The Cincinnati Reds made two trades in the past ten days. The first brought pitcher Tanner Roark from the Washington Nationals. The second delivered Matt Kemp, Alex Wood, Yasiel Puig, Kyle Farmer and a pile of cash from the Dodgers.

At first glance, the two deals look completely different.

Take a closer look.

If you bracket out the swap of bad contracts (Homer Bailey for Kemp), what’s left of the two agreements is a common strategy. In both trades, the Reds exchanged second- and third-tier prospects for valuable major league players with one year of team control.

Our outsized excitement over these one-year guys reveals just how starved Reds fans have become for offseason moves that matter. No offense meant to the likes of Marlon Byrd, David Hernandez, Blake Wood or Gossington, but it’s been a while.

Let’s put emotional rescue aside and attempt a dispassionate look at what the two trades mean. The most important result may surprise you.

PAYROLL

Before the trades, the Reds had about $95 million committed to payroll. Here’s where things stand today.

The two trades, net of the $7 million in Dodger Dough, have raised 2019 payroll to $116 million. Keep in mind that’s based on estimates of arbitration awards for seven players.

We’ve surmised the final payroll number might be somewhere in the range of $130 million to $150+ million. Assuming a number toward the lower end of those estimates, the Reds have spent half their new allowance. The front office has at least another $20 million to go.

2019 ROSTER

Tanner Roark and Alex Wood will join a vastly upgraded starting rotation. Wood should slot in between Luis Castillo and Anthony DeSclafani. Roark is fourth in that group. Assuming no other moves are made to acquire a starter, the fifth rotation spot will be a competition among Cody Reed, Tyler Mahle, Robert Stephenson, Amir Garrett, Michael Lorenzen and possibly others.

Yasiel Puig should play everyday in the outfield, joining Scott Schebler, Jesse Winker and his Dodger teammate Matt Kemp. None are obvious candidates for centerfield.

In 2018, Matt Kemp had a brilliant first half (wRC+ 137) at the plate, followed by a steep drop (wRC+ 97) in the second. He’s a liability in the field. Kemp would make a decent trade candidate to a team that could mitigate defensive weakness with the Designated Hitter rule. Kemp for a serviceable reliever would be another win for the front office.

BEYOND 2019

With the exception of “catcher with options” Kyle Farmer, none of the new players are signed beyond 2019. That means no help with the 2020 roster, but also no extended financial commitments. One-year players are prime trade fodder at the 2019 deadline.

Notice how short the “Beyond 2019” section is.

THE BIGGEST NEWS

But none of that is the big news. Money spent and roster improvements aren’t what’s most interesting or important about the past ten days. For Reds fans, the crucial takeaway isn’t dollars or players.

It’s nerve.

For years, whether offseason or trade deadline, the Reds have operated like they were afraid to make mistakes. Every roster move seemed like the product of a group decision of infinite importance. Paralysis was the predictable result. Remember the return for Matt Harvey, Zack Cozart or Billy Hamilton? Me neither.

When Dick Williams took over as General Manager, he said he wanted the Reds to be a “stable, boring organization” with the draft and development as their primary game plan. He used “small market” and “limited resources” to explain a lack of external solutions. He told us not to expect his Reds to be out “chasing trades and chasing free agents”. Williams didn’t want to be one of “those GMs that get all the coverage for trying to do the splashy deals” because “they’re trying to fill holes that they haven’t been able to address from within.”

And that describes how the Reds tried to operate for several years.

But that era is over.

The Reds over the past ten days have displayed an organization led by a confident front office team of Williams, Nick Krall and David Bell. The structure of the deals signals a welcome farewell to risk aversion. After all, when you populate your roster with one-year players, you pretty much know you’re going to be back at it again, a year later.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. Yes, you don’t want to load up your team with players that have to be replaced every year. But there’s no intrinsic reason to fear a fair measure of that, either.

Sure, the Reds new aggressiveness has been a product not of grand design, but of palpable frustration with the sluggish and jagged development of in-house pitching. (A good deal of that slow pacing was self-inflicted.) Nonetheless, change has arrived. 

WHAT’S NEXT?

Dick Williams said yesterday the Reds aren’t finished with offseason moves.

In the short term, unless Nick Senzel is destined for Billy Hamilton’s old job, the Reds could use a centerfielder. Senzel, though, might be whom the Reds have in mind.

On the other hand, in adding the bats of Puig and Kemp, the Reds created run-scoring space to trade Scooter Gennett and slide Senzel into a more familiar infield position.

The Reds have signaled they’re still looking for pitching. That might mean adding a reliever or two. Or maybe they’re casting for bigger fish. I’d send the names Scooter Gennett and Raisel Iglesias to Cleveland to see how close that gets to Corey Kluber. Bagging Kluber without giving up a top-four prospect would be the best move yet for the front office.

Here’s the thing, those deals out there, the ones still to come, they will be harder and costlier than what we’ve witnessed the past ten days. When the Reds acquire impact players with more than a year of team control, they will pay with better prospects, major league players, big money or some combination of those things. One-year players are relatively easy to pry away from their teams. Noah Syndergaard, not so much.

The operating principles and confidence of the Reds front office appear to be changing for the better. And that’s a good thing, because the most important, long-lasting moves are yet to come.

116 Responses

  1. Tampa Red

    Exactly my take Steve. They’ve significantly updgraded their talent for 2019 AND still have all of their top-8 or maybe 10 prospects, AND still have room to spend AND assets to trade. Love the Kluber proposal.

    Exciting times for the Reds. Relevance, oh how I’ve missed you!

    • Bruce

      You have Gennett and Iglesias slotted for 16.7 million. Kluber for 17. Why would they sacrifice their ace for 300,00 grand? No, they definitely want Senzel. Just trade Gennett for Gray and acknowledge we aren’t catching Cards or Cubs this year.

