2017 Reds

Could the Reds make a competitive run in 2017?

[This view from the old recliner was written by Warren Leeman, who comments here under the name Shchi Cossack.]

With the Reds in the midst of a successful month of June, coming off a split against the Rangers (arguably the best team in the AL) and heading into PeteRose-apalooza weekend, I found myself leaning back in the old recliner and contemplating the lineup from the past 2 games with Joey Votto OOC.  There were holes in that lineup, but there were a lot of good players in that lineup too.  Then I began to silently contemplate the unspeakable…(what if?).  Could the Reds actually make a run for the playoffs in 2017 without jeopardizing the reboot/rebuild and the future?

The key(s) to a competitive team in 2017 would be Jay Bruce and Zack Cozart.  Without the 2016 versions of Bruce and Cozart on the 2017 roster, the Reds will continue with the reboot/rebuild with an eye towards 2018.  The situation with both Bruce and Cozart gives the Reds options to possibly take a shot at 2017.  The Reds could extend either Bruce or Cozart or both for a reasonable contract length and reasonable salaries. Such a move would obviously require cooperation from both the players and the Reds and may or may not be successful (or desirable).

Even without extensions, the Reds still control the contracts for both Bruce and Cozart in 2017. Cozart’s salary will certainly jump significantly in his third year of arbitration, but would still be affordable, even if Cozart’s salary doubles to $6MM in 2017.  The club option for Bruce will be just $13MM for 2017, also affordable for a LH masher putting up a 144 OPS+.

The financial cost to keep Bruce and Cozart, at least for 2017, would not be a limiting factor. The future cost for both players would be the primary consideration, but the Reds do not have to make this decision now or even during the next month. The risk hanging over that decision is passing while the iron is hot for both Bruce and Cozart. That risk is embroiled by not knowing what might be offered for either player.

Any underwhelming offer should simply be passed without ANY consideration. The problem is that overwhelming offer, the can’t miss prospects that fill multiple holes for the Reds future. I’m talking a haul similar to that achieved by the Cubbies in the Jeff Samardzija deal with the A’s or achieved by the Reds in the Johnny Cueto deal with the Royals. If such an offer comes through and the Reds do not grab it with unbridled gusto, then the reboot/rebuild is nothing more than a myth.

If no one wants to knock the Reds socks off with an offer, then maybe making a run in 2017 wouldn’t be such a bad idea. The risk then becomes turning down an offer with minimal to reasonable value that may not be available again. If Cozart and Bruce revert to prior offensive production levels (2014/2015 for Bruce and pre-2015 for Cozart), the Reds will receive no return for Bruce or Cozart. If Bruce and Cozart continue their 2016 production into 2017, then the Reds again have options. If the playoff run in 2017 flounders, the Reds could again market Bruce and Cozart prior to the 2017 trade deadline, with even more consistency but less contract control. If the Reds succeed with a playoff run in 2017, the possibility of a compensation offer for Bruce and possibly even Cozart remains in play. That would return the player on a 1-year contract or provide a compensation draft pick.

So much for the due diligence. What about being competitive in 2017? After Bruce and Cozart, other factors come into play. The Reds lack OBP at the top of the lineup. That’s a big hole and Billy Hamilton is not going to fill that hole.  There are two in-house options, both still untested and unproven: Jesse Winker and Jose Peraza. I don’t care about Winker’s power or Peraza’s speed. Can they get on base above league average at the major league level? If Winker’s wrist is healthy, I think he can. I have my doubts about Peraza. The decision then rests on the health of Winker’s wrist or obtaining an option from outside the organization.

The other factors simply require a leap of faith. Will Devin Mesoraco come back healthy…finally? Will the first 2 months of 2016 prove to be a complete outlier for Votto and soon to be forgotten? Will Adam Duvall keep proving his cynics wrong with his onslaught of NL pitching? Will the starting pitching come together and provide a solid, healthy rotation? Will be bullpen prove to be a weapon for the Reds rather than a weapon against the Reds?  I think the Reds have proven they are more than willing to take a leap of faith and I think in this situation, such an action could be justified.

