Realistically, with Jay Bruce and Joey Votto not healthy and not playing, the Reds offense isn’t going to be consistent. Any team’s run scoring would be hurt if you subtract their two best hitters. Sure, we each have our ideas for how the roster could be better and more resilient. But even with impeccable general managing and perfect field managing, the injuries the Reds have suffered in 2014 would have taken a toll in the wins column.

The Reds’ bullpen disaster has been a surprise. But better times are ahead. The vast majority of relief pitchers not named Mariano are inherently inconsistent – if they weren’t, they’d probably be starting pitchers. The Reds’ bullpen is full of solid arms plus Aroldis Chapman, who is spectacular more often than not. Soon enough, the pen will reel off a string of great innings, that’s just the nature of it.

Redleg Nation, it’s time to grit our teeth and practice patience, not panic. That doesn’t mean the front office, coaching staff and players are beyond fair criticism. But our fists of accountability have to be raised in solidarity, not hurled in frustration and anger.

Right now, it’s not reasonable to expect the Reds to put together a winning streak. They flat out don’t have the team for it on the field. Their goals (our goals) must necessarily be more limited and that’s to avoid being swept in series, until the team get whole, which hopefully will be no later than a couple weeks from now. Occasional series wins are achievable, but fall into the bonus category.

Amidst the injuries, slumps, bullpen collapses, mental mista … (since this is supposed to be an optimistic post, maybe I should just stop there) … despite every stinkin’ thing that has gone wrong for the Cincinnati Reds this year, they are only 3.5 games – one good week – behind the second Wild Card team in the National League.

And that team just happens to be the Washington Nationals, the Reds next opponent.

105 Responses

  1. Dale Pearl

    Time to panic i find this article unreasonable. Why? Every person that buys a Reds ticket, purchases Reds gear is paying to support major league talent. When a team has a key player injured and either does nothing or calls up players with substandard skills then you begin to realize that the ownership is not willing to invest in major league talent. When you have a bullpen struggle nearly every game and do nothing at all about it after 7 weeks, again shows a collective leadership issue or a lack of desire to win.

    Anyone who reads this blog seriously think that when Votto,Latos,Bruce return to play that we will all of a sudden surge in the standings? We stunk with Votto and Bruce April to Mid-May. You think a few days off for Votto and 3 weeks for Bruce will make them come back and carry the team? On any given day the Reds are lucky to field 5 major league caliber players. Bruce and Votto dont pitch so unless they are taking the time to learn during their downtime I dont see either of those guys coming back and immediately contribute to racking up wins at the rate we need.

    Latos, if he comes back and is strong as Cueto will be lucky to contribute to 3 wins per month…. Again his absence isnt the core issue. The core issue is that the Reds have less overall talent in our division than the other teams. The core issue is that ownership is ok with that.

    • Steve Mancuso

      It’s your right to panic, if you want. Every game thread you’re ready to dump/fire different people, so I’m not surprised. I’m a season ticket holder, so I don’t need a clarification on what we’re paying for. Your assertion that the Reds ownership isn’t willing to invest in major league talent is simply laughable on its face. Compared to its market size, the Reds payroll is gigantic. Did you know it was the largest in the division? I know, don’t let the facts get in the way of simplistic thinking. There’s blame to go around for the Reds’ poor record, but it’s not on the ownership.

      Similarly, your assertion that the Reds leadership lacks a desire to win is insulting, ridiculous hate-mongering that is tolerated on sports blogs but wouldn’t pass the test of serious, in-person face-to-face conversation. But I suppose it’s your right to spew that garbage out there if you want.

      You’ve shown that you don’t have a clue what a major league player is. Remember the other day when you said Todd Frazier wasn’t one and people provided the facts (that you never do) and you backed down like a scalded puppy? That’s because you show up here with all your strong statements but no sauce behind them.

      All hat, no cattle, as they say in Texas.

      • icyone

        A lot of teams do better than the Reds and spend less money, so if your argument is that more money spent = better talent, you’re obviously going to have to do better.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Tell me the other teams that have made the playoffs 3 of the last four years. My issue is the “lack of desire to win” statement. Hogwash, Bob C. wants this team to win more than anyone else. To you and me, we are fans that are devoted to the team. Castellini has big time money and his self worth riding on this, believe me, I have zero doubt about this. If you would ever want to have this man come completely unglued, tell him about his “lack of desire to win”.

      • c

        But he does NOT show his “desire to win” with the product he puts on the field!!! SHOW me/us your “desire” to “win”, don’t simply say or imply it… Perhaps winning to the owner is what sort of profit he gets (or that he doesn’t lose $ overall) via the Reds… If I said ‘oh, I really want to sell the best bananas’, but then they were usually soft and brown at the market, how does that constitute wanting to sell the best bananas??? If there are, say, thirty other banana growers/sellers in the market, you had better keep up with the competition if you’de like to TRULY sell/provide the best… BC DOES NOT! Period!

      • greenmtred

        This answer is to c, since I can’t figure out how to answer a comment without the reply tag, but also I agree with Charlottencredsfan. C’s banana metaphor is flawed because it doesn’t duplicate the situation he purports to analyze. How about this: you want to sell the best bananas, but bananas that are not soft and brown are in very short supply. Rare, in fact, to the point that there are not enough to stock all of the banana sellers. You really want to sell the best bananas, but you can’t acquire enough to do so, and “accountability” won’t change the facts. You do the best you can with substandard bananas until an adequate supply of the good ones gets off the DL. You remain patient, in other words, as Steve has wisely suggested. This is baseball, after all, not something world-altering. Like bananas.

      • Dale Pearl

        Get off your high horse Steve. You would think that you were the owner. I guess anyone on this blog that disagrees with the poster gets ostracized and ridiculed? People are upset, I’m upset can I voice my frustration without being belittled? Apparently not.

      • liptonian

        Sorry Dale you are wrong. People who disagree but do so using facts and logic generally don’t get ridiculed and belittled. It is frustrating as a reader of this blog to see someone spewing garbage over and over again with nothing to back that garbage up other than the all famous “eye test”. It isn’t just Steve that is tired of it, trust me.