      • Goat

        Trade Gennett? He’s arguably there second or worst third best player and everyone wants to trade him. Senzel is ranked high but he had vertigo issues and even though he’s ranked high he’s unproven. They need to lock up Gennett and possibly trade Senzel if they’re thinking of winning now.
        If they’re thinking of winning in two or three years then go ahead and trade Scooter.

  2. Streamer88

    They are one more SP away from sneaking into a Fangraphs range of 79-87 wins. I think creating an 84 win team every year and hoping for some luck is a very good plan in MLB.

    It is not a good plan in the NBA and NFL, or even the NHL, where absolute surefire superstars can be had by tanking. But in a world of MLB rebuilders and overspenders isn’t there room for this type of plan every year?

    • Tom Diesman

      I’ve been messing around with some numbers using the 2018 Reds numbers and replacing them with the 2018 numbers of the players we have acquired (Roark/Wood/Puig/Kemp). The Reds were 67-95 last season with 696 RS and 819 RA. Replacing Harvey/some of Romano/Bailey/Finnegan/Stephens SP innings with Roark/Wood nets the Reds with 59 less RA or about 6 Wins. Replacing Hamilton/Duval OF PA with Puig/Kemp nets the Reds with an additional 53 RS or about 5 wins. The result is 749 RS vs 760 RA or a Pythagorean projected record of 80-82.

      Just for kicks, since everyone is all hot on obtaining Kluber, I ran the numbers if we can get him for prospects only not affecting the MLB number. Replacing Harvey/Lorenzen/Reed/Mahle/Romano/Bailey/Finnegan/Stephens SP innings with Kluber/Roark/Wood nets the Reds with 99 less RA or about 10 Wins. The result is 749 RS vs 720 RA or a Pythagorean projected record of 84-78.

      I ran these to simply demonstrate how much these transactions can move the needle. We know there are many other factors at play that can and will affect these estimated win totals.

  3. Matt Hendley

    Good write up. Try senzel in center….or Super UT him. Reds still need injury mitigation players. Don’t want to see the likes of mason williams near a Reds MLB roster ever again.

    • Michael E

      The only concern about super UT Senzel is all that moving around might really take toll on his hitting. You’d think not, but giving someone so much to think about, day to day, in the field can impact their confidence enough to shake their best skills a bit.

      I’d rather they try Puig in center and hope he has matured enough to NOT make bad decisions diving for balls he can’t get and letting them one hop safely in front of him. Puig’s downside is over-aggressiveness, on the bases and in the field. He has a GREAT arm that would play very well in CF and enough speed. Just needs coached to NOT try and make the big play all the time and he can be an above average CF defensively AND offensively. Then maybe Senzel is ready in 2020 for CF full time if Puig moves on or has a bad year.

      • VaRedsFan

        If you don’t try to make a big play every time, then you will never make a great play. It has to be on instinct when you should dive and when you shouldn’t.

  4. Rut

    Question that I have never seen a clear answer for (across multiple Reds platforms!):

    Is that listed total for Kemp’s salary correct? I know he has parts paid by LA due to earlier trade to SD… is that part of the $7million number or not?

    Also thought a part of 2019 was also supposed to be paid by another team, but can’t seem to find that now…

    Also think getting rid of Homer’s buy out of $5mill next year should allow to take on more salary obligations now and future.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Cot’s Baseball Contracts shows all of Kemp’s $21.750 million in the Reds column. The $7 million from Dodgers could be thought of as part of that (and maybe some of that is via San Diego). Complicated. Good question.

      • Hanawi

        That’s probably what counts against the Reds’ tax liabilities, but I’m pretty sure San Diego and LA, and maybe even Atlanta are chipping in actual money. Think you might be right in that it’s where the $7 million is coming from.

    • Hotto4Votto

      https://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2018/7/22/17599598/matt-kemp-awesome-dodgers-padres-braves-adrian-gonzalez-scott-kazmir-all-star-los-angeles

      Here’s an article I found helpful. According to this article the Dodgers agreed to pay 3.5m of Kemp’s 2019 in their trade with the Padres. When the Padres traded Kemp to the Braves they agreed to pay 2.5m of Kemp’s salary.

      Now what I’m not sure is how much of that 7m covers that, if any. I would think at the very least the money from the Padres should not be counted.

  5. Jon

    I commented in a post the other day that the Reds should follow the Brewers’ 2018 model and focus on offense and the bullpen. If the Reds can get a pitcher like Kluber without giving up a top prospect, great. If not, then I believe the Reds should spend the rest of the winter upgrading the bullpen and figuring out their plans for CF and SS.

    I would not be opposed to putting Puig in CF for a year until Trammell is ready. Or the Reds could use Senzel in CF and plug Winker and Puig in the two corner outfield spots. This leaves a bench that includes Schebler and Kemp. Even if the Reds were to make no further upgrades to their offense, this is a formidable lineup:

    Winker (RF)
    Senzel (CF)
    Votto (1B)
    Suarez (3B)
    Gennett (2B)
    Puig (LF)
    Peraza (SS)
    Barnhart (C)

    • burtgummer

      I’d be stunned if Senzel starts the year in mlb he only had limited ab’s in aaa none of which he played cf
      So Puig in cf,Kemp/Schebler in lf
      Plus Peraza in the lead-off then Winker
      The way Winker gets on base I think it’s a very formidable line up

    • Thomas Jefferson

      Note that Winker said this winter (interview with Mo Egger) that he feels much better in the middle of the lineup, and while SSS applies, the numbers back this up: wRC+ of 100 in lead off spot: 258 and 155 in 5th/6th spots.

