Bear with me, kids. The school year is coming to a close an my eyes are about to bleed from the grading. Fortunately, I have a thermos full of student tears to sustain me, but my brain is just about melted, so this might be a little brief and/or wacky.

By the time people read this, the Reds will either be 6-4 or 7-3 over their last 10 games. It hasn’t been a bad week to be a Reds fan. Cool. So, I did what I do and ran a poll to see what everyone thinks is gonna be up for the rest of the year

So, you folks seemed to think the Reds would most likely be okay but also have a strong chance of being bad. I understand. Comments indicated that people expect there to be some roster shuffling going on.

I tend to think they will be around .500 for the rest of the year, but there’s an outside chance they win 100 games (shhhh, I’m joking).

I thought it might be interesting – given that I am tired – to see what people are looking for from the Reds for the rest of the year. So here’s my challenge to you: What three (3) things do you want to see the Reds do BEFORE the end of the season? No worrying about the offseason yet. Just between now and the end of the year. What do you want to see happen? I’ll give my three to start us off.

  1. Call up Senzel. He’s getting better and should return to game action soon. The vertigo will either be a longterm issue or not, but when he can play, he should be playing for the Reds.
  2. Trade as many of the following players as possible: Scooter Gennett, Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton, Homer Bailey, Matt Harvey. All of these players have issues that make them best used by the Reds to improve system depth and the quality of future teams. They are also all players who may find a place on contenders looking for that extra little something or trying to fill an injury gap.
  3. Promote aggressively. Taylor Trammell, Shed Long, Tyler Stephenson, various others. The future is now. Let’s see what you’ve got at the next level up.

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

Join the conversation! 70 Comments

  1. 1 and 3 are likely since they are interlocked. It’d be nice to see Senzel get well, get some AB’s in AAA then come up soon thereafter. I don’t think it’d be good to bring him up, go to DL, rehab in minors, be activated then repeat. He and the medical staff need to get a long term plan together for him.

    Item 2 would be a great topic for the next podcast rather than rehashing older complaints and ‘urgency’. What level of performance would be needed from each of those listed (and others) to be tradable given their contract situation and what would that likely net? Also, what returning players would be stretches but possible if performance exceeds the minimal level.

    Trade partners could be had since 10 teams make the playoffs with at least another 5-6 true contenders. Of those 16 teams, someone will have needs that the reds can fill via trade. Shrewdness not urgency will win the day.

    • I want to see trades, as well. The problem: a large set of teams tanking, er, rebuilding right now, who will all be sellers if they have the chance. Given the low value assigned to mid-level and marginal free agents this past off-season, the odds are that the value of most of these players is low and demand/offers for them light (but generally better than it was/will be in the off-season).

    • I wonder if a certain pitcher is available…

      The pitcher?

      Lisavertooo Bonillaaaa

  2. #2

  3. I agree with #1 and that it is somewhat interlocked with #2. I would hate to see Senzel come up and Blandino go down, so it makes sense to trade Gennett while his value is high. I would hate to see them trade him to Seattle as I really don’t see their farm system as having much value.

    I agree with #2 as well, but somewhere in those trades they either need to get a centerfielder who can hit and play a decent defensive centerfield, and/or trade for shortstop that can hit. We just have too many offensive holes in our lineup.

    And while I agree with your #3 I think mine would be to trade for a back up catcher that can hit a lick, he doesn’t have to be great but Cruz is downright weak.

  4. does anyone know if Senzel has had an MRI of the brain. could it be multiple sclerosis? is the attack this year worse than last year.

    if it is MS then it can potentially be treated. if the MRI was negative then it may be more psychological and we may have a real problem. seems like it happens when they talk about bringing him up so could be stress related ,like conversion disorder.

  5. Not sure can trade Homer and Adam at this time. 0 value.
    For Matt, you need to to give him more time. Currently 0 value.

  6. I want to be able to watch the Reds in September and be able to squint and see a contending team. To me, that doesn’t mean they win a certain amount of games, but it does mean I need to see radical roster churn at every level. Taylor Trammell and TJ Friedl need to be in AA yesterday; I want to see them both finish the year either in AAA or knocking on the door to the point they’re obviously starting 2019 in AAA. Shed Long needs to be in AAA yesterday. Ideally, he’s a guy that gets called up by September.
    The Reds have Nick Senzel, Dilson Herrera, and Shed Long that all need big league playing time. The Reds need to decide whether and where to move each one to get that playing, or who among those three can be traded. I don’t think you can end 2018 with Nick Senzel, Dilson Herrera, and Shed Long all in the organization and all at 2B. Now is the time to experiment or start trading from a position of depth to acquire assets that can help the Reds next year and for the next 3-4 years.
    One name you left of the list to trade that I’d love to see shopped is Rasiel Iglesias, especially since the Reds have seemingly made the decision to keep Garrett locked in the bullpen.

