Stunning news. New broom sweeping clean.

This means the Reds have decided not to go to arbitration for Hamilton’s 2019 services. The speedy CF will become a free agent. Hamilton had been projected to make about $5.9 million in his last year with the Reds. He made $4.6 million last year. 

The Reds were never able or willing to find a trade partner for Hamilton. There were rumors last offseason and again last summer about the Reds talking with contending teams. But recent reporting by Ken Rosenthal suggests what we’ve suspected for years, that Reds owner Bob Castellini was blocking a trade of Hamilton. 

“According to sources, owner Bob Castellini finally is willing to approve a deal of Hamilton, whom the Reds resisted trading in the past in part because Castellini perceived him as a fan favorite.”

Also, this from the last trade deadline:

Per the news today, the Reds will get nothing for Billy Hamilton. 

Last June I wrote a farewell, of sorts, for Hamilton. 

“If the Reds can’t find a trade partner, they should understand what that means and release Hamilton at the end of the season. He’s due a third year of arbitration and already makes $4.6 million. If Schebler can’t hack it in center, the Reds can build the bridge to Taylor Trammell or a major trade acquisition by signing a cheap free agent for 2019.

It’s time to move on from Billy Hamilton. It won’t be a sudden good-bye, nor should it be. In a sense, the Reds have already buried him. You can’t get lower than batting after the pitcher. But Hamilton will continue to take the field in a Cincinnati uniform for a while. He’ll still make wonderful plays, get big hits, maybe even string together a couple good games.

And like that bag he pilfered five years ago off the Cardinals’ villainous catcher, Billy Hamilton will steal our hearts again, for another phenomenal moment.”

In August, Jordan Barhorst recommended the same course of action, if the Reds were to start thinking like a winning team: 

“The Reds wouldn’t need to release Hamilton or take on any penalties for removing him from the roster. They simply only need not to tender Hamilton an arbitration offer, and once the deadline hits, he’ll be a free agent. The Reds won’t be forced to pay $6M+ for the fourth worst offensive player in the league.

I understand that it’s tough not only for the front-office, but for Reds fans to think this way. However, if the Reds are ever going to win another World Series, they’ll need to start thinking a little bit more like the teams that are winning championship. I’ll never refute the fact that Billy Hamilton can be absolutely electrifying to watch, but he simply isn’t valuable enough to take up the roster spot of a more complete player.”

Nick Kirby wrote about Hamilton in September, suggesting the Reds feature him as a pinch runner and late-inning defensive sub: 

“The Reds could have quite the weapon if they used him this way over a full-season. Hamilton would easily be worth the $7 million or so he will cost in 2019 if used this way, but there is certainly an argument that the Reds should allocate money elsewhere.

The Reds right now should be using Hamilton as pinch-runner/late inning defensive replacement to get a better data sample of the value of that, and giving guys like Scott Schebler and Phillip Ervin a shot to play CF. Both players probably can’t play good enough defensively to play there everyday, but the Reds should at least be making sure of that now while there is nothing to lose.”

Hamilton, who recently turned 28, hit .245/.298/.333 in his career with the Reds, starting in 2013. 

Steve grew up in Cincinnati 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. Contemporary Reds thrills: witnessing Jay Bruce’s 2010 homer and Homer Bailey’s 2013 no-hitter in person. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 280 characters about the Reds is Redleg Nation, although you can follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 146 Comments

  1. So no trade…. i say it now he ends up in the AL.

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  2. I’m pleased. I am surprised that they couldn’t trade him for a couple of A+ players. And this opens a spot on the 40 man roster.

    Let the FO bashing begin.

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    • No FO bashing here. Slidin’ Billy #2 will eventually become legend as the daily erosion of spirit by his utter failure to expand his on-base skills fades into the mist.

      Unforgettable, indefatigable defender and mercurial shooting star with random lightning bolts jump-starting epic multi-base feats from the unlikely source of his generally feeble balsa-wood bat.

      Woulda. Coulda. Shoulda.

      He has great charisma and energy, and he’ll always find a warm home in my brain-pan.. But $4.6 M was already steep, and despite his speed and skills, he did NOT excel at scoring runs. Ever.

      If he could return with a highly-incentivised minor league contract, I’d welcome him back, cook a dinner and light his cigar. Bur we have some major league baseball players who could actually better utilize those ABs.

      BTW, on a related issue, can someone tell me why the PDB (Powers Dat Be) have decided Winker goes to right and Schebler to left?

