It has been a slow week around the majors, unless you are in the running for Japanese superstar Masahiro Tanaka, which the Reds aren’t. With the holidays, things got pretty backed up, so I am turning to the All Questions Answered topic to finish out the week and bring back from fresh content on Monday (or sooner if the Reds pull off some sort of deal between now and then – hint, hint, nudge, nudge Walt). The rules are the same as always:

  • Each user gets three questions.
  • Ask before midnight on Friday.
  • Avoid questions that require more than a paragraph to answer.
  • Avoid questions that would require research to answer.

73 Responses

  1. JIM T

    1. Does Phillips open the year with the reds?

    2.If you can only extend one between Latos and Bailey who gets the money?

    3. Assuming Billy Hamilton opens in CF and leadoff what does his season OBP look like?

    • Doug Gray

      1. I believe he will. With how things have played out thus far, I can’t see a way that he is moved and the Reds find a suitable replacement.

      2. Bailey, but only because I think Latos is going to get a whole lot more money and I don’t think the Reds can afford it. I honestly believe Latos will get 20M a year.

      3. .315 is my guess if he is with the Reds all season long.

  2. JIM T

    Doug, since I know your a big Cincinnati sports fan and its been slow on the baseball front here are three questions you can have a little fun with.

    1. Do the Bearcats beat Nebraska this Saturday.

    2. Do the Football Bearcats beat NC

    3. Do the Bengals beat the Ravens

    Here is your Bonus:

    Is this the year Bengals finally win a playoff game?

    Have a great New Year Doug!!!

    • Doug Gray

      1. Yes, but the offense will have to show up. They winner is going to need to score 70.

      2. I think they will. They are better on paper.

      3. Yes. They have been very, very good at home and the Ravens offense simply isn’t good. If the game were on the road, it may be different because for whatever reason the Bengals play like crap on the road. But here in Cincinnati Andy Dalton can sling it. 31-17.

      Bonus. If they are the #3 seed, yes. If they are the #2 seed, I am much less certain.

  3. Jeff

    1. Jocketty has to make a big move, has to, if you were him what trade would you make?

    2. If Hamilton can hit .275 with a .340 OBP, how many steals can he get?

    3. Will Jay Bruce win an MVP min the next 5 years?

    • Doug Gray

      1. I am all for acquiring Mike Trout or Bryce Harper…. but realistically, I would like to see Brett Gardner become a Red and play CF for 2014. Any “stable” bat that could be added to the lineup is something I would like to see. The Reds need to add offense somewhere in the lineup. A guy who is consistent and can get on base at least 33% of the time.

      2. 120.

      3. No, probably not. I will say he gets to 3 all-star games in that span though.

  4. JIM T

    jeff, not Doug but I’ll take a crack at your questions.

    1. Unless BP is moved don’t see any other major transactions made by Walt.

    2. if Billy hits 275 and obp’s 340 he’ll swipe at least 90 and be a All star.

    3. if he stops chasing down and in breaking balls in the dirt he will.

  5. Dick

    1) With BP still at 2B along with a lineup that includes Ludwig, Hamilton and Mes, how do the Reds stack up defensively in the NL? top three, bottom three, or middle of pack?
    2) If all Walt does is extend Latos AND Bailey, would you call that a successful off season?
    3) How is your Father?

    • Doug Gray

      1. Likely top 3. Looking around, everyone on the infield is considered above-average with maybe the exception of Mesoraco and we don’t really know about him because of his past inconsistent playing time. In the outfield, Bruce and Hamilton are both above-average as well and Ludwick is at least average if not better. The defense is going to be very good.

      2. Yes, but I could understand where others wouldn’t because that really doesn’t improve the team for 2014.

      3. At the doctor right now for our every Friday appointment. They are saying things are improving, and he says he can feel a bit of a difference. So that is good. But, we have a very long way to go.

  6. zblakey

    Who are some minor league ‘breakout’ candidates (those that might have better years than their recent stats/performances might indicate)?

    I am hearing that the 2014 MLB Draft could be a very good (deep) one, which positions do you think the Reds should target for their early picks?

