The rumors have been that the Cincinnati Reds are going after starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel. And the rumors are they are “all over” him, trying to get him to come to Cincinnati. Pretty much everywhere you look, it’s Dallas Keuchel that’s listed as the second highest rated pitcher on the free agent market this offseason. The top guy, Patrick Corbin, just signed for $140M over six years with the Washington Nationals. That’s a little more than any of the projections had for him. And it’s a lot more than a few places had.

What does that mean for Dallas Keuchel? Well, it’s tough to say. But he’s been projected to get anywhere from 4-5 years and $19-21M per year. There was a time when Keuchel pitched like a guy who should get that kind of money. In 2014 and 2015 he posted back to back years of a 2.93 ERA and a 2.48 ERA with a combined 432.0 innings. He was an elite pitcher with elite results.

Those days aren’t here in December of 2018. Over the last three years he has made it healthy through the year once. That was last season when he threw 204.2 innings. The previous two seasons he threw 168.0 and 145.2. His ERA in that three year span? 3.77. Last year it was 3.74. His ERA+ in that time is just 106. That’s above-average, but only by 6%. A Cincinnati Reds pitcher had a 106 ERA+ last year, which gives us perfect context for what that would be in a Cincinnati uniform: 3.98.

Dallas Keuchel doesn’t rely on strikeouts to get outs. Only once in his career has he had a strikeout rate better than 8.0 strikeouts per 9-innings pitched and it was back in 2015. Last season it was the lowest of his career since he was a rookie, dropping to 6.7 strikeouts per 9-innings. He pounds the strikezone and doesn’t walk many guys. But, his strikeout-to-walk ratio has gotten worse every year over the last three years – though it was nearly identical in 2017 and 2018 with only a very small change.

Where Dallas Keuchel makes up for the lack of strikeouts is by inducing grounders. Tons of them. Or so that used to be the case. In 2014-2017 he posted a league best groundball rate of 62%. In 2017 that rate got as high as 66.8%. Last season his groundball rate dropped to 53.7%. That’s still above-average, but it’s a significant drop off in the area that he was using to counter the fact that he can’t strike guys out.

Fastball velocity isn’t everything. Dallas Keuchel has shown that. Not once in his career has he ever managed to average 90 MPH – always being somewhere between 88.6-89.7 MPH in his career at the end of each season. But given where he’s at, the bottom of the barrel among pitchers in the game today who aren’t throwing submariner style, I think it’s safe to wonder that if, like most pitchers in their 30’s, he loses a tick or two, just how effective he can remain.

Between the non-elite performance in recent years (106 ERA+/3.77 ERA), the one season in which he’s remained healthy over the last three, the dramatic decrease in ground ball rate last year, and at least right now, a defense that’s not exactly built for his strengths, it’s tough to say paying him $100M over five years makes a whole lot of sense. It just seems that you’re paying for something that he’s not been for a while now. That’s the last thing that the Reds need. While he would certainly be an upgrade for the rotation, a lot of other pitchers would, too. And they wouldn’t require the years, or dollars, to do it.

90 Responses

  1. Colorado Red

    I would not go 5 years, nor above 21 per year.
    I would go 4/84 for him to come year.
    He would still be the best pitcher on the staff (baring trades).
    He could improve the team performance by 12 – 15 vs Homer.
    That puts us close to 500. Pick up Kluber in a trade, and we might be in the hunt for the post season (don’t count chicken before they are hatched, yes I know).
    This rare time, I humbly disagree Doug.

      • Nep O'Tism

        You really think that is all?

        Lets say Kuechel averaged 6 IP/4.00 ERA last year in the same starts Homer had last year for the Reds. (Both lower than what he actually averaged.)

        That’s about 2.66 runs per 6 inning start. If you’re only allowing 2.66 runs in the first 6 innings, you’re going to bring in your best BP guys (Iglesias/Hernandez/Hughes) who are allowing roughly 2.3 runs per 9, or 0.76 runs in a 3 inning stint rather than the guys you bring in to mop up a Homer Bailey blowout.

        That’s roughly 3.42 runs allowed per game. The Reds scored about 4.37 runs per game on offense.

        The Reds lost 19 out of Bailey’s 20 starts.

        – – – – – – – – – –
        (Yes I realize that’s all some loose math, it’s just to prove a general point that I don’t buy that he is only a 4-6 win improvement over 2018 Homer Bailey.)

        Even if Kuechel makes 20 starts at a 4.00 ERA, I can’t see how the Reds go worse than .500 in those starts, and that alone would be a 9 game improvement over Bailey. Bailey averaged 5 innings a start and 3.33 runs in those 5 innings.
        That’s 0.66 runs more and 1 less inning than a 6 IP/4,00 ERA Kuechel.

