One-third of the 2017 baseball season is in the record books. To the surprise and delight of many, the Cincinnati Reds are 25-30 and within 4 games of first place in the NL Central division.

Because this has taken place alongside the glorious struggles by the Cubs, Cardinals and Pirates, the Reds’ near-.500 start has caused people to wonder whether it’s realistic for the Reds to compete for the postseason in 2017. In fact, manager Bryan Price used the P word just the other day. Such unguarded optimism is a rite of baseball not confined to Opening Day.

Beyond the justified rah-rah, the team’s unexpected success could create a bit of a dilemma for the front office. The allure of winning the NL Central in 2017 raises the corresponding question of what strategy the organization should pursue in upcoming months.

If either the Reds (19-35) or Cubs (39-15) had the same record as last year the right plan for the next few months would be clear. The club would complete the rebuilding process. It isn’t quite finished. The front office would make a couple more tough decisions. The manager would allot playing time based in part on the long term.

But here are the unanticipated questions at 25-30: Should rebuilding be put on hold? Should the Reds expend meaningful 2018+ assets to bring in 2017 help? Should the front office duck additional hard choices in service of the win-loss record?

The answer to those questions is an emphatic no.

It’s fine for Bryan Price to talk about competing for the postseason instead of rebuilding. It’s fine for Dick Williams to say he wants to win even more. It’s fine for Reds broadcasters to flak the “tightly bunched division.” Statements like those may not be the best for managing fan and ownership expectations, but they play in the media and maybe the clubhouse.

Public statements are one thing. Actual internal strategy is another. Patience is crucial for a successful rebuild. Listen to people who have been through it. The Cubs and Astros stand as powerful lessons of following the break-it-down to build-it-up path to its painful completion. The Reds must avoid being thrown off course by the fool’s gold of a June win-loss record. Dick Williams surely understands this. He’s said as much.

In practice, what does finishing the job of rebuilding mean?

Here are the steps the Reds should take (and not take):

Trade Zack Cozart before the August deadline. The Reds shortstop has played his way to peak trade value, contributing mightily on offense and defense. Beyond that, Cozart is a cheap, half-year rental for a contending team. It would be tough to see him go, but sentimentality can’t play a role. If the Reds can ship off Johnny Cueto, Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier, they can let Zack Cozart leave. This is one of those hard, but necessary, choices.

When Cozart is traded, call up Dilson Herrera and play him. No Gennett, no Alcantara.

Move Scott Feldman to the bullpen now then trade him. Feldman is not “this year’s Dan Straily” because Feldman is on a one-year contract and Straily offered the Marlins’ four years of control. Scott Feldman won’t return Luis Castillo and Austin Brice. But if Feldman keeps pitching OK for another month – and odds of that are improved with him in the bullpen – a major league team might offer something for him as a reliever. For the Reds, moving Feldman out of the starter rotation now is addition (of opportunity) by subtraction.

Trade Adam Duvall at the deadline or the offseason. Another tough one. Adam Duvall is the Dan Straily of 2017. As the Reds did with Straily, they should move Duvall to a team willing to pay full price for his power. Adam Duvall will be 29 by the end of the season – this is the factor that separates him from Scott Schebler, who is 26. But Duvall’s 4.5 years of team control offer large value to the right trade partner.

Trading Duvall mid-season would create important big league playing time for Jesse Winker, who then should be installed as the club’s leadoff hitter. Or keep Duvall through 2017 and continue sorting. But it would be nice to get Winker a half-year of at bats against major league pitchers.

Continue to play Jose Peraza. There’s a solid case that if the Reds wanted to maximize their wins, Scooter Gennett should see more playing time at the expense of Peraza. Peraza’s bat remains a liability. His hit tool comes nowhere near compensating for his lack of on-base skills and power. And unlike Billy Hamilton, Peraza’s base running and defense aren’t yet net positives. Gennett is only 27, but if the Reds are to get a better grasp of Peraza’s floor and ceiling, the 23-year-old needs to play every day.

Overhaul the starting rotation. The puzzling choices made by the front office and manager regarding the starting rotation have been by far the weakest aspect of the rebuilding process. Promoting Amir Garrett at the start of the season was the lone positive exception. The club should have done likewise with Cody Reed, Robert Stephenson and Michael Lorenzen. But the organization wanted to send messages and stoke nostalgia. Further, the front office saw Scott Feldman and Tim Adleman as providing value in eating innings instead of cost by eating opportunity.

But the crater left by the dreadful performance of the 2017 rotation can be seen from outer space. The starting five as a group have served neither the Rebuild nor Wins-and-Losses. Instead of stubbornly continuing on their current failed path, the Reds should commit to at least 15 starts each for Reed, Stephenson and Lorenzen before the season ends. There’s no assurance that new young guys will pitch better than the current rotation, but that’s not the point. Using a rebuilding season to give those pitchers experience is.

The return of Amir Garrett and impending arrivals of Brandon Finnegan, Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani over the next month will make that difficult. If all four return to health, finding meaningful room for several additional young arms will prove impossible. That eventuality will make plain the folly of giving 35 starts to Arroyo, Feldman, Adleman, and Lisalverto Bonilla.

Don’t trade meaningful 2018+ assets for 2017 help. The front office must resist pressure from the outside and the siren call of the June 4 standings. The 2018+ assets they now possess were hard-earned through agonizing trades, extensive scouting and careful drafting and international signings. With real daylight so close, don’t squander the built-up farm system on a false dawn.

Conclusion

A-plus rebuilding journeys require nerve from start to finish. The Reds began theirs, however, with hits and misses. The trades of Mat Latos for Anthony DeSclafani and Alfredo Simon for Eugenio Suarez can already judged to be big successes. The club held on to Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake until the last possible moment. Unfortunately, the front office and ownership didn’t have the fortitude to move Todd Frazier and Aroldis Chapman (twice) when they needed to.

But the Dan Straily trade is an example of patience and perseverance paying off. A wobbly front office would never have traded a starting pitcher that threw 191 innings, had a 14-8 record and an ERA under 4. But it was the right thing to do. So was being willing to bench a popular player like Brandon Phillips.

That was a front office making tough decisions. Going forward, they must be clear-eyed and stick to their plan.

Bottom line: The organization must place the fundamental principles of rebuilding front and center and march directly ahead. And we fans should support them doing it, even if it means in the near term watching more players leave and the team fall in the standings.

146 Responses

  1. Sr VP of Bad Tweets (@thecvail)

    Herrera could still get a year of service this season depending on when he gets called up, and while Scooter doesn’t have the upside, he’s still under team control for 2 more seasons.

  2. Ben

    I don’t know the market for Duvall, but I would be very covetous of him if I were the Reds FO. If Winker has proven himself by this time next year, I’m more open to it, but until then I’d have a high asking price, higher than for Straily.

  3. Jeff Gangloff

    I’ve been back and fourth about Cozart but you gotta trade the guy at this point. He’s playing out of his mind and could net some pretty serious talent. I also agree about Duvall. Sheb, Hamilton, and Winker are the outfield of the future. Duvall just doesn’t fit in and Sheb is the better option at this point.

  4. Darrin

    Peraza seems to be putting better wood on the ball lately, now if he’d just learn to use his legs more.

  5. larry

    Steve, I pretty much agree with all of your statements IF we can get reasonable value for Cozart and Duvall.

    • Chuck Schick

      Cozart is a rental, so unless Addison Russell breaks his leg the night before the trade deadline the Reds aren’t going to get much.

      • lwblogger2

        If they were to trade him right now, I’d agree. This is true even though he’d be playing almost 2 full months over and above a typical deadline deal for his new team. Three main things drive trade value and team control is one of them. The fact that Cozart is in his walk year is certainly not good for his value. That said, the second thing that drives value is market competition. Even if Cozart suffers some regression he’s probably going to be the most valuable SS available on the trade-market and as a rental, he only represents minimal risk. The 3rd and most important thing that drives value however is the perceived need of the buyer(s). Right now, even a team with a significant need knows the Reds want to move him so, the return would likely be rather light. What can change things for the Reds’ benefit though is if suddenly 2 or more teams have a need at SS develop. This can compound if 2 teams are in the same division. Such a situation could substantially drive up the value, even on a rental.

