The Reds might not have been certain they’d contend in 2015, but they probably didn’t expect their season to go quite as badly as it did. While the Reds’ struggles this year (and particularly down the stretch) were hard to watch, there’s a kind of freedom in knowing for sure that you’re bad. This offseason, we’ll see what the Reds do with that freedom.
- Joey Votto, 1B: $199MM through 2023 (including buyout of 2024 club option)
- Homer Bailey, SP: $86MM through 2019 (including buyout of 2020 mutual option)
- Brandon Phillips, 2B: $27MM through 2017
- Devin Mesoraco, C: $25.1MM through 2018
- Raisel Iglesias, SP: $22MM through 2020 (includes $1.5MM of signing bonus to be paid in November 2016)
- Jay Bruce, OF: $13.5MM through 2016 (including buyout of 2017 club option)
- Todd Frazier, 3B: $7.5MM through 2016 (eligible for arbitration for 2017 season)
Arbitration Eligible Players (Service time in parentheses; projections by MLB Trade Rumors)
- Aroldis Chapman, CL (5.034): $12.9MM
- Sam LeCure, RP (4.119): $2.1MM
- Zack Cozart, SS (4.084): $2.9MM
- Brennan Boesch, OF (4.002): $1.3MM
- Ryan Mattheus, RP (3.123): $1.3MM
- Jason Bourgeois, OF (3.121): $900K
- J.J. Hoover, RP (3.102): $1.1MM
- Non-tender candidates: LeCure, Boesch, Bourgeois, Mattheus
- Burke Badenhop, RP: $4MM 2016 mutual option, $1.5MM buyout
- Skip Schumaker, OF: $2.5MM 2016 option, $500K buyout
The Reds’ 98-loss 2015 season didn’t come completely out of nowhere. In 2014, the Reds finished with just a 76-86 record. They had a well-compensated core, and most of their rotation was set for free agency following the 2015 season. In response, they made some moves to reduce payroll and look ahead, dealing Mat Latos to the Marlins and Alfredo Simon to the Tigers. But those moves were relatively small and tentative, and the Reds waited to make some bigger moves this summer with their trades of Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake. Now, with a sketchy big-league roster, little short-term payroll space, and incredibly tough divisional competition, there’s no obvious way for the Reds to contend next year, and little to do but to keep rebuilding.
But the best reason for the Reds to continue their rebuild (a label GM Walt Jocketty doesn’t like, but that already accurately describes what they’re doing) is that they do have good assets to trade, beginning with Todd Frazier and Aroldis Chapman. Frazier is signed to a reasonable deal through 2016, after which he’ll be arbitration eligible for one more season. He’ll be 30 in February, so it’s unlikely he’ll be part of the next good Reds team. Given his exceptional power (35 home runs in 2015) and strong defense, he should attract a ton of interest, even though he faded badly down the stretch. The Reds should expect to get a nice return for him, including at least one top 100-type prospect. There aren’t many recent offseason trades involving players of Frazier’s talent with two years of service time remaining, but suffice it to say that Frazier’s value ought to be significant. The Angels or perhaps a surprise team like the Indians or White Sox could make sense as trade partners.
As for Chapman, closers with one year of service time remaining are traded quite frequently, but Chapman is so blindingly great that his value is should be closer to that of, say, a no. 2-type starter than a closer. The Mariners and other teams could be possible trade partners, and the Diamondbacks have shown interest in the past. The Reds should have little trouble finding a market, although their path to a trade could be complicated, if only slightly, by the availability of excellent relievers like Craig Kimbrel and Darren O’Day through either trade or free agency. If the Reds can’t find an offer they like, perhaps they could really roll the dice and try to use Chapman as a starter, hoping to market him as an ace in July, but that might be overly ambitious, since he’s already more valuable than most starters anyway.
The Reds also ought to consider trading Brandon Phillips if there are any takers (and if he’ll accept a trade — he has ten-and-five rights). Phillips is coming off a solid 2.6-fWAR season, but at 34, he might not have many good years left. The Yankees, Angels, Orioles, Royals and White Sox could all be potential trade partners.
