PDA

View Full Version : Next Moves?



D-Man
08-17-2008, 02:47 PM
I’ve long argued that the transition the Reds have been seeking to make—from a great offensive club to a pitching-and-defense team—is similar to the one the club made from 1987-1990.

Well, no longer.

There is very little offense left at this point, and what offense is left is young and emerging (i.e., unproven). That comp no longer applies. At this point, the team this one most reminds me of is the c. 1989-1990 Braves, with some interesting young offensive parts, lots of talented young pitching, and no defensive prowess to speak of. The Braves had 34 and 27 defensive win shares in 1989 and 1990, respectively, which is the hallmark of a bad defensive team.

What happened to the Braves in 1991 is well-known at this point: they searched for defense, targeting Terry Pendleton at third, introducing Sid Bream at first, and inserting Mark Lemke at second on a part-time basis. The net effect was that the Braves sported the best defense in the NL (47.4 win shares) in 1991.

What’s most interesting to me is the first of those three moves: Terry Pendleton. He was a GG-defender at third with a weak stick, coming off a mid-career lull. This is the exact type of move the Reds should be making in the offseason.

Move 1: Move Encarnacion to LF, target a serious defensive upgrade at third
Moving Votto to left is the wrong move. These moves toward the right of the defensive spectrum almost never work (remember the Kearns to 3B idea that lasted for, what, two days?).

EdE already has the stick for LF (EdE OPS .808, ML LF average .795), and I believe he has the raw defensive skills to be an average defender, if not substantially better. My own assessment of his defense is that he has a strong arm, functional speed, and sufficient lateral quickness for third. But his footwork is not graceful, his arm slot is very inconsistent on throws, and he is more of a “thinker” than a “reactor” at third. Overall, a move to LF will mask his deficiencies and really highlight his strengths. He could really cover some decent ground out there and gun down a few runners. I think his offensive performance would likely improve, as well.

So who to target as a replacement at third? My top three would be Adrian Beltre, Eric Chavez, and Joe Crede, in that order.

Adrian Beltre’s offense has plateaued, yet his defense remains top notch. Seattle is in rebuilding mode, and 2009 will be Beltre’s last year of his contract at around $13M. With Dunn gone, the Reds will have the money. I think his offense would substantially improve with a move to GABP, and I don’t think the Reds will have to give up top-shelf talent to acquire him. He bats righthanded. He is the Terry Pendleton c. 1990, and the one that the Reds should target.

Chavez is a bit dicier, given his shoulder surgery and likely 10/5 rights, but he has won six gold gloves. He represents an interesting target, with a distressed contract. It will be interesting to follow how his shoulder progresses and whether that requires a move off of third. If so, the A’s will be looking to dump him, as I don’t think the A’s are moving Daric Barton or Cust defensively if Eric Chavez is forced to move off of third. [Clearly, he isn’t really interesting to the Reds if he can’t play third.] He has two years left on his 6 yr/$66M contract, plus a $12.5M option.

Joe Crede has put up some good defensive years, but his bat scares me, and he will be an expensive free agent. This free agent class looks ugly (http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2007/12/2009-mlb-free-a.html), and he would be my move of last resort at third.

Hank Blalock has fallen off the map, but if his option isn’t exercised (doubtful), he could be another target.

Move 2: Target defense, speed, and OBP in centerfield
You’re probably thinking. . . Good luck in getting all three of those in one player without breaking the bank. And I agree. There is no hope on the free agent market, in case you are wondering.

Will Coco Crisp still available? He brings defense and speed, although no consistent OBP.

If Dusty insists on batting his CFer in the leadoff spot, the Reds need some OBP from that position. The Reds could move someone like Ray Durham from second to CF.

Ultimately, the Reds must get creative with this position and will probably need to take some calculated risks.

Any other suggestions for CF?

Move 3: Move Homer Bailey to the bullpen
The Reds need to follow the Bobby Jenks/Eric Gagne model with this guy, pronto. I don’t doubt that Bailey would be a lights out bullpen arm, health caveats aside. He doesn’t have the repertoire or the head to start right now, so the Reds need to maximize the benefits he can bring to the team.

Overall
I fully expect to see organic improvement from the likes of Bruce, Votto, and EdE in 2009, and perhaps bounce-back years from Gonzalez, Freel, and Keppinger. The pitching staff has young talent with Ks up the wazoo, and a newly improved defense will help them to mature and grow. Harang and Arroyo will likely return to form.

Defensively, these moves leave the Reds average or better defensively at all positions, with the exception of catcher and perhaps SS. But a Beltre or healthy Chavez would cover for the shortcomings of the SS, like Pendleton did for Blauser in 1991.

Overall, I think these moves will accelerate the improvement of the team. And it will enable the transition to a pitching-and-defense squad.

Falls City Beer
08-17-2008, 02:53 PM
Get two starters (cf. Cardinals). Talk about "pitch to contact." There's not a single strikeout pitcher among the Cardinals' starters. Not one. Nor is there a lefty.

This is what DanO meant when he said "pitch to contact." Trouble is, he brought on pitchers who "pitched to HR."

The Reds starters have struck out God, Oz, the Universe, and Timmy from Passions. But they suck.

What gives?

Are the current Cardinals exploiting the market for unsexy, strike-throwing, healthy starters?

