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mdccclxix
12-07-2010, 03:59 AM
The long-time assumption has been that somebody will get dealt.

We have seemingly unprecedented depth, we're a year ahead of schedule in terms of competing for championships, and the minor leagues are starting to stack up with depth - not with certainty. What I mean by that is no one knows what is going to happen with the Yonders, Juans, Sappelts, and Maloneys of the world where as 3 years ago they'd be locks to make the Reds.

With depth comes uncertainty, but ol' Walt never let's that bother him, "These things have their way of working out." (paraphrasing)

So, I thought I'd examine where we'll be in a few months if the season kicks off with only a Cairo signing here and a Rhodes signing there. Or neither. In six or twelve months, what narrative will have developed in relation to our prospects that are blocked?

First a quick run down on 2011 roster spots (My own best guess). Not all 25 spots, but the pertinent ones here. Blocked players are in BOLD :

Rotation:
Volquez - #1 starter
Arroyo - locked up
Cueto - vet
Bailey - vet
Wood - balls*

Bullpen:
Coco - vet
Masset - vet
Chapman - heat
Bray - vet
Leake - too good for AAA**
Ondrusek ***
Smith***

Pitchers Blocked in AAA:
Fisher, Burton, Owings, DRH, Maloney

From the preeminent Redszone Rankings:

Prospect #1 - Aroldis Chapman, LHP - He'll be on the 25 man roster, but as a reliever? Rhodes not resigned?
Prospect #2 - Devin Mesoraco, C - Not expected to make the 25 man, ETA September
Prospect #3 - Yorman Rodriguez, CF - N/A
Prospect #4 - Yonder Alonso, 1B - Yonder makes the team as the LH off the bench? Insurance for Votto situation. Potential stud .900 OPS.
Prospect #5 - Billy Hamilton, SS - N/A
Prospect #6 - Yasmani Grandal, C - Can he relieve the Reds at 1b or C by 2012?
Prospect #7 - Todd Frazier, IF/OF - Does he do enough in AAA to platoon in LF/3b in 2012? What about...
Prospect #8 - Juan Francisco, 3B - Reds love him. He could work on plate discipline all year in AAA or earn bench spot. I think he's a lock for the 25 man.
Prospect #9 - Zack Cozart, SS - Does he do enough to beat out Alonso, Juan, Valaika as INF prospects off the bench?
Prospect #10 - David Sappelt, CF - All year in AAA. Injury callup?
Prospect #11 - Donnie Joseph, LHP - ETA September?
Prospect #12 - Ismael Guillon, LHP - N/A
Prospect #13 - Brad Boxberger, RHP - N/A
Prospect #14 - Chris Valaika, IF - Cairo replacement?
Prospect #15 - Kyle Lotzkar, RHP - N/A
Prospect #16 - Ryan LaMarre, OF - N/A
Prospect #17 - Juan Duran, OF - N/A
Prospect #18 - Junior Arias, SS - N/A
Prospect #19 - Sam Lecure, RHP - Beat out Leake for long relief?

Some others blocked in AAA next year:
Dorn, Negron, Perez, Thompson

************************************************** ****

Ages of blocked players 2010 & 2011. Core prospects bolded.
Fisher 27>>28
Burton 29>>30
Owings 27>>28
DRH 25>>26
Maloney 26>>27
Mesoraco 22>>23
Alonso 23>>24
Cozart 24>>25
Sappelt 23>>24
Frazier 24>>25
Lecure 26>>27
Dorn 25>>26
Negron 24>>25
Perez 25>>26
Thompson 24>>25
Valaika 24>>25

The only players, it seems, that have "time" to retain their prospect standing while staying in AAA next year are Mesoraco, Alonso, Cozart, Frazier, Sappelt, Negron, Perez (due to short time in the US so far), Valaika and Thompson - and that's putting pressure on all of them to dominate next year in AAA, as their ages dictate a level of mastery. Ultimately, that pressure is a result, or byproduct, of all the competition throughout the organization, which is a good thing. Anyway, in my opinion, it can be said that the values of our core AAA prospects can withstand one more year down on the farm. Meanwhile these players can also be provided the benefit of a September call up, injury call up, or standard promotion in 2011. Talk about depth and flexibility when you've got a slew of hungry 23-26 year old vets in AAA ready to contribute in Cincinnati at a moments notice.

