2014 Reds / Hot Stove

Trade target: Chase Headley?

[Editors: We like to publish posts by loyal Nation members. We’re pleased to post this article by Tony Liao, a graduate student at Cornell University.]

While much of the off-season attention for the Reds has been on Shin-Soo Choo, CF, 2B, LF, SS and C, it might be worthwhile to examine upgrading 3B.

Super Todd Frazier came on the scene as a 26 year old rookie, slashing .273/.331/.498 across 465 PA, along with 19 HR.  Showing a remarkable ability to hit home runs without any hands, Frazier finished third in the NL ROY race that year behind some guy from Washington and Wade “don’t call me Dave” Miley of the Diamondbacks. With Juan Francisco traded away to the Braves in spring training, the Reds went into 2013 excited that Super Todd would get all the at bats at 3B and build on his promising rookie season.

But the Reds have been burned by third place NL ROY finishes before (Austin Kearns). 2013 was Todd’s age 27 season to show that the breakout was sustainable.

Alas, it did not happen.  In 32 more games played and 135 more PA, Frazier had 9 more hits, 3 more doubles, the same number of HR, and saw his batting average fall over 40 points and his overall slash line fell to .234/.314/.407.

Some was due to a drop in BABIP, from .319 to .269, but a recent Fangraphs article points to a rise in Frazier’s ground ball rate from 32.9% in 2012 to 42.2% in the 2013 season. The regression was not completely unexpected – in his preseason projection, Jason Linden ‘nailed it’ with Todd Frazier, predicting his regression and offensive decline.

While above average defense boosted Frazier’s value (+9.7 UZR) and two years of data is still a relatively small sample, it seems probable that Frazier’s true production lies somewhere in between his 2012 and 2013 season (2.1/2.7 bWAR, 2.6/3.3 fWAR) seasons. It would be unlikely that he significantly outperforms that (fWAR agrees – and has his 2014 projection at 2.9 WAR).

3.0 WAR is nothing to sneeze at considering that Frazier is still pre-arbitration, so obviously I’m not suggesting that the Reds should get rid of Frazier or that he stinks – rather that his production is at a much lower variance than other players (he is who we thought he was), and therefore it would be unlikely that Frazier would be able to make up for the loss of Shin-Soo Choo.

Frazier’s versatility is an asset. If we could find an upgrade for him at third base, he could either move to a vacated spot (2B, perhaps) or serve as a super-sub role (3B, LF, 2B, 1B), and still play a major role in the offense.

So who would be an upgrade on Frazier at 3B?

Fangraphs listed seven 3B with higher WAR in 2013:

  1. Josh Donaldson, 7.7
  2. Miguel Cabrera, 7.6
  3. Evan Longoria, 6.8
  4. Manny Machado, 6.2
  5. Adrian Beltre, 5.2
  6. Chase Headley, 3.6
  7. Kyle Seager, 3.4

Most of these guys are clearly not available – Donaldson (young, pre-arbitration breakout, #36 on Grantland trade value chart), Cabrera (obviously, also moving back to 1B), Longoria (best extension in baseball), Machado (#7 on Grantland trade value list), Beltre (still incredibly productive offensively and defensively, playing up to his contract), Seager (young, pre-arbitration breakout).

The only guy on that list who is rumored to be available is Chase Headley, who is said to be at an impasse with the Padres about a potential contract extension entering his last year of arbitration.  Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that given where they are in the talks, the growing sentiment is that Headley gets traded in the offseason. And, the Reds have traded for a Padres player that wasn’t in their long term plans before.

Headley has been up and down in the past four years. He came on the scene with 4.4 WAR season in 2010 then followed that up with an injury shorted 2.3 WAR season in 2011. In 2012 he posted his best season and was in the MVP discussion, with a WAR of 7.2, 31 HR and 17 SB, and a triple slash of .286/.376/.498. Then in 2013 he regressed and fought some injuries to finish with a WAR of 3.6 and only 13 HR in 141 games.

Defensively he’s also been above average, consistently positive in UZR and DRS.

Entering his age 30 season, it seems as if 3 WAR is his floor, with his true value closer to 4 and a ceiling of 5.  That becomes more likely if you move him out of PETCO, (Headley career: 33 HR at home, 47 away). Putting a switch-hitting 3B in the Reds lineup to bat cleanup would be huge.

Headley’s contract status is what is making him available, with one year left in arbitration. MLBTR projects that Headley will earn 10 million in his final year.  If we assume he earns 4 WAR 2014, and we accept the figure of $7 million per win, that’s $28M in value and an $18M “surplus” that has to be accounted for in the trade plus the value of a first round draft pick which the Padres would get when Headley turns down a qualifying offer.

I’ll leave it to the prospect people to fill in what the package would be, but I imagine that looks like at least a couple top prospects and maybe more.  However, given his availability and talent I still think Headley would be a player the Reds should target in a variety of scenarios and it would give them flexibility. The Reds could trade for Headley, let him play out his contract year, make him a qualifying offer, and get the compensation pick when he turns it down. Another option would be to do what the Reds wished they had been able to do with Choo, sign him for an extension.

So what would be the cost of this extension? The crux of the debate is whether Headley should get paid like the MVP candidate he was in 2012 (7 WAR) or more like his production in the other seasons 3-4 WAR. It’s pretty clear that Headley is a tier below David Wright (8 years, $138 MM, signed in 2012) and Ryan Zimmerman (6 years, $100 MM) and is perhaps more in line with Adrian Beltre’s contract (5 year, 80 MM, signed in 2011 FA).

