The Reds have made it very clear in both words and actual deeds that they intend to play seriously in the free agency market.

“There will be a next, we can tell you that. We can’t tell you who,” Reds President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams said Thursday after a press conference to formally announce the signing of Mike Moustakas. “We do have flexibility to keep going. We will continue to do deals. I’m not going to pin down a specific number, but we can do deals this big if we find the right fit that we need to have.”

“We believe that we have the ability to create a team that’s going to go to the postseason next year,” Williams told C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic earlier this off-season. “That’s the goal. That’s what we think we’ve got the chance at doing.”

These are just some of the reasons why the Reds may be among the big newsmakers at this year’s Major League Baseball Winter Meetings, which have begun in San Diego. General Manager Nick Krall said last week that the Reds have literally made contact with every free agent on the market.

Overpaying is part of playing at the higher tier of free agency

It has been interesting to see the reaction of some Reds fans here at Redleg Nation, on Twitter, and elsewhere on social media. The reactions have ranged from overwhelming acceptance of the Moustakas signing to many who have expressed that the Reds overpaid the former Royal and Brewer.

The truth is, they did. But any team that is going to be in play for high-end free agents knows that overpaying is part of the equation. The White Sox paid 31-year-old catcher Yasmani Grandal $73 million over four years, or an average of $18.25 million guaranteed. Moustakas, also 31, will receive $64 million guaranteed over four years, or $16 million average. Based on what we know about the effects aging typically has on baseball players as they reach their mid-30s, the chances are better than average that both Grandal and Moustakas will be performing at well below the level they have in recent years when they reach the final years of their deals.

Twenty-nine-year-old pitcher Zach Wheeler received $118 million over five years from the Phillies last week. The reaction of Philadelphia Inquirer reporter David Murphy:

The original blueprint (of their rebuild) called for the Phillies to spend two or three seasons spinning off their few remaining assets, rebuilding their base of young talent via trades and draft picks and international signings, and using their major-league roster as an audition stage, thus maximizing their chances of uncovering a legitimate player or two who would not have had the opportunity to reveal himself on a team striving for wins.

Alas, something went wrong with this construction project. Three years after it began, the concrete still had not set. The young talent that was supposed to serve as the foundation for the future failed to mature.

If the Reds are truly going to be active in the upper-tier free agency market this year and in the future, we’re going to have to realize that overpaying is a given. Did you see the report that the Yankees have offered pitcher Gerrit Cole $235 million over seven years? That’s $35 million per year. After the news that Stephen Strasburg got more than that, expect the price of Cole to rise significantly higher. The chances that Cole’s performance metrics will decrease significantly over the next seven years are high, as are the chances that he will suffer an injury to his pitching hand/arm/elbow/shoulder. The Yankees, if they sign Cole at that number, will never realize a full return on investment.

That is unless you believe that a world championship or two constitute that ROI. That’s how the teams like the Phillies and Yankees are operating, and Reds fans have to get used to that idea.

And, Reds management has to get used to the idea that they are not going to allow a contract that turned as bad as Homer Bailey’s did to diminish their spending in future years. If that mindset continues, this team will never have an extended period of success.

Prospects are not more valuable than established major leaguers

Another big change in mindset among both management and the fan base must come regarding the value of minor league prospects. During the recent years of the rebuild, the Reds were reticent to trade young prospects, and that was according to the plan. But now that the rebuild is officially over, Reds fans must get over the mindset that the future is bleak if it doesn’t include the young “prospects” currently on the major league roster and in the minor league system.

Teams like the Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers – perennial World Series contenders – use their minor league players as assets to be dealt for proven talent. Williams and Krall have already begun operating in this realm, with the deals that sent Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray to the Dodgers and Taylor Trammell to the Padres. In both trades, they acquired proven major league players to help the team win now.

In October, Rosecrans asked Williams, “Do you have the prospect capital remaining to make impact deals?”

“I think so,” Williams said. “Beauty’s in the eye of the beholder. But we certainly have guys at the top of our system that have been asked about. I would say, we’ll also be looking at spending money in the free-agent market where we don’t have to give up prospects..”

If the Reds want to make a trade for an established player at a position of need, willingness to surrender younger, controllable talent is almost a given. In effect, it would be a trade of an immediate future of contention at the expense of the possibility of some of the younger players developing into longer-term prime assets for other teams.

