So, this wasn’t a very good weekend for the ol’ Redlegs. The Cincinnati Reds were swept by the Washington Nationals (check out Nick’s recap of the final game of the series), and the three-game set was filled with questionable decisions by manager Bryan Price, awful pitching from the bullpen, and more of the same from the usual suspects in the Cincinnati lineup.

Over the course of the 2018 season, we intend to provide you with an open forum to discuss whatever you’d like here at Redleg Nation. The usual rules still apply — be civil to each other, mostly — with one exception: you don’t have to talk only about the Reds. Certainly, feel free to discuss the goings-on during the season’s first series, and how upset you are (or are not) about the way the Reds have played thus far. But you should also feel free to talk about whatever you’d like, whether baseball-related or not. (Please try to avoid discussing Wayne Krenchicki or Kevin Quackenbush, however.)

It’s an open thread! Enjoy.

And just because I want to, here are a few pictures I snapped at Great American Ball Park this weekend.




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! 86 Comments

  1. Moderately upset, but not really surprised. Certainly not a fan of the Nats, but have to face the fact that we played one of the top-tier NL teams and they kicked our behinds.

    Was not able to watch any game as Raleigh is the Nat’s market and even the free game yesterday was blocked. The poor decisions, the impression that our guys are still in late Spring Training mode … other than Homer’s very solid performance says we’re in for a long season. The bright spot is the Stupid Cubs didn’t fare so well and our old friend Zack Cozart is excelling in LA.

    It’s baseball season and that’s a good thing. It brings hope back to those of us who pine over the winter months. That’s just where I am at the moment.

  2. The Reds are settling into where they belong: the basement. Time to get comfortable down there.

    • agree very much. Mediocre coaches breed mediocre team. Would analytics agree with that? Better check.

  3. Getting swept in a series does not a season make. This season is all about the young pitching. Castillo, Garrett, Romano, Finnegan, Mahle, Reed, etal are who will determine whether this season is a success. Who is pitching in the last spot in the bullpen is meaningless.

    The sky isn’t falling people.

  4. Watched the game on MLB.tv, and was not happy
    The Nats may be a very good team, but we stink.
    Billy and Jose are more of the same.

    Got to give it more time, but I am wondering if the rebuild is a total failure.

    • I know that it doesn’t count, but Billy hit an RBI double and scored a run. I don’t weight an opening series against a really good team very heavily, but I’m feeling a bit discouraged in spite of myself. A couple of feet of snow on the ground may have something to do with it.

  5. Disappointed but not surprised at the series but the Nats are one very powerful team. Their SP is superb. I think our young pitchers will settle down. Castillo was off on Saturday and Romano hung in there without his best stuff, apparently. They’ll both be better.

    I know I’m happier to have Castillo and Romano pitching than Feldman and Adelman.

    Any word on Finnegan, Lorenzon, Hernandez btw?

  6. It’s going to be a rough season. With the Cubbies up next the first week won’t be pretty.

  7. Not at all. Baseball is back!!! !

  8. I enjoyed watching Homer “pitch” and am fine with Castillo and Romano getting the ball every 5 th day.

    I don’t think that Bryan Price got this team ready to play in spring training. The last 7-10 days you play your everyday lineup mostly ….he didn’t do that. That’s irritating.

    Billy Hamilton and Jose Peraza are a combined 1-21 with 10k and 0 BB in the first series. That’s irritating.

    The bullpen stunk 2 years ago. It’s stinks now. The SP stunk last year. That’s irritating.

    Let’s see how the 7 game roadtrip goes in Pennsylvania.

  9. This is for sure a small sample size but I legitimately have about zero hope that Hamilton or Peraza will show any life at the plate.

    Hopefully we can get Senzel to play SS and that will help out a ton.

    This season is going to pretty much depend entirely on pitching and how it develops.

  10. Last autumn, when the 2018 schedule was released, I knew the Nats were gonna give the Reds an ass whoopin’. Honestly, I expected this series to be worse. I thought there would be more blowouts.

    This is still REALLY early. And I do think the Reds have improved a little. They’ve taken a half-step forward. I’m not quite ready to hit the panic button.

    But other teams in the NL Central have taken two steps forward. (And they were already three steps ahead.)

    A broader question: is MLB lurching toward an era of “Super Teams”? (Similar to the NBA?) And, if so, what does that mean for small market teams who are trying to achieve sustained success?

    • Its already there. Interestingly, NBA super teams are not in biggest markets… Cleveland, Oakland, Houston, OKC. I think baseball will be same way… teams that are in GO FOR IT mode, overspending to augment a competitive core, or tanking to improve draft status and saving dollars to spend when in championship mode. Astros and Cubs have been in both positions last 10 years. So have Reds, but they didn’t do the “overspend” thing right, or when they did, it blew up on their face (Ryan Madson.) Big difference between NBA and MLB is salary cap structure, the big market teams will likely have a longer window when they get there because they can afford to extend more players or replace poor performers with FA. I do believe that every market can have championship windows, and the Reds are coming up on one again.