The Braves’ trade of Kimbrel to the Padres illustrates one approach the Reds could take to dealing Frazier or Chapman. The Braves used Kimbrel, in part, to clear future salary, getting rid of Melvin Upton Jr.’s contract in the deal. The Reds could take a similar approach by packaging Frazier along with Homer Bailey, who has four expensive years remaining on his contract and won’t be back until at least next summer after having Tommy John surgery last May. That would give the Reds greater payroll flexibility, which should come in handy next time they’re ready to contend.
Then again, that would be selling low on Bailey, who is only 29 and seems likely to recover. And while the Reds have about $82MM already on the books for 2016, that number drops to about $67MM in 2017, with about a third of that going to Joey Votto. Two of the Reds’ highest-paid players in 2015, Votto and Phillips, performed well. Another, Jay Bruce, can become a free agent after 2016 if the Reds let him. (Bruce might have been a more interesting trade candidate this winter if he’d hit better than .226/.294/.434 in 2015; perhaps the Reds could get the most value for him by waiting and hoping he gets off to a good start next season.) And two more, Bailey and Devin Mesoraco, ought to recover from their injuries and eventually provide value. Beyond Frazier, Chapman and Phillips, then, the Reds need not be in any rush to trade their veterans until they get the right offers.
Assuming the Reds do consider trading Frazier, Chapman, Phillips and perhaps others, they could pursue any number of player types in return. The only positions where the Reds appear relatively set for the medium-term future are catcher (Mesoraco), first base (Votto) and center field (Billy Hamilton, whose running and fielding give him plenty of value despite a second consecutive disappointing season at the plate). That’s not to say there aren’t other potentially helpful players, just that none of them are obviously set at any one position. Left fielder Adam Duvall, for example, hit reasonably well for the Reds after they acquired him in the Mike Leake trade, but he’s 27; playing him every day need not be a priority. And Eugenio Suarez hits well enough to play somewhere, although he might not be a shortstop in the long term.
There’s even less certainty in the rotation. The team did well to add Brandon Finnegan and John Lamb when it traded Cueto, but the Reds’ all-rookie rotation did the team few favors down the stretch. Anthony DeSclafani and Raisel Iglesias look set to contribute in 2016, but beyond that, the Reds have a lot of sorting out to do with Finnegan, Lamb, Keyvius Sampson, David Holmberg, Josh Smith, Michael Lorenzen, Jon Moscot and, eventually, top prospect Robert Stephenson. Given the attrition rates of young pitchers, and the fact that some of their existing talent looks a bit fringy, the Reds could easily stand to add more pitching in upcoming trades.
Of course, while the Reds’ most obvious course of action at this point is to trade veterans for young players, they still have to put a team on the field in 2016. They can use a starting pitcher to soak up 150 innings — a cheap deal for someone like Bud Norris, Kyle Kendrick or former Reds Aaron Harang or Simon might make sense. They could also sign a buy-low pitcher like Doug Fister and hope he regains enough value to land good talent at the deadline.
Bullpen help will also likely be a priority, given the possible departures of Chapman and Manny Parra. If Chapman heads elsewhere, the team could probably move J.J. Hoover or Jumbo Diaz into the closer’s role, and it shouldn’t spend heavily on a closer. Bringing back Burke Badenhop at an effective cost of $2.5MM ($4MM minus a $1.5MM buyout) might make sense for the Reds, and Badenhop could pick up his end of the option, since he would sacrifice the buyout if he rejected it. And either re-signing Parra or adding a Neal Cotts lefty type would also help, particularly if the Reds are committed to using Finnegan as a starter.
The Reds could also pursue position players, but it’s difficult to say what type of player they might be interested in until we see which position players they trade, if any, and whether anyone from those trades can step in right away. They’re set to lose two bench players in Brayan Pena and Skip Schumaker (whose option they shouldn’t exercise), but they likely won’t miss either one. Tucker Barnhart is a decent replacement for Pena, and Schumaker was a drain on the Reds both offensively and defensively, especially now that he’s more of a poor defensive corner outfielder than a poor defensive second baseman.
