It should come as no surprise that the Reds will be sellers at the trade deadline this year. Even though the Reds are already out of contention, they still have some valuable assets that they can trade. If the front office is serious about winning soon(ish) they should also consider trading players from the minors for MLB ready talent as well.
The only players that should be untouchable are Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez, and Hunter Greene (yes I know, I did not list Nick Senzel). Everyone else should be in play. Especially the following players.
Raisel Iglesias – Closer
I will view the 2018 season as a total disaster if Raisel Iglesias is still on this roster after the trade deadline. A closer is a luxury that the Reds do not need in a season where there aren’t many save situations. Teams in contention have proven over the past few seasons that they will pay a premium for solid bullpen arms, especially closers. Iglesias is the proud owner of a 1.31 ERA to go along with eight saves and has walked eight batters compared to twenty-five strikeouts.
He is under team control through the 2020 season and is set to make only $5 million for each of the next two seasons. Out of all the players on the Reds’ roster, Raisel can get net the biggest return. The Twins were rumored to be interested in acquiring him this past offseason and are currently 1.5 games back in a really bad AL Central.
I emailed Doug Gray, owner of RedsMinorLeagues.com, and asked what the Reds could expect back in a trade involving Iglesias and he had the following to say. “I think the haul would be enormous for Iglesias. His contract is incredibly cheap and he has multiple years left”.
Taking that into consideration, I would ask the Twins for their number two overall prospect RHP Fernando Romero. He has three starts under his belt this year and has so far posted a 2-0 record with a 0.54 ERA. His fastball sits anywhere between 94-96 MPH and he also can throw his slider and change-up for strikes consistently.
One knock against him has been durability. He missed most of 2014 and 2015 recovering from Tommy John surgery but it looks like he has put that behind him and hasn’t had any setbacks. I would also try and nab a position player from the Twins and have my sights set on OF Alex Kirilloff.
He is 20 years old and is currently hitting .305 at single A Cedar Rapids with a .946 OPS and is currently on a 14-game hit streak. He can also hit for power and has six home runs, four of which are opposite field shots.
Scooter Gennett – Second Base
The Reds should try and catch lightning in a bottle and flip Scooter before the trade deadline. The organization is flush with middle infield prospects ready to contribute at the major league level and this makes Scooter expendable. When I asked Doug Gray his thoughts on trading Scooter he had the following to say
“Gennett is a wild card. One, he’s got to keep hitting, but two, you need to find the right team. If the right team pops up, you could see a good piece coming back. But I think it is going to take the right situation, too”.
Shortly after asking Doug about trading Scooter, the right situation presented itself. Robinson Cano of the Mariners was suspended 80 games for using PEDs. He plays second base for a contending team, and when he comes back from suspension he will be ineligible for the post season should the Mariners make it that far. They seem like the perfect team to trade Scooter to.
I still don’t expect a huge return but after looking at the Mariners top 30 prospects I think the Reds could ask for their number sixteen prospect OF Ian Miller. He won the Ken Griffey Jr. Minor League Hitter of the Year award as the best hitter in the Mariners system and has the speed to hold his own in center field. He is currently hitting .311 in AAA Tacoma. Most importantly, I think he gives you a decent backup option if Billy Hamilton continues to struggle at the plate.
Minor League Depth
The Reds have spent the past four plus years acquiring depth at the minor league level, and have some interesting names that I think they could move for a well established big league player, much like they did in 2009 when they acquired Scott Rolen from the Blue Jays. At that time the team realized that they were close to contending and needed a veteran to fill in at third.
It worked out very well for the Reds as they made the playoffs two out of his three years here and Scott also made two All-Star appearances with the Reds. The Reds should start identifying other teams who are starting the rebuild process. Once team that comes to mind is the Kansas City Royals. They are currently sitting at 13-30 on the season and have a few veteran players they might look to unload at the trade deadline.
They also have a depleted minor league system that they need to rebuild. I would make a call and ask about outfielder Jorge Soler, who is off to a great start to the season and is under contract through 2020. I would also give the Tampa Bay Rays a call and try to work out a deal for starting pitcher Chris Archer.
He is a top of the line starter and is under contract through 2022. The Reds would have to pay a steep price considering how young and inexpensive he is. I would be willing to part with any prospect outside of Hunter Greene to land him. The Reds currently do not have anyone close to the major leagues that is a bona fide number one starter like Chris Archer and he would definitely help stabilize this young rotation.
