Rule 5 Draft Preview: The Infielders Doug Gray December 12, 2017 34 Comments Yesterday we looked at several pitchers that would be good targets for the Cincinnati Reds in Thursday morning’s Rule 5 Draft. Today we will take a look at the infielders that could be available. The Reds need someone who can handle shortstop. While they have Jose Peraza, he is the only player on the 40-man roster who seems capable of being an every day defender at the position. After losing Zach Vincej on waivers to Seattle, they also don’t have anyone set for Triple-A who can handle the spot there, either. Perhaps a minor league free agent can be signed to provide that defensive depth for now. But, there could be options in the Rule 5 Draft, too. One guy that jumps out that could fill a need for the Reds is Pirates prospect Pablo Reyes. He was 23-years-old last season and spent the entire year in Double-A. He has spent the last two seasons roaming center field and playing both shortstop and second base. Reyes is capable of playing all of the spots defensively. At the plate he was solid, hitting .274/.356/.410 in 115 games. He walked 51 times with 70 strikeouts and had 10 home runs. He struggled on the bases. While the infielder stole 21 bases he was also caught 14 times. Speed is clearly there, but he needs to use it better. The other option that makes the most sense from a shortstop perspective is Zach Vincej. He can handle the position every day, defensively. There are some questions about his bat and how it would play in the Majors, he makes contend at a good rate and held his own at the plate in Triple-A last year. It may look bad if the Reds selected him, though. They could have just kept him two months ago and been able to option him to the minors instead of having to keep him on the 25-man roster all year. But, Vincej certainly could fit a need that the Reds currently have. The Baseball America list has a few defensive first shortstops, but both have struggled mightily at the plate in Double-A (or lower) that I just can’t see them making much sense for the Reds. Will the Reds select an infielder? Beyond shortstops it’s tough to see where the Reds would be looking. The 40-man roster already has three catchers on it, and carrying a 3rd catcher on the 25-man roster for a second straight year seems impossible. The team already has eleventy-billion options for second base, and Dilson Herrera must remain on the 25-man roster as it is in 2018. If the Reds don’t go shortstop, I’d be incredibly surprised to see them take an infielder on Thursday. The other positions just aren’t ones of need. 34 Responses Brad December 12, 2017 What would everyone offer the Marlins for Ozuna and Tazawa OR Ozuna and Ziegler? Must take on entire salaries. Colorado Red December 12, 2017 The more you expect the Marlins to take on, the greater the prospect list you need to give. wes December 12, 2017 I think Reds gotta just go all in on peraza. Be hard to take that guy from Pirates unless he’s a second pick and still is very difficult to keep a guy with so little AAA and big league experience. Secondly I think that because of the amount of backup infielders Reds have. I assume Scooter goes into season starting second. So that leaves you with Herrera and Blandino and eventually Senzel later in the season. So probably for 1/2 the season there is 3 backups for infield. Reds need to find a suitable backup out of group they have. Even if that includes Senzel or Suarez. Doug Gray December 12, 2017 You can’t go all in on Peraza because you always need a backup and they literally don’t have one. There’s not a single every day defensive shortstop anywhere near the roster. You can’t go into April without one, even if it’s someone in Triple-A and not on the 40-man. Right now, that guy doesn’t exist in the Reds organization. wes December 12, 2017 So you are going to fill a roster spot with a guy who’s never played AAA or higher? Or sign a 30 year old guy and over pay him to come in like Cozart, Nunez, or Escobar? Or you sign a second tier ss who’s ability is less than all the guys mentioned above and take away pt from younger guys? I think what I said is their plan or they would have kept Vincej from Louisville last year. Or they are going to make a trade but DW doesn’t seem overly eager to pull the trigger on anything yet. If management is projecting 18 as another rebuild year- why not? Doug Gray December 12, 2017 I think they need to explore every last option you mentioned. If you can get a true upgrade in the big leagues at shortstop and not mortgage your future for short term gains, go for it. If you can acquire an upgrade at shortstop in the majors with long term control, go for it. If you can grab a back up in the Rule 5 draft as insurance, go for it. If you can’t do any of those other things, then sign a minor league free agent to play shortstop in Louisville as your insurance. Not getting anyone is not an answer when you must have an answer. HavaKlu December 12, 2017 Even though the Reds haven’t talked about it, I still think the backup at SS has to be Suarez. He is the most experienced SS they have to offer and I don’t think they’d have any qualms about him filling in at SS if needed. Doug Gray December 12, 2017 I guess I’d counter with: IF the team thought Suarez could play SS everyday, they’d have to be the biggest group of idiots alive to not have him playing there everyday right now instead of Peraza. They’ve already told you with their actions that they don’t think he’s an everyday option at shortstop from where I’m sitting. Wes December 12, 2017 Spot on klu. Suarez or blandino or scooter or Herrera but I’ll lean Suarez and only as a back up. That’s the way management seems leaning toward unless something better comes up. And I think management is content w that too. Billy December 12, 2017 I was looking around at the Rule 5 options last week, and Reyes was the one name that jumped out to me also. I’d love to see the Reds get him. Norwood Nate December 12, 2017 Erick Mejia was another name that stuck out to me. He’s from the Dodgers organization. Had a 117 wRC+ in AA with BB% over 9 Piggly Wiggly December 12, 2017 Pass, big time, on the infielders. Go pitching. Day 3 of the Winter Meetings is half over, and the Reds front office has done diddly squat. Williams is doing his best Walt Jocketty imitation. Waiting for the market to come to them, instead of being aggressive. Passitivity rules the week for the Reds again this year. If this is all the Reds do this week, Williams will prove he is no