The key question for the Reds, then, is exactly how far they want their rebuilding effort to go. Of all the veterans the Reds could trade, the most intriguing one might be Votto, who seems likely to stay. Votto has full no-trade protection, and his enormous contract would make trading him a logistical headache, but let’s consider what dealing him might do for the organization. Votto just finished an exceptional .314/.459/.541 season that might have been the best of his career. However, he’s already 32, and as great as he is now, the Reds’ $199MM commitment to him through his age-39 season borders on the absurd, and his value might never be higher. Votto’s contract is highly likely to go south at some point. He’s clearly underpaid right now, and probably also will be next year, but he likely won’t be by the time the Reds are ready to contend.
So what should the Reds do? The fantasy-baseball answer is that they should trade him, but it’s obviously rare for teams to trade excellent players they still control for nine more years. Surely, the Reds might argue, there’s a way to build for the future without trading a star who can still be with the team for almost a decade more. Players like Votto are hard to find, and even in a rebuilding year, he’ll have value for the Reds, in that he’s a popular homegrown player who would make an otherwise young team worth watching. An aggressive executive like Billy Beane or Jeff Luhnow would surely consider trading Votto, assuming he were to waive his no-trade clause. But it’s unclear whether Jocketty, who hasn’t rebuilt a team recently, might take a similar path.
In any case, the Reds will spend the 2016 season regrouping, and if they end up grabbing headlines this offseason, it will probably be because of who they’re trading away, not who they’re getting. In early October, the Reds announced that they would keep manager Bryan Price for next season, despite the team’s struggles this year. And why not? Price was already under contract, and as long as the Reds believed him capable of nurturing their younger players, there was little point in replacing him. Maybe if they were a bit closer to turning a corner, they would have given a new manager a chance. As it stands, maybe they want to wait until their rebuild is a little further along before they make a change.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Would really hate being the GM of the Brewers and Reds, looking up at 3 teams capable of winning 100 and pretty young. What exactly do you do?
Trade everyone over 28 and look at contending in 2018.
Why bother even showing up for the next two years then? And I mean that for the players and the fans. I get it when team needs to give up at the trade deadline because there is virtually no chance to contend. But I draw the line at a team that wants to punt the next two seasons before they even begin. That’s why I will never respect the Astros management, whether their strategy works or not.
Gotta love the anonymous thumbs down with no rebuttal. If you guys want to watch a team just not show up and become a AAA team for two years or more, then more power to you. But at least have the cojones to put your name on it.
You say that with a Rockies logo attached to your name.. The Cubs flat out said they were going to punt a few years and build a dynasty. That is exactly what they did. A true fan realizes that your team can not win every single year.. Sometimes you have to rebuild. Just because the Reds and Brewers will probably punt a couple of seasons doesn’t mean that they won’t win any games at all those years.. Even if they only win 65, that is 65 times you get to high five your buddies or turn the tv off with a smile on your face. Heck even when your team loses you can still discuss the team with other fans and talk about exciting prospects or the upcoming draft.. There is a lot more to being a fan than just the postseason.. Just my 2 cents.. I didn’t down vote ya, though..
You sir, nailed it.
I have absolutely no problem with down years. As you pointed out, I am a Rockies fan, so I understand that there are going to be lean years. I am also a lifelong Bears fan, so I really understand that principle. My problem is the “Philadelphia 76ers philosophy” of going into a season with the intention of playing for next year or even later. Every offseason, a team can completely turn it around. Of the four teams with the worst records last season two are still alive this season. Boston went from last place in 2012 to a World Series title in 2013 without a massive rebuild. They just had some astute relatively cheap free agent signings.
Yes, building for the future is very important, but any team that has a goal of 65 wins for a season should just shut the doors and go home. If the Reds make a couple of astute FA signings and get everyone back from injury, there is no reason to believe they couldn’t pull a Texas and be right back in the playoffs next season. Don’t forget that this was the best team in the NL just three short years ago. Is it likely? No, but the possibility is there so why not try for it? If it doesn’t work, okay then try the complete tear down midseason. But never during the offseason because everyone is still alive for the 2016 playoffs.