  1. Winker (LF)
  2. Votto (1B)
  3. Cozart (SS)
  4. Bruce (RF)
  5. Duvall (3B)
  6. Mesoraco (C)
  7. Suarez/Peraza (2B)
  8. Pitcher
  9. Hamilton (CF)
  • C – Barnhart
  • IF – Phillips
  • IF – Suarez/Peraza
  • OF – Holt
  • OF – Waldrop/Selsky/Schebler
  • SP Bailey
  • SP DeSclafani
  • SP Reed
  • SP Stephenson
  • SP Garrett
  • RP Wood
  • RP Iglesias
  • RP Lorenzen
  • RP Peralta
  • RP Routt
  • RP Straily
  • RP Sampson

That roster is certainly not carved in marble, but should represent a fair facsimile. Michael Lorenzen could make the starting rotation out of spring training. John Lamb and/or Brandon Finnegan could claim a starting rotation position. The Reds could stubbornly hang on to J.J. Hoover, Tony Cingrani and Ross Ohlendorf for bullpen roles.

The lineup has solid OBP skills at the #1 & #2 holes for the first time since Shin-Soo Choo and Votto (circa 2013), with the top six hitters all capable of putting up  an .800+ OPS (and 4 hitters capable of putting up a top 15 OPS in the league) before getting to the bottom third of the lineup.

Even the bottom third could be interesting and productive with elite speed (Hamilton and Peraza), elite defense (Hamilton and Peraza) and a .700-.800 OPS (Suarez). That’s not a perfect lineup, but it could certainly be effective and competitive, not to mention fun to watch. I know I would start locking up tickets from TiqIQ.

58 thoughts on “Could the Reds make a competitive run in 2017?

  1. Agreed. The same way the Cubs became competitive ahead of schedule, the same could happen to the Reds. More importantly, it’s crucial to not try and time when that will happen.

    I like that lineup, and that’s not even considering the possibility of another starting position player being acquired for Bruce + a prospect.

    • The Cubs became competitive ahead of schedule because they have some serious talent on their team. I’m not willing to say that the 2017 Reds roster will be anywhere close to the 2015 Cubs roster.

      That being said the Reds could possibly play .500 ball next year, but it’s unlikely. From what I’m seeing this season, it’s going to be a solid 3-4 seasons before they compete for an NL Central title.

    • Agree, they got as much chance as Cingrani developing a change up.
      BTW not sure why he is not included he has more success than anyone else listed and can someone explain to me all the love for Lorenzen, I am not a doubter but just see very little to indicate he is going to be any better than Cingrani.

    • I think Finnegan may be in the mix for the starting rotation, depending how the 2nd half of 2016 shakes out. The same thing goes for Lamb. I see Lamb and Finnegan as starters somewhere rather than relievers. The starting rotation only has room for 5 pitchers. The 5 I just picked were simply a gut reaction from where I viewed talent and performance taking the Reds through the end of the season and into next season. There are still questions to be answered in the starting rotation, whether the Reds go for it in 2017 or continue with the rebuiild/reboot. Stephenson still has to prove he can throw strikes. Reed still has to prove he can get hitters out at the major league level. Bailey still has to prove he is healthy and productive. Garrett has just begun his assignment to AAA.

      • i am not sure that you will get Finnegan out of the rotation.

        maybe it is time to start the trade homer posts after he has a shinning second half

  2. With a continuation of their current production from Bruce and Cozart…and some luck…. there is no question that the Reds could be competitive in 2017. The question is ” While that be enough and is it sustainable?”

    Assuming revenue growth is modest and 100 million is the budgeted payroll, Bruce, Votto and Bailey would cost an estimated 60 million….assuming Bruce is resigned. Can a team have sustained success when 3 players take up 60% of the payroll? If you include Cozart and Mesoraco, you have 5 guys taking up perhaps 80%. Does that work? Perhaps…though I find that unlikely.

    During their 3 awful, rebuilding years, the Cubs drew more attendance than the Reds EVER have. More people paid to watch the 99 loss 2012 Cubs than the 1976 Reds. It is estimated that the Cubs made almost 100 million over those 3 years..which is perhaps more than the Reds have made over the past 50. Given that most of those profits were reinvested in the stadium and player development, the Cubs are in a position to spend less and bring in more….a rather enviable spot.

    The Reds need cost controlled players…lots of them…. who out perform their contracts…which is what we saw in large part from 2012-2013…..in order to win on a sustainable basis.