  6. TR

    The foundation of a winning team starts with leadership in the front office. Things are looking up for the Reds.

  7. Hanawi

    Don’t think Scooter has much value for Cleveland, as they would be looking for a controllable asset. I’d go with India/Schebler/Iglesias and throw in a lottery ticket if needed.

    They could play Puig in CF, but I think they still need a true CF. Maybe Scooter can get them something.

  8. Klugo

    Trade Scooter. Maybe for a Sonny Gray type plus a prospect. Or maybe with Iglesias, Barnhart, plus, for a bigger fish. Then set your sights on Realmuto. Maybe we’re a year away from spending big on an ace. We do have pitching prospects with high upside. Maybe one or two of those take the next step.
    Can’t have progress without change. I like the changes.

  9. roger garrett

    Along with nerve they now seem to have a plan going forward.Its not a bad thing to have so many guys on one year deals as long as you realize it is just that and parlay that into part of the future.I certainly agree that Scooter,Iggy and one more would be a place to start to inquire a top pitcher.Still time for more wheeling and dealing and one thing I am watching is what do the Reds do with all these young starters.We could discuss all day about every one of them as to they have been given a chance or not but in reality they are all still here.Roark,Wood,Puig and Kemp make us a better team for sure in 2019.Go Reds.

  10. Seat101

    Steve there are 30 teams in the major leagues. We seem to be concentrating on the pitchers of just three or four teams when it comes to trades.

    Do you have any thoughts on where the Reds might be looking elsewhere?

    • lwblogger2

      Only a few teams that have that #1 type starter with multiple years of control that they may actually be willing to part with. The 3-4 teams feel like about it. Reds looked at Nats for Roark and don’t think many saw that coming. I’m thinking they are beating the bushes.

  11. Scott C

    Cleveland does need a second baseman and bullpen help so a trade with Cleveland where we offer Scooter and Iglesias should be at least a starter for a trade.

  12. Goat

    Get Gio Gonzalez and a good middle reliever and they will be done. I still feel they’re going to trade a scooter , but I could be wrong. I could see them getting a starter like Gio and still go after Polluck. I feel if someone were to sign a deal for what Polluck was wanting then he would have already received that deal . There’s more to come and I feel like with the right pieces the Reds will be very competitive next year. They will surprise a few people.

    • lwblogger2

      I don’t want Gio. He’s on the way down, is a fly-ball pitcher, and walks too many guys.

    • VaRedsFan

      No on walk machine Gio. No on injury-ridden Pollack

  13. redfan4life

    They are probably concentrating on other pitchers not named Kluber or Gray. No one saw the Roark deal coming. Not saying he is great, but maybe they end up with a pitcher that is a few ticks better than Roark to finish out the rotation and still keep are our top prospects. Or maybe they just over pay for Kuechal and call it a day. What ever they do I hope Senzel and Winker are kept. Winker has his defense warts but I think he hits for power this year. Shoulder woes are hopefully behind him.
    There is zero chance that I would trade Scooter for Sonny Gray. No chance bad trade IMO.
    The Reds may end up being the worst defensive team in the majors.

    • six

      I was on the ‘trade Scooter for Sonny Gray’ train early but now we have two better pitchers and have plenty of candidates for 5th starter.

  14. TR

    If Scooter is traded, Senzel will go to second base and Puig will be in center field and he’ll love hitting in GABP, and he’ll be extended. If Gennett is not traded, Senzel will be in center and either Kemp or Schebler will be included in a trade. Looks like a pretty impressive Reds offense in 2019. If Kemp stays, he reminds me of Kevin Mitchell in 1993 & 94.

  15. Richard Korey

    Why is everyone so eager to trade Scooter? He’s a stud! Get off of that stuff. I’d extend him two years. I’m shocked they haven’t.

    • Matt Hendley

      Ditto, trade peraza and his league worse defense. Dick Williams sayed that every position is being looked at, that better be one of then. Either senzel at short or suarez at short and Senzel at third.

      • sixpack2

        Peraza got better as the year went by and he is what 23? No, we need Senzel at 2nd. Gennett is gone in a year so trade him (CF,RP,SP) and Puig replaces his offense and we have better ‘D’ at 2nd.

      • Matt Hendley

        Actually no, gennetts defense improved over the second half last year. He is improving vastly and is a known commodity, unlike perazza who is worst in baseball but yet noone is clamoring for him to move for senzel.

      • lwblogger2

        Matt is right about Scooter’s defense being better the 2nd half and his defense overall wasn’t as bad as a lot of people are making it out to be.

        What I disagree with Matt on is Peraza. Yes, he was bad defensively last year but with his work ethic, athleticism and age, he’s a strong candidate to improve his defense. Scooter is what he is defensively and may be a little better next year. I’m not a fan of Peraza’s game in general, mostly due to plate-disipline and power concerns. His power improved dramatically and his plate-discipline improved a little. I think he deserves to go into 2019 as the starting SS.

      • doofus

        Peraza (one “Z”) had the second most hits (182) last season by a Red’s SS since…Barry Larkin. But, yeah, let’s get rid of him!

        There have been many major league shortstops who were defensively “rough around the edges” at the beginning of their careers; and, turned it around with hard work.

        I believe that strong defense up-the-middle wins championships (please see BRM). Give Peraza a chance.

        Peraza the least of this club’s worries.

    • Bill

      It’s been repeatedly explained on here why people suggest trading Scooter. He is in his last year and plays a position of depth for the Reds. No one is complaining about his bat or really want him gone. The suggestion was to use the $10 million he would get to pay for pitching and let Senzel have 2B. If he is extended or the Reds think they can compete this year then obviously trading Gennett doesn’t make much sense.

