A flurry of roster moves today, and it seems like the Cincinnati Reds are getting closer and closer to having the 25-man roster that will take the field on Opening Day later this week. Here are the details:

So LHP Cody Reed and infielder Alex Blandino have been optioned to Triple-A Louisville. Reed’s demotion isn’t terribly surprising, but it seems clear that he has at least gotten himself back on the Cincinnati radar. His control has been better this spring, and he’s starting to show a little of what the Reds have expected of him over the last couple of years. Reed will be starting for the Reds at some point this season. More than anything, I’m glad he’ll be starting at Louisville rather than relieving for the Reds early in the season.

While it had seemed clear for a while that Reed wouldn’t make the Opening Day roster, optioning Alex Blandino was somewhat less expected. Blandino has a bat and a glove that will play in the big leagues, and he’s capable of playing anywhere in the infield. He seemed like a great fit for a backup infielder.

What this transaction tells me is that the Reds think he can still be a starter in the big leagues, so they want the 25-year-old playing every day. But where? Maybe everywhere. Blandino played mostly second base last season, but Nick Senzel will likely get most of the games at that position in Louisville. Blandino has played plenty of third base, as well, and he was drafted as a shortstop, but hasn’t played the position on a regular basis since 2015.

Like Reed, I expect that Blandino will be one of the first Reds recalled when an injury occurs.

What this likely means is that Phillip Ervin, Phil Gosselin, and Cliff Pennington have all made the team, unless the Reds make another transaction to bring someone into the organization. I thought Brandon Dixon had a shot, but he’s been sent to Louisville, as well, and will presumably play on the infield alongside Blandino and Senzel. Before you get outraged about Gosselin or Pennington making the club, remember two things. First, we’re talking about the 25th man on the roster, so perhaps there are other things to be outraged about. Second:

Also, reliever Kevin Quackenbush has evidently made the team.

I don’t have a lot to add, except this:

Thursday is almost here. Barring any waiver claims or trades, we’re a few relievers away from knowing what Cincinnati’s big league roster will look like on Opening Day. The 2018 March to the Wild Card is about to commence.

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Join the conversation! 103 Comments

  1. A little disappointed for Dixon and Blandino but it looks like Louisville will have a nice team to start the season. Good luck to all of the Red’s affiliates this year.
    I’ve moved to Mobile and will be catching quite a few Blue Wahoo games in Pensacola this summer. They open the season here in Mobile. Hope for a nice, rain-free weekend.

  2. Nothing wrong with Reed and Stephenson pitching every 5 th day in AAA. Blandino could be an important infield depth piece going forward so he needs to play every day and get at bats.

    Will Finnegan be ready to pitch every 5th day in 2 weeks? Garrett needs to be handled well and pitch regularly with length early in the season.

    Playing time somewhere , matters for the young guys. Gosselin/ Pennington it doesn’t. This bullpen is not looking good.

  3. Three 40-man roster spots to Pennington, Gosselin and Qhackenbush. That fills the 40-man roster with DeSclafani to the 60-day DL. I can see the justification for Quackenbush on the 40-man and 25-man roster, but Pennington and Gosselin? Really?

    • The Goose can hit, we will be singing his praises before long, I am so glad he made the team. I am surprised about Pennington I think he saved himself with that two triple game.

      • You may be correct, but a career OPS of .684 (.270/.318/.366), a career ISO of .096, career wRC+ of 84 don’t give me the warm fuzzies about his hitting ability, especially when almost all of his positive hitting accomplishments came in half a season while playing in Arizona.

        • Well you may be right too, I think it was worth a flyer to see if he can put up some numbers at GABP. I like him more than Pennington anyhow. We just need professional ABs off the bench, not rookies who are still developing. I am glad Blandino will get to start everyday at Louisville, he should only be called up if there is an injury that creates an opportunity for him to start (same as Senzel, but hopefully Senzel is ahead of him on the infield depth chart).

