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.
Remembering Reds: Corky Miller
Among the Reds’ fan favorites is a man not known for his statistical achievements, but for simply how awesome he was.
Morgan, Bench, Robinson, Larkin, and Miller. All names that Reds fans recog…wait, Miller? As in Corky Miller? Absolutely. Corky Miller, the minor league catcher with 539 career MLB at bats. The Miller that holds a career .193/.277/.306 53 OPS+ and a 0.0 WAR, yet everyone knows his name. And adores him. His stats won’t jump off the page, but his laid back attitude and fu Manchu leave a mark on your memory.
Signed by the Reds in 1998, Miller did not reach the show until 2001. In his 11 year career spanning from 2001-2013 (didn’t appear in 2011/2012) Miller never played more than 39 games in one season. So how did he become a household name? Well, probably because he looks more like your fun uncle than your favorite team’s catcher. Now don’t get me wrong, Corky brought value to the teams he was on. He was as much as a coach/mentor as he was a ballplayer. You will still find him in the Reds organization helping the young catchers develop. Let’s take a look at some of Corky’s highlights.
Corky steals home
When you think about baseball players stealing home you might immediately think about the great Jackie Robinson sliding in against the Yankees as Yogi Berra losses his mind at the “safe” call. Hell, you might even think about Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez pulling off the impossible feat in the last scene of the Sandlot. Well, Corky Miller joined this elite group on September 27th, 2001. As Omar Daal of the Phillies threw to first Miller showed off his wheels as his much slimmer self had a perfect slide under the tag. Miller walked back to the dugout as if he’s done this 1,000 times. Incredible swagger.
The Dancing KING
Fast forward to late June 2013. Miller finds himself back in a Reds uniform for the first time since 2010. Looking more like the Corky we know and love, sporting the fu Manchu, Miller shows off his quick footwork. Juan Uribe flies out to Jay Bruce who’s throw home took Corky off to the left of home. Hanley Ramirez, not the best baserunner himself, runs past home, retreats, dances around the grounded Miller only to be tagged on the third attempt while flailing towards home. This is so ugly that it is absolutely beautiful.
The Next Cy Young
Corky was more than a catcher and fan favorite. He was an elite pitcher. Well, maybe not elite. Over his career in the minors he pitched 7.2 innings and surrendered 14 hits, 13 earned runs and struck out 2. But in 2012 while playing for the Louisville Bats he pitched a scoreless inning. Down 13-0 in the bottom of the 8th, Miller came in to throw some rainbows in the general direction of home plate. A fly out to left, a pop out to first, and a fly out to right Miller put down the Columbus batters in order.
While his career might not stand out, Miller’s impact has. One of the beloved players in the clubhouse, he has mentored many young catchers along the way. Here’s to many more great years to Corky!
How a Shortened Season can Help and Hurt the Reds
step back and attempt to look at the way the Reds can benefit from a possible shortened season and how it could hurt them.
The world is in an obscure and unsure place. Today we were supposed to be watching a parade and cheering on the Redlegs. Instead, we are confused about the future of the 2020 season as we watch the 7th straight episode of a Netflix series, perfecting social distancing. How the 2020 season will be played has yet to be determined. I want to take a step back and attempt to look at the way the Reds can benefit from a possible shortened season and how it could hurt them.
Each day that passes without baseball is a day closer to a season without 162 games. For the sake of argument, let’s say the season is somewhere between 75-100 games. What ways can that benefit the Reds?
1. They can get healthy. Suarez, Senzel, and Galvis (amongst others) have battled some spring injuries. Extra time off only helps their recovery and could lead to a 100% healthy “Opening Day” lineup. Although Galvis is not a top ten talent at short, he is much better than the current back up options. Luckily, he should be ready to go and 100%.
2. The rotation can be a great strength. We all know how strong the current rotation is. The Reds could adjust the strategy because you won’t be worried about getting starters 32 starts and 200ish innings. With a compact season, you could let starters go deeper in games, or even go to a shorter rotation because you won’t be trying to strength out the innings over several months. Bauer and Disco are both on contract years and will be laser-focused on making the most of their fewer starts to prove their value come next offseason. If the league goes heavy on doubleheaders, Mahle and a few others could step up into the expanded rotation and stronger than many team’s depth starters.
3. How a shorten season benefits Votto? As Joey ages, he will need more days off, especially if the decline is steady. If Joey does not have to prepare himself for 162 games, it could lead to better results as he would be fresher. We all know he can get off to slow starts and avoiding that would be crucial in a shortened season.
How can the shortened season hurt the Reds?
1. David Bell is still a new manager. Fresh, unproven, inexperienced. At times in 2019, he cost the Reds some games. There is little to no margin for error in a short season. Each game means more and the lineup experimenting with playing players out of position won’t fly. Managerial experience will be extremely important in 2020 and hopefully Bell has improved after year one.
