2016 Reds / Ask Me Anything

Ask Me Anything

You have questions. We have answers.

On occasion, Doug answers all your questions about the minor leagues (both here and at his excellent site), so I thought it might be fun to steal his idea. Please don’t tell Doug.

So here’s the deal: ask us questions. About the Reds or anything else. The editors are going to be checking in here all day, and we’ll do the best we can to answer every single question. There may be some times during the day that I’m busy, but I promise I’ll check in often and answer everything (and when I’m not available, other editors will be around to chime in). Let’s hear your questions.

Here are the ground rules (again, stolen shamelessly from Doug; go read his site so that he won’t be mad at me):

  1. Try to avoid questions that will require us to look up answers (such as: Who was the last guy to steal 25 bags and hit 25 home runs in the system).
  2. Try to avoid overly long answer-type questions. We will try to give thorough and detailed answers as it is, so please don’t have us type out a novel.
  3. Each user can ask up to three questions.
  4. Ask your questions before 8PM and we will be sure to answer it. If you ask after 8PM on Thursday, then no guarantees!

So start asking questions, okay? And when I say you can ask about anything, either Reds-related or otherwise, I mean it. If it doesn’t violate our commenting guidelines, I’ll try to answer it, even if it’s something the other editors won’t touch. 🙂

158 thoughts on “Ask Me Anything

  1. How do you know if something is worth writing about?

    What is the most difficult moment for you as a Reds fan?

    What will the sport of baseball look like in 50 years?

    • 1. Mostly if it’s something that interests me. I’m a Reds fan, so if a topic is interesting to me, I’m hopeful that it will be interesting to others.

      Also, I’m always on the watch for players that I think are underrated by Reds fans in general. I like making the case for guys who I think are better than the conventional wisdom says they are.

      2. There haven’t really been very many difficult moments for me as a Reds fan. It’s baseball, it’s not life or death. I just try to enjoy it.

      That said, the grand slam in Game 5 of the 2012 Division Series wasn’t a fun moment.

      3. I don’t know if we’ll have robot umps in 50 years, but there are two things I’m sure about:

      –the players will be much better than today’s players, but we’ll all be saying that the game was better in our day; and
      –Joey Votto will still be able to hit .270.

  2. Price & Reds upper mgmt told us to look for the small victories this year so I guess that’s what I’m doing. I was looking at the MLB standings and I noticed that the Reds are currently tied for the best record by a team in last place (w/ TB). With all the talk I heard earlier about the Reds getting another high draft pick this coming off-season I couldn’t help but wonder something. So I’ll ask you: Do you think that there are Reds fans out there who’re a little disappointed in how well the Reds are doing this 2nd half BCUZ of the fact that we’ll keep dropping in the draft order and won’t get as high a pick?

    • I’m sure there ARE Reds fans who feel that way, and I can’t say I blame them. Getting a high draft pick is a valuable piece to the rebuilding puzzle.

      That said, I watch every Reds game, so I prefer it when the Reds win.

      • Chad, thanx. I just found it ironic bcuz the Reds are doing well this second half and we all want the Reds to do well, even if it’s a rebuilding year (or years), which could be an indicator that we might be a little ahead of schedule for the next good Reds team. In order for the Reds to get that high draft pick, they would have to start playing badly again, and it’d be like these fans are rooting for the Reds to do badly, lol. AGAIN, I understand that this is and always was going to be a lost year, but that don’t mean that we can’t be happy that they’re playing so well.

    • ME! I see no difference in winning 40 games or 70 games if neither gets you in the playoffs, other than lowering your odds of landing a study prospect next June. I get some think it can build momemtum for next year, though I would guess that impact is very low. I do think one or two players might be extra motivated to improve with a taste of success, but really they ALL should be motivated to improve, even more if they lose 100 games.

      That said, a top 3 pick doesn’t guarantee a study prospect. It increases the liklihood of course. If they have good scouts and use a bit of computer stat crunching, they can land the best player in the draft at pick 5 or 8 or 12. Unfortunately, the Reds have VERY rarely landed one of the top 3 gems of first rounds the past 30 years. Fairly average first round success (at best) I would say.

    • Yes. If his recent improvement is durable, I don’t think anyone would be against it. Even if it reverts to previous form, Hamilton is exactly the kind of player this organization values. His defense in CF is valuable.

      • About two months ago, Bill James, on his pay-website, created a “Player Growth and Sustainability Profile (PGSP).” I won’t try to restate it here, but it was a fascinating deep dive as to what factors predict best future improvement in an offensive player. Age was, obviously, an expected and key finding (the younger the MLB, the highest expected growth) but the other two (yet most critical yet less-intuitive) factors were 1) speed and 2) switch hitting. BH, obviously, fits these categories perfectly. It gave me great hope for his future and, coincidently, he HAS made huge strides during 2016. He’s a keeper.

    • I’m Billy Hamilton’s biggest fan, so my inclination is to say yes. But really, that’s going to depend on when the next good Reds team is. If it’s 2018 or 2019, yes, I think Hamilton will be a valuable contributor.

      My fear re: Hamilton, however, is that, unless he improves his on-base ability substantially, his skills won’t age well. One bad knee injury, and he goes from being Superman to just another guy.

      • You’re right, of course, but this is really true of any player, isn’t it? A bad knee injury derails anybody. BH, because of his style of play, may be more prone to it,but all players put great stress on their knees. Shoulders, ankles, wrists, hands and elbows, too.

