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TheBurn
04-23-2004, 08:55 AM
Friday, April 23, 2004
Just why was Reitsma traded?
Paul Daugherty
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Lately, the Reds bullpen has been whacked like a piņata. Nothing sags a young team's shoulders like relief pitchers bearing gasoline cans. A little Chris Reitsma would've been good. Except Reitsma was in the other dugout.

You can accept the company line, as delivered by General Manager Dan O'Brien: The Reds traded their most valuable, versatile pitcher of a year ago because they got two potential starting pitchers in return. Jung Keun Bong is 23. Bubba Nelson is 22. They're both in Triple A.

"If you're going to get competitive, it's got to start with starting pitching. The opportunity to get two very young, potential starting pitchers was something we could not walk away from," O'Brien said Thursday.

Or you can narrow your eyes, and ponder this:

If your plan is to build from within with good young, cheap pitching, why do you trade your best young, cheap pitcher?

Reitsma is 26 years old, throws 95 miles an hour and, in the opinion of Danny Graves "has the best changeup in the game." Last year Reitsma had nine wins and 12 saves while doing everything for the Reds' sad pitching staff but perform Tommy John surgery. Did we mention he lost his arbitration case, and is making just $950,000?

Reitsma would seem to be the answer to a small-market prayer.

Next year, if he pitches to expectations, Reitsma stands to make a few million dollars. Is that a reason the Reds dealt him? It's an important question. It gives you a peek at who the Reds intend to be in the next several years.

If you keep shedding cheap, young players for cheaper, younger models, all you're doing is spinning on baseball's Third World hamster wheel. You can only trade young pitching for younger pitching so long. Then everybody figures out where you're going: You're going to Pittsburgh. You're in a Montreal state of mind.

It's a notion O'Brien disputes. "Our vision isn't just for one year. With time and patience, Ryan Wagner can become as proficient as Chris Reitsma," he said. OK. But when and if Ryan Wagner does, will he be dealt for the next Ryan Wagner?

"They want good, young starting pitching," said Reitsma, now an Atlanta Brave. "They saw me in the long run as a set-up guy, someone they could replace with a veteran like Todd Jones or young guys like (John) Riedling and Wagner."

O'Brien said ownership will give him the money he needs to build properly. "We're a work in progress," he said. O'Brien said some of the millions cut from this year's payroll have been shifted to player development. He didn't say how many millions. That's the kind of information that might keep fans coming to the park, even if the team plunges in the standings.

If there is a plan, and the money to drive it, fans will adopt some patience. If there isn't, fans will adopt the Bengals.

Meanwhile, Dave Miley deals with a young bullpen with a big hole where Reitsma used to be. Wagner and Phil Norton are training on the job. It shows. "You've got to show some confidence, keep putting them out there. It's a learning process," the manager said.

"Another good arm we could have had," Danny Graves said of Reitsma. "Now, maybe people are saying, where's Reitsma? But we're going to come out of our struggles. You have to spend money to win. That's baseball. And that's why I'm not a general manager."

The Reds beat Atlanta 5-3 Thursday, in a rain-reduced five innings. They didn't need the bullpen. That was fortunate.

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traderumor
04-23-2004, 09:31 AM
The Braves got a glimpse Weds. night, pitching lights out then giving up an ill-timed longball to lose the game.

PuffyPig
04-23-2004, 09:49 AM
The Braves got a glimpse Weds. night, pitching lights out then giving up an ill-timed longball to lose the game.

Actually, Reistma pitched poorly at first, giving up the 2 run HR, but then pitched OK and won the game.

zombie-a-go-go
04-23-2004, 10:17 AM
The Braves didn't win Wednesday's game; we lost Wednesday's game. There's a difference.

Red Heeler
04-23-2004, 12:44 PM
If the Reds were a really good middle reliever away from being a contender for the next several years, then Daugherty might have a point. As it is, the Reds need help in many areas.


If you keep shedding cheap, young players for cheaper, younger models, all you're doing is spinning on baseball's Third World hamster wheel.

Well, that would be true if you are talking about one-for-one swaps. In this case, the Reds got two pitchers with roughly the same talent level as Reitsma. I would trade anyone on this team for two players in the high minors with similar talent level. That is not trading down. It is stocking up.

red-in-la
04-23-2004, 01:02 PM
I swear, I am not channeling Paul Daugherty.....but I guess it takes a professional to make the point.

Paul said it all. The Rietsma trade just shows there is NO PLAN.

