In 1987, the Reds gave over 400 plate appearances to two young middle infielders competing to become the Reds next shortstop. Both players were high draft picks and had numerous supporters in and out of the organization. After the 1987 season, the Reds traded one of these talented youngsters to the Royals while crowning the other the shortstop of the future. The player the Reds traded was Kurt Stillwell who went on to play for five teams over nine seasons. The player the Reds chose to keep – Barry Larkin.

Almost 29 years later, the Reds are approaching another crossroads at the shortstop position; only this time, they have more options and arguably more questions that need answered.

When the 2015 season mercifully ended, the conventional wisdom was that Eugenio Suarez was the shortstop of the future. Sure, Zack Cozart would have a chance to reclaim his old job after rehabbing another leg injury but long term, Suarez seemed to be the guy. Then, the Reds traded Todd Frazier, and Walt Jocketty promptly stated that Suarez would play third base this coming season. In the trade, the Reds also added a middle infielder, Jose Peraza, who they expect to contribute soon.

Then, the Reds reportedly signed Cuban infielder Alfredo Rodriguez, an apparent defensive whiz at shortstop. While that deal hasn’t been confirmed, his potential signing adds more confusion to a crowded middle infield.

Now, the shortstop picture long term doesn’t look so clear. With Frazier gone, the Reds don’t have a clear third basemen of the future, and Suarez’s presence there this season would at least open up the possibility that he stays there. The other four potential candidates to fill the shortstop hole long term are Cozart, Peraza, Rodriguez, and top prospect Alex Blandino.

Between the five candidates, the Reds don’t have a surefire solution at short. Suarez, who played the position for half a season in 2015, struggled defensively at times, committing 19 errors and ending the year with a -12.9 UZR. He certainly showed the potential to play the position, but he has to cut down on his mistakes to stay there.

The book on Suarez when the Reds traded for him was that he could be an average defender at short. If he does that, his bat plays well enough to play shortstop. If Suarez had enough plate appearances last year, his 105 wRC+ (runs created) would have rated third among all shortstops in the Major Leagues. His average, OBP, slugging%, and ISO would have all rated in the top ten among shortstops.

While the bat plays well at shortstop, it doesn’t play nearly as well at third base, traditionally a power position. Suarez would have rated 15th in wRC+, 16th in OBP and 18th in slugging among third baseman last season.

Peraza has spent most of the last two seasons playing second base. But before that, he played a lot of shortstop in the minors. Baseball Prospectus suggests he could still be an “above average regular” at shortstop. They even say he has “a very good chance of becoming an everyday shortstop.”

That’s encouraging and yet, he hasn’t played the position much in a few years. While he could likely adjust back fairly quickly, a trade of Brandon Phillips would almost assuredly put Peraza at second base to start the season instead of reintroducing him to shortstop at AAA. The Phillips’ trade to the Nats died, but with Dick Williams suggesting the Reds are committed to a long-term rebuild, Phillips time as the Reds starting second baseman could be coming to a close rather soon.

Steve covered Peraza’s bat well, and it will only play at second base or shortstop. He has almost no power and much of his value will be tied to his defense and speed. If he is an above average shortstop or excellent second baseman, he could be extremely valuable. He has excellent contact skills, but his ability to get on base is almost completely tied to his batting average. This type of player fails frequently at the major league level.

Alex Blandino has played shortstop more than any other position in the minor leagues. Even so, many experts have major concerns about his ability to stay at short, including our own minor league guru, Doug Gray.

Blandino is probably the least suited to play shortstop long term. He doesn’t have the range the others do and spent most of his college years at third base. His bat could potentially play anywhere on the infield as Fangraphs projects his upside as a .280/.345/.460 with 18-22 homers guy. If the power doesn’t develop, Blandino is probably a second basemen.

Zack Cozart will turn 31 this August and is coming off of major knee surgery. He has always been an excellent defender and a rather poor offensive player. He was having his best offensive season in 2015 before the injury, batting .258/.310/.459 with a 104 wRC+. Even so, I find it hard to put too much faith in 214 plate appearances when we have years of data with which to evaluate Cozart. His career slash line (.245/.284/.375) in over 2000 plate appearances speaks volumes.

