I meant to link this report the other day, but I was too stunned to type. I’m only now recovering from the shock.

Jerry Crasnick writes for ESPN.com and Baseball America. Recently, he tweeted this:



If you’ve read this website for any length of time, you know that I am as big a fan of Billy Hamilton as you’re likely to find. That guy is so much fun to watch.

But if the baseball ops guys want to trade him because they can improve the team…well, Hamilton should be traded. I’m not suggesting the Reds absolutely, definitely need to deal him away. I’m just saying Bob Castellini should have an open mind here. You can’t run a team based on sentimentality. Well, you can, but it makes it much harder to put together a winning team.

I’m just going to assume the Reds are using this talk to drive up the price on Hamilton. Letting other teams know he won’t come cheap.

Or maybe Castellini and company have some deep insider knowledge that leads them to believe that Hamilton is poised for the breakout season we’ve all been waiting for? Who knows? They won’t let me in the room when these discussions are happening. Can you believe that?

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! 121 Comments

  1. Puzzling to say the least. I’m a big Billy fan as well, but we have to do what is best for us as a club. Plus I believe Billy might benefit from a change where he isn’t under the lead-off pressure. San Francisco seemed like a logical spot and he’d add significant value chasing down balls out there.

  2. I would think Billy would benefit from a large CF.
    His defensive skill would be maximized.
    He also might see an increase in offense.
    That being said, do not give him away. Would want at least a top 100 prospect.

  3. Keeping in mind it takes at least two motivated teams to affect a trade, the proof will be how Hamilton is used if not traded. Do the Reds find a way to minimize Hamilton’s weak bat or do they continue to “hope” he becomes the player they want him to be and play him daily while batting lead off.

  4. I love Billy Hamilton too. He’s a rare talent and so much fun to watch. I was at the game in September when he got picked off first and scored anyway. He’s probably the only player in the league you could even imagine making that thrilling play. And it’s cool that he plays for the Reds. But he has, so far, been either misused or highly overrrated or more likely some of both. I hope this is just salesmanship (if it’s not, why was DW allowed to discuss a trade of BHam in the first place?). The Reds will be better if he is playing for someone else this year, or if he is used primarily as a defensive and pinch running specialist. He is not the kind of player you build a lineup around. Say it ain’t so, Bob.

    • I would like to see Hamilton employed as a fielding and baserunning specialist where the Reds look to bring him in from the 5th inning or later as a pinch runner and then insert him in CF for the remainder of the game.

      The plan would be to play him every day, but only make emergency starts. Leverage the on base percentage capabilities of Votto, Barnhart, or Winker and make sure Billy Hamilton gets to run the bases and patrol CF every day while minimizing his plate appearances.

      Hamilton earned 0.7 WAR in about one month when the Reds used him in this manner in during his initial callup in 2013 while playing only 13 games! I think we would see a career year in terms of runs scored and stolen bases with minimal impact on his fielding contributions.

      Reds fans get the pleasure of watching Hamilton’s magic and the team benefits!

      • BK, if he stays in Cincinnati some version of this could maximize his value and wouldn’t be a major drain in the offense. He could also get the occasional start (batting left only) and then he needs to hit 9th. But even if this is a better use of BHam it’s still not great. The benefit is just the difference in the number of runs he’d score relative to the runner he’d be replacing. Over the course of a year perhaps he scores once or twice a week when the original batter would not, and that’s if he pinch runs every day. Maybe it’s an extra 20 runs (2 wins) a year? That’s probably a best case scenario, and even then you back out the lost value in at bats later in the game. But… still much better than starting and leading off every day. And occasionally he’d be a great weapon late in a tie game or one run game. I’d rather see him traded, but this might be the lemonade from lemons option.

        • After taking HR out, BH scores 44% of the time he reaches base whereas the Reds as a team score 29.5% of the time (again removing HRs). If you pinch run BH 150 times, we would expect him to score at least an extra 22 runs over the course of the season. If you pinch run him mostly from 1B, my guess is his differential from the rest of the team is higher.

          He averages about 1.5 WAR/year defensively, so I’d expect he only gets 40% of the defensive innings compared to the last 4 seasons. In total, my guess is he approaches a WAR of 3 as a defensive/baserunning specialist.

          I agree you’re giving up 1-2 potential at bats from a better hitter late in the game. But my plan would rest the starters less often, given that once to twice each week they would be substituted for 3 to 4 innings. So I think there would be little overall impact to the starting hitters numbers; the opportunity cost would come mostly from the bench players.

        • I think if you use Billy to pinch run late in the game, his runs scored might be worth more than 1/10 of a win. It could translate into 1 win per run.

        • You have to apply the same logic to the lost value of his at-bats, don’t you? BH isn’t out every time he’s up, and the guy he replaces in the order doesn’t get on base every time. If you are replacing the guy who bats 8th with BH, it probably is a slight net loss at most.

