Titanic Struggle Recap

Lost in Translation

Final R H E
Chicago Cubs  (9-17)
 9  13  0
Cincinnati Reds  (12-15)
 4  7  2
W: E. Jackson (2-2)   L: N. Christiani (0-1)   S:  None
Box Score   |   Play-by-Play    |    Stats    |    Depth Chart    |    FanGraphs Win Probability

The Good

Brayan Pena (.304/.360/.457) has been a godsend filling in for Devin Mesoraco. A HR tonight in the second inning to put the Reds back in front momentarily. The pitchers seem comfortable with him behind the dish and he’s reportedly a great clubhouse guy, for what that’s worth. A fine pickup by Walt Jocketty.

J.J. Hoover has been having some mechanical problems, but tonight it looked as though he might be figuring it out.

Zack Cozart has 4 hits in his last 6 ABs.

The Bad

Tony Cingrani got behind early when Anthony Rizzo decided he was unimpressed with Cingrani’s fastball. And after that, Tony never could find himself. He couldn’t make it past the 4th inning. It was interesting listening to Thom Brennamen posit that working on developing a second pitch has possibly done more harm than good for Cingrani. “Messing with something that was working” were the words I believe Thom used. I suppose there are some people who believe it’s normal for pitchers to get by indefinitely with nothing but a fastball, but that is one crazy bet, IMO.

Joey Votto needs a new glove. This one isn’t working. That botched grounding in the ninth was ugly.

The Ugly

Sean Marshall had no fastball tonight. He wasn’t even looking to throw it, which makes one think he’s not physically at full strength yet. Perhaps this is why we haven’t seen more of Sean since he was brought up. It was just brutal to watch. Sean is a much better pitcher than this. Aroldis Chapman can’t get back fast enough.

In the bottom of the 7th, Zack Cozart singled. Then, as a pitch got away from Cubs catcher Welllington Castillo, rolling a good 8 to 10 feet away, Cozart timidly stayed at first—as if frozen. I believe Bryan Price has already shown he’s a much different manager than Dusty Baker. But, when it comes to base running, this team doesn’t seem to be much smarter than they were a year ago. And Price clearly hasn’t figured out how to fix it. It will be interesting to watch how this facet of the Reds’ game develops–or doesn’t.

Not so random thoughts …

The Daily Billy:  Hamilton had another stolen base, leading to a run when after swiping third, Phillips drove him home with a timely McRBI.

Another night of a hit here, a hit there, but nothing strung together. Bruce is getting on base, but he’s not hitting for power. Ludwick, Frazier and Phillips are treading water and nothing more. There’s no consistent hitting from the right side since Mesoraco went down.

Something’s got to change. The Reds are back to 3 games below .500 and the first place Brewers are coming to town looking to take the Reds’ lunch money.

103 thoughts on “Lost in Translation

  1. Watching Marshall was sad. He was out there on guts and guile which is a credit to him personally; but, one has to wonder about an org that has to throw a valuable asset like Marshall into the fire like he has been. If he can make it through the next week, I’ll bet him going back to the DL will be the move to make space for Chapman. Maybe this time they’ll burn the whole month of permitted rehab to let him get as whole as possible.

    • And people wonder about the Reds having a crack medical staff – Marshall can’t even throw a fastball – and he’s on the mound in the 9th in a 1 run game. This organization, if you can call it that, has deficiencies everywhere. By the way, are the Reds all in this year or was that only last year?

      • The medical decisions are a direct reflection of doc Hollywood aka Kremchek. He needs to go. His decision making and leadership on the medical staff have cost us in the past. We need to sever ties with him and let him focus on growing his business at Beacon.

        • I’m now officially in the camp that Sean Marshall is pretty much done as an effective player in major league baseball. He seems to have morphed into Nick Masset. What a shame, especially in light of the fact that the Reds gave up a quality arm to get him. That’s not a knock on Jocketty, I believe it was a deal worth making but it’s just not going to work out for the Reds.

          I hope that I am 100% wrong in my assessment.

        • The velocity on his fastball is concerning, but he still throws one of the nastiest breaking balls you’ll see from a LHP and he can throw it for strikes. Unfortunately, he might officially be a LOOGY at this point though. That would be a shame.

