2018 Reds

Joey Votto on the State of the Reds: “Something needs to start changing”

You read my mind, Joey Votto.

Votto has arrived at Cincinnati Reds spring training, and he spoke with the assembled media, as is customary. Besides making a joke about his off-season — “I tried to get fatter” — Votto expressed some thoughts about the ongoing Reds rebuild.

Votto has voiced patience with the rebuild in the past, but Sunday signaled a more urgent desire to start the clock on winning.

“I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball,” Votto said. “I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”

Go read Zach Buchanan’s entire piece, and especially watch the video of Votto. As always, his comments are measured and thoughtful.

Votto has certainly expressed my feelings with a certain accuracy. I’m really starting to get the point where I’m starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I know why it’s necessary, and I know that the hoped-for result of this stretch is a team that can be competitive over a longer stretch of time than the last time around.

But it’s getting tiresome. I’m ready to see some progress on the field. I’m ready to see the Reds winning more games. I don’t expect a playoff run this year…

…but something needs to start changing.


And just because I don’t know where to put this…Scooter Gennett says Winning Starts Now ™.

47 thoughts on “Joey Votto on the State of the Reds: “Something needs to start changing”

  1. Votto said what I think most of us in the Nation think. There’s certainly enough talent in the lineup to be dangerous, if it’s managed well. The pitching’s got a lot of potential, but had as many questions.

    Hopefully the team can put it together and start winning. I don’t expect a playoff run, but I do expect the Reds to be better. I can see this team winning 75-80 games.

    Two things really stood out to me as to how he views himself in relation to this club.

    He said that winning the MVP would’ve been slightly embarrassing on a last place team, and he said he wants to see some of the young guys become “marquee players in OUR city.”

    This is another way he shows me at least that he truly cares about this club and this city and he values winning over his own (prodigious) numbers.

  2. … No kidding, Joey.

    But seeing as management hasn’t listened to the fans, maybe they’ll listen to the face of the franchise.

    • I see nothing in the comments that suggest this is directed specifically at management.

      Also, the fans shouldn’t really be the driving force in the management office.

      • Yes, those stupid fans. What do they know? The teams don’t really need the fans. They will make plenty of money without them.

        And Votto: at the end of his interview, he should have said “Amen”. Because that’s what you say at the end of a prayer.

        Joey, sorry. Salad Shooter Bob isn’t listening. And he isn’t listening to the fans either. The losing will continue.

        • Ownership & management’s job is to build a winning baseball team, not pander to the fans. Let the marketing team handle fan engagement, giveaways, and fireworks nights.

          The GM should be solely focused on doing whatever is necessary to win games. Because the best way to put butts in the seats is not Star Wars nights, Fireworks Fridays or magnetic calendars but winning games.

          Pandering to fans and their feelings is why Todd Frazier was not traded at the peak of his value. It’s why Billy Hamilton is still on the team. It’s why Raisel Iglesias has not been traded. Ownership is worried about how fans would feel.

          One need only look at the Cubs and Astros to see ownership willing to make the hard decisions needed to build a winning ballclub. Milwaukee is doing it right now.

          Worrying about fan feelings is partially why this rebuild has taken so long.

          • Except Castellini hired Jocketty out of loyalty and Jocketty killed the farm and over paid for ex-cardinals. So yea, fans having no confidence in management or ownership has been well earned.

          • Aaron, I’m not saying the fans should have confidence in management. I am saying that ownership (BC) needs to get out of the day to day operations of running the team and player movements.

            DW should have enough clout to entertain trade offers/move players completely on his own unless they are named Votto, Senzel, or Greene. Castellini coming out and saying Hamilton should be part of the team for a long time to come is not a tactic to drive up his trade value, it’s just a silly comment from an owner trying to make the fans feel better.

            And when I say fans, I’m talking the overwhelming majority of Reds fans. These are the fans who show up for Opening Day, forget about the team for a while and ask around the All Star break where they are in the standings. We as members of RN are the exception, not the rule.

          • We don’t actually know why various trades weren’t made (yet). It’s just as likely that the offers weren’t ample enough as it is that fear of fan reaction stopped them. Fans need to be considered in many ways, but not when it comes to personnel decisions.

          • Hah…listen to the fans. Which fans? Just on this site there are a 1000 opinions…thoughtful all, but none fully informed. Its not that fans aren’t needed…nothing feeds on itself more than a stadium full of fans, but running a baseball team is really not a democracy.

