Glorious. 

The Reds have beaten the Chicago Cubs in three games. They are 5-0 on the home stand, outscoring opponents 37-17. They’ve won 9 of their last 11 games and a mere 14 games out of first place. They go for the 4-game series sweep and perfect home stand tomorrow afternoon. Scott Schebler will return from his bereavement time off. 

Cincinnati Reds 11 (31-45) • Stupid* Cubs 2 (42-32)

Box Score || Win % || Reds Pitcher Statcast || Reds Hitter Statcast

Anthony DeSclafani, making his fourth start of the season, pitched into the 7th inning. He gave up three hits (including two solo first-row home runs) and four walks. He struck out three.

Courtesy: Cincinnati Reds

Michael Lorenzen relieved DeSclafani in the 7th inning with one out and a runner at first. Lorenzen gave up a line drive by Javy Baez that found Alex Blandino’s glove. Blandino, who was playing SS for Jose Peraza today, snagged it and made a strong throw to first to double off Ian Happ, ending the inning. Blandino made a super play in the 9th inning on a ground ball into the gap with third base. Dude can make the plays at SS. It was the second start in as many days for #FreeBlandino. He played yesterday at 2B for Scooter Gennett. Classic utility guy who can play across the infield. 

Tucker Barnhart spotted the Reds to an early 2-0 lead with a 421-foot bomb to right field. He drove in Blandino who had led off the Reds first with a walk. It was Barnhart’s fifth homer of the season. 

The Reds 6-run 3rd inning started with a 2-out walk by Joey Votto. In the “walks will haunt” category, that’s a Hall of Famer. The rally ended five batters later with a full-count grand slam by Anthony DeSclafani. It was the first slam by a Reds pitcher since 1959. The one before that was in the 19th century. If it seems just the other day that Jesse Winker hit one against against the Cubs, well it was. Or a few days before that when Joey Votto hit a grand slam against the Tigers. Or a couple days earlier when Adam Duvall hit one against the Royals, well, check and check. 

Jesse Winker singled and walked three times, including once intentionally. Winker’s batting average is up to .260 and more importantly, his on-base percentage is an outstanding .375. Remember a couple weeks ago when he was a bust? Eugenio Suarez had 3 hits, including a triple. His wRC+ of 164 (run creation 64 percent above average) is 6th best in the major leagues. Joey Votto hit a 3-run homer in the 8th off the Cubs third-string catcher. You read that right. 

Garrett Dominates Rizzo, Part Deux Amir Garrett came in to face Anthony Rizzo with two runners on and one out in the 8th inning. Garrett had struck out Rizzo on three pitches with bases loaded a couple nights ago. Tonight, Rizzo lasted only to Garrett’s second pitch (both fastballs), grounding into an inning-ending double play. 

Lifetime Braggin’ Rights Reds radio broadcaster Jeff Brantley says Anthony DeSclafani’s hitting heroics earned him a lifetime of trash talking in the batting cage with the pitchers. “Hey, do you have a grand slam?” Later in the game, Jim Day, tongue planted firmly in cheek, noted “the dangerous hitting Anthony DeSclafani is on deck.” 

Reds at Trade Deadline John Fay (Enquirer) has a story with an important interview with Dick Williams discussing the Reds expectations for the trade deadline. Williams: “For the first time in a while — and I’m not saying something will definitely happen by the deadline — but we are open to adding. We’re going to start moving into the building mode at the deadline and this offseason.” Read the entire article here. For the record, I hope several of John Fay’s predictions are wrong. 

Rosecrans on Votto If you have a subscription to The Athletic, please go read C. Trent Rosecrans’ interview with Joey Votto. It’s one of the most revealing interviews with a baseball player I’ve ever read. Rosecrans talks to the Reds first baseman in detail about his power decline so far in 2018. Votto feels good about the way he’s hitting this year: “Yeah, if you look at a lot of my other statistics, I’m hitting the ball hard as much as I’ve ever done in my career. I have, if I’m not mistaken, I’m in the top few in hard-hit outs. For me, I’ve felt like I’ve done a good job. I feel like I should be hitting better than I am. Without complaining about luck, that’s what the six months are for, right? I do feel like it’s going to come and it’s going to come and be very, very good and look very much like any other year in my career.” 

