The offseason is not over

Greetings from an odd location on Friday: Dallas, Texas. Due to a delayed flight out of San Diego Thursday, I missed my connection in Dallas, which was the last flight of the night to Cincinnati. So, myself and MLB.com Phillies beat writer Todd Zolecki (in a similar predicament) made the most of it and found a really good Texas BBQ restaurant near the airport hotel that I tried once before during the Reds last road trip to play the Rangers. That’s called making the most of a bad situation, folks. Hope to fly home soon this morning.

Anyway, enough about travel woes.

A lot of chatter was on Twitter and the blog about Thursday’s Reds trades. I think because of the fact GM Walt Jocketty was listening on any and all trade offers — including players like Johnny Cueto — had fans thinking something uber dramatic might happen and these weren’t flashy deals. Because two-fifths of the rotation was moved out, some jumped to a conclusion that a fire sale had started and it was rebuilding. Others were just upset that Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon were gone or they didn’t like the return the trades brought. Some looked at the roster and said the 2015 season is already over.

Yes, others looked at the trades and liked what they saw.

Me? I’m reserving final judgment on the moves because I want to see what the payroll shaving brings in terms of what they can do for left field, the bullpen and future moves this winter. The offseason is not over when the Winter Meetings end. Pitchers and catchers don’t report to Spring Training tomorrow. Especially in recent years, the teams that usually “win” at the Winter Meetings have not had success in the subsequent season.

I will say that I spoke with baseball people that don’t work for the Reds and they thought the Reds did very well with the talent that came back.

There is no dispute that the team bought very low on Simon (2012 waiver wire pickup) and sold high to get two young players back from the Tigers. The scouting reports on the acquisitions is in my main story, click here.

As for Latos, the Reds decided he wasn’t the one they wanted to keep long term and were able to get something for him rather than seeing him become a free agent next winter and get away for nothing.

Now, let’s see what the Reds do with the payroll savings. Latos, Simon and Chris Heisey’s contracts covered around a projected $15-20 million. Unless more trades are made, that still doesn’t indicate that a huge signing will be made for a left fielder. But it gives them room to maneuver.

95 Comments

I like the Simon deal. I think last year was an “out of the ordinary” year for Simon and I don’t expect that success to continue. Don’t get me wrong, I hope he does well in Detroit, i just don’t think he will. I’m still up in the air about the Latos deal, but considering he would probably cost us big money after next year, I see the reasoning.

Good article, Mark. Thanks for all you do in your reporting. I like both deals. IMO Simon caught lightning in a bottle for a season as a starter. He could help Detroit because the hitters will not have seen him much and he is a work horse. Very happy they moved Latos. I have observed over the years that power pitchers that depend on sliders end up with recurring arm troubles frequently. The players they got in each trade had good upside. It cleared payroll room as you pointed out. So I am pleased with what I see so far. I hope they are able to re-sign both Johnny and Mike. Like everybody else we are waiting on a LF guy that can hit. I hope they will keep listening to offers to move more big payroll guys. The value received for price paid is not anywhere near where it needs to be with those guys. Also, I know Chappy is affordable now, but I hope they will consider strong offers that improve the overall club when it comes to him.

Mark: Well said…. I agree on the LF comments in spades…. And nothing like a little competition @ SS… Time for Cingrani to step up…

Agree with all your comments, Mark. After reading /watching videos of the acquired players, I have changed my mind in this regard. There is a lot of upside potential in the pitching acquisitions (perhaps even giving some immediate help in the bullpen). But, given that both players were not going to be pursued next yr. (i.e. no money), the Reds received pretty fair results in both cases. And, as you point out, the off-season is far from over. They now have the room to acquire a left fielder /bat for 1-2 yrs. until Winker is ready. Plus, if those on the DL in ’14 can regain their health (and this is a prayer), 2015 does not look so bad. At least there remains hope for all but the disaffected.

That’s exactly what they want you to believe .

Don’t forget Broxton and Ludwick are gone to that’s another 15-20 mil. More then enough for a big splash in left feild. We all know Castellini is a smoke and mirrors guy. Watch for mike morse and expect about as much as we got from Ludwick……same old same old “almost good enough” Cincinnati reds

we need to stop the big splash talk for LF. I think we need to think small splash or minor league fill. Does LF really matter. If Votto and Bruce come back to form LF is just a bonus but not really needed. If Votto and Bruce dont come back to form then its a waste cause LF wont matter. Let put the saving to try and keep one of the top 3 starters in baseball around for a little longer. Hold some for Mez and Frazier coming up. Lets just roll with what we got. I would even be ok with moving Cozart and seeing what we have with this young guy we traded for. I just want to stop wasting money on these no bodies that cant change anything.

Will someone tell Walt Jocketty he doesn’t need 3 life jackets. I don’t know why he’s so cautious, the water is shallow. If the owner thinks Walt is doing such a great job, they deserve each other. These are the kind of moves that help to empty the stadium. Maybe they are following the script of “The Producers”.

Agree with article. I’m pleased at this point, but will hold off until the whole package is done. Agree with Bigblu about the small splash. Need OBA guy with a little pop to fill the gap until Winker is ready. Cozart can go. Like getting Wallach to develop as backup to Mes. Barnhart is another Cozart, great defense no bat. I’m ready for small ball to come back.

Here is a list of players the Reds have eliminated from their team during and after the 2014 season, along with their salary:
Latos (Arb est.)……………..8.4m
Simon (Arb est.)…………….5.1m
Heisey (Arb est.)……………2.5m
Broxton (contract)…………..9.0m
Ludwick (contract)…………..9.5m
Ondrusek (2014 salary)……1.35m
Partch (2014 salary)………….500k
Hanahan (2014 salary)…….1.0m
Santiago (2014 salary)……..1.1m
Total: $38.45m
As you can see above, the last four listed are FA and would
probably make more than what is noted.

