I don’t want to talk about rebuilding any more. You don’t get a trophy for being the best rebuilder. You get it for winning. We’re entering a phase now where we’ve done some of hard legwork. Over the next couple of years we want to build a positive trajectory and start winning again in our division.

— Dick Williams, Reds President of Baseball Operations (yesterday)

With that statement Dick Williams told us the Reds have hit bottom and are moving full speed ahead back to the surface. The club has entered a new phase. That’s something Williams couldn’t say until this week. We can quit capitalizing “rebuild” and start referring to the Era of Positive Trajectory.

In other words, it’s fair to stop judging the front office solely by process and projections and start evaluating the club based on results.

But as fans we must be careful to choose the right short-term criteria to evaluate success. For a while longer, we need to focus on gains in individual player development instead of collective production in the wins column. Forget the sum of the parts being greater than the whole, judging progress is still about the parts.

Only four players  – Devin Mesoraco, Zack Cozart, Joey Votto and Homer Bailey – remain from the 2012 Reds’ Opening Day roster under manager Dusty Baker. That team won 97 games and the NL Central. It feels longer than four seasons ago.

You could make the case the Rebuild isn’t quite finished. The Reds still need to move Cozart, right? But we may be learning this week not everyone in the organization is sold on Jose Peraza at SS and Dilson Herrera at 2B. That means there might be value in Zack Cozart sticking around for a couple years at a reasonable price. Could be all of that is part of sorting.

The Cozart question aside, Williams is right that the Reds have finished the hard stuff. Trading Brandon Phillips was the final piece. In a literal sense, the Phillips move just made way for the next second baseman, one player.

But symbolically, the announcement felt so much bigger. Like an enormous page in the Reds media guide has been turned. It suddenly seems like the players who earn a ticket to Cincinnati this April will represent a big chunk of the next good Reds team.

Not every important piece will be at Great American Ball Park just yet. For example, Nick Senzel will lace ’em up against the Tennessee Smokies not the Philadelphia Phillies. A few other players, some who aren’t even in the organization yet, will need time before they knock down the Reds’ clubhouse door. Down the road, a big trade or two will fill the inevitable holes created by players who get hurt or don’t cut it.

Cheering for the home team and familiar players is one of the traditions that makes baseball great. But so is the thrill of renewal.

For a while, meaningful gains in the win column will lag behind the upturn we’ll observe in individual players. Patience and understanding is oh, so hard. But they’re also vital for our sanity as this young team struggles through its growing pains. We’ll have to keep that in mind this summer.


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

Join the conversation! 124 Comments

  1. Ah Spring Training … when hope springs eternal. I am so ready for Redlegs baseball.

  2. “It feels longer than four seasons ago”

    Man, that is the truth. Feeling excited about seeing this team grow.

  3. Never minded the idea of a rebuild but wanted to get to see the young players. Now it looks like we will get that chance.

  4. It is extremely premature for the Reds to be seriously thinking about extending Zack Cozart. The Reds posture in this regard should be the same as the rest of MLB. Wait and see if the knee holds up to the rigors of playing every day and plays satisfactorily.

    • It’s hard to know what Cozart will attract in the free agent market next year. Suppose the Reds could sign him to a contract more in line with a veteran UT player than a starting SS? I doubt that would work out, but you have to admit, he’d be a pretty good guy to bring in off the bench to play 3B, SS, or 2B or a late inning defensive replacement. To be clear, I’m not saying there’s anything like this being considered now.

      • Given CZ’s age and past injury history, I think he is a pretty big risk going forward. Given, the two major injuries were both traumatic and not wear related; but still….

  5. I’m loving the shift in tone from Mr. Williams. My brain is sitting in the “cautiously optimistic” center lane with an eye toward my left and a foot over the accelerator. I’m worried about the Cub-sized beer truck in the distance and those stupid Cardinals and their ability to pull rainbows from their rear ends, but what the heck.

    Go Reds go!

    Spring has sprung.

  6. In regards to Peraza, my only observation is that he may not have a strong enough arm for SS. He is a great fielder, with great hands. His offensive skills (OPS) would play well at SS. The Reds Front Office may think his arm is not strong enough to hold out for a season.

  7. Excellent article Steve! Is there anything concrete to go on at this point that backs up that Peraza may not be the future at short? Thanks!

    • The rumblings I’ve heard are far from concrete. The way Bryan Price has talked about how they are handling 2B right now makes you wonder. Again, no rush to decide. Put the players out there and see. Why make declarations in February?

  8. I’m slowly becoming a DW fan.

    • I am with Patrick on this one. Am content to see how Cozart responds.

    • Me too, Patrick. And it will be interesting to see who he hires as the next manager. I just don’t see Price being retained.

