Titanic Struggle Recap

Talent shows up

Final R H E
  Cincinnati Reds  (51-48) 2 5 2
  Milwaukee Brewers (55-45) 5 8  0 
 W: Peralta (11-6)     L: Latos (2-2)
 FanGraphs Win Probability |   The Worldwide Leader’s Box Score    |   Game Photos

As the Reds were coming apart early in the game tonight, Jeff Brantley and Jim Kelch were talking in the radio booth about how the team sorely missed Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips. Brantley pointed out that meant the Reds were running two subs out there every night. “Adrenaline only gets you so far,” said the Cowboy.

“Talent shows up.”

Good grief, yes. The team that Walt Jocketty and Byran Price put on the field tonight included a minor league player, a rookie, a journeymen infielder and a career fourth outfielder. And that doesn’t include Skip Schumaker.

It needs to be said that the Reds substitute players have had more than their share of strong moments this year, leading to several improbable comebacks and other wins before the All-Star break. But the past four games have demonstrated just how much fool’s gold that was.

In the end, it really matters who is making the plays. For example, the Reds have completed many outstanding relay throws from the outfield this year, usually involving a combination of Jay Bruce, Brandon PhillipsZack Cozart and Devin Mesoraco. Tonight’s tragedy of errors started with a relay series that was every bit as horrible at each stage as the successful ones have been brilliant. Start with a weak throw from Billy Hamilton that bounced well short of the front relay man. Then add a weak throw from Ramon Santiago that bounced two thirds of the way between second and third. Combine the bad luck that the ball hit Segura on the foot with the even worse luck that the ball caromed away from Mat Latos and rolled in the dugout. The Brewers had their first run.

Unfortunately, the Reds shabby play was just getting started.

Chris Heisey misplayed Ryan Braun’s line drive into a double. Then Heisey misplayed Carlos Gomez’ fly ball into a double. The Brewers’ 245-lb pitcher tagged up at second base on a routine fly ball to left center field. (It’s obvious the Reds’ opponents don’t have much respect for Billy Hamilton’s arm.) Donald Lutz misplayed Scooter Gennett’s ground ball into another run. And the Brewers seemingly stole every base they wanted.

The Reds didn’t do much positive at the plate. They swung at pitches in the dirt, at fastballs that bounced in front of home plate, at breaking balls in the opposite batter’s box. Some of these were on full counts and would have produced walks if the Reds hitters had even a modicum of plate discipline. For the most part, they don’t work enough to just get on base. The home runs in the last four games have all been solo shots.

To be sure, Wily Peralta is a handful even with a healthy lineup. Tonight’s game looked like Germany vs. Brazil when he was on the mound.

The Reds had a few bright moments. Billy Hamilton (400 feet!) and Kris Negron hit impressive, bolt out of the blue, home runs. Hamilton and Zack Cozart made back-to-back sparkling defensive plays in the eighth inning.

Given the circumstances, Mat Latos actually pitched well tonight, despite giving up four earned runs. He didn’t walk anyone. Several of the hits he gave up should have been outs. Latos’ biggest challenge was keeping cool while the Bad News Bears were performing.

Votto and Phillips won’t be back until the end of August at best. The good news is the Reds aren’t going to play like this every night between now and then. Mesoraco will hit, Frazier will hit, Bruce will hit. The back-up singers will have their moments. But be assured, there will be more games like this one, too. There’s just too much of an aptitude gap for there not to be.

Until the talent shows up, one way or another.

246 thoughts on “Talent shows up

  1. Not good at all, the last 4 games we have played like a little league team. Horrific defense.Well I will be at the Milwaukee game tomorrow, traveling from KY, sitting 3B side behind Reds dugout. Reds are playing the worst baseball all year, figures, lol. Should be a great time though, see the stadium, take in BP, take the Miller’s tour, etc. Go Reds tomorrow. Bailey on the mound.

    • Yeah, make the best of it, JMO. I was in San Diego for the lost 1-hitter, and some people from here witnessed first-hand the spectacle(s) in New York, so if it doesn’t go well, we’ll be feeling your pain!

      But what the heck, bring us a winner and turn around our fortunes!!!

    • trade toney cingrani and ryan ludwick for a power right handed hitter and give J.J. hoover away

      • Why would any team out of the race want to get ludwick?He’s got a 9 mil team option next year, but if the team declines it they have to pay 4.5 mil buyout. He’s got negative trade value right now. And even though Hoover was really good last year and in 2012 the reds should just give him away because he’s struggled for a few months?

        • Didn’t you know that if you traded away players who were playing badly, you could:
          A) Get a good player in return?
          And
          B) Other teams would pay the salary on high-dollar contracts?

    • As he stated, Phillips and Votto would be back in August in a very rosy scenario. They are unlikely to be back before mid September and will be pretty ineffective coming off 2 months of not playing. I think we should look for other options.

  2. I agree with much that you say but I find the horrific defense in the first four games back to be an alarming trend. Bruce, Heisey, Hamilton and Cozart are all plus fielders. When guys like that are making as many mistakes as they have been one has to wonder if the team is pressing or just not dialed in. Regardless if the defense and pitching continue to falter there isn’t much point in making a move for more offense.

    On another note how much weight did Latos put on in the off season?. He looks significantly overweight and was clearly gassed after running the bases.

    • There’s no doubt that the remaining starters like Bruce, Mesoraco and Frazier are pressing. The defensive problems are certainly alarming with respect to first base and second base. The Bruce error yesterday was just a once-every-five-years kind of thing. Happens. But the replacements for Votto and Phillips in the field just aren’t as good. The Reds don’t have a major league first baseman that isn’t on the DL. When they move Frazier to 1B, it weakens both 1B and 3B. Heisey has been spectacular on defense all year until tonight – but those two errors (scored hits) were really bad ones.

      • Sparky Anderson used to say that bench guys might make big contributions from time to time but if he gave them enough opportunities, they would always remind him why they were bench guys. The Reds seem to have several subs reaching this critical mass at the same time because they are all basically playing every day.

      • Agree but it is still alarming. The fact the Reds have no one in the system who can play first base is incredible. That they are constantly weakening defense at other positions to cover first is inexcusable.

        • Their three first basemen were Hannahan, Soto, Lutz, and Meijas-Brean. One is old and no good. One is young and absolutely no good. One is not really too good. The final one is young and not ready having just been promoted to AA in midseason this year.

      • I have loved the Reds defense all season, one of the things that kept my playoff hopes alive (defense and great pitching). But losing two gold gloves on the same side of the infield with sub-par replacements has just been too much to overcome. Would liked to have seen a bit more fire (always want more fire) from Price last night. Hopefully the ejection sends a bit of a message and gets the boys out of da funk.

      • Once every five years? Jay Bruce dropped a fly ball two years ago in San Francisco that cost them a game as well.

        • That was just a stupid lack of concentration error that he rarely makes. I your gonna whiff with the glove you can’t be whiffing at the plate as well. I remember the (I’m scared of the wall) error in San Fran as well.

        • Rare things happening more often than expected does not make them more likely to happen.

          If you were to win the lottery today and tomorrow, it’s still a very rare occurrence, like Bruce’s gaffs.

        • Not to be nitpicky but it seems he has lapses more than a few, I recall first Series in ST. Louis he dropped a catchable fly ball when they had the lead in the bottom of the sixth.

      • I would say the same thing about Heisey’s terrible game last night, he’s generally a pretty good defender that has a REALLY bad night.

    • “Bruce, Heisey, Hamilton and Cozart are all plus fielders. When guys like that are making as many mistakes as they have been one has to wonder if the team is pressing or just not dialed in.”
      *********************************************************************************************

      If we didn’t quite understand it before, we should now. Phillips is the defensive leader on the team and they are missing him badly. He sets the tone and the level of the bar on defense. He would have caught the pop up in the 9th on Sunday. He would have thrown Segura out at 3rd tonight. Some would say there was nothing spectacular required to make either of those plays; and, in a sense they would be right. However when DDBP is on the field those plays get made, He isn’t and now they aren’t.

      • I don’t think BP plays SS, 1B, RF, or LF… so those plays don’t get magically made just because he’s on the field. No magic auras that makes bad defenders suddenly not have bad defense or prevents good defenders from never having bad defensive games.

        Unless you honestly believe that Heisey doesn’t misplay two balls in LF today just because BP is standing on the field 240’+ from him.

        • But the two examples that Jim gave were good ones. Steve also mentioned the importance of BP on relay throws.

      • Agree. I don’t think that Santiago is a bad fielder–usually looks good, actually–but BP is spectacular and it’s hard to imagine that his enthusiasm and the confidence the other guys have in him don’t affect more plays than those he makes himself. The Reds–the best defensive team in baseball this year–have looked embarrassing these last four games. With the injuries, they don’t need more help beating themselves.

        • The Santiago throw was bad luck. He’s out if the ball doesn’t hit the runner. Hamilton has had more good throws this year than Bruce.

        • @Annapolishoosier – Agree that the Santiago throw was partly bad luck. Hamilton has had more opportunities to throw people out because teams have been testing him quite a lot. His throwing has been pretty solid and he’s had some real good ones. That throw last night wasn’t good at all, I think partly because he was taken off-guard.

        • It still amazes me that major leagues get “caught off guard,” as you say (I agree, though). No matter how slow you think a runner is, as an outfielder, you should come up ready to throw 100% of the time without fail. It’s laziness, nothing else.

      • I agree, its a tone of expected play-making. We sometimes take it for granted how good BP has been with his glove, and JV had turned up his defense this season as well.

