Redlegs Rundown

January 21, 2010 10:40 AM

Do you make a move?

OK so it's painfully obvious the Reds aren't winning the World Series this year.  They're not even going to the playoffs...again.  Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo are entering the final guaranteed years of their contracts with pretty hefty money (Harang $12.5 million, Arroyo $11 million).  It's quite apparent neither are in the long term plans for this organization.  With young up-and-coming stars like Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey, along with a hopefully healthy Edinson Volquez by July and Aroldis Chapman soon thereafter, the Reds are not going to need the two veterans much longer. 

So, with the Reds going younger, and with so much money tied up in two aging, middle-of-the-road starters, do they make a move prior to, or during, spring training to free up some money? 

Odds say: no.  For some odd reason, they turned down several offers for both near the trading deadline last season.  Why?  Probably because the Reds had just traded for Scott Rolen and "going young" so soon following would have been a PR nightmare.  So, Walt and Bob believe Harang and Arroyo can "anchor" the staff this year and lead them toward the promised land...that being a .500 record. 

Still, my guess is if they traded one or both, they'd have to swallow a LOT of the salaries and wouldn't get much in return.  So instead of paying them to NOT pitch for the Reds, they'll pay them TO pitch for the Reds.  Harang will bump along with a sub 5.00 ERA but get his typical 2 runs a game in support and will go 7-14. And Arroyo will throw 220 innings, going 15-12 with a 5.00+ ERA.  Then both will walk away with their buyout money ($2 million each) and the Reds will go with a 2011 rotation of: Cueto, Volquez, Bailey, and Chapman.  The No. 5 spot will go to one of the following: Travis Wood, Matt Maloney, Mike Leake (long shot), or some retread.



I understand Big Bob's desire to put a winner on the field.  And I truly believe it.  I believe he wants to win a hell of a lot more than Uncle Carl did.  And for the most part, Bob has tried.  He's kept veterans around who made more money (Griffey, Harang, Arroyo).  He's given the okay to make a trade (Rolen).  And he's signed his fair share of high-priced free agents (Cordero, Chapman) all in an effort to prove he wants to win.  I have liked Bob since he bought the team.  I do think he wants to win.  I don't think he wants to break the bank, but I don't blame him for that.

If I'm running the team, this is what I do: I beg and plead someone (the Dodgers) to take Harang off my hands and pay all or nearly all of his salary.  Stick with Bronson -  even though I think he's a batting tee at times - and let him throw his 200+ innings and be that "take it for the team" guy every 5th day. 

Next year: take the money you save in the salaries of Harang and Arroyo ($23.75 million minus the $4 million buyout=$19.75 million) and make a run at Brandon Webb who has stated he wants to play closer to home.  All assuming Webb is 100% healthy following surgery this past year. 

It's a big crap shoot, isn't it?  Who knows how Harang bounces back?  Who knows if Homer Bailey goes all stubborn and egotistical like he has before?  Who knows if Volquez will ever flash the form of 2008 again? 

But, if you read message boards all over, you'll find the answers to that and everything else you've ever wanted to know.  Just ask.  You'll get a billion opinions.     

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