Jeremy Crasnick suggested that Alex Gordon’s 5 year/$50 MM deal as a potential comparable. Even if it’s slightly more money than that, who cares?  In a year where a 32-year-old Jhonny Peralta got 4 years, $52 million for his fWARs of 3.6, 2.5, 4.9, 1.1 going back 4 years, I would rather give Chase Headley at age 30 the same or more for fWARs of 3.6, 7.2, 2.3, and 4.4.  And if the Reds are even remotely close to competitive in the Choo talks (~$100 MM), then they have the money for this extension.

So what would signing Headley allow the Reds to do?

Option 1 – Headley at 3B (4-5 WAR, Net +1-2 WAR over 2013 Frazier), Frazier to LF (3 WAR, net +2.5 WAR over 2013 LF, who were just terrible – according to Jason Linden – “Five players saw time in left for the Reds this year. Collectively, they generated -0.5 bWAR and 0.6 fWAR.”  At the pessimistic end, that would upgrade +3.5 WAR out of 3B and LF, and if Billy Hamilton can be 1.5 WAR that would replace Choo’s 5.2 fWAR in 2013.  At the optimistic end, the 4.5 WAR from Headley and Frazier would mostly account for Choo, and anything Hamilton adds would be an upgrade.

Option 2 – Headley at 3B (4-5 WAR, Net +1-2 WAR over 2013 Frazier), trade Brandon Phillips (2.6 fWAR), move Todd Frazier to 2B (3 WAR, net +0.4) and use the salary relief to cover other extensions or sign someone.

If the Reds chose Option #1, they could potentially trade Phillips and move Frazier to 2B, and use the money saved on Phillips to go after Choo, which would project a net of 1-2 WAR over 2013. I think the Reds know the window is short, that’s why they traded Gregorius and Stubbs for Choo in 2013. I don’t think anyone regrets that decision now even though the Reds will likely be losing Choo.

Trading for Headley whether we sign him to an extension or not would make the team better in 2014, and free up the Reds to make other moves to upgrade the team.  

105 thoughts on “Trade target: Chase Headley?

  1. I like the idea of Headley. Just some other things to consider:

    1) With option 1, what do we do with Ludwick? I don’t think it optimistic that we have $7 million sitting on the bench in one player.

    2) An option 3, trading for Headley, sending Frazier to the Padres plus a couple minor leaguers. Or, maybe Frazier and Leake?

  2. I know this has been discussed on here, but where do people get the idea that you can just move players to new positions and they will do alright there? Remember when there was talk of moving Austin Kearns from LF to 3B to make room for …. I think it was either EE or Larson.

    If we shift Todd around, how can we be sure he’ll be able to handle other positions, such as LF or ESPECIALLY 2B? It is no easy job to replace someone like Brandon Phillips defensively, and I think it becomes that much more difficult asking a 3B to do it.

    Me, I’d be content to give Todd one more year to see what he can do. The Reds gave up on EE too quickly for a year and a half of Rolen, and EE has now become one of the premiere right handed power hitters in the game. I don’t think Super Todd has that kind of upside, but I think he’s better than what he showed this past year.

    Finally, I’m not so sure that Ludwick is done in LF. He was severely injured last year, his shoulder, which is a death knell for a power hitter. Just like how everyone on this board was ready to give up on Arroyo after his mono year, I think Ludwick will do just fine next year once he proves he’s healthy.

    I understand that the Reds have a window to compete, but every time I see EE smash another HR it sickens me to think he could be doing that for the Reds. Based on WAR, there were only 7 3B better than Frazier in all of baseball. While I’d love to have a top 3 3B, think of the 23 teams who were getting worse production at 3B than the Reds.

    I’m all for the Reds making moves to improve the team, but getting Chase Headly to me seems needlessly redundant. I think if the Reds are to improve, they’d be better served looking elsewhere.

    • @CI3J: Part of the goal of moving Frazier to LF would be that the Reds could then attempt to trade Ludwick. It’s another way to find a solution to the LF problem and maybe get a better RH bat in the lineup. So in that sense, it isn’t redundant. I agree with you that we really don’t know if Frazier could switch back to 2B and be competent.

      Your example of EE, however, offers proof of the possible success of moving a player from one position to another in order to make a bat play.

    • @CI3J: Frazier was a SS when drafted and played some 2B at AAA. That experiment didn’t last very long because the Reds have a guy named Brandon Phillips and the Reds had needs at 1B/3B/LF at the major league level. It’s not a given that he could play 2B next year, but of all the “just move player to a new position” chatter the past couple of years, Frazier to 2B is among the more reasonable suggestions.

    • @CI3J: EE wouldn’t be doing that for the Reds because EE isn’t a 3rd baseman any more. The Reds don’t use the DH rule and they aren’t going to play him at 1B ahead of Votto.

      EE’s value bottomed out AFTER the Reds trade and they could have had him back. After the 2010 season, his first full season in Toronto, the Blue Jays waived him and he was claimed by Oakland. One month later, Oakland released EE. Two weeks after that, the Blue Jays signed him as a free agent & he has stayed with them ever since. His breakout season wasn’t until 2012, a full season after the Blue Jays re-acquired him in free agency.