    • As always, if the price and length of deal is right. No more 10 year contracts. I know Votto is a very good player and will earn all of it, but if he gets injured and then you sign Hamilton to a seven year deal and he blows out a knee…well, you get the point.

  3. What is the story with Yorman Rodriguez? Do you see them cutting bait with him and Juan Duran after this season?

    • I’ve had very little faith in either Yorman Rodriguez or Juan Duran since the beginning. They were kinda like lottery tickets. If one of them panned out, it was going to be awesome, but there was always the chance they’d flame out.

      Rodriguez is still just 24, and I could see him putting together a little career as a backup outfielder. I’d be very surprised if he were anything more than that. But we’ll know soon. He’s out of options, so when he’s healthy, he’ll have to be placed on the big league roster.

      I actually started to get hopeful about Duran after he had a good year in high-A ball a couple of years ago. After the PED suspension, he’s not on my radar any more.

    • Yorman has been injured most of this season and is on a rehab assignment now. I doubt they cut bait with YRod at this point. He has shown too much when not injured for them to cut him.

      He is probably a better option than Tyler Holt right now and arguably has more upside than Schebler and is younger. I suspect he will play some for the Reds this season in September, and they will keep him on the roster next year. 24 year olds with lots of tools and solid minor league production aren’t typically guys to give up on.

      I don’t believe in Juan Duran much at all. Power is legit, but the lack of plate discipline is too big an issue to overcome.

  4. 1. I’ve seen in a few places people write Straily off as moving back to the pen next year. How is it justifiable to move your best 2016 starting pitcher to the bullpen the very next year (unless he implodes in his last 8 or so starts)?

    2. Questionable Ohlendorf use aside, Price is showing that he can win some games when he has healthy pieces. His 25 game under, next to last at the all star break team hasn’t shown quit, and they’re still seemingly grinding it out to win games. Thoughts on if the Reds may give a year extension?

    3. Cody Reed made his MLB debut about 2 months ago, so about 60 days service time. If he struggles during Sept call up time, and is so-so in spring training next year, could the Reds conceivably play the service time game again next year and get the 2023 season under team control?

    • I’ll take a shot at #2.

      Usually, neither the team nor the manager favors a 1-year extension. The team wants continuity. The manager wants security and credibility in the clubhouse. But the 2017 Reds could prove to be a unique circumstance where interests align to produce a 1-year extension for Price.

      From Price’s side, he may be willing to take a short contract because it’s the only opportunity he would have to manage. Elsewhere, he’d be a pitching coach. Even if it’s clear to him that he won’t be the manager for the next good team, he might still want the job.

      From the club’s side, it depends on how good they think the team will be in 2017. If they believe they’ve got the “next good team” nearly assembled and are ready to launch, no way they keep Price around. They’ll try to find the person they want to lead the team the next 3-5 seasons. IF on the other hand, they think 2017 is going to look more like 2016, Price on a 1-year contract makes sense. He’s a familiar face. They have him over a barrel, so he’s likely to take a 1-year deal when no one else would. Why spoil the first year for the manager of the “next good team”?

      Barry Larkin may have to wait another year. (And if he is the guy, I wish he would spend 2017 managing a minor league club.)

      The only question I have about Price staying on is whether he is the right person to manage a transition team. Will he be willing to play younger players at the expense of the veterans? He proved this year that he isn’t. The club can solve that problem by getting rid of the veterans. We called that Dust-proofing in the previous regime.

    • I’ll take #1. I know why you are asking it that way, and I get why people would want Straily in the rotation next year. I feel very strongly that he should go to the bullpen for a couple reasons.

      1. They have far better arm talent ready to take over. Between Stephenson, Reed, Lorenzen (read my article today!), Iglesias, Finnegan, and Garrett, Add three of those players to Bailey and DeScafani and you have a pretty good rotation. I believe in the upside of every single one of those guys over Straily.

      2. Straily’s 4.98 xFIP is concerning. Yes, he has pitched well and that’s great! But he has outperformed his peripherals by quite a bit.

      Give me the much, much better arm talent that needs experience over Straily. Again, I understand the argument for Straily; I just don’t think it’s too compelling.

    • On #1 (Straily): It depends on how you evaluate pitchers. First off, he’s not been better than DeSclafani or Bailey. Iglesias, if he’s a starter. Second, the stats I look at are K%, BB% and GB% to figure out how he’ll do going forward. By those numbers, he hasn’t been that good. (Ex: his xFIP is 4.96.).

      If you have Bailey and DeSclafani for sure, and Reed, Stephenson, Garrett, Lorenzen, Lamb, maybe Iglesias and Finnegan, it’s easy to see Straily not in the top 5.

      If it were my team, I’d give Straily a shot next spring, but I wouldn’t be looking at ERA to judge his performance. I like him as a reliever, one who could throw multiple innings.

      • Isnt it a basic way of thinking for a pitcher to throw strikes,to avoid walks,and let the fielders behind you make plays?
        The criticism of Straily is that he does exactly that.I think he has had a terrific yr.by those standards.He seems to dig deep in critical situations and somehow gets batters out when he needs too.I’m not sure that makes him more viable as a starter or a guy to bring into games in tough situations.Either way I feel this guy has pitched as well as anyone,certainly anyone in a Reds uni,this season and should be rewarded accordingly.Just my 2 cents which usually are only worth a penny.

    • I guess I’ll take #3. Yes, the Reds could. No, I don’t expect that to happen.

      Unless he’s injured, Reed will be in the Reds rotation all season long next year. He’s going to have to sink or swim at the big league level eventually. He has already dominated AAA and spring training. At some point, we have to see if he can get MLB hitters out.