Kc61
08-17-2008, 03:05 PM
[QUOTE=D-Man;1724886]

Move 1: Move Encarnacion to LF, target a serious defensive upgrade at third
Moving Votto to left is the wrong move. These moves toward the right of the defensive spectrum almost never work (remember the Kearns to 3B idea that lasted for, what, two days?).

EdE already has the stick for LF (EdE OPS .808, ML LF average .795), and I believe he has the raw defensive skills to be an average defender, if not substantially better. My own assessment of his defense is that he has a strong arm, functional speed, and sufficient lateral quickness for third. But his footwork is not graceful, his arm slot is very inconsistent on throws, and he is more of a “thinker” than a “reactor” at third. Overall, a move to LF will mask his deficiencies and really highlight his strengths.

[QUOTE]

Always good to read these thoughtful comments about how to improve the Reds. IMO, if EE can't play third base he should be traded and Votto is a better choice for left field.

OPS is a good shortcut statistic, but it is imperfect. EE's .808 OPS doesn't really tell the full story. I think EE is far more valuable as an infielder.

This year EE is a BB/HR guys with a sub-.250 BA. And 13 of his 22 homers are at GABP. Do the Reds want low BA hitters in the outfield? Again?

I like Votto's consistency and would try him in left. As for EE, if the Reds aren't able to upgrade third base this off season, I'd keep him at third and give it one more shot.

RedsManRick
08-17-2008, 03:05 PM
Get two starters (cf. Cardinals). Talk about "pitch to contact." There's not a single strikeout pitcher among the Cardinals' starters. Not one. Nor is there a lefty.

This is what DanO meant when he said "pitch to contact." Trouble is, he brought on pitchers who "pitched to HR."

The Reds starters have struck out God, Oz, the Universe, and Timmy from Passions. But they suck.

What gives?

Are the current Cardinals exploiting the market for unsexy, strike-throwing, healthy starters?

Pitch to contact is entirely predicated on the defense, not the pitchers themselves. In fact, it really confuses the issue. It's not about pitching to contact, it's about throwing strikes.

The best pitchers in baseball, to a man, strike out a good number of hitters. They also don't walk many hitters. The pitchers with the lowest ERA also have a great defense behind them. But that's not something any pitcher can control.

If you can't get guys out while throwing strikes, then you aren't going to be a good major league pitcher. Develop good stuff and throw it for strikes. If you do that, you're going to have some contact. But a ball in play is much better than ball 4.

Falls City Beer
08-17-2008, 03:08 PM
Pitch to contact is entirely predicated on the defense, not the pitchers themselves. In fact, it really confuses the issue. It's not about pitching to contact, it's about throwing strikes.

The best pitchers in baseball, to a man, strike out a good number of hitters. They also don't walk many hitters. The pitchers with the lowest ERA also have a great defense behind them. But that's not something any pitcher can control.

If you can't get guys out while throwing strikes, then you aren't going to be a good major league pitcher. Develop good stuff and throw it for strikes. If you do that, you're going to have some contact. But a ball in play is much better than ball 4.

True. So we know why the Cards' starters are doing well: their defense and their ability to avoid damage via the walk.

But K pitchers on this staff should be getting better results, right? Since they don't need their defense as much?

Why have the Reds' starters sucked (aside from the poor defense)?

The Reds are 2nd in MLB in strikeouts, but 26th in team ERA. How often does that happen? And why?

Falls City Beer
08-17-2008, 03:22 PM
Trade some of those Ks for premier defense?

RedsManRick
08-17-2008, 03:34 PM
True. So we know why the Cards' starters are doing well: their defense and their ability to avoid damage via the walk.

But K pitchers on this staff should be getting better results, right? Since they don't need their defense as much?

Why have the Reds' starters sucked (aside from the poor defense)?

Pretty straight forward. First some background performance:



IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 H/9 LD% BABIP ERA FIP LOB%
Volquez 144.7 9.1 4.1 0.6 7.8 19.5 .305 2.90 3.53 76.5
Cueto 145.0 8.4 3.3 1.6 9.3 21.4 .311 4.90 4.81 71.6
Arroyo 143.7 7.8 3.1 1.1 10.5 25.0 .340 5.51 4.67 67.8
Harang 130.3 7.9 2.6 1.8 10.6 23.9 .336 5.59 4.77 69.4

Volquez has pitched very well, built on the strength of a very high K/9 and very low HR/9. His low hit rate is largely the result of his low(er) LD%.

Cueto has struggled due to high walk and HR rates.

Arroyo has struggled due to a moderately high walk rate and a bad case of Belisleitis -- too many mediocre pitches over the heart of the plate. These are likely due to the same underlying cause -- a deficit of command.

Harang has struggled due to a ridiculous HR rate and a moderate case of Belisleitis, in his case apparently due to a loss of velocity and some command (balls up in the zone), perhaps stemming from a fatigued/injured shoulder.

As you can see, both Arroyo and Harang have ERAs significantly higher than their FIP. That problem is almost always paired with a low LOB% -- symptomatic of high hit and HR rates, one of which is clearly influenced by the defense. Cueto's high LOB% is a result of his high K rate, low HR rate, and the fact that a large number of his base runners are coming from walks, and thus likely to be further away from home.

All else being equal, high K/9 pitchers will have much more success. But unfortunately, things haven't been equal for Harang, Arroyo and Cueto. They've struggled in other areas of the game, and particularly with Harang and Arroyo, their hit rates have killed them -- and that's no doubt been exacerbated by the inability of the Reds defense to help offset the amount of hard contact they've given up.