      Maybe my aging eyesight is lying to me, but much as I’m intrigued by Winker, he’s the worst left-fielder I’ve seen since the slapstick king of the spot, Ryan Klesko. Schebler seems to have the superior arm and definitely has more range, grace and outfield experience.

      Seems to me like a choice forged in Little League (the best hitters pull, most of the gen-pop is right handed).

      Let’s play (major league) ball!

      And vaya con queso, Billy!

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  3. I’m shocked. Didn’t see it in them. This organization is starting to get serious it seems

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  4. He had flashes of brilliance. Just couldn’t hit.

    This could also be an indicator that they like what they’ve seen out of Senzel in center. I know there was a report that he was a bit baffled in center, but I thought that was a bluff to see what they could get in trade for Hamilton. Hamilton must have drawn zero interest in the trade market, as they apparently couldn’t even get Louisville football tickets for him.

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  5. He just couldn’t hit. Sad.

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  6. I’m sad as well … but I think the majority of us know this is the best move overall. Looks like perhaps Big Bob won’t be in Bell’s office to talk strategy and lineups as much after all.

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  7. Guess it was decent of them to do it before he appeared at Redsfest. Good move.

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    • Yes and no.

      Remember that management was up against a a hard time constraint. Decision whether to tender or not has to be in the league office by 5PM today.

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    • Well they had to do it before Redsfest since today was the deadline for non-tenders.

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  8. Does this immediately make Schebler the CF barring a trade or free agent signing?

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    • Penciled in is my guess.

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    • Or Senzel.

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    • Siri is on the 40 man, plays great defense, makes league minimum, and can hit for power. He shares the same inability to get on base as Billy. Maybe the FO thought they could get the same output as Billy from a younger, cheaper, higher upside player. My guess is Senzel or a FA player starts the year in CF. However, Siri as a plan B in CF seems like a somewhat lateral move if he can show the defense he’s demonstrated on the minors. He might not be as fast as Billy, but he’s not far behind. The difference between Siri and Billy is Siri has a much higher hard hit rate. They both strike out too much, and they both walk too little. The difference is $5 million dollars.

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  9. As hard as it is to see him go, it really is in the best interest of the club to move on. I will miss seeing the amazing plays made daily in CF, but it is hard to sacrifice that much in offense in CF. My greatest regret will be that Billy never won a Gold Glove in a Cincinnati uniform. My initial guess is that a big market team will add him as a luxury item off the bench for late game speed/defense. If you can afford it he could be quite a weapon.

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    • Agreed on all counts; we should have used him like that from jump street. He really did merit a Gold Glove. Maybe ESPN can cough up an ESPY for all the “WebGems” programming he provided to their otherwise lame highlights

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  10. Wow. A Palace coup has taken place and Big Bob doesn’t look like he is in command anymore. Stunning that he is not involved in this baseball decision.
    I can hear Bob Seger singing “There I go, Turn the page.”
    I guess the Reds could still re-sign him at a much lower cost.

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    • Very good point. Castellini obviously agreed not to interfere with this decision — and perhaps others.

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    • Why is there nothing to show for Hamilton, Bruce or Chapman; and, to a lesser degree Frazier? Was the timing of dealing/releasing these players disrupted by ownership?

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      • The Chapman trade was a massive failure for the Reds, the Bruce trade will always be a failure due to trading for a player known to be injured then when he healed they stuck him on the bench without having an opportunity. The Frazier trade, while it should have been done sooner they did get Perraza and Schebler in return who have provided more value than Frazier would have

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    • I’d say the owner is always in command…but he probably was all alone in wanting to keep Billy, and finally accepted the inevitable. Bye Billy. Glad to have known you. Hope you get to come into a final game of the World Series, in the ninth, tag up from third on an infield pop and score the winning run. Regrettably, it won’t be for the Reds.

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      • I wonder if Billy resigns with the Reds for less than the arbitration amount. The Reds are the only team that I can think of that would allow him to start everyday.

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  11. A continued step in the right direction. Nice.

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  12. Very surprising, but it does signal that Bob is no longer making the decisions which is promising. I like Hamilton as a bench player, I just can’t see paying him $5 million a year or more to fill that role. I would love to see him sign with someone out west with a massive outfield

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    • I am thinking re-sign him 2 years/5mil total (2.5 per year).
      Can hold the fort for 2 weeks, while Nick is getting another year of control?
      And then a late inning D replacement.

