John Fay had an article up yesterday over at the Enquirer about Bryan Price and Walt Jocketty coming back for next season.While the article talks about those two remaining and roster changes coming, tucked away at the very bottom of the article is this:

The Reds are counting on Raisel Iglesias, who they signed to seven-year, $30 million contract in June, for bullpen help in 2015, although he may eventually be a starter.

I hope that is just Fay speculating rather than official word from a source because that would just be all kinds of confusing. When he was signed, the Cincinnati Reds stated that their plan was to use him as a starter. That was all of three months ago and he hasn’t yet pitched in a game (outside of perhaps instructional league). He was signed to a 7-year and $27M deal.

That is the kind of deal you expect to see a non-proven starting pitcher signed to. For $30M you can go out and get an elite level, proven reliever. Maybe it’s just for four or five years instead of seven. Still, if you need bullpen help you can go a long way with that kind of money on the free agent market.

Igelesias has never really been a starter, spending his time in the bullpen in Cuba and internationally for the Cuban National Team. That means that he would need to build up innings on his arm to be a starting pitcher. While his age and experience he doesn’t need to be coddled, but it’s probably not the safest plan to send him out for 180 innings right out of the gate either.

If the Reds plan is to use him in the bullpen in 2015 then maybe look at him as a starter down the road I just can’t see it happening. In 2016 the team will likely need to add several new starters and could need up to four starters if all of the free agents leave after next season. Iglesias in the bullpen for 2015 means he’s probably not going to be ready to be a starter for all of the 2016 season.

It seems like a very short sighted move if this is indeed the Reds plan. It would also make the signing look quite a bit strange if they never actually try him out as a starter given the amount of money they will have paid for an unproven reliever.

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28 Responses

  1. MK

    I think they made a similar comment about Chapman. Maybe this speaks to their plans to not jettison a starter this winter.

    • daveCT

      With the auditions of Holmberg, Axelrod, and Corcino, plus Cingrani hopefully coming back at full strength, seems like some move can/will be made, along with as you suggest the club keeping a core group of the starters, at least through the trade deadline. I really hope they keep their heads on right and avoid overpaying for bullpen help.

  2. Foxred


    I am of another opinion regarding this potential move, only because I have not really been able to explain some things about their handling of Iglesias from the start.

    I believe there is some adjustments being made because Iglesias did not come into AZ in the condition they expected. If he was in shape, I believe they would have had him pitching in minor league game that mattered. I think that changed their plans. I think they realized that he would not be in any shape to start for a whole year at any level in 2015 if they could not get innings on his arm now.

    I think they decided he could be used out of the pen in whatever role fits and be an option to give them five innings on a spot start, thus giving him 80-90 innings next year. He could go into 2016 with a better base and then be extended to 150 IP as a starter when they truly need him as a starter.

    Ideally for his arm, he would need to spend all of 2015 starting but it would shut him down too soon. Let’s face it 2015 is the last hoorah for the team, the GM and the manager. We can all criticize, but if I am right about the misdiagnosis of where Iglesias started physically, then I am not sure I would do it differently.

    • daveCT

      Given Price’s effectiveness with the pitching staff, and the likelihood of another wave of young arms coming in 2016, I would hope he’d be kept around more than 2014 and 15. It’s taken years to get to this point of being a solid if not spectacular pitching and defense club.

  3. j-dubb

    It would be smart to stretch him out in spring training and let him start in the minors for atleast half the year, until he gets to a certain number of innings, then he could end up in the reds bullpen for the stretch run.

    • daveCT

      That sounds like a prudent move. Hope they really avoid another Chapman debacle, meaning the process of deciding which role he’d pitch in.

    • MK

      It isn’t like he is 21. He will be 25 by opening day. He could be ready with off season conditioning by then. However he would probably be good for 125 to 130 innings. So start him in the pen and if there are moves at deadline move him in then. There is a need for bullpen help now more than starting pitching.

      • DaveCT

        I’m just not too confident at this point he’ll be ready for April in the ML’s because he didn’t exactly hit the ground running. But he may be, too, so all the better.

  4. MK

    Watching Reds/Pirates, it is really fun to watch Tucker Barnhart catch.

  5. Drew

    Sure hope this report is incorrect, seems like Chapman 2.0. Please tell me the Reds are smarter than this. Have to be honest, not shocked but not thrilled to see Jockety back.

