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Lance McAlister

Tools of the Trade/See you at Holy Grail Banks at 3pm


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3:05, Holy Grail Banks. I'm with Mo from 3-4pm
6:05, Inside Pitch, 700 WLW



HERE is a look back at Thursday at GABP, with video and photos of the dust-up with the Cubs.

What to do? 
The Reds needed a bat in the offseason. They needed a bat in the first half of this season. Then the Reds lost Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips. Now what? Do they target a 2B? What about 1B? LF?. Who fits? How much will they cost in money and players given up?
The trade deadline is three weeks from yesterday. The Reds are 2.5 games out of first place and one game out of the Wild Card. The Brewers have lost 9 of 10. The Cards lost their heart and soul. The Pirates are struggling. This Reds team needs help. They have fought too hard to get through what they had to deal with, to bag it now. If I'm a player, I'm looking at Walt Jocketty and wondering if he's going to go to bat for them? Last year Jocketty stood pat, not only doing nothing, but watching Marlon Byrd go to Pittsburgh. How deflating would it be to have your GM do nothing to help again this year?
Losing Brandon Phillips hurts, but it should not be a death knell for this team.
His slash line of .272-.308.-.392-.701 with an OPS+ of 94 makes him below average offensively. This would be the third straight season of decline for his BA, OBP, SLG and OPS. His WAR of 0.5 is 7th on the Reds. His .392 slugging is 7th on the Reds, even behind Ryan Ludwick and Billy Hamilton. But clearly they will miss his defense.

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 9: Brandon Phillips #4 of the Cincinnati Reds heads to the clubhouse in the eighth inning after injuring his left thumb while diving for a ball against the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park on July 9, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated Chicago 4-1. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Tools of the Trade
I know everyone likes to play armchair GM and create a trade, but keep these things in mind:
*Why would the other team would do the deal?
Before you work on coming up with your deal, answer this question first.
If you want to get rid of a player here, why would the other team want him? 
The old adage is, "to get something, you've gotta give up something".
*Contract status of player you are targeting for the Reds.
It's always easy to spend someone else's money. The Reds had little/no payroll flexibility entering the season. Start with the money and follow the money. How much is the player owed this year (prorated for half a season), and how much is the player owed into the future? Is there an option/buyout on the deal? Would the player be a two month rental or longer term solution? This will be the deal breaker more often than not.
*What package of players it would take to acquire your target?
Can the Reds afford to part with top prospects? Who are the untouchables?
Trades for Latos, Marshall and Broxton left a gap in the system. The Reds top prospects are the likes of pitchers Robert Stephenson, Michael Stephenson, Ben Lively. Their top hitting prospect is Jesse Winker. Keep in mind, with the big contracts on the books already, the Reds will need young/cheap players coming up in the future.
*Who are the top prospects/fringe prospects/how and how are they doing?
Baseball America Mid-Season Top 50: 
20. Robert Stephenson 29. Jesse Winker.
Baseball Prospects Mid-Season Top 50:
10. Robert Stephenson 42. Jesse Winker 47. Michael Lorenzen.
The best site for tracking Reds prospects is Doug Gray's
Get all minor league player stats at 
*Contract status of the Reds roster

What contracts are on the book and for how long? Who could leave soon? Who will be here a while? Who will eventually need to be replaced?
*What position(s) can the player play?
Can he provide flexibility? Can he play the position the Reds need or are you playing fantasy baseball with him and just putting him there?
*What type of production can he give the Reds?
Is the player at the end of the line for his career? Is he a prospect? Is he in the final year of his deal, perhaps with motivation to preform for another deal? Is he a platoon player?
*It's not happening in a vacuum
In most cases, the Reds won't be the only team in pursuit of the trade target.
The Reds will have to stack there chips up against a lot of teams with more payroll flexibility and trade chips.
Tools to help
Bookmark the two sites below. They will show you the contract status of each ML player and their current/career stats.
Baseball-Reference Just type in the players name and pull up his page. You will find everything you would ever want to know, how they hit LHP, RHP, home, road, w/RISP, etc. You can also find their contract stays.
Cots Baseball Includes contracts and payroll totals for every team. Pick a team, pick a player and get contract, options, bonuses, etc.

For your consideration: Ben Zobrist
Callers offered a long list of trade candidates on Sports Talk last night.
The list included David Price, Kevin Youkilis, Paul Konerko, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Elvis Andrus, Troy Tulowitzki, Adam Dunn, Martin Prado, Aaron Hill, Daniel Murphy, Rickie Weeks, Gordon Beckham, Dan Uggla. The names just kept coming. Let's not try to outthink the room. Sometimes an obvious name is the name that makes sense.
I present Ben Zobrist. He may not be the perfect answer, but he is one that makes a lot of sense. He will be among the highest in demand at the deadline. He's 33-years old, a switch-hitter and a two time All-Star that can play all over the diamond.
1. Position flexiblity. He can play 2B, SS, LF, RF. He could flip between 2B/LF with Skip Schumaker and offer a day off for Cozart.
2. Contract status. He is owed about $3.5M the remainder of this year and has a team option at $7.5M in 2015, with a buyout of $500K. That is probably a tough nut to crack for Walt with Bob.
3. He's not exactly tearing it up this season, but his .266-.352-.406-.758 slash line is better than what the Reds are getting at 2B, LF or SS this year. He's got some pop, hitting 20+ HR's three times. He's been good batting 2nd this year: .304-.394-.489-.882 in 343 starts. He could bat 2nd and allow Bryan Price to move Todd Frazier down in the order. Downside? Zobrist hits LHP better than RHP for his career, and is struggling vs RHP this year (.239/.332)
4. The unknown. What would it take to get him? Could the Reds get him for Double-A pitcher Ben Lively? Probably not.

HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 13: Ben Zobrist #18 of the Tampa Bay Rays triples in the fifth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on June 13, 2014 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)


Covington Blue Sox


Hue and Andy "tethered together"
"We are tethered together. And I'll jump off a building with this guy," Jackson told Silver, "because I believe in the things he's trying to accomplish with his career, and I think I can help him."

(Getty Images)

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