Anon thumbs downs kinda means you are talking out of your you-know-where and need to check yourself. I’ve gotten them when I was wrong, just take the knee and sit this one out, champ. Maybe not say such stupid things in future…just an idea.
First off, what I said was not stupid. It was different than your opinion, but it was not stupid. That just shows your unwillingness to accept alternate ideas and will not serve you well in the future. There is more than one way to skin a cat.
See those 2 teams playing right now? HOU+KC? They did that for MORE than two years. That’s why they are where they are and thats why the Rockies remain terrible – luckily they managed to get out from Tulo just in time though.
Well most fans don’t feel like sitting around for a 20 year rebuild like Royals fans. But that’s just my stupid opinion.
i think the reason most people just thumbs down without comment is because most people grasp that for teams like the Brewers and Reds, anything but ground-up rebuilds are just the equivalent of putting a new coat of paint over a rotting house and then trying to sell it as just as good as the shiny new state-of-the-art ones being built next door.
it’s a waste of time and money for both the owner and the fans, because you’re just putting off the inevitable.
Run and Hide , Reds brought it on themselves !
Fire the GM
The ship sailed to start Chapman about 3 years ago. As a Reds fan for my whole life, it really pains me to see that we have to completely tear down the best time of my lifetime. But Chapman, Bruce and Frazier have to go. Maybe we can get some position prospects back.
Bryce Harper and I would like to have Todd Frazier for the 4-hole. 35+42 even with Frazier’s slow second half would be awesome. Which/how many position prospects would it take?
Todd Frazier, Zach Cozart & Billy Hamilton for Joe Ross, Trea Turner, Michael Taylor and either Erick Fedde or Victor Robles
Nah. If Reds move Chapman, they’ll need a new closer. Maybe take Drew Storen and Jonathan Papelbon for Frazier. Of course, I’m just kidding. Storen plus Matt Grace could work, though.
WTF would they move Chapman for a reliever that is entering arb and about to get expensive? If you’re gonna have a highly-paid closer around to close a hand-full of games, just keep Aroldis. you want Frazier or Chapman? Put down the pipe and ante up multiple young players with at least five years of control.
Rereading our comments, I conclude you have confused Mike Rizzo with AJ Preller. SMH
Frazier will be a hot commodity this offseason.. 3rd base is pretty thin in free agency this year.. Trading him alone will bring them a nice haul.. Plus, you know Dave Stewart is going to pretty much hand over the entire Arizona farm for Chapman..
As a white sox fan, I would absolutely give the Reds a couple top 100 prospects for Frazier. No Phillips though, over the hill and overpaid. It’s all speculation but we need a 3B bad.
he may be old but he is not over the hill. a gold glove second baseman who had a good year at the plate. he hit poorly the prior 2 years because he was playing with a hurt wrist thanks to the cheap shot pirate pitchers. you would not have to give up any top prospects to get any red you want as walt has no idea how to evaluate talent. just say the guys you are offering are top 50 and he will go for it sight unseen.
Trading Chapman, Frazier, Phillips, Bruce, Mesoraco – and Votto and Bailey if anyone will take them, then punting 2016 and 2017 – would put this team in an Astros-style rebuild and have them in the playoffs as early as 2018.
Their farm is in good shape but adding prospects via trading the above and freeing up salary to fill in the blanks is really the way to go there.
It’s a bummer to call the Votto deal a mistake since it’s fundamentally good for the game to see small market teams able to keep their stars, but two years into his deal, it’s a complete mess. They won’t contend until he’s at the tail end of his prime and few teams will even consider taking that contract on.
You just said they wont contend for 8 years. No, just no. Unless they go about this rebuild entirely wrong, that’s impossible. Maxing out the returns right now, with a little luck with the prospects, puts this team back in contention in a minimum 2 years.
