Sunday, April 24, 2005

 

Reds Outfield Situation

The Reds have a situation most teams would kill for; that is, to have too many very talented outfielders. Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey Jr., Wily Mo Pena, and Austin Kearns all have different strengths and weaknesses, and all seem to be essential to this offense. So what does a Reds team with a struggling pitching staff (and at the moment, a surprisingly struggling offense) do? They are going to have to get creative:

1) Trade Sean Casey for a starting pitcher, and convert Adam Dunn to first base for good.

2) Trade one of three outfielders: Kearns, Griffey, or Pena.

3) Package Randa with either Casey or one of the outfielders to form a tasty pre-deadline treat for a team in need of some offense to gain some pitching.

4) Do something insane, like attempt to play Wily Mo Pena in the infield.

Something tells me #4 isn't going to pan out, although this is a team that can afford to be creative like so. Option #2 does not seem as open as it looks to be, as Kearns value is low due to injury and a slow start, and Griffey is a walking health question with a hefty contract. The one with the most trade value is one that Cinci does not want to part with. Does that leave #1 as the best option? Let's take a look at some figures...

Casey: .292/.355/.454; .064 MLVr, age 30
Griffey: .257/.353/.496; .085 MLVr, age 35
Pena: .278/.345/.524; .130 MLVr, age 23
Kearns: .283/.384/.496; .159 MLVr, age 25
Dunn: .270/.395/.565; .252 MLVr, age 25
Randa: .270/.332/.405; -.057 MLVR, age 35

Edwin Encarnacion (3B prospect): .255/.317/.420; -0.75 MLVr, age 22

I threw Encarnacion's numbers into the mix incase Randa gets traded.

From the numbers here, we can see a few things:

1) Dunn stays.
2) Pena is the next best power hitter
3) Kearns might be better all-around, but is a health risk
4) We know Griffey is too expensive to move
5) Randa's season numbers so far should help him overshoot his projection slightly, or atleast look attractive to a potential trade partner.
6) Casey is the worst first base option, popular choice or not.

So what do you do? Pena, Kearns and Dunn are all too young, with too much talent (not to mention MLVr potential) to let go, even for a good pitcher. Casey and Randa for a pitcher on the market seems to be the way to go, but who will be selling come July?

Peter Gammons, back in early April, listed these potential free agent pitchers:

A.J. Burnett, Fla
Chris Carpenter, StL
Matt Morris, StL
Brad Penny, LA
Jeff Weaver, LA
Tim Wakefield, Bos
Brett Tomko, SF
Tony Armas Jr., Wash
Jarrod Washburn, LAA

If I remember correctly, Carpenter and Morris got contract, and I know Wake did. That leaves Burnett (pitching amazingly so far) Brad Penny (will the Dodgers need some more offense by July?), Weaver (ditto), Brett Tomko (not worth it, but ya never know), and Tony Armas Jr., who is the Austin Kearns of starters. I refuse to mention Washburn, because he is not an impact starter.

The snag in a Burnett deal would be that Carlos Delgado guy playing first base in Florida, along with Mike Lowell manning the hot corner. No need for the services of Sean Casey and Joe Randa there. Los Angeles on the other hand, could use Casey at first if Choi is not working out yet. He still has some major holes in his swing, and I'm not even sure if his OBP will be able to save him in the end. Only time will tell, but Penny would be a nifty prize collected from players who in the long run in Cincinnati are useless. No offense to Sean Casey and a favorite of mine in Joe Randa, but the Dunn-Pena-Kearns trio is just something I cannot wait for. Who wants almost 100 homeruns and thanks to Dunn's and Kearns' walking abilities, an OBP of .370-380 from your three best hitters. Pena can't walk at all, but he can hit a ball real far. Not into Kentucky, like Dunn, but still pretty far. The Reds will have to be aggressive and try to snag Brad Penny from the Dodgers; DePodesta is always up for an interesting trade if it can benefit the Dodgers, and with the right prospect thrown into the deal the Reds might have themselves a real ace...you know, besides Eric Milton.

Comments:
The Reds will have to be aggressive and try to snag Brad Penny from the Dodgers; DePodesta is always up for an interesting trade if it can benefit the Dodgers, and with the right prospect thrown into the deal the Reds might have themselves a real ace...you know, besides Eric Milton.

LA's got all those pitching prospects on the way, too, so Penny might not be in their future plans. Interesting idea. I wonder if the Reds think that Milton IS an ace caliber or a #2 starter, though....

The X-factor, of course, is when will Griffey get hurt?

3) Package Randa with either Casey or one of the outfielders to form a tasty pre-deadline treat for a team in need of some offense to gain some pitching.

I like seeing GMs exercise creativity. Freel can put up some OBP for you if you play him at third. And there are so many guys in the minors around the league who can play a serviceable first base, too, so if you need another bat, you can play the trade market that way. (Walter Young?)
 
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