2017 Reds

A season for sorting, redux

I held onto this post from last week, in order to see if — miraculously — Brandon Phillips and/or Zack Cozart were traded during last week’s Winter Meetings. Neither player was dealt, obviously. Here’s what GM Dick Williams said about the possibility that the Reds might start the season with BP and Cozart on the active roster:

Williams said that if the Reds open the season with Cozart and Phillips while also trying to find playing time for Jose Peraza and Dilson Herrera, financial matters won’t play into who takes the field. Phillips, who will be making $14 million and has a no-trade clause, might have to give up some of his playing time.

“I think what’s most important is the future of the club, the benefit to the organization,” Williams said. “We’ll look at it as, we’ll play the guys that put us in a chance to compete this year and, more importantly, get better for the future. That’s the most important thing, not the guarantees.”

I tend to give Williams the benefit of the doubt, since he’s the new guy in charge and it would be unfair to pin the mistakes of the previous GM on him. But as I’ve been saying pretty consistently over the last few months: Where (and whether) Brandon Phillips is playing next year is going to be an early litmus test for the seriousness of the Dick Williams regime, when it comes to this rebuilding process.

Williams is saying the right thing here; decisions on 2017 playing time need to be based on competitive considerations, not paychecks. After all, as Steve Mancuso said, it’s a season for sorting:

Brandon Phillips is entering the final year of his contract, due to make $14 million. It’s no secret the Reds have been trying to trade their second baseman for several years. Last offseason Phillips exercised his no-trade rights and turned down two trade offers to Washington and Arizona.

Phillips is reportedly more open to a trade out of Cincinnati this season. Maybe the Reds prodded Phillips’ change in outlook with heartfelt conversations about the team’s life cycle. The club will have to find an Old School trade partner that still valorizes blips in batting average. They can’t depend on the bizzaro D-Backs for that any more.

Yet, the Reds front office seems serious about finding everyday playing time for their young middle infielders. It’s hard to imagine a higher priority in 2017. So expect Cozart and Phillips to be moved or suffer reduced playing time. Neither player will return anything of much value in trade.

Put another way, 2017 matters when it comes to the development of the young middle infielders (specifically Peraza and Herrera):

They need to play so their role in 2018 can be assessed with a full season’s worth of data. Playing Cozart and Phillips to start the year makes it harder to field a competitive team in 2018 because it reduces the information you have about the relevant players.

So yeah, Dick Williams is saying the things I want to hear. Let’s see if that philosophy endures once it’s time to start penciling names onto a lineup card in April.

72 thoughts on “A season for sorting, redux

  1. I can’t envision a scenario where a benched Phillips is going to be good for this team. He’s never been a good team player, and has always looked out for himself, even at the expense of publicly calling out the owner, media, and teammates. Phillips as a bench player will be a circus. Cut your losses and release him if no takers by ST.

    • While I agree there have been selfish outbursts, you’re wrong that he’s only looked out for himself. He’s played banged up as much as anyone who has ever worn the wishbone C, he hits behind the runner, and his charitable efforts are to be lauded. And honestly, RIGHT NOW Herrera probably isn’t as good as BP. It would be strange to see a veteran happily give up his position to a lesser player.

      • Agree. Add in that Phillips bats where ever they have asked him to.

        His statements in the last several months seem to indicate he is comfortable in his skin and where things are at. He’s on the record as saying this is probably his last contract.

        I think Phillips will push Herrera on the field which is how it should be but not cause issues in dugout and clubhouse.

      • Agree with much of this, but I don’t agree that Herrera isn’t as good as BP right now. I think Herrera is very likely to be substantially better than Phillips in 2017, when you factor in defense and baserunning.

    • Not wanting to go down a BP spiral, I’ll just say this and leave it.

      People laud BP for batting wherever the manager puts him. Well what player doesn’t hit where their manager puts them? What’s he suppose to do? Do people give Billy the same amount of praise batting 1st then 9th and so on? I don’t get why this gains BP extra praise. It’s what every single baseball player does.

