Yesterday the Reds finalized a shrewd trade, sending Dylan Floro, Zach Neal, and some international bonus pool cash for James Marinan and Aneurys Zabala. It really isn’t a big game-changing kind of trade or anything, but the front office deserves a ton of credit for leveraging some low-value assets into some high-value assets. Let’s break it down.
Floro was signed by the Reds this off-season on a minor-league deal, so the cost of acquiring him was basically zero (or as cheap as a player can possible be). Neal was acquired just a few months ago when the Reds sent Ariel Hernandez to the Dodgers after giving him the ol’ DFA. The international bonus pool money is basically valueless to the Reds right now because they have a deep pool of money available (over $6 million) but are still on probation for overspending two summers ago and can only sign players for a maximum of $300,000 apiece. The international bonus pool thing is a new feature of the current CBA and I’m not sure I fully understand it myself (much less explain it well enough here) but all this is to say that the Reds didn’t give up anything of value in exchange for what the got.
And what they got is actually really impressive, considering the cost. James Marinan is 19 years old and was drafted in the fourth round of the draft last summer. The Dodgers gave him nearly a million bucks to keep him from going to the University of Miami and many folks said at the time that he was a second-round talent that only fell to the fourth round because of that premium price tag. He is a big ol’ boy (6’5” 220 lbs) and has a Sal Romano kinda feel to him.
Aneurys Zabala is 21 and doesn’t have the ceiling that Marinan has. He has worked out of the bullpen for a few years now and is in low-A ball. He has an electromagnetic arm (he can wing it over 100 mph) but he has trouble finding the plate.
So basically what the Reds did here was make something out of nothing. That’s how you do this damn thing. High fives to Dick Williams and Nick Krall and all of ‘em.
Adam Duvall has earned himself a spot on The Athletic’s Defensive All-Stars. Mark Simon says:
“For the second time in three seasons, Adam Duvall has racked up a lot of Defensive Runs Saved. Duvall is a well-kept secret outside of Cincinnati, likely because he doesn’t play a premium position, but he makes his fair share of good plays.
Thus far in 2018, he’s improved on a weakness, catching balls hit to the deepest part of the ballpark. His 14 Defensive Runs Saved tie with Gordon for the MLB lead in left field.”
There is very little dissent to the idea that Duvall is a premium glove man out of left field. All the publicly available fielding metrics thinks he is a stud and nearly everyone who watches him running around out there agrees. But he has continued to frustrate at the plate.
He is hitting .203/.288/.398 on the season, which is about 100 points of slugging off of his career averages. It is super dang frustrating because with as superb as his glove is it wouldn’t take all that much more offense from him to make him a really solid regular. He has averaged about 2.5 WAR over his first two full seasons as the regular left fielder, playing Gold Glove defense and slugging 70 extra-base hits. He’s on pace this year to hit only about 50 multi-baggers, though. Here’s hoping he can catch some fire this summer and get it going.
Speaking of defensive metrics and catching fire, Jesse Winker is basically the exact opposite of Adam Duvall in nearly every imaginable way. Defensive metrics haaaaaaaate him (B-Ref has him at nearly two full wins in the negative so far, which is basically impossible) but he is seriously clobbering the shit out of the baseball. After hitting just .174/.278/.246 in May, he has looked like a Joey Votto clone hitting .321/.447/.524 since then.
I’m confident in saying that Winker is neither this bad with the glove nor this good with the bat. But in the end, he looks like a very good baseball player. I like him.
Another Athletic piece, but they are asking who are the best hitter and pitcher of the season so far for the Reds. I see four guys who can make arguments for best hitter. Scooter Gennett, Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez, and Scott Schebler have all been great. My vote would go to either Scooter or Geno, but I wouldn’t begrudge you for choosing any one of them.
As for the pitching, there really isn’t much debate. The corps has had some rough spells, especially the rotation, and only Tyler Mahle can stretch far enough to join the discussion. But I think it absolutely comes down to Jared Hughes and Amir Garrett. Hughes looks like a revelation after inking a cheap two-year contact and Garrett has taken to relieving with great aplomb. And while I’m generally loathe to consign talented pitchers to the bullpen before they’ve had a legitimate shot at starting, it probably isn’t the worst thing in the world if Garrett locks down the back-end of the ‘pen for the next several years. And if the Reds are serious about trading Raisel Iglesias this summer, he might just need to do so.
If you haven’t seen it yet, you absolutely need to take a minute to watch Javier Baez steal home. Although he does so for the Cubs, he is a certifiable joy to watch play baseball. My goodness, this kinda thing is just about the best thing. I love this thing so much I wanna get it pregnant and have a whole litter of little best things next spring.