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Thread: Just why was Reitsma traded?

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  1. #1
    Do it! TheBurn's Avatar
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    Just why was Reitsma traded?

    Friday, April 23, 2004
    Just why was Reitsma traded?
    Paul Daugherty
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    Lately, the Reds bullpen has been whacked like a piņata. Nothing sags a young team's shoulders like relief pitchers bearing gasoline cans. A little Chris Reitsma would've been good. Except Reitsma was in the other dugout.

    You can accept the company line, as delivered by General Manager Dan O'Brien: The Reds traded their most valuable, versatile pitcher of a year ago because they got two potential starting pitchers in return. Jung Keun Bong is 23. Bubba Nelson is 22. They're both in Triple A.

    "If you're going to get competitive, it's got to start with starting pitching. The opportunity to get two very young, potential starting pitchers was something we could not walk away from," O'Brien said Thursday.

    Or you can narrow your eyes, and ponder this:

    If your plan is to build from within with good young, cheap pitching, why do you trade your best young, cheap pitcher?

    Reitsma is 26 years old, throws 95 miles an hour and, in the opinion of Danny Graves "has the best changeup in the game." Last year Reitsma had nine wins and 12 saves while doing everything for the Reds' sad pitching staff but perform Tommy John surgery. Did we mention he lost his arbitration case, and is making just $950,000?

    Reitsma would seem to be the answer to a small-market prayer.

    Next year, if he pitches to expectations, Reitsma stands to make a few million dollars. Is that a reason the Reds dealt him? It's an important question. It gives you a peek at who the Reds intend to be in the next several years.

    If you keep shedding cheap, young players for cheaper, younger models, all you're doing is spinning on baseball's Third World hamster wheel. You can only trade young pitching for younger pitching so long. Then everybody figures out where you're going: You're going to Pittsburgh. You're in a Montreal state of mind.

    It's a notion O'Brien disputes. "Our vision isn't just for one year. With time and patience, Ryan Wagner can become as proficient as Chris Reitsma," he said. OK. But when and if Ryan Wagner does, will he be dealt for the next Ryan Wagner?

    "They want good, young starting pitching," said Reitsma, now an Atlanta Brave. "They saw me in the long run as a set-up guy, someone they could replace with a veteran like Todd Jones or young guys like (John) Riedling and Wagner."

    O'Brien said ownership will give him the money he needs to build properly. "We're a work in progress," he said. O'Brien said some of the millions cut from this year's payroll have been shifted to player development. He didn't say how many millions. That's the kind of information that might keep fans coming to the park, even if the team plunges in the standings.

    If there is a plan, and the money to drive it, fans will adopt some patience. If there isn't, fans will adopt the Bengals.

    Meanwhile, Dave Miley deals with a young bullpen with a big hole where Reitsma used to be. Wagner and Phil Norton are training on the job. It shows. "You've got to show some confidence, keep putting them out there. It's a learning process," the manager said.

    "Another good arm we could have had," Danny Graves said of Reitsma. "Now, maybe people are saying, where's Reitsma? But we're going to come out of our struggles. You have to spend money to win. That's baseball. And that's why I'm not a general manager."

    The Reds beat Atlanta 5-3 Thursday, in a rain-reduced five innings. They didn't need the bullpen. That was fortunate.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

  2. #2
    Unsolicited Opinions traderumor's Avatar
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    Re: Just why was Reitsma traded?

    The Braves got a glimpse Weds. night, pitching lights out then giving up an ill-timed longball to lose the game.

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    Re: Just why was Reitsma traded?

    Quote Originally Posted by traderumor
    The Braves got a glimpse Weds. night, pitching lights out then giving up an ill-timed longball to lose the game.
    Actually, Reistma pitched poorly at first, giving up the 2 run HR, but then pitched OK and won the game.

  4. #4
    Mod Law zombie-a-go-go's Avatar
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    Re: Just why was Reitsma traded?

    The Braves didn't win Wednesday's game; we lost Wednesday's game. There's a difference.
    "It's easier to give up. I'm not a very vocal player. I lead by example. I take the attitude that I've got to go out and do it. Because of who I am, I've got to give everything I've got to come back."
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    Re: Just why was Reitsma traded?

