I’ve been writing this column on and off for the whole season and, periodically, I ask the following question:

This is – by far – the most positive response the question has gotten. This demonstrates clearly that the average fan is concerned only with short term results. And I find that very interesting. I am much less happy with the Reds now than I was at the beginning of the season. They handled the Nick Senzel situation terribly. They’ve messed around with Winker, the one outfielder they shouldn’t mess around with under any circumstances. They continue to move at a glacial pace when it comes to promoting players in the system.

As far as I can see, the only things that have gone right have exclusively to do with pitchers developing and Disco returning from the DL. The Matt Harvery trade seems to have worked out pretty well, but that’s a fairly minor point. Nor do I think Jim Riggleman has a magical winning potion. The club certainly played this well over stretches with Bryan Price.

At this point, I’m interested in what the team does at the trade deadline and during the offseason as a way to determine whether they’re on the right track or not. The Reds have some trading to do.

I am thrilled with how well the team has played lately. Winning is always more fun than losing. But I want to see them be a genuinely competitive team next year and that means making real and serious decisions.

Before I go, a soap box: Do not move Nick Senzel to the outfield. Defense matters a lot more in the infield than the outfield and Nick Senzel is MUCH better than Scooter Gennett at defense. I’ve come to the point where I’m fine with the Reds keeping him provided he moves to a different position, but there is absolutely no reason he should be allowed to block the top prospect in the organization when the top prospect figures to be excellent with the bat and a much better fielder at the position.

Okay. What do you folks think?

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

Join the conversation! 13 Comments

  1. Re: Nick S. — he should spend every healthy day preparing for and playing SS. If you end up keeping Scooter (which is fine, depending on the $) then stick him out there, even if he is “below average” at SS.

    The Reds will be tempted to trade Scooter and Raisel Iglesias. If the returns are good, sure, fine.

    But every team needs to fill the following “roles” — the starting 8, 5 starters, and one closer.

    Right now, they have “good” player (persons average or above, per bRef’s NL Wins above Avg by Position) at C, 1b, 2b, 3b, and closer. Their OF is a four person mess, but Duvall and Hamilton are regressing (progressing?) to the mean. Tony Disco, Mahle, and Castillo are fine starters.

    I suppose what I’m saying is that they NEED, to win, to add a SS, one very good outfielder, and, say a top starter or two. That’s it.

    But if you trade Scooter and RI, then you need to fill two more spots than you otherwise would. Better off sticking Senzel at SS, keeping Scooter and RI, and add three persons through trade/free agency (shedding any/all of Peraza/Duvall/Hamilton/Reed/Harvey).

    Reply
    • If you keep Scooter at 2B and stick Senzel at SS then you have very poor defense at 2B and probably slightly below average at SS. Those are two very important defensive positions. If you trade Scooter for a solid starting pitcher or an MLB ready SS or Centerfielder then you have filled two of your holes with Senzel playing 2B.

      Reply
  2. Nice piece, Jason.

    The Reds appear to have finally stopped bottoming out and have a choice to make:

    -REALLY try and compete next year, which entails hard and serious decisions…and spending money on free agents to fill holes.

    or

    -Experiment with Gennett in the outfield, Senzel in the outfield, Lorenzen in the outfield, Garrett in the rotationi…etc, more experiments, more sorting, etc.
    With a focus on 2020 (Bailey $ off the books) or 2021 (next wave of prospects arrive).

    Choose a path, but don’t straddle and try to do both.

    Either way, the players are highly specialized professionals, not little leaguers who are expected to play every position before season’s end. Eventually find spots for expected starters with the intention of leaving them there.

    Reply
    • The problem is…the Reds don’t experiment? They might put Senzel at SS for 1 game or Mesoraco in LF for a week, but they don’t stick with anything? I remember they pinch-ran Lorenzen in his rookie and he scored from 1st on a double. He can run like a deer! I’m sure he’d be better in CF defensively then Schebler. Obviously his arm is 10x better. LF in GABP is a premier place to hide a bad defender, but I’d feel a lot better about Scooter out there if Billy was in CF. Scooter in LF. Senzel at 2B…..and India at SS if his bat plays like we hope it will? He should rocket thru the system. He’s already 5x better then Peraza offensively even if he hit .230

      Reply
  3. Teams make mistakes when they misjudge what they really have for talent. It can cause short term results to cloud the view of what the long term results are likely to be. If they jump too soon, they trade away prospects for established players and then find out it wasn’t enough to build a contender. Alternatively, they can hold onto players instead of trading them for prospects to fill the pipeline of a team which is not near contending with its current makeup.