      • Kyle Farmer

        If you write a post in which you say the Reds ownership doesn’t want to win, then the belittling is well deserved.

      • jdx19

        Dale, you’ve never supported a claim you’ve meade with a shred of data. That doesn’t get far with many people.

        You’re allowed to have your opinions, but don’t get upset when folks disagree with them.

        Steve’s reply was spot-on.

      • AnnapolisHoosier

        Provide facts instead of the stuff you spew. You are the boy that cried wolf. I only read to laugh.

      • c

        YOU are FULL of it, man!!! Payroll?? …The Reds are still paying for the likes of Ken Griff Jr, etc, etc…lol… WAAAAY OVER-paid for JV, Home-run Bailey, etc… Is that the fans fault for making those awful decisions? Of course not! So don’t sit there and feed me the utter BS YOU do w/o facts to back it up! Cincy wasn’t scoring when Bruce and Votto WERE healthy…they let a guy, in Choo, walk that was among the top 5 in ob% last yr, and did not come close to replacing him, etc…when, actually, the team NEED(S)ED an upgrade in what he offered – on BOTH sides of the ball – not to do nothing at all…lol! And PS – I’ll talk face-to-face logic with YOU ANY time, ANY day! ………….

      • charlottencredsfan

        Dude, I never had recommended a banning but you need to get your people interaction skills improved. We don’t discuss matters in this manner. You may be at the wrong place.

      • John Walsh

        A little punctuation couldn’t heart either.

        Stream of consciousness posting is neither encouraged nor desired.

      • jdx19

        This post is virtually unreadable. Why are you so upset?

      • Chris Miller

        “C”, with all due respect, you sound like a fool! There is nothing to support the argument that this owner doesn’t want to win. For starters, his GM has rings with two teams from two different league’s on his hand. Every organization makes mistakes, and Walt has made a number of them. Bob is not a “Baseball” guy, so he does what anyone would do, he employs people who are. Re-signing Choo would have been ridiculous. That contract looks fine this year, but in the next couple of years, it will be terrible, and would be even worse for the Reds, in that the DH is not available, which is where Choo will be playing before long. As for Bruce and Votto not helping; sure, after one month, while many other parts of the team were injured, they didn’t, especially when they were struggling too, but their baseball cards suggest that one month of one season is not something to evaluate a couple All Star players on, unless of course, you are wanting to sound like a fool.

      • AnnapolisHoosier

        Well said sir, well said.

      • AnnapolisHoosier

        To clarify my well said sir was to Steve’s initial post. I don’t want anybody thinking that I’m saying that to “C”

    • Paul Harmon

      Ownership is the one place we cannot complain. They have done a great job and spent a ton of money. They have so many promotions to bring fans in and improve the experience. If anything we have invested too much money in certain players. Yes we can question the GM. We have needed another outfielder who can hit for years now. The Reds should have anticipated this problem when we didn’t resign Choo. Ludwick and Heisy are not the answer. The bullpen breakdown is a surprise. Injuries have killed. We are not producing enough runs to win consistently. I think the Reds need to make a move now but our only real trade bait is Chapman. If we are not going to sign him we need to get a solid player and prospects. I hate to see him go but the Reds are locked into some big contracts which makes some players unavailable for trade.

    • John Walsh

      “Anyone who reads this blog seriously think that when Votto,Latos,Bruce return to play that we will all of a sudden surge in the standings?”

      Yes, I do. A healthy Votto and Bruce (and I wonder if health wasn’t dragging down their early numbers) plus continued success of Mesoraco, Frazier, Phillips, and Hamilton will make a better line-up than last year’s. The starting pitching has been solid. (Bailey has struggled before and pulled out of it.)

      The only thing I’m genuinely worried about is the bullpen and bench. And that could be solved by calling in some reinforcements to the 40-man in Lutz, Jumbo, etc. (To me, that falls squarely on the GM’s shoulders.)

      So if you’re asking me do I think the Reds will start winning. The answer is yes. Now if you’re asking me will that be too late (like the Phillies a few years ago when they finally got healthy late and went on a tear): Well I dunno.

      Fingers crossed.

    • Drew

      Are we not overreacting just a tad bit? We have had continual injury issues to key personal going back to pre Spring Training. Yet we are just a tad under .500. This is a maraton and we just got going, sit back and relax and enjoy the summer and watching some good young kids and some nice players and baseball. Could you please explain how the Brewers with basically the same “core” from last year are so much more improvied? They didn’t add anything HUGE. Teams ebb and flow, it’s just a game, sit back and enjoy…

  2. charlottencredsfan

    Reds are going spend no less than a $114 million dollars, in player payroll, just imagine how much they would spend if they “cared”. My guess is you have no clue what goes into building a company and maintaining one. “No one” does it to lose because it is nearly all consuming and I believe you have no clue.

    Good article Steve, thanks. Reds have not played their best baseball. When they do, will it be enough? Who knows, that’s why they play the games. I plan on being here for the complete season, just like every other season.

    • charlottencredsfan

      The first paragraph was for my naive friend Dale.

    • Dale Pearl

      I have watched baseball my entire life sir. I know as much as you but apparently only one of us is willing to be honest about the situation. Wipe the brown off your nose, the Reds ownership cares sure but poor decisions and lack of leadership is sinking the entire organization.
      You have no clue what in what goes into building a company otherwise you would know that there is a time to buy and a time to sell. This team needs to be sellers and build for next year?
      Who in the world are you to tell me i have no clue? Are you the God of baseball and all knowing? Get offf your high horse. I didnt attack the writer as you decided to attack my post. Get over yourself.

      • Joe Atkinson

        I’m curious exactly what makes you think this team needs to sell this year? Admittedly, injuries are rapidly putting them into a hole that’s going to be very difficult to dig out of, but for the most part, that’s the problem – injuries. Not overall personnel.

