Everyone’s favorite columnist Paul Daugherty had a rather hot take yesterday at The Cincinnati Enquirer. He had a take on the Cincinnati Reds offseason and the biggest move they will make. Was it trading for a shortstop that can get on base? Nope. Maybe it is signing a free agent catcher with some pop in his bat, right? Not that one, either. Perhaps it was acquiring a reliever to help the bullpen? Wrong again.

No, the biggest move in the mind of Paul Daugherty that the Cincinnati Reds will make this offseason is who they hire to call the baseball games in the place of Marty Brennaman. Is Brennaman a legend in the city of Cincinnati? Absolutely. Will people miss him when he’s no longer calling the games? Definitely. Is the guy calling the games on the radio going to change anything at all for the Cincinnati Reds? No, it’s not.

Fans aren’t buying tickets or cable packages (which is where the team makes it’s money) because of who is describing the baseball games. They buy those things because of what’s being described. It’s the product that is on the field that matters. A winning baseball team being described slightly less than is going to make a much larger impact than a slightly better described game for a bad baseball team. Winning is what matters.

The Cincinnati Reds have about 15 people right now that are calling baseball games between the radio booth and the television booth. Fans aren’t not tuning in when Marty Brennaman isn’t making the call. That’s not why they turn on the radio to begin with. They tune in to hear if the Reds are winning or losing. Over the years Brennaman has been the guy to describe all kinds of great seasons, great games, and even great plays. When there’s a situation that warrants a great call, Marty Brennaman is right there near the top of the list with the best around. And that certainly beats the ever living heck out of someone who is dry and emotionless in their call of those types of plays.

But it’s those plays that matter. Whoever the Reds hire to replace Marty Brennaman is going to be a disappointment to many fans who have never known anyone else. But they are still going to listen to the games on the radio when they aren’t at the game or watching in on television. They’ll do that because they root for laundry. They are fans of the Reds and they want to know what’s going on with the team down on the field.

The biggest hire for the Reds isn’t always going to be a player. Perhaps it’s a manager. That won’t be happening this offseason. Last offseason the biggest hire for Cincinnati may very well have been their pitching coach. They won’t be getting another one of those this year.

Of course, that hiring of Marty Brennaman’s replacement take wasn’t even the hottest one of the article, it’s just the one that got the headline and the most words. Buried in the article, under a bolded portion about Sonny Gray, was this:

They should give Jose Iglesias four years, if that’s what it takes to keep him. And then, who knows?

Four years for Jose Iglesias. This is the same Jose Iglesias who couldn’t get a Major League contract after the 2018 season. That same 2018 season that was in every single manner that we know of when it comes to measuring performance on the baseball field that was BETTER than his 2019 season.

Jose Iglesias has gone from an OPS+ of 88 to 84 from 2018 to 2019. Jose Iglesias has watched his wRC+ go from 89 to 83 from 2018 to 2019. His WAR? It’s down in both the Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference versions. His fWAR was 2.5 last year. This year it’s 1.3. His bWAR was 2.2 last year. It’s 1.4 this year. Context matters and the way that the baseball is changing offense in 2019, despite the numbers being higher in certain columns, the degree in which those compare to the league make his season worse than the one just a year ago.

If the Cincinnati Reds hand Jose Iglesias, who currently ranks by fWAR as the 23rd best shortstop in baseball out of 26 qualified shortstops a 4-year contract extension then the front office deserves every last bad thing that anyone has ever said about them, warranted or not.

When the Reds were able to sign Jose Iglesias to a minor league deal this past offseason I was confused. Not because they signed Iglesias, a move that I really liked. But because he somehow had to settle for a minor league deal. He is a Major League caliber player. He was last year and he is this year. And even in a year in which he’s not as good as he was in 2018, he should get a guaranteed Major League deal for 2020. And that’s because he’s a Major League player.