      • In all fairness, Houston and Chicago are two of the four biggest media markets in MLB. Calling the Astros a “small market team” is a completely false statement

        • True. But Cleveland, Phoenix, Milwaukee, Minneapolis also had winning seasons last year. Tampa has a nice run recently. St. Louis did too. I think MLB system gives bigger advantage to big markets than NBA system, but the 6years of team control mean that markets of any size can have a championship window.

          • I’d actually say the NBA is more geared toward bigger markets. And by bigger markets, I mean bigger owners. Cleveland and Golden State both have owners willing to eat huge luxury tax bills to field elite teams. Baseball allows teams to draft and develop talent for a long time. And the current payroll environment (this offseason) is even more beneficial to teams willing to lock players up early. The depressed FA market has helped those small teams.

            In the NBA, you can have a great team pretty easily. Trade for superstars and pay massive luxury taxes. The MLB caters to small teams pretty well.

  11. I don’t want to over-react, but yes I’m pretty angry. Not at losing, but making flat out dumb, frustrating decisions. I’m still trying to get over the fact that we 1) signed Gallardo, 2) designated Turner in order to sign Gallardo, and 3) pitched Gallardo in a crucial situation that possibly cost us the game.

    Why keep Turner on your roster all season long just to dump him when he’s your only backup if a catcher gets hurt? Dumb front office decision and one of many dumb decisions by Price to pitch him then.

    • Mesoraco is healthy. It feels odd writing that, but for the time being it is true.

    • Co-sign on the Gallardo comments. That was the only thing that actually made me mad. Shouldn’t have been signed to an MLB contract.

      And, I know it’s a sample size thing… but exactly how many time did they have the bases loaded and 0 or 1 outs?

      I want to believe that the law of averages will demonstrate itself and the pitching won’t stink on ice. I can handle losing games just fine, but it’s really defleating to listen to a game and keep hearing runs given up each inning when the offense tried to claw back.

      • Matt, definitely agree with you on the bases loaded and either none or one out situations as it gnaws at me too. So with Peraza and Hamilton in the line-up, the Reds won’t be scaring anybody soon (they both looked horrible – and definitely not like MLB hitters). Actually the Cowboy said yesterday on the broadcast that BH took 2 fastballs right down the chute – simply pathetic. Hope its just the first series but this team did not look ready to start the season and that’s all on Bryan Price – who simply is not a big league manager (and for my 2 cents the Reds stand a better shot with Barry Larkin at the helm).

  12. And in honor of the open thread (thanks for bringing it back, Chad!)… GO BLUE!!!!!!!!!

  13. I’m just glad that baseball is back and realize the Reds are still in rebuild mode. I wish we would have had managerial change but until that occurs we’ll go with what we have. On the positive side are the pitching performances of Bailey and Romano. Castillo had a bad outing but that happens to everyone. I hope the FO sticks to the rebuild and does not go for the ‘veteran syndrome’ (Gallardo). It’s good to see Winker in the lineup whether he leads off or not. The Reds are a work in progress and they’ll be a lot of ups and downs.

  14. For me, a Reds fan of 47 years, I’m certainly disappointed in the 0-3 start, but definitely not surprised. Only 3 games in and Price’s managerial moves have you shaking your head, as do most of the organizational moves this team makes. And not just with the parent club, but throughout the minors as well. They just don’t seem to have the right people in place to succeed as an organization. Their spring training made no sense in so many ways. I fully expected another 90-95 loss season, and with the Cubs coming to town they are well on their way. They may peek out of the basement a time or two, but expect them to finish last again this year. I always be a Reds fan, and look forward to players like Senzel coming up, but with the current leadership (or lack thereof) it doesn’t invoke much hope. Here’s hoping for positive changes and future success.

    • Golden spoon = Williams (who are the Reds trying to fool)
      Bryan Price – stick to being a pitching coach as you sure aren’t a big league manager.

      • Is he much of a pitching coach? Price might have had influence on Arroyo or Bailey. Maybe.

        Price did not develop Cueto (how many other Reds pitchers do the shimmy or slide step?…that’s self taught) or Latos who came ready to rock from the Padres. Leake was ready to pitch once he finished college.

        For four years Price has bombed bullpen decisions, yesterday should not come as a surprise. The wasteful use of Hughes for one out in a 13-7 blowout was just another fine example Price doesn’t understand resource management.

  15. Before we all jump off the bridge, let the pitching rotation turn a couple of times through. But I don’t really understand Gallardo and then not using Garrett at all.
    Quackenbush is who he was, although he was great in Spring Training. Bryan Price was not alone making decisions about the 25 and 40 man roster.