      • At least the Goose is a great nickname

    • Don’t want Pennington anywhere near SS, he threw an easy out 20 rows up into the crowd the other day. Can’t wait for Senzel to start there and bump Peraza to utility infielder / pinch runner. Blandino (and Dixon) did enough in spring to stick but agree for now in getting them regular at bats in AAA. We still have hope they will be good full time players, unlike Ervin.

  4. That is disappointing about Blandino and Dixon. Not a very good bench. I don’t see much playing time for Ervin. His spring wasn’t very good. He needs everyday AB’s and can only get them at AAA. Just as Blandino’s demotion might signal they think he can be an everyday player, this thing with Ervin seems like the Reds are giving up on Ervin as an everyday possibility. That’s another 1st round pick to go ker-flop, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.

    • I get that Blandino needs playing time, but playing time is available on the 25-man roster for Blandino. He’s solid defensively at 2B and he’s got a good bat that plays up against LHP. Scooter is marginal, at best, defensively at 2B and his bat plays way down against LHP. Combined with PH opportunities and double switch opportunities, that’s significant playing time at the major league level. The only problem is the manager who would be controlling such opportunities, so the Reds expend two 40-man roster spots on over-the-hill, replacement level veterans with no upside in order to manage the manager. How does that make any sense?

      The upside for both Dixon and Ervin are utility players, so why not give them a chance as utility players, playing at league minimum, rather than over paying for replacement level veterans?

      • Who is going to be the right handed bat at second base to start the year

        • Pennington, except Scooter will play full time.

        • FWIW, Gosselin has a career .270 MLB batting average, Pennington .243. Gosselin is a righthanded batter, and Pennington is a switch hitter (.247 career average as a lefthanded batter, his stronger side).

    • Is it true that if first round picks became a Chris Heisey (this seems to be the Reds view of Ervin’s ceiling) that they are flops?

      Isn’t it really, really hard to be a contributing MLB player? These are not rhetorical questions. I honestly don’t know. Seems to me that it would be a good pick if he becomes a super sub.

      • Anyone draftee making it to the majoe leagues is a success, even high 1st round selections. Obviously 1st round selections are more likely to make it than later round selections, but the odds are against any player making it the the major leagues. The really elite prospects are the only ones who are nearly a sure thing (i.e. Strasburg, Harper, Correa, Buxton, Bryant, etc.), but even then there are as many misses as hits in the draft. After the first few selections, it’s really a crap shoot, with college experience providing better odds of success but often lower upside past the first few selections.

        Draft picks at the end of the 1st round or during supplemental rounds become very tenuous.

    • The “Blandino can be an everyday player so let’s get him regular AAA ABs” would make more sense if Blandino were 22 and had a meteoric rise. He’s 25 years old. He has spent parts of 3 seasons at AA. He spent 3 years at Stanford. He spent half a season at AAA and had a lot of success there last year. There’s simply not much left for him to do at any level below MLB.

      Also, for Blandino to be a regular every day player anytime between 2018-2020, the following would have to happen:
      1) Scooter injured/traded/collapses
      2) Suarez injured/traded/collapses
      3) Peraza doesn’t stick at SS and isn’t good enough offensively to play 2nd.
      4) Senzel injured/traded/collapses
      5) Shed Long injured/traded/doesn’t pan out.

      If all of those happen, letting Blandino get every day playing time for a month or two in AAA isn’t going to mean a darn thing because the Reds will be screwed.

      Let Blandino learn the role of utility player in 2018 so he can be ready for 2019-2022.

  5. Well at least Reed and Bob won’t spend half the year in the pen and watch old guys start.Thank goodness the Reds got it right the second time around with them but Pennington and Gosselin making the team is kind of a head scratcher.

    • Except that the Reds have now substituted Garrett in to the bullpen role in place of Stepehnson and/or Reed. That doesn’t sound like getting it right the second time around.

      • I was really hoping Garrett would be the 4th starter. The team keeps considering Finnegan as a starter. It’s my belief that AG’s and BF’s roles should be reversed.

        • Patience. This may yet come to pass. There is enough slack in the early schedule and enough uncertainty regarding Finnegan’s condition and durability that Garrett could conceivably see spot starts as well as available long relief.

