The last three days have been rough to watch.

I’m sure they haven’t been pleasant for the team, manager, coaches and front office. But let’s focus on silver linings.

Did you know the Cincinnati Reds are squarely in the running for the third selection in next June’s amateur draft? If Madison Bumgarner returns to form for San Francisco, the Reds might even contend for the #2 slot again!

More important than draft position is the organization achieving clarity about the fate and purpose of this season. Right now.

Yes, the destiny of the 2017 Reds has been more ambiguous than most of us expected in April. We can thank the struggling Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals for that. Their surprising weakness has kept the Reds deficit in the NL Central to single digits until the last few days. At the end of May – a third of the way through the season – the Reds were just 2.5 games out of first place.

We’ve all been part of teams or organizations facing long odds that found it necessary to generate a sense of undue optimism. Esprit de corps demanded it. So we expect Reds clubhouse and the dugout to stay focused and upbeat about winning, even competing for first place. The team has lingered on the outskirts of contention for a good chunk of the season, so fans can be forgiven for believing in unrealistic outcomes. We fans will be fans.

But here are the cold, hard facts. According to the clever folks at FanGraphs, the chance of the 2017 Reds making the World Series is 0.0%. Of earning a Wild Card slot? 0.0%.

Of winning the NL Central Division? Zero point zero.

Even Lloyd Christmas and John Blutarsky understand zero point zero.

Yet through the murky and unexpected early results and unwarranted optimism, the one group we count on to remain clear-eyed is the front office.

Two weeks remain before the trade deadline. It would be disastrous for the folks on Joe Nuxhall Way to let loose the rudder and go wobbly on the rebuilding process. Their reluctance to pull the field turf out from under the 25 guys in the clubhouse is understandable. But Dick Williams and his staff need to make the pain of the past couple years worth it by following through as diligently as they can.

That means shopping Scott Feldman, Zack Cozart, Tony Cingrani and Drew Storen. It means not ruling out Godfather-type offers for Raisel Iglesias, Adam Duvall or Scooter Gennett.

Beyond deftly navigating the trade market, the front office must make aggressive roster decisions to increase opportunities for players of the future — even at the expense of established players who deserve to start every day. This is especially the case with the starting pitching rotation.

Yes, those steps will hurt this year’s record. But giving up on the 2017 standings doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of fun and excitement cheering the development of young players. Amid the carnage of today’s game, it was nonetheless thrilling to watch Jesse Winker draw three walks and hit the ball hard twice.

The Reds are out of contention. The last three games make plain how far the Reds have to go. If the jolting experience of this weekend helped clarify that fact for the front office, it qualifies as a sterling silver lining.

It’s well-past time to take our eye off the win-loss metric, at least for this season. Instead, keep supporting the current players and judge the organization by how much good young talent they add in the next 15 days.

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! 126 Comments

  1. I am still completely dumbfounded that Price at one point said his personnel decisions were being made with an eye toward making the playoffs this season. I mean, I get that the Reds were still technically in contention when he said that, but how could anyone be so delusional as to believe this team was a finished product, ready to compete?

    That Price does not seem to be fully onboard with the rebuild should be reasons 1, 2, and 3 for his dismissal. If he’s not going to play the kids and help with the sorting, he’s part of the problem, not the solution.

    • Price is saying that to placate the true moron fans (every team has them) that would trade every draft pick and prospect for a bunch of faded 36 year old stars of the previous decade.

      I just get mad that our front office occasionally makes reference to these fans, instead of the ones that understand one step back can lead to two steps forward soon enough.

      • There are a lot more true moron fans than those who understand why they are rebuilding. The Reds need to sell tickets and the “TMF’s” are a huge part of the Reds customer base.

        • I enjoy being a part of the Reds community of fans. Had a great time Friday at the game even though Adelman pitched against an offensive juggernaut. Labeling a huge part of Reds fans as “morons” doesn’t really accomplish much. What are those morons supposed to do? Boycott the team? Not take their family to a game?

          • Right. What else is Price supposed to say? Tell Votto, Cozart, and Feldman to take the rest of the year off so we can develop the team? The beginning of this piece sounded like Browns jabber, waiting for the draft again. He’s trying, as any manager worth anything would do, to win games. Period. That’s his job. Give the guy his top three starters for this year and the Reds would be leading their division. The rebuild is almost complete. Let the pieces play out and quit sounding like a decade or more of frustration awaits us. A winning culture needs to be established as soon as possible. Ask folks in Cleveland.

        • Then there are the players in the clubhouse. They want their manager to try to win ballgames. Player development is done in the minors. This isn’t computer baseball. Players want to play and to win ballgames. The manager can’t NOT say those sorts of things unless he wants to completely lose the team.

    • I have to believe (or at least hope) that Price was saying that without actually believing it. I also believe that if Price isn’t following what Dick Williams wants done, he will be fired, either soon or at the very least after the season. Even if he is doing exactly what Williams wants I think his chances of remaining are less than 50/50.

      The big question for me in that case is, who is going to be available and what will they bring to the Reds that is a significant upgrade?

    • I hope Price didn’t really believe that. I am all for a positive leader at manager position, but it must be balanced at all times with reality. Pats on the back are great thing if deserved by any shred of evidence, but patting (player or fans) on the back when it’s laughably absurd is just sad and short-sighted.

      • fact is if the pitching (starters mainly) would have been healthy all year, the Reds would be in contention, if not 1st place in the central right now

        • I agree with you, JoshG, but that viewpoint doesn’t help the narrative at all.

        • And if certain offensive players (Cozart/Gennett, mainly) didn’t play above their heads, the Reds would be back down in last with the healthy pitching.

          You can’t just focus on the unexpected bad stuff. You have to look at the unexpected good stuff, too.

          This isn’t a good team, regardless of injury situation. That’s exactly why every baseball expert expected them to be exactly where they are… last place.