Didn’t they didn’t have to pay at least Hanshan and Ludwick some buyout money ?

Yes they did. It was 50% of their option price which I find ridiculous. I noticed other teams buyouts (not a large sample and not conclusive), but they were from 10% to 25% of option price. Why do the Reds offer such a high % of option price for a buyout. Until someone can show me statistics to the contrary ( and I am open to to admitting ignorance if that is the case), I feel this is just another example of gross financial mismanagement by this ownership and management team.

Mark, you know anything about the emphasis that is being put on Cingrani to work on his 2nd and 3rd pitchers? I’m gonna be pretty upset if he comes into next year throwing 70% fastballs again. I mean is he instantly given the #4 starter role? Does AC get another shot at starting or is that nonsense not going to be brought up again?

Stuck for 18 hrs in the DFW Area during the same time, so give up the name of that BB joint, Mark😉

Hard Eight BBQ. It’s on Freeport Pky

The Simon Trade I’m okay with I watched Suarez last year and he looked pretty good with the bat. The Latos trade I’m not sure of…. and what are they going to do with another catcher? I think we could have gotten more for Latos.

ESPN Jim Bowden assigns NL Central grades…

NL Central

Chicago Cubs — Grade: A+

The Cubs have had the best offseason of any club so far, starting with the hiring of former Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon. They re-signed pitcher Jason Hammel after trading him in July and solved the catching position with the acquisition of Miguel Montero from the Diamondbacks. Their biggest acquisition, of course, was the signing of their new ace, Jon Lester, winning a bidding war over the Giants, Red Sox and Dodgers. The Cubs’ timetable to contend was 2016, but with one or two moves they could be a surprise team by the second half of 2015, if the prospects were to develop ahead of schedule.

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Cincinnati Reds — Grade: C+

The Reds entered the offseason with four-fifths of their rotation headed for free agency following the 2015 season. GM Walt Jocketty made the decision to commit to Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey and Mike Leake, and dealt Mat Latos to the Marlins and Alfredo Simon to the Tigers. In the Latos deal, the Reds acquired Anthony DeSclafani, who is expected to be in the rotation this year, but Jocketty thought the best player he acquired was right-handed pitcher Jonathon Crawford from the Tigers in the Simon trade. The Reds are still looking to improve left field and are continuing their pursuit of Nori Aoki and Michael Morse.

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Milwaukee Brewers — Grade: C

The Brewers led the NL Central for five of the six months in 2014, and because they were so competitive, they’ve been relatively inactive this offseason other than their shrewd deal to acquire Adam Lind, who crushes right-handed pitching. The Brewers also benefited by third baseman Aramis Ramirez exercising his player option. Comeback years from Ryan Braun and Jean Segura could be the key to the Brewers’ chances this year if they continue to be quiet on the player-movement front.

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Pittsburgh Pirates — Grade: B

The offseason began with the loss of catcher Russell Martin to the Blue Jays via free agency. Not good. However, the team was able to retain starting pitcher Francisco Liriano at a market-price three-year deal, and they persuaded A.J. Burnett to return from the Phillies at a bargain rate. They were able to replace Martin by trading for Francisco Cervelli. They were also able to clear up their first-base situation by trading Ike Davis to the A’s and dumping Gaby Sanchez. That means Josh Harrison will be their full-time third baseman while Pedro Alvarez moves to first. They replaced lefty reliever Justin Wilson by making a quality deal for Antonio Bastardo. So far they’ve done a solid job for a small-market team.

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St. Louis Cardinals — Grade: B+

The Cards have been able to fill all their offseason needs (right field, a right-handed-hitting first baseman, veteran bullpen help). First they dealt Shelby Miller, who was expendable because of their deep rotation, to the Braves for the game’s best defensive right fielder, Jason Heyward. They added bullpen depth in Jordan Walden in the process, and also brought in free-agent right-hander Matt Belisle. They strengthened the bench from the right side with first baseman/third baseman Mark Reynolds. The Cardinals remain the team to beat in the NL Central.

RUNS…28thOverall
BATTING AVERAGE…29thOverall
ON BASE PERCENTAGE…29thOverall
SLUGGING PCT…26thOverall
Now that we have cut 9 players and over $40m from our salary base,
I trust that Jocketty continues to have nightmares about the above
numbers when he selects a reasonable short term LF/Cleanup hitter.
I recognize we need to sign Cueto, Leake, Frazier, Mesoraco and others
to new deals shortly, however we continue to lack a ‘get er done’ LF
that will hit like a clean up hitter should.

Glad to learn someone besides me understand that pennants are not won by the ” big winners” in the off season. More often than not the big winners in the off seasons are not the big winners in the fall. The Dodgers, Angles, and Blue Jays are teams that won their divisions in the offseason and did not even make the playoffs in the following summer/fall. The game is played on the field not on paper. By human beings not machines. Human Beings who have bad seasons and good season, by some people who can make adjustments and some who can not. Human Being who get injured and some who can rebound from injury. Some people that grow old quickly and other that never seem to age. Make up is hard to understand or rate, if a person had that insight he would be GM of the year every year. Can wait for the games to begin in late March and see who the big winners really were and in some case, where young minor leaguers are involved, it make take a few years to figured it out. That is why I love the game – it is almost impossible to predict.

Thanks Dennis for putting it in perspective. The human factor is what it boils down to. Stats can tell a lot but it can’t categorize and put a value on the human spirit, drive, and determinization. I’m with you, let the games begin and let see who has that internal drive to suceed.

Week In Review: 12/6/14 – 12/12/14

By Charlie Wilmoth [December 13, 2014 at 11:40am CST]

Here’s a look back at a wild week at MLBTR. The following is a listing of confirmed transactions that doesn’t include moves that appear to be close, like the Dodgers’ reported trade for Jimmy Rollins or signing of Brandon McCarthy.

