AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Did you hear? The Reds played some baseball badly. BURN IT DOWN!!!! TORCH IT!!!! FIRE SALE!!!!!

Going out of business!!! We got your Suarez, 70% off. We got your Votto, FREE! Just carry him out of the store!!!! A few selected items are still at a premium – FOR NOW – but rest assured, everything must gooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah, okay, really. You know what happened? The Reds played badly for two weeks. It’s happened many times to many teams. It matters not at all in terms of this year. We should expect them to improve. We should be watching the performance of certain players. But anyone who gives up on a baseball team after two bad weeks in the the third year of a rebuild is missing the point entirely.

If it’s June and still no one is hitting, you can worry. If a pitcher or two who are supposed to be part of the next competitive team are getting regularly shelled, you can worry.

Have some bad decisions been made? Of course. But let’s be clear, what really matters is the performance of certain players who are pivotal in the plan to make the Reds good again. That’s what we need to watch. The Reds had the slimmest of chances to grab a wild card this year (and who knows, stranger things have happened), but that wasn’t what anyone really expected.

I expect that they will still finished with a better record than last year. No, I am not joking. The 1990 Reds had a stretch during which they were 3-12. The Dodgers had an awful stretch last year.

This column will likely return to normal next week, but I thought it was important to take a week and give everyone a space to calm down. I think it would be good this week to take a little time and discuss the ways in which we’re still hopeful. Any positives we’ve seen. That kind of thing. So try that in the comments. A few of you have, let’s be honest, provided the same diatribe about whatever aspect of the team you’re unhappy with in pretty much every column on the site. Cool. We have comments for a reason, but it’s okay to sing a different song sometimes.

The only thing from this last week that really worries me is that 70 percent of you did not pick the obviously correct answer in the Twitter poll.

About The Author

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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30 Responses

  1. Ghettotrout1

    Garrett – has been lights out…. even if he is still in the Pen.
    Scooter – although sometimes he does appear drunk in the field and it has been a small sample size his offense looks like it has not fallen off the map like many predicted.
    Castillo/Mahle/Romano – look ok to good on most nights pitching.
    Tucker – is sweet at baseball and seems to be a great leader.
    Winker – is getting on base a lot.
    We have 5th overall pick.

    There are my positives for the year.

    • Michael Hutton

      agree…but would include Iglesias in that group….even wandy hasn’t been scored on this year….plenty to be hopeful about

  2. Michael Hutton

    No Geno or Schebler….no Disco or Lorenzen and little Finnegan …..and they’re not getting blown out-just coming up a little short. Bullpen has been very good-especially the last week or so. When they all come back Riggleman is set up to look like the savior-and I hope he comes through!!

  3. WVRedlegs

    The Rebuild. Burn. It. Down.
    The Rebuild has now been reduced to lets watch a handful of players that may or may not be a part of the next good Reds team, and watch for any progress.
    The Rebuild has been an abject failure. The sorting has been an abject failure. The Reds are no closer to contending for a wild card position today than they were at this time in April of 2016. What exactly has been achieved, but payroll slashing and owners pocketing the extra tens of millions of dollars and padding their financial portfolios? The Reds have Votto, Suarez, and Barnhart for that next good Reds team, but nothing else but place holders. Winker needs LF to call his own, but Reds have made no path forward for that. The 3 incumbent OF all have weak batting averages and weak on base skills. The middle INF is in shambles.
    What exactly has been accomplished by Dick Williams’s Rebuild? Very, very little.
    Who is going to hold Dick Williams and Walt Jocketty accountable? No one. The only thing that changed today were the nameplates on the manager’s office door and the pitching coach’s door. Nothing else really changed much. More of the same losing is on the horizon.
    Changes are needed in the front office.
    Changes are needed on the 25 man roster. Until then, the losing continues.

    • Jason Linden

      Did you read the part of the column where I said some folks have posted the same rant over and over in the comments? Yeah. That.

  4. Klugo

    Youre right. It cant get much worse.