    If the Reds were a really good middle reliever away from being a contender for the next several years, then Daugherty might have a point. As it is, the Reds need help in many areas.

    If you keep shedding cheap, young players for cheaper, younger models, all you're doing is spinning on baseball's Third World hamster wheel.
    Well, that would be true if you are talking about one-for-one swaps. In this case, the Reds got two pitchers with roughly the same talent level as Reitsma. I would trade anyone on this team for two players in the high minors with similar talent level. That is not trading down. It is stocking up.

  6. #6
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    Re: Just why was Reitsma traded?

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Heeler
    In this case, the Reds got two pitchers with roughly the same talent level as Reitsma.
    no we didn't. Reitsma's a bona fide major leaguer, and these two guys are prospect and suspect. They may never have Reitsma's talent level. I even think that Reitsma will improve beyond his current talent level.

    this deal was about Reitsma's 2005 salary--which we hope to use in other ways-- and about the presence of Ryan Wagner and about the absence of lefties and starter candidates in the system. We tried to trade out of perceived strength into need, but in the short term we ended up stripping talent from a need position. It still might work out, if one prospect develops, if we locate setup men, if we don't have the horses to compete this year, and if Reitsma doesn't become a closer. But it could really backfire if nobody develops and/or if we compete but for the bullpen and/or if Reitsma becomes the closer that we should be seeking.
    Last edited by princeton; 04-23-2004 at 12:14 PM.

  7. #7
    "Let's Roll" TeamBoone's Avatar
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    Re: Just why was Reitsma traded?

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Heeler
    In this case, the Reds got two pitchers with roughly the same talent level as Reitsma.
    If this is true, why aren't those two guys on the 25-man roster?
    "Enjoy this Reds fans, you are watching a legend grow up before your very eyes" ... DoogMinAmo on Adam Dunn

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    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: Just why was Reitsma traded?

    Quote Originally Posted by TeamBoone
    If this is true, why aren't those two guys on the 25-man roster?

    They will be one day, have some success and be dealt for 4 minor league pitchers..it's a cycle of fun
    Go Gators!

  9. #9
    Dunnilicious creek14's Avatar
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    Re: Just why was Reitsma traded?

    Quote Originally Posted by KronoRed
    They will be one day, have some success and be dealt for 4 minor league pitchers..it's a cycle of fun
    I beg to differ.

    By then we will have traded Dunn, Kearns, Jr and Casey, so Bong et al will be traded for a couple good RBI guys and some left handed power.
    Will trade this space for a #1 starter.

  10. #10
    Do it! TheBurn's Avatar
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    Re: Just why was Reitsma traded?

    So... has anyone been hitting our Bong in the minors?
    Has our Bong been gettin' lit up?
    :whack: Sorry... couldn't help myself!
    It'll never happen again!

  11. #11
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    Re: Just why was Reitsma traded?

    The Reitsma trade was made on sound philosophical grounds. We may all differ in regards to whether we like the returns, the immediate impact, the Reds' evaluation of Reitsma's ceiling etc... However, in concept the Reds traded a player they (accurately or not) considered a setup reliever on a team without contention aspirations, for what they perceived as 2 legitimate young starting pitching prospects with relatively foreseeable ETAs. There is plenty of room for us to debate whether the Reds accurately estimated Reitsma's upside and role, whether their evaluations of Bong and Nelson as future rotation candidates were solid assessments, whether or not it was wise to further deplete a completely diluted bullpen, and what effect Reitsma's arbitration process/salary factored into the scenario. However, in principle the Reds translated a non-closer into a LHP and RHP who had both experienced some success beyond the low minors. Regardless of all of the valid reasons to like or dislike the particulars, it was made on a solid foundation. IMO

    By contrast, compare the fact that we shipped off the proven commodities of Williamson, Sullivan, Heredia, White, Mercker *COMBINED* and only received 1 pitcher who had ever pitched beyond the low minors in return (Belisle) and his value was still deflated at the time because of past injury. Their circumstances were different than Reitsma's, but they were all still viable, valuable and proven MLB relievers - and they netted a total yield of nothing. By contrast to those non-entities, Reitsma's trade landed a motherlode.