If you trade a $950,000 guy for the future and you keep a weak 6 million dollar 1B, and terrible 6 million dollar closer, and 12 million dollar All century OF, you have NO PLAN.

I expect this to be the first in a series of articles the local press comes out with over the next year or so to illustrate that the Reds are now a carbon copy of the Brewers.

Go Bengals!

Crosley68
04-23-2004, 01:07 PM
QUOTE]If you trade a $950,000 guy for the future and you keep a weak 6 million dollar 1B, and terrible 6 million dollar closer, and 12 million dollar All century OF, you have NO PLAN.

I think you are assuming that there is someone out there who wants to take these guys and their contracts off our hands. You know what they say about assumptions.......

danforsman
04-23-2004, 01:07 PM
If the Reds trade a Reitsma-type in 2006, then there's questions to be asked. But the quickest way to strengthen a farm system lacking quality young pitching is to acquire it from other teams, and other teams won't part with their quality young pitching unless they get something of value in return.

One thing that I think's overrated is Reitsma's versatility. His versatility was the result of poor managing and a terrible pitching staff. He didn't stick in the rotation because he wasn't consistently effective as a starter, but he kept getting chances because the rotation was so pathetic. He was good as a reliever, but by no means lights-out. He is just the type of guy that O'Brien had to flip for good prospects.

princeton
04-23-2004, 01:08 PM
In this case, the Reds got two pitchers with roughly the same talent level as Reitsma.

no we didn't. Reitsma's a bona fide major leaguer, and these two guys are prospect and suspect. They may never have Reitsma's talent level. I even think that Reitsma will improve beyond his current talent level.

this deal was about Reitsma's 2005 salary--which we hope to use in other ways-- and about the presence of Ryan Wagner and about the absence of lefties and starter candidates in the system. We tried to trade out of perceived strength into need, but in the short term we ended up stripping talent from a need position. It still might work out, if one prospect develops, if we locate setup men, if we don't have the horses to compete this year, and if Reitsma doesn't become a closer. But it could really backfire if nobody develops and/or if we compete but for the bullpen and/or if Reitsma becomes the closer that we should be seeking.

zombie-a-go-go
04-23-2004, 01:12 PM
If you trade a $950,000 guy for the future and you keep a weak 6 million dollar 1B, and terrible 6 million dollar closer, and 12 million dollar All century OF, you have NO PLAN.

You found a team that'll take those contracts off our hands? Sweet! Better call the FO, and quick.

RosieRed
04-23-2004, 02:08 PM
I'm suprised no one has commented on this:

O'Brien said ownership will give him the money he needs to build properly. "We're a work in progress," he said. O'Brien said some of the millions cut from this year's payroll have been shifted to player development. He didn't say how many millions. That's the kind of information that might keep fans coming to the park, even if the team plunges in the standings.
Or is it just not believable? I can't recall anyone reporting that this is true before, that some of the cut payroll will actually be used elsewhere.

Aronchis
04-23-2004, 03:02 PM
Before the trade the Reds had Dustin Moseley as the only pitcher in the high minors who was "legit" starting pitching prospect. Now with Nelson's arsenal, we have another. The BP will rebound people though this year will be tough since the Reds fan feels entitled to a great BP(which the 2003 version was not by the way). Patience people, patience.

IslandRed
04-23-2004, 03:04 PM
Well, of course the deal makes no sense if the context is 2004 alone. Philosophically, I had no problem with it.

If we can accept that we are rebuilding -- hot start aside -- that raises the question, what should we be building? I'd argue that an overstuffed pipeline of starting pitching is the precondition to the sustained success we want. With that, we'll have a quality rotation and plenty of depth; we won't have to pay inflated market prices for "proven" pitching; we'll have trading chips to deal for other things we need; and the winnowing-out process will probably help stock our bullpen, too. So anything we can do to accelerate the pipeline-building without giving up a critical part of the next really good Reds team ought to be considered.

Anyway, relievers are among the most unpredictable, most replaceable players there are. Bullpen construction is more art than science, but most people would agree that it's the one part of a team that it's feasible to construct on the cheap. We may have picked the wrong guys this year but that doesn't mean we need to start overpaying. The Sullivan/White type of contracts are a luxury a team in our payroll class can't really afford.