        So, while you are likely right, it will really depend on what the situation is at the deadline. We just don’t know until then. At worst, I would think the Reds would get a prospect just outside the top 100 and then a player or perhaps 2 at low minors and marginal prospects with upside to have stock rise.

      • Michael E

        My only concern with “waiting” is that Cozart could get injured and then he is going to return nothing.

        I’d rather get one fairly worthwhile prospect now, than maybe get that same prospect plus some lottery pick low A prospect.

        Imagine us having an injured Cozart in late July while some team overpays for a much lesser utility guy to fill a void they have. We’ll cringe.

      • Chuck Schick

        The Reds can’t unilaterally trade him. There isn’t a demand for a rental short stop right now.

  6. larry

    I guess what I am saying is that we need multiple teams interested in Duvall and Cozart so that we can drive up the price. Speaking of Price, maybe its time for a fresh face and different managing skills to ascend to the Managers position.

  7. Sliotar

    -I know the “Lorenzen should start” theme is popular at RLN, but is there any indication the Reds are going to change his role? Entering today, he was fifth among all relievers in “Clutch” rating:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=rel&lg=all&qual=y&type=3&season=2017&month=0&season1=2017&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=14,d

    It feels as if the Reds don’t think they can’t find a suitable replacement for him in his RP role, and are willing to forgo the potential from him starting.

    -Herrera is hitting .242 in AAA. A Peraza-Herrera middle infield combination might look ugly for a couple of seasons.

    -Trading Duvall and Cozart, 2 of the team’s top 4 offensive players, feels like taking a step back in 2017-18 for a real payoff starting in 2019 or 2020. Seems very worthwhile. Hope the front office has the patience.

    -Will having Feldman in the bullpen diminish his trade value? He is on track for 2.0 WAR as a SP.

    • Preach

      Granted it was a few months ago, but at Redsfest when I asked the question about Lorenzen being given a shot at the rotation, the look I received from Castellini and Marty was one that said “oh, you poor, poor unknowledgeable fan…..”. Bob was literally shaking his head ‘no’ before I finished the question. Ain’t. Gonna. Happen.

      • vegastypo

        I heard it once on one of Price’s pregame shows with Marty or Kelch early in the season, and Price was asked directly about Lorenzen and Iglesia’s future in the bullpen. Price seemed to waver a bit about Lorenzen, saying it wasn’t out of the question that he could be a starter in future years.. But it sure sounded like Iglesias is there to stay. … I’m not gonna hold my breath for Lorenzen as a starter, because Price might have just been saying that publicly to appease Lorenzen, who was campaigning for the job. But I don’t think it can be ruled out totally beyond this season.

  8. Hanawi

    I’m not sure what Stephenson has done above AA (maybe even above A+) to warrant this much angst. He has shown no ability to control his walks and little ability to get hitters above AA out consistently. Until he does, he’s not in any future plans I can see.

    Reed could probably use a bit more time at AAA as well. He had a decent half season there last year, but has been horrendous in his starts with the Reds. He needs to build some confidence back.

    I see little point in running these guys out there to get shelled for 2-3 innings repeatedly, especially with Garrett’s struggles as well. If they want to bring up Castillo, I’d be more inclined to see that. He has great control, which helps keeps his pitch counts down. Makes it more likely he’ll last more than a few innings.

    • Michael E

      Yeah, Stephenson shouldn’t have been included in the line about running out pitchers from day 1. That is the one thing I think I disagree with. He hasn’t earned a chance to start in MLB. He can’t even get AA or AAA hitters out regularly.

      Bullpen sure, good place to ask a young pitcher that isn’t meeting expectations to refine his craft in low leverage situations or in short spurts.

  9. CI3J

    I still say if the Reds want to go 100% in on the rebuild, there’s one final move they should make:

    Trade Joey Votto.

    Votto is in his age 33 season, and while he’s still producing at elite levels, he’s at the age where it can be expected that his production will begin to decline albeit from an extremely high peak, so even Votto on decline will be better than a lot of other first basemen.

    Votto’s production is wasted on a Reds team that is still a year or two away from really competing. By the time the Reds are finally ready to compete, will Votto still be an offensive force at first base? Is that the kind of gamble the Reds should take?

    What if Votto is putting up something like 2.5 WAR in 2019? Certainly the Reds could find a young first baseman who, at the bare minimum, could put up 2.5 WAR. Why not wait until the offseason and see which team has decided they are going to “win now”, and trade them Votto for some elite-level prospects. I haven’t done any research to even begin to guess which team might match up with the Reds on this, but it’s a move I really feel needs to happen for the Reds to truly go “all in” on the rebuild. Cozart, Duvall, and Votto should bring the Reds back a decent prospect haul.

    So who plays 1B if Votto is traded? Well, the Reds have LaValley playing well in Dayton, or perhaps they could get a near MLB ready prospect back in the Votto trade. Or heck, move Schebler to 1B and let any of the myriad of OF prospects have a go in RF. But no matter what they decide, they need to move Votto sooner rather than later, while he is still producing at an elite level and therefore could bring the most return.

    • Chuck Schick

      I think all options should be discussed and on the table, but there are some major logistical hurdles that make trading Votto almost impossible.

      1. He can veto any trade so the universe of possible teams is rather small….possibly as low as 0.
      2. The acquiring team would need to be in a position to add a net 22.500 million in yearly payroll as the Reds are going to want prospects and aren’t going to be willing to eat any of his contract.
      3. Given all of the factors involved, a multiple team deal would be a high probability which increases the chance of leaks,….which increases the probability of the deal being derailed. That would be an absolute PR nightmare.
      4.Votto likely has deferred money. Given that he is underpaid right now, he could demand that he receive his deferred money immediately in order to approve the trade…..that could literally be a 25-30 million lump sum payment and i doubt the Reds would be willing to do that.
      5. Last but not least……once you go down that path and it becomes public you absolutely have to make sure he is moved….which gives him an unbelievable amount of leverage and control and could enable the acquiring team to get him for almost nothing. For example, if he is only willing to play for the Blue Jays then the Jays can just offer a case of baseballs and some warm LaBatts.

      • lwblogger2

        Most likely it would be like the Griffey trade. The Reds moved their starting CF who was an above-average but not elite player at the time. They also moved a SP in Brett Tomko as well as two fair prospects… It certainly wasn’t a big haul. If the Reds HAD to move Votto, it could possibly be for even a lesser haul than that.

    • BigRedMike

      Not a terrible idea, but, whom exactly are the trading partners for Votto?

    • Phil Gasson

      I can’t say YES enough times to your comments.

    • lwblogger2

      I think it all depends on the timing of the rebuild. If 2019 is the year, Votto will be 35 and I’d be surprised if he’s in steep decline by then. This is due to the type of hitter he is and his ability to adjust. I highly doubt he’s going to fall off a cliff. It’s much more likely he declines gracefully. He’s probably much better than a 2.5 WAR player in 2019. If the rebuild is expected to go on longer (Lord I hope not), then it makes a lot of sense to move Votto now. When you start to get into those age 37-40 seasons, the decline should be significant. That said, the Reds should listen on any player and if they get blown away by an offer, they should take it.

      There is a complication to any potential Votto deal. Votto has a full no-trade clause and would need to waive it for the Reds to move him.

  10. BigRedMike

    If Duvall is still on the Reds roster in July, then I will be less confident in the front office.

    Cozart is a tough one. Trading is the best option. Move Suarez to SS

    Might not be a bad idea to trade Hamilton as well. He cannot hit. If he batted 8th, then it would be serviceable.