    • Doug Gray

      1. I never like picking breakout guys this early because I like to hear if someone is doing something in spring that stands out. Based off of how some guys played in 2013 though, Ryan LaMarre finished very strong and began showing off some power that he always had but wasn’t able to tap into. I also think that a guy like Gabriel Rosa could do something. His peripheral rates were good, and he has big tools, but the numbers just didn’t happen in 2013 for him.

      2. While the Reds like guys like Carlton Daal and Cory Thompson, I would target a shortstop. I still think the Reds are lacking some depth there as well as a guy with the potential to be a starter that is currently in full season ball. With two top 40 picks I imagine one will be a pitcher and the other a position player. You always have to see who is there when you go, but ideally, I would hope a shortstop fits in for one of those positions.

  7. MDRon

    Contreras is getting heaps of internet praise. I’ve been skeptical. Should I rethink my position?

    Do Winker and Yorman make Bruce a valuable trade chip next off-season?

    Orioles are trying to sign a closer, and have a hole at 2B. If the offer is BP and Chapman for Adam Jones, who says no?

    • Doug Gray

      1. I guess that depends on what your position is based on exactly. I am a fan of his stuff. It’s very good. If people believe he is going to start, which I actually think he has a shot at if he were going to be given the chance, maybe we need to change that position because from what I can read into it, he isn’t going to be a starter.

      2. Bruce makes himself a valuable trade chip. I don’t think Winker makes it as a right fielder, so really it is just Yorman for his conversation and even if he were to break out, I don’t think the Reds will be looking to move Bruce.

      3. That really is an interesting trade. Jones is basically Brandon Phillips with power and plays center field. Solid average, low OBP guy. I think I would pull the trigger on that for the Reds, so if I had to pick, I would say the Orioles would say no.

  8. Randy in Chatt

    2 question econo-version (I’ll ask 4 questions next time):

    1) Compare Holmberg to Matt Maloney. They both sound very similar to me. How are they different stuff-wise, etc.

    2) With the line-up as it is right now, how would you, good sir Doug, set up the batting order if you were the manager?

    • Doug Gray

      1. I will be upfront and say that I saw more of Maloney, so I have more information to work with. With that said, I liked Maloney more. Maloney had much better control than what I saw when I watched Holmberg pitch. If I hadn’t looked at his numbers and just guessed his walk rate based on the control from the games when I watched him, I would have said he was probably walking 4 guys per 9 innings. I just didn’t see him hitting his spots with any of his pitches. I liked Maloney’s breaking ball a little bit more too. It may be a simple sample size of only having watched a few games of Holmberg and never seeing him in person, but at this point I have some questions about him and think that he is ranked higher by the national guys than I have him by a decent margin.

      2. Phillips, Frazier, Votto, Bruce, Ludwick, Mesoraco, Hamilton, Cozart, Pitcher. I would split Votto and Bruce against lefty starters, probably just switching Bruce and Ludwick. If Hamilton starts showing that he is ready to move up in the lineup, I would address that at the time. I wouldn’t just throw him into the leadoff spot right off of the bat though. I like him 7th and in front of Cozart. Cozart can make contact and he has a little bit of pop. Let Hamilton get him some fastballs and run wild.

      • MK

        You know Doug as long as they went with Stubbs in the lead-off spot and basically the same compliment of players I think they will put Billy in the lead-off spot regardless.

      • Doug Gray

        Oh, I have no doubt that Billy Hamilton will bat leadoff. I just wouldn’t do it yet if I were making the call.

  9. Billy

    1) Would you consider re-signing Arroyo to a 2-year deal in order to trade one of the other starters now?
    2) If yes, which starter would you try to move and for what kind of return?
    3) If no, would you consider moving a starter given the current rotation depth, or would you feel a need to get an additional arm before making any deals?

    • Doug Gray

      1. No. The only guy I would even consider replacing with Arroyo would be Leake, and the difference in money there doesn’t work given the rest of the finances.

      2. Skip.

      3. I wouldn’t consider moving any of them without having someone else already and if I am moving any of them outside of Leake, I would want a HUGE return.

