Breaking down the Mat Latos trade Doug Gray December 19, 2011 100 Comments I covered this in small fashion over the weekend when the trade initially went down, but within an hour of finding out about the trade, I was out of the house and away from a computer until 5am on Sunday. My overall thoughts on this haven’t changed much. But I thought that I would break down why I am in favor of the trade. First, let’s look at the return for the Reds: Mat Latos I can count, on one hand, the number of starting pitchers with a higher strikeout per 9 innings rate than Mat Latos has had over the last two seasons. That is fantastic. Latos misses bats with the absolute best in the Major Leagues. He has arguably the best slider in baseball. His fastball works 92-95 and touches 98 according to Pitch F/X data. His change up has been a slightly above average pitch as well. His curveball has been slightly below average. Over the last two seasons he has thrown 379 innings with a 3.21 ERA, 112 walks and 374 strikeouts. In short, he had been dominant and he is a borderline ACE and without a doubt a #1 pitcher. Easily the Reds best pitcher. Now let’s look at the guys we moved: Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal, Brad Boxberger and Edinson Volquez Yonder Alonso is a guy I was pretty high on. I really do think he can be an above-average Major League first baseman. With that said, the Reds don’t need one of those guys for at least two more seasons. I thought he could be a slightly above average left fielder overall, with all of his value coming from his bat, while his glove would give some back. Even still, the Reds have other options, who as left fielders, could probably give you similar overall value to what Alonso would give you out there. Essentially, he was a piece that they can replace for two years on the MLB roster and that is before even getting into the other two first baseman on the 40 man roster. Yasmani Grandal is a guy who I think some others were a little higher on than I was, though I still think he was a premium prospect who is probably going to be ranked as a Top 75 guy at worst and more likely a Top 50 guy. However with the presence of Devin Mesoraco, there simply was no room for him on the Major League level in the next 5-6 years. Brad Boxberger has a chance to be a good reliever, perhaps even a closer. At the end of the day though, he is a reliever and relievers almost grow on trees. In terms of pure stuff, his fastball and slider combo aren’t any better than that of Tim Crabbe. He has gotten better results with them, as a reliever, than Crabbe has as a starter, but the stuff is the same. Edinson Volquez was going to go into spring training, at best, as the #5 starter in the Reds rotation behind Cueto, Leake, Bailey and Arroyo. He could have also potentially been behind Chapman and Wood as well. He has some upside, as we all saw in 2008. He has strong stuff, but he has always struggled with the ability to throw strikes with it and he has never really shown the ability to control his stuff. Last season it was the worst it has ever been. He is a big risk for a team to put in the rotation and count on as a contributor. But, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him come out and have a strong season either now that he is a bit further removed from Tommy John surgery. I can understand where people can look at that, and say that the Reds gave up too much. But that is only if they are looking at it without context. Let’s pretend that all of the players the Reds traded away simply retired today rather than got traded. Now that it has happened, I don’t think that the Reds really got any worse for 2012 or 2013. Think about that for a minute. Do you disagree with that assessment? Now, another side of course is that the Reds may have been able to use those players to acquire other guys. I saw someone else put it best with something along the lines of “Take one of the stud prospects and one of pitchers in the deal and bundle them together…. you probably aren’t going to be able to upgrade an every day position on the roster with that package” and I agree with that. So even if you were able to trade two groups of those four guys, I don’t think you improve your team as much as you are going to improve the team by just swapping out Volquez for Latos in the rotation. Not only is he going to improve the rotation, but he is also likely to improve the bullpen due to the fact that he can go deeper into games and keep guys fresher than Volquez, who you don’t know if he is going to give you 7 innings or 3 on any given night. I just don’t see this as being a bad trade for the Reds. Nor for the Padres. It is one of those deals where both teams truly did get better by making the deal. 100 Responses MDRon December 19, 2011 I agree, Doug. The Reds didn’t trade anyone that they have to go out and replace before the season starts. An upgrade in LF would be nice, but not because Alonso is gone. If Volquez can find the