Titanic Struggle Recap

Recap: Seen enough

Let’s hope the time has come for the Cincinnati Reds to quit giving Alfredo Simon innings. There’s simply nothing to be gained by keeping him in the rotation. Simon has been terrible more nights than he’s been tolerable. Matt Wilkes nailed it a couple weeks ago. Simon has been designated an innings eater but it’s really opportunity for other pitchers that he’ll be consuming.

The Reds should never have signed Alfredo Simon. Simon had a lousy year for the Tigers in 2015. His success with the Reds in 2013 and the first half of 2014 was BABIP-fueled and long in the past. Simon hadn’t been in any spring training camp, so he wasn’t ready physically. The Reds signed Simon because they were familiar with him. Hopefully the Simon contract is the final gasp of the in-group favoritism of the Walt Jocketty Era that produced, among other things, a steady stream of washed-up former Cardinals.

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Cincinnati 1  Cleveland 13  |  FanGraphs  |  Bullpen help on the way

Delabad Steve Delabar relieved Simon. He walked five of the six batters he faced, including walking in four runs. “This is as bad as it’s been,” said Chris Welsh. “You have to go back to junior varsity to see anything like this.” Reminder that Delabar is a well-known control problem guy. If he could throw strikes at will, he’d still be an All-Star with the Blue Jays.

Lorenzen Role Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Zach Buchanan tweeted today that the Reds are considering bringing Michael Lorenzen back in the bullpen instead of a starter. Lorenzen has been sidelined with a strained elbow ligament and mononucleosis. The Reds put Lorenzen on the 60-day DL which means he is eligible to return on June 2. Lorenzen started 21 games for the Reds in 2015 and made 7 relief appearances. Mark Sheldon’s report.

78 thoughts on “Recap: Seen enough

  1. Agreed. I’d rather watch anyone in the entire Reds system pitch than Alfredo Simon.

  2. What is the update on when Stephenson/Reed/Winker/Peraza hit service time status. Once they’ve passed the 2016 magic hour…they need to come up for good. Are the Reds going to discount ticket prices since they aren’t playing professional baseball?

    • All except Peraza can be brought up now and still get the extra year of control, but they would still likely be Super Two eligible at this point

    • They are definitely running a lot of ticket specials. They are going to need to run more if they want to attract any fans really. This is just awful.

  3. The St. Louis catcher Tim McCarver once said that Bob Gibson was the luckiest pitcher he ever caught because Gibson always pitched on nights when the other team was not hitting. In a similar vein, the Reds are the unluckiest team I have ever seen. They are always facing a pitcher on a night when he has good control.

  4. While the results of this season are difficult for fans and players to swallow, my greatest concern this early in the season is what appears to me a lack of competitive spirit or fire amongst the players.

    While less than emotionally intelligent, I’d love to see a player throw something in the dugout or break his bat out of frustration. Or more reasonably, attempt to rally his fellow players. Would love to see one of the players expected to be here in 2018 take the lead on this and instill an attitude of resilience.

    Maybe one of them has but the view from my tv seems like an aura of defeated acceptance has surrounded this team. Have anyone else noticed otherwise?

    • Seems to me there has been quite a bit of resilience shown by the position players; or, some might call it trying to lead by example. 9 times they’ve given their bullpen a lead into the 7th or later and seen it frittered away. Just in the last week to 10 days there have two or three 4 nil early leads generated and subsequently blown, most recently in Monday’s debacle, Until the last two nights there had even beern a run of stable starting pitching. This pen is simply put as bad as it pitches from top to bottom almost every night.

        • The offense has certainly been inconsistent at least in that it has let a number of “add on” opportunities go by the boards.

          I tend to write it off to Price’s bias toward pitching when he cites that the offense did not maximize opportunities in the aftermath of a pen meltdown that has frittered away a multirun lead.

          Another thing to consider is that other team’s pens are not as bad as the Reds; and, once a starter is routed, they are often able to hold the line.

