The long, hard winter is over. Baseball is back.

This is a fun time of year — for most of us, at least. If you’ve been a loyal reader of Redleg Nation over the years, you probably know that I’m generally pretty optimistic about the state of the Reds. This off-season, I confess to having lost a little patience with the ongoing rebuilding process — gotta keep reminding myself to Trust The Process — but with the opening of spring training, I can’t help but get excited about the season before us.

We’ll make our season predictions and start looking at wins and losses and expectations at some point in the near future, but for today, let’s enjoy the fact that, very soon, a number of actual Cincinnati Reds baseball players will be stepping onto an actual baseball field and going through actual baseball activities.

Spring is here…and it is glorious.


One of the yearly traditions, with fans and writers of every team, is to look at which specific questions need to be answered during this spring camp. To me, there are three big questions for which I’ll be looking for answers. (Hopefully, the Reds get answers, as well.)

1. Can the rotation stay healthy? Last spring, Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani were injured, and Brandon Finnegan joined them on the disabled list soon thereafter. More than anything else, those injuries to the starting rotation led the Reds down the path to another 90-loss season, as the club was forced to use guys like Tim Adleman, Scott Feldman, and Lisalverto Bonilla in the rotation.

This year, the Reds have a bunch of pitchers that are vying for those precious rotation slots. If they can remain relatively healthy, Cincinnati at least has a shot of fielding a decent staff. If the injury bug returns, however…well, let’s not think about that. We’re trying to be optimistic, right?

2. Will Jesse Winker force the Reds’ hand? I’ve gone on the record as saying that Winker needs to get 550 at-bats this season. Reds manager Bryan Price has hinted that he’ll find enough at-bats for his four outfielders — Winker, Billy Hamilton, Scott Schebler, Adam Duvall — to keep them all busy. Okay, maybe he will, and I’m okay with that.

But Winker needs to be number one on the outfield depth chart. Price needs to make sure the 24-year-old Winker gets his at-bats before he concerns himself with any of the other players. His development should be one of Cincinnati’s primary objectives in 2018. And who knows? If Price will let Winker off his leash, the Reds may find that they have another Rookie of the Year.

3. How will Nick Senzel look in his first big league camp, and where will he play? Senzel is ready for the big leagues. Nearly everyone agrees that this is the case. Well, he’s ready as a hitter (assuming last year’s vertigo issues are a thing of the past, and we’ve been assured that they are).

But where’s he going to play? A lot of eyes will be on Senzel as he works with the big club for the first time. His primary position, third base, is capably filled by Eugenio Suarez, so we will be paying attention to see how many reps Senzel gets at second base, or one of the corner outfield spots. The kid will be 23 this year, and decisions that the Reds make about his defensive position this spring could have far-reaching consequences for how the rebuild progresses. It’s worth watching closely.

There are, of course, plenty of other questions that will need answering this spring. Here’s a partial list, but I’m sure you can come up with more:

–Can Jose Peraza handle shortstop? And who will be the backup at shortstop? Who will start if Peraza is injured?
–What will we see out of Devin Mesoraco during the final season of his contract with the Reds?
–Will the Reds actually give Michael Lorenzen a legitimate shot at the starting rotation? If so, how will he perform?
–Will Luis Castillo continue to be dominant?
–Are Cody Reed and Amir Garrett still in the conversation? (The answer to that one is yes, but they need to start producing soon.)

Cincinnati pitchers and catchers will pick up their No. 2 pencils and begin answering these questions today. Welcome back, baseball. Welcome back, Cincinnati Reds.

We’ve missed you.

152 Responses

  1. Ethan L

    I saw on that they predicted Disco to be the OD starter. Whoever wrote that did a superficial analysis imo. I think Castillo should be the OD starter. I could see Price giving it Homer b/c he’s more of a veteran.

    Another thought: I hope Bob Steve can get his act together and live up to his potential. I’m rooting for him.

    • JoshG

      I’d say there is about a 1% chance of Castillo being the opening day starter

      • Aaron Bradley

        Yea he will be limited in innings, and as a rookie why throw him into opening day high drama,,, bad call, OP,

      • Phil

        Castillo threw 169 innings combined at AA and for the Reds. A 10-20% increase gets him to 186-203 innings in 2018. I’m really not sure that he’ll be on much of an innings limit.

      • doofus

        Why not let him pitch during “Opening Day- High Drama?” What difference does it make? Castillo has the mental makeup to weather an Opening Day start, he’s not Stephenson or Reed. I think the Reds have a stud here.

      • doofus

        Why is there such a tendency to “baby” pitchers? Hell, let’s just do away with pitching and set-up pitching machines on the mound.

      • doofus

        An individual hurler’s physiology dealing with the delivery of a baseball can be different from another hurler. Some need to be “babied,” some do not. How did some pitchers throw 200 pitches a game, complete over 20 games per season and throw 280 innings 35 years ago? After all, sports medicine and nutrition have made major advancements since then. Why are pitchers no longer, going “long?”

      • greenmtred

        Doofus: Intriguing question. Maybe advances in medicine/nutrition don’t outweigh changes in general life style (more screens, less walking and other physical activity). Maybe kids don’t throw as much when they’re young. Maybe maximum effort of modern pitchers precludes complete games and large innings totals. Maybe modern strategy favors going to fresh arm earlier in the game. big change, whatever the causes.

      • lwblogger2

        As far as why pitchers don’t go long anymore, there are quite a few theories. I believe it to be a combination of the following:

        1) Athletes train harder than ever, are stronger than ever, and generate more torque than ever on their arms. While the muscles can be made stronger, the ligiments and tendons can only be made so strong and flexible. The limits on muscle strength are higher and have outpaced the ability of the ligaments and tendons to keep up.

        2) More kids play ball year-round now. They are pitching and training year-round versus when back in the day they would play soccer, football, or basketball in the winter. Some kids are playing multiple sports year-round.

        3) There is such an emphasis on velocity. Pitchers throw many more “max-effort” pitches than they did before.

  2. wkuchad

    1. Can the rotation stay healthy? I’m not overly concerned about this in 2018 (2019 is a different story). It appears (if healthy) four of the rotation spots are taken up. The Reds have a LOT of young pitchers to sort through this year with real potential. I’d like several of them to see some real playing time this year. I just remember a young Cueto getting slowly better every year.

    2. Will Jesse Winker force the Reds’ hand? I’m already no fan of Price. It’s frustrating to have to worry about this question due to the ineptitude of our manager.

    3. How will Nick Senzel look in his first big league camp, and where will he play? I’d put this at question #1. I really hope the Reds handle this situation correctly and is able to solidify who play 2nd, SS, and 3rd this year.

    –Can Jose Peraza handle shortstop? And who will be the backup at shortstop? Who will start if Peraza is injured? -No clue here, except I’m open to Suarez IF Herrera or Skip prove us wrong and lock down 2nd base AND it’s determined Senzel can’t play SS.

    –What will we see out of Devin Mesoraco during the final season of his contract with the Reds? -I’m more concerned on what we see out of Tucker offensively. The Reds can’t afford to have four below average hitters in the lineup.

    –Will the Reds actually give Michael Lorenzen a legitimate shot at the starting rotation? If so, how will he perform? -see question 1 above, but with all the options I bet he ends up in the bullpen.

    –Will Luis Castillo continue to be dominant? -man I hope so!

