Final R H E
 Cincinnati Reds  (11-12)
4 11 0
 Atlanta Braves  (15-7)
5 10 0
 W: Santana (3-0)     L: Bailey (1-2, 6.15 ERA, 3.08 xFIP)
 Box Score  |   Play-by-Play    |    Photos    |    Depth Chart    |    FanGraphs Win Probability


The Reds outhit the Braves. The last time I checked that doesn’t matter. But after falling behind 5-0, they’d have tied the game if the Braves’ clubhouse manager had given Freddie Freeman shoes one size smaller. Relentlessness factor: strongly positive. Joey Votto had two hits and a walk. Brandon Phillips had two hits. Zack Cozart had a hit and a key walk in the ninth inning.

The Reds pitching shut out the Braves over the last five innings. The last time I checked, that doesn’t necessarily matter either. Homer Bailey threw blanks for three innings, and then the bullpen team of J.J. Hoover, Sean Marshall and Nick Christiani added two more.


Homer Bailey gave up five runs in six innings of work. The killer blow was Justin Upton’s three run homer in the first inning. The game-winning run, however, scored on a mile-high pop-up that fell in for a hit because the Reds’ left fielder is sloooooow and the shortstop was playing in on the grass trying to stop a run at the plate. Evan Gattis was lunging out over the plate on an 0-2 count and Homer jammed him wicked with a fastball. The Braves got lucky there. 


I borrowed the title for this post from a comment made at the end of the game by CharlotteNCRedsFan. I guess that makes it the ultimate game thread comment. Its full text was: Great effort just came up short. Now time to count up the wounded bodies. Boy oh boy. Now that I think about it, that could be the entire recap. Boy oh boy is right.

If you want to be the thousandth person to make a snarky comment about Homer Bailey’s pitching and his contract in the same breath, as though you’d evaluate a six-year contract on one month of work, go for it. Clever, you. But, that’s your right to do as a fan. It’s absolutely true Homer Bailey hasn’t pitched well in April. He also signed a big contract. Those thoughts belong in two different sentences, however.

But man, if you’re hung up on Homer tonight, are you missing the bigger picture.

Three Reds starters, Todd Frazier, Devin Mesoraco and Billy Hamilton left the game with possible injuries of varying degrees. The Hot Mes blew out a tire rounding third base and gutted out the last 50 feet to score. We aren’t worthy. Tucker Barnhart was a nice player the first week of the season, but he isn’t gonna hit .468/.509/.787 in any of our lifetimes. Mesoraco’s injury looked the most serious. It was hard to tell much about Frazier and Hamilton. Optimistically, Billy Hamilton might not be hurt and that was just a super-weird double switch.

For a roster generously described at the start of the season as tissue paper-thin to lose three starters is about a zillion times more important than Homer’s splitter not splitting far enough to Justin Upton. Horrifying doesn’t begin to describe the concept of Neftali Soto playing 3B for any length of time longer than five minutes. Boy oh boy.

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! 102 Comments

  1. Would be happy to board the Homer bus anytime when he actually merits that type of respect – as wholeheartedly agree he has pitched some splendid gems in the past. But its too, too bad he is so darn inconsistent. Should have kept him out the discussion for being an elite pitcher but sadly the Reds paid no heed. Expect a pitcher who will merit some respect as the season progresses – but elite? Forget about it – and nowadays that’s what a $100M contract should get ya – not what the Reds got.

  2. It ‘s time for Homer to start stepping up. His WHIP was bad tonight, you don’t need to keep making excuses for him.

    • Thanks for saying that I was making excuses for Homer Bailey – man, that’s a 1st.

      • I was commenting on Steve’s recap.

        • Sorry Mike – with all the injuries tonight – more concerned about the Reds fielding a healthy team.

        • My gosh, with all of the pitchers’ hurt, hope it doesn’t extend to the line-up. I still believe this can contend, barring untimely injuries. Still don’t see a lot of depth beyond Heisey, Simon and maybe Bernandino.

  3. As insane as this sounds, a 6-year, $100 million contract really isn’t what elite pitchers get nowadays. Not even close. And I’ll repeat, judging that contract on the basis of the first month isn’t particularly the way I’d go about it.

    • Just hope Homer turns it around big time or that’s $100M big ones circling the drain.

    • Then Homer needs to pull on his big boy pants and start earning that money. He has put the Reds in an early hole nearly every start this year.

      • I agree with that, completely. Not making any excuses. He’s made plenty of bad pitches.

        • Really and truly, his wild pitch that went about 48 feet is what allowed the winning run to score. Without that, runner stays at first, sac fly doesn’t advance him, and infield is back with one out and a guy on first. Just an observation, and not saying one pitch lost the game. But one pitch did allow the eventual winning run to score.

