December 21, 2006

Reds Trade for Conine

The Reds have traded Brad Key and Javon Moran to the Phillies for right-handed first baseman/outfielder Jeff Conine.

Check out a bunch of quotes on the deal at Marc's blog from Wayne Krivsky, Jerry Narron, and Jeff Conine.

Krivsky says something that I might not agree with but at least can actually understand:

“Continuing to look for that quality right-handed hitter, whether it was by trade route or free agency, we just felt like this was our best alternative. I’ve had him on a list of players that might be acquired by trade to fill that role that we’ve been looking for. We just felt like after talking to all our scouts, this was the best alternative that was available to us.”

Conine says:

Obviously I’ve played a lot with Alex Gonzalez – we won a World Series together and he’s probably the best shortstop I’ve ever played with. I’m looking forward to watching him in action again.”

Add to that the fact that his musical preferences should jibe well with Bronson Arroyo's (Conine performed Stone Temple Pilot's Plush on Oh Say Can You Sing?), and we might just have a positive vibe going on there.

Which is good, because in 2006, Conine hit .268 with 10 home runs. He's 40 years old. He's going to need some positive vibes from somewhere.

Brendan Harris was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.

27 comments to “Reds Trade for Conine”

  1. smartelf says:

    One pattern is emerging this offseason, and that is world series winners.. AGON, Stanton, and now Conine all have won the big one… so did Arroyo, and hatteberg has plenty of post season experience… Krivsky obviously values vets with a history of winning, maybe hoping it rubs off on the young guys. I guess this solves the right handed bat dilemma, though I was hoping for more power… but I guess I will gladly accept world series experience in lieu of home run potential. A guy like this might come up witha clutch hit in the post season that is a difference maker. We don’t have flash or hype but we do have guys with winning history that are coming at very reasonable prices.

  2. BubbaFan says:

    Jeff Conine?! Oy. I hope he’s playing first base, because his fielding stats in the outfield have fallen off a cliff that past couple of years. As you might expect of a guy his age.

    Gawd. I’m reminded of when Bubba was with the Dodgers. He was leading the PCL, hitting .361 with 24 doubles and 12 homers at Triple-A Las Vegas. He thought he was finally going to get his shot. But the Dodgers decided to sign Rickey Henderson instead. The 44-year-old Rickey Henderson. Who ended up hitting .208.

    What’s going to happen to Brendan Harris? Will they offer him a minor league contract?

  3. smartelf says:

    Bubba is simply going to have to win a job during spring training. They are very high on Denorfia, so Bubba is gonna have to show them he can contribute even though he won’t be playing every day. Conine was acquired mainly to replace Aurilia who played 1B in a platoon with Hatteberg. I don’t expect them to play Conine every day especially since he is 40… I expect him to PH and share 1B and maybe get a handful of starts in RF. I don’t think Bubba is slated as a starter right now, especially because of Denorfia… BUT, if Quinton McCracken could win a job as a bench player, you have to like Trammel’s chances. Anything is possible right now, but if anything Conine just helped Trammel’s chances because the guy was born in 1966 and is not an every day player anymore in my opinion.

  4. smartelf says:

    sorry I meant Crosby not Trammel…LOL.

  5. smartelf says:

    You know what I just read about Crosby and he has a real nice background… he could be a sleeper candidate to win a starting outfield spot. I didn’t realize he was a 1st round draft pick and had such an illustrious college career. I can’t believe we got him for a song (400k). I wish him the best and I am telling you he has an excellent chance of getting significant playing time, but a strong spring will help his chances enormously.

  6. BubbaFan says:

    Yes, Bubba will have to fight for a roster spot. He’s used to it. He honestly thought he was doomed when he was traded to the Yankees, since the Yanks had a reputation for never calling up their farm players. The poor kids could only hope to catch a scout’s eye and get traded to another team. But Bubba ended up hitting .357 / .386 / .690 / 1.076 in spring training, and actually making the team. It was really surprising. Rookies don’t make the team out of spring training in Yankeeland.

    I’m kind of wondering if Norris Hopper will end up getting the starting spot, though. He’s en fuego lately.

