A Minors Obsession

Catching up on the minors, again

The Cincinnati Reds made two roster moves in the last couple of days, non-tendering Gabby Guerrero (but re-signed him to a minor league deal) and designating Tony Renda for assignment, leaving their 40-man roster at 38 players. Those two moves very likely set them up to make a pick in this weeks Rule 5 Draft. The Reds have the 2nd overall pick in the draft if they choose to use it, though the price will be steeper this year than in the past. Prices have risen to $100,000 to make a selection now compared to $50,000 in the past.

The team could go in many directions with that pick as they could use help just about everywhere on their roster. Of course, in a season that they don’t truly plan on contending, they could take an “upside” pick who they hide on the roster throughout the year with the idea that in the long run the player can help the organization even if it’s not in 2017.

Minor League baseball owners have formed a political action committee (PAC). Why would they do that? Well, so they can petition Congress to keep from paying Minor League baseball players minimum wage. On it’s own, that’s a mind numbing thing to type. But what makes it even worse is that these owners of these teams literally don’t pay the players – the Major League Baseball teams do. I’ve written about this many times before, but it’s worth linking to this article that I wrote nearly three years ago about the pay in minor league baseball. That, of course, also ignores things like the fact that Major League Baseball has $150M in penalty money that they paid, essentially to themselves, as fines for going over bonus pool allotments in international signings that there is no protocol for on how to use it. Major League Baseball could fund a several hundred dollar raise for every minor leaguer that’s never reached free agency or that’s not on the 40-man roster for the next 20+ years (and that is if they weren’t collecting interest at all on the money – which they would be doing, of course).

Speaking of international bonuses and signings – in the new collective bargaining agreement, everything has changed when it comes to how teams will now go about spending. If you want a much more detailed look at the new system, you can read my full piece here. Under the old system, each team had a set amount, ranging from about $1.5M to nearly $6M they were “allowed” to spend before facing penalties that could result in limiting future spending or monetary penalties. All of that is out of the window, though restrictions of signings from past periods will carry forward into the new system (which includes the Reds for the next two years).

The new system will give each team between $4.75M and $5.75M and you can’t go over. Like in the past, you are able to trade for more cap money to spend, but only up to 75% of your initial limit. That means that no team will be able spend any more than $10.07M in a given year moving forward. There have been several players that have signed for more than that in the last few years. The Reds spent more than that in the most recent signing period that netted them two Cuban players (SS Alfredo Rodriguez and RHP Vladimir Gutierrez)Β  as well as a handful of other, younger players from Latin American countries.

20 thoughts on “Catching up on the minors, again

  1. Sorta along these lines….was listening to Ken Broo yesterday on WLW and he said if (big if) Cincy can stay healthy in 2017 he thought 80 wins was possible.And then he went on saying if you think 80 wins is possible then you gotta think Wild Card…

    • The Reds play the AL East in interleague play in 2017. They will have to go against the 2 strongest divisions in baseball. 80 wins in 2017 is a pipe dream unless a couple of upgrades are made. To stand pat with this roster would be foolhardy. But that is the M.O. of the Reds front office.
      It seems like each winter under Jocketty, the Reds front office had stated goals. But they rarely achieved those goals, and never exceeded those goals. More of the same ole same ole with GM Dick Williams.

      • well…kinda what I thought too and was surprised to hear Ken say it.But he also put some conditions on it….everybody stays healthy,Homer rebounds,DeSclafani has a good season,etc. I don’t think it’s out of the question but it is a long shot for sure.I haven’t gave up on Dick Williams yet and I’m hoping he decides to take a different tack that Walt…Walt just plain wore me long ago…

        • Those Boston games in Cincinnati in mid-Sept. just got a bit more interesting for Reds fans. I had been seriously considering those games for next year’s tickets and it may be a cinch now.

    • I wouldn’t 100% rule it out, but I’d put it in the realm of “miniscule possibility”, as in, every single thing would have to go right for the Reds.

      The whole team would have to stay healthy, players like Peraza, Herrera, and even BHam would have to keep developing, Duvall would have to hit like he did in May and June last year for the whole season, Winker and Senzel would have to come along and absolutely set the world on fire, the bullpen would have to miraculously be fixed, etc. etc. etc.

      So no, it’s not impossible. But everything would have to fall the Reds’ way, and in baseball, that is a very rare thing indeed.

      • I mean…if you weren’t an over-the-top optimist you probably wouldn’t be a Red’s fan in the first place, would you? πŸ™‚

      • This was what was said by many heading into the 2016 season, didn’t turn out so well….