    • Getting your team fired up is good. Throwing and kicking things in the dugout? Bad. Sorry, just bad and it does nothing for your team.

      I would be finding it very hard to play under the current conditions. As a position player or starting pitcher, I’d have to think there was nothing I could do to help in a win. I’d be playing for my own stats and not to embarrass myself. As a catcher, I’d throw fingers down, especially when the bullpen is out there and just hope for the best. They don’t have the skill to execute a gameplan at the MLB level.

      This is putrid. The only reason I watched past when Simon was yanked was I was at BWW with my daughter and it was on. It’s hard to watch. Can you imagine trying to play and win baseball games? The players have to hate this. Even Joey has been terrible.

      • Very likely that he is back in Cincinnati on Wednesday, assuming Price returns to the 8-man bullpen as planned.

        • I hope so. He’s better than most in there and that’s a pretty bad indictment against the pen.

    • Yeah, and I’m worried that he’ll come back too soon in a weakened state and blow out his arm trying to compensate.

    • Sheldon said tonight on his Reds radio sound byte that Price told them Lorenzen had thrown a couple of bullpens recently and from what Price had heard was probably about where a guy would be when he came into camp for the start of spring training. I’d suppose that means, barring any “setbacks” that he is still a month away from MLB action as a reliever.

      • So… he’ll be ready by August.

        In all seriousness, thanks for the info.

        • Yes, at one point late in April, Price said that based on what Bailey had done up to that time, they could have had him ready for opening day.

          I read that Dr. Kremchek was personally running Bailey’s recovery/ rehab (believe Bailey was quoted to that effect in an article). DrK had Bailey on a 1 year post op to competitive pitching schedule which in itself was considered somewhat aggressive. After the setback, Bailey and Kremchek conferred with other Docs and trainers and put Bailey on a more typical program aimed at a soft target of ~14 months to return.

          Not connected to Bailey specifically, I came across an article which said there was data indicating that relapse to a 2nd TJ surgery was much higher for pitchers coming back in less than 14 months than in those taking 14 months or longer.

  5. You are right, Steve, and I was wrong. Simon has no place on the team. He should be cut. No other team will pick him up. He has nothing left. Eat the money and release him. Or send him to the minors to play only a fill-in role–but first get him off the 40-man roster. It’s well past the time where management needs to view the investment as lost money that cannot be recovered. So be it. Let someone else, ANYONE ELSE, take his place.

    • Why not let Simon give the bullpen a shot? Why pay him to do nothing when he probably is better than most of the guys in the pen?

  6. As I said before, this rebuild/reload/remake/retool process is just boring and discouraging, it’s totally out of wack. Watching at players like Simon, Delabar, DeJesus, Pacheco taking innings instead of younger, under development guys just does not make sense. Also they should bring a manager more enthusiastic and energetic, willing to experiment and take more risks.

    • That’s the problem with the current CBA. It encourages teams to leave top talent in AAA for the first two months of the season in order to gain an extra year of control and avoid Super-2 status down the road. The way the draft works is screwed up as well. It encourages rebuilding teams like the Reds to tank rather than be semi-competitive.

      Whenever players such as Alfredo Simon, Tim Melville, Jordan Pacheco, and the entire Reds bullpen (aside from Cingrani) take roster spots over MLB-ready prospects such as Stephenson, Reed, Peraza, and Winker, that’s a problem.

      MLB needs to change the rules to discourage teams from doing this. One way to do this regarding the draft would be to shuffle the draft order following the season. Either make it completely random, or put teams in two tiers based on record. The best fifteen teams would be shuffled and draft 16th-30th, while the worst fifteen would be shuffled and draft 1st-15th. Teams wouldn’t know where they draft until after the season is over. That would give rebuilding teams like the Reds incentive to remain semi-competitive and keep fans semi-interested. As long as they remain in the bottom 15, their draft position wouldn’t be affected.