      • The one thing that has consistently bothered me on this board over the years is this unrelenting bashing of the Reds medical staff. Injuries happen. Injuries recur. For the most part, guys want to be back on the field as quickly as possible and most of the time the only thing a medical staff has to go on towards the end of a rehab stint is asking that guy “How do you feel?” Marshall threw back to back outings in Louisville at the end of his rehab assignment and looked great in both of them. He told the staff and the coaches that he felt great. It’s possible he wasn’t being entirely honest, it’s also possible that with more work he aggravated the original injury. Those are just things that happen in human beings, let alone professional athletes. To suggest that somehow the medical staff “screwed up” is implying what? They botched the surgical procedure? I assure you, Tim Kremchek is one of the most sought after orthopedic surgeons in the country. That they rushed him back? He looked fine and said he felt fine. Blaming a medical staff for a guy’s performance is the silliest kind of tea leaf reading in sports. They don’t let you work on multi million dollar athletes if you aren’t pretty damn good at what you do.

        • You would think the same of the plastic surgeons in Hollywood but have you seen some of those faces? The guys nickname is “Doc Hollywood” after all.

          I’m in general agreement with your post.

        • Glad you said that, Eric NYC. It seems highly unlikely that anybody posting here is privy to the information they would need to have informed opinions about the medical staff.

        • The way that Joey’s knee was handled was nearly criminal….okay not really, but it was very, very bad. To have let him go days without an MRI and then play in the ASG was extremely poor medical decision making and when he finally had the surgery to have left a floater doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence.

        • As someone who has had their ACL repaired, “leaving a floater” is a pretty biased way of phrasing it. It’s not like they “left” anything in there. Sometimes during the healing process things break off. I agree that the period right after his injury was not handled well, but I place almost all of the blame there on Joey himself. Again, with all of the tools and tests these guys have at their disposal, the single most important tool they have is the players’ honesty. Joey Votto is probably one of the most thoughtful, dedicated professional athletes you’re ever going to see and it was HIS call to play in the ASG. He should have known better. I also imagine that when a player of his stature says “I feel fine” that’s probably enough for the trainers to not immediately shove them into an MRI machine. MRI’s aren’t free. If a guy says he’s ok, and certainly if he says he’s good enough to play, a doctor probably isn’t going to suspect he needs to go to that extreme. Otherwise you’re going to start giving everyone an MRI after every bump and bruise just for the hell of it.

          But even with all of that, I can understand that the Votto injury was not handled well all around and if people want to put the blame for that on the medical staff that’s not entirely unfair, but I still don’t think that makes the Reds staff any worse than any other medical staff on any other professional sports team. They’re human and humans make mistakes. We’re the superfans who nitpick on every minute detail of this team. I suspect if you did that for any other team in any other sport you’d find just as many if not more instances of questionable handling of injuries. Most of a doctor’s work is a guessing game. These guys are some of the best at what they do – Krenshaw in particular is one of the most respected orthopedic surgeons in the country. And I just don’t see anything with the Marshall situation to suggest they did anything wrong. It’s not like they have a magic wand they COULD have waved over him to make him instantly healthy but they decided not to use it. The guy got hurt and his recovery is taking longer than hoped.

  2. I’m not sure the ball Bonifacio hit to lead off the game wasn’t misplayed as badly by Votto as the ball in the 9th. It was hit harder but almost right at his glove side. He took the old Olé swipe at it and somehow ended up on his butt. That one cost them at least one run too.

    • No doubt. Why can’t a coach tell him to to field the ball in between his legs with his top hand protecting his face.. This is high school stuff. Gheesh.

        • And it makes him a worse fielder. Whether it’s just a bad habit or if he’s indeed trying to “style it” for Gold Glove purposes or “I’m Joey Votto, I don’t get in front of the ball” or for whatever reason, his approach to fielding has deteriorated in the past couple years. I’m not saying he isn’t trying or that he doesn’t work at it. If the Reds have someone who is supposed to be coaching JV on his infield technique, that person isn’t succeeding. This is not a one-time or occasional thing. It’s an all-the-time thing. I know fielding at first base is hard. The balls come fast and at tricky angles plus other worries like holding the runners on and covering first, fielding bunts etc. But none of those complications should stop an infielder from getting in front of the darned ball.

        • Why can’t I reply to your post down there? There is no reply button on mine or yours.

  3. I don’t remember Marshall throwing any fastballs his last two appearances either. If he did, it was just a show-me pitch and didn’t top 90. It’s time to accept him for what he is, just another relief pitcher who had a good 5 year run but who’s arm is shot. To expect him to make a meaningful contribution to this team would be folly.