Key Moves
•The Cubs signed P Jon Lester to a six-year deal with a vesting option.
•The Padres agreed to acquire OF Matt Kemp, C Tim Federowicz and cash from the Dodgers for C Yasmani Grandal, P Joe Wieland and P Zach Eflin.
•The White Sox agreed to acquire P Jeff Samardzija and P Michael Ynoa from the Athletics for INF Marcus Semien, P Chris Bassitt, C Josh Phegley and INF Rangel Ravelo.
•The Marlins acquired 2B Dee Gordon, P Dan Haren, INF Miguel Rojas and a PTBNL or cash from the Dodgers for P Andrew Heaney, INF Enrique Hernandez, P Chris Hatcher and C Austin Barnes.
•The Dodgers acquired 2B Howie Kendrick from the Angels for Heaney.
•The Red Sox acquired P Rick Porcello from the Tigers for OF Yoenis Cespedes, P Alex Wilson and P Gabe Speier.
•The Marlins acquired P Mat Latos from the Reds for P Anthony DeSclafani and C Chad Wallach.
•The Cubs acquired C Miguel Montero from the Diamondbacks for P Zack Godley and P Jefferson Mejia.
•The Indians acquired 1B/OF Brandon Moss from the Athletics for 2B Joe Wendle.
•The White Sox signed P David Robertson to a four-year deal.
•The Twins signed P Ervin Santana to a four-year deal.
•The Pirates re-signed P Francisco Liriano to a three-year deal.

Signed / Agreed To Terms
•Cubs – P Jason Hammel (two years with club option)
•Astros – P Luke Gregerson (three years), P Pat Neshek (two years)
•Royals – DH Kendrys Morales (two years)
•Red Sox – P Justin Masterson (one year)
•Cardinals – INF Mark Reynolds (one year)
•Rangers – P Kyuji Fujikawa (one year with club option)
•Mets – OF John Mayberry Jr. (one year)
•Braves – OF Dian Toscano (link)

Trades
•Tigers – acquired P Alfredo Simon from Reds for INF Eugenio Suarez and P Jonathon Crawford
•Red Sox – acquired P Wade Miley from Diamondbacks for P Rubby De La Rosa, P Allen Webster and INF Raymel Flores
•Red Sox – acquired P Zeke Spruill from Diamondbacks for P Myles Smith
•Angels – acquired INF Josh Rutledge from Rockies for P Jairo Diaz
•Pirates – acquired P Antonio Bastardo from Phillies for P Joely Rodriguez
•Rangers – acquired P Ross Detwiler from Nationals for P Abel De Los Santos and INF Chris Bostick
•Marlins – acquired P Andre Rienzo from White Sox for P Dan Jennings
•Angels – acquired C Drew Butera from Dodgers for a PTBNL or cash
•Rays – acquired P Buddy Borden from Pirates to complete the Sean Rodriguez trade

Avoided Arbitration
•Padres – P Joe Wieland (link – Padres later traded Wieland to Dodgers)

Claimed
•White Sox – C Rob Brantly (from Marlins – link)
•Blue Jays – INF/OF Chris Colabello (from Twins – link)
•Angels – INF/OF Marc Krauss (from Astros – link)
•Rangers – P Scott Barnes (from Orioles – link)

Designated For Assignment
•Diamondbacks – P Eury De La Rosa (link)
•Pirates – P Josh Lindblom (link)
•Athletics – INF Shane Peterson (link), P Jorge De Leon (link)
•Tigers – P Melvin Mercedes (link)
•Dodgers – C Ryan Lavarnway (link)
•Indians – P Bryan Price (link)

Outrighted
•Orioles – P Pat McCoy, INF Steve Lombardozzi (link)
•Red Sox – INF Jemile Weeks (link)
•Pirates – P Angel Sanchez (link)
•Braves – INF Ramiro Pena (elected free agency)

The Reds are looking for outfielders, but they haven’t shown interest in Jonny Gomes, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets. Gomes played with the Reds from 2009 until they traded him to the Nationals midway through the 2011 season, but it seems they aren’t interested in a reunion after he hit .234/.327/.330 in 321 plate appearances for Boston and Oakland in 2014.

I hope not. Don’t think I can go through his batting ritual with the helmet adjustments again.

Been there, done that, and that proved to be more than enough!

I don’t see a FA LF that fits this team. If we don’t find a long term answer by trade then just wait it out with a young platoon to see what we have. Let’s save that money to sign our young core.

When we traded Heisey, I think we committed ourselves to obtaining a new LF.
Of what ilk is the question, as we all know now that it is the intent of management
to sign this person for no longer than 1 or 2 years max. The term itself pretty much
alleviates any opportunity to sign a better-than-average FA, unless of course, it is completed by trade. Even Aoki and Morse want multiple years. With all the above, we now are relegated to looking for a short term everyday LF, once again, in hopes that we get by 2015 and into the Winkler era. What is grinding is that with the short term LF we are looking for, it was for 3 reasons: 1) they would be the everyday LF, 2) they could field the position adequately (average or BTA defensively) and 3) they are capable of batting OBP and RBI. Jocketty would have to pull a rabbit out of the trades
in order to still satisfy what we were looking for only a few months ago. He said he may wait until January/February timeframe to see what shakes out, so it will be interesting to see what scratch he finds for this 7-year itch; an everyday LF that can swing the lumber for only 1 or 2 years. Egads…

Speaking of trades…Cozart’s lifeline to the Reds got a lot shorter this past week.
It wouldn’t surprise me to see him in a package.

Situation sure has made off season interesting. Can’t say I’m bored at this point.

The Phillies are scaling back and have traded Rollins to the Dodgers. I think they will need an everyday SS and I also think we have one for them…how about Cozart for
Marlon Byrd? Byrd is a FA after the 2015 season, and he still wields a very big bat.

Neb, don’t get me excited.

The White Sox have reportedly agreed to a 3-year, $42 million deal with outfielder Melky Cabrera.

