As the Reds’ worst start of the regular season since the Great Depression has unfolded, fans of the team are looking for answers, and in some cases, heads.

Everyone from Bob Castellini to Dick Williams to Bryan Price has been roundly criticized here at Redleg Nation and elsewhere. One very important point for everyone to remember is:

This is part of a plan.

The plan is not to have the worst record in baseball — it is to have one of the best records in the coming years. However, other teams that have executed this plan successfully over the course of time have been as low as the Reds seem at the moment. Earlier this week in this space we cited the NBA Philadelphia 76ers, who are riding a wave of success and excitement as the playoffs begin. As part of “The Process,” which is their specific name for what the sports world calls a rebuild, the Sixers shed all of their talented veterans and high salaries after the end of the 2012-13 season and traded for as many future draft picks as they could.

Their goal: Acquire difference-making players to build around. The only way for non-marquee teams to do that is to have high draft picks and make them count. Non-marquee teams must overpay for established veterans, and we are seeing in all sports that ownership and management just won’t do it anymore.

In the seasons immediately following the decision to implement “The Process,” the Sixers went 19-63, 18-64 and 10-72. Along the way, NBA league officials were so unnerved that this was going on in a major media market that they put pressure on team ownership to move “Process” architect Sam Hinkie out of the general manager seat. He was replaced by Bryan Colangelo, who had some previous top management experience in the league.

In year four of The Process, the Sixers improved to 28-54, leading up to the current year five, in which they went 52-30, finished with a 15-game winning streak, and have the third seed in the Eastern Conference. They are considered one of the favorites to make the NBA finals.

During “The Process,” the Sixers missed on some draft picks, but they struck gold with center Joel Embiid and point guard Ben Simmons, two of the league’s top young stars. Very interestingly, head coach Brett Brown has been retained through the entire Process, despite his 127-283 career record.

I lived in Texas between 2006 and 2015, at a time when the Houston Astros were in the midst of their own version of the process. After the 2010 season, the Astros were the first team to commit to this form of rebuild. Their subsequent records were 56-106, 55-107 and 51-111 before some results were noticeable in year four when they went 70-92. Since then, the Astros have been in contention, and of course, won the World Series following a 101-win 2017 season.

During the Astros’ rebuild, fan interest reached previously unimaginable lows. In 2013, TV ratings indicated that around 1,000 people or less were watching games – in the Houston market, the nation’s fourth-largest! Another team telecast early in the 2014 season drew a 0.0 rating.

These two teams are among the leading examples of successfully executing the modern-day version of a rebuild. They didn’t veer off course when the record went into the toilet for years, and they didn’t panic when local fans basically turned them off. Just as the Sixers’ plan yielded some of the game’s brightest young stars, the Astros’ rebuild brought in Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman and George Springer, perhaps the best young core of star players in the game. The Astros had high draft choices and made them count.

Nobody here in Redleg Nation enjoys what is currently happening. We all hope that the players currently on the team and in the farm system start to play better. But the front office is not going to go on a trading spree this year. With both the Sixers and Astros, year four was a year where the record began to improve, and that is certainly possible for the Reds once all of the injured players return.

While the front office is certainly not happy with the current low attendance numbers and upset fan base, they had to know that all of this was possible during this type of rebuild process. Year four is when glimmers of hope should begin to be seen, and we’ll see if that develops as the year progresses.

No matter how low fan interest drops this year, they will be back for a winner. Along with the Sixers and Astros, the Cubs and Royals demonstrated that clearly.

I am concerned that the success of this sort of rebuild process has radically changed the competitive scope of the game. Currently, there are about a dozen teams that are in it to win it, and the rest are in some phase of a “rebuild.” Back in the good old days, every season started with the belief that your team was going to do everything it could to compete and win. Clearly, these days that is not the case. It might be difficult for younger fans to develop passionate ties to their local team that seems indifferent to losing 90 to 100 games year after year.

Today, the Reds hope to avoid the four-game home sweep at the hands of the Cardinals. As you watch the game, you may feel sad as you see the very small crowd for a Sunday afternoon home game against a top rival team. Bob Castellini will certainly be disappointed, but understand that he knew years ago this was possible and agreed to the plan that has been successfully executed by the Royals, Cubs and Astros.

The elephant in the owner’s box is whether or not Dick Williams can complete the rebuild with the level of success that his peers achieved. We won’t know that today, but it certainly is always on Castellini’s mind.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Carlos Martinez 18.2 2.41 4.33 23.2% 12.2%
Homer Bailey 16.2 3.24 4.88 16.7% 8.3%

Reds hitters have had better success against Martinez, one of the league’s top righthanders, than you may have expected:

Bailey, by and large, has exceeded expectations. If he can pitch the rest of the season the way he has so far, you would take that and say you got more than you bargained for. He’s with the Reds for this year and next. His contract for the 2020 season calls for him to make $25 million, but the Reds can buy that out for $5 million, and they will.

Bullpen

All should be available today. Dylan Floro pitched two innings yesterday in his Reds debut and was very impressive in a two-inning, 23-pitch outing in which he retired six straight. With that low of a pitch count, it would seem likely he could be used again today.

Starting Lineups

Cardinals Reds
RF Dexter Fowler CF Billy Hamilton
CF Tommy Pham SS Jose Peraza
3B Matt Carpenter 1B Joey Votto
1B Jose Martinez 2B Scooter Gennett
C Yadier Molina LF Adam Duvall
SS Greg Garcia C Tucker Barnhart
LF Harrison Bader 3B Alex Blandino
2B Kolten Wong RF Phillip Ervin
P Carlos Martinez P Homer Bailey

News and Notes

Minor league update …

All players will wear #42 today …

194 Responses

  1. Jack

    One thing about basketball is one player can carry a team. Will not happen in baseball. EVER! I love Bryan Price. He is a nice guy. But he is a nice guy that can’t lead this team. That doesn’t mean he can’t manage another team. But this team has checked out. Until this team finds a legit manager they aren’t going anywhere. Why keep him around if they are just going to fire him when all the pieces are in place? That’s not fair to Bryan. And if they are going to keep him ,then this team will not turn the corner for a few years. So if they want an empty stadium and bad tv ratings for the next 4 or 5 years then that’s bad business. Put Girardi or somebody worthwhile in the manager seat. Like the,saying goes A manager is hired to be fired.