Updated xwOBA This measures quality of actual contact, accounting for walks, before today’s game, out of 205 major league hitters with at least 200 PA: Joey Votto .437 (#4), Eugenio Suarez .414 (.10), Scott Schebler .365 (#68), Jesse Winker .364 (.71); Adam Duvall .359 (#80), Tucker Barnhart .342 (#116), Scooter Gennett .335 (.123), Jose Peraza .292 (.180), Billy Hamilton .251 (#205). From: Baseball Savant

*historic term now deployed semi-ironically

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

Join the conversation! 85 Comments

  1. Saw the slam live. Saw Votto strike on gameday. Love os beating the Stupid Cubs 3x.

  2. It’s nice to see the team win when Peraza Does not start.

  3. Another game to remember. It appears Disco is working his way to be the Reds #1 starter. Suarez goes 3 for 4, and Winker is an on-base machine in spite of his speed. A good addition with Votto.

  4. That xwOBA stat casts a little bit of doubt on Scooter’s success so far this year.

    • I was thinking the same thing. Probably doesn’t help his trade value.

    • Scooter is a free swinging Bobby Bonds type hitter….hasn’t seen a pitch he doesn’t like to hit. The two run homer he hit the other day was nearly in the dirt. Naturally his contact won’t be solid as often. He is an appropriate 6 hole hitter, to bring in the higher OBP guys….like Baez of the Cubs.

      xwOBA doesn’t cast doubt on his success but swinging at too many balls does. Luckily this small park rewards his free swinging. Swinging at too many bad pitches does not play well in the long run, though. There aren’t many long lived bad ball hitters. Bobby Bonds was an exception.

  5. This might be fools gold, but they haven’t had 2 six game winning streaks in the same season since 2012. If you trade Iggy/Scooter then you’re blowing it up? I was just a kid during the BRM’s 70s run, but Johnny Bench said Tony Perez was the guy that kept everyone loose and made sure everyone was on the same page. Not the captain per se, but the glue of the team. Scooter is that for this team. I’d definitely sign him and trade Iggy & Billy….maybe Dilson Herrera and Hernandez or whatever. In my mind they need a lights out lefty for the pen so they can move Garrett to the rotation. They can’t afford to sign a free agent with his stuff…if there is one? If they could get a 3rd-4th type starter or the best they can afford then go for it. They also would need a RH defensive outfielder that could backup Scooter, Schebler, and Winker in the outfield and hit lefties well. Where is Drew Stubbs? Or they could blow it up and go for 2020 but this team has some talent!

    • Doesn’t Duvall fit the bill of a RH defensive outfielder that could backup Scooter, Schebler, and Winker in the outfield and hit lefties well?

  6. Steve;
    OK I read the article with Williams;
    “I don’t see us feeling like we’ve got to make any moves. We don’t have to make any moves because of budget constraints. We don’t have to make any moves because of feeling pressure to create opportunities. I feel like we can look for the best deal.”

    I really cannot say anything on this blog as I respect all of your efforts, but what a pile of manure!

    • It depends on how you read it. They way I read it, Williams was saying they aren’t being forced into making any moves and aren’t desperate. Rather, they are trading from a position of strength and can actually “win” some trades.

      For example, Iggy will be in very high demand among contending teams, and contending teams with bad bullpens (*cough cough* Cleveland *cough cough*) may be desperate to get him and willing to overpay. Likewise, if they market Billy correctly, he could bring back a decent return, or package him with Iggy to get a slightly better piece(s). Same goes for Scooter, if they trade him, but boy can you imagine a bench that has both Scooter AND Blandino on it? For the first time in a long time, the Reds could have two bench players that are more than good enough to be starters. Scooter in particular could be a Ben Zobrist type Super Sub, and Scooter can also be a hedge in case Senzel doesn’t work out.

      The Reds are at a very VERY interesting crossroads now, and I hope they learned from the Chapman/Frazier debacles and will actually maximize the return on the pieces they have available.

      • I agree. This sounds like (optimistically) very solid posturing to me. By saying you could look to add or subtract at the deadline, you are regaining some leverage on your available assets.

      • What I got out of that article is that it’s no longer necessarily going to be trading veterans for a package of prospects, unless the prospects are big-league ready. I am all for that. Gennett is 32nd in MLB in WAR with 2.64, just ahead of Eugenio Suarez, at 2.63. Anyone in Redleg Nation believe it’s time to trade Suarez to make room for Senzel? Thought not.

        That said, I believe the Reds will need to trade from their surplus at the second base position to acquire starting pitching or a starting outifielder. If Gennett can bring a legitimate MLB starting pitcher — not someone who is scrumming around Class AA or AAA and having an occasional good game, but someone who can start and win in the bigs right now — then I say make the trade. Ditto if he can bring a starting outfielder who can replace either Duvall or Hamilton. What I took from the article is the Reds won’t make a trade with any other intention than bringing in players who can contribute now at positions of need. I think that’s the right approach.