    • lwblogger2

      I don’t think he takes a 2-year extension.

      • Bill J

        All last year we heard about Scooter’s bad shoulder but haven’t heard a thing about it lately, has anyone?

    • jbonireland

      He has a bad shoulder, can’t throw the ball overhand from second base, couldn’t play left field for the same reason. He is one deminsional, he is a hitter and while that is good… his negative defense somewhat off sets his good hitting. We have his replacement in Nick Senzel who would upgrade the defense if he doesn’t have to play CF. Nothing really negative with Scooter we just have options.

      • greenmtred

        Do we know that the bad shoulder is chronic? If it will heal with rest or treatment, ithe discussion changes a little.

      • Bill J

        Seen the Yankees were interested in Scooter.

    • doofus

      On Scooter, it’s simple…sell high. Senzinati will make Scooter irrelevant.

    • Megageek

      They are eager to trade a bad defensive 2nd baseman because he cost runs, so much so it almost negates his great bat.
      One more reason behind their eagerness lies with this kid named Senzel. Now, this kid can hit, field and run.
      Don’t get me wrong, I love Scooter, but he is a much better DH than an everyday 2nd baseman. If the reds were to choose to offer him a contract extension it would most certainly hamper them in the future.

  16. CFD3000

    Hard to imagine anyone in the NL wants Kemp for one year at $21M but maybe that league with the DH. I’d still prefer the Reds pursue Keuchel with dollars, but if a trade can be made for Kluber, Bauer, Stroman, Syndegaard or another ace then Iglesias, Gennett, Kemp and any prospects not in the top 5 are all available in my book.

    I don’t think the Reds need to pursue a center fielder. Maybe Senzel will be fine there, but even if he’s not (or if he slots in at 2nd after Gennett is traded) then one year with Puig or Schebler in CF as a bridge to Trammell is fine by me. Either would be at least as good as Shin Soo Choo, and either would be a huge offensive upgrade with Hamilton gone. Which all leads back to the same conclusion: the Reds biggest room for improvement for 2019 (and beyond) is still at the top of the rotation. The rest is, suddenly, in very good shape. And that’s exciting!

    • trey

      The Dodgers tried for a year to trade Matt Kemp to the American League and no one was interested. They only were able to move him to the Reds because Homer Bailey’s contract was very backloaded which made his AAV for CBT purposes lower than Kemp’s.

  17. Matt Hendley

    And stroman will not be comming to the Reds. San Deigo on the verge of picking him up.

    • Jay

      Good I didn’t want him. I didn’t feel like it was the right fit for the Reds.

      • lwblogger2

        I like that he throws worm-burners and he’s a good bounce-back candidate. That said, he’s not an ace and I wouldn’t want to give up too much for him.

    • Joe W

      I know many do not share my enthusiasm for Marcus Stroman, but I would really like to see him in a Reds uniform. I would also like to see someone like Gray, and I feel the 2 of them would look strong next to Wood and Luis Castillo, whom I believe has the tools to be a true ace. I like the youth there, and believe that would be a rotation that can grow together over the long term. Why pay a Keuchel 80 mil over 4 years, when you could trade for 2 young arms and extend each for 40-50 mil over the same time period possibly?

      Also, I am not eager to see Gennett go, but would rather see him on a 2 year extension. I understand Cincy not paying him yet, while they see what they can get on the market and every dollar is important right now. But once the moves are considered over, I think they make an offer to him with the intent that Senzel gets to the bigs late this year or sometime in the 2020 season as a super utility guy. The Reds can find the kid at bats all season between resting the infielders, outfielders, and nagging injuries. Besides, what better utility guy to have than a really cheap one with huge upside? A major injury will open the door for him just as it did for Peraza when Cozart went down. Sorry for the book, but I’m an excited Reds fan and am ready for 2019 to start!!

  18. Brian

    Don’t know why everyone is so eager to trade kemp. I get the salary for this year is high but we’d have to eat most of it to get it done anyway. A Winker-Senzel-puig outfield is a good outfield hitting wise. But adding schebler and kemp in the rotation makes it a great one. Know matter what you have 2 power hitting or high OBP bench bats. Plus they can keep everyone fresh, keep senzel down in triple A to justify his clock. Also they can spot start him at 3rd 12-15 times this year, and at second when a lefty is pitching to get kemp in the lineup and rest scooter. Our team has had empty holes in the lineup and rotation for so long we don’t seem to realize we are allowed to have capable bench bats. Most playoff teams do, especially because injuries happen. Just don’t trade kemp for a AAAA journeyman reliever whil sending 18 million in the deal to cover his salary. He can still help us, especially as a late game pinch hitter

    • Bill J

      Why does everyone want to keep Senzel in the minors, we did last year & look what happened.

      • ToBeDetermined

        Just for a couple a weeks. So they can get an extra year of control.
        But, I don’t think anyone wants him down there any longer than that. He’s major league ready. Nothing to prove in AAA.

  19. turbobuckeye

    Not sure Gennett has the trade value we all wish he did. 2019 Steamer forecasts him at 1.4 while there are a couple FA 2Bs out there with 2-2.5 WAR forecasts (e.g., LeMahieu) that can be had for not much more than Gennett’s arb # w/o giving up prospects.

    • VaRedsFan

      People have been doubting Scooter for 2 years now. Maybe by 2025 they will be right.

  20. matt hendley

    It still seems that people for some reason want him gone, 2019 is obviously a win now year. Scooters fate is now tied with the rest of the team and July. I also have some suspicion of a 4 War player devaluating to 1.4 in one season. I don’t see it. He is someone that a team should be trading prospects for, rather then part of a trade package, and is worth about 5 sonny grays.