    • I agree with Eric I feel like the Reds have ten million second basemen. Especially if you add in Scooter which yes he likely needs to be traded given his age and the time table of when this team will actually be playoff contenders and the cost to keep him. But I want to say I love watching him play and he has been one of the few bright spots on this team. I wish they could deal Dilson I just feel like he is a 2B only and if you have Blandino who will likely be utility and Senzel as the starter I see zero place for Dilson. I really like Shed too but I mean where he plays I have no idea as well. They need to figure out a way to get someone who can actually hit play SS.

  7. So Jason, given you’re in grading hell, is it driving you nuts that almost nobody is following the instructions and listing their 3 things? 😉

  8. Three things I’d like to see the Reds do before the end of the season:

    1. Call up Nick Senzel in mid June = same
    2. Make the same trades you mentioned = same
    3. Keep getting Alex Blandino plenty of Ab’s.
    I also would like to see Amir Garrett get a few (5 +) starts before the end of the season.

    • I’m with you on Blandino. Get him some starts at SS. Maybe by the end of the year he swaps roles with Peraza.

  9. I am good with all 3 but we need to finish the sort on all of these young starters to see how many we have for next year that we can count on to be at least league average starters.I would also add Iggy to the list of guys to trade.He should bring some good prospects and I would insist one of them is a centerfielder or short stop a year or two away from the majors.

  10. The Reds would get nothing for Homer and would have to pay his salary for another team. This is likely not going to happen.
    The plan was for Matt Harvey to get starts with the Reds and get his head straightened out, and develop some trade value. This will take two months. Look at the middle of July and see how he’s doing.

    Trade Duvall, Gennett, Hamilton? Sure, but what will we get for them? And this may not really be an issue, at this juncture.

    Indeed, Seattle might want Gennett right now, since Cano is likely suspended for most of the year, but I have no idea what we would get back. Does it really matter?
    If Gennett got traded tomorrow, I think Herrera gets the call first, as Senzel’s health issue is a little unknown right now; and Super 2. See how strong Herrera’s repaired shoulder is.

    I think Brandon Dixon can kind of do the job that Duvall is doing right now. He is hitting pretty good at AAA, and is probably about ready.

  11. With Schebler being 27 he should be on the block as well. What does he bring to the team? He is average at the plate and outfield. Put Winker out there as well. See what offers you get. Nothing like keeping an outfielder with no power and no arm.

  12. 1) Send Mahle down to Louisville for a brief stint, to preserve his extra year of eligibility.

    2) Move Amir to the starting rotation.

    3) As soon as Desclafani is ready to rejoin the rotation (or as soon as #2 above is implemented), move Homer to the DL (make up a reason – sore shoulder, inflated ERA, etc.) and have him max out rehab time in the minors.

    • I think that if you did that to Homer, his agent might file a grievance with ML Baseball, and probably win. You can’t just stash players on the DL for no good reason.

      • Assuming he’s healthy, and it appears he’s healthy, he’d certainly win. And MLB wouldn’t think too highly of such a shifty move either. Now, if Bailey isn’t fully healthy, then they could do something like that.

        • I wonder if this happens more than we think. Unless he improves over these next few starts, Homer is forcing either a move to the bullpen or DL, IMO.

  13. ditch the left side of the infield before they implode…..send Duval to AL…(getting starting pitching for them all) …use Blandino, senzel, and whoever is hot in AAA to fill those holes

    • Wait… you’re ditching Suarez on the left side of the infield? Or just Peraza? 3B is not a problem, it’s one of the few shiny spots isn’t it?

      • Was going to say the same thing. I was also going to add that Peraza nor Duvall are going to return starting pitching in trade either. Also, would that mean Blandino at SS? I like him a lot but he isn’t an MLB SS for anything but a game here and there.

  14. 1. Trade Gennett, call up Senzel, move Shed Long to AAA.
    2. Test versatility: give Suarez some reps at SS, play Senzel in the outfield (and at 2B/3B), play Blandino all over, play Peraza at CF (This does not include Winker and Schebler; they are corner outfielders. Leave them there. Full stop.)
    3. Move Garrett to the rotation. I have been fine with Garrett’s role so far, but if Homer and others in the rotation continue to struggle, Garrett should be given a shot at the rotation.

  15. I’m not in favor of any of the three, with a caveat:

    1) Senzel should come up only after he is able to play a month or more in Louisville without a vertigo relapse. The last thing the Reds need is for him to come to the bigs, start his service time clock, and then go on the disabled list again. He needs to stay in Louisville until it is pretty clear the vertigo will not recur frequently.
    2) The idea of trading people just to trade them is a bad one. There may be the assumption / presumption that some decent prospects will come back in return. If they are great prospects, it should be considered. One thing that has become clear in the otherwise abysmal start is that Eugenio Suarez is a true star player, both offensively and defensively, probably all-star caliber. Add him to Joey Votto and you have a starting lineup with two such players. Not a lot of teams can say that. You might just add Scooter Gennett to that list. Tearing everything down again would in effect mean another year or two in absolute rebuild mode, which I don’t think this team or this fan base will stand for. On this current team, you have a very good bullpen and an above-average starting eight. The only impediment now to at least being a respectable team is the starting pitching. It’s at this point, year four, of their rebuilds when the Cubs and Astros went out and got the veteran pieces they needed to contend. They didn’t tear it down again when two of the three aspects of their team were above average to very good.
    3) I’m not in favor of rushing anyone else up from the lower minors unless their performance makes it impossible not to do so.

