Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported that the Red Sox could make Yoenis Cespedes available this offseason in his column on Sunday.

Word is spreading that the Red Sox could make Cespedes available. He will earn $10.2 million in the final year of his deal. Cespedes said late in the season that he wasn’t sure whether he’d engage in long-term talks with the Red Sox. Couple that with his desire not to play right field or work on his defense, and that could make him a trade candidate as the Red Sox try to pare their outfield depth and possibly make room for Mookie Betts or add a lefthanded hitter

Well……there is an impact bat that the Reds could get to fill their left-field hole.

Steve Mancuso already covered Yoenis Cespedes in Left Field Trade Targets, Part 2, but with the news that Cespedes could actually be available surfacing, let’s look a little deeper.

Cespedes is coming off a slightly disappointing season based on what you would have expected from him. Between the A’s and Red Sox, Cespedes hit .260/.301/.450 with 22 HR, 100 RBI, 109 wRC+, and 3.4 WAR. Those numbers are a far cry from when Cespedes finished 2nd in the AL Rookie of the Year, and 10th in the MVP voting when he came on the scene in 2012. That season, Cespedes hit .292/.356/.505 with 23 HR, 70 RBI, 139 wRC+, and 2.9 WAR in 129 games.

2014 Yoenis Cespedes would still be a major upgrade from the Reds 2014 LF production.

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Ok, so maybe a major upgrade was a bit of an understatement?

Cespedes would make the Reds offense in 2015 a lot better. Early projections from Steamer project him to hit .271/.322/.473 with 23 HR, 83 RBI, 119 wRC+, and 3.0 WAR. Obviously, Cespedes’ .301 OBP from 2014 was well below the league average of .312, but he is projected to jump back above that next season at .322. Getting on base was certainly one of the Reds biggest issues in 2014, and something that needs to be addressed. However, Cespedes’ consistent power makes him an above average hitter even if he only gets on base about 30% of the time. He is also a great defender in left-field, who has the ability to play center-field. Cespedes has 17 DRS and a 9.6 career UZR/150 in over 2300 career innings in LF.

I can already picture the Reds lineup with Cespedes, and it is beautiful thing (and you can shuffle 2-6 however you would like, or even drop Hamilton to 8th or 9th):

  1. Hamilton
  2. Votto
  3. Frazier
  4. Cespedes
  5. Bruce
  6. Mesoraco
  7. Phillips
  8. Cozart

Cespedes only has one year remaining on his contract, and will get paid $10.5 million in 2015. With each win using wins above replacement being worth over $5 million, he would certainly be worth well above $10.5 million for 2015. It would certainly be unlikely that the Reds could re-sign him past 2015 with their already allotted payroll, but you never know.

The biggest problem with Yoenis Cespedes isn’t his OBP, or even his $10.5 million contract. It is what it would cost to get him. I would assume that the Red Sox aren’t look for prospects for him (something the Reds don’t have a lot anyways). This is a team that is only one (not even finished yet) season removed from being the World Series champs. The only reason that I would believe the Red Sox would want to trade Cespedes would be to get better right away. And after trading their ace Jon Lester to get Cespedes at the trade deadline (maybe a move they planned on flipping from the beginning), they need something the Reds have: starting pitching.

The Reds have three really good starting pitchers who are set to be free agents following 2015: Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, and Mike Leake. So would any of those three be worth trading for Cespedes?

Johnny Cueto

There is no way the Reds should trade Cueto straight up for Cespedes. Cueto is coming off a 4.1 WAR season, where posted a 2.25 ERA and 3.20 FIP. Steamer projections for Cueto are a bit slim for 2015, saying Cueto will only be worth 2.7 WAR. That still isn’t enough to me to make want a Cueto for Cespedes deal straight up. Cueto has a $10 million option for 2015 that will certainly be picked up, so he and Cespedes will be making about the same amount of money next seasons.

The only way I would consider a Cueto for Cespedes deal would be if it included another major league ready starting pitcher to replace Cueto (Joe Kelly), or a solid prospect.

Mat Latos

Latos for Cespedes seems like as fair of a trade straight up as you could possibly imagine. If the Red Sox are looking to trade Cespedes for a young established starting pitcher, this would would seem like the best fit. Latos is coming off a season where he only made 16 starts, after batting arm injuries all season. Despite some serious concerns with his declining fastball velocity, his numbers were only slightly down from his outstanding 2013 season (3.25 ERA, 3.65 FIP).

This would be a move that the Reds could make to to significantly include their offense, and then have a direct focus on the future. The Reds could then cross Latos off the list, and focus on extending Cueto and/or Leake. The Red Sox certainly have the payroll flexibility, so a player with only one year left on their deal wouldn’t likely be a big concern for them.

Mike Leake

To this point in Mike Leake’s career, he has been an average MLB pitcher. He was certainly a solid starting pitcher in 2014, posting a 3.70 ERA, and a career best 3.88 FIP. Leake drastically improved from 2013 to 2014 in K/9 (5.71 to 6.89). That is certainly encouraging. With that being said, it would be pretty hard to believe the Red Sox would even consider Leake for Cespedes. My gut feeling would be that the Red Sox would want a top of the rotation starting pitcher for Cespedes. A deal for Leake would have to have a lot of other pieces surrounding it.

Alfredo Simon or Tony Cingrani

Dream on.

Propsects

The Reds farm system certainly isn’t loaded, and it would be hard to believe the Red Sox would be looking to rebuild. I am sure Robert Stephenson or Jesse Winker for Cespedes could have a lot of potential, but I don’t think the Reds should look into giving away a top prospect for a 1-year rental player.

Conclusion

Walt Jocketty should absolutely be on the phone with Ben Cherington about Cespedes. There is no way the Reds can resign both Cueto and Latos past 2015. If the Reds could get a player of Cespedes caliber, and maybe even more for a starter they are already going to lose, I say go for it.

131 Responses

  1. Art Wayne Austin

    Why is Cespedes about to be with his 3rd team in one year?

    • farmington

      He has 1 year left on his deal, you cannot place a qualifying offer on him, he makes 10 million, and he is one of teh only power hitters available.

    • redmountain

      He is a bit of a prima donna, and his defense can be spotty sometimes. Plus his speed is a waste at Fenway. The one year rental makes sense if you believe that Yorman or Winker or Earvin, etc could take over in 2016. I am not sure that is too far from being quite possible that one would be ready if not two.

    • lwblogger2

      Are you suggesting clubhouse issues? It certainly isn’t out of the question but I don’t think that’s it. The Sox wanted someone they could flip when they traded Lester. They are loaded in the OF so Cespedes isn’t needed. I don’t think they want to trade him so badly that they’ll just give him away either. I think it’s a matter of them thinking they can get some value out of Cespedes, trading from a position of strength. I don’t think it has anything to do with Cespedes as a person.

  2. WVRedlegs

    If they go the Cespedes route, that is an all-in again move like the Choo deal. That makes me kind of ambivalent on this move. While Cespedes’ power sure plays in GABP, he could well enhance his offensive numbers in his contract year. If the Reds could get him to ink a 1 year extension, 2 years of those kinds of numbers could really benefit Cespedes in the long run and get him a bigger FA contract after 2016. It could be a win-win for both the Reds and Cespedes to spend 2 years in Cincinnati, instead of one.

    • farmington

      He just signed with ROC nation sports agency, he will hit the open market.

    • droomac

      A move for Cespedes would be similar to the Choo situation, though I would much rather have 2013 Choo than 2014 Cespedes. However, my concern is that the team is still not a pennant contender, unless everything breaks just right on the injury front. With as many as the Reds have coming back from injury, I just don’t see this as likely. In my mind, the much better play (though not as safe with the fan base) would be to move both Cueto and Chapman for pieces that could help in ’15 and beyond.

    • reaganspad

      great point WVREDLEGS, the 2 years would be a superior outcome.

      But in value for value, top of line play for top of line player, I would take cespedes for Latos straight up.