strike zone again, he will be missed. If Boxberger progresses, it would have been nice to have him. If Votto is injured, Alonso will be missed. However, if none of those things happen, nobody who was traded would have made a significant contribution to the Reds for at least two years. Patrick December 19, 2011 I kind of feel like the Reds were going to cut Volquez sooner or later after they landed a TOR SP. So I look at Volquez being in the deal as the Padres taking his arbitration case from the Reds instead of trying to grab him on the waiver wire. A “friendship” building type of move if you will. It would appear that the Reds knew what Volquez trade value was and deemed it to be pretty darn low. The bright side is that 2 years in baseball is a generally long time. 2 years ago Mesoraco was pretty much nothing. 2 years ago Leake was still in college. Who knows what that means for guys in the minors, in the draft, or become available for trade. This trade didnt hurt the big league staff at all other than maybe Boxberger and in the end relief pitchers are easy to find and some times you trip over really good ones. icehole3 December 19, 2011 very good assessment, I honestly feel if you add (SD) the current Volquez to your rotation he will screw up your bullpen over the long summer at this point, the Reds at least going into this off season understood that the rotation had to be addressed and mission accomplished The Duke December 19, 2011 Cueto Latos Leake Bailey Arroyo Not bad at all. The top 3 are all sub 4 ERA guys, Bailey still has the potential if he can stay healthy and focused, and I’m looking for a bounce back year from a mono-less Arroyo to give 210-220 IP of 4.1-4.3 ERA. The only question we really have is who closes? Chapman? Massett? Ondrusek? Try to resign Cordero? Bring in another free agent? Another trade? What I would really like to see is for the Reds to bring in someone like Kubel for LF, then try to swing a Drew Stubs for Drew Storen trade. Kubel in LF, Heiser and Sappelt battle it out for CF (possibly platoon) and that leaves you a bullpen of: LR: Lecure MR: Arredondo MR: Ondrusek MR: Massett MR: Bray SU: Chapman CL: Storen Then a lineup of: 1. Heisey/Sappelt, CF 2. Phillips, 2B 3. Votto, 1B 4. Bruce, RF 5. Kubel, LF 6. Roles/Francisco/Frazier, 3B 7. Mesoraco, C 8. Cozart, SS If Sappelt won CF outright, he and Kubel would drastically cut down on the K’s from Stubbs/Heisey as well. Foxred December 19, 2011 RH outfielder list keeps getting shorter…. Kubel to AZ for $15 mil over two years. From a money perspective, it seems we are being tighter than even past years. Seems like mixed signals to me. Are we going for it or not? I hope we don’t fill every need by trade. Emptying the vault for an ACE I get, dipping into the talent pool to grab LF and SS and Closer makes no sense when there are perfectly viable and affordable options in FA class. I don’t get why we couldn’t land Willingham or Kubel. I would rather have either one of those than Beltran (if that is Walt’s thinking.) Doug Gray December 19, 2011 Why do the Reds need a RH outfielder? Foxred December 19, 2011 Because they need a threat from the right hand side and OF is the only real opening. Doug Gray December 19, 2011 They didn’t have one last year and scored the 2nd most runs in the NL. Mesoraco could be that guy on days when he starts. That of course is still questionable though. Still, the Reds offense should be better than last year and last year it scored more runs than every team in the NL aside from the Cardinals. Foxred December 19, 2011 I disagree on how good this offense really is. This lineup missed a feared Rolen type. Bruce did not hit LH consistently (he was a tale of 2 halves.) The Reds ideally could use a high OBP type capable of hitting 20 HR in a season that hits LHP. Maybe this is Sapplet in 3 years but I don’t think it is him now. This person could spell Bruce 10-12 games a year and platoon with Heisey in LF. (I see Sappelt covering more CF than LF. (Heisey hits RH well so LH OF on the bench is not needed (besides Francisco has that covered anyway. This team needs a RH OF that can play the corners. Heck, I’d feel better if we had just signed Hermida to a minor league contract but Pads just signed him. The Kubel signing fit the bill. Walts said the money was too high. I though AZ stole Kubel at $15 mil for two years. I thought he’d get three years easy. Willingham would have fit too. Again Walt said it was too much. I thought the Twins got a good deal. I thought he could push 30 mill after hitting that many HRS in Oakland. We have no power threat to fill in should we lose a starter in the OF currently on the roster. Doug Gray December 19, 2011 Every team could use that kind of player. You know how many left fielders had a .360 OBP and 20 HR’s in left field last year? Five. Every other left fielder in baseball failed to OBP .350. Expectations of what is reasonable isn’t really what is in reality. This isn’t the 90’s anymore. The