Call me unsurprised.

Tim Melville (26) was making his second major league start after producing an ERA of 4.75 over seven seasons in the minor leagues. Melville had been released by the Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers the past two seasons before the Reds signed him as a free agent this off-season. He’s as much one of the best fifteen starting pitchers in the organization as you are.

Carlos Martinez retired the Reds in the first inning on six pitches. It took Melville ten pitches to throw a strike and 35 to record three outs. By the end of the first inning, the outcome was so certain the BFIB™ didn’t bother to boo Brandon Phillips when he batted in the second inning.

FanGraphs had the Cardinals win expectancy at 91 percent, which seemed low.

After Melville’s three innings, the Reds turned to a pitcher who had just been waived by the last place San Diego Padres. After Dan Straily finished three innings, the Reds brought in a pitcher who hadn’t even found a team that would let him try out in spring training. Jumbo Diaz pitched the eighth and he, like all the others, gave up a home run.

Repeat after me: Service time. Arbitration clocks. Injuries. Reboot. They have a plan in a binder. Service time. Arbitration clocks. Injuries. Reboot. They have a plan in a binder. Service time. Arbitration clocks. Injuries. Reboot. The binder.

Those of a certain age may remember when the Reds were 5-1. You might also recall a few annoying, delusional souls who insisted the team’s record was evidence the rest of us were selling these Reds short. 5-1 was proof this was a post-season team we were watching.

Those people also thought “To the last, I grapple with thee; From Hell’s heart, I stab at thee; For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.” was a clever Star Trek original.

If you’ve been paying attention to current events, you know the Reds have been outscored 36-9 on this road trip. With one or two exceptions, the Reds pitching has been disgraceful. A decidedly non-fictional monstrosity.

There is a wisdom that is woe; but there is a woe that is madness.

Reds 3  Cardinals 14  |  FanGraphs  |  I’d strike at the sun if it insulted me

Tim Melville is still in obsessive pursuit of an all-too-elusive good start. (Insert forced references to wooden legs, harpoons, etc.) Over seven innings in his two starts he has walked seven batters. Surely it’s time for Melville to give up the spear.

With the exception of one pitch, it was Carlos Martinez who pitched a whale of a game. Martinez was cruising in the third inning and made the mistake of throwing a pitch over the middle of the plate to Joseph Daniel Votto. The 3-run shot was Votto’s first homer of the year.

Compounding Melville’s first inning meltdown was porous defense by Eugenio Suarez. The Reds third baseman let a routine ground ball go right between his legs. Marty Brennaman opined that Suarez’s defense has been “woefully lacking.” It’s hard to argue with that. On the other hand, Suarez is new to third base and the Reds don’t really have another option.

Billy Hamilton made more than a couple stellar defensive plays, including a breathtaking leap over the centerfield fence to rob Matt Carpenter of a home run. Hamilton himself prevented several more Cardinal runs.

Here’s hoping the Rebuild Binder contains a few pages that work out the science involved in making a single player combining Suarez’s offense and Hamilton’s defense.

Plenty of good health news to pass along. Mark Sheldon reports that Anthony DeSclafani’s bullpen session went well today and the pitcher will face live batting practice on Monday. Doug Gray tweeted that Alex Blandino was activated and sent to Pensacola. C. Trent Rosecrans talked to Devin Mesoraco who said he’s feeling much better and expects to play soon. Mark Sheldon says Mesoraco has been sidelined with muscle soreness, nothing structural. And Rosecrans also reports that Homer Bailey will pitch 3 innings in an extended spring training game on Saturday and John Lamb will pitch for Louisville tomorrow.

We can only pray when a few of those pitchers join the club, the Reds can rid themselves of Alfredo Simon. His presence on the roster tarnishes the team in more ways than one.

(This might be a bad time to mention our fund-raiser, but you can buy Redleg Nation t-shirts and jersey patches for a few more days.)

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! 69 Comments

  1. Well, it was just ONE game, and it’s over. Tim Melville seems like a really nice guy, but he does not have Major League stuff. Really, not even close. I hope this was his last start.