          • Given that BH is the arguably in the bottom five of all ML hitters, anyone else taking his at bats is going to generate a net gain in WAR. Given the Reds current roster, I am suggesting that starting Duvall, Schebler and Winker in the outfield and then subbing Hamilton as early as the 5th or 6th inning on road games, or 6th or 7th inning for home games. For example, assume BH subs for Winker after Winker draws a walk in his 3rd at bat in the 6th inning. You now get the advantage of BH’s defense and baserunning for the rest of the game at the cost of likely one additional at bat by BH vs. Winker.

          • And you trust Price to actually manage that situation effectively, or at all?

          • That’s really a great question. Hamilton is the Reds best defender that’s not a catcher and their best base runner, but a liability as a hitter. If the team can’t develop a plan that takes advantage of his elite talents while minimizing his obvious weakness, I think that is on the whole organization.

            I am also willing to accept that my idea is completely flawed and has already been considered and dismissed! I will, however, be very disappointed if we see the Reds trot out the same old lineup with Hamilton and Peraza at the top and an accompanying dialogue that states, “both players know they need to get on base more.” That, in my opinion, would be ignoring the evidence and “hoping” for a better outcome. That approach is unacceptable in most professions.

          • Seems reasonable to me, BK.

  5. When I read Castillini’s remark, I laughed also. I recalled seeing huge billboards promoting Billy Hamilton driving through Cincy. Baseball is first entertainment, second a game, and Hamilton is an entertainer. Like it or not.

  6. Billy Hamilton could be a part of the next good Reds team. All they need to do then is upgrade LF and RF. Winker is one upgrade for LF. Not sure if they should go with a Duvall/Schebler platoon in RF. I also would not go with a Scooter/Dilson Herrera platoon at 2B. But I think that is exactly what Dick Williams and the Reds have in mind. Thus, the huge lack of activity from the Reds front office we have seen this winter.
    Standing pat on the status quo, a recipe for mediocrity. The Reds Way under Bob Castellini, mediocrity. That could be a title of a book about the Reds and the Castellini/Jocketty decade, “A Recipe For Mediocrity, Wasting the Joey Votto Years.”

    • I borrowed this from some guy named Jimmy Buffet.

      “Don’t know the reason,
      Stayed here all season
      With nothing to show but this brand new tattoo.
      But it’s a real beauty,
      A Mexican cutie, how it got here
      I haven’t a clue.

      Wasted away again in Joey Vottoville,
      Searchin’ for my lost GM of Walt.
      Some people claim that there’s a Walt ‘n Dick to blame,
      Now I think, – hell it could be Big Bob’s fault.

      Blew out the teams top,
      The rebuild is a big flop
      Cut my head, banging it against the wall
      But there’s booze in the blender,
      And soon it will render
      That frozen concoction that helps me hang on.

      Wasted away again in Joey Vottoville
      Searchin’ for my lost GM of Walt.
      Some people claim that there’s a Walt ‘n Dick to blame,
      But I know, it’s Big Bob’s damn fault.”

  7. The best owners are silent figures behind the scenes. Don’t interfere with personnel decisions, especially regarding the press.

  8. Makes one long for Marge

  9. Sentiment is fine and the Reds have usually shown a lot of that toward their players. But championships are won based on hard-nosed actions. We know what Hamilton can do and if the front office can’t negotiate a trade while Billy’s speed is still apparent, then the current manager will continue to bat him leadoff based on that speed alone, not on his ability to get on base.

  10. To me it’s as obvious as the nose on my face. Package Hamilton along with prospects to land any number of upgrades that exist. Keirmeier, JBJ, Yelich, Joc Pedersen.

    Sadly, toward the end of last season I’ve almost come to resent Hamilton’s presence because it speaks to the inability of the front office to recognize when a plan just isn’t working and a change is needed. Kind of like watching Chapman close meaningless games with a 3 run lead in a losing season when he should’ve been traded.

  11. I love Billy too because his defense and speed are the best in the game.Just can’t have him leading off and playing every game because he can’t hit or get on base which is exactly what is going to happen as long as Price is here.I really thought it was DW that had Price’s back but it appears the owner is in on the folly as well.What will really be sad is we will be talking about a great catch he makes in a game this year and he goes 0-5 with 3 k’s from the lead off spot and we lose 4-3.Of course we could win that same game 4-3 but somebody either Schebler or Duvall with their 30 bombs or Winker with his 350 or better obp and 20 bombs will be watching.That is the real sad thing.Can’t wait for that discussion.

  12. It must be a full moon. I agree with every sentiment on this thread so far.

  13. I just saw a pic of Eric Davis next to Hunter Greene. It looks like Eric could strap on his cleats today and play. CF problem solved!

    • Um, maybe #44 could pass on some hitting wisdom to #6, and then our CF problem would be really solved!

  14. It goes without saying that Bob Castellini has shown a propensity to meddle in deals; disrupting the timing of deals to receive the optimum return in players. So much for wanting to bring winning back to Cincinnati.

