Randall Grichuk and Adam Duvall have a lot in common as baseball players. They’ve been corner outfielders for their respective clubs in the NL Central division. Both stand 6’1″. Grichuk weighs 205, Duvall 215.

Each of their teams has a fresh backlog of outfielders. The Cardinals recent trade for Marcell Ozuna of the Marlins and the emergence of Tommy Pham turned Grichuk into the club’s fourth outfielder. Likewise, the arrival of Jesse Winker creates an extra full-time outfielder for the Reds.

In terms of performance, Grichuk and Duvall  have been quite similar the past two seasons.

Duvall has an edge in counting stats (WAR) because he played in more games. The two are almost dead even in run creation rate (wRC+).

Various projection systems see them as similar players in 2018:

Grichuk offers a little more pop based on the expectation that Duvall’s power will decline. Duvall’s ISO the past two seasons was .257 (16) and .232 (17). The projection services treat that as a trend. If you average Duvall’s numbers, he’s even with Grichuk in expected power.

In terms of contracts, Duvall is a lighter carry. Grichuk will earn $2.6 million this year and becomes a free agent for the 2021 season. Duvall will earn league minimum in 2018, around $600,000, and his team control extends through 2021. Grichuk is younger by three years.

Last Friday, the Cardinals traded their surplus corner outfielder to the Toronto Blue Jays for RH major league reliever Dominic Leone and minor league pitcher Conner Greene.

In Leone, St. Louis acquired an excellent, 26-year-old reliever. Leone has pitched several seasons for the Blue Jays and is controlled by St. Louis through 2021. Last year Leone’s strikeout rate (29%) was well above league average for relievers (23.3%). His walk rate (8.2%) was below average (9.2%). His career GB% (47.4%) is above average for relievers (44.3%).

A tight comparable to Leone on the Reds last year was Raisel Iglesias (30% K, 8.8% BB).

In trading Grichuk, the Cardinals made the deal I proposed for the Reds at the end of September when I suggested they offer Duvall to the LA Angels for Cam Bedrosian.

We’ve observed the free agent market grow stagnant. Power-hitting corner outfielders aren’t scarce. Neither the Reds or Cardinals could expect a big return for their spare OFs.

But the St. Louis Cardinals made the deal anyhow.

Last month, they also traded OF Stephen Piscotty to the Oakland A’s. The Cardinals front office recognized its emerging areas of depth and pro-actively took what they could get. They didn’t cling to popular former starters. The Cardinals cycle through their roster as needed.

Yes, there’s still time for the Reds to move Duvall (and Scooter Gennett). Given the market, the front office may not receive a “full” return for those players, at least what the average fan might expect. Jason Linden’s recent post does a good job of explaining that. But even if the direct return isn’t eye-popping, making those trades creates badly needed opportunity for players like Jesse Winker, Dilson Herrera and Nick Senzel.

Are the Reds blowing it?

Right now, we don’t know. And we may never know. Trade offers stay secret unless accepted. We can only speculate at what the Reds are asking for Adam Duvall or Scooter Gennett or what they have been offered in return. If the Reds are taking risk aversion too far, we can’t measure it. If paralyzing forces are at work in ownership and the front office, we’ll have to judge by inference and comparison.

In this case, by comparison to the St. Louis Cardinals.

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! 87 Comments

  1. I am still not convinced that Dick Williams is comfortable managing the major league roster. Dick’s apologists point out this trade or that trade (obviously Castillo), which is anecdotal when you’re running a consistent last place team.

    I like Dick and he seems to be a thoughtful guy unlike the arrogant buffoon that preceded him. But you have to be bold to get out of last place and sometimes roll the dice. Dick’s not ready for that yet.

    • The Castillo trade is only anecdotal to you because it supports the opposite of the point you’re trying to prove. The fact is that the only way that trade isn’t a home run is if Castillo never pitches in the majors again.

      Did you expect Dick Williams to take over the roster we had in 2016 and turn it into a winner in two years? This stuff takes time. I’m confident in everything I’ve seen and heard that, when the time comes, we’ll be able to make moves to get us over the hump. It’s not that DW isn’t ready to make moves to get out of last place – the team itself isn’t in a position to do that yet.

      Sure, there are probably a ton of moves DW could make to get the Reds out of the cellar, but even then, without completely giving up on the young core of players we’re building, there’s no way the team finishes above third in the division. Why would you rather be third in the NL Central than last? The middleground is the worst place to be in baseball. No playoffs, and no high draft picks.

      Winning, although fun and great and awesome, isn’t worth a damn unless you’re winning 90+ games. Anything less than that, and you’re shooting yourself in the foot development-wise. This front office knows this, and it’s asked for your patience multiple times while they wait out the bad times. To accept this and then complain about it is insanity at its finest.

