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The_jbh
09-09-2007, 05:24 PM
CF Josh Hamilton
LF Adam Dunn
RF Ken Griffey Jr.
3B Edwin Encarnacion
SS Alex Gonzalez
2B Brandon Phillips
1B Joey Votto
C David Ross

Bench
C Javier Valentin
1B Cantu
IF/OF Freel
IF Keppinger
OF Hopper

With Bruce waiting in the wings (Griffey or Hamilton will like go down at some point in the season), the offense looks pretty set for next year... there shouldn't be too many changes to roster on that front unless the Reds decide to go a different direction with Dunn which is entirely possible. It looks as if we have a semi-strong bench. I'd love to Hatteburg stick if it was just a bench role and be our 14th position player (even tho we know the reds love 13). I think with Hatte or Bruce in a 4 headed monster, we have a great offense and bench.

So my question is... what would you really want the Reds to do offensively this offseason? Are you content with "Status Quo"? This offense has stood out this past month...

I'd prefer not to make this should Dunn stay or should Dunn go thread...

mth123
09-09-2007, 06:11 PM
Nice thread. The Reds probably can't keep all those guys because they have to get some pitching somehow and trading a guy or two will probably be necessary. If they are to get any offensive players back, I hope it's a young cheap SS of the future. Some thoughts on directions to go for acquiring pitching:

First preference would be to package Freel and Hatte to some team needing a stopgap at 1B and an insurance policy spot player in the OF (Boston?). The problem is those guys probably couldn't net anyone better than another warm body for the bottom of the rotation mix.

I wouldn't mind seeing Griffey dealt if he could bring some help in with Bruce sliding right in. Realistically it would probably have to be a similar contract coming back (Mike Mussina?? Mike Hampton??) and that may not be fair value.

I think trading Gonzalez (and some minor league sweetener) to a team with a hole at SS could net a number 4 type that is getting pricey (Noah Lowry??) but I'm not sure the Reds have anyone who is an everyday caliber SS. Maybe Pedro Lopez could handle the lions share of time there with Keppinger getting some starts all over including at SS but only if the Reds could get an actual solid guy on the mound.

If those routes don't pan out, the Reds may need to deal an Encarnacion or a Votto with Keppinger, Hatte and Freel getting more ABs in 2008 than your plan proposes.

The last option would be for Bruce or Hamilton to be dealt, but the Reds need to get a stud in exchange IMO.

It's good the Reds have depth. I think they will need to deal some of it for an arm or two.

The_jbh
09-09-2007, 07:09 PM
We absolutely need pitching... no one can argue with that... but I don't want to tear the bench apart either. We really aren't going to get value for Freel right now. I think we'd be better off having him playing that supersub in the OF with Keppinger in the INF. Cantu provides some power of the bench and a right to help Votto out against lefties occasionally. Valentin is unlikely to go anywhere and the team like Hopper. I'd like to see us have some besides just Cantu with power but you can't have everything.

I'd be willing to bet a large sum of money Griffey at least finishes his contract out here. We won't get value from him and I don't know if we'll find too many takers. Plus he is still fun to watch.

If we are going to turn a major league hitter for pitching it has to be Dunn... that idea doesn't particularly thrill me but right now are rotation is Harang Arroyo and the plinko to see who the winners are. Bailey is likely but can't be relied on too heavily.

mth123
09-09-2007, 07:28 PM
I'd trade bench depth for a solid starter 100 times out of 100. Bench depth is a nice advantage, but improving the rotation is mandatory to avoid another 85+ loss season.

The reds need to be creative.

Falls City Beer
09-09-2007, 07:45 PM
This team has to make some sacrifices to acquire pitching. When it gets right down to it, they've always erred on the side of offense in this franchise. And that's what keeps them from success. It's time to blow a hole in the offense to acquire a real and true pitching surplus. When you have a pitching surplus, there's nothing you can't do; unless you're the Twins and you hoard it like an insane old woman.

The_jbh
09-09-2007, 07:59 PM
I'd trade bench depth for a solid starter 100 times out of 100. Bench depth is a nice advantage, but improving the rotation is mandatory to avoid another 85+ loss season.

The reds need to be creative.

I just don't think anyone on our bench is going to get us a solid starter. I'd rather hold Freel than acquire another Matt Beslile

I agree Falls that we are going to have to make a sacrifice but who is gonna net us a quality #3 starter? We aren't going to trade Hamilton or Bruce. I think Phillips is too solid of an all around player to sacrifice. Griffey isn't going to net us a #3... Votto? I think he'll have more value in a season if want to get best value out of him... EE?

mbgrayson
09-09-2007, 08:14 PM
I love the offense, but pitching is the answer.