Bottom line: I'd rather get Bong and Nelson now than see Reitsma non-tendered next winter and we get nothing.

westofyou
04-23-2004, 03:09 PM
Anyway, relievers are among the most unpredictable, most replaceable players there are. Bullpen construction is more art than science, but most people would agree that it's the one part of a team that it's feasible to construct on the cheap. We may have picked the wrong guys this year but that doesn't mean we need to start overpaying. The Sullivan/White type of contracts are a luxury a team in our payroll class can't really afford.


That's funny, I have that all on my tatto on my back. :mhcky21:

IslandRed
04-23-2004, 03:11 PM
That's funny, I have that all on my tatto on my back. :mhcky21:

In VERY small letters, I hope. :eek:

REDREAD
04-23-2004, 03:31 PM
[Reitsma said] They saw me in the long run as a set-up guy, someone they could replace with a veteran like Todd Jones

This is probably very, very close to the truth.. whether you like the trade or not,
the new regime doesn't really seem to value the bullpen very much at all. And it's not all about money either. They could've gotten some cheap veterans this offseason who
would've been much more effective than Jones/Van Poopel/etc. Sure, it would've
cost more than minimum salary, but it wouldn't have broken the bank.

I think it was M2 that said that if a club is resigned to the fact that it can never afford to carry a 1.5-2 million reliever like Sullivan/Heredia/White.. then you might as well
accept that the team will never contend. Even KC could afford Sullivan.

There is no plan, other than to cut costs. In a few years, DanO will get the ax, and we'll be told the "new guy" will do it right this time. Now, I know DanO is trying as hard as he can. Don't get me wrong, but unless we see a major cash infusion into the draft, no GM is going to be able to win under the Allen/Lindner regime.

TeamBoone
04-23-2004, 03:34 PM
In this case, the Reds got two pitchers with roughly the same talent level as Reitsma.

If this is true, why aren't those two guys on the 25-man roster?

KronoRed
04-23-2004, 03:36 PM
If this is true, why aren't those two guys on the 25-man roster?


They will be one day, have some success and be dealt for 4 minor league pitchers..it's a cycle of fun :D

creek14
04-23-2004, 03:41 PM
They will be one day, have some success and be dealt for 4 minor league pitchers..it's a cycle of fun :D
I beg to differ.

By then we will have traded Dunn, Kearns, Jr and Casey, so Bong et al will be traded for a couple good RBI guys and some left handed power.

TheBurn
04-23-2004, 04:07 PM
So... has anyone been hitting our Bong in the minors?
Has our Bong been gettin' lit up?
:whack: Sorry... couldn't help myself! :nono:
It'll never happen again!

KronoRed
04-23-2004, 04:08 PM
No topic is done without a Bong joke ;)

westofyou
04-23-2004, 04:09 PM
Even KC could afford Sullivan.

Sullivan is the 7th highest paid Royal, he would have been the 8th highest paid Red, which he was on the Reds last year. He also only pitched 64 innings last year as a setup guy who doesn't log saves, in fact he's pitched more innings without a start or 10 saves than any player since 1999 by a large margin. I'd say the calculated guess on the Reds end was that his innings would decline and they didn't want to pay over 2 million for.


CAREER
1999-2003

GAMES STARTED <= 1
SAVES <= 10
ERA vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria

INNINGS PITCHED IP GS SV ERA
1 Scott Sullivan 466 0 7 0.64
2 Rick White 407 1 6 0.37
3 Paul Quantrill 369.1 0 5 1.44
4 Felix Rodriguez 358.1 0 5 1.39
5 Paul Shuey 336.2 0 9 1.35
6 Rheal Cormier 327.2 0 2 0.78
7 Scott Sauerbeck 325.1 0 5 0.71
8 Gabe White 313.2 0 5 0.47
9 Justin Speier 309.1 0 10 0.23
10 Steve Reed 306.1 0 2 1.07

Stormy
04-23-2004, 04:22 PM
The Reitsma trade was made on sound philosophical grounds. We may all differ in regards to whether we like the returns, the immediate impact, the Reds' evaluation of Reitsma's ceiling etc... However, in concept the Reds traded a player they (accurately or not) considered a setup reliever on a team without contention aspirations, for what they perceived as 2 legitimate young starting pitching prospects with relatively foreseeable ETAs. There is plenty of room for us to debate whether the Reds accurately estimated Reitsma's upside and role, whether their evaluations of Bong and Nelson as future rotation candidates were solid assessments, whether or not it was wise to further deplete a completely diluted bullpen, and what effect Reitsma's arbitration process/salary factored into the scenario. However, in principle the Reds translated a non-closer into a LHP and RHP who had both experienced some success beyond the low minors. Regardless of all of the valid reasons to like or dislike the particulars, it was made on a solid foundation. IMO

By contrast, compare the fact that we shipped off the proven commodities of Williamson, Sullivan, Heredia, White, Mercker *COMBINED* and only received 1 pitcher who had ever pitched beyond the low minors in return (Belisle) and his value was still deflated at the time because of past injury. Their circumstances were different than Reitsma's, but they were all still viable, valuable and proven MLB relievers - and they netted a total yield of nothing. By contrast to those non-entities, Reitsma's trade landed a motherlode.

