A reported three-team trade involving the Reds, Blue Jays, and Angels that would have moved Reds outfielder Jay Bruce to Toronto is “dead” at the moment because of an impediment that occurred during the medical review process, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.

In the proposed trade, the Angels — who own the worst farm system ESPN’s Keith Law has ever seen in the eight-year history of his organizational rankings — would have sent at least one prospect to the Reds and acquired Blue Jays outfielder Michael Saunders.

Yahoo!’s Jeff Passan reported that the hold-up in the deal was caused by the review of a single player’s medical files. According to Passan, the player in question was not Bruce. Many writers speculated that the player was Saunders, who played in just nine games last season because of a knee injury and has yet to complete a full campaign in his seven-year MLB career.

Passan also reported that the Reds previously engaged in a failed deal with the Blue Jays and the Athletics earlier in the offseason that would have shipped Bruce to Toronto. The following tweet by Passan should make Reds fans cringe/prepare for further Bruce trade speculation:

MLB Network’s Jon Heyman first reported the resurgence in the Bruce trade talks Monday evening.

UPDATE: FOX’s Ken Rosenthal reported Tuesday morning that is was a Blue Jays minor leaguer whose medicals apparently stalled the trade, and not Saunders.

Join the conversation! 115 Comments

  1. Ugggghhhh

  2. I thought the FO tended to “overvalue” their players? I guess not with Bruce?

    • It has become as much or even more about getting money off the books as the return of talent and immediate rebuilding.

      About the only positive thing to hold onto is that maybe they are garnering resources for upcoming international activity, particularly players coming out of Cuba.

      • Who knows? I do know that they the lack of spending any money at all suggest that the team is in financial hardship and that the new TV deal negotiations aren’t going well. It’s kind of a scary thought.

        • “Financial hardship” is probably a bit of a stretch.

          What is often lost sight of is that the Reds are (a) a small-market club with (b) a family ownership (which means no deep pockets, no big business to cross-subsidize, and a necessary aversion to debt/deficit) and (c) a parsimonious set of long-term local and cable TV contracts late in their cycle. And (d) an owner that is willing to spend up to that limited capacity in an attempt to put a competitive and entertaining package out there. (I give credit for heart and effort, but, yes, the decision making seems to need some work…..and a rabbit’s foot).

          In practical terms, it means we don’t always see what a slim financial margin there is to balance -without- running a deficit. Just reality speaking.

          Consider last year. In a peak year, the club posts 2.4 million attendance … and a competitive finish can enable a (very) modest increase in ticket price plus the ancillary cash flow from concessions, the museum etc.. Everything that management has done in this cycle was based on that notion of bootstrapping up to at least mid-level capability.

          But last year, things collapsed….which means – no ticket increase (even if it only works out to an average of $2/pop) plus a probable drop in attendance back to 2.1 million. Even though the club is in no financial danger, right there you can see that they will have something on the order of $10-15 million (or probably more) less to spend on developing the future. And it does compound over time.

          So, out of financial prudence for the long term, what started out as a reboot morphs into tear-down/rebuild -very- quickly. The curse of small-market.

          Be positive -whatever else we may say or think, at least Bob and Walt don’t try to emulate certain other clubs that try to brute force spend their way out of any and all difficulties and they haven’t fallen into the other extreme of permanent low-budget ball.

    • Nope not Bruce. Marty says he stinks. He’s their player personnel consultant.

  3. Latest report says it was a Blue Jays minor leaguer that held up the deal due to the medical report. I wonder if it was the C that has had an injury history.

    Either way, I’d hate to see the Reds sell low on Bruce to save some money or just to get a 2nd/3rd tier prospect more playing time. I think Bruce still has a lot of good baseball left in the tank. Don’t sell now if you get peanuts in return.

    • agreed Hotto

    • Yep. I didn’t like the idea of an injured Wheeler. Now the return has gotten worse than a pitcher coming off TJS? Yeah, hang on to him and hope he rebuilds some value because trading him just to save money is a crock of poo.

  4. Reds appear to have adopted the same strategy that doctors do when managing their stock portfolios: Buy high and sell low.
    Maybe that’s why Mr. Williams is no longer in the investment biz.
    Uggh is right.

    • Who have they bought high on? I would say they bought low on both Peraza and Schebler. Peraza was a consensus top 50 guy at this time last year. His value was down when the Reds got him despite the fact that he showed the exact same skill set in 2015 that he did in 2014.

      They definitely sold low on Chapman and should have traded him last July.

      As for Bruce, it’s impossible to know if you’re selling high or low because he went from being really good to really bad. If he bounces back to his 2010-2013 levels, then you sold low. But if he has another year like the last 2, then you have sold high. If Bruce is replacement level or worse again for the first few months of 2016, the Reds won’t be able to even give him away.

      And that’s the thing about buy low, sell high. It’s not a unique, novel strategy; literally everybody is trying to do it. His well you pull the strategy off, then, lies in your ability to project the future. The Reds made a bet on Jose Peraza’s future at a time when his trade value was much lower than it had been. We shall see how it works out.