    I have seen the light of what this team can do in the last two weeks. They went 3-200 (or so) with half of the bullpen, Suarez and Schebler on the DL — not too dissimilar to what we saw from the Dodgers last week. With players returning from the DL, they are hanging in around .500 in May even with a rotation with an ERA of 5.39.

    • Stop it Tom. You’re being sensible. Really, bringing up Senzel before his health problem is assuredly behind him is not a good move.
      Let Shed Long move at his own pace. Give him this full year in AA ball. We’ve got Herrera and Senzel ahead of him at 2nd base.
      Trading to be trading is just running in place. I don’t expect to get any great prospects for Duvall, Hamilton or Gennett, but try to get some value back.
      I would also put Dilson Herrera in front of Senzel if Scooter got traded tomorrow (to say, the Mariners). Dilson is out of options after this year, and let’s see if he can play. Keep him or trade him, or else we lose him.

      As an aside, I think the Giants might actually want Duvall. There are people in their organization that liked Duvall, and he was never tried in Left Field by the Giants. They might give us something for him. An “A” ball or High A pitching prospect.

      Lastly, I think the Reds are still a little doubtful about Amir Garrett’s hip injury from last year. They don’t want him out there every fifth day pitching 7-8 innings, yet. As many people might disagree, I don’t think the organization is stupid. I think they are being careful with a young pitcher who has a world of talent. A lot of good pitchers USED to get their initial ML experience in the Bullpen.

      • Reminder: Dilson Herrera is out of options already. When he gets called up, he will have to clear waivers to go back to AAA, so it is imperative to call him up when he has proven he is healthy to play every day (and produce).

    • Tom I agree with all you have said except I don’t feel we have an above average starting eight.We have at least two holes to fill but we won’t fill them by trading anybody unless its Iggy and that may not get us what we need.We will have to spend some money on free agents to contend as you said but it really comes down to the starting pitching as it always does.If the rotation can cut a run or even.75 off their ERA for the rest of the year then we are in business.If Homer and Disco can just be average we become much better quickly.I remain optimistic the rotation will improve.

      • I say above-average based on purely my observation, no statistics. Offensively, the Reds are above average when all starters are healthy. Defensively, they are probably below average. I don’t think Scooter is the answer at second base because of his defensive deficiencies, but he is demonstrating that his unexpected offensive performance from 2017 is continuing, perhaps indicating that as a player in his fifth full season, he has blossomed offensively. I read people saying that he is best suited as a DH. Gennett has a wRC+ of 142, 26th best in all of baseball, better than Joey Votto. (Admittedly, that may not last.)

        The Reds can’t cast an offensively skilled player like Gennett off for prospects. He can be a key player for a good team, and that should be the Reds until they are able to trade him for someone of equal or greater value, or until there are 13 other position players in the Reds organization who have greater value or performance. We are absolutely not there yet.

        • I agree Tom that the time has come to draw the line and not move players for “prospects” since that typically means guys who have yet to see and have success at AA and AAA. They need to be targeting specific needs and going after guys who come directly onto the MLB roster or are there no later than the middle of next season.

    • Tom, Agree with your #3) and don’t necessarily disagree with #1.

      Who could we sign with the 14-18 million that will be owed Hamilton and Gennett in 19′? Gio Gonzales possibly, or JA happ and have 2-4 million left to put toward AJ Pollock. These are the players I’d target for 19′, I’m sure there are others you’d like to see placed into our starting rotation or in CF etc.

      • Under the assumption that the Reds would have $14 to $18 million budgeted to sign veteran help after the year, I’d go after a starting pitcher with a positive track record for sure. As someone else pointed out, convincing someone to pitch in Great American Band Box is another challenge altogether.

    • I second Tom’s motions. All of them.

    • I’m going to disagree a bit with your point 2 above, or at least part of it. You say that at this point in their rebuilds the Cubs/Astros weren’t trading away players just to trade them away. That’s not exactly true, at least with regards to the Cubs. At least it’s not if we assume that the Reds are “one year away” and expect to compete in 2019.
      In 2014, the Cubs Opening Day starter was Jeff Samardzija. Their opening day 2B was Darwin Barney. Their number 3 starter was Jason Hammel. All 3 of those guys were traded during the 2014 season. Samardzija and Hammel were traded to get Addison Russell. Darwin Barney was traded simply for roster flexibility. That following off-season, 28 year old Luis Valbuena (.249/.341/.435 in ’14) was traded with Dan Straily (whom they got with Addison Russell) for Dexter Fowler.
      I just find it rather laughable that a team that is 15-29, 1 loss fewer than the most in baseball, the worst record in the NL, so far behind similar rebuilds you see in Philadelphia and Atlanta is “really close” and just needs to stand pat. The only reason for the Reds to hold on to Scooter, hold on to Duvall, hold on to Iglesias, is to try and trick the fan base once again into thinking the roster just needs a few minor tweaks to be competitive.
      Guys, the Reds are still on pace to win fewer than 60 games. If they lose tonight, despite a 6 game winning streak, they will still have twice as many loses as wins. This organization, from top to bottom, needs a massive influx in talent anyway they can get it.

