On Wednesday the teams around Major League Baseball have a pretty big deadline to meet. They have to add minor league players to their 40-man roster on or before November 20th in order to protect them from the Rule 5 draft that will take place on December 12th on the final day of the Winter Meetings. This past week we looked at 25 potential additions that the Cincinnati Reds could be considering in the next few days. A few of the options seem like slam dunks – top 10 prospects Tyler Stephenson and Tony Santillan – but there are a lot of players who could go either way.

Derrick Goold notes in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that two National League Central executives think that the Reds are a contender for 2020 and are closer than the recent standings appear. He talks about the hires made in 2019 and the differences they made, then goes into what they did following the season with more analytical hires, then how they’ve got money to spend and how they’ve been linked to multiple free agents.

The Cincinnati Reds and other teams all have until December 2nd to tender, or non-tender contracts to players for the 2020 season. There are a few options for Cincinnati that could go one way or another. One of those options is going to be on Kevin Gausman. He’s due just over $10M in arbitration according to MLB Trade Rumors if he’s tendered a contract. With the Reds he will likely be used as a reliever, unless he has to step into the rotation due to an unforeseen circumstance. And that’s a hefty price to pay for a non-proven, non-elite closer. But Tony Wolfe says that we’re all underestimating Gausman over at Red Reporter.

More minor league notes

The Cincinnati Reds were making some headlines this week, though not as many for their big league stuff as it was for their minor league moves. All of the farm teams that play in a full-season league announced their 2020 coaching staffs. There was a lot of changes in who is going to be coaching where, but not too many new names in the organization on those teams. But there were plenty of moves made in the lower, rookie-league levels that are new hires to the organization. And there were new hires among the different minor league coordinators, too.

Over at Reds Minor Leagues we began writing up the season reviews and full scouting reports for the Top 25 Prospects last week. This week we took a look at a shortstop, two starting pitchers, a guy who crushed 30 homers this year, and a 7-figure international signee from this season.

19 Responses

  1. Hotto4Votto

    I’d love to have Gausman return to the bullpen, but not at that price tag. It would take quite the dominant back end, high leverage performance next year to warrant that sort of salary for a reliever, and I’m just not sure it’s a bet the Reds should take. Especially when that money could be used to help fill other areas of need. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Reds try to negotiate a two-three year deal around $5-6m/yr if they think the changes he made moving to the bullpen are sustainable.

    Beyond that, I think they should non-tender Schebler. He’s not going to cost a lot, but coming off a lost year and shoulder surgery, I’m just not sure how he helps next year. He may be out of options as well (not positive) and it’s hard to see how he carves out a role.

    Peraza at a projected $3.6m salary is a tough call too. He’s not likely to be a starter, and there’s a decent possibility that the Reds (if offseason plans go well) will already have Galvis as a backup middle INF option at $5.5m. If the Reds go with a 5 man bench and 8 man bullpen it’s hard to see where Peraza fits in on the bench. As far as bench spots go, (beyond back up C), I see Ervin, VanMeter/Galvis, and Farmer as clear cuts above, and the Reds would likely need another OF. It’s tough to say if Blandino isn’t a better option for the difference in value provided at league minimum versus Peraza is at $3.6m

    • Scott C

      I think you take a chance with Gausman and non tender him and see if you can resign him for less $$$. I like your 2-3 year 5 million a year idea. I think you non tender Schebler and see if you can resign him to a minor league deal. Peraza is a tough call perhaps they can package him in a trade.

    • Susan

      I agree that Gausman isn’t worth $10 million to the Reds bullpen. And get rid of Peraza already! I have never been a fan. The guy can’t hit in the clutch and his glove is average at best.

  2. Jefferson Green

    I think the only way Gausman stays in Cincinnati is if the Reds tender an offer to him. The other option is to negotiate a deal with him that pays him less, but maybe gives him more years and more security. Given that he has already made $20 million in his career, he doesn’t need a lot of security, and most players want their best upside at that point, so he is not likely motivated to sign with the Reds without testing the market and letting someone bid on him who will put him in their starting rotation and therefore be willing to pay more. The only way relieving is more lucrative is if a player can be elite as a reliever and only OK as a starter; while this may or may not describe Gausman, he would have to believe this to sign as a reliever, and even in this case, he would want to be paid – or be given the chance to be paid – as a premium reliever.

