The 2016 season is over. The Cubs won the World Series, the awards have been handed out, and the winter meetings are about to start. That means it’s time to really start thinking about the 2017 season.

2016, we all know, was the year of bottoming-out for the Reds. It was bad, but we knew it was going to be bad. 2018 is supposed to be when the Reds compete again. So what about 2017?

It matters. Let me explain what I mean.

There has been a lot of talk about who to play, and where, and when to call them up to account for service time and all that. Much of it gets away from what should really be the focus of the 2017 season — figuring out what the best team for 2018 will be.

Let’s start somewhere easy, like the middle infield. If they aren’t traded this offseason, it is certainly possible that Brandon Phillips and/or Zack Cozart could play themselves into having trade value during 2017. However, no matter how well they play, neither of them is going to bring a return that is likely to impact the Reds positively in a way that offsets keeping the available prospects on the bench or in the minors. The Reds have Eugenio Suarez, Jose Peraza, Dilson Herrera, and (soon) Nick Senzel to fill three positions. Should more than one of them falter, Tony Renda may enter the picture. But, with the exception of Senzel, none of them have anything left to do in the minors. They need to play so their role in 2018 can be assessed with a full season’s worth of data. Playing Cozart and Phillips to start the year makes it harder to field a competitive team in 2018 because it reduces the information you have about the relevant players.

In the rotation, the Reds have the following players in the mix as potential 2018 contributors: Anthony DeSclafani, Homer Bailey, Brandon Finnegan, Dan Straily, Amir Garrett, Robert Stephenson, Cody Reed, Tim Adleman, Rookie Davis, Tyler Mahle. Only those last two have much development left to do in the minors. That’s eight players for five spots 2017 and ten for five spots in 2018. And yet there has been noise about signing a “veteran” starter this year to be the fifth starter. No. NONONONONONONONO. no.

Garrett, Stephenson, and Reed all need to be given chances at the MLB level this year. Frankly, given how likely he is to regress, the Reds need to be ready to move Straily out of the rotation if two or three of the top guys really start to get going. Why? Because Dan Straily and “unknown veteran starter” aren’t part of the 2018 plan, and it’s time for the Reds to figure out what they have so they can patch any holes they need to patch next offseason. Picking up on a theme yet?

The last spot up for discussion is the outfield, where we have three players (Jesse Winker, Adam Duvall, and Scott Schebler) for two spots. I know, I know, blah blah Duvall arguments and all that. I am not arguing that Duvall isn’t a useful player. However, as Winker is supposed to be an important part of the next winning Reds team and as Duvall and Schebler are on the old side for relatively new players, at some point this year, preferably early, Winker needs to be given a starting job and told to sink or swim. He may very well sink. And if he sinks so disastrously that his future value is seriously called into question, that’s important information to have and it matters more than making sure that Duvall or Schebler get a full year of ABs (count me in the pro-platoon camp). And don’t forget that T.J. Friedl should move through the system relatively quickly.

The point I’m trying to make is this: Every decision the Reds make this year should be about getting information for 2018. They have more players than they do spots to fill and so giving playing time to players who are definitively NOT part of the plan for 2018 and beyond only hamstrings the development of the young players and limits the information available when making decisions about where to spend on the free agent market next offseason and/or who to target for an extension.

2017 matters. The Reds may or may not field a team that manages a winning record, but they certainly need to play the players who are ready to graduate. Holding them back only does a disservice to the next truly competitive Reds team.

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at

Join the conversation! 72 Comments

  1. I had a ( let’s call it a heated discussion) recently about just this subject.I can’t accept playing Cozart and Phillips and leaving all the young guys to sit and wait for no reason. I want a competitive team in 2018 and see no sense in playing people who are destined to be elsewhere. All I kept getting back was ” You can’t sit Phillips” I would ask why and hear ” because you can’t” Why can’t you, Well you just can’t. I fear the Reds might believe that way also. Let’s hope not.

    • You have a right to be concerned. If I were a betting man I would totally bet on all your and Jason’s fears and add a couple. Not only will cozart and Phillips be playing alot. A “vet starter” in the Marquis vein is coming. And don’t forget dick “wants to spend money on the bullpen.” Meaning a Ross ohlendorf type guy. Also add in a former cardinal who is gritty for the bench. Mmm and why call up winker when we have to see what Gabby geurroro can do. Gabby hasn’t posted an obp above .290 in two seasons in AA and AAA, meaning he is perfect for us. He might have some raw power, we have to check that out. Duh jason, high obp cost controlled young guys don’t win games. Former gritty cards who have grit are what win games.