I don’t know why a LF should only get a 2 year deal. Sign a good everyday player, unless you’re planning on resigning Bruce. Bruce should be a FA about they time Winker arrives.

Winkler is scheduled to arrive in 2016. Bruce is signed in 2015, 2016 and 2017 (club option),

I guess Bruce just isn’t my kind of player. To many strike outs and inconsistencies at the plate.

anybody intrested in carlos quienton as a red. if upton goes to the padres that leaves maybin kemp and upton with carlos probablly the odd man out? right handed left fielder with some pop?

I did prior to last seasons shortcomings, but then 2014 unfolded:
When Quentin arrived in San Diego, he came with a powerful bat, one that San Diego thought they could pair with then-team leader Adrian Gonzalez for a powerful 1-2, lefty-righty punch in the middle of the Padres’ lineup. Over the previous four seasons prior to come to the Padres, Quentin hadn’t hit less than 20 home runs, and topped out at 36 back in 2008, when he also finished 5th in AL MVP voting. After that, he hit 21, 26, and 24. He was a solid run producer, and being a right-handed power bat was an added bonus.
Instead, what the Padres received was a battered, and broken down shell of what Carlos Quentin once was. Someone that has never played more than 86 games in a season during his three campaigns in San Diego, and some who hit rock bottom in 2014, playing in only 50 games, hitting 4 home runs, driving in 18, and hitting only .177. Unfortunately for the Padres, Quentin is due $8 million dollars in 2015, and there is a mutual option for 2016 with a $3 million dollar buyout. So at minimum, Quentin will get $11 mil more from the Friars before they can wash their hands of him.

Rios just signed with the Royals. If Walt waits to long to get us a LF Bat, then all we fans will see is garbage left over and a desperation signing of some backup player to platoon with Shumaker. What a joke!!!

As Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports, the Marlins do not want to trade away pitchers Henderson Alvarez or Jarred Cosart in any potential deal that would bring back a first baseman in return, which limits their options to the free agent market. “They’ve had more talks with Michael Morse in recent days,” Jackson tweeted, calling him “maybe (the) best realistic option.”

According to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, former Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus has met with the Cubs, who are very interested in the outfielder: “Rasmus struggled to a .225/.287/.448 slash line last season but still hit 18 home runs in a down season at a premium position. Manager Joe Maddon, known for his ability to get the best from his players, may help him regain his 2013 from when Rasmus batted .276/.338/.501 with 22 homers and 66 RBIs, producing a WAR of 4.8.”

These guys cost too much and are not worth it. We would end up hating all of these signing if the Reds did any of them. I say go with the youth and see where we are come the trade deadline. So far I love this off season. I would not mind moving one more piece if its Phillips. I think this team is going to surprise us. Last year was more fluky than anything.

Move Phillips we would be in salary heaven, but his contract was untimely in that it occurred right before he became a 5-10 guy and can basically dictate where he will play. If there are any trades of our current roster players, I think it may well be Cozart.
I adore his glove, as do all the Red’s pitchers, however he has had ample time to correct his batting discipline and his declining three-year slash line:
2012…246/.288/.399/.687
2013…254/.284/.381/.665
2014…221/.268/.300/.568
If he could bat .265 and get on base at a clip of .325, he would be gold. I am very
surprised that as a free swinger that makes little contact, that he didn’t receive dedicated coaching in the off season, whereby he could learn plate discipline.
But, I guess once you are a pro you either correct that yourself or suffer the consequences. His glove is one of the best I have seen in a long time. It will be
a shame to break up one of the best “up the middle” trios in all of baseball.

If I was the hitting coach I make it mandatory every play e r has rtf hat device they show on commercials on fox sports. Swinghitter.com. since the players are not accountable to make adjustments to get better. Now they have a device to use everyday especially Cozart!!!!

Dang auto correct!!!

Michael Morse 2 year deal with Marlins. Walt is waiting till Aokia signs with somebody else and pull out his “Why we can’t do anything to fix the team” excuse book!!!!

Although inexpensive, Aoki could be relegated to the bench starting next season
when Winkler is scheduled to arrive. We need a one-year-wonder-fix, and they just
don’t grow on trees. That’s why Torii Hunter would have been perfect; he signed for one year. Aoki is said to be looking for a three year deal. If nobody wants him in a month or so, maybe Jocketty can get him to sign a two year deal, and we use him off the bench in 2016. This kinda stuff is goofy to think about because we are looking
at the fishbowl, but not from the correct side.

White Sox Sign Melky Cabrera

I actually don’t think we are very interested in any FA’s as the good ones want an extended warranty that cost too much. I think we will, as Jocketty said, wait until January or February; see what’s what and maybe initiate a trade for a LF/clean up hitter with a short contract. Enter Mr. Cozart or another.

If we want a shot at the brass ring this coming season, I like this lineup:
Hamilton CF
Votto 1B
Upton LF
Frazier 3B
Bruce RF
Mesoraco C
Phillips 2B
Suarez SS
The bleacher fans would have to wear hard hats!

One reservation…if I see any of them sitting or getting a breather after the first week;
all bets are off. Price must learn to not be a doting uncle to these guys, but a bone fide major league manager concerned with one thought; putting a W after each and every game.

I still like Aoki for left, said that on here at the beginning of the off season. You can always try to trade him if Winkler gets here as scheduled. To me a multi year contract for Aoki or anyone else would be no problem.

It would be nice but is the price too much. I just dont think this team is in position for a win now trade. If it was a Latos or Leake for Upton then maybe. What prospects do you give up for Upton?

That’s the question. It obviously depends on who they want. But at this point it’s nothing more than a pipe dream, Upton will make $14.5m next season and that may be too steep for a 1 year rental. However, his name does look good in our lineup; secondly, he isn’t a gamble to hit at GABP, he’s a sure thing.

