01/16/2018

This Is Fine

The title of this post is deliberately misleading. You’re all thinking of the cartoon and expecting a post about how oblivious the Reds are being. (Some clueless editor even added it as the featured image on the home page. Good work, Chad.)

Nope. Not today.

There’s a lot of hand-wringing around the internets, which is always accompanied by “I KNOW the Reds will/won’t do X and it means THEY WON’T COMPETE.”

Meh. I don’t know anything other than what’s happened and that baseball executives often say things for reasons that have nothing to do with telling the fanbase their intentions. Sometimes they want to mislead other teams. Sometimes they want to reassure players or coaches. We don’t know anything about what happens on the field until it does.

So here we go:

Part 1

What if Nick Senzel is playing second by June?

What if Jose Peraza – who is younger than those pitchers you all want to give another shot, who put up a .622 OPS at the same age that Davey Concepcion put up a .496 OPS, who made obvious changes in the second half, who was a highly-touted prospect for a reason, who has a reputation as a hard worker – progresses into being a decent hitter, just like Concepcion did?

What if Jesse Winker get 600 PAs?

What if the Reds decide the price for Christian Yelich is too high (and we don’t know what it is, but the Marlins would be smart to ask for the moon) and get by with Billy Hamilton and Phillip Ervin until Trammel is ready?

What if the lineup on June 15 is: Winker, Senzel, Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez, Scott Schebler, Tucker Barnhart, Peraza, Hamilton?

What if the Reds don’t sign more pitching? At this point, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t think Sal Romano and Robert Stephenson and Tyler Mahle all need to be given a shot after what they showed last year. Which means you just need two out of Homer Bailey, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Brandon Finnegan to be healthy. Given that, what if the pitching is fine?

Could you live with that? I think I could.

 

Part 2

What if Billy Hamilton is traded and brings back (one way or another) a shortstop?

What if prospects turn into Christian Yelich?

What if a genuine Major League Brand Starting Pitcher (TM) gets signed?

What if those things happen and most of the rest of Part 1 happens?

Could you live with that? I think I could.

 

Part 3

The point, over all, is this: the Reds have – by broad consensus – a VERY strong farm system. They’ve drafted well and are starting to see the results. It puts them in a position to be patient or, if they can make things match up, to push forward.

I know there are others who think the way the pitching was handled last year was a disaster. I disagree. I think too many guys were hurt and you can’t just send kids out there when they aren’t ready unless you want them to fail. Cody Reed is on record that it messed with his head. Amir Garrett was, apparently, not healthy for much of the year. Romano was hurt for part of the year. Stephenson wasn’t exactly lighting it up at Louisville until he finally figured it out late in the year. So I think they did the best they could with what they had in a year when they were unlikely to compete anyway.

So this year, let’s see. To start, at least, they have two possible paths. I’m fine with either. It’s what they do once things start to happen (either good or bad things) that I’ll be watching.

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.

Join the conversation! 106 Comments

    • I understand what Doug is saying in that article, but Suarez was one of the 20 best position players in the NL last year and he’s still only 26. And he plays elite defense. In this circumstance, it’s Senzel that moves, not Suarez. The guy playing at an all-star level is always more important than the guy who MIGHT play at an all-star level.

      Honestly, all this talk about his defense has made me wonder if Senzel can play short, where the Reds are much thinner than they are at second.

      • All-star level for Suarez is a stretch, well except when comparing him in context of a 95 loss team. His natural position is SS. Moving Suarez back to SS and inserting Senzel at 3rd seems a no-brainer in my book.

        • Suarez was a 4.1 WAR player last year. Ranking him 18th among position players in the NL. The only reason he wasn’t an all-star is that 3rd is more stacked right now than it has been at anytime in ML history (this isn’t hyperbole, I researched it).

          Also, everything I’ve seen has Arenado as the only clearly better defensive 3B in MLB right now, so I don’t know how moving Suarez is a “no-brainer” when the consensus was that, however “natural” short was for him, he was pretty mediocre there.

          • I agree about Suarez, Jason. His range at short is highly questionable, and I’ve been saying for some time that if Senzel can play short on a ML level it solves a lot of questions.

          • Agree 100% that Suarez needs to be left at 3B. He would probably be better than he was the first time around at SS but I doubt he will be nearly as good at SS as he is at 3B.

          • That’s pretty much where I’m at on this as well. Maybe Senzel can’t play SS. I don’t think he can but I’m pretty sure he could handle 2B and I’m not as high on Scooter as others might be. I’m also not sure Hererra will be healthy or effective. Bottom line is that if Senzel’s bat is ready and he’s as good as advertised, the Reds will find a place for him to play, even if it isn’t likely going to be 3B with Suarez there.

          • Agree, 3B is stacked, but I disagree that Suarez would have been an all-star in 2017.

            Nice solid player who improved from 2016 to 2017.

      • I hope the FO will give senzel a long look at SS and it sounds like that is part of the plan, seeark Sheldon articles. The guy is as athletic or more so than Cozart. On paper this fits the club’s needs perfectly.

        “He can’t play there”. Isn’t good enough.

      • I believe that Suarez should move…to another team. He should be dealt while his value is high for needed MLB player(s) or near ready MLB player(s). Senzinnati is near, and I don’t believe he’s a second baseman for the same reasons that folks proclaim Suarez is not a 2B.

