|02-24-2006, 12:33 AM||#1|
Join Date: Jun 2005
2006 Opus Take 2: AKA What I would do if I were Krivsky
Ok, after much deliberation, I've reworked my 2006 off-season opus. No more Chad Billingsley, David Bush, or David Purcey. And, I think version 2.0 might be better than the original. In the orginal, I don’t think I took into account how severely our shoddy defense was impacting our W/L record.
The Reds have a great offense, but poor pitching and defense. In order to improve this ball club to any significant degree, we have to improve BOTH the pitching and defense. They go together like hand in glove. And, we certainly do have a lot of talent on the roster, unfortunately, it’s all offensive talent.
So, we need to restructure the team to improve the outfield defense and bring in good, young pitchers with upside. Unfortunately, we can’t do this without a significant overhaul. And, we certainly don’t need more aging veteran reclamation projects (see: Pedro Astacio, et al) on the mound. They aren’t worth the cost and certainly don’t provide us any production of value.
Anyway, here’s how I would improve the pitching and defense without losing much production from our 2005 top ranked NL offense:
Free Agent signings
1. Bobby Higginson: Minor League deal
2. A.J. Hinch or equivalent backup catcher: ~$750K
I don't think any of them are unreasonable signings. I think Hinch can be talked out of retirement if he’s assured a major league roster spot, but if not, we’d be looking at another veteran backstop. Bobby Higginson, assuming good health, would be a nice signing on a minor league contract (Much like Aurilia the year before). We could sell Higginson on the inherent benefits of GABP for players in need of a bounce back season (see: Aurilia and Randa) I'm sure Higgy would love to play in a hitters park after struggling in Comerica for so many years. I still think Higgy has something to offer, but if he didn't, we wouldn’t lose much.
Here are the trades:
1. Deal Eric Milton, Dave Williams, and Cash to the Nationals for minor league pitching talent (Preferably Mike Hinckley or Billy Bray or Clint Everets)
After much thought, I realized what Dave Williams really is. Yes, yes, I know he's a pitcher, but in actuality, I think he’s an opportunity. He's an opportunity to divest ourselves of the services (and contract) of Eric Milton. We used Dave Williams to move a large portion of Casey's contract and I think we should now use Williams to move a large portion of Milton's contract.
After comprehensively looking at (and posting about) Williams’ stats, I'm not optimistic about his chances for success in Cincinnati, especially given the Reds defense. In fact, as I’ve mentioned before, I think he is very likely to turn into a pumpkin. And, my hopes for a solid, "league average" type bounce back season out of Eric Milton are fading fast. As such, I think we need to move them both before the season starts.
I think we could bundle them together (with a bit of cash for Milton's absurd contract) and deal them. And, I think the likely target was, and still is, the Nationals. The Nationals’ rotation has Livan Hernandez and John Patterson, but nothing certain after those two.
If rumors are true, Bowden expressed an interest (for reasons passing understanding) in Milton last season at the deadline. We could play up the fact that Milton is struggling due to GABP and that RFK would be a great fit for him. Bowden certainly values players differently than many GMs, so he might still be interested. And, in all honesty, Milton might do rather well in RFK. It's a huge ballpark and pitchers don't have to worry about their mistake pitches as much.
John Patterson talked about how comfortable he was last season and I think a large part of that is that mistakes don’t hurt as much in RFK. He could be more aggressive and trust his stuff, which resulted in his making fewer mistakes. If Milton didn’t have to worry as much about his offerings getting hit 600 feet, he might be better off. Of course, he lacks Patterson’s pure stuff, but he would still be much better off.
By bundling Williams in the deal, we could hopefully avoid having to throw in quite so much cash to pay for Milton's salary. Granted, we wouldn't likely get a ton in return, but we would free up significant cash. Milton is set to make $8.5M in 2006 and $9.0M in 2007, so we could throw in $2-2.5M for 2006 and $2.5-3M for 2007, basically bringing the Nationals cost (and our savings) for Milton down to ~$6M per annum.
Even if Milton didn’t work out, the Nationals would be getting Williams to mitigate the cost of Milton. It isn’t ideal to use talent to get out from under bad contracts, but it’s possible that Dave Williams could be used to get out from under a significant portion of the Casey AND Milton contracts.
We wouldn’t get a ton of talent in return, but we would free up a roster spot, get improved production out of Milton’s rotation spot, and save cash. And that is the point of the deal, addition by subtraction.