    Spring Training. That’s over, and now the season begins. I would expect the Red’s pitching to get lit up in 2 out of 3 games with the Cubs, and probably lose all three.
    0 – 6 is not a good way to start the season.

    • Lucky for us it’s only a 2 game series against the Cubbies and they are calling for some nasty weather Tuesday. May escape the homestand only 0-4 unless they beat the weather Tuesday or reschedule for Wednesday (both have off days Wednesday).

  16. Mad about: Peraza as an everyday starter and “shortstop of the future”, Hamilton starting against a lefty, the Gallardo signing, Price actually giving Gallardo anything other than mop-up innings, all the pitchers on the DL (okay, sad there, not mad), Senzel playing 2B instead of SS in Louisville. No “C” on Votto’s uniform.

    Happy about: Reds baseball is back. Homer exceeded expectations. Winker got two starts at leadoff. Suarez and Schebler and Gennett and Votto and Duvall all look pretty comfortable at the plate. Gosselin is a pleasant surprise in a very small sample. If Peraza is bad enough (so far so good) maybe Senzel settles in at short and Gennett and Blandino (or Herrera) can handle second nicely. Garrett looked good in his lone, too short outing. The Reds have already played half their Nationals games for the whole year. And most of all, baseball is back!

    • Going to second the above positives and negatives.

      Hamilton is simply not an everyday player and he should be 4/5 on the depth chart at this point. A pinch runner, pinch hitter (against righties), and defensive specialist. I don’t think he should be starting games any more.

      Peraza is a sub-par 8 hole hitter. That is pretty amazing. He is not a gold glove SS so it’s hard to see how this team ignored such a glaring weakness in the starting group at such a key position. I’d almost prefer moving Hamilton back down to SS!

      The bullpen faced the Nats and a very energized hometown guy in Eaton but if they make no improvement from last year in the first quarter of this season then that stasis rests on Williams.

      And yes, I would hope they try the interim manager thing if the Reds appear to be headed toward a lower number of wins than last year – unacceptable.

  17. You don’t get much benefit of the doubt when you’re 225-328 over the last 2 1/2 seasons.

  18. I really am OK right now. I’m still very optimistic. First series of the season so I didn’t expect too much. I try not to get too worked up until about mid-May. Got the Cubs for 2 games so it might be a struggle against them as well today and tomorrow. Like others have said though, I’m just glad baseball is back.

  19. Why would I be mad? Baseball’s back. The season is 3 games old. The internet has enough angry people. I’m just gonna enjoy watching the young guys and be grateful our starting rotation has Romano and Mahle in it, rather than Arroyo and Adleman.

  20. Not mad because as someone said in another thread we are right where we should have been last year and that is letting the young guys pitch.Price is going to be Price and the front office is still going to do the goofy things such as the signing of Gallardo which only takes innings away from a younger guy we need to see pitch.I can live with Peraza being given a shot at short to see if he can handle it defensively but this team is the same as last year so my real interest is seeing the younger guys pitch and pitch a lot.

  21. Not really disappointed to be swept, because the Nats are a good team. There were some positives to glean from the weekend as well. Castillo had a rough go, but 6 K’s and 1BB in 5IP will work moving forward. Romano had a good response after a first rough inning to get a QS against a tough lineup. Homer pitched well too.

    As far as offense goes Gennett and Schebler are off to strong starts, and Votto and Winker have been able to hit a bit and get on base. It’s been nice to have Winker lead off.

    The bullpen has been a mess, but that’s where injuries have hurt the most. That being said, the bullpen management has been mismanaged. Gallardo signing is a disappointment, thought we’d avoided this type of signing for once.

    Peraza’s start in the field and the plate is disheartening. So has the inability to drive in runs with the bases loaded.

    Overall nothing to be excited about, other than if this keeps up they almost have to show Price the door. But then we may get stuck with Larkin, so be careful what we wish for.

  22. Even though it is only three games in it is hard to not be frustrated. The team didn’t seem to have much life on Saturday or Sunday.
    While Todd Frazier hasn’t been good since leaving Cincinnati, I think the biggest thing the Reds are missing is him. He brought a life to the team that doesn’t appear to exist with this current group. Yes you have the leadership by example of Votto but no fire or life outside of him. Maybe it will come from the pitchers with Homer and Amir Garrett who was fired up on Friday and fun to watch. I still wish he was starting but at least they are pitching him at the big league level. They just seemed to go through the motions after Friday waiting for the Nationals to leave town or something. One thing is for certain the offense in the first series was great when the Reds were down 4 to 6 runs and really bad when it was a 1 or 2 run game. I still have hope, I just hope they show more life and look like they are having fun in the games to come.

  23. The first two games, meh.. whatever. Had a chance to win the third game. Gallardo shouldn’t have been signed in the first place. Should NEVER pitch any meaningful pitches in a Reds uniform.

