runningrainman

Originally, this article was going to have nothing to do with the actual “Sleepless in Seattle” — besides the headline pun — but then I decided to refresh my memory on the movie’s plot and came across this one line summary: “A recently widowed man’s son calls a radio talk-show in an attempt to find his father a partner.”

If you consider Robinson Cano’s suspension a widowing of Jerry Dipito, and if you consider me Dipito’s son writing to you, the radio show listeners, and if you consider trading Scooter Gennett to the Mariners to be the same as finding a partner for Dipito, then basically all of this was preordained. The only problem is — this is a rom-com reference after all, there has to be a problem — the Mariners don’t have a lot to give for Gennett’s services.

We’ll stop with the movie gambit here, but the point stands: The Mariners could use a second baseman and the Reds have a second baseman to deal. So how could the two teams overcome the Mariners woeful farm system and send Scooter to Seattle without shorting the Reds’ end of the sale?

1. Three Prospects

Before we dive into option one, let’s set our basic givens:

  1. Scooter Gennett currently carries the highest batting average in the NL and has been worth 2.3 WAR in 2018.
  2. Last season, Scooter was worth 2.4 WAR.
  3. Scooter is 28 years old, enjoying the peak of his prime as we speak.
  4. Scooter Gennett is a horrible (defensive) second baseman.
  5. Re-signing Scooter after the 2019 season is always an option.

These five givens tell us: 1) Scooter’s worth has never been higher than it is currently; 2) prevailing wisdom says this is the best he will ever be; and 3) he will probably be too expensive for the Reds to re-sign. Three solid reasons to deal him now.

But the five givens could also be argued to say that: 1) Scooter has had enough sample size to prove this version is for real; 2) many second baseman only enter their prime at 28; and 3) re-signing him could be a bargain compared to other more renowned second baseman. Add in the possibility of Scooter playing outfield, and the givens are pointing to hold, hold, hold.

If you buy into this second explanation — that Scooter is the second coming of Joe Morgan — all of the potential trades I’m about to suggest are going to seem…disappointing. If you buy into the first option, or even some middle ground between the two, the trades will still seem disappointing, but for the sake of this post, let’s stick with it. Were the Reds to send Scooter to Seattle, logic dictates that they should be looking at a package of prospects similar to the Johnny Cueto haul.

Combing through the Seattle top 30, there are two tiers of players who should interest the Reds, of which they should ask for one from the first and two from the second.

Tier 1:

  • Evan White, 1B/OF
  • Julio Rodriguez, RF

Tier 2:

  • Art Warren, RHP
  • Luis Liberato, OF
  • Seth Elledge, RHP
  • Anthony Miseiwicz, LHP

Jumping out of your seat with joy yet? No? Fair enough, this first option is by far the most boring and uninspiring package for Gennett.

Mariners’ top prospect Kyle Lewis isn’t worth asking after due to his knee injuries, but No. 2 prospect Evan White definitely intrigues. White lacks pop, but has a plus hit tool and should be a bottom of the order asset in centerfield. An improvement in the box over Billy Hamilton at least. Julio Rodriguez is more of an upside prospect with a good frame for power and an easy, if long, swing. He could mature into 3-4-5 bat, or he could flame out spectacularly, who knows really.

As for the Tier 2 guys, none of them are really worth acknowledging. The pitchers have ceilings of No. 5 starters or eighth inning relievers. Liberato could hit well or could whiff his way out of baseball in three seasons. Of the four, Liberato has the highest upside but lowest floor.

Like I said before, taking this option would be a morale killer, and the Reds would be better off just holding Scooter than dealing for any three of these guys. But a deal of White, Elledge, and Liberato shouldn’t cause a mutiny. In fact, if Scooter does indeed become a pumpkin like many think he will, those three might be a steal.

2. Two Prospects and a Big Leaguer

Slightly more exciting, this option would at least net the Reds a recognizable name with some value for the next couple of seasons.

Take one Tier 1 guy from above (White would be my choice) and one Tier 2 guy (Elledge I would say), and then throw on Ben Gamel and you have yourself the makings of a deal.

A word of warning: This suggestion is by no means a ploy to trick the Reds into thinking Ben Gamel is an above average Major Leaguer. It’s more an acknowledgement that Gamel is only 26 years old and put up a similar, albeit better, slash line in his age-25 season compared to Gennett’s age-25 numbers.

