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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Trading Deadline Ramblings

So, in the end, only two moves were made prior to the non-waiver trading deadline this season, and only one involved moving a player (Lohse) who was going to walk for no return at the end of the season. The other three candidates that I most expected to be traded -- Hatteberg, Weathers, and Conine -- are staying with the Reds, at least for now.

It's not impossible that one or all of them could squeak through trade waivers and be traded over these last two months. But it has to be considered less likely to happen than a trade prior to the deadline. The biggest surprise, to me, was the failure to move Hatteberg. I really like him, but I figured these last two months would be a great opportunity to bring up Votto and give him some big league experience, at least against right-handed pitchers. Hatteberg would be a great injury replacement for a team at first base, and would be a fantastic guy to have on your bench when you're making a playoff run. He's an ideal pinch hitter--a high OBP, high contact guy that is exactly who you want at the plate when you have a runner on third base. So it seems like he would have had value. ... But at the same time, he wouldn't have brought a top-flight prospect in return either.

Nevertheless, there are some good things that come from this rather uneventful deadline. Adam Dunn was not traded, and while we won't hear anything about it for a while, I'll be surprised if the Reds would take the talent hit of not picking up his extension for next year. As Joel points out, there is certainly room in the budget to keep him.

I had argued for a trade of Griffey (for good return). But Joel's runs scored analysis, which was featured in the Sunday Enquirer article, does provide a compelling argument about why the Reds should keep him (and Dunn). I think it's a bit risky, but if you're going to gamble on a hitter to keep producing at age 38, you can do worse than gambling on Griffey. If he comes through, and we see the improvements we expect to see next season among some of our other young offensive players, the Reds could have an outstanding offense next season. And a truly outstanding offense could mean that a playoff run is a legitimate possibility with only modest improvement in pitching and defense.

The surprising Matt Morris trade today indicates, to me, that the Reds got a reasonable return on Lohse--Rajai Davis has some on-base skills, but at 26.8 yrs, he's hardly a prospect, and I'm happier taking Maloney for the Reds' needs. At best, Davis seems comparable to Chris Denorfia with less power, and Denorfia "just" brought Marcus McBeth in return. Pittsburgh is taking on a sizable salary both this and next season, but Morris is still a decent pitcher, and they get control over him next year. Morris also has a better track record than Lohse, though Lohse's performance this season is a bit better. So I would have rated their value to a contender as more or less equivalent this season. He should help Pittsburgh.

So overall, while I would have liked to see another small deal or two, the Reds could have done a lot worse. Despite all the rumors about Adam Dunn's departure, Krivsky stuck to his guns and demanded the appropriate high price for Dunn. It meant that he didn't get a deal done, but it also meant that he didn't accept a return below Dunn's worth.


  1. Absolute shame that the only guy we traded was Kyle Lohse.

    I would have tried to move Dunn. His bat is good. His glove is very bad. Overall, he might be worth 13 million, but after next season he will get 15+ and he is not worth that to the Reds because of the limited payroll and in 2009 the Reds give big pay increases to Harang and Arroyo. Sure, Griffeys money probably comes off of the books, but I just don't see any NL team paying him that much money to play the field. Anyways, onto other guys.

    How on earth you cant move Jeff Conine is beyond me. I am sure someone called and offered something for him. I don't care if the offer was bad.... take it. He has said he is going to retire at the end of the year, and lets be honest, he isn't going to make or break this team.

    Almost the same goes for Hatteberg. I have no problem with him at all, but he is not a part of the future plans, his value is probably at its highest it will ever be the rest of his career and we have his replacement waiting in AAA hitting over .300 with a great OBP and the kid can slug better than Hatteberg can. There is no reason he is still a Red. The fact that he is makes me wonder if the Reds are thinking of trading Votto in the offseason, because there is no reason he is not playing in Cincinnati yesterday.
    Weathers.... the Reds may say he was off the market, but thats not true at all. He was in a deal with the Braves as recently as Saturday, but the Reds pulled out of the deal and the Braves then traded Kyle Davies somewhere else. I wouldn't have made the deal either becuase the other parts were bad on both sides, but I would have really thought about moving him given the right situation.

