Rebuild Binder

Log jam in the infield

The first definition of log jam in the dictionary is pretty straightforward: “a situation in which a large number of logs floating down a river become tangled with each other so that further movement is not possible.”

Mother Nature made the earliest log jams. Hundreds of years before Europeans and commercial logging arrived in North America, river flooding would tear loose trees from the forests lining the water’s banks. Entire trees would fill the river and form jams. If the jams didn’t clear quickly, the timber got locked into place when the water receded. New streams and lakes were created as the water diverted.

For example, historians say an enormous log jam formed in the 12th century on the Red River in what is now northeast Texas, where Bob Wills is still the King. The clog extended more than 100 miles and lasted centuries. You read that right.

Henry Miller Shreve, an inventor and steamboat captain, is credited with making the Red River navigable. The clearing project lasted six years, from 1832 to 1838. Opening the river allowed ships from New Orleans to travel north to the city now named Shreveport.

More recently, logging practices have contributed to the development of woody buildups. Loggers cut down trees and haul the raw logs down to river banks. The logs remain there until they are floated in an orderly manner downstream to mills. But obstacles and sudden flooding can produce massive unintentional pileups in a short time.

According to Merriam-Webster the first known use of the term “log jam” happened in 1885. It was probably in the context of The Great Log Jam that occurred in the Grand River of Michigan in the summer of 1883. The pileup involved over 150 million feet of logs, weighing 37 million tons. Efforts by river man John Walsh and the Ottawa Boom Co. partly mitigated the jam. Eventually, the logs destroyed several major bridges and caused flooding of population areas.

After commercial logging as a source of log jams came baseball front offices. This is where we pivot from the literal to figurative and to the Cincinnati Reds middle infield. The second dictionary definition of log jam: A situation in which no progress seems possible.

The Rebuild has produced five players for three infield positions. In alphabetical order, with ages on Opening Day 2017 in parentheses:

This list does not include Alex Blandino (24), first round pick in 2014. He’s hit .378/.465/.541 in the past ten games.

It also leaves out the major league logs at the front of the jam, Zack Cozart (30) and Brandon Phillips (35). Both are under team control through the end of 2017.

Of course, one fan’s metaphorical log jam is another’s organizational depth. You can easily imagine a 2018 Opening Day roster with three of the five starting and the other two as backup. Say: Senzel at 3B, Peraza at SS, Herrera at 2B, Suarez and Rodriguez on the bench, or a variation on that. Maybe Rodriguez beats out Peraza at short.

From one perspective, if Senzel and Herrera develop as they might, that’s a pretty good infield. On the other hand, all four of those players can’t start at the same time. In that sense, it’s a waste of either the Bruce trade, the Frazier trade, the #2 draft pick or the $7 million international signing – each a huge opportunity.

The situation could be rectified through an additional trade. Or the logs may unjam themselves if the team’s scouting or judgment misfired and one or more of these players doesn’t make it as a major leaguer. What is clear is that whether or not this sudden surplus of infielders has a happy ending depends on how it’s handled by the organization.

We know the Reds front office has a plan, with PowerPoint presentation, binders and everything. As fans, we want to have faith in their project.

But it’s hard to believe in it when the organization wastes a third of José Peraza’s year. Sitting on the bench (like a bump on a log) stunts his development and postpones learning what he can do. When Peraza did make it out of the dugout, he played more outfield than infield. More outfield than infield. There’s still plenty to figure out about José Peraza. Like whether he can play shortstop at the major league level. And if he can produce runs. Peraza walked 2.2 percent of his 93 major league plate appearances and had one extra-base hit. Peraza swung at 42 percent of the pitches he saw that were out of the strike zone. But his playing time was so erratic these numbers are meaningless.

It’s hard to believe in the organization’s plan when they can’t talk about it in a coherent manner. The unwillingness to cut back on the playing time of Zack Cozart or Brandon Phillips shows more commitment to coddling veterans than consistent prioritization of the Rebuild. Walt Jocketty said it was extremely tough to trade Jay Bruce. The Reds summoned the courage to do that. But they haven’t shown the nerve to cut back on Brandon Phillips’ playing time. Bruce is having one of the best offensive seasons in baseball. Phillips, notwithstanding his performance yesterday, is at the bottom of overall rankings for second basemen and suffering through one of the bottom ten offensive performances in baseball. Yet the organization won’t sit Phillips, even with a broken hand.

It’s hard to believe in the front office plan given they were on the verge of trading for an outfielder instead of Herrera. The Brandon Nimmo deal fell through over health concerns with one of the minor league players in the package. The Reds preference was Nimmo. If all the reports were accurate, they’d agreed to a trade that didn’t include Dilson Herrera. Plan B produced Herrera.

