The trade deadline has come and gone. Despite strong reports/rumors for several days that the Reds were entertaining trade offers for Aroldis Chapman and Jay Bruce, it appears that neither was moved. The past few days have included big moments and intense swings. It’s time to wind down a bit.

We have a couple Mike Leake retrospective posts scheduled and analysis on Adam Duvall, the other player in the Mike Leake deal. Those will run this weekend. The posts analyzing the overall deadline strategy taken by the organization will begin on Monday.

Meanwhile, there’s a game tonight. The Reds are going for their fourth win in a row against NL Central leaders when the face the Pirates tonight at GABP. Wesley’s game thread should post shortly.

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 177 Comments

  1. Glad Jay’s still a Red.

    • I’m glad we kept Bruce, Frazier, and Chapman. Maybe some of our young arms can be packaged for a leadoff hitter/LF.

      • I’m also glad we traded Leake and Cueto (never thought I’d say that). We weren’t gonna keep them anyway and it seems as if we got as good as was possible.

  2. I like what WJ did with both Leake and Cueto. Very happy Bruce was not moved; that only makes sense to me if the counterparty is giving up a lot in return. A little surprised/disappointed that Chapman and Byrd were not moved.

    • missing out on the supposed Arizona package hurts me on the inside

    • Chapman and Byrd should be gone. Chapman’s value will never be higher than when being sought after at a deadline. We can trade him this winter, but won’t get half as much as what was “rumored” offered. Byrd, if we have him next year and his option vests, Walt should be FLOGGED publicly. That said, he can clear waivers and be traded, and if not, let the other team that claims him, have him.

  3. How about Chapman starts in Leake’s spot

  4. Still no word on Chapman?

  5. So Jay-with-the-hot-bat is just getting a night off then? And the other JB is in left batting 2nd. Color me oddly surprised.

    • Jay Bruce career against Jeff Locke: 4-21, .468 OPS. Not exactly sterling production.

      • Well, there you go then.

      • That’s his line against half the SPs in MLB. If he EVERY becomes a consistent MLB hitter, I will be a big fan, but he is already in his prime, so chances are getting slim.

  6. I’m glad Bruce is still a Red, but I’m pretty irritated that the Reds didn’t trade Chapman. ESPECIALLY if they got better offers than the D-backs, which is what was being reported.

    • My sentiments exactly. Chapman was set to bring back some significant pieces. He’ll be less valuable this winter when GMs aren’t willing to buy high on relievers. Now was the time to ship him off, we won’t need him over the next two years any way, and it’s a guarantee we won’t use him properly (we never have).

    • Ditto. Pissed off is being kind. We get 60 innings from a great arm and we could have moved that for a couple of cheap prospects that would slide right in to our top 10.

      Ridiculous for a team like the Reds, with so many holes/issues to be paying $12-$14 million (most likely after Arb this winter) for a 60 innning pitcher.

    • Reported? Have the Dbacks stated whom they offered? If not then we have no idea unless Walt says hey I turned down x,y,z from the Dbacks.

  7. Happy Bruce was not traded for Wheeler. Disappointed that we could not flip Chapman for a top hitting prospect or two.

    Byrd will probably pass through waivers, and we could still move him in August.

  8. Jay Bruce has been nothing but class handling this with the media the past few nights. I sense this is where he wants to be. Perhaps, an extension can come this off season? He is still 28, maybe a deal for 5 or 6 years? I just don’t have faith that any of the minor leaguers – YRod, Winker, Waldrop, or Ervin will be an improvement over Bruce in RF.

    • I wish that we would have extended him when he was hitting 217 or last year during injury plagued season.

      We cannot bring in free agents. We need to sign our own talent, but we are cautious of long term deals that are not team friendly.

      The only way for us to get a team friendly deal is to buy out arbitration years, which really have never extended a deal or to sign and extension for a hurt player like Jay Bruce last year or Zach Cozart now.

      I would love to see Bruce extended especially in this period where hitting is a premium.

      His Healthy value will not go down

  9. Steve, do you get the sense that Walt wanted to do more but with so many sellers the market dried up a bit? The Snakes wanted Chappy and seemed ready to pull the trigger.

    • I get the impression they were open to doing more but were unsure of the offers they would receive. It’s possible Jocketty wanted to trade Bruce for Wheeler and the owner intervened at the last minute. I was surprised at how seriously they (apparently) were taking the Chapman market.

  10. Blowing up a pretty dominant rotation between the winter and this week, why keep Chapman when your chances of having saves are so slim? I enjoy watching Chapman pitch and maybe the return wasn’t there to make a trade but IMO his value was at his highest and we have to sweat out the chance of an injury. That is why WJ makes the big bucks but I would respect him more if he used a mask and a gun to steal from the Reds. I am being unfair the return he has received for players we couldn’t afford appears to be an exceptional haul. He is responsible for the trades so I will give him some credit even if I do think the scouting is the biggest reason the trades show such promise. There you go even when I try I can’t say good things about him.

    • Only a handful of fans want to keep Chapman. Any practical fan knows it stupid and he is going to get a big Arb raise in the offseason, so he’ll be a WAY overpriced closer. I am quite irritated IF the deals rumored were for real and they turned those deals down. STUPID.

      • What’s stupid is that they don’t send his ass out there to start.

        • Oh, I agree, but that ship sailed years ago. There is NO chance of that now, and all the more reason to trade him.

  11. I’m glad they didn’t trade Bruce for a guy who may never pitch again.

    • That’s a little over-dramatic. Most TJ recoveries lead to pitching again and many pitch as well as they ever did. A few get re-injured and some just don’t put in the rehab work and never get back their fastball.

  12. The trade deadline, just like the Reds themselves from 2012 postseason on….pretty underwhelming.

    • The best move they made was not trading Bruce.

      • maybe, but Bruce has been more of the problem than the solution this year and last year. Yeah, he has raked the past month, but he also was the worst middle lineup hitter in baseball the first two months, costing the Reds several wins. Bruce and the 8th inning pen doomed us, so Bruce, Fatboy Diaz, Gregg and others all were the stink that was the Reds in April and May. Sadly this is what Bruce does EVERY year, stink for several months and go off the other 2 fragmented months to get respectable stats.