    • @CI3J: EE is not one of the premier players in baseball. He hits homeruns, but has iron hands and could not consistenly throw the ball to first. Like with Francisco, he was a 1b not a 3rd baseman. It should also be noted that two or three years ago the Blue Jays were looking to trade him, for much the same reason.
      To those nervous about Frazier moving to the OF or to 2b, it should be noted that he has played both as well as SS and 1b. He has not played at shortstop since early in his minor career, but it is the position that he was playing when he was drafted.

      • @redmountain: As well as, Frazier has been on record, I believe as early as ST last year, that LF was his favorite position to play.

        • @CI3J: So is or was Adam Dunn and I would not pay 20 cents for either one. Their only value is with a bat in hand

      • @redmountain: I think the OP said that EE was one of the premier right-handed power hitters in baseball, not one of the premier players. Just thought I’d point it out.

        Cincy would not be upgrading tremendously with Headley. Moving Frazier to left field to replace Ludwick improves the offense in what way?

        Headley is better than Ludwick? Hard to say. Both of them spent 2013 getting well from injuries.

        I am OK entertaining this discussion but, in the end, it seems like it would be a paperwork trade designed to pawn off the belief that the Reds are upgrading.

        • @Johnu1: I think when you consider the cost in prospects of bringing Headley in, this is essentially a non-starter for the Reds. The farm system has been raided pretty hard and a trade involving 2 or more good prospects just doesn’t make sense from where I’m sitting.

    • @CI3J: Not clear that the Reds gave up on EE too early. He never was able to learn to play 3rd base and his success with Toronto came after he moved to 1st base. The Reds already had a 1st baseman and don’t have a DH.
      Are you thinking they should have tried him in LF ?

      I agree with you about Ludwick. People are taking his 2013 production as what to expect in 2014, which is absurd. When he came back last year, the Reds trainers wouldn’t even let him do weight work to strengthen his shoulder. He was at times right on a fast ball, and instead of landing in the upper deck of LF, it would be a long fly out to right center field. The bat speed just wasn’t there.

  3. According to the Twitter Dude, the Padres have hard feelings with WJ on the Latos deal and Grandal’s plight. He said the Reds are steering clear of the Padres this winter. Plus he said that Big Bob C loves him some Frazier and Frazier is going nowhere in a trade.
    Headley is too overpriced and way overvalued.
    How do we know that Headley isn’t a juicer? He had never hit more than 13 HR’s in a season, then has 31 in 2012? Now his slash lines are pretty good, but not much in the power department that is an improvement on Frazier. The Reds should not pay $10M + a season for this. Too much risk.
    If you go after anybody on SD’s roster, go for 2B/3B Jedd Gyorko.

    • @WVRedlegs:

      Boy did I step in a pile on Headley. Now Twitter Dude says WJ has asked for scouting reports on Headley and possibly Frazier and a P would be the package. He said Big Bob C. looked upset this morning. Hmmm. I didn’t think Headley would be a possiblity, but looks like it could be an option that is being discussed and looked at.

      • @WVRedlegs: Well, Bob C is apparently not in town for the meetings, and he doesn’t seem like a guy into Skype, so do the math…

        • @CP:

          I am not the assistant to the assistant Traveling Secretary for the Reds, so I do not have Big Bob C’s travel itinerary. That is what the Twitter Dude reported, as I said.
          You seem to know where BBC is. Where is he? It is his money being spent.

          • @WVRedlegs: Me neither, but Jamie Ramsey is an Reds employee. I’m sure Jamie has to toe the company line, but I doubt he’d outright lie to people. Although he will threaten Reds fans with assault on occasion, and insult our intelligence, but I digress…

            Twitter Dude isn’t “reporting” anything, he’s making it up as he goes. The guy set up a pretty competent fake account, but it is fake nonetheless.

          • @CP:

            You are right about Jamie Ramsey. And I don’t put any stock in what he says. He has about as much credibility as Barack Obama.
            Twitter Dude has been a bit entertaining. When there is radio silence coming from the Reds and Reds beat writers, it fills the vacuum somewhat. He has been close and out front on some things.
            You just don’t know what to believe. Misinformation here. Smokescreens there.
            Maybe we’ll find out just who is Seeall Hearall. It just might be Jamie Ramsey. That is something I wouldn’t put past him.

          • @WVRedlegs: Lol. Nice Seinfeld reference.

            I don’t know about this twitter account but the perp must clearly follow the blogs and the general rumor mills for these to seem semi-credible (which they do in my opinion).

            Once something actually goes down, I look forward to checking his/her twitter feed to see if there was any indication of true inside info.

  4. frankly, the “juicing” comment is way out of line. there is nothing to suggest that Headley has used PEDs and voicing that theory is irresponsible. why did he hit 31 HRs in 2012? because his flyballs left the yard at an ungodly rate of 20% (his career average is around 10%, or what he did in 2013). so i think his career moving forward is going to be a lot closer to 2010 and 2013 than 2011 or 2012. his fangraphs/Oliver 5-year projection looks to think so as well (WAR in the mid 3s). normalize that for GABP and he should be a slight upgrade over Frazier at the plate and perhaps in the field as well.

