This column feels much more appropriate that it did at the end of April, something for which I could not be more grateful. The Reds, miraculously, look like a team that can compete. If not for the first month of the season, we would all be VERY excited right now. As it is, we’re all thinking about what the Reds need to do still. It’s trade season and we should all expect pieces besides Dylan Floro to be moved in the next few weeks.

The Reds aren’t pure sellers though. They are more than capable of competing next season if they fill a few needs. So, I ran a poll, as I do.

I had a guess as to how this would go, and I was right. We pretty much all agree that the top need is a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher. Indeed, the Reds should probably be talking to the Mets a lot right now. The Mets are, reportedly, about to tear it all down and the Reds are on the rise and have a very deep farm system. I wouldn’t mind seeing what Thor looks like in a Reds uniform.

A distant second in the poll was an outfielder, and that feels right on both levels. As it stands, the Reds should open the 2019 season with at least five well, well above average hitters in the every day lineup. Votto, Suarez, Winker, Schebler, and Senzel are locks at this point (yes, Senzel is a lock, even if he spends two weeks in Louisville to get “acclimated” or whatever nonsense the Reds throw out there). While we’re still waiting to see what the ultimate fate of Gennett will be, if you add Peraza (I’m on record saying that I think he belongs where he is) and Barnhart – who both get on base well enough, but lack power – to the rest of the lineup it’s clear that the Reds are going to hit. In an ideal world, the Reds will add a true centerfielder who can hit and then proceed to destroy all opposing pitchers in 2019.

The bullpen is and will continue to be fine. There have been some hiccups lately and it’s probably been a bit overworked this year, but the rumors of its demise are greatly exaggerated.

That leaves the rotation. The league ERA in 2018 is 4.11. Among starters in the Reds’ rotation, I’d like to look at their xFIP only because it’s the best predictor we have of performance going forward. Coming in at 3.99 and 4.06, respectively, Castillo and Mahle both register as a tick above average. Castillo, certainly, has been uneven this year, and Mahle has had his bumps, but this just confirms what we all feel – that they belong in the rotation. Romano comes in at 4.59, which is below average, but also very much in line with what you expect from a fourth or fifth stater (important note: Almost no one ever has a rotation where all the pitchers are above average. And “average” major league starter is – by definition – a number three starer). And then there’s Disco, who clicks in at 4.37 but who is also still getting back in the swing of things.

Anyhow, there are options, but there aren’t any options that feel like sure-fire aces. It’s hard to count on Disco to be healthy. Everyone else – to this point – looks to slot some where between second and fifth in a rotation. Reed and Stephenson are having solid years in Louisville, but skepticism is called for.

So yes. The Reds need a pitcher. An ace. That should be their number one priority. If you put an ace at the top of this rotation, no one will want to play them. So go get a pitcher, Reds. Trade real prospects, it’s fine. But get a pitcher. It’s time to win.

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.

Join the conversation! 101 Comments

  1. It continues to amaze me how some would take Schebler and Winker over Duvall. Duvall is by far the superior defender and is an RBI machine. A clutch hitter.

    Reply
    • Duvall is the oldest of the group (meaning he’s the least likely to improve), and is hitting about .75 below the other two in average. Frankly, I love seeing him used the way he was yesterday: as a bench bat, plugged in at the right time, and as a late-game defensive replacement.

      Winker’s 24, and is creeping up among the leaders in OBP. Yesterday, his .OPS crossed .800. His defense needs help, but he flat hits. He needs to be in the lineup.

      Schebler … I don’t have a strong opinion yet. I love what he’s done at leadoff, but for whatever reason, I don’t feel like I know him yet.

      Reply
      • Schebler is weird. Super-streaky. I’m not certain about him over the longterm, but he works for now, and he’s in his peak seasons. I wouldn’t extend him, but he has value.

        Reply
    • Adam Duvall’s last calendar year: .207/.281/.384.

      But you might point out that he has 95 RBI.

      Hitting behind Votto, Scooter, and Suarez, I’d probably have 65 or 70.

      His bat doesn’t play.

      Reply
      • His bat “played” last night on a 2-2 count with 2 out in the 9th. It “played” in the Top of 9th vs Chicago on Sunday. It’s “played” just fine the past two years. Have we mentioned he also “plays” defense?

        Reply
      • so in 1976, George Foster had 121 RBI. You, hitting behind Rose, Griffey, Morgan, Bench, & Perez would have had 95? 100? Get real. Duvall’s RBI(s) are legit. His defense is +WAR, & he makes ML minimum in his prime years.