      • So of 120 starting position players in the NL in 2017, you believe that Suarez was in the Top 17%?

  1. Jason: Thanks for a succinct summation of what I have been thinking.

    • Second that……..

    • I don’t disagree with anything you said, except I’m wondering what happened to Duvall . Is he going to be trade, or just benched?

  2. I think Price did his job with the young pitchers – not all of them and not perfectly – but we found 4 at the end did the year that pitched well over a month and a half. That’s not nuthin.

    As for Bailey, Disco, and Finnegan, I see them as FA turn around projects. It’s just that their former team wasn’t another franchise, it was the DL. My guess is that all three contribute through uneven but at times, very strong performances.

    You’re right on Peraza. He needs to steal Saurez’s script and study at the foot of Joey Votto, God of the Strikezone.

    I think Winker and Senzel are better than Cozart’s strong bat last year and definitely better than the Cozart regression.

    As for the outfield, I want to see the four man rotation. Duvall is a stud but diabetes sucks and he needs regular rest to play at peak. Hamilton is amazing in so many ways (I want a guy who scores over half of the time he’s on base) but his amazingness needs to be us more strategically.

    2018 could be a really fun, exciting year for Reds fans.

  3. Agreed 100%….. Just really really hoping that Winker gets 600 AB’s. I’m fearful of Price and his decision making abilities.

    • If Duvall is traded Winker gets the 600 AB’s. If not there will be a rotation

    • Winker is my only serious question right now. I THINK all the talk about Schebler and Duvall is so the Reds can tell whoever’s left at the end of the offseason that they planned to go with him all along, and his spot was never in jeopardy without contradicting themselves. But I won’t know it’s true until it happens.

      • No, to quote Yoda….”There is another….”

        One of the eternal questions that seem to hover about Redlands is…….Ervin (a.k.a. The Invisible Phil Ervin).

        -Where- does -he- fit into the picture? Does he have a future . if so, where? Is he trade bait or a potential red chip in a deal? Is he blocked to the point that someone (above and beyond the usual names of Schebler and Duvall and Hamilton) must be moved to make space? Is he moved to make space for Trammel?

        Too many questions that no one is asking, no answers that anyone is offering up.

        • Ervin is going to be in his age-26 season this year. Doesn’t mean he can’t be good, but he’s a late-bloomer if he is and not someone you should rely on in the longterm.

          • Which simply drives home the argument…….

            Where/how does one recognize and then receive appropriate return on the investment made in him to date? Or are we simply let him drift past his optimum use-by date?

          • KRF, I think you’re assuming Ervin has tangible value to another organization. Not all first round draft picks pan out. Ervin is a 4th OF at best and an up and player at worst. Hope he has a breakout season and proves me wrong.

          • (Actually a reply to BK, but the threading forces me to attach it here)

            BK: We actually aren’t all that far apart in our assessment. Realistically, there are three probable outcomes: (a) He makes the big squad as a regular – either out of camp or if/when a vacancy appears this year due to trade/injury, (b) He makes the time (barely) as a situational utility OF/PH and remains invisible due to lack of playing time, (c) we get something for him in exchange.

            (b) and (c) are more likely – but, one way or another, there has to be -some- resolution about his trajectory. Assume he remains invisible – do you think he will have -more- value as a 27 year old Invisible Man than as a 26 year old one?

            All I’m suggesting is that it is -past- time to have come to a decision regarding him and then moving forward with it, whatever it is.

          • BK, you hit on part of the problem this organization has had….MANY of their first round picks have not succeeded. Just google them and go back 25 years. Chris Gruler, Jeremy Sowers, etc.

        • Ervin plays CF vs leftys. Dont let Bill bat RH’d

    • I’d be surprised if Winker gets a real shot as a regular as long as Price is the manager, so I doubt that Winker will be a daily part of the starting lineup this coming season.

  4. Jason I am thinking the same way.

    A key for me is finding new homes for Scooter and Duvall. This frees up LF for Winker. I’m giving Herrera a shot at 2nd with Senzel fine tuning his skills in Louisville. Peraza is my everyday SS and hope he builds on his newfound approach he displayed in the second half of last season.

    Rotation:
    Castilo
    Bailey
    Disco
    Stephenson
    Romano

    Bull Pen:
    Iggy
    Peralto
    Lorenzen
    Hughes
    ?
    ?
    ?

  5. There is certainly room for optimism, and I appreciate your sharing a little of yours Jason, cautious though it may be. But though there’s plenty of talent in the system and even at the major league level, there are still several players who imho are very unlikely to be important on the next Reds playoff team. I’m very disappointed that not one of Hamilton, Peraza, Gennett and Duvall has been traded. If all four are regular starters throughout 2018 the Reds offense will regress. That’s half the starting eight. Hamilton and Duvall could contribute if used wisely and sparingly, but I doubt Price will have the sense and discipline to do that. Winker and Senzel must play. Center and short must be upgraded. I understand it takes two (or three) to make a trade, but to have missed the opportunity to sell high on all four players (okay maybe high is a bit wishful except for Gennett) who should not be part of the long term plan is disappointing. I’m still optimistic about the starting rotation for 2018 and expect a big improvement over 2017. But I’m bummed that the offense will likely be worse until changes are made.