    • @John Osberger:

      What is one of the most used reasons given on why alot of players used PED’s? To help recover from injury. Yes?
      In 2011, Headley had a major injury. He played in only 113 games, had 439 PA’s, 4 HR’s and 44 RBI’s.
      In 2012, Headley has a breakout year. 31 HR’s and 115 RBI’s in 161 games.
      This is about the same time as Ryan Braun’s juicing and before he got caught.
      In 2013, Headley had 13 HR’s and 50 RBI’s in 600 PA’s.
      I am not accusing Headley of doping or juicing. There are red flags though. I am just saying Buyer Beware!!!!
      And add this to the equation, “10/1/2013: Headley (knee) underwent arthroscopic surgery Tuesday to repair a medial meniscus tear, MLB.com reports.”
      The same injury that Votto had.
      Again, Buyer Beware.

    • @John Osberger:

      You want to pay a guy 20 X what Frazier will make in 2014 for a “slight upgrade”??
      Where in in the name of Abner Doubleday is the value in that?? Nonsense!

    • @John Osberger: I dunno. I might not have put the comment quite the way it was, but in this day and age it certainly has to be considered. That’s where the sport is right now. I thought it, even if I didn’t say it. It’s not accusatory, it’s more vetting to me.

      • @preach: I just assume everyone is on something in professional sports. I just don’t care if they are. They’re big boys, they can make their own decisions.

        Beyond that, Headley’s thumb and knee injuries had more to do with his hitting struggles than anything. Personally, I think his season was very impressive given those injuries. I’d look at 3.6 fWAR as a floor for 2014.

  5. @CI3J: I also agree with you about Ludwick. He’s probably not done and will probably post numbers better than he had last year. He probably won’t be as good as he was his first year in Cincinnati, IMO. The problem with Ludwick (and Broxton) in the minds of many fans, including my own, is with respect to the contracts they got at the beginning of last year. This was said at the time of the deals: the second year and amount of money they each got in the 2nd year wasn’t going to correspond to what they would contribute on the field + the money was going to hinder the team’s payroll flexibility, the latter of which seems to be the case. To make matters worse, both players were hurt much of last year, so they would seemingly have little trade value at this point in the offseason. Maybe a team like the Giants would be interested in Ludwick, but I doubt the Reds would get much in return, beyond salary relief.

    • @CI3J: I also agree with you about Ludwick. He’s probably not done and will probably post numbers better than he had last year. He probably won’t be as good as he was his first year in Cincinnati, IMO. The problem with Ludwick (and Broxton) in the minds of many fans, including my own, is with respect to the contracts they got at the beginning of last year. This was said at the time of the deals: the second year and amount of money they each got in the 2nd year wasn’t going to correspond to what they would contribute on the field + the money was going to hinder the team’s payroll flexibility, the latter of which seems to be the case. To make matters worse, both players were hurt much of last year, so they would seemingly have little trade value at this point in the offseason. Maybe a team like the Giants would be interested in Ludwick, but I doubt the Reds would get much in return, beyond salary relief.

      If they got salary relief, they could up the ante on Choo, and maybe sign him. That would help the whole team and give Hamilton another year to learn to hit. With both Arroyo and Choo, the longer they stay on the market, the smaller that market will be for them. This may bring the salary expectations down some. I think we may be seeing Scott Boras’ reputation start to get him in trouble. From what I have seen someone is going to have to be real desperate to sign Choo for what he is asking. The asking price has already started to come down because of lack of interest.

  6. Jon Heyman via Twitter…

    #reds met on choo last night. have hopes, but inability to trade phillips first dims their chances a bit.

    And that is the elephant in the room.

    I would love to see Headley at 3B wearing a Reds uniform in GABP, but as observed, BC is a huge Frazier fan. Even if the Reds can reasonably obtain Headley, if the Reds can’t sign Choo, they have no chance at extending Headley. That puts us down a key contributor again next season creating a downward spiral.

    I’m beginning to think that 2014 may be painful to watch unless Phillips can be traded. I do not want to see WJ unload the farm system again, creating this same problem every year with diminishing returns.

    • @Shchi Cossack: I agree, Cossack. That’s why I am hoping the new coaching staff will be able to have positive effects. It has been done before. But, of course, players have regressed before with new coaching staffs. Just trying to be positive, if each player was to step up just one notch (whatever that would mean in WAR terms), then I really think we are good as is and could even consider letting a starter go to try to restock the minors.

      • @steveschoen: I mean, it’s not impossible to consider, either. Devin playing regularly should have a positive effect on the offense from the C. Hopefully, Votto can get back to the MVP 2010 season player. Cozart won’t be misused in the 2 hole. A healthy Cueto, Marshall, and Broxton. A hitting coach hopefully changes some hitting ideologies of some of the players. Losing Choo will be a negative. But, I believe the others can outweigh losing Choo.

  7. I would not be willing to give up what it takes in a trade to get Headley for one year at a slight upgrade over Frazier. I’m not sure Frazier would be a huge upgrade over Ludwick (and wouldn’t be if Ludwick returns close to 2012 form). I also have serious doubts about Frazier playing 2B for significant time.

    While it’s a nice idea, I think it takes too much to move the needle too little for the offense. I keep banging the drum, but if we want a 3B/2B then go get Michael Young. Let Young and Schumaker handle 2B and shed Phillips contract to clear payroll. Both would be significant upgrades as 2-hole hitters in front of Votto. Then maybe we can resign Choo or Arroyo. If we resign either then we trade from depth to fill other needs.

    If we singed Young and traded Phillips the flexibility would be great and Price really could play match ups. Schumaker is LH and could play 2B, LF, CF. Young is RH and could play 3B, 2B, give Votto the occasional day off. Frazier can play 3B, LF, 1B. That represents a lot of options to have at your disposal on any given day.