        Now, that’s not to say there haven’t been issues in how the Reds have spent their money – particularly the money sunk into Marshall and Broxton, and the utter failure to land a decent left fielder (all GM problems, incidentally, not ownership). But go around the rest of the diamond, and you have a recent MVP who has led the league in OBP the last four years; a multiple Gold Glove winning second baseman who, in spite of many cries of decline (including my own), is hitting .282 this year; a Gold Glove-caliber shortstop (who, admittedly, is lucky to hit his body weight, but that’s what the #8 hole is for), and a third baseman who plays stellar defense and leads the team in home runs and RBI. Behind the plate, you have a highly-touted prospect who appears to be starting to deliver on his tremendous promise; in the outfield, you have a rookie center fielder who is one of the league’s most exciting prospects, and a Gold Glove-caliber right fielder who has consistently hit 25-35 home runs and driven in 90-100 RBI over the past five years.

        Meanwhile, the pitching staff is one of the best in baseball, led by the near-unanimous Cy Young frontrunner for this year, followed by a guy who hasn’t pitched yet this year, a guy with two no-hitters on his resume (who has had a rough year this year so far, but I’m not going to completely freak out about Homer until June or July … if he’s still getting smoked then, we’ll call it a problem), and arguably the best back-end of a starting rotation in the NL in Tony Cingrani and Mike Leake.

        So if I give you left field and, at least at the plate, shortstop, where else would you “sell” to improve the team?

      • jdx19

        You seem to have zero concept of basic economic principles. You can’t simply “buy and sell” when you need to in baseball. Good players are scarce. And even good players are not guaranteed to repeat future performance.

    • Ryan Lykins (@ryan_lykins)

      You definitely can’t argue that the Reds haven’t spent any money. Maybe they could have spent the money a little more wisely but so could any other team that doesn’t have a Dodgers size payroll. I know 8 or 9 years ago I’d have killed for ownership to care this much.

      • vegastypo

        I think that says it all right there. The team has spent money, but we’ve been needing a legit left fielder for years and years but end up with castoffs, while we pour money into the bullpen.

        I’m hanging in there for the long haul, too. Steve’s point about not panicking is well taken. But geez, some of the player acquisitions and resulting lineup configurations, by batting order and by position, are mind-boggling.

      • preacherj

        This is the point I’ve been trying to state for a long time, but per my preacher self I probably have been too long winded and the meaning was lost in the words. Perfect summation.

  3. Ryan Lykins (@ryan_lykins)

    As long as Johnny Cueto, Devin Mesoraco, Aroldis Chapman, and Billy Hamilton are still playing I will watch and be patient. All four guys bring a sense of excitement with the way they play that it’s worth watching the team still. I’m optimistic. Cueto and Mesoraco have played amazingly, Hamilton has been better than I had anticipated, and Chapman is back and always fun to watch. I have faith that the Reds can at least stay in the wild card picture for the better part of the season. They really just need to weather the ship until Votto and Bruce come back healthy. I’m really trying to be optimistic.

    • John Walsh

      Including Chapman isn’t fair.

      If the Reds are losing, you’ll never see him, and if you see him, well they’re winning and there’s not much to complain about!

      But yes, point taken. I, too, am watching with eager anticipation for Neftali Soto to develop into that top prospect we’re all waiting for.

  4. mikemartz

    Steve, great post at a time of need!

    excerpts from a fitting poem…….

    Endeavor to Persevere

    When best-laid plans have fallen to waste
    and frustration abounds in their former place,
    when failure looms with doubts and fears
    we must endeavor to persevere!

    When dreams are shattered and hopes are dashed,
    goals upon the shoals have crashed,
    when gladness is but a memory dear
    let us endeavor to persevere.

    George Wootton :

    • WVRedlegs

      “Where are the re-inforcements?”

      Col. James Bowie and Col. David Crockett.

  5. doublenohitter

    I wrote this the other day.
    If you pray for patience, God does not give you patience but presents you with something to be patient about.

    Maybe I’ll take my own advise.

  6. wildwestlv

    “It’s more challenging now — the elephant in the room is that we’ve got (Joey) Votto and (Jay) Bruce on the DL — not on the DL, but Joey’s not available and Bruce is on the DL,” Price said.

    It’d be cool if someone actually knew if Votto was going on the DL, or not. Free Lutz. Can’t hurt.

  7. esbienenfeld

    I don’t disagree that patience is needed. This team is simply not healthy (or deep) enough to win right now.
    So I propose the following: We cut bait on this season. Please allow me to elaborate.

    It’s mid-May and if we’re being honest, the 2014 Reds look like a 79-win team. Yes, Bruce will be back by the All-Star Break. Yes Latos will come back…eventually. Yes, Votto will come back in short order.
    But how big a hole is too big to climb out of? The Reds would need to go on a lengthy hot streak to claw back into things by the team is fully healthy (and this assumes that no one currently healthy will get injured, which at this point I kind of doubt). What are the odds even a fully healthy Reds squad can play .650 ball for a month to undo the deficit that they’re in the midst of creating?

    Instead, why not be proactive about things? Why not replenish a rather barren farm system? I’m not talking about a “fire sale.” I’m thinking more along the lines of improving the 2015 Reds instead.
    There are several nice trade candidates, not least of which is Cueto. Before you yell to burn me at the stake, consider the following: 1) He’s at the absolute top of his game; he almost literally cannot pitch better 2) In all honesty, there’s a good chance he’ll get hurt–his recent track record supports this notion 3) His extremely affordable club option ($10M) for next year only adds to his immense value.
    With just this one move, the Reds could receive a veritable haul of top-end prospects. I’m thinking along the lines of the Texiara deal to Texas a while back. Just think: how much value does Cueto’s incredible season bring to a team destined for third place?
    And Cueto is not the only veteran on the roster that could bring back much-needed prospects to improve the odds for a winning 2015 team. He’s just the most intriguing.

    This post is not a knee-jerk reaction. I’ve been sitting by these past couple months, reading the posts, practicing patience. I believe that I’m simply being rational here. When I look objectively at this year’s team, I do not see a realistic shot at the post season.
    Being proactive now, in mid-May, only serves to increase the return we would get from dealing players (which in my view will be dealt in July anyway, when the Reds are 8 out of the second Wild Card spot).