      And speaking of doing what all baseball players do, playing while hurt. It’s a long season, there will always be nagging injuries. All players play when they’re banged up a bit. I don’t understand why BP gets extra credit. Especially considering that he’s played through times when he was a detriment to his team by playing. That seems like he’s putting his personal interests ahead of the team.

      Call it what you will, but the guy who calls his owner a liar when he had sour grapes about his contract, the guy who called Votto out in an article about caring too much about getting on-base (aka trying to score runs), the guy who is jealous of Votto’s contract, the guy who interrupts his managers press conference and rips apart a member of the media for accurately doing his job, that guy seems to be all about himself. Not the Reds, but for Brandon. In fact I’m pretty sure he wrote some nasty stuff to the editors on this site when he felt slighted.

      Everyone gives him a pass though. He doesn’t want to talk to the local media. That’s just Brandon being Brandon. Off by himself in the locker room. Just Brandon being Brandon, probably tweeting about doughnuts.

      But look at all the events in the community publicized on his social media! A lot of Reds do a lot of good things in the community. And not taking away from what Brandon does, it’s just that not everyone else is as active on social media.

      This isn’t the guy I see taking a spot on the bench with a smile. This isn’t the guy who wants to go quietly on what he’d likely see as his “farewell tour”. He wants to be in the spot light He always has. And that’s fine. I just want it to be in another city. Because one way or another, he will cause a distraction.

      • +1000 x infinity

        I don’t get that either. “Hey, thanks for suiting up and playing even though I have you in cleanup instead of 2nd, that has to really sting.”

        • Ball players, like many of us, like a certain amount of predictability and routine. I think BP’s defenders cite this not to prove that he is a prince among men, but to counter the narrative that he is completely selfish. None of us, so far as I can determine, have inside knowledge, so it seems like a pointless argument.

      • Saying that ALL ball players play while hurt and don’t gripe about where they’re hitting in the lineup defies all logic and indications to the contrary. BP doesn’t get “extra credit” for doing these things, he just gets (or should get) credit for these positive actions. You’ve left no doubt about how you feel about Phillips, but those feelings are clouding your judgement when you insuate that Phillips playing hurt is him selfishly hurting the team.

  2. With Brandon Phillips large 2017 salary, IMO the true test won’t come when he isn’t moved, but rather what the front office will do when Bryan Price runs him out there 6 days a week. Price has shown a Dusty-like obsession with veteranny-goodness to the detriment of player development in consecutive lost seasons. THIS is my litmus test.

    • Agree with this also. These are three sided situations among the player, manager and front office that need to be addressed early on with all three sides around the desk at the same time.

    • Good point. I felt that way in 2016 for sure. It’s freaking September, rosters expanded and STILL most of the vets are starting most of the games? Really? Yikes.

      • I don’t have a big problem with this because as a manager, you’re still trying to win games. You play the guys you think can help you do that. Maybe he picked the wrong guys but playing guys just to see what they can do often runs counter to winning games. It’s gotta be a mandate from the front-office that says “I want to see so and so more” that gets the young guy in the lineup 2-3 games a week.

  3. Take a bag of balls and some fungo bats to release BP in a trade. You’re probably going to have to take on some of his guaranteed salary to get it done too. I would keep Cozart around since you can move Peraza to CF to spell BH sometimes. Good for bench depth too.

      • True, they should be looking for 4th OF who is a strong CF and not be willing to disrupt Peraza’s development at SS on a whim because the oft injured Hamilton needs a day or two off.

    • I see several issues with Cozart as a bench player.

      First off with his knee and Achilles issues at the end of last season, will he be durable enough and available to play when someone else cannot answer the bell. This is one of the often overlooked attributes required of a bench guy.

      Secondly, the player is likely to be very unhappy in a reduced role because he has not yet made his big pay day and needs to be playing every day to establish he is capable in order to position himself for a free agency pay day following the 2017 season.

