Over at MLB.com, Mark Sheldon has composed five questions that he says are facing the Cincinnati Reds in 2018. Conveniently, he also composed his answers to those questions; I encourage you to go read his thoughts.

I’m interested to know what your answers would be to these questions…

1. What will the rotation look like?

2. Is the time now for Nick Senzel, and where will he play?

3. Too many outfielders?

4. Can Jose Peraza fill Zack Cozart’s shoes?

5. Is this the year Billy Hamilton’s offense reaches its potential?

My brief answers:

1. Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, Homer Bailey, Sal Romano, Tyler Mahle
2. Yes. Second base.
3. No. But Jesse Winker needs to play every day.
4. No. But he can be adequate.
5. No. Sigh…

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Join the conversation! 59 Comments

  1. 1. Luis Castillo, Homer Bailey, Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan, Tyler Mahle
    2. No
    3. Yes, trade Duvall and Hamilton
    4. No, if not, move Suarez to ss and put Senzel at 3rd
    5. No, but in San Francisco

  2. Ok, here goes…
    1) Castillo, DeSclafani, Bailey, Mahle, and an as yet to be obtained Tim Adelman type innings eater.
    2) Yes, Senzel will play second after a short stint at Louisville.
    3) If (big IF) Price manages his people right, there’s room for everyone.
    4) Peraza will be a big dropoff defensively. On offense, I think we’ll see him continue to improve. Take the good with the not so good.
    5) Every year I keep hoping Billy can be at least a .270 type hitter, and every year I’m disappointed. I don’t see it being any different this yea

  3. 1. DeSclafani, Castillo, Bailey, Finnegan, and Garrett (at least out of the gate; I’m assuming Disco, Bailey and Finnegan are healthy to start the season; Castillo is a lock from his performance last summer, and a fully healthy Garrett claims the last spot in ST)

    2. Mid June and 2B

    3. Agree, Winker plays most everyday; Schebler, Duvall and Hamilton share time until we get a reasonable offer for Duvall and/or Hamilton. Hopefully offers comes in the next 2 months.

    4. No; but he doesn’t hurt the team unless both he an Hamilton are in the lineup together and Peraza regresses back to his 2017 first half form. I anticipate Peraza progresses and is an affordable, controllable piece of the puzzle by the end of the year.

    5. No. Love watching him, but if he plays, you have to drop him in the lineup and minimize his at bats. Upgrading CF should be the #1 off season priority in my opinion. The Brewers, Blue Jays, and Dodgers have young, controllable depth.

    • I keep hearing that Peraza was something different in the 2nd half. That just isn’t true. He was different for ONE month in the 2nd half; the rest was no different than the 1st half.

      • If you want to evaluate by months, he was actually best in May and August was his next best month. His third best month was September, although I agree we more productivity than he showed in September. Post all star break, his obp was 55 points better than his pre break number. He was also pretty awesome in 2016. It’s reasonable to expect improved consistency with experience.

        • I don’t want to evaluate by months, and that wasn’t my point. My point is simple. His 2nd half was not very good, and his positive numbers in the 2nd half come from the one month of August. July and Sep/Oct were terrible. His August numbers were so out of the median range, that they threw off the overall numbers for the 2nd half. Fact is, Peraza is a terrible baseball player. You can’t hide the fact that he is about the worst in seeing numbers of pitches, coupled with being the weakest hitter (velocity coming off the bat) than anyone else in the game. Add to it, that he’s a subpar defensive player. His minor league numbers show this also. I don’t understand the hype, hope, or whatever one wants to call it about this guy.

          • If you look at his age and 2016 numbers and the couple of months he was solid, you might understand my hope. It’s not atypical for young players to regress or play inconsistently. If you’re accusing me of hyping Peraza, you are missing my point. I agree that if we don’t see dramatic improvement in him by getting on base more often and producing harder contact, Peraza becomes a utility player or just gone.