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      • I would support a two or three year contract at $2-3 million a year. I think he will have other offers to be the 25 man on the roster. We know his body and speed aren’t going to hold up as he gets older, but in a bench role he probably extends his career while still providing immense value if used properly. He just isn’t worth $6 million a year to the Reds and can’t hit enough to start

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    • Bob might still be making the decisions, but he may not be initiating them. Maybe he’s realizing that they can’t win unless they make serious changes, and has recognized that the new brain-trust should be making them.

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      • Without being in the FO and hearing them discuss this, you still have to think this is how it went down. BC may be stubborn but he’s not blind. And they have payroll pressure if the team really does want to sign an FA pitcher of consequence.

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  13. I’m sure other teams will be interested but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s signed to a more team friendly deal closer to spring training. $5 mil no thanks, less than half that, maybe?

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    • $2 to 3 million, max. If that, considering that he would in all likelihood not be utilized as a starting outfielder but in a situational role. Given the number of pitchers that rosters now carry, how much can an all-fielding, no-batting bench player command, no matter how great his defensive aspects?

      Certainly, looking at an arbitration value on the order of 5.5-6.0 million, the Reds cannot justify the price. And Billy, for all his hustle and glove, is -not- The Six Million Dollar Man.

      There has -definitely- been a revolution in thought. Until now, I was certain that the Reds would carry him through the last year of arbitration (if only as an outfield hedge) and let him go at free agency.

      So we now have $6million plus one more slot to work with.

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      • The additional spot on the 40-man roster is valuable. The roster stands at 39 after removing Hamilton from the 40-man roster.

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        • Now if, as previously suggested a while back, we could restructure Homer’s contract as deferred compensation/annuity (even though this would probably only cut the 2019 $23mil down to the high teens), one can begin to see where the money comes from for the Reds to compete in the free agent pitching sphere.

          A million here, a million there, it adds up.

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        • I reas somewhere the 40 man is now at 36 with a few others dropping off

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          • Correct, Reds also non-tendered Aquino, Graterol, and Patterson last night.

  14. Good move by the Reds. Will be a good bench-player for the right team but not for one in the middle of a major rebuild.

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  15. Arbitration priced Hamilton out of a contract. No one was willing to take Hamilton in trade because no one was willing to pay the arbitration contract cost for a limited utility player. I can see Hamilton signing a minor league contract with a spring training invite or possibly even a major league contract for much less than he made last season, but probably not with the Reds.

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    • Exactly. At the right price, he is a very good piece on a good team, but not at $5 million. Unless he’s in the NL Central, I will always root for him.

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  16. Shebler- no way
    Senzel- with the vertigo- too risky for me.
    that leaves Ervin who I think could be a good cf. I would like to see him cut about 10 lbs to increase his speed and leaping ability but the guys has all the tools to be a good (cheap centefielder) at least until Siri/ Trammel are ready.

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    • Or move Peraza to CF and find another SS. I believe that he has played there before in the LA system There are a bunch available. although not great bats, it wouldn’t take much to hit better than Billy did!

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    • I don’t think it’s clear that vertigo is more of an issue for an outfielder than for an infielder. He doesn’t suffer it constantly or even frequently, as I understand it, and if he has an attack, he’s not playing anywhere until it goes away.

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  17. Why not go sign Adam Jones for 2 yrs? He isn’t the GG fielder he used to be but still more than adequate, and in GABP he would get 20hrs

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    • You haven’t seen Jones play CF much lately have you. I like Jones a lot. I still REALLY like his bat. But he’s never been a particularly good CF and now he’s actually a bad CF. I doubt he’d be a step up from Schebler defensively. He’s probably much better suited to LF right now.

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      • Adam Jones has long been a favorite. My wife once said he looked like Eric Davis, which he very much does (although not as whippet-thin).
        But if he looks like Eric Davis’ son, he now plays CF like ED’s dad…

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  18. I hope the Reds don’t make an external move to fill CF unless they go big for a true starting CF. I’m completely comfortable with Schebler or Senzel starting in CF until Siri, Trammell, Siani, Fairchild, Friedl or possibly even Beltre steps forward and takes the starting CF job.

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  19. I think they will sign a stopgap in center for a year or two (Jon Jay, Cameron Maybin) or trade for one (Micheal A Taylor, Kike Hernández) until Tammell, Friedl, or Siri is ready. Unless they are certain Senzel can play there every day

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  20. This is great, great news.
    My preference would be to put Peraza in CF and Senzel at SS. Yes, I know the team has said they don’t think Senzel’s a SS. But I’m convinced he could play that position (much) better than Peraza can, and I also think Peraza could play CF better than Senzel. Do with Peraza what they did with Billy–take those wheels out of the infield and put them in CF where they belong.

