I get that teams are pitching around Joey Votto. The guys batting behind him haven’t been much of a threat. But if you’re wondering why the Reds offense has been so bad, start with Votto’s lack of power. Out of 186 qualified batters in the major leagues, Votto’s isolated power (ISO) is .014, which is last. DFL in the MLB. Votto’s net offensive contribution has been negative.

That doesn’t mean Votto won’t eventually come around. He will. My observation here is descriptive, not predictive. But there’s no point in sugarcoating what the Reds haven’t been getting from their MVP first baseman. Votto’s power outage is nowhere near the only reason the Reds are struggling. That list of factors is long. But Votto’s microscopic ISO is at the top. 

Cincinnati Reds 3  St. Louis Cardinals 

Box Score || Win % || Reds Pitcher Stats || Reds Hitting Stats

Another solid start for Homer Bailey. It’s tough to go back-to-back against the same club and Bailey’s last start was against the Cardinals on Sunday in Cincinnati. Today was the Texan’s fifth start of the season. He’s pitched 29.1 innings and the Reds have scored two runs over that time.

Today, 62 of Bailey’s 96 pitches were fastballs, thrown at an average of 93.1 mph. That’s Bailey’s highest velocity of the season. Bailey struck out four and walked two. Bailey said after the game that he didn’t feel as sharp as he has been earlier in the season. Said he didn’t have much of a slider so threw a few more curveballs. 

Jared Hughes gave up a home run to Yadier Molina, the second batter he faced, to put the Cardinals on top for good 4-3. Amir Garrett and Wandy Peralta recorded four outs in four batters faced. 

The Reds didn’t do much against the Cardinals’ 26-year-old ace Carlos Martinez, who entered the game with a 1.75 ERA and left after 6 shutout innings with 1.42. He gave up three walks and three hits. 

The Reds rallied for three two-out runs in the top of the 7th against the Cardinals bullpen. Phillip Ervin grounded a single into left field. Jesse Winker lined a single to right, moving Ervin to third. Jose Peraza singled to right, scoring Ervin. Joey Votto walked (more on that later). Scooter Gennett delivered, singling to right, knocking in two runs. For about ten minutes, the game was tied. 

A 9th inning rally fell short. After an Ervin pop-out, Winker walked. Jose Peraza was hit by a pitch and Joey Votto walked on a full count to load the bases. The Reds were a fly ball away from tying the game, but Gennett hit into a game-ending double play. 

Jesse Winker had two hits and two walks. He’s going to be an exceptional leadoff hitter and because of his contribution to the offense he has to play every game, not 3 out of 4. Joey Votto had four walks. Gennett did have two singles. The Reds #3 and #4 hitters have no home runs. Yet the Reds haven’t changed that part of the order. 

Welcome to the Riggleman Era. Jesse Winker led off the first inning with a single. Manager Jim Riggleman had Jose Peraza sacrifice Winker to second. That gave the Cardinals all the permission they needed to pitch around Joey Votto, who walked harmlessly. The Reds didn’t score.

First of all, the successful bunt reduced the Reds run expectancy from .83 to .68. You don’t need to know a secret handshake to have access to those numbers. When you factor in how it takes the bat out of Joey Votto’s hands, it’s an especially dumb strategy. A successful bunt hurts the Reds, unless you think little of Jose Peraza. you consider him like a pitcher at the plate. If you consider Peraza like a pitcher at the plate, why is he batting second for you? Please don’t tell me it’s because Peraza is a good bunter, straight out of the Big Book of Discredited Baseball Strategies. 

Oh yeah, we’re having the one-week fundraiser for the site this week. You can donate in about a minute by clicking on the yellow Donate button in the sidebar or at the bottom of the post depending on how you’re reading this.

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 90 Comments

  1. Hard to watch. If Homer stays healthy he may provide decent value at the trade deadline. Lots of holes to fill.

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    • Good thought but the math doesn’t work. Bailey, current contract $21,000,000 for 2018, $23,000,000 for 2019; FA in 2020. The Reds will need to need to send a basket of bucks (at least $15 mil) with him if the trade is done. Think about what they paid Atlanta to get rid of “Dat dude”.

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      • I would trade him for a good bat boy

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        • Would you trade him and $15-million just to get rid of him the next 2 years? Sure feels like he has more value pitching for the Reds.

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      • If Baily pitches well and a contender needs another starter, then the Reds wouldn’t have to send any money, I bet.

        Dat Dude wasn’t good when they got rid of him.

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        • I thought Bailey looked good, again… Easy to rift away on what he’s paid.

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        • I don’t know… That’s a lot of money. Thinking of what guys got this off-season. Bailey would be right behind Arietta as far as AAV. I think the Reds would have to send a pretty good chunk of money along to move him, OR take on a bad contract.