    Time to make a statement to the Brewers. Time to reassert our name into the division chatter.

    • Marshall arm is gone? Thus another dynamic trade by the Reds surrendering a bonafide pitcher with an ERA under 3.00 for another pitcher who’s arm is about to fall off (a solid hitting 2B, SS or 3B would have been ideal). Knew it was a bad trade from day 1 (this one’s once again on our dynamic GM, Walter Joke-r-ty).

      • Travis Wood has never been a sub 3.00 ERA pitcher. In fact his numbers were awful the year the Reds traded him. He’s a career 11 games under .500 pitcher with a WHIP over 1.2. Marshall was the best LF reliever in the NL when the Reds traded for him. Injuries happen, it was still a good trade.

        Wood wouldn’t be good enough to start on this team.

        • Wood wouldn’t start on this team? Bailey could have been traded for a right handed bat if Wood were on this team. If Marshall ends up being done it will be another trade that in the long run ended up being a mistake.

      • His arm wasn’t “shot” when we traded for him. You can’t predict such events. Marshall was solid RP when he got here.

        • In fact, I believe that a lot of the ‘nation (myself included) were excited about him being a candidate for closer. That was before the Madsen signing. Usually I don’t like to swap decent starters for relievers, but considering what we had coming up and where we were lacking, I thought it was a good move. Still may turn out to be. I don’t think we can measure it quite yet.

      • Yeah, because Jocketty should have looked in the crystal ball in his office to see the future.

        • So does the GM get a free pass on every move or signing that he has made that ended up with an injury costing the Reds millions? Madsen, Massett, Broxton, Marshall to name a few. Coincidence, bad luck or poor judgement?

      • It’s totally fair at this point to say that the Cubs have won that trade. There’s really no two ways about that (5.7 WAR to 1.6 WAR). And it’s usually not a good idea to trade starters for relievers in general.

        That said, the injury doesn’t bother me as a reason the trade was bad. Travis Wood could blow up his arm today and it wouldn’t change things. Pitchers are the most commonly injured players in baseball, it’s just part of the game these days.

        • The only regret in hindsight is that we didn’t trade Wood for someone else. The fact is there wasn’t any room for Wood in our rotation and there wouldn’t be right now either, unless you prefer Wood to Leake but that’s basically a toss up in my mind. I agree that generally you don’t want to trade starters for relievers, but to be fair Wood looked like a really middling starter who might end up being a reliever when we traded him and we had a glut of starting pitching.

    • No doubt time to make a statement to the Brewers but do the Reds have any appropriate “words” to lay on them. I wish they did but seriously doubt they do.

      • I am not afraid of the Brewers, they are playing way over their heads right now. Even more so than Atlanta was when we faced them.

        • Funny how the tough Braves swept the Reds then go to Miami and get crushed two in a row. No one is as good as the Brewers are playing but they have a much better roster than the Reds. Only 2 of the Reds starting 8 would crack their line-up and that is assuming you move Braun to left and let Bruce play right.

        • The braves always play tough over the past 2 decades, save 2 or 3 seasons, what have the Brewers done besides 2011 during that time. How can you even compare the 2 games against the Marlins when there were different SP’s. The games were well played, the braves just hit HR’s early, the Reds just did not at all. Not sure how the Reds get dominated by Hale

          The series will tell the resolve of the 2014 Reds- can they not lose a series against a winning team.

        • I wouldn’t say Aramis would definitely deserve to start over Todd at this point in his career. People should know I’m never been a huge fan of BP, but Scooter Gennett probably doesn’t start over BP, unless BP’s slide continues.

  4. Does anyone else think Barnhart behind the plate looks a lot like a Hanigan clone? Sure part of it may be the helmet mask versus traditional mask but Barnhart seems to set up like Hanigan and even channel a number of Hanigan’s fidgety moves playing with the mitt etc.

    • Barnhart will be a solid back-up defensive catcher but like so many other Reds hitters, he simply will never be able to hit.

      • Barnhart mashes RHP in the minors. It’s the switch hitting from the right side he needs to drop. In that respect, he’ll make a perfect complement to Mesoraco.

        • How many teams have two switch hitting catchers on their roster? Can’t be too many. We are fortunate to have the ones we have. Pena and Barnhart are excellent plan B’s.

