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Effects of an Innocuous Move: Brian Goodwin to Cincinnati


If you would've told me at the start of the 2020 season that one of the two moves made by the Cincinnati Reds at the Trade Deadline would be for a Major League outfielder, I would've been forced to assume that any four Reds outfielders had been suspended for the season for pulling some sort of Lou Williams-Magic City stunt. This is because Cincinnati entered 2020 with formidable outfield depth.

Between Jesse Winker, Aristides Aquino, Nick Senzel, Nick Castellanos, Shogo Akiyama, two-way man Michael LorenzenMark Payton, Travis Jankowski, Phillip Ervin, and Josh VanMeter, and prospects like TJ Friedl, Jameson Hannah, Michael Siani, and Stuart Fairchild, it seemed like a pretty stocked area of the Reds' roster.

So why add another in Brian Goodwin? The long-term significance might be greater than many realize.

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If Three Is a Crowd...

Steadily, the dominoes started to fall. Senzel returned from the IL late in the year and took only 70 AB in 2020. Akiyama got off to a very slow start and is only now bouncing back. Aquino, Jankowski, and Payton (after being re-acquired from Oakland) have all seen extremely limited work. Lorenzen's offensive role has been substantially dialed back. Ervin was dropped and picked up by Seattle. None of the organization's top prospects at the position have gotten the MLB call-up, and VanMeter and Fairchild were dealt to Arizona in the Archie Bradley deal. Castellanos has proven well worth the Reds money with his fantastic offensive output and Winker has, yet again, quietly put together another elite year at the plate that somehow tops the last (though about 75% of his AB have come as a DH) but the Reds felt inclined to seek reinforcements in the outfield when all cards hit the table at the buzzer on the afternoon of the deadline.

Many thought if the Reds made an acquisition on offense, it would've been at shortstop to relieve Freddy Galvis amidst a sub-par season or at catcher for the likes of James McCann, Robinson Chirinos, or Christian Vazquez as an answer for the woes of Tucker Barnhart. Instead, Barnhart has looked completely revitalized in September, Tyler Stephenson has had a significant impact since being called up again, and David Bell chose to start acclaimed prospect Jose Garcia at shortstop... to start Galvis at second base (I'm as confused as you must be). The Reds were barely able to earn a postseason birth with this lineup, mostly on the strength of their starting pitching.

The majority of this roster is slated to stay together for several seasons to come, and the two trades made by the organization speak volumes about the direction they are trying to take and are sure to produce lasting ripple effects. Bringing Brian Goodwin to Cincinnati was far from a blockbuster move, but with a few seasons under his belt that displayed consistent improvement and an inexpensive contract that keeps him under team control until 2023, the Reds let their priorities be plainly known in sending Rookie-Level LHP Jose Salvador and #14 organizational prospect (and #2 projected farm system lefty) Packy Naughton to the Los Angeles Angels in the exchange. So, with a thumb on the pulse of the present and an eye focused on the future, let's take a look at what the seemingly innocuous and forgettable deal for Brian Goodwin means for the Reds outfield.

 

Size of the Splash

Brian Goodwin is 29 years old and has been through 996 big league AB with the Nationals, Royals, Angels, and now the Reds over a five-year career. 164 of those AB came as a right fielder, 362 came as a left fielder, and 405 came as a center fielder; and those proportions got even closer in 2020 with the former UNC Tar Heel taking 39, 41, and 47 AB at right, left, and center, respectively. It was a clear move by the Reds for a plug-in outfielder for a lineup dealing with several moving pieces and the adjustment to the universal DH rule. However, the results have varied with Goodwin, to say the least.

Through his 2017 season with Washington, his 2018 run with the Nationals and Royals, and his 2019 season spent exclusively with the Angels, Goodwin took 823 AB, and recorded 56 doubles, 36 home runs, 17 stolen bases in 22 attempts, and respective OPS marks of .811, .708, and .796. Over a 500-AB season, those numbers roughly translate to about 34 doubles, 22 HR, and 10 steals in 13 tries.

In 95 AB with Los Angeles in 2020, Goodwin totaled 12 XBH (seven doubles, a triple, four homers), a steal, and a slash of .242/.330/.464. Since moving to the Queen City, his bat work has significantly slowed, evidenced by his two doubles, two home runs, and .163/.236/.327 slash in 49 AB for the surging Redlegs. However, Goodwin has been off to the races on the bases for Cincinnati, swiping four bags in limited time with his new team without having been caught yet.