          • Point taken, but I’m not convinced that Cozart is playing above his head,since he has evidently gone to school on Votto and has changed his approach.

          • Not much separates the Brewers and the Reds. The Brewers have benefitted from better starting pitching, but how much better is their starting pitching if the Reds had healthy DeSclafani, Finnegan, to go along with Feldman, Adleman, Castillo & Mahle, instead of running Arroyo and a bunch of guys who lacked success even at the AAA level?

            Every baseball expert predicted the worst three teams in the NL would be the Padres, Brewers and Reds. They also predicted the best teams to be the Dodgers, Cubs, Nationals, Giants & Mets. Doesn’t take much sometimes to go from 68 wins to 88 wins – and vice versa.

  2. Just like last two years, I am hoping for a nice drop and top 3 draft pick. That little winning spurt just before the break made me mad actually. Sweeping the Cards a month back or so is nice, but not if it means dropping 3 or 4 draft slots.

    I really hope they trade no fewer than 3 players. It seems like we can almost lock in lots of last minute rumors and then one piddly trade. They have, as you noted, a half dozen trade pieces. We should see all the short term signed vets gone if they’re smart. Don’t take 4 crappy prospects, but look for one pretty good one. Maybe even swap change-of-scenery prospects as well.

    I am hopeful we get lots of game time for AAA and AA players, win a few games here and there, but in the end, having an improved top 10 prospect list and a high 2018 draft pick is best for the future (and next year). Keeping Cozart, Feldman or Storen servers NO purpose for the future. None. Not trading AT LEAST those three, will be like whne they whiffed on Fraziers max value or choked by rushing to trade Chapman at his absolute nadir. Stupid, idiotic moves and I hope we’re past that and now a professionally (and objective, not subjective) run front office and ownership.

    • I agree completely on Feldman and Storen…. Cozart I would have been in total agreement also IF Peraza would have shown Anything this year, he is back to looking like a utility guy at best. I am now a believer that Cozart is the hitter we have been seeing the last couple of years now, I do worry about the injury issues with though. So if the right deal comes to them for Cozart do it (but no one needs a SS right now), but I don’t think it is an OBO type situation like it seemed to be at the beginning of the year

    • The “piddly” trades they’ve done have been surprisingly beneficial. The only one that looks to be a bust is the Chapman deal, which to some extent wasn’t their fault. I hated the Frazier trade when it was done but Schebler has saved that deal.

  3. The Reds checklist in my mind from here on out should be:

    1. Trade Zack Cozart. Extending Cozart comes with it’s own inherent risks. He’s already in his 30’s, he’s coming off his best year ever, and he’s likely got faulty wheels. A reasonable extension (2 years) probably only retains him for 1 year that we’ll actually expect to compete (2019). A three year extension may ultimately create a log jam in the infield when Senzel, Long, Herrera, etc should be arrived and ready. And that’s in the best case scenario where he stays healthy and viable. Trade him now and get something for him, because you’re not going to risk spending 18m if he accepts a QO.

    2. Let’s figure out if Stephenson and Reed have learned any lessons from their AAA time. And let’s also see how they do on regular usage and rest. Meanwhile keep pushing Romano and Castillo and see how they do. We need to have a better idea of what those guys can contribute going into next year and their role/usage earlier this year showed us nothing of value.

    3. Trade Feldman and Storen for whatever you can get. As mentioned above we need starts for Stephenson, Reed, Castillo, and Romano. With Bailey and a potential Disco return in August, that’s already 6 guys. A piggy-back situation or 6-man rotation may help save everyone’s arm/innings. But you can’t do that with Feldman around. If there are any takers for their services, thank them for their contributions and send them on their way. Moving Storen also frees up room for Hernandez or Herget to be mainstays in the Reds bullpen the rest of the year.

    4. Do the leg work on potential corner OF trades. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where we continue to have three viable starting corner OFs entering next season. A lot of offseason trades have the groundwork laid out during the deadline. Get the ball rolling there. While they’re at it, gage interest in Hamilton as well.

    5. Use September to audition next year’s bench pieces. Alcantara has been pretty dreadful. Kivlehan has been useful if unspectacular. Turner will spend next season in AAA outside of an injury. If we can create some 40-man space through trades, let’s see what Vincej and Blandino can offer off the bench.

    • Wow, I think I agree with just about every word you wrote HOTTO.

    • Looking for an argument in every one of your points. I came up empty, as I agree with all, especially the corner outfielders. That one can generate the serious prospects the Reds need. Alderman, Feldman, stolen wont bring anything except roster spots.

      Cozart and an outfielder would be the tell-tale trade if this front office really knows what they need to do.

    • 1. Unless the star shortstop of a contending team is lost for the season, Cozart has virtually no value. I’m sure they would LOVE to trade him but that isn’t a unilateral endeavor.

      2. I completely agree

      3. If they can trade Feldman or Storen they will.

      4. It would be difficult to believe that they aren’t already doing this.

      5. I agree….you just need to be mindful of service time and the fact that every guy you bring up in September gets a MLB salary, travel accommodations etc….the Reds are going to be mindful of cost…it is what it is.

      • You’re right about Cozart’s value if there’s no demand. The Diamondbacks did lose their starting SS, and have said they may look to upgrade that spot with a rental. But I’m not sure where else he may go and the Diamondbacks have a couple in-house options and other needs. But he also has zero value to the Reds after he leaves as a FA and extending him shouldn’t be a realistic option unless he’s going to give a major hometown discount. So that’s why it’s priority #1, even in the face of some hurdles.

    • One other thing the Reds need to do is to fire a manager who is working for his next job and hire an interim manager that understands that wins and losses do not matter right now but gathering figuring out what our outfield, infield and pitching staff is going to look like in 2019.