        • Big Tucker Barnhart fan. I think he’ll hit ok too, especially from the left-side. He is also a very, very good defensive catcher. I agree with you Sultan, he’ll be a nice complement to Mesoraco.

    • Pena was a VERY nice off season aquisition, but Mesoraco and Barnhart are the future. I see a virtual Hanigan clone (excellent defense, good contact & excellent on-base skills) in Barnhart and an offensive powerhouse (potentially) in Mesoraco. That tandem will take over in 2016 after Pena’s contract expires and should provide excellent production and stability at the catcher position for several years.

  5. I wish the Reds would have brought back Zack Duke for Marshall insurance, bad move. We have no help from the LH side in the pen. Phillips is not a 3 hitter and we lack an impact RH power bat. Our BP is in trouble. Jumbo Diaz needs to get the call, send someone down.

  6. Hal McCoy reporting something going on behind closed doors in Price’s office after the game. Behind paywall so don’t know if he had any more than that.

  7. Any words on why Cingrani was pulled. My point in the game thread was that despite struggling, he has not allowed a run after the third all season, he tends to get stronger as the game goes on and why put the onus on your bullpen when he is under 80 pitches, your starting pitcher has kept you in the game with 3 runs or less

  8. There’s something really troubling happening with Cingrani. His fastball was never anything all that amazing – he never got it up above the low 90’s that I can remember. Last year the talk was always that there’d was something in his delivery that made it hard for hitters to pick it up and that’s what led to all of his SO’s. Well, as has been proven thousands of times, major league hitters eventually figure guys out. If you’re getting by on a mediocre fastball that relies on deception to get past guys and you can’t develop a workable secondary pitch or two, your effectiveness is due for a sharp decline in, oh I don’t know, your second season in the majors. I really hope I’m wrong, but we might be seeing the unravelling of Cingrani’s smoke and mirrors campaign and I don’t know if he has much in the way of raw stuff to overcome it. His problems with pitch counts seem to get worse every outing.

    • Agree with you again. Cingrani rarely exceeds 93mph, so his fastball is hitting speed in the 21st century. Thom may wonder whether adding secondary pitches is fixing something that ain’t broke, but I can think of few starters since the Big Train who didn’t need more than one excellent pitch.

  9. If it weren’t for Billy Hamilton, this team would be as exciting to watch as a BINGO tournament.

    I’ve been a Reds fan almost 40 years, and I just can’t get into them this year. “Something’s got to change” is right.

    The last time I had this little interest in the Reds was 1984 when I discovered girls, stopped collecting baseball cards, and they were on their way to losing over 90 games. These days I’m watching NHL playoff games and turning to the Reds game during commercials long enough to see how few hits they’ve made. Sigh.

  10. I kind of thought Cingrani was channeling “Bad Bronson” last night. He’s our fifth starter and is going to pitch like it from time to time. Hoping the Reds were caught looking ahead last night and are ready to punch the Brewers right square in the mouth.

  11. New calendar month, new team coming to town… forget the front nine ever happened, grab a beer and a burger at the turn, and start playing the back nine like a champ. Wait, what sport is this?

    • As I recall, Dusty would often use references to golf, fishing, jazz, and track to make his points, so you are in rarified air.

      I am also of the opinion expressed earlier that I am not as afraid of the Brewers as I am of the Braves. I think the Brew Crew will suffer a regression, and why not start now? I do believe their offense is very much for real. I thought last couple of seasons they seriously underacheived in that regard. Even with Roid-boy out. As long as our rotation holds out and we keep it close, I think we will be OK. Bullpens are volitile enough as a rule, and this one is due to implode like a collapsing skyscraper.

      • Wait a minute, I talk like Dusty… have I just been insulted? :) I’m so confused. Big time, as the Dust-man would say.

  12. ‘It was interesting listening to Thom Brennamen posit that working on developing a second pitch has possibly done more harm than good for Cingrani. “Messing with something that was working” were the words I believe Thom used.”

    Anytime anyone evokes the fanboy’s name, my blood boils.

    If I had a nickle for every time the man mentioned the bunt, I’d have a whole lot-a nickles.