I don't have high aspirations for Bong (no pun), and think Nelson is likely middle (rather than top) of the rotation material... but at least I can identify with the philosophy of this trade. That's more than I can say for any Reds trade of the past year with the exception the Boone (very solid, but could have been better if we add White without asking for monetary compensation), Guillen (nothing of much value but he had to be moved) and Scott Dunn (for DJ) trades. We are feeling the affects of the Reitsma trade much more because of the ill-conceived salary dump trades which destroyed the bullpen, long before he was ever dealt. His absence, and the struggles which have ensued, just emphasize that.

PS: and maybe princeton is right that Reitsma will eventually evolve into the elite closer that we actually needed, without recognizing it. However, it's also likely that this "rebuilding" team couldn't produce a viable rotation quickly enough to need that type of closer, nor could they still afford him (according to their M.O.) by the time he did emerge in that role. Like the trade or not (I can see where both sides are coming from) at least it's a trade which can be rationalized and understood, in concept.

REDREAD
04-23-2004, 05:10 PM
WOY.. let me ask you this.. Are you satisfied with the makeup of our pen this year?

Personally, I think that with a new stadium, they owe us better pitchers than Van Poppel, Jones, Reith, and Norton. Maybe Sully wasn't the specific guy, but you must admit that they really bunged the pen this year. You were one of the loudest praisers
of dumping the entire pen last year.. You've got to admit that we are worse off, particularly since the money "saved" has not been used to help other areas.

Raisor
04-23-2004, 05:13 PM
You've got to admit that we are worse off, particularly since the money "saved" has not been used to help other areas.

Except there's a direct quote above from O'Brien saying that the money IS being used in other areas: Player Development.

westofyou
04-23-2004, 05:26 PM
WOY.. let me ask you this.. Are you satisfied with the makeup of our pen this year?

Personally, I think that with a new stadium, they owe us better pitchers than Van Poppel, Jones, Reith, and Norton. Maybe Sully wasn't the specific guy, but you must admit that they really bunged the pen this year. You were one of the loudest praisers
of dumping the entire pen last year.. You've got to admit that we are worse off, particularly since the money "saved" has not been used to help other areas.

Small sample size, can't really say as of yet.

But I remember reading this 4-18-03

I think the season is so young, the jury is still out..

BUT The problem is though that the Reds have not been able to put together a decent bullpen this year so far by using replacements.. The Reds struck gold a couple times (Shaw, Brantley).. but for the most part, their bread and butter guys in the bullpen have been guys with a good pedigree (Sullivan, White, Belinda, etc.)..

http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10350&highlight=bullpen

KronoRed
04-23-2004, 05:52 PM
Except there's a direct quote above from O'Brien saying that the money IS being used in other areas: Player Development.

What does player development mean?
draft? minors? scouting?

Wonder what Allen thinks it means ;)

Red Heeler
04-23-2004, 07:49 PM
If this is true, why aren't those two guys on the 25-man roster?

Poor wording on my part, I guess. I think that both Bong and Nelson have the same level of potential as Reitsma did when we got him from the Red Sox. Sure, Reitsma has the experience edge now, but I'm in it for the long haul. I don't think that the current team has enough of the right parts to be contenders. Reitsma would help win the Reds some extra games this year, no doubt. On the other hand, will those extra games be enough to win the division or wild card? I don't think so. A lot of chips would have to fall the Reds way for Reitsma's performance to matter next year, too. In that case, two potential Reitsmas in 2006 are better than one right now.

I like Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns as much as anyone here. I really hope that the Reds are able to sign them to long term contracts soon. However, if the opportunity arises to trade either of them for two prospects who are crushing the ball in AA and showing superior batting eye (think Adam Dunn circa 2001), then the Reds should do that trade as well.