        • Depends on if “big league ready” means 25 year old, already topped-out mediocrity. I know a 19 year old can take years to make it and might flame out or get injured, but I always want to see big time upside in a trade and not some safe floor trade. If the Reds were the Yankees or Red Sox, sure, get safe floor, buy some top FAs and use those safe floor deals to fill in the bench.

          The Reds must swing for the fences in prospect acquisition. Take the risk on a coveted 19 year old over a middling 25 year old prospect. I guess I just have a VERY Jocketty-esque sour taste in my mouth from the “we want MLB ready” players. I’d rather have potential franchise players, not 4th OFs or SP5s.

          That said, I just hope they do the right thing on Scooter and Iglesias. I think both should be moved simply because they have big value with at least another year of control, top notch play and both would want more than we should pay to extend. If somehow they get them to commit to what would be a bargain, sure, but why would either do that knowing they’re one year from a big pay day from a big market team?

          • agree 1000%

          • Just to clarify my point, I don’t believe a guy who appears on his way to a possible 5+ WAR season should just yield mediocrity either. I think it has to be a starter you can count on and who has either some contract control time left or a long-term affordable contract in place. There probably won’t be what I would consider to be fair value offered for our 5+ WAR player, and I wouldn’t make any trade unless there is. We’ll see how Williams/Krall/etc. handle it.

        • Teams that are more analytical will not value Scooter nearly as highly as Suarez, which speaks to how flawed a measurement tool WAR is for evaluating players.

          I’m in agreement with CI3J Streamer88 and Tom – all valid points. Budget constraints for a small revenue team however dictate not carrying $5MM+/year guys on the bench which are the primary reasons the Reds won’t be able to afford Scooter or BHamilton beyond this year. Otherwise if the Reds had Yankee or Dodger revenue rolling in it’d make perfect sense to keep them both. As things are it’s more viable to keep Shebler and Duvall until the arbitration inflation kicks in and prices them out.

          Scooter for a decent cost controlled starting pitcher or a Nimmo type outfielder (Conforto once he gets out of his long slump) works…..if they can find a team that buys too much into this WAR stuff without digging deeper.

      • Yes but Zobrist could play 3 positions at a plus level. Scooter can play 1.5 at a minus and double minus level. That said, if he is .850+ OPS hitter, most teams would let him play wherever they could afford!

      • @CJ…Scooter is not a bench player for this team or any other for 5 years.

  7. Nice ‘Shout Out’ on Reds Weekly to Chad and Chris for The Big 50.

  8. Love to see Blandino play shortstop more often, he has a gun for an arm. His hitting might improve with more at-bats. And I hope Fonzie keeps playing.

    • Yes but Peraza is playing really well for a change. That was a great play by Blandino though….reminded me of Barry Larkin or something. As good as Cozart was….not sure he makes that play. Def better then anything I’ve seen Peraza do.

  9. A couple weeks ago Big Sal was ” on a short leash”. Tomorrow, he can let the dogs out. Every quality inning he throws just puts more pressure on the Cubbies to have a “breakout ” inning. Sweep is such a beautiful thing. Keep it close for 5-6 innings. Turn it over to the pen. Get the defense set in the OF with Duvall, Hamilton, & Ervin. Keep broom in hand.

  10. Freddie Freeman has been supplanted as the top hitter in the NL by Nolan Arenado AND Eugenio Suarez!

    .319/.404/.589/.993 Nolan Arenado
    .312/.395/.597/.993 Eugenio Suarez
    .328/.417/.569/.986 Freddie Freeman

    That begs the rhetorical question…Why is Riggleman hitting Eugenio Suarez 5th in the Reds lineup? This is the same reason Riggleman orders Winker to bunt with no outs, runners on 1B & 2B with a 2 run lead in the 7th inning.

    Make no mistake that Riggleman is an interim manager and actions by an interim manager on a losing team really don’t matter, unless that interim manager is employed by the Reds. The Reds are winning now and are in the midst of a dramatic turnaround to their season. They won’t make the playoffs, but they are certainly no longer the laughing stock of the NL. Riggleman has been employed by the Reds for several years and been a good company man. BC likes good company men almost as much as he likes relatives. BC also favors perception over substance.