    • There is a very good financial reason to play Phillips and Cozart at the start of next season, IF they aren’t moved before then.

      Sitting $19M of salary on a team whose total payroll is projected to be $90M isn’t a good allocation of resources. Plus, they have no chance of becoming attractive as a trade deadline acquisition to anyone if they are rotting on the bench. Not to mention any potential fallout on walk-up attendance if those two are clearly being sat in place of no-name (to the average fan) kids.

      I will be surprised if the Reds show the courage to bench Phillips and Cozart. However, I think they are so financially sensitive, they won’t, regardless of the impact on The Re-Build ™.

      • Pending neither of them are traded, the Reds still have to pay that money whether they play or sit the bench. So to say “we’re paying them $19 mil so they have to play” just doesn’t make sense.

        Look at it this way:

        Option 1) Cozart and Phillips play. You pay them $19 mil. You get (likely) decent performance from old veterans who are not the future. Young prospects who are the future don’t get key development time

        Option 2) Cozart and Phillips DONT play. You pay them $19 mil. You don’t know how well young prospects who are the future will perform. Young prospects get key development time. Reds gain valuable hindsight on who actually will be the future

        The resources are already allocated; those two will get paid regardless. Playing them doesn’t save you that money, it just hinders the entire rebuild process

        • DHUD,

          It’s not personal towards you or anyone else, but I am surprised at the ease at which people are writing “don’t play Phillips/Cozart if you can’t trade them.” It’s very easy when it’s not your money or mine.

          I work for very wealthy businessmen. Assets are not just written down/off. You salvage something for them. Or, you get fired.

          The only reason to sit them is if there is a necessity for the Reds to contend in 2018. I don’t see that necessity, or nor do I think they should think about doing so until 2019, at the earliest.

          Another option (most likely, IMO) is to play Phillips/Cozart, expect they perform and can get dealt mid-season. $9.5M saved, something(s) back in return, kids get to start breaking in second half.

        • If they’re wealthy, chances are they’re aware, at least intuitively, of the concept of sunk costs. BP’s situation next year is res ipsa loquitur of a sunk cost.

          We can talk freely here about these types of decisions because that’s the nature of a fan blog. Nobody said these decisions are easy in real life to make. But you better believe that business people have made them day in and day out.

          DHUD’s point above is well-taken and he is not alone by a long shot in his opinion.

      • “Not to mention any potential fallout on walk-up attendance if those two are clearly being sat in place of no-name (to the average fan) kids”

        You’re kidding, right? Can you possibly think that not playing Cosart and Phillips will have any effect on “walk up attendance” if they don’t play? You can’t be serious. . .Let’s see… the Reds are in last place and I might go to the game tonight, but…nah, Cozart and Phillips aren’t playing!


          That story was published on July 29th.

          I would hope you realize there is a big difference between the average RLN reader and the average fan attending GABP. I can’t easily find GABP walk-up figures, but with 1 or 2 years of re-building left, the Reds surely are wary of giving fans any more reasons not to attend.

          But, by all means, let’s have the Reds announce in March that Phillips/Cozart will be benched. Their trade value will be greatly diminished, $19M in salary eaten and they walk for free at year’s end.

          All because some RLN readers are impatient for a contender in 2018.

        • You don’t think that every GM in MLB doesn’t know that Cozart and Phillips are on the block and that their value is already diminished? How many trades has Phillips already vetoed, especially with a bloated contract based upon his diminishing skills? Everyone knows that Cozart was on his way to Seattle last year.

          Phillips value was reduced the moment Jock signed him to that long term contract that Phillips noted was “a slap in the face.” I still think that Cozart has value, even for the Reda, but Phillips days are done in Cincy. I greatly appreciate his previous years of service to the Reds and the fans, but it is time to move on.

          As the Pirates told Ralph Kiner when he went in for a raise the year after he hit 50 homers. . .”No! We finished last with you, we can finish last without you.”

        • I’m generalizing, yes, but it seems unlikely to me that fans who might be lured by Pokemon are particularly aware of the Reds’ roster options and, much as I like them, I also doubt that slick-fielding shortstops put very many fannies in the seats.