Goodwin's season reads very rocky. He finished July with a 1.472 OPS, and that figure plummeted to .612 during the month of August before he was traded, so his poor showing at the plate for the Reds isn't solely the result of changing scenery. While this may cause trepidation for Reds fans, Goodwin's career splits demonstrate that he is routinely up and down as pages on the calendar turn. It isn't a big deal to buy a streaky bat as long as you know what you are buying and the player always tends to streak upward in an impactful way, and that appears to be the case with Goodwin.

His salary this year is wildly affordable at $2.2MM. After this season, Goodwin's salary will be decided by arbitration, and the Reds will therefore maintain control of the Scott Boras client until he becomes a free agent in 2023. It is very possible that Goodwin represented to the Reds a widely-deployable outfielder with a solid three-season track record on offense who offers power/speed tools that are not otherwise available off of the bench with the likes of Payton or Jankowski, who can only offer power or speed, respectively. Not to mention, with the return of Senzel to the order, an increase in late-September playing time for Aquino, and a .302/.464/.340 slash for Akiyama through this month, it seems that David Bell is content to ride with the pieces he already had in the mix to kick off 2020.

Goodwin might have his moments when playing defense in the outfield, but his metrics don't promote him as a lock-down defensive sub. In fact, last season when Goodwin finished with an impressive 2.2 WAR, his dWAR actually held him back at -0.1. Even worse, that was a career-high figure.

That being said, Reds General Manager Nick Krall might've had more in mind for Goodwin's role than this limited capacity over a small sample size would indicate. The only Cincinnati outfielder that could hit free agency this offseason is Castellanos, who can opt-out of the remaining three years of his four-year, $64MM deal at the end of 2020. In addition, there have been continuous rumors surrounding Nick Senzel's future with the organization, both suggesting a move back to the infield and that the Reds entertained interest in trading their very recent #1 prospect. With the time it took to get Senzel to the majors as a top-10 overall prospect and his formidable rookie campaign of 2019, it may seem strange, but the tapestry of moves made by the franchise suggests that it was, and remains, a serious consideration. Lastly, Payton and Jankowski were unlikely to surpass their extremely limited roles in the first place, so their presence on the 40-man roster probably won't present any barriers to Goodwin's field time.

Regardless of whether Castellanos and Senzel stay put, the complete picture forecasts a meaningful role for Goodwin in the one to two seasons to come; it just might come at the expense of other Reds outfielders like Akiyama and Aquino. If you are skeptical that Goodwin is slated for a role of moderate significance in Cincinnati, just take a close-up look at what they gave up to acquire him. Jose Salvador, a 21-year-old, 6'2", 170-pound Dominican LHP, had posted a 3.07 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 3.2 BB/9, and 11.6 K/9 in 26 starts (28 appearances) and 111.1 IP for Rookie squads Greeneville and Billings; and Packy Naughton, the 24-year-old, even more physically imposing southpaw from Virginia Tech, who displayed unusual in-game durability and control since turning professional, and amassed a 3.66 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, and 2.2 BB/9 through 105.2 IP across 19 starts at Double-A following a quick ascent. This wasn't a "cash considerations and player to be named later" transaction. The Reds sacrificed two outstanding prospects, indicating that the grand plan is to roll with this handful of outfielders for as long as possible.

 

Ripples Downstream

In parting with Ervin, VanMeter, and Fairchild, the Reds sawed off a lot of the legitimate competition for their big league lineup. Their top-30 prospects list features only six outfield farmhands, with one, 2020 12th overall pick and $4MM signing bonus recipient Austin Hendrick (#3), being fresh out of high school without any real professional experience to speak of thanks to the cancellation of the minor league season. The rest; Michael Siani (#7), Jameson Hannah (#15), Andy Sugilio (#20), TJ Friedl (#21), and Mariel Bautista (#26), have clear areas of deficiency where improvement is needed, questionable ceilings, and with the exception of Friedl (487 Double-A AB), have yet to take a single swing at Double-A. While Friedl is still the most likely to usurp outfield duties from any given name on the roster next year, with the way the Reds play it, that could easily be delayed until June or July of next season at the earliest.

Friedl and either Siani or Hannah could take over the 40-man roster spots occupied this year by Payton and Jankowski, but even then, it would take a major slump by Goodwin to concede the spot entirely. The Reds have also been active in the offseason trade market over the past few seasons, but with the outfield stocked with four to five MLB options for next year, you should be even more surprised if the Reds made a move for one of the outfielders rumored to be on the block this offseason such as Kris Bryant, Miguel Andujar, Clint Frazier, J.D. Martinez, Starling Marte, Hunter Renfroe, Wil Myers, Joey Gallo, Whit Merrifield, Kevin Kiermaier, and Ender Inciarte.