        • Also there has been discussion about Aug/sep and who will have innings left if all of our youngns are spent (Castillo, Mahle, Romano) on their innings limits.

          Garrett could stretch out thru July and provide that filler come August. Maybe he ends up with 15-20 starts before it’s all said and done.

        • Completely agree with that point. Garrett should be the one they’re looking for in the rotation. He pitched well to start the season last year, didn’t start having issues until they started moving him back and forth to the minors.

  6. FWIW, it was in the final cuts the last 2 years where Straily and Scooter were cut and the Reds were able to pick them up. So watch the next few days carefully. It was also the same time frame the Reds got Alfredo Simon, which 3 seasons later led to Suarez . The Reds have had some luck here, it bears to keep an eye on.

    • The final cuts are starting to roll in, but they look pretty thin in potential quality. How about a high risk type of move for the bullpen? How does Jonny Venters sound as a lefty out of the bullpen after six years and three TJ’s. If his arm is finally healthy he could be a huge asset, but 33 years old and out of the game for 6 years, that’s a big risk for a major league contract. It would take a major league contract, but not a big contract and he’s still got 3 years of team control. He may even have options left but I’m not sure about the options.

  7. I’m of the opinion that blandino can be an everyday regular at 2b for the reds. So him going down is best for that possibly coming to fruition.
    Stephenson gets the opportunity to continue to improve his command. Reed in basically the same boat.

    The most awesome thing is that our pitching staff can still develop into a playoff staff with Castillo, mahle and Romano. If any of Garrett, Stephenson or Reed develop into a viable mlb starter; lookout for the reds!

  8. Just pulled up the lineup in gameday in preparation for the start of today’s game. I’ll attribute this to Price since I’m feeling particularly punchy today after the roster announcements.

    Price is finally getting creative in a manner only Price can ‘manage’. The Reds are playing three catchers in the catcher position today with no one playing 1B and no one playing DH. I think that’s a rule violation, but what the heck. I just hope Castillo gets a LOT of fly balls, becuase any grounder will go as a hit unless there’s a force out. Maybe that’s Price’s strategy.

    • Just heard a report the Joey Votto stopped Price as he was walking out to the field with the lineup card and informed him that only one player was permitted to play behind home plate and everyone else had to play between the 1st base and 3rd base lines in fair territory. Price seemed confused, but after conferrinf with Riggleman, Price changed the lineup card with Mesoraco playing DH and Cruz playing 1B. Joey Votto was seen walking back to the bench shaking his head.

    • I think it may be in error.
      It has Suarez SS snd Pennington 3b. Even if you reverse that ..it’s odd. Opening day less than a week and still no rhyme or reason to anything ..batting order…positions…Votto on bench again…Winker on bench..if Votto on bench doing his ZEN hitting work for 4 hours fine……put Duvall at first and let Winker hit.

      Cleveland playing it’s top 9.

      Reds are at risk of really stumbling out of the block. They won’t be ready to beat 2 playoff teams out of the gate. This could be an ugly April. Better beat Pittsburgh 2/3 that first weekend road trip.

      • No error. The 1st two outs were a ground out to Pennington at 3B and a popup to Pennington at 3B.

        Why is Cruz playing with three games remaining before opening day and after he was cut from the major league camp?

        No Votto nor Winker in the lineup against a RHP?

        It’s lunacy, sheer lunacy.

  9. Three IF singles against the Gold Glove defense of Pennington and Gennett, followed by a double by Yonder Alonso plates two against Castillo in the 1st inning.

  10. The Reds claimed LH reliever Justin Nicolino off waivers. With Pennington, Gosselin and Quackenbus added to the 40-man roster, that now put the 40-man roster at 41, even with DeSclafani moved to tyhe 60-day DL.

    • Need another lefty in the Pen
      Not a bad move, maybe we can find lighting in a bottle again.