Reds scored the 2nd most runs in the NL last year and should be as good or better at every single position in the line up. Alan Horn December 19, 2011 I agree. You have to expect that Heisey, Stubbs, Cozart, Francisco and Mesoraco will improve/add a good bit to the offense. That is 5 guys. If only two or three of them improve their offense, we will be better. Add to that Votto, Bruce and Phillips and the offense looks much better right there. The offense and defense will be good enough as well as the starting pitching. Relief pitching will be good enough also if we come up with a closer. Doug Gray December 19, 2011 I don’t expect that Francisco provides anything to the offense unless he has his pitching opponents picked very carefully. But, I do think that Stubbs and Cozart will improve the offense output at CF and SS last year. I think a healthy Rolen helps improve the offensive output at 3B next year. I think Mesoraco might be close to Hernandez. Capable of more, but Ramon hit pretty well last season before falling off of a map late in the 2nd half. Votto, Phillips, Bruce and Hanigan should all, at the very least, remain extremely similar, while I think Bruce has a chance to significantly improve his offense. Left field should be similar regardless of who they go with, though I would prefer Sappelt who would give you stronger at bats and get on base more, while playing good defense. Alan Horn December 19, 2011 I agree on most. I think the jury is very much out on Stubbs. Having said that, it will almost be a certainty he will improve on his poor offensive showing of last season. I think Francisco will surprise some folks. I don’t think Rolen will be able to hold up if he plays too often. That’s where Francisco and Frazier come in. I think we will need both. Then there is Cairo. I can’t figure where he fits in. If he could play SS, it would make more sense to me to have him on the team. If Heisey plays more, I think he will put up acceptable numbers in LF. Likewise for Sappelt. I don’t understand the need for someone like Ross. At any rate, I’m not too worried about the offense. What we need to worry about(like most other teams) is injury luck with the pitching. We have a lot of money sunk in Chapman and have gotten marginal return so far. We need some good fortune with him also. Jimmer December 20, 2011 Would like to see someone like Andruw Jones to Platoon with Heisey. He went .284/.384/.540 last year vs. lefties. Also plays a solid LF. sagevic December 20, 2011 I agree that we have an excess of RH outfielders. However many people consider Heisey a LH hitter becasue he hits rightys better than lefties. That’s becasue he’s a fastball hitter and Righys just throw more of them. It’s also why he does so well as a pich hitter, since relievers tend to rely on their heat, and why he struggles as an everyday player since starters have off-speed stuff that he can’t handle as well. Sappelt may be able to adjust to Big League off-speed pitching,but he didn’t show it last year in his cup of coffee on the 25 Man Roster. Having them and Stubbs makes us a little too heavy from the right side. But finding a left-handed bat that can play servicealbe defense is not easy. Fish December 19, 2011 I wouldn’t like stubbs for storen. I dunno what storen’s service time is, but that seems like over paying for a reliever. I know stubbs’ value has taken a hit, but I don’t think he’s that bad offensively and defensively. Foxred December 19, 2011 I was actually thinking it wasn’t enough for Storen. Who trades for the all-time K title holder (almost). stew December 19, 2011 Baltimore did last year when they traded for Mark Reynolds. Stubbs still has value. josh December 19, 2011 who cares about strikeouts? while i agree with his speed he would be a much better hitter if he put the ball in play more, an out is an out. stubbs is still a good hitter if only a little streaky. one of the better players on the team overall with his total game. we are better off in center with him than alot of other teams Kevin December 19, 2011 What about making Wood the closer? Trevor Hoffman got 600 saves with similar stuff. boiler December 19, 2011 Now when are we going to lock up Latos and Leake. After this season, mid season? Although not in favor of the trade, I do like Latos, I just wish we would have traded Votto. But with the questions that both the Cardinals (no Albert and Wainright coming back) and Brewers ( Fielder and 50 Game Braun), it makes sense. And if Stubbs has value, put me in the camp that would like to trade him. Doug Gray December 19, 2011 There is 0% chance that Bob Castellini would sign off on trading Votto. This is the same guy who wouldn’t sign off on trading Ramon Hernandez at the deadline last year because “we are still in it”. Dave Hill December 19, 2011 I like the trade, relatively speaking. Lartos is better than Shields or Gio Gonzales. I was scared the Reds would put that same package together for one of those guys. Alan Horn