  3. This team could be done. The starting pitching is faltering… Cueto has lost command, Latos looking gimpy… Leake was never reliable to begin with… Bailey needs to step up and become similiar in quality to a #1 or I think they are toast.

    • Bailey gets a huge chance to step up tomorrow. Cueto is in some kind of slump, I think he’ll snap out of it. Latos expected to pick up velocity as the season went along but so far he hasn’t, he’s largely a finesse pitcher so far this year.

      • Over the last 30 days, Cueto has put up 8.19 K/9, 2.88 BB/9, and had a .263 BABIP against. For the season, he’s at 8.96, 2.36, and .228, so his “slump” is probably due mostly to not being as lucky on balls in play(yes, if Simon has been lucky on BIP, the Cueto has been luckier, let’s be fair) and his K/9 BB/9 getting just a smidge worse. I’m not worried about him!

        • That’s a good point about Cueto. The only reason I tend to spotlight Simon’s BABIP compared to Cueto’s is that none of Simon’s other peripherals have budged. In contrast, Cueto’s strikeout rate/swinging strike rate has soared this year. So even though Cueto’s BABIP has been as unsustainable as Simon’s at the bottom line, there is at least evidence for the story that Cueto is a substantially more effective pitcher this year than before.

        • Just looks like he is laboring some which, to me, could be the gas tank is starting to empty. I’m not going by any stats on this but is appears they back that up. Not seeing that particular look with Afredo, at the moment.

    • Latos and Simon are the key to staying in this race.

      Cueto may regress, Bailey should progress and Leake seems to be consistently above average. So let’s set those three aside with the understanding that they can compose a decent core but not enough to make a playoff push.

      Latos is waaay down on his FBv and it isn’t coming back. As a result his K’s are way down too. His stuff looks like Mike Leake on an off day. Latos at 85% is better than most 4/5 spot rotation guys still but it means you only have two ‘go to’ arms in a short playoff series in Cueto and Bailey.

      The string is running out on Simon. I am predicting another 6 – 9 starts from him before the Reds are forced to call up one of their recent veteran-y acquisitions or Holmberg. (That there is no Cingrani is also a blow to this rotation – Simon was never supposed to be in this role this long!)

      My fear: the Reds trade away a solid prospect (or two) for a bat but the pitching fades rendering the move ineffectual overall.

      There is an opportunity to make this team leaner and meaner for next season. It starts with moving some salaries at a time when they would actually be in demand: Broxton and Ludwick. This window may be the only that the Reds have to actually receive a return on two veterans with salaries that would be considered prohibitive in the off season! Moving Simon is the next logical ‘sell high’ step. He isn’t going to reduce payroll but he could fetch a return no one ever thought possible.

      None of these three players figure into the Reds future and 16+ million will give the Reds a lot more flexibility this off season. I believe in this team but the wise thing to do seems to be prepare for a run next year.

    • Whew! Thanks, I’ll go and cancel my subscription to MLB and save a few bucks. I’ll be able to go hang at the “fair weather bar” for real insightful entertainment.

      • Maybe I wasn’t clear. I believe in this team. They could push for a WC appearance again this year and perhaps a full series. But the opportunity to sell off some veteran pieces represents a better return, imo. Heck, I think they could still make a WC appearance without the presence of Broxton or Ludwick.

        • As he stated, Phillips and Votto would be back in August in a very rosy scenario. They are unlikely to be back before mid September and will be pretty ineffective coming off 2 months of not playing. I think we should look for other options.

  4. I hope you are right and Mesoraco will continue to hit. He looks pretty clueless right now. I hope the first half wasn’t a fluke. There certainly is no reason to throw him a strike right now.

    • He’s not going to hit better than Johnny Bench (which he would if he’d keep up with the first half numbers) but he’s going to be an above average hitter. His recent struggles are a product of pressing (obvious from his reaction to the called check swing third strike tonight) and needing to adjust to getting pitched hard inside. It’s a game of adjustments and pitchers are having success with inside heat right now. It goes back and forth.

      • Understood and agree he wasn’t going to keep up the pace he was on. He is not Johnny Bench, but right now he is an easy out and the Red have enough of them. With all the bench players seeing so much time if Mesoraco, Frazier and Bruce don’t hit it is an incredibly weak line-up. Even with Votto and Phillips the team was struggling to score. I have long argued the Reds have ignored the offensive side of the game for too long and failed miserably in any effort they’ve made to add more punch in left field.

        It was a really nice run in June and leading into the break but it was a little misleading. This roster even with a healthy Votto and Phillips had issues and now with those two out and no help in the minors the Reds are looking pretty ordinary.

        The fact the Reds are 0 and 5 in games played in American League Parks is an indicator of just how weak the team is off the bench. It is a disadvantage for the Reds to play with a DH because they have no one to fill that role and their pitchers must face another hitter instead of a pitcher 4 or 5 times a game.

        • I agree with all of that. The one nitpick is that Votto played, but he wasn’t anywhere near healthy. A truly healthy Votto with Frazier, Mesoraco, Bruce and Hamilton hitting, should be a pretty strong lineup. That may be 2015 before we see it.

        • Reds’ need a healthy Votto. Hopefully that happens in 2015. I’m still not convinced he was totally healthy last year.

        • …and yes Votto was clearly not healthy this year. It’s my view that he hasn’t been the same player since the initial knee injury.

        • Right about the DH and the Reds have trouble winning in AL parks. There’s nothing new about that though.

        • I think, at this point, after two years, you have to wonder if we’re ever going to see the 2012 style Votto again…I hope we do, but you have to wonder.

  5. When Latos got to third on the wild pitch, I was looking for the TOOTBLAN button on my remote because just knew somehow he wouldn’t score and that it would likely involve a TOOTBLAN moment.

  6. Jack Hannahan has played 36 games at first base. Career .232/.316/.349 hitter. And he’s coming off major shoulder surgery.

      • And I believe to date Hannahan has only DHed. What does that say about his arm? Yet in a couple of weeks we may see him at 1B for the Reds.

        • At this point we have a one-legged 1b, a one-handed 2b, a blind RF, so why not a one-armed utility guy

      • Sounds familiar. Are you sure you aren’t looking at his stats from the big league club last year? That guy is a Corey Patterson level of worthless. Who the he!! Thinks Jack Hanahan will actually improve this roster?

  7. Not they the Reds should have gone anywhere near Uggla but on Sunday WJ indicated he was a guy they wanted to talk about at the organizational level today. Problem being, the Giants signed him to a minor league deal today. Reds were day late and a dollar short even trying to figure out if they should be interested in Uggla.

    Says a lot to me when it seems they also can’t put together any deals on the fly during the season.

    • You don’t know that, Jim. For good reason the Reds had no interest in Uggla and WJ didn’t want to just say: “Are you serious ?” He’s working on upgrades, not downgrades.

      • Disagree, Pinson. Walt and the Reds braintrust have demonstrated time and again that they are incapable of making quick decisions, be it on acquiring players or roster moves.

        Paralysis by analysis.

        Walt has been “working” on in-season upgrades for four plus seasons in contention, and it has netted the team Jim Edmonds and Broxton. That’s just not good enough.

      • Perhaps I didn’t make my point clearly. I’m not saying they should have gone after Uggla. I am saying that on Sunday WJ told the media that Uggla was a guy the org would be looking at when he got all his entourage together the next day. John Fay even tweeted that he was “shocked” they Jocketty would say this versus rejecting out of hand the idea of signing Uggla.

        To which I am saying the org was so slow and out of touch that the race had started and ended before they could decided if they wanted to enter it.

        • And I should have added that WJ has had little or no problem in the past being politely dismissive of suggestions they might have an interest in someone they had absolutely no interest in,

    • I don’t want them to either, but I think Uggla jumped the gun here…if you still had an $18M pay check coming in (no matter what) wouldn’t you have waited a few days to see where you got the best offer? I’m betting SOMEONE would have done better than a minor league deal.

    • Everyone passed on Uggla for a long time, they have been trying to unload him for a year or more. You say you would not touch him but he is your example of inaction. Perhaps he was just trying to say they just were not really interested. What the Reds are up to will always be a mystery until they do something. Jocketty cannot trust the media to keep his moves quiet and so he tells only those who have a need to know.

  8. Without exceptional starting pitching and exemplary defense, the Reds cannot play .500 baseball. The last four games make that painfully obvious. Now we’re all reduced to buying a ticket in the lottery and hoping for a miracle.

  9. I know one thing, the Reds simply cannot get swept by the Brewers after just getting swept by the Yankees. Besides falling behind in the standings, it could cause an implosion in the clubhouse. The finger pointing and players who wish to be anonymous criticizing the manager and teammates would dominate the sports pages. I think this could be a defining moment on whether Price has what it takes to be a successful manager in major league baseball.

    • It bothers me that so many people on here talk about the player’s mentality like they are in the clubhouse. We don’t know what these guys are feeling, but there have been plenty of times over the last 5 years when the reds have had a really bad series and bounced back. The Padres series this year as well as the game versus Toronto where they blew the huge lead. They bounced back to play good baseball after those events.
      Reaching this level of baseball requires not only talent and hard work. You have to have a certain mindset to succeed in MLB. You must have some patience. And you have to be able to deal with failure without letting it eat you up. If the reds don’t make the playoffs this year it will be because they couldn’t overcome the lack of production.from votto, BP, and Bruce, not because they “imploded” after a losing streak.

