I read the news today, oh boy.

The Yankees trade of Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs lays bare the serial and disastrous mishandling by the Cincinnati Reds of a prime asset. The failure of the Reds to execute a trade like the Yankees did this afternoon could make the difference between success and failure of the Rebuild. Nothing much, just that.

Today’s trade is the perfect coda for the Chapman tragedy.

Like Mr. Cohen at the Chinese restaurant, Aroldis Chapman should always have been traded. Well, at least since May 2012, when Dusty Baker siloed the Cuban Missile into the closer’s role and 65 innings a season.

But even if the decision to use Chapman in the bullpen was the right one, the Reds’ fumbling of his trade was a calamity for the organization.

Today, Reds fans can see the stark difference a front office can make.

This time last summer, the Reds were in the process of shopping/not shopping a season-and-a-half of Aroldis Chapman to postseason contenders. (You remember, it was about the same time Walt Jocketty flatly declared he wouldn’t trade Todd Frazier.) To no one’s surprise, interest from other clubs in Chapman was dizzying. The Washington Nationals, Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Yankees and Houston Astros were eager suitors. Several writers reported the Reds were asking for three top-ten prospects to part with their All-Star closer.

But in the end, the Reds pulled back. Maybe it was hesitation by the owner to trade a popular player. Maybe insularity allowed the front office to overvalue closers in general and Chapman in particular. Maybe risk aversion paralyzed decision-making or old-school grinding backfired. Plenty of blame to go around, but it was clearly a bad decision to wait and risk injury or who knows what. The Reds made the fateful decision to delay moving Chapman until the offseason.

In November, Boston appeared to be a good match. But the Red Sox chose San Diego closer Craig Kimbrel instead. On the Monday of the December winter meetings, it looked to all the world like the Reds had reached a deal to trade Chapman to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

But that afternoon, the explosive details of an October 30 incident involving Aroldis Chapman and his girlfriend became public and derailed the agreement. That was December 7, a day of infamy for Reds fans to be sure. We also learned the Red Sox had found out about Chapman’s incident a month before, a discovery that caused their withdrawal from the November talks. The best reading of the situation was that the Reds hadn’t done a basic background check and were blindsided.

In accordance with its just-adopted domestic violence policy, MLB launched an investigation of the incident. The outcome was uncertain since the process was new. Most experts believed Chapman would receive between 0 and 45 games punishment.

The Reds chose not to wait and see. On December 28, they traded Chapman to the New York Yankees for four players. Billy Witz, sportswriter for the New York Times, described the Reds return as “rock bottom in baseball terms: four minor leaguers, none of them top prospects.” The headliner was pitcher Rookie Davis who hadn’t sniffed a top-100 MLB prospect list. The highest anyone had him ranked in the Yankee’s system was sixth and many had Davis outside their top ten. That the Reds could have received a compensation pick for Chapman at the end of 2016 makes the decision to trade him on those terms even more questionable.

The cloud of the MLB investigation hanging over Chapman surely caused the poor return. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said point blank the Reds’ asking price for Chapman had been “modified.” According to C. Trent Rosecrans, another big-league executive revealed his team had offered a much better package before reports of the incident surfaced.

Instead of acknowledging this reality, the Reds treated their fans like idiots and dug in.

Reds president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty insisted that Chapman’s behavior, the investigation and pending punishment didn’t affect trade negotiations and that the Reds got full value for Chapman.

Jocketty’s statements were insulting to anyone with a lick of common sense. Instead of candor, he chose the worst kind of CYA – the kind that defies belief. He must have figured to do otherwise would raise questions about the decision not to trade Chapman the previous summer nor wait until the investigation had cleared and trade Chapman this summer.

We now have incontrovertible evidence that Jocketty was either being untruthful or incompetent.

The Yankees, who decided to wait out Chapman’s 30-game suspension, just traded Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs for Gleyber Torres – a slick-fielding shortstop who has shown developing power and plate discipline this season. He’s 3.5 years younger than his league average. MLB Pipeline (MLBP) rates Torres #24 in baseball and #1 in the Cubs system. Baseball Prospectus (BP)  ranks him #1 with the Cubs and #34 overall in their midseason rankings. Baseball America (BA) has him #1 with the Cubs and #27 over all in their midseason rankings.

Torres is not all the Yankees received. They hauled in Billy McKinney (OF, #4 Cubs prospect BP, #75 overall MLBP) and another prospect, possibly Rashad Crawford (OF). Also included was Adam Warren, an established major league pitcher who the Yankees could slot into their rotation allowing them to make an additional trade.

/cue appropriate response to this development - h/t Mike Maffie/

So the Yankees received a substantially bigger return for a half season of Chapman than the Reds did for a full season of his services. A writer at FanGraphs just described the difference as staggering. Gleyber Torres would be the #1 prospect in the Reds system. Acquiring a player like Torres, let alone Torres and McKinney, could have gone a long way toward the success of the Rebuild.

For an all-too-brief moment, we might have rationalized the Reds dumping Chapman for pennies on the dollar. Perhaps the organization didn’t want the association with domestic violence. Yeah, that’s it – good feelings about our favorite team acting with principle and conscience.

Except the Reds never mentioned this as a factor. Remember, they were maintaining just the opposite – nothing to see or smell here. And any warm fuzzies we might have allowed ourselves were obliterated a few months later when the Reds – gratuitously – signed pitcher Alfredo Simon. That single action, ahead of a season destined for a high draft pick, undercut any notion that avoiding players stained by domestic violence allegations was a guiding canon. If the Reds have ever issued a statement saying they don’t condone domestic violence among their players, I haven’t found it. They’ve had plenty of opportunity.

Let’s stipulate the Reds have made four Rebuild trades (Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon) that appear promising in varying degrees. If you’re in a generous mood, blame the Chapman fiasco partly on Ryan Madson’s elbow ligament and other events beyond the Reds control. Nothing in the Rebuild Binder or PowerPoint presentation covered gunplay in the garage.

Still. Based on today’s trade, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the Reds front office, ownership included, has been nowhere near up to the task at hand.

The 2016 non-waiver trade deadline is 4 p.m. August 1. Brace yourselves.

About The Author

Steve grew up in Cincinnati a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. Contemporary Reds thrills: witnessing Jay Bruce's 2010 homer and Homer Bailey's 2013 no-hitter in person. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 280 characters about the Reds is Redleg Nation, although you can follow his tweets @spmancuso.

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176 Responses

  1. Carl Sayre

    Mr. Castellini doesn’t clean out the FO today shows how complicit he is in terrible decision. The Cubs are a little more interested now than they were when we sent Chapman to the Yankees. The fact he has served his punishment and the Cubs now have shown how good they are going to be for the next 8 to 10 years and how bad they need a dominant closer. These 3 things were things that would not have affected the value of Chapman to the Cubs a half season ago, in other words a competent FO would have gotten this same return or very close to it 6 months ago.

    • I-71_Exile

      The Reds were so terrified of the domestic violence charge against Chapman they panicked and took a terrible deal because it was better than nothing (a worst case scenario that had little chance of coming to fruition).

      Once Chapman was given his punishment and the cloud lifted we all knew this day was coming because Aroldis has value. LOTS of value. Frankly, I don’t think this was a Walt deal because he has the ability to wait out an offer. I think this one came from the top. We’ll see if a head rolls.

      • gaffer

        They did no due diligence on the charges that were not even going to be prosecuted. The witnesses disagreed and it was shoddy police investigation anyway. Since when has an issue outside of baseball actually impacted people view of onfield performance. Stupid.

      • lost11found

        I think the panic angle probably best explains what went down. It was the first domestic violence case that was evaluated by MLB and the possiblity existed that they could have enacted a suspension that would have prevented his trade value from rebounding at all.

        So they took the bird in hand.

      • Hotto4Votto

        It may have been the first ruled on, I don’t remember, but both Reyes and Puig had domestic violence investigations going on at the time the Chapman situation came out.