        Reply
      • Jason, the broadcast the other day in a game vs. the Indians, posted a stat Duvall is hitting over .250 this season with RISP and I think over .300 in the 9th inning with RISP.

        So yes, in 2018, Duvall’s bat is playing okay when it counts, and terribly when the bases are empty.

        Suarez hitting behind Votto and Scooter has those numbers of RBIs….so a lot of them are not on base when Duvall comes to the plate. Suarez often is on base, and now Winker, and Joey when he’s too slow and costs Suarez an RBI (as Joey has three or four times this season only when I’ve been watching, so probably the total number is even higher).

        Reply
    • RBI is not a useful stat in evaluating a hitter and there is no such thing as a clutch hitter. Hitting while the team is leading by 10 in the 9th inning isn’t a different skill set than hitting while the team is down a run in the 9th. It is just hitting

      Reply
      • Not true.
        Tony was one the best clutch hitters in Reds history.
        If the game was on the line in the 8th or 9th, I wanted Tony at the plate.

        Reply
        • By what measure, other than eye test or fond recollection of past performances, was the Big Dog a clutch hitter? The Old Cossack had the same perspective until I actually looked up the relevant data to support his status as ‘clutch’. To my surprise, I found the opposite, Perez was no more clutch than any other very good hitter.

          Reply
          • The thinking arouind clutch hitting is backwards. Good hitters perform in certain situations the same as they do in others. (ie hitting is hitting).

            What makes them good hitters is not changing what they do in an effort to ‘be clutch’.

          • Were you able to filter your data by inning and run differential at the time of the at bats?

            It would be a statistical anamoly to find all hitters hit the same regardless of situation – clutch versus non-clutch, etc etc.

            just from randomness you would expect to find great variance in performance.

        • Hitting is hitting, “clutch hitting is also just hitting

          http://research.sabr.org/journals/the-statistical-mirage-of-clutch-hitting

          Reply
          • And saber metrics calculations treat all BBs equal, all singles equal, etc. etc. all home runs equal, without regard to runners on base.

            thus current sabermetrics are VERY LIMITED IN USEFULNESS toward measuring actual player contribution to a team’s scoring.

            Each at bat has to be weighted by total bases available….and game situation (close game? big run differential?) if one really wants to get at the best representation of a player’s actual contribution toward a team’s successfulness.

      • That’s a ridiculous comment

        Reply
      • So nobody ever gets nervous? People aren’t robots.
        It’s not a ‘skill’ in the sense you infer. But yes, managing nerves, some people are far better at it than others.

        RBI efficiency is a very useful stat to determine team contribution performance. It’s not a ‘stat’ that is kept track of but the closest one would be hitting with RISP. Or OBP WITH RISP.

        XwOBA and all these batting stats assume all singles are equal, all doubles are equal, all walks are equal, all HRs are equal. Nothing could be further from the truth.

        A single that drives in runs is far more valuable than a single with no one on base. A grand slam is far more valuable for a team than a solo HR.

        You win games by scoring more runs than the other team. For measurement purposes RBIs as a total are no different than total number of hits plus walks as a measurement.

        Best measurement for a players value as a batter is total bases including the runners on base. Why don’t we refer to this? Because it’s not kept or readily available? Just because there are data limitations….that doesn’t make all at bats equal.

        Reply
    • What if the Reds current outfield situation is the best scenario.. splitting starter minutes between the 4 player? If all three get part-time starter minutes, the Reds will always have a solid bat available on bench (except maybe on days Billy sits, in which case there is a dynamite pinch-runner), and have a great option available as DH vs AL. Having the ability to call Duvall off the bench in 9th last night was great, but I don’t think he’s as useful if he only gets 3-4 AB/wk.

      I know stat guys love to disregard RBI entirely, but what about ISO? Duvall is second after Suarez right now (not counting Lorenzen). His high RBI total is part luck, part excellent hitting in front of him, and part power! There must be a correlation between his ISO and RBI totals exceeding those of Schebler, Winker, and even Votto.

      Jason says simply “his bat doesn’t play.” I strongly disagree. True, I wouldn’t want him to be my best hitter, or even in the top 3. But when the lineup is stacked with good OBP guys, I absolutely want someone like Duvall in my 7 hole to go out there attempting to demolish the baseball and knock all the runners in before the pitcher spot comes up and strands them all.

      I understand the limitation of the RBI stat in predicting future performance. But I really think it has become underrated in reviewing PAST performance. It’s probably the very best stat for that. By that metric, Duvall has had a fantastic season, and has been a strong contributor to the Reds’ current run of success.