      • Leagues such as the NBA and NHL have long since pretty much resolved the tanking for draft position. They’ve even created a marketing opportunity from the lottery which assigns draft positions to the bottom dwellers.

        Super 2 itself was an attempt by the PA to blunt the effect of holding guys in the minors just to save MLB service time.

        My opinion is that it is going to require some sort of scheme which financially penalizes the lowest finishing teams to put an end to the baseball tanking. I’m a soccer fan, so I call it financial relegation.

      • I like your proposed idea of a draft where the best 15 teams randomly get a pick betweeen 16-30 and the worst 15 get a pick 1-15. Good way to ensure that rebuilding teams still get better draft picks while still encouraging rebuilding teams to field a semi competitive team.

    • I wouldn’t necessarily lump DeJesus into the category of someone taking innings from a younger player. There is a real necessity to have a veteran, usually defense-first utility infielder on your roster and DeJesus seems to fit this role better than other recent disasters (Wilson Valdez and Ramon Santiago come to mind). But yes, Simon, Delabar and Pacheco shouldn’t be taking opportunities from these young players at least past the Super 2 cutoff.

  7. The Reds announcers last night….”Oh Delabar just loves to talk pitching”….lol. I love to talk about the Indy 500 but that’s doesn’t mean people wouldn’t die if they put me into an Indy car? The guy walked more people across than a school crossing guard! Twins down 8-0 last night….fought back to 8-7. Braves down 9-0 tonite…fought back to 11-9. The Reds get down 4-0….they fight back to 13-1….lol. Some of the guys are having good starts offensively but this has to be the worst pitching I’ve ever seen? Eric Milton and Majweski the Mullet man look like aces compared to these clowns. I long for the days of Captain Cholesterol (fat guy that would race in from the pen just to serve up rockets…can’t remember his name?). Its comical how bad they are!!

    • Todd Coffey….actually career era of 4.10 would make him a God among men. They should go find him in Mexico. He’s only 36…..6’4 240….lol….which thigh?

  8. Every time I see a goat, I think of Milton. That pic says it all! Talk about making the most out of a bad situation.

  9. Everybody in this bullpen is worse than the next. There’s a real brotherhood of ineptitude, going on there. The very least the Cincinnati Reds organization can do, for the real fan, is mic & broadcast that bullpen, in-game. I’d actually pay $ to hear what all those guys are conversing about, game-by-game.

  10. “What’s our record?”

    “15-24”

    “15-24. How’d we ever win 15?”

    “Its a miracle.”

    • In all honesty, if the bullpen was even semi-competent (which they clearly aren’t at this point) and we would stop handing Simon and Adleman the ball every 5th day, this team could be at or above .500 right now. The offense has been pretty solid, as have Finnegan, Iglesias and Straily in the rotation. Get Iglesias and Disco healthy, Stephenson in the majors, and Lamb, Lorenzen, Moscot, and/or Finnegan in the bullpen at some point this year (Iglesias, Disco, Stephenson, Bailey, Lamb/Finnegan would be the ideal rotation, with Straily also returning to the ‘pen) and I’d love to see what this team could do.

      • Not sure Iglesias will be healthy. I know that sounds sad but I panic a bit when I hear shoulder and pitcher in the same sentence. I’ll believe it when/if he comes back and has no more injury issues the rest of the season.

  11. How can any group of guys who survived the winnowing process of the minors to get far enough to have a shot at being in MLB be so universally bad as this Reds bullpen?

    I understand that just about all these guys had known significant flaws going in; but, for them as a group to be so bad on a consistent basis leaves me wondering if there is any preparation, after performance review, or remediation work that goes on at all.

    Other than this I’m feeling about speechless after watching the last two nights on top of the previous 6 weeks.

