Major league teams had to finalize their 40-man rosters on Friday afternoon, which means they could start picking over unprotected players in other organizations. The Reds took quick advantage. As their first acquisition of the off-season, the club signed right-handed relief pitcher Blake Wood (30) to a major league contract yesterday. The terms of the deal have not yet been made public. Wood pitched all last year for the Pirates’ AAA team in Indianapolis.

Wood’s Background

Blake Wood grew up in the Atlanta area, so naturally he worshiped the Braves great pitchers of the 1990s. Wood recalls that John Smoltz signed his ball glove when he was 13. In college, Wood pitched for hometown Georgia Tech and reached the College World Series in 2006. In the major league draft that summer, the Kansas City Royals selected him in the third round and Wood left college for professional baseball.

The 6’5” Wood worked his way up the Royals organization through 2011, pitching in a total of 106 games for the major league club in 2010 and 2011 (4.15 FIP).

In May 2012, the Royals announced that Wood had torn his right UCL and required Tommy John surgery. Cleveland claimed him off waivers that November and Wood pitched 27 innings at various stops in their organization in 2013. Wood mostly pitched at the AAA level for Cleveland, but did get called up for a tiny bit (1.1 innings) of major league work. He then signed a one-year deal with Cleveland for 2014 but was DFA’d in May after 8 innings of AAA work.

The Royals claimed Wood off waivers in June 2014. He pitched 34.2 innings for Kansas City’s affiliates before he was DFA’d again in September and declared a free agent. The Pirates signed him to a minor league deal in November 2014.

Wood pitched well for the Pirates’ AAA club. He made 57 appearances, all in relief, throwing 58.2 innings. He struck out 70 batters and walked 25.

Scouting Report

The scouting report (Doug Gray) on Wood is clear. He is hard-thrower – working in the 94-97 mph range with his fastball, occasionally reaching 100+ mph. He uses a slider as a second pitch against right-handed batters and a splitter to put away lefties.

“A couple times we had him at a hundred and 101,” said Dean Treanor, Wood’s AAA manager. “There’s just a lot of good things going on with him. I think he’s driven to get back there and show he belongs.”

With an arm like that, strikeouts have never been a problem for Wood. His issue has always been control. At his various minor league stops in 2014, Wood walked 31 batters in 43 innings.

But last year working with the Pirates instructors, Wood found a way to cut his walks in half. The Pirates worked on Wood’s command of his fastball and trust in his secondary pitches. They installed him as their AAA closer. However, Wood never got a call-up to the Pirates, as their major league bullpen stayed healthy throughout 2015.

Why Did the Pirates Let Wood Go?

Why did the Pirates let a power-armed AAA closer leave? The Rule 5 Draft.

The Rule 5 Draft is conducted each year in the winter. Teams can select certain non-amateurs – those already on major and minor league rosters – from other organizations. Players not on a 40-man roster, but at least 22 years old can be chosen.

If an organization drafts a Rule 5 pick from another team, that player must go on and stay on the MLB 25-man roster all year. So they don’t happen often. A few famous players were selected this way: Roberto Clemente, Johan Santana and Bobby Bonilla, for example. The Cubs claimed Josh Hamilton in the Rule 5 Draft in 2006 and traded him to the Reds that day.

Teams protect established players and certain prospects from being selected by another organization by placing that player on their 40-man roster. The Reds placed Robert Stephenson on the 40-man roster a few days ago. That’s because he turned 22 last February.

The Pirates were in a tight roster squeeze this winter. They chose to protect four of their top young prospects and not Blake Wood. Wood doesn’t have options left, so once the Pirates didn’t put him on their 40-man roster last week, he became free. The Reds signed Wood as a free agent, not a Rule 5 draft pick.

Pluses and Minuses

Blake Wood has pitched two full seasons – 2014 and 2015 – since undergoing Tommy John surgery. That’s the relevant data, putting significant emphasis on the most recent year.

The main positive is Wood’s elite velocity, which has translated into a high strikeout rate. He struck out 28 percent of the batters he faced last year. That would have ranked second in the Reds bullpen, below you-know-who and just ahead of Jumbo Diaz.

You would expect pitchers at Wood’s age to start showing a decline in velocity due to aging. But research shows for pitchers who remain healthy, Tommy John surgery generally forestalls velocity declines.