    • Beentheredonethat

      Agreed, coaching these guys even while loosing is paramount. It’s a hard job, and I’m not sure he can continue.

  2. Sandman

    You talk about younger fans being upset that the team seems indifferent to losing 90-100 gms a year. Well, it ain’t all that easy to swallow for some adults either (including me) even though we know that there’s an “end game”.

    • tomn

      For us older guys, the desired end game may come after we are six feet under

      • Sandman

        Tomn, it certainly feels that way. But, I wanna see what this club does when it is fully healthy.

  3. TyGuy85

    I like the Sixers analogy but I will say that they had a coach that allowed for sorting of the young draft picks and actually developed the guys they were interested in. It just doesn’t seem that the Reds do this type of sorting and development, and I certainly don’t have faith in this coaching staff to do that.

  4. Old-school

    Great perspective Tom.
    The Reds have drafted well the last 2 years. I hope they stick with best player at #5. I’ve read some comments they can’t draft a power hitting 1b/ 3b college hitter because of Votto or Suarez. That’s nonsense. A player drafted in 2018 or #1 overall in 2019 has to be the best guy and won’t be playing anyway untill 2022. Who knows where/ what /how healthy JV is 2022/23. Plus….you can always trade an Uber prospect for proven players.

    I just question if the draft and develop and DW side of the FO is in sync with the insular older side of the room that think about baseball the same way they did in 1982. I m also tired of an anemic offense with poor lineup construction at the top. When healthy, Winker needs to hit leadoff and play LF every day and Schebler needs to play RF against righties and some CF against lefties. Adam Duvall is a platoon player in RF going forward.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      I love Winker as a hitter, but if I was in charge, his defense would have to improve quite a bit before I’d consider him a part of the core going forward. The defensive problems with this current team are glaring, and you can’t win consistently at a high level with defensive liabilities in the field. I’ll say the same for Gennett — the guy can hit, no doubt, but he absolutely would not be in my long-term plans at second base. He’s below average defensively.

      • Old-school

        He’s a rookie. He needs to play in this lost season every day. Suarez was bad 2 years ago. Shin Soo Choo was below avg in CF. Defense can be improved.

  5. Wayne Nabors

    I don’t think its as much that he gets hammered on this site,but that its quite obvious he can’t manage period,never has been,his day today lineup is plum assuming,should not be allowed by ownership to keep wasting playing time on useless veterans that will not be there next year

  6. Shchi Cossack

    The analogy or comparison of an NBA rebuild and a MLB rebuild is pointless. Every player drafted in the NBA is intended for an immediate impact at the highest level of competition. That is not, never has been and never will be true in MLB. While the draft is the life-blood of every MLB team, it’s a long term process for drafting and developing players who may or may not have any impact at the MLB level, even 1st round draft selections.

    There are multiple issues impacting the fan’s frustration with the Reds rebuild process and results and all of these issues go back to the beginning of the current ownership. The ownership group and specifically BC, made a commitment that the losing would stop, that a new day was dawning for the Cincinnati Reds. What we got was the good old boy network and good old nepotism. A close-knit group of insiders that was more concerned about supporting each other than building and maintaining a winning team. The foundation and buildng blocks of winning were in place BEFORE the ownership team and their cronies came aboard. The ownership and their cronies reaped the benefits of prior efforts and decisions but did little to augment those efforts and decisions. The Reds won but achieved little real success beyond unfulfilled promise because everyone in a decision making capacity was satisfied with a status quo arrangement and process. They individuals and their collective group were rejects from successful baseball operations and they performed as rejects from successful baseball operations.

    When the time came to make real decisions to actually build the next winning team, the group continued to function solely in a old boys network and nepotistic mode rather than focusing on buildong a winning organization and winning team. Now the fans are left with hollow promises and requests to ‘trust the process’ developed and implemented by the same old boy network and nepotistic organization. What have they done to earn such trust…?

    • Tom Mitsoff

      The primary point in bringing the NBA Sixers into the discussion is the time frame for this process. It is a minimum of five years for the professional teams that have done it successfully. The Reds are just starting year four.

      • doofus

        And if they started the so called “Process” before 2014 this would be year 5. The ownership/FO insularity and nepotism precludes them making timely, decisive decisions.

    • Jack

      Seems to me they are more on the Pirates 20 year plan than the 5 year plan.

  7. Shchi Cossack

    Uh Tom…As good and dominant as Miles Mikolas was in his last outing against the Reds, I doubt that he is available to start again today, unless it is a rain delay ploy by the Birds!

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Thanks for the catch, Cossack. Correction made.

  8. Sliotar

    Tom,

    It feels like Hinkie is being blackballed in the NBA right now. Plenty of teams there are no-hopers and could use him. We could only wish he was in charge of the Reds.

    But, basketball is so different than MLB. The addition of a healthy Ben Simmons this year was all it took to put the Sixers truly around the corner.

    Comparing what the Reds are doing to the Sixers, Astros and Cubs have done is being far too generous to Castellini, IMO. He is in primarily in in to increase franchise value, accept revenue sharing and not lose any money. Winning would be great, but not top priority.

    The Astros and Cubs got their core and they played every day. Even then, there was losing and grafting and developing before the corner was turned.

    The Reds are still not even at the point of knowing who their core is, and the youngsters don’t play every day to finalize that first step. That is where the frustration germinates.

    Go Redlegs.

  9. DocProc

    It’s hard to see a rebuild plan in place when the Reds sign journeymen like Pennington and Gosselin and play them ahead/instead of Blandino and Dixon. It’s hard to see a plan in place when they add Floro to the 40-man and cut Hernandez. It’s hard to see a plan in place when they relegate Garrett to the bullpen. I could keep going. I’m fine with “This is all part of the plan” as long as they stick to the plan.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Regarding Hernandez, I think he’s one of those guys who we hear about who has supposedly unhittable stuff and can’t locate his pitches consistently. He’s 26 years old. You can only watch a guy walk the world for so long in hopes that he will figure it out. I have not heard if he cleared waivers, but it he does, he’ll be given a shot to figure it out at least through this year.