A two year deal for OF would be OK if he could also play RF. That would open up options to trade Bruce either at mid season or before 2016. I think the reality is this team will have to be blown up next year anyway. Somedody else mentioned article on Bleacher Report concerning blowing up this team. Excellent article concerning long range $$ already committed. Sad state of affairs.

Aoki in 2014:
549 PA
l HR
43 RBI
.285/.349/.360/.710
R 63
BB 43
SO 49
SB 17
CS 8
FLD% .990
WAR 1.0
SALARY 1.95M
Has previously batted lead-off predominantly; batted 2nd on occasion. Appears as an adequate LF with the glove, however he’s more of a punch and judy hitter; not what the Reds were initially looking for. No where near a long ball/RBI guy.

Now the Padres are trying to get Wil Myers from the Rays. And are still in on Upton. Myers would have been a great pickup to help. Oh I forgot. Walt can’t make any moves to HELP the team for 2015…as the hitters out there are being shopped or signed and not a peep from the Reds.

Michael Morse signs two-year, $16 million deal with Marlins. Signed for more than
I thought he would.

Also, to play !B not OF.

The Padres had previously been discussed as the most likely landing spot for Atlanta Braves outfielder Justin Upton, but according to MLBTR.com, an deal with Myers heading to San Diego would most likely end the Friars pursuit of the free agent-to be. Last season, Myers suffered through the sophomore slump with a broken wrist, and didn’t come close to matching his 2013 numbers. His triple slash line of .222/.294/.320 would most likely improve closer to his ROY numbers of .293/.354/.478 in just under 400 plate appearances as a rookie.
………….
It would be good if they sign Myers, as I don’t think any pitcher in MLB wants to
see Kemp-Upton on any given game day. Besides, if they sign Upton, our dream
of signing the guy will go up in smoke…POOF!

John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes that although the trading away of pitchers Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon helped to give the Reds a “savings of $18 million in payroll” in terms of 2015 commitments, the team has yet to use that surplus of cash to fix any of their roster’s shortcomings.

Fay notes that, as it stands, Skip Schumaker “tops the depth chart” in left field, with prospect Jesse Winker not yet deemed to be ready to play in the major leagues and only Yorman Rodriguez and Donald Lutz as other potential internal options. Justin Upton of the Atlanta Braves is likely available via trade, but with a 2015 salary of $14.5 million due him, Fay doesn’t believe Upton fits into the Reds budget.

Sadly Walt is still on vacation and not even concerned at fixing anything. With the Rays shopping Wil Myers, I would go after him and see if the Padres would take Bruce in a 3 team trade and the Reds get Myers, then with Winker coming that’s two young hitters to build around. A outfield of Myers/Hamlton and Winker would be pretty good. Its ridiculous to even think doing nothing that shows your trying to get to the next step, you can even speak the words Playoffs with what the other 4 teams in our division have done!!!!..Im not drinking their koolaide!! I can see last place and sadly some fans still have hope they will be even better next year.. Really??? They are the only team that has subtraced at the ML level and replaced none of the players they lost!!.. Its like wait till all the other teams get their house in order, then pull out the “Excuse book” and sign backup players that nobody else wants to fill out your roster. If I am Cueto, I ask the plan to WIN.. if they say its going to take 5 years, I am not signing any extension and being a Free Agent.. What a slam it would be he signed with the Cubs after he leaves here huh?? Walt and Bob have this team going backwards and the lies about winning a World Championship. they only care about the 2015 All-Star game and thats it.. Money in the owners pockets.. not once have we heard they are going to get what it takes to get to the next level.. NOPE.. just bobble heads.. yippy!!.. I as a fan want to see this team FINALLY get above the Cardinals and WIN and World Championship. Not sit back hoping every player has a career year and the excuse book when they dont do well. And no smart moves to get there!!

I agree there are issues but I actually think its our win now mentality that has gotten this team in trouble. Our payroll is higher than the entire division including the cards. Its not that they are not trying its that they made the wrong moves and are now paying for it with not being able to do anything. They have signed huge contracts for players, done bobble head nights, half price tickets and so forth. But we dont fill the seats. We went to the play offs now 3 of the past 5 yrs. Thats not bad. Where are the fans? We cant keep saying put a winner on the field they did that and because of injuries we had a bad year. Now we are paying the price for our over spending over the past couple of years. I am more concerned with I want a plan for the future not just a Yankee mindset of spend more win more because that does not work. Ownership has lost money during these past few years because the fans are not loyal to the product here in Cincinnati.

Have they ever been. I remember 14,000 attendance at Crosley field in the last 2 weeks of the season with the Reds in the thick of things. Players expressed frustration asking “What does it take to get fans to the ballpark?”.

In case you’ve failed to take note, they are now in rebuild mode. It is all they had left to do. The present core was built to win in 2012 or 2013. They came reasonably close, as close as a small market team can reasonably expect, but they fell short of the ultimate and must now transition to something new. It began with Dusty’s ill-timed dismissal and continued with the standing pat of last off-season and the moving of Latos and Simon during this one for prospects ONLY. Cueto will go, one way or another, sooner or later, so his judgment of whether they can quickly again become contenders is totally immaterial. Continue to do what will lead to the quickest rebuild by stockpiling minor league prospects, as the Cubs did several years back upon Epstein’s brilliant arrival, rather than wasting money by trying to afix band-aides to a patient dying from contusions. Instead, enjoy the process and the attempt. It ought to take about most of the five years you mention!

maybe we dial up alphonso soriano to come outta retirement? righty with power who sittin on the couch might wanna come back and blast some hrs in gabp for a decent price?

