Well how about that. After two tough losses, the Reds fought back to win the final two games of the series, splitting the four games against the Brewers. They outscored Milwaukee 20-5 the past two days. A week ago Wednesday, after success against teams like the Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers, the Reds strapped in to face what turned out to be three consecutive first-place teams. They swept the Chicago Cubs, starting with Jesse Winker’s dramatic grand slam, and took two out of three from Atlanta. With this series split, the Reds compiled a record of 8-3 after moving up in class. That’s pretty, pretty good.

 It doesn’t get much easier before the All-Star break. The last-place Chicago White Sox arrive tomorrow for three games. Then the Reds go on the road for nine games against the Cubs, Cleveland and St. Louis. 

They stand just 12.5 games out of first place with three months to go.

Cincinnati Reds 8 (36-48) • Milwaukee Brewers 2 (48-35)

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

The 54-minute rain delay cut Matt Harvey’s start short at 5.2 innings. Harvey was sharp, striking out six and walking none. His fastball velocity remains high. This was Harvey’s tenth start for the Reds. The last three have been excellent. The four before that were pretty poor, so his record isn’t unmixed. But Harvey is now a candidate to trade, which was the club’s goal when they swapped him for Devin Mesoraco almost two months ago. Harvey won’t net a big return, but it’ll be something. He’ll still take the ball every fifth game for the Reds up until he’s moved before the July 31 deadline. 

Raisel Iglesias and Jared Hughes pitched for the first time in this series, with an 8-0 lead. Would like to have seen at least one of them get into those close games at the start of the series. 

The Reds jumped the Brewers 22-year-old starter Freddy Peralta. Jose Peraza doubled, Tucker Barnhart singled, Joey Votto doubled in Peraza, Eugenio Suarez singled in Barnhart, Scott Schebler singled in Votto, making the score 3-0. The score stayed that way until the sixth inning when Jesse Winker pinch hit and drove in a run. A couple batters later, Jose Peraza smashed a 362-foot grand slam. 

Joey Votto celebrated Canada Day with a single, double and a walk. That’s sort of a Canadian cycle, eh. 

A Grand Record Peraza’s slam was the Reds ninth this season and sixth in the last 17 days. Meanwhile, the team’s Hall of Fame radio broadcaster prattles on about how the club “time and again” can’t hit with bases loaded. Nine ties an all-time Reds record for a season and the 2010 Yankees for the most before the All-Star break. The most grand slams hit in one year by a team is 14. The NL record is 12. A bunch of those records were set during the PED Era. 

Report: Reds Sign Top Draft Pick Per unconfirmed reports, the Reds have reached a deal with top draft pick Jonathan India. India was the #5 pick overall and played for the University of Florida. Jon Heyman reports the agreement is for slot value ($5.9 million) and an unknown bonus. Another positive report from C. Trent Rosecrans: 

Raisel Iglesias Trade Rumors The Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros are reported to be interested in Reds closer Raisel Iglesias. That article understate’s Iglesias’ team control. It extends through the 2021 season. An Astros deal could center around RHP Forrest Whitley, who is blocked for now by the excellent Astros rotation. OF Kyle Tucker would also be a terrific acquisition. Cleveland isn’t mentioned specifically in this report, but they appear to be a great fit as a trade partner. I wrote about the benefit of trading Iglesias in early May. My conclusion: 

“We’ll be able to judge the shrewdness of the organization by how they handle Raisel Iglesias. Odds are the front office will have the opportunity to trade him for the long-term solution at shortstop, centerfield or the rotation. Not more rebuilding. The Iglesias trade has to make the Reds better this year, next year and beyond.

But the entire organization must be ready. It can’t allow outdated thinking about closers, the gauzy promise of pipeline prospects or sentimentality for hometown players to weaken its motivation. If recent demand for top-tier relievers can be our guide, Dick Williams will be able to ask for and receive the sun, moon and a few habitable planets for Iglesias. It is imperative he does that.”

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! 107 Comments

  1. A good way to start July and the second half of the season. Bring on the ChiSox.

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  2. Harvey, Iglesias,Hernandez, and Hughes are all good trade chips. Wish we could keep them all.

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  3. Cannot see signing him for slot.
    Would lose next years #1 pick.
    I would think about 5.2 Mil would be it.

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  4. I hope we can stop hearing about how “far apart” these teams are. The Reds could easily have taken 3 of 4 with a little smarter managing. The Reds have better players at several positions and will only improve with Senzel in the mix. If they can trade Iggy and Duvall (or Hamilton, but I hope Duvall) for a solid right handed outfielder, the offense is very good. Then they just need to get the starting rotation figured out, but they have a lot of options there.

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    • Not sure I agree that the Reds have a lot of options for the rotation. I’m leaning toward that being the #1 priority in trades. Disco and Mahle look pretty solid. After that, Romano needs another pitch. Not sure what the story with Castillo is, but maybe more experience is all he needs. Might be worth sending him down for a bit to work on some things. Behind that you have the extremely inconsistent Stephenson and then I guess Reed.

      I would target at least one stud starting prospect and a stud outfielder (preferably CF) as the high priorities. I’d like to replace Peraza too, but if they can get the Hamilton/Duvall spot out of the lineup, they might be able to live with him short-term.

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      • Trading was one of the options I had in mind. And the free agent market.

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      • I read somewhere that Castillo no longer has any options. He can’t be sent down, only DFA’d.

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      • Castillo needs to learn to get through a ML lineup more than two times. Sending him down will not help him.

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      • Replace Peraza! Why? He’s only 24. In the last 30 games, he’s batting .328. In his last 7 games, his SLG is .774. I think we should keep him.