        It’s just too darn easy to improve over 2018 Bailey that I think your 4-6 is a huuuuuge underestimation.

      • Doug Gray

        The Reds didn’t score anywhere near 4.37 runs per game when Homer Bailey was on the mound, though. That’s why they lost 19 of his 20 starts. Yes, he was really bad.

        Randomness plays a role in the team win/loss when a pitcher is on the mound. You can’t expect that the games play out perfectly like you try to play above. While I hate pitching WAR, it’s not entirely useless. Keuchel’s a 4-6 win improvement over Bailey. To put that into perspective, that’s basically saying the difference between Homer Bailey and Dallas Keuchel is about the same as a random Triple-A pitcher and somewhere between an All-Star caliber starter and a borderline Cy Young caliber pitcher. 4-6 wins is enormous value. Eugenio Suarez is a 4-win player. And he’s pretty stinking good.

      • Nep O'Tism

        Even if you think Keuchel is only a 106 ERA+ pitcher now, that is an increase of 37 over Bailey.

        I also think the 200 innings is a huge deal, because that is less innings that guys like Wandy Peralta (79 ERA+), Jackson Stephens (86 ERA+), and Austin Brice (73 ERA+) pitch in.

        Homer Bailey managed 6 Quality Starts in 2018, including 2 where he allowed 1 or less run (earned or otherwise).

        Dallas Keuchel managed 20 Quality Starts in 2018, including 9 where he allowed 1 or less run (earned or otherwise).

        I don’t know if there is any way you can convince me that 14 more Quality Starts, 7 more quality starts or 1 or less runs, and 98.1 more innings pitched (that don’t go to Brice/Peralta/Stephens/Finnegan/Stephenson) would only improve the Reds W-L by 4-6 games.

        – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

        I thought WAR was not meant to be a literal W-L equivalent.

        I have been under that assumption this whole time I have heard about it. Otherwise it’s a really really crappy stat. Giants and Mets had way more WAR than the Yankees in 2018, and both were sub-.500 teams while the Yankees won 100. Here’s actually an interesting list.

        -Cubs had 56.5 WAR, add the 51.84 wins that a replacement team gets, and that’s 108. They actually won 95.

        -Giants had 40.8 WAR, or roughly 93 wins. They actually won 73.

        -Nationals had 44.2 WAR, or roughly 96 wins. They actually won 82.

        -Yankees had 33.6 WAR, or roughly 85 wins. They actually won 100.

        -Mets had 44.9 WAR, or roughly 97 wins. They actually won 77.

      • Oldtimer

        Perhaps he meant some variation of Pythagorean W-L developed by Bill James? To wit:

        What is pythagorean winning percentage?

        Pythagorean winning percentage is an estimate of a team’s winning percentage given their runs scored and runs allowed. Developed by Bill James, it can tell you when teams were a bit lucky or unlucky. It is calculated by

        (Runs Scored)^1.83
        (Runs Scored)^1.83 + (Runs Allowed)^1.83
        The traditional formula uses an exponent of two, but this has proven to be a little more accurate.

      • Nep O'Tism

        Haha, so here’s what happened. I searched “fangraphs team stats” on Bing and if you click on the first result, it is Fangraphs *2016* team stats. (For whatever reason.) I never even noticed it was on 2016 because it didn’t specify that in the results so I just assumed current.

        That said, your numbers are wrong too because you’re looking only at offensive and defensive WAR and not including pitching WAR.

        The Cubs had 27.2 WAR from their positional players and 12.9 from pitchers, or 40.1 WAR. Combined with the 51.84 wins from a replacement team puts them at 92 wins instead of the 95 they actually won, which is indeed much closer, but still not an accurate WAR-to-win.

        Phillies 12.4 WAR + 19.6 WAR + 51.84 = ~84 wins (they won 80)
        Dodgers 33.0 WAR + 20.5 WAR + 51.84 = ~105 wins (they won 92)
        Mets 16.4 WAR + 16.9 WAR + 51.84 = ~85 wins (they won 77)
        Yankees 29.4 WAR + 26.6 WAR + 51.84 = ~108 wins (they won 100)
        Astros 24.8 WAR + 30.6 WAR + 51.84 = ~107 wins (they won 103)

        (I know how you feel about pitching WAR, and I more or less am there with you, but if we’re talking WAR-to-wins, gotta use it.)