    • Hotto4Votto

      Is 2019 a clear win-now year. Maybe, if we add an ace like Kluber or Syndergaard. I’m not even sure Kuechel would put us over the top or counts as an ace at this point. Doug Gray has said he’s a #3-type starter. I’d probably peg him as a solid #2 guy at least, but not a guy that would propel us into automatic contention.

      As it stands now, I still see us finishing 4th in our division. I’d say 2019 is more about restoring faith in the organization from the fans, bringing them back to the ballpark by adding legitimate ML players to the roster. 2019 is about moving closer to .500, but not necessarily playoff contention. So far it’s about making moves that help short term that don’t handcuff the long term (aka selling off top prospects).

      • ToBeDetermined

        I may be wrong. But, these moves with 1 year controlled players mean they are trying to make the playoffs.

        And if things are going well at the trade deadline then add a piece where needed, based on injury or underperformance.

        If things are not going well then a player with little control may be traded in order to bring back a low level prospect with a reasonably high ceiling to replace the two players we sent to LA. Jeter Downs and Mr. Gray.

        This is a whole new way of thinking in the Front Office in Cincinnati.

  21. Shchi Cossack

    As conspicuously observed by almost everyone, including DW, an additional, possibly significant, move or moves should be in the works, but without some indication regarding what or if those move(s) might be, what we have right now is an exercise of what if the roster is filled with what we have currently available.he

    Last season the Reds finished 9th in the NL with 172 HR and the Reds OF contributed significantly less than 1/3 of that total, lead by Schebler’s 17. For the 2019 season:

    LF Jesse Winker (15 hr)
    CF Nick Senzel (15 hr)
    RF Yasiel Puig (30 hr)
    OF Scott Schebler (10 hr)
    OF Matt Kemp (10 hr)

    The Reds OF should easily increase their HR output by 30 hr. That would place the Reds among the top 5 teams in the NL in HR and runs scored. That’s not an insignificant improvement. Then also factor in Peraza doubling his power output in the 2nd half of the season and Votto suffering the worst power production of his career excluding severe injuries and the power potential and run production of the current roster could challenge any team in the NL.

    Even before factoring in the starting pitching upgrades by adding Roark and Wood, the current Reds team will win significantly more games in 2019 than the previous Reds team won in 2018. How many will only be determined between the lines, but the equation will also include addition by subtraction of Billy Hamilton, Homer Bailey and Bryan Price along with WJ and BC taking seats in the back of the bus and no roster spots available for the likes of Phil Gosselin and Cliff Pennington.

    The bullpen is always a crap shoot, but Iggy, Lorenzen, Hernandez, Hughes, Romano and Garrett could form a pretty solid bullpen foundation for Bell and Johnson to creatively manage. I can envision 4-6 relievers throwing 80+ innings of top-shelf performances.

    In addition to the two new starters added to the rotation, Disco is a year closer to full health with a full off season and spring training of preparation. Castillo has an additional year of experience facing MLB hitters with 31 starts under his belt in 2018. Reed, Stephenson and Mahle (along with possibly Lorenzen and Garrett) have an additional year of experience and possibly more importantly, a new coaching staff with a fresh approach and a clean slate.

    Do not discount the positive impact David Bell could have on the roster and team in 2019. Without even squinting, the Old Cossack can see a Philly/Atlanta emergence for the Reds in 2019, even without the additional move(s) being contemplated.

    • Scott C

      I like what younger saying. And one thing that you allude to, but no one has said outrightly, is that we are going into spring training with the roster pretty well set. No need to scrounge the bottom of waiver witre for bench pieces.

  22. goat

    The Indians wouldn’t trade for Gennett because they are trying to decrease their payroll. The Indians will end up with Trammell and another top ten Reds prospect. I’ll be surprised if this doesn’t happen. The Indians asked for Bellinger in trade but the Dodgers refused to unload him. I can see Kemp being included in the deal with the Reds throwing in some cash and the two prospects. I

  23. GeauxReds

    I don’t know why no one mentions Lorenzen in Center.

      • greenmtred

        I think that’s why. He hasn’t played center since college, and his hitting prowess comes with loud, flashing SSS warnings.

      • Matt Hendley

        In addition, alot of the reason he gets massive output (relative to other RP) is because pitchers treat him like a RP, and grove it in there. If he plays OF, then he will be pitched to as a OF and his numbers will go down respectively.

    • TR

      Riggleman said it would never happen but Riggs is now with the Mets. So put Lorenzen in center and Winker and Puig in the corners with Schebler and Ervin as the backups. Include Kemp in the trade with Cleveland for Kluber.

      • greenmtred

        Put Lorenzen in center at AA, maybe. Or A. He hasn’t been a position player as a pro at all.

      • doofus

        Why would the Indians want Kemp and his $21MM in a trade for Kluber who is making $17MM?

  24. Jreis

    Kind of a strange offseason so far. I agreed with letting Billy go at the time but now if we had him we would be just an ace away from being a real contender in the Nl. Now we are a centerfielder and an ace away.
    I hate the idea of Senzel in center with the vertigo issues. And we cant legitimately be a contender with Schebler and Ervin stumbling around our there. I am sorry!

    • Bill

      Hamilton doesn’t make this team any closer to contention unless he is pinch running in the 9th. The Reds have multiple guys who can fill in at center this year if no one is signed

    • lwblogger2

      If Hamilton could hit at all I’d agree with you. You can’t have a guy out there who hits for no power, a fairly low average, and doesn’t walk much.

      You are always talking about defense, baserunning and athleticism so let’s look at a guy like Caesar Geronimo. He is the only Reds CF that I’ve been alive to watch who can go get the ball in CF like Hamilton. He could hit a little too though. Light years better hitter than Hamilton and surrounded by great hitters who could carry him in the lineup. I love watching Hamilton play and will miss watching him out there but he doesn’t make the Reds any closer to contention. If the Reds still had him they’d still need a CF.