Maybe Herrera will end up better than Nimmo, maybe he won’t. Let’s remember to check back in five years. But let’s also not kid ourselves in buying that there was a grand plan to use Jay Bruce to acquire another middle infielder when the day started. There wasn’t. If anything, the Reds started the day planning (both sides confident) to unload Zack Cozart to Seattle.

For now, the jam continues. Cozart and Phillips soak up the precious major league playing time. Meanwhile, José Peraza and Dilson Herrera are assigned to face minor league competition. They can play together for a month in Louisville. Both will almost certainly get called up to the Reds in September when rosters can expand. Neither will reach a year of service time if they’re with the club for 32 more days (although Super Two status may be a separate issue). We’ll learn then if the club feels they should receive meaningful major league experience.

Real log jams make profound changes to the local ecosystem. The figurative kind can, too. Whether the impact is for better or worse depends on the level of competence in how it’s managed.

76 thoughts on “Log jam in the infield

  1. OK. It’s a log jam. But this is actually a good problem to have. We do not know just which of these prospects will pan out and which will fade. Yes, we will have to find a number of at-bats for the youngsters–in the minors as well as the majors. But’s see who rises to the top. But it looks like the Reds will actually have a major league infield in just a few short years–for a number of years! So, I’m okay with it, even if the suggestion is that the FO could’ve traded for a different asset in one of the deals.

    • I sort of agree. It’s a good problem to have if you know what all these guys are capable of. We don’t, right now, because of the Reds seeming desire to start Cozart and BP every possible game until their contracts runs out.

      My worry is that we waste a year or two after Cozart/BP depart figuring things out and we don’t play our optimal infield until 2019/2020.

      • I’ll stick to my belief that while they had some plausible baseball reasons to bench BP, they’ve had no such reasons to bench Cozart. Doing so in the name of a rebuild just isn’t going to fly with players, managers, GMs, and the powers that be in baseball. You at least need to have the appearance of making an effort to win. The bad news for the Reds is, with the way BP has been playing lately, it would also be hard to bench him in the name of a rebuild. They need to wait until he’s struggling or gets injured before they can claim they are benching him for non-performance.

        What would have eliminated part of the issue would have been if they had been able to trade Cozart.

        • And honestly, they could have been rid of BP as well had they been willing to spend some money to do so. It isn’t an issue with playing the veteran guys they have. It’s that the lousy front-office hasn’t been able to trade the veterans to make room for the young guys.

        • I don’t mean to bench Cozart, but the way Peraza was handled was insane.

          He could have started 1 game a week at both SS and 2B and given Cozart and BP a day off, which is completely reasonable.

          Throw in one start a week in LF and it might have been reasonable to keep him around.

          • Agree. There certainly was no reason to have him up in Cincy if he wasn’t going to play.

    • Quick historical note: As a former logger, I’m pretty sure that nobody has moved logs on rivers for decades. Not sure if this can become a metaphor that applies to Reds.

      • Mount St Helen moved logs via a river. In fact it moved everything via a river as best I recall. Free logging, nature’s way.

  2. Great write up. In my observation, it seems like the entirety of the day-to-day functioning of a major league club is to maintain and reinforce the pecking order. And it’s not just the Reds, but all throughout the game. I don’t know if it’s the machismo thing or what, but veteran privilege and seniority is BY FAR the first consideration for playing time and their spot in the batting order. You would think their egos wouldn’t be this fragile, but it doesn’t seem to be the case. It’s nowhere near as prevalent in the NBA, and yet those franchises function perfectly fine, so why all the emphasis??? I don’t get it.

    • But what you describe seems pretty prevalent in most human organizations, even the ones that make a pretence of objectivity, and why wouldn’t ballplayers egos be as fragile as everybody else’s?

  3. Of course Dick Williams might channel his Bob Wills gather them all around and sing a couple of verses of “Stay all Night (Stay a Little Longer)
    Had to do it.

      • I think it’s still a little early to make that call.

        Waylon is obviously a solid bet, but…

    • I’m glad you did, Wize. It adds a little levity to a dour situation. If Western Swing doesn’t pick up your spirits, well…..

  4. It’s really not a problem. More talent is better regardless of position. The reason the Reds fell off a cliff after 2013 was a lack of quality depth coming from the minors.

    Also, remember the SS logjam of 2012? Cozart, coming off a strong rookie season. Hamilton coming off a minor league player of the year. And Gregorius seeing his stock rise. But that very off season, Didi was traded for Choo and Hamilton was converted to CF. By 2014, fans were complaining that the Reds didn’t have a SS after Zack’s offense fell off.

    • I agree. Depth is important, and the Reds are stock piling it. Good for them. Some players won’t work out and others will get injured. I don’t see it as waste at all. They have lots of talent, and the best players will win jobs.