It's interesting, as you look at the 3 factors of FIP, K/9, BB/9, and HR/9 -- the three things most under the pitcher's control. If you're above average at all 3, you're a Cy Young kind of guy. 2 of 3 and you're a solid to above average starter. 1 of 3 and you're a middle to back of the rotation type. 0 of 3 and you don't belong in the majors. Sure, it's a bit crude as the scale of how much above or below average matters too, but it's surprisingly accurate.

Falls City Beer
08-17-2008, 03:38 PM
Trade Harang for a bat and a big-time glove at a primarily defensive position?

But that will require Aaron to show some improvement between now and the end of September.

Falls City Beer
08-17-2008, 03:51 PM
Pretty straight forward. First some background performance:



IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 H/9 LD% BABIP ERA FIP LOB%
Volquez 144.7 9.1 4.1 0.6 7.8 19.5 .305 2.90 3.53 76.5
Cueto 145.0 8.4 3.3 1.6 9.3 21.4 .311 4.90 4.81 71.6
Arroyo 143.7 7.8 3.1 1.1 10.5 25.0 .340 5.51 4.67 67.8
Harang 130.3 7.9 2.6 1.8 10.6 23.9 .336 5.59 4.77 69.4

Volquez has pitched very well, built on the strength of a very high K/9 and very low HR/9. His low hit rate is largely the result of his low(er) LD%.

Cueto has struggled due to high walk and HR rates.

Arroyo has struggled due to a moderately high walk rate and a bad case of Belisleitis -- too many mediocre pitches over the heart of the plate. These are likely due to the same underlying cause -- a deficit of command.

Harang has struggled due to a ridiculous HR rate and a moderate case of Belisleitis, in his case apparently due to a loss of velocity and some command (balls up in the zone), perhaps stemming from a fatigued/injured shoulder.

As you can see, both Arroyo and Harang have ERAs significantly higher than their FIP. That problem is almost always paired with a low LOB% -- symptomatic of high hit and HR rates, one of which is clearly influenced by the defense. Cueto's high LOB% is a result of his high K rate, low HR rate, and the fact that a large number of his base runners are coming from walks, and thus likely to be further away from home.

All else being equal, high K/9 pitchers will have much more success. But unfortunately, things haven't been equal for Harang, Arroyo and Cueto. They've struggled in other areas of the game, and particularly with Harang and Arroyo, their hit rates have killed them -- and that's no doubt been exacerbated by the inability of the Reds defense to help offset the amount of hard contact they've given up.

It's interesting, as you look at the 3 factors of FIP, K/9, BB/9, and HR/9 -- the three things most under the pitcher's control. If you're above average at all 3, you're a Cy Young kind of guy. 2 of 3 and you're a solid to above average starter. 1 of 3 and you're a middle to back of the rotation type. 0 of 3 and you don't belong in the majors. Sure, it's a bit crude as the scale of how much above or below average matters too, but it's surprisingly accurate.

That largely tells me *how* Harang, Arroyo, and Cueto have stunk this year. But what about the *why?*

OnBaseMachine
08-17-2008, 03:53 PM
Cueto has from from stunk. Put a better defense behind him and his ERA would be much better IMO.

mth123
08-17-2008, 03:57 PM
That largely tells me *how* Harang, Arroyo, and Cueto have stunk this year. But what about the *why?*

I think the why is OF defense creating too many runners and extra pitches and the resulting cumulative fatigue (and not just from 2008) leading to a general loss of effectiveness and bad habits for long stretches. I think the root cause has been largely fixed if the damage isn't permanent. Sadly, I don't see enough offense without Dunn. Letting Griffey go, moving Bruce to RF and getting a real flychaser in CF would have been enough to fix the OF defense IMO. Letting Dunn go should help more, but now the offense is too iffy IMO.

Falls City Beer
08-17-2008, 04:00 PM
Cueto has from from stunk. Put a better defense behind him and his ERA would be much better IMO.

Maybe. But he still gave up a bunch of dingers.

RedsManRick
08-17-2008, 04:16 PM
That largely tells me *how* Harang, Arroyo, and Cueto have stunk this year. But what about the *why?*

Heh, that's the million dollar question I suppose. Ask Dick Pole. It's got to be one (or more) of health, mechanics, or approach, right?

Fixing the OF defense will help, but if Harang and Arroyo continue to allow a high LD%, and if Cueto and Harang continue to give up HR at their current pace, they're going to continue to struggle.

Falls City Beer
08-17-2008, 04:19 PM
I'm saying the best bet is for Aaron to figure it out in the next 7-8 starts to end the season, then trade him. He's still young, and his contract is medium risk, high reward.

I'm guessing a team like the Braves would love to acquire a guy like Harang. What kind of defenders/bats do they have?

mth123
08-17-2008, 04:25 PM
Heh, that's the million dollar question I suppose. Ask Dick Pole. It's got to be one (or more) of health, mechanics, or approach, right?

Fixing the OF defense will help, but if Harang and Arroyo continue to allow a high LD%, and if Cueto and Harang continue to give up HR at their current pace, they're going to continue to struggle.

Don't you think fatigue from all those extra pitches and extended innings plays into that? Fatigued arms lose their slot, lose their release point, pitches aren't "finished" and a host of other things. The biggest risk of course is falling into poor mechanics and getting injured. I hope that hasn't happened with Harang.

