Good Saturday, well, I started typing this in the morning, but we’ll say noon-ish. In case you haven’t heard, the Cincinnati Reds made the big splash we were all waiting for. Seriously, Reds fans, they won this deal.
Late Friday afternoon, the Reds struck a deal with the Dodgers to get out from under the shadow of Daniel Dewitt “Homer” Bailey’s contract. In the process, they acquired Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood, Matt Kemp, Kyle Farmer, and a few bucks to alleviate the $21 million Kemp will be making. The Redlegs included Jeter Downs (#8 prospect) and Josiah Gray (between #11 and #13 prospect) in the deal.
There is so much to unpack from this deal, but let me be the first to tell you, I’m not about to throw a wet blanket on this. I am so very excited at what the Cincinnati front office did with this, that I wish Opening Day were tomorrow. Let’s dive in.
First and foremost, Homer is gone. It may seem a bit mean, the way Reds fans have treated him as of late, but for both parties, this is good. He can begin rebuilding his career in a different setting and the Reds will not have the pall cast over them by his inability to live up to a gargantuan contract. Reports state the Dodgers plan to release him, so his next stop is unclear. What is clear is there will be no drama, in the Reds organization, as to how to utilize a pitcher whose best days a far behind.
The second part, and the more I’ve thought about it my favorite part, is the acquisition of Yasiel Puig. He will bring so much excitement and flair to this lineup that is already pretty good. Can he play centerfield? Maybe. The big point here is he will do wondrous things with the bat in Great American Ballpark. In 16 career games at GABP, Puig has 15 hits, 11 runs scored, and four homers. He has a .324 career batting average against NL Central opponents with 17 homers and 49 RBI. His lowest on-base percentage against any NL Central foe is .351, against Milwaukee, and he has a .409 OBP (!) against Chicago. Dude is going to do great things in this lineup in 2019.
Another great addition is Alex Wood. Some will say he is the best part, and Dick Williams even said that they wouldn’t have begun conversations with LA had a pitcher not been involved, but he’s Robin to Puig’s Batman, here. Nevertheless, Robin was still pretty awesome, and so is Wood. He has a career 3.29 ERA with 738 strikeouts and allows home runs at a microscopic rate (0.8 HR per nine innings). He may not be the guy to toss 200 innings, but 160-170 is definitely within the realm of possibility. He’s pitched a total of 17 innings at GABP and has allowed just a pair of homers. In 27 career appearances against NL Central opponents, Wood has only seen 11 of his pitches turn into dingers. Dick Williams says he figures to be a middle of the rotation guy, which may mean another big move looms!
Matt Kemp is a nice piece. He’s a bit past his prime, but he still made the All-Star Team in 2018, clubbing 21 homers with most of his games at pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium. He will add depth to the outfield and give David Bell the option of platooning guys in the corner outfield spots as this means the four outfielders of Kemp, Puig, Schebler, and Winker sport two right-handed hitters and two left-handers. Also, some have thrown around the possibility of Kemp in a deal to land Indians’ ace Corey Kluber. We’ll see about that one, though. For now, the Reds everyday eight is deep.
As far as the Reds prospects that were traded, I don’t mind. It was fun having a kid who plays shortstop and is named “Jeter,” but neither kid has passed single-a. They were at least two years away, maybe even three. That makes three prospects (Tanner Rainey being the third) who weren’t going to be a factor in the near future who have been swapped for guys who could help the Redlegs make the leap (Tanner Roark being the other guy gotten, thus far).
The bottom line is: you do not have to squint to see a better Cincinnati Reds team in 2019, and I don’t think we’re done, yet.
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Should the Reds Sign or Trade Puig?
With the way he has struggled, and the Reds’ current pace, we may see Puig on the move before the trade deadline.
Yasiel Puig gave this team energy in December. The Cincinnati Reds haven’t had excitement in December in years. Acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Dodgers, Puig came to town with a lot of buzz. You may remember him parading around town posting on social media about how much he loved Cincinnati and how excited he was to be a Red. I was thrilled. The talks of 30+ home runs and reaping the benefits of GABP had many fans following the Reds once again. Fast forward to mid- June and no one is too excited about the .213 hitter. The Reds’ chances at making the playoffs seems slim and it might be time to move some rentals. With an expiring contract the question is this: should the Reds look to trade Puig at the deadline?
