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Thread: The Four-Year Plan

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    The Four-Year Plan

    We're a day into the free agency season, and while some posts and threads on here have dared look into the future, most seem to look solely at what we need for 2008.

    I think we need - in leui of the Reds giving us one - a Four Year Plan.

    Why four? There is some logic behind it, given to us by the front office. Harang and Arroyo are both ours to control til then. And a good number of our youngsters (cheap, solid players) are going to be hitting arbitration and/or free agency around then. Plus, I think it's going to take a year to show progress before we can think that we can make a multi-year run at the post-season.

    So what does the team look like in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011?

    I looked at contracts as well as those players making minimum and made some guesses as to when they hit arbitration. And I plugged everything I had into a chart of team positions for those years.

    The attachment shows how it shakes out. Hopefully you can open it. It's a simple pdf.

    Note: red means a player is under a contract. Yellow means they're arbitration eligible. Green means league minimum. And grey means the player or team has an option that year.

    Feel free to take a while with the chart before reading forward. I'm going to make my observations now, but I always think it's good to draw your own before hearing others.

    Ok...

    I know I editorialized the process when I put black boxes under closer and 4th starter in 2008. I just think while we could plug in those roles with personnel we have, we have heard enough from the front office to know that the Reds will at least LOOK to fill those holes with players outside the club.

    But with that said, I found it interesting to at least see that - by all accounts - we could have both Cueto and Maloney ready for the majors in 2009. They're certainly on schedule for that. So that said, doesn't it make sense to eyeball a one-year (maybe with an option) contract for that 4th starter? And yes, it would be great if that starter was more of a 2 or 3 starter to shift everyone except Harang back. Either way, one year for that guy might be all we need. This could be had in free agency or we could trade for someone at the end of their contract. Interesting how many of those types are available.

    As for a closer, I think this is the big reason to dip into the free agency pool this offseason. For one, if this club performs like last year, a solid bullpen alone could swing 10-15 games. But the truth is, the way I see it, we could probably use a closer for 2 years, allowing Burton to grow into a stud 8th inning closer (a la Lidge) before taking over the closer role in 2010. Note that's his first year eligible for arbitration. If he's getting paid as a set up man, he could be an affordable closer.

    Looking ahead, I think you have to consider the Dunn issue. If the young guys do end up bopping like we think they can, does it make sense to trade Dunn at some point next season (at a peak value time) and get some pitching talent in return? Then we can go into next off-season looking for a lead-off hitter who plays outfield. With Bruce and Hamilton, we have position flexibility. That can also be a 1-2 year signing, knowing by then that Stubbs is probably ready or close.

    We might need a catcher in 2009 too. So if we don't get one back for Dunn or can't sign a vet to an affordable contract, we can always pick up Ross' option. Hopefully 2008 is more like 2006, but we'll see.

    We'll also need some bullpen invigoration by 2009. But what isn't had in a trade can certainly be bought, knowing that Junior, Dunn, Stanton and Castro all likely come off the books.

    It's 2009 where the payroll becomes very intriguing. Look at how many players we have slotted to start who make league minimum! For that reason, I think the Reds could stand to blow their payroll wad this season to contend, knowing that we're about to get cheap. You don't want to hamstring the club for years with a bad contract - Milton, I'm talking to you - but you can do some things you probably couldn't do before.

    Another note for this offseason, we have too many players on the bench. It's for that reason, I do think you have to shop Freel and Hatteberg. If Valentin in the lefty pinchhitter, do we need Hatte? I say that with heavy heart. I love him unhealthily. Same with Freel, but Hopper and Keppinger have shown the ability to be him but cheaper.

    Also looking at the chart, the Reds might be wise to wrap up Phillips and Edwin through their arb years sooner than later. That's the Indians-way. There's no mystery about payroll then, and the players might give a little discount for the security.

    Exciting stuff. And clearly I've written for too long. Time for you to comment. Let me know if you think I got something very wrong or if there are prospects I didn't plug into the picture during this time period. I tried to be conservative about that.
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    Last edited by I(heart)Freel; 11-14-2007 at 07:09 PM.
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    Brett William Moore Will M's Avatar
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    Re: The Four-Year Plan

    1. I do think the Reds need a continual 'three year plan'. You needs to always be looking towards the next few years

    2. IMO a stud defensive CF is a need for the future. I am OK with Hamilton in CF this year but flank a true centerfielder with Hamilton in RF & Bruce in LF and you have GREAT defense.
    Griffey is a DH.

