Mark Sheldon just tweeted out that the Cincinnati Reds have spoken with reliever Craig Stammen, among others.

The Reds have a clear need in the bullpen. Craig Stammen posted an ERA of 3.14 last season with San Diego. That came with 28 walks (three intentional) and 74 strikeouts in 80.1 innings. Those are solid, but unspectacular rates for a reliever. He’s also a ground ball guy, getting 52% grounders on balls in play in 2017.

Bringing in Craig Stammen would be a solid move if the price is right. He’s not someone that I would overpay for. On a $4M deal for one or two years (making it $8M), that seems like a good deal. I’m not sure that the Reds should be in the position to make a much better deal than that, though. If the team were closer to the “compete for the playoffs” part of their rebuild, maybe it makes more sense to pay a little more for a guy like Stammen, but they aren’t there yet.

Zack Cozart signs with the Angels

The Cincinnati Reds had been keeping tabs on Zack Cozart all of the offseason, looking to possibly bring him back on a team friendly deal if the opportunity presented itself. It didn’t.

The Los Angeles Angels of Earth have signed Zack Cozart to a 3-year deal worth $38M. They will also slide him over to third base, a position he’s never played an inning at as a professional (Majors or Minors). With that said, there’s no reason to think he can’t slide over to third base perform very well defensively.

I’ve got tons of questions about his bat, though. He broke out in a year when everyone broke out because the baseball was juiced. He didn’t change his batted ball profile, didn’t hit the ball hard, didn’t change his launch angle – nothing, compared to the year before. The results were just far different when it came to what he did when he put the bat on the ball. He did improve the walk rate, which really helps. But, if baseball fixes the juiced ball problems, and you put him in the much larger ballparks out west, I’ve got some real concerns about just how much he will hit.


41 Responses

  1. The Duke

    $38 million is a good chunk of change for a 32 year old who has missed 40 or more games each of the last 3 years. In his 6 year career almost half of his oWAR came last year. Good for him for getting that contract, I’m glad we’re not the ones who gave it to him.

    • sultanofswaff

      Cozy’s contract was a touch higher than I had him pegged for, but real close. I still think it was a huge miscalculation to not give him the QO. With all the money flying around, his market value clearly exceeded $17mil.

      Looks like we’re stuck with Peraza…….and now the impetus to trade Hamilton becomes more pressing. Trying to carry those two plus the pitcher in the lineup is like entering a one legged man in a butt kicking competition.

      • asinghoff

        Rangers get Hamilton + 12 to 15 Prospect for Profar.

        Just saying what I’m hearing. Change of scenery for each. Both former top prospects who haven’t come to fruition. Contract of Profar and higher previous prospect ranking is why the Reds have to add. Other pieces could be included but this is the framework.

        Until, of course, it falls apart.

      • Norwood Nate

        Wait…the Reds would have to add a prospect to get Profar? That doesn’t make any sense. Hamilton is an established ML player who’s has two elite skills in baseball. Profar has no options remaining and hasn’t proven anything in Majors. The Rangers should be the ones adding a prospect, not the Reds.

    • Bubba Woo

      Would have gladly signed Cozart for 3/38 mil. Above avg. defender, top 3 off. shortstops in NL. He’s only 32, meaning he’ll be 35 by the end of the contract. Maybe by year 3 you might have to move him to another position. Until then, the Reds would have had 3 years to develop one of their top SS prospects, none of whom are above A ball yet.

      Now, we’ll have a SS in Peraza who had a negative WAR last year, and whom most scouts (outside the Reds org.) say does not project to be a ML quality defensive SS. Yes, the biggest problem with this team is pitching, but I don’t see how you get better replacing your 2nd most productive offensive player with a below average hitting/below average fielding replacement.

  2. Alex

    I hope the Reds have a plan for CF and SS. Career years by Cozart and Scooter masked the issue, but even then the Reds were only 15th in team wRC+ last year at 96. With Cozart gone and Scooter likely to regress, this offense could very well drop down into the bottom third of the league. It is extremely difficult for the rest of a lineup to hit well enough to make up for the negative offensive value Peraza and Billy provide.

    • CP

      Scooter might regress, but others could progress just as likely. Schebler could end up healthy all year and build on his year last year. Winker could come into the league and surprise. Suarez is still growing and could be even better, Nick Senzel is well, Nick Senzel, ect…..

      I also think the pitching takes a step forward with normal development, barring the terrible injuries don’t crop up again. Even if the offense regresses a slight bit, better pitching could make up for it. Then again, both may get better.

      I do agree that the Reds need a plan for CF and SS. We just might not see that plan come to full fruition until a year from now. Seems like the FO is committed to giving Pereza a good long look at SS this next year.