Many Reds fans have mindsets of fans of a team without a championship for decades

Many Reds fans are reacting to the news of these apparent shifts in the mindset of the team’s front office with the same responses that have been burned into their consciousness for the past five or so years, including:

  • Don’t risk overpaying someone because we’ll be hurt by having to eat that bad contract down the road, or we won’t have that money to spend on someone else who could help
  • Don’t trade those minor league prospects, because they might become players who are good for this team for six controllable years

These mindsets have become, in effect, habits. We have no idea what it really takes these days to create a winning Reds baseball team, because the last World Series champion here was 29 years ago. We’ve all gotten into the mindset of fans of teams who “tank” as part of the strategy of a “rebuild.” It worked fabulously for Houston, but as noted above in the case of the Phillies, it doesn’t always work.

What we might see this week and for the rest of the off-season is a Reds front office that has turned over a new leaf and is ready to be creative and aggressive in order to put a playoff-caliber team on the field.

Keep this in mind: If the Reds are going to sign Didi Gregorius, they are going to have to overpay for him. He is sought-after by several teams. So if they do sign and overpay him, don’t be shocked. Understand that the front office is trying to put together a team with a chance to make the playoffs. It’s a welcome change, and it will require a change in the mindset of many long-time Reds fans.

70 Responses

  1. Jeff Dunn

    Yep. You nailed it. We have to accept the risk of long-term, high annual value contracts, as well as not see prospects as untouchable if we are to become a winning club. Very well put, Tom.

  2. CallowayPost

    I think it needs to be said as well, is that other teams are also signing players not just for their talent, but to keep that talent out of rival hands. Nothing spectacular about that, it in terms of a Reds team that is going for it, we’re now getting first hand experience that even when the team announces they are going to spend money, now we are on other teams radar.

    Prices are getting pushed higher and higher in a buyers market, and teams are testing the meddle of their competitors. The rest of baseball is going to be seriously testing our resolve and commitment this offseason.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Absolutely. This is another dynamic that we as fans have perhaps never had to consider.

  3. scotly50

    I have absolutely no qualms about how much the Reds spend for talent. Sign Cole for 300 million, Rendon for another 300 million, and trade for Lindor. I told Santa this just the other day !!!

    • Tom Mitsoff

      I’m going to go out on a limb and say the Reds absolutely have the resources to do that if they wish. But most businesses consider payroll as an expense that must come from operating capital. If you don’t have enough operating capital to cover payroll, that is a big red flag for most businesses. Clearly, professional sports franchises are not your everyday business. It’s really a matter of how much the Reds or any team wants to pull from reserves, if necessary, to make a $300 million commitment.

      • Colorado Red

        IF the Reds sign Cole, how many season tickets get sold?
        if it is 10K, it is probably worth it.

  4. David

    Major League teams have to constantly advance players from the high minors (AAA) to the Major League roster. Having said that, you can’t rely totally on your minor league system to supply all the talent you need.
    Major League experience is a harrowing; sorting out prospects from suspects, and finding out who can really perform at the ML Level. Some losing teams have those young proven players, and they are valuable to them, either as trade value or as development value.

    The Reds DO NOT have a good minor league system. They have SOME talent, but not that much. Aquino and Van Meter emerging last year were surprises, to say the least. Since they don’t have the high draft pedigree, the Reds management does not exactly value them highly. Only time will tell. Time at the ML level.

    The Reds HAVE TO sign free agents if they want to actually compete. There is not enough talent in their minors to make them winners. And regardless of how good a prospect in the minors is, they may never realize their value in the Majors (like Taylor Trammel, who so many were enamored with).
    They obviously did not value Brian O’Grady too highly, even though he was the Minor League Player of the Year (2019) for the Reds. That tells you a lot about what the Reds actually think of their own farm system.

    • William

      No, it tells me how Reds management feels about certain players in their farm system.

  5. Steve Schoenbaechler

    Interesting.

    I will say this. I agree, overpaying for FA’s is a given. Those who think we overpaid for Moose are right. But, those same people are probably people who want us to find the next Mickey Mantle on the FA market at bargain basement prices, which just isn’t done.

    The same goes with those people and trades. If the next Mickey Mantle is out there, whether a young 2-3 year player of a veteran, we aren’t going to get him for a backup and a reliever. We would have to be giving up a lot to get him.

    People simply need to consider what’s going on with the other side when they consider this stuff, “also”. I specify that because you can’t forget the other side, also, when considering your side. They are both pieces to the puzzle.