  8. Good article, Tony. Frazier is liked by Reds management (including Castellini), who feel he will improve, and I was very impressed by him as a 3rd baseman.

    But the Reds (and a consensus here at RLN) originally thought of him as a super-sub, and he could also become the regular LFer or 2nd baseman, depending on what goes down.

    The problem, as pointed out by others, is Headley’s dramatic drop in production in 2013 and his salary.

    • @pinson343: Frazier won the 3B job after doing such a nice job filling in for Votto in 2012. It was hard not to like him and his chances. And the Rolen situation making it easy for him, all that fit.

      But to be honest, as a Reds fan dating back to 1956, a whole bunch of my favorite players got traded, including Big Klu, Vada Pinson, Roy McMillan, Temple, Ed Bailey, some guy named Robinson …

      And I suspect a few more will leave town before I cash it in.

      Of course, the old-time trades were about people, not payroll.

  9. Great article and discussion, but Super Todd is not the piece you trade. Great fielder, sometimes good to great bat especially for RBIs and GREAT clubhouse guy. On a team that is screaming for a leader, he is 1-2 years from being the team captain.

    Joey and Jay are not going to be that guy. Todd is still the nice guy rookie. He will become the leader this team needs.

    as far as the discussion, The Reds always have to overpay for a free agent. We overpayed for Cordero, had to add extra years for Broxton and Ludwick. Hard to think the Reds will get a bargain, but we are smart enough to know that Bronson Arroyo is worth 8.0-10 mil for a season of work that would benefit both.

    Michael Young makes more sense to me than any scenario I have seen. Nice analysis Hotto4:

    “If we singed Young and traded Phillips the flexibility would be great and Price really could play match ups. Schumaker is LH and could play 2B, LF, CF. Young is RH and could play 3B, 2B, give Votto the occasional day off. Frazier can play 3B, LF, 1B. That represents a lot of options to have at your disposal on any given day.”

    Bang. Sign Young and let the rest of the off season come to you Walt

    Young is a great hitter, the kind of thing this team needs even more than RH power. We have plenty of power. We need veteran hitters to teach the young guys how to hit and about plate approach.

    Yes that will come from hitting coach, but it also comes from a guy coming in and hitting 300. Young may get the GABP power boost as well

  10. “If we singed Young and traded Phillips the flexibility would be great and Price really could play match ups. Schumaker is LH and could play 2B, LF, CF. Young is RH and could play 3B, 2B, give Votto the occasional day off. Frazier can play 3B, LF, 1B. That represents a lot of options to have at your disposal on any given day.”

    Makes sense to me. Flexibility is a great asset.

    FYI: I see that the Brew Crew is in talks with Marmol. I think they may consider Axford as well. THAT would be fun, lots of heat that can go anywhere. All you have to do is be patient and wear a cup.

  11. The other day, I suggest that the Reds could trade Phillips to the Yankees for Gardner and Bailey or Leake to the Mariners for one of their middle infield prospects (+ 1-2 other players/prospects.) The net effect is a swap of two players in the final year of club control (Bailey and Gardner) and a swap of middle infielders (Phillips for Franklin).

    But if freeing up Phillips’ salary would be enough to sign Choo, perhaps the Reds can make this work as a 3-team deal. The Mariners are also looking for OF help in addition to pitching. Get Gardner from the Yankees for Phillips. Then, instead of trading a pitcher to Seattle, trade Gardner in a Franklin deal. The Reds keep their pitchers, resolve the Team Phillips situation, and have money to re-sign Choo.

    • @preach: I saw that. Anytime that guy pitches against the Reds I end up saying un-Christian words. I was really hoping for an AL sojourn from him. Maybe he will follow Halladay one more time and retire…

  12. If we are looking for a switch hitting SS, I guess that is Ramon Santiago. He’s 34 and mostly a glove guy, so I really don’t want another 2 year deal. I would rather have Alexi Cassilla. He mostly plays second, but he can handle a backup role and he hasn’t hit 30 yet. Not exactly what would push us over the top, but it’s what Walt has been talking about.

  13. “Surplus for the Indians in the outfield: Michael Bourn, David Murphy, Ryan Raburn, Drew Stubbs, Michael Brantley. Something likely will give. The team is listening on virtually all players.”

    Man, I am guessing that you could get Drew Stubbs for a song and a low level prospect. If I added Stubbs, Michael Young (who is still listed as a SS although I understand that is not his best position) and the back up short stop that Walt wants, I may just mix and match for a year until Billy and Ervin are ready for the prime time.

    Shumaker gets a lot of play. Trade Phillips, or not.

    I still believe that Stubbs has not reached the player that he will be yet. shoot maybe he is only Heisey but he has hit 20 HRs and stolen 40 bases.

    You know last year Choo had 32 more runs and 14 more RBI than Stubbs had in 2012 (his worst year in Cincy)

    VS 2011 Choo had 15 more runs and 10 more RBIS

    VS 2010 Choo had 16 more runs and 23 LESS RBIS

    I think that Stubbs 77 RBIs in 2010 confused him on what kind of player that he is.

    But for all the money we are talking about investing in Choo, who is not a Center Fielder or great against LH pitching, I would rather take a flier on someone like Stubbs or (Stubbs again) and mix and match while we wait for Billy and Ervin to emerge.