    The Reds have promised a thorough, comprehensive search for the next manager, but BC runs the show and it’s his ball. If BC decides he wants Riggleman to remain as the next manager of the Cincinnati Reds, Riggleman will be the next manager of the Cincinnati Reds. Riggleman does some things well as the Reds manager, only because the bar of excellence has been set so low. He is performaning better than Price and Baker, but make no mistake, Riggleman is not the manager to make the managerial decisions for the Reds over the next 3 years, but BC may very well have other ideas.

    • I agree they need to get the right guy.

    • Agreed. Wink should have been leading off again starting tonight. If he’s going to run Blandino at 1, might as well just do the hot Billy.

      This line up needs to be Wink, Votto, Suarez, Scooter then Barnhart or Schebler. I don’t care if it’s lefty heavy, Votto is an anomaly that doesn’t need such treatment.

      • The LH unbalanced lineup is unavoidable right now, but should be temporary thru the 2018 season. Schebler demonstrates no platoon split against LHP and Barnhart has lessened his platoon split dramatically as a switch hitter.

        Peraza and Hamilton have demonstrated a short term offensive improvement. That’s always a welcome and encouraging development, but it’s happened before. Right now, I like Peraza hitting in the #6 or #7 hole (with Barnhart) and Hamilton hitting in the #9 hole. I just don’t see the Reds abandoning the OF rotation. They committed to the OF rotation to begin the season and the Reds are just not comfortable with changing a course of action once they’ve committed to it.

        Schebler has looked good at the top of the lineup for a while so why not see if it continues to work. Now that Hamilton is running again (and getting on vase too!), why not let Winker move back to the #1 hole and let Hamilton work his havoc on the bases while Winker gives him the chance. Schebler might work well between Winker and Votto, with Suarez and Gennett following Votto. When Duvall starts, just slide him into the #6 hole behind Gennett and shift Peraza and Barnhart to #7 and #8.

        Next season, Senzel will add another quality RH bat to the lineup and Herrera might add an additional RH bat to the lineup.

    • I understand your sentiment but the Reds have won 6 in a row, 3 of those against one of the best clubs in baseball, and you’re railing against the manager. We will never agree with everything the manager does, but maybe we should enjoy the product that we’re watching on the field instead of nitpicking. We’ve been able to watch decent baseball for the past month and a half now…let’s focus on how great of a change that is from the past 4 years.

      • I think maybe you misunderstood my sentiment. I wasn’t ‘railing’ against the manager. Riggleman is an interim manager on a losing team going nowhere. I like a lot of what Riggleman does compared to both Price and Baker and I love to see the Reds win. I hope they win to the point that they insert themselves into the playoff discussion this season.

        My concern is the BC regime and the penchant for making decisions with their heart rather than their head. MLB baseball is a business and is also based on intense competition. Such a business is not a place for those unwilling or incapable of making the hard decisions. It is not the place for touchy, feely sentiment over sound, knowledgeable business decisions. It is not the place for nepotistic, old-boys-network hiring practices over cutting edge, knowledgeable, experienced hiring practices.

        We have seen how the process works under BC and there is no expectation it will change. Shoot, WJ is still a decisive, controlling factor in all baseball decisions. If the Reds continue to win, we are on a collision course with the pending decision for the next Reds manager and that decision is looking ugly. Any rail against the BC regime is justified based on the mess they made of the last winning opportunity presented to them on a silver platter and the mess they made of this rebuild, irrespective of a 6 game winning streak..

  11. The starters have kept us in the game,the offense is scoring with everybody contributing and the pen does what it has done for most of the year.The pen has no real wink links right now although Crockett may just be a one or two batter pitcher the rest are really good.Suarez continues to be all world right now.Lets get up early tomorrow and put the pressure on the Cubs and lets see what happens.Not sure how many guys in the league could have made that play in the hole that Blandino did in the 9th.He showed great range and a cannon of an arm in a 9 run ballgame.Kid comes to play.

    • Crockett is a true LOOGY and there’s nothing wrong with that role as long the rest of the bullpen is well rounded.

  12. On June 8th, Scooter was hitting .345/.382/.569/.951.

    During his last 11 games Scooter is 12-45 w/ 1-2B, 1-HR, 2-BB & 8-SO for a .267/.292/.355/.647 slash. That’s a slump but not a serious, terrible 0fer 45 type of slump and every player goes through slumps. The problem is that Scooter is riding high on bubble with a .380 BAbip. His Pull%, Cent% & Oppo% are now at career norms. His O-Swing% is near his career norm, but his O-Contact% is significantly higher than his career norm. As Steve pointed out earlier, Scooter’s xwOBA is league average at best and that’s probably the best predictive stat available (see Cozart, Zack).