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        • Even his solid month of June was just league average OPS for a shortstop and he is below league average overall. And I think this is his ceiling. He isn’t going to be an .800 OPS hitter with his approach. He’s also an average to slightly below average defender. If the Reds can improve that, then they absolutely should. Peraza can then be a good utility guy off the bench to back up SS, 2B, and CF.

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          • There are 26 qualifying SS in MLB. During June, Peraza had an .822 OPS, a 7.5% walk rate, a .145 ISO and a .368 OBP. His June OBP would be a top 5 among qualifying SS. His June OPS would be a top 10 among qualifying SS. He had a league average walk rate and ISO.

            Was his terrible May performance indicative of what his future performance will be?
            Was his June performance indicative of what his future performance will be?

            I certainly don’t know and I doubt anyone else knows, including Peraza, Don Long and Tony Jaramilla. I do know his plate approach changed in June. He had a deliberate approach that required the pitcher to throw early strikes or get behind in the count. He deliberately failed to swing at the 1st and 2nd pitch during many PA and wasn’t afraid to get behind in the count. Despite this deliberate approach, he still maintained a 9.4% strike out rate. He had a more aggressive swing rather than trying to punch and guide the ball for weak singles.

            What I do know is that Peraza will have 3 more months to demonstrate/prove if his June performance was a flash in the pan or a positive change. His June performance certainly earned him that opportunity.

            The Reds have more pressing needs to address for their long-term success than SS at this point. A month ago, I would not have made that statement. Unless teams begin to bang on the door early with serious offers for Harvey, Scooter and/or Iggy, there is simply no rush for a decision regarding SS in 2019. Just let the line play out and see how the situation unfolds this season.

    • The Brewers’ telecasters said during the game that the Reds’ lineup is “post-season ready,” meaning more than good enough to be a team that can qualify for the post-season. J, I would say that the rotation still has a lot of uncertainty. Based on what we’ve seen this season, Mahle is a keeper. Harvey would be a keeper if he wasn’t going to be a free agent. DeSclafani has looked good for a pitcher who missed the past year and a half, and he is certainly a rotation mainstay when healthy. Castillo and Romano still have some growing pains to overcome, and would not be part of a rotation of a contender — at least not at this point in time. There’s still time for growth.

      So of the five positions in the current rotation, my opinion is that only two are looking solid for a team that appears otherwise to be ready to contend in 2019. More quality starting pitching options are needed as the top priority in the upcoming trade season. I’m not as high on the chances for Stephenson and Reed as some others are, until they actually show they can do it consistently at the major league level. They may or may not get that chance later this season.

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      • This Reds team looks a lot like the Brewers. A strong lineup, a Meh Rotation, and a dominant bullpen.

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    • Tale of two outfielders:
      Outfielder A – 25 years of age, .219 with 20 HRs & 49 RBI, bottom 3rd of NL RF defensively.
      Outfielder B – 29 years of age, .206 with 12 HRs & 49 RBI, top 3rd of NL LF defensively.

      Outfielder A – will start in RF for the NL & make ~$20M per year after this season & many commercials.
      Oufielder B – fans say should be traded.

      Baseball is an interesting game & perceptions play a big role.

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      • Outfielder A has a MVP and is four year younger, still has a .848 OPS this year and a lifetime of .897. Outfielder A is significantly better. Outfielder B has a shorter track record and has not yet gotten an arbitration raise. Outfielder B should only be moved if it somehow improves the club, otherwise makes a good 4th OF for the next couple of years

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        • Even though I compared them, I was not really comparing them… more just pointing out the similar level of their 2018 stats. And you are right – 4 years younger is an eternity in baseball years & OPS does matter.

          But the difference in their pricetags is enormous and does not seem in-line with their output – at least for the 2018 season.

          One is labelled a dead-weight on a last place team and the other will most-likely break into the stratosphere pay-wise at the end of the season. That’s why I ended with “baseball is an interesting game.”

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          • That’s the danger in comparing stats over a short period of time instead of comparing abilities, my friend…

      • I understand that RLN generally overrates Reds players, but….

        Harper has more walks than Votto, second only to Trout, that is how tough it has been to get people around him that can stay healthy and/or produce.

        wRC+
        Harper 123
        Duvall 82

        I agree that perceptions play a big role. Playing in GABP, no 2 for HRs and for BBs this season can sure make some guys look better than they really are.

        I don’t think MLB front offices are fooled, though.

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  5. Harvey is a great trade chip to have. Reds GM has to get this right.

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  6. In the last three series, all against teams that were in first place at the time the series was played, the Reds are 8-3.

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  7. Steven, a couple of observations regarding your musings:

    “Harvey won’t net a big return, but it’ll be something.” Much in the same way that Alfredo Simon netted Eugenio Suarez .Go Reds scouting!

    “Meanwhile, the team’s Hall of Fame radio broadcaster prattles on about how the club “time and again” can’t hit with bases loaded.” Granted it’s “only” been 9 times this season. But, throwing out the GS numbers, if anybody had a small amount of acumen or bothered to burn a couple of brain cells, they would realize that hitting with RISP isn’t an actual skill. As a batter, you’re pretty much just par for the course whether there’s RISP or not. Otherwise, if you could just “hit better”, why wouldn’t you do it all the time? Shouldn’t have to lay it out for people but yet, if you had a penny for every time….

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    • Thank you, MRRED, for making a good point. Reggie Jackson, “Mr. October,” had a lifetime slash line of .357/.457/.755 in 116 World Series plate appearances. But maybe if he had been more “clutch,” and hit better than .227/.298/.380 in his 181 Championship Series plate appearances, five of his teams wouldn’t have lost short of reaching the Series. He must not have been trying. Or his nerves got to him. Or he was making too much money to care. Or something.

      Bill James set out to study this 30 years ago and came to the exact same conclusion you did.

