A little more than two years ago the Cincinnati Reds persuaded the Miami Marlins to trade five years of Anthony DeSclafani for one year of Mat Latos. Latos made 16 starts for Miami before he was dumped traded to the LA Dodgers. DeSclafani has earned 4.5+ WAR for the Reds in the intervening two seasons. At the time, a one-for-one trade didn’t seem fair … so the Marlins also sent catcher Chad Wallach to the Reds.

Against that backdrop, today the Reds traded Dan Straily to the Marlins for three minor league players – Luis Castillo, Austin Brice and Isaiah White.

Sequels are rarely as good as the original. There are important differences in the two trades and it would be absurd to expect the same lopsided outcome. Still, it’s not too hard to see today’s move ending up as the Joe Nuxhall Way version of The Dark Knight, if not The Godfather Part II.

Dan Straily

The Reds picked up Dan Straily (now 28) from the Padres off the waiver wire last April 1. Straily had spent most of last spring trying to make the Houston Astros roster. As I wrote the day after the Reds grabbed him, Straily wasn’t garden-variety curb shopping:

Straily was out of options, which is why the Padres had to put him on waivers before they could send him to the minors. Feels like Straily was on the borderline of majors/minors for the Astros and Padres. That puts him squarely on the major league side in the Reds organization right now. He’s had experience starting and relieving, he could swing back and forth and serve as a long reliever in the bullpen. He’s young enough and with the raw stuff that this was a good choice for the Reds, all things (like injuries to the entire starting rotation) considered. He’s better than five of the pitchers who will make the Opening Day roster. Straily is no Jason Marquis.

Wishful thinking: Straily puts in a solid two months with the Reds who can then trade him as a starter at the deadline. Dose of reality: Straily’s 4.71 career big league FIP.

Kudos to the front office for jumping on him.

As one of the few healthy pitchers in the organization at the time, Dan Straily made his first start for the Reds on April 18, after three multi-inning appearances as a reliever. The right-hander made 31 starts, tied with Brandon Finnegan for most on the team. He threw a club-leading 191 innings.

Straily finished the season with a glittery-enough ERA of 3.76, a full half-run better than the average for National League starters. Instead of wearing down as the season progressed, Straily pitched better the second half.

Reports circulated at the 2016 trade deadline that the Reds were fielding offers for Straily. But the club held on and Straily rewarded their patience. Going forward, Dan Straily will be paid league minimum again this season, having just missed the Super Two cutoff. The Marlins acquired four years of his services and will use him as a starter.

Were he not traded, and given the way Straily had pitched in 2016, he would have secured a spot near the top of the Reds’ 2017 starting rotation. But as Nick Carrington wrote in September, odds are that Straily will have trouble duplicating anything near his 2016 ERA performance. Every time the Reds gave him the ball in 2017 it would have been forfeiting a sorting opportunity for younger and more promising arms.

Dan Straily’s most valuable role for the 2017 Reds might have been as a multiple-innings reliever. But anytime you can trade a player with that role to an organization that projects him as a starter, you do it. We wish Dan Straily the best with the Marlins (except when he faces the Reds, of course.)

Luis Castillo

Luis Castillo (24, RHP) is the headliner return in the trade. The San Francisco Giants signed Castillo out of the Dominican Republic in 2012. He pitched out of the bullpen in the Giants organization. The Marlins acquired Castillo in a trade during the 2015 season and converted him to a starter. He pitched at A/A+ in 2015 and A+ for most of 2016. Castillo finished 2016 with three starts for AA Jacksonville.

Castillo, who turned 24 last month, is relatively old for his league. To provide context, he is older than Cody Reed, Brandon Finnegan and Robert Stephenson, and a bit younger than Amir Garrett and Michael Lorenzen. His switch from reliever to starter may partly explain Castillo’s slow progress.

Heading into the 2017 season, Castillo’s ratings in the Marlins system ranged between #1 (Prospect361) to #5 (MLB Pipeline). Most (Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, Keith Law) have him #2. Keep in mind that every major league organization has to have a #1 and #2 prospect. They are far from equal.

Castillo has a fastball in the 94-97 range and occasionally hits 100. He throws a slider and is developing a change-up. The bad news is his strikeout rate as a starter is relatively low for a pitcher with his stuff. The good news is Castillo has steadily improved his control. Last year he had 91 strikeouts and just 18 walks in 117 innings in A+. That’s a double-take K to BB ratio of 5:1. He also works low in the zone, producing a good ground ball rate.

Scouting reports with varying degrees of optimism:

“(Luis Castillo) has premium stuff with a fastball that can bump triple-digits and a slider with a nasty two-plane break. He also shows a feel for a change-up. What improved this year was his ability to throw strikes. He repeated his mechanics much better and the results were impressive. Assuming he stays healthy, and sometimes converted relievers don’t, he has the ceiling of a number two starter. He should begin 2017 back in Double-A with a chance to see Triple-A, or even the majors later in the year.” Prospect 361

“He profiles as a mid-rotation starter that should likely start 2017 in the upper minors, whether AA or AAA, and could see time in Miami this season.” Benjamin Chase, Marlin Maniac website

“Luis Castillo sustainable upper-90s velo, inconsistent, slurvy breaker (he’s already 24), fringe change. #3/4 if you squint hard enough.” Eric Longenhagen, lead prospect analyst at FanGraphs

Baseball America projects Castillo as the Marlins #2 starter in 2020.

