It’s been quite a while since we had one of these, huh? It’s been a relatively busy offseason, which has left plenty to talk about – but we are in a pretty dead spot of the offseason at this point. With only so much to write about with three weeks before the start of spring training I thought this would be a great time to bring this back into action.
If you are new here, this is how all of this works: You ask a question in the comments section and I’ll answer it. That is, of course, assuming it meets the criteria below:
- Each user can ask up to three questions.
- If you ask your question before 8PM ET, I’ll answer it.
- Try to avoid questions that will require me to look up the answer (such as: Who was the last minor leaguer to hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases in the same season).
That’s it. While this is being posted on the minor league site, I’ll answer any question you’ve got – baseball related, big league related, my favorite kind of pizza…. you get it. Just leave the question in the comments below and when I get around to answering it, I will delete it from the comments section and move it up into the article. My hope is to start answering questions by about 11am, so you can start submitting them whenever you would like. Let’s do this thing!
How many outfielders does a team need?
By definition, they need at least three. But I’m also thinking that perhaps the Reds know some rules that the rest of us don’t and they plan to start seven outfielders, a pitcher, and a catcher.
What becomes of all the MLB level OF contenders and pretenders, there seem to be more than could be traded.
That’s kind of the big question, isn’t it? As things stand right now it feels like there’s going to be four guys that are “starters” – Nick Senzel, Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winker, and Aristides Aquino. That could always change with trades, or spring performance in the case of Aquino (I believe if he struggles in the spring he could head back to Triple-A). Phillip Ervin, Scott Schebler and Travis Jankowski are out of options. And Mark Payton, a Rule 5 pick, has to stick to the 26-man roster. Even for a 26-man roster, that’s too many outfielders. Among the group of guys that are in the “backup” group but can’t be sent down, there’s probably not a ton of trade value there. Maybe you get a Low-A caliber prospect, or maybe an upper level reliever type in trade?
The real trade value would come in moving Nick Senzel or Jesse Winker. They’ve got real value. But the question is do the Reds seem to want to move them? Obviously anyone is available in the right deal, but it seems like those two have spots lined up as starters. And they aren’t the types of guys who are moved near the end of spring training, either. Anything can happen, I guess – but it feels like if the Reds head into the spring without trading someone away, if a trade does come from the outfield group, it’s going to be one of the non-starters that gets moved.
How does this apparent glut impact the likes of Jose Siri and Stuart Fairchild?
I think that it hurts Jose Siri more than Stuart Fairchild because 2020 is the last season in which Siri can be optioned to the minor leagues. Fairchild could actually be ready for the Major Leagues sooner than Siri, but he’s also allowed to be optioned to the minor leagues for three years beyond the 2020 season if he’s not called up this year.
Out of the box question. How good was Suarez defense at shortstop with Detroit? Seems like it would be worth taking some grounders this spring to see if he could handle. Allows for Senzel or Moose to take over third while the other handles second. I do get the don’t mess with Suarez considering his production at the plate but…
Let me first preface this with defensive metrics are not always the most accurate things in the world. With that said, Suarez in his career at shortstop has been pretty bad. He only played in two seasons at the Major League level at the position, but his UZR in that time was well below-average. He’s also bulked up a little bit since those days. I’d say that the chances that he could be passable as shortstop today are infinitely small.
Given the advances made in baseball technology, will Phil ever beat up an old man?
Well, I guess I did say I’d answer anything….. this is an inside joke among some friends. But no, Phil will never win that fight.
Do you think the Reds made a huge mistake by trading Taylor Trammell?
I think this can be answered in two different ways. First, I think that at the time of the trade, Trammell’s value was probably lower than it had been for a while. He hadn’t hit well for about the last year at that point – but he still had plenty of value. I can understand the idea that you get some value while its there, particularly if you believe that there’s some concern that the bat isn’t going to come around.
At the same time, you just traded a true 4-tool guy with a whole lot of upside. Hardly anyone has to squint very hard to see a potential All-Star player there. Of course, you also traded him for an actual All-Star player, too. It just happens to be one that you only got to keep around for about eight months worth of a baseball season, and you might get a draft pick out of it (or maybe another prospect if you trade him at the deadline).
