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.

Join the conversation! 116 Comments

  1. “Must” and “Will” are two very different words.

    Like everyone else I’ve been putting time tables on the path to winning. I’ve realized that until the Reds can show us competent starting pitching, they will be a last place teams for many years to come.

    Reply
    • Alex;

      “Must”, “Will” are usually driven by “Want” and “Need”.

      The Reds management has not demonstrated the “want” or “need” to get the job done. They made a big deal of the draft, were they saying that we will wait another 3-4 years. Once the Reds sign them, lets really see how good a draft they had by packing all the draft picks to get a major leaguer. There will be no takers. The ownership group is making too much money by losing too “change”

      Reply
  2. #Endtherebuild

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  3. awesome and agree 100%. Gennett deserves to be here and unless they are offered king’s ransom he needs to find a spot and agree LF is good place. Give Amir, Stephenson and Lorenzen a shot at starting. it can’t hurt!!

    Reply
    • #FreeGarrett, #FreeLorenzen

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    • Agree completely with this article but have doubts like everyone else has that the front office will do what it takes to make it happen. Scooter is a local kid and living the dream playing for the Reds, I’m sure he’ll do a team friendly deal to stay, make it happen! Think we’ll have to trade Iggy to get that SP we really need and I’m ok with that, we just drafted closer of the future Michael Byrne who just led the Gators to the CWS early this morning!

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  4. I agree the Reds should keep Scooter if only for another year. Won’t the Reds get a draft pick if he leaves for free agency anyway? That’s as good as trading him for second tier prospect.

    The Reds really need to add about 40 million dollar to their payroll. They need to use that to add several players. They also need to trade prospects for an additional young controllable player. Two of these three players need to be starting pitchers. The third should be either a center fielder or shortstop. I don’t particularly care if the Reds want to run Billy Hamilton out to CF. The Reds won the NL Central with Drew Stubbs playing centerfield and Hamilton has been a better player than Stubbs (perhaps not offensively). But you can’t have multiple poor offensive contributors and they’ve not been getting much from SS or CF for some time now.

    You are absolutely right that the Reds need to compete in 2019. This team is horrible to watch and I’m sick of the rebuild. It’s no longer compelling for me to watch marginal prospects learn to play baseball in the MLB. The Reds have scouts and coaches who have seen these guys come up through the minors. they know who can play and who cannot. Make some trades, promote the guys you have confidence in. Get it done.

    Reply
    • In order to get a compensation pick in the draft, I believe you have to make a qualifying offer. This is the reason the Reds did not get anything for Mozart

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    • As sad as it seems Stubbs was actually a better overall player by WAR(while with the Reds) than Billy.

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      • Here’s a fun what-if rabbit hole: What if the Reds never traded Didi and Stubbs to get 1 year of Choo? Would they have made the playoffs that year? If so, same results but we keep Didi in the system and lose the comp pick that became Blandino. If not, do the Reds entertain starting the rebuild earlier? Would they have extended Bailey knowing a year earlier a rebuild may need to occur?

        Doesn’t matter a bit now, but just an interesting reflection on a past decision the team made to “win now”.

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  5. If Iglasius brings back a top level prospect, do you trade him or keep him?

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    • Iglesias ought to bring back two MLB-ready prospects, not one. And if he does, we should trade him. He is our best trading chip, and an expendable luxury on a last-place team.

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      • It seems to be near-consensus that Iglesias should be traded if the return is good enough. I don’t disagree, but with the bullpen pitching 4 innings or more nearly every game, I wonder whether it makes sense to move both Garrett and Lorenzen to the rotation. It doesn’t matter much this year, with the Reds playing the way they are, but if they were showing signs of being decent and starting to win some games, the need for a well-stocked bullpen becomes more than theoretical.

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        • The question I have is: If Iglesias is traded, who becomes the closer for the Reds? Which pitcher, of all those not in the starting rotation currently, has the best one-inning stats?

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          • Good question Eric, but it does not matter. A closer is only needed on a playoff team. The Reds can develop or buy a closer. What they can get for Iggy is far more important that closing out games in Aug-Sep of 2018.

          • You probably don’t become a playoff team without a good closer. Also, as evidenced by what I read and write here, fans won’t be able to stand a team that doesn’t even appear to be competing.

          • You definitely need a great closer to even think about being in playoff contention. Then the bullpen comes exponentially more important

  6. I like Scooter and you can’t argue with his production, but until the starting rotation is competitive, it just doesn’t matter. Any move that can improve the rotation should be explored.

    As mentioned above, it would be great to see Amir, Stephenson and Lorenzen get a shot at the rotation, but that doesn’t seem likely and the odds of all three working out are slim.

    Dan Straily looks better and better. Whether by trade, FA signing or the three relievers above (or a combination of all three moves) find a competitive, healthy rotation or nothing else matters.

    Reply
  7. If Scooter is open to a reasonable extension, it wouldn’t be a bad idea. They aren’t going to replace the offensive production next year if he is traded. If he is looking for a high dollar long term contract then trade now and maximize his value. Senzel or Herrera can be given a shot after the trade. An outfield of Winker, Schebler, and Gennett does not appeal to me. I think all three would be below average at their positions. Maybe Senzel or Herrera can handle the outfield if Scooter is extended, Herrera’s shoulder still worries me and Senzel’s vertigo. If the Reds just hang onto Scooter with no extension, assuming the collective bargaining agreement doesn’t change they could still issue a Qualifying offer, which he might accept for $15+ million or get the draft pick if he declines which won’t help for 2020

    With all that being said, the rotation must be fixed before any of that matters.

