Wednesday afternoon all questions answered Doug Gray October 18, 2017 17 Comments I had planned on another article for the afternoon, but it’s just not going to be done today so I’m going to take some time to answer any questions you have. Well, at least up to three of them. You probably know the rules for these kinds of posts, but if you’re new or simply forgetful, here they are: You get up to three questions. Ask questions that aren’t going to require me to head to Baseball Reference and search for the answer for two hours. Avoid questions that are going to take four paragraphs to answer. I go on-and-on as it is. Ask questions before 9pm tonight and I’ll be sure to answer. That’s it. Leave your questions in the comments section. When I answer it, I will delete it from the comments and add it into this post. Get to it. 1) When/Where do you think we see Hunter Greene start 2018? In Dayton in April, In Dayton in June, In Billings/Greeneville in late June. 2) Where do these middle infielders start 2018?: Jeter Downs, Jose Garcia, Miguel Hernandez, Cash Case 3) In a wild unrealistic unbelievable scenario where all of Homer Bailey, Brandon Finnegan, and Anthony Desclafani are all healthy and ready to go opening day 2018, who is the 5th starter (assuming Castillo other one of the 4)? I believe we will see Hunter Greene in Dayton when his year begins, but I don’t think that’s in April. He’ll be 18-years-old all season, so they will want to limit his innings. I think we will see him in late May/early June. Dayton, Dayton, Greeneville, AZL or Billings. If you’re going off of 2017, it would have to be one of Romano or Stephenson. But, that doesn’t mean that’s how it’ll be decided. They may still head into the spring and say “best spring wins”. If that’s the case I’ve just got to throw my hands in the air because it’s impossible to know at that point. But, I’d put money if forced to, on either Stephenson or Romano heading into the spring. Reds have 2 young and effective 3B. Braves have 2 young effective CF. Braves system is also extremely deep 1. Do you see them as a viable Reds trading partner? 2. Which prospects/players would you target/trade for? 3. Give me a best guess on what you see Dick Williams doing this offseason. Including pitching, trades and Cozart. Thanks. I like Suarez (@30th in WAR last year in MLB) and either Duvall/ scooter to Braves. For acuna and a lesser prospect. Maybe Gohara The Reds have enough needs that every team in baseball is a viable trading partner. You dream of Acuna, but I’d imagine he’s untouchable unless you’re offering Luis Castillo+, and the Reds aren’t going to be doing that. I’ll kind of continue this answer with part three of your questions. I think the Reds are going to stand pat on starting pitching. Maybe they bring in a low salary starter/reliever hybrid similar to Feldman as a true insurance plan, but that’s probably it in terms of starting pitching. If a true difference maker shows up on the trade market, they could go that route – but I don’t expect anything in free agency. Where I think the team could go in free agency is relief pitching. No closers, but solid 7th inning types of guys. This could also be a target area in trades, too. The bullpen needs help and reliability. I believe there are some internal options worth exploring, but they will want to add some proven guys. If they are looking at prospects, I’d imagine shortstop is a target. It’s a weakness in the system, particularly in full-season ball. With Cozart, I don’t think they make a qualifying offer, but I do think they will try to bring him back on a 2-3 year extension. Whether the money works out for both sides, I don’t know. I wouldn’t offer more than 3 years and probably something like $32M. But even if I make that offer, I’d weigh it something like $14M, $10M, $8M – pay up front when you’re likely to get production and less at the back so if the production isn’t there it’s easier to move on. 1) Do you think Senzel would be a better option in RF than Winker because of his arm strength and above average speed? 2) would you call the Rockies, Diamondbacks and Astros this offseason and get them in a bidding war for Iglesias? All three teams are having their payrolls increase and have to spend upgrading the closer position. 