    • I’m going to be cautiously optimistic.

  2. With the possible exception of filling out the bullpen with an upgraded arm or two, perhaps from the Rule 5 draft, there’s no reason the Reds need to be adding players from outside the system for 2017. If they get an offer they can’t refuse then they shouldn’t, but when has that ever happened? No need to waste ink or time on that idea. They need to move Phillips and Cozart before pitchers and catchers report. Send money out if needed. Get a really low level prospect or two in return if that’s what’s out there. It’s okay. I might quibble with including Renda on the list of Reds of future import, but the rest of what you say Jason is painfully obvious yet can’t be said enough. Here’s hoping it’s obvious to Dick Williams too.

  3. I completely agree. The top off season priority should be moving Cozart and Phillips regardless of the return. We need Peraza and Herrera playing every day. I also don’t think they should sign any FA other than minor league guys with ST invites. No need to waste money on guys who are stop gaps. Roll with what you got and then see what you still need.

  4. The Re-Build needs a shot in the arm this winter. It needs some acceleration. Some unfortunate things have happened in the process that have set The Re-Build back a little. We have seen 1/3 of the Cueto trade start to succeed, 1/3 of it can’t get over the ML hump yet, and 1/3 of it is gone. The Chapman trade fiasco has put a hole in The Re-Build that needs to be filled by some action this winter. Rookie Davis will be the only player the Reds got in that trade that will amount to anything for the next good Reds team, and that may be as a (dime a dozen) bullpen piece.
    Package some of these prospects that are starting to become redundant and where there is depth and obtain a good bat, not only for 2017, but for one that will be in Cincinnati at least in 2018, 2019, and 2020. A high BA/OBP player to hit in front of Votto would be nice. That would help accelerate The Re-Build.
    BHam scoring 100+ runs, Peraza scoring 100+ runs, the new addition scoring 100+ runs and Votto scoring 100+ runs will be critical to having success next year and beyond.

    • Don’t see any compelling need for an acceleration or a shot in the arm. The Cueto trade netted us three quality prospects. As these were prospects, there will be hits and misses. If we end up with a quality starter and a bullpen piece in exchange for two months of Cueto, the trade was an unqualified success. The Chapman “fiasco” was a product of Chapman’s actions, and the Reds got what they could in return.

      If you find the Reds other prospects uninspiring, what makes you think you can package a few in return for a quality player?

  5. From my point of view, 2017 will be a win if all three of Stephenson, Garrett, and Reed pitch at least 1/2 the season in Cincy, and all three of Winker, Peraza, and Herrera start at least 100 games each.

    Also, I’d like to see Senzel get to AA by the mid-way point, assuming he doesn’t start there from ST, although Doug is pretty sure he’ll start in Daytona.

  6. Agree with all of this. I like the point that trying to build up Cozart and Phillips value early in the year (more of what they were doing last year) isn’t worth it now. The other guys need to play.

    I’d throw Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias onto the pile of pitchers that need to be learned about. Iglesias is a medical call. But Lorenzen’s fate is about his portfolio and if he can be an effective starter. I’m concerned the Reds, in effort to put players in roles ASAP, have decided Lorenzen will be a reliever, maybe the closer.

    To front office: There is no rush to put players into roles. 2017 is for finding out. Take your time and get it right.

    • Yes, get it right. Even if that means a competitive team is delayed until later in the 2018 season or the year after.

      There, I said it. I don’t want to see a replay of 2001-2009 because the Reds hurried and misjudged, mishandled and miscast their young players. A few more months of miserable baseball is worth the chance of having a few good years like we had between 2010 and 2013.

    • Couldn’t agree more.

    • The Reds need to make the same decision on Cozart as the Brewers made on Chris Carter. $5M, his projected arbitration process salary, is $5M; and the Reds are not going to get that value from him in return or on the field even aside from the fact he is blocking Peraza. Rather than let the $5M become a sunken cost they shouldf go on and put the situation in the rear view mirror by DFAing or nontendering Cozart.

      Phillips is already a sunken cost but the Reds should find where he will go and send whatever portion of his salary it takes along with him to put that situation behind them too.