  4. 1.Disco, Bailey,Catillo,Stephenson,Mahle
    2. Not quite yet. It’s Herrera time at least until we gain another year of service time on Senzel.
    3.Yes.But it can be managed. It’s not a terrible problem to have.
    4.Absolutely,(positive thinking), but maybe not quite right away.
    5. Absolutely(dreaming). I sure hope so, but I have seen nothing to make me believe it.

  5. 1. Price’s comments about 4 spots already being locked up not withstanding, would be nice to see Reds be flexible about scratching guys from a start, sneaking them onto 10-day DL and giving looks to others, when appropriate.
    (Like the Dodgers did all of last season)

    Jury still out on so many, including Brandon Finnegan (remember him?)

    2. If newly-signed Phil Gosselin does not make Reds Opening Day roster, let Gosselin mentor Senzel on playing 2B at Louisville.
    Bring Senzel up when ready, keeping in mind service time shenanigans.

    3. Too many OFs if no trades are struck this winter. Ervin is another in the shuffle. If he isn’t going to get a true shot here, deal him and try to get something for spending a first round pick, only to have him accumulate all of 68 MLB plate appearances. #WinkerMustPlayEveryday

    4.Peraza is no Cozart, but the Reds aren’t likely to contend in 2018, need to fish or cut bait on Jose. Let him play everyday.

    5. LOL. Good Ol’ Havoc!, he of the negative offensive WAR.

  6. The Reds aren’t winning in 2018 so ……Re-purpose 2018.

    1.) SP- this is why 2018 is being played. I don’t know but cant wait to find out.
    2.) Doesn’t matter. He’s in the starting lineup Opening day 2019
    3.) The absolute worst in 2018 with BP managing. Can RLN start a hotline here for fans?
    4.) He will be in the top 28 SS in MLB…probably.
    5.) Yes- he finally steals 60 bases.

  7. 1. Health a given: Disco, Bailey, Castillo, Stephenson, Finnegan
    2. No. Senzel will be given an opportunity at AAA to prove he can play either ss or 2b on a Ml level. Called up at some point in June/July
    3. Tough call. Hamilton will be traded, so it makes Price’s job easier.
    4. Yes. Peraza is still learning, and he hit .293 with a .361 OBP over the final 48 games of the season, almost a third. And although I love Zach, his shoes were only filled part of the time. His injuries will continue to haunt him. Peraza will turn into a fine fielder.
    5. Billy can’t hit.

  8. 1. A revolving door of injuries. People question the role of Lorenzen. Homer is either lights out or very hittable. The young guys show flashes of brilliance followed by regression.
    2. Second base by mid-season.
    3. Yes, but injuries make it work out over the season.
    4.No, neither defensively nor offensively. The front office looks long and hard for an inexpensive backup who is worse both offensively and defensively.
    5. Billy shows a month or two of greatness surrounded by stretches of .210/.280 ave and obp. We wonder if he has reached his potential at the plate.

  9. 1. Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, Homer Bailey, Sal Romano, Tyler Mahle (Stephenson will get his starts too)
    2. Yes, it’s time for Senzel, once he is past his Super Two time-span. I differ with most though, I believe he should be planning on playing SS. He has a history there too.
    3. Yes. We do have too many. Rotations hardly ever work. One of the current three needs to be traded.
    4. NO. This is the easiest of all the questions. Peraza is a TERRIBLE major league player. He’s bad defensively, he’s horrible offensively. We are talking about the LEAST discipline hitter who is the SOFTEST hitter in the game. And despite what people are saying, Peraza was also terrible in the 2nd half. ONE big month escalated his numbers, which is causing many to be fooled by the overall numbers of the 2nd half.
    5. No. Sadly, Bill isn’t going to get better. He’s serviceable if someone like Senzel is playing SS, and Peraza is not in the lineup. Having said that, I’d try and trade him.