One thing we all know about Puig is that he’s an emotional player and a big personality. This season, hitting and getting on base has been a struggle for the Wild Horse. A .213 average and a *squints* .256 on-base percentage are awful. 62 K’s to 13 walks is not pretty, either. Sitting at a -0.3 WAR you wonder what’s going on. 11 home runs and 9 stolen bases are positives. He has a strong arm in the outfield as well. While a walk off hit and “I am going to fight an entire Pirates’ team” were memorable moments of the season and, fun as hell, I am not sure if he’ll have a chance to make many more moments like these. So what teams are looking for a corner outfielder who is struggling and is maybe “a bit too much of a personality” for some? That might be the problem. The first corner outfielder off the market was Jay Bruce (name sounds familiar) to the Phillies. The amount of contending teams needing a corner outfield bat is not high and honestly there are simply better options available.
On paper, you would not see a larger return for a player with his stats. Look at his track record, a career .273 hitter that is no doubt a talented player. It might take an injury on a contending team to get his value up. A trade of “we lost a player and need to replace him” not a “let’s see if we can upgrade from our current player” type of trade. When the Reds traded Bruce to the Mets they took a flyer on an injured former high prospect Dilson Herrera. Sometimes taking a flyer on a prospect who might need a change of scenery can pay off big time. Someone did mention they could trade him and try to sign him back in the offseason. While true, I think the Reds would not trade him if they plan to sign him to an extension.
Signing Puig to an extension would pretty much set the outfield for a few years. Winker, Senzel (assuming he stays there), Puig. But with Taylor Trammell approaching quickly where would that put him? Ervin, Schebler, Sirri, Siani, and others could play a role in the future. Puig is not going to be cheap, either. What he does from here on out will give us a better idea but at only 28 years old he has many years left in him. Plenty of expiring contracts will need to be resigned and, well, the Reds don’t have Yankees-type money.
The trade deadline is coming soon and the Reds making the playoffs is very unlikely. Look for the front office to move some players for prospects and for Puig to be a prominently rumored player on the move.
Locked On Reds – 6/13/2019 Reds Split with Indians
Thursday’s episode is up!
Scooter Get Off The Pot
Scooter Gennett is a dude who will be hard to say goodbye to. The team’s current makeup, however, makes it seem that is coming, sooner rather than later.
Jeff has brought up a lot of talk about who we as fans would hate to see get traded this year. For me there is only one answer. Scooter Gennett.
Without a doubt it has to be him. While I completely understand if they do from a financial and bigger picture stand point, it will eat my soul. I haven’t seen a Cincinnati native this well liked since Barry Larkin.
Everything about him including his name screams a Cincinnati Reds ballplayer. You can see it in his play, character, leadership, and communication that this guy LOVES playing for his home town team. The man is already a Reds legend after smacking 4 home runs in a game. A game that, by sheer luck, I was able to witness. It was, by far, the best moment I have ever witnessed in person at GABP. He put up the best numbers of his career in 2017 only to follow it up with a better season as an All Star in 2018.
Scooter has made it clear he would like to remain a Red and loves this organization. I was really hoping the Reds would extend him to a short term deal last season after an incredible season that almost saw him win a batting title. I even tried starting the #ScooterGetOffThePot trend. Instead, like many things in recent memory with this team, good things go wrong quickly. He suffered the worst injury of his career with a severe strained groin.
Making the case for extending him even more difficult has been the off-the-wall performance by Derek Dietrich. Another free agent find who has been as wildly entertaining and likable. Dietrich has already made himself the face of the team this year with his kid like swagger for the game. Dietrich was just named second basemen of the month of May by the MLB. Per Stats by STATS Dietrich played in 55 games with a .706 slugging percentage. The only other player in baseball history to match that in there first 55 game with an organization was a HOF 2B Rogers Hornsby. The Reds also have control of Dietrich’s contract next season being an arbitration year. If you remove Dietrich from the equation it’s not any better.
Jose Iglesias is a must start for this team, currently, at shortstop. Iglesias is the best defensive infielder the team has had since Brandon Phillips. Iglesias also currently holds the highest batting average on the team nearly two months into the season. Meaning Jose Peraza has no place left to play but filling in for guys on their day off. Peraza also seems like a guy that, come next season, will more than likely be the starting shortstop simply because of his age and salary.
The Reds have their current center fielder, Nick Senzel, who has been the spark to this offense since coming up to the big leagues. The Reds have averaged nearly 2 more runs a game since Senzel has been playing for the team. Senzel definently stands a chance to be Rookie of the Year. Most importantly he seems to a guaranteed core player of this team’s foreseeable future. Senzel is a player who could, hypothetically, be the Reds starting second baseman for 2020. Plus they have Johnathan India, last year’s first round pick, quickly making his way up through the minors. He could potentially take that spot if not next season the following year.
None of this leads me to believe Scooter will be playing for this team next year. He is the perfect trading chip if they are looking to have a sale at the trade deadline or add a missing piece as well. I think what I enjoy about Scooter Gennett most is his GRIT. There is no denying the dude has GRIT. Something many of the players on this team currently do not have. More than anything that is why I will hate if he is traded.