      • I just don’t know how we know if BP is the right man. I don’t kive in Cincy so I don’t see the news or the papers, but how can we judge a manager based on some very weak teams and a FO that did not manage “the rebuild” very well.
        In the end it’s up to Mr. Williams to decide if BP is the right fit/temperament/team builder that he needs. Based on early moves and as you guys have noted, Mr. Williams appears to have a plan and is starting to set the table for a winner – so we will have to trust his judgment.

  9. I don’t think Steve is saying the Reds will extend Cozart but they do need to keep ever option open to put the best club on the field they can in 2018-2019. If that does not include Peraza at short but second base then Herrera may be a art of a trade to bring in the final piece to a championship or at leas a contending team. All options are open. I want to win and I like hearing DW speak this way.

    • Of all the current major league-ready players, Herrera (based on his minor league performance) has the best shot at being an above average or possibly even an all star level player. Look at his stats. I have been following him since he was with the Pirates(who I know would love to have him back now). He gets on base and has above average pop in his bat. Peraza has serious questions in both those areas. It would be a mistake to have Peraza block him at 2B. Unless AlfRod surprises, the Reds don’t likely have their future SS in their system yet. They should look for a top quality SS as they look to trade Cozart, Duvall, Storen, Hamilton or some other combination of excess pitchers over the next year. And the rebuild will continue for a while longer no matter what the FO says. Competitive in 2019 at the earliest is my prediction.

      • Daal and Trahan both have potential. Daal can easily be compared to Didi Gregorius. Alf is another prospect you spotlighted. Develop what you already have in house.

        • Daal and Trahan don’t project to hit much at all in major leagues. There both are likely backup defensive utility types at best. Aside from maybe 1B, SS is the weakest position in Reds farm system. Reds should be looking to Yankees and Rays system for excess SS prospects.

        • Mets have a lot of good SS prospects as well.

      • Suarez can play SS if Peraza doesn’t work out there. By doing that it clears 3B for Senziel.

        • The last time Suarez played SS regularly, he wasn’t very good defensively. I think he has put on some pounds as well that will preclude him from playing SS again in the future. Seriously, if Peraza doesn’t pan out at SS this year and AlfRod doesn’t hit enough, the Reds presently have no one to hang their hat on at SS in their system in the long or short run. That should be a focus with any trades, and it might not be a bad idea to draft Hunter Greene as a SS rather than a pitcher if he shows that he is special with the bat – assuming he is available with the 2nd pick.

        • I never want to see Suarez at SS again, ever. He was horrible there.

        • It was not too long ago that most saw Suarez as a horrible 3b defensively. He has improved vastly as a fielder since then. If SS is his natural position, wouldn’t be suprised to see improvement from last time he was SS.

    • Right. Simplest explanation is Cozart proves he’s healthy, gets traded. Peraza moves to SS. Herrera called up to play 2B and that’s that. But the way Bryan Price has talked about it this spring, it’s hard to tell what they’re thinking or if they’re all in agreement. Ideal world, Reds would know Peraza can play SS and Herrera can play 2B to their satisfaction before trading Cozart.

  10. Steve: Great perspective and fine writing, as always. Thanks for that.

  11. We haven’t had a fire sale like this since the 1999 team was dismantled–although I think those pitchers seriously overachieved that year. It’s sad to see the players you love go, but it’s a part of modern baseball. It brings the opportunity to get to know new players.

    Good-bye Sean Casey, Pokey Reese, Jack McKeon, Aaron Boone, Danny Graves, and Scott Williamson (with his wicked splitter)…hello Votto, Bruce, Philllips, and Cozart…good-bye Bruce, Phillips, and Cozart…hello…???

  12. Reds may be most loaded organization in MLB with 2B prospects. Peraza, Herrera, Alcantara, Renda, Dixon, Blandino, Shed Long.

    • 2nd base, like SS, can be converted to other things. I think Shed Long is a pretty good prospect. Most of the rest, excepting Herrera and Peraza, are just so-so.
      Bryan Price has a tendency to “verbally” slot players and pitchers base on perhaps his inside knowledge. Peraza may indeed be the front runner for starting at 2nd base this year. And if Cozart looks healthy and the Reds find a trading partner for him, then Peraza may slide over to SS and Herrera goes into the line up.
      Who knows? I don’t. But guessing is fun, I suppose.

  13. We forced Phillips out and all we heard during that ordeal was how good Peraza and/or Herrera is, they’re the future!!!! Now, new information is that the organization isn’t sold on either one of them. Are you freakin kiddin me! Most of the familiar players I’m used to are gone. Like you said, only 4 of those plyrs I’m familiar with remain with the team. Thankfully my most favorite (and last favorite) player is one of those 4.

    • Let’s not panic just yet. This is Bryan Price talking, who may indeed be a lame-duck manager. in the eyes of Dick Williams and Bob Castelini, Bryan may be talking himself out of a job for 2018.