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      • If he keeps pitching well, the Reds may not have to send that much.
        Maybe 10 mil or the 1 and 1/2
        Still not pitching like a 20 mil pitcher

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        • Based on his injury history I would think most clubs would be very careful about cost as the recent free agent season has shown.

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      • In addition to the $44M in salary for 2018 and 2019, Bailey is due a $5M option buyout against a $25M salary for 2020. I think this makes him very unlikely to be moved this season and not a lot easier in the off season prior to 2019.

        If he is still healthy and pitching good as the 2019 trade deadline approaches, the Reds might at least get out even on the remaining guaranteed amount (about $14M as I calc it including the option buyout).

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    • That’s something worth watching.
      In the era of the super-teams, getting rid of salary may be easier than getting talent. Perhaps the Reds could do both. Trade Iglesias- who is doing nothing to help this team win for a future shortstop and unload Bailey’s 2019 salary and 2020 buyout. That would accelerate the rebuild.

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      • R Iglesias; $5.2 mil. In 2018; 5.7 mil in 2019 and 2020. I agree with that thought about Iglesias. His value to a contending playoff team would be hard for them to resist. Just a reminder; S Gennett $5,700,000 for 2018. FA in 2019, D Mesoraco current contract $13,125,000. FA in 2019.

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  2. Good call on Votto.We love him but he is what he is and right now he is terrible when he swings the bat.Peraza should always hit at the bottom of the order but the real story is that Winker got on base 4 times as did Joey and only scored 1 run.Peraza also got on base 3 times and scored once.Your first 3 guys get on base 11 times and only score twice.Tells it all doesn’t it.

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  3. BLARGH!!!

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  4. Votto’s lack of power has been a part of the reason for lack of offense and he does not get a free pass based on past performance, but he isn’t the only person without power. I can’t complain about reaching base four time by Votto or three times by WInker. However a walk and a single every inning is not going to score runs. A walk followed by an extra base hit will score someone. As a team the Reds are 29th in slugging, 29th in OPS, 28th in HR, and 23rd in OBP. Votto hitting a few homeruns isn’t going to change those stats significantly

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  5. I really thought this team would rebound,but I’m beginning to think this is it,just no clutch hitting and way to much hitting in double plays and strikeouts to end innings,AND PLEASE QUIT BUNTING

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  6. The Cards pitch around Votto. Makes sense when he is the most likely hitter to hurt you. Why don’t the Reds pitch around Molina? He kills Reds pitching all the time.

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  7. Votto is in his age 35 season. I won’t bother linking the aging curves, they are easy enough to find. 35 and older is a cliff downwards across all players. Perhaps power is the part of Votto’s game that declines most, starting now.

    OK. So, Winker and Votto are 1 and 2 in order. That is still a very potent on-base tandem.

    Senzel, Schebler, Suarez behind them, in some sort of order…could be very good top 5.

    Still giving up way too many outs playing those “valuable defensive” guys, Hamilton and Duvall.

    If teams value defense as much as offense, you would think other teams would be beating the Reds’ door to get these 2. (/sarc)

    Get those two on the bench, or preferably gone, and the lineup could really be tight and potentially lethal down the road. If this team has 6 solid hitters (including Barnhart), surely they can spend a little and upgrade on 2B and CF next year, if needed.

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    • I would like to see the Reds go Winker-Votto at the top of the lineup.

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      • I haver been saying this for a long time, but the Reds still don’t have RBI guys to follow them.

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        • Suarez, when healthy, and Nick Senzel should fix that.

          I’d love to see Winker, Votto, Senzel, Suarez at some point this season.

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        • Yet! Suarez and Senzel are coming. Schebler is back.

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          • Schebler is back. It remains to be seen whether he is able to learn to get on base at a significantly better rate than Hamilton or Peraza.

        • Anyone can be an rbi guy with a guy on first and third with no outs.

          See the Brandon Phillips year Choo and Votto hit in front of him.

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          • Careful about saying anybody. The Reds have had a lot of times with guys on 3B and less than 2 outs when they scored no runs. 😉

        • Voto batting second is the most logical spot for him. It really is not that complicated. For some reason the Reds think terrible hitters like Peraza should bat second.

          Winker-Votto-Suarez would be a good order

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        • With high OBP guys “clogging the bases”, anyone who bats after them is going to be a RBI guy. It’s why Phillips set a career high hitting behind Choo and Votto even though he didn’t have a great season himself. The “RBI guy” is wholly a function of opportunity. Put Barnhart behind Winker and Votto and he likely nets 85-95 RBI’s.

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          • It really isn’t only a function of opportunity. Runners on second and third and you strike out. No RBI. You still have to produce, and not everyone does that consistently.