    Because (as the Red Reporter article points out) he did not see a velocity uptick as a reliever, and because he is not better against a lineup the first time through it, another team will likely believe they can help him replicate his success of his time with the Reds, but in a starting capacity, and they would be willing to pay $10 million for one year to find out. By comparison, Tanner Roarke had a 4.45 xFIP in 2018 (with a normal BABIP) and was tendered to make $10 million last year; Gausman had a 4.05 xFIP (with an abnormally high BABIP) going into his final arb year. It just makes sense that someone will be willing to pay it if they need a 5th starter.
    Whether you go back one year (2019) or two (2018-19), and whether you include pitchers at over 100 innings (mostly starters) or 60 innings (includes most relievers), Gausman’s xFIP puts him in the top third of each list. Someone will pay him for that.

    Maybe the Reds tender him and trade him afterwards (even into the season to a team in need)?

    • Optimist

      Non-tender Gausman and Peraza. Gausman was already a waiver claim, so it’s doubtful there will be a bidding war, and have to believe the Braves were offering him to all comers and nobody wanted him enough to give him 6-8 starts to finish the year. Reds are likely to offer him the best chance to rebuild value, either or both as a RP or also with some spot starts.

      As for Peraza, same logic, but even lower upside/ceiling. Also, where does he fit in the Reds future, especially if they get a SS?

      All of these guys are trade bait, and Reds should be hawking them all winter and into S Training. That includes Galvis, Schebler, and all the 26-28 year olds leftover from the AA/AAA rosters. While they only have a few top-50 prospects left, they are loaded with fliers/chances/rebuilds, and it only takes one other team to bite.

  3. AirborneJayJay

    I would switch out Gausman for Pomeranz. Non-tender Gausman and sign Pomeranz for the bullpen. Might have to give Pomeranz 3 years though to get him.
    One under the radar move I would make is to bring Billy Hamilton back ad the 26th man. If the OF defense could be as bad as feared, having Hamilton as a late inning base runner and defensive replacement could be worth a mere $2MM contract. He isn’t a starter anymore but he has a good deal of late inning value for a team like the Reds.

  4. Mark

    I actually feel you could put Gausman as closer with his stuff. Renegotiate a 2 year deal 15 mil and trade Iglesias as a piece in a bigger multi player deal for a Player like SS Seager or Clint Frazier.

  5. KDJ

    A 4.03 ERA is nothing to brag about for a reliever. Relievers do not pitch long enough in a game to get tired, which works in their favor. A hitter may only see them once or twice in a series (as opposed to three times in a game), which works in their favor. They often only pitch part of an inning, meaning they can sometimes give up two singles, a walk, and a fly ball to the wall and come out of it with zero earned runs (credited to them anyway). Starting pitchers moving to the bullpen should see a significant reduction in ERA.

    • BK

      In 2019. his ERA as a reliever was 3.03 (3.58 career) w/a 12.0 K/9 (11.2 career). That’s very good for a reliever.

  6. MK

    Not sure we have a decent feel for how they project any pitcher at this point. The new pitching hierarchy might a hole different idea about Gausman and his dollar value and/or role projected role.

    • doofus

      I have got to say that I like Gausman, even when he was with Baltimore. He has natural movement on his pitches that many pitchers do not.

      Sometimes it takes some pitchers longer to click. I remember a pitcher named “Doc” also from Colorado that took a little longer to develop.

      As I understand it Derek Johnson is the Jefe Maximo of Pitching (JMP) throughout the Reds organization; therefore, I am sure that he had some input on the waiver claim of Gausman. I have faith that DJ saw Gausman’s potential under his tutelage.

  7. Steve Schoenbaechler

    Thank you, Doug, for keeping us informed during the off season.

    In looking at one, and how others have talked about trading off prospects, I thought I would mention something along those lines here.

    Jose Siri just hasn’t developed like we thought. Also, at his next level, the big league level, he’s pretty much blocked. We have Senzel, Aquino, Winker, Ervin, even JVM, and we are looking around for some better offense at that. I don’t see any need for Siri to be around here anymore. He’s tradebait now, at best.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      I believe we would be better set devoting resources towards other players.

      • IndyRedsFan

        I strongly disagree Steve. Of the group you mention, only Senzel plays a respectable center field, and he doesn’t play it nearly as well as Siri.