    And Hamilton..oh boy… yesterday was prime example why he should never bat leadoff. He was the only Red player to get 5 at bats. Gosselin hits a 2 run HR to make it 6-5, and here comes Billy walking up to the plate. LOOKS at strike 3 to end the game and then complains about the call. It was a strike, not even a borderline call.

    As Gallardo should never throw a meaningful pitch in a Reds uniform.. Hamilton should never bat in the 8th or 9th inning in a close game. Pinch hitter every single time.

    But… watching the Reds lose is better than not watching the Reds at all. Baseball is back, and for that I’m happy. I just wish the Reds wanted to win.

    • Winker and Ervin sit while Peraza and Billy killed the rally. Price is obviously an intelligent guy, but he just doesn’t have the feel of a decent manager. Its plainly apparent to everyone except DW?

      • How is Price obviously intelligent? This isn’t science or math. It’s baseball. His decisions within a game that doesn’t require a whole lot of intelligence appears to be lacking. Appears to be a nice enough guy but not fit to make smart decisions.

      • In a game in which BH accounted for 40% of the team’s runs, we manage to blame him for the loss. We’re doing well. That takes creativity and, unless he’s traded or injured, we’ll have plenty of opportunity to exercise and refine that creativity as the season progresses. See? A silver lining for a dark cloud.

        • Can you elaborate more on Billy Hamilton’s run creation abilities?
          What does a negative wRC+ even mean?

          • I was referring only to that game and, probably, mulling over the nature of scapegoating.

  24. Its just 3 games but the Reds 15th losing season out of 18 is virtually guaranteed. Yelich/Cain are 15-28 (.536) combined. Ozuna will drive in 110 if he’s doesn’t get hurt. You could see the Cards aging a few years ago but they always find people like DeJong that come out of nowhere. I saw some kid named Hicks in the 8th inning yesterday throwing 101. His stuff is every bit as nasty as Iggy’s if not better. The Cubs have the young nucleus and will buy whatever pitching they need. Meanwhile Price is blowing games like yesterday. Even if they forced Gallardo on him….doesn’t mean he has to come into a 2 run game in the 7th? I’m sure the Cubs will give us atleast one 5-6 run deficit..that would’ve been the time to try a washed up scrub? A crowd of 10k at the game.

    Its not good? Get rid of Price and play the youngsters. Give the fans a reason to follow this team.

  25. While I would have liked to see a win this weekend, it wasn’t a total loss. Like some above the Gallardo signing makes me scratch my head, If we as fans are suppose to accept this is a “table setting year” adding a reliver who is not a part of the long term plan as opposed to finding out which young players can make a significant contribution seems a bit odd. Gennett, Schelber and Winker had good series. Votto produced well for anyone not named Votto, and while Bailey, Garrett and Peralta had good to very good outings, the bullpen was a disaster. Perhaps that’s to be expected with so many on the disabled list. The team ERA standing at 7 is what has me most worried, but only slightly as just 2% of the season is over

  26. Frustrated is the right word for me. I think we all could have seen this weekend coming unless we were wearing the rosiest of reds glasses. Spring Training was a bust, the last week when regulars should have been playing was totally mismanaged by Price. The injuries to pitchers early on. The signing of washed up veterans topped by the Gallardo signing. We are playing two of the worst hitters in baseball on a regular basis and have no bats to speak of on the bench. I understand the need for having players who can play multiple positions on the bench, but seriously, bench players are used much more for pinch hitting than for playing in the field. Would be smart to have at least a couple of bats on the bench. And yes I know that at least one of those bench player is usually one of the three corners outfielders but that is the only bat we have, other than Mes who is the backup catcher and Price doesn’t want to use. Out of Billy and Jose we have exactly 1 hit out of 21 plate appearances. 1 hit and NO walks. Are starting pitchers are 1 for 5 at the plate. We just played one of the best teams in baseball so be swept can’t make you angry. Frustration boils over when you see the same things happening that have happened and seemingly no one who has a say is doing anything about it.

    • The Marlins just played one of the best teams in baseball and won 2 of the 4 games.

      • At some point this season, the Reds will probably win 2 of 4 from a good team. Hell, they’ll probably win a series against a good team. Might do it more than once.

  27. I just can’t get over the fact that the Reds were THIS close to heading into the season without a what-on-earth-are-they-thinking washed up pitcher on the roster, but it seems they just can’t NOT do it no matter how close they come. And once they sign him, Price can’t NOT use him in what would otherwise be winnable games. The people running this organization are simply not very bright, and I don’t know how the team can overcome it no matter how good some of these young guys turn out to be.

  28. Very positive on most of the players, i.e. they may actually learn that Gennett can hit, Winker can get on base, be sure to keep Scheb and Duvall healthy. But, pretty negative on the “may actually learn” part. If nothing else, perhaps they can openly state they’ll go 15 games on pure SABR, or subtly hint that the pitchers older than 30 (other than Homer) are place holding until the Bats staff goes thru 20-30 games. Timing issues galore in all this, but I’ll be pleased if they start making personnel moves before the break. Waiting will be dispiriting.

