Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Pittsburgh 6
Cincinnati 2

W: F. Liriano (1-0)
L: J. Cueto (0-1)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Ryan Ludwick and Todd Frazier came to play tonight. Ludwick went 3-4 with two doubles. Frazier had a double and made two very nice defensive plays. Frazier also very nearly hit a homer that would have put the Reds up 4-3, but it went a few feet foul.

–In perhaps his final at-bat as a Red, Shin-Soo Choo homered to right.

–The season is over. That’s a positive, or at least it seems like a positive right now.

NEGATIVES
–Three times tonight, Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips — this team’s #3 and #4 hitters — came to the plate with runners on base. All three times, they each had terrible at-bats. Not the best night for these two.

Votto and BP also misplayed balls in the field. Phillips’ botched grounder was particularly painful, as they couldn’t get a double play and a run scored.

–Johnny Cueto, quite simply, was not good. Cueto pitched three and a third, gave up four runs on seven hits and a walk.

–Sean Marshall entered the game in the fourth inning and was unable to retire a single batter. He allowed a hit and two walks.

–In a do-or-die game, Logan Ondrusek threw more pitches than anyone other than Cueto. There are no circumstances under which Logan Ondrusek — who seems like the greatest guy in the world — should ever set foot on the field in a game like this.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
I told you so. I told you not to get emotionally invested, because this team was going to break your hearts. And I was right.

But as the game approached, I felt myself getting hopeful. This is my team. I really wanted a win tonight.

In the end, I’m not bothered like I was by last season’s collapse. Heck, I’m not even disappointed. I was prepared for this. This team just didn’t have what it takes. I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised, but if you don’t expect anything, you won’t be let down.

–The Reds lose their last six games of the season, including four straight to their closest competitors, the Pirates. Talk about a season ending with a THUD. Good job, good effort.

–It was clear very early that Cueto just didn’t have it, and the Pittsburgh crowd really appeared to get into his head. I’m not sure there’s any justification for leaving Cueto in to surrender four runs in a must-win game. Get him out of there at the first sign of trouble.

As we said on the last podcast, Dusty Baker should have had Mike Leake or Homer Bailey warming up in the first inning, getting loose and ready in case they were needed.

–I don’t know if Cueto was really rattled by the crowd rhythmically chanting his name, but he certainly looked like it. When Cueto was standing on the mound, listening to that chanting, and then dropped the ball…well, that appeared to be an omen. A Russell Martin homer followed in short order, giving the Bucs a 2-0 lead, but the game felt like it was over at that point.

Also, Cueto began pitching from the stretch early in the game, even with bases empty. I hope we get an explanation for why he did that. Perhaps he thought he could get better command that way, but it was really bizarre.

–It was strange to see Marshall pitching in the fourth, but I was glad to see Dusty do that. Seems like something he wouldn’t have considered. (Of course, I would have already had Leake or Bailey in the game, but still, that’s some outside the box thinking by Baker.) No, it didn’t work out, but that doesn’t mean it was a bad decision.

–Logan Ondrusek pitched. Alfredo Simon pitched. Manny Parra pitched. Aroldis Chapman hasn’t pitched since last Tuesday. The big lefty was completely wasted this year.

–Marlon Byrd homered for the Pirates. It remains inexplicable that the Reds didn’t claim Byrd off waivers late in the season, if only to prevent the Pirates from claiming him.

–After the game, Brandon Phillips: “We choked. We did. I don’t care about how my teammates feel about what I’m saying right now, because it’s the truth.”

–The Reds have made the playoffs three times in four years. They have failed to advance in the playoffs three times in four years. I’m sure we’ll discuss the reasons why that’s the case, but I have an idea.

Either way, I know you are all clamoring for Dusty Baker to be fired. I just don’t see any way that is going to happen.

–Congratulations to the Pirates. They definitely deserve to be in the National League Division Series. They’ve now won more playoff games at home than the Reds have since 1995.

–On a personal note, it has been a good run, and you guys have made this dumb little site a lot of fun. Thanks, gang.

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Join the conversation! 154 Comments

  1. It sure was an interesting ride this season. Lots of high expectations and excitement. And in the end, I only feel sadness and disappointment. Waking up tomorrow won’t feel quite as good without baseball for my club. But I love my reds, and I will always root for them to go.

    • @BearcatNation: Nice post. I guess I was more prepared for the end after last week’s fade, but it’s still tough to live with, except I really didn’t want to see the Cards beat up on us. Hopefully significant offseason changes will be made, and it will be a better 2014. It is possible.

  2. Was glad to hear Marty and the Cowboy unload Baker in 8th….the TBS crew, also….maybe it’ll grease the skids, but probably not………order your red wristbands for next year!

  3. “Reds owner Bob Castellini is sitting in the front row. Wonder what’s going through his mind right now?”
    — Hopefully something like, “I gotta fix this mess.”

  4. Enquirer is reporting that Jocketty expects Dusty to return next year.

    • @Evannati: Great. Maybe a better 2014 isn’t possible, but maybe Walt just doesn’t think now is a good time to say anything he deems negative (though most of us would deem Baker’s exit a positive). And there’s alwayss the chance, if a slight one, Dusty will hang it up.

    • @Evannati: As if tonight’s game wasn’t depressing enough, now its being reported that Dusty will be back next year.

    • @Evannati: Read the article and it was a lukewarm endorsement at best. O really don’t think the team can afford to bring him back. It would be devastating to the morale of the fan base. The on;y good thing to take from the 2013 is that it is Dusty’s last.

      “On a personal note, it has been a good run, and you guys have made this dumb little site a lot of fun. Thanks, gang.” Trying not to read anything into this but……..

    • @Evannati:
      The quote is:”Asked if there was any question about Baker returning, Jocketty said: “I don’t think so,” Jocketty said. “He’s signed for another year.” “It’s too early to say at this point,” he said. “We’ll sit down in the next couple of weeks and evaluate and try to see what we can do to improve things.”
      That does not sound like an endorsement.
      All Walt did was to say the obvious he is under contract for next year which everybody shoud be aware of. Nothing will be done till Walt sits with Bob C. at the end of this season (october 31).

      • @George M: I would doubt that Walt would fire Dusty in a post-game press interview. My hope is that Dusty catches the smell in the wind and decides to retire. I mean … get a clue. Nobody wants you, Dusty.

        • @Johnu1: When last season ended, I couldn’t imagine the Reds bringing Baker back for one more, let alone two years. And now we’re in the same boat again. If Baker comes back next year, at what point do the fans say they’ve had enough and set some kind of attendance record on the low side? That’s the only way I see to get the organization’s attention.

  5. For all of his talk about bringing a winner to cincy, until I see Bob make the real tough choices (and spending money isn’t what I mean) then its all pointless drivel.

    This franchise has the core pieces to at minimum be in the NLCS, and should be a WS contender. No longer is 90+ wins and a playoff appearance enough an 2-7 in the playoffs is unacceptable.

    Now this off-season Walt needs to determine who gets the extension. Is it Cueto, Latos or Bailey. At best I think we might be able to do two if them, but at least one has to be locked up.

    Otherwise I don’t see any other roster moves, remove Choo in CF an insert Hamilton, but the other positions are set. It’s been a nice season, but nice is no longer acceptable.

    • @dn4192: Many of us keep repeating the mantra that the team has the ingredients to win the WS, and I ask again, looking at the roster, what are you seeing? The pitching is excellent. There are several good hitters, but not many. In sum, a good team but not a great one. The poor tone may well be partly Dusty’s fault, but I don’t know and neither do any of you. We’re frustrated, but this really shouldn’t surprise anyone.

  6. Sweet Relief.

    Of all the problems the Reds have had this season; from injuries to emotion to just the Dusty Baker tax every Reds fan as paid … the most glaring and outright travesty, is the use of Aroldis Chapman.

    The absolute craziness of the last week of the season; from every starting pitcher saying they were hurt (Latos elbow, Bailey leg, Arroyo ribs) to Baker sending Cingrani to Arizona (rather than throwing him on Saturday or Sunday) to the talk of Hamilton NOT making the roster … one thing has been constant the entire season. Aroldis Chapman. 38/43 for saves in ’12, 38/43 for saves in ’13. And again, I could have replaced him in the post-season; and the result for Cincinnati would have been the same.

    Now Chapman has said he likes the lights, the energy, the feel of the crowd for pitching that last inning and it’s where he is comfortable. What greater energy could he experience had he started tonight in Pittsburgh? There will never be a game like that EVER again … a team so hungry for a playoff win; the night electric. And Chapman is no where to be seen. Hell, he didn’t even warm up in the last 4 Reds losses (all Pirates).

    The Cincinnati Reds have one of the biggest assets in baseball. Something that no team has, not now, not ever … and it cost them $40 million to acquire it. Yet, Jocketty, Baker and the like are content with just getting 63 innings a regular season and that’s that. This team just four straight games to the Pittsburgh Pirates. These were the four biggest games of the season; and every single relief pitcher threw an inning except Aroldis Chapman.

    Kid has a chance to be one of the greatest this game has ever seen … but the Reds won’t give him the time of day. Just terrible.