In order to have sustainable success, the Reds need to have a constant stream of top notch prospects. They can only afford to pay big money to about 7-8 absolutely essential roster spots. The rest of the team must be filled with inexpensive talent. Right now, the Reds only have about three or four of the essential players with only a little help on the horizon. They need the talent, and they need to free up the money to be able to keep the three or four that they already have.

EX BRAVEDAD
04-23-2004, 09:36 PM
I for one am very happy about this trade I also believe that Bubba is a middle of the rotation guy but what the hell as long as the REDS can win what does it matter Bubba needs a little more time to fine tune his game at this level and you just may see a pretty good pitcher Pluse pitching will humble you real quick but I for one really like him being with the REDS

Stormy
04-23-2004, 10:06 PM
I for one am very happy about this trade I also believe that Bubba is a middle of the rotation guy but what the hell as long as the REDS can win what does it matter Bubba needs a little more time to fine tune his game at this level and you just may see a pretty good pitcher Pluse pitching will humble you real quick but I for one really like him being with the REDS

I'm thrilled that he's here ExBravedad. I've heard nothing but good things about him, his abilities and his performance (though I've only seen him pitch once, so far, so I'm basically going on secondhand information and scouting reports). He's a much needed and welcome addition to an organization which is going to need numerous rotation-ready arms in the near future (as Haynes, Wilson, Lidle) come off the books... and I'd guess Bubba Nelson is a big part of that future rotation design plan. I just didn't want to give the impression that we should expect Bubba to be knocking on the door of the top of the rotation in the immediate future - as others were asking why is he not already here etc...

princeton
04-23-2004, 10:59 PM
princeton is right that Reitsma will eventually evolve into the elite closer that we actually needed, without recognizing it. However, it's also likely that this "rebuilding" team couldn't produce a viable rotation quickly enough to need that type of closer, nor could they still afford him (according to their M.O.) by the time he did emerge in that role. Like the trade or not (I can see where both sides are coming from) at least it's a trade which can be rationalized and understood, in concept.

yeah, I agree. The Reds want to build a staff for 2005-6, and don't expect to compete in 2004. Sound reasoning. I'm sure that they'd prefer to deal Jason LaRue or Sean Casey for starter candidates, but that wasn't an option. Aaron Boone was already gone yet more than Claussen was needed, so we've started to slice off guys that we project as setup men (Willie, Reitsma) thinking that we'll make more. While I personally think that dumping your best arms to improve your arms is paradoxical, it's what is available to us

Yet, I'm reminded of how we dropped Jeff Shaw thinking that we wouldn't be needing such a good closer in the near future, or could replace him, then had consistency problems at the end of ballgames during the next year's playoff run. Shaw begat Konerko who begat the important Cameron, but there were probably other ways of getting Cameron. Shaw was missed the following year, and wasn't so expensive either. Like Reitsma.

CougarQuest
04-23-2004, 11:11 PM
I wonder if we would be asking this question if Danny Graves would have closed the door in the 9th?

EX BRAVEDAD
04-23-2004, 11:34 PM
I still think it is too soon for Bubba he needs to polish his game up a bit in AAA before he moves on and I am confident and have heard nothing but good things about his pitching coach in AAA and of course the big league coach saw him pitch my self in World series when I was a kid when they played the Orioles well enough of my bull see you later

IslandRed
04-23-2004, 11:51 PM
By contrast, compare the fact that we shipped off the proven commodities of Williamson, Sullivan, Heredia, White, Mercker *COMBINED* and only received 1 pitcher who had ever pitched beyond the low minors in return (Belisle) and his value was still deflated at the time because of past injury. Their circumstances were different than Reitsma's, but they were all still viable, valuable and proven MLB relievers - and they netted a total yield of nothing. By contrast to those non-entities, Reitsma's trade landed a motherlode.

Yep. We can thank Allen for that. There wasn't a single person in baseball last July/August who wasn't aware that we were moving those guys no matter what. In essence, he turned those deals from the equivalent of an Ebay reserve auction to a no-reserve auction. It didn't take a fair offer, just the best offer. The results were predictable.

Really, though, only the Williamson deal irked me. OK, it irked me to move guys for cash instead of prospects, but we weren't going to hit any jackpots. White and Sullivan were expensive rent-a-players; Heredia was having a good year but would have been non-tendered last winter by anyone but the Yankees; and Mercker was a pure reclamation project. (Before we picked him off the scrap heap, Mercker hadn't had a sub-4.80 ERA since 1997.) But Williamson's a guy we should have received real value for, dammit.

