In response to some of the comments on last week’s post that took issue with my politically inspired poll question (it’s still happening once a month, you sour pusses *shakes fist at sky*), I decided to do a poll with more options this week. Let’s take a moment to observe it and then discuss.

The dominant answer, as you can see is Fine, followed by Blargh and Good with Great way down. I wanted to do an A/B/C/D/F poll, but Twitter only lets you have four options. I think Good is closer to Blargh than it looks because several people commented that they clicked Blargh because it was a fun word. Anyway, most people think things are fine. I’d choose good, personally, but we all seem to largely have the same gripes:

  1. The bench is… weirdly constructed. I don’t think anyone understands why Cliff Pennington and Phil Gosselin are both on the team (unless the Reds are trying to stock pile a roster of guys with names that belong on late-80s sitcom uncles). The only thing I can come up with is that they plan to have Nick Senzel up sooner rather than later and didn’t want to jack Alex Blandino around. But then why not Brandon Dixon? I’m not super sold on Dixon’s spring performance, but some more power off the bench would be nice, and you don’t really need more than one backup shortstop. So, yeah, who knows.
  2. It stinks that bad things happened with the bullpen, but that isn’t the Reds’ fault. (Random aside here, as I occasionally mention, I also work over at the Hardball Times and we recently had an article that, among other things, showed that most of the perception that your teams pitcher get hurt more than other teams pitchers is just a matter of what you’re paying attention to. That is, everyone has good years and bad years and there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to the pitching injury bug.)
  3. Yovani Gallardo? That’s weird.
  4. Cody Reed over Amir Garrett for the fifth starter. This is one I think we all really understand as, apparently, Garrett is definitively on the team and Reed is just here until Finnegan gets healthy. But still, I don’t personally like the consigning of Amir Garrett to a bullpen roll and I find this decision flummoxing if it is now the longterm plan.

The long and short of all of this is that these are minor quibbles. We all have ideas about where things should go as the season progresses, but for now, there’s little to complain about with the roster even if we aren’t completely thrilled with how things are going. Or, to be more specific, if the Reds are going to be weird, I’d rather they be weird with the 25th man than with the starting outfield. I assume you would, too.

As always, I am going to try to be responsive, so chime in and stuff. What do you want to see happen with the roster as the season progresses? Are there any issues that you think should be examined using a Very Scientific Twitter Poll with words like Blargh, SparkleBritches, and Cucumber? If so, let me know that also.

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.

Join the conversation! 39 Comments

  1. With the Reds front office, it is more of Malfunction Junction. A “D-” is an understandable grade for the Reds front office, but it really deserves an “F”.
    The bench: “D”.
    The Bullpen: “F”
    The starting 8: “C-”
    The Rotation: “I” as in Incomplete.
    The front office: “F”.
    Ownership: “F”.
    What does this all equal up to? Another last place finish in the NL Central. At least with the roster as it is currently constructed.

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  2. I think these points are reasonable. Still, the Reed /Garrett thing just strikes me as one of Price’s flaws as a mgr. Its his job and he and whatever group gets this call. I would probably pick one (Reed) of the two and play it out until a change was required. Maybe both will end up in the rotation in the back half.

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  3. The question marks are all at the margin, but those are basically the only decisions they had this offseason.

    If there had been a choice between Fine and Blargh, something negative or neutral but not as extreme as Blargh, that’s what I would have chosen.

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  4. Minor quibbles: I agree that #1, #2, and #4 are minor quibbles. #1 and #4 are frustrating through. However, #3 is not a minor quibble. It’s already likely cost the Reds one win this year (and we only have 1!). And I’ll add a #5 to your list that’s also not a minor quibble – Price is somehow still manager of a major league baseball team.

    What do you want to see happen with the roster as the season progresses? (A) I was already excited about Mahle, but even more after his start (I know it’s just one game). But I really hope the Reds haven’t shot themselves in the foot and lost a year of Mahle’s eligibility. So find a way to send him down for a month. (B) Get Amir Garrett some starts. Make Finnegan pitch several rehab starts in AAA to prove he’s ready. In the meantime, give Amir a chance.

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  5. I’m 100% with Jason concerning Amir Garrett. Should be the 5th starter over Reed. I really think Amir should start over Finnegan, since BF’s arm doesn’t seem like it holds up to starting. When he gets back, it should be Finnegan’s last attempt as a starter.

    As I’ve stated several times, I wish they would have kept Senzel at SS when he was sent down. There is a CLEAR PATH for him to be called up and replace Peraza. The path isn’t so clear to replace Scooter (for this year anyway).

