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Thread: Building with prospects

  1. #1
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    Building with prospects

    I agree with many on this board that, generally speaking, building with youth is a viable approach for the Reds. They can't afford big free agents apparently, trades are hard to make.

    The current swoon by the team is IMO a natural by-product of building with youth. Some guys pan out, some require lots of seasoning, some get hurt, some just aren't that good.

    So, looking at some of the main prospects the Reds have developed who have reached the majors:

    Votto, Cueto -- excellent
    Leake -- signs of being very solid
    Bruce, Stubbs -- good but very inconsistent
    Bailey -- signs of being very good, but often hurt
    Volquez, Wood -- experiencing difficulty
    Janish -- good field, no hit so far

    The inconsistency, the injuries, the subpar performances are IMO a natural outcome of the Reds' approach.

    I see two choices.

    1- modify the approach and get some high level veterans to fill out the team. Do it by free agency this winter, or trades at the deadline. But not for guys like Renteria and Cairo, who may be ok as bench players. For starting players who will improve the lineup and staff.

    2- go "all in" with youth. Be more aggressive promoting youngsters. For example, Cozart and Mesoraco play premium positions. Get them up to the show and start breaking them in. Put guys like Alonso and Francisco on the bench. Promote Boxberger and start to get him ready to close games next year.

    I don't think the current approach - a roster of prospects and veterans on the downside - is a winning formula. Hopefully the Reds will change it.

    I'd love to hear others' views on this.
    Last edited by Kc61; 07-05-2011 at 10:27 AM.

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    Re: Building with prospects

    I don't think the current approach - a roster of prospects and veterans on the downside - is a winning formula. Hopefully the Reds will change it.
    Isn't this the same approach that won 91 games and the division last year? Not saying it is the best approach, but, you can certainly win with it.

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    Re: Building with prospects

    Quote Originally Posted by RedLegsToday View Post
    Isn't this the same approach that won 91 games and the division last year? Not saying it is the best approach, but, you can certainly win with it.
    You can occasionally win a division title with the current approach. You can occasionally win 90 games or thereabouts.

    Certainly the Reds are improved over the Dunn-Griffey days and I'm not saying that they can't ever catch lightening in a bottle and win a division.

    But to be a top contender in the National League, with consistent success, and a real chance to go deep into the playoffs, I don't think the current approach works.

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    Re: Building with prospects

    The budget is fixed. You can play with the numbers however you want, but the bottom-line salary number isn't going to change. That's a reality every team not named New York and Boston is forced to deal with.

    So, you can add your veteran bats, but be prepared to lose other players to free agency or trades when the team can't afford to sign them long-term.
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    Re: Building with prospects

    Quote Originally Posted by Kc61 View Post
    You can occasionally win a division title with the current approach. You can occasionally win 90 games or thereabouts.

    Certainly the Reds are improved over the Dunn-Griffey days and I'm not saying that they can't ever catch lightening in a bottle and win a division.

    But to be a top contender in the National League, with consistent success, and a real chance to go deep into the playoffs, I don't think the current approach works.
    Building from within is the best approach to take. However, you have to actually take that approach. The Reds haven't. Dave Sappelt should have been starting in left field from Day 1 this year. Zack Cozart should have been starting at shortstop for the last 40 games. But that hasn't happened.

    Starting next season, the Reds could have a team that is nearly full of home grown players with the exceptions of Rolen and Phillips nearly every day. And the team should be pretty good. To build from within, it takes time. The Reds have gotten a good start on it, but they aren't all of the way there yet (though you could argue that they are delaying getting there with respect to the two positions mentioned earlier). The key to building from within is to be able to add to your team every year with something of substance. Not just a reliever or a bench guy here or there. We are just about to that point. If all we become is the Minnesota Twins of the 2001-2010 variety, I can live with that and be just fine.

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    Re: Building with prospects

    I really don't want to go "all in" with youth.

    For whatever reason, the Reds feel that Sappelt and Cozart are not upgrades.
    Given how aggressive other youngsters have been promoted and given chances, I think the Reds have earned the benefit of the doubt.

