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Cincinnati Reds: Early Winners and Losers from Offseason Shakeups

Although no major trades or acquisitions have been made by the Cincinnati Reds this offseason, some changes have been made to the roster.

The Reds are entering 2014 with a few new faces off the bench and are still waiting to see if any major trade happens. Brandon Phillips’ name comes up a lot and even Homer Bailey has received some speculation for trade (per Dan Wolfson of 1500 ESPN).

The Reds seem willing to shakeup the roster a bit more, and general manager Walt Jocketty usually has a few tricks up his sleeve.

However, who has felt the impact so far, whether it is negative or positive? Some players could be foreseeing less or more playing time.

Let’s go ahead and look at the early winners and losers from offseason shakeups.


All statistics courtesy of unless otherwise noted.

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Weaknesses and Quick Trade Fixes for the Cincinnati Reds

The Cincinnati Reds recently made two quick fixes to their roster that will solidify their team in 2014. According to Mark Sheldon at, the Reds signed Skip Schumaker to a two-year deal that will give them a solid clubhouse player who can fill in at second base and center field.

The Reds also just gave two years to lefty reliever Manny Parra, who was excellent in the bullpen last season.

These quick fixes have helped round out their bullpen as well as add actual depth to their bench. The December meetings are still a few weeks away, and the Reds might not be done with their additions.

Let’s go ahead and look at the weaknesses and the quick trade possibilities for the Reds.



The Reds have their bullpen nearly set after re-signing Parra. The rotation is set with Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Homer Bailey, Mike Leake and Tony Cingrani. However, the Reds could add a veteran pitcher for depth in the minors.

With such a stacked rotation, the Reds aren’t searching for top pitching free agents and likely will pick up someone looking for a second chance at the majors (e.g. Greg Reynolds and Armando Galarraga in 2013).

Even though the Schumaker signing helps the Reds’ outfield bench, they’re still missing a starting center fielder. Another issue lies with Ryan Ludwick’s shoulder and if the 35-year-old can regain his bat speed for 2014.

The club doesn’t seem eager to hand over the starting job to prospect Billy Hamilton just yet. It puts a lot more pressure on a top prospect when they are handed the Opening Day job and are immediately asked to contribute.

The Reds will likely ease Hamilton into the majors next year, but the club can’t count on Schumaker to take over the starting role. The Reds have to look for some sort of veteran outfielder that will easily platoon once Hamilton is ready for the starting position.

The Reds are almost undoubtedly out on Shin-Soo Choo as more teams gain interest on him. His contract will be too expensive and last more years than the Reds would want.’s Jerry Crasnick says agent Scott Boras is looking for more than $126 million for the Korean outfielder.

As for left field, Ludwick will likely get the starting job, but if the team makes any major moves, he could be moved to a bench role.


Quick Fixes: The Outfield

The Reds are going to have a tough time finding a quick solution for their outfield. Schumaker actually has a higher 2013 batting average (.263) than most of the plausible free-agent targets (per

One name that sticks out is veteran Nate McLouth. While he’s not a flashy free agent, McLouth has the potential to be a solid backup until Hamilton is ready for the majors.

McLouth has only played 13 games in the last two years at center, but had 55 games during his 2011 season with the Atlanta Braves. McLouth is a short-term fix for outfield help and would better platoon with questions around Ludwick.

McLouth earned $2 million last season and is likely looking for a similar deal in free agency. He’s an affordable platoon player for the Reds and they could improve their outfield with McLouth and Schumaker off the bench.


Quick Fixes: The Rotation

Again, the Reds are in no desperate search for a starting pitcher. However, Aroldis Chapman is likely staying in the rotation, and there’s still a question mark surrounding injury-prone Cueto.

The Reds would be smart to add a sixth pitcher for the rotation and have them start in the minors. The Reds could easily add veteran Jon Garland to their Triple-A rotation.

Garland was dropped by the Colorado Rockies near the end of the season and could be a no-risk addition for an emergency backup role (per

These moves are not going to severely upgrade the team, but they could give the Reds enough depth to last through the season. The Reds are certainly going to have to get creative to find the last few pieces to the puzzle.


All statistics courtesy of unless otherwise noted.


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Playing Fact or Fiction with the Latest Cincinnati Reds Rumors

The Cincinnati Reds are quietly putting their team together for the 2014 season. It seems almost inevitable that a crucial trade or acquisition is on the horizon.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, another piece to the roster puzzle could be in place with second baseman and outfield utility man Skip Schumaker.

Schumaker would add some depth to the Reds’ bench. He held a decent .263/.332/.332 slash line in 2013, which was his worst since 2006 (per He might not be a sexy free agent pickup, but he’ll surely help the team.