I've seen tons of routine fly balls fall in for base hits this year (especially in RF). I'd bet if those were converted the line drive rate would drop as well.

RedsManRick
08-17-2008, 05:37 PM
Don't you think fatigue from all those extra pitches and extended innings plays into that? Fatigued arms lose their slot, lose their release point, pitches aren't "finished" and a host of other things. The biggest risk of course is falling into poor mechanics and getting injured. I hope that hasn't happened with Harang.

I've seen tons of routine fly balls fall in for base hits this year (especially in RF). I'd bet if those were converted the line drive rate would drop as well.

I think it's a contributor, sure. But the OF defense and defense in general has been a problem for the last 8 years and both Arroyo and Harang have found success in that time.



DER Rank
2008 .678 30
2007 .682 26
2006 .691 21
2005 .683 28
2004 .696 20
2003 .698 21
2002 .700 19
2001 .695 23
2000 .710 3

TeamClark has explained at length the mechanical issue going on with Harang in another thread. While I'm not savvy enough to catch those myself, they certainly jive with what the stats indicate.

I've not heard a good explanation on what's going on with Arroyo.

GAC
08-17-2008, 06:08 PM
Jocketty seems to emphasize the middle defense - catching, SS/2B, and CF.


I'm saying the best bet is for Aaron to figure it out in the next 7-8 starts to end the season, then trade him. He's still young, and his contract is medium risk, high reward.

I'm guessing a team like the Braves would love to acquire a guy like Harang. What kind of defenders/bats do they have?

I thoroughly agree.

If Jocketty is doing his "make over" utilizing youth, then why hang onto a Harang and Arroyo if he believes the foundation he is building on is still a couple years away?

An OF of Dickerson, Patterson/Hairston, Bruce, from a solely defensive viewpoint, is quite an improvement. But I still say Walt needs to go after an OFer. But I've got a feeling that this may be our OF going into '09 unless something falls into Walt's lap in the off-season.

I think his main objective, for the most part, is to improve this team's overall defensive. CDick has gotten off to a hot start since being called up (but did Bruce). If we could get some consistent offensive production out of these two, then I could very easily see Dusty wanting to keep CPatt and Hairston while Walt emphasizes other areas of really dire need.

And in Walt's mind - what are those dire needs?

One of those is catching. I don't know if Walt is really sold on a 28 yr old Hanigan at that position. Sure, he was wise to do what he did and give the guy a shot for the remainder of the season to see what he has - but I don't think Walt is sold there yet.

He has one of the better defensive 2Bman in Phillips. Kepp is not a disaster at SS, but I don't think he is what Walt envisions there. But I don't see him entering the market and trying to acquire one either. What's out there to begin with? Does he give a Gonzo/Janish platoon a chance in '09?

What is going to be interesting for me to watch is where they are going to play this Alonso kid? Will he be a September call-up in '09 in preparation for 2010? Are they going to groom this kid for 1B and possibly trade a Votto? I really don't see a Votto playing LF on a Dusty Baker team. That is unless he starts putting up Barry Bond type of numbers.

Or will they try to make Yonder EE's replacement at 3B, because patience has to be growing somewhat short with EE's defense there.

It's just going to be interesting.

This time folks I think we do need to show some patience, because I like what Walt is doing so far.

WVRedsFan
08-17-2008, 06:23 PM
Jocketty seems to emphasize the middle defense - catching, SS/2B, and CF.



I thoroughly agree.


It's just going to be interesting.

This time folks I think we do need to show some patience, because I like what Walt is doing so far.

So do I. On both counts.

We differ somewhat on what I think he will do, however. After watching Jocketty in StL, I think he will try to acquire a SS, 3B, and OF in free agency or trade. If Gonzalez is able to play, that might make him stop looking at that position for next year, seeing as how he has Keppinger, Hariston to back him up. I just think EE is a goner from this team soon. He'll be looking hard to make a deal for a solid defensive 3B who can hit with power. And a right-handed bat for LF. I also think they are ready to live with Dickerson in Center and keep Hairston or Patterson to back him up, but he will go after a right handed hitting OF over the winter.

I think he showed in the Griffey and Dunn deals that he is searching for starting pitching, and that search will continue. Once he has enough good arms, he'll deal Arroyo first and Harang second provided the haul is good enough.

Yes, patience is the key and that's hard to take for a lot of fans, but for the first time in ages I feel like we are heading somewhere besides last place.

buckeyenut
08-17-2008, 08:30 PM
I have long been a fan of Edwin at 3B because he can be a plus bat and he has the raw skills to be a good 3B. But, I think moving him out to LF and going after Beltre makes a ton of sense. I also agree it will help his bat out as he has some more success and takes some of the pressure off himself. Beltre as a target is pure genius, as I think he needs a change in scenery and quite frankly, I don't think the Mariners can ask for much. In fact, if we can't be players in the CC Sabathia market, I would actually see about offering Seattle something decent for the combination of Beltre and Bedard, both of who they are ready to dump. I think we will have money to play with and I think Cinci will be a hard FA sell. And if we are really going to try Alonso at 3B, we can decide to bring him up or resign Beltre if he works out.

I know it is just a hot first week, but I've seen enough out of Dickerson to let him have the first shot at CF next year. I think EE, Dickerson, Bruce can be a ++ defensive OF.

At that point, if I made a deal with SEA, I would target a slick fielding SS to bat 8th in either FA or trade and leave it at that. I'd be OK with taking a crack at Hannigan/Castillo as my catchers.