    • @FrustratedRedsFan: Asking a guy who has closed all year to start with no preparation is not reasonable. I know that he didn’t pitch at all during the forgettable final 6 games, but would it have made any difference if he had?

      • @greenmtred: I think bringing Chapman at the spot when they brought in Marshall on Tuesday, had Chapman closed out the inning with no runs allowed might have been the one out of the box that could have turned them around even at that late point.

        • @OhioJim: I can’t disagree, but we just don’t know. There was considerable gnashing of teeth here and elsewhere over Ludwick batting 2nd, and he was the only guy who hit much–the guy that Joey and Brandon didn’t drive in multiple times. It’s a tough game and losing rarely has one cause or person to blame. They didn’t hit and, mostly, didn’t pitch well. Maybe a shutdown inning from Chapman would have turned them around, but they’ve been moribund for 6 games, so maybe not. Maybe he gives up a couple of dingers. Time to think about enjoying the hot stove.

  7. Very special pitching staff this year. Best I’ve ever seen for the Reds. Choo was awesome. B Ham could be amazing next year. Votto’s approach to hitting, while polarizing, is remarkable. The maturation of Jay Bruce was fun to see.

    However, all of this is trumped by Baker, and Big Bob’s Win Now edict. Baker NEVER managed to WIN NOW. This whole season was a lie.

    • @jessecuster44: The very special pitching staff will be back in 2014. Maybe even better – Cingrani in the rotation, and hopefully a healthy Cueto. I’ve always been a big fan of Bronson, but time to say goodbye.

    • @jessecuster44: No, Baker didn’t manage to win now and neither, more importantly, did the players, who actually comprise a rather ordinary and flawed lineup. One team wins it all, and the Reds are good, but not nearly as good as a number of the teams still playing. We’ve gotten spoiled quickly.

  8. Need a new voice to lead this team. Walt really needs to resign Choo and I truly hope he is. He deserved more than to lose the last 6 games of the year. Chapman didn’t pitch the last 4 games, unacceptable. One of the biggest fails by Walt is not acquiring Byrd and paying ONLY 130 K, or at least BLOCK the Pirates from improving. This team will most likely be back next year, we need some tweaks and changes. We need a Jonny Gomes type, a firecracker. We need a new manager and a new hitting approach.

    • @Josh: Gomes has gotten rave reviews as a teammate from the A’s and now the Red Sox. But the Reds would need a Gomes who is a better player.

  9. You have to give the Pirates credit. The Reds threw their best starting pitcher (of 2012) followed by their best reliever (of 2012) and the Pirates built a 4 run lead off them. But the Reds were gamers. They amassed 2 runs, a virtual onslaught for this offense which scored 13 runs in the last 7 games of the season. It just wasn’t quite enough to hold up.

  10. A good May, wasted.

  11. Reds top 6 pitchers by WAR: Latos, Bailey, Arroyo, Leake, Cingrani, Chapman… in some order.

    Total innings pitched by them tonight?

    Zero.

    • @prjeter: Some are injured starters, and some would have been needed had we managed to hit enough to win last night. Do you argue that Cueto shouldn’t have started?

      • @greenmtred: It wasn’t a commentary on who should have pitched. Since Latos was injured it was either Cueto or Leake. Cueto was the right call.

        It was a commentary on the fact that none of the 6 most valuable pitches on the staff from the regular season threw a pitch. It’s just an interesting side-note to the end of the season.

  12. During the last month of the season, I convinced myself that I wouldn’t be disappointed if the Reds didn’t advance in the postseason. I convinced myself that it wouldn’t hurt as much as last year’s collapse. In the last few days, I told myself that a loss on Tuesday would be a relief to an aggravating season. And now the Reds’ season is over and I’m sad that it’s over.

    I’ve been thinking of A. Bartlett Giamatti’s beautiful comment: “(Baseball) breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.”

  13. I wasn’t expecting a win, but expected a better performance overall, especially from Votto and Philipps.

    But I’ll focus on the positives. Great game by Todd Frazier. Ludwick was raking. I was impressed by Hoover. Coming into a tough situation with the bases loaded has not been his strength. He did just what was needed against two tough hitters.

    It came an inning too late, but Dusty’s realizing that the 4th inning was critical and his bringing in Marshall and Hoover was surprising. (Yes bringing in a starter in the 3rd would have been better.)

    I wouldn’t be too tough on Marshall for his poor job, he doesn’t have a fastball right now (as Brantley has said many times) and they were sitting on his curve ball. He did nearly strike out struck out Morneau with a surprise fastball (foul tip).

  14. FrustratedRedsFan: “Sweet relief.” That sums it up for me.

    I appreciated 90 wins, making it to the postseason, the many thrills over the course of the season, the maturing of some of the players.

    But I have found this season emotionally trying.

    I’m relieved it’s over and at the same time I’m already eager for 2014. I’ll feel optimistic about 2014 with some tuning. Bring back Choo – if you can’t, bat Hamilton lead off but get a power bat.

    • @pinson343: I feel the same way, Pinson. I think the duress is probably worth it, considering the alternative. I would hate to have been virtually eliminated from contention in early August. That would have sucked just as bad.

      I think 2014 has potential. Even though I’d love to see Billy in the bigs, I think he’ll go the Mike Trout route (rhyming!). He’ll start in AAA and if he shows improvement, say, something like .270/.330/.360 over his first month, he may get the call up to the bigs.

      I just hope they don’t call him up and have him sit the bench. He needs to PLAY. If he won’t start in the bigs, leave him in AAA, I say.

  15. For any decisions to be made about personnel for 2014, if the Reds do not address the hitting weaknesses, it won’t matter. If Brook Jacoby is the problem, then we have identified the problem. All I know is, it quacks like a duck.

  16. “It has been a good run, and you guys have made this dumb little site a lot of fun. Thanks, gang.” Right back at you, Chad.

    And my thanks to the RLN gang for making the 2013 season more fun than it would have been without you.

  17. “This is the end … my only friend the end.”

  18. The Reds did what they do best- fail when it counts.

  19. I stumbled upon RLN earlier in the season, looking to share some of my passion of Reds baseball in an area full of Braves fans.

    I have enjoyed reading the different opinions on here and sharing a few of my own. Going through the biggest majority of 163 games, and all the ups and downs, has been fun. I look forward to 2014.

    I said in an earlier post tonight that I think the Reds need an attitude change. They did not win a game after clinching the playoff spot last Monday. There is something about that. Brantley made a good point that when there are deemed no big games during the Big 162, players play tight in legitimately big games like #163. For fun, If i was GM of the Reds, this is what I would do (fantasy world, I know).

    Manager: Look, I would try to get Dusty to retire, but he wont. I don’t want to simply lose $3.5 million dollars, so unless someone significantly better came around, I would keep DB. However, DB would be on a short leash, and if he pulled the same crap in 2014, I would fire him, and put Brian Price as interim manager.

    1B: Votto is a great player. We all know where he has been and his potential. Still, something is not right. His mental focus seemed to wane at times (almost triple the amount of errors this year than in any other year). His bouts of furious anger after an at bat that seemed to go above and beyond simple frustration and wanting to do well. Maybe it’s pressure, maybe its depression, maybe its nothing. But I watched this season and something was different. How to fix? I don’t know.

    2B: BP needs to be in the 2 hole and focus on putting the ball in play and getting on base.

    SS: Cozart is a good SS and when he bats down in the 6-7 hole, he will do fine.

    3B: Keep your options open here. Todd would have one more year with me to determine if 2012 was a fluke or has the league adjusted to him. Can he adjust with them? We need more from 3B than he is giving currently in this system, especially if he is going to bat behind bruce who is going to SO a lot.

    LF: Ludwick needs to be traded if we can. the past 4 seasons he averages fewer than 100 games a year….and going before that..he’s had 1 full season in 2008 with STL. every other year its 120, 130, etc. The Reds need more consistency in LF. I think the Reds need to upgrade here…and not with Heisey. Trade him too.

    CF: Choo if possible. Hamilton if not.

    RF: Bruce.

    C: Devin, Devin, Devin…i think he gives you more and playing everyday can get into an offensive rythem…his offense numbers in AAA were fantastic.

    I think the Reds should trade Ludwick, Heisey and attempt to upgrade 3B and LF.

  20. Thank Goodness this crap is over!!!! I know they will re-sign Dusty which will mean that this reds fan will no longer invest my heart and soul to this team until he if flipping canned!!!!

    Here is a few ?’s for you Dusty?

    1. Why did Homer who has absolutely owned the Pirates not even sniff the mound?

    2. Cueto who has been hurt 80’s of the season should no way shape or form start this game! Why not start Bailey? Who has a no-hitter against Pitt????

    3. Your absolute best pitchers that you have on the staff should be the ones on the mound during an elimination game. Isn’t the idea to win at all costs in an elimination game?? Ondrusek, and Simon are no way your best pitchers on the staff!!!! You let Bailey pitch the second Cueto was starting to get into trouble! Forget the saving ppl for tomorrow! Guess what smart guy there is no f-ing tomorrow!!!!!!