3) Would Blandino be a better super sub than Peraza and Gennett? Yes and no. Senzel is athletic enough to play more valuable positions. Slotting him into a corner outfield spot takes away a lot of value. I’m not opposed to trading anyone in the right deal. I don’t know that I’d be actively trying to trade Iglesias, but I’d field calls on him for sure. That depends on exactly what you want from your “super sub”. Peraza’s ability to play center gives him a huge edge in that kind of role. Of course, he doesn’t project to provide as much offensive value as either of the other two guys. I’m not sure Gennett really fits the mold, though. He’s really only a second baseman, even though they played him in the outfield at times this year. Blandino’s ability to handle three spots on the infield is nice, though you’d want to pick and choose when to play him at short. And I think he could handle at least left field just fine with a little bit of experience out there. What do you see as Reds biggest need that they should address through trade? Who are you most/least reluctant to trade if you were management? What would you offer for Xander Bogaerts? Center field. While both center and short are big concerns, Peraza has at least shown in a half-season that there’s a chance he can hit a little bit. Hamilton simply has not shown he can do anything against big league pitchers. He’s 2200 plate appearances in and he still can’t hit his way out of a wet paper bag. Luis Castillo and Nick Senzel. I just think they both have a chance to be perennial All-Star caliber players. Bogaerts is signed for the next two seasons. He’s into arbitration, so he’s not exactly cheap moving forward, but won’t be super expensive, either. He certainly fills a need, as a shortstop, but the question is, is it worth giving up real assets for someone who won’t be around in 2020? I’m of the belief that 2018 isn’t a true compete year. I do think the team takes a big step forward next season, but they aren’t taking a +20 win step forward that they would need to truly compete for a playoff spot. I mean, it’s possible, but it’s very unlikely and planning on that is probably not a good idea. So, you are realistically trading for one season of a need. I think that I’d probably pass on trying to acquire him given what it would take and how long he’d be around. 1) Who do you believe is the Reds most underrated prospect? 2) What kind of innings limit will recent high school draftees like Hunter Greene and Jacob Heatherly have during their first full pro seasons? 3) What are does Vladimir Gutierrez need to improve on to become a better starter? Tough to say, honestly. Rankings for the 2017 season aren’t out yet from any place I’d say is reliable and they won’t be for a while. With that said, I think Taylor Trammell is being underrated a little bit by the scouts I talk to. Not by all of them, but too often it’s brought up that his arm will put him in left, and while I do agree that his arm isn’t ideal, I think it’s good enough to handle center field. So, I think that some scouts saying he’s a left fielder will push him a bit further down the rankings than I think he should be since I think center could be an option – assuming he doesn’t lose speed by filling out over the years (which is a possibility – though one that isn’t brought up nearly as often as the arm concerns). I think we are looking at two very different situations here. Greene will be 18 next season. Heatherly will be 20. I believe that Heatherly can probably be sent out for 120 innings next year. Greene will probably be a little bit more limited than that. I don’t have an exact number, but I’d guess under 100. Consistency with his stuff and stamina seem to be the big things. We saw that in 2017. Now, to be fair, he hadn’t pitched since early 2015 in Cuba, so it’s not surprising that both consistency and stamina as the season went along were things that popped up. Still, if he’s going to remain a starting pitcher, that’s where he’s going to need to show improvements moving forward. Could you this deal working out somehow? We send a package of upper prospects and Homer Bailey to Red Sox in return for David Price? Red Sox would get out of the long contract and rid themselves of a player who just doesn’t seem to thrive in a big market. (Sandaval, Carl crawford) Reds end up paying Price around $18m for 5 years instead of paying Bailey $23 m for 3 years. No, I can’t. Price wasn’t healthy for most of 2017,but when he was on the mound he posted a 135 ERA+. That’s well above-average. Price makes $30M, $31M, $32M, $32M and $32M over the next five years. There’s zero chance the Reds take that on. 1) Top of your head, who is your breakout position player and breakout pitcher for 2018? 2) Outside the current or to be added 40-man roster, which SP in system do you see as having potential to be either an Ace or SP 2? Gutierrez? Santillan? Greene? Others? 