  • Gennett (2015): 114 G, .264/.294/.381, 0.7 WAR
  • Gamel (2017): 134 G, .275/.322/.413, 1.0 WAR

Sub in Liberato for Elledge and the Reds’ return becomes three guys all with high upside and one who already has a Major League cup of tea.

3. Two Prospects and the No. 14 Pick

To be entirely upfront, this option is the reason I wanted to write this post. The Reds can quibble over Evan White or Julio Rodriguez, Luis Liberato or Seth Elledge all they want, but none of those names will put any excitement into the fanbase.

But if the Mariners agree to trade whoever they draft at No. 14 as well? I’m dealing Scooter in a heartbeat.

That statement may seem absurd or premature at its face because no one knows who the Mariners will pick yet, so allow me to explain myself:

Everyone in baseball agrees — the M’s are taking Oregon State outfielder Trevor Larnach.

For reference, this is Trevor Larnach:

If you aren’t convinced that he’s worth dealing Scooter for, watch this home run until you are.

In my opinion, Larnach is the most underrated prospect in this draft and that’s despite a top-15 projection. He has light tower power and plus defense, and should he hit at a reasonable clip, he’ll blaze through the minors. If the M’s are desperate to capitalize on their hot start, then dealing their first round pick makes sense. Oh, and if they don’t select Larnach, the Mariners have also been linked to Travis Swaggerty, who isn’t a bad option either.

If I’m Dick Williams or Nick Krall, I’m on the phone Monday night, exploring any kind of deal involving Scooter and that No. 14 selection. Dealing the hometown boy may not make sense with any of the return options the Mariners currently have but give it four days and that one little plot hole may just resolve itself.

runningredshawaiiman

Because my fantasy team is now 1-7 and in absolutely abysmal shape, I’m going to largely stop updating you all on its progress and instead make a biweekly recommendation on a prospect to watch for dynasty leagues. This week, we have Zack Collins.

All of 23 years old, Zack Collins is the White Sox No. 9 prospect and probably the best catcher in the organization now that Wellington Castillo is suspended. Collins hits for a lot of power and even better, walks like Joey Votto. Unfortunately, he strikes out just as prevalently, but given his plus pitch recognition, he should be in the Majors sooner than later. The White Sox will probably keep him in the Minors until 2019, but he could be a nice September addition to any playoff fantasy teams.

And as for the biweekly update to the RLN views standings, I now sit precariously between Jason Linden and Matt Wilkes, settling like Jesse Winker onto the pine.

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Join the conversation! 55 Comments

  1. Why the omission of Sam Carlson? By all accounts he’s #3 in their system. He was an overslot HS pitcher selected last season. Of their top prospects he’s my favorite and the one I would peg, probably with Rodriguez. Also don’t know much about White but from what I’ve read most expect him to be a 1B. What makes you think he could handle center? Most guys who are 1B/OF typically only profile in the corners. If he has no pop and is a corner guy on the field is he not essentially Winker (with probably less OB skills)?

    Reply
    • Personally, I think Sam Carlson is overrated and that the Reds would be better buying one of the lower stock pitching prospects and hoping he develops into something more.

      As for White, he’s more athletic than most 1B prospects tend to be. He’s actually got a bit of speed and a good arm, though you’re right, a team will probably put him at a corner due to that dual 1B profile.

      Reply
      • White has plus speed and a plus arm. He could probably play anywhere in the OF. Interestingly, he is a lifetime Reds fan (grew up near Columbus) and his baseball idol is Joey Votto. I would love to see the Reds pick him up. He could start in RF and be Votto’s future replacement.

        Reply
  2. Thinking outside the box for about 30 seconds, is there any possibility of making a three-way trade with another team.
    Seattle gets Scooter from YOUR Cincinnati Reds.
    Unknown team gets several of the prospects listed above
    We get something we REALLY want from unknown third team, such as a top drawer CF prospect or SS prospect.

    And yes, Larnach for Scooter would be a nice deal.

    What do I win?