      • Jreis

        I guess you are right. I look at things from a historical perspective more than an analytical perspective like most on redleg nation. I wasn’t around for the 1940 reds team but all I know is that since 1961 all reds world series teams have had a speedy centerfielders with excellent defensive skils. From Pinson to Tolan to Gernimo to Davis.
        I know the game has changed but it’s hard to imagine us winning the whole thing without a game changer roaming center.

      • greenmtred

        I love watching Billy, too, but have reluctantly come to your opinion, LW. But the Reds do need some defensive ability in the outfield (infield, too, of course). People point out that Choo, terrible fielding and all, played center on a fairly successful team, and this is true, but ignores the fact that , aside from Choo, the team was decent in the field. The 2019 Reds don’t look to be, so sticking a bad fielder there doesn’t seem ideal.

    • LWBlogger2

      I’d agree with both you and Greenmntred that the Reds do need a CF who can actually get to and catch baseballs out there. I don’t think that guy is on the roster yet.

    • doofus

      Don’t worry, CF is much easier to play if you have vertigo.

    • VaRedsFan

      He wasn’t playing CF when he got vertigo two time previously

  25. Shchi Cossack

    Lost in the shuffle of a splash of renewed vigor within a long stagnant organization. Lorenzen to CF would be a huge leap to the unconventional, but why not? Indeed…why not?!

  26. Sliotar

    Remember Matt Harvey? How he was going to be “flipped”, “re-signed”? He walked.

    Wasn’t sad to see him go, but there were opportunity costs with his starts in Cincinnati. Those costs are likely multiplied now with the numerous guys on the roster in their final year.

    Feels unlikely the new rentals will be flipped at deadline, goes against what Williams is preaching, and no certainties on compensatory picks coming if they move on next winter in free agency. Shorter deals is a growing thing for non-headliners.

    So, yeah, the team is likely now a few wins better, Maybe now the 4th place team in the NL Central.

    But, this model of what the Reds are doing isn’t sustainable. Even trading A-level prospects does take a toll over time, and the team certainly can’t afford to play in the deep end of the free agent pool every winter.

    And, trading for rentals that the other teams did not want/need doesn’t rank as any great achievement or having nerve. It’s fulfilling, in part, a public mandate from the lead owner. If that doesn’t give a front office confidence to execute, nothing will.

    That’s it’s being portrayed as such re-affirms how poorly the club has been run.

    • Hanawi

      Agree. I’m pretty meh on this trade. Dodgers basically had no use for any of these players and still managed to finagle actual good prospects from the Reds. However, I do think this isn’t the status quo. The Reds wouldn’t have let Hamilton walk and made that trade with the previous management. Jocketty didn’t make any trade he didn’t believe he won by long shot. This trade was as much about public perception and excitement for the team as it was about actually making the team better.

      I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt just a little bit more than I have the last 3-4 years because of the decisions that have been made so far.

      • Bill

        These were not top prospects. The Reds held onto the guys projected to be at least starters in the majors. Both guys in this trade were graded B/B- which means “Grade B prospects have a good chance to enjoy successful careers. Some will develop into stars, some will not. Most end up spending several years in the majors, at the very least in a marginal role.” Senzel is an A, India is a B+, Long is a B but higher ranked than Downs. That is three guys ahead of him on the IF depth chart. Gray is probably the more valuable of the two, but with the Reds history of developing pitchers like Reed and Stephenson who were top prospects you can’t count on him

    • Bill

      I don’t think the intent is to flip them at the deadline. The intent is to try to win, and if that doesn’t there should be some interest in some of them. Puig, Gennett, and one of the SP could generate interest. However if you are looking for massive returns for any of the you are going to be disappointed.

      I also don’t agree with your assessment that no one wanted these players. These trades have been the result of salary dumps so these other organizations can go after high end players the Reds weren’t going to be able to afford in the first place.

    • Tyler

      I couldn’t disagree with you more about it being a bad thing trading for players other teams “don’t want/need”. Trading for players that have value and are being undervalued by their current team (because of depth, salary, etc.) is the best way to go about trades. The cost to acquire is most certainly lower than the value we receive in return.

      I think the team is greatly improved. If you look at the 3 individual players on their own (Puig, Hill, Roark) it might not seem as much. But if you factor in who they are playing instead of (Hamilton, Bailey, Romano) I think it will be a huge difference. Throw in Kemp for depth and not losing any top prospects, I couldn’t be happier with the trades.

  27. Carey

    I don’t understand why nobody has thrown the obvious trade chips out there in a deal with Cleveland to get Kluber. The Indians are in need of an outfielder, preferably for them a young controllable outfielder. They also lost Andrew Miller and Cody Allen. I don’t see the Reds going to ST with Kemp, Puig and Winker all on the roster as none could play CF for more than a few games. Winker and Amir Garrett fill Cleveland’s needs and reduces payroll for them to be able to get more bullpen help which is their weakness. May even need to add a Shed Long to the deal. The Reds have been linked to Inciarte and Pollock, I’m sure Atlanta would be good with receiving Jonathan India for Inciarte. Another thing is that if Senzel is not in the minors for a few weeks, don’t we lose a year of control?

  28. old-school

    Its been a good couple weeks for the Reds.

    DW has used the term flexibility more than once. They seem to have targeted mega-teams who were bumping up against the luxury tax and found some common ground with the National and Dodgers. The Giants ,Yankees, and Mariners are big market teams who could be interesting partners without having to give up the A list of Reds prospects.

  29. Scott Gennett

    I see Reds FO finally getting rid of those useless players, there’re still a few left (Stephenson, Reed, Finnegan, etc.) but work is already underway.