    • I remember when he fired his GM and said, “The losing must stop!” Well, I feel that way now as the Reds organization has become a perennial losers. Will there ever again be the next great Reds team? Castellini put all his trust in Uncle Walt and the latter proved to be the incompetent GM the Cards concluded he was. But Uncle Walt is not gone. He still wields influence. If it was up to me there are trades I would try to make to improve the tesm’s Chances of winning THIS year. Life is too short to always be mortgaging the present for some dream of what the future holds. I just do not believe that a team becomes a winner by being allowed to wander aimlessly in last place season after season. The Reds have become the old Cubs and there seems to be no way out of the basement.

  15. I hope Billy is with us forever, too. I hope he comes in this year, hits .300/.450/.450 and never looks back on his way to a Hall of Fame career that had a rocky start. I hope my dog finds a briefcase full of money in one of those holes he keeps digging in the backyard, too. I’m just not holding my breath. If it were me, I’d trade him now for a bag of donuts.

    • Billy, that is. Not my dog.

      • That’s the first thing that’s made me smile about the Reds in a month. Thanks Klugo.

      • LOL, of course

      • My own dog is off the table, but we’ve got two chickens and some of the best donuts in country here in the Northwest, so theoretically, if I started with the chickens, how big a bag of donuts would I have to add to acquire the dog?

  16. This happened in 2013, to a lesser extent.

    If you recall, Ludwick went down with a bad shoulder injury on opening day. The Reds desperately needed a better bat in LF than Xavier Paul, and we all knew it. Reds didn’t pull the trigger on any deal because in part Dusty and BC felt loyal to Ludwick.

    Do we want to win here or not? It’s pretty darn clear that the answer is no.

    • You and are thinking alike. This organization does not want to win.

  17. Bob and I are BFF’s and he told me that this is all about driving up the price of Billy Hamilton.

  18. When Bob C. bought the Club he said he wanted to win. His track record to date is mixed. I’m thinking now he just wants to be a “good buddy” to the players. Not a good recipe for winning.

    • I like that Cincinnati sports organizations show loyalty to their players and coaches. I think it’s admirable. I really do. I value loyalty; especially in this day in age. I just wish they would draw the line sooner and show some loyalty to their fans, too. It’s a tough line to walk.

      • It’s funny because I think Bob believes he’s being loyal to fans by having their entertaining, high-energy player on the team.

        If I had to guess, I’d bet Hamilton has the second most jersey sales behind Votto after Chapman left.

        However, I think most true and loyal fans care about championships more. Would I be sad that Votto isn’t a part of a Reds World Series? Absolutely. But I’d much rather see a World Series win in my lifetime (I was too young to remember ’90).

        Bottom line, Bob cares more about being a owner and fan then he does a winner.

        • I wish that I was too young to remember the ’90’s. I’m sure that the reds will win a championship in your lifetime…I just wish they would contend again in my lifetime. The statement by B C is alarming, unless he’s just roll playing to drive up Billy’s price. I love to watch Billy make superlative catches and steal tons of bases, but do not lead off the lineup with B H, and I’d love it if he only started when he bats
          left handed, and come into games defensively when needed. OR, be traded in a package, as stated before, that includes a Yulich type player. If we traded for Yulich, we would probably also pay about three million a year of B H’s contract, as Jeter et al are either tight fisted or broke.

          • I guess I give a little more leeway.
            I remember (very well I might add) 3 WS Championships.
            I can still remember the radio coming on in the morning, and the first thing I here is WORLD CHAMPION CINCINNATI REDs.
            Would like to see at least 1 more before I meet my maker.

  19. Trying to wrap my mind around the title. Still looking for the correlation. Clickable much?

    • I think that the correlation is all of these players only played for one team…the Cincinnati Reds…and now that might be true with Billy Hamilton too.

      • Yes… it wasn’t really that veiled. It’s just tongue and cheek with the mismatch of Billy’s value and contribution compared to those other players. I’d file under clever.

  20. STL Cardinals fans get: Cardinals sign SP Miles Mikolas and RP Luke Gregerson to free agent contracts. They get slugger Marcell Ozuna in LF. They get 2 well regarded minor league hitters for OF Steven Piscotty.

    CIN Reds fans get: Reds sign free agent RP Jared Hughes. AND, Friday, July 27 game that includes an exclusive Elvis Presley bobblehead.

    No way. An Elvis bobblehead?! Who cares about “winning baseball”?

    • And I just read, are you ready for it? VANCE WORLEY! Go crazy Red Fans the FO has gone out there and made the roster, uh…better?

      But, wait, won’t this upset those pitchers that were Red’s already?

    • WVRedlegs…you are definitely on a roll today…your two posts are classics! Thank you, sir!

    • Gonna make the drive up from WV to catch that game? Don’t forget, Fridays are fireworks nights too!

  21. This raises a good question. Can someone “in the know” tell us how frequently BC actually intervenes in personnel decisions. For example, was it his call on the Homer Bailey contract, the refusal to trade Chappy until too late, etc.?