With all of that said, in my old age I’ve come to the idea that unless a guy is a truly elite prospect where there doesn’t appear to be any question at all about them, that trading a prospect is hardly ever a mistake. You don’t go out and trade Wander Franco. But guys that aren’t on that level of prospect? Usually you come out ahead trading them.
David Bell mentioned Mike Moustakas playing short on occasion. If that’s true (in his mind at least) why isn’t playing Senzel there even semi regularly not possible? It seems with the amount of shifting done, a less than ideal SS could have their negative impact lessened. Why is this uniformly discounted within Reds circles. I keep seeing people outside the fan base talking about it like it’s the assumed plan for 2020.
I’ll believe Mike Moustakas will play shortstop when it actually happens. Until then I believe it’s just a thing that was said out loud. Neither Nick Senzel or Mike Moustakas are shortstops, and they shouldn’t play there. The Reds played Senzel at shortstop two springs ago and then sent him to Triple-A to play second base because their internal read was that he couldn’t play shortstop. I don’t know why fans continue to ask the question about Senzel and shortstop when the Reds actions have clearly shown that they don’t believe it to be an option. If the team believed he could play short, he would have been playing there.
Will Jose Garcia or Tyler Stephenson have a bigger impact on the 2020 Reds? Assume everyone is healthy for the season and plays/develops the way that you currently expect then to.
If everyone is healthy and plays/develops the way that I expect them to, then I’d guess that neither guy sees much time in the Majors – with Stephenson getting a little bit simply because he’s a catcher and it’s almost impossible to get through the season without calling up your Triple-A catcher at some point. I think that 2021 is the season in which we can have a debate about the question you pose here. For that one, at least right now, you lean Stephenson simply because he’s closer today, which makes him a safer bet. The one caveat here, is the wording of choice: Bigger impact. If one of the players is traded, that could have a very big impact depending on what they are moved for.
Do you have a good story for us from a few years ago that you couldn’t share at the time but has passed the statute of limitations and can now be shared. A trade that fell through with some names, a pick that almost happened, big time talented prospect that was a huge headcase and the team tried to get rid of, whatever may interest us.
I do have some rather good ones, but none that I’m really going to share. Plenty of rumor, not a ton of stuff that can be sourced out to multiple people and would thus put a source out there for those in the know.
As currently constructed, I see the 2020 Reds as a similar team to the 2012 edition. Pitching will be their strong point while the offense will end up being their Achilles heel. Offense isn’t bad, just too many below average or inconsistent bats to overcome. Is this a reasonable assessment at this point?
Pitching in 2012 was better. But I also think that the offense in 2020 could be better. That 2012 offense had elite Joey Votto, and good Jay Bruce/Ryan Ludwick/Todd Frazier, but it also got little from shortstop, third, and center on offense. And the bench, for the most part, was terrible on offense. The 2020 team has nothing like 2012 Votto, but should be able to come close to matching up with the other good hitters on that team, and be better almost everywhere else, too. I think the offense in 2020 could actually be better than it seems a lot of people think. We’ll see how it plays out, and I do think the error bars are quite large on the offense – but there’s upside there and I think too many people are sleeping on that side of it.
Thinking outside the box, I would have to think the Red Sox would love to shed payroll. JD Martinez would be a stud in Reds lineup! Would his defense be that much worse than Castellanos? Just a thought….
Yes, it would be that much worse. And this right here is the reason that it’s insanely stupid that for nearly 50 years one half of the league is playing by a different set of rules than the other league. The Reds, and the entire National League pretty much, can’t try to acquire JD Martinez.
I heard a rumor that you were giving away season tickets and free room n board this season to a lucky subscriber. Any truth to the rumor I started?
Will confirm that there is no truth to the rumor that you started.
If you were the Reds GM, who would you be willing to trade for Seager or Lindor? You have also been told that Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Jose Garcia, and Tyler Stephenson are untouchables.
I’d absolutely be willing to trade for those guys if I were the Reds GM, but if those players are off of the table then there’s no way I’d be able to land them unless I were willing to trade Luis Castillo or Sonny Gray or Eugenio Suarez for them – and I wouldn’t be. If the Reds are going to land someone like Seager or Lindor, it’s going to take a big time prospect or three.