    • Why are you concerned about not being familiar with people who will never be familiar with you? They’re baseball players, not family members. They’re entertainers, not friends. They will come and go. None of them have any idea that you or any of us exist.

      • Chuck, I wanted to lash back at you at first but as I got to reading what you said, I came to realize that you were saying what I now realize and am goin to do from now on. I’m not gonna have anymore favorite plyrs. Votto will be the last. This is something I’ve said ad nauseam. But from now on I’ll hope that whoever joins our team will do good for us & lead us to a championship while they’re with us but that’s it. I don’t understand why you came at me in the tone you did.

      • Don’t you get attached to some players and seem to have more of a personal, vested interest in seeing them succeed for your Reds? I know I do. Seeing those players move on is hard for some of us, even if they don’t know we exist. This is true for me even though every player whom I’ve known personally has retired from an active playing career.

        • Lwblogger2, Not anymore I don’t!

          • I still do Sandman. Was hard to see Bruce traded and I’ve always liked watching BP play. In my opinion, he’s the 3rd best 2B the Reds have ever had and an argument could be made that he’s the 2nd best. Can’t help it. There will always be a bit of an emotional investment. That’s why I was asking Chuck about it.

      • I’m not sure why you would want to
        ” lash back” at me as I didn’t “lash” at you. It seemingly is important to you to be familiar with players and I just don’t understand your position. I didn’t say you were wrong.

        My 2 favorite all time players are Concepcion, and Larkin. The fact that they both played their entire careers with the Reds is meaningless to me. I wish Concepcion had been traded in the early 80’s when his value was high. I wish Larkin had been traded in 96′ when he was worth a bundle and the team was hemmoraging cash.

        It’s a business and players are assets. They’re not our friends.

        • Chuck, I don’t guess you’re understanding me. Having favorite players is something I used to do. I don’t no more. It is a practice that will end with Votto. It is not “important” to me, it is not my “position”. If anything I believe like you do now (except for Votto. Can’t help it, he’s awesome).

    • You say that as if keeping Phillips and expecting even average 2B play was an alternative?

      Come on, any of our 2B prospect have a brighter future than Phillips, so don’t lose a seconds sleep over that trade.

      I think it’s safe to say none of us are sold on ANY of our prospects. We don’t have one single can’t-miss type in our system. We DO have LOTS of good potential and any one of those (or two or three) can exceed expectations and become a perennial all-star.

      Look at our top 10 prospect list, do any of those look like can’t-miss? I’d say Senzel, but he’s just had a half-year in pro-ball, so even a great first season needs to be taken in moderation. He played against players his age and younger in rookie and A ball. We’ll see what happens in Double A or Triple A this year.

      Even Winker, who we mostly like and look-forward to, has glaring holes in his game. Apparently he runs like a sewing machine…not good for scoring runs or fielding range. Stephenson, well, he has good stuff, but so wildly inconsistent so far, he is far from can’t-miss.

      Garrett looks promising, but nothing close to some of the other top 10 pitiching prospects as far as polish and number of quality pitches.

      • Michael E, I will lose a little sleep over that trade bcuz Phillips is great! If the organization isn’t sold on either Peraza or Herrera then they must believe on some level that there is something about their game or makeup that could fail. You sure could’ve fooled me about people not being sold on any of these kids bcuz all I’ve been seeing/hearing on social media is how much everybody’s falling in love with the new kids. I’ve cautioned against that…don’t see the purpose in it. They ain’t did nothing yet and when one of them gets traded these people are getting all bent out of shape as if they had been with the Reds for years! It’s ridiculous really. But this is why I hate rebuilds bcuz everybody’s in such a hurry to do away with the old regime and are so ready to hand over the reigns to unproven kids who may not pan out. That only underlines my belief that rebuilds are unpredictable and there’s a chance they won’t work. I hate unpredictable. I hate being unsure. I hate the waiting for the kids to develop. I hate the losing.

        • Sandman: Philips was great in many ways, but has been much less than great recently–age and injuries. The prospects are not can’t-miss ( few prospects anywhere are that), but some of them are going to be part of the Reds’ future, and there can be some pleasure in watching that unfold. I agree that the losing is tiresome, but almost all teams go through cycles like this, particularly teams without unlimited money to spend.

      • One other thing, people are willing to accept average offense from some of these kids, so why not average defense? So long as the defense surrounding him is at the same level or better. At least it’s not below average. Kinda feels like a double standard. Look, I know that BP couldn’t play forever. I’m predicting he’ll retire in 1-3 yrs. But so long as he kept putting up decent offensive numbers and maintained his avg defense then he
        was still worth keeping especially since Peraza & Herrera are unproven and (again) the Reds aren’t sold on them.

  14. Actions speak louder than words. Even the words Positive Trajectory. At least with Dick Williams, there is some action. Not much on the 25 man roster but there has been a lot of turnover on the 40 man roster. Walt Jocketty really hamstrung the Reds. I just wonder where the Reds would be today if Castellini had not given Jocketty that last 2 year contract extension and brought in a new GM?