      And I’m still confident that he can be a really good pitcher.

    • I agree with what both Nick and Steve said about Straily’s situation.

      With that said, I think he will start next year in the rotation. Between injuries, lack of performance, and minor league service time shenanigans, I bet Straily makes the cut as the 5th starter.

      • I’d say Bailey, Disco, and Finnegan are near locks to start next year in the rotation. I think Finnegan gets at least one more offseason prepping as a starter and going into the year that way. He has flashed this year in that role, and given how he was jerked around early in his career, he could still become more consistent. Straily should be a lock. He’s producing and cheap. He’s a starter until he shows he isn’t. That leaves one spot for Reed, Stephenson, Garrett, or anyone else.

        • Finnigan has been pretty bad this year 5.23 xFIP. I’m not sure he is a lock for the rotation next year. I’d probably pencil in Straily as #3 even though he should really be a #5 and hope 2 of Reed, Garret, Bob Steve and Finnigan figure it out. I would definitely also consider Lorenzen and Rasiel if they can handle a starting load.

  5. 1. Please tell me there’s no chance Price will be the Reds’ manager next year. Please.

    2. During this last year of trading away our star players, Walt has gotten a lot of criticism for going after near-MLB ready talent versus younger players with higher upside. If the Reds are around .500 next year and in contention after that, should our opinion change.

    3. Was the Chapman trade (selling at the worst possible time) the dumbest/worst move by Jockety during his Reds tenure.

    • On #1, see my answer to redsfan4040 below.

      On #2, there is a baseball and a financial reason for the Reds to have adopted a CTMLR (close to major league ready) strategy in acquiring players. The baseball reason is that CTMLR players are more certain to become major league players. The farther away a prospect is, even with a higher ceiling, the more likely he is to bust. The front office has more confidence that CTMLR players will work out. Also, other teams are less likely to trade big time prospects because of the enormous potential value they may have.

      The financial reason is the theory that Reds fans won’t show up for losing teams and a prolonged downturn could hurt attendance for a long time. I’ve heard Jocketty express this a couple times. Acquiring CTMLR players shortens the downturn. I think they feel this is something unique to the Reds – as opposed to Cubs fans who tolerated losing for a long time.

      I’ll also say for the record that the front office doesn’t consider CTMLR their overarching philosophy. Their drafting of Taylor Trammel with the sandwich pick is evidence of that.

    • On #3: If the Reds ditched Chapman because they didn’t like the stench of the domestic violence allegations, that would exonerate their decision to trade him in my mind. But then they turned around and signed Alfredo Simon when they didn’t need to. So from a long-term organizational perspective, trading Chapman when they did instead of riding out the MLB suspension was a gigantic miscalculation.

      Two other decisions I’d put in that category are (a) not making a single trade at the 2013 deadline, (b) not improving CF/OF depth in the 2014 offseason.

      But the single worst decision in the Jocketty era, by far, was the decision to make Chapman a reliever instead of a starter for 2012-15.

      All that said, it would be more accurate to call these “organization” decisions, not “Jocketty” decisions since we don’t know what role the owner played in any of them through payroll budgets or meddling. It may be all on Jocketty, mostly on the owner, or a witches brew.

      • “But the single worst decision in the Jocketty era, by far, was the decision to make Chapman a reliever instead of a starter for 2012-15.”

        You seem to be at least implying that that was Jocketty’s decision. Was it? Or was it Dusty’s? I really don’t know, but I agree with the statement.

        • Ok, well, snarkiness aside, the original question was about Jocketty, and your answer included his name. I suspect that the decision was not Jocketty’s but actually Baker’s. But I have no idea. I thought you might.

          Why do I care? If it was Baker’s decision, well, he is not influencing future Reds policy. But if it was ownership or the mentee of Jocketty. . . .

      • We seem unable to stop talking about this, so I’ll say what I always say: We really don’t know whether Chapman would have been even a good starter. He certainly would not have done for 6 plus innings what he does for one inning. He would have had to rely much more on the slider and change, and we can’t assess his durability. Worth a try ? Sure. Worst decision? We can’t know because the alternative wasn’t explored.

    • Agree with Steve’s answer. In terms of actual trades, I think the Chapman deal is indefensible. (And they can’t use the domestic violence thing as a shield, IMO, because they turned around and signed Alfredo Simon after that.)

      As for #1, I believe there is a significant chance that Price will be the manager next year. It’s no worse than 50-50, I’d guess.

  6. Does anybody has the backstory and at least a semi informed diagnosis and prognosis on Dilson Herrera’as shoulder?

    Extra Credit… Were Herrera’s medicals the hold up all along in the Bruce trade. Was the pot sweetened to get the Reds to sign off on Herrera?

    • It is a distinct possibility that Herrera’s medicals were the hold up. Dick Williams has said that the Reds knew of the shoulder issue before the trade was executed, but that Doc Kremchek signed off, saying that it wouldn’t cause problems long-term. Make of that what you will.

      I’ve never seen it described as anything other than a “shoulder issue,” so I don’t really know what that means.

      • If any “reports” can be believed, the Reds were set to receive Brandon Nimmo and two other prospects, then the medical issues came up, and it was said not to be Nimmo. Then Nimmo was out of the deal all together and Herrera was in with Wotell.

        If they knew about the should injury, and he has barely played since being acquired, I wonder why they would make that deal. They scoffed at Bruce for Wheeler (likely due to uncertain health), they pulled out of the Jays/Angels three way trade for Bruce, and then apparently this trade was held up due to medicals.