Austin Brice

Austin Brice (24, RHP) was born in Hong Kong but attended high school in North Carolina. The Marlins selected him in the 9th round of the 2010 draft. They assigned Brice to the starting rotation where he pitched through 2015. Miami converted Brice to a reliever in the 2015 Arizona fall league. He split time between the rotation and bullpen last year, jumping from AA to AAA. Brice made 15 appearances (Brooks Baseball) for the Marlins last year, all in the bullpen, mostly in September.

Brice doesn’t make most Marlins top-10 prospects lists, although MLB Pipeline has him at #9. The scouting reports on him are consistent. Big arm. Reliever profile.

Austin Brice a pure bullpen arm, I’ve seen him up to 97 with a 6 breaking ball and he throws strikes. Low slot limits use vs LHBs. Eric Longenhagen

Good fastball/curveball combination resulting in 2.85 ERA in 98 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 86/30 K/BB; looks like he could fit best in relief with trial on tap in September and next year. John Sickels

Brice’s fastball averaged 95.5 MPH in his brief tenure in the major leagues. He did throw mostly two-seamers and that’s what led to his 54.5% ground ball rate. He complements his heavy two-seamer with a nice 80 MPH curve ball and a slider that also got it’s share of swing and miss. He does throw a change-up but he shelved it once he moved to the bullpen. Brice has good stuff and the size to pitch at the highest level. His control has improved as he’s gone through the development process and it was enough to pitch in relief. Prospect 361

Brice really made a jump in 2016 in AA-ball in his control, cutting his BB/9 from 4.95 to 2.80. Ignore his stats from the 14 innings for the Marlins, especially the ERA (7.07). He gave up 0 ER in 10 of his 15 games, with 7 clean appearances.

Isaiah White

Isaiah White (20, barely) was a third-round selection out of high school by the Marlins in the 2015 draft. He’s a RH hitting outfielder. White spent the rest of 2015 in rookie ball and 2016 playing for A-Batavia Muckdogs (seriously) in the New York-Penn league. In 299 plate appearances, he’s shown no power yet (1 home run), has 104 strikeouts and walked 25 times.

Notably, Baseball Prospectus ranks White #10 in the Marlins system and White has been in Baseball America Marlins top 10. Scouting reports shout stolen base/raw athlete:

Isaiah White: Good frame, some bat speed, runs well, lotta work to do to get him hitting in-games. CIN has a horde of good athletes on farm. Eric Longenhagen

Third round pick from North Carolina high school in 2015, very raw but has blazing speed and some power potential, very high ceiling but a long-term project; hitting just .223/.318/.308 in New York-Penn League; still just 19. John Sickels

White’s speed would pinpoint him a center fielder, but his lack of arm strength has placed him in left field at the start of his professional career. He likens the speed of Marlins favorite, Dee Gordon, but doesn’t have the extra step advantage out of the box like a left-handed hitter. Power likely won’t be a considerable part of White’s game, however he is known to have great bat speed, meaning some power could develop as he develops. Travis Koch, Fish Stripes

Isaiah White could be a Billy Hamilton or possibly a Rajai Davis if he gains some pop. Travis Koch

That last quote was added for Chad’s pleasure. Additional: In high school, White was a perfect 31 for 31 in stolen base attempts, and 13 for 13 in rookie ball.

(Please note, I’m not saying Isaiah White will become Billy Hamilton.)


Maybe Dan Straily can manage to keep all the plates in the air a little while longer and hang out in the neighborhood of league average starting pitchers. Or maybe he reverts to his pre-2016 AAAA-form. Either way, the Reds are on track to have five better starters by 2018, not counting any of today’s acquisitions. Dan Straily, at best, would have been a reliever for the Rebuilt Reds.

In return, the club acquired a promising starting pitcher prospect, a solid bullpen prospect and a Billy Hamilton-type lottery ticket. Chances are decent that, at a minimum, either Castillo or Brice (or both) will be better relievers than Straily would have been. Yes, the players the Reds acquired today are still prospects and could fail to make a major league contribution. Without a doubt, Dan Straily could provide more major league value than the three of them combined. We’ll know in a few years.

The trade isn’t likely to nudge either club’s W-L needle much. But the decision to move Dan Straily is an example of the Reds front office making tough choices to enhance the Rebuild. Falling in love with Straily because of his 2016 ERA would be the opposite of that.

Sitting here today, this sure looks like the Reds selling at peak value on a player. A welcome change from their pattern of holding on too long.

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as 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. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 107 Comments

  1. Good read. I like these look backs.

    While the Red’s brass is in the mindset of flipping players, they should go out and get Greg Holland. Neftali Feliz just signed with the Brewers for one year—the game of musical chairs is beginning. The Reds have an ideal situation for a veteran pitcher looking to rebuild his value—the opportunity to close. I love that it would free up Lorenzen to start and hedge against injuries depleting the rotation and bullpen. It’s a win-win IMO.

    • Don’t like it if Holland is going to cost more than about $5-million and he will.

      • I agree. All indications are he is seeking a two-year contract with an opt-out for him after year one. All of the risk is on the team in that scenario. If you try to flip him, the return for a player who will certainly opt out will be less than for a player who has another year and a half on a contract. If you can get him on a deal similar to Storen, fine.

    • Agreed Sultan,

      And we now have a roster spot available, another bonus of this trade

  2. Austin Brice will be the Scott Schebler of this trade. A solid #2 piece of a trade. He will be a good contributor out of the pen, and just might get a chance to start some in spring training just to see what he has. With his stuff, he might be the closer on the next good Reds team.
    Castillo was a big get. The one thing not mentioned about Castillo is his low, low number of HR’s allowed. Few BB’s, high GB rates, and very few HR’s allowed, just what the Reds need. To go along with his other attributes, an ideal pitching candidate for GABP.
    The trade might not move needles for either team win/loss-wise in 2017, but the front office and GM Dick Williams moved the needle today on fan perception of them for many fans. This is an impressive turn away from the recent past. This is very welcome news. Attabaoys all around for the front office. I liked Dan Straily, and wish him well, but this is a good get for the Reds.