    3. 2007 will be a big year for the Reds to see what the young pitchers have. Time for Bailey, Belisle, Bray, Cout, Salmon, etc to show if they really belong in the bigs.
    We also have guys like Cueto, Maloney, Pelland,etc in AAA.
    This is why I would like to see the Reds get one really good reliever ( Wood or the stud Japanese closer ) & a one year stopgap SP ( ? Lieber ).
    Silva, Lohse -stay away.
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    Start the Reactor! *BaseClogger*'s Avatar
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    Re: The Four-Year Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by Will M View Post
    1. I do think the Reds need a continual 'three year plan'. You needs to always be looking towards the next few years

    2. IMO a stud defensive CF is a need for the future. I am OK with Hamilton in CF this year but flank a true centerfielder with Hamilton in RF & Bruce in LF and you have GREAT defense.
    Griffey is a DH.

    3. 2007 will be a big year for the Reds to see what the young pitchers have. Time for Bailey, Belisle, Bray, Cout, Salmon, etc to show if they really belong in the bigs.
    We also have guys like Cueto, Maloney, Pelland,etc in AAA.
    This is why I would like to see the Reds get one really good reliever ( Wood or the stud Japanese closer ) & a one year stopgap SP ( ? Lieber ).
    Silva, Lohse -stay away.
    I think you meant 2008...
    I beleive the stud Japanese closer is staying in Japan...
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    Brett William Moore Will M's Avatar
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    Re: The Four-Year Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by *BaseClogger* View Post
    I think you meant 2008...
    I beleive the stud Japanese closer is staying in Japan...
    I did mean 2008.

    Sorry to hear that.
    While I don't want to pay Francisco Cordero $40M for 4 years I am intrigued by Kerry Wood at $10M for 2 years.
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    Viva la Rolen kaldaniels's Avatar
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    Re: The Four-Year Plan

    I thought Mr. Loo retired.

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    Re: The Four-Year Plan

    Thanks for your post, it's obvious you put alot of work into it and its a good read.
    My impression of the next 4 years is that we'll become really cheap starting in 2009, but we'll also be devoid of a superstar and our pitching (though competant, good and mostly home-grown) will most likely not be good enough to get us a series....

    If anything I think this shows us how plausible it is for us to afford Dunn for the next few years, and how IF we were to trade some of our current pitching prospects for more established and expensive pitching prospects, we could definitely afford them in the future also. Although, keeping as many of our position player prospects as we can, seems to be a good idea too.

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    Re: The Four-Year Plan

    I noticed you didn't have Belisle in the Reds starting rotation past 2008, and Maloney inheriting his no.5 starter spot. I happen to think Belisle could show a lot of improvement next year, and the odds are he will end up being a better starter than Maloney. I realize arbitration might make Belisle expensive, but I really do think he would be the best choice as the fifth starter.There is a considerable gap between Dunn's option year, and the time we could expect to see Stubbs in the major leagues. I think Salmon, McBeth, and Coutlangas will make significant additions to the bullpen the next 3 years.
    Last edited by AmarilloRed; 11-14-2007 at 09:32 PM.

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    Re: The Four-Year Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by AmarilloRed View Post
    I noticed you didn't have Belisle in the Reds starting rotation past 2008, and Maloney inheriting his no.5 starter spot. I happen to think Belisle could show a lot of improvement next year, and the odds are he will end up being a better starter than Maloney. I realize arbitration might make Belisle expensive, but I really do think he would be the best choice as the fifth starter.
    Belisle is a real poser. He has shown flashes of absolute brilliance, only to suck next times out. He has what it takes to be a 12 game+ winner, but I wonder if he has the grey matter it takes. He can pitch like a very solid 4-5 though.

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    Re: The Four-Year Plan

    I think it's unlikely we are going to see significant improvement in Matt Belisle, as much as I'd like to see that happen. His WHIP is remarkably consistent over the past 5 years whether he's pitching at AAA or in the majors, as a reliever or a starter. He's steadily in the 1.4-1.5 range, that of a bottom of the rotation starter. I think he gives you a passable 5 this year. Every indication would suggest that when Cueto comes up, he'll go right past Belisle in the rotation order. Whether Maloney will or will not is less clear, but by 2009 there may be other internal possibilities too--LeCure, Fisher. This is a pretty good problem to have. Belisle will be a passable 4 or 5 who we can use as a long man out of the pen and spot start if you have injury. What all this suggests to me is that I hope, above all things, the Reds don't trade a good young player for some marginal starter type. I'd prefer we stand pat, on starting pitching, or make a really top line deal which substantially reconfigures the team.

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    Re: The Four-Year Plan

    It seems to me with Harang and Arroyo under contract fairly cheaply a few more years, we need to pounce now on another starting pitcher and closer while we have guys cheap.
    Who's on first?