    • I agree with you, Steve. It’s much too early to freak out about Homer. Lots of players endure slow starts, and what he gets paid has nothing to do with that. His stuff is good and his command will probably be back. Last night’s injuries are far more concerning. Forgive me one snarky aside: If BP had had the last at bat last night, in the same situation with the same results, I’d imagine that it would, rightly, be listed as a negative.

  4. With all these injuries the pitchers are gonna need to step it up now. No more earned 5 run games for ANY starter. They won’t have the fire power to,score runs with all the injuries right now.

  5. “But man, if you’re hung up on Homer tonight, are you missing the bigger picture.”

    Sounds to me like you are, 9 hits , 5 ER in 6 innings doesn’t do much good no matter what happened to the hitters.

  6. Bold prediction: David Dewitt Bailey will be NL pitcher of the month for May.

    • Homer has as good a chance as any pitcher seeing that May hasn’t started yet.

    • I hope you are right. He has shown the capability in the past, but tonight’s loss was totally earned by him , not injuries to the hitters

    • Like the way you’re thinking.
      Homer will get it together, and end up having a good season. But man, he hasn’t done us or himself any favors so far.
      Just a decent start from him last nigh and we win that game.

  7. Why did the 3rd base coach send Votto in the 1st? Was he expecting a different result?

    • Just terrible. Doubt even Hamilton scores on that play.

      • The ball looked like it was gonna carry a little bit further than it did but just hung up there and gave Heyward time to gain momentum twords the plate. 3rd base coach should have seen that and held him. Not good atall.

  8. Thanks Steve for the mention.

    As far as Homer, forget the contract it’s over guys. You don’t have to like it but it is signed and the Reds will honor it. As is mentioned in the recap, one month is beyond way to early to make a call on a 6 year odyssey. For God’s sake, he is on the Reds – our team. As far as I know, he is good man and certainly doing the best he knows how. This guy can pitch and he will figure it out.

    The injuries are troubling but the team will deal with it. Hopefully none of them last any lengthy of time. This team looks so much better than last year’s squad so let’s try to enjoy the adventure.

    • My concern is how long the Reds go short handed. Mes should go on the DL tomorrow I will give Fraziee till monday but if he sits Saturday and Sunday he goes on monday. We cant be playing short handed and hoping.

      • Pretty sure Mes is heading to the DL. Barnhart got pulled out of the game in Louisville and was replaced by Corky. I’m pretty sure Barnhart is either packing his bags right now, or already at the airport on his way to Atlanta.

    • No thank you Charlotte as most Reds fans were ready to throw in the towel. Need more eternal optimists on this site – not less. And it was a tough game against a solid opponent in their ball park, so it was nice to see the turn around. Shows that the Reds do have brass ones after all.

  9. I’m sorry, but Homer Bailey has really good starts, and way too many really bad starts. He’s now allowed 4 or more runs in 15 of his last 37 starts. That’s taking your team out of the running far too often.

    I think the Reds might have gone to sleep with a pitcher who wanted paid, and woke up with a pitcher who has already been paid. Even his FIP if you want to go with that says before this start he was exactly what his ERA says he was.

    If the Reds had a 4 ERA pitcher instead of Homer Bailey, they’d probably be 14-9, if not 15-8 right now. They’d also be able to afford extending two of the following… Cueto, Latos, Leake.

    • And 14-9 would put them in 2nd, 2.5 games back. 15-8 would put them 2nd, 1.5 games back.

      • The Reds have now scored 4,5,6,7,8 runs in Homer Bailey’s starts this season … and have a record of 1-4. 🙁 The run support for the other four starters is not something you want to see on paper.

        Was very happy to see the Reds fight back today; they made a game of it although getting runners on base with no outs and not being able to move them was frustrating.

        Onto tomorrow. Hope Leake can find a way to quiet the bats. No grand slams please.

        • If he continues to receive this kind of run support he will win 15 games this year.

    • You must get royalties for every time you cite that one statistic. And you’re the only one who ever says it, so maybe you have exclusive rights. 🙂

      As tonight showed, there is nothing magical about giving up four runs. Homer hasn’t pitched well, to be sure. But to dwell on that one odd stat is kind of bizarre, when there are so many other ones that are incredibly more relevant to judging him. But, hey, to each his own.

      • Absolutely, like 1-2 with a 6.15 ERA – that is a much more solid stat to go by I would humbly say.