  4. The Old Cossack’s grandson came by this afternoon. He’s a big Reds fan and a pretty good ballplayer. He made a comment about how bad the Reds are doing this season and we got into a conversation about how this season is not about winning this year, but winning in the future. He didn’t like not winning (he had a bad season this year too), but we had a wonderful discussion and he could understand why the Reds weren’t winning and what they need to do in order to win in the future.

    Let’s hope the front office (we’re looking directly at you DW) has the same capability to understand.

    • I went Friday. Little guy got a hot dog and cotton candy and I intercepted a ball from the Nationals third base coach directed to a Nats fan – left handed and gave it to him. Its in his room now. Harper hit 2 rockets…He/We appreciated his excellence.
      Move the rebuild forward.

  5. I’ll never understand how some people get excited to watch a “young player develop”. Especially when that “development” process includes getting shellacked almost daily or just outright sucking. Maybe one of these years I’ll understand but not now.

    • What’s the alternative? Watch older players go through the “de-develop” process which also includes getting shellacked and outright sucking.

      Watching younger players develop is a means to an end.

      • It may not be exciting to watch young players struggle but it sure beats watching over the hill players. At least with the young ones I can dream of better days. Watching Winker’s at bats today wasn’t exciting for me but it was heartening to see that at least on this day, at this moment, he seems to understand plate discipline better than almost anyone on the major league roster except Votto.

        • Jazzmanbbfan, just bcuz a player is young doesn’t mean they will get better.

      • Chuck, I’m just talking about the enjoyment aspect that some get in watching a young player develop. I didn’t suggest or even hint at any alternatives. If I did I didn’t mean to.

        • I get your point and agree to an extent. I don’t enjoy watching Cody Reed give up homer after homer, or watching Stephenson walk batter after batter.

          However, that one magical day when (if) it all comes together will be glorious.

          The alternative, as Chuck mentions, is watching someone like Arroyo get shellac’d. The difference is, when/if he has a good day, it’s just “Ok, no big deal” because we know Arroyo has no bearing on the future of this franchise.

          As a fan of a team like Cincinnati, I think you have to be able to find silver linings during rebuilding processes or the whole thing will be unbearable.

          I’ll also admit, I watch less often when Adleman is pitching, but I try not to miss a start of the young guys… I don’t want to miss that “Aha” moment. I also turn the game off when Votto is removed and the Reds are down big. In those situations, I generally only keep the game on to watch Votto’s last AB.

          • Patrick, glad to hear that someone agrees with me somewhat. You said something about that one magical day when (if) it all comes together. It’s the “if” that I have trouble with. That’s why I don’t like rebuilds…bcuz sometimes they don’t work. Plus all the losing. Patience isn’t one of my strong suits. But I’ve been a reds fan for at least 28 yrs. I’ve endured some truly awful stretches in that time like that one period where the reds finished with a losing record for like a whole entire decade. I didn’t go anywhere then and I’m not going now. I endure these rebuilds that I hate so much bcuz I love the reds.

          • Patrick, for those who may not remember the decade of losing I’m talking about, it was the years from 2001-2009 (technically that’s 9yrs, but, close enough). Assuming the Reds finish with another losing record this year (which is very highly likely) then this will be the 4th consecutive year of losing baseball which makes it the second longest stretch of consecutive losing seasons in the last 28 yrs. Yes, I know we’re rebuilding, but losing is still losing.

    • Agreed. I’ll sit out the “watching young players develop” part of the process. Not all that different than watching paint dry. Call me when we have a contender again.

      • The facts that you post in the comments section on a “diehard” fanblog and then say “call me when we have a contender again” seem to be at odds with each other…

        You seem “diehard” and “fair-weather” at the same time!

        • Being a fan shouldn’t equate to being a masochist, and it’s getting to that point. I don’t plan to shift my allegiance to another team in MLB, The Reds are my MLB team, and that’s that. I just plan to spend less time invested in MLB.

        • You said it brother,alot of people are trade everybody,fire Price,etc,etc. Damn are they a Reds fan or not? The Reds are my team,have been for 44 years and will always be. I can find something good now matter how bad things are going,besides all we need is some starting pitching. We have a awesome offense,defense and bullpen. As for firing Price,all the front office has done is take weapons away ever since he got the job. In my opinion,with the exception of current play,this has been a fun team to watch and i have watched almost every game. They have the youngest team in all of baseball which means they should only get better. People on here say they should trade Hamilton,are you crazy? Trade a guy that except for Votto,is the only one that gets national attention,besides being exciting to watch. There solution is put Peraza in CF,sorry but if you think that is a good move then i am so happy they are not the Reds GM. I have things i dont like but if you despise the Reds then go jump on another teams bandwagon and quit posting on here,and please dont come back in a season or 2 when its Red October.

  6. “… judge the organization by how much good young talent they add in the next 15 days.”

    I would be very, very surprised if this FO is capable of doing that.

    Inept trades, poor drafting and excuses are the trademarks of this FO under WJ; and so far the present regime.

    If you look at the Rockies. They have rookie pitchers leading their resurgence this season. They were number 1 and 2 draft choices from 2011 through 2014. What do the Red’s have to show for pitchers drafted during the same time frame?

    • Was Straily for Castillo an inept trade? That’s on the current GM and, while I was in favor of it at the time, I’m even happier about it every time I see Castillo on the mound. How many other trades has the Williams’ regime made? Drafting? Greene seems like a keeper barring unforeseen injury. It’s far too early to be making judgments about the current FO.

    • Rockies picked 20th in 2011, 10th in 12, 3rd in 13, and 8th in 14.

      But yeah, you’re right. Tyler Anderson, Jon Gray, and Kyle Freeland came from those picks. As well as David Dahl, who would be good if he could stay healthy.

      • I think he meant first and second round draft picks from 2011 to 2014. At least that’s how I read it knowing they didn’t have a #1 or #2 overall pick.