  3. A ramification from today’s trade.
    OF Steve Selsky jus got DFA’d. I suppose that means that both Castillo and Brice go onto Reds 40-man roster.

    • Guess Selsky won’t be coming to Charleston then, huh? Seriously though, I hate seeing Straily go, thinking man’s pitcher, but that’s quite a haul for a player you acquired for nothing. Kudos to the FO. Now, there’s two open spots for the rotation. Should make the competition really stiff in ST. Do the Reds get a veteran arm, or let the young guys fight it out? Wonder if Castillo will be in that mix?

    • I can’t imagine someone doesn’t scoop Selsky up, but, hopefully, it pays off in the long run.

      • I see Selsky as a loss but not a big loss. He feels like a 5th or maybe 4th OF to me. I don’t think his ceiling goes much higher than that.

    • I was sorry to hear that. He’s batted fine in AAA. I was wondering all last year why they didn’t give him more of a look. Shoot, he batted 324/340/471/810 for the big club last season, third on the team in OPS+ behind Votto and Bruce. I don’t understand why we not only didn’t keep him but why didn’t we use him even more.

      • He struck out of 40% of the time and walked 3.7% of the time. His .519 BABIP is insane.

        Basically, he’s not that good of a hitter and his flukey .810 OPS means absolutely nothing in 54 plate appearances.

        • I was under the impression his walkrate was not an issue. His minor ops .838 and obp .379- near Winker’s- other than age I am not sure why everyone is so much more excited about Winker. Some people imply Winker will be a superstar, so right about his peak season he will be priced out of Cincy’s market value or given a huge contract that everyone despises.
          There are probably other points I am missing but what is wrong with having a 4th or 5th OFer role player, especially when you consider the junk that has been on the bench the past few seasons? Thanks goodness Arismendy Alcántara did not get the axe.

        • I feel Selsky and Alcantara both just got sold short here.

          Selsky is 27 year old RH corner OF/IB who has minor league career slash line of .295/.379/.459/.838. He’s hit .294/.373/.447/.821 the last two years at AAA in 541 PA. So he is a decent hitter, but a little light for the defensive positions he can play. But I was pleased to see in come into camp in line a for a good shot at a bench role of 5th OF/RH PH. It appears Richie Shaffer, who is a 26 RH 3B/1B/corner OF who hit .243/.338/.445/.783 in 778 PA at AAA the last two years with last year posting a .695 OPS in 496 PA at AAA, was the preferred option.

          Alcatara is a 25 year old switch hitting SS/2B/CF who was a hot prospect a few years back posting a AA line of .271/.352/.451/.804 in 571 PA at age 21 and then a .307/.353/.537/.890 in 366 PA at age 22. After posting a .621 OPS in 300 ABs with the Cubs in 2014, he dropped off to a .683 OPS in 499 PA in 2015. He then rebounded somewhat last season at AAA posting a .276/.325/.457/.782 in 433 PA at AAA. There is a lot of potential here as he provides a little pop (15 HR a year potential), can hit from both sides of the plate, can play 3 of the 4 most difficult positions on the field, and the potential to swipe 30+ a season. He is currently the only option the Reds have to bring someone off the bench to PH who would have any semblance of pop in his bat from the left side. That is until Winker is on the roster and either he or Schebler could fill that role. His 6.7 BB% and 27.3 K% last year are nothing to write home about, but he is a potentially a .250/.300/.420 hitter in the bigs which is nothing to sneeze at as a SS/2B/CF, especially if he is any good defensivley, which I’m not sure of right now. He looks to be a great guy to have around for when Phillips/Cozart are gone an he could be a decent stand in/insurance for Peraza/Dilson/Hamilton.

  4. Considering the return, I am thinking that the Reds felt they had value in Straily and that the Marlins feel they are getting value in Straily. It will be interesting to see if Straily is able to out-perform his peripherals again this year. If so, how much? I think the ballpark in Miami is more suitable to him and he will likely have more success there than at GABP. I also like that the Reds got two guys who tend to throw ground-balls back in this deal.

    • I think Straily going to Miami might be a win-win for him and the Reds. He gets to remain a starter and goes to a park where his fly ball rate won’t hurt him as bad, because I don’t know how he managed to control the home runs at GABP last year. To me that was the biggest concern coming into this year, that the number of fly balls turning into home runs for him would go to a more normal level. And the Reds get three prospects back for a guy that cost them nothing and probably doesn’t really figure into the long term plans unless they move him to the bullpen.

      • Billy Hamilton made some of his best catches in Staily pitched games

        • True dat. Billy was Straily’s best friend. His catches may have shaved a run off his ERA (for what that’s worth).

        • Sounds like a fun idea for an article, I-71 Exile!! 😉

  5. This was absolutely the time to trade Straily. His FIP last year was right in line with his career number (4.78). He’s a below average starter who had a few good months. He stabilized the Reds a little when they were in freefall, but he never had a place on the next good Reds team.

    Nothing in this package of prospects gets me too excited, but given the fact that the Reds had one of the worst pitching staffs of all time last year, I can’t complain about adding two more power arms. My guess is Castillo ultimately ends up in the pen, but again, our pen was terrible last year, and there’s nothing wrong with adding more options.