  11. bouwills

    I just don’t get it. Last April it was common knowledge that Duvall couldn’t play outfield on a fulltime basis. but he did & was a gold glove finalist.” He doesn’t get on base enough & strikes out too much” last time I looked his career OBP was a point better than Hamilton & had only struck out 3 times more than Billy. Every single player on the Reds roster has to be available for trade ( if there’s a talent premium in return). But to designate Duvall as tradebait without knowing what the Reds will receive is just absurd. The Reds have control of Adam until 2022, a lot longer than either Suarez or Hamilton.

    • BigRedMike

      Why is it absurd? Duvall has a negative defensive rating this year.

      The Reds have a Top 100 prospect in the OF, that has to be addressed at some point. Maybe Winker is the the player to trade.

      • bouwills

        It’s absurd because no offer of talent in return has been made. You don’t trade an All-Star to make room for a 23 year old talent unless you’re going to get something you need in the exchange. While I’m at it, just for the sake of argument. Reds trade Duvall & install 23 year-old Winker in LF. Reds trade Cozart & install 23 year-old Hererra at 2nd & move 23 year-old Peraza to SS. Please don’t tell me you expect consistent ML performance from those kids in less than say May of 2019 ( as a group). I mean we’ve seen Suarez, & Hamilton. It takes time at this level. Just those 3 moves practically eliminates the Reds from contention until 2019- even if they can get some healthy effective SP.

      • Steve Mancuso

        If you think I’m suggesting the Reds trade Duvall for just anything, you need to read the post again.

      • Michael E

        Yeah, big difference between suggesting players be traded and suggesting players be given away or released. I think the first assumption most of us made when Steve wrote that was that the trade would be at the very least acceptable return, if not more than expected. If a team offers up two 26 year old A ball players, we’ll keep them both and be just fine.

      • Jim Walker

        I believe that Winker is a guy they needed to seriously look at moving in the off season because he is the talent that can bring them what they haven’t been able to develop internally, reliable starting pitching. Right now they are no nearer having a reliable rotation, let alone a really good one than they were at this time last year.

        Winker would be a high price to pay; however, he looks like a one dimensional player. He isn’t likely the “next Votto” because his slugging is settled in at around .400 which means he has to OBP at .400 just to OPS at .800. Yes, he is still a bit young, but, his AAA numbers so far this year look a lot like last year’s. There are multiple young outfielders in the organization who may ultimately out OPS Winker with OBP rates in the .360-.380 range and bring better speed and defense than Winker. In essence, Winker could end up as a two to three season bridge to these guys. So, if we are going all in, sell high on him for a young but established pitcher with 3-4 years of team control; and ride the current OF guys till the next group arrives.

      • Tom Diesman

        Due to lack of patience and mismanagement, I think it is yet to be be seen if they can develop starting pitching from the young arms they have amassed. Several of the young OF you mention can play CF, and that spot is where the OF upgrade needs to be made when they arrive. I’d just have a real hard time dealing Winker for a pitcher when they haven’t even hardly began to explore the young arms they already have in house.

      • Jim Walker

        I don’t disagree about where the Reds are in the process of sorting out their starting pitching. The very fact they don’t know what they have as starting pitchers is one of the major factors that makes Winker (or for that matter just about any position player at MLB clear down to north of A+) expendable.

        I look at trading for a cost controlled middle of the rotation pitcher as a jump start process,They need this abrupt sea change on the starting pitching front because if they depend only on internal candidates developing or regaining form off of injury, there is a good of chance we are still having this conversation, with the names slightly changed, a year or two from now.

        I’d trade for one solid #3 with low end #2 potential pitcher and also go out and sign another similar one. Then they’d have 8-10, maybes looking to fill three rotation spots instead of 5; and, the fallout would land them a better bullpen or free guys up for trade material to fill unanticipated talent gaps.

        Why bait with Winker? I’m guessing that if they keep/ extend Suarez (which I favor) either Senzel or Suarez go into the corner OF pool by 2019/20. If Alfredo Rodriguez’s offensive awaking is for real, he’s the next longer term SS. That makes Peraza an OF (CF) candidate unless Herrera washes out, not to mention that Shed Pond will probably be pushing everybody else at 2B. In the end as I said above, Winker could well become a bridge guy; so, sell high on him now.

      • greenmtred

        I think that you may be over-estimating Winker’s trade value. He’s not a proven MLB player–he’s a prospect and, as you point out, a one-dimensional prospect at that. We’ve been hearing very positive things about him for years, but other teams might not be interested in trading any serious SP talent for him. A really good offer for anybody shouldn’t be rejected out of hand, of course.

      • MrRed

        But that would imply that you would have to at least consider (and probably accept) that more than just Winker needs to be traded to get that SP you are looking for. Does it make sense for the Reds to trade that many prospects at this juncture? Personally, I don’t think so. It perhaps makes sense to me if the Reds need this SP to get them into playoff contention. I think we’re a little bit more than 1 piece away for the foreseeable future.

      • Michael E

        Winker is apparently a sloth of a runner and defender, so he’ll have to really mash to be an above average player and that seems unlikely. I am starting to envision a Hal Morris/Sean Casey type. Some doubles and average, but not enough HRs to make his slowness acceptable.

        I doubt he’d get much back in return, but maybe the Reds could get another teams best SP prospect?

      • lwblogger2

        He doesn’t run well but his defense has improved and he might have enough arm for RF. He probably isn’t as good defensively as Duvall or Schebler though. On the plus side, his arm is better than Scheb’s.

      • doofus

        There was a guy named Mattingly that had minor league numbers like Winker. One can never tell.

    • spaulson50@gmail.com

      Thank you! A voice of reason. I’d trade Votto before Duvall. Our LF situation was a debacle until Duvall arrived. Now everyone wants to trade him. No.

      • JDV_MVP

        If you trade Votto, then you will have a 1B hole for years. No one in the pipeline. Assume then you move Duvall to 1B, which he has played in the past. Since he is older, he may only be year for a 4 more seasons…Trading Votto only works if you get a big haul back for him. Which you won’t because the trading partner has to take on his contract. Votto is fine. I like Duvall, but you can find a .250 LFer easier than replacing a likely HOFer.

      • greenmtred

        Finding a good left fielder isn’t easy for the Reds, though.

      • jazzmanbbfan

        Finding a HOF caliber first baseman may not be so easy either.

      • Preach

        Yes, but finding a serviceable 1st baseman should be easier yet. Although the Reds certainly had a tough time doing it when Joey was out.

      • jazzmanbbfan

        Exactly Preach. Given the glut of very good first basemen out there, they probably could find a serviceable one. I’m most likely just biased as I’m perfectly happy with Votto. I also don’t agree with those who say his contract has hamstrung the Reds’. And, there’s that little thing called his no trade clause and that so far he has remained steadfast that he wants to stay a Red.

      • lwblogger2

        Yes, 4 or 5 more seasons like Votto has been having and he’s probably in. Heck, 4-5 more marginal seasons and he probably hangs around on the ballot long enough to have a shot.

  12. old-school

    Thanks for a timely post on some important Reds questions.
    My comment would be the Reds are not going to get any meaningful additions at the trade deadline on rental players- Feldman, Storen, and even Cozart.

    The playoff contenders are set at SS.
    NL East- Nationals have Trae Turner
    NL Central- no one is trading with the Reds and The Cubs and cards have young franchise SS anyway
    NL west- Seager at LA, Story in Colorado

    Al East- Tulo at Toronto, Bogarts@ Boston, hardy O’s, Yankees have Didi
    Houston Altuve
    Cleveland Lindor.

    No one knows how Homer/Finnegan/and Disco will finish the year – but whatever exists now will be the reality in 2018 barring a trade of other assets.

    If someone offers you the moon for Duvall or Hamilton on July 30….sure.

    But the reality is the internal options for SP to win 90-95 games in 2018 are not in place and wont be. I’m ok with waiting till the offseason to address SP and living with the growing pains of the young pitchers. My bias is the Reds will need ML as a starter and a young controllable pitcher for 2018/19 for the Reds to have any shot at winning the next 2 years. If Homer Bailey and Finnegan and Disco are lights out in August and September,,,,then they wont need an external source. That’s a big IF.