  7. What I find perplexing is that this division was wide open for the taking this season and ONCE AGAIN the Red’s front office DID NOTHING to fortify the team.

    It’s obvious the Red’s signing of Votto was just to have a box office draw. Not a great player to build around.

    I find the FO and ownership lacking when it comes to actually doing what is needed to put a winning product on the field. They just go through the motions and fill the gaps with B.S.

    Anyone can argue what I’ve said, but look at the fan base of the Red Sox or Yankees, would they put up with the ineptitude exhibited by the Red’s FO and ownership?

    • Comparing the expectations of Yankee and Red Sox fans to Reds fans is absurd. If the Reds had unlimited resources then I would expect them to be good all the time. They don’t. Do you expect ownership to deficit finance 100 million per year? Perhaps you could find a bank for them that will lend to cover ongoing operating losses. Good luck.

      They signed Votto before the 2012 season when they were one of the best teams in baseball. I’m not sure how one could possibly surmise that was strictly a PR move.

      Who should the Reds have acquired this year? You do understand that they would need to give up players of value to aquire players of value? Would that actually make them better? Would giving up every prospect of value be a good idea?

      • Chuck,

        You make good points.

        The Reds are a bad situation regarding a rebuild….
        -Little game-changing talent to trade way
        -Unable/unwilling to deficit spend, even in short term, to get a winning team
        -MLB economics stink for small market teams. Grossly unequal.

        I am torn, personally. I buy my holiday pack, attend 2 games a year in the Scout seats, and have a great time. However, I don’t follow the game as well as at home.

        I could buy more tickets, but in America, corporations rarely truly improve their operations except when people stop spending money with them in protest.

        If I were Dick Williams, I would stay patient as long as I could, and wait for Senzel/Long/Whoever else and contend in 2020 and beyond. Unless Uncle Bob opens his checkbook again, and he shows no signs of doing so.

      • You have misinterpreted what I said.

        The resources of the Yankee and Red Sox has nothing to do with what I said.

        Their fans would be all over the front office for not doing something to reinforce a team that had weak divisional foes; or, was it in 2010 through 2012 when the Red’s were making the playoffs…when Jocketty did nothing to strengthen the team for the push. Their fans are rabid and their media takes the team’s front office to task.

        When you do nothing to strengthen the team around a super-star such as Votto, then trade him.

      • Thank you for telling me that you need to trade “players of value to acquire players of value.” I never knew that until now. You’re a sage.

    • Bless you, Doofus. No fan base of any major market team would put up with this nonsense. Time to start winning, not keep losing.

      • There are plenty of spots on the the NYY, BOS, CHI, or LAD bandwagons. New members are always welcome…

        • So just bend over and accept the trash the Reds FO gives us. Perfect.

          • The problem is that we’ve heard over and over that “It’s not about (current year), it’s about (two years down the road).” And then (two years down the road) BECOMES (current year), and the process continues. I have zero confidence in the ability of Bryan Price, Dick Williams, and ownership to turn this around.

            In the meantime, being a Reds fan feels more and more like being a fan of the Washington Generals. Maybe even worse, a trip to the ballpark feels like a visit to a living history museum–a lot of focus on ’70s nostalgia without much focus on the present and the future.

          • Reply to: NICOLECUSHING,

            Yes, it seems mañana never comes, largely because they have been unable to build a pitching staff despite going overboard on drafting and acquiring pitching ahead of positional guys until coming up on two years ago.

            Consider these failures at developing starting pitchers:. $30M spent on Chapman, just a tad less on Iglesias. Nick Howard 1st round draft choice (19th overall 2014) and Michael Lorenzen 1st round (38th overall 2013). Tony Cingrani 3rd round (114 over all 2011) A significant point about all of these guys except Chapman is that at the time the Reds signed or drafted them, they had no established background as a starting pitcher. Other teams saw them as relievers (or in Lorenzen’s case as a position player). And as I recall there were even questions about Chapman’s viability as a starter at the time the Reds signed him.

            The list could also include based on development so far, Robert Stephenson 1st round (27th overall 2011) and Nick Travieso, 1st round 2012 (14th overall).

            In total, on a quick count I came up with 13 pitchers selected by the Reds in the first 5 rounds of the draft from (and counting) 2010 thru 2014. Aside from the guys already named here with MLB experience, only 2 others, Jon Moscot and Ben Lively have sniffed the MLB.

          • Or, you can give them a loan to cover the payroll differences.

          • Nicole: Have we heard that over and over or does it just seem that way? Maybe we’ve heard it over and over but it’s come in the past two seasons.

            The rebuild did not start in earnest until midway through 2015. In 2014 the Reds were still trying to compete. In 2015, even after trading away Simon and Latos (both absolutely great moves) they started off with a pitching staff of Cueto, Bailey, Leake, Disco and (eventually) Iglesias to go with a line up that featured Votto, Frazier, Bruce, Phillips, Cozart, Hamilton, Mesoraco, and Byrd with Chapman as your closer. Byrd was brought in as a “win-now” move to cover LF (absolutely horrible trade). That does not look like a team in a rebuild, but more like a team trying to hang onto a last gasp. Injuries to Bailey, Mesoraco, and Cozart derailed that season before it could really start.

            The All-Star game also helped hinder the rebuild somewhat, as the team held off discussion on Frazier, Bruce, and Chapman due to the All-Star game being in Cincinnati. This was fan service that was detrimental to the rebuild. This was the biggest misstep in my opinion, having one foot in and one foot out of a rebuild. We knew after 2014 that the rotation would have to be dismantled as the Reds could not afford to extend Cueto, Leake and Latos after 2015. The Reds traded the guys they had to, but held on too long to some other guys.