      • Yeah, I was looking at using all the money I made from it to pay someone who’s only job was to whisper “Homey Bailey, $105m” into Walt’s ear any time he tries to overpay players in the future. Roman style. Lol

        Nothing magical about it? They lost. As a matter of fact, the odds are overwhelmingly not in their favor when Bailey gives up 4 or more runs. In the 15 games he’s done it, the Reds are 3-12. He’s done it 56 times in his career. In those games, the Reds are 13-43.

        While Bailey gives up 4 or more runs more than any other Reds pitcher, when other Reds do it, the results are pretty much the same. If you look at Cueto’s career, he has given up 4 or more runs in 40 games (only 8 since the start of 2011). In those games? The Reds are 8-32.

        Combine those two out and it’s a .219 W%. Even the AAAstros last year had a .315 W%. If you’ve done worse than the Astros, then that’s a pretty magical number to me for starters.

  10. I just got home from the game (I live in Atlanta). Some observations and questions:
    1. Bailey did NOT look comfortable early. He was pitching out of the stretch, and it looked like he was struggling with release points or otherwise not comfortable. You could see the difference in his delivery between fastballs and breaking stuff. The last two (maybe three) innings he looked so much better. Wish I knew what changed or what was said.
    2. Billy Hamilton is fast. No other center fielder even has a chance at Simmons’ double in the second. No other batter stretches his routine seventh inning single into a double. As he was rounding first it didn’t look like an ordinary runner would have any chance, but it wasn’t even close.
    3. Ryan Ludwick is… Not fast. Free Chris Heisey.
    4. I didn’t see anything to think Hamilton was hurt. Just an odd double switch. That almost paid off when Bernadina singled off Kimbrel to start the 9th.
    5. Warden has one of the oddest deliveries I’ve ever seen on a major league diamond.
    6. The Craig Kimbrel closer worship entry ritual is obnoxious. Way worse than the Chapman version in Cincinnati, trust me on this.
    7. Votto had a good night in spite of the outcome on the last play, but he still looks to me like he’s a little tentative at the plate. But I still see a really good year from him.
    8. Bruce looked a little lost, then for one moment had an excellent at bat in the 7th.
    9. Really strange to have a game end on, what, a walk off review?

    10. I’m pretty sure Hamilton is fine. What’s being said about Mesoraco and Frazier?
    11. Was the final play even close? The first base ump was in position for the call, but not so much to see the foot come off the bag. If the initial call had been safe, would that have been upheld, or was Votto clearly out in the replay video?

    • The final play was super-close. Freeman came off the bag, but was on for a split second with the ball. Like a quarter-inch close. Right call, though. My comment on BHam was based on one of the beat reporters tweeting that Hamilton looked like he was limping a bit on the play that Mesoraco got injured.

      Did you take a picture of yourself at the game? Want to send it for us to post on the Tumblr page?

      • Steve – No pictures of me, just of the field from my seat and my favorite Atlanta ballpark food, the soft frozen lemonade. Imagine a ridiculously handsome guy in the red dome / black billed Reds hat and the Reds print Hawaiian / camp shirt. Now imagine a much more ordinary looking guy in the same outfit. That second guy was me (only my girlfriend somehow sees that first guy). If I make it back to the Sunday game I’ll send one of me.

        Two other comments. GABP food isn’t too crazy expensive. Be grateful. My chili dog at $8.25 tonight is highway robbery. Also, I had two extra tickets for the game. Took them to the ticket line and spotted a guy in a Reds hat. Asked him how many he was going to buy. He said two so I gave him my extras and told him to enjoy the game. Several guys in Braves gear suddenly chirped “I’m a Reds fan.” So I got some karma points and a good laugh.

    • The 1B umpire and vidoe review got the call correct, sadly. The in-game and post-game discussions about foreign substances on ball caps and pitchers not maintaining contact with the pitching rubber when delivering the pitch have more validity the questioning the call on the final out.

      • I figured they got the call right. Dang. So is there some question whether or not Walden’s delivery is actually legal?

      • I was wondering about that delivery. It seems like it wouldn’t be legal to jump a step closer to the plate, but I’m not a rules expert. Still, it might be worth coming out to talk to the umpires mid-inning; maybe they remind him he has to stay in contact with the rubber until he releases the ball, and then he has to think about it and it messes him up. Kind of like asking someone if they breathe in or out on their backswing right before they tee off.

    • Barnhart got taken out of the game at Louisville, which doesn’t necessarily mean Mes will go on the DL, but the Reds have prepared themselves for that. One of the hottest hitters in the major leagues. Boy oh Boy is right.