What Jose Iglesias shouldn’t be counted on is that of an every day player. He doesn’t have power. He doesn’t get on base. The numbers show this over and over and over. But Iglesias brings value to a team. He’s the kind of guy you want as your utility infielder. He’s the kind of guy you are fine with stepping in as your starter if your starter goes down with an injury up the middle. Heck, he might even be the perfect guy to be a stop-gap in the first half if you have a stud prospect middle infielder that you want to get a little more time in the upper minor leagues before you hope they are ready to step into the Major Leagues in June or July.

But what Jose Iglesias isn’t is a guy teams hand 4-year contracts to.

46 Responses

  1. DocProc

    I, too, would be most unhappy with a 4-year deal for Iglesias.
    But a team-friendly 2-year deal? Sure.
    Give Iglesias a deal instead of Galvis? Yep.
    Start Iglesias ahead of Peraza? You bet.
    Let Iglesias anchor the defense behind Castillo, Gray, Bauer, and the rest? They would all say “Amen.”

    • CaptainHook

      Why a 2 year deal over Galvis (who does not need one, because he is under team control for next year)? Galvis and Iglesias are the same age and play defense at similar levels, but Galvis has a marginally better bat.

      I’d rather ride with Galvis and Peraza next season and hope that Peraza returns to his 2018 form (which was a better year at age 25 than any Galvis or Iglesias have ever had in many more years of trying).

    • Lackey

      KEEP JOSE IGLESIAS& GALVIS they are a good combo. Pick up some htting in the carving & outfield.. Get at least one .ore strong starting pitcher for 2020

  2. PhoenixPhil

    I do support laundry. Especially one with a wishbone ‘C’ on it (and I encourage pants). (Although I do root for former Reds player in addition (and non-coastal teams during the playoffs (except Tampa Bay)).) (I think I got my parenthesis correct. :))

    Fairly ambivalent on Marty.

    JI should not be a starter on a contending team. Agree with your points on him.

  3. SultanofSwaff

    2 guaranteed years would likely get the deal done. He and Galvis up the middle, as BACKUPS, is how big market teams fill out their rosters…with veterans in utility roles. I’d shift Senzel to SS to protect his health, and go to spring training with VanMeter at 2B (somewhat reluctantly). I’m certain the Reds don’t feel that way.

  4. Daytonnati

    I think the days of the “radio voice” of a team is coming to a close. I can’t imagine Tommy Thrall, or whoever gets the Reds gig, being here until 2075. I can’t imagine anyone under the age of 40 listening to a game on radio. It is hard enough to watch sometimes, and I am a diehard baseball fan. Once all Reds games became available on TV, I doubt if I have listened to Marty more than a handful of times. Usually while running an unexpected errand. I have listened to the Reds since the late Waite Hoyt era, as a kid, all the way through Claude Sullivan, Jim McIntire, and Al Michaels. Michaels is still my favorite and I was disappointed when he left. It took a while to warm to Marty, but I did, and I hate to see him go – just as a traditionalist. But watching Lee Corso every week on Sportscenter, remember some of Nuxie’s cringe-worthy late-career episodes, I applaud Marty for knowing it’s time, and to leave while everybody’s wanting more.

    • Eric

      “I can’t imagine anyone under the age of 40 listening to a game on radio.”

      …which is why MLB Gameday ought to turn the radio feed loose – for FREE – on the Gameday cast of the ballgame.

      Just DO that, MLB! What has anyone got to lose? Herb Tarlek gets to tell the guy at Red Wigglers (“The Cadillac of Worms™”) that his spot will reach a broader audience, MLB gets more eyes on their site, so their advertisers will reach a broader audience, too…seriously, this CAN’T be that hard!

      • Shchi Cossack

        I routinely listen to MiLB games thru the free feeds. We live on the fringe of the WLW signal and the poor sound quality makes listening almost impossible, except for very short periods while running errands.

        I often find myself listening to the TV audio while I’m engaged in other tasks around the house. I would love to have to option of listening to the radio feed from the Reds games.

      • Don

        Before I starting buying the MLB TV package for Reds games (2 years now), I used to use the MLB APP on my phone and the radio broadcasts were free on the mobile app. using a computer the radio was not free but I could use on my phone/tablet with the MLB app and the radio broadcasts were free.