        A year ago Aquino looked like a bust. Siri is well worth at least another year on the roster in the minors.

        There are at least 5 players currently on the 40 man that I would let go before releasing Siri.

    • JB

      Tradebait? If he is as bad as you think he is what will he bring back in a trade? You think other teams are going to offer anything worthwhile? They are better off keeping him and see what happens. The only thing they will get for him is another career minor leaguer.

    • Hotto4Votto

      He’s not blocked at all. Senzel can easily slide back to 2B if Siri is ready. And as IndyRedsFan mentioned no one on our roster plays as good a CF as Siri does. I think he gets a lot of grief around some parts for not producing or progressing quick enough. But even after a nondescript season he was still above average offensively (104 wRC+) at AA last season. He’s only had 30 games at AAA, so I wouldn’t put much stock in a small sample size. He’s 24 years old, he’s got a little time to figure it out. If he keeps progressing as he has a level at a time, and can be average offensively, with his defense and base running abilities we’re going to have a pretty good player.

      • jim walker

        Plus at this point it is a bit of a leap of faith that Senzel’s shoulder will be ready for him to play CF.

        The Reds ran things with Senzel a bit under the radar and have said nothing I’ve seen since the end of the season.

        Dick Williams’ pre surgery assessment that NS would be ready for spring training seems to be on the very optimistic side once they did say the little released about what was actually done.

        I guess it could come down to exactly what “ready” means. There is a world of difference between ready to start baseball activities and ready to go through normal spring training and six week or so later begin playing CF 5-6 days a week for the next six months.

      • doofus

        My oldest son tore up his rotator cuff diving back to 2B. It took him a full year before he could throw a ball again. He is 28 now and his arm is stronger now than it ever was.

        Of course he did not have the advantage of professional trainers, therapies and medical personnel assisting his recovery, but I get what Jim is saying.

      • Curt

        @Jim Walker:
        “The Reds ran things with Senzel a bit under the radar and have said nothing I’ve seen since the end of the season.”

        Nice to see someone else thinking this. A bit under the radar may even be an understatement. After a few days of speculation, according to beat writers Sheldon and C. Trent, the narrative was that it happened when he hit the wall against St. Louis at the end of August and that was that, end of story. That’s how he tore the labrum right shoulder.

        Problem with that explanation is that if you watch the video, (which I have a dozen times) Senzel hits the wall with his LEFT arm and side, picks himself up with his right arm, throws a bullet back to the infield with his right arm and then proceeds to wince in apparent pain holding his LEFT side and arm before shaking it off. There appears to be nothing wrong with his right shoulder/arm, which makes sense since he hit with the left.

        Senzel goes on to play on/off for like a week (with no evidence of a right shoulder injury) before they pull the plug saying he has a torn right labrum, needs surgery and is done for the year.

        The beat writers tie the injury to the wall crash and everyone leaves it at that. No further questions asked.

        So when and how did Senzel tear his right labrum? I find it nearly impossible to believe that it was the wall crash against St. Louis, though I can see how it makes for an easy explanation. It wasn’t necessarily pretty.

        All we’ve heard since on the injury is that a second medical opinion was sought by Senzel and that the club seemed to have no doubts that he would be ready for Spring training and finally that he’d had the surgery. hmm…ok.

        One thing that we did hear was a change in the team’s tone regarding Senzel moving back to the infield. It was now “something to consider”, “perhaps splitting time”, “nice to have that versatility” etc etc. A clear contrast to thoughts on the subject previously. Before it was a small group of voices saying “move him back” or like me, that “he never should have been out there in the first place.“ Now, even people that don’t follow the Reds are echoing the “might move back to 2nd” chime to the point where no one will be surprised if he does. Interesting…

        It all sounds a bit odd to me and I doubt we will ever get the straight story. One thing’s for sure, the club now has a legitimate reason to move him back (which I believe they absolutely will) without any responsibility for it being a bad idea in the first place. After all, the club’s top prospect and one of the top in all of baseball (Senzel) was blocked by a player (Scooter) who less than a year later is no longer even on the team. whoops!!….

        The wall crash did play its part though. It was the final straw that made it clear to both player and team that the Senzel centerfield experiment was over. I will be absolutely shocked if we see him out there again next season or ever. And rightfully so, he needs to be putting every bit of his attention on offense not on becoming a centerfielder.

        Columbo Curt out…..