2. Lack of important experience for prospects. Tyler Stephenson, Jose Garcia, Jonathan India, and many other prospects are missing out on developmental time. This one really stings. A couple of the Reds top prospects are projected to be on the 2021 roster but needed some time in higher levels of the minors to learn and iron out a few things. You can train and work with coaches during this time, but the actual game experience cannot be overlooked.
3. Pressure. Obviously, every game counts each season. But a shortened season stresses the importance of each game. The Reds cannot afford to go on a losing streak as they did at the beginning of 2019. The expectations for 2020 remain high, and the pressure to perform is building. The adjustment to the MLB for Shogo must happen fast. Senzel has to stay healthy. The margin of error shrinks and pressure goes up. Iglesias cannot struggle to close out games or he’ll be replaced.
The 2020 season won’t be ideal. No one wants it to be this way. Watching 162 games a year is a joy and I will miss the routine of watching the Reds every night. Let’s hope this shortened season feels and plays like a playoff series where every aspect of the game is emphasized and more important. Here’s to everyone staying safe and healthy, and the Reds winning the pennant.
Take a look at a few thoughts before we get this 2020 season underway!
What is this team’s greatest weakness and how do they go about addressing it? (@GeraldSHuber)
To me, it has to be defense. (Here’s an article I wrote about it: https://bit.ly/2wft1Bs ). Tucker and Casali are fine but not spectacular, Votto is mediocre, Moose is an unknown, and the outfield defense leaves you wanting more. Galvis is great at short, but many others could be troublesome. If defense is your greatest weakness, you probably have a pretty good team.
How many years until we see Jose Garcia? (@smoffe87)
Everyone’s new favorite prospect, and he should be. The future is bright. Garcia has yet to reach AA, where he’ll likely start this season. In high A Daytona he hit .280/.343/.436 with 8 HR and 37 (!) doubles. No need to rush the 21-year-old, but he likely is the SS in 2021 if all goes according to plan. The lack of depth at SS could rush him if injuries happen or he hits the cover off the ball.
Who will lead off? What do they do with Schebler, Reed, Mahle, and other players without options? (@StachlerJames)
Shogo Akiyama should see time as the leadoff. A career .376 OBP who has been closer to .400 in recent years (NPB league) has a chance to be a real difference maker.
Schebler, I think, will end up being traded or DFA. Reed has a tough first start, but its early and he looked great in limited time last season. Another lefty in the pen not named Peralta or Duke is welcomed. Mahle has an option and likely is headed to Louisville to get regular starts. The Reds will likely need him to start at some point during the season. Sims likely earns a pen spot, Travis Jankowski could be the final spot if injuries occur. His speed and defense are useful.
Is Senzel going to be a utility player or end up getting traded? (@GerryYnciarte65)
Being a super utility is not a bad thing. Ben Zobrist was a hell of a player in that role. However, I think Senzel will be seeing plenty of time in CF splitting with Akiyama. His bat is too good to be a true bench player. I don’t think he will be traded. It feels like he would have already been moved if that was the plan.
If Tucker or Casali get hurt do they let Farmer catch or Stephenson? (@OdeToRedsWS)
Catcher organizational depth is lacking. Stephenson could be the option if he is hitting well in AAA Louisville. I think we see him at some point this season. Only other catcher in the organization with MLB experience besides Casali and Tucker is Francisco Pena (190 AB .216/.249/.311). His stats are underwhelming at the plate but he’s a veteran and that carries value. Sadly, I doubt we see former Red great Ryan Lavarnway in 2020. Add Garcia and Stephenson to this lineup in 2021 and that team is very strong.
Over/Under….When do the Reds give up on the mix-n-match platoon ideas and have a regular lineup? Line is May 31st. (MTGPackFoils)
The days of the “same lineup everyday” are gone. And they should be. Putting out the same lineup doesn’t always mean the results will follow. Some players hit lefties but not righties and some hit righties and not lefties. Play the best players for each situation. Platooning can lead to the best results at times. So OVER. (More on that here: https://bit.ly/38cbCXD)
What are your thoughts on Shogo playing mostly center or left, if Senzel is healthy? (@Win1SuperBowl)
As it stands today, the outfield is crowded. It will play itself out. Akiyama can play all three OF positions and I could see him getting at-bats in the corner OF when Senzel is in CF. There’s true competition for at-bats this season and that’s absolutely a good thing. Players will have to earn their playing time.
Who is the backup SS? (@GebzillaG)
Kyle Famer. He ‘s such a unique player who can play all over the field. He was a college SS and has worked their early this spring. Across all levels he’s seen 76 innings at SS and hasn’t recorded and error. Blandino could also be the back up SS. Blandino has 60.2 innings at short in the MLB and is a .941 fielder there. 1692 innings at short in the minors with a .951 fielding %.