    • I would agree except with Peraza because he’s too young to know, yet. There’s also still at least some chance Billy figures it out. In any case, this offseason has been EXTREMELY slow all over MLB. I’m guessing there’s a flurry of activity in the next few weeks. If everyone else had been making moves like crazy, I’d be more worried.

      • I’d also be patient -one more year- with Billy, maybe – depends on how the rest of the outfield develops/matures and whether anyone goes down for injury time. This year’s arb settlement is tolerable while things sort out. But next year brings free agency and I’m not at all convinced that management would stump up the cash to resign him.

        And there is the mid-season trade activity to take into account if this is the case……

        • I think you keep Billy if you can’t get a good return for him on the trade market. He can’t hit, but people still underrate the value of his defense and base running.

          • And it seems that people forget that someone has to play CF. I personally don’t think that Schebler can handle the demands of CF every day. Maybe he could be as good or a bit better than Choo was but that’s still pretty terrible and he doesn’t have Choo’s bat to bail him out. Ervin could perhaps do it but how much of an upgrade would his bat be versus the dropoff in defense. Winker and Duvall can’t handle CF. The Reds are in a tough position because they need someone to play CF adequately. Maybe Schebler and Ervin sharing CF with Winker’s bat in the lineup would be enough to make up for the dropoff on defense between Hamilton and them plus the dropoff from Schebler to Winker in RF. I’m not convinced though.

      • Fair enough on Peraza – he probably has zero trade value anyway and 2018 won’t be a terrible year for him to sink or swim. And I actually agree with you that BHam can add great value – if used wisely. If he’s a defensive and pinch running specialist with spot starts and an injury backup then that maximizes his value. If he’s an every day starter and, worse, hits leadoff, that’s a net negative. But my point is that I’m disappointed that all four of those guys are still Reds. They must make room for Winker and Senzel, and use BHam in a smarter way. That none of those four have left is discouraging, but you’re right – it’s been a slow offseason. What choice do I have but to be patient? It’s not like they’re my players to trade. Sigh…

        • I don’t fully understand the urgency to make room for Senzel yet. He has less than 250 PA at AA. He has no PA above that level. He has just over 500 PA at advanced “A” and above. I want to see him get at least 3 more months of MiLB hitting in as well as plenty of time to learn a new position. There is no reason to rush him along.

    • Here are 4 players who I thought should have been dealt already this offseason to improve this club: Iglesias, Suarez, R Stephenson and Hamilton. Adding Duvall, Gennett or Schebler has “sweetners” in order to obtain quality MLB players or near ready players in return.

      • The thing is, Suarez and Iggy are already quality, no good, MLB players. And what exactly would you expect to get in return for Hamilton, Stephenson, Duvall, Schebler or Gennett?

        Moving pieces around doesn’t make sense without a coherent plan on how to make the overall team better. I just don’t see the team having any useful pieces to trade for a difference making player; unless you’re willing to part with the upper tier prospects. And if you have to use Suarez and/or Iggy, you’re just creating another talent gap that needs to be filled. Seems like 2 steps forward, then 2 steps back. Like it or not, the Reds are stuck hoping that the young pitchers and position players keep progressing, and soon, and stay healthy in order to make the team competitive.

  6. Optimism springs eternal.
    What if…….the Reds front office actually did something significant to improve a 3 straight 90+ loss team and last place team??
    What if……MLB decides to use a non-juiced ball in 2018 and the power numbers decline at LF, RF, and 2B? And Hamilton and Peraza in that same lineup?
    Three OF’s that cannot get on base at a 30% or 31% clip and the Reds are standing pat as usual.
    Jared Hughes to the rescue! The bullpen is saved.
    Umteen number of minor league signings with a ST invite might get a LOOGY.
    The Reds front office is too stagnant and static for any hope of a good season in 2018. Sometimes stagnant waters get cleared by movement, and the Reds still have time until Feb. 12 arrives. But there is not much hope that there will be any movement by the Reds front office.
    Reds GM Dick Williams is fast becoming a world leader in the collection of pyrite.

    • Do you want them to trade prospects to improve? Are you fine with those being high-end prospects? It’s all well and good to say “they suck and aren’t doing anything” but unless you have reasonable suggestions for what they should do… what do you want?

      If Winker doesn’t get 600 ABs this year, I’ll join you in griping about the FO, but otherwise, there’s a case for just about any path. Houston lost a 100 three years in a row waiting for guys to develop and refusing to waste resources to be only mediocre. They had a pretty good year last year.

      If Nick Senzel plays, the Reds ARE making a move to improve. Same for Winker. The point isn’t that I know what they should do. It’s that there’s a reasonable argument for doing not much because there is a lot of very young talent and most of the time young talent takes a little bit to figure things out.

      So you can stand pat, sell the farm for a good return (you’d have to give up Trammel and probably a few others to get Yelich), or get guys from free agency entering their decline phase. Those are all legit options. Which was literally the point of this post.