      Reply
  2. True aces are rare. If you can land one and he stays healthy, it might be worth the cost.

    But you can’t count Nick Senzel as a Reds player if you’re talking about landing a pitcher like Syndergaard. A true ace would cost Senzel plus two or three other top prospects. Think the first Latos trade on PEDs.

    That kind of trade still might make sense, but let’s be clear about the cost of landing a real ace.

    A more palatable alternative would be pursuing a couple A- pitchers.

    In an era where the role of starting pitchers is shrinking, diversification might be warranted, instead of a focus on one guy. Just another opinion.

    Reply
    • I don’t think Senzel is necessarily a requirement to any trade. I think Greene OR Senzel might be.

      It depends on what you mean by diversification. There is a constant call in Reds land to give this or that guy some starts, but at some point, you have to settle on who your primary starters are going to be. Also, Syndergaard, for instance, has less control remaining than Latos had and more of an injury history.

      Reply
      • I’m torn, I will be good with it if the FO trades for example: Hunter Greene, Shed Long, Jose Siri and James Marinen for Noah Syndergaard. However, I’m not on board with trading Senzel.

        I’ll add if we trade for a #1 we also must immediately upgrade CF and add another #2/#3 SP so for example.

        1. Noah Syndergaard
        2. Patrick Corbin
        3. Anthony Desclafani
        4. Luis Castillo
        5. Tyler Mahle

        Sign AJ Pollock to play CF until Trammell or Siri arrives to take over CF.

        Reply
        • Now THAT’s a rotation!

          Reply
        • Mahle would be #3 and maybe #2 in that rotation.

          Reply
        • Bullpen:

          1. Raisel Iglesias
          2. Amir Garrett
          3. Sal Romano
          4. Jared Hughes
          5. Brandon Finnegan
          6. David Hernandez
          7. Michael Lorenzen

          Starting 8

          1. Scott Schebler – RF
          2. Nick Senzel – 2B
          3. Joey Votto – 1B
          4. Eugenio Suarez – 3B
          5. Jesse Winker – LF
          6. AJ Pollock – CF
          7. Tucker Barnhart – C
          8. Pitcher
          9. Jose Peraza – SS

          Rotation:

          1. Noah Syndergaard
          2. Patrick Corbin
          3. Anthony Desclafani
          4. Luis Castillo
          5. Tyler Mahle

          Bench:

          Billy Hamilton
          Adam Duvall
          Alex Blandino
          Dilson Herrera
          Curt Casali

          Payroll appx 140 million, unless we keep Bham for late game defensive replacement and pinch runner for 8 million in 19′.

          We also would have some really nice prospects still in the system:

          Taylor Trammell
          Jonathan India
          Tony Santillan
          Tyler Stephenson
          Jeter Downs
          + Robert Stephenson

          Reply
        • I am not on board on trading Hunter Greene. This whole thread is talking about how hard it is to acquire an ace.

          Don’t trade one (even if they are a few years away) when you got one.

          Adding Greene in late 2020 will be a huge shot in the arm for a playoff team

          Reply
          • i hope your right and Hunter Greene becomes an ACE. He certainly has the tools. It will take trading a player like him (or Senzel) to yield an MLB ACE.

      • “More of an injury history”. Bingo . I’m not willing to trade Senzel or Greene for a guy who cant stay on the field. I want a guy you can count on every 5th day. A scherzer or Sale type. Look around the league and you will notice there aren’t many.

        Reply
  3. I think Mahle might the guy.

    Reply
  4. Sign Patrick Corbin in the offseason and maybe a b b+ type of guy as well.
    1.Corbin
    2. Mahle
    3. Castillo
    4. B+ guy
    5. Romano/ Stephenson / Garrett

    Keep everything else intact except Senzel replaces gennett, maybe you trade Iglesias if you get blown away at this years deadline.

    Then at next deadline you add that last piece and go for it, whether it be a top of the rotation guy, a shortstop, or a centerfielder.

    Reply
    • Nothing wrong with “going for it” next season, but my MBA is nowhere near as prestigious as Dick WIlliams’ from UVA, and I know it’s bad business practice to hurt a long-term revenue stream (much young controllable talent from 2021) for a risky short-term proposition (maybe a one-game play-in in 2019).

      Getting out the checkbook is fine (and overdue) to land a SP, but Corbin while Homer is still on the books…..can’t see that.

      Maybe like….

