Grading the 2012 Reds’ trades: Part 2


Early in the season, I took a look at a few of the trades that Reds general manager Walt Jocketty made in the offseason. Obviously the trades helped the Reds capture a division title, although they fell short of their ultimate goal of the World Series. But now that the 2012 season is in the books, let’s take another look back at the offseason deals, plus a few in-season moves, and see how the players involved compared to one another. If you haven’t already, check out Part 1.

Travis Wood, Dave Sappelt, and Ronald Torreyes for Sean Marshall

What we gave up:Wood showed a lot of promise in his rookie season in Cincinnati, but regressed in his second year with a 4.84 ERA. His first season in the Windy City was an improvement for the lefty, as he pitched to a 4.27 ERA and 1.19 WHIP despite an ugly 6-13 record in 25 starts for the Cubs. While his walk and strikeout rates were close to what they had been in his first two seasons, he did see a spike in the frequency of long balls he gave up. His WAR: 0.6 B-R, 0.7 F.

Sean Marshall. Kelley L. Cox-US PRESSWIRE

Sappelt spent most of the year in AAA, but played often as a September call-up. After batting .266 in Iowa, he appeared in 26 games for Chicago in September and early October, batting .275 with an OPS of .800. He could make the Cubs opening day roster in 2013 as an extra outfielder. His WAR: 0.6 B-R, 0.9 F. Torreyes, a 19-year old infielder, spent the entire season in high-A, where he hit .264. This was far below his .370 average in rookie ball and A in 2010, and his .356 average at Dayton in 2011. Total WAR: 1.2 B-R, 1.6 F.

What we got: Marshall was one of the core members of the Reds lights-out bullpen. After starting the season as the team’s closer, he was moved to a set-up role with the “graduation” of Aroldis Chapman. In 61 innings, the lefty struck out 74 batters and posted a 2.51 ERA. He was extended through the 2015 season. His WAR: 1.7 B-R. 1.8 F.

Trade grade: A. Although Marshall is signed for $16.5 million over the next three years, he will earn it if he continues to pitch at a 1.5-2.5 WAR level as he has the past three years. Wood would have been an improvement over Mike Leake in the rotation, but seeing as how the Reds’ pitching staff had the best ERA in the league, I’m not stressing over it.

Jeremy Horst for Wilson Valdez

What we gave up: Horst was decent in his brief stint in Cincinnati in 2011, but he was terrific for the Phillies in 2012. He started the year in the minors, but was promoted to the Philadelphia bullpen in June, where he posted a 1.15 ERA in 32 appearances. He struck out 11.5 batters per nine innings, more than double his K/9 rate with the Reds. He moved from mop-up duty and middle relief to a reliable left-handed later-inning option. His WAR: 0.8 B-R, 0.6 F.

What we got: Valdez was probably the best bunter the Reds had this season, but that’s not saying much at all. This team was terrible at bunting. Valdez could play multiple infield positions, and even played a passable centerfield in an emergency. But he couldn’t hit one bit. He hit just .206 with a laughably low OPS of .463. According to Fangraphs’ UZR/150, he couldn’t field one bit either. His WAR: -1.8 B-R, -1.1 F.

Trade grade: F. Valdez was well below replacement level in 2012. He had a few bright moments with the Reds, but fans will most likely remember him as that utility guy who got the win against them in that 19-inning game against the Phillies. Horst, on the other hand, would have likely fit right in with the Reds bullpen this season as a matchup lefty in the sixth or seventh inning, especially after the injury to Bill Bray. It would not be much of a surprise at all if the Reds parted with Valdez this winter.

Paul Janish for Todd Redmond

What we gave up: Janish spent a couple months buried in Louisville before he was liberated by the trade to Atlanta. He played in 55 games for the Braves, where he hit just .186 with an OPS of .502, but played solid defense at shortstop. His WAR: -0.3 B-R, -0.2 F.

What we got: Redmond was called up to the Reds several times, but made just one appearance. In his major league debut, a spot start in the second game of a double-header, Redmond allowed four runs on seven hits and five walks in 3.1 innings. Between two AAA teams this season, Redmond was 8-11 with a 3.63 ERA.

Trade grade:C-. This trade was mostly insignificant. Redmond, who has been in AAA since 2009, will probably never be anything more than an emergency spot starter for the Reds. Janish was not very good this season, but he wasn’t any worse than Valdez. He was also cheaper than Valdez. Oh well.

Donnie Joseph and J.C. Sulbaran for Jonathan Broxton

What we gave up:Both pitchers struggled after the trade. Joseph started the season in AA Pensacola, where he had a 0.89 ERA in 26 appearances to earn a promotion to Louisville. He posted a 2.86 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in 18 games with the Bats. In 11 games after the trade, however, Joseph’s ERA was 4.15 and his WHIP was 1.96.

Johnathan Broxton. Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

Sulbaran, a talented but unpolished prospect with great stuff and not-so-great minor league numbers, suffered an even greater decline after the trade. He was 7-7 with a 4.04 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP in 19 starts at Pensacola, but 0-4 with a 7.62 ERA and 2.12 WHIP in six starts for the Royals’ AA affiliate.

What we got: Broxton, a closer in Kansas City before the deal, became a set-up man for Chapman for the final two months of the season and thrived there. Although his ERA was higher in Cincinnati (2.82) than in Kansas City (2.27), his walk rate, strikeout rate, and WHIP were all better with the Reds. He solidified a dominant back end of the Reds’ bullpen.

Trade grade: B+. The final verdict on this deal won’t be determined for a few years. For the 2012 Reds, it was a good trade. Broxton pitched well in Cincinnati. It remains to be seen whether he will be back in 2013.

Grading the 2012 Reds’ trades: Part 1