        I would have Gameday playing and listen to the radio broadcast for any game everynight. The radio is usually about 5 seconds behind the gameday update but I could hear the radio

  5. Old-school

    It’s easy to say who should not play SS. It’s a lot harder to say who should. Mlb shortsops are the best baseball players on the planet. The reds aren’t magically going to get Francisco Lindor or Javy Baez or Xander Bogart’s or 10 other elite guys.

    Iglesias has the second most WAR amongst position players on the 2019 Reds. In terms of value – productivity/dollar – he’s been very good. The Reds had no succession plan for Zach Cozart – Jose Peraza or bust. Think how bad SS would have been in 2019 had Iglesias not been here.

    • Doug Gray

      The fact that everyone else has also sucked doesn’t mean the Reds should try to keep Iglesias. They should go out and get someone better. And probably do that at several positions.

      • Old-school

        He’d be a perfect late inning guy and occassional starter and injury insurance on a 26 man roster.

        The Reds have quite the off-season task in constructing an offense. They certainly upgraded the SP last off-season. Perhaps they can do it again, but around the diamond this time.

      • Eric

        Nope…I’m with Doug here. Bench player – two years, no more.

        Every single one of the Great Eight…WOWED people.

        He doesn’t wow people. He’s the guy you want to have, in case the guy you DO have – who wows people – can’t suit up on a given day.

        How’s that commercial go? …Just OK is Not OK?

      • Bill J

        Jason Linden said in an article that the Reds need to find 4 – 6 position players, beside shortstop what are the other 3 – 5 positions you think the Reds should look for or is JI the only one.

      • JB WV

        Isn’t Gregorius a free agent? Has he collapsed or still viable?

      • greenmtred

        Well, he actually does wow people–with his glove. He also came up with a number of key hits this season. Maybe that’s not repeatable, but nobody knows that for sure. Of course, if the Reds can get a shortstop who is a good hitter and is decent defensively, that’s what they should do. Unless, of course, they have to dismantle the starting pitching to do it.

      • Shchi Cossack

        @Bill J…Not quite accurate. Jason’s actual quote was…

        “If the Reds want to compete, they need to add 4-6 position player WAR from OUTSIDE the organization.”

        Jason did bot specify how many players would need to be replaced, just the increase value from whatever replacements are made.

        @JB WV…Gregorius is coming back from a serious injury. Based on his 2019 performance, he lumps right in with Iglesias, Galvis and Peraza.

        Gregorius (317 PA)
        .245/.284/.463 w/ .747 OPS, 91 wRC+ & 1.2 WAR

        Galvis (589 PA)
        .260/.296/.438 w/ .734 OPS, 89 wRC+ & 1.4 WAR

        Iglesias (497 PA)
        .288/.315/.411 w/ .725 OPS, 83 wRC+ & 1.3 WAR

        Peraza (367 PA)
        .235/.283/.343 w/ .626 OPS, 60 wrC+ & -0.5 WAR

      • Old-school

        @Cossack…. Agree on lumping Iglesias/ Didi/ and Galvis. But,. Peraza is not in that zip code and makes more money than Iglesias. Peraza will be a $4 million player in 2020. Galvis is 5. Iglesias could be had for the same. Gregorious could be in the 3 year 40-50 million range.

        The Reds wisely let Cozart and Gennett and Hamilton and Duvall go . Gregorious is a huge risk over 30 and coming off injury and too much money.

      • doofus

        “They should go out and get someone better.” I agree, but who? And, who do the Reds make available?

    • Scott C

      Iglesias is the Juan Castro of the present day Reds.

  6. Don

    Jose Iglesias is hitting 255 with 2 strikes in 2019, He career average is 236 with 2 strikes. The league average for hitting with 2 strikes is 174.
    63 of his 137 hits are with 2 strikes.

    Most likely he will fall closer to his lifetime or league mean in 2020.

    Another 1 year, maybe two tops, no more than 2. If Iglesias is signed let Galvis go.

    With Bell as manager both Iglesias and Galvis will start 150+ games baring injury would make the 2020 Reds not competitive.