        • I TOTALLY don’t get the sarcasm in the first sentence.

          We’re talking about assembling a team here, not about what fans want in terms of entertainment and ballpark experience. Of course the fans matter in that regard.

          And of course fans want to back a winner — do you really think management doesn’t understand that? Do you really think that’s not their long-term goal? But there’s NO WAY they should “listen to the fans” when deciding which pieces to put where, and the timetable for accomplishing it.

          That’s simply not how sports works.

          • Hiring Jocketty was not about winning, it was about bringing in his old buddy from St. Louis (this Reds ownership group are ex-Cardinals owners) and they have made a series of head scratching moves bringing in ex-Cardinals. So yea I do suspect there is more at play than building a winner. There is a ton of nepotism going on that brought us to this point. Jocketty is still a “special adviser”. Why is he involved in anything after what he has done?

          • That’s one theory.

            Anyway, it doesn’t really address my point, in any significant way.

            No decent front office will listen to the fans when deciding roster moves. They should do what’s best in order to achieve success — whether it be short-, medium-, or long-range.

      • “We will not rest until you are happy. The Reds are, after all, your team.” ~Bob Castellini, W. Joseph Williams, Jr., Thomas Williams

        • The entire organization. Players, managerial staff, front office — everybody. He’s saying it’s time to make the rebuilding pay off.

          When somebody is intentionally vague, unfortunately the listener tends to fill in the blanks they way they WANT to hear them. If all of one’s ire is directed at the front office, the listener will assume he’s badmouthing the front office.

          But that simply doesn’t appear to be the case here. He’s lighting a fire under the whole organization. And that’s a fine thing to do.

          • 3 years of losing and the team basically stands pat while everyone else in the division is making aggressive moves… yea its bad for morale and Votto is strongly hinting that they better make some moves soon. If they somehow surprise this year they should make some moves at the deadline. Otherwise next year for sure when some money comes off the books. But even with the money on the books this team is 10M under league average, give or take. They are wasting a HOF player in Votto with these budget constraints.

          • If he wants to direct the comments at anybody specifically, he needs to do it. If he means somebody specific, but he’s not willing to specify, that’s kind of weaselly.

            But I don’t think that’s like him. He’s talking about the whole organization (including the front office). It’s time to win.

  3. How could a professional athlete ever feel like his team wont at least contend for the playoffs..Thats sounds like loser mentality..

    • I would guess that not a single player on the Marlins thinks that team has a shot at competing. I wouldn’t consider any of them to be losers because of that. I also wouldn’t consider anyone on the Reds who is not confident in their ability to compete losers either. Acknowledging improvements need to be made is not the same as accepting defeat

          • JEONYMAC: you might want to find a new sport, or team, to follow. Since you think they should just cancel the season, maybe you have already done that. Being realistic about your team’s chances and being a “loser” are not necessarily connected. When you look at what the Brewers and Cardinals did over the off season and what the Cubs already are, 4th place is a realistic goal for the Reds this season. If they do better, no one will be happier than the people following this site. A year ago no one thought the Twins would make the playoffs so it can happen but to expect it this year for the Reds is not realistic.

          • Giving up and quitting would be one option, but striving to improve is probably a better option. The team not being the best doesn’t mean individuals can’t give their best effort. I would rather acknowledge improvements can be made and work to accomplish them, than have delusions that I can keep doing the same thing and expect different results.

          • There’s a huge difference between being competitive, trying to win, acting professionally, and yet understanding a team isn’t of the caliber to win a playoff spot. That whole “if you want it bad enough” trope just doesn’t really fly. That’s high school coach stuff.

          • You’re being silly? An NFL team might sneak up on a few people and pull off a 10-6 or 9-7 record, but in 162 games water will definitely find its level! The best teams will win out over a 6 month season!

  4. I like what Votto and Gennett are saying, but I’m wary of putting much stock in it. Baseball Prospectus is predicting the team goes 74-88 this year, largely due to their prediction that Reds pitching will give up more runs than any other staff in the National League. (Here’s the link for those of you who are interested. https://legacy.baseballprospectus.com/fantasy/dc/ )

    The only solace I can take from that prediction is that young pitchers aren’t fully formed yet, and so we may see one or two take solid strides forward. Predicting how the Reds’ young pitchers will perform is a little like predicting what shoe size a thirteen year old boy will be wearing by the end of the year.