      As for Frazier, let’s hope for the best. Neftali Soto at 3rd base is definitely scary. He mostly played first base in the minors, but played enough 3rd base for a reasonable sample size, and his fielding pct. was barely above .900. If Frazier has to hit the DL, Chris Nelson would have to be brought up, and he would get most of the time at 3rd base, since he can actually play the position. The Reds would be reluctant since he’s not on the 40 man, and what a drop off from Frazier. BoB.

    • Glad I will never have to endure the Kimbrel entry ritual. I hate the chop and the imitation native american chanting with a visceral intensity. The Braves are almost always a good team, but the trappings surrounding them are unendurable.

  11. Frazier’s injury sounds like tightness that’s been bothering him for a while and everyone knew about it already, but it worsened tonight. Frazier’s talking about just needing a day off to get it resolved. The Old Cossack’s not buying it completely, but let’s hope Frazier doesn’t head to the DL down the line. Hamilton just sounds banged up a little, but nothing serious.

    I’m afraid Mesoraco is probably headed to the DL with Barnhart on the way to Atlanta already as a precaution. The coaches and trainers are talking about giving Mesoraco’s hammy a few days to see how bad it is before making a decision. BUNK & HORSE PUCKY!!! This team can not afford to play with a player down right now. That’s a game that WJ plays without fail and handicaps the lineup even more than it is now. Shut down Mesoraco and get that hammy completely healthy or it’s going to linger all season. Add Barnhart to the 25 man roster for tomorrow’s game and get Mesoraco on the 15 day DL.

    • Why oh why can’t Walt build a deep roster? Agree completely that the injury tightrope is something that WJ walks, and falls off of, every year.

      • I’ve said about a million times that WJ’s biggest weakness as a GM is putting together a bench. Actually, this year’s bench is a little better than his usual.

      • Because we’re a small market team built to compete for a championship. You can’t have both. You can have a deep mediocre team or a thin team that has a chance at the title. I’ll gladly take the latter. Newsflash – this isn’t NY or LA.

    • Well that sucks. Agree that Mesoraco needs to go on the DL tomorrow. Especially with a hamstring!

  12. The facts of the matter are that after three innings it looked like it was “game over” for the Reds. But by the ninth inning the game was a real nail biter, the Reds showed True Grit in the way they kept chipping away at the lead, Rooster Cogburn would have been proud, as I stated in an earlier post. As long as the Reds keep scoring runs like they have been doing lately, and have a “Never Give Up, Never Surrender” attitude I expect the Reds will be in the hunt for a division championship. But the injuries, the injuries, the injuries, the injuries could be the fly in the ointment in determining how well the Reds do this season. Losing Mesoraco or B. Ham for an extended period of time, well than, all bets are off.

    • The Cardinals and Pirates have sustained injuries too – only real healthy team in Division is Milwaukee. And as stated numerous times before, they aren’t going away

      • I live in Milwaukee area. If their bullpen can hold up, the Brewers are a serious contender for the division crown. They can score plenty of runs and the SP is pretty decent with the addition of Garza. Depth could be an issue, but like you said, they are healthy so far.

        • The bullpen has been their issue for the last few years. And the last couple of months of 2013, the Brewers played well. As we painfully remember, they beat the Reds 6 out of 10 games without Braun.

  13. I think we don’t really know what Neftali Soto might do if he has to play 3B for an extended period of time for the Reds. FWIW in 76 games at 3B last year at AAA, his fielding % was not as good as Frazier’s 2013 in Cincy (.920/.970) but his range metric (RF/G) was actually a tick better than Frazier’s for 2013 (2.28/2.22).

    2 years ago Frazier who was 24th or 25th man on the MLB roster came off the bench to unexpectedly help lead a Reds charge to the top of the NL Central. Who is to say it couldn’t happen again with Soto being the next man up?

    • I agree. From what I have seen from Soto, would it be too much to expect a fairly low batting average (~.235) but maybe the occasional big HR? With the great starting pitching and recovering bullpen, we don’t need him to be great just not bad.

      Also, Pena should be okay at least in the short run. A longer term injury to either Todd or Mes could mean trouble but let’s see what tomorrow brings.

    • A .920 fielding pct. is awful. I believe that if Frazier has to go on the DL (please no) then Chris Nelson has to be brought up and gets more time at 3rd base than Soto.

      • It would be nice to know if Soto’s big issue was picking or throwing. Fielding miscues often actually decrease at the MLB level because the playing surfaces are better. Wild throws on the other hand are wild throws.

        • Posted his .903 lifetime pct. before I saw your comment. Sure it would be good to know what his problem has been. I believe he can hit.

      • PS In Soto’s minor league career, in 224 games at 3rd base his fielding pct. was .903. He’s not a long term option at 3rd base.

