While I actually wrote about it two weeks ago, the Reds will not have Shin-Soo Choo returning after he signed a 7-year, $130M deal with the Texas Rangers. That puts the Reds in the position where they will be moving forward with Billy Hamilton as their center fielder to start the 2014 season. Due to the Reds extending a qualifying offer to Choo, they will pick up an additional draft pick after the first round in the 2014 draft. With the way things currently stand, that will give them the 20th pick in the draft and the 31st pick.

Baseball America has up the latest transactions. Along with the signing of Chien-Ming Wang the Reds also signed Ruben Gotay. Gotay has spent parts of four season in the Majors, but the last time was in 2008. He will be 31-years-old next season, and likely just some added depth for the Louisville roster. He hit .279/.366/.438 last season.  He has shown a good approach throughout his career, but hasn’t shown much power when adjusting for the Pacific Coast League.

Winter League Update

Neftali Soto has been on fire lately in the Puerto Rican Winter League, hitting .351/.385/.459 over his last 10 games, though most of the damage has come over the last 6 games where he has gone 11-20 with a double, HR and a walk.

Juan Silverio has only played 13 games in the Dominican Winter League,  but he has made most of his appearances in December and made them count. He has hit .412/.400/.588 over the last 10 games with 3 doubles, a home run and 8 RBI.

New Red Max Ramirez has been on fire in Venezuela, hitting .379/.471/.517 over his last 10 games with 4 doubles, 4 RBI and 4 walks spanning the last two weeks.

Felix Perez has had an interesting winter league so far. He played 41 games in Venezuela before heading to the Mexican Winter League where he has spent the last three weeks. After a slow start, he has hit .381/.422/.619 in his last 10 games with 4 doubles, 2 home runs and 10 RBI.

Daniel Corcino is still pitching well down in the Dominican. He is up to 10.1 innings where he has a 1.74 ERA with 1 walks and 12 strikeouts. After pitching every 5 days between his first four appearances, he has been appearing more frequently making appearances on 3 days rest, 2 days rest, 3 days rest and 1 day of rest over his last few appearances.

Jose Diaz has been dominant in the Dominican Winter League where he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings pitched. Over his last 10 games he has been even better, throwing 9.1 innings with a 1.93 ERA, 4 walks and 7 strikeouts.

Here are the stats for everyone playing winter ball.

Batters LG AB 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB AVG OBP SLG
Arias, Junior DWL 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .250 .250 .250
Barnhart, Tucker AFL 49 3 0 0 2 9 7 0 .245 .356 .306
Diaz, Argenis VWL 100 6 0 0 10 10 28 2 .240 .319 .300
Gonzalez, Yovan PWL 35 0 0 0 4 2 8 0 .200 .237 .200
Hamilton, Billy PWL 75 3 1 0 4 6 12 11 .227 .284 .293
LaMarre, Ryan AFL 5 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 .400 .500 .400
Lutz, Donald LMP 118 5 1 4 15 11 38 1 .271 .344 .432
Mattair, Travis AFL 72 3 0 2 7 9 16 0 .236 .325 .361
Navarro, Rey PWL 67 4 0 0 3 7 9 3 .209 .286 .269
Negron, Kristopher PWL 76 3 2 0 8 6 21 3 .224 .292 .316
Perez, Felix 2LG 214 13 0 9 39 16 46 4 .271 .340 .458
Ramirez, Max VWL 119 11 0 5 13 10 27 0 .286 .356 .504
Rodriguez, Henry VWL 181 5 0 2 24 22 19 2 .260 .337 .320
Rodriguez, Yorman AFL 85 2 0 4 13 7 27 3 .271 .323 .435
Sanchez, Carlos VWL 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .250 .250 .250
Silva, Juan PWL 96 3 0 3 9 18 22 4 .229 .357 .354
Silverio, Juan DWL 38 3 0 1 8 0 3 2 .368 .359 .526
Soto, Neftali PWL 118 6 0 2 16 5 19 0 .288 .328 .390
Wilson, Mike LMP 47 4 0 2 7 8 13 0 .170 .304 .383