  6. Jim t

    Really hope reds keep starting rotation enact at least for 2015 even if it means getting draft choices back. Adding some bull pen options and a OBP guy to line up along with some good health is what I’d like to see. Still can’t help wondering what our line up would have looked like healthy and with a Brent Gardner in it. If we have to deal a starter I hope he is packaged with BP so we can improve payroll flexibility and sign the other two long term. I could see the Reds telling a big market club if you want either Cueto or Latos in a deal you have to include BP. In return we want a OBP outfielder. Either way trading BP will again be adressed in off season.

    • DaveCT

      Although not as bad as basketball, yet, trades are increasingly about trading contracts. So there might be some hope about unloading BP’s with a starter. But not many clubs are able to do that, so my concern is we’d be adding someone else’s bad contract. Still ok if it brings an OBP guy for LF.

  7. Norwood Nate

    The Reds are in a position to keep their championship window open one more year. After 2015 we will have talent but the pitching staff will be completely shaken up and will rely on some young guys to get the job done every few days. For as talented as Stephenson, Lorenzen, etc are, they will still be making adjustments. Add in some positional rookies such as Winker or YRod, and a completely retooled bench (no Schu, Pena, etc) and bullpen (Parra, Marshall, LeCure, Ondrusek all set to be FA’s) and we’ll practically have half the team new and likely young/inexperienced. Of course a lot of this movement could be addition by subtraction, and we could see some pieces moved this offseason as well.

    With that being said, the Reds need to go for it, if they’re ever going to go for it, next year. I’m not suggesting selling off the future for one year, but all moves this offseason should be with the big league squads best interest in mind. But it should mean trading from our pitching depth to address LF (high OBP guy preferred) and bringing back at least 80% of our rotation back since it is a strength. In regards to Iglesias it means that the plan for him in year one should be about helping the Reds, which he would most effectively do out of the bullpen next year.

    Get our guys healthy, bring back our rotation largely in tact, address LF and vicariously our poor OBP, strengthen our bullpen. Those are the offseason objectives. Bolstering our bench and SS offensive production would be icing on a productive offseason. But Iglesias helps one of those areas next year, even if it causes us to worry that the Reds will Chapman him.

  8. terry m

    The REDS aren’t the only team looking for an everyday bat with an high OBP.

  9. MK

    Guess I question the Championship Window. Yes there were injuries this year but the offense wasn’t good in 2013 when healthy. It is not a Championship offense next year without changes. The great bullpen which included Marshall, Broxton, Simon is no more. This is a 4th place team and if there aren’t major changes they will be there again in ’15.

    • DaveCT

      There are indeed a lot of big if’s for 2015. The biggest one to me is whether a small market team can retool in one year like the Red Sox of 2013. I’d say the odds are fair to good at best.

      With the trouble spots in LF and with Bruce’s poor season, there’s limitations. Trading Bruce would be selling low to some degree, possibly on another sell low player. Risk involved either way. Bruce to Tamps Bay for Myers? Maybe. Or play the hand with him and the easy RF stands at GABP. I-F?

      And LF options are also so so. Gordon? Crisp? One of the Rockies’ young bats, Dickerson, Blackmon? Zobrist, perhaps Yelich? Mookie? To get quality, well have to give quality in any deal that is not a straight salary swap. So we’d need to be prepared to trade Winker, Lorenzen, YRod, etc. plus filler. I’m ok with that, as they are replaceable, but it’s a conversation that needs to happen.

      • RedsFaninPitt

        How about these trades to improve the Reds OBP, depth without hurting their rotation too much or sacrificing the next wave of minor league talent?

        Trade Cueto/Bruce to Rays for Zobrist/Joyce/Matt Moore. Moore is a talented lefty who is recovering from TJ but should be ready for ST. (You could slide Chapman into the rotation at the beginning of the season until Moore is ready if he needs more time.) Zobrist and Joyce are high OBP guy with a little pop who can OF. Zobrist can basically play about everywhere.

        Trade Hamilton + a pitching prospect like Mascot to Astros for Fowler. Fowler would provide your leadoff hitter and CF. He would also be one I would eye for a longer term deal possibly.

        Trade Simon for another OF bat like Tabata who is underutilized by Pirates or for a SS like Gregorious. Tabata is a high contact, good average, low K guy who is a Cards killer with the bat.


      • MK

        Everybody wants to talk trades with Tampa or Florida and trading including high priced players. No way either takes on payroll so no way Tampa takes $20 million in payroll of Cueto and Bruce. It will take quality prospects to trade with either.

        Shortstop needs to be improved as well as leftfield. It needs more offense. A team having offensive problems can not afford a .220 hitting shortstop regardless of his defense.

