|Acquiring Latos proved to be fruitful this season|
by: Chase Fitzgerald
Walt Jocketty made quite a few trades this season which is actually pretty unusual. It is very hard to determine who wins trade at first glance so, now that we have a season in the books, let’s find out.
Reds get: Sean Marshall
Cubs get: Travis Wood, Dave Sappelt, and Ronald Torreyes
Sean Marshall was a huge acquisition for the Reds this season. I know many fans did not like Marshall and some turned against him but at the end of the year, he was our second best relief pitcher. He finished 2012 with a 2.51 ERA, 74 strikeouts, a 1.16 WHIP, and was a humongous reason why the Reds had the best bullpen in baseball. Despite all of that, it was somewhat of a rocky season for Marshall. He started the season as the Reds closer but that didn’t last long at all. He had absolutely a horrible start to the season. His ERA at one point got to over 5 and just no one felt comfortable when he came in for the save. He always added drama and blew a couple saves. He didn’t blow that many when he was a closer but it didn’t take long for Dusty to realize that Marshall was much better in the set-up role. He slowly lowered his ERA down to that 2.51 mark and he became the Reds most reliable reliever. Including the playoffs, Marshall pitched 16 consecutive scoreless innings to finish the season which is truly remarkable. He allowed zero earned runs beyond August 27th while surrendering 5 hits during that span. Without this trade, the Reds bullpen would not have been the best in baseball and I definitely applaud Jocketty for making this trade.
Now let’s see what the Cubs got. The main piece in the trade for the Cubs was young starter Travis Wood. Travis Wood had no place on this Reds team because the Reds happened to have an overflow of crappy starting pitchers. Wood did have a mediocre year for the Cubs having a 6-13 record with a 4.27 ERA. Wood is still young and I really think he will improve next year and get back to his 2010 self. Ronald Torreyes had a very disappointing season also. He went from hitting .356 in Single-A to hitting .264 in High-A a huge drop off from last season. In Torreyes’ defense, he did clean himself up in the second half of the season hitting .302 but overall all Torreyes had a bad year. I do expect him to improve next year and I think he will become a steady big league in a few years. Sappelt struggled in the minors hitting .266 in Triple-A but actually did quite well in the big leagues. He had an OPS of .800 for the Cubs this season but that was in only 70 at-bats. He did hit his first career homerun this season and overall impressed the Cubs in his short time up. He should start next year on the big league roster.
Overall, I think it was a good trade for both sides. The Cubs will not be contending anytime soon so what was the point of having a 30 year old set-up guy in his prime anyway? The Cubs got some good young talent for Marshall and that’s really all you could ask for. As of right now, I would say the Reds won this trade because Marshall made a huge impact for the Reds this season and the Wood, Sappelt, and Torreyes did not. They are still prospects so we may be talking about this trade differently in a few years if Torreyes turns out to be a star but for now, advantage Reds.
Reds get: J.J. Hoover
Braves get: Juan Francisco
This might be the best trade the Reds made this off-season. J.J. Hoover really impressed when he was with the Reds and he was one of the best relievers the Reds’ had this season. He wasn’t with the Reds all season but he did pitch 30 innings and had a low ERA of 2.05. He also had a WHIP of .98 and wasn’t bothered with being on the big stage having not allowed a run during the post-season. I don’t want to jump to conclusions but I would fully be comfortable going into this season with Hoover as our closer. I think he is capable. This would also allow Chapman to go into the rotation but that’s another discussion that I’ll address later. All in all, JJ Hoover has been way more than I expected when we traded for him and he is going to be a very valuable part of this bull-pen for a long time closer or not.
Juan Francisco was just another player that didn’t fit into this Reds team. It was either him or Todd Frazier and I’m very glad that Jocketty pick Frazier over him. Francisco has just had an awful year and if he was with the Reds, he would have spent the year in the minors. The big “powerful” player only hit 9 homeruns this season and .234 average didn’t make that number any better. He was not what the Braves expected. I do think he will turn it around because we have all seen what he can do with a bat like hit 500 feet bombs. He’s only 25 so he could always get things together but it seems to be he is going to be a 20 homerun hitter with a .250 average.
