Cincinnati Reds State Of The Union For 2016
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The Reds finished 64 – 98 in 2015 and the situation is going to get a lot worse before it gets any better. I predict 100 losses for the Cincinnati club for 2016, and they could really rack up some L’s especially past the trade deadline of next year if they do their job right in managing the squad.
I like the path the management has taken for trading players, unfortunately a domestic dispute cost the chance to flip Aroldis Chapman to the Dodgers, and the 10 – 5 rule cost them another opportunity to deal Brandon Phillips to the Nationals.
Obviously there is still hope they can trade these guys before they can’t do so anymore.
Last season the club dealt Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake in separate deals at the deadline, and have 3 players on the current depth chart to show for it (Adam Duvall, Brandon Finnegan and John Lamb, while they have 2 more Minor League prospects in Keury Mella and Cody Reed.)
Cincinnati finished just 1 win ahead of the Phillies for the worst record in the Major Leagues.
There is no polite way to go about this rebuilding process. Jay Bruce, Devin Mesoraco, Jumbo Diaz, J.J. Hoover, Tony Cingrani, Zack Cozart and Homer Bailey should all be considered to be traded in addition to Chapman and Phillips.
One only has to look in which Division they play in to realize that their Roster is overmatched and there is no short term solution to fix this organization.
The Cubs are set for an awesome 4 – 5 years stretch of play as all of their young offensive stars are groomed by their recent Free Agent signings over the last 2 winters.
Pittsburgh may have the best young Outfield in the game of baseball right now, and have about 3 years of competitive baseball left in them before Andrew McCutchen either leaves, or takes enough dollars out of the owners pockets that they wont be able to surround the team with any more additional players.
Milwaukee is just in the same position as the Reds, and should go the route of a full scale rebuild.
The Brewers sort of have a franchise player like Votto in Ryan Braun, but he is only signed through 2021 and not 2023. Milwaukee is going to bottom feed with Cincinnati for a few campaigns as well.
These clubs can look to what the Houston Astros did as a template for what they should do. Build through the draft, and keep payroll down. Then try to lock up their young stars to long extensions out of the gate.
When you are a small market team like the Reds, you can look to their nice little run under Dusty Baker as the team’s window.
Last year, and a few subsequent seasons after are the result of a core nucleus all aging – or hitting the Free Agency market – nullifying the teams ability to resign them going forward.
Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Homer Bailey and Jay Bruce received their money to stay for the squad while the well was dry for Mike Leake and Cueto.
You can see the team really took off when Aroldis Chapman came in for his 5 YRs/$30 MIL offer. It is brilliant moves like this that can change the trajectory of your club when a valued contract for a world class players can level the playing field against larger market clubs.
I liken this effect to how the Pirates momentum shifted after they extended McCutchen, Arizona with Paul Goldschmidt, Madison Bumgarner with the Giants and the Orioles with Adam Jones. These are some of the best valued contracts over the last decade.
Their foresight still sees the two only make a combined $24 MIL this year despite providing what could be double the output. This gave them financial flexibility to bring players in 2015 midway through the year to their ALCS appearance.
Since the time the Reds signed Votto to his mega extension from 2014 – 2023, worth $225 MIL, it has hampered the ability to provide that type of value.
A real pivotal point was also the Homer Bailey contract, and having him need Tommy John Surgery. These two gentlemen are also another reason why the team can’t retool on the fly. With $45 MIL committed a year for the next 4 years, it has killed the financial flexibility to sign other good players via Free Agency.
Dealing Todd Frazier for Jose Peraza, Scott Schebler and Brandon Dixon is also a decent maneuver with Peraza a highly touted prospect. Peraza was ranked as the 92nd best prospect in the MLB in 2015 – and is now the #1 prospect for the Reds.
Peraza is as seasoned as they come from the Minor Leagues, riding the busses for 5 years – and featuring a .302/.342/.387 3 slash line, but more importantly he swiped 210 bases.
If he can somehow improve to be a #2 hitter, coupled with Billy Hamilton as an emerging leadoff hitter, you could see the two combined for well over 100 Stolen Bases every year.