  13. Unfortunately, my predicition for Mar./April of 12-15 was spot on. Schumaker is not the Calvary, but he can be part of it. Chapman’s return will help the bullpen. But the Reds front office has to get busy and go find a RH bat and a LH reliever.
    Remember, Jocketty is the architect of this team, and it is of HIS doing that the Reds are floundering 3 games under .500. Jocketty has failed this team and the fans. Jocketty’s failure to do his job this winter has cost the Reds dearly already this year. The Brewers evaluated their team, shored up weaknesses and are now in first place.
    Injuries? Don’t want to hear about them. All teams have them. The Braves started the season with 60% of their starting rotation on the DL and we find them in first place today. Jocketty’s evaluation that what he had (Cozart, Ludwick, Frazier, BP, and BHam) was better than what he could go out and obtain in a trade was highly dilusional at best. At worst, it shows Jocketty is severly out of touch. The Reds and Jocketty went into the winter knowing that the RH hitters were a weak link in the offensive chain in 2013, and still did nothing to shore up that kind of big weakness.
    And where is the Reds offense today? Still needing a couple of RH bats for their lineup.
    Walt Jocketty is derilict in his duties as GM of the Reds. And should be removed immediately.

    • Castellini is going to have to ok something, either a big trade to energize the offense or a front office shakeup, if the Reds funk continues. If not, the Reds will be looking up at the Brewers and Cardinals for the rest of the season.

    • What leads you to believe that Walt has not and is not trying to find this mythical RH bat for peanuts.

      • The proof is in the pudding. The results. Apparently, Jocketty is not a results-oriented type of person.
        The answer to your question is in your question. A “mythical RH bat for peanuts.” That is Walt Jocketty’s M.O., going the cheap route, finding something “for peanuts.”
        A good GM knows, if you want to obtain a good player, you have to give up a good player or good prospects. That is something that Jocketty is either unable or unwilling to contemplate.

        • Again how do you know this? You are baseing your view off of very limited info. To trade you have to have items other teams want and players they are willing to part with and will work in your system. You also dont know how Walt values players.

    • I think Jocketty is a problem and has done little right but at this point his hands are tied due to the money the Reds have spent to keep Votto, Bailey and Phillips. Votto is not the player the Reds signed to a long term deal. Phillips is way past his prime and Bailey got paid based on glimpses of brilliance. There is no money left to sign anyone and because the Reds minor league system is so weak there is no talent to trade for a big bat. (The bat Votto was supposed to be)

      The Cardinals made a change for a reason, but realistically a new GM wouldn’t be able to do much in the short term. There’s nothing to work with.

    • I doubt you’ll see WJ get removed immediately or really anytime during the season. That said, this is the last year on his contract and if things continue as they are, I’d say the Reds are very unlikely to renew or extend him.

      I would love to see a younger, more progressive GM. Someone who relies on his scouts for some old-school conventional wisdom but also looks deeply into the latest metrics and trends as part of player evaluation. This is especially true with players already at the professional levels (minors and Majors) as there is no real substitute for a scout’s trained eyes for drafting players in my opinion.

    • The next GM contract for the Reds will be critical, because that will drive the direction of the Reds fortunes through the Joey Votto era. With WJ’s contract up at the end of this season, I do think that it could go either way regarding a contract extention for WJ. Although my heart feels the Reds will make a run and win the NLCD with a long push through the playoffs this season, my head tells me the team will fall short of making the playoffs. BC wants to win and we saw last season that he has little patience if he perceives a change is needed, but he has also demonstrated exceptional loyalty, even if misdirected, in the past. I do think that BC will be VERY cautious about authorizing any long-term decisions regarding trades, aquisitions & extentions until he is confident of what the GM situation will be following this season.

      Personally, I would like to see a new, progressive, young GM at the helm, but there’s always the ‘be careful what you wish for’ caveat.

  14. Just read the game thread. I guess on tough nights the peanut gallery gets a little rough. Folks, Brian Price is managing a team with a crippled bullpen. LeCure isn’t right physically and is surviving on guts and guile, and he and just-off-the-DL Broxton are the closest thing we have to reliable relievers.

    For my money, the only mistake Price made last night was PH’ing Heisey when he did. I’d have rather used that spot to get Soto or Santiago an AB, and save Heisey in case we got close enough where a long ball from him could have made a difference. But pulling Cingrani and then trying to manage the bullpen the way he did with the Brewers on the horizon made sense. It didn’t work, which happens, especially when you have a bullpen with almost no reliable arms.

    Oh, and the only homeruns we’ve hit in almost two weeks were from Cozart, Hamilton, and Pena. That’s kind of a problem.