      • DocProc

        I agree that Hernandez has been disappointing and may never realize his potential. But he was once part of the plan, and Floro wasn’t. I’d rather see Herget up here than Floro because Jimmy is part of the plan. Heck, I’d rather see Weiss and Rainey stay up here now that they’ve gotten their feet wet (drenched) because they too are part of the plan. Now if the time to see if the youngsters we’ve been grooming are worth the continued investment.

  10. Eric the Red

    I really worry about whether the Reds have the stomach to successfully stick to the plan. We’ve seen marketing-driven decision making and panic moves (i.e., hold onto players because of the All Star game, trade Chapman for a bag of beans), prioritizing the short term over the long term (i.e., benching Peraza last year, playing Gosselton instead of Blandino), and questionable decision making (i.e., giving starts to no-hopers instead of young potential).

    My great fear is they start panicking and doing things like calling up Senzel, extending Gennett, hiring Larkin, as a reaction to an unhappy fan base and owner.

    And even if they don’t do things like that, they have to start demanding that things like keeping young LH pitchers in the bullpen to satisfy Price, or tolerating sloppy and disinterested play, comes to an immediate end. Succeeding with the Rebuild Process requires actual development, not just the passage of time.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      I completely agree that sloppy and disinterested play cannot be tolerated. An individual can give his or her absolute best and still not be as good as an opponent. But if your fundamentals or attention are lacking, that must be addressed.

    • Tom Diesman

      I contend they didn’t even have the stomach to start the plan, much less finish it. If this was a five year plan with losing badly expected like the Astros plan, what was with trading off all of their major league talent for major legue ready players? That’s a huge hinderance to the rebuild from the offset. If you are going to be awful for the foreseeable future you trade for younger higher upside talent, not near major league ready players with low ceilings. They dealt off all their talented players and the best they got back was Jose Peraza and Dilson Herrera. This is what you call a half-assed commitment to start a rebuild. Not to mention they didn’t jump in with both feet, they slowly unloaded their team over a year or two which caused the to get little to nothing on much of their players because of it. This has been a terrible plan from the start.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        They got Schebler, who I think will be part of the core moving forward, in the Todd Frazier trade. Herrera can hit when healthy, though I have no idea about his defensive skills at second (if he can even throw to first base, that is).

      • Jack

        Schebler? He will be 28 this October! Has still never made it through a full season to give us any idea how good he could be. The core should be about age 25 not 28.

      • doofus

        Not only did the Red’s not get adequate value back for Chapman, Frazier, Bruce and Cueto, but the timing of the trades contributed to the lack of value.

      • Jack

        Exactly . I see no chance of this changing for a few more years. Whats,worse is the guy who screwed it up is still hanging out with the owner.

      • Shchi Cossack

        EXACTLY!!! An antiquated reality formed the basis of their plan, leading to ‘the process’.

  11. Jack

    4/19/1892: Washington Senators start 0-2; Arthur Irwin replaced Billy Barnie
    4/22/1892: St. Louis Browns start 1-3; Cub Stricker replaced Jack Glasscock
    4/29/1892: Baltimore Orioles start 1-10; John Waltz replaced George Van Haltren

    4/8/2002: Detroit Tigers start 0-6; Luis Pujols replaced Phil Garner
    4/18/2002: Milwaukee Brewers start 3-12; Jerry Royster replaced Davey Lopes
    4/26/2002: Colorado Rockies start 6-16; Clint Hurdle replaced Buddy Bell
    4/29/2002: Kansas City Royals start 8-15; Tony Muser replaced

    Just some early pink slips.

  12. nicolecushing

    I agree with others who have posted here that NBA and MLB rebuilds are apples and oranges. The development process for an MLB player (particularly, I think, a pitcher) is pains-taking, slow, and risk-averse, due to fear of injury and the need to acquire a very unique skill set.

    I think the team should rebound after Suarez and Schebler return from injury. I think the fact that the Reds signed Suarez to a long-term deal means they anticipate he’ll be one of the core pieces of The Next Good Reds Team.

    All is not lost.

    That said, I think what’s particularly painful for fans is how the team seems to be going through the motions. I respect the hell out of Votto, but getting picked off the way he did the other day seems to indicate a lack of focus. The fielding errors seem to indicate a lack of focus. The strikeouts seem to indicate a lack of focus.

    Do the Reds have a mental skills coach? Former player Bob Tewksbury was recently on the Baseball Tonight podcast to talk about a new book on such coaches, and about his own experience as a mental skills coach. Might be worth looking into. Here’s a link to his book, for those interested. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073P4K6G5/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

    • Mike Adams

      Maybe a “mental skills coach” will help but it should not be that way!!
      All the motivation these guys need is: you get paid a living to play a game and some get rich doing so.
      I think sometimes these guys (not just the Reds) take their pay and place in life for granted.
      They should bust a gut every play every day no matter what the situation is with their team–winners, losers, or rebuilders.

      • nicolecushing

        Mental skills coaches aren’t about providing motivation. They’re about improving focus. And if it works, why not try it.

  13. big5ed

    I think the Reds have the discretion whether to postpone this game.

    Management would be utter bozos not to postpone this one. The next time they play STL, they will have Winker, Suarez, Schebler and Senzel. I get the Jackie Robinson business, but this organization needs a laser focus on developing a winning attitude and putting the losing behind them. Wear the 42 jerseys on make-up day.