    I do also agree that established players are more valuable than prospects. However, that doesn’t mean that prospects aren’t valuable. Prospects have 2 purposes for me:

    1) Trade bait, for those established players
    2) Replacement pieces, the entire reason why the Dodgers believe they can get rid of Seager, because they have a prospect they believe can replace him, and, thus, save some money to pay for the established players

    What gets to me is some people who believe we shouldn’t trade away our “future”. That’s one of the reasons they are valuable. If you don’t trade them, then you have to be looking at them directly having an effect on the big league team very soon. I mean, seriously, if we never trade our prospects and never move them up to the big club, then what use are they?

    But, then, if you aren’t ever going to move them up, just for the sake of “they are our future”, then when is our future? Move them up or move them over.

    Now, I do believe in “balance”. You just can’t trade away all of your “future”. You just can’t go hog wild on FA’s, especially in this market. And, that’s where the FO makes their calculated risks. With this market, we should be concentrating on building from the bottom. But, “concentrating” doesn’t mean “don’t ever get a FA”. I mean, just look at how the Cubs won their WS. They built up the prospects, put it all together with a couple of key FA’s. They didn’t do one or the other. They did a balance of both.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Some fans believe that every prospect who receives a “rating” or “ranking” is going to become a star major leaguer. There is a CHANCE that might happen, but it is slimmer than many believe. I read a tweet recently (and I forget who it was from) that said that the last Reds minor league product who made the major league All-Star game was Yasmani Grandal, who left the Reds system in 2010. So, for a decade, the Reds farm system has not produced an All-Star caliber major leaguer. (I know, Joey Votto, but he graduated from the Reds system before Grandal.) The point is that since 2010, the Reds have had probably more than 100 “rated” prospects, none of whom has become a legitimate star. I would bet that many other major league teams have a similar record in terms of producing All-Stars from their minor league systems.

      • RedsFan11

        Wow that stuns me, really? crazy!

      • Michael

        Using this logic, then it makes all the sense in the world to trade Greene and Lodolo and Stephensen and Santillian for proven players like Lindor or Seager (or even go all out for Betts) and then sign a top line starter like Bumgarner or Kheukel. These moves, along with a 4 year window of the Moose signing and Suarez in his prime would be the best 4 year run that most of us would love to see.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        When one considers that, what, no more than 50 players play in the All Star game each season, many of them repeated each season, then let’s take the 25 man rosters, and 30 teams, for 750 total players each season, then what’s the median length these days of a major league career, 3 years(?), run those numbers, then the numbers start to become a bit more understandable in the Reds or any team not producing AS players only since 2010.

        Also, one has to remember, before the current management, we had Jocketty who did trade a lot of “our future” away with nothing much to show for it, took away a lot of the minor league development that people like Krivsky and O’Brien had placed, all goes toward understanding why the Reds haven’t been able to develop a minor league All-Star.

        I seem to remember Devin Mesoraco played in the AS game one year, 2014. Not sure if you are talking about when the Reds drafted players (Devin was drafted in 2007), when they hit the majors (2011), or when they played in the AS game. Frazier played in 2 AS games as a Red in the 10’s. Jay Bruce 3 times.

  6. RandyW

    I agree with overpaying high end free agents to get them to come to the Reds but Moustaskas? Who were the Reds competing with to get his services? No team wanted to give him a long term contract for the last 2 years. This guy would’ve taken the first 3 or 4 year deal coming his way. Now if the Reds intend to bump the payroll up close to 175 to 200 mil then I don’t mind but if you can only afford one more decent size contract for a team that has several holes then why spend that much on a 2nd baseman that no one is willing to pay a lot for. Having said that, I’m anxious to see what the Reds do going forward.

    • JoZo

      We don’t know what other offers he had. We don’t know if they tried to get a 3yr deal. I just do not understand how you (and many many other reds fans) can be so negative about things that you are coming up with on your own and pinning on the reds. There simply isn’t enough information to assume these things.

    • DAVID F. HERRMANN

      Almost everyone had a second baseman.
      Reason why they weren’t knocking on Moustakas’ door.
      Seeing he played 2B for 40 games last year for Brewers,Reds wisely utilize that and his bat to put him as everyday second base, and Van Meeter as back up

  7. Wes

    The market has finally recovered from the Miami fire sale. Worse mistake mlb made in my life time is let Jeter the broke joke buy a franchise when he couldn’t make payroll ! He traded the most productive offensive outfield in mlb history for a bag peanuts and that set the whole league back 3 years ! All the buyers at the time- bought cheap and it saturated both the free agent market and trade market.

    Doug E Fresh called it at the time- go get yelich for Greene. What might have been…..