3) Besides Christian Yelich, top of your head, what other players are out there the Reds could package prospects and make a Mat Latos like trade for? I thought Chris Archer but don’t see Rays moving him. First guy that jumped to mind was Miguel Hernandez. For a pitcher? Tony Santillan. All of those guys fit my criteria, but I think it you asked scouts who have the idea that there are 8 aces and about 12 #2’s alive, then just Greene. Archer was the guy that jumped to my mind before your last sentence. Marcus Stroman also jumped to mind. He’s under control through 2020 – but is due arbitration moving forward. Not the deal that Archer is, but a young, controllable 200 inning guy with upside. I spent a few minutes looking around Fangraphs for other starters and couldn’t find anyone else that jumped out to me. For position guys, one guy people bring up often is Joc Pederson. I’m not opposed to that, but I honestly have no clue what the price tag would be, either. But, I’m also only interested there if the baseball people say he can play center every day. If he can’t, then I’ll pass. Essentially, though, I’d be looking for someone who can play CF or SS, with at least 3 years on their deal. 1. Thank you for the great work. How do you maintain your brutal schedule with out coffee? 2. Do you move Suarez off 3B when Senzel is ready? 3. Any Anna Kendrick updates regarding your wooing of her? I live off of Coca-Cola. I’m not going to make it to 40. I absolutely would. I’d move him to second base. With that said, it doesn’t sound like the Reds are planning on that. I’ve taken another step towards bettering myself. So, maybe that’s also the next step in “Plan: Date Anna Kendrick”. Would you sign a high to medium end arm this offseason (Tanaka, Darvish, Arrieta, Cobb or Lynn) knowing the Reds likely wouldn’t have much of a chance to make the playoffs in 2018 but assuming that 2019 and 2020 are more realistic windows. Or would you go the trade route this offseason or next or free agency next season? This obviously is assuming you believe the Reds need a solid number 2 or number 1 to fully compete in the near future. No. The Reds should not be in the market of signing free agents to big deals. The money simply isn’t there and the risk is too big given their small market status. The trade route is much better. You can acquire younger players who are making less money. I don’t think 2018 is the “playoff” year, but wouldn’t avoid acquiring someone this offseason as long as they are still around in 2019 and 2020. 1. Who do you project could break out in the minors as this years Aquino/Siri? 2. Who do you see as the best shot at being an in house answer to SS in the future, and what is his eta? 3. Assuming everyone is healthy, how would you sort out the depth of SP options the Reds have? Who goes to minors? Who goes to bullpen? Ect. Tough question – as I like to have really gone through all of the breakdown for everyone before picking someone and I simply haven’t done that yet. With that said, I sort of answered above with Hernandez and Santillan. So, for now, I’ll stick with those two. If there’s an in-house shortstop option I think it’s going to be someone that is currently in rookie ball. So, someone that’s at least 3 years away. Whether that’s Downs, Hernandez, Garcia….. it’s going to be a while. If everyone is healthy the rotation is going to be Bailey, DeSclafani, Finnegan, Castillo and one open spot up for grabs. I’d head into the spring with Romano and Stephenson as the favorites for the #5 spot with Mahle also very much in the conversation, but wouldn’t write off Garrett for the spot, either. Regardless of which of those guys would take the spot, I wouldn’t put any of them in the bullpen. The guys who didn’t get the spot would go to Triple-A and start every fifth day as depth for injuries/lack of performance. In the second half, things could change, but I wouldn’t put any of them in relief in the first half. What I would consider, though, is letting a guy like Jackson Stephens pitch out of the bullpen if he looked ready for that kind of role. McGuire, Reed – I’d also be ok with them in the bullpen if they appear to be ready to handle that role. 1) What was your favorite moment of the Reds MiLB baseball season (not necessarily on the field)? 2) I get the feel that Herrera has been written off as a candidate for next year when I read through comments on various posts here, at RLN, RR, etc. He hit really well last ST and finally got his surgery. Is he a serious contender for the starting 2b job next season? I understand he’s out of options, so he makes the team or gets cut. 3) Where do you think Cody Reed pitches to open 2018? And as a SP or RP? Following the 39-game hit streak for Jose Siri. He does have to make the team, but I think that unless something weird happens, Scooter Gennett is the starting second baseman next year. Now, there’s a chance Gennett could be traded, or that he simply plays terribly all spring – but short of that, I think that to start 2018, it’s his job. I can’t see any way that the Reds cut Herrera for anything baseball related. If it’s on the big league club, a reliever. If it’s in the minors, a starter. 1) Are either of Duvall or Schebler too good to suggest that they couldn’t be platooned in RF (assuming Winker in LF)? 