    Let's say the Reds DFA Returia to bring up Cozart. Then 3 weeks later, the Reds figure out that Cozart is actually worse than what they have at SS now.. They are kind of screwed now.. The point is, the Reds have a lot of guys out of options now, not much flexibility to move people up and down.

    We could probably trade Homer, Volquez or Wood for a short term upgrade at SS or LF, but is that really worth it? I don't know if it is or not.

    This team just doesn't seem to "have it" this year.. I wouldn't mind trading a handful of C prospects for a rental to try to improve our chances, but I'm not so sure it's worthwhile to trade something of value for a rental now.. And sadly, any acquision would probably be a rental, due to the budget.. Heck, we would probably ask the team trading away the vet to eat some salary and thus be forced to give up premium prospects.

    I am just going to enjoy the rest of the season, one game at a time.. If we make the playoffs, great.. if not, I'm not going to be disappointed. Last year, everything worked out great for us.. we can't expect that to happen every year.
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    Re: Building with prospects

    I think the best approach for the Reds is to identify which prospects (1) have a clear path to take over an MLB role in the near future and (2) which are organizational depth, possibly good-great players who have no clear path because of an entrenched incumbent at the MLB level.

    You don't touch the (1) category. You let them develop at the correct pace and call their number when they're ready.

    If a player in the (2) category blossoms, they simply have to consider trading either the MLB starter or that prospect, to get whatever the organization needs at the time.

    To speak in specifics, I think Cozart is a (1). And I think Mesoraco and Alonso are (2).

    Cozie "appears" ready, and couldn't possible come into a better situation from an expectation standpoint. He has to hit so little and provide such little run-production to offer improvement over the MLB incumbents. I think Fay said it was unfair to think of him as a savior. I hardly think hitting over .230 with more than 12 extra-base hits in 350 ABs is asking for a savior.

    Mes also appears ready. He's blocked by either Hanigan or Ramon. Hanigan is signed to an affordable multi-year deal and handles pitchers and the running game well. Ramon is having a great offensive year, cuts down runners and is only signed through this year. Easy choice. Organizations built through the farm HAVE to turn players like Ramon into something else before he walks away for nothing. With Mes seemingly ready, I don't see how the Reds don't make a deal.

    Alonso can't be expected to stay at AAA until 2013, when we know if Votto is going to sign a LTC. So either he or Votto are trade-bait. I think I know which direction the team (and this board) leans on that.

    This is nothing new, of course. All of this has been said a million times already. But in context of the kind of approach the Reds should take, I believe the farm should be used to fill the MLB roster or to be used to get what is needed. There appear to be some MLB-ready players. The FO should decide (and probably is deciding) which players are in the near-future plans and should actively shop the others.
    Last edited by I(heart)Freel; 07-05-2011 at 11:14 AM.
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    Re: Building with prospects

    What I see is a passive approach. Kids, older veterans, and sitting still. My personal viewpoint is that sports teams should not sit still. Even championship teams need to make moves to balance their rosters.

    If the Reds won't (can't) acquire the veterans they need to fill obvious deficiencies, then they should more aggressively promote good prospects who may be able to fill them.

    I've never been a "build with youth" fan, but as DD says, if that's the approach, let's take it. There is no shortage of prospects at AAA, let's move them up and see how they do.

    The current plan seems very in-between to me. It doesn't seem like an approach that will get the team beyond "pretty good."
    Last edited by Kc61; 07-05-2011 at 02:43 PM.