  2. In The Binder We Trust.

  3. Simon basically had the same line as his last start. He will keep being put out there to pitch because who else?.. But he had no idea where the ball was going. Yet again, Straily out pitched Melville. Please start him!

  4. I generally don’t make a habit of worrying about Votto, especially after he homers, but something like (literally) 50% of all his batted balls this year have been medium-to-weak ground balls to the right side.

    From my recollection, just about every time he talks about his swing being messed up it is accompanied by a glut of weak ground balls to the right side.

    Anyone else noticed this? I’m confident he’ll get it worked out in short order, but talking about Votto is more fun than talking about the state of this staff.

    • Votoo is being pitched to his only weakness which is the hard inside pitch. Martinez has Got to 0-2 but left one mid plate and Votto cranked it.

      • Good observation. He is definitely being pounded inside more often. He has talked in the past about trying to shoot inside pitches over the SS’s head into left-field. He’s done that once so far, I think. Perhaps he’ll attempt more of that.

    • I was on record early and often this year spreading the gospel of “if we are rebuilding, why in God’s name are we not shopping Votto?”

      The response I got was a tsunami of folks telling me, in words or substance, “don’t you realize what an amazing star this guy is and how much fans love watching him play, particularly now that he’s added antics to his repertoire, like imitating Lebron and not coming out on Opening Day for introductions when his name is called?”

      Well, guess what, Ringling Brothers Barnum & Homer Bailey called, and they’d like their star back.

      Steve grouses about certain folks being delusional about this team being a playoff contender this year. I’ll not back down from that perspective, but irrespective of whether we are or are not a playoff team this year, no fan who has seen Joey’s ABs this year can state honestly they believe Votto’s contribution to this club will likely be worth the sunk cost in the remaining years of his contract.

      If the Reds are serious about rebuilding, they have to convince Joey to accept a trade to a contender … just as the Cardinals had to accept that they had to let Albert Pujols go to another team in free agency.

      And look, I honestly don’t fault Walt for signing Joey to the deal he did. Prior to his injury, Joey was Mickey Mantle. I saw Joey hit a fastball around eye level out of the park and I was stunned. It was probably THE single most astonishing HR I have ever seen any MLB player hit … ever.

      But Tim K and Reds training staff destroyed Joey’s career by rushing his recovery, having him slide on a baggy, botching his surgery and forcing a second surgery. He’s never been the same player since.

      The medical staff has been awful. They delayed forcing Meso to undergo surgery and now the poor kid is a cripple. Dozens of kids are on the DL who are in their 20’s. Cozart can’t get well. Lorenzen is nowhere to be found. On and on its goes … with no accountability … just excuses.

      • There is a HUGE difference in letting a player walk and trading a $200 million player. There are few of any teams willing to take on that kind of contract and provide any kind of fair return. For to is going no where…

      • Look, you don’t have license here to spout uninformed, hurtful opinions.

        Example: “the medical staff delayed Mesoraco’s surgery and now the poor kid is a cripple.” You know that his current injury is on the other leg?

        Example: “the Reds training staff destroyed Joey’s career by rushing his recovery … he’s never been the same player since.” You must have missed his 2015 season, which was every bit as good as his 2010 MVP season.

        • First, I’m not in favor of shopping Votto, period. He’s just about the only reason I can find to go to the ballpark. Second, he has a full no-trade clause in his contract and he stated during the off-season that he has no interest in going elsewhere. What it would take to “convince” him to accept a trade, I don’t know and I hope the Reds don’t explore that with him either. It’s been speculated that with his relatively introverted public persona, a large market team is the last thing he would want. Most small market teams wouldn’t/couldn’t take on his contract anyway with this many years left on it, or at least that’s my thought.

          • Agreed. Votto put up a 7.5 WAR season in 2015. If he declines by 10-15%/year (standard aging curve assumption) he would still be a 5 WAR player in 2018, when presumably the Reds will be in full compete mode. That’ll be just short of $50 million in value, so well worth his $25 million salary. Those who say Votto can’t earn the outlying years of his contract don’t appreciate what a WAR costs on the open market these days. In 2015, Votto earned about $60 million and was paid $14 million.