  4. Dick Williams was also the guy that signed Bryan Price to another one-year contract. So while he may have an incentive in the long-term health of the Reds, what incentive does Price have? He is, once again, managing for his future job, and you can’t blame him for that. He is going to play the guy he thinks gives him the best chance to win each game without much concern for what it does or does not mean for the 2018 Reds. Dick Williams could have easily given Price a two-year contract so that Price has something invested in the future too. He chose not to. So absent injuries, I fully expect to see BP/Cozart 5-6 times a week.

      • If the Reds allowed the OUTGOING GM to pick the manager and dictate his contract length to the INCOMING GM, the Reds organization is even more screwed up than I thought. While Walt was nominally the GM, I have to believe Dick Williams had the final say.

  5. This front office is as bad as the last one. Wait a minute, this “new” front office is almost entirely made up of the personnel from the last regime. No wonder the Stand Pat flag still flies high over the offices at GABP.
    They wait for the market to come to them. They are hardly the aggressors in trade talks, or at least are seen as that way. This is the same front office that had essentially 2 GM’s last summer and could not deal Cozart to Seattle for a nice prospect because they were too busy with dealing Bruce to the Mets.
    This winter they have made 40 man roster decisions that were in Capt. Obvious’s wheelhouse.
    They made very questionable Rule V draft picks.
    They have failed miserably at ridding the roster of Cozart and BP.
    They have not made the Reds better for 2017 than they were when they ended 2016.
    I feel like Dick Williams is Wil Ferrell in the movie Stepbrothers. And Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, John Mozeliak, and Neil Huntington are the younger neighbor kids in the scene where the kids jump Wil Ferrell and make him lick the white dog turds.

    • Considering how humiliated they must be at getting taken for rides in the BIG trades the past two years, they may not trade again.

      While I am certain Castellini was using horrible business sense forcing a Chapman trade (due to dom violence under investigation), the fact we got spare parts for him and then the Yankees got a freaking stud top 10 in all of baseball prospect is amazingly horrible for Reds fans.

      Cueto pitchers were decent, but all were low top 10 or outside of it with the Giants. Again taken by aceepting quantity over quality.

      I can’t believe the White Sox add four prospects to their own top 6 in just two trades in a few days and we didn’t add ONE single top 6 prospect (though Peraza looks promising so far). Our GMs can’t trade worth a crap and should probably stop before the team is gutted. Only having Dave Stewart around (the the Nats GM with that recent terrible trade) has kept ours from looking like WGMOAT.

  6. Neither Cozart nor Phillips look to be ideal bench players. Both have played a single position exclusively at the MLB level for many years. Per Baseball Reference, Cozart has never played a single game in the majors in the field except as SS while Phillips has made a scant number of MLB appearances at shortstop in addition to SS being his primary position in the minors (all those years ago). Who is to say if Phillips could still play SS though or that Cozart could make the transition to playing 2B after a career of always seeing the game come at him from the other direction?

    The way Cozart was hobbling around last year, it is difficult to imagine him ever filling in for a game or two even as a corner OF guy. Phillips still ranges fairly long and wide for fly balls over the infield; but, again for both he and Cozart there’s that issue of perspective. Neither has experience tracking fly balls off the bat from the OF view.

    Then there’s durability. A bench guy has got to be ready to go on a moment’s notice when somebody else can’t. Phillips is probably OK here given his reputation for playing hurt at times when he probably should sit. Following Cozart’s knee injury, I’m not sold he has the durability. Also figure into the equation that nearly 20% of Cozart’s MLB service time has been spent on the DL.

    Ideally the Reds need to get both of these guys off their roster before the season starts. However if they have to keep one, it looks like Phillips is probably the better choice assuming he is OK with a reduced role. It is up to the GM to be proactive and explain that to both the player and the manager prior to the onset of the season. If the player is not OK with a reduced role. then he needs to be moved on whatever that takes.