  22. we have some young outfielders in our farm system that I really like. exciting players. I think an outfield of Taylor Trammel, Jose Siri and Billy Hamilton would be really fun to watch!

    • BHam won’t be here when/if those guys make the show. So enjoy him while you can.

  23. He can’t hit, he cant bunt and he can’t steal first base. He’s an offensive liability. Trade him and his glove for a bat!!

    • I think they trying, but San Fran only wants to give a half eaten roll for him.
      No one else is offering any more. Do not want to give him away.

  24. Unbelievable. Why won’t they let you in on those discussions Chad! Let’s get a RLN voice in the Reds FO. Maybe then we’d have some sanity coming out of there.

  25. The Reds sign a pitcher.
    Wait, another minors deal, for Vance Worley and his 6.91 ERA last year. And he isn’t even a LHP. Oh well. Low risk, low reward type again.

  26. An owner becoming overly enthralled with a player is never a good thing for the team.

  27. Well, still holding out hope that we’d trade off Hamilton and trade for Yelich. Good article online today:


    Notice they list quite a few teams and how they match up for a trade but Reds aren’t even listed as a possibility…

    • Little do I know, but the Reds trading of Hamilton and the acquiring of Yelich seems to me just talk not coming from the front office but from Reds fandom.

  28. It’s winter and all writer’s are trying to come up with a story, so they come up with a statement made over a year ago big story!

  29. The Reds have talent. Is the problem that they overthink what they are trying to do, trying to change players into something they are not. Billy Hamilton is a rare talent, his biggest weakness being an inability to hit breaking balls
    That can be corrected with good coaching.
    Billy is not the issue. The issue is pitching, the lack of good coaching, the lack of proper player development.
    I wonder how many games it would mean to the Reds if they had proper management in the field and in the front office

    • The Reds have talent. Yes, they may be poised to rocket forward from 67 wins in 2017. But is it enough to climb up to 88-90 wins?
      No. I don’t know if they have enough talent in the organization maturing to start winning. Soon, Joey Votto, their best player, will start to regress as he ages. Then what? Billy Hamilton starts batting 0.350?
      And certainly a lot of their talent is skewed toward pitching. Some of it might be more valuable in a trade. But we will likely never know, because Bob won’t let Dick make any meaningful trades to re-adjust their talent pool.
      Or spend money to sign free agents. Just make some marginal signings and trim around the edges. I thought it was interesting that the Cardinals traded Steve Piscotty to make them better for 2018. Piscotty was supposed to be one of their brighter young players, yet they pulled the trigger and BOOM! now he’s gone.
      Whether it was a good or bad trade, the Cardinals WANT to contend, and will do what they think is necessary to do so.
      The Reds, not so much.

  30. Bob Castellini is the majority owner of the Cincinnati Reds.
    Bob decided to hire Walt Jocketty. There are people out there that think Walt and Bob and Dusty brought the winning teams about in 2010, 2012 and 2013. And then… the Walt magic went away? Why? Why didn’t we keep Skip Schumacher? (scratches head)

    And then, succeeding Magic Walt is Dick Williams, son of one of the minority owners. Let’s keep it All in the Family. Dick can be depended on to do what he is told, and not rock the boat. Dick has some new ideas. Think Dick, think.

    Yes, I believe that Walt believes this about Billy. Maybe he sees him as some analog to Ozzie Smith, but in centerfield. Ozzie Smith was a Hall of Famer. You can look it up.

    I really don’t know. Maybe the young pitchers will get magically better in 2018, and the winning returns. Maybe Bob and Co. then look like geniuses. Maybe. Maybe we don’t really need a centerfielder better than Billy, who is great defense/no offense.
    Maybe we will contend again soon. Soon.

    I don’t know. But I think we are maybe a long way from being contenders again.

    • It was only in the second half of last year that I realized Dick Williams was related to one of the owners, and when I DID realize that my hopes for the organization deflated. For cryin’ out loud, is ANY OTHER MLB TEAM run like this?!

      Given this arrangement, it’s hard to see how he can ever be fired. Thus, he has no accountability. Even worse, he’s a relatively young guy. So he’ll be around for a while.

    • Front office a complete and utter farce.

    • The gamble is all about the pitching. If the pitching is good in 2018 the Reds will be good. If the Reds trade BH and get Yelich for center and the pitching is bad, the Reds will be bad.

  31. What I CAN Understand: Not trading Billy because the Giants can’t offer anything meaningful in return.

    What I CAN’T Understand: Pretending Billy’s a star when he’s not. If you go to Baseball Reference and look at his single-season WARs, they’re at best “everyday player” and most recently at the “sub” level. https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/h/hamilbi02.shtml

    Sure, his impact on opposing pitchers (WHEN he reaches) can be fun to watch. Sure, it’s tantalizing to think about how awesome it would be if his offensive game was all-star quality. But there’s an old saying that I think applies here. “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” Billy is what he is and it’s unfair (to the team, to the fans, and even….in the end…to Billy) to imagine otherwise.