  10. rgslone

    Based upon reading your information at this great site, I’ve got my hopes up for Ervin, Winker & Seth Mejias-Brean. Do you think each has a greater than 50% chance of being an above-average MLB starter (not just player)? When would you estimate each players arrival at the MLB level? Finally, what Home Run average would you project for SMB at the MLB level?

    • Doug Gray

      1. No. I wouldn’t put SMB there. Ervin and Winker, probably. I just want to see more from SMB before tossing him in there with those two guys. Ervin and Winker are both in my top 4, while SMB was 18th.

      2. I think Ervin and Winker could both potentially be ready at some point in 2015, but 2016 seems more likely. SMB is probably more in the for sure 2016 range for an earliest estimate.

      3. Until I see him tap into his power more in games (home run wise), I would say 15.

  11. sultan of swaff

    1. Stephen Drew is an available free agent. His offense would be a big upgrade over Cozart, but for more dollars. Would you pursue him?

    • Doug Gray

      1. Absolutely. It all depends on what he is looking for, but I would offer him 4 years.

  12. Norwood Nate

    It seems in recent years the Reds have brought in minor league FA’s that have ended up making the squad out of ST (McDonald, Robinson, Izturis, etc). Does Jason Bourgeois have a shot to compete for CF duties?

    Yesterday when writing up about relievers, no Jose Diaz mention. Already in AAA and was their closer. Put up solid numbers last year and in winter ball. Why no inclusion?

    Is Ondrusek the odd man out in the BP, and if so where does he go? By my count I have Chapman, Broxton, Marshall, Hoover, LeCure, Parra, Simon as the seven in the pen.

    • Norwood Nate

      Just wanted to add, that I looked up Bourgeois’ splits and his MLB career against LHP is 308/355/397. Platoon option with Billy?

    • Doug Gray

      1. Doubtful. The outfield is pretty set I would think. Bruce, Hamilton, Ludwick, Schumaker and Heisey are all going to be ahead of him on the depth chart.

      2. Diaz is going to be 30 next season. You just don’t see guys that often debut at 30 and stick around for the long haul.

      3. I would think he would be, assuming that everyone is healthy, but that is a big assumption at this point. It seems that hardly is ever the case. But, I imagine that he would be traded if there isn’t a spot for him.

  13. DaveCT

    Some of the reviews for Traveiso in Dayton have me concerned. Where would you rate his ceiling and what makes you think this?

    How much time at AAA does Corcino have to improve upon 2013 before he is made a reliever? July?

    What does Contreras need to do to stay a starter?

    • Doug Gray

      1. I think he has a #2 upside. I want to see more consistency with his stuff across the board. But when he was at his best, he was really good. With that said, there were times when his stuff didn’t stand out either. I think that is where you see some of the writers coming from when the reports leave people concerned. If you saw him at the wrong time, you are probably a lot different on him than if you saw him on the right day. I saw him on both kinds of those days. As an upside guy, I pay more attention to the best situation than the not-so-good ones because guys tend to grow at this stage.

      2. I think that sounds like a good time-frame to me.

      3. Improve his control would be the biggest thing for me. He has struggled against lefties in his career (kind of – the OPS against is actually quite good, but his K/BB rate is very poor against them).

    • MK

      You know Dave, Travieso actually got to a Dayton faster than Stephenson.

      • DaveCT

        True. I think my doubts, fair or unfair, are that he seemed a reach when drafted. But I need reminding that if he turns out just average, a #4 starter, we’ve done well.

  14. Joe

    1. what in your opinion would it take for the Reds to get Gardner from the Yankees?

    2. What player(s) would you target in a trade to improve the Reds?

    3. I’m curious when you started this site?

    Thanks

    • Doug Gray

      1. I honestly don’t know. I am very surprised they balked at Phillips for him.

      2. Anyone who is a true upgrade to someone they already have. That is such a tough question to answer.

      3. I am pretty sure that I first started writing about the farm system back in 2005 (though all of that is now gone). It was a different kind of thing back then and has gone from that, to writing at Blogspot (redsminorleagues.blogspot.com/), to MVN (Most Valuable Network – no longer around, but was basically like what SB Nation is now) to doing things all on my own again and where things are now.