        • Votto’s contract will go down as one of the great values. Perhaps the only 10-ish yr deal (Pujols, Cano, etc) that actually turns out overwhelmingly positive.

    • Hey PJ, I realize my memory isn’t the best but didn’t Votto do this a Spring or two ago as well? I seem to remember lots of inside pitches being handled poorly early in the season and then after he made the adjustment it was back to hammer time as usual.

  5. All great points here Steve. Its like the Reds know they won’t come close to competing with the Cubs, Cardinals, or Pirates and are content to just “play out” the year, and content to come close if not lose 100 games. The pitchers you named, were waived or not even given a chance to pitch by other teams, so the Reds are trying to just throw anybody out there, to just “play the game.” I hope they realize, the attendance will be down and they will not make much money this year.

    • Payroll is down 20 million, so in order to make even $1 less, attendance would need to drop about 700k from last year to 1.8 million. Given 9 home games against the Cubs, Opening Day and the 3 Pete Rose weekend games will be close to sold out,they only need to average around 21,000 for the remaining 68 games to crack 2 million. They’re not worried about making money this year.

    • The good news is the pitching is going to get better in the next couple weeks. The Reds were really slammed by injuries in the spring (Lamb, Lorenzen, Moscot, DeSclafani) to add with Bailey’s May return.

    • I’m not thinking (nor was I when the Reds were 5 and 1) that this team is a playoff contender this year, but really: 10 games into the season. Significant number of important pitchers rehabbing. Remember these things. Of course the whole staff is a poorly-sewn patchwork quilt right now, but what else could it be? The current situation is unlikely to hold for the rest of the season, as pitchers return to the rotation/pen. Votto will fix whatever is wrong, and Mes might even start contributing. It has a chance to be worth watching.

  6. pobrecitos los rojitos

  7. A loss is a loss, and this team was expected to lose often this season.

    So at least now they are finally playing down to their expectations.

  8. In the Reboot/Rebuild I trust. It’s a little early but wait till next year, or the year after.

  9. I think not only are the Reds not as good as they looked the first week at home; neither are they as bad as they have looked the last 4 games.

    In the end, I expect them to end up closer to 80 wins than 100 losses (if my quick math is accurate, that takes at least a 72-90 record).

    My caveats are that Bailey is able to contribute and isn’t flipped away if he runs off a hot streak upon his return; that at the AS break (or sooner) guys at AAA who are better than guys currently on the MLB roster not held back at Louisville for service time considerations (i.e. Stephenson, Reed, Peraza, Winker. possibly some relievers); that Meso gets healthy and plays at least 4/5 days a week; and of course that Votto stays healthy.

  10. My patience wears thin of the rebuild. Is it 2018 yet?

  11. “Those of a certain age may remember when the Reds were 5-1. You might also recall a few annoying, delusional souls who insisted the team’s record was evidence the rest of us were selling these Reds short. 5-1 was proof this was a post-season team we were watching.'”

    Remember back in the early SNL days when Dan Ackroyd would start his reply to Jane Curtain’s opening with the line “Jane you ignorant ….”

    I won’t go there. But I will offer this in response to my friend’s good-natured jab …

    Look, maybe this year’s team isn’t ready for prime time … but we don’t really know because the guy making out the lineup card and deciding who is playing where and who is in the starting rotation versus who is in the bullpen is either lobotomized or is doing a LOT of LSD before the game.

    We all recognize that this was supposed to be a development year. But what we have seen on this road trip is not development … it’s a clown show.

    For starters, Tim Melville is a great kid with a great story and frankly, I’m happy for him he’s gotten the opportunity to make it to the show, … I really am. I watched the Cardinals’ broadcast this evening for the first few innings, until I couldn’t stomach watching it anymore … and I heard the broadcasters’ recount Tim’s story. He’s a courageous kid and frankly, all things considered, lucky to be alive, given what he went through as a kid.