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  6. I want to see if Yovani gallardo can do what he did out of the bullpen last year:
    G AB BA OPB SLG OPS
    10 106 .200 .274 .326 .600

    This includes his one terrible outing this season.

    I hope your right re Senzel being up, hopefully in june and that would likely be to play SS most of the time except 2b against Left handed pitching to platoon with Gennett. If Senzel hits like he has in the minors, this will be a game changer.

    Agree with the Amir Garrett/Cody Reed comments. Garrett was really impressive in ST.

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  7. Give Garrett a chance to start. Get Senzel up here as soon as economically feasible. Bullpen will be good when injuries end.

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  8. Debating which of Reed or Garrett should be starting is the wrong way to look at it. Garrett and Reed should both be starting, whether in Cincinnati or Louisville. Failing to figure out whether they can both be starters would be a huge mistake. (Giving up on Peraza would be a bad mistake, too, but not on the order of messing up the chance to have a good cheap LH starting pitcher.)

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    • At what point would you move peraza into a utility role? Would it be the end of 18′ season assuming he’s produced a similar value of 0.2 war in 800 ab’s or shorter/longer?

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      • I’d definitely give him this season, at least. No jerking him around like last year, just “the SS job is yours this year, now let’s work on a few things and go play the games.”

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  9. Kind of curious why everyone is clamoring for Garrett to start over Reed. Reed has better stuff and his lack of control last year was a blip and was probably due to working on new mechanics so as to not tip his pitches. Garrett had a good three game start last year but was pretty bad after that 7.39 FIP. People like to get on Reed for his walks and rightly so but Garrett was pretty bad himself with 5.09 BB/9. Garret seems to have added 2 mph to his fastball but that could be due to being able to unload knowing he only has to work one or two innings. As for going to the pen, Garrett had an incredible 11.57 FIP the third time though the order so going to the pen isn’t exactly out of left field.

    Basically, there are a lot of question marks about both pitchers so it’s odd seeing one pitcher get so much love while the pitcher with a higher ceiling gets all the hate. I can see people wanting Garrett to get the nod because he will be out of options after this year but it seems like most people are being swayed by a couple of weeks of spring training.

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  10. Garrett is the better choice. Reed has been hittable and once he gets hit its all over. I don’t think Reed is even a good trading piece because most teams see what his problem is, what was is no longer and in baseball you can’t live on what was.

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  11. Gallardo may be a stretch, but I think I understand why Amir Garrett is here and not in Louisville.

    Between Mahle, Castillo and Romano all being young, and Bailey, Finnegan and Desclafani being injury prone (Finnegan is both), the Reds likely figured that Garrett will be needed as a starter by the All-Star break. In the meantime, they didn’t want Garrett eating up his own innings in AAA, plus they figured the bullpen could use an excellent power lefty during the first half. Garrett, then, should be reasonably fresh all season.

    Reed, on the other hand, is still a bit raw, and he needs to be a starter in AAA, and let him force his way back up.

    I guess that they figure that they can rehab Gallardo and turn him into a reliever. He did have 4 straight years at Milwaukee where as a starter he averaged 9 or better K/9, and he only really fell off the last two years. It isn’t like he was never any good; he had a bWAR of 3.9 in 2015. And, hey, he has 12 career homers in 426 ABs.

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    • Usually you try to pick up a retread if they turn a corner and start to show some improvement…Gallardo looks like he’s still on the way down.

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  12. Garrett pitched well in spring training and expressed a desire to be on the big league roster regardless of if he is a starter. I love that about him. He may not get many starts before the all-star break, but that doesn’t preclude him from starting later in the year or in the future. He’s a pitcher, and he’s major league ready. I’d rather have him in the bullpen than in AAA. And I’d rather he have a defined role in the bullpen than the alternative: giving him a spot in the bullpen, then telling him he’s going to start instead for a couple of games, then returning to the bullpen unless Finnegan isn’t ready. That’s a tough spot to put an inexperienced pitcher in.

    The Reds have a slew of young starters getting major league experience this year. If one or two of those are in the bullpen, that’s fine. They need the experience.

    All in all, I’d probably choose “Fine” because of the limited trade/FA activity when there was some opportunity, the Gallardo signing, and keeping Pennington and Gosselin. Gallardo pushed Weiss to AAA when he seemed ready and pushed Turner off the roster (not a huge loss but now if they need another catcher, they’ll have to make another 40-man move). Pennington and Gosselin are weak bench bats masked as experienced utility players. They are older, less talented versions of Blandino with less control. If the Reds cut one of them for Senzel, they eat the salary, right? Neither is signed for much, but still it would be a loss of $1M+. Plus, Price is already using them more than he should.