  7. Why is Cozart or BP even worth discussing as bench players?

    1) Are they the best players at their positions tight now? Maybe (probably not).
    2) Are they going to help this team in the future? No.
    3) Are they helping the moral or “winning attitude”? Not likely.

    If you cant trade Cozart (who may not even be healthy) just save the money and release him! BP needs to be gone no matter whether we save money.

    • I pretty much agree which is why I just dumped several hundred words trying to explain why they aren’t since many folks think at least one of them is a good bench candidate when of the two he is probably the worse. 😉

    • well, you don’t save money releasing players in baseball, but you do move them off the roster and avoid any disgruntled veterans moping around AND avoid Price automatically plugging them in every day while young players get welts on their hineys riding the pine and wasting away.

  8. The question of what to do with the Reds mature double play combination continues to beset all of us who love the Reds as the 2017 season approaches. The time for discussion, in my view, has passed and the front office should make the decisions so that year number two of the rebuild is not wasted. However this problem is resolved, Philipps and Cozart should not be starters come April.

    • Year 2 of The Re-build is almost over. Year 3 begins when Pitchers & Catchers report in 2 months.

      • How could I have overlooked that two years of Rebuild have gone by since seasons 2015 and 2016 were so noteworthy.

  9. Agree that Dick Williams is saying the right things so far. The two bumps in the road I fear are:

    (1) The sincere belief in the analytics part of the front office that Brandon Phillips is still a highly valuable player. I was surprised in the meeting we had with the Assistant GMs how strongly they defended Phillips’ value. Whether that was post-facto rationalization or genuine belief, I don’t know. Either way, there may be voices arguing for playing BP with hopes of using that playing time as a trade showcase. They were clearly doing that last year. The hope is that Williams words mean they’re past that point.

    (2) The fact that Peraza and Herrera *really aren’t* playing for a job. The Reds aren’t going to give up on the centerpieces of the Frazier and Bruce trades even if they have bad seasons. So the urgency to get them on the field immediately to see how they can do is lessened. Yes, they need playing time because experience is valuable. But the front office may rationalize that doesn’t have to start in April.

    • I think Phillips did hit 289 last year. No Value? Herrera does have another option year. I also wish Phillip and Cozart were traded, and I’m a fan of both.

  10. Zack Cozart managed 508 plate appearances last year. I don’t think his health would prevent an effective utility role that gave him 100-200 PA. And I may be biased by how well Paul Janish did switching to 2B and 3B in his last year with the Reds, but my general feeling is that if a guy is above average at SS he can play 3B and 2B. I’m not downplaying how different 3B is from SS. But let’s not forget how exceptional of a fielder Cozart is. I’m not saying all this because I think the Reds should use him as a UT player, although it wouldn’t be a disaster from a roster standpoint. But I believe that once Cozart shows in spring training that he’s healthy enough to play that the Reds might be able to market him as a UT to a contending team.

    • Why take the risk he will be healthy when the best case return is probably a middling prospect who may make it to the high minors? Cut the cord, save the $5M and be on with the future.

      • I think you don’t cut the cord because the risk factor here is not very high at all and in my opinion you underestimate his value.

        Health wise, a guy after major knee surgery starts the year in a knee brace, puts up 500+ ABs, has a very good year, and misses the last few weeks of a long season after playing the 2nd most demanding position on the field with some strains and soreness. He didn’t require any medical procedures at seasons end that I’m aware of, so why would one not expect that after another off season of rest and healing that he would come back even healthier and stronger next year? Concerns, yeah, major concern here, not for me.

        Why would a top third of MLB fielding SS who hit for MLB average last year, read better than the average SS, not have any more value than a middling prospect. Age and team control will limit his value somewhat, but let’s not pooh-pooh the value of an above average major league SS. He’s a great value at $5M, and a contender with sudden need at SS would pay well to land Cozart. So I definitely wait it out on Cozart until I can get a decent return on him.