  7. smartelf says:

    I don’t think its an exaggeration to say anything is possible at this point.

  8. Red Hot Mama says:

    And I was so hoping to get a Craig Wilson for Christmas.

  9. BubbaFan says:

    So you think this means no Craig Wilson?

    I suppose if Conine is gets $2 million a year, Wilson would be a budget-buster.

    SI reports that Wilson’s agent is still talking to the Yanks, and several other teams are interested, too.

    Craig Wilson was the Yankee people who knew nothing about baseball picked as the cutest. Well, him and Carl Pavano. 😛

  10. KC2HMZ says:

    As usual, a lot of folks on the blogs are ripping this deal, saying that “Krivsky got hosed again” and commenting about Conine’s age, presumably diminished defensive range due to his age, etc.

    This is a guy with a .304 career BA in postseason play, and two World Series rings with the Marlins.

    Playing his home games in GABP…I’m gonna say he’ll be good for about 15 homers, 60-70 ribbies and a .280 average.

    Oh, by the way, Conine’s 7-for-18 (.389) against Isringhausen for his career, 7-for-20 (.350) against Ted Lilly, 6-for-9 (.667) against Glendon Rusch, 5-for-9 (.556) against Carlos Zambrano, and 4-for-6 (.667) against Kerry Wood. So some key pitchers on a few of our division rivals will be happy to see him in a Reds uniform. :laugh:


  11. BubbaFan says:

    Well, it could work out. He might make a good platoon with Hatteberg. But his age does give me pause. His career stats really don’t mean anything now. His defense isn’t presumably diminished, it really is diminished (at least according to my favorite defensive stat, “rate”).

    I suppose he’s worth the gamble, if they use him right. Such acquisitions have generally been a disaster for the Yankees (see Sierra, Ruben), but that might be Torre’s fault. We Yankee fans are half-bald, from pulling out our hair when Torre sits hot-hitting, speedy youngsters in favor of .100-hitting DHs…because they’re “veteran.” [img][/img]

  12. smartelf says:

    Well the Reds have gotten lucky the past few years with the veteran bats : Randa, Aurilia, and Hatteberg have never been better than when playing for the Reds in their twilight years. So hopefully Conine has enough left for one more playoff push… again, I don’t envision him as an everyday player, so I don’t think age is much of an issue, and in fact you’d rather have vets as part-time players rather than youngsters… the kids usually need to play everyday to stay sharp, which is why they get sent to the minors if they can’t hold a starting job, because they tend to deteriorate as bench players.

  13. Red Hot Mama says:

    That’s fantastic, HMZ. Maybe we’ll be able to get something good out of him at the deadline. You know, when we trade him to a team that’s actually GOING to the postseason. I’m sure a 10-year old WS ring will mean a lot in the negotiations.

    As as far as the stats against “key” divisional pitchers, normally I would mention the small sample size, if not for the fact that you included Glendon Rusch in that list.

  14. dugg says:

    Not to be picky, RHM, but it’s not 10 year old WS ring. It’s a 4 year old WS ring. Conine was key player on the 2003 Marlins team.

  15. Red Hot Mama says:

    Welcome, Dugg! Pleasure to have you here.

    You are correct, of course; Conine was on the 2003 WS team.

    But that’s not the particular WS ring I was disparaging of. He was also on the 1997 Marlins WS team, which would make the ring 10 years old when the 2007 non-waiver trade deadline comes.

    Consider this: at 30 years old, he wasn’t just [i]on[/i] the 1997 Marlins WS team; he was a [i]veteran presence[/i] on the 1997 Marlins WS team.

  16. BubbaFan says:

    I dunno… Aurilia is only 35. Conine will be 41 next season. The dropoff can be pretty steep and sudden at that age. The price just seems a bit steep, given his age. Unless they worked out some kind of deal with the money end of it.

  17. Joel says:

    what made Conine a key player on the 2003 WS team? Was it the 99 plate appearances or the .238/.337/.452 batting line? It was probably the veteran presence and the ability to do a lot of things with the bat.