    The Sweet Old Men (Golden Girls?) in ownership and the front office like Billy and want to keep pretending he’s going to make the leap forward. But he’s already 27 years old and every year that passes without trading him makes the return on any such deal less promising.

    I get it, dudes. You’re proud of this product you developed through your own farm system. You feel attached to him and like the response he can get from the casual fans. But don’t let this sentimentality run amok. In a league full of sharks, you’re acting like guppies.

    • Billy Hamilton sells tickets.

      • The half empty or more GABP the past three years says to me Billy is not selling tickets. Unless you get on base your speed is not going to be evident. Billy should be showing off his defensive skills in one of the super big outfields located mostly in the west.

      • Winning games and competing for the playoffs sells tickets. Giving away cheap little bobbleheads sells tickets. Creating a consistent winning environment directly correlates to broadening the fan base and selling season tickets and expanding TV viewership. Season ticket sales drive long-term attendance. Adding a key player to a winning team drives season ticket sales (see Choo, Shin-Soo).

        Hamilton’s speed and defense are his only contributions to winning. Don’t look too hard, but Hamilton’s defense is in an uncontrolled nose dive and other teams have noticed. From 2014-2017, Hamilton’s UZR has dramatically decreased from 20.1 to 14.5 to 13.3 to 7.6, respectively. From 2015-2017, Hamilton’s BsR has steadily decreased from 13.4 to 12.8 to 9.5, respectively. Hamilton’s contributions at the plate have been consistently and ridiculously poor since 2014 when he was gifted regular playing time at the major league level. Hamilton’s major league baseball career has peaked and is in full regression, irrespective of the blinders BC wears.

        Billy’s two biggest fans are BC and BP. Neither BC nor BP buys tickets. Hamilton will sell some t-shirts and jerseys producing some royalties for the Reds, but is becoming a ball and chain to the Reds chances of consistently winning. Surprise of surprises, the Reds have no option available to replace Hamilton in CF, just like they had no option other than Hamilton when he was promoted and no option at 2B when Phillips was extended. This is the legacy of BC and WJ, wasting the opportunity created by their predecessors and failing to create any opportunity themselves.

    • He is more then just offensive stats.
      He is awesome defensively.
      Still a good offer should be accepted, and he is NOT a star.

    • Hmmmm…there’s definitely something fishy about these analogies.

  32. VANCE WORLEY????? Why not Travis Wood??????????????

    • Lots of teams doing this. Throwing players against the wall, and seeing what sticks.
      What is your problem with this?

  33. Maybe the only way to get some change is like Bengals fans did several years back, and may have to do again, stop buying tickets. Possibly ownership mau get the message.

  34. This BHam comment makes you wonder if Bob caused the first JBruce and Aroldis trades to stall, and who knows what else. It’s his team he can do what he wants I guess. But meddling can be awfully toxic as others have noted.

    As for the Worley signing, likely meaningless, but I see the move in a very positive light. It suggests that those who should be given the opportunity to start will, and the excuse of “needing them” in the bullpen is diminished.

    The actual player is less than inspiring, but the action of signing him shows the FO is (cheaply) trying to take that potential excuse away from BP. Love it.

  35. The biggest problem with keeping Billy is you’re also keeping Peraza. You can’t have them both in the line-up. Given Peraza probably still has an upside to grow into, you probably give him the everyday starter assignment, and platoon or use Billy in key situations (if you can’t trade him). OR you get a better hitting SS, leave Billy in CF and bat him 8 or 9.

    • Your point is a popular one and I’ve never understood this. Moderators of this site have posited this argument as well. Why can’t you have BHam and Peraza hitting 7 and 8 in a lineup?

      It’s a very old school notion. Either they generate WAR or they don’t. Lineup sequencing impacts run production, but underwhelmingly, and thus I’m just not sure about it. It seems somewhat odd to flout all these advanced stat models and then lean on dogma when discussing light hitters at the bottom of a lineup.

      • Sure, you could stash them at the end of the lineup, stop giving your worst OBP guy lead-off level PA’s… but the bigger issue is not batting order. It’s that especially in the NL, it would mean a full third of your offense is predicated on two guys who can’t hit/get on and a pitcher. That means the other 2/3 of the everyday lineup better be bringing it. All the time.

        • I respectfully disagree! Let’s say Peraza replacement has a .360 OBP instead of his .320. And BHams replacement has a .350 OBP instead of his .300. You’ve generated a roughly 9% increase in chance that one of them gets on base. Roughly 9%.

          Now does that add over 500 trips through the order? It does. Now subtract out BHams defense, in theory Perazas defense (ugh… who knows), base running and there’s your difference. Is that worth Schebler in center or 120 million of Cain? I dunno. All I’m saying is unless one of them is being replaced by a better total WAR replacement – why does it matter?