            The winter after 2015 is when the rebuild hit full steam. Bruce was dangled but his value plummeted with a late season slump. Frazier’s value also dropped with a late season regression, and Chapman created some bad headlines in which the PR department panicked and got back pennies on the dollar. Three valuable trade chips and so far they’ve netted 1 major piece of rebuild (Schebler). There’s still time on Peraza, Herrera, and Davis to make their marks, but beyond injuries the hesitation of 2015 to go “all-in” on the rebuild has been a major culprit in the delayed return.

            So with that context above, the rebuild has only been looking to next year for two seasons, 2016 and 2017. And without injuries to the pitching staff and more timely execution of sell offs, this year may have looked a lot different. Next year should show more competitiveness. It wouldn’t be out of the question to hold out hope the Reds could swipe a wild card, or at least be in the conversation for one. It would take healthy seasons (Bailey, Disco, Mes, Finnegan) and progression from some young guys (Peraza, Herrera, Castillo, Romano, Stephenson, Reed to name a few) but it’s feasible.

            The 2014/2015 were bad for a variety of reasons, mainly injuries and the lack of committing fully to a rebuild. 2016/2017 have been bad because of committing to the rebuild (overall). 2018/2019 should be the seasons we start to see the pay off.

          • Hotto4Votto- Stupendous reply to the “we’ve been rebuilding forever” complaint. Nice work.

      • Fan bases do put up with it, though. Only a handfull of teams (one in each sport) win the whole deal.

      • Jessecuster, all you have to do is go back 5 years and see your statement isn’t accurate. Chicago and Houston both had to deal with this rebuilding “nonsense” in quite spectacular fashion for four years or more. If anything, I think the organization would have been better served by ignoring their fan base more during the early phases of the rebuild.

        • Bingo. I detest when people think the Reds are the only team that loses baseball games.

          • Nothing like a little winning to bring back those fans that “abandoned” the team. The Reds know their attendance is going to be down while they are losing at the current rate, thus a focus on “fan friendly” giveaways and events to attract at least some people to the ballpark. When (not if) the Reds are competing for something in 2018, 19, 20…., then people will show up again. It’s human nature and happens with every franchise that has a limitation on resources and thus has to rebuild.

          • Ahhh.. so since other teams seem happy with losing, that means it’s OK for the Reds to lose.

            Reds are one of the only teams right now that are losing baseball games on purpose. Pete Rose would make millions betting the other side.

        • Cubs don’t count, as they put up with nonsense for seemingly forever, and happy to do so. Houston is not a major city. Yankee, Red Sox and Dodger Fans would not accept this rebuild, which is one reason why they haven’t had many 90 loss seasons.

  8. Mancuso, thank you for your insight.

  9. I have a bag of magic beans I’ll let go of cheap.

  10. On the bright side……never mind.

  11. The Red’s front office MUST DO SOMETHING or lose a great portion of the fan base. Perpetual B.S. doesn’t cut it.

    • They HAVE. There are bobble head give-aways, barks in the park, statue unveilings, even a “name that donkey” contest. Other than producing a winning team, what would you like the front office to do?

    • Since the last out of the 1976 World Series the Reds have been roughly .500. Over that 40 plus year time frame, they’ve won as many post season series (3) as the 2014 Giants.

      The Reds have had 5 winning seasons since Bill Clinton’s first term…….and yet not making some dumb trades to improve their playoff chances from 1% to 3% in 2017 will cause the fan base to crumble.

      That makes perfect sense

    • You can get them a crystal ball, if you want.

      Maybe they were counting on one of their young pitchers not being terrible. Instead they’ve all been terrible and/or hurt. (except Castillo, who wasn’t in the picture at the beginning)

      Maybe they were counting on Billy Hamilton and Jose Peraza to not be two of the worst hitters in MLB.

      Maybe they were counting on Devin Mesoraco to finally stay healthy…

      They’ve been DOING SOMETHING… it just hasn’t worked out. You can’t say they aren’t trying (to rebuild, that is).

  12. The top 3 hitters in the league are Nationals….and that doesn’t include Anthony Rendon or trae turner- 2 of the best young players in baseball. Max schjerzer may be the best right hander in the league…This is a good team. The Cubs are good. The Dodgers are good. The Red Sox might hit better than the Nationals. The Reds need to get better, but they are much better now than 2 years ago. Not signing Frazier or Bruce or Cueto was the right move. Trading Phillips the right move. Lets see how things are in March of 2018. Castillo and Mahle and Winker and Senzel are reasons for optimism.

  13. I am not sure why today was the day declaring that the Reds 2017 season is over. I am guessing that Steve feels it officially is now in his mind.

    However, the Reds chances of postseason success have been below for 1% for a while now. And, I have read comments for weeks below the line where people had already accepted the season is over and Feldman should be traded, why isn’t Winker starting, etc., etc.

    Homer Bailey was bad again today. What if he can’t bounce back, and the Reds have 5 young arms they want to see pitch in 2018? Would they dare to DFA him or make him MLB’s most expensive (ever) mop-up guy?

    The Reds front office may not rudderless, but there is a sense that a direct, swift course to the port of the postseason has not yet even been plotted.

    • Sliotar, your last paragraph is what I fear.

    • The Homer contract and injury crippled this rebuild. No doubt. Mesoraco’s injuries make things worse
      Finnegan and Disco aren’t pitching either.
      But, at some point, there aren’t easy answers. Hopefully, Disco comes back and finishes the year stong ready for ST next year. Hopefully Homer builds back so that 2018/19 are solid.
      But, you are correct…..what if Homer cant bounce back? No one has that answer. That’s worse case scenario.

      Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb did. They are Free agents next year.

  14. I hope the Reds do not take the blog writers advice and field a minor league team for the rest of the year.

    • In some respects they’ve been doing that already. Look at bulk of the starting rotation

    • No one has ever said anything close to that, but cool hyperbole.