    Then again – 0-10 would be bad, very bad.

  29. Romano’s recovery after the rough start was pretty encouraging.

    Since it’s an open thread I hope you don’t mind me bringing up two RLN issues: 1) I still have to enter my email and user name for every comment, even if I haven’t left RLN between comments, and 2) I sure miss the “previous” and “next” article highlights, and would encourage you to bring that back, perhaps by swapping the controls for that with the “related articles” highlights.

  30. I am not really bummed about losing three to the Nats. Its the stark difference in talent between the two that got me.

  31. The Rebuild needs a rebuild !!!!!!
    Fire Dick Williams immediately. He is the architect of this mess.
    This is the direct result of standing pat on a last place roster.
    I had 72 wins on my prediction. Revisions are in order. 62 wins is going to be a chore with this roster. What an embarrassment.

    • I stand at 74 wins still. I would be surprised if they only won 62. As for firing Williams, I wouldn’t go there yet. The MLB roster isn’t what I’d want to put out there but he’s done some good things for the organization. His interview with Doug Gray helped me look past some of the things that are annoying me most. It’s very early in the season and the roster and starters in August are going to look different than they do now.

  32. Tough series to watch but not surprising. Have three guys in lineup who should be hitting 8th. Tucker, Billy, and Peraza. I think Peraza’s future is to be a Ryan Freel type utility player. Good teams need guys like that. Just don’t think he is an everyday player.

  33. Biggest bummer was hearing Marty and the Cowboy talk about how everything was right with the world with Billy back in the lead-off spot. Ugh. I’m going to wait and see how they do against the Cubs. Those three Nats starters are a tough, tough, road.

    • That boils me up a bit… they were fawning over how awesome Eaton was at the top of the lineup on Saturday. Billy can’t even remotely hit like that. I don’t understand the block in their thinking.

  34. The Old Cossack woke up and looked outside to find the sun reflecting off trees filled with snow piled on every bare branch. With the opening series against the Nats completed and the Cubbies headed to twon for a 2-game series, I found myself reflective and curious in a ‘what if’ sort of way. What could or should be done to get the most out of the 2018 season to prepare for creating a competitive Reds team going into the 2019 season?

    [#1] The ownership must be taken out of the equation of running Baseball Operations and focus strictly on sound financial principles and stadium operations. That includes Robert Castellini (CEO), W. Joseph Williams Jr. (Chairman), Thomas Williams (Vice-Chairman), Phillip Castellini (Pres & CEO) and any baseball advisers associated with them (Walt Jocketty).

    [#2] The Pres & GM of Baseball Ops must have full, unabated control of all baseball operations decisions and the ability to hold anyone under the Baseball Ops umbrella accountable with the Pres and GM of Baseball Ops accountable for the success of Baseball Ops.

    If item [#1] and item [#2] aren’t in place, then nothing else matters and we get a reprise of 2014-2017 over the next decade(s) plus.

    Once Baseball Ops is run completely by individuals experienced and knowledgeable of modern era baseball requirements and methodology, only then can we begin to address the issues regarding the product on the field. Regarding that product on the field…

    Bryan Price has proven he’s not a manager capable of l;eading a team to success or leading a team through a rebuild. If the Reds can identify THE individual with the experience and capability to do both, hire him ASAP. If not, hire a temporary, interim manager capable and willing to lead the team until THE permanent individual can be identified and hired.

    Then…

    547 PA (AAA) => .256/.308/.343
    521 PA (AAA) => .293/.316/.378
    322 PA (AAA) => .281/.333/.375

    That’s the total experience at AAA for the 2 key pieces of the Reds MLB roster. Nothing in that experience indicates MLB readiness. Throwing young, unprepared and unproven players to the wolves in MLB is an absolute formula for failure. Unsurprisingly, that has happened. Both players have at least 1 option remaining. Make a decision to eithr [1] use an option to send them to AAA and finish getting ready to play at the MLB level, or [2] create a role at the MLB level to utilize whatever strengths the player can contribute while avoiding efforts to put the player in situations where they can not succeed at the MLB level. The options should not have been burned before the players were ready, but that’s water over the dam now. Either way, Hamilton and Peraza should be removed from the starting lineup on the 25-man roster now. Unfortunelty the options for the 2018 season are not good and very limited.

    The Reds have 3 OF capable of starting but none of those three OF play acceptable CF defense as a starter. That’s the situation the Reds have been backed into and have to deal with this season. Winker starts and plays every day in LF. Schebler starts and plays most days in CF. Duvall starts and plays limited (`75%) time in RF. Ervin serves as the 4th OF, spelling Schebler in CF for better CF defense in challenging venues with fly ball pitchers on the mound and spelling Duvall in RF to help keep in fresh and strong for the entire season. The 5th OF will be Hamilton, utilized in double switch/defensive replacement situations to take advantage of his speed in the OF and on the bases if he is not optioned to AAA. A permanent OF solution will be needed in the off season after seeing the full season results from this starting OF and the progress of CF prospects within the organization.