    • Steve Mancuso

      It’ll probably take an injury. But the odds of that are pretty good in the next two months. And there will be more teams than you list in the Wild Card race. J.J. Hardy is a negative WAR player. The Nationals could move Trea Turner to CF or 2B. Jean Segura is out for the Mariners, who have looked at Cozart before. Twins are another possibility. Long way to go.

      • CP

        Yeah and teams like the Blue Jays are still pretty close despite slow starts. Tulo is injury prone and has seen a pretty big decline. It wouldn’t be completely unreasonable for them to consider a backup plan.

        The Red Sox also can’t be too happy with Pablo Sandoval at 3B. I don’t know if they would move Bogaerts back to 3B but the Red Sox are more aggressive than most.

        Also, the American League teams get to enjoy a little bit of roster flexibility that the NL teams don’t thanks to the DH.

    • spaulson50@gmail.com

      Good post Old School. I agree. We won’t get squat for Feldman. There are no guarantees Bailey and Disco will do anything this year. I think somebody will make a play for Cozart. A lot can happen between now and the trading deadline.

    • Bruuuuuce

      Story is really struggling in COL. If they can continue to win in-spite of his .214/.309/.435 slash line, they could be desperate for a bat (a veteran one at that) to solidify their lineup. Keep in mind, this is a team that has failed to reach the postseason every year since 2009, so their eagerness to return could cause them to look around.

      • Patrick Jeter

        Even though he is struggling, a mid-.700s OPS for a SS isn’t bad. And if he can go on a hot streak at some point, he’ll be back around .800 OPS and providing decent value.

        Personally, I’d love to see Cozart in COL, since I live in this market. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t mind seeing Votto end up in COL (if he was traded). The increase in BABIP and more predictable pitch movement at altitude would let Votto float a .500 OBP, I’d think.

    • lwblogger2

      Altuve is Houston’s 2B… Carrea is their SS and he is really, really good. The Reds almost need to hope for an injury to one (or more) of the contenders’ SS to be able to move Cozart and get some value for him.

  13. sandman

    I just want this rebuild to be done so I won’t hear the word rebuild anymore. I’m tired of this and just want to get past it. All this rebuild talk is starting to get on my nerves. I’ve had enough of these “tough decisions”. (Rant over)

    • greenmtred

      The trouble is that to be consistently good, a team must always be rebuilding

    • brunsfam

      Then you’re probably on the wrong site! With the plethora of Reds GM’s and Managers on the site, “rebuild” always stirs passionate conversation!

  14. Indy Red Man

    The object is to develop good players and keep them. This isn’t the NFL where draft picks can be more accurately predicted on whether they can step in and play immediately! Cozart has developed some patience and he can use that going forward! Its not like he’s bringing a ton in a trade anyway? Do you want to make Votto the new Ernie Banks? On top of that….you’re moving Cozart for a guy with a 639 ops at AAA?

    If you want to move this rebuild along then IMMEDIATELY quit playing guys that aren’t part of the future! That includes Arroyo, Feldman, and Wood. Move some of these guys in the minors and find a good arm somewhere! Oakland and Tampa look like good places to start! I’d give Winker and whatever else Oakland wants for lefty Sean Manaea! 14 ip/1 er in Cleveland and New York his last 2 starts! Winker might be better then Duvall but I doubt it! I like Castillo but Dan Straily is better then the the baseball gurus on here thought he was! Take your peripherals and plant them somewhere because he’s allowing a .195 batting average. He has 64Ks in 60 ip. If we kept him then 20% of the 5 man canyon would be filled!! Don’t underestimate Duvall and Schebler….actually its just Duvall with this blog! Guy was 2nd in baseball in rbis the other day and thats not good enough? Don’t be like the CEOs that are always willing to hire outside the organization and they don’t appreciate the guys right in front of them busting it on a daily basis! Winker has shown next to zero power!

    • Patrick Jeter

      No one ever understands the “anti-Duvall” stance. It’s about his age, not his production. He’s been a fine, good player for the Reds. But, he’ll be in his 30s with a skillset that doesn’t age well in the Reds next “winning window.”

      That is the argument. Trade current production for future production.

      The same argument doesn’t apply to Votto because of the contract.

    • lwblogger2

      I don’t think anyone saw his K/BB ratio and K% coming (in regards to Straily).

  15. Ethan Hunt

    I am not sure if Steve allows posts that disagree. I completely disagree with every aspect of this.
    Hold on to Duvall and Schwb. No need to trade. Winker is still young and not yet showing power to give him value considering he moves like a snail. Jesse would make a terrible lead off. #2 sure lead off… No you would seldom even see advances on sac flies. Feldman is a placeholder just like arroyo. 5 pitchers on 60 day do. You don’t burn options in a non compete year wasting players years and options when your starters are do to come back in another month or so. you resign Cozart to a 3 year contract because nobody with either prospects to trade or money to give need him. The next phase of the rebuild will begin after minor league all-star season. We will see Castillo and Mahle head to Louisville and giving prep for 2018 mlb action

  16. RedsFanForLife

    Think the FO first made a mistake by signing Price to a one year contract. Of course he’s managing for his future and wants to win at all costs. We should have hired a guy like Mike Sarbaugh, the 3rd base coach of the Indians. He’s a proven winner as a player, coach and manager. A 3 year contract with the intention of playing and developing the young prospects this year with the win-loss record being of no concern. This first year would be to instruct, develop and assess the young talent that would be competing for the 25 man roster from 2018 and beyond. A year of experience in a non competitive year for these players prove valuable for the future of the Reds. 20-25 starts for pitchers like Garrett, Reed and Stephenson and even 10-15 starts for Davis and Romano against ML batters invaluable for their development. 250-300ABs for Winker and possibly Herrera also invaluable. The injuries could not have been predicted as well as how good the offense has been so far this season. We probably lead the majors in HRs from the 2-6 spots combined. 9,14,14,10,16 respectively. BHam improving and Tucker has been solid. Peraza is the only one that is underperforming from what he showed last year.
    Some trades should be made to try to get some additional prospects in the organization. I’m thinking a quarter to a third of the current pitchers on the 40 man will not end the season there. Arroyo, Bonilla, Buchanan, Feldman, Ogando, Storen and Wood will either be DFAd or traded imo. Wish Herrera was more of a utility type. To me, Renda or even Perez would be more valuable because of their positional flexibility, but they will not be given the same opportunities.

    • Chuck Schick

      You seem to be working from the premise that the FO disagrees with some/most/all of Price’s decisions when there isn’t a shred of proof that there is any discord.

      You’re also seem to be working from the premise that the 3rd base coach of the Indians would do any number of things differently. None of us knows what is directed by the FO and what power Price actually has. Maybe Price is a clown…maybe he just does what he is told. We don’t actually know.

      What exactly is a proven winner? Casey Stengall, Joe Torre and Bruce Bochey all had losing records over their first decade as managers. Were they all proven losers? Merv Reuttman and Bill Plummer both have 2 WS rings….are they proven winners or were they replacement level players who were just at the right place at the right time? Is Mike Metheny a proven winner or did he just inherit a really good team?

      At this point is Joey Votto a proven loser? Mike Trout?

  17. wizeman

    I am all in with this. Especially the part about Reed, Stephenson and Lorenzen. Losing Cozart will be tough but we also have to find out if Suarez can also play shortstop or second base.
    Tough call between Schebler or Duvall. Winker better suited for left and I think DuVall brings back more.
    Stephenson walked 3 in four innings last night but also did not allow a hit.

  18. Scotly50

    Reed and Stevenson are not the answers for our starting pitching woes in the near future, if ever. They simply have not shown they can get Major league hitters out. I do not see any point in bringing them up to get shelled. How can that benefit the Reds, or Reed and Stephenson?