  14. I agree with the comments that they cannot afford to be two men down on day to day status. They need to make a decision on Meso or Frazier in time to adjust the roster for tomorrow’s game. It looks like Barhhart is going to be the call up; but, they have the flexibility to go either way with decision on who to DL.

  15. Obviously put Mesoraco on the DL and have Barnhart in ATL tomorrow. Also, if Frazier is hurt, Chris Nelson needs to get the call. Missed chances early cost the Reds, along with Bailey’s bad start.

  16. Agreed. Nelson’e been hitting pretty well at AAA and is a real 3rd baseman. He’s not on the 40 man, so they would have to figure something out.

  17. “He’s (Nelson) not on the 40 man…..”

    And there is the tale of the tape where the Reds are concerned unfortunately. By my accounting. they’ve got nobody to bump to the 60 day DL to create a 40 man spot, even though Latos in truth might end up being very close to that. So, if Frazier is out for any period less that a month, it is likely to be make do time.

  18. Yeh I don’t think they’re going to DL Frazier. And from what he was saying after the game, they won’t need to.

  19. I’m actually suprised and quite pleased that this team actually fought back!!! If this were last season they would’ve just walked through the rest of the game and probably ended up losing 10-0 without any fight back in them! I know a loss sucks and all but at least the reds fought back!!! Wish Pena could’ve gotten that bunt down to move the runners up! Time to call the Stachio back up! Darn injuries! I almost fell of my couch when Votto actually swung at the first pitch that he saw!!!

  20. It’s interesting that Bernadina kept running and crossed the plate after Votto was called out in the 9th. According to the Braves broadcasters, his run would have automatically counted, because “Bernadina kept running.” But I don’t think it’s that simple. In general if an umpire calls a 3rd out, then the runners could just keep running in case the call gets reversed ? I don’t think so.

    I assume that if a 3rd out call is reversed, the umpires have to judge where the runners would have ended up if the call had been made correctly. So it would have been up to them to judge whether Bernadina would have scored if Votto had been called. His continuing to run was smart, and would have helped the case that he would have scored, especially with Freeman in such an awkward position.

    • I wondered the same thing myself. The Reds announcers were also saying the run would have scored. It’s a brave new world with this instant replay. Would have been interesting to see.

      • What I heard was that it would be a judgement call by the umps, but that Bernandina was so far down the line and well past halfway that it would have been a pretty easy judgement call to make. So the run wouldn’t have “automatically” scored as a rule, but there was almost no doubt that’s how it would have been ruled based on how close he was to the plate. Basically no rational person could expect someone to turn and fire from 1B and get him out at home based on where he was and how fast he was running.

  21. If Mes is really hurt I hope the Reds handle it better than their recent history of dealing with injuries would suggest…
    …how many times in recent years have they played shorthanded for a week or so only to finally pull the trigger, put a guy on DL and call up replacement?

    Maybe Price can get front office and medical staff to be a little more aggressive themselves… relentless if you will.

    • If Mes is hurt I think we should all get used to those 0-2 run games we enjoyed so much to start the season. I’m really worried – The way he pulled up it looked like it could be an achilles issue. I didn’t see if he was walking on his own once he got back to the dugout. I wouldn’t expect to see him in a Reds uniform for at least 3 weeks and that might be VERY optimistic. This team is just snakebit this year.

      • Scratch that. Price said it was a hamstring strain. Could be significant, could be a couple days. I don’t think i have ever heard a professional coach say something like that and then have it turn out to NOT be significant. I’ll stick with my 3 week estimate.

      • Pena has been good, and Barnhart looks to be an excellent backup. Of course Mes being out for an extended time would hurt, but it wouldn’t be cause for throwing in any towels. Frazier, on the other hand, has no really viable backup, and I’m not so optimistic that this is fleeting: he evidently has had an issue with tightness for awhile.

        • Pena has filled in admirably, but I don’t expect him to keep it up. The guy has a career OPS+ of 77 and he’s sitting at 120 right now – there’s just no way he’s going to sustain that, and in fact he’s probably due for a major correction sooner than later. Barnhart had a couple of good AB’s earlier this month but it’s too early to rely on him. Fact of the matter is, the offense turned around when Mes came into that 7 spot. Without him we’re likely to have a pretty useless bottom third of the order.

          Sounded like Frazier didn’t think he was going to miss any time. We’ll see how it all plays out.

        • Simply concerned with the Reds getting Mez right – he’s a 25 year old kid. Why would he be on the DL at the start of the season – hit like snockers for 2 weeks after being reinstated – only to be hurt again. Looked nasty. The Reds crackerjack medical staff should be brought in for questioning – and while they are at it check their credentials and make sure they are what they say they are.