        • More the problem than the solution? Why? What are you watching? He’s been their 2nd best hitter since mid-May. It’s a little long to call that a “hot streak” and it’s been shown that his hitting isn’t quite as streaky as some folks seem to think. Also, when he began hitting in mid-May, the Reds were 18-18 and far from being out of the hunt. They’ve fallen since then.

          Look, I wouldn’t have been totally against trading him for the right return but he is constantly undervalued by a section of the fanbase and by Marty B.

    • Jeez. They traded their top two starting pitchers.

      • They aren’t a playoff team and they weren’t going to be able to sign them, so yeah they traded them. I am guessing but it is a pretty good guess that a compensation pick for either one of them would not be better than what the deals brought.

  13. The market for Chapman and Bruce will be just as strong in the offseason, maybe more so if Jay keeps raking. I’m still 90/10 in favor of keeping Bruce.

    At least this puts to rest the notion that any of this had to do with slashing payroll.

    Now it’s time to string together 15 wins in a row, win the wild card, and shock the world!!!!

    • Not likely but with 62 games to go the fat lady has yet to sing. Happy that Jay will anchor right field for at least the rest of the year.

    • Your comments always teach me something that I need to learn this however puzzles me. How is Chapmans value going to be higher over the winter? Had a team say the Astros have picked him up today then they would have had him for this run at the playoffs and then a full year before FA, a winter trade is really just a long term rental. The difference IMO between the deadline being Chapmans highest value and that maybe not being the same with Bruce I see more interest in a player that is going to get 3 or 4 AB’s for say 150 games than a closer who is going to give you one inning say for 60 to 70 games.

    • Unfortunately, Bruce is due for his inept two month long slump. He’ll probably hit .200 from here and lots of Ks, pop ups and weak grounders to second.

      • Find me a 2-month long Jay Bruce slump. Seriously find me one. Ok, last season, when he was hurt. How about this year? April and May? April I’ll give you but he started raking in mid-May and hasn’t really stopped. Geez. A big part of his April was some bad luck and also getting out of some bad habits he got into last year when he was hurt.

  14. Really sorry to see Jay Bruce still with the Reds. If the rest of his career is prologue, and I’m certain it is, he’s about at the end of his third-and-final hot streak for 2015 and will be flirting with .220 by mid-September.

    • Jay Bruce is 28 years old. You’re “certain” the rest of his career is prologue? Given the way he’s been hitting the past few months? I wish we could have swung a big trade for Bruce, but only because we only have him under control for 2 years and we don’t have the pieces to contend in that timeframe. He will be a bargain both of those years.

      • 28 is not 23. Jay Bruce’s pattern is set in dried concrete. Everybody loves Jay during his episodic hot streaks. He is on one now, and like Charlie Brown bearing down on the football, Reds fans are filled with hope. Remember virtually all of last year? Remember the part of this year when the Reds were still technically trying to win, and he was hitting about .188? He has 4,400 lifetime plate appearances and he is a .250 hitter with a 162 game average of 29 HRs in a bandbox park. That’s who he is. Even that wouldn’t necessarily be horrible if it were evenly spread out across the season. But those months when he absolutely kills the Reds are certain to be part of every year.

        • Remember all of last year, when Jay Bruce had a bad knee injury? And it really impacted his performance?. As he is, he is better than average. It sure seems like you’re trying to penalize him for not being an MVP. Currently with an OPS+ of 125, a career avg OPS+ that is 112…. held back by, wait for it, an 82 last year when he was injured.

        • I can’t take anyone seriously who uses batting average as a metric. It’s like reading the comments on a Mark Sheldon article.

        • So it sounds like you don’t like taking AVG seriously when it doesn’t prove your point? Sorry, but AVG is one of the best comparison tools and Bruce hits under .200 for well over half of EVERY season. He has gotten worse since his rookie and second year. If anything, Bruce is regressing steadily, so his track record is BEING KIND to the real present day Bruce.

          If you guys think Bruce is so good, why was he costing us several wins in April and May and a big reason we were sellers and not buyers at the deadline?

          Bruce should be gone. He has proven he is NOT a quality, consistent MLB hitter.

        • Yes, AVG has been proven time and time again to be an absolutely horrible judge of offensive production. The end. Some day we’ll actually not have to have this conversation anymore but apparently today isn’t that day. Jay Bruce isn’t Mike Trout, but he’s a 4 WAR guy with two years of getting paid like a 2 WAR guy and that’s just straight up valuable. I wish we could have turned him into 3 high end prospects with 6 years of control each but apparently the market for OFers was what Detroit got for Cespedes – garbage.

    • Jay Bruce is the third best hitter on the Reds, behind Votto and Frazier. I’m glad we didn’t take a lowball offer for him.

      If we do move him during the winter, it needs to be for a package that includes a stud outfield prospect.

      • This. I’m glad Bruce wasn’t traded because if it was either Wheeler or the Cespedes package I would have been furious with that return, but I still think long term a properly valued trade of Bruce for offensive prospects is what’s best for this team.

      • There is a STEEP dropoff from Votto and Frazier down to Bruce. If he is our 3rd best hitter, that tells you how awful our team is.

        • Bruce Is a better hitter than Frazier all day every day. Frazier won’t put up more than 2 WAR in any season the rest of his career. Bank on it.

        • There is a dropoff, but it’s not THAT steep. Just like there’s a dropoff from Votto to Frazier as well. Their 2015 stats:

          Votto OPS = .974
          Frazier OPS = .885
          Bruce OPS = .827

        • Eric, if you think Bruce is better than Frazier, you should seek help. You are not taking facts and observations and making clear judgments.

          Bruce is only better than Frazier for one month (just happened), the other 5 months Frazier is twice the hitter that Bruce is.

          How come everyone so easily forgets his April and May? I could have struck out Bruce in April and May. If Bruce has simply broken his leg and been out those two months, we’d easily have 5 more wins and 5 less losses right now.

      • It does NOT speak well of Bruce, but poorly of the rest of the lineup.