    The Reds have no MLB-ready and MLB-capable SS within the organization. That’s the situation the Reds have been backed into and have to deal with this season. They simply have to use a stop gap player to fill the position. Maybe the move Suarez back to SS on a trial basis to see if he can handle the position defensively going forward or maybe promote Blandino to play a position they know he can’t fill defensively long term in order to get experience playing at the MLB level. I would probably be inclined to move Suarez and see if he could be a future, starting option at SS going forward. At the same time, Senzel would begin playing SS everyday at AAA as another option and make a permanent decision regarding the starting SS going forward after seeing how both players handle SS defensively over the next 2-3 months. If at least one of them proves defensively capable playing SS, make the decision and move at the major league level and move forward. If neither player proves defensively capable playing SS, then a priority off season need is identified.

    AND…

    Handle the starting pitching and bullpen at the MLB level with the intent to identify those pitchers withing the organization capable of competing and contributing at the major league level going forwared. The starting pitching (Bailey, DeSclafani, Finnegan, Castillo, Romano, Mahle, Garrett, Reed, Stephenson) takes priority. Any of those pitcher who are healthy and ready to pitch, starts every 5th game at the major league level or at AAA. If a permanent decision is made that any of those candidates are not and will never be capable of starting at the major league level, then the list can be adjusted and those pitchers can be move to bullpen consideration. The bullpen should give priority to determining who can pitch at the MLB level. Any relief pitcher who is obviously not ready or has not yet demonstrated MLB readiness at the AAA level, pitches at AAA. Any relief pitcher (Iglesias, Peralta, Lorenzen, Hughes, D. Hernandez, Weiss, Brice, Shackelfoord, Herget, De Paula, Crockett, Floro, Nicolino, Worley) who has demonstrated MLB readiness at AAA or MLB capability or any prior starter who is no longer a candidate to start, pitches out of the MLB bullpen on a competitive basis. If they have not demonsatrated major league readiness at AAA, they are not added to the 40-man roster prematurely. If they fail at the major league leve, next cowboy up.

    The Reds MUST identify which players can compete effectively at the major league level and what hole(s) must be filled externally during the off season. This identification MUST be completed during the 2018 season. The Reds just wasted $750K and a 40-man roster spot by signing Gallardo to a major league contract. Anyone and everyone complicit in that decision should consider their status VERY tenuous, and that includes the current GM.

    Whoo…I feel better now. Bring on the Cubbies!

    • The Reds absolutely have a ready and capable MLB SS…..Senzel. There wasn’t a play he couldn’t make in spring training. He has plenty of arm, can charge the ball very well, and can convert tricky hops into outs. The Reds know what they have, DW has said as much. He’s simply playing 2B at AAA to get re-acclimated in case his quickest path is as a super utility guy. Peraza will make plan B unnecessary.

      • And then who is your 2B next year and beyond? If your answer is Scooter, you apparently don’t care about defense or extremely poor career results against LHP. (And before anyone gets too excited about Scooter’s start with the bat, take a look at how he did when his ABs really mattered the last three days. Small sample, but everyone is willing to dump Peraza over a small sample.)

        Over the next 4-5 years, Senzel is probably best for us at 2B, and Peraza or one of the international signings makes it at SS. If you put Senzel at SS, you still need a 2B.

        • Scooter can rake vs righties. Nobody said he has to be in the lineup vs lefties. I’ve been calling for a platoon since he came to the Reds but evidently Price doesn’t own a computer? 27 hrs /97 rbis last year….are you ignoring that?

          Dick Williams International signings can’t hit….just like he can’t sign

          • So, a guy who can’t play defense, in a platoon that won’t happen with a platoon partner we don’t have; a guy who will be very vulnerable to LH relief pitchers, but can probably hit RHP…if we assume last year wasn’t a fluke/result of the juiced ball/result of so many ABs when the game was already out of hand.

            Scooter is a nice role player. But his defense alone is enough that we can’t rely on him to be part of the Glorious Future, so if he’s in the way of anyone who is or might be–like the 23 year old Peraza–he needs to go.

        • Yes. I’ll put my apples in the Scooter basket for the next few years. They face maybe 15% LHP over the course of a season. Blandino/Peraza can cover 2B for 140 games or so.

          The reason Senzel should go to short is because removing Peraza from the lineup would be the biggest benefit

        • Eric, your question regarding 2B is two-fold and has two answers. The answer for next season is the same as the answer for this season…PLATOON. Yes I care about defense, but I care more about winning and that means the best combination of offense and defense.