      • Eric, those Cubs trades you cited resulted in the Cubs receiving players who became key contributors. If the Reds can make trades like that, they should, absolutely. What they should not do is trade anyone just to trade them, without getting some value back that can help at the big league level in the next year or two, if not now.

        • The Darwin Barney trade and the Starlin Castro trade were both done to open up roster spots for younger players; those would be similar to the Reds moving Adam Duvall/Billy Hamilton. The trades of Samardja/Hammel would be similar to the Reds moving Scooter/Iglesias. That’s what I want to see the Reds do; move some of the known quantities that, while being major league talent, aren’t really helping the Reds get over the hump. Then trade valuable players from organizational depth, preferably at the major league level, to fill in some of the gaps. If you can get a CF even in AAA for Iglesias or Scooter and a SS for the other (even if you have to throw in some other pieces) you can afford to sell off the likes of Duvall/Hamilton, etc without setting back the organization at all, and positioning yourself better for 2019/2020.

    • I vote for Tom as GM. I also don’t want to trade Gennett or Iggy unless you are getting a lights out prospect. I’m tired of losing and bringing up these guys from the Minors when they are not ready just to get beat up (Rainey, Weiss, Stephenson, Reed – which who honestly knows if he will ever be ready).

      • Stephenson and Reed should not see the Reds big league roster again until they begin dominating at Louisville. I don’t understand the thought process that a pitcher (or any player) who is mediocre in the minors is expected to come to the bigs and be better. Rainey and Weiss have each had just a cup of coffee with the Reds, not enough of a sample to make any reasonable judgment yet.

    • Agree on 1 and 3 and most of 2. Where I diverge is that I don’t think the Reds have an above average starting 8. There are serious questions with all the outfielders right now.

      – Hamilton struggles to hit, although improvements in BB% are encouraging. He’s also only under team control for one more year and his skill-set doesn’t age well, so he’s probably not a good extension candidate.

      – Duvall has power and plays solid defense in LF. He’s off to a horrible start but seems to be coming out of it. Peripherals seem to suggest he will pull out but that’s certainly not guaranteed. The Reds won’t put him in RF because he says he’s less comfortable there. The thing is though, neither Schebler nor Winker are right-fielders and Duvall’s arm could actually play and play well in RF. I’d love to see the Reds play him in RF more when possible.

      – Schebler is streaky but has shown the ability to hit for power. He doesn’t hit for a high average, strikes out a lot, and doesn’t walk a lot. Those are all negatives at the plate. He’s almost always plays in RF and his arm just doesn’t play there. He also doesn’t get particularly good reads so his speed doesn’t come into play defensively as much as it should. He’s really a left-fielder if he’s a starter at all (I think he’s a starter for the record). He can cover CF because he is a good athlete and his reads are much better in CF, but his range isn’t what you really want out there and once again, his arm is a liability in CF.

      – Winker is young and has tons of upside. He needs to play most days but he’s playing out of position in RF. He’s a better left-fielder. He doesn’t have the arm for RF even if he does start getting better reads out there. He’s got great plate-discipline and also makes solid, consistent contact but aside from one month last season, he’s displayed almost no power. His ISO is <.100 playing in GABP. Unless his OBP is extraordinary, I don't think his power plays. He's young and the power he's flashed may become more consistent but there are certainly questions. Of course those questions are why he has to play almost every day.

      • Agreed on the outfield question marks, blogger. On the other hand, you have three starters who could be all-stars on the infield: Votto, Suarez and Barnhart. Not many teams can say that. You add a bat in Gennett which right now is 26th in all of baseball in +wRC, and that in my mind makes the Reds’ lineup above average, even with the outfield question marks. It’s probably barely above average, or around the 15th or 16th best. That’s enough to be at least respectable with good starting and relief pitching.

        • I share your love of Gennett and agree about the IF in general. I’m not against moving Gennett for the right player(s) because of the team’s apparent depth at 2B but I’m not shopping him just to shop him. Votto likely only has 3-4 good years left. The window on him being a very good player is closing. The way they’ve blown his best years is a crying shame.