        Why go through all that trouble in three trades just to end up with an injured player anyway?

        I still say the Reds didn’t know the extent of Herrera’s injury believing it to just be sore. And since he’s arrived they’ve come to different conclusions, which is why he isn’t playing other than PH, and then only rarely. This is also why they’ve been fairly quiet about it, may be working with MLB on something.

  7. In your opinion will Lorenzen & Iglesias be starters or in the bullpen in 2017?

    What is your biggest surprise of the 2016 season to date?

    What will happen to BP in 2017?

    Thanks for the input.

    • I think Iglesias is a no doubt starter if his shoulder is healthy enough for the workload. He might be the best pitcher in the system, though he has competition. I am seemingly one of the few that believe Lorenzen needs a chance to start. See my article today at 1 as to why. Yes, shameless self and site promotion.

    • 1. Iglesias will be a starter in spring training. Lorenzen may well be, too. Whether either will start games in the regular season…who knows? My opinion is that Iglesias is so talented that he should absolutely be a starter if his shoulder can withstand it. We’re just going to have to wait and see.

      2. Biggest surprise of the season: Dan Straily? Tucker Barnhart’s performance? Adam Duvall making the All-Star team? Those are three pretty big surprises. If I had to pick one, I’d go with Straily. Reds picked him up for free after spring training.

      3. BP will be either on the bench or on another roster in 2017.

  8. These three questions are for all of the editors/writers who are participating today:

    (1) What is your “real” job (the one for which you get paid);

    (2) What is currently your favorite non-sports-related show on television (including Netflix); and

    (3) If you were forced to bet your entire life’s savings on whether Joey Votto eventually gets voted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, do you vote Yes or No?

  9. I actually sent this one to the mailbag yesterday, but will post it here:

    Fangraphs lists Votto’s value as roughly $24 million this season. He’s making $20 million. Using the old “replace Giambi” in the aggregate method, can you come up with a way to replace Votto’s value for just $20 million, using just players who were actual free agents last offseason, and their actual dollars signed for as their value.

    It would be fun/instructive for fans to see just how difficult it would be to replace Votto. Useful next time someone brings up his “albatross” contract (that is actually a pretty efficient use of resources).

    • From last year’s crop, I don’t think you can really get that close.

      It would have to be a platoon situation, of course, since guys who can hit both LHP and RHP aren’t cheap.

      You’d start with John Jaso, who signed with PIT for 2 years and $8 million. He has a career slash of .272/.365/.421 against RHP, good for a 123 wRC+.

      So then you need a righty who mashes LHP. As far as I can tell, no one was available that fits that bill. Your mind goes to someone like Michael Morse, who always seems to be available because he isn’t very good.

      Ultimately, the moral of the story is its almost impossible to replace a star’s production with two lesser FAs, regardless of price, because the market inefficiency made famous by the A’s trying to “replace Giambi” is well known to everyone now and there aren’t productive players out there available for cents on the dollar.

      • Maybe Steve Pearce as the RH hitter in that platoon with Jaso? Still think it falls way short.

  10. Dear Chad,

    What do you consider the greater managerial accomplishment?

    1. Sparky Anderson won 108 games in 1975. His top 4 players ( Bench, Morgan, Perez and Rose) are at least ” theoretical” Hall of Famers. Foster was perhaps the best player in baseball for a 2-3 year period and one can make a reasonable arguement that Concepcion is HOF quality.

    2. Dave Miley winning 76 games in 2004. His top 6 players by WAR were:
    Dunn
    Casey
    Jimenez
    Pena
    LaRue

    • Sparky’s accomplishment was greater, because Miley had the great Adam Dunn on his team. Dunn probably accounted for two-thirds of those wins himself.

      Looking at that roster, it’s a little surprising that Sparky’s Reds didn’t win even more games. Maybe Miley’s accomplishment is greater after all.

      • Pitching, pitching, pitching. The Big Red Machine would have collected 5 or 6 titles had they had even two good SP2 types on board without serious injuries.

        • Except that, as I recall, they couldn’t keep the team entirely together after 1976. They were plenty dominant with the pitching they had.

  11. My two other questions:

    1. Worst Reds manager since 1970. Go.

    2. Would a strong second-half (think: team “only” loses 89 games for the year) be fool’s gold that could lead management to think it was closer than it was, or be real gold, meaning the rebuilding efforts are starting to pay off, and there’s reason to expect a competitive team that could win 80ish games in 2017?

    • 1. Bob Boone.

      2. I could make an argument either way, but I don’t necessarily think it’s fool’s gold. I am not, however, go on the record as predicting an 80+ win team next year. Not yet.

      • Bob Boone is the only possible answer, right? Has to be.

        I submitted that question to Marty on air one time during some bizarre thing Boone was doing. He addressed me, said he wouldn’t read the question over the air, but was laughing snarkily to himself. I took it as confirmation that he agreed.

    • #2 – Neither. I doubt the overall team record will influence the front office one way or another. They’ll look at the performance of individual players to assess that. If the Reds win 89 games but Phillips, Cozart and Bruce play a big role in that and those players aren’t going to be around, why would it change the front office thinking? Likewise, if Peraza, Stephenson, Reed, Herrera and Senzel are players who would be on the next good team, why would the front office think the 2016 record was related to that.

      In short, 2016 is pretty much useless as an indicator of the success of the Rebuild. Too little of the transition has taken place.

  12. Hi Guys! (First time post, long time lurker… woo!)

    1. How confident are you that Nick Senzel is the future starting third baseman?

    2. At what point in a player’s minor league development do you think,

    “This guy is 100% ready for he major leagues and keeping him down is a waste of talent?”