    • I still haven’t heard a sensible explanation for pulling Cingrani in the 5th when he was sitting on 76 pitches. After that decision I agree you probably don’t want to burn all of your best bullpen arms, but I would think that with the Brewers coming to town you would want to do everything you can to keep your starter in the game. Unless he was hurt there was no good reason to pull him. It seems like this organization is dead set on treating him with kid gloves. I think Price knows that hitters are starting to figure him out.

      • Did you watch him the first two times through that part of the Cubs order? Did you expect it to go better the next time through? Did you think he’d suddenly mow them down on 14 pitches and come out after the 5th, or would you have put him back out for the 6th and run his pitch count up to 120? There’s a whole season ahead, and a lot of innings still to pitch.

        It may also have been a “teachable moment”: Tony, if you don’t start trying harder to be pitch-efficient, don’t expect us to put you out there for the 5th in hopes of getting a Win….

        • I’ll buy that. Like I said, I suspect Price knows that Cingrani’s the kind of pitcher that can be figured out and was seeing it happen. That makes me really worried about Cingrani’s future. If the Cubs lineup can figure him out, what’s going to happen when the Cards and Brewers do?

        • I think trying to teach a young kid a lesson is a bit of a stretch and is it worth to cost your team a game. Is there any one doubting his effort? He gave up 3 runs, has not given up a run past the 3rd all year and to wear your bullpen out (be it the bottom end_ with a big 4 game series coming seems like even a worse reason.
          Put him on a short leash, let him face Rizzo (Reds treated him like he was better than Freddie Freeman for some reason, he has a .211 career BA against lefties)- but putting Cristiani in that situation could not be justifies as giving the Reds a better chance to win.

    • I would say that not double switching when he brought in Christiani was a mistake. The Reds were down 1 run, and in the bottom of the 5th inning Christiani lead off with his first AB. That pretty much kills the odds of scoring that inning and was totally avoidable.

      • You may be right, but it was the 5th inning. I wouldn’t sacrifice Cozart’s defense for that much of the game by bringing in Santiago. And definitely not Soto for Frazier or Votto, or Tucker for Pena. So that leaves the outfield, which means Ludwick. Kind of a drag having the pitcher’s spot in the middle of the order the rest of the game, not to mention his spot wasn’t so far away it guaranteed Christiani two innings.

        A possibly better solution would have been to bring in Ondrusek for one inning, then PH and pitch Christiani for 2, but if I recall there were some LH bats due up and Ondrusek has been particularly terrible against them/Christiani has pitched better than Ondrusek and the game was tied.

        • He had shown zero–zero–ability to handle the middle of the Cubs lineup. And if he’d suddenly developed that ability, it still would only have taken him through the 5th, and he’d have had to be replaced because of his high pitch count. Unlike the Reds, the Cubs weren’t going to let him have a 3 pitch inning.

    • I have to agree that the power outage is troubling. Of course, Bruce didn’t hit many in April last year either. I also think that Frazier and Ludwick could hit over 20 each. Mes, if he hadn’t gotten hurt is a 20-HR guy. Votto is a 20+ homer guy. That said, Bruce is also struggling to hit for average and is getting walked a lot because the hitters behind him just aren’t particularly dangerous. I think with this team, the HR will come. It’s just that they don’t get on base enough as a whole and the HRs haven’t really come so far this year, especially the last couple weeks.

      I’ve seen a lot of digs on Votto but really, he’s hitting very well. I’ll take .280/.438./.462 all day. A .900 OPS IS what he’s getting paid for, especially considering it is OBP-heavy. Would I like to see a little more power? Sure, but he’s not the problem. My favorite player on the team is Bruce but he’s scuffling at .220/.351/.385. The .734 OPS isn’t too good for a corner OF and my guy is only slugging .385. Now, I have no reason to think that won’t get a lot better as he’s in his prime and has a career .479 SLG but he isn’t getting it done right now.

      Frazier has been getting it done. I’ll take .247/.333/.441 from a 3B with top-notch defense. However Ludwick is at .260/.310/.390 and like Bruce is a corner OF. Only he’s not as good of a defender and sports a .700 OPS. Phillips is also been pretty much a disaster offensively as has Cozart. I have to think they will both be better as the year goes on but I don’t see either of them really being a threat.

      So the big question is this… With what the Reds have, who can they even give up in a trade that other teams would want? Who is out there that the Reds could get? I really think this team is in a bind right now as far as what they can do with personnel.