And yet Cozart doesn’t need to hit that well to provide value if he can return to playing elite defense. If he does, maybe the Reds see him as the guy for the next four to six years.  The move of Suarez to third base means the Reds do not expect the two to compete for the shortstop job this spring. They seemingly want to give Cozart a chance to show that his brief success at the plate last season wasn’t a fluke. After a serious knee injury, the Reds need to find out whether Cozart will ever be the same.

Then there’s Rodriguez. Because of Cozart’s knee injury, Rodriguez might be the best defensive shortstop going forward on this list. While only 21 with the potential for improvement, he might also be the worst hitter of the bunch. Last year, he had four extra-base hits in 304 plate appearances in the Cuban league, an anemic number. He has less power than Billy Hamilton had at age 21.

The Reds must believe that Rodriguez’s offensive game will develop to give him $6 million (if reports are correct). His offense must improve substantially for Rodriguez to ever make any impact for the Reds.

The Reds of course need some of these players to play second or third base. With Frazier gone and Phillips’ time as the Reds second baseman ending relatively soon, the Reds have most of the infield to replace. These decisions have a profound impact on how quickly a rebuilding team returns to winning.

Almost thirty years ago, the Reds decided to keep a shortstop who had just batted .244 in 488 plate appearances. That young man became a Hall of Famer.

Two months ago, Eugenio Suarez was the shortstop of the future. Now, the Reds seemingly have five candidates to man shortstop long term, all with serious question marks. While none of these players are likely Hall of Famers, they all have some level of potential to give us hope. The Reds better get this one right.

Join the conversation! 82 Comments

  1. I haven’t been able to sort out whether Rodriquez is really in the mix. Have the Reds backed off? If so, Suarez is the 2017 SS, Blandino moves to third, and Peraza plays second. In 2016, it Cozart at short, Phillips at second, and Suarez at third. Blandino at AAA. Peraza as super sub or AAA.

    All this could change at any moment with the right trade.

    • Don’t sleep on Eric Jagielo as the thirdbaseman in 2017, and to be honest, I see a chance that Cozart will be traded (or cut loose, depending on how he recovers from the injury) by mid season 2016, opening a spot for Suárez to return to SS and Jagielo to maybe get a shot at the majors late this season.

      • Serious doubts if Jagielo can even stick at 3B because he lacks range and has an average arm. Most see him as a future 1B.

        • Obviously the Reds see him as something other than a 1B, otherwise they likely wouldn’t have been ok with him as a major piece in the Chapman trade. A firstbaseman does us nothing because they would be blocked by Votto. Most likely, they see him as a 3B, or a left fielder.

        • There are some pretty serious rumors going around about the National League going to the DH in the next couple of years with the new players agreement. If that happens, Jagielo and Votto could split duties at 1B and DH.

        • I’ve heard a lot about those rumors, but i don’t put a whole lot of stock into them at this point. I think the players’ association would push back some on adding the DH in the NL. Certain players (Leake, Bumgarner, Fernandez to name a few) would likely speak out in opposition of the DH, I know Bumgarner already has. Personally, I have a few problems with adding a DH to the NL, but I’m not 100% opposed to it either. First off, having the pitcher hit brings a whole new strategic element to the game, whether to sacrifice bunt, pinch hit, etc. With the DH, you can use the bullpen more haphazardly and not have to worry about the pitcher coming up to bat. I think the DH is perfect for the American League only. It makes each league unique, and can influence where a free agent signs. John Jaso, for example, signed in the NL so he wouldn’t have to DH. Albert Pujols signed in the AL so he could DH later in his career. The final, and biggest problem with adding the DH to the National League is the timeframe that would be necessary to make this change. The league would need to give National League teams at least 2 or 3 years, in my opinion, to make sure they were all well equipped to add a DH (whether that means signing someone, trading for someone, etc.).

          Also, back to the point of Jagielo and Votto sharing the DH role, I would think if the NL did in fact get a DH, Adam Duvall would be the most likely current Reds player to take the role. Maybe Jagielo and Duvall would share it, with Votto, Mesoraco, etc. getting a start at DH on their “off days.”

        • When we got him Walt said he saw him as a 3B/1B off the bench guy. So I think they see a guy with big pop off the bench and filling in on off days at corner infield. Filling in at 3B once every few weeks and playing every day are two different things.

        • Did Jocketty say that’s how he sees Jagielo in 2016, or in the future? While he might be a bench guy right now for us, I have a hard time believing he would be a major piece in a major trade if they didn’t have bigger plans for the future. Plans can also change even this season, due to untimely injuries, or trades in July.

