed in the deal. Two years at $2M and $2.5M and a 3rd year on club option at $2.5M against a $0.5M buyout.

    I thought it was a little surprising that Robinson is the odd man out. It could have been Paul or even Hiesey just as easily actually. Either seems a better match defensively to be replaced by Schumaker than Robinson who seemed to have established himself as the back up pure CF over the course of last year.

    • @OhioJim: Heisey, Paul or Robinson?
      Flip a coin.

      I do continue to believe that Heisey has upside but my eyes are getting older and tired compared to a few years ago when I would not have allowed his name in the coin toss

      I probably would have kept Robinson if I was making the decision and cut Paul. Wonder how much his injury plays into this call

      • @reaganspad: Paul a much better hitter than Robinson, Robinson a much better OFer. The Reds are more in need of a bench player who can hit. Heisey is a good reserve defensive OFer.

    • @OhioJim: Robinson is an interesting player. Better than fair glove and super fast. He just didn’t seem to get much out of his bat.

      • @Johnu1: Which begs the question: Why did the Reds think they need Skippy Shumaker?

      • @Johnu1: Robinson got almost nothing out of his bat and the Reds have had way too many bench players like that over the last few years.
        Robinson did not use his speed on offense, could not even steal a base.
        I will definitely not miss Dusty using Robinson as one of his top PHers.

        I would take Schumaker, Paul and Heisey over Robinson, I agree with DFAing him.

        • @pinson343: I think the DFAing of Robinson is most interesting as a possible indicator of what might be going on in CF.

          The indications last year was that they no longer saw Heisey as legit CF. I think it was even said that he was now more of a corner OF.

          So as of now CF would be Hamilton and ??? Or maybe a deal that makes it somebody else and Hamilton as the understudy.

          I threw Heisey into the mix as the possible cut because I question whether what he brings to the table is worth the salary of a 2nd year arbitration guy versus Robinson at minimum for a defensive specialist who out OBPed Heisey .332 to .279 last year. However the power advantage clearly went to Heisey over Robinson; and, he took the OPS .741 to .645. But if there is a new LF and Ludwick is off the bench, then Heisey is between superfluous and redundant at likely around $1.75M.

  16. So, the Reds reached out to Beltran? . . . Part of me thinks this would be a great development. Of course, the other part tells me that Walt will give him a three year deal and he will break his knee in April of year one.

    • @Drew Mac: Well said. I’d be thrilled but he’s 37 and had a terrible injury history all those years with the Mets. The Cardinals got 2 good years out of him (but a lot of aches and pains last year) and are probably smart to let him go. He’ll end up with the Yankees.

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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.


2014 Reds, Homer Bailey, The Brandon Phillips Show


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