  10. I think any Reds’ fan who, at this point, realistically believes this team is winning a WC ticket and riding it to the World Series is completely delusional.

    • The Reds are not even close to out of it, at this point. Four games ago we were all, or nearly all, gleefully celebrating their resurgence. I’m not predicting a post season run–the injuries are too serious for confidence–but we should remember that the season is a marathon, and there is plenty of it left.

      • They’re not out of it, but a sweep in Milwaukee would make a comeback pretty unlikely. The bigger problem is that we’re seeing now the normalization across the roster. Hamilton wasn’t going to be a 135 wRC+ hitter. Cueto and Simon’s ERA’s are inching up as their BABIP bounces back into normal range. Pitchers have adjusted to Frazier and Mesoraco. The slew of scrub replacements we’re running out every day are playing like scrub replacements again. Unless a major trade is made, the team we’ve seen these last 4 days is, statistically, the team we should expect to see until at least the end of August. We’ll be 10+ games out of the WC race at that point.

        • Hamilton hit a HR and a single last night, so this tells you that he will stop hitting? Cueto and Simon have some “bad” outings and they are coming back to the pack. Slumps. Plain and simple are a part of baseball, but slumps end. Everyone, me included, have to let it play out.

        • Hamilton had a good night last night and 3 terrible days before that. He was cooling down for about a week and a half before the break, too. Again, I think Hamilton will be good at the plate. I just don’t think he’ll be a 135 wRC+ hitter at the plate and no one else should expect that, either. I think this year he’ll net out around 105-110 and maybe in a year or two he could be worth around 115-120. With his defense and base running, that could win him an MVP.

      • Good post, Red. It’s amazing what 4 (admittedly very frustrating) games will do to a fanbase. People forget that we were right there in 2 of the 4 games and could easily be 2-2 coming out of the break.

        I agree in that I’m not predicting a post-season run either. Like you said, the injuries are likely just too much to overcome, and I don’t expect the team to snag a playoff berth. But if we can somehow tread water and only be out 5-6 games when Votto and Phillips get back, then who knows?

        In any case, I think it’s a bit premature to pronounce last rites on a team that is 3.5 games out of first place with 63 games left to play.

    • (raises hand) Consider me delusional. If the pitchers don’t implode, we sidestep any major injuries, and Phillips and Votto come back by Sept. 1 (even if only 75%), I see the Reds as serious contenders. We may need an additional bat (but Willingham IS NOT the answer, IMHO).

  11. When their backs have been to the wall, the Reds have played well this year. Homer gets a chance to stop the bleeding Tuesday, and the Reds get to face a rookie with impressive AAA numbers who got shelled by the Cardinals in his only major league start to date.

  12. Good recap. I’ve never seen that “career 4th OFer” have a defensive game as bad as that before and I would hope we won’t see it again. He’s played a lot of good defense for the Reds. Also let’s be grateful that Jay Bruce is not on the DH, he was just getting a day off. And that we won’t be seeing too much of Lutz starting at first base.

    I agree that BP’s absence hurts the defense a whole lot.

    Trying to find a bright spot, a stretch like this will hopefully convince Bob C. that an upgrade is needed before BP and Votto return, or the season is lost.

  13. Heisey’s defense has been outstanding this year. Even with a 100% fit roster, he remains the best option in LF.

    Our season is shaping up like the Brewers’ 2013, where they just couldn’t cope with losing key starters.

    No point now in trading away what few high-end prospects we have in the minor leagues. Adding both Trout and Stanton would not turn the 2014 Reds into contenders….!

      • Agreed, Eric. I see Rob’s point because I feel similarly – a Smoak or a Zobrist could end up being an ineffectual addition if starting pitching fades.

        That being said: put Trout and Stanton in this lineup and suddenly this team are World Series caliber, haha.

        • I think Zobrist could be a great piece if the Reds can keep him beyond this year. what’s his contract situation?

        • Ben Zobrist makes $7MM this season andd has a team option for $7.5MM in 2015 with a $500K buyout.

  14. My concern was that we were playing so well leading up to the All-Star break that it would carry over into the start of the 2nd half. Oops! Truth be told: Reds are unwatchable now. Walt needs to get off his widest side and do something.

  15. Like everyone else, I want to see Walt add a bat (preferably 1B IMO). But how much can anyone expect one bat to help? It’s only holding down the fort, hoping to remain close to the top until BP & Votto return.

    What can Walt afford to give away for a rental? None of the top prospects. Is Lutz or Soto enough of a return for the other team? From what I have seen of them, I would be willing to let one of them go.

    Unless there is another team trying to dump salary on a player who is worth a chance,
    Walt is going to have a hard time coming up with good help. The Dodgers are supposedly willing to trade Kemp. But the Reds aren’t in a position to take on his monster multi-year contract.

    • Kemp is owed 21.5 MM per over the next 5. The Dodgers would have to eat 1/3 to 1/2 of his contract for ANYONE to take him. The Reds would likely need them to eat 1/2 to 2/3.

  16. How disappointing. Walt and the rest of the braintrust have been aware of the injuries to Votto and Bruce for quite some time. They have been aware of the thin bench, and the lack of capable backups at 1B and 3B. And so far, nothing has been done to improve the roster.

    It’s like last year with Ludwicks injury, and the year before with Votto’s injury. Plug in an organizational (cheap) replacement, and hope.

    Hope doesn’t win pennant races.

  17. Which drives you guys crazier… Votto walking or the current reds lineup flailing wildly at everything in the dirt or even the other batters box?

    • The flailing… I wonder how many Votto critics wish he was getting on base the last few games.

    • both are the normalcy. I’ll take the base runner every day of the week and twice on Sundays

    • 1+

      A lot of folks don’t appreciate what they had until it’s gone.

      Hurry up and get healthy, Joey.

  18. Poor offense is poor offense. There are nights you aren’t going to hit and there are sometimes several nights where you aren’t going to hit. It’s the defensive lapses that really are tough to stomach for me. If you’re a team with a mediocre offense that’s missing 2 or 3 key players, and your substitutes for those players are on the roster because they play solid defense, then you need to play solid defense. The last few games the team hasn’t been catching the ball or throwing the ball very well. It hasn’t always been errors but misplays that hurt just as much, even if they don’t show up in the box-score.

  19. I’m sorry but I really don’t see how anyone watching this franchise right now, knowing we will continue to be without Votto and Phillips until at least mid to late August at best and even then they won’t be very productive given the injuries they have feel this team is a top 8 team in MLB? We need to stop kidding ourselfs. We have to many issues to make a serious WS run this year. SO, we need to tell both Votto and Phillips there seasons are done and to take their time and work on getting back to 100% for next year. We need to see what Negron and Lutz can do on a day to day basis. Bob and Walt need to decide of the three (Leake/Cueto/Latos) which two are the ones the Reds want to sign to long term deals and whomever is the odd man out look to see what might be out there deal wise at the trading deadline to boost our depth.

    • If the Reds do decide to pull the plug on the season, the trade chips they need to cash are Broxton (for sure) and Simon. They would net large prospect hauls. As I’ve replied before when you made this point, I don’t see any reason to tell Votto and Phillips their seasons are done. You’ve provided no evidence that they are at any risk of worsening their conditions by their current course of actions (in Votto’s case, he is plainly resting right now anyhow). There’s nothing to be lost by letting them rehab as though they are going to return and then deciding on their playing time in late August, when the picture is clearer. If the Reds are out of it by then, maybe they’ll follow your advice anyhow.

      • How did Votto do on his last return from a “brief” stay on the DL and exactly “where” is Votto now? This injury of his will only heal with rest (and getting shots according to the TV team last night) so why not give him the maximum amount of rest possible before next season. As for Phillips why risk it? Let the hand heal 100% without question.

        • Joey Votto wasn’t fully healthy last time he came back from the DL, ergo ipso facto Joey Votto will never be healthy ever again. Science.

        • Last stay on the DL was 25 days. This one is twice that. Plus a different medical approach with the platelet treatment. There’s simply no reason to prejudge the decision now. It’s an easy test at the end of August to give to Votto to see if his strength has returned. Trivially easy. Just wait it out and see. No reason to decide *today* that Votto can or can’t make it back this year.

      • If they “pull the plug,” is it possible that they would sell high and move Cueto in addition to Simon and Broxton? . . . If so, what do you think this trio could bring in return?

        • IF they decided to pull the plug on this season (and they would basically have to lose just about all of their games between now and the deadline) I think Cueto should be on the table. Regardless of what happens this year, I think he should be traded this offseason. He’s going to be looking for something in the $200 million range on his next contract. You can debate whether that’s fair or not – I think it’s basically fair – but even if we had that money to spend we just can’t keep paying everyone market value. We’re doing it with a number of guys right now and that’s fine, but you have to draw a line and say we need to start getting some cheap production from the young guys coming up. One year of Cueto at $10 million would bring back a pretty good return.

        • Mike Maffie has a big article in the works on this issue, so I don’t want to spoil it all. And I’m not necessarily disagreeing with you that Cueto will be too expensive to resign. But one fact that I hadn’t really grasped until I read Mike Maffie’s research on this, is that Cueto will be 30 when he’s ready to start his new contract. So he’s not going to get $200 million. He might get $20 million for five years, maybe six. Maybe $22 million. That could (and should) still be out of the Reds price range.

        • To ERIC NYC (not sure why I can’t reply directly):
          As I have thought for some time, I do actually believe that the best thing for the team (long-term) is to slam the window shut instead of waiting for it to close. If Cueto could bring back two from the Dodgers’ Pederson, Seager, Urias trio of top prospects and Simon and Broxton could bring back some prospects, I would be totally fine with giving up on the season. Heck, if Chapman could bring back a haul, I would be for that as well.