  11. Looks like the Dodgers may be one last suitor for Brandon Phillips.

    One point about how every team has a 2B and SS so there’s nowhere to trade Cozart or Phillips: Exactly, there is a relative glut of capable middle infielders in major league baseball. Every team has a few because passable ones aren’t hard to find.

    It adds to my issue with the front office (past or present) focusing on middle infield in the Frazier and Bruce trades. Those were big pieces to give up.

  12. Bob Castellini has issued an executive order that Brandon Phillips will end his Reds career happy with his ego and pride intact. That is why reds assistants to the assistant are throwing smoke screens..Phillips will start opening day and play a lot in April may.june….then back spasms or chronic wrist pain will flare and let him fade off into the sunset. Cozart hasn’t had a second contract yet….which is what everyone plays for….he will never agree to sit….he has to go.

  13. As stated it won’t take long to see if the front office has the stuff to do the right thing for the team.If either Cozart or BP remain on the roster then we know what is going to happen and that is they will play.I do have hope that Cozart may bring something in a trade but BP will have to be released to get him out of Cincy.

    • Nasty Boys Part II….what is old is new again.At rate Price was pitching Lorezen in 2016 over a full season Michael would have pitched 90-100 innings.Obviously Price had to hold Raisel Igleasias back a bit but I think goal for 2017 may be the same…more innings form Red’s bullpen…

        • It was but I’m not sure Chapman was the right pitcher to use.He’s never pitched a lot of innings per season while Iggy and Lorenzen are ex-starters who have.Marty B talked about this last week on Hot Stove League,that this is what Reds and Price are looking into.A core of relief pitchers who pitch several innings per game and then Closer by Committee.This also explains why Price was using Lorenzen and Iggy like he was last half of 2016 season….pitching them 2 or 3 innings every outing.I’m good with all this,Red’s have a surplus of good starters and I think this strategy plays right into that using them as multiple inning relief pitchers…

  14. I feel sorry for Dick Williams already….just been on the job for a short while and already fans already getting on his case.Took Walt Jocketty 16 years to created this clusterf….can’t expect DW to fix it in a few months 🙂

    • No, but he was PART of the team that made some bone-headed moves the past few years, especially the poor return in trades (quantity over quality).

      He isn’t new to the front office. He was part of the Jocketty machine and had some say (probably not enough to veto stuff, but he shouldn’t get a pass either).

      • I have been on many teams where I did not have the final say. I spoke my piece and then supported the final decision. That is what team players do, and if your not then you just bet your job..

  15. The problem is they didn’t move Cozart at the deadline when they had a chance. Excuse about Bruce deal taking to much time doesn’t hold water. BP isn’t going anywhere. You can’t blame those things on the new GM. Maybe just take what you can get for Cozart and start Herrera in AAA. As soon as BP gets banged up go get Herrera and don’t look back.

    • They didn’t move a dozen players at deadlines, when prices tend to really go up. Dumb. They got too caught up on MLB ready and not focused on securing the single most promising players in another organization. Other teams are just as bad, but we’ve watched even the Yankees well-bashed GM trade Chapman for a stud-like haul compared to the Reds subpar plunder.

      • Chapman penalty was not know at the time the Reds made the trade, and he lost value. What if the reds do not make the trade and Chapman is sat for a year?

        • Considering who the Reds got in return for Chapman, and comparing that to what the Yankees got in return for Chapman at the deadline, the Reds should have waited it out. A fulll year’s suspension was not going to happen. Even if he had been suspended for two months though, so what?. He’d still be trade-able at the deadline. (And actually, he would have had less wear on his arm going into the second half of the season for whatever team did acquire him.)

          And if the Reds were claiming they didn’t want to be associated with this type of domestic violence situation, I offer two words: Alfredo Simon.

        • We knew the max was 50 games, that was already known. What was NOT known is if he’d get less.

          I don’t mind trading him promptly, but NOT if you’re getting pennies on the dollar, that should have had the Reds GM and owner simply walking away and hoping the value shoots back up.