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    • Expecting a top 25 prospect is not realistic, but as you mentioned Suarez and others like Duvall and Schebler were secondary pieces of trades and were not highly ranked prospects. Trading Harvey gives the Reds a lottery ticket. If the player returned never makes it, nothing lost. If they can repeat the performance of Strailey, Gennett, Suarez, Duvall, or Schebler it is a win for the Reds. None of those guys were highly sought after and the Reds were able to turn them into contributors.

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    • look to today, (3 – 0 ) when I turned the game on.
      Adam walked to load the bases and 3 k’s.
      Had to go away, turn it on and GS.
      not bad

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    • I think the RISP bashing that frequently appears is too severe. Game situations have differing levels of pressure, and players respond to that pressure differently. It is seen in basketball when a player can make 100 free throws at the end of each practice, but then goes 0-2 at the end of a game. In baseball it is much more complex, because both the pitcher and the batter are feeling that pressure. Thus, RISP is not merely a function of how well the batter handles pressure, but it is also a influenced by the pitchers faced in those situations. Other factors are involved (e.g. calls by the catcher, managerial shifts), so it is not a stat completely under the hitters control. Nevertheless, it should not be so readily cast aside.

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    • It might not be a ‘skill’ but to ignore how some people succeed more than average and others fail more than average when there is pressure involved is to ignore people are not robots.

      Some pitchers continually have a better ERA than their FIP or whatever…..like Johnny Cueto because he bears down when there are runners on base and limits the damage. Other pitchers look better via FIP simply because they strike out batters at a higher than average rate but don’t limit the damage as well.

      The game is played by people and not robots. Not all pitchers are suited to close games. You want some batters at the plate when here are RISP versus others who do better when the bases are empty.

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  8. Great to watch good hitting. All those grand slams start with lots of guys getting on base.

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  9. Steve reds don’t need a SS they have one in Peraza.

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  10. Riggleman was asked in the post game conference why the Reds were able to set an MLB record for 9 GS by July 1st. Of course he had no viable response. Never mind that the Reds play half their games in GABP where HR’s are cheap, but the Reds are 9th in the NL and 19th in MLB in HR at 88. How about opportunities to hit GS? The Reds are 2nd in the NL and 2nd in MLB in OBP at .337. Maybe getting more runners on base could be a key? Hmmmmmmmmmmmm…

    Oh, and not giving up outs can help get more runners on base too! The Reds lead the NL and MLB in Sac Bunts with 30. That’s 50% MORE than the NL average! Outs make a difference and giving up outs makes a big difference.

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    • I watch that interview with the manager and he said it was because men were getting on base.

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    • The reds can hit grand slams because they get on base. This team is second in the NL at OBP and they play in a HR ball park.

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    • This GS phenomenon is also subject to small sample size issues, outlier stuff.
      Reds might not hit another 4 for the remainder of the season and it might not be for another 60 years before a pitcher hits a GS….let alone pinch hits for a GS.

      The OBP is high (2nd in MLB) and yet the Reds are last in their division….third to last in the NL.

      The mix of clutch hitting, and timely pitching typically yields the end result, and despite thinking 162 games provides a lot of data, it still is a small sample size that can yield very different results compared to a 154 game season or a 170 game season.

      That’s why managers matter, lineup orders matter, hitting with RISP matters. One or two games are often the difference between making the playoffs or winning the WS.

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      • Look at the runs allowed which is second worst in the NL and you will see why they are in last place

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      • There is no evidence of “clutch hitting” above and beyond being a good hitter. Been studied a lot. Can’t find it. It’s a cool fairy tell that certain people tell, though.

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      • For example, studies show there is no correlation between batting average with RISP for the same hitter in the first and second halves of the same season, once you factor in the player’s baseline batting average.

        Not to mention what a terrible indicator of “clutch hitting” RISP is. Batter gets ZERO credit for driving in runs from first base or himself on home runs, even though those are just as clutchy as knocking in a guy from third base. Also, only hits count, so no sacrifice flies or ground balls that produce runs. Plus, advancing runners, say by walking or doubling a runner from first to third, can be just as important in creating runs as the last step of driving them in.

        RISP also doesn’t measure power.

        Clutch hitting as a skill is a fairy tale. But RISP is such lousy measure of clutch hitting, it’s a bit surprising it has taken on such mythology among people who believe it.

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  11. Now that India, Siani & Byrne are headed to Cincinnati for physicals, let’s get them signed and playing. While were at it, let’s get them moving through the minors based on their performance rather than a standard timetable for promotions. India should be able to handle an accelerated development schedule beginning with this season.

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    • Shchi….hard pass on accelerating development this season.

      I have seen lots of comments here over the years of guys rushed to the majors….Reed and Peraza are just two without giving it much thought.

      The sweet spot starts in 2021, possibly 2020…when the Greene/Trammell/now India wave joins winker/senzel/suarez/votto etc.

      The odds of a rushed India making the difference in the Reds competing sooner than 2021 is about the same as their playoff odds this season – 0.1%.

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      • I think we have different definitions for accelerating. If the payer has serious flaws, is not physically developed or is not producing well above league average, acceleration should not even be considered. Trammell is good example of not promoting a prospect when he is ready. Cingrani & Lorenzen are good examples of promoting prospects beyond their development. Hamilton and Peraza are simply examples of promoting prospect while ignoring their development.

        Accelerated development, like anything else, must be monitored and utilized only as appropriate, but delaying development simply because that’s the Reds way of doing things serves no purpose. Getting players to MLB before they are ready to contribute and perform at the MLB level is every bit as bad as not promoting players when they are ready to perform against more experienced competition and vice versa.

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        • Subject to what we see when India starts playing against other prospects, It would seem reasonable to me to project him on a path similar to Senzel because he played in the same college league and was the #4 overall versus #2 overall in Senzel’s case.