          My greatest Reds-related fear is that any “stand pat” approach to this year’s trade deadline is deadly to an short-term chances (by not buying) and to long-term chances (by not selling high).

        • We have a really long article on exactly this question coming out in the next few days (Thursday, probably) so I don’t want to get in this too deeply. But as for moving one of the starters – I doubt they know which ones are trade candidates and which ones are resign candidates. Health factors into that, as does signability. The Reds may wait until they’ve had preliminary negotiations to decide which ones to trade and which ones they can resign.

        • Steve M.:
          They should have checked in on Cueto this past offseason about adding a year or two to the end of his deal (if you search old RLN comments for my present handle or my old handle of “drewmac,” you will find several “extend him cheap, there is nothing wrong with the guy’s arm” comments from me). At this point, it is time to move him. Given was the Cubs received from the A’s, I think we could well be sending thank you notes to Walt in a couple of years if he did choose to blow the thing up right now. One of the silver linings to this season full of injuries is that trading Broxton, Cueto, and Simon(!) could potentially set this team up for success in the years to come.

        • Steve, I was basing that number on Verlander’s contract which I might have overestimated a bit. He signed that at the age of 30 and it was for $180 million with a team option for an additional year of $22 million. That was 2 years ago. Cueto doesn’t have the numbers or CY’s that Verlander has, but adjusting for inflation I would think Cueto would be looking at $150 million guaranteed at an absolute minimum. If a team like the Dodgers decided they wanted to break the bank that number would go up.

      • If the Reds decide this season is lost, I’m fine with trading Broxton and Simon. I’m not sure either would bring much of a return, though. Other teams can see what we all see.

        One is an overpaid setup man making 7 million this year and 9 million next year, who has gotten by with a ridiculously unsustainable BABIP of .169 this year.

        The other is a 33-year-old who has never been a full time starter in the majors, who has by July 22 already thrown more innings than he has ever thrown, and who has also been buoyed by an unsustainable BABIP of .233.

        If Brox was a little cheaper, or if Simon had a better track record, maybe other teams would give up a little more talent for them. But I wouldn’t count on it. If the Reds do indeed fall out of the race, we have to hope that another team gets desperate for a back-of-the bullpen arm or a 4th/5th starter to bolster their playoff hopes.

        • I can see Broxton being taken by a team who is looking for a closer who is “established” like the Reds do. Yes, Broxton is overpaid as a set-up guy (for anyone but the Dodgers or Yankees) but not as a team’s closer. A team that wanted a 1.5 year solution to their closer problem could see Broxton as the perfect fit. He’s closed before and he closed this year for the Reds.

          Simon’s attractiveness comes from his price. He’s earning $1.5 million this year and is under team control next year. He’d get a big raise, but only to $5-6 million in arbitration. How good does he have to be to be worth that? Not much. He’d be well worth the risk. I don’t think his market would be that different (yes, it would be different) as Samardjiza’s. He’d almost certainly be the most attractive starting pitcher on the market right now (when factoring in cost). Only teams that were super-strongly committed to modern views of pitching would reject him out of hand.

        • Now is the only time of year Ludwick could be considered a trade chip and not a liability (albeit a very cheap chip). If they sell, hopefully they consider moving him as well. At this rate, I’d rather see Winkler in LF to kick off 2015 if no one else materializes.

      • WJ said in an interview the other day, that Votto was getting PRP therapy at the moment. That isn’t what concerned me though. What concerned me is that he said Votto would need to stay off the knee for a while. I know the quad injury that Votto has is close to the joint but it isn’t actually the joint. Or at least that’s what we’ve been told. I think Walt was either simplifying things by saying knee or he may have just let slip that it’s the knee and not just the quad. PRP therapy would apply for either injury so we can’t tell from that. Thoughts?

        • They have been pretty clear about the quad as opposed to the knee this time around. And absolutely everything about the injury, including the previous treatment, the way they have talked about it and even how Votto has looked when playing, is 100% consistent with it being the muscle, not the joint. The two are connected by a tendon and that’s where the PRP treatment comes in, to get the blood flowing through the narrow tendon to the quad. When Votto was first injured, I was in the middle of some physical therapy and talked to my therapist (who has a lot of experience with sports injuries and a big Reds fan) about it. He had seen quad strains many times before. Everything he told me about what the injury is like has been born out by what has transpired. It’s a question of strength, not pain. It’s not related directly to the knee. It takes a long period of rest to recover (longer than a standard DL stint, sometimes months). It is caused by overuse, which is why it is most common among soccer players. My guess is it was an honest mistake/oversimplification by Walt, as you suggest.

    • You’re obsessed with ranking this team. It’s pretty obvious that in its current state this team isn’t getting anywhere near the postseason, but a major move to bring in a big bat (Tulowitski) and an even marginally healthy Votto and BP, combined with Bruce snapping out of whatever funk he’s in, makes this team as capable of winning both regular and post season games as any team in the league. Though you wouldn’t know it from the past couple games, they are the best defensive team in baseball when BP is on the field, they have a top 5 rotation, and possibly the best back end bullpen in the league. The problem now is clearly offense. They need help. If it doesn’t come, then the prospects for 2014 are pretty much nil. We’ll find out in the next 9 days which direction they’re heading. But when you’re less than 4 games out of first place before the trade deadline it’s too early to call the season. Though for some reason I don’t think that’s going to stop you from doing it every time they lose a game.

      • A) This team is NOT going to make a major trade. Not going to happen

        B) Both BP and Votto’s injuries are such that we are not going to get anywhere near their needed levels of play to get this team to the next level this season.

        C) Bruce is in a horrible funk and has shown very little in getting out of it this season. Players have seasons like this and maybe weather he is going to admit it or not th einjury has played a key part in that.

        D) We are less then a week from the trade deadline, it is time NOW to decide and since adding a major bat isn’t going to happen then we need to begin to see what we have and can deal will build this franchsie for the future.

        • There is no point talking to you. You posit every single one of your opinions as stone cold fact. 2 of your points are nothing but speculation, one of them is just an observation with no prediction attached, and the final one is just WONRG as the trade deadline is 9 days away.

        • I think this is more wrong then right if you are completely objective. My heart doesn’t want it to be. I’d give it until Sunday night and if things appear as bleak as now, I think you cut your loses and do what you can to ensure a happier 2015.

        • Okay 9 days over 7. But Walt has stated there can’t be any significant payroll added, so how do you do a “major” trade without taking on payroll? As for the injuries, We have seen Votto can not play anywhere near his top level with this injury and we have seen a couple of weeks rest doesn’t solve the problem. As for Phillips, look at other players with similar injuries, and how long it took them to come back to their top level performance, add in age and his already “declining” numbers as pointed out here over and over, then it’s time to be realistic on this season.

        • They are obviously trying a completely different strategy with Votto this time, both medically and time off. So you can’t legitimately draw a comparison between the last time when he tried to come back and this time. As for Phillips, (again) the doctor who performed the surgery (and who may have performed it on the other players, too) is saying four weeks. The Reds doctors have missed on estimates in a few cases (not an exact science, physical recovery from injury) but they’ve also been accurate on more than they’ve been wrong. They also have on occasion over-estimated return time, as with Jay Bruce and his knee surgery.

        • Please point me to the quote where Walt Jockety said that we will absolutely under no circumstances add any player that costs us more money in 2014. I want to read it. You keep alluding to it but unless he said it to you personally at a cocktail party it doesn’t seem to actually exist.

          And for the last time, you have no idea the severity of BP’s injuries. Everyone who actually knows both medicine and Phillips has stated that it is not as severe as the injuries to Harper and Molina you seem so obsessed with. As for Votto, you keep supposing that he’s going to come back from rehab and play exactly like he did before rehab. I can’t even begin to dissect how preposterous that is. You saw it once, therefore it will always be so. But you don’t want to any listen to this. You’ve made up your mind. There is simply no convincing you that you are wrong. So what are you doing now? Just venting? Trying to spread your pessimism?

        • That is an article from January. The issue of making a major trade or signing in the offseason is VERY different from making a trade at the deadline. Walt just said yesterday they were looking at guys like Zobrist and others which means they clearly know that a trade will involve adding to the payroll this year. If Bob had told Walt that he literally would not spend one more dollar on this team in 2014 then Walt wouldn’t even need to be making phone calls.

        • An injury to the thumb is never a good thing and it may be the severity isn’t as bad as either the other two had, but it’s still something that is going to take time to heal, then rehab and that doesn’t happen in just a few weeks. As for Votto, what else do you need to know or see. HE can’t play to any level of real production this season as long as this issue exsists. They “tried” DLing him and letting him rest how long the last time, and exactly what did that do? We saw what his performance was like on return. What makes you think it will be any different this time? We have alot of money and years wrapped up in votto, a loss season is better then a loss of numerous seasons.

        • Phillips has already been rehabbing and early signs are promising. “Doesn’t happen in a few weeks.” Is that a medical opinion or a throw-away line? If the doctor says he can play in four weeks, then doesn’t it *exactly* happen in a few weeks? Already addressed the Votto issue and you keep ignoring what others are saying. They tried a different course of treatment this time with the platelet injections and they are letting him rest two months instead of 25 days. That’s what makes me think it will be any different. I’m sure the Reds are well aware how much money and years they have wrapped up in Votto. This isn’t the kind of injury that threatens the “loss of numerous seasons.” You’re making that up entirely because it’s the only way your point of view makes any sense. And it’s fantasy.