    • Doug Gray

      Let’s be clear: Derek Jeter has a very, very small part of ownership of that team. He might be the face of the ownership group, and he has some power that goes along with that – but he’s not the Bob Castellini of the Marlins.

  8. AirborneJayJay

    Nice article Tom. I am not impressed by the Reds front office. There is a lot of swing and miss in the Reds front office’s game.
    Talk is cheap, however. Actions speak louder than words. The Reds front office is mostly all talk and no action.
    They have made one positive move with the Moustakas signing. I am ready for the other shoe to fall and the Reds announce a trade like last years stupid, stupid trade with the Dodgers. The Reds front office is one of one step forward two steps backwards. If the Reds front office can get through this off season without making a two steps backward move it will be rather refreshing.
    But I expect to go into spring training with Galvis as the starter at SS, and Winker, Senzel and Aquino as starting OF. No action on this front will be the equivalent of a two steps back move.
    Did #GetTheHitting only turn into just #GetTheMoose?
    If so, a .500 team might be the expectation for next year. As the team is currently constructed, .500 might be a little high.
    Christian Yelich should be in a Reds uniform.
    JT Realmuto should be in a Reds uniform.
    Those are two huge misses by the Reds front office and they should be held accountable for being way too passive at the time those deals went down. And held accountable for last season’s ill-fated Dodgers trade. Those 3 items have primarily held the Reds back from being a good team over the last 2 seasons.
    In the Reds front office, they are their own worst enemy. In a league that is go big or go home, they are always afraid to go big. This will be another winter meetings where the Reds front office will gladly sit on the porch and bark, and won’t run with the big dogs. Pretenders, not contenders.

    • Bob Adams

      Dude, what a glass half empty response. The season does not start tomorrow. DW and NK say more moves are coming. If Alex Wood had been healthy last year, as well as Kemp, the trade looks totally different. But that is true of any player. If any of the current Reds have a catastrophic injury, it doesn’t mean the FO did a bad job. Injuries are part of the game. We have a small market team that cannot compete monetarily with the bigger market teams. Not sure what you expect out of them.

      • Matt WI

        Amen. To insinuate that because the Reds haven’t made a signing or trade since Moose (1 week= 3 months?) that they’ve stopped trying is a pretty harsh take. If it’s Feb 1st, then sure, go ahead and make that statement. Otherwise, let them go to the Winter Meetings and shake a few trees, let something develop. Patience.

    • David

      I think the present front office is moving in the right direction. This is in stark contrast to the Walt Jocketty era, which went a long way to making the Reds a last place team for years.
      The residue of the Jocketty era is now finally behind the Reds, and I think Dick Williams is making a lot of the right moves. Give him some time to actually shape the organization, which was largely ruined by Jocketty.

    • Gary kennedy

      Give me a break! Not only Alex Wood getting injured, but did you forget Sonny Gray, our current third baseman, some other starting pitcher we have…look it up! It’s early December for heaven’s sakes!

    • Scott C

      Some said the same things you said about #Get the Pitching after the Reds traded for Roark and even after they traded for Gray. How did that turn out? We had one of the top rotations in the Majors. The Reds are not done yet. I know its winter and almost Christmas but why be a Grinch. If they don’t do anymore by Spring Training then maybe you have a point but we are a long ways from there yet.

  9. Sandman

    I totally see where you’re coming from. Makes sense. Never knew where I stood on the subject of overpaying for high end talent until reading this. And I think I stand on the side of those who believe that a championship or two (hopefully more) would be an acceptable ROI during the amount of time that that player is playing for our team…even if his production wanted towards the end of his contract.

    I think others will agree with me when I say that the only way I’ll possibly consider it overpaying is if we DO NOT win a championship or two (or more) during his Reds tenure. I don’t think I can settle for just making the playoffs for several years WITHOUT winning a championship. I get enough of that with the Bengals whenever they DO make the playoffs.

    But, anyway, using this mindset I think I’ll consider Votto’s contract a success if we win a championship during his remaining years, EVEN IF his production continues to decrease. BUT…I wanna say this…I never thought we overpaid for Votto. I saw all the articles here at Redlegnation pointing out how much Votto could have gotten on the open market in his prime and his Reds contract being well below his market value. But, obviously, I’m hoping Votto can return to his normal production levels bcuz he’s my favorite Reds player.

    Anyway, yes, there was a time to hold onto our prospects and accumulate as many as we could. While I still think we should hold on to our more promising prospects the time has come to play with the big boys as much as is possible.