      • I would not go after a starting pitcher now in the free agent market. Next year maybe. But the free agent market might get a good player/hitter this year. Certainly the Reds wouldn’t have to over-spend. I think I would try to sign C Jonathon Lucroy for a 3 year / $30MM. Instantly the Reds have the best C tandem in the Majors. Lucroy can get additional AB’s by backing up 1B or LF, and PH. Barnhart has a big weakness vs. LH pitching and Lucroy does not.
        Winker and the eventual (when?) promotion of Senzel are going to help. But has a path been cleared for Winker yet? Nope. That is something I would have accomplished by now. And Senzel is at least 2 months from getting promoted after Opening Day.
        I know, it takes 2 to tango, and sometimes 3. To date though, nothing much has been accomplished.
        Yelich in a Reds uniform? I would not offer up Senzel nor Trammell, but would offer Hunter Greene (and package) in a NY heartbeat for Yelich.
        There is no backup SS on the 40-man roster. Why couldn’t a simple thing like that be accomplished?
        By the time the young players play and are “trying to figure it out” they will be year 1 and year 2 arbitration eligible. Thus much more expensive. And the Reds will be ready for more transition for another rebuild or reload like Pittsburgh is currently undertaking.
        The Reds front office is NOT building much, if any, confidence with most fans in their rebuild process. All we get is talk, talk, talk, or words, and no actions. Last time I heard, there was a phrase that went, “Actions speak louder than words!”
        I would love to be more optimistic, but the Reds front office has failed miserably at getting fans behind their rebuild process.
        I like to see a little less talk, and a lot more action.
        Standing pat on a 3 time 90+ loss and last place team == The Reds Way!

        • So your only suggestion is to sign a catcher who’s 32 and has been good 1 of the last 3 years?

          Also, things like backup SS are the last signings that always happen. And, as noted, this has been an extra slow year across baseball.

          • By Standing Pat, the Reds probably cannot trade Scooter Gennett this winter as two 2B are now on the market that teams probably value higher than Gennett, Josh Harrison and Starlin Castro. Selling high on Gennett has gone kaput. A flame out. Maybe at the trade deadline the Reds can get something for Gennett. It won’t be much now. But Standing Pat cost an opportunity. Just like they got nothing for Cozart, they will get very little or next to nothing for Gennett now.
            Standing Pat probably cost them a chance to sell high on Schebler or Duvall. Thus opening a spot for Winker. But another flame out. A few teams are still looking for a corner OF with power. But the Reds won’t act on either.
            Standing Pat will cause more of a logjam of prospects than has already occurred while some of those will wither on the vine because of front office inactivity. Thinning out the herd is almost always a good process. But not here. Sometimes you have to be pro-active and make room for the best to grow stronger. Not happening in Cincinnati.
            Sorting was for 2017. Improving and getting players entrenched to battle the big boys should have been the objective for 2018. Except 2018 is earmarked for more sorting and more question than answers again.
            2018 is looking more and more like deja vu all over again.

            Dick Williams == PT Barnum.
            Suckers == Reds fans.

      • I’d trade Trammell in a heartbeat as part of a package to get a big league CF or a SS. Wouldn’t even think twice.

        • To low a ceiling for Trammell or too many years before he’s “ready?”

          • Don’t want to speak for Chad, but in my opinion it’s that there are too many years before he is “ready.”
            We are hoping that Trammell will be a 4+ WAR center fielder likely starting in 2020. If trading Trammell could bring back a 4+ WAR center fielder, like Yelich or Kiermaier, that is already MLB proven and under contract for 4+ years I would do that in a heartbeat.

      • Iglesias, Suarez, R Stephenson, Hamilton can be moved to improve. This club doesn’t need to trade just prospects.

    • Also the Cubs were terrible for 5 years while trusting the process. The Reds have ben bad for four years. I agree that this year or next year we need to see REAL results. But I’m not remotely convinced that means spending money on the free agent market.

      • And I do not recall the Cubs Standing Pat on their roster, even through their rebuilding years. Theo was always making moves. He and Hoyer were never stagnant like the Reds front office.

        • If the Reds make moves, they’ll be giving up prospects. Probably high-end prospects. You have to be okay with that.

          • yes!!!! the last time the Reds gave up high end prospects, they got Choo – who had an awesome season.

            stop sitting on hands and do something!!!!!

          • Absolutely. Prospects are nice. Championship parades are nicer. A lot nicer even than Opening Day parades.

          • Yes, Choo had a good season in his one and only on The Club. But lest we forget, getting Choo cost us Didi Gregorius, who would look mighty fine as our starting shortstop.

          • Yes, Choo had an awesome season, and the Reds still didn’t win the WS, which is the standard we seem to use for evaluating success. Going all-in for one year by gutting the system of top prospects guarantees the years of mediocrity (and worse) that we’re all so upset about.

      • Don’t forget the World Series Champion Astros record. 2009 – 88 losses, 2010 – 86 losses, 2011 – 106 losses, 2012 – 107 losses, 2013 – 111 losses, 2014 – 92 losses.

      • Patience is fine as the reds have zero interest in competing in 2018. There is lots of sorting needed for pitchers in 2018. I also see a reason the Reds want another year to see how Siri and Trammell develop and a few months at AAA to make sure that Senzel is ready to go.

        What I’ve not seen is any inkling of improving the 2019 Reds -which is paramount.
        No Suarez extension…no commitment to get Winker 600 at bats( the manager said several months ago he wasn’t guaranteed a spot on the 25 man roster) and no real improvements in the bullpen when an elite reliever could be had at a great value.

