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View Full Version : Is a veteran starter worth Joey Votto to you?



johngalt
12-19-2006, 01:03 AM
A team comes to the Reds looking to deal a veteran pitcher. Think someone like a Jon Lieber - someone who isn't a strikeout pitcher but someone who would fit GABP with his style. For the sake of argument, let's say he's signed through 2007 at $6 million with a mutual option for 2008 at $7.5 million.

They already have five other starters they can go with and they want a good young first base prospect who will be Major League ready shortly since they have an aging first sacker or someone whose contract is up after 2007. They call up the Reds and offer their veteran starter for Joey Votto.

Do you agree to the deal straight up?

Do you only make the deal if they pay some salary?

If they agree to pay some salary in exchange for adding a fringy pitching prospect to the deal, does that still work?

Spitball
12-19-2006, 01:07 AM
No question, I'd trade a minor league first baseman like Votto for a veteran starter in a fraction of a nano-second.

Johnny Footstool
12-19-2006, 01:25 AM
A cheap prospect bat or an expensive pitch-to-contact starter?

I'll take the prospect and hope for a better deal in the future.

TOBTTReds
12-19-2006, 01:30 AM
No question, I would NOT do this type of deal. The term "veteran" means nothing to me to start with. I could name hundreds of veteran pitchers, and I'd rather have younger pitchers with the same numbers.

I also have a problem calling Votto a minor league 1B. Yes he is in the minors, but Bobby Mosby is also a minor league 1B. Votto is a legit prospect that was built to play in GABP. His value for this team I believe is the most underrated. He is a guy that can hit 30 HR's repeatedly for this team in the coming years. Don't waste giving him up for a veteran that won't turn this team around, won't get them to the playoffs, won't have a long term effect to making this team better.

Absolutely, NO DEAL.

toledodan
12-19-2006, 02:43 AM
no way esp. for a jon lieber type pitcher. the only way i move votto is if we're in the playoff race and the team was offered a #2 or #3 starter that could put us over(and keep). no way i would move votto during the winter for a border line #4 starter.

The_jbh
12-19-2006, 02:46 AM
It depends on the pitcher really... Im big on Votto but if theres a guy who can solidify the 3 spot for the next 3 years I'd be willing to part with Votto. We can fill 1B another way in the future (Dunn to 1B potentially) It cant be a guy who is old, it has to be a guy with a future beyond the next 3 years... so potentially if it works out, it could be a long term investment

mth123
12-19-2006, 06:07 AM
I wouldn't do this deal. There are certainly pitchers out there that I would trade Votto for but not an aging on the downside vet like Lieber. I would be happy to take Leiber off Philly's hands, pay his salary and give them a prospect, but not Votto, Bailey or Bruce. He isn't worth that. After those three there is a big drop in terms of impact and readiness.

I also would like to address the general attitude that offensive 1B are easy to replace. This is simply not true. The typical first basemen is an offensive force in most line-ups. This has not been the case for the Reds in the last 25 to 30 years (except for a couple of Casey's better seasons). While I agree that you can get offensive contributors fairly cheaply at 1B (Dreissen, Hatteberg, Casey in his other years), getting a real force there isn't easy.

When you think about the current state of the Reds, much of it can be traced to the lack of having a typical 1B on offense. The lack of production at 1B has made a necessity of getting above average production at other positions that are more critical on defense. The Reds were lucky to have Barry Larkin for so many years whose great production at SS compensated for much of what was lacking at 1B. The Reds were similarly aided in CF with Eric Davis and Ken Griffey Jr (when healthy). But now players who can play the premium defensive positions AND be productive on offense are simply not there to compensate. The Reds went the route of trying to compensate with Lopez and the current version of Griffey and the team could still be decent offensively with those guys at SS and CF. As we have seen though, the defense has fallen to a level that is below acceptable and when capable defenders are brought in there isn't enough offense to go around. A solid middle of the order 1B would pretty much solve this problem. The pressure wouldn't be there to choose between a good defender at SS or a guy who can hit. A good defender at SS is a necessity IMO. A good producer at 1B goes a long way toward being able to carry one in the line-up.

I'm not sure Votto is that guy (I think he is). But if he isn't, I can't see the Reds getting a pitcher that we would want for him anyway. If he is, it would certainly make it easier to carry a MI of Phillips and Gonzalez and a guy like Deno in CF. A 1B who projects to be major league productive and cheap for the next few years isn't something that should be given away any more than a decent pitcher should be. Votto is not excess. He is the best hope to fill what has been a 30 year hole in the Reds organization.

RedsBaron
12-19-2006, 07:43 AM
I agree with mth123. Lieber will be 37 years old in April. If I regarded the Reds as serious World Series contenders in 2007, then maybe I would consider such a trade. Unfortunately, the Reds are probably several seasons away, at best, from any serious shot at a title, so acquring Lieber at the cost of Votto isn't something I would do.