    4. Lecure, Chapman should have pitched in the damn game period…..

    Too the ppl on here who will pick at what I type I donot give a hoot how you feel about my views and never will. I live and die for this team every single darn year and I for one am sick and f-ing tired of the bs and this team not living up to what this team could be!!!

    • @666wolverine: “There’s always tomorrow! Why you always questioning my decisions?! You want to manage the team?!” – Dusty Baker

    • @666wolverine: Like were your hearts at, but a few thing:

      1.) Lecure did pitch last night.
      2.) Simon is not Ondrusek. He’s actually pretty good. 2.87 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 87 inning pitched, 2.4 SO/BB and he did pitch 1.1 innings last night of scoreless baseball.
      3.) Bailey wasn’t active for this game. He wasn’t on the Roster. Leake and the bullpen were.
      4.) There is no profanity on this board.

  21. It’s not my money but of course, Dusty will be back. It’s the Cincinnati way. Lose in the playoffs, keep your job or get an extension. Right Marvin & Dusty. Nothing will ever change. Three first round exits and yeah, it’ll be the same old crap next year because that’s the way we roll.

  22. Thanks to DST* I’ve got an extra 3 hours a night now!

    At least Chapman should be fresh for March 31, 2014.

    *Dusty Saving Time

  23. Boy, I am glad our players are trained to play “a marathon”. Yeah, they don’t need to get accustomed to “running a sprint”. Yep, slow and steady is the way to play the game. No need to worry about a club who hasn’t been to the playoffs in the last 20+ years. Given those conditions, their fans won’t get too rowdy.

    Baker’s overall post season record now? 19-26. 10 series total, 3 series won.

    Some people calling for Baker to be fired or step down. Others responding, “If not Baker, then who?” Answer: most anyone else. I would be willing to bet the D-backs weren’t even thinking about Kirk Gibson before they fired their previous manager. I would be willing to bet the Pirates weren’t thinking of Clint Hurdle when they fired their previous manager. Ditto goes for the Orioles and Showalter. I can’t help thinking with the kind of talent this team has, the line would go up I-71 to Columbus. Someone is out there.

    The only downfall I would see to a new manager coming in is having to take over for a manager who didn’t have a sense of discipline, a manager who tried to be more of a friend to the players rather than their manager. I’ve been in that situation before and was treated by some of the athletes like a pariah. “You work us too hard”, “You’re not as nice”, and on and on and on. I can’t help thinking to have success post-Baker, the team may need to be blown up. Or, at least some of the pro-Baker worshippers let go.

  24. If Dusty Baker is back, consider the baseball package at my house canceled. There is only so much Dusty a man can take before snapping. And yes, I bet heavily on the Pirates last night. There was no way in hell, this team was scoring more than 2 runs. This team is so predictable.

  25. I expected this so I’m not really all that upset today. Last year the Reds broke my heart. This year I emotionally checked out some time in early September. The team lacked the character to go big in the postseason and it was obvious.

    So, first of all, before I bash Dusty, I want to qualify it by saying the players lost the game last night by not executing. I think it is obvious, however, and has been for some time that Dusty is a not a very good postseason manager. Overall, Dusty is a good manager, but not in the postseason. Everyone wants to complain about lineups, something statistics says does not matter all that much. I don’t count that among Dusty’s faults. And I was happy to see Dusty pull Cueto in the 4th though I thought he’d do it when he went out the first time. Regardless, that was one of my gripes last postseason when he left his starter in too long for whatever reason. I was also happy to see him bring in Marshall to replace Cueto. Nine times out of ten that’s a great move. Marshall failed to execute. But, in a one game playoff Ondrusek gets the call and Chapman doesn’t. Ugh. AND while other managers where getting their teams prepared for the postseason Dusty told his team to relax. Clint Hurdle got his prepared for the postseason and they won 4 games in a row. Once again, big picture, the Reds got eliminated because they were outmanaged.

    • @TC: “The players lost the game by not executing.”

      Did the Manager put the players in the best position to succeed? We needed Mesoraco’s bat against a tough LHP: nope, Hanigan started. Cueto didn’t have it, and we had 10 pitchers on staff: no reason to bring someone in to start the 4th with a clean inning, right? Should be a tight, low scoring game: but why put a good defender in left field?

      Not to mention that one team looked ready for the playoffs, but it wasn’t the team that has been there 3 out of 4 years. The Manager has nothing to do with that? Sorry, but starting your post that way takes away too much from the blame that should be coming Dusty’s way.

      • @Eric the Red: Reading your full post I see your heart’s in the right place. Still, IMHO nothing should take away from the colossal disaster that was Dusty’s overall Management.

  26. At the beginning of this season – I felt the expectations were a winning playoff series or Dusty isn’t around for 2014. Remember, the Reds were beating the future WS Champs 2-0 and coming to Cincy to close out that series!

    During the season I dialed back that watermark to a playoff appearance with the caveat that a WC appearance doesn’t count.

    Bob C wasn’t sitting in the front row to watch his team look hopeless all night. I am still of the mind that a change is made.

  27. Guys, if they do not fire Dusty then you’ll have fun with that. I won’t spend a dollar on going to a Reds game next year or be the least emotionally vested in that team.

    An organization has to be held accountable. I’m not saying I won’t be a Reds fan. I always will and won’t ever switch teams but I’ll give them what they are giving us if they don’t fire him. If the fans can’t protest by not spending money or however they chose, then how do you as a fan actually protest in any way that matters.

    I’ve never felt this strong or this way, but I am done with it while he remains in the dugout. That feeling won’t change over the winter. Its not a knee jerk reaction. It’s a reaction that’s built up over a long time. If they don’t fire that man then they have crossed a line. That’s a white flag on the season and takes away realistic hope for next year. If they do that then I honestly hope I’m not the only fan out there raising my own white flag by giving nothing back. That’s sad. Wish it wasn’t that way, and I feel bad for any fans that get there hopes up with Dusty in the dugout. I don’t feel bad for Reds brass or Dusty baker. The fans are getting the sham if he returns.

    • @brandon11: I feel pretty much the same way. Some fans act like it’s a contest to see who can keep cheering the longest while Rome burns. I don’t.

      It’s not a knee-jerk reaction. Dusty has been here since 2008. In that time, he’s led this team to three sub-.500 seasons and three early post-season embarrassments. He’s consistently given 600 PA to the likes of Corey Patterson, Wily Taveras, Drew Stubbs, and other guys with sub-.300 OBP (for that matter, not really giving a crap about OBP, “clogging the bases,” etc.). He consistently makes wrongheaded decisions with the pitching staff and the lineups. Heisey hits three homers one day, rides pine the next. Chapman sits for days and days waiting for just the right offensive alchemy to create a save situation, rather than pitching in winning ballgames regardless of a meaningless stat. Keeping starting pitchers in for at least 5 innings (often until the game is out of hand) so they qualify “for a win.” And on and on and on.

      These aren’t just bugaboos. These are legit mistakes that have been criticized for six years now. Longer, if you’re a Cubs or Giants fan. I just don’t see the point in the Reds or their fans putting up with it any longer. This isn’t just Jerry Narron pinch-hitting Juan Castro for Josh Hamilton in a lost season. This is six years in a row of not much to show for a lot of money spent.

  28. Here’s some things to think about over the offseason. I’ll try to keep this short.

    1. Do SOMETHING with Aroldis Chapman. You either put him back in the rotation, or trade him. Even a trade for quality prospects would be better than the 60+ innings he threw this year. Its taken three years for him to accumulate the innings that he could accrue in a single year as a starter. No excuse for that.

    2. Between Bailey, Latos, and Choo, hopefully two of the three can be resigned/extended. All three would be peachy!

    3. If Choo gets brought back, I hope it is as the Reds primary LF. I can’t tell you how many times I heard Marty and Jeff (and more) discuss how solid he’s been in center. He hasn’t been. The numbers don’t lie. Based on UZR/150, he’s been the fourth-worth outfield defender this season. However, his numbers in LF over his career are well on the positive side.

    4. I think Hamilton is ready. Maybe not our leadoff guy, but I really think a fleet-footed CFer would be a lot for this team, especially on the road in some larger ballparks. Bat him 7th or 8th if you must, but I’d love to see him get 100 starts next season. I think most of us would like Choo/BHam/Bruce more than Ludwick/Choo/Bruce, am I right?

    5. The Reds really need one of their right-handed bats to come alive. Its asking for trouble when the teams three best hitters are all lefties. Cozart looked really good at the plate towards the end of the year (he triple-slashed over .300/.400/.700 over the last two months), and hopefully we see more of that next season.

    That’s all for now. I’ll probably add upon this later. Go Reds.

    • @dc937: If you’re looking for those outside the box lineups, I think Hamilton is the type of player that you’d bat 9th (with the pitcher 8th) until his OBP is good enough to bat leadoff.

      • @Greg Dafler: That would nice, if you could find a manager willing to think outside the box.

      • @Greg Dafler: Just curious, what do you think his OBP would be if he was given a significant amount of playing time?