He didn’t at all say they wont contend for 8 years, he said that Votto would be on the tail end of his prime, Votto is 32, one could argue that he is already on the tail end of his prime, even if the Reds manage to contend after a 2 year rebuild Votto will be 35….Not a lot of players are in their prime at 34-35-36.
I think Votto’s skillset will age pretty well. obsurd OBP with some intelligent hitting. His experience and patience will likely balance out the eventual decline of his bat speed.
He’ll be throwing up .900+ OPSs when he’s 40+ years old. That approach won’t age at all, only his bat speed will, which means a downgrade in power, but even still maybe he’ll age like A-rod.
I guess people are still underrating Votto after his injury-plagued season last year, but my god, he’s one of the best hitters any of us will ever see. He can OBP .400+ in his sleep – if anyone thinks he will slow down in his mid 30’s I can only laugh at them.
“They won’t contend until he’s at the tail end of his prime and few teams will even consider taking that contract on.”
He’s signed until 2024 – its 2016 next season. That’s 8 years. Regardless, I see the Reds contending as soon as 2 years from now if they do this offseason the right way and sell off everyone over 28.
“Not a lot of players are in their prime at 34-35-36.” – that’s true for marginal talents, not HOF candidates like Votto. Barring injury, he will absolutely still be mashing and be an MVP candidate at 34-36. Players go off well into their 40s nowdays, Votto won’t be any different unless injury.
I did not say that.
I think one thing missing here is the Castellini factor. At dinner a few weeks ago with Pete Rose he said he thinks Mr. Castellini does a fantastic job, but that he is also the thing that hurts the team the most because he is too loyal to people. Pete said the Reds won’t make the moves they need because of his loyalty to the people he employs. Take that for what you will.
Reds Must Trade, Bruce and Frazier and now Chapman , Give Votto away for salary dump and marginal Prospects. Start anew !
I would disagree that Chapman has the same value as a #2 starter. The only reason why Chapman is valued so high in most peoples eyes is the fact that he strikes out batters and a incredible rate. Lets look at the overall results of two closers over the past 3 years: Chapman and Melancon. Now I will admit that Chapman is the better pitcher overall, but the difference is a lot smaller then you would expect. Given the premise that a closers job is to “Save” games, Melancon has only accomplished his job 7 times less the Chapman. Melancon also has lower ERA over the past 3 years then Chapman. But given the value that people put on “Sexy” numbers like MPH and K’s, Chapman would command a much higher return in a trade. Also add in the volatility of RP’s, Chapman should not net a kings ransom in return. I would also like to note that Huston Street has accomplished his “Job” more often that Chapman over the past 3 years, but Chapman is going to make around 5 million more in 2016.
Closers do much more than “save” games.. In the late 80’s through the 90’s that was true.. Now closers appear in many non save situations and sometimes even pitch when their team is behind.. They are used in high leverage situations and they are frequently the most clutch pitcher in the pen.. Some teams like the Yankees, Rays and Royals have several clutch pitchers but most teams have 1 and if they are lucky 2 that can be relied on for more than half a year.. Chapman is the best in the game.. Comparing him to Huston Street is laughable..
Votto might have the most interesting contract situation in baseball. I think they’ll listen on him this winter, but I can’t see them selling off on him without getting anything meaningful in return, which is likely too much to ask unless the Reds substantially pay down the contract, which defeats the purpose of moving him in the first place.