    The Reds have only two starting pitchers proving themselves, DeSclafani and Mahle, and a third who has experienced some past success in Castillo.Being 2-3 pitchers away from having a decent starting staff, it does not appear they are ready to be in the playoff picture next year. So they should make moves accordingly and continue with the sorting.

    With Senzel out of the picture, bring up Dilson Herrera and let him play the rest of the season at 2nd. Move Gennett to the outfield to see if he can at least be serviceable. It worked with Duvall, but who knows until you try it. The bullpen is strong right now, so trade from a position of strength for starting pitching if possible.Trade Billy because you are not going to give him a raise from what he is making this year, which means you will have to DFA him.

    There have been a lot of recommendations about who else to put into the starting rotation. I don’t have any idea of who it should really be, but trade Harvey and put someone besides Bailey in his slot.

    Reply
    • This really hits the nail on the head. The Reds (with the exception of his inability to play SS) need to treat Herrera like Senzel-lite for the rest of the year. Like SLIOTAR said above, that means experiment experiement experiment. Herrera at 2B, Scooter in LF, Schebler in CF, Winker in RF. Suarez at SS, Herrera at 3B.

      What the front office has to come to terms with is that Duvall and Hamilton will not play a large role in the future of this team. If you are able to keep them as bench pieces, fine. If not, move them for whatever you can get.

      Being a fan of the Reds so often feels like the end of The Great Gatsby. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” Every little sign of progress is inevitably followed by two steps backward.

      Reply
  4. Under no circumstances should BHam ever lead off again.

    Reply
    • And yet, I will bet you a DQ Blizzard that he will be leading off again for the Reds very soon. Won’t that improve his trade value???

      A little clue: Billy Hamilton, for what he is now being paid by the Reds (somewhere north of 3 mill) has just about ZERO trade value. No team in their right mind would trade anyone straight up for Billy, unless it was some middle “A” prospect. Scouts and GM’s can read player stat lines, and Billy’s career offensive numbers are cringeworthy. Apparently, no one with the Reds or their broadcasters can read or even talk about a player’s slash line, or Thom will make fun of them.

      BHam is tolerable batting ninth. Schebler would be playing CF if I was running the Reds. Scooter would be in Left, and Winker in right. Maybe Dixon gets to play some left and 2nd base. Dilson Herrera would be up here playing 2nd.

      The Reds accept mediocrity and sub-mediocrity because they are not terribly concerned with winning, regardless of the talk that they make. The last few weeks have been nice, and could be a trend, or just one of those statistical hiccups, that even so – called “Bad” major league teams will play well for a stretch. It’s statistics, you can look it up.

      Reply
  5. First time of agreed with you on all your points. Something must be wrong?

    Reply
  6. Krall needs to get out there and create relationships with the other GM’s, not sit on his ass like WJ waiting for them to come to him.

    Reply
  7. Reds need to show the fan base that the front office has a pulse. Show the fans that they have the cojones to make aggressive trades. Fans were pissed that Lee May and Tommy Helms were dealt for Joe Morgan, Geronimo, et al. After the ’72 season all was well.

    Reply
  8. I don’t know why you choose to be so negative after this win streak. I understand playing devil’s advocate, but saying you were happier with the Reds earlier in the season when they were playing Yovani Gallardo and Cliff Pennington is just absurd.

    Reply
    • Excellent post.

      But alas, this at times is the nature of RLN. It becomes fantasy ball where everyone gets a shot to be a GM. I love the informative articles on RLN about the players, the coaches, the games, the farm system, the in-depth analysis of stats, etc. But the endless speculation is only to generate clicks… and it works.

      Let’s enjoy our team’s recent success and assess them at the AS break.

      The next couple series will be interesting – if the Redlegs can play good ball in the next couple weeks it can only help;
      1. create a culture of winning
      2. help show that sorting is actually working
      3. put fans in the stands
      4. maybe give the Reds something to play for in the second half
      and yes,
      5. create some interest from other teams in some of our veterans

      I think these are things we can all agree that continued winning is the best outcome for Cincinnati baseball.

      Reply

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About Jason Linden

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

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