    • About Votto, my sentiments exactly. I have been thinking and worrisome that JV’s age will catch up to this team as they are in a midst of rebuild. It is inevitable. On the bright side, JV is the kind of batter who’s more of a contact hitter that has power. His Slug. and ISO numbers are not HR dependent. That kind of batter ages well. So I’m optimistic that he will turn it around. While JV’s slump has a massive impact on the team’s offense, not having Suarez, Schebler, and Cozart has been significantly impactful.

      Seeing what will be the team’s record after they come out of this offensive funk and seeing the progress of “the rebuilding pieces” will help me to taste a little sweet lemonade out of this lemon of a team.

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    • Votto’s age concerns me a bit. We assumed he will age gracefully because of his batting eye but maybe didn’t consider the hand/ eye coordination required to walk or eventually get fat pitches to hit..
      In the last week Welch has pointed out some occasions where Votto appeared to be trying to spoil pitches by fouling them off in classic Votto fashion and instead either missed for a strike or hit harmless grounders for an out. I’m starting to wonder if a small drop off in hand/eye coordination could have a disproportionate impact on Votto’s OBP skills.

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    • It maybe premature to talk about Senzel;

      In 49 AB (Through Sat) 12 hits, 2-2B, 6-BB, 1 HR.: .245 AVG; .327 OBP

      I guess I would like to see total of 175-200 AB’s (50-60 games) before even considering a call up. When they do call him up don’t be surprised if it is at 2B. Scooter is gone at the end of the year FA in 2019.

      Just a thought…

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      • I don’t want to look it up, but I’m pretty sure Suarez was hitting like .255 at Lville and then came up and hit .280 with the Reds with more power then he had at AAA.

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        • Suarez; 2015-2017; home BA-.274, Away .248; Slg% Home .488, Away .391.
          The “power” may have something to do with GABP. Just a thought.

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    • Not all players fall off of that cliff at 35. Most do, but not all. Few teams, granted, want defense- only players, but among the Reds’ problems this year, and they are legion, is that they aren’t fielding very well (eye test only). So far, the pitching shows some signs of talent and Winker looks to be a very good lead-off hitter. Otherwise, the long regional nightmare continues.

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  8. That Suarez guy is pretty important. The Reds should sign him to a long term deal!
    Two months from now:

    Winker LF
    Senzel 3b
    Votto 1b
    Suarez SS
    Schebler RF
    Gennett 2b
    Barnhart C
    Pitcher
    Hamilton CF

    That line up will score runs and defend.
    Duvall is now in a prolonged horrific slump and power outage dating back to the summer of 2017. He is a platoon player. Forget the 4 man outfield. Is the Reds FO even watching these games? Offense matters.

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  9. Today was an example of where managers do impact games.

    Matheny bringing back Lyons today was very uncommon. Lyons went 1.1 IP last night.

    I have Lyons in a fantasy league and benched him, because few MLB managers use a reliever in an afternoon game after pitching an inning the night before.

    Lyons faced Winker, Peraza and Votto last night…..and faced them again today in the 7th…today’s results- single, single and walk.

    The Reds were almost “Matheny’ed” a victory today. Too bad that Ol’ Reds Killer Molina had to ruin it.

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  10. Everyone seems to forget about variance in an effort to “not give Votto a pass” and all this. His peripherals and power is fine.

    Here’s current xwOBA leaders for the Reds based on, you know, how they’ve made contact with the ball.

    Suarez: .516
    Winker: .388
    Votto: .383 (Career .411)
    Duvall: .372
    Barnhart: .359
    Gennett: .334
    Ervin: .313
    Gosselin: .260
    Hamilton: .248
    Pennington: .246
    Peraza: .220

    Votto’s xBA is .330 and his xSLG is .485.

    There’s nothing specifically wrong with Votto right now other than some bad luck and normal slow-start-itis.

    Just like with pitchers, things like HR/FB% don’t stay super high or at 0%.

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    • Thanks, Patrick. You brought sanity to the unstable of mind. I love relevant stats. The right numbers do help tell the actual story.

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    • Cmon man? Peraza has 6x more extra basehits then Joey. That 3-1 that Hicks threw him could’ve been called a strike…it was very slightly up and away and Joey likes the ball away. The kid throws 101 so use his power against him and maybe he hits a double down the LF line? Its like LeBron James….he wants to pass the ball and be a good teammate and be unselfish. His team needs him to score 42 though and not 28. Joey will drive in 75 runs again and they need their best hitter to drive the ball occasionally!
      Scooter isn’t a cleanup hitter. Its not like Bryant where he can take a walk because Rizzo is right behind him.