RANDY IN INDY
12-19-2006, 07:55 AM
RedsBaron is right. In the situation the Reds are in now, there is no way that I would trade Votto for a 37 year old Jon Lieber.

Red Heeler
12-19-2006, 09:10 AM
Rather than hunting for an old, middle of the road pitcher like Leiber, the Reds should be scanning rosters for second and third year arbitration eligible pitchers who have not yet lived up to expectations.

There are risks with both scenarios. Maybe the vet starts his downhill slide this year. Maybe the younger guy really isn't going to live up to expectations. However, the payoff is far greater if the young guy finally has his breakout year.

Strikes Out Looking
12-19-2006, 09:19 AM
I think the Phillies have a pretty decent 1b for the next few years and Votto, even if he's the second coming of Lou Gehrig, would be seen as a downgrade.

But in response to the question generally--no, I wouldn't trade a grade A prospect for an older "veteran" starting pitcher.

chettt
12-19-2006, 09:34 AM
I would not trade Votto for Leiber. I would trade Votto for pitching. Then, I would hand Dunn a 1st basemen's glove & say "Son, this is your future"

Heath
12-19-2006, 10:05 AM
Rather than hunting for an old, middle of the road pitcher like Leiber, the Reds should be scanning rosters for second and third year arbitration eligible pitchers who have not yet lived up to expectations.

You might have just described Kyle Lohse. :yikes:

Kc61
12-19-2006, 10:34 AM
Would not trade Votto, except in a trade for a good, reasonably young pitcher. Would not trade him for someone like Lieber.

ochre
12-19-2006, 11:07 AM
rings a bit of a Bagwell for Andersen type of deal :)

dfs
12-19-2006, 11:07 AM
In the situation the Reds are in now, there is no way that I would trade Votto for a 37 year old Jon Lieber.

Right. No Gm would make the other end of that deal. Lieber is far more valuable.

I'm as high on Joey Votto as anybody. The guy can flat out rake against righthanded pitching, but....
While Votto can hit, he hasn't really shown power yet. It might develop and it might not. If it doesn't come, Votto joins the class of Casey/Morris/Bream/Benzinger type guys who barely belong in the league.

He's shown a huge platoon split against lefties in AA. There are a LOT more lefties available to major league managers.

Beyond that...yeah it was a good year, but after 05 he needed a good year to get back on the prospect track. One bad year or an injury and the chance of Votto being a star are gone. Including 07, he'll already have two options burned. There's little margin for failure left. This isn't Delmon Young.

He's a firstbaseman and only a firstbaseman. It's not that hard to find a firstbasman who can hit.

As a bargaining chip a minor league firstbaseman is almost valueless. There are only so many first base and DH slots available on major league rosters. Good teams (teams with depth in the starting rotation) tend to already have options available at first base.

The lesson of Rich Aurillia wasn't that Dan O'Brien was a sooper-seekrit talent judge that saw something nobody else did, but that it's pretty easy to find somebody to hit from their platoon side and play first base. It's a GM's equivalence of fish in a barrel.

That's not to denegrate Votto, but recognizing the cost of starting pitching, there is no way that any real GM would agree to trading proven veteran starting pitching like Lieber for Votto.

The comparison to Bagwell is an interesting one and illustrates my point. Bagwell was a thirdbaseman when he was traded. He was blocked because the Red Sox had a hall of famer at third and several "better" first base prospects. Bagwell got a clean shot at a starting slot in houston, because the Astros were terrrible AND dumb enought to think Ken Oberkfell was going to be healthy at 35. Bagwell didn't net a good veteran starter.

dougdirt
12-19-2006, 12:01 PM
Votto hasnt shown power? He was 3rd in the minor leagues in Extra base hits last season.
As for 2005, I argue it was the exception, and not the rule. In 2004, Joey Votto had 19 home runs, 33 doubles and 2 triples, while hitting .301 with an OPS over .900.
Remember in 2005, the Reds made him take the first pitch of nearly every at bat. Most of the time falling behind in the count. Tough to get pitches to drive when you are almost always behind.

TOBTTReds
12-19-2006, 12:21 PM
Votto hasnt shown power? He was 3rd in the minor leagues in Extra base hits last season.
As for 2005, I argue it was the exception, and not the rule. In 2004, Joey Votto had 19 home runs, 33 doubles and 2 triples, while hitting .301 with an OPS over .900.
Remember in 2005, the Reds made him take the first pitch of nearly every at bat. Most of the time falling behind in the count. Tough to get pitches to drive when you are almost always behind.