    The mindset of some of the fans that you highlighted in your article is the kind of mindset that will see this team win a championship only every 20 or 30 yrs instead of winning a couple championships in say, a 5 or 10-yr span.

    I like what Williams has done for this organization, the direction he’s taking it. And I pray his model of sustained success that he’s trying to implement is indeed successful.

  10. Tv

    1. Cant say its overpaying this soon. Have u seen some if the deals? Good free agents are scarce.
    2. Yes they should trade if needed but only guys further out the better. Lets be honest our team might stay good 3 years at best. 2 seems to be when payroll could be a problem. You need some quality depth to make a run so Nick lodolo and tyler Stephenson are untradeble. Look instead to dump guys like hunter, Rece, and Callahan. You could also dump India( rendunt). Good teams have prospects ready to go. Plus you can’t worry about guyd not in the Window. In a few years we could have some good piecs to dump as long as we are proactive not reactive like last run. Clean out what you can’t use right away and win#

  11. Stock

    I agree you have to pay for the big name (Strasburg, Cole, Rendon) but not a player like Moustakas.

    Since Moustakas had a bad year 4 years ago I will use the average WAR the last three years to determine which teams over-paid (and adjust for injuries. I will ignore RP since WAR and RP financial rewards do not line up. I will ignore 1 year deals because there is so little risk there. Here is whom I thought of that is left.

    Moustakas – average WAR 2.4 – cost per 1 WAR 6.667 Million
    Grandal – 4.667/3.9
    Kendrick – 1.67/3.75
    Pineda – 2.3/4.3
    Kyle Gibson – 2.1/4.5
    Jose Abreu – 2.46/6.75
    Strasburg – 4.67/7.5
    Wheeler – 4.7/5.02

    There are three outliers here. Abreu was paid more because he plays a key role in bringing in players such as Robert. Strasburg qualifies as top of the rotation. Moose is the third. if you are going to spend $64 million why didn’t they just give Grandal $84 million

    The Reds missed on Grandal so they overpaid on Moustakas.

    • Matt WI

      Grandal has got to want to play for the team he signs for. What if he just liked Chicago better? Primarily because of the opportunity to DH. Until that’s universal, that probably is a big deal to an aging catcher trying to extend his career.

      Maybe the Reds equaled the White Sox offer, maybe they didn’t want to pay a lot more then whatever they did offer because Tyler Stepheson represents a much better overall value soon.

      • David

        On Tyler Stephenson: Maybe. Not trying to dispute your point, but the larger point is that sometimes highly regarded minor league prospects never become much of a Major League player, for a variety of reasons.
        Which is why the Reds have to go into the Free Agent market.
        The Reds got one really good year out of Devin Mesoraco, gave him a big contract, and that was all because of injuries. It is just kind of “tragic” (in a baseball sense, not in a real world sense) about that, but that happens to players.
        We can’t count on Stephenson YET, although I too hope that he becomes a very good ML player.

      • Matt WI

        Fair point, David. TS could certainly flame out. He may or may not have been part of the Reds’ considerations in how far out to go on Grandal.

    • Tv

      War is a range stat and the market is still taking shape. I am glad the got some guy to drive in runs. Also who else? Not many bats out there.

  12. Mike

    Fine…if you can say for sure that the payroll will be near 150 mil/season. And that big contracts with declining players (Votto, now; Moose in a couple of years) won’t affect that payroll. Don’t put this on the fans, put it on management to spend both wisely and consistently.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      My point is that the teams that are consistently good know that they HAVE to overpay to get the players they want. And, in some cases, they make mistakes (Dodgers – A.J. Pollock; Yankees – J.A. Happ, to name two recent ones from just last year). In other cases, those teams make great decisions. Those teams don’t let those mistakes stop them from trying again, and the Reds will have to join that mindset if they are going to become a consistent winner. And it’s my belief that as a fanbase, if we continue to ask for cost-effective, risk-free spending strategies, our team will almost never be consistently competitive.

      • Mike

        Thanks for a summary of your article, while not addressing my points. When you talk about “cost-effective” or “risk-free” does that mean we shouldn’t be concerned about whether a guy like Didi will get back to pre-TJ production and just give him 4/72? Or about aging guys with a lot of miles on their arms and already in decline like MadBum and Keuchel and shove 20 mil/per at them?