  6. I really hope this move was made not just because of the return for Straily, but also to give Lorenzen one more shot at the starting rotation, which he lost last year due to getting mono. Brice is a candidate for the bullpen this year, to go along with Storen, Iglesias, Cingrani, Jumbo, Blake Wood, Adleman, Peralta, Louis Coleman etc. I think there’s enough depth there now that Lorenzen isn’t necessary and you could start the year with a starting rotation of DeSclafani, Bailey, Finnegan, and 2 of Lorenzen, Reed, Stephenson and Garrett, with the other two starting in Louisville and ready to be called up in case of injury or ineffectiveness. Assuming relative health among those four, you could probably manage innings limits as well.

    Heck you could manage service time to some degree, sending the four back and forth to Louisville over the course of the year to limit major league service time, even if only to avoid two weeks of service time and gain the extra year of control. I don’t think that’s a great idea because it probably creates some animosity between players and the front office, but if a guy has a few bad starts and you send him down for a few weeks to straighten him out, you could gain that year of control.

  7. One thing, I’d bet that Straily is sad to be separated from Billy Hamilton. BHam probably saved Straily about a 0.75 on his ERA. He’d would have loved BHam going with him in this trade to patrol that spacious centerfield. Straily will have a good defense behind him in Miami, but it won’t be BHam.
    Straily pitched the game of the RLN / Red Reporter gathering, and BHam made one of his best catches that day.

    • Seems Hamilton did save some of his best work for Straily. We were there for one of them w/ RLN too! Good times! I hope RLN does that again this year.

      • Sorry, late to the party. read from top down and totally agree on Billy’s impact on Straily. That alone may cost him a half a run in ERA

  8. Satisfied with this trade. Hopefully it will work out well for all parties involved. Straily was a bright spot on a dim team. Don’t know what more we could have expected for him.

    I have liked the moves so far this off-season. They’ve added more young guns and have tried to trade Phillips. Steps in the right direction.

  9. This trade makes me wonder if Adleman and Stephenson are practically set in the rotation. Or if it would be worth it to go after a free agent like Jorge De la Rosa, who hasn’t been awful in his entire career in the best hitter’s ballpark, or take a chance at Jered Weaver. Either would help in the development of our young pitchers.

    • In my eyes it was a good trade simply because it gives both Reed and Stephenson and maybe even Lorenzen a chance to start in 2017. Sort of like trading Phillips for nothing would have been a win in my book.

  10. Reds should add a few minor league TV games each week on FSO. Pensacola and Daytona should be interesting.

    • This is an excellent idea.

    • A really good thought, but that would be somewhat complicated.

      Since the Reds don’t own their affiliates, they don’t own the actual ” content.”
      The teams have their own media deals (however modest) and the holders of those rights are going to want to get paid if the games are distributed to a wider audience.

      FSO isn’t going to want to pay anything since the audience for a Pensacola minor league game would be rather small and is probably a money loser. If they broadcast some syndicated non sense they usually get paid by the syndicator so it’s free money for them.

      Lastly, in order to be on the basic cable tier, FSO’s contracts with the distributors likely “limits” their ability to broadcast non- premium live sporting events. They can likely only broadcast so many hours per month of live sporting events that don’t meet certain criteria such as MLB, NBA, NHL and major collegiate conferences.

      It would be a great marketing idea for the Reds….but probably impossible to actually pull off.

      • I will defer to your expertise….but if Senzel is playing 3b and Aquino is in RF and Luis Castillo is starting….and the Reds are in LA for the 1035 start…I’d watch it.

      • I can’t speak of A+ or AA games, but up until a couple of years ago, on Sunday night (6:00ish), FSO used to show AAA games (don’t think it was every week). Saw a number of Louisville games that way…

    • Milb.tv provides decent coverage for a fair price. I’ve had it the last couple years to keep track of all the young arms. Not all games are covered (I honestly think it comes down to the amenities of the ballpark), but is worth checking out in my opinion

    • Love this idea, especially when the Redlegs are on the west coast.

      I’d also like to see FSO reair some of the better games from 2016 during the winter. My son and I watch an Indians game a week that airs on STO.

  11. In other words, the rebuilding continues. Don’t expect much in 2017.

    • On the one hand, you’re right of course. On the other, Dan Straily did not make this a competitive team in 2017, so no one should have been expecting much in 2017 anyway.

    • So keeping Straily had you pump for contention in 2017 and 2018? A career 4.00 ERA + pitcher? Okay then.

  12. I don’t know. This was a solid return for Straily, and honestly the Reds probably couldn’t have done better. But that’s why it may not have made sense to trade him right now.

    Its not really comparable to the Latos and Simon trades because those guys only had 1 year of team control remaining. Straily has 4 and could theoretically be part of the next Reds contender. Sure, Straily is probably not even an average starting pitcher. But he was well above replacement level last year and if you split the difference between his ra/9 WAR and his FIP based WAR, he was still worth 2.5 wins. And its possible that he could have pitched better out of the pen. After all, you don’t have to have premium velocity to be a successful reliever.

    I guess it just all depends on what you think of Castillo. The velocity and low walk rate are nice. But a 24 year old who struggles to strikeout guys in A ball doesn’t seem like a good bet to be a major league starter. If he is just a decent reliever, and the Brice guy looks like a low leverage reliever too, then this trade is just ok for the Reds.

    I think this is a pretty neutral trade for the Reds. They get more upside, but they gave up a guy who could have been a decent contributor for the next 4 years for a couple pitchers who are most likely relievers. Its not nearly the slam dunk that the Latos and Simon trades were.