    • Agree with tct. That trade looks pretty bad now. We traded Didi for a year of Choo and Alex Blandino. At this point, ouch! It looks like we got good value for Bruce but I’m really concerned about how other teams in the division, Milwaukee in particular, really improved their minor league teams at the trade deadline. Pittsburgh is loaded too. We’re a small market team and wont find the keys to get through the basement door till we maximize our scouting.

  5. The Plan is in disarray. A new model plan is needed.
    Peraza was the 2B of the near future when they agreed to sign the SS, Alfredo Rodriguez. Now after signing AlfRod for $7M, after waiting several months, Peraza is now a SS.
    The Reds trade for 2B Dilson Herrera and now Herrera is the 2B of the future.
    The Reds move Eugenio Suarez to 3B, and he is looking much better defensively, as the new 3B. But then the Reds use their #2 overall pick on a 3B and plan to move Suarez to 2B when Senzel arrives. But that can’t happen if Herrera is there. Luckily that will be an issue for 2018, not 2017.
    But other issues have to be settled first.
    A hundred years ago they used dynamite to unplug the logjams. The Reds might need to resort to the same tactic to remove BP from 2B spot. Cozart can be traded and is tradable. BP is not. BP hobbling around at 2B is holding back The Plan and adding to the disarray.

    • Any team that passes on adding a quality prospect to the organization just because they already have a good prospect at that position is foolish.

      Prospects bust. Prospects get hurt. You wanna laugh, go through the baseball America archives sometime and look at their old prospect lists. Each team used to have a projected lineup for like 3-5 years in the future. And those things were never right. Ever. They were so wrong that it was a pointless exercise.

      • I remember those Baseball America lists. They were ridiculous. They basically took a few stars from the current roster and added in every prospect from the current Top 10 that they could. There were no busts. Everyone was a fixture, star, perennial all-star, or Hall of Famer.

      • Nicely put TCT. I’d add, should the Reds have settled for a lesser prospect in Nimmo, rather than Herrera, because he MIGHT BE a fit at a position of greater need? No.

        The above list of (merely) 5 players for 3 positions doesn’t account for when these players will be MLB ready, or if they’ll ever be ready. Rodriguez is playing rookie ball in the Dominican Summer League. Senzel is in Dayton playing A ball. MLB.com has their ETA’s as 2018 and 2019 respectively. That’s assuming that both continue to progress as prospects. They could progress quicker, slower, or not at all, but it’s safe to say that we won’t be seeing either of them opening day of 2017.

        If and when Senzel is ready, Suarez could be traded to make way for him. Suarez is a bargain now at league minimum, but starting in 2018 he is Arb eligible. When he becomes pricey, he can be moved in return for another asset, if the 2B position has been filled capably (no need to pay Arb prices for a utility guy, let a cheaper option like a journeyman or a Blandino fill the role).

        Are the LA Dodgers stockpiling prospects, multiple prospects at the same positions? You bet they are, and they obviously have a much larger budget for free agent acquisitions.

        A couple of years ago the Reds had very limited options for future position players (while they had nice pitching depth). Now they have multiple prospects at multiple positions. Draft a stud OFr in 2017, and let the prospects fight it out throughout the farm system.

        The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades. Go Reds.

        • Good commentary. Although the comparison as it were to the Dodgers system doesn’t work. They have the resources to stockpile. The Reds arguably don’t.

          It’s not that I’m against going for the best perceived prospect. I just have some concerns if this organization can identify the best prospects and then develop them properly.

        • The Dodgers comparison works just fine if you consider that they have the resources to NOT stockpile. Much like the Yankees of the last two decades, they can plug just about any hole with a free agent acquisition or three.

          MLB prospects are the penny stocks of prospects. In the NFL, first round picks almost always see game action and flame out at a much smaller rate. As you well know, in MLB a first round pick is much more like a lottery ticket. A MLB prospect is just that: a prospect. They are all about potential, and it who knows if it will be unrealized potential or realized potential.

          Stockpile the prospects like crazy. Crazy as a fox.

        • Except that they have the resources to stockpile both prospects and MLB talent. And they do so for trade fodder. I just think it’s a different model.

  6. When I was young we raised a few chickens for eggs and the occasional Sunday dinner. Dad would chop the neck off a chicken and it was crazy watching that chicken run this way and that way around the yard with no head until it finally succumbed to the inevitable. Unfortunately our Front Office reminds me of those headless chickens. Would someone there finally get a clue.

    • Well if your analogy plays itself out, the FO won’t live to see the next day. I wish them health and prosperity though and hope they can figure things out.