      It has me wondering why Walt did not sign this kid out from under the A’s originally. It is not like we are not signing these cuban players and it is looking like we have another great pitcher for next year in Iglasias.

      We add back Cingrani, Iglasias and maybe Marshall to our pen next year. Still would have Cueto, Bailey, Simon Leake and we would go into the year trying to figure out who our 5th starter is.

      I’ll play that with just a few bench positions to figure out. Payroll neutral

      • lwblogger2

        The Reds really signed Inglasias with the intent to start him. I don’t think they want to put him in the MLB pen in 2015. I think Inglasias’ stuff may play better as a starter anyway. He isn’t overpowering and has 2 quality pitches with a 3rd pitch that needs work. I think he could be in the rotation as early as 2016 if they don’t throw him in the MLB pen this year.

    • Redsfan48

      Cespedes’ power should play perfectly in GABP. I can easily imagine him hitting 40+ HRs if half of his games were at GABP. honestly, only 3-5 players probably have better power for GABP in the entire major leagues (Stanton, Cruz, and Abreu for sure, possibly Trout and Miguel Cabrera). Would love to see Cespedes, but I would much rather see the deal be Leake plus a mid-level prospect (or maybe someone like Ervin), or better yet, offer them TWO starting pitchers (Leake and Simon)

  3. Tom Reed

    Cespedes could be the one year rental cleanup hitter to get the Reds to the World Series. Latos to the BoSox but not Cueto.

  4. Steve Mancuso

    The pitcher that best matches up to Cespedes for a one-on-one trade is Mat Latos. But does his health uncertainty nix that idea? Maybe, maybe not.

    If not Latos, then Mike Leake. But the Reds would probably have to kick in a little more. And then, where would the Reds be going forward? If they don’t extend Leake long-term and they can’t afford both Cueto and Latos, that leaves them with only two pitchers (Bailey and Latos or Bailey and Cueto) extended.

    That leaves Cueto, in which case the Reds should ask for a little more in return.

    Cespedes is a good fit from an offensive standpoint because of his power and he plays LF.

    • HELLSBELLS

      Would you do Cueto for Cespedes and Mookie Betts?

      • tct

        I don’t think the Sox trade Betts for Cueto straight up at this point.

      • lwblogger2

        Right. I think that “How about Cespedes and Bogaerts?” would be more reasonable. May as well ask them though.

    • Redsfan48

      Leake plus Simon? Or maybe Leake plus a mid-level prospect (I’d say pretty much anybody other than YoRod, Winker, Stephenson, Lorenzen, or Lively)

  5. jgang05

    Go after Aoki and be done with it. Hes cheaper, gets on base more, has a better average, and you wouldn’t have to give up anything for him.

      • sultanofswaff

        LF could solve itself pretty quickly….possibly be as soon as late May given Winker’s domination of the AFL. A veteran insurance piece like Aoki or Morse would be the more sensible move, but the fans would be none too happy about it.

        If I were Walt, my first foray into the trade market would be to dangle Chapman in order to acquire a SS. We’d match up well with Philly for Jimmy Rollins (.717 OPS, 28 SB) and the ChiSox for Alexei Ramirez (.713 OPS, plus defense). Both teams need to make some bold moves. This would fit the bill.

      • HELLSBELLS

        Actually the Ramirez idea is not bad, but Chapman is worth way more. Also, he makes 10 mil. Doubt they can take on that money and still be able to do more.

      • reaganspad

        Same money that Chapman will get in arb +/-

      • tct

        I still think the reds should go after starlin castro. Only 24, signed for the next 5 years at around 8 million AAV. Was a league average MLB hitter at age 19. I really like his bat and think he grows into some more power. He’s not nearly as bad defensively as some people make him out to be. They could put him at short. Or they could try him in left to see if Cozart finds his power again. Eventually, he would be BP’s replacement.

        I think a deal centered around Chapman and Castro could work if the Cubs planned on extending Chapman and trying him as a starter. He’s got two years of team control left. The Cubs could offer him a three or four year extension and pay him like an elite closer- 12 mil AAV or thereabouts. If he turned into a solid starting pitcher, they would be getting a good deal, and if he turned into an ace it would be a steal. The Cubs have loads of hitting prospects, but only a couple good pitching prospects, so this would fill a need. And as long as he is healthy, they would know that in the worst case scenario they would put him back in the pen and have one of the best relievers in baseball.

    • Nick Kirby

      Aoki only hit 1 HR all of last season. I certainly like the .349 OBP, but he only had a 104 wRC+ (meaning he was only slightly better than average). Cespedes is a much better fielder too.

      • droomac

        I have a feeling that Aoki’s price has increased dramatically because of his World Series appearance. Guys who play on pennant winning teams that haven’t sniffed the playoffs for a quarter century tend to be fan favorites. I’m guessing that KC will give him a nice three year deal.

      • Redsfan48

        I’d say he has 5-10 HR power at GABP but will get on at. .350+ clip, which in itself helps a lot. Hit him 2nd behind Hamilton to have a lineup that looks like this:

        Hamilton
        Aoki
        Votto
        Frazier/Mesoraco
        Mesoraco/Frazier
        Bruce
        Phillips
        Cozart

        OR lead off Aoki and have this lineup:

        Aoki
        Votto
        Frazier/Mesoraco
        Mesoraco/Frazier
        Bruce
        Phillips
        Hamilton/Cozart
        Cozart/Hamilton

        Either way it’s a significant upgrade over last year. More people on for Frazier and Meso to drive in

    • Redsfan48

      From best to worst options for LF for 2015:

      Cespedes
      Markakis
      Aoki
      Morse
      Heisey/YoRod (platoon probably, but maybe just one)
      Ludwick (God No!)

  6. droomac

    Cespedes would likely produce about as well as Ludwick did in 2012. So, yes, getting Cespedes would be a solid short-term offensive addition to the lineup. While trading Cueto for Cespedes would be nuts at this point, Latos for Cespedes would be a fair trade. If Latos were to go for Cespedes, however, this would essentially mean that the Reds are going to focus on extending Leake.

    As far as trade ideas are concerned, how does this sound? Latos and a prospect (not top 7 or 8) for Cespedes and Nava. The Red Sox have no fewer than seven outfielders. Then, the Reds would have four viable outfielders, a backup first baseman, and would be able to non-tender Heisey (saving some money). They would also have couple of more productive years out of Nava following the departure of Cespedes.

    • droomac

      Also, would the Red Sox consider, if for just an instance, a Cespedes for Homer trade?

      • HELLSBELLS

        I would do that in a millisecond. How about about throw in Phillips and a bag of chips!

      • greenmtred

        The Reds need an offensive upgrade, no question. But the only solid reason for trading significant talent for a one-year rental would be if the Reds believed that the rental puts them over the top and into the Series, even without the talent they traded to get the rental. Trading Cueto might make sense, but he’s the kind of guy you might bring IN as a rental, not the guy you’d trade for one.

      • tct

        Cueto, Cozart, Garett for Cespedes and Bogaerts. Who says no?

      • droomac

        The problem with Bogaerts is his defense. He is probably not a SS in the long-run.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Not with Homer coming off arm surgery.

      • droomac

        I agree. However, if the Reds were to include . . . . Then again, this trade would look horrible from a PR perspective, as it would essentially convey that the extension was given to the wrong guy.

      • al

        I don’t think that there is a single team in the league that would take Homer Bailey from the Reds for nothing right now. His contract is bad and just gets worse from here.

        I would be interested in seeing how much money the Reds would have to eat just to get someone to take Bailey. He’s owed just about $100mil over the next 5 years, which pays him like he’s about a 3.5 WAR pitcher (17.5 total over 5 years at $5.5mil per win).

        Over the last 5 seasons he’s averaged about 2 WAR, which would get him to 10 total over the next 5 years, assuming he doesn’t decline. So the difference would be 7.5 WAR, or about $42mil.

