RedsFest Recap

Attending the now-annual RedsFest reinforces the fact that the Cincinnati Reds do a lot of things correctly.

It’s in a great venue, there are things for kids to do, and a perfect mix of current Reds and former Reds in attendance. The Reds, especially since Bob Castellini took over, do things like this the right way and are one of the most fan-friendly franchises in baseball.

Now -— that aside -— it’s been a slow winter in trying to improve on the 2013 Reds team that was one and done in the playoffs and sputtered to the finish line.

But first, RedsFest. My brother and I attended this weekend, and we picked our battles carefully; we didn’t want to get bogged down in the long lines for some of the current players. The longest line we endured was for a photo with the Cuban Missile and that was only about 20 minutes. (In Spanish, I said to Chapman, “Mister 106” and he smiled but he was always smiling.)

When the current players were introduced Friday, DatDude got the loudest and longest ovation — not a surprise there. Todd Frazier got the second loudest ovation, followed by Devin Mesoraco and then Joey Votto. Understandably, new manager Bryan Price received a rousing cheer (mostly because of the absence of Dusty Baker?). They were cheers of relief.

I alternately went to and listened to interviews done by the two radio stations there; the ESPN local Cincinnati station and WLW. I was stunned that the ESPN guys asked softball questions to everyone interviewed. Lance McAlister of WLW asked the tougher questions that were on the minds of virtually every Reds fan in attendance so his interviews were much better.

I also asked questions of ten different Reds fans in attendance; guys I was standing in line with, admittedly a very small sample but here’s what I asked and what they said. Here’s my completely unscientific poll:

Do you want to see the Joey Votto of 2010 next year or the Joey Votto of 2013?

Nine of ten want to see Joey MVP of 2010, the freer-swinging RBI producing Votto not the selective, OBP-King with 73 RBI’s.

Chapman: starter or reliever?

Nine of ten want to see Chapman as a starter in 2014; 6 of the 9 want to see J.J. Hoover as the closer. A common quote of the nine was: “He has the best arm on the staff and the fewest innings pitched.”

Trade BP for centerfield or leftfield offensive upgrade and free salary to resign Homer Bailey?

Seven of the ten said no. Of the 7, 4 said they would not go to Reds games if BP is traded next season. The 3 who favored a trade said they are tired of BP’s attitude and drama and say his best days are behind him.

Did they agree with the firing of Dusty Baker?

All ten said he needed to go. This was a loaded question.

Favorite section to watch the game at GABP

Moon Deck (6)
Field Box Seats (2)
Bow-Tie Bar (2)

Back to the Reds: they are not, right now, as good as they were in 2013, simply because they will be losing their leadoff hitter and center fielder to free agency. Losing Bronson Arroyo hurts the starting pitching depth. Getting a healthy Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton back helps the bullpen, but unless Chapman is moved to the starting rotation or Price finds a way to boost his innings, the Reds are again stuck in neutral. The loss of Baker is a temporary feel-good thing for most Reds fans, but I suspect Price will be held just as accountable if he makes questionable moves in the sacred batting order

Regarding Brandon Phillips, I have to disagree with that recent article by Paul Daugherty in the Enquirer. Phillips has moved around in the batting order (true), he attends RedsFest and the Caravans (true), and he adds a flair on the field (also true.) But let’s not forget he’s paid a handsome sum to do just this and the Reds helped resurrect his career. Sorry his feelings are hurt. But we need him to go out in 2014 and play ball.

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 22 Comments

  1. I am not shocked by the number of people opposing a BP trade. I am, however, shocked by their vehemence.

    Roughly 2 out of 5 fans (and the findings of this non-scientific poll were also alluded to by Lance McAllister in the past several weeks by twitter posts) will discontinue their support of this organization over the trade of a single player not named Joey Votto?!

    I can’t decide that makes me what to see him traded more or less.

    Thanks for the great take on Reds Fest from a more evaluative perspective!

  2. With Votto, most definitely the Votto of 2010. Now, if he is going to be an 2013 OBP machine with all the walks, I would want that in the 1-2 holes over the Votto of 2010. But, if we are going to bat him in the 3 hole, we need him at the 2010 Votto.

    I always said I an interested in seeing Chapman try to start. However, I believe his main role would still be closer.

    Baker, done deal. Next. . .

    I would be interested in trading BP. But, for LF offensive upgrade, we would need to let Ludwick go, also.

    Losing Choo definitely hurts. Having Broxton and Marshall definitely helps. The new coaching staff will be an answer to be seen, lack of better word. If they do make a difference, I can easily see this team be better than before. Losing Bronson does hurt starting depth, but I don’t think the starting rotation loses anything. As long as Cingrani is healthy, I would have to take a fireballing left hander over Bronson.