        • I give up. Seriously, you keep restating your opinions as facts and you can’t have a conversation with someone who does that. Yes, Votto can’t play when he’s hurt. But your blind assumption that he will just continue to be hurt is based on absolutely NOTHING. Not a single thing. You just saw him try and come back too early once this season and so now you have let that burrow into your brain and convince you that Joey Votto will not be able to play in 2014. Just like you’re convinced that there is a 0% chance that Walt will make a trade even though it is less than 24 hours since he publicly said he is trying to make a trade. So that’s the end of it I guess. I’ve presented facts, you’ve presented opinions. Wasn’t a particularly productive conversation, but it sure was a long one.

    • I don’t think they are a top 8 team right now for sure. They might be in September, depending on how Votto and Phillips come back, but we probably shouldn’t assume anything.

  20. When I woke up this morning, I wish I’d added this to the recap:

    If Santiago’s throw doesn’t hit Segura’s foot, if Heisey fields Braun’s line drive and Gomez’s fly ball, if Lutz fields the routine ground ball, the Brewers may not score any of their runs in this game.

    • Yes, the defense is what really, really hurt this team last night. Santiago and Heisey are usually pretty solid fielders too.

    • Yes, I’m not nearly as big a fan of Latos as of the other starters because I think he is tending to be to slow to mature and take over a game with his talents.

      However, when all is said and done that was one heck of an effort and taking one for the team to hang in like he did. And truth be told they were within a good at bat or two of stealing back the game because of Latos extended effort.

  21. Wasn’t much noise surrounding it, but BP posted on Instagram yesterday that he was cleared to work out. Not sure where that puts him on his rehab timeline. The surgery was what 2 weeks ago?

  22. How many games out of first, and how many teams do we have to trail in the division, before the Reds shut it down? I’m not talking a complete fire sale but moving Broxton, Simon, Ludwick, Schu, Ondrusek, JJ… Still leaves the nucleus of a young talented team going into 2015.

    If JC gets you a bundle of top grade prospects, I think you have to at least consider moving him too.

    If JV isn’t 100%, his season should be over. For what he means to the club, they have to get him as healthy as humanly possible for 2015. None of this 70% garbage. If he can not make it all the way back, get him as close as possible.

    Maybe by Sunday night, we will know what way the wind is going to low.

    • The answer to your first question is more than 4 in July. Seriously, there are a LOT of games left to play. There are obviously major issues that need to be addressed on this roster, but it’s not all that mathematically improbable that they could go on a run and be in first place BEFORE THE END OF JULY. Just let that sink in. They just went on a huge run before the break with basically this exact same roster minus BP. I love BP, but they can replace his 100 wRC+ bat for a couple weeks. Everyone just take a deep breath. This next 9 days is going to be a stressful one here in The Nation. I’m going to have to start collecting everyone’s belts and shoelaces.

    • They have won a two games since BP’s injury and lost 5. I hope to God they can right the ship but was Brandon’s injury the last straw? The fundamentals look horrid. There are not a lot of games before the trade deadline.

      • 7 games is a pretty small sample size. Just be objective – Does it really sound THAT crazy to you that the Reds could win 4 games in the next week and the Cardinals could lose 4? I mean that’s not some Field of Dreams, Miracle Mets stuff of baseball legend. That’s one pretty reasonable week of major league baseball games. And if it happened, there would not be one single person on this board lamenting the end of the 2014 season.

        Look, something has to be done. If no trade is made, whether it’s because Walt drops the ball or there simply isn’t a move that he is able to make, then I agree the chances this year are slim bordering on none. But it’s too early right now to make that determination. Deep breaths.

        • There is no money in the budget to make enough difference. If I was Bob C, I would not bend on this but ask WJ to look toward 2015 and improve our situation looking forward.

        • I think I need to lock you and Drew in a closet for the next week for your own good.

          If you were Bob Castellini you would be a billionaire. We’re talking about adding maybe $7 million tops to the payroll for 2014. Beyond that other moves can be made for 2015 and beyond if you need to make adjustments. Bob has almost doubled this team’s payroll since he’s been here. Why do you keep assuming he’s suddenly hit a wall and will not spend another dime? Teams make in-season trades all the time and, for the buyers, that almost invariably means adding payroll. It’s a different story when you’re in the back half of the season and in contention.

        • Always say, it is so darn easy to spend other people’s money. Have you “any” evidence that the budget situation has changed sine January? The companies I have been involved with generally set a yearly budget, at the first of the year, and do everything possible to stay within it. This not the Federal Government or personal households you’re talking about.

          What would have changed his mind: a sharp increase in revenues, the team looking as if it could go all the way, etc.? I’m not seeing any of that. As a long time owner of several businesses, I can’t see Bob C.making a major monetary investment at this point. Hope I’m wrong and you’re right, but I can’t see it. I’m telling Walt deal the guys I mentioned above and get all you can for them. High grade prospects in Simon’s & Broxton’s cases, mid grade, hopefully, for Ludwick, JJ & Ondrusek. If a major haul is available for JC, I think you need to do it.

          Of all the guys that the Advanced Stat guys think will regress, I’m on board with Johnny more than BHam or Simon. He does look like he is wearing down and it is not out of the question, that a health issue may be in his near future.

        • This isn’t the first time you’ve joined the “break up the team” squad. You seem to draw a lot of lessons from previous business experience. Was changing business plans every few days part of any of the successful businesses you ran? :-)

          All any of us are doing is speculating when it comes to the budget. I only have two points to add to the speculation. First, why would Jocketty have conducted the several interviews he has in the past 48 hours and talked about bringing in an offensive upgrade if he knew that the owner wouldn’t pay for it? Second, Reds fans (and the beat writers, too) have continually underestimated Castellini’s willingness to spend more money. No way he was going to extend Votto. Can’t afford Phillips. No way any of the starting pitchers get resigned. Etc. That’s not to say the budget is unlimited or even loose. And with regard to your “yearly budget” your businesses presumably weren’t like baseball, where major expenditures can and do often take place in the middle of the season. Why would you think the Reds (highly successful businessman) owner wouldn’t have budgeted for that?

        • I don’t know how else to explain this – mid-season trades are a different animal. They’re prorated, you’re making them when you have a general idea of what your realistic shot at the post-season are, you have a better understanding of what your roster needs are…The article you linked was a statement in response to people talking about making a run at Choo. We weren’t going to add another monster contract to the books in the offseason. That doesn’t mean we aren’t going to make a trade now. What evidence do I have? WALT IS ACTIVELY TRYING TO MAKE A TRADE NOW. That is going to cost money. If there was no more money, he wouldn’t be trying to make a trade. This isn’t kitchen table economics. The team is not scraping to pay its bills. A professional baseball team in a pennant race can afford to take on some payroll to make it happen. That’s standard operating procedure. Why is this so complicated? It’s also not even taking into account that we could easily move Broxton to instantly save money, which I think we should be trying to do regardless.

        • Steve, I’m so consistent on this it’s maddening. Go back a have a look, I said that when we are at the All-Start break, we need to take inventory. Trading Brox can be seen two ways: trade for the present or trade for the future. I’m saying if on Sunday, it looks like we too far out and do not have the horses, deal from the list of guys I mentioned. Outside of Cueto, are any other these guys fire sale players I’ve included? You could argue Broxton but I’d like for the team to get from under that contract.

          If this comes to pass, I’d like too see the team get younger and deeper – we have a nice young core to build around: Hamilton, Frazier, Mesoraco, Bruce, Bailey, Leake, Chapman, Diaz, Latos…….. Heck even Joey, if he can get healthy, should have several productive years left. If this baby looks like a sinking ship, let’s get rid of some of the older and overpaid guys for some young prospects. I’d really aim for 2016. From what I hear, that sounds like the time some of our own very good prospects may be MLB ready. Why not compliment them if this club ends up not having reasonable shot at the WS in 2014 & 2015?

          Let’s see where we are at Sunday night, if it looks really bleak we have 4 days to make some moves.

    • Jocketty has a unique opportunity to re-build the bullpen right here at the July deadline. Trading Broxton, Hoover and Ondrusek should be highly considered.
      Chapman is going to close. Do away with the inning roles. But I would get six firemen to put out fires at any time for the 6 bullpen slots.
      Build it all around LeCure. I’d go get Brad Boxberger back from Tampa Bay and give up whatever it took to get him back. Jumbo Diaz. Manny Parra. Contreras. And then move Cingrani to the pen. That makes it complete. Then this winter I would go and sign a free agent like Toronto’s Casey Janssen for a veteran in the pen. He throws strikes.

      • I wouldn’t trade Jumbo. He looks like a better Jonathan Broxton for a tiny fraction of the price. He’s what makes Broxton expendable – And I think we should trade Broxton before the deadline REGARDLESS of what position we’re in. Just the chance to get his contract off the books would be huge, and add to that selling him at his absolute highest possible value and having a ready made replacement already in the pen…No brainer. I’m neervous about “building” around LeCure. It may be health issues this year, but he hasn’t been the same pitcher he was in 2013.

        • Agree 100% on Jumbo. We need good low dollar players whenever possible because of the large commitments to Votto, BP and Homer. This guy can pitch, very well in fact. Only concern I have with Diaz is maintaining his weight at a reasonable level. From what I have seen of them, I much prefer Diaz and Contreras to JJ and Logan.