2) Which players with Major League experience are still eligible for this off-season’s prospect list? 3) Regarding the Baseball America post the other day about expansion… What does the expansion process look like? Who initiates it? Who must sign off? How long would it take to actually get to the point of having two additional teams on the field? I think Schebler looks more like an every day kind of guy than Duvall does. I’d look at playing Winker in left and Schebler in right. Duvall can spot both of them. Rookie Davis, Jackson Stephens, Tyler Mahle, Deck McGuire, Alejandro Chacin, Keury Mella, Ariel Hernandez, Kevin Shackelford, Phillip Ervin, Zach Vincej, Chad Wallach. I don’t think I missed out on anyone. Major League Baseball in the past will have an expansion committee. From there, cities and prospective owners can submit bids/information for why they should be awarded a team. The current owners have to approve it, though there’s almost no reason for them not to. The new owner(s) would have to submit a “joining” fee, which would be a very, very large sum of money that would probably provide each franchise with tens of millions of dollars simply for voting yes. In 1998 it cost Tampa Bay and Arizona $130M. Since then, franchise values have skyrocketed, so it’s more likely that it would cost something of at least $750M now – the Reds, for example, are estimated to be worth somewhere between $900M-$1B. In the past, when expansion teams were awarded, it usually takes 3-5 years before they are given the team at the big league level. 1.) Who backs up Peraza at short next season? 2.) If Suarez is to stay at 3B going forward, do the Reds start playing Senzel at 2B next year in Louisville? 3.) Assuming Bailey/Disco/Castillo/Finnegan are in the rotation, who would you give the edge to for the 5th spot? I think there are two options here. On the 25-man roster, it’ll be Suarez. But, that will only be a short term thing – if they need someone for more than a day or two, they will go with Zach Vincej or another Triple-A shortstop if Vincej isn’t around. I don’t know one way or the other, but you’d have to think so, right? If the plan is to keep Suarez at third, then there’s no reason to not play Senzel at second in preparation for June, right? Already addressed this one above. Lets work on the premise that Castillo, Winker, Romano and Ervin have graduated from the prospects lists and have joined Stephenson, Reed, Garrett and Herrera. That seems like a certainty. The top 4 Reds prospects now look to be a consensus of Senzel, Trammell, Greene, and Mahle in whatever order you please. The #5 spot would look to be wide open, but more likely narrowed down to two, Siri and Santillan. 1. At this juncture, who are you leaning towards as your new #5 prospect for your post-season list?? 2. With the 5th selection in the 2018 MLB Draft, The Cincinnati Reds select ____________________. Way, way too early at this point, but with what you know now, who’s name would you like to see fill in that blank? Well, Ervin is still eligible, but he wouldn’t be in the Top 5, so it doesn’t change things here. But, I think that right now, I’m just not sure. I’m in the “information gathering” phase of my prospect list right now this week. Right now, without having all of the information I’d like, and not having talked with all of the people I’d like to have talked with yet, or pouring through the data I’d like to on some guys just yet, I’d say these guys are in the conversation at #5: Gutierrez, Stephenson, Santillan, Long, Downs, Siri. It’s way, way too early. But, if I had to draft someone today instead of in June, I’d go with a college guy because there’s just more data to work with. We’re dealing with less “projection” than you would with a high school guy who has yet to have his senior season. The #1 guy on the board seems to be Brady Singer, a right handed pitcher out of Florida. He’s got stuff and everything in his numbers last season with the Gators looks good. Felix Hernandez—140 IP with a 10/3 K/BB ratio as an 18 year old. Dwight Gooden–191 IP (!?) with 300 Ks and 112 walks, 10 complete games at 18 Nolan Ryan—120 IP with 150Ks and 78 walks at 18 All made it to the bigs by 19. 1. Do you believe Hunter Greene is a trancendent talent like those guys? 2. I get the Reds are loathe to even consider fast tracking Hunter Greene, but if he were to put up similar numbers (140 IP, 10/3 K/BB ratio) next year, would you promote him aggressively with the intention of a midseason callup in 2019? 3. If Greene dominates next year, what’s the highest level he’d finish at if you were in charge? Even if he were, he won’t be there by age 19. We don’t push pitchers like that anymore. Even with Hernandez, the big difference was that he was pitching professionally at 16 and building up innings that American/Canadian High School kids just weren’t. Absolutely not. And the Reds won’t either. As far back as I’ve been doing this, they’ve never promoted a high school pitcher a year out of the draft mid-season if he actually began that year in full-season baseball. Low-A. There’s just no reason to push it. If he dominates in 2018 with Dayton, he can finish the year there. Then in 2019, you let his performance dictate what you do. That first full year is about more than on the field stuff. Being on your own, the travel, how to prepare and handle a full season of baseball, etc. 1) Can or should Senzel try handling CF? Seems like he has the speed and arm. 2B seems crowded and 3B is occupied. 