        • Well Davis was the primary piece returned in the trade. He’s the higher ranked prospect. Jagielo was the 2nd piece in a trade that was generally deemed as a poor return overall. I don’t believe Jocketty was speaking about 2016 at all, as he’s already stated Suarez will be the 3B. So I would guess he’s talking down the road. Right now Jagielo only has had a small amount of games in AA. He likely won’t be ready until at least 2017 as I’d expect he’ll repeat AA next year to get a full year there.

  2. None of these are probably the shortstop of the future, and that’s okay. This team isn’t ready to compete now anyway. All these guys have to do is be the bridge to the rebuild and play the roles of Paul Janish, Juan Castro, and Jeff Keppinger until that shortstop of the future is found, hopefully sooner rather than later.

    • It is alright if none of these guys are a “SS of the future”. Many teams have thrived without a guy who is “the SS” in a long term way. For instance inside the Reds own division, look at the Cards and Pirates over the last several years.

      However, the Reds pitching should be ready for a playoff contention run by 2018. Thus one of this group needs to be a credible placeholder by then unless they bring in somebody from the outside.

      • Pitching should be ready sooner than 2018, and most likely will be ready by 2017 (assuming at least 5 of our many young pitchers pan out, which is a fairly safe bet). The hitting, specifically 3B and the outfield as a whole, is the biggest question.

  3. “The Reds better get this one right.”

    Har har har. You think there is accountability? Peraza and Rodriguez show that the Reds FO will dance merrily along without a clue. Crossing fingers, and hoping that dubious skills improve – instead of trading for/signing players with a better upside.

    This team could approach 2003 Tigers level of awfulness, and maybe that’s what they want.

    • Rodriguez, perhaps, but definitely not Peraza. He has a good chance to be the next Dee Gordon, and if he is, the Reds will definitely feel happy about the Frazier trade.

      • Eh – he also has the chance to be bad. Two other organizations thought so little of him that they chose to let him go.

        • All prospects have the chance to be bad, that’s why they are considered prospects. There’s always a degree of risk, but from what I’ve seen and heard about Peraza, I see his floor as the 2015 Billy Hamilton, which is obviously not ideal but not bad either.

          • yup – but he is not as fast as Hamilton. But would you trade Todd Frazier for 2015 Billy Hamilton? Can Peraza lead off? With his OBP, maybe not. So you have a CF and a 2B/SS who should not be at the top of the order. Who leads off? Aside from Votto, who is going to get on base?

        • Straight up, of course not. If Peraza turns out to be 2015 Hamilton, Schebler better be pretty good if we want to consider that trade a success. If Peraza turns out to be the next Dee Gordon, I would feel much better about the trade. I was one person who from the very beginning said the Reds shouldn’t trade Frazier to begin with though.

          • Certainly not for this type of return. Top Five 3rd Baseman for a few question marks, one of which has been given up on by two organizations. Still, the trade could work out. But disheartening, when you look at the other off-season moves.

        • Frazier should not have been traded, period. He was the 3rd baseman of the future, in his prime, face of the franchise type of guy, loved by all almost as much as Sean Casey, oh, and the dude could rake..he is a gamer and a great clubhouse guy. Why couldn’t he have been signed to a long term deal? Was he not worth it? Most likely the Reds have no one over the next 5 seasons who will produce at his level. He unfortunately will suffer going to the AL, numbers will go down, but he still had a bright future in Cincy. It’s a shame.

          • yep – But TRADE him NOW! for NOTHING! It made little sense to me. I mean, did they even explore the possibility of a long-term deal?

        • Same thing happened with Brandon Phillips, and that worked out pretty well.

          • I applaud your optimism. I’d say that BP and Peraza could not be more different situations.

  4. Hopefully someone smarter than me in the front office has a plan for this stockpile of young middle infielders and pitchers that leads to a winning record in a few years

    • Stockpile? Not really sure we should be calling them a “stockpile”. We like them because they are our guys, but really, very few, if any, of our guys are highly regarded outside the Reds organization and Red fans. Lots of hope and potential but really nothing more than that right now.

      • Peraza is very highly regarded, listed as the #24 MLB.com prospect as of right now.

      • By stockpile, I don’t mean sure things, just a alot of them. Who knows if one or more of them turn out to be major league talent.