        So then the question is, if you were another team’s GM and you could trade a C-level prospect for Bailey and $40mil, would you? If you were Walt Jocketty, would you eat the $40mil that the number say you should, or would you hope that Bailey bounces back? How much of his salary would you eat to unload the rest, or do you still think it’s a good deal for the Reds?

        For me, since $40mil is about the break-even point, I would probably keep Bailey at that level, just to save the Reds the bad PR. However, if I could get a guy like Cespedes, I would eat $30mil and take on his $10mil. I think that would be fair, and would let me improve the offense and largely get out from under a bad contract. The Sox would then get Bailey at about $13mil per year for the next 5, which could be a good value for them.

      • droomac

        If I’m Walt, I’m hoping Homer bounces back in ’15 and becomes more tradable as a consequence. If the Reds are out of the race in July and Homer has a solid year, there could be a taker. If the Reds hang on but Homer because they are in the race and he has a 3-4 WAR year, then they could probably move him in the offseason.

      • lwblogger2

        You’re assuming he’s a 2 WAR pitcher and I’m not sure he isn’t better than that. I was against such a big extension for Bailey but don’t feel like it’s going to be an albatross. You seem to think it’s one of the worst deals in the history of baseball as you bring it up every chance you seem to get. I’m not so convinced that we can make that assumption based on the first year for the deal. So, to answer your question, yes, I would take that deal if I were the Sox GM and the Reds offered it to me. Why? Because although I’m not a giant Bailey fan, I think you’re undervaluing him, and I think he could give me a couple 3+ WAR seasons, which would look good near the top of my rotation.

      • al

        I don’t think it’s the worse baseball history, but I have been mentioning it more lately because it’s the offseason for the Reds and I’m thinking about contracts for the pitchers we have, and it seems pretty clear that we are going to be limited in what we can do now because of what we did last year.

        And I hope that you’re right, and Bailey does get better over the next five years, I just have a hard time believing that a player is very likely to be better in his age 29 through 33 seasons than he was in his 24 through 28 seasons. Using fangraphs, which likes Bailey more than most sites, he averaged 2 WAR over the last 5 years. He was also injured twice this year.

        So what, aside from hope, makes you think that he’s going to be better over the next 5 years, when he will be paid like a 3.5 win pitcher? Hey, if there’s good evidence out there, please, convince me.

    • lars benders

      So you essentially swap out Nava for Heisey, right? And that saves money how? (I assume Nava would be paid something).

      • droomac

        Well, because Heisey will be making upwards of $2.5-3.5 million because of being in his third year of arbitration and Nava is likely to make about half of that. It is not much money saved (relatively speaking), but it is money saved with far better production.

    • HELLSBELLS

      Nava seems to be a common refrain, but he is only valuable as a left handed hitter and can only play LF or 1B. If they get a decent LF, where does he play. If he is the only LF they can get, then we are in trouble as he barely played on a Boston team that was starved for offense. Now Betts has huge value at several positions.

      • droomac

        The vast majority of starters (and most relievers) are RHP and Nava can also play RF. He actually played quite a bit for Boston, an outfield rich team, over the past two years. He had 540 plate appearances last year, when the Red Sox won the World Series. He would also be a very capable pinch hitter.

  7. al

    I don’t understand how the author of the post can so casually dismiss the idea of trading Cingrani. If I were the Red Sox that’s exactly who I would want (if I couldn’t get Stephenson), unless I knew something about Cingrani’s injuries that hasn’t been in the media.

    I think the most important thing to keep in mind in a trade situation like this is that the two teams won 76 and 71 games last year. There’s really no point in either team just swapping one good player for another. That’s what good teams do to get marginally better, or to make space for an up an coming prospect.

    Bad teams don’t trade one good player for another, because you end up being just a different kind of 70+ win team. Cueto, Latos, and Cespedes all have expected WARs in the 2.5 to 5.5 range, both team’s would be giving up as much expected value as they’d be getting.

    However, then there’s a guy like Cingrani. For the Reds, he wasn’t a major contributor last year, so you’re not taking away from the 76 wins we had. So it works for us. We could add Cespedes, keep the same rotation, go all in for 2015, and hope that his addition plus injury rebounds is enough.

    For the Red Sox, they’re getting a guy making no money with 4 years of control, who as of last year was thought of as a potential #3 starter, and giving up a guy with 1 year of control getting paid $10.5mil. They could sign a free agent with that money, and still have Cingrani. So that could work for them. And Cingrani could be the next Travis Wood, who threw up a 4.5 win, all-star season for the Cubs, basically for free.

    That kind of deal makes way more sense for two teams that weren’t good last year.

    • HELLSBELLS

      He’s got a shoulder injurt, that is toxic.

      • al

        Maybe, but Bailey and Latos both ended the year on the DL, Bailey’s had numerous injuries over the years, and Cueto just pitched 244 innings a year after spending most of the previous season on the DL.

        If I was going to trade for any of the Reds pitchers, I’d probably want the youngest one with the most team control. If you trade for any of the others, they are less likely to rebound from injury because of age and innings, and they may miss most of the only season you’d be getting from them.

      • HELLSBELLS

        You make a good case that Cueto is the only tradable commodidty, I agree. Also, who outside of cincy thinks Cingrani will be any good? The national publications are pessimistic on him.

      • al

        I really don’t know what the Red Sox think about Cingrani, but he’s only 24, he’s got 4 years of team control left, and he’s racked up 2.2 WAR and 190 ks in 173 career innings. I know if that was being offered to the Reds, I’d be interested. The injury concern is real, but if they can show that he’s healthy, I would think he would be one of the most valuable trade chips that they have because of his potential, cost, and years of control.

    • tct

      Swapping two good players makes sense for two teams in a similar situation if they have an internal replacement for the player they are trading. Let’s take a potential Latos for Cespedes trade. Cespedes and Latos have similar value overall. But if the reds think they can replace Latos’ value with someone in the organization, say Cingrani, then the trade makes them better because Cespedes is a pretty big upgrade from what they had in left.

      I’m not saying that the reds should make that trade, and I’m not convinced that Cingrani is a solid starter. I’m just saying that sometimes this kind of trade makes sense. If you’ve got an above average player blocking a prospect who is ready and projects to be above average, you can use the veteran to trade for someone to fill in at one of your weaker spots.

      • al

        Yeah, I mentioned that possibility, and that may be the case with the Sox more than the Reds, but since we ended the season with David Holmberg and Dylan Axelrod in the rotation, it’s hard to see how the Reds have a real surplus of starting pitching.

        If the Reds are trying to win in 2015, they are going to need to get value from Cueto, Bailey, Latos, Leake, Simon, and Cingrani. That’s just the reality. If they trade one of the top three of those, that would be a significant setback to winning, so they would have to get a crazy return back for 2015 to be an option.

    • Nick Kirby

      The Red Sox are going to want to win next season. I would have a hard time believing they would trade Cespedes for a player that wouldn’t seem to be able to help them out right away.

      • droomac

        I think this is precisely what they aim to do if they can’t land a starter. They may see the team better off without Cespedes as is. Getting prospects to boot is gravy.

        They have seven outfielders at present (Cespedes, Victorino, Nava, Betts, Bradley, Castillo, and Craig). Castillo and Betts are starters. This leaves five guys fighting for one spot. Craig and Nava can play some 1B, but Napoli is already there (since they have a young catcher they want to give the starting job to). I honestly believe that they think that a Craig/Victorino/Nava combo will give them better production than Cespedes. Perhaps more than anything else, this makes me wary of even exploring a deal for Cespedes.

    • greenmtred

      Besides Cingrani’s shoulder injury, he hasn’t had sustained success, possibly because he has neither overwhelming velocity, secondary pitches, or much command. I imagine other teams know this, know the chances of the league catching up to him, and would view him as an iffy project.

  8. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I’d have to say no. Now, if Homer was the player, I would have to say yes. Sorry, but I just don’t think we need that contract hanging around our necks.