        • Mes’ original injury was an oblique strain and this was a pulled hamstring running the bases. Can’t see the connection there or how the medical staff could possibly be blamed. Clearly Mes was perfectly healthy when he came back just based on his performance and now he’s sustained an unrelated injury. I don’t understand all the medical staff bashing around here.

  22. Something has to be done about our 3rd base coach. He’s doing an awful, awful job. We used to hear things in the Dusty Era like “the players have to get the job done, it’s not like the Manager is out there hitting or fielding.” Well, one of the coaches on the field is hurting the team with his awful play, and he ought to be a lot easier to replace than a SS or a LF or a top of the rotation starter. Even if he’s the greatest relayer of signs in MLB history, it doesn’t make up for the putrid performance he’s displayed on decisions regarding sending the runner. And it’s costing us, big time.

    • I have been baffled by his performance so far this year…Honestly baffled. i’ve never seen so many bad calls from a professional coach before. Sending Votto last night was lunacy. Watching on TV you could tell the moment the ball came off the bat from the CF camera that it wasn’t going to be NEARLY deep enough to score a runner from 2nd, let alone a 31 year old 1B with a reconstructed knee. The only thing I will say was that Votto also took a REALLY hard turn around first in that inning stretching the single into a VERY close double. It was almost like the LF didn’t even make much of an effort to rush the throw in because he didn’t think Votto would ever try to do it. So there might have been an element of Joey freelancing a bit and wanting to try and push his running game more. Once he made the decision to tag up, which could have been 100% on him and not on the coach, he was kind of committed to going all the way. Whatever it was, it was another stupid TOOTBLAN and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen another team not wearing Cubs uniforms have so many of those in one month.

    • We did hear that sort of thing during the Dusty era, but not from many.

  23. It’s a valid point that $100 million isn’t really ELITE starter money anymore. But it is basically elite #2-3 starter money, and on a contending team that probably means you wouldn’t expect a guy to have more than 5 or 6 really bad games over the course of a season. Homer has had 5 in April, even though the offense managed to turn one of those into a win. So I said it in the game thread – He has to be virtually lights out the rest of the season for THIS YEAR of the contract to be considered money well spent. But the real test of whether everyone thinks the contract was good or not will be when we see what happens with Cueto. If he’s looking down the barrel of a $200 million contract and Walt comes out and says “We just don’t have the resources” then I think the expectations for Homer are only going to skyrocket, justly or not.

    I liked the contract when it was signed and I think Homer will be fine in the long run, but he’s already bordering on digging himself into a hole for 2014 he’ll have a hard time climbing out of. And I didn’t expect Cueto to look like Kershaw – I thought there was an outside chance we might be able to sign Cueto to a very similar contract to Homer’s before this past month, now that’s clearly a pipe dream. I also didn’t expect Latos to be shelved indefinitely. The landscape is changing and while Homer might not be being paid like Justin Verlander, he is being paid a lot of money by a small market team who doesnt’ have the largest window at the moment. There is no help coming from the farm system except for Stephenson eventually – Cueto could be on his way out after 2015. We need to be seriously contending every year Votto is in his prime and we have the pitching staff we currently have. Homer can’t go throwing away entire months when he’s such a vital piece of that puzzle financially.

    • We are basically through 1 month of a 6 month season and Bailey should have one more start during it. His current ERA is 6.15. Look at some of Homer’s off months during the prior 3 seasons:

      May 2013: 4.75
      June & August 2012: ~6.00
      July 2011: 5.64
      Sept.: 2011: 4.71

      If he has a nice start to finish April, like 2 ERs over 8 innings, he drops the ERA to 5.25. About the average bad month for Homer. I look at it as he got the bad month out of the way and is ready to deal.

      Homer’s issue is consistency, not talent or desire. Until he finds that, he will be a very good pitcher but nowhere near ace material. One bad pitch cost him dearly yesterday but yet, there it is. This is the Big Leauges and one bad pitch at the wrong moment will do that.

      If Homer of 2013 materializes, he will be worth the $’s. Everyone expects more because the advanced metrics show it. But the games are played one-by-one and a season of great metrics do not necessarily mean a great season in reality.

      I shouldn’t have said “crazy” in the game thread but I’m not at the point of condemning him for a whole season over 5 games especially given his track record. By the way, only 4 starts that stunk not 5.

      • Man Charlotte, if i was ever on a sinking boat I would want you on it. You would probably have people dancing on table tops and singing songs – love your approach – stick with it – thanks !