  15. Red Thunder

    When did Jefry Sierra return to the Reds? Notice they park him on the Bats Roster for now.

    Is Sean Buckley returning this year from his injury?

    And minor league coaching changes for 2014?

    Lastly- sad to hear the passing of 1979 Red- Paul Blair – RIP!

    • MK

      Sierra became a coach for the Dominican Rojos team in 2013 and I understood they were working him as a pitcher. So, I get why he is back but not as a center fielder.

    • Doug Gray

      1. He re-signed with the team as a pitcher, which MK noted. I had heard about it at some point late in the summer.

      2. I would expect so. He has had some bad luck in the health department, so hopefully he can make it through the 2014 season healthy and get a full season under his belt.

      3. I imagine there will be some, but they haven’t been announced yet. It seems that there is often some shuffling of coaches throughout the system.

      • MK

        Doug, do you know this? Since they released and re-signed Sierra does his number of years of team control start over or is he credited with time served?

  16. Randy in Chatt

    I am looking at the draft order and the reds have the 20th & 30th picks (this can change w/ more free agents out there) but I noticed the Reds did not have any competitive balance picks this year. Do you know why we didn’t qualify (like we have in the past)?

    • Rick in Va.

      Not Doug. But as I understand it the competitive balance picks are distributed by lottery & not all eligible teams get one. The Reds lost this year.

  17. Vic

    What do the Reds see in Christiani that keeps him on the 40 man roster in lieu of what appears to be more talented players recently designated for assignment by other teams?

    • Randy in Chatt

      I was wondering that myself. It seems they hang on to some players longer than others at the expense of better players (at least in our eyes) (i.e., Villareal, Christiani, Negron, etc.).

    • Doug Gray

      Not sure who these other players are, so it is tough to say. But still,Christiani sits 92-95, so he has a pretty good arm.

  18. Jimmy

    Doug, in regards to Choo, how does a guy that had a very good year, (not a great year) get 130 million over 7 years? He batted .285. 133 SO,and very average defensive player. He had a very good OBP with the 119 walks and did a lot of things right in a contract year but not worth even close to the money he got! I predict it was a career year for him!

    • Doug Gray

      To be completely fair, Choo did have a great year. He has had 4 seasons in his career with an .880+ OPS, with 2013 tying for his 2nd best. Choo is an elite OBP player who also has power and solid defense in the corners. Essentially,he is one of the best corner outfielders in the game (no one is considering him as a center fielder). Teams are flush with cash. I am more curious as to how Jacoby Ellsbury got the deal that he did, having topped 10 home runs once in his entire career.

      Hardly any free agent performs enough for their contract, but that is just how the game is set up. Teams overpay for guys 30-40 year seasons because they drastically underpay them in their 20’s.

  19. DaveCT

    Any truth to semi-recent talk of Didi Gregorious being available? What would it take to re acquire him? Barnhart? Rogers or Holmberg?

    • Doug Gray

      It would take more than that. I have no idea if he would be available or not, but I imagine he would require a Major Leaguer in return or a ready top 6-7 prospect.

  20. Greg

    1. I’d like to either go down to Louisville or up to Dayton to catch a game this coming season. Which one would you recommend as far as either ballpark itself goes?

    2. What are your thoughts on the so called “bubble” bursting on the new mega tv deals that teams are getting? Think the Reds will be able to cash in once (I think) 2016 comes and goes?

    • Doug Gray

      1. Both are excellent. There is more to do in downtown Louisville if you are looking for stuff to do beyond the ballpark though.

      2. I sure hope they are, and I don’t think the bubble will completely burst because advertisers are paying through the roof for actual commercials people will watch. But, I do think that the Reds are going to get significantly less than some other teams were able to.

  21. David

    1) Do you agree with the guy from BA that thinks Medina may start in Dayton since he is 20?

    2) Ever hear anything about if Juan Silva is with the Dodgers?