    3. Fun question: How would you address an adult cursing, yelling, and being obscene at a baseball game in front of your young, impressionable children? Asking for a friend.

    • #1 – Fairly high. I don’t see Suarez as the long-term answer there. There’s no other player in the organization who I would rate higher than Senzel for 3B.

    • Welcome!

      1. I’m as confident in Senzel as you can be in a player who is still in A-ball. He has all the tools, and a great approach at the plate. Does that mean he’ll make it? No. But I like his chances.

      2. That question is different for every player. But I’m not sure anyone is 100% ready when they come up. Playing against big league competition is the final piece of the development process.

    • #3 Not sure if you’re looking for a serious answer or not. I’ve politely asked people to watch their profanity when they were loud and around kids. Not my own kids, but young kids sitting in the area. I know the ushers in my area well enough that I could ask them to talk to the unruly fans. At least in GABP, that kind of behavior is anomalous enough that ushers will step in if asked. Now, Paul Brown Stadium, that’s another issue …

  13. 1. Who is our every day catcher in 2017?
    2. Who will be the next Red including farm system to need TJ surgery?
    3. What is your biggest disappointment so far with the Reds this year?

    • 1. Mesoraco
      2. No way to know.
      3. (TIE) Signing Alfredo Simon. Lack of playing time for Jose Peraza.

  14. I think I have a question left, at least sort of……

    Given Keyvius Sampson’s run as a starter at AAA this season alongside Reed and Stephenson with better stats than the latter and arguably as good as stats as the former, why do the Reds seem so adverse to giving him starting innings at the MLB level particularly on the heels of a couple of nice long man stints?

    • Good question. It’s not innings. Maybe their plan is to give Sampson his tryout when they move Finnegan to the bullpen. It’s also possible they don’t think he has three pitches and is better suited for the bullpen. But I agree with the premise of your question. They should be taking a better look at him as a starter.

    • Could very well be that this is a situation where the Reds have more information at their disposal about Sampson than we do.

      On the other hand, yes, Sampson had nine good starts in AAA this season. His longer track record, however, doesn’t show me anything that screams out “future mlb starter.” It’s not unreasonable for the Reds to think he’s #9 on the young starter depth chart.

      On the other hand, I’d rather have him starting in MLB than Tim Adleman. (Even though Adleman, like me, went to Georgetown.)

      • My feeling is that the Reds have everything to gain and nothing to lose by letting Sampson start at this juncture. If he bombs, so what? If he succeeds, they essentially have another Straily in their portfolio. Having someone like that to package with say, Zack Cozart, could make the difference between getting a useful return and basically just dumping Cozart’s anticipated salary (~$5-7M?) to clear the position for whomever.

        • Perhaps. I agree that there’s nothing to lose by letting him start right now. But let’s not pretend that Sampson is a real prospect.

  15. Should the Reds legitimately be worried about Votto’s down track in power and overall decline going into the next good Reds team? (2018-2019?)
    Also wanted to add I’m a huge Votto fan, not one of those psycho guys that doesn’t understand walks and most important saber metrics. More just wondering if his age and small decline through the years will hurt the possibility of that next good team being great.

    • It’s unrealistic to expect Votto not to age or show age-related decline. Usually players show 10-15% decline per year at Votto’s age.

      On the other hand, Votto had the second-best year of his career last year and is on pace for another great one this year. Even if Votto declines every year, he’ll still be a great hitter in 2018 and 2019, assuming he stays relatively healthy.

      Votto’s power hasn’t declined since 2011. After the 2010 season, he changed his swing and said he would hit 25-30 home runs each year. His isolated power: 2011 (.222), 2012 (.230), 2013 (.186), 2014 (.155), 2015 (.228), 2016 (.2016), 2016 since May 1 (.237).

  16. all the young pitchers they have in the system, who is possible trade bait, for hitters?

    • Really any of them could be. The way I’d reframe your question is this: How *good* of a pitcher should the Reds trade for a hitter?

      My answer to that question is pretty good. I’d package one of the young pitchers with a position player to get a big upgrade in position player – hitter with power and OBP skills. Maybe not now, but during 2017 after the pitchers develop a bit more.

  17. Does anyone talk about Joey Vito’s rookie year and losing out to Soto? I know it’s old news, but look at both career arcs and Soto’s suspension for PEDs. Just throwing it out there.

  18. At what point do the Reds take starter candidates like Lamb and mold them into a spot (Loogy/long man in this case) that the Reds need?

  19. Bailey, DeSclafani, Reed, Stephenson, Finnegan, Lamb, Garrett, Lorenzen and Iglesias are arguably the best candidates (at least highest potential) to pitch meaningful innings for the next competitive Reds team (2017 or ’18 hopefully).
    What’s your best guess as to who is in the rotation, bullpen, traded or other (injured, bust, etc.)

    • Best guess — with the caveat that there are a million things that could happen that changes all of this — would be:

      Rotation:
      Bailey
      DeSclafani
      Reed
      Garrett
      Finnegan

      Bullpen:
      Finnegan (could make a good argument either way with him)
      Lorenzen
      Iglesias (though I hope not)

      Bust:
      Lamb

      Don’t have any idea:
      Stephenson

      Traded:
      Any of them. And the Reds should be exploring deals constantly. Deal from strength, and young pitching is an organizational strength.