_

Pitchers LG W L IP H HR BB K ERA WHIP
Corcino, Daniel DWL 0 1 10.1 5 2 1 12 1.74 0.58
Dennick, Ryan DWL 1 4 23.1 37 1 6 13 7.33 1.84
Diaz, Jose DWL 1 0 19.0 19 2 10 16 2.37 1.53
Hayes, Drew AFL 2 0 11.0 7 0 7 11 0.82 1.27
Kilby, Jason ABL 0 0 0.2 1 0 2 2 0.00 4.50
Lorenzen, Michael AFL 0 3 17.1 29 4 12 5 11.42 2.37
Reckling, Trevor DWL 0 0 6.2 5 1 7 5 4.05 1.80
Rogers, Chad AFL 1 0 13.2 10 1 4 12 0.66 1.02
Villarreal, Pedro VWL 0 2 16.2 16 2 12 12 5.94 1.68
Walczak, Jamie AFL 2 0 15.1 9 1 10 16 4.11 1.24

40 Responses

  1. IndyRedsFan

    Doug, What’s the “book” on Jose Diaz? He had quite a good year for Louisville last year,(1.66 ERA, 9.94 k/9) but never seemed to be mentioned when a call -up for the bullpen was needed. Is he seen only as AAA filler?

    Felix Perez is another guy who doesn’t seem to get much love. I realize it could still happen, but am surprised that he wasn’t among the first group announced to get a spring training invitation. Actually I was surprised he didn’t get a shot last year…given that they invested sizeable signing bonus money in him.

    Finally, I noticed on Baseball America’s minor league transaction page that Josh Ravin signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers.

    • Doug Gray

      In the past he has struggled to get lefties out. He did well with that in 2013. His control is iffy though.

  2. JIM T

    While i’m sorry to see Choo depart. I have to taper my disappointment because of the excitement Billy Hamilton can generate. While like most I am skeptical concerning his readiness. He has the kind of game altering speed not seen here in a longtime.If he can get on base at a acceptable level he will be fun to watch. Defensively I think he will make some jaw dropping plays as well. His range will be a improvement over Mr. Choo. He’ll definitely add a element to late inning close games.

    The next order of business will be the end game to the BP saga. While I thnk the Reds will still try to move him. The longer it drags on the more it becomes a remote possiblity.I consider this to be the Elephant in the room for the reds. With his contract, his production fall off late last season and his not so sterling league reputation, moving him for equal value is not possible. Next year he is 5 and 10 and can dictate where he is dealt. It also is a risk keeping a player who is obviously unhappy and feels under appreciated. Dealing him is also a concern because even with his performance declining there is no suitable replacement available internally or on the FA market. The fact we tried to trade him for a one year controllable player in Bret Gardner speaks volumes. In my mind there is certainly more to this then just getting his 50 mil off the books. Stay tuned it ain”t over.

    as of today i see the reds lining up with

    1. Hamilton CF
    2. BP 2b
    3. Votto 1b
    4. Ludwick LF
    5. Bruce RF
    6. Frazier 3b
    7. Mez C
    8. Cozart SS
    9. Pitcher

    It also looks like iour efforts to bring back Arroyo are slim to none.

    Starters
    Latos
    Bailey
    Cueto
    Cingrani
    leake

    Bull pen
    Chapman
    Broxton
    Marshall
    Parra
    Simon
    LeCure
    Hoover

    If there is a trade made it could occur using pen arms,maybe Capman.

    Bench:
    Pena
    Heisey
    Shumacher
    Hannahan
    a shortstop TBD

    Could be some minor tweeking but this looks about how roster shapes up for 2014.

