2017 Reds / 2018 Reds

Where does Jesse Winker fit in?

Over at the Enquirer, Zach Buchanan has an interesting — and potentially worrisome, depending on how much you want to read between the lines — piece on Jesse Winker and Phillip Ervin, and where they fit into the Reds plans in 2018. Take a look at this, for example:

Instead, he gave a simple, confident and affirmative response. After hitting .279/.360/.486 in his first 126 major-league plate appearances, has the 24-year-old Cincinnati Reds outfielder proven his big-league bona fides?

“Yes,” Winker said flatly. “I think you can only base it off of the opportunity you get. Given the at-bats I’ve gotten and the time I’ve gotten, yeah, I’ve shown I can do it at this level.”

One way to read that is that Winker is supremely confident in his baseball ability. He’s a professional athlete at the highest level, so that wouldn’t be surprising.

Another way to read it is that Winker is frustrated with the fact that he hasn’t gotten to play much in Cincinnati, and feels like he has done enough to earn more time in the lineup.

Okay, perhaps that’s reading too much into probably-benign comments. On the other hand, a running theme in 2017 here at Redleg Nation (and elsewhere) has been puzzlement over the fact that Winker hasn’t gotten more of an opportunity to play on a Reds team that wasn’t going to win this season and needed to figure out what the youngsters had to offer for the future.

Winker has, somehow, accrued 126 plate appearances in the big leagues this season, and he’s mostly done exactly what we expected: .279/.360/.486. He does have seven home runs, after collecting only five in the previous two years at Triple-A. There are some reasons for that — smaller park, juiced baseballs, etc. — and some of it is probably random chance, but nothing else in his stat line stands out as an outlier. Winker’s slash line over his minor league career: .298/.398/.449.

Reds manager Bryan Price remains skeptical — or at least, he is publicly skeptical:

Determining how both fit into the big-league outfield picture for 2018 requires some advanced geometry. The Reds have three big-league outfielders they like in Billy Hamilton, Scott Schebler and Adam Duvall, although the latter has struggled significantly in the second half. Should all five candidates return for next season – and the Reds could always clear their logjam via trade – Reds manager Bryan Price doesn’t foresee a current regular losing his job.

Go read the entire thing for Price’s quotes and Zach’s analysis. It’s worth your time.

When you add this story to Price’s season-long hesitance to play Winker with any regularity, a picture begins to emerge. It’s a picture that a sizable contingent will use this as further evidence that Bryan Price needs to be fired immediately. I am not making that case, though I expect to see such arguments in the comments below. Feel free to state your case.

If you look at Price’s comments, I guess you can say that it looks like he’s just not committing himself to any particular course of action. If I’m Price and someone asks me whether Winker and Ervin will be on next year’s Opening Day roster, I’d be noncommittal too. Who knows? (Especially when it comes to Ervin.)

It’s that statement from Buchanan that “Price doesn’t foresee a current regular losing his job” that concerns me somewhat. To be fair, I don’t see any quote from Price in the piece that says exactly that, but Zach doesn’t have a habit of creating controversy out of whole cloth. The only quote that comes close is this one: “I don’t think you sign off on a player after they’ve made 12 starts or have 100 at-bats in the big leagues and say this guy’s destined for greatness.”

No one is asking Price to sign off on Winker being “destined for greatness.” But it’s clear — to me, at least — that Winker needs to be starting 140+ games for the Reds next year. He’s one of the cornerstones of what we’ve been optimistically calling “the next good Reds team.” I see no legitimate justification for having Winker in a bench role in 2018. None.

On the other hand, perhaps this is much ado about nothing. As noted, Price has no incentive to be committal about these matters in September of 2017. There is nothing for him to gain by stating publicly right now that this rookie will be starting ahead of an All-Star right fielder or a young left fielder who hit 30 home runs this season. More than likely, a trade or an injury will make this a moot point, and Winker will be in the Opening Day lineup.

But if Price truly “doesn’t foresee a current regular losing his job,” then we may have a problem. Combine that attitude with the prickly quotes from Winker in Zach’s article (there’s a second one that I didn’t include above; go check it out)…well, let’s not make a mountain out of a molehill.

Let’s just say that this is a situation that bears watching. And if you are anti-Price, you may have another data point to add to the list.

103 thoughts on “Where does Jesse Winker fit in?

  1. If Price thinks that the key to winning is playing Hamilton/Duvall/Schebler over Winker, then he should probably be fired for incompetence. Winker is not a good defensive OFer, but the team desperately needs two batters with high OBP in front of Sir Votto.

    • I thought it was Lord Votto, and I wonder if everyone is hedging a bit simply due to likelihood of an off season trade. I suspect, and expect, one of the three “regulars” is traded, perhaps two. OTOH, the issue gets revisited, and really heats up, if no such deal is done before spring training.

      • I have been willing to give the Reds the benefit of the doubt several times recently, assuming they were saying certain things to maybe drive up a player’s trade value etc. Not once has that happened, so the Reds trying to “outsmart” teams or “showcase” a player for a trade, I simply don’t believe anymore. I figured the Reds would start Schebler/Duvall all the way up until July 31 trade deadline and then put Winker in if they couldn’t make a trade. Didn’t happen. Well, maybe the August 31 deadline. Again, didn’t happen.

        Bryan Price believes Duvall and Schebler give the team the best chance to win. It’s depressing, but very obviously true.

