Since I last wrote an overarching column, the Reds blew up everything, sending down Amir Garrett, Cody Reed, and Rookie Davis. That undoubtedly makes the Louisville rotation much better, but things are a little more confusing in Cincinnati. The most interesting demotion is Garrett, which has to be about service time (no matter what the official word is). That demotion tells us the Reds are still dedicated to The Plan, so I thought it would be a good idea to see where the plan is likely to take us by the end of the year.

The Rotation

Blah blah injuries blah. Given the nature of their injuries, I’m going to assume that it’s unlikely Anthony DeSclafani and Homer Bailey are both pitching at the end of the year. Brandon Finnegan probably will. And then it’s the kids. Here’s what I think the depth chart is in the second half:

  1. Disco/Homer
  2. Garrett
  3. Finnegan
  4. Reed
  5. Adleman
  6. Davis/Mahle
  7. Stephenson

Let’s start at the bottom. It tells you something that they haven’t sent Stephenson down and they haven’t tapped him to start any games yet. He may have entered sink-or-swim territory for the Reds. I’d bet he doesn’t get any chances to start until the Reds see he’s able to consistently throw strikes and control his pitch counts.

Tyler Mahle is coming along fast and probably needs to enter this column. I’d wager he’s in Louisville soon, but we’ll see. Davis probably wasn’t quite ready, but that doesn’t mean he can’t get there.

Adleman has shown, if nothing else, that he will not blow up. He’s reliable. He won’t be a world beater, but he’s providing solid innings, and that matters.

Cody Reed is in Louisville working as a starter. This tells us that the Reds still see him that way. He’ll get a chance before the year is over.

Amir Garrett is good. He’s not entirely polished yet, but he’s getting there. Once he does his two weeks in Louisville, I doubt he’ll see the minors again.


There are two places right now where the Reds have more starters than they need – the middle infield and the outfield. They also have important infield and outfield prospects in the lower minors. Someone is getting traded eventually. Probably more than someone.

Cozart is easily the most likely to go, but Peraza or Herrera can’t finally hit in a consistent manner, there’s maybe at least some chance Cozart sticks around, but it’s unlikely.

In the outfield, I don’t know what’s going to happen Scott Schebler and Adam Duvall have hit very well. Jesse Winker has also hit well in Louisville. He’s much younger and also a completely different player than either Schebler or Duvall.

In the outfield, at least, this is a good problem to have, but something has to give. Many of these players are at peak value, but who knows. The Reds are generally deep enough that they may stick with what they have. Let’s just say that by the end of the year I think Cozart will be gone and there will be a real and clear pecking order in the outfield.


It’s still early, but it won’t be for much longer. June is on the horizon. Soon, roles will start to be doled out. Decisions are going to be made, and the team in September isn’t going to look like it looks now.

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 jasonlinden.com.

Join the conversation! 31 Comments

  1. I’m generally in agreement. The OF has streaky corners and that won’t likely get better. If Duvall does well, he gets moved. I’m a fan of Shebler over time anyway.

    I think you are spot on regarding Disco and Homer, and I think it’s Homer that comes all the way back. Disco stays on the shelf for the rest of the season or, at best, comes back in September when it really won’t (likely) matter anyway. The rotation future looks pretty bright to me.

  2. Things have been INSANE at work so I haven’t had a chance to read hardly at all let alone comment. I did want to chime in about Stephenson’s walks and his control though. On 4/8 against the Cards, he walked 6 in 1.2 IP. Since then he’s walked 7 batters in 16.2 IP. That isn’t great but he has seemed to settle down, at least a little.

    • It’s because Stephenson is throwing more fastball less ok speed. When I see Bob Steve consistently throw his curve for a strike then and only then will I be in the camp that he needs a shot in the rotation

      • Stephenson has outings where the curve is the only thing he can get over. His fastball command is the problem. I saw Robert Stephenson types on a weekly basis–but that’s when I coached little league. 🙂

  3. Forget about Romano? I say he sits somewhere between Reed and Mahle in the pecking order.

    • Yes Sal has excellent control he should be one of our starters. My 5 for end of year
      1. Bailey
      2. Finnegan
      3. Garrett
      4. Romano
      5. Adleman

      No way you give Davis or Reed another shot this year unless it is merit based or desperate measures to cover roatation due to an injury. Let them master control at Louisville before seeing GABP again.
      Mahle still needs to face the next level of batters before jumping to the show. He needs 3 months of AAA cooking to be ready to serve.