    And, even at that, I would still have some issues. We need OBP players. Ces isn’t part of that equation. He would be a bat to put behind Votto. But, we have Devin for that now.

    Maybe a secondary target. But, I would think there are other fish out there.

    • Jake

      I have to agree with you. While Cespedes power would be welcome at GABP, let’s face it we have enough guys who K +100 a year, we don’t need another. We need guys that can get on base and make contact

      • RedsFaninPitt

        I absolutely agree. Trading for Cespedes only gives us more of the same. It would not all give us what we need. A somewhat limited power bat – folks, we’re only talking 20-25 hrs per year; low obp guy who strikes out more than most. Basically, we are talking about Jay Bruce-lite – w/fewer strikeouts, fewer walks and fewer HRs. We don’t need another low obp, power bat. We need guys that can get on base to put at the top of the order in front of our 4 other power bats.

        What happens when we get to mid-May and realize that Hamilton just is not going to cut it at the top of the batting order? Do you really think that Price is going to move Votto to the top of the lineup. No, it will be BP first, then maybe Frazier; who knows maybe Bruce will get there before they ever try Votto. What next – Yorman? The Reds have got to find a high obp guy, and preferably two of them. I still like Fowler, but the Astros may not be the team to match up the best with since they are no where close to be all-in like the Red Sox, and they don’t have all of the OFs the Sox have – Victorino, Craig, Cespedes, Nava, Betts, Custillo, Holt, and Bradley. How about a trade that no one has proposed. – Cueto/Pena for Betts/Nava. The Sox are looking for LH bat and a backup catcher since they are unlikely to resign Ross. I would be willing to throw Mascot in the deal as well. The Reds would then have two high obp OFs, They could then even and unload Phillips to Atlanta (the Reds would have to be willing to eat some of his salary) for one of their relievers. Even if they aren’t able to unload Phillips, the Reds have two high obp guys who you can put at the top of the lineup if Hamilton fails and one heir apparent to Phillips for when he finally goes away. A solid high obp guy (Nava) off the bench if Hamilton is successful. Both these guys would be cost controlled for a while and you even have some money to spend on pitching – starter/reliever – with the money you saved on Cueto’s salary.

  9. Joe

    No thanks on Cespedes. We have enough power with Mes (25), Frazier (29), and Bruce (18) but usually a 30+ HR guy. We need players that get on base and Cespedes OBP stinks. I say get Aoki (sp?) for left and look into possibly obtaining Rollins for SS.

    Aoki should be affordable and Rollins would be a 1 yr rental. Rollins OBP isn’t outstanding but at .325 over the last several years it would be a nice upgrade from Cozart plus he stole 28 bases last year and is guaranteed 10 mil next year. The Phillies aren’t contenders so they might want to unload a 35 year veteran for prospects.

    Aoki made just under 5 mil last year and is already 32 so he could be signed at about the same amount. Aoki has a .353 OBP so he would fill the leafoff spot nicely.

    Now is Mr Castolini willing to spend another 15 mil for and “all in” season is the question? Getting out from BP’s contract would solve this issue but ib don’t see that happening since Datdude can reject any trade.

    Aoki .353 OBP
    Rollins .323 OBP, 28 SB
    Votto .380 OBP
    Mes .359 OBP last yr, 25 HRs
    Bruce career .325 OBP, 31 HRs
    Frazier career .325 OBP, 29 HR
    Datdude .306 OBP gold glove
    Pitcher
    Hamilton 56 SB, + defender

    Hey I can dream 🙂

    • RedsFaninPitt

      Keep dreaming. This ain’t going to happen since you need additional payroll for arb guys and still need to cleanup your pen. Reds can’t pickup this much additional payroll without finding ways to unload big payroll pieces.

    • Nick Kirby

      Aoki isn’t a better player than Cespedes, and it really isn’t all that close. Since the two players entered the MLB in 2012, Cespedes has a higher wRC+ (115 to 106), and a higher OPS (.780 to 741). Cespedes is a better fielder too. In LF/RF, Cespedes has 17 DRS to Aoki’s 12 DRS (Aoki has nearly 1000 more innings too). It is all about finding players who help you get the most runs (and take away runs). Cespedes is much better at that than Aoki. Don’t fall into the trap that the Reds need an “on-base guy,” or a “power guy.” The Reds just need good players.

      • RedsFaninPitt

        The Reds need certain players not just any player who has a particular OPS. OPS equalizes slugging and OBP. The Reds when healthy have enough slugging, but they are woefully limited on OBP. Don’t make the mistake of purely looking at OPS when it is a particular aspect of OPS that the Reds need. Have you seen any comparisons of Reds and Cards slugging and OBP? Both the Reds and Cards were poor when it came to slugging in 2014. The Reds were 26th out of 30 teams and the Cards weren’t much better – 23rd – even though the Reds hit 26 more HRs. However, the Reds were 29th in OBP, and the Cards were 9th. The biggest difference between the Reds and Cards offense is not Cespedes or power, it is that Cards get on base on much more frequently. They also got on base more frequently in 2013 when the Reds had a healthy Votto and Choo.

      • tct

        The Cardinals, and their great OBP were 23rd in baseball in runs scored. Not exactly a high power offense. The Orioles were 17th in OBP, but 8th in runs scored because they led the league in homers and were 3rd in slugging. There is more than one way to skin a cat. Not making outs and getting on base is the most important part of offense, but power can make up for OBP shortcomings and lack of power can cause a good OBP team to be a mediocre offense.

      • tct

        Exactly right, Nick. The reds need above average offense no matter what package it comes in. It would be great to add a high OBP guy, for sure. But let’s not act like the reds offense was bad only because they didn’t get on base. The truth is, they didn’t hit for power either: 26th in slugging and 20th in ISO in a homer friendly ballpark.

        Saying “we need a left fielder who will put up an OBP over .350 and can leadoff” kind of limits your options in the off season. If you find that player, then great. But there is no reason to overpay for that guy, or even worse to do nothing if you can’t find that guy. If you’ve got a choice between a .270/350/.400 guy and a .270/.310/.500 guy, it might make sense to take the high OBP guy if they cost the same. But if the slugger is cheaper or has more years of control, then take him. They would both be an upgrade over what the reds had last year.

        Bottom line: Get good hitters and then figure out where to put them in the lineup. Taking an inferior hitter (Aoki) over a better hitter (Cespedes) just because the inferior guy fits a stereotypical vision of a spot in the lineup that you think you needs filled is bad business.

      • Thegaffer

        If Aoki is half the price and takes no players or prospects to get, that is better.

      • redsfan06

        This was part of a post I made the other day, so sorry for being repetitive:

        If Votto returns as a 417/491 OBP/SLG next year and Bruce bounces back to 310/420 (half way between his career numbers and last year’s), the Reds are an average team in slugging but still low in OBP, about 307/385.

        The NL average in 2014 was 312/382. The Reds were 296/365.

        The Reds could conceivably get back to being an average slugging team next year with what they already have. It’s pretty doubtful they approach average OBP with the current crop of hitters on the team.

        The biggest difference in comparing Aoki and Cespedes is Cespedes costs the Reds Latos plus $10.5 million for one year. Aoki is a free agent who made $1.5 million last year and could probably be signed for 3 years at $10.5 million.

      • tct

        “If Aoki is half the price and takes no players or prospects to get, that is better.”

        Maybe. My post wasn’t really meant to be a comparison between Aoki and Cespedes, but more about what I think the reds philosophy should be. I’ve seen plenty of people say that the reds need a high OBP guy this off season. I don’t necessarily disagree, but I think they should just be looking for above average offense no matter what form it comes in.

        But as to the Aoki discussion, Aoki will almost certainly be cheaper and may be the better value. But you have to balance value and quality. Going by $/WAR, a one win player that costs one million dollars is a better value than a three win player that costs six million But if that two win difference is the difference between making the playoffs and sitting at home, you would have been better off with the more expensive guy.