    • Jocketty’s single BIGGEST strategic mistake with the 40 man roster was not having enough young guys stepping up. Always found the old retreads to fill the roster. As an organization, you have to annually promote some of your young talent, even if they wash out. Some guy may end up being lightening in a bottle, or may at least show enough talent to be an add – on in a trade.

      Jocketty made some shrewd trades that brought the Reds some real talent. But as he did with the Cardinals, he mismanaged the youth in the Reds system, and did not create opportunities for young players to at least show what they had. And in my limited thinking, is why the Reds were in the desert in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

      Kevin Gregg? Jason Marquis? And many, many more. You can afford to have ONE marginal player (0.0 or negative WAR) on your roster, especially if they had a specific role (defensive SS or backup catcher), but not many (3,4,5 ??!!). They should be identified and waived. But that was the Jocketty legacy.

      • Jocketty’s single biggest mistake in my mind is the mandate of “mlb ready” prospects in every trade the past three years. Always, ALWAYS shoot for upside. It may turn out a couple of these prospects become good MLB players, but watching OTHER teams pull in top potential, while the Reds turned coveted players into high floor, low ceiling types is disappointing. I’d rather have one top 3 prospect from another team than three that are all outside the top 8,which we seemed to do with every trade we made.

        • I agree with that for the most part. I will point out however that the MLB ready prospects was thought to be an accelerator for the rebuild. It’s quite possible, with Bob Castellini as the Reds’ owner, that he mandated that the talent had best be close to the Majors. Not sure we’ll ever know but it may not have been WJ’s failing.

      • Totally agree. I am excited to see Williams put emphasis on young up and coming players rather than proven mediocre vets one year from retiring. It is one thing to add a vet that will help the team, such as Rolen or Choo, but adding those like Marquis and Hannahan is just wasting roster spots.

        So far I am optimistic with the style of Dick Williams!

        • Your comparing apples to oranges. In general, Jocketty brought in the Marquis of the world as a desperate attempt to win now. Williams doesn’t have that same pressure and can take a longer term view.

          • That’s true. I guess a better comparison might be someone like Schumaker to someone like Alcantara. Nevertheless, I’m still optimistic.

    • I imagine that would depend on who he brought in.

  15. We may be getting close to starting the trade part of the UPWARD TRAJECTORY. I believe that this may be what Williams is alluding too. If we get appropriate offers, we will jump at them and speed up the winning. I believe that as Votto ages/declines our window for playoffs will close.

    Valuable Tradeable players: 1. Cozart. 2. Peraza/Herrera/Suarez 3. Closer/high leverage situation reliever. 4. Hamilton/schebler/winker.

    Zach Vincej deserves consideration as an everyday shortstop. Can Vincej ops something around Cozart career .674 If so he can field with Cozart and be a 2+ win player. Vincej will be at AAA this year also. Best case scenario is Vincej hitting continues to improve and we can trade two of the three: 1. Cozart 2. Peraza 3. Herrera. Leaving us with Vincej – SS and Herrera or Peraza at 2b. I prefer Herrera.

    • Vincej will also be 26 years old a month into the season, and hasn’t played a game above AA. Might be a good utility piece off the bench, but I don’t think you are going to be playing a lot of winning baseball if he’s your starting shortstop.

      • I agree vincej isnot the most likely regular ss( 2+war) prospect we have. His defense is elite and Arriving late doesnt mean he cant be a regular, just that he’s close to maxing his potential.

    • Peraza has shown that he can be a 300 hitter with ‘D’ and base stealing ability. He will be on this team for many years. Herrera may be. or Suarez will be our slugging 2nd baseman.

  16. Good article Steve. I agree with Williams that the rebuild is essentially over, which is to say that the old team is all but gone and the new pieces are ready to put in play.

    That said, I don’t see that much of a positive trajectory. The Reds still just have a middle of the pack farm system, and I don’t see many can’t miss or high upside prospects. To have broken up the last team and gotten so little for the major pieces, it just seems like we’re going to get back to .500 and maybe even winning baseball for a year or two, but fall well short of really competing for a title.

    Look at the Cubs farm system the last few years. That was a real wave of talent coming up. I don’t think the Reds have anything close to that. Too many draft picks that didn’t pan out, and trades that brought back too little.

    • Agreed. Jocketty took the air out of the rebuild with his “MLB ready” search on trade returns. He’d rather have a 23, 24, 25 year old “ready” player with no real upside left than shoot for the 18, 19 and 20 year old A ball types that are in everyone’s top 100 MLB prospect list. Sigh.