        I’d guess around .340, not from drawing walks but beating out infield singles. That would put him around 30th in the NL in OBP, and good enough for leadoff in my book.

        • @dc937: I don’t know. He only got on base at a .308 clip this past season in AAA. It was better in the second half, .324 compared to .300 up to the all-star break. He had shown some degree of patience in the minors prior to 2013, but I would need to see .330 at the major league level to believe it.

    • @dc937: Cozart’s triple slash ove rthe last two months were .282/.313/.403 with a 4.7% BB rate, which are all better than his full season split. I’d have killed for .300/.400/.700, though.

  29. Why is Brook Jacoby so bad? Does he not teach the mechanics right or is it how he teaches the approach at the plate?

  30. @abox03: A few thoughts:

    Dusty Baker’s contract for 2014 is a sunk cost. The Reds have to pay him whether he is in the dugout or not next season. So, the question is do they want him to manage next season or not. I didn’t think that they should have signed him to an extension last year. I haven’t seen anything this season that changes my mind about that. I don’t bring him back. I don’t know what the list of 2014 managerial candidates looks like, but I start with Bryan Price and go from there.

    I think you trade Brandon Phillips. This isn’t a recent thought or something I do just because of this season or last night’s game. I’ve been in the “trade him” camp for quite some time. It frees up money which would be better spent on re-signing Choo.

    I’m not sure if it is too late to try this move, but they tried Frazier at 2nd base briefly a couple of years ago. He originally came up a shortstop. You can see how much hard work he put into his defense at third base, and I think 2nd base could be a possibility for him.

    At 3rd base, do you buy low on Kevin Youkilis or is his career done?

    I agree about Ludwick, and wondered early if he would be a fit for the Giants this offseason. I’d try to re-sign Choo for LF and bring up Hamilton to play CF.

    I agree that Mesoraco should be the primary catcher next season.

    • @Greg Dafler: Interesting idea there with BP and Frazier. But I wouldn’t touch Youkilis, I think he’s well-done.

    • @Greg Dafler: Wow. Weighty words from one of the Editors.

    • @Greg Dafler: I am with you on BP. I loved him, but I think his negatives have slowly begun to outweigh his positives. He is still the best defensive second baseman I have ever seen, but his lack of hustle is an affront to the fans. I recall Dusty calling him out on it a few years ago, but it seems like he has reverted to his former self. What about this? Cozart to second and Billy Hamilton back to his original position, shortstop? Or, perhaps Billy to 2nd? Use Brandon’s freed up money to lock down Choo.

  31. First of all, I want to thank Chad and his gang of merry men for providing this intellectual community for us. Just typing “intellectual community” makes me smile. 🙂 This is a great place, and I have learned so much about baseball by being a daily reader. Thank you.

    For me, this year’s epic collapse is a much more bitter pill to swallow than last year’s epic collapse. I think I saw last year’s group as over-achievers with a championship window that was opening. The one year acquistion of Choo this season meant that the window was more open than it will ever be again and the team fell flat. I’m quite certain that we have seen the last of Choo in a Reds uniform (I’m just hoping he goes to the AL) and I’m just as certain that Dusty will be back chewing on toothpicks in the dugout next season. Which means the window will just get another year closer to shut.

    In 2011, my family made its first trip to GABP for a game. We attended two games that season and were hooked. As a way of showing our support for the Votto signing, we went to about a dozen games in 2012. This year, we went to 30 games spending more time and money than we probably should have but we felt it was important to support the organization. We actually talked about it as our “Re-sign Choo” effort. Radio host Colin Cowherd talks alot about the fact that the only real way that fans can influence a pro sports organization is with their wallets. I firmly believe he is right. If Dusty Baker is the manager next year, we will drastically be reducing the number of games we attend at GABP. We will still go to some because I will not deprive my kids of the experience, but we will also choose to travel see the Reds play in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, and St. Louis. I hope other fans will join me.

    On the bright side, Aroldis Chapman sure will be fresh heading into spring training.

    • Got nothing else to say than ditto. I’ll also be checked out if Dusty is back. Great to get winning baseball back to Cincy (it was a long time before 2010 rolled around), but we’ve came, we saw, but we’ve yet to conquer and Dusty is not the man to take us to the promised land. Nothing wrong with a new coach taking over and building upon what someone else started. So if Dusty is back next year – I’ll be signed off until 2015.

      @Kyle Farmer:

  32. I thought I wouldn’t care. Damn.

    The worst part of it is I’m a “Reds Facebook Fan” person and their are as many comments there calling for the trade/demotion of Votto as there are for removing DB. I was already disappointed with the team; and now I’m disappointed with the average fan. Oh sweet beer, when shall I taste thee?

    • @Zach: I was part of that for a long while and one of the people who advocated that BP should never have been in the cleanup role (Bruce was my choice), and I was ridiculed for it.

      Seeing as how I was right, almost thought about getting back in there just so I can call out those people who thought he was the best their was. Bruce demonstrated he is just as capable of driving in runs as BP, and maintained some measure of consistency this year as opposed to years past when he was more prone to peaks and valleys.

      I’m in the camp that BP needs to be traded, I just don’t see him contributing much down the road, he is a liability behind any OBP guy like Choo or Votto with his penchant to hit into double plays. Not saying Bruce didn’t hit into them, but without the stats to back it up, I would imagine that Phillips was among the leaders in the team (league?) of hitting into DPs this year.

  33. A few days ago here I picked 2 as the Over/Under on runs the Reds would score in this game. The bats met my expectations.

    While I feel sorry for all Reds fans today (myself included), I feel especially sorry for those who genuinely expected the season to end differently. Some of us have been saying this since early in the season, but other than the addition of Choo, this team is essentially the same as the one that fell on its face in September and October the previous three years.

    When you have above-average pitching, the Reds’ lineup is easier to put down than a lame horse (especially once fall rolls around).

    The only thing more predictable than the Reds’ collapse last night after the way they played for the last week is the blame being heaped on Dusty. The only problem most of us had with the lineup yesterday was Ludwick batting 2nd. Well, egg on our face — he was the only one who hit worth a damn.

    Yeah, you can argue that Cueto should have been pulled sooner, but in the end that probably would have only meant the difference between a 6-2 loss and a 3-2 loss. You could also argue that he failed to motivate his team, but that is impossible to quantify, and frankly, if a team needs motivation in October then they have bigger problems than the manager.

    The Reds need people who can hit. Period.

    • @RedZeppelin: Maybe they should have brought some penguins in, ala Joe Maddon, to chill the team out. Seemed to work for the Rays.

  34. I am not sure I can follow the team another year with Dusty. His management style just strips so much of the joy out of watching this team for me. I spend more time being frustrated and confused than I do just enjoying the ball club.

  35. Well, what a crap year.

    I have been a season ticket holder for 2 decades. 2013 was first year, I refused to sign up because I could not stand Dusty as a manager. Sure I have seen crap manager before, but Dusty bothers me the most.

    I agree w/ most postings that Dusty will be back, because Reds organization doesn’t operate like the Yankees, Red sox, etc. But it doesn’t mean it’s the right move. It isn’t.

    Everything in sports, in the field at least, starts w/ a manager (or head coach). I hold the person responsible for providing leadership, accountability, discipline, amongst other things. Dusty is a bad fit for these Reds players we have. Votto is a solid player, sure, but he isn’t a leader. Aside from having a less than stellar year, not producing when it counted the most (like today), causing circus like fielding errors more than bakers dozen this year, he looked quite average at times. If it wasn’t for his walks, where would he be? Sure walks are fine, but I can assure you that’s not enough for his stature.

    choo won’t be around – he will go to Chicago or NY.

    Unfortunately, this current team isn’t going to win a Series anytime. Never. I hate to say it,but the window has closed. Reds won’t be topping the Cards, Dodgers (and their money), Braves or even future Pirates. our farm system is not what it should be. Hamilton will bring excitement but he isn’t going to put us over the top. Votto, BP will be in their decline (I believe).

    I will always love the Reds (it’s in your DNA), but I think I will just be happy cheering a team for what it is, rather than putting the expectation of a World Series ring, and feel like how I’ve felt last couple of years. I enjoyed Reds more when the expectation wasn’t so high.

    So, I am going to take a notch down on my expectation, and enjoy the Red next year (s)…

    For now, though, I am going to rout for my other OH team – they are a fun to watch. If you guys haven’t watched the Indians play last 2 weeks, it’s a night and day difference compared to the Reds..

    Go Indians.
    Go Reds. and lastly, Dusty – go Home and retire voluntarily, PLEASE.. do us all a favor…. you will never bleed Reds and it shows…

    • @topgun67: I would have agreed with you about rooting for the Indians but, with the benefit of hindsight, I see that they made an exit just as ignominious as did our Reds. It IS the players, far more than the manager. Perhaps Dusty could be improved upon, but the team needs to painstakingly add strength to the roster and, especially, to the farm system. They’re pretty good now, a work in progress, but with more work to be done.