  10. Dale Pearl

    Leake is more than an average pitcher. He will give you 200 innings and a WAR score over 0. Is he a strikeout pitcher? No, he is more or less the second coming of Bronson Arroyo. Since he is younger than Yoenis Cespedes I would contend that he is much more valuable long term.
    Each season for Yoenis Cespedes has become progressively worse. I would put him in the high risk category and the only player worth trading for him would be Mat Latos and that is only because of the high risk issues involving Mat.
    Yoenis Cespedes for a one year rental is really not worth it. Jesse Winker is ranked as a top 10 bat in all of the minor leagues so you can’t tell me that if push comes to shove that the Reds simply won’t put the guy out in left. Heck they did it with BHam without Billy even having a full season learning center field.

    • Nick Kirby

      Leake has a career 3.92 ERA and 4.21 FIP. The MLB average ERA and FIP in 2014 was 3.74. I like Leake, as I said in the post. League average pitchers who are durable are valuable. But saying Leake is an average pitcher is the truth.

      • Dale Pearl

        I’m still not buying him as average. You guys talk WAR all the time on this website. Secondly, Leake is usually a pretty decent hitter. Lastly, he is fairly durable and eats up more innings than “average”.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Here is an interesting debate: considering cost, durability and age; who is more valuable to the Reds – Leake or Bailey?

      • ToddAlmighty

        Not even sure that’s a debate. I would take Leake over Bailey instantly. Leake should cost less to extend than Bailey does now, I think is more durable, and has the least flaws. Leake isn’t a velocity guy, so if he takes the Arroyo route, he’s the kind of guy who can get *BETTER* as he ages.

        Remove the Mono year in 2011 and from Bronson’s age 32 to age 36 season he had an ERA under 3.90. In those 4 years he had 10.9 WAR (still removing his fluke Mono season).

        I think Leake can be that kind of guy who can get better in his 30s as he continues to learn how to outsmart and out think batters because he doesn’t have the stuff to rely on so he diversifies.

        In his career, Leake has 5 different pitches he’s thrown 10% of the time or more…. plus there’s the fact I think Leake is more durable than Bailey. Despite being 2 years younger, Leake just finished his 3rd straight season of at least 30 starts. Bailey’s never done that before. Bailey still has a career ERA over 4.00…

      • Nick Kirby

        You can’t possibly even compare Bailey and Leake. Bailey is a much better pitcher. Let’s look at the numbers since 2012:

        Bailey: 562.2 IP, 7.85 K/9, 2.42 BB/9, 0.99 HR/9, 1.19 WHIP, 3.61 ERA, 3.71 FIP, 7.6 WAR
        Leake: 585.2 IP, 6.18 K/9, 2.14 BB/9, 1.08 HR/9, 1.28 WHIP, 3.86 ERA, 4.10 FIP, 4.7 WAR

      • ToddAlmighty

        Nick, unless you look at bWAR, for what ACTUALLY happened rather than what “should” have happened based off of FIP… because fWAR tries to tell us Cueto was only the 14th most valuable pitcher in MLB in 2014 and 5th in the NL. So it’s pretty much trash.

        Bailey still has the lead 7 WAR to 5 WAR.. but that’s nearly a full WAR difference from before. You’re also comparing one pitcher’s age 26-28 seasons (a player’s prime) to another pitcher’s age 24-26 seasons. If you look at Bailey’s 24-26 seasons, it’s significantly less flattering than Leake’s. 3.3 WAR, ERA over 4, under 450 IP.

        What you forgot about the discussion that you never touched on that Charlotte brought up was age, cost, and injury are the factors and this is a future question, not a since 2012 question. Leake is 2 years younger than Bailey. Leake isn’t coming off season ending surgery. Bailey had two trips to the DL last year. Leake should cost significantly less than the 5yr/$96m Bailey has remaining.

      • doctor

        ToddAlmighty

        Regarding comment to Bailey career ERA over 4, so is Bronson’s at 4.19. If you endpoint Homer’s when he seemed to “get it” starting in 2011, Homer ERA is at 3.77.

        Bailey is the guy in the playoffs in 2012 who was dominant vs SF, Leake not so much. Leake can be a valuable piece for a team in the rotation but if Reds need to win a playoff game and has to pick between Bailey/Leake, then the Bailey of the past 3 years is the guy who gets the ball, not Leake.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Oooo, Homer vs Leake. A good question I think. Sure, some numbers may favor Homer. But, some numbers would favor Leake, also. I would have to say Homer has a much higher ceiling. However, I would say that Leake will be the more consistent pitcher. For instance, what one can consider, when all is said and done, it doesn’t make a difference what a pitcher’s ERA, ERA+, fERA, qERA, or whateverERA is, the main thing is always “Did the team win the game?” Since Leake has been in the league, Leake has won 7 more games than Homer. “That’s because Leake has pitched in more games than Homer.” True, but then that could add in favor of Leake, also, to his durability. But, still, winning%? Leake 55%, Homer 53%.

        So, the question can be dependent upon, like with many managers, owners, GM’s, etc., who do you want on your team? Or, how do you want to build your team? Or, other questions as well. For instance, if I had one game to win, I can’t help thinking I would start Homer. However, when considering an entire season, I can’t help thinking I would take Leake with all the added dimensions he brings as a hitter, pinch hitter, pinch runner, etc.

  11. daytonnati

    Okay, I think I have been convinced that a Cueto or Latos for Cespedes deal is not worth it. How about a lesser arm (Cingrani, Simon, maybe Leake) for Allen Craig? He had a terrible year (.215), but he was coming off of 4 consecutive .300+ seasons. Wouldn’t the .215 be the outlier? A much cheaper LF placeholder till Winker is ready – plus, he can play first base. I hated him as a Cardinal, but it was because he killed us so many times. I wonder if he would like a chance to play his old team 19 times a year??

    • Barry Gilpin

      I want no part of Allen Craig if you’re actually giving up something of value . I don’t know why…but I just have a bad vibe about him. For someone to decline so sharply so quickly you have to think he’s hurt. That’said…I’d take a flyer on him if the cost isn’t very high.

      • pinson343

        I wouldn’t give up anything for Craig either. Who knows if he’ll hit and he belongs at first base, he’s a terrible OFer.

    • ToddAlmighty

      Something must be wrong with Craig. There’s a reason he declined so sharply and the Cardinals were fine with parting with him. I don’t trust the Reds medical staff more than the Cardinals medical staff, or the Reds GM over the Cardinals GM.

      Plus then you’re stuck paying him at least $26.5m.

  12. redsfan06

    All things being considered I wouldn’t be against a Latos/Cespedes trade. The Reds have to improve their hitting if they are going to contend in 2015. There may or may not end up being better moves the Reds could make. Cespedes should hit well in GABP. His good defense improves the Reds already top fielding team.

    The Reds are trading a one year pitching rental for a one year hitting rental. The Reds will definitely not be able to re-sign Cespedes and might not need to if Winker continues to develop. Dealing Latos ends the possibility of retaining him long term. Before the injury, I would have targeted him as the best long term signing candidate on the staff. He’s been better than Bailey and shouldn’t be as expensive as Cueto.

    From the Red Sox perspective they give up some cash, Johnny Gomes and a partial season of Lester for the A’s compensation pick and a full season of a better, younger pitcher in Latos, albeit one who was below par in coming back from injury last year.

  13. pinson343

    Fun to read this thread, good stuff. In the end I agree with Nick, Cespedes would be a valuable addition, for one thing Oakland missed his arm in LF when he left. Adding him in LF would give the Reds an elite OF defense, which has been a key for the Royals, for example. I know it’s politically incorrect to mention “clutch”, but it does exist in some cases, and Cespedes loves being in the spotlight. I’d like to see him playing for the Reds in the 2015 postseason.