      • You and I will then differ on this point friend if you believe Todd Frazier was not a high price to pay for Peraza and Schebler.

        • It’s a fair point and I’ll admit I’m probably being a bit contrarian. It just seems that some people are so convinced the front office sucks that they criticize every thing they do without even weighing the merits of the moves. People are blasting them here on the Bruce thing without even knowing what prospects they were trying to get. Or the Alfredo Rodriguez thing where they were blasting the Reds for a move they never even made.

          As to your point; If Peraza becomes Dee Gordon, which is a legit possibility, and Schebler becomes a decent platoon bat like Matt Joyce or Laynce Nix, then I would say that 12 combined years of those two is pretty good for two years of Todd Frazier. Especially when the Reds probably won’t be competitive in those two years and Frazier will be in his thirties.

        • there is no doubt that trading Jay Bruce right now is selling low. Adam Dunn low.

          The issue: is Jay Bruce washed up at 29 years old? if so, you sell Adam Dunn low. If not, if there is baseball left in Jay Bruce, we should not only keep him, but look to add other Jay Bruce types on other teams that are in fire sale mode.

          I keep seeing comments indicating we would even pay some of his salary. Why cannot we find deals like this or do you have to be an Oakland A’s fan to improve your roster like that.

          If you trade Jay, and he has a 5 war season and hits 35-40 HRs, you look even dumber as an organization.

        • Here is what I believe about Bruce, and consistent with what I said above about selling low, it is simply that the current market value for Bruce is very low. If he rebounds, which is a distinct possibility, a contender or two is going to find that big bat awfully attractive in a run for pennant. Thus the Reds would at least be selling high, or at least higher.
          I am certainly no wild eyed critic of Walt. Some of his deals, even those at the end, I thought were just fine. I do believe Williams is a terrible choice for GM and sadly consistent with the provincial old boys network that seems to imprison the mind of Mr. C. I sincerely hope you are right about Peraza and I am wrong about Williams. I love them Redlegs.

        • The proven and established talents of Chapman and Frazier were traded for a lot of “Ifs.” And, we are not supposed to be concerned about the abilities of this front office?

          By the way I have a great deal on some some swamp land, er water front property for you.

        • The Red’s front office is now the playground for the owner’s kids. What are their baseball credentials?

      • TCT, thank you for making this point. We only KNOW one thing about JB: he’s gonna bring home some decent bacon for the next two seasons. Other than that, it’s a crap shoot. The guy hit 226 and 217 the last two years and combined for a WAR of -0.3. He has posted a WAR over 2 exactly twice. I dont really want to pay 12 million for that, especially when this team is 25 wins away from contending.

        Imagine you are on the buying end of this deal — you’re taking on substantial risk. Especially as a playoff team, it’s very comfortable to hang on to your blue chips and let the Reds take the gamble on JB’s salary.

        The Reds can’t ask for the moon. There’s already serious flop potential to this deal from the other side of the table.

  5. Another Reds front office misfire or misque this off-season. This is getting rather ridiculous. I was hoping with the turning of the new year the Reds misfires would be in the past. No such luck with this Reds front office. While other teams are exhibiting ways to a successful re-build, the Reds front office toils at being the poster-child of how NOT to do a re-build. Walt Jocketty, the architect who couldn’t put a team on the field that could win a playoff series, is the proud architect of this re-build. And it shows. What a mess our beloved organization and team has become under Walt Jocketty and Bob Castellini. Truly a front office mess.

    • The Reds backing off of a trade because they identified an injury concern is a “misfire” and “misque”? I guess you would have preferred the Reds to go ahead and acquire the minor leaguer with the injury risk just because?

      • No, I expect them to know a player’s injury history before the ask for that player in a trade. If the player in question is indeed C Max Pentecost, he has had TWO shoulder surgeries in the past year. TWO! He should not have been part of any package the Reds were seeking. The Reds aren’t really in need of any Catchers, so why were the Reds asking for him??

        • So you are just blasting the Reds front office based on your assumption about the identity of the player? One front office does not have free reign over the medical records of another team’s minor league players. If you can’t give the Reds credit for doing due diligence, I do not know what to say…

        • Let’s say the player is Pentecost. His name comes up in the trade discussion. Blue Jays say, yes he had the 2 operations on his shoulder but those operations fixed the issue and he is on schedule to return as good as new.
          The Reds move forward with the deal based on this information but once they actually get to see the medical reports, they disagree that he will be the player he was pre-injury and then back out of the trade.

          Assuming this scenario is something close to reality, I’m not sure what the Reds front office did wrong.

        • I am going off of reports of who the said player was. Not my assumption. Medical things can crop up in trades when the records are reviewed. That happens.
          I am blasting the Reds front office because of the horrible off-season they have had.
          They deserve it. They stated what their intentions were going into the off-season. From those statements, the Reds have significantly underachieved. It appears now as if this is entirely a salary dump off-season, not a re-building off-season. Maybe that comes next year.
          Please share what it is that you are smoking if you think this has been a successful off-season and you think the Reds front office is competent. I don’t know what to say when you are happy getting pennies on the dollar with these trades. Timing is everything. And the Reds timing this winter has been about as good as a broken clock. But hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day. But that also means the clock is wrong 1438 times a day (60×24-2). Now that is more like the Reds front office.