      I know Cueto was not Sale (he is signed for couple more years and a tick better of course), but watching the White Sox make two trades and completely replace their top 5 prospect list was sickening. We didn’t manage to replace a SINGLE top 5 prospect (from an average farm system) after the Cueto, Frazier, Chapman and Bruce trades…not one player returned was/is in our top 5 prospect list. As I said, sickening. Jocketty was the #1 wrong GM for a rebuild based on future upside. He acted as though Reds fans would be upset if the trades didn’t have four or five players in the starting lineup and rotation, no matter how mediocre the players.

      Castellini shares equal blame of course. I hope he learned his lesson about “experience” and relationships when it comes to baseball decisions.

    • The rebuild won’t be over until we start winning and making the playoffs on a regular basis. As long as we continue to play losing ball…rebuild still in full effect.

    • Except for the BP trade, we got a young starter in every case. When you are trading 1 year or less for 6 years that is Great.

  17. Many have grumbled at the prospect of Peraza not getting full time reps at SS. I look at it from a different point of view. Instead of bemoaning the fact that no one’s position is written in pen, I say take comfort in the versatility of our team:

    CA: Mesoraco / Barnhart
    1B: Votto
    2B: Herrera / Peraza / Suarez
    3B: Suarez / Duvall / Cozart
    SS: Peraza / Cozart / Suarez
    LF: Duvall / Schebler / Suarez
    RF: Schebler / Winkler
    CF: Hamilton / Suarez

    When you think about it, we have lots of guys that can play lots of positions. (People tend to forget that Duvall came up as a third baseman). I could see 12 people getting +100 games this year by mixing and matching players in order to keep guys fresh.

    • *That’s Peraza in the outfield, not Suarez. My bad.

    • I haven’t seen Herrera play but I think people are jumping the gun on him a little bit. He hasn’t come close to dominating at AAA yet….although Suarez didn’t either! Cozart is still pretty steady and no reason to rush him off yet. We’ll see? Winker and Herrera might crush it in spring training and change things up again?

      • Herrera had a .382 OBP and OPS of 893 in AAA during the 2015 season. Granted, it was the Pacific Coast League, but he was also nearly 6 years younger than the average player.

      • Herrera has performed the best at the AAA level of the four promising MI the Reds have on hand. Maybe surprising to some, that Peraza was the worst. With Senzel on the horizon, Suarez may end up back in this mix, and I would remind some that Alcantara still has some great potential if he can regain his confidence and make the adjustments at the final level. Listed below are the four players in order of their AAA hitting performance.

        Dilson Herrera RH 23 2B

        AAA 21-22

        833 .297 .356 .480 .836 7.9 17.5

        Eugenio Suarez RH 25 SS/3B/2B

        AAA 22-23

        290 .264 .358 .455 .813 11.0 16.9

        Arismendy Alcantara Both 25 2B/SS/OF

        AAA 22-24

        1298 .268 .317 .457 .775 6.8 25.1

        Jose Peraza RH 23 SS/2B/OF

        AAA 21-22

        843 .289 .322 .377 .699 4.5 10.4

    • This makes sense in theory, but all we have heard and seen from Bryan Price makes me think he is just as much of a “here is your position,” guy as Dusty was. Not much outside the box thinking.

      The depressing part of that is the only real value the Reds current crop of “prospects” has is their versatility. They don’t have the top notch start prospects that the Cubs had. If these guys are going to become a winning baseball team, it is going to have to be because they have 5-7 guys that can play multiple positions.

      • What’s past is usually prologue, but not always. They’re prospects, not fully known quantities. Some of them may well have more than versatility going for them. We’ll see, but we’ll have to wait, because what they did last year in milb doesn’t always define who they become. Nor do projections, which are educated guesses, but guesses nonetheless.

      • They’ll have to become the Royals. No GREAT hitters, but 5 or 6 solid ones that are hard to strikeout. A decent rotation with a couple of SP2/3 types at least and a killer bullpen. As you noted, we don’t have any top end prospects, save maybe Senzel or Garrett. Sadly, we’ve drafted several catchers and none of them are in any top 10 catching prospect list.

        Jocketty blew the trades, even if Peraza and another or two pan out to be solid MLB players. Not getting a single eye-opening prospect in return from the Cueto, Frazier, Chapman and Bruce trades made any chance of contention in the next 5 years extremely difficult (it will take several shrewd moves to make up for not really improving our farm).

  18. I really hope Peraza can flourish at leadoff. He hasn’t really walked much so far but he’s still young and he seems like the extremely pesky type that fouls off a lot of pitches and doesn’t try to do too much with the ball other then slap it where its pitched. I definitely feel like Hamilton should be batting 9th….just to take some pressure off! With the way he dives into walls and bases…seems like even if he could maintain a .340 obp at the top of the lineup then it would just put him on the DL that much faster. I’d go with Peraza, Votto, Suarez 1-2-3 with Cozart/Pitcher/Hamilton 7-8-9. Of course it would nice if Mesoraco was in there somewhere but the rest of the lineup could sort itself out.