  14. Indy Red Man

    I just don’t see a young core to build around like Houston or the Cubs put together. Maybe with Hunter Greene and Trammell….etc. Kids that are now 19-20 years old. Even if they did…find it hard to believe that DW would spend the money for vets to put them over the top. The Cubs have bought nearly every starter they’ve had in the last 3-4 years. Houston got Verlander and put together a great bullpen. Votto is human and will decline…if he hasn’t already but his $25/mil doesn’t decline. That cash spends….for a guy that falls asleep off first base and we’re not even halfway thru April. I hope I’m wrong but they’re going to have to move on from Williams and Price to make me believe they have a chance.

  15. vegastypo

    “The elephant in the owner’s box is whether or not Dick Williams can complete the rebuild with the level of success that his peers achieved.”

    —–

    To me, the “elephant in the room” is whether Dick Williams is even allowed to do things much differently than we saw for years and years under Walt Jocketty, i.e. keep relying on washed up veterans. I’m not sure Williams is anything more than a new face made to look like the Reds are trying to go in a new direction, even if there is not. The question was always, were these decisions what Castellini wanted/ordered, or was that what Jocketty convinced Castellini to do? And with Jocketty no longer the GM but still hanging around, I have little confidence much has changed.

  16. Eric the Red

    Since we have a rain delay, and not to excuse Votto’s general ineptitude to start the season, but…can anyone explain to me why it wasn’t called a balk on the play where he got picked off the other night? I’ve watched it a number of times, and the pitcher went into his windup, didn’t come close to stopping in a set position, and then threw to first. I confess that the finer points of the balk rule confuse me, so I’d appreciate some clarification if anyone is so inclined. Thanks!

    • vegastypo

      Pitchers are supposed to come to a complete stop, yes, but a guy who covers a MLB team says the rule is often violated without a balk call. He compared it to making a rolling rather than an actual ‘stop’ at a stop sign.

      • Eric the Red

        Thanks. With that explanation, I think if you rewatch the Votto play you’ll see that the pitcher wasn’t doing the typical rolling stop but instead blasted through the sign at full speed. It was a balk, and the kind that often gets called. I’d be curious if anyone rewatches and agrees/disagrees with me.

  17. doofus

    Mr. Mitsof, I admire your writing and insight to the Reds, but I’m not buying the Red Herring you offer in this article. The Castellini led ownership group has an .480 winning percentage. That’s the 3rd lowest since 1963. Only the Lindner and Williams Bros (Dick William’s grandfather and great uncle were worse) owner groups were worse. It’s the overall poor performance of the club during the Castellini led group’s tenure that I and many others don’t agree with, not just the last 4 or 5 years. Principal owners prior to 1980 have been able to sustain winning percentages during their tenure with the same type of market/financial resources that exist today. The present ownership group can change the color of lipstick they put on a pig, but it’s still a pig.

  18. Bill

    I agree with the comments, but in talking about the 76ers he mentions they got shed of their veterans and high priced players. What are the Reds still doing with Bailey, Votto and Meso? I know Votto has a no trade clause, but what would Bailey brought after his second no hitter.

  19. George

    TOM:
    Nice try, you are a true Reds fan.
    A random thought for you to ponder, follow the money.
    Contracts to look at;
    D Mesoraco current contract $13,125,000. He will be a FA in 2019.
    H Bailey, current contract $21,000,000 for 2018, $23,000,000 for 2019; FA in 2020
    S Gennett $5,700,000 for 2018. FA in 2019
    E Suarez; $2.5 mill. in 2018; $7.29 million in 2019; $9,540,000 in 2020; $10.7 in 2021; $11.3 in 2022.
    R Iglesias; $5.2 mil. In 2018; 5.7 mil in 2019 and 2020
    And lastly, J Votto $25 mil a year through 2023
    Questions to ask;
    Do the Reds resign Mesoraco?
    Do the Reds resign Gennett?
    If Bailey gets it together, what is he worth to a contending team after the 2018 All-Star game?
    What is Iglesias worth in July to a 2018 play-off team?
    I included Votto in this listing because if memory serves me right, the Reds also traded F. Robinson, Pete Rose, and Paul O’Neil.
    If Reds ownership let Mesoraco and Gennett go, trade Bailey, Iglesias and Suarez, that would free up over $54 mil for 2019. If ownership gets creative (eats $15 mil a year) and Toronto gets ambitious (trades for Votto), the Reds could save another $10 mil. So a total of over $64 million would be available in 2019.
    A final thought, the current TV agreement, which has been not mentioned, replaced the $30 Mil a year in 2016 for an estimated $50 million plus a year deal in 2017. (Cincy Business Journal)
    The money is there and will increase in 2019 and 2020.
    The teams value is now over 1 Billion (Forbes, 2018). Not too bad for a $270 mil investment.
    I would watch what the Reds do this year after June to get a definitive idea of where the ownership group is headed.
    Just some random thoughts on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
    Thanks,

  20. LL Cool

    The problem with Winker is he is just to dang slow!! On the bases and in the outfield. If he gets on which is probably a single due to lack of speed , then it’s bad news for whoever bats behind him because if it’s not a home run that person will not score because Winker is so slow.Larry

    • Tom Diesman

      Your eyes are deceiving you!

      Statcast data courtesy of Doug Gray:

      http://redsminorleagues.com/2017/12/20/fastest-cincinnati-reds-billy-hamilton/

      Player Speed (ft / sec)
      Hamilton, Billy 30.1
      Ervin, Phillip 28.8
      Schebler, Scott 28.4
      Peraza, Jose 28.2
      Kivlehan, Patrick 27.4
      MLB Average 27.1
      Duvall, Adam 27.0
      Winker, Jesse 26.8
      Suarez, Eugenio 26.7
      Gennett, Scooter 26.7
      Cozart, Zack 26.6
      Mesoraco, Devin 25.8
      Barnhart, Tucker 25.6
      Votto, Joey 25.6

  21. JB WV

    Like your work, Tom, and I’m an optimist too. And I would gladly go to the park now if guys like Pennington, Gosselin, Quackenbush, etc. weren’t blocking innings for young guys that may have a future. In theory it sounds good: draft high by losing, trade for inexpensive young players with potential, wait till they make it to the bigs and than add pieces with plenty of money available. But if the FO doesn’t understand that their process has flaws and they’re unwilling to change it, like firing an obtuse manager and playing their prospects, is anything going to change? You can’t wait long in sports. The best point among many in this post is Schebler. I like the guy, but he battles injuries every year and he’s in his so-called prime years with limited ML experience. Duvall looks like he’s peaked and we’re still waiting for another piece of the “core”, Hamilton, to get on base. WVREDLEGS begged the Reds all offseason to make a serious run for Yelich, a guy entering his prime who had already proved himself as a solid if not star quality player, available! Seems like they didn’t even bother to make a serious offer. The BIg Red Machine would have never dominated the 70’s without the Helms/May trade. They made a bold move and it paid off with two WS rings. Can we expect anything like that from this group? Does the fan base have the patience to wait another 4 years to be competitive as baseball itself continues to lose young fans to other sports? 2-12. I think oldschool said the Reds would be 10 games under by the end of April. It’s April 15th.