  5. eric3287

    In order for the Reds to finish 2018 with more wins than they had in 2017 and 2016, they need to finish the year 66-78. That’s a .458 winning percentage which would basically be a 74 win pace over the course of the entire season. I’m not saying that is impossible, but I wouldn’t say the odds are in their favor.
    To believe the Reds can get to 70 wins or more this year, you’d have to believe that everyone who has been performing well will continue to perform as well as they are and that everyone who has been performing poorly will get better. That’s some pretty fancy wishful thinking, and anyone who falls for it, well I’ve got a bridge crossing the Ohio River in about as bad a shape as the Reds organization I’d be glad to sell you.

  6. Sliotar

    -Mahle and Castillo have shown enough swing-and-miss potential to envision them being the top 2 home-grown SPs in the next contending season (2020, maybe 2021 now, who knows)

    -Peraza is getting enough daily run for the Reds to be able to project how (or if) he fits in long-term.

    -Ervin and Blandino are getting sniffs. Maybe they are AAAA or MLB utility guys, but they need to be stay in Cincinnati and play for their ceilings to be projected. And, now, 2018 is a perfect season to get guys like these a lot of MLB exposure.

    -Garrett saying he’s just “a baller, willing to do whatever to help the team out.” (not exact quote, but that was the gist). Hope he means it. Would be a refreshing change from some of the others…”I deserve to be a starter.”

    Any LHP with nasty stuff and can learn to pitch ends up getting paid in MLB. Garrett sticking with the Reds, in any role, will get him there, based on his performance this season.

    • eric3287

      Your first bullet point about the next contending season (2020/2021) is the scary part. Two years ago everything from the front office pointed at 2018 as the first “contending season.” 2020 and 2021 will be Joey Votto’s age 36 and age 37 seasons. I’m by no means suggesting he falls off a cliff, but check out some of the age 35+ seasons of his comps on baseball reference. Giambi, Holliday, Helton, Big Klu. These guys were all playing in less than 140 games per year. I know it sounds like blasphemy, but when projecting the Reds out 2, 3, 4 years, we can’t automatically assume Votto is going to put up All-Star numbers.

      • scottya

        I was personally wanting 18′ to be the first season of contention. However, I don’t recall ever seeing the FO say that 18′ would be the targeted first “contending season” for the Reds.

        Do you have any links for this?

  7. Sliotar

    And, FWIW, Jason, I know the condescending “here’s how you should see things and feel about things” writing style is your schtick, and you use it in most of your writings, but today doesn’t feel like the day for it.

    This current Reds team on the field, even if Suarez and Schebler were around, isn’t competing daily with most NL teams and are light-years behind this year’s Astros and Red Sox clubs.

    A team on a realistic near-term championship track does not fire its manager 18 games into the season.

    People are reacting to the reinforcement of another non-championship season in mid-April, and the Reds being dinged by MLB national media for this move.

    No need to condemn them for still remaining passionate in trying (baseball) times.

    • Jason Linden

      I’m never trying to tell people how they should feel. I’m only suggesting that maybe typing the exact same rant over and over and over and over again gets to be a bit much.

      This season stinks so far. We all know it stinks, but I will never understand the breed of fan who lives only to complain. Who seemingly finds nothing to enjoy in baseball. These people were around when the Reds were good and they’re extra loud now.

      And my question for them is this: Why are you here? If the only way you can ever be happy is if your team wins the championship, then sports is a terrible hobby for you to have. I’d much rather try to find something enjoyable even in a pretty wretched year for Reds baseball.

      • Jeff Reed

        I like your comment. It is a tough time to be a Reds fan, but as an old fan I’ve been through many up and down seasons. I’m just glad baseball is back, and we’ll go from here.

      • Jack

        Agree. I’ve been watching since 69 and I pick them to win it all every year. I say my peace about how crappy they look but tomorrow night I’m hoping for a win and a 100 more after that. I never give up. A soldier never gives up no matter how bad the situation is. They have some good talent on this team and if the offense can pick it up they should be ok.