2) What minor leaguer with no experience in the majors plays the most for the redlegs next season. 3) Who wins the pitcher and hitter of the year next year for the minor league organization? It’s not the craziest thing ever, and I think he’s got the bare minimum speed for it, but I don’t think I’d do it. Of course, I’d also keep Senzel at third and slide Suarez to second, but the Reds don’t seem to be thinking along with me on that one. But, in regards to second base, while it is crowded, none of the others from that group project like Senzel does. Nick Senzel. I think he’ll get at least half of a season. Taylor Trammell or Shed Long among hitters. Pitcher? Tony Santillan, Jose Lopez? 1. What is your current view of Tyler Stephenson? How was his Instructional League and what do you expect from him going forward? 2. Is Jose Israel Garcia still mysterious at all to you? What have you heard about him? He was such a high profile and costly signing, but we barely know anything about him. 3. Can we expect a similar 2018 from Jeter Downs to what we saw from Taylor Trammell in 2017? He had the exact same OPS in Billings at the same age (.795) and he plays a more valuable position. Could you compare the two? Instructs ended earlier this week, so I haven’t talked with anyone yet about them. But, I’m hoping to do so within the next few days. That said, Stephenson is one of the better prospects in the organization. There’s still some work to do on the offensive and defensive side, but all of the parts are there. He can hit, he’s got pop, he’s got a strong arm behind the plate, he’s athletic. If he continues to develop, he’s an every day catcher in the big leagues who can hit. Those are rare. He’s not really mysterious, so to speak. But, I’d like to know more about him. I have heard some things about him since I last wrote about him, though. And I’m hoping to get some more information on him in the next few days, too. He’s an athletic, up the middle defender who can hit. He’s more of a hitter than defender, though there’s a chance he’s a future shortstop. The people with the Reds I’ve spoken to that have seen him in person have high praise for him. We’ll get eyes on him next year, but the Reds seem to be pretty happy about the player that they signed. Having never seen Jeter Downs play in person makes this a little bit tougher to do, but here’s what I feel about the comparison: Trammell is a little more athletic with more pop in his bat. It seems that at the same age, Downs has a better approach at the plate, he had 27 walks and just 32 strikeouts this season. That could lead to him being a better hitter for average, but Trammell’s got more size and the ball carries off of his bat well – so I think the power edge is going to go in his favor. 1. Realistically, in a trade what type of return could the Reds get for Duvall or Gennett (who seem to be the most likely players to be traded)? 2. Blandino had an awesome 2017 – he gets on base, has decent pop, and seems to play a good second base. What’s holding him back from be a solid everyday regular in the bigs? 3. Looking ahead to 2019 and the Reds pushing for the playoffs (hopefully), do you think the Reds can get away with an infield of Votto, Senzel, Suarez, and one of Blandino, Long, Peraza, Herrera, or some other prospect already in the system (in whatever alignment you prefer)? Modest, but not great returns on both. With Duvall, what he does best, hit for power, is something a lot of guys are doing now. So that’s not as valuable as it once was. Toss in that he’s a low on-base percentage guy, and while there is some value there, it’s probably not a ton. For Gennett, what’s working against him is that he’s not a good defender and he’s starting to make real amounts of money in arbitration. What works in his favor is that he just smashed 25+ home runs at second base, which isn’t done frequently. I think you could probably get a quality reliever for either guy. His glove isn’t enough to be an shortstop daily. His bat isn’t enough at third. So, really, he’s a second baseman if he’s a starter, and I think that he could fill that role. The thing holding him back there is opportunity. He’s blocked by Gennett, Herrera and probably Senzel right now. Yes. I’d probably be looking for a different shortstop option than Peraza (who is the only one on that list that the team believes can play there daily) – but I believe that infield could work as long as you are getting quality pitching and the outfield is hitting. Regardless of where they are currently in the system, who is your starting 9 opening day? I’ll assume that I’m the GM for this one, which means that I’m not going with someone like Senzel because it just makes sense to keep him down for 10 days to get an extra year of control. So I’d go Castillo, Barnhart, Votto, Gennett, Peraza (though if Cozart would sign for 3-33-ish, him), Suarez, Winker, Hamilton, Schebler. 