  5. As a fan looking from the outside in ,the Reds look to be trying the ‘pitching and defense wins championships’ approach. The issue of course being that it takes some hitting too. The only prospect returned that goes counter to this approach is Jagielo, who seems to have some defensive deficiencies.

    Suarez would be my choice at SS because I see the raw skills of a starting SS. A lot of young SS were bad defenders and got a lot better as time when on. That said, he has to play somewhere here and now and the Reds have deemed 3B to be it. I think that probably rules him out as the SS of the future. I think the Reds already feel he doesn’t have the defensive chops to play there.

  6. The true SS in that mix is Cozart but at his age with a lack of success at the plate he is NOT the SS of the future especially coming off a serious injury. I have been a huge fan of his glove and I hope he returns to form. I am as low on Suarez being a major league SS as I can be. IMO he would have to improve his BA 75 points to unseat the anemic hitting Cozart. Suarez range and arm strength are not the issue, physically he probably has the tools to be slightly better than average. The errors he made and to a greater extent the ones he didn’t he always looked scared or clueless I am unsure which. The advanced numbers readers will probably be shaking their head but this is one of those eye test things he just looks lost.

  7. I am not sure we have a shortstop of the future on our current roster but if Cosart’s defense is still above average then he plays because to me defense comes first at short.

    • Value is value. You can provide it in many different ways.

      Someone with a good bat and passable defense is a better SS than a bad bat and good defense.

  8. I think you got to let Suarez have a shot (a full year) to show he play league average defense. All the minor league numbers suggest he can. We know he can make the plays, just have to cut down on the mental mistakes and lack of focus. We know his bat will play at SS.

    My hope is that they give Cozart the opportunity to show he’s healthy. If so, then trade him this summer and move Suarez back to SS. Who plays 3B? I don’t know. The Frazier trade is looking more and more questionable. Returned a bunch of parts we don’t really need/already had and now we don’t have a 3B for the foreseeable future. Our best 3B prospect (Sparks) was rushed to Adv. A last year and likely needs to repeat.

    I’d honestly play Peraza in CF if Billy can’t start hitting. That way Blandino has a clear path to 2B. If Blandino can hit for power, keep Peraza at 2B and move Blandino to 3B. One thing’s for sure, Blandino would be a subpar defender at SS.

    • In 2014 Suarez started at SS half a season for the Tigers. They thought so highly of him that they traded him for Alfredo Simon. No team, who saw even a glimmer of hope that he would be a ML SS would have traded him for a 5th starter. And he did nothing last season to prove the Tigers wrong.

      • Alfredo Simon’s stock was much higher at the time Detroit acquired him than it is now, remember that.

        • Detroit probably saw him as a #3-4 starter at that point (more likely as a #4). Plus, Detroit had a shortstop they felt would be better (J. Iglesias). Suárez was blocked by him, so that definitely was a factor.

      • He did nothing to prove them wrong? He hit at a rate 5% better than league average in almost 100 games. That’s not nothing, as they say…

        • Suarez was a pleasant surprise as a hitter. But so was Cozart, last year before he got hurt. If it’s possible for a player to learn, change his approach and improve (I believe that it is), than it’s possible that Cozart will continue to be a decent hitter. It’s also possible that he’ll regress, just as it’s possible that Suarez will regress as the pitchers get to know him better. I hope that they’re both dynamite, of course.

      • Keep in mind the Alfredo Simon trade ALSO included Jonathan Crawford, a recent first round draft pick by the Tigers. Unfortunately for the Reds he’s been dealing with shoulder problems since the trade. But the Tigers thought Simon was worth Suarez and a top pitching prospect.

        The Tigers aren’t exactly a team I associate with good decisions.

        • Crawford wasn’t exactly a top pitching prospect, more of a mid-level prospect I think. He was seen as a closer at best, and I believe Suárez was the main piece in the deal.

  9. Cozart, as good as he WAS, may not be the shortstop he used to be after his knee injury. He will prove that this spring and summer. If he is the shortstop he was prior to the injury, he will probably be traded…for something.
    Peraza COULD play some centerfield this year, if the Reds can’t move Brandon. If Billy Hamilton doesn’t improve as a hitter, the Reds have to try something out there. Whenever Brandon leaves Cincy, Peraza or someone else will occupy 2nd base.