      • I think there’s one player that would fit the cornerstone of a trade that would return the bat the Reds’ need right now…Homer Bailey.

        I do not suggest trading Homer because he has struggled early. I am a big Homer fan and I think the Reds made a good move by extending Homer at the cost they paid. In fact, Homer’s contract is exactly what will make him marketable in a major trade for the power RH bat the Reds need. If Homer had hit the FA market, tied to compensation, he would have commanded a LOT more both in AAV and years than his current contract requires and the teams willing to pay for such a contract know this and would not shy away from the cost of Homer’s contract. If Homer is offered up along with a big LH power bat nearing major league potential (say the Big Lutz), the right deal might be workable.

        • The market cost of a young, healthy, experienced, top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher.

        • I wasn’t too keen on the Bailey extension but I was against a trade. I thought if the Reds planned on trying to go to the playoffs in 2014, they had a better chance with Homer than without him. I was for letting him pitch, giving him a qualifying offer, and then picking up the draft-pick. If the Reds were somehow out of it at the break, then they could have moved him at the deadline if they thought they could get more value than the compensation pick.

          I still feel that Homer is more valuable on the team than off the team right now. This is especially true because I feel the team is pretty thin on pitching in 2014. Now if Homer is dealing at the deadline, the Reds are somehow out of it, and some value could be had for him, then maybe I’d move him. It would be a move for the future though, not for 2014.

        • Here are Bailey’s top 5 comps through age 27 from baseball reference:

          Joe Blanton (980)
          Adam Eaton (978)
          Dustin Hermanson (974)
          Todd Stottlemyre (972)
          Kip Wells (971)

          When you say “top of the rotation,” are those the names that come to mind? His career best season put him at 43rd in the league in WAR. Seems insane to me.

        • Al,

          I’ve never really considered an ace, but Homer’s followed a very odd career path where he was basically awful, very bad,, bad, average, above average, more above average…basically, a very, very rare linear progression where he increased his innings pitched and lowered his ERA for a fourth straight season (I could have swore I saw somewhere it was the first time in history this has happened, but I have no time to fact check)

          I think the comp thing fails because gives equal weights to Homer’s performance as a 21-24 year old to his recent performance. The Reds rushed Homer to the big leagues and BR’s system is holding it against him.

        • That makes sense if you buy into the linear progression staying linear. Like you said, it’s pretty rare if not unprecedented. That’s why I think the comps are good reminders. Signing Bailey like he was one of the best pitchers in the game was like the banking system believing that housing prices could only go up.

          Some of those names got a lot of talk at points, but none of them ever turned into anything special. Bailey has a 2.5 win season and a 3.2 win season. Until he does more than that, I’m always going to think that it was a bad deal for the Reds.

      • They are certainly in a bind, which they have tied themselves through all of these extensions. Votto I understood. Franchise player, skills that are probably going to hold up pretty well over time.

        Phillips, Bailey, Broxton, and Marshall are playing at replacement level right now and getting paid about a 3rd of the Reds payroll.

        As far as improving goes, if they trade anyone, it would be a prospect. They have a few that could get draw interest. But a) they are trying to rebuild the farm system, and b) no one will be available until July.

        An interesting thought might be Stephen Drew. As of June he won’t be attached to a draft pick anymore, and will be looking to sign for the rest of the year to get his value back up.

        He’s a good defender with a career .264/.329/.435 line that will be highly motivated. If Cozart is still terrible, that could be an option.

  15. Sitting about 12 rows behind home plate, I cannot agree with the fault you put on Cozart about not going to second on that ball that got a little bit away from the catcher.

  16. There are lots of things that can be said about the problems this team has, and that’s true for basically every team. I think the Reds clearly have a lot of good baseball left in them. They will get more players back from injury, Price will settle in, a winning streak gets the energy back etc.

    The one thing that stands out for criticism to me is the bullpen. Building an effective bullpen is one of the easiest things to do as a GM. Relievers are the most common and cheapest players available. The one single guiding principle that must always be remembered is that RELIEVERS ARE VOLATILE!

    What that means is that you’re always going to do better by having a lot of different reasonable (cheap) options than you are committing to specific (expensive) guys long-term. Example 1: 2013 Cardinals. Their pen was better than ours overall and they got rid of the two best relievers from their 2012 team. But they had depth and barely missed a beat.