  12. On the beat reporters’ radio bit Tuesday, Mark Sheldon (@_msheldon) reported that Disco said he felt better after his most recent bullpen than at anytime since he first felt the injury at spring training. This last bullpen was basically a simulated game. He warmed up then threw 20 pitches, sat for a few minutes then threw 20 more etc. I missed the total number of pitches he threw but I’m thinking it was said it amounted to 3-4 “innings”.

    However it sounded to me like they are really low speeding Disco at this point as he told Sheldon he wasn’t sure if the next step would be another bullpen simulated game or perhaps a “live” batting practice session, i.e. it did not sound like he thought the next step was going to be a rehab start.

  13. Ok, I’m curious: What does advance stats have to say about what sort of effect managers have on the game of baseball? Is there any proven correlation between “good” managers and winning teams? Is there any proof that “good” managers aren’t just “lucky” managers because they get handed teams full of superstars?

    Because I think we have tons of evidence that Price is not a “good” manager, no matter if he’s managing a team of nobodies or a team of superstars. I firmly believe if Price were managing the Cubs, they would be only a few games over .500 instead of 17 over like they are now. This is purely based on the “eye test” and has no statistical basis whatsoever, which is why I’m curious if anyone has any statistical insight to add to it.

    Price is not the right guy to have in charge for this rebuilding/retooling. He is mis-managing his pieces almost on a nightly basis, does not demand (or at least does not act on) accountability, his teams play with no fire, no energy, no passion.

    I know this Reds team had very little chance of even being respectable, but I at least want to see progress and the right foundations being laid. I’m not seeing that at all. It’s really hindeing my ability to be optimistic about the future of this team.

    • Casey Stengel and Joe Torre must have been awful managers until they took over the Yankees at which point they became brilliant. No manager could make this team competitive with this pitching staff. I think Maddon and Showalter are very good managers but some of that is related to the atmosphere they create that allows good players to perform. My opinion (not based on any data) is that managers have a marginal impact on the outcome of games based on their on-field decisions but the bigger impact is in how they manage the 25+ personalities in the clubhouse.

    • Accountability: Price: “Delabar, you were really awful. You gotta start locating your pitches.” Delabar (hangs his head): “Yeah, Skip. You’re right. I’m bad. Bad, bad, bad.”

    • There really hasn’t been much in-depth study of managers because so much of how a manager is perceived is based on W-L, and that, of course, is a byproduct of how good your players are.

      Some people are suggesting a “good manager” will outperform his team’s BaseRuns estimates, or Pythagorean W-L estimates. But really, that’s mostly just variance based on hit sequencing and LOB luck.

      Some people suggest that by using optimal lineups and by optimal bullpen usage, a “good” manager can eek out 4-5ish more wins a season than someone who sticks to “old school” lineup management and set bullpen roles.

      Regardless of your stance, I don’t think there will ever be much quantifiable data/evidence to be able to actually say if a manager is helping or hurting.

      • Yes, it’s extremely hard to quantify. Then you have to weigh it against the intangibles. Dusty Baker is a horrible on-field manager. It cost his teams games both in the regular season and the post-season. However, he’s widely regarded as an excellent manager because of how he handles his players and how they generally perform for him. Everyone is going to have their own opinions on that but I’m on the side that believes, especially for a manager, those intangebles may be even more important than how he plays the odds. Of course there are guys who are great at both (Maddon) and ideally you want one of those guys!

      • Patrick: I had pretty much heard the impact of a “good manager” was minimal, in the 2-4 game range so 4-5 seems sensible. It really boils down over a long season to how good your players are, and how healthy your good players are. In post season short series, it may play out differently or a mistake in strategy will look much larger because of the cost (losing a playoff series).

    • Joe Torre had a horrible record with the Mets, Braves and Cardinals….and then once he inherited Jeter, Williams and Rivera he became smart.

      Sparky Anderson lost 103 games with the 1989 Tigers. Joe Maddon lost over 90 games with the Rays. Bruce Bochey’s record in San Diego looked a lot like Bryan Price’s. Lou Pinella won with good teams…lost with bad teams. Mike Scoscia was a genius until his talent level dropped off.

