I was fully supportive of the Reds rebuild. I called for the Reds to start the rebuild early. I even called for the Reds to trade Todd Frazier when he was at the top of his game in a Reds uniform. I patiently sat through the Reds 64-98 2015 season. I patiently sat through the Reds 68-94 2016 season. I patiently sat through the Reds 68-98 2017 season, starting to see glimpses of light at the end of the tunnel.
The rebuild needs to end soon.
2018 was supposed to be the season that the Reds took a step forward. That obviously has not happened. Some of that is due to bad luck: injuries and the entire rest of the NL Central deciding to all be great at once. My patience however is fading quickly. Watching Reds games feels more like an obligation than entertainment these days.
The Reds will be soon approaching another trade deadline. The selling needs to stop. Everything the Reds do from this point forward should be with the focus of competing next season. That means several things:
1.) Keep Scooter Gennett. Scooter has been a top 20 MLB hitter since joining the Reds (134 wRC+ in 2017-2018). If you look at just vs RHP, Gennett’s 142 wRC+ since he joined the Reds is ahead of guys like Giancarlo Stanton, Paul Goldschmidt, Kris Bryant, and Anthony Rizzo. You don’t just find hitters like this. The Reds have Scooter under team control through 2019. Yes, Scooter is 28 years old. He is not going to keep up this level of production forever, but he has proven to be a really good hitter for at least the near future. The Reds can find a place to play him, and he is open to moving to the outfield. Signing him to a big long extension wouldn’t be smart, but if the Reds can work out a team friendly deal with limited years, it is worth exploring. Either way, they have him under team control next season, and we need to the Reds to compete then. The Reds are a better team in 2019 with Scooter Gennett on the roster. There is of course the possibility that the Reds get an offer that would actually make them better in 2019 (a team trading MLB or near-MLB level talent), and if that is the case of course you take it, but that seems highly unlikely.
2.) End the Billy Hamilton experiment. and play Schebler everyday in CF. Billy is getting worse at the plate. His wRC+ had dropped from 79 to 66 to 55 over the last three years. One of the most frustrating things the Reds have done of the last decade is their approach Hamilton. The Reds just keep trotting him out there everyday. At some point, the Reds should have sent him down to AAA. That may or may not have helped him, but you can’t keep accepting negative production at the plate. It just sets a bad precedent for the entire organization. The Reds should try Schebler in CF for an extended look once Senzel is called up. I’m skeptical that he can be adequate there, but an outfield with Winker, Schebler and Gennett, along with an infield with Suarez, Senzel, and Votto would be great offense. Schebler has 3 DRS in 196.2 innings over the last 2 years in CF. This is the Reds chance to see if he could be the fix there, and if not they will have to find the fix for 2019. We know that Hamilton is not it.
3.) Figure out which starters you can count on in 2019, acquire the rest. The Reds have less than four months to figure out which starters they can count on in 2019. Homer Bailey and Sal Romano have shown nothing to believe they can. DeSclafani, Mahle, and Castillo have all shown positive signs at times, and they will clearly be in the running. The Reds have another 6 weeks of Matt Harvey to try to move him at the deadline, or look at signing him for a friendly deal. The Reds should be giving looks to Robert Stephenson and Amir Garrett. The hope would be for the Reds is that they can have three starters by the end of 2018 that they feel comfortable going into 2019. The Reds will need to open their pockets and sign a free agent pitcher, and maybe trade for another. There are plenty of solid FA starters this off-season: Patrick Corbin, Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton, and Gio Gonzalez.
The Reds are starting to develop a decent core. They have six hitters (Votto, Suarez, Gennett, Winker, Schebler, and Barnhart) who have an OBP greater than .341. The Reds have six relievers that have all been great (Hughes, Garrett, Hernandez, Floro, Lorenzen, and Iglesias). Just please don’t keep going in circles with the rebuild. Figure out a clear plan to start competing in 2019, and do whatever it takes. I am not sure how much longer I can stomach watching a team 20 games under .500 play baseball. Go Reds!
Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.