          Scooter has the best combination of offense and defense to offer the Reds at 2B this season and next season and I’m not basing that opinion on his 3-game start to the 2018 season or even his breakout season in 2017. Scooter has a career slash of .299/.338/.474 for a .812 OPS, a .175 ISO, a .347 wOBA and a 115 wRC+ against RHP and that will almost certainly play UP at GABP. As for as a platoon partner, that’s Blandino, Herrera (major health concern) or Long (not yet ready). Blandino’s defense at 2B is very good and will help mitigate Scooter’s marginal defense in a platoon situation and his offense appears to be ready for the move to the MLB level.

          Going forward, there are multiple options. At the top of the list is Shed Long. He should be ready in late 2019 or 2020. He may be a long-term solution. Herrera may get healthy this season and be ready to play 2B full time. Blandino may even be a long term solution, but he still has a little to prove offensively after his offense tanked for 2 seasons when he reached AA. Last season went a long way toward allaying those concerns. As you mentioned there are multiple options also coming up through the low minors as SS who may take over SS alloying Senzel or Suarez (whoever is playing SS) to move over to 2B or who may not be able to play SS and have to move to 2B themselves, but they are a LONG way from being MLB ready.

          There are lots of potential options going forward and none of them are mutually exclusive, unless the Reds end up with more players capable of starting at the MLB level than they have positions available, a VERY good problem to have.

          • I hear you Cossack. I just think Scooter’s defense–at a key spot–is really bad. And he’s not the answer long term while somebody else might be. I’m not blind to Peraza’s struggles, but he’s so young and the Reds believed in him enough to basically commit to him very early, so I’m still open to the possibility he’ll develop if managed correctly. They can’t give up on him. Or be afraid to play Hererra if he ever gets healthy because Scooter is putting up good numbers.

            I just worry that “local guy!”, “4 home runs!”, “he’s so great in the club house!” Is going to blind the front office/Castellini and clog up 2B for the next four (sub-par) years.

          • Your concern about the front office and Castellini is valid. I addressed than in the [+1] priority. If that isn’t addressed, then nothing else really matters. Scooter is only under team control through the 2019 season and will be playing his age 30 season as a FA in 2020. I’m not interested in paying a FA middle IF on the wrong side of 30, so Scooter would only be an option for 2 seasons.

      • Sultan. like you I believe Senzel is the best and a good answer at SS, but 10 partial games during ST do not give me the warm fuzzies. I have no doubt that Senzel can play 2B as well as he can play 3B with little to no adjustment required. Suarez may also be able to play a good defensive SS now, but no one knows for sure. I would just prefer to find out whether Senzel or Suarez is the better defensive SS, and have Senzel and Suarez as the left side defense in which ever combination provides the better defense, with the emphasis on SS defense.

      • How much did you see him play in the spring? I liked what very little I saw of him at SS but it wasn’t nearly enough for me to know he can play SS on an MLB team. My thoughts are that if he’s really a SS then he may have been playing there a lot more than he did at both the HS and NCAA level. I am not a fan of the Reds coaches and front-office but do trust them to know if Senzel can be a MLB SS or not. I think the Reds are leaning that he can but I dont think they know yet. I don’t think he’s been there enough.

    • The Gallardo thing really floored me. I commented after it was announced that someone in the front office or coaching staff must really like him. Indeed, Price was quoted as saying that their scouts really liked what they saw from him in shorter spans of 1 to 3 innings, instead of starting.

      I’ve been a day-in, day-out fan for 45 years. Clearly the Reds faced a Washington team with megastars on the mound and at some of the everyday positions. We’re all hoping for some sign of improvement, and if you looked close, there were some. But it just feels like another year of being kicked around and the third straight year with five or more key pitchers starting the season on the disabled list.

      I am aware this is an overreaction. The 1995 Reds team that won the division and went to the NLCS started 0-8, I believe. The past couple of years, the bad Reds teams got off to decent starts, kindling some hope. Three games out of 162 means next to nothing. But I watched yesterday’s game on TV and saw that tiny crowd of about 10,000 for the third home game of a new season. I suspect Bob Castellini had the same reaction as me: the average fan is tired of this. Hard-core fans like those here at Redleg Nation will hang in there with the team no matter what. But fans like us are a very small portion of the overall fan base.

      I don’t think they’ll blow up the rebuild, but if things go really bad this month, I will concur with the comments of others on other posts that Price may pay the price with his job.

  35. I’m sure the reds would be more competitive with the nats if they had an extra 80 million for payroll.

    • Reds don’t need $80MM more in payroll. They need a better outfielder to complement Winker while playing the other three Duvall, Schebler and Hamilton part time, and they need to fix Peraza’s swing free attitude or replace him. Peraza has potential but only if he acquires strike zone discipline.

      Schebler, Votto, Scooter need to perform better with runners in scoring position. They’re choking.