  22. nicolecushing

    While this game is in rain delay, Scott Schebler is getting a rehab start for the Louisville Bats this afternoon. Senzel is obviously playing too. If you want to listen to it, you can check out the audio feed at batsbaseball.com

    • Eric the Red

      I meant to ask about that. Since when can guys start rehab assignments before they’re eligible to come off the DL? It’s a good thing in this case, but I don’t remember it being possible in the past.

    • Seat101

      Thanks. Justin Nicolino is having problems in the 2nd

  23. Klugo

    Now that’s optimism. Of course, we’ll get there again. One day.

  24. redsfan06

    If you recall, the Reds did not commit to a rebuild. Instead they were going to have a reboot. They thought they could trade for a few near ready players like Peraza and Herrera, add a few draft picks and beat the 5 year timetable all the other teams went through. Those near ready players are not panning out and they are still waiting for the draft picks to contribute. It looks like they need to go back to the draft to finish it off by getting replacements for the near ready types. By the time the next wave of draftees develops, the secondary trade pieces they picked up in Schebler and Duvall will be entering the down side of their career. The whole thing appears to be a poorly coordinated mess. And the Reds can’t seem to develop a pitcher either.

  25. nicolecushing

    I’ve been thinking about the whole Bryan Price deal. I’ve been beating the drum for his dismissal for a year or two now, but after hearing a recent interview with him on 700 WLW, I’m not so sure. Maybe I’m just a contrarian at heart, but I’m starting to come around to the position of (at least temporarily) keeping him as manager. I hate to hear excuses, but he made some good points about only being able to use the roster he’s been given, and about his inability to use the strongest relievers three or four days in a row because of the toll it takes on them. To paraphrase, he mentioned something about not driving those guys harder than they should be driven just to save his own hide. To be honest, he came across to me (for maybe the first time) as a guy with some real character.

    A few questions to ponder:

    1. What, specifically, will your Dream Manager do that Price isn’t doing?

    2. Will the Reds front office ALLOW your Dream Manager to do any of those things?

    3. I know there’s been some recent frustration with Price’s decisions during the game, but are those overstated? Are they as clear-cut as we think? Or are we cherry picking as a way to vent our frustration a the 2-12 start?

    4. Shouldn’t we give time to see how the team does when Suarez, Winker, and Schebler are back in the lineup?

    • Old-school

      Prior post on could it be worse- hilarious.

      1. I’d like to see better offensive lineup construction, better bullpen useage, less bunting and more focus on playing young players. It’s a rebuild.

      2. Great question.
      3. I don’t think so. I would not have picked up his option last year.
      4. Yes…give him till this summer. Then change course. Firing him now does nothing.

  26. Scott Carter

    I agree that Winker is not great defensive player, however you do not have have to have a great defensive left fielder. The issue with Winker is not whether or not he plays but where he plays. Winker should not be playing right field, however our non manager does not understand this. Gennett is not a good defender but he hits, I too would have doubts about him be on the roster or at least starting. Jose Peraza is not a strong defender at short and has not proven he can hit. I have doubts he should be on the roster, he definitely should not be starting. Billy Hamilton plays great defense and cannot hit. I don’t mind him starting, (not leading off) as long as we have 7 other guys in lineup that can hit at or above league average.
    I believe the old adage be strong up the middle still holds water. We are half way there with Hamilton and Barnhart, unfortunately the other two are weak to very bad. That needs fixed.

  27. DocProc

    Just checked and Schebler has struck out in all three ABs so far today.

    • Tom Diesman

      Then replaced by Elizalde, hope it’s not a setback of any kind.

  28. Shchi Cossack

    Ah, the handling of the 40-man and 25-man rosters and the handling of the DL…

    Those were always issues that WJ never seemed to understand or care about when addressing the short term and long term impact on the minor league system and major league roster. His solution was almost always to sign aging, over-the-hil veterans and not worry about roster and DL issues. The minor league rosters were routinely filled with unwanted veterans blocking prospects. Players were routinely carried on the active 25-man roster while injured and unavailable, to the detriment of the team.

    The 15-day DL has now been replaced by the 10-day DL to make managing the minor injuries easier. At least that was the idea, but DW didn’t seem to get the memo or didn’t realize that he needed players available in the minor league system to utilize the 10-day DL or he just decided if it was good enough for WJ, then it simply doesn’t matter.

    Schebler went down with what appeared to be a minor injury, but after 3 days, he was still not ready to return. Rather than immediately placing Schebler in the 10-day DL, retroed back 3 days, he continued to carry Schebler on rthe ctive 25-man roster and simply unavailable to play. The problem is the new rule for the 10-day DL limits any retroactive move to a maximum of 3 days, so even if Schebler recovered quickly and was able to begin playing, he was still going to have to wait until he could be removed from the 10-day DL. That was a really bonehead move by a GM who is suppose to be very intelligent.

    Now Winker is injured and unable to play, hasn’t played for 3 days and is not on the 10-day DL. Compounding that problem is the 40-man roster is completely full, so there are only two hitters the Reds could promote to the 25-man roster if Winker is moved to the 10-day DL. Both of those hitters are playing in AA and neither of those hitters is ready to hit at the MLB level, so the Reds can not promote a hitter without making another move on the 40-man roster. Of course with Price as the manager, I’m sure he would welcome adding another pitcher to create a 9 man bullpen as opposed to adding a much needed bat to the bench.