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    • What have you seen out of them, particularly out of Senzel at SS/CF and Peraza in CF that would suggest that the Reds are dead wrong about Senzel not being a regular SS in MLB? Peraza was brutal in CF when I saw him out there (small sample) but could perhaps grow into it. Senzel at SS, I like what I saw but I sure didn’t see enough to think that I know better than the Reds about his ability to play the position long term in the Majors.

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      • Have you seen Peraza play SS? Arguably the worst SS in the Majors. There is no way he could be worse in CF

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        • You obviously didn’t watch his few games in CF. He was “brutal” out there, as LWBlogger2 confirms.

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          • Key word: Few. I saw them too and you’re right: he didn’t look good. But I also saw him all season at SS and he was the worst in the league. I think he could do far less damage in CF, and might improve significantly there over time. He has the wheels for it. Billy wasn’t great at first either.

            Here’s the point: It wouldn’t take much for Senzel to be (much) better at SS than Peraza. And it wouldn’t take much for Peraza to be Senzel’s equal (or better) in CF–a position that would be relatively new for both of them. And SS is a more important position than CF. Let’s put our best young athlete there.

        • I have indeed and you’re right that he was bad at SS. He is definitely exposed more there as SS gets a lot more action on balls in play than CF does. What I saw though suggested to me that he has the raw talent and skills, along with the work ethic to play a fair to average SS. He could put forth that same effort and he also has the physical skills to make himself a fair to average CF. I won’t dispute that. What I do dispute is the idea that Senzel, Suarez, or Blandino are any better at SS than Peraza. I also don’t see the defensive upside in any of them at SS that I see in Peraza.

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      • Have you seen Peraza play SS? He is one of the worst in the majors. And nobody is saying they “know better than the Reds”. This is a place to share ideas and thoughts, not to be condescending and rude.

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        • I wasn’t trying to imply that you were saying you knew better than the Reds. If that’s how it came across, then I apologize.

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      • Did I say they’re dead wrong? No. Just offering an opinion here.

        In case you missed it, Peraza was brutal at SS last year. Led the NL in errors at any position and looked absolutely horrible. I’m convinced Senzel would be an upgrade–perhaps a big one–because he couldn’t be any worse.

        Even Billy misjudged a few fly balls when he started in CF. But Peraza has good wheels and would likely adapt faster than Senzel, seeing Nick has never played OF and Peraza has.

        Just sayin’.

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  21. I’d include Mason Williams in the “bridge to Siri/Trammell” plan. He and Ervin are the stop gaps, and Schebler still gets 140 games in RF and the few remaining in CF.

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    • I could be wrong, but didn’t they release Williams?

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      • He is currently a free-agent, yes. They sent him down, he cleared waivers, and he requested free-agency.

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    • If they trot Mason Williams out there for 130 games, guess who has two thumbs and won’t be watching the Reds?

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    • Mason is a FA, and should get the Dilson treatment from someone – why not the Reds again? It’s obviously a stop-gap year in CF, so Senzel gets the most starts, but Mason and Schebler and whoever is with the Bats, each get 20 starts there, Ervin gets 40, and it’s tryouts/Sept. call ups for the rest. Senzel is in the Inf the rest of the time to get him 500+ PAs after the mid-April call up.

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  22. If they’re going to be good, this is a good move.

    If they’re going to stink, I’d prefer that they stink in entertaining fashion.

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  23. Surprised, but pleasantly so. Says a lot about the direction of the organization and who’s now in control of the baseball ops, finally. A step in the right direction.

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  24. No need to fear about mason williams he got DFA’d 5 mins aftet the season ended

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  25. The frustrating thing about Billy Hamilton was that he never got better at anything. Despite all the press about him working on this or that, he still couldn’t hit for average, he didn’t bump up his power, he didn’t even learn how to bunt better. You could *maybe* make the case that he became a tiny bit better in pitch selection, but that came along with more strikeouts. He might have just been taking more pitches.

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  26. Let the culture of change continue.

    It’s rumored that Adam Duvall will be non-tendered by the Braves as well.

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  27. I can see Billy going to a non contending team like Detroit or Miami that feature a spacious CF to reboot his career.

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  28. Dick Williams, the Red Sox Dave Dombroski is on line 1 for you.
    The Red Sox have 2 years of Jackie Bradley, Jr. (plus 1) to offer you for Raisel Iglesias.
    No thanks Dave, unless it is Andrew Benintendi and his 4 years of control. Straight up 1-for-1 deal.