1. Do you see another Senzel/Greene type pick for Reds at #5 in next years MLB draft? 2. Name your two breakout prospects both pitcher/hitter that will ascend the Reds farm system rankings and Baseballs Top 100 3. What are Reds biggest needs in next draft that you hope they target early on? No. The top player in the draft usually doesn’t last until #5. If I had to pick guys that aren’t Top 100 now, but could be after next year: Tyler Stephenson, Tony Santillan, Vladimir Gutierrez, Jeter Downs. I don’t hope they target any area of need in the draft because the draft is too fickle to pick what you think you need instead of the best player on the board. You can never have enough catchers or shortstops, though. 1. Is Senzel athletic enough to play CF? He stole a surprising amount of bases last year and that has me curious. 2. If not, I love the thought of an outfield rotation of Duvall, Winker, Schebler, Hamilton and Ervin. Joe Maddon could make that a winning OF. Can Price? 3. Leaving aside the bullpen, the Reds biggest hole next year is at SS. From my perspective, Peraza is best suited for a utility role. If it were my team, I’d give up a lot for a guy like Turner, Russell or Baez. Who would be your top choice and what would you be willing to give up in a hypothetical trade for a young but established big league SS? Realistic trade — Dodgers aren’t trading Seager, Indians aren’t trading Lindor etc. Wasn’t Bregman a SS in college? Nick is faster than he gets credit for from almost everywhere I’ve ever seen. He’s a plus runner. With that said, he’d be near the bottom in speed among center fielders, who are all plus runners or better. Being a plus runner is the bare minimum to play center field in the big leagues. While it’s a possibility, it’s probably not something that’s a realistic long term thing. I’d prefer just getting a center fielder who can hit a little bit and not worry about trying to rotate five guys for three spots. But, no, I don’t trust Price to try and rotate four, much less five guys into those three spots. Nothing he’s done in his career as a manager suggests he can or will do that. Bregman was a shortstop in college, but most figured he’d slide to second as a pro. Of course, with the Astros, that wasn’t happening. So he slid the other way where there was an opening. Teams aren’t giving up young shortstops, so the list is going to be tough to make. But here’s an idea: Tim Beckham. Under control through 2020, so he buys you some time for your next move, but he’s also still cheap and on a team that might be looking to cash in for prospects. I wouldn’t give a Top 4 prospect (Senzel/Greene/Trammell/Mahle), but after that, I’d be willing to give up some actual talent. Maybe Duvall would fit in there with the DH and their needing to replace Seth Smith, who is a free agent. Any idea why Aquino hit so poorly this year? Mental block? Swinging at bad pitches? Can’t hit AA level curve balls? The jump to Double-A is considered the toughest for a reason. Pitchers can usually throw more than one pitch for a strike when they want to. Aquino’s aggressiveness worked against him. Good offspeed stuff was a problem, but he did improve in that respect as the season went along. But, he went from swinging through it to simply making contact. He still punished mistakes, though. He’s going to have to make that next step in that area if he’s going to get back to where he was in 2016. Baseball’s about adjustments. Aquino’s going to have to make them once again. Do you believe Cody Reed to the ‘pen or trade him? What do you think the Reds need to win the central? Does Joey Votto become a captain (like Barry Larkin once did)? I don’t think those are the only two options, particularly for 2018. I think that at this point the bullpen seems more likely, but I wouldn’t write off starting just yet, either. Time and some luck. Unfortunately the Reds are fighting an uphill battle. The Cubs can basically print money, so they’ll almost always win in free agency and player retention over the Reds. They also had a nice, long head start on the Reds when it comes to the analytical stuff. So, basically, the Reds need to not only be smarter than the Cubs, they need to be luckier, too. Health matters and comes into play – the margin for error for a team like the Reds is infinitely smaller than a team like the Cubs who can buy away many mistakes they make along the way. Guy gets hurt? Go sign a big free agent to fill in. Gets hurt in the season? You can trade for anyone because you can afford the salary. The