      • Michael E

        As if fans in general care about a domestic violence rap..give me a break. You win, the fans will support the team. It’s one thing if Chapman were walking up and down the aisles at GABP and slapping people, but one nutty night in private is of little concern to fans.

        I think laziness and ownership is the root problem. Castellini really doesn’t know what needs done to mold a winning organization. He is too reliant on “old friends” instead of insisting on hiring the best available minds and workers.

        What’s done is done. We look like a joke organization and today’s trade only confirms that.

        I hope Castellini is reading this (probably not) and takes it to heart. Were it not for the Arizona morons (LaRussa the clown and Stewart), we’d be, easily the laughingstock of baseball over the past two years.

      • Michael E

        Ugh, I forgot about that. Why not bring in more morons to REALLY finish the job. The sad thing is they’ll bring the organization down to Padres/Twins level and then all ride off in the middle of the night.

        I may go to a shrink to hypnotize me into believing I was always a Cubs fan so I can enjoy baseball again before I pass on (and I am only 44).

  2. james garrett

    Really nothing left to be said about our lousy front office but I will.The Yanks fleeced us then got a boat load from the Cubs.We continue to be the laughing stock of baseball.More fun is on the way with trades of Bruce and Cosart coming up so expect a couple of bats and a glove or two in return for them.Just think people actually still have a job after such a fiasco.

    • Michael E

      Yeah, the Yanks fans have NO LOVE for Cashman, but what he did, giving up spare part prospects for Chapman and then getting back a set of prospects all of which are BETTER than they gave up, well:

      Yankees 4, Reds 0

      or more precise

      Cashman and Steinbrenner 4, Jocketty and Castellini…shutout.

      I wish I had it in mean to be fair weather and find another team, becuase the Reds future is bleak. Until the front office is gutted and real talent from shrewd organizations is brought in, paid the going rate, not nickeled and dimed down to the clerk as GM, we’re doomed to, at best mediocrity. We just don’t have enough top side talent, in MLB or the minors and the handling of the trade chips made things WORSE. Sad days. We won’t be the worst team, but finding .500 the next 5 years will feel like a win, and the playoffs only a distant possibility.

      With the Cards winning several titles the past 20 years and the Cubs looking like a team that will when at least a couple, it’s going to be salt AND acid in the wounds of Reds fans.

      • Hotto4Votto

        What’s even better, according to Doug Gray’s mid season rankings (and I tend to believe he knows the Reds system/prospects on a deeper level than national guys who have 30 systems to worry about) none of the 4 prospects the Reds received in the Chapman deal rank in the organizational top 25. Let that sink in.

      • Dewey Roberts

        It will be a long shot for any of those to have a major league career lasting more than a year.

  3. Jeremy Conley

    It’s really really hard to root for a team that is run so badly. Both of the top hitting prospects the Yankees got have well above average OBPs also, just as a side note.

    I really hoped that my Chapman misery was over, but this just kills. The Cubs were already a really good team, and this may be what it takes to put them over the top. There is a reasonable chance that I will watch Chapman record the last out to win the World Series for the freaking Cubs. Only the Cardinals could have been worse.

    It is very possible that the none of the players the Reds got in the Chapman trade will ever play for the Reds.

    • Michael E

      Exactly how I feel. I guess I might have to join an extra fantasy league or two to keep me so busy rooting for “players” that I barely notice the Reds organization looking like a dumpster fire.

      What’s worse is that year after year, our best prospects all seem to have poor stats, yet you go look at some other consistently good organizations and most of their top prospects are dazzling and moving up. I think their is a plague of indifference from the very top of the Reds (Castellini) that infects the whole organization. It’s like prospects are bummed to even have to show up and play baseball. I’d really like to see some of them interviewed, and give thoughts on what they see and how it makes them and teammates feel. There has to be a structure that sucks the enthusiasm from the players because few, if any excel… and that indicates either a coaching problem or a morale problem.

    • Hotto4Votto

      Cotham did play for the Reds already See, doesn’t that make you feel better?

      • MrRed

        But it’s easy to see how he’d forget that fact. See, doesn’t make you feel worse again?

      • Michael E

        Cotham may be the crown-jewel of that trade. He is THE BOMB!

        No, wait, he is A BOMB!

  4. IndyRedMan

    The only positive here is the Cubs got much the worst of it here! They’ll need to win the WS like KC did to make it pay off. I don’t trust Chapman. I don’t trust the competiveness of anyone that is offered 200 innings or 70 and says they prefer 70! I hope he blows the deciding game in their opening round loss!

    • Jeremy Conley

      I really think that this whole thing about Chapman wanting to close gets way overblown. As far as I know, he said it in one interview, during a time where his manager (Dusty Baker) clearly wanted him to continue on as closer. Who knows, Dusty may have even encouraged him to say that.

      I remember Chapman saying that he wanted to be a starter in 2010 and 2011. Any good organization would have had him starting in 2011, when the Reds didn’t even make the playoffs, and Chapman could barely control his stuff. He needed more time to develop, and starting would have given it to him.

      I think it’s time to stop blaming Chapman for how the Reds handled him. Plenty of players have expressed preferences about where and when they play, and then the team tells them that they need them somewhere else and the player does what he is told.

      • greenmtred

        But he closed for the Yankees, too, Jeremy, and will likely close for the Cubs. Maybe those teams are stupid, too, or maybe there’s a reason for this.

    • kmartin

      Indy, like Jeremy I question how much of Chapman being a closer is due to Chapman demanding it and how much of it was due to Baker. I don’t think we will ever know what really happened behind the sense. Regardless, I am not ready to question whether Chapman is a tough competitive guy. For example, on August 21, 2014 he pitched an inning against the Braves and then followed it up with two innings on the evening of August 22, 2014. Price then took him off the list of available pitchers for the August 23, 2014 game. He went to Price and demanded that he be allowed to pitch in the Saturday game if needed. He did pitch and struck out the side. I even remember Kimbrell expressing surprise that Chapman was out there. If Chapman were not a competitive guy, why did he want to pitch so badly when he did not have to pitch?

      • IndyRedMan

        I don’t know? You don’t know? I guess he could’ve went Chris Sale on Dusty and forced their hand but he couldn’t speak English. He had a woman tied up his hotel room plus he spent about 1/3 of his initial salary on foreign sportscars. I don’t think Chapman is the sharpest knive in the drawer. A corpse has more vision for the future then Dusty Baker so its hard to say who’s to blame?

      • jazzmanbbfan

        He may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer but he also came from an isolated culture of poverty into riches that are unimaginable in his native country. He was young and bought expensive toys the way a 6 year old would buy toys with $5.00 his mother gave him, i.e., foolishly. I’m American and I might have been only slightly more prudent in my early 20’s.

    • Big56dog

      I was just curious if the Cubs really needed Chapman, Rondon is putting up comparable numbers if not better, Strop and Wood are having decent years. Seems they could have gotten someone not a great as Chapman for the bullpen without giving up their top prospect.

      • lwblogger2

        He slots everyone back a slot and now the Cubs can use the Royals model for winning games. If they have the lead after 5, it’s pretty much lights-out.

      • kmartin

        Rondon in 2016 has 18 saves in 22 opportunities and Chapman has 20 saves in 21 opportunities. For his career, the BA against Rondon is .217 and against Chapman it is .157. Rondon is good, but I suspect most people consider Chapman an upgrade.

    • JoshG

      you can always turn that around and say he was offered the chance to impact 35 games or 70 games

  5. David

    I can take losing games. I can take losing big name players because we’re a small market team. I can take rational decisions being made and not working out as expected. I cannot take incompetence. This is the biggest baseball gut punch I’ve felt since the Reds lost the NLDS to the Giants after being up 2-0. I want to be a Reds fan. I was born a Reds fan and will probably die a Reds fan, but in this moment I want nothing to do with this organization. The feeling will fade, but the front office has become one of the laughing stocks of MLB.