    I welcome the inevitable backlash. But please revisit this comment in late July and tell me then that I’m not being prescient.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Your point is a very very good one and I agree. But we differ on timing, what would it hurt to wait 4-6 weeks after Jay and Joey return and see what happens? At or near the trade deadline would be the best time to capitalize on any player’s trade value, IMO. I would shop any player not named Bruce, Hamilton, Frazier, and Mesoraco. These guys would form a very nice base and I would target 2016 as the year we get back in the hunt. I would be talking with the Red Sox, Yanks, Cubs, Royals , Rangers to name a few. All have very strong farm system with prospects on the cusp.

      Again, very thoughtful post, I would just suggest restraint until after the ASB.

      • WVRedlegs

        You could add Seattle. Maybe a Latos trade for SP Tiajaun Walker, 2B Nick Franklin and SS Chris Taylor.

      • jdx19

        I like where your heart is at, but I doubt Taijuan Walker is even on the table.

      • Paul Harmon

        I like your patience and agree on the players we should not shop, partly based on their value.

    • Shchi Cossack

      esbienenfeld, I also find your argument compelling, but also differ on the timing for any possible moves for this season. The Reds have some BIG decisions facing them after this season. Last season, I did not see any chance of signing Choo as a FA. I felt the market was simply beyond the Reds means even before teams got serious in their negotiations with Choo. Last off season, the Reds extended Bailey to an expected market value contract when faced with a similar BIG decision impacting the future of the franchise. That contract basically locked up Bailey for his entire productive career. Bailey wants to win a ring, probably several, but at least one and his only chance right now is with the Reds. Going into this season, I believe that Bailey believed the Reds had a very good chance to win in October. Maybe not in 2014, but soon if not in 2014. If the Reds do not get healthy and make a serious push within the division and league this season or if they do get healthy and still can not make a serious push within the division and league, I have to wonder how anxious Cueto, Latos and Leake will be to sign a similar extention that ties their goals and fortunes to the Reds. I do not think the Reds long-term prospects are very good without signing at least one of those three pitchers to an extention without having to pay above market value. Those three pitchers are too good to let go without a significant return (certainly way more than just a compensation pick). If push comes to shove and the Reds are not competitive this season by the trade deadline and the prospect for extending one or more of those 3 pitchers does not materialize, then hard decisions will probably have to be made.

      My hope is that situation does not materialize and the Reds can get healthy and make a strong run at the division and league along with negotiating an extention for 1 or 2 of those three pitchers.

      • jcredlegs

        This is a pitching-rich organization ( the current major league bullpen notwithstanding). And I would argue that the BP’s non-performance has a lot to do with hoe Price uses them. Anyway, my point is that I’m not so worried about those pitchers not extending. I think Stephenson, Lorenzen, Moscot, Travieso, Lively, et al will fill in just fine. I’m much more worried about the offense. The current one sucks and there is no help in the minors for at least 2 years. I’d much rather see money spent on offensive upgrades rather than extending a couple of pitchers.

      • c

        “Pitching-rich”??? Oh, wow! Are you ever out of your mind, man!!! ………

    • Paul Harmon

      Good point. Cueto and Chapman have value.

    • John Walsh

      I don’t disagree, but there’s no reason to cut bait now.

      Just take the Cueto example. You think that the Reds could command more on the trading block now, or in a bidding war come late-July for teams in the thick of a pennant race. The best part is, we don’t even have to give up Cueto. He’s not on the last year of his contract.

      Don’t go down the firesale road yet. If anything, it’ll only depress the value you can get in return.

  8. Dale Pearl

    on redlegnation you must make posts that are all feel good, supportive, and positive. So let’s not panic! We have such a fun exciting team! What a great game yesterday… and the day before! Go Reds keep up the good effort! Price was a pure genious for benching Mesoraco in our 12 to 1 shelacking because he came back and went 4 for 4. And Cingrani was so freaking awesome with his 7k’s and he allowed just 4 runs! Oh my we are just so close to being there!
    Our bullpen guys just need another 8 weeks to settle in and they’ll be fine. They are working so hard and need to be praised for coming into spring training camp already in condition and clearly ready to begin the season.
    So proud of the hard work and effort Votto has put into the season. He is such a vocal guy. Good thing he spoke up about struggling with his injury. He has only struggled for 6 weeks so he is really a tough trooper. Bailey is just barely missing his spots. He only gave up a few walks his last outing so I am sure he will wind his way in 4 or 5 more starts.
    What a great team! Kudos to Jocketty for putting together such a competitive and exciting team to watch. Day in and day out.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Dale, I hope you will accept an apology. I have no problem with criticizing the team & players but when someone alludes that ownership is not all in, it obviously bothers me. They might be incompetent but they do care, deeply. Making the playoffs 3 out of 4 years tells me they are competent, IMO. I should have lowered my tone and if I insulted you, I apologize.

      • Dale Pearl

        I apologize as well. It is just frustration. I get that the owner is interested in making a champion. Cass has been great for the team. I was even a fan of Jocketty up until this year. But man something has got to live. Reds fans are just passionate and if what we “feel” isn’t what we “see” then we scream for the color Red to run in the streets. It is all good “Charlottencredsfan” . We’ll turn this ship around. We have a sharp owner who has invested in this team more so that our past ownerships so yeah, he’ll pull the strings when the time is right.

    • Chris

      I have felt this way about this site as well. And I love Redleg Nation. But it does often seem as though you can never complain about Joey, Homer, or lineup construction. I don’t have much patience for this season simply because or anemic offense struggled when Bruce and Votto were in it. I also wonder about the front office (forget motive) when they simply hoped Ludwick returning from the DL last season would infuse our struggles while, at the same time, the Pirates pick up Byrd and Morneau to take them to the next level (through us). This offseason we stand pat, again hoping Ludwick would be the guy when all of us know – ALL OF US – he cannot and will not be the bat we need for a starting LF.

      I’ve lost patience. I’m a faithful fan (going back to the late 70s) but the outcome of this season was obvious to us watching the stars misalign before day one. It only has gotten worse.

      • AnnapolisHoosier

        Not true. Just bring facts. Plenty of people on here complain with facts. Everybody enjoys good banter, but this spewing because Votto pops up with a runner on third gets old. Just the facts/

    • John Walsh

      Enough with the whining and drama. Just make your case based on facts.