Wood also cut his walk-rate significantly from 2014 (16 percent) to 2015 (10 percent). For context, last year, Aroldis Chapman’s walk-rate was 11.9 percent and J.J. Hoover’s was 11.7 percent. The rest of the Reds regular relievers had a walk-rate around 6-7 percent. MLB average for relievers was 8.6 percent.

The main negative is that those numbers – strikeouts and walks – were from facing AAA batters, not major league hitters. Reading that Walt Jocketty mentioned Wood’s saves last year brought back horrifying memories of Kevin Gregg taking the mound in the eighth inning on Opening Day.

The use of a major league contract for Wood was aggressive. It means Wood goes on the 40-man roster. Whatever dollar amount he agreed to is guaranteed, whether or not he is cut. I’d be surprised if the deal is much more than for league minimum. A half million dollars is a lot to you and me (and to Blake Wood), but in the grand scheme of the Reds budget, it’s a rounding error.

Bottom Line

The Reds have a deep scouting file on Blake Wood – he pitched eleven games against the Bats last year, plus his other stats for Indy. So they know what they’re getting. It’s not complicated. If they signed him primarily for the fastball, good. If they took him for the AAA saves, yikes.

Wood’s arm, despite his age, is promising. While high-velocity pitchers are becoming more common, guys that pitch 94-97 and hit 100-101 are worth hoarding if the club can. I doubt you use up a 40-man spot in the winter for Wood on a contending team (see Pittsburgh), but that’s not the Reds’ position.

The vast, vast majority of relief pitchers are inconsistent from year to year. To build a quality bullpen, you spread out the risk and increase your chances for reward by loading up on numbers. Unless the Reds get into a 40-man roster squeeze between now and spring training, the Blake Wood signing is solid risk/reward.

It’s meh mostly. But better-upside meh than Badenhop at a quarter the cost.

55 Responses

  1. Jeremy Conley

    I think Blake Wood was just a minor league free agent. The Pirates would have had to do the same thing the Reds did, which was sign him to a new deal. I’m not sure the connection to the Rule 5 draft.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Said in the post he was free agent, not Rule 5. Talked about Rule 5 to explain the Pirates roster crunch.

      • Jeremy Conley

        Ok. I was a little confused because you said the Pirates chose not to protect Blake, which would imply that he was under contract for next year, but not on the 40 man roster. Since he was a free agent, the Pirates would have first had to have signed him to a new deal before protecting him would have come into play.

        Also, maybe the did make him an offer, and the Reds’ was better, so we really don’t know it the Pirates chose not to sign him or not.

  2. redbonebuck

    He was a target for the organization, the scouts must see something beyond the numbers. Maybe this turns into an Alfredo Simon type deal. You have to give it up to old Jock for spinning Simon into future parts!

  3. Hotto4Votto

    I agree with the last sentence that it’s a meh move mostly. I feel the Reds could have found a similar upside pitcher on a minor league deal. Carlos Contreras had better K/9 numbers in AAA than Wood last year, and he struggled to get MLB guys out. Wood hasn’t had success at MLB level since 2011. Even Gregg had experienced more recent success. The Reds now have three RH RP on their 40-man that are out of options for 2015 in Contreras, Mattheus, and Wood. The latter two are arbitration eligible. (I don’t know how that works when a guy is signed as a FA). It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to make this guy a priority signing, and by that I mean so early in the offseason when we have so many other moves, and so many other options are available to us.

    • Tom Diesman

      Definitely a meh move. But the major league deal hints to me that the Reds weren’t the only team after his services and they may have won out by being able to offer the major league deal since they have so many openings and so much slough still on the roster. Yeah, Tommy John surgery probably went a long way for explaining why no success since 2011, but he seemed to have a decent season last year at AAA to show he’s now back to health. In that respect, it reminds me a little of the Boesch signing last year in taking a chance on a once successful MLB player rebounding after injuries. I’m totally ok with that and hope he’s able to rebound and provide some middle relief help for a team that needs it.

      • TR

        If Wood turns out like Boesch did in 2015, it’s not going to mean much for the bullpen.

    • earmbrister

      I don’t know that I’d consider signing a guy for what is most likely a League Minimum contract a priority signing. Alfredo Simon was picked off the scrap heap after being with a half dozen or more organizations for one reason: he had promise. If he doesn’t work out he gets DFA’d. If he does it’s a great roll of the dice.