Thank you for jumping on that, as I was about to. I've also seen the guy play many games, his power was incredible in Dayton. Some of the longest HR's I have seen for a minor leaguer. He used to hit them over the batters eye in CF, which would be like hitting a HR in CF at Riverfront the last year over that big black part of the wall (which only 3 or 4 people did). He has matured a bit and started to drive the ball better since then.

lollipopcurve
12-19-2006, 12:26 PM
I like Votto, too, and would never deal him for a pitcher like Lieber.

dfs
12-19-2006, 12:33 PM
Votto hasnt shown power?
To the point where you would consider him extraordinary enough to deal a real starting pitcher for? No, Not really.
Compare and contrast with Ryan Howard's 04...sure Howard was older, but there are only so many option years and 07 will be Votto's second. Compare and contrast with Adam Dunn's 01 season....Heck, look at Kearns in Dayton in 00, that was power!

Look, I'm not suggesting Votto is valueless or not a legitimate prospect, but the reason Baily and Bruce rank ahead of Votto in all the prospect rankings is that Votto's skill set is way easier to find and less proven than those two guys. If you haven't seen Votto hit, you are in for a treat. I got to a couple of Lookout games last year and I don't think I saw him swing and miss at a single pitch from a righthanded pitcher and that's a fun talent, but there are holes in his skillset right now. I'm not down on Votto, just a recognizing what he is and isn't worth.

dougdirt
12-19-2006, 12:42 PM
Ryan Howards 2004 was extraordinary. Of course, lets put Joey back in AA 2 in 2008 and lets see how he performs. Again, I think you are using the exception and not the rule. Ryan Howard just hit 58 home runs in the major leagues. I dont expect that type of power from Votto. But if you want to talk about power from Votto, he had an OPS of .956 in the Southern League. #2 OPS in the league was .875. Thats an 80 point lead from first to second. The league only had 1 other player slug .500, Jerry Gil, who incidentally is now Reds property. As for the reason Bailey and Bruce are ahead of Joey in prospect rankings are becuase they are 2 of the best prospects in all of baseball.

dfs
12-19-2006, 01:07 PM
Ryan Howard just hit 58 home runs in the major leagues. I dont expect that type of power from Votto.

In all honesty, I believe we are in absolute agreement. Votto projects as a decent enough player. He certainly belongs on the 40 man roster and you can make a case that he should be on the 25 man roster and they shouldn't have made a commitment to Hatteberg....

but no major league GM would dream of trading Jon Leiber for Joey Votto. Compare and contrast with Ryan Sheally. What was Sheally worth? Sheally and a minor reliever for two minor relievers. Guys like this don't get traded for anything like Jon Liebler. Maybe Dave Williams, but I don't think any of us would go wild about that.

Here' Szymborski's projection from baseball think factory.
Name P Age AVG OBP SLG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS
Joey Votto* 1b 23 .259 .334 .451 132 474 76 123 32 1 19 56 53 110 10 5

I'm a little higher on Joey than Dan is, but over the years he's been right more often than I have been. Nobody trades a real starting pitcher for that kind of line.

lollipopcurve
12-19-2006, 02:25 PM
Joey Votto* 1b 23 .259 .334 .451 132 474 76 123 32 1 19 56 53 110 10 5


but no major league GM would dream of trading Jon Leiber for Joey Votto

That's Votto's age 23 season. You've still got him cheap for years to come, and his performance would only get better. Jon Lieber is old, has been hurt, and is expensive. I gotta think most GMs with a pitching surplus (such as Philly has) would gladly swap a pitcher like that for a young talent on the cusp of the majors like Votto.

dougdirt
12-19-2006, 02:28 PM
Ryan Shealy was 27 this year. Joey Votto was 22 until a month left in the season. I dont think the comparison makes any sense.

IslandRed
12-19-2006, 03:18 PM
A GM would be smart to flip a 37-year-old middle-of-the-road pitcher with one year left on his deal for a top talent that's close to the majors, be it Votto or someone else, if the team isn't set up to make a postseason run. Now, I'll grant that Philadelphia isn't in a retooling mindset and has more immediate needs to address if they cash in Leiber. But it's hardly unheard of for a veteran pitcher to be traded for a prospect.

Red Heeler
12-19-2006, 04:01 PM
You might have just described Kyle Lohse. :yikes:

I said "have not yet lived up to expectations," not "flopped like a fish on summer sidewalk."

TOBTTReds
12-19-2006, 04:01 PM
But if you want to talk about power from Votto, he had an OPS of .956 in the Southern League. #2 OPS in the league was .875. Thats an 80 point lead from first to second.

Badda bing!

M2
12-19-2006, 05:05 PM
The Reds need to make smart acquisitions. I'm all for trading Votto for the right pitcher, but not for some guy who'd be lucky to give you 175 IP with a 4.50 ERA. You dumpster dive for that kind of performance.

The Reds need to reserve their assets for a starter they legitimately feel could go sub-4.00. We've seen the folly of wasting blood and treasure on poor pitchers. The arm the Reds get is probably going to have to be a rebound guy (e.g. Tim Hudson) or a guy who hasn't broken through yet (e.g. Ian Snell). This is where your major league scouts need to earn their money.