    • Hard to say who gets injured. But I’ll go with this:
      Rotation:
      Bailey
      DeSclafani
      Garrett
      Reed
      Stephenson

      Bullpen:
      Finnegan
      Lorenzen
      Iglesias

      As I keep hammering home today, I believe in Michael Lorenzen as a starter, but I think once the Reds see anybody get some kind of success in a particular role, they convince themselves they should keep them there. Therefore, Lorenzen and Iglesias may both remain in the bullpen.

      Injuries throw everything out of whack though, especially with pitchers.

  20. 1. If you were building your own team, would you prefer an offense first 2B like Herrara or a defense first one like Peraza?
    2. What do you think about trading Cozart or someone to get someone back who can fill the gaping black hole that is the OF situation after Hamilton and Winker?
    3. If Mesoraco ever gets healthy, would Barnhart have any trade value?/Is Barnhart good enough to trade Mes

    • 1. I’d prefer offense-first if he can handle the position defensively. But great defensive players have value too. You can’t have butchers at every position unless you have great hitters at those positions.

      So yeah, I’d rather have offense, but it’s not a binary choice. You need both.

      2. Cozart is unlikely to bring someone back that will be a starting outfielder on the next good Reds team. Maybe Cozart plus someone else, like a young pitcher.

      3. Barnhart is essentially a good backup catcher. He’s doing well this year, and I’m happy about that. But it seems to me that he would have more value as a backup catcher on the Reds than he would on the trade market.

      • 1. So would you take Herrera right now as a propsect over Peraza?
        2. How much would you be willing to give up to avoid a Duval/Schebler/Renda platoon?

        • 1. Yes
          2. A platoon like that is very unlikely to be a platoon for a good team. The Reds really need to find a high-OBP bat for the outfield. It’s the biggest hole in the organization, IMO.

    • Zack has been a good Red, and I’m a fan. But: trade. Signing 30+ year old middle infielders to contract extensions is not a very efficient use of your resources.

      • If it was a team-friendly contract (2-3 years) and expectations clear that he wouldn’t be guaranteed a starting job for the duration, then normally I would consider it. Cozart could develop into a great utility backup. I bet he could learn to play 1B. He’d be the best at 3B/SS/2B on the roster.

        That said, given the backlog of middle infield players (I throw Suarez in that mix) I don’t think it makes sense to do it.

        I’ll be shocked if they don’t trade him for something in the offseason.

        • They certainly do have a backlog of middle infielders. Not only Peraza, Herrera, and Suarez, but Renda (primarily 2B), Blandino (2014 1st Rd pick, coming on strong in 2nd half), Daal, Vincej (who’s having a strong year and rarely gets talked about with a .288/.340/.403 slash line with 115 wRC+ and excellent defense), Shed Long, and Trahan. Lots of options. It’ll be fun to see how it all sorts out.

  21. 1. There are so many deserving players that have not been promoted yet this year(Chacin, Aquino, Antone, Herget to name a few). Why do you think they have not been promoted?
    2. Who in the organization makes the final decision on promotion/demotion, player being released?
    3. I’m hoping that we have a new manager for 2017 and beyond. Btw, my choice is Mike Sarbaugh, 3B coach of the Indians. Who would you like to see manage the Reds if the FO decides not to go with Price?

    • 1. Different stories with each of those guys, but the organization has to weigh a bunch of things, including who is ahead of them on the depth chart at a higher level. There are just so many variables, it’s always going to be difficult for anyone to make an outside assessment on a question like that.

      2. Bob Castellini has the final say, but it’s generally the GM who makes the final call. But there’s so much input from everyone, it’s really an organizational decision.

      3. Joe Maddon. Or me.

  22. What is the point of trading for close to major league ready players (Peraza, Herrera) if you’re not going to play them?

    Why has management chewed up some of Peraza’s service time by having him ride the bench and playing very little IF when he actually played?

    • They’re going to have to play them soon, otherwise, as you noted, makes no sense to get guys who are close to major league ready.

      The Peraza situation really is baffling. There was no reason to have him on the big league roster and sitting on the bench. And not just because of service time…he needs to be in the lineup somewhere to continue his development. I don’t understand the decisions there.

    • The organization hasn’t shown a willingness to cut back on the playing time of veterans yet. They’ve been willing to trade popular players, but not sit them even for a couple days a week. Getting Peraza major league playing time in the infield would have been one of my highest priorities. I’d have told Cozart and Phillips to expect 2 days off/week.

      This is one area of the Rebuild where the organization has failed. Hope it gets better in Sept. with the call-ups. If we’re still seeing Cozart and Phillips playing regularly that’s a disaster.

  23. Finance driven questions:

    (1) What is the status of negotiation (if any) on the FSOH cable contract and (hypothetically) what price and duration should we expect? My assumption is that this will set the Reds’ financial path and capacity for the next 5 or so years.

    (2) Besides going out and blowing it all in free agents (I’m not a fan – I feel the market is paying more and more for less and less due to the aging curve), how would you deploy these funds for the long-term developmental health of the club? (talent, scouting, coaching and instruction at lower organizational level, training and medical regime to diagnose/avoid the injury train, etc.)

    (3) Extending (1): Depending on where other clubs are in their media contract cycles, are the Reds likely to be gaining ground, holding even, or further lagging the rest of the MLB pack min terms of financial competitiveness?

    Thanks in advance…..

    • I’m not sure I can answer your first question with any confidence; I’ll leave that to another editor.

      As for #2, blowing money on free agents makes little sense for almost any franchise. It’s certainly an inefficient way for the Reds to allocate their (finite) resources.