Cincinnati Reds Roster Breakdown: Non Roster Invitees
Let’s take a look at the non-roster invitees trying to make the Cincinnati Reds roster during this Spring Training
WELCOME BAAAAAAACK! The Reds kick off the 2021 season on Sunday with their first spring training game. As I do each spring training, I am going to take a look at the non roster invitees (NRI) and how they could impact the team this season.
R.J. Alaniz, Matt Ball, Cam Bedrosian, Jesse Biddle, Shane Carle, Josh Osich, Branden Shipley, Bo Takahashi
You might recognize a couple of these names. Alaniz has been around the organization the past couple of years and pitched 11.2 innings with the Reds in 2019. Biddle was a guy who was around last year, but the others are new. Carle (76.1 in), Osich (206.1 in), Shipley (100 in) have experience in the show with moderate results. Cam Bedrosian is the name to know here. The fact that he was signed on with a minor league deal is surprising. 277.2 innings with a 3.70 ERA has been a solid MLB pitcher. 2019 batters hit .207/.283/.336 and in 2020 they hit .196/.276/.255. His spin rate is gritty darn good honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a minor league deal that really is a promise on the roster. Think Jose Iglesias who was also a NRI a couple years back. This allows the Reds to delay their decision on making a 40 man roster move.
For a team that lost Rasiel Iglesias, Bradley, maybe Antone and Lorenzen to the rotation, Bedrosian will have a chance to really earn a legit role with this team. You don’t have to squint too hard to see a scenario where Shipley or Carle get innings this year.
Bittle and Osich are lefties that would have battled for the other LHP spot in the pen, but the signing of Doolittle bumps them to depth roles.
A 33 year old catcher with 37 at bats and a career .108 avg. Id say that there is not much to see here. Stephenson and Tucker are the one two punch and the offseason addition of Deivy Grullon will provide a younger depth option with a higher upside than Gale.
Cheslor Cuthbert, Dee Strange-Gordon (not listed on Reds roster yet)
Cuthbert isn’t a household name, but he does have over 1,000 at bats in the MLB. He had a decent season in ’16 with the Royals batting .274/.318/.413 and 12 HR, but he hasn’t shown enough to be a full time MLB player. Corner infield depth.
Here’s where I stand on Dee….If he is here to battle for a utility role, that’s fine with me. If he is here to be some variation of an answer at SS, we are in trouble. A 32 year old poor defender (who on the Reds isn’t at this point) who doesn’t have any power and doesn’t get on base. Yeah, he has stolen some bases. We all know speed is one of the first things to go when you age, and he still has some jump, but I don’t think it’s game changing speed at this point, and it’s useless unless he’s on base. I’m not high on Strange Gordan making an impact.
Nicky Delmonico, Tyler Naquin, Dwight Smith
I was worried about the Reds outfield depth. It’s a sneaky need, especially of Aquino doesn’t bounce back. This group of NRI is a group I am excited about. All have MLB experience and have had their moments. Delmonico had a nice (small sample size) rookie year with the White Sox in 2017, but has been worse each year since then. It’s the other two that catch my eye.
Dwight Smith has shown he has some pop in his bat. He is the type of player that you want to have in AAA ready to fill in if needed. Tyler Naquin is a guy I think could actually contribute to this team. We know 2020 was a small sample size, but look at the hard hit and exit velo. And his outfield jump/Outs above avg. fit in well with the team that doesn’t seem to care about defense.
He had a great rookie year in ’16, and has had moments since. .288/.325/.467 10 HR 19 2B in 2019 would be a good bench bat. The question is…is he better than Aquino/Heineman/Payton? Him and Payton are the two leftieis of the group. At the very least, I think he is great organizational depth, and I think his floor is a higher floor than the group listed above (maybe Aquino can make me eat crow there)
This list is different than most years. Not as many players listed, and no prospects. The number of players at Spring Training will be smaller than years past. Overall, I think theres 2-3 guys who could earn a role on the Reds 2021 roster.
Monday Morning Manager: The Snell Effect
David Bell has many things he needs to go right in order to win games and get a contract extension. One thing he can control is a decision-making process that should not be made entirely analytically.