Who’s left…field in 2015?…
FREE AGENTS
Nori Aoki
.285/.349/.360/.710…1 HR, 43 RBI
Colby Rasmus
.225//287/.338/.735…18 HR, 40 RBI
Ichiro Suzuki
.284/.324/.340/.602…1 HR, 22 RBI
Nate Schierholtz
.195/.243/.309/.552…1 HR, 4 RBI
Chris Denorfia
.230/.284/.318/.602…2 HR, 5 RBI
Delmon Young
.302/.337/.442/.779…7 HR, 30 RBI
Reed Johnson
.235/.266/.348/.614…2 HR, 25 RBI
TRADE CANTIDATES
Justin Upton
.279/.342/.491/.833…27 HR, 102 RBI
Marlon Byrd
.264/.312/.445/.757…25 HR, 85 RBI

Red’s team salaries; 2015 and beyond…
MLBTradeRumors.com
Zack Cozart $600K to $2.3MM
Devin Mesoraco $525K to $2.8MM
Todd Frazier $600K to $4.6MM
Aroldis Chapman $5M to $8.3MM
Mike Leake $5.925M to $9.5MM
Alfredo Simon $1.5M to $5.1MM (TRADED)
Mat Latos $7.25M to $8.4MM (TRADED)
Chris Heisey $1.76M to $2.2MM (TRADED)
Logan Ondrusek $1.35M to $2.3MM (Non-Tendered)
Future payroll commitments (Per Cot’s Baseball)
Johnny Cueto: $10M 2015
Joey Votto: $14M 2015, $20M 2016, $22M 2017, $25M 2018-23, $20M/$7M*2024
Brandon Phillips: $12M 2015, $13M 2016, $14M 2017
Homer Bailey: $10M 2015, $18M 2016, $19M 2017, $21M 2018, $23M 2019, $25M/$5M* ’20
Jay Bruce: $12M 2015,$12.5M 2016, $13M/$1M 2017
Sean Marshall: $6.5M 2015
Manny Parra: $3.5M 2015
Skip Schumaker: $2.5M 2015, $2.5M/$500K*, 2016
Bryan Pena: $1.4M 2015, FA 2016
Rasiel Iglesias: $1M 2015, $2.5M 2016, $3.5M 2017, $4.5M 2018, $5M 2019, $5M 2020
Ryan Ludwick: $4.5*, 2015
Jack Hannahan: $2M* 2015
(*buyout)

Cozart, Mesoraco, Frazier, Chapman & Leake are ‘ARB projected’.

Young outfielder Wil Myers will head to San Diego as the centerpiece of the trade, and indeed the entire pact will depend upon the health of his balky wrist, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports notes on Twitter. San Diego receives young hurlers Gerardo Reyes and Jose Castillo from Tampa as well. Big league catcher Ryan Hanigan will also go to the Friars.

Heading to Tampa from San Diego are backstop Rene Rivera, righty Burch Smith, and first base prospect Jake Bauers. Much of Tampa’s haul, however, will come from another source: the Nationals will send outfielder Steven Souza and young lefty Travis Ott to Tampa.

For the Nationals, their involvement in this complicated transaction nets them a pair of young players. Righty Joe Ross and shortstop Trea Turner (as a PTBNL) will each head from the Padres to D.C. by way of Tampa.

Odds to Win 2015 National League Pennant (11/1/15)
Los Angeles Dodgers 13/4
Washington Nationals 13/4
Chicago Cubs 5/1
St. Louis Cardinals 6/1
San Francisco Giants 7/1
Atlanta Braves 12/1
New York Mets 12/1
Pittsburgh Pirates 12/1
Cincinnati Reds 16/1
Milwaukee Brewers 16/1
Miami Marlins 25/1
San Diego Padres 25/1
Colorado Rockies 40/1
Arizona Diamondbacks 40/1
Philadelphia Phillies 80/1
Updated: December 10, 2014

The Giants have signed reliever Curtis Partch to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweets. The Reds non-tendered the 27-year-old Partch last month after he posted a 4.75 ERA, 10.3 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9 in 47 1/3 innings for Triple-A Louisville last season. Partch’s fastball regularly sat in the mid-90s in parts of two seasons with the Reds, but he’s never had sustained success at the big-league level.

4.8 BB/9 will do that, especially for a reliever. I’m glad he got signed. Thought he did a better job than some of the other relievers the Reds used last year. Should have been used more.

Pro Sports Daily
Even with recent trades to cut the Reds’ record $114 million 2014 payroll, it will still increase in 2015, said general manager Walt Jocketty.”Our payroll has increased every year, despite what some people are writing or thinking, our payroll is increasing again this year,” Jocketty said. “It’s not increasing to the level it would need to have been able to keep the guys we traded. It’s still increasing quite a bit over last year, but everyone’s salaries are jumping up. We knew that going into last year.”The Reds traded starters Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon last week on the final day of the Winter Meetings in San Diego. Those two moves, along with the trade of Chris Heisey and the non-tendering of Logan Ondrusek, cut a projected $18 million from the 2015 budget. All four of those players were arbitration-eligible, and using MLBTradeRumors.com’s arbitration projections, Latos would have made $8.4 million, Simon $5.1 million, Heisey $2.3 million and Ondrusek $2.3 million.The team still has five arbitration-eligible players on the roster for next season: Mike Leake ($9.5 million projected), Aroldis Chapman ($8.3 million projected), Zack Cozart ($2.3 million projected), Todd Frazier ($4.6 million projected) and Devin Mesoraco ($2.8 million projected). That’s a total of $27.5 million added to the 11 players already under contract, who are due a total of more than $75.5 million, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts. That doesn’t include the $6.5 million in buyouts to Jack Hannahan ($2 million) and Ryan Ludwick ($4.5 million). Those 16 players, along with the payments to the players no longer on the team, raises payroll to $109.5.That total doesn’t include the nine other players on the roster, which at the bare minimum would be more than $4.5 million, giving the team somewhere around last year’s payroll. – See more at: http://www.prosportsdaily.com/articles/reds-gm-payroll-to-increase-again-in-2015.

Cozart not worth $2,300,000.00. either that or Mes is worth more than 2.8M. Would love to see Cozart gone. Also, love Frazier but not worth 4.6M yet. Of course neither Hanahan or Ludwick were worth the cost and their buyout costs were ridiculous.