  7. Seat101

    Next years starting shortstop is either going to have the initials JP or AR.

    Our second basement is already on 40 man roster as is the first baseman and the third baseman.

    We will have a catcher who is not currently on the 40 man roster and at least one starting pitcher who is not on the 40 man roster.

    The bullpen will sort itself out in a “Bubba Smith“ fashion

  8. TR

    No contract of more than two years for either J. Iglesias, Galvis or perhaps Gregorius. They’re all in their 30th. birthday year in 2020. If Iglesias and Galvis want more, they should move on. I think Peraza could end up as the starting shortstop backed up by Blandino. Offensively Peraza often comes through with a hit in the clutch and his batting eye has improved somewhat. Of course, defensively he doesn’t come up to Jose Iglesias.

    • Chris Holbert

      I don’t think Blandino can play SS effectively

  9. Brian

    Reds have a long history of overvaluing their own players. They will overpay for Iglesias

  10. Lawrence Turner

    I like Kyle Farmer most anywhere he is put in the line up and the same for Lorenzen. You will get a solid effort from both.

  11. AirborneJayJay

    I think the Reds should look at the trade market for their 2020 SS. The Dodgers have Gavin Lux at SS for next year. Now a trade with the Dodgers for Corey Seager might be the way to go. Now that would be a trsde with the Dodgers to get behind. Not that crap that was brought in in December 2018, save for Farmer though.
    Bauer for Seager straight up.

  12. AirborneJayJay

    The Boston Red Sox won last year’s World Series. This year they fired their GM. And now they are clearing out their front office.
    Something the Reds need to do. The Reds have finished last in their division 4 straight years and they promote their GM to POBO and keep most everyone around. Baseball is weird sometimes.

    • Rut

      P-Doc is almost a living strawman.

      But it does give the rest of us something to poke at, despite the above statement.

      The Enquirer really should move his column from Sports to Opinion or Local. Becuase all he does is create a local issue/story, rarely if ever an actual Sports scoop or info.

      • TR

        P-Doc is a Pirates fan so I never except much in depth from him about the Reds. He has a lot of opinions which is fine, but overall his view of the Cincy sports scene is usually negative and superficial.

    • Bill J

      You must remember the Reds are an “all in the family” organization.

  13. Chris Holbert

    Maybe the Reds should try to get some of the A’s or Rays front office people. Their five year records are better than the Reds and they definitely do not have the money the Reds have. They are currently on top of the Wildcard in the American League. I think the Reds fans would take that.

    • doofus

      They did. Krall came from the A’s.

  14. Willie

    Do not care what OPS+, WAR, WAR+, or any of those other idiotic terms are. Just because Iglesias does not hit 40 homers that makes y’all mad. Stop it. He’s the best defensive shortstop we’ve had for a while, and so far this year, his bat has been effective. Of course he will want security in years, but I’d say at least two would work.

    • Mason Red

      Don’t upset the analytical Gods.

      • Matt WI

        That’s fine to say, just so long as it doesn’t later come with complaints of “tolerating losing” because ignoring the “idiotic stats” is pretty likely to keep the Reds on that path. Say hello to Marty for us.

      • Mason Red

        I have said “hi to Marty” twice in my life and would gladly do so again if lucky enough to have the opportunity.

  15. Steven Schoenbaechler

    I have to agree, Doug. The entire topic is about the Reds. And, when it comes to an athletic team, the old motto always rings true, “Just Win, Baby.”

    I can understand what Daugherty is talking about, though. Like, for me, when I first moved to Cincinnati, I loved Burbank. But, ever since he retired, I simply never found the “feeling” to tune into WLW anymore from 3-6, unless there was a Reds or Bengals game on, or something similar.

    The difference there, though, the topic is about a radio station. Then, it matters who’s the announcer. About an athletic team, it really don’t make a difference who the announcer is. Oh, many will miss Marty, just like I will. But, “Just Win, Baby.” In the end, that’s all that matters.