    • I agree Philboyd. Anyone that doesn’t know who Bruce is by now needs mental evaluation. This recent hot streak after being the worst hitter in baseball for TWO months, has fooled a lot of “short attention span” fans. I have little doubt the rest of the year will be much like April and May…AWFUL. He does this EVERY year. The only thing is, its different months each year for some reason. That article stating he is not slump prone was awful because it assumed one meant always bad in April or June or August, but thats not Bruce. He is just awful much, much longer than he is good, THAT is my big problem. No consistency and just when you need him…comatose.

      • He’s awful much, much longer than he is good…

        Any facts to back up that outlandish statement?

        • Yes, his game logs from the past 6 years.

        • Look at how long those 0 and 1 hit games last and then look at his 2+ hit games or multi RBI games. Yeah, you’ll count 50 games or so where he has only one or two plus games, then you’ll count 10 games in two weeks he goes nuts and then back to the 35 or 40 games of pathetic.

          LOOK AT THE GAME LOGS and all the 0s and 1s in succession.

  15. How great it was and is, to have one place to go to to get up-to-date information all about the Reds!

    Thank you all for this wonderful resource!

    • Here, Here. Absolutely agree. Thanks so much all. I just kept this page open and came back and refreshed it now and then. Really no need to do much looking elsewhere for Reds’ trade news.

    • AND it’s free!

  16. Seeing what the Tigers got for Cespedes from the Mets I am VERY glad the Bruce deal didn’t go through, whatever it was.

    • Bruce was probably a better deal offered because of the second year but I was not enthralled with the thought of betting on Wheeler.

      • I agree on Wheeler, but Bruce still needed traded. I hope they find a taker in the off-season, the Reds need to be done with him and his disappearing act for months at a time. I can’t stand to see him flailing miserably at balls in the dirt for two month stretch and taking called strike three down the middle. Only Drew Stubbs was more clueless at the plate more of the time than Bruce.

        • By season end isn’t his numbers more then acceptable give his contact?

        • Yes Evan, by most current standards, Bruce’s current contract is a bargain for the amount of production he provides. Some are so blinded by irrational hatred of a player that they can’t see what’s right in front of them.

        • “More than acceptable”? No, not really. Not being our 4 or 5 hitter.

  17. Personally I’m glad neither Bruce or Chapman was traded. There is not another player on the planet like Aroldis. Watching him pitch in a Reds uniform is a true pleasure. He’s already a legend, and you don’t trade legends. Fine with the players acquired for Cueto and Leake, especially Cueto’s deal.

    • The problem is, he pitches about 2.25 innings a week. He will get a FAT raise and be highly OVERPAID in 2016. He is NOT for the Reds. They should have taken a couple of top 10 prospects and let some other team overpay him for a few innings a week.

      He throws smoke, but so what, every pitcher does these days, just one or two MPH less is all. The Reds can’t afford the luxury of an overpaid closer with a bunch of rookie starting pitchers.

  18. Has there been any confirmation on the package offered by the DBacks for Chapman? If what I saw in the previous thread was accurate… how the heck can they walk away from that? It was basically the best hitting prospects in Az.

    • Yeah I want to know exactly what price Walt had set. The rumors I were hearing from both AZ and the Yankees sounded amazing.

      • Place chapman thru waives see who clames him..

        • Won’t get a good deal because any team that claims him won’t have to compete with any other team. Stupid they didn’t trade him today… STUPID. But hey, Bob and Walt think fans actually buy tickets to see Chapman. That is dumb because you don’t know when he’ll pitch and its just two or three games a week.

          He is NOT a revenue piece…not by a long shot.

    • Hitting prospects? All I saw was the righty pitcher, plus 2 other unnamed prospects. Where did you see they were hitters?

      • It seems the website I was reading was confused. They had Shipley listed as a 2B and as their top prospect according to Baseball America. After looking into it myself (now that I’m not on my cell phone), Shipley is indeed a RHP.

        • Ok. If the package was just a bunch of pitchers, I’m glad Walt said no. We need to get position players out of any Chapman trade.

  19. A couple things:

    1. Apparently Castellini blocked the Wheeler/Bruce trade. If that’s true, it’s the single smartest thing a Reds owner has done since hiring Sparky Anderson.

    2. I can’t believe they couldn’t work out a deal for Chapman. Presumably his value will still be sky high in the offseason but you have to figure every inning you can give a team (and every extra day of exclusive bargaining power) would only make him more valuable. I think Walt set the price too high. Some of the rumors I was hearing seemed like great value. Of course we don’t know everything, but you get the feeling the organization is still a little too worried about selling jerseys.

    3. Speaking of selling jerseys, I think you can go either way on whether or not to try and trade Bruce, but I am fully on board with the notion that if you were going to trade Bruce now, you absolutely had to trade Frazier as well. And the fact that we were on the precipice of trading Bruce and Frazier was never even on the block (didn’t hear a single rumor that he was even discussed at any point) tells me that either Walt or Bob or likely both just still aren’t on the right page about where this franchise is. And that doesn’t make me optimistic about the near future. If they had managed Chapman and Bruce trades, this team would officially be in rebuilding mode for at least 2 years. What value would Todd Frazier give you in that time? This franchise just can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.

    4. Still, you have to like the pitching haul we got. This organization should be plenty stocked in that department for a good 3-4 years at least.

    • More like 6-7

      • Well you figure some of the young guys we have now will either go bust or start getting expensive in about 4 years. Plus Bailey will be over the hill. We’re set up as well as you could realistically expect a team to be who has lost 3 front end starters in the last 6 months.

    • With the wealth of young pitching the Reds have now, maybe a couple of those prospects can be traded down the road for a solid hitter to occupy left field.

    • On not trading Chapman– The Reds have demonstrated a clear affinity for rolling the injury dice with commodity pitchers. Chapman may have high value in December, but he has to get there intact first.

      • I don’t have any injury concerns with Chapman. He has such an effortless delivery – it’s why he’s such a freak. It’s more that every day you hold o to him is one day closer to FA so less value. But there is an argument to be made that in the winter an additional 10+ teams that are out of it now will this k they can Co rend in 16 (Red Sox? Cubs? Braves?)