    Bruce and Cozart make them better…they may even be good…but, is their relative cost such that sustainable success is impossible? Who knows…but it certainly makes it more challenging.

    • The Reds payroll in 2013, ’14 and ’15 was $106, $114 and $115 million. I think assuming a $100 million payroll in a year in which the front office is trying to contend seems low.
      I agree with your overall point though, that having as many young, (relatively) inexpensive players as possible is more important for a team like the Reds. Higher payroll teams such as the Cubs, Dodgers, etc can afford to make a mistake with their big contracts much more so than the Reds.

      • Good point. They reportedly made no money or lost money in those years in which payroll exceeded 100 million. Ownership seems ok with minimal profit…they don’t seem to be willing to subsidize losses.

        They seem to have an attendance ceiling of 2.5 million so unless the new cable deal is rather attractive and/or ancillary MLB revenue increases dramatically it’s tough to see them spending more than 100-115 any time soon. The good news is several teams are in the same boat…..the bad news is the Cubs and Cardinals are not among them.

        • Reds will get more money with a new cable deal but it will only match other small market deals and be far less than what the big market teams get. My guess is the Reds will be able to increase payroll but so will everyone else. They will always be in the bottom half in revenue and spending. Winning with less money requires a lot of luck. The NFL, NBA, and NHL have a much better financial structure (salary caps and more revenue sharing) than MLB. There is no indication this will change.

  3. Finnegan and lamb will be in the bullpen. Your love for Sampson is incredible. I don’t give a hoot whst he has done in the minors. The guy stinks in the majors. Different hitters in the bigs. To take a spot from Finnegan or lamb is crazy. The way Straily had pitched lately tells me he is coming back to the normal. By the end of the year he might be traded or released. Holt has come back to earth as well. He is nothing more than a poor man’s Adam Rosales. Hustles is nice. But that’s it. I see cozart being traded because Peraza needs to play now and at for a cheaper price. Bruce is the wild card.

    • Thank you Jack! Incredible is a good thing. I agree with you on the context of Sampson may be a complete bust at the major league level, but he is going to have the opportunity to prove that during the 2nd half of 2016. Sampson was not good during his initial call up last season. Quite frankly, I didn’t understand why he was called up last season because he certainly wasn’t major league ready. He had a stellar 1.85 ERA during the 1st 6 weeks in AA, but the underlying numbers were not supportive of that ERA and his underlying numbers at AAA were even worse, beginning with a 5.08 ERA, so the senario of a stellar performance at the minor league level not translating to a good performance at the major league level is not even part of the discussion. The 7 games at the beginning of this season are not enough to draw any conclusion. Sampson has had too many BB and he is primarily a fly ball pitcher. Those two attributes together do not lead to success at any level. The positives for Sampson are he doesn’t give up many HR, especially for a fly ball pitcher, and he also misses bats. If none of that changes, Sampson isn’t even a minor consideration, even though Sampson is still a young pitcher at 25.

      I simply don’t discount what Ted Power can do at AAA. Since returning to AAA, Sampson has righted the ship and thoroughly dominated over 56+ innings to the tune of 9.2 SO/9; 3.0 BB/9 & a stellar 3.05 SO/BB. Something seems to have clicked and it wouldn’t be the 1st time the Ted Power flipped that switch. The good thing is that the Reds will have the opportunity to find out if the new Sampson will carry over at the major league level.

  4. Interesting inclusion of Peralta, Routt and Sampson as relievers. My choices would be to replace those 3 with Cingrani, Finnegan and Lamb. About your lineup, I like Cozart at 2, Votto, Duvall, Bruce, Mes, etc. The reason being, if Winker gets on to start the game, Cozart is a better bunter I think and Votto can get an rbi chance right away. If he walks, 2 guys on for Duvall, Bruce and maybe Mes. JMO. Also, I’d like to know who fills out your 40 man. For me, the above mentioned Peralta, Routt and Sampson plus 2 of Waldrop, Selsky or Schebler(whoever isn’t the 5th OF)Davis, Travieso, Smith, Ervin, Mella, Aquino, Elizalde, Cabrera, Moscot and Weiss. Travieso, Ervin, Mella, Aquino, Elizalde, and Weiss must be added to the 40 man after this season or could be lost to rule 5 draft. There’s also Romano and I would include him in place of Peralta or Routt if he could be lost to rule 5 draft too.