Reds can’t do that. I think the Reds have the talent to compete for a playoff spot if they can stay healthy and guys develop in a way that we believe they can. But that pure talent isn’t always enough because guys get hurt sometimes. And even with the talent I believe they do have, I think the upside is more of a 90-win team than a 95+ win team, which is what I think it’s going to realistically take in most years to beat the Cubs for the foreseeable future. I’m shocked it already hasn’t happened. What the heck are they waiting for? He’s around forever. He’s the best player they’ve had in a very, very long time. What’s the hold up? I enjoyed your story on the thought of acquiring Yelich from the Marlins. Assuming the Marlins want to shed payroll and remain as competitive as possible, would you recommend the Reds offer a package of Suarez (Reds seem to want to keep both Suarez and Senzel at 3B) and Hamilton and take on a contract such as Prado or even the injured Volquez to offset 5 years of control of Yelich vs. 3 years of control with Suarez? In a non competitive year, the contract wouldn’t be an albatross as we’re not likely to try to sign a high cost free agent this year. This keeps the prospect farm in tact for 2019 trades, too. Thoughts? I don’t think the Reds would be willing to take on that kind of money, and with Prado especially, he’s making $28.5M over the next two years. Both teams want to keep salary costs low. The Reds don’t have much room to add salary as it is. 1) Hasn’t the postseason taught us it’s all about the pitching/bull pens? His delivery is more conducive to the pen and with Peralta/Lorenzen/Iglasias the Reds would have an “October” pen. Why not just move Finnegan to the pen in 2018 and let Garrett/Stephenson/Romano/Mahle battle for the 4th & 5th starter position? 2) Why not try to lock Suarez up to a 6/7 year deal right now? If he balks, or it looks like it is going to be tricky in the future, deal him now for controllable talent that is locked up (Yelich/Archer) 3) Why not move Hamilton back to Centerfield and bat him 8th? If Shin Soo-Choo can play center at GABP why can’t Schebler, Ervin, or Winker? At least until Trammell is ready in 2020? No, it hasn’t. The Indians had the best pitching staff of all time in 2017. They didn’t make it out of the first round. The next best pitching staff in baseball? The Diamondbacks. Red Sox and Nationals also in the Top 6. You’ve got to generally be good at everything. But the reason you don’t force Finnegan to the bullpen is because starting is far more valuable than relieving and you don’t push someone to the bullpen until it’s necessary. Right now, it’s not necessary. Odds are they’ve talked about it. But, if you are Suarez, why would you sign that much of an extension right now unless the team were going to massively overpay? He’ll hit free agency at a good age right now to get himself PAID as long as he keeps producing. And while I’m sure you could trade Suarez for one of those guys, you’d have to add a high quality player/prospect with him, too. I’ll assume you mean move Hamilton back to shortstop. But, the reason you don’t is because he probably can’t do it at this point. He hasn’t played there in, what, six years? Choo had similar speed to Schebler and Ervin. Winker is a non-starter in center. He has nowhere near the speed required to play center. The pitchers would go on strikes. But if you’re going to play a poor fielder in center, which is what Schebler would be, they need to be an elite bat, which Schebler isn’t. Ervin’s probably a better defender than Schebler is, but he’s not the hitter that Schebler is. I’d still give Ervin a look out there, and I’m still scratching my head as to why it didn’t happen in August/September when Hamilton was on the DL. 1. How likely do you think it is that Joey Votto winds up in the hall of fame? 2. With Castillo, Romano, Stephenson, and Mahle having some big league success – how much time do you think Reed and Garrett should be given to figure things out as starters in AAA before moving them to the pen. One more season? 3. If MLB has to add two new franchises, which two cities would you choose? Very. He’s got some work to do, still, but he’s on target. He will need to keep performing, but if he has two more strong seasons, and then just a normal decline from there, he’s in, easily before he reaches the limit of years before he’s off the ballot. Yes, one more season. I really, really like the idea of Mexico City getting a team. But, I like the idea, not so much the reality of it. It’s so far from the rest of baseball that it’s just tough to imagine a way to make the travel aspect of it all working out. I’d give Montreal another shot, for sure. After them, I’m just not sure I’ve got enough information to pick a different city. 1. Besides Yelich, which other center fielder do you think the reds can possibly target in a trade or in free agency? 