    • Re: #4. All that pitching, but no hitting comes back?

      • Well I have to assume the Chapman trade was hoping to bring back bats. And as others have said, these pitching prospects can be turned around for bats in the offseason. Reed in particular could make a huge jump in the prospect rankings and net a few good position players.

        • They CAN be turned around for hitting. Will they? I doubt it. I bet Walt/Bob think the offense and bench are just fine if everyone gets healthy.

    • Why wouldn’t you have done Wheeler for Bruce?

      • I would have, but I don’t get blinded by Bruce raking for a month. I know how terrible he is the rest of the season every year. I WATCH GAMES. I would have traded Bruce for Wheeler straight up and been laughing at the Mets fans when Bruce goes into one of his two month long .180 binges and looks like a middle school hitter.

        • “I watch games.” Is that you, Marty? Making judgements based on players streaks is a horrible way to evaluate them. Look at his composite numbers. When healthy he is a plus-to-elite player. He’s healthy now. And he’s under control.

        • What part of that confuses you Eric? The proof is in results. Bruce is too streaky and horrible for several months every season. By the time he wakes up and warms up, the season is over.

        • Bruce has never come within a sniff of “elite”. You are not being objective at all, you’re all on emotion now. Find ONE season he has approached elite the past 5 years. GOOD LUCK.

          Also, consistency matters and that is my biggest beef. So what if he hits 12 HRS in one month, but only gets 6 total the month before and after? So what if he hits .330 one month, but hits .180 the month before and after? The times he is hot does NOT make up for the majority of the time he couldn’t hit a 60 year old pitcher.

      • What you’re seeing now is a fully healthy Bruce in his prime. He was doing this when he got hurt. A healthy Bruce is worth twice the WAR that Wheeler is. Look at Wheelers numbers even pre-injury. They are identical to Mike Leake. Would you trade Bruce straight up for Mike Leake? Not with his team friendly contract.

        • The only ones who think Wheeler was worth Bruce are Mets fans and Reds fans who would trade Bruce away for peanuts if they could.

          If Wheeler was healthy, then maybe 4 years of him would be worth 2 years of Bruce. But coming off TJ surgery? No way.

        • Only way I would have traded Bruce for Wheeler is if he was the throw in to go along with Conforto and Nimmo.

  20. The front office is pretty meh right now. It’s the opportunity cost that is killing the Reds. They got a good return for two months of Cueto, but they could have gotten a lot more had they traded him last deadline or in the off season. And the same will be true with Chapman. It’s really unbelievable that they are making the same exact mistake with Chapman that they made with Cueto.

    • How can you make the claim about Cueto with zero facts?

      • Are you for real? Any team trading for Cueto this winter would have gotten a whole season of Johnny plus a draft pick if he left. And you are asking how I can know how that would be worth more than 2 months of Cueto? Any team trading for him last July would have gotten the last 2 months of a Cy Young caliber season, plus a whole year after that, plus a draft pick if he leaves. Now how could I possibly know that’s worth more than just 2 months of Cueto with no draft pick? Seriously?

        Years of team control matter. It’s the reason the Mets were offering a more valuable piece for Bruce than they did for Cespedes despite the fact that they are pretty similar players. And the Reds said no, rightfully, to that package. Because Bruce had two more years while Cespedes was a rental.

        • We got three quality LH pitchers, I doubt the return would have been any greater last winter.

    • There is NO doubt Chapman’s trade value will NEVER be higher than it was today. Teams don’t overpay in the off-season for a reliever. That happens when just days/hours remain before deadline and opponents have gotten better. Then a team is willing to toss in one more quality prospect.

      Chapman will be traded in the winter or next deadline and we’ll get half the quality we would have gotten today. Walt and Bob failed miserably, but hey, like many brain-dead Reds fans, they’re in love with radar gun results…and not thinking clearly about what is best for the Reds team and its future.

      • I think there is a greater chance Reds sign Chapman long term over trading him.

        • Oh god, I hope not. He’ll want 5 yrs and $15+ per year. At 60 innings a year, I would not only pass, I’d run away screaming for help.

  21. With the treasure trove of potential the Reds have stocked at SP do you think it is possible the Reds will be able to move Bailey and his contract at the deadline next year (given he can show he is healthy)?

    • He might not be on the mound by next July. And even if he was, who would take that kind of contract for a guy coming off TJ with even more injury history behind him? Bailey will forever be unmovable. He was the moment he signed that contract.

      • Eh, I disagree. If Homer comes back by June, and pitches well for his first several starts, some teams may go for him.

        But more than likely, he would need to pitch the rest of the year to prove he was healthy enough, then he could be traded more easily during the next offseason.

        • The Dodgers will take any contract.

        • He’s pitching by June at the EARLIEST. Zero teams take his contract based on 4 starts even if 2 of them are no-nos. MAYBE next offseason if he absolutely dominates in the second half but that has never happened coming off TJ to my knowledge. I’ve never seen anyone come back THAT fast. So we’re realistically talking about the 2017 offseason? I hope we have a better plan by then.

  22. The Reds are at a crossroads. The best position players in the organization are all up with the big club (Votto, Frazier, Bruce, Mesoraco, Suarez, Hamilton), with very little waiting in the minors outside of Winker.

    But the pitching is just the opposite. Aside from the injured Homer Bailey, the best pitchers in the organization (Stephenson, Finnegan, Mella, Garrett, Reed) are all in the minors. The present rotation contains two potential #3 starters in Lorenzen and Iglesias who both appear to need some more development, a likely #4 starter in Disco, and Holmberg who is just roster filler.

    The upshot is that the overall organization does not match up. The Reds have the hitting to contend the next two years, but the pitching is not ready. By the time all those pitchers are ready to lead the rotation, the hitters will be either gone or in decline.

    It just doesn’t add up.

    • That’s why they need to package some old hitters with young pitchers to get young hitters.

    • Reds in no way have the hitting to contend the next two years. BP regressing at 2B, questions about Cozart and Mesoraco, Hamilton’s horrid OBP, and still no answer in LF.