          So, that would put India at low A at the end of this season. AA at the end of next and AAA playing to get to the MLB in 2020. Unless he is seriously slowed by an injury, I’d think the Reds will be disappointed if he isn’t at MLB by mid 2021.

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  12. June results:

    .959 OPS & .471 OBP for Joey Votto
    .953 OPS & .392 OBP for Scott Schebler
    .944 OPS & .432 OBP for Jesse Winker
    .926 OPS & .402 OBP for Eugenio Suarez
    .835 OPS & .361 OBP for Scooter Gennett
    .822 OPS & .368 OBP for Jose Peraza
    .731 OPS & .354 OBP for Tucker Barnhart

    Those are the 7 top OPS and OBP during the month of June. Those 7 players should start virtually every game (except Barnhart to keep him fresh). That leave one OF position available.

    .720 OPS & .325 OBP for Adam Duvall
    .626 OPS & .318 OBP for Billy Hamilton

    Those are the choices for the last OF position. That’s a wash from the Old Cossack’s perspective, but Hamilton and Duvall should be competing for one position until a better option is available. Personally, I like Duvall starting against LHP and playing in small stadiums with Hamilton starting in large stadiums.
    .

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    • Completely agree regarding the approach to the outfield.

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    • Dang! I’m just looking at that roster, at the OBP for the 7 best position players, and remembering how we begged for just one player, besides Joey Votto, with an OBP even above league average…just one! How much of this can be attributed to Don Long? How much of this can be attributed to Joey Votto?

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  13. I thought Paul Daugherty had an interesting column in the Enquirer this morning. He brought up some good points about why the Reds should stand pat.
    I disagree with what he said regarding the Reds not having anyone that would bring a top pitching prospect, but for the most part he made many good points.
    I’m starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. I’m seeing a bright future with guys like Senzel, India, Greene, Trammel, Siri and others.
    I think a couple of shrewd trades or free agent signings could put this team in the hunt next year.
    Let’s hope!

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  14. I’m still not sure the Reds acquired Harvey to flip him post renaissance. I think they see him as their potential big splash free agent signing and I continue to applaud them if this was their strategy. (Former) number 1 moxy with the assassin mentality doesn’t become available very often. Respectfully, Harvey has something that not even Kershaw has. Yell at me for that. But think about it before you do.

    As for Raisel, Hughes, Hernandez— I saw trade them all. So long as the returns are decent AND, AND, leadership is okay with continuing to make young starters into relievers (Im looking your way Big Sal).

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    • Maybe the intent was to stabilize the rotation instead of flip him, but trading for him has no impact on signing him in the off season. They could have just waited to sign him or they could still trade him and sign him in the off season if they really want Harvey in a Reds uniform.

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      • Trade him & him. I’d like that

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      • Mixed response to that. I’ve speculated on this in earlier posts.

        Absent Bailey, management might want one seasoned veteran in the rotation to stabilize things. And Harvey -might- fill that role, absent Bailey…..even with Boras, he would probably not be any more expensive and might be cheaper depending on how the post-season free agent market sets up this time around. A good bridge over the next two years while younger arms round into form.

        The fatal flaw in this always come back to one thing: Bailey might be physically gone, but his paychecks remain on the books. There is no way to offload the sunk cost and make room for an established free agent pitcher, even a mildly tarnished one like Harvey. (Not when other arbitration and salary calls are taken into account.)

        The other, slightly less fatal, risk is that he puts up good performance, doesn’t draw an adequate exchange at the break and management subsequently falls in love with him at year-end.

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        • “Absent Bailey, management might want one seasoned veteran in the rotation to stabilize things.”

          Hello Disco!

          My real concern is that the Reds are going to look to get Bailey back in the starting rotation if at all possible, no matter how remote that chance might be.

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        • The Reds should have extra money to work with this offseason. Meseraco going off the books will offset most arbitration raises. So the current payroll is about $95 mil if i remember. During 2013-2014 the team had a payroll of $115 mil. Since then the team has signed a new TV deal that pays them about $15 million extra per year (with the caveat that I don’t think the
          yearly rates were given to the public, it could be backloaded). If you also Trade Raisel, that would give $40 mil. When your only need is two SP’s, they could make that happen. Or they could eat salary in a trade with that money and not have to give up prospects. Lots of opportunities, and I don’t think competing in 2019 is out of the question in the least.

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      • I would say you are right for nearly any organization, except small ones like Cincy, Minnesota, maybe Pittsburgh. It’s just not a place many on the FA market would consider if the money was approximately equivalent between us and say, Chicago.

        Perhaps they’re hoping by getting him in town, he likes it, appreciates the gesture, and then when our offer is equivalent (not a hometown discount, just not a penalty), says yes, instead of no. I’d give him 4 years/50million tomorrow. FB velo up, now accurate with FB, off speed pitches quickly returning. This guy gets less rusty with each start.

        And I agree with others about Bob Steve. Get him up.

        Harvey
        Disco
        Castillo
        Bob Steve
        Garrett

        Not a bad 2019 rotation.

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  15. Whatever you get for Harvey in a trade will be way better than what you would have gotten for Mesoraco.

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    • If Harvey continues to produce in a fashion similar to his last 3 starts. If Harvey reverts to his performance similar to his 14 previous games, then he probably returns squat, same as Mesoraco.

      Harvey will have 4 more starts before the trade deadline and could have 5 more starts before the trade deadline if the Reds choose to put Harvey on a 5-day pitching rotation rather than a 5-game pitching rotation. Harvey’s experience, 7-8 solid starts and a cheap contract could make Harvey a very desirable rental at the trade deadline. That could fetch a very good lower level prospect as a stand alone transaction or more if combined with another trade deadline option from the Reds.

      After Harvey’s performance today against the Brew Crew on the heels of his performance against the Cubbies and Braves, I’m not betting against Harvey to perform as an ace for the rest of the month. Geez, what if he throws 4 more dominant shutouts? Teams will notice and since he is a rental with a very affordable contract, his prior injury history will be null and void for 2-3 months of pitching.