Nonetheless, since last July we've added five young pitchers (Claussen, Harang, Belisle, Nelson, Bong) who at least made it to Triple-A without turning from prospects into pumpkins, and that's a dang sight better off than we were. I want to get to the point where we have a Cubs/A's-like pipeline going, but in the meantime, I'll settle for having enough options that we never again have to spend $2.5 million on the likes of Jimmy Haynes.

NDRed
04-24-2004, 12:06 AM
Simple If either of the guys we recieved from the Braves end up a number 4 or higher starter we win; if not- we lose.

To be determined............

Catch22
04-25-2004, 12:52 AM
I agree with Red Storm that even though you don't agree with the trade, at least it appears that there was some forethought that went into it - and dare I say - a plan. Credit Dan O'Brien for that.

Problem is, I think this trade is symptomatic of a much bigger problem with the Reds, and a problem that will leave them mired in mediocrity.
Yes, the Reitsma trade netted two potential hurlers that probably can make an impact at the major league level someday. Much like it was just after the trade that grabbed Reitsma from the Sox for Bichette. What people need to ask is what's stopping them from doing the same thing in four or five years when Bong and Nelson have been up for 3 years or so, out of options, looking at arbitration? Unless something changes, you're kidding yourself if you don't think that they'll be shipped off for more prospects to build for 2008. How many years have they been playing that song in Cincy? This "plan" may help you keep your head above water in the division, but I don't think that it is going to net any championships in the near future.

Basically, the Reds have been operating as a high level farm club for the rest of the league (or at least those teams willing to spend some $$$). Reds do all the hard work in developing players, and then ship them off to other clubs when the price tag gets a bit too high. It's such a shame that management doesn't have ownership backing to try and cash in on some of these players instead of folding their cards as soon as the ante gets upped a bit. That'll get you broke in poker, and won't get you anywhere in baseball either.

I really think that it is time for the people and fans of Cincinnati to hold this team to a higher standard. I'd say something like stay away from the park so they know you're mad, but I think that ownership would use that as an excuse to pinch payroll even more. I don't know what to suggest - but I do know one thing. As long as this current ownership group is structured the way it is, whether it is Carl, or the Limiteds pulling the strings - the Reds are going nowhere.

But hey - at least you've got a shiny new park to play in.

Sorry for the downer rant - it is my first and my last :)

REDREAD
04-26-2004, 01:08 AM
But hey - at least you've got a shiny new park to play in.



At least Carl got booed in that park on opening day :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

But I agree with everything you say.. there's really no plan.. it's all a big shell game to swap players every 3-4 years to minimize payroll. As the Reds have shown, it's hard to even maintain your talent level doing only that, much less improve.

buckeyenut
04-26-2004, 11:44 AM
They sold high on Reitsma. Smart move IMO on a team that wasn't going to realistically have much of a shot at winning a division. Bullpen arms can be picked up as the year progresses for far cheaper than what we got it we are in contention and need them.

You have to know what you have and be able to be realistic to get the job done as a GM. OBrien did it. He may have to go pick up a reliever later in the year if we continue to play well, but this was a good organizational move. There are always a bunch of relievers available at the trade deadline.

M2
04-26-2004, 01:23 PM
Simple If either of the guys we recieved from the Braves end up a number 4 or higher starter we win; if not- we lose.

To be determined............

As time goes by, I've become persuaded, nearly convinced, that the proper way to evaluate a trade is NOT to wait and see. Teams are making a decision at a specific moment in time and none of them has the benefit of a crystal ball. While you can use ex post facto results as a measure of how well they evaluate and develop players, it doesn't alter the valuation decision made on the day of the trade.

Put another way, trades are really about the quality of the decisions you're making, not how the stars align after you've made those decisions.

For instance, I will like the Chris Reitsma trade even if Reitsma goes on to have a stellar career and Nelson and Bong never amount to anything. Nelson's what the Reds need, an advanced prospect with a legitimate shot at being a power pitcher in the majors. However, I think the trade is a lousy idea if the team made it with with 2005/6 in mind. Bubba's probably not going to be an impact pitcher in the majors on that timetable. He very well might need to return to AAA next year and master that level before he's ready for his major league apprenticeship. Nothing wrong with that, he'll be 23 next season. He really is a kid. And it might take him two, three years before he starts dealing against major league hitters. So Bubba Nelson might not be reaching his potential until something like 2008 (when he'll be 27 to start the season). And that's fine because he's got good potential and the Reds needed a guy like that. Toss in a wild card like Bong and I think it was a good time to cash in Reitsma. Yet smart money would have Reitsma being the more effective pitcher over the next 2-3 years.

