What’s next for Reds?

Happy New Year and for those of you who are also Bengals fans, take solace in knowing that Opening Day for the Reds and Pirates at GABP is 91 days away on April 6.

The Reds have some work to do before going to Goodyear in February. That was the topic of my story on MLB.com/Reds.com today. Click here to read it.

Here’s the remaining checklist:

*Bullpen help
*Bench help
*Five arbitration cases (Frazier, Mesoraco, Cozart, Leake, Chapman)
*Try to sign Johnny Cueto

I don’t expect the Reds will make blockbuster moves to fill the top two needs. I could envision a couple of veterans being added via Minor League deals that come with camp invites. There aren’t a lot of names left on the free agent market. Joba Chamberlain, John Axford and Burke Badenhop kind of stand out among the available relievers.

As previously reported, the Reds were given until Opening Day by Cueto to get an extension completed.

With the arbitration cases, I would look for the Reds to at least try and get multi-year deals done with Frazier and Mesoraco to clear away the future arbitration years and perhaps the first year of free agent eligibility. It provides the players with a little security and the club can have a firm budget. The team has done this often in recent years with Johnny Cueto, Jay Bruce and Joey Votto getting similar contracts while still in their years of club control.


The bench & bullpen aren’t going to drastically change without a big trade I don’t think they should sink big money into relievers ala Broxton & Marshall, but they obviously need to bring in some competition. The bench is the same in my eyes: won’t be much different without a trade, or a young guy emerging. I’ve recently wondered why adding Aoki on top of the Byrd trade wouldn’t make a ton of sense for the Reds. He’s reasonably affordable, and other than power, is an all around solid baseball player, who doesn’t strike out a ton, that the Reds clearly lack.

Those things aside: Mark, can we talk about Cueto? What are the Reds really hoping to do with him? I only see him being “affordable” if the Reds unload some guys with bigger salaries, like perhaps Chapman or Phillips. Since that isn’t easy to do, what do you think the strategy is going to be with Cueto?

Great point about adding Aoki on top of Byrd. Byrd is in the twilight of his career and probably can’t play everyday. Plus the Reds don’t want Byrd to play everyday (due to vesting option). Aoki provides on base skills and can play if Hamilton struggles like he did in the second half of 2014. Or he can play right if Bruce continues to struggle. This makes the bench and the team much stronger. Give him a 2 year, 12-13 mil deal and flip him at the deadline if the team is not contending.

It makes sense to me, but I’m not the one holding the check book. The concept of dealing Cueto and Chapman at some point soon is something I’m intrigued about. As a fan, I REALLY don’t want to see Johnny C go. He’s a joy to watch, and the best pitcher the Reds have had in my memory. But if they can’t afford to keep him, I’m wondering what the strategy might be.

If it were me, I’d be holding onto him until the summer trade frenzy begins to get more for him.

I am not going to give up, LOL, I still want Aoki for main reason already pointed out, he is one of those small ball guys that gets on base and does;t strike out a lot. In about 1800 plate appearances over the last three years has struck out around 140 times and walked about the same number. I never subscribed that we needed a slugger in left, I thought we needed an on base guy. Good grief if this lineup is healthy we got all kinds of long ball hitters, if you do a projection like they do on baseball reference it blows your mind what Fraz (25-80), Meso (23-80), Bruce (31-92), Joey (28-94) and BP (19-84) are projected to hit over a 162 games based on past records, course as with all teams it depends who stays heathy or not.

why must they scrape the bottom of the barrel of free agents for bullpen help? what is wrong with the young guys they were forced to use in September because of injuries? they would be a lot cheaper and could not be much worse than they guys you mentioned. they are available for a reason and that would be because even though they are names you have heard they now suck!!! what is the point of having a farm system if you refuse to use it?

Interesting that the Reds have publicly stated that they need “bench help”. Here is the preliminary list of players that I expect will vie for a bench position in spring training.
* Pena…S/R…C
*Schumaker…R/R…2nd, all OF
*Negron…R/R…2nd, SS, 3B, all OF
*Suarez…R/R…SS, 3B
*Bourgeois…R/R, all OF
*Rodriquez…L/R, all OF
If we presume that the Reds will carry 12 pitchers, there will be 5 bench spots. Further, I believe that the first four noted above are locks on the bench. Therefore, only 1 spot will be open and given that the Reds insist on helping the bench, the bottom 3 above will not make the senior team. So the question in my mind is what attributes are the Reds looking for? And, if the Reds decide to carry 13 pitchers, the issue is mute. I realize that spring training will shed some light on this subject but I can’t believe that the Reds haven’t already made some choices, making this perceived need more perplexing.

Good point. I don’t think the bottom three will be there , unless they can’t stile the right deal with someone else . As slow as the Reds move , we probably won’t see any changes until spring training .

Excerpt from Cincinnati.com…
In the wake of the Marlon Byrd trade, the Reds are at roughly $106 million for 17 players. Here’s how we got to that number:

– The 12 players on multiyear deals with make $79.5 million.

– The five arbitration-eligible players will make $26.5 million, according to mlbtraderumors.com’s estimations.

The other eight players who make the Opening Day roster will make at least the Major League Baseball minimum of $500,000. That’s another $4 million.

That puts the Reds at $110 million, which is offset by the $4 million the Reds are getting from the Phillies.

So the Reds may have some wiggle room for a bargain basement free agent. I mean way down on the lower shelf. The average salary in baseball was $3.8 million last year. The Reds are probably looking at players in the $1- to $2-million range.

Perplexing it is. Haven’t we seen enough bargain basement guys. Why is it the Cards and other teams bring up the young guys to fill these rolls and we say nobody is ready.

The simple answers to that is that 1) The Cards have shown to be better at scouting & developing players since the departure of Walt and the arrival of Walt to the Reds, and 2) The Reds have traded away a lot of young players intent on getting vets in the last 5 seasons, and its showing.

This is exactly why I’d hoped they would sign a FA for LF rather than trade. Given that Philly is picking up $4mil of Byrd’s salary, it’s a great trade, but still, another young talent out the door.

Agreed… Lets stop the trading and giving up prospects unless we know we are contending. Which we dont. The only trade I have liked since Walt came over was the Latos trade and I still think we over paid for that. Not with knowing now how everyone did but at the time sending so many prospects. I just want this team to be smarting on signing and I just feel they look at all the wrong numbers. Love the Votto signing, hate the Phillips. Love a Cueto signing not Bailey. Loved Chapman not Broxton. Not Byrd and not Ludwick. And not all these 3 to 5 mil for back ups and relievers. They are all a dime a dozen. Bring in the youth…

Agree Bigblu and Ryan S.

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