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      • You wouldn’t have gotten a bucket of balls for Mesoraco . At least with Harvey you have a chance to get a bucket of new balls.

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    • I keep seeing that Harvey is going to bring back something, but realistically, who is trading for him?

      This is the same guy that refused a minor-league assignment earlier this season and is literally on his final chance. Teams haven’t likely forgotten that.

      The AL playoff teams are almost set. His expiring contract is Oakland’s kind of play but they need a run quick to get close and justify a deadline trade.

      WAR Ranking by SPs

      Yankees – 6th
      Red Sox – 3rd
      Indians – 2nd
      Astros – 1st
      Mariners – 9th

      Those teams aren’t dealing for him.

      NL

      Braves 13th
      Phillies 4th
      Nationals 7th
      Cubs 24th
      Brewers 17th
      Cardinals 10th
      DBacks 5th
      Dodgers 12th
      Giants 17th
      Rockies 11th

      Only the Giants seem feel like a likely trade destination and their farm system stinks.

      I think its 50/50, at least, that Harvey is with Reds past trade deadline.

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      • Why not NYY? Sonny Gray is struggling and Tanaka is still working out an injury.

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      • Ranking an entire starting pitching staff really doesn’t indicate a need or absence of need or what that need might be.

        If Harvey does not stick his next 4 starts or at least 3 of his next 4 starts, he probably won’t be useful for anything other than pitching depth for a team trying to qualify for the playoffs. His cheap contract as a rental could make him attractive as a back-end starter but would return much in trade other than a flyer.

        If Harvey sticks his last 4 starts, we’re looking at an entirely different picture as an addition for a front line starter for a playoff push and there are plenty of teams on this list that would be interested in a front line pitcher to get them to the playoffs and help them in the playoffs. That also means a significantly better return depending on how good Harvey performs and how desperate the need for the acquiring team.

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        • Shchi, your optimism is boundless.

          I will be surprised if one of the five AL playoff teams goes for Harvey…especailly the Yankees. What a media circus he will create going back there.

          I think teams see his 4.53 xFIP and that he has been a bad egg most of his career, including this season. His K, BB, HR per 9 are….meh.

          Bring him in, mess up chemistry, whatever…get blame for missing playoffs? No GM is taking that risk for Matt Harvey. Except maybe Giants, who are teflon out there.

          These last 4 starts you reference hopefully look Cy Young caliber.

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  16. BobSteve with another nice game on Saturday. His era over his last 10 starts is 3.04 with 72 Ks in 56 ip. They need to squeeze him in there somewhere? Romano and Castillo are both struggling more often then not. Send them both down and put Lorenzen in the rotation too. That way he gets more at-bats and they can see what they have. Dilson Herrera is another one? See if they package him in with other guys? Someone has to be able to use a good hitting infielder?

    I really hope they find a way to keep Harvey. He was outstanding today and his slider seems to get a little better every week. With his injury history, I can’t see teams giving him a huge contract? If they need to move him to get a young starter then so be it. Iggy should be available for the same thing. Hernandez could close next year? He can spot the fastball wherever he wants it. Billy needs to go just to make room! Winker had a .944 ops in June…..let the kid play everyday already?

    its a pretty exciting stretch for the ole Redlegs! The White Sox best pitcher went today….Reds should put up a ton of runs if Castillo and Romano are just decent?

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  17. Great post Cossack!

    This is what sorting looks like. Tough break for Senzel or he’d be in the sorting mix somewhere this season. We’ve developed a pretty solid line-up even without Zach Cozart – it just took a while to get there.

    And look at the relievers – some nice pickups and some effective sorting – Iglesias & Garrett.

    Now it’s the starters – with Disco & Mahle we have a solid start. It’s the next 3-4 that get interesting and really determine if the Reds will compete in 2019. And let’s hope they’re getting a good education here in 2018!

    The Braves announcers were very complementary of our young staff – Castillo, Romano, Mahle.
    The Brewers announcers were equally complementary of our starting line-up.
    Some people are starting to take notice of the young Reds.

    Time to see if we can compete as we head into the AS break – @Cubbies, Tribe & Cards. After the break we get some home cooking. Maybe we can make our way toward .500.

    Reply
    • Just making 500 for the year would be a miracle. The whole that they dug from themselves in the beginning was what seemed like impossible to overcome. If they end up a 500 team it will be impressive.

      Reply
      • .500 is not that far off. They are .429 right now

        Reply
        • Making up 12 games over .500 with half a season to play is not a difficult goal for a good team. That’s 45-33 (.577 winning percentage). The key will be how good are the Reds? An 8-3 record in the last 11 games against 1st place clubs has been impressive, but it’s just 11 games. Even tacking on the 2 wins against the Tigers before that produces an 10-3 record but just 13 games. Will the hitting continue en mass? Will the starting pitching hold together or improve? Will deadline trades upset the current balance, resulting in a poorer performance thru the final 2 months? Are the Reds as good as they’ve looked during the past dozen games?

          Reply
  18. Driving during the game. Happy me when I saw the final. Had to watch the Bottom of 1st and 6th to see all the scoring. That was plenty enough baseball for me today.

    Reply
  19. The Reds need pitching. I don’t understand the urge to trade Harvey that most of you have. Sure he will be expensive, but if the Reds can’t afford him then we are doomed to many many years of last place finishes. Building a winner with prospects is a fantasy.

    Reply
    • He’s a free agent. Unless he is extended then he is gone at the end of the year. He most likely isn’t going to sign an extension, especially with Boras as an agent. If the Reds can get anything of value for him then trade him and then sign him in the off season if they really want him. Building a winner with prospects is exactly what the Astros and Cubs did. evidently fantasy is reality

      Reply
    • I agree with you. This team as it stands isn’t that far off. I don’t understand the constant trade talk on here. This team should be buyers not sellers.