  10. 1. Bailey, Castillo, DeSclafani, Finnegan and Stehenson (Start of the season). Bailey, Castillo, DeSclafani, Mahle and Romano (By the All-Star Break).
    2. Senzel will be ready. I look for him to play second base most of the time, while seeing occasional playing time in left field.
    3. The number of outfielders is not a problem. The problem is that it’s a bad mix of outfielders. Aside from Winker, there’s no consistency offensively. Duvall and Schebler have power but no on-base value. Hamilton has the speed with no on-base value. The Reds need another quality hitter either through trade or free agency.
    4. I think Peraza could improve slightly over last year, but he’s not Zack.
    5. Billy Hamilton will continue to be what he has been. He will give you regular ESPN highlights because of his great plays in the outfield, but he will never be a good OBP guy.

  11. #1 is a crapshoot. Castillo is the only “lock” but he throws so hard he’ll have an arm injury someday.
    #2 see #4
    #3 (and #5) Reds have 3 decent corner outfielders, Duvall/Schebler look like good RF platoon to me, Winker needs to play everyday leading off and starting LF. Billy is now not the answer in CF, and the farm doesn’t have one either, better start talking to Cain or trading for Yelich. If Billy stays I actually love him as late game PR/ defensive replacement. If he PR’s in every game in 7th/8th inning he could end up with 100sb! Just don’t let him hit.
    #4 I think the bats of Senzel and Scooter make up for any defensive difference that Peraza brings. Please Reds give Suarez a chance at SS. I want Senzel in lineup everyday, and not at 2B… Reds already have good options there. Peraza is a utility guy, not a starter. He cannot come close to matching Cozart’s production. Senzel/Suarez/Scooter might match Cozart/Suarez/Scooter, but if you take one of those bats out for Peraza, now way.

    • I am intrigued by the extreme of your BHam idea.

      If you pinch run a player in a high level situation late game 162 games in a year, this would make his OBP for the entire game likely higher than Billy’s would be if he started, but you get the benefit of choosing the spot.

      He came up a middle infielder so if he could fill in anywhere on the diamond with switches effectively you’d get BHams OBP into the lineup but from the bench… and he’d never swing a bat unless it was the 11+ inning. Amazing idea!

  12. (1) Don’t really care just as long as they’re good.
    (2) Maybe. Would like to see him take to SS so we could put Peraza on the bench or release him altogether while keeping Gennett at second.
    (3) Maybe. Not gonna lie though…I’d be ok with Hamilton gone. The reds seem to have a knack for finding good young talent. There’s gotta be someone fitting that description that’s a lot better offensively and decent defensively that the reds could find.
    (4) This question makes me laugh!😆 Emphatic NO! Adequate’s a step down and it baffles my mind that most of you would be ok with that.
    (5) This question also makes me laugh!😂 Heck naw, man!!! He ain’t never gonna get better offensively.

  13. (5) Billy’s offense reached its potential in 2014.

    • We were saying similar things about Cozart a few years ago. Billy has had stretches of decent production, so it isn’t necessarily the case that he’s hopeless, though I grant you that a big turnaround is not highly likely. A lot of the proposals above create lineups potentially devoid of much defensive ability and while I know that my view is not widely shared, that concers me. It should also concern the cadndidates listed in question #1.

      • I share your view… The Suarez or Senzel at SS is probably not optimal.Although I think Suarez would be better than Senzel there. Putting someone in CF that is below average defensively (Schebler for example) also is something I don’t think would be optimal. Scooter is already a sub-par 2B. An infield of 3B Senzel, SS Suarez, 2B Gennett, 1B Votto, with a CF that not only isn’t as good as Hamilton defensively but not even average defensively is going to turn a lot of potential outs into baserunners. I’m not sure the offense can overcome that. Add in Winker in RF, Schebler in CF, and Duvall in RF and you have a pretty miserable defensive team, in my opinion.