    • Matt Hendley

      Agree Finnegan needs to be DFA, Stephenson is still tradeworthy and Reed would do well if used as he is supposed to be, as a Releif pitcher.

    • greenmtred

      I think the hope is that a new pitching coach (and maybe, a sense of constructive urgency on the part of the players) may yet salvage Reed and Stephenson. Reed, certainly, showed signs last season of a changed approach.

      • Michael E

        yep, I’d like to hold on to ALL remaining SP prospects, unless one is needed in a deal to land an ace.

        It’s obvious The Reds organization pitching development, instruction and coaching has been mostly subpar for my entire lifetime, save a season here and there.

        I like the aggressive move to hire PC Johnson from Brewers. I am REALLY curious to see if an afterthought prospect suddenly has it all come together with a coach that can push the right buttons. Maybe just a simple windup or release point tweak will turn a Stephenson or Reed or Mahle into an above average NL starter right out of spring training. I can’t wait to see what happens. I am prepared for small gains, but wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see one of these AAAA starters become…GOOD.

  30. Scott Gennett

    Next season will be very challenging as well, with so many one-year players in the roster, I hope they’ll make the right decisions.

  31. Matt Hendley

    Agree Finnegan needs to be DFA, Stephenson is still tradeworthy and Reed would do well if used as he is supposed to be, as a Releif pitcher.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      That refers to something I’m interested in seeing. With the exception of 2010 and 2012, our pitching staff has been a MASH unit. It sort of corresponds with Price’s tenure here. Price left early last year, and I will say our pitching staff was more healthy than it’s been for several years. I’m wondering how that will go this year.

      Finnegan’s injury corresponds to Price’s tenure. Notice, I’m specifying “Price’s tenure”, not Price himself.

  32. Steve Schoenbaechler

    “And that describes how the Reds tried to operate for several years.

    But that era is over.”

    Honestly, I hope the Reds don’t get away from building from within. For markets like Cincinnati, if not most everywhere but NYC and LA, good teams are built by these trades AND minor league development. I’ve said that before, when we had the young Todd Frazier era here. There were a slew of young studs here as well as in our minor leagues. But, we never pulled the trigger to get the veterans we needed. Like when the Cubs went out and got Lester.

    The thing is, if you do exactly the opposite, use all the young studs to get the single year help, you eventually run out of young studs to deal.

    I believe these deals are a bit also for the 150th Anniversary for the Reds, to make a big mark for this year. For, that’s how I see these trades. We traded off 4 players who weren’t going to contribute this year (maybe never contribute), got 4 back who were going to contribute this year (at minimum) and cash. For long term, the two minor leaguers were still 3-4 years away, and may never contribute. If they ever did contribute, the Reds would still be deciding to extend them or trade them off. With these trades, the Reds simply sped up that plan, got rid of the uncertainty, for they know they now are going to have to decide whether to trade these players off or extend them eventually.

    From what I see, I believe we are a 500 team now (for the haters, that could also mean as much as maybe +-5 games probably either way, so don’t bother holding me to an 80 win season). I believe we are 1 top line starter away from being a division contender, top line like Dallas or Kluber.

    After all this, I believe the FO needs to get on player development in the minor leagues AND determining to trade or extend any of these pieces still. For, I believe, build from the minors, AND pepper in the veterans from FA or trades as you need them. And, we needed them here for several years.

  33. Ron Payne

    Assuming the Reds whiff on Kluber or Bauer (due to asking price in prospects) and Keuchel (due to length of contract desired), would or should the Reds consider Zack Greinke?
    He is owed a ton of money, but his salary is deferred. 10.5 mil in 2019, 11 mil in 2020 and 2021, with five installments of 12.5 mil from 2022 – 2026.
    I was thinking maybe Scooter and a couple of prospects outside of the top four?
    Downside: He’s 35 and can block a trade to Reds.
    Upside: He’s an ace.

    • Hanawi

      As much as the Reds have improved, they still have a ways to go for 2019. Their defense is going to be horrendous as currently constructed. Going to have to find a real CF and a better middle IF. Otherwise, doesn’t matter what pitching they can get. I think they improve some in 2019, get some fans back in the park, and then try to really open the window in 2020. Thus, they can stay pat for now with some smaller changes (flipping Scooter and one of the surplus OFs) and go for an ace next year.

      • Shchi Cossack

        The 2019 season is not the be all, end all. The moves made to this point brought improvement with potential as opposed to the ‘let’s hope everything works out’ approach of the WJ/BC regime.

        The defense sucks (3B, SS, LF, RF) with questions at 2B, CF, C & 1B. That has to change, but it doesn’t have to change in 2019. The one-year contracts for Scooter, Puig & Kemp plus the one-year contracts for Wood & Roark will dictate significant additional changes for 2020 and those changes will undoubtedly by more focused on long-term plans than short-term adjustments.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        The Cards won the WS not too long ago with excellent pitching and the league’s worst defense.

        I’m tired of hearing about defense in baseball, especially with these Reds. We had defense in Hamilton. And, while I liked seeing him play, Hamilton was not doing much for us, with all his great defense.

        Are we going to be able to replace his defense? Of course not. But, his offense? We could probably call on the AAA or even AA CF and get better offense. As long as the defense in CF is “serviceable”, we’ll be fine out there.

        Similar with the others. As long as their defense is “serviceable”, I’m fine with it. This team needs pitching, period.

      • greenmtred

        Sorry that you’re tired of hearing about defense, but half or more of the outs are still made by the fielders. You have to balance a team’s abilities: If you don’t field well, you have to hit a ton and the pitchers need to strike out a lot of opponents. If you are great fielders, but can’t hit, you’re not going far, either. MLB still isn’t slow-pitch softball.