  5. Here are some facts:
    1. Bullpen performance is one of the most variable things from year to year.
    2. The Reds bullpen is horrible.
    Now, I’m not arguing we keep the same guys and hope they get better. But I am saying that we could rebuild this bullpen on the fly in the offseason and make it a lot better than it currently is (interesting side note: despite all the hand wringing over Hoover and Cingrani, has anyone ever thought maybe management KNOWS they’re awful and is intentionally keeping them on the team? It’d be a clever way to undermine wins and ensure a good draft pick without the horrible optics of what a team like the NBA’s 76ers have done). At the very least, if management decided to invest in our bullpen it could go from a liability to a strength.
    2. The Reds have the makings of a good (at least above average) lineup for 2017
    3. The Reds have the makings of a good (again, at least above average) rotation for 2017.
    So, I think the team could be “competitive” in 2017.

    4. The Reds play in the same division as the Cubs, Cardinals, and Pirates
    That last one is the biggy. Do we want to field a “competitive” team as soon as possible or lurk in the bushes (i.e., lose 95 games a year) until we have the likes of a couple of Kris Bryants, etc. ready to come to the show?

    Is winning 82-86 games what we want?

  6. The short answer is no, the Reds can’t field a competetive team with what they have currently in house, in 2017. I’m not sure about 2018. I love Bruce but the Reds really need to go ahead and trade him. They need to trade anyone that isn’t nailed down and isn’t under contract through 2018.

  7. Interesting take. I personally have ZERO belief in Peraza or Suarez. Peraza is horrible. I don’t know how he has fooled so many into being enamored with him. Since he moved above AA he’s never been able to carry a decent OBP. Not only that, but my own eye test tells me he’s not very good defensively either. I feel similarly about Suarez, except for at least he has some pop in his bat, and would be good off the bench, and of course, he can’t field worth a darn either. If this team wants to compete in 2017, then I believe it has to invest in one very big offensive bat in the offseason. As others have mentioned, Finnegan and Lamb, as well as Cingrani probably need to play a part in that bullpen, or even in the rotation. Straily should be shopped immediately, and Sampson won’t exist on this team if they are going to be remotely competitive in 2017.

    • I really don’t see any team giving much for Straily, especially with his last few starts. It’s not hard to see why other teams grew frustrated with him and jettisoned him. Maybe he’s a throw-in on another trade, but again, I don’t see where he makes much of a difference.

    • No team will trade for Straley. Peraza needs a more time. The poor guy has never had a chance yet. If Finnegan and Lamb don’t make it as starters they will not fit in a bullpen. Finnegan could be a lefty specialist but that would be a big come down for a first round draft pick. Cory Reed looks worse than Peraza so far….he needs more time too. This team will be lousy through 2018. Rebuilding takes time.

  8. The Reds pitching figures to hit full stride in 2018. To compete for a playoff spot in 2017 would be a bonus, much as the Cubs mgmnt admitted their run in 2015 was; and, anything the Reds do between now and 2018 should enhance or at the very least not take away from the team they will put on the field in 2018.

    Neither Bruce nor Cozart are under team control for 2018. If the Reds hold onto either of the two beyond 2016 without extending them to 2018 and beyond, it figures to ultimately have a negative impact on the 2018 team. So sign them or trade them no later than the 2016 off season.

    • Great point on Bruce, if you extend him, it needs to be for an extended period. If not, it is a waste of an asset.

      2017 will be needed to sort out the pitching

      • And if the Reds extend him, it should include him waiving the 10-and-5 no-trade rights that he will accumulate. I wish the Reds had insisted on that provision with BP.

        • As that’s part of the CBA, I’m not sure that’s negotiable. Honestly, I don’t know. I’m just thinking that most things like that are negotiated by the union on behalf of the employee are non-negotiable between the employee and employer.

        • Per LW’s point, the union would need to agree to anything that violates the CBA…even if voluntary…and that is never going to happen. Not that Bruce would willingly agree to give up his rights for the honor of signing a discounted deal a year before he is a UFA anyway.

  9. Great article

    I would try to resign Bruce, but, trade Cozart as soon as possible. No need for an aging SS

    If Phillips is on the team in 2017, he will be the starting 2B and hitting 3rd. No indication to believe otherwise.

