I’ve been watching too much soccer lately, partly because the Reds are awful and partly because it’s a nice way to kill time, but mostly because the U.S. men’s team is one of the most unintentionally exciting teams to watch. To be clear, the men’s team isn’t good. They aren’t bad either, they’re just sloppy. Watching them play is like watching a new born deer try to get to its feet — you know it’ll get itself upright eventually, but it’s a struggle the whole way there.
I mention this because the U.S. men’s national team resembles the current Reds, if not a couple steps ahead. Too much youth, too much potential, and just enough veteran leadership to brace it all together. Just as 2017 is a test run for the Reds young guys, 2017 is a test run for the men’s team before World Cup qualifiers. Is either team any good? Can either team actually compete with the big guns? Just wait until 2018.
While it’s easy to get upset about the negative results of a test run, keep in mind it doesn’t matter. In fact, as long as the Reds are positioning the young guys to be confident and stable by next April (and healthy if I can ask for that), then this season will have gone perfectly regardless of the final record. The question then remaining is how many of the old guys to keep around?
On its 40-man roster, the Reds have, by my count, seven old guys — Joey Votto, Zack Cozart, Homer Bailey, Scott Feldman, Billy Hamilton, Devin Mesoraco, and Drew Storen. In this situation, an old guy is any productive player who’s been around awhile. Bronson Arroyo doesn’t count because he’s not productive. Tony Cingrani, Adam Duvall, Eugenio Suarez and Raisel Iglesias don’t count because they haven’t been around long enough (note: long enough is entirely subjective).
Joey Votto and Billy Hamilton are going nowhere fast (figuratively speaking, though also literally for Joey), but all of the other five could conceivably be on the move. I’m not going to try and answer which of the five will still be around; instead, I’m going to play fortune teller and inform you how many of the five you still want around. That’s right, this week’s segment is a Choose Your Own Adventure with a flair of clairvoyance.
CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE
Normally I advocate for breaking the rules, but there’s only three so breaking them seems a bit excessive:
- Five questions
- Each answer worth a set number of points
- Results based on point totals at the very bottom of the article.
Oh also, no biting. Never bite. That’s silly.
Question 1: How many U.S. men’s soccer players can you name?
- Is Landon Donovan still around? (1 point)
- Well there’s Jozy Altidore and… (2 points)
- At least three and one of those isn’t a striker (3 points)
- Hedges and Morrow played like trash last night, Arena should really use Morris more and perhaps Miazga who played well in the group stage (4 points)
Question 2: The Reds were outscored 20-61 by the Dbacks. Your reaction?
- Hey we scored 20 runs! (1 point)
- If Feldman hadn’t gotten hurt, they wouldn’t have scored more than 50 (2 points)
- Who cares? Luis Castillo is our savior (3 points)
- Trade everybody for Mike Trout because TOS* (4 points)
*This Offense Stinks
Question 3: Is Mike Zunino good?
- No (1 point)
- Yes (2 points)
- I know you have him on your fantasy team so I’ll say yes to humor you (3 points)
- Mike Zunin-who? (4 points)
Question 4: Todd Frazier was traded to the Yankees — how does this make you feel?
- The Reds would be first in the Central if we still had Frazier (1 point)
- I can’t cheer for him anymore because it’s the Yankees (2 points)
- I guess the Sinatra walk up music fits a bit better now (3 points)
- Why didn’t we get a top-100 prospect for Todd? Wait, Jose Peraza was a top-100? I don’t trust the rankings anyway (4 points)
Question 5: Which Christopher Nolan movie is the best?
- The Prestige (1 point)
- The Dark Knight (2 points)
- Inception (3 points)
- Momento (4 points)
KANGAROO COURT FEES
Can I fine the All Star Break? I’m going to say yes. The Reds have lost 6 of 7 since their four days off, Aaron Judge is broken, and Zack Cozart’s donkey still doesn’t have a name. As much as I love the All Star festivities, this break has caused nothing but trouble.
Fine: The All Star Break should be shortened to three days, with baseball coming back on Thursday. Four days is much too long, as evidenced by:
The nerve of some people, trying to have fun.
Fantasy Baseball: Nothing to see here, my team is bad and things are not looking up.
Authorial View: I’ll probably end the season just a touch over 50,000 and that’s perfectly okay with me.
Choose Your Own Adventure answers:
4-7 points: Don’t trade anyone. This is the Reds’ core and breaking it up only hurts the future. Ever since Donovan retired, the men’s national team has been terrible.
8-11 points: Only trade Cozart. Everyone else still has value. The men’s team still keeps Altidore, Michael Bradley, and Clint Dempsey around after all.
12-15 points: Keep Cozart but trade everyone else. Unload Homer Bailey for a bag of baseballs. If they haven’t shown they can play at an All Star level, the Reds don’t need them.
16-20 points: Did someone say fire sale? Trade all five of the olds. This is a young man’s game and Joey Votto provides all the veteran presence you could ever need.