Following the departures of Bill Bavasi, who took a job as the head of the MLB Scouting Bureau, and Bob Miller, who left for Washington - the Reds announced today that Kevin Towers and Jeff Schugel will join the Reds' front office. Both Towers and Schugel will be "special asssistants" to Jocketty.
Towers is well known around baseball, unfortunately it's more for his incompetence trading players away, and for being a bit of an asshole than anything positive. From the Beyond the Box Score article linked above, which is terrifying to consider this man could possibly be involved in trade talks this offseason - in his 34 trades he made as GM of the D'Backs:
Towers acquired 13 wins above replacement and at the approximate cost of $84 million in salary, for an average of $6.2 million. He would deal nearly 32 wins above replacement for just about the same cost ($85 million), or an average price of $2.7 million. Basically, Arizona paid open market price for one win without considering the talent leaving the club and opposing teams more than doubled their acquiring WAR for just over 40-percent of the cost.
For what it's worth, Towers has a pretty good reputation as a talent evaluator, but I hope Walt keeps him far away from the war room when he's making deals.
Schugel has been a scout for most of his 31 years in professional baseball. He was a special assistant to Frank Wren in Atlanta last season, and was with the Angels in a scouting capacity in the 9 previous seasons.
Jon Morosi reported last night that the Blue Jays are talking about Jay Bruce, and Miami sports talk host Craig Mish reported that the Marlins are interested in Johnny Cueto. Which first off, duh. I'm sure all 29 teams are interested in acquiring one of the best pitchers in the National League for $10 million next season. Lot's of things get said this time of year, but that doesn't mean anything is actually happening.
But Steve Mancuso of Redleg Nation offers up a possible strategy that Walt could try to employ this Hot Stove season, one that is sure to get Wick excited. Basically he suggests trading Bruce to Toronto for Marcus Stroman, and trading Cueto and a prospect to the Marlins for Christian Yellich. Then taking the savings of roughly $20 million in payroll to afford another OF bat, and maybe another bullpen arm.
It's worth noting that Bruce has an 8-team no trade clause that includes the Blue Jays.
The Reds signed a couple AAAA players Monday, signing Josh Satin and Ivan de Jesus to minor league deals. Satin, a 30-year old corner infielder, could vie for the Jack Hannahan role - but with two working shoulders. Satin knows how to get on base, and owns a career .397 OBP in the minors. As recently as 2013, Satin put up a .279/.376/.405 line in 221 plate appearances with the Mets.
Ivan de Jesus, 27, has spent most of his time in the minor leagues at SS with a little 2B thrown in as well. He only has 80 PA in the majors, but was a 2nd round pick in 2005, and has a minor league line of .298/.369/.395.
I still have no earthly idea why the Reds let a 24 year-old middle infielder that OPS'd .778 over two levels in 2014, and had an OPS of .738 in 2013 just walk away. Meanwhile, Jason Bourgeois is still on the 40-man roster.