  3. MK

    I do not believe Phillips is going anywhere and am glad. I think this winter will be good for a few reasons. Number 1 and foremost his wrist and arm which led to the poor offensive second half will be healed. Number 2 the fact that his name has been bandied about so much should help check his ego. Third Bryan Price is going to be less supportive and hold players more accountable for words and actions which will change the demeanor of the whole clubhouse (including but not limited to Brandon). I expect #4 to have a big bounce back year. It also won’t hurt getting some fastballs hitting between Hamilton and Votto.

  4. Jim t

    MK I hope your right but my less emotional side tells me the Reds have reached the point of no return with Brandon. Again he is 5 and 10 and if not moved this year it puts him firmly in drivers seat. Those parameters give managers a lot less leverage in holding players accountable. Even if things go to extreme the reds would have very little leverage. They still will have to pay him 50mil. Very tough situation for a first year manager.

    • Alan Horn

      Jim, they apparently had trouble trading him this season, so I would think it would be less easy to trade him next season anyway. The Reds can’t afford a salary dump and get no talent back. Phillips still has a lot of value which the Reds can’t get close to in a trade. I feel better about Hamilton going forward than Ludwick. Hamilton has just reached the majors and should show improvement going forward. Ludwick is at the twilight of his career and has been injured. He plays a corner outfield position in which we need superior offense and power. We didn’t get that last season because he was injured(also his age may be a minus in his ability to play everyday). We have no one in reserve/minors in case Ludwick doesn’t produce. With Hamilton, you can take less hitting while he is learning because of his superior defense in CF and speed on the bases. LF could be the killer for the Reds. 2 players trending in different directions. Hopefully, Ludwick will work out ok. Anyway, Merry Christmas to you and everyone else on the board.

  5. DaveCT

    I would be glad to have him stay as well. I am not at all convinced BP doesn’t like it here, or that he is disgruntled. His community relations are second to none, especially with kids, who are the next generation of fans. His defense cannot easily be replaced. As above, his offense should be improved if healthy. He has volunteered to bat all over the lineup, leadoff, 2nd, clean-up, but fails to receive much credit as stepping up for the team. He may do foolish things, but he is not alone. Cueto’s ninja kick a few years back comes to mind. And BP should know better than to take on the new BP (Price). I also think a crowded future outfield with Bruce, Hamilton, Ervin, Yorman, Winker plus reserves makes BP as asset of sorts, as he could be moved to 3B to allow Hamilton to play 2B.

    • Jim t

      Dave, what BP likes is not the issue but I must point out when a player openly calls the team owner a liar it does not lead me to believe he is happy with his situation. It also must be pointed out that management is not pleased with him either. That is why they are attempting to move him. I don’ t know what your management experience is but having a employee who feels under appreciated and a management that wants to get rid of him doesn’t lend itself to a successful business relationship. as you pointed out BP probably feels he has done everything asked of him and in his mind deserved better than to in his mind be mislead in contract negotiations. I’m sure Management has a different opinion of what transpired. Cueto’s kick was the result of a brawl started or at least instigated by BP. I also would be very surprised if Hamilton was moved to 2nd.
      Why would he know better than to take on Price. He has taken on team owner.

  6. Jim t

    MK here is something else to consider. With the value of BP’s contract being what it is only bigger market clubs will be interested in trading for him,that requires a need on their part. This limits the teams he can go to. He is feeling underpaid and can designate such teams onto his limited no trade list forcing the team acquiring him to renegotiate his deal. It is rumored to be the reason trade with Yankees fell through. Carrying his 50 mil probably prohibits them from paying for both Bailey and Latos going forward. My guess is if they could give him away at this point they would. Walt and Bob C absolutely dropped the ball concerning this situation.

    • Doug Gray

      I think that the issue is more that Bob probably was the one that wanted Phillips traded, but Walt didn’t so much. If the right deal came along, he would take it. But the trade market has been rather funny so far. Some guys got more in return than I would expect, but other guys haven’t been moved when rumors for what has been offered is well below what you would expect.

  7. IndyRedsFan

    While I originally thought (as many here do) that the BP trade rumors would be a negative, more recently I am thinking that they actually could turn out to be a positive.