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  13. Stuart Tucker cleared waivers today and was outrighted to AAA. Apparently no one else wanted to expend a 40-man roster spot on Turner either. The Reds can now stash him at AAA without the burden of a 40-man roster spot. Now the Reds just need to put Yovani Gallardo through release waivers and be done with it. If the Reds are simply going to throw away $750K, I have a much better use for that money.

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    • I believe as soon as Gallardo was put onto the active roster during the regular season, the $750K or whatever his base salary is became a sunken cost. So the money is already down the drain. I’m not certain but I think it is very possible that by getting Turner off the 40 man now rather than later, they may have saved a pittance there.

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      • Yep, it is a sunk cost…down the toilet.

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        • The amount of angst for this signing is bizarre. The league is full of former starters that converted into effective bullpen pitchers. If he ends up in high leverage innings, I’ll be shocked, but its weird what people focus on.

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  14. Looking at roster construction, you mention that all of the quibbles are minor, but I think that’s only because all of the decisions were minor. I mean they weren’t going to waive Votto or Suarez, the entire starting 8 was set (9 if you count the 4 man outfield thing), the back-up catcher was set provided he was healthy.

    When it came to roster decisions, the Reds essentially had to 3 spots and 6 players to choose from; Ben Revere/Phillip Ervin, Pennington/Blandino, and Gosselin/Dixon. I’d argue they made the right choice once (Ervin) and the wrong choice twice (Pennington/Gosselin) That’s 1/3 and while .333 batting average is good, a 33% is an F everywhere else.

    I would also dock them for stashing Garrett in the bullpen and giving Gallardo a contract at all and give them credit for putting Mahle in the rotation. Again, 1/3, another failing grade.

    What I want to see from the Reds going forward is for them to play youth with high upside over veterans for the sake of their veteranieness. I don’t want to go into 2019 looking to sign some re-tread to be a bench player because they aren’t sure yet what they can get from Blandino. I don’t want another Kevin Gregg signing because “he’s been there before” and the Reds don’t know what Jimmy Herget can do yet.

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  15. Brandon Nimmo playing CF and leading off for the Mets today….2 walks in 2 atbats which raises his lifetime obp of .373! He might turn into a pretty decent offensive player? I still don’t understand what happened with that trade for Jay Bruce? Nimmo was supposedly hurt so we took Herrera….who was most definitely hurt? Nice to see DW with the proper due diligence there….jeez?

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    • DW was still in his Huggies during that time frame. He was too busy fumbling the Cozart trade to Seattle that day to be too concerned with the return on the Jay Bruce trade. No Tyler O’Neill, now with STL, from Seattle and no Luis Gohara, now with ATL, from Seattle.
      And like you say, no Nimmo from the Mets for 1 1/2 years of Jay Bruce. They got a 2B with a very bad shoulder and a LH pitcher with an even worse shoulder. And these two were on the heels of the Chapman trade debacle.

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    • July 31, 2016 could end up being the day we look back on as the day that delayed/destroyed the ultimate rebuild. The two best pieces the Reds had left to move, Cozart and Bruce, and all they end up with is a broken down 2nd baseman.

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  16. BLARGH! You used the word(?) Sparklebritches….and now, so did I! BLARGH IT!!!! I can’t unlearn that word(?) now. Thank you for that.(😉)

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  17. Now, on a more serious note. I’ll feel a lot better about the roster once Hamilton and Peraza are either gone or on the bench full time. Putting Senzel at short while keeping Gennett at second AND putting Winker in the OF full time would make our offense that much better. Schebler has more than enough speed to play center and probably would be able to make some hard or difficult catches that some Reds fans have already grown accustomed to seeing from Hamilton. Schebler is obviously not as fast as Hamilton but he’s still pretty fast. Above the avg.

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    • The paint’s not dry on Peraza. He needs more time, and it seems the Reds will give it to him.

      Senzel at SS, Gennett at 2B, and Schebler in CF — oh man, I wouldn’t want to be pitching for the Reds with defensive alignment. Senzel may be the best at his position of those 3, but he’s unproven and most likely below average SS. Schebler is fast, but he’s a below average defensive outfielder. Speed does not equal good defense.

