Reds - General

Off-Day Open Thread: State of the Team edition

The Redlegs don’t play today; the Halos will be coming to town tomorrow to face Bronson Arroyo in the first of a three-game series. Seems like a good time to look at the state of the franchise.

As of today, the Reds are in last place, 9.5 games behind the first-place Brewers. Cincinnati no longer owns the worst record in the majors, though it’s the worst in the National League. The Reds are only four games out of second place in this putrid division; they are 12 games out in the Wild Card race.

Unquestionably, this team has flaws. I don’t think there’s a question, however, that the Reds aren’t as bad as their record would suggest. It is my opinion that the horrific performance of the bullpen and the defense has overshadowed the fact that the starting pitching and the hitting are decent, at least.

So, question: what should the Reds do? Can they make a run in the Central?

Let’s discuss the state of the Reds…and anything else you want to discuss. Be prepared for uber-commenter Y-City Jim to give updates on Paris Hilton, as he has been doing in the game threads.

14 thoughts on “Off-Day Open Thread: State of the Team edition

  1. Paris called Barbara Walters yesterday from jail. I’m sure that will be an upcoming ABC special.


  2. Taking a glance at the team stats in the NL, the Reds are average in most any category you look at offensively and defensively. The only thing that sticks out are the lack of holds, saves, and the too many hits/9 innings (even though the strike out rate is decent). It’s pretty clear to me and everyone else the bullpen is lacking power arms. Question is, does any of it matter given their horrible record? We have next to no chance of winning this crappy division. I’ll say it again, unless they rattle off a 10 game streak this month, there’s no reason not to trade some guys to bring in some high minor league pitching talent. Dunn, Griff, Hatty, Conine, and Stormy won’t be around when this team is playoff worthy. They all have value, and we can’t really be much worse (or better) with them on the team. I’ll give them a month, which is a month more than they deserve at this point.

  3. Can they make a run in the Central?

    No, and they should not try. Sooner or later they have to utter the R-word and get on with it. I’m not interested in mortgaging the future to win the weakest division in baseball and go one-and-out in the playoffs. (And, yes, I remember 2006. So what? The Cards were a 90-91 win team beset with injuries most of the season. The Reds are optimistically 70-75 win team that would have to overachieve to win the division and likely have to make short-term moves for a stretch run.)

    It is my opinion that the horrific performance of the bullpen and the defense has overshadowed the fact that the starting pitching and the hitting are decent, at least.

    I pretty much agree with this. We hung with one of the best teams in the AL this weekend and got strong performances out of a 21-year-old, the de facto staff ace, and a young pitcher that looks like a solid No 3 right now. We were in all 3 games to the end. The pen killed us again Saturday night, but even then we had chances. Gutierrez’ catch was an outstanding play and that comes with the territory sometimes. (See Dewey Evans, Game 6,11th inning, ’75 Series)

    Outside of the bullpen, the biggest question mark for 2008 is behind the plate. I really don’t want to see David Ross as the everyday backstop next season, and I don’t want Chad Moeller on the roster at all. (I am assuming the LLM is gone when his contract expires.)

    The problem is that we don’t have a solution that’s MLB-ready in the system, and the free agent crop of catchers is pretty slim. Torrealba is the only prospective FA under 30. Pudge will be 36 next year and might be a respectable stop-gap if there’s anything left in the tank. Maybe a trade in ST will shake out.

    Of course, it goes without saying that I would like to see Castro gone. And because of the GM’s incredible talent evaluation and bargaining skills, I’m doomed to be disappointed on that one.

  4. It is my opinion that the horrific performance of the bullpen and the defense has overshadowed the fact that the starting pitching and the hitting are decent, at least.

    I’ve read a lot of people say the Reds aren’t as bad as their record. And I think (not positive) I agree. BUT, I do want to point out two things.
    First, the Reds *do* play in the worst division in baseball. They are 16-20 against Central teams.
    Second, their starting pitching has not been as good as expected so far this season. Arroyo has been terrible for over a month and Harang is also not as good as last year. The rotation ranks 20th in baseball and that’s with OK performance from two question marks, Lohse and Belisle.

  5. The question of what to do with this team invariably turns into a referendum on the general manager. This is how I grade him out. Dunn–C Should’ve been proactive in moving him last season at the deadline since he doesn’t fit your scheme. Philips–A Great pickup who is proving to be the real deal. Ross–C Good for one year, the genie is out of the bottle. Locking up Harang and Arroyo–B Necessary moves to shore up a rotation, fixing your costs in a rich man’s game. Hamilton–A+ Added and impact player for nothing. Bullpen free agents–F Failures doomed the last two seasons. EdE–D Nearly killed his confidence and career by letting Narron browbeat him day in/out. Signing Hatty/Gonzo–B+ Established vets who produce, stay healthy, and don’t cost a lot. Overall: B-. This franchise was in miserable shape, and despite its current mark, the future looks brighter than when O’Brien was in charge. His job is far from complete, but that speaks to how messed up this franchise was before he and Casty took over. He’s got a ton of key decisions facing him. Sadly, we all have to sit back, watch, and hope.

  6. Arroyo is either hurt, or regressing to the mean. He was lights out in the first half of ’06, but he’s been erratic since. He was a league-average innings eater before he came over, and I suspect he’ll be just that for the remainder of his contract. He’s 30 and not likely to improve (unless he is hurt, of course). But innings eaters are useful commodities.

    Harang’s peripherals are actually better this year so far than in ’06. His K/9 is 8.14, compared to 7.99 for ’06. His BB/9 is 1.91 (2.15). His K/BB is 4.25 (3.86).