  36. On last night’s game:

    I watched the 1st 90 minutes of the game in 30 minutes, skipping through commercials and the time between batters (sometimes the time between pitches.) It made the second half of the game even more grueling to watch because I WANTED to just skip to the end after the way that stinker started.

    Cueto wasn’t on. He was up in the zone. I’m not sure why Leake wasn’t warming up during the second and ready to pitch by the 4th inning. It was an uphill battle either way at that point, anyways, but as always, Baker wasn’t quite quick enough.

    I have no clue why Ondrusek was pitching the 7th inning. Ondrusek, in my mind, was only on the roster because they had so many bullpen positions available. He’s there for extra innings, basically.

    Sean Marshall – first, I like the TBS box that shows pitch location of every pitch in the at-bat. Second, all but one of Marshall’s pitches (except the IBB), were in the exact same spot. Low and away from a LHB / down and in on a RHB. Why did they not mix up location at all?

    Offensively, the Pirates were up there taking their cuts last night. They were aggressive and confident at the plate. The Reds seemed somewhat tenative with a lot of check-swings and excuse-me swings. I realize that a lot of that is to Liriano’s credit because he had a lot of the Reds hitters off balance all night.

    I hope Paul Daughtery is happy because Votto swung at a lot of pitches outside the strike zone for him last night.

    What happened to the team’s defense this year?

  37. I agree with the comments about Chapman. The Reds best chance to morph him into a rotation anchor was 2011. I don’t see how they stretch him out to start next season as he only pitched 63 innings this year.

    Plus, he is arbitration eligible this offseason. That means that he’s still under team control for the next 3 years, but the portion of his $30 million contract that was payable as salary is paid to him as a bonus and his future salary with the club is based on his future negotiated numbers.

  38. I took Chad’s advice … I didn’t get really emotionally invested in this team after watching 3/4ths of their indifferent season. Like he and others, I just didn’t have faith that this particular team was going on after the WC game. There is a dynamic that is just “off” about the way this team is constructed and how it plays the game. Was it the lack of no Rolen in the locker room? He may not have been a productive player on the field anymore, but there is something to be said about his locker room presence. Going out like this hurt, but like their uninspiring play, I never cared enough to really “feel” it. It is what it is …

  39. Daugherty said in his column yesterday the Reds would win because they had better players. In hindsight, I’m not sure that’s true. Most would take the Pirate over the Red at catcher, third, left and center. Second is closer than most think. Shortstop neither has anything to exactly brag about.

    Having said that, Dusty has still got to go. To bring back essentially the same team with the same manager, especially in the lame duck year of his deal, would be a toxic mix in Cincinnati that would make for a miserable 2014. To those who say he should walk away, no way he leaves $3 million on the table and walks. But, there’s no way he can stay.

  40. As much as Dustys lineups and pitching management infuriate me, I understand those aren’t the things that cost is a season. He’s bad at those things, and they are amplified in the post season, but I could live with them. Dusty did it for me when he came out and said that he doesn’t believe in installing urgency in his teams and then we immediately watched one of the most talented Reds rosters ever lose the last 6 games of a promising season CLEARLY due to not being mentally prepared. That is why Dusty is a bad manager. 162 games of talking jazz in the dugout and having everyone call you “Pop” and where’s ring cleats and wristbands just like you could still run out there on the field with the guys doesn’t mean anything. Dusty is a fundamentally bad sport coach. He is the epitome of the ex-player who parlayed his charisma into a long coaching career despite any evidence that he’s good at it. People are mad at Jacoby for our hitting problems, but that is DUSTY’S philosophy he’s being forces to teach the players. Swing early and often. Don’t clog the bases with walks. When in doubt, bunt. I don’t know if Price would be better, but I don’t think anyone could be worse. That’s not an exaggeration. The sheer talent on this roster should guarantee you 90 wins even if Ted Turner was managing the team. The problem is not talent. It’s not simply approach. It’s philosophical. Dusty just wants everyone to enjoy the ride. I’m sure that’s a lot of fun. But this is a business, and Big Bob did not look happy last night.

    • @eric nyc: Most talented pitching staff, perhaps, but certainly not one of the most talented rosters. It’s full of holes.

  41. BTW: I want to echo the thanks to RLN and everyone involved for another informative and entertaining year. The only thing worse than being miserable is being miserable alone. It’s great to have a place to share our woes.

    I also want to say, “Go Pirates.” I think it’s safe to say that for the next few days, anyway, we’re all Pirates fans.

    • @RedZeppelin: Not me. They’re whiners and cheap shot artists who recently threw behind one of my team’s players. The guy who got them on the board last night has been caught juicing, and his numbers say he’s still juicing. This year’s Cards team isn’t quite that deplorable. Still, they’re the Cards, and the Dodgers are wrecking the economics of the sport, so Ill be a Braves fan in the NL and may be forced to root for the AL team for the first time in my life.

      I think the back end of the bullpen is going to let the Pirates down vs the Cardinals.

    • @RedZeppelin: Oh. And supposedly Pirates security failed to act and Dallas Latos was attacked and punched by a Pirates fan: http://storify.com/nohurmnofoul/dallas-latos-says-she-was-attacked-at-wild-card-ga

  42. Thoughts:
    –With all due respect, I don’t ever wanna hear someone on this site say that Hanigan calls a better game than Mez. The 8 straight curve ball at-bat to Walker came from the same mindset as the Posey at-bat last year….dogmatically calling the same pitch to death and getting burned. If he never plays for the Reds again, I won’t shed a tear. The guy is done anyhow and his presence is hurting Mesoraco’s development.
    –The end of the season for the Reds is usually like a divorce proceeding—things come out that you didn’t have a clue were going on. I fully expect to hear Latos will need his elbow cleaned out, but there will surely be some other stuff. Can’t wait for those suprises.
    –No one should complain when the Reds are not picked to win the division. Every time the Reds have been on the big stage the last few years, they’ve choked, whether it’s the playoffs or their closest rivals in-season. If you’re the national media and that’s all you ever see of this team, you’d think they suck too. You get respect by winning big games.

    • @Sultan of Swaff: How about Marshall’s encounter with Morneau? Morneau is one of the five worst hitters vs LHP over the last 4 or 5 years an they pitched him like he was Barry Bonds.

    • @Sultan of Swaff: I’ve heard back and forth all year about whether or not the catchers actually call the games. Some say yes, some say no. Some say they get a sign from the dugout but if the pitcher shakes it off the catcher calls the next pitch.

      I don’t know. Either way, what I know is that there is NO way possible that someone “calling a game better” can equate to the offensive difference between a declining Hannigan and an improving Mesoraco.

      Also, think about this scenario: Bench calls fastball, pitcher shakes off. Catcher calls for… 1 of 2 pitches (for most guys). At that point, it’s 50/50. Change up or Slider? Curve or Change? I know Bronson has 100 pitches, but most guys have 3 or fewer. It’s not rocket science and even with random sampling you’d call nearly an identical game.

  43. First, thanks for creating and managing this site, guys. I’m sure it’s a lot of effort, and thankless. But it’s been incredibly valuable and entertaining. A few thoughts:

    1) Dusty’s mis-use of Mesoraco last night/in the last week was wonderfully symbolic. Not starting him was one thing. Not using him to PH for Hanigan at any point up to and including with 2 outs, a RISP, and the game still barely in touching distance was another thing. But to THEN put him in defensively, set to lead off the next inning, was mind boggling. Why do that? What could possibly be the thinking behind that? It was wrong on so many levels I can barely type I’m so worked up about it.

    2) If the only way to keep Bryan Price is to name him the Manager, does that change whether or not Dusty comes back? Is the intention to name Price Manager after next season? Would Seattle’s reported interest force us to accelerate the timetable, or is Price comfortable waiting? I truly believe the only way Dusty doesn’t come back is if he walks away for health or other reasons, or if they intend for Price to be Manager and are forced to do that sooner rather than later.

    3) No matter what, Dusty is a lame duck next year. Assuming there are people in the organization who believe Chapman can be a starter, will watching a top shelf LHP dismantle us while Chapman gathered dust, coupled with Dusty’s status, allow us to finally get him in the rotation?

    4) Do any of you believe Marlon Byrd is playing clean?

    5) How come the media didn’t get behind the Reds in 2010, after we broke a very long string of sub.500 seasons, the way they seem to be behind the Pirates? Not that it matters.

    6) This season and last, there have been 4 single elimination games played. The visiting team won 3 of them. Only the Reds failed. The Reds have looked completely overmatched in 2 out of 3 playoff trips under Dusty Baker, and had a historic collapse, at home, in the 3rd.

    • @Eric the Red: Excellent points.

    • @Eric the Red: I have been at a loss for words since the loss. But I appreciate this comment, and it sums up a lot of my thoughts.

      1) Absolutely. Leaving Mes on the bench was bad enough. Not playing one of your best players in the biggest game of the season is idiocy. But the WAY in which he was brought in was insult to injury. If you’re going to bring him in, let him bat in the high leverage situation! My jaw hit the floor when he came in between innings.

      2) To extend this comment, if we lose Bryan Price to another team while Dusty and Jacoby stay on for one more year, this will set this team back for multiple seasons. Unfortunately, I fear it will become reality.