    • ncmountie1

      Well said David…
      IMHO this all goes back to the WJ philosophy of overvaluing arms over bats…

      • Jeremy Conley

        I don’t see that. The original trade with the Dodgers was Chapman for Peraza. He targeted a bat, just not a very good one.

      • Dewey Roberts

        Jeremy,
        And we then traded Frazier just to get Peraza. So, we got little to nothing for two of our biggest trading chips.

    • pinson343

      I feel the same way, David. This is a huge huge punch in the gut.

    • Michael E

      It’s got NOTHING to do with arms or bats philosphy.

      Jocketty’s (and Castellini’s) issue is more simple. They BOTH want immediate vindication in trades. They don’t see the benefit of a 19 year old stud prospect. They do see a benefit in getting a player or two that can be on the team immediately, no matter how limited their upside is.

      If they’d approach it with a 5 year plan, they’d be fine, but they’re trying to keep the Reds mediocre (instead of bad) throughout the rebuild and that only slows down the rebuild.

      MLB ready over 3, 5 and 10 year potential. They’re taking quantity of older prospects instead of going hardcore for the best younger prospects.

      Fans don’t care if the prospects received don’t play for the Reds this year or next year. They do care weather those prospects have exciting upside and are coached in the minors well and promoted with aggressiveness.

      It’s all about vanity and age. It may hinge on Jocketty and Castellini being too old. They don’t care about 5 years from now, as they may very well be dead. They aren’t the right pair to lead a rebuild with 3, 5 and 10 years future view. They could give a sh**.

  6. Nick Carrington

    Wonderful piece on Chapman. As hard as it was to read, it was almost cathartic to see it all laid out. What a mess.

  7. Jack

    Would have fired Jocketty 5 minutes after the trade. I seriously hate the Cubs more than the Cardinals. I’m hoping we don’t trade anybody because we will get hosed on every deal.

  8. sultanofswaff

    The Cubs Cubbed on this one, but it sure lays bare how bad we got hosed. I thought the Whiz kids in their front office were better than this. This just smacks of all the old Cub regimes mortgaging the future for a guy with a league average conversion rate. Injuries and nonperformance ALWAYS take their toll (looking at the contracts of Heyward and Zobrist), and the depth they gave up would’ve cushioned the blow. It only makes sense if the Cubs extend Chappy and use him in high leverage situations that are more than just pitching the 9th with a clean slate.

      • lwblogger2

        Yes and yes but then ‘no’ on the last part of that. I’d be flat out stunned if Chapman became a starter for anyone at this juncture.

    • streamer88

      There is no doubt they’ll red carpet him, and full court press to re-sign prior to free agency (I think the Cardinals did something similar to Jason Hayward, as a comp).

    • SabrChris

      That they have to depth to give up such a high value package for Chapman, show how good the Cubs have gotten at player development.

  9. Jeremy Conley

    I wonder if Walt et al understand how bad they are at this, or if they are in total denial. Is someone in the Reds front office still happy about getting Rookie Davis?

    • Dewey Roberts

      Walt got fired from the Cardinals for being bad like this. Then the Reds hired immediately. So, I doubt Walt thinks he is bad- even though the facts are staring him in the face.

      • jazzmanbbfan

        And on top of that the Reds also have Kevin Towers in the front office, another very unimpressive old-school guy who should be sent off to pasture.

  10. Barry

    Fire them all, scouts, front office personnel, all of them.

  11. lost11found

    It does open up a prime strategy for the cubs post-season oppontents.

    Have a box of a dozen or so cream cheese and guava pastries sent to AC before every game.

  12. Jeremy Conley

    Maybe the craziest thing to me is that all the reports last year were that the Reds couldn’t get a trade done for Chapman last year because they were asking for TOO MUCH!

    How do you go from that to selling about as low as possible in three months?

    • eric3287

      It wasn’t just that the Reds were asking too much; it was the freaking Arizona Diamondbacks that said the Reds were asking too much. The same organization which is lampooned annually for giving up way too much in trades.

      The Reds were never serious about trading Chapman last year; they just wanted to make it seem like they were listening to offers.

      • greenmtred

        Well, the Diamondbacks would say that, wouldn’t they?

  13. jessecuster44

    This franchise is an utter joke.

    • RedAlert

      Without a doubt – embarrassment

  14. CaptainHook

    Agree 100% that the Reds made a mistake not trading Chapman last season, and that the Reds panicked after the domestic violence/gun incident.

    That being said, is it really necessary to re-hash the starter/closer and overvaluing closers debates? After all, it looks like Theo is assigning a lot of value to half a season of this particular closer…And the Yankees sure did not try to convert Chapman to a starter…

      • CaptainHook

        And yet they find their way into literally every post about Chapman…

      • ManuelT

        As well they should. We’re talking about an exceptional talent.

    • Big56dog

      Did the Reds actually reject an offer last season for Chapman?

      • lwblogger2

        We pretty much have to assume they did. We know there were interested teams. We therefore can deduce that they asked what the Reds wanted and made some sort of counter-offer(s). That’s how all this works. What we don’t know is if they were any good but that’s impossible to know because none of us were there.

  15. Big56dog

    Just curious on opinions of where the Reds would be had Chapman been with the team until this point. Would the Cubs have made the trade to the Reds?
    I bet the Reds would have minimally better as most of their bullpen issues seem to be 8th inning guys like Hoover and Jumbo blowing leads and a lot of those would have been when Chapman would have been suspended.
    But I think the real issue is the Reds would have got something comparable to what the Cubs gave up or at least something better than Rookie Davis

    • Jeremy Conley

      I think the point of Steve’s piece, and the other articles out there, is that clearly the Reds could have gotten a lot more. How much better Chapman would have made this year’s team is pretty inconsequential, because this was an openly stated rebuilding year.

      The Reds were asking for 3 top prospect last year and couldn’t get it done. Then they took zero top prospects this winter. The Cubs just got two top 100 prospects. Doesn’t that make it seem pretty clear? Three was too high, zero was too low, the Reds probably could have gotten two good prospects, but should definitely have gotten one prospect in the top 50 in the minors.

      The Yankees had enough suitors for Chapman that if the Reds had held onto him and didn’t want to trade him to the Cubs, they could have still easily gotten at least one top 50 prospect from either the Giants, Indians, etc.

      • MrRed

        Your supposition is all the more likely given that the other team would have received an additional year of Chapman. This is just such a stunning disparity. Worse than I had previously believed when I heard the rumors. For those who were willing to give the FO some benefit of a doubt (and I would consider myself one of them), this fiasco should undermine any confidence that the team will be successful in rebuilding unless lady fortune intervenes.

      • citizen54

        You made a good point that the Reds went from asking for 3 top prospects to a sack of rocks in the space of a couple of months. It’s clear the Reds front office panicked when they traded Chapman.

      • greenmtred

        They probably did panic, but the situation had changed: The domestic violence issue was fresh and unresolved.

    • Michael E

      There is NO DOUBT the Reds would NOT have gotten a top 5 prospect from the Cubs. Why? Because they simply don’t have the patience, skills or intelligence to do so.

      The argment last July was the Reds wanted TOO much for Chapman, as in three top 10 prospects. Hey, that is a good starting position in negotiations. The problem is, they apparently didn’t relent (how negotiations work) for “settling” for just two top 10 prospects, with on being top 3.

      The real ache for Reds fans is the Reds FO (Jocketty, Williams and Castellini) traded at the worst time and at the lowest value. None of us would have approved the trade had we been in the room during the final stage of completing the deal.

      My question is, why did supposedly sound baseball minds “dump” one of THE top relievers in the game for garbage? What went through their minds that said, hey, this looks acceptable? Was it all on Castellini demanding they dump Chapman ASAP due to legal issues? If so, Castellini should be banned from any further melding in any decisions in the future. Just work with the minority owners to form a payroll level and then get out of the way.

      I think Jocketty’s time passed by over a decade ago, but I also think Castellini is the main cause of all these poor moves recently. I wish they’d both go away permanently.