    • That’s a good point about the team-control aspect. To have that going for him and still get traded makes me think the front office really doesn’t have much hope for him approaching last season’s numbers. And if they waited around and found out it was a fluke, then they’re stuck with nothing. I don’t fault them for taking what they could get right now.

    • I hated to see Straily go, but this trade is good for the team. I think Brice has the stuff and a chance to be a closer, sometime this year if Storen starts to blow save opportunities. Or he may take over the role if Storen does well and is flipped at the trade deadline. Brice and Iglesias will form a studly duo.
      And hopefully, Brice allows for Lorenzen to be moved back to the rotation. If not, Iglesias, Lorenzen, Brice and Storen make for a nice back of the bullpen. Cingrani, Wood, and Jumbo fill out the rest. A 180 degree turnaround from last year’s bullpen.

    • Some good points here. I generally hate it when teams move guys, who have had some success in MLB and are under team control, at low money and for multiple years; for prospects. You have to watch for the “perpetual rebuilding cycle” when you make those kind of trades. It comes down to: 1) Are you going to be competitive before the team control runs out? 2) If you are going to be competitive during that control window, does this trade make you better in that competitive window?

      • So basically this says either the Reds think they won’t be in contention over the next 3-4 years OR that they feel this trade helps them be even more in contention over that same window.

        • Do these decisions have to be mutually exclusive though?

          Strailey isn’t a guy that’s going to move the needle in the win/loss column either way. So while it’s great that he would be under control for a number of years, he isn’t really providing enough marginal value for a team that wants to be competitive.

          There were other reasons to trade him, namely to free up roster space for other pitching prospects. But the Reds are always going to need prospects whether they’re competitive or rebuilding. I have no problem when a guy like Strailey can be used on a flyer for some young guys who might have a higher ceiling.

      • Just depends on what you mean by some success. Straily really isn’t good. This was a good move in that the Reds sold high on a guy that has a 95% chance of reverting back to his career numbers.

        • Maybe you should check out his career numbers before making that statement.

          In his first year in the bigs, 2013, he put up 1.8 fWAR in 150 innings. He had a rough year in 2014 caused by a massive homer spike. Didn’t really get a chance in 2015. Looking at his peripheral numbers, nothing he did last year is far out of line with his career numbers. His numbers in the minors are much better than either of the 2 pitching prospects the Reds got.

          There is no reason to believe that he is not a perfectly serviceable back of the rotation guy and probably a pretty good swingman or long reliever.

          I feel like analytical people sometimes under rate players who are over rated by traditional metrics. Straily is not an above average or even an average starting pitcher. But he is well above replacement level and has value. There is nothing in the numbers to suggest that last year was a fluke.

        • 95% … Come on Jeremy. I’ve seen enough of your stuff to know you’re better then pulling numbers out of thin air. Sure, there is a very good chance that he ends up reverting to his career numbers but the guy is the kind of pitcher who has a chance to pitch better than his peripherals and he is still 27 years old. As a pitcher with marginal stuff, that is the about when they start maturing and pitching smart. He very well may not be a guy who can keep doing it but what if he manages to be a league average starting pitcher? A solid #4 kind of guy? He’s almost free as far as baseball money. The risk to the Reds is that he regresses and is practically worthless. I could argue for moving him, which for the record I think is the right move considering the return; or I could have argued for keeping him because the Reds don’t know enough about what he can do.

        • Straily career k/9: 7.6
          2016 k/9: 7.6

          Straily career bb /9: 3.6
          2016 bb/9: 3.4

          Straily career hr/9: 1.4
          2016 hr/9: 1.5

          So if he regresses back to his career numbers he will be……pretty much the same guy that was worth 1.2 fWAR last year. Maybe a little bit better as Steamer projections have his FIP almost a half run better resulting in a fWAR that is the same as he put up last year despite being projected for 50 fewer innings.

          For reference, the Reds fifth best starter by fWAR in 2010 was Harang with 0.9. In 2012 it was Leake with 1.4. In 2013 it was Arroyo with 1.2. So even in the glory days of Reds pitching with probably the best pitching staffs that many Reds fans have ever seen the Reds have, they still didn’t have 5 better starters than what Straily did last year. And that’s by FIP based war. Going by RA/ 9 WAR blows most of those fifth starters outta the water. For example, Leake was worth 1.0 ra/9 WAR in 2012 while Straily was 3.9 ra/9 WAR last year.

          I just think the idea that the Reds will soon have 5 or more starters that are better than Straily is wishful thinking.

          • Streamer projections 2017:

            DeSclafani 2.6 WAR (190 IP)
            Bailey 1.9 WAR (157 IP)
            Finnegan 1.2 WAR (170 IP)
            Reed 1.5 WAR (116 IP)
            Stephenson 1.0 WAR (125 IP)
            Garrett 0.3 WAR (37 IP)
            Straily 1.1 WAR (140 IP)

            Straily may *already* be outside the top five, let alone heading into 2018.

        • So basically we’re spending a lot of digital ink trying to argue the merits of a pitcher whose ceiling is slightly below league average? The reality is that he’s not going to make a difference one way or another for the Reds in terms of wins and losses. They have more than enough prospects, who are also inexpensive, that could provide that production and all of them have better potential.

          Moreover, the Reds need to find out which of those prospects are for real if they are serious about rebuilding sometime in this decade. In essence, there is nothing wrong with trading Strailey under these circumstances.

