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John Fay
John Fay has been the Reds beat writer for the Enquirer since 2001. Prior to that, he served in a variety of roles for the Enquirer: backup Reds writer, UC beat writer, backup Bengals writer and as a general assignment reporter. He is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Elder High School and the University of Dayton.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Free agency II

I get the feeling that the Reds' emphasis for free agency will be on relief pitching because the talent pool is deeper than it is for starters.

The Reds got of the gate early last year by signing Alex Gonzalez. That could happen again -- before the market gets too high.

The question is will the Reds make a run at someone like Francisco Cordero (44 saves, 2.98 ERA), the best closer on the list of free agents not named Mariano Rivera. Cordero's going to get a whole lot of money.

My guess that the payroll would be in the $75 million range may have been low. The club is going get to more in revenue-sharing and luxury tax, so maybe they can shop with the big boys.


at 6:23 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't tease us. But time will tell. It would be nice to get a closer though.

at 6:26 PM Blogger Chris at Redleg Nation said...

Even though there's more talent out there this year, I think the price of relievers will still be high -- probably too high for the level of risk you're taking on. I'd much prefer a Kevin-Towers-style bullpen on the cheap.

at 6:42 PM Blogger Don said...

John, are you merely speculating or is this post an educated guess. In other words, are you hearing something through the grapevine about these things? Also, what would be your best guess now as to the 2008 team payroll.

at 7:30 PM Blogger steve said...

John keep up the good work lets us know of any names you hear. Last do you think Pete Mac will be back with the reds he still has not found a job yet that I have heard of?

at 8:04 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete Mac not finding a job should tell you how much the rest of the league thinks of him.

at 8:58 PM Blogger Nathan said...

The Yanks offered Rivera $45 Mil over 3 years-Hopefully that brings some reality to some of the posters who have been suggesting the Reds sign him (among others).

at 10:45 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

well here's the deal, the reds have to sign a free agent closer and use surplus outfielders for starter to go with harang and arroyo while the young players develop. we missed the boat this year by not dumping some payroll for some more prospects, and wasted money last offseason on stanton. a closer like cordero would push weathers and burton back an inning and should help the starters. often our starters went way too long in games because there was no confidence in the bullpen.

at 11:04 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trade for starting pitching, sign free agent bullpen help.

at 7:29 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last years free agent reliever worked out well eh?

at 8:02 AM Anonymous Gary214 said...

I could be wrong here, perhaps I have my (memory-stored) stats mixed up, but didn't Cordero have better stats at home than on the road? I guess this is my point...did he have that kind of success last year because he is that good, or was it the park that made the man? Is he the strikeout/groundball type closer GAPB needs? (I know I could do some research here and answer my own questions, but I'm getting ready to hop on a plane and was hoping some of you fans might have my answers.)

I still think the Reds have a powerful closer-in-the-making with Burton...and would like to see Everyday Eddie give us one good YEAR while we wait to unleash Jarod.

at 8:16 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Reds biggest need is greater strength up the middle. Any truly great team starts with a tough catcher who can really hit, particularly in clutch situations. Does anyone really think David Ross or Javy Valentin fits this bill? I'll answer that:

at 9:16 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps I'm the only one that feels this way, but I think the Reds have enough bullpen talent, when used correctly and consistently in the same manner, to get by. I hope they don't dump a lot of money in the pen just because the market for starting pitching is so thin. Maybe I'm just nervous that Krivsky's tinkering with the bullpen has been less-than stellar so far.

at 9:39 AM Anonymous Brendan T- Indy said...

Seven comments and none of them have been the obligatory Mr. Redlegs "I'm smarter than all of you. You all are clueless" posts?

Someone may want to put an APB out for Mr. Redlegs!

at 9:41 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

One that I would try to go out and sign is Latroy Hawkins. The righthander from Rockies

at 11:27 AM Blogger Zach said...

Amazing. No mention of trading Freel or Hopper for someone far beyond their value.

at 11:48 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cordero for 2-3 years would be good, and then Burton plus Weathers would be great set up men. Remember it is about having 2-3 guys for those last 2+ plus innings, not just one. It wasn't the ninth that gave Reds fits last year...


at 12:26 PM Blogger Ctownboy said...