Granted, many on the above list are nowhere near being prospects anymore, and the fact they will be in AAA another year can't be pleasing to them - and can't look good to other teams if they were to languish all of 2011 in AAA. So, perhaps if you're Walt, looking to deal players with MLB experience that are blocked is the best route. We've seen the value many GM's place on "proven" MLB players. To some extent Fisher, Burton, Owings, DRH, Maloney, and Lecure must have some real value that isn't realized here. I don't want to say a Burton, Owings and Maloney package can haul Jose Reyes by any means, but I wonder if we wouldn't be surprised at what it could haul in. These guys aren't exactly scrap heap players...yet. A Maloney/Lecure package, for example, holds some value in that perhaps a team is getting their 4th and 5th starters here, depending on that team's depth and injury status.

All this said, there aren't many holes on this Reds team anyway. Despite the amount of talent blocked or vying for position, it makes a lot of sense we may not see a trade because many of the highest upside prospects still could benefit from a year in AAA without losing an undue amount of luster. Perhaps Walt ought to try unloading from the bottom of the depth chart. If nothing pans out you're still really really deep. That's been the word on the Reds anyway - really really deep.


*switch out Wood with Leake if you want
**Leake may end up in the blocked group in AAA to remain on track for starting
***Smith and Ondrusek are interchangable with the bullpeners in AAA discussed

Kc61
12-07-2010, 11:40 AM
I'm all for minor league depth, but if the Reds don't improve at the major league level this off-season it will be a huge disappointment.

I want to see an improved team that will have a chance to win at least one playoff series. That is the positive progression.

The team has obvious weaknesses, they could use improvements at SS and LF, and this is the time to trade some assets to make these improvements.

camisadelgolf
12-07-2010, 11:48 AM
Jocketty didn't do any trades last off-season either, and it resulted in winning the division. The year before that, it was only the acquisition of Ramon Hernandez. It looks like he's going with a 'why fix it if it ain't broken?' approach.

lollipopcurve
12-07-2010, 11:54 AM
Other teams know the Reds are in that "good, but not quite good enough" place right now, with assets to sell, and they want to see how anxious the team is to deal. Jocketty is right in proceeding with caution, making sure that in plugging a hole in one place he doesn't blow a hole somewhere else.

My guess is that he's seen enough interest from parties they could deal with. They'll be willing to let the eager beavers chew up the meetings before doing business in quieter waters.

corkedbat
12-07-2010, 12:42 PM
It would be a gamble, but not a disaster.

OnBaseMachine
12-07-2010, 12:55 PM
It will be very disappointing if the Reds do nothing this offseason. 2010 was a great season but we need to set our sights higher in 2011. The Reds can't count on the Brewers, Cubs, and Pirates being as bad as they were in 2010. Upgrades need to be made in left field, and hopefully at SS too. I think entering the 2011 season with essentially the same team as the year before is just asking for a let down.

dfs
12-07-2010, 12:56 PM
Other teams know the Reds are in that "good, but not quite good enough" place right now, with assets to sell, and they want to see how anxious the team is to deal. Jocketty is right in proceeding with caution, making sure that in plugging a hole in one place he doesn't blow a hole somewhere else.

My guess is that he's seen enough interest from parties they could deal with. They'll be willing to let the eager beavers chew up the meetings before doing business in quieter waters.

yeah. The only two teams that present any real challenge in the division would be St. Louis and the Brewers. I like the current reds roster over what either of those teams can put on the field.