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  8. Nick;

    “2.) End the Billy Hamilton experiment. and play Schebler every day in CF.”

    After the Sunday game, that anointed Hamilton the “second coming” by the Reds staff and some local Cincy media, I don’t think that the Reds management (Bob C.) will ever allow a change in centerfield. I hate to wish anyone bad luck but that is the only thing that will cause change in centerfield.

    Reply
    • The sad part is that Billy only displayed the skill sets of exactly what he should be, a defensive replacement/pinch runner.

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  9. Good luck trying to sign a FA starter to come to cincy. With the prolonged rebuild and that ball park, the chances of that happening are slim to non. Trading for one is plausible. The Orioles are about to do their Reds impression and embark on a horrible disgusting rebuild. I don;t see a reason Gausman or Bundy can be had. Both players can pitch over 150 innings in a season, something the Reds lack. Starting the package with Dilson Herrera, who is quietly hitting over .300 in Triple A, and Robert Stephenson, who needs a change of scenery, is a start. This is just an example.

    They have to do something to fix that rotation and quick.

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  10. The crap shoot with any rebuild is how much rope do you give a young player. Especially a pitcher.
    Have been a Reds fan all my life but have been in Atlanta for 34 plus years. Watched an abysmal team rebuild a young staff. Sure they got Smoltz but no one knew he would be lights out from the get go.
    Glavine was a car wreck for his first 40 starts as was Steve Avery.
    Even Maddux although with the Cubs was beaten like an kicked around for his first entire season.
    When do you lose your patience with Romano… or Mahle. Or do you have to trust your guys for a bit longer. Multiple young arms in this system. The biggest question is when do you try the next tier. Stephenson and Lorenzen.
    I personally think Garrett is your long term stopper in the bullpen.
    Iglesias is our best trade piece. He needs to bring two top prospects. One must either be a shortstop or a centerfielder. No way Schebler can play center.
    We now have three top prospects slated to be 3rd or 2nd basemen.
    Senzel, Long and India. Scooters trade value has never been higher. He has to go. His haul will not be as high as Iglesias’s but you have to move him.
    I am not as worried about the pitching as we have so many young arms. Santillan, Melia, Greene.
    Need a centerfielder and a shortstop. And some patience with the pitching.
    JMHO

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  11. Agree that the rebuild needs to end. We must start seeing signs of competitive baseball. Disagree that we should keep Scooter. If he played a position where we didn’t have good options (either here or on the cusp) it would absolutely make sense. As it is the Reds will have Herrera, Senzel, Long (now a top 100 FG prospect), and Blandino competing to lock down 2B for 2019. That’s quite a few good options with India probably not too far behind them. For the corner OF we already have Schebler and Winker and I believe we may add Senzel to that list soon (as I think he’ll move to RF due to quality options at 2B).

    What we don’t have is SP, as you mentioned, nor do we have many trade chips that may bring in help in that area (or SS/CF which are also areas of need). If Gennett helps you fill a need and doesn’t create another hole, he’s an ideal trade candidate.

    Reply
    • I apologize if I missed a transaction, but how did we get Herrera back? Early June he was claimed by KC off waivers and assigned to their AAA team on June 5th. His MLB profile seems to link there:

      http://m.reds.mlb.com/player/594011/rosell-herrera

      But from the box scores it appears he has played for Louisville since then. I haven’t been able to find a link that we pulled him back. Would that have been when we released Shackelford?

      I realize he is the 39th/40th man on the roster, but I disliked losing him for nothing. We need all the young hitting we can get, even if position is limited to 2b.

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      • Two different players, Dilson is the 2B acquired from the Mets for Bruce. Rosell was the guy claimed by the Royals

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      • The Herrera in question is Dilson Herrera, obtained from NYM for Jay Bruce. He is still a Red (having cleared waivers earlier this year.) Rosell Herrera is gone as you stated.

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      • What they said, Dilson.

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  12. Whatever fix the reds employ it has to be all encompassing. Pitching, hitting and defense.

    Winker is a LF. He can not field well enough to play anywhere else. Schebler is a RF. He has very limited range and is not a CF. Scooter is a 2nd. He does not fit in RF because of arm or CF because of range. He could play in LF but that is where Winker has to play. That is why I trade Scooter while his value is at its highest for Pitching. If I see another game where we out hit the other team and lose I may go crazy. We have a staff of 5 inning pitchers. That won’t cut it. We need starting pitching and our two best chips to acquire it are Scooter and Iggy. They are both positions of strength in this organization.

    Senzel at 2nd is where he has to play. Schebler in RF and Winker in LF. CF will be manned by Siri or Trammel. Probably in 2020.

    We have to continue to upgrade our starting pitching. I’m not saying we have a great offense but we have 3 options at 2nd. Senzel, Herrera and Long. If one of Trammel or Siri work out we have our CF. Iggy is another strength. We do not need a all star closer at this point. His value is high and should be utilized for starting pitching.

    Put some quality starting pitching on the field with Senzel at 2nd and Winker in LF and we will begin to start up the hill.

    Reply
    • Counting on one of the Red’s prospects to man CF in 2020 might be a little optimistic. Siri and Trammell are both in A Ball.

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      • Trammel will be in AA after the all star game. Before being injured he was on a very nice run.

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      • This time last year Senzel was in A+ ball. I think Trammell is on a 2020 ETA schedule unless he hits a bump in development. He should be in AA soon to finish the season, after All Star break.