    Its almost time for baseball!!

    • I would think Hamilton gets the first shot at leading off due to his excellent second half of 2016. Since they won’t bat Votto second, I can see Paraza in the two hole. A whole lot of speed in front of Votto, if they can only get on base a lot

      • Not out of the question that they’ll bat Votto 2nd. They’ve batted him 2nd quite a bit the last couple years. He has 130 games started out of the 2-hole in his career. 70 of those starts were in 2015 where he slashed: .314/.450/.557 and he made 29 starts there in 2016, slashing: .315/.429/.541 … The Reds still seem to have that “your best hitter hits 3rd” mentality but they don’t seem particularly opposed to having Votto hit 2nd. I personally like him better 3rd, especially if Hamilton hits 8th but that goes against what modern lineup construction suggests.

        • Er, I mean Hamilton hits 9th.

        • I’ve suspected that the reason they didn’t move Votto to second in the order was that they had nobody they thought would be suitable to hit third. Really hoping that by the time the Reds are ready to compete, that guy is Senzel. … Although, if Votto would hit second and maybe Senzel third, that means only one of Hamilton/Peraza/Winker would also bat at the top of the order.

        • Suarez may very well become an option in the #3 hole. Suarez can be a doubles machine and this may be his breakout season. Last season was his 1st as a full time, starter at the MLB level and he was also making a defensive switch to a position he had not played. He’s now got theat 1st season behind him and made the defensive adjustment to 3B. I think his early defensive struggles dramatically impacted his early season performance at the plate. Last season his BB% & SO% improved fairly dramatically from the 1st half to the 2nd half as Suarez got comfortable. His doubles rate as a percentage of base hits and AB improved drastically from 7.1% & 1.6% to 29.0% & 7.9%, respectively, from the 1st half to the 2nd half last season. When Suarez is comfortable at the plate, the ball shoots through the gaps to the wall…a lot!

          In 2012, Joey Votto was putting up the best season of his career until the knee injury derailed him. He was on pace to shatter the record for doubles in a season with over 60. Suarez pace during the 2nd half last season would have put him on pace for 57 doubles over the course of a full season. Suarez will manage an average to above average BB%, but not much over average. He’s more of a free swinger than Votto. Votto hitting in the #2 hole with Suarez hitting in the #3 hole could be magical.

        • I think I saw Price has said Votto will probably bat third.

    • I think we’ll see Peraza’s OBP steadily increase. He can square up the ball almost as well as anyone we have, Joey aside. Pitcher’s are already aware of this and are going to leave a lot of pitches outside the zone. Having Votto there to mentor him is no small thing, either.

      • The thing is big league pitchers aren’t too scared of the bleeder single in front of the right fielder from Peraza but he’s already pretty hard to put away with the way he can foul them off. He’ll get a little older and stronger & combine that with the Votto factor and he could be special!

        • I thought peraza hit better than people gave him credit. Yes he swung a lot but his contact was hard and his bat quick. .I remember a HR I think at San Diego that was a bomb and I saw him play at SS at GABP and he launched a ball out and sprayed another hard to rf…He’s not a punch and Judy slap hitter.. if he’s on base .350….Who cares if his walk rare is low…Price basically said billy leading off.jv 3rd and duvall 4th…Everything else up for grabs.

        • Never underestimate the power of having Votto bat behind you. Peraza will see strikes because you certainly don’t want to walk a guy in front of Votto. This, of course, plays into Peraza’s tendencies. He doesn’t want to take many pitches anyway, so the best think you can do for him is put him in a position where he won’t see many he can’t swing at.

        • I’m with old school; he hits it pretty damn hard.

        • I don’t think Joey likes having a ‘base stealer’ in front of him. Although I think he is disciplined enough not to have the base stealer take the bat out of his hand (i.e. protecting the runner)…I think it is distracting for someone as focused as he is. If I remember, I don’t think that Joe Morgan like people stealing in front of him, which obviously is weird given his base stealing prowess. Batting Peraza second, who seems a bit more of a free swinger may be best. Let them both get on base and have Joey drive in 2 or 3 runs with one swing.

  19. I’m not sure I agree with Dick Williams’ assertion that the hard part is over. I think losing is the easy part. Losing and pointing at the young players still developing in the minors is easy. When that part is over, and all the young players start knocking on the door, that’s when it’s put up or shut up time. That’s when it gets hard. And the Reds seem dead set on delaying that moment as long as humanly possible precisely because of how hard it is. Herrera and Peraza need to be the starting 2B/SS from Opening Day full stop. There is no good reason for a team that wants to compete in 2018 to run Cozart out at as your every day SS this year. Don’t give me the “increase his trade value” argument. There is no trade value or he’d have been dealt already.

    • I made this same comment above but there are really no indicators that Herrera is a better player then Cozart at this point.