        • I agree on Broxton, Diaz, and LeCure… The velocity is so far below his norms and that’s what worries me. He’s getting it done right now because he’s a savvy pitcher. David Weathers was like that too. LeCure’s curve still looks pretty darn good. I think he can keep it up, perhaps even for years, but there is some concern there.

  23. Six solo HR’s in 4 games is unbelievable. Just one runner on base ahead of a couple of those HR’s and we are talking going 2-2 instead of 0-4. Thank you Skip Schumaker!
    A little bit better defense, better base running and a litlle bit better plate discipline will go a long way in snapping out of this funk.

  24. If the Reds fall out of it there is absolutely no reason to bring Votto back this season. He hasn’t been the same player since the initial knee injury. Maybe he won’t ever be that player again. If he doesn’t get as healthy as he was in 2013 the Reds are in a world of hurt for a long time.

    • I agree that he shouldn’t be rushed back if we fall out of the race. But I’m not worried about this particular issue lingering beyond this season. From everything I’ve heard it sounds like he pushed his offseason strengthening regiment too hard this year trying to compensate for the lack of power he had in 2013. I’d hope that moving forward he accepts that he’s likely not going to be the power hitter he was in 2012 but that he still has elite bat skills that can keep him an MVP caliber hitter.

  25. If Jocketty is going to make a deal, he can’t wait a week until the deadline. He needs to act now. Otherwise, this team will be out of the playoff race by the end of the month.

    • I understand the sentiment, but it’s just not the way things work. If, for example, everyone agreed that Ben Zobrist was THE guy we had to go get then we would have to wait a week because the Rays have publicly stated they won’t be making any trades until at most 48 hours before the deadline.

      The last 4 days have been rough, but we’re not going to lose every game between now and the end of the month. If we can play .500 ball we’ll be ok. But a move does need to be made. It just has to be made with more than the last week of July in consideration.

      • We might, with how we are playing right now and whom is on the schedule between now and the end of the month it’s not outlandish to see this team struggle to win a game or two, let alone play .500 ball. There are like 9 games left till Aug. 1. 5 against division leaders then 3 vs. Dbacks and 1 vs. Miami. The only positive is 6 of those are at home and only 3 on the road, but given the vibe hanging with this team right now I don’t feel confident of them even going .500 between now and Aug. 1.

    • The Phillies have been open to trading Marlon Byrd, so he is also an option. If it’s going to be a rental anyway, he might be a better option. If they plan on making Zobrist the LF next year, then sure move in that direction. Either way, I think this team has too many holes, and with BP and Votto out, their chances are slim.

      • Byrd wouldn’t be a rental, he has a two-year deal? Are you expecting the Reds to eat the $4.5 mil buyout on Ludwick for next year and let him go, and keep Byrd instead? Or keep them both?

  26. Just saw this on the Reds FB feed:

    “Congratulations to Skip Schumaker, winner of the 2014 ‪#‎Reds‬ Heart and Hustle Award.”

    Could it have gone any other way?

    • that’s great, but given the history this team has with how it’s medical staff handles things, I will reserve believing he is back anytime before mid to late August and playing at a high level till I see it. History shows our medical staff hardly ever gets it right…

      • You’re not “reserving” believing anything. You keep claiming to know exactly how everything is going to play out already. And our medical staff “hardly ever” gets it right? They have had some blunders, but how many guys get hurt and treated in any given season? The Reds medical staff probably has about a 90% rate of getting it exactly right.

        • Eric, generally you are right on, but if your heart doctor was only 90% right, how would you feel ?

        • Pretty good. That’s how medicine works. We’re not talking about a surgeon who kills 10% of his patients. We’re talking about orthopedists who sometimes get the rehab estimate off by a week or two. If you think your doctor isn’t guessing most of the time then I’ve got some bad news for you. Watch an episode of House.

        • The issue of the Reds medical staff comes up every time someone gets hurt. It seems to be mostly rooted in the botching of Votto’s initial diagnosis in 2012, which I blame as much on Votto as anyone. It was not a good moment for the medical staff, but I maintain that if we followed any other team as closely as we follow the Reds we’d see as many if not more missteps from other staffs. They’re just a reality of practicing medicine. Tim Krencheck is one of the top orthopedic surgeons in the WORLD. Literally, people travel from all over the world for his expertise. I take any rehab estimate from any professional sports team as a best case scenario – it’s PR. You can’t judge a medical staff by how closely they nail a rehab estimate.

        • I blasted the Votto episode, but I don’t blame the doctors for that. I blame whoever decided it was OK to rely on Votto’s own word that he was OK instead of trusting what everyone could see on the field. Whether that was Baker, Jocketty or the training staff, I don’t know. It’s the people who enabled his continued playing for several weeks after the initial injury who dropped the ball.

          On the other hand, it seems like the medical staff is first-rate. No reason to doubt their estimates on Phillips.

        • I totally disagree with the endorsement of the medical staff. Like it or not, part of the med staff’s job is keeping players healthy. And they have sure failed at that since 2012. All these injuries are more than bad luck – it’s a bad approach to conditioning, diagnosis and treatment.

          Obviously, you can’t blame the med staff on BP’s injury, but Broxton, Marshall, Bruce, Cueto, Votto, Latos – all of them have been hurt after recovering from a previous injury. That’s more than a coincidence. You don’t let players back on the field – especially pitchers – until they are healthy.

          AND – you don’t mismanage the health of cornerstones of your franchise (Votto and Bruce). The Reds have done this – multiple times with Votto.

        • Injuries happen. TO blame the medical staff for the injuries we’ve seen this year is just ridiculous. Bruce admitted he didn’t tell anyone he was hurting. Same with Hannahan, Votto in 2012, on down the line. You can’t force these guys to tell you the truth all the time. This is a professional sports training staff. They are not doing anything that is leading to these injuries. It’s the same training staff that kept 5 starting pitchers completely healthy through the entire 2013 season – a truly remarkable feat. You’re being naive if you think there is something they could be doing differently that would make a difference.

        • If my player is taking up 15% or more of payroll, I am darn well going to be doing more than taking that player’s word that he is healthy. If I do that, its ignorance, gullibility, and negligence all rolled into one. with the med tech available today, the Reds could be a heckuva lot more proactive about treating injuries – ESPECIALLY since their payroll is limited, and Walt constantly says they can’t improve the roster by adding outside players.

      • This is not an encouraging update. It is not discouraging either but it looks like 6 weeks minimum to me.

        • If it means he’s on pace for a 6 week recovery then it’s very encouraging in that many people have conjectured that it would be closer to 8-12 weeks if it was as bad as Harper’s. It was never going to be LESS than 6 weeks.

      • That’s not what “history shows.” As I pointed out above, the Reds medical staff has missed on occasion, but they’ve also been right more often than not (Chapman, Schumaker, Latos, Hamilton, Mesoraco twice, just to mention a few) and they even overstate return dates (Bruce’s knee) on occasion. Recovery of the human body is not 100% predictable.

        • The real issue, as you have stated before, is player honesty about injuries. When the player thinks he is too valuable to be off the field, he hurts the team.

        • Of course, if he doesn’t play through injuries, then he is labelled soft by fans/media…

  27. We were unlucky last night. Whether it was a guy who should have been a dead duck at 3rd having the ball hit him in the foot and then (kind of) rolling in the dugout to let him score, or an umpire deciding to reinterpret the check-swing rule with a runner on 3rd and one out, or Lutz ripping balls right at guys, it seemed like it wasn’t our night. It happens.

    I disagree that our struggles should primarily be pinned on our reserves. Offensively, we’ve gotten very little from Hamilton, Mesoraco, Bruce, and Frazier. Whether they’re pressing or mentally still on vacation, or whatever, if they continue to come up small as they have for four games, it doesn’t matter what we’re getting from the other guys.

    I’m glad Schu is hitting a bit, but his attempt to trench a single into a double, down 4, was not smart. He was lucky he wasn’t thrown out. Unfortunately, the replay review gave Peralta a chance to regroup, so it was a costly play even though he was safe.

  28. If the Reds decide this season is lost, I’m fine with trading Broxton and Simon. I’m not sure either would bring much of a return, though. Other teams can see what we all see.

    One is an overpaid setup man making 7 million this year and 9 million next year, who has gotten by with a ridiculously unsustainable BABIP of .169 this year.

    The other is a 33-year-old who has never been a full time starter in the majors, who has by July 22 already thrown more innings than he has ever thrown, and who has also been buoyed by an unsustainable BABIP of .233.

    If Brox was a little cheaper, or if Simon had a better track record, maybe other teams would give up a little more talent for them. But I wouldn’t count on it. If the Reds do indeed fall out of the race, we have to hope that another team gets desperate for a back-of-the bullpen arm or a 4th/5th starter to bolster their playoff hopes.

    • I think you are in for a little surprise, if either or both are moved. I see no signs of Simon wearing down. Broxton is a veteran MLB closer that is having a career-type year. A team like the Giants are not going to be bothered by Brox’s contract and either would the Dodgers. Or the Tigers for that matter, talk about a team who is on the father-time clock.

      • I think the “luck fairy” is going to run out on both those guys at some point. Maybe next week, maybe not for several weeks, but sometime. Neither of the two should fetch a high-end prospect from another team.

        Put it this way, wouldn’t you be upset if you found out the Reds had traded someone like Winker or Stephenson for Broxton or Simon, had they been on another team up to this point? I would be livid.