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  29. With Hamilton’s exodus, the reorganization of the front office and the new manager and coaches, I think we have to wait for reevaluation of player roles and capabilities throughout the Reds organization. This move today provides the best confirmation to date that the Reds organization is finally ‘getting it’ and moving out of the dark ages. So what role does an executive advisor to the CEO play in this new organization!?

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  30. If the Reds make the kind of move for pitching that has been discussed in various reports, it’s hard to see them thinking of CF in 2019 as a stopgap.

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    • Agreed. The reports I remember reading were Eric Davis commenting on how he thought Senzel had all of the natural instincts required to be a good defensive outfielder. There was a report that he had looked so good in left field in Arizona that they might give him a look in center. Of course, that was prior to the elbow surgery.

      I think one of the effects of this move was to create a position for Senzel to win with a good showing in spring training. If Senzel can’t handle center, then Schebler-Ervin will probably get the call there, with Senzel and Jesse Winker in the corners. I had previously believed Senzel might be trade bait for pitching, but I no longer believe that. I think he’s here unless some other GM makes an offer that can’t be turned down for him.

      All of the moves made since the end of the season are sending the message, “We mean business.” Of course, the proof will be in whether they are able to #getthepitching.

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      • I like Senzel but I’m starting to wonder if he’s going to have significant trouble staying on the field.

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    • That’s interesting, Steve, and I hadn’t really considered it, since it seems to imply a serious belief that the Reds could be contenders in 2019. Do you agree that they could with good pitching?

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      • I think they need 2 starters and a RP. If they trade Iglesias then they need 2 SP and 2 RP. If those SP are #1/#2 type pitchers then the Reds can absolutely contend.

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  31. Given where the Reds are now, I am very encouraged by this news. It’s a New Day in the Reds front office, and it is fun to see confirmation of the change in decision-making. If the change had happened a year ago, he could have had either some value in a trade or been limited to pinch-running and defensive replacement most of the time; in this latter case, getting maybe 200 AB’s would have lowered his arbitration value, perhaps to the place where the Reds could have kept him for these duties (or traded him to someone who valued them). Since we cannot go backwards, I smile at this news.

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  32. Wait. Mark Sheldon on Mlb.com states the Reds were concerned Hamilton would get more than the 5.9 million estimated and haven’t ruled out bringing him back as a FA.

    I could see the Reds signing him to a FA 2 year 5 million deal as a back up. Is there confirmation he s 100% not coming back??

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  33. ” The Reds would be willing to bring back Hamilton as a FA” according to a source but want to explore other options

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  34. WOW!!! I am shocked the Reds FINALLY parted ways with him.👍

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  35. This makes me sad.

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  36. A good move . I wish Billy well but not with the Reds. The offense will be improved in CF whether stop gap or not. Use that money to move forward on starting pitching.

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  37. Side note: shelby miller was non tendered by the snakes, is he worth a look on a minors contract? Genuine question.

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  38. Shocked but he had 5 years to improve and he didn’t.Time to move on and I do wish him the best because in the right place he could help a team that doesn’t need him to hit.

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  39. Honestly, not surprised. He can’t hit. It’s time to move on. Use the bank on someone else.

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  40. I think the Rockies could really use Billy Hamilton. His skill set could work with their club as they need a CF that can cover a ton of ground.

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  41. Wow, it’s really tough to be a reds fan

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    • Why should the Reds keep him? The game is offense, defense and baserunning. He is a liability offensively and his baserunning and defense both slipped this past season.

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  42. How about Michael Lorenzen getting an outfield opportunity?

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  43. As BHam would be a killer addition to a winning team’s bench I wonder about this decision.

    $6million isn’t a lot of money these days and with 1 WAR going for $8million in the marketplace I’m a bit confused by it. I’d be happy if Riggleman was the manager but Bell appears to be a guy who could’ve figured it out.

    Oh well. I still hope to see BHam steal 2nd 3rd and home in a 1-0 World Series game.

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  44. Don’t be surprised if Homer Bailey is also cut loose during spring training. Even with his +20MM still owed, he’ll have to justify a roster spot.

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  45. I am shocked. Maybe there is hope. I would like them to make trade for a CF with some pop. Ala the Brew Crew picking up Cain last year.

    Mancuso was spot on last June !!!!!

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  46. Start senzel in the outfield, let him super UT. Must use this opertunity to get Senzel playing time. Whatever the possition.