      • An approximately 130 wRC+ in AAA the last 2 years shows he’s almost certainly a better hitter than Cozart right now. A rough average shows most players immediately lose 15-20% of their offensive output when going from AAA to MLB. The good ones gain that lost output back once they adjust to the bigs. Even with that loss, he’s probably at least a league-average (100 wRC+) right now, if healthy. Cozart is not.

        As a defender, of course, he is most certainly NOT better than Cozart.

        To be honest, either one could be the “better” player right now. Just depends how to dominos fall.

        • We’ll see? I like what I’ve seen of Herrera on tape. I’ll have to catch him in Indy if he’s still w/Lville. He seems kind of stocky with a compact swing! You could do much worse then Cozart for a stopgap. He wouldn’t look that bad offensively if they quit batting him 2nd.

          To go back to Eric’s point of rebuild or stall with scrubs….I’d rather watch Ally McBeal reruns then watch Arroyo and Feldman take up 2 spots in the rotation. Oh well…it just wouldn’t be the Reds if they didn’t have a couple of pitchers where this is literally their last stop in the bigs. Mound to couch aka Marquis….or mound to Japan…or probably mound to the police station w/Simon

      • Cozart may be better than Herrera this year, but you have to bank on Herrera being better than Cozart in 2018. And that’s why he needs to start this year. If he’s not better than Cozart in 2018, none of it really matters anyway because the Reds will be mired in the basement for a few more years.

      • FWIW, ZiPS has Cozart at 1.9 WAR with an 86 OPS+ and Herrera at 1.8 WAR with a 100 OPS+.

      • Better player (Cozart/Herrera) is debatable, for sure. But younger is not debatable. Cozart has been a fine player and a good guy, but he is not getting younger. The idea of the whole rebuild thing is to bring in lots of young potential. When Dick Williams talks about the hard part being over, he is talking about his job. Managing contracts, trades and roster moves. Now comes the time for players to prove themselves or be moved out of the system.
        The “rebuild” was moving Bruce, Chapman, Frazier, Cueto, Leake, Phillips, that all had some value, but were either going to be too expensive to keep or were past their prime (Brandon). And getting younger talent in return. We can also argue that overall, we did not get enough value in return. But really, only time will tell about some of these trades.

      • Couldn’t reply lower but your “Would rather watch Ally McBeal reruns” comment below wins the blog for the day. That gave me a real chuckle 🙂

    • The lack of trade value probably speaks to the lack of teams that need a shortstop right now, along with the questions about his recovery from injury. If he shows that he is healthy and somebody’s shortstop goes down, he will have trade value. I’m also not sure that the FO thinks losing and pointing to the future is the easy part, since they will ultimately be judged on how well the team does. Change can–constructively-be incremental.

  20. Youth is served.
    Jesse Winker age 23.
    Jose Peraza age 22, 23 on 04/30.
    Dilson Herrera age 22, 23 on 03/03.
    Eugenio Suarez age 25.
    Billy Hamilton age 26.
    Scott Schebler age 26.
    Tucker Barnhart age 26.
    By July 1, that could be 7 of the starting 8, and then there is that Votto guy.
    Senzel isn’t that far behind either.

  21. Maybe the Old Cossack is missing some of the organizational statements alluding to questions regarding Peraza’s efficacy at SS, but I haven’t seen anything to indicate that Peraza is not considered the SS in-waiting when Cazart is traded. I have seen Price’s comments that Peraza was the 2B after Phillips was traded, but I can’t even pretzel-twist that statement around to construe any reference regarding SS once Cozart is traded. In fact, most of what I’ve seen relates to spring training, not even the regular season at this point.

    I’m on board with many of the suggestions that Cozart be marketed by playing time at both 3B & 2B, in addition to SS during spring training, but I don’t see that as a critical scenario. Remeber that Herrera is playing in the WBC, so he may miss considerable time with the team in Arizona. I don’t think Price was very happy about that decision, but I may be reading such a reaction incorrectly from the tone of his documented comments.

    Personally, I think the commitment to Peraza playing 2B was more a commitment to regular, middle IF playing time as opposed to bouncing him around willy-nilly. If Peraza is not playing SS, I think 2B is the logical, and only logical, alternative for Peraza. I just don’t see any change to the previous plan of Peraza moving to starting SS and Herrera moving to starting 2B once Cozart is traded. Now, if Cozart isn’t traded, then that opens up a whole new can of worms, but when teams go shopping for a starting SS due to an injury, Cozart will be their first consideration.

  22. The last winning baseball for the Reds was 1990. I don’t care about a winning record, winning division title, winning NL title. I only consider winning the World Series as a worthy achievement. If the Reds can’t win the World Series it was another fruitless season.
    Will the Reds win the World Series this year? Only time will tell but I would imagine that the odds put us near 1%

    • You set a tough standard. If the standard were universal, there’d only be one MLB team, since the fans would stop watching the 29 failures.