      Reply
      • The Reds are not making the playoffs this year. Harvey signing with someone else does not help the Reds next year. There is absolutely no argument for keeping Harvey if someone is willing to trade for him. With Iglesias or Gennett you could advocate they will help the team compete in 19.

        The Reds are not buyers or sellers. They should look at every opportunity to improve the team in 2019 and beyond. They become buyers in 2019 or 2020 if the actions between now and then put a playoff contender on the field.

        Reply
    • We’d like to keep him if he keeps the stuff he had today, but this is the Reds we’re talking about. They don’t sign guys with pinpoint 96 mph fastballs and darting sliders. They sign guys that haven’t been good in 4-5 years like Arroyo or Jason Marquis. Perhaps things will change….who knows? They will get Mesoraco off the books. They should move Billy’s 4.6 mil. It might make sense to trade Iggy as well. It looks like Harvey will get the Cubs & Cards on the road. That could be big for him and the Reds?

      The Mets are terrible and old and need to make some deals. They’ve gotten some inquires about Zack Wheeler. I saw him hit 99 mph the other day. He had a 3.26 era & 1.14 whip in June. Another guy like Harvey thats been hurt quite a bit but he could be worth a flyer. He’ll be 29 in May….maybe someone’s Charlie Morton?

      Reply
      • They signed guys like Hernandez and Hughes to create a solid bullpen. They traded a washed up backup catcher for what’s becoming a solid starter. They acquired a reserve catcher that can actually hit for nothing. Things have already changed.

        Reply
    • You can see the ace in Harvey’s last three games. He’s a bona fide #1 starter when healthy. I like him a lot. If it wasn’t for the rain delay yesterday, he was cruising. Unfortunately, last year of contract plus Boras as his agent probably doesn’t bode well for us. However, I’d at least try to keep him by offering him a two-year extension with heavy incentives. Show interest. Plus you make a positive statement to the current players.

      Reply
  20. First 81 games: 36-48
    Second 81 games: 2-1 (so far)
    Since May 1st: 29-26

    The rebuilding needs to stop so its time to start going for it in 2019 by acquiring pieces by the trade deadline and sign a couple of key FA in the offseason. The fans are chomping at the bit for the Reds to return to contention.

    – Harvey is a mirage for the team. Trade him and get the most you can get.
    – Iglesias is the best trade chip. The team needs to get the trade right – for multiple players including an MLB ready CF or young starting pitcher.
    – I think the team should keep Scooter, though the argument to trade him makes sense. But he’s still a young player who is proving himself to be a strong bat in the lineup. Perhaps he can be re-signed to a reasonable contract and moved to the outfield when Senzel is ready to be promoted.
    – Break the bank and sign Manny Machado in the offseason. The team can’t take Votto’s presence in the lineup for granted. The team needs to bring another cornerstone franchise player for years to come to complement the other cornerstone player – E Suarez.
    – It looks like the team has 3 of 5 spots on the rotation solidified: Castillo, Disco, Mahle. Castillo will turn it around. The jury is still out on Romano. Sign a front-line, in his prime, SP in FA.

    There’s a little light at the end of the tunnel…

    Reply
    • In all honesty, I think that Romano is actually turning a corner here. He needs to improve and add a pitch, but his most recent appearances have been pretty good.
      I am beginning to think that Castillo is the one who is a mirage. He pitches Monday night against the Chisox. Let’s see if he gets through five innings without giving up a multi -run homer.

      Signing Manny Machado is not going to happen, but I would not be disappointed if they did sign Harvey to a contract, but I don’t think that is going to happen either
      We will see Homer again in the rotation, and watch him get pummeled again. I really want to see Bob Stephenson up here when Harvey gets traded.

      Whether Iglesias gets traded or not is kind of moot, but I do think that Jared Hughes and David Hernandez should be traded because those guys are well over 30, and relievers sometimes fail spectacularly at that age. The time to trade Iglesias was really last winter, but one never knows. He was less than impressive today (granted, he hasn’t had much work lately).

      Reply
      • By the way, l am a fellow David. Great name!

        Your points are well taken. I still think that the Reds need to try to get another cornerstone player in the fold – ideally it would Manny Machado – and make the fan base really excited about the team’s trajectory. The left side of the infield would be the best in MLB. You may right about Castillo. He may be a flash in the pan. At this moment, I believe his struggles have to do with throwing the big mistake pitch. He’s been scouted, and now he has to adjust. I think he can and will. About the relievers, trades would be the way to get the most value out of them. It just seems that the team has so many holes to fill.

        Reply
  21. again, nobody was at the game today. we reds “fans” deserve the team we get.

    Reply
    • The Reds are currently 25th out of 30 teams in attendance. They average 20,268 fans per game, which is about 48% capacity. But to be fair, while the team has been playing well recently, the average Cincinnatian probably isn’t aware of it and lost interest for the season when they were in the middle of the 3-18 start. Even just a casual glance at the standings will show you a last place team that’s 12 games under .500. We die-hard fans can see the buzz building about this team, and once it starts translating consistently onto the field, the casual fans should come back.

      But if you want to see something really sad, look at Cleveland. 1st in the AL central, but only 22nd in attendance. Averaging 21,508 fans per game, or about 50% capacity. I remember the days when the Jake had the longest sellout streak in all of MLB. Apparently, that’s a distant memory now.

      I’m not sure what the problem is with the two Ohio teams that they aren’t connecting with their fan bases, but Cincinnati is at least kind of understandable since they’ve been one of the worst teams in the league for 5 years now. Cleveland, I can’t explain what’s going on up there.

      Reply
      • As far as Cleveland is concerned, I suspect that it can be explained by one name: LeBron.