    • Joey Votto is an accomplished Canadian but I’m not sure that he has been conferred a knight or baronet yet by Her Majesty. As to ‘where does Jesse Winker fit in’, I have no idea as long as Bryan Price is the manager of the Reds.

  2. For the people that live in the Fox Sports broadcast area, Has this bee brought up on any of the pregame or postgame shows? How about the early inning talk with the beat writer on the radio side? Has it been brought up then?

  3. For Jesse Winker to fit in RF, then Scott Schebler would have to be traded.
    For Jesse Winker to fit in LF, Adam Duvall would have to be traded.
    SS in 518 PA’s, .235/.311/.493.
    AD in 630 PS’a, .246/.297/.477.
    JW in 127 PA’s, .286/.365/.518.
    Schebler as a LH hitter, can’t hit RH pitching very well at all.
    Duvall as a RH hitter, doesn’t hit RH pitching very well at all.
    Winker as a LH hitter, crushes RH pitching.
    RH pitching makes up 73% of the league.

    • That’s been true of Schebler this year but that is a very small sample of LHP. His career platoon split is much more normal:

      vLHP – 183 PA .247/.279/.448
      vRHP – 657 PA .245/.329/.480

    • I would think a 4 man rotation (more or less) makes since to me.
      Adam needs breaks as proven the last 2 years. Maybe start 120 games.
      Billy get hurt (does not need to lead off), but start 120 games, and used as a pinch running/Defensive replacement.
      Probably not bad to give Scott days off also.
      Each would get about 120 starts.

  4. Calling for Bryan Price feels pointless at the moment. The Reds have chosen to retain him, and that’s that, at least for this off-season.

    However, to paraphrase Hamlet, “Something is rotten in the state of Reds Country.”

    Perhaps Bryan Price is stating publicly what Dick Williams, Walt Jocketty and ownership’s views are on handling Winker and what they are going to do with the roster in 2018.

    or

    Bryan Price knows he has an inexperienced general manager, and is floating publicly what the Reds are going next year to maximize his chances of being manager in 2019, whether it serves the Reds’ long-term interests or not.

    Curious. Disturbing. Alarming. Whatever it is, the Reds are (still) handling their organization in a way that feels “off” and is much different from other MLB teams.

  5. I’m hoping that this is a whole lot of nothing. April 2018 is a long way from now. And I’m increasingly convinced that DW would be well served packaging Duvall with a prospect or three for an established or projectable starting pitcher. With Winker, Hamilton, Schebler and Ervin I just don’t see the Reds missing Duvall, and he has some nice talking points – all-star, most outfield RBI’s, most outfield assists – that may make him look better in a trade than the underlying stats really warrant. If so, sell high and let the Winker era begin!

  6. How is it not obvious that Winker needs to play? He is a better Hitter than any of the other Outfielders. And honestly he fits better into this line up than Schebler. He can be a legit 2 hitter. I mean in offense that features a great hitter like Joey Votto shouldn’t the Reds try to compliment him? Power hitters that bat .230 are a dime a dozen in today’s MLB.

  7. It’s time to stop talking about Price. He’s not that powerful. Bob Castellini and Walt Jocketty hired him and still support him. Walt Jocketty is still in a Reds leadership role and speed and defense rule the day.
    It’s incomprehensible that the Reds are benching their best young hitter since Joey Votto as the team reaches historic levels of futility…..90 losses 3 years in a row. Hey Bob….what happened to ” we just aren’t going to lose anymore” . It’s time to.hold Castellini accountable for his failing franchise. He’s a bad owner who doesn’t understand baseball.

    He also takes for granted his loyal fan base. Bad news Bob….your losing is creating apathy and indifference for an entire generation. Kids and teenagers and millennials and busy parents generally don’t care about Reds baseball anymore. Perennial losers fade fast. To add insult to injury….you have now created an insulting polarizing figure in Bryan Price that seems to enjoy a culture of animosity with your most loyal fans.

    Free Jesse Winker. Put Hamilton in the 9 hole.
    Fire Price.

    • All you have to know about the state of the Reds and fandom in Cincinnati is when you go into a bar/restaurant when the Reds are playing. I’ve been to several and many don’t have the game on at all. Some don’t have any baseball on but many have a different game on. Then there are places with tons of TVs. They usually have the game on somewhere but it certainly isn’t prime viewing. BWW last night had some NFL show on both their largest screens on the dining side. The Reds were relegated to a couple of the smallest TVs in the dining room and nobody was really paying much attention anyway. Ask Joe blow sitting at the bar about the Reds if you request that a bar/restaurant put it on for you and they generally don’t talk in glowing terms about the hometown 9.

      • Been a fan for 62 years hardly ever miss a game on tv and go to 30 or more games a year. This will be my last for going to games I’ve been through a lot of manager’s but won’t go until Price starts playing the best player not just a guy who’ s fast . When I go to a game I expect to see the best not a player getting on base at a 260 to 290 clip who will not even try to learn to bunt to get on base.This is the same way Dusty managed and he was let go but Price keeps on putting out the same line. about every game.

      • Same story. Multiple times have had to tell servers to turn the Reds game on.
        Benching Winker. Are you kidding me? The manager picking fights with loyal fans after losing 90 games 3 years in a row??? And they pick up his option??? WOW.
        My oldest wants to go the Reds game…..when Bryce Harper is in RF for the opponent. My youngest would rather watch American Ninja Warrior than the Reds. My wife could care less.

        This ownership group is lost.