      • Alex

        I agree with you for the most part. I am cautiously optimistic about the pitching if it can stay healthy (or at least healthier than it did last year). Winker should be at least a marginal upgrade in the corners and Senzel has huge potential, although I think counting on him to step in and immediately provide as much offensive value as Scooter did this past season would be asking too much. Maybe that combined with a healthy Schebler and continued improvements from Suarez would be enough, but to me that seems more like a best case scenario than a realistic expectation. Trading for a guy like Yelich or finding a similarly offensively capable SS would make me much more optimistic about the offense going forward.

  3. Brad

    1) Congrats to Zack Cozart and his family. Not sure many people deserve it more that he does. Great contract, great situation, great timing.

    2) I have been intrigued with Stammen, especially being a local guy. Just dont see Reds paying 4M/year for any reliever at this point. Have too many arms to figure out.

    3) I would have preferred Brad Boxberger for a similar trade he was moved for (ie: Wyatt Strahan) at Arb: 2.3M + 2019 than sign Stammen

  4. The Rage

    fwiw, the Reds tried trading Duvall for a CF “upgrade”. But did not get it done. That is why the Hamilton deal fell apart. They wanted not only Ramos, but also a top bullpen prospect and they might have budged if Duvall was dealt to drop Ramos.

    Probably still will happen. These meetings tend to set up things down the road………

    Rotation looks like now removing the Disco lip service(they know he is toast)
    1.Bailey: The Reds really have no choice and Homer says he feels great……..finally. If the bone spurs were the center of his problems, this was another failing of the Reds medical staff. He could have had these out after the 2013 season with no damage to his career. They are very difficult to spot and cause the arm to weaken even as small spurs.
    5.Finnegan: I am putting him here for now until his physical condition is better updated.

    That probably will be your rotation. Disco as I said last summer is toast. You don’t make it with a 11% tear of the UCL. While not as bad as Bailey’s in 2015, it is bad enough the more consistent effort you put on it, the more it will act up. Lorenzen’s by comparison was only 5% which is well under the level needed for consistent inflammation. He should have had surgery last summer. The Reds advised for it and now will just play Hospice care with him until he capitulates this spring.

    • Bubba Woo

      I would also put Mahle as a probable for the rotation at this point as well, just based on Bailey/Finnegan/DeScalfani all coming off of major injuries and the fact that I wouldn’t consider Romano a lock to win a spot out of Spring Training.

  5. Piggly Wiggly

    Great news for Cozart. Wish him the best.
    Stammen had a decent rebound season with SD last season. He’s been a multiple inning reliever for many years. He got hurt early in 2015.
    San Diego had to DFA 23 year old hard thrower Jose Ruiz today to make room for Galvis. He is a catcher turned RH reliever, but he throws 95 or more with a 85 mph slider. Ruiz went from A+ to the Majors (1 inning) in 2017.
    I don’t know if one of the Reds 40 man spots could be for him, but he could be claimed. Then the Reds could try to slip him through waivers again a few days later. They have been successful and unsuccessful at this.
    Be worth a claim?

  6. Datdudejs

    The Reds are absolutely ridiculous for not signing Cozart to that contract. Just, wow. I sure hope they have some sort of plan to replace his value, because even if Peraza hits his absolute ceiling he is still considerably worse then Cozart.

    To expect even close to the production you got out of the middle infield last year is completely ignorant. Peraza is a huge downgrade, and the odds of scooter repeating his season is very low.

    Do something Reds! Show the fans you are worth following because this team is getting harder and harder to support. I am a firm believer in if you aren’t growing, you’re dying and boy are the Reds a grade A example of that.

    • Doug Gray

      At the same time, expecting Cozart to come anywhere close to repeating his production in 2018 is also crazy.

      I wouldn’t have hated bringing Cozart back at that price. But I wouldn’t have really liked it either. And I’m not a believer that they should have Peraza penciled in at shortstop right now, either.

      • asinghoff

        Doug, he changed his stance. Please ignore the fact that an OPS+ of 92 was the highest measure of offensive aptitude for a player who will be entering year 8.

        *sidenote: the irony of someone with a BP related screen name saying the Reds should have signed a middle infielder to a 13 mil per year contract is not lost on me.

      • asinghoff

        To clarify, I meant to say that aside from 2017, an OPS+ of 92 was the highest that Cozart put together while playing in 75 percent of a season.

        Cozart = JJ Hardy. Said it a long time ago but everyone kept clinging to 2 yr contracts in the 20s .

      • Cguy

        “Anywhere close to repeating his production in 2018 is also…………….” well just call me crazy. Everyone was hitting the same juiced ball as Cozart. Even if the numbers aren’t the same as 2017, the production relative to his peers will be. Not making the QO was bush league by the Reds. Opinions at this (& other) sites that the Reds could get Zack for 2 years at $22-25 M was wholly in error. Congratulations to Cozart & the Angels. Reds fans are practically guaranteed 1 more year of 85+ losses (& probably 2).