    Reply
  3. More than trading for the player the M’s select in the rule 4 draft, what prevents the Reds from having input in the M’s selection now that rule 4 draftees do not have the 1-year trade protection. Teams do that for the rule 5 draft all the time, drafting a player for another team with a prenegotiated post-selection trade.

    I understand that such an action would push the boundaries of intent, but that’s the same type of push that caused the recision of the 1-year wait until a rule 4 draftee could be traded.

    Why can’t the Reds be on the cutting edge of pushing the rules, creating opportunities, looking for new ways to better the organization and become more competitive? Yes, that’s a totally rhetorical question…

    Reply
    • that sounds like Wayne Krivsky getting Josh Hamilton.

      But those were the day (yes singular) when we had a (yes singular) General Manager.

      Before that day (yes singular) I think it was Bob Howsman

      Reply
    • Shchi, I hope we can still look forward to continued baseball wisdom even though you aren’t able to watch the Reds for the rest of the season?

      Reply
  4. I would consider sending Scooter to the Diamondbacks. They’re wanting to contend and their second base situation is awful. Plus their farm system is a little better. I would definitely ask for Jon Duplantier. Tall asking price, but I would target him. Maybe include David Hernandez or another reliever to sweeten the deal to try to get him. If not him, then ask for Jasrado Chisholm.

    Another team would be the Indians. I would ask for Yu-Cheng Chang for sure. Possible solution to our shortstop question. Maybe include Aaron Civale as well. Overall, there are teams who will want Scooter when the deadline rolls around.

    Reply
    • Yu Cheng Chang is probably my favorite underrated prospect across all of baseball. If the Reds roll the dice on a deal involving him for either Scooter or Iglesias, I would be ecstatic.

      Reply
    • I agree with your suggestions on both counts. Chang could possibly be looked at to replace Kipnis, however. Earlier this week, I posted here that an Iglesias/Gennett trade could make sense for Cleveland & Cincy. Of course, in that case to start the discussion involving Iglesias you would have to at least start the discussion by including Mejias or McKenzie in the discussion. Duplantier for Gennett would be a great pickup for the Reds, but I think AZ would want more since he is relatively close to MLB.

      Reply
  5. I understand all of the rationales for both trading and keeping Scooter. Let me also say that I am all for trading Scooter in a deal that brings back value that will help the big league team immediately or within a year. But I am absolutely not for trading Scooter for a package of draft choices and low-level prospects.

    Many people here are talking about the benching of Winker being one sign that the rebuild plan is not being followed. I would suggest the following in response:

    This is year four of the Reds rebuild process. This is the year when the teams that have done this successfully are finishing their “sorting” (and purging of veteran talent). It is at the end of year four that the Cubs and Astros, in particular, began adding veterans at positions where help was needed — either through trades or free agency.

    It is my opinion that if in year four the Reds are still trading proven veteran talent for a package of prospects, then THAT is a sign that the rebuild has gone wildly off course. Perhaps that is the case.

    There is a presumption by some that all prospects or the majority of prospects are going to develop as some rating system says they will. The truth is that only about 10 percent of players at each competitive level in pro baseball make it to the next level, and an even smaller percentage becomes difference-makers.

    It is true that Scooter’s value is probably higher than it has ever been. Will that value bring major-league talent, or near-major league talent? Who knows? I say if it doesn’t, there is no need to trade him just because. I’ll take another year and a half at least of a player who hits around .300 and has shown the ability to hit in the range of 30 home runs.

    Some who believe that will cite that Nick Senzel and Shed Long are waiting in the wings. While I always hope every young Reds player becomes a superstar, there is no guarantee of that. If I am Dick Williams, Senzel has to play AT LEAST a month, if not more, in Louisville without a recurrence of the vertigo. The last thing they need is to bring Senzel to the bigs and have his service clock start while he is spending time on the DL for vertigo.

    If the Reds are still trading talent with value like Scooter and Iglesias for low-level prospects, we’re in for AT LEAST two more years of this miserable level of baseball. Senzel is the only Class AAA player anywhere near being able to start for the big league team. If Senzel can overcome the vertigo and become the everyday Reds second baseman, great. Scooter becomes a terrific pinch-hitter and fill-in.