      You cannot win with just pitching, Votto, Frazier, and Bruce. But that looks like what the Reds will try to do.

      • Aside from the black hole in left field, the hitting should be fine. Votto is one of the top 5 hitters in the league, and Frazier and Bruce are in their primes right now. Meso will be fine once he recovers from surgery. Cozart/Suarez/Phillips will provide enough offense from the middle infield. Hamilton will not hurt the club buried at the bottom of the order. The Reds are only one good free agent outfield signing away from a very good offense next year.

        The Reds are not trying to win with the pitching and the Big Three. On the contrary, the pitching staff has been gutted to the point where at least 4/5 of the 2016 rotation will be rookies or 2nd year players. The 2016 Reds will not have the pitching to win.

        • How do you know Meso will be fine? Same with Cozart. Injuries are tricky, and as we have seen, this franchise does not manage them well at all. There’s too much finger crossing and not enough contingency bench development.

          Hamilton kills this club because of the unrealized potential of him getting on base more. Just imagine if his OBP was .320.

          As for the FA outfield signing…. THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT PEOPLE SAID LAST YEAR. How did that work out, and what makes people think the Reds will be able to attract a FA OF? What has changed?

          I’m not worried about the pitching, because it seems like the Reds have about 20 capable young arms. I imagine that they can cobble together 5 pitchers from that supply.

          Fix the offense. Broken record.

        • Hamilton would certainly be a bigger force with an OBP of .320. Heck, at that point he would probably be a perennial all-star. But even if his OBP never breaks .300, he still provides value with his defense and as a basestealer. He was killing the Reds as a leadoff hitter, but not so much at the bottom of the order.

          Just because the Reds decided to go with Marlon Byrd last year does not mean they have to go that route again this year. Maybe with all the salary freed up with Cueto and Leake gone, they can afford a quality LF bat.

          I don’t know how you can say you’re not worried about the pitching for 2016. There may be 20 capable young arms, but most of those 20 are at least 2 years away from the majors and will not be able to help the team win next year. Even those who will be counted on, are still going to be 2nd year players and rookies. As we’ve seen this year with Lorenzen, Desclafani, and Iglesias, young pitchers need time to mature. I believe we have the makings of a great rotation, but there will be some growing pains along the way.

          And that was my point. By 2017 and 2018, just as the pitching has matured into an outstanding rotation, the core position players like Votto, Frazier, and Bruce will either be in their decline phase or moving on to another team. Aside from Winker, I don’t see any other hitters in the system that will be ready to step in and replace them.

      • You CAN win with just pitching alone. Most of the past WS winners, outside of the double-sized payroll Yankees, were done with great pitching and very mediocre hitting.

        We could have a team littered with .250 hitters and no power and win a title if we have a top 5 mlb rotation and solid bullpen.

        We need hitters, but I’d rather put money on great pitching than great hitting. When is the last time a great hitting team won a WS title and didn’t do it with great pitching?

        • As many have argued on this site, it’s becoming easier to acquire and develop pitching, but harder to do the same with hitting.

          The Reds had a top 5 rotation in 2013, an outstanding pen, as well as a mediocre offense in Aug/Sept, and they slumped to the finish and got bounced in the play in game.

          I respect the point that you have made but I completely disagree. This team is desperate for more offense and nothing was acquired by the deadline.

        • Many argue that Jesse, but its wrong. Too many are stuck thinking a good hitter is a .330-110-40-110 player. That was PEDS promoted era. I agree the scoring is down (thus pitching stats better), but in no way is a hitter any harder to find than before. In fact, finding hitting v pitching will always remain equal. It can’t vary. Only the impression of good pitching or hitting can vary.

          Even if teams average 1 run a game, finding a good hitter or pitcher would be the same. The change is what constitutes a good hitter or pitcher and that’s what some of the RLN writers/contributors are struggling with. In that case a good pitcher would be a 0.50 ERA pitcher with a 0.6 WHIP, while a good hitter might be a .240-55-10-55 player.

          If teams average 100 runs a game, would you say finding a good pitcher is much harder? I wouldn’t. I would say that a good pitcher is now a 50.0 ERA guy. I would say a good hitter is now a .550-250-100-250 guy. The hitter an pitcher are equal in terms of having one of them.

        • I guess, in simplest terms, a rising tide lifts ALL boats. Rising scoring lifts all pitcher/hitters and falling scoring drops all pitchers and hitters. Simple as that. None become more difficult to find.

          Why do I think pitching is MORE important? VERY, VERY simple. You have 4 full-time SPs and a 5th starter. You have 8 full time hitters. If you have 4 good pitchers, they make much more impact on wins than 4 good hitters would. You’d need at least 6 good hitters to equal the contributions of 4 good SPs.

          This is why, year after year after year, the teams that win have a top 1/3 rotation/bullpen combination. When was the last time an above average hitting team with below average pitching won? I don’t recall much of any since the 1976 Reds.

        • The Reds tried the above average hitting and below average pitching route mostof the 90s and most of the 00s…and never really contended, as one might expect rolling out Jimmy Haynes types as your ace means immediate non-contention, even if you had the 1927 Yankees or 1976 Reds hitters.

  23. Typical Jocketty and Castellini, they cannot even get a re-build right. Going half-way all in on this re-build. The most over-hyped trading deadline ever, for the Reds, and nothing but the 2 most expected moves. This just leaves a bad taste for 2016 and beyond.
    Jocketty has been catching the bulk of the grief, but its is more than time to include Castellini in with the Keystone Cops front office.
    Jocketty is just plain incompetent and over the hill.
    Castellini is an embarrassment of an owner.

    • tell us what you really think.

      That said, a pretty underwhelming trade deadline, when the Reds were in a huge position of strength.

    • Please provide the list of players Walt turned down for both of either Bruce or Chapman. You are assuming Walt refused Mike Trout for Chapman or such. Walt felt the return offered for both guys were not worthy and unless you can provide names of whom he rejected then you are assuming alot.