      • Doug Gray

        So, basically, we are both idiots? Because if you want to agree with that, I’ll agree with that.

        The totals I had certainly didn’t sound quite right as I was typing them… pay more attention, Doug. You idiot.

      • Nep O'Tism

        Yep, pretty much spot on. I can agree on that too. Lol

        Hey, to your credit, at least you were using the right year. Puts you ahead of me. Your numbers were at least half right. Mine were 100% wrong.

  2. Brad Legg

    His contract will be underwater in his second season. It’s not like they can get him for less than 4 . I would take a hard pass.

    • redwolf

      This… Trade market is where we have to get an ace, and we will have to pay a heavy price. just do not want to trade Senzel, Trammel, India, or Santilian. Anyone else in the minors I could live with, even Greene. We have 3 High draft picks coming up and I like DK but I agree with Doug, he would not fare as well in our park as he would in a bigger park like LA. If we could get him for 2nd tier money which is not happening we should pounce, but, that is why there is so much trade talk and activity already.

    • Norwood Nate

      I agree. Too much risk for the Reds that this will turn out bad.

  3. AirborneJayJay

    Once I saw what Corbin signed for, I knew the Reds pursuit of an elite or top pitcher in free agency was over. Gonna have to come by trade with a mid-tier pitcher in free agency.
    I can see Keuchel going to Philly now. Eovaldi probably returns to Boston. Kikuchi probably goes to LA or SF. Yankees probably get Happ. And Morton stays in HOU. Reds should aim for the top of the middle tier. But who?

    • abado

      I’m still holding onto hope for Eovaldi, Kikuchi, Happ, or Morton (or preferably 2 of them). Outside of those guys, maybe Lance Lynn or Trevor Cahill. I wouldn’t be stoked about either one — they’d be fine but not great — but that’s probably the top of the next tier. They should try to make a move soon and set their sights on someone realistic (aka not Keuchel).

  4. kevinz

    I agree with Doug on this one. His numbers were down, plus the Defense needed does not fit this club at this moment.

  5. Brian D

    Man, would everyone get off Homer’s back? He was very good before all his injuries. Let it go.

  6. Ghettotrout1

    I actually kind of agree with Doug. I want the Reds to win so badly but I’m also afraid overpaying Dallas is just not a wise use of resources. I think I would just try to get other guys at lower cost and years and see what happens next year. Maybe then go get a big pitcher or make some block buster trades. I’m just not really ready to blow up the farm and I also don’t want to waste money. Reds are kind of in a tough spot in my opinion.

    Doug what would you do if you were Dick Williams?

    • Doug Gray

      If I’m going the free agent route, as I laid out here: I’d try to get real creative, and even overpay for JA Happ. He’ll still be cheaper than Keuchel, on a shorter deal, and he’s a better pitcher, too. Now, that article, which you should certainly read, is only if the Reds could use free agency and trades were off the table. Still, Happ would be my target either way. But I’d also be exploring trade options, too. Unfortunately it’s a lot tougher to speculate on trades because you just don’t know what it’s going to take. With contracts, you have a pretty good baseline of what it’s going to cost. You don’t necessarily have to match up well with a team and what they have/need, you just need to , usually, make the best cash offer.

      • Muddycleats

        Agree, why not Happ & MH w/ reasonable contracts? Both would provide a bridge 2 future w/ Disco & Castillo, & have manageable contracts which could b moved if needed. So many other questions 4 Reds it’s very difficult 2 say go all n. Suarez is a lock, but everyone else is a ? Mark IMHO. Not exactly time 2 go all n on SP

  7. Kevin

    I took a nap, but please tell me it’s only December 2018 and not 2019.

  8. redleggingfordayz

    I am also worried about the length and size of a contract with Keuchel. Maybe if he goes unsigned for a while his market will start to diminish, but I doubt it. Lots of people out there are hungry for pitching. Personally I would rather see the risk spread out for the Reds at least. Possibly Kikuchi, Lynn, and Cahill are all brought in this year and then if you see the team taking a step forward, you make a big trade at the deadline like a Kluber or Thor to put them over the top. If injuries happen or there are some people not performing as expected, you wait until 2020 to make a move.

  9. kevinz

    off Topic but my Early top 4 players for MLB draft are: Kameron Misner , Riley Greene,Corbin Carroll and JJ Bleday

    • DanD

      I would like to add Carter Stewart if his wrist is ok, Shea Langeliers and Jerrion Ealy. And don’t forget maybe Sammy Siani with our comp pick.

      • kevinz

        I agree with the players mentioned Dan. I just put my fav for this early in the process. Getting another Siani would not be a bad idea at all lol.

