Cleat Geeks

Reds Rebuilding Almost Right

There are many different ways and philosophies to rebuild a MLB franchise. If I was a GM, I know how I would do it. And the Reds are coming close.

I believe there are a few things a team MUST do in a rebuild, and others that are subjective. The Reds are close, at least on the musts.


They Need to Show the Fans a Plan-The Reds are making no bones about the fact they are trying to rebuild. Over the last calendar year the Cincinnati Reds have traded Cueto, Leake, Frazier, and Chapman. Both Leake and Cueto were signed in the off-season by a different club than who the Reds traded them to. Therefore, if they would have kept them, they would have lost them and received nothing.

 Photo by Jon SooHoo

Photo by Jon SooHoo

These moves started the plan. And the Frazier and Chapman deals simply extended it. In those four trades the Reds have received twelve players. The Yankees sent four minor leaguers to the Reds: pitchers Caleb Cotham and Rookie Davis and infielders Eric Jagielo and Tony Renda. The Frazier trade netted the Reds infielder Jose Peraza, outfielder Scott Schebler and infielder Brandon Dixon from the Dodgers. When they traded Mike Leake to San Francisco the received two Minor Leaguers, right-hander Keury Mella and infielder Adam Duvall. And finally, with the trade of Johnny Cueto the Reds picked up three left-handed pitchers in Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed.They stripped their pitching staff down to Homer Bailey (more on him later) and a bunch of rookies. So the plan is obvious there.


Young, controllable, above average up the middle defense– The forgotten guy in this equation is at Turner Field on July 11, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco offensively, he had improved every year, and was even an All-Star in 2014. Plus in 109 games in 2014 Devin only committed 3 errors. The guys who are taking his throws are pretty good as well. Zack Cozart in his 5 years in the big leagues he had a .980 fielding percentage, and is only being paid $2.6 Million this season. I don’t have to talk about Brandon Phillips and defensive wizardry, so I will move on to center fielder Billy Hamilton. He is one of the fastest players in all of baseball so obviously he can cover alot of ground in center. First of all Hamilton is not a free agent until 2020. In 110 games this past year he had 0 errors. They also traded for a young kid in Jose Peraza who is also good defensively and is cost controlled as well. But, as much as they chased him, they need to be right about him.

ANOTHER MUST 1/2/2joey-votto-ap

A team must have 1 franchise player– The Reds have that in Joey Votto. He has had an on base percentage over .400 6 of the last 7 years, 4 All-Star selections and in the top 6 in MVP status 3 times in the last 6 years. Even though you have him, you have to lock him up and not trade him. The Reds have him locked up and don’t seem to want to trade him. You do this for the die-hard fans. They need someone to route for, get behind, gravitate toward and buy his jersey.

You need to have 2 players on your 25 man roster that you can point to as possible superstars– The Reds have 2, and we have already talked about them both. They are Devin Mesoraco and Billy Hamilton. Both have improved over their last few seasons and are poised to do so again.

The team must also have 2 prospects on their 40 man roster they believe have real potential– They have that in left fielder Jesse Winker, RHP Robert Stephenson, and LHP Cody Reed. Plus 5 of the Reds top 10 prospects are pitchers.


Team has additional attractive trade pieces to accelerate the rebuild– The Reds have 3 pieces. RF jay-bruce2Jay Bruce is the 1st. I predict that he will be this years Yoenis Cespedis. Bruce has some impressive offensive numbers and is also very good defensively. I think that he will have a great 1st half of 2016. He will therefore make the decision as to trade or keep him difficult for the Reds. But, when it is all said and done, I believe a competitive team that needs an offensive punch will overwhelm the Reds with a great package of prospects and the Reds will trade him. Brandon Phillips will be available as well. The situation will have to be perfect for him to accept a trade, but he will be available none the less. I assume that the team who wants him will have to be in contention, and willing to sign him to a contract extension, but if he can get all that, more power to him. Lastly, Bailey will be available. It will be hard to move him considering his salary and injury history. But the lure of ridding themselves of that huge contract should entice the Reds.


HomerBailey2The Bailey Basket– I know it is easy to say now, after the fact. But, I would not have put as many eggs as the Reds did in the Homer Bailey basket. Personally, I would have tried to sign Leake to a long term contract of 5-7 years with a cap of about $75 million dollars. Secondly I would have concentrated on Cueto for about the same length of time with a cap of around $100-110 million. If those two ventures were both unsuccessful, then I would have moved on to Bailey, but would not have given him the money the Reds did.

I also wonder about Brian Price- Just because you are a good pitching coach does not mean that REDSyou are going to be a good manager. In my eyes, if you are a great pitching coach, and Price was, then why not just make him the highest paid pitching coach. Then, you hire a good manager with some experience and make a good well rounded staff. I am not saying that Price is a bad coach, I am saying the jury is still out on him, and he was a good pitching coach. Why not pay him more to do something you know he is good at instead of promoting him and hope he will also be a good manager.

Lastly, the Reds are doing a rebuild with a total team payroll of over $90 million dollars- When the Astros did their total tear down they kept their payroll at around $20 million. I am not saying that the Reds should reduce their payroll to Votto and a bunch of minimal salary kids, but $90 million is way to much.


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