    But look, when you have a choice between having Tony Cingrani versus Tim Melville as your starter on Jackie Robinson Day, you don’t embarrass the club or its fans by putting a kid out there who all but wet himself in the first inning. You don’t do that to the kid and you don’t do that to the organization or its fans. It’s a tremendous insult to the fabric of this highly esteemed, highly accomplished organization.

    When I talked at the outset of the season about expectations, I was perfectly willing to concede that this was a development year. I don’t buy the service years argument because I believe, quite strongly, that when an owner makes a commitment to fans that it is his intention to bring championship baseball to the Queen and to be competitive every year, the fact that you may lose one year of player control to make good on that commitment is worth honoring your commitment to the fans. I didn’t make that commitment, Bob did. Everyone seems to forget that.

    Now, as far as this team and how it’s fared since it was 5-1 … look.

    Bryan Price said he wouldn’t move Hamilton to leadoff until he saw evidence Hamilton’s stick had improved to the point that he deserved to hit leadoff. We’ve seen no evidence of that, and yet Price moved him to leadoff. So Price, like Bob, made a commitment, and walked it back. That’s the facts.

    But the other thing I said when everyone said this is a development year was, irrespective of wins and losses, we need to play the game the right way. We need to see evidence that the coaches are emphasizing the fundamentals and are playing the game the right way … demonstrating high baseball IQ … throwing to the right baseball … running the bases well, etc.

    What we’ve seen on this road trip is the exact opposite. We see multiple base-running blunders, often by the same runners (read: Adam Duvall and, on occasion, Billy Hamilton). We see Reds’ batters consistently swinging on the first pitch, often balls, instead of forcing the opposing pitcher to throw strikes. We see Billy Hamilton getting on, and Suarez swinging on the first pitch, completely oblivious to the fact that if he simply took two pitches, Billy could be standing on third, but for the Reds’ coaches inexplicable refusal to give Billy the steal sign. The guy goes from 0 to 60 faster than a Tesla. The fact he doesn’t have the green light on every pitch every time he gets on base tells you everything you already know about what a poor manager Bryan Price is.

    Price was hired because he was supposedly the best pitching coach in baseball. About the only thing you really need your pitchers to do consistently is pound the strike sone. The only Reds’ pitcher who does so is Brandon Finnegan. He’s also the only Reds’ pitcher who works quickly. The rest of them dink and dunk and take more time between pitches than Jordan Spieth beween swings.

    Suarez is a very solid hitter, but it’s clear as mud at this point he simply doesn’t have the glove to play third. Can he play the infield? Maybe. But since we’re simply “developing,” this year, try developing the film and move the guy to second, move Cozart to third and Phillips to short. Or get Peraza up here.

    In Brandon Finnegan’s near no-no, Price has no one up in the 7th as Finnegan wilts well beyond his career high pitch count. Apparently Bryan was combing his hair or on the phone with his agent or something, but he has no one throwing. When he does emerge from his coma, he decides to get Caleb Cotham, whoever that is, and Cingrani up and working. The first batter a reliever pitches to is Fowler, a left-handed batter. Price summons Cotham … a complete head-scratcher, irrespective of what the stats say as to how Fowler hits against righties or lefties, you don’t summon a boy to do a man’s job.

    While I have been burned at the stake for suggesting that Stephenson should be here now, an owner who promised this city competitive baseball every year, wouldn’t hesitate to add Stephenson to the 25-man, particularly given the deplorable play of the Reds against the Cubs and Cardinals. Not bad play, deplorable … embarrassing really.

    There has to be a baseline on what you consider to be Reds’ baseline … and while I fully recognize that there are a bunch of guys coming off the DL soon, I simply do not accept the proposition that a team like the Reds should ever subject fans to this type of play ever … even in a rebuilding year.

    We’re the Cincinnati Reds … not the Newark Bears … and it would be really nice if we acted like we knew what that meant.

    • You have a fundamental misunderstanding of both the game of baseball and the business of baseball.