December 19, 2011 We were able to keep Francisco and Frazier. If they were traded, then we would have had a problem at 3B. We were able to keep Mesoraco and Hamilton(our top two prospects according to BA). We were also able to keep Corcino(our top pitching prospect). We were able to keep Cozart(we would have had a hole at SS if he were traded). Also, we are in pretty good shape in the OF with Sappelt, Heisey and Stubbs to man LF and CF. I agree with Doug that it was a good trade for both sides. If Latos blows out a arm, then( and only then) we lose a lot of trade value for the players we lost. We traded high on Alonso. His and the others value might have dropped if we waited to the middle of the season or later to trade them. Likewise, their value could go up by then. The bottom line is that right now the Reds are a lot stronger club because of the trade. Steve December 19, 2011 We also still have Soto who could be Votto’s successor in 2 years or a possible solution for LF if Sappelt or Stubbs were to be traded. I would like to see Soto get some time in LF in AAA – although it makes more sense than ever now to keep him at 1B most of the time. Alan Horn December 19, 2011 I agree. Soto could well be important in the Red’s future. Dave Hill December 19, 2011 Also, I see Jim Bowden thought the Reds were screwed. Must be a good deal for the Reds. Terry M December 19, 2011 That is because Latos doesn’t have 5 tools.. Kevin December 19, 2011 I bet he was pissed because no one tipped him off to the trade. That and the price of leather has been going up lately. Krozley December 19, 2011 To me, a key thing about the deal is that Latos is controllable for 4 years, including this year’s basically minimum salary. That is a big reason why 3 prospects were included instead of 2. This should make the Reds better over the next couple years. Now, they have about $66 million committed to 2012 with a couple spots to fill. That leaves enough to sign a closer and possibly go get a solid left-fielder (Beltran?). I liked Kubel, but he is apparently signing with the D-Backs. I wouldn’t mind going in with Sappelt and Heisey in left, but adding a big bat that could hit clean-up would be enticing. Stock December 19, 2011 Great trade!! We get one of the best SP in baseball. He was the only TOR arm available this winter. He was the only option the Reds had to improve their rotation. Better yet because he is still cheap this winter the Reds may be able to bring someone in that cost a little more money. I like the Duke’s idea of trading for Storen. If we did that I think we could afford Beltran for 2 years though. We gave up more than AZ gave up for Cahill but we got a lot more. Latos is a lot better and has one more year of control than Cahill. Parker is a better prospect than either Alonso or Grandal. Actually, the player I feel worst about including is Volquez(little trade value but high ceiling) but if Walt follows up on his promise that he is not done then I am good with losing Volquez. sultan of swaff December 19, 2011 Given the huge need for innings eaters in MLB, I’d be shopping Arroyo hard and be willing to eat half his salary. That would improve the rotation by subtraction and free up a decent amount of cash to plow into a LF……or extensions NOW for Latos, Leake, and Mez. Even if you move Arroyo, I still don’t know if Chapman would beat out Travis Wood for the last rotation spot. It’s amazing knowing we have 4, maybe 5, quality starting pitchers locked up for 3+ seasons. Wow. Doug Gray December 19, 2011 No one will take on Arroyo anytime soon. He has a deferred contract. If he gets traded, someone pays him $18M up front. No team in their right mind is going to do that. MK December 19, 2011 Arroyo is probably more valuable now as he drops a slot or two to 4th or 5th starter which is where he should be. With his ability to eat innings he will be perfect. If your #4 guy goes 11-9 which he will prbably do since he won’t be going against the top of the other teams rotation and the top three are better then you are going to have a winning season. Jimmer December 20, 2011 I think Arroyo will bounce back. I think the mono he was trying to pitch through early in the season really set him back last year. bweav December 20, 2011 Plus, per Mike Francesa who spoke directly with Walt J. last spring, Arroyo is Castellini’s favorite player. He isn’t getting dealt. Great stuff Doug. Also part of the ‘context’ is the money freed up by dealing Volky who was out of options and due $2M+. I firmly believe Boxberger had to go in to make the dollars palatable for San Diego. Reminds me of why Roenicke had to go with E5 and Stewart in the Rolen deal to make the money work out. The Reds won’t take on any cash, and if that meant a RP, so be it. MikeD December 19, 2011 San Diego got the better of the trade, but the Reds got what they needed. Doug’s anology of what would happen if each of those players retired today was spot on. Today, none of them will make the impact