The Reds are still surrounded by some drastic rumors for the offseason. Let’s go ahead and play fact or fiction with the Reds’ latest rumors.


All statistics are courtesy of unless otherwise noted.

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Should the Cincinnati Reds Trade Brandon Phillips This Offseason?

It seems like the Cincinnati Reds can’t stay out of offseason headlines as they watch their division foes St. Louis Cardinals play for a world championship once again.

The news started after the Reds early postseason exit and the firing of manager Dusty Baker. Now, the Reds appear to be shopping one of their best players and fan favorite Brandon Phillips (per The Reds also appear to have decided on a new manager with Bryan Price, the team’s pitching coach since 2010.

The Phillips news comes as a slight shock since he’s still owed $50 million on his contract through the 2017 season. Even though Phillips had a career-high 103 RBI this season, he only managed a .261 average and .310 on-base percentage, his worst since joining the Reds (per

The Reds are in search of a leadership-driven player and Phillips might not fit the organization’s particular mold. However, trading Phillips could send the wrong message to the clubhouse and leave a black hole at second base.

Let’s go ahead and look at the pros and cons of Phillips being moved this offseason.




There’s really one significant issue with Phillips staying on the Reds’ roster: his contract. The Reds would love to see some of that money Phillips is owed go toward resigning Shin-Soo Choo.

However, getting Choo to come back to Cincinnati will be the hardest task for the Reds this offseason. As a Scott Boras client, Choo will be looking for an absurd amount of money next season.

Boras wants an egregious $100 million-plus contract for the Korean outfielder, but Choo will likely fall under the nine-digit payday. On the other hand, Choo will not come cheap especially after San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence just landed $90 million at nearly the same age.

Freeing some of Phillips’ $50 million would certainly help the Reds make an admirable offer to Choo. While Phillips’ bat shouldn’t be ignored—Choo is the better offensive player.

Another concern is the large amount of money going to arbitration eligible players this offseason. projects $27.4 million could be handed out in next season in arbitration cases alone. The Reds might want to use more money on retaining a high-quality pitcher like Homer Bailey.

Lastly, moving Phillips could change the face of the Reds. Phillips has always been a favorite, but his recent outburst toward’s C. Trent Rosecrans proved he still lacks maturity (per

Despite Phillips’ controversial tirade, nothing has upset the Reds’ front office more than his public criticisms on his contract issued the year before (per Cincinnati Magazine). It’s never a good sign when a player feels entitled to more and has four years remaining on their contract.

While Phillips is known for giving his honest opinion, the Reds might feel the club would do better without his controversy.



If the Reds trade Phillips from the team, then they’re losing possibly one of the best defensive players in the game. Cincinnati is spoiled with jaw-dropping plays from their second baseman and he’s helped form the Reds into a defensive-driven team.

It’s hard to imagine the Reds receiving anything near the quality of Phillips if he were traded. Even though Phillips lands around the middle of the pack in average and on-base percentage for NL second basemen, he still had an incredible .338 average with runners in scoring position (per

A lot was asked from Phillips this season when Ryan Ludwick went on the disabled list. Phillips rose to the occasion and put the weight on his shoulders in the cleanup role of the lineup.

Another huge factor to consider is the Reds would likely have to eat some of his contract. While making $50 million disappear seems nice, it’s extremely unlikely that the Reds could move a 32-year-old second baseman without sending some cash.

A recent rumor has the Atlanta Braves interested in obtaining Phillips in a trade for Dan Uggla. Even if a top-prospect were added to the mix, the Reds would be getting a player who has drastically declined in batting average over the last three years from .233 to .179.

Also, Uggla is owed $26 million over the next two years, which is possibly one of the worst remaining contracts for a team to own. Even if it could get the money freed up immediately to chase Choo, it would be a large downgrade both defensively and offensively.

The Reds could be in a much worse situation with their second basemen and there aren’t quite as many positives to trading Phillips as there are negatives. While his contract still looks enormous, the Reds should expect his batting average to rise.

Phillips is in need of a steady year where he can hold a solid spot in the lineup. Hopefully Phillips returns healthy and it will certainly be interesting watching him with new manager Bryan Price.

Baker was always known as a player’s manager and it appears the Reds are looking for the opposite next season in Price. Phillips could be pressured by Price’s new role to step up for his team.

Trading Phillips before he works with a new manager would be impractical. The Reds should work with what they’ve got and see if Phillips can improve in 2014.

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Predicting the Cincinnati Reds’ Full 2013 Postseason Roster

The Cincinnati Reds secured their third trip to the postseason in three years last night with a late-inning victory and a Washington Nationals loss.

While the chances of winning the NL Central are becoming harder each day—the Reds will likely battle the Pittsburgh Pirates for home-field advantage in the last five games.