        Spring training should be very interesting and fun.
        T-29 and counting.

        • One of the reasons I’ve been rather restrained in commenting the last few weeks is the perception of a false dilemma – either we are all-in to win the World Series -right NOW- or we’re going to settle for another year of dumpster fire. The mood swings are that intense – and the recommendations that follow even more so. Forget that last year started with the black swan of all black swans in pitching injuries or that the pitching showed marked development in the second half or that the club put up respectable offense for almost the entire year.

          It is not all that unreasonable to think that the current lot, with further maturation and only the average number of injury outages, could compete effectively for a wild-card slot in 2018. .500 ball or slightly better. Which is a distinct improvement over where we’ve been hanging out. Yes, the Cards have improved, but the Cubs haven’t, the Pirates seem to be going into something between teardown and course correction and the Brewers are what the Brewers always are – a riddle surrounding a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Is further improvement necessary, certainly, but it doesn’t involve tearing up the young sprouts to examine the root growth nor does it involve trading for overpriced age 30+ talent out of a restricted budget.

          There – I’ve said it. Venting has been completed and I thank all of you for your tolerance in putting up with it. (grin).

      • Please, with all due respect, there is no comparison to what the Stros and Cubs have done to what the Reds do.

        The difference between the ‘Stros and Cubs, and the Reds is that their front offices draft well, and are not afraid to make deals (trades or quality FA signings); the Reds front office is the total opposite.

        When the Reds made the playoffs in 2010, 2012 and 2013 the FO did nothing to fortify the roster for the playoffs.

        The Red’s FO “timing” in making deals is horrible. They did not receive adequate value for Frazier, Bruce, Chapman. The Stros and Cubs don’t screw those deals up.

        I will say that the Reds seem to have drafted well the last two seasons at both the top of the draft and at the lower levels. In the past the Reds did not draft well in the lower rounds, they don’t seem to find “sleepers” or build depth.

        Drafting Howard, Travieso, Ervin, Blandino types in the first round is not what the Stros and Cubs do.

        It may come to pass that Dick Williams is not Walt Jocketty, and may truly construct a competitive roster one of these days; and, that Bob Castellini may stop meddling in baseball decisions, but nothing has given me any reason to believe that the Reds will be nothing but a mediocre ball club for years. I’ve heard too many “5-year plans,” owner declarations of providing a winning ball club and GM speak to believe otherwise.

        Until I see a front office actually DO something I remain a cynic. A bunch of “What Ifs” don’t cut it.

        • Are you really using the past few years of Astros and Cubs drafts as a fair comparison to the Reds drafting Blandino, Ervin and Travieso? Do you think the Astros and Cubs draft position had anything to do with that success? Let’s do a 5 year plan, since that’s what you referenced. From 2011 to 2015, the Astros picked as low as 11th. Their other picks were 1, 1, 1, 2 and 5. The Cubs picked as low as 9th during that same 5 year period, which they did twice. Their other picks were 2, 4 and 6. The past 2 years were the first times the Reds had comparable picks, and from most evaluations of those picks, they knocked it out of the park.

          Going to your point about finding gems in the draft, Tyler Mahle is a top 100 prospect in all of baseball and appears to be poised for success in the coming years. He was taken in the 7th round. Amir Garrett was taken in the 22nd round. Sal Romano was taken in the 23rd round. That’s 3 sleepers for you. Look around baseball. There aren’t a ton of everyday players taken in the 20th round or later but the Reds have 2 with very high potential. Throw in the Reds gold glove winning catcher in the 10th round, and I’m pretty happy with the status of the Reds later picks.

          Regarding trades, yea. They botched a couple and it’s slowed down the rebuild but for the most part they have not only been successful in recent years, they have seemingly robbed the team they did business with. Alfredo Simon for Suarez, Latos for Disco, and Dan freaking Strailey for a potential ace in Luis Castillo. Those are 3 very lopsided trades in the Reds favor. Not to mention the fact that Strailey and Simon were both waiver wire pick ups. How many other teams have flipped two waiver claims and turned them into an ace pitcher and an All Star caliber everyday 3rd baseman? I’m guessing not that many.

          • Team’s have to hit on their first round choice. Look back at all the gems the Red’s chose since 1990.

          • Please, many teams draft better than the Reds do whether they draft in the Top 10 or below. Just look at past drafts.

          • Mahle, Garrett and Romano have not proven themselves yet.

  7. I am good with either option. By biggest concern is keeping Price as manager. He has no idea of how to build a lineup to get maximum results. I can live with Billy and Peraza in the lineup if one of them learn to hit. But you are right Peraza is still young, it may be too early to give up on him. I think Billy is what Billy is. I am just hoping that they are not both at the top of the order. But even if they are at the bottom of the order that gives you a third of the lineup that are easy outs if neither learn the strike zone and how to hit. (i understand that there is the possibility of that happening) My other concern is that Winker does get 500 ABs. and wastes away on the bench. Again can Price manage a four man outfield? What do the Reds do if coming through April and May and Peraza is hitting better and Scooter is hitting decent. Where do Senzel fit in? Because he definitely needs to fit in somewhere.