      A club like the Reds really needs to spend a lot of money on scouting and player development. The 2010-2013 Reds were largely home-grown, and that remains an effective way to get many of the pieces for a strong big league product.

      I think Steve has written about this here at RN, but the next frontier is going to be injury-prevention. That is, the team that can get an edge on other teams in preventing injuries is going to have an advantage…sort of the new Moneyball. I don’t know if it’s a matter of allocating more resources, or spending them more wisely, but I think we’ll be hearing more about this over the coming years.

    • Here are my thoughts and guesses about the FSO contract.

      1. It would be nice to have a second bidder – Time Warner has a local sports channel in Cincinnati. But I don’t see the Reds ditching FSO.

      2. The contract will be for a lot longer than 5 years. Many of RSN contracts go for 20 or more years. The Cardinals deal was for about 15 years and that was considered short.

      3. There will be a generous increase. The Reds make $30 million/year now. I’d expect the new number to be double that. Maybe as high as $75 million.

      4. The increase will be phased in over many years, so it won’t jump up to $75 million right away.

      5. The Reds will gain an equity share in FSO. This has been the trend in all recent RSN deals. I’d expect in the 20-30% range. This revenue is shielded from league revenue sharing since it’s consider media revenue not baseball revenue.

      6. The deal should be announced in the next few months. The 2016 is the last season of the current contract.

      7. The deal will not turn the Reds into a big-spending team, but it will help. The ownership won’t pocket the increase. I expect it to be more of a “keeping up with the pack” deal – although not keeping up with big market deals like the Dodgers or Angels.

      8. Much of how the Reds will stand vs. other clubs depends on where they set the soft salary cap in the new collective bargaining agreement.

      9. Money is nice to have, but there is less correlation between payroll spending and winning than in the past 20 years. Lots of wasted money on expensive free agent contracts to players in their 30s.

      • Thanks for the detailed response. So I guess I’ll rephrase part of the question: How much, in your opinion, do the Reds need to invest in non-player payroll development staff and activity to bring themselves up to competitive parity? Are we talking 2-3 mil, 5+mil, or really big bux (annualized)?

        Once again, thanks……

      • I very much want the Reds to garner a great cable deal. I believe that it will not be as high as was once expected for a few reasons:

        1. The Reds have no leverage. They have one option. There is no winter sports team they can partner with a no one is going to bankroll a ” Reds Network.” The Cardinals could ” theoretically” partner with the Blues to form a network and that enabled them to get equity as an incentive to stay with Fox Sports Midwest.

        2. Cincinnati has limited population growth expectations over the next 15 years and an aging population base. The D-Backs huge deal was made possible because the population of Arizona is expected to increase by 50% over the life of the deal. The monthly subscriber fees have far less opportunity to grow in Cincinnati as the subscriber base isn’t growing.

        3. The Reds have solid ratings…even when they’re bad. However, they have horrible demographics. Their audience is older, less affluent and more male than most. St. Louis has horrible demographics as well….but the Cardinals draw a bigger and ” broader” audience. Woman and younger people watch the Cardinals and they’re more appealing from an advertising perspective.

        4. The Cubs will likely partner with the Blackhawks in 2019 to form a new network. That will have an impact on the Reds as it may attain basic cable status in Indianapolis. The Cubs are focusing substantial resources on ” owning” Indy and in order to ensure that the future network has coverage through out Indiana. That will impact the Reds ratings in Indy and the trans mission fees Fox Sports Midwest is willing to pay to broadcast the Reds.

        My guess is 15 years…750 million. It will start at around 40 million per year and end around 60 million per year.

        I would love to be wrong.

  24. My second question of the day: based on the Reds second half play (so far) which they’re doing with pieces that aren’t part of the long term plans, do you think that the Reds, If they have all the pieces in place next yr that they want (baring injuries), will possibly challenge for a wild card by finishing above .500?

      • Chad, Again, thanx. It’s just that the Reds took 3 of 4 from the Marlins (a very solid team) and to top it off Straily beat Fernandez in the 4th game! I’m starting to be impressed by this second half Reds team and I guess that means I’m starting to believe in them again. I can certainly see a scenario though where we bring up those kids we want and bcuz of their struggles to learn at this level we might not be as good a team next year as I’m hoping. But, anything’s possible.

  25. Brandon Finnegan has the worst FIP in the NL among qualified starters (and it is not close – he’s at 5.80, second worse is 5.57, third is 5.09). Unlike, say, Lamb, he does not have a huge repertoire of pitches. I suppose my question is — does his future exist in the pen?

    • I think he ends up in the pen but not because he wouldn’t be a good starter. I just believe in Reed, Stephenson, Garrett, Lorenzen, and Iglesias (if he can start physically) more than Finnegan.

    • I’m 50/50 on this. I see things I like about Finnegan, and I’m hopeful he can stick. A big problem for him, as Nick noted above, is that the competition is going to be fierce for rotation jobs.

      Which is a good thing!

    • Yes. I see Finnegan as a solid reliever. That said, it’s too early to give up on him as a starter.

    • Most young pitchers have command problems, and that’s the root of Finnegan’s issues. Either those young pitchers figure it out, or they don’t. It’s sort of a cop out answer, but that’s how I feel. If Finnegan can figure out how to stop walking so many guys, he can stick in the rotation. If he can’t, he won’t.

