There are two option for procuring good starting pitching this offseason, for the Cincinnati Reds. One of them is free agency, which adds a wrinkle of convincing a pitcher to come to Great American Smallpark Ballpark. The other option is through trades. Let’s take a look at a few possible trades, through the lens of an opposing GM, the Reds could make.
One of the biggest names in pitching has been tossed around as a trade chip for the Indians to revamp their farm system. If I am Mike Chernoff, here’s how I approach this:
“Well, Mr. Williams and Mr. Krall, let’s explore this possibility. You are looking for an ace. Kluber is definitely an ace. He’s a two-time Cy Young Award winner coming off a 20-win season in which he compiled a 5.8 WAR. He pitched 215 innings with a sub-1 WHIP and, in fact, has gone five years in a row tossing over 200 innings. He’s going to cost you. Now, I am looking to rebuild my farm system. I really like that Nick Senzel, but I’d be willing to take a package deal that involves the Trammel kid and Hunter Greene. I also like Tyler Stephenson or Blake Trahan. I know it sounds steep, but Kluber is going to command a nice package of prospects to trade away. Oh, while you’re thinking, I do have two other aces in Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer who are younger, but they will require no less than Senzel and another top prospect. Those two aren’t necessarily available, though, so I’m going to need to be impressed by your offer. Looking forward to the 2019 Battle of Ohio!”
2. Noah Syndergaard
“Thor” has been rumored to be on the block as the Mets look to ramp up their rebuild. He will command a big haul as he is just 26, and his availability may be foggy, because it would not shock me if new Mets general manager, Brodie Van Wagenen, decided Thor is a part of the future plans. Nevertheless, let’s pretend this conversation happens:
“Good to hear from the Queen City, Mr. Williams. I have a high price for Noah. He has a career ERA under 3.00 and averages 9.9 strikeouts per nine, in his four years in the league. In fact, if you want the analytics, his FIP is lower than his career ERA, at 2.66. He was one of the top reasons the last general manager expected this team to be strong contenders. Plus, that hair, it’ll put butts in seats…but I won’t bake that into his trade price. Nevertheless, the price is high, Mr. Williams. I won’t consider a package that is missing Nick Senzel. In fact, there are few trade packages that will convince me to deal Syndergaard that don’t have Senzel and Hunter Greene. Now, I may be able to include Brandon Nimmo, as I am sure you were looking to put Senzel into the outfield, but that will include Billy Hamilton and another prospect, maybe that Shed Long. Look, I can help you shore up your rotation and your outfield, but I need you to help rebuild my farm system, and nothing gets done if I don’t get Senzel.”
3. James Paxton
I included him third as I believe he is more of a risk. He has never tossed more than 160 innings in a year, but the innings he has seen have been very good. We like to believe we see how good Anthony DeSclafani could be, I would argue that Paxton is that good, but is also that much of a gamble, injury-wise. That being said, the Reds would be silly for not at least exploring a trade for him. I got to believe Jerry Dipoto might see it something like this:
“Gentlemen, nice to speak with you. I appreciate what you’re trying to do in Cincinnati, Mr. Williams and Mr. Krall, and I believe I can help. The Mariners are at a crossroads. We want to get younger and more cost-effective. I believe I have the kind of pitcher you are looking for, and I believe you can help me out. James Paxton set a career-high in innings and starts, last year racking up 208 strikeouts with a 1.098 WHIP. But you probably already knew that. What you would like to know is, he is healthy. Now, what it will cost to get him is a nice prospect package. I wouldn’t mind Nick Senzel, but I am looking for quantity, here. Definitely will need Taylor Trammel or Hunter Greene to begin to consider any prospect package. Maybe throw in Tyler Stephenson, or Shed Long, and let’s se what our coaches can do with Robert Stephenson. Paxton will be your ace, and my farm system gets a shot in the arm. What do you say?”
Now, disclaimer here, all three of those scenarios are purely speculative, but there has been at least a few whispers leading me to believe they were worth writing a few words about. I would do a backflip if the Reds landed anyone on this post. Also to note, I got my stats from the inimitable baseball-reference.com.