      But all these bombastic statements and then “woe is me” stuff is taking up valuable real estate on my screen.

      • John Walsh

        Also, any chance you can keep it confined to just one reply thread? Thanks in advance for your cooperation.

  9. WVRedlegs

    Sshhhh. The secret lies with Charlotte.

  10. jessecuster44

    No one doubts that the Reds have spent money, but look at what some of the money has been spent on… Sean Marshall, John Broxton, Ryan Ludwick, etc.

    If the Reds can get healthy and remain 4 games from .500, they have a chance of competing for the playoffs.

    However, they need to fix the bullpen. Marshall is useless. DL him and call up someone from AAA. Get some live arms in the pen instead of the dead arms that are there.

    Don’t trade Cueto. Just don’t. Right now he’s the best pitcher in baseball and one of the very few reasons to buy a ticket to a Reds game with the current lineup.

    Do something about LF. The team has been waiting since opening day 2013 for Ludwick to regain form, but he WON’T. Cut bait. Make a trade.

    And replace the entire medical staff. I refuse to believe that all these injuries are just bad luck. How both Jay Bruce and Joey Votto can go two weeks with knee pain less than two years from Joey Votto trying to play through knee pain is beyond me. Learn from history. Take care of your star players! Preventative medicine is a real thing in places outside Cincinnati.

    • Drew

      What if both Votto and Bruce said nothing to the medical staff? It’s not uncommon for athletes in almost all sports to try and play through pain and not tell the medical staff. Have either Bruce or Votto come and and said…Hey I told the medical staff weeks ago about this and they didn’t do anything? As for Marshall didn’t he miss most of ST due to injury? Maybe it’s just not healed yet and again he isn’t saying anything?

  11. ToddAlmighty

    The thing that worries me is we’re singing the same song we were last year… “Just wait until we get healthy!”… Then it was Cueto/Ludwick/Phillips/Hanigan. Now it’s Bruce/Latos/Votto/Mes. Except now the highly priced bullpen is awful. All that money spent on ineffective players, or Chapman and Broxon, both of which have only pitched 3 innings in the month of May.

    There are always going to be some injuries on teams. Every team has them. Heck, there’s like 19 cases of TJ so far this year, isn’t there? I just think patience can only stretch so far when we’re at 1.25 seasons straight now of “wait until we get healthy!” Eventually you have to accept your team will likely never be 100% healthy (who’s team is?) and realize that it’s just not a particularly good team this year.

    • jessecuster44

      I just keep thinking of Bob C’s face last October. What is he thinking now?

      • ohiojimw

        That he fired the wrong guy or should have fired WJ along with DB

    • liptonian

      If I recall the Reds were technically, if you want to think of it this way, in the playoffs last year. To say we are in the same position this year isn’t such a bad thing is it? There are still four and a half months of baseball to play. Plenty of time to go on a prolonged winning streak. Hence the patience that Steve is calling for.

      • ToddAlmighty

        I think of it as a one game play in, not a one game playoff. Baseball playoffs are a series.. 3-5-7 games. That one game is no different than a tie breaker game to see who gets to play a postseason series.

      • ToddAlmighty

        Also, unless you expect the starting pitchers to go 8-9 innings every time, no winning streak will ever be achieved without a bullpen. The worst bullpen will prevent you from going on a long winning streak. Hence the billion 1 run losses.

    • John Walsh

      No.

      We’re singing the same song as we were in 2011 when the Reds just never got it going (although I don’t think that was attributable to injury).

      To be fair, I don’t see lethargy on the field like last year’s team which was above .500 most of the way. This team is just getting ravaged.

  12. ohiojimw

    I understand the need to avoid panic but I about choked over the line that bullpen was full of solid arms.

    Marshall is a wing and a prayer shell of his former self at this point.

    LeCure has battled through arm issues off and on over the last two years with periods of limited availability; and, with his velocity down 3-5 MPH (or more) this season, it may be just a matter of time before the bell tolls for him.

    Broxton is just back from forearm surgery and has danced around elbow issues for several years (he used to throw harder than just about anybody not named Chapman and now is a 93-95 guy). Who knows how many innings he has in his arm this season.

    Hoover is a thrill a minute disaster on wheels.

    Then there is Ondro (’nuff said about that).

    I guess that leaves Chappy and Para as truly solid arms plus Simon (or Cingrani) if one of them ends up back in the pen.

    • ToddAlmighty

      LeCure never relied on velocity. He has wicked movement so he’ll be okay, but Parra is listed under your solid arms, but he’s sporting an ERA north of 5.50 as well. So I would trade those two names around.

  13. Robby20

    It is no time to panic, but the fact is this team struggled with Votto and Bruce in the line-up. The offense is a problem, has been a problem and has not been addressed by management. Ownership is great, but in the end lots of questionable contracts have been given hampering the Reds ability to address offensive woes. I applaud ownership’s willingness to spend money. I question how that money is being spent and who is deciding how that money is being spent. Broxton, Ludwick and Marshall are three contracts that were huge mistakes and if signing Bailey means the Reds can’t keep Cueto that was a mistake also. And let’s not forget the money given to Votto and Phillips.

    The fact there is no talent in the system close to being ready to help at the major league level is also an indictment of management’s inability to draft and develop talent.
    And the Reds really can’t acquire the bat(s) they need during the season because they have nothing to trade. (maybe Chapman but given the state of the bullpen that might not be practical)

    • ohiojimw

      Agree pretty much right down the line here. It is worth noting that to the degree anything was ever made public, Jocketty and Dewitt (Cards) came to grief over the roll of the farm system. WJ had used it several times to make big acquisitions while Dewitt wanted a sea change with the farm system used to stock their own MLB club. That’s the way the Cards gone with great success since then while WJ came to since and emptied the cupboard largely for Latos, Marshall, and Choo.