      • I am quite sure that I don not understand the business of baseball Chuck, but if you think what we’ve seen out of this team on the field in the last few games has anything to do with the game of baseball, then we will have to simply agree to disagree. And honestly, what I really don’t understand is, this is supposed to be a fanblog right? Not an apologist blog for Reds’ management .. or am I missing something? So I guess I don’t understand why there seems to be such an underlying fervent support for what we are seeing on the field. What I’m saying is, even if completely buy in to the rebuild plan, what I’m feeling is a vibe that says even if we embarrass ourselves for the rest of the year, you should be down with it, and be supportive of it if you’re a Reds’ fan because you need to take the long view. I’m not from that school and from the comments I’ve read a lot of other fans don’t enjoy watching the Reds embarrass themselves either. Rebuilding is fine. I get it. But if you love the Reds, its hard to get your head wrapped around bad baseball FROM A FUNDAMENTAL STANDPOINT … irrespective of whether we won or lost the game. That is, I believe, what’s leaving a bad taste in people’s mouths. And again, if you or someone else can explain the justification for starting Melville over Cingrani, I’m all ears. Respectfully.

        • The Toronto Blue Jays spent over 20 years in which they won between 75-85 games almost every year and didn’t make the playoffs once.

          Would you prefer
          ” not sucking” but rarely competing or sucking for a window of time in order to be better positioned for consistent playoff contention?

        • Once again, the comment threads are for a discussion of the Reds, not for characterizing this site. An apologist blog for Reds management?

          That’s strike two for you.

        • On the one hand you say folks here are being negative about the team but now you say there is an underlying fervent support? Which is it? This just sounds like you’re being contrarian for the sake of being contrarian.

          I’m not seeing any apologists now. I’m seeing an acknowledgement of reality. The team is rebuilding but the reinforcements aren’t coming anytime soon. So what you see being run out on the field is what you get. Nobody said you can’t complain about it. But you have to at least acknowledge what is going on here. Melville or Cingrani lead to the same result. Bad pitching. Billy hitting first or last leads to the same result. He’s not getting on base. Playing Suarez at third or second leads to the same result. He’s still going to have his struggles until he learns (if ever) to become a competent fielder. A woe that is madness indeed!

        • The Reds are playing .500 ball right now. The season is 10 games (out of 162) old. Many pitchers are injured. Not starting Cingrani is not evidence–not at all–of managerial incompetence. Rebuilds work pretty much the way this one seems to be, and, while I want to see competitive baseball, I want to see it every year, and ignoring service time is not the way to achieve that.

    • Why don’t you take a little time off to decide if this is a “development year” for the Reds or whether they are “playoff contenders.”

      On Cingrani: The Reds decided Cingrani fits best in the bullpen. Given his pitch portfolio, it’s impossible to argue with that. Cingrani is fine with that. Whether Cingrani or Melville is a better starter is not the point. Cingrani’s arm has been trained this spring to be a reliever, not a starter. And, you might want to check out his stat lines this year before you start comparing him to Clayton Kershaw.

      One last time (sigh): Dexter Fowler is a switch hitter. He is not a left-handed hitter. He hits considerably better from the right side so the correct match-up move was to bring in a right-handed reliever. If you’re going to post the same rant time and again, you might want to make sure you have the most basic facts correct.

      It’s a little rich to be offering such strident critiques of Bryan Price when your points are so ill-informed.

      • I think you called him out his Fowler argument in the Monday game thread. Kind of a head scratcher that he would not at least look this fact up.
        I get the Cingrani reliever point, but I cannot imagine they thought Mellville starting was a much better option than Strailey. At least flip-flop their roles, what exactly did Mellville do to ever warrant a promotion any way? I thought he had a pretty lousy spring.
        Not sure what I have missed but I assume Moscot starts tomorrow, who starts Monday- Simon’s turn and he pitched last night?

      • Ok this is painful … but I’ll bite Steve.

        First, remind me, because I’ve forgotten, what’s the Reds’ record under Bryan Price compared to the Reds’ record under his predecessor?