    Trade Votto. The Reds will likely give him away, but his salary will be a drain when, if, the Reds contend in a couple of years.

    I like the trading of Duvall and Cozart. Only if we can lure highly prized prospects.

    Trade Schebler. He will likely bring the best return of the others mentioned. At 26 he will surely generate a prized prospect.

    • greenmtred

      At 26, he could be a part of the next contending Reds’ team, as well. A bird in the hand…

    • IndyRedMan

      Trading our proven players for the right prospects could work except the Reds develop pitching like the Cleveland Browns develop QBs! Not to mention almost our entire lineup consists of guys they picked up in trade that already had a taste of the big leagues. They weren’t young kids in the lower minors. I trust the Reds to only develop more empty seats in GABP when it comes to young kids! All the while an all-time great player like Votto keeps getting older and its highly unlikely they could trade him other then give him away!

      • Michael E

        We need to trade for a pitching coach and a pitching director or something. I see other teams take retreads and build a top 5 staff. Heck The D-backs sucked last year and this year all their SPs are exceeding expectations in a hitters park every bit as friendly as GABP. That has to be coaching, right?

        I agree with many about the frustration in developing minor league prospects. We have flamed out for my entire l lifetime.

        That said, the really young SPs in A and AA are looking good. Maybe some changes the past few years are starting to pay off? Or maybe just more pitchers to be promoted to AA or AAA and stay there for 3 years getting lit up like Christmas trees. hope not

  19. greenmtred

    I agree with the overview that Steve provides, and most of the individual prescriptions, but I do have nagging doubts about Reed and Stephenson. Do you think it’s possible that the seemingly irrational use of them is due to the Reds understanding that neither is ready to pitch in MLB, and that their stuff is good enough to to make giving up on them unwise?

  20. Bill

    What year was it that either Bailey or Disco played a complete season? I don’t think either one ever wil. The Reds front office was rated the worst in baseball last year, are they any better this year?

    • IndyRedMan

      Well they got Disco for a rapidly fading Latos so that’s $ found but Homer was/is a anchor dragging them down. Long term contracts to pitchers is generally a disaster that teams like the Reds can’t rebound from! Hope they learned their lesson!

      • lwblogger2

        Agreed… I’m sort of in the same place as the O’s leadership is on pitchers. Nothing over 4 years. You won’t ever land a long term #1 that way but you don’t risk nearly as much either. Bailey’s contract was a fair one as far as market value. It’s just that often times, market value for a pitcher on a long-term deal doesn’t work out so well.

    • Chuck Schick

      That ranking was made when the Reds were at their nadir last June. Since then, the Reds are roughly a .500 team. The Twins were ranked 2nd worst and are in first place now. The Yankees were 4th worst and are perhaps the best team in baseball.

      Context

  21. lost11found

    I havn’t seen anything official regarding Schebler or Hamilton and their shoulder injuries over the weekend, but it presents a silver lining to the rebuild.

    This would be the perfect time to play it safe with both put them on the 10-day DL then bring up Winker and/or Ervin and let them play every day for a month plus. After that let shebler and hamilton do rehab stints and make your choice on Duval.

    If winker or Ervin kick the door down at the ML level then it makes your decision much clearer.

    • Jim Walker

      An alternate approach is to do nothing about the situation with Hamilton and Schebler thus kicking the can down the road. After all, another 5-10 game losing streak should take all the heat off the FO about whether they are buyers or sellers at the deadline.

      • lost11found

        True Jim,

        Although its likely with the starting rotation in the shape its in right now that losing 5-10 of the next 10-15 games is likely even with Winker/Ervin in the lineup.

        DL’ing Hamilton and Schebler while playing Winker/Ervin, can be two birds – one stone. PT for the farmhands and putting the team firmly as sellers for 2017.

  22. cfd3000

    I’ll agree with a lot of this Steve. Trades only make sense if the return justifies the loss of the outgoing player(s) so I’ll also acknowledge that your posited trades of Duvall and Cozart include a strong return for each. If there is a strong return for either then fine. But until there’s a trade that DW can’t refuse I think he needs to be aggressively trying to extend Cozart. No one knows how his knee will hold up, but he is when healthy by far the best SS in the Reds system, at an age where several productive years remain. He can certainly be an anchor of the next Reds playoff teams. So for him I’d much prefer to say if the Reds can afford to extend him that should be their first option. If not, then only then get the best return possible. Duvall is a different story. Not only do I think he also has real value in a trade but Winker should be a solid replacement. And though some lament his lower power I think the Reds have enough power but not enough base runners. I’d love to see Winker on base often in front of Votto, Schebler, Suarez, Mesoraco and even Cozart. Beyond those two issues I’m on board. Call DW, tell him RLN has signed off on the plan.

    • Steve Mancuso

      I like Zack Cozart as much as the next guy. I’d floated the idea of a short-term (2 years), relatively cheap extension before. But the way his season is going, Zack will rightly anticipate a relatively long, huge deal. Much like Shin-Soo Choo in 2013, his strong season has priced him out of what makes sense for the Reds.

      • cfd3000

        And if so, then a trade does make sense. It’s all relative. If affordable, an extension is ideal. If not and the return is solid, a trade is fine. If the return is poor then make the qualifying offer and either sign him for another year or benefit from the CBA payback. The big question then becomes who plays short now, and in the longer term?

      • lwblogger2

        I don’t see him getting Choo’s deal but yes, good chance if he stays healthy, he’ll end up with a good deal. I’m thinking 4yr/$60-million or so. I don’t think the Reds should go there.

  23. james garrett

    Steve,I agree with all you said especially about giving 15 starts to Reed,Stephensen and Lorenzen.Its a joke to not find out what they can do at this point.In fact we should have already given them the starts that went to some of the others.Billy Hamilton is a very interesting player.I love him but will he ever improve his on base %?I don’t believe he will ever be traded but boy if somebody with a big outfield for him to run around in and don’t care about his offense come knocking you have to listen hard.

  24. WVRedlegs

    Lets take a long look at the development of the starting rotation prospects. Robert Stephenson, Cody Reed, Rookie Davis, and Amir Garrett.
    After Garrett’s debacle yesterday he belongs in this group. None have developed to the point of being a major league starting pitcher. Stephenson and Davis had very little success at AAA and need to get their stuff together at that level before even being considered for the Reds rotation. Reed and Garrett both had success at AAA and a taste of success at the ML level. These two should be at AAA, in the rotation, working on what they have to work on. They both know now what it takes to be successful at the ML level. And both should be the next two call ups when needed.
    Calling up Dilson Herrera to play 2B after a Cozart trade is crazy talk. Herrera is the real fools gold out there. Damaged goods.
    Are there any two prospects in all of ML baseball that have lost more value and trade value since spring training opened than Robert Stephenson and Dilson Herrera? Neither should be any part of the Reds 2018 and beyond.

    • Jim Walker

      Are there any two prospects in all of ML baseball that have lost more value

      Throw in Reed and say any 3. However I don’t agree that all is lost with any of the three. Herrera is my greatest concern because his shoulder deal looks to be a chronic condition. Still if he hits, he could be flippable to the DH league.

  25. Matthew Kuhl

    No no, what really calling this is the spoiling of the rebuild. Because trading away Duvall takes away 4 years of control for what 25+ homerun 100+ rbi, .265-.275 average hitter .320+ obp and gold glove player. Be ridiculous to trade a great asset like that away. If anything move schebler to the bench. He will finish the year hitting 230 average, 80-90 rbi and 25+ homerun and .300 obp or less. Schebler has power no doubt but we going rely on guy who struggles exactly like Hamilton did for 3 years. No use him in the way dusty used Chris hiesy, power, speed and decent glove. Call winker up and let him platoon and compete. Yes I’m big fan of winker but not everyone who hits .300 tripl-a comes to league and hits the same. On other hand with cozart no reason trade someone who isn’t need in market, unless someone gets hurt. So what you do give him in extension and try again next year. Nothing to bug like 1-2 year extension. That gives you a reliable bat and fielder for 1-2 years until senzel and long could be possible contributors. Because if your trusting Dickson herra to play 2nd or short your truly mistaken because last 3 year ever number he has has gotten worse and he is struggling still in triple-a where he has been for 3 years now.
    For the rotation I can’t give you answer because Tyler mahle, Luis casitllo and Scott moss haven’t been given the chance of promotion to triple -a and for moss case double-a.