    • Mason Res

      My parents listened to a lot of radio when I was growing up including WHAS in Louisville. Burbank was a DJ there in the 70s before coming to Cincinnati and I became a fan. One of my favorite recollections about Burbank was when he called a store…I can’t remember which…as Gilbert Gnarley because he saw a newspaper ad about their sale on “forehead” (4 head) VCRs. He kept asking about the advantages of having a vcr attached to the forehead and also about the weight. Hilarious lol.

  16. BK

    All good points … now what should the Reds do about SS in 2020. They have two serviceable options on the 2019 team in Galvis and Iglesias. Galvis is controlled for a reasonable $5M. Assuming the cost of retaining Iglesias is reasonable in terms of dollars and years, I would support retaining Iglesias, too. Both slot in as #7 or #8 hitters in a contending lineup. Peraza has played himself out of the conversation. There are really nothing more than marginal upgrades at best on the free agent market. A trade for a top 10 SS would be very costly. Right now, I would like to see the Reds go with Galvis and Iglesias.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      This is why I still believe, if the Reds are going to “take the next step”, they have to think “outside the box”. For, I don’t believe they have much to trade with, and I don’t believe there’s much in the FA market at positions of need for the Reds right now, at least anything that they would put their money towards.

      That’s why I still believe it would be a good move, though probably won’t happen, if they go after Rendon and move Suarez to SS, the position he came into the league playing.

      Some say they don’t see Suarez as SS. I just don’t get that, on several fronts. First, before Suarez became a 3rd baseman, people were saying, “I don’t see Suarez handling the hot corner.” Well, he did. Why couldn’t he handle going back to SS?

      Second, we just got through putting 2 IF’s in CF, and they actually did pretty well out there. Before they did, everyone was saying, “I don’t know if he’s going to be able to do it.” Well, they both did.

      The first case, Suarez learned a position he never played very well. Why couldn’t he re-learn a position he played for a long time before moving to this team? In the second case, we put players in an entirely different position, and they did fine. Moving 3rd-to-SS isn’t nearly as quite a jump as moving from IF-to-CF.

      Besides, I wouldn’t mind seeing 40 HR’s from the SS position for a while, while we don’t lose that much production from 3rd base, either.

      Other things I would do? I believe the Reds need to restock the bullpen (hopefully get 1-2 additional lefties back there). And, get more development people in the minors. The organization is going to need to get more their players through that market instead of the FA market.

      As a couple of asides, one, I would have no problem bringing Roark back. I liked his consistency. Not only from game to game but from season to season. You know what you are probably going to get.

      Two, I would look for a CF to replace Senzel, and move Senzel back to the IF, preferable a high OBP guy. I liked Senzel in CF, but he never learned to play the wall that well IMO. He seemed to run up against it a lot, causing a lot of injuries. Some might like him going after the balls that way. But, I would rather see him let the ball hit and play the next 3-8 weeks healthy rather than stop that one ball and we have to play 3-8 weeks with a bench player. At least work on Senzel “playing the wall” so he doesn’t get injured so much.

      • BK

        One question is how much defensive value would the Reds sacrifice by playing Suarez at SS? Since he moved he has added some weight (increased power) which implies his range is likely less than when he came up as a SS. We also know he has below average foot speed.

        A second question is how would the additional wear and tear of playing a more physically demanding position affect his offense.

        Moving Senzel to SS would seem like a better option to accomplish what you are suggesting, but Doug has reported on his RML site that scouts didn’t think Senzel could handle SS. It also creates an opening in CF.

    • Chris Holbert

      So much for the youth, now you have four infielders 29 or older.

  17. John G

    I just turned 40 this year and I was in the stands when the Reds defeated Hideo Nomo for the last ever home playoff win !
    We want the hire that changes that fact
    They can get a robot to call games if it means the Reds are relevant again and can win at least a postseason series.

  18. James H.

    Doug, what does the minor league pipeline look like versus Iglesias and Galvis? Considering what was spent on the international market, hopefully the Reds see a return of investment for the Shortstop position.

  19. TR

    Instead of a 6th. rebuild year, I hope 2020 will be a rebuilt year for the Reds.