      3) Who knows if Chapman will ever leave the bullpen. 63 innings for arguably our best pitcher dovetails sadly with the mesoraco situation. Our best assets waste away because of outdated doctrine (closers are sacred; each pitcher needs a personal catcher). Mes had a breakout season yet rotted away on the bench for the most important game. Thank god we had hanigan behind the plate – cueto pitched so well because of that. And thank god chapman was ready for the save while ondrusek came on for the final nail in the coffin.

    • Do any of you believe Marlon Byrd is playing clean?

      I wouldn’t be so quick to judge. His 2012 was very bad, but his 2007-2011 years were all average or better.

      On the flip side, the dude just turned 36 and had his best offensive year ever. Old dudes who are not HOF-bound may be the most tempted by PEDs.

      Anyway, that is what the MLB drug program is for. If he cheated I hope they get him. Not our job to accuse anybody though.

      • @dc937: He put up career numbers in a pitcher’s park. At 36. I wouldn’t point the finger at a clean player, but having been caught already I feel no such hesitation with Byrd; he forfeited the presumption of innocence.

  44. -To the Redleg Nation guys: Thanks for all you do!!! This site helps me make it thru many long days at work and you guys do a stellar job.
    -I feel so let down today and there’s a part of me that is glad this season is over. I know there need to be some changes.
    -Come Christmas time, I know I’ll be counting down the days until spring training and openind day with as much excitment as ever. I love Reds baseball and that will never change.
    -179 days until Opening Day 2014. I’ll be there cheering the Redlegs like they never broke my heart.

  45. So many thoughts about the season and about last night’s game, and so many ideas and hopes for next year. But there’s nothing I can do about the WC loss or this lost season, and I’ll worry about next year after an exciting Pirates / Indians world series. I do think that would be fun. But for today:

    THANK YOU to Chad, Steve, Greg and all the RLN team. Thank you for creating and nurturing this home for rabid Reds fans. Thank you for giving us some historical and statistical meat to chew on as an alternative to the fluff that’s so common in other corners of the internet, or to the big market bias of the major media outlets. Thank you for giving us a home to debate, consider, learn, and cheer with a fine group of men and women who have the good sense to root for the Reds. Thank you!

  46. I wanted to get the numbers straight because I agree with the sentiment that Dusty Baker is NOT a good post-season manager. So I checked baseball-reference and found:
    – Post season record as manager – 19-26
    – 1 NL pennant
    – Record in elimination games – 3-7
    – 2 wins in ’02, 1 win in ’03
    – 0 wins in Cincinnati elimination games

    I was against his hiring and he has done nothing to change my impression.

  47. It was nice to know that the Reds, and their dynamo offense, had a weapon in the bullpen and on the bench who could have come on to make Dusty’s legacy real.

    I honestly believe Dusty thought he had created a new Bill Bates moment with his use of Cueto and Ludwick. We’d be singing his praises forever because of his insane-but-wonderful illogical decision.

    Anybody else remember Mo Drabowsky in the 1966 World Series? It solidified Weaver’s greatness.

    I believe Dusty was hoping for such a miracle. By doing so, he went against all the logic in the world. Now, not revered … reviled.

  48. It is really a tragedy the way the season ended. A season that was filled with hope and lofty expectations concluded with barely a whimper from the Reds’ offense. Undoubtedly, the pitching staff was the highlight of the 2013 season. As Marty indicated last night, it should be an interesting off season. I expect some changes. As disappointed as I am right now, give me about a month or so and as the weather begins to turn colder, it is a reminder that RedsFest is right around the corner. Yes I will drive the eight hours and attend both days drinking the organizational Kool-Aid throughout that weekend. After Christmas and New Year’s, I will once again crave baseball and the Cincinnati Reds. I have been a Reds’ fan for 43 years and I have seen the best of times and the worst of times. Things are good right now but all of us want more…so much more. I do believe that Dusty Baker should be fired as well as Brook Jacoby and Chris Speier. The Reds need to move into another direction on the field. Personal wise, we need major renovations on the bench. We were putrid off the bench this season. Robinson, Paul, Izurtis, Hannahan, and Robinson need to be moved. I would keep Heisey since Ludwick’s contract runs out after the 2014 season. Install Mesoraco as the full time catcher and use Hanigan as the backup. Let’s begin to get some offensive production from the catcher position. Make an organizational decision on Chapman and stick to it. Release Ondrusek. If Broxton is not ready from a health standpoint, anoint J.J. Hoover as the closer. Let Arroyo walk because he has some age and any contract past two years is too much. Sign Latos long term even if it means allowing Bailey to get away. Bailey has shown flashes of brilliance but he is like the rest of the team…very inconsistent. Maybe use Bailey as trade bait for a big right handed stick for the middle of the lineup. A staff of Cueto, Chapman, Latos, Cingrani, and Leake sounds good. Three righties and a pair of southpaws in the starting five. Hoover, Simon, Broxton, Parra, and another player to be identified would fill out the bullpen. We have the ingredients to get to the next level but we need new leadership on the field. We can look at the Pirates’ management. Clint Hurdle is fiery and very passionate. His team plays with the same fire and passion. We just witnessed that over the past week. As much as it hurts to say it, we lost to a team that wanted it more than we did. It really is that simple.

  49. I just read Dusty’s pre-game explanation for batting Ludwick 2nd. In the end maybe it didn’t matter (although a better offensive showing in the 1st inning may have been a good thing), but Dusty’s explanation is unbelievable. It has to do with the substitutions he makes late in games, and how those guys aren’t #4 hitters. (Similar to the argument against batting Bruce 4th).

    It’s incredible. “Who cares what happens early: I’m preparing for the perfect late inning switch.” (Paraphrased) I honestly don’t think there’s another Manager in MLB that would approach things this way, especially in an elimination game. I wonder if that’s how Bob Castellini manages his businesses? If not, isn’t that alone justification for skipping Dusty’s lame duck year?

  50. The next couple of weeks will be the most important two weeks for the 2014 season just as last October went a long way toward sealing the fate of this season.

  51. Bottom line is (and I been saying this all season) Dusty will take a very talented group of players and get them to the playoffs. Thats it. Thats all. This team showed ZERO life the last month of the season when it really mattered. You can’t replace or fire the players, so its now time to recycle Crusty ole Dusty to another up and coming future contender. WJ needs to find the next big thing and next year is OUR year! GO REDS!

    • @hydeman: I would say a talented group of players got to the playoffs because they’re talented. I’m almost willing to say they made it in spite of Baker. I used to be on board with the lazy conventional wisdom that Baker makes infuriating day-to-day decisions (lineups, bullpen management, etc.) but that the “good vibes” brought to the clubhouse make up for those tactical blunders.

      Having watched this entire year, I have come to believe that the pitching changes and batting orders are the least of his flaws; they are just the most noticeable. Pops’ management style has led to complacency, lack of accountability and an assortment of bad habits. His recent comments on “urgency” explain a lot about why this team underachieved in 2013.

  52. First of all, thanks to editors here for running the site, its fun, informative, and interesting. Thanks!

    This team was not pretty to watch, saying that, I have to say thanks for a 90-win season, a playoff apperence, and some good times.

    Unfortunately, this team was just not good enough, after a good april and a great May, they treaded water for the rest of the season and could never get over the hump again. Last nights game was a microcosom of the season at large.

    Opportunities lost.

  53. You know what I realized about Twitter last night? Twitter gives all the stupid people no one listens to in real life, a chance to be heard. I de-twittered all baseball last night because the stupid overwhelms the good.

    • @Kurt Frost: Twitter in general is stupid. I have never been on it and never plan to. I don’t even understand it, to be honest. What is a hashtag or whatever?

      Basically, I don’t need to be up to date on every minute detail of my friends’ lives or the lives of celebrities. I don’t really care what you had for lunch. I don’t need to know when you’re in the bathroom. It’s not worth knowing that a bird just landed on your windowsill.

      Just…. Seriously, who needs that kind of constant validation? If you got something to share, call me, shoot me a text, email me, let’s meet up to talk about it. Otherwise, it’s probably not something that should concern me or something I should know about.

      Sorry, didn’t mean to go on a rant, but to reiterate: Twitter is stupid.

      • @CI3J: Twitter has become the national media’s excuse for not having to make a phone call.

      • @CI3J: your rant made me decide to delete the whole thing instead.

      • @CI3J: Subject for your post should be “Old Man Yells At Cloud”

        Twitter is whatever you want it to be. You choose who you want to follow. If someone you follow becomes obnoxious, then you stop following them.

      • @CI3J: While I agree Twitter is stupid (never been on it) I understand why it exists.

        The idea was a great one. People talk and use hashtags, which are basically data aggregators. If we wanted to bash Dusty, we could just tweet #FireDusty with a message and it would aggregate all posts with that hashtag and display them to you and everyone else interested in #FireDusty.

        Basically, it was conceived as an idea to have any type of internet forum all rolled into one. We could talk Reds, Bengals, and Fly Fishing all in one spot using hashtags.