        Right now, the Cavs -own- the city. It will be interesting to see if this changes next season with LeBron’s move to the Lakers.

        Reply
      • Many factors involved and I am basing on my opinion. In the mid 90’s Cleveland had a brand new stadium with a rejuvenated downtown, an exciting roster after 40 years of bad/mediocre teams in an era when families could still attend more than 1 game of year. Since that era, the population of Greater Cleveland has decreased with many moving to the Carolinas. Also have to consider because it is more difficult for family of four to attend more than 1 Indians game a year and many have to travel anywhere between 20-50 miles on average, families would rather attend Akron Rubberducks or Lake County Captain games because of affordability and Minor League baseball is catered toward families and is a great family experience. Lastly the Indians, except for a period in early aughts and early 10’s, have been in contention and have made the playoffs but have had good to very good but not great teams that fans are hesitant to get behind due to having their hopes snuffed out by BOS or NYY like in the past. They had a nice run in 2007 and 2 years later half that roster was traded (Martinez, Sabathia, Lee) or part of core production declined (Sizemore). They have done a really good job in past few years with signing core players to team friendly contracts and do have about another 2-3 year window to compete (Carrasco, Bauer FA in 2021) (Kluber, Lindor FA in 2022) and (Ramirez FA 2024). Seems like the Indians and even the Cavs teams suffer from bad timing in that their best teams seem to always coincide with dynasties (NYY in the 50’s & late 90’s and most likely now with this Yankee roster) or destiny teams like the Cubs & Braves in 95. Their best shot was 97 against Marlins and should have won that year.

        Reply
    • Low attendance does not mean low following. With TV broadcasts & digital streaming options, people may be choosing to stay in the AC-DVR-sofa comfort of their homes. What are the ratings for these?

      Nevertheless, sports franchises are not children but business entities. They should not be supported by the fans’ hard earned money, when they do not put or try to put a real good product. A sliver of success during the season does not yet deserve the fans’ attendance. The onus is on the ownership, as they promised when they first bought the team, to put a real good product on the field. I don’t think they have tried hard enough to do that.

      Reply
  22. It keeps being said that we should trade Harvey and to not expect much in return.Then we should go out and sign a FA front of the rotation SP.
    Im thinking after watching Harvey pitch like a top of the rotation starter for the past few starts that if he continues pitching well,to keep him and sign him to a 2 yr with an option yr contract.He cant ask for the moon and if he does so be it,let him walk.This is all predicated on him not being a clubhouse cancer,which doesnt appear to be the case.He has shown himself to be coming back to being an all star starter.At this point he is the most professional and best pitcher we have in the rotation.He has low pitch counts,rarely has walked batters,and appears to be exactly what I would hope to sign as a FA.No one as good as he is pitching now would sign to pitch in GABP for the Reds.
    His professionalism really stands out to me.

    Reply
    • Again I agree but most fans have bought into the “small market” point of view of trading him for prospects just because Harvey will be a FA. Why is signing him so out of the question? Or any other FA who might help this team win? Trading only for prospects means a continuous state of rebuilding. This team has shown it can compete. They have dug themselves out of a HUGE hole and if they continue to play well they even could play themselves into playoff contention THIS YEAR. The time is now if this franchise wants to have a winner. But if the same small market mentality continues and trades are made for prospects instead of proven players then it shows me the ownership/FO aren’t interested in winning. Instead they are only interested in the bottom line.

      Reply
      • They’re 10 games back of the 2nd wildcard with 7 teams between them and Philly. That’s not likely. On the positive side…no reason why 2019 can’t be different, but they can’t force these guys to sign with the Reds? They can’t outbid the big boys so they have to play it smart and try to get teams to overpay for guys like Harvey or Iggy. You think Manny Machado is comng to Cincy?

        Reply
      • It has been repeatedly pointed out that he is a free agent with almost zero percent chance of signing an extension. Signing a two year extension for Harvey is not something that makes sense. This is a guy who is approaching his only chance ever to sign that huge contract all of his peers got. That type of contract, like what Bailey got, is exactly the thing the Reds cannot afford to do because a guy pitched three good games. Trading Harvey does not remove the Reds ability to sign him in the off season. I don’t know why you think trading him prevents the Reds from signing him. The Yankees traded Chapman for the top infield prospect in the game and then signed him as a free agent. If the Reds want Harvey they need to be the highest bidder this off season regardless of which uniform he is wearing at the end of the season.

        Reply
        • I think the comment was that the Reds cannot within the rules cut a deal with Harvey now, to the effect that he would be traded but that he would be committed to the Reds in 2019 and beyond for $X million. Some other poster had previously hinted at such an arrangement.

          There is no question that the Reds could trade him now, and then resign him via a separate transaction in the off season, like Chapman and the Yankees.

          Another twist is the possibility of a post-deadline trade, up to August 31, if Harvey clears waivers, as happened with Justin Verlander last year. It may prove hard to pull off, given teams’ ability to block such trades via waiver claims.

          I expect Harvey to be traded in late July, to a National League West team, for about an AA-level minor-league pitching prospect. The Dodgers and Giants both have no restrictions on their international signings, but have about $1 million less than the Reds to use. I think that the Reds trade Harvey and some international money to teams like the Dodgers, which could net them a very good prospect. They’d better hurry, though, if they are going to do that.