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    Re: Building with prospects

    You have to have a good farm sytems with good quality prospects. Especially if you are a small market team like the Reds. The Twins are the best example of building a competitive team like this year in and year out. But if you don't use your prospects either with the big club or trade them for useful veterans what good are they? Like dougdirt said, the Reds have two,at least, in AAA basically rotting away. Sappelt and Cozart should be with the Reds NOW. But because Reds management is too sentimental and doesn't want to cut a good ole boy veterans like Gomes,Lewis and Renteria they are using the same ole dreg night in and night out. With the reults of what you expect from aging or middle of the road veterans. Mediocrity. It's great the Reds have built their farm system to where they are producing legitimate prospects. It wasn't so long ago they were not doing this. But now that they are, they seem to be gunshy in using them. If the Reds are to make the next step up the Reds management needs to get over this and use them. Either bring them up or trade them for more useful vets than what they have now.
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    Re: Building with prospects

    I betcha if there were any legit young starting pitcher prospects sitting on the fence like the player prospects, they'd be aggressively promoted.
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    Re: Building with prospects

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    The budget is fixed. You can play with the numbers however you want, but the bottom-line salary number isn't going to change. That's a reality every team not named New York and Boston is forced to deal with.
    Side note, but the AL East stereotype is carrying its weight unfairly at this point. People need to stop excluding Philadelphia from this list. They officially have a higher payroll than the Red Sox now.
    There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.

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    Re: Building with prospects

    Quote Originally Posted by Kc61 View Post
    I don't think the current approach - a roster of prospects and veterans on the downside - is a winning formula. Hopefully the Reds will change it.

    I'd love to hear others' views on this.
    This is not meant as a screed against either Baker or Walt.

    Dusty Baker took a contending team of veterans in San Francisco and cycled the roster to a different set of veterans and stayed a contending team. Looking at the talent on th 93 team, it's tough to fault their approach. Yes, Will Clark and Matt Williams had some decent seasons after the giants let them go, but Barry Bonds became Barry Bonds and while they never won the series with him, they were always in contention. Royce Clayton, Rich Aurilia and Bill hall were really the only position players the Giants developed during those 10 years. As a matter of fact the giants were kind of famous for succeeding despite pretty much not having a farm system.

    Baker's Cub teams went from the penthouse to the outhouse while he was there. When he arrived they had Zambrano, Wood, Prior, Aramis Ramirez, Cory Patterson and Hee Sop Choi who looked like a decent hitter at the time. Under Baker Choi became about as good a hitter as Cory Patterson was. It's tough to know exactly how much of the injury to Wood and Prior to lay at Baker's feet. Under Baker the Cub's clubhouse pretty much became and example of the lunatics running the asylum.

    Pretty much under both those teams. It's fair to say development of the kids did not contribute to franchise success with Baker around.

    Walt Jocketty was in the A's front office from 80 to 94. During that time the A's went from being pretty much a clown of a franchise to one of the premiere franchises in mlb. Jose Canceco, Walt Weiss, Mark McGwire and Miguel Tejada were all drafted or signed by Walt. Dispite this very impressive haul of youngsters, The A's were spectacularly successful at identifying veteran players who still had enough in the tank to help a team. Looking at the dominant A's team of 88-90, while the home grown talent was important, acquired older veteran talent contributer more to the team than the kids.

    Of course Jocketty was also part of the cardinals organization from 94 to 07.
    How did the Cardinals do it under Walt?

    These guys came in as veterans....Eckersly, Gant, Giatti, Delano DeSheilds, Royce Clayton, Mark McGwire, Edgar Rentaria, Fernando Tatis, Eric Davis, Jim Edmonds, Fernando Vina, Daryl Kile, Pat Hentgen, Woody Williams, Tino Martinez, Chuck Finley, Scott Rolen, Jason Izzy, Reggie Sanders, Chris Carpenter, Larry Walker, Jeff Weaver.

    And these guys were undeveloped players when they took the field as Cardinals....Dmitri Young, Matt Morris, J. D. Drew, Rick Ankiel, Matt Morris, Placido Palanco, Albert the Great, Dan Haren, Jason Marquis.

    Now, that's some serious talent there that took the field as newbies, but the vets aren't slouches either.

    Looking at how Baker and Walt's teams have done in the past, I think they deserve a TON of credit for adapting to the new economic realities of baseball. Before they reach free agency players are a tremendously valuable resources and with Votto, Bruce, Janish, Stubbs, Hanigan, Cueto...Oh heck, you guys all know the list, with the huge number of pre-free agent players the reds have on the field, Both Walt and Dusty seem to be trying to play the kids. The leopards are showing very different spots.