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  11. Riggleman is Price 2.0 he should have left Homer in to finish the inning and use Garrett in the 7th and 8th. With the score tied in the top of the seventh we needed a pitcher that could hold the Cards in the bottom of the 7th and 8th and hope to score in one or two of the final innings. Has Riggleman forgot that Garrett is carrying a 0.00 ERA. At that time I would take for sure pitching over I hope he can get a hit.

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    • The Reds had a good inning.
      Runner on 3rd and 2 outs, calls for pinch hitter.
      This time, Jim did it right.
      Of course, we cannot buy a big hit this year.

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  12. LMAO you seen my comment Steve! Peraza is a good bunter! Unfortunately they use it for all the wrong moments. We have watched players on this team try to bunt for years. They all stink. This team stinks .

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  13. What idiot bunts in the first inning of a game? Oh, sorry, the answer is a “Reds Manager.” There’s no time clock in baseball. You have 27 outs and they are precious and shouldn’t be given away. Sorry I’m preaching to the choir (The Nation) but this is maddening.Riggleman’s statements in his first interview convinced me he’s nothing more than a care-taker, a play it by the book guy who isn’t willing to take chances and cannot motivate a baseball team. He quit on the Nationals. Wonder if he’ll quit on us?

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    • Yes….but I’m going to throw out an alternative explanation.
      Yesterday… Peraza ….same scenario…..immediately hit into a 4-6-3 inning killing DP. Maybe Riggleman is holding Peraza accountable and saying yesterday you failed….so I’m taking the bat out of your hands . Next time….be better.

      As I watched, I was thinking …..dont hit into a DP .

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      • If Riggleman was holding Peraza accountable he’d bat no higher than 8th on days when Billy sits, and no higher than 7th when Billy plays.

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  14. Finally. Exactly what I’ve been saying and seemed that hurt some guys’ feelings. The truth will set you free.

    It is probably a slow start like he always has, but it has hurt this team a lot because he’s supposed to poduce when it counts. Those great stats won’t matter if the team needs him NOW and he just chokes on everyday. What’s worst IMO: Not a single word stepping up like the leader he’s supposed to be and take responsability. It was Tucker Barnhardt, yes, the 3-year “veteran” who spoke up, even though he has done his part. A true leader.

    Don’t get fooled, besides today’s game other teams have not pitched around Votto. He has missed lots of FBs down the middle. His ST performance was a red flag. But this year its even more noticeable because the rest of the team is not producing either.

    Talking with friends at the end of last season I hoped he was traded after his overall numbers made him appealing even with his contract. Unfortunately it was hard with his no trade clause and the fear of the PR hit. The difference between the Cards and the Reds. They let walk away Pujols without any remorse. The rest is history.

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    • We get it, you don’t like Votto, but getting on base four times is producing. It is not his fault Gennett hit into a double play

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      • It’s not about me, you don´t get it. The team is losing and has been for the last 4 years. Price had to go, no doubt. And some of important changes have to be made on the roster and coaching staff. But responsabilities have to be put where due. Joey Votto is a lot to blame and has been since many people feel he is a stats guy not a difference maker if you will, much less the leader needed. Stop focusing on BHam, Peraza or Walt Jocketty. It’s been an organizational failure from the front office, coaching staff and players. And those who have more responsability have to take a bigger share, that’s all I’m saying. It’s not personal or some kind of vendetta. I love the Reds and hate to see them lose. If that’s means criticizing a player, it’s my right to do so. Like it’s yours to praise him all over and think that Bham leading off is the problem.

        To talk about a game -today- and a play at the end of the game is a bit simplistic, don´t you think?. What about the rest of the worst start since 1931?

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        • I am not focusing on Hamilton, Peraza, or Jockety. You blaming Votto for a poor record is the only thing simplistic. I have made it very clear that my opinion is there are multiple issues with the team, very low on that list is the poor performance of Votto this year. The problem starts with pitching, the injuries are a major contributing factor, signing of washed up veterans is a problem, the lack of power from the entire team is a factor. The only positives on offense have been Winker’s OBP, and Barnhart’s performance. Beyond this year the problems are the failure to develop pitchers, extensive injuries, failure to trade assets when value is highest, and trading for “near major league” prospects instead of the best available package.

          Votto’s shortcomings this season have little impact on the pathetic start to this season. Really the only thing lacking from Votto’s typical performance is extra base hits and a few home runs wouldn’t have put the Reds in contention. Votto can be blamed for his small piece, but he is not to blame for the pitching, Hamilton, Duvall, Peraza, or any of the bench players performing below average. Was it Votto’s fault last year that the team had the fifth worst record overall? If he would have played better in April would that have gotten the Reds to the World Series?