      • greenmtred

        The Cards are an example of a team that won with poor defense. The Royals won with excellent defense and relief pitching. I think both are aberrations.

    • Shchi Cossack

      Grienke is certainly an option for consideration. I get the impression that he has no interest in waiving his trade rights to play in Cincinnati, but I have no real basis for that impression. Leake would be another option for this off season, although not the ‘ace’ people are clamoring to add.

      Going forward, Alex Wood could be that ‘ace’ candidate if the Reds can sign him to an extention. He will be 29 for the 2020 season. Career: 3.29 ERA, 3.36 FIP, 3.22 K/BB, 49.5% GB%, 0.76 HR/9.

      There are also better FA options potentially available next off season than Keuchel, Kluber and Bauer and the Reds still have internal ‘ace’ candidates who may emerge from the floundering herd.

      • Kettering Reds Fan

        A hypothetical question:

        Roark and Wood are both final year pre-FA. Assume that their 2019 production follows a smooth trendline for metrics and WAR. Based on current market values (last year, this year), what would one reasonably expect them to command over a 3-4 year free agent contract? How does that compare to similar calculations for next year’s anticipated FA population? Note that I am -not- recommending an immediate extension offer in either case – any decision about that would have to be late season or post season depending upon individual performance and team needs.

        A second hypothetical:

        Assume that the Reds get frozen out on pursuit of a marquis Nr. 1 starter this round and don’t swing a trade (i.e. Kluber) because of the cost in immediate prospects. Some time back it has been suggested (by myself and others) that we could follow the Brewer strategy – no ace, just a bunch of Nr. 2’s. and depend on offense, given the pipeline (Senzel/Trammel) and near-term enhancement (Puig) This would add less to the immediate payroll and give the Reds additional financial firepower in 2020, while the (presumably) improved performance of the club would make Cincinnati a more attractive FA destination. This isn’t a replacement for the current management plan, just a backstop.

      • Shchi Cossack

        Kettering, I believe your second hypothetical is not a replacement plan, but in fact a part of the existing plan. That’s what I find most refreshing and encouraging about the new DW/NK/DB regime. They actually appear to have a well-thought-out plan with options and permutations built into the plan rather than simply ‘hoping everything works out’.

        Roark will be affordable as a FA and probably would not receive a QO after the 2018 season. If Wood starts 30 games and produces results in GABP similar to his results in Dodger Stadium, he will be pricey and probably require more than a 4-year contract.

      • Old-school

        Question on Leake. His last 2 years looks like the Cardinals are paying $9 million. That would make 2/27 seem doable abd the Mariners have King Felix and Encarnacion and Bruce contacts to absorb. Send Shed long or Lad Gutierrez and Stephenson for Leake. He knows how to pit abd is durable.

        In 2012 I attended a Georgia vandy Game. Tickets were cheap on the Georgia side and I watched their starter warm up. He was really good… Threw 94. Guy named Alex Wood .Derek Johnson was pitching coach on the other side. Final score was 1-0 that night.

  34. joshtrum

    If only Gennet, Kemp, Iglesias, and cash could net us Kluber…..

    • Hanawi

      They aren’t giving up multiple years of Kluber for two guys on 1-year deals. Still think India, Schebler, and Iglesias would be a good start and might get them thinking. All three with multiple years of control. If they wanted Kemp and/or Scooter as well, I’d thrown them in.

  35. Shchi Cossack

    Reds fans must be patient and hopefully positive, but this is the 1st time in a very long time that there is actually some basis for patient and positive outlooks for the coming season(s).

    Atlanta: 2017 (72-90) => 2018 (90-72) NLED champs
    Philadelphia: 2017 (66-96) => 2018 (80-82) competed for playoffs through summer
    Oakland: 2017 (75-87) => 2018 (97-65) AL wild card

    Cincinnati: 2018 (67-95) => 2019 (??-??)

    90 wins in 2019 likely makes the playoffs and 82 wins likely has the Reds competing for the playoffs through the summer. The Old Cossack is all in to give the DW/NK/DB regime the benefit of doubt and a chance to produce positive results based on the early results during this off season. I was ready to thrown in the towel with a continuation of the WJ/BC regime.

  36. Mark

    I’m going at Cleveland with Barnhart India Schebler Iglesias and Gennett for Kluber or Bauer. Sign Grandol and go with Siri in CF for defense and speed if you can’t get Inciarte from Atlanta. Senzel at 2B.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      5 players of that caliber for one? The Reds didn’t give up that much for Seaver.

      • LWBlogger2

        I’m especially against it for Bauer and while I’m not against the people clamoring to “always be trading closers”, somebody has to get those outs. I’m hoping the Reds use Iglesias in a less traditional manner. I don’t see anyone on the free-agent market that could be as effective as Iglesias at getting outs for similar money. Of course that’s what makes him so valuable on the trade market too. I’d not be completly against moving him, an outfielder, and a non-top-3 prospect for Kluber but not for Bauer. That’s about the limit though if Iglesias is involved. This is especially true if Winker is the OF moved.

  37. WVRedlegs

    The Phillies are not signing either of Machado or Harper. Once those 2 dominos fall the Reds and Phillies will re-engage in trade talks.
    Schebler and Gennett for RHP Nick Pivetta is coming.

    • Thomas Jefferson

      That would be great. I’ll take a late Christmas gift when this all shakes out.

    • LWBlogger2

      I like Pivetta. I think the Phils would push for Winker vs Schebler, assuming he’d pass his medicals.

      • LWBlogger2

        I’m not sure I make that deal but Pivetta is much more worthy of trading Gennett (and perhaps Schebler) for than Gray.