  11. Note that today the Reds claimed lefthanded starting pitcher Justin Nicolino from the Marlins. He has 33 major league starting pitching assignments. He currently is taking up a spot on the 40-man roster.

    https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/n/nicolju01.shtml

    He is out of options: https://247sports.com/mlb/marlins/Article/Nicolino-Looking-To-Stay-On-Marlins-Pitching-Staff-116062471

    So this may be another case of claiming someone and then putting him on waivers again in an attempt to outright him to Class AAA. I don’t see them trying to use him as a reliever or replacing one of the current starting rotation.

    He still has four years of service time under team control before free agency.

    • Nicolino began as a SP in 2015, but only started 13 of 18 games in 2016 and just 8 of 20 games in 2017. I think he’s considered mnore of a reliever than a starter going forward.

      • He also has no options so the idea of sending him to louisville if he clears waivers and accepts being sent down seems remote.What are these guys doing?

  12. Castillo decided to not mess around with the IF defense in the 2nd inning and put the Tribe down on 2-SO and a fly out to LF.

  13. Listening to Marty and cowboy.
    Suarez at SS. Pennington 3rd.
    Why 5 days before Opening day?
    Price is not preparing this team to win.
    Anybody anywhere anytime.

    #Aprilchaos

    They will be 5-7 games under .500 on may 1

  14. Roster projection time!

    According to the various reports, it appears the position players will be:

    INF: Votto, Gennett, Peraza, Suarez, Pennington, Gosselin
    OF: Hamilton, Schebler, Winker, Duvall, Ervin
    C: Barnhart, Mesoraco

    That leaves 12 pitching positions.

    Starters we’re pretty sure of are Bailey, Castillo, Romano and Mahle
    Relievers we’re pretty sure of are Iglesias, Hernandez, Hughes, Quackenbush, Peralta

    So the three final pitching positions come from this list:

    DeSclafani, Finnegan, Lorenzen, Brice, Garrett, Shackleford, Weiss

    Finnegan won’t start the season on the DL because he just pitched Saturday, so he’s likely to begin on the active roster. DeSclafani was shut down in mid-March, so a 60-day DL stint would allow him to become active around mid-May. Lorenzen — who knows? A 10-day DL would seem to be the way he’ll start his season.

    All indications are Garrett has made it, and will serve initially as a lefty reliever.

    That leaves the final spot between Brice, Shackleford and Weiss, and the leader in the clubhouse is Shackleford.

    • On further review, my math skills were a bit lacking. From the final threesome of Brice, Shackleford and Weiss, two will make the club (unless Nicolino, claimed earlier today, sticks as a lefty reliever).

    • Finnegan could begin the season on the 10-day DL without any issues. The season begins on march 29th and the 1st time the Reds would need a 5th starter is on April 9th, more than 10 days after the beginning of the season. Finnegan could continue to pitch in the minor league camp and remain on the DL until he is ready to start on the 9th or 14th without caryying him on the 25-man roster.

  15. Looking for some clarity – Pennington and Gosselin seem completely redundant to me. What’s the difference?

    I don’t care about the last roster spot, just hope keeping one of these doesn’t cost us anyone with any potential to make room for them on the roster. That would be a waste

    • The only reasonable explanation is they want Dixon and Blandino to get everyday playing time at Louisville. That won’t be available to them in the bigs, at least at the outset of this season.

      IF Price decides to have a righthanded batter platoon with Gennett at second base against lefthanded pitching, Gosselin has a .270 career MLB batting average.

      • Concur. That’s basically the only reason I can see for keeping Pennington up and Blandino down. If someone ends up spending their days on the pine, I’d much rather it be Pennington.

        I actually like Gosselin staying up. Credible bat, not just ST numbers, plus he brings a little veteran stability to the clubhouse. Given the youth and roster turbulence of this team this year, don’t underestimate the value of a stabilizing influence.

        • Makes sense. Thanks for helping me see the case for it.

        • Phil Gosselin:

          2017 => -7 wRC+
          2016 => 80 wRC+
          2015 => 136 wRC+
          2014 => 77 wRC+
          2013 => 86 wRC+

          Gosselin had one good season offensively and that was 3 years ago. A career 84 wRC+ is not a credible bat. The only contribution he actually brings is his veteraniness.