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          • We’re barely into the season and Votto has already been ridiculously doubled off first on a little flyball right in front of him….with already on second base? Then he gets picked with the tying run next week. Picked off? Where was he going? This team needs a leader and a guy that will get the big hit. Suarez won the one game by himself. Thats what they need

    • I get that starting 3-17 is beyond frustrating. But pointing at Votto as the issue is beyond insane. I’ll put it this way. Before the Reds need to worry about Votto, they need to worry about:

      — Scooter Gennett is not the solution at 2B. Senzel is the plan here.
      — Peraza is not the solution at SS. There is no short term answer.
      — Hamilton is not the solution as CF. There is no short term answer.
      — Duvall / Schebler are not a platooning outfield solution. There is no short term answer.
      — Last check we have about 10 starting pitching prospects that aren’t years away (hello Hunter Greene). None of them are an ace. Best case a few of them will track to what is a #2 or #3 starter on a team like the Cubs or the Nationals.
      — We need to find a manager that can manage with a modern eye.
      — We need a GM that can find that manager and that can look beyond “Well, Larkin is famous and old school, let’s do that.”
      — We need an owner that can find a GM and then not get involved with stupid comments about keeping Hamilton around forever because he “causes havoc on the basepaths”.

      So yeah, after the Reds address 2B, and SS, and every outfield position not Winker, and at least 3 if not 4 of the starting pitching spots, and the journeymen messing up the bullpen, and get a manager, and GM, and a better owner, then they can see if Votto is not aging well. Until then, I’ll take my chances with him at 1B.

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      • I agree with a lot of your points. Once we figure out where Senzel is going the infield situation should be cleared up. If it is Senzel at 2B, then the Reds need to sign a SS . If Senzel and Suarez make up the 3B/SS then we can probably live with Gennett at 2B. For CF I think the Reds are going to have to trade for someone, a quick glance at available FA next year doesn’t look promising.

        The biggest problem, which has been the same since about 2014 is starting pitching. We hear that the Reds have all these starting pitching prospects, but that has not yielded results. In recent history the only pitching developed were Cueto and Bailey. Traded Josh Hamilton for Volquez who didn’t work out, drafted a finished product in Leake, Traded for Latos, picked up Simon from scrap heap (twice only once worked). Strailey was a waiver claim. Disco and Castillo both acquired from Marlins and Disco was a finished product. Reed and Finnegan were highly rated prospects who’s progress has halted under the Reds. Stephenson was a highly rated prospect who has failed so far. Gararett was the next big thing and he is now in the bullpen. Chapman, Iglesias, Lorenzen, and Cingrani were all starters who are now in the bullpen. Mahle is the next man up in this circus and I personally question if he shouldn’t still be in AAA.

        Potential trade chips, though not worth much by themselves are Duvall, Mes, Hamilton, Gennett, and whatever arms are deemed to be not part of the future. If there is a package of any of these guys and some prospects that get the SS or CF it has to be considered. If not I would listen to offers at the deadline and get some lower level prospects with high upside in an attempt to keep the farm system strong. If Hamilton or Mes are open to team friendly extensions keep them as bench pieces and pay them accordingly. They can always be traded later and are useful bench pieces

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      • I agree on Scooter at 2B. I just can’t, for the life of me, figure out why he keeps batting cleanup. I could live with 2-hole or 6-7 but not cleanup. Makes zero sense to me.

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  15. I didn’t see today’s game, just had radio. But how can a team repeatedly make the same mistakes to the same guys without learning anything?? See Thames and Molina for examples.

    Today, Danny Graves on radio side was saying Molina looked very bad on the previous pitch, and then Hughes turns around and gives Molina what the guy obviously wants, a fastball.

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  16. Today I saw a comment either here or on Twitter which really says a lot. The comment noted that the 2018n Cardinal offense has gotten well largely on the backs of the Reds pitching and that the Reds 2018 offense has not had the opportunity to bat versus the Reds pitching. That is sort of the world in a nutshell right now. Sorry I forget who said it.

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    • I respectfully disagree. The pitching has been decent the last 5 games. But you cannot win if you have 19 innings without scoring or hit 11 hrs in 20 games or your 3 and 4 hitters haven´t hit a single one. Winker has been getting on-base as expected, but the big bats are hybernating.

      Now, somebody has to stop throwing beach balls on 0-2 counts, that’s for sure.

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  17. Why not mix it up? Call up Rosell Herrera and Brandon Dixon. Herrera can play LF, CF, or SS and can’t be any worse then what we have. I defended Duvall ever since he got here and I felt like I was vindicated usually until mid-August….but he’s terrible and this is supposed to be his prime? He’ll work the count to 3-2 and then chase ball 4? Its ridiculous? Peraza? The guy is pathetic. 1-3 pitches is all he ever gets because he hacks at everything and they don’t have to nibble because he couldn’t hit himself out of a wet paper bag. He has to be bottom 5% in pitches seen per atbat. Has to be….prob the worst in baseball.
    Billy….equally worthless. Reminds me of “All of you are equally worthless in my beloved Marine Corp” Rest in Peace Mr. Lee Ermey!!