      Mahle
      Castillo
      Trevor Cahill
      Hyan-Jin Ryu
      Romano/BobSteve/Etc

      Ryu is LH, and both he and Cahill are over 30, but have 2018 HR/9 and xFIP numbers similar to Corbin (below league average).

      Maybe as “B” pitchers, to Steve’s point, they can be landed without the 5/6 year commitments that Corbin/Keuchel/Gonzalez etc will get this winter.

      Reply
  5. Sean Manaea, Marcus Stroman?

    Reply
    • Stroman doesn’t throw hard so he’s prob a 2-3 at best, but he’s got one of the best groundball rates!

      Blake Snell is flat out nasty (and a lefty) but he would cost a ton…if they would deal him at all?

      I think Steve brought up Mike Clevinger last night. He gave up some rockets last night, but I saw him go into Yankee Stadium and shut them down over 7-8 innings earlier this year! Cleveland is in a weird & advantageous spot! They don’t need 4th-5th starters like everyone else because winning the division is a done deal already. They could go with Kluber, Bauer, and Carrasco in the playoffs with Andrew Miller, Iggy, and Hernandez in the pen and not miss a beat. Why not take a shot at Clevinger or even their young guy Beiber looks promising.

      Reply
  6. What I’d love to see us do is land a young, already-successful starting pitcher who isn’t an ace on his current staff but could be on ours. Like Mike Clevenger or Lance McCullers.

    Both the Indians and the Astros need pieces that we have. Time to pull another Latos deal.

    Reply
  7. Can you get an ace type of pitcher and still protect Senzel, Greene and Trammell from being included in the package? Maybe if you over-pay with prospects #4 – #15. But then Santillan, India, Downs, a C TStephenson or Clementina, and one OF from Siri, Fairchild or Friedl would have to make up the package.
    The Mets were said to really like India in the draft except for the Reds selecting him at #5 when the Mets had the #6 pick. But that would have to happen this winter, not at this trade deadline.
    The Mets always need a C. The Reds have 2 to choose from.
    That would be 4 position players and a starting pitcher for 3 years of Thor if done this winter. Three years and 2 months if done in July, but another prospect would have to be swapped out for India. Mella or Gutierrez maybe, or both.
    Thor and deGrom are head and shoulders above what else might be available. Thor would be an excellent target. The Astros didn’t part with their top 3 prospects to get Garrett Cole and two years of him. The bad thing about this package is that all the players would be at AA or lower. Depends on what the Mets are looking for, ML ready players or higher ceiling talent. RStephenson maybe could be included along with Herrera, if the Mets would like him back. So the Reds could put forth a higher celing package and a combo package that had a couple ready for the Majors now and some higher ranked prospects.

    Reply
    • You are absolutely going to have to include one of the top prospects in a trade for an ace. But the Reds are at the point in the cycle where it’s time to trade for need. If they could avoid it, that would be fabulous, but it’s unlikely.

      Reply
    • I happened to notice the other day that DeGrom is 30 years old. That surprised me…thought he was 27 or so. They’re obviously nowhere close so maybe they would take a boatload of prospects in return? Thor is a 1 trick pony which scares me…although DeGrom throws almost as hard.

      Reply
      • I would rather have Degrom. I think he may cost a little less plus I think he is less injury prone.

        Reply
    • You can if you spend money on him and lose a QO pick. Like the cubs did with Lester.

      Signing someone like this incurs huge risk. But it isn’t always a failure. Lester is dominating, so is Scherzer. There are busts, and injuries, but that’s the gamble right?

      I know it’s the easy answer but I say let’s do this. Do not trade a single prospect. Go fight for Dallas Keuchel or whomever we think is the biggest name in FA and “Pay that man his money.”

      Bonus if y’all can name the movie quote.

      Reply
      • I’m a poker player and huge JM fan:)

        Reply
      • Teddy KGB was/is one of the great bad guy movie characters of the 21st Century.

        Sort of ironic that Rounders comes up on a baseball blog, no?

        Reply
        • Quite the accomplishment considering Rounders came out in 1998, haha

          Reply
        • I played every day online during the poker boom from about 2004-2007 or so…every other guys screen name was Teddy KGBob or Teddy123KGB or something:)

          Reply
      • Amazing movie. And cheers to all you iconic pop culture experts!

        Reply
    • WV, you mention that an India deal would have to wait, but aren’t draftees immediately trade-able after they sign in the new agreement?