      • The difference between Carter and Cozart: Carter has much less value as an asset on the open market than does Cozart. The Brewers learned that he is the modern-day version of Rob Deer with no defensive prowess. He’s a DH only, and not a top-tier one. Cozart can be an everyday shortstop for a significant number of teams — if he demonstrates that his knee is healthy. Right now, teams know the Reds want to unload him, and they are driving a hard bargain. He’s an asset who can bring return value, and his salary for 2017 won’t be budget-breaking.

        Cozart has too much value if healthy, in my opinion, to just non-tender him. But I certainly don’t want him taking playing time away from Peraza and-or Herrera. If he has to be a backup infielder in early 2017 until he can demonstrate that he is healthy, so be it. He’s too valuable of an asset to just discard, in my opinion.

        • I agree Tom,

          Play Cozart early, 4-5 games a week will not hurt anything. Peraza gets 2-3 days per week at SS. By end of May, he has built up his health and value. He is traded in June if not before.

          A start ML Shortstop means a bunch in this game and has value.

          a lot of people can play 2nd base (much easier to fill if a injury occurs).

          150 abs is not going to hurt 2018, and what if we get off to a hot start in 2017?

        • We agree that the key to Cozart is his health but disagree about what to do because of the uncertainty surrounding his health.

          Once the tender date passes, if the Reds tender him, he becomes a sunken cost in the $5M range if the projections hold true. Judging from how he looked the last month he tried to play, I believe the odds are very long against him playing well enough to be worth $5M in return or services rendered in 2017. Add to that the fact Peraza looked ready once he got to play everyday; and, to me the better choice being to cut the cord seems clear.

        • All good debate….but if cozart is on the market since the trading deadline last year……and all offseason….and can’t be traded because there’s no fit…….why would he suddenly have value in June 2017? His peak value was july 2016 and the Reds missed.
          As for BP…I can’t see him going anywhere….he will not agree to a trade where he goes and sits the bench as an infield utility player…plus no one will pay 14 million or even part of that…he will stay in cincy and start at 2b as he knows the price/Reds won’t bench him.
          I would trade Cozart for whatever the market bears.

        • OhioJim

          I do not care if the Reds spend $5.0 mil for Cozart all year and he is a bench player. I believe that he would be traded before the season ends, but even if he is not traded, it would not bother me to have him on my team all year helping to break in my new shortstop and to be a bat off the bench.

          I think he has more value if we trade him either before the season or anytime in the first half.

          He has no value if we do not tender him. I am for incrementally improving the team any time you can. I just do not get the no tender for Zach.

          A starting ML shortstop is a value, and we have had some bad bench players for 1-2 million per year. I am ok this season to overpay for a quality bench player.

          I would on the other hand cut Brandon Phillips if need be. Zach is more of a team player, has more pop and is a better fielder at this point

    • I believe that out of that group of 12 pitchers (the 10 mentioned in the article plus Iglesias and Lorenzen as you mentioned) there are at least 5 competent major-league starters and a couple quality relievers.

      The outfield, on the other hand, I don’t feel as good about. I’m definitely a member of the Billy Hamilton fan club, but he hasn’t reached 120 games played the last 2 seasons. I’m also high on Winker as a prospect but is a left fielder that plays average defense, gets on base a lot, but has little power that valuable? I’m optimistic that enough power will be there, but we don’t know for sure. I think Schebler and Duvall can be good players but would be much happier if Schebler for the 4th outfielder and Duvall the 5th outfielder and backup corner infielder.

      I would put trading 1 of those pitchers for a young hitter that could start in RF, as well as back up Hamilton in center, at the top of the to-do list this off season.

      • I’m in complete agreement on the OF. Only difference is I’d give Duvall, Schebler and Winker this year to prove what they can do. If it sorts out like you suggest, the Reds can add an OF in the 2018 offseason. You’d think the Reds young pitchers would be another year more developed and better trade chips then.

        • I would be totally fine if they do as you suggest here. The only possible downside I see is that next offseason may not be such a sellers market for starting pitching. It is possible that a different market would offset the development of the pitcher.

  7. We have the young pieces for the next few years … time to fully exercise them and eliminate the non-value players (love Cozy and BP, but the time as come).

    Nice article, Jason.

  8. However the front office gets it done, Phillips and Cozart should not be starters for the Reds in 2017. If that isn’t the case, the rebuild will be further delayed.

  9. What a great article. Thanks Jason.

  10. I think this is the big test for the “new” management. They should do much of what Jason outlines.

    My fear is they will play Phillips, play Cozart, get a veteran journeyman starter, maybe get a veteran journeyman outfielder and try to compete in 2017. Only after the all star break will they try to move people.