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        • Senzel was also drafted out of college and those guys tend to progress faster. Siri and Trammell have a lot of baseball to play before they can be penciled into the 2020 lineup. If they destroy AA after the break and move up to AAA next year that is great, but I think we set our expectations too high with these prospects

          Reply
          • I saw an interesting stat on RML that Trammell currently has an .848 OPS with Daytona, when Senzel was promoted he was sporting an .847 OPS in Daytona. (it’s good to recall that average OPS in the FSL is under .700) That may be nothing more than an interesting tidbit, but Trammell has acquitted himself to Adv. A very well. He will play in the ASG then after that he’ll likely be promoted. AA is an adjustment for most, but the transferable skills such as a good plate approach, speed, and athleticism will help him adjust quicker in my opinion.

            If he starts 2019 at AA and moves to AAA at some point that season, I think it’s reasonable to believe we’ll see him at some point in 2020.

    • + infinity!

      Start fielding offers for both Gennett and Iglesias. Don’t jump until you get one you can’t refuse. You can wait for the best deal up till 31 July, but if a great offer comes earlier, DO IT! Don’t wait and allow an injury or cold spell to kill the deals.

      I like Scooter, i do, but as noted, many 2B options, maybe none hit as well as Scooter, but if we get back a top SP prospects and/or a great CF prospect(that can actually hit a baseball), then do it.

      Reply
      • I would be looking for a playoff team that needs a top notch closer and a 4-5 starter. Throw in Harvey and see if you can get a solid reliever or bench player back.

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  13. It’s time to take action to rework this roster. The Indians are perfect trade partners with the Reds. They have needs at second base (Kipnis hitting very poorly following a bad 2017) and bullpen. Trade Gennett and Iglesias for Triston McKenzie (SP at AA), Shane Bieber (SP rookie in MLB), Yu-Cheng Chang (SS at AAA), and another prospect throw in.

    In the off-season, sign SP Patrick Corbin or Drew Pomeranz to a long term deal. It’s a gamble to put another big contract on the books, but the Reds have to make a move to fix the starting rotation in the near term. Trading Iglesias and Gennett will free up some money to make this signing possible, and Homer Bailey will come off the books after next season.

    By 2020, the rotation could have the following possibilities:

    Corbin/Pomeranz
    Castillo
    DeSclafani
    Mahle
    Bieber
    Garrett
    McKenzie
    Romano
    Stephenson

    It would hurt to lose Iglesias and Gennett, but the starting pitching is much more important to figure out. Through this plan, the Reds free up money to put towards the rotation, gain two starting pitching prospects who could contribute in the near term, and gain a potential SS of the future in Chang if Peraza doesn’t work out.

    Whoever doesn’t make it as a SP begins the transition to the bullpen – most likely Stephenson, Reed, and Finnegan. Hopefully some of them will have their stuff play up by pitching out of the bullpen and this will help offset to some degree the loss of Iglesias.

    Reply
    • I don’t normally get invested in comments along the lines of “the Reds should trade a, b and c to this team for d, e, and f”. It’s way too speculative to be of any real value. However, comments along the lines of “the Indians might be a good match as a trading partner” are of more interest. The Giants wanted Hamilton but have nothing to offer in return. The Mariners need Gennett but have nothing to offer in return. But this Indians idea I like. Gennett and Iglesias are surplus right now, and the Reds need CF, SS, and SP. Call the Indians. I like this possibility.

      Reply
      • The Indians definitely match up well as a trade partner. Even if they don’t want to trade both Gennett and Iglesias, even trading one of them for a package involving 2 players could be beneficial. Fangraphs just ranked McKenzie, Bieber, and Chang as top 100 prospects.

        McKenzie is a high ceiling starter a few years away from the majors. Bieber is very similar to Tyler Mahle. Chang is an average defensive shortstop but has some pop – 24 HR last season in AA. You would think that these prospects are expendable for Cleveland, as they need to capitalize on their window while they can.

        Make the call, Kral!

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      • This is exactly right! While most people love Iggy and Scooter, they HAVE TO HAVE a CF, SS and SP. If the starting staff straightens out just a bit and can log more than 5 inning starts, you don’t need as much in the pen. Garrett can probably close as could another couple of guys. Give the likes of Mahle and Romano some time. You can live with Peraza, if you don’t have a black hole in the lineup playing CF at the bottom of the order. Can Peraza play CF?.

        Cleveland or Washington make sense as far as trade candidates. People want to talk about 2b needs for the Mariners. Seattle does not NEED a 2B as they just moved Dee Gordon back to 2B. When Cano comes back, Gordon moves back to OF.

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  14. The Reds have bought into the Bengals philosophy which is to be good here and there just enough to keep the fans interested. Winning consistently isn’t an option because it’s too expensive.

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    • Completely different animals. One sport has a salary cap and the other does not.

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    • Not even close. You may have forgotten about the Salary Cap in the NFL.

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      • The competitive balance tax, commonly referred to as the Luxury Tax, as amended in the new CBA is the next thing to a soft cap. In fact, Many have termed it a soft cap in all but official name.

        Several of the terms of it are just coming into effect this season. Even rich teams like the Dodgers and Yankees are scrambling to get under the threshold. It looks like only the RedSox and Giants will be over in 2018.

        http://m.mlb.com/glossary/transactions/competitive-balance-tax

        Reply
      • You’re missing the point. I was talking about the philosophy of both franchises. It isn’t conducive to winning on a consistent basis. The proof is in the pudding(history).

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    • Yeah, I don’t buy it. Although I don’t think you have to go through these massive downswings & upswings to complete as a small market team in baseball, it is a valid and potentially more optimal strategy. Call it the Rays versus Astros models. Through some indecision and bad luck on their part, I think the Reds tried to implement the Rays model and switched over to the Astros model a little late, causing some extended pain on their part.