    Scooter has now had 800 PA with a 130+ wRC+ over the past season and a half and that’s significant.

    I’m firmly in the group willing to trade Scooter if an equitable or reasonable trade is offered, but not to simply unload Scooter. If Scooter can maintain a 130 wRC+ thru the all star break and continue with the solid defense he’s exhibited lately, the Reds should be able to wrangle a reasonable offer for Scooter. I do not want to see Scooter playing defensively in the OF and I certainly do not want Scooter extended past 2019.

    With Herrera demonstrating full health and hitting at AAA, he needs a shot as a starter at the MLB level this season, especially with Senzel on the shelf for the remainder of the season. If Herrera proves mopre than capable starting at 2B on the 25-man roster, the Reds need to seriously consider other defensive options for Sezel suring the off season and have him arrive in spring training camp ready to compete for a position of need (SS/OF).

    • I’m firmly in the keep Scooter camp.
      The thing I’ve noticed over the last 2 weeks is he has been swinging at anything and everything. It’s hard to speak up about it because every game he comes up with clutch hit after clutch hit.

      His confidence is sky high right now, and every pitch looks like a beach ball which probably explains the swinging at bad pitches.

      • Scooter’s been swinging at some terrible pitches. Even hit one out of the park vs. Fulmer.
        If he can find plate discipline and continue with recent improved defense perhaps he’s a keeper. However arbitration will come into play and the good old inflated GASP offensive numbers will begin to bust the budget….which is why ultimately it is best to trade Scooter for a cost controlled solid starting pitcher or another potentially supercheap everyday outfielder like Jesse Winker.

    • Agreed, just hope we don’t do the ole Jocketty quantity over quality crap. I’d rather have one top notch prospect than 4 outside another teams top 10. Seems like the Reds prefer getting one more prospect in deals (throw-ins or throw-aways) and talk themselves out of demanding another teams best hitting or pitching prospect.

      I really think Iglesias and Scooter should bring back another teams top 3 prospect, and maybe their best prospect if they’re farm system isn’t that strong.

      • I would not trade either one for another teams top 3 prospect.
        For Iggy I would want a MLB to 10 or 20 and a top 50 and one or two more lottery tickets.
        Something close to a Chapman type trade

  13. Steve;
    Just a quick update;
    Homer’s start in Louisville;
    6 IN’s 10 Hits, 7 runs, 1BB, 2SO
    So far in two starts;
    9 IN’s, 16 hits, 12 ERs, 2 BB, 3 SO

    Boy those AAA hitters must be really tough.

    Dick Williams ““I don’t see us feeling like we’ve got to make any moves. We don’t have to make any moves because of budget constraints”

    Really? 🙂

  14. Florida’s season is now over and the clock is ticking on signing India. The Reds added another over-slot signing, making the total signing budget more than $1MM over budget for India’s slot value.

    http://redsminorleagues.com/2018-cincinnati-reds-draft-tracker/

    Until india is under contract and headed to NC, I just have the nagging feeling that this situation could still blow up in the Reds face.

    • Shchi,
      I still think it will get done.
      India is giving up too much money not to sign.
      I expect about 5.2 mil. Reds go about 2 -3% over.
      Pay the penalty and move on.

  15. Steve, you said this:

    For the record, I hope several of John Fay’s predictions are wrong.

    For those who didn’t read the article, here are those predictions:

    —Gennett: He will be arbitration-eligible for the third time, so he’ll make $10 million or so next season. If he continues to hit like he has, he’s a bargain at that price. He’s also a fan favorite and has said over and over how much he loves playing for the Reds. My guess: Reds don’t move him — and at least look at signing him long-term.

    —Adam Duvall: Duvall just got his average above .200. But his power numbers are strong (12 home runs, 42 RBI) and he’s a Gold Glove-caliber left fielder. He’s eligible for arbitration for the first time in ’19 — meaning he’s controllable and cheap, which increases his trade value. My guess: He’s moved if the offers are decent.

    —Billy Hamilton: Hamilton is in the same contract situation as Gennett, arb-eligible for the third time. Hamilton will make $8 million or so next year. He’s started to hit recently, and he’s probably the best center fielder in baseball. He would seem to have value for a team that plays in big parks. The Reds nearly traded him to Giants in the offseason. My guess:They keep him, hope he continues to hit and then look to move him in offseason.

    —Raisel Iglesias: He’s having another strong year. He’s under contract through 2020 at $5.7 million per year. My guess: He’s moved because playoffs team value relievers so highly.