      • This is all well and good, but as much as some might want to be tempted to divorce the issue of Homer’s contract with his performance you just can’t. Homer cost a lot less in previous years so an underperforming month wasn’t as big of a deal. Why not? Because the decision to tie up so much money in Homer meant we couldn’t seriously go after any free agent options for a leadoff hitter or an upgrade in LF. His contract changed the entire dynamic of how the roster was constructed so it’s not apples and apples anymore. Yes, the contract is signed and it is what it is, but the fact of the matter is that if Homer is going to take up a considerably larger portion of the team’s payroll then he needs to at least play up to his own standard and months like this have to be almost non-existent. The timing of it is obviously as bad as it could be – If he had this kind of month in August after a very strong first half then most people would probably just write it off as a blip. Coming immediately after the contract doesn’t help public perception.

        • Yes, a bad April or September really sticks out.

        • You’ve got to save this argument for next year. Homer’s working for the same amount of money this year that he’d have made even without the contract extension. Plus I believe he’s deferring most of his 2014 salary until November under the new arrangement.

          If Homer continues to pitch like this for an extended period of time, you have a legitimate point. But my answer to that right now is that the two things (his current bad month and his contracts) are two different time frames. Again, if you’re making an argument that he is going to keep pitching like he is in April, he won’t be worth it. But if he mostly pitches like he did last year and the second half of 2012, then the contract makes sense. You can’t judge the one with the other.

        • Well if he continues to pitch like he has in April the question won’t be whether he’s worth $100 million, it will be whether he’s worth a roster spot. But I don’t think he’ll continue to pitch like he has in April. And as fair as your point is about his increase in salary not kicking until until next year, the financial commitment obviously had an impact on the rest of our plan in free agency this past offseason. It was why we were never anything like being a serious contender for signing Choo. I’m one of those who believes that was a smart move, but just because Homer’s paycheck doesn’t skyrocket for another 11 months doesn’t mean the contract didn’t start effecting the rest of the roster the moment it was signed.

  24. Concerned but not too much about Homer. He’s not walking batters or falling behind the in the count. 4 K’s with zero walks last night. It’s command of his fastball. If he’s still having issues in June, then we have a problem. I feel he’s close to turning things around.

    • Based on what pray tell? Please enlighten us. Homer is slowly regressing before our very eyes and yet some see a light at then end of the tunnel.

      • With Homer, you are not going to see it, it will just happen. That is what my post was all about. Hot & cold.

        Pete, maybe just maybe the BHam & MVP can set up the table for carrying this team while the boys (Mes & Fraz) are out? Now that optimism for you.

        • Hey Charlotte, first off, love your posts and steadiness – and once again truly hope you are right – as Reds fans would take it from Homer anyday now. And granted, the potential in Homer is there (as its always been), simply wondering if he has the mental make-up to ever get there. Watched Moneyball last evening for the umpteenth time and wondered how Billy Beane of the As would construct this Red’s team. Not sold on Jocketty, not by along shot. And oh btw, how does Billy have the 2014 As doing – first place and a 15-8 record – with a payroll similar to the Reds – over the heavily leveraged Texas Rangers.

          As for the Reds, they don’t seem to have a class A organization as there always seems to be too many questionable holes – starting with the Red’s medical staff and the current 3B coach. Until they step up and solidify their organization, they won’t be considered championship material – granted, fun to watch and follow – but never getting over the proverbial hump. Close doesn’t get there.

        • Sorry folks, my error, the As have a payroll that is $50M less than the Reds and half the Rangers – but they are still in 1st with a 15-8 record – that part I did get right. Thanks for your indulgence.

        • Well, the only thing I will point out is the A’s, under Billyball, and WJ’s Reds have won exactly the same number of WS’s. Probably a major point of distinction we will have is evaluation of Walt. I think think the guy has been dynamite.

          To me, DB was an anchor around his neck and I always thought that Dusty was Bob C’s guy. No doubt, Price is Walt’s pick, good or bad. Are there better GM’s? Probably, but no more than a handful IMO.

        • Charlotte, I have no problem being wrong – so hope your assessment of Walt is spot on. Suffice it to say, have the utmost respect for Billy Beane’s baseball knowledge – so a 2014 World Series rematch of the 1990 World Series would be fine. If they can revise TV shows – why not a WS? The potential is there – now it has to get realized. Injuries play a big part – Reds rotation stayed healthy in 2012 and as a result the Reds should have been the NL rep. And you may very well be right about Bob’s guy being Dusty with Walt’s Price. Whatever gets us there – Dusty couldn’t – Price still may. GO REDS !!