    Reply
    • I found it. Of 189 hitters listed:

      Peraza is 187th….only James McCann and Aledmys Diaz are worse.

      Funny thing is Corey Dickerson is 186th and he’s having a good year. Incredibly Joey is 178th? Swinging at so many first pitches early on but that will obviously change.

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    • 40 man roster restraints. Neither R.Herrera or Dixon are on the 40 man which is full.

      The Reds have 23 pitchers and 17 position players (including catchers) on their 40 man. I didn’t check that ratio against how any other team was configured; but, the Reds configuration leaves only 4 minor league spots for position players even with no position guys on DL.

      Right now by my count the Reds don’t have a single 40 man position guy at AAA. Currently the 40 man position players not on the active roster or MLB DL number 3 due to Saurez being on the DL. Shed Long and Aristides Aquino are at AA and Jose Siri is at extended spring training the last I saw.

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  18. I believe the offense has been hit more than it can take after Cozart’s departure and Suarez & Schebler injuries. It’s had a cascade effect on Votto, Gennett & Duvall. Manager should start to shuffle the line-up more often, it doesn’t make sense to go with same line-up everyday and expect different results (definition of insanity).

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  19. I know RLN loves Winker but my god. He doesn’t even try in the field. Also he appears be another Votto on the bases. Slower than a ghost runner! Yet he is our best lead off option in the entire organization! Ugggghhh!

    Also can we at least consider letting Hunter Greene play short a little bit. We need a Barry Larkin more than a Jose Rijo right now!

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  20. I didn’t see if Peraza was bunting for a hit (I missed this one), but if it was a first inning sacrifice with a man on first and no outs, yikes. That was dumb in 1965…

    At least our young infielder (Blandino) has been out there both games and our two lefties in the pen are lights out. The good hitters (Votto, Duvall to a lesser degree) will come around and get, at this point, Bailey for MVP! Tough year…

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  21. Dave sorta hard to tell. But, my first thought was he was bunting for a hit. Made it close with his speed. But, I knew he was going to catch hell.

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  22. Time to play the players who are supposedly part of the future. Let them play regardless just to find out what this organization really has. The season is over as far as postseason…not that there was a real chance of this team making the postseason…but I did buy into this team progressing to 500. Not going to happen.

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    • There aren’t a lot of future types north of AA to let play. Play Winker everyday. Keep getting Blandino ABs. Get Ervin a start or 2 per week.That’s about it for 40 man roster options north of AA. Given what has happened at MLB, they might as well leave Senzel (who is not yet on the 40 man) at AAA till he has cleared Super2 status. Most notably to me, they don’t have anybody to look at for CF.

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      • Jim;
        The CF and 40 -man observations are on the money..

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      • There’s a decent CF that’s just been DFA by Atlanta. Lane Adams can play anywhere in the OF Also NYY DFA SS/IF Jace Peterson again. Both would be roster upgrades for the Reds

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      • Since the owner seems to want Billy Hamilton on the Reds forever, it seems any other centerfielder would not get more than a look.

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  23. We’re 3 and 17! Think about that for a second. Put that in your analytics pipe and smoke it. It’s the only stat I need to know or see. Yes, I concur on the bunt. Hate it. Always will.

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    • It’s still very early in the season so only time will tell but the Phillies hired an analytics guy with no managerial experience. He got hammered by the press and fans for early decisions but currently they are 13-7 and in second place. Only two NL teams have won more games (14), Arizona and the Mets. So does his approach get any credit for the Phillies playing better than expected so far?

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  24. I’m nowhere near the stage of worrying about Votto long term. Yes, there’s an aging curve. He’s on it. We all are. But it’s a curve, not a cliff. No way these two weeks can be explained by aging alone. Remember, in many ways Votto had his best season ever last year. Gains in power and walks, fewer strikeouts. The granular stuff (swinging at pitches out of the strike zone) improved too. No way the aging curve causes a drop from ISO of .258 to .014 in a few months. Something else is at work here. It doesn’t even look like Votto is trying to swing hard.

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    • Thanks Steve. I was going to ask a question related to how can someone go from superior last September to an ISO of .014 practically overnight? It’s not just attributable to the aging process.

      Reply
    • FWIW or not, I’ve read several accounts that Pete Rose was convinced based on his personal observations that it was not unusual for players to “lose it” virtually overnight.

      A curve results because some guys better the mean and others don’t. We can just hope that Votto is one who bests it by a lot.

      Reply
      • I’m wondering if some of those players who “lose it” overnight are also ones who don’t take care of their bodies and don’t apply themselves to their craft. I think I can safely say that Votto does both.