      Reply
      • Not until the World Series is over. Players drafted in June 2018 can’t be traded until the 2018 World series is over, which may go to November 1st or 2nd. Many mock drafts had India going to the Mets at #6, with the major ones citing just how much the Mets people liked India. If he Reds don’t get a pitcher at the deadline, hopefully this winter they will. Hopefully. And hopefully the Reds and Mets can match up on Syndergaard.

        Reply
  8. Not another Latos deal. That was a killer for the Reds. They gave up way too much at the time and in retrospect it looks even worse. Reds should target young, upside pitchers with their trade chips that can turn into a high-end starter. Really, you don’t need an ace in this day and age. You need three really solid guys plus two average to slightly below average fillers.

    Reds have Disco and Mahle, which is a good start. Romano or Stephenson may get there or provide additional lights out bullpen options. I think they should target a solid number 2-3 starter on the free agent market if they want to go for it. They have the arms for the bullpen to make every game a five inning one for a starter.

    Reply
    • How was that a killer? They had to pick a catcher to go with. They picked wrong, but that happens. Alonso didn’t figure out how to hit in the big leagues until this year.

      Reply
      • ill second that thought. Trade worked out pretty well.

        Reply
      • Well at least 3 of the 4 made an all-star team after we traded them. Not sure about Volquez, though he had a no- hitter at least. I’d venture WAR is weighted heavily against the Reds as well.

        Plus those guys all had value and they could have gotten another useful pitcher without giving them all up in one deal.

        Reply
        • Context of a trade matters… the Reds were going in on a window, and at that time, that trade played out beautifully. They wouldn’t have expected to “win the trade” down the line necessarily. Nobody was complaining when Latos, Cueto, Bailey, Leake, and Arroyo were making every start on the way to the playoffs. They didn’t win the WS, but man, those were some flush times.

          Reply
          • It was an overpay even at the time and small market teams cannot give up the farm for one guy.

          • If the Reds didn’t choke in 2012 against the Giants no one would care. Unfortunately they didn’t win the WS. The same can be said of the Choo trade. Didi would look great at SS for the Reds, but all of the guys traded were blocked. Would 2012 gone the same without Latos and Choo? Probably not, but the Reds management tried to win it all. Its hard to blame them for that. Mes was ahead of Grandal at the time, Boxberger was just a reliever, Volquez was a bust to that point, and Alonso was blocked by Votto and failed in his attempt to play the OF.

            If the Reds had another Alonso, and threw in Rainey, Herrera, and Harvey for a guy like Latos today no one would complain

          • Choo was 2013, not 2012.

        • 3 of players involved did became All-Stars but none as a Padre. Grandal & Boxberger were gone after 2 years w/ SD. Grandal also had a 50 game suspension during his time in SD. Alonso was a late bloomer last year in Oak after changing his launch angle. The Reds got 33-16 W-L and 3.31 ERA from Latos and made playoffs 2 out of 3 years. I would say the Reds won that trade as Padres pretty much receive zilch in return for Grandal, Boxberger, & Alonso and outright released Volquez in 2013.

          Reply
          • What they did as Padres has no bearing on it. The Reds traded the equivalent of Senzel, Trammell, Herget, and Harvey for one guy, who wasn’t even the ace of the staff. Absolutely an idiotic trade at the time and I still think so. If they wanted to trade those guys because they were blocked, fine. They could have done much, much better than to overpay for Latos.

          • THIS…the Latos deal DID NOT hurt the Reds.

          • Keep in mind Latos was the Padres ace and had 4 years before becoming a FA which the going rate at time is about 2 higher level prospects and a throw in. Alonso was limited to 1B blocked by another guy limited to 1B who happened to be 1 year removed from NL MVP. Grandal was expandable because Reds in 2011 were deep with catching prospects. Reds had a relative deep bullpen during 2011-2012 period and had just signed Ryan Madson who happened to blow out an elbow after the trade in Spring Training so Boxberger wasn’t even on the Reds radar to make roster at the time. On paper the trade is 4 for 1 but in reality 3 for 1 because Volquez was included not because the Padres wanted him but the Reds wanted to get rid of him and addition by subtraction. As for as being an idiotic trade agree to disagree.

        • Mat Latos put up 8.1 WAR in three seasons with the Reds which is exactly what they were looking for. Heck, even his last season when he only put up 1.7 WAR, he pitched through injuries had still put up good enough numbers to get traded to the Marlins and net Disco.

          Yonder has one season with 2+ fWAR (0 bWAR) since the deal. Boxberger has a career WAR of 0.6. Yasmani Grandal is the only guy that even really matters in that deal.