      Coming back to the ‘anecdotal’ Castillo trade – When this team is built to completion in the plan the front office has laid out, and assuming they’re winning ball games, who do you think is anchoring the rotation? Trading for a 24 year old pitcher isn’t a win now move. It’s a move to ensure you’re winning when your window is open. We’ll revisit this trade in two or three years, and if it’s not one of the best trades you’ve ever seen the Reds make, then the anecdotal label can live on.

      • I am concerned that DW only wants to hit HRs for trades.
        He does not want to hit a double or triple..

        • So you’re saying we should make some trades just to make trades? Why not only trade guys if you know you’re getting the best of the deal? Why hit a double or a triple in a trade if you can get Castillo for Straily every time?

      • “Winning, although fun and great and awesome, isn’t worth a damn unless you’re winning 90+ games. Anything less than that, and you’re shooting yourself in the foot development-wise. This front office knows this, and it’s asked for your patience multiple times while they wait out the bad times.”

        tell me where the front office “knows this.” I don’t think the FO knows much at all. They don’t even know how to sort correctly.

        • Its on page 12 of the Reds Front Office Media Guide

        • The Reds traded away all of their post-arbitration talent (with the exception of Joey Votto) prior to the 2017 season. If the Reds were trying to win 90+ games, you’d have extensions for guys like Todd Frazier, Jay Bruce and Aroldis Chapman. It’s that simple.

          They aren’t trying to win, because they tried to win with all of those guys in ’15 and lost the gamble. The team wasn’t good enough. So, rather than toil away in .500 land only to get the #15 draft pick, why not play a bunch of young guys to get experience and add pieces like Nick Senzel and Hunter Greene?

          It’s basic baseball economics, man. Also, there goes that ‘sort’ word again. I swear half the guys in these comments just chirp back whatever lingo they hear in the post above. No offense to Steve, he’s got the right idea, but it seems like a lot of you latch on to some of his more negative ideas and scream them as gospel from the top of a mountain.

          Did you want Dick Williams to sort all of his injured starting pitchers? What did you reasonably expect when guys you had slated 1-3 in your rotation went down to season ending injuries? Remember, Luis Castillo wasn’t even supposed to sniff the major leagues last year – he was here out of need. The GM can only do what he can do – you can’t rush guys, or you end up with a bunch of Cody Reeds.

          I know losing isn’t fun, but it’s necessary. The faster you learn that and come to terms with it, the more you can enjoy the rebuild and watching some of these young kids try to figure it out.

          • A certain contingent of Reds fans are under the assumption that you trade off all your talent for 21 year olds, start them in the majors immediately and then win 100 games and the World Series. People forget that more often than not these players do not work out. Of course a certain contingent of reds fans regurgitate the same complaint once a week in voice or print.

          • Losing for 4+ years isn’t fun. And with the end nowhere in sight, and the FO doing little to improve the team, it gets frustrating. The Reds have had 2 years to “Sort” You conveniently overlook that the team pushed Bronson Arroyo Scott Feldman and Tim Adleman out there instead of the youngsters. That is an unacceptable delay of the rebuild.

            “Losing is… necessary.”

            I give up.

          • Jordan is saying that when a team is in a rebuild, they lose games!

            I think we all agree that patience is wearing thin with losing records.

            However their is reasonable disagreement about the performance of the FO since DW took over, as well as how the young pitchers where handled and how they developed last year.

            The FO plan is to be buyers next offseason and very likely put an end to the rebuild. I’m looking forward to it.

          • Thank you Jordan!!

          • @JESSECUSTER44 No, it isn’t fun. Yes, the teams ent out Arroyo, Feldman and Adleman to the mound instead of young players last year because the young players weren’t ready. You can’t just throw every young pitcher into the fire to get them experience and hope it works out. That’s why we have a minor league system.

            Luis Castillo is one example of a young kid who looked completely unfazed when things went badly. He’s a rare talent that made the jump from AA to ML and was fine. Cody Reed shows what happens when you rush the average minor leaguer – they haven’t learned what they need to learn in order not to melt down when something bad happens. You can’t do that on the major league mound, or you run the chance of completely ruining a guy’s psyche.

            Arroyo was a bad call, and was probably mostly fan service. But Feldman and Adleman were serviceable in the absence of literally anyone else who was ready to throw a baseball at major league hitters 20 times a year.

      • Jordan, keep the p-word (patience) out of this gathering of pitchforks!

        /s

        Appreciate your insight, and agree completely.

        • Sorry but next year the FO will say that they’ll be buyers in 2020. It’ll be an endless rebuild. I don’t believe a thing DW says after how poorly the last 4 years have been managed.

          Trading players for pennies on the dollar. Not developing young talent. Not sorting the OF or the pitching. Keeping Price, even though he impedes the development of young players.