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  47. I’m glad he’s FINALLY gone and also wish him the best. He should have been put in the 8 spot in the order from the get go and told to concentrate on defense. But instead the Reds tried and tried to turn him into a lead off hitter. It was a complete and total failure. Hopefully the Reds already have plans to use the money saved on obtaining STARTING PITCHING!!

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  48. Big Bob has cost this team so much. By all accounts, he was the one who didn’t want to trade Frazier, Bruce, and Chapman, so in the end we let them all go for peanuts when it was too late. Add Billy Hamilton to another one of Bob’s utter failures to understand baseball as a business.

    Hopefully, this is the dawn of a new era and someone stood up and showed Bob how he had hurt the team by not making the hard BUSINESS decisions when they needed to be made.

    Hopefully, this is a sign the Reds are also willing to eat Homer’s contract if they think he has nothing left.

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    • A couple of bad business decisions still remain in Bailey and Votto, unfortunately the latter will run for a few more years.

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      • Let me know when we go “underwater” on the Votto deal

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        • Yea the votto deal was a win, dude nearly got MVP the end of 17. Dude will still be putting up WAR till the end of his contract.

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      • Last year was his worst year and he still had 3.5 WAR and led the league in OBP. He is 5th in all time WAR with the Reds. Just two years ago he put up 7.5 WAR. Just because he won’t win the MVP when he is 39 doesn’t negate the previous years of surplus value. It isn’t his fault the team was horrible during his best years.

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      • The back end of that deal is going to be rough but that’s true of almost any long term deal to a star player. Last year was Votto’s worst and he was still, in my opinion, a valuable member of the team who earned his salary. I expect a bit of a rebound next year but even if not, the contract has been a good one.

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    • Considering all the good players of the recent competitive window, we got very little in return for them. Between Cueto, Leake, Phillips, Cozart, Bruce, Frazier, and Chapman we only have Peraza, Schelber, and Reed to show for them. We have more to show from Alfredo Simon and Dan Straily (two waiver wire pickups) deals than we do from the core of that team. Most of that has to do with the timing of the trades.

      The FO messed up trading Chapman when they did, when his value was at an all time low. They should have traded Bruce at the previous deadline, or taken Nimmo over Herrera. They should have traded Cozart for Gohara when they were too focused on trading Bruce. They should have traded Phillips before his 10/5 rights came about. Poor timing has stunted this rebuild.

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      • More bad managing of assets than timing. Nt tat timing was not an issue but it was the managing of time and assets that were the problems.

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      • As I said in an above comment, alot of that seems to come down to Bob C. not wanting to trade away “fan favorites”, so the Reds held onto players until their value declined to the point that they were traded for pennies on the dollar (or for nothing at all, in the case of BHam).

        This is 100% on Big Bob’s shoulders. This team could be competing right now if they had traded their assets within their window of maximum, or at least greater, value.

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        • Completely agree this is on Big Bob. He’s meddled to the point of handcuffing the FO, backed them into corners where no good moves could be made. The most encouraging thing about his offseason so far is it seems his fingerprints aren’t anywhere to be found on the moves made thus far.

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  49. It’s actually quite simple. First, whenever you consider getting rid of a person, is there a Plan B? Apparently, the Reds have a Plan B. Second, with plan B, would they get better production for the same amount of similar production for a lower amount? I would bet on either. Oh, not much better on defense. But, when you consider offense, also, I would think it’s pretty easy to get similar overall production.

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  50. Of the non tenders only Aquino comes as a shock, dude had options left was young…still needed development of course but the only reason he was brought up was due to the injuries. Seems like a waste….hope there is a minor league deal for him.

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  51. There is a God.

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  52. This is good news, both on its own to improve the team and for what it says about the fortitude and acumen of the current front office. I’ll miss Billy Hamilton, comic book superstar and happy ambassador for baseball and the Reds. But I’m glad that the worst hitter in the league cannot get 150 starts for the Reds any more. Good luck Mr. Hamilton – it was fun watching you play.

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  53. Here’s a thought: Trade Votto to the Yankees and get Sonny Gray, Durango German, Greg Byrd and a CF. Move the entire INF over one position: Gennett to 1B, Peraza to 2B, Suarez to SS and put Senzel at 3B. That has to help one of the worst defenses in the MLB. Take the money you are paying Votto and spend on pitching. Finally get away from that over-bearing contract that a small market team could never, ever afford. If you can use Votto-money on FA pitching, and get a couple of more arms, you could overhaul that rotation in one swift move. And, I too, would go get Adam Jones. He would tear up GABP and help get you to Trammel Time. Status quo does not work, guys. This team needs to try something. As in, drastic. Nothing to lose. What is the worst thing that can happen? We go from 90-loss seasons to 100-loss?