    –Are Cody Reed and Amir Garrett still in the conversation? (The answer to that one is yes, but they need to start producing soon.) -Garrett was injured so I’ll give him a little more rope this year, but I agree or Reed.

  3. WVRedlegs

    A couple of small Q’s get small answers as John Fay tweets “Price says Bailey, Disco, Finnegan, Castillo, Romano, Stephenson, Lorenzen, Mahle will get ready as starters. “Guys who have put themselves above the others.”
    Lorenzen squarely in the mix.
    Nothing about Reed or Garrett in that mix, though. Hello bullpen. Lefties are needed in the bullpen.

    • wkuchad

      I hope Garrett is starting either in Cincy or Louisville.

    • cfd3000

      I hope Garrett AND Reed are starting somewhere. They both have too high a ceiling to be relegated to the bullpen already.

    • Hotto4Votto

      Just read an article on the Reds site, it said Garrett and Stephens may get a chance to make some starts and that Reed has already been told he’ll compete for a bullpen spot.

    • Nick Carrington

      Still think that Lorenzen is a long shot, but because he’s apparently ahead of Garrett and Reed, he’s only a couple injuries away from starting the year in the rotation.

    • doofus

      I just read that Reed was told by Price that he’ll be working as a reliever in ST.

  4. davemoorewvu

    I love it! It’s time to put this offseason in our rear view mirror and forget about the guy from the Marlins that now plays in Milwaukee (I’m not going to say his name), and focus on the guys that are actually wearing the Cincinnati uniform.

    I hope the young guns we have on the mound continue to progress.
    I hope Winker and Senzel exceed our expectations.
    I hope BHam and Peraza took 1000 swings per day and are ready to hit.
    I hope Suarez is still awesome and we sign him long term at some point.
    I hope 2017 wasn’t an anomaly for Scooter.
    And I hope Votto is still Votto..

    Reds Go!

  5. bhrubin1

    They can probably get all four of the outfielders 550 ABs by using a rotation that is some variation on:

    Duvall: 75% of starts in left
    Hamilton: 75% of starts in center
    Winker: 25% of starts in left, 50% of starts in right
    Schebler: 50% of starts in right, 25% of starts in center

    Whichever one of the four doesn’t start is the first bat off the bench, and all four of them start in AL parks (with 1 of them at DH).

    I’m not saying that’s what they SHOULD do, but it’s one way they could all get 550 ABs if that were the org’s goal.

    • james garrett

      Price will have to change his way of doing things if this happens.Remember he kept running Duvall out there when he has ran out of gas two years in a row after the break.He also has batted Billy in the lead off spot for the last 4 years and continues to give him the most at bats even with and obp under 300 and no power.If it happens then DW will have to demand that Price does it and I don’t see it happening.

    • vegastypo

      I suspect Price will give a lot of DH duties to Mesoraco if he thinks his outfield ‘rotation’ is giving those guys enough at-bats.

      But I’m with Chad. Free Jesse NOW !!!!

    • doofus

      Given, 162 games times 4 plate appearances equals 648 plate appearances, times 3 outfield positions equals 1,944 total plate appearances divided by 4 equals 486 plate appearances for each of 4 outfielders named Winker, Schebler, Duvall and Hamilton. I don’t see how 4 outfielders get 550 plate appearances without using them at DH or other positions; and, I don’t think there will be enough games needing a DH to help. Add in rest, injuries, slumps etc. increases my doubt that all 3 get 550 PA’s. Williams should have traded one of them to open more PA’s.

      • doofus

        My mistake, should be: “all 4 get 550 PA’s.”

      • lwblogger2

        The 1-9 batting order average for PA/game is about 4.2. This gives a handful more (510 PA) for each OF… Still short of the 550 assuming equal playing time for all. I really would like to see few PA for Hamilton but I’m doubting that happens. I’ve been and will continue to be a proponent of having him in the lineup but he needs to be the 9-hole hitter. 9-hole puts his speed to better use and he’ll really only be hitting behind a pitcher 2-3 times per game.

      • Sandman

        LWBLOGGER2, Why keep a guy in the lineup who can’t hit well enough? I think Hamilton’s proven that he’s not capable of consistently hitting better. I like his speed in the outfield and on the basepaths to but not at the expense of very little offense. If he can’t hit enough, how’s he gonna get on base enough to use his speed? I so want Hamilton gone. Was hoping he’d get traded this offseason but then the freakin owner came out as a fan of Hamilton’s. That ticked me off. We were fine before Hamilton and were gonna be fine after Hamilton’s gone. I’d rather have adequate defense and and equal or better offense than great or excellent defense and little offense.

      • jazzmanbbfan

        Sandman: I think one of the arguments some have made for Billy continuing to play regularly despite his anemic hitting is how frequently he scores when he does get on base compared with the average. I haven’t looked it up but supposedly his scoring rate when he gets on base helps negate the awful on base percentage, at least in some people’s eyes. Maybe others have more information on this.

      • Sandman

        Jazzmanbbfan, But he don’t get on base a lot. So, does this even out? If it does even out is Hamilton even worth wasting time and energy on. Is Hamilton taking what could be valuable at-bats away from another young hitter in our farm system during a rebuild year?

      • lwblogger2

        I’d want him gone if the Reds had someone who could come in, hit considerably better, and play at least average CF defense. The issue is that the Reds don’t have such a player. I think an OF of Duvall, Hamilton, and Schebler have more overall value than an outfield of Duvall, Schebler, Winker. The reason is that while Winker is a far superior hitter, you go from an exceptional defensive CF to a poor defensive CF and you also go from an average defensive RF to a fair defensive RF. I don’t see much of a net gain there.

        Winker’s bat needs to be in the lineup but it needs to be there instead of Duvall or Schebler. Hamilton needs to be in CF until the Reds have another option that hits better AND can play at least average CF defense.

      • greenmtred

        Sandman: The thing is, he has hit well, or well enough, at times to show that it’s possible he could improve. We were writing Cozart off as a lost cause a few years ago, after all. The ability to learn and change doesn’t disappear at any age. His defense, which I know you value less than I do, adds value, as well, particularly on a team whose future success is so closely tied to the success of a number of young pitchers.

      • Sandman

        Greenmtred, I liked Cozart and didn’t want to see him go bcuz of the offense he produced last season. But, I don’t wanna wait another 5,6,7 yrs before Hamilton FINALLY gets it offensively.

        The ability to learn doesn’t disappear at any age. That goes against everything I’ve seen ppl talk about on here about this Age Related Decline. Nobody hardly wanted Cozart back bcuz of this very reason. Believing that Cozart’s offensive production was a blip.

      • Sandman

        Greenmtred, I liked Cozart and didn’t want to see him go bcuz of his offensive production last year. But I don’t wanna wait another 5,6,7 yrs (or anywhere close to that) for Hamilton to finally get it.

        The ability to learn doesn’t disappear at any age: everything I’ve heard and read on here would seem to contradict this. All I’ve ever heard on here is about this Age Related Decline. I’ve also heard that after about a 1,000 (?) at bats you can generally tell what a hitter is gonna be like for the rest of his career. I don’t know how many AB’s Hamilton has but I did hear on here that he’s 27 and likely to not improve. I believe this. Plyrs like Billy will never hit satisfactorily enough. They’re all about speed and defense.