Look at the Red Sox. Right now, they are the best team in MLB. They have the following rotation:
Josh Beckett, RHP (17-6, 3.30)
Curt Schilling, RHP (8-6, 4.04)
Tim Wakefield, RHP (16-10, 4.39)
Jon Lester, LHP (4-0, 4.47)
Daisuke Matsuzaka, RHP (14-11, 4.11)

Their bullpen, with Papelbon and company, is very good also.

These guys have Clay Bucholz, who just threw a no hitter, sitting on the bench. I realize that they spend WAY more money than the Reds.

Still, pitching is a big factor that drives them to their current 87-57 record. (Not that their offense is bad. But this year Manny and Big Pappi have had 'off' years, and they still keep winning).

mth123
09-09-2007, 08:52 PM
I just don't think anyone on our bench is going to get us a solid starter. I'd rather hold Freel than acquire another Matt Beslile

I agree Falls that we are going to have to make a sacrifice but who is gonna net us a quality #3 starter? We aren't going to trade Hamilton or Bruce. I think Phillips is too solid of an all around player to sacrifice. Griffey isn't going to net us a #3... Votto? I think he'll have more value in a season if want to get best value out of him... EE?

I agree that no one on the bench is going to bring a solid starter, but you draw on bench depth by trading a young up and coming hitter and making the bench player a stop gap every day guy. Trading bench depth is not the same as trading a bench player. I'd say a trade of EdE or Votto would weaken the bench by giving a starting spot to Freel or better yet, Keppinger or Hatte.

I probably wouldn't trade Bruce at this point, but if the right pitcher is offered I don't think Hamilton should be untouchable. I know that no one wants to talk about it, but there will always be a dark shadow lurking around the corner where Hamilton is concerned - the type that could leave the Reds with nothing very quickly. I remember when Daryl Starwberry was crediting his new found faith for licking his deamons just like Hamilton is now. It was about a year later that Strawberry was back in rehab and facing jail and other penalties. I don't think Hamilton lasting long term is automatic. I'm not saying dump him now, but if the windfall that is Josh Hamilton can be parlayed into an arm, it may be worth it and getting out from under that risk is part of the equation.

As for Freel, if anyone has a Belisle like arm that they would give the Reds in exchange for an aging, beat-up, no power outfielder whose primary offensive weapon ends up hurting the team on balance and is signed for the next 2 years at $3 Million and $4 Million per respectively, then sign me up for the Belisle like arm. I think last spring Freel could have gotten that and maybe more. Now it would be a surprise if he could net some one like Dumatrait IMO. The old saying goes "I'd rather trade them a year too soon then a year too late." Freel is exhibit A. Those saying the Reds should hold Griffey at all costs should take note as well IMO.

jojo
09-09-2007, 08:53 PM
CF Josh Hamilton
LF Adam Dunn
RF Ken Griffey Jr.
3B Edwin Encarnacion
SS Alex Gonzalez
2B Brandon Phillips
1B Joey Votto
C David Ross

Bench
C Javier Valentin
1B Cantu
IF/OF Freel
IF Keppinger
OF Hopper


Some random thoughts:

Here's a gee whiz thought about first base. The Reds have gotten this out of first base offensively for '07: .301/.371/.478. Here's what Pecota thought Votto will do in '08 (projection that doesn't factor in his '07 performance): .280/.361/.494. So Votto might be a lateral move to a slight offensive upgrade at a cost savings. The Reds would take a hit defensively though either as Votto being a full time player or as a platoon with Cantu.

Personally, I think there is absolutely nothing to be gained by Bruce playing in Louisville next season. One of the Reds outfielders has to go this off season. Jr would be my choice to go but he's probably a hard sell to most teams because of his age and injury history as well as how his deferred money gets handled. Probably a significant part of the return in a Jr trade really is going to be salary relief which may be a tough thing for the FO to sell to fans. Trading Hamilton makes no sense given his defensive value (legit corner OFer and capable of being a stop gap in CF), his potential to OPS somewhere near .900 and his salary. Either Hamilton or Bruce for Jr would really help the defense too though either scenario leaves a compromise in center.

All that said, I really have to see youth win the day to believe talent will trump track record when the powers making the decisions seemingly have their butts in a warm place.

RedsManRick
09-09-2007, 09:22 PM
I love the offense, but pitching is the answer.