        • Duvall and Votto would be the only two people who are at least average defensively for their positions. Suarez may have the potential to be average at SS. That’s not going to get it done.

  14. 1. Castillo- Bailey- Romano- Stephenson-Mahle with Disco, Finnegan and Garret waiting in the wings.
    2. I have seen sinzel enough in Dayton and Florida to say that he is way overrated. WTP and another slow base runner. Average defender. I would rather see Peraza at 2b with hunter Greene as our future ss.
    3. Keep the outfield as is. With Duvall, Shebby and Hamilton. With Ervin and Peraza filling in during off days. Winker can’t play outfield I am sorry.
    2020 outfield Siri, Hamilton Trammel!!!
    Can’t wait.
    4. Play Peraza at short until hunter Greene is ready then move him back to second. Why rln wants Greene to pitch is beyond me.
    5.hamilton is our lead off hitter until Siri and Trammel get here. Then we can move him to 7 or 8.

    I know I am in the minority on RLN but I think we should package Winker and Sinzel maybe for a good pitcher.

    • Geez.

      Senzel (or even Sinzil) can’t hit, Greene can’t pitch, and Winker can’t play defense.

      That Bench guy they brought up in late 1967 only hit .163; should’ve traded him.

    • 1. If healthy Disco is starting every fifth day unless he forgot how to pitch
      2. Senzel may not make it, but most experts believe he will and he has done nothing but hit so far. My money is on him being an above average player. Greene is a pitcher.
      3. Winker won’t win the GG, but I am sure he can handle a corner outfield position. Hamilton will not be on the team in 2020 and Sir and Hamilton still have a lot to prove.
      4. Again Greene is a pitcher and wants to pitch. Almost every scout on the planet projected him as a SP.
      5. Hamilton is a horrible lead off hitter. I would put anyone on the team minus, Perazza, at lead off before Hamilton.

    • Have you been up at the ski slopes of Colorado lately.
      You seem to be smoking some very good stuff.

    • Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but Senzel overrated is hard to say just looking at his record so far. Over two minor league seasons he has a 315/393/908 slash line. Jessie Winker is Joey Votto. Over six minor league seasons he has a slash line of 298/398/846. Oh, and in 120 plus ABs in Cincinnati he hit 298/375/904. He has been Mr Consistency. Hunter Greene is not going to play SS for the Reds. It is not RLN readers or writers that have decided that it is the REDS management that has decided that he is better suited as a pitcher. And everyone would love a starter with a 100 mph fastball.

      • And the nice thing about Green is, if he does suffer an injury that threatens his pitching career, he may still be young enough to play an offensive position and still excel at it. That’s why it is a great idea to try him as a pitcher first.

  15. 1. Disco, Castillo, Finnegan, Bailey, Stephenson
    2. Senzel in RF or 2B. Depends on Herrera vs Schebler.
    3. Trady any OF(s) that you can get good value. The offense is not the Reds issue. Look at the years they won, it was PITCHING, stop worrying about the offense.
    4. Peraza gets his shot. If the Reds knew he was the guy, then they are idiots for not playing him there all of September after the Cozart trade deadline.
    5. Billy is amazing on defense. It would be great if the lineup was good enough for him to hit 8th.

    • Considering Hamilton is far and away the worst hitter on the team, I’d safe the lineup is good enough to hit 8th. Unfortunately, “Managing Baseball for Dummies” book says to place the guy with the most speed at the top of the lineup and Baker and now Price NEVER deviate from that.

  16. 1. I roll out a scheduled 6 man rotation. Manage Castillo innings, nurse Finnegan disco and bailey back, allows bob Steve and Mahle to mature. Bailey, Disco, Finnegan, Castillo, Stephenson, Mahle. (Also showcasing arms for a trade).

    2. Avoid Super 2, then 2B or 3B, entirely depends on how Peraza fields SS. If he fields , Suarez stays at 3B. Senzel at 2B. Dilson is tricky as a bench player given his limited role. This is the potential issue that will keep Senzel down all year.