        • Sounds like the FO actually did their due dilligence in not trusting the reports Toronto was giving them. They avoided pulling a Gary Majewski.

        • RE: WestFester Comment: +100, maybe Doc Kremchek told them he was tired of being made to look like a clown in their circus

  6. So we’ve gone from a potential Bruce deal for Zach Wheeler at last year’s deadline to a package of second rate prospects from the Jays and Angels (which, it’s been noted, have an incredibly bad farm system). Admittedly, Wheeler has his flaws given his recent injury and we don’t know exactly who would have been included in this proposed deal. But it’s alarming how poor timing and indecision can have such a drastic effect on the quality of return for Bruce.

    Even more alarming and stomach churning is the collective return for the four former all stars that the Reds have dealt (or in Bruce’s case, potentially dealt) over the last year. Only the Cueto deal was positively received.

    This fortuitous physical should be a splash of cold water to the faces of Dick and Walt. Let Jay rebuild his value over the first half and attempt to trade him at the deadline. What’s the worst that could happen – you only get one second rate prospect in return?

    • The absolute worst that can happen would be injury or ineffectiveness to the point that the Reds couldn’t move him without paying a significant portion of his salary. The best move would probably be to hold him and hope he increases value. If they end up trading him and not getting much back, then the move is no more than a salary dump by a team not willing to gamble several million dollars (not chump change but not a fortune in baseball money either) on a bounce-back for one of their former stars. I think it would be a mistake but think the front-office feels differently and they are just trying to save as much money as possible this year.

  7. i like the simon trade and the latos trade but frazier chapman seems like we were taken to the cleaners and this proposed trade stinks

    • Perhaps the key difference is that the Reds weren’t seen as in fire sale/ salary dump mode when those first two trades were made. Now they are, especially with the perceived low bar they set on the Frazier trade.

      • So a weaker negotiating position?

        • Exactly. There was no public sense of urgency or proclamations about looking to get the deals done post haste as there was after the 2015 season. In fact they had declared they were holding onto Cueto to try and mount a playoff run and the Bailey injury had not happened (or the Meso or Cozart injuries). There was no reason to believe the Reds would not be in the WC chase or that they would sell short.

  8. I’m sure if the Reds were offered Zach Wheeler for Jay Bruce today there would be no hesitation. So I’m left to wonder why that deal didn’t get done at last year’s trade deadline. And if you knew you were going to trade Chapman, why didn’t that deal get done then as well? I honestly don’t think the blame rests with Jocketty or Williams….be my guess that Mr. Castellini pulled the plug on the Wheeler deal and set the standards way too high on the return for Chapman. Gotta love his passion and emotion for this team, but appears it got in the way in those instances.

    • Truth is we don’t know. You could well be right and WJ is taking a lot of heat because he was trumped by Castellini at the deadline last season.

  9. ‘Serious doubt’ is the perfect description of the Reds front office.

  10. Perhaps we are all seeing parts of the elephant regarding personnel and salary base but -not- seeing what may actually be transpiring.

    What is the status of negotiations with Fox to renew/extend the cable broadcast package? If the sums discussed are less than popular expectations, then management may have to adjust the belt – tighter for longer – in view of a reduced available cash flow going forward. Minimizing salary over the next year or two becomes a much higher priority.

    (Long time reader, BTW, just first time posting……love the analytical approach)

  11. So, Passan reports the Reds are shopping Bruce for a not so big return.
    Who would have thought the Reds would trade Chapman, Frazier and Bruce and not get back a single player projected to be an above average major league player?

    • It is because the Reds are dumping as opposed to dealing. As the situation has developed, it has become clear the Reds are not willing to send money or take on veteran contracts to tap into true top level talent like the Braves for one have done. Meanwhile the Reds couldn’t even settle a prior ion house good faith commitment (contract) concerning the present versus future value of deferred money to get Phillips’ salary off the books.

      • Additionally, they thus far have required ‘near MLB ready’ talent as headlines in their returns. This generates prospects with much lower ceilings than opting for rookie/class A types who are further away, with more risk, but more potential reward.

      • To be fair Jim, it was reported that it wasn’t about the deferred money but the extra year that derailed the Phillips trade negotiations. Phillips said he wanted the contract extended if he was going to move his family.

        • I read one account that the problem was that BP asked for an additional year. I’ve read several sources that said the Nats told the Reds to settle the issue; and which stated or inferred that the nub of the matter was resolving the future value of the already accrued deferred payments.

          In the end, money is money regardless of how it labelled; and, for all we know these two seemingly different points of view could be the opposite sides of the same coin and thus not mutually exclusive.