    I still think that Suarez is the SS of the future. He will never likely be a better fielder than Cozart was, but his OPS will be higher. His offense at SS would be great, but not necessarily at 3rd base. But .280/20 hr would play well at most positions on the field.
    Blandino goes to 2nd or 3rd, if and when he makes it to the majors.

    And I still don’t know if the Reds actually signed Rodriquez.

    Good middle infielders are always fungible for some other commodity. There is always a team somewhere that needs an SS or 2nd baseman to appear to be competitive. More trades are in the future.
    Magic 8-ball says “likely”.

  10. after Phillips and Cozart are out of the way.. I’d see it as Suarez at 2B, Peraza at SS, and Blandino at 3B
    And then if they actually sign Rodriguez and IF he comes along with the bat then he forces one of them out (either to the bench or outfield or trade)

    also, don’t forget Duvall is actually a 3B

    • I”d be shocked if Duvall is ever a contributing regular on a winning team.

      • Now, now. Even the BRM had Darrel Chaney.

        • Who produced negative 1.8 WAR for the Reds in his parts of 7 seasons.

          He wasn’t really a “contributor,” I’d say. Although he did put up 0.5 WAR in ’72. So there’s that.

    • Duvall is best suited in my mind as a platoon/bench bat. I don’t think he will ever be the starting 3B.

      As for your projections of Suárez at 2B and Peraza at SS, i think you have them backwards. I see Suárez at SS and Peraza at 2B.

  11. If Suarez’s problems at SS are mostly due to his footwork, that same footwork is also important at 3B. Why set someone up to fail? I can see 30+ errors at 3B for Suarez if they leave him there. Peraza is the SS after Cozart. Move Suarez to 2B and put BP on the bench. Force his hand. BP will be demanding a trade by opening day. About the time Suarez is arb. eligible, Blandino will be ready for 2B.
    Go out and acquire through a trade a top 3B with a good package that the Reds surely could put together. Jagiello and Duvall are not the 3B of the future by any stretch of the imagination.

  12. I move Phillips to third!

  13. Peraza goes to short in the minors, Suarez goes to second, and Phillips goes to third or the bench.

  14. Peraza was just named as the top defensive prospect at 2nd in a poll of GMs, scouting directors, and executives.

    http://m.mlb.com/news/article/161989384/byron-buxton-headlines-prospects-defense-team

  15. Sidebar: now that upton is in detroit i wonder if we can get moya or their other outfield prospect from them. They seem reasonable trade partners. Not saying BP would be on the table but they’ve got too many all the sudden.

  16. Suarez at SS would be our version of Jhonny Peralta. That’s a top 10 SS in the game and nothing to sneeze at. If you make him a third baseman, he’s simply average to below average. I like the idea of Blandino to 3B if he can hit enough, thus allowing Peraza to man 2B. Time will tell, but you have to be willing to give these guys time at these positions to make an informed decision. Not sure how playing Cozart 120+ games in a lost season helps the organization moving forward.

    • Let Cozart start until July. If he proves he has value, trade him for prospects. That’s how it helps the Reds moving forward. Worst case, if he doesn’t perform well enough, bench or cut him and let a younger guy take over. Sure, you lost half a season of development, but in a year we arent going to contend, if we can make value out of Cozart, I say go for it.

  17. Big announcements from the Reds. Pete Rose to be inducted into Reds HoF and have his #14 retired.

  18. The Reds clearly and obviously think Jagielo can play 3b, making him their current 3b-of-the-future. I don’t believe for a second that they acquired him to play 1b, OF, to sit on the bench, or as a gamble in case the DH is instituted. At most Suarez is the 3b of the present… probably more accurate to call him a Super Utility player, like Todd Frazier was to start his MLB career.

    The other guys have certain positions they’re possibly cut out for…
    Cozart – SS – too strong defensively to play elsewhere
    AlfRodriguez – SS – too strong defensively to play elsewhere
    Suarez – SS, 2b, 3b – anywhere the bat plays
    Blandino – 2b, 3b – not SS
    Peraza – 2b, SS, CF – up the middle

    • You may be right about what the Reds think, but what they think, and what’s true aren’t always compatible. Especially here lately. I’ve yet to read a scouting report that speaks with any confidence about Jagielo’s ability to stick at 3rd. He certainly won’t play outfield due to below average speed. I think, like Duvall, they acquired him as a bench piece/depth. Duvall was the 2nd player in the Leake deal, Jagielo was the 2nd best prospect in the Chapman deal.