      The NFL is a completely different animal, inherently designed for parity. The Bengals failure to even win a playoff game is so exceptional that it is almost staggering.

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    • But Reds management has to be noticing that the fans are losing interest. They are averaging 18,700 per game so far this year. And that seems generous. I went to the day game a few weeks ago against the Pirates and it was an echo chamber.

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    • Judging by the empty seats, they haven’t succeeded in keeping the fans interested.

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  15. Wrong Herrera. They are mentioning the second basemen Dilson.

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  16. The reds seem to be trailing early in every game. The starters last 5 innings and we generally out hit the opposition. The fix is not to find ways to play better hitters in the field by moving and playing people out of position, it is to pitch better. Part of pitching better is to catch the freaking ball and run the bases properly. Our fundamentals are pathetic. Playing players out of position and hoping they hit well enough to overcome their defensive issues is not the way to build a winner. That is a recipe for failure.

    Reply
  17. An outfield of Winker, Schebler and Gennett would have a very strong chance of being the worst defensive outfield in the history of modern baseball.

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    • That is a fair point….but this would be the year to try something like that out.

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      • No this is the year to trade Iggy and Scooter for some starting pitching. Play Winker in LF and bring up Senzel to play 2nd. I keep Schebler in RF and leave him alone. Billy stays in CF until a better option comes along. Hopefully over the off season or in 2020 when Siri or Trammell is ready.

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      • With all due respect that is one of the most ridiculous statements I’ve ever heard when you consider the context of what the Reds are trying to do, that is break in some very young pitchers. Given that you want some semblance of a decent defense behind them. Gennett needs to be traded. Enough of this warm and fuzzy for players showing short term results.

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    • I am soured on Winker. He might hit well at some point, be an above average (slightly) MLB hitter with mediocre power (a mix of Sean Casey and Hal Morris), but he is a sloth. He can’t field because he can’t run.

      I get he is good at what we have been lacking for the better part of 30 years (OBP), but if some AL team in dire need of a LH DH covets him, send him packing for a top SP or CF prospect.

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  18. I’ll also throw this out there. We are fundamentally as bad a team as there is in the league and it starts with our 25 million dollar man. The next time I see him fooling around and responding to hecklers I may vomit. Get you head out of your tail and play ball. His act in Philly was cute but it won’t win you games. He has been picked off, missed making routine plays and generally looks uninterested while in the field. The throw he missed by Peraza the other nigh is a prime example. His base running also needs work. If this is the leader of the team it is no wonder we are were we are. I know this will not be popular but I call them like I see them. 25 million dollars should buy you a complete player and one who leads by example. Earn your money Joey and be a professional at bat, in the field and on the bases.

    Reply
    • It is against RLN rules to criticize Votto.

      Every player is going to have some flubs on defense. Even Hamilton had a bad game last week. You do make some valid points on what Votto contributes without a bat in his hands. My big beefs with him are two-fold: 1) He can’t help himself from going for grounders to his right that the second baseman could more easily handle. (2) He is just too slow and tentative to be a very good baserunner. It takes 2 triples to score him from first. (And, yeah, he kinda throws like Steve Garvey.)

      But when the starting pitcher gives up 5 runs every night, it’s hard to complain too much about a guy with a .433 OBP.

      Reply
    • The fact that Votto gets $25 million a year doesn’t mean he can’t make mistakes. He deserves criticisms for his base running mistakes when he has appeared to lose focus. Every player makes errors. His defensive WAR this year is .1 and was .2 last year. While you may not like his interactions with the fans it has no impact on the teams winning and losing. Votto once again leads the league in OBP, barely missed his second MVP last year, and has a career OPS of .965. To say he is not earning his money and the Red’s problems start with him is ridiculous in my opinion. He has a career WAR of 57.6 and has only been paid $128 million. His last years may not look good on paper, but to this point Votto has delivered on his end of the bargain

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      • Joey’s defense is poor. It is only tolerable relative to the likes of the Cards Martinez who has an awesome bat terrible glove, or a Miggy Cabrera of the Tigers who like Joey is a first ballot hall of famer for their bats, not their poor fielding. There are plenty of other first basemen like Hosmer of the Padres or Freeman of the Braves who wield a much better glove than Votto.

        Votto’s range is minimal, he avoids getting in front of ground balls and swipes at them like a bullfighter, and his throwing is subpar. We all know he is terrible on the basepaths.

        He’s too smart for baseball. Baseball is a game where data is built up for us math geeks, ruminate and play with, but the play itself, the action on the field is almost nonexistent, especially now that it mostly involves strikeouts, walks or home runs. Yesterday’s Billy Hamilton day is a prime example….there was action involved and it was extremely exciting to see BH do what BH does.

        Unfortunately BH doesn’t hit well enough to succeed in baseball. It was great excitement…but that skill set in and of itself doesn’t play well enough in this game.

        JV hits well enough to stay in the game. It’s not worth $25MM per year, and something the Reds are stuck with until JV gets sick enough of losing to be traded to a contender. Hopefully his bat stays good and by the end of his contract he isn’t choking halfway up the barrel to make up for the steady decline in every human’s reflexes as we age.

        His career stats are done and delivered in the past. The team got a very team friendly deal in that past. Now is the present, and now and the next few years are when the Reds pay for the past. No different than with most CEOs or any politician who sacrifices the future for the present. That future has arrived.

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        • Defensive metrics disagree with you. Being worth $25 million a year is debatable, but that is what it costs to get a player who consistently delivers over 5 WAR. Cespedes, Pujols, Cabrera and Heyward all make more money than Votto and provide less value to their teams.