The SMART thing to have done was let Dunn walk, get the two Amateur Draft picks and use his money on a Closer (like Cordero). That way, Hopper could have started in Left with Hamilton in Center and KGJ in Right.

Then, the Offense would have been more balanced (with a lead-off hitter that sparks the Offense) and the Reds could have competed better against Left Handed Pitching. Also, if Keppinger were to play Short Stop and bat second, that would help and the line-up wouldn't be soooo streaky and also wouldn't Strike Out soo much.

Alex Gonzalex could then be traded, either for a Starting Pitcher or to the Giants for Bengie Molina.

at 1:37 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

it is unthinkable to let a young guy like Adam Dunn go with the numbers he put up. A core of Dunn, Jr, Phillips, Votto, Hamilton, Keppinger (yes I like him better than Gonzo), Harang, Arroya and Bailey is something to be optimistic about. If Edwin gets it together for a full season, then you have a great offensive team. Spend the money on relief pitching and an everyday catcher.

at 1:59 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its a really bad idea for the Reds to sign high priced free agent relievers. Bullpen guys are the most inconsistent people in all of baseball, and the Reds can't afford to sign people for a lot of money and not have them produce. (see Milton, Griffey) Its whats been holding the Reds back for the last six years. If they sign Cordero to huge money and he bombs, which is likely, considering he is getting older, the Reds just set them back four more years. How about getting a ton of low risk high reward guys. Some of them will pitch well.

at 3:01 PM Blogger Ctownboy said...

How about DRAFTING Pitching instead of Outfielders since that is cheaper than signing Free Agents or trading for them?? The Reds COULD have had Lincecum but they instead drafted Stubbs. THAT was exactly what the Reds needed, another Strike Out prone power hitter.

Look, in Bill James handbook, he said that hitting Home Runs in GASP was 33% easier than in other parks for 2007 and 28% easier from 2005-2007. So, finding an Outfielder who can hit Home Runs is EASY!!! That is why the Reds should have let Dunn go. He is a tee-ball hitter playing Home Run derby.

If the ball is on the outside of the plate, Dunn WONT swing at it. That is why he Walks 100 times a year and Strikes Out almost 200 times. He is gambling that the Pitcher CAN NOT control his Pitches and he can not consistently throw Strikes over the outside part of the plate. IF the Pitcher can, then Dunn Strikes Out. That is why Dunn often takes a called Third Strike with Runners In Scoring Position, he is hoping the Pitcher will give in and throw a ball down the middle (like on a tee).

Not hitting the ball to the opposite field is why Dunn is a sub - .250 career hitter and why Brandon Phillips hit MORE opposite field Home Runs than Dunn in 2007 even though he hit 10 LESS Home Runs over-all.

$13 million dollars is TOO MUCH for the Reds to pay Adam Dunn. His Offense CAN be replaced and his Defense CAN be upgraded.

at 3:04 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

A bit more reality. CNNSI predict Loshe will sign for 9 mil a year at 3-4 years.

at 3:40 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lot of people want to see Hopper as an evryday starter and let any or all of the actual starting outfielders go without a fight. I like Hopper too, but can't any of you see what a phenominally bad idea it would be to have him as the evryday starter? He barely had 10 RBIs last year and 89 less homers than Dunn, Griffey and Hamilton combined. Hell, Ellison had more homers than Hopper by, oh...one!
As if the huge drop in power weren't enough to convince you what a bad idea this would be, take into consideration what Hopper's strengths actually are. A spray hitter who relies on speed and deception. He's great at getting bunt hits when no one is looking for them. Well how long do you think it will take opposing teams to get hip to his tricks after facing him 4 or 5 times a day evry day? They could safely play him in evrytime since they know he's not going to hit it out. With runners on, this could lead to a lot of rally ending double plays. On top of that, he doesn't walk as much as a lead off hitter should.
His greatest strength for the team would be as a pinch hitter. This is where he would be best used----tight situations where you need the element of surprise to keep the rally going just long enough for the power hitters at the heart of the order to get up

at 3:49 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who is going to want to pitch in the Great American Bandbox? If they want to attract pitchers, spend some more dough and change the ballfield.

at 3:53 PM Blogger maus said...

Pay big money to sign a 32 year old closer who had more than 25% of his career saves last year? I'll pass.