      • earmbrister

        Even on a 3 win team there are bright spots. I’m happy with SOME of the pitching, and with Winker getting legit playing time (albeit partly due to injury). Lots of talent knocking on the doorstep.

        Even on a non-negativity request, the usual suspects rant away …

  8. scottya

    “But anyone who gives up on a baseball team after two bad weeks in the the third year of a REBUILD is missing the point entirely.”

    This statement is spot on. As is the one about watching certain players:

    Mahle – I’m a bit concerned about his ability to get out lefthanders.
    Stephenson in AAA – still walking about 5/9ip
    Reed – looked good out of the pen last time out
    Garrett- looks dominating out of the pen, needs to get a shot at starting at some point in 18′

    Barnhart and Hamilton – it appears they are both making the same plate discipline changes that Suarez has already made. This is a really good sign and possibly the reason that Don Long is getting praise from the players and is still on the staff.

    Blandino – needs to play everyday until suarez is back.

    Senzel – please move him back to SS immediately, if Larkin and Benevides have decided he can’t play effectively at SS; then please FO inform us!

    Mesoraco – I hope he can’t get going and stay healthy, I believe it was Steve Mancuso that first said we should trade him. This is doable if he gets going, which I think he will.

    I still think that Castillo, Romano and Mahle will make up at worst a #3, #4 and #5 on a playoff staff. We need them to be better than that to get us moving forward quicker. We can add a #2 starter this offseason and be in contention in 19′ in my opinion if CF and SS are improved.

    • Shchi Cossack

      I think you may be over reacting selling short on Stephenson’s early performance. Stephenson has only had two starts so far. His first outing was terrible, but his second outing was VERY good (7.0 IP; 3.8 BB/9; 12.8 SO/9; 3.8 H/9; 3.33 SO/BB; 0.85 WHIP; 0 HR; 0 ER). I believe Stephenson is ready for the next opportunity afforded to him to start at the MLB level and he may still have tremendous upside as a MLB starting pitcher.

      I have not read the report, but Old School referenced a ‘definitive’ statement by Pat Kelly reported C. Trent that Senzel is NOT a major league SS.

      • tomn

        I’m not buying that Senzel can’t play SS. I’d still like to see him get an extended look there in AAA and then here. I have trouble trusting the “experts” or whoever it is saying he can’t. Want to see with my own eyes.

      • tomn

        Have a hard time believing he can’t be at least as good as peraza.

  9. Eric the Red

    Positives: 1) We’re rolling out young starting pitchers instead of retreads. If we had 3 more wins because somebody like Scott Feldman was here, Price might still have a job but the team would be worse off; 2) There are some signs the pitching is developing. 3) We’ve had such bad luck with injuries, it has to get better, right? 4) Tyler Mahle can throw 97 MPH if he really needs to.

  10. earl99

    The names change but the results have pretty much stayed the same since the 90s with only 4 winning seasons since 1997.

    Reds are not the only smaller market team that has struggled in this time period of baseball, but at least KC got a title out of their little window.

    I’m following the Reds either way, but I can understand the panic button hit by the club. That said, I don’t think Bobby Cox, John McGraw or Sparky could have won with this AAA pitching staff the club has had the last few years.

    Good news in the now is that it seems that the rotation might be finally improving and they are back to not being able to score.

    Oh well, I’m sure it will even out some point in the next few months.

  11. Shchi Cossack

    We will now get a fairly clear picture of what to expect from DW as a GM. A new manager will be hired as Williams’ hand-picked man. Williams can’t hide behind Price as WJ’s and BC’s manager any more. Williams can’t hide behind the facade of WJ and BC actully controlling the decisions behind the scene. If we get another WJ/BC process and decision in hiring a new manager, then Williams is just a puppet on a string or a talking head with no real concept of modern baseball philosophy and operations in the mold of WJ & BC. If we see an honest, dedicated hiring process to find the BEST possible manager to lead the Reds major league team as someone knowledgeable and dedicated to moden baseball philosophy and operations, we can rest more comfortably heading into the off season.