          What we know is that the Nats were willing to take on ~$27M in salary to be accrued 2015 and 2016. That would have been $27M off the Reds books. The Reds could have fully funded that “additional year” either by sending money to the Nats or using it to settle with BP and still cleared at least $13.5M off their books. They chose not to do either and are now likely on the hook for the entire 27M plus the full future value of previous deferments and any deferments that occur in 2015/ 2016.

        • Money is money, but years are years and there is a difference in how the value of that money is viewed when it is connected to a (would be) 36 year old baseball player. I don’t know how the Nats situation went down. If deferred money was the only issue the held up a trade, the Reds really missed an opportunity if they couldn’t have figured that out. The Reds really wanted to trade Phillips, so I have to think there was something more to it. But none of us are privy to the negotiations, just what’s leaked out in the media.

          I’ve only read the one quote from Brandon, and that was about the extra year(s) he wanted in order to move his family. Maybe the Reds didn’t think the prospects coming back from the Nats were worth paying the money it would cost to extend Brandon. And if the Nats didn’t want to budge from the deal agreed upon, and told the Reds to figure out the finances of an extension, with no added bonus to the Reds, that may have been enough to stop the deal. Since we don’t know who the prospects were in the deal, it’s hard to say if the Reds made a good or poor decision, if it were only about paying for the extension.

          But I think it’s more complicated than not being able to work out deferred payments, that both Phillips and the Reds agreed to.

        • Also recall that the Nats have shown signs of not being an entirely stable org either. They all but publicly anointed Bud Black as their manager for 2016 then within a week actually hired Dusty. Again, we don’t know the inter workings but there were rumors that the faction in the org that wanted Dusty deep sixed the Black negotiations to essentiallyn force him out before he was officially hired.

          Also, I read somewhere (sorry I did not keep the link) at the time the Phillips situation was going down that the Nats had recently made it an org policy that they were not going to do or accept deferred payment contracts.

          So there could have been push/ pull inside then Nats org to wreck the trade aside from negotiations between the Nats and Reds or Reds and BP

    • I’m pretty sure that Mike Trout was not projected to be above average. Projections are useful, but not definitive: that’s why they’re called projections. We don’t know whom the Reds would get for Bruce, so this seems like hysteria, which can be fun, but does not project to be more useful than average reactions. I also think that we are collectively forgetting Frazier’s 2nd half, but I doubt that other teams’ GM’s are.

      • True. Todd’s second half in 2014 wasn’t exactly stellar either. From Fangraphs:

        In 2014 his OPS dropped 146 points after the break, but it was even more stark in 2015 with a 258-point collapse.

      • Mike Trout was drafted in the first round in 2009, was Baseball America’s minor league player of the year in 2011 and had numerous scouting touting him as a five tool player and possible perennial all-star. Mike Trout was highly touted so I’m not sure what you are basing your opinion on. Yes, projections may not come to fruition but using Mike Trout as an example is just wrong.

        • Point taken, but I still doubt that many people thought that Trout would become the player he is. Frazier is another example–more accurate–of a player who became more than he was projected to be. Votto, too, as I recall (since I was wrong about Trout, I may be wrong about this): I know that he was pretty highly touted, but did anybody foresee that he’d evolve into the player he is? When evaluating a trade, the difference between good and great matters. I’m not suggesting that projections are worthless, but I am suggesting that not all players (Mike Piazza is another) match their projections, and that evaluating a trade that involves prospects is best done when said prospects have had time to play and develop.

        • Not to belabor the point but there was a significant number of people who thought Trout would perform at an all star level. Here is a small sample of quotes:

          “The Angels found themselves a gem in Mike Trout. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him represent that organization in all-star games annually. He could see the big leagues as soon as the end of 2011 and has a serious chance to turn into a regular in 2012.” -Charlie Saponara 2010.

          “The center fielder has been compared to Mickey Mantle and is widely considered to be one of baseball’s top two prospects, but the Angels don’t plan to rush him to the major leagues.” – Mike DiGiovanna 2011.

          I understand your point that players will sometimes exceed or underperfrom their projections. However, you should be aware that players these days are being scouted as early as little league. Talent evaluation has become more percise so finding that diamond in the rough has become much more difficult. Yes occasionaly you will have your Todd Frazier, someone who vastly overperforms his projected value, but by and large, immense talents such as Clayton Kershaw or Bryce Harper do not go unnoticed.

          As for evaluating a trade, I agree with you that you need to see how the player actually pans out before rushing to judgement. But in my mind, if a player is projected to be worth 10 WAR over team control but instead only provides 1 WAR, I’m not going to criticize the front office for making the trade/draft pick since in this case the consensus thought was incorrect and the front office was merely making the best choice with the information that was available at that time.

        • I’m wrong about Trout, clearly, though I’d still suggest that the reality of him–to date–exceeds most expectations: he’s more than an all-star. To be fair, it would be nearly impossible to project an historic level of performance, though the guy who likened him to Mantle was close to doing so. Thanks for setting me straight, anyway.