    If you benched Rolen and handed third base over to Frazier/Encarnacion and put Yonder in left and dealt Hernandez in order to play Mes would this team be 5 games better in the standings? Even with that kind of cherry picking, I don't think you make this team THAT much better.

    All that aside, the biggest minor league development decision this team has made in the last year has been to give in to the pressure to immediately cash in on Chapman and turn him into a reliever.
    "Even a bad day at the ballpark beats the snot out of most other good days. I'll take my scorecard and pencil and beer and hot dog and rage at the dips and cheer at the highs, but I'm not ever going to stop loving this game and this team and nobody will ever take that away from me." Roy Tucker October 2010

  14. #13
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    Re: Building with prospects

    Now that the Reds have a strong farm system, they are better off building with prospects -- whether that involves calling up AAA players to fill openings or using those players as trade bait to acquire reasonably priced veterans who plug obvious needs.

    That said, you do have to actively tend the farm. You can't just sit back and watch everything grow.

    The Reds, through their inactivity last winter and this summer, have risked squandering the farm system as a valuable asset. Several prime players are parked at Louisville, not only the ones who require more seasoning but also those who have already ripened on the vine.

    The stagnation has to be demoralizing for the prospects involved, but on a larger level, it represents a bad business decision. Prospects who wear out their welcome too long in AAA start looking more like suspects. Their trade value declines and you cannot get the same return from dealing them as you could when they were perceived to be at their peak.

    I'm not sure why the Reds seem so enamored with the status quo that they are neither calling up their best prospects or dealing them. As my late grandmother used to warn, and I'm paraphrasing her vernacular, there comes a time to when you have to either (finish your business) or get off the pot. In other words, there's a point when deliberation turns into constipation.

    Other contenders, like the Indians, are calling up their farmhands and getting strong performances out of them. I'm not sure why we're so cautious and slow on the draw, but we are, and it's becoming more frustrating to watch. It's not like this team, as currently constituted, is going anywhere. Time to upset the apple cart, throw a monkey wrench into the works, anything, whatever, to show the Reds are serious about improving and giving the fans a team worth cheering for.

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    Re: Building with prospects

    I don't agree you have to go "all in" with youth. Look at having like an Orlando Cabrera on a team like Indians. See what he's done for years. Guys who know how to win and can show this to youth is valuable. We don't have Rolen last year and it's a different year even though he basically only had a good 1/2 season. This team is not as bad as there record show. The fact is pitching and hitting has been inconsistant all year. Reds record in 1 run games is terrible. They just aren't getting those games. I am one that does believe Cozart should have got a shot, but believe having a Gomes can be positive. His teamates love him and dispite his inconsistancies he hustles. Not like an Andrew jones or Adam Dunn types - heck many mlb players that don't run out every hit.

    I think the Reds are right there. Pitchers are getting healthy and turning the corner. We have Cueto, Leake, and Homer back and even Volquez is pitching better. The pen is good, the defense is great, and the bench is solid. It's a matter of winning these close games and getting over the hump. Yes, it's sweet to have the youth in AAA, but if you follow those games they aren't exactly tearing it up on the farm. A great AAA player does not make a great mlb player. I think the Reds are on the right track, but it's the mix of youth and vetrens that make it too the WS. Do you ever find an all youth movement actually work? YOu have them play well 1/2 season or over periods, but it's a mental grind. Just my thoughts.
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    Re: Building with prospects

    Quote Originally Posted by Reds1 View Post
    I don't agree you have to go "all in" with youth. Look at having like an Orlando Cabrera on a team like Indians. .
    I don't believe "all in" means you can't have some vets particularly as role players. There is room for a productive veteran on any team.

    What "all in" means to me is that your primary source of talent is your farm system, that you aggressively promote guys who may be ready, and that your trades and other moves focus on acquiring more good young players.

    It's flooding the major league team with high-level prospects and then carefully weeding out those who seem like pretenders.

    I'm not sure it is the best way to proceed, but it beats the current method IMO.
    Last edited by Kc61; 07-05-2011 at 03:13 PM.


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