  16. citizen54

    If true, this is horrible move by the Cubs. Trading a top 35 prospect and more for a couple of months of a rental. I thought the Cubs were a forward thinking organization that embraces sabermerics. It’s kind of like the Samardzija trade in reverse for them. The Cubs are giving all this up for what maybe an additional 2 fWAR? Ya, it improves their odds of winning the World Series this year but is what they are giving up worth the incremental increase in odds?

    It’s just surprising to me that Epstein who up to now has done a great job in rebuilding the Cubs would bet the farm on this particular year. The Cubs are built for the long haul. They are going to have a multiple shots at winning the World Series. This trade seems like it has a smell of desparation like one made by a team that feels its championship window is closing this year.

    • ManuelT

      They’re doing what the recent contending Reds teams didn’t do. They’re going for it! Whether it works or not, who knows but at least the fans know they have a FO that wants to win this season while the iron is hot. Next season is far from guaranteed.

    • Michael E

      I agree with Manuelt. Look the Cubs are keeping the farm stocked. This was an overpay, but no one know if any of these prospects ever make a dent. Torres is far from a sure thing. He is a slightly better version of Peraza, who is also far from a sure thing.

      If they win it all this year, it will be worth and and then some. Not to mention Epstein has no fear of running out of prospects for the future. He’ll just draft and sign more next year and the year after and do a slightly better job of finding better players than the Reds do. The Cubs also spend money on the intangibles. The Reds do not. The Cubs have much more revenue to play with…and there is a reason Epstein has only worked for top 5 revenue teams. Much the same as Phil Jackson only coaching teams with superstars so he looks like a genius coach.

      • Big56dog

        but they have only marginally improved there mid-inning relievers, Rondon is having a comparable season if not better than Chapman, everyone Reds fan knows Chapman is good for 4 or 5 blown saves a year.
        They will be able to add one of their starters to the bullpen by play-offs anyway. Too me it is like the Bengals trading a 1st round draft pick for a kicker like Justin Tucker

      • Michael E

        They have a sensible manager. You can use Chapman, Rondon and others in ANY inning. Do it when neeeded. The starter loads the bases with no one out up two runs? Why not bring in Chapman for hopefully a couple of K’s and limiting runs scored to maybe one or none? Then if under 20 pitches, roll him out the next inning.

        Baker and Price use “Baseball Management for Dummies” book to the letter. Chapman throws 100? Ninth inning only and only with a lead. Maddon isn’t as great as he is cracked up to be, but he is light years ahead of bottom barrel robo-managers Baker and Price.

  17. Kal

    So we basically end up trading Chapman to a division rival for some stiffs the Yankees didn’t want. . . Yup that sounds about like the Red’s front office. A lot of Red’s fans upset, but not one of them surprised any more. Sad. Very sad.
    We’re in the middle of a rebuild that will set the direction of the Red’s for the next decade and beyond, and the wrong people are running it. Incompetent, deceitful people. SMH

    Did anyone ever think that in the 20-teens in Cincinnati it would be Mike Brown’s team that is being run comparatively well and competently?

    • Michael E

      You’re right. It is sad that we’re no longer surprised. That alone is the saddest part of this organization now…we’re expecting incompetence and may have heart attacks if Bruce is actually traded for a prospect that actually HAS a future in MLB.

  18. enfueago

    I’m on board with most everyone else here that the front office managed to reap the lowest return possible, even considering a team’s evaluation of prospects may not be the same as the ranking publications. I do wonder though if Chapman’s 30-game suspension would have been the same if he had stayed a Red. Its one thing to make an example of a Cincinnati player, another to do it to a Yankee.

    • Michael E

      They simply should have held on to Chapman if that was all they could get. Better to get a comp pick or maybe a bidding war in July, than approve a trade that didn’t even make the needle wiggling a little.

      That’s what steams us all, why trade then, for that? The last week of July 2015 has set back our rebuild and contention by years. Either Castellini or Jocketty or both got scare and instead of getting the returns other rebuilding teams were getting (Braves, Phils, Padres) we got absolute crap (in total) for Frazier and Chapman. I bet the Sox trade Frazier this week and get a couple of top 8 prospects as well to really shove our faces in the toilet.

  19. JB WV

    In light of this debacle, assuming they don’t get fired immediately, the pressure is an elephant on Williams/Jocketty’s collective shoulders to get real value out of Bruce. Even if they do, Jocketty has to go ASAP. He’s holding this franchise back by his mere presence.

    • The Duke

      Jocketty is on his way to retirement. I don’t think it will be Williams show until Walt is completely out the door though.

    • Tom Diesman

      Walt Jocketty Reds Record

      W L Win Pct.
      678 695 0.494

      Jim Bowden Reds Record

      W L Win Pct.
      852 865 0.496

      2 Division Championships for each.

      Bowden sure was a lot more fun than than Jocketty was too.

      Just saying……

      • Michael E

        The best GMs since Howsam were O’Brien and Krivsky. Jocketty and Bowden were the bottom of that list, but Bowden had less to work with under penny-pinching Schott and had to deal with that drama. Jocketty was in a great position with a solid farm system thanks to Krivsky and O’Brien, a payroll that was jumping nicely, and a new stadium. I don’t think he came close to reaping the value of all that. He has had a few good moves, but more bad than good to this point. Injuries hurt, but every team has that and doesn’t implode like the Reds did, some with lesser payrolls.

        Sigh, I hope that in time Williams makes the top half of a GM ranking list, but I have serious doubts given his non-existent quality GM background.

    • Michael E

      Castellini is the biggest problem. We’re not going to be a good organization until he gives up meddling in the FO and until he gets good FO people and not just comfortable people that don’t scare him. He seems afraid to go young or get people recommended by OTHERS.

      There is NO WAY Castellini fires these people and even if he did, he replace them with comfortable people (not the best candidates, just ones he already knows) that don’t scare him in any way. He is afraid to risk being great. That is Castellini and why we’re doomed to mediocrity for the forseeable future.

  20. Michael E

    All of us knew is was a very, very underwhelming trade. The only thing that keeps Jocketty from looking like a clueless moron, is the “decent” trade for Cueto. Even then, he didn’t get a sure fire top 25 MLB prospect, which he probably should have.

    The absolute idiocy of holding out for “MLB ready” prospects versus pure upside and tools, is poison to a rebuild. There are few of us that would, if suddenly the owner of the Reds, keep Jocketty and old people around. I would clean house. I am not for/against any method, but I’d sure want a tireless type, which uses the latest in internet communications and has an idea of what scouts to trust and what data to trust.

    Few of us felt good about Williams, only becuase he was in insider that hasn’t been part of a “good” GM organization. I’d rather have an assistant GM from a successful club (recent success, not 25 years ago).

    Oh well, we simply have odds stacked against our Reds being contenders. We’re in for a long, slow rebuild due to less-than-shrewd talent valuation, PURE LAZINESS over not scouring the league for the best possible deal and not moving at the right time (I think that may have been on Castellini instead of Jocketty, but I blame them both for NOT trading Frazier and Chapman last July to maximize the return).

    • eric3287

      That point about holding out for near MLB ready prospects is going to set the franchise back more than people are really talking about. The Reds are desperately missing that can’t miss/top prospect that they need to fully re-build around. The organization still thinks that Votto is the central piece that they can build a championship around, but by the time the Reds are likely to compete, he’ll be 35. Still likely, hopefully, a really good, above average player, but not the superstar a team needs.

      • Michael E

        …and all the big trade pieces are shot, gone and no do overs. Castellini and Jocketty blew it last July. I mean, if there was a way for the trade deadline to be handled worse, I’d like to hear it. Several players were at very high value levels. Several teams interested and the Reds pissed them off almost immediately and they moved on. They overplayed their hand and then I think Castellini stepped in and said, don’t trade them, I don’t want to be the bad guy that traded Chapman or Bruce or Frazier.

        Spineless and Clueless. A VERY bad combination.