    BP’s main gripe with management was that he was underpaid (and I believe he truly believed that) Now he has spent a winter seeing 1) no other teams even remotely interested in him, 2) the Yankees turning down his contract for even 1 year of Gardner, 3) numerous national writers penning ariticles about how “bad” his contract is.

    This has to be very motivating for him…..I expect he will come out doing his level best to prove them all wrong. While age may cause his performance to decline, I don’t think it will decline for lack of effort. If anything, I think we’ll see more effort out of him than we have in quite a while.

    • RobL

      I do not mean to pick, but I would be interested in knowing who the national writers were who say BP’s contract is bad. I feel like his contract is very reasonable for the performance provided on the field. I would like to see what these writers say are reasons for BP’s contract being bad.

      For what it’s worth, I do not consider the view that his contract negatively affecting the ability to resign Bailey or Latos as a reason why it is bad. The only reason for it to be bad is if Phillips does not produce enough to warrant it. In my opinion he does.

  8. Randy in Chatt

    I had unwavering faith in Uncle Walt but am now in the belief he is not so infallible. Case(s) in point: 1) a huge contract to JV that will limit how the Reds do business for years. We paid him (a position fairly easy to find an adequate replacement) like a big-market club. Love Joey but hate that it could hurt the Reds in the long run. 2) Paid BP a very large contract, tying two replaceable positions into a lot of future money (think goodbye Homer Bailey). 3) Just named Billy Hamilton the leadoff hitter this week putting BPrice into a precarious position (we will love BH’s defense but do not think he should hit leadoff just yet. Lots of pressure to produce right off the bat). Let him ease into it at the ML level by hitting lower in the line-up. Help him succeed, not set him up for failure. 4) Not putting his foot down on the Chapman situation. If BPrice feels that Chapman’s best role (who should know better than last year’s pitching coach) is as a starting pitcher, don’t give into the desire of a ballplayer over the needs of the team or plan’s of the manager. 5) If a trade for a LF (G. Stanton???) is out there, don’t tell the world that Chapman is going to be the closer now (lower value) instead of a starter (premium value). Wait for spring training to decide that. If the possibility is that Chapman could still be a starter is out there, his trade value would go thru the roof. 6) Giving bad 2 year contracts to individuals in the past (Cairo, Broxton, Ludwick) when they should have only received one year contracts. We’re stuck w/ Broxton & Ludwick this year and we are all wondering what they will bring to the table in 2014. And lastly, 7) Don’t hamstring the 25 man roster with a weak-hitting back-up shortstop (which he is currently looking for). We’ve had enough of them (think Valdez, Izturis). If the need to bring in a shortstop long term arises (Cozart hurt, etc.) then bring one in outside of the 25 man. Shumaker/Frazier could play it for an inning or two every 2-3 weeks if needed (think back about how many times we saw Izturis at SS last year). The Reds had little punch off the bench last year and it hurt us several times. Sign a “real” shortstop to AAA and bring him up if needed.

    Thoughts anyone?

    Also, someone convince me out there that the new lefty starter we brought in (Holmberg) is not the reincarnation of Matt (not Jim) Maloney???

    • Doug Gray

      I am with you on most of it. I don’t think the contract given to Broxton could have been had with a 1-year deal. Was it too much money? Yes, but the years wasn’t the problem.

      I am also with you on the backup shortstop. Between Hannahan and Izturis, our bench is painful.

