This is a project where 30 people got together to act as the GMs of the 30 MLB teams with the idea of conducting the offseason in one week. This is what happened in this simulation, not a prediction of what will happen in real life.

By Joe Vasile

In starting out with the Cincinnati Reds, I had both the fortune and the misfortune of inheriting a team in transition. There still existed some talent from the playoff contenders of just a few short years ago, and that alone would be enough to help me to re-tool the roster while still holding onto some talent.

Joey Votto was the only player that I determined would be off-limits, though truthfully I’d have dealt him and his $22 million salary for the right price (e.g.- Andrew Benintendi). So my first order of business became to shed some payroll while at the same time improving what was an offensively-challenged club.

I did so by executing four trades. The first came to me when the San Diego Padres approached me about taking on Billy Hamilton and Brandon Finnegan. Yes, losing those two would hurt, but I saw an opportunity to unload the chronically-injured Homer Bailey in the deal as well. Bailey was owed $18 million for 2017, and I didn’t have a lot of leeway in terms of payroll so shedding that would help.

I was able to snag RF Hunter Renfroe, SS Yangervis Solarte, and RHP Kevin Quackenbush for Hamilton, Finnegan, Bailey and $7 million in cash. This move alone freed up $11 million, netted me a solid MLB-ready corner outfielder and provided a solid upgrade at shortstop over Zack Cozart (for a cheaper salary).

Next I dealt Cozart and $1.7 million to the Seattle Mariners for RHP Dan Altavilla and LHP Ryan Yarbrough. Altavilla provided another young, cheap bullpen arm with Yarbrough still needing some minor league seasoning.
The third trade included shipping a relief pitcher, Michael Lorenzen, to the Detroit Tigers for CF Cameron Maybin and UTIL JaCoby Jones. Again, losing Lorenzen is not fantastic, but Maybin is a nice offensive upgrade from Hamilton and I like Jones’ ability to be versatile coming off the bench.

The fourth and final trade I made involved sending RHP Raisel Iglesias to the Boston Red Sox for LHP Henry Owens and prospect INF Mauricio Dubon. I had intended to try to get C Blake Swihart in the trade as well, but that fell apart quickly when it became evident that I couldn’t move Devin Mesoraco. Again, losing Iglesias hurt, but was helped by my previous reliever acquisitions. Owens will slot into the rotation, and Dubon will start the year in Triple-A Louisville.

So after all this, the 25-man roster looks something like this:

Starting Lineup:
C Devin Mesoraco
1B Joey Votto
2B Brandon Phillips
3B Eugenio Suarez
SS Yangervis Solarte
LF Adam Duvall
CF Cameron Maybin
RF Hunter Renfroe

C Tucker Barnhart
INF Dilson Herrera
OF Kyle Waldrop – Reds #30 prospect*
UTIL JaCoby Jones – Tigers #9 prospect
UTIL Jose Peraza

RHP Dan Straily
RHP Anthony DeSclafani
LHP Henry Owens
RHP Robert Stephenson – #4 prospect
LHP Amir Garrett – #2 prospect

RHP Kevin Quackenbush
RHP Rookie Davis – #8 prospect
RHP Tim Adelman**
RHP Blake Wood
RHP Jumbo Diaz
RHP Dan Altavilla – #22 Seattle prospect
LHP Tony Cingrani

*Prospect rankings according to MLB Pipeline
**Long man/6th starter

The payroll for this team came in at about $80.5 million, a solid $9.5 million short of the $90 million budget I was given. With that I could’ve been a little more aggressive in free agency or attempted to eat some of Brandon Phillips’ $14 million to upgrade at second base, but I’m satisfied with where I came in dollars wise.

If needed, there are a solid number of pitchers in the minor leagues that I can call on, including #29 prospect Jon Moscot, #16 prospect Nick Travieso and #13 Seattle prospect Yarbrough. This year will see the debut of #3 prospect OF Jesse Winker, #15 prospect INF Alex Blandino (who will eventually replace Solarte at SS), #17 prospect OF Phil Ervin, and #12 Boston prospect Dubon (who will play a utility infielder role).

This version of the 2017 Cincinnati Reds is not going to set the world on fire. It is, however, in my opinion a marked improvement on the 2016 club that finished 68-94. I see this as a ceiling 77 to 78-win team that is set up well to have its young players develop and step into starting roles when they are ready. Because of the moves I’ve made this offseason, I would expect the Reds to be contending for a Wild Card by 2018.

Position Name 2017 Salary      
C Devin Mesoraco $7,325,000.00    
C Tucker Barnhart $525,000.00   2017 Budget: $90,000,000.00
1B Joey Votto $22,000,000.00   2017 Spent: $80,580,000.00
2B Brandon Phillips $14,000,000.00   Remaining: $9,420,000.00
3B Eugenio Suarez $560,000.00      
SS Yangervis Solarte $2,700,000.00      
INF Dilson Herrera $525,000.00      
LF Adam Duvall $540,000.00      
CF Cameron Maybin $9,000,000.00      
RF Hunter Renfroe $510,000.00      
OF Kyle Waldrop $510,000.00      
UTIL JaCoby Jones $510,000.00      
UTIL Jose Peraza $510,000.00      
SP Henry Owens $525,000.00      
SP Dan Straily $3,900,000.00      
SP Amir Garrett $510,000.00      
SP Robert Stephenson $510,000.00      
SP Anthony DeSclafani $550,000.00      
RP Kevin Quackenbush $550,000.00      
RP Rookie Davis $550,000.00      
RP Tony Cingrani $1,900,000.00   Jesse Winkler  
RP Tim Adelman $510,000.00   Mauricio Dubon  
RP Blake Wood $2,100,000.00      
RP Jumbo Diaz $550,000.00      
RP Dan Altavilla $510,000.00   Ryan Yarbrough  
  Homer Bailey $7,000,000.00      
  Zack Cozart $1,700,000.00    

5 comments on “GM Project 2016-17: Cincinnati Reds

  • Jonathan Williams

    I’m a little confused by the approach. Hamilton seems to be on the verge of a huge breakout and Schebler looks like the regular right fielder after his two month audition after the Bruce trade. I think you actually got weaker in the Red Sox trade.
    I don’t mean to pick on you in particular but I’d love to see a version of this project with owners who actually follow the teams involved and are familiar with the rosters and progress made by the players over the course of the season. This is probably a handicap of the timing involved. Maybe we should take more time, like a month so folks can get familiar with rosters and take more time to plan an approach.

    • Brian Joura

      Hamilton is on the verge of a breakout? Sorry, not buying that one. He’s never shown any special BABIP ability and he needed a .361 mark to post a .279/.351/.316 line over his last 213 PA. In 1,547 PA in the majors, he has a .301 BABIP

      • Jonathan Williams

        He’s hitting the ball harder and with his speed I think that is the key to Hamilton becoming a productive offensive player.

        • Brian Joura

          Hamilton’s Hard Hit%

          Lifetime — Soft 22%, Medium 58.4, Hard 19.7
          2016 — Soft 21.8 Medium 59.1, Hard 19.1

  • MattyMets

    Cincinnati is a team that fascinates me. A few years ago they were a nice looking team. Then they traded off most of their pitching staff to save money. But, other than Jay Bruce, they’ve kept the offense intact. I’m not sure this is by design though. Votto’s contract makes him untraceable and Phillips, while a nice trade chip, has a no-trade clause and really likes it in Cinci.

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