        Why would KC trade Gordon? Payroll? Would be same concern for Reds.

    • Norwood Nate

      The rotation when healthy is championship level, and Chapman, while misused, is one of if not the most elite level reliever in baseball at this moment. The offense, I believe is fixable. A healthy Votto, even if power sapped, helps a lot. His OBP helps, and he still OPS’d around 800 on a dead leg. If that’s all he could give us, but for 140 games, our offense looks a lot different, especially in those one run games. It’s no coincidence that our best stretch of this year was when Votto came back and we had a healthy Mes, Bruce, Phillips etc. I feel like Votto’s presence in the line up helps others, whether that’s relieving pressure or seeing better pitches, or making the opposing pitcher work harder.

      Now add to that a LF that can get on base, and address the bullpen and I don’t see why we wouldn’t have solid odds to contend. 2013 offense wasn’t great, but then again Frazier struggled throughout the year and Mes didn’t get much playing time, plus we didn’t have a LF’er all year, and our bench was worse (a tall feat).

      I think this team, as currently constructed, has the pieces to contend another year with some right additions and some appropriate subtractions.

      • RedsFaninPitt

        The Rays would be taking on additional payroll but not $20 mil. Only about $7-8 mil above what they would otherwise would be paying if they kept Zobrist and Joyce and Moore.

      • MK

        Not sure without the power you will see that OBP for Votto. Teams will not be afraid to challenge him in the strike zone if they do not have to worry about the long ball. He might be a future slow #2 hitter.

        I am OK with Hamilton’s year but he has to get better in OBP for this team to win. Sub-.300 OBP doesn’t get it. We are back to Drew Stubbs.

        Can Bruce bounce back? Can Cozart hit .250?

        Veteran players do not seem to be less injury prone as years go by.

        They have to decide if Phillips is an offensive or defensive player. If he is going to be a player they count on as a big part of the offense then he is going to need to change his defensive style to preserve his body. I remember how George Foster was criticized when he said “I am not paid to dive for balls or run into walls.” But he was right.

        In my mind they have four starting pitchers who are big question marks. Reports are Bailey and/or Latos might not be ready at start of season. What’s up with Cingrani and is Simon 1st half or Simon 2nd half the real Simon.

        Bullpen is a mess. To me Marshall, Hoover, Ondrusek and even LeCure (very inconsistent lately) are questions for ’15.

        With these questions, and little or no help in AAA, to me on Monday the Reds project to be a fourth place team next year in this Division.

        Alot can change and hopefully it will.

      • MK

        So Rays give up three starters for two and add $8 million, for what could be one year of Cueto? Never been the way they have done business before.

  10. RedsFaninPitt

    If you want to look at it that way, the Reds only get 1 yr for both Zobrist and Joyce as well. The Reds would have a few yrs of control over Moore and the Rays would control Bruce through 2016, I believe. Seems fairly equal to me.

    • MK

      I guess the point you miss is $8 million the Rays are not going to add. If they were willing to do that David Price would still be a Ray. It is not about the players.

  11. Alan Horn

    Congratulations to Cueto on his 20th in the last game of the season. It has been a while since the Reds have had a 20 game winner.

    • Kevin

      Can someone explain how Cueto finished with less WAR than Wainright, when Cueto has more Ks, more IPs, a lower WHIP, higher K-rate, better K/BB ratio and a lower ERA?

      Cueto finished with an ERA of 2.25 pitching in a hitter’s park and finished with 20 wins on a team with a losing record AND had the lowest run support of any NL pitcher with 12 wins or more.

      If this was a normal year, the Reds would finally have a Cy Young winner. Too bad.

      • Doug Gray

        Well, WAR doesn’t care much about wins, WHIP or ERA. It cares about home runs, walks and strikeouts (since that’s really what a pitcher can control – he can’t get a guy to hit it to a fielder or he’d do it all of the time). Cueto posted a BABIP of .239 and in WAR he gets that normalized all of the way up to .300. So basically, in WAR he gets credit taken away from him in his ERA because it views him as having had a great defense behind him and benefiting from it. His FIP and xFIP (adjusted for a league average HR rate) were 3.23 and 3.30. That is what WAR is looking at along with his Innings. Wainwright finished with a much better FIP at 2.88, though his xFIP was slightly worse at 3.34. Innings were similar, though Cueto did get a slight advantage there.

        In the end, use WAR as a guide to things, not as a be-all, especially for pitching and defense.