I like to go to games whether it’s minors or MLB. My kids have flown the coop and I really don’t have friends that enjoy baseball the way I do.
How about when you are out scouting/attending games to start a Reds Minor Leagues day and invite your Patreons to attend with you. I’d love to sit and talk baseball with some of the followers on here. Any thoughts on this?
When I’m working a game, talking/interacting usually isn’t something that I’ve got a ton of time for. There’s a lot to focus on during the game. Toss in that the seats behind the plate, even in the minors, are a premium (in the sense that it’s not always easy to get them – the prices are still great) and would make it difficult to make happen. And then of course is the whole thing where there just aren’t a ton of people in each city. An overwhelmingly large portion of the readers here don’t actually live in a city that has one of the teams.
I hate the metrics. What/where is a good resource for dummies to try to get a grasp of them?
Don’t hate the metrics if you don’t understand them. Some are probably more worthy of the hate than others. Depending on what exactly you want to learn about will depend on where you will want to look, but for a general purpose place – Fangraphs is the best place to go. In their navigation bar you can look at the glossary and it will drop down to give you different options of which stat to look into the definition of.
Thoughts on Scott Schebler/Cody Reed’s future with the big club (if any)?
As noted above – Schebler is out of options. So is Reed. But it also feels tougher to fit Scott Schebler into the roster unless he’s just an entirely different player than he showed last year. That’s certainly possible, though, given that we know he was injured in 2019 and has undergone surgery. But still, there is so much competition for the outfield that he’s going to have to beat out a lot of guys for the job.
With Cody Reed, there’s certainly some competition in the bullpen, but when he’s been healthy over the last two seasons, he’s been really good. I just think he fits in better, and has a better shot – assuming health – than Schebler grabbing one of the outfield spots.
What is one move (trade or FA signing) (please don’t say Lindor) you’d like to see to prepare this roster for ST?
You might not want me to say it, but that’s the best move. It’s the one that would take the team from fringe contender to division favorite. He would improve the weakest starting position on the team by an enormous amount, and improve an offense that could use a little more to it. The price wouldn’t be cheap, but that’s the one I’d be targeting. And if not him, I’m looking at Mookie Betts – all of the outfielders on the Reds roster or not.
So many of the best prospects had poor years last year. Was their value significantly reduced and should the Reds hold off on moving them now or see if they can get hot and increase their value once the season starts? Or do the evaluators look beyond even a down season so the impact is minimal?
Performance matters, but it probably matters a little less than the average person thinks. Let’s take Taylor Trammell as an example. From July 1st of 2018 through July 30th of 2019, which was the day he was traded, he hit .232/.339/.335. That’s, by any standard, really bad. And yet, his prospect ranking on July 30th of 2019 was higher than it was on July 1st of 2018. That’s not to say that everyone was in agreement with those rankings or his value – but plenty of people did.
For a player like Taylor Trammell, who has very obvious tools, it probably doesn’t matter as much. For a player who doesn’t have those kinds of tools, production does matter a little bit more – but at the same time, those kinds of guys aren’t going to be the “swing a trade deal” kind of players, either.
One thing that comes to mind here is the old “I’d rather trade a player a year early than a year late” kind of thing. If you try to let a player “get hot” you are also risking that they “stay cold” and lose more of the value that they had.
If the Reds don’t make the playoffs this year, would you rather have the projected 2021 roster or a 2021 roster with addition of the prospects traded to the Dodgers and Indians?
Obviously you’d rather have the prospects. But that’s also with the knowledge that you didn’t make the playoffs. I don’t fault the Reds for either of the trades, and I think both made sense at the time. The Dodgers trade simply didn’t work out, but no one on this planet was saying at the time that it wasn’t going to work out because Yasiel Puig was going to have his worst season at the plate, by far, and that Alex Wood would miss basically the entire season. There was no reason to believe those things. At the time, the trade made some sense.
Do you happen to know if MLB is going to be using the “juiced” baseball again this coming regular season?