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        • Walks, strikeouts and home runs apparently comprise 35% of at-bats, so that isn’t mostly what the game is about. Almost 2/3 of the time, the ball is in play.

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      • It speaks to his concentration level while in the field.

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    • What you say as merit.

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  19. If Scooter is willing to take a 4 year deal, I say sign him, give him a bump, and tell him to get ready to play a corner outfield position at some point.

    I like a lineup in 2020 that has:

    Votto
    Senzel
    India
    Suarez
    Barnhart
    Gennett

    That only leaves two field positions unresolved.

    2019 looks better if Senzel can play SS for a season.

    Reply
  20. I think this may be the first time I’ve agreed with every point in one of these articles. Your first point though about stopping the selling I assume means that we start keeping the good players. Now, that would seemingly mean, getting rid of our bad plus a (Peraza, Hamilton, Duvall just to name a few) but I realize that we probably wouldn’t get much value for them but I think I’d be ok with that bcuz they’re just really getting on my nerves with their horrendous offense and I just want them gone off the team. Sorry if that seems harsh but it’s how I feel. We need to start keeping our good players if we’re ever gonna take those steps towards contention.

    But, I’ve long been calling for Schebler to be tried in center and I get shot down every time by those who don’t believe in his defensive capabilities. He’s even said he prefers to play center. Maybe he said that bcuz he knows he’s gonna be better there. So, I agree that we should give him an extended look there. What’s it gonna hurt? Reds ain’t doing nothing this year anyway. At least we’ll know one way or the other whether he can cut it.

    Reply
  21. If ohtani is done for the year, perhaps the halo’s would be interested in a Gennet/Harvey package. Provided of course that harvey shows a bit more improvement. But they are going to need an arm and a bat.

    Reply
    • The Angels don’t appear to have much in the minors ready to contribute, but there are four top 100 prospects in A Ball, led by OF Jo Addell but none are putting up spectacular numbers this year

      Reply
    • Kinsler is waking up the past week as well, so 2B may not be enough of a need to risk they Harvey train wreck.

      Reply
      • Being the AL, neither Kinsler or Gennet have to to play 2B. The window is closing in anaheim with the looming FA of trout. You might get them to take a risk to get one more good shot at a WS.

        Reply
  22. The maddening thing about the starting pitching is that guys look SO close at times to developing into mature pitchers. Castillo strikes out 10, for example, but throws a few ill-timed fat pitches, and they have no chance. There’s a recurring pattern of a guy pitching fairly well, then give up a baserunner, nibble, finally walk the bases loaded, and then being unable to correct himself and get out of the inning.

    I also think that Amir Garrett is their best arm, and they will commit malpractice by not giving him some starts later this year. And I mean malpractice on the “Frank Robinson is an old 30” level.

    I want this team to start competing, every inning of every game. The Pirates, right before they got good, would virtually always play a hard-nosed, tough game. I don’t think the Reds do that, maybe because the starting pitching gives up too much too early. But I want them, starting now, to play every game like they are in contention in September, to imprint on everybody that winning games is the only thing that matters. That doesn’t mean sitting young players; it means teaching the young players to compete their guts out and get their heads in gear. (Peraza swung at a neck-high 2-0 pitch the other day against a struggling pitcher; jeez, man, in that situation you gotta shrink your strike zone to the size of a notebook. Think, son.) I think Winker, for example, has just crossed the river on this; he looks like he cares.

    The first building block in winning is to make winning matter. I don’t care what anybody says, but winning 74 games this year would be MUCH better for the future than winning 60 games.

    Reply
  23. An outfield comprised of:

    Winker LF or RF
    Schebler CF
    Scooter LF or RF

    Would be a really poor defensive lineup. I wish this was the answer, but I don’t believe that it is.

    It appears that Schebler can play close to average in CF, that could be the answer there.

    Reply
  24. The Reds can’t compete in 2019 with the Cubs, Cards, and Brewers. You don’t go from 95+ losses to the playoffs unless an elite starting rotation is in place. Homer Bailey has $30 million more reasons why 2020 is the target.

    Reply
    • FAir point, but it would be nice to get ONE or TWO new SP in place for 2019 to start building some momentum and allow a Castillo to relax a bit being SP2 or SP3.

      Reply
  25. Sign Scooter and keep him at 2b. He could play some LF, but I agree a defensive outfield of Scooter, Schebler, and Winker would not cut it! Suarez could be atleast an decent shortstop. Don’t tell me he’s too big now? Thats stupid! ARod, Ripken, and Tulo are twice his size. The thing is though….do it soon. Peraza is what he is. He doesn’t have the obp to bat at the top and he’d swing his way into the 3rd out batting 7th or 8th without even realizing they’re pitching around him. Lets see how Senzel looks against big boy pitching? Suarez was better for the Reds then he was at Louisville!

    Bottom line….cut Billy and Jose loose. Keep Duvall as platoon help for Winker/Schebler. Find a right-handed CF in the offseason. I don’t know how athletic Clint Frazier (Yankees) but he’s 23 with a .949 ops at AAA. I’d trade Iggy for him if he could play CF?

    Pitching? Its all on the starters….Garrett, Lorenzen, Disco, Mahle, and Castillo. You could do worse? If they could find a solid starter (like the Cards w/Mikolas) and 1-2 solid bullpen guys then the staff could make dramatic improvement. Overall though competing in 2019 is a pipedream!

    Reply
  26. Focus strictly on the Starting Pitching. That’s our downfall. We can hit and our relievers have kept us in games but when your starter only goes 5 innings and gives up 2 in the 1st, it’s an uphill battle before we’ve come to bat. I do think it’s time for Garrett to be a starter.