        • I still have a small package with my dad after not having one for the first time in recent memory last year. A very small package though. We used to do 20 games in the Mezzenine and go to 10 together, then 5 games each with someone else. This year we did a 6-pack in Field Level Boxes. We’ll probably do a 6-pack again but that’s more my dad wanting to go to games with me than any other driving factor.

          • God Bless you. I am the only one left in my family who gives a rats ass about the Reds. I’ ll go with you and get a dog and a beer to watch Winker and Votto and Suarez and Castillo. I’m not going to watch Hamilton lead off and Adelman pitch and a team lose 90 games.

            This ownership group doesn’t get it. They think a new craft beer stand and doggy biscuits and bobble-heads and partnering with their insular politically correct corporate buddies will pay the bills.

    • I’m a 60-something year old who, for only maybe the 2nd time in the 32 years I’ve lived in the Cincinnati area, didn’t go a single game this year. As recently as 3 years ago, and for many years before that, I averaged about 25 games/year. I didn’t intentionally not go, and wasn’t “boycotting” the Reds. I just didn’t find a reason to go that was compelling enough. Speaking of sports fans here, I did buy season tickets to FC Cincinnati soccer this year. It hurts to say this but if I’m being honest with myself, I got more entertainment for my dollar at those matches than I have with baseball in many, many years. The Reds are going to have to find a way to be competitive sooner rather than later as at least historically, winning always brings fans back to the ballpark.

      • Jazz, I think your story reflects a lot of folks here. The Reds have to be aware of this fact. There are too many alternatives for people to spend their money on.

        And if the Reds aren’t careful, a lot of would-be fans (i.e. kids and young adults) are going to form their own hobbies, interests, and traditions that don’t include attending Reds games. The swift success of FC Cincinnati may or may not be drawing attendance away from the Reds but it certainly illustrates the point that people will have other things to spend their money on if the Reds don’t get their act together.

  8. If your intent is to start Winker in 2018 and try to trade one of the other OFers in the winter, this is the right thing to say. Winker will be happy as soon as he’s an everyday guy, but you avoid stepping on toes as the season winds down and you also aren’t sending signals to other teams that you’ll let go of an OFer at a reduced price.

    • The other 3 outfielders are flawed.
      Scott schebler ISO is elite and he’s young….but he’s not getting you an elite pitcher….even if packaged with a sal romano..etc.

      Billy Hamilton is a super sub…unique player….but unless Nick Senzel or Taylor Trammell is with him….he’s not getting a difference maker.

      Adam Duvall diminished Adam Duvall. Not Jesse Winker.

      Joey Votto s first 120 at bats were a small sample size too. Jay Bruce and Adam Dunn and Brandon Phillips burst on to the scene…..no Reds manager said stop the enthusiasm….Scott hatteberg and Ryan Freel and Rich Aurilia are our starters.

      • In comes to mind that Dusty searched for reasons not to play Yonder Alonso in LF when they were dying for a LF then sent him out to left in a notoriously difficult LF (Wrigley) and declared him a bnust after one game. Then in the off season, he was moved.

    • I agree with that but good management pulls a player like Winker in and tells him, “this is a delicate situation, but your time is coming.” Maybe BP has done this but so far I see no evidence of this being his management style.

  9. Hoping that Price will bat Winker high in the lineup in 2018 (first or second) reminds me of hoping that Baker would use Aroldis Chapman as a starter.

    • Those are two very different situations. However, if Winker starts 2018 on the bench, that will come close to the level of frustration with Chapman.

  10. WInker is for real! I’m still big on Duvall for many reasons. One…he’s RH and can mash lefties. We struggle vs lefties. He still had a .851 ops on August 9th!

    Personally, I was thinking they should deal Billy and give Schebler/Ervin a shot at CF but Schebler has taken some bad routes on balls since he came back. That might be a disaster? Now I’m leaning trade Schebler, and platoon Duvall (Scooter) and Winker (Ervin/Kivlehan) if needed.

    • Duvall + diabetes = Not platoon if needed but definitely platoon in August/Sept

    • To me Billy has always been the odd man out but for the Reds he is the first man in.In all honesty mine is based on offensive data and that only.Billy’s data for a lead off hitter or even just a position player is terrible.He is still the same after 4 years in the big leagues.On any other big league team that uses data or stats he would be at best a late inning defensive guy or pinch runner.I would put Scott in center yesterday and tell him to learn the position and of course Adam in left and Winker in right.Offensively we have two guys that will hit 30 and Winker may hit 20 with a 370 or higher obp.I will worry about the defense in center when I have to but I am tired of worrying if Billy will hit it hard enough to get a guy in from third with less then two outs or if he will ever get his obp over 300.We all know what is going to happen so its like beating a dead horse.

      • I think a lot of fans do undervalue what Billy Hamilton provides as far as defensive value though. The drop-off between he and anyone else the Reds could currently run out there would be pretty dang steep. In the case of Schebler in CF instead of Hamilton and Winker in RF instead of Schebler, I think the drop in overall defense would be worse than Winker’s offense over Hamilton’s… I could be wrong however. The advanced metrics do show Hamilton’s contribution and it is factored in his WAR, even if I’m not a giant fan of those metrics. In real life, Hamilton’s D saves a lot of runs. I don’t know if he can be the odd-man out if you’re talking Winker, Schebler, Duvall, Hamilton. I really don’t.

        Him hitting at the top of the order though is enough to drive me insane.