    Jocketty seems to basically do this backwards. We’re paying over $20mil for our top three relievers and we have one of the worst bullpens in the game. It’s not because the relievers that we have were bad when we got them, it’s because we extended them, banking on their past performance. And that’s a bad idea because RELIEVERS ARE VOLATILE.

  17. I hate to admit it, but the stupid Cubs are starting to worry me. It looks like Starlin Castro is finally putting it together and he’s only 24. Rizzo is looking like he might actually be the real deal. Jackson and Wood are two solid arms and Samardzia (I’m not even going to pretend to look up how to spell that) makes for the start of a decent rotation. A bullpen isn’t hard to put together, though they haven’t really bothered to do it yet. They’ve got some good prospects in their system from years of high draft picks. And to top it off, they’re about to have a tsunami of new money to spend. In fact, they have it right now but are actually being smart and waiting until some more of their prospects are ready to pull the trigger on free agents to round out the club. I think the Cubs are going to be relevant pretty soon, like maybe even next year. And the last thing we needed was another legitimate team in this division. We’re really teetering on the edge of being at the bottom of the NLC in the not too distant future. Walt had better wake up.

    • Possibly, agree about the line up, but if your basing a starting rortation around that bum who threw last night and another who couldn’t crack the Reds staff, they will be as relevant as always.

      • Don’t look now, but that guy who “couldn’t crack the Reds staff” had more WAR last year than anyone in our rotation. Even if you give Cueto a pass for being injured, he had more wins than Latos and Bailey. in fact, in three fewer big league seasons he’s put up 1.5 more WAR combined than Homer Bailey.

        • A rWAR of 4.4 for about a half-million bucks was a nice year for Mr. Wood.

        • Depends on which version of WAR you use. Fangraphs has Wood at 2.8 WAR last year, behind both Latos (4.4) and Bailey (3.7). The two major WAR calculators (Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference) can come up with radically different WAR calculations for certain pitchers. Fangraphs uses FIP in their calculations – they neutralize BABIP, in other words. Where BR uses ERA. Neither one is right or wrong, just different depending on how you look at it. Here’s the page at FG that explains the difference.

  18. More fun with numbers – from the “in the last X games” department: Zack Cozart in the last seven games: .286/.348/.429.

  19. This may not be the popular opinion, however I really don’t have THAT many quibbles about Price’s in game decision making. He’s a little hamstrung by what he has. Have I thought he’s made some bonehead calls? Absolutely. But I still think we are far from Dustyball. I think that as we progress further into the season, Price will make the team more his own and that will be a positive thing. We are thin. In large part, but not totally, due to economics. The GM has to be on the hook to a degree as well. Sometimes it’s difficult to play mix and match successfully.

    • It is difficult to manage a bullpen when there are only 2 arms that have shown any consistency. Hard to develop roles when your top 3 start the season on the DL. The luxury in April is that you can see who can handle what, thought Parra looked like a ligit closer for a week, great set-up go to guy, now I cringe if he comes in.
      I mentioned it in the game thread, Price probably manages differently in a pennant race, but he is seeing if guys like Christiani and Ondrusek can get things done in close games- occasionally they get out of jams, last night did not work out

    • Yeah, I asked the group that haunts the game threads when they went bonkers over Christiani pitching in the 5th what they would have done differently. All I heard was crickets. The Reds had 5 innings left and 2-3 good/decent relievers, Lecure could pitch multiple innings, but Marshall and Broxton…? Not happening.

  20. Well, Cingrani to the 15 day DL with tendinitis. Called up Partch, but not sure what the plan for a replacement in the rotation is going to be. This season is going down the drain.

    • He will only miss one start how is the season going down the drain after 26 games? Heck my Pacers dominated during a good portion of the regular season but are going out in first round. Still alot of baseball to pkay….

    • Cingrani misses ‘0’ starts. His place in the starting rotation will be skipped twice because of schedule off days, but no replacement starter will be utilized, unless Cingrani is on the DL longer than 15 days.

      • You’re assuming he’s ready to go after 15 days. As someone mentioned before, “shoulder” is not a good word to hear when dealing with an injury to a starting pitcher.

      • Correct, tyhat is an assumption, but that doesn’t need to be addressed for 2 weeks. That’s quite a while to consider any necessary options if the problem isn’t resolved by then and prepare for that eventuality.

  21. When did Ondrusek start throwing his heater at 97 mph? That was impressive to see. Now if he can start consistantly locating that pitch on the black part of the plate and down instead of the middle and up, then we might have something evolving here.

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