          I don’t feel like a trade has to have a winner or a loser all the time, but this trade probably ended up being as close to a slam dunk as the Reds could’ve asked for.

          Reply
          • Depending on which site you use, the Reds traded around 25-30 WAR for those years of Latos (so far). Again, it would be the equivalent of trading Senzel, Trammell, Herget, and Harvey based on the prospect rankings of the guys they traded away. It was a huge overpay that small market teams absolutely cannot make.

          • You’re gonna have to show your math how you got to 25-30 WAR. Looks like it is a made up #.

          • Fangraph WAR: Grandal 13.3, Alonso 6.6, Boxberger 0.6, and Volquez (after Cincy) 8.2 for a total of 28.7

            Baseball Reference WAR: Grandal 11.8, Alonso 8.3, Boxberger 2.6, and Volquez 5.5 for a total of 28.2

          • Volquez became a free agent in 2013. Yonder became a free agent this offseason. How far do you think is fair to count? The rest of their careers?

          • Let’s be honest…. you can’t count Alonso’s numbers at all, because he was never, ever, ever, going to play first base for the Cincinnati Reds. You can’t miss out on what was never going to be had. So, like CP notes, it’s basically down to having given up Grandal.

          • I agree somewhat Matt, but I think its fair to say that just because a player was blocked, doesn’t mean his value suddenly diminishes to the organization. They could have traded them for players worth about the same who weren’t blocked.

            The key point to me is that guys that put 3+ WAR are relatively rare, particularly at the SP position. There was only 27 SPs last year that produced 3+ WAR. Guys that put up between 0-2 WAR are not.

            Just as an example, Adam Duvall will likely be one of those guys the rest of his career. I would trade as many Adam Duvalls as it would take to get what Mat Latos produced over his 3 years he produced with the Reds (even excluding flipping him for Disco from considerations), even though 5 Adam Duvall-types would put up somewhere between 30-45 WAR during that time.

            The other issue I see with HANAWI’s position is that there has to be some type of consideration given to WAR produced now, versus the uncertainty of WAR produced later. Latos was almost certain to produce 3+ WAR immediately after the trade, Call it the time value of WAR or something. There is very little certainty as to when a young player will start producing, as we’ve seen frequently here with the Reds.

            I also don’t think that HANAWI’s comparison of the deal to trading Senzel, Trammell, Herget, and Harvey for a Latos type is remotely close. Alonso and Grandal were never truly elite prospects like Nick Senzel is, topping out in the 30-40 range. Yonder, in particular, was always a high floor, low ceiling guy.

            Now, a much more questionable deal ends up being the Didi Gregorius transaction that netted the Reds Shin Soo Choo. Was one year of a 6+ WAR player be worth it? That’s a tougher call.

    • No way was that trade a killer. It not only gave us a useful #2 starter, with team control, he was then flipped for Disco. For Volquez (big deal), Alonzo (solid hitter with no position to play), and Boxberger (decent bullpen guy)

      Reply
  9. Stephenson could be a TOR guy if he gets if walks down which it looks like has been doing lately. Potentially, you have Mahle, Castillo, Stephenson and Disco who could turn into a #1. I wouldn’t be a in a hurry to make a big trade right now, especially not for a guy coming back from an injury.

    Reply
    • MLB history is littered with guys with premium stuff who didn’t figure out how to harness it until their late 20’s. Stephenson has the kind of stuff you don’t give up on. If he ever learns control, he’s a top of the rotation pitcher. Even if he is just what he has shown this year, he could still be a solid mid rotation guy with the amount of bats he misses.

      Reply
  10. I agree that Votto, Suarez, Winker, Schebler, Senzel, Barnhart and (I’m not quite as confident) Peraza are the offensive core moving forward. They are all under team control through at least 2022.

    DeSclafani, Mahle and Castillo are also likely be at least solid members of the rotation. Disco is eligible for free agency after 2020, the other 2 are rookies and have years of team control remaining.

    Those are the 9 (10 if you count Peraza) players I’m building around. I am willing to include anyone else in a trade that helps that core win during the 2019-2022 window. Gennett (free agent after 2019) and Iglesias (team control through 2020) could be a part of that group but I would not hesitate to move them if I thought it improved the team. I also wouldn’t hesitate to include Greene, Trammel or any other prospect if needed.

    Harvey, Duvall, Hamilton, Gennett, Iglesias, Hughes, Hernandez, Greene & Trammel (along with some other prospects) seem like our most likely trade chips. Some obviously having more value then others. Use some of them to get a quality starting pitcher and a center fielder.