        But this Age Related Decline is exactly why most everybody wanted to see Cozart gone. Believing that his 2017 offense was just a blip on the radar. In Billy’s case I just happen to believe he’s reached his ceiling offensively.

      • greenmtred

        Another point about Billy’s defense: His speed is even more important if Winker is in one of the corners. Winker hits well, but doesn’t cover a lot of ground.

      • greenmtred

        Sandman: Age-related decline refers to the lamentable loss of physical skills, not the ability to analyze and modify one’s approach. People can do that still right up to the ends of their lives, and Billy is not old. I doubt that he’ll be allowed to start for many more years if he doesn’t start producing more offensively soon, but in the meantime, the Reds have no legitimate options for center, and it’s an important position, even at GABP

      • Sandman

        Greenmtred, if a plyr has the ability to analyze and modify their approach then that negates a large portion of Age Related Decline (ARD). Obviously, any human being isn’t gonna be able to run as fast when they get older but this ability to analyze and modify (adapt) one’s approach would seem to indicate that there’s a way around ARD for a little while.

        The question then becomes whether a plyr has this ability to adapt. I’m sure you can remember some examples of a ballplayer not being able to adapt at the major league level. A recent example I can think of is the Reds signing of Cliff Pennington. That guy has been in the big leagues for 10 yrs (I think) and is only a career .240-something hitter. I read that offense is not his strong suit and it’s very evident. Ppl were saying (and still are) the same thing about Hamilton and I think he’s proven that he’s not gonna get better offensively.

        Some plyrs just have the ability to adapt and some don’t. I think there’s no doubt about that. So, on the question of whether or not Hamilton has the ability to adapt offensively and become a better hitter, I believe that he doesn’t.

        As far as his age…I’ve seen where even some of the redlegnation writers have begun to doubt if Billy’s gonna be able to hit. Just saying.

      • Sandman

        Greenmtred, One other thing. Every hitter goes through stretches where they are just seeing the ball better. Sometimes these stretches can last a whole month or just a handful of games.

        But after these “hot streaks” the plyr usually returns to their “normal”. It does not impress or even surprise me that Billy’s capable of “Hot Streaks”. He’ll eventually return to his normal of a .240-something batting avg. I believe this is the best he’s capable of on a consistent basis. And that’s not cutting it for me.

      • greenmtred

        Fair enough, Sandman, and you may be right about Billy. He has, however, had periods of decent hitting that lasted long enough–nearly half a season in one instance–that they may be more than a streak in which he’s seeing the ball better than usual.. Would it be good if the Reds could replace him with a guy who hits much better and plays center well? Sure. But until either Trammel or Siri is ready for mlb or such a player becomes available through trade or free-agency, he provides value. It would be unusual for him to radically improve his hitting at this point, but mlb players are, by definition, unusual, so it’s possible.

      • Sandman

        Greenmtred, in this half a season that Hamilton hit “well enough” what was his BA & OBP?

      • Shchi Cossack


        It wasn’t nearly half a season, post all star break of 2016 and only 45 games/174 AB.


      • greenmtred

        Thanks, Cossack. I stand corrected about the duration of the “streak,” but still maintain that 45 games is more than an accident or a period of time in which he saw the ball better than usual. He’s not a good hitter, but there have been times when he was acceptable, considering his defense, and I have to think that the talent to hit at this level is there, whether he’s able to capitalize on it or not.

      • greenmtred

        Sandman: Billy was third on the team in runs scored with 85 (Votto had 106, Suarez had 87).

      • Shchi Cossack

        Greenmtred, at the end of the 2016 season, I was right there with you regarding the possibility of Hamilton making the necessary adjustments at the plate to become an offensive force, even after just 150 PA. Unfortunately 2017 happened…again… and those 633 PA, along with his career 2,180 PA, can’t just be ignored. No one disputes Hamilton’s ability to score effectively once he reaches base, it’s just his inability to reach base or contribute effectively at the plate with runners on base.

        707 PA; 106 R; 100 RBI => Votto … 90 R/600 PA
        647 PA; 78 R; 99 RBI => Duvall … 72 R/600 PA
        633 PA; 85 R, 38 RBI => Hamilton … 80 R/600 PA
        632 PA; 87 R; 82 RBI => Suarez … 82 R/600 PA
        531 PA; 63 R; 67 RBI => Schebler … 72 R/600 PA
        518 PA; 50 R; 37 RBI => Peraza … 58 R/600 PA
        507 PA; 80 R; 63 RBI => Cozart … 94 R/600 PA
        497 PA; 80 R; 97 RBI => Gennett … 96 R/600 PA
        423 PA; 26 R; 44 RBI => Barnhart … 37 R/600 PA

        The one thing I think almost everyone agrees on regarding Hamilton is that if his only offensive contibution is the ability to score runs due to his speed, he should hit at the bottom of the lineup (preferably 9th after the pitcher) rather than at the top of the lineup (where Price insists on hitting him leadoff).

      • Shchi Cossack

        Hamilton scored runs significantly better than Peraza and Barnhart. That’s it, just Peraza and Barnhart. Both Peraza and Barnhart hit at the bottom of the lineup, in front of the pitcher, while Hamilton hit at the top of the lineup in front of Cozart and Votto.

        Hamilton scored runs marginally better than Duvall and Schebler. Both Duvall and Schebler hit in the middle of the lineup behind Cozart and Votto, while Hamilton hit in the top of the lineup in front of Cozart and Votto.

        If Hamilton starts in CF, there is simply no excuse for him hitting anywhere other than 9th.

        Before Senzel’s anticipated arrival sometime prior to the all star break:

        #1 Winker (whenever he starts)
        #2 Suarez
        #3 Votto
        #4 Duvall (whenever he starts)
        #5 Gennett (whenever he starts)
        #6 Peraza
        #7 Barnhart
        #8 Pitcher
        #9 Hamilton (whenever he starts)

        Gennett should only start against RH starting pitcher.

  6. Reaganspad

    I like that the “New Cincinnati Reds Manager Brian Price” will be giving Winker 500 abs. and that this new manager will be platooning Billy Hamilton.

    3 keys to the Reds being a playoff team:

    1) How well does the rotation perform. Will hurting or ineffective pitchers be sorted with those in the Queue at Louisville? i.e. Homer Bailey cannot have an ERA over 4.5, and that number might be 4.0 before one of those young guns champin at the bit get a shot.

    If the pitching staff can be deftly managed, routinely resting those injured in 2017 or non performing arms, this staff can keep the team in games.

    2) How well does the “new” manager Price work that outfield? Will Billy be allowed to continue to Switch Hit? Or be told you are no longer developing, we now need to refine you as a ML hitter. No more bunt experimentation, hit from one side and concentrate on the strike zone from one side. improve your plate discipline, keep your head still. If you do those things and your average rises to 270+ you are a starter but will still be platooned when you are overmatched. Same with Schebler. Duvall only gets 500 abs, and plenty of off days. This outfield managed properly, could be very good

    3) Peraza has to be 2016 Peraza for us to be a playoff team.

    I think also that Scooter needs to be platooned properly. Rookies like Dilson Herrera, Winker and Senzel on arrival need to be used, not sat. It would fun to see Ervin get some abs as well.

    Of course if all that happens, we sweep the Nationals in the first round and Price will be Manager of the Year. Of course, if he does those things or allows them to happen, while being the player manager in Peraza’s corner, we probably do want him to be our manager.