    The decision on a new manager will lay the groundwork for the next decade or more for what to expect from the Reds. There should be no more nitpicking regarding lineup construction or bullpen management. There should be no more nitpicking regarding roster contruction and roster management. The consolidated management team of manager and general manager will be in place and remain in place for a decade or more unless a major ownership shift occurs, putting everyone’s job within the organization in question. It will be time to accept and enjoy baseball as played by the Reds or find something else where you want to invest your heart and soul, otherwise you’re simply complaining and swinging at windmills.

    I’m excited about the next few months and seeing how the season plays out. I don’t really care a lot about how Riggleman handles the manager decisions unless he is hired as the next permanent manager. There will be time to digest and ponder those issues once the new manager is in place and then decide how I feel about investing my heart and soul for the next decade or more. I really how that DW hits a home run with the hiring process and decision. I can deal with the losses and even additional time commited to the rebuild if the Reds finally have a solid management team in place that I can trust. That hasn’t been the case for quite a long time.

  12. Kris Cooper

    well, the Dodgers Last year and Reds of 1990 you mention were good teams, this team is not, not even a comparison

  13. WVRedlegs

    Jason, as you sold the snake oil of False Hope all winter long, I warmed of the consequences of standing pat on a last place roster. We are witnessing those consequences now. You couldn’t have been more wrong.
    Over at mlbtr, coincidently they have a Reds off season review and a poll on grades for the Reds front office. Almost 51% give the Reds front office an “F”. Almost another 33% give them a “D”. That is 84% that are not happy. I am not alone.
    Keep on ridiculing and keep pedaling that snake oil of False Hope. Three straight 90+ loss seasons and looking a 4th square in the eyes is a harsh reality. One I cannot sugar coat with False Hope.

    • Eric the Red

      What would you have done instead of “standing pat on a last place roster” that a) would have made sense for a team not expecting to win it all this year, and b) would have made a meaningful difference in the results so far this year?

      The Reds have lost Suarez and Schebler, who would be contributing–probably meaningfully–even after “standing pat”. The free agent relievers signed during the offseason have been generally effective (Hughes), or hurt (Hernandez). And with Iggy, the back end of our bullpen is fine if we ever have a lead. (In Iggy’s case, “standing pat” has made the team stronger in the short term which is what you seem to want.)

      It made all the sense in the world to NOT sign a veteran starting pitcher, because we have more than enough young arms who need to pitch and learn. A veteran starter would simply be blocking someone, just to waste money and grab a few more wins–maybe. It’s too early to give up on Peraza, so no point signing another shortstop. Winker was basically an addition, and his arrival in the starting mix was expected to reduce the usage of Duvall and Hamilton; not quite the same thing as “standing pat”.

      Not even the most pessimistic of us expected Duvall, Votto, and Gennett to slump–especially with no power–at the same time, so “standing pat” there isn’t really responsible for the poor start.

      I wish the Reds had gotten more for Chapman; on the other hand, we fleeced the Tigers and the Marlins. I wish we’d done more sorting last year; Peraza, Winker, and the pitchers should have been handled better. I wish the organization had “stood pat” and not signed Gallardo, and that Price hadn’t used him to throw away a couple of potentially winnable games. I wish we were 15-2, and that Reed and Garrett were starting in Cincinnati or Louisville.

      Mostly, I wish that the “consequences of standing pat” turn out to be a bunch of young pitchers who have made great strides by the end of the year, plus determining if a Winker-Hamilton-Schebler outfield will work, plus figuring out if Peraza can be the SS of the future and Senzel the 2B of the future. All of that is still possible this season.

      • earmbrister

        Eric, I agree with you, point after point after point. I’m confident that the Reds aren’t going to lose 130 games this year; let the kids play and let them play themselves onto or off the team.