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As the clock hit 6:30 pm, last Saturday, I was ready to go to Great American Ballpark. That’s when my wife reminded me that it was December. Every year the Cincinnati Reds put on a first class party for their fans called Redsfest and they’re pretty good at what they do.
I got to meet Michael Lorenzen, Tyler Mahle, Ibandel Isabel, and Jimmy Herget. I got my copy of “The Big 50” signed by Chad Dotson and Chris Garber, made a video with Mo Egger, and talked shop with Doug Gray. Okay, I get it, enough with the name dropping. Basically, it was fun.
I made it a point to ask some light-hearted questions (or in Lorenzen’s case, make a light-hearted, but factual, statement) to see what their reactions would be.
I first met Lorenzen. I told him that he was the real silver slugger and I am attempting to get that other guy to mail him the trophy he deserves. Lorenzen responded with, “Well, that just gives me motivation to hit twice as many homers next year.” Might have to get me a Lorenzen jersey…
I then got Mahle’s John Hancock (or is it Herbie Hancock?) on a baseball and I asked him if we can expec upwards of three, or more, 20-strikeout games this year. He replied “Let’s hope so. I’ll see what I can do.” Hope you folks in the bleachers with K’s are ready to work, this season.
I then got autographs from Isabel and Herget. Isabel just gave me an awkward smile and a chuckle when I asked if he will focus on inside-the-parkers this year instead of traditional homers, since he’s already hit a lot of those. Herget gave me a classic answer to my simple question of what his favorite pitch was when he said, “A strike.” Well played Jimmy.
The main stage offerings were also enjoyable. The best was at the kids-only press conference. Joey Votto, Amir Garrett, and Eugenio Suarez were on stage for the show, and when asked what their favorite memory of 2018 will be, Joey decided it was “When Amir tried to fight the Cubs.” Suarez bumped in, “Yeah, when he struck out Baez and stared him down. That was awesome, man!” As much as we fans may have liked that moment, it seems to have been even cooler to the team.
Memorabilia-wise, there was a ton of stuff to get. I didn’t go too crazy, this year, but I did end up with a new hat that has a Jackie Robinson 42 patch on it. Definitely my favorite hat, now. All in all, a good weekend.
If you went, let me know how your experience went!
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Live (Sorta) from Redsfest with Mo Egger
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Instant Reaction: Bye, Bye Billy
Wow! It’s the first hour of Redsfest and there are fireworks, already! The world’s fastest man (probably), Billy Hamilton, was non-tendered by the Cincinnati Reds making him a free agent. I have a few instant thoughts on this.
Firstly, I am bummed. I watched his career develop in the minors all the way up til he got the call to the Bigs. He looked like a star in the making in Pensacola, but what we now know is that he was defensively gifted and offensively challenged. He will go down, in my book, as the foremost example of “You can’t steal first.” I hope that his next step (if he doesn’t return, that is, but more on that in a second) he finds that missing piece and becomes a star.
Nextly, where do the Reds go from here? The encouragement is that we know Bob Castellini loved Billy and wanted him to be here forever and ever. That means the front office has definitely, officially been handed the reigns. If that’s the case, maybe we see Nick Senzel brought up and given the CF job, or Jose Peraza move to CF (he has a few minutes of experience there) and Senzel put in at shortstop. Those possibilities excite me. Whatever gets Senzel in the lineup is the right course of action, to me.
Lastly, maybe this is a little Michael Johnson maneuvering? For those who don’t follow the other professional franchise in Cincinnati, the Bengals made a move, right before the season, where they cut one of their longtime veterans only to resign him a few days later. They made the move to get some young guys onto the practice squad, but I digress. What if the Reds and Billy have a little head nod and handshake agreement that they will sign him for a year or two at his current rate, avoiding the arbitration-hike in salary he was about to get? This is purely a hypothetical notion by me, by the way, and I don’t know if they can do that, or if Billy would want it that way. Just a thought from a fan who can never truly be unbiased when it comes to Cool Papa Bill.
Anyway, I am sure there will be more to come from Redsfest!
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