Reds fans should be concerned by the complete lack of movement on the offensive front after last season's anemic output, and their starting staff is now worse with the exits of Mat Latos to Miami and Alfredo Simon to Detroit.
The idea of trading Simon in and of itself isn't bad. 2014 was a high water mark without question for the journeyman. What they got in return though is a piddling young shortshop in Eugenio Suarez and underwelming A-ball pitcher Jonathan Crawford.
The 23 year old Suarez appeared in 85 games for the big club last season and in 277 plate appearances whiffed almost 25% of the time. In 2012 Suarez was a top 15 prospect for Detroit, but their list was pretty weak that season. (Nick Castellanos was #1, and I don't see a future star there.) Suarez was rated then as a decent glove guy with a utility infielder ceiling. Not a lot to get excited about there.
Crawford was drafted in the first round by the Tigers in 2013. The 23 year old from The University of Florida pitched in A ball last year and posted decent numbers, but his walk and strike out rates at that low level indicate a cloudy future.
The Latos deal looks like a salary dump to me. Sure there are concerns over health, but isn't that true of any pitcher (see Cueto)? In return the Marlins shipped a nice catching prospect in Chad Wallach and a mediocre rightie named Anthony Desclafani.
The just turned 23 Wallach was a fifth round pick in 2013 out of baseball factory Cal-State Fullerton. He logged a walk rate in A ball last year that can only be described as Billy Beane porn. 62 walks to 46 k's is impressive at any level. He doesn't display any power to speak of, but scouts love his defense. Someday the Reds can trade him to Oakland.
Desclafani is on his third organization having arrived in Miami as part of that infamous trade with the Blue Jays back in 2013. He started five games for the Marlins last season, but scouts profile him out of the bullpen. In the Arizona Fall League just last month the clipboards were still looking for a supposed developing change up. Without that he's just another fastball/slider guy topping out at 91/94 with the heater. In a 33 inning big league sample last year Desclafani showed more fly ball tilt than you'd like for a guy going into Great American, and he gave up too much hard contact. He'll compete for a rotation job in the spring, but don't hold your breath.
Bottom Line? The Reds are worse off than they were when they packed up their gear in late September. Homer Bailey underwent surgery in September, and you just hold your breath with Cueto's durability long term. You have to be concerned as a Reds fan.
The Indians off season has been pretty simple by comparison. The Indians acquired slugging OF/1B Brandon Moss from the A's in exchange for AA second baseman Joey Wendle on December 8th. The Tribe are loaded with young middle infielders so giving up Wendle isn't a big deal.
Brandon Moss is Nick Swisher with more pop. Both hit righties better than lefties though Swish is a switch hitter. I'm sure they're both fun to drink beer with so there's that. Moss is going to strike out a ton, hit 25 or so home runs and drive you nuts when he goes 0 for a week here and there.
And on Tuesday the Indians signed veteran starter Gavin Floyd to a one year 4 million dollar deal. Floyd's only season in Atlanta last year was shortened by injury. You can't really call him an innings eater as he failed to reach 200 in his final four years with the White Sox. The money is right though and if they can give him to the ball 30 times in 2015 they'll look at him as a bargain. Floyd essentially replaces the departed Justin Masterson in the rotation. Masterson was always a bit hard to figure anyway.
The Tribe could be pretty good this year if they get bounce backs from Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana and Swisher. All had disappointing seasons and yet the Indians hung around to the end.
Brian Phillips is the afternoon jock at the legendary Indie radio blowtorch WWCD102.5. He knows a thing or two about a thing or two.