    All of this being said, anything can happen. I just wretch at the idea of this going on for two more years. And Dick Williams has never asked me for my input. 🙂

    Reply
    • Tom:
      My thinking is somewhat the same as yours but I would try for a ML roster starter. Minor leaguers are more like hope than help. Our system is full of “not quite there” bodies. Lets trade Scooter for a ML pitcher and throw in a not quite ready AAA pitcher, (Reed or Finnigan). My concern with Scooter is that pitchers seem to think pitching him high fast balls will get him out. If they go after him like they pitched to Bruce, his numbers will settle down to his historical level.
      Oh by the way, I haven’t heard from Williams either, I better check the battery on my cell. 🙂

      Reply
    • I agree wholeheartedly that Senzel should play a good length of time at Louisville to make sure the vertigo is no longer a factor. What is the rush to bring him up? The Reds are not competing and there are plenty of second basemen around to cover the position if Scooter is traded.

      Reply
    • My opinion is at this point we can fairly accurately say the rebuild failed. The Reds did not trade the right players at the right times and foolishly targeted “MLB-ready” talent in 2014-2015-2016 instead of prospects in A/AA. The only thing they’ve done decently well is draft. Unfortunately all of those promising prospects are in A+ or lower. This year will be the 4th consecutive 90 loss season with a good shot at losing 100 games. In addition to being the worst pitching staff in baseball, they are 11 in the NL out of 15 in position player WAR. They need better pitching, better hitting, and better defense to field a competitive team.

      Now, there are three ways this can go. They can trade guys on the major league roster that have surplus value (Scooter, Iglesias, Tucker if the return is right) for multiple assets in the AAA/AA range that might be close to MLB ready but are blocked in their current organization.

      Second, they can trade prospects for major league talent. And finally, they can sign proven major league players in free agency (preferably players who have posted a WAR above 3 in the past year).

      Now when i advocate for trading Scooter, it’s not necessarily that I advocate for strategy 1 over 2 or 3. It’s that the Reds have shown no inclination to do 2 or 3, and if they aren’t going to do 2 or 3 they darn sure need to do 1.

      The worst mistake this organization can make this season in my opinion is to end the year with Scooter Gennett, Nick Senzel, Dilson Herrera, and Shed Long all in the organization. Something has to give. If that is putting together a package around Shed Long for a MLB SS/CF and a package around Herrera for a major league starting pitcher and figuring out how to play Senzel and Gennett together, so be it. But the Reds continue this one foot in and one foot out rebuild to the detriment of the organization.

      Reply
      • All good observations. But I hate to break it to you – there’s a fourth way it can (and likely will) go: The Reds will stand pat and “hope” everything works out.

        Reply
    • Wow Tom… I think you and I are on exactly the same page with this one.

      I think a lot of RLN commenters and perhaps some of the staff are thinking the rebuild if off the rails and that the new target for The Next Good Reds Team ™ is more 2020-2021. If that’s what someone thinks, than obviously trading for the best talent, even with an ETA of after 2019, is the best move. I’m just really hoping the Reds are closer to the team they’ve been since their horrible start than they are their overall record.

      Reply
      • Blogger, there are two glaring weaknesses on the team currently — starting pitching and starting outfield. We’ll start to see improvement when those are addressed successfully.

        Reply
  6. Mariners just move Dee Gordon back to 2B, then look for an outfielder which is quite more plentiful than a decent 2B.

    Reply
  7. Nice thinking.
    I might go with a hybrid of your ideas. I would go with the Big Leaguer and the #14 pick. Gamel is not a bad choice, but I would be negotiating for OF Mitch Haniger. Just a year older than Gamel and a legit RF. I would also include Duvall with Gennett. And the #14 pick would be the PTBNL, and hopefully that is Larnach. I too think he is the most underrated player in the draft’s first round. It would be a slight reach for the Reds to take him at #5.
    If the stars aligned just right, the Reds could get Larnach’s teammate 2B Nick Madrigal with the #5 pick, and then have Haniger and Larnach. That might make it all worthwhile. Then start grooming either Senzel or Madrigal for CF.

    Reply
    • With the sad state of the Reds outfield at the major league and Class AAA levels, trying Senzel in the outfield might have some merit. He’d have at least two years in the outfield before any of the prospects currently in the lower minors are ready.