  7. I see value in guys being able to play different positions. Every single player you mentioned up there are top athletes. Suarez has bounced around already, Peraza has, there’s no reason to think Herrera and Senzel couldn’t play the outfield. If there’s something Cubs have taught us, it’s that getting the 8 best guys on the field for any given night isn’t a bad strategy. Now there is nothing else that suggests the Reds do anything else like the Cubs, so I can’t say that was the plan the whole time. But really the only guy up there that you really shouldn’t want to move off his primary position is Rodriguez, and that’s because there’s more value to an all-glove, no-bat SS than there is to an all-glove, no-bat anything else (save catcher). If they all pan out, then suddenly loading up on athletes with speed and variability goes from an iffy plan to a great one. If they don’t all pan out, you’ve got options. Now, I would normally say options are never a problem. But when you have an org that prefers veterans to even the highest rated youngsters, along with an org that values meaningless stats over meaningful ones, perhaps the WRONG option will play. So with the Reds, perhaps having options will be problematic. But sign me up for the camp that prefers a logjam than a barren wasteland.

  8. I’m glad we got Herrera. I like Nimmo, especially as he appears to be able to get on base at a good clip. But at the end of the day, his bat didn’t exactly profile well in a corner OF spot. I like having an infielder who should get on base at an average rate and have above average pop. I think in the end the Reds upgraded in the deal.

    That said, it is hard to see much of a plan when the Reds get a 2B who is MLB ready with no where to play. Phillips may have one of the most difficult contracts in baseball to move. I don’t see the Reds growing the cajones to dictate that he’d sit on the bench. There just doesn’t appear to be much forethought as to how to transition from the old core to the next generation. I feel they lucked into getting Herrera due to the deadline looming and the medical not checking out in the first deal.

    And while they’ve added talent, no part of the way they’ve gone about it makes me think there is much of a plan that they’ve followed. I feel as if they’ve been reactionary all along. They over-reacted to the Chapman incident, and instead of regrouping and planning out how to move on, they remained stuck on who they were going to get for Chapman. They traded Frazier for the guy they had set to return in a Chapman deal. The problem is, Frazier as an every day player and two years of control had more value than Chapman. So, they did not maximize the return for Frazier. Then they sold at the absolute lowest point on Chapman. None of that could have been part of the plan because it was all a reaction to news they found out about one of their players.

    So now, after trading Bruce, we have one more veteran chip to trade in Cozart, and it’s unlikely he’ll bring back an every day player (maybe…but probably not). We still have a lot of questions about our OF (although with plenty of options in Duvall, Schebler, Winker, Rodriguez, Ervin, and Aquino). We have a major question behind the plate when it comes to Mesoraco’s health. We also have a collection of players with average or below power for their position in Winker, Peraza, A. Rodriguez, Hamilton, Barnhart, and possibly Senzel (although I think he’ll be fine).

    So, while the log jam isn’t a concern to me, I find the lack of evidence of any plan to be concerning. Other than targeting which players to trade, I’ve seen nothing that makes me believe they are targeting certain types of players or particular positions. And maybe they shouldn’t, maybe they should just focus on acquiring talent. But as we know, they’re more concerned about acquiring near-ready players than they are about acquiring the most talent.

    I don’t know. It’s been frustrating to watch. Hopefully they’ve stumbled into some good players in the process.

    • I’d ask you what team publicizes their organizational plan? What do Yankee fans think about their team’s plan, when they first load up with three stud relievers, and then turn around and trade two of them mid-season while still in the playoff hunt?

      My thought is that a rebuild plan is not a static document, but is more fluid in nature. The best laid plans get destroyed by injuries or poor performance by certain players. I certainly like the future possibilities for the Reds more now than I did two or three years ago.

      • I don’t think we need them to publicize it. I certainly wouldn’t want other teams to know the Reds plan. The Reds do make public statements about their plan, like wanting to use their draft bonus pool and international pool due to it being larger than most other teams. And we do get tidbits from the media here and there, like valuing close to Majors prospects over more touted but further away prospects. Regardless of a stated plan, I know they’re not following it as it was laid out because of the way they’ve about-faced after Chapman incident. Since that incident the Reds made a couple of questionable trades, although they seemed to have righted themselves with the Bruce deal (of course that came at the expense of getting a Cozart deal done and opening playing time for their major off season acquisition…but I digress). They’ve also changed the way they’re talking about Peraza, at first he was the 2B of the future, now he may be a future utility guy or a SS. I think that had everything to do with not being able to move Phillips.

        So in a way, it is certainly fluid. And in a way the Reds have had to be flexible. The Reds weren’t able to execute what they’d planned so they reacted and took a different direction. It’s just, from what we can see, the reactions aren’t always in the best interest of the club and don’t tend to make a ton of sense on the surface (like the Alfredo Rodriguez signing, or allowing Peraza to rot on the bench and burn service time).