      I’m not to worried if he forces the Reds to cut Mattheus or Contreras … Mattheus in particular frustrates the heck out of me.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Did you happen to finish the sentence where I described what I meant by priority as being this early in the off season? The Reds will hopefully trade 2-4 veterans this off season. We will be receiving prospects back in those scenarios, and if we get back prospects who are near-ready, those guys will need roster spots. There is a good chance we will bring back more guys than we send out. We should be in a good position this season to draft at least one guy in Rule V this year. We have identified an veteran innings eater as someone we are looking to add in FA.

        All of these things should take priority over adding a 30 year old AAA reliever without options to the roster. Especially when you can find dozens of guys of comparable talent for minor league deals later in the winter, or even early spring.

        Simon, as you brought up, is nothing like this situation. In fact, he’s a shining example of why the Reds could afford to wait to make this type of roster move. Simon was picked up after Spring Training ended, the Reds literally set their opening day roster and then had to send Todd Frazier down to accommodate for Simon. Guys like Simon, Wood, etc are available after Spring Training every year. It just doesn’t make a ton of sense that in what is expected to be a very active off season that this is the first move the Reds make.


        I agree Hotto that those players are available, but with a bullpen in need and a bench for that matter as well, we have not picked up anyone I can remember.

        I actually like early moves. I hope to see one quickly for Fowler

  4. redslam

    Seems a reasonable gamble – gather live arms cheaply for bull-pen and hope a few come good. A little bit concerned that we haven’t seen any trade moves yet…. any peeps?

    • UglyStrike

      This I agree with completely, plus I am greatly concerned that there is nothing even being rumored on the trade front.

      My blood pressure forced me to stay away from the Reds for about 15 years. If good things do not happen this off-season I can see another 15 in the future.

  5. ohiojimw

    As far as the Wood signing per se, count me among the ambivalent. If it paves the for departure of some of the more expensive and mediocre guys such as Mattheus and Hoover, that’s a mild plus on its own. However it seems a bit of a head scratcher when they are deep in very good prospect arms, some of which seem destined to end up as relievers.

    The real down part for me is that the move seems to reinforce the perception that the Reds are too fixated on pitching to the point of ignoring their positional needs. It would have been much more exciting to hear they had taken a flyer on a borderline OF guy high OBP with solid defense and occasional pop.

    • redslam

      I look at it as a bit of low-cost insurance that relying too much on young arms is a bad idea and this guy at least comes with a little bit of upside (even if unlikely). I personally could have stomached another terrible season to let our young pitchers grow, but I can see the logic in the move.

      But yeah, it is meh in the grand scheme when we have massively important moves (or not) to make that could be decisive in our next 2-4 year prospects.

    • greenmtred

      That outfield guy you describe doesn’t sound borderline, to me: He sounds like a solid, established starter. Maybe the Reds are stockpiling arms as they become available so they’ll have more tade chips? Wishful thinking?

  6. james garrett

    Stock piling power arms at a reasonable cost works for me.Closer experience helps even in the minors.Bottom line is the more power arms you can get the better off you will be.

    • Steve Mancuso


      “In order for a player to be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, they must (A) not be on the team’s 40-man roster and (B) they must have signed at age 18 or 19 and spent 5 or 4 years respectively in the organization (essentially, they must be 22 years old and not protected).”

      • Steve Mancuso


        The Rule V Draft is held annually during baseball’s Winter Meetings. Teams must file a 40-man roster with the league office by November 20th. Any player who fits all of the criteria below is eligible for the Rule V Draft:
        Player is not on the 40 man roster
        Player has been in the minor leagues for at least 4 years if he was signed after age 19 (was 3 years before the 2006 CBA).
        Player has been in the minor leagues for at least 5 years if he was signed before age 19 (was 4 years before the 2006 CBA).

      • Doug Gray

        That’s partially correct, but ignore a whole lot.

        If you are under 19 when you sign, you don’t have to be protected until the 5th Rule 5 draft since your signing. This applies to most high school signings (exceptions like Amir Garrett or one day Gavin LaValley, both who wee 19 when they signed out of high school) and international signings.