    • Sliotar

      As usual, Shchi, good catch and nice summary.

      Steve Mancuso and many others here have discussed “optimizing”, both with game strategy and team management. The Reds are disadvantaged financially and, at the moment, in talent, and what you described feels like another missed chance at optimizing.

    • vegastypo

      Yup. Schebler had no feeling in a part of his hand, and they were fine to wait day by day on that. Phi Beta Ridiculous.

  29. vegastypo

    wow, why did they start the game? or did this rain just start up again suddenly?

  30. VaRedsFan

    It’s pretty obvious that Duval has made up his mind whether he is going to swing or not, before the pitch is thrown.

    • Sliotar

      Yeah, he certainly is pressing.

      I would look up how many runners he has already left on base this season, but it’s too early in this game to be terrified.

  31. Seat101

    You guys can micturate on management all you want. But if the player tells you he’s going to be OK the next day but you put them on the 10 day disabled list and he is OK the next day what are you going to do? Call Steve Tatone?

  32. VaRedsFan

    After about 8 or so years of seeing Molina hit 1st pitch fastballs, you’d think there might be, somewhere in the scouting report, not to throw him one.

  33. VaRedsFan

    And the .143 hitting 2nd baseman takes Bailey deep. It doesn’t take Cardinals 3 times through the lineup to figure out that Homer is throwing 1st pitch hittable strikes

  34. Eric the Red

    2 out homeruns to guys who shouldn’t be hitting them. Does this happen to other teams? I’m not sure, because it doesn’t seem to happen to the Reds’ opponents that often.

    • VaRedsFan

      We can’t even get 2 out HRs from guys that are supposed to get them. (0 out and 1 out ones either)

  35. jessecuster44

    I’m tired of hearing about the Sixers, the Astros, and the Cubs. I’m tired of hearing about 5 year rebuilds. Reds management has demonstrated beyond all doubt that they don’t know what they are doing. Aside from Castillo, there’s not one young pitcher who has “developed” in the past few years. They haven’t figured out the OF, SS is a black hole, they continually screw up the roster, leading to the release of players with plus assets…. The list goes on.

    There is NO hope here. This is worse than the lost decade. Bob C is a BAD owner. Dick Williams was a nepotistic hire. The training staff is partially to blame for all these injuries. There’s no accountability and no commitment to winning.

    I fully expect Price to remain manager and Votto to respectfully ask for a trade by June.

    Things are going to get much worse. The question is, will anyone care?

  36. Kywhi

    Given the way this game appears to be going, it’s good to know that if things dont get better there’s the option of switching to AXS for concerts by Ringo and Eric Clapton followed by the debut of Sammy Hagar interviewing The Who’s Roger Daltrey.

  37. KDJ

    Has management declared this a “rebuild,” or are we still enduring a “reboot.” If it were a rebuild, wouldn’t some more impactful moves have been made in the off season?
    For a basketball analogy, a comparison to the Clippers seems more fitting.

  38. Seat101

    He looked lost yesterday, Peraza did. He looks like he knows what he’s doing today

  39. doublenohitter

    Reds take a lot of strikes and swing at a lot of balls. Shouldn’t it work the other way? Can someone call the dugout and tell the players they are doing it backwards?

    Chris Welch saying the Martinez looks like he is on his game. Seems like I’ve heard that in every game against the Reds.

    • james garrett

      Joey has ben one of the best for a very very long time but one can’t help from wondering if this is the year May becomes June or later.We need him badly to start hitting.

  40. doublenohitter

    reds look completely inept at the plate. Peraza has actually looked decent and he is one of the worst hitters in baseball.

      • Indy Red Man

        Technically “hitting” by itself…not horrible but power/on-base % are critical. If Peraza gets up to .300 (a big “if”) then his obp will still be under .340.

      • Seat101

        I will have this conversation again at the end of May. One of us will look foolish

      • Tom Diesman

        He’ll be lucky to have a league average OBP if he hits .300. He has no plate discipline whatsoever and doesn’t hit the ball with enough authority to have a good SLG. It’s going to be a big uphill battle for him to be a decent hitter. Too bad he is not a better fielder, because his weak bad would play better, especially at SS, if he was.

  41. Indy Red Man

    An .077 hitter hits an 0-2 pitch a mile in Philly for a 2 out HR. Kingery got his first HR of the season in Philly. This guy was hitting .143 and hits his first HR. We have nobody stepping up….young or veteran?

    Somebody mentioned trading Votto today and I brought it up last week, but for some reason I thought he was at 20/mil year. Nobody is paying 25/mil til 2023 or whatever it is? Not even if he gets back to 5-6 HRs/month again. They could possibly move Homer though…if he keeps it going! He’s only signed thru next year. They might have to eat $5 mil of the $20 mil or something, but maybe they could get a decent prospect or 2.

  42. Seat101

    The announcers are talking about everything except the game.

  43. vegastypo

    atta boy, rookie, struggling pitcher, just walked a guy on four pitches, so go up there hacking. DP.

  44. Jack

    Counting today the,Reds have 43 games left until June. All against .500 or better teams except S.F. and Miami. 40 losses by June 1st is looking good.

  45. Preach

    I’m still trying to figure out why I’m still watching this?

    • Jack

      I as well. It’s Like a bad car accident and your mom tells you not to look. But we do.

  46. Indy Red Man

    Ervin is overmatched. Might be ok vs lefties in a platoon, but he has what they used to call a slider-speed bat. He can’t catch up to a plus fastball at all. Lefties usually throw slower so the platoon might work? They need to bring up Rosell Herrera!!

    Side note….Pacers up 55-38 over Cavs at half. LeBron hasn’t lost a first round game since 2012 and has never lost a 1st round series.