Conversely, the problem with the Williamson trade is that it was such a poor decision from a talent standpoint. The Reds got NO advanced prospects. It got one guy who was oldish for A ball and not all that dominating and a kid in rookie ball who might as well be named Sidd Finch at this point in time. Could the deal work out in five years? Sure, but the odds are extremely long. It was a bad decision if Scott Williamson never gets another batter out or if Scott Williamson goes on to make hitters look silly for a decade.

Touching on Crash's post, the real proof of life for the Reds will be if they can make a Reitsma deal in reverse. Sure, they needed to shore up the starting pitching ranks. Yet what if Milwaukee kicked Ben Sheets into the market? He's young, relatively inexpensive and just starting to reach his potential. If you've got a 2005/6 plan, then he's the kind of pitcher you should be acquiring. He is exactly what the Reds need. I don't mind the Reds shuttling out contracts and making value trades if at some point they're willing to pounce on the salaried talent that can propel them to a better class of baseball.

It can't be a one-way street. If arb-eligibles only drive in the outbound lane, it doesn't matter if the team makes a good call on a guy like Reitsma. The Reds have to find a way to retain and acquire arb-eligibles as well as send them packing. No one's winning anything with a team comprised of Year 1-3 players. It's the activity on the inbound lane which will define this team and DanO's stewardship of it.

REDREAD
04-26-2004, 02:10 PM
M2. You make some good points. I agree with a lot of what you say.

Actually, my main problem is that most of the bullpen was given away
for nothing. The Reitsma trade was by far the best of all the reliever trades done.
(And even if we kept Reitsma, the pen would've still been a weakness this year,
although not as glaring).

However, I'm not sure a team like the Reds can plan for 2005-2006.
It's been difficult enough to collect quality prospects over the past few years
(see our success relative to the best in the industry). I think it would be
even harder to make trades to get a collection of quality prospects that you
think will all arrive at the same time (and then in theory, contend that year).

I don't think you were trying to imply that, but when you said, "If the Reitsma
trade was made for 2005-2006.." I wasn't sure if that's what you intended.

westofyou
04-26-2004, 02:13 PM
(And even if we kept Reitsma, the pen would've still been a weakness this year,

Question.

Why last year on 4-18 was the "Jury still out" (your words) on the BP but this year it's already called the result and gone home to watch TV?

Seems kind of inconsistent IMO.

M2
04-26-2004, 02:29 PM
M2. You make some good points. I agree with a lot of what you say.

Actually, my main problem is that most of the bullpen was given away
for nothing. The Reitsma trade was by far the best of all the reliever trades done.
(And even if we kept Reitsma, the pen would've still been a weakness this year,
although not as glaring).

However, I'm not sure a team like the Reds can plan for 2005-2006.
It's been difficult enough to collect quality prospects over the past few years
(see our success relative to the best in the industry). I think it would be
even harder to make trades to get a collection of quality prospects that you
think will all arrive at the same time (and then in theory, contend that year).

I don't think you were trying to imply that, but when you said, "If the Reitsma
trade was made for 2005-2006.." I wasn't sure if that's what you intended.


That's exactly what I meant. In addition to what you said, there's a major league learning curve to get through. It's the province of fans to hold unrealistic expectations about when a player will arrive and how good he'll be from the outset. I include myself in that.

Yet take Brandon Claussen for example. I think he's a good prospect, underrated by BA these days, and that he's a guy who can become a good major league pitcher in time. Of course a lot of people thought he'd waltz in and be the team's ace this season. Obviously that hasn't happened. I'm sure Claussen will pitch in the majors this year and he'll probably see his share of ups and downs. Maybe next year, maybe in 2006 he'll become a good major league pitcher. It's only a rarified few who make it look easy from the first time they set foot on a major league field.

If the Reds really want to compete in 2005/6 they should be loading up on 3rd and 4th year players, guys like Chris Reitsma, who are staring their career seasons in the face.

princeton
04-26-2004, 03:27 PM
I think the trade is a lousy idea if the team made it with with 2005/6 in mind. Bubba's probably not going to be an impact pitcher in the majors on that timetable.

I'm sure that it was made with '05 and especially '06 in mind, and it wouldn't take a stellar performance for Nelson to beat the other guys that we'll have for those years.