    • lwblogger2

      NL average ERA was 4.38 last season and was 4.54 for starters. I’d take a 4.50 out of Homer and be pretty happy, especially if he’s consistently giving them 6 IP each time out.

      Pretty much on the same page with you for everything else aside from maybe Hamilton giving up switch hitting. Most want to see him only hit from the LH side. Hamilton was a RH hitter up until a few years ago. I doubt he’s ever seen a LHP from the LH side. I think it’s too late to drop the switch hitting. He needs to hit at the bottom of the order and not play the “bunting game” so much in my opinion.

      Agree with you strongly on the platoons but the Reds and Price seem very averse to platooning based on LH/RH platoon splits. Schebler looked a lot better against LHP last year and if he can keep that up then maybe he doesn’t need to platoon.

  7. THNDRacket

    I think Eugenio Suarez should get some reps at SS and go with a 4-man rotation at 3rd, SS, and 2nd as well.

  8. Sliotar

    Let the real “season of sorting” begin.

    Winning would be an unexpected surprise, but I hope at a minimum that the Reds finally get serious about finalzing a rotation, and using the non-winners as trade bait to fill a position hole or two.

    The Dodgers manipulated the 10-day disabled list last season to carry a 8/9-man starting staff, but virtually all were established MLBers, not kids being shuttled back-and-forth from Oklahoma City.

    The playoff contenders have clearly established staffs, with defined roles, not Lorenzen and Garrett-types in their age 26 seasons, not even knowing yet if they are starters or relievers.

    • vegastypo

      The non-winners aren’t going to bring much. I’m not sure the Reds realize that to make a trade and actually get value, you have to give up value.

      • BigRedMike

        The Reds are now in a tough spot, teams in a similar spot as the Reds and teams are now smarter. They realize that the Reds Outfield other than Winker has no value.

        The Reds hope at this point is to develop their own players, draft well, and hit on some reasonably priced starting pitchers in a few years.

      • lwblogger2

        I certainly woudln’t say “no value”… It would however appear that they believe the Reds OF have less value than the Reds feel they have.

  9. scottya

    I can’t wait to see them play!

    Where will Nick Senzel Play? Must be answered in 2018. Hope the Club takes it’s time to seriously look at Senzel at SS, 2b and OF (including CF, see John Fay comment from yesterday); to determine what is best. This also works into the Red’s hands as far as team control over Senzel.

    The club has mentioned trying him at SS and John Fay seems to indicate there is talk about giving him a look in CF. If they are too concerned with public opinion to give him plenty of time to try SS and CF, it would be a shame. A slightly negative defensive war at SS is good enough for a player with the Hitting of Senzel.

    2019 if Senzel develops into a SS

    3b Suarez
    SS Senzel
    2b Blandino/Herrera/Gennett/Long
    1b Votto
    C Barnhart
    LF Winker
    CF AJ Pollock – winter 2018 signing
    RF Schebler

    The OBP is fixing to be fixed either way!

  10. old-school

    Sounds like Finnegan is being watched closely and will go a bit slower. He’s not in the top 3…. But ahead of Romano and Stephenson…who are ahead of lorenzen and Mahle.

    • Jim Walker

      There is an old axiom that a player never directly loses his job due to injury, that when he is ready to return, the job is his to lose. I’d suspect this is the case with both Finnegan and Disco. If they don’t understand this, they should go have a long heart to heart with Mesaroco

    • Joey Barrett

      Maybe I’ll look dumb later but I am the only one who thinks Mahle is being overlooked here? That kid can pitch! Maybe he doesn’t have the movement that some of the other guys do or dial it up quite as high but he looks like Mike Leake 2.0. If that’s the 5th pitcher in your rotation, your rotation looks pretty solid in my opinion. Yet everyone has him on the outside looking in. Barring an injury, I’m calling Mahle as the 5th man coming out of Spring Training. He’s historically had what his counterparts do not and that is solid, consistent control of his pitches.

  11. sezwhom

    Spring Training conjecture is always fun but it’s been my experience that what happens in February and March is usually much different by late April.

  12. David

    If Winker gets 500 AB’s this year, I’ll eat my hat. Barring one of the other three having some long term injury. Not saying that Winker shouldn’t get +500 AB’s. One of Duvall, Hamilton or Schebler should have been traded this winter. And still might in Spring Training. My guess is that nobody offered what the Reds wanted, and Castelini thinks Billy is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

    Pitching decides what kind of season the Reds have.
    Desclafani gets hurt again this season, by June.
    Finnegan may start in the bull pen, then may be in the rotation. By June.
    The door is open to Lorenzen, Stephenson, Mahle and Romano; and maybe someone else if they have a good spring.
    Jackson Stephens, Amir Garrett, and maybe Reed. I am not much of a Reed fan anymore.
    Castillo is already “in”, unless he pitches his way out of the rotation. He will get every opportunity to be a starter. Even if he gets lit up early on.

  13. Jim Walker

    To me it is testimony of the long term dysfunction of the Reds organization that Michael Lorenzen, the man who is likely the best all around outfieder (sum of defense, hitting and base running) on the 40 man roster, is battling for a spot in the starting rotation. If Lorenzen were a slam dunk for the top of the rotation, that would be different. However, he isn’t; and, in fact, his relief work last year was less than stellar.

    Meanwhile Hamilton who has chronically been bottom of the barrel offensively and is likely only slightly better (if at all) defensively than Lorenzen would be in CF will be given as many ABs as his health will permit because he is a good base stealer on the rare occassions he actually gets on base. If this were twitter I’d say #squarepegsinroundholes.

    • old-school

      I am optimistic Lorenzen will bounce back. He had a tough second half. He’s a young pitcher who doesn’t have it all figured out. Bench stunk in 1971. Bruce was awful in 2014. Even Cueto didn’t take a linear route and he struggled last year too as a veteran to validate his contract.

      What if lorenzen comes out firing on all cylinders? I don’t see him making the rotation but you can’t send him to the bullpen if he’s looking great starting. Could he end up in Louisville for April?

      • Optimist

        “Bench stunk in 1971”? He was an all-star, gold glove winner for the 4th consecutive year.

      • old-school

        Offensively a bad year .238/.299./423/.722 .
        Not going there. He’s My fav Red of all time . Point being even the greatest hiccup sometimes..

      • Optimist

        It was a down year for lots of the team, but we did get to enjoy the debut season of Al Michaels on the play by play.

      • JB WV

        I could see Lorenzen making the rotation if he looks strong in ST( hopefully correcting those mechanical issues he had in the second half) and Finnegan struggles. There’s that second lefty in the bp. Should be a fluid situation with so many arms.

    • big5ed

      Lorenzen hasn’t hit as a regular since 2013 in his junior year at Cal State Fullerton, where he hit .335. In MiLB, he was 7-for-30 in 2014 with a homer at Pensacola, and in rehab assignments in Louisville since then, he’s been 0-11. He is 12-53 with 2 HR in Cincinnati. He could probably have hit, but that ship has long since sailed.

      It is a big stretch to say he “is” a better “all around outfielder” than Winker, Schebler, Duvall and even Hamilton, having not ever seen a game-speed flyball in the major leagues. He isn’t a disastrous PH option, but needs tons more ABs to be effective.