that Latos will make on this team. Given the pitching friendly Petco park, Volquez may show some improvement, but all he has done is frustrate all of us. Alonso will benefit by the weight loss as his power will be mostly doubles at Petco. Giving up a catcher is totally okay at this point and a reliever is a reliever. The Reds have a potential ace and that’s exactly what they needed. So the Padres got what they needed in quantity and the Reds got what they needed in a front end pitcher. A right handed outfield bat would be nice at this point, but they need to get a closer more than anything else. Getting Latos will be a waist if they don’t go out and get a closer. Doug Gray December 19, 2011 I have said other places, in 5-6 years, on paper, it will look like the Padres got more value. And in terms of WAR, I am sure they will come out ahead. But, the WAR that the Padres get won’t be what the Reds would have gotten from those guys. So I can’t really judge it that way. As for a closer…. any decent reliever can close games at an acceptable rate. bweav December 20, 2011 Also in terms of total controllable years. But ACE’s don’t grow on trees and the Padres aren’t going to be good for awhile. Plus, that’s one park where you can be viable with average pitching. Can’t say that about GABP. We haven’t had a guy like this since ‘good’ Aaron Harang, and I think Latos can be better than that. His problems are between the ears, and I hope the Reds can surround him with good people. GC December 19, 2011 I think the Padres could have gotten more for Latos. Alonso & Grandal are nice players who I think will hit for some power & have above avg OBP. Volquez is a total wildcard, Boxberger is a reliever – really nothing special. Shouldn’t a profile #1 starter who’s young, durable, & under 4 more yrs of club control, bring more in this era of scarce starting pitching? I wonder what Padres could have gotten from other clubs with deeper farm systems like Toronto, Atlanta, Texas. This was a great get for Reds. Doug Gray December 19, 2011 Toronto was the other team in on Latos according to reports…. so I am doubting that they could have gotten much more. Colorado Jon December 19, 2011 I don’t understand the desire to have Kubel. I’m glad they didn’t get him. He’s okay, but also a lefty hitter, which the Reds want a righty to balance the lineup. Ludwick is a so-so free agent power hitter, but he only hit 13 last year. He might be okay on a minor league deal. I think getting Beltran would be a big hit with the fan base and really excite people, bringing up attendance. I like the Latos trade, but I would hate seeing them do another one that empties the so-called cupboard. It will be interesting to see what else they do. MK December 19, 2011 Trade could help the line-up if Sappelt can become the lead-off hitter and I hope they don’t platoon. It will allow Stubbs to bat 7th which is where he is and will be most effective. This would give the line-up a nice lefty/righty balance. I was afraid if Francisco had to play over a long period due to Rolen injury a line-up with Votto, Bruce, Alonso and Francisco in the middle would be dominated by a lefty starter. sultan of swaff December 19, 2011 All good points. Barring a trade or FA signing, the onus is squarely on Sappelt to perform (meaning, I like Heisey as a 4th outfielder). League average will be adequate in LF since we’ll likely be getting above average production from C, RF, 1b, SS, 2B, and (hopefully) CF. Much better lineup balance with Sappelt in there IF Dusty doesn’t do something stupid and slot Phillips or Rolen at cleanup instead of Mez. Here’s my batting order: Phillips Sappelt Votto Mesoraco Bruce Rolen Stubbs Cozart Steve December 19, 2011 While the possibility is there for Mez to hit cleanup toward the very end of the season, I can’t see him starting the season hitting any higher than 6th and that will probably only happen if he tears up in Spring Training. MK December 19, 2011 I don’t like the idea of Mez at clean-up either. I think we should all be prepared for he and Hanigan to split alot of the games. Dusty is Dusty. If Hanigan plays three times a week (and he will at least) then you would have to change line-up completely on those days. Jimmer December 20, 2011 Dusty’s lineup opening day: 2b – Phillips ss – Cozart 1b – Votto 3b – Rolen Rf – Bruce Cf – Stubbs Lf – Heisey / Sappelt C – Mesoraco P – Cueto zblakey December 19, 2011 While I don’t always care what others think, and I am “all in” on the Latos trade, some of you might find the poll on who got the better of the deal over on MLBTradeRumors interesting. So far its running about 75-25 pro San Diego. I am not surprised. http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/12/poll-which-team-won-the-mat-latos-trade.html Krozley December 19, 2011 I think Reds fans think more highly of it. 81% of voters gave the trade an A or B for the Reds over on redlegnation. Doug Gray December 19, 2011 I am not surprised either. As I said