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    • NO, on a variety of fronts, 1st. Votto has a full NTC and will not waive it. If he wanted to he would be long gone by now, 2. sonny Gray can be gotten for dirt cheap right now. The yankees are not giving up german right now by from what is being said. Now as far as defense. Scooters actually started trending in the right direction. He is also, as of today, still only here for another year. Get senzel some real time at either short or third and if at third move suarez to short where it currently is being held by the worst defender in all of baseball. If not using senzel in the infield use him in the OF. If we must get a CF. McCutchen is a FA. Better then AJ would be in center. Honestly with Aquino now out of the picture, it would be better to experement with senzel there until trammell is ready. As far as money, the only way is to package homer in a trade with someone, cough peraza cough, and have another team take him and used that freed up money on FA.

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      • As bad as Peraza is at short, I have no confidence that Suarez would be an improvement. He was an outstanding third-baseman for a year and a half or so, but regressed in 2018. He’s never looked good a short. The Reds need pitching. They need hitting. But they also need to field passably,

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        • I agree. I expect Suarez to rebound some defensively at 3B but don’t think he’s a valid SS anymore. I’m a little confused why so many people think he’d be a better SS than Peraza.

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    • I like some of the thoughts here. Peraza is definitely better at second base than at shortstop. (He was brutal in the limited time he played centerfield a couple of years ago, so that’s not a good option.) Move Suarez to short and you won’t do any worse defensively than with Peraza. That also opens third base for Senzel. But instead of Votto to the Yankees, how about Gennett? The Yankees need a replacement for Didi Gregorius, who will miss the season with Tommy John surgery. They could move GleyberTorres to short and plug Gennett in at second base. And his lefthanded power bat would play well at Yankee Stadium.

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      • As much as I love scooter, and I do, this makes sense. With Blandino as the infield backup, and healthy, we can make that move. Could be a straight up for gray, or have the yankees throw in some money, or a prospect.

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      • Gennett makes much more sense to trade. I just don’t see Suarez as an improvement defensively over Peraza, however. If you did trade away Votto, Winker is the guy that needs to go to 1B not Gennett. The only way the defense really improves is replacing Gennett or Peraza with someone not currently on the 25 man

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      • Peraza is worlds better at second

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    • Assuming you could trade Votto that trade doesn’t do much to improve the Reds other than give them money to spend on pitching. Gennett at 1B is probably a downgrade defensively because with his size he probably doesn’t get all the throws Votto has to dig out of the dirt. Plus he is only around for one year. Perazza to 2B improves the defense there, but Suarez is probably a downgrade at SS. 3B defense improves and you have replaced Votto’s bat with Senzel, which may turn out ok in the future. You get a decent SP, but for only a year. Yes you would have money, probably $17 million after Gray gets his arb raise. However you could have just as easily put Senzel in the OF, especially if he can play CF and improve the offense. You could also trade Gennett and put Senzel at 2B improving the defense and getting $10 million for pitching.

      Overall that trade gives you worse defense at 1B and SS, better at 2B and 3B, potentially a slightly worse offense , better SP and $17 million to spend in year one . Year two you have lost your 1B and SP, which is where all that $17 is going to have to go. You also still need another guy in the OF if Senzel is at 3B which cuts down on that $17 million as well.

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  54. I’d be intrigued by a scooter trade but I’m confused by the idea of addition by subtraction logic when it comes to Scooter. He’s a liability defensively sure, but there can be considerable variability in defensive value year to year and if offensive output continues we may find a year or two of Scooter of real net value.

    Plus Scooter destroys right handed pitching. Can’t have enough of that lying around.

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    • The idea of inserting Scooter into the above trade instead of Votto would coincide with the Reds receiving much more than Sonny Gray. For a Gennett trade by the Reds to make any sense, you’d need to get a center fielder, another starting pitcher or a top Yankee prospect who is blocked, along with Gray. I’m not in any way advocating giving Gennett away. I’m not in favor of that at all.

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  55. Once again, for effect…

    Among 34 MLB 2B with 450 innings in 2018, Scooter ranked:

    9th in DEF
    12th in UZF/150
    20th in DRS
    15th in FPCT

    For Inside Edge Fielding…
    7th (1-10%), 20th (10-40%), 20th for 40-60%, 16th (60-90%) & 14th (90-100%)

    Scooter was not the problem defensively in 2018, not even close. Scooter’s defense in 2017 was bad, very bad, but it improved dramatically in 2018. Peraza’s SS defense consistently ranked in the bottom third of all MLB SS during 2018. Suarez’ 3B defense ranked in the bottom half and bottom third of all MLB 3B during 2018. The left side of the IF defense was the problem.