It could also be that Hamilton could bat 9th and Peraza may project as a #1 hitter. Hamilton had a sophomore slump in 2015 – after seemingly figuring out how to hit Major League pitching from April to August of 2014.
One thing the 25 year old did was steal at a higher rate for ABs – and also percentage. Hamilton stole 56 bags in 412 AB during 2015, while only being caught 8 times – while he was caught 23 times among his 57 bags thieved in 2014, which came in 562 AB.
The unfortunate part was a .226 Batting Average and dismal .274 OBP, which were not as good as the 2014’s .250 and .294 marks comparably.
I would hire Rickey Henderson as a tutor for the club in Stolen Bases.
Provided Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce start the season with the club, they should probably still hit in the top 5 of the lineup somewhere around Joey Votto.
I believe Phillips better days are behind him, but if he can hit for a .280 Batting Average and provide some thump, there will be several teams line up for his services via a trade. Whether he lets the team flip him is another matter.
Jay Bruce still has 25+ HR power, still walks and strikes out a ton, and his batting average has really fallen below his previous career numbers. Look for a team like Baltimore to seek his services if they lose out on the Chris Davis market.
Bruce only makes a guaranteed $13 MIL on his contract this year – which is $12 MIL, plus there is a $1 MIL Buyout -or a $13.5 MIL Club Option for 2017 on the table. He should be another enticing player.
Votto, who had a renaissance year of health and numbers is probably going to hit his .280 – .290 with a near .400 OBP and .500 Slugging Percentage. Quantifying Home Runs and RBI with him is a moot point.
Devin Mesoraco could really help his trade stock well if he can stay healthy for the 1st half of the year. At this point in his career, he is a better candidate to flip, as he will be north of 30 when the club is relevant again.
Even if Mesoraco is just mediocre, with the limited amount of Catchers available, he could help the Reds out of his 3 YRs/$25.6 MIL remaining on his contract.
Ivan De Jesus is listed as their #1 Third Baseman on the depth chart but I have to figure the club will throw Peraza over there if Brandon Phillips starts the year at 2nd.
Beyond the grass is a scary situation with Adam Duvall listed as the #1 Left Fielder, with Jake Cave, Tyler Holt and Scott Schebler as the backups listed for Bruce and Hamilton. None of these guys have a credible Major League resume.
The Bullpen should still be decent if the club retains Chapman to start, with Hoover, Diaz and Cingrani all in the Relief Core, however the pickings after that are really slim.
The Starting Staff is also quite marginal if Homer Bailey can’t make it back for the start of the season.
It would be foolish to spend money on any Free Agent Pitching right now. Grin and bear it with what you got, and maybe 1 – 2 surprises will emerge from your system.
All I have to say is yikes! This team really needs to flood the Minor Leagues with players. Don’t worry about 100 loss seasons for several years. It might take that to produce the kind of young talent they need to rise up in the NL Central once again.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***
A Big thanks goes out to our chief writer Hunter Stokes for preparing today’s feature post.
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Posted on December 27, 2015, in MLB Teams State Of the Unions and tagged adam wainwright, alejandro de aza, Andrew McCutchen, Anthony DeSclafani, Aroldis Champman, baltimore orioles, BIlly Hamilton, Brandon Dixon, brandon finnegan, brandon phillips, brian price, Bronson Arroyo, burke badenhop, Carlos Contreras, chicago cubs, chris davis, chris young, cincinnati reds, Cincinnati Reds Payroll in 2016, Cody Reed, devin mesoraco, dusty baker, eugenio suarez, Ivan De Jesus, J.J. Hoover, Jason Bourgeois, jay bruce, Jesse Winker, joey votto, John Lamb, Jon Moscot, Jose Peraza, Jumbo Diaz, Keury Mella, kyle kendrick, la dodgers, madison bumgarner, matt holliday, Michael Lorenzen, Mike Leake, milwaukee brewers, NL Central, paul goldschmidt, pittsburgh pirates, Raisel Iglesias, Ramon Cabrera, rickey henderson, ryan braun, Ryan LaMarre, ryan mattheus, Scott Schebler, st louis cardinals, stephon johnson, todd frazier, tony cingrani, Tucker Barnhart, Tyler Holt, walt jocketty, washington nationals, will venable, yadier molina, zack cozart. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.