        Martin and Lewis?
        Abbot and Costello?
        Laurel and Hardy?
        Beavis and Butthead? (my pick since neither had any sense)

  21. Chad Jones

    I figured this would happen once I heard the rumors that the Yankees might trade Chapman. It is totally embarrassing, or should be, for the Reds FO. I have no problem with a rebuild for the Reds. It had to be done. My deal is I have zero faith in the clown show that is our front office. That goes for Jocketty and Dick Williams. It still irks me on the Williams hire. Nepotism at it’s finest.

    • Michael E

      I’d like to hear an interview, post-deadline, that doesn’t pull any punches. With question one “Now that the Yankees got substantially better prospects trading the same player with less contract time left, how does the Reds front office justifying the rock-bottom Chapman trade this past winter?”

      • lwblogger2

        “Uh, well, the market just didn’t manifest. We then got a deal done this winter only to be sideswiped by the domestic violence allegations.”

        That’s my best guess at an answer.

        As for why the Reds traded him for a low return, I’m guessing that Castellini wanted his salary off the books and didn’t want to risk him getting hurt after any pending suspension or getting in more trouble.

      • Ben

        This is the answer. The only sure thing was the $11M coming due. Everything else was a variable, even if some were 80-90% certain.

        Salary coming due or not, deciding to sell at absolute rock bottom timing is borderline negligence.

  22. wizeman

    One more reason not to trade Bruce as if there were not a couple already.
    I drank the kool aid. Thought we got an okay haul for Chapman due to his personal problems. I was way wrong.

    • Michael E

      The best reliever in the game always nets more than the REds got, but they’re too interested in quantity over quality and then made it worse by picking the absolute worst time to trade. It’s as if they thought Chapman would be suspended a year…wonder who blew that prognostication?

      Always take quality over quantity, something Castellini and Jocketty never learned.

  23. vegastypo

    i heard the news earlier today, and all I needed to see was Steve’s headline. Just awful.

    I’d like to think that maybe things will be different when Williams is making the decisions, but it’s hard to be optimistic about anything now. … Castellini has to see the disparity. He just has to.

    This also speaks to why the Reds have to move Bruce now, while the buyer gets an extra year of control instead of just two months at next year’s deadline, meaning the Reds should get increased value back. But who knows whether we’ll get fleeced again there, too. Sad.

    • yorktownred

      Given that Jocketty is still calling the shots, I’d rather see Jay Bruce wearing Red for the next year and a half. Then take the compensation pick after 2017.

      Jocketty did well on the Latos and Simon trades. He may have done well on the Cueto and Leake trades. He may have done poorly in trading Frazier. He got fleeced big time in trading Chapman. Ole Walt is treading downward. Given the impending “bag o’balls” return awaiting in a Jay Bruce trade, I’m hoping Walt loses his cell phone this week.

  24. thecoastman

    I’m sick to my stomach… I really believe moving Chappy was nothing more than a salary dump since the FO keeps telling the fans we’re in the poor house. I refuse to watch one single Reds game this year lest I get sick thinking about our pathetic FO and end up upchucking a perfectly good Silver Bullet.

    • Michael E

      I think it was more due to Castellini demanding a deal, any deal, to rid them of Chapman the legal headache. He no longer saw Chapman as a dominant reliever and he did not notice that 30 other teams would fall over themselves to take him. I think Castellini keeps changning priorities and at that time it was “I want to look like a good guy for standing up for the general good by dumping Chapman”. So he pleased three or four female fans (out of thousand and thousands) and a couple of male fans and a dog, all at the cost of future value and rebuild medicine.

      Sad.

    • Ben

      This is the answer. I think the $11M salary was a big deal to the Reds, and honestly it would matter to many other teams out there. I’m sure there were many teams ‘interested’ in Chappy but at the point we decided to sell, they could easily talk themselves out of it. $11M guy, one year of control, recent domestic abuse accusation that the Reds either hid or missed. The market for him today is so much stronger than back then — the Reds FO should be indicted for deciding to sell at rock bottom as much as for anything else. But I think the $11M was calling loudly.

  25. Michael E

    You know your favorite team is in bad shape when, in fantasy leagues, the players are avoided simply because they’re Reds. Yep, every single Reds player is held in the same regard as Braves, Phils, Twins and Padres. Sadly, every one of those teams NOT named the Reds, except the hapless Twins, appear to have a brighter future…sooner.

    The most exciting move the Reds could make right now, aside from hiring the most talented GM candidate, is to simply fire the front office and leave the position vacant. At least the damage control will be automatic.

  26. kmartin

    I am happy to see Chapman back in the National League. I have always wanted to see a Votto-Chapman confrontation with the game on the line.

  27. pinson343

    I’m sick to my stomach also. The move of Chapman wasn’t just a salary dump, it was also a PR move: “We don’t want a guy like that with us.” If so, fine, trade him, but not at the point of his lowest value.

    • MrRed

      It would truly be puzzling if they traded him for PR reasons. Because they turned right around and signed Simon (could have picked from any of the lot of out of work pitchers) who has even more serious personal issues than did Chapman.

    • Michael E

      I believe it was more of a PR move for sure. It’s not like the payroll wasn’t already declining before the trade. So Castellini vanity strikes a blow that impacts (negatively) ALL of us Reds fans for the next 5+ years. Thanks Bob. I know there aren’t a lot of owner candidates, but I wish he’d sell out to some minority owners enough to get him out of control. I’d rather be run by a group of owners than Bob.

  28. Josh Mohr

    The pathetic disaster that is the Chapman/Frazier deals will make the rebuild WAY LONGER than it should be. Reds should have dealt both right after the all star game, if that would have happened, Reds would have most likely gotten 2 top 100 prospects and some lottery tickets. Just awful and someone should be fired. Bungled our top 2 trade chips and I full expect it to happen again with Jay Bruce.

    • thecoastman

      Other GMs are supposedly saying the Reds are impossible to deal with in discussing Bruce so I would be shocked if he goes anywhere. This FO would probably be lucky to get a stale bag of chips for him anyway.

      • Michael E

        Just like last July. Rumors of good deals then other teams moving on…which means Bruce will be traded in January, after he has a terrible second half, value plummets and only a team option left that suddenly will look expensive instead of cheap.

        We’ll get an MLB ready “prospect” that is 28 years old in AAA and never hit over .250 that can’t field and some low A reliever that has only one pitch and no control.

        Anything more than the above scenario will blow my mind. They’ll keep Bruce and Cozart and others and then “dump” them in the winter for nothing.

      • greenmtred

        Maybe other teams, given the soft market for outfielders, aren’t willing to give up much for Bruce. Should the Reds trade him anyway? The return would fuel more rage at RLN, but we have plenty of fuel already.

      • Michael E

        The answer is simple. You don’t make a trade that tilts the scale the other way. If you can’t get a good offer for Bruce, don’t make the deal. Keep him. Why trade him for nothing? He is playing well again for the first time in years.

        Right after NOT making the low-ball trade, the GMs need to resign since they obvious have no ability to work the phones and internet like 25+ other teams do. If they say “there wasn’t a market for a LH hitting power bat that isn’t limited to DH” I will throw up. OF COURSE there is a market. The Reds GMs have no idea how to value their own players. They either go stupid asking for 3 studs or give away for 3 retreads. There is a middle Walt and Bob.

  29. pinson343

    The stupidity of trading Chapman at the worst possible time is one thing.
    My suspicion is that Castellini ordered it.

    But what irks me even more was stated by Steve: “Walt Jocketty insisted that Chapman’s behavior, the investigation and pending punishment didn’t affect trade negotiations and that the Reds got full value for Chapman.”

    And Steve’s right about the only conclusion that one can draw: either Jocketty lied or he’s become woefully incompetent. And I say that as someone who has mostly supported Jocketty over the years and praised almost all of his trades, even ones that didn’t work out.

    • thecoastman

      Tell me… I’ve always supported Uncle Walt, but to let a free agent signing GM that has very little experience in trade negotiations, at least compared to WJ, fleece us like that is just way too painful. I also believe Big Bob had a huge hand in moving him for payroll reasons.