        If you are 19 or older, you need to be protected for your 4th Rule 5 draft since your signing. Most college guys are 20-22 when they sign. That means they aren’t Rule 5 eligible until they are 24-26 years old.

    • ohiojimw

      Wood has been on an MLB roster and therefore can never be a rule 5 guy. Correct?

      • Steve Mancuso

        I don’t think being on a major league roster for a time disqualifies a player from Rule 5 Draft eligibility. At least that’s the way I read the rules.

      • ohiojimw

        I think there is a “catch 22” type thing involved. Once a person goes on an MLB roster, he is subject to the option/ outright system. The only way he ends up off an the MLB roster is to clear MLB waivers. Having been exposed to and cleared MLB waivers in essence nullifies rule 5 because any team that wanted the guy had the opportunity to claim him on the MLB waiver wire.

        Guys with enough service time can reject the outright and become free agents. Other players eventually accrue enough MiLB service, if not MLB service time and become MiLB free agents.

      • Steve Mancuso

        In Wood’s case, because he wasn’t protected on the Pirates 40-man roster, three options spent, he was a free agent, not a Rule 5 guy.

      • David

        He was available because the Pirates were using their 40 man roster spots to protect YOUNG prospects from a Rule 5 draft signing. At 30, for a contending team like the Pirates, so what? Being in AAA this year for the Pirates was an insurance policy, and they might have captured lightning in a bottle. Didn’t need him. He may help the Reds in 2016. Certainly more stuff than Badenhop, Gregg, Lecure and some other guys that pitched in 2015.
        And Same Lecure is a great guy, but keeping “great guys” of less than mediocre talent is no recipe for winning.

  7. rhayex

    So according to Nick Cafardo, the Reds were asking for MORE than Kimbrel was traded for. That’s crazy.

    • Shchi Cossack


      “The Reds listened to Boston’s pitch for Chapman but required more than the Red Sox offered for Kimbrel, and the Sox weren’t comfortable going the extra mile for a pitcher who can become a free agent after 2016.”

      Nick Piecoro, azcentral sports

      “The Diamondbacks were among the teams pushing hard for Chapman at the trade deadline but ultimately decided the Reds’ asking price was too steep. One source said the Reds requested two pre-arbitration big league players in exchange for Chapman, who is likely to command a record contract for a relief pitcher when he hits free agency after 2016. Not speaking specifically about Chapman, Stewart said he won’t pay a high price for a closer.”

      • Ryan Lykins (@ryan_lykins)

        Well as they have done so many times before, the Reds have overvalued the role of the closer. As great as Chapman is there’s no way in the world they could realistically get that much for him?

      • Ryan Lykins (@ryan_lykins)

        Sorry wasn’t meant to be a question but a statement.

      • ohiojimw

        If they were looking for 2 prearb MLB players at the 2015 deadline, I’d guess it is a fair guess that currently they want one of those plus a very legit prospect who has already played substantially at AA or higher.

        They might come closer to getting two MLB guys, one prearb and the other a guy they are going to have to pay maybe half of Chapman’s projected salary.

    • Hotto4Votto

      I am growing ever more fearful that the Reds will paint themselves into a corner with unreasonable asking prices. Asking for more than what the Padres got for Kimbrel, who is close in talent and comes with more years of control demonstrates a clear inability to properly assess the current trade market. Stewart’s comments confirm that the asking price was too high, and the Red Sox comments confirms it hasn’t changed any since the deadline.

      I see a future where the Miller and Boxberger are traded and Soria signs on as a FA, leaving fewer and fewer suitors for Chapman. Meaning it virtually becomes a buyers market, as Chapman can be viewed as a luxury.

      I see the same thing happening with Frazier, but at least holding onto Frazier is less egregious than keeping Chapman this off season.

  8. GreatRedLegsFan

    Have Chapman to start in 2016. Then they’ll be able to trade him at deadline. Otherwise they won’t get much now, specially when there’re other more affordable arms in the market.

    • redslam

      Ship has sailed, but it is so painful to think of what might have been. This summer we would be shopping a potential top class #1 starter like Cueto with more upside and hit-miss stuff that nobody can match… imagine the haul we would be bringing back (acknowledge this is rear-view mirror stuff – he might not have developed that way)…

      Someone would trade for him and then pay him to stay their #1 afterwards. Instead we are dealing with much smaller market of teams that need ONE closer and the league has caught on that overpaying for the “closer” role is stupid. What a gigantic missed opportunity.