    • Bill

      Misner looks like the total package with flexibility to cover any OF spot or 1B—very athletic for his size.

  10. Jim t

    We are not in a position to compete if we sign Him. We can improve our win total but we will not make the playoffs. He is a huge risk with very little upside team wise for next year and we will have at least 3 years of dead money if he signs for 5. With that said, I continue to evaluate the pitching I have on the team now. I may sign Harvey as it will not break the bank.

    We need to get a full year out of Winker and Senzel to determine what we have at the ML level and hope Siri and Trammel continue to make their way up the ladder.

    Making desperation moves right now is not what this team needs. Sort through the in house candidates. See what a year removed from injury Disco provides. See If Harvey can take a step forward doing the same on a 2 year deal. Find out if Castillo is for real. Homer will be given a chance to contribute until at least mid year. If he doesn’t he will be cut and the remaining months of his contract ate. Santillian, Mahle, Stephenson, Romano and Reed all should be in play for the rotation. We paid big bucks to lure the pitching Coach away from the Brewers. Lets give him a opportunity to work with the youngsters. 2019 is not our year. A more realistic view is improve our win total and save the money we have to spend now and be free of the Homer 28 mil sunk cost at year end and reload next year when we have more answers then desperate hope.

    I also don’t advocate trading any of our youngsters now Winker, Senzel or Greene. Coming off injuries is not the best time to maximize trade value for prospects. If they perform well this year their value will be higher then it is now.

    • Bob Anderson

      Nobody wants Greene until he shows his elbow problems aren’t structural.

      • Doug Gray

        Teams draft players, even in the 1st round, that they know absolutely 100% need TJ surgery. So I don’t buy this argument at all.

        Now, whether they will value him as highly as the Reds believe he should be valued is another story. But, a team that trades for him is going to get the chance to look at his elbow as a part of the trade process. This isn’t 1962 anymore. They’ll get an MRI and look.

    • SteveLV

      I agree with you, Jim. I would not chase contracts that have higher than average potential to hamstring the team in 2021 and beyond, and while my head agrees with the “no one is off the table” philosophy, my gut says I’m going to be disappointed (when it happens, and with the result) if they trade any of the core of Suarez, Senzel, Winker, Greene, Santillan, Trammell this off-season.
      Would be happy to see them sign, Happ, Cahill, Miley, etc. Get the payroll up, get better, but don’t get too extended.

  11. Stock

    Here is what I propose:

    1. Haniger for Stephenson, India, Fairchild (2019 Financial Impact: 0)
    2. Carrasco for Santillan, Gennett, Casali, Long, Downs, Siri (2019 Financial Impact 0)
    3. Sign FA Happ for 3 years $45 million
    4. Sign FA Miller for 3 years $30 million
    5. Sign FA Ottavino for 3 years $30 million

    Total 2019 Financial Impact $35 million

    C: Barnhart
    IF: Votto, Senzel, Suarez, Peraza
    OF: Winker, Haniger, Schebler

    SP: Carrasco, Castillo, Happ, DeSclafani, Reed
    RP: Iggy, Miller, Ottavino, Hernandez, Hughes, Lorenzen, Wisler and Garrett

    4 man bench.

    This team would compete for the next 3-5 years as is so no need for Santillan, India and any other prospect because all are locked up for at least 4 more years. That means Trammell could be added to any trade to make it happen.

    • redlegs4ever

      Seattle and Cleveland are not making those trades LOL

      • Ghettotrout1

        Seattle loves to trade people so I wouldn’t add the LOL. I mean they make more trades than any other team. Also your giving up India and Fairchild which are actually pretty solid pieces.

      • redlegs4ever

        Dipoto came out and said he views Haniger as one of the top 5 OF’s in baseball so I would be STUNNED if they traded him.

        I found the Indians trade for Cookie to be more realistic if it wasn’t for the inclusion of Gennett. The Indians are trying to shed payroll otherwise they wouldn’t be entertaining moving a starter.

      • Stock

        Please note that I also said add Trammell if that is what it takes to make it happen

        Add Trammell to the Carrasco trade and move Siri and Downs to the Seattle trade. If we have Haniger, Winker and Schebler the next 4-6 years we don’t need Trammell or Siri. If we have Senzel, Votto and Suarez the next 7 years we don’t need India or Downs.

    • sixpack2

      we can most likely get Gray for Gennett straight up. At least I would think so. Gennett would give NY another power bat in the middle, and if he would not resign a draft choice. We put Senzel at 2nd.