  25. The Homer whine wagoners should just keep going with their guts on this one because their brains aren’t helping them at all. There are about 28 franchises in MLB right now that’d be happy to have Bailey and his contract.

  26. Just listened to about a half hour of Cincinnati callers calling in to bash Joey Votto for his ‘clutchiness’, ‘lack of excitement’, and RISP average.

    I swear, this town has NO claim to being a good or knowledgeable baseball town anymore.

    • I think some of it is just a sign of the times. Lives and time have become so segmented that few really follow anything to the depth they used to. On any given day you could probably hear the same in STL

      This morning I watched EPL live.Tonight I’ll probably watch the CBJ live and loosely monitor the Reds. And to most, I would be considered a die hard Baseball/ Reds fan.

  27. Reds line up posted. Soto gets first MLB start (at 3B) batting 7th.

  28. Figure Homer will get about 200 starts over the life of his six-year contract. WIth round numbers, that’s about $500,000 per start. Should we be expecting anything less than a quality start every time?

  29. Mesoraco officially to the 15-day DL & Barnhard activated.

  30. This is as tough of a break for Meso personally (and maybe more so) than for the team. I was all over him 2 years back when he seemed to lack motivation and good work habits. However, he went gone to school, put in the work, and deserved the success he was starting to find.

  31. You know, I think Jocketty has been pretty good, but not nearly as good as some people make him out to be. This is especially true when it comes to the “Reds homegrown” statements. Who has Jocketty drafted that is contributing to the major league team now? He’s had 6 drafts so far as GM of the Reds.

    Leake, Hamilton, Cingrani. Is there anyone I am missing? The majority of his good moves have come from trades or scrapheap relief pitchers and for ever good one he has (Latos, Simon, Parra) he has multiple Izturis/Renteria/Bernadina/Hannahan/Arredondo/Robinson/Cairo/Lewis type players.

    As for Votto, Bruce, Cozart, Frazier, Mesoraco, Cueto, Bailey, Heisey, LeCure, they were all drafted before Jocketty.

    So I see that Jocketty has 3 players who are helping the team that he’s drafted, and in the meantime he’s given these contracts out… Marhsall: 3yr/$16.5m, Broxton: 3yr/$21m, Phillips: 6yr/$72.5m, Ludwick 2yr/$15m, Bailey: 6yr/$105m that all look pretty awful.

    Combine that with still just not immediately getting MRIs for injuries like other teams, and generally doing a horrible job medically.. their lack of concern over getting a third base coach that won’t cost you more than an out every three games… Just not sure he’s contributed enough to have done a “great” job.

    • I disagree with a lot of Jocketty’s decisions, but your draft analysis is pretty flawed. Jocketty has had what, 6 drafts as Reds GM? I’d say the Reds are well above average in draft value. 3 of the picks are playing for Padres/Rays because of the Latos deal. 2 of his picks (Stephenson & Winker) were high schoolers but are getting rave reviews and appear to be can’t miss MLB players at this point). Naturally, the high schoolers take a little bit longer. Erwin was taken in 2013 and already is on the fast track. Leake is a spectacular success btw. I know he isn’t a superstar, but his value/$$$ ratio is off the charts.

      The only 2 guys taken in the 1st round that are looking questionable at this point are Travieso & Gelalich, but they were taken in the Winker draft.

      Also, the contracts you listed, I see you failed to mention the Chapman, Bruce & Cueto contracts which were pretty fantastic values for the Reds (even if Chapman should have been starting), or the Choo & Latos deals.

      • I mentioned that he has made good moves in trades/scrapheap relief pitcher pickups. The trade part includes Choo and Latos.

        Chapman will stop looking good next year when he turns down his option and hits arbitration, and all of a sudden the Reds have a $8-10m closer again.

        The Bruce and Cueto contracts were good, but I don’t know if that offsets all the bad ones. Also he never seems to go out and get that one extra player the Reds always seem to need. No trade deadline movement to try and win it all. More just like “Well, we’ll get Ludwick back, surely an old man with a reconstructed shoulder who hasn’t played for months will solve all our woes.”… we all saw that happening badly.

        As for the prospects, the best ones are all low level right now. Ervin doesn’t look too great coming off of his wrist surgery. I don’t think you can call anyone who’s an A+ player (Winker) a “can’t miss”. I’m optimistic, but can’t miss is awfully strong for an A+ player. Too much can happen between A or A+ and AAA with a prospect. Hamilton hit .323/.413/.439 in A+.

  32. I’d sure like to see one of our beat writers step up and ask Price and Jocketty about our 3rd base coach. It’s outrageous for a non-player to be hurting the team this badly.

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.


Titanic Struggle Recap