  47. Preach

    Peraza made a nice tag on that throw
    Wasn’t as easy as it looked

  48. Indy Red Man

    If by some miracle…the Reds get in a close game late today or in Milw then they’ll be playing a man short w/Winker. They shortened the DL from 15 to 10 but Dick Williams don’t care. He loves playing shorthanded! Jocketty did it to Dusty and now the tradition continues. Winker will miss 8 games and then be DL’d back to when he first went out. Thats how they roll. Another example of stupidity in this organization. Other teams just DL the guy and move on.

    • vegastypo

      Except that when he is finally DL’d, it can only be retroactive by three days, so he gets to sit even longer.

  49. james garrett

    The lack of offense is doing nothing at all to help these young starters confidence.We must start giving them some runs because every pitch and every inning should not be so stressful but it is when they know we aren’t scoring.Homer can deal with it but the other guys need some runs.

  50. Old-school

    If I were Jesse Winkers agent and Scott Schebler agent, I’d be telling them that shoulder needs a bit more therapy and that elbow needs more time.

    I said it last year. Let Billy hit leadoff till June to prove finally beyond a doubt he can’t. Well apparently that wasn’t enough. Let the cheerleaders with their pom poms – BC and WJ and BP and Joe Morgan – cheer and cheer for their favorite guy.

    Let Billy hit lead off. Keep him there.

    Hitting matters.

  51. Phil

    How many weak ground balls and strike outs must Billy have before Mgt. realizes HAMILTON CANNOT HIT!!!

  52. Tom Diesman

    I hope the rest of the rotation is taking note of Bailey’s pitch count and the inning.

  53. Seat101

    Do these idiot announcers realize that every player has the same number on their uniform? They’re not telling us who is at bat

  54. Preach

    Martinez with 10k’s . That’s the only reason he’s at 90 pitches. Sure ain’t from any offensive explosion.

  55. Indy Red Man

    Martinez and Weaver….and they also have Jack Flahery at AAA. He’s nasty too. I picked the Cards to win the division coming in. I don’t like them but I respect them. They play to win.

  56. Sliotar

    Including today (so far)…

    Hamilton is 6 for 41 (.143) with 13 K’s as a LHB.

    Small sample size this season, sure, but Hamilton is consistently bad as a LH hitter, year after year.

    I understand Price is playing with a short deck, but not forcing Hamilton to give up on switch hitting is another example of the complacent culture surrounding the Reds right now.

    • CP

      He’s been even worse at his natural right handed stance, so I’m not sure what you’re saying.

      • Sliotar

        I have read that the Reds won’t give up on the switch-hitting, especially the LH side because of all the “advantages” of getting out of the box, despite the worse average.

        Commit to a side and try and make the most of it.

        Watching him flail away most nights feels like the Reds are playing a bunch of scratch-offs and hoping they hit a ticket out of a whole roll of them.

      • VaRedsFan

        yes…but his RH side has the poorer numbers

  57. Old-school

    Wainwright and carpenter came back from TJ and were outstanding despite not throwing 95 mph. Perhaps Bailey could be tradeable at the deadline if the reds didn’t ask for prospects and paid 5-8 million on his 2019 salary. The superteams will be going all in.

  58. Ben

    I love how RLN makes a virtue out of losing.

  59. Preach

    That run is huge. Cards are starting to square Homer up.

  60. Tom Diesman

    Bailey is up 4th this inning. I let him hit if they get to him. He’s only at 90 pitches and Pennington or Gosselin is not much of an upgrade over Homer at the plate anyway.

    • Indy Red Man

      Up 4th in the inning mean next inning for these guys

      • Indy Red Man

        Ump missed the 0-2 slider that completely fooled Ervin. It was right there.

  61. james garrett

    Exactly but nothing was done or will be done to avoid this train wreck.Our young starters will all struggle at times and I think all of us can deal with that but this team was weak on offense to begin with and with Suarez and Schebler going down well it is what it is.Throw in Winker being out and Senzel in the minors we only have three or four legit big league hitters right now.

  62. Tom Diesman

    Rest easy, we are sending up our RH power bat off the bench to PH. We got Phil for that.

    • vegastypo

      Unbelievable. Was this determined to be a ‘full’ day off for Mes? No action at all? What am I missing here?

      • Tom Diesman

        Price just doesn’t seem to like to burn up his spare catcher.

      • vegastypo

        Yeah, I get it. But heck, he brought in Barnhart just to bunt the other day. Makes me pull out what’s left of my hair.

  63. LL Cool

    Homer pitched a great game. He ate up innings , kept them out of the bullpen and gave the team a chance to win. Now shut them down Garrett and offense come alive

  64. Indy Red Man

    We got the Goose baby. 30 years old and on your 5th-6th team screams “Awesome”

  65. Indy Red Man

    Pacers 88 LeBrons 71

    Boooom Baby

  66. Tom Diesman

    Note to Bryan Price. That was yet another unnecessary inning on your bullpen. Remember that the next time you’re whining about only having a 4 man bench because you can’t manage to a 7 man bullpen because you can’t get a full game out of your SP.

  67. VaRedsFan

    Raise your hand if you had Billy homering before Votto or Winker?

  68. Jack

    Billy isn’t coming our of that leadoff spot now. That’s Bobs boy!!

    • Sliotar

      LOL.

      Kudos, Jack.

      Make me laugh out loud and shake my head at the absurdity, all in one sentence.

    • VaRedsFan

      Does that mean Bob has players on his team that he doesn’t like? Which ones? Would he say…”Well I don’t see Peraza as a life long Red?

  69. Tom Diesman

    Way to go Billy. Hey Indy, guess what the Cards fans are saying right now? 🙂

  70. Tom Diesman

    That’s the way to make them pay for that E!

  71. True Creature

    Maybe hitting coach Don Long should be fired.

  72. VaRedsFan

    Wow….2 outs in the 9th…Garrett out….burn Hughes for an out.

  73. Preach

    I know there is the lefty-righty thing, but I don’t pull Garret here. He’s dealing.

  74. VaRedsFan

    Garrett’s offspeed stuff has been tremendous this year

  75. Preach

    Price is really managing for his life here.