    • The 2016 Reds went 39-43 in their last 84 games, basically half season. In that second half, they matched up favorably with everyone in the division except the Cubs. The Brewers appear to still be shedding. The Pirates are going to be remodeling too. The Cards are the Cards but even they are going to have lots of changes. Also there were enough contested games versus the Cubs to make it a reasonable proposition that the Reds might win 6 or 7 (up from 4 in 2016) against them.

      So, why does it seem such a stretch that the Reds might at least flirt with .500 in 2017?

      • To be honest, I don’t think the Reds will be that far off. I have them pegged for winning about 75 games. They could have won 70+ games last year alone if they had a decent bullpen. But as of right now, there are too many unknown unknowns about the team that it’s hard to really project them. Will they be better? Probably. Will they be 10 games better than last year? Possibly, but we’ll have to see where things fall.

        My big questions for the Reds are:

        1. What’s the plan with Cozart/Phillips?
        2. Can Peraza and Herrera cut it in the big leagues?
        3. Which Duvall is going to show up?
        4. How quickly will Joey Votto’s skills erode as he ages?
        5. Was BHam’s 2nd half for real?
        6. Who plays RF?
        7. The bullpen is Lorenzen, Iggy, and then….?
        8. The starting rotation is Bailey, Disco, and probably Straily (if he doesn’t get traded), and then….?
        9. Will Mesoraco ever contribute again?
        10. Will Price evolve as a manager and utilize the pieces available to him in the most effective way?

        Last season was supposed to be the season that answered questions, but just about the only answers we got were

        a.) Disco is a pretty good pitcher
        b.) Iggy and Lorenzen are apparently relievers for the rest of their time with the Reds

        After that, we really don’t know what we’ve got, and unless the front office commits fully to the Rebuild or whatever they’re calling it, we’re going to be in the same place this time next year. And until we know what we’ve got, it’s hard to really project optimism. Improvement? Sure, probably. Flirt with .500? Maybe.

        • Just under half the games will be inside the division where every other team except the Cubbies is facing a similar laundry list of questions. A run of winning series inside the division like the Reds went on in the 2nd half of 2016 could provide a nice base to build a record on.

        • Last nite Hot Stove League….Marty sez Reds intend to use Lorenzen/Iggy and a pitcher yet to be named/obtained as 2017 version of 1990 Nasty Boys…that Red’s FO was impressed by way Francona used Andrew Miller in WS and wanted to try and do same….Closer by Committee was mentioned too.I am a glass half full of water guy myself (at least until ASG) and think if Reds can get out of the gate smoothly they can put together a .500 season in 2017….and if they can do that in 2017 with a bunch of young bucks,that bodes well for following seasons as this team gels…

  2. If anyone wants to bet the over on 80 wins I will take that bet.

    All you have to do is look at the runs they expect to create and give up. Each 10 runs over is 1 win over 81 (half of 162) and the reverse is also true. While there is some year to year variation in this equation it is true on average. Is there ANY way this team scores basically as much as it gives up? Highly unlikely with this pitching staff. Heck, the offense is not great at scoring runs either.

    • Agreed, this starting staff is going to be really bad for 2017. Bullpen should be better, but the starting 5 is going to be a lot of “Let’s see what we have” and a lot of guys with 4 and 5 ERA’s.

      • Homer Bailey could make a huge difference here…yeah,I know I chuckled myself as I typed that.But ya never know in baseball…and DeSclafani 3.28 ERA in 2016…Straily 3.76….I thought Finnegan showed real potential (shocked me he was about to 172 IP in 2016) .A lot of fans don’t like Bryan Price….but I happen to and think he’s the guy to rebuild Red’s pitching staff…I am cautiously optimistic…

        • There is zero chance Strailey has an ERA under 4.00 (maybe even 5.00) based on his peripherals. He was simply lucky last year. Personally I dont see Finnegan as any ray of hope. The guy has no control, cant get thru 6 innings, and gives up HR at a ridciulous rate. Homer would help but I dont think he is going to be back to his 2012 form anytime soon.

        • Straily did last year, though, peripherals or no, so the chance is better than zero. Finnegan is young and still learning. Not time for his wake just yet.

    • I’d take that bet for any amount. I get 80 and above. 79 or below is you.

  3. Doug, is there anyone, or a couple guys, that are exposed to the Rule 5 draft you’d be interested in the Reds drafting?

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