    3. The Dodgers have too many outfielders. We do not.

    4. Last year Peraza would not fill last 3 years of Cozart shoes, no, but 4 years ago Cozart couldn’t fill last 3 years of Cozart shoes either. Let the kid play. I didn’t think Suarez would blossom at 3B, and he did.

    5. It is in fact based on aging curve etc. We all need to remember he is likely the most dynamic 8/9 hitter in baseball. He’s just being grossly misused in the lineup. I hope he gets traded, bats 8th for the rest of his career and wins 4 GGs.

    5.

  17. So, we’re headed into 2018 with pretty much the same roster that’s finished in last place the last 3 seasons only down our 2nd best offensive (and probably defensive) player and with the addition of a 30+ year old middle reliever who has been cut by his last two teams.

    You gotta love our shot at the title this year!

    • The roster is the same at C, 1B, 3B, CF, 1 corner OF spot. Potentially 2B and the other corner spot depending on how Winker and Senzel fit into the puzzle. So potentially over 1/3 of the position players will be different by summer. If the Hamilton trade rumors are true half the lineup will be different. The pitching staff while not adding many new names should also be significantly different when you consider the team was reaching to AA for starters last year due to injuries. If injuries are avoided you have Castillo for a year, Disco, Bailey, Finnegan for a good portion of the year, and whoever else gets the fifth spot.

  18. Same old…same old? I expect Senzel to hit .325 at Lville for most of the year and get 125 atbats like Winker did last year. Price has no idea how to manage a team. He would play Tucker vs lefties and then turn around and go with Mesoraco vs a righty? They also can’t go into another season with Billy and Peraza. 14th in runs scored and that’s with career seasons out of Cozart and Scooter. One cannot happen again and the other one most likely won’t. The pitching will be better, but its just another year of bringing brass knuckles to a gunfight again:(

    • Well put and accurate Indy and the reason is because Price is the manager and DW is still going to have his back.The pitching will be better but the offense for the reasons you gave will be worse which means a slight improvement in record.We will at least get to discuss our woeful hitting instead of our woeful pitching

  19. 5 questions? Only 5 questions?

    Seriously, with all the talk of the roster, line up , etc. the single biggest problem, the biggest hurdle between the Reds being a winning team and a losing team is starting pitching.

    I know this was the FIRST QUESTION of the five, but really, it’s the ONLY question.
    If the Reds’ starting pitching is league average or better, they could contend. If it is at the bottom of the league statisticall…AGAIN, then they will be below 0.500 and possibly be in last place again.
    It’s easy pickens’ to complain about Hamilton or Peraza, but the starting pitching is really the only thing that really matters.

  20. 1. Castillo, Bailey, Disco, Stephenson, Romano
    2. Yes, after super two cut off, give Herrera/Gennett a little time to improve value and Senzel a little AAA time. 2B is his spot.
    3. Yes, but only because I have zero faith in Price to manage an OF rotation effectively.
    4. No, but there is some reason to hope that he can improve from last year to be adequate.
    5. I think Hamilton is who he is at this point, so maybe he has reached his ceiling.

  21. As Mark Lang said almost the same roster as last year, so I guess we’re still sorting. If so again I say start the season with 6 young pitchers & sort. Senseless should start the season at 2nd. We need to trade an outfielder or 2. I hope Peraza works out but afraid he won’t. Again trade an outfielder, Hamilton for sure. But with all our hopes & wishes, most likely nothing will happen.

  22. 1. Castillo, Desclafani, Bailey, Finnegan and Romano. Desclafani and Finnegan’s innings need to be limited so Mahle and Stephenson will go back and forth from AAA getting all those starts + any from injuries that will occur.