          • If they had the obp you suggested we wouldn’t even be talking about either one of them.In fact if either were just league average it would be acceptable.Still hope for Peraza but Billy has 4 years of data that says he is what he is.Please keep in mind Billy will keep somebody on the bench who is a better hitter with 20 to 30 home run power.

          • If the Reds could find other guys who got on at .360 and .350, it would be criminal not to play them every day. Yes, you have to factor in Billy’s defense in how he creates his WAR in general, and you could say it justifies a place in the lineup… but good heavens, sign me up for those replacements at those OBPS!!!!!!!!!

          • I understood your argument to be that the lineup can sustain Billy and Peraza as regulars and just stick them at 7 and 8 in the lineup.

            Billy had a WAR of 1.0 in 2017. Peraza was -.7 (baseball reference). That’s terrible any way you slice it. Billy’s defense IS amazing and shouldn’t be discounted, but that’s otherwise pretty much how you build a team that wins 70 games a year. They’ve got that down.

          • On the other hand, if I was going to pick a place to tinker to improve wins, it’d be pitching anyway. The offense wasn’t really nearly as much to blame last year.

          • Just one other thing… Peraza had a .297 OBP last year… not .320. Career is .313 thanks to his spectacular 2016 start.

  36. http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/cin/fan_forum/owner_letter.jsp

    “Dear Cincinnati Reds Fans,

    We are proud to be the new owners of America’s first professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Reds.

    We’re long-time baseball fans who have grown up with the Reds and have fond memories of going to the ballpark. In our lifetime, we faithfully cheered on the Reds through three World Series championships, six National League championships and eight division titles.

    We know this team truly belongs to you, and we understand what the Reds mean to our city and our region. We know what a winning team can do for a city’s pride. We also understand the unique legacy the Reds hold in baseball history and the potential to reignite an American love affair with the nation’s first professional baseball team.

    It is with a sense of both responsibility and respect that we pledge to Reds fans:
    We will bring championship baseball to Cincinnati. The Reds have a long tradition of success. Only three cities have won more World Series than Cincinnati. We will work hard to be a championship team again.

    We will build one of the most respected organizations in baseball. As partners in other successful baseball organizations we know how it’s done. We will build a winning management team by putting the right people in the right positions with the right resources to win. We will foster a winning attitude and culture.

    We will have a greater community presence. We will continue to improve the lives of area children by building on already successful Reds Community Fund programs like the Rookie Success League. Whether it’s providing a way for inner-city children to play baseball or generating funds for charity, we’ll take this outreach to a new level.

    We will rekindle the Reds Nation spirit. We’ll share our story and our strategy, communicating directly with fans everywhere who want to know what is going on. When you visit the ballpark, we’ll periodically be asking for your feedback so we can continuously improve the experience. Our goal is that you feel a part of the Reds Nation whether you’re at the game, listening on the radio or living in another major league city.

    We will not rest until you are happy. The Reds are, after all, your team. You buy the tickets. You watch the games. You support us financially and emotionally. Without you, the Reds cannot be great. We know you won’t be happy until the team wins. We won’t be happy, either.

    Bringing championship baseball to Cincinnati is the ultimate goal. Like you we believe in the power, potential and magic of the Cincinnati Reds. We will work tirelessly to bring a winner home to you.

    We thank you for this opportunity and hope to earn your support.

    Robert H. Castellini
    Chief Executive Officer

    W. Joseph Williams, Jr.
    Chairman of the Board

    Thomas Williams
    Vice-Chairman of the Board”

    • Very nice find. Did you find this in the Fiction section?
      “We will rekindle the Reds Nation spirit.”
      “We will not rest until you are happy.”
      Nothing like 3 straight 90+ loss seasons, and an 86 loss season on top of that, to rekindle that spirit and make fans happy.
      Yet there is GM Dick Williams napping all winter like his mentor, Rip Van Jocketty.
      For a team that isn’t even going to wade into the kiddie pool of the free agent pool, waiting the market out for prices to fall seems like a futile exercise at best. It would seem like it would be a best practice to get your roster details finalized sooner rather than later.

  37. Hamilton doesn’t kill the Reds as a LH hitter. His OBP in 2017 was .322 v. RHP. His overwhelming weakness is against LH pitchers, where he had an OBP of .241. With 169 ABs, he had 5 only BBs versus lefties. The Reds could live with him against RH pitching, especially in light of his defense and baserunning.

    The day of the regular 8-man starting lineups is pretty much over. There were about 1,900 plate appearances last year among Winker, Schebler, Duval and Hamilton, plus maybe 200 more for other players as outfielders. There are plenty of ABs to spread around to keep Duval fresh, and Schebler, Winker and Hamilton matched up better against RH pitching. And generally sitting Hamilton against LH starters would free him up for strategic use later in those games, as a runner or defensive sub.