In case you lived under a rock last year (and that might be Truer than in any other year) then you know how the World Series went down with the Rays falling to the Dodgers. You may even know about Blake Snell’s improbable removal from Game Six when he was absolutely on fire. This is something David Bell cannot mess up in 2021.
Ok, so in the grand scheme of things, I’m talking about the correct managing of the bullpen and rotation in pressure situations. Most people will look at the Game Six managing of Kevin Cash and see two things: a man sticking to his system that got him there and a man over-thinking things. Neither thoughts are incorrect.
In this day and age of baseball, most people understand statistical evaluations on pitchers favoring removing a starter before they pitch to the opposing lineup for the third time in a game. Well, maybe, because the numbers are a bit different in 2020, small sample size, and all. In fact, the Reds pitching staff held opponents to a .599 OPS in 253 plate appearances the third time through the order, last year. That may be a smoke screen, though, as the 2019 Reds pitching staff (largely similar to 2020) allowed an OPS of .892 in 799 PA. That’s a bit of a more reliable sample size, which would leave me to believe a starter pitching a third time through the order isn’t the most favorable idea.
Also something David Bell must consider is the overthinking aspect. In this Player’s Tribune post by the man, Blake Snell, himself, he points out the immense effect that simply seeing someone warming up in the bullpen had on him. Now, you can say “Well, that shouldn’t have been an issue, he should have sucked it up and pitched!” The dude is a human being. If you saw the person management was likely to replace you with if you messed something up at your job, are you going to just keep on keeping on with no thought to look over your shoulder? If you are, you might be a Jedi. Most of us mere mortals have problems with worrying about what might happen if things fall apart. Baseball players are not totally immune to this, either.
In order for Bell to garner a contract extension, he will have to adeptly manage a pitching staff that has talent, but also has human egos. Just because the numbers say that a decision should go one way, the human element must also be factored in. Last I checked, theres no button for that on a calculator, which leaves it up to his own decision-making skill.
The Cincinnati Reds Optimal Lineup
Let’s look past the Opening Day Lineup to the lineup the Cincinnati Reds could have, if everything is going right.
There will be many things said/written about the Opening Day Lineup and what that should like for the Cincinnati Reds. With the first full team workout happening Monday, let’s take a look at what the lineup should look like if things are going well for the Reds, this season. I’m going to exclude positions for this experiment and you’ll see why.
- Shogo Akiyama – Ideally, Shogo will be getting on base much closer to the clip he posted in September than the one he did in August of last year. If he does this, he will be producing what the Reds hoped he would when they made him the first Japanese-born Cincinnati Red.
- Jesse Winker – He broke out in a big way in 2020 and was the Reds best hitter. There’s no reason to think that won’t, at the very least, continue and probably will even get better.
- Eugenio Suarez – He should be the Reds best hitter and I believe he will regain that title in 2021.
- Mike Moustakas – Moose has always been a run driver-inner and, if things are going well he will continue to do so.
- Nick Castellanos – he could be the third hitter, but it would be an amazing season, indeed, if he gets on-base at a higher clip than Geno.
- Joey Votto – this isn’t meant to be an insult, just realistic. I’ve seen and heard takes putting him in the three-spot. That’s a great idea in 2017. Now, any power should be considered a bonus with the main expectation of him being an on-base catalyst for the bottom of the lineup/turning over of the lineup.
- Nick Senzel – him being down here is more a hope that the top six indeed prove worthy to be top six. This is also hoping he’s healthy enough to play everyday, or almost everyday, and build up enough momentum to produce at the level he is capable of. Also, the not labelling defensive position thing is because he should be in the running as a shortstop option, but it sure feels like that’s not the case. Before you say, “Jeff, he’s not a shortstop…” who on this roster is? Get the best eight (nine if the NL miraculously gets the DH) in the lineup and worry about defense later. That’s pretty much how this roster is built, anyway.
- Tyler Stephenson – in a few years, he should be hitting in the middle of the order. In 2021, let’s keep the pressure on low and watch him thrive in the box.
- Pitcher (again, we’ll reassess if the players and owners ever get together and figure this out before the season begins, but we aren’t holding our breath).
This lineup could be pretty good…maybe. As fans we can hope, the folks who run the Reds should not lean on that. The lineup I propose should only be if each player is performing to the level that is expected of him. More than likely, this lineup will not happen, because it is doubtful every single bat bounces back in 2021.