  8. I like this well thought out post. I see lots of complaints that the FO is doing a terrible job. With no real evidence.

    I see lots of reasons for optimism in what the FO has done.

    1. The scouting and drafting, especially the last couple years, senzel, Trammell, green, downs, etc. Top 10 farm system, even with all the players moving out of prospect status

    2. The Castillo trade appears to have been a game changer.

    3. The developing of a young controllable pitching staff: Castillo, romano, mahle, Stephenson, plus numerous others on the way. A testament to our drafting and player development.

    4. The development of Eugenio Suarez to a 4 war player. Even the development we saw in Cozart 5 war said good things about the club.

    The rebuild is coming to an end and winning is about to happen I believe soon.

    One big negative I can agree with is getting nothing for Cozart. We could have gotten Luis gohart a top 100 prospect.

    • You forget that these people on here commenting are the greatest GMs in the history of the game. They have all the answers. Easy and simple. Every team is calling the Reds and offering nothing but their best players and prospects for our players. Why they arent making the trade is preposterous. Every team should be calling these guys and offering them a GM job.

  9. “I could live with that.”

    If there was ever a phrase that summed up Cincinnati Sports, it’s that one.

    If you settle for mediocrity, that’s what you’ll get…

  10. Gonna be a little pedantic here – but Winker should never get 600 ABs. He must get 600 PAs. He should aspire to Shin-Soo Choo stats – OBP .100 > Avg., with middling power. Amazing that Choo has never been an all-star.

  11. “What if the lineup on June 15 is: Winker, Senzel, Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez, Scott Schebler, Tucker Barnhart, Peraza, Hamilton?”

    1) Duvall’s Gold Glove level defense is unlikely to sit most days
    2) The bottom 3 hitters are negative WAR offensively, with Peraza still unproven
    3) So much of the offensive WAR relies on a guy entering his age 35 season (Votto) and a guy projected to only produce 60% of the WAR he did last season (Suarez)

    The Reds got 68 wins with the 10th highest offensive WAR and worst pitching WAR.

    Yes, “anything can happen”. The Reds making the playoffs in 2018 would be among the biggest MLB turnarounds ever.

    Hopefully, Dick WIlliams/Walt Jocketty/Bob “keep Hamilton forever” Castellini…whoever is making the decisions….stays the course and gets as much playing time to young, in-house talent as soon as possible.

    This team still feels at least 2 years away, IMO, assuming Suarez signs an extension.

  12. What if the Reds actually did something.

  13. I was on the “trade Hamilton,Scooter and Duvall” bandwagon from day 1 of the offseason until I saw the returns for Cole and McCutchen. There really is no use in trading young, controllable talent for prospects that are unlikely to match the traded production in the future. I’d love to see the Reds sell high, but if they can’t get anything positive in return then what’s the point? Not making a trade is better than making a poor trade.

    • I agree, except I might be tempted to overpay somewhat for a really strong controllable mlb CF.

    • Yes, the return for Cutch was underwhelming. The return for Cole, a #2/#3 starter with 2 years of team control, was downright paltry. He was admittedly coming off a so-so season, but he looks like a really good rebound candidate.

  14. Herrera gets a shot this year.
    If he is healthy…he is only 23 , has to be on the roster and potentially a solid bat from the right side. I’m watching him in spring training. Is he finally healthy????
    The only way Hamilton can stay in CF in 2019 is if he is flanked by Winker and Senzel.

    Injuries will happen…we just don’t know who.

  15. No more market for Billy Hamilton? Make one.
    With Houston OF Derek Fisher seemingly destined for AAA again, or to be a bench bat, would he be available?
    What do the Reds have that Houston does not?
    Houston seems to be all-in for the next 2 years after acquiring Garrett Cole who as 2 years of team control. Justin Verlander is signed for 2 more years + team option for 2020. Kuechel is a free agent after 2018. They are all-in until they have to rebuild their starting rotation in 2 years.
    Could 2 years of Billy Hamilton get Derek Fisher? Billy Hamilton is one weapon the Houston arsenal does not possess. An August-September-October Billy Hamilton would have immense value for 2 years of team control he has left. Hamilton could be in a 4 man OF rotation with Springer, Reddick and Gonzalez. Gonzalez can play all the INF spots too, so Hamilton would have plenty of AB’s through the season.
    Speed is one need the Astros have and it would come with superior defense.
    Houston, we have a solution.

    • I’m not against trading Billy… but I feel the Reds are on the short end of the stick in terms of leverage.

      From their perspective, they’re trading an everyday starting CF. To another team, they are likely trading for a 4th outfielder or bench weapon. Who gets the asking price?

      • I’ll add that looking at the Astros, they don’t seem to value speed all that much. Defense? Perhaps. Still, considering the return for Cutch, I think Fisher would be a reach in a Hamilton deal. Sure, the Reds should perhaps ask but I don’t think the Stros bite.

    • As always you think outside the box. I like it!

  16. Other than the big money teams, the rest of MLB seems to be strapping down and just working on setting their clubs by the draft and minor leagues. Everyone has drank the koolade on the numbers game and clubs just don’t want to let go of top young talent. Giants in dealing to get what they did making trades for AllStar players, who still have some production in them did so without giving up their top couple of prospects.