    Nick suggested a Cueto for Cespedes and Kelly trade, I would approve that. I’d prefer Latos for Cespedes but given Latos’ recent injury problems, I don’t think the Red Sox make that trade.

  14. pinson343

    Nick, I think you underrate Mike Leake’s value. For starters, I admit a bias. He’s one of my favorite Reds, I love it that he’s a ball player, can hit, play defense, run the bases. But that’s not a big part of my argument.

    Over his career he’s been average but his 2015 was better than that. He’s steadily improved so I think his 2015 season is something he can sustain.

    Leake is the “safest” starter the Reds have for a long term contract, in that he’s a very good bet to stay healthy. As Brantley and others have pointed out, he has a low stress delivery and can probably be counted on for a whole lot of full seasons. In short, he’s highly similar to his mentor Bronson, who went all those years without missing a start.
    But where Bronson is an fly ball pitcher, Leake is a ground ball pitcher, an advantage at GABP.

    I like Steve’s idea of signing Leake to an extension, and at least having him and Homer in place. I wouldn’t want to extend Latos until he’s shown his 2014 injury problems are behind him. Cueto’s future with the Reds is obviously uncertain.

    I wouldn’t be opposed to trading Leake, as long as he is valued as more than just an “average pitcher”.

    • Nick Kirby

      I’m not exactly sure how this has turned into Nick hates Mike Leake. I actually really like Leake. I’ve actually said before that I think the Reds should extend Leake and trade/let walk Cueto and Latos. I believe that Leake’s value for the dollars he would demand would be more beneficial and less risky than that of Cueto or Latos. With that being said, there is no way that 1 year of Leake for 1 year of Cespedes would get any traction for a trade.

  15. ToddAlmighty

    Even if they get Cespedes as a one year bridge to Winker, I still think it’s almost REQUIRED to still get Van Slyke from the Dodgers. The Reds have big injury question marks at both RF and 1B and a hitting question mark in CF. He could be the desperately needed insurance policy for all three of them.

    All I know is the Reds can’t take another 166 AB by Pena hitting .259/.311/.343 at first base. Or Hamilton hitting .248/.291/.353 in 556 AB leading off. Or Bruce hitting .217/.290/.367 in 207 AB while batting fourth.

    Cespedes would hit fourth, so Bruce would be a non-issue, and then Van Slyke could be the failsafe if Hamilton/Votto/Bruce can’t hit. If multiple of them can’t hit, then it’s not going to matter. Cozart and BP will be weak. The Reds could potentially absorb one more weak hitter, but not two because then when you include the pitcher, that means 5/9 of your hitters are below average and we’re right back to the lack of offense problem.

    • redsfan06

      Whether or not it is Van Slyke, I agree with you that the Reds really need to pick up two bats. Cespedes fills the black hole in LF. I haven’t given up on BHam, but another whole season of him leading off with similar results to 2014 isn’t going to work. Cozart has steadily declined at the plate from an OPS+ of 82, 82 to a pitiful 61 last season. Bruce and Votto represent uncertainties with potentially positive impact. BP will be OK, but no huge contribution from 2B. There are no bench players who can hit to step in if needed.

    • Nick Kirby

      Chris Heisey is a pretty good player. He would be one of the top 4th OF in all of baseball. If the Reds got Cespedes, they would be fine.

      • WVRedlegs

        Heisey gets a big ole Non-tender in a few weeks. No way he is worth $3M a year, in actual dollars, not the fantasy league WAR worth. Non-tender him and then maybe re-sign him for less, around $1M, if he is even worth that. They can get a player that does what Heisey does, and doesn’t do, for less than $1M.

      • ToddAlmighty

        If they nontender Heisey, he gets snatched up in an instant by another team, and then the Reds bench and team is that much worse.

        Heisey plays plus defense at all 3 OF spots and is a force as a PH. Gomes got 2yr/$10m and isn’t as good of an all-around player as Heisey. Think you’re really undervaluing his role as a 4th OF and PH, where he’s a career .283/.335/.587 hitter.

      • wvredlegs

        Please now. Heisey over the last two years:
        2013- 244 PA’s, .237/.279, .111 BA as a PH.
        2014- 299 PA’s. .222/.265, .273 BA as a PH.
        Heisey at best is a 5th OF. Heisey has not earned a $3M arb. salary. The Reds could get that kind of production from Donald Lutz at 1/6 the salary. Or maybe Burgious (sp).
        Heisey is a big drag on the team’s OBP.

      • ToddAlmighty

        Heisey doesn’t solve the issue of if Votto isn’t able to play again. The Reds played 100 games without a real first baseman last year. Bruce at 1st, Frazier at 1st, Pena at 1st, everyone at 1st.

        Van Slyke would give insurance for Votto at 1st as well as insurance for both Hamilton and Bruce. Expect Heisey to be a good bat off the bench once more.

      • Nick Kirby

        Considering the Reds will be paying Skip Schumaker $2.5 million next year, I’m not exactly sure how Heisey isn’t worth around the same amount.

      • wvredlegs

        Schumaker should not even be on the Reds 25-man roster for 2015. Release him and eat that $3M, if he can’t be traded.
        I’d rather see the Reds upgrade their bench with the addition of A’s OF Craig Gentry or Angels OF Collin Cowgill. No Schumaker and no Heisey in 2015.

      • Michael Smith

        A bad contract for one player does not justify one for another. You can fill that role with someone for much less.

      • Nick Kirby

        Colin Cowgill is not better than Chris Heisey. Cowgill is projected to hit .233/.297/ .340 with an 87 wRC+ next season. Heisey is projected to hit .241/.289/.397 with a 90 wRC+ next season. Heisey’s defensive metrics are better than Cowgill’s. So many folks on this site seem to completely underrate and underappreciate power. Cowgill has a career .339 SLG and .097 ISO. Heisey has a career .422 SLG and .174 ISO.

      • Michael Smith

        Nick Since 2012 Heisey’s power stats have been dropping. His career numbers imo have been inflated by his 2011 season.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        I do believe Heisey will be a non-tendered player, also, though I could see the Reds still making an offer. If they do, I believe they are either going to eat that much money sitting on the bench. Or, more likely, they are going to platoon him with someone out in LF.

      • WVRedlegs

        Nick, breaking out the steamer projections, P-U. Thats a ripe terd, a real steamer. Let me get the hip-waders on. Lets talk about actual numbers for 2014.
        Heisey: 299 PA’s. .222/.265, 5%BB, 34 R.
        Cowgill: 293 PA’s, .250/.330, 8.9%BB, 37 R.
        Heisey has him on power.
        Cowgill smokes Heisey on OBP and BB%. We certainly don’t want traits like that in a Reds hitter. All the talk about the Reds front office over-valuing their own players or being too loyal to their own players, Heisey is a prime example.
        Heisey is an adequate 5th OF and PH off the bench. If he were to start a game where do you bat him? The Reds have enough 6-7-8 hitters.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Oh, Heisey’s much better than a 5th OF, that’s definite. When he and Ludwick competed for the starting LF job, Heisey started 32 of 42 games, batting 288/324. I do believe Heisey may be a player who simply needs to be given the opportunity to play everyday. He earned that right coming out of ST this season with essentially the only hot bat coming out of ST. The only thing keeping Ludwick in the starting lineup was the Reds not wanting to see $7 million sitting on the bench.

        But, also, I remember seeing on numerous occasions, when Heisey got an opportunity to play after sitting for a week or so, a play would come up where “does he dive for the ball or not”. Heisey would dive and miss it by 6 feet. But, then, after given just a couple more days to play, and a very similar play comes up, Heisey has learned that he can’t make that play and will field the ball on the drop.

        Sure, all players, including bench players need to stay in “game-playing” shape. However, bench players can only do that physically. As for their mental game, there is no substitute for actual game experience.