    Reply
  27. Keep Scooter and trade off Winker.

    Reply
    • I am for trading, both, because Scooter should bring back a nice package of two high end prospects and because Winker is never going to be remotely bearable in the field or on the basepaths. I hope an AL DH needy team decides to make a slight overpay offer for Winker so he can hit and never see the field again.

      Reply
  28. Gabriel Guerrero is actually doing OK at AAA. Perhaps he is a short term answer in CF for the Reds. Related to Vladimir Guerrero, maybe there is some hitting magic there.

    And another brain freeze idea. Play Michael Lorenzen in CF a couple of days a week, perhaps the day after he has a long relief appearance or after he has several relief appearances in a row and will have a day off from the pen. He was a pretty good outfield in college, and he is strong and can hit. See what happens.

    Nick Senzel runs pretty good. See if he can play CF for a while.

    I would like to see Dilson Herrera up here SOON at 2nd base, as he is out of options, and has to be on the 25 man roster next year, or the Reds lose him. He looks like his shoulder is healed. Maybe me plays a couple of months in the ML and builds up some trade value for the Reds.

    Anything but Billy. Please, make it stop.

    Reply
  29. There are plenty of solid FA starters this off-season: Patrick Corbin, Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton, and Gio Gonzalez.

    No to those guys. I’d like Morton if he wasn’t 34-35 yrs old already. Corbin is interesting but kind of a half-season wonder at this point? If he keeps it up then why would they let him go? Garrett Richards is a guy I’d be interested in if the price/longevity was right! He’s often hurt but his 97-98 mph stuff is incredible. They’re only hitting .210 off him this year. If he would take a 2-3 yr deal? They’re going to have to catch lightning in a bottle somewhere? Top pitchers are not looking to come to GABP for reasonable prices. I’d trade Detroit whatever they want for OF Nick Castellanos and LHP Matt Boyd. Clean out our farm system if Detroit is looking to stay cheap and rebuild their system. Both those guys are of the age to start receiving some healthy paychecks!

    Reply
    • I’ve always liked Kevin Gausman with the O’s. He’s only 27 and maybe he needs a fresh start somewhere else? If you take 3 games vs the Yankees/Red Sox away then he has a 3.79 era against everyone else and Camden might even be more of a launching pad then gabp! He could be our Charlie Morton!

      Reply
  30. Centerfield is the biggest need, preferably a right hand bat with speed to make up for Winker’s shortcomings. The Reds need to look for MLB ready CF’s that are “blocked” at the MLB level. The list is pretty short:

    1) Victor Robles, Nationals: Hit: 60 | Power: 55 | Run: 75 | Arm: 70 | Field: 70 | Overall: 65

    2) Austin Hayes, Orioles: Hit: 55 | Power: 60 | Run: 50 | Arm: 60 | Field: 55 | Overall: 55

    3) Anthony Alfred, Blue Jays: Hit: 55 | Power: 50 | Run: 70 | Arm: 45 | Field: 60 | Overall: 55

    4) Jorge Mateo, Athletics: Hit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 80 | Arm: 60 | Field: 55 | Overall: 55

    These are the guys that could, feasibly, make their way into the CF conversation within a year. Robles is ready RIGHT NOW. With Washington’s window closing, I think a trade could be made. Mateo is interesting in that he’s a SS/CF hybrid.

    Reply
    • Here’s one whose overall ranking isn’t as high because he doesn’t have much power: Greg Allen (Indians)
      Scouting Grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 30 | Run: 60 | Arm: 55 | Field: 60 | Overall: 45
      Switch-hitting, speedy CF who won a Gold Glove in the minors. His lifetime OBP is about 70 points higher than Billy’s. He’s definitely major-league ready because he’s been playing the past few weeks for the Indians as an injury replacement. But when Zimmer and others get healthy, Allen will be blocked.

      I’ve said this before, but here goes again: Allen (CF) and Bieber (SP) for Iglesias.

      Reply
    • Nice list and contribution.
      Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman and Jose Quintana have returned the most since 2016 in trade deadline deals. Should be an interesting July . The Reds have assets and are unique as they also have team control. Package these assets for a mega trade that course corrects this franchise

      Reply
    • Robles is out for the year with an elbow injury. Don’t see how he is ready right now. Mateo is Billy-lite.

      Reply
    • Centerfield is the biggest need? Have you noticed the starting pitching lately? I’m pretty sure that you could install any of the guys you name in center and the Reds would still be in last place.

      Reply
  31. Trade Votto, move Scooter to first. Sign Gio Gonzales. Play Senzel. Start Lorenzen.

    Reply
    • No Trade Clause, see previous, maybe, blocked until Scooter is moved, they have tried that

      Reply
    • Gonzales is 32. The Reds need to be better in 2019 for our collective sanity, but they are unlikely to contend unless all of that stuff in the sky really is pie. A pitcher like Gonzales would make sense if the Reds were realistically ready to challenge the best teams in the league.

      Reply
  32. As an organization our best developed SP in recent memory is Johnny Cueto? What was Johnny Cueto known for? His change up. Who taught him that? Mario Soto. These are the types of pitching prospects we should gather into the fold for Soto to work with. Hard throwing guys that need work on the change up. If they speak spanish that’s a plus!

    Reply
  33. Amen. You are absolutely right on all counts. Maybe they should complete the rebuild by hiring you to the advisory staff.