2. Trade Wily Mo Pena and Austin Kearns to the K.C. Royals for Zack Greinke and a prospect (Preferably, ss Jeff Bianchi, but I'm not sure if that would be possible, as he was drafted in 2005. He'd have to be a PTBNL due to the 1 year restriction on trading draftees and even then it might not be possible due to the timing. If we can’t get Bianchi, then I’d love to get 2b Donnie Murphy).
I honestly think that we could get Greinke from the Royals with the right package of talent. He struggled mightily last season and might do so again next season for the Royals. A change of scenery and a great offense behind him would do much to reinvigorate him. The Royals have come out and stated that they aren’t even going to guarantee Greinke a rotation slot for 2006.
Now, it would take a lot to get him, so we should offer both AK & WMP. A package like that would be difficult for the Royals to turn down, at least in my estimation. It would give them a very productive pair of corner outfielders for the next 3-4 seasons at a reasonable cost.
If need be, we could toss in a prospect to sweeten it further, maybe Justin Germano or even Travis Chick. The Royals have already added Reggie Sanders, so the addition of AK & WMP would give them six players (Dejesus, Sanders, AK, WMP, Sweeney, Mientkiewiciz) for five positions (LF, CF, RF, 1B, DH). But, given their recent injury history (see: Sweeney, Mike) and recent offensive struggles (see: Mientkiewicz, Doug), I don’t think that’s a significant problem.
The Royals get two young, inexpensive, impact players (and potentially a pitching prospect) to significantly bolster their offense in exchange for one young, impact pitcher. The Reds get a top of the rotation starter to pair with Harang and lose only one offensive starter’s worth of production (as AK & WMP split time in RF last season) from their 2005 NL leading offense.
Greinke is a player that I would overpay to get. I wouldn’t trade Dunn or F-Lo for him, but I would deal both AK & WMP for him. He can be the de facto ace for whom we are looking. And, given his good mechanics and his ability to succeed without throwing his arm out on every pitch, I think he is a very good bet to stay healthy. Greinke doesn’t have to throw at 100% effort often to be successful, which is where I think injuries often originate. Greinke has a very high baseball IQ and understands how to add and subtract from his pitches to keep hitters off balance. Control/finesse pitchers seem to avoid injuries more effectively than the power pitchers. Greinke could anchor the Cincinnati pitching staff for a long time.
As for Murphy, I’ve seen him play several times and I love the way he goes about his business. He didn’t have great numbers, but I think he’s a player. The Royals have Grudzelanik for next season, so they would likely be willing to move him. I’m also very high on Jeff Bianchi, I think he may be a special talent at 2b or SS in a few years. Either one of those would be a nice addition to the trade.
3. Trade Kent Mercker to the Dodgers for Jayson Werth.
I think Jayson Werth is a potential five tool player and a SERIOUS sleeper candidate.
He’s got the body type: 6-5, 210 lbs. He has the pedigree: his grandfather Dick “Ducky” Schoefield and uncle Dick Schoefield both played major league ball.
He’s a good defensive outfielder, who can hit for power and has nice on base skills. In 2004, he hit 16 homers in limited duty, which worked out to be one homer every 18.1 ABs. For comparison, Dunn hits one every ~13/14 Abs over the course of his career.
I think Werth is highly underrated due to his injury problems. Werth would be able to replace a significant portion of the lost AK/WMP production. Last season, he had an IsoOBP of .104 and saw the most pitches per at bat of any regular player in baseball 4.62 P/PA. He has shown decent power and has a career SB% of 85%. Werth showed very good power in 2004 and in 2005, battling of a wrist injury that sapped his power (and may result in his being undervalued), he showed great OBP skills. If he can put together his 2004 power and his 2005 OBP in 2006, then not only would that go a long ways towards replacing any lost production, he would likely provide better production than could be expected from AK/WMP. Couple his offensive upside with the fact that he can play all three outfield positions with aplomb and Werth is a very intriguing player.
In 2005, Werth was injured (had two torn ligaments in his wrist, which he is still rehabbing), which sapped his power, but he still displayed very nice on base skills.
The Dodgers have real need for a left handed reliever and don’t value Werth highly. Once healthy, Werth would step right in and play right field for the Reds. If he isn’t healthy to start the season, than Denorfia and Higginson could hold down the fort until he is healthy.
For those of you, who aren’t huge on statistics, check out some of his video highlights.
I love his quiet stance at the plate and his smooth, powerful swing. He has a couple of impressive opposite field homers in the highlights. He’s also very smooth in the field and has good speed and baserunning instincts. His throwing motion is a bit unusual, a bit of a short-arm style, but that’s likely a result of his days as a catcher. And, while his motion may not look great, he does seem to have a strong arm. All in all, there seems to be little to dislike about Jayson Werth.