above, if you aren’t looking at what the Reds have and only looking at the players involved, the Padres probably got more value. But that is a dumb way to look at the trade. Ryan December 20, 2011 And also some of value might be hidden for the Reds. If Latos helps us get out to an early lead in the division then i bet revenue from tickets, team apparel, ect ect will rise. So unless he is damaged goods or our whole team takes a step back this is GREAT trade for our redlegs. zblakey December 19, 2011 Riggleman talks about giving up a MLB job. New Reds AA manager! http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-sports-bog/post/jim-riggleman-intends-to-manage-in-the-big-leagues-again/2011/12/19/gIQAOwsd4O_blog.html MK December 19, 2011 We have any idea who the coaches at Pensacola are? Doug Gray December 19, 2011 Riggleman is the manager. But they haven’t named the field staff yet that I know of. Kevin December 19, 2011 Can you imagine if Leake continues to develop, Bailey finally makes The Leap, and Chapman reaches 70% of his potential this season? Even if one of those 3 things happens and Cueto doesn’t regress (case could be made he regressed last season but no one really noticed because his ERA was great), the Reds would be in very good shape. Haven’t been this excited heading into a season since 2000. Sure hope it turns out better than that. Scott in upstate NY December 19, 2011 After thinking more on the deal I’m neutral about the deal which in theory is indicative of a fair trade. Unlike most of you Boxberger is my hang up. With closer a need I would have preferred to deal from surplus and include either Frazier or Francisco instead. Alonso & Grandel seemed to have desirable contact rates, something lacking on the squad apart from Votto. There is too manny unproductive K’s. I love Bruce but he needs to improve for the Reds to win the division. I’m all for trading Stubbs if any team will have him. I’m concerned about depth in the reliever position (in case they need to pluck someone from AAA) and I look forward to Doug’s State of the Farm feature on the position. sultan of swaff December 19, 2011 I get what you’re saying about Boxberger, but SD had to sell it to their fanbase that they received replacements for Latos and Heath Bell in the deal. From their point of view, it was necessary to demand him. Doug Gray December 19, 2011 The Reds weren’t going to let Boxberger close this year. Maybe in the future, but I don’t think it was in the cards for this year. MK December 19, 2011 I like Boxberger too but he was going to be a reliever and be involved in about 70 innings tops. Jimmer December 20, 2011 First off, no one wants Frazier or Francisco they are AAAA roster filler types at this point. Secondly, Stubbs had a down year last year (1.7 WAR), but in 2010 his WAR was 5.2, you don’t give up on young (cheap) CF’s like that, unless you are the Cardinals. sagevic December 20, 2011 Francisco has value with the GMs that don’t value OBP. His power and his defense at 3rd Base make him desirable for teams that don’t track walks. But for those who do, Francisco is the Frankenstein Monster. Even though he’ll probably OPS over .675 and there are dozens of Infielders in the Big Leagues that won’t, the fact that he can’t draw a walk will make him anethama to more than half the GMs in baseball. Frazier could make it as a Left Fielder/ 1st Baseman if he can hit enough. He didn’t look like a 3rd Baseman to me last year. Kyle December 19, 2011 Is it safe to assume that Chapman is going back to the bullpen next season? It would seem like the Reds are going to go with Cueto, Latos, Leake, Arroyo, and Bailey. And that Chapman and Wood are bullpen bound. Doug Gray December 19, 2011 According to Walt Jocketty, no, it isn’t. The plan, he said, is to go to spring training with Chapman as a starter and see where it goes from there. Beard December 19, 2011 Let’s say Chapman shows himself to be capable of starting this spring. What is the Reds rotation? Do they drop Arroyo from the rotation or Bailey or Leake? Seems to me there isn’t much chance of Chapman starting until the Reds decide Arroyo just isn’t on par with the rest of the guys (if that is the case as it was last year — Arroyo may very well bounce back). Doug Gray December 19, 2011 Arroyo to the bullpen? I honestly have no idea, but Arroyo is the worst pitcher of the other four guys. sagevic December 20, 2011 Wood is still pretty green, so I can’t say he’s been a bust. He was definitely the biggest dissapointment on the team to me last year. Arroyo was exactly what critics have expected him to be last year. The only problem is they make that prediction every year, and this was the first time it came to pass. It could be a fluke, it could be reality catching up with him. Who knows? The big thing for Bailey is that his numbers are trending upward and if they make another step in the right direction he’ll finally be a serviceable Major League Pitcher. The most legitimate