      I certainly hope he can stick and be an everyday 3B. That would make the Chapman deal look much, much better. I just don’t have confidence that he will. It’s why I never thought Blandino was going to stick at SS, because all the scouting reports said he was most likely a 2B.

    • I’d compare Suárez more to Ben Zobrist than the Todd Frazier of 2012. Can play many positions, but is good enough that he should start somewhere every game.

  19. Doug Gray has a nice article over at his site about how the Reds turned down a Marlins offer with OF Marcel Ozuna in it looking for some pitching. Glad the Reds turned that one down. P-U.

    • I miss Didi Gregorius.

    • i don’t get that either unless they were asking for Robert Stephenson.

      • Stephenson, Garrett, Reed would be the only 3 MiLB pitchers I wouldn’t give up for Ozuna. Of course they may have wanted Iglesias, in which case, I wouldn’t have made that move either.

        • I wouldn’t have given up Stephenson, Iglesias, or DeSclafani. I would have considered Garrett or Reed straight up, because of Ozuna’s tremendous potential, although I’m not sure I would have pulled the trigger. The Reds really should try to make a deal, Ozuna could be a very special outfielder in GABP.

  20. As far as DH and NL goes, I prefer a compromise that increases the strategic element and contributes more hitting! Allow a “Substitue Hitter” SH to hit for the pitcher just one time and one time only during a game, that same pitcher returns to the mound the next half inning and perhaps the rest of the game. The SH returns to the bench but may re-enter the game defensively at any subsequent point of the game. Whenever and if the SH reenters for defense, he is placed in the batting order where he was used earlier. This causes the removal of the player in that batting order spot as well as the defensive player, unless they are one and the same. The SH is not like a PH who is done and gone. Good hitting pitchers will still have their advantage. Most decent starting pitchers will still have to bat at least once or twice during the game, whether they hit well or not. The strategic manager will save the use of his SH to hit with RISP, otherwise the pitcher bats. This chance to use the SH may happen with the pitchers 1st AB and if so the pitcher will have to take the remaining ABs in order to stay in the game. Otherwise, a PH is used following all the familiar rules. There is increased strategy with the SH because manager’s can simply use the threat of the SH to make the opposition think twice before walking the hitter before the pitcher’s spot. There is increased run scoring because the odds are greater that a 2-out bases loaded situation with the weak hitting pitcher up still can produce runs.

    • If the issue is that nobody wants to see pitcher hit or worried about them getting hurt especially pitchers with big $$$$ on them, then instead of adding a DH, just remove the pitcher spot from the order and the batting lineup is the 8 regular position players in the field. I am in camp of you need to be capable player in most aspects. If you want to hit, you have to be able to field enough to get your bat in the lineup. Benefits are the lineup turns over quicker in this age of depleted offense, and removes a relatively easy out in most scenarios.

      Still rather DH go away but players union is not going to let that happen.

    • I don’t follow youth baseball that closely, but isn’t this concept similar to substitution rules many youth leagues and high school in some states use?

      Would the selection of the specific person to be the SH in a particular game be made on the lineup card or in real time when a situation presented? To me this is a key factor.

      If the SH was declared up front, I could see this working. However, I think a floating real time designation of an AB as SH versus PH would be too confusing for typical fans trying to follow a game.

      • I had suggested somewhere (Twitter?) That perhaps the NL could carve out niche for use of the DH and preserve some of the strategies lost when the DH is used by mandating that the DH must bat 9th.

        The SH possibility intrigues me but I think avoiding another layer of complication by simply designating the #9 slot as the DH slot would have a better chance of being enacted.

  21. the positive thing is it looks like Reds have at least plausible trio of options very near term at SS/2B with Blandino, Suarez and Paraza. I am not confident that recent Cuban signee is ever going to hit in the minors, let alone the majors.

    I hold out some optimism that Jagielo can at least be a platoon option at 3B, since he started there for 3 years in college. Given his leg injury and surgery, he may have tried to play thru it and affected his defense, thus the poor scouting reviews.