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    • And the eye test would agree. Gennett had a very tough stretch early on but some of his work past that was adequate. I’m not a big Scooter fan but his defensive liability is way overstated.

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      • I agree, too. For much of the season I was watching and waiting for butchery at 2nd base. It mostly didn’t happen. There were even some outstanding plays, and this from a guy with a bum shoulder.

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  56. The Mariners are giving their players away for virtually nothing. A decent(and I don’t mean any of our top 4/5) prospect or 2 could get you an AS shortstop in Juan Segura – he is under team control until 2022 and an option for 2023!. Then let Peraza and Senzel play in the outfield rotation with Winker, Ervin and Schebler. If you trade Scooter or let him go in a year, then put Senzel at 2nd and hopefully Trammel is ready in 2020 for CF.

    That still leaves you money for a SP and a reliever this year, or trade Iggy for a SP. I realize that is a lot of movement, but when you are in last place consistently, you try almost anything.

    An infield of Votto, Scooter/Senzel, Segura and Suarez looks pretty good and would be locked up for at least 4/5 years.

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    • Didn’t even think of trading for a SS. Reds should at least be kicking the tires.

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    • Segura has $58M guaranteed over the next four years — maybe in the range you’d be thinking about in an extension for Scooter. His 2018 WAR was 4.3. I honestly have no clue how good or bad his fielding is. For the Reds to take the next step, they can’t have Peraza as the regular shortstop. Perhaps acquire Segura at what is a very reasonable price for a 4.3 WAR player, and then trade either Scooter or Peraza. Maybe Peraza, with four years of team control left, would be attractive to Seattle after his breakthrough hitting performance in 2018.

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  57. The Mariners should fit into the offseason plans of cinci, mike leake has 2 years ledt o n an affordable deal and is generally recognized as a ground ball specialist.

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  58. Note: Segura has made 17 errors in each of the past two seasons. Perhaps he’s not the answer as a defensive upgrade.

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  59. I mentioned a couple times during this year that if the Reds were at all serious about contending in 2019, Havoc! could not be on the roster.

    We will see if that ends up the case, but non-tendering was definitely a correct step, IMO.

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  60. Regarding the infield…

    Suarez (age 28 in 2019)
    Gennett (age 29 in 2019)
    Votto (age 36 in 2019)

    Adding Segura and extending Gennett virtually ensures an over-30 infield in the not-too-distant future. Not optimal. Maybe Peraza isn’t the long term answer, but he is young/cheap/controlled and projected only .5 worse than Segura (Steamer, 2.7 to 2.2 WAR). One more year to see where his celing is could be justified.

    The Reds have done well with the low-hanging fruit (trading Duvall, non-tendering Havoc!, manager and coaches hires)….but the tough work is still to do.

    Choosing to extend Gennett, where to play Senzel (super-utility is not a long-term answer if his potential turns out to be real), figuring out if Disco can age well, etc.

    Lots to figure out even before trying to upgrade via free agency or trade.

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    • Where is Nick Senzel playing?

      Its ridiculous no one can answer that question.

      The Reds beat writers were fairly certain that the Reds will add a CF and Senzel isn’t it.

      Senzel was quite certain in his interview with Lance McCalister that he IS the CF and Eric Davis says so too and his goal is to be the opening day centerfielder.

      Dick Williams was evasive- saying the Reds budget will dictate things. They can go 2 ways- sign a defensive first CF and hope his offense can add more than Hamilton at a cheaper price or if money is left over after pitching go after a higher price offensive complete CF.

      That still leaves Senzel in limbo. It seems the Reds are waiting out the FA market before they make critical decisions. The greatest criticism of this new FO is their inability to define the role of one of the top prospects on the planet on the worst franchise on the planet the last 5 years.
      I guess Senzel isn’t good enough to help this team. Its clear the Hamilton non-tender was about budget- and not about clearing playing time for Senzel.

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  61. Well it aint gonna be segura on the reds. The phillies just traded for him. Mike leake still avalible though.

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati 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. Contemporary Reds thrills: witnessing Jay Bruce's 2010 homer and Homer Bailey's 2013 no-hitter in person. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 280 characters about the Reds is Redleg Nation, although you can follow his tweets @spmancuso.

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