    • Not me, but now after Chapman and Frazier were shipped out for two buckets of used balls it does not surprise me that the Reds FO moves Bruce for next to nothing.

  12. Looking at it from an optimistic point of view, perhaps this means that the Reds believe that Jesse Winker is more or less ready, even if they don’t promote him until May or so, and that they figure he can and will produce more offensively than Bruce could.

    Whatever we say about Bruce’s production, he is by all accounts a good man, and I hope he does well wherever he ends up. I always felt that Bruce had great hands as a hitter, but that he would start a slump and tighten up so much that it didn’t leave his hands loose and free. Anybody who has 208 homers in the major leagues is a pretty good player, even if he wasn’t as good as we had all hoped.

  13. This is getting ridiculous. From a baseball perspective, it’s obvious the best thing to do is hold on to Bruce. Power is a rare thing in today’s game, and except for when he was batting with one leg even an “inconsistent” Bruce has always brought that. Hold onto him, and trade him at the deadline if you must. Is half a season of salary relief worth taking back a worse return from a prospect standpoint?

    • yep, like others on this thread, feels like dumping low on Bruce just to get rid of thim versus holding him to build value in first half and maximizing a prospect return.

  14. I would love for any cincy reporter to sit down with ownership and find out why exactly is there plan and why is there this sudden need to shed $$$$ off the books, when it was what a few seasons ago they were handing money out like it was candy. Exactly what went wrong, where did the riches go and going forward what is there plan. I don’t want to hear from the GM, I want our owner to step up and bring his books…

  15. It is beginning to look like now is the perfect time to extend Bruce rather than trade him. The Reds could point to the lack of market and the anemic returns on what few offers have materialized, to get a better deal. If they exercised the option, and gave him $25-28 million for two more seasons, he’d be signed through 2019 and could be a steal if he finds his opposite field power.

  16. I’ve seen a couple of references in the thread picking up on the report that the Toronto propsect the Reds may have had their heart set on was “the catcher”, i.e. Max Pentecost.

    I understand that like me, you all are reacting to media reports; but Pentecost makes absolutely no sense to me as a guy the Reds would have interest in.

    Pentecost was drafted with the 11th overall pick in 2014, a year ahead of the Reds taking catcher Tyler Stephenson with the same 11th overall pick in 2015, with Pentecost chosen out college and Stephenson chosen out of high school. Regardless, while Stephenson has gotten a season under his belt at rookie league and is ready to start this season in class “A” (Dayton), in two seasons, Pentecost has appeared in just 25 games at rookie/A- level; and, during that time had two shoulder surgeries.

    In the recent Baseball America top prospects by position, at catcher, Tyler Stephenson came in at #4; Max Pentecost at #15

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/top-100-prospects-position-rankings-catchers/

    And if this isn’t enough, there are whispers that because of the shoulder issue the BJays were looking to perhaps go on and advance Pentecost as a 1B/ DH. That would block him on the Reds for them next 8 years or so.

    We can only hope against hope that the reports were wrong and the Reds FO was not becharmed by a player like Pentecost.

    • You just explained my disdain, in a much more elegant manner than I, that I had way up above about Pentecost and the Reds front office. It makes completely no sense whatsoever. As you say “becharmed”. But then I think of the fixation with Peraza, and then I can’t give the front office the benefit of the doubt.
      And you left off one injury of Pentecost, he developed a bad case of bicep tendenitis while rehabbing the second shoulder surgery.
      Hopefully, as you mention below, that Pompey would make more sense.

    • This is what John Fay had to say.
      “Holdup on the Bruce trade was the medicals for one of Jays’ prospects. Interesting b/c that means #Reds were set on that player. ”
      If it was Pentecost, it should have never reached that stage. That is the upsetting part.

      • I’m not sure Pentecost is the player. If he is, I’m not sure it is a bad thing. The Reds need to get assets. Who cares where they play. Having lots of depth up the middle is a premium, and guys – especially those whose ETA is beyond 2017 – can always be flipped for something else.

  17. Another name mentioned as possible return for Bruce directly from Toronto was Dalton Pompey. He made the Jays out of ST last year but then struggled; got sent back to AAA; struggled some more and injured his knee, ended up clear back at AA. Then he got himself back on track and played very well at AA; returned to AAA and finished the season strongly there.

    http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?sid=milb&player_id=592647#/career/R/hitting/2015/ALL

    In fairness to the Reds, if healthy, Pompey looks like the type of guy they’ve been saying they were after; and, if the accompanying return to the Reds from the Angels was to have been more than a bucket of balls, it might have been a reasonable deal from the Reds point of view

    • I would be in on Pompey if he was part of the deal for Bruce, but I’m not confident this Red;s FO is capable of pulling off a deal for a quality prospect or two.

