Paul Daugherty’s blog post at the Cincinnati Enquirer has me flummoxed.
In his post, he (rightly) speaks about blowing the whole thing up and re-building the Cincinnati Reds. We wrote about this before the season started. The St. Louis Cardinals are strong, as are the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates. Those latter two franchises also have very strong minor league systems. To summarize – those three franchises aren’t going anywhere soon. Only the Milwaukee Brewers can join the Reds in the “outside looking in” camp in the NL Central.
The thing is, a rebuild required investing in youth. And youth requires waiting 2 or 3 years for things to start coming together. We’re witnessing that with the Cubs right now and all the growing pains that come with it. The thing is, it was a plan. They stuck to it, and it appears to be coming together for them.
Of which players the Reds should hang on to, Daugherty writes:
[Aroldis] Chapman tops the list, followed by [Johnny] Cueto, [Mike] Leake and [Jay] Bruce. Because you need to have some pieces around which to build, [Todd] Frazier and [Devin] Mesoraco stay. [Zack] Cozart, too, if only because there is no one else.
Anyone else? [Joey] Votto and DDBP [Brandon Phillips] aren’t tradeable. I guess [Marlon] Byrd might be, if he keeps hitting, but he wouldn’t bring a lot.
As stated, it’s going to take 2-3 years for a youth movement to take hold and develop. Unless there’s some magical formula I’m unaware of in which it easy to find 25-year olds who are ready to go, of course.
Three years from now, Chapman will be 30, Cueto will be 32, Leake will be 30, and Bruce will be 31. Now is very much the best time to get rid of those guys! They are all either in or soon to exit the prime years of their baseball lives. Three years from now is too late. You do not hang on to those guys to rebuild a team around. You rebuild around players who are currently 25 or younger. For the Reds, the only position player is Billy Hamilton (24) and even him I would consider very expendable. The young pitchers Anthony DeSclafani (25) and Michael Lorenzen (23) – yes, by all means, hang on to those guys.
Todd Frazier is nice, but he’s already 29. Devin Mesoraco (27)? Ya, I suppose a good catcher is hard to find. But this hip thing is starting to become an issue. How long is he going to be capable of catching, if/when he returns from the DL? Cozart (29) stays “because there is no one else”? That’s a bad reason to keep a player.
If I’m the GM of the Cincinnati Reds, I see 23 players on the active roster who I’m completely willing to take offers on. Come and get them.