  11. Everyone throws 93+ now so guys throwing slow that can change speeds are more valuable then ever. To me…Dan Straily could be the poor mans Kyle Hendricks. Its easy to fall in love with the 6’5 guy throwing 95 but there are probably 10,000 guys in America with stronger arms and more athleticism then Drew Brees and he does ok. Same thing with Duvall….he has power and is surprisingly good in the field and yet atleast half of the Reds fans on here want him benched for someone with more potential.

    Potential = You haven’t done anything yet

    • Age + Potential. That’s the kicker. Winker could possibly be a contributor for 6+ years to come. The odds that Duvall is that same thing are very, very low.

      Gotta get him PT to figure it out. That’s the point of the article. Maybe Duvall is better RIGHT NOW. But he almost certainly will not be better once Winker has a year of big leagues under his belt.

      • When the time comes then it seems like the decision isn’t usually that difficult… Cozart vs Renteria but time will tell.

  12. Great article.

    One name not mentioned…Bryan Price.

    It would be great to see him come out during Spring Training and say something like:

    “When I make out a lineup here, I don’t necessarily make out a lineup that I feel gives us the best chance to win. I have to play players we want to get a look at. It’s part of the job right now. With the team we have, we need to find out about players – we have to see what some of these guys are capable of.”

    That quote is from our old friend Pete Mackanin, who is managing the Phillies while they wait for their window of contention to truly open, possibly not until Bryce Harper leaves the Nationals after 2018.

    If Price is managing to win each night at the expense of player development, we will live in interesting times, as the Chinese saying goes.

  13. the only player I think has to be moved is Phillips……because he can’t play anywhere else. I’d actually be excited about a 3 headed middle infield platoon of Cozy/Herrera/Peraza. Peraza and Cozart could rotate between second and short, heck even third occasionally.

    It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see this team flirt with .500. The pitching will be much healthier and possibly improved as well. The Brewers will be terrible, and the Pirates are on the verge of taking a step backwards. There will be more than enough parity around the NL.

    • I agree Sultan with your use of Cozart.

      I see the flirting with 500 forecast that you see also.

      My biggest fear is that they are 10-12 games over 500 playing out of their minds and we still do not know what we have as winning will probably keep some kids on the bench. but that would be fun

    • I agree with Phillips being the only one that really needs to be moved…. just for the fact that you can move Peraza around the infield and outfield. With Phillips gone you put Herrera at 2B and if he falls on his face , Peraza goes there, if Herrera looks good then Peraza continues a super utility player still starting 7 out of 10 games somewhere

      • oh and I expect the Reds to be competing for the 2nd wildcard spot… this year ( if things break right)
        the Brewers are bad, The pirates are nothing special, and even the Cardinals seem to be slipping
        the Cubs… well let’s not talk about them right now

  14. I keep hearing “pay some of Philips salary”. Why not pay it all in a trade? Hes already gotten his trade value as high as he probably can at this point in his career. Trading him and paying for his entire salary (which the Reds were already prepared to do) is a sure fire way to guarantee he doesn’t clog up time in the field, as well as getting a slightly better (not saying great) prospect or two.

  15. I can’t wait to see Herrera and Peraza up the middle. I love cozart and phillips. But it’s time to let them move on (get whatever you can get out of them, pay some salary whatever). Winker is the one I’m not sure how they should handle. It seems he has been injured and might be good to get a little more time in AAA + delaying the start of his service time. I don’t think a half year in 17′ vs a full year in 17′ will make much difference for Winker going forward. I love selsky as a bench player/pinch hitter.

    The only signing that is needed is a reliever that we INTEND to result in prospects at the trade deadline! A setup man or a closer. I think it will be a big mistake not giving lorenzen a chance to start.

  16. The only free agent move they should consider is a cheap reliever on a one year, incentive based deal. One who is coming off injury or a bad season. Hopefully he does well enough to flip at the trade deadline. If not, oh well.

    Drew Storen, Joba Chamberlin, Shawn Tolleson, and Sergio Romo are just a few names that come to mind

    • Daniel Hudson.
      And trade for Nate Jones from the Chicago White Sox, along with OF Adam Eaton.
      The Bullpen will be good. The OF will be very good. The lineup much stronger.