Look at the Red Sox. Right now, they are the best team in MLB. They have the following rotation:
Josh Beckett, RHP (17-6, 3.30)
Curt Schilling, RHP (8-6, 4.04)
Tim Wakefield, RHP (16-10, 4.39)
Jon Lester, LHP (4-0, 4.47)
Daisuke Matsuzaka, RHP (14-11, 4.11)

Their bullpen, with Papelbon and company, is very good also.

These guys have Clay Bucholz, who just threw a no hitter, sitting on the bench. I realize that they spend WAY more money than the Reds.

Still, pitching is a big factor that drives them to their current 87-57 record. (Not that their offense is bad. But this year Manny and Big Pappi have had 'off' years, and they still keep winning).

Lets' see:
Beckett: We have to trade our top position prospect for an available young ace and give him a big extension beyond his arb years.
Schilling: Commit over 50 million to a 36 year old borderline hall of famer to sign a 3 year deal.
Wakefield: Get a rubber armed knuckler with massive affinity to the team to sign a way below market, infinite team option contract.
Matsusaka: Spend over 20 Mil per year (including a lump sum 50M+) for a guy who has never thrown a major league pitch
Lester: Develop a top prospect.

How many of these things can we really afford to do? Which of these risks can we REALLY take on? Can we do it while paying 8.5M to a pitcher who is on the DL and won't throw a pitch and paying over 80M to our position players?

I don't disagree with your premise at all. But let's not pretend we're capable of replicating the Red Sox model. The Red Sox have taken a lot of risks that a team with a lesser budget simply couldn't afford to do.

It's not just about pitching or hitting. It's about scoring more runs than you allow on a regular basis. We need to find a way to do that within the limits of our budget -- and more than anything else it's going to require 2 things:
1.) Player development so as to maximize the production from players who make very little salary
2.) Good production from the players who you must pay in order to obtain their services.

It can be hitting and it can be pitching -- it needs to be both. But we can't waste money and we can't buy enough production to do it through the FA market.

We do have to pitch better because we can't possibly hit up to the level of our pitching. However, let's not forget that simply trading hitting production for pitching production won't address our run deficit. It will simply mean fewer runs allowed and fewer runs scored. If the Red Sox had the offense of the White Sox, Royals, Twins, A's, Blue Jays, or Orioles, they'd be probably be a barely in the wild card hunt.

Let's run a real quick & dirty analysis of our contracts of $1M plus to see who's earning their bank. The criteria is simple -- could you pretty reliably replace their production for less? If no, then they're worth it. A YES means they're earning their paycheck.

Offense:
Junior (12.5M): YES
Dunn: (10.5M): YES
Gonzalez (3.5M): YES
Freel (1.7M): NO
Ross (1.6M): NO
Hatteberg (1.5M): YES
Valentin (1.25M): NO

Pitching
Milton (9.0M): NO
Harang (4.25M): YES
Arroyo (3.8M): YES (league average ERA, 200+ innings)
Weathers (2.25M): YES
Stanton (2.0M): NO
Saarloos (1.2M): NO

If you count Lohse, I'd claim he earned his money. What's interesting here, to me, is that Milton is really the only BIG mistake -- and he's gone next year. Sure, the Stanton, Freel, Saarloos, Ross contracts add up, but they're still costing less than Milton. The real point should be that this team simply cannot buy it's way in to enough production to compete. We HAVE to develop significant contributors constantly -- both pitching and offense.

If you consider Bruce merely an extension of Junior's production and that we very possibly might lose Dunn after 2008, we've got very little help coming from the minors. We need EE, Hamilton, Phillips, and Votto to really develop in to upper echelon offensive talent if we're going to be competitive while focusing our FA buck on non-impact pitching.

edabbs44
09-09-2007, 10:25 PM
This team has to make some sacrifices to acquire pitching. When it gets right down to it, they've always erred on the side of offense in this franchise. And that's what keeps them from success. It's time to blow a hole in the offense to acquire a real and true pitching surplus. When you have a pitching surplus, there's nothing you can't do; unless you're the Twins and you hoard it like an insane old woman.

You're absolutely right. With Bruce waiting in the wings, I'd be shopping Griffey first and Dunn second.

The_jbh
09-09-2007, 10:49 PM
I don't say keep Griffey at all cost... I just don't think we will get value out of him.. or anything at all... plus he controls where he goes

Reds1
09-10-2007, 12:41 AM
and you don't even have Hateberg - our best hitter this season! LOL