    3) Do you think Emilio Bonafacio would be a fit for the Reds? He is a SH, who has played SS, which Walt said he wanted. He could also be insurance in CF.

    • Doug Gray

      1. From discussions I have had, that is the plan right now. Things can obviously change, but that is the plan for right now.

      2. Nope. I have checked the transactions over and over and still haven’t seen one involving him.

      3. Not to me. Guys with a game like his do nothing for me. Low walk, low power and have some strikeout to their game guys aren’t something I look at adding.

  22. Troy

    Doug, I saw you mentioned you would do a hypothetical deal with the O’s for Adam Jones. Does having prospects like Winker and Ervin, who seem to have good chances to be decent major leaguers due to their advanced approaches, prevent you from trading assets at other positions (in this case 2B- Phillips and P- Chapman) for a high paid OF like Jones, since you have solid cheap alternative OF help in the near future? Or do you worry about it in 2 years when you hopefully a good problem?

    • Doug Gray

      I worry about it when I need to. If those two were in AA at the end of 2013, it may have changed things, but they are both still a ways away. Injuries happen, some times guys just don’t develop as you expect. Especially with a team like the Reds who has the horses today to do some real damage.

    • Doug Gray

      I will take the under. If you set it at 15, I would be very confused as to which to take though.

    • Doug Gray

      Under. I just don’t trust guys coming off of shoulder injuries until they show otherwise.

      • Jim t

        Doug I agree totally but with what they are paying him he will be given the chance.

      • Alan Horn

        Jim that is the most serious situation about 2014. If he bounces back, we should be fine. If not, we have no suitable backup. Another year of near zero offense from LF will be a killer. The Reds are taking one heck of a chance rolling the dice on Ludwick. Hopefully, he comes through.

  23. Troy

    I hope Mes breaks out this year, because this team needs it. I think he’s one of the only guys in the lineup other than Bruce or Votto than can be a difference maker. It seems he started trying to yank everything once he got to the bigs, which Price alluded to a couple weeks ago. If he can start going the other way, which should help him hit the ball harder more consistently, I think he will trend closer to those numbers he had in the upper minors that we all loved!

    • Doug Gray

      Mesoraco has always been a big time pull hitter. In 2010 he went 27/18/12 spray rate to the outfield. In 2011 it was 30/22/9.

  24. RedsFaninPitt

    What would you think of a Chapman for Chris Denorfia and Jace Peterson trade? Do you think the Reds would have to add to the trade? If so, what would it take and would you do it?

  25. MK

    Reds give more? Can’t imagine them wanting to do it at all. They have Denorfia already in Chris Heisey. Patterson is a Class A shortstop who hit .300 in an inflated offensive California League. So an All Star closer for a Class A infield prospect?

    • Doug Gray

      Denorfia is quite a bit better than Heisey, but I think your point stands….. I don’t think the Reds would make that deal.

  26. babull

    I will go on record here. If Ludwick is the 4 hole hitter and doesn’t come remotely close to 2012 production, the team will not finish better than 3rd in the division and won’t make the playoffs

  27. babull

    There are 2 points I want to make here.

    #1 – Don’t you think that gambling on Ludwick is one hell of a crazy bet. The odds are long against. If he is on the team, he would not be penciled-in at cleanup on my card until/if he showed me what I want to see.

    #2 – Why, why, why did management not replace him when he went down last year?! They made a big move to get Choo for 1 year only. On day one, Ludwick went down and that was that. Choo was wasted and the General was given away for nothing. Very, very poor management. Small-market organizations that hope to compete don’t make stupid moves like that.

    • Doug Gray

      Fairly or unfairly, the team owes him plenty of money and when you aren’t a big payroll team, you aren’t benching a guy like that. As for not replacing him last year, it was probably due to them having trouble finding a guy who only had 1 year on their deal and was also affordable in both money and players to acquire.

      • Norwood Nate

        Yeah, if only there was a guy like Marlon Byrd out there, maybe on waivers or something….

      • Alan Horn

        Pride will get you beat. Sometimes you just have to realize you made a mistake. In this case it was due to injury. Again, hopefully, Ludwick will prove all our fears to be unfounded.