    ERA+ is 114 and that’s a bit lower than the 128 of last year. But I suspect a lot of that is April, when he gave up a lot of runs but the offense kept bailing him out. WHIP is 1.17, compared to 1.27 of ’06, but again that’s likely due to April. His BABIP for ’07 is .304 and considering the defense behind him, that’s pretty much league average. His OBP allowed is .293 and ISO = .138. Again, he was roughed up in April in several outings. I think Harang is just fine.

    We have some big IFs. If Homer progresses and is ready next April to take a rotation spot permanently, and if Belisle’s for real (K/9 = 6; BB/9 = 1.75; WHIP = 1.31; ERA= = 100), we can live with Bronson at No 4. The rotation isn’t the ’71 Orioles, but it’s not this team’s Achilles heel.

    The team has underperformed it’s Pythag by 4 games. That’s still under .500, but only 7 under instead of 15. Typically, underperformance is due to a combination of bad luck and the bullpen. And for this team, I’ll also guess inconsistent defense.

    There’s a boatload of work to do. The Sultan is correct about Dunn and the older guys. I’d like to keep Dunn, but I think Wayne disagrees with me on that. I think we can get more for Dunnif we wait until the off season and pick up the option, but it’s possible a deadline deal can be reached and an extension can be worked out with his new team. The other should be gone by 31 July.

    Judicious trading may address the concerns of my first post plus add prospects and even strengthen a bench so that Chad Moeller and Fidel aren’t your only choices for RH PH late in the game.

    The biggest concern I have is that the guy who has to make all the decision about personnel is a guy I have zero faith in. I think he’s insecure, arrogant and in over his head.

  7. The way the team is sitting now I would say that there is a chance that the reds could make a run. But then again, i don’t think the team will make that run. I think that they could make some moves that wouldn’t make them an empty while stocking some pitching talent for the minors. I would trade dunn for some best pitching they can get because hamilton is going to be a good one without the strikeouts that dunn has. Also, the outfield is pretty full with players. I would also try to trade hatty and conine because you can get some decent prospects for them and bring up votto to give him some major league time. Finally, the last thing i would do is start pitching younger bullpen guys like mcbeth because the old guys aren’t getting it done and there isn’t much point to keep having them go out there a blowing leads.

  8. The Reds should definitely NOT make a run in the Central. This is the same debate that the Lakers were having the last couple of years – make the playoffs and lose in the first round or lose and get a lottery pick. The Reds, even if they somehow win the very weak Central division, will be destroyed in the playoffs. They definitely need to get aggressive and trade for young players.

    They should trade Lohse (aka Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde), Hatteberg, Conine, LLM (would also end the 3 catcher fiasco), and Weathers (Guardado and Bray should return soon). Dunn’s value has gone up this season, so if they want to trade him now would be a great time.

    The Reds could then bring up Votto, Livingston, et al, and see what they have for next year.

    So what if they lose 95 games this year, they will be reloading and giving their young guys experience.

  9. Sultan,

    You’re a generous grader. I could have used you in a few courses. 😀

    Dunn wasn’t going to get traded last year becasue according to our GM, we were in “win now” mode. For even uttering that phrase and suggesting that the 2006 Reds were a competitive team, he gets an F.

    I didn’t like the Arroyo extension at the time and I like it even less now. I don’t understand the hurry to lock up Arroyo after his second half. We had him inked through 2008, so I would have waited until this off season to see if (a) it was merited and (b) he wanted to stay here.

    Because he’s made a number of really bad moves – The Trade, Cormier, extending Castro, Stanton – I’m inclined to chalk up those moves we like – Phillips, Ross on the cheap, the original Arroyo (which could have looked a lot worse w/o the first half of ’06 and the Red Sox under utilizing of Wily Mo’s bat) – to the Blind Squirrel Theory.

    Hamilton is a special case. Kudos for the low risk, high potential reward move. But I think that has to be an Incomplete. It’s certainly paying off in the short term, but one has to be wary of Hamilton’s history (an I’m rooting for all the best for Josh). I’m not sure a case like Hamilton isn’t always an I, just becasue it;s so damn hard to stay on the wagon.

  10. I’m repeating myself, but trade the old guys. Put Votto at first, and bring up some of the younger guys for the bullpen. Aim for 2009.

  11. As poor of a season that we are having somehow the difference to the Brew Crew is only 9.5 games. How I do no know. The Bullpen is handedly the worst I have ever seen in baseball. Even worse then last year’s Tampa Bay Devil Rays. That is the worst bullpen ever in MLB history. The defense has been so so at best. Gonzo is our best defender with Phillips behind in the infield, they are both above average and should be Gold Glove caliber. Votto is being held at Louisville by both Hattieburg and Conine. EE is swinging the bat better since he was banished to Louisville but his glove and defensive ability is awful at best. The Outfield is solid around. Dunn is good for power but average in LF. Hamilton is the best story in Baseball. Griffey if he can stay healthy is very solid in RF. Ross has dropped greatly from last year as has Valentin and Moeller is the 3rd catcher by a mile and Harang must like pitching to him. Harang is our best starter. Arroyo is inconstant again like in Boston. Kyle Loshe is great 1 start awful the next like in Twins years of 04-05. Bailey is our future. Besile is a good solid number 4-5 starter. Livingston adn Durmoint should be brought up and the whole Bullpen can go. Mcbeth and Courtlangus can stay but really everyone else can go. Weathers and Stanton are both old only onwe is effective. Broken Shoulder can go too. Fractured Finger and Every-otherday Eddie can come back in.

  12. Lots of injury news tonight: Milton, Bray, Guardado, Elizardo . . .

    Milton is out for the season (Tommy John).
    Bray’s rehab has hit a setback (shoulder inflammation).
    Guardado pitched a scoreless inning at Louisville and may pitch for Dayton on Wednesday.
    Elizardo Ramirez (remember him?) will start for Louisville tomorrow night.

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