Once again, I think the Reds have won this trade. There was no room on the Reds for Francisco and I would much rather have Hoover. Hoover will be a huge part of this bullpen for a long time and if you would have told the Braves at the beginning of the season that Hoover was going to do what he did this year, this trade would have never happened. In the long run and in the future, the Reds will always be seen as the winners of this trade and it will be so much fun watching Hoover’s long successful career.
Reds get: Todd Redmond
Braves get: Paul Janish
Todd Redmond didn’t do much at all for the Reds this season. He was traded for to give the Reds pitching depth and he did in fact give is depth; just not good depth. When he was called upon to make his first major league start, he got into trouble pretty much every inning and only lasted 3.1 innings while giving up 4 runs and getting the loss. He notched a -0.2 WAR after just that one game. That’s not good. He will not be a part in the Reds future since we have many good starting pitching prospects that are just about major league ready so basically, we traded Paul Janish for 3.1 innings of 4 run ball.
Janish was a much bigger part of the Braves than Redmond was of the Reds. Soft J was the Braves’ full time shortstop for all of July and August but once they realized that his average was below .200, they benched him. Janish did bring a lot of good defense to the Braves and I guess he was their best option even though Janish wasn’t good at the plate which is no surprise for Reds fans. His OPS was .503 which is lower than Votto’s slugging alone and he only tallied 9 RBIs in 167 at-bats.
This trade wasn’t good for both sides but by default I give this one to the Braves. Janish did help the Braves out more than Redmond helped the Reds out and that’s what it basically comes down too. Redmond will most likely never be more than a spot starter for the Reds at most and 3.1 innings of 4 run ball is a lot less valuable than Janish. Janish was just going to rot away in triple-A the rest of the season and probably beyond because there is kind of a log jam at short stop in the Reds system and we needed to make room for Didi Gregorius who is a much better prospect than Janish. The Reds didn’t really lose anything from this trade but production wise, this one belongs to the Braves.
Reds get: Jonathan Broxton
Royals get: Donnie Joseph and J.C. Sulbaran
Broxton, like Marshall, had a very rocky start but didn’t have that much time to make it up. He was acquired at the trade deadline and besides a rough stretch where he allowed 5 earned runs in only 3.1 innings; he was very good for the Reds. He did a very nice job filling in for Chapman as the closer when Chapman was resting and he finished with a 2.82 ERA for the Reds. He may have been the leading cause of heart-attacks in Cincinnati though. It seemed like every appearance he had a runner in scoring position or allowed a ball to get to the warning track. In Miami he had a ball that would have been a two-run walk off in any other park, hit over 400 feet just for Drew Stubbs to track it down and make the catch saving Broxton. He also allowed a runner to get on third base in game 3 of the NLDS who eventually scored on an error but overall he was a good pick up for the Reds.
J.C. Sulbaran was not going anywhere in the Reds organization to be honest. He did have his best year last year in double-A with 4.04 ERA and a 7-7 record. He did show promise this season which is probably why the Royals wanted him. The big piece of the trade was Donnie Joseph who was ridiculous in triple-A this season. He had a 2.33 ERA in the minors last year while collecting 20 saves. For some reason, he struggled once he got traded to Kansas City and posted a 4.15 ERA while playing for their triple-A team but I wouldn’t read too much into that. He will probably start the year on the big league club next season and he deserves it. I expect him to post Hoover like numbers next year and this should turn out to be a great trade for Kansas City.
This trade is very interesting. The Reds may only have Broxton for a year but he was very effective in his short time with the club but in my opinion, I think the bull-pen is just fine without him and I would rather spend money on Madson than him but once again, I’ll get into that later. I was honestly very sad to get rid of Donnie Joseph because he was one of my favorite prospects and I will make sure to cheer for him in Kansas City. If I had to pick right now, I would take Joseph over Broxton so in my opinion, the Royals won this trade whether the Reds re-sign Broxton or not. Joseph is going to eventually be a very successful closer and I think Walt messed up on this one.