  16. Scooter is a fun player to watch and he’s done outstanding in a little over a year. He’s not a cornerstone franchise player though positionally. Votto, Suarez and Barnhart right now are the foundation position players. The Reds need to find 2-3 more before 2019 or it’s 2020 and I think it’s 2020. The weekly outfield ebb and flow is ridiculous. Duvall is hitting .191 and his irrelevant 3 run bomb down 10-4 in the 9th gets weighted equally. He’s not a cornerstone player for 2019-23. Hamilton is what he is. A super CF and baserunner in decline who can’t hit.

    Winker is 250 at bats into a career at age 24 with an OPS of .798, yet can’t play every day on a team headed for 90 losses again.

    The reds need an outfield anchor in CF for 2019. Otherwise, it’s 2020.

    • I don’t think there is an OF on the entire team right now who has shown he is definitely set for the “next good Reds team”. Winker is closest. He gets on base but isn’t hitting for power, isn’t an outstanding baserunner and is an adventure in the OF, which makes him very replaceable, just not by anyone on the team right now.

      • I’m not sure who the RF might be in this scenario, but, based on what we’ve seen to date, I could see Winker being displaced in 2-3 years by either Taylor Trammell or Jose Siri, whichever of the two doesn’t end up in CF.

        • Trammell doesn’t have the arm for RF. Heck, he really doesn’t have the arm for CF but it’s better for CF than RF. SIri has some plate-discipline concerns that make me question if he’ll be an MLB player at all. He’s a legit CF though. Trammell continues to hit well and has shown the ability to identify pitches. He’s going to be an MLB player and a good one. It won’t be in RF however.

          • Agreed, LW. In fact, I’ll go a step further. Only Trammell has a legitimate chance at this point to reach the majors. Siri definitely has plate-discipline issues and last year notwithstanding, he’s been out due to injury and is still in the low minors and getting kind of old for his league.

            Winker ain’t going anywhere for a while unless, hopefully, to LF where he belongs. Fairchild and Friedl might come along eventually, but not for a couple of years at least.

        • I really had high hopes this would be the year that Schebler showed star potential. Instead, he seems to be a very streaky hitter, much like Jay Bruce.

        • Absolutely. Winkers spot is up for grabs.

      • The outfield is a major problem and it starts in CF. There is no internal solution at CF unless you go back to Trammell in high A. Unless the Reds aggressively target 2019 for an external solution to CF, they won’t win.

        We are in an era of super centerfielders. Compare Hamilton with his peers, not Scott schebler. These athletes with 5 tools are some of the best players on the planet. Its simply not tenable in 2018 to have a weak hitting CF and expect to win. The Reds need a top 10 CF to add to Votto and Suarez and Barnhart. Trout may get 12+ WAR and beat Babe Ruth. The central division CF is loaded with 4-7 WAR guys . Tommy Pham, Starling Marte, and Lorenzo Cain.
        Odibal Herrera.AJ pollack.Enciarte Blackmon, Benintendi and on and on and on.

        Omar Moreno and Eddie milner and Will Taveras dont get it done anymore in CF in 2018.

  17. Besides the 3 things the Old Cossack wants tyo see happen this season, with Williams shifted to Pres of Baseball Ops and Krall promoted to GM, it’s time for Nick Krall to find his manager and get him in house. There’s simply no reason to delay the process and decision. That simply completes the orgaizational foundation for the next decade. It’s time.

    The first item that needs attention and resolution this season is the starting rotation. I want to see 5 starters in the starting rotation that the Reds plan to have in the starting rotation headed into spring training next season. I do not see Bailey as a valid candidate for the starting rotation, but there is still time for that to change. I do not see Harvey as a valid candidate for the starting rotation. By no later than the trade deadline, Harvey and possibly Bailey need to be removed from the starting rotation. Castillo and Mahle look like solid starting candidates. Romano looks more like a bullpen candidate, but that could still change. If DeScafani comes back healthy and properly stretched out, he immediately becomes a strong starting candidate. Garrett needs to be stretched out and inserted into the starting rotation at the earliest opportunity. If Lorenzen can start, he also needs to be stretched out an inserted into the starting rotation at the earliest opportunity after Garrett. If 5 solid starting rotation candidates can not be identified, then the Reds need to think about off season moves.

    The second item that needs attention and resolution is finding the best positions for the best 8 starting position players for the 2019 season. Who can play where effectively and who can provide the requisite offense needed to justify a starting role. The two names that jump out in this respect are Blandino and Senzel. Unless Scooter is traded for an equitable return (something befitting a 3+ WAR middle IF with another season of team control), Blandino needs to start half the games at SS, half the games in CF and hits in the #2 hole. Suarez starts half the games at 3B, half the games at SS and hits in the #4/#5 hole. Scooter starts at 2B and hits in the #4/#5 hole. Winker starts in LF and hits in the #1 hole. Schebler starts half the games in RF, half the games in CF and hits in the #6/#7 hole. Duvall starts half the games in RF and hits in the #6/#7 hole. Barnhart starts at catcher and hits in the #8 hole. Hamilton becomes a late inning defensive replacement and baserunning substitution. Duvall becomes a partime starter and primary high leverage RH power bat off the bench. Rosell Herrera and Cruz remain as bench pieces to fill in as needed. Peraza becomes a super utility player filling in at 3B, SS, 2B & CF as needed and the primary lower leverage RH pinch hitter. Scooter starts at 2B to increase his trade deadline value to maximize a potential return. If a viable return does not emerge, then he stays and is the starting 2B. Hamilton plays in an attempt to reprise the role Dusty created for him in 2013, scoring late inning runs at an extraordinary pace (9 runs in 13 games) as a pinch runner and defensive replacement. This should entice interest from playoff contenders at the trade deadline for a late season and playoff push. If a valid trade offer fails to materialize, Hamilton may be the starting CF in 2019, hitting in the #9 hole. Senzel should start in CF at AAA until the all star break, then move to the 25-man roster.