  12. Tom

    I agree it’s more than he’s worth, but they’ve got to plug holes with money. He’s a pretty safe bet to stabilize the rotation, sell some tickets, excel in the NL, stay healthy, and keep the ball on the ground.

    He’s a good fit, hopefully not more than 4 years, 80 million.

    He won’t be worth as much as a Nick Senzel will over that time, but he’s way more likely worth more than Homer or Reed, etc.

    If I had to guess, he’ll put up 7-10 more WAR in the common case scenario before he’s done. His biggest impact will be next year when he’s new to the league.

    If the Reds don’t want to pay a FA now, then cash out and build for 2020. But there has seldom been a better fit for the Reds in FA and there are really only 1 or 2 deals a year that work out. It’s a risky game always. Any deal will be a hold your nose and jump deal.

  13. Brad

    If they have $30-40M to spend, I would:

    IMO, #gettingthe(right)pitching, costs too much. Find a way to add to offense, defense and short term pitching.

    SP Gio Gonzalez/RHSP Matt Harvey – 2 yrs, 20M
    SP Wade Miley/Drew Pomeranz/Derek Holland/Lance Lynn/Trevor Cahill – 2 yrs, 10-12M
    CF Adam Jones – 1 yr, 6M (prefer UT Marwin Gonzalez – 4 yrs, 36M)
    RP Andrew Miller/Joe Kelly/Cody Allen/Kelvin Herrera/Joakim Soria – 1-3 yrs, 6-9M

    • redlegs4ever

      I’m not seeing how you improved the offense or the defense in those scenarios.

      • Ghettotrout1

        Adam Jones and Gonzalez would for sure be an upgrade offensively over Billy.

      • redlegs4ever

        With the bat absolutely, who wouldn’t be?? I wouldn’t necessarily say offense though Billy’s baserunning contributes to offensive production and it was otherworldly.

        Jones and Gonzalez are both average at best offensive assets that can’t play CF though…

    • victor vollhardt

      Brad’s ideas and names (if the money figures are OK) are right along with what I think the Reds should be looking at especially the adding on one or more relief pitchers. One thing I would add though is (even if it means paying a higher amount per season) pitchers are signed for no more than three years-make that “company policy”. Also go to Hernandez and Hughes(both are signed for 2019) and add a year right now.The price would not be that high–remember both were cut loose this time last year. I believe this type of move would help in getting other pitchers to consider coming to the Reds.

  14. Tim Link

    I would add three starters for the number of years and dollars listed:

    FA – Keuchel 5/$100M or Happ 4/$64 or Eovaldi 3/$45M

    Trade – Syndergaard or Kluber for any two Reds starters (except Suarez) and any two Reds prospects.

    Trade – Stroman or Gray for Stephenson or Garrett and a minor leaguer.

    While you are at it, trade Bailey to Texas (home state) for a prospect. Reds eat bulk of money. Maybe Homer won’t block a trade to a pitching starved team from his home state?

  15. redlegs4ever

    It’s funny you won’t really find a pitcher with more varying opinions about how good he is than Keuchel. Even myself I’m not exactly sure how I feel about him as a pitcher individually.

    I know this from a Reds stand point though, unless they replace Peraza and Gennett in the middle infield, this signing would be catastrophic. 4.5 ERA might be generous, Keuchel needs defenders and right now we have the worst infield in baseball.

    Now my plan, and this is with or without signing Keuchel, sign Jose Iglesias to play SS, 3/21 probably gets it done tomorrow, and trade Gennett while installing Senzel at 2B 3 weeks after Opening Day. That would transform the worst infield in baseball to above average and for 6 Mil less. Even if you sign Keuchel that would leave 20+ Mil to spend for the 2019 season with the subtraction of Gennett/Peraza…

    • redleggingfordayz

      Can’t say I see that level of regression from Keuchel just based on the Reds vs Astros defense. I agree our middle infield isn’t the best, but the Reds and Astros are actually ranked about dead even in terms of defensive metrics as a team via Fangraphs. Just thought I would throw that out there.

  16. Doc

    Patrick Corbin had one good season and he got what he got. Unfortunately that set the market and the Reds aren’t getting anyone close to the quality of Keuchel for much less.

    • Doug Gray

      Dallas Keuchel projects to get $21M a year.

      JA Happ projects to get $13-15M per year. He has been undeniably better than Dallas Keuchel has in the last three years.

      Charlie Morton projects to get $15-16M per year. In terms of run prevention, he’s been undeniably better than Dallas Keuchel has over the last three years. But, he hasn’t been able to stay on the mound as much, either. 55 starts over the last two years matches up with Keuchel, though.