    The Reds pitching is not strong enough to compete with the Cubs/Cardinals in 2017.

    • If you believe Price will still be with the Reds. I sure hope he isn’t

      • Exactly. Just because BP won’t leave, I’m expecting a different manager, and maybe that new person won’t keep Phillips so high in the order ….

      • Price probably won’t be the manager next year, but the people that hired Price (and Dusty before him) will be hiring the next guy too. I don’t think the Walt/Dick approved manager will be the type to bench a “veteran.”

    • Phillips last year as a Reds player will be 2017. Not accepting the trade to the Nationals was a dumb decision by him. He had a chance for the playoffs and more for 2 seasons and maybe more.

  10. Mrs. Cossack is putting too much optimism in your morning cereal.
    I’d dump about half that bullpen, 3/5 of the bench, and 1/4 of the starting lineup.
    Not only should the Reds be sellers at the trade deadline, they should be very astute buyers too. Not just for prospects, but good young talent already in the Bigs.

  11. I’d love it if Bruce could stay, but I still maintain he has to go. Unless the Reds are willing to look at trading from their pitching prospects, Bruce is the last decent trade chip they have, and the acquiring team gets him for a year and a half, so the value should be there, and the Reds had better get it right. I just don’t see Cozart bringing enough back to help very much with the future.

    To keep Bruce and Cozart and hope their stock remains high into the off-season and into next season is a gamble I’d rather not take. After Frazier’s summer swoon last summer and Chapman’s value-killing theatrics, I’d rather get a strong take for Bruce and/or Cozart while I can and concede that we’re playing for 2018. And who knows? If the haul for Bruce is good enough, and the pitching develops as many people think it can, maybe 2017 can be surprisingly competitive anyway.

    • I would sign Bruce if he would take $80 million for 5 years. He would be worth every penny in today’s MLB $. Do the Reds have a replacement? Moving Cozart for anything and giving Peraza a chance makes sense. Better to move Phillips and keep Cozart but Brandon is not cooperating.

  12. I say stick with the plan & aim for 2018. Trade Bruce, Cozart, Bailey (when healthy) & play Peraza every day.

  13. I think the commenters wondering where Finnegan and Lamb went were missing the point… They are too good to be relievers, and should be viewed as young cost controlled quality starters… On the trade market. He’s not suggesting (I think) that Routt and Peralta would beat them to a roster spot. That said, I would keep both, we’ve seen what happens when starters got hurt this year. Relegating both of them to the pen will disappoint both those 2 players and other NL hitters batting against the Reds in the 7th,8th, and 9th hitters. A pen, in combo with Iglesias, that includes THREE quality starters, is exciting, and the reason I see hope in 2017. (I actually see Finnegan beating either BobSteve, Reed, or Garrett to a starting spot next year.)

  14. I’m sorry, I appreciate the attempts at optimism in a down season, but I really can’t take seriously any pitch that says that “The key(s) to a competitive team in 2017 would be Jay Bruce and Zack Cozart.” 90% of the discussion is about the offense.

    But here’s the thing: the Reds have the worst pitching staff in all of baseball. Fangraphs credits the entire staff with -3.3 WAR, the only team in baseball that is below replacement level. In an historically bad pitching year for the Reds, to say that Bruce and Cozart are the keys to being competitive next year just comes off as out of touch, at best.

    The Reds have a team ERA of 5.39. It’s like we’re playing in Coors Field in the steroid era.

    The answer is no. No team, and certainly not the Reds, could turn that pitching staff around in half a year. Rookies rarely come up and dominate right off the bat. It takes time to learn to pitch at the major league level.

    No. 2018 is optimistic, but possible.

    • A little devil’s advocating…… Consider the years Lamb and Finnegan are having. They are in the same situation as Disco was last year; project them with the same kind of improvement in 2017 as Disco appears to have made from 2016. Add in Disco and Bailey. There’s 4/5 of a pretty decent rotation without depending on Reed or Stephenson to learn the ropes well enough in the remainder of this year to carry the brunt of the load. Start the pen with Iglesias, Wood, and Straily, Build from there. Figure at some point in the Garrett can give them a little bump, maybe out of the pen to begin with.