The real question begged is: with so much certainty at nearly every position, will the Reds make one of the big trades they had been working on before the season for a top-tier shortstop like Francisco Lindor, Trevor Story, or Xander Bogaerts? A smaller move for an offense-friendly catcher? A big rotation signing to fill the void that might be left if both Trevor Bauer and Anthony DeSclafani depart? Or will they call up available prospects to fill such needs? It is starting to look like the Reds won't have enough blue chips to get some of these bigger deals done, and they appear to be saving money anywhere they can following an expensive offseason.

So far, Tyler Stephenson has his foot in the door at catcher, Jose Garcia has failed to cement his spot at shortstop where Freddy Galvis will soon leave a vacancy, Jonathan India is waiting in the wings at third and second base where Mike Moustakas and Eugenio Suarez block the path, and the Reds are working on getting Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo to the majors as soon as logistically possible.

Prognosis: don't count on Cincinnati batting prospects to have a strong presence in 2021. If the organization can't bring back Bauer or make another high-key pitcher signing, expect a few lower-level deals and one-two mid-level signings on offense to plug the holes, because make no mistake, the 2020 MLB Trade Deadline deal for Brian Goodwin showed the majority of the franchise's hand for how they see the next couple of years playing out.



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Waiver Wire Express - Week 7 Lightning Round

Week 6 was relatively healthy and had no coronavirus delays, so let's just take a moment to bask in that. That said, we still saw Miles Sanders (knee) and Zach Ertz (ankle) go down, while Mark Ingram (ankle) has a bye to get healthy. Week 7 byes are Baltimore, Indianapolis, Miami, and Minnesota. Let's get... Read More


Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

Fantasy GMs are to be commended for rising to the unique challenges that have unfolded during this regular season. Injuries to critical players is an unwelcome reality that occurs every year. This is also the case for backs that were expected to operate as RB1s, but have been relegated to committees. However, this season has... Read More


Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

Six weeks of NFL football are behind us, aside from a pair of Monday games, including a late afternoon game between the Bills and the Chiefs. In terms of wide receiver production this week, we didn't have the huge breakouts like we had in Week 5. Chase Claypool didn't score four touchdowns. In fact, only... Read More


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Dissecting Contact Quality In Search Of Fantasy Bargains

Of the 1,015 hitters sampled(1) between 2015 and 2019, there were only 14 instances of hitters making more productive contact against pitches outside of the strike zone than against pitches inside of the strike zone based on xwOBAcon. Based on the same sample, the average hitter was a whopping .116 points better against pitches inside... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 23rd, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 23rd, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Lineup Order Risers and Fallers: AL West 2020 Review

It’s the offseason and there are about to be a bunch of moving parts. This allows for speculation in terms of players gaining or losing playing time, moving up or down a batting order and much more. The idea here is to highlight some lineup situations for each team and some potential winners or losers... Read More


2021 1st & 2nd Year Players with James Anderson - Benched with Bubba (Episode 317)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by James Anderson (@RealJRAnderson) on episode 317. The guys will go over 30+ first and second-year players. They will discuss their current ADP's in the 2 Early Mocks, what to expect of the players in 2021, and much more. They also go over some listener questions, compare Juan Soto to Mike... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 21st, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 21st, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 20th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 20th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 54: 2 Early Mocks APD Player Debates - Benched with Bubba (Episode 316)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They go over some of the positions and look at players with similar ADPs and debate. Going around the diamond discussing some players people are high on and some they are down on with a... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 18th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 18th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 17th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 17th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


2021 Early Mock ADP Values & Reaches: WPC+ Videocast

Pierre Camus and Nicklaus Gaut prepare for the 2021 fantasy baseball season with a look at early mock draft results from the RotoBaller Expert mock. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well! Be sure to also tune into RotoBaller... Read More


Statcast Season Review: 2020 Barrel Leaders (Hitters)

The 2020 MLB season will always be one for the record books, even if everything that took place will have multiple asterisks attached to it. Evaluating Statcast numbers is a nice way to find hot and cold hitters, as well as underachievers and overachievers. Now that the regular season is over, let's reflect on the... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 16th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 16th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 15th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 15th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 14th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 14th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 53: 2 Early Mocks APD Trends & More - Benched with Bubba (Episode 315)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They dig into trends, some interesting risers/fallers, and much more. They also go over some listener questions at the end to keep the Fantasy Baseball information coming even in the offseason. Be sure to subscribe... Read More