holmberg,sampson and smith do not belong in the big leagues let alone starting in the reds rotation. how anyone can say sampson can be an effective starter must not have seen this guy start this season for the reds. there is a reason he was available for the reds to sign him when they did and it is because he sucks worse than any pitcher that has sucked before. if he made it 4 innings before throwing a 100 pitches it was considered a good outing ignoring the fact he gave up 5 or more runs. same thing with smith! they are GARBAGE! I do not want to hear about any metrics that you have that can argue otherwise as I watched the games he pitched, are we are suppose to ignore ERA’S also? who in their right minds would start a guy with one of 7? I do not care how old holmberg is he has been given enough chances to prove himself and just does not have what it takes to be a big league pitcher. they should not even consider resigning any of their free agents. pena is the only one worth anything but with barnhart and that guy they called up in sept who they never played but was mvp in the minors they do not need him anymore. boesch is a waste of a rostor spot when he is not hurt which is always and parra is always hurt or ineffective when he isn’t. marshall has done nothing since he signed his contract with the reds except rehab his shoulder. he will have a cy young year with another team since the reds paid for him to get fixed. although they should not you know there is no way walt will not resign his favorite ball player in skippy. the only moves he will make this off season is signing what washed ex-cardinal is available. I do not trust him to make any deals anyway as aside from hamilton he has shown no ability to draft and develop every day players and the jury is out on him. we hear all the time about what a loaded system they have but when it came time for call ups in sept. he called 2 marginal prospects in duvall and lamarre and they rarely played, instead he went with skippy in left rather than call up any of the not ready for prime time prospects. what other team 30 games out does that? what harm could it possibly do to have them get a feel of what it is like in the big leagues? that far out all you are doing would be getting a good idea of where they are in their development and letting them see what they need to work on to stick in the big leagues. the only hope for the reds if the owner does not retain jocketty and price after this season when their contracts expire and bring in someone who knows what they are doing to rebuild.
Nobody I know of thinks Sampson will be an effective starter. He, like Josh Smith, entered the rotation as a place holder after trades. The Reds have lots of promising young starting pitching prospects, but Sampson, Holmberg, and Smith are not among them. If you’re worried about those three, don’t be. Neither is likely to start in 2016.
Who in their right mind would start them? A team that doesn’t want to rush or start service clocks for Stephenson, Reed, Finnegan, and others. A team that gave up on that season when trading Cueto and Leake.
C Ramon Cabrera being Louisville’s MVP doesn’t mean much. He’ll remain the third string catcher for 2016, with Mesoraco reinserting himself and replacing Pena on the depth chart. They gave most of the playing time in the second half to Tucker Barnhart, which was the right decision. Ramon Cabrera is lucky that he got enough playing time to do so well, but not too much for the sample size to balance out the fact that he’s not as good as he showed.
If people called it a “loaded” system it was because of pitching prospects, not hitters. Most of the rookie pitchers were promoted months before September call-ups. Several of those top prospects, including Robert Stephenson, OF Yorman Rodriguez, and deserving-of-a-call-up 1b/OF Steve Selsky were on the DL in September. They were right not to rush OF Jesse Winker.
Ryan LaMarre stinks, but he only got promoted in mid-September after the Reds lost Hamilton, Negron, and Yorman Rodriguez to the DL. 5th guy on the depth chart. Bourgeois was the only CF left… he got hurt for a couple of days, so they promoted LaMarre. LaMarre is an all-glove, no-hit CF, so you’re right he didn’t play much. He’s a sure-thing to be DFA’d soon.
Adam Duvall isn’t any good, but what team plays a player of his caliber even as much as he played? At 26 he isn’t a terribly young guy. Unfortunately the Reds have few young hitters, and several of the ones they do have had bad seasons (Waldrop) or were injured (Yorman Rodriguez) to end the season. Duvall is lucky, another team wouldn’t have even put him on their roster. It’s unfortunate that Schumaker, Duvall, and replacement-level Jason Bourgeois were relied on so heavily, but it’s what happened. Mismanagement is different from having bad players. Every healthy LF candidate after the Marlon Byrd trade was someone to be angry about.
The Reds need to stockpile young talent. They’ve been doing that, just so far most of the talent is pitching. Before long Jesse Winker should put your LF concerns to rest.
right having them start the last month of a losing season would be rushing them. how exactly is giving them a taste of what it is like to pitch against big league talent with no pressure on them rushing them? they certainly could not have done a worse job than smith,sampson and holmberg. it does not matter when their service time starts because if they turn out to be good they will leave as soon as they are eligible for free agency. how is making them wait another year going to help them? why not bring them up at the same time so they develop together as a staff?lorenzen was doing just fine until they moved him o the pen so they could keep sending maquis back out to get pounded. it may not have been for that long but it was enough to get him out his routine that was working up to that point. anxious to see what moscot can do when healthy, it’s not like lamb set the world on fire during his time as a starterill believe winker is he left fielder when I see him and not walt’s favorite ballplayer skippy or some other washed up ex-cardinal playing every day.