    I do not think Ervin is far away. College ball has come a long way and he was a great college player

    • @reaganspad: Young would be a decent piece if he were played correctly. He’s a right handed guy who walks slightly more than Philips and has absolutely no pop. He’s been abysmal all over the infield since 2002. To me, that’s a decent sub, definitely not a starter. From what I’ve seen of him, he wouldn’t sign on cheaply to ride the pine and hope for 250 PAs.

    • @reaganspad: With you on Stubbs though. Take a flyer, just don’t screw up Hamilton’s potential (either as a trade or a future Reds contributor) by rushing him to the majors before he’s ready.

    • @reaganspad:

      There is some talk of a 3-way trade that involves NYY-CLE-CIN.
      The report said that Cle and NYY were looking for a third team and CIN was a natural fit for that.

      It had something like this,
      NYY-gets Masterson and BP.
      CLE-gets Chapman, Marshall, Tyler Austin(NY) and another Yankees prospect, and Reds P prospect Contreras.
      CIN-gets Gardner and 2B Jason Kipnis.

      There was a report out of Clev, I believe, that said the Indians had offered Kipnis and Brantley contract extensions, and both players declined them. The report said both could be available this winter now.

      • @WVRedlegs: So essentially BP, Marshall, and Chapman for Gardner and Kipnis? Hmmmm… Other than talk from CLE that Masterson was told he wouldn’t be traded, I think I could like that deal for the Reds.

      • @WVRedlegs: We go from a surplus LH relief to Parra. But Kipnis is really interesting. Gardner, OK.

        I would do that deal if we are done with Chapman

        • @reaganspad:

          Maybe they threw in Marshall because he was mentioned yesterday with Colorado. But I could see it more possible if Alfredo Simon was the reliever to be included. Clev could possibly use Simon as their closer after dumping the pot head Perez.

          • @WVRedlegs: going forward, I would rather have Simon than Marshall.

            I agree that he has closer potential and I think he saves about 4.0 mil over Marshall per.

            I think we are on to something really special with Parra, and finding another LH seems pretty easy.

            So we trade BP, Chapman and Marshall. that is about 22 mil. I would want Kipnis extended.

            But if this is just for 2014 (I assume Kipnis is in the last year of contract) I would still do this. That gives you lots of biscuits to sign Homer this year and then go all out for Kipnis next year when Broxton, Gardner and Ludwick come off next year. He may be the guy you offer the Choo contract too, just next year

          • @reaganspad: No, Kipnis is arbitration eligible next off-season. He isn’t a FA until 2018. That’s a big reason why I’d like the deal.

          • @WVRedlegs: I can’t help thinking we don’t do this. We give up 2 All-Stars and a pitcher known as the best set-up guy in the league, and we get back a 2nd baseman with one good season and an off-injured CF? It would seem to me to be more of a salary dump to keep what we have (extending them) rather than an improvement.

      • @WVRedlegs: Honestly, I really doubt it will happen because:

        1) CLE just told Masterson he won’t be traded this offseason according to MLB.com’s Jordan Bastain.
        2) Kipnis is only arb eligible after this season and is under team control until 2018.
        3) Cabrera is a more likely trade candidate for CLE.
        4) Kipnis is perhaps the best player on the Indians.

      • @WVRedlegs: That seems pretty steep to me, I don’t think I do that deal.

        Kipnis had a .345 BABIP last year that pushed his offense up. He’s average in the field. The year before he hit .257/.335/.379, which isn’t bad, but isn’t star caliber.

        He is probably a step up from BP, but only a win or so. Gardner would help, but how much better than Hamilton will he really be? He’s another one that we’d be buying high on after a high BABIP season.

        For those two, one of whom is a one year rental, you’d give up Chapman, Marshall, BP, and a prospect?

        • @al: I’d give up those three for Kipinis alone, even if Gardner wasn’t there. He can handle the field, he can hit, has a healthy BB%, and speed, plus he’s got 4 years of team control left. All for an expensive closer, 2B and setup man?That moves clears A BUNCH of cash from the payroll that could be used to sign Latos and/or Bailey.

          Yep. I’d do it. It won’t happen. But I’d do it in a NY minute.

    • @reaganspad: We spend days on the notion that RBI is an overrate stat and suddenly it becomes the centerpiece of the discussion.

      It’s hard for a leadoff guy to get RBIs.

      • @Johnu1: Which is what was wild about Stubbs in 2010 when he was lead off. 77 RBIs is a bunch

        My point was that Stubbs 2010 created more runs for the Reds with 91 Runs and 77 RBIs than Choo did last year with 107 and 54

        • @reaganspad: What?

          They have a stat that measures Runs Created for the ball club…Stubbs 2010 isn’t even close to Choo’s 2013. Not even close.

  14. The Pirates signed Volquez to a 1yr/$5mil deal. It’s gonna really suck if they work their magic on him and he dominates the Reds.

  15. Thanks to everyone for contributing to the discussion so far. I always learn alot from the discussion comments, so its been a great opportunity to provide the prompt today and hear people kick around some ideas.

    I just have a couple thoughts to add –

    1) My motivation for this thought exercise was to find a way to replace Choo’s 5.2 WAR in the lineup for 2014 given the players who are realistically available via trade and who the team already has. That got me on Headley, who produced 3.6 WAR even in a down year for him with some minor injuries, and is at least being discussed as available. Admittedly those are issues (injuries, performance) that one might raise to be pessimistic about Headley, but those are the major reasons why players become available in the first place (contract being another, and calling your owner a liar). Headley’s floor would be equal or slightly better than Frazier, while his upside is much higher for 2014 and he’s one year removed from a 7 WAR season.