      I do wish that the Reds would come up with a mechanism to train their pitchers to hit better. Last year as a team, their pitchers were 13th in the NL in OPS, slashing .105/.127/.130, with 0 HRs and a league-low 4 BBs. I think they should try to get 100 ABs in Hunter Greene, both so he can hit a bit when he gets to MLB, or so that he can hit the ground running as a position player if he hurts his arm.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Interesting perspective, Jim. Maybe if he doesn’t make it as a pitcher, Lorenzen will try to come back as a position player, as did Rick Ankiel.

      • Jim Walker

        Agree but I doubt it would happen with the Reds. Since he is already a super 2 this season unless he ends up as a middle of the rotation by the end of the season or is absolutely dominating from the pen, I’d look for the Reds to trade him cheap or if that fails to nontender him.

        What Lorenzen has going for him is that he will have 2 remaining options after this season regardless of whether he gets optioned at some point during 2018. That makes him attractive to any team willing to take him as a reclamation project if they could sign him on the cheap as a nontendered player.

    • jim t

      slightly better defensively if at all. You have to be kidding.

      • Jim Walker

        To be clear, I’m saying that I suspect that over time while Hamilton would probably be the better defensive CF of the two, the margin by which he was better would be very narrow.

        The MLB world other than the Reds was poised to draft Lorenzen in the mid 2nd round as a CF, not a pitcher. With the Reds we have seen bursts of Lorenzen’s athletic skills. He runs bases with a speed and quickness which infers he could cover OF territory probably at least as well as Drew Stubbs did. His history of being a highly ranked CF in NCAA D1 infers he knows how to go after the ball; and, made the plays when he got to the ball. And obviously he has an outstanding arm.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        You just wonder if him being as muscularly ripped as we saw him in the recent picture taken while I think he was taking batting practice in California (can’t find it at the moment) is a good thing for a pitcher.

      • Jim Walker

        I’d hope with the Reds increased interest in sports science that these sort of things were being evaluated and that the players are receiving specific and helpful guidance.

      • Chris Miller

        I saw a lot of Lorenzen at CSUF. Great kid, great story, but NOT a great CFer, or hitter. Yes, he was solid in college both defensively and offensively, but not even comparable to Hamilton defensively by any stretch. I’d even suggest that he probably wouldn’t be a better hitter than Hamilton either. Hitting isn’t easy. Lorenzen is a talented pitcher, and I think he could start, but offensively; he’s at best a pitcher who can hit good; probably no better than Leake could hit.

      • Steve Mancuso

        You’re right about defense. But the right question is whether Lorenzen would be a capable CF, not whether he’d be as good as a Gold Glove nominee. Regarding hitting, you might be right. But Billy Hamilton is the worst, softest hitter in baseball who also doesn’t get on base. It wouldn’t take much in terms of power or walking to provide more of an offensive contribution than Hamilton. That said, Bryan Price will probably give Hamilton the most at bats again for the fifth year in a row.

      • Indy Red Man

        I never saw Leake take one out to right-center about 420 away like Lorenzen did when his dad passed.

      • old-school

        Someone help me on this. If lorenzen were a starter… much would his hitting help his pitching ???. Assuming a lot..but if he were to become a solid starter … much additional value would his 2-3 at bats provide every 5 th day… Could he actually win 1 -2 more games as a pitcher by being a hitter over 30 starts?

        A lot of assumptions.

      • Chris Miller

        Again, I’m not trying to knock Lorenzen. I’m a huge fan of his, and he was outstanding at CSUF, especially his final season. But one has to understand the percentage of college players that can make it in MLB. Not many; about 1%. And no, Leake doesn’t have the power of Lorenzen, but in college they hit rather comparatively, especially when you consider that Leake played in a much tougher Pac 12 division, vs Lorenzen in the Big West. Keep in mind, as good as Lorenzen was, his final year he hit just 7 HR’s in 200+ Ab’s, and that’s with Composite bats. Remember, Hamilton actually hit pretty decent in the minors, and that’s even with learning how to hit left handed. It’s just not easy. Hamilton is just not a good hitter, but I doubt Lorenzen would be either. Would his hitting help him as a starter? Sure, to the degree that he’s probably out hit most other starting pitchers, but only for a time. Usually as they age, and with less hitting focus they stop hitting that well. Again, Leake is a case in point, who isn’t a good hitter at all anymore.

      • old-school

        That’s good stuff. I still wonder though if he barrels up 2-3 balls a year and simply hits .225 with power….does that increase his value/war over 30 starts and make him a good #4 starter.? Hitting pitchers in the NL is unchartered waters… Leake didn’t have power. At GABP….lorenzen could hit 3 HR

      • Nick Carrington

        Lorenzen probably wouldn’t be a good hitter, but for the next few years, he would likely be better than most other starters at the plate. Baseball seems to be a game of tiny advantages that add up to something significant. Lorenzen’s ability at the plate would be one such (tiny) advantage.

        None of that matters if he doesn’t show better command of multiple pitches and that he can go 2.5-3 times through a lineup.

      • VaRedsFan

        I’m with Chris Miller here. Lorenzen was just 2-12 last year. He might be at the point where opposing pitchers at least have to pay attention to him hitting. He most likely got the pitcher treatment before, and was able to get a few hits before pitchers caught on.

        It has taken to great Jesse Winker 5.5 years just to get to the majors. Going back to the minors to try to learn hitting would be a waste of time, unless he blew out his arm pitching. Lorenzen isn’t close to even being a good MLB hitting pitcher. He only seems good next to the less than paltry Reds pitchers at the plate

    • greenmtred

      Jim: I’m not sure what basis you have for calling Lorenzen the best outfielder on the 40-man. He’s done little hitting and no fielding in pro ball, as far as I know, and the weeds are littered with fine athletes who aren’t fine baseball players.

  14. Jeff Reed

    “…Winker needs to be number one on the outfield depth chart.” I agree wholeheartedly, but as long as Price is the manager I doubt it will happen. Winker is the best young outfield talent the Reds have except in the minors coming up. He has average defensive ability but the Reds need his OBP talent to go with Votto’s.

    • jim t

      Winkler will get his at bats. The only reason he wasn’t in the outfield more last year was Duvall and Scheibler were both putting up very good power numbers. I believe the reds would have liked to moved one of them this winter but with Yelich, Ozuno,Stanton and a couple of others out there The market was not good. Sitting them last year could have hurt their value.They knew we were not competing in 2017. Winker is a LF. His OBP is good but his fielding is a tad below average. Duvall has more pop and is a much better fielder and as you mentioned he has durability issues. He was available all winter. No takers. The reds could have gave him away or try to move him at the deadline. Hopefully he gets off well and some team has a need at the deadline.

  15. jreis

    everyone on this site is high on Winker and Senzel. I just dont know where the two fit in long term with the reds. did anybody watch Winker play right field last year? it was a scary site. watching Senzel in the minors forget about him playing second or short. too immobile. he can play 3rd but we already have Suarez.

    maybe we package them in a deal for a pitcher?

    • big5ed

      Senzel has 32 steals in 187 games in the minors, which doesn’t sound too immobile to me. If they can put up with Scooter at 2B, they can put up with Senzel.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      I remember clearly Marty B. saying during a game late in the year that if Winker is going to be able to play every day, it’s going to have to be in left field. He didn’t elaborate, and I didn’t see all that many games with my own eyes late in the year, but I will certainly take Marty’s word for it. Seems pretty clear that the guy can hit and get on base, but he could turn into a defensive liability if he’s not in left field. So then what do you do with Duvall, who is perhaps the best defensive left fielder I have seen with the Reds? Wait and see, I suppose.