          It was a horrible move and a hefty majoriy of pundits and RLN posters knew it and speculated WHY they sold so low.

        • You only get a few shots every decade of trading a top flight player at their position. If you walk away with journeyman and low ceiling prospects, you’ve just set your team back in a big way, especially a team like Cincinnati that rarely spends big on free agents. They can’ screw up trades like they have the past two years because there is little alternative to improving.

          Now we have NO trade fodder and we didn’t improve the quality of our own top prospect pool. I don’t know how you can trade Cueto, Frazier, Chapman and Bruce, all with solid or great value, and NOT come out with at least three top prospects (in MLB top 100). Chapman and Cueto both demanded one top 2 prospect from the other team, but our GMs are either ignorant, lazy or too apathetic to bother negotiating toughly and long hours. Maybe all three.

        • Michael, you keep banging this drum every chance you get, even if it doesn’t line up with reality.

          You don’t get a top 100 prospect for TWO MONTHS of Cueto. The fact that we got 3 above average lefty pitching prospects was a Reds win. We have an ever improving Brandon Finnegan for 5 more controlled years = WIN. If Cody Reed even makes it as a reliever, it’s a win topped with gravy.

          As for Chapman, it was an unfortunate circumstance. Yes, the Reds should have pulled him off the market, but no it’s not part of a bigger pattern.

          Some of the other trades you vaguely reference were as follows:

          * Latos = Reds Huge Win
          * Simon = Reds Huge Win
          * Frazier = TBD
          * Leake = TBD
          * Broxton = Probably Reds Win
          * Gregorius = Probably a Push
          * Chapman = Reds Lose
          * Cueto = Reds Win
          * Bruce = TBD

          By my reckoning, only one bad trade out of NINE trades.

          Yeah, total incompetence.

  16. Dick Williams is saying the right things… So what?

    I’ll wait until he starts DOING the right things, and so far he hasn’t done much.

  17. I read where Seattle is talking to the Reds about pitching. If they make a trade, Cozart could be included. Unfortunately I don’t see them moving BP unless a team with money loses their 2B due to injury in spring training or during the season. With that being said, BP would have to agree to the trade.

    If somehow DW would trade both and receive something in return, it would help with his transition & the club moving forward. If both Cozart & BP are still here Opening Day, I think both will cast long shadows.

  18. Just because nobody has mentioned this….for past several seasons Reds have had an excellent Keystone Combination in Cozy and Phillips.Not only do they field their positions well they cover middle infield and second base about as good as any 2nd baseman/SS I’ve seen in Red’s uniform and I think fans have taken that for granted.It is time to turn the page but don’t be surprised if Cincy’s defense up the middle takes a hit…at least in short term.

    • … have you noticed that BP’s defense has slipped over the past two seasons? I mean, he makes sure to have a highlight play or two, but his range has diminished greatly. No know on him, but this is what happens when players age.

      As for Cozart? He’s expendable not that there is a younger, cheaper option at SS.

      I’ve enjoyed the up the middle combo of BP and Cozart, but also have noticed that they never won a playoff series.

      • By RF/game and FLD% Phillips is close to where his career stats say….2016 he was a tick off but he was solid in 2015. And Cozart is a whiz at SS….but point of that post was you don’t get to the point these 2 guys are at until you play together long term.So when Reds shift gears for rebuild that will go back to square one,that unspoken coordination between 2nd baseman and SS so defense up the middle (which is pretty important) is gonna suffer.But I can guarantee you one thing Jesse….Reds coverage of middle infield is not on list of why Reds haven’t won a play off series lately….that’s an entirely different can of worms 🙂

        • Yes – that was on Dusty. But I’m all for a change in the middle of the infield. younger, cheaper, better. And the time is now to start building that chemistry. That’s delayed if BP and Cozart are on the opening day roster.

      • They haven’t won a playoff series. Neither has Votto. Off with their heads. All of them.