They don’t want to. But if you believe them, they didn’t want to this year, either. They claim that it was an issue with the production of the baseball and the tolerances allowed in manufacturing. So unfortunately I think we are going to have to wait and see how things play out in 2020 before we really know.
Who dumped a whole truck load of Fizzies into the Reds swim meet?
It was Gapper.
Who delivered the medical school cadavers to the Reds alumni dinner?
Gritty did it.
You say they should still be targeting Lindor. What is the highest offer you would be willing to make for Lindor? What kind of offer would make you say no?
Open up the farm system and let them do whatever they want to it in order to get Lindor. I’d hate for the Reds to give up Greene/Lodolo/some other highly regarded third prospect, but I think I’d do it. I just think that he’s the kind of player that puts the Reds over the top for the next two seasons, and that kind of winning would do things to help the franchise for the following decade if they do it right.
We were told the Reds were going after all of these players and we really get none of them. Does anyone believe this team is better than last year because of Miley, Moose and an OF that none of us has ever heard of? Other than Moose this is the 2019 Reds. Why should we think this team wins more than 80-82 games in 2020?
You can’t force guys to sign with you. And I guess the answer to the question is do you believe the 2019 Reds were actually a 76 win team or do you believe their talent level was a lot higher than that but they underperformed? Because that will change the answer you get. On paper, the 2020 Reds as they stand right now look to be about an 85-86 win team, talent wise. With any team, the error bars on true talent have some swing in both directions to account for injury, under performance (much like we saw in 2019 from several key players), or over performance/breakouts.
So, in my opinion, yes, I think that there are a lot of reasons to think that the 2020 Reds are better than last year – especially if you are speaking strictly to the number of wins and losses by each. And it’s because one, they did improve the roster a little bit with their additions of Mike Moustakas, Wade Miley, Trevor Bauer, and Shogo Akiyama. But also because for the most part, it’s a younger roster that should improve, too.
What level will Hunter Greene, Jose Garcia, and Stuart Fairchild be starting 2020 at? Best guess.
Hunter Greene is going to start the year in Arizona at the Reds spring training facility. He won’t take the mound in games until probably June if everything continues to go as hoped in his rehab process. If and when he’s ready may come into play as to where he technically begins. If it’s late June, or later, there’s a chance he could “debut” in 2020 with the Arizona League Reds in a few games as he works his way back before joining Daytona. But if he’s ready to take the mound in games prior to then, he’ll probably just go directly to Daytona after throwing in some extended spring training games.
Jose Garcia and Stuart Fairchild – I’d expect both of them to begin their seasons in Double-A Chattanooga. Small chance for Fairchild to move up to Triple-A Louisville to begin the season given that he had success in the second half in Double-A last year for the Lookouts. Still, it wasn’t quite two months worth of playing time, so I’m guessing that he’ll head back for the first half and move up based on his performance.
What is Lyon Richardson’s ceiling and floor?
The floor for just about any player is that they cease to continue to improve and are what they are. Or worse, they get injured and never even return to the guy that they are today. Ceiling wise, mid-rotation starter? There’s things to like with Richardson – he throws strikes, he has solid stuff, he’s athletic. But he seems to lack that true difference maker that could push him into something higher than that mid-rotation guy. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Mid-rotation guys get paid very well in this game.
Assuming Jonathan India is not traded and is pushed off the dirt because of Mike Moustakas and Eugenio Suarez, which outfield position seems more likely for him based on his skill and athleticism?
Left or right field. He’s got the arm for right field, so that shouldn’t be a problem. I don’t believe he’s quite fast enough to handle center, though.
What kind of stat lines are you expecting out of Tyler Callihan and Rece Hinds in their first full professional seasons?
I think it will depend on where they wind up playing. If they are kept back for Billings rather than sent to Dayton, that’s an enormous factor. Not only is the competition there not as good, but the hitting environment is also much better in Billings and the Pioneer League than in Dayton and the Midwest League. I could see both players being sent to either Billings or Dayton, too, so it’s a tough question to answer.