    • KyWilson1

      i dont disagree with this, but Votto is paid like what he is, a top player in the MLB. Hes much better then Fielder and you just saw him get traded, so Votto could be moved. The whole Chapman thing bugs me, but other teams could transition him to a starter so i dont see that affecting his trade value. Its hard to watch teams like the Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox and Rangers just throwing money around, but the Reds need to figure out what they are. Are the a small market scouting based team that ships off $$$ talent for cheap controllable talent, or are they going to spend with the Big boys. To me the are really missing the boat not trading Bailey or Cueto this offseason, Bailey to the Rangers or Astros for 2-3 very good prospects. The Reds just seem to hold on to their talent to long for a team with financial restraints

      • terry m

        I think we need to be a little Oakland and a little Tampa. Sort of a hybrid of the two…

      • Doug Gray

        I think they are generally doing it right. They miss the boat some times, but trading Bailey or Cueto without someone to step in and give good, strong replacement production, is a bad move. I can’t imagine the Astros trading for Homer Bailey. If they want him, they can sign him in a year. They aren’t ready to compete right now, so giving up prospects for him doesn’t seem like a good plan unless they are of the belief that there is no way possible he reaches free agency and they really, really want him for the long haul.

        The only way to compete and build for the future is to draft and develop extremely well and don’t sign bad contracts. It isn’t easy.

      • KyWilson1

        If they traded one of the 2 they would need to sign a free agent to a deal, probably a 1 year deal to bridge the gap to Stephenson. They have back end of the rotation arms to still push for the division this year, even if they trade one of them. Houston would have to get into a bidding war if they let him get to FA, and he will have a lot of suitors, if they trade for him they might be able to work out an extension before the trade. They dont have money to spend this winter, so improvements are going to come via trade.

        Speaking of the Draft, what do you see the Reds doing with 2 first rounders this year, it looks like a really good draft class.

      • Doug Gray

        You can’t get a good free agent for one year. Heck, you can’t even get an average pitcher to sign a 1-year deal.

        The Reds problem is that they can’t trade to improve. You aren’t improving in 2014 by trading Homer Bailey. They aren’t trading Stephenson or Hamilton and no one else is going to bring in a difference maker. They need improvement to come from a fully healthy pitching staff and small improvements at several positions offensively (shortstop, third, left, catcher).

        As for the draft, who knows. They need to target a young shortstop though, that is somewhere the system is really lacking at this point.

      • Norwood Nate

        They couldn’t trade Chapman and get something to help them? I would have to believe his value and replaceability as a closer would be an ideal trade piece to get better for this year.

      • KyWilson1

        LF has to improve, it cant be much worse then it was last year, and Frazier may slightly improve. Mes is going to have to be the big improvement, to me if he hits the offense is ok. Votto and Bruce are both going to hit, i think a healthy Phillips improves. It just hard to ride a pitching staff like the Reds have and expect them to be healthy and perform year in and year out. Look at the Giants and Phillies recently. Even trading Bailey you have Latos-Cueto-Cingrani-Leake, Matsuzaka could be had on a 1 year deal. And the Right trade should improve the offense and bench for this year.

    • MK

      Randy – 1. I agree on Votto; 2. Disagree do not think the contract is that large 3.Since it has been said for two years I don’t think it is adding any great pressure, I think management will be patient with his development it is fans that will have problems. 4. We know what Chapman said but we don’y know what Price and Jocketty might have told him before he spoke. Maybe he was trying to take the heat off Price by saying it first. 5. Don’t think there should ever be any untouchables including Chapman. Folks need to look at Stanton who has very similar stats to a young Adam Dunn. 7. I agree and add Shumaker and Pena to that list. You know Tucker Barnhart has to feel good about Pena’s 2-year deal. For the shortstop I would sign Justin Turner for the Big League team and Paul Janish for AAA.

      • Randy in Chatt

        BP’s contract is not bad right now. However, I am wondering what it will look like at the end when he is in his late 30′s?

        About BH. I think he will be compared to Choo in OBP (which only Joey Votto can match). If he gets on at around .350, I think most would be satisfied but if he struggles at lead-off, he will be hearing it from all sides and that’s a lot for a rookie.

        I love the idea of Red Turner on the 25 man and Janish at AAA. Janish would be a great defensive-oriented AAA call up.

      • Doug Gray

        If Hamilton gets on base 35% of the time, he is going to be as valuable as Choo was. The Reds need him to be at .320. That is my break even mark for him that I think he needs to be at.