Werth would be a small risk and possibly a huge reward. I think his overall game is at least comparable, if not better, than WMP & AK.
The only reason that Werth is available and undervalued is his injury problem. While this isn’t a minor problem, it’s also not a major one. He could easily get healthy and stay healthy for an extended period of time. Much like the A’s, small/mid-market teams have to take chances on players. They can’t afford to acquire “perfect” ballplayers very often, as they are often valued correctly or even overvalued. The A’s are rolling the dice on Milton Bradley (anger issues). The Reds should roll the dice on Jayson Werth. In GABP, a healthy Jayson Werth’s production would likely rival that of either WMP or AK.
4. Trade Javier Valentin to the Giants for Kevin Correia and the best pitching prospect (I love Scott Munter's sinker and Jonathan Sanchez has nice stuff) we can get.
Correia has GREAT stuff and if he can improve his command, he could be a VERY good starting pitcher for us. He has good upside, is inexpensive, and not valued highly by the Giants (he is currently last in a three way race with Jamey Wright and Brad Hennessey for the 5th starter slot). The Giants love veterans and need a backup catcher. If Matheny gets hurt, they are in big trouble.
From the Reds point of view, Valentin will undoubtedly be worse in 2006 than he was in 2005, so his trade value is at an all time high. We can still sign a backup catcher and not lose that much production.
Correia is the focal point of the deal, but we can probably get a good pitcher prospect as well, especially given the Giants recent history of dealing prospects.
5. Trade David Weathers to the Mariners for Gil Meche.
Meche has always had the ability and the pure stuff, but he just hasn’t been able to hold it together over the long haul. However, he has put it together for some stellar half seasons. A change of scenery and facing a pitcher instead of a DH would likely help. Even if it didn’t help, he’d still be a better option than Eric Milton.
Meche is set to make ~$4M in 2006, so I don’t think the M’s would mind moving him for little in return, as they would be getting $4M in salary relief. I think Meche can be had for Weathers, who would provide some solid innings for the M’s and free up some cash. And, we might even be able to get them to kick in some cash to even things up a bit.
But, here are two reasons to acquire Meche. He has had two stellar half seasons in his career. And, while he’d be hurt by leaving Safeco for GABP, he’d be helped by facing a pitcher instead of a DH.
1st Half of 2003
2nd Half of 2004
To me, the Reds need to have Matt Belisle, Ryan Wagner, Todd Coffey, and Brian Shackelford in the bullpen in 2006. Belisle, Wagner, and Coffey are all power pitchers with groundball tendencies, which plays very well in GABP. But, they’ve already brought in Rick White and Chris Hammond to go along with David Weathers and Kent Mercker. We have too many average veteran relievers. We can afford to deal one or two of them for more valuable players.
All these moves would leave us with a lineup of as follows:
1. Freel cf r (Improvement in CF and possible reduction in injury risk)
2. D.Murphy/R.Aurilia 2b r/r
3. Griffey lf l (Reduced injury risk and improvement in leftfield)
4. Dunn 1b l
5. Lopez ss s
6. Werth rf r (Improved RF D over AK/WMP platoon and could be huge in GABP)
7. Encarnacion 3b r
8. LaRue c r
c A.J.Hinch (or equivalent)
INF/OF Tony Womack
OF C.Denorfia (Good insurance and top of the lineup tablesetter)
1. A.Harang rhs
2. Z.Greinke rhs (Top tier starting pitcher)
3. B.Claussen lhs
4. G.Meche rhs (Good stuff. Still time to break out)
5. K.Correia rhs (Young pitcher with big upside. Must improve control)
Closer T.Coffey rhp
Setup R.Wagner rhp
Setup B.Shackelford lhp
MR R.White rhp
MR C.Hammond lhp
LR M.Belisle rhp
To get any of these deals done, I’d be willing to toss in most of our prospects. However, I’d exclude: Homer Bailey, Travis Wood, B.J. Szymanski, Jay Bruce, and Adam Rosales. Four of the five are impact talent and Rosales is on his way to becoming an impact player as well.
*Dealing WMP & AK enables us to shift Griffey to left where he would be an asset on defense and would be less likely to be injured. His poor defensive play is hurting the team, it’s time to shift him over. And, of course, gives us a young ace for years to come. Greinke and Harang at the top of the rotation is a very nice tandem.
*Dealing Mercker and Weathers wouldn’t harm the bullpen much and would bring in a replacement for AK & WMP and a pitcher in Meche with significant upside.
*Dealing Williams and Milton would bring us a prospect or two in return and relieve us of two potential performance problems. It’s addition by subtraction.