  18. You have to admire Joey Votto and his sense of humor.
    From CTrent:
    “Votto joked his offseason consisted of a lot of walking and a lot of sleeping. ‘I’m going to be well-rested and practiced walking a lot.’ “

  19. Just for fun, let’s say the Reds stop this frenetic sell-off and keep the roster as it is. Ever the eternal and oftentimes foolish optimist that I am, magic happens, and this is how the season goes.
    Mesoraco stays healthy, hits clean-up and rakes: 30 homers and 90+ rbis. Votto is Votto, a replica of last year. Phillips is jettisoned (ok, roster not quite intact), and Peralta plays a sterling 2nd base and hits .300. Cozart picks up where he left off pre-knee, Suarez plays third like he was born there and continues to hit, Winker wins ROY playing left, Hamilton turns the light on and gets on base at a .380 clip, and Bruce returns to pre-2014 form. Pretty good line-up, eh? Pitching?
    Desclafani becomes a solid #2, Iglesias a 1, Lorenzen fulfills his potential, Stephenson and Cody Reed compete with Winker for ROY honors. Cingrani takes the closers job by storm, Hoover a reliable set-up man, and among Finnegan, Lamb, Sampson, etc. a solid bullpen emerges.
    Isn’t spring training fun? Sure! Why else would we even bother?

    • That’s the spirit! My sentiment exactly! If Bruce has to go, please let us get Pompey in return.

    • I never knew we had so many guys with first name of IF, “If Mesoraco, If Iglesias, If Peraza……” lol. I like the sunshine viewpoint.

  20. The Reds are simply driving the Old Cossack berserk. The time to move anyone and everyone not associated with the Reds future competitiveness was after the 2015 all star break. The fact that the Reds moved Cueto and Leake made that abundantly clear to everyone. If the Reds intended to move anyone else (i.e. Chapman, Frazier, Bruce, etc.), that was the time to pull the trigger. If the Reds deemed those players to be integral to future competitiveness (as they apparently did since they chose not to move them), then why move them during the off-season for such pitiful returns? Who is making these bonehead decisions? Castellini? Jocketty? Williams? Certainly we don’t know who is making these decisions, but the inner circle certainly knows and that inner circle begins and ends with Castellini. The Frazier and Chapman fiascos are done deals. Apparently, the powers-that-be intend to force the same such outcome on a Bruce transaction. Castellini controls the budget and certainly has final say on players contracts (or shedding of player contracts). Even if he is rubber stamping such decisions by anyone else.

    When I look back on Bruce’s performance, I just see a problem beyond his normal streakiness. From 2010 through 2013, inclusive, Bruce averaged 3.5 WAR and 121 OPS+. I understand the issues with his streakiness, but those are absolutely solid performances. Then he had the knee injury in 2014. I know that the Reds crack medical staff gave Bruce the green light to return after just 18 days on the DL, but I also remember the impact on Votto’s performance from a nearly identical injury to the same knee. I’m not buying that Bruce played anywhere close to healthy during the 2014 season. We all recognized Votto’s return to being Votto once the injury issues were fully resolved. Votto lost a second season when he mushed his quad from over-training prior to the 2014 season. Bruce had no such issue returning to form during the 2015 season, but I think a reasonable assertion can be made that the toll from a 162 game season had a significant impact on the 2nd year of Bruce’s recovery. The way Bruce tanked during the last half of the 2015 season simply defies any explanation of routine streakiness.

    If I was an opposing GM looking for a bargain offensive force for my OF, I would be beating down the door and burning up the phone lines to the offices at GABP trying to buy low on Bruce while the Reds were in such a contract unloading mode. Bruce is owed just $13.5MM even if no one picks up his 2017 club option. I’m sorry, but $13.5MM for 3.5 WAR is a bargain in anyone’s budget and if Bruce returns to form (as he should if leg fatigue resulting from his knee injury is the culprit associated with his 2nd half collapse) then anyone would jump at the chance to pick up the club option in 2017. The Reds management group are simply fools if they dump Bruce’s contract for such meager returns.

    • The Old Cossack: What a comment. You are right on. I guess the great show that the Reds put on for All Star week blinded them to the fact that that was the time to negotiate trades for Frazier, Chapman and Bruce. It seems there was confusion in the front office about whether to proceed full steam ahead with the rebuild in July.

    • Ditto. Thanks for saving me the typing!

      I’ve been a Reds fan since the early 70’s. This is about as low of an opinion of the ownership and management as I’ve ever had. It IS a Walt problem. And, it IS a Castellini one as well. The former needs to retire, and the latter sell. Please!

      Oh, and keep falling on your faces trying to trade Jay. Please!

    • Extremely well said. I couldn’t agree more.

    • You are soooooo right!

    • I support this post.

    • 3.5 WAR does nothing for this team. You could double it and outside of the pride of seeing that done in a Reds uni, it would do nothing for this team.

  21. The only way I can make sense of the moves the Reds’ front office has made is they must know something they aren’t telling us.

    There really is no other logical explanation for what has transpired in the last half year.

  22. Not renewing my MLB.TV sub for 2016 is looking more & more like one of the BEST decisions I’ve ever made. That, & getting rid of cable. My wife is becoming the biggest Walt Jocketty & Bob Castellini fan you can find, west of the Mississippi!