        Second, as to your assertion that Cingrani is chill with picking lint off his navel whilst Rome (or, in this case, Tim Melville) burns, look, you and I both know that Cingrani doesn’t fit best in the bullpen. Cingrani may be the only pitcher in MLB ever who could live on one pitch – his fastball. I haven’t studied it and I don’t know why and I don’t care. What I do know, is that anyone whose brain is detectably operational knows that Cingrani, for whatever his faults, would give the Reds a true MLB starter shot at winning 30-50% of the time. Tim Melville wouldn’t start for Moeller.

        As far as Fowler being a switch-hitter, I get it, but no one with a pulse would prefer to see Caleb versus Fowler over Cingrani versus Fowler. Caleb, like Melville last night, all but wet himself on the mound. He didn’t have a clue. You have to right after the guy and you have to pound the strike. Pitch to contact.

        My strident critiques of Bryan Price are based upon how the team performed under Dusty Baker versus how they have performed under Price and an assessment of how well the team executes the fundamentals of the game under Dusty versus how they execute under Price. Use any yardstick you’d like … Baker … who was a hall-of-fame player got the most of his players … Price … who never played … has run this team into Newport. That’s the fact, Jack.

        If that’s ill-informed, then you must be studying a different team.

        • You know, Cingrani has a record. You can look it up. It’s in the same place you find out that Fowler is a switch hitter. Cingrani’s 100 innings the past two years have been horrible (4.92 ERA, 5.07 FIP).

          That exact game that you refer to, the one you think Cingrani would have fixed, he pitched. He faced five Cubs. Cingrani gave up a run-scoring single to the first batter he faced. He also gave up a walk, a wild pitch and hit a batter. He gave up the two runs that were the winning margin for the Cubs. When he came in the game, the Reds were ahead 3-2.

          “Cingrani may be the only pitcher in MLB who could live on one pitch.” Sure would be helpful if you could back that up with anything. Cingrani’s record suggests otherwise.

          The differences between the Reds roster under Baker and under Price are night and day. Baker, who had a team loaded with All-Stars and Gold Glove winners in their prime won exactly zero post-season series. I’m not going to defend the job Price has done. But if I was going to attack him, it sure wouldn’t be on mismanaging this bullpen based on false claims about the handedness of hitters. Things you describe as “fact” are actually opinions.

        • Baker is not in the Hall of Fame.

        • Going on the assertion that people who didn’t play (in the Majors anyway) or had little MLB experience can’t handle the job, Walter Alston, Tommy Lasorda, Buck Showalter, Joe Maddon, Sparky Anderson, Tony LaRussa, Joe McCarthy (going back a few years), Whitey Herzog…shall I go on? Joe Torre was an idiot until he became the Yankees’ manager then he was a genius. Casey Stengel had one team with a .500 record prior to taking over the Yankees…same thing, suddenly a genius.

        • We get it you do not like Price, but comparing him to Baker is very short sighted. Simply ignoring the talent that was on the roster under Baker is one thing or ignoring before all the injuries caught up with them Price had a pretty good 1st half of 2014 after a horrid start with a bullpen the equivalent of this one. You do realize Baker is the only person to manage the Reds to 3 losing seasons since WW2!

          BTW bringing Cingrani in to face Fowler would have been the head scratcher considering the splits- still do not get why he did not have a righty ready to go after Ross’s hit- so it was a good point on that end

  12. Even Bryan Price, the apologist for this domestic disaster recognizes the unacceptability of this level of embarrassing baseball. Following this evening’s debacle he said this:

    “In order to do something, we’d have to take somebody off the roster and make a couple of roster moves. And that’s an option. Certainly getting beat 14-3 and 9-2 and those things – under any circumstances – can’t be tolerated long term, even if that long term is the first month of the season. We’ve got to be more competitive than this. And if not, we’ve got to find other opportunities for other people.”

    When Bryan Price, the propaganda minister for this amateurish level of play, is willing to wave the white flag, you know the club has jumped the shark.