        As for Yankees fans, I would imagine they were stoked to add Chapman for pennies on the dollar to form the most formidable back end of a bull pen I’ve seen since the Nasty Boys. I bet they’re even more excited to add a haul of prospects for renting Aroldis for half a season. I don’t think a single Yankee fan regrets what went down. I don’t know why they would.

        • I live in Yankee land, Lord help me, and much like everywhere else, Yankee fans love to rip the front office (don’t get me started on not “a single Yankees fan), and they’re certainly not used to rebuilding. I just got off the phone with the biggest Yankee fan around (everything he owns has that damn insignia on it, and his office is a Yankees shrine). He says he’s done with baseball this year and he’s moved onto football. He wasn’t happy that his vaunted bullpen has been gutted. Excited he was not.

          The Rodriguez signing makes sense, much like the Chapman and Iglesias signings made sense. They identified a prospect that they thought was undervalued by the market and went full bore after it. Like many have said here, you don’t worry that you MIGHT have another legit player at that position (unless his name is Joey Votto); you happily accumulate talent that MAY overlap in MLB ready years. Rodriguez will most likely be in A ball next year, so there is no immediate need to determine whether he or Peraza is the heir apparent at SS.

          As for Peraza, my “guess” is that he was in MLB under the assumption that Cozart would be moved in July. I don’t mind him learning the nuances of SS from watching a defensive wizard like Cozart. Other than several days in May, Peraza was called up on June 14th. Far from rotting on the bench for a month and a half, he did have 81 PA’s (more than I even expected considering the common narrative). When the Reds weren’t able to move Cozart for what they wanted (I’m sorry but if the Mariners offer was compelling, they would have gotten the deal done), Peraza was immediately sent down to AAA. Does anyone REALLY think that the Reds will be competitive in 2017? I don’t. The FO had to play the public relations/team management game with BP in 2016, not that they didn’t trade him for lack of trying. In the off season and 2017, they will be less constrained in how they handle this long time Red, and can move on from him without as much team turmoil. One way or the other, I fully expect to see Peraza and Herrera as the middle infielders for the bulk of 2017.

          Oh BTW, I usually agree with you.

        • Well, then Yankees fans are sillier than I thought 🙂 Maybe even sillier than the lot of us. Because nothing about them acquiring and then flipping Chapman was bad from a baseball or business sense.

          I will have to disagree about Rodriguez. The Reds overpaid what the market said Rodriguez was worth. No one in baseball was rumored to even be close to considering signing Rodriguez for the amount of money the Reds did. In fact I believe the Padres signed two higher rated guys for less combined than what the Reds paid for in Rodriguez. And the $7m isn’t the main issue I have with it, it’s that the guy couldn’t hit his way out of a wet paper bag in Cuba and the Reds made him the priority IFA signing. Defense is nice, but everyone was clamoring for the Reds to replace/bench/option etc Cozart when he wasn’t hitting a lick, even while he was one of baseball’s best SS. Beyond that, I’m not sure Rodriguez is better than Trahan or Daal (or even Zach Vincej) who are already in the system and didn’t cost $7m + penalties to acquire. They said they were going to be big spenders on the IFA because of their allotment. So far they’ve signed one big ticket guy. I’d like to see some more signings if they are going to forgo being able to sign any IFA for more than a minimal amount.

          So Peraza was up for a month and a half, rarely started and when he did he was in a position that won’t be his position in the future. Only 81 PA (or approximately 15-20 full games) is doing nothing for his development. He will likely be a Super Two player now due to service time. That means for the benefit of sitting on a big league bench and watching Cozart prepare, the Reds could pay millions more for Peraza than they would have otherwise. That, to me, is just poor planning.

          I enjoy our conversations, even if we disagree. Good stuff.

        • Have to side with Hotto here. We don’t know if the stockpiling of prospects will work out. And that’s ok. We would like to see a coherent effort and plan though. Based on what we’ve witnessed this past year as the reigns of the FO supposedly changes, we are seeing reactionary (rash?) decisions. There’s really no defending the Chapman / Frazier sequence of trades. They panicked, not planned or rationally regrouped.

          No, the Rebuild Binder is not a static document. Nor should it be. But the thesis and principals behind it should be.

        • Arm chair GM’s abound from sea to shining sea, and Yankee fans are certainly not an exception when it comes to “witching” and moaning. We all (myself included) could do a better job than our favorite team’s FO, even with a fraction of the information that management has.

          The Reds obviously believe that Rodriguez will hit enough to be a solid regular. They were right in having such faith in Cozart, even whilst the natives were getting restless. They may in time be right with Hamilton, another guy who has some very athletic traits (he became an excellent defender in CF in no time at all). We will see with Rodriguez, but probably not for another few years.