          • True…but, for argumentation sake, it’s better than Pennington. Also, possibly better than BHam, but I digress………

            If it weren’t for the positional logjam and sorting, I’d have preferred Blandino over either, but that’s not the decision we’ve been given. Plus, take into account just how many/how few PA’s or field appearances he’s likely to get in any case not involving catastrophic injuries or mop-ups.

    • Gosselin is a bat first utility player (career 84 wRC+) with generally negative fielding contributions. Pennington is a glove first utility player (career 79 wRC+, mostly from his early career) with marginally good fielding contributions, but mostly from his early career rather than recently..

      • Hmmm.. Can the two be combined?

        • Yes, he’s called Alex Blandino!

          • Well played!

            Would love to see Blandino play 4-5 times per week for the Reds. I’d trade Scooter and go with Herrera and/or Blandino. I still think Peraza and Herrera could be a strong option up the middle, but that’s going to take a lot of patience.

        • If the two were combined, he’d probably be a starter. Aren’t bench players generally low-cost guys with holes in their games? As Jason points out, somebody (possibly one of Pennington/Gosselin) will be sent down when the 5th starter is needed.

      • True, these are the type of decisions bad organizations like the Reds make. Neither player does anything well, yet, here they are. At least the Reds did not keep Revere.

        • I thought Revere had a high probablity of making it as the reserve OF. That might have been the proverbial back-breaking straw.

        • That kinda feels like we should be grateful the Reds didn’t make even worse mistakes rather than grateful for actual good moves.

          • Looking at Gosselin’s Fansgraph page and I am trying to figure out how he is on a MLB roster. No power, no speed, no defense, and a career wRC+ of 84.

            Unfortunately, as one listens to baseball podcasts and read articles, it is fairly clear that the Reds do not really understand what successful teams do.

            The Reds continue on with the same players and manager that has lead to over 90 losses 3 years in a row.

            At least the Reds have Votto, Suarez, and Senzel to watch

          • Agree Cossack. This easily could have been worse. Revere is gone. Perez is gone. Cruz will not be an unnecessary 3rd catcher just so the non-starting catcher of Tucker or Devin can pinch hit (isn’t that what non-starting outfielders are for?), and none of the pitching staff decisions have been ridiculous. And I for one have not conceded the fourth starting slot to Mahle just yet – it could still be Garrett with Mahle clearing the service time hurdle and coming up in May. But even if it’s the other way around the Reds are far better off on the starting staff and the bullpen than just a year ago. You pretty much had to expect Gosselin OR Pennington in the 25 man opening day set, so the only real head scratcher is why both? I can live with that.

  16. On further review (for me) our bench is very weak aside from MES.

  17. Nicolino certainly isn’t the last minute waiver-wire pickup that Straily and Scooter were. The last couple of days have been as disappointing as the winter was concerning the roster. Just as you get some confidence in the process, more Reds front office shenanigans surfaces.

    • Just remember that neither Straily nor Scooter were projected as key contributors when they joined the team. They were both in the “meh” category at that point in time.

      • Yes, proper perspective is advisable. But both probably came with better credentials.
        I think I read that Nicolino was a teammate of DeSclafani and was in the same trade that sent them from Toronto to Miami.

      • I was meh on Straily but I thought Gennett would be a nice addition assuming he could play other positions on the diamond without being an utter disaster. I saw him a young, very nice LH bat off the bench and an insurance policy against Peraza being really bad. I wasn’t jumping for joy but I was very happy with that pickup at the time.

  18. With 3 games before opening day, Terry Francona, one of the consensus best managers in MLB, starts a lineup filled with regulars or prospects still competing as regulars. All of the starters get 3-4 PA before being pulled for substitutes.

    Bryan Price, a manager who would be managing in MLB for anyone besides the Reds, fields a lineup missing multiple regulars, players playing out of position and non-roster or utility players. The starting lineup gets 2 PA before being pulled for substitutes.