      • ohiojimw

        above should be “while WJ came to Cincy…..:”

      • WVRedlegs

        Mr. Jim, while i agree many times with you, this time I am not so sure. The emptying “the cupboard largely for Latos, Marshall and Choo” is a bit off base. When you look at the players traded for those three, who of those players would be helping the Reds this year or last year for that matter?? Boxberger and Wood are it, the only ones. Alonso and Grandal were/are blocked and Volquez? You know I love Travis Wood, but he would have clogged the mound. The minor leaguer traded with Wood has disappeared. Then you have Stubbs and Gregorius for Choo. Gregorius has found his way back to AAA on the worst team in MLB, Arizona and Stubbs is riding the bench in Denver.
        It isn’t really fair or accurate to keep using this crutch for an excuse for the Reds woes.

    • Eric the Red

      Marshall was one of the best setup men in baseball. Dusty misused him as a LOOGY, and now he’s hurt, but basically this contract was fine except you can’t forecast injuries. Broxton was signed for closer money, to close. He’d be closing if Dusty hadn’t ultimately won the battle to keep Chapman there. Oh, and he’s been our steadiest reliever so far. In fact, his performance yesterday after not pitching for a week deserved to be listed as a positive.

      • preacherj

        Yeah, I don’t think it’s fair to look at the Marshall trade in light of how we’ve used him since he arrived and his injury. He was an excellent bullpen arm and many feel, and I think he did as well, that he was going to be our closer. But we got Madsen, then Chapman, and he was reduced to LOOGY status. Looking at how we were projecting him to be used, it wasn’t a bad deal, IMO. Oh, and Dusty hated Marshall for some reason. Never helped.

    • Redsfanpa

      I’m hitting the like button here…..you covered some great points. I love Bob C. as an owner, but you are spot on with some of the contracts and our questionable drafting and developing talent. As much as I hate the Cardinals they are masters at this. When injuries hit they have guys that can step up.

  14. droomac

    This past offseason, I was hoping that Walt would have sought to buy low and extend Cueto and either Latos or Leake (rather than Homer). However, while the Reds may well be able to extend one or two other pitchers, Cueto’s price has (rightfully) increased exponentially over the first couple of months of the year. In other words, the money that could have likely been used to extend Cueto for a couple of more years may now (if we are lucky) be enough to extend Leake. Given that Homer is in the fold long-term and Stephenson will soon be here, I believe that this very time in this particular season is incredibly important to the team’s five-year outlook.

    While nobody wants to throw in the towel, unless the ship is righted soon, I believe Walt is best served by sending a few people packing in order to ensure that a total rebuild is not necessary later. First off, Cueto’s stock will never be higher. In addition, Simon’s stock will never be higher. Cueto could bring serious major league ready (or nearly major league ready) talent to Cincinnati and Simon may also bring a decent prospect or two. Also, I would seek to use the Cueto (or another) trade as a vehicle to jettison the Phillips contract. His 10/5 rights kick in (I believe) later this year, so it is now or never when it comes to freeing the payroll of this albatross of a contract. Of course, with his limited no-trade, Walt may have to send Cueto and Phillips to Atlanta or another destination not on BP’s no trade list.

    Let us also not forget that the earlier such trades are made, the more potential trade partners are willing to talk. That is, a team like the Marlins may well be willing to part with a few prospects from their great system given they are presently in the mix and just lost Fernandez. The longer Walt waits, the fewer partners there will be.

    Now, these trades would anger the fan base in the short-run, but could very well result in a better team over the long haul. So, while we’re at it, it is time to send Aroldis packing as well. If a contending team needs bullpen help in the form of the hardest thrower of all time, well, they can just be sure that they send prospects in return.

    For 2015, the Reds would have Homer, the newly extended Leake and Latos (may as well buy low on Latos), Cingrani, and Stephenson in the rotation (and perhaps some newly acquired stud pitchers nipping at their heels), the stalwarts of Bruce, Frazier, and Votto as well as the blossoming Hamilton and Mesoraco in the lineup. That leaves SS, LF, and 2b. Cozart, given the cost, is probably still the guy at SS. When it comes to the other two positions, if none of the newly acquired prospects are ready, the money saved from Phillips/Cueto/Ludwick can be used on a couple of middling/platooning free agents (a la the 2013 BoSox) until the prospects are ready (and the Broxton/Marshall contracts are off of the books).

    I hate for this to sound pessimistic, but I think that this is precisely the strategy to take with a team that is not yet “too old” but no longer “approaching its prime.”

  15. Robby20

    I don’t profess to have the inside information needed to propose trades, or signings but I do know that the Reds play in one of the most hitter friendly parks in baseball and yet they rank near the bottom in most offensive statistics in the National League. Votto played all but the last 3 games and Bruce has missed less than a dozen games so the notion the offense will be fine when they return seems a bit misplaced. Management has banked on an above average pitching staff and a very good defense to carry the team to the postseason. That has happened 3 of the last 4 years. And yet in all 3 of those trips it has become apparent that a right handed hitter or two with power was desperately needed to take this team deeper into the post season.

    And yet nothing absolutely nothing has been done to address that need. Now with a bullpen leaking badly that inability to score runs has resulted in 12 one-run loses and a sub 500 team.

  16. Dale Pearl

    I am starting to like this Mesoraco character. He understands how to win games as a hitter. Here is his quote:

    “I want to win. That’s my first and foremost goal,” Mesoraco said. “I want to drive in runs. I want to score runs. Whether I get a hit or not, it means something to me. If I get a hit and don’t score or drive anybody in, it doesn’t help the team win. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

    Joey Votto needs to adapt that mentality.

    • John Walsh

      You must’ve missed the part about scoring runs whether I get a hit or not.

      It sounds like Mesoraco has adopted Votto’s mentality.

      More to the point, I have no numbers other than hearing a generalization on a Reds and my own two eyes, but Mes is actually being a much more patient hitter at the plate and that’s one factor driving his success.

      You’re all over the place man.

  17. 666wolverine

    Dale I understand where your coming from buddy! Steve, Charlotte I understand where your both coming from as well. We all want to see this team win and win often. It’s really hard to see them struggle as they have been doing this season. It just feels like they are spinning their wheels and then they play the cubs get some hope and or traction and then spin their tires again after the cubs series are over. Can we just play the cubs?