  15. Storen, Cingrani… fine. I wouldn’t consider it a priority to trade either because I doubt they have much value, but I’d be fine with it if they made a deal. I’m not sure Cozart has enough value either. If nobody offers a top 100 prospect, I’d just keep him, see what the free agent market is, and make an offer if no one else is jacking up the price. The Reds will erode the fan base if they continue to trade fan favorites. If someone offers a real prospect, I’d do the trade, but I won’t be bent out of shape if he finishes the year and leaves. This is not a Cueto scenario… a player with sky-high trade value, interest from multiple teams, and zero chance Reds can afford him after season… Cozart likely is only worth mid-level prospects and there is a chance the Reds can bring him back. I’m cool if they wait.

  16. I’m sick of the losing. I’m sick of playing for a high draft pick.

    What I want to see is smart decisions being made. Playing Winker. Sending Hamilton and Peraza back to AAA to get their batting sorted out. Throwing Reed and Stephenson back into the rotation. Trying Lorenzen in the rotation. Trading Cozart, Feldman, and Storen ASAP, and making aggressive offers to closer needy teams.

    But they won’t do any of these things. Because they have no plan yet.

    • Houston did it.
      Look at the Astros. Lost 100+ games for 3 years in a row. They are now contending.
      Despite all the griping of arm chair GM’s here. The Reds are doing what they realistically have to do.
      Yes, trade these guys, Cozart is gone after the season. Even if you trade him, to can talk to him.
      They also need to Send a few guys down south. (Peraza (sp), etc).
      I am still and have been look at 2019 as the year.

  17. Unless the offer is really good (a strailly for castillo type deal) I still hope we sign cozart to a reasonable extension. We can trade him later if he remains healthy. This MAY provide the most value to the rebuild and if we turn things around quicker he is solid at SS.

    Another thought is to trade cozart along with one of the other mentioned players this may be best to get a game changing prospect.

  18. Some points to consider:

    Jesse Winker is 23 years of age, and has two option years remaining. I’ve pointed out previously that the front office is scared to death of trading Hamilton just before he “figures it out” and becomes an iconic offensive force. He is going to play the majority of the time the rest of the year. Dick Williams (this is me speaking how I believe he thinks) must know as much as possible about Hamilton before making what could be one of those trades that a franchise looks back on with regret for generations.

    (I don’t believe Hamilton will become that kind of hitter, but I think Williams still hopes it can happen.)

    In Williams’ mind, there is absolutely no rush to get Winker here and playing regularly.

    The Houston Astros lost nearly 330 games in three years earlier this decade, and look where they are now. They are one of the models for this process now widely used around pro sports called rebuilding.

    Losing like the Reds have the past three days is real difficult for me and others of you out there looking for positives. I believe while the front office would like the team to be winning, it is not the prime directive at this point.

    This team, first and foremost, has to find five starting pitchers who can consistently pitch six to seven innings and give up three runs or less. Right now they have only one, and that is a rookie who has made a handful of starts and still has much to prove. There is a very, very long way to go in this process.

    • After I hit post, I realized that Feldman deserves to be mentioned in the people who are pitching somewhat consistently, but he likely won’t be here next year.

      • He likely won’t be here the rest of this year.

        • Probably tendonitis in his knee. Rest and a cortisone shot likely fixes that assuming he hasn’t torn anything. We always think worst case here because of the crap injury luck and some questions we have about the medical staff. Honestly though Preach, I think this is going to be a rather short DL stint. I expect him to miss 3-4 starts at the most.

    • I don’t think the Reds really think Hamilton can be any kind of iconic hitter. I think they’d be elated if he turned into Juan Pierre. He’s just cheap and it makes sense to take a lottery ticket on him until the organization has an actual replacement in mind and they are in contention.

    • I really hope the FO doesn’t think Hamilton can become a good hitter. It would indicate a basic lack of understanding of physics. Actually, I suppose that is entirely possible.

  19. For a small market team who can’t afford big contract after big contract, you need depth to supplement any injury or hindrance. Comparing the reds to any large market team, or perennial contender, is foolhardy. The fact of the matter is, for a World Series the dominos have to fall perfectly for a team like the Reds or any team for that matter. It was a different era when the Big Red Machine existed. It was a different era when they won in 90. We had one window, and we missed it. Another window is up where the good times roll and we never seem to lose. Let’s hope the dominos fall and we capture a WS, there’s a dusk before the dawn. Let’s just hope the sun shines bright on the Reds in the future.

    • Good post, Josh.

    • No one compared the resources of the big market teams. It was about the rabid fan bases of the east coast teams not allowing the front office off the hook; not accepting front office mediocrity and B.S.

  20. I’ve said this for three months: the offense, defense and usually bullpen are okay. The gawd awful starting pitching negates all three. Go get some quality starting pitching. Except for Castillo, I have little faith in any of the kids. I think it’s time for a new manager too. Not all his fault but a new voice couldn’t hurt.

    • Its wishful thinking that this team is only a few starters away. The offense is 6th in the NL in runs scored which doesn’t bad on paper, however, they should always be in the top half of the NL in runs w/GABP factored in and too many of their runs are scored in garbage time when the game is over. They did nothing this weekend off of Gonzalez and Roark. Cozart is coming back to earth and they have nobody to replace him. Suarez is hitting .211 or something since early May. Throw any random lefty in there and the Reds are in trouble. It takes Scooter out of the mix and Billy and Tucker can’t hit lefties. 2 steps forwards and 3 or 4 back.

      Bottom line….6th in runs scored with Scooter & Cozart going insanely good for most of the first half.

      • The two teams that have really trashed the Reds are the Nats and Dodgers. They are the current cream of the crop.

        What do you see as missing from this team that a couple of solid middle of the rotation starting pitchers wouldn’t fix enough to make the Reds competitive in 2018 for a run at a WC spot and possibly an NL Central division run?

        That would position to move on up as the youngsters from A/A+/AA start arriving in 2020 and 2021.