different than Jocketty. Williams is in way over his head. Bring back Wayne Krivsky. What a disappointing week so far. Nothing. Diddly squat. Colorado Red December 12, 2017 Sometimes things are set up and the meetings, and come due a bit latter. Not sure what is going on, but I am not going to get upset will Spring Training starts. Colorado Red December 12, 2017 get upset until spring training starts. Sorry Doug Gray December 12, 2017 *checks moves made at winter meetings* Hmm. Seems like hardly anyone has done anything at all. greg December 12, 2017 Winter meeting freak outs/panics are priceless. The Duke December 12, 2017 Better to make no move than a bad move. DW can’t force teams to give him players on great deals for the Reds. You don’t get a Luis Castillo for Dan Straily every year. wes December 12, 2017 Totally agree Duke! They haven’t made a terrible trade yet so that’s a win. Shameful to compare Dick to Walt- Dick has a track record of being in on EVERYTHING. Most haven’t panned out but he’s doing his homework and that’s encouraging. Hard to think he’s not pursuing Bradley or Yelich but if other team isn’t interested or wanting to much then waiting is surely the best route. PW, try not to let your emotion get the best of you victor vollhardt December 12, 2017 double ditto on DUKE’S comments Hoyce December 12, 2017 Names reportedly on the trade block: machado, Harvey, ozuna, Britton, yelich, JBJ, betances, cards OF’ers, mccutcheon, Harrison, Clint Frazier,Michael fulmer, Danny Duffy, Domingo Santana, and more Doug- do any of these players make sense for the Reds? Like to hear ur take. Ps I know ur feeling on yelich Doug Gray December 12, 2017 Ozuna makes sense, but probably not at the cost acquisition. JBJ makes sense. Clint Frazier makes some sense depending on the cost acquisition, though I think it would be high and not sure he’s worth it given the system we have. Fulmer does nothing for me given the perceived cost. Duffy could make some sense depending on what it would cost, but his salary isn’t exactly cheap (though not expensive for what he brings). Billy December 12, 2017 So the Yanks sent Headley to the Padres for salary relief. Now they need an affordable 2B or 3B, assuming Torres plays the other position. The Reds have some affordable options to dangle. Would you consider listening to offers on Suarez, knowing that you could plug Senzel in at 3B without having to shift him around the field? What could you get in return for Suarez? Doug Gray December 12, 2017 I’d absolutely consider moving Suarez. But, I’d want a very big return, too. Stock December 12, 2017 It is not like the Reds are going to win 90 games so you absolutely add Pentecost or Cuiffo if he is the best player available. This is especially true for Pentecost if you can stash him on the 60 day DL. I don’t know how is shoulder is and if his catching days are over I would not have him on my list. From my perspective Turner showed me nothing with the bat last year and all Meso showed was that he has trouble staying healthy. You really have no reliable backup to Barnhart. Turner was drafted last year because the Reds didn’t have a third option behind Meso and Barnhart and didn’t know how healthy Meso would be. Things have changed zero in my book. They still don’t have a third catcher behind Meso and Barnhart and they still don’t know how healthy Meso will be. Burch Smith is the obvious first choice if available but my top 5 includes both Pentecost and Cuiffo. Two catchers, partly because they are two of the better players available and partly because of need. Hoyce December 12, 2017 Yanks have andejar waiting for 3B But I’d trade Suarez to yanks. And ask for Torres and Acevedo in return. Adjust from there Michael B. Green December 12, 2017 Have not read everyone’s comments yet so I apologize for any duplication. Could CIN not sign a UT IF via the Rule 5 route and put Herrera on the 60-day DL? Then when Herrera has “rehabbed” his injury (with sufficient minor league time), they could activate Herrera and return the Rule 5 player to his original return and receive part of the Rule 5 money back. Doug Gray December 12, 2017 It’s possible, but everything we have heard says Herrera will be ready to go to start the spring. So I wouldn’t count on him hitting the DL at all, much less for the first two months of the season. CP December 12, 2017 I like that Reyes kid, but it seems to me the power arms have a better chance of sticking in the bullpen all year than he does on the bench. Maybe I’m way off on that, but spending your first year in the majors on the bench, with no experience above AA seems like a big ask. Go with the power arm in the 1st round and if Reyes is still there the 2nd time around then pull the trigger. MK December 12, 2017 Don’t you imagine Herrera will need to spend at least half a year on 60-day DL as he recovers from the shoulder surgery. I would think Trahan should be able to handle shortstop in a pinch. Would not mind seeing them reacquire Vincej if they are picking someone. Doug Gray December 12, 2017 Everything I’ve heard is that Herrera will be good to go at the start of the spring. Shamrock December 12, 2017 MAX PENTECOST is my pick!! Barnhart = serviceable starter Mez = unreliable for much of anything Turner = backup at best (even after he has a full year in Louisville) TySteve = hopeful by 2020…but way too early to count on Okey = bum Also, I don’t think it counts as “carrying three catchers” when you’re fairly certain Mez will be on the DL for at least half the season AND that you can use the same DL to stash Max for 60 days. Given the state of our catching corps, I’m kinda disappointed that you didn’t even mention him as a possibility Doug……. (STOCK, I’m with you on this one. At least on Max……the other guy Cuiffo looks like the 2nd coming of Stu Turner. Pentecost is rumored to actually be able to hit a baseball) The Duke December 12, 2017 Pentecost has caught less than 40 games as a pro since being drafted. He hurt his shoulder yet again in the AFL. Calling Barnhart serviceable is ignorant. Gold Glove defense and a .750 OPS last year, signed for a reasonable contract through 2022. Jeff December 12, 2017 Blandino is definitely NOT the answer … his defense is way below average ….. & turning someone else into a shortstop that hasn’t even played at the big league level is setting the reds up for failure…… we need to set up some package deals and get rid of some of the dead weight …. MK December 12, 2017 Blandino can catch and throw but range would be the issue.