        Note that other teams aren’t doing that either, and those guys will likely not be paid that much. And we’re definitely willing to spend whatever it takes…at the right players. And, as you admitted in a previous reply, there are wider financial considerations to running a club and it’s management’s call on how much they’ll spend, not the fans, so I think your jumping down our throats about this is both wrong and not cool at all.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        Mike, the intent was not to be insulting to anyone. I do not believe in throwing random numbers of dollars at players. What was unsaid in so many words in the article is that when you have multiple teams bidding on a player, the “base” figure that most people assign to that player no longer applies. The player has the advantage because he has competition for his services. If a team like the Reds wants a player who is also sought by other teams, they will either have to join the teams at the higher tier of bidding, or bow out. Basically, the Reds have been “bowing out” since the beginning of free agency, so we are used to that.

  13. citizen54

    Sorry, but I have to disagree with the idea that young prospects are worst less than established players and that teams like the Dodgers, Yankees and Red Sox have built their teams by trading their young talent. Yes, prospects will occasionally turn out to be busts but for the most part, teams that are successful hold on to their top tier prospects.

    The Dodgers in particular have built their teams form young talent in their system. I can’t even think of one recent impact position player other than Justin Turner that has not come from their farm system. You look at their pitching and most of the impact players are all home grown. Yes they have signed some free agents and made some trades but they did not build their team but trading away their young promising players. Same goes for the Astros position players.

    The Yankees also waited until they had a foundation of good young players before making some moves. Same with the Red Sox. None of them built their teams by trading away their promising talent.

    The Reds are not a big market team and have not been very good at drafting so it behooves them to keep what little talent they have and to be judicious with their free agent signings if they wish to compete for more than one or two years at a time. Why do you think teams like the Dodgers, Rays and Astros seem to always be competitive? Because they don’t trade away their top prospects and they don’t sign free agents to long contracts.

    With that being said, I don’t mind the Moustakas signing aside from the length. But overpaying for mediocre to slightly above average players is not the way to build a team. Seems like the pathway to success is to build position players through the farm and to trade or sign pitchers, without depleting your farm, to fill out your rotation.

    • Sliotar

      @citizen54

      Spot on.

      This statement in Tom’s piece I think most would agree with…
      “Understand that the front office is trying to put together a team with a chance to make the playoffs.”

      This rest…wow.

      IMO, the Reds are clearly aligning itself long-term to be better at player development…Driveline involvement, and the stated goal of aligning all minor-league affiliate operations, among other things.

      In the interim…to make up for a botched re-build, the team has a short window in 2020 and 2021 or so before aging kicks in, and are trying to “go for it.” Great.

      The well-run small budget teams have boring winters… like the A’s, Rays, Indians … but will likely have strong teams in 2020.

      For Tom to lecture us on “changing our mindset” when examples abound that this period is likely an anomaly for the Reds, and not future operating procedure, is a little silly.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        Respectfully, old Redleg Nation friend, you are making one of my points for me. If we continue our old line of thinking and expectations, the best we will ever hope for is to be like the A’s, Rays, and Indians — who haven’t won a World Series among them in decades. It appears the Reds front office is at least attempting to make a step to the next level of competing. You could be right — maybe this will be a blip on the radar. It is clear to me that what we are getting now in terms of the willingness to spend and to take risks is what separates the consistently excellent teams from the pretty good, average and below average teams.

    • TMS

      The thing we need to remember is that every quality MLB player was once nothing more than a prospect. The Reds are doing everything they can to overhaul a suspect development system to give more positive results.

      And the Tweet about Grandal being the last All-Star. I saw that same tweet and IMO, the person that sent it seems to have forgotten that Grandal was flipped for Latos, who was flipped for Castillo. That draft pick is still paying dividends.

      Of course there is huge risk in prospects. But no risk … no rewards. It’s so silly to trade a guy away like Hunter Greene, when you will be looking to trade for someone like him three years from now, and it costs you four prospects to get him. The rebuild never ends.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        I will agree with you on Hunter Greene. One of the primary reasons you go through the “tanking” as an organization is to get those top-of-the-draft picks and the chance to land a future star or superstar. For the Reds, that amounts to Nick Senzel, Greene, Jonathan India and Nick Lodolo. Greene is believed by many to have the potential to be a staff ace, and it is my belief that the Reds should absolutely not trade him until they are sure he cannot fulfill that potential.