*Moving Valentin would bring in another young starter with upside and take advantage of Valentin’s all time high trade value.
There are tough decisions to be made and it wouldn’t be a one year process, but this team cannot get better without improving both the pitching and defense. I think these would go a long way towards improving both areas. After reworking the MLB roster, then it would be time to focus on player development and the farm system. This team cannot be successful without being able to develop quality starting pitching. But, that’s a topic for another day.
As always, just my $.02. Well, I guess that's more like $.06.
Last edited by 11BarryLarkin11; 02-24-2006 at 04:00 AM.
|02-24-2006, 03:53 AM||#2|
Join Date: Jan 2006
Re: 2006 Opus Take 2: AKA What I would do if I were Krivsky
Certainly interesting stuff there. I really like the idea of getting Greinke, I have always been somewhat of a fan of his after an encounter I had with his father while Zach was in the minors. Minus the fact that he wanted to pimp Zach for all he could, he was a nice guy. I love the idea of packaging Milton and Williams together to a large ballpark where they both would have a lot more success than they would here.
I also like the "untouchables" of the prospects, 4 of those 5 would be in my list as well, but I am just not sold yet on Szymanski completely. Overall, I would not be opposed to much of what you had to say other than I am not sure I would be able to give up both Kearns and Pena for Greinke. Very nice post.
|02-24-2006, 06:53 AM||#3|
Join Date: Oct 2001
Re: 2006 Opus Take 2: AKA What I would do if I were Krivsky
I actually like all your deals and targets except for Grienke. I would have a hard time dealing one of Kearns/Pena for him, much less both. If you could swing a more certain top tier guy, I would be willing to deal both. But I firmly believe both are in line for big seasons and if we wait 3-4 months, the trade value on both guys will be double or triple what it is right now, pending injury.
AK is a tremendous defensive RFer so I would not purge him if defense is your target.
But I think I like all your other moves.
|02-24-2006, 03:18 PM||#4|
Join Date: Jun 2000
Re: 2006 Opus Take 2: AKA What I would do if I were Krivsky
"Improved RF D over AK/WMP platoon and could be huge in GABP". First of all, there will be no platoon this year and second, AK is pretty darned good defensively.
I don't understand any of the reasoning here.
"Enjoy this Reds fans, you are watching a legend grow up before your very eyes" ... DoogMinAmo on Adam Dunn
|02-24-2006, 03:29 PM||#5|
Join Date: Oct 2000
Re: 2006 Opus Take 2: AKA What I would do if I were Krivsky
|02-24-2006, 05:57 PM||#6|
Join Date: Jun 2005
Re: 2006 Opus Take 2: AKA What I would do if I were Krivsky
Well, Greinke is a potential ace in the making. He's only 22, inexpensive, has another 3/4 years until he hits free agency, and has a VERY advanced feel for pitching. The comparison that is used most frequently for him is Greg Maddux. Greinke can add and subtract from his pitches with the best of them. Most young pitchers throw harder to get outs when they are in trouble, Greinke can go softer. He knows how to pitch. And, his mechanics and ability to pitch, rather than just throw, should enable him to be healthier over the course of his career.
And, the only reason he would even be available is because he struggled last season. But, sometimes great pitchers struggle at a young age (Both Maddux and Glavine were pretty bad in their second year). That doesn't mean that they aren't good pitchers. And, KC's putrid defense certainly didn't help matters. Cincy's defense would actually be an improvement for him.
And, you trade two starters for him because he's worth it. They wouldn't do it for one, but I think they'd have a hard time passing up both.
Minor League Stats
WHIP: .99 <------ VERY impressive
BB/9: 1.35 <-------- Impressive
K/9: 7.20 <--------- Impressive
Rookie Season as a 20 year old in MLB
Here's a snippet of his scouting report from ESPN:
Greinke has outstanding command of a wide repertoire. Although he can hurl his four-seam fastball in the mid-90s, he prefers to take a little off to disrupt a hitter's timing, or induce movement by varying his grip. His two-seam fastball has great late sinking action and his slider breaks hard and late. However, Greinke's mid-60s curveball is the pitch that draws the most attention, as it freezes even the most seasoned hitters. Greinke varies speed and grip on each pitch such that he never throws the same pitch to the same batter in a game and will even try an occasional quick-pitch. In his rookie campaign, Greinke was kept on a strict pitch limit, never starting an inning after reaching the 100-pitch mark."
He's got ace potential and he's young enough and has so little service time that the Reds can both afford him and keep him in Cincy for the next 4 years.