From a rotation perspective, I'd like to think Volquez, Cueto, Harang, Arroyo, Owings, Bedard would be able to get me through the season with Maloney and Thompson in reserve in AAA for the injuries/spot starts. So sending Homer to the pen and running the pen with Cordero, Burton, Bailey, Roenicke, Bray, Masset, Affeldt seems like more than enough. I'm pretty happy with how that would look pitching wise.

This team really has some nice possibilities next season, despite this year's disappointment. We really need Harang to turn it around, but I have confidence he will.

schroomytunes
08-17-2008, 09:10 PM
I tend to agree with everything that has been stated in the above posts, but I would try to go somewhat this way, to try to improve our club for next year.


1)Get better in the outfield corners!
a)I sign Raul Ibanez(LF)-he's 35, but should be able to man the position for 3 years, till a replacement is ready. He plays good defense, and has decent pop to hit in the #5 spot. (3yrs 27million.)

b)Trade Bronson Arroyo and Matt Maloney to the Braves for Jeff Francoeur. Francouer than plays RF, with superb defense, which allows us to move Jay Bruce to CF. Francoeur is having a down year, and we may be able to land him, plus he's only 25.

2)Get better depth off the Bench.
a) I would add Doug Mientkiewicz(1B/3B), decent average, good glove.(2yr 3million)
b)Gabe Kapler(OF)-he can play all 3 positions and gives a good bat off the
bench.(1 yr 2million)

3)Upgrade the Pitching Staff
a)Sign Derek Lowe to man the middle rotation
b)re-sign Affeldt and Lincoln to shore up the bullpen.

MWM
08-17-2008, 09:18 PM
I really like the Beltre idea, D-Man. I wonder if Seattle have any interest in Homer Bailey. And we all know what he did in hi last contract year.

Worst case scenario, the Reds are out of it by the deadline and he should have some good trade value.

corkedbat
08-17-2008, 09:57 PM
I actually think the pieces are there for a pretty decent staff. If they can land one of several available veteran starters, I'm willing to go with pieces within the organization otherwise (I would re-upping Lincoln and/or Affeldt for the right deal though).

The offense is what really worries me. I'd really like to see them add a plus-defender up the middle (CF/SS/2B) who can bat at the top of the order. The main need though is a big verteran corner bat for the middle of the lineup. Without at adding at least one more prime run-producer this team will be lucky to see 5th place next year - much less the playoffs.

kaldaniels
08-17-2008, 10:04 PM
I'm saying the best bet is for Aaron to figure it out in the next 7-8 starts to end the season, then trade him. He's still young, and his contract is medium risk, high reward.

I'm guessing a team like the Braves would love to acquire a guy like Harang. What kind of defenders/bats do they have?

If 2006 and 2007 Aaron is gone forever, then yes, that sounds like a plan. If not, keep him here.

SMcGavin
08-17-2008, 10:07 PM
Any other suggestions for CF?


Chris Dickerson could make the Reds' offseason a lot easier with a good final month and a half. EdE-Dickerson-Bruce would be a good defensive outfield, and go a long way towards addressing the defensive problems this team has seemingly had forever. I think that group would be acceptable at the plate too - not great, but probably around league average.

Will M
08-17-2008, 10:18 PM
Outfield is EE - Dickerson - Bruce. Freel is around to play some vs LHP if Dickerson struggles vs LHP. 1B Votto and 2B Phillips are covered.
We have several solid pitchers and several question marks ( health and youth ).

1. I would go with the two rookie catchers in 2009. if a decent cheap vet is available to share time then great but otherwise sign a Bako type vet to a minor league contract for insurance.

2. Gonzo and Janish don't inspire me. They could inspire a lot more if we found a power hitting 3rd baseman who can field. I too have thought of Beltre. JJ Hardy may be available but I am not sure we have the goods to get him. Kep is a nice role player especially vs LHP but he is not an everyday SS or 3B. I think this will be where Jocketty focuses his efforts this offseason. It will have to be via trade as there are no good free agents here.

3. If the Reds are going to spend some of the cash that was freed up this offseason I would like it to be to get one of the 2nd tier free agent starters.
The Reds have so many issues I think going out and getting another decent SP would help. Plus there are actually several available in the free agent market. It also frees up guys like Bailey & Maloney to trade for a SS or 3B.

So...

1B Votto
2B Phillips
SS or 3B Gonzo, Kep, or Rosales
3B/SS Beltre or JJ Hardy via trade
LF EE
CF Dickerson +- Freel
RF Bruce
C Hanigan & Castillo

SP Harang
SP Volquez
SP Cueto
SP Arroyo
SP Lowe, Burnett, Sheets

RP Cordero
RP Burton
RP Bray
RP Lincoln
RP decent free agent vet ( ie Affeldt or someone similar )
RP Roenicke
RP Herrara

If Bob C really wants to win in 2009 sign Sheets or Burnett then empty the farm system for both Beltre and Hardy!

D-Man
08-17-2008, 11:07 PM
Always good to read these thoughtful comments about how to improve the Reds. IMO, if EE can't play third base he should be traded and Votto is a better choice for left field.

OPS is a good shortcut statistic, but it is imperfect. EE's .808 OPS doesn't really tell the full story. I think EE is far more valuable as an infielder.