    When we get guys like finnegan and disco back we have 2 spot spots out 5. Maybe 3 of Feldman stays in for this year. But if want truly fix rotation call sal Romano up when he health and let him and garret compete for that spot and as sad as I like say you will have release arroyo or send him to bullpen. The bullpen will be set for years come if don’t destroy it. But if want make it one the elite bullpens in game you got to get wood out there and replace him with cingrani and this point. But on other hand the rotation Bonilla is just a arm to throw until players come back so he’s off the list. This year we will not have a rotation, if your counting on homer bailey to be are ace in sorry to say he will never be are ace, he still has control issues, after 8 years. Yes it’s been 3 straight season of injuries but he had control issues when he was 3.29 era for 2 years. It’s time to let the homer go we got a cap room of about 55-60 million thanks to trading away players over the last year and the new tv deal.

    Yes I understand it’s call “rebuild” but at end of the day we going have say goodbye to players we don’t want see. But we built up so much and we have so much in minors, that trading votto( if you could even trade him) would leave us with another hole to fill , trading 27 year old Duvall away your leaving another gap Bc sorry say SCHEBLER isn’t a starter. Like we have a nice core right now with 5 prospects knocking at the door for next few years to replace , winker for schebler, senzel/ long for Suarez (if he’s tradedor moved) and Cozart, moss, mahle, Castillo, Davis, herger and Ariel Hernadez all for bullpen and rotation spots. Just think 2018-2019 season with all those guys up and having Hamilton, Winker, Duvall, votto, peraza, long/senzel, Suarez, Barnhart as lineup and have schebler , gennett, alcantria and other spots filled. We have a true competive lineup and bench.

    • jazzmanbbfan

      With the ;year he is having, Cozart is not going to take a 1-2 year extension and certainly not at a price the Reds can (or should) afford.

    • Patrick Jeter

      What games are you watching? Not the same games I’m watching.

  26. Bill Hedges

    Steve, excellent read as always. Based on some earlier comments, I would think that the “trade Votto” movement will never get any legs under it. Agree with your comments regarding moving Cozart . . . what time frame do you think will emerge (i.e. contending team “early” in the trade deadline window)? The real question is what teams are likely in play for a player like Duval and given the re-build timeline and who is in the fold now – what return should the Reds look for? I should probably stop there; but I’m also extremely curious if the Reds present circumstances will alter their MLB draft trajectory (should probably vector this towards Doug . . . think they’re “all-in” on McKay?). Thanks as always to RLN; it’s truly my only therapy after the last couple of games.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Good chance the market for Cozart will develop suddenly, based on an injury to a shortstop on a contending team. That could happen tomorrow. If there’s no injury, the deal could go down to the deadline where the Reds are grinding it out with several teams for a lower return.

      The timing on Duvall is different. There is no urgent need to trade Duvall based on his own contract. The Reds could wait until the offseason and probably receive about the same payoff they would if they traded him midseason. There’s a tradeoff between other teams having an urgent need (midseason) vs. dealing with more teams (offseason). The key variable is how one feels about the importance of getting Jesse Winker up to the majors and playing every day.

      An injury to one of the three OF could, in theory, take care of the Winker issue. It doesn’t sound like the injuries to Hamilton or Schebler will present that opportunity.

  27. Andy

    Wouldn’t trade Duvall at this point. Author seems to think of his age as a negative, but I think Reds are lucky to have his early 30’s seasons at arbitration prices… I know players start declining but I’m guessing that ages 31-32 tend to be more productive at MLB level than ages 23-25. Signing free agents at age 30+ is expensive and risky, but having team control to age 32 seems to be ideal scenario for the club.

    Would Reds be able to get a #3 starter (with a couple years of control) for packaging Winker with Reed or Stephenson and a lower level prospect? I still think Reds can compete in 2018/19 with a couple starters getting healthy, one trade for quality starter, and a Cozart extension.

    (Yes the Cozart extension would be one of those risky deals for a player in his 30’s. I think the risk is worth it if it means Reds can be contenders for next two years. This offense really purrs with Cozart/Votto hitting 2-3 and breaking that up in the hopes that Peraza/Herrera are the answer sounds depressing to me.)

    • Steve Mancuso

      Would your opinion change if it were the case that decline starts on average at 27 and gets pretty steep around age 32? Not saying that will or will not happen with Adam Duvall (I really like watching him play). Just that the odds – like they were with Dan Straily – are against him. His game has flaws. He doesn’t walk much. While his defensive numbers were good last year, so far this year they aren’t. And his power has been streaky. The second half last year he was below average (wRC+ of 92).

      These reservations are why I say if the Reds can find a trade partner that will ignore those downsides and pay for his power, like they did with Straily, they should do it.

      • Andy

        I’m reading http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/hitters-no-longer-peak-only-decline/ and it supports the decline at 27 with the cliff at 32. There still appears to be significant value up to age 32, though, and that gives him both real value to the Reds either as starting LF or as trade partner.

        Here’s the thing, though.. in the whole system, the greatest deficiency is MLB quality SP. There is quality OF/IF in MLB and minors, there are quality relief pitchers in MLB and minors, and there are quality SP prospects in minors, but SP at the MLB level just isn’t there. I want to trade for that. I would pull a trade if an MLB team wants to swap a quality starter for Duvall, but it seems that teams willing to trade quality starters are not in race and would rather have prospects (like Winker) than an established MLB bat.

        Trading Duvall for prospects seems like it just creates an overload of prospects.

        I would trade Winker or Duvall, and leaning toward Winker as he would more likely bring Reds quality MLB starter than Duvall would.

        I think our biggest difference is that I see a 2018/19 contender and you don’t, and admittedly this involves at least 2 of the injured pitchers returning to a both healthy and productive state, and that is a big if.

        The other big if… do Votto/Cozart take the cliff over age 32? I don’t think Votto will in the next couple years. Cozart is making this really tough. He’s driving up his own price to a level the Reds might not be able to afford and will be taking a big risk if they try. That said, replacing him and his amazing 3.1 WAR with Herrera drops the lineup from elite level to middle of the pack (I’m looking at fangraphs team rankings here), and makes the addition of a mid-level starter unlikely to push the Reds into contention.

      • greenmtred

        The age of decline is based upon averages. An individual player can diverge from the generic expectation (see Joey Votto). It’s smart to keep age in mind when deciding whether or not to trade a player, but it isn’t smart to make iron-clad assumptions about the future. It’s also worth considering that all of the Reds’ potential trading partners know how old Duvall and Cozart are. Neither Winker nor Duvall would bring a quality MLB starter without adding some serious talent to the package.

  28. Tom

    Trading Cozart is a tough, but necessary, pill to swallow. Cozart is holding up his part of the bargain – the guy is on fire! But, is we need a willing trading partner who needs a short stop. We’ll see what emerges. Supply and demand.

    Duvall is a tougher pill to swallow because we have control. Is he a late bloomer who still stay strong through 2020? Or, will he decline after age 30? Who knows? If I were the Reds, I’d treat this as a test. I’d listen to offers but with the BATNA of Duvall staying a Red. My guess is he gets traded and for more return value than Cozart.

    The starters are a hot mess. Where is the best place to learn to throw strikes? I remember how Cueto and Bailey struggled early on, similar to what we’re seeing here with this group. Do they have the coaching available that helps the youngsters sort out their stuff?

    On Price – I still believe Price is the right guy for the job. This team doesn’t quit, even with horrible pitching. They play great defense and that’s a direct result of managerial focus. Heck, I’d replace Kremchek and the training staff before replacing Price.