  17. Jason you are right in everything you say.The players who aren’t part of the future such as BP and Zack can’t see the field.Let the young guys play this year and then sort out the role they will play as time goes on into next year.Please lets pray the front office doesn’t mess this up.

  18. I can’t remember the last time people agreed with me this much. Glad everyone enjoyed the post.

    • We are still a bit apart on Winker and the OF situation 😉

      Given Winker’s age, well ahead of the age curve (younger) at AAA last year, I think he needs to start the year at AAA to work out his slugging issues there as opposed to in MLB, i.e. think of Homer Bailey being rushed and his subsequent comments of how that impacted him for several seasons.

      If Winker maintains his ~.400 OBP but cannot get his slugging into at least the middle .400’s then the Reds will face the issue whether they are willing to accept less than typical slugging from a corner OF spot but are willing compensate for it by their selection of players at other positions because of Winker’s very good OBP.

      Duvall looked to be running on empty well before the end of the season; so, I believe he could prosper from more time off and thus be able to repeat his whole season 2016 totals in a more consistent manner. However as an RH hitter, I think he would under utilized in a straight platoon. Hopefully the Reds could come up with a creative way to play him 4-5 days a week, perhaps in a 3 man “rotation” of the corner OF spots.

      • For whatever it’s worth, the IL seems to be a league that suppresses power. Among all players with at least 200 PAs there, 8 out of 163 had a SLG of at least .500. Among qualified ML players is was 35 out of 146.

        At some point I want to do a piece on this, but from what looking I’ve done, it’s not uncommon for players with excellent plate discipline to manifest more power once they get to the majors. Votto is an excellent example, but there are others.

        This isn’t to say I think Winker is going to hit 30 HRs or even 25. But I bet he’ hit 12-15 if given a full season.

        • And I did not make it clear that I would NOT expect Duvall to hit 30 HRs in the scheme I suggested. I think he is probably a mid to high 20’s HR guy with a qualifying number number of PA’s and scales back accordingly with fewer PA’s

      • I think he should start in AAA, too, but for service time reasons.

        There’s no reason to think his power issues will magically be worked out in AAA. So, what do you do if he’s down there for 2 1/2 months and still isn’t hitting for power? Let him rot in AAA? Sounds like a lose-lose, if his being called up is contingent on him hitting X homers in Y games.

        His overall package right now, even without much power, is a 2ish WAR corner outfield. That is an average major leaguer, which has value. And that’s his floor. He needs reps in MLB if the Reds are serious about competing in 2018/2019.

        • If the Reds were trying to win as many games as possible, it is not at all clear that a 2 WAR rate would displace either Duvall or Schebler; and, it would make no sense to have Winker sitting on the bench as the 4th OF.

          The only way Winker gets his WAR rate significantly above 2 is with increased slugging while maintaining his OBP rate. That’s a developmental issue; and given his age and the team’s status, the place to address it is at AAA.

          If the power doesn’t come, as I said above, then the team has to decide if a .400 OBP with similar slugging % cuts it as a corner OF in their scheme of things. If that doesn’t fit their model, they look to trade him.

        • No sale here. His age and the team’s status are the exact reasons the Reds should look to have Winker up this year. From a development standpoint, his hitting approach doesn’t need more refinement. He’ll either continue to develop power as he ages the next couple of years and (hopefully) gets healthy or he won’t ever hit for much power.

          I personally see him as a 15-20 hr per year guy even now. That’s not that bad if he can keep his OBP up.

          Besides, in your scenario, what trade value do you think you have with Winker if you stash him in AAA for another year and he doesn’t progress on slugging?

    • I agree as well. Great article…I’d keep winker and reed at AAA until memorial day….but everyone else needs to play at the big league level. If winker tears the cover off the ball with power in ST…then he deserves it as well.

  19. There’s no reason to platoon Duvall. We have no idea how Winkler will perform if given PT or for that matter, Schebler either. I know exactly what Duvall can do and that’s hit HR’s, drive in RBI and hit for power plus play good defense. Good enough for me. As for Phillips and Cozart, it’s time to move on from both.

    • As I said above, I don’t think a full platoon situation works with Duvall; but, I do think he’d do better with more days off, especially in the hot and humid part of the season.

    • The reason you give to not platoon Duvall is the exact argument for the platooning of Duvall.