        • I’m in the same boat as Tct on this one. All of the sabermetric numbers apparently point to a likely regression. I have to believe there are players whose career has had a similar path as Straily’s who actually didn’t regress. It’s almost as though there is no consideration given to the fact that someone could actually develop, mature and better himself.

          I read Dick Williams’ comments, and it sounds as though he was holding out for very specific individuals. It doesn’t read as though Straily was being dangled out there for whoever made the best offer. Sounds like he was indeed being counted upon for 2017, but another team made an offer of three prospects of such a caliber (according to the Reds’ player evaluation staff) that their long-term potential exceeded four years of Straily. Even though I liked Straily, and believe he earned a rotation spot based on his 2016 performance, I agree with the trade from the Reds’ perspective because they got what they consider top-of-the-line prospects.

          • Some pitchers do get better. But it tends to show up in their fundamentals (K%, BB%, swinging strikes, GB%, fastball velocity). In Straily’s case, none of those happened. Instead, his BABIP was .239, much lower than his career rate. Part of that is Billy Hamilton. Part of that isn’t replicable.

        • I wonder how much Marlins Park came into play from the Marlins perspective. They may see his BABIP in Oakland at .266 and .239 last year and feel that translates well into their home stadium for a control pitcher who gives up lots of fly balls. Perhaps they feel Straily can be a pitcher who CAN sustain a BABIP 15-20 points lower than league average and be an effective durable pitcher at a controllable cost.

  13. If Selsky was DFA’d and gets grabbed, it might increase the odds of Winker starting the year with the Big Club.
    Straily was and is a good guy. He could have become another Bronson Arroyo. Or not. Tough to predict a guy with brains but limited stuff. Best of luck to him.

    This was a pretty shrewd trade for the Dick William to pull off.

    • I don’t see any scenario in which Steve Selsky was blocking Jesse Winker from being on a roster.

      Winker has virtually 0% chance of breaking camp with the club due to service time shenanigans. Unfortunate as that may be, I think it is reality.

      • Just an estimation of the roster spots on the 25 man roster. I don’t know if Winker will be with the Reds out of Spring Training, but if Selsky gets claimed off of waivers, it increase (not a sure thing) the odds of Winker being on the club. We can’t keep people stashed in AAA forever.
        Because of Selsky’s relative value, it was anticipated he would be the “4th” outfielder. I don’t think they are worried about Super 2 status for him, as the Reds are about Winker, et al.

        • I don’t think it matters what happens with Selsky, the Reds seem intent on getting more of a look at Duvall in LF and Schebler in RF (though I think Schebler’s a platoon guy)…and it makes no sense to have Winker up to sit or play PT.

  14. Looked on ESPN website for reaction to the trade and couldn’t find anything. I’m I missing something or are the Reds/Marlins not newsworthy enough?

    • Can’t remember the last time I went to any ESPN entity for baseball news/analysis.

      • This. Ever since they redesigned it to be a glorified twitter feed and put the actual, detailed articles behind a pay wall, it’s trash.

      • Now that Sam Miller is writing for them, there’s at least one guy I trust.

  15. i like this move and the gamble the FO is taking on Drew Storen. Closer is an important role for keeping the current team respectable. As we have seen from recent and past Reds teams (pre-Cordero), the closer role can be hard to fill. Yes, anyone can pitch the 9th and produce saves at a league average rate. Problem is someone has to actually do it. Just ask the 2016 Giants – a playoff team if they could have produced average closer save rates.

    The Brewers have shown that a successful closer can be turned into good prospects:
    They managed to turn two pitchers who will not be with the team by the time they contend, Jeffries and Thornburg, into multiple quality prospects.

    Keep it up and continue to fill the pipeline with prospects. There is never too many and someone will prove to be better than what they are currently being judged to be.

  16. Anyone have an idea where Castillo will be ranked in the Reds system?

  17. Anyone else besides me having a hard time thinking about Luis Castillo from the Marlins any other place but the middle infield?

  18. I like this trade, if you were wondering.

  19. Chad, I was wondering. Thanks for the feedback.

    I like what DW has done thus far. Next up…what will happen with Cozart & BP?

  20. Ya know, a few people here and there — OK, me — in the past have referred to Straily having value for eating up innings. And he was the most consistent guy the Reds had. But in 31 starts he only surpassed 6 innings pitched on 7 occasions. … So maybe the Reds get something for him now, get a veteran starter if needed to fill out the rotation, and if the front office is fortunate, flip that guy at the deadline for a spare part or two as well.

  21. Looks like a good trade for the Reds, no catch there, Straily is not going to get any better and the two pitchers received in exchange should contribute within 2017-2018.

  22. As off season continues its way, this is how the starting rotation looks like now: Bailey, DeSclafani, Finnegan plus two out of Stephenson, Reed, Garret, Adleman and Travieso. I think it’s for Stephenson and Reed to take over those two spots in spring training, otherwise they can forget about it with so much competency coming up.

    • I know it is probably just dreaming but I would still like to see Lorenzen get a shot at making the starting rotation this year.

    • Romano is probably ahead of Travieso to begin the year. Romano put up better numbers in AA and has been on 40-man a bit longer. He’s likely headed to AAA to start the year and I wouldn’t be surprised if Travieso repeats AA.

      • There is no probably about it. Travieso has no chance of starting this year for the Reds and it’s getting less likely he ever will.