Other than a TOR starter, I don't want to see the reds pursue "stars" in order to fill holes. That way lies madness.

Small moves.

edabbs44
12-07-2010, 01:02 PM
It will be very disappointing if the Reds do nothing this offseason. 2010 was a great season but we need to set our sights higher in 2011. The Reds can't count on the Brewers, Cubs, and Pirates being as bad as they were in 2010. Upgrades need to be made in left field, and hopefully at SS too. I think entering the 2011 season with essentially the same team as the year before is just asking for a let down.

I feel bad for you, you seem to have been in a continual state of disappointment ever since Jocketty was hired.

mdccclxix
12-07-2010, 01:11 PM
I'm all for minor league depth, but if the Reds don't improve at the major league level this off-season it will be a huge disappointment.

I want to see an improved team that will have a chance to win at least one playoff series. That is the positive progression.

The team has obvious weaknesses, they could use improvements at SS and LF, and this is the time to trade some assets to make these improvements.

They also could use an Ace pitcher, although not many feel we lost in the playoffs due to pitching.

Here are the problems with the three upgrades:

* Ace pitcher - payroll would need to be increased unless Cordero vanishes

* Shortstop - an increase in offense can't be at the expense of defense. This staff benefits from trusting their D.

* Left Field - an increase in defense can't be at the expense of offense. Gomes RBI production was a perceived value in LF and may not appear from elsewhere.

In my mind, the players that can fulfill these upgrades are either too expensive for the Reds or untradable. Further, with a decent LH bat in LF to platoon, and the expectation that Janish can OPS near .700, I think the Reds will be in it until the deadline where they can capture that ace or SS.

mdccclxix
12-07-2010, 01:27 PM
Other teams know the Reds are in that "good, but not quite good enough" place right now, with assets to sell, and they want to see how anxious the team is to deal. Jocketty is right in proceeding with caution, making sure that in plugging a hole in one place he doesn't blow a hole somewhere else.

My guess is that he's seen enough interest from parties they could deal with. They'll be willing to let the eager beavers chew up the meetings before doing business in quieter waters.

That's a great way of putting it. Walt can walk around loaded with depth and say, "What, me worry?"

Next season, if a starter, or two starters, or even three go out, we could weather that better than 90% of teams. Lost an starting OFer? not a problem. 3b? SS? 2b? 1b? C? We have quite reasonable solutions for any of those positions. We won't be seeing Buck Coats or Dwyane Wise this year when injury strikes (hopefully not very hard).

As for being "not quite good enough", well, perhaps last year will have acquainted the team with the "big time" which didn't always treat them well. Think of the St Louis series, the SF series, the Philly series, the playoffs, etc. In most series it was the offense that didn't show up.

Lastly, I think if the bench has Cairo, Alonso, Francisco, Heisey and Cozart, your LF and SS are even more potent offensively than last year.

Kc61
12-07-2010, 01:42 PM
In my mind, the players that can fulfill these upgrades are either too expensive for the Reds or untradable. Further, with a decent LH bat in LF to platoon, and the expectation that Janish can OPS near .700, I think the Reds will be in it until the deadline where they can capture that ace or SS.


I think we have become conditioned to believe that the Reds can't ever afford upgrades. These kinds of press reports come out year after year. Yet the Reds somehow signed a Cordero, signed a Chapman, extended Arroyo.

The Reds seem to have the money for occasional big moves when they think they are necessary.

Now is the time when some spending for one or two good veterans is necessary. This is no longer a rebuilding team. It is a good team with a window to succeed. Now is the time to finish the product.

I'm not saying the Reds should go overboard. But if this team can't afford to add one good major league piece this off-season, then it will be extremely difficult for them to ever advance very far.

kpresidente
12-07-2010, 01:45 PM
I have a side question...

Why does it seem like everybody likes LeCure better than Maloney, when Maloney is a lefty who was drafted higher, has a better career ERA, a better career WHIP, a better career K/9, a better career K/BB, has performed better in his ML stint(s), and has been a more highly-regarded prospect for a longer period of time?