Robert Stephenson and Cody Reed will join the rotation someday, but salary arbitration and free agency have both been postponed by the Reds NOT calling them up. Stephenson started 11 games in AAA, and was on the DL in August. Cody Reed had 13 starts in AA. Finnegan needed time to convert back into a rotation. Amir Garrett, another top Reds pitching prospect, was only in advanced A ball. I’m glad they didn’t rush these guys to the majors. Same with Jesse Winker, despite pressure to do so.
“It does not matter when their service time starts because if they turn out to be good they will leave as soon as they are eligible for free agency” – Clearly you should read up on how the service clock works, super two eligibility, all sorts of stuff. Why Kris Bryant started 2015 in the minors to avoid a full season, why Carlos Correa was only promoted after a projected super-two deadline, why promoting guys a year before they’re MLB ready generally isn’t a good idea. Time it right and you can get more production for longer.
“Lorenzen was doing just fine” – I’m a big fan of Lorenzen, but saying he was doing fine is nonsense. He was getting lucky early on. For a while he had a respectable ERA, which was completely unsupported by FIP. Eventually his ERA increased to match his FIP, with a large enough sample size. Lorenzen made two relief appearances in May, but rather than ruining his season they were followed by his longest (7 IP) start of the whole season. He was getting really lucky early on, giving up solo homeruns, having balls hit right at fielders, and stranding runners on base all the time, but as the season progressed his luck turned. I hope Lorenzen has a strong 2016, but that will require major improvements by him, especially on his control and hitting corners. Without those improvements he’ll eventually be moved to the bullpen, perhaps as soon as mid-2016.
With John Lamb it’s funny that you use the metaphor “set the world on fire”. Launching fire from the smokestacks is just what the Reds do during strikeouts, and Lamb pulled off an impressive 10.5 K/9, the second highest rate on the Reds after Chapman. His FIP drastically outperformed his ERA, so I look forward to seeing him in 2016. If you believe in the predictive power of FIP, and the Reds’ ability to develop MLB pitchers, there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic. So far Lamb has been a strikeout machine. But 2016 will be a huge year or him, potentially a make-or-break season. Unlike the younger rotation candidates, if he doesn’t do well he’ll likely be finished as a starter.
Moscot is probably closer in caliber to those guys you despise, in my opinion, than a top rotation candidate. When it comes to a rotation crunch inevitably sending guys to the bullpen, he’ll probably be one of the earlier causalities. I think Moscot has to hope to win Bailey’s rotation spot in 2016, until Bailey is ready to return from TJ surgery.
You’ll probably get to see Jesse Winker in LF sometime around June or July, after the expected super two deadline, assuming he stays healthy and hits well in AAA. I suggest looking forward to it, rather than being bitter about who fills LF until then. Schumaker is a free agent while Duvall, Yorman Rodriguez, and other internal candidates for LF have no ties to the Cardinals.
Some thoughts, as a Reds fan…
The Reds have loaded themselves with starting pitching prospects, and for that reason it’s unlikely that they’ll add veteran starters as free agents. The bullpen is a larger immediate problem, but can be drastically improved by moving several young starters, perhaps Lorenzen, Finnegan, and Moscot, into it, if they choose to do so. I suspect they’ll give those guys another year to work on starting, rather than emphasize improving the bullpen in 2016.
Also it’s important to distinguish between these serious prospects we saw this year, and guys like Sampson, Josh Smith, and David Holmberg, who were used later in the deal to fill rotation spots. I think Sampson can be a decent reliever, but not a starter going forward. The 2015 pitching staff was the team’s greatest weakness, but with all the good young arms (Stephenson, Iglesias, DeScalfani, Lorenzen, Cody Reed, Lamb, Finnegan, Amir Garrett, and others) it’s the team’s best hope for improvement before making any moves.