    This is 3 games before opening day, not the beginning or middle of ST. Two of the regulars for the Reds never even make it into the game while all of the substitutes for the Reds will be playing in the minor leagues.

    I’ve had my fill of Price for the 2018 season and the season hasn’t even begun.

    • This team isn’t ready from spring training for the reasons Old Cossack outlines. April is going to be ugly. It’s one thing to be a few players short. It’s another thing to be unprepared. This team is unprepared to hit against Mac Scherzer and strasburg. Unprepared to play the Cubs and Cards.

    • I’m going to guess that Price wanted to rest his regular position players or get them out of the game early because the team had to make it to Texas for games with the Rangers on Mon and Tue. The Indians also play Mon and Tue, but they’re still in Arizona, against the D-backs, so probably less of a hassle to pack up camp. Maybe Price anticipates having his regulars play in the major league stadium in Texas instead of the final game in Arizona. …. As for having Suarez at short, while I’m in favor of the concept, I haven’t a clue why Price would pick Sunday to do it.

      • Exactly. The Cossack may be developing Price Derangement Syndrome; I had Bob Boone Derangement Syndrome myself. Votto, etc. will get some ABs in Texas over the next two days. The Indians have two games in Arizona (I think at the big ballpark), then fly to Seattle. In other words, the Reds were catching a flight immediately after the game, and the Indians were not.

        My guess is that the SS/3B swap was in part for fun, which is what baseball is supposed to be, and in part to allow Suarez to get at least a few innings in at short, just in case he is needed if Peraza has a minor injury. I grant you that both Pennington and Gosselin can also play short.

        I hope that the intent for Blandino in Louisville is to play all over the field, including even first base and centerfield. He would be a much more valuable part to the Reds if he could play a mini-Zobrist (or Tony Phillips) role. I guy who can play 2B/SS/3B ought to have the athleticism to at least be serviceable anywhere.

  19. Well the Reds hit the road for 2 games against the Rangers in Globe Life Park before heading to GABP for opening day.

    Castillo did not have a good day on the mound, but he got 5 IP and didn’t pitch poorly.

    The highlights of the game:

    Elizalde went 1-2 w/ 1-R
    Dixon went 1-2
    Peterson went 1-2 w/ 1-RBI
    Blandino went 1-2 w/ 1-3B & 1-R
    Iribarren went 1-1 w/ 1-BB
    Cruz went 1-2 w/ 1-HR, 1-R & 1-RBI

    All of those players will be in the minor leagues this season and none are still competing for a roster spot.

    With the relievers still competing for roster spots on the 25-man roster, Price sent Brice and Kiekhefer in from the bullpen to finish the game. Both of those relievers will pitch in the minor leagues this season.

    With 3 games remaining before opening day, none of those players should have been in the game today at all.

    Votto and Winker were noticeably and completely absent from the lineup.

    • Once again cossack I agree with you,votto should have been getting alot of playing te the last week or so,sho nuff be glad when the price experiment is over

    • Rest, It’s called rest. It’s a long season. I am not a Price fan. But resting people in Arizona before moving to big-league ballparks is actually a good thing.

    • Let’s not overreact to a playing time/rest decision in late March. Lots of real questions to ask and answer; this does not feel like one of them.

  20. I realize Garrett has a 4th option year, but I’m not sure how this works. Say Amir makes the opening day roster & remains on the active roster (or DL) all season long. Would the Reds have that option for Garrett next year? Just wondering why the Reds are apparently giving up that extra year of control with Mahle when it’s pretty obvious they’re not ready to compete yet this season.

    • I believe if Garrett begins and remains on the 25-man roster for the entire season, his option would remain. I believe the option is used only when a player moves between the major league roster and minor league roster. I may be incorrect, but that is how I always unerstood the process.

      • I don’t want to give the Reds front office too much credit, but Finnegan could start the season on the 10 DL, Garrett in the BP, & Mahle in the rotation. On about the 9th of April they activate BF, send Mahle down, & install Garrett in the rotation. You then have a 5-man rotation,don’t use Garrett’s option, & ready to still save service time on Mahle??