        • Yup, From a baseball perspective Billy needs to be in center everyday vs righties. His OBP vs righties is .320 which will play anywhere when you factor in his baserunning and defense. The Reds have 6 players hit 24-40 HRS this year, they have plenty of power.

          • I like the idea of sitting him against LHP… That is assuming his platoon split continues to be rotten.

  11. Price is not going to give a firm or committed answer because he’s not in a position to.

    First off, this decision is ultimately over his head and resides somewhere in the Williams/Jockety/Castellini collective intelligence. Price will have his input, whatever it actually is as opposed to what he tells media, but he is not the Supreme Decider.

    Second, it depends on what transpires in the offseason market and/or in injury space. It’s pointless to make too much commit when you really don’t know who you’re going to have when camp opens up.

    Third, I suspect he knows what he has in Winker and doesn’t -need- to see more to assess his relative value. There is also the point raised elsewhere about giving some of the established guys playing time to burnish statistics and, indirectly, burnish their value in the offseason market. Who would -you- rather trade? Duvall? Schebler? Ervin? or Winker? Notice the rank order, it’s not accidental. (BHam is a special case)

    Fourth, if there is anyone getting shortchanged on playing time, it’s not Winker as much as it’s Ervin. The missing piece in this discussion.

  12. Honestly Chad… I don’t know what to think about where the Reds believe Winker fits. I would be shocked if one of Duvall/Schebler/Winker isn’t traded and if I had to guess, Winker is going to be the one that is moved. One simply doesn’t know with this franchise though #RebuildBinder

    • I would be willing to put my money on Winker being the one to go, too. First of all, he will bring back more than either of the other two (probably more than the other two combined) because everyone else in baseball rightfully understands Winker is the best of the 3.
      Second, the Reds are going to look at their offense and think, “We were right up at the top 4, 5 ,6 for most of the year in runs scored until we got a little bad injury luck. Duvall/Schebler stay healthy, Suarez takes a step forward, Peraza takes a step forward, get a couple starting pitchers and we can compete next year.” What’ll happen is Duvall will regress, Scooter will regress, Peraza will be worse than Cozart’s career year, Votto will regress from MVP to just an All-Star, and the Reds will lose 90 games again.

  13. Winker just came back and scored 7 runs in 8 starts! Price & DW don’t have to look far to find a potential comparison in Matt Carpenter! Half their team could probably outrun him backwards, but he gets on base and scores runs so he’s their leadoff man! Common sense really…this is not rocket science! KYP….know your personnel!! That applies in any sport and any business!

    • Votto and Carpenter rank 1 and 2 in MLB of not swinging at pitches out of the strike zone.Winker could be just as good even though he a rookie and won’t get all the calls the other get but he is really good.Carpenter is around 380 with only a 240 average which to me is unbelievable when you think about it.

    • Perhaps a hybrid of Matt Carpenter and Christian Yelich? Winker hits a lot more grounders than Carpenter, I think, without looking it up.

  14. If the Reds don’t trade one of the current starting OF, I’ll be surprised (and disappointed). Winker has to play. Schebler and Duvall are too good to be bench players. I’d trade Duvall because (a) Schebler is better than Duvall, (b) Duvall is a couple years older than Schebler, (c) Winker has more experience playing LF.

    It’s hard to know what to make of Price’s comments. Dick Williams will have the ultimate say in who plays in the OF (and who makes the starting rotation, for that matter). It’s probably just Price being highly deferential to his established players for now. On the other hand, it isn’t the only off-key comment Price has made about roster construction in 2018. It’s possible that Price is just bad (inexperienced?) at this.

    • Could duvall return an everyday shortstop under several years of control? Like Ketel marte?

      • I think that Duvall is a much better outfielder than Schebler. Duvall does run down in the dog days of summer if he isn’t given enough off days. Every g m knows this, and it diminishes Duvall’s trade value. God, please don’t trade Winker! Schebler or Hamilton are more likely trade candidates . Anyway, I wish Price was leaving, but Bob C seems to like loyalty more than winning. It looks like another sub par 79 win season if we don’t get a forward thinking manager.

      • Possibly. For a one-for-one ish trade it would have to be Duvall for a player like Marte that wasn’t being counted on to start (or, in his case, even be second in line) for his team. Yes, I think a team would trade a backup SS for a starting LF, even given the couple liabilities Duvall has.

        Another way to do it would be to package Duvall with other pieces for an established first-string SS where the team has a strong young SS in the wings. Like to the Yankees for DiDi Gregorious.

        The Reds really need to solve their SS and CF problems with trades.

        • I really think Suarez could be atleast an average SS. He obv has a strong work ethic and loves the game! Cozart moves like a zombie out there….can barely bend over at times? I guess most of you are writing off Scooter’s season as a fluke and plan on Senzel playing 2nd. Personally, I think thats a mistake but time will tell.

        • I agree. As I said above though they have to be careful not to create a RH power shortage in the process. Of course return from this or other trade(s) could address this issue.

    • Schebler and Duvall may be too good to be bench players, but sometimes that’s just what happens. I’d like to see one of the two packaged for something else, too, but really good organizations play their best players. If Billy/Schebler/Duvall/Winker are all Reds in April 2018, Winker needs to be a starter. Sadly, we know he won’t be.

    • If the GM will have the ultimate say as to who plays in the OF and who makes the starting rotation, do you feel the GM will have the ultimate say regarding who leads off in 2018?

      • Yes, the GM could dictate it but sometimes the manager still doesn’t do what he’s told. Not sure how accurate Moneyball was when it came to this but Beane basically had to trade Cruz because Howe wouldn’t play Hatteburg at 1B and that’s what Beane wanted. He couldn’t really fire Howe… Of course I think Howe had more leverage than Price but maybe Castellini really likes Price and he has more leverage than we think.

        • It was Carlos Pena. He hit .218 (724 ops) for the A’s. They made is sound like they traded Thames in May or something?

      • Excellent question.

        One of the reasons I proposed upgrading CF through a trade is that it could Price-proof the batting order. The GM can have the final say for sure that way.

        Otherwise, I don’t know what the dynamic is between Williams and Price. I’m not even sure Williams still doesn’t think the way to build a team is through speed.

        Bottom line: I think if the front office wants Jesse Winker leading off, which they should, I’d expect them to tell Bryan Price to do that.

    • I also think SS has more upside than AD

      But with Ervin, AD is more available in my thinking. And we may still have this problem next year when Ervin bursts onto the scene. Our OBP could be going up a lot

        • Right now. But he’s young and athletic. Duvall is not-so-young and has shown a propensity to wear down.

          If you want to take Duvall for 1 game right now, I would probably agree. But if it had to be one or the other for something like the next 2 seasons, I take Ervin.

  15. My biggest issue, and I am not a Bryan Price fan, but the issue is that what comes from the managers mouth and his practice, does not reflect what the front office has constantly talked all year concerning rebuilding and sorting. And yet in spite of this they rehire him for another year. I could not have an employee or staff under being that was constantly undercutting what I said. They would have to go.

  16. I’ll say it again, the Reds can easily rotate the corner OF spots with these 3 guys, especially if Schebler takes a start in CF once or twice a week. All forward thinking teams rotate players like this. Contending teams need a legit bench in case of injury—keeping all 3 insulates you from that. There’s no payroll pressure here, so why all the talk about trading productive players who make near league minimum???

    I’m even good with keeping Hamilton if we had a manager who would utilize him as a sub/spot starter who bats 9th. Barring some revelation from Price however, you have to Dusty-proof the lineup by trading Billy. Sad, having to make a second bad move to cover the first mistake.

    • I think Hamilton is just about priced out of the spot/ specialty player role for a team in the Reds budget range. I also like the idea of Hamilton-proofing the line up by moving him on.

  17. I am going to go off of the reservation on this one.
    Trade Duvall and Schebler together in a package for that elusive top tier starter. Included would be a very good starting pitching prospect and a very good position prospect. The second prospect is included to influence the trading partner to take on Mesoraco and his $13M salary in 2018. Mesoraco’s salary included to help offset the salary of the incoming top tier pitcher. Duvall, Schebler, and the 2 prospects won’t cost obtaining team much in salary.
    Toronto and Stroman look like good matches for this.
    With Mesoraco’s $13M off of the books, we can dive, not dip, into the free agent pool. And bring RF JD Martinez to Cincinnati. Big free agent dollars didn’t go much to the hitters last year and that could repeat this year. See Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion. The Reds could steal Martinez with a quick signing. Mesoraco’s money and Cozart’s money can be saved and used on Martinez. Bailey comes off the books soon. They could afford Martinez with a 4 or 5 year deal.
    Winker in LF, Hamilton in CF, and Martinez in RF is a big upgrade over Duvall-BHam-Schebler. And Stroman leads the rotation.

    • No team is going to trade a top tier pitcher and take on Salary.
      With Duvall and Schebler, and someone else, we might get a top tier pitcher.
      But not with Mesoraco. Will have to throw in more prospects.

  18. I see two recurring arguments that I think are giving the Reds way too much credit:

    1) They want to let Duvall/Schebler play out the string to trade them.
    This one doesn’t make much sense to me. Other teams know what they will be getting with either of those two. The time to trade high with Duvall was July 2017. The Reds whiffed. He’s not building any value the last 2 weeks of the season. Not to mention, even if you want to leave Billy as an every day CF, you can play Scheb/Duvall/Winker 2/3 of the time without damaging anyone’s “trade value.” The Reds won’t even do THAT. It’s simply, “Here’s your spot on the bench, Mr. Winker.”

    2) Price is just being cagey because there is no reason for him to say anything about 2018.
    If that’s really the case, he’d just come out and say it. “We have 4 really good outfielders, and we are confident in playing any 3 of them at any time. It’s a really good position for us going into next year. Who starts and when isn’t something we need to worry about now. They’ll all be big contributors for us this year.” That’s literally all he has to say. No one is expecting him to give an Opening Day lineup or anything.

    The most likely scenario is that for all the bluster about OBP, the Reds value SLG > OBP. They want speed or power and if you can’t offer one of those they don’t think you can have a positive enough impact on the team. They are willing to live with .310 and below OBPs from Schebler and Duval provided they hit 30+ home runs. They think that is more valuable to the team than A Jesse Winker .370+ OBP with 15-20 home runs. I think they are wrong. Most every other front office in baseball thinks they are wrong. But it’s the Reds Way and we’re stuck living with it.

    • If what you say is true, then the Reds can name their price on Winker as most every other front office will be overeager to trade for him. Let the bidding begin!

      Brian Price is not going to bad mouth any of his players to the press and we all know that something has got to give between now and April. Frankly I’d like to see Duvall packaged and traded and Winker moved to left. Ervin can be the 4th outfielder and maybe push Billy out the door in center if he warrants. Regardless, Taylor Trammell could well be better than any of them a few years from now.

      • Price doesn’t have to bad mouth any player to give a good ,”We are thrilled to have 4 MLB-caliber starting outfielders on our team.” By saying, “I can’t see anyone losing their starting job” he is in essence bad mouthing Winker.

        The whole “Everyone knows something has to happen between now and April with regards to the outfield” sounds eerily similar to “Everyone knows either BP or Cozart will be traded before 2016, so don’t worry about where Peraza will play now,” and “Everyone knows Cozart will be gone before 2017, so no need to worry about the middle infielder log jam now,” and “Everyone knows Cozart will be traded by the deadline in 2017, so Peraza will have a chance to play half a year at SS to see what he can do.”

        Every time everyone knows something about what the Reds “have to do” they don’t do it.

        • Or maybe Price is trying to motivate Winker for some reason or to let him know that he’s going to need to bust his heinie this offseason? Who knows?

          BP scuttled two trades. It wasn’t for lack of Reds’ trying to clear the log-jam. They finally ended up paying the Braves to take him. Cozart was hurt at the 2017 trade deadline and couldn’t be traded. It also took just about that long to rebuild his trade value.

          Frankly, Peraza has gotten enough at bats to demonstrate that his best attribute is youth and potential. He doesn’t offer much else at this point.

          The Reds may make head-scratching moves at times, but they are not idiots. If you give them the benefit if the doubt on occasion, it makes supporting the team that much less stressful.

    • You are correct. The Reds Ownership group and executive FO team all share the same Cro-Magnon view of baseball. 2+2=9. It just does.

      You don’t explain Billy Hamilton though.
      He cant hit. He cant get on base. He cant hit for power. In his prime, he’s not even approached the career years for Gary Redus or Dave Collins.

      • The Reds won’t even remove him from the leadoff spot, let alone move him to the bench. Ervin should be splitting time with him, right now, but I just don’t see any possibility of the Reds benching Billy. I mean, for goodness sake his line right now is .250/.300/.340 (yes, that SLG is lower than Tucker Barnhart’s OBP) OPS+ 68 and he’s batting leadoff every day. They’ll trade Votto before they bench Billy.

      • Collins I thought was actually a decent player. I saw Redus play a lot at AAA (Indy at the time); and, came to believe as his MLB situation developed he was one of those guys that for whatever reason, the org really didn’t want around. Redus actually bounced through MLB for a dozen years, put up 16.2 net WAR and ended up with a career OPS+ 107 with not all that much playing time.

    • Eric,

      Excellent post.

      You are likely right on the valuing of speed and power at at all costs. If would explain why Hamilton bats leadoff, even vs. LHP, why Votto stays 3rd, even though he would probably be better 2nd or leadoff, etc, etc.

      Dick Williams looks weak and ineffectual at the moment. To Steve’s post above, Bryan Price is either bad at this or should not be discussing this stuff in the last week of the season.

      It’s Dick Williams who retained Price, and its Williams who needs to tell Price to end the season, not be heard from until RedsFest, and let the front office handle discussing the shaping of the 2018 roster.

      “The Reds Way” is odd, for sure, and is playing its part in the apathy that is throughout “Reds Country.”

  19. On the one hand, I agree that you can’t set anything in stone off of 12 starts and 100+ PA. I also kind of agree that no starter’s play warrants losing their job. Hamilton should bat 9th, but I think he’s the best option for the Reds in CF, especially if he can only bat LH in some sort of platoon situation.

    On the other hand you’re never going to know what you’ve got until the player has accumulated more PA and starts. We know what Adam Duvall can do and who he’s basically going to be as a hitter. Let’s see Winker get a couple starts in place of a guy who’s clearly running out of gas.

    I also believe that these players (especially Winker) have a track record that has consistently demonstrated the skills these players possess. Winker has excellent command of the strike zone and a good hit tool. He’s hit for power before, especially in power friendly leagues (Cal-league), and suffered a wrist injury that seemingly sapped most of that power, combined with the pitcher friendly home stadium. Ervin has demonstrated a good OBP and good pop for a guy who can reasonably be counted on to play CF. He’s been good on the base paths as well. He’s not been good at hitting for average, the one thing Price mentioned (SMH….batting average), but he’s hit enough to have been above average offensively in just about every stop in the minors. (Had a 99 wRC+ this year at AAA after a disastrous start to the season). Those guys need to play in meaningless September games over guys you know what to expect.

    I think Dick Williams knows this. I think that we’ll see a corner OF dealt over the winter. It’s much easier to deal a guy who hasn’t recently been demoted as a starter, than one you were going to bench. We used to hope Walt would Dusty-proof a roster. Now we’ll just have to hope that Williams can Price-proof one next season.

    • I agree about the 12 starts and the 100 PA but that’s exactly how this team operates.They did just that with Reed and Bob this year after the 2016 season and they will do it with Winker next year after his performance this year.It has nothing to do with how well or how poorly the players do its just what this organization does because they can.They aren’t data driven in their decision making nor do they use common sense to audition younger players as much as possible after saying they weren’t going to compete in 2016 or 2017.To me it became clear when Price said he never has considered replacing Billy in the lead off spot even though he knew he only reached base 30% of the time.I am a fan and always will be of a team with leadership that doesn’t use data or common sense when making baseball decisions.I have to be crazy at best.

    • The problem is that Price would rather have a guy leading off with a .250 BA and a .300 OBP than a guy with a .255 BA and a .333 OBP

  20. Duvall should be moved to the AL and DH, hopefully that way he could play a whole season without completely falling apart.

  21. The Reds need to upgrade at SS and CF and don’t have a credible player ready from inside the organization for either position. Other than moving Suarez to SS.

    • Based on this, going back to your “Trading Iglesias” piece in July, does this mean we should be rooting for the Cubs to beat the Nationals in the division series? (Shudders)
      (Also, breaks out into hives)

      Maybe, panicking as they enter the last season of the Bryce Harper window, the Nats would part with Wilmer Difo (age 25) who played SS capably in Trea Turner’s absence to injury? (If Marte, who started today in AZ, can’t be had).

      Difo is probably their 2B of the future to pair up with Turner, but this is where we are at with the Reds re-build.

      Holes in the roster, and while there is youthful talent, it is not evaluated (“sorted”, one could say) enough to conclude who fully should go and who should stay, to fill the holes.

      Time for a drink.

  22. If I was Winker, I’d probably prefer to be traded than stick it out with the Reds. His comments to the press may be intended to broadcast to interested teams that he’s confident and ready to make an impact. Or, they could simply be a reflection of the natural confidence that comes easily to high achievers. Confidence is a good thing. I’m glad Winker has it.

    Now on to some comments about The Four Stooges (Castellini, Jocketty, Williams, and Price). Am I the only one who thinks that they’re sappy and overly sentimental? It’s like they feel they have to be loyal to Billy Hamilton because Billy’s a good kid. They had to indulge Bronson Arroyo’s comeback pipe dream because Bronson’s a nice guy and fun in the clubhouse. And thus, the Reds are the most personable team to ever lose 91 games (and counting).

    Give me some nasty S.o.B.s who can hit in the clutch. Give me some a-holes who are effective starting pitchers. Give me the baseball equivalent of the old school Detroit Pistons, if you must.

    Just give me winners.

    • The Reds teams of the 1970’s were known to have fractious clubhouses but they were successful with a manager who kept everyone centered on one goal: winning.

  23. Who should actually be playing based on the 2017 season results?

    PA ** WAR ** PA/WAR *** wOBA *** wRC+ ** OPS *** Player

    499 …. 5.2 ………. 95 ………….. .395 …… 144 …… .944 …… Cozart
    687 …. 6.7 ……… 102 …………. .428 …… 165 …… 1.025 …. Votto
    615 …. 4.4 ……… 139 …………. .360 …… 120 …… .839 …… Suarez

    480 …. 2.5 ……… 192 …………. .371 …… 127 …… .887 …… Gennett
    127 …. 0.6 ……… 211 …………. .375 …… 130 …… .883 …… Winker
    412 …. 1.9 ……… 216 …………. .313 …….. 90 …… .741 …… Barnhart

    055 …. 0.2 ……… 275 …………. .350 …… 114 …… .823 …… Ervin
    518 …. 1.5 ……… 345 …………. .334 …… 103 …… .804 …… Schebler
    630 …. 1.6 ……… 393 …………. .323 …….. 96 …… .774 …… Duvall
    165 …. 0.4 ……… 412 …………. .312 …….. 88 …… .711 …… Mesoraco
    615 …. 1.2 ……… 512 …………. .280 …….. 67 …… .640 …… Hamilton
    504 … -0.2 ……… ### …………. .271 …….. 62 …… .618 …… Peraza
    198 … -0.3 ……… ### …………. .298 …….. 79 …… .687 …… Kivlehan

    Cozart, Votto and Suarez produce at an elite level. Unquestionably, they have earned and deserve to play every game possible while physically able to maintain peak performance.

    Gennett, Winker and Barnhart produce at a VERY good level, well above average and at or near an all-star level. They also deserve to play every game possible while physically able to maintain peak performance. The only caveat would be Scooter’s platoon split which dictates that Scooter should only start against RH starting pitchers and remain the 1st option as a LH pinch hitter.

    WAR is a compilation of offense, defense and position factors. The six players mentioned form the core for the Reds lineup. Those six should receive playing priority over anyone else in the lineup. the good thing for the Reds is that all six can easily be inserted into the lineup on a daily basis. The rest of the players on the roster should be relegated to playing time for the two remaining positions and for periodic substitutions for rest or injury. Any restricted playing time should always be limited to those remaining players.

    In addition, the top offensive players should always hit before any of the remaining hitters. That means that all the core players, sans Barnhart, hit 1-5. The remaining three hitters, including Barnhart, should be slotted after the first 5 slots in the lineup.

    It really is that simple and that obvious. Anyone not capable or willing to understand that, should not be in a position to influence or impact the roster or lineup.

    BTW, the Reds are REALLY going to miss Cozart in 2018 if they do not resign him during the off season. A 5.2 WAR from the shortstop position, in less than 75% of the playing time, simply can not be replaced.

    • Nice work Cossack.
      This illustrates that it might not be crazy to upgrade a couple of OF positions this winter. One upgrade is Winker. The other is yet to be determined. And Ervin as the 4th OF is looking better and better.
      This also illustrates just why I think Dick Williams won’t let go of both Cozart and Gennett this winter. And it looks as if he might try to keep both. If Cozart goes by free agency, then Williams will not trade Gennett. And if Williams trades Gennett, it will be after re-signing Cozart.
      I am leaning more towards Williams keeping both Cozart and Gennett and trading away one or two of the current starting 3 outfielders. Duvall’s and/or Schebler’s production will be easier to replace than will be Cozart’s and Gennett’s. You research sort of backs up this kind of thinking.