    Walt talked about if we do anything, it would have to be a trade for a bat. Where are we deep if anywhere? Starting pitching. So, maybe a starter for a CF. Past that, I would think it would be a “man for man” type of trade. For instance, only as an example, Homer and Ludwick for a LF. Or, Latos and BP for a 2nd baseman.

    I myself have no problem with a small hole going into ST. For instance, only as an example, if we trade Bailey and keep Chapman as closer, going with a starting rotation of Cueto, Latos, Cingrani, Leake, and ?, I would have no problem going into ST needing to find an answer for the 5th man in the rotation. Very rarely do any clubs go into ST with all the answers before the first pitch in ST. And, it’s not uncommon for someone in ST to stand out and win a position on the big club. It would be nice to have everything answered already, sure. But, it’s not going to happen everytime for every club.

  3. Just saw Bobby Cox, Joe Torre, and Tony LaRussa were elected to the HOF. My sincerest congrats to Bobby and Joe.

  4. This blog and the comments section can be a bit of an echo chamber.

    Nobody in Cincinnati wants BP to be traded, except for the folks here at this blog, C. Trent Rosecranz, and Bob Castellini.

    Walt had to put on a show for Bob, but a BP trade was never in the works. Walt never intended for a trade to happen. The Yankees rumors early on were created by the Yankees as leverage with Cano, and the later rumors were pure fiction created by Cincinnati media.

    “Sorry his feelings are hurt.” LOL I think Bob Castellini, C. Trent and whomever here that received the tweet from BP containing “colorful language” have been suffering from hurt feelings way way more than BP.

    Just because everyone here thinks the same way doesn’t mean what you think is true.

    • @DatFan: I don’t know about “wants BP to be traded”, but I think that a deal of BP could make some sense. It also seems like the chips are lining up for BP to traded, which actually means it probably won’t happen.

      The Yankees lost Cano in free agency to the Mariners. That gives the Mariners Cano plus two middle infield prospects, one of which is available in trade. They are looking for a starting pitcher. At the same time, the Yankees have signed about 15 outfielders in the offseason. Brett Gardner (left-handed, good OBP centerfielder) is now available after the Ellsbury and Beltran signings. He has one year of club control left. The Yankees are looking for a 2nd baseman.

      So, one deal would center on Phillips and Gardner with the Yankees. The second deal would center on Bailey or Leake in return for Nick Franklin + ?

      The net gain for the Reds would be lose a pitcher, gain an outfielder, swap second basemen:
      – lose 1 year of Bailey or Leake in their walk year
      – lose 4 years of Brandon Phillips
      + 1 year of Brett Gardner in the outfield
      + 2B prospect, switch-hitting Nick Franklin, 5-6 years of team control

  5. Any fan that says they’ll stop going to Reds games if BP is traded, is simply making an irrational, emotional response. Any fan that is committed enough to sludge through the snow and ice to go to Redsfest is a serious fan. You can’t just turn something like that off. One player does not make fandom.

    I get that BP is one of (if not the) most popular players on the Reds. I get that fans are emotionally attached to him, and a lot of that has to do with his efforts to be “out there” with the fans. That’s fine.

    But detach yourself from the emotions, and trading BP could make a lot of business sense, depending on the deal. His contract is not an albatross for most teams, but it is somewhat limiting for a mid-market team like the Reds, especially for the production that is projected. He is in decline, regardless of his injury, and history predicts his decline will continue. Could he have a bounce back year? Sure, and likely will to some degree with all the offseason extra motivation. Will he be that productive over the next four years? It’s very unlikely to downright improbable.

    Don’t trade him to trade him. I don’t think anyone is suggesting that. But if you find a deal that helps this club this year and going forward…you have to pull the trigger. If you win the fans will still show up, regardless of who is manning 2B. And if you are going to trade him, this is the year to do it, as next year he is a 5 and 10 player.

    • @hotto4votto: Nice post. In fact, if I had to pick one player the Reds should strongly consider trading, I’d pick Chapman over BP. One of the two of them would likely yield the best results for any other improvements to the team.

    • But detach yourself from the emotions, and trading BP could make a lot of business sense, depending on the deal.

      This, this quote right here, is exactly what most on this blog don’t get. As much as RLN would have you belive baseball is just a cold, hard mathematical equation to be solved, to many fans, baseball is…. What do you call it…. Oh yeah, a GAME.