  23. I know this is a tad off topic, but I am looking at dropping my cable, is there anyway that from Indianapolis you can still watch Reds games without having access to either cable or dish? And yes I want to watch the Reds this summer because no matter how bad they might be, they are still my team and I will again make the trip over at least 5-6 times to see them live this year…

    • This article might as well be one on quantum mechanics, regarding Reds management. Well, even if it was just about the Earth being round, it would confound Cincy’s front office. Clueless.

    • A very good article.

      While the Royals deserve kudos for their recent success, they were bad for 20 years and their current run seems to have happened as much by chance as plan. It was easy to see what the Astros were doing…..easy to decipher what the Cubs were doing…the Royals just seemed to stop being bad out of the blue.

      Perhaps the Reds are inept and we’ll have 20 years of misery like the Royals….or history will show that the recent moves were smart and “tanking” during a period when 3 of the best teams in baseball reside in their division…..making post season attainment a herculean task…..was a cold, rationale,pragmatic and smart way to go. I don’t know…..none of us do.

      Personally, I’d rather see a 65 win team building for the future than a 79 win team that was built to be just good enough to not make people mad.

  24. I still fail to see the logic in trading established players with good WAR numbers for prospects that have so many question marks.

    First Frazier (Because PERAZA is the next Dee Gordon [~7 WAR in 5 seasons], and Schebler is the next Nix/Heisey), then Chappy (Because fear of domestic violence repercussions which now seem to be nil), now Bruce (because… ???)

    If this is indeed a salary dump, then it’s been quite a long process to make the dump. It began with the Broxton trade, right? At some point during that time, a nugget of the Reds’ financial situation should have been uncovered, but so far all we have is speculation about the underwhelming TV contract, or the thin margin the Reds have, and the moving target of Castellini’s bottom line.

    In 1.5 years, you’d expect some real information to filter through, but no. So either the Reds are in serious financial trouble, they are making misguided judgments about talent, or they just don’t know what they are doing at all. Maybe all three.

    • Jesse: I assume that the logic goes something like this: the established players were getting long in the tooth or very expensive or both, and–particularly with the starting pitching being young and untested–had little chance of making the team more than mediocre. Since the young pitchers show promise but are probably several years away from being dominant, it made sense to recast the rest of the team to fit that time frame. Bad timing, from the standpoint of an older fan like me, but inevitable at some point.

      • But – are you getting appropriate value for the talented players? Are you maximizing the return? I don’t think anyone could agree the Reds did that.

        It is like the Reds traded Frazier, Chappy, and maybe soon Bruce, for much less value than they knew they could get – just to get rid of them. Head scratching.

        And now by the time some of these offensive pieces might pan out – you’ll have to figure out how to pay the young starting pitching. Ugh.

        • Well, we don’t know–and won’t for several years, at least, whether we got appropriate value. But you’re right about the pitchers: if they’re good, they’ll be expensive to keep. We shouldn’t forget that some of them may–probably will–be traded for other needed pieces. I also think, as others have said, that we tend to over-value our players (I refer to us, the fans, not just the front office). Frazier is decent, streaky and 29. Chapman is a closer, and as we are reminded here frequently, has limited value because of that. He’d be worth more as a starter, of course, if he were a good one (not a foregone conclusion), but the Yankees are evidently going to use him as a closer, so a closer he is. And Bruce…Bruce is a question mark, isn’t he? At his best, he’s been a better-than-serviceable starter, but he’s several years removed from that . Any team acquiring him knows that it is taking a risk, and I assume that knowledge is reflected in what they’d offer in return. Nothing for it, really, but to hope the development of the young guys is entertaining and not too slow, and to hope that the Reds can win a World Series again before I no longer require food.

  25. A few things to consider when holding on to Bruce.
    1. injury
    2. he could do worse
    3. he will only be with the gaining club for a half a year instead of a full year
    4.The market for hitters on the move could mean more players available to select from decreasing his value
    5. The teams in contention may not need a left handed hitting outfielder

    Just a few things to consider when holding on to him

    • True, all things to consider. It will be a gamble to hold onto him. But against what can be gained, I’d make that gamble every day. If Bruce puts together a strong first half, he’s worth more than he is now. Essentially the Reds would be simply dumping salary if they moved him now and selling low. But waiting until the deadline could mean Bruce may return a piece that is valuable to the future. Teams tend to be a little looser with the purse strings (prospects in this case) when they can visualize, and subsequently sell their fans, on chasing a championship.

      1. There is no way getting around a potential injury. On a side note, it often takes two years for some players to fully recover from injury. Last season’s epic fade down the stretch by Bruce may have been aided by that previously injured knee simply not being strong enough to go a full season. I think Bruce next year will be a lot closer to the April-July Bruce as opposed to the one that finished the year.

      2. Possible, but unlikely that he will be as bad as 2014 or as bad as the last two months of last year. He simply has too much of a track record and is still too young to buy that’s he’s washed up.

      3. The club would also have the option to keep Bruce for 2017. So he’s potentially more than a rental.

      4. I think there’s always a market for hitters. Injuries and poor performance happen. If Bruce bounces back at all, there will be a market for him.