    Jesse Winker in a very limited sample only had a .154 OBP against LHs, so the jury is still out on what he will do with more ABs, although in my opinion he will be fine. Schebler had very odd splits last year, slashing .215/.313/.481 against RHs, and .276/.290/.493 against LHs. (His BABIP v. RH was only .219, which figures to improve, and .313 v. LHs. He also only slashed .198/.298/.387 at home, which is hard to understand.) I tend to believe, or at least hope, that Schebler is a YUGE break-out candidate.

    Some here believe that Price can’t/won’t do this, but my guess is that he likes major league money and will handle it just fine.

    • I also thought Hamilton’s main problem was his inability to hit lefties but actually his splits for 2014 & 2015 show him hitting lefties a little better than righties. Fact is, he just doesn’t hit well enough to play everyday for a contending team, unless that team can afford to keep a defensive player in the lineup.Reds cannot. With Cozart gone, the Reds need more offensive production from cf. An astute organization would have moved Hamilton over a year ago. Forgive me for using “astute organization” & “reds” in the same comment.

      • I would not let him bunt or switch hit. They both destroy his ability to read pitches.

        He needs to be on one side only, seeing pitches consistently and stop the herky jerkies of his bunting escapades

        Then, through being still and seeing the ball from one side of the plate consistently, he may improve 10-12 points and be more consistent on walks

        He has a terrible strike zone

    • BigEd nailed it…he is very useful against righties. Let Duval Winker, and Schebler (reverse split) play against all leftys. Sit Schebler vs. righties

      • I hear about the “reverse split” that Schebler puts up and he had a pretty extreme one last year, there is no doubt… That said, it was a small sample and over his career his platoon split is a very normal:

        vRHP – .242/.325/.474 – 665 PA
        vLHP – .251/.282/.447 – 188 PA

        His OPS over his career is almost 70 points higher against RHP.

    • I’ve long thought that Hamilton’s bat against right-handed pitching was good enough to go along with his defense and base-running strengths (wRC+ of 88 and 78 in ’16 and ’17 against right handed pitching) but he should never hit against lefties if it can be avoided (wRC+ of 52 and 36 in ’16 and ’17).

    • I agree with the data but Price doesn’t use data to make out a lineup.He is just fine with Billy leading off with an obp of 300.He won’t change because he doesn’t have too.He has full support of DW and Bob.

  38. There are some things to note about Scott Schebler though. Schebler is a LH hitter hitting in a hitter’s park. As you mention…
    1. “Schebler had very odd splits last year, slashing .215/.313/.481 against RHs, and .276/.290/.493 against LHs.”
    2. “His BABIP v. RH was only .219,”
    3. “He also only slashed .198/.298/.387 at home, which is hard to understand.”
    Schebler has other split issues.
    2B: home= 1, away= 24
    HR: home= 13, away= 17
    ISO: home= .189, away= .307
    OPS: home= .686, away= .885
    BABIP: home= .207, away= .283
    wRC+: home= 76, away= 122
    Schebler hit .132 in the 5 spot, .242 in the 6th spot, and .242 from the 7th spot. Duvall’s splits are a little more even, but he hits only .250 from the 4 spot.
    When people talk about it is bad having Billy Hamilton and Jose Peraza hitting in the same lineup, it is made even more bad/worse by having Schebler, and to a lesser extent Duvall in that same lineup. That is 4 starting spots of weak hitting. That will be very, very hard for Votto, Suarez, Barnhart and Gennett to overcome. Other than Votto, that isn’t a lineup to be feared.

    Those stats on Schebler just scream Trade Candidate.

    Winker > Suarez > Votto > Gennett > Barnhart > Peraza > Hamilton > Duvall > P may be the best offense the Reds can field until Senzel gets called up. That is 5 LH hitters without Schebler, and not a vey good #4 – #8 lineup. That has been my chief complaint about this offense, an abundance of #6, #7 and #8 hitters hitting in the #4 – #6 spots in the lineup. Schebler just adds another to 6-7-8 mix.

    • Dilly Dilly! I’ve always been in the camp that Schebler is the odd man out. IMO, he is Jay Bruce ultra-light. Has good pop, swings at a metric ton of bad pitches, too many swings and misses. Defense is about the same, except Jay has a cannon of an arm. WOW, as a wrote that, I just did a huge disservice to Jay Bruce. Scott needs to improve twice, just to get to the same level as Jay Bruce, who was only slightly better than average himself. No thanks.

      • It’s nice to see that Jay Bruce has signed a three year contract with the Mets. I agree that Schebler is a light version of Jay without his strong, accurate arm. If a big trade is made, Schebler should be a part of it. The Reds have promising young outfielders who are a few years away.

      • I agree. Duvall is a better defensive outfielder, has a better arm, and has similar power. Duvall needs to rest about thirty games a year. Schebler is a little younger and walks a little more. Schebler is, imo,, a fifth outfielder. If we can trade him for something, we should.

      • I agree he is a lighter version but Scott gets paid peanuts for his 30 homers and Jay gets 13 million.For that reason and the fact Schebler hasn’t played two full years in the big leagues I say lets see what happens.