    In 2019, the starting 3B could be Suarez or Senzel. The starting SS could be Suarez or Blandino. The starting 2B could be Scooter, Blandino, Senzel, Herrera or Long. The starting LF could be Winker, Duvall, Schebler or Senzel. The starting CF could be Hamilton, Senzel or Blandino. The startin RF could be Duvall, Schebler or Senzel. Any position not filled with a viable offensive/defensive player needs to be addressed during the off season.

    The third item that needs attention and resolution is promotion of minor league players up to their level of competition. From AAA: Brandon Dixon and Dilson Herrera need to be promoted no later than September roster expansion. Senzel needs to be promoted to the 25-man roster by the all star break. From AA: Shed Long needs to be promoted to AAA immediately and split the 2B/DH role with Herrera. He could also start working on CF as a possible position switch. Josh VanMeter and Gabby Guerrero should get consideration for a promotion to AAA by the all star break. Mella should be promoted to AAA by the all star break. From A+: Tramell, Nay, Stephenson & Friedl need to be promoted to AA immediately. Santilla & Romero need to be promoted to AA by the all star break. From A: Clemen tina, Fairchild & Downs need to be promoted to A+ immediately.

    As positions and playing time becomes crowded, consideration should be given to the better prospects with other players moved within the organization to accomodate playing time for the better prospects. This isn’t little league where everybody gets equal or equitable playing time. The player earn playing time and promotions. The Reds need to be more aggresive and assertive with minor league promotions, rewarding the players who demonstrate the capability to play at higher levels. (pitchers who can throw strikes and get outs, hitters with plate discipline, etc.)

    Trades should be pursued aggresively immediately and up to the trade deadline, but any trade consumated should return equitable value to what is being traded. Everyone except Suarez, Votto, Barnhart and Senzel should be available, but no one except Harvey and possibly Bailey should be trade for whatever the Reds can get.

    • An awful lot of moving parts there and some don’t seem particularly feasible to me. Blandino getting starts in CF? He hasn’t played the OF since he was a kid. He also doesn’t really have the athleticism you want in a CF at the MLB level. Senzel as you suggested, would be a better CF candidate and there are huge questions even in that case. Blandino also can cover SS but probably isn’t a regular SS in MLB. Again, his athleticism is limited and he’s not what you want out there at SS. He’s above average at 2B and 3B.

      Suarez could probably play some SS but I wouldn’t do it unless he really wanted to do it. I also would be very hesitant to move him off 3B; a position where he’s turned into an elite defender. He’s a GG 3B if it wasn’t for that Nolan Arronado guy.

    • Ole cossack…you have been consistent to not wait till the off-season season and hire the next manager during the season without the interim tag.

      I’m too lazy, but is there precedent for that? A situation where it was clear an organization didn’t hire an interim with a see how it goes approach…..but instead…in August on a sinking ship said this is our guy. Seems to me every FO wants the best optics and ciearest message and 100% focus on the next manager to occur in the off-season, when all that can be scripted. Doing it on an off day in August in a lost season makes the marketing folks have a seizure.

      • How long have the Reds known they would need a new manager? A week? A couple of weeks? A month? Several months? A year? Two years? Anyone with a lick of baseball sense recognized trhat hiring Price was a bad decision two year ago. The issue for the past two years has really been when and not if. At least I really hope the Reds organization recognized that outcome and were simply waiting until the appropriate time to make a change. If that’s not the case, then anything we are discussing here doesn’t mean squat and as a fan I simply have to believe the organization has more sense and capability thatn that. Based on that belief, the Reds have known they need a new manager for quite some time and have already begun the process of identifying the mangerial candidats they want to pursue. I do not think the process has evolved past the idenification process, but that list better exist. Once the Reds decide to seriously begin the hiring process, they should be able to determine mutual interest from the top candidates in 24-48 hours. From that point, vetting and can be accomplished very quickly.

        Wouldn’t it be an asset to have the manager in place, with hands on experiance with the existing players prior to the trade deadline, along with Krall already in place as GM, to mold a vision of the next competitive team? I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way if the opportunity presented itself. Having the Pres of Baseball Ops, the GM and the Manager all on the same page and all intimately involved in the final process of completing the rebuild would have too much benefit to ignore. I wouldn’t be adverse to assembling the core group of veteran players the Reds are building around (Votto, Suarez, Barnhart…wow that’s a small core!) to allow them to also provide their opinion on the final steps of the rebuild process.