The Reds can start to plan their postseason roster, which comes with a few not-so-secret weapons this year.

The city of Cincinnati would riot if prized base-stealing Billy Hamilton didn’t make the final cut. However, who are the other 24 players we can expect to see in October?

Let’s go ahead and predict which Reds players we will see on the full playoff roster.


Projected Lineup 

1 Shin-Soo Choo, CF

2 Brandon Phillips, 2B

3 Joey Votto, 1B

4 Ryan Ludwick, LF

5 Jay Bruce, RF

6 Todd Frazier, 3B

7 Zack Cozart, SS

8 Ryan Hanigan, C


It’s pretty simple to guess what lineup manager Dusty Baker will use in the postseason. Even with Ryan Ludwick missing a large portion of the season, Baker will be happy to keep the power hitter in the cleanup spot.

The only argument could be whether or not Jay Bruce bats cleanup. Bruce has hit well in the fourth spot with a .283 average, 11 extra-base hits and 23 RBI in 92 at-bats.

However, with Ludwick finding his rhythm after returning from the disabled list, it’s doubtful Baker toys with his lineup.


Projected Bench

Chris Heisey, OF

Xavier Paul, OF

Billy Hamilton, OF

Jack Hannahan, IF

Cesar Izturis, IF

Devin Mesoraco, C


For those who have been living under a rock for about the last month—you’ve missed the most exciting rookie this season since Yasiel Puig.

Billy Hamilton has become an absolute force when he’s on base and holds a perfect 13-for-13 stolen-base record too. Hamilton has been stealing second base primarily on the first pitch to the plate. Pitchers know he’s going. Catchers know he’s going. Everyone in the stadium knows Hamilton is going on the first pitch.

With that kind of speed, the Reds could seriously benefit off his talents during any close game.

The main player left off the postseason bench will likely be outfielder Derrick Robinson. While he’s shown decent play for the Reds this season, Baker will stick to Xavier Paul for his power.


Projected Starting Rotation

1 Mat Latos, RHP

2 Homer Bailey, RHP

3 Bronson Arroyo, RHP

4 Johnny Cueto, RHP


The Reds are still chasing their most important goal of winning the NL Central title. It’s getting a little tricky with the amount of games left and with the importance of winning against the Pirates in the final three games of the season.

Soon enough, the Reds are going to have to choose. The club might have to hold off starting Mat Latos this weekend if they want him to have a full five days rest for the possible wild card game next Tuesday.

The Reds might also need to use their current ace of the rotation to beat the Pirates for home-field advantage.

The best news for the likely rotation is Johnny Cueto’s return. Cueto gives the Reds an outstanding fourth pitcher (if the club makes it to the NLDS).

While Mike Leake has been great this year, Cueto is a Cy Young candidate when he’s healthy. Cueto has given up only seven hits and one earned run in the 12 innings pitched since returning from the DL.

Homer Bailey could be an option for the wild card game if the Reds face the Pirates. His career numbers certainly make a case. He has an 8-4 record with a 2.69 ERA and 8.1 K/9 rating against the Pirates (per

If the Pirates win home-field advantage, the Reds could start Bailey. He seems to pitch his best at PNC Park with a 5-1 record with a career 1.60 ERA.


Projected Bullpen

CL Aroldis Chapman, LHP

SU J.J. Hoover, RHP

SU Sean Marshall, LHP

MID Sam LeCure, RHP

MID Manny Parra, LHP

MID Alfredo Simon, RHP

LR Mike Leake, RHP


The biggest uncertainty for the Reds’ postseason roster is who makes the bullpen. The question depends on how fast Tony Cingrani can recover from his back spasms.

Cingrani recently threw 25 pitches in a bullpen session and felt no pain (per The rookie has earned a spot on the roster this year. Cingrani collected 120 strikeouts in 104.2 innings pitched. He held opposing hitters to a .196 average, which is the best for Reds starters this year.

The dilemma is between a pitcher who still might be injured during the postseason or on a reliever who has been outstanding lately.

Alfredo Simon is often a Reds pitcher whose great work goes unnoticed. Simon only gave up two earned runs and five walks through his last 10 appearances. Simon had three crucial scoreless innings against the Pirates this weekend with just one hit.

Cingrani might not be as valuable since the Reds will have long-reliever Mike Leake in their bullpen. With Cueto’s dominant return, Leake will likely be sent to the bullpen.

Leake has been a big surprise this year in the rotation. He has a 14-6 record with a 3.21 ERA and 120 strikeouts. Leake is about to reach 200 innings for the first time in his career as well.

However, the Reds’ rotation is good enough to move him to the bullpen for any postseason series.

The Reds are getting great momentum from their roster heading into October and hope this year’s crew can take them deeper into the playoffs.