      Sparky Anderson loses about 98 games with the 2015 Reds. Bryan Price wins about 108 games with the 1975 Reds.

      If managers were important they wouldn’t be so easily replaced.

    • I wrote this piece on Price last year, you might find it interesting. https://redlegnation.com/2015/07/16/the-evolving-game-of-bryan-price/

      There have been some studies of the impact of managers (http://journals.humankinetics.com/AcuCustom/Sitename/Documents/DocumentItem/15806.pdf) and plenty of smart people have tried to break down all of the things that a manager controls in a game to develop clear metrics for managers.

      One way to think about it is to just take the stats of all the players, use modeling to predict how many runs they should score per game and how many runs they should allow per game, Then you calculate how many games they should have won based on the projected run differential, and compare that to the actual record.

      You could say that the job of a manager is to get the most out of the talent he has to work with, and if the production is less than expected, he is doing a bad job.

      The problem with that approach is that (and some people hate to hear this) baseball results are dependent on chance.

      Say you’re the manager, and the other team has second and third and two outs, and your pitcher gets a ground ball that just ticks off the second baseman’s glove and into the outfield and two runs score and you go on to lose. Across town, the same situation happens in your rival’s game, but the ground ball was literally one centimeter closer to the second baseman and he gets the third out, and they go on to win.

      Under the analysis model I described, the difference in that outcome would be reflected in your managerial score. But to say that differences in those two games was anything but chance is a mistake, and that’s one reason it is very difficult to quantify the impact a manager has.

  14. Frankly, at this point it’s hard to determine who in the bullpen is just lousy, and who has a tired arm. They have been used so much due to the low number if innings from the starters, that some of these guys (Cotham, in particular) may just be run down.
    It’s almost a good thing that Price dislikes Cingrani, because he is about the only one that has not been overused.
    I also think that Prices’s days are numbered, and would be surprised if he is not fired by July 1. The Reds are notoriously cheap about sunk costs, and will probably hold onto both Price and Simon due to the money still owed them, beyond what another organization would do in a similar situation.

  15. To JJ Hoover: Please come back, All is Forgiven, We never really meant
    those terrible things we said about you, I will personally pick you up at
    the airport in a shiny new limo,drive you to the ballpark, and dinner
    is on me.

  16. As I said on the other thread.. if we don’t have some changes made today in the makeup of the staff… we have problems deeper than I originally thought.
    I guess one of the main questions is whether Super 2 status is relevant to guys like Daniel Wright as it is Peraza, reed, Stephenson.
    I am hopeful we see
    Jumbo Diaz, Chad Rogers and Daniel Wright today. Perhaps Moscot also.
    Although no one really thought Bailey would be a factor by now.. injuries to Disco, Iglesias and Lamb really put us behind the 8 ball.
    I am hopeful we have seen the last of Simon and Delabar.

    • Although I just realized Wright started Monday night. More bad timing.
      Rogers and Diaz today. Perhaps Moscot.

  17. Methinks that we have been entirely unfair to the (comparatively speaking) noble, oft-maligned dumpster by comparing a smoldering one with this bizarro cast of discard pile specials, has been’s, never-were’s, and open-arm night improv competitors.

    Reminds me of my brief days living in Houston in the 1970’s. Each day’s baseball preview in the paper would have the Astro pitcher of the day “twirling,” “slinging,” “hurling,” “zinging,” etc., while the opponent arm would never do anything better than “throw.” (“Don Gullett throws for the Reds tonight.”) I’m not sure many of our staff have quite graduated to “throw.”

    Today’s Reds pitching staff history lesson: The year: 1034, in honor of the Big Pasta’s 10.34 season ERA…Scottish king Mael Coluim dies and his son Donnchad I of Scotland inherits the throne. (Channel your inner Donnchad, Big Pasta.) The Battle of Hastings is still 32 years down the road and dark times continue in the U.K. as they do in the QC today. We have a lot of Dark Ages ERA’s on this staff with whom to visit history.