That said, I’ll say this much: I think both would have some struggles in Dayton if they spent a full year there. For one reason or another, high school guys in their first full year almost always struggle in Dayton. It’s a big jump for a 19-year-old. If they head to Billings, I believe both will have a lot more success in terms of stat lines. Both have power, and it’ll play a whole lot better in that league simply because of the ballparks. Toss in that the pitchers, by-and-large, aren’t as good and it’s a recipe that makes sense. I’ll also add that I believe that Callihan has a better chance at seeing time in Dayton this season than Hinds does.
Do you think the Reds will add a shortstop before spring training?
If you mean starting shortstop, I will say no. If you mean someone who can back up Freddy Galvis other than Kyle Farmer or Alex Blandino, I’ll say yes. That’s not to say that I don’t think they won’t be trying to, or that they shouldn’t be trying – I just think that we’re at a point of the offseason that if they were going to get a trade done for the kind of player they’d be targeting at shortstop, it would have come by now.
The article you spoke about a week or so ago about Hunter Greene being the most overrated prospect in the system. What’s your take? Could he easily change the narrative by having a great season? Is a top 10 league pitcher still his ceiling?
I think it’s just a matter of “he’s injured” right now. I’m not as experienced as a lot of Major League Baseball scouts, but I’ve watched a whole heck of a lot of baseball in this job. The number of pitching prospects I’ve seen that match up with what Hunter Greene was doing before he was injured…. well, it’s very, very small. It wasn’t just that he throws harder than almost every other starter on the planet, it was the breaking ball, the athleticism, the control – the entire package. There’s a reason he was a phenom prospect. His upside is among the highest in the minor leagues. He’s going to have to come back from the injury, but the guy before the injury was just on a different kind of level, even among elite prospects.
What options do the Reds have if Joey Votto regresses again in 2020? Could we start seeing a platoon or a more limited role?
I think that at least some platooning, even if it’s not in a traditional sense, could be the move. Beyond that, though, it’s tough to see where they go. It’s tough to see them just putting him on the bench given what he’s being paid.
With Shogo Akiyama looking like a lock to play the OF, is there a possibility that he or Senzel slides to a corner spot? Senzel is too good to not have a starting role unless they are preserving due to injury.
I doubt it. If you listen to what everyone that works for the Reds is saying about Akiyama, it’s that “he can play everywhere in the outfield”. I think those words are tailored for a reason: Nick Senzel is the center fielder. He’s young, but he’ll still get some days off here and there, and on those days, that’s when Akiyama will slide over to center field. But I expect Senzel to play center field 5-6 times a week when he’s healthy. I think we’ll see more platooning going on in the corner outfield spots.
Would you trade Nick Senzel, Tyler Mahle, and Tony Santillan for Francisco Lindor? Would the Indians do that or would they need more?
No, I wouldn’t. But I can understand if someone else would. I’m a believer that Nick Senzel’s going to be an All-Star caliber player, and soon. That would keep me from pulling the trigger, personally. And I do think that the Indians would say yes to that deal if it were put on the table for them.
I have been banging the drum for the Reds to look into trading for SS Trevor Story if Lindor is off the table which I believe is the case. In your opinion what would be a fair trade package for Story that would be attractive to the Rockies?
I think that Trevor Story is pretty good, but I’m not sure I’d put him on par with Francisco Lindor or Corey Seager. But I’m not sure that the asking price would be any different than it would be on either of those guys. I think you’d probably be asked to build a trade package around Nick Senzel. Or something like the trade I proposed above for Lindor, where basically you give away the farm system.
It looks like Europe is off the table for a Summer trip, so a trip out to Montana to see some Pioneer League games is now front and center. Based on my schedule and my desire to explore some of the Big Sky Country beyond watching some Billings Mustang games, I will be going to Missoula to see the Mustangs take on the PaddleHeads/(AZ Diamondbacks affiliate). Do you know if Pioneer League games are traditionally played either in the afternoon or evenings?
For the most part, they are evening games. Unfortunately, at least as of now, Missloua hasn’t announced start times for their home games like some other teams in the league have. But just work with the assumption that a majority of the games are evening ones.
Do you think it is time to change the way voting is handled for induction into the HOF? Do we need to take the voting ballots from the media because of their obvious home team bias? Would it make more sense to give the voting responsibility to only those that are already inducted, meaning players, managers, executives, contributors and media? To clarify, voting rights only to all of those inducted.