        However, the kids (and Hollywood) got ahold of it and made it all about a bird landing on the windowsill, as you stated, which completely ruined it. By the time I knew enouhg about it, it was too late.

      • @CI3J: Said the man who said, “I don’t even understand it, to be honest.”

  54. Some are talking about next season. First, I think you have to “take care of the pitchers contracts, specifically Bronson/Latos/Bailey. Granted, while I don’t think Arroyo will come back, I’m not going to say so until he is gone. And, if the Reds come back with all 3, we would essentially have no money but we would have at least 6 major league ready starting pitchers; trade bait? If we trade someone, remember, then someone has to go. For example, if we trade for a LF, then what about Ludwick. If we trade for a SS, then what about Cozart? It would be similar if we bring in a FA, also.

    I could see us trading BP and his contract away. But, the question being, “Who steps in?” It’s been talked of Rodriguez. Is he ready? I mean, even if we let BP retire with the Reds, few if any would ever be able to step into that position and make people forget about BP. So, first, who goes in there/are they ready? And, second, as long as we spend the money elsewhere, I can go with that. I hate to see BP go, but he’s been about himself long enough. I didn’t care for all the show last season. It was all a show to get a contract extension, anyhow. You haven’t heard of so much of it this season, have you? And, BP would have some trade value now coming off a 100 RBI season.

    Reds need to make a commitment at catcher. But, as much as either one catches (another problem of Baker), neither one really has any time to get going). Most ideal IMO, Devin starts and Hanigan accepts the 2nd string role, catching maybe 1 day per week. But, if Baker comes back, we will have another platoon.

    I do believe Votto needs to adjust his hitting approach a bit. The book is out on him. He will let several pitches go down the middle. So, you can get 2 strikes on him early. After that, you would have 3 or even 4 pitches to either get Votto to chase a bad one, get a call on a corner, or Votto gets a walk. Any of the three happens, at least this season, that meant at least a third of the PA that Votto pretty much didn’t do much, at least no much for someone in the 3 hole, as in driving in runs (odds are a walk or strikeout isn’t going to drive a run in, but a hit or even a sacrifice fly could). If we are going to glorify him for his OBP, let’s bat him in the 1-2 holes.

    But, above all, if Baker comes back, nothing is going to change. We will still have the same environment we had the last several years. Glad to see teams like the Pirates finding a manager who can develop young players and motivate his players.

    • @steveschoen: While I completely disagree with your analysis of Votto, I agree 100% with your final statement. He needs to bat 2nd. Assuming Hamilton is a major-league hitter (which is a big assumption at this point, a lineup like

      Hamilton (S)
      Votto (L)
      Bruce (L)
      Mesoraco (R)
      Ludwick (R)
      Phillips (R)
      Frazier (R)
      Cozart (R)

      Could be pretty dangerous. If Choo was re-signed, against RHP we could go

      Hamilton
      Votto
      Choo
      Bruce
      Mesoraco
      Phillips
      Frazier
      Cozart

      And against lefties we could go

      Hamilton
      Votto
      Mesoraco
      Bruce
      Phillips
      Frazier
      Choo
      Cozart

      This is a pipe dream, as many players are batting outside Dusty’s established roles. Oh well!

      • @prjeter: so you want to bat 2nd in lineup Votto, who even in a “down” year, was still at a minimum teams 2nd best power hitter in terms of HR(2nd on team) and 3rd in 2B(with 30), let alone slugging %(1st on team).

        i like “out of the box” thinking(ala Choo to leadoff) but i rather figure out how to get a solid #2 hitter and relatively double chances of someone being on-base in front of votto to leverage his power in scoring runs.

    • I do believe Votto needs to adjust his hitting approach a bit.

      Whoa. The audacity. 😉 No, actually, I’m serious.

    • @steveschoen: “I could see us trading BP and his contract away. But, the question being, “Who steps in?” ”

      Depends what trade was for, say for a CRAZY theoritcal example Reds traded BP and Champan for a #4 hitter who plays SS, say Troy Tulowitzki(maybe Colorado thinks Tulo is a bad contract). Cozart could be moved to 2B, rigtht? And i think most everyone would be on board with that.

      I understand the point you are trying to make but if BP was traded, then Reds would make a corresponding second move to fill the gap.

      as stated in other comments, i dont think BP will be traded and not only because of his contract/age. He is popular player with fans, current mgmt and ownership.

  55. Note to anyone who would like to post something like “the Reds should trade Brandon Phillips this offseason”:

    Save your keystrokes. He is UNTRADABLE. He will be a 33 year old Second Baseman (a position notorious for not aging well) who is coming off by his worst season since he was a young Cleveland Indian. The kicker is he is still owed $50 million over the next four years. The most you could get is someone else’s bad contract.

    BP is still an excellent defender. Our best play is to hope a change in coaching and management can coax some improvement in his batting approach and get him back to a 3-4 WAR player.

    • @down with dusty: @down with dusty:

      Note to anyone who would like to post something like “the Reds should trade Brandon Phillips this offseason”:

      Save your keystrokes. He is UNTRADABLE. He will be a 33 year old Second Baseman (a position notorious for not aging well) who is coming off by his worst season since he was a young Cleveland Indian. The kicker is he is still owed $50 million over the next four years. The most you could get is someone else’s bad contract.

      BP is still an excellent defender. Our best play is to hope a change in coaching and management can coax some improvement in his batting approach and get him back to a 3-4 WAR player.

      What about swag and 100 RBI?

  56. Well, last night was heart breaking.. I am sad 2013 is over, however, I got good news. We play baseball (spring training) just around the corner and I cant wait. Now that we are out of the playoffs lets get the playoffs done & gone and bring on spring training 😛 I believe we can win 92 next year. I feel a winning season coming on! Cant wait:) Go REDS!!!

    laus Deo

    • @laus Deo: I think I will approach 2014 as a year when the Reds could put together a team that could possibly contend.

      That’s different from the past year when I thought they only way they could fail was to beat themselves.

  57. Saying this team “broke our hearts” is pretty misleading, if you ask me.

    To me, heartbreak implies being so close to something and then just missing out. For example, Game 6 in the NBA finals this year (the one where Allen hit that 3) was heartbreaking for the Spurs. The playoffs last year was heartbreaking for the Reds.

    This year? This year, the Reds just lost. There was nothing heartbreaking about it. If you think so, if every single time your team loses your heart gets broken, then perhaps following sports isn’t your thing after all.

    • @CI3J: My feelings range from disappointment to being insulted … somewhere in between … now, it’s just resignation. I think I felt worse about 1995 than anything this team has squandered lately.

  58. There is no doubt that this 2013 Reds team has loads of young talented players but it lacks the most important ingredient that most successful post season teams have, a no-nonsense manager. Players LOVE Dusty and I can’t say I blame them, he “has their back”, he’s “played the game”, he “understands the player” and because of this he doesn’t hold them accountable and doesn’t get the most out of them. They lack mental toughness in clutch situations. His ability to convey a sense of urgency is non-existent. He is loyal to his players (and coaches) to a fault. His lineup and in-game decisions are confusing and catered to what is best for the players not the TEAM. So will the Reds (Bob C.) save the Reds by dumping Dusty and possible Walt as well. Millions of fans can’t all be wrong, sports writers (local and national) can’t all be wrong, and broadcasters (with the guts to voice their opinion) can’t all be wrong Mr. C. Dusty and this group has gotten too comfortable for far too long. This organization is in dire need and long overdue for a change in leadership. My 2 cents, I said the same thing last year and 4 days later they signed Dusty to 2 more years…still shaking my head over that one.

    • @Benchwarmer: ” will the Reds (Bob C.) save the Reds by dumping … possible Walt as well”

      Dusty Baker was originally signed to his first deal before Jocketty joined the organization. Yes, Jocketty has been the GM when Dusty has had contract extensions, but we don’t know how those conversations in the owner’s box went.

      I’m not in favor of any plan to “dump” Jocketty. I think he’s done a good job overall so far of mixing players from within the organization and acquiring others from outside the organization within the team’s budget constraints.

      • @Benchwarmer: ” will the Reds (Bob C.) save the Reds by dumping … possible Walt as well”

        Dusty Baker was originally signed to his first deal before Jocketty joined the organization. Yes, Jocketty has been the GM when Dusty has had contract extensions, but we don’t know how those conversations in the owner’s box went.

        I’m not in favor of any plan to “dump” Jocketty. I think he’s done a good job overall so far of mixing players from within the organization and acquiring others from outside the organization within the team’s budget constraints.

        And Jocketty bears no responsibility for the effects of attrition and entropy that befell this team this year?

  59. Until the Reds front office addresses the anemic hitting that this outfield throws out there day after day … doesn’t matter if the cornfield in Iowa open up and produce another Moonlight Graham. The dugout staff needs to be admonished for this. And generally replaced.
    I wonder if anybody actually reads a scouting report on some of the mediocre pitchers who stand this team on its ear.