RedsManRick
12-07-2010, 01:49 PM
I have a side question...

Why does it seem like everybody likes LeCure better than Maloney, when Maloney is a lefty who was drafted higher, has a better career ERA, a better career WHIP, a better career K/9, a better career K/BB, has performed better in his ML stint(s), and has been a more highly-regarded prospect for a longer period of time?

Put me in the Maloney camp. In other threads I've focused on LeCure because I think he's the worst viable option and thus makes for a good talking point about replacement.

HokieRed
12-07-2010, 01:50 PM
Problem as I see it, KC, is that the two positions most in need of an upgrade are ones in which the organization has in-house alternatives that are going to be pretty nearly as good as anybody we're likely to acquire without "blowing a hole" elsewhere as lollipop put it. In LF, there are Heisey, Sappelt, Frazier; at SS, Janish, Cozart, Negron. To get somebody significantly better than them will cost a good bit both in talent and money. For that reason I don't see a move happening here. I expect no major moves.

mdccclxix
12-07-2010, 01:52 PM
I have a side question...

Why does it seem like everybody likes LeCure better than Maloney, when Maloney is a lefty who was drafted higher, has a better career ERA, a better career WHIP, a better career K/9, a better career K/BB, has performed better in his ML stint(s), and has been a more highly-regarded prospect for a longer period of time?

For me, it seems like he passed Maloney on the Reds depth chart. Not sure of the innings pitched or why Lecure got the call first last year (luck of the draw?), but it has been my impression. I like Maloney though. He'd be the #3 on the Pirates (not saying much).

redsfandan
12-07-2010, 01:56 PM
"What If NO Trades are Made this Off-season?"

I'll live.

It would be great if we could get a Greinke or a Reyes or a good leftfielder. But I think this team will still be ok without a big move. I think we'll see some improvement from some key players that will offset any declines from other players. If something falls into Walts lap then great. But I think a mid-season trade might be more likely anyway.

mdccclxix
12-07-2010, 01:56 PM
I think we have become conditioned to believe that the Reds can't ever afford upgrades. These kinds of press reports come out year after year. Yet the Reds somehow signed a Cordero, signed a Chapman, extended Arroyo.

The Reds seem to have the money for occasional big moves when they think they are necessary.

Now is the time when some spending for one or two good veterans is necessary. This is no longer a rebuilding team. It is a good team with a window to succeed. Now is the time to finish the product.

I'm not saying the Reds should go overboard. But if this team can't afford to add one good major league piece this off-season, then it will be extremely difficult for them to ever advance very far.

I suspect they could go to 85 or 90 million with the payroll, but that it would be a risk of losing money they don't care to make. If they're at the deadline ready to add a Cliff Lee type, I don't think money will matter by then. Sometimes trades happen as early as June, when teams are out of it. Perhaps something shakes out then. Overpaying at the July deadline (if need be) is something I would absolutely expect.

RedsManRick
12-07-2010, 02:09 PM
I'd be disappointed. My concern with a 'no trades' off-season is that it treats a repeat of last year like a given. I know we're bound to continue to see some young guys take some more steps forward. But we were blessed with a good deal of good health and a dearth of poor performances. We're not likely to be as fortunate in 2011. This offense gets thin really quickly when Votto is out.

As the recent Votto contract discussions have pointed out, this core isn't going to stick around forever and its already starting to get expensive. Some of that will be offset by Cordero and Phillips likely coming off the books after 2011 or 2012 (both have $12M club options in 2012), but if the payroll isn't going to expand any now, will it ever?

If not, is this the right distribution for our payroll? What flexibility will Walt have in July? Could the team be too far out come July for it to matter?

