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View Full Version : How Much Flexibility Does Denorfia Give The Reds To Trade An Outfielder?



Henry Clay
01-02-2006, 11:39 PM
I was looking through stats this past weekend and was struck by how well Chris Denorfia played at all levels last year. According to the Baseball America 2006 Almanac, he was the Reds' minor league leader in hits (162), runs (90), and total bases (269). The same publication lists him as second in the organization in RBI (87 + 2 with Reds) and credits him with leading AAA Louisville with a .391 OBP. He also has some power, as he totaled 21 HRs in a season split between AA, AAA, and the Reds. He also performed well with the Reds in his short visit (18 Gs). He had the following stats: .263 (BA), .421 (SLG), .364 (OBP).

The above stats had me interested until I checked the 2006 Bill James Handbook, which projects Denorfia to have an OPS comparable to Kearns and better than Pena: .857 (Denorfia), .860 (Kearns), .809 (Pena). These stats then prompted the question: How much flexibility does the presence of Denorfia give the Reds in trading Pena or Kearns? I know there are serious issues relating to injuries and the need for a backup, as well as issues about what Dan O'Brien would bring back in return (I picture the oft-told story of my uncle who once traded his bike for two live catfish). Nevertheless, I can't help thinking that the Reds' achilles heel has been pitching. Without pitching, an injured Griffey, Pena, and Kearns won't matter. It didn't matter that they were healthy last year with no pitching. Assuming a competent GM is hired by new ownership in the next month, would the above stats influence your thinking about trading Pena or Kearns for a solid GABP-friendly pitcher?

StillFunkyB
01-02-2006, 11:54 PM
I don't think you trade one of the OF'ers because you like what you see from CD.

I think you trade one of the OF'ers because it brings back a pitcher that will help this team win ballgames. That is the only reason you trade one of our OF'ers.

Henry Clay
01-02-2006, 11:59 PM
I don't think you trade one of the OF'ers because you like what you see from CD.

I think you trade one of the OF'ers because it brings back a pitcher that will help this team win ballgames. That is the only reason you trade one of our OF'ers.

I guess I wasn't clear in my post then. I tried to make the premise of the question that any contemplated trade would be to bring back a quality pitcher. The question is whether Denorfia provides enough of an offset in the outfield to justify trading one of the few chips the Reds have and the rest of the league values. If Denorfia is going to OPS better than Pena, as projected (and take the projection with a grain of salt), then the Reds have a lot more outfielding depth than they have pitching depth. Actually, if Denorfia were kidnapped and sold to aliens, the Reds would still have more outfield depth than they have pitching depth.

It is pitching that is killing this team. On this team, an extra talented outfielder is just a lawn ornament to stand and watch HRs take off in late innings or to keep Eric Milton company on the bench between innings 5-9. I love the Reds' outfield, but it's about as practical a luxury as the Swiss navy when the Reds have horrible pitching. In many ways, I think Dunn, Pena, and Kearns are kept around as an elixir for the masses to keep us coming to the ballpark to watch homeruns sail over the fences while our team keeps losing and management can't cure the problem. They are great players, but sometimes I think they serve the same role as the big name players who always wind up in Baltimore to watch that team lose. I don't want the team to trade all three of them, but if Denorfia can fill the void and Kearns or Pena can bring back a talented pitcher (more needed than another OF), then I say pull the trigger now (or rather in a few weeks if a good GM is in place).

toledodan
01-03-2006, 12:05 AM
i don't think denorfia has proved himself enough to offset any trade of pena, kearns, dunn or griffey. in time i believe he will be a quality 4th outfielder on this team but not an everyday player. i would still like to have brady clark.

Nugget
01-03-2006, 12:09 AM
I agree that the REDS have outfield depth to trade but I understand that the misgivings on Denorfia are not in his offensive skills put his defence. Whilst better than WMP the REDS do not believe it is major league quality. So whilst he may be able to carry his weight offensively I think the REDS are hoping to give him another year and then be ready to replace one of the OFers.

Henry Clay
01-03-2006, 12:25 AM
I agree that the REDS have outfield depth to trade but I understand that the misgivings on Denorfia are not in his offensive skills put his defence. Whilst better than WMP the REDS do not believe it is major league quality.

I don't know. If he fields better than Wily Mo and can OPS in the same ballpark (pardon the pun) or better, then I say sell high on Wily Mo if there is a good pitcher who can help the Reds now and into the next couple of seasons. Pena could wind up being a great player, but he also might not. Anyway, as DePodesta showed in some of his trades that got the Dodgers back to the playoffs after an 8 year break, you have to trade value to get value. I'm not sure Denorfia is the answer, but his numbers and projected numbers provide fodder for thought. Moreover, this team needs quality pitching more than it needs another outfielder. If no such pitching is available or DanO is the GM and can't bring good pitching home, I'm with you in thinking that the team should hold its cards for another season. If something of quality can be had now, however, I'd be tempted to pull the trigger on a deal and try to right the team's ship before another losing season happens.

Guacarock
01-03-2006, 03:42 AM
Actually, the Reds have the flexibility to trade Kearns or Pena, even while bringing along Denorfia as a fourth outfielder in '06. They can do so rather easily by plugging Freel into the outfield mix, ceding 2B to some tandem involving Womack, Olmedo or Aurilia, should he be re-signed, as now appears possible.

I know some of you have issues with Aurilia and Womack, but I'm not so bothered by the presence of either veteran. They give us options off the bench, and the luxury to move Freel to the outfield. Freel is not exactly a plus infield defender, but he's an ideal lead-off hitter for the Reds, and his speed makes him a great rover in the outfield. Plus, playing out in the grass, he might stay healthier and more durable in '06, although it's hard to say given his aggressive style of play.

So, whether Denorfia can become a regular in '06, or is nurtured along and used off the bench, the Reds shouldn't hesitate to trade Kearns or Pena for either a proven starter or else a potential No. 1 or 2 ace still requiring some grooming in the minors. We can afford to go with a stopgap, patchwork 2B arrangement for a season or two, or do so in the outfield, if it gives us the pitching we so desperately need.

Beyond improving our pitching, the other deficiency we have to address involves tightening up our defenses up the middle. Moving Freel to CF and shifting Griffey over to LF would be a step in the right direction. Substituting Aurilia, Womack, Olmedo or some combo of them for Freel at 2B isn't going to improve the defense, but shouldn't lead to a major drop-off either. The end result: If it buys us pitching or gets us a more airtight outfield, it's still a small, modest baby step in the right direction.