    There are some positives so far this year:

    Cueto obviously. The guy cannot pitch any better.

    Starting pitching as a whole is doing a pretty good job considering the injuries etc.

    Simon is pitching better than I’ve ever seen before.

    Mezz is just raking!

    Hamilton is a breath of fresh air too me!!! The guy is so exciting to watch at every at bat. If he gets on base whoa baby what a treat!!!!

    Leake has pitched his guts out this year also. I personally think he would be a wonderful pen addition or bench addition with his bat and athletic abilities.

    There are plenty of negative things that I’ve ran my stupid idiot mouth about on here and I will refrain from doing so! I’m going to practice patience and focus on the positive at least for today anyways. hahahaha!

    No matter how the season goes I will root root root for the reds team!!! I’ve been a fan my whole life and this will never change! Runs happen every year in baseball so the reds are far from out of it! Maybe this year it’s Cincinnati’s turn for that magical run?

    • Dale Pearl

      Amen Wolverine! I just have frustration. Everyone is an expert of course. Throwing numbers around when the only ones that matter are W and L sometimes just fans the flame of that frustration.

      But on the good things yeah I think we can all be thankful for the ones that have stepped up. 1) Cueto 2) Hamilton 3)Mesoraco 4) Leake… easy to forget about this guy because he doesn’t go seeking the press but he has been pitching with gut. Seems like he just keeps getting better and better.

      Whether we win or lose I”m a Reds fan.

      • John Walsh

        Wins and losses are the only ones that matter, but I don’t think you have a good sense of what drives those numbers.

        You’re standing on the ledge, even when there’s some small reason to believe this mediocre performance (not even horrible yet just mediocre) will reverse itself.

        You’re also painting the “numbers crowd” as being elitist and you just being hte everyman who knows what he sees. Numbers exist for a reason. Not all will be perfect or tell you exactly what you need, but they do lend some perspective…

        For example, you might think a hitter is due to break out of a slump, but he’s just hitting the ball right at someone. Well, line drive % will help you prove that fact. Or maybe a guy is swinging at everything and has no eye. You can prove that, too.

        Maybe you should just try using some of those numbers instead of whining about how you’re being talked down by those elitists. You don’t have to agree, but you don’t have to be a bumpkin about it either.

  18. sultanofswaff

    Except for the bullpen adjustments, we need to stay the course. The shortsightedness from the newbie commenters has really been dragging down the quality and reputation of this esteemed site.

    For the last week I’ve been thinking the Reds have the makings of a WORLD SERIES TEAM. Look around. The Cardinals are our only competition for the division and we’re only 3 games behind them. The Brewers starting pitching will not sustain. The Dodgers are .500. The Nats a shade above. The Braves can’t hit. So why not us???

    As we know, it’s all about the pitching. We have that now with more on the way. The bullpen is an easy trade deadline fix. I get that we’re 27th in the majors in runs, but it’s where you finish not where you start. Because of the emergence of Hamilton/Frazier/Mesoraco, the lineup will finally the length and depth that was missing all last season. Just gotta get everyone on the field at the same time. Or better yet, go position by position with the Cardinals. At best, 2 maybe 3 players would start over our guys. A month from now you’ll see the Reds offense firing on all cylinders and our rank will steadily climb the rest of the season.

    The Reds will be fine. I wish I had that same confidence about the comment threads.

    • Robby20

      Seriously? What is fine? Sure the Reds will be fine. In the overall scheme of things every team will be fine. this is after all just a game. The Reds won’t be playing post season baseball in 2014 and that’s okay. The team had glaring weaknesses going into the season. They weren’t addressed. Add to that the injury issues and you have what you have, a very mediocre team that is painful to watch.

      Two or three of the Cardinals would start for the Reds? That’s a joke, right?

      • sultanofswaff

        Molina, Holliday, Peralta.

        Votto>Adams
        Phillips>Ellis
        Frazier>Carpenter
        Hamilton>Bourjos
        Bruce>Craig

      • robby20

        We’ll see at years end who has the best offense. Last year it wasn’t close and why do the Cards beat the Reda like a drum?

      • preacherj

        Yeah, but the difference in Holliday and Peralta comared to what we have isn’t minimal. I didn’t inlcude Molina because our backstop production has been pretty good, but if/when that reverts, and if Mez gets hurt again, that would be a canyon sized difference as well. You only have to be signifcantly better in one or two spots.

    • John Walsh

      Hey! I’ve just started becoming a more active poster, and I do not appreciate being lumped in with that crowd!

  19. al

    the only aspect of this team that i wouldn’t preach patience with is the bullpen. i think the sooner some new arms are added the better, and minor trades for relievers can happen whenever, you don’t need to wait til the deadline.

    JJ Hoover is bad. Mostly this season is just his BABIP and HR luck from the last two years running out.

    Something is wrong with LeCure. His K/9IP has dropped from 9.74 and 9.58 the last two years to 6.62 this year. His velocity is down over 2MPH. That’s not a coincidence. Right now he’s getting by on a .213 BABIP, and when that changes, he’ll be bad.

    Marshall just can’t find his control. I think that is probably correctable for him, but it may be a result of the constant injuries, and in that case, maybe not.

    Christiani was terrible, Bell was terrible, Ondrusek is what he is.

    Really the pen right now is Chapman, Broxton, and Para (only as a LOOGy). Jumbo Diaz should be with the Reds already. And they’re going to need more than just him.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Problem is that Sam is still the most reliable of the bunch. Until he starts getting rocked, it is what it is. Some of us tend to want to over anticipate. Pena is not yet a flat tire and Simon has yet to turn into a pumpkin. Will it happen eventually? Who knows but it hasn’t yet. I say, enjoy the ride and worry about the things that are “actual” problems. .

      Point being, we do need relief for our relievers. Marshall is on fumes and I think he is finished. Either DL him or release him. Ondrusek, who knows it reminds me of the missing Malaysian Airlines plane – everyone has a theory. JJ should only pitch in blowouts until, or if, he can find whatever he is missing. Agree 100% on Diaz.