    • lwblogger2

      You have to think that the Reds PR department and perhaps even the big guy told him to say that.

  30. tct

    Yeah the Reds bungled the Chapman situation. We all knew that already.

    What interests me more is the Cubs side. Are we still pretending that the Cubs intrinsically value hitting over pitching? Because they apparently just traded a top 30 hitting prospect for a couple months of a relief pitcher.

    Are we still pretending that hitting is more valuable than pitching? When offense is going up and home runs are at the second highest rate in baseball history?

    Will this trade, and everything that has happened over the past year, cause people to reevaluate what is really happening in baseball?

    • MrRed

      But this debate has to be colored by temporal considerations. As in, the Cubs wanted a high impact guy to help them win NOW v.s. a guy that may help them win (maybe even a lot) sometime in the future. Also to be considered is that maybe the Cubs feel they can replace what they gave up in the trade.

    • Michael E

      Nothing has changed in the past 75+ years. Pitching is still at the heart of winning teams. Hitting is exciting, but neutralized by playoff pitching (we remember Halladay, Rijo over bash Bros). The trouble for the Reds fans is we’re not strong in either place. Many fans THINK we’re too pitching heavy, but when you look at some of the prospects, you know many won’t pan out (I still don’t understand how Travieso makes a top 30 prospect list, much less top 10).

      We need hitting and pitching, but if your resources are limited (Cubs are NOT limited by revenue, much like the Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers), you should err on the side of favoring top quality pitching over quantity or hitters. You can find (Jocketty can’t, but any Joe fan could) decent hitters with limited pop to fill out 8 lineup positions and have an average run scoring team (even if near bottom in HRs), but you can’t cobble together a pitching staff the same way…just ask Bowden since we always put the payroll in hitting and then invited 50 castoffs to spring training to cobble together a rotation…and we predictably sucked nearly every year. We almost always were top10 in runs scored, but rarely sniffed the playoffs.

      I think Epstein values both and isn’t foolish enough to believe you win with good hitting and mediocre pitching…you don’t. You can make the playoffs, but winning a series against better pitching is a pipe dream.

  31. Hotto4Votto

    The Reds FO was fully taken advantage of by a FO that actually knows what it is doing. It’s ridiculous. The worst part is, the Chapman situation also caused the FO to panic about missing out on Peraza and took a bad deal in trading their other good trade chip in Frazier. The Reds didn’t need to either this off season. They wait when they shouldn’t and they are reactionary when they should wait and see. They are so inept it’s hard for me to even support any part of this rebuild as long as Castillini and Jocketty and Williams are around.

    • David

      Come on, no to low OBP prospects aren’t easy to come by!

  32. lwblogger2

    Starting with the Beatles reference made me smile. Everything else made me sick to my stomach and angry. Might be time for a short break from my favorite team. Williams may end up being better than Jocketty but I have only a little bit of lip-service to suggest he might. I’m guessing he’ll be just as bad.

  33. Darrin

    Is this really all that surprising to anybody? We all knew they sold chappy for basically peanuts.

  34. Scott Carter

    I think your article says it all Steve. I just hope they don’t get snookered on Jay Bruce but I have a sinking feeling…….

    • Michael E

      Bruce will get dealt in the off-season, after he hits .180 over the last two months and suddenly that “cheap” team option looks expensive and the best Williams will get is some 28 year old AAAA player that can’t hit or field, but is “MLB ready” in the most literal sense (hey, he is not young, so he’s ready).

      I am more MLB ready at 44, so why not take me in a trade? Yeesh.

  35. Hotto4Votto

    Well, on the bright side, 85 comments into this and this is about as much agreement on one single issue that I’ve ever seen on this site. We all seem to agree the Reds FO is bad at their jobs. So there’s that.

    • Michael E

      LOL, so true. Misery loves company.

      I love you guys (I just despise the front office clowns and the waffling owner).

    • David

      I was thinking the exact same thing. I’ve never seen such a consensus.

    • lwblogger2

      Good call. Getting us all to basically agree on something is not an easy task!

  36. TJones29

    This is a great deal for the Cubs. I’d rather have Chappy at the end of my bullpen in the playoffs than Rondon. Plus the Cubbies are already loaded with too many prospects including a 22 year old SS already in the majors! Plus if they need to increase payroll to add players–no big deal. The Cubs were the sleeping giant in the NL Central and now thanks to Theo they are awake. Gonna be tough to compete with them as long as the core of Bryant/Rizzo stay healthy.

    • Michael E

      A top prospect in A ball is little less risky than a top prospect in AAA and more than ready. It might look bad in 5 years, but the Cubs have a team ready to win it all, not just contend and every shutdown arm added only enhances their chances. They keep the GOOD young talent in Rizzo, Bryant, Contreras, Schwarber and punt on no-power middle infielder.. BRAINS. SMART. I don’t care how highly rated Torres is, he sounds only marginally better than that Cuban MI we just overpaid.

    • Michael E

      Don’t get me wrong, had we gotten Torres for Chapman, I’d have been much happier, but that’s because of how pathetic our deal was, not because Torres is close to a sure thing, impact player.

    • VaRedsFan

      Chappy pitching the 9th allows Rondon to pitch 7th-8th…meaning the game just got shorter for the Cubs

  37. Old-school

    A year ago there was much cynicism expressed whether Jocketty was the guy to navigate the rebuild. Clearly the Reds weren’t bold enough last July and Walt wasnt up to the task. Frazier and Chapman could have yielded organizational transforming prospects if traded in the last week of July 2015. Instead the Reds sold at bottom on Chapman and the Frazier trade is insane…..trade an all star a year early for a player who sits the bench behind a 35 year old on a last place team. I don’t see cozart and Bruce yielding any transforming prospects….they are more valuable to the reds than others. The Reds take RLN and it’s core fans for granted. The marketers have been focused on fans 2 million to 2.5million for so long … they’ve forgotten that winning and good baseball is the best marketing tool… RLN needs a protest FO day with signs at gabp. Sell 41,000 tickets….”walt got fleeced”..”free peraza”…..” where’s the rebuild?”

    • VaRedsFan

      They got Peraza to replace Cozart. Cozart is not 35.

      • Hotto4Votto

        I’m pretty sure both Price and Jocketty said they see Peraza as the Reds future 2B this off season. Of course that was before they realized they were stuck with Phillips. Then again, they’ve both straight up lied to the fans on a few occasions, so siting them as a source kind of defeats my argument.

      • thecoastman

        They stated from the get-go that they saw him as the 2nd baseman of the future and as recently as two weeks ago Price and Jocks both said that as long as BP is here Peraza would be blocked at 2nd. He also primarily played 2nd at Louisville.

      • Tom Diesman

        Peraza actually was primarily at SS for the Bat’s. SS – 42 games, CF – 6 games, and 2B – 5 games.

      • Old-school

        Bryan price referred to Peraza’s role as that of a “respite player”. The Reds gave up an all star in his prime with team control for a respite player. The rebuild is in slow motion and off track and that is a systemic organizational failure.

    • Dewey Roberts

      Walt is the same guy who traded 4 major league ready players for Latos. We should not expect him to make a good trade.

  38. VaRedsFan

    Now watch what happens next…The Sox decide to trade Frazier, and bring in ANOTHER haul of prospects (better than the weak hitting Peraza)…
    …I’m almost rooting for it, so that the front office can be laughed at some more.

    • JB WV

      How do we know he’s a weak hitter when he rarely plays? For God’s sake put him in the lineup every day!

      • VaRedsFan

        Uhhh….I dunno….major/minor league history for one

    • Michael E

      Peraza is NOT A weak hitting player, he hits line drives all over. He does lack the uppercut swing that can turn double power into HR power, but that also tends to increase K rates greatly. I am fine with having a 40 double, 10 HR guy that hits well over the league average and even with a low walk rate, will still have a solid OBP (not great).