        • Or simply start Garrett in rthe rotation. Does anyone remember Amir Garrett dominating in the starting rotation last season? His performance tanked after his hip injury, but he’s pitching healthy agains and efeectively again. He’s earned a place in the starting rotation as much as anyone. Why try to make the situation more complicated than necessary and more to the point, why leave the situation in Price’s hands to screw it up. Remember Stephenson rotting away in the bullpen last season?

          The Reds just picked up another LHP off waivers for the bullpen. How many LHP does Price need in the bullpen before his incompetency becomes obvious to even the Reds front office?

          • I do

          • Eddie, I forgot the question I had asked at the beginning of the comment. I thought for a moment we had just been married. I didn’t know how I was going to explain that to Mrs Cossack and the little Cossacks.

  21. Fire price now!

    • I understand the Reds are a few players away…. But yes..after today…Fire Price . Now. Winker sitting and hitting 6th every third day. Suarez plays shortstop for fun. Pennington and gosselin.
      3 catchers playing. Hamilton hitting leadoff. Price doesn’t have this team ready to play. He’s the worst manager in history.

  22. From the Old Cossack’s perspective, the first SP the Reds need to resolve is Brandon Finnegan and his ability to start over the long term. He got a late start to ST and the forearm issue set him back even more, but he is apparently healthy now and stretching out for a starting opportunity. He may be ready by April 9th, but if not he will be ready by April 14th. There are pitchers in waiting for an opportunity in the starting rotation. Let’s get Finnegan’s status cleared up so the Reds can move along to the next decision in the starting rotation. I wish Finnegan was ready and stretched out for the starting rotation right now, but that’s not the way the cards were dealt. With the schedule openings to begin the season, Finnegan can begin his opportunity as soon as he’s ready without any, or at the very most minimal, accomodations to his late start in ST. The 10-day DL makes that imminently feasible.

    There is no reason to jerk Mahle or Garrett around to make the accomodation for Finnegan. Sending Garrett to the bullpen temporarily or sending Mahle back to AAA after beginning the season in the starting rotation seems whacked out. Finnegan will succeed or fail on his own merits. If he succeeds, then the Reds have more good competition to resolve. If Finnegan fails, the the Reds have pitchers in waiting for the opportunity and its next cowboy up. The same holds true for Castillo, Romano and Garrett. Let them have their shot and let them succeed or fail on their own. If they all succeed, then the Reds have more good competition. If any fail, the Reds have pitchers in waiting and it’s next cowboy up. If any of them fail, the go back in line waiting for their next opportunity, just like Reed and Stephenson.

    • To me, it feels like Garrett was pigeon-holed to be a reliever as spring training started….so therefore he can’t be switched to a starter. All of his early appearances were as a reliever. He ended up getting only 1 spring start where he sparkled….then back to the bullpen. Finnegan on the other hand was pigeon-holed to start…So they keep forcing him out there as a starter and he keeps getting hurt. Can they just switch these two player’s roles already. They are going to waste several more months this year figuring out that Finnegan is not a legitamte starter anymore

      • You are 100% spot on regarding Finnegan and Garrett being pidgeon holed at the beginning of ST. I had been a strong proponent of moving Finnegan to the bullpen as a high leverage reliever based on his propensity toward injury based on his 100% max-effort, shoulder-shredding delivery. A funny thing happened on the way to the forum this spring. Finnegan changed his delivery, at least in every opportunity I’ve seen. He now has a smooth, controlled, repeatable delivery. He’s pounding the strike zone. He actually looks like the pitcher we hoped to obtain when we consummated the trade. I’m a firm believer that a good starting pitcher is much more valuable than a good reliever, but I’m also a fierm believer that a good reliever is much more valuable than a bad starting pitcher. I just think we need to give Finnegan one more chance to demonstrate that he can be that good starting pitcher before relegating him to the bullpen.

        • OK, I’ll trust your eyes (as I haven’t seen him pitch this Spring). Here’s hoping that he can remain injury-free. One more chance it is!

          I like Mahle and the rest of the young starters too, I just think Garrett is being overlooked as a starter.