          The Super Two rules are arcane, but as I understand it Peraza will not qualify. He had 42 days of service time in 2015. He probably has about another 50 days this year. Even if he gets called up September 1st, he seemingly would be short of the 130 days of service time needed to qualify (42 + 50 + 30= 122 days). Though I could be wrong about this calculation, I’m pretty sure the FO has a calculator and a better feel for this rule. If there’s a risk, couldn’t Peraza be called up on say 9/5?
          IMO, the Reds and Peraza seemingly got the benefit of having Peraza watch Cozart every day for a month and a half, and probably got the chance to work with him and pick his brain. I don’t expect Cozart to be here next year, and I don’t see the big downside that others lamented about with Peraza being a super utility player for a part of the season.

          And I also enjoy these conversations: it gets me thinking and learning.

    • I also enjoy the banter… especially from the great Ed Armbrister! Now there’s a great baseball name!

      • Thnx. We all have our pet cats. Bench was my reason to become a Reds fan as a NJ kid. Morgan, Perez, Rose, Foster, Griffey etal captured my imagination. Ed Armbrister was my pet cat.

  9. Is this an article about how excellent our depth is or a condemnation on poor strategy of upper management? Seem to be you can’t have both.
    Either the organization did a great job in building depth and solid value for our farm system or squandered opportunity by not properly developing our prospects. Which one is it?
    I would rather look at this as a cup half full and say the organization did a tremendous job in 2016, recovering from a terrible rebuild and draft selections for 2015. The Reds must be closing in on having a top 10 farm system, that is a good thing right?

    • Well you can. The Reds FO may or may not have sound strategy but they could luck into excellent depth if all of their acquisitions pan out. Just another way of thinking of things.

  10. This list also doesn’t include Shed Long or Angelo Gumbs, who have had pretty decent seasons at Dayton and Daytona, or Calten Daal who has had a nice season at Pensacola. Not saying those guys are the answer either, but they are doing something.

    Definitely a good problem to have.

  11. The Heyman article pretty much sums up why I have ZERO faith in the rebuild. I didn’t hate the Bruce trade as much as him either.

  12. I only see it as a potential logjam in 2017, depending on the roster status of Brandon Phillips and Zack Cozart. If the Reds are smart, it is Peraza and Herrera playing middle infield for the big league team every day next season.

    If we are talking about 2018, I think it’s pretty clear that it is Herrera, Peraza, Senzel IF everyone pans out. IF that happens, and Suarez is also more than a utility player, then that’s where you flip him in a trade for a different position of need.

    What is the ETA on Rodriguez? He’s only in rookie ball right this season.

    • Rodriguez is in the Dominican Summer League. If I recall, the average age is around 18. It’s a pretty low level league, and most prospects that succeed in the DSL come over to the states to play in rookie level ball, most starting at the very lowest level with the AZL Reds. But, a work visa issue caused the delay in Rodriguez coming stateside, and I would guess he’s start off in Billings (RK) or Dayton (A) if he were able to be here at the moment.

    • I don’t keep up with the minor league as well as I would like but has Senzel played well enough that we give up on Suarez? The more I watch Suarez the more I come to think it is all between the ears. IMO he has the physical tools to play defense at the Major League level I think it is just afraid to make a mistake that leads him to making mistakes. He has a pretty good arm, and his hitting this year is all about approach or in his case the lack of. The team needs to get realistic data about ability at the ML level, the only way that happens is to get these kids the playing time. BP sitting the rest of the season allows one of these prospects (future major league player) to show what they are made of. The amount of young potential middle infielders means that one or more of them as close as they are in age will be trade bait. Them playing at the big league level should help not only the Reds figure out who can make the transition but also potential trade partners. Did I by chance mention sitting BP?

  13. I will point out that a few experts felt a lot better about the Bruce trade than Heyman does. There are people who agree with the Reds FO that Hererra will be the better player.

    Every time I read one of these articles though, it irks me that this team appears to be run so poorly. They may end up proving us all wrong but the Reds front-office is panned by the experts at almost every turn. I’m sure Castellini notices this. Does he just not buy into any of it? What happens when the Reds aren’t competitive in 2018? 2019? 2020?

    • What happens if Toronto loses both Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista in free agency this winter? What happens if Toronto comes and proposes trades for Joey Votto? Hello Aaron Sanchez, but who else does Toronto seriously have? Do the Reds jump on a chance to unload his value-packed, but expensive for the Reds contract? And take nickles and dimes on the dollar.
      This is one potential scenario that scares me this coming off-season. I am hoping that EE re-signs back with Toronto.