      I think it’s more likely that Suarez moves to SS this year if the Reds give up on Peraza. More likely still may be trading Gennett and giving 2B to Senzel.

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      • Abado,
        Yeah, the Reds are gonna give Peraza all the time in the freaking world whether I like it or not. He’s not gonna be anything special.

        You and others seem to have a lot of faith in Peraza (both offensively & defensively) but not so much in Senzel & Schebler’s defensive capabilities. Everybody says that Peraza needs more time but seem unwilling to give any time to Senzel & Schebler at Center and Short. They haven’t had nearly enough time at those positions and yet everybody seems to think it’s a foregone conclusion that they’ll suck defensively at center & short. I suppose I’m doing the same with Peraza but I just don’t believe in him. I believe in Senzel & Schebler’s defensive capabilities at those positions in question.

        If the reds trade Gennett and move Saurez to short and put Senzel at 2B, who will play third in that scenario? And I’m not trying to start an Abbot and Costello routine either.

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        • Schebler in CF is a no-no from what I’ve seen. Speed is only a small part of playing CF.
          I am with you on trying Senzel at SS. Peraza is just wasting everybody’s time there. But the Reds stuck him at 2B in the minors. Huge mistake.

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          • Varedsfan,
            Schebler hasn’t had enough chances in CF to make that judgement. If speed is only a small part of playing CF then why’s everybody so hung up on Hamilton’s speed? Billy’s speed is what allows him to get to those hard to catch balls. So speed is not just a small part of being able to play center. It’s very important. Being able to read the ball off the bat is important to but people seem to forget that Billy wasn’t an OF’r when he first came up. I believe he was an infielder. So, if an infielder can learn to play center so well, why can’t a guy who’s been playing the outfield on a regular basis learn to play center?

  18. Rockies extend CF Charlie Blackmon for 5 years, 2 arb. years and 3 free agent years.
    Big Bob will have a 5 year extension for CF Billy Hamilton in the works after learning of this news, 2 and 3.
    Throw in the towel on Peraza and an extension for Scooter may really be in the works.

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    • The Reds are thin at SS and deep at 2B. Giving up on a 24 year old SS and extending a marginal starting second baseman at the absolute peak of his value would maybe be the worst move of this rebuild.

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  19. Jason, thanks for the note on pitching injuries. The Reds have literally had at least five pitchers on the disabled list each of the past three Aprils. Sometimes you wonder if other teams are having pitchers go down with lat and oblique injuries. Hopefully the odds will start to be in their favor, and the occurrence of pitching injuries will begin to decrease in coming years.

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  20. Observations made from going to way too many reds , bats and dragons games last year.

    Scott Schebler cannot and I mean cannot play cf. let’s get that idea out of our heads.

    Winker is a really bad outfielder as well.

    Senzel is a 3 rd baseman. Doesn’t have the range for ss or 2b.

    We are a bad offensive team with Hamilton in center or without him so you may as well have a solid defender in the of.

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    • I cannot believe how many people think that Winker is a good outfielder and Schebler should start in CF.

      I think Senzel can stick at 2B but SS has always seemed like a stretch.

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      • I think people think Winker can be a good hitter and hopefully an adequate OFer? I think he’ll get a little better. He made some nice plays when he first came up last year.
        Senzel is a good athlete….will never be a defensive wiz at SS but he could be decent.
        4 for 4 off Max Scherzer says Scooter is by far the best hitter they have at 2B for the near future!

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      • I agree about Winker/Schebler. I think Winker pulled a few Adam Dunn moves last year and made a few ordinary plays look extraordinary. Fans see a guy make a sliding catch and overlook the fact that a better defender makes an easy grab.

        In Winker’s case, it might be okay if he’s a poor corner outfielder if he hits his way out of it, but that isn’t going to happen if his power doesn’t reappear/develop. I hope it does!

        I don’t think Senzel is a long term solution at SS, but a Rich Aurilla bat first-type out there isn’t the worst thing in the world to have assuming he isn’t a butcher at the position. Just having some roster flexibility with everyday starters would also be valuable, particularly if the team is willing to switch from rebuilding mode to win now mode in the next couple years as it really opens up trade/FA options.

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      • neither are good OF’ers. The one that hits better should play more.

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        • I caught most of the White Sox/Toronto game last night and the WS were up 1 bottom 8. They just put in a defensive replacement in LF and he made a leaping catch off the wall in left-center. That’s how the Reds need to use Billy and they’ll also need a defensive OF after Billy.

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About Jason Linden

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.

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