  23. After allowing for the dust to settle from the Straily trade with the Fish, the Old Cossack took a look at the top prospects in the Reds minor league system (take your pick of MLB, RML, BA or FG). The Reds minor league system is looking loaded for the top 10-20 prospects and may be approaching (if not already) a consensus top 5 minor league system for potential MLB prospects. The really good takeaway from reviewing the lists was how the prospect talent spreads out through the system. There are a group of players VERY close or already approaching major-league readiness. There is another group of prospects a year or two away from being major league ready and yet another group needing additional development and/or experience before being major league ready. Then the anticipation of another solid rule 4 draft in 2017 to augment the top prospects in the system and the Reds could be looking to compete for the NLCD title (even with the Cubbies!) for several years. Ladies and Gents, this should absolutely get the juices flowing for all Reds fans.

    Now the challenge for DW is managing the development of those prospects and managing sevice time & arbitration to keep the minor league system feeding the major-league roster for many seasons without creating the narrow window of opportunity as that which landed with a complete thud during the Cueto years. Roster turnover and roster management simply has to improve from the hapless management imposed by WJ and his cronies.

    If you haven’t purused the new structure of Baseball Operations created by DW, take the time to look it up and digest the changes in resposibilities and structure within the Baseball Operations Department. The Reds Organization stucture at least looks like a professional MLB organization now. The jury is still out on DW’s qualifications and capabilities necessary to perform as the GM & President of Baseball Ops, but he’s starting to make an early good impression.

    • Player development is my favorite aspect of fandom, so this year will be especially fun. With our division rivals nestled around us in the minor league system rankings, it’s imperative some of our prospects have breakout seasons to level the playing field talent-wise. The new regime’s early returns are encouraging, but I think having some guys make good on their potential this year will give a strong indication about the length and success of the rebuild. Fingers crossed!

    • I see where the Reds are adding one coach to each minor league team’s coaching staff, up from 3 to now 4. I think that was from CTrent. That is a positive step in the right direction. But keeping DeShields the manager at AAA was a step back. The Reds could do so much better for that managing spot.
      I want to see more from Williams to improve the team, but I’m starting to turn the corner on him. I want to reserve judgment on the front office until April 1, because so much could happen between now and then. Or, then again little could happen. At least by then, we’ll know if BP is still on the roster, if the whole middle INF situation is sorted out, if Lorenzen is given a chance for the rotation, if Homer is back, who is in the bullpen, and what Mesoraco’s future looks like. That is just a partial list, so there is a lot on the plate for spring training.

    • Thanks for the reinforcing optimism on this gray January day, Cossack.

  24. Anybody not liking this trade must have loved Jock running this team. When was the last time that the Reds sold high on ANYONE?

    • Alfredo Simon. Yonder Alonso. Jay Bruce.

      They should have made Frazier available sooner but its not like they sold low on him. His value now is probably much lower than it was at the time they moved him.

      Everyone wants to buy low sell high. Its not some kind of brilliantly original strategy. The problem is that unless your name is Doc Brown or Mary McFly, then its tough to know exactly when a player’s value is at its lowest or highest.

      The only 2 that I think they really botched was Chapman and Bailey. Should have sold Chapman at the 2014 deadline. Should have traded Bailey after 2013 instead of buying high and extending him.

      • Oh, they botched the Frazier trade pretty badly.

        • I’d rather have club control of Peraza and Schebler thru 2022, than Frazier thru 2016 (Frazier signed a one yr deal for $ 12 M for ’17). Twelve years of control vs 0.

          I’d rather have a quality SS prospect going into his prime at age 22, than a declining 3B at age 30. Not to mention, the secondary piece in the trade, Schebler, hit .265/.330/.432 in 82 games last year. He may prove to have a better bat than Duvall in the future.

          You want to argue that the Reds botched the Chapman trade, sure I agree. However, the bulk of the recent trades by the Reds have been wins for the Reds, and some lopsided wins at that.

          The Reds have two quality prospects in Peraza and Schebler who are in, or going into, their prime in what should be the Reds next window of contention. Nice trade by the Reds.

          • HAD they traded Frazier in July 2015, the return would have been greater. That is a Colossal error, regardless of how Peraza and Schebler turn out.

        • HAD they had the benefit of your perfect 20/20 hindsight, they might have traded Frazier before his second half slump.

          Or HAD the gotten a worthy offer for Frazier at the deadline, they might have traded Frazier and gotten a DIFFERENT set of prospects for him. Different but not necessarily a better return on the trade.

          As it is, they hardly “botched” the Frazier trade, when they got a top notch prospect as well as an above average prospect, both of whom then proceeded to put up promising 2016 numbers.

          We just a few botched trades away from contention …

          • … They blew it. They could have gotten a better offer in July.

            It’s great that Peraza appears to be a player, but remember that he had been given up on by two other organizations. Also, he still does not have a place in the everyday lineup. For him to be a main piece of the Frazier trade is and was discouraging.

            It’s also nice that Schebler played well at times this season.

            You are making the assumption that this was the best the Front office could do.

            The Reds FO would not trade Frazier right after the 2015 due to perception. Had they pulled the trigger, they would have gotten a better deal than the one they got nearly 6 months later.

        • The argument that Peraza was “given up on by two other organizations” is misleading, if not downright false. When Atlanta traded their #1 prospect in Peraza to the LAD, they had a 25 yr old Andrelton Simmons as a GG SS in the 2nd yr of a 7 yr contract. When LA traded Peraza to Cincy, the LAD’s #1 prospect was a 21 yr old Corey Seager, who became the 2016 ROY and who was 3rd in the MVP voting in his rookie season. Saying that either organization “gave up on” Peraza is like saying that if the Reds traded a stud prospect at 1B because they have Votto, it would be because the prospect was somehow flawed. Both organizations apparently felt Peraza as a top notch SS prospect was more valuable as a trade chip, than if he were to be converted to another position.