        Reply
  25. “Something else is at work here. It doesn’t even look like Votto is trying to swing hard”

    Sorta reminds me of when Votto had to collapse at the plate on National TV before the Reds management and “crack medical” staff came forward about his injury.

    Reply
    • That’s possible, but an injury hasn’t shown up in any other parts of his game. His swing reminds me more of other times when he’s been slumping for non-injury related reasons. For about a month at the start of 2016 and May 2015 (the Lost Wallet Era), Votto swung like he was trying to hit singles. Same now. I watch almost every one of his at bats and haven’t yet seen him swing for a home run (and he does that). The average distance of his fly balls is about 20 feet shorter this year than last.

      Reply
      • “an injury hasn’t shown up in any other parts of his game.”

        An “off the wall thought”, Votto is a cerebral, private type of player and some of his recent “mental errors” would indicate that he is thinking about something else. The fly ball distance is a tell, left leg (base) and hips give him his power (distance).
        Just a fan who has little faith in a “vegetable salesman” who is more concerned with his “legacy” (the all star season).

        Reply
    • This is not the Votto we’ve known or even the ‘early season slump syndrome.’ He seems like he’s just trying to hit chip shots, and I don’t like Votto’s half warmup swing before he steps into the batters box, although maybe he’s always done that. Something is not right.

      Reply
  26. I want to reinforce what I said in the original post. In pointing out Votto’s lack of production I’m not pointing to the future and saying this is what is going to continue. I’m only saying this is what has happened so far. The difference between normal Joey Votto and the 2018 Joey Votto is enormous and the #1 explanation for what has happened to the Reds offense so far (or maybe tied with the difference between Cozart 2017 and Peraza 2018, and the difference between Suarez at third and his replacements at third).

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  27. Jeff, I am seeing the same thing you are. He seems so wrapped up in this inside swing that he is not swinging naturally. The on deck half swings have become the batters box swing.

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  28. I don’t understand the angst. The current Reds roster is flawed, deeply flawed. This has been the case going back to the end of the 2013 when the rebuild should have begun in earnest. Obviously that didn’t happen and that resulted in the deeply flawed roster we see today. That’s on BC and WJ, but it is what it is. The previous manager was replaced with an interim manager just 2 games ago. That should have happened 2 years ago, but it didn’t. The interim manager is just that, an interim manager. We don’t know what his marching orders were from WJ and DW, but we do know that WJ maintains significant input and influence in decisions. Both WJ and DW handled the firing of Price together. That was a process that should have fallen strictly to DW. WJ should not have ANY role in baseball operations at this point. He’s done his damage. Get the heck out of Dodge! We are not going to see Mr. Redleg rising from the ashes in a miraculous rebirth of the Big Red Machine. The sorting and decisions that should have happened from 2014-2017 have still not been completed, so we have to try and get that done in 2018. It is what it is.

    We want the Reds to be competitive. We want the Reds to win. We are all aware that the 2018 started in historicall bad and inept fashion, but the last week has at least been competitive. The Reds wone the only game decisided by more than 2 runs. We wanted the pitching staff to step up and become the dominant force we have dreamed of for 5 long, miserable seasons. Over the past week, the pitching staff has averaged 3 runs per game. That’s progress in the single most critical area needing improvement. The pitching is not sorted. Final decisions regarding the pitching have not been completed. There is no Phoenix Rising, but there is progress. Even without Disco in the equation, the pieces are avaiable to move forward with real progress, but that progress will take a good portion of the 2018 season, because nothing was accomplished during the prior 5 seasons. What a waste, but it is what it is.

    Reply
  29. The hitting has been atrocious. Key injuries (Suarez and Schebler) have been partially responsible, but players have not performed as expected, not even close.

    I don’t know why Votto habitually starts so slow, but he does. Any slow start at the beginning of a season is magnified due to the small sample size so it looks even uglier that it actually is. After the first 3 series, Votto slashed .226/.265/.226 with 6-SO, 1-BB and 7-H. Such a performance is uncharacteristic of Votto, but not unusual for the beginning of a season. Since that time Votto has 4-SO, 8-BB and 10-H in 47 PA, slashing .256/.383/.282. That looks a LOT like Votto without a supporting cast, exactly the situation that exists. Votto will be Votto. Criticism of Votto sounds like the same criticism endured by Ted Williams, year in and year out. People want perfection and perfection doesn’t exist. If the results do not mirror desires, people are not satisfied, even with superior performances that look different than normal expectations.