    • My Beloved Reds

      To say that the Rays and Astros are consistently competitive is rather short sighted. Both teams were far from that just a few years ago. Additionally, I may have forgotten, but what pitcher has been traded from the Reds minor league system lately? Yes, I’d love to have had a better return on the Cueto, Chapman and Leake trades, but Walt did that. He no longer runs this team. Its all about pitching and a balanced approach. Green and Lodolo are untouchable until the FO is able to determine they are not going to be #1s. Patience!! We are moving in the right direction. A balance between development, free agency and trades. All 3 approaches require risks. It is a marathon and a sprint. Having been a Reds fan for 52 years, I’m thrilled that we are now trying all 3 approaches. Until now, it’s been all about development and trades for middle of the road talent. Patience!!

      • citizen54

        The last time Houston was bad was 2014 and the seeds for their improvement were sown in 2012 when they decided to focus on player development and scouting. Tampa Bay has been consistently good since 2008. They had a bad 2016 and a couple of mediocre years. If the Reds could match Tampa Bay, another small market team, I would be thrilled.

        And I have been patient. The Reds were on the right track until last year when then seem to panic and decided for some strange reason that they wanted a bunch of Dodgers with one year of control left and were willing to give up valuable young prospects to get these one year rentals. They then compounded their mistake by giving up their top prospect for another one and a half year rental. These moves made no sense because the Reds weren’t in a position to contend.

        I’m not against giving up prospects if you can get a good return and the timing is right but the Reds seem to lose trades with the smarter teams. I’m also not against free agent signings as long as you aren’t hampering yourself with a bad contract in the latter years. I just don’t like the idea of signing a free agent just so you can say you went out and got a free agent. The Reds just don’t have enough talent on the roster where they can just fill in the gaps with some free agent signings the way some other teams can.

        As for the future, the only way the Reds are going to be consistently competitive is with player development and I am glad they have finally decided to go that route.

      • Michael W

        This is the blessing and curse of baseball, knowing when to hold onto prospects and knowing when to let them go. Truth is no one knows. 10 years ago, both Didi and Grandal, (the two top FAs the Reds were supposed to throw millions at) were prospects in the Reds system. They were shipped out in deals because the organization chose Zach Cozart and Devin Mesoracco over them. 7 years ago, Robert Stephenson was an untouchable we wouldn’t consider trading in any deal, and how did that work out fort he Reds?

        “Green and Lodolo are untouchable until the FO is able to determine they are not going to be #1s”

        The problem with this thinking is that others will then know if they are not going to be true #1s then too, thus limiting he return we could get for them. IF we make a big signing of another SP or an OF bat to plug into this lineup or both (one can dream), and the only hole to fill is the SS position, then surely you trade one of these guys to plug that hole and make a run. 2 years of a Seager or Lindor at SS, along with Moose and Votto and Suarez and Senzel and Aquino/Winker and said OF FA above along with this pitching staff we have assembled in Castillo, Gray, Bauer, Disco, and possibly another high quality SP said above would be a championship contender for sure .

        Prospects are there to be brought up to play, or like in this scenario, used to bring in a final piece or two to make this team a championship contender. There will be another draft in June 2020 and another in 2021 and so on and so forth to “restock the system”.

  14. jsleee

    Heck I would pay an extra 10$ a seat if it meant we were serious contenders. Even an extra 2$ for a beer lol.

  15. RedNat

    I think the FO realizes the time is now to turn things around. the city is hungry for a winner. the attendance in 2019 was really good for a team that finished with 75 wins and started 1-8 after 5 terrible years. the economy is good, people have some money in their pockets. fans will come if there is a quality team on the field.

  16. TR

    Until their chance to contend faded after 2014, I was never really aware that the Red’s were ever in rebuild mode, and I’ve been a fan since the late 1940’s. It seems like, in the ‘old’ days, in order to contend the question was what was the need and who was available to fill it in a trade. Now the focus is on free agents and multi-millions. I say if the Reds have the money, then spend it and challenge the big boys. Thirty years is too long to wait for another championship.

  17. Amarillo

    I disagree pretty heavily with your prospect section. Prospect value is variable based on the status of the major league roster. You can trade from excess prospects, but unless you have a roster ready to win a championship then the prospect is more valuable than whatever one year rental you are looking at. The Reds are at a point where they still should not be trading prospects. They need to use cash as the primary resource which it seems they are leaning that way with Moustakas. Focus on free agents right now, don’t dump the farm after a 75-87 record.

  18. Old-school

    I have confidence in the FO but things have changed mightily in the NL central. The once indomitable Cubs have a bad bullpen, they are cutting payroll and Kris bryant is on the trade block. The Pirates are in full rebuild and a 90 loss team . The Brewers are all over the place and the cards have some bad contracts and players past their prime.