      • JB WV

        If memory serves, which can be dubious at my age, Winker played rf most of the time last year and looked alright, made a couple nice plays. I’d like to see him get some work at first, in case the Big Man goes down. Couldn’t hurt.

      • doofus

        I think a comp for Winker is Mike Greenwell. Anyone remember him?

      • Reaganspad

        Careful Tom,

        Marty’s take about Joey Votto should give one pause


      The same thing was said about Ripken and Jeff Kent. He was judged the best def 3b in his league. If he is immobile then why talk about CF? Just saying….

    • citizen54

      That’s why there’s a knock on Winker for his lack of power. If he is just going to be a high OBP guy with below average defense and below average speed and no power in RF he isn’t going to be very valuable. If you extrapolate his production from last year out to 500 at bats he would have produced 1.8 fWAR. That’s not saying he won’t get better and ya it was only his first year but I’m not as high on him as some of the others are. For now I’d give Schleb and Winker equal playing time until one pulls away from the other. Maybe one of them could even give Duvall an occasional a spell in left.

      • BigRedMike

        Duvall had a wRC+ of 98, which is below average. In addition, Fangraphs shows a negative defensive rating.

        Not sure why Duvall is untouchable in Left Field for the Reds.

        A team in the Reds position needs to be developing position players and determining if they are in the long term plans. It may turn out that WInker is not the answer, which is an issue for the Reds in regards to competing in the future.

      • Indy Red Man

        That’s bs? Duvall led the league in assists and almost won a GG? I think he’ll be a good player if Price limits his atbats. Winker does need to play somewhere though?

      • Reaganspad

        agreed Indy,

        I would have to also call bs on Duvall being a less than average defensive LF.

        He is a very good LF

      • bouwills

        Here’s the issue with replacing Duvall with Winker in LF. It’s the BEGINNING of the season. Pre-ASB Adam has been very productive. 61 RBI both of the last 2 seasons. 23 HR ,44 XBH, & a .249/.288/.839 slashline by the ASB in 2016, then better in 2017 with 20HR, 49XBH, & .278/.321/.828 line. If Price gives him a few days off vs rhp, his stats may be even more impressive. How do you bench a guy like that? You don’t. Unless Duvall regresses early this spring, he’ll play left. You just can’t bench a player based on what he hasn’t done at the last third of a season -in the first third of that season.

      • greenmtred

        Most comments here acknowledge that defensive metrics leave a lot to be desired. See Indy’s comment.

      • lwblogger2

        But he’s 12th in all of baseball in outs above average according to Statcast

        Not sure what you mean about a negative defensive rating either. Fangraphs has him with a UZR/150 of 5.5 (0 is average) and has him at 8 Defensive Runs Saved (0 is average)

        I’m a little wishy-washy on defensive metrics but he passes the eye test too and I think the Statcast data will only make defensive metrics better and better.

      • Indy Red Man

        I’m confused (as usual)? How does a season full of a sterling .904 ops only produce 1.8 war? I’m an old man..pls humor me….”war what is it good for? Absolutely NOTHING…say it again”

      • citizen54

        I dun goofed up, should actually be 2.2 fWAR. He would have been an average to above average player last year if he had 500 AB. You are right though in that WAR isn’t the end all stat. It just kind of tidies of bunch of things up into one little number so it’s a good staring point.

      • Shchi Cossack

        “If you extrapolate his production from last year out to 500 at bats he would have produced 1.8 fWAR.” Huh???

        If you extrapolate Winker’s production from last season to 500 PA (not even a full season), he puts up a 2.5WAR. If you extrapolate Winker’s production from last season to a full season of production, he puts up a 4.0 WAR.

        The issue with Winker is certainly his capability to produce an effective ISO, but his .231 ISO in limited (137 PA) opportunities made a positive impression, even if not predictive.

      • citizen54

        You’re right my calc was a little off. It should be 2.2 fWAR for 500 PA which is pretty good. Steamer has him at .146 ISO for 2018. I guess we will see if his lack of power previously was due to his wrist injury or if it is going to be his norm.

        All, I’m saying if he doesn’t have much power he isn’t going to be very valuable in right field. He’s got a high floor because of his ability to get on base but his lack of power, speed and defense could possible prevent him from being a 3-4 WAR player. I seem him as being worth 1.5-2.5 WAR which is still valuable. Now if he can put up a .231 ISO like he did last year obviously that changes things.

    • lwblogger2

      Have you actually seen Senzel play defense? He has nice feet, a good first step. He moves well laterally. I’m not sure he can really handle SS but he could certainly handle 2B and he is enough of an athlete to at least give a nice look to him at SS.

  16. Jim Walker

    Agree it would have been appropriate for me to have inserted a “potentially” or “highest ceiling” in there somewhere.

    My recollection is that at the time the Reds drafted Lorenzen with an extended 1st round pick, it was said most teams had him as a mid 2nd rounder with a ceiling no worse than a 4th outfielder at the MLB level. Most notably, Lorenzen himself has been quoted as saying that prior to the draft, no team, including the Reds, had talked to him about pitching. He showed up at the Reds rookie camp expecting to be an OF was told he was going to be a pitcher.

    Four or five years later they still don’t know if Lorenzen is a starting pitcher. Meanwhile they are 4 years committed to playing a guy in CF who looks to be a 5th OF specialty player. The dysfunction isn’t about whether as things stand Lorenzen could today step in today and play CF everyday, although from what limited looks we’ve had at his athletic skills, it is probable the drop off from Hamilton to him would be quite small if at all defensively and on overall base running. The dysfunction is that the Reds on the one hand have to date wasted a 1st round pick and have a substandard all around CF when in fact they may have had a better option in house all along.

  17. Redleg Commenter

    I’m really looking forward to the duel for the fifth rotation spot. Keeping my fingers crossed that the top four stay healthy, at least to May. That’s not so unreasonable, is it?

  18. jessecuster44

    I think that anyone caught saying “Trust the Process” should be tarred and feathered. Cincy fans know all about the process. Here’s to seeing some results this year!

    • doofus

      I like it…Results! Take the “Process” and stick it up….! You know what I mean. Tarring and feathering is to kind. How about listening to all of Walt Jocketty’s “excuse” speeches from the last 15 years?

  19. Sandman

    In matching your off-season frustration at the length of this rebuild, I’d like to know what DW would have to say about this rebuild going a little longer than they had originally said. As far as I can tell, this rebuild started in 2013 or 2014. They said something about 3 yrs and it’s going to wind up being 4 or 5 yrs….and that’s IF everyone stays healthy and progresses like they’re supposed to.

    • VaRedsFan

      The “company stance answer” is “We were set back by injuries” which is somewhat valid, if you are into excuses.
      Other teams have injuries, but don’t try to overcome them by bringing in Arroyo, Feldman, Adelman, Simon, Marquis, ect…. Good teams overcome such setbacks, or at least show a path to the future, not the washed up past

      • Sandman

        That’s what I figured…the injury angle. But, I like your take on it, about overcoming.