    —Matt Harvey: The Reds likely planned to flip him when they traded for him. His value will hinge on his next couple starts. He was excellent against the Cubs the last time out — six innings, two runs. Couple more like that and the Reds could get a good return for him. My guess: Since he’s a free agent, he’s traded.

    —Jared Hughes/David Hernandez: I lump them together because they’ve combined to turn the bullpen around and they’re signed for next year. My guess: They stay, too much bang for the buck to part with them.

    Which of these predictions do you disagree with, Steve? They all sound fairly reasonable to me, although I hope they can trade Billy too. With Scooter, I think the Reds are in a win/win situation. If they can get exactly what they want by trading him, great. If he signs a 4 year extension, also great.

    What else would you change?

    • I think it’s bad form to copy/pasta such a large chunk of another writer’s article, but if I had to guess, I’d say the parts about Gennett and Hamilton.

      • I just posted it for Steve’s convenience as a point of discussion. Obviously I’m not trying to claim credit for it or anything.

    • Note on Iggy.
      Contract till 2020. Controllable through 2021.

    • Hope he’s wrong about: Gennett, Hamilton, Hughes/Hernandez (trade one of H/H)

      Hope he’s right about: Duvall, Iglesias, Harvey

      • I agree with you about his predictions. I hope they find a solid offer for Gennett and are able to move him. Keeping him and signing him complicates things in so many ways. If you keep him where do you play him and over who? Play him at 2B over Senzel/Herrera and maybe eventually Long? Play him in LF over Winker? And if you allocate money to sign him longterm does that take money away from being able to pay for needs in other areas (Starting Pitching)?

        I also hope they find a way to trade Hamilton to a contender who could maximize his attributes. He’ll be too expensive to carry as a bench piece, and he’s not a good enough hitter to continue to start on a competitive team that also has an offensive hole at SS.

        As far as Hughes/Hernandez I don’t have strong feelings. I think they’ve been really good signings and they’re cheap for next year. Not sure I want to rely on young relievers such as Weiss, Rainey, Herget if the Reds have eyes on making a WC push next season. The return offer would have to outweigh their potential value for next season since they’re both on cheap two year deals.

        Iglesias needs to be traded for an impact piece. I believe Garrett is ready to replace Iggy in the back end high leverage role. Trading Iglesias would probably necessitate keeping at least one of Hughes or Hernandez though.

        If they can get anything decent for Duvall move him so we can stop this OF rotation. Harvey was brought in to flip, if you get anything decent for him move him and let Stephenson take his turn in the rotation.

        • My view on Hughes/Hernandez, which I hope to lay out in detail soon with research help from Mike Maffie, is that relievers are unreliable from one year to the next. Especially those in that price range. It’s just as likely the Reds can find other similar veteran relievers next year as it is that Hughes and Hernandez will continue to be this good. Meanwhile, the Reds should look to trade them (one if they also trade Iglesias, both if they decide to hold on to Iglesias) for good pieces while they are pitching way beyond what their track record and fundamentals shows. Always be trading closers (and relievers).

          • I don’t disagree with your premise about always be trading relievers. And you’re correct, they are fairly unreliable from one year to the next. I don’t think the price range is extravagant and wonder what kind of replacement we could get for the same price. Hughes is on a 2 year 4.5m contract with an option, Hernandez on 2 year 5m contract. What kind of reliever does 2-2.5m buy you in 2019? If it’s the Ohlendorf’s or Gallardo’s of the world I’d rather roll the dice on Hughes/Hernandez coming back and repeating their performance.

            If we hand onto Iglesias, and get a decent offer for either, then yes I think we should cash in. If we trade Iglesias, I’d feel better about the bullpen if they were still around to solidify the relief corps.

          • We’re not in that much disagreement. If we assume Hughes/Hernandez 2019 = Hughes/Hernandez 2018 (the first three months of 2018) then I’d be in total agreement with you. But if H/H 2019 is a random crapshoot, just like all the other cheap relievers, then the calculus changes. I doubt the Reds have found the secret sauce for identifying cheap, consistent relievers. (For one thing, there aren’t any.)

        • I might feel differently about trading Duvall if the Reds can trade Billy Hamilton. As you say, the main reason to move him is to solve the OF rotation. Of course, if someone is willing to give the Reds a good return for Duvall, then by all means trade him. But he’s also a solid, inexpensive piece to keep around. He might not be happy as a bench player, but the Reds can do worse than Duvall as a corner OF and RH bat off the bench.