  24. Pretty strong opinions about how bad Walt and Bod did when you don’t even know what they were offered. I just don’t get the ASSUMPTION that teams were willing to offer even a fair return. Bruce and Champman are, after all, All Star caliber assets. You shouldn’t just throw them away for the fun of making a trade.

    • Bruce is NOT an all-star caliber asset and won’t be any time soon. At best, he is slightly above average RF, with well below-average slumps for months at a time. You do WATCH games right? Did you watch how inept Bruce was in April? May? First part of June? By the time Sir Whiffenstein woke up, we were 10 games under .500 and 15 games out of first.

      • Do YOU watch games? If you did, you would know that Bruce has actually hit very well since mid-May. Check this out:

        May 16-31 = .377 BA, .509 OBP, with 2 HR’s and 4 2B’s
        June 1-30 = .263 BA, .345 OBP, with 5 HR’s and 8 2B’s
        July 1-31 = .315 BA, .360 OBP, with 5 HR’s and 10 2B’s

        Bruce did struggle in April and early May, but he’s been red-hot for 2 1/2 months now. His cumulative numbers for the year are solid.

      • Sorry, Michael, the facts don’t back you up at all. As Docmike has presented, Bruce has been a top five hitter in the NL for well over two months. His best stretch of the season was in May when the Reds were around .500. Bruce’s peripherals suggest he might have improved as a hitter this year over his 2010-2013 stretch.

        Isn’t it possible it took a year to get over his surgery which roughly coincides with the beginning of his impressive 2 1/2 month stretch?

  25. We control Bruce for another year. Makes sense to keep him. Get more a year from now. Besides, nobody knows what was offered for him this week. Would like to have been a fly on the wall to hear what was offered for Chapman though.

    • I sure hope we get more, as it wasn’t rumored to be a good deal, but moreso I hope we move him for a real player that can be counted on more than two months a seasaon.

    • I’m in favor of keeping Bruce, glad he’s still a Red, so playing devil’s advocate here….

      Yes, maybe the Res can get more for Bruce at the end of the season if more teams become interested. But a selling point NOW was that the team trading for him would have gotten him for this year’s stretch run, too. … And, I hate to say this, but what if Bruce should go into a several-week dry spell. Would that cut into his value, given that he has had roller-coaster streaks before?

  26. Homer won’t be ready until the All Star break most likely. IMO the OD rotation could look like this:

    Disco, Iglesias, Lamb, Stephenson and Lorenzen

    Finnegan, Moscot, Holmberg and C Reed in AAA

    Cingrani and K Sampson will be in the bullpen for the Reds.

    The offensive core is intact and strong.

    Phillips, Votto, Frazier, Mesoraco, Bruce, LF, Suarez and Hamilton

    Cozart, Tucker, De Jesus, Duvall and Waldrop on the bench.

    This team can compete next year.
    .

    • According to the powers that be Homer is scheduled to be throwing off the mound before spring training.

    • Court off the bench? You’d might as well cut him or trade him to a defense-needy team. I don’t think he’s ever played another IF position. You don’t keep a defense-only one position IF on your bench.

      • Unless he’s name is Edgar Rentaria and he refuses to play anywhere else 😉

    • Homer Bailey had his Tommy John surgery on 05/08/15. I found the following info on Tommy John rehab:

      Week 16 Baseball players will begin a throwing program soft tossing at 45 feet. Distance and repetitions will be increased every week until the baseball player can reach 150 feet.

      Month 6 The baseball player will begin to throw off of the mound if they are a pitcher. They are only to throw fastballs at 50% gradually increasing the number of pitches and intensity.

      Month 7 The pitcher will begin throwing breaking balls on flat grounds.

      Month 8 – 10 Start practicing in game conditions.

      Month 11 – 12 The baseball player can return to competition

      Assuming a normal recovery, Baily starts throwing in September. Starts throwing off a mound in early November. Starts throwing breaking balls in December. Practice in game conditions (Spring Training?) Jan – March. He’s back in pitching in competition next early April to early May. So sounds to me like if he has no setbacks he may only miss a few starts at the beginning of the season.

      • Wow, I’ve never seen it broken down before like that, thanks….

        Are there data for how well pitchers fare if they are back on the field, say, 13 months after surgery, or 14 months or whatever? I can’t name specific players, but it seems like few players are pitching that well before about 15 months out.

        Jose Fernandez had his surgery in May 2014 and returned this July, I think, pitching very well. Adam Wainwright had surgery in February 2011 and was back in time for the full 2012 season, but he had an ERA of about 4.0

        • Nothing really in what I saw on what to expect for performance once back in competition, except for the following line that said they may not be their old selves right off the bat:

          It usually takes a full season for a baseball player/pitcher to feel as good as he did before the injury.

  27. Why is Byrd still in a Reds uniform? Would have been nice to move BP’s contract. Glad they didn’t trade Bruce, but this is the same half…… hearted effort that Walt/Bob have given over the past three years.

    The Reds needed to deal for a hitter with a good OBP and walk rate, and they didn’t. Instead, there are about 30 different candidates for the rotation next year. Whoop-de-doo.

    • You act like it’s just that simple to move Phillips’ contract. The truth is that no one wants that albatross of a contract.

      • No it’s pretty darn hard to move that contract, and I didn’t act like it was simple.

        The point I made was that only Cueto and Leake got moved. These were the two easiest pieces to move. There’s still a lot of work to be done, and it looks like the Reds are happy to wait until the offseason to do it.

        Walt/Bob have seen this coming for at least two months, yet they really didn’t accomplish much.

        There is still no plan, still no improvement to the offense, and still no payroll relief.

        You want to compete with STL, Pitt and Chicago? You probably have to accomplish more than the past couple of days.

        I’m sure Walt tried hard. Give him a ribbon and a cookie. Results matter. Have we enjoyed the results of the past 2.5 years?

        • Both the Cubs and Padres were expected to make moves each for different reasons and neither did, so are their GMs bad? Most believe the Cards moves were not that great so is their GM bad? It’s not easy to make trades as some I believe feel it is. Walt got what most feel is a great haul for two rent a players and may at some future point move others. Let’s just let things play out.