        • It’s possible they want to talk to coaches who are working for other clubs – that’s a pretty good source to look – and they need to wait until the end of the season to get permission to talk with them. Now, that’s not a good excuse for not having done it last offseason. As much as I’d like to see them hire the right kind of manager, I don’t feel the same urgency to do it during the season. Not if the good young candidates aren’t available now.

    • I agree that the Reds should be deep into the process for identifying the next manager. I would hope that their ultimate selection has, in addition to SABR knowledge, some of Riggleman’s old-school inclination to practice fundamentals. The Reds have been a bit better since he took over (they could hardly be worse), and it’s very hard to know how much credit for that resides with him, but it does seem clear that that they often play a bit more like major leaguers than they were.

  18. how about spending some of the money from that deep TV contract?

    • Not sure how big that contract is but I’m of the belief that the Reds have some money to spend. No, they probably can’t take the payroll up to $150-million but I could see them able to go maybe $15-million below that. That’s over $30-million more they could put into the payroll and put towards putting an actual competitive team on the field.

      Very tired of the Reds crying poor. Honestly, if they are running that right of a margin right now I’m not sure why the team remains in Cincinnati.

  19. 1. Senzel is an important part of the next great Reds team, but there’s no rush until he’s healthy. I agree with those recommending a promotion after he shows that the vertigo will not be an ongoing problem. After that he needs to be in Cincinnati to stay.
    2. Solidify the starting 8. Only Votto, Barnhart, Suarez are a lock, with Winker and Senzel highly likely. That still leaves two outfield slots and shortstop to clarify. Gennett is odd man out at 2nd – Senzel, Long, and/or Herrera will be a better long term option. Position Gennett as part of a trade to upgrade center or short. Iglesias should be available to upgrade center or short. Hopefully Harvey will pitch well enough to have some value at the trade deadline, but I think it’s unlikely he’ll return anyone major league ready – but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get what they can for him. Schebler should play every day to determine if he can fill one of the two remaining outfield slots.
    3. Solidify the rotation. Give Castillo and Mahle as many starts as possible – they will both likely prove dependable, high quality starters. Hopefully Disco returns to health and makes that a threesome. To fill the last two spots, forget Bailey and Harvey – that’s a pipe dream – and limit their starts. Harvey gets enough to have some trade deadline value, Bailey should only be the 5th starter or injury fill in as a last resort. The following pitchers must start as much as possible in Cincinnati and Louisville until two emerge as capable winners: Garrett, Lorenzen, Finnegan (unlikely), Stephenson (unlikely), Reed, Mella, Santillan (perhaps a little premature), Davis (unlikely). That’s eight arms for seven slots in MLB and AAA. Identify what is expected. Let them pitch. Reward the successful.

    • Knew I was forgetting someone – slot Romano in that starting group as well. Surely there are two more good starters in the system from this group!

      • That’s exactly the kind of thoughts in 2014 and 2015 that got the Reds to where they are now.

        • This is too vague to be helpful Jim. I’m saying, essentially, I’d like to see four things happen before the end of the year: 1) Promote a healthy future star (Senzel) and let him play. 2) Cull out the replacement level players from the starting 8. 3) Don’t give starts at AAA or MLB to anyone in the organization who isn’t a possible future rotation stalwart (and hold a hard line on performance expectations). 4) Trade away players who have actual value but are surplus at their position. The question wasn’t about plans for the offseason – free agent signings or trades of prospects for MLB talent – that likely need to happen for a winning 2019, but I haven’t suggested those are somehow bad ideas, just outside the scope of Jason’s question. So what is your objection to any or all of my 4 main points?

  20. Scooter is hitting .342 vs lefties this year….granted its with 10Ks and 1 walk. The point is though that he’s progressing as a hitter by consistently shooting the ball the other way on pitches away. To just assume Senzel can replace him offensively is not wise!

    Its obvious by now that they need a decent right-handed hitting CF! They just can’t carry Jose and Billy both and Jose is younger and cheaper and could possibly improve offensively! I’m still not high on Peraza though? Some guys are just hackers and never walk much which is really as issue when very few of the hacks reach the seats?

    Winker and Schebler are 2 guys that need the most playing time in the outfield. Can Schebler handle playing CF semi-regularly? He probably could in GABP and the smaller parks but they’re too busy with their stupid 4 man rotation? Can Winker drive the ball more often and get on base like he did in April? Leave him at leadoff and try to find out!! They should’ve tried to find out last year with him and now they’re doing it again?

    Bottom line….Billy needs to go and possibly Peraza too. If they’ve decided against moving Senzel or Suarez to SS then dump Billy and Peraza can bat 9th. Find a right-handed hitting CF or atleast a RH hitting upgrade over Duvall in LF and Schebler can play the majority of time in CF. It would be easier to find a RH hitting defensive CFer to back up Schebler in the bigger parks and play vs tough lefties. If they can tweak the offense correctly then they could really put up some consistent runs next year and carry the pitching!