          Reply
          • The comment was the Reds should not trade him and instead sign him, which is not something that is mutually exclusive. No one is suggesting the Reds sign a secret agreement that allows them to trade Harvey with the promise he signs with the Reds this winter. The suggestion is that he is not traded at all, I assume because they think we can get some sort of preferential treatment from Harvey by keeping him. This is not a situation like Scooter, who is from the area and wants to be here or a guy who owns a home and wants to retire a Red. I am sure he is grateful the Reds gave him a chance, but he was going to get a chance with someone other than the Mets after refusing to go to the minors. The Reds just happened to trade for him, he didn’t choose to come to Cincinnati and his feelings won’t be hurt if he is traded

    • A lot should be happening in Redsland in the coming month. I doubt the signing of Harvey will be a part of that activity, but it could happen in a two year deal with options. He would only be in his early thirties at that time which for a pitcher can be his best years. Harvey has been low key in Cincy in contrast to the hub bub with the Mets, and he seems to have his career back on track. We’ll see how it works out.

      Reply
  23. Dilson Herrera is now officially ready to join the big club. After yesterday’s game, Herrera is slashing .299/.369/.471. That works out to a cool .840 OPS at AAA. This is the player the Reds hoped to receive in the Bruce trade. The kicker for his qualification to join the big club came last night when Herrera went 3-5 w/ 1-HR, 1-R & 4-RBI. Yes, the HR was a 2 out grand slam.

    The only problem is that Herrera is limited to 2B & 3B defensively and realistically just 2B. Unless and until the Reds resolve Scooter Gennett’s status I doubt we see Herrera on the 25-man roster, but I have to think that other clubs are noticing the long-time prospect with shoulder problems is again playing healthy and ready for the show.

    Reply
    • Sure would be nice to see both of these guys in the same lineup at GABP and wearing the wishbone C for 6-7 years.

      2018 @ AAA => .299/.369/.471/.840 in 196 PA Dilson Herrera
      2018 @ AAA => .310/.378/.509/.887 in 193 PA Nick Senzel

      Reply
    • I think Dilson Herrera would look good in a Cleveland Indians uniform playing 2B and hitting in front of Jose Ramirez.
      Dilly-Dilly.

      Reply
  24. Given his injury history, I’m not sure Harvey has been healthy long enough to warrant anything more than a 1 year deal w/ an option…..2 years at best. I mean, Arrieta stagnated on the open market most of the offseason. Teams are much more suspicious of guys like Harvey nowadays.

    More than anything, what he needs is an opportunity to build up innings in a low pressure setting. The Reds are ideal for that. I don’t think a short extension is out of the realm of possibility.

    Reply
  25. Don’t throw caution to the wind as June was the easiest month on the Reds schedule until they get to September. There is a tougher month on the schedule on the horizon than what April and May were.
    It has been a very nice stretch that the Reds have been on. After this Chicago White Sox series, a real big test comes with 9 away games vs. top teams in Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, and the St. Louis Cardinals. The recent 3 game road trip to Atlanta is somewhat encouraging. But this 9 game road trip is going to show what kind of mettle the Reds are made of. It won’t make or break their season, but it will be a big measuring stick for the rest of the season.
    After this series with the White Sox, the Reds will have had 19 games out of their last 27 games played at home. So far the Reds are 15-9 in that span with 3 to go against the White Sox. They only had a 5 game road trip and a 3 game road trip in that span, with the Reds 5-3 in those away games.
    Beware that light at the end of the tunnel. It may be the freight train called The Schedule. August’s schedule is tougher than April was. They have 28 games in August with 24 games against contenders. The Reds have 4 vs. WAS, 3 vs. ARZ, 3 vs. CLE, 3 vs. SF, 6 vs. MIL, 4 vs. CHC, and 1 vs. STL. The only non-contenders in August are 1 vs. DET and 3 vs. NYM.
    July’s schedule is about as tough as May’s was, but August is going to be a bear. The renewed enthusiasm is nice, but expectations should be tempered with another very tough month ahead in August. The grind in August could be very tough on the young starting pitchers as they themselves will start to run out of gas from the long season. Or it could be the month that the starting pitchers get over that hump and grow up by leaps. This upcoming 9 game road trip and the month of August are going to be big barometers on where exactly the rebuild is actually at.

    Reply
    • In August, Arizona, Cleve. SF and 3 of the games with Milwaukee are at home which should bode well.

      A big ??? is what the Reds team will look like in terms of who is gone and whether any of the acquisitions come directly to the Reds MLB club or those spots are filled by call ups.

      With Senzel out of action the only possible position call up which excites me is Dilson Herrera. Maybe Blandino or Dixon will be getting more playing time.

      However, I’m guessing we will see BobSteve or Cody Reed, perhaps both, or an acquisition in the rotation. I don’t think they will go that way with Lorenzen or Garrett during the season, especially if a couple of relievers are dealt.

      Reply
  26. Over the last month or so the comparison that keeps popping into my mind with regards to this Reds team is the 2012 Pirates who bedeviled the 2012 Reds all season long even as the Reds marched to a 97 win season while the Pirates finished at 79-83.

    Yes the 2012 Reds went 11-7 versus those Pirates; but that’s just a 2 game swing from .500. But in 2013 the Pirates won 94 games to the Reds 90 with the season series between the 2 teams flipping to an 11-8 edge in favor of the Pirates.

    Reply
  27. Outfielder Avi Garcia is coming in tonite with the White Sox. He hit .330 last year with 18 hrs. I thought he’d look good in a Reds uniform until I looked his stats over…..zero walks in 115 atbats this year! Zero? Peraza in full hack mode could never even pull that off?

    Reply
  28. Steve, I believe you misread Heyman’s tweet RE: India. He’s saying that slot value is $5.9MM, but we don’t know how much he signed for (bonus unknown), not that he signed for slot value of $5.9MM.

    Reply
    • Heyman’s tweet was somewhat obtuse or my understanding of the system is incorrect. As I understand it, whatever a guy signs for is the “bonus”, be that below slot, at slot or above slot. Then he gets assigned to some team and collects some pittance of a minor league salary unless and until the time he gets on the MLB roster and is elevated to the MLB minimum level.

      Reply

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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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Titanic Struggle Recap

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