        • Interesting observation, Cossack. I hope you are right. I very much agree with you on the fact that a good starting pitcher is much more valuable than a good reliever, simply due to the number of innings each pitcher accumulates each year. A guy who has a 3.00 ERA over 180 innings is much more valuable than a fellow pitcher with a similar ERA over 60 innings or so.

        • When in the previous season in AAA and the big club, a pitcher pitches to an ERA north of 6 and an xFIP of 4.60 (and was worse in the last 75% of it than he was in the first part), it’s reasonable and prudent to make him prove something in more than just Spring Training to put him into the rotation.

          • I agree with this. Lots of angst here over the last game in AZ for spring training and the opening day roster. This is just one spring training game and I think Price is just letting his guys rest and have some fun before the long 162. As for the roster, it is going to change and likely look very, very different as the season goes on.

            There will be plenty of time for angst during the season.

  23. I don’t understand? As usual…with the Reds front office. I can’t be a glutton for punishment and watch til September like last year. Whats wrong with Alex Blandino? Pennington? What can he do? Their belief in the power of veteran-ness is and has been idiotic!! Skip Schumacher had veteran-ness and he sucked! The status of a backup infielder in itself is not that important, but its just the stupidity in their rosters year after year after year?

    Price will start pulling Quackenbushleague moves right away because that what he does! The scorpion and the frog fable comes to mind. The scorpion stung the frog and they both drowned because he’s a scorpion…thats who he is!

    Bright side….my cash auction league last night I got Kershaw, Severino, and Castillo to anchor my pitching while getting Suarez, Scooter, Winker, and Schebler for $9 combined!! Play Ball!!!!

  24. 1) I am so glad Revere is gone! We dodged a bullet there.
    2) Winker needs to be FT in the outfield. If he doesn’t, the Reds are making an indefensibly gross error.

  25. It doesn’t look like Opening Day will be on Opening Day, Thursday. Opening Day may not happen until Saturday. A 100% chance of rain is forecasted for Cincinnati on Thursday. And it is at 50% for Friday. It might be worth it to buy Saturday tickets as that might be the real Opening Day, but it is a night game.
    Washington won’t be back to Cincinnati for the rest of the season, so Thursday’s game will probably have to be made up on Sunday as a DH. A possible Saturday day/night DH could be possible. A parade on Sat. morning, an afternoon game, then a night game and getting some batting practice in before both games, I just don’t see that happening.
    This should go as Exhibit-A on why Opening Day should never, ever be in March. The first Monday in April should be a National Opening Day in baseball. The Cincinnati parade should be broadcast live on MLB Network with the Cincinnati game officially the first game on Opening Day. The other MLB games can then follow about 1-2 hours after the Reds game start. MLB misses a great opportunity every year for this.

    • The problem, WV, is that it can just as easily rain in April as it can in March. But I agree with your suggestion.

    • Nice article…sounds like if he ditches the cutter he’ll have a decent chance at success.

  26. Whoever the 5th starter is (Garrett or Finnegan), I wish they would NOT skip that starter. If it’s Garrett or a healthy Finnegan, I think there’s not much difference between them and the other starters. I would really like to see Garrett get a chance. I think his pitching in ST as well as what he showed before his injury, shows he’s capable at the very least and potentially very good.

  27. The TB Rays are releasing veteran LH reliever Dan Jennings. Great ground ball rate. Could be the best Reds LH reliever not named Amir. Sounds like a LH Jared Hughes. Never gave up many HR’s until last year. Has a little trouble with the BB. The other things he does though makes it interesting. I would take Jennings over Nicolino.

    https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/rays-to-release-dan-jennings.html

  28. The Reds were able to stash Nicolino at AAA this season after he cleared waivers. The Twins were able to stash Vargas at AAA this season after reclaiming him off waivers from the Reds. I still can’t understand why the Reds even messed with Vargas, but I’m glad they eventually got Nicolino in the organization rather than Vargas. Nicolino is certainly not ready for MLB, but he could still become a useful option for the bullpen down the road.

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About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

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