It's also where a team must be willing to project performance. Forget about what could maybe go right if the heavens align just so, figure out what that arm will do (to the best of your ability and with your rooting interests set firmly to the side) and then go get him if you project him to be what you need.

dfs
12-19-2006, 05:37 PM
The Reds need to make smart acquisitions. I'm all for trading Votto for the right pitcher, but not for some guy who'd be lucky to give you 175 IP with a 4.50 ERA. You dumpster dive for that kind of performance.

Guys like that don't grow on trees. In all of major league baseball there were 50 guys who pitched 160 innings with an ERA of 4.50. You don't dumpster dive for those guys, they are the best starting pitcher in the world. And that 50 includes guys like Lilly and Duke.

FWIW Leiber has done about that or better 9 of the last 10 years, every year but last year.

M2
12-19-2006, 06:49 PM
Guys like that don't grow on trees.

Sure they do. There's always a Claudio Vargas or Mark Hendrickson. Heck, Chan Ho Park and Jaret Wright can approximate that kind of performance. Guys who were non-prospects like Noah Lowry and Clay Hensley can do it (and better).

If a small market GM can't mine guys like that, if he sacrifices talent and a big chunk of payroll for below average pitchers, then he might as well lace the team Gatorade cooler with cyanide because that's a club that isn't going anywhere. Plus, the Reds already have Kyle Lohse and Eric Milton around (and eating up way too much of the payroll).

Of course the problem with Lieber isn't that he wasn't useful in the past, it's that most of the juice has been squeezed out of him. Fastball's getting slower, slider isn't biting. If I had to choose between Lieber and Lohse in 2007, I'd take Lohse (and I'm no Lohse fan). My take is, if a guy doesn't project as being clearly better than Lohse then he'd better be coming at a discount price. Otherwise he's a waste of time.

mth123
12-19-2006, 09:47 PM
He's a firstbaseman and only a firstbaseman. It's not that hard to find a firstbasman who can hit.

As a bargaining chip a minor league firstbaseman is almost valueless. There are only so many first base and DH slots available on major league rosters. Good teams (teams with depth in the starting rotation) tend to already have options available at first base.

The lesson of Rich Aurillia wasn't that Dan O'Brien was a sooper-seekrit talent judge that saw something nobody else did, but that it's pretty easy to find somebody to hit from their platoon side and play first base. It's a GM's equivalence of fish in a barrel.

That's not to denegrate Votto, but recognizing the cost of starting pitching, there is no way that any real GM would agree to trading proven veteran starting pitching like Lieber for Votto.

Votto is a young cheap first baseman that projects to put up first baseman caliber numbers for a number of years. The reds haven't had that since Tony Perez. We have had several firstbaseman who put up good numbers compared to players at other positions, but as firstbasemen they have put the reds at a disadvantage. If they are so easy to find why haven't the Reds had one? I know Aurilia/Hatte were decent last year, but they were not on par with what a good team needs from a 1B. Neither was Hal Morris, Sean Casey, Todd Benziger, Pete Rose, Dan Dreissen or Terry Francona. The reds have always had to compensate with superior hitters at defensive positions. Having a subpar 1b is the reason that guys like Lopez are so crucial to the offense at the expense of the defense and why the offense looks so bad when replaced with a Gonzalez. The Reds don't have Eric Davis and Barry Larkin providing production far in excess of what is to be expected from good defenders at their positions. A good 1B gives the team an actual chance to build an offense without compromising the defense at other postions. The "its easy to find 1B who can hit" argument is simply not true. Our favorite team has proven that for the last 30 years.

This doesn't mean I would not trade Votto, but Votto projects to be a building block and should not be traded for a stopgap. If he could bring back a talented pitcher to be a building block, I'd be for it.

KC61 has it right when he says he wouldn't trade Votto unless its for a good reasonably young pitcher. If I couldn't get that, I keep him and attempt to put an end to the organizational problem that has really hurt the Reds for a long time now.

Team Clark
12-20-2006, 01:40 PM
Badda bing!

Nice Club... good sandwiches!:laugh:

Spitball
12-20-2006, 06:47 PM
Before last season, Bill James was not high on Joey Votto, but I don't remember in which book he wrote his evaluation. Does anyone have a 2006Bill James book with a report and projection on Votto? As I recall, it said he had a long swing that didn't figure to transfer well to the big leagues.

M2
12-20-2006, 07:39 PM
Before last season, Bill James was not high on Joey Votto, but I don't remember in which book he wrote his evaluation. Does anyone have a 2006Bill James book with a report and projection on Votto? As I recall, it said he had a long swing that didn't figure to transfer well to the big leagues.

I remember BA raising that concern.