    Reds are in a similar spot they were in say 2009. They have some young talent and if they take the next step and develop into good pros, they are going to win. If it doesn’t work, they won’t. What they got is what they got. I’m sure if Duvall, Hamilton or others have value and the Reds are out of it, they might try to deal them again in July. Right now it doesn’t look like there is much of a market.

  17. It’s good to hear someone say it like it is with the way the pitching was handled last year. It annoys me every time I hear that criticism and I think you put it more eloquently than I could why they could not really have handled it any better than they did. Some of these wacky ideas like throwing together a “Fab Five” of prospects out there to start the year is reckless and would have turned out even worse.

  18. I had to give up on that compelling article when you scared me!!! I did go a little further but not much! The thing that scared me was a line up that had Senzel,Winker,Peraza and Hamilton in the line up together!! Hamilton has shown his speed and defense out weighs his lack of discipline at the plate add to that his massive pay hike he is staying! I think the Reds were the only team that considered Peraza a difference maker! The amount of talent of Winker and Senzrl may or may not have it just wouldn’t be fair to have both of them thrown to the wolves the same year!!! The Reds 30 games out at the break then Winker and Senzrl

  19. If the young kids would have been able to stay in games, they would have gotten more innings.

    Reed was a trainwreck. How many times can you start him and have home go off like a rocket on the pad. He looked good in a few games out of the pen early. It’s not like he was good once he got to Louisville. He seemed to have some better starts later on.

    The thing I think you can take out of last year is that Stephenson and Romano did improve over the season. They are in a good spot to make the rotation. I think Mahle showed obvious talent, but the Reds will probably not bring him up until the season is in a couple of months to try to save an extra season before arbitration. Castillo also established himself as a rookie in the rotation. It is unusual to have that many rookie starts, some of the others they tried just didn’t work out (so far).

  20. Our (ok, my) first Opening Day roster projection of 2018:
    ROTATION – 4: Bailey, Castillo, DeSclafani, Mahle (fifth starter not needed until 4/8)
    PEN – 8: Iglesias, Peralta, Hughes, Lorenzen, Crockett, Hernandez, Stephenson, Zack Weiss
    CATCHER – 3: Barnhart, Mesoraco, Turner
    INFIELD – 5: Votto, Gennett, Peraza, Suarez, Ryan Goins
    OUTFIELD – 5: Duvall, Schebler, Winker, Hamilton, Ervin

    *Turner goes for Romano on April 8.
    *Senzel for Ervin on May 1.
    *No one gets hurt.
    *One way or another Gennett is gone by June 1, probably for a ninth guy in the pen … (Good guy, we’ll miss him, but his peak trade value was Daz Cameron or Boog Powell six months ago.) Viva la Goins.

    This is … fine?

    • Thanks, Woodrow, for the jump start on the Opening Day roster. Always fun speculation.

      According to Price, Finnegan has one of four spots locked up, along with Homer, El Disco and Castillo.

      https://www.cincinnati.com/story/sports/mlb/reds/2017/12/13/bryan-price-theres-just-one-rotation-spot-up-grabs/949820001/

      Perhaps Phil Gosselin, who was signed to a minor-league contract, ends up in the Goins role.

      It won’t be “fine” for the long-term if Gennett, Duvall and Hamilton get as many at-bats in 2018 as they did in 2017. Winker, Ervin, Senzel, anyone else worthy should get called up and take some of their time.

      If you see quotes from Price in Spring Training about “playing the best guys to win games”…….Yikes.

    • Don’t forget Dilson Herrera at 2b. He’s out of options, and looks like he can hit. We’ll see in the spring if his shoulder is healed enough to allow him to play 2b.

  21. I think Kivlehan may have something to say before its over. I like this players game.

  22. I wonder how many people posting on Houston blogs in 2011-2014 made calls like a lot RN posters. We should unload Springer now. He will never be better than a 4th outfielder. Correa would bring some much needed pitching. I do have one problem with the FO. When the Angels offered Trout for Peraza, we should have jumped on it.

    • We could have taken Trout, but I think we are holding out for a Yelich Hamilton swap before we pursue Trout

    • No offense….but frankly I’m tired of the comparisons to Houston or the Cubs!! Carlos Correa had 577 atbats at 21. Winker was 24 and had 125 atbats last year. BobSteve pitched 1 inning a week for half the year while Arroyo, Adleman, Bonilla, Feldman, and a cast of clowns wasted time and blocked development of actual talent. Senzel will hit .325 at AAA and spend atleast half the season down there. This organization is much closer to a model of the Cleveland Browns then the Astros or Cubs.

      • No offense….but frankly I’m tired of the constant complaints about the Reds having losing seasons during a rebuild, when it has been proven many times that a rebuild means multiple losing seasons. If the Reds are still in last place after this year and still don’t know what the rotation will look like or how to get Senzel and Winker into the lineup then there are problems.

        • Indy isn’t completely off base though- once important difference that may really show in how the Reds rebuild goes, is that Houston and Chicago had a specific commitment to the kind of players they want, with a healthy dose of analytics that helped inform their process. I’m not sure the Reds have really demonstrated that.