    • What leads you to believe Walt didn’t try? How many quality high OBP guys were traded so far?

      • The fact Walt said he didn’t try. He can only do one thing at a time apparently. Cueto was focus, traded weeks later. Then Leake, but nothing else could be done until then. Walt said they focused on the to-be FA’s. So he is admitting he can’t multi-task. Pretty sad for a highly paid MLB GM.

        • Bull, there were how many hitters traded over the past few weeks who were not short term rentals? How many closers got moved over the past few weeks and those that did brought ML quality hitters in return? Fact is Cueto and Leake were priority 1 and 2 and FACT is both brought quality return. Neither Bruce nor Chapman HAD to be moved unless a OMG offer was made. None was and Reds no worse off with both still on the roster.

  28. Just saw an interview with Uncle Walt. He said they are pretty jacked with the deals they got done and that they probably could have gotten a couple of other things done had the other teams been willing to throw in position players.

  29. I don’t understand the anger/disappointment here. The Reds traded Cueto and Leake, two players they had a 0% chance of signing at the end of the season. In return they got a number of pitching prospects. Prospects are only prospects but one can hope a few of them work out in 1-2 years.

    They didn’t trade Bruce or Chapman. All evidence points to the Reds only being offered more pitchers in return for them. The Reds don’t need more pitching prospects after the Cueto and Leak trades. The need position players, specifically outfield and/or someone that can actually bat leadoff for them.

    Personally I’m happy neither were traded. Bruce is as good/better than any outfielder the Reds are going to get via trade. Chapman is a one-in-a-lifetime type pitcher. Would he be more valuable as a starter? Yes. That ship has sailed. Would he be more valuable if he pitched in the 8th inning more? Yes. That can corrected. If the return for Chapman was a true, all-star, leadoff hitter than sure, yes, trade him. But the fact is that no one is going to give up an all-star leadoff hitter for a closer.

    I’m more disappointed that Byrd and Phillips didn’t move. But I’m not sure anyone would want Byrd and Phillips is expensive / has no-trade clauses.

    I consider 2016 to be a write-off year. Assuming some of the pitching prospects + Winker are ready in 2017 then Votto/Frazier/Bruce/Mes/Chapman should all be young enough to make it interesting.

    • I’m actually happy for once, we traded who we had to kept Bruce/Chapman. Think we’ve got enough to make a run in 2016 if everyone is healthy. Hopefully, we can make a waiver trade for Byrd to open up an OF spot to get Winker more ABs down the stretch and see if he can be a 2016 opening day starter.

    • Chapman will be gone in 2017. If you believe 2016 is a write off year (it is) the n Chapman has to be traded. He will still have a ton of value this winter. But we shouldn’t even consider signing him for what his market value will be.

      • Why do you believe Chapman will be gone in 2017?

        • Because he’ll be a FA and someone will pay him an ungodly sum of money to be a closer and I’m REALLY hoping it’s not us? If Chapman is here in 2017 it means this organization has no idea what it’s doing and values free pizza promotions over putting together a viable contender. Aroldis Chapman has roughly the same career save percentage as Francisco Cordero. He is infinitely more fun to watch, but has virtually no more value in terms of winning baseball games than any number of other capable relievers who cost a fraction of what he will get. Just look at St. Louis. Name the last star closer the Cardinals had. You can’t because they never bother with them because they’re a smart organization.

        • I agree, Eric and I hope the Reds don’t sign Chapman to a big contract. But I do love some free pizza. Don’t diss the free pizza promotion!

        • Let’s put it this way. Alrodis Chapman averages around 60 IP a year. Let’s say he throws 15-17 pitches in each of those innings. That’s right around 1000 pitches in a season. Someone is going to give him $15 million/year and that’s might be a conservative estimate. That’s paying him $15,000 for every PITCH. Now let’s look at his actual numbers. His SO’s are historic, true. But so what? An out’s an out when you’re talking about so few innings. Right now Chapman ranks 8th in the league in xFIP, and for those of you who don’t like all those fancy advanced stats he’s 15th in the league in good old fashioned ERA. He’s second in WAR to some guy named Dellin Betances who hasn’t even had a save opportunity in his entire career. He’s just a few tenths of a WAR above such household names as David Robertson, Roberto Osuna, Drew Storen, and on and on and on. The fact that other teams were lining up to give us viable hitting prospects and we turned them down is insane to me. Billy Beane would have turned this guy into an entire AAA team by now.

  30. We don’t know what the offers were for Bruce and Chapman so its tough to say we should have traded.The core position players are under contract and I am sure Walt/Bob feel they can compete next year but in my opinion that window has closed.The Cards always via for a championship and now the Bucs and Cubs are knocking at the door.Our problem going forward is how do we close the gap on the teams in the central.Our young pitching and our getting older positon players are going to have a tough time but blowing it all up and starting over with all young guys won’t work either.Lets see how this plays out this winter.

  31. In the end, if all we were offered for Chapman was pitchers, then I’m fine with standing pat… for now.

    But this winter, Walt’s main objective has got to be getting some championship contender to fork over a position player or two for the best closer in the game.

    • Agreed. I love all this pitching. The Reds will be a top pitching team for years (though not next year for sure) and that alone will have them in the playoffs, regardless of hitting. We had hitting all through the 90s and most of the 00s and stunk every year because we had no pitching (Jimmy Haynes was our “ace” in name only).

  32. I look for Bruce and Chapman to be traded this winter. Better return (MLB ready players) then.

  33. Byrd? I guess we expect him to pass thru waivers? Or let him go if claimed?

    • I agree on both. If claimed, run away and laugh. If not, make him avialble for next to nothing (some rookie ball mediocre player or a 28 year old AAAA journeyman).