    • vegastypo

      If that was the case, he would have pinch hit Mes instead of Gosselin with a three-run deficit and a guy on base. Now, he’s burning an extra pitcher for one out when he’s still down two runs? If you’re going to go for it, GO FOR IT.

  76. Preach

    That’s how you take advantage of the defense

  77. vegastypo

    Are they gonna call interference on Tucker for not being in that ‘lane’ ?? Or is that whether the ball went out of play?

    • Tom Diesman

      He’s slightly below average runner, see above. Plus that is probably all he can do, can’t hit or field with the shoulder.

  78. VaRedsFan

    Winker pinch running….I’ve seen it all.

  79. Preach

    Gotta be kidding me. Winner to pinch run? Why not a pitcher? Burning way to many bench players here, and winner is as slow as me

    • Colorado Red

      It hurts to swing a bat. Not a bad move.
      (This time, lots of other bone headed ones)

  80. Seat101

    Blandino Took bunting lessons from Billy Hamilton

  81. vegastypo

    Already in scoring position, and Wiinker can’t run well, so it’s gonna take a perfect bunt to get him to third, but what the hell, let’s give away an out.

  82. vegastypo

    And the great ‘out’ giveaway is complete. Thanks, Bryan. Nothing accomplished.

    • VaRedsFan

      Bunting is stupid, but not getting it down is 10x worse.

  83. LL Cool

    Pinch runner Winker??? Should have just let Tucker run. First you pull Garrett and now if they come back who gets the win? Let the kid work.

  84. VaRedsFan

    Walk him to get to Billy…incoming

    • DetroitRedleg

      They were playing so shallow with him from the left…

  85. D Ray White

    Every game Price gives us evidence of why he should be fired.

  86. Satchmo

    Words cannot describe how mind-numbingly moronic Brian Price is.

    • bouwills

      Ervin, Blandino? AAAAplayera (at best!)

  87. Tom Diesman

    Did you all see that Cardinal young SP throw 108 pitches? Who knew his arm wouldn’t fall off after 90 pitches?

    • VaRedsFan

      exactly! Which is why we should be trying to extend Mahle and company more than 2 times through the order

  88. Satchmo

    Game Tying Run on 1st Base:

    1) Pinch run with a slower runner than the initial runner.
    2) Pinch run with a player that has an injured shoulder.
    3) Attempt to bunt him to third with no outs, even though evidence suggest that you have a higher chance of scoring if you just swing away.

    Price lacks:

    -A basic understanding of baseball probability.
    -A basic understanding of how OB? effects run production.
    -A basic understanding of his own roster.
    -A basic understanding of in game management.

    In short, Price is fundamentally flawed as a manager of a little league team, much less a major league baseball team.

    • Tom Diesman

      Winker is not slower than Tucker Barnhart.

      Statcast data courtesy of Doug Gray:

      http://redsminorleagues.com/2017/12/20/fastest-cincinnati-reds-billy-hamilton/

      Player Speed (ft / sec)
      Hamilton, Billy 30.1
      Ervin, Phillip 28.8
      Schebler, Scott 28.4
      Peraza, Jose 28.2
      Kivlehan, Patrick 27.4
      MLB Average 27.1
      Duvall, Adam 27.0
      Winker, Jesse 26.8
      Suarez, Eugenio 26.7
      Gennett, Scooter 26.7
      Cozart, Zack 26.6
      Mesoraco, Devin 25.8
      Barnhart, Tucker 25.6
      Votto, Joey 25.6

      • bouwills

        What matters is if Mahle, Romano, or Finnegan is as fast as Barnhart or Winker. 3 years ago , Mike Leake was the designated runner (or bunter).

    • VaRedsFan

      Wrong. Run expectancy runner on 3rd 1 out, .660 runner on 2nd, no outs .614.
      This is for 1 run scoring in an inning

  89. Colorado Red

    2 – 12,
    Time for Price to go, a change has to be made.

  90. vegastypo

    Because Winker is slow and timid on the bases, he was getting a very short lead from second base. A routine single wasn’t going to score him anyway……… But I’m sure in genius Bryan Price’s mind, Winker was the logical choice because he was active on the 25-man roster but wasn’t going to be available to pinch hit, so Price wouldn’t be ‘burning’ a potential pinch hitter. ……The fact that Winker can’t run faster than a turtle apparently didn’t figure into his thinking.

    • Satchmo

      Nor did it enter Price’s thinking that the guy has a shoulder injury and you’re putting him in a spot where he may well have to head first slide in order to save the game. Winker is just starting to establish himself and, I swear to God, it’s almost like his manager is trying to get him hurt. Inexcusable.

    • JB WV

      Can Winker beat Tuck in a race? I bet Price doesn’t even know.

      • JB WV

        Sorry Tom. Missed your stats before I posted

    • Old-school

      Per Tom’ data…Winker is about as faster than Tucker than Peraza is faster than Winker. If Winker is slower than a turtle, how slow are Suarez Scooter and Cozart?

  91. Jason Davis

    Ervin is trash Price has got to go and Votto is starting to frustrate me

  92. bouwills

    Come on guys. If Votto had not hit into a 0 out double play, the Reds might have actually beat the Cads. Blandino is not ML ready. I doubt Ervin ever will be. This team is overmatched & changing managers is akin to rearranging “deckchairs” on the Titantic.

  93. Still a Red

    Boy…I have been willing to cut Price some slack, but his decision’s in the 9th even had me shaking my head. Winker running for Barnhart? Slow and slower (actually I don’t think Barnhart is that slow, unless he tweaked something in that play at first). And why wouldn’t you use Winker as your pinch hitter for Blandino or Ervin or Hamilton? I suppose Winker sore shoulder may have rendered him less than 100%, but still, batting lefty he could have at least moved Barnhart over to third with a right side grounder. Then you try to bunt Winker to 3rd with nobody out? There is nobody…nobody…on this team that can bunt, even if that were the thing to do. Heads still shaking.

    • VaRedsFan

      It was stated that Winker’s shoulder bothered him when swinging