      Adam Duvall can’t man the corners by himself. Other people need enough PT for the Reds to know the direction they should go in 2018 and beyond. Duvall is old-ish (for a new player) and a one-trick pony. We’ve likely seen his peak. Need to give other guys looks.

      • One trick pony? The evaluations of Winker that I’ve read here make him sound like the one trick pony, since his value is confined to his ability to get on base. An indifferent fielder, not fast, lacks a good arm.

    • As O-Jim points out, Duvall isn’t a candidate for the traditional platoon. It shouldn’t be the straight RH/LH splits. But the Reds have a season plus of data to go on. Duvall shouldn’t start as many games as he did in 2016. Duvall played in 137 G’s in LF and started 136 of those. In RF it was 6/5, at 1 it was 5/3 and at 3B 3/1 for a total of 151 G’s and 145 games started. He had 608 PA’s that resulted in 552 AB’s.
      Duvall had 42 games with multiple K’s (2 or more). He had 4 G’s with 100% K%, 4 at 75%, 4 at 66.7%, 1 at 60%, 23 at 50 %, and 7 at 40%. With a little research and a season plus of data, it wouldn’t be hard to figure out which games and RH starting pitchers to sit Duval against. Sit him in about 15-17 of those multiple K games, and Duvall’s BA might shoot up to around .265 instead of .240, and his OBP might go as high as .325 to .330. He probably should get about 450-475 AB’s and 500-525 PA’s.

  20. Why would anyone think the Reds would gather information for 2018 in 2017, when they gathered virtually no information for 2017 in 2016? What has changed?

    • Maybe the procrastinator syndrome? Maybe they think they really only need 1 season of soul searching, perhaps? Good point you bring up.

  21. Mozart and Phillips both will be starters unless injured or traded. Simply sitting them is a lose now and lose at the trade deadline kind of a deal. I get everyone wants the future now ( except the part of the Cubs dominating us for the next 7 years) but the Reds intend to get value out of their players.

    • Opportunity cost.

      If the Reds play them, then their young players get no experience. If the Reds sit them, then they don’t build any positive trade value.

      Reds FO job is to figure out which one of those scenarios (or combination thereof) puts them in the best odds to start winning in 2018 or 2019.

      • And it Cozart’s case it is a real cost of $5M or so that can be avoided. By itself, maybe that doesn’t sound like a lot but it has been pointed out here time and again how the Reds nickelled and dimed away enough millions just a couple at a time to have afforded some impact players they ended up not being not able to afford.

    • Mozart can start on my team.

      • He peaked early and had a short career. Great while he lasted, though. Worthy of the Requiem.

  22. Jon Morosi tweeted this 20 minutes ago.

    Jon Morosi ‏@jonmorosi · 20m20 minutes ago
    “#WhiteSox appear more likely to move Adam Eaton than José Abreu at the winter meetings, rival exec told me. @MLB @MLBNetwork”

    I’ve been saying for over a month that the Reds should be targeting Adam Eaton for RF. He is just what the Reds need to accelerate this rebuild. He would give the Reds an outfield where all 3 were gold glove finalists in 2016. He can bat anywhere from leadoff to the #4 spot. A high OBP and high fWAR player to pair with Votto.
    And if the Reds are to engage the WhiteSox in talk for Eaton, expand those talks to include RHRP Nate Jones for the back of the bullpen.

  23. The RedSox have nontendered catcher Bryan Holaday. If Dick Williams is serious about looking for a “third” catcher as a hedge for Mesoraco’s health issues, Holaday would appear to fit the bill.

    • He is just 29, a RH hitter to go with Barnhart’s better LH side. He has a good caught stealing % at the ML level. Not a good hitter, but he has a better ML track record than the just signed Juan Graterol. Graterol has the better minor league hitting track record, though. He is 1 year older than Graterol. Not a bad choice.

      • Holaday has it all over Graterol in MLB experience. He was projected at only $900K in the arb process and should be very affordable; but, would he choose the Reds if there are other bidders? Probably only if they anted up more cash than everybody else.

  24. I guess this makes it official, from Mark Sheldon.
    Mark Sheldon ‏@m_sheldon · 13m13 minutes ago
    “#reds bullpen plan, says Price, will include Iglesias, Lorenzen. Others still sought for multi-inning roles”

    Hey Reds, go trade for Nate Jones (CHW) to make Nasty Boys 2.0 a reality.

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About Jason Linden

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at


2017 Reds


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