    All in all, I am very disappointed that the Reds made absolutely no moves other than Lohse. And no, the Cantu/Cumberland deal doesn't count when you trade minor leaguers for minor leaguers. Krivsky should be fired.... and not just for his trade dead line non deals. The guy has no clue what makes a winning baseball team.

  2. How they handle Votto and Encarnacion will probably be what makes or breaks my opinion of Krivsky. I agree with pretty much everything you said, but I'm just not ready to call for his head yet. I don't really know why...I'm just not ready.

    Maybe I'm the forgiving sort...the fact that he didn't completely screw up at the deadline (i.e. didn't trade Dunn for Dotel or something) has me feeling better about him than I have in weeks... Doesn't mean I love him, but I'm not not ready to can him yet. In general, I think a GM deserves at least three seasons to get the team moving in the right direction. It will be interesting to see what he does in the offseason. If he once again does nothing of consequence, I'll probably be ready to dismiss him.

    As far as Dunn goes, I think keeping him for next season was the right move. His glove isn't good, but at his position, he's costing the team less than Griffey is. Dunn will make a lot in '09, and maybe not with the Reds, but I have to expect that he'd be considered a class-A free agent, and therefore should bring good draft picks in return for his departure if a good deal isn't made a year from now. And by then, Jay Bruce should be ready to step in and replace the talent gap in the least in part, as Griffey may either leave or be a non-factor (due to injury or something) as well.

    Still, I wonder if Castellini has already decided to make a move at the end of the season. He certainly seemed ready to ditch Wayne at the Narron press conference. Ah, well.

  3. Is there any possibility that Hatteberg might qualify as a Class B free agent? Seems unlikely, but that might be the gamble Krivsky's taking.

    (Conine slipped through waivers last year, so he could likely do the same this August. Hatteberg, too.)

  4. Well, in order to qualify as a Class B, you have to be in the top 40% at your position category. Based on something Devil's Advocate posted a few days ago in another thread, that would mean that Hatteberg would need to be in the top 40% of 1B's, LF's, and RF's. I doubt he'd qualify, but if Elias's formula puts enough weight on batting average or OBP, and little enough weight on power, he might just.

    Rich Aurilia qualified last year as a class B, but he posted much better power numbers than Hatteberg has/will. I'm also not sure if Aurilia was identified as a first baseman or a 2b/3b-man. If it's the latter, that puts him up against weaker competition, offensively. -j

  5. I didn't realize 1B were ranked with corner OF. Interesting.

  6. Actually, just looked it up, and it's worse: Hatteberg's group includes 1B, DH's, and all outfielders. Here's a link to last season's rankings--keep in mind that the range for type A players shrinks to the top 20% (instead of the top 30%) with the new CBA this offseason, while type B's shift to the 20-40% group (instead of the 30-50% group).

    Last season, based on his '05-'06 performance, Hatteberg was ranked 62/115 in the NL 1B/DH/OF category with a score of 48.696. He'll likely have to raise his score ~10 points in order to reach the class B category. Unfortunately, we have no idea how difficult that is to do, because we have no idea how these scores are calculated...

  7. P.S. Aurilia was ranked a class A, in the 2B/3B/SS category. Schoeneweis was a class B in the RP category.

    I think the reason we didn't get the Giant's first-round pick is that they were among the top-15 picks (due to a record in the bottom-15), and those are protected. But I haven't confirmed that yet. -j

  8. Yep, that's the rule Justin, and the Giants had the 10th pick (saw just now where a rainout cost them #9, which might've been a bummer).

    Doesn't seem like Hatteberg would net us a draft pick, which is a seriously underrated component to general managin'. Ah well, maybe they plan to bring him back next year, which wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. Still would rather seem him get a chance to play for a contender, for his sake and the team's.