Steve Mancuso onRedleg Nation has an excllent article today cocerning the need for a LF and the payroll issue. He raised the name of Seth Smith of the Padres a a possibility with Cozart as part of a deal. Slash looked good but I don’t know anything about him. Any input would be appreciated.
http://redlegnation.com/2014/12/18/solving-the-two-step-problem/

Another peripheral player whose name has been mentioned is 27 year old Scott VanSlyke of the Dodgers…
In 2014…
98 G
246 PA
.297/.386/.524/.910
11 HR
29 RBI
2.7 WAR
Been in the major for 3 seasons; increasing numbers year over year over year.
Slash line is very impressive; he has some incredible power as he is a big boy:
6’5″, 220, R/R, plays all three outfield positions as well as lB.
Makes minimum salary $507k in 2014 and 2015, ARB eligible in 2016, FA in
2020.
Very attractive and that WAR figure above is very, very attractive.

Seth Smith; LF and RF
5 seasons in COL, 2 seasons in OAK, 1 season in SDP
32 years old, 6’3″, 210 lbs.
L/L
In 8 seasons his high: 17 HR, 54 RBI
2014: 521 PA, .266/.367/.440/.807, 12 HR, 48 RBI, 69 BB, 87 SO
Contract: 2015 $6m, 2016 $6.75m, 2017 $7m club option, $250k buyout

Notice the buyout figure and compare it to Hanahan and Ludwick. Why are the options for Reds players such a high% of their options.

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the former Royals outfielder is expected to fetch a contract in the neighborhood of 2-3 years at $7-8 million per year. He lists the Orioles, Reds and Mariners as possible landing spots.
…………………
Whoa! Never thought he’d be that expensive.

Sorry, I was referring to Nori Aoki.

The Atlanta Braves are reportedly putting the finishing touches on a deal that would send Justin Upton to an unknown American League West club. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs tweeted early Friday morning that, according to a source, “a package headlined by young pitching” would be coming back to Atlanta.

Padres outfield in 2015…
Wil Myers
Matt Kemp
Justin Upton

The Kemp deal is on hold because when the Padres did the physical on him they found arthritis in both hips just showed up for the first time at least that is the latest report.

Well I guess the Padres decide to go ahead with the deal because I see it is now been finalized. Good luck Padres.

Rios goes to KC. That leaves Aoki as a FA. Hope it’s not him. Looking for a trade to come out of the woodwork.

Week In Review: 12/13/14 – 12/19/14

By Charlie Wilmoth [December 20, 2014 at 9:13am CST]

Here’s a look back at this week at MLBTR.

Key Moves
•The Padres acquired outfielder Wil Myers, catcher Ryan Hanigan, and pitchers Jose Castillo and Gerardo Reyes in a three-team deal, with the Rays receiving outfielder Steven Souza, catcher Rene Rivera, pitchers Burch Smith and Travis Ott, and first baseman Jake Bauers. The Nationals received pitcher Joe Ross and a PTBNL, reportedly shortstop Trea Turner.
•The Padres acquired outfielder Justin Upton and pitcher Aaron Northcraft from the Braves for pitcher Max Fried, infielder Jace Peterson, infielder Dustin Peterson, outfielder Mallex Smith and international bonus spending rights.
•The Yankees signed third baseman Chase Headley to a four-year deal.
•The White Sox signed outfielder Melky Cabrera to a three-year deal.
•The Marlins acquired infielder Martin Prado, pitcher David Phelps and cash from the Yankees for pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, first baseman Garrett Jones and pitcher Domingo German.
•The Dodgers acquired shortstop Jimmy Rollins and cash from the Phillies for pitchers Zach Eflin and Tom Windle.

Signed / Agreed To Terms
•Astros – INF Jed Lowrie (three years)
•Giants – P Jake Peavy (two years), P Sergio Romo (two years)
•Cubs – C David Ross (two years), P Jason Motte (one year)
•Royals – P Edinson Volquez (two years), OF Alex Rios (one year plus mutual option), P Kris Medlen (two years plus mutual option), P Yohan Pino (link)
•Marlins – INF/OF Michael Morse (two years)
•Rockies – INF Daniel Descalso (two years)
•Dodgers – P Brett Anderson (one year)
•Padres – P Brandon Morrow (one year)
•Indians – P Gavin Floyd (one year)
•Pirates – INF/OF Corey Hart (one year)
•Cardinals – INF Mark Reynolds (one year)
•Orioles – P Wesley Wright (one year)
•Yankees – P Chris Capuano (one year)
•Red Sox – P Craig Breslow (one year)
•Mets – OF John Mayberry Jr. (one year)

Trades
•Padres – acquired C Derek Norris, P Seth Streich and international bonus spending rights from Athletics for P Jesse Hahn and P R.J. Alvarez
•Giants – will acquire INF Casey McGehee from Marlins for P Kendry Flores and P Luis Castillo
•Padres – will acquire INF Will Middlebrooks from Red Sox for C Ryan Hanigan
•Angels – acquired OF Matt Joyce from Rays for P Kevin Jepsen
•Angels – acquired INF Johnny Giavotella from Royals for P Brian Broderick
•Yankees – acquired P Gonzalez Germen from Mets for cash
•Dodgers – acquired INF/OF Matt Long from Angels to complete the Drew Butera trade, then traded Long and P Jarret Martin to Brewers for C Shawn Zarraga
•Mariners – acquired OF Justin Ruggiano from Cubs for P Matt Brazis
•Red Sox – acquired P Anthony Varvaro from Braves for P Aaron Kurcz and cash
•Athletics – acquired P Eury De La Rosa from Diamondbacks for cash considerations
•Athletics – sent cash considerations to the Cubs to complete last summer’s Jeff Samardzija trade
•Rockies – acquired OF Noel Cuevas from Dodgers to complete the Juan Nicasio trade
•Red Sox – acquired INF Marco Hernandez from Cubs to complete the Felix Doubront trade