      • Doug Gray

        Re: The juiced baseball, Cozart, and everyone else.

        Actually, that isn’t true. An extra 10 feet on a baseball for some guys is far more valuable than it is for others.

      • Hoosierbadger

        I agree with Doug on Cozart. I know this is a minority view, but I’d move Suarez back to SS making way for Senzel at 3B. Ditch Peraza or use him as a back up middle IF, speed guy, LGDR at 2B.

      • Moses

        A non-starter for you, for Suarez, or for the Reds? Seems somewhat ridiculous to not at least explore this option when it gives you many more WAR in your line-up.

      • Doug Gray

        The Reds.

        And I think they have explored it. Last season, if you recall, they said they’d look at it. My guess is that they watched him do the work in non-game situations and it just wasn’t enough.

  7. Simon cowell

    The Reds first peek of interest is in a 33 yr old pitcher who missed an entire season 2 years ago. Why am I not surprised.

  8. Shamrock

    Scooter Gennett put up some serious frickin good numbers in his Age 27 Season. (a year in which alot of players realize their potential/come into their prime)
    Am I the only one on here who’s at least cautiously optimistic that he’ll not only repeat, but possibly exceed the #s he put up in 2017??

    • Shamrock

      Oh, and I recall several fans back in late June believing that we should hold out for a package of Robles and Kieboom in exchange for Cozart. I’d love to hear you guys really chime in on the fact that we Got NOTHING for him.

      Cozart (age 32) = ’17 season a definite outlier/career year
      Gennett (age 27) =’ 17 season…..better days ahead!?!?!?!??

      Oh, and does anyone else feel the irony in the fact the very first free agent the Reds have been linked with’s name rhymes with Ramen? (as in Maruchan, the cheapest meal on the entire planet)
      Just saying…….

      • Greenfield Red

        I don’t recall anyone asking for Robles and Kieboom for Cozart. Iglasias yes, but not Cozart.

    • Doug Gray

      Yes. You might literally be the only person not related to him who thinks he’ll possibly exceed that.

  9. MuddyCleats

    Can’t see wasting $$$ on Stammen? He’s no better than what they already have. Lorenzen & Finnegan R the two inning RP they’re looking 4. Neither guy can cut it as a SP. They have so many other young guys; might as well let them learn how to pitch in ML one & 2 innings at a time. If they were trying to win, I might feel different?

  10. Shamrock

    Hey, we’ll go ahead and give ’em a Mulligan on the Rule V Draft yesterday.
    It’s fairly obvious that Dick said “Grab that injury risk Toronto Blue Jays guy…I’m going out golfing”, and whoever heard that got Mix and Match (Nay and Pentecost) a little bit screwed up.

    But, Nothing for Cozy
    And STAMMEN…..Lmao

    Do you guys seriously still believe in Dick??

    • Shamrock

      Dick calls little Timmy back just before the draft “Oh, and if you can figure out a way to do it, make your uncle Bob a few bucks……he promised us Little Caesars tonight”

      • Shamrock

        Little Caesars is the cheapest, which is why Uncle Bob bought it for his crew on Draft Night.

        Personally, when it comes to pizza chains I prefer Papa John’s (they’ve got hella good chicken tenders too)

        Anyone else here like pineapple and jalapeños on their pizza??

    • Doug Gray

      Craig Stammen has an ERA of 2.88 in the Major Leagues since the start of 2011.

      • asinghoff

        I honestly wasn’t even mad at Shamrock’s ramblings until he revealed that Little Caeser’s was his pizza of choice.

      • jbonireland

        Doug I agree with you, I don’t see why everyone has a problem with Stammen. He was effective last year and can spot start and pitch multiple innings in relief. I see him as an upgrade from Storen last year and even he wasn’t totally bad. I would say the only qualifier is that San Diego is a bigger ballpark then GABP and if he is a fly ball pitcher that could be a problem.

  11. DX

    It’s ok there were not any free agent signings. I would like to see the Reds trade Duvall and Hamilton, but more importantly Scooter. His value is good right now and don’t think Scooter is in the future plans with Senzel playing 2B. It appears that 2B is a deep position for The Reds farm system. Don’t know if Herrera is a 2B only or can play all IF spots but am hoping he makes the 25 man roster.

    • Doug Gray

      While I think there is a market for Scooter, I doubt it’s a big market. Career year, small guy, bad splits, juiced baseball season, not exactly making pennies anymore. He’s moveable, but I don’t think you’re going to get back the kind of prospect for him many people feel like they should.