    Reds need to find players that help the Joey Votto winning window in 2020/21- but also position themselves for succession to the post Joey Votto era. No one wants a blow up and rebuild in 2022 or dead money contracts in 2023/24.

    Spend money on FA reasonably but preserve prospect capital and positional succession plans to maintain a winning window.

  19. Tom Mitsoff

    Bobby Nightengale is reporting Gregorius will sign with Philadelphia.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      And Kevin Gausman to San Francisco.

  20. Mark

    With Grandal off board and Didi as well, seems biggest holes not filled.

    What about a trade for Salvador Perez? Coming off Tommy John could be a good price in prospects. Team friendly contract and face of that franchise so may require a lil more? Seems worth kicking tires on for the Reds.

    Thoughts?

  21. Paul D Morgan

    I have been a Reds fan since I started playing baseball. While I was born in Cincy I grew up in SoCal. I’m 74 now. I have seen hundreds of Reds games in the LA Coliseum, Dodger Stadium, SF, and SD. I know Cincinnati is a very small market income-producing area. Compare the Reds to NY or LA and truth be told NY/LA can afford big mistakes, Cincinnati can’t. Just look at what Homer did to us.
    However, we now have some very good players and if we are going to take a shot at the World Series now is the time to take the shot. Yet we must be correct in our decisions.
    What do we really need? I do not see a problem at SS, I like Iglesias. Therefore our infield is excellent. Catching, perhaps Barnhard is playing to much, I also like Casali. If we split their time I believe production will improve. We need a 5th starter, I would like to see Roark come back. Very disappointed with R. Iglesias, he had a horrible season. I for good reason no longer have confidence in him, nor should you. Help is needed in the bullpen.
    Finally, the outfield. I don’t think Winker is the answer, at least not against lefties.
    Winker is a good teammate, but he is deficient in baserunning, poor defensive , and makes bone head decisions (throwing to the wrong base, ie). Senzel and Vanmeter show promise but is Senzel injury prone? Aquino will be fun to watch. But my solution is to attempt to bring Puig back, just loved everything about him.

    • Doug Gray

      Jose Iglesias is not a Cincinnati Red.

      • Optimist

        Just checked the news on Jose, and a blurb from a few days ago had this – ““a poor off-the-field reputation…persuaded the Orioles and some other teams to stay away”.

        What is that all about? Didn’t hear a thing about that when with the Reds?

        Even with the relatively empty offensive stats, haven’t hear anyone deny he is a defensive ace, and very inexpensive, so there must be something behind the scenes, no?

      • Paul D Morgan

        I know that. Yet he likes it here.

  22. Jon

    The Reds went into the winter needing to upgrade at shortstop, catcher, bullpen, outfield, and starting pitching depth (likely in that order of importance). So far the Reds are 0-5 on that list, with the biggest (and only?) free agent shortstop and catchers now off the market. Now what? It appears increasingly likely the Reds will have to move back to the trade market to upgrade their offense. Seeing how many of the Reds’ top prospects had down years (India, Greene, etc.), that means the Reds could wind up overpaying in prospects.

    • Paul D Morgan

      We need no upgrade at short stop.

  23. Jon

    One free agent I have not seen at all connected to the Reds that I find odd is Donaldson. While he is going to be in his mid-thirties, he can still play at an elite level. He plays 3B, but the Reds could move Suarez back to SS or perhaps even LF. Reports say he is likely to get a 4-year deal.

  24. Northern Ky Reds

    No changing my mindset. The reds suck. Office is the worst in the league. You overpay because players really don’t want to come here. Hell, you overpaid Bailey with a crazy contract, yet you wouldn’t overpay wheeler? If you paid Bailey 106 mil, you couldn’t pay wheeler 125 mil? If you’re gonna overpay, overpay for the right ones.

    • Paul D Morgan

      I don’t quite see it that way.

  25. jim walker

    The Giants just paid ~$13M for the Angels 2019 1st round draft pick (#15 overall). Officially they also got Zack Cozart in the deal (he’s owed the $13M guaranteed this year in the last year of his contract) .Going back to the Halos? A PTBNL and/ or cash.

    This is a salary dump by the Angels similar to the Reds dumping Bailey’s salary this time last year. And it is also the face of the future of player movement.

    Teams pay what they feel is necessary to pay up front for the players they think they need for a run then figure out down the road how to mitigate the costs.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Jim, I agree. They do this sort of move all the time in the NBA. The Cozart deal was similar to the NBA deals in that as incentive to take the Cozart contract, the Angels also offered up their number four prospect to the Giants. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Red Sox make a similar deal involving David Price.