    Reply
  34. Here’s the problem as we sit currently, price was anointed a pitching guru when Johnny c Bronson Matt mike l and homer stayed healthy for a season. Price screwed up the development of at least four young prospects . I keep hearing about how great Darwin is supposed to be. This organization needs someone with a idea of how to develop pitching

    Reply
  35. The Reds are in a world of hurt at three skill positions, CF, SS and SP. They have a glut of guys, some very talented, superstars or probable budding superstars even at AA and above who each can play several or all the corner IF and OF spots. They have talent and some depth in the bullpen. With the addition of Casali as the backup C, they look very strong there.

    What they are going to have to do to get to where they want to be is talk to other teams and see what/ who it is going to take to get acceptable guys to fill their deficiencies, understanding they probably are not going to be able to fill them all, especially the SP. Once they know the prices of various players, the Reds have to then look at how they could line up their remaining personnel to fill out the corners, For instance if they trade Y, are they OK with Z playing where they might have planned to play Y. Or maybe they need to trade Z instead and fill in his projected spot with X. And on down the line until they have reached a workable mix of incoming and outgoing players.

    Hopefully when this process is competed they will end up with an above average offensive and defensive CF and SS plus at least 1 starting pitcher.

    I like their chances to do well using this approach because they have so many guys who can could play those corner spots. As far as “untouchables”? Votto because they wouldn’t be able to move him without paying a lot of his contract even presuming he would agreed to move; and he performs to his contract. Suarez unless somebody makes them an offer for him that is simply too good to turn down. Barnhart, same as Suarez plus a deal somewhere would have to be returning his replacement. That’s, it for the 40 man roster. If people want to talk Senzel, Trammell, Greene, lndia, ask for the sun and moon and only if somebody says yes do they move.

    Reply
  36. Nick, nice article. I agree that we have the building blocks in place. Trade Iggy for either a shortstop or centerfielder close to being ready to play. Then, focus on pitching. I agree with those who think that the Reds organization has a deplorable record of developing and getting pitchers. Until we get established starters, we need to be creative with the staff and we just don’t have the manager/coaches that can do that. We need some dynamic thinking and the Reds won’t cross that line. On the pace to a 105-loss season, when will that happen? Do the Reds have a plan? What is it?

    Reply
  37. Not online to be a good defensive team is you have to be strong up the middle. Bench, Morgan, Concepcion, Geronimo. Oliver, Larkin, Davis, Oester. Just to name some combos.

    Not sure if Scooter would be as big of liability as you think. Dems his issues are his arm in the infield. I think his arm would be less of an issue in center. Ask this question, is he at least as athletic as Andy Van Slyke, Jim Edmonds, to name a couple if really good centerfielders?

    How about this, move Perazza to CF and get Senzil at SS until Trammwl or one of the other kids are ready. Jose is getting better and he is 24. I was a Cozart fan. But he did not hit as well at 24 and his defense kept getting better each year until he left. Also, Perazza stays somewhat healthy.

    O am in the camp of finding a CF who can hit, solidify middle infield and find 2 stud Pitchers to start and I think you will see a difference. Billy at best is a spot starter a defensive sub/pinch runner.

    Reply
  38. Sort to leave another post so quick, but check out Bailey’s stats in Louisville. 5 runs already. ERA of 15. What’s worse, a pitcher named Homer or investing money with a person called a broker? I Wil take my chances with Eddie Jones.

    Dilson a hit and 3 rbis hitting .311. And Nick a hit and rbi.,

    Reply
    • Dilson 14 for last 38 now (.368) with 2 HRs and 9 rbis with 6 walks/7 Ks. Thats an obp of .455! Senzel is humming along too! Aren’t the Reds obligated to give these guys a look this year? Cmon? It really doesn’t matter if you put Scooter in LF and he combines with Winker to make 10 errors a week. At this point that unimportant. They need to find out what Herrera/Senzel can do at the big league level. There is zero chance that Peraza is ever half as good as those 2 offensively! Atleast ease one of those guys in the lineup asap!

      Reply
      • With you in wondering how long they will continue to ignore D.Herrera. Everyone has always said he would hit if he was healthy enough to play every day. Of course they managed to slide him thru waivers and off the 40 man; so, that’s a blockade to moving him up.

        Then again if they don’t see what he can do this year, will they be able to hold onto him thru the winter.

        Part of the problem is something I pointed out last week, the situation with the starting pitching is just so pervasive. Because of it, they have 23 pitchers on the 40 man roster due to needing more relievers and needing to have guys to shuttle on option. That takes away spots for at least a couple and maybe more position players on the 40 creating the impact that they can’t simply shuttle them on option like they do the relievers.

        Reply
    • 3 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO. I guess the knee isn’t completely healed

      Reply
  39. I don’t think an outfield of Winker, Schebler, and Scooter is going to cut it. Every opposing team will go first to third on too many singles and first to home on most doubles. The cut off guys will have to have super arms on deep balls down the lines and in the gaps. It would be just another thing working against the pitchers.

    Reply
  40. Certainly agree with the thesis and with some of the tactics to fulfill that thesis. As a fan, I’d like for them to go for a cornerstone player in 2019, not just another core player. If that means to be sellers with a few players for one more season, like Scooter, then go for it. 2019 should be the season when we are truly on the rise. However, if we cannot get that cornerstone, franchise player, then what is proposed here by you, sounds like a sound plan, because I am tired seeing this not reach even 70 wins. That’s shameful.

    Reply
  41. I will admit right off only read a few comments. To many to read. In my opinion Hamilton has to go, his arb number will just go up next off season, big money teams can afford to pay him 6 mill or so to be a supersub not the Reds. Homer has been a crippling contract. Real thought has to be put into eating the remaining money and cutting him loose. Bad grades have hurt this rebuild. Look what the Yankees got for Chapman, compare that to what the Reds got. Not good. Nor was the Frazier, or Bruce trades. Best has been the Stailey deal.