  14. Votto would also need to waive his full no-trade clause. I’m not sure that will happen. Maybe for Toronto though.

    The Reds apparently have no money. That is how it feels and that’s what Williams said as part of the rebuilding plan. They had been reaching as far as payroll the last few years. So, given the chance to get Votto’s salary off the books, I’d have to think they’d probably make a bad trade to do so. I mean, every move they’ve made seems to follow a ‘shed payroll and get whatever we can’ sort of plan… If it happens it happens. I can’t worry about it.

    • I have doubts that Votto would waive his no-trade clause. And going “home” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Ask Griffey, Jr. I don’t think he, Reds’ fans, or the front office anticipated the injury challenges he would have after coming over here. What was pumped up to be the greatest things since sliced bread (obtaining Jr.) ended up with a resounding thud by the time he was dealt away.

  15. The reason Rodriguez is still in rookie ball has to do with his visa. He’s playing in the Dominican Republic. I haven’t seen anything about what level he’ll start when he is able to come to the US. Seems like with millions of dollars at stake these visa hangups shouldn’t happen.

    • When we have a young athlete from that part of the world and that much money involved two things come to mind is there might be an issue. A visa can be held up for a before unknown legal problem. The other thing that happens again with that kind of money involved, there may be an “administrative fee” or a “special” filing fee that needs to be paid to grease the wheels.

    • Yeah but gov bureaucracies don’t care too much about commercial enterprises, at least the size of the Reds organization. He’ll get here soon enough. Although, I’m really curious about what level of ability he actually has right now.

      • It has nothing to do with being well-to-do or wanting a problem waived. The Reds have a lot invested in his future. They have known about the Rodriguez signing for a long time. Knowing there can be hitches, why not start process sooner? Not a big deal for now.

        • Maybe starting the process sooner would be tampering at the MLB level? If you haven’t signed him, you can’t be doing things like that I would guess. The player could of course, but without a contract, maybe it doesn’t make sense? Who knows.

  16. In 1985, The Reds began the “‘Crown Jewell Era.” Over the course of the next 3 years, Browning, Davis, Larkin, Stillwell, Daniels, Jones and O’Neill all joined the big club. They were largely considered off limits to trade and the future seemed very bright. There was a logjam at short and right field.

    By 1990, 3 of 7 were gone. By 1993, 5 of 7 were gone. By 1995, 6 of 7 were gone. That 10 year stretch was one of the better in 10 year stretches in team history….and a lot of it was accomplished by guys not on the radar screen in 1985.

    Moral of the story, we have no idea who will be here 3 years from now and log jams don’t last…..they can’t.

    • I like that moral, Chuck. At least better than the Red River log jam that Steve referred to above. Will it be another 600 hundred years before the Reds contend for a WS again?

  17. We don’t know that plan B was Herrera. Plan A may have been Herrera, but the Mets weren’t willing to give him up in the original deal. They may have only been willing to give him up after the other prospects failed their medicals.

    Additionally, it’s been reported that Nimmo failed his medical as well as Flexen.

      • We. do. not. know.

        It’s been speculated that the Mets were not willing to give up Herrera initially due to including him in a Lucroy package. When they pulled out of that, they decided they could part with him for Bruce.

        Fans like to think they know exactly how to fix anything and everything, and we don’t. We don’t have access to the kind of information that the Reds do. Additionally, Herrera *was a better prospect* than Nimmo! I don’t understand why people aren’t willing to see that. Is it because he doesn’t show up on prospect lists due to losing his eligibility? Herrera has the exact same skillset as Nimmo, with more power, in a more valuable position. Additionally, unlike Nimmo, he hasn’t suffered a potentially power-sapping, mobility reducing injury.

        I know this turned into a rant, and this wasn’t directed at you in particular, but it’s irritating watching Reds fans complain about the same topics over and over and over, particularly when WE DO NOT KNOW certain things.

        Take a look around the league right now at all of the trades that occurred and are currently under investigation due to teams not doing their due diligence with medicals. The Giants with Lucius Fox, the Marlins with Colin Rea, the Red Sox with Drew Pomeranz. Hell, look at the Reds back in 2004 with Eddie Guardado.

        For all the people moaning about how the Reds are incompetent due to failing prospects or players medicals, think about how much we would complain if they ACCEPTED those failed medicals instead.

  18. The Reds quit on 2017 when they realized Brandon Phillips wasn’t going to be traded and Mesoraco was hurt again. So the great reboot/rebuild has been postponed to 2018….So the trades of Todd Frazier and Chapman and Jay Bruce and Zack Cozart became more about the great Reds salary dump and timing and necessity to avoiding brand damage ( trade Chapman now!!!!! and placate Phillips so he doesn’t make us look bad again….) than rebuilding the Cincinnati Reds for 2017. Too many infielders???? no there isn’t,…..you are assuming anyone cares about the remainder of 2016 and 2017….. Only diehard Reds fans are paying attention to 2016/2017…the last 750k fans are long gone….and well……we had you at hello…..suckers!!!!!….Cozart and BP will be gone in 2018 but not before our marketers need a few more strategic weekends in 2017 for bobble-head nights and firework weekends to pay some bills….The Reds FO is moving on to 2018. Shhhhhhh…don’t tell anyone.