      It is not pie in the sky crazy that the Reds pitching could be league average or even a bit better next year.

      • Hey, anything can happen. I just think that people that expect 180 degree turnarounds in baseball are usually disappointed. And as a below replacement level pitching staff, to be above average next year would truly be 180 degrees.

        Cueto is a Cy young caliber talent now, but he was a below average pitcher his first two years. Bailey turned into a solid #2 starter, but he was a below average pitcher for his first five years.

        Right now Finnegan has an xFIP of 5.02, Desclafani 4.51, Lamb 4.94, and Stephenson 6.10. Do not be fooled by ERA in limited innings, none of those pitchers is throwing particularly well. xFIP is a much better predictor of future ERA than current ERA.

        That’s not to say that they won’t be good pitchers in the future, but it can take some time. To expect that group plus Bailey to be an above league average staff next year just seems like wishful thinking. Sure it COULD happen, but what actual evidence would you site to suggest that it WILL happen?

        • There is neither evidence the Reds pitching will be average, better than average, nor worse than average next year.

          They will play the games; and, we will find out.

        • Jim, there is certainly evidence to suggest that one of those three categories would be more likely than the others.

        • Projections don’t constitute evidence. That said, it is more likely that the Reds pitching in 2017 will still be sub par. But it is not that unlikely it could be borderline mediocre.

          They all have half a season more to progress before 2017. Bailey was previously a #2/1- no reason he can’t be a 2-/3 at the start of next season or that Disco won’t come into the same range by then. Both could grow during the season as could the other guys. If one guy from the group of Finnegan, Lamb, Reed, Garrett and Stephenson is at a #3 level by mid season 2017 and Disco and Bailey are performing to expectations, that would essentially be a borderline average starting rotation even if the other 2 guys project out as 5’s.

          In the pen, it is no mystery what Iggy can do (and has done) if he is healthy, Wood looks solid. Straily’s performance once through line up this year shouts that he would be a solid bullpen guy. Complete the pen with rotation dropouts instead of 4A wannabes.

        • OHIOJIMW: xFIP isn’t a projection, its a statistic that measures certain things that the pitcher in question has done on the field. It has also historically been a better statistic than ERA for predicting the number of runs a pitcher will give up in the future, but that’s also not a projection, its just an historical fact.

          You based your argument that the Reds pitching staff might be better than average in 2017 on the years that Lamb, Finnegan, and Disco are having. All I did was look at the statistic that I think most accurately measures the type of years they are having, and saw that none of them are pitching particularly well. That is evidence to me that a 180 degree turnaround next year is unlikely, if the basis of that turnaround is primarily that those three will be above major league average pitchers.

          If you’re just going to say that no one can predict what will happen in the future, that they’ll play the games and we’ll find out, then why would you post a comment arguing one way or the other?

    • I completely agree. Even 2018 may be overly optimistic.

      Based on Fangraphs BaseRuns, the Reds have been the worst team in all of baseball by 3 games. They have had good luck in offensive sequencing and, amazingly, slightly good luck in defensive sequencing. Meanwhile, the Cubs and Cardinals are two of the top 4 teams.

      When you accept that the only way for the Reds to have a fighting chance this decade is to trade Bruce and Cozart (2 of the Reds top 4 offensive players), competing for 70 wins in 2017 seems optimistic.

  15. The Reds have no leaders. Everyone but Duvall should be on the trading block. Votto and Company have had their chance. Time to clean house. New blood can do wonders.

  16. We may play close to 500 next year because our pitching will be better but 2018 will be the year we compete for a playoff spot.Lots of work to be done between now and then but it will happen.Our pitching talent and depth will lead us in 2018.Disco learned at the major league level last year and Finnegan,Lamb and now Reed are gaining experience this year.Young pitchers take time to develop but it will happen

  17. Love your writing Cossack. But Al Gore didn’t invent the internet for us to agree and compliment each other. So let me tell you where you are wrong.

    First off, there is no point in saying the Reds should only trade Bruce for an Addison Russel/ McKinney type haul. That’s like saying the Reds should only go after Bryce Harper in free agency if he will play for the minimum. Not gonna happen, so why mention it? Bruce, at his very best, is a 1-2 win player right now. At his best. And he’s making 13 million this year and next if you pick up the option. There’s no surplus value there. No less than a month ago I saw two different national writers refer to Bruce as a salary dump. The best you could hope for is a Mella/Duvall type package.