    2. Not until later in the 2018 season; but it’s going to be a big time + for the Reds.

    3. Not really, but they need to be opportunistic with trades using one or two of the 4 (Ervin is a bench player) We need a better option for CF for 2019-2021

    4. No, even if he reaches 1 war as a SS and that will require quite a bit of improvements at the plate, that is not enough to warrant keeping him there for 19′ Remember it’s not just offense that makes a quality MLB SS; His defensive metrics at SS appear to be really bad. Cozart was a guaranteed 1.5+ war defensively before he ever did anything at the plate.

    5. Yes, but it’s too late we traded him to SF for Andrew Suarez and Brian Reynolds. That would be best for the Reds anyway I believe.

  23. If the injury bug lets up on Bailey, Finnegan and DeSclafani, the Reds could have average starting pitching. I have no idea when or where Senzel will appear at GABP but he’s certainly a positive for the Reds. My opinion is there are too many outfielders and I’d like to see Hamilton and/or Duvall included in a big trade which will probably not happen. Cozart’s shoes will not be filled by Peraza, but the guy is young and talented in his own way so let’s give him a chance. Unless traded, Hamilton’s offense will not improve unless the manager has him batting eighth.

  24. 1. Castillo, Bailey, DeSclafani, Finnegan and Romano. (This is who is will be, not who it should be).

    2. Senzel up to play 2B after the Super Two cutoff in June.

    3. Yes. As long as Bryan Price is manager, Jesse Winker won’t get enough playing time with Schebler and Duvall on the roster.

    4. Not even remotely, either offense or defense. But nothing wrong with giving Peraza 2018 to see how he does.

    5. This is a sloppily premised question. It assumes there is an imaginary “potential” that Hamilton has that’s out there. What is that exactly? The answer to this question is that Hamilton hit his potential in 2014 and has been “turning the corner” ever since.

  25. 1. I would like to see Castillo, Bailey, Descalfani Romano, and Stephenson.

    2. Senzel should come up this year after super 2 cut off.

    3. Jesse Winker should play. And as long as Price is managing they need to trade either Duval or Schebler. Shame because both seem like good guys to have around.

    4. I don’t mind Peraza playing short if they trade Billy and get another bat for the lineup. He is still young and may develop into a better hitter (We can only hope)

    5. I don’t mind Billy in center if they trade Peraza and get a better option at short. Billy is amazing to watch in CF. But we can not afford to have three holes in the lineup. An please bat him 8’th)

    • With the exception of the pitchers I don’t even need to add my post – agree fully, especially on the need to move Peraza or Hamilton OUT of the lineup (preferably both). I’d put Mahle ahead of Romano and Stephenson, and would love to see at least one lefty. Surely Finnegan, Garrett or Reed can step up. How about Castillo, Bailey, Disco, Mahle and a lefty?

  26. There are more than just 5 questions facing the 2018 Cincinnati Reds. The #1 question should be when is this front office going to do something to improve the Reds over last year? And the year before that and the year before that for that matter.
    1. Homer Bailey, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, Robert Stephenson, Brandon Finnegan.
    2. Unfortunately no. The Reds will play not only the service time clock game on Senzel, they unfortunately will play the Super 2 status game and he won’t be called up until about mid-June. An injury may dictate otherwise though. 2B will be the spot, unless they move him to RF. Now, if down at Louisville they start playing him some in the OF, that is a whole different story then. Could we see Winker and Senzel both manning corner OF spots by August 1? More questions.
    3. Too many outfielders? Maybe it should read too many good outfielders? That would be a big no. All 3 current OF could theoretically be traded. Reference answer #2, moving Senzel to the OF. Duvall/Schebler combined make 1 good OF, and one or both should be traded. I could live with an OF of Winker (LF), Hamilton (CF), and Senzel (RF).
    4. If Cozart’s shoes are a size 12, then Peraza will have size 101/2 shoes on. Peraza won’t be as good defensively or offensively, but it won’t be a huge drop-off in either. I hope Peraza can put up a 3-something fWAR at SS and Gennett’s defense at 2B won’t be as bad as feared.
    5. He might not reach his potential, but his offense will be better in 2018. For the Reds. Trade Schebler first, and Duvall second if he has more value as a trade piece than a 4th OF. That might be question #6. Do Schebler and Duvall have more value to the Reds as 4th and 5th OF and bench pieces, or do they have more value as trade pieces?
    More questions than answers right now. Another question. Is the Reds front office even looking for answers to these questions? Their actions would suggest otherwise.