          • You’re right about him being a nice corner OF/1B back up. I don’t mind Duvall as a bench piece until he becomes too expensive to keep in that role. Hamilton is already moving into the too expensive to keep territory, and would prefer to trade him and play Schebler/Ervin in CF.

  16. Steve, regarding xwOBA, it’s a calculation that’s going to play favorably for a Joey Votto and unfavorably for a Scooter Gennett. Joey allows numerous strikes to pass by without an attempted swing due to his extreme selectivity. Scooter swings at a lot of balls. Naturally Votto’s exit velocity on balls in play should be higher than most batters and Scooter’s exit velocity will be weaker due to his lack of selectivity.

    The batter the Reds or any team should cherish is the one in between Gennett and Votto, a hitter with better plate discipline than Gennett but not so overly selective he’s allowing called third strikes especially with runners on base. That’s Eugenio Suarez.

    I’ve watched Joey leave the bat on his shoulder numerous times this season on balls he should swing at or at least attempt to foul off and stay alive. I think Votto has left the bases loaded on called strikeouts three or four times in the twenty or thirty games I’ve caught at the sports books in 2018.

    • Isn’t your first paragraph exactly why we should be looking for hitters more like Votto and less like Gennett? Anecdotal accounts of strike threes being called with the bat on Votto’s shoulder are one thing, but certainly not evidence of a player who is so selective he strikes out constantly letting opportunities pass him by. Votto’s K rate this year is 15.2% compared to Gennett’s 19.7% K rate. So much of that has to do with Votto’s selectivity, not swinging at pitches outside the zone, and swinging at pitches he can hit hard. Suarez has learned to be more selective because he’s following Votto’s example, he even said as much last season.

      Give me the guy who waits for a pitch that he can do damage with, and walks more than he strikes out, not the guy who will occasionally pull a ball off his shoelaces for a homer, but strikes out more and walks way less (5.4 BB% for Gennett compared to 17% for Votto).

  17. Let’s not pretend like Blandino is a better SS than Peraza.

    • Defensibly he sure looks like he is a whole lot better.
      In Wandy’s last blow up, Peraza could not field a sure DP ball. A good SS makes that place. An average or less does not.

    • Did you miss his defensive play in the 9th? Don’t think Peraza makes that play.

  18. Blandino needs to start expanding the strike zone with 2 strikes. How many called strike 3s is he going to take??

    • How often has he played lately? Not much. Did he not make a stellar defensive play in the 9th? Yes.

  19. If the Reds are FINALLY going to start adding players to fill in the holes I’m all for it. But if they make more trades for more prospects then the rebuild will continue indefinitely.

  20. May 3rd of this year was, I believe, Matt Harvey’s last game in a Mets uniform. The Atlanta Braves scored 5 runs in 2 innings off Matt. Tuesday night Harvey will face the Braves @ GABP. Could it be a possible job interview? The Braves know Harvey well. They know what he can do when healthy. He has post season experience. He has WS experience. He’d be a rental. On the other hand, Atlanta has a whole boatload of young talented pitching. Could be a win-win deal for the Reds & Braves.

  21. I drank a little more of the Kool Aid and it appears the stars are starting to align for this team to compete for the rest of the season.Lets be real in that this is the same team as 2017 with just a few additions in the pen and the young starters are getting the ball every 5th day.Moving the vets off the bench and bringing up guys like Blandino and Dixon and acquiring Casalli have been positive signs of this front office starting to get it.I say this not because we have won 6 in a row but because that’s what you do in a rebuild.In addition Homer was taken out of the rotation and a quick though correct decision was to remove Finny as well.Still more decisions to make regarding the outfield and at short stop although I feel neither will happen until the end of the year but those issues won’t just suddenly go away unless the guys playing those positions make them go away.There is enough data to say what you see is what you get.

  22. I think yesterday Blandino had 2 called third strikes, if i’m not mistaken same as Votto.

  23. The Reds have had too many called third strikes recently, many with runners in scoring position. A ML hitter either fouls pitches off or goes down swinging, not standing there taking a third strike. It’s puzzling to have happened recently with a hitter like Votto.

    • I understand what you are trying to say, but this is really a fine line. If a guy swings at ball 4 and strikes out or fouls it off and eventually records an out that obviously isn’t good either. If Votto or anyone else takes strike three, you have to assume it looked like a “bad pitch” at that moment in time. Otherwise I don’t think a player purposely strikes out. You could fault them for pitch recognition, but I doubt any of the guys were standing thinking “this is a strike, but I would rather strike out than swing at it”.