This year EE is a BB/HR guys with a sub-.250 BA. And 13 of his 22 homers are at GABP. Do the Reds want low BA hitters in the outfield? Again?

I like Votto's consistency and would try him in left. As for EE, if the Reds aren't able to upgrade third base this off season, I'd keep him at third and give it one more shot.

When you say "consistency", I'm assuming you mean offensive consistency. But what about defensive consistency? I haven't seen or heard anything to suggest Votto would be a good defender in left, much less a consistent one. He just doesn't have the speed to cover much ground or the glove to make plays. EdE, on the other hand, has a defensive skill set that translates well to LF.

FCB raises a great point about why the Reds' ERA is so low when the strikeouts are so high. I think it is a rare confluence of circumstances: a good K staff, some hard-hit balls allowed, a bad defense, and an unforgiving ballpark. And all of these elements have a compounding effect. Therefore, the K/9, H/9, BB/9, and HR/9 are all relatively higher than other teams because Reds pitchers face far more batters per inning than other staffs. So FCB is at least partly right to say that the pitcher's aren't as good as the K/9s, although I wouldn't go as far as to say they stink, either. I don't recall seeing something exactly like this before, but the 1988 and 1989 Red Sox had staffs with top-notch Ks and lower than average ERAs. woy may know of other circumstances.

Part of the home park effect and hard-hit ball phenomenon suggests that the GABP may have a good batters eye issue, but this is pure speculation on my part.

As for Chris Dickerson starting in CF, is everyone ready for him to be the leadoff hitter on opening day? The Reds are--and barring a trade, will be in 2009--without a legit leadoff hitter. Dickerson will be there by default, most likely, given Dusty's tendencies. . . For the best in-house leadoff option, pray that Freel is healthy.

AmarilloRed
08-17-2008, 11:36 PM
As for Chris Dickerson starting in CF, is everyone ready for him to be the leadoff hitter on opening day? The Reds are--and barring a trade, will be in 2009--without a legit leadoff hitter. Dickerson will be there by default, most likely, given Dusty's tendencies. . . For the best in-house leadoff option, pray that Freel is healthy.

I think Dickerson would be a very good leadoff hitter for the Reds. He had a .360 career OBP in the minors. He certainly could be better than any of the present alternatives.

SirFelixCat
08-18-2008, 12:13 AM
With everyone moving EdE to LF and keeping Votto at 1B and signing Beltre to man 3B, what happens when Alonso is ready in 2010?

Benihana
08-18-2008, 12:14 AM
I'm saying the best bet is for Aaron to figure it out in the next 7-8 starts to end the season, then trade him. He's still young, and his contract is medium risk, high reward.

I'm guessing a team like the Braves would love to acquire a guy like Harang. What kind of defenders/bats do they have?


From Atlanta, I accept nothing less than Yunel Escobar and Jason Heyward for Harang, and even then I would be hesitant.

WVRedsFan
08-18-2008, 12:35 AM
I have a tough time understanding why EdE is so valued. When he first came up, I thought he had potential. It's several years later and we still heap on the platitudes like he'd be a good defensive outfielder and we gush over his OBP.

Maybe I'm old school (which is fitting because I am old and haven't been in a school since 1986), but what I see is a guy who hits a HR once in awhile and drives in few runs no matter what he hits. Not a good third baseman or left fielder in my estimation. Yes, we would get rid of his horrible defense at third, but would he really be a good defensive outfielder? He's lightening quick, but somewhat like Felipe Lopez, I see a lot of brain fade. Combine the two defecencies--lack of run production and the lack of judgment in the field and I don't see it at all. All I've seen is the same old product year after year without improvement. I say get what you can for him and be glad you got what you got.

No eggs or tomatoes please.

mth123
08-18-2008, 05:37 AM
With everyone moving EdE to LF and keeping Votto at 1B and signing Beltre to man 3B, what happens when Alonso is ready in 2010?

Exactly. This team seems to already be resigned to the fact that Alonso is the 1B, maybe as soon as the middle of next year. Either Votto goes to LF or is dealt. Personally, I think Votto has more athleticism than he's gotten credit for on here and with some reps could probably be decent out there. He won't win a gold glove, but its LF. He's a kid who can hit (better than EdE IMO), has a good attitude and seems to have some potential for baseball smarts. Its already iffy that this team has enough offense and dealing Votto or EdE would just make the hole that much bigger to climb out of. I think Votto's bat will be better than EdE's long term, he'll be a little cheaper over the next 3 years and EdE probably has more trade value if he can stick at 3B. With Bruce, Votto and EdE on hand and Alonso and Frazier both looming by 2010, I just don't see the team making a big dollar commitment to a corner player (or Dunn would still be here) even if one is traded for pitching or a SS.

I'd take offers on anyone at this point, but unless the offers are more than I would expect, I'd make Votto my LF and EdE my 3B and let them hit 3-4 in my line-up for now and see how Todd Frazier develops at 3B in 2009. If another middle of the order bat takes over at 1B, I'd move Votto to the 2 spot. Bruce, Phillips and Dickerson would hit 5,6, 7. The team needs to find a SS of the future who can lead-off. Keppinger, Hairston, Freel and Hopper would not be starters but I could see Freel or Hairston platooning in CF with Dickerson and Kepp possibly as a platoon 1B. I'm sure the team will try like heck to get some one to take Freel's contract off their hands and hopefully they won't overpay or over-commit to a deal with Hairston (I don't think Walt will make these Krivskyesque roster assembly mistakes). Hairston back on a one year deal for a Million or so would be a fine bench/platoon addition though.