    • You take a team in rebuild mode and then pull out like 5 of their top 8 arms due to injury and what do you expect? Not to mention you have Mesoraco and Cozart coming off major injuries and trying to get back in the flow. You also have no closer or setup man either? It takes time to sort these things out but they’re trying to find pieces….Straily looks pretty decent. Wood has a good arm! I’d make Wood the closer and see if Cingrani/Hoover can setup? Jumbo isn’t throwing 99 any more and that was all he had? Hoover has to be better than he’s been so far but you can’t trust him?

  13. My To Do List-for Saturday-(Revised) 1.Make sure to Cherish today for it will be the
    last day my beloved Reds are at 500 —2. Cancel MLB Subscription–3.Go to library
    to pick up lots of good summer reading material 4. Get to know my neighbors again
    5. It’s going to be a Long Hot Boring Summer—

    • I knew it was coming but it is still pretty frustrating. I have a couple of questions on the business of baseball.
      Do I recall correctly that Stephenson needed to stay down approximately 2 weeks to not start service time clock. And that the spot start did not affect that? Seemed to me that Bryant had to stay down a little longer last year… but would someone explain this?
      Lamb pitching a rehab start. So he is maybe 10 days out? Homer a couple of weeks. Finnegan, Iglesias and Moscot now in rotation.
      Need a starter on Monday in Simon’s spot. Can we give it to Stephenson and either send him back or let him throw until Bailey is back? His start looks pretty solid in comparison to what else has been thrown out there. His work last Wednesday for the Bats shows he wasn’t traumatized by his experience. Plus its his day in the rotation.
      Somebody has to take Melvilles spot. Can we do the same with Reed? Why hold these guys back if service time now not a consideration

      • Why are we talking about Stephenson’s service time clock? I feel like this blog has morphed into A Clock World Orange. Last time I checked, the Reds won the World Series in 1990 with a very simple formula … lead after six innings … then have three relievers who game set match the opposition. I’m quite sure Chad and Steve will push back and say it’s not that simple … but people … it’s just that simple.

        So how do we get there this year.

        The big easy. The Reds can make the playoffs this year if … the rotation looks like this …

        Robert Stephenson, Raisel Iglesias, Brandon Finnegan, Tony Cingrani and Cody Reed.

        The bullpen after the Reds lead in the sixth is Moscot, Amir Garrett, John Lamb-chops and Nick Travieso.

        The Reds DFA Brandon Phillips.

        The Reds recall Jose Peraza and make him their everyday SS. The Reds move Cozart to 3B.

        The Reds move Suarez to left field, Bruce to CF and insert Holt as their everyday RF.

        The Reds IR Meso and find someone to catch.

        The Reds fire Price and hire Bench.

        • You really should stop.

        • Stephenson could very well get rocked as an MLB starter. He definitely isn’t ready for the top of an MLB rotation right now. The guy hasn’t pitched much at AAA and wasn’t so great there. He needs to continue to work on his command. I think he has top of the rotation potential but until he can harness his stuff, he’s gonna be a so-so starter. I won’t even get started on my opinions of Cingrani as a starting pitcher. I just don’t see it. Sorry. Reed is probably closer than Stephenson. I could agree with you there if the Reds were going for it this year.

          Moscot is going to make the pen a ton better? He has so-so stuff and feels like a middle-reliever to me if he’s in the pen. Moscot’s best bet is the back of a rotation. I’d use him over Cingrani and let Cingrani get guys out in the pen. Garrett is going to be a good starter but probably isn’t ready for prime-time. Why put him in the MLB pen when it’s best for his development if he is working every 5th day as a starter in the minors? Lamb would be a very good bullpen pitcher but why relegate him to the pen when there’s a good chance he’ll be a more valuable starting pitcher? Don’t you want to see if he can start? Travieso? Travieso is going to make the pen better? He’s at least a year away due to the same issues that Stephenson has with command. Travieso would be a BB machine at the MLB level right now.