          It’s very frustrating, and while I appreciate the argument that Jordan makes, I just don’t believe it will happen and I’m sick of waiting.

          • You really believe the FO just wants to continually rebuild?

          • Jesse: I share your frustration (I think that all of us do), but I’m not convinced that the process is endless and doomed. The pitching seems all but certain to look very different and younger this year and that alone may address the bigest on-field reason for the poor recent season. Trading for or signing a veteran or two will not make the Reds WS contenders. Reaping the benefits from a strong minor league system might, and might do it sustainably.

          • Chad, there is no evidence at all that the FO is going to end the rebuild anytime soon. there have been words, but no action. I’m waiting for action, but i won’t hold my breath.

          • @JESSECUSTER44 You can’t force a team to be good again, or everyone would do it every year. There are limited options available to the Reds FO, most of them bad.

            The actions being taken by the FO are scouting and drafting well (by all means, it seems like the scouting and drafting department have been crushing it the last four years), and waiting on some of these guys to develop. It doesn’t happen over night, and you can’t rush it.

            I know you hate the P word, but the faster you find patience, the happier you’ll be.

  2. Well he did it last year in trading Straley, a trade that was so bold (how could we trade one of our best starters for a minor league future) that we all became spoiled.

    Trading Duvall or Gennett should be a walk in the park compared to that bold move

    • Why do you want to trade Duvall or Gennett? Think about all of the reasons. They’re both probably headed for decline. Duvall is old. Gennett isn’t much younger.

      Guess what? Every other major league ball club is seeing the same thing you are, plus some. It’s not easy to trade a guy you don’t see as being a part of your future to another team who also doesn’t see that guy as a part of their future.

      • Hey Jordan,

        I am not sure I want to trade either of them, but thought that they would be easier for a GM to trade given all the options than Pitching was to trade prior to the 2017 season.

        I like Duvall. I see a 4 person platoon that could improve every one of the 4.

        gennett is a great bench player and starter for certain match ups.

        The problem with both players is the Price factor. Neither should have more than 450 abs in the right match ups. You would see prime output by both.

        Does anyone realistically believe that Price can restrain himself to put in Herrera and Winker for 300 and 500 abs? Let alone Senzel.

        That is the only reason I think they should be traded by the ASB

      • The problem as I see it isn’t that Duvall HAS to be traded, but rather that WInker HAS to be the starter. I, and I think many of the people pushing for a trade of Duvall, would be fine to see him as the team’s 4th outfielder. The problem is that the Reds have given no indication they are willing to bench Duvall in favor of Winker. The best case from the Reds, if Duvall is still on the team, is probably 350 PAs for Winker. That doesn’t help the Reds present, it doesn’t help the Reds future, and it doesn’t make Duvall any better looking in a trade. So the options seem to be trade Duvall for what you can get now, trade for Duvall for less than that in July, or start Winker and move Duvall to the bench. I’m partial to the last option but I’m afraid the Reds have already ruled that one out.

        • Or trade Hamilton. Why does everyone always want to unload Duvall? Go back and look at our LF situation before Duvall arrived. I’ll wait.

        • I think you’re right that Winker’s presence is the reason for the Duvall trade talk. But I think Dick Williams has given some indications that Winker is going to play, somehow or some way. He did an interview (with Lance, I think) last month that demonstrated his knowledge that Winker HAS to play.

          He can’t talk down Duvall in public, obviously, so I’m optimistic that Winker will get 550 ABs, with the remainder of the outfield at-bats going to Hamilton/Duvall/Schebler (absent a trade, obviously). And I think that could be a pretty good outfield, frankly. Though I’m less than hopeful that Price can effectively manage that rotation.

          Maybe I’m looking through rose-colored glasses when it comes to Winker. But I’m hopeful.

        • The reason to trade someone is that in one year, theres going to be a big logjam in the OF. And since Price refuses to play the youngsters, the only way to get most talented ones playing time would be to trade away the others while they still have value.

  3. Amen Brother. What else is there to say?

  4. Pretty impressive offseason for the Cards. Ozuna, a starter from Japan, and now a solid reliever. Piscotty was pretty strong in 2016! If he’s a Red then he’s not going anywhere for 3 years atleast. The Castillo for Straily deal was sweet, but you can only ride that horse for so long.

  5. I’m not sure if DW would even have the option of making this deal. As mentioned in the article, Duvall is 3 years older. Grichuk’s controllable until he is basically Duvall’s current age, whereas Duvall is controllable into his age-32 season. I think the return on Duvall would be less than what the Cards got for Grichuk.