      Again emphasizes why decisions like the handling of Chapman need to be considered in their full strategic context. It just seems like we felt staying the course was “safest” and “easiest” option given the manager and player at the time, but it is biting us good. I would say it is conservatively costing us at LEAST one TOP, TOP line prospect now.

  9. Scot Lykins

    Nothing to get excited about here. Just hope he can fill a role.

  10. earmbrister

    The Reds front office is, or should be, in the talent acquisition business 24/7/365. You don’t wait in the hopes that someone is available at a later date: you anticipate opportunities and then act decisively when they do in fact arise.

    Simon, if I’m not mistaken, was picked up when the Reds had half of their bullpen go down with injuries during ST (Madson, Masset, and Bray). I don’t buy the statement that guys like Simon are available every spring, if you factor in his success ever since his pickup. If guys like Simon are available every spring, you should be able to name dozens (5 yrs since times 30 MLB teams) of players that have had similar success after being picked up off the scrap heap.

    With regards to roster space, The bullpen was one of the weakest areas of the team. Now, we’re looking to trade Chapman to make the bullpen even weaker. With Chapman, Badenhop, and Parra most likely goneThe Reds front office is, or should be, in the talent acquisition business 24/7/365. You don’t wait in the hopes that someone is available at a later date: you anticipate opportunities and then act decisively when they do in fact arise.

    Simon, if I’m not mistaken, was picked up when the Reds had half of their bullpen go down with injuries during ST (Madson, Masset, and Bray). I don’t buy the statement that guys like Simon are available every spring, if you factor in his success ever since his pickup. If guys like Simon are available every spring, you should be able to name dozens (5 yrs since times 30 MLB teams) of players that have had similar success after being picked up off the scrap heap.

    The bullpen was one of the weakest areas of the bullpen last year. Now, with the looming trade of Chapman (hopefully for a MLB ready position player, a weak bullpen will be become terrible. With Chapman, Badenhop, and Parra most likely all gone, and Mattheus and Contreras very replaceable, the Reds should be looking to bolster their bullpen at every opportunity.

    • Hotto4Votto

      You are correct, they should always be on the look out for talent. Now, it’s somewhat questionable if this guy is better than some of the fringe-roster guys we had, or if he has the type of talent to contribute to a MLB bullpen. He hasn’t since 2011. Pittsburgh never called him up last year, even when the rosters expanded. You can always use good bullpen arms in September. Contreras is replaceable, sure. But Contreras had a better K/9 in AAA last year than Wood had, and he’s younger. Many are chomping at the bit to get rid of Mattheus, but over the course of their careers Mattheus has been the better pitcher. Mattheus has a career FIP of of 3.97, Wood has a career FIP of 4.22. Last year Mattheus posted a 3.58 FIP which is better than Wood’s career best FIP of 3.69, which occurred in 2011. Mattheus has also managed to stay in the Majors.

      Masset and Bray were rarely healthy for the Reds so counting on them was fool’s gold to begin with, and Chapman replaced Madson in the bullpen that year. If you recall, Madson was signed on to be the closer with Marshall the set up man, Chapman was being stretched out as a starter, and was the best starter in the rotation that Spring Training. Simon was added after not making the rotation with the Orioles.

      As to there being fringe talent available every year, it just makes sense. Every year guys signed to minor league deals make MLB squads. Someone has to come off that roster for those guys to be added. Sometimes it’s guys who are out of options but still have some upside. I’m sure if you compiled a list of guys who were traded or picked up off waivers every late March/early April you would be able to identify a good amount that made contributions. Hoover is one example from the Reds I can think of recently, Juan Francisco was out of options and the Reds flipped him for Hoover instead of cutting him. Todd Redmond is another similar guy to Blake Wood, (career 4.24 FIP) we got late in a deal for Janish. He never did anything with the Reds, but he had a really solid 2014 starting for the Blue Jays. Zach Duke picked up in June one year.

      My point being, Blake Wood is nothing special. You can find guys like him, big arms and questionable control all over the upper minors. There’s no need to use a MLB roster spot for a guy who may not be better than two guys we already have, who may not make the team. If this was a minor league signing, then I’m all for it. The more competition the better. I just don’t think the Reds should be into giving out spots on the roster before they know who they will have and whom they will need.