  29. IndyRedMan

    I just don’t Cozart getting this huge 4 year deal from someone? He’s had knee/leg injuries in the past and is a half-season wonder at this point. Its unlikely they get much for him so why explore signing him for 3 years. Its a team chemistry thing too! I like Peraza but does he speak English? I’ve never seen him interviewed and I watch a lot of Reds baseball. Zack is a popular guy in the clubhouse and with the fans! Duvall too? Cmon? If you trade both of them then you are absolutely a worse team in 2018 and Votto turns 36 in 2019. Trading Votto to Houston or someone ready to go over the top makes more sense! Winker looks like a good player but I noticed in the Philly series that they had a bunch of guys with 3-4 HRs in a bandbox and we had guys that can put the ball over the wall and that’s the way to go in a tiny park! Small ball works ok in KC or the west coast but that’s not where the Reds play their home games! To me its a matter of trading from the farm system for a decent Disco type pitcher and hoping they can develop or keep healthy the other 3 guys! Get Lorenzen in the rotation asap and try not to waste this year accomplishing nothing! Get your rotation figured out and they have the offense to do damage. Billy can/should bat 9th when he’s waving at everything and he can still help this team win! Its been a rough 20+ years for the Reds….constant nonstop losing with only a short turnaround punctuated by one of the biggest playoff chokes in mlb history. Not good!!

    • Patrick Jeter

      What does Peraza speaking English or not have to do with anything?

      • jazzmanbbfan

        Many Spanish speaking players do not do interviews in English even if they have some basic understanding and ability to speak it. If I was living in Germany, even if I knew a bit of the language, I would not be comfortable being interviewed in German. It think that’s the case with many, it was with Cueto. .

      • Patrick Jeter

        Sure. I agree with that. Still wondering why Peraza’s language has anything to do with the post above.

      • IndyRedMan

        I was just considering Cozart’s leadership/team leader qualities and how Peraza wouldn’t be able to fill them. Of course Peraza is a young guy but he just strikes me as more of an introvert. Leadership and team chemistry is something they’re not talking about with it comes to losing Cozart.

    • lwblogger2

      Two things… Thing 1 – I’m not a big fan of Peraza’s but a guy who doesn’t speak much English can be a clubhouse leader. This is especially true with all the Spanish speaking players around baseball. It’s a bigger game in Mexico and Latin America than it is in the US. Thing 2 – Playing the part of Cozart’s agent “I think I can get up to 5yrs/$75-million for Zach in his next deal. I think 4yrs/$60-million or so is probably his floor, assuming he stays healthy the whole season, which I have no reason to think he won’t. So, why should I take a 3yr deal for him?”

  30. Bubba Woo

    For the life of me I cannot fathom why everyone is so obsessed with trading Duvall! He’s currently on track to hit over 30 homers and 100 RBIs for the second straight year, and at 28 with team control for four years you control him through his prime. So you can start someone who’s hit a grand total of 7 home runs over the last year and a half? If Winker was a middle infielder or a center fielder, I could see it. Winker’s a Major Leaguer, no doubt, but he’s probably at best a poor man’s Hal Morris, not Joey Votto, as I think a lot of people are unrealistically hoping.

    • Patrick Jeter

      I’m not sure anyone is expecting Winker to be Votto. Anyone expecting anyone to be like one of the 30 or so best hitters in history is dumb.

      The nice round numbers, 30 HR and 100 RBI, are nice… sure… but Duvall is a 2.5-3.0 WAR player at peak (right now) and probably not for 4 more years. Winker (or any young prospect) still has that upside. His power could come back, and he’ll be a 3.5-4.0 WAR player because he has some discipline, wheras Duvall doesn’t. Even if Winker’s power doesn’t come back, he’s a 2.0 WAR player anyone on his discipline and bat-to-ball skills alone.

      It might be a “6 one way, half dozen the other” case, but I think it should be pretty simple to see why Duvall is an attractive trade chip.

  31. james garrett

    Somebody will pay big time for Duvall.The Reds just have to decide if its enough.I also think somebody will offer a lot for Billy.Somebody that has a big centerfield and doesn’t care if he can hit.If they don’t then we could start next year with both and go from there but Winker needs to be up here now and platoon with the other 3 guys.

    • greenmtred

      Nobody doesn’t care if a player can’t hit. Agree about Winker in a platoon or 4 outfielder rotation, though.

  32. james garrett

    I haven’t followed Winker much in the minors.However his high OBP works for me.I would take anywhere above league average from him which would mean he would be worse then he is now.We play half our games in GABP so I expect he will hit some homers.Lets get him up here.

  33. Nick Carrington

    If some team wants to pay a premium for Duvall’s power, then by all means do it. But, right now, I don’t mind the Reds keeping their log jam at the corner outfield. The depth is a nice thing to have an if Winker keeps leading the International League in AVG and OBP, he will get a chance at some point (probably because of injury).

    I love me some Zack Cozart but signing a 32-year-old middle infielder is generally a bad practice. I’d be fine with a short extension; Still, it’s dangerous with his knee history. Good chance somebody gives up something useful for him because teams typically overpay for help when they feel they have a chance. Don’t give him away for nothing obviously.

    Reed, Stephenson, and Lorenzen should definitely start. Lorenzen threw more sliders in his last appearance than any other pitch, and it’s his best strikeout pitch this season by far. He has thrown more sliders this year in 30.1 innings than he did all of last year in 50 innings. He’s evolving as a pitcher, and his pitch portfolio suggests he could be a good starter, which is way more valuable than an 90 inning reliever.

  34. Jeff

    You don’t make a meal better by getting rid of the main ingredients.

    • Patrick Jeter

      Good thing this is baseball and not Iron Chef.

      • I-71_Exile

        Tonight’s secret ingredient: the Big Red Smokey!

      • lwblogger2

        Hmmm, could maybe do Jambalaya with that as an Andouille substitute. Could work!

  35. Thomas Jefferson

    If’ I’m recalling the new CBA details correctly, the Reds could extend a Qualifying Offer to Cozart (one time), so they could have him in 2018 for roughly $17 million. Expensive, sure, but not if he keeps a high level of production. He’s on pace for 9 WAR this year – unreal. At half that he’s worth the QO, no long term extension needed. It doesn’t solve the 2019 hole in the line up without an extension, but gives another year to develop and sort. I agree that a trade for a solid return would be best, but if no eager suitors nor competing bidders surface in the next eight weeks, the QO is another option, and he could be traded at the deadline next year if this year’s offers are not enticing.

    • lwblogger2

      He’d also have to agree to the QO… He might, but he might not. Also, $17-million plus might be tough for the Reds in a year that’s likely to be another rebuilding one.

  36. IndyRedMan

    Duvall walked 4x in the Atlanta series and has his obp up to .322. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Its still just his 2nd season as a starter.

    As for Cozart….I’d make some overatures towards

    • IndyRedMan

      Jeez…typos. Anyway…they should talk to Cozart and see what his expectations are but if they trade him then I’d like to see a young guy that could develop into a starter or maybe even a proven reliever that could replace Lorenzen in the setup role.
      I’m still fairly high on Finnegan since his changeup improved so much late last season but Homer will prob throw 2-3 games and his arm will fall off. I guess we’ll find out? They should be turning over every stone and if you compare lefty Peralta’s pure stuff to Garrett’s then its no comparison!! Peralta was a starter a few years ago just like Lorenzen. He has the change and the tight breaking stuff for lefties! #1 priority has to be to iron out this starting pitching one way or the other!

    • Patrick Jeter

      His walk rate is lower this year than last year (6.7% vs 6.5%).

      His OBP is up because his BABIP is up, which it shouldn’t be given his drop in Hard%. Although, his line drives are up very slightly, but his infield fly balls are way up, too, so that sort of cancels out.

      All in all, it seems to me that Duvall’s true talent OBP at this point is probably .305-.310. Not much off the .322, sure. I’m just arguing that Duvall is not getting better in OBP indicators, as you are alluding to.