  18. Zeldink says:

    There are many guys out there who can “do a lot of things with the bat.” I’m not sure you’d want them plying their craft on the baseball field.

  19. dugg says:

    Joel – I should have clarified, I was referring to Conine’s post-season performance with the ’03 Marlins:

    458/.500/.708 in the NCLS and .333/.417/.381 in the World Series. Yeah I know, small sample size applies here, but I think there’s something to be said for players who perform well in the playoffs.

  20. KC2HMZ says:

    Joel asks: “What made Conine a key player on the 2003 WS team?”

    His postseason stats – particularly in the NLDS (.458 BA, .500 OBP, .708 SLG, all tops among players who played in all 7 games) and World Series (.333, tying Juan Pierre for the team high among players who played in all six games; .417 OBP, second only to Pierre on the Marlins unless you want to couint Brad Penny’s 1-for-2/ .500, and a team-high four runs scored) might have had something do with it….


  21. KC2HMZ says:

    Sorry…looks like I was looking up Conine’s postseason stats at the same time dugg was postin’ ’em.

    Classic case of great minds thiking along similar lines, though.


  22. Red Hot Mama says:

    Post-season performance is only valuable to a team going to the post-season. Unless you know something I don’t about Chad Moeller, that team ain’t the Reds.

  23. BubbaFan says:

    Oh, ye of little faith. Bubba’s going to be MVP of the 2007 World Series. Mark my words. 😉

    But I’m not sure I believe in “clutch.” The stat-heads say it doesn’t exist. Just a fluke of small sample size, since supposedly “clutch” players can’t repeat their performance year to year.

    That said, I do think there may be players who are un-clutch. I don’t care what the stats say, with the series on the line, I’d rather have Jeter coming to the plate than A-Rod.

    But I freely admit that may be irrational on my part.

  24. KC2HMZ says:

    RHM: Chad Moeller is only the backup catcher. A guy to squat back there and throw the ball back to the pitcher when David Ross needs a day off. That’s not to slight Valentin, but Valentin is the team’s #1 lefty pinch-hitter (succeeding Jacob Cruz in tha role), with the added benefits that he can catch if need be, play first if need be. But Ross is the #1 and it’s him we should be concerned with. I hope his 2006 performance wasn’t a fluke, ‘cuz if you take his offensive numbers from 2006, project ’em over a full season, and go look on Baseball Reference for the last time a Reds catcher put up numbers like that, guess which past Reds catcher’s page you’re going to wind up looking at? (Hint: He’s enshrined at Cooperstown)

    I’ve seen a lot of detritus behind that plate since Bench hung ’em up. ‘Bout time we found a replacement for him, it’s only been 24 years.

    The starting pitching will determine how far this team goes. They’re fine at catcher as long as Ross performs as he did last year.

    BubbaFan: Yes, statheads say clutch is a fluke of small sample size. Thet also say success (or failure) in the playoffs is all a matter of luck. I don’t buy it. For what it’s worth, players are human beings, not Strat-O-Matic cards. They get hot. They get cold. They get hurt. They get sick. They get tossed out of games by umpires (who are also human). They go 4-for-4 with two dingers, 5 ribbies and a steal one night, and the next night they take the collar, strike out a couple times, and make an error in the field.

    And sometimes they have a “clutch” season like Big Papi this year where if the game’s on the line and he’s coming to the plate, the opposing pitcher starts looking for someplace to hide. Maybe the stats can’t quantify the human element in the game (in fact, I know they can’t), but those opposing pitchers and managers reaching for the TP when David Ortiz comes to the plate in the ninth with the winning run on base don’t need a PC to tell them that if you hang a slider to this guy right now, it’s going to end up as a souveneir for a 9-year old kid from Framingham, Mass.


  25. BubbaFan says:

    I wouldn’t say the numbers guys thinks success in the post-season is ALL luck. A lot more luck than most fans would like to believe, certainly, but not all luck.

    And I don’t think you are really disagreeing with that. Your argument – that players are human, and thus unpredictable – is exactly what the stat guys argue. That is the element of luck, from their point of view.