    I don't have high aspirations for Bong (no pun), and think Nelson is likely middle (rather than top) of the rotation material... but at least I can identify with the philosophy of this trade. That's more than I can say for any Reds trade of the past year with the exception the Boone (very solid, but could have been better if we add White without asking for monetary compensation), Guillen (nothing of much value but he had to be moved) and Scott Dunn (for DJ) trades. We are feeling the affects of the Reitsma trade much more because of the ill-conceived salary dump trades which destroyed the bullpen, long before he was ever dealt. His absence, and the struggles which have ensued, just emphasize that.

    PS: and maybe princeton is right that Reitsma will eventually evolve into the elite closer that we actually needed, without recognizing it. However, it's also likely that this "rebuilding" team couldn't produce a viable rotation quickly enough to need that type of closer, nor could they still afford him (according to their M.O.) by the time he did emerge in that role. Like the trade or not (I can see where both sides are coming from) at least it's a trade which can be rationalized and understood, in concept.
    Last edited by Stormy; 04-23-2004 at 03:25 PM.

  12. #12
    Member Red Heeler's Avatar
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    Re: Just why was Reitsma traded?

    Quote Originally Posted by TeamBoone
    If this is true, why aren't those two guys on the 25-man roster?
    Poor wording on my part, I guess. I think that both Bong and Nelson have the same level of potential as Reitsma did when we got him from the Red Sox. Sure, Reitsma has the experience edge now, but I'm in it for the long haul. I don't think that the current team has enough of the right parts to be contenders. Reitsma would help win the Reds some extra games this year, no doubt. On the other hand, will those extra games be enough to win the division or wild card? I don't think so. A lot of chips would have to fall the Reds way for Reitsma's performance to matter next year, too. In that case, two potential Reitsmas in 2006 are better than one right now.

    I like Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns as much as anyone here. I really hope that the Reds are able to sign them to long term contracts soon. However, if the opportunity arises to trade either of them for two prospects who are crushing the ball in AA and showing superior batting eye (think Adam Dunn circa 2001), then the Reds should do that trade as well.

    In order to have sustainable success, the Reds need to have a constant stream of top notch prospects. They can only afford to pay big money to about 7-8 absolutely essential roster spots. The rest of the team must be filled with inexpensive talent. Right now, the Reds only have about three or four of the essential players with only a little help on the horizon. They need the talent, and they need to free up the money to be able to keep the three or four that they already have.

  13. #13
    Member red-in-la's Avatar
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    Re: Just why was Reitsma traded?

    I swear, I am not channeling Paul Daugherty.....but I guess it takes a professional to make the point.

    Paul said it all. The Rietsma trade just shows there is NO PLAN.

    If you trade a $950,000 guy for the future and you keep a weak 6 million dollar 1B, and terrible 6 million dollar closer, and 12 million dollar All century OF, you have NO PLAN.

    I expect this to be the first in a series of articles the local press comes out with over the next year or so to illustrate that the Reds are now a carbon copy of the Brewers.

    Go Bengals!
    "Is there a problem officers?"

  14. #14
    Mod Law zombie-a-go-go's Avatar
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    Re: Just why was Reitsma traded?

    Quote Originally Posted by red-in-la
    If you trade a $950,000 guy for the future and you keep a weak 6 million dollar 1B, and terrible 6 million dollar closer, and 12 million dollar All century OF, you have NO PLAN.
    You found a team that'll take those contracts off our hands? Sweet! Better call the FO, and quick.
    "It's easier to give up. I'm not a very vocal player. I lead by example. I take the attitude that I've got to go out and do it. Because of who I am, I've got to give everything I've got to come back."
    -Ken Griffey Jr.

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    Member Crosley68's Avatar
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    Re: Just why was Reitsma traded?

    QUOTE]If you trade a $950,000 guy for the future and you keep a weak 6 million dollar 1B, and terrible 6 million dollar closer, and 12 million dollar All century OF, you have NO PLAN.
    I think you are assuming that there is someone out there who wants to take these guys and their contracts off our hands. You know what they say about assumptions.......
    Last edited by Crosley68; 04-23-2004 at 12:09 PM.
    Let's play two!!!


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