knock on Bailey is that he gets hurt a lot. Arroyo never gets hurt. Bailey was better last year, but Arroyo’s been far better(and healthier)the previous three seasons. Bailey has a clear advantage in terms of tools, but when you’re talking about veterans tools do not outweight their cumulative body of work. Also many less productive players making more money than Bronson Arroyo get traded every year. Some money gets eaten, but believe me, worse guys will be moved this year and every year. It’s Arroyo’s tools that make him seem so worthless. He shouldn’t be a successful, winning pitcher. But he has been. So far Bailey really hasn’t. Doug Gray December 20, 2011 If Arroyo gets traded, his deferred money gets paid up front, which is about $18M. No one is paying him that. bweav December 20, 2011 Doug, Don’t you think Chapman, Leake and Wood start in Louisville with the off days to start the season? That is, unless there’s another move. I also think Todd Frazier has a great opportunity in front of him right now. We all know Rolen hasn’t hit in over a year and is coming off another shoulder injury. Plus, with Alonso out of the way, he has one less guy to take time from in Left. I hope he goes off. Doug Gray December 21, 2011 I don’t know about that. I could see all three being with the team in the bullpen (Leake only to start until his spot in the rotation comes up). Jimmer December 21, 2011 Sounds like Wood is heading to the Cubs for Sean Marshall. New Closer?? Doug Gray December 21, 2011 He has the numbers you want to see from a closer, I would have no issue with him closing. Would like to see more years though. zblakey December 19, 2011 Makes me think another trade could happen involving a couple of Wood/Bailey/Leake… which would leave room for Chapman in the starting rotation…. What do others think? sultan of swaff December 19, 2011 The way I read the tea leaves is that they’ll use Chapman half the season as a starter and then shift him to the bullpen so they can cap his innings. Good plan, unless he is somehow lights out as a starter. Scott in upstate NY December 19, 2011 My crystal balls says Chapman enters Spring training as a starter, and depending on his performance there will either be a last minute Burba type trade involving (?), or Chapman is the odd man out of the rotation and the decison will be to either put him back in the pen or back to Louisville to work out his likely control issues. redsfannorth December 19, 2011 What about Parra from the DBacks for LF? Since they signed Kubel and he will be pushed to a 4th OF role, does he offer any more value than Sappelt? Enough to justify a trade? Doug Gray December 19, 2011 No, he doesn’t. His slash line is likely similar to that of what Sappelt would do, though they would go about it a little differently. Jimmer December 20, 2011 Yeah, probably don’t need his Gold Glove defense. Krozley December 19, 2011 I think a club needs to have 7 starters available for a season, especially given the current staff’s injury history. Thus, they need to hold on to their current top 7 (Cueto, Latos, Bailey, Leake, Wood, Chapman, and Arroyo). Chapman needs the innings, so he should be starting wherever he begins the season. Wood could probably live as a long guy out of the bullpen, but I would prefer him be a starter all the way as well. There are really no other apparent options in the organization for 2012 unless you move Brackman or Lecure back to starters. For left field, if they don’t go get an impact guy like Beltran or maybe a Carlos Quentin, they should go with Sappelt and look for a left handed bat for the bench from the free agent bargain bin. Maybe a Ludwick or Ibanez, as long as it is cheap and for one year. If not, Francisco may need some outfield practice time if he is going to be the lefty off the bench. They also need someone who can back up Cozart and be able to hit a little, but the FA options out there don’t really look better than Janish. I wonder if Frazier could handle spot duty at short. Or maybe Valaika will find some power and force his way on to the roster. Is it February yet? Stock December 19, 2011 If Chapman spends the entire year in the majors and becomes elgible for arbitration he gets a $3 million bonus. My guess is he spends the first half of the season in the minors. They have their excuse in hand. He is being groomed as a SP. Kevin December 19, 2011 The more I think about it, the more reasonable this sounds. You start the season with Chapman in AAA working the kinks out. If he’s dominating after a month or two, you rearrange the rotation to let him in. If he’s good not great, you keep him there until the inevitable injury strikes the rotation. If he’s bad, well, he needs to be in AAA then anyway. DaveCT December 19, 2011 Any idea what the top 10 prospects looks like now? Meso, Hamilton, Cozart, Corcino, Stephenson, Didi, and Frazier would be locks (from BA, to start). Last three? Sappelt, Sulbarran, HRod, Torreyes? Vidal? YRod? The Duke December 19, 