      • I am with you on Reed. He has shown the ability to get major league hitters out.

        He could not last year and has not this year. There is no point in bringing him back up unless he can locate his fastball and find another pitch yo offset the fastball.

    • I did forget about Romano. He’s also been injured though, so we’ll see about him.

  4. Everyone is saying Winker is hitting well in Louisville. His stats are on Pace to be his worst career numbers yet. I expect a turn around but his play certainly isn’t forcing any replacement at the.major league level

    • I agree! Winker has an ISO of .076, OPS .737, and wRC+ 111. Schebler has an ISO of .282, OPS .858, and wRC+ 120. Duvall has an ISO of .277, OPS .853, and wRC+ 117.

      • If Winker can find his power, that almost instantly makes him a core player when coupled with his on-base ability. But yes, without that, he becomes significantly less valuable.

  5. It’s getting late for Disco to meaningfully pitch.
    He’s 10-12 weeks from starting 6 innings for the Reds if everything went right starting now.
    That’s early August.
    1.) Garrett- I predicted in ST he would win 10 games and be in the top 5 ROY…I’m sticking with it.
    2.) Finnegan- he will be back.
    3.) Homer- he threw 48 pitches off a mound!!!!
    4.) Stephenson- I believe he’s getting intense coaching now in side sessions and will make it.
    5.) Feldman- arroyo and Adleman won’t sustain things when the weather warms up….like right NOW….and balls start flying out of GABP…the question will be can Feldman create a market for himself.

    Jesse Winker is having the best offensive season in the Reds High minors of any player..he’s hitting .290…obp of .370 and doubled and homered on Sunday…he’s trending with a solid last 10 games. His power is coming…..but .370 OBP!!!

  6. Keep both Schebler and Duvall when Winker comes up. They’ll make a nice platoon, and it’s always good to have a productive 4th outfielder/bat off the bench. People get hurt.

  7. Any chance they give Lorenzen another chance in the starting lineup? I know his role in the bullpen has worked out well, but he’s a whole lot better than pretty much anyone in the rotation right now.

  8. I am a big billy fan, but I would trade him while hes still fast and has value. Find a younger long term CF, find a free agent for next season (jon jay type) to platoon with Schebler. Unless they want peraza to play there, but I dont think his bat plays anywhere but ss long term.

  9. If Winker doesn’t find his power stroke, he will experience the billy hamilton treatment. The OBP and %BB will fall from his MiLB numbers as pitcher will force him to hit his way on. He will probably more successful in that endevor and not see the degree of drop but the power is what will keep pitcher honest and give him the opportunity to keep the OBP/%BB high.

  10. Disco, Lorenzen (or Peralta), Garrett, Mahle, and Finnegan. That could be an excellent rotation! If Homer can help out then that’s a bonus too. I know I pound this drum a lot…but they said the other day that Lorenzen had the 8th highest groundball % last year and Peralta has 3 elite pitches. Its almost criminal not to atleast try 1 of them in the rotation. They were both starters originally! I’m still high on Finnegan too. His velocity was up this year and he really made strides late last year with the changeup!

    • Disco and Finnegan are still hurt with no known timetable for return, Lorenzen is in the bullpen because his arm/shoulder weren’t holding up under a starting load, Mahle has 0 experience in AAA and isn’t on the 40 man roster, Peralta was awful as a starter in the minors (some guys just work better in a different role), and Bailey has barely pitched in the last 2 years. For the forseeable future, it’s going to be Garrett, Feldman, Arroyo, Adleman, and Bonilla. Romano might force his way up in the next month or so if he doesn’t have any setbacks.

      • I’m talking about a team that can realistically compete! We’re not competing with Adleman, Arroyo, etc.

  11. Garrett will get sent down again around the all star break to get his option time over the 20 day mark and the Reds will get that extra year. Outside of that, he’s pretty much up to stay. He’ll be back now to make the start on Saturday.

    Romano is throwing again, but isn’t throwing off of a mound yet last I had heard. He’s probably at least a couple weeks away from a AAA start.