2. Besides Cozart, which other shortstop do you think the reds can possibly target in a trade or in free agency? 3. Fun question here. Out of the last teams last in the playoffs, which team would you least like to see win? Jackie Bradley Jr. Lorenzo Cain. Ender Inciarte. I mentioned Tim Beckham earlier and I like that idea. I don’t think there’s anyone on the free agent market I’d be serious about. They are all on the wrong side of 30. They aren’t called the Evil Empire for nothing. Really though, the Yankees don’t NEED another ring, do they? Share the wealth. Of course, I won’t mind if they win. I’m just rooting for good baseball at this point. 17 Responses Kyle J. October 18, 2017 Looks like my #3 question was answered already. So replacement question: 3.) Does Dilson Herrera have a shot to start at 2B next year? Or is it Scooter’s to lose? Doug Gray October 18, 2017 I answered that one, too. Third time’s a charm? Tampa Red October 18, 2017 Thanks for the reply Doug. I’d trade Duvall for Beckham in a second. Living in Tampa Bay, I’ve followed his career pretty closely. He’s finally starting to come into his own. Good call! Agreed on the CF upgrade, but still think SS is the more pressing need. Hamilton is totally miscast as a lead off hitter, but move him to the bottom and fill the whole at SS and his bat becomes a lot less of a concern. To me, anyway. Doug Gray October 18, 2017 I think it would take more than Duvall, but I think that’s a good starting point. DaveCT October 18, 2017 Just throwing this out there. Gorden Hayward’s injury last nice was brutal. Not sure where other parts of the country are at, but Celtics fans and the organization are pretty devastated. As much as one can be for something sports related, anyway. Kap October 18, 2017 I know I’m cheating, but I just thought of another question. I guess just pick any 3 of the 4 please. I like jake odorizzi. Good sturdy starter who has an era around 4 every year while pitching around 170 every year. The rays currently don’t not have any starting 2nd baseman. I think a trade package of scooter plus one of the young starters could be enough to land him. Thoughtso on this trade idea? Thanks doug Doug Gray October 18, 2017 I was already answering when you came up with this, so I’ll let you cheat. But I’m answering it down here. Because I’m a rebel. Not sure he’s the kind of guy the Reds should target if they are going to go after pitching. He doesn’t seem like an upgrade to any of the guys they’ve got now that are fighting for a job. And he’s going to probably make $5-6M next year. Ryan October 18, 2017 Doug – I know you have mentioned that Senzel has displayed better than anticipated speed shortly after he was drafted. I saw DW mention left field as a possibility but what would Senzel in center look like? Doug Gray October 18, 2017 Probably not all that good. He’s got the bare minimum speed for the position. So to be solid out there he’d have to have perfect reads and routes. True center fielders are 70 and 80 runners. Senzel is more of a 60-65 guy. Ryan October 18, 2017 Also, who do you see making a bigger impact for the Reds – Alex Blandino or Dilson Herrera? Doug Gray October 18, 2017 If Senzel winds up at second base, neither will have much of a spot. And right now, that’s kind of where things are looking if you’re going to listen to the front office. That said, I’m more of a believer in Herrera’s bat than Blandino’s. Not that I don’t think Blandino can hit, I do. I just think Herrera can hit more. 44Reds October 18, 2017 Any chance Senzel becomes our starting shortstop? Doug Gray October 18, 2017 No. Bill October 18, 2017 To follow up on the SS questions, would you want to see the Reds try to trade for Profar from Texas or Marte from Arizona? William Kubas October 19, 2017 ” I’m more of a believer in Herrera’s bat than Blandino’s. Not that I don’t think Blandino can hit, I do. I just think Herrera can hit more.” The difference between former Stanford Cardinal, Alex Blandino and Dillon Herrera in 2017, is Blandino has been on the field for 2017 and Herrera has not. Will there be a difference between Blandino and Herrera in 2018, that is what makes time interesting. Patrick October 19, 2017 I think people are a little too down on Peraza now. After last year I thought people were too high on him. Quite funny how one year changes peoples prespective. I think Peraza is in-between he should be ok in the field and at the plate for a SS next year. He will be basically average ss as a hitter (82 +rc) and I believe with the glove. It will see bad since Cozart has been above average bat and glove. Cozart is plan A and Peraza is plan B. Seems to be the Reds plan Krozley October 19, 2017 In regards to the question of prospect eligibility, I believe Winker is also still on that list. I think the top 5 of Senzel, Greene, Winker, Trammell, and Mahle (in some order) is a step above the rest.