      • If the possibility of winning the WS was the only reason for me to watch the Reds, I would be one miserable person. If, slim chance I know, the Reds should win 81-83 games this year, I would be more than happy. Last year knowing they had slim to zero chances of finishing higher than 4th or 5th place, and thus I didn’t watch, I also would have missed out on Joey’s fantastic hitting, Billy’s outstanding defense, watching Duvall produce far beyond expectations, Lorenzen’s return from his father’s funeral to hit a HR and many more things that brought a smile to my face. Winning is great, and I root for the Reds to win. In this game even the best teams lose 65-75 games a year.

  23. The Cards and Yadi Molina look like they’re getting ready to hammer out a contract extension for the 34-year-old catcher. That should be an interesting development. Extended contracts for 35-year-old catchers have a way of biting the team in the buns quickly.

    • He can’t command very much these days though, given his nose-dive hitting with the recent injuries. He is okay, but at that age, they won’t sign him to any deal that would be eye-opening.

  24. Sorry to be off topic, but I just booked tickets for my two sons and I to see the Reds and Yankees on May 8th and 9th. This will be my first time to see the Reds live, and I’d love to make the entire experience as cool as possible. I’m wondering if anyone has recommendations on best hotels to stay at. I prefer a hotel where we could just walk to the ballpark. Thanks!

    • Every hotel in Downtown Cincinnati or Covington is walkable to the stadium

      • perhaps someone in his family can’t walk more a 1/8 of a mile. Anyone have a list of really close hotels?

        • Then I suppose he would’ve included a sentence like “‘Are there any hotels within 1/8th of a mile?”

          Cincinnati isn’t Manhattan, but it’s not Batesville, Indiana either. There are at least a dozen hotels within walking distance. If one were to google, ” hotels close to Great American Ballpark” it would be rather effective

        • I second Chuck’s response. If you can find your way to this site, it’s even easier to pull up a map of hotels within proximity to GABP. And several new hotels have come online recently in that area.

          And don’t forget, if you can’t walk too far, there are other modes of transportation downtown that can get you around.

    • Maybe someone else can give a longer answer to this, but generally all the downtown hotels are relatively close walking distance.

      • Thanks all. I suppose I was looking for some hometown Cincy folks to give me the inside scoop on the best way to experience the Reds for a few days in town. Walking distance really is no issue. We ended up with a place in Northern KY, just across the river. Looking forward to seeing the sites before and after the games. Thanks!

        • I work in Covington and live in Cincinati – would be happy to help suggest things to do to maximize your time in our city with the Reds. Steve can pass you my email address, and/or perhaps create a post for suggestions (to include various ages, interests, budgetary levels). A weekend downtown for a Reds trip should be a great memory maker with your boys – and a ton of fun!

          • Hey Thomas, that is very generous. Thank you sir! I accept your offer…I’ll try sending Steve a note.

            Regarding the trip, we’ll arrive on Sunday night, then depart on Wednesday. The games are Monday and Tuesday. My hope is to spend some quality time absorbing the downtown/riverside scene on Monday and Tuesday, mostly prior to the games. Yes, it’s going to be a blast. My boys don’t know about this yet. I’ll spend the next few weeks giving them more hints, then let the cat out of the bag sometime in March. That will give them enough time to plan and think about the experience. Cheers.

  25. off topic, but I was reading rotisserieduck.com, and was surprised that this guy ranked Votto as the worst defensive first baseman last year.

  26. Greenmtred, I respectfully disagree with you on there being pleasure in watching kids develop (I assume that’s what you meant by “watching that unfold”). It’s like watching a pot boil. I understand that there are people out there who get pleasure out of watching plyrs develop but I can’t understand why. Never will. I just want them to already be good and putting up great numbers and contributing right away while the team wins and wins. I know that’s not possible though bcuz I live in reality.

    • Got it, Sandman. I hope that they start winning quickly, for you and for the rest of us. I probably should have added that some of the enjoyment comes from seeing how the new guys play, not just following the learning curve. The enjoyment , of course, is short-lived if they don’t play well, but it’s still baseball!

  27. Nice to see ST starting to ramp up with everyone on board. News (or quasi-news) has been sparse as always during the 1st week.

    Who were the 1st 2 starters noted by Price today from live batting practice? Amir Garrett & Rookie Davis. Nothing earth shattering, but those 2 names certainly piqued the Old Cossack’s interest.

    Who were the 1st 2 relievers noted by Price today from live batting practice? Barrett Astin and Kevin Schackelford. Two more interesting names popping up.

    Astin has certainly received his share of notariety during the offseason regarding the bullpen makeup, but I haven’t heard anyone mention Schackelford.

    We’re a long wasy from serious competition, but it’s nice to hear actual baseball discussion focused on the players actually beginning competition in spring camp.

Comments are closed.

About Steve Mancuso

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


2017 Reds


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