    Duvall seems like a good teammate and is well-liked by the fans as far as I know. If we’re trying to move an outfielder, it should be BH. But this Grichuk trade also illustrates that the return on BH would probably be underwhelming. It doesn’t help that the lead contender for BH, the Giants, have a crappy farm system.

    • The point is that the Cards are actively improving their team. They are making – not just offering or listening to – trades.

      Someone needs to tell DW that coffee is for closers and to get his butt in gear.

      • Why, though?

        Here’s a question for you: Would you have traded Billy Hamilton for the return Andrew McCutchen gained the Pirates? If we piece things together, that was certainly on the table for the Reds. If DW was all jacked up on that coffee, he’d have taken that deal. Had he not listened only, we’d be on the losing side of a deal.

        It would have been news and something you could have reacted to, sure, but would it have been good for the team?

        • You’ve never seen Glengarry Glen Ross, have you??

          What would be good for the team would be to get off the duff and make deals to improve the team. Some teams have made trades and had the Reds been proactive, they’d have moved an OF before the McCutchen deal.

          No, I would not want the return that Pitt got for McCutchen. I wanted to Reds to make a move early in the offseason, to take advantage of the Marlins fire sale. But as usual, they are sitting on their hands.

          • What player would you have realistically wanted to trade for from the Marlin’s fire sale? The Reds couldn’t afford Stanton, and Ozuna is an RFA in 2020, right when we’re looking to be good again. They’re asking for Ronald Acuna straight up for Yelich. He’s the #1 prospect in baseball, so there’s no way we could get him without offering up (probably) both Senzel and Greene.

            McCutchen has a better track record than anyone we’d be able to trade away, and look at the return the Pirates got for him. If DW had a deal on the table with a worse return than that, I’m glad he didn’t push the button.

            Making deals just to make deals isn’t the way to rebuild your franchise. Taking clear shots when you know you’re the clear winner of the transaction (Straily for Castillo) is textbook rebuilding.

            At the end of the day, DW has set up the outfield to win as best as he can. Ownership clearly wants to give Billy Hamilton another shot (or two…or three…), and it’s up to Bryan Price to juggle 4 above average outfielders into a rotation that maximizes wins. Getting rid of one of those guys just to have three clear cut starters is just asking for trouble should injury or regression occur. Depth is almost never a bad thing.

            And yes, I have seen Glengarry Glen Ross 🙂 But DW needs to be less of a closer and more of a three-point shooter. Wait until he’s got everything where he wants it to be, and then pull the trigger. I think he’s been doing a good job of that so far.

    • I have some issues with trading Hamilton unless there is someone who can be brought in to actually play CF. That would still keep us in the same situation with corner OF. So, Duvall or Schebler are who I’d rather move in a deal if I were the Reds’ GM. I agree with you 100% on the Duvall vs Grichuk comp. There is no doubt that they are probably very, very similar players in 2018. As Duvall is 3 years older though, will that hold true for 2019, 2020? Maybe the teams don’t like Duvall’s 2nd half declines the past 2 years? It is very possible that the Reds have offered up Duvall for Bedrosian or for Leone and the answer from the Angels/Jays was “No”. Maybe their in-house metrics value Grichuk higher than Duvall? Maybe the Reds aren’t trying to move them and the lack of chatter that they are suggests that maybe Steve is right and the Reds just aren’t trying hard enough. After all, the Hamilton talks weren’t a secret to anyone and there has been almost no rumors of Duvall on the block and none I’ve seen regarding Schebler. Still, we don’t know they aren’t trying to make these sorts of deals.

  6. “Grichuk is younger by three years” is the operative phrase.

    Grichuk had a bad first half of the year (OPS of .678), then rebounded in the second half at .859. Duvall did the opposite, as we know. The feeling has to be that (1) Grichuk made the adjustments last year and bounced back, and (2) that as he heads into the prime of his career this year in his age 26 season, Grichuk stands a reasonable chance of repeating or even bettering his .877 OPS in his age 23 season.

    In other words, the Blue Jays accepted Grichuk in exchange for Leone’s rights, but they would likely not have accepted Duvall.

  7. I didn’t know they had stopped showing us how it’s done

    • Ouch. That’s a tough truth bomb to take on a Monday.

      • Kudos to those posting above me questioning the headline and narrative proposed in the article.

        Shamng the Reds by comparing them to the Cardinals is like shooting fish in a barrel. But, while the Cardinals moved Grichuk and Piscotty, there are extenuating factors:

        -Age is now a factor more than ever in roster construction across MLB.

        This is the current headline on FanGraphs, which says it all….

        https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/players-dont-become-terrible-at-30/

        -The Piscotty trade was motivated in part to allow him to be close to his mother, living in the East Bay (around Oakland) and battling a life-threatening illness.

        If WInker, Senzel and/or Herrera can eventually win the jobs, sit Duvall and Gennett. They aren’t making much and apparently, aren’t highly valued by other teams, anyway.