    Reply
  42. Look our rebuild had failed which happens sometimes. Mainly because the Cueto and Latos deals yielded nothing. The plan was to have a pitching staff with the young guns of DeSclafani, Reed, Finnegan,Lamb and Garret with the anchor of Homer Bailey. Obviously this didn’t happen.
    So basically we have to rebuild again. I wish Billy was a better hitter but when you are trying to develop young pitchers you have to have your best gloves In the field. He is the starting cf at least until Siri gets here. I actually think Winker is a better right fielder than Shebler so I don’t mind giving him the bulk of the playing time in right.

    I still think we are 2 years away

    But I think we will really accelerate at that point

    Reply
    • Winker isn’t even close to being a better RF then Schebler. His arm doesn’t play there and he is slow to the ball. If Winker has a position it is LF.

      Reply
    • I don’t think the rebuild success has anything to do with Latos or Cueto. Latos was traded for Disco which was a great trade. Disco’s injuries on the other hand impacted the rebuild, but he wasn’t the only SP injured. Cueto was traded for three prospects, two of which were ranked in the top 100. The Reds inability to develop pitchers is more to blame than the trade return, everyone at the time thought the Reds made a great deal for a couple of months of Cueto. If the Reds traded for two top 100 SP prospects today not a single person would complain.

      Hamilton won’t be around when/if Siri makes it to the majors. Trammell will likely beat him to the majors and even then there may need to be a stop gap, maybe that is Schebler. I would prefer to find another CF and worry about where to play guys like Siri after they have earned a spot. Figuring out where to play a guy is a much better problem to have then rushing a guy to the majors to fill a hole in the lineup.

      Reply
  43. I’ve been wondering if a knuckleball pitcher might work for the Reds. I watched the Red Sox/Orioles game last night, to watch Steve Wright pitch. He was brilliant. Today’s hitters are so jacked on 98 MPH fastballs, and launch angles, that they can’t hit somebody throwing below hitting speed. (He did register some 86 MPH fastballs.) It’s a variation of college football defenses being so geared to stop the wide-open offenses that they can’t stop a power running game.

    The Red Sox used Tim Wakefield for many years, and now Wright is on fire. Fenway and GABP have some similarities – perhaps some inverse similarities, given that Fenway is actually quite spacious in straightaway RF to deep right-center. Both favor pitchers who can induce groundballs.

    The question is whether there is anybody like that, ready for MLB. Phil Niekro is not walking through that door. Japan or Korea?

    Reply
  44. If Scooter’s results last season & this season are worthy of a new deal here in Cincinnati, then it’s reasonable to say he’s worth Alex Verdugo in trade to the Dodgers, whose 2B men are putting up abysmal numbers. Throw in BH for Will Smith and you have a deal only an aggressive FO would love. Oh, I forgot our favorite team has a FO whose actual aggressiveness is measured in a tortoise like pace.

    Schebler starts in CF until Trammell, Friel or Siri emerge. Verdugo in RF with his rocket arm.

    Senzel’s comes up to start at 2B and lead off. Verdugo bats second. It’s time for this offense to take off with these table setters.

    Reply
  45. 68-98 in 2017? that comes out being 166 games…We were 68-94 in 2017

    But aside from that minor correction I ABSOLUTELY agree with #1 (honestly I agree with all 3 but #1 I massively massively agree with) We wont get anywhere by trading scooter except prolonging us from winning again. The lineup is really solid (aside from Billy falling on his face everyday at the plate) we’re really not too massively far off.

    Reply
  46. The pitching problem you mentioned is evident. The question is, is the problem in those evaluating the talent, or those coaching them? Either way the front office needs to look in to the problem.

    Reply
  47. I can agree with a lot of what you said. But, the rebuild must come with people who know how to rebuild.

    That’s where I believe Wayne Krivsky and Dan O’Brien knew what to do. That’s who brought in, I believe, our last base of our rebuild, with the likes of Frazier and them. And, we did good. They seemed to believe to build from the bottom up.

    But, then, I started considering, for example, our first round draft history. Last year’s choice, Greene, blowing it up in Dayton. Two years ago, Senzel, excelling in AAA. Three years ago, Catcher Stephenson, only in Advanced A. Four years ago, Ervin, back in AAA doing poor. Before that, Travieso, I couldn’t find anything from last year much less this year. Before that, Pitcher Stephenson, hasn’t been able to stay in the majors for more than a drink of water. Not exactly the brightest of success stories here.

    Oh, the 4 before Pitcher Stephenson, all on other teams in the majors pretty solidly in place.

    The thing that has been really disappointing for me, here we have had, by most everyone’s accounts, some great young stud pitchers come up the last 2-3 years, but not one has stepped up. Then, we extend someone we never should have (Homer), let someone go we should have kept (Leake), and never brought in any other veteran presence of a starting pitcher, it’s little wonder we aren’t competitive. Here, it seems like we can get these young stud pitchers to AAA fine. But, once in AAA and, if not at AAA, here, we lose them. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have at least 2-3 of the young studs as studs of this staff right now. But, something either in them, in the organization, or both, simply have prevented that.

    I mean, seriously, I strongly believe, we have the regular players. But, our starting pitching has sucked for 4 years now, with no improvement in sight. I say, we gave the young studs their chance, and they blew it. Go out and get some actual pitching talent, not a reclamation project like Harvey.

    Reply

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About Nick Kirby

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.

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