        • You always should be a bit cheeky with the asking price. Shoot for the moon, then see what you can really get. I think Broxton could fetch a “B” and “C” level prospect or maybe even 2 “B” level guys. I doubt he could get an “A” level guy. Sometimes though, the “B” level guys turn out to be really nice players though.

        • I would be ecstatic if another team gave up an “A” level prospect for Brox, but I would be happy with a couple of “B” level guys too.

          The Reds gave up JC Sulbaran and Donnie Joseph in 2012 to get Brox. I think we can do better than that this time.

      • Charlotte, let me go back to your comment on “No money available” and the link you posted. That news article was from January 3, 2014 and the discussion was about off season free agent acquisition not about the trade deadline. It even had a reference to Bronson in it. Come on Big guy I expect better from you.

        • People say I look a lot like Billy Hamilton but if I take the uni off, we are like night & day! I’ve probably have a good 60 pounds on him and a receding hairline. Other then that, I doubt my mother could tell us apart.

          Thanks for the confidence but doing a Google search it was the only thing I found that was at least attributed to WJ. I just think if there was room in the budget, we might hear more about higher dollar guys that clubs are looking to unload.

          Currently, I’m not crazy about how the money is structured as far as contracts. Seems like a two-tier system. The very rich (JV, Homer, BP) and the poor (Frazier, Mes, Hamilton). Obviously, if this year is telling us anything, it’s to go younger and go deeper. Flatten out the payroll if possible.

          When people know you have money, they think you don’t mind frittering it away; not realizing how you accumulated it in the fist place. Wasting money is not a sign of wisdom, most self-made folks have wisdom in spades. I would adopt more of the A’s philosophy but with the current budget numbers.

          Wonder what it’s like to be a Dodgers or Yankees fan: have a problem, buy your way out of it. If Bob C. had all the money in the world, I don’t see that in his make-up. Could be wrong and I probably am.

          Thanks for the compliment though.

        • The contract structure is dictated by the collective bargaining agreement. Teams have six years of control over any player they draft once they reach the major leagues. For the first three years, the players have to work for whatever the team wants to pay them. The players have no right to negotiate. Most of them earn the league minimum, which is around $500,000. The next three years, the players have the right to have their salary arbitrated if they can’t reach an agreement with the team. You start to see salaries go up when players reach the arbitration stage. After six years of major league service time, players are eligible to become free agents and negotiate with any team. Players become much more expensive at that point. There are a wide range of contract structures, but the basic tiers that you speak of are determined collectively. Teams can’t “go younger, go deeper” except from their own farm system. Teams, for the most part, already do that as much as they can. The Reds certainly do.

    • I think the hope might be that a team is willing to trade a bit of what might be on the horizon for some “right now” magic.

      • I sure hope so. While I hope the team can do something this year, if they fall out of the race I hope they can move some guys and start planning for next year.

  29. I’m also amazed at how many on here always want to trade away guys who are having down years. Common sense should tell you to “sell high” not low.

    JJ Hoover is perfect example. A guy with great stuff, who strikes out more batters than innings pitched. A guy who had great seasons in 2012 and 2013, but who has taken a step back in 2014. Do you really want to give up on him now, and trade him at a time when his value is at its lowest? Yet some on here want to practically give him away.

    Others, like Ondrusek or Ludwick, don’t really have any value to us or another team. Trade them, fine, but don’t expect much more than a throwaway prospect for them.

      • Do you seriously think that JJ Hoover is a lost cause? I would not be a bit surprised if he had a sub-3.00 ERA over the rest of the season.

        • Hoover’s stuff is just too good to keep struggling like he has. Maybe he’ll not get that ERA down by the end of the year, but over the next 2-3 years, I think his ERA will be closer to 3.00 then 4.00. His issue is the long-ball though as he always has tended to throw a lot of fly-balls up there and he’s really getting burned on it this year where he’s been a bit lucky in that department in years past.

        • I didn’t mean he would have his 2014 ERA under 3 by the end of the year. It sits well over 5 right now, only so much you can do. I meant he could have a sub-3.00 over the remaining games in the season.

        • JJ’s stuff isn’t the problem. It’s his approach. That “get it over” curve to McCutcheon two Saturdays ago is exhibit A. If I knew it was coming, so did Cutch. JJ has to be smarter than that, and throw a better pitch.

        • Just think I see more in Contreras and Diaz. Someone(s) would have to go and I’m thinking Logan and JJ. Not trading them to get rid of them; but seeing the numbers, I have to ask myself, “what could I get in return”. Both Ondrusek and JJ have talent and a change of scenery might help their careers.

          Just a numbers game.

        • The thing is, JJ has been really good in his two previous years. I think you would be giving up on someone who will likely be a servicable ML reiever, and possibly a closer someday. But if you trade him now when he’s having a bad year, you would not get a return consistent with his ability.

          Now Ondrusek, that’s a different story. We’ve seen enough of him to know what he is, a mop-up man and nothing more. Trade him yesterday, but know that we will get little if anything back in return.

  30. On the play where Latos got thrown out at home: I’ve watched it a bunch of times. I see a guy who (correctly) judged that he should stay at 3rd. Then he suddenly breaks for home, as if someone–his 3rd base coach, perhaps–yelled for him to take off. Did anybody else see it that way? Or am I just looking for things to pin on Smith at this point?

    • Either way, you’ve either got to go on contact, or stay put. That delayed attempt to score was doomed from the start.

      • agreed, said so at the time…. who knows what birthday boy smith said, if anything. Maybe Price will mention that on the pregame show if your theory is right, and he wants to take Latos off the hook. Though that would mean hanging it on his third base coach, which I don’t see happening either.

  31. If I were to see into the future and base my thoughts on what I have read on this site, Walt isn’t going to do anything rash and might not do anything at all. He really can’t discuss what he is doing because of the “tampering thing” in MLB. Why would he sit still? Read your own comments over the last four days, one bat isn’t going to get Bruce and company to become “strike zone aware” with extended at bats, One bat isn’t going to have opposing pitchers stop throwing braking balls in the dirt to the Reds hitters, nor is one bat going to cause JV and BP too become 5 years younger and injury free. Being pragmatic is what Walt gets paid for.
    Besides if the Reds fail to make a trade, fail to make the playoffs, or lose the play-in game it will generate discussion, “I told you so”, and “I was right comments”, and so on and so forth all winter till spring training, where it starts all over again.
    IMO I intend to enjoy watching all the games (as painful as some are), reading the posts on this site due to the high degree of intelligent, and passionate discussion, and learning more about the new metric language of baseball. Oh, one side note,
    Mancuso may seem a bit arrogant at times with his constant reference to the “new language” but in his heart he bleeds Cincinnati RED.

    • Sometimes it’s a good thing, to just watch baseball because it’s baseball and it’s a beautiful game. Good or bad, the Reds are my team and I love them. My AL team is the O’s as they gave me the best shot of any team so they have my loyalty. It’s good to see them doing well this year too. Sometimes, I watch games with no real rooting interest at all, because it’s baseball, and it’s awesome.

    • I love the Reds, love to watch them play, and love to discuss them with you folks. Even if they were in the 5th place, I’d want to watch and discuss the up and coming guys. I think this bunch is very entertaining to watch and don’t plan on stopping regardless where we end up this year. Face it, if we do go done, it will be about the injuries. There are going to be years like this.

      On the positive side: Price, Hamilton, Mes, Diaz, Contreras and Frazier are getting valuable experience. If Jay Bruce is going to have an off-year, this may be the year to do it. I’m not giving up on 2014 but I realize many things will have to break right. Maybe a trade for the right guy will do it.

      Steve Mancuso is the biggest Reds fan I have ever known and I know the most passionate ones. They post and discuss, Cincinnati Reds baseball, right here at RLN.

  32. Reds were playing good ball two weeks ago….what happened? These are professional players and should play with an urgency! It’s called confidence, pride and desire to be the best. Time for Price to challenge his players to play better. Remind them that it’s a privilege to play at this level, not a right !!!

    • You don’t think he is? Teams go through stretches like this, look at the Red Sox, defending WS champs, and playing not like it.

      • Sox are having a very, very tough year. Their 2nd tough year in the last 3. You’re right, tough stretches and even tough seasons happen.

        • That’s why you have to take numbers predictions with a grain of salt. There are “forces” at work that can’t be tracked by numbers that have an impact on game results.

    • All the effort is the world cannot consistently trump a sizable talent gap. Without Votto and Phillips, that gap is there, and it’s real.

      I seriously doubt that the players all of a sudden decided to give less than their best effort. When you’re starting guys like Ramon Santiago, Brayan Pena, Skip Schumaker, Donald Lutz, and Chris Heisey on a regular basis, it’s hard to win ‘em all.

      • Doc I know you are not saying the other guys are poor players, my interpretation is that they are considered bench or extra guys because of what they are and to have all of them in the line-up doesn’t give much hope.

        • Exactly. Having Schumaker, Heisey, Lutz, Santiago, and Pena would make a decent bench. But none of those guys is starting caliber, and when you have several of them starting at once out of necessity, it becomes plainly obvious that there is a talent gap on the field.

    • Hmm. Headley was certainly having a rough year (.229/.296/.355), but one wonders what hitting in GABP vs Petco could have done for those numbers? Would have been a nice acquisition, especially with Headley set for free agency after the season.

    • Solarte plus one is a ham sandwich? Solarte is a decent hitter and under team control until . Heck, I wouldn’t have minded the Reds getting him! If I’m the Padres, with the way Headley hasn’t hit well this year, and with it being not very likely that they could resign him, I’d be pretty happy with the deal. He’s not arbitration eligible until 2017 and can’t be a free-agent until 2020. He’s 26 years old currently.