  39. IndyRedMan

    Jocketty reminds me of my Colts former GM Bill Polian with one BIG exception. Polian actually won a SB with the Colts! The thing is Polian missed on about 4-5 drafts in a row and then treated the fans like idiots by pulling Manning and other starters instead of going for an undefeated season at 12-0. Now the owner is going to put him in the ring of honor in Lucas Field but they’re afraid of him getting booed off the field!

    Jocketty night is about the only way they could get me to come back to GABP but even the Reds front office isn’t that stupid.

  40. James

    Seriously disappointed in Reds management. It’s downright embarrassing.

  41. TR

    The Cubs have the money to extend Chapman. The Yankees made a great deal to strengthen their rebuild. The Reds didn’t make their move last July and panicked by selling low in December. As long as Bob Castellini is the principal owner, the Reds will be mired in 4th. to 5th. place in the NL Central.

  42. Takao

    You guys know that I’ve defended Jocketty in the past…

    He should be removed from any position of importance for this upcoming trade deadline. Let Williams take over (even though I don’t think he’ll do a particularly great job).

    One last thing… the ownership for the Reds is objectively bad from a baseball standpoint. They’re too loyal to current players (or at least, they fall in love with current players much too easily).

    • Michael E

      Castellini added to payroll, but he sure isn’t helping a team turnover older talent for younger talent. I suspect he hates getting prospects and would rather have an all over 35 team full of well-past-prime former all-star names. He strikes me as lacking in practical baseball sense, more of a NOW guy and less of an extended run of success guy.

  43. WVRedlegs

    This Chapman trade was the tornado, and the Reds front office is the trailer park. I’ve been saying since mid-2011 that Jocketty has to go. It pains me to see him run a once-promising team right into the ground.
    Jocketty was not and is not the right person for the Rebuild. Neither is Williams. Williams is a Jocketty hand selection for GM. The Reds front office needs a clean sweep, from Jocketty, to Williams, to Phil Castellini, to the other assistant GMs. Confidence in the Rebuild and the Reds front office is plummeting. Castellini needs to step up and clear the deck, NOW!!!!!!

    • Dewey Roberts

      Nepotism is alive and well in the Reds front office.

    • SabrChris

      You that Phil has nothing to do with Baseball Operations. What drives me crazy is under the Castellini’s the Reds Business Operation have been second to none. Created great ballpark experience and really maximized available sponsorship revenue, but on field side is trapped in Bob Castellini’s memory of Walt’s hey days in St. Louis.

  44. Mike Adams

    Who needs good baseball when you have great promotions and bobbleheads every game? FO operates day to day, “how do we get them in the seats today”?

    • Michael E

      BINGO! Castellini’s sole focus. Which means, you can’t trade a “popular” player because no one will come to the game (so not true). So, instead of taking a bigger step back and two large steps forward in each of 2017 and 2018, we’re taking a small step back in 2016 and will continue to take small steps back until the old timers are gone and younger people are in that are thinking as much about 3 years from now as they are today. A PLAN to reach and maintain winning (maintain the key word that Walt and Bob lack).

  45. Scott Carter

    Castellini makes dumb moves (hiring Jockey the biggest) but I remember the embarrassment of Marge Schott and how she stripped the minor leagues and scouting department. And Lindor just didn’t care a whit as long as he made a profit.

    • JoshG

      I’m going to have to defend Lindner, from everything I heard/read he just didn’t want to lose money, wasn’t looking for a profit…and if I remember right, a big part of why he bought the team was to keep it in Cincinnati.

  46. Chuck Schick

    What did the Cubs really give up? A highly rated prospect who is likely 2 years away from the majors…who plays a position for which the Cubs are set. By some accounts, he is the #15 prospect in baseball. Devon Mesoraco was the #15 prospect in 2012. How’d that work out?

    Warren is a ” serviceable” deliver. Nothing more, nothing less. The other 2 guys may someday play Major League Baseball well enough to stick around….history says at least one of them won’t.

    The Yankees had leverage…they’re close enough to make a run. They can easily afford Chapman’s cost and they can outspend everyone to re-sign him. They were in a position where they could dictate the terms.

    The Reds had no leverage. They couldn’t afford to re-sign him….they weren’t going to compete and Chapman would’ve been 15% of payroll pitching 3% of the innings. Every team understood that. Had the Reds retained Chapman, they would’ve spent around 5 million thus far to win perhaps 5-6 more games. Is 1 million per incremental victory worthwhile? Perhaps if it’s wins 92-97. If it’s 58-63 then it makes no sense.

    The Cubs made a bold move…they have the prospects-roster structure to make this sort of move and adding 4 million to the remaining payroll is a rounding error for them. The Yankees may have done well…time will tell.

    • MrRed

      I certainly do appreciate the more optimistic (if not more realistic) approach you’re taking. However, if the Reds had acted before last year’s deadline (like they should have), the receiving team would have had another year of Chapman’s services. That should have netted a similar return to what the Yankees just got. Certainly not the paltry return the Reds got over the winter. Even if the Reds had the nerve to wait things out last winter, they surely would have done better.

      • Chuck Schick

        Perhaps. There are assumptions that they could’ve garnered much more last July. The Reds don’t “cc” me on trade emails so I have no idea what was actually offered last year.

        Given that they know the second half of last year would be an all rookie rotation, I think keeping him made sense. Reasonable people debate that, but unless it was a ” blown away”‘offer why not having him to ensure that your young pitchers don’t have blown saves in their first few starts? Again, reasonable people can have differing views.

      • MrRed

        Certainly. We can only go on what was reported. I have to think that with 4 teams supposedly negotiating with the Reds last year, they probably all weren’t offering Rookie Davis’s to get Chapman. No offense to Rookie. Hope he pans out. But he’s probably the only one of the lot that stands a realistic chance of making a meaningful contribution to the big league club.

    • greenmtred

      Well said, Chuck. Prospects are prospects…

    • lwblogger2

      So, if that’s the case, the Reds really have zero chance. If they are constantly negotiating from a position of zero-leverage, then why should a team trade good players to them? They also can’t afford free-agents. Probably should just go ahead and move the team to a larger market that can accommodate an MLB franchise.

      • Chuck Schick

        LW…interesting point you raise. In my mind, the ideal “baseball” time to move Chapman was July 2014. They got to within 1.5 games out and then the wheels fell off.

        However, with the upcoming ASG….and a chance to sell 3-4K extra season tickets in 2015….I understand the business need to at least go into that year with a ” chance” to be good. It was a bad baseball decision driven by business necessity.

        The Reds need to be cold and rationale when it comes to these things. Moving a guy with 1.5 or 2.5 years left will generally garner a bigger haul…assuming they have a developmental system that allows you to replace production at a lower cost. Hopefully, they get there.

      • Michael E

        The ASG was over two full weeks before the deadline last year. After the dumb reasoning to not trade before the game (who freakin cared), they had two weeks to get some competing offers in or sent out and I know, given how bad every team needs an improved bullpen, the Reds could have gotten a top 3 and top 8 prospect from a half dozen teams, with one of those likely being inside the top 50 of baseball.

        Why is it the Reds are the ONLY team that always finds no market for players and is always dealing from no leverage? Because of meatheads in the front office and the owners office. That’s the only thing.

        You give Chapman and Frazier to 15 other GM’s last July 30th and they pull a heck of a deal netting two top 100 prospects and two more good ones that all slide into the top 10 of the Reds list of prospects.

        Stop defending Jocketty for laziness and unwillingness to communicate the way younger GMs need and want…text and IMs. I prefer the phone myself, as I like to get the tone of voice and know they’re focused on the converstation (can’t be sure in IMs or texts), but if a friend or family only communicates through texts or FB, I wlll use those to communicate. Walt appears to only deal with a dwindling few GMs that only use the phone…so THAT is why we get “there really wasn’t a market for player A” crap.

  47. CI3J

    I’m not sure whether to stand and stare or to turn away….

    • lwblogger2

      I just had to look, having read the book.