        • Uh, you left out the Brew Crew Jim.

          • Really only on the first home and away go around. Most recent the Reds actually won a series against the Brewers. They are 3-7 overall versus them and 3-6 versus the Cubbies who they also won the most recent series against. That’s bad but not other worldly bad like 0-6 to LAD and 1-5 to the Nats. Plus there is just a feeling versus the Nats and LAD that the cause is all but hopeless even before the first pitch of a game.

          • Make that 1-6 versus the Nats. BBRef (and my mind) hadn’t updated for today’s result yet.

      • The perception that GABP is a great hitters park is routinely exagerated. GABP is a great HR hitting venue, but it is not a great hitting venue. There is a difference and that difference is what the Reds have never addressed to their advantage. Colorado and Arizona are great hitting venues and they also yield plenty of HR. That’s why any hitter’s offense must be tempered when they play home games in either of those two cities.

        Having HR hitters in the 5th-7th positions in the lineup is fine, but in order to take advange of the HR factor for GABP, those HR must include players on base when the ball clears the fence. When other teams come to GABP, their HR, more often than not, include runners already on base while the Reds end up with more solo HR with no one else on base.

        Mesoraco was the cleanup hitter the Reds needed, but unfortunately he simply couldn’t stay healthy and on the field to maintain the potential he teased us with in 2014. Mesoraco launched the ball from GABP, but he also got on base a lot for the mashers in the 5th-7th slots. Votto was (is) a perfect #3 hitter (better at #2, but then #3 became a problem) with his ability to hit HR and his superior ability to get on base. With the exception of a solid cleanup hitter, the current Reds lineup would be more than good, if the table setters were actually hitters who got on base a lot and regularly. Such hitters are already on the current roster; they are just not utilized as table setters at the top of the lineup.

    • You’ve made the point that they just need to get some quality starters….which is like saying they just need 3 unicorns. You can’t get starters at Target or the local Poney Keg. They either cost a bunch of players or a bunch of money

      • I’ve made it clear, I’m talking about 2 guys who profile as solid #3’s up to lower tier #2 starters. Not #1 or 1A aces. Mike Leake types (as of when he left the Reds) if you will.

        Williams says he has money to spend on free agents this off season; and, he’s got a pretty good corner OF to flip (choose one from 2 or 3). Hamilton has some value to a DH league team. Scooter and Iglesias definitely would interest people.Suarez probably would draw interest. Each of these guys could all be replaced from within.

        Then there is the plethora of talent in the low to mid minors. Look what happened in Dayton when Freidl who was turning heads was promoted. Siri and Trammell stepped right in. Anybody not named Senzel or Greene (and maybe Trammell) should be available for the right return.

        Plus I’m guessing there are orgs that would love to get their hands on some of the pitching AAA prospects the Reds have been unable to finish into MLB starters.

        In the end, you buy one guy with $$$ and another with talent; and the team is better without breaking the bank on either count.

        • Lance Lynn .Alex Cobb and gio Gonzalez are having solid years.

          • Wouldn’t want Lynn as he has had injury after injury and I’m thinking this may be one of the few healthy seasons he has remaining. Cobb could be interesting. Gonzalez I’d certainly look at if the price is right. I don’t think 4yrs/$66-million will be enough though. It will be interesting to see where his $$ ends up.

      • 1st round draft 2012: Nick Travieso; notable players selected after him: Lucas Giolito, Corey Seager, Michael Wacha, Marcus Stroman, Lewis Brinson.

        2013: Phillip Ervin. Aaron Judge.

        2014: Nick Howard. Bradley Zimmer, Luke Weaver, Michael Kopech.

        • I think overall, in the draft the Reds have really struggled with their early-round picks but I don’t think simply rattling off players that went after the Reds picked really proves anything. The same can be said for almost every team that chose before the Reds as even players they have picked and the few who have made it haven’t been as good as the names you rattled off.

          • Okay, fair enough. How about looking at the teams that seem to have a perpetual line of high-level prospects like the Dodgers.

            My point is their is something wrong with how the Red’s front office drafts. I don’t know if in the past the owners are tight and opt to sign “cheap” players, if the scouting department talent is lacking (I don’t think this is true); or the front office crimps on the scouting department, I don’t know.

            Results in baseball equals wins. To get wins you need talent. The Red’s have a had a problem drafting talent in previous drafts. Last year’s draft and possibly this year’s draft may prove that they’ve turned a corner.

            I’ve said it before, for a team with the market size of the Red’s they have no margin for error in the players they draft at the top AND have to find the hidden gems; and, also need to make adroit and timely trades. That’s one problem with this team they wait too long to move a talented veteran, therefore ending up getting lesser return when they do deal them.

          • I think you have some points there. I definitely have some questions similar to what OhioJim had, especially in the drafting of Howard and Lorenzen. I would call Lorenzen a success, even if he isn’t starting. Howard not so much. Of course, nobody could have predicted Howard’s complete inability to throw it over the plate. He had pretty good control when drafted. Who knows what happened? Travieso had promise but has fought injury. Not sure if we can point the finger at the Reds or not.

            What I think the bigger issue is what a seeming lack of consistency in player development throughout the organization. It’s hard to do, but the Dodgers and the Cardinals seem to have it nailed. The Rockies are getting a lot better at it. The Reds aren’t the only team to struggle with it but they definitely seem to struggle with it and player development in general.

  21. Cozart and the three pitchers on Steve’s list to be actively shopped are going to bring fair to middling rated prospects at best; but, moving them out is part of the process because for one reason or another they don’t fit in the Reds future. Besides, Duvall and Schebler were both suspects as much as prospects when they came to the Reds; and look how they’ve turned out.

    On the other hand whether it would happen at the deadline of over the off season if Duvall, Gennett, or Iggy are moved, the return on each of them should include a player who comes immediately onto the MLB roster and fills a need to make the team better.