          Why DFA BP? He’s been rather productive so far this year and is still eb best option at 2B. Who plays 2B then? Peraza would be a decent choice perhaps but I’m not sure he’d be better than BP and you have him at SS. Which brings me to why would you want to move one of the best defensive SS in the league to 3B? The Reds did it with Tony Fernandez back in the day but they had some guy named Larkin to play SS and Larkin was one of the few guys with a better glove than Fernandez. Peraza didn’t even play SS much last year and there are questions about rather he can stick there. I think he can but we don’t know this. There is enough doubt that I’d be stunned if he’s better at SS than Cozart. So why move Cozart? If you want to put Suarez in LF (not a terrible idea) then why not just have Peraza play 3B? If you gotta play someone out of position at 3B shouldn’t it be the rookie? I’m so confused.

          Mes to IR? What’s IR? You mean the DL? Why? If he wasn’t ready, you could start Barnhart and bring Cabrera up as your 2nd catcher. I’ve seen nothing to suggest that Mes is done catching. His hip seems alright and in fact the quad that was bothering him was on his opposite side. If Mes can’t catch 4 times a week then maybe I could get on board with putting him on the DL but it’s very early and I’m not sure he can’t.

          Johnny Bench has absolutely NO DESIRE to manage. Neither does Joe Morgan. You need to hire a manager that actually wants to manage.

          What else you got?

    • I don’t think it is necessarily going to be a boring summer. If they get the pitchers now on the DL healthy, nobody else gets injured, and they don’t hold back the likes of Stephenson, Reed, Winker, and Peraza until September, I think it will be an interesting summer if perhaps not quite exciting.

      The pitching could be ready to compete by next season; but, they appear to have a long way to go to have competitive position players to match up with the window of their pitching.

  14. Isn’t Jason Marquis available? (ducks beneath table)

  15. Sadly the pitchers coming off the DL are NOT going to be sharp and will need time to get into the flow of big leagues. More of the same even then for a time.

    Hitting is/has been our largest weakness, and has not been fully addressed in the rebuild. Why they did not tear this line-up apart like they did the pitching is beyond me.

    • They actually had deals in place to trade Bruce and Phillips. It wasn’t like they didn’t try. Were you really expecting them to get the next Carlos Correia for Jay Bruce, Phillips, Frazier, Chapman? Anything they got back for Bruce, would likely be nothing special.

    • I agree with the pitcher’s coming off the DL. They’re going to need time.

      Per the hitting: we did try to address the rebuild with attempted trades of BP and Bruce over the winter.

    • The returning pitchers can’t be any worse than everybody we’ve been seeing not names Iglesias or Finnegan; and they should improve with every outing.

      In addition, I saw last night where Lorenzen is now “over” his bout with mono and starting to throw again. Given his issues to date, if they would just send him to the pen for this season that might turn out to be nearly as big as a positive bump as getting the starters back.

  16. Wow, I can’t wait until the Cavalry (DL’ed players) arrives! We will be fine when our pitching gets healthy and returns! We will overachieve according to what the media thought of us in the preseason reports.
    At least 3 of our starting rotation, maybe 4 will return in the next month or so and we’ll get back to winning baseball. Keep that faith!
    Go Reds!

    • Well, back to at least interesting and somewhat competitive baseball 🙂

    • I don’t know about “fine” or “winning baseball” but they will certainly be better than they stand right now.

  17. Let me add one final thought, I am going to make a donation to the blog because I sincerely believe this is the bristol of Reds’ blogs, but I need an address as I would prefer to donate anonymously. Is that possible?

    • Rebuilding is ugly. Smart teams manage the arbitration clock. Cingrani has proven he is not a starter. The question now is he a capable lefty set up man or a disappointing bust?

  18. I wasn’t really all that hopeful the team could make a surprise playoff run, but it was still exciting to win 5 of the first 6. It’d be nice to win a few against the hated Cardinals.

    Incidentally, I ponied up the change for one of the shirts (the one with Redleg Nation spelled through the player names). I love this site. Best Reds coverage on the ‘net.

  19. Is Alfredo Simon that bad? I think not. He had a bad start in cold weather. He’ll be fine and leading this team in wins if he continues to start.

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About Steve Mancuso

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

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Titanic Struggle Recap

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