    • lwblogger2

      Rebuild really started in earnest after the 2014 season or perhaps one could argue at the 2015 deadline. So, it hasn’t been going on as long as you think. I’d say the end of 2014 when the Reds moved Leake etc, is when the rebuild really started. So, 2017 would have been the end of year 3. That puts them 1 year behind in my book as 2018 looks to be another rebuilding year. That 1 year doesn’t make it a failure in my book but if it continues to go on beyond that then I feel they clearly botched it. The Reds need to put a competitive team on the field next year or the rebuild could be considered a failure. My fear is that is exactly what is going to happen as I haven’t been a fan of how any of it has been handled. That’s why you’ll see my #RebuildBinder in so many of my tweets etc.

  20. Redleg Commenter

    Here’s my question, what is up with Dillson Herrera? Last year was lost. Does he make a comeback this year? I read some things that had me slightly excited for him when the Bruce trade went down, but now I got that Mes-y feeling about his prospects.

  21. bmblue

    1. Homer
    2. Finnegan (maybe gets hurt again, which will send him to the 2019 bullpen)
    3. Castillo
    4. Romano
    5. Stephenson (another candidate to move to bullpen if inconsistency beckons again)

    Mahle waiting in the wings and move into the rotation sometime this year.

    Reed and Lorenzen to the pen.

    Stephens and Davis as the AAAA starters, DL fill ins.

    Garrett the wild card. Likely needs one more opportunity to start this year at some point. If it doesn’t work, he’s 26, move him to the pen and get on with it.

    • bmblue

      I don’t think we can factor in Disco until he proves otherwise honestly

  22. scotly50

    The real question is, If the pitching staff is healthy, is this team a viable threat for the division title. Can this team compete with the Cardinals or Cubs, and the suddenly aggressive Brewers, for that matter?

    This team has needs to “hustle up” 25 more wins just to reach 500, much less compete with the those teams. I am not sure “freeing Winker”, “batting Hamilton 9th”, “moving Finnegan to the pen”, “starting Lorenzen”, and a healthy staff of Bailey, Castillo, Disco, (plug in other two from list), are enough to get to 500 playing the majority of our games in the division.

    • Sliotar

      You raise a good (and troubling) point, the current position players just aren’t that good, for the most part.

      2 WAR is considered average for a MLB position player.

      Last season, Reds had 4 position players above 2 WAR:

      Votto (age 35 season now) 6.6
      Cozart (gone) 5.0
      Suarez (career year) 4.1.
      Gennett (career year) 2.4

      For 2018,
      Hamilton, Schebler, Duvall, Peraza and Barnhart are all projected below 2 WAR.
      Gennett is as well.

      Since the Reds are currently unwilling to spend, running out Hamilton and the rest this season while the SP sorts is what it is. Mayble MN Twins 2017, lightning in a bottle hits, but unlikely.

      That’s also why I don’t see the Reds trading for Chris Archer, or any other SP. The young SP has to be cheap and good and Winker and Senzel off-set Votto’s inevitable decline. Team resources go towards free agency replaces the Hamiltons and Duvalls positionally to get the wins up to playoff level.

    • Indy Red Man

      Unfortunately that’s not in question:( Not for 2018 anyway. Ozuna, Darvish, Yelich, Cain, etc, etc etc added to the division while the Reds did nothing. I could see Milw’s pitching falling apart, but I think Ozuna will be a monster for the Cards. Not to mention both the Cubs/Cards will do whatever they have to do before the trade deadline.

      • JoshG

        I completely disagree about Ozuna, I am VERY happy the Reds didn’t trade for him, I think he is going to bust with the Cardinals. average/good at best, he’ll never come close to the career year he had last year again.

      • Indy Red Man

        He has tremendous bat speed? I hope you’re right though.

      • JoshG

        that said doesn’t look like the cardinals gave tooo much for him

    • lwblogger2

      Yeah Preach!!! That would be most awesome… Looking forward to seeing you on more as the season gets going. Always great to read your stuff.

  23. maxblue

    Wow! One workout and Homer’s back on the DL! (Just kidding, but just for a moment, didn’t you believe it? Here’s basically the same suspects that won 68 games last year, all vulnerable to slumps and injuries – I wouldn’t pencil anyone into the rotation just yet.) I wrote elsewhere that hope never dies, it just hibernates. Mine is waking up and stretching, but the sand it’s rubbing out of its eyes is the sand that was kicked in its face last year. When the team is better it will look different than it does this spring. Still, it’s spring and anything can happen.

    • Colorado Red

      No one was healthy last year (of the big 3).
      I would expect at least 1 of them to be on the DL when the season opens.
      However, if healthy, they can range from ok to good.
      I am more optimistic (of course I usually am).

  24. Shchi Cossack

    This season’s arrival of pitchers and catchers reporting provided the least excitement and anticipation for the Old Cossack of any season in the past 10-20 years. The Reds front office ranks no better than the bottom half of MLB and that’s an significant improvement from the WJ/BC years. The 2017/2018 off season demonstrated one inescapable impression…vitually every MLB organization has moved into the new age of data and analytics. Every team is focused on spending wisely, even the big market spenders. The value of WAR, as defined by spending for veteran FA’s, decreased for the first time as teams seriously considered future value as opposed to past value when signing FA veterans.

    Not only are the Reds in the bottom half of MLB management, but they are also in the bottom half of market size and all the budget ramifications that entails. When those factors are combined with the demonstrated nepotistic proclivity of Reds ownership, the future doesn’t really look too bright.

    • doofus

      “Nepotistic proclivity,” I like it! Let us not forget “Insularity.”

    • old-school

      Nick Senzel has been at Arizona for a month working with Freddy Benavides??? That’s big news. Also tells you a ball player .

      • Shchi Cossack

        Actually, it’s not news at all. Senzel’s early appearance in Arizona to work on his defense was reported previously, but yes Senzel is a ballplayer. Winker is another ballplayer. Suarez is another ballplayer. Votto is another ballplayer. Duvall is another ballplayer. Barnhart is another ballplayer. Cozart is another ballplayer, but he is gone.

        With the plethora of 2B options for both the present and near-future, I hope the Reds are not pigeon-holing Senzel at 2B as the preferred option to 3B. I like that he’s getting some experience and a looksee at SS too. If Peraza does pan out as a viable SS option, the OF may be where the best oppotunity exist for a serious impact.

  25. Shchi Cossack

    Even with the reduced excitement and anticipation, baseball is still baseball and the Reds are still the Reds.

    Can the starting pitching remain even reasonably healthy? If so, then who and how many of the youngsters will step up to the opportunites available?

    Bailey and Disco have 2 years of team control available after the 2018 season. Lorenzen and Finnegan have 3 years of team control after the 2018 season.If the younsters do finally step up to the challenge, moving Disco or Bailey at the trade deadline or during next off season comes into play. Moving Bailey’s contract combine with the expiration of Mesoraco’s contract would provide the Reds with much needed budget relief to add players through trade or FA. Moving Disco should provide a huge windfall of talent to the organization. Will Bailey and Disco stay healthy and productive in 2018 to provide a trade opportunity?

    Will the Reds and Suarez sign a contract extention to include 1-2 years of FA? Suarez has 2 years of team control after the 2018 season. Without a contract extention, the Reds may need to also look at trading Suarez for arbitration salary relief and a bevy of prospects.