    Otherwise hit the reset button to reset the target for the Reds next competitive team for no sooner than 2020 most likely later than that.

    • “I never make the same mistake twice. I make it five or six times, just to be sure”,

      Who are we kidding? They’ll still be the Washington Generals in 2020. The thing is Castillo will pitch a 3-hitter and they’ll start off 5-1 next April and hook me for most of the year again. I’m a largemouth bass of a fan with about the same mental capacity!

  22. “The last three games make plain how far the Reds have to go. If the jolting experience of this weekend helped clarify that fact for the front office, it qualifies as a sterling silver lining.”

    That light at the end of the tunnel that the front office saw just prior to the all-star break turned out to be a freight train called the Washington Nationals. Splat!!
    The Reds front office got awakened with a bucket of ice water this weekend. The cold, stark reality that the Reds’ Rebuild is anything more than a house of cards hit home hard for Reds front office this weekend.
    Just how far do the Reds have to go before they resemble anything like the Nationals? A long, long, long way. The Reds vs. MIL are 3-7, WAS 1-5, LAD 0-6, CHC 3-6. So far, that is a record of 7-24 vs. the Big Dogs of the NL. Brutally woeful.
    The year 2020 is closer to us than the year when the Reds will be a division winner and a world series contender. Not just a wild card contender.

  23. It seems to me the rebuild has been going on since Baker was let go after the 2013 season which is now four years. Unless the contending date is 2020 or beyond, I don’t see the current crop of potential starting pitchers getting the Reds to the contending gate. I think ownership will have to spend some money or trade established players and prospects to acquire a solid starting pitcher to build around. Also, after this season a shakeup is needed in the managers office. Four years of Bryan Price is enough.

    • Eight years of Walt Jocketty as GM is going to take years to overcome. Jocketty was never a good GM with the Reds. Jocketty haphazardly fumbled the only opportunity the Reds had of making a world series in 2012. The 2014-2015 Reds under Jocketty was a miserable experience.
      Dick Williams is trying, but the results are similar to Jocketty’s, very lackluster.

      • It seems a bit premature to be judging Williams’ results as GM. The Straily trade and picking up Scooter off the waiver wire seem much better than lackluster, along with signing their first round draft pick, who still has to prove it but has most scouts salivating at his potential.

        • Williams is doing OK, but he was handed a mess left by Jocketty. I haven’t criticized Williams for trading Straily and the Gennett pick-up. The first round draft pick we won’t see how that turns out for some time. Last year’s draft was very good. This year was a little off, but time will tell.
          HV makes some valid points as you have noted. But you also have to weave into that fabric the mismanagement by Jocketty in 2012, 2013 and the ill-fated 2015 attempt to “compete”. Marlon Byrd was not “going all-in” for 2015, as I have to take exception with that one. That was a Jocketty move that was criticized from here to Mars.
          If the Reds were all-in in 2015, then there was no reason for Marlon Byrd, Jason Marquis, Kevin Gregg, Chris Dominguez, Skip Schumaker, and Jason Bourgeois to be on the 25 man roster to start the year.
          Which lends itself to the all-star game of 2015. If the all-star game meant that much to the Reds front office, why then did Jocketty go to battle with such a lame 25 man roster to start 2015? He went to battle with such a lame roster in 2015 he squandered a half season’s value from Cueto and Leake in their trade return. The big blunder was the 25 man roster to start 2015. The 2015 all-star game exasperated it even more.
          Mismanagement by Jocketty (2011-2015) is the main reason why the Reds find themselves in a perilous rebuild position.

    • Please read HOTTOFORVOTTO’s post at 10:53 this morning above. It outlines the history of the rebuilt quite well and in my opinion, accurately. It may seem like the rebuild has been going on that long but it hasn’t. It’s more like since mid-2015.

    • In June of 2014, the Reds were 1.5 games out and then Votto was hurt and game over. In 2015, the took a shot and had Bailey and Mesoraco go down and game over. They traded Cueto and Leake and then started a rookie pitcher for 60 straight games. The rebuild began July 31, 2015.

      The Cubs took 3 full seasons. The Astros took 4. I want the Reds to be as good as possible as soon as possible but to expect them to be good at this point is unrealistic.

      • With respect, you are a front office apologist.

      • And when your 1.5 games out or “taking a shot” and lose a Votto, Bailey or Mesoraco you (the front office) does something about.


  24. Easy Old Cossack.Hinting that we need guys at the top of the order that get on base is almost blasphemy.Speed at the top is what does it.Surely you know that every team in the big leagues values speed more then getting on base.Speed kills and putting your fastest guys at the top means they can get home faster if they actually do get on base.Putting guys at the top that get on base but can’t run fast just clogs the bases when Joey homers or Duvall gets another of his league leading extra base hits.

  25. Forget the word rebuild. Every MLB team needs to continually “restock the shelves” with talent. Some teams seem to continually do it well. Others like the Reds, not so well.

  26. John hart become GM for the Braves around the same time as the Red’s “rebuild.” he started the Braves “rebuild” around the same time as the Reds.

    Today, the Braves are a .500 ball club in 2nd place in their division. They have a well stocked farm with intriguing arms and position players.

    Sad, some Red’s fans are content with the mediocre results of the Red’s front office (principally WJ) to continually come up with excuses to cover for them.

    • if the starting pitching health would have been good, the Reds would be right with the braves around .500

      • OR, if the Red’s drafted talented pitchers instead of selecting “iffy” college relievers.

  27. Another stupid move was trading Phillips thinking Perazza was going to be ready,getting crap prospects in return and the Reds are paying most of his salary still. If you are still going to be paying the guy and are not getting a good return then why not hold on to a guy that was at least fun to watch play and a fan favorite. Frazier,Bruce,Phillips,etc and we still have no pitching,what are they doing in the front office trying to be the real life team from the movie Major League.

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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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