I certainly appreciate Walt's caution in not backing us in to a corner with an all-or-nothing type move, but I think you can be too careful. Perhaps its just a function of Walt sitting back and waiting for the "right deal" to show up. Given how tightly he plays his hand, we'll never know all the possibilities he's explored but not completed (e.g. Reds were serious contenders for Cliff Lee last summer). But I would hate to see us come up short when it feels like we're so close and there are still so many bullets in the chamber.

Captain Hook
12-07-2010, 03:31 PM
Hopefully the team brings in a few new faces that we can consider upgrades but it looks like there's a decent chance that they won't.We can all pretty much agree that they won't be forking out millions for one of the remaining top FA and while a trade is possible, one that requires taking on a large salary in unlikely.Either way there are plenty of threads that focus on those two possibilities.So lets focus on the third and slightly less interesting possibility.The Reds do very little to change things.

I still think that we will be the favorites to win the division next season.Now that some of the young guys in the rotation have one more year of experience I think our top five has a good chance to take a big step forward.With all the talent there it shouldn't be too difficult to keep a solid starting five in Cincinnati all year long even if there are some injuries.From top to bottom I look for our staff to be top 5 in baseball or at the very least in the NL.

While the offense might not end up being the best in the NL again there's no reason to think they won't still score runs.They can all still play defense and with Janish at SS we should expect a slight improvement there.

So while I think most would agree that winning the division is still a good possibility most of us are looking for improvements to help the team succeed in the playoffs.If nothing gets done this offseason the key will be, one or two of our already solid starting pitchers taking a big step closer to being that TOR guy most think the team needs.Given their youth and talent I think there's a good chance that happens.

westofyou
12-07-2010, 03:32 PM
kinda covered here too

http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=86968

Captain Hook
12-07-2010, 03:43 PM
kinda covered here too

http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=86968

Don't know how I missed that.:(

Ron Madden
12-07-2010, 03:56 PM
Dusty Baker says the Cardinals are the favorite in 2011.

http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/article_498fd120-022e-11e0-9b2f-00127992bc8b.html

Griffey012
12-07-2010, 04:10 PM
If no trades are made this off-season, I won't be mad. Sure I would like to see some big moves made, but I have full trust in WJ to make the best moves for the current team and the future of this ballclub. There is no reason to give up a heaping pile of talent for a short term replacement if we are getting tremendously ripped off in the deal.

Caveat Emperor
12-07-2010, 04:15 PM
Opening Day 2010 Rotation:
1. Harang
2. Arroyo
3. Cueto
4. Bailey
5. Leake

Opening Day 2011 Rotation*
* - Projected
1. Cueto
2. Arroyo
3. Volquez
4. Wood
5. Chapman / Bailey / Leake

Pitching wise, this team is in a much better place at the start of 2011 than they were in 2010 even without a single move being made.

paulrichjr
12-07-2010, 04:27 PM
I think this team as it stands right now can be in first come July or out just a couple of games. Why overpay for someone now when you can often underpay then and get a big-time arm or bat for the last two months.

cincrazy
12-07-2010, 04:43 PM
The Cardinals are already better. If the Reds stand pat and do nothing, they can more than likely kiss the division good bye.

mdccclxix
12-07-2010, 04:44 PM
"Here's the update: nothing," Jocketty said. "We've had zero conversations with agents or clubs today. A couple of phone calls, that's about it.

"We really just spent the day talking with our group here, seeing what else we need to do or have to do. I think we're at the point where we really like our club, like the depth that we have with the pitching. We like the everyday lineup. Based on where our payroll is, we'll probably go with young guys on the bench. That's the way it's going to be."

Quick tidbits --

Nothing has happened today involving Joey Votto.

Club still optimistic it can re-sign Miguel Cairo and Arthur Rhodes this week.

Zack Cozart is in the mix to be a possible shortstop off of the bench.

Laynce Nix has not been ruled out for a return to the Reds. The club feels it needs more left-handed hitting for the bench besides Juan Francisco.