I'd rather roll the dice on Burton at closer and Weathers setting up. Maybe sign L. Hawkins if we can get him for cheap (because he likes Dusty).

The Reds on ready to "go for the gold" next year anyway. Let Bailey, Cueto, Bruce, Burton, Hamilton and Votto get another year under their belts, extend then trade Dunn and Hatteberg midseason 08 and then use the extra money they have this year, NEXT offseason when the pitchers will be more plentiful and less expensive.

'09 then become the year we take back the crown

at 4:10 PM Blogger Joe said...

Anon 1:59... While a good part of me agrees with your theory that spending a lot of money on relief is extremely risky, especially for a team with a middle of the road payroll like ours, I think Cordero is a little different. He seems to be a great fit for us.

Cordero has pitched 10 years in the bigs, but two of those years were less than 20 innings, so we'll throw those out (his ERA was 3.32 and 3.86 in those years, just to let you know that I'm not skewing the stats in his favor). Out of the remaining 8 years, he has had an ERA under 3.00 in 5 of those years and an ERA over 3.4 just twice (one of those years was as a setup man; he is clearly more comfortable at the end of games).

Another plus is his his homerun rate. Over his career, he allows 0.64 HR's per 9 innings and has 9.39 K's per 9.

Another factor to consider is that he has spent most of his career in Texas, which, as many of you know, is one of the better parks for hitters in the game. Coming to a hitter's park here in Cincinnati shouldn't be a big problem for him.

I'd love to have Cordero, but he'll obviously be expensive. With Rivera getting a 3 year offer for $45 million and guys like B.J. Ryan and Billy Wagner signing for $10 and $11 million per year, I'd expect Cordero to ask for something in the range of 4 years, and somewhere in the range of $9-11 million. That is a lot of money to spend on a player who might only appear in a fourth of your games, but we lost a lot of games in the 8th inning last year. Being able to put Burton in the 7th and Weathers in the 8th would do wonders for our bullpen in my opinion. Just thinking about how I feel when the Reds are playing the Mets or the Dodgers or the Padres and we're down by a run our two in the 9th. In comes Wagner or Saito or Hoffman, and I know we have almost no shot of winning. That's what the Red's need.

at 6:04 PM Anonymous Matt said...

Cordero's not coming here. Read carefully what John wrote. He said the Reds, with a little higher payroll might go after someone like Cordero, not that they are. It's the kind of bold move that the Reds are known for passing up in favor of overpriced has-beens and never-will-be's.

at 6:14 PM Blogger Ctownboy said...

Anon 3:40

I guess you were not paying much attention to the Reds last year. Hopper hit .365 after the All Star break and he hit very well against Left Handed Pitching, something the Reds have struggled with (Dunn, Hamilton, Hatteberg). If you don't think Hopper could keep that up the whole year, think again because he won a Minor League batting title (.337).

The ONLY reason Adam Dunn had a good second half of the season was because Hopper and Keppinger were inserted into the line-up. THose two got on base more often than the previous one and two hitters and thus, Dunn had MORE opportunites to drive people in. Dunn didn't hit any better he just had more guys on.

Also, during the second half of the season, the Reds scored MORE Runs per game than they did in the first half of the season while hitting LESS Home Runs. The Reds record during the second half of the season was also better.

In recent years, the Reds have had problems winning on the Road and that is because they rely too much on the Home Run. It is EASY to hit Home Runs at GASP but much harder to hit them on the Road. So, the Reds Home Run first philosophy does NOT work on the Road.

Hopper and Keppinger give the Reds an added dimension as far as the Offense goes. They DON'T try and hit Home Runs so they have more success against more types of Pitchers. THAT gives the Reds a better chance to score and thus win ball games.

Now that Dunn is going to be back, the best Hopper can do is platoon with Hamilton in Center Field. I doubt that will even happen though because of the Reds (and Baker's) love affair with the Home Run. My guess is that Hamilton will play Center Field and lead-off with Hopper sitting the bench.

That is some reward for being one of the best hitters in ALL the NL for the second half of 2007....

at 9:58 AM Blogger Kyblu said...

The Rangers just let go of a starting pitcher with an ERA under 3.80. Would that be a person that could go well with what we now have?

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