        • I wish I had the confidence in the current Reds Management/Front Office that WInker, Senzel and/or Herrera could win a job. I just currently feels like with the current regime, the guys in place, Duvall/Schebler/Gennett/Peraza have to go through the long process of losing the job regardless of whether their is superior talent behind them. I don’t want to see the long painful demise of lesser talented players proving they are so. I want to see an organization evaluate the players accordingly and play the better talent. I won’t be surprised at all if Duvall/Schebler/Gennett/Peraza won’t all have to struggle for a extended time before any of WInker/Senzel/Herrera even get an opportunity to win the job.

          • This is the point that gets lost in all of the “trade X” discussions; the only reason there is a need to trade certain players is because the manager will not bench “established veterans” for “unproven rookies.”

            Unfortunately for the unproven rookie, the Reds offer no path to unseat the established veteran. The established veteran must die off (retire) or be traded for the unproven rookie to ascend to the starting lineup and then become a coveted established veteran.

            The only time in the last 15 years that I can remember a starting 8 position player losing his job was unproven Jose Peraza losing out after 90 games to proven veteran Scooter Gennett. In a million years, if their numbers were swapped, Jose Peraza would not have unseated Scooter Gennett.

        • Agree. In order to trade Duvall some fair value must be returned or no trade should be made. There is still more time left this offseason and pessimism abounds.

        • If “shaming the Reds by comparing them to the Cardinals is like shooting fish in a barrel”… then doesn’t that sort of prove the point of the headline?

          How can it not be fair to compare the Reds to another major league baseball team they are in direct divisional competition with? There aren’t such vast differences between Cincy and St. Louis that it becomes comparing them to a LA Dodger or NYY payroll situation.

          I dislike the Cards as much as any self respecting Reds fan does, but I’m also willing to admit that what they do works more often than not.

          Who doesn’t want to be in a position where it’s a legitimate surprise that the team isn’t in a contending position in the division?

    • This hurts. Because it’s true.

  8. Steve, there was one word in your post that I think really sets apart successful front offices from unsuccessful ones, and I’ll highlight it here:

    PROACTIVE

    For front offices to really have an edge, they need to look at the landscape, see what’s on the horizon, and act before anyone else catches on. This was the basic idea behind “Moneyball”, and in this era when everyone is using advanced metrics it’s becoming harder and harder to find that “edge”, (a fact Jason Lindon detailed in his excellent “No Secrets” article.

    However, you can still have an edge in being a first-mover. The Cardinals correctly identified that the market was going to be saturated with the same pieces they themselves were looking to move, and they moved quickly while everyone else was left to look on. The difference between a successful front office and an unsuccessful one is the difference between proactive and reactive. The reactive approach is what led to the Reds bungling the Chapman and Frazier trades, refusing to move when they had a much more favorable landscape.

    All that said, the Reds actually made a very proactive move last season in trading Strailey for Castillo. It’s been frustrating to see the Reds do nothing this offseason so far, but, like you said, we don’t know what’s been happning behind the scenes. If they have something cooking along the lines of the trade which netted the Reds Castillo, all will be forgiven. But if they hold onto their pieces too long ala Frazier and Chapman, well, all we can do is keep looking enviously at the proactive moves the Cards keep making.

    • It’s worth noting that there can also be an edge in picking just the right moment. As the market thins and there are fewer options, prices can go up.

      • I was going to say something like this too. We do see, every spring, some team desperate for an SP or an OF after injuries or some unforseen event.

        Duvall may be traded in spring training and net more then.

        I still want Hamilton traded because he can’t hit a lick and kills the offense. I don’t care if we have a nice, pretty, shiny CF waiting to take over. We have plenty of candidates that won’t be quite as rangy defensively, but oh-so-much-better offensively. Also, the FA and minor leagues are littered with good defense, poor offense CFs… aka, littered with a tick slower Billy Hamiltons. Trade him, and audition a half dozen for the starting gig in spring training. We have more than enough candidates that would be at least adequate defensively.

      • Of course, if we wised up and made Hamilton the 5th OF for pinch running, and late game defensive replacement, that would work very well too. We could keep him then.

        If he must start, he should always be hitting 9th, so he gets the least amount of ABs as possible.

      • The market this year may well still be thinning deep into the season given the current lack of FA activity 😉

  9. A trade of Duvall makes sense for the Reds. However, it seems there is almost no market at all for a high strikeout homerun hitter who is turning 30 soon. I think the Grichuk return is better than what we could expect from Duvall due to age and Duvall’s end of season swoon. This is why Duvall is still with the Reds.

    The returns we are seeing on trades this winter are quite weak. Perfect time to turn meager prospects into a deal for Ender Inciarte or Marcus Semien type CF or SS.

    • The question is, why would either of those teams want to trade Inciarte or Semien for “meager prospects”?

      • The returns for McCutchen, Grichuk, Cole etc. were what I’d call Meager prospects.

        What I really mean is a 2.5 war player can be traded for without giving up a lot. It seems that this is especially the case this winter. And I think we need an upgrade in CF and SS.

  10. I’ll admit I’m a big Duvall fan, but I’m also realistic and I know his shelf life is limited at 29-30 yrs old….however….isn’t there a chance that he could be a pretty good player with 400 atbats or so? The stats say that he could!! Mechanically his swing is short (as opposed to Schebler or Scooter) and he’s good defensively. I could be wrong, but wasn’t he leading the NL in extra basehits around the AS break? I don’t the reliever that StL got for Grichuk, but if we can’t get a closer in waiting type or someone close then forget it imo. We got nothing for Cozart and most likely nothing for Bruce.

    • Duvall is good and should be good for a few more years. The question is, since Castellini loves HAmilton and his lack of hitting abilities, how to find room and ABs for very good OF prospect and younger players?

      Duvall market will be fairly good so long as we don’t just dump him. If a team isn’t begging for him now, they might be in spring or in May after some injuries to a major contender. Duvall can play defense quite well, and that is the difference between him and a dozen other power hitting corner OFs that might be available.

      I don’t see a problem finding a good return for Duvall. I don’t have a problem if they include another lesser player or non-elite prospect to obtain an elite prospect in return.

      Keeping Duvall is not the worst thing in the world. I am fine if they can get him a day off every week to keep him playing better into the dog-days of summer. I’d rather Hamiltons horrible bat be benched for pinch running and late game sub, but that apparently ain’t happening with Castellini’s irrational love of mediocrity.

  11. I can’t get past seeing the Reds as operating from a static point of view and slow or unable to effectively adjust to changing conditions just as they were under Jocketty.

    • Is Oh still with the Cards? He hasn’t been great, but pretty good and improved their pen. That’s the difference between the Reds and the “haves” in mlb. They get premium players from Japan or Korea. We send players to Japan or Korea after the Reds are literally their last stop in mlb. They either retire or go to Japan. Therefore…signing Ichiro is a natural since he should be doing both and can block those pesky younger guys.

  12. Which of these players would you rather have:

    A. Relief pitcher with stats close to Raisel Iglesias
    B. Fourth OF who hits like Adam Duvall (100 plate appearances)

    So while, yes, if Bryan Price would start Jesse Winker and use Duvall off the bench it would address some of the reason to trade Duvall, the Reds overall might be better with another top-end (non-closer) reliever than a power-hitting fourth OF.

    • Why would the Blue Jays trade a relief pitcher with stats close to Raisel Iglesias for Adam Duvall? Duvall is a barely above replacement player, old, and has faded in the second half for two consecutive seasons, for whatever reason.

      Anyway, do we know one way or the other if the Reds had Duvall talks with the Blue Jays?

      Either way. it is apparent from national radio/TV programs, other teams’ media, etc. that

      -teams are very much valuing all players in the same manner

      -short of platitudes for Votto, there is little regard for the current talent on the Reds

      IMO, kids should be playing every inning, at every position, that they are even somewhat capable of handling. “All you can eat.” Bench marginal veterans.

      I am skeptical Price, Williams, Jocketty, Castellini…someone in charge feels the same.

      • Duvall is projected at 0.7 WAR for 2018, my reference to “barely above replacement.”

        • ZiPS has Duvall at 2.0 WAR for what it’s worth. That’s a pretty big discrepancy between the projection you’re looking at and ZiPS model.

    • Leone and Iglesias are not close. Leone has posted two quality years, 2014 and 2017. He was awful in 2015 and 2016. Consistency matters. Iglesias pitched in more high leverage situations in 2017 and performed better in those situations as well.

      The Reds are at a point where they should be opportunistic in trades and FA signings. The Cards are competitive and should be more aggressive in molding their roster. Unfortunately, this year is about “sorting” again.

      I share your concern that there is risk that players like Winker, Herrera and maybe Senzel get blocked in playing time with the Reds. If that happens this year, it will be really tough to stomach.

  13. I think a variable that has not been controlled in your comp is where the franchises are in their process. The Cardinals are “reloading” and the Reds are “rebuilding”. They could be the exact same age, production, same horoscopic sign, identical twin, but they if the organizations in control of them are at different Defcon levels relative to obtaining wins for the following year then it doesn’t really matter right?

    • Exactly – your point echoes what Mr. Barhorst said above. Cincy has very little to trade. Yes, Steve is correct that SL is the team to emulate, but we just don’t have the SL level of talent to expect any type of return at this time.