2011 I would guess 8. Dave Sappelt 9. Henry Rodriguez 10. Ronald Torreyes I put in an Ask BA question and sent one to JJ Coopers twitter account. Have to wait and see when they have a free chat. Doug Gray December 19, 2011 Yorman Rodriguez and JC Sulbaran are the next two, though perhaps not in that order. BA did a “just missed the NL Central Top 10″ type of article and both of them were mentioned. jimmy December 19, 2011 What am I missing with Yorman Rodriguez? His numbers dont look that impressive to me! Doug Gray December 20, 2011 That he was the 2nd youngest player in the league and has better tools than nearly everyone in the league. sagevic December 20, 2011 I like Yorman too, but his production is concerning if only becasue he’s been playing pro baseball for so long. He’s always been the youngest guy in whatever level he’s played, and he’s always underperformed. They need to stop advancing him at that rate. Doug Gray December 20, 2011 He has held his head above water at each level. Yorman hit better than Billy Hamilton did this year in Dayton. Last season he clobbered the ball in Billings. He hit well in Arizona too. He will repeat Dayton in 2012 though. At least to start. Joe December 19, 2011 It’s a long season and I look at who’s there to back up… Rolen’s backup is Frazier and Francisco, unsettled is Cozarts, Phillips, and Vottos. Outfield backup is Sappelt and Frazier now. Frazier/Cairo can backup Votto, Cairo can backup Phillips a little, not for a long time. Need a quality backup infielder, esp. for short and second. Outfield not to worried about. Catcher is not an issue. Without some changes, I don’t like who we can put in if one of Votto, Phillips or Cozart is out for any length of time. DaveCT December 19, 2011 I still think Valaika could step in at 2B for half a season and do OK. SS, i agree, would be an issue if more than a few weeks. Juan Castro is a very good glove that may not hurt the club in that case. Long term, they’d have to make a deal. I’d be OK with Frazier and/or Francisco playing 1B if Votto were out long term, although I think they’d most likely go get another bat. Alan Horn December 19, 2011 If it is mid season or later could Gregorius be ready(or rushed) if he starts at AAA? Doug Gray December 19, 2011 Valaika isn’t going to hit at the MLB level. He has a sub .675 OPS in AAA in over 1000 PA’s. sagevic December 20, 2011 Frighteningly Valaika was our Minor League Hitter of the year three seasons ago. Now he’s exposed as a bench guy at best. DaveCT December 19, 2011 I am thinking that the emergence of Christiani as well as Crabbe made Box a bit more expendable. joered December 19, 2011 Does anyone know how many draft picks the reds will have in the first two rounds this year? It seems to me the way our team is constructed now it will give us some time to replenish our farm system. I know that Alonso and Grandal are talented players but how often do players of that caliber come a round. Are they the type of players that are irreplaceable? Any thoughts? Doug Gray December 19, 2011 They aren’t the type of guys that are irreplaceable. Alonso is a first baseman. They are quite replaceable. Grandal is a catcher, which is very hard to replace, but, we have a better prospect catcher already, so he was already replaceable. The system clearly took a hit, but its still a mid-tier farm system with the loss of those three guys because we have a ton of depth. Kevin December 19, 2011 Another thing missed in this discussion is that small market clubs *should* be able to replenish their farm systems faster in the near future because of the lottery picks coming in 2013. So yes, the Reds gave up a treasure trove of prospects, but going forward, it should be easier to fill the treasure chest back up. The Duke December 20, 2011 Just as long long as we keep drafting as well as we have been the past 5-6 years. Can we sign Chris Buckley to a lifetime contract? Alan Horn December 20, 2011 That has been the key. That allows us to make a trade like the Latos trade and still survive. sagevic December 20, 2011 I don’t think that Volquez was the guy the Padres would want in that deal. That was a dump off by the Reds and it probably increased what we had to give in the deal by adding Boxberger. If we included another pitcher (say Travis Wood) we probably could have included a lesser relief prospect. That said, it was still addition by attraction (in the way dumping Edwin Encarnacion was in the Rolen deal). We gave up a lot for Volquez and got very little in return, and now we can close the book on the whole fiasco. bweav December 20, 2011 I don’t think there’s any question they were desperate to unload Volky. Out of options and due a raise, and like Doug said, he’s as likely to strikeout 10 as not to get to the 3rd. Can’t have that on an 80M payroll. That’s why he was rumored in the Street deal too. They have too many 3,4,5 types and had to move Volky or Bailey, or both. 2008 was an aberration, Volquez is a mess.