    Mahle will likely be in AA through mid to late June at the very least. He’s not on the 40 man roster, so unless we are in playoff contention and he forces his way up, don’t expect to see him in a Reds uniform until May/June 2018.

    I’ll believe Homer is healthy and ready to pitch when I see it. You can’t count on him being available.

    Things haven’t been sounding good on Disco, but it’s been a while since we’ve had an update.

    Finnegan will likely make his way back this year at some point.

    Get used to seeing a lot of Arroyo, Feldman, and Adleman to chew up innings unless some of the mainstays can start getting healthy.

  12. Shopping Cozart is really a no brainer unless they come up with an extension that works for both but he will want more in money and years then we can afford.Billy can bring some prospects especially from a team looking for defense in center.As pitchers get healthy(Homer,Disco,Finny,Romano) they need to take the place of the warm bodies.While Feldman went 7 and 9 the last time and Bronson went 6 or 7 I expect them to return to 4 or 5 innings per start as they have done more often then not.Reed and Stephensen should get a few starts as well.

    • The Reds need defense in center, and they’ve got it. There’s a need for judicious trades to augment the prospects, but the impulse to trade anybody who has value leads to a state of constant rebuild. The Reds are showing that they are pretty competitive right now with a patchwork rotation, and likely on track to be very competitive sooner than many of us expected–next year, maybe, depending upon those starting pitchers. A team in that position needs to evaluate prospective trades with the consideration of immediate improvement at the position of the guy you trade, in addition to keeping the farm system stocked.

      • Maybe not immediate improvement at the same position, but overall team improvement. I agree that CF defense is extremely important and Hamilton provides supreme CF defense.The thing is that Hamilton’s defense in CF should be even more valuable to teams playing in spacious stadiums with vast green to cover in the OF. Hamilton’s bat probably plays up in those same stadiums as well. I would never advocate trading Hamilton unless the return justified the move, but that could happen.

        The Reds minor league system has multiple cadidates for CF prospects, but your point about trading major league players for prospects is valid. Prospects are never a sure thing, not even close.

  13. We won’t/can’t afford Cozart unless he gives us a discount in money or years or both.He won’t do it and neither would I.We do need defense in center but it comes down to how much we are willing or can pay for defense from Billy.These two guys are the next on the list for a bigger pay day.

    • I don’t see Cozart getting this huge contract from someone else? I could be wrong but I don’t see it? Cozart looks like a guy that can hit .285 for a few years with 15-20 HR power and he’s drawing walks too. Peraza can’t do that offensively at this point? He’s not even close? Also why trade Hamilton? His value lies in defense which does cost as much and we absolutely can’t replace him? This is not a 8 year rebuild….Votto isn’t getting any younger and he’s the core big banger!!

      • Agreed…the problem is define huge…Cozart will get 4 years and 65 million from someone. Mike leake is now a bargain at 5/75 …Tanaka yankees really solid pitcher against reds….he’s 155 million… semardja nice game for giants…90 million. Remember shin Soo choo…he’s still owed tens and tens of millions by the Rangers.

      • We aren’t mentioning, for fear of jinxing it, probably, that Billy has been hitting lately. It could, of course, be an aberration, but he improved the second half of last year, so maybe he’s gotten back to what he was doing then. Agree about his value being mostly defense (and what defense it is!), but he causes real problems for other teams when he’s on base, and if he keeps getting on base, he’s going score/create a lot of runs.

    • Bob C. can afford whatever he wants….they had a 120 mil payroll or whatever it was in 2012 and now their 25 man roster makes “only” 59 mil. They’re getting rid of Bailey and Mesoraco’s financial joyrides too! Its about time they spent a few bucks again rather then cutting everything. They’re 26th in payroll with Bailey/Meso as it is!

  14. Trades are a coming. Yes, and the Reds should use the July trade deadline, not only to trade 2-3 veterans, but also to shop early for 2018. Some prospects could go in July if the right trade packages are suitable enough. The Reds don’t have to wait until the winter meetings to start any trade discussions for upgrading for 2018. An established starting pitcher that can be a part of the Reds teams of 2018-2020 or longer could be obtained in July.
    Dick Williams should be very active in July selling, and buying.

Comments are closed.

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 jasonlinden.com.


2017 Reds


, , , , , , , , , , , , ,