      • earmbrister

        Stats being what they are, your use of statistics is selective. You talk about Contreras having a better FIP than Wood in AAA last year, which is fair, but Contreras has not proven that he can get MLB batters out (as evidenced by his 5.42 FIP in MLB last year). You then shift to career FIP to compare Mattheus to Wood, which ignores the fact that Wood significantly cut his walk rate in 2015. As for “Mattheus has also managed to stay in the Majors”, there hasn’t been a year in his 12 year professional career that he has managed to stay in the majors: 12 seasons, with each and every one having time spent in the minors. In 2014 Mattheus had a whopping 8 IP in MLB. IF Wood beats out Contreras or Mattheus in ST, I will do cartwheels.

        Your original post mentioned that “we should be in a good position this season to draft at least one guy in Rule V this year”. How is the Wood signing any different? The Rule V guy would have to be on the MLB roster all year, not to mention that Rule V pickups are very often used to fill the back of the bullpen. Furthermore, the Reds know what is available in Rule V, and they quickly moved to sign Wood anyway. As Steve M. noted, “the Reds have a deep scouting file on Blake Wood – he pitched eleven games against the Bats last year”. They are quite familiar with him and his abilities. The fact that Wood was not called up in September ignores the fact that the Pirates had a healthy bullpen and were in a tight pennant race in September with the Cards and the Cubs. He was not going to get any meaningful innings in the midst of a pennant race.

        As for the need for a veteran innings eater, that has little to do with a bullpen acquisition. If a spot is needed for a 6th starter, or a third catcher for that matter, drop Mattheus. Mattheus is about 2 years older than Wood, and at age 32 with 12 professional seasons, Mattheus has not proven he belongs on a MLB roster.

        You did not choose to back up your comments like “guys like Simon, Wood, etc are available after Spring Training every year” as well as “you can find dozens of guys of comparable talent for minor league deals later in the winter, or even early spring”. Your “dozens” were limited to Hoover, Redmond, and Duke, who have not had nearly the success that Simon had after being picked up for nothing. Heck, Hoover and Redmond were acquired by the Reds in trades. Wood, like Simon, cost us nothing but a minimum contract. Zach Duke was a FA picked up in June, and pitched a grand total of 10 innings for the Reds before being waived. Hardly a success story.

        The Reds can go out and spend bigger dollars for questionable talent in the bullpen, like Kevin Gregg or Burke Badenhop. Or they can focus their search for bullpen talent on guys with superior stuff and mixed results like Blake Wood. I, for one, will not miss Gregg, Badenhop, Contreras, or Mattheus. This is as good a time as any to take a gamble on a guy with a lot of potential. Wood may or may not prove to be a worthy addition, but he is well worth the “risk”.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Up above I clearly stated what I meant when I said “priority” but yet you responded out of context. And if you took the time to read what I just posted, I never mentioned FIP with Contreras. I mentioned K/9. So there wasn’t a “switch” to career FIP with Mattheus, because it was the first time I brought it up. And I gave both, career and last year’s FIP. Mattheus performed better than Wood in both aspects.

        You accuse me of being “selective” in my stats, but was Steve selective in his stats? Because the two primary stats he used in the original article were FIP and K’s. Those are the two stats I used to prove my point that he is of comparable talent because it was relevant to the conversation. I agreed Contreras is replaceable. But if Contreras and Mattheus (according to many on here) are so replaceable, why sign someone who at best is on their level, at worst is the next Gregg?

        And heaven forbid someone works their way up through the minors. Yes Mattheus started his profession career in 2004. He made his MLB debut in 2011 and has pitched every year in MLB since then. Yes, he did not pitch much in 2014, 8.2 IP. Yet since 2011 Wood has only pitched 7.2 innings. Wood debuted in 2010, but has only pitched 7.2 innings since 2011. Since that time Mattheus has pitched 166.1 innings in the MLB. You tell me who has stuck in the Majors?

        As far as Rule V draft goes, yes the player will have to be on the 25-man all year. I understand that. Do you understand the difference between a 30 year old fringe roster player with no options and at most 3 years of control versus a (likely sub-25yr old) prospect with upside and six years of control, plus options? I see an obvious reason as to why one would prefer one to the other, especially in a non-contending year.

