Matt Klaassen at FanGraphs offers his opinion on the Joey Votto Trade Speculation
I think the most significant bit in this piece is his valuation of Votto's trade value right now. "Put simply, there is probably at least twice the surplus value available with Votto as there was for (Cliff) Lee (when the Mariners traded him to the Rangers), and the Reds should be looking for an appropriate return."
Klaassen says that is roughly two top-10 prospects and change. I floated an idea yesterday of a deal with the Rays involving Matt Moore and Jeremy Hellickson. If you were the Reds GM and you were willing to trade Votto this winter (this is a big caveat, obvs), is that a reasonable deal? Do you pull the trigger on that? Do the Rays?
All that said, Walt Jocketty shot down the rumor
"We haven’t talked about it. I wish that people would stop writing it," Jocketty said Monday. "Why would we trade one of the best players in the game? We’re trying to win." I get the sense that Sheldon took some editorial liberties and left out Jocketty's condescending "doooooooiiiiiiiiii!!!!" at the end of that quote.
I get the rationale behind trading Votto this winter. If the right deal could be found, it could actually increase the team's chances of winning this year and even the next few years. But I think that argument is largely based on the false premise that Yonder Alonso is blocked by Votto. Alonso is not going to a Gold Glover in LF, but having both his and Votto's bats in the lineup at the same time is not going to be a bad thing. I think instead of trading Votto, the Reds should look to move some of their numerous position prospects for pitching and keep the lineup intact.
MLBTR takes stock of the Reds arbitration-eligible players
Jose Arredondo, Homer Bailey, Edinson Volquez, Bill Bray, and Nick Masset appear likely to be tendered contracts, while Paul Janish and Jared Burton are iffy. Burton has been plagued by injuries for years, but I could see the Reds non-tendering him and then re-signing him to a minor league deal. He still has talent, after all.
As for Soft-J, Soft-Hands I'm not sure what to do with him. He was brutal at the plate this year when given ample opportunity, posting an embarrassing 38 wRC+. I don't think his true talent level is that bad, but whatever that true talent level is, it's surely not good enough to warrant regular playing time. So the real question is whether or not he's good enough to retain as a bench player.
I'm kinda on the fence about this one. I think his glove is good at SS, as his career UZR 150 is 11.3 in nearly 2000 career innings there. I've long held the belief that he's a back up SS and I think if used properly he could provide a little value. But is that small amount of value worth what he could fetch in arbitration? I think so, at least for this coming season. He made $437k this season, and he can't expect much of a raise over that. I think the Reds could offer him $650-750k and he'd be more than happy to take it. You also have to take into account that the Reds are pretty sore for middle infield depth. Janish sure ain't good, but at least he's a warm body. But if they decide to cut him and look for a back up on the free agent/trade market it would make little difference.
Blog Red Machine has some updates on how the kids are doing in the Arizona Fall League
Nobody has really played all that much yet, but Brad Boxberger has looked pretty good as he's struck out seven and walked only two in 2.1 innings. Add that up. Yeah, that means every out he's collected has been of the K-variety. Dig that Box. Nick Christiani has looked pretty good, too.
Speaking of Boxy, ken mentioned yesterday that he could make the Opening Day roster next season
Here's Redleg Nation Chad's take on it: "He’d look pretty good in the RHP bullpen spot that has been filled by the Carlos Fishers and Jordan Smiths of the world."
Q: During your career, which team entered the playoffs that you thought had no chance but won the World Series? — Alan, Sugarcreek Twp.
A: That’s a slam dunk — the 1990 Cincinnati Reds. They began the season 33-12, but then staggered home 58-59. They beat the Pirates four games to two in the NL Championship Series, but nobody gave them a chance in the World Series against the Mighty Oakland A’s and The Bash Brothers (Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco). I picked the A’s in five. But with their secret weapons of Billy Hatcher and Chris Sabo, the Reds swept the A’s four straight. Some little ol’ lady in Cincinnati bet in Vegas that the Reds would sweep and she won $55,000. If I only had known.
Slyde wrote a book about this!
Q: Does Edinson Volquez get more chances in an attempt to make the trade of Josh Hamilton to get him look good? — Dave, Lexington, Ky.
A: Current Reds GM Walt Jocketty didn’t make that trade, former GM Wayne Krivsky did. So Jocketty has no need to prove anything. What he does know is that Volquez won 17 games and made the All-Star team the first year he was with the Reds. His repertoire is outstanding — when he can get it over the plate. And he’ll have to show his 17-win ability to win a spot in the 2012 season, if he survives the winter without being traded.