  27. Reading through the responses, I forgot the questions! 😉

    I think Stephenson is in the rotation mix unless he is traded. I’ll believe Disco is healthy enough to go every 5th day when he has done it for several months

    The question is whether Senzel com2 is up as soon as they have covered the time to earn the “7th year” with him or whether Williams finance background takes the day and they wait till after the super 2 time is burned. I’m guessing they hold him back till Super2 is cleared). He plays 2B or SS (see below)

    No, they don’t have too many outfielders because Schebler and Winker both bat LH; and, without Duvall, they don’t have a big RH power bat.

    Peraza surprises everyone with his fielding prowess but who knows what he will do with his bat.

    The team cannot afford to have Hamilton and Peraza both in the lineup on a regular basis. If Scooter is not traded then hopefully Senzel plays SS to allow them to be able to play Hamilton everyday but bat him deep down the order.

    • This does raise an interesting question Jim. If Peraza is going to be mediocre at short, wouldn’t it be better to let Senzel play short and at least hit really well? I’m rooting hard for Peraza but seriously doubt he’s major league average or better on either side of the ball.

  28. 1) DeSclafani, Castillo, Bailey, Stephenson, Romano (with Mahle as the very close 6th man who would replace an injury/struggling young arm).

    2) Late May or early June. I think it will take Scooter and/or Peraza struggling to perform to open up a spot at SS/2B (barring any trade). As for where he plays, I think 2B.

    3) I don’t mind having 4 outfielders as long as Price is capable of splitting playing time and platooning well. I’m still not sure I would mind an OF with Duvall/Winker/Schebler(CF), but I suppose Schebler’s defense is not good enough for CF. I would enter the year trying to get Winker a large amount of playing time, but I fear this will not happen. Even a trade of Hamilton doesn’t really solve the problem with Winker. Put me down as ‘cautiously optimistic’ of a 4-man OF rotation.

    4) He may not be able to fill Cozart’s shoes, but I am hopeful that Peraza can continue some of the good things he did near the end of last season. Also, he doesn’t have to be as good as Cozart for the IF to be strong (Suarez, Senzel, Votto).

    5) If Billy stays with the Reds, I think this year will be better than last but still not anything spectacular – no reason, just a hunch. I do think that he could finally get the SB title this year if Price goes through with a rotation in OF, as this might limit the wear and tear on his body. However, I’m not sure that Billy will still play for the Reds; it really seems as if they are actively trading him and may find a partner eventually.

  29. I posit a question: Why not play Senzel at short?

    +His bat is good enough to be in the lineup at an spot
    +His bat at shortstop is WAY above league average
    +He can play infield and he seems to adjust well to change
    +He’s an undervalued athlete with above average quickness and speed
    +If he has the arm for third, he has the arm for short

    Here is, I suppose the point where someone tells me he doesn’t have the range to play short. My reply to that is that we were (as most teams would be) willing to play Cozart at short for half a year on a bum leg, do we believe Senzel has LESS range than a gimpy Cozart? If we were willing to play him at short to get his bat in the lineup, logic dictates that we do the same for Senzel.

    • I think Senzel at SS is a real possibility. The question is really who would you rather have as his DP partner in the infield (wherever that might be)…Peraza, Gennett, Herrara, or none of the above? That remains to be sorted.