          Peraza has all six years of team control remaining, so whether he has an open slot in the lineup is rather irrelevant when he won’t be a FA until 2023. The Reds acquired their starting SS for their next window of contention, and he is only 22 yrs old and has already enjoyed success in MLB.

          Yeah, it is “nice” that Schebler played well this year. He had an OPS+ of 101 in his rookie season. If he becomes an everyday MLB player as a secondary piece of this trade, that’s a win. He does not look like a AAAA guy who can’t make the difficult transition to the major leagues.

          If the Reds windup with an above average SS and an everyday OFr, both with 6 years of control, in exchange for Frazier who had only 1 yr of control remaining, then that’s a HR. Peraza and Schebler have both performed well in MLB and are on the right side of their prime years.

          You “assume” they could have done better, but we’ll never know. What we do know is that they have 12 years of control of 2 quality prospects that have done nothing but produce to date. I’ll gladly take Peraza and Schebler over whatever is behind door #2.

          Please let them blow a few more trades like this. Wait, they already have (Latos, Simon, Cueto, Straily, and yes Frazier).

      • Never understood that contract extension to Bailey, you don’t commit long term with pitchers, specially with injury records.

        • I agree in so far as the number of years. I don’t like to go past 4 for a pitcher. That said, it’s hard to sign a #2 or #3 type pitcher these days, who are fairly young, at less than 4 years. What I’m not sure I agree with is the claim that Bailey had an “injury record”. He had some issues at the beginning of his career but seemed to have sorted them out and had come off back-to-back seasons of 30 starts and 200+ innings. He was as low of a risk as any pitcher in my opinion.

        • Bailey had very little injury history until he signed that new deal. Sorry, tired of hearing that. I liked the deal at the time. A guy with two no-hitter stuff, entering his prime and improving EVERY year. He was sure-fire SP2 and looking to move into an ace if he progressed a bit two more years.

          hindsight is wonderful, but there was no indication Bailey was going to suddenly have forearm issues and then other issues back to back. Just BAD LUCK, not a bad signing at all. Cueto had more injury history than Bailey did.

  25. I’d love to know what the front office has said to Price regarding his future. And I’d love to know how that plays into discussions about whether Lorenzen gets another chance to start. A guy managing for his life is going to want Lorenzen playing the fireman role, not learning how to be a starter.

    • I reject any notion that Price will change how he manages this team based on his own contract. He knows that the Reds are in rebuild mode, and knows that his job is to facilitate the rebuilding of the team by developing a young but talented staff. He isn’t going to risk hurting a pitcher’s arm just to pick up an extra win or two. It isn’t in the team’s interest or his own interest.

      Will he try to win the games as they are played? Of course, but not at the expense of damaging the team over the long run. If Dick Williams makes the decision that Lorenzen should be given another shot at starting, then Price will go along with it. Like you, I would prefer that Lorenzen start, but none of us are privy to all of the medical or training information about Lorenzen that might be germane to that decision.

      Last year, Price believed in Cody Reed (and I am sure still does), and was more patient with him than Reed probably deserved. In doing so, he was doing what he thought was best for the team in the long run, and I don’t see him being any different this year.

      • I agree Ed. Also, with Storen signed, Wood having at least a minor league history of closing, Iglesias also in the bullpen, I don’t think Price, even if he was making decisions in his own best interest vs. the team’s, would automatically think Lorenzen has to be in the closer role. Of course, like many on here, I’m still hoping Lorenzen gets another shot at starting this year.

  26. I don’t know if anyone else has seen this, but are the reports that Marlins want Iglesias and Dodgers want Phillips legitimate? Apparently Marlins wanted Iglesias but settled for Straily instead? Maybe they are just moving on to more trade talks? Both ideas seem pretty iffy; Marlins don’t really have much left to offer for Iglesias. Has anybody else heard anything like this?

  27. Unless it is Giancarlo(and pay half his salary) straight up for Iglesias!!!!!

  28. Moving Phillips is the biggest problem facing the Reds. Unless a miracle occurs and some team will want Phillips the Reds must release him and eat the $14 million. Some team will pick up Brandon and pay him the minimum while the Reds pay the remaining $13.5 million. They will have a chance to see Peraza play every day. Unloading Cozart will give them the same opportunity with Herrera. It is time to move on.

  29. MLBTR says the Reds are “a new team in the mix” on Matt Wieters.


    If this is accurate, despite the sunny talk in the last week or so, Mesoraco must not look close to being ready on time to start the season with the Reds…..

    • Kicking the tires on him is actually a very good idea, no matter what Mes’ status may be. That said, if they do sign him, it makes me think that the team feels the odds are less than favorable for Mes being able to catch 100 games in 2017 and beyond.

    • Always kick the tires as it was said on buy-low good players. Wieters is a great signing if bought low. He is less iffy than Meso at this point. That said, the demands of a contract weigh in on this. It’s one thing to take a one-year flier and be able to flip the player at the deadline if in high demand, but another thing altogether if he wants a 3+ year deal at 8 figures per season…pass given the moderate risk of injury aggravation or joint/muscle weakness.

    • Think about it if come July 31st we’ve just added two prospects to our top 10 list by trading Storen and Wieters (or Meso if he doesn’t appear to be a 5 times a week catcher any more). I am high on signing and flipping buy low vets. Other teams do it, the Reds are late to the game or forfeited the game the past few years.

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as 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. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.


2017 Reds


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