        • Welcome to my nightmare…Reds in Post Season 🙂 .Al Leiter and Mets snuff them out in 1999 in one game sudden death….Roy Halladay no hits them and then Phillies sweep them in 2010….Giants sweep last 3 games (at home) in 2012 and then Pirates take one game playoff in 2013.I mean really…do we want these guys in Post Season again? Haven’t we suffered enough? 🙂

  19. I should know this, but I’m feeling confused today so maybe someone can help me out: If BP is released and signs with another team, we’re still on the hook for his full salary, or his full salary minus whatever the other team signs him for?

    Personally, I’m not that caught up on the “the kids have to get Big League playing time in 2017” argument. They definitely have to get regular playing time at the proper position–no repeat of last year’s Peraza treatment, please–but I don’t think it necessarily has to come in Cincinnati. I also think the most interesting thing to learn in 2017 is not how our double play combination of the future plays together in the field, but how Peraza and Hamilton get used in the lineup if they both perform roughly like they did in the second half of last season. Who leads off? Where does the other one bat? Can we really run our way to success? Etc.

    • You can’t figure that out unless Peraza plays… So yes, the kids need playing time – right?

      And if Peraza plays in CF, then Billy doesn’t play. Which seems silly.

    • The Reds would have to pick up the difference between what the other team pays him, and the full contract value. As a practical matter, if they release him, BP would pick his team, which would pay him the minimum salary.

      Not sure how the taxes figure in this. If, for example, he is traded to the Dodgers, where California has what I think is a 13% state income tax at that income level, I’m not sure if he is considered to be an Ohio employee or California employee. But a 13% top rate on $13 million would calculate to around $1.6 million. (There are formulas they use to figure out how much a player earns in each state. Joey Votto, for example, is taxed at California rates for the days the Reds play in California; the Dodgers play close to 2/3 of their games in California.) The point is that it could make a big difference to either the team or BP as to what state BP signs in.

      I want Peraza and Herrera as starters all season. Gotta figure out who they are.

      • Thanks Big5Ed. Jesse, you’re right about Peraza having to play. I really meant that if we don’t find a good landing spot for BP then I’m OK if Herrera stays in AAA. He doesn’t have to be in Cincinnati, as if playing next to Peraza for an extra season was critical to the team’s future.

  20. The likely and realistic BP/Cozart solution?

    1. Give BP the honor of starting Opening Day. After that, he moves to the bench, starting only one day a week. Management needs to honor his service but make it understood that if he will be playing a much different senior role if he stays with the team.

    2. In Spring Training, have Cozart play multiple infield positions–expanding his value both on the market and as a utility player for the Reds. My bet is with Steve here, that Cozart has the tools to be a Janish-like glove at a number of IF positions.

    3. When the Reds find a bidder, move BP (the Dodgers? maybe Dusty wants a backup vet in Washington?) and Cozart, Other teams may find they need to fill hole due to injuries, etc. BP and Cozart possess a trade value that the Reds will shred totally if they simply release them.

    4. If necessary, start Herrera in the minors, to give him max playing time. But he won’t stay there for long, unless his bat disappears.

    5. Do NOT play Peraza in CF. He’s our everyday shortstop and needs his reps there. He is horrid in CF and should only play there in a last-gasp absolute-emergency situation.

  21. No one is considering the unexpected. Injuries; either to the ‘old guys’ (Cozart Phillips) or the young guys (Peraza, et al), or infielders on other teams (who will need Cozart or Phillips later). Trade the old guys now if you can, but don’t outright them for nothing before the season gets underway. Even if their value is greatly diminished it isn’t zero (is it?). Platoon Cozart, Phillips and Peraza, giving Peraza plenty of regular starts at both 2nd and SS (you could even throw in a couple of CF gigs, if Billy needs a breath). I haven’t followed Herrera enough, but I suspect starting him in Lousiville won’t retard his growth all that much.

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