      Reply
  8. Yeah lets trade Scooter for more prospects the front office can screw up and fail to groom properly. Or they can just pick the guy that will end up hurt and/or can’t play (Dilson Herrera) while passing on the prospect that actually ends up being decent (Brandon Nimmo).

    Nick Senzel isn’t the only one with vertigo here. I also feel like I never know which side is up with the Reds. They live in their own bizarro world? Billy and Peraza get years of lightweight production at the plate with the Reds but Jesse WInker? 260 atbats and you’re done! A few may make it despite the Reds (Suarez) but most won’t.

    Reply
    • Sal Romano? You got one C+ pitch so you’re a starter. Amir Garrett? 3 B+ pitches…..you’re definitely a reliever. We definitely want you pitching 70 innings instead of 180! Genius!

      Reply
      • Genius? Well I used brainiac the other day, but genius will work too.

        They are a clever bunch, these Cincinnati Reds front office people. Playing multi-dimensional chess to confound the league and the fans of their true intent.

        Reply
    • INDY;
      You seem to have a sound understanding of the Reds front office. The last trade (yesterday) with Tampa is a real ground breaker 🙁 AAA must have needed a backup catcher so they upgraded the ML roster with another .199 hitter.

      Reply
      • And that “.199 hitter” is still a better hitter than Tony Cruz. My only regret on that trade is the R. Hererra was DFA and got claimed off waivers.

        Reply
  9. They could certainly explore a three team deal, but that is difficult to project here. you would have to find team that the M’s match up better with that has a better high-level farmhand who’s blocked there and with the M’s.

    Paging Dr. Grey…. Dr. Grey to a white courtesy phone.

    Reply
  10. I’m afraid that any trade of Scooter will not yield what he’s worth to us. We can promote him as the league’s leading hitter right now, but to other teams he’s still a waiver reclamation project who can’t field or throw. If we think we’re going to get top-drawer prospects for him, we’re deluding ourselves.

    We should focus instead on trading the one player who will garner top-drawer prospects, and who is a luxury for a last-place team: Iglesias. I continue to suggest we package Iggy, Hamilton (or Duvall), and a prospect like Shed Long to the Indians for Greg Allen (CF) and Shane Bieber (SP). Look them up and you’ll see they are MLB-ready prospects who will solve problems that a trade of Scooter is unlikely to solve.

    Reply
    • Doc, I am with you. The Reds are unlikely to get someone who can step in and hit over .300 with 37 home runs and 125 RBI over the next eight months of baseball action as Scooter has in a trade for Gennett. If they can, I say absolutely go for it.

      Reply
      • The Reds don’t need to receive one player who performs better than Gennett this year for it to be a good move. They simply need to get 2 or 3 players who will provide more value to the Reds in 2019 or 2020 than Scooter will. Who really cares if Scooter finishes the year .320 with 37 home runs and 125 RBI and the Reds finish 61-101?

        Reply
        • I see your point, and agree in general. The problem with trading for prospects is that you really don’t know if they will ever make it. I truly hope this is not the case, but Senzel is a guy who just may have a chronic vertigo problem. If so, what are the chances he will become the star player everyone assumed he would? If they get two or three MLB or MLB-ready players at positions of need in a Gennett trade, I would be satisfied. I just don’t think other teams see that kind of value in Gennett.

          Reply
          • So, just let Gennett play out the string like Cozart and the Reds get nothing except good performance for an awful team?

            Prospects may never turn out, but, just letting this situation play out at this point is not necessarily a good idea.

          • My point is the need to get value that is MLB-ready or very close, not value that is years away. If I’m Dick Williams and I can’t do that, I’ll wait until I can. I’m not going to trade one of my top assets just to trade.

          • Trading for established players is not a sure bet, either. They’re all one injury away from worthless (as players).

        • This is a great point. Any value Gennett provides at this point does very little for the Reds. The value Gennett might provide is getting players that will help in the future. Gennett is hitting great right now and the Reds are still awful. When Gennett declines the Reds will still be awful.

          If Gennett is the answer at 2B for the next 5 seasons, then the Reds need to be trading those at 2B as soon as possible.

          Reply
          • This is what I have been harping on for 2 or 3 years with the Reds. With so many rebuilds, it’s not the initial trade or free agent signing that you hang your hat on, it’s what you do after that.