      The biggest difference is, you wouldn’t have to commit to 4-5 years on those guys. Less money. Fewer years. Better pitchers. Keuchel’s not the guy to go after in this market.

      • AllTheHype

        13-15 is light for Happ in my opinion. I’d suggest Happ’s comparable is Rich Hill, who signed for 3 years @ 16M per at same age and had similar track record. But I think Happ gets more than Hill did in 2016. I’m guessing 17-18 for 3 years when it’s all said and done.

      • Doug Gray

        I think he’s worth more, too. But that’s what everyone is projecting so it’s what I’m going with.

      • AllTheHype

        Still, even if its 17 with a 3 year deal you’re absolutely right, Happ is a better sign than Keuchel at 5 years and more AAV.

  17. I-71-Exile

    If the Reds had Phillips/Cozart behind Keuchel, then sure, roll the dice that his decline could be effectively managed for four or five years. Because they have Gennett/Peraza, they should look elsewhere. The Reds need strikeout pitchers with this defense.

    Senzel would likely be a defensive improvement over Gennett, but we don’t know that he’s going to be at second any time soon. Sonny Gray and Eovaldi would be my targets. Let’s see what the new pitching coaches can do with them and what the Reds already have.

      • redlegs4ever

        Great minds think alike my friend, I have also been on the record saying I would like to see what the new pitching coach could get out of Stephenson, Reed, etc. They were never given a real chance before anyway.

        Unfortunately I believe Bob’s boisterous comments have buried any chance of our current in house guys getting a shot. They will certainly “get the pitching now” and it’s probably a drastic overpay for Keuchel and a return to Matt Harvey…

  18. Pat McLaughlin

    Almost to the “I’ll believe it when I see it” stage in FA pitching acquisition much less a trade. You’ve laid out many common sense scenarios and I’m wondering is it just ownership or are FA’s getting leery of coming to Cincy? Both? Ballpark not as pitcher friendly? What are the odds, seriously, of picking up a proven 2 or 3 starter(s)? 30%? 50%?

  19. Doc

    The Bailey contract didn’t work out, and that was a player whom the Reds would/should have known as much about as anybody could. If baseball weren’t this guaranteed contract situation, then my opinion might be different, but as is, I’d be counted in the lower tier at lower cost group so as not to risk hamstringing the team for the future, and I would make maximum effort to improve my internal development of players, especially pitchers. The one unknown, for me, is what is the effect of insurance on all these injuries and bad deals. How much did the Bailey contract really cost the Reds, net after any insurance returns?

    Regarding doing better ain the organization, for example, if BobSteve is not able to carry his 2018 AAA performance to the major league level, then why not? If there is a credible answer to that question, then that should be a focus for improvement in the system’s ability to recognize that, and correct it, as the pitcher moves up through the organization. Many of the hot pitching prospects that posters want to acquire didn’t have the year that Robert had. Why is it assumed that they will flourish as studs, when he hasn’t so far?

    If small market Reds try to compete with big market teams, then there were some six other teams in 2018 who showed us that things can still get worse.

    I still like Lorenzen in CF, and replace him in the bullpen. Wasn’t CF his primary position, even into or through college? I also wouldn’t trade Greene until the SS situation is settled, if the reports that he would have been a top of the board draft pick as a SS are anywhere close. He potentially could fill at least two positions of perceived need. But then, I don’t get juiced up on stats, I just ask questions that make sense to me, though maybe not to anyone else.

  20. earmbrister

    I’m going to have to respectfully disagree. Yes, quite often stats can be used to support whatever argument you want to make. Choosing the last 3 years vs choosing the last 5 years makes all the difference. I don’t think that Keuchel hit the age wall at 30 years old last year. Pitchers tend to age better than many position players. If you look at the last 5 years, it paints a much different picture:

    2014: 200.0 IP
    2015: 232.0 IP (led the league)
    2016: 168.0 IP
    2017: 145.2 IP
    2018: 204.2 IP

    Looking at ERA+, where 100 is average:

    2014: 132
    2015: 157
    2016: 86
    2017: 141
    2018: 108

    The Reds starting rotation last year:

    Castillo 169.2 IP with a ERA+ of 98
    Romano 145.2, 79
    Harvey (combined ’18 stats) 155, 83
    Disco 115, 85
    Mahle 112, 84
    Homer 106.1, 69 (last 5 years of ERA+: 99, 73, 65, 70, 69)

    You may have to overpay (that is what paying for some of the better players in free agency is all about), but with those 2018 Reds pitching results (as well as 2017, 2016, etc.), how can you not seriously consider it? Keep Senzel, Greene, Trammel etal, sign Dallas (as well as Harvey), and you start to have some semblance of a rotation. Keuchel is a groundball pitcher, who is still fairly young, that doesn’t give up the longball (0.9/9 career HR rate). He’s a very nice fit in GABP and in the Reds rotation.