All statistics courtesy of, unless otherwise noted.


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The Events That Dramatically Changed the Cincinnati Reds’ Season

The Cincinnati Reds have had their fair share of ups and downs this season. Many sportswriters (including me) had them taking the NL Central for the second-straight year.

However, this season has been nothing short of a dramatic uphill climb. The best part is that there are still nine extremely important games left as the Reds now sit only two games back of the St. Louis Cardinals.

There have been many notable events this season that have positioned the Reds where they are in the standings. The smooth transition from injured Johnny Cueto to Tony Cingrani is certainly one of them.

Several injuries have kept this club from playing at its full potential. On the other hand, numerous injured key players have returned to the club.

While Redleg Nation hopes to move toward another division title in the remaining games, here’s a look at the events that dramatically changed the Cincinnati Reds’ season.



All statistics courtesy of unless otherwise noted. 

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Stock Up, Stock Down for Cincinnati Reds’ Top 10 Prospects

As the minor league season comes to an end, the Cincinnati Reds have a timely opportunity to see some of their top prospects in the majors with the September call-ups.

Reds fans finally have had the chance to witness the unbelievable speed of Cincinnati’s No. 1 prospect—Billy Hamilton. Hamilton has only been a pinch-runner in two games, but he’s collected two stolen bases and two runs in that time.

It certainly is an exciting time for Reds prospects, but as the minor league season fades away—there’s plenty to take away from their seasons.

Focusing on the Reds’ top prospects according to their official site, here are the stock reports for the top 10 prospects.


All statistics courtesy of unless otherwise noted.

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Billy Hamilton Gets His First Stolen Base with the Reds on His MLB Premiere

It looks like Cincinnati Reds’ top prospect Billy Hamilton isn’t going to waste your time.

Hamilton entered tonight’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh inning as a pinch runner and it only took one pitch before Hamilton tested possibly the best arm in the game.

Yadier Molina could do nothing but grin at the young speedster and pull down his catcher’s mask. It seems like this could be one of the great matchups between the Reds and Cardinals for years to come. Tonight we received a nice little sample.

Dusty Baker’s decision to pull Ryan Ludwick after his seventh inning single was a critical decision. With a lot of goose eggs on the board, Hamilton rose to the situation and showed fans in Cincinnati the importance of a stolen base. His steal then lead to a RBI double by Todd Frazier to give the Reds their only run in a 1-0 win.

Hamilton’s first year in Triple-A proved to be a grueling one. After batting .311/.410/.420 in 2012 (per, Hamilton’s number’s dropped significantly in Louisville.

However, after the minor league All-Star Game, Hamilton showed signs of resurgence with a .283/.324/.367 slash line. Hamilton still led all of the International League with 75 stolen bases for the season.

After tonight’s game, Baker might be more prone to test the young center fielder. Reds fans knew it was only a matter of time, but it’s extra special since the kid showed nothing but confidence against a veteran catcher in Molina.


It’s not every day you see a player steal a base in his first major league game. It’s even rarer when it comes against a Hall of Fame-worthy catcher throwing out 43% of runners this season (per

If anything, Hamilton certainly adds excitement at the most crucial time of the season.

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Predicting What the Cincinnati Reds’ Starting Lineup Will Look Like Next Year

The Cincinnati Reds appear to be running on all cylinders toward their first possible back-to-back postseason appearances since 1975-76, per

Even though Ryan Ludwick was injured on Opening Day, the Reds have counted on new additions to the team this season.

Shin-Soo Choo has been a major help with his NL second-best .415 OBP. His ability—along with that of Joey Votto—to get on base has given Brandon Phillips 134 at-bats and a .366 average this season with runners in scoring position.

However, if we play the prediction game and look ahead, Choo likely won’t be on the roster in 2014. John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer speculated that it might take something along the lines of four years and $60 million to sign Choo.

The Reds would have to get awfully creative with their spending since they’re already over $100 million for 2013, per

Without overshadowing this great 2013 season or becoming too caught up with 2014, let’s take a look at the possible starting lineup for next season.


All statistics are courtesy of unless otherwise noted.

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Stock Up, Stock Down for Cincinnati Reds’ Top 10 Prospects for Week of April 15

The Cincinnati Reds’ top prospects come in as a very young core of players. The 2013 minor league season will determine how well the organization is stocked for the future.

Only a few weeks into the season, we’ve already seen one top prospect, Tony Cingrani, pitch in Cincinnati. We’ve also seen Billy Hamilton notch 13 steals in Triple-A.

It’s too early to overcriticize lackluster performances within the first few weeks. However, it’s relevant to see who is underperforming or standing out in the system.

Here are the current stock positions for the Reds’ top 10 prospects.


All statistics courtesy of unless otherwise noted.

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