    Reply
    • Peraza is younger than Barnhart and has a higher OPS.

      Reply
      • And Jose is at best average at SS.
        Tucket is a gold glove catcher.
        Need to compare players to there position.
        Tucker is above average, and cheap.
        Jose is TBD

        Reply
        • By WAR, Peraza is currently AT LEAST average and cheap. And 24. If you’re referring only to defense, I see your point, but your initial comment concerned offense, so you’re shifting the goal posts a bit here.

          Reply
          • Perhaps I should have worded my original post to “core position players” instead of “core offense.”

            Either way though I would include Peraza in that group, I am just not quite as confident in that as I am in the other 6 players.

            Peraza has the higher OPS this season by .004 over Barnhart but Tucker has the edge in wRC+, 90 to 88. They have essentially been equal offensively this season. My hesitation with Peraza is due to how bad he was last season. I hope the improvement he’s shown this season continues and as of now would not be looking to upgrade at short.

            The point of my original post though was to say that there is a core group of players in place (including Barnhart and Peraza) that additions should be made, likely in the starting rotation and in center field, to start competing next season.

  11. Like the idea of the Reds opening the checkbook to sign Corbin or Keuchel and deciding at next year’s all-star break if it’s time to trade for a pitcher. Dicky talked about boosting the payroll (don’t see a need to sign a position player unless its a deal on a CF), plus Homer’s $$ is gone after next season.

    Reply
    • The first mention I’ve seen of Homer.

      Reply
    • Yeah, Cincy Jeff…2020 has always been a probable starting point for a contention window, starting with Homer being bought out for $5 million, freeing the rest of the money to fill holes.

      Senzel isn’t going to be with the Reds all season in 2019, as he will be kept/sent down to get another year of control. Plus, what do people think…he is going to stroll in, make the team and put up 4 WAR next season? He will be a rookie, coming off vertigo and a busted finger.

      If this discussion was being held during the winter of 2019, then starting to go all-in then makes more sense.

      There is a lot of $ surplus value hopefully in Greene, Trammell, etc. No need to trade it all away suddenly for a team that likely won’t be high up the win curve at the end of this season.

      Reply
  12. SIERA is a better predictor than xFIP because it includes batted ball information, but it agrees enough with xFIP on the starters to validate the point, except for Romano. He’s got a 4.82 SIERA and that seems to be what he is. A two pitch guy who needs to refine the changeup, or he could end up in the bullpen.

    Disco, Castillo, and Mahle are all keepers as you stated.

    Reply
    • A case could easily be made to move DeSclafani, if it fills a hole somewhere else.
      (Though I doubt teams value him much.)

      Like above, I forget to list him in future Reds SP rotations, that is how easy it is to think of him as injured.

      His numbers this season are meh.

      It’s fine for now to keep running him out there to see if he turns a corner, but so far, not much there to say, “yes, let’s make sure to give an extension to cover his age 31 seasons and beyond after 2020.”

      Reply
      • I’d be a hard “no” on trading Disco. I don’t feel like there’s enough quality depth to justify it, unless they are getting a really good, MLB ready arm as part of the deal. You’re right about the injury problem, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the team started improving right around the time he got back to the rotation. He’s not the ace, but imagine a team when he’s your third man out there… then you’ve got something cooking. There’s noise in his numbers, but there’s good things in there. Four out of seven starts he’s given up 2 or less runs.

        Reply
  13. Would love to sign Pollock to a 1-year deal the same way we did for Choo. The difference is that this time, we have Trammel, Siri, Friedl knocking on door rather than Billy. Pollock gets hurt a lot but is an insane hitter when healthy and a 1-year deal takes some pressure off of us if he gets hurt. He may prefer a 1-year deal to prove his worth because he’s been hurt a lot this year. Also a mid-level starter. Keeps our pipeline from being depleted in the offseason. We can see where we’re at mid-May and decide if we’d like to put together a monster package for an ace.

    Reply
    • The Reds didn’t sign Choo to a 1-year contract. They traded for Choo and he only had 1 year left on his existing contract when the trade was consummated.

      I’m with you 100% regarding signing Pollock as a FA as a short-term solution for CF. A starter is certainly a higher priority, but a stud CF would certainly solidify the lineup, especially if the Reds could sign a FA CF rather than trading prospects for one. If he really needs to build value, hitting in GABP and patrolling the small OF in GABP might be appealing.