      Maybe Steve’s point is trade Duvall (or Hamilton)… period. Get it over with, get what you can and get along with the business of letting Jesse W play every day. I’m all for it!

      But if Steve’s talking about building through trading, I don’t see much immediate talent to offer. If we’re talking on Redleg Nation about Duvall late-season swoons, it’s certain the market knows this too. In addition, we have the well-publicized metrics (Jason’s article) and the fact Cincy has finished in solid last place the past 3 seasons (verifying the talent level on the ML roster).

      SL has proven, division-contending talent and an ability to locate recycled talent – the Jhonny Peralta move still amazes me – I mean who spells it that way?! ;->

      Most teams in baseball seem to follow one of two paths; 1. suffer through lean years but build to compete in 10-20 year cycles or 2. trade ruthlessly in an effort to remain playoff viable.

      Cincy’s in category 1 and SL is in category 2. The difference between SL and Cincy? Before the 2012 season, SL let Albert Pujols walk rather than outbid the market – Pujols arguably one of the two greatest hitters in SL baseball history. SL proceeded to make the playoffs from 2012 to 2014 and win the NL pennant in 2013 without Pujols (SL got nothing in return – as Pujols left via FA). But SL put their resources elsewhere to solidify their team and remain relevant. I’m not advocating a trade of our 1st baseman (in fact this was a great lock-up!), but we did not trade some very good chips when we had the opportunity. In fact, we actually went the other direction and locked up more long-term guys that unfortunately spent years on the DL.

      Thus, we entered the rebuild cycle. Now, even with a shrewd, metrics-minded GM, it’s going to take a long while.

      • Well said!

      • St Louis did NOT let Pujols walk. They bid a huge bid and Pujols took another offer. St Louis didn’t let him walk smartly, they just got VERY lucky he took another offer.

        We should be so lucky on players that have proven bad investments…sigh. No one knew Bailey and Meso would be littered with impacting injuries, but darn our luck.

        • Of course the Cards made an effort, a huge effort. I never said they didn’t. But in the end they chose not to match what the Angels were willing to offer Pujols. With that decision, they let Pujols walk. And with that, they focused their resources toward other needs and made a run without Albert.

    • The Cardinals are always willing to reload and retrain their focus. That’s why they are never totally rebuilding.

  14. Apples to Oranges. The Reds do not command the respect & attention of FA players. their representatives, even other GMs that the Cards do. I’m not disrespecting anyone, it’s just fact. Cards participate in the FA market, top to bottom. Reds do not. Cards make more “lateral” trades (something they have for something they want). Reds have been trading mostly players for prospects. It’s senseless to argue trades that might have been & I still have faith that Williams is an improvement over his predecessor, but the Cozart thing- not good. Also, Cingrani worth more than the return (at the time of the trade). Reds fans want the Cards team (worthy of winning) & they want it sooner than later. Standing pat with the players the Reds have will not remain an option for very long. Cards , on the other hand, are pursuing, not waiting.

    • I still have faith that Williams is an improvement over his predecessor

      I guess you weren’t watching last July/August when DW is talking to the Jim Day or whoever while Walt is on the phone in the background. They need to ban Jocketty from the grounds, but he’s still deeply involved:(

      • Could have been talking to his wife. We don’t know. That said, I suspect that you are right and that Jocketty still has the ear of Castellini. I think he still has too much say in decisions that really should be all Williams’ decisions to make.

  15. I like the comment, ‘losing is necessary’, if I counted right over the last 21 years the Reds have found ot necessary 16 times, the Cards 3.

  16. I will assume your tongue was firmly stuck into your cheek with that comment. I find it highly distasteful that we must glibly accept and even promote such defeatist attitudes. “Losing is necessary,” is right up there with another of those defeatist attitudes like, ‘small market’, etc. How sad we seem to accept such drivel. The fact the Cards, and other teams, continue to contend nearly every year while we are languishing in the basement is strong evidence of our Reds ownership teams lack of commitment to winning; contrary to their assurances.
    PROACTIVE, is indeed a good description of what the Cards have demonstrated this, and most other, offseasons. It is surprising to see how many positive posters there are who preach patience for this interminably long ‘rebuild’, in spite of there being no end in sight. I for one would appreciate some REAL solutions, like filling 2 of our gaping holes in the rotation…not with another Feldman type, but an honest to goodness no 1 or 2 guy. They are out there.

    • patience breeds complacence. “This is fine.”

      No. It. Isn’t.

      • Being patient isn’t equal to “This is fine.”

        This sucks. There’s no way around it. But unless you have a magic win wand, you’ll have to accept the fact that the Reds aren’t a winning team yet.