    • I read Schebler’s splits last year as an aberration, although without looking at the numbers I would tend to agree that he chases too many bad balls.

      It’s hard to have a .219 BABIP against RHs and .313 against LHs, other than blind luck. It was almost the entire opposite in 2016, with a .333 versus against RHs and .212 against LHs. Nor does the home/road split in 2017 make any sense; it was the opposite in 2016, with a .890 OPS at home and a .636 OPS on the road. Also, remember he had a shoulder problem last year; he should have gone on the DL but wouldn’t tell the training staff of the problem for a month or so.

      That is why I think Schebler is a big breakout candidate. I would like to see him chill out a bit at the plate, as he seems to get too intense. He’s a different kind of hitter than Votto, but he could stand to adopt some of the Votto cool in his approach.

      By contrast, I think Hamilton’s 2017 splits are pretty much what we can expect going forward. He is a natural RH hitter, and about 3 years ago there was talk about him becoming a full-time RH hitter. I think Hamilton is too green as a hitter to expect him to develop as a RH hitter with only 175 plate appearances a year from that side. I think he can be OK offensively as a LH hitter, if he would beef up his core and arms, and choke up about 2-3 inches so as to cut down his stroke (and hence strikeout rate).

      Bought some spring training tickets this morning. Hallelujah.

      • You are a good man. Have fun in Phoenix.
        I like Schebler. I love his hustle and his power. But the numbers for him in GABP are just not good in a hitter’s park. If the NL had a DH, we would have our DH in Schebler. That is why I think he may be better suited for an AL team.
        That is a hard question on Schebler. Does he have more value to the Reds as a 4th/5th OF, or more value in a trade?

    • The data speaks for itself but last year was his first full year in the majors and he had a woeful 2 months because of what was said to be a bad shoulder.I will take Duvall and Schebler all day long over Billy and Peraza in our lineup because they get on base just as good or better and they will hit 30 bombs.Power and getting on base have to at the forefront in GABP.Billy,Peraza and Tucker have no power.I far as Scott being a trade candidate I would take him and his 30 bombs and see if he gets better in his 3rd year so I agree with you but not at the expense of keeping Billy because I have 4 years of data on him.

  39. I am not Jon Heyman fan, but he has an interesting article up on his site about free agent C Jonathon Lucroy.

    The more I think about it, I think he is right. I have long liked Jonathon Lucroy as a C. He is the perfect Catching tandem partner for Tucker Barnhart. The Reds would definitely have the best defensive Catching tandem in MLB. He could teach Barnhart better pitch framing. Barnhart has a big weakness vs. LH pitching. Lucroy busts LH pitching and almost hits RH pitching as well. They could split the catching duties 50/50 and Lucroy could get some AB’s at another position and pinch hitting. Granted, Lucroy had a down year last year, but was injured in the first half. He rebounded with a nice second half.
    Lucroy earned $5.2MM last year. A perfect storm might be forming for the Reds to sign Lucroy and get a steal. With his down year last year and with the depressed free agent market that has materialized, it might provide the Reds an opportunity to jump in with a contract offer. It wouldn’t have to be a budget buster to get him. With the way things are going on the FA market, maybe a 3 year / $30MM deal might be in order. Maybe Lucroy jumps at signing that. A small price to upgrade a very important position. In Heyman’s article it stated where the COL stating pitching staff reduced there overall ERA by 0.50, a half run. There is a lot of value in that, especially with the Reds young pitchers. And he comes with a bat. Like I said above, the Reds would have the best defensive C tandem, and probably one of the best offensive C tandems.
    What then to do about Mesoraco? Give him all spring to show his wares with the bat and keep in constant contact with AL teams in need of some DH help and backup C help. The Reds would probably have send some $$$ with Mesoraco. If Mesoraco flops in the spring and no team is interested, then release him or send him to AAA. Stuart Turner and Barnhart could learn much from Lucroy.
    This could be an under the radar move that Dick Williams could make and it certainly improves the Catchers spot and the team overall.

    • Nice find. Yeah, Lucroy makes sense. Having catching depth is important, especially one with Lucroy’s talent. However, I doubt the Reds would do something like this, it would take money away from manufacturing bobble heads.

      I agree on Heyman. He repeatedly demonstrates that he has no use for the Reds.

  40. Great idea and sound reasoning.I have been surprised there are so few deals or signings by teams not named the Cards or Yanks

  41. With $5 million in arbitration imminent and $8 million next year…..an organizational decision on Billy Hamilton’s long term role is needed very soon. An argument could be made that his trade value is greater in July…..but that’s it.

    Could the Reds sign him to an extension? Wow. Big Bob could be working on that.

  42. I don’t understand the issue here.

    “Hope” doesn’t preclude an open mind.

  43. I understand rebuilding and getting the team younger but last season was painful to watch and when they did look good at certain times it wasnt Hamilton leading the way,it was Duvall,Suarez,Schebler,and Gennett. If they can get pitching for Hamilton they should trade him.

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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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