      Reply
  14. One of the Reds setback since the BRM era is the organization inability to develop consistent homegrown starting pitching. Honestly since Gullett & Nolan, I can only think of Cueto, Soto, Bailey, Browning, & Leake. Rijo , Arroyo, Harang & Jackson were acquired in trades and Shourek, Harnisch, & Burba were Gullett reclamation projects. They have done well with developing relievers over the years.

    Reply
  15. A note on pitchers here. I tend to conceptualize what makes an ace differently than other people. I basically think of the top-30 guys as #1 starters, which is what they are. I’d say an ace, for a playoff team, is anyone in the top-15 or so. Anyway, right now, looking at qualified pitchers: The average team only has 3 of them. One with an ERA around 3.00, one with an ERA around 4.00, one with an ERA around 5.00. Pitching is very weird right now.

    Reply
    • Whether Mahle will be a league ace (top 30) is yet to be determined.
      But in my humble opinion he will be the Reds’ ace in 2020 unless they trade for one.
      But in spite of Williams saying the Reds have money to spend, I don’t think they have enough to sign a league top 30 true ace.

      Reply
  16. Another thought about buying our Ace. It would be expensive, but perhaps the net cost of said Ace would be equivalent to not signing him:

    Whoever he replaces (say big Sal) goes to the bullpen and saves us say 5million

    More innings pitched spares us need to go after Harvey or another mid level – 10million

    Now with no prospects spent on the Ace, we can use them to obtain a short term skilled player of need, back up catcher, veteran 4th OF, etc. – 6 million.

    So we can spend $25 million per year, but by my monkey math it’ll only really be like $4 million more than doing it other way, and we get a chance to ascend as a franchise very quickly.

    Reply
  17. Don’t look now, but the Astros just optioned their closer, Ken Giles, to AAA. The Iggy watch is on. Will Houston pay up?

    Reply
  18. Get a bidding war between them and the Tribe! Fire up those phones.

    Reply
  19. WOULD A PACKAGE OF ROBERT STEPHENSON, TONY SANTILLAN, SHED LONG, AND STUART FAIRCHILD GET THE REDS STROMAN????

    Reply
    • Stephenson not enough of a sure thing for the Jay’s to wait on Santillan and Long’s development.

      Reply
  20. I think the 2015 Royals might be more along the lines of what the Reds are capable of:

    3.55 Edison Volquez (33 starts)
    3.06 Chris Young (18 starts)
    4.08 Yordan Ventura (28 starts)
    4.08 Danny Duffy (24 starts)
    4.76 Johnny Cueto (13 starts)

    Reply
    • good post!

      Reply
    • Just for the record while a Red his first 15 to 18 starts in 2015 Johnny Cueto’s ERA was around 2.50-2.70 and he was again among the NL leaders in all sorts of categories heading toward a stellar year….coming off 2014 where he was SECOND in Cy Young voting to Clayton Kershaw (who missed nearly a month but came on super strong the second half of 2014.)

      Reply
  21. More news from Bobby Nightengale at the Enquirer.

    “Homer Bailey will continue his rehab assignment as a starter, per GM Nick Krall. He will return to rotation when he’s done with rehab.”

    Oh, I don’t like where this is heading.

    Reply
    • It’s always been headed there. He’ll replace Harvey once they trade him. Need some veteran-ess in the rotation. If they were going to demote or release him, it would have been done already.

      Reply
  22. I still have hope for Homer, and no I’m not on drugs. His FB velocity was up, his issue was location and offspeed. If he gets sharper, and he needed innings, not rest, to do that, he’d be the worst #4 a pitcher could be on a borderline playoff team.

    Reply
  23. Don’t touch Senzel or Greene. I’d rather give quantity than quality.

    Reply
  24. About a year ago the Cubs made that blockbuster deal with the White Sox to land Quintana. They gave up 1 of the top 5 prospects in baseball, another top 40 prospect, plus 2 more prospects. They also took on Quintana’s contact of about $34MM. Last winter they signed Yu Darvish to a $126MM contract & then handed out $38MM to another SP who has been walking a batter per inning this year. (forgot his name!). Anyway, the Cubs may need more starting pitching in the 2nd half this year. My point being, PLEASE, no big trades or long term SP contracts. Reds do not need them yet. If 2019 goes well, the Reds can bid for an ace “rental” next July- just like a Matt Harvey or a J. Cueto (which we all know, don’t cost much in prospects).

    Reply
  25. I wonder if the Yankees would be open to moving Sonny Grey since he “can’t pitch in New York” if they are able to upgrade their rotation.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

About Jason Linden

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.

Category

2019 Reds

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , ,