For today’s article I decided to hit up twitter for some questions to answer and you guys stepped up.

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I think that based on everything that we know right now, Nick Senzel is going to play second base for the Reds in 2018. When, is the much bigger question. Scooter Gennett is coming off of a big season, but still has some warts on his resume (defense, heavy splits). Dilson Herrera could also be in the mix, somewhat, as he’ll be out of options and has to remain on the 25-man roster. Either way, though, it’s tough to imagine either player holding off Senzel for too long. Unless the team gets out to a very quick start that is not being helped in the slightest by the second baseman, this could help the Reds work around the Super 2 status and keep him in the minors until June.

With Hunter Greene, it’s interesting. What we do know, is that Hunter Greene won’t be playing shortstop in the minors. What is a bit more murky is whether or not he will hit. Greene has made multiple comments that he will, but below Double-A, pitchers don’t hit. That doesn’t mean he won’t get chances at designated hitter, but it does mean he’s probably not going to be a 2-way guy in the long run. There are no other 2-way types in the organization.

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I think that Mella winds up in the bullpen. Even if he weren’t down the starting pitching depth chart as much as he is, his stuff seems to work better there, anyways. His fastball/breaking ball combo could do real damage out of the pen, but his change is lacking and makes it tougher for him to get a good look a 3rd time through the order.

I think it’s a possibility for Gutierrez to reach Triple-A. My expectation is he will start in Double-A and if he has success there, he’ll be promoted in July.

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Redleg Nation’s own Steve Mancuso chimed in on this one. Hi Steve!

If we are talking a true wild guess, late 2019 would be the ultimate wild guess. That would be an incredibly accelerated path, so it’s quite unlikely – he would be a just-turned 20-year-old at that point (he would celebrate his 20th in early August). A more “wild” guess that’s far more realistic would be late 2020, though if I had to put money down on an actual date, it would be some point in 2021.

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Among the guys without any actual Major League experience, and not accounting for Senzel. With guys like Winker and Mahle not being accounted for in this, I believe that the biggest impact guys could come from the bullpen. Guys like Jimmy Herget, Jesus Reyes (starter now, future reliever), Zack Weiss or Jose Lopez (starter now – could start in the future, but could break in as a reliever simply because of a lack of opportunity in the rotation right now). For a position player, I could see a place where Alex Blandino could get some time and make an impact as a utility man.

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If you’re asking about the guys already in the system, I think it’s going to be tough for any minor league starters without previous MLB experience to break into the big leagues this upcoming season as starters. There’s simply too much depth there between everyone else. That does mean, though, that it will give guys time to develop and they won’t have to try and rush them forward like they’ve had to in the past few years (with guys like Stephenson, Garrett, Romano and Davis all getting big league action before having much Triple-A time under their belts). Next season I’d keep an eye on starters Vladimir Gutierrez, Jose Lopez, Jesus Reyes and relievers Jimmy Herget and Zack Weiss as the best of that “next” group.

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I love the hard hitting questions. My 4-year-old nephew is currently obsessed with dinosaurs, so I’m quite well versed. But, I think that both he and I would go with the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

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Right now I feel far more comfortable going with Trammell. While his upside isn’t as high as that of Siri, it’s still an All-Star caliber ceiling, and his floor is higher. It comes down to pitch recognition right now and Trammell is just more advanced there. With Siri, if everything goes right for him, you’re talking about a 30 HR, 50 steal center fielder who can win Gold Gloves. But, he’s also a guy who you may see wind up as a 4th or 5th outfielder because he never figures out how to lay off of the slider and hits .220 in the upper minor leagues and gets all of his value out of defense and baserunning as an extra outfielder in the big leagues. While you’re always an unsure thing while in A-ball, Trammell just seems more likely to not have struggles against more advanced pitching because he gets the strikezone better – and he’s still got all kinds of outstanding tools.

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No, because in order to get rid of his contract in that kind of deal you’ve just got to take on another one. And I’d rather just roll the dice with Bailey returning to some sort of form than someone else. For those wondering about the BAMTech money – here’s an article that I wrote about what it is and how much it could be for.

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The most important job of a manager is to develop the players into future big leaguers. The Reds and others all say that winning is important too, and they certainly believe that it is, but realistically, each minor league team has anywhere from 1-3 future big leaguers of note on the roster. Winning in general helps with that, but if you asked anyone off the record what’s more important, I’d be shocked if they told you that winning games was more important than developing players because developing players helps the Reds and the minor league teams winning games doesn’t.

The minor league owners basically just facilitate the stadium. The big league club pays the player salaries (which are an absolute joke, by the way – full description of just how little they make can be seen here). They pay for the travel. The Reds, but not every team, also pays for food these days before the home games (good, quality food – not like you used to see when it was peanut butter and jelly sandwich provided by the clubby). They don’t pay for housing. That’s paid for by the players themselves, which is why most of the guys have multiple roommates. It’s also worth noting that the players are not paid during spring training, or instructional league.

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The biggest chip may be one of the young pitchers who isn’t in the big leagues. Let’s play this scenario out. The only way the Reds are going to be in the race that late in the season is if the pitching is relatively healthy and performing. That means it’s unlikely we see the rotation full of all young guys. Maybe a guy like Sal Romano, Robert Stephenson, or Tyler Mahle isn’t in the rotation as a result of Bailey, Finnegan, and DeSclafani all being healthy. If that’s the case, then they are likely in Triple-A, starting. That could be the “big” chip, so to speak.

Beyond that, I’d think that Taylor Trammell, Tyler Stephenson, Tony Santillan or Vladimir Gutierrez could be the next big chip. The first three will all begin in Daytona, with Gutierrez in Pensacola. They will need to continue to perform, of course, but all have upside and plenty to like on their resume. They’ll also not be among the group of “upside” guys with only a few months of full-season ball under their belts. Don’t sleep on Jose Siri, though. With another step forward in his pitch recognition and the sky is the limit.

Thanks for submitting the questions, everyone. If I didn’t get to yours, sorry. I answered the ones that I got by the time I was ready to start typing.

Join the conversation! 33 Comments

  1. I knew that minor league pay left more than a little to be desired, but I had no idea that they didn’t get paid at all for spring training or the instructional league. What a joke.

  2. I have no idea why the reds are pushing for GReene to pitch.
    we need a ss and he is our best option for the future. he is a very good athelete and has a rocket for an arm,
    we want our best athletes in the line up everyday.
    his chances of being a good shortstop in the big leagues is so much higher thn an effective pitcher.

    • The 102 mph 70 grade fastball and the fact that almost every scout project his future as a pitcher would be my guess as to why the Reds are using him as a pitcher. I also recall seeing comments that he wanted to pitch so that probably has something to do with it as well. Its not like he could realistically be counted on as the starting SS in the next two years anyhow.

    • I’m no expert, but I think the thought is his ceiling is higher as a pitcher. With his arm he has the tools to be a very rare kind of talent as a pitcher.

    • He’s probably not the best option at shortstop, though. The Reds have multiple high ceiling shortstops in rookie ball.

      But, he’s also got arguably the highest ceiling of any pitcher in all of minor league baseball, too. So, that’s why they are pushing for him to be a pitcher.

  3. I’d like to see Lorenzen in CF. Why not? They said he could’ve been a 3rd rounder as a hitter.

    Back to the minors…kind of interested in Jose Lopez? Hopefully he’ll get some run with the Reds but he’ll have to do well at AAA first. At some point they’ll have to determine which guys stuff is better suited to just face hitters once as a reliever. Or a full backup rotation in Louisville with Mahle, Lorenzen, Lopez, etc?

    • I beat the drums about this for a long time; but, I think the window has passed for the Reds to try it.

      Very quietly, ML has become arbitration eligible as a super 2. At those prices, the Reds will take what they can get from him as a pitcher either for them or in trade return at some point.

      The only way see him getting an OF look is if he is nontendered/ outrighted at some point; and that minor league trial as an OF would not likely be in the Reds org.

  4. Maybe the backlog of dominos to fall this winter has broken loose.
    Tampa Bay trades 3B Evan Longoria to SF for SS Christian Arroyo, OF Denard Span, and 2 minor league pitchers.
    Arroyo is now not available in any Hamilton, Duvall, Schebler trade talks with SF.
    Tampa Bay is in rebuild mode. Maybe there is a chance for CF Kevin Kiermaier if the Reds strike out on Christian Yellich.
    My guess is TB’s closer, Colome, will be going to St. Louis or Chicago.

    • More evidence that deals are there for teams creative and bold enough to imagine and make them, Specific evidence that a team the Reds were known to be talking with was ready to make a deal.

      I get the sense that Williams could be turning out to be a set piece guy; and, for all his innovative thought in other areas isn’t particularly quick to adapt with personnel moves.

    • Lets do it!! Billy to Texas or Colorado…wherever and bring Kiermaier to Cincy!! I’m sure they’d want something good for him though? Highest rated defensive CF (better then Billy?) with a .845 ops vs righties and very affordable contract.

      • I was thinking more that Arroyo was probably there for the taking when the Reds were talking BHam with the Giants; but, the Reds didn’t want him at this point because, you know, we have Jose for that (SS).

        • The Reds also might have been hesitant to take Arroyo because they see him as more of a 2B/3B rather than SS. The Reds currently have Suarez, Senzel, Gennet, Herrera and Blandino to sort through at second and third.
          Could also be that the Giants were willing to part with Arroyo in exchange for Longoria but not for Hamilton.

          • It could be correct that the Giants wouldn’t move Arroyo in a Hamilton deal, if so, that should be the only reason he is not now a Red and Hamilton a Giant.

            Arroyo was valuable enough to be a major piece in the Longoria move. If the Reds could have gotten him for a player they wanted to move for salary reasons, they shouldn’t have let the fact they were deep at his positions stop them.

            Arroyo is 3 seasons short of arbitration. That’s 3 seasons of a guy who projects highly at a cost of MLB minimum plus small annual add ons, somewhere close to $10M saved on what Hamilton will make over the next 2 seasons. Once Arroyo was in the fold, the Reds reassess their situation and decide whether they want to hold onto him (and move somebody else) or shop him or play coy but include him in a right deal if somebody else comes asking,.

            This is what I meant above when I talked about creativity and being quick on their feet versus set piece thinking.

        • Actually I read that the Reds specifically asked for Arroyo in exchange for BHam and the Giants said no. If I find the article I will post it for you.

      • Colorado does not need Billy.
        They have a great CF in Charlie. True is a FA at the end of the 2018 season.
        I would expect them to extend him.

        • Just move Blackmon to a corner? Cargo is washed up and worthless. Have you seen Billy’s #s in Colorado? Not to mention he could save them 5 runs a week defensively.

          • Cargo is a FA, and will not return to Colorado.
            The Rox have Tapia came up last season, and looks to be a real stud.
            I do not see the Rox wanting Billy, unless the Reds gave him away.
            (not, I live about 1 hour south of Denver, so I see a lot of this stuff on TV)

        • Billy is hitting .371 career in Coors (62 atbats). Small sample obv, but think about it. They can’t play shallow because its a triple or inside the park hr if the ball gets by them. That’s a lot of dunkers that don’t fall in at gabp.

    • I just don’t see the Reds making any moves of significance this offseason as they are not in their winning window for 2018. They need payroll clarity with injuries as well. They need to know what Homer Bailey is going to give them in 2019. It became apparent the last 2 years that Mesoraco was not going to be the catcher on the next great Reds team. They acted. Despite his $13 million price tag this year, they extended Tucker as the next catcher and that was a great move.

      The next 2 moves need to be advancing their next LF and leadoff hitter and their next third baseman.
      Advance #1- open up LF for Winker by trading Duvall. Winker needs 155 games in lf and leadoff.
      Advance #2- Extend Eugenio. Complete player, young and fun to watch.

      Scooter and Hamilton and Duvall are not players on the next playoff team. Of those, Duvall is the only one that needs to be moved now -so Winker can take over. Gennett needs moved, but only before mid-summer, not now. If Gennett displays a big lefty bat again- trade him July 20th. If he and Herrera aren’t getting it done, the Senzel succession plan is on auto-pilot. Second base will solve itself by the All Star break and perhaps sooner.
      The pitching staff is still so uncertain. Thus, 2018 is their season of sorting. No one knows anything about that. I’m certain of that.

      Hamilton’s value could potentially be big at the trade deadline, pitting wealthy playoff teams against each other. I believe he could create a big market as a late inning weapon in the shortened time frame of a playoff chase , when strengths and weaknesses are better known and the uncertainty and urgency of a 2 game lead/deficit screams go all-in-now for the post-season. In the off-season??? Meh.

      Getting a shortstop isn’t as easy as it sounds. I wonder if the Reds will try to create an offensive juggernaut and stick with the 1970’s role of weak hitting shortstop as the 8 hole hitter. Question for Doug- Why cant Alfredo Rodriguez bat 8th and play SS in 2019? By all accounts he can play defense now in MLB. Zach Cozart was a dreadful hitter on some good Reds playoff teams. If Alfredo is surrounded by Winker/Suarez/ Votto/ Senzel/ Siri/Trammell/Tucker?

      As difficult as it is to do, ignore 2018 and look at 2019-21 and I can see a plan.

      • I doubt people saw a big move happening halfway through 2009, but the Rolen trade had a heavy influence on the Reds run in 2010. Same theory when the Cubs signed Jon Lester. Most people thought they were a year or two away still, but Theo got the guy he thought would escalate the rebuild and they wound up in the NLCS, taking the World Series the year after.

  5. Let me see…Um… Longoria for Arroyo or Billy Hamilton for Arroyo….Hmmmm. Yes I think I would have taken Longoria as well. We need to understand that we are not going to get a top rated SS or CF for BH. Defense and Base Stealing (particularly at a OBP around or under 300. isn’t going to bring much back.

    • SF still needs a CF and Span is gone. I think they go back to the original package now.

      • Good point, they may very well still try to get Hamilton for that huge CF defense. Maybe the Reds will have to kick in a lower prospect with Hamilton to get Helios or maybe they’ll settle for one of those okay pitchers?

  6. Longoria has a 86Mil left on his contract.
    Billy is still cheap, and 2 years of control.
    Different situation.

    • The money is absolutely a huge factor. That doesn’t even count the fact that Longoria was a league average hitter with an OPS+ of 100 last year. His power numbers will most likely decline when he switches to a bigger ballpark that isn’t temperature controlled and will host it’s share of cold weather games.

  7. Might as well start getting your blog posts ready for the following guaranteed to happen Bryan Price quote.

    “Scooter Gennett is our starting 2nd baseman for 2018 and beyond. He’s been here, performed well, he’s a veteran leader and that’s that. I don’t care how Senzel is doing in AAA, he hasn’t proved he can do it at the MLB level. And until he does, Scooter is our guy.”

    Be ready with your outrage.

    • We’ve still got a Feldman resigning as 5th starter to endure before that!

    • While it is possible that Gennett is the starting all year or even in 2019. I don’t think Price has control of when/if Senzel is called up. There is a financial decision that plays into Senzel getting called up as well. There is an extra year of control to be gained plus arbitration salary implications. If Senzel is destroying AAA in June and Gennett is hitting .220 with then criticism is warranted if a change is not made.

      • I don’t think its unreasonable to think that Scooter could put up another .850+ ops vs righties? He’s in his prime and he’s comfortable in Cincy. I think he could have a nice platoon w/Blandino…or Herrera? Peraza could easily improve, but if he doesn’t and Senzel is tearing it up then I wonder if Suarez back to SS might be in play? I guess it will work itself out. Bottom line….2018 is more of the endless buffet of rebuilding so it should be mandatory to give Winker and Senzel a lot of atbats! Instead we’ll get Senzel called up in August and they’ll play on the road vs an AL team and Senzel will be in the lineup once. It was completely inexecusable what they did with Winker and Stephenson last year!

        • Is Gennett a product of the live ball or was 2017 his actual breakout year? That’s the question. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for him to put up an OPS over 850 against RHP, but I do think it’s unreasonable to expect it. Aside from this past season, the only other time he cracked an 850 OPS against RHP was his debut year in 2013 where he only played 68 games against righties.

          The good news for Gennett is that I fully expect MLB to keep the same ball. With Stanton getting traded to the Yankees, there’s no reason for them to get rid of it. Too much marketing opportunity and attention for the league. I think there is a better chance of them updating the balls in the minors to match the big league balls as opposed to “unjuicing” the MLB version.

        • Suarez will never be at ss again, as he has beefed up and is now a very good third baseman. Maybe 2nd but we have many candidates for 2nd.

          • Suarez isn’t that big? He’s much smaller then Tulowitski, Correa, ARod, and Ripken for example. Cozart is as big as Suarez and he could barely bend over and he was still decent at SS. The object is to score runs and Peraza provides no help there and is barely adequate defensively?

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A Minors Obsession