Sounds like Cozart, Francisco and Alonso (if they don't bring in Nix) could be on the bench. Add in Heisey and Valaika as well. It's a regular 2009 Bats lineup on the bench!

Caveat Emperor
12-07-2010, 04:47 PM
The Cardinals are already better. If the Reds stand pat and do nothing, they can more than likely kiss the division good bye.

Sincerely,
The Majority of ResdZone, this time last year.

westofyou
12-07-2010, 04:49 PM
Sincerely,
The Majority of ResdZone, this time last year.

Good god man don't shine any sunshine on his rainy day parade.

TRF
12-07-2010, 05:06 PM
This isn't the end of the 2005 season where the GM has to come in and blow it up. Thanks WK, for doing that.

This is the offseason for the Central Division Champions where the rotation will be markedly different, where the RF has taken a major step forward, where the infield won 2 GG's and one MVP. This is the offseason following the MLB debut of Leake, Wood and Chapman.

This is the offseason where the team's top prospects are at AAA instead of Dayton. It's Minor League player of the year, hitter of the year and pitcher of the year will be at AAA. Mashers like Francisco and Dorn waiting in the wings. Frazier looking for a bounceback year at AAA.

I am so not worried about the Reds NOT making a deal at the winter meetings. I happen to think Gomes will play himself out of the starting job. I also think as he does so, someone will play themselves into it.

Will M
12-07-2010, 10:41 PM
My two cents:

The 'status quo' Reds of 2011 go 86-76.

There is upside (Bruce, Stubbs, Chapman) but too much downside (Ramon, Rolen, bench).

Captain Hook
12-08-2010, 01:30 AM
My two cents:

The 'status quo' Reds of 2011 go 86-76.

There is upside (Bruce, Stubbs, Chapman) but too much downside (Ramon, Rolen, bench).

I'd add about 5 more wins to your total.I'd add Leake, Wood, Hanigan(mostly because he should be playing a bit more), Janish, and even Votto to the upside. I also don't think the bench is going to be down from 2010.There's questions there but right now it's too early to call imo.I would add Cordero to the downside along with Gomes.The really bad thing about those two guys is that if management refuses to take them off the field they are capable of completely negating all of the possible improvements.

TheNext44
12-08-2010, 02:03 AM
The Reds are one of the main contenders for the division as everything stands at this moment.

In 2011, the team could collapse due to key injuries, run away with the division, or be in a dogfight. I think all three options are equally likely.

Because of this, I am all for standing pat unless a deal clearly improves the team with out draining resources, and then using those said resources at the trading deadline if needed. Then the team will know if they need to use those resources and for what.

TheNext44
12-08-2010, 02:07 AM
I have a side question...

Why does it seem like everybody likes LeCure better than Maloney, when Maloney is a lefty who was drafted higher, has a better career ERA, a better career WHIP, a better career K/9, a better career K/BB, has performed better in his ML stint(s), and has been a more highly-regarded prospect for a longer period of time?

LeCure, Maloney...

Tomato, Tamoto...

mdccclxix
12-08-2010, 02:43 AM
So much depends on Rolen at 3b...we need another 120, big guy. This time, spaced out more so you don't get injured at all.

Hopefully Francisco can fill in regularly at 3b and hit 10 dingers.

2011 will be about how this crop of top prospects fills out the bench. Who knows, maybe Heisey grabs the LF job, for example. Maybe Janish and Cozart can OPS .750 and form the best SS defense in the league.

I am kind of worried about Houston's strong finish, and how St. Louis was historically bad, but our young, veteran core (yes, they are mostly vets now) is going to carry us through that, I think. I'm going with dogfight until the end.

WMR
12-08-2010, 02:50 AM
Sincerely,
The Majority of ResdZone, this time last year.

The goal is the World Series, right?

Standing pat would be a massive failure IMO. The Reds are not a World Series threat right now but they're CLOSE. Jocketty MUST cash in a couple of our prospects for a difference-maker for the Big League team to get the Reds over the proverbial hump.