[This report was submitted by loyal Nation member and super Reds fan John Rohrig — who comments here as WVRedlegs — who has reported for RN from the Charleston caravan stop each of the last few years. Lots of great information. Thanks, John!]

Friday night, January 26, 2018, the Reds Caravan East Tour leg rolled into town. An estimated crowd of around 300 greeted the Reds. Participants on this leg of the tour this year were:

–Manager Bryan Price
–Reds Vice President Buddy Bell
–former Reds pitching great Tom Browning
–pitcher Big Sal Romano
–pitcher Cody Reed
–top Reds minor league prospect 3B Nick Senzel
–Reds broadcaster Jeff Piecoro

Last year, we broke news when Reds GM Dick Williams announced that Homer Bailey was experiencing elbow pain in his throwing program. Four days later, the Reds announced that Bailey would have elbow surgery and his return would be delayed further.

This year we have news, but more reassuring news than heartbreaking news like last year.
Jesse Winker will indeed get some 500 plate appearances in 2018. Many have doubted that Bryan Price would play Jesse Winker much.

Friday night Bryan Price stated that, as things stand, there would be a four-man outfield rotation of Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton, Scott Schebler, and Winker. Price said he had worked it out on paper where he could get all four outfielders around 500 plate appearances each. Of course that provided that each player performed as expected, that there were no trades, each player stayed healthy, and there were no prolonged slumps.

Bryan Price spoke a little about one player at the table, Nick Senzel. Price said the plan is that they hope Senzel forces their hand by his play either in spring training or at AAA that would propel Senzel to a promotion. Barring an injury to Eugenio Suarez or Scooter Gennett in spring training, it sounds like Senzel will start out at AAA and will have to hit his way to Cincinnati some time in 2018.

Nick Senzel is really soft spoken and a bit on the shy side. But he is a rock-solid 210 pound athlete.

Cody Reed is a big guy. He is sporting a Paul Bunyan-type of beard. He is ready for the season and a chance at pitching redemption in 2018. He has worked hard on his mechanical issues and feels he is ready.

Big Sal Romano. If you think Cody Reed is big, Romano is immense. He looks like an NFL tight end. His shoulders are so broad, you could spell “R. Stephenson” on the back of his jersey without curving the letters in an arc. He proclaimed himself very ready for 2018 and ready to expand on his 2017 season.

It was a good evening with good weather for a change. It has snowed the last three Caravans. Many kids were in attendance to see their Reds. All the Caravan participants were extremely friendly with the kids as they went through the autograph line, especially the young players. They all went out of their way to be very cordial and accommodating with the fans.

I’ve been very disappointed in the Reds lack of off-season activity and I wasn’t going to let the Caravan stop get my hopes up for the upcoming season like I have the last four seasons. But dagnabit, it happened again.

Nick Senzel heading up the autograph line with Cody Reed and Big Sal Romano.

Sal Romano signing autographs with Cody Reed and Nick Senzel as some kids eagerly watch on and await their turn.

Tom Browning, the man behind the curtain, signing autographs.

7 Responses

  1. OnBaseMachine

    Great report, John. I was there as well and my family had a blast. All the players were very friendly and interactive. My five month old baby was a big hit with Senzel, Romano, and Buddy Bell.

  2. Reaganspad

    I like the 4 outfielders all getting 500 abs

    That could win Bryan Price a manager of the year award with healthy pitching and a healthy Devin Mesoraco

    This team as constructed has a lot of talent that will take a very good effort by the manager. He has not had it in him to date, but it is a contract year for him.

    Bryan Price as our most improved?

    OK

    • WVRedlegs

      Man, I am glad you brought up Devin Mesoraco. Thanks. I forgot to include something Bryan Price said about him during the Caravan stop.
      First, Mesoraco is doing well and is working out in Cincinnati with the Reds catching instructor/coach. Mesoraco is going through all the catching drills with no problems. He is ready for spring training.
      Mesoraco will be starting a couple of games a week. Barnhart is the starter. Mesoraco the backup. But Mesoraco will get plenty of off the bench and pinch hitting opportunities. Doesn’t sound like Price will keep his backup C on the bench in late game situations this year. If Devin can get the timing back on his hitting that will be a nice bonus for the Reds. Though it isn’t necessarily what I want to see happen, but a better hitting Mesoraco might have a little value come July 31.

  3. Bill

    My question is what does Price & the FO mean by “as expected” & “force their hand”? That could mean anytime a player strikes out or grounds into a double play they didn’t play as expected or force their hand. Especially Winkler or Senzel.

    • WVRedlegs

      For the 3 current OFers, I took “as expected” as being a little bit better numbers than what they put up last year. Something in between what their final stats were and what they may have shown during their good stretches. I believe the expectation is there for a higher BA and OBP from all 3 current OFers.
      By “forcing their hand”, I took that as if Senzel is hitting .315/.400/.450 at AAA and Scooter is hitting .245/.310/.440, Senzel’s good play would force their hand to make a move sooner rather than when they might have planned.
      Same with Winker. If he is hitting .300/.385/.450 in that 4 man OF rotation and say Schebler is hitting .240/.305/.450, that might force Price to play Winker more often than Schebler, more than they had originally planned.

      • Bill Lack

        My issue with Price’s comment would be that I wonder how badly Billy Hamilton will have to be offensively to cost him playing time?