  36. When will we know if Stuart Turner was claimed by another team?

  37. A Bryan Price-esqe like f-bomb response.
    Bringing Winning Baseball Back To Cincinnati. The fallacy, falsehoods and futility is fomenting fan frustrations fixing on the front office’s fossilized fish-eyed fools frozen by their own far flung fertilizer.
    Fire Dick Williams !!!!!!!!

  38. I held my tongue as the narrative around here took hold, but it’s time to crow a little bit. Scooter Gennett is no flash in the pan! The guy takes quality at-bats and is worth every penny we’re paying him. The Reds are going to get his prime at a very attractive salary.

  39. Coming into the season, I was thinking this team had a chance to make a lot more noise than most people expect. If the pitching is actually healthy, I think it’s a good bet some of the young guys take a step forward. And I thought the hitting would be above average.

    After the weekend, it’s clear just from watching that the bottom three slots are going to kill every rally that gets started. Obviously, the pitcher’s spot isn’t going to return much on the offensive side, so that’s okay. I’m willing to overlook Hamilton’s offensive shortcomings because of his defense, and the fact that he’s finally batting 9th (combines the benefits of batting him leadoff with the benefits of giving him fewer plate appearances). Peraza, however, doesn’t even look like he belongs in baseball right now. 3 games is a small sample, but it’s caused me to (finally) lose hope that he’ll ever improve his hitting ability. He just looks so lost. The sooner we have some combo of Suarez/Senzel at 3B/SS the better.

    Anybody got any Peraza hope for me? I’ve lost all mine.

    • Also a small sample, but it was the middle of the lineup that did most of the failing when they had all of those bases loaded situations.

    • If you had hope coming into the year, I’d say it’s worth keeping your hope for now given the pitching we just faced. If you were not feeling real confident about your job prospects, and you had to face 3 of the top pitchers in the NL, you might look a little lost, too 🙂 Plenty of 23 year old infielders have learned to stop pressing and put up solid offensive numbers–if given the chance to develop. Which is what this year should be for.

    • I still like Senzel and Suarez at SS/3b.
      Their is a credible defense for Peraza being only 23. He played a nice SS yesterday and made a back hand play look easy.

      More importantly…contrasting with Hamilton. He can hit the ball hard. His ball yesterday to the warning track was stung, exit velo over 100 mph. His problem is plate discipline and lack of walks. If he could learn which pitches to swing at…his power numbers would go up and OBP up. He has shown the ability to hit a baseball.very hard…..just not enough. That’s my best effort.

  40. My biggest disappointments are:

    Amir Garrett not getting the 5th rotation spot out of Spring, and then they doubled down by passing him over to give the 5th start of the season to Reed. I do not think Finnegan should be getting anymore starting opportunities, but am willing to let him have this one last shot. If his arm fails him again, then he should be sentenced to the bullpen for life, where I think he could be a huge contributor to the biggest weakness on the club.

    Senzel playing 2B at AAA. Peraza has a HUGE weakness at the plate, and his defense is what I would describe as “less than average” Senzel made some great plays at SS during the spring, and his potential offense alone should outweigh Peraza’s current abilities. There is an opportunity NOW to get Senzel some pro level experience at SS in AAA, and they are wasting it.

    Gallardo. I can’t say any more than what has already been said about this guy.

  41. I believe it was Yoda that said the opening 3 game series does not a season make. I’ll add, FO changes are not in order due to the opening series.

  42. People have a right to be angry but I think the Reds are going to have a decent season. The big question mark going into the season was going to be the rotation and so far it hasn’t looked too bad. Bailey looked pretty good, Romano was good, outside of 2 mistakes. Castillo had a bad game but I don;t think anyone is going to question his ability to be effective going forward. I also like that Price has been batting Winker at leadoff.

    • People aren’t so angry with the result (0-3), but more how they got to the result.

  43. Let’s see what Mahle can do against the Cubs. The lineup looks good with Winker leading off and Hamilton in the 8th. spot. Pennington replaces Peraza at shortstop.

    • More insanity. Billy should never bat 8th in front of the pitcher…If Billy gets on, what are they gonna do? Bunt him to 2nd? WASTE! Cliff Pennington bats 2nd??
      BANGS HEAD ON DESK!

      • I really liked the way the lineup was on opening day with two guys who can hit batting 1-2 in front of Votto, and then Hamilton at 9 behind the pitcher and in front of the big bats. I don’t like today’s lineup at all either.

  44. I’m a Reds fan living near DC. Family Easter obligations kept me from watching anything but the Nationals’ post-game show. A major topic on that show was how few people attended the game. Is that true? And is it the beginning of the “We’re Mad As Hell and We’re Not Taking It Anymore” movement? And, if so, does management even care?

    • I wasn’t there, but it was pretty sparse from what I saw on TV. That being said, it was cold and a holiday, so should get better.

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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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