  17. There is a huge difference between St. Louis and Cincinnati; the cardinals sell out every game win or lose. Go to a reds game on a Tuesday evening in may. Even if they are winning they are lucky to draw 12000 fans.

    Therefore the reds front office don’t just look at stats, analytics when they make their roster moves. They can’t afford to. They are more interested in players that will put fannies in the seats.

    That is why there is no way on earth the reds are trading Duvall. He is a local boy and a fan favorite (especially among the ladies). He seeks tickets and merchandise

    • Oh, BULL. Winning puts fannies in the seats.

      And I seriously doubt that trading Duvall would impact attendance. Starting Jesse Winker would get people to the park, especially if he plays well. But getting Yelich or a front line starter would bring even more people.

      That’s the trouble. The Reds take the myopic view of adding 1,500 more fans per game (bobbleheads, throwing Arroyo and other fan favorites out there) instead of going for a move that would move the needle a much larger amount.

    • This argument makes no sense. BP, Chapman, Bruce, and others brought more people to the park than Duvall ever will. How much do you honestly think trading Duvall would change attendance? I doubt there would be a loss of five ticket sales. Winning however would increase attendance by the thousands. The Fiona bobblehead will bring people to the park, Duvall will not.

    • Is this Bob Castellini? The same silly, short-sighted owner that forced a below-value trade of Chapman because of course two or three women won’t attend one future game because of “domestic violence” Chapman still on the team?

  18. 2018 has to be the final year for the rebuild. The Reds must contend in 2019. Its worth noting that different phases of a rebuild have different decision points and degrees of difficulty.

    The needed breakdown of the last good team was obvious…….Honestly, how hard is it to trade Johnny Cueto or Mike Leake or Mat Latos. All 3 were proven commodities and All Star/playoff caliber veteran pitchers. There’ s a market for successful veteran SP in their late 20’s and a trade deadline with playoff implications is the kindling. Get your scouts and player development guys and a list of 6-8 teams and you get who you got.

    The lack of a proactive principled approach to trade Frazier/Chapman/Bruce/ and Cozart cost the Reds. Chapman was a certifiable debacle.

    The Reds are now struggling to finish this rebuild. We dont know why. There are no deadlines or absolutes. Its apparent now that many of the players obtained during the breakdown are either role players or fillers that need to be moved. Yet, no traction anywhere and inertia rules the day.

    The final piece of the rebuild requires more vision, more creativity, more boldness. While there’s no mandate or deadline to trade Duvall or Gennett or Hamilton, the end point needs to be how to win in 2019 and what roster is needed to get there. That question is far more open-ended and less certain than Cueto needs to be traded next week.

  19. I certainly agree, OLDSCHOOL, that Chapman was a debacle. Until I read on another thread the statement purportedly made by BC, re:BHam, (something like ‘I hope he is a Red forever!’) I was not certain he had interfered with that debacle. At the time, it was merely rumored that he wanted Chappy out of town due to the allegations. The inference that he may have interfered with a trade for BHam makes me feel that he likely did have too much influence in the Chappy debacle.
    If so, this is BAAAD business and sheds further light on the problem our Reds face in getting back to being relevant. Especially considering Billy’s steady UZR slide mentioned on another thread. The problem is, good owners or ownership groups, are even harder to find than good Center Fielders! Not to mention that there have been no rumors of BC wanting to sell the team.

    • BC meddles way too much. It’s his team, but he knows absolutely nothing about baseball. IT was clear he forced a horrible Chapman trade. I am sure two or three folks would have refused to go to games if the garage shooting Chapman was still on the team. So sad.

      Then the Yanks turn him in to prospect gold a few short months later. Double gut-punch.

    • There are many potential baseball owners in the country. The problem is there are too few with roots in Cincinnati that can go all out to win a championship by taking chances and spending the money.

  20. Steve you cant imply the recency bias for Leone and then take the opposite stance for a guy like Gennet. Why does everyone forget that you need to have bench players on good teams too. If you can get something good for him, great. But otherwise Duvall or Schebler are a great 4th outfielder. Remember, people get hurt. The terrible bench was what doomed the reds the last time they were contenders. Relievers from year to year are as reliable as the weather.

  21. Actually I’m not that concerned about trading Duvall, Billy, Scooter, etc.

    I’m more interested to see if Disco and Finnegan are healthy and if so….are they going to stick guys like Romano and Mahle in Lville for most of the year? Lorenzen wants to start and could be better there imo. Teams like to speculate on big strong kids with power sinkers! You want to have depth, but there is a need to pick out a couple of guys that you could live without and fill some holes!

    • Any success in 2018 (and forward) lives and dies with the pitching becoming at least average or better. I would like weak-links, like Hamilton, moved to improve the hitting side, but without a good, solid rotation, we wouldn’t win with Houston’s lineup

    • Agreed

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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.

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