            Picking up Alfredo Simon the first time provided some value for the Reds; flipping him into Eugenio Suarez is what made it worth while. The Dan Straily Experience became Luis Castillo, and if he can get back to his 2017 form that will be a win.

            What ends up happening with the Reds front office is that they fall in love with the initial move and lose all sight of the long term. It’s like there is a giant inferiority complex with the organization, and any time some player looks like they are panning out they refuse to let go of him.

            Adam Duvall is probably the perfect example of this. The 2014/2015 Giants had Sandoval/Duffy at 3rd and had Hunter Pence, Angel Pagan, Mike Morse, Gregor Blanco, and Aoki in the OF at one time or another. There was simply no where for Adam Duvall to play. He showed some pop in limited playing time in 2015 and then continued to show it in 2016. That’s when the Reds needed to pounce and try to make a move. But he was an All-Star and made it to the finals of the home run derby. Pride and PR wouldn’t allow the Reds front office to trade him. We see how well that worked.

            Scooter is in a nearly identical situation. And the Reds front office sees him as a waiver wire win. He hit 4 home runs in one game. His name is Scooter and he was born in Cincinnati. Think of the PR! And to everyone asking how we can get rid of Scooter and end up with a good team, well, you know how gave him up prior to last season? The team with the best record in the NL, the Milwaukee Brewers. They’ve gone 122-97 since the beginning of 2017. Obviously that’s not BECAUSE they got rid of him, it’s because they have a lot more talent organizationally than the Reds do. Meanwhile, the Reds are on pace to lose over 100 games despite the fact Scooter is hitting like an MVP.

          • Just remember that every argument on your list of reasons to trade someone, is also on the other team’s list of reasons to offer you less value for that person. Scooter could be a valuable trade asset at the deadline, I wouldn’t trade him personally, but dangle him and see what happens.

            No one here knows if the Reds did that with Duvall, or Iggy, or Cozart (twice). Maybe they’ve *almost* traded all of them six times already.

    • I agree with your line of thinking, Doc. Except, I think the Reds would actually diminish their trade return if they packaged Iglesias with Hamilton or Duvall. Neither of those two would help a team in contention and they would just take up a roster spot or be considered a salary dump and thus would ding the return to the Reds.

      Reply
      • You might be right. I just figured a playoff-caliber team could afford the luxury of having a great defensive outfielder and extraordinary pinch-runner on their bench. That could be sweet in a tight playoff game. Also, I figured they might want a backup CF since they’re giving up a CF prospect who has been playing for them lately as an injury replacement.

        Reply
    • I like Allen and Bieber, but the Reds should expect more value back in a trade for Iglesias given his very team-friendly contract and dominant bullpen pitching. Allen and Bieber are a non-starter in trade discussions for him.. You have to insist on Mejias or McKenzie to start the discussion and go from there.

      Reply
      • If I’m looking at an Iglesias trade, McKenzie and Chang are the two I’m targeting personally. One of the best pitching prospects in baseball and a guy who has the potential to be a solid, if not a star, shortstop for a decade

        Reply
  11. Based on past performance this franchise will make a trade only AFTER a players value has gone down substantially.

    Reply
  12. MLB teams cannot trade their drafts picks. The only picks they can trade is their compensatory picks.

    Reply
    • Clarification: Competitive Balance Picks are the only picks that can be traded. Drafts picks awarded as free agent compensation cannot be traded.

      Reply
    • Yes, that is true.

      By the way, when do the Reds next play Trea Turner and the San Diego Padres? 🙂

      Reply
    • Right, that’s why this trade would occur after Monday, not today.

      Reply
      • I may be wrong but I don’t believe you can trade drafted players until the next calendar year.

        Reply
        • This rule changed back in 2015! You can now trade drafted players whenever your heart desires but you cannot trade picks.

          Reply
        • And by whenever your heart desires, I mean after the World Series though a deal could be struck with the understanding that the draftee would be the Player to be Named Later

          Reply
  13. Great exploration of hypos. Fan confidence in the revamped front office seems to sit on the edge of a knife.

    Reply
  14. Pedroia returned to the DL again. Call Boston!

    Reply

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2018 Reds, Regularly Scheduled Rain Delay

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