      • I agree, the Yankees didn’t just give him away. You’re talking about a guy who is an impending free agent, that the Pads are going to lose at the end of the year for nothing. Not to mention Headley is having a terrible season so far. I think San Diego did pretty good considering.

        It does beg the question of what it would have taken from the Reds to land him.

        • Listening to baseball people Solarte was not a prospect at all. Yankees are trying to win now.

        • Chase Headley didn’t warrant any kind of major package. San Diego did the best they probably could, which wasn’t a whole lot.

          Which is why I wonder what we could have traded for him.

        • I don’t think Headley would have helped us much. I think if we had actually gotten him most people on this site would have thought of it as too small a move by Walt and blasted it. I honestly have a gut feeling that Walt has something much bigger cooking.

        • I think he would’ve played much better in GABP than in Petco. And the cost was fairly low. It would have been a low-risk, high-reward type of deal.

  33. One bad defensive game doesn’t make us terrible on defense. We are still the best defensive team in baseball. The hitting on the other hand, is that of the bad news bears!!! I have never seen soooo many swings at straight fastballs in the dirt than I did last night

    • We are the best defensive team in baseball with Phillips at 2nd and Votto at 1st. Apologies to Pena, Lutz, and Frazier.

      Right now, we are probably a solidly “above average” defensive team.

      • The first thing I look at when trying to evaluate a team’s defense, is up the middle. Hamilton , Cozart, & BP are all GG grade; IMO. Taking BP out is hurting the team and is going to hurt more. Santiago is a fine fielder but BP is an amazing fielder. I think basically the same of Hamilton and Cozart.

        I don’t know if Mes is ever going to be anything other then a serviceable catcher. Really like to see him worked in LF. I’d doubt he would be a butcher and should have a plus arm with decent enough speed. Like 1st base, I think our catcher is less then average on defense. It would be nice to see DM play everyday at the same time upgrading the defense of the catcher.

        The defense before BP was hurt was something to see. With Heisey and Santiago playing it is still above average but not what it is with Phillips out there.

        • The thing about moving Mesoraco to LF is it lessens his value. As it stands right now, he is probably one of the better-hitting catchers in baseball. Put him in left field, though, and he becomes just another power-hitting outfielder.

          What I’m trying to say is his offense is WAY above average for a catcher, but only slightly above average for LF. It would be much easier to find a decent hitting LFer, as they are a dime a dozen. Elite level offensive catchers are like gold.

        • Yes, absolutely. If the options are Mes in LF or Mes on the bench, I’ll take the former, thank you. But I don’t want to see him moved out from behind the plate permanently, he would lose too much value.

          I thought you were advocating a permanent position change for Mes. If so, then I disagree. If you were just saying to look into playing him in LF on days he would normally be “resting” from catching duties, then by all means, do it.

  34. The Padres just traded Headley to – of course – the Yankees for 2 players – a .254 MLB hitter and a minor-leaguer with a 4+ ERA. Neither are described as “top guys”. Note to Walt: trades CAN be made without trading the Crown Jewels. Try it (that is, if Big Bob will allow you). You might just find that adding another hitter to the mix will send a weaker player to the bench and give your club – our club – a better chance to win each game. And yes, Headley earns big bucks, but you can’t tell me that we couldn’t get a guy like Duda for, say, Heisey & Hoover, or Heisey and a AAA pitcher,not named Cingrani – or some other combination that won’t seemingly cripple the franchise. I know what I see, and I see a team that, as currently constructed, needs help. Walt, it’s your job to get it done. Aaaaand…go.

    • How much is Headley owed? IF we get him where does he play? Do we have players other teams want or do we just force our unwanted down their throat and say take em and give us your studs…

      • He’s played a very good 3B. He and Frazier are pretty close defensively. Frazier would probably have moved to 1B because he has more experience at 1B than Headley. The Yanks sent over $1-million in the deal which makes Headley pretty affordable… The caveat? Solarde, one of the players given up to get him doesn’t really match up with anyone with the Reds as far as a comp. So WJ may not have been able to get Headley even if he wanted him.

    • I just said it above but Solarte isn’t exactly nothing. He’s been solid at the MLB level this year. No, neither he nor the LHP the Yanks gave up are top prospects but Solarte isn’t chopped liver. I’m not sure who the Reds have that are similar in that they are a league-average hitter so far, are 26 years old, and would be under team control until they 2020. At worst the Padres got a solid utility IF under team control for 5 more years. Not the crown jewels but not a player that I see on the Reds’ roster either.

    • Headley and Duda are nowhere near comparable. Here are their current slash lines for 2014:

      Headley = .229/.296/.355
      Duda = .258/.355/.475

      Plus, Headley is a pending free agent, while Duda is in his first year of arbitration and still under team control for multiple years.

      The bottom line is it would take much more to pry loose Duda than what it took to get Headley. The Mets would have to be crazy to give him up for Heisey and Hoover or any other AAA scrub we have.

        • I never said they were shopping Duda, I was just replying to another post that suggested we trade Heisey and Hoover to get him.

          If they did have him on the block, I don’t know exactly what it would take to get him. It would stand to reason, though, that it would take considerably more than what the Yanks gave up for Headley, for all the reasons I just mentioned.

        • Read my comment again. I clearly said ” a guy like Duda”. It’s called an example.

        • You’re still not going to get a guy like Duda for Heisey and Hoover. The Mets will want more, and rightfully so.

        • I don’t think the Mets will trade Duda for anything, honestly. He’s the kind of guy you build a roster around. Future All Star, under team control for a long time, trending upwards. The Mets aren’t that far away from contending. They’ll get Matt Harvey back next year and the NLE is not the power house division it once was.

      • Back of the baseball card. Yes, Duda’s numbers are better this year, but Headley is a superior player, and as a pending free-agent, he would have been perfect for what we needed him for: play 3B, move Todd to 1B, sit Santiago. Or plug him into LF, or Todd into LF. When you have a better bat, you find a place to play him. At the end of the year, he walks, we get the draft pick. Duda fits too; plug him in, play him at 1B, move him to share LF if/when Joey gets back. End of year? You have a nice surplus player to either keep or flip.Maybe it would take more to get Duda, but clearly this team as it is needs a fresh bat. Santiago (even if he is hitting better), Negron, Pena, Schumaker & Lutz are bench players (and at this point in his career, Ludwick is too) & the more at-bats they receive, the more they prove WHY they are bench players. It’s your move, Walt!

        • I’m not saying we shouldn’t have tried to trade for either one. Looking at what the Yanks gave up for Headley, I would like to think we could have traded a couple “C” level prospects to land him in Cincy. As an impending free agent, he would have been ideal for our situation. And I think he would have played alot better in GABP than in Petco.

          But the “back of the baseball card” isn’t everything when it comes to trade value. Duda is younger and is having a better season, not to mention he still has multiple years of team control. I was just saying that it would take a lot more to get him than it would’ve Headley. I would love to see Duda in Cincy, but I suspect the cost would be prohibitive. It would certainly be more than just Heisey and Hoover.

        • If I’m not mistaken, you don’t get a draft pick just for having a free agent walk anymore. You’d have to make a qualifying offer, which is north of $14 million, although since he was traded mid season even that wouldn’t apply.

  35. I guess I’m the odd one out, as the way Cueto is playing this year I’d say we keep him. We should also keep Latos. I think we can part with Leake. When he’s good, he’s good but he’s also inconsistent. Yes we need a bat, but this offense is incredibly inconsistent. One game we’ll be stomping a team 11-1 and the next game we lose 1-0. We need Bruce to get out of this slump and Mesoraco and Frazier to adjust. If we make the WC, awesome. If we don’t, oh well there’s next season. I’m not gonna stomp my feet and be a fair weather fan if we lose, I’ll just keep rooting for the team

    • Leake will be cheaper and have a much longer career. To me it’s Johnny that gets moved. I think his career span has maybe a few decent years left, but don’t see his body holding up long term.

    • I’d love to keep Cueto if I thought he would be even remotely affordable. I think the Reds could negotiate a fair contract with him, but it would still be upwards of $150 million and we just can’t keep paying market value for everybody that we like. Maybe if you could trade Homer, but that’s going to be tricky unless he really heats up these last few months.

    • How many times have we beaten a team by 5+ runs? How many times have the Reds lost by two runs or less, when the opponents score 3 or less runs?

      Disagree that the offense is inconsistent.

  36. I saw that the Cubs designated Barney. He may be worth a shot to fill in for BP. May not be having a great year with the bat, but his defense is good. Perhaps a change of scenery would do him well.

    • For once I agree with you. I don’t think he’s a long term answer and I don’t think he should stop us from pursuing Zobrist, but he’s been intriguing enough at the plate to warrant an extended look, even if it’s just to figure out what we have in him as depth next year or as trade fodder.

  37. The more I think about it, the more I get aggravated that we couldn’t land Headley, The Yanks didn’t give up any of their top prospects, and he could’ve filled in perfectly while Votto was out. And no financial obligation past this season.

    Unless Walt has something bigger planned, I think he missed the boat on this one.

    • Headley has been awful last year and this and hurt all the time. The last thing the Reds need is more injury headache.

      • He has been bad this year, exactly why he would’ve been an ideal target. Buy low, sell high. It certainly would’ve been a “buy low” situation.

        But I don’t think he would have been awful for us. Petco Park and GABP couldn’t be any more opposites of each other. I bet he would’ve planted several over our short RF porch.

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