    2) Of course that does mean creatively moving Frazier around, and he does have some major league and extensive minor league experience at a number of positions – although of course we don’t necessarily know how he would play (especially at 2B, which is admittedly iffy, I think he’d be fine in LF with 178 games played in the minors and 13 games in the ML). And the Reds did stick Choo in CF last year so they have shown some willingness to sacrifice defense for offense and fit round pegs into square holes.

    3) What does that do with Ludwick? I know a couple people have mentioned that he is still around, and having him back healthy would certainly help. In 2012 he was a 1.9 WAR player, which was good. The question is whether that is repeatable, particularly when going back 5 years his bWAR (across SD, PIT, and CIN) was -0.9, 1.9, -0.6, 1.9, 1.3. Given that he’s going to be 35, I think that 1.9 is probably the uppermost range for Ludwick. Maybe he still has something left, but if we stand pat at LF for 2014 and Frazier repeats his 3 WAR at 3B, even the most optimistic scenario for Ludwick would be a net of +2 WAR, leaving a gap of 3 WAR to replace Choo.

    4) Michael Young – He would certainly cost less than Headley, but I think its an instance of getting what you pay for. He’s 37, his bWAR for was -1.2 in 2013, and -2.0 in 2012, and his defensive metrics have been negative at 2B and 3B. He used to have power, but hit 8 HR each of the last two years. I’d consider moving Frazier for Headley, but not for Michael Young.

    5) I don’t know anything about proposed 3 team deals the Indians and Yankees, so I’ll leave that alone.

    Thanks for reading, and as always I’m really enjoying the lively discussion on RLN. Go Reds!

    • @Tony Liao:

      Great job. You sparked some nice conversation and debate. You also did exactly what WJ does, when seeking out trade material. According to his interviews, he and his staff ranked 5-6 players on what they were searching for and then went after the top ranked player by their criteria. And alas, the Latos and Choo acquistions. You may have a future on some teams sabermetrics unit some day.

  16. Twitter dude claims we’re going to sign Arroyo tonight or tommorrow. If thats true it doesn’t make sense, we need offence not more starting pitching that will be 6 with Arroyo. He’s been great but it does’nt make sense with Leake and K machine Cingrani at the back end and at his age and money he wanted.

    • @B-town Fan: Cossack had a good explanation on how the Arroyo signing could pay off. It puts Cingrani in the pen for seasoning and allows for Stephenson to be ready next year to replace Bailey.

      • @Johnu1: and hence our second LH in the Pen

        it does work and allows the trade of Chapman and Marshall

  17. Johnu1 i simply don’t agree with putting Cingrani in the pen, his value and development is best in the rotation, we don’t want to repeat the Chapman thing all over again with him.

    • @B-town Fan: Could be a lot of folks don’t agree with it. But there’s only 5 rotation spots. This team eventually HAS to get a lefty into that 5-some. But I am also in the group that says you don’t get too much MLB-seasoned pitching.

  18. More likely this is probably paving the way to move a starter in a trade.

    • @ToddAlmighty: Went to Game 6 of the World Series and they are still looking at trying to improve their team more than the Reds.

        • @Johnu1: Yeah, but they get to dream big, then settle for still better than average. The Reds fans just get to dream average and then have to settle for whatever former Cardinal on the wrong side of 30 it’ll be this season.

          • @ToddAlmighty: Tulo was never going to St. Louis but the scribes were all wishing for it. Nothing like have a super talent stashed in the Rocky Mountain time zone.

            But I agree … so far, we’ve picked up a minor league pitcher, a utility infielder and have coaxed Corky Miller not to to leave the organization.

            But Manny Parra is happy and somebody named Pico is the new pitching coach.

            Again, what bugs me is that somehow the Dusty legacy of having to find a leadoff guy who just always happens to the the center fielder … how did we get this way?

          • @Johnu1: Probably the same reason that Votto can’t bat 2nd since he’s a 1st baseman.

            The Reds need to do something drastic to get a big time bat added to the team. See if you can pick up Domonic Brown from the Phillies and then make a big package to trade for either Kemp or Stanton.

            Hamilton, 2B
            Votto, 1B
            Kemp or Stanton CF
            Bruce, RF
            Brown, LF
            Frazier, 3B
            Mesoraco, C
            Cozart, SS

            I think that lineup could win a heck of a lot of games offensively. Try to make it happen with using some combination of… Bailey(or Leake), Travieso, Winker, Henry Rodriguez, Soto, and Corcinco to get the two. I think the Reds still have plenty of prospects to deal with even without touching Hamilton/Stephenson/Ervin.

            Need to make the team’s offense *better* than it was last season, not just try to get as close to Choo’s production as you can, and then just hope for every single other player to just have a better year.

          • @ToddAlmighty: I would agree that there isn’t a good reason why a top HR hitter would not want to play 81 in GABP.

            But I was thinking, just for the halibut … what if Choo does come back? What if BP isn’t traded? What if Hamilton IS ready?

            Hamilton, Votto, Choo, Bruce, Phillips … maybe in that order. Choo in LF … Mesoraco upgrades the bottom third of the lineup.

          • @Johnu1: That’s an awful lot of left handedness close together. If Dusty was still in town, toothpicks would be swallowed at the thought.