    • RobL

      I would say that while first and second base may have been teeming with talent in the past, currently it is hard to find “adequate” replacements. Nearly everyone would agree that if BP were traded this offseason, there is no adequate player to replace him. Only a bidding war for Infante, and you are right back in the same boat. Maybe you save 3 million. And what is an adequate replacement for Votto? A league average player like LaRoche? Then you get a third of the production for nearly half the price. They could have kept Alonso I suppose. And get a third of the production on a tenth of the price. But where would all this money go to? Locking up our talented pitchers. If it was a mistake to lock up Votto and Phillips, why would it not be a mistake to lock up Bailey and Latos to big money deals? Trade for Kemp and take on his huge money deal and his injury risk? Or maybe sign a bunch of scrap heap guys like Ludwick each year and hope that they take off (like Oakland with guys like Moss)?

      Also, I don’t see how saying Chapman would start would increase his value. When he starts for real, and have success, then his value would raise.

  9. Gregmlb

    I was wondering if someone could explain to me why the Reds do not get Rangers 1 st rd pick. I thought that if a team signed a FA that was tendered then the team lost the pick to the team that lost the player.

    • Doug Gray

      That was under the old rules. Now, the team simply loses their pick and everyone behind them moves up a spot. The team that lost the player then gets a pick after the first round as compensation.

      • Alan Horn

        Doug, what determines the order of the sandwich picks for the compensation? Is it where the team that lost the player finished in the overall standings?

  10. babull

    This team just can’t pay top dollar for a guy like Joey. Get what you can from him in his young, controllable, years then let him hit up the big spenders for a big money/big year contract. If he is that good and your wisdom tells you that he will become unaffordable, then trade him before you are forced to let him hit FA.

    I have said it before on here, ownership/management needs to face reality and quit trying to be something they are not. Sometimes when you ride the fence you get caught up in the barbed wire.

  11. twill

    Doug, Any news on recently signed Dario Saunders (sp?) what level does he play this year? Or the Cuban free agent Rusnel Castillo? Would he be a guy who could play in the MLB this year?

  12. babull

    I don’t see the Red’s improving this year. I don’t see them even being as good as they were last year. They are going with a guy batting leadoff that is basically an unknown rookie. His numbers will pale in comparison to Choo in that role. He has a lot of pressure on him. I like what he has the potential to bring but, I don’t expect to see much of it this year.

    They are bound to go with Ludwick batting 4th. If he performs to a level even coming remotely close to ’12, I will be shocked.

    Cozart and Frazier may be a bit better but, they are what they are. They may have already peaked.

    Joey should be better. Mez has his chance to show what he has got. I hope for a breakout year for him.

    Brandon should be better post injury and if he is used in the right role. Jay is getting progressively better. I hope for that to continue.

    Overall, though, the losses of Choo and the reliance on Ludwick will be too much for this team to overcome.

    I have hope but, I am just being realistic.

    • Doug Gray

      The 2013 Reds underplayed their pythag. If that evens out, they pick up a little bit from that. All said, I think the Reds are a 90 win team with upside. Downside, they win 85 and we are all mad. Upside, 95 wins and we are partying in November.

    • Alan Horn

      That’s where I am, but I also agree with Doug and Jim below(except on Phillips). I think there is potential for more offense with most of the hitters in the lineup. Whether that potential turns into production is key for next season along with the health of the pitchers.

  13. Jim t

    I agree Doug. I like this team. We couldn’t pay Choo and with Billy close probably shouldn’t have. Love our starters if Cueto can stay healthy. Hope Walt adds another bench piece and if needed makes a deal at deadline. My key concern is BP. How that situation plays out. He’ll have to want to be a table setter for Joey and hit second to be effective and Ludwick needs to give them 2012 production. If that happens we’ll be in the race.

  14. nycdave

    Reds won 97 games in 2012 with Stubbs and Cozart batting leadoff. I’m just sayin’…