    • Doug Gray

      It’s not that he’s not a good fit. It’s that for the price, there are options that seem like a whole lot better to pursue. A lot of guys would be a good fit for Cincinnati given their rotation as currently constructed.

      JA Happ has been a significantly better pitcher than Dallas Keuchel has been over the last three years. Like, it’s not close. He’s looking at 2-3 years and $13-15M per year. Go offer him 3 years and $17M a year. You’ll get a better pitcher with less long term risk and for less money.

      That’s where I’m at. If the Reds are truly going to be willing to spend the kind of money they think it’ll take to get Keuchel, then spend it better than spending it on Keuchel.

      • Earmbrister

        JA Happ is a more attractive target; I agree with you. Unfortunately, so do the Yankees and Phillies. The NYY weren’t willing to go past 5 years and $100 Mil for Corbin. With Happ having just played for the Yankees, I doubt that the Reds could outbid them. NY, Boston, and Philly will grab the more attractive candidates like Happ, Eovaldi, and Morton, leaving the consolation prizes available to the rest of MLB. Keuchel is a prize well worth grabbing for the Reds. The Reds are going to have to go longer in years AND higher in $. IMO Keuchel will be above average to average for at least the first 3 years, if not 4, of a L/T deal. He’s head and shoulders above anyone the Reds currently have.

      • Doug Gray

        I don’t think Keuchel is head and shoudlers above Luis Castillo. The rest of the staff? Probably. But that can be said for about 15 other free agents, too.

  21. Bill

    I agree pass on Keuchel—seems like a regression candidate; very unlikely he delivers on 4-5 year contract.

    Happ is the best of the second tier FA. I still think think the best value is trading for Kluber and/Greinke or maybe Thor.

  22. redlegs4ever

    Kinda off topic but I just want to throw this out there because I’ve seen a lot of this sentiment in the comments on this website.

    I think a lot of people are sleeping on just how good of a prospect Taylor Trammel is. He might be the #1 overall prospect in baseball in 6 months, certainly top 10. He might even be top 10 in the preseason according to some national outlets. The guy is a physical freak and to have the plate discipline and maturity he has at that age is uncanny, especially for someone who didn’t even concentrate on baseball full time until 2 years ago…

  23. Jasonp

    I think I would be ok if he was the only starter we add. My worry is that we may already have a few young pitchers with the ability to match or come close what he can do. If we sign him and get one more starter then you would block the chance to see if we have young pitchers with that ability.

    Mahl had a 4.02 ERA before the all star break and in 11 innings after his ERA ballooned to 4.98. Reed had a 3.98 ERA. Romano had a 5.31 ERA but in June his ERA was 3.9 and in July it was 3.92 so he had 2 months in a row with success. Could be better next year. Stephenson had a 2.87 ERA in AAA. Lorenzen gave up 4 runs in 3 starts.

    So I hope that we will have two spots in the rotation to give those young players a chance to show they can be part of our future success.

  24. Justin

    I don’t ever post trade ideas because of the ripping I assume will follow. But I’m in the mood to get raked over the coals so here goes:

    1) Scooter to Yankees for Gray
    2) Send a prospect of their choosing in the 6 and up range to the Indians for Kluber and Kipnis.

    Senzel stays, starts in center or 2nd depending on how Kipnis responds to a new hitting coach. Kipnis comes off the books after ’19 and after all the math of my proposed deals we have enough to get a low priced reliever.

  25. Scott C

    Anytime you trade for a player or sign a free agent player there is a risk they won’t pan out. What you can’t do is hamstring yourself with a contract that is A.) for too much cash and B.) for too long a time. In signing Keuchel you are risking both A and B. Say no to this signing. I personally like Happ and Gio for and wouldn’t mind if they checked in on Santana (see article over at Red Reporter) if his finger has healed.

    • DanD

      Any chance of getting both Happ and Gio for 3/75 million? Better use of dollars than Keuchel at 4/84 million.

  26. Jim H.

    Doug, what does the Goldschmidt trade to St. Louis tell us? Seems like the Cards paid a lot for a potential rental with just 1 year remaining. They have the resources to sign him long term if they choose I’d guess.

    How much shine was off Weaver & Kelly?

    • Doug Gray

      A lot of shine was off from what writers around twitter are saying.