Reitsma would be an even better pitcher to have around for those seasons, so I agree that it could be a lousy idea. But the Reds want to spend Reitsma's '05 and '06 arbitration awards in different areas.

a small market team has to get performance, and can only afford so many 5th and 6th year players -- and those that they can afford have to have really high performance quotients. The Reds are banking on Reitsma's performance quotient in '05 and '06 being too low. That may be right, but I wanted to see more of Reitsma first.

M2
04-26-2004, 03:54 PM
I'm sure that it was made with '05 and especially '06 in mind, and it wouldn't take a stellar performance for Nelson to beat the other guys that we'll have for those years.

Reitsma would be an even better pitcher to have around for those seasons, so I agree that it could be a lousy idea. But the Reds want to spend Reitsma's '05 and '06 arbitration awards in different areas.

The ability to beat out the Jimmy Hayneses of the world does not a contender make.

It's some fraction of the top percentile of prospect pitchers who are ready to make a difference at the major league level before their 24th birthday. I like Bubba Nelson. I think he's got a legitimate shot to be a good pitcher down the road. Yet he's not in that fraction of that percentile.

Good enough to make the rotation and get his tail kicked by major league hitters isn't a good 2005/6 plan, nor a particularly good development philosophy. I think we'd both agree that Bubba should show some consistent mastery at the AAA level before the Reds call him up the majors.

I'm sure the Reds are thinking along the lines you laid out, doesn't make it a less implausible idea. If the 2005/6 plan hinges on Bubba Nelson having a big season, then that's a bad plan. IMO, it was a good move that should pay off in 2007/8. I'm fine with that, but if the team needs to artificially advance the timetable, it's setting itself up for disappointment. Among other things, it's unfair to Nelson to burden him with unrealistic expectations.

gm
04-26-2004, 04:26 PM
Question.

Why last year on 4-18 was the "Jury still out" (your words) on the BP but this year it's already called the result and gone home to watch TV?

Seems kind of inconsistent IMO.

Chirp-chirp...chirp-chirp...

Axiom: The value of Red's relievers (in certain quarters) rises in direct proportion with the date of their exodus from Cincy

Catch22
04-26-2004, 11:27 PM
It can't be a one-way street. If arb-eligibles only drive in the outbound lane, it doesn't matter if the team makes a good call on a guy like Reitsma. The Reds have to find a way to retain and acquire arb-eligibles as well as send them packing. No one's winning anything with a team comprised of Year 1-3 players. It's the activity on the inbound lane which will define this team and DanO's stewardship of it.

This is exactly what I was trying to say M2! Thanks you for putting it so succinctly (I have a hard time condensing my toughts sometimes). Maybe after following the Reds for the last few years, I've become a bit cynical - but it seems to me that the talent bus has been driving in one direction since I started watching this team. If the last three years are any indication, three to four years from now everybody will be talking about the good prospects that Bong and Nelson have netted. Maybe this is the last leftover effects from the Bowden era, but I suspect that Bowden's, and now O'Brien's marching orders are coming from the top. And those orders do not include trading cheap players, for more expensive ones.

I hope that I'm proven wrong, but lets just say that I won't hold my breath.

Aronchis
04-27-2004, 12:02 AM
Catch, the Reitsma deal was all O'brien, he saw a MR who would get more expensive next year so he dealt him off now.

You just aren't going to get much inbound, that is something you are going have to accept. Did the Marlins have much inbound this winter? No. The key is targeting the players you want to get with cheaper players you value less while keeping your cheapos you value more instead of going for more expensive players.Reds players always seem on the train out of here because the product isn't good from the bottom up. So you are perpetually rebuilding. Bowden's endgame would have required a 90mill payroll just for the Reds to make it to the playoffs. He wasn't bringing up enough cheap talent from the minors, trades from Vets and scouting Internationally to make a good product that could win 90 games from the bottom up with a moderate payroll. He at best, had 500 teams. That gives management every reason to smack you down and show you up. Compare the Reds arms to the Pirates Arms during that 4 game series. Who has done better over the last 3 years stocking young pitching? The Pirates now need pop in the lineup and some maturity in the rotation they will dwarf the current Reds. The Reds will collapse at some point this summer, they don't have enough good arms and offensive talent to make up for the bad decisions over the last 6 years. But if O'brien even gets one power arm out of Lilde,Griffey,Casey,Graves whoever he deals off, it is more than we have seen for awhile. Other teams Managements will make mistakes. That is what will define O'briens legacy in Cincy, because it destroyed Bowden.