  48. james garrett

    The Reds had a player they had to get rid of.The Yanks had a player they didn’t have to get rid of.Its all about the money.Always has been and always will be.The Reds waited too long to trade him and thus got caught and had to trade him.Walt continued to believe he could keep on rolling the dice again and again and got caught just like he got caught with Leake and Cueto.Small market teams must develop players and trade then at their peak performance before the big contracts kick in to consistently compete for titles.Its happened again with Bruce Cosart and BP.Waited at least two years too long so its the same song again and again Walt is the one doing the singing.

  49. Chuck Schick

    The Reds FO has made a series of decisions that had a negative outcome….some were bad decisions, some just didn’t work out. They have one of the 3 worst records in the game and they own that.

    However, I believe they had an expectation that their fan base was stronger and more enaged during the 2010-2014 period and that led to some of the problems. They put an extremely good product on the field and still drew less than they did in 1976. They re-signed their best player to a 10 year deal and it had no impact. Ownership made commitments and the “great baseball town” didn’t show up….my God, the Brewers have drawn 3 million….the Rockies have drawn 4 million.

    When your fan base doesn’t come thorough, it’s easy to make decisions based largely on dollars and cents.

    • Dewey Roberts

      Sorry, but that is a poor excuse for the FO failures. They need to strive to put a winning product on the field- period. Instead, they have made trades that were salary dumps with little in return. There goes Aroldis Chapman. There goes Todd Frazier. Don’t hold your breath until the players the Reds received in return become major league players of comparable abilities.
      Maybe the FO needs to realize that Reds fans don’t want just to win a few games. They want to win the World Series- or at least play in it. They don’t want a FO that squanders the opportunity to make a run for the World Series by failing to make any meaningful trades at the deadline.
      2013 was the year the FO lost the Reds fans- and apparently lost the team. They refused to get any help at the trade deadline while other teams loaded up. Then, the Reds whimpered out in the Wildcard game against the Pirates. Have you noticed that the Reds have performed very poorly ever since that August 1st deadline in 2013? Some of the Reds players noted then that it was disappointing that the FO made no effort to get the club the help they needed. In 2014, the Reds had a losing record with almost the same team back. 2015 was worse. This year is even worse- one of the worst teams in major league history. So, don’t blame the fans for what the FO has done to this franchise.

  50. Why oh Why

    Knowing our luck the Yanks just landed their next Derek freakin Jeter out of our beloved Chapman and we’ll be lucky to get a replacement level bullpen arm out of our haul.

  51. cupofcoffee1955

    I was at the last Cubs series at GABP. It was tough to watch plus being outnumbered by Cubs fans. I dread seeing Chapman coming back to mow down the Reds hitters in the 9th at GABP with all the Cubs fans going wild. They will not be coming back to town until late Sept./Oct. so I have awhile to wait. Maybe they will rest him for the playoffs?

  52. dan

    The Reds had to do what they did with Chapman. At the time just about everyone agreed it was the proper course. They had a proverbial gun held to their head to get rid of Chapman.
    The Yankees had no gun issues. The Yankees were also dealing from a whole lot of strength. Despite their current run the Yankees are the most powerful organization in baseball. Things just go your way when you are at the top.
    It is all about the Pinstripes.

    • greenmtred

      The trade shows that the Yankees are rebuilding, not all-in for this year, and it shows that the Cubs are in the opposite position. Only a team like the Cubs–loaded with talent but feeling historically snake-bit and desperate to reverse their tradition–was going to give up so much for a half-year closer. I’m certainly not defending the Reds’ FO, but trades like this one require the proper alignment of the stars, and evaluations of this trade and the recent trades that the Reds have made are–by necessity–based upon projections, not MLB performance, so surprises, positive or negative, are possible.

      • MrRed

        Those are good nuances to bring up. And it does take an alignment of factors to make a trade work.

        However, it was reported that up to 4 teams were in on Chapman last year, including the spendthrift D-Backs. And the Reds apparently still overplayed their hand. Surely, they could have come up with a better deal than they ended up with. It may not have been equal to the Cubs/Yankees deal but it likely could have approached that return considering that the receiving team would get an additional year of Chapman.

        I could even forgive them for failing to get a deal completed last year. They tried to get as much as possible but miscalculated the market. It wasn’t the end of the world. But then they turned around and made a move in haste to unload Chapman at what was clearly his lowest value. There seems to be either no plan in the FO or they don’t have the fortitude to stick with it when things don’t go their way.

        In either case, with the state of the team, the rebuild looks like it will sputter at best for the next half decade, or worse, we return to the malaise that was the early 2000’s. Hell, we’re already getting there looking back at this year and the two previous seasons.

    • MrRed

      They didn’t have to do anything at the time. It could be, and indeed was, argued that the Reds should have held him until the next season’s trade deadline rather than dumping him over the winter on the heels of the domestic dispute reports.

      What we do know was that shortly after that story broke, the legal authorities made clear that no charges would be brought. True, no one knew for sure at the time what MLB would do as far as discipline but most speculation was that he would be suspended about the amount of time as he actually did end up getting suspended. Moreover, if the penalty had been much greater, Chapman would not have qualified for free agency, thus pushing control back to the Reds for another year.

      And yes, the Reds didn’t need a dominant closer for the sad sack team they were planning on running out there this year but they had a valuable trade chip and they failed to deal him at last year’s trade deadline and then dropped him at his lowest point of value. Not exactly following the “Rebuild Binder”â„¢, is it?

    • TR

      We all know the Yankees are the big dog of baseball, but if the Reds had had a top-notch front office the Chapman saga could have turned out better for the good-guys. The FO panicked and sold low in December instead of holding on until the current trade deadline. C’est fini. Back to the rebuild.

  53. Jeremy Conley

    All these comments about how the Reds had to trade Chapman last winter make no sense. Based on what? Sure they wanted to reduce payroll because they expected to lose, but that’s a long way from needing to. If they had prioritized the team, they could have easily afforded the $5mil or so it would have cost to keep Chapman around for half a season.

    • MrRed

      That’s essentially it. If that’s what the FO was truly thinking, it was penny-wise, pound foolish thinking. His arbitration increased salary was insignificant to the cost of getting a better return on a trade. Plus, the team had already shed payroll after Cueto, Leake and Frazier came off the payroll. They could afford to keep Chapman around for half a season to rebuild value. Seriously, I hope I never hear it confirmed that this was their line of thinking. I already have enough doubts about their wherewithal.

    • Chuck Schick

      Frazier and Chapman in aggregate would’ve cost around 19 million this year. Attendance is on pace to drop around 600k so that an estimated 18-19 million in reduced revenue. I’m not sure when season ticket renewals are due, but they obviously knew attendance (revenue) was going to plummet after a 98 loss season.

      They still have no cable deal for next year and that could drag on for a while since Time Warner (dominant provider in SW Ohio) was purchased in the spring and the subscriber fees given to Fox Sports Ohio need to be negotiated with a new set of people.

      I’m not Bob C’s accountant, but they had ample reason to be concerned about cost this year and avoiding long term commitments until after the cable deal is finalized.

      • MrRed

        I agree with you that there are likely some financial pressures resulting from lower attendance numbers and from an uncertain TV deal. But keeping Chapman for another half season to rebuild his trade value wasn’t going to break the bank either.

        If it were, we got bigger problems than we thought.

  54. StillRed

    Woulda shoulda coulda. You can’t compare what the Reds got for Chapman with what the Yanks got for Chapman. Would the Cubs have offered the same to the Reds for Chapman last year and would it have been smart for the Reds to shop Chapman to a division rival. Of course, hah, Chapman is now back in the division, but maybe only for a year.

    • MrRed

      Not really what the analysis was about though. There were several teams reported to have been discussing a trade for Chapman last year. The Reds didn’t need to get the same return the Yanks got, just a comparable one. They didn’t get a deal done and made it worse by trading Chapman at his lowest value over the winter. Just bad management of a rebuild strategy.

  55. kmartin

    Chapman pitching for the Cubs with an 8-1 lead. All I can do is laugh.