    • It could easily be a 90 loss season or it could be an 80+ win season depending on what happens with the pitching. Trying to predict what will happen with three starters returning from injury and a few young unproven arms as the fallback plan is extremely difficult

      • Even though there will be a degree of focus on Winker and Senzel, the 2018 Reds record is all about how the pitching does quality wise and health wise. Both are major questions as the season begins, and there is no way to predict accurately at this point how either will play out.

        • Make sure everyone gets their rants ready when senzel stays in AAA or comes up and sits behind Gennett. Winker will get less ABs than we all want too. You know, veterans and whatnot.

          I think 74-88 is smack dead center between our 1SD either way. We could win 64; we could win 84.

          • This is sort of how I feel, too.

            We’ve been burned too many times by young players sitting the bench and doing squat to think that Senzel will have really any impact on this season. And Winker will probably get less AB than Duvall or Schebler, for better or for worse.

    • Projections are just projections, worth about as much as predicitons, because neither can account for the unexpected and unpredictable.

  5. The Votto reference to “when the time is right, the money will be spent” is interesting.

    We’ll see.

    Jeff Sullivan did a great piece at FanGraphs, estimating that if MLB had a salary floor, like the NBA, teams would have been required to spend at least $134 million in 2017.


    The Reds have never spent $134 million in any season, and haven’t had a Top 10 payroll in any season since 2000.


    A cynic could suggest Castellini does not want much to change, from Price’s third season as a lame duck manager, to hiring a family member of ownership with no experience as GM.

    Let us hope the young SPs do a moon shot over the next 2 years, and get the team so close, Castellini has to spend to save face during a contention cycle and Williams knows what he is doing with signings.

    The whole “we have no money to spend” is a sham by MLB clubs, and such an insult to people supporting a sport that is flush with cash like never before.

  6. I’m not sure what Votto expects to change other than performance on the field. He’s right in the sense that the rebuild has run its course; the roster has been flipped and the pieces assembled for the next run. What needs to happen now is for those pieces to put it together and start performing. Romano and Bob Steve need to pitch like major leaguers; Peraza and Hamilton need to hit like every day players.

    If it looks like those things are happening, a “change” in the form of adding one or two key pieces, like they did with Choo and Latos, could be in order and may be what Votto means

    • With 2180 big league plate appearances under his belt, I think we can expect Hamilton to never “Hit like an every day player.” Because of that, Price needs to mitigate his weaknesses by batting him at the bottom of the lineup.

      Hamilton batting 1st sends a message to all the other players (at least those who get these things) that the manager/management isn’t serious about critical thought and winning games… even if the difference isn’t huge. It’s all about tone.

      Why would a player come in early one day if the manager can’t read a piece of research or two? Alll about tone.

    • With the ridiculous state of MLB and how “it works” these days, the motto should be “The Tanking Starts Now!” Tanking is ruining the game.

      • Tanking is also making it easier than ever to crawl into contention! I think we need to change our strategy and try to win 84 games every year.

  7. Tampa is now is a complete salary dump like what Derek Jeter is doing in Miami. Jake Odorizzi was traded and OF Corey Dickerson (lifetime 829 ops) was designated for assignment. They also have Gold Glove CF Kevin Kiermaier and talented lefty Blake Snell. A solid reliever in Tommy Hunter (better then Hughes or Hernandez) as well. They should make something happen?

    • Given how little was given up for Odirizzi, Kiermeier could be had for the right price. Dick Williams needs to be on the phone pronto. I’d offer Trammell and Romano.

      • Huge overpay for a whose had over 500 ABS once. Great player sure, injury prone, absolutely, giving up a budding young SP and a top 50 prospect, I’d be disappointed.

  8. We talk of Votto getting older, and I know each has their own opinion as to which is the most demanding sport, but just checked, in Jerry Rove’s age 40 season he caught 95 passes averaged 13.1 yards & had 7 TD. If Joey keeps in good condition he could still be playing at 40.

  9. I think we are 2-3 years away from being really good but in the meantime we have some entertaining players to watch.

    hope more people come to the ball park. I hate going to a Tuesday night reds cubs games in cincy where you are hard pressed to find a reds fan. it embarrassing.

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