  34. Bruce and Chappy are total studs and I’m thrilled they are still here. I don’t think the intention was to ever go into a total rebuild. Bruce, and Byrd for that matter, are dirt cheap for the numbers they put up. I know some things will change, but if we stay exactly as we are right now, going into 2016 we have 5 guys that should hit over 25 HRs. Then we throw in BP, Suarez, Hamilton and a bench of Cozart, Tucker, De Jesus, and Duvall we start to look pretty solid offensively. I also think we have more than enough pitching now to drastically improve the pen. Big question is the young kids starting. Having said all that, you can still make deals so I wouldn’t be surprised if some pieces like Byrd are still moved. Considering we don’t have anyone ready I would prefer to keep Byrd or swing a deal for a younger stud bat in the off-season that we can control for a few years. The bottom line is Jocketty came through big time on these trades pretty much like he always has.

    • I agree. The mistakes Walt has made with regard to the manager, the 40 man roster, and the two-year deals for underwhelming veterans have all been chronicled on here. The criticisms are valid and I agree with all of them. However, with respect to trades, Walt has done exceptionally well and has earned the benefit of the doubt. Whether next year is a reboot or a rebuild, both paths will still be available in the offseason.

    • Bruce hasn’t been a stud in years. He is a study the past month plus, but I guess like many on this board, you need therapy to discover why you have so easily buried how awful he was in April, May and half of June. He was likely the worst middle lineup hitter in baseball for 60 games. He cost us several wins, only trumped by Gregg/Diaz fiasco.

      • At the end of the season outside of last year, which season hasn’t Bruce produced on a level which exceeds his contract value?

      • Michael, I suggest you look up some stats before making these statements. Since May 16th, Bruce has hit .305/.376/.562 with a 154 wRC+. That’s over 63 games. His poor period at the beginning of the season was 34 games or about half of what you claim. So for two-thirds of the season, he has been one of the best hitters in the league.

        Again, couldn’t his struggles possibly be related to knee surgery? Don’t we often give players a year to fully recover from such injuries? It took almost exactly a year and now Bruce is hitting better than ever.

        Being critical of Bruce is fine, but if fairness to him, please be accurate.

      • If you were watching the games in April and May you then should have also noted too that he drew enough walks and had enough extra base hits that he was able to offset his low BA to the extent that he was actually an above average offensive player in April (102 OPS+) and May (112 OPS+). By the way, a 100 OPS+ is a league average player, figured you might need to know since I wasn’t talking about BA. You are just simply wrong about Bruce and if you want anyone to take you as serious around here, and not as troll, you’ll start backing up your hateful bashing of Bruce with some numbers that make sense.

  35. Jocketty just said Duvall will be moved to left field at Louisville so there you go. They should be able to pass Byrd through waivers and swing a deal, which is what Jocketty looks like he is gearing up for.

  36. I am not a huge Walt fan and in fact would love to see him gone, all those here blasting him for not trading Chapman or Byrd is a riot. Not one person here has any clue what the Reds were offered. Oh sure there are rumors and writers speculation, but zero facts and I doubt we will ever know.

    Interesting how I don’t see many here upset we didn’t deal Bruce for the Mets Wheeler, yet ESPN in BT says what a horrible non trade for the Reds that was and I have had a number of people laugh at me saying how stupid Walt was for not dealing for a lock ACE for a mid level player like Bruce.

    Walt made two deals and got nice return on two rentals. Got great return on Latos an Simon in the offseason. Like it or not Walt has made the Reds better via the trade route, just wished he did better in recognizing better role players.

  37. I had hoped Chapman would bring in a large haul of talent with 5 teams being rumored to be interested. I had also hoped that the Reds would get something for Byrd instead of releasing him to keep from next years contract kicking in. I checked and the start of tonights game he had less than 320 PA(short memory I can’t remember the exact number) it won’t take much to keep him from vesting. He is hitting now and with some power but a day off a week or ten days will do it.

  38. If Wheeler was so great he would not be with the Mets now. Someone would have traded a position player for him. Bruce is a good player, yes his slumps are horrendous but his streaks are awesome. It would be stupid for the Reds to trade any player now without a return in position players.

  39. I am a bit bummed. I was hoping Bruce, Frazier, Votto, Phillips, Byrd, Hamilton were all unloaded. This team has had several years to bring home the hardware and they haven’t done it. Time for house cleaning. Maybe I will get my wish this offseason.

    • Votto still has 4-5 more years of being an elite hitter. Yes, his contract will be a problem for that period and beyond, but realize that even if you managed to find someone willing to take that contract off our hands it would mean they would give us virtually nothing in return. We would effectively be handing away the best hitter this team has had in 40 years as nothing but a salary dump. And who would we sign with that freed up money that would make enough of a difference? You’d have to get at least 2-3 above average hitters signed with the $25 million/year you freed with Votto. The way the market is booming on hitters, I doubt you could get 2 that would pan out. Rebuilding around Votto is the smart move. Would it have been smarter to not sign him to the monster contract to begin with? Probably. But I don’t mind that move nearly as much as the Phillips and Bailey contracts. Votto is an elite player. The others aren’t. I hope we don’t make a similar mistake with Frazier.

      • The hand-wringing about Votto’s contract is misplaced. With inflation of baseball salaries, Votto will only have to be a 3 WAR player to justify a $25 million salary. It’s going to be a long while before he’s not producing that much. He’s on pace for a 7.2 fWAR season this year. That’s producing $50 million in open-market value. He’s being paid $14 million. He’s earning all of his 2015, 2016 and almost all of his 2017 salary this year.

        • I agree. I still think in hindsight I’d probably not tie up so much money on one guy. The Cardinals made that choice with Pujols and it’s worked out pretty well for them. But if you ARE going to wrap up that much money in one guy, Votto’s the guy for exactly the reason you state. A hitter with half of his production in, say, 2018 will probably cost just about as much as he will.

        • Votto also has skills that have traditionally aged well and plays a position that older guys can have success at. 4 of the top 7 first baseman by WAR this year are over 31, and several guys in their mid thirties are having good years, like Gonzalez, Texieria, and Pujols. All 3 of those guys have big contracts that are thought, or were thought of, as dead weight, and all 3 have been written off as being in decline in previous years. But they are all earning their money this year and producing.

          So, while it’s probably not a good idea to sign a player to a huge contract that pays him into his late thirties/early forties, if you’re gonna do it, Votto is the type of player you’d want.

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

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