    • Wes

      Great trade for reds. St. Louis won’t keep him if he has a huge season bc he’ll get paid a ton and they don’t sign players like that. So they gave up two potential starters to win now. Also good for cards. 1st basemen are thin right now. So if ur gonna give up talent give it up for something u can’t get in free agent market like a stud first basemen

    • sixpack2

      Good trade for SL as they get great Offence at 1st and traded players that did not fit. I think SL moved up to division Co-favorites with Cubs/ maybe Brewers. I just don’t think the brewers have the pitching.

  27. Jim Delaney

    I think the Kuechel talk is JUST TALK, I think the REDS will be playing in at best the TIER 2 Free agent pitcher group, I think Matt Harvey resigning is a possibility and pursuit of LH Derek Holland is possible. REDS may also discuss Gray with the Yankees and Greinke with the Dbacks. I would try to bring back Harvey, and look to make deal with DBACKS for Greinke where you send them Homer and a couple of your prospects in the 10-20 range while off setting a portion of Greinke’s contract for this season. Greinke is type of SP REDS need to help show the REDS young pitchers how to pitch, Big question though is whether Greinke has REDS on his NO trade list. You add Greinke and bring back Harvey you might be able to be .500ish in a very tough division that got better today when St. Louis heisted Arizona for Paul Goldschmidt!!

  28. victor vollhardt

    Mr. Gray’s points about the “right” pitcher for less years and perhaps more money per year is just the type of scenario the Reds should be looking at. If something goes wrong with the player–the team is not paying forever or even worse— the player is gone and the team is still paying even though he maybe sitting at home or playing for somebody else Not so long ago the Dodgers were paying 80 million plus to players who were doing just that.

  29. Andy

    I wonder if there is evidence that pitchers who can get outs without a high-90’s fastball have more longevity? Maybe more likely to fulfill the contract without injury? I’m tired of shopping the bargain bin every year. They should be targeting Keuchel AND Happ (or one of those plus Kluber.) Read Steve’s article over at Doug’s other site. There is money to be spent. If the Reds focus too much on market efficiency, they will miss out on the pitchers who might actually make a difference.

  30. Redsvol

    let the big market clubs pay the foolish money and years to the top tier pitchers. Then swoop in and pick up 2 of the 2nd tier free agents. I’m also a proponent of adding another top setup reliever and an outfielder. I fully expect some innovative use of Iglesias and Lorenzen next year by the coaches.

    Market inefficiency is that offense isn’t valued much right now. Take advantage of it – even though 2018 offense wasn’t bad, it can always regress. Maybe Tyler Mahle would fetch a nice outfielder for us if Luke Weaver got Goldschmidt – granted for 1 year.

  31. Wes

    Kuechel will end up a red. Him signing has nothing to do with any player in free agency as in he’s not waiting on Machado to sign for him to sign and he surely wasn’t waiting on Corbin who’s a completely different style of pitcher in a completely different place in his career. Corbin is a commodity; kuechel has layered risks. If someone was gonna offer 6/120 he would have taken it even if it was reds. I think he’ll sign in cincy for around 4/72 and it’ll be an extra year more than anyone else will offer so he comes to cincy.

    As terrible as the reds have been at everything the one place they have excelled is contracts of late. I’ll put my faith in them to sign kuechel to a deal that makes sense and then go scoop pollock to sure up center field at another team friendly contract that’s the highest offer.

    Then u save ur prospects for your own team vs trading them for rentals.

  32. Jim m

    JA Happ is 36. Prb 1 or 2 years left in MLB. He is going to pitch for a playoff contender over any rebuilding team. Postseason and any team already built to do so. I see him joining either the Brewers, Cardinals, Phillies (after they sign Harper or Machado), Yankees, Red Sox, Astros, Indians, before ever taking more money to sign with the Reds.

  33. Oscar Matos

    Doug, Congrats intake over Chad. The Reds need pitching badly. If Dallas is not the best choice what two free agents you sign instead. Nothing out there looks like number one or two. I agree Dallas maybe a two at best but then can try trade for a number one. I am just hoping for 82- 80 season.

  34. sixpack2

    I agree, waste of money at this time in his career. To throw at 88/89 he must have a lot of movement on that fastball.

  35. sixpack2

    These comments on the Reds not spending enough, On overvaluing players, etc. We have a new management in place for the last year and I can see a difference throughout the organization. I wish we had the Yankees Cable contract (250 million a year) where you can just buy replacements, but WE can’t. The old fashion way has not worked under the old GM? but Williams shows promise.