While the Reds have built up a great deal of young pitching depth, they have few hitting prospects. Jesse Winker, Alex Blandino, Phil Ervin, and that’s about it for the upper minors, and the later two have plenty of doubters. I think most Reds fans would agree that, at this point, trading for young hitters (rather than more starting pitchers) seems like top priority, in any major trades. Many who welcome the possibility of Chapman being traded would probably be disappointed to see the team merely add to it’s starting pitching surplus. Jay Bruce in particular has no likely in-house replacement.
Phillips has 10/5 rights and has made it clear that he doesn’t want to be traded, so he’s not going anywhere.
What do the Reds do? Pitching and defense got the Reds to the playoffs in 2010, 2012, and 2013… pitching got the 2015 Cardinals the best record in baseball… seemingly that’s the Reds’ best path back to contention, rather than trying to out-mash the Cubs. Hopefully the young arms turn into a strong rotation like the Reds had in the days of Cueto, Latos, Bailey, Arroyo, and Leake. Only soon it’ll likely be Bailey, Stephenson, Iglesias, Reed, and whoever eventually settles into that final spot.
Sorry but it’s time to tear it down. Trade everyone who is making any money. If the Reds don’t this, they will turn into the Phillies in a few years. They’re already well on their way, not trading Cueto last offseason or Chapman at the deadline when their trade values were at their highest.
I think if the Reds can put together a package to get Marcell Ozuna, we should go for it. I don’t it should take THAT much. A previous MLBTR post said Trevor Bauer for Ozuna and a prospect.
Votto is 100% a Blue Jay by the end of 2017, book it. Jays are losing Joey Bats & E5 so they’ll have the money and an opening at 1B/DH. Just a matter of how badly they want him, and who theyre ok with to giving up in addition to taking on that insane deal – if anyone.
I don’t see any reason why the Jays would take on Votto’s deal, nothing about taking on an aging Votto with that massive deal makes sense.
The Blue Jays already added Troy Tulowitzki’s huge contract, and I doubt they’re in a hurry to add Votto’s.
Why do you doubt that? He’s a local and he’s incredible at hitting. They will be losing 2 everyday players who are also incredible at hitting.
Votto must absolutely be dealt. Chapman and Phillips possibly. I could see Phillips going to the Yanks as insurance for Refsnyder. Chapman to Boston. I have no idea what team would be willing to take on such a huge contract like Vottos but he had a great season so theres bound to be some interest
I would love to see the Sox make a serious play for Chapman. The Reds have a lot of room for certain players in the Sox system.
The Reds are probably looking to acquire hitters for Chapman. Either young prospects or young pre-arbitration major leaguers. Guys who seemingly fit that include 3b Rafael Debers, OF Manuel Margot, and Cincinnatian Andrew Benintendi. The Reds and Red Sox are both already loaded with starting pitching prospects. I’d like to see Chapman traded to the Red Sox, although the Red Sox seemingly mostly just have more of the same (pitching) that they’d look to trade….
I would sign Todd Frazier to a long term contract. Phillips, Bruce, and Chapman will be traded. Then you have Cozart and Suarez up the middle. That is a solid infield with Votto and Frazier being try gamers who are leaders by their approach. Hamilton, Mesoraco, Winkler and a new right fielder . Not a bad lineup. With Bailey, Descalfani, Finnergan not a bad threesome. Put n top pick get prospect Stephenson. Not saying we will make playoffs but we can have a competitive team. Plus let’s see who we get for Bruce and Chapman. After all Jocketty did fine in his Trades of Cueto and Leake who were going to leave at years end. We have adequate relievers who were overused.
I am a loyal fan who looks forward to better times. Do not give up the ship, we are taking on water but will not sink . We will compete.
its sad that a player as good and elite as votto has so little value. I would love to have him on my team, but that contract is just crippling.
It’s really not that bad, if he were a FA this winter he’d have no problem getting at least a 6 year deal / 25M$ AAV…it’s the final two years where he’s getting overpaid. That being said, if they move him it would be for salary relief not prospects – which they will not do.