    And the Reds should probably take it anyway. I’ve seen people talk since the end of 2014 about not “selling low” on Bruce. And as the Reds have held on to him, his value has continued to go lower. I’d say there is a really good chance that his value is never again higher than it is right now, which isn’t close to what it was a few years ago.

    Second of all, I’m really shocked at how many people are jumping on the whole Iglesias to the pen thing. A little shoulder fatigue and everybody thinks he can’t start now? He pitched a total of, what, 7 professional innings in 2014. And then he jumps up to over 100 last year, so it really shouldn’t be surprising that his arm was tired. But Iglesias is the only pitcher I’ve seen in the entire system who has a really good chance to be a top of the rotation guy. Moving Iglesias to the pen would be even worse than moving Chapman because Iglesias has proven he can be very successful as a major league starter .

    Third of all, no the Reds have almost no chance at winning next year. Like 2 percent or less

    • Ah, TCT…We have almost no disagreement, even regarding this post.

      The example of a windfall trade for Bruce was presented as ‘if it’s offered, the Reds have to take it’, not what the Reds should expect in return. The decision comes down to a reasonable offer. I think that Bruce’s value is higher than a minimal return and his value continues go up as other options disappear (see Jay, Jon), but a team looking for a LH masher at the trade deadline will pay up because it is a seller’s market this season for a LH power bat.

      I agree with you completely regarding Iggy, with one caveat. If (and that’s a very big IF) the Reds were to make a decision to go for a playoff run in 2017, then Iggy would need to be in the bullpen. Iggy should again spend this offseason strengthening and stretching his shoulder with the intent to get back in the starting rotation. The transition to a starter should continue in 2017 if any events should occur that cancel any chance for a competitive team in 2017 (Bruce and/or Cozart are traded, Winker is not physically ready, Votto doesn’t get back to MVP form, the pitching issues do not get resolved, etc), but it should be a strictly managed with a gradual transition to build up his innings.

    • Jim Bowden may have dropped a bombshell on MLB Network radio at lunch time. He did qualify his comment as “may have”. He lives in LA and does have contacts in each LA team’s front office. But he said that the Dodgers “may have” offered Yasiel Puig to the Reds for Jay Bruce, and the Reds front office “may have” turned them down. I didn’t put the whole comment in quotes, but that is almost verbatim.
      The Jay Bruce sweepstakes are getting interesting. The economics of baseball will definitely come into play with trading Bruce. Supply and Demand. I heard a few GMs on MLB radio say the biggest obstacle for trades is not enough selling teams for a market right now. Demand is up, supply is low, prices go up. Price on Bruce is increasing. Sell early before ANY problems can surface, like a Bruce slump, or more teams start to enter the market and water down the market as sellers. Things can adversely effect Bruce’s trade value between now and Aug. 1. But his value won’t get much higher than it already is. Hanging on to Bruce until late July in hopes of a bidding war would be a mistake. If they are trading Bruce, do it sooner in July rather than later.

      • I forgot to add, that if Bowden’s comment have truth to them, I’m glad the Reds turned down Puig for Bruce.

  18. If the Reds had obvious position player talent in the minors I would feel better about competing in 2018. Unfortunately they don’t. The pitching is unproven. Suarez may not be as good as hoped. Votto may be in decline. Phillips is old and gone after 2017. Mesoraco has had 2 good months in his MLB career. His last good month was June 2014. Hamilton looks to be a low OBP player. Bruce and Cozart will be moved for modest returns. Duvall is a pleasant surprise but he is older than Jay Bruce. The pitching is the worst in baseball. This is not a quick rebuild.

  19. The Reds might field a winner again sometime in the 2020’same, but most certainly not before then. Uncle Walt has destroyed this franchise and it will take at least 5 years to turn things around.
    People have been writing about the arms that were coming to rescue the Reds in July. I have been a fan long enough to know that pitchers are the hardest to predict. Many look great in the minors only to completely fizzle in the majors.
    Then, the Reds are devoid of hitting prospects outside of Winker. The Reds seem to think they can win with good field, no hit position players since they have an abundance of potential good pitchers. I am less than confident. Peraza might become a great player, but I am concerned.

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