      A game played by real living, breathing human beings. A game played by people who are, to some, heroes and idols. A game to just lose yourself on a warm June night, sit back and just take in the sights, smells, and sounds and not worry about some equation to reduce all you are seeing to numbers.

      So yes, believe it or not, to many fans, baseball IS about emotion. They would be perfectly justified in not wanting to go to games if their favorite player is traded away, or if the team were just a bunch of souless cyborgs with .350+ OBPs. I certainly wouldn’t want to watch a team like that, even though they may win most nights.

      Business decision? While baseball may, in fact, be a business, never forget it is also, at its purest core, a GAME.

  6. I posted in the previous thread by mistake but I do think the question about Votto is somewhat misleading. It implies he was a drastically different hitter in 2010 which simply isn’t the case. Yes his walk rate was fourteen percent in in ’10 vs eighteen in ’13 but fourteens nothing to sneeze at. Not to mention his k rate was roughly the same and his obp was still .424 that year which led the league. So to suggest that Vito’s approach has undergone some transformation really isn’t accurate.

  7. Brilliant SteveChoen:

    “going with a starting rotation of Cueto, Latos, Cingrani, Leake, and ?, I would have no problem going into ST needing to find an answer for the 5th man in the rotation.”

    We saw Cingrani go from Bullpen to the most valuable left handed pitcher on the team last year. MUCH move valuable than our closer. Chapman and his agent will need to figure out if they want to maximize his value over the next 2 years.


    I have no desire to trade Phillips because of his contract as I believe he will earn it. I do desire to trade Phillips if he is not a team player. Bryan Price will figure that out or fail as manager.

    If Price feels that he cannot tap into Phillips to be a team guy, you have to trade him this year due to 5/10

    Me, I would trade Phillips for Gardner and Leake for Franklin hoping that we also get a little somethin somethin.

    We get Cueto for 30 starts next year versus 11 this year. That is like adding a pitcher to your roster.

    If we get a bigger haul for Bailey, I would do that. I like the Bailey for Kemp plus cash discussion as that is more value than a sandwich pick, He can play Center Field and bat 4th

  8. You hit the nail on the head about the Reds doing things the right way when it comes to creating a fan-friendly atmosphere. What surprised me most was that such a high percentage of those sampled wanted to see Chapman moved to the starting rotation with Hoover being made the closer. Chapman just does not have what it takes to make in the starting rotation when it comes to his stuff and his mental toughness. No, his value is in the closing role where hitters only have a SINGLE at-bat to adjust to him – a tall order for anybody in the league. The very idea of making Hoover the closer makes me cringe. NO THANKS!

    • @EinSteve: Closer is the most over rated position in baseball. Hoover can do the job as well as Cordero/Chapman/Weathers/Danny Graves.

      John Franco could not make it as a starter, so he became a great reliever. Dennis Eckersly was an average starter turned great closer. Danny Graves was a very good closer who could not start. David Weathers was a major league pitcher and pitched wherever they wanted him to

      Chapman has a very bad agent if he allows him to continue to say he can only close. He will end up costing Chapman $25.0 million on his next contract

      • @reaganspad: Tell me that the next time it is the bottom of the 9th in a tight game, which the Reds had there fair share of last year. Most would (and should) feel MUCH more confident with Chapman on the mound than with Hoover.

        • @EinSteve:

          2.54 ERA
          151 ERA+
          1.037 WHIP
          4.1 BB/9

          2.7 ERA
          131 ERA+
          1.060 WHIP
          3.7 BB/9

          2.86 ERA
          134 ERA+
          1.106 WHIP
          3.5 BB/9

          Ummm, why the heck not? I’d feel extremely confident with Hoover in high leverage situations.

          • @TC: Why not? Because Chapman and Hoover are not utilized in the same situations, so those stats can effectively be thrown out the window. I must value the role of the closer more and would argue that only a FRACTION of pitchers would thrive and see long-term success in this role. One would have to be a specialist in getting quick outs, which Chapman accomplishes via the fastest fastball ever recorded. In fact, I think Chapman is the ideal closer. I do not think the same could be said for Hoover.

          • @EinSteve: The problem is only a fraction of existing closers thrive and see long term success in the role. The league (and the DL) is full of burned out closers.

  9. ” David Weathers was a major league pitcher and pitched wherever they wanted him to”

    That is why to this day he was one of my favorite players. He was just a workman who was happy to play baseball and wanted to win. I guess that’s the emotional side of me. I kinda miss Stormy. Kinda.

  10. In other words, we aren’t going to fall for that a second time.

  11. In other words, we aren’t going to fall for that a second time.

Comments are closed.

About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.


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