  18. I would like a refund from the ML television package. As a Reds fan, last night was about the end. I was late getting home and the Reds were already down 7-0. Then…something I’d never seen….the SAME PITCHER was allowed to walk in 4…. 4 !!!! consecutive runs.
    I told my wife that MLB needs to institute a mercy rule !!!!

    If you match the Reds lineups of staring players with those of many teams – including the Indians – man for man, I’d rather have the Reds. However, we don’t play hard, we are fundamentally unsound and there are unacceptable defensive lapses…sometimes from former Golden Glovers…that are unacceptable. Now…the pitching is another issue. It is absolutely brutal. I am not enthusiastic about the future and I plan on shutting down this season…unless…ahhhhh..the everlasting HOPE !!!

  19. The Big Pasta was serving up some big meatballs last night. I don’t think I have ever seen a MLB pitcher throw so many pitches belt high out over the middle of the plate in one outing as Simon did last night.
    For my TV’s sake, I’m glad I took the dogs out for our walk when they took Simon out. I couldn’t have handled Delabar’s debacle.
    Time to cut bait on both Simon and Delabar. If they are going to carry 8 pitchers for the bullpen, then the bench needs a little help by dropping Pacheco, too.

  20. The difference I see is that when the Cubs rebuilt, they had a swagger about them, like, “Hey we’re going to suck, but just you wait a couple years, and we’ll see whose laughing then.” With this organization it is more of a, “eh, well I guess we’ll tank to rebuild and see”. Definite merit to building a culture of winning, something our current squad doesn’t have. I know Price is the manager and that comes with a different set of responsibilities, but how could a former (and probably still) manager have such an atrocious bullpen is beyond me. Looking at what we did with players like Manny Parra (for a year or two) makes me wonder why we haven’t found a diamond in this very low quality crap of a bullpen.

    • former pitching coach not former manager, although soon he’ll be a former manager.

    • Epstein and Ricketts were very confident and transparent about what they were doing. The Chicago Media…by year 3…was all over them. They took more heat than Bob C, Walt, Williams will ever see…..and they didn’t care.

  21. Honestly, when it comes to the Simon signing, I wasn’t thrilled but could live with it. It seemed low risk and sometimes the stats don’t tell the whole story (although they usually do). Even in his bad year and a half, he consumed innings. It was reasonable to assume that he could continue to do, at least that much. We also don’t know if the Reds’ staff spotted something in his delivery that they might have thought they could fix. It’s hard to know all the reasons but Steve is likely right that familiarity was one of them.

      • I wonder if Price actually believed that statement when he made it. I wish he would say something more accurate like “We know what he did in 2014 and we know what he did in 2015. We’re hoping he’s the 2014 guy and not the 2015 guy. It’s worth the risk for a few million bucks.”

      • I could forgive the comment as generic manager speak except for the well documented (at least here) track record of going back to the familiar. They could have made the same gamble on players with arguably better odds. It was not the worst move in the world, I think it is now clear they knew that the pitchers would be missing much more time than originally anticipated and they would need something, but it just falls into such a familiar bad relationship pattern.

  22. Go find a couple of career minor leaguers and run them out there to eat up innings. At least no one will expect solid pitching and if we get it, hey, wow, nice.

    I recall various SP’s over the my lifetime that every year had an ERA north of 5.00, but for SOME reason keeps getting signed and inserted into a rotation, for a decade in some cases. Sorry, there HAS to be some 28 year old at AA or high A you can call up and give him the excitement of playing in the show.

    It’s like hiring, over and over, an artist over and over that can’t paint, or a delivery person that gets into a wreck every trip. Sigh.

  23. Heck, someone joked about fan tryouts, but at this point, WHO CARES. Have a local tryout and select a couple of people to sign on one-day contracts and have them pitch for at least one innning (and more if they turn into Kershaw).

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