Sports Illustrated's Jay Jaffe fills out a report card on Cincinnati's offseason.
Jay Jaffe examines Cincinnati's moves over the winter. While acknowledging the risk of moving newly acquired Shin-Soo Choo to centerfield, Jaffe concludes: "[E]ven if [the Reds] created one problem with their outfield defense, they shored up a more glaring one with their leadoff spot; more baserunners in front of Joey Votto is never a bad idea." He also mentions that the loss of prospect Didi Gregorius is a small price to pay for a quality leadoff hitter like Choo.
Jaffe looks at the possible trade implications of two other moves by Cincinnati: Aroldis Chapman's transition to the rotation and the addition of Miguel Olivo. Will the Reds move Mike Leake if Chapman finds success as a starter? I doubt that Walt Jocketty has any intentions of trading away a starting pitcher. Leake provides the Reds with a nice insurance option. He is also poised to re-enter the rotation next year when Bronson Arroyo's contract expires. With a set lineup and pitching staff, the Reds' most pressing need is to restock the farm. However, I do no believe that Leake demands the type of prospects that warrant a trade.
For similar reasons, I am skeptical that Jocketty will disrupt the combination of Ryan Hanigan and Devin Mesoraco behind the plate. Olivo seems like a good third option at catcher in the event of an injury or a disappointing performance by Mesoraco. The Reds went all-in on Mesoraco last winter when the club sent Yasmani Grandal to San Diego as part of the Mat Latos deal. I believe that Jocketty and Dusty Baker will give Mesoraco a real shot at major league success before giving up on him. Mesoraco made fewer than 200 plate appearances last season, which is hardly enough to determine his abilities. He hit only .234 on balls in play, well below the major league mark of .297 last season. Mesoraco's walk percentage was above average (9.2% vs. 8.0%) while his isolated power was within sniffing difference of the mean mark (.139 vs. .151). I cannot imagine a worse time to trade Mesoraco either as his value is low given his 2012 performance. If Cincinnati were to trade a catcher, then Jocketty might consider dealing Hanigan as the Reds' number one catcher is into the decline phase of his career at age 32.
Jaffe ultimately awards the Reds a "B" for the organization's offseason performance. How would you grade the Reds' winter?
The Reds and the right-hander agreed to a one-year deal worth $3.06 million yesterday. Mat Latos, Homer Bailey, and Shin-Soo Choo are still slated to proceed to arbitration with the Reds.
Baseball Prospectus' Harry Pavlidis looks at the evolution of Cincinnati's ace from a young strikeout hurler to one of baseball's best groundball pitchers.
Chris Jaffe revisits a sensational come-from-behind win for Cincinnati. On May eighth, 1958, the Redlegs entered the top of ninth trailing the Cubs 8-2, but Cincinnati would mount a rally for the ages.
The Big Red Machine's battering ram weighs in on his spectacular season in 1977. Foster also discusses the upper limits of power hitting without the use of banned substances.
Rob Neyer disputes Bill James' claim that "Hanigan may be the most underrated player in baseball."
The Reds' general manager remembers signing the longtime St. Louis ace and Carpenter's impact on the Cardinals.
The Mariners locked up Felix Hernandez with a five-year, $135.5 million extension through 2019. (The extension was originally reported as a seven-year, $175 million deal that buys out his previous contract, which ran through 2014.) I hope that Seattle finally builds around its ace as seven more years like the Mariners' past seven years would mean a wasted career for Hernandez.