    • I just asked the same question in response to Jim Walker above. I don’t think Senzel should be the answer at short – it’s THE key glove position – but I do think he’s a better answer than Peraza. Starting pitching will dictate how far the Reds do or don’t go this year, but SS will I predict be the critical question on defense and in the lineup.

      • 1B: Votto
        2B: Gennett / Herrara platoon
        3B: Suarez
        SS: Senzel

        Peraza –> Utility Infielder / outfielder, gets 400 at bats.

    • Senzel may have as much range as an injured Cozart did, but that doesn’t address the question of whether that’s good enough. SS is an important position, particularly with 2nd base candidates who are barely adequate or less-than adequate.

  30. 1. Castillo, Bailey, Disco Mahle and Ramono. Stevenson for replacing the first pitcher that gets hurt or innings limited. Finnagan to the bullpen. He has good stuff, and is likely to last longer as a reliever than as a starter.
    2.Stenzel at second once he gets past the super two status. He’ll hate the additional two months in the minors, but they would be crazy to start him in the majors in april or may and give up a year of control.
    3.Winkler needs to start.
    4. Play Paraza at short and hope he’s the offensive guy on the last part of 2017. His defense will be okay, but not Cozart like.
    5. I’m afraid Billy has reached his offensive zenith with the reds. Maybe he will get traded, platooned correctly, and improve his obp.

  31. The answer left out do the Reds have a staff that can maintain a sub 2.00 ERA? That is the only way a lineup with Hamilton and Prrazza in it will be competitive! I think Hamilton can be justified at the bottom of the order. I saw nothing from Prrazza to justify that automatic out! The other 6 cannot carry both of them! There is not a decent alternative to Prrazza unless Senzrl is ready and move Saurez back to SS! I hammered his defense when he was at SS but even then I thought It was nerves!!! He has the tools to play SS!

    • Your prediction is the Reds will average less than 2 runs a game? They averaged 4.65 with both of those guys on the team and I don’t think Cozart was responsible for three runs a game

  32. We played from behind in a lot and I mean a lot of games last year which meant we got lots of good pitches to hit.Won’t happen as often this year and minus Cozy and Scooter’s break out year our offense will be exposed.Don’t think for a minute opposing pitchers won’t find Billy and Peraza in this lineup not to mention pitching around Tucker to get to the pitcher.

    • Could you imagine the opposing teams strategy conundrum of batting BHam eighth? If you walk him to get to the pitcher he could steal two bags each time. Prolly won’t lead to as many runs but the guy could end up with 200 steals!! Of course getting thrown out at 3rd with 2 outs and the pitcher hitting is taboo. But I doubt it would slow him down.

  33. 1) Bailey and Castillo. Then conjecture. Too many “ifs” after.

    2) Doubtful. Next year.

    3) Yes

    4) Yes

    5) Probably not

  34. Ok, here we go:

    1 – I think 8 pitchers make at least 15 starts each but the most starts will go to: Bailey, Castillo, Mahle, Garrett, and VeteranInningsEater

    2 – I think Senzel will be up but not as soon as most think. I think he’ll be up sometime around the trading deadline. He’ll play 2B and a few games at 3B. This could change with an injury to Gennett or Suarez.

    3 – Too many outfielders right now, especially considering a rotation is being discussed and not some sort of platoon. I think an OF needs to be moved via trade but the Reds need a real CF, so it might not be Hamilton. I think Duvall or Schebler may be the one traded.

    4 – Peraza can’t fill Cozart’s shoes but I think he has the potential to be a solid SS. He works hard and I can see his defense improving quite a bit. Offensively, he’ll remain below average but I could see some improvement. The Reds owe it to the organization to find out once and for all.

    5 – Billy Hamilton has reached his potential already. He may get his walk rate up somewhat but not enough to overcome a complete lack of power. He may have a better year with some better balls-in-play luck. That said, he should play CF and bat 9th unless a offensively superior CF can be acquired, who can handle CF defensively every day.

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About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

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