  20. Andrewpky

    What is Krivsky up to these days? Any chance Bob calls him and says,”sorry, I fired the wrong guy”?

    • preacherj

      Is this where we are now? Yikes. (LOL).

  21. preacherj

    Is it really that hard to get a bullpen arm right now? I’m not talking a major cash expenditure or a large amount of organizational reshuffling. A decent bullpen arm. That’s it. Not only would it address at a modest amount perhaps our most glaring weakness, but the coresponding roster move would send some kind of message and maybe we can quit using the word ‘accountability’ sarcastically. Does it take a lot of ingenuity to re-work the 40 man? Isn’t there anyone available who can pitch a relatively clean inning? I know we have LF issues, I know there is an injury plague going on. We can’t fix some of that without a substantial investment and potential trading partners. I get that. But this bullpen issue is beyond ridiculous. I can really forsee staters staying in an inning too long too often and it causing some damage to bodies and scorecards. Just address it. Try. Please.

    • sultanofswaff

      The Cardinals were seemingly ‘set’ prior to their season as well, and yet it didn’t preclude them from picking up Pat Neshek, who’s been unhittable. You rest on your laurels with relievers–their shelf life is too short.

  22. John Walsh

    In 2012, the Reds finally reached on May 18 — game 1 of that great sweep in Yankee Stadium. They then went like 28-6 (?) without their best player.

    Let’s be clear. Baseball is a crazy game. It’s really not time to hit the panic button yet.

  23. Steve Mancuso

    The Reds are 3 games behind St. Louis and have 13 games left with them. The Reds are 7 games behind Milwaukee and have 15 games left with them. No games against the Brewers until mid-June, when there’s a decent chance Votto, Bruce and Latos will all be back. Giving up now is crazy.

  24. Steve Mancuso

    Reminder on commenting guidelines: I know when the Reds aren’t doing well, it’s easy for us to lose sight of the rules around here. Please keep comments related to the Reds and not each other. Thanks, though for your active participation. It’s great to read.

  25. ci3j

    Steve, you and I may not see eye to eye on most things, but this was a great article. In the past, you have struck me as a “Dr. Doom” type guy, and it’s very refreshing to hear you stressing patience.

    I wholeheartedly agree with this stance and support it. The Reds, even without Bruce and Votto, might surprise some people and win more than a few games, although the end of this month’s schedule is fairly brutal. Still, as they say, that’s why they play the games.

    At the beginning of the year, I seem to recall you insinuating the Reds would probably not make the playoffs this year due to the front office’s inactivity during the offseason. What do you expect the team to accomplish this year now that you’ve seen a bit of them? Win the division? Wild card? Miss the playoffs? Losing record?

    I’d genuinely like to know.

    • Steve Mancuso

      It’s hard to sort out the impact of the injuries. At the start of the year, I thought the Reds had little chance to compete with the Cardinals for the division championship. I thought they might win enough games (89-90) to sneak into the play-in game, but I don’t really consider that the post-season until they actually win the play-in game. But that’s just me. Playing 162 games to flip a coin to get in the post-season is a bad business plan in my book.

      Now, one quarter of the way into the season, my view of their route to the post-season has changed. I don’t think they’ll be good enough to make the second wild-card slot. San Francisco, LA, Washington and Atlanta should all be better. There’s Colorado now, too. Even in the NLC, Milwaukee and St. Louis could both finish ahead of the Reds. On the other hand, the Reds have a lot of games left against St.Louis (13) and Milwaukee (15). The Cardinals have not started well. If they had the same record as Milwaukee right now, I’d be pessimistic about the Reds chances.

      And any chance they have depends on Votto, Bruce and Latos back and healthy by mid-June at the latest. If any of them have linger health issues, I’d say a .500 record sounds about right. If more than one stays hurt, I’d say below that.

      But the context doesn’t stay static, it evolves. That’s the fun of it.

      • ci3j

        Indeed. We’ll have to see how it plays out, but boy it should be an interesting ride. (At least until the Reds completely tank.) :p

  26. Drew

    What I can’t grasp is how anyone could get so worked up over a game? As fans we sit back and enjoy it for the 6+ months it’s here. Sure I would love for the Reds to have a .700+ winning percentage and no I don’t agree with some of the moves Walt and Price have done so far this year, but man, a day at the ballpark is the best thing going and given we are not even 2 full months in and no tea in the NL is going to run away and hide, enjoy….

  27. Earl Nash

    Not a whole lot the reds can really do when you have this many injuries and the top level of the minors are vacant for what the Reds currently need. Even beyond the players that have been on the DL, there are players that have been playing with issues. I think it possible if there wasn’t this many injuries they might not be using Sean Marshall or even might have sat Homer Bailey for a couple of weeks.

    I think it is now just all hands on deck and try to hold on as close to .500 until they can get Votto and Bruce back. There is just no way to replace those two guys in the lineup.

  28. Garoche

    Somewhat agree with everything (expect bad language or extreme aggressiveness)

    The issue is that (and has been the recent years), we need RUNS, we need RBIs, basically the type of guys who just brings people in, regardless of a .250 avg. it’s been our issue the last years. Votto won’t change and can’t change, he is a selective guys, that his nature. Bruce goes hot and cold, and yes it has a beautiful swing, but he is vulnerable.

    Remember, Jeff Kent (aside of his Clubhouse attitude), he was an RBI machine…Luis Gonzalez, etc…just plain old fashion RBIs…

    when was the last time we saw a 6-run inning…or a an opposite team being crushed in a weekend?

    Ludwick is 4th OF, at times a 3rd, but there are better guys out there.

    it is time to make a BOLD move and bring a true Cleanup hitter. If the idea is to win NOW, well, so’ll be it. If the REDS make the right pick-up, they will, for good 3-4 years, enough time to recovered from loosing Stephenson or whoever.

    My vote is to do whatever it takes to bring STANTON, yes, that is the Man we need, or someone like that. 4th hitter, homers, high RBI count, right handed, protection for Votto, you name it.

    Think of this, the Twins made to the playoffs a lot playing small ball early last decade (before Morneau). They never passed the first round. No player with more than a 100 RBIs. You need a guy that can carry a team.