    • A good hitter is able to hit to the opposite field. The Reds have three of those, Gennett, Winker and Votto, and they should be in the lineup on a daily basis. Blandino may join that group with time.

    • Schebler is getting on base less often than Billy Hamilton is. If we assume that Winker needs to start at a corner (left, hopefully), then it might make sense to have a centerfielder who can take up some of his slack. Schebler probably can’t. A good fielding centerfielder who hits much better than Billy should take Billy’s job, but I don’t believe Schebler, exit speed and all, has shown that he is that guy.

  21. A bit off the track of action within this season and a bit out of the box. Not necessarily disagreeing with what has been said before but it does get at an irritable observation: “Tactics should not be allowed to suborn strategy.” Most of the proposed actions (most, not all) are tactical in nature. Without an overarching strategy that guides them, the results are likely to be less than optimal and to extend, rather than shorten, the current rebuild. The Reds have been above average (really!) in tactical trades and improvisation, but still lag much of the league in strategic concept.

    1) Practice more tough love. Cut the cord on Bob Steve and Reed, for openers. Especially Bob Steve – his problems aren’t just mechanical or simple psychology, it’s attitude. But as long as management is still in love with potential over real world gut checks, he gets chance after chance and not the big stick that would straighten things out. He could be a solid MLB pitcher for someone else if a sharp setback and change in venue gets a message across – but we can’t do it. Salvage what residual value remains and, strategically, get in touch with how much market value has already been degraded by indulgence. Then look at where else in the development queue similar situations may be lurking.

    2) Figure out what you want and what you -need- -before- going into a trade situation. We’ve all bashed the CF and SS and starting pitching things to death. One thing we -need- is a bridging strategy for C. The Harvey deal, while probably a good notion, has opened a new potential vulnerability that must be addressed. Tony Cruz is probably not the answer. Tyler Stevenson and Chris Okey are probably late 2019/early 2020 based on their growth curves. We have workarounds for the outfield and infield if we need them. Not elegant, not the best, but it’s there. Ask yourself what would happen if Barnhart went down for any protracted period of time this year or next. Not pretty, is it? And catchers tend not to come cheap. So identify either a Bryan Pena /Corky Miller gap fill or identify a highAA-AAA level prospect and be prepared to pay up. And then, again, step (1) above. More tough love. Stop letting sentiment cause you to overvalue your guys and undervalue theirs.

    3) As Cossack aptly pointed out, light a fire under the manager quest. But, again, thing strategically, not tactically. Bringing a tough, analytically minded young manager would be a boon but only if you don’t sabotage him by reforming things in the development structure that feeds him with fresh prospects. Start looking for young analytic guys with field sense, like the Astros are doing -right now-. Seed them into the development chain, starting at A and climbing up. Use them to realign development techniques so that prospects come to the Big Team with a full tool set and situational awareness. Start right now, not at season end. ACTION THIS DAY!

    • Aaah…typos, typos.

      Point 3. should read “……only if you don’t sabotage him by NOT reforming things in the development structure……”

      The difference three small letters make………….

  22. 1. Talk to SF to get permission to talk to SF bench coach Ron Wotus. If he is hired, compensation will be in order since he is under contract with SF for 2018. Robert Stephenson and Dilson Herrera head to SF.

    2. Commit to certain players at certain positions and start thinning the herd by trading surplus. The Reds minors will get stagnant without a little thinning out.
    A. Trade 2 of the 4 outfield rotation. Preference is to keep Winker and keep Hamilton as the 4th
    OF. Trade Duvall and Schebler.
    B. Commit to Senzel at 2B. Herrera is gone and so should Gennett. Trade Scooter Gennett.
    C. Move Finnegan to the bullpen and commit to it.
    D. A monster trade at the deadline of Iglesias, Schebler and Harvey to a needy contender. Looking
    at Houston, Boston, Arizona and Atlanta.

    3. Have a manager in place and a good amount of the 2019 team in place by Aug. 1 to make a
    momentum run for 2019 in August and September. Use the September call ups judiciously to get
    some eyes on some key players that may contribute in 2019. Herget, Mella, Rainey, Dixon. and any
    trade acquisitions that would apply.

  23. 1) Trade or bench Peraza
    2) Bring up Senzel and put him at
    either short or third (if third then
    Saurez moves to short)
    3) Trade Duvall & Hamilton

  24. 1. Walt Jocketty goes away to Sarasota or where ever he lives never to be associated with the Reds in ANY way. 2. Bob Castellini becomes like many principal owners, quiet in the background, not meddling, invisible to the Red’s baseball operations and public. 3. Krall makes some astute trades receiving major league ready players, to fortify the pitching, CF and SS. Anyone on the roster or not on the roster is available, anyone.

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About Jason Linden

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

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