    Will Hamilton surprise everyone (except maybe BC and BP) with a surge in plate discipline and power to the tune of a .350 OBP & 1.40 ISO? I think any realist serious doubts an offensive turnaround is possible for Hamilton. The real issue rests with Price and how and how much Price will utilize Hamilton and his offensive woes during the 2018 season. I think the same realist have the same doubt that Price will adapt and change how and how much Hamilton is utilized. Hamilton will get expensive for his limited utility during his final 2 seasons of arbitration after the 2018 season.

    Will Peraza show up defensively at SS and offensively at the plate in 2018? The is reason to hope on both fronts, but also enough concern to limit any excitement heading into spring training.

    Will Scooter reprise his breakout 2017 season in 2018? Again, I don’t think the realists expect a HOF level reprise, but the issue again falls on Price. Will Price effectively manage a 2B platoon after repeatedly demonstrating both the lack of ability and lack of desire to effectively manage a platoon situation previously.

    Price should have a starting rotation capable of at least holding their own and providing an expectation of 6 innings per start. He should also have a bullpen stacked to provide arms capable of quality, multi-inning outings. Can Price manage a bullpen for high-leverage appearances rather than just narrowly defined roles?

    A lot of the questions seem to rest with Price as a manager rather than the players and their on-field performance. That’s just sad.

    • Jeff Reed

      Your last paragraph sums up my expectations for the coming season. The manager doesn’t hit and field but he does make the daily lineup, and I see that as a major factor in a possible Reds season record of .500 plus or minus five games.

    • doofus

      “Moving Disco should provide a huge windfall of talent to the organization.” Really?

    • james garrett

      It is sad when its not on the players but rather on the manager.What’s worse is he is allowed to get away with it.

    • lwblogger2

      I really, really dislike moving players that aren’t on their last year of control and that are productive. I think that’s how teams end up in more of a perpetual rebuild cycle. The model works sometimes for the Rays but oftentimes they end up just not being a very good team. It almost certainly fails in leading to championships… Now, moving vets who are making top-market money is another thing. That said, I think the Reds would be hard pressed to move Disco or Bailey for much of anything even if they do have nice bounce-back 2018 seasons. It is doubtful either of them could be counted on to be much more than middle of the rotation type work. That has value but not $20-million value in the case of Bailey and until Disco shows he can go 170+ IP a season or two, he won’t have that much value either.

      Side note… As I’ve said before, I’d be thrilled with middle-of-the-rotation type work from Bailey this year if he is healthy and can give the Reds a solid 6 IP per game on most nights. Thrilled!

  26. Ethan L

    I had a dream last night wherein I was arguing with someone about why Finnegan shouldn’t get a free pass into the rotation. I was trying to appeal to his FIP. I woke up saying something like “look at his F-I-P.” I don’t know if I was subconsciously remembering some article on this site about how Finnegan’s FIP was a little suspect. Anyway, it’s baseball time!

  27. JoshG

    Reds prospect Nick Senzel has worked out at both second base and shortstop at Cincinnati’s spring training complex.

    Senzel arrived to camp a month before he was due to report, and he’s used that time to work on his defense up the middle. He’s spent most of his collegiate and professional career at third base, but with above-average speed, soft hands and a solid arm, he has the skills to play anywhere on the infield. With Eugenio Suarez currently at the hot corner, Senzel’s best chance of playing everyday is up the middle, and the bat certainly plays at second or shortstop. He could be a regular in the Cincinnati lineup before the summer is over. Feb 14 – 7:00 PM

    if he could be good (enough) at SS that would be HUGE

    • Indy Red Man

      Senzel at SS is one of the only ways I can see this offense turning the corner. Peraza is still young, but no power/low obp is not the daily double that you want to hit. His choppy swing does make a lot of contact and the best way for him to contribute would be as some kind of a pesky Dustin Pedroia wannabe. He had 15 walks and only 20Ks in the 2nd half last year, but only 1 hr in 164 atbats. 8-10 pitch atbats have value, but then he gets himself out too often by swinging at the first borderline pitch he sees? I’m not rooting against Peraza, but I don’t see how he remains a regular in Cincinnati?

    • Bill

      Senzel playing SS would definitely change things and answer some questions for the Reds. The IF would be set for at least the next couple of years. The only questions left to answer would be who gets the corner OF spots and can they form a decent rotation out of what they already have under control

  28. Bill

    Everyone talks about Duvall staying in LF, but many years ago when I was younger they wanted their best OF arm in RD for the throw to 3B.

    • Shchi Cossack

      You identify yet another real head scratcher with BP’s roster management. Duvall was moved to LF as a pure experiment,

      • Shchi Cossack

        , with little to no OF experience. The power in his bat was intriguing, but his defense at 3B was poor at best. Since the Reds had no real solid options for LF, Duvall was moved to LF as the easier corner OF position to play. Duvall not only adjusted to LF, but he thrived.

        There’s no question that Duvall’s arm plays in RF and the Reds OF defense would almost certainly improve with Duvall in RF, but BP simply won’t adapt. Once a role is defined in his head, he simply remains stubbornly committed to that defined role.

      • BK

        Duvall has stated he’s more comfortable in LF as he is used to reading the spin from the left side of the field from his time at 3B. That said, at this point he would likely be able to adjust.

  29. JoshG

    Reds signed INF Cliff Pennington to a one-year contract.

    It’s a split contract that will pay him a $1.5 million salary if he makes the Reds’ major league roster and far less if he is relegated to Triple-A Louisville. Pennington batted just .235/.306/.330 with three home runs over 87 games with the Angels in 2017, but he can play all around the infield defensively.

    Source: Jerry Crasnick on Twitter

    Feb 15 – 12:17 PM

    • David

      It’s Skip Schumacher fever! Catch it!

      • lwblogger2

        In all fairness, Pennington is a much better defender than Schumacher ever was. He’s an insurance policy and can actually play SS if Peraza gets hurt and Senzel just can’t.

  30. Indy Red Man

    Just read about Jake Peavy. Scammed out of millions and desperate to make some $ back. Had a 5.54 era last year. That has innings eater with the Reds written all over it.

    • WVRedlegs

      He lives about 45 minutes from Pensacola in Alabama. But The Angels have a AA team in Mobile, AL, which is a little closer. And the Brewers have a AA team in nearby Biloxi, MS. Both of those teams are in need of a starter. All 3 venues offer Peavy a place where he could pitch 4-6 games in preparation and be close to home until he is ready. I have a feeling he will lean towards the Angels, but that is just a guess.

  31. Shchi Cossack

    Regarding the prospect for a contract extension…

    “We’ll see,” Suarez said. “We’re still talking.”

    • Shchi Cossack

      That’s the best news that the Old Cossack has heard coming out of the Reds camp in a while.

      • David

        If the Reds don’t have Suarez signed to a multi year deal out of THIS Spring Training, then I don’t think they will ultimately keep him. If he has a pretty good year, then I seem him either walking or getting traded. Which is too bad, because I think he is the personality and player they should keep.
        I don’t see a Castelini approving too many big contracts anymore, because he is actually more concerned with making money than winning, despite what he says in public. A winner would make money, but it would also be a payroll risk.
        Bob Castelini = Mike Brown 2.0

  32. old-school

    Pretty interesting Michael lorenzen quotes from zach Buchanan today. He s wanted to start all along and not sure how he got pigeon holed into a reliever.

    “Let’s see what you got Sal and Rob.”

    Should be fun to watch.