        You want another example, just look at catcher and how Devin played this season when being given the reigns compared to being the part-time catcher. Very similar situation I am describing. It isn’t uncommon for “being able to get into a routine” being very important for players at this level. I’m not talking about repetitive swing or anything like that. I am talking about knowing each day when you go to bed and get up in the morning, you know exactly what you are going to do each day, that you are going to be the starting CF, or pitcher, or 3rd baseman, etc., that you aren’t going to go to the park and possibly sit again, hoping to get in the game again.

        Not saying that Heisey is anywhere near an All-Star, what many mistaken serviceable stats to be for starting OF’s in the league. Heisey is definitely a 4th OF’er (so, potentially a 5th OF on a crowded team or even a starting OF on a weak OF team). With what we had out in LF last season, I would have no problem putting Heisey out there next season with all the confidence that he can give us what Ludwick did, and at a cheaper cost, also.

      • Nick Kirby

        Cowgill has a career .297 OBP, So last season he has a year with a .330 OBP in less than 300 PA and you expect that to keep up? He had a .331 BABIP, which is completely not sustainable. Heisey’s ISO has been .135, .179, and .156 the last three years. That is still significantly better than Cowgill, who was at .104 last year.

      • charlottencredsfan

        I’m not seeing Heisey > Cowgill:
        CH: wRC=77. BsR= -0.6 @$1.8M/2014
        CC: wRC=103, BsR= 4.3 $0.5M/2014
        In addition to WV points.

        We need to be careful not to overate our own guys because of personal reasons. Keep it as a straight evaluation. I have not heard anyone make the case that Heisey is superior to Cowgill, not that I’m enamored with Cowgill but he is cheaper too. Yes, Heisey is the superior fielder but is that a big factor at this point?

        Another item to consider, Heisey’s wRC trend:
        2010: 102
        2011: 113
        2012: 93
        2013: 89
        2014: 77

        IMO, the league has figured the guy out, he will try to pull “every” pitch and this creates so many holes in his swing that he can no longer be an effective MLB hitter. It would be best for Chris and the Reds, for him to get fresh start somewhere else.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Heisey’s pulling every pitch isn’t his problem; a vast majority of the league are pull hitters. Heisey’s problem is his aggressiveness at the plate, in other words, plate discipline. And, again, this could very well be a product of not playing everyday. If he is a player who excels at playing everyday and he isn’t getting that, when he does get the single opportunities to play, he presses himself even harder to perform well, wanting to try to get the big hit everytime he gets up there.

        Not saying that’s fact. But, with the only time he got any opportunity to start for any length of time, he batted 288/324. It would fit better than many outlooks others have.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Steve – I challenge you to go back and look at Heisey’s most productive seasons (2010 & 2011) and see how much better he hit to the other 2/3 of the field, especially CF. Now, look at his K% trend:
        2010: 25.2%
        2011: 25.3%
        2012: 21.6%
        2013: 21.4%
        2014: 21.4%
        Is it really just an over-aggressive approach that is his problem?

        Now batting average to CF, RF:
        2010:.278, .162
        2011: .319. .176
        2012: .315, .277
        2013: .214, .121
        2014: .207, .123

        The majority of his hits to the oft fields in the last two years, I contend, have been dinks and dunks that were not intended to go to those sides of the field. Just bleeders that got through primarily. To me, it doesn’t matter if he gets 200 or 500 ABs, this approach is not conducive to very good hitting.

        Enjoy the discussion.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        You’re talking about direction of hits. I’m talking about his plate discipline. A vast majority of hitters in the league are pull hitters. And, their numbers substantiate that.

        Like someone tried to say earlier here, trying to say how Matt Carpenter uses the entire field so much better than Heisey does. The numbers show, up the middle and to their pull side: Carpenter 85%, Heisey 83%. Even Votto’s own numbers, 76% up the middle or pulled, would show he’s more of a pull hitter. And, he’s suppose to be one of the best hitters in the league!

        If you want a number for plate discipline, try looking at Heisey’s number of pitches/K last season. Heisey’s number – 3.92. People like Votto’s plate discipline: 5.35. People here have like Carpenter’s hitting ability: 5.21 pitches/AB. Heisey is getting something from his AB (out, hit, walk, something) in more than 1 pitch less than the ones people say here are good hitters. Even possibly Heisey’s best season, 2011, when he hit 18 HR’s, 4.11, more than he has now.

        And, the thing is, from a Heisey fan, he has admitted he is an aggressive hitter. But, he also admitted he’s not going to change it.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        You’re talking BA’s, Charlotte. You need to be looking at the number of balls hit that direction, not the batting average. With that math, a guy could hit one ball all season the opposite way for a hit, thus have a 1000 BA, and you would be saying based on the BA, he needs to be hitting the other way. If anything, he would need to be trying to hit that way because nothing is going over there. Like with Bruce and the shift.

        Also, you have to consider what the pitcher’s giving you. If the pitcher is pounding you inside, it’s awful hard to hit the opposite way, for anyone, even the best in the game.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        I challenge you, Charlotte, to understand the definition of pull hitter. “Pull hitter” by definition means they have a tendency to hit the ball to the same side of the field they hit. That has essentially nothing to do with BA, to any field much less the opposite field.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Steve, who are your current favorite pull hitters outside of Bruce & Heisey?

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Frankly, Charlotte, I don’t worry about it since so many players are pull hitters. I worry about how they hit, their attitude while they hit, if the players are taking what the pitchers are giving them (aka, if the pitches are outside, are the players trying to take it the other way; similarly if the pitches are inside, are the players pulling them, instead of trying to pull outside pitches are push inside pitches), not where they hit it. 2-3 line drives in a row right at players, pulled or not, the players are hitting fine, just having bad luck the hits are right at defenders.

      • charlottencredsfan

        I promise you if Heisey doesn’t get his oft field numbers up he will have another bad year at the plate. If both hit BA to center and left are below, say .270, he will hit ~ .225 or worse. I don’t care how “patient” at the plate he will be. No luck involved.

        Guys that can’t hit well to center and/or their non pull side almost always stink, you can look it up. Pitchers will own them. Ask Jay & Chris.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Charlotte, it’s obvious you need to understand just why so many players would be “by definition” pull hitters. You want to talk about opposite field BA, that’s fine. But, that’s not by definition pull hitters. You are talking about “how many” on the opposite side fall for hits. I am talking about the trend of just where the balls are going, what is needed to understand what a “pull hitter” is. Until you understand this, you are talking about something entirely different than pull hitters.

      • charlottencredsfan

        On Mike Moustakas hitting improvement from his 2014 in the minors (sent down):
        “Mike Moustakas has also had a different approach at the plate. Even though he is still typically a dead pull hitter, Moustakas has been more apt to hit the ball up the middle or poke the ball the other way.”

        Will we ever ever hear CH mutter these words again? We did early in his career (2009-2011). You can look it up.

      • Nick Kirby

        The Moose hit .212/.271/.361 with a 76 wRC+ this season. I’m not exactly sure he is the best example.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Nick, here is my point: prior to being sent down on May 20th, Mouse’s line was: .152/.233/.320, wRC+ of 50.

        After being called back up on June 1: .235/.289/.377, wRC+ of 87.

        So everything is relative. If Heisey improved his batting average 80 points and WRC+ by 37; I think we all would be happier for it. I just used Moustakas because they were talking about this very topic on MLB-Radio. Obviously, there are much better examples but this one served my purpose and was current and handy.

        With CH bat quickness, it is a crime he doesn’t hit any better then he does.

  16. Grand Salami

    After reading the article and all the great commentary, do not want Cespedes. He is enticing (not Yelich enticing) but not worth a starting pitcher. We got a lot more in the one year of Choo and gave up far less than a starting pitcher.

    If you are banking on better health then it makes sense to value OBP and BB rate over pure slugging b/c Bruce’s power outage was a huge factor. Those attributes seem more widely available (IE cheaper) in the market then the corner OF who rakes.