    For years, the Reds needed a table setter at the top of the lineup, with the single season exception when Choo played for the Reds. Hello Jesse Winker! Last season, Winker slashed .298/.375/.529. This season, Winker has slashed .286/.444/.306. Thank you very much Jesse! Like every other member of the Reds roster, Winker is flawed. His defense in RF is suboptimal. He does not have exceptional speed in the OF or on the bases. Winker is not a good RF, but he is a reasonable LF, but the Reds have him playing out of position. It’s a flawed roster, but it is what it is. That situation could be easily corrected, but for some reason the Reds insist on not correcting that flaw in the roster. That’s not Winker’s fault. He can only do his best in playing where and how he is assigned. Winker does provide the table setter the Reds have needed for years. He just doesn’t have the supporting cast right now to take advantage of that opportunity. It is what it is.

    What about that supporting cast needed to fill out the lineup? When Suarez returns from the DL, he will fill one role in the lineup that is missing right now. Every reasonable expectation will have him contributing a VERY good performance, we just don’t know where he will be playing defensively. The sorting and decisions from the past 5 years have still not been completed. Nick Senzel should provide another contributor in a critical role. He finishing his development at AAA (and appropriately so) and should arrive at the MLB level soon, maybe 2-3 months. Every reasonable expectation will have him contributing a VERY good performance, we just don’t know where he will be playing defensively. The sorting and decisions from the past 5 years have still not been completed. Suarez and Senzel will fill two of the IF positions (2B, SS or 3B) with Votto playing 1B. That leaves 1 middle IF position (SS or 2B) that still needs to be filled. Catcher is set with Tucker Barnhart. One corner OF position is set with Jesse Winker, hopefully LF. The sorting for CF and the other corner OF position remains to be completed. That’s just 3 positions that need to be finalized. The Reds should have a better picture of those solutions but after 5 years, they don’t. It is what it is.

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  30. What are the options for rounding out the Reds 25-man roster going forward? Schebler or a Schebler/Duvall platoon may provide an acceptable, immediate answer for RF until a better option is available. Hamilton may provide an acceptable, immediate answer in CF until a better option is available. Gennett or a Gennett platoon may provide an acceptable, immediate answer for middle IF until a better option is available. These possible options remain to be seen since the sorting and decisions over the past 5 season were not completed and remain unresolved. The alternative for CF if Hamilton is not an immediate viable option is a trade or FA since viable in-house CF options (Trammell, Friedl, Fairchild, Siri) are still playing at A & A+ levels. There is one significant CF FA in A.J. Pollack. Pollack will receive significant interest if he is available and the 31-year-old will almost certainly seek a significant 5-6 year contract. Any other FA CF options would simply be stop gap fixes (Carlos Gomez, Jon Jay, Adam Jones, Andrew McCutchen). The alternative in-house option for middle IF if Gennett is not an immediate viable option at 2B is Shed Long at AA. This would require Senzel or Suarez playing SS. There is one significant SS FA option in Manny Machado. Machado will be pursued by virtually every big market, deep-pocketed team and the 26-year-old will almost certainly seek an 8-10 year contract for very significant money, probably beyond anything the Reds can or should afford. Any other FA SS option would simply be stop gap fixes. The alternative in-house option for RF if Schebler/Duvall is not an immediate viable option in RF is Aristedes Aquino at AA. Shed Long (.281/.358/.477 in 2017 at A+ & AA, .279.354/.444 in 2018 at AA) and Aristedes Aquino (.273/.327/.519 in 2016 at A+, .216/.282/.397 in 2017 at AA, .314/.364/.451 in 2018 at AA) are both on the 40-man roster and both could receive a September promotion when MLB rosters expand. It would be a stretch for either player to be MLB ready by the beginning of the 2019 season. Any possible trades for SS, CF or RF would simply be unidentifiable right now.

    Will the Reds be capable of seriously compete for the post season in 2019 or any time during the next 4 seasons? No one has any way of knowing right now? There is still too much sorting and decision making that needs to be done before the Reds can even consider competing for the post season. If the current rebuild will be successful and allow the Reds to compete for the post season during the next 4 seasons, we do know that the in-house options must produce at the MLB level. That’s pitchers and position players. Right now it certainly looks like that may happen, just not during 2018. The second half of the 2018 season could get very interesting. All of the holes in the starting rotation, bullpen and position players could be filled with viable options by the 2nd half of the 2018 season. A new, permanent manager could be in place by the 2nd half of the 2018 season. Shoot, WJ could go on permanent hiatus from any involvement in baseball opertations and BC could quit interfering with baseball operation decisions. Getting from the current situation to the seconf half of the 2018 season will just require more sorting and some good decision making. Dwelling on decisions by an interim manager or who should be playing or hitting where and how much seems pointless right now. What we are going through right now should have been done during the previous 2 saeasons after beginning the rebuild in earnest at the trade deadline of the 2013 season. Thanks WJ and BC, you screwed that up royally. Right now, there’s now point in sweating the details. It is what it is.

    Reply

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

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Titanic Struggle Recap

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