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    Re: The Four-Year Plan

    Depends on what you consider a starting pitcher. If you believe in Bailey and Cueto, then the guy you're after needs to be significantly better than Matt Belisle. What the Reds need to avoid, in my view, is overvaluing some just barely better than #5 starter and giving up a good quality young player for one. If Cueto's for real, your July 1 rotation could be Harang, Arroyo, Bailey, Cueto, and Belisle. In addition, if you don't move Hamilton, whom I consider to be the best trading chip the Reds have, it gives you the option of trading Dunn or letting him walk at the season's end, effectively freeing up his 13 million to be spent for 2009.

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    Re: The Four-Year Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by HokieRed View Post
    Depends on what you consider a starting pitcher. If you believe in Bailey and Cueto, then the guy you're after needs to be significantly better than Matt Belisle. What the Reds need to avoid, in my view, is overvaluing some just barely better than #5 starter and giving up a good quality young player for one. If Cueto's for real, your July 1 rotation could be Harang, Arroyo, Bailey, Cueto, and Belisle. In addition, if you don't move Hamilton, whom I consider to be the best trading chip the Reds have, it gives you the option of trading Dunn or letting him walk at the season's end, effectively freeing up his 13 million to be spent for 2009.
    Spent on what? At the beginning of this thread, if you read the chart - it indicates that we will have tons of money available in years to come, why not sign Dunn for a few years (who could be the superstar we build the team around, which from BCast's comments, is what he wants to do). Which, IMO, frees up either Bruce or Hamilton to be the centerpiece in a trade for a #1/#2 starter (I know we only NEED a 2/3, but if we can get a 1, all the better).

    Looks like starting in 2009, we'll be rich!! But we will still be poor in starting pitchers - UNLESS Bailey & Cueto turn out to be wunderkind, prodigies... So, we can buy starting pitchers -you might say.. but, the problem w/ that is .. look at the last couple markets - great starting pitchers just aren't there. Either smart teams lock them up to avoid free agency, or they have greedy agents who drive their price up and outta our range, or they have flaws (Eric Milton?). I just don't see us being successful in the free agent starting pitching market.

    I've said it on like 5 different threads now and I'll say it again - trade a couple of prospects NOW for Bedard or Kazmir.

    ChatterRed is right... seems like we need to win now while we have all the pieces in place to win (Harang, Arroyo, Dunn, Griffey). None of those are guaranteed in the very near future.
    Last edited by hippie07; 11-15-2007 at 10:38 AM.

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    Re: The Four-Year Plan

    Nothing is guaranteed in the very near future. I look forward to a Dunn-Hamilton-Bruce outfield in the future. Bailey and Cueto will be cheap for some time to come, so we build the team around them, Edwin, Votto, Hamilton, Brandon, and Bruce. It is going to take more than 3 good starting pitchers to make it to the playoffs. There is a lot of ambiguity in the bullpen the member has shown us. Weathers will be here for the short term, and Burton and Bray should be on the roster. I am counting a lot on Coutlangas, McBeth, and Salmon, but they might pan out.We really need to address the bullpen in the off-season so that the startes will have someone to count on. We need to remember that both Bailey and Cueto have the potential to be a #1 starter.
    Last edited by AmarilloRed; 11-15-2007 at 10:50 AM.

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    Re: The Four-Year Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by kaldaniels View Post
    I thought Mr. Loo retired.
    Loo doesn't know if he wants to return to baseball. Either way, I don't see him being our shortstop come 2011. I think if we don't stupidly trade away our prospects (like some people on this board want) we should be in the playoffs by 2009-2010 season.

    Just want to comment on a few things:
    1) I wouldn't pencil in Stubbs for centerfield. I still have questions on whether he will ever make the majors.
    2) How about Todd Frazier for SS after Gonzalez?
    3) I don't think Encarnacion is the long term solution for 3B
    4) We need to sign relief pitching. We got Bray, Burton, Viola, and Roenicke by 2010 I think, but that's about it.

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    Re: The Four-Year Plan

    The future will tell who's stupid... maybe those who want to hold onto our prospects, like children hoarding halloween candy, will end up being the "stupid" ones, but I'm not calling them that... that's just classless.

    Neither way is stupid, IMO (as long as the only trades we make w/ our prospects are smart ones) - its just opposite ends of the risk spectrum. Both strategies have risks, and its just depends on your personal preference which risk you think is more wise.

    The only way someone's stupid is if they don't see that there's a risk involved in holding onto our pitching prospects this offseason - either they perform well and increase their trade value and the Reds starting pitching, or they fall off the table and not only not contribute to the Reds, but lose most of their trade value... leaving us where we started.. No pitching improvement (either from contributions from Bailey & Cueto or from who we could get for them in trade). That's a risk my friend, whether you want to see it as one or not.


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