Avoided Arbitration
•Diamondbacks – P David Hernandez (link)

Claimed
•Cubs – C Ryan Lavarnway (from Dodgers), OF Shane Peterson (from Athletics – link)
•Blue Jays – P Juan Oramas (from Padres – link)

Designated For Assignment
•Yankees – P Preston Claiborne (link)
•Dodgers – INF/OF Kyle Jensen (link)
•Rays – P Brandon Gomes (link)
•Athletics – P Fernando Rodriguez (link)
•Mariners – P Logan Bawcom (link)
•Indians – P Nick Maronde (link)
•Rangers – P Ben Rowen, P Scott Barnes (link)
•Royals – OF Moises Sierra (link), P Casey Coleman (link)
•Astros – INF Gregorio Petit (link)
•Twins – INF/OF Chris Parmelee (link)
•Pirates – P Preston Guilmet (link)
•Cubs – P Donn Roach, INF Logan Watkins (link)

Outrighted
•Tigers – P Melvin Mercedes (link)
•Indians – P Bryan Price (link)

Released
•Dodgers – P Brian Wilson (link)
•Athletics – INF Nick Punto (link), P Jorge De Leon (link)
•Royals – OF Carlos Peguero (link)
•Angels – INF/OF Shawn O’Malley (link)

Ryan Hanigan to Red Sox intrade from Padres. Also, with all that activity I seem to have missed the Reds name being involved with anything. Must be a mistake. Right?????????????????

Mark, saw article on Mlb dated yesterday by you. Are you off or not? Or is it just the blog you taking a break from? Doesn’t sound like you are off using up vacation time.

I’ve been off all week — but left stories written ahead of time to be posted.

Excerpt from Cincinnati.com…
The Reds were 12th among the 30 teams in Major League Baseball in as far as payroll for 2014 at a record $114 million, despite being 19th in overall revenue. The club spent 56 percent of its total revenue on player payroll. The MLB average is 48 percent.
You may argue the merits of moves the Reds have made under Castellini. They gave those huge contracts to Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Homer Bailey. They’ve let the recent July 31 trade deadlines pass without making major moves. They did virtually nothing as far as adding players before the 2014 season. And by going for it in 2012, they gave $6.5 million in deferred money ($4.5 million to Ryan Ludwick and $2 million to Jack Hannahan).
But Castellini has put money back into the club as revenues have risen. The payroll have gone up significantly each of the last six years. It went from $73.3 million in 2009 to $76.1 million in 2010 to $80.1 million in 2011 to $87.8 million in 2012 to $106.8 million in 2013 to $114.1 million this year.
Again, Castellini says the payroll will be higher in 2015. The club is in the running for free agent outfielder Nori Aoki. If the Reds land him, the payroll will be substantially higher — upwards of $120 million.
Castellini has maintained since he brought the Reds in 2005 that they budget to break even. If attendance is flat again this year — the Reds drew 2,476,664 this year, down from 2,492,09 in 2013 — they will operate at loss.
Castellini says neither he nor any of other investors has ever taken any money out of the club.

Reds need to start working on future TV contract. Start pushing now, investigate options other than FSO. Can’t compete without a much, much bigger contract. Things could get much worse as far as being competitive in the future. I’m TIRED OF WATING, but don’t want to DIE WAITING.

Excerpt from Cincinnati.com…
In modern baseball economics it is hard for a franchise in a market like the Reds are in to compete on a yearly basis. The Reds get somewhere around $30 million on local television revenue.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, who had this year’s highest payroll at $257 million, signed 25-year, $8.3 billion deal. That’s $320 million year. The Texas Rangers get $150 million a year. The Houston Astros get $80 million.
With the limited TV revenues – the deal with Fox Sports Ohio runs through 2017 – the Reds are never going to be a $200 million payroll club. That means making hard decisions on your players as they reach free agency. Castellini grows attached to his players. That had a lot to do with the Votto, Phillips and Bailey signings.

I believe the TV deal expires at the end of the 2016 season, not the end of 2017 as the above article reports.

Reds’ $30M TV deal ranks higher than you might think in MLB
Apr 1, 2013, 12:46pm EDT
The Reds’ $30 million TV deal ties them for 18th in Major League Baseball.
Steve WatkinsStaff Reporter- Cincinnati Business Courier
It’s Opening Day, and with cool temperatures outside, many fans’ thoughts turn to watching the game on TV.
That’s a cash cow for a lot of teams. And even though the Reds’ $30 million annual rights deal with Fox Sports Ohio is far smaller than several Major League Baseball teams, it’s better than one-third of teams get.
The Reds rank in a tie for 18th among the 30 MLB team for TV rights revenue, according to a report in the April 1 issue of Courier sister publication SportsBusiness Journal.
That’s not bad considering the Reds play in the smallest TV market in baseball. But the Reds get a slight edge on some markets because their games are televised over a wider area. Fox Sports Ohio goes into Kentucky and Indiana, as well as covering half of Ohio.
And the Reds had the second-highest local TV ratings in all of baseball last year. That doesn’t hurt TV broadcast rights values, either.
Local TV rights fees are soaring. The Reds’ deal looks like a speck next to the $320 million the Los Angeles Dodgers get each year from Time Warner Cable Sports in their new TV deal signed earlier this year. The Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers signed new TV contracts last year that pay each team $150 million a year.
Those are the largest deals, and they’re among the newest, too. But some fees are skewed because the teams own all or part of the TV network that carries their games. The New York Yankees, for example, get $90 million a year. But they own 25 percent of the YES Network, which carries their games.
The Reds are in a market that’s too small to bring in those kinds of dollars. But experts say they could get a bump to as high as $75 million when they renegotiate the current contract, which is due to expire in 2016.
And the prospect of Time Warner launching a competing bid with Fox Sports Ohio in the next go-round could force the price up even higher.

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