          • @Johnu1: There’s talk that Choo already has 7 year offers out there on the table. He’s looking for 7/$140, but even if it’s 7/$105, that’s WAY too much money for a guy going into his 32-32 age season that should probably be platooned due to how terrible he is against lefties.

            I like Choo, a lot. I don’t think I like him 7 year, $100m+ contract a lot though.

          • @ToddAlmighty: “The Reds fans just get to dream average and then have to settle for whatever former Cardinal on the wrong side of 30 it’ll be this season.”

            Some of the best comments yet Todd. I’m tired of Gardner this, Headly that…dump Phillips, dump Chapman. Let’s not dump our best talent and get inferior Garndner/Headly/whatever avg MLB’r. Where is this influx of money that the Reds were supposed to get from TV deal…increased attendence? That’s all that was talked about for the last few years.

            Love your Dominic Brown thoughts

  19. BP throws cold water on a trade to the NYY for Gardner. He doesn’t just want to burn some bridges as he leaves town, he wants to nuke them. General Sherman would be proud. Apparently he had a no-trade clause in his contract to the NYY. To approve, he wanted NYY to re-do his contract. More $$$.

    • I loved Phillips and always will a little bit. He was a great player to have in the organization and I can’t thank him enough for all he did for the Reds, but he needs to go.

      GABP was small anyway, but there isn’t nearly enough room for BP and his ego to play in that stadium, let alone the rest of the team.

    • @WVRedlegs: Glad that trade didn’t happen. Gardner?? really?? Unless they were going to turn Gardner + Phillips saved $$$ into a bonafied cleanup hitter, im glad it didn’t go down.

  20. 1) why people continue to put so much faith in unsorced sportwriter “journalism” is beyond me.

    2) why you would be upset with the guy for enforcing his no trade clause? Why should he waive it for free? He likes Cincy, and miraculously, seems to like the fans for some reason. BP hasn’t always behaved himself, and I wouldn’t mind BP being traded, but doesn’t owe the organization any favors. If you want to be upset with someone, be upset with Reds’ management for giving it to him in the first place…

    • @CP:

      I didn’t get that info off the twitter dude. It was on Rosenthal’s and the Yankee’s twitter.
      I am not upset with BP. I have been somewhat amused by it all. I have a baseball and a bat signed by him. I really enjoyed talking to him at a couple of Reds Caravans. I have admired his selflessness and at the same time cringed at his selfishness.
      I am glad that BP has come to his senses, as there is talk that he could waive his no-trade clause to NYY. BP and his bravado are made for New York City. He could flourish there, or he could be eaten alive by the media if he gets on their wrong side.
      My hope is BP is saying, to borrow another George Castanza-ism, “Jerry, the New York Yankees. I’m bustin’, Jerry, I tell you I’m bustin’. The New York Yankees!”
      To become a star on the Yankees team for BP, it could boost any HOF dreams he has. There is alot to look forward to in NY for BP, IF he has the right mindset.

      • @WVRedlegs: It’s too early to close the door on the BP to NYY trade. With three and a half months to opening day, it still could happen.

  21. “why you would be upset with the guy for enforcing his no trade clause? Why should he waive it for free? He likes Cincy, and miraculously, seems to like the fans for some reason. BP hasn’t always behaved himself, and I wouldn’t mind BP being traded, but doesn’t owe the organization any favors. If you want to be upset with someone, be upset with Reds’ management for giving it to him in the first place”

    Yeah, it’s a little hard to get upset with a guy for following a contract agreed to by both sides. If someone offered me a job in a place I didn’t want to work, I would say no. I most likely would demand a big raise and other perks to get me. If the company was serious, OK, I’d take it and praise God for the bonus. Otherwise I do what I love where I am, even if some people around me are disgruntled.

  22. I don’t understand the urgency to get rid of Phillips. Who carried this offense for the 1st 3 months of the season? IMO, the HBP in June derailed what was shaping up to be a career year. As it turned out, he was forced into a cleanup role, changed his approach, and performed very adequately. Many on here give Votto a pass for his injury, but say nothing of BP’s.
    I don’t know what goes on in the clubhouse, weather he is a cancer, or not. I willing to bet that on every team everybody in the clubhouse isn’t singing Kumbahya. I just know what he does on the field. Gold glove defense, adequate/clutch hitting.
    Hopefully, this Brett Gardner for BP talk is now over. Read Mancuso’s thoughts/facts about him. Aging player on the decline/ less speed/ 1 yr rental. BP is a BARGAIN at 12 million in today’s market

    • Hopefully, this Brett Gardner for BP talk is now over. Read Mancuso’s thoughts/facts about him. Aging player on the decline/ less speed/ 1 yr rental.

      I would bet a ton of money, giving odds, that Brett Gardner would beat Brandon Phillips in a 40-yard, 60-yard and 100-yard sprint. I even think that Mesoraco is faster than Phillips, who is now just deadly slow.

      The primary reason to trade Phillips, aside from that he won’t produce what he would be paid, is (apparently) that nobody who knows him likes him very much.

      • @Big Ed: That may or may not matter about whether his teammates like him. If that’s the primary reason to trade him, you still have to ask the question:

        What is the team’s objective?

  23. Have to say this: After the good news of Dusty being replaced by Price, the offseason has been nothing but bad news. Both the BP and Chappy situations have been bungled, the front office seems content to let Ludwick’s return “fix” the offense, and there seems little urgency to improve a team that at the end of 2013, looked stagnant.

    I am officially worried.

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