          • You mean drafting and developing solid athlete’s with good plate discipline like, Nick senzel, Jesse winker, Taylor Trammell and Jeter downs? You mean like the development of plate discipline seen in Eugenio Suarez +.108 obp over batting average. Or the improved plate discipline of Jose peraza at the end of the season we see in the stats of Jose peraza? Or the addition of personnel in the analytics area of the front office along with increased spending in that area?

          • Correct.

          • Scottya, you are speaking of short term gains. Yes, Suarez improved last year. Yes, Peraza improved the last month or two of last year (fyi: I’m not a Peraza basher, I think he has promise). Yes, the last 2 drafts seem to be bearing good prospects, but what about the years prior to that?

            Why did the Reds receive undervalued returns for Chapman, Frazier, Bruce? Do you think the FO/Ownership botched the timing of those deals?

            In 2010, 2012 and 2013 the FO did not do anything to bolster the roster for the playoffs. Don’t you think they should have?

            The Reds draft Howard ’14, Travieso ’12 and Ervin ’13 in the 1st round, do you think they should have done better?

            Take a look at the Red’s #1 draft choices since 2000. Excluding say the those drafted the last 4 years, should some of them be productive or above average players on the present day, active roster? Should the players received in deals for those #1’s traded away be productive players?

            Bottom-line, good baseball organizations have front offices that operate well and owners who stay out of the way. Their team’s year-to-year records do not stray far from a successful trend-line. Yes, they will have losing seasons, but they are not the norm. Many fans do not realize that the Red’s have yet to prove that since 1990 they are not a good baseball organization.

            In this forum, many of us address what has been a long term “mestasis of mediocrity” in the Reds front office. Until we see results, it will continue.

          • At Scotty… you’re right on some of this, but it remains to be seen how they actually play it out. Senzel stands out as at least a nod in the right direction. We’ll see about Winker… again, they have him, they just didn’t bother to use him. If the team consistently improves discipline like Suarez, then they’ll be cooking.

            Peraza, I’m not sold on yet. Other than the potential to swing himself out of the league, he had nowhere to go but up after going over a month without seeing ball four. Maybe he just needed to learn the hard way.

        • Actually, the absence of Winker AB’s when the opportunity was there is an example of how they aren’t following through with a commitment toward developing a different offensive approach– which is to say, let’s try getting on base a lot, people.

        • Yeah man….2019 is the year!!! No….really!!! And Jim Jones was so close to building paradise in Guyana too! Bill…..please don’t drink the Kool-Aid that they’re selling you!

          • Comparing Jesse winkers development to Carlos Correa? Comparing fans that believe the Reds FO is doing a good job in the rebuild to Jim Jones?
            There are lots of reasons for optimism in Redsland. There is plenty of room for disagreement on the rebuild; but not this way.

          • Is Winker as good as Correa? Of course not…but my point is that there is no point in leading AAA in obp. Get him up with the Reds and see what he can do. Its not that difficult to figure out? Baez with the Cubs….he came up and played. Its like being sort of pregnant? You either rebuild or you don’t?

        • The Reds have been rebuilding since 1990.

  23. Amen to Indy,Bill and Matt.The warm bodies starting and Billy getting 500 at bats is what I lived for last year.Can’t wait for our rebuild strategy for this year.

  24. problem with Winker is his defense. Did anybody watch him playing right field in septmeber? yikes.

    I would try to package Winker and Senzel for a pitcher. I like Billy, Duvall and Schebler as our outfield for the next couple of years with Ervin as a fourth. I feel we will have a great outfield in a couple of years with the arrival of Trammel and Siri.

    I still think we have our solution at shortstop with Hunter Greene. Don’t think we should make this guy a starting pitcher. he is just too athletic. I can live with Peraza at short and Scooter at second until Hunter is ready.

    • There were around 15 outfielders last year individually who produced more WAR than duvall.hamilton.and schebler combined.

    • Hunter Greene is going to be a pitcher. He’s not the Reds’ future shortstop.

  25. After reading through the comments I’m convinced the Reds should be renamed the Cincinnati ‘Ifs.”

  26. #1. Duvall (or Schebler) should not be traded or benched to give Winker 600 PA this season. Winker is currently the 30th ranked OF prospect (#100 overall) in ML prospect list. He ranks BELOW AVERAGE in all tools except hitting. He lacks power, speed, range, & has a weak throwing arm. All 3 should get some playing time, but opening day corner OF starters should still be Duvall & Schebler. .#2. Finnegan should be in the opening day rotation. He’s possibly the 2nd best sp/sp prospect the Reds have. Putting him in the bullpen in deference to anyone but Castillo (& of course Bailey) is unwarranted. I’d add DeSclafani except I think it’s unlikely he can handle the work load as an sp without re-injury. .#3. The Reds mishandled Cozart. They should have made a trade, made a QO, or signed him.” None of the above” shouldn’t have been an option. .#4 Reds screwed up the Cingrani deal . He’s worth more than what they got. .#5. Neither Peraza or Hererra has failed yet. Either or both could yet become the Reds middle infield solution going forward. ‘ Everything else is fine. But it’s early.

  27. It’s great there are so many GM’s out there! I enjoy the prognostications and second-guessing more than the article! The hindsight is spectacular and the open-ended comments without any reasonable plan of action to accompany… well it’s just good, fun reading. Let’s just compare ourselves to WS champions and it makes us geniuses!

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About Jason Linden

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.

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