      • So the Reds pony up and keep Cozart on a 3-year deal and keep Scotter through arbitration (also shelling out some serious cash), Winker goes to LF and the Reds shop both Schebler and Duvall during the off season. That leaves a vacancy in RF and a decision to be made in CF.

        I don’t think the Reds will give up their security blanket in CF, although I think they should. That leaves only a vacany in RF that needs to be filled. I think the cost to sign Cozart, Scooter and extend Suarez will preclude any FA signing for an elite corner OF. I have never seen an athlete who could play 2B, SS & 3B and not be able to play a corner OF position. Paging Mr. Senzel! Mr. Senzel to RF please!

        The defense at 2B would be shaky with Scooter starting about 70% of the games, but the defense at every other position would be solid to elite. That could be among one of the all time great defensive squads. It could also be a scary-good offense, especially if Price bites the bullet and moves Hamilton to the #9 hole in the lineup.

        #1 Winker (LF) – averge to above average defense
        #2 Suarez (3B) – very good to elite defense
        #3 Votto (1B) – above average defense
        #4 Cozart (SS) -very good defense
        #5 Senzel (RF) – probably above average to very good defense
        #6 Gennett (2B) – poor to below average defense
        #7 Barhanrt (C) – very good defense
        #8 Pitcher
        #9 Hamilton (CF) – elite defense

        • I like this lineup. I really think we need to try to move on from the Hamilton experiment also. Signing cozart allows us to make a trade for a center fielder and 2-3 years to develop another shortstop.

        • In any optimized line-up, Votto needs to bat 1 or 2. Price batted him 2 in the past… not sure why he stopped doing that completely.

    • Good stuff Cossack… I’d agree on Cozart if I thought Cozart could have the kind of season that he’s having now over the length of his probable contract. The issue is that I don’t. I’m good bringing back Cozart if the Reds decide to but it has to be at the right price. There are some factors including his injury history and the fact that most contenders are set at SS that lead me to believe he may end up being affordable. If the contract starts to go over 3-years or starts to run into serious AAV, then the Reds really need to pass.

  24. There is absolutely no reason for Price to declare Winker a starting outfielder at this time. He should head home after the season and prepare for a battle with the incumbents. The same thing Hamilton, Duvall and Schebler should be doing. Finding room for 4 outfielders is not a huge issue. Plenty of at bats to go around until 3 of the 4 claim the PT by performance.

  25. I think Jason said it first, but this is clearly front office style posturing. There is no way the Reds actually thInk Winker will be a bench player in 2018.

    I am very slightly encouraged by this BP statement. DW has clearly communicated with BP that comments about OF surplus or pitching prospect surplus can harm his negotiating power this offseason. So either dodge the question or give a vague non commital answer. That’s a unified front – well done, Reds.

    Of course, BP takes that and injects his anti-charisma into it and sounds like a nimcompoop which is half infuriating but again, and I always come back to this: the easiest way for a manger to lose his job is to lose the trust of his veterans. BP is a smart guy, IQ wise, and certainly knows this.

    • Consider two scenarios: Scott Rolen goes to management and says “Dick, BP has to go. He’s killing this team.”

      2nd scenario: Winker sets a meeting and says “Dick, I know how baseball should run, and I need to be playing every day in September in a 90 loss season. Because I’m not, that tells me BP needs to be fired.”

      Which one sticks?

      • Neither.
        Try on for size that Castellini and Williams are talking to Votto and Bailey and both players give their highest recommendation to the front office to keep Price. They explain to them that to let Price and his coaching staff go would be much more detrimental to the team. If you fire Price you almost guarantee the loss of hitting coach Don Long. You didn’t hear the TV broadcast last night when Brenemann and Brantley just gushed over Don Long and how important he was to this team.
        You also didn’t hear where Brenemann questioned the usage of Michael Lorenzen in the 8th inning last night with a 6-0 lead, therefore it might render Lorenzen as non-useable in today’s game after pitching Tuesday night too.
        But Brantley set Brenemann straight and praised Price for having Lorenzen out there as positive re-inforcement expanding on his Tuesday outing. Brantley’s observation was spot on.

  26. It is possible that a manager is put in a position of being the spokesperson who has to justify to an unpopular decision by management as if it were his own. That certainly happens in business. I don’t know if that is happening here, but it is possible. For Price to douse Winker’s accomplishments because of the small sample size is ridiculous when you consider that Price is the one who restricted that sample size.

  27. I’ve been a fan since the late ’50s. Never before the last year or 2 have I seen a preponderance of fans whom are absolutely certain that they know more than the manager, general manager, & ownership. It’s just lunacy . Nobody knows what Winker will look like after 1000 PA. There’s nothing certain about Robert Stephenson ever reaching command of all his pitches. Baseball is not a game of stats, but a game described by stats. Not the same thing.

  28. I am a proponent of hitting for average and ahigh OBP but before you put AD and SS on the scrap heap give it a different look! Winker hitting 7 HR’s is a fluke in all probability! He is young and may get stronger and improve his power numbers slightly but he has never been a power guy! I am a fan and think Winker should be a starting OF on 18 but it is GAPB! I am thinking those 4 can make productive OF in 18 especially if AD can maybe learn 1st base so as Votto ages he can have a day off every now and then! I think that combined with the DH in American League games you keep some power in the lineup! The real question is who plays shortstop and what to do with Peraza?

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