  60. Editors: You guys rock. Thanks for all you do. If you guys want some help with data/analysis over the off-season, let me know. Always happy to help. (Background: BA-Mathematics, MBA-Finance)

    Serious Question/Comment 1: Does ESPN (since RLN is an affiliate) give you guys any money for infrastructure? It seems silly that they would have links to the site from ESPN.com and allow their name and logo to be used but not support the back-end to make sure the site opperates w/o interruption.

    Serious Question/Comment 2: I would love to donate some money for upgraded equipment for next year to help out the server outage issues the site has under heavy loads. Maybe you guys could start a “kickstarter” site where RLN faithful could help donate for extra servers or increased bandwidth or whatever would fix the problem.

    If that got set up, I’d be first in line to donate!

    Thanks again!

    • @prjeter: Amen to this. I would be more than willing to help out a little bit financially. Goodness knows that this site is worth it!

  61. I just watched Dusty’s postgame interview. Not once did he take any semblance of the blame. “They out pitched us and out hit us”…”we got outplayed big time!” How about “they out coached us” or “I got to do a better job at getting these guys ready to play” or “I’ll take the blame”. Are you listening Phillips, Votto, Cueto, Bruce, Champman, etc.? How does the weight of that bus feel? He’s a player’s coach except when it comes to taking or sharing the blame. Time is up Dusty, we’ve put up with your tired act for too long.

    • @Benchwarmer: Reasonable, well stated dusty-bash. Just the right about of outrage. Well done.

    • @Benchwarmer: Did he specifically point out Ludwick doing well in the 2-hole? Wouldn’t surprise me!

    • @Benchwarmer: They should take the blame. Why wouldn’t they? BP and Votto in particular may as well have not shown up. How CAN you blame Dusty for this team’s inability to prepare themselves, be in the moment, and produce? Maybe we should look at the hitting coach Jacoby and say WTF are you trying to do with these guys? Where is your mindset going to the plate? What are you looking for? How are you preparing? Last night looked like the Reds were the team that hadn’t been to the playoffs in 20 years. And I think a lot of misplaced blame falls on Dusty, when in fact, it should be placed on the players and their lack of passion and fire to WANT to win.

      Am I saying Dusty does no wrong? No I am not. What I’m saying is look where this team has come (3 post season appearances in 4 years). I am certainly not content with this, but last night was one of the most lifeless, uninspiring performances on the baseball field that I’ve ever seen. And I think that blame rests on the players, because they’ve looked like that for a week!

  62. Well BC certainly had a bulls-eye view last night of the professional baseball team he has brought to Cincinnati. I hope he is pleased with his efforts and the efforts of the individuals he personally hired. The fans who buy the tickets and concessions are certainly NOT happy. The fans who purchase the team merchandice, parking, meals and hotel rooms are certainly NOT happy. The fans who religiously watch the televised games and listen to the radio broadcast games (making the Reds viewership numbers enviable throughout MLB) are certainly NOT happy. Attendance at games has made significant increases for the past 2 seasons. It takes a long time to get those attendance numbers up after fans have migrated away from GABP, but the attendance can be lost almost immediately.

    BC personally hired Dusty and later WJ. The process of hiring the manager before the general manager was a pure bonehead move and counter-productive to an ongoing business relationship. By persoanlly hiring both Dusty and WJ, BC is also personally responsible for each and every decision they make.

    WJ shells out $2.3MM to Ondrusek for 2 guaranteed years and then promtly cuts him from the major league roster and demots him to AA. WJ shells out $21MM to Broxton for 3 guaranteed years as the Reds closer then promptly moves Chapman back into the closer roll (again), negating the need for Broxton. WJ shells out multiple guaranteed contracts every year to less than marginal major league veteran rejects who perform well below minimal replacement value. WJ shells out $200MM+ to Votto for 10 guaranteed years then sits back and watches as the manager, trainers and medical staff mishandle a significant knee injury into a possible career impacting fiasco. WJ sits back and watches as Dusty knowingly and repeatedly sends injured pitchers to the mound unnecessarily and then aggravating their injuries. WJ shells out $73MM for 5 guaranteed years to BP, then sits back and watches as BP runs amok and complains how he was unjustly treated by accepting the contract.

    Dusty has proven completely incompentent (again for the 3rd time) in managing a talented, veteran team past the player’s ability to cover for his inadequacies as a manager.

    So here we are after the 2013 season when the Reds went all-in with the one-year rental of Choo and the gross over-pay for Broxton and the cancellation (again) of the stated intent and plan to convert Chapman to a starter, only to witness, along with BC and his birds-eye view, of the complete team collapse. So what do you do now BC?

    • @Shchi Cossack:
      Excellent question(s) Cossack.

      They have a few weeks to think about it. Unlike last year, I hope they chew on it for awhile and rush headlong into a questionable decision.

      • @Shchi Cossack:Excellent question(s) Cossack.They have a few weeks to think about it. Unlike last year, I hope they chew on it for awhile and rush headlong into a questionable decision.

        and ‘not’ rush that is.

    • @Shchi Cossack: It’s great to see all the wise members of the nation saying these things. I hope these sentiments are not lost by Winter Meetings.

  63. Thanks to the editors and commenters for a season full of good insights about our favorite team.

    There’s a difference between watching an 85-win team (on paper) get to 90 wins and watching a 95-win team (on paper) get to 90 wins. The Reds did pretty well this year, but every single Reds fan I know, from all different walks of life, seemed to say the same thing about this year’s Reds: they weren’t very much fun to watch, even though they got to 90 wins.

    I think that’s because a decent team that overachieves plays with a ton of energy and heart, and a great team that underachieves plays flat. That was our Reds this year.

    When Ryan Ludwick was out, and Dusty didn’t have an every day LF, he could have started every game against a RH pitcher with:

    Choo
    Paul
    Votto
    Bruce
    Phillips

    If switches had to be made, they could be made later. Instead, night after night, against RH starters, we saw:

    Choo
    Cozart
    Votto
    Phillips
    Bruce

    I bring this up only because I think it’s a metaphor for how Dusty ran this team. He put a governor on them. He would not let them be great, he moderated them, and took the energy out.

    I hope the Reds do the right thing and let him go.

    • @al: It sure seems Dusty likes managing from a “script” and from afar get the impression, he gets uncomfortable diverging from his “script” unless he is forced to or has noodled it around in his mind with others after a lengthy time.

      I think how hard it must for Walt to trade/sign players to improve the team and fit the script for Dusty, ie CF/SS need to be leadoff hitter, do not stack LH hitters, closers must close in 9th with 3 runs or less of a lead.

      Sometimes Walt pulls it off, ie Choo for CF/Leadoff, sometimes not, Ludwick/Broxton(2013)/Madson(2012).

  64. I have to chuckle about the number of posts sayig this or that player should be moved. Other than a handful of pitchers the only truly marketable trade chips the Reds have from the major league roster are Hamilton, Mesoraco and Bruce. No one touches Votto or Phillips with the contracts they have and who is going to take on Ludwick’s 7 million dollar contract? Might find some interest in Cozart or Frazier but the return would not be much. The team you saw yesterday is likely to be the team you see next year minus Choo who finished the year as the team’s best player.

    And for those who think Votto gets unfairly criticized don’t think for a second the Reds aren’t wishing they hadn’t given him a 10 year contract extension.

    • @robby: How could you not include any of the starting pitching staff in your marketable pieces? Any one of Cueto, Latos, or Bailey are their most valuable trade piece…

      I don’t think Votto’s year makes the Reds change their view regarding the contract. If this was the down year…they’re feeling pretty good. I wouldn’t have given him the contract, but I don’t see why this season would change opinions either. Votto was a year out from two knee surgeries, and showed he doesn’t need to have full power to be an impact player…

  65. Man…a lot of Reds “fans” are really negative and depressing.

  66. @CKeever No different than the fans of any other team.

  67. Trade BP to Atlanta for SP Julio Teheran and OF Jason Heyward. Then trade Heyward to SD for Jedd Gyorko. reds don’t need another LH bat. Gyorko to play 2B or 3B. Teheran gives you insurance on Bailey not signing an extension this winter. Give Bailey a certain date to sign by this winter(Dec. 15) or be traded. That could bring a nice RH bat in return.
    Trade Ludwick. We don’t need a #4 power bat turning into a singles hitter. That has already happened to the Reds #3 hitter.
    Chapman to the rotation. Chapman as a closer should not be mentioned again in Reds camp. If Chapman wants to remain a closer, trade him.
    Choo? Re-sign him if possible.
    Don’t blow up the team, a la the Florida Marlins. But blow up this offense and rebuild it. Rebuild it with the cornerstones of Votto, Bruce, Mes and Cozart. Now it will be up to WJ and Big Bob to go get the other four and getting Choo to sign would be a good start.
    The bench, just start over there. Frazier and Hanigan get spots, but go find 3 more. Maybe XPaul should go on that list too.
    The Reds need to find 4 position starters in CF, LF, 3B and 2B and two bench players. They may already have a couple of them on their roster, but they will need to go out and find a few good offensive players.
    The Reds have options, but standing pat on this offense and on their manager, should never ever be one of those options.

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About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

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2013 Postseason, 2013 Reds, Titanic Struggle Recap

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