      5. This is a lot like above, if he bounces back, his handedness won’t matter a whole lot, and since there are more RH pitchers than LH ones, LH hitters will always be in demand.

  26. Jerry Crasnick (ESPN) tweeted that the Reds would like to trade Bruce within the next week. If they can’t by then, odds are he stays in Cincy for now.

    • I’m sure they’ll find a taker if they set the bar low enough. Look what they did with Chappy.

      • Won’t be the O’s. They are signing Fowler. Looks like Gallardo is going to fall through though. They are serious about their physicals. I think it’s a good thing but a lot of pundits don’t like that they tend to void deals due to physicals.

        • Fowler is just the sort of player the Reds should sign… you know, if they hadn’t decided to tank.

        • And in a shocking turn of events, the O’s don’t sign Fowler and he’s heading back to the Cubs. Weird. But that does open up the O’s as a trade partner for Bruce again.

        • And Mark Sheldon (@m_sheldon) wonders:

          “That (Fowler to Cubs) could put BAL back in the hunt for Jay Bruce perhaps?”

          • Yeah, very odd. This is why sometimes things were better before Twitter and MLBTradeRumors

  27. Boston RedSox owner John Henry throws analytics under the bus. Well, sort of. On 3 last place finishes in the last 4 years.
    “We have perhaps overly relied on numbers.”
    Kind of a humorous read when you think of Mr. Henry and his RedSox. I cannot weep for the RedSox. He kind of credits money more than analytics for the RedSox past success. Though he says he is “an analytics guy.”

    http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/red_sox/clubhouse_insider/2016/02/red_sox_owner_john_henry_we_have_perhaps_overly_relied_on

    • “Numbers” didn’t back up signing Pablo Sandoval to that contract and signing Hanley Ramirez to play left field. On the other hand, it’s well documented that the Red Sox won two World Series playing the numbers.

      • I tend to agree. Both those deals are head-scratchers for analytics-minded analysts. Honestly, they were head-scratchers from a lot of traditional tools-minded analysts as well. Playing an aging SS out of position and giving a long-term deal to a 3B who’s body type suggests when the decline starts it may be a steep one, are easy to question from an analytics or traditional baseball perspective.

      • No they didn’t. Those were the first two players to cross my mind when I was reading it and laughing. Those two signings were panic signings. They panicked when they finished last in 2014, signed these two to bad contracts, and still finished last again.
        If Joey Bats, Jose Bautista, gets a 5 yr. / $150M contract to start at his age 36 season, boy that just makes the Joey Votto contract a better and better deal.

  28. I have heard that Houston might be taking a look at Jay Bruce now. Bruce is from Beaumont, TX. Gattis is hurt and they might be moving Preston Tucker to 1B.
    A healthy #20 prospect from a loaded Houston farm system might be better than the #5 prospect from Toronto or LAA.

  29. I barely heard an ‘update’ on MLB satellite radio channel, I think they said Jay Bruce would be traded within a week. ………..

  30. Heard a radio guy wondering whether Josh Hamilton’s injured knee might have the Rangers interested in Texas guy Jay Bruce.

  31. CTrent (@ctrent) on Twitter:

    “GM Dick Williams said money saved from trades would ‘be reinvested’ and is ‘not profit’ ”

    Fay (@johnfayman)on Twitter:

    “Williams also said money saved on payroll will go to International signings, baseball operations, ie, analytics, sports science hires”

    The “also” in Fay’s tweet refers to a previous tweet in which Fay reported that Williams said “nothing to report” on Bruce or Rodriguez (the Cuban SS) situations.

    • Come now, those analysts jobs weren’t quite paying MLB player money 😉

      • Maybe they’re waiting to call you in for an interview after they have enough cash to make you a respectable offer on the position you applied for! 😉
        Who new it would be your fault that Bruce is being traded! 🙂

  32. With or without Bruce, the Reds will have the worst (hitting) OF in the majors. True?

  33. “Jay Bruce, the student, and Barry Larkin, the teacher, were hard at work on the finer points of hitting. Larkin is in camp as a special assistant to the general manager and he was sharing some tips on hitting with the Reds right fielder, who has struggled at the plate the last couple of seasons (.217 battling average in 2014 and .226 in 2015).
    Bruce was at the plate with a ball on a tee while the Hall of Fame shortstop was 10 feet away behind a screen throwing pitches. Bruce alternated hitting the pitch thrown and followed by hitting one to the opposite field with the ball on the tee. The pair was later joined by Eric Davis and the session lasted well into the afternoon with the Arizona sun baking down”

    I’ts about freaking time the Reds got Bruce some tutoring how to actually be a major league hitter. Hitting a ball to opposite field? NO WAY. What a concept. Might we see an improved Bruce in 2016? Might we NOT hear about how “the shift” is what is really killing Bruce (as if he can’t do anything about it)? Gosh, I sure hope so.

Comments are closed.

Category

Hot Stove

Tags