      • I also don’t think a player purposely strikes out or that a player purposely takes a third strike either, certainly after undergoing the grind to reach the major leagues. But I, as a fan, have seen too many third strikes taken recently by a few Red’s hitters.

  24. They’ve won 9 of their last 11 games and a mere 14 games out of first place.

    If you’re around 10 games out at the AS Break, anything is possible.

  25. With the way the Reds have been hitting, I went back to look at their runs scored in each game this month. I had to go all the way back to May 20th to find a game in which they scored less than 2 runs.

    That’s pretty damn amazing.

  26. Nearing the all star break. Disco looks good and healthy and this team really needed a veteran pitcher to do some heavy lifting. Mahle is pitching like a veteran. Garrett has pitched great as has the entire bullpen. Romano and Castillo need more work.

    Sorting isn’t always good news. The AAA pitching staff has been shelled the last 2 games. 2/3 of the Reds starting rotation penciled in for 2018 were the responsible parties- Finnegan and Bailey. Hard to imagine a scenario where either one re-enters the SP rotation as a productive pitcher anytime soon.

  27. I disagree with everyone who says we should trade Harvey. We’re 23 & 18 since May 8th. He’s getting better and better with each start too.

    “His latest start against the Cubs at Great American Ballpark saw Harvey touch 97.0 mph or higher five times, two of which came in the first inning and again on his 96th pitch”.

    Our Starting Pitching has been the key to our success lately. Now that Bailey and Finnegan are out of the mix, we have a nice rotation going. Why trade Harvey? Keep it going.

    • The answer is trade Harvey because he does absolutely zero to make the team better next year playing for someone else. The real question is does Harvey actually have any trade value. Harvey isn’t going to put the Reds in the playoffs even if he is pitching the the Cy Young asara winner.

    • Players like Harvey and Gennett should be traded because you sell high (when the players value is high) and the timing is right. The timing is right because teams in need are coming up on the trade deadline. You want to give contract extensions to younger, promising players (i.e. Suarez), not players who will be over 30 when the team may be good again. Head over heart.

      Harvey has a 5.33 ERA in his last 7 games. He has only 2 QS in 8 starts with the Reds. These are not numbers that indicate an extension is warranted. Why would the Reds want to continue to block some of their young pitchers by extending a 29-year old with a tough injury history?

    • Uh, are we talking about the same Harvey? “He’s getting better and better with each start too.” He has 18 earned runs over 27.33 innings in his last 5 starts.

  28. At the AAA level, Reed has been looking as good as anyone, though he certainly isn’t a veteran. Nowhere to go, veteran-wise other than outside the organization at this point.

  29. Ken Rosenthal says there is surprising interest in Duvall.

    • He could make a good 4th OF and pinch hitter for someone. I am not sure he gets much of a return at this point. He probably had slightly more value in the off season. He is also cost controlled for a few years so I wouldn’t give him away.

  30. Here’s how I see the Harvey situation: If he keeps improving over the next five weeks, there will be a market for him. By the trade deadline, he either needs to be traded or signed to a contract extension favorable to the team. He can’t be taking starts from pitchers who will be with the team next year if he is going to be a free agent after the season.

    • Exactly, and I can’t fathom that Harvey will let a brief association with the Reds derail his opportunity for a significant FA contract. Harvey is 29 years old and his next contract will very likely be his last contract, unless he falters over the next month and still needs to build up value next season on a 1-year contract.

      Let’s hope that Harvey continues to perform and represents a significant trade chip by the all star break. The Reds have one more opportunity to get this rebuild on the right track and set themselves up for an extended winning window. They really screwed up the previous opportunities to set themselves up, so they need to make this opportunity work big time.

      Harvey, Iggy, Scooter, Duvall, Hamilton…those are the pieces the Reds need to cash in to complete this rebuild and set the farm system up for an extended windo of opportunity. Fortunately, all of those players seem to be ‘cooperating’ by enhancing their performance heading into the trade deadline. Along with those individuals, there are prospect redundancies that can by utilized, now or during the off season, to enhance the needed returns in trade. Disco would have been a great asset to flip this off season, but his leadership will now be needed to anchor the young pitching staff since Bailey has completely flopped in that role.

      • Shoot, forgot to include Hughes and Hernandez with the 5 players listed.

      • The BIG question is whether BC stays out of the front office so these deals can be consummated without his interference.

  31. Duvall just showed on that play into the LF corner why some contender will want him now.

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About Steve Mancuso

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

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