    • You should know as well as anyone, that rebuilds don’t take one or two years. The Chicago Cubs finished in first place in the Central in 2007 and 2008. They finished in second place in 2009. Over the next five years (2010 thru 2014), they finished in fifth place each and every year. They finally had a winning record with their third place finish in 2015.

      The Cubs are a team with significantly more resources than the Reds. And still it took them a half dozen years to turn their team around.

      I’d be way more than satisfied if the Reds are competitive in 2018.

  19. I don’t think anyone in the Cubs organization was complaining about a log jam when the had Castro, Russel, Baez, Schwarber, Bryant, Alcantara, Rizzo, Valbuena, et al on their roster at one time

    Gather the best baseball players and athletes you can and you can make it work. Joe Madden and the Cubs of 2015 and 2016 are a perfect example

    • Note how quickly and ruthlessly the Cubs promoted their young players ahead of veterans to get them major league playing time. That’s how they resolved their log jam.

      • Well, let’s at least give the Reds credit with aknowledging step one of the process

        Once we get the good players, we can work on the whole actually playing those players once Walt is over the emotional turmoil of step one

      • That is my fear. I still think the Reds org wants to see jaw-dropping numbers at any level before promoting someone.

        Yet, time and again other teams (most of them) will promote with pedestrian numbers or straight to MLB from AA. The Reds go by the book and seem overly cautious to the point of testing the patience of prospects and killing their drive and confidence.

        If the scouts see a player not overwhelmed and taking a solid approach and the tools say high upside player, you can promote them even with league average numbers. The Reds just don’t do that very often. I can see the problem with promoting too quickly and also ruining confidence, but each level should be one year or less for an upside player. If a college player is started in rookie, they should, hopefully, be in high A by the end of the first summer and AA or AAA by end of first full season.

        The Reds seem scared to have a 20 or 21 year old up in MLB and playing well. Even if they promoted a scorching player, the approach seems to be have them ride the pine for a year or more before considering any significant playing time.

        This all goes back to my Mike Trout argument. Had the Reds drafted him instead of Leake, would Mike Trout be anything but an ordinary AAA/AAAA player by this time? Would he still be in AA? I have serious doubts the Reds would have noticed the advanced skills and confidence and brought him to MLB level AND gave him 150 starts by the time he was 21 years old.

  20. Also, so many people on here worried about “the plan.” “What’s the plan looked like?” “Who’s going to play this position in this year?” And so on and so forth…

    Personally, I think that kinda thinking is getting WAY to wrapped around the axel about it. Yes, there should be a plan for future rollover and depth, but as far as the grand plan goes, no need to try to pigeon hole things so much.

    Here’s what “the plan” should be: acquire the most talented players, let them play it out on the field, and put the best 9 on the field every night. Keep it that simple

  21. “Phillips, notwithstanding his performance yesterday…”

    You are short changing Brandon here, it’s been more than one good game.

    In his last 30 games: 338 avg. .370 ob% .429 Slg .799 OPS

    If the plan was to rebuild some trade value for him, surely we’re on the right track.

  22. I remember a San Diego scout being interviewed. He stated they were great at drafting good pitchers, but we’re hit and miss at positional players. They drafted their strength and made trades from there. Instead of being pessimistic, I try to think the Reds see talent and attempt to get the best they can, regardless of position. Of course stocking up on big arms or power hitters might be more ideal. Just like an overall football draft, you won’t know much about your youngsters for a few years. Let’s see what pans out.

  23. Steve, the analysis on the Bruce trade seems inaccurate. The Reds clearly preferred Herrerra, as evidenced that they were OK with not getting a third prospect if Nimmo was changed to Dilson. It’s highly likely the Reds originally asked for Herrera but the Mets said no, probably because Herrera was the key to a Lucroy deal (reported at the time). Once that deal was off, Dilson was available to the Reds.

    In regard to the logjam, I would prefer they get the best value in trades and signing period. You need more than one guy for one position to develop. You can also trade them! Nimmo was also going to contribute to a logjam of left handed corner outfielders. How do Winker and Nimmo both play on this team? So I guess this article was getting written no matter what, but I like the history lesson so it’s OK.

    • Yup to both points. Problem is they conflict with bashing the Reds FO at every turn, whether deserved or not.

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