    • preacherj

      Beginning to agree with you. My thinking is that being ‘all in’ for 2015 means keeping the staff intact, improving bench and bullpen, and hiring Dr House and his staff to diagnose and treat injuries. Would Cepedes and a downgraded rotation be worth more for this season than say an Aoki and a full staff? It still gives us a valuable commodity at the ASB to trade for a second half run, or to dump for some prospects depending on how the season fares. As for Heisey, I like him, but only when we don’t have to pay him much. Maybe I keep him around because there are so many outfield questions right now and he can play all three spots. But once he’s due a raise, he’s onbly on my team because of uncertainty.

  17. lwblogger2

    I’m not sure there’s a grasp on what exactly players’ values are these days. I don’t think I’d non-tender Heisey and strongly disagree that the Reds have anyone at the moment that could take his place. I also don’t think they could sign anyone for $2.5-million or so that would be as productive off the bench. His OBP is miserable but pop off the bench and solid OF defense at all 3 positions has more value than people are giving it credit for. The Reds are a weaker team if Heisey is non-tendered and that arb salary in the grand scheme of things isn’t enough of an impact on payroll to simply cut him loose.

  18. lwblogger2

    @Charlottencredsfan – Look at you busting out the advanced metrics! Good point and nice catch on the downward wRC+ trend. Personally, I expect Heisey’s wRC+ to rebound some. That 12 point drop from 2013 is huge and at his age, he shouldn’t have fallen off so much. Given a larger sample, he may have hit better. I also saw some things that told me that his hitting wasn’t quite as bad as it seemed this year. I’m not debating rather he’s better than Cowgill aside from the fact that in my opinion last season, he wasn’t. That comparison doesn’t really matter though as I don’t see a guy that the Reds have ready who is similar to the kind of player Cowgill is. I don’t see anyone currently w/ the Reds that would be a good replacement. I also don’t think that <3% of the payroll is worth getting too worked up about.

    • charlottencredsfan

      I’m just at the point with this team, I want to look under every rock – no matter the size. I really love the way Chris plays the game and wish he was a better hitter. Unfortunately, I think we have already seen the best of Chris if he remains a Red. Hope I’m wrong.

      • Dale Pearl

        I tend to agree. I feel the same about Jay Bruce and Chris. I think that we have seen the best that either has to offer and it can only go down hill from there. I like the attitude and how hard they are willing to work but I don’t believe that either is consistent enough to ever be that good again. Heisey had a few years in the minors where he was just a beast… Bruce, well I don’t think he will ever be the same again, maybe his bat speed is down or off of the juice. Not sure what is broken with Bruce but he with our sluggish outfield I think he needs to also be considered as a part in need of replacing.

      • charlottencredsfan

        I don’t agree about Jay. Once again, if Bruce would lay off trying to pull every pitch that is thrown, his stats would be more like 2013 than 2014. The spray charts for the last two years will tell you pretty much what you need to know. When he finds himself struggling, try something other then swinging harder.

        Both these guys have loads of talent. For my money, Heisey has one of the quicker bats in MLB, he can turn on an inside FB with the best of them. Unfortunately, at the moment, they have holes in their swings you could drive a truck through.

  19. WVRedlegs

    Nick, my apologies. I like Heisey, I really do. I just think he is a bit over-valued. I think he is suited just fine for the 5th OF spot and PH off the bench. But when you start up the bromance with Heisey, I just like to give you a little grief. Nothing personal.
    I guess our disdain shouldn’t be focused on Heisey as a reserve OF, but our focus should be on Skip Schumaker as that 4th/5th OF. The question then should be is Cowgill or Gentry a better option than Schumaker? Yes, yes, and yes.
    That is why I keep saying to release Schumaker, pay him his $3M, let him rehab his shoulder, and he can catch on with somebody else in spring training. Now, Cowgill has a little better value to the Reds with his league minimum salary.
    And give Cowgill credit where it is due. His career OBP is not .297, but .306. A little better, and above .300 OBP.
    There was one silver lining with Schumaker spending alot of the season on the DL. When he couldn’t back up BP at 2B when BP went down with his thumb injury, it did allow us to see the blossoming of Kristopher Negron.

    • Nick Kirby

      @WVRedlegs, oh no worries. I definitely didn’t take anything personally, and actually really appreciate and enjoy the discussion. Your point is spot on. Schumaker should be the one given the focus. He is one of if not the single worst position player with a major league contract. You have to ask the question: if the Reds released Schumaker tomorrow, would a single team give him an MLB contract? I’d say probably not. The Reds need to cut their $3 million loss with Schumaker and move on. Negron is also without question a much better second base backup than Schumaker.

      • Tom Reed

        As releasing Smith was, saying good bye to Schumaker would also be a positive for the Reds.

      • preacherj

        This. This, and This. And I’m a ‘grit’ kinda guy.

  20. cfd3000

    I hadn’t seen this thread in a couple of days and now we’re bashing Heisey? Seriously? There’s a consistent complaint on this blog about how weak the Reds bench has been in recent years. Heisey is one of the best 4th outfielders around. Decent hitter with some pop and a much better than average pinch hitter. Big hustle, covers all three outfield spots and stays healthy. Keep Heisey. And for goodness sake if we’re not even sure if an alternative player is actually better why are we even worried about it? Those Titanic deck chairs are just fine where they are, sir, now can you help me negotiate that iceberg please?

    • Nick Kirby

      Power is so underrated in this age in the MLB. There is certainly warranted debate on if Heisey is actually an MLB starter or not, but there is no question that if he was give then chance to play everyday he would hit 15+ HR (maybe even 20+). There aren’t a lot of players that you could go pick up that could hit 15+ HR if they played everyday. And you certainly aren’t going to find that kind of power that can play CF if need be.

      • Tom Reed

        We will never know how Heisey would work out as a starter. That would have to come when he is on another team.

      • lwblogger2

        I don’t like Heisey as a starter but as I said above, pop off the bench and solid defense at all three OF positions has more value than people think.

      • ohiojimw

        I think Heisey needs to be moved as part of the changing of the attitude and guard on the team. I have no reason to believe he has ever personally been a problem; but, he’s been there 5 years and hasn’t distinguished himself as anymore than a a journeyman (OPS+ of 94). Next year is his age 30 season; thus, there is a good possibility we’ve seen his best. I agree his occasional power is tantalizing and defense solid. However, the Reds should move on and let some other org and fanbase pay a couple of million to agonize over his seemingly never quite reached potential.

      • charlottencredsfan

        I really would like the Reds to have a new hitting identity: less K’s, more contact, better batting averages and I’d be willing to give up some power to get it.

        This year’s WS ought to be enlightening to all. Both these teams battle and I think the current makeup of the Reds does not offer this Not because our guys are bad guys but they do not possess the tools and/or the skill to do this – for the most part. We also must get faster, it is remarkable how slow our boys are. The game is changing and getting a couple of guys on base and hoping for a HR just isn’t what it used to be. First and foremost, dump our “hitting coach”. Not impressed in the least with his efforts.

      • lwblogger2

        In general, the Reds don’t have good ABs. They don’t work counts, the don’t have a 2-strike approach. I am a big fan of selective aggression but they always seem like they are pressing and I feel that’s part of why they seem so hacktastic up there. I think a big part of it is exactly what you said it was. You’re right that the Reds have never drafted guys who had the tools to do those kinds of things. They aren’t great at identifying pitches and most of them have fairly long swings. It’s tough to battle and get long ABs that way. Aside from Votto, there isn’t one guy on the team that if I was a MLB pitcher I’d be thinking “Man, this guy is gonna be a tough out.” I’d be thinking “These guys are aggressive. Don’t make a mistake early or they’re gonna hit it. Make your pitch and let them get themselves out.”

      • charlottencredsfan

        I’m also questioning our player development, as far as hitting goes. Two of our best hitters, Mes & Votto, seem like self-invented hitters and probably not very dependent on instruction. Of course, this is speculation but given the personalities, I wouldn’t be shocked if this is the case.