SMcGavin
08-18-2008, 10:38 AM
With everyone moving EdE to LF and keeping Votto at 1B and signing Beltre to man 3B, what happens when Alonso is ready in 2010?

Trade Votto, or trade Alonso. We all know we have plenty of holes that could be filled by trading somebody who people actually want.

And I agree with somebody else who said they are not confident in Votto's defense in LF. Plus, Votto is already solid defender at first. EdE is an awful defender at third. That's why Votto stays put and EdE goes to the outfield.

Kc61
08-18-2008, 10:56 AM
In addition to another good starting pitcher, the Reds have several needs in the starting lineup. Unclear to me they will try to fill them all in one off season.

Catcher, centerfield, left field, shortstop and third base are all up for grabs.

Most obvious moves --

Get a starting catcher from the outside in a trade.
Platoon in centerfield with Dickerson and Freel. If Freel gets hurt again, Drew Stubbs will hopefully be ready as the righty platoon. Keep Hairston for utility and he can play some center as well.

The almost obvious move --

Try to add a righty bat for left field. Somebody who can hit in the middle of the order. Perhaps an older player for a year or two while the Reds wait for the righties in the system, like Frazier, to get ready.

The harder decisions --

Third base and shortstop. Have to improve defense and consistency at the plate. What to do with EE? Can Gonzo be counted upon? Is Kepp just slumping post-injuryor will his bat pick up again.

My guess is that EE gets another year at third. Defense up the middle will be viewed as more important than third base right now. Guessing that the Reds will try to trade Gonzo's contract and other goodies for high level shortstop, with Janish as the backup.

Votto stays at first base next year, Phillips at second, Bruce in right.

puca
08-18-2008, 10:57 AM
I have a tough time understanding why EdE is so valued. When he first came up, I thought he had potential. It's several years later and we still heap on the platitudes like he'd be a good defensive outfielder and we gush over his OBP.

Maybe I'm old school (which is fitting because I am old and haven't been in a school since 1986), but what I see is a guy who hits a HR once in awhile and drives in few runs no matter what he hits. Not a good third baseman or left fielder in my estimation. Yes, we would get rid of his horrible defense at third, but would he really be a good defensive outfielder? He's lightening quick, but somewhat like Felipe Lopez, I see a lot of brain fade. Combine the two defecencies--lack of run production and the lack of judgment in the field and I don't see it at all. All I've seen is the same old product year after year without improvement. I say get what you can for him and be glad you got what you got.

No eggs or tomatoes please.

I guess I don't understand why he is so defiled.

He now leads this team in OBP and SLG, yet a large number of posters are anxious to get rid of him.

I'm not an advocate of moving him to LF though. The Reds should be able to do better than EE in left through the FA market or trades. And shouldn't have to break the bank to do it.

I guess I'm one of the few that still see an above average defensive 3b when I watch EE. I see quickness and good range, although though I know defensive metrics (which I don't trust at all) don't back this up. I admit I might be wrong. I don't get to watch him live very often. No doubt his throwing remains a problem, but I really do think he saves more outs than he gives away. Again, that is purely subjective on my part, and there are no stats to back it up.

Bottom line is that if the Reds don't think EE can play 3b, then they should trade him to a team that does. His bat has value as a 3b, but not as a LF.

puca
08-18-2008, 11:29 AM
The priorities should be:
- Great defensive SS. Great range, great glove. I don't think even a healthy Gonzales fits this profile.
- Great defensive C. Calls a good game and receives the ball well. Maybe Hannigan is that guy. I don't know.
- New pitching coach. Pitchers seem to be regressing under Dick Pole. When the young Domican pitchers struggle it seems that it is up to Soto to fix them. And according to Team Clark, Harang has been pitching with messed up mechanics for a while now. Heck even Dusty Baker said he was going to look at tapes of Volquez (I think) to see if he could find why Edison was struggling. Arroyo also put together his best seasons pre-Pole.
- LF Bat. We had one, but traded him away and now we need another one. Maybe we can find one that has a more 'complete' game. It is doubtful we will find one that is a better statistically on offense.

deltachi8
08-18-2008, 11:56 AM
I guess I don't understand why he is so defiled.

He now leads this team in OBP and SLG, yet a large number of posters are anxious to get rid of him.



And..he is all of, what, 25?

RedlegJake
08-18-2008, 12:20 PM
When I think about this topic I try to think of what Walt is likely to do not what I think they should do. That changes things a lot. EE and Votto were both named as part of his core. That doesn't mean they're not subject to trade but the deal would have to be very, very good before Walt does it. Personally I think EE is safe at third and Votto will remain at first but that could change depending on the bat Walt IS going to bring in. That's first - I think he will go out and get a middle of the lineup hitter and where that guy plays may dictate Votto's position next year. On the very outside chance that hitter plays third there is a slight chance EE goes to left but I am really skeptical that move is even considered.

In CF I think Dickerson, and Stubbs in AAA, with Freel (who won't be traded because no one will give the Reds anything for him right now) and possibly Hairston(who I doubt is re-signed because of his health issues) - CF won't be Jocketty's focus and the players in house now will likely be next year's CFers. EXCEPT - I don't believe CPatt gets past Jocketty even if Baker wants him.