I think that limiting it to only those inducted would be a disaster. We’ve seen how the Veterans Committee has handled things, and they have been consistently worse with their inductions. It seems that it came down to who you played with/for just as much as how good you were – and that’s not how it should be.
That’s not to say that the BBWAA has been great. I still can’t get over the fact that Kenny Lofton fell off of the ballot in his first year. There’s a good argument that he should be in the Hall of Fame, and he failed to get 5% of the vote.
One thing that I liked was when they changed who could vote to those who have actually covered baseball in the last 10 years. For a while there were voters out there who hadn’t covered the game in decades who were still voting. That’s probably something that shouldn’t have happened.
Which 40-man Reds are out of options?
Players with no options:
- Curt Casali
- Phillip Ervin
- Travis Jankowski
- Scott Schebler
- Amir Garrett
- Robert Stephenson
- Lucas Sims
- Cody Reed
- Sal Romano
Those are the guys with no options left. But there are also a handful of guys who technically have options, but those options can’t be used because they’ve got enough service time to decline and become a free agent. None of those players seem to be in jeopardy of being optioned, though.
How would you suggest someone get into woodworking as a complete novice? Any books/youtube channels that you would suggest? What would be some good starting projects?
Youtube is a great place to start. But it can also be a bit sketchy is you are coming from a complete novice side of things because sometimes you’ll see things being done with tools that either shouldn’t be done in general, or if done improperly can be rather dangerous.
One thing that always seems to help people get started is finding something you need, and making it. Do you need a coffee table? A kitchen table? A book case? Stuff that isn’t complex, for the most part – requires more right angles and not necessarily tough joinery.
My youtube subscription list is a lot of makers. Some of them do a lot less making how-to videos than they used to, though. Here’s my list of from the people I follow on youtube – but there are so many good channels out there, and as I said, pick something you need/want to make, and search for someone that made one that fits what you are looking for:
- Jennie and Davis
- April Wilkerson
- Johnny Brooke (Crafted Workshop)
- Evan and Katelyn
- Bob Clagett (I Like to Make Stuff)
- Jimmy DiResta
- John Malecki (former NFL player)
- Jon Peters
- Jonathan Katz-Moses
- Jonny Builds
- Kyle Toth (Wood Turning)
- Laura Kampf
- Make Something
- Modern Builds
- The Wood Whisperer
- Chris Salomone (Four Eyes Furniture)
- Darbin Orvar
- DIY Creators
- Fix This Build That
- Get Hands Dirty
- Jackman Works
- Jay Bates
- Steve Ramsey (Woodworking for Mere Mortals)
- The Samurai Carpenter
- Molly and Dylan (Woodbrew)
That, uh, should get you started….. and maybe I got carried away.
Peanut butter, chunky or smooth?
Smooth, but I don’t mind chunky. Both are fine.
Breakout minor league candidate(s) for 2020?
I always like to see guys in the spring before making this one – but I’ll say this much: I think that Jose Garcia’s going to be the guy who starts getting more national attention in 2020 than anyone else (who isn’t already getting it).
Sleeper minor league candidate(s) for 2020?
Ivan Johnson. He’s got tools, he’s still relatively young, and I heard good things about him during and after the year.
I could be totally off the mark here, but in the early 2010s, the Reds seemed far more aggressive at the top of the draft in targeting players/types that they felt were underlooked/undervalued (i.e. Travieso, Howard, Lorenzen) to rather mixed results for whatever unfortunate reasons. In the last few years, it seems to me like they have generally picked prospects that were more or less consensus at their spot in the draft. Is this a fair observation, and if so, did the shift reflect something happening organizationally (different scouting, analytics, new front office, etc)? Thanks as always for the great work!
I think we need to look at the differences between the two eras. The Reds were drafting in the mid-to-late 1st round in those years. You didn’t have a clue who was going to truly be available to you on draft day until a few spots ahead of you – maybe. In the last few years you knew who would be there, and the picks were also much “safer” because the team was drafting in the top 5. I think that’s got as much to do with the “shift” than anything else.
That’s all, folks. I wrote nearly 5600 words answering the questions today. Thanks for participating. I’m going to go eat some food.