    There was a fascinating article at one of the stat sites recently. I can’t remember which one, but it was interesting, and made sense to me. They crunched the number to find out what World Series-winning teams had in common. Turned out, there were only three factors associated with success in getting to and winning the WS:

    1) A power pitching staff
    2) Good defense
    3) A lights-out closer

    (Note to Yankees: a murderer’s row of sluggers is not on the list.)

    Why those three factors? Possibly because they are least likely to be affected by luck. Hitters can go cold, and finesse pitchers can have bad nights and miss their spots. Power pitchers and defense are less likely to suffer that kind of outage. (Though not entirely. Poor Aaron Boone provided sterling defense for the Yanks all season, but was a disaster in the post-season.)

  26. KC2HMZ says:

    While his A’s were having their asses handed to them in an ashtray, 11-2, by the Twins in Game 4 of the ALDS in Oct. 2002, Billy Beane told “Moneyball” author Michael Lewis: “My [expletive] doesn’t work during the playoffs. My job is to get us to the playoffs. What happens after that is [expletive] luck.”

    Yes, I’m disagreeing with it. Until they finally won a playoff series this past season, Oakland had rung up nine consecutive losses in games where they had a chance to put away a playoff series. That’s not luck. Having the winning ticket in a Powerball drawing is luck, OK? Being on an airplane with 50 other people when it crashes and being the only person who survives…that’s luck. Being the team that loses nine times in a row with a chance to ice a playoff series is not luck. And claiming that it is? What a singularly despicable show of poor sportsmanship on Beane’s part to thus diminish the accomplishments of the teams that have won playoff series, and world championships, while his own team was working on setting a new record for postseason futility.

    You seem to be a Yankees fan. Presumably you watched the 2004 ALCS the same as I did. What did your eyes tell you? Was it luck? Or do think maybe David Ortiz had something to do with it?

    Oh, yeah! David Ortiz! The guy they say can’t be clutch because clutch doesn’t exist! I guess it’s a good thing for Ortiz that he didn’t fart during the 2004 ALCS, else he might have lost the horseshoe that brought him the “luck” to hit a two-run walk-off home run to right field in the 12th inning of Game 4 (thus becoming the first player with two walk-off homers in the same postseason – his first one finished off the Angels in the ALDS), then single in the winning run in the 14th inning of Game 5 (giving him two walkoff hits in less than 24 hours), and finally hit a 2-run dinger in the second inning of Game 7 to give the Sox a lead they never relinquished.

    In early August, I read an article that revealed that since the end of the 2004 regular season, Ortiz had been at the plate in a walk-off situation 19 times, reached base 16 times, had 11 hits, with seven HR and 20 RBIs. Over a period of almost two years (so much for small sample size), he was hitting .875 with a chance to end a game with one swing. His OBP was .923, his slugging percentage 2.556, and his OPS 3.479.

    Clutch exists.

    How did we get way out here when we started out talking about the Reds trading for Conine, anyway?


  27. BubbaFan says:

    I do blame 2004 on luck, actually. It was so close. They booed Mariano Rivera at Yankee Stadium the next year for blowing the save. Did he blow it because he’s not clutch? I don’t believe that for a minute. He’s as clutch as they come. But even the best blows saves sometimes.

    Then there’s the crowd that blames it on Torre. They say if he had put speedy Bubba in, the way Francona put in Dave Roberts, things would have ended differently.

    Yes, I am a Yankee fan, and more and more, I believe we were extraordinarily lucky in the dynasty years. It is hard to win a short series, and even seven games is pretty short. The Yankees have been swept by the likes of Tampa Bay and Kansas City, then turned around and swept the Red Sox and White Sox. Even a bad team wins 40% of the time, as the Pirates demonstrate.

    Is David Ortiz clutch? I’m undecided. I suspect a lot of his success is related to his hitting in front of Manny Ramirez. They can’t pitch around him. Of course, the stat-heads say batting order doesn’t matter, either. Still…it will be interesting to see how Ortiz does if Boston actually succeeds in trading Manny.