Reds get: Mat Latos
Padres get: Yasmani Grandal, Yonder Alonso, Brad Boxberger, and Edinson Volquez
Well here is the trade you have all been waiting for. This was by far the most discussed trade of the off-season and rightfully so; it was a true blockbuster. Because of how much the Reds gave up, the pressure on Latos was very high. When it was all said and done, he lived up to it. He finished the season with a 14-4 record and a 3.48 ERA making the front of the Reds rotation very scary. He, like a lot of other Reds trade acquisitions, had a very rough start and a lot of people immediately started hating the trade. He started the season with a 5.97 ERA in April and had an over 5 ERA as late as June 18th. He then settled down and became the pitcher everyone knew he was. He had a 2.27 ERA in September and at times was just scary good. He was our best pitcher the last two months of the season and made this trade well worth it. Without Latos, I honestly don’t think the Reds win the division. Latos had 185 strikeouts this season and after getting two losses in his first 3 starts, he only had 2 losses in his next 30 starts. Latos’s season is a prime example why you should never give up on a player too early and I really think Latos is going to be a great player for a long time.
The Padres were not a good team this year which gave a lot of these prospects some big league playing time. Yonder Alonso was the Padres’ every day first baseman this season and really underperformed. He hit .273 which isn’t necessarily bad but, last season he hit .330 in the big leagues for the Reds so you have to think the Padres expected a little higher average out of him. It was his first full major league season so he will get better. One thing that surprised me was Alonso’s lack of power last year. He only hit 9 homeruns and I expected him to hit around 25. He is only 25 so he will improve and with one major league season under his belt, he can only improve from here. Edison Volquez was not spectacular for the Padres either this season. He had a 4.14 ERA in a pitchers park which is not good at all but his 11-11 record is respectable considering the offense he had. I can’t think that the Padres expected anything more than that from him and I think he earned himself a spot in the rotation next season. He was extremely inconsistent the entire year and he still had some control problems but overall it was a mediocre season for Volquez. Brad Boxberger on the other hand, really impressed. He spent half his season in triple-a where he went 2-2 and collected 5 saves with a 2.70 ERA. This earned him a call-up to the majors where he had a 2.60 ERA and was just what the Padres hoped he would be when they traded for him. Boxberger has all the makings of a future closer. Grandal on the other hand, was much better than what the Padres expected. He had a .335 average and had a .963 OPS in triple-a which earned him a call up to the big leagues. He had a .297 average while having a .863 OPS and looked really good all around. He may have earned the everyday catcher job next season.
After one full season it is clear, the Reds still gave up a lot but in my opinion, it was well worth it. Let’s break down the trade a little further. The big piece of the trade was Yonder Alonso who I think will turn out to be a very good player. Problem is, we had no space for him. He proved he couldn’t play left field and we kind of have this guy Joey Votto blocking first base for the next 12 years. This isn’t the AL so there was no DH which means we had to trade him. Edison Volquez used to be an all-star but after that season, he was just a headache for the Reds. He was extremely inconsistent and he just didn’t have any command. The Reds were done with him. Plus I would much rather have Latos than Volquez in our rotation and if we had to send him a starter, Volquez was the guy. Brad Boxberger on the other hand I will miss. It is true that are bull-pen is insanely good but there is always room for a reliever of Boxberger’s capability. He is going to be really good. Yasmani Grandal, like Alonso, was blocked at his position by Devin Mesoraco but so far, Grandal has been outplaying Mesoraco. We had to make a decision between Mesoraco and Grandal and the Reds may have picked the wrong one but it is way too early to make a statement like that. Value wise, the Padres won this trade but we were going to trade those prospects anyway so it’s not that big of a deal. Mat Latos though was a huge part of this Reds team and we wouldn’t have made it as far as we did without him. Did the Reds give up a lot? Yes. Would I do this trade again? Hell yes.
Overall, Walt Jocketty did a very good job with trades this season. He had an agenda for the off-season and he completed it. He made a lot of Reds weaknesses last year to strengths this season which is all you could ask for. Reds fans may criticize Walt a lot but without his trades this year, the Reds would have probably had a losing record. That’s why fans don’t pick the team and Jocketty does.