I think Walt will look at SS a long range problem with AGon, Kepp and Janish manning the job next year. He may look for a player but it is likely going to be a young guy in AAA or AA ball. He may decide to punt that problem until next year, too, when he has a better idea about Janish, Valaika, Cozart et al. I really expect him to punt the SS problem for later.

C - I think Walt would be willing to go forward with Hanigan and Castillo, with Tatum and Colina in AAA but he'll be looking for an upgrade if one is available. Walt likes defensive catchers, though, without much concern for their hitting. If Hanigan and Castillo, either/or, convince him they are the defensive stalwart he likes the hunt may be over, though.

I don't see him messing too much with the bullpen, from kids in AAA to the guys already on the Reds, this is likely to be a couple deletions to give the young guys a slot but no major additions from outside.

I do see him re-tooling the starting rotation. No Fogg, no Belisle. They'll be gone (or if no one wants Matt he'll be AAA insurance). Volquez and Cueto are in. Harang and Arroyo are both likely to be shopped. Arroyo because Walt will want to move his contract, Harang only if a really good deal is offered. I could see Walt targeting Bedard, and certainly he'll comb the FA list to see if any guys there might have a good year left. One thing I do see is a new pitching coach.

Walt is likely stuck with Baker for another year, anyway but he CAN change the coaches to his liking. Pole and Jacoby will both be gone, imo.

The reason anticipating Walt is hard is he is likely to trade any player, any time and no prospect is sacred to him, either. That last been the strength and also the source of his biggest mistakes. He won't get locked up in "untouchable" prospects - but then again, Cardinal fans must think Rich Harden would look better in a Redbird uni than Mark Mulder.

puca
08-18-2008, 12:42 PM
I think Walt will look at SS a long range problem with AGon, Kepp and Janish manning the job next year. He may look for a player but it is likely going to be a young guy in AAA or AA ball. He may decide to punt that problem until next year, too, when he has a better idea about Janish, Valaika, Cozart et al. I really expect him to punt the SS problem for later.


I agree with most of you post, but I hope you are dead wrong here.

I want a rangy defensive SS behind a young pitching staff. A strong defense helps keep the pitching counts down by turning hits into outs. This in turn can help the young pitchers to be more agressive in going after hitters. By far the weakest link in this defense is now at SS. None of the in house canidates (with the possible exception of Janish) are even average defensively. Even a healthy-as-can-be Gonzalez is probably no longer a plus defender.

If a long-term solution cannot be found, then bring in a stopgap. Good field, no hit shortstops are not that hard to find, and typically don't cost all that much.

Big Klu
08-18-2008, 02:52 PM
In addition to another good starting pitcher, the Reds have several needs in the starting lineup. Unclear to me they will try to fill them all in one off season.

Catcher, centerfield, left field, shortstop and third base are all up for grabs.

Most obvious moves --

Get a starting catcher from the outside in a trade.
Platoon in centerfield with Dickerson and Freel. If Freel gets hurt again, Drew Stubbs will hopefully be ready as the righty platoon. Keep Hairston for utility and he can play some center as well.

The almost obvious move --

Try to add a righty bat for left field. Somebody who can hit in the middle of the order. Perhaps an older player for a year or two while the Reds wait for the righties in the system, like Frazier, to get ready.

The harder decisions --

Third base and shortstop. Have to improve defense and consistency at the plate. What to do with EE? Can Gonzo be counted upon? Is Kepp just slumping post-injuryor will his bat pick up again.

My guess is that EE gets another year at third. Defense up the middle will be viewed as more important than third base right now. Guessing that the Reds will try to trade Gonzo's contract and other goodies for high level shortstop, with Janish as the backup.

Votto stays at first base next year, Phillips at second, Bruce in right.


I agree with you about Walt picking up a veteran RH bat to play LF. It fits with his MO (no pun intended) in St. Louis. He picked up players like Reggie Sanders, Juan Encarnacion, and Ryan Ludwick for the Cards. Don't be surprised if he picks up someone like that during the offseason--a second-tier FA-type player who some on here may not like, but is being brought in specifically as a stopgap, and will likely get a GABP boost in the offense. Someone like a Craig Monroe or Jay Payton.

I also agree that Edwin will get another year at 3B, unless he is traded. I don't see him being moved to LF next year.

Kc61
08-18-2008, 03:03 PM
[QUOTE=RedlegJake;1725449]

C - I think Walt would be willing to go forward with Hanigan and Castillo, with Tatum and Colina in AAA but he'll be looking for an upgrade if one is available. Walt likes defensive catchers, though, without much concern for their hitting. If Hanigan and Castillo, either/or, convince him they are the defensive stalwart he likes the hunt may be over, though.

[QUOTE]

This is the one strong disagreement I have. I'd be shocked if WJ doesn't pick up a starting catcher from the outside. Notice how the Reds cut Ross but kept Bako. They will prioritize this position and do what it takes to get a veteran catcher known for defense, but who is reasonable at bat. More a Bako type (hopefully with a stronger bat) than a Ross type.

I do not see the Reds entrusting guys like Cueto, Volquez, Bailey, Burton, and other young pitchers to Hanigan and Castillo. Maybe one of them sticks as the backup.

I also would not be shocked to see Valentin back. Yes, Javy, the guy everyone loves to criticize. He would be a lefty pinch hitter, an occasional first baseman, an emergency catcher, and in a crisis a righty hitter off the bench as well. It makes more sense to keep him than to trade for a lefty pinch hitter with a similar skill set.