  26. 1. In a year when the Reds will not be in playoff contention, development of younger talent is crucial for future success. What are your thoughts on how they have not used players like Peraza, Waldrop, Renda and Sampson regularly with the big league club? Regular play in Louisville much better for their development.
    2. What do you think of how the Reds are handling AlfRod? I think he should be in the US getting acclimated to life, language, culture, travel, etc. of a minor league ball player than playing in the DSL. The Reds paid higher than 1st round money for him(7M+ including penalties)
    3. You are playing GM, what transaction move would you make when Lorenzen comes back from bereavement leave?

    • 1. I think the Reds have missed a big opportunity in this lost season to have their young players get valuable MLB experience. But Peraza is the only one of the names you mentioned that I think they’ve really dropped the ball on. Those other names are just bit players.

      If Dilson Herrera is healthy and not starting in Cincinnati next year, I’m not going to be happy.

      2. I’ve never seen Rodriguez play, but the Reds have had success with foreign guys. Until I see otherwise, I’ll trust that they know what they’re doing in terms of his development.

      In terms of whether he should have been signed…well, I’m not particularly interested in this kid. I don’t know if he’ll ever hit enough to play in the big leagues. Seems like a lot of money to spend, but again, the Reds’ scouts have seen him play. I haven’t.

      3. If I were the GM, I’d designate Ross Ohlendorf for assignment when Lorenzen returns.

    • 2. I don’t know if this is still current, but I heard/read somewhere that a visa issue was holding up AlfRod from entering the country.

      • That is what has been reported. It’s too bad they didn’t have months to work this out before they signed him…..oh wait. They probably just got caught dreaming about the next Juan Castro to bother with silly things like visa issues.

  27. Follow up on the various BP/infield conjectures. More in the line of a projection that needs a reality check and it assumes the FO continues to behave as it has/hasn’t in the past.

    (1) The key log is Cozart. The second key is the status of Dilson Herrera’s elusive shoulder. The third is whether BP wants to retire as Red at end of contract or thinks he has value to another team while he runs out Father Time. In short a -lot- of moving parts involved here…..

    (2) So, in order, if Herrera’s shoulder is minor, how long will Reds management keep the prospective Herrera/Perazza duo down in Louisville working on their coordination? If Herrera is reasonably healthy, this would encourage management to move Cozart in the offseason window. If not, however, given how conservative management seems to be, the season may start with Cozart/Phillips still as the primary pair and Herrera/Perazza only phased in gradually…and, only if they look good, Cozart being traded out as a rent-a-player at the midseason break.

    (3) The only factor that might accelerate the transition is if BP continues to rack up injury time. At some point, in a Bakerism, management will have to Pipp him. I assume
    no trade value at all for BP, even as a half-season rental. Either BP’s playing time will gradually diminish, or he will have some critical injury or cumulative damage fatigue something that rationalizes a “season-ending” DL……or we will have the BP retirement tour and multiple bobblehead days. As long as the FO believes that he puts fannies in seats.

    But, at the end of the day, the transition will be slower and more exasperating than we would prefer and is dependent on two health related issues – Herrera and Phillips.. My uninformed guesstimate is that Cozart/BP start the season in 3/4 of the games and, sometime around mid-season, the ratio flips the other way to Herrera/Perazza. Maybe.

    (4) Bear in mind that I’m an amateur and have probably had too much coffee already today.

    • In my ideal scenario Herrera and Peraza are the starting 2B and SS with Senzel at 3B and Suarez and Duvall playing utility roles. Suarez would back up 2B/SS/3B in this scenario with Duvall covering LF/RF/1B/3B.
      With that in mind, I would attempt to trade Cozart this offseason even if the plan is to keep Herrera and Peraza in AAA for the start of the season. That would open up time for Suarez at SS and Duvall at 3B.

      • Same here, but with Senzel in the mix, you are now likely to be discussing 2018 season and not next year……i.e. an -ultimate- destination.. Duvall at 3B also makes assumptions about whether any of the AA talent is ready to play LF, a case not yet proven.

  28. Ok, what’s your favorite food to eat at the ballpark?

    What’s your favorite beer (if you drink it)?

    Who is your all-time favorite Reds player?

  29. In 2009 the hated Cards were able to buy a little low on Matt Holiday due to the fact that Oakland is always ready to deal and there were a lot of thoughts that his numbers earlier were mostly Coors Field related. I remember being sick to my stomach that the Cards got him.

    Question is….as the Reds hopefully play better next year and prepare to compete in 2018, do you see the Reds making a big splash in free agency like that? Not that it would work out like Holiday but another Choo type or someone?

    • Certainly. I don’t think they’ll go out and pick up some Bryce Harper-type in free agency, but as they get closer, the Reds will definitely be using every tool at their disposal to fill in the final gaps.

      Of course, it’s more likely to be an addition by trade than free agency (like the Scott Rolen deal). Making a big splash in free agency rarely works like everyone thinks it will.

  30. Is it true that the designated hitter adds up to 10 minutes per game because there are never any pitchers lifted for a pinch-hitter, that they’re always taken out in the middle of a half inning?

  31. Got a question for you. The Reds are 20-12 (.625) over their last 32 games, a 101 win pace. If they broke spring training with pretty much this roster in place, at least the starting 8, in particular Phillips and Cozart up the middle and Duvall in left, and they started out 20-12 through their first 32 games, with the starting 8 putting up very similar numbers to what they are now, what changes would you make? I’ll grant that RF may be in flux now because Bruce has already been traded, so maybe you can throw Winker into the mix there, but would you be actively looking to trade/bench Phillips and Cozart, would you bench Duvall for the youth/rebuild movement? Would you consider making other changes for the youth/rebuild or would you shoot for the moon? I know it’s a long run on sentence, probably a couple questions in there.

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