  11. UglyStrike

    Arms are Arms in ST. The trick is not to fall in love with a lousy pitcher that has a decent ST. As happened last year. Wood is a good pickup for what he is. If we get more out of him that it will be great.

  12. WVRedlegs

    Not a bad pick up for a very bad bullpen. Small risk with a large reward possibility. The improvement from 2014 to 2015 hopefully continues through to 2016 on that trajectory.
    Now if he has movement on that fastball, and can control it, that is much better than some of the Reds straight as an arrow fastball relievers.

  13. David

    i would not be too surprised at the initial reaction to other team’s evaluation of Chapman’s talent. Everybody is bargaining for what they want. There will be a match up for a trade for Chapman, depending on what is offered, versus what they might be shopping for. There is always the sense that the Reds are going to get snookered in some trade, and get a bucket of wet towels and used baseballs for Chapman.
    Really, how many bad TRADES have the Reds made in the last few years? I am not talking about signings like, Schumaker, Gregg, Marquis, Badenhop, etc. The signings of free agents has been some free-range dumb stuff.

  14. WVRedlegs

    Houston’s quest for a top line closer will go through Cincinnati. Whether the Reds get on board the Houston Express or let the Yankees take that ride is the question of the day. Houston has the prospects the Reds should be salivating over. Would hate to see them go to the Yankees.

    • redslam

      Houston is probably the last big hope. Is there another team out there needing a closer and prepared to pay a premium for one year of a pitcher such as Chapman?

      WRT our trades over the last few years – yeah, they have been pretty good on balance at the time we made them. And if we hold onto Chapman until midseason and then trade to contender I imagine we will get decent return then, but it probably won’t be what we would get now. Same with Frazier (last season).

      Same could be said for Cueto and Leake (although we might have though we were going to compete last year). We got good returns but perhaps not the optimal returns for those assets (because of timing).

      And really it isn’t about getting nothing for Chapman – that isn’t a reasonable scenario. The real question is if we do a good job OPTIMIZING what we get for Chapman (and the rest).

      • redslam

        Yeah just saw the piece on the Nats on – does seem an interesting option, but they have their own parts to move to make way unless they feel the urgency to rip him off the market first. I always thought the Nats should be the one to get aggressive last year with Chapman and was disappointed it didn’t happen then – I guess they felt we were asking way too much.

      • WVRedlegs

        1. Houston
        2. Washington
        3. LA Dodgers
        4. Sleeper: Chi WhiteSox, now that they may make OF Avisail Garcia (24 years old) available for trade. Garcia would be nice in LF. The defensive metrics aren’t kind to him in RF even though he had 17 OF assists from RF. He has something like a -12 DRS.

  15. james garrett

    I am like everybody else and hope Chappy gets traded soon for a good haul.The realist in me then comes out and says be patient.It really is that we can’t afford him so he must be traded and somebody will pay for him just have to wait it out.Teams know he is the best and could get them to the series.He will also put people in the seats just like he did for the Reds.Just like all trades that include prospects the jury remains out until you see what they do on the field so it may take a while to fully evaluate the trade.

    • Shchi Cossack

      And he will return a comp pick for the aquiring team after the rejected QO next off-season, if Chapman is traded prior to the start of the 2016 season. That’s a significat bonus for the aquiring team.

      • redslam

        Just to clarify – so if we is traded BEFORE the 2016 season, the acquiring team worst-case gets a 1st round draft pick back? But if it is mid-season, they get nothing?

      • Shchi Cossack

        Yes, but it is not a 1st round pick. It is a sandwich pick between the 1st and 2nd round.

  16. Tyler Burdett

    I think Wood can be an “Epstein Flip” candidate. If he shows promise in the first half, he could be a cheap option that a contending team can add at the deadline to shore up their middle-relief area of their bullpen. I like the smart risk that was taken signing Wood.

  17. lwblogger2

    I am underwhelmed by this signing and am not thrilled the Reds had to do an MLB deal to land him. The upside is his improved walk rate to go along with his very good velocity. His makeup sounds good too. Like I said, I’m underwhelmed but there are things about this signing that suggest it may turn out better than I think it will.