  22. Waiver Wire Watch.
    The Angels have DFA’d an interesting guy. Efren Navarro. He is an LF/RF/1B. He is 29 and a LH hitter. Very little power, good 2B’s power, for a corner OF, but very good OBP skills.
    Not looking at him as a starter, but could be some depth on bench, or more importantly, especially at AAA. He has been stuck at AAA with the Angels for a few years, but has spent about 40% of the year in ’14 and ’15 with the Angels showing about a .250/.300/.320 line at the ML level. But at AAA, the guy is an OBP beast.
    ’11 .317/.368/.488
    ’12 .294/.336/.403
    ’13 .326/.404/.454
    ’14 .326/.418/.462
    ’15 .329/.380/.442
    I don’t know if this guy is another Brennan Boesch without power, or could be a useful ML bat.
    He might be a good insurance policy to have at AAA in case BHam gets his usual dings, or Cave or YorRod go down with an injury. Plus it can keep Winker at AAA if he isn’t ready yet, so as not to get his service clock time started, just yet.

    • Alden Gonzalez, beat writer for the Angels at mlb.com had this to say about Navarro, “A few Angels players privately pushed for Navarro to get more playing time this season. Solid all-round; high character. He’ll help someone. “

      • Exactly the kind of guy the Reds should be looking at. Not young but could maybe help out at AAA and be a call up or could perhaps even be a 5th OF kind of player. Maybe the Reds won’t bite because he’s almost 30? I don’t know. I have no idea what they are thinking about anything at the moment other than get younger and cheaper.

    • All of Navarro’s offensive success at AAA was acheived in the PCL. As good as his stand-alone numbers looked, he was not among the league leaders in the PCL, even for OBP, with the lone exception of 2014.

      2015 => 39th
      2013 => 16th
      2012 => 96th
      2011 => 24th

      And in his lone season in AA (Texas League), Navarro slashed .267/.316/.369 (77th in OBP). I believe the Reds OF depth will be a problem in 2016, but I do not think Navarro helps the Reds situation.

      • PCL is a hitters’ league. Yes, that needs to be considered and perhaps he was considered but will be dismissed based on the Reds seeing the same things you pointed out here. Nice reminder when looking at MiLB players.

      • I figured the PCL was a factor in some of that, especially with batting average. But good plate discipline is good plate discipline, no matter the league. Good contact rate. His age is a minus, but could be a plus in some regards. His defensive metrics weren’t bad either. He could be just another Cave or YorRod, which makes him redundant with the Reds. Or he might be a better option for LF too.

        Another LF/RF/1B got DFA’d today. Rockies former 1st round pick Kyle Parker got moved off their 40 man roster. He is younger, 26, a RH hitter, but does have some decent power. Looks like he might be a right handed Schebler, and with Duvall, he is kind of redundant too.

        I like Navarro, Parker not as much.

        • I have a man crush on the Rockies’ Corey Dickerson. They’ve stated they’re no longer dealing CarGo. I’d give up several arms to get him, play him in left and then have Winker effectively replace Bruce next year. A guy can dream right?

  23. Question regarding Suarez at 3rd…aren’t we giving up a lot of power playing him there?
    Where is the power coming from in the lineup…if anywhere?

    • Re: Power… Votto, Meso (they hope), Bruce if he is still a Red, LF (Schebler/ YRod/ Duvall etc)

    • Suárez has 20-25 HR power potential playing 81 games at GABP. Not a bad power output. Votto and Mesoraco are definitely our primary power, and Schebler, Duvall and YoRod could all potentially contribute 20+ if given the playing time. Cozart is a wild card, not sure what power we get there. The only positions that truly lack power, excluding SS because of the uncertainty, are 2B and CF, both of which aren’t really power positions anyways. And of course, our bench right now is lacking power as well.

    • Suarez should be good for 18-20 HRs (maybe more) which should put him in the top half of 3B for HR output. He won’t have Todd Frazier power, but only a handful of guys do.

  24. The short stop of the future? Well he is playing for the Yankee’s, should have been the Reds, especially since MLB Nework put him on the top10 shortstops list, but I digress. That’s a whole other kettle of fish. If Didi ends up being an all star, it would be the mirror opposite situation of Larkin vs Stillwell where this time we kept the wrong one, meaning Cosart.

    • Funny thing is the Arizona GM back then called Didi the next Jeter and behold, he ends up being the guy to replace Jeter at SS for the Yankees. Crazy coincidence.

  25. There are a number f prospects to take over at third, and second has another year or two of Phillips. The question is what about short and I think the Reds have that covered. It may take a lot of mixing and matching, but I believe the players are there.

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2016 Reds

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