And, to state the obvious, we need pitching. Where else are we to get it? Free agent starters are overpaid and incredibly risky for mid-market teams. Historically, we can't develop pitching. So, we need to trade for it. And, by getting Greinke, we would be paying a top of the rotation starter very little for his production, which frees up the cash that would've been spent on that production to address other areas.
Also, I'd want Jeff Bianchi in the deal. If we couldn't get him, then Donnie Murphy. I'd definitely prefer Bianchi, as I think he's going to be a very good one. I'm VERY high on him. He was the Royals second round pick in 2005. He's a lightening fast shortstop with a quick compact swing. I think he could be our shortstop or secondbaseman of the future. In the Arizona fall league this year, he hit .404/.484/.745 with 5 steals in 7 attempts in 28 games.
As for Donnie Murphy, I think he's a player. I don't think he has Bianchi's upside, but he could contribute sooner and do a nice job. He struggled in the majors last season, but to me, he just looks like a ballplayer. He could be our starting secondbaseman this year or next. So, it wouldn't be a straight WMP/AK for Greinke swap.
Now, I'll try and explain why I think dealing both WMP & AK is a good idea.. I suspect that you are looking at what we'd be giving up in future production from Kearns and Pena. I'm actually looking at their past production. Their future production/potential is what gives them their trade value, but their past production is what we have to replace to maintain a good offense. Their aggregate past production is what we would have to replace in the offense, meaning what they contributed to the 2005 offense is what we'll have to replace.
The key to success is to maintain the same level of aggregate offensive production, while improving the pitching and defense. Runs scored and runs allowed is what determines wins and losses. If we can maintain the same level of runs scored, while reducing the number of runs allowed, our W/L record will improve. So, in essence, it's not about the players, but rather the production they provide.
The goal is to still lead the league in runs scored, while getting much better production out of our pitchers and defense. The production from the 2005 season is our benchmark. We have to replace the lost offensive production, while simulatneously improving our pitching and defensive production. So, if we look at it that way, then we see things a bit differently.
That's why I think we can afford to trade both Wily Mo Pena and Austin Kearns. In 2005, the Reds scored the most runs in the NL. Which is impressive, but it's even more impressive when you realize that they did it with WMP & AK essentially splitting time. The "platoon" was a poor utilization of our assets, but it works in our favor this time as we have to replace less overall production. Essentially, from a production standpoint, we have a free player to trade.
The two of them basically formed the production of ONE ballplayer, which means, in essence, that given similar levels of production by everyone else, we only need to replace the production of ONE ballplayer to maintain our league leading offense. So, if we use last year's production as a benchmark, we can determine how much production we need to replace in order to maintain a solid offense. In order to maintain the NL's leading offense, we need to replace their AGGREGATE production.
In 2005, WMP & AK combined to produce 37 homers and 104 runs. If we can get a player like Jayson Werth to step in and hit 23 homers and score 74 runs (which I think is realistic, and maybe even conservative, if he's healthy), then we will only be short 14 homers and 30 runs. If Edwin takes a step forward in his first full season, he'll improve on the numbers of our thirdbasemen (Randa, Edwin, Aurilia) last season. The main two were Edwin and Joe Randa (Randa hit 13 HRs and scored 44 runs in 92 games) and Edwin is likely to be a bit better than the aggregate production of our 2005 thirdbasemen. That would cut the aggregate offensive loss to probably 10 HRs and 20 runs.
There are others ways to replace the remaining 10 HRs and 20 runs (I would have signed Mark Bellhorn to man secondbase for $800K to do just that and I think it's a mistake not to have done so), but even if we reduce our offense a bit, won't we make up for it with better pitching and defense?
The future production of WMP & AK is undoubtedly an opportunity cost. By dealing them, we lose out on whatever production they'd provide in the future. But, we'd be gaining the future production of Zack Greinke, which is worth more to Cincy in my book. While we'd be missing out on AK/WMP future production, we would have gone a long ways towards replacing their aggregate production from last season, which is what would enable us to maintain the title of the NL's best offense.
If we can maintain the offense AND improve the pitching/defense, wouldn't we be in better shape?
Greinke, Correia, and Werth would provide us good production, with the possibility of very good production, at a very reasonable rate for the next several years. Good production AND cost certainty. And, an added benefit is that the savings could be applied to other areas. Besides, how often do you get to add a #1 starter in his early 20s?
We aren't going to pound other teams into submission. Our pitching is abysmal. We have to think outside the box in order to improve. I guess I'm just not looking forward to a last place finish this season.
Last edited by 11BarryLarkin11; 02-25-2006 at 04:52 AM.