      • Nick Carrington

        Yes. This. Duvall is who he is. A low-OBP, big power guy. Small chance he develops a little more OBP, but we don’t currently have evidence that it’s happening right now. If he was a .320 OBP guy for the next four years, that would be awesome.

      • IndyRedMan

        Bottom line…Duvall has that short but powerful swing where the ball just jumps off his bat. Schebler is streakier but has incredible bat speed and they both can do major damage at times and they’re both cheap! We need starters obviously but I’d sort thru what we have first before I’d deal either one of them!

  37. WVRedlegs

    The possible market of starting pitching at this year’s trade deadline.
    PIT- Garrett Cole, Ivan Nova
    TB- Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Alex Cobb, Erasmo Ramirez
    CHW- Jose Quintana, James Shields, Derek Holland, Mike Pelphrey
    KC- Jason Vargas, Jason Hammel, Ian Kennedy, Nathan Karns
    SF- Matt Cain, Jeff Samardzija, Matt Moore, Johnny Cueto
    OAK- Sonny Gray, Andrew Triggs, Jesse Hahn
    HOU- Brad Peacock
    SD- Clayton Richard
    ATL- Julio Teheran, Jaime Garcia, RA Dickey, Bartolo Colon,
    PHI- Jeremy Hellickson
    NYM- Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler,
    BAL- Ubaldo Jimenez
    MIA- Edison Volquez

    This certainly isn’t an all inclusive list of who will be available, but it is a representative sample of what could be obtained at the trade deadline.
    The Reds most likely won’t be in play for any high end starters like Cole, Nova, Archer, Gray, Odorizzi, Quintana and Cueto,
    And they won’t be in on high priced starters like Hellickson, Kennedy, Shields, Samardzija, Cain, and Harvey.
    The Reds recipe should be low cost and 3-4 years of service time to go.
    I’d zero in on Houston’s Brad Peacock and Oakland’s Jesse Hahn. I’d get into serious conversations with Houston about Peacock today!!

    • IndyRedMan

      What about the big 25 yr old lefty Sean Manaea from Oakland? He just shut down Cleveland and the Yankees on the road! He could be the next CC Sabathia but I’m sure Billy Beane (is he still there?) knows the score.

      • WVRedlegs

        Billy Beane would trade his mother, but Manaea is probably an untouchable for Beane, or unaffordable for the Reds. That is why I didn’t include him.

      • Redsfan4life

        I like Hahn a lot. But shouldn’t he still be under Oakland’s control for a few more years? I would for sure pass on Peacock. He would cost to much and is very hittable but Nova walks nobody. We could use a guy who walks next to nobody in a bad way. But I would look for a younger version of Nova.

    • TR

      Until the starting cavalry returns from the disabled list, I would like to see Bartolo Colon acquired to fill out the temporary starting corps with Arroyo and Feldman. Colon should not break the bank for a one year contract.

      • Michael E

        LOL, you want gas on the fire, eh? I assume this was a stab at humor/sarcasm?

  38. james garrett

    Peacock is 29 years old and got his chance back in 2014 by starting 24 games for Houston.Seems to me like they were rebuilding at the time and gave him a shot.What a novel idea.Maybe we should do that with a couple of our 24 or 25 year old guys.Just saying.

    • WVRedlegs

      Yes Peacock is 29. Karns (KC) is 28 and Hahn is 27 out of that group. That is the thing, Peacock is past his ML learning curve where the Reds young starters are just starting out on theirs.

      • Chuck Schick

        Houston has the best record in baseball. Why would they trade a cost controlled pitcher who is performing well….especially to the Reds who wouldn’t seem to have anything the Astos would want or need?

      • Indy Red Man

        Gurriel at 1B just recently pushed his ops to .718 so Joey might be a slight improvement! If Votto wants a ring then he needs to look elsewhere because its not happening in Cincinnati….not in Joey’s era anyway!

        Basically though…teams generally aren’t trading proven starters! Then you have highly rated guys and some of them don’t have overwhelming stuff so you wonder how they would fare in GABP? Jake Odorizzi with Tampa for example. Ive seen him a couple times this year and his stuff isn’t electric? 91-92 mph with a good change that tails vs lefties but Disco has better stuff imo! Finnegan is a lefty with better stuff too! The Reds aren’t the kind of team that can make many mistakes on guys because they’re going to cost! I’m sure DW will just wait it out and see how Mahle, Castillo, Romano, and company pan out.

      • WVRedlegs

        Astros have 5 SP’s in Keuchel, McCullers, Morton, Musgrove and Fiers. Peacock is their #6 or #7 starter. He mostly pitches out of the pen for Houston. And they have a couple of starters at AAA if they need an emergency starter. The Astros ML roster doesn’t look like they need much at all. Maybe a 1B like Duvall. Maybe a bench bat like Kivlehan. Maybe they have holes a AAA or AA that need plugged.

      • doofus

        You may have hit on a need for the Astros, a 1B. Duvall would fit that need.
        .

  39. Michael E

    I fully agree with this piece Steve (yeah, i know that is rare for me). That said, I sure hope it was not necessary to have written it. Surely the front office is firmly entrenched in the same view. Surely? SURELY?

    As if adding one good (not great) player (pitcher or hitter) is going to suddenly make the Reds a team that could actually win a playoff game. There is a small chance the Reds could make the playoffs, but practicality says you do not risk anything of value on that small chance, especially knowing the pitching would easily be the worst of all the playoff teams if they made it.

    • doofus

      One thing I can say about this front office is that they are long in words and short on results.

  40. james garrett

    WVREDLEGS I was agreeing with you about Peacock and was taking a shot at our front office for not doing the same thing Houston did with him while rebuilding.They got it right on him and let him pitch.

  41. Michael E

    Bottom line on trading for SP this year…unless we give up 3 or 4 of our top 15 prospects, we aren’t sniffing a promising SP. Regardless of the love of hitting and pooh-pooh of pitching the past few years (the talk is pitching is plentiful and hitting is hard to come by), a good, youngish SP with years controlled is going to cost us 2 of our top 5 prospects and probably another in the top 12.

    Now, you could sell me if we can pawn off Stephenson and Reed or Winker (or all three) to get that SP1/SP2 starter. Now if you’re talking SP3, heck, we got like 10 of those already. Might as well wait out the injuries and let the SP3 talent stock the pitching staff.

    To me, we only trade for a potential ace that is already pitching well at AAA or MLB. No SP3 type given the likely cost.

    • doofus

      You make some cogent arguments here.

  42. Ed Koverman

    I like scooters left handed bat. Dillon gotta start hitting in Louisville

  43. doofus

    After last night’s game do you still say “No Gennett?”

  44. doofus

    I believe that Raisiel Iglesias would be attractive to contending teams down the stretch. Would the Nats move Victor Robles for him?

  45. doofus

    I’m not confident that the Red’s front office is capable of rebuilding this team… as long as Walt Jocketty is associated with it in anyway.

  46. doofus

    I thought I read a couple years ago that 2027 was the year that the Red’s would re-emerge into the competitive ranks; now it’s 2018?

  47. doofus

    I am not sold that the Red’s presently have the pitchers to fill out a starting rotation that can get them to and through a playoff race. They will have to deal. If a deal for a legit starting pitcher presents itself this year, the front office should get it done.

  48. earl99

    Sad to say, I don’t see unless someone gets hurt, I don’t see that much of a loaner market for Zach Cozart. The Rockies are the only contender that I see that could maybe be interested in an upgrade at this point. Yanks, Red Sox, Dodgers, Nats, Astros, Tribe, etc.. are all pretty solid at that position.

  49. Carl Sayre

    I struggle with moving Duvall, I know the age thing is the issue but we Have Hamilton and Peraza with no power and questionable understanding of plate discipline. Winkler has a good understanding of the strike zone but if you move Duvall that leaves Schebler and maybe Votto for power.why would you build a speed and OBP team with almost no power to play at GABP?