The thing about writing a weekly column about how a team that can’t hit hits is that even when you’ve been gone for two weeks, you material doesn’t really change. It’s a lot of poop.
Twenty-nine offensive players have come to bat for the Reds this year. Twenty-nine.
Now, guess how many of them have provided above-average offense.
You can figure a few out right away. Devin Mesoraco and Todd Frazier are obvious. Joey Votto is too, even in his injured state. After that, you have two more players who have combined for twenty at bats. Their names are Kris Negron and JJ Hoover.
That’s five players. Two of whom don’t really count. Everyone else on the roster has a wRC+ of less than (or, if you’re Ryan Ludwick, equal to) 100.
That doesn’t work.
Yes, this team has been decimated by injury, but it’s more than that. Yes, full, healthy, and normal seasons from Jay Bruce and Joey Votto would have helped, but it’s more than that. No one imagined this from Mesoraco. If you step back and look at the results, the offense is maybe not that far from what we would have guessed at the beginning of the season.
So let’s be quick and brutal here, if you are the Reds, what do you do?
At this point, I’m cutting bait on the season. Yes the playoffs are a crapshoot and the Reds could sneak in, but I’d much rather they prepare for next year. They currently have the chance to sell high on pitchers (pitchers tend to get hurt a lot) and get some offense. They should do it.
The Reds do not need to improve at catcher, third or center (Hamilton gives enough in other areas that his bat is fine there). As long as Votto and Bruce can reasonably be expected to bounce back (I think they can), then that has the Reds set at two more positions.
That leaves them with needs at short, second, and left. I love Zack Cozart and have a been a big booster of his, but he isn’t hitting enough. It may be time for him to transition to a reserve role. Similarly, Phillips is declining. Left, well, you know about that.
The Reds do have osme outfield talent in the pipeline, but they should still be searching for a bat there since their bench has been a wasteland for a few years now. If I am them, I am looking for any good options I can in the middle infield or the outfield, and I am looking for players who will be under team control past this season.
I’m sorry this is repetitive, guys. I know I’ve written things similar to this before, but I don’t want to write about what they’re doing right now because it sucks and it’s predictable. I’ll try to come up with something new for next week.