The consensus among both those who run and follow the Reds seems nearly unanimous. The Reds can be playoff contenders as soon as 2019 if the team can make a significant improvement to the starting pitching rotation. Reds President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams has publicly declared he is looking to upgrade his starting pitching and ready to spend money and talent to secure one or more impact starters, perhaps as soon as the looming trade deadline.

But what if the price for impact starting pitching on the open market turns out to be greater than the Reds can or are willing to pay in dollars or talent? Are there current internal options for 2019 besides sitting back and hoping for health and improvement from the current group incumbents?

Two Strong Internal 2019 Rotation Addition Candidates

Michael  Lorenzen and Robert Stephenson are two pitchers who might be able to provide the kind of jump start the Reds rotation needs for 2019.  Both already have limited MLB starting experience; and, both have shown in their performances to date this season that they could be ready to step into a starting role and make an immediate  positive impact.

Working out of the Reds bullpen this year, Michael Lorenzen has compiled a better than league average ERA and FIP, no easy feat for a reliever who can see a season’s figures ballooned by a single meltdown performance. Lorenzen pitches like a starter, making use of his entire portfolio of pitches. He has mastered the art of pitching an inning, sitting in the dugout then going back out to the mound, twice pitching 4 innings and on two other occasions 3 innings to go along with seven other appearances of greater than a single inning.

The Reds felt Lorenzen was good enough as a starting pitcher prospect to spend the #38 overall pick in the June 2013 draft on him. 2019  could be the time they cash in on that choice. And of course Lorenzen as a starting pitcher would also pay the dividend of giving the Reds an additional quality bench player on the days between his starts.

In Robert Stephenson, the Reds have another prior first round draft choice (#27 overall in June 2011) lurking in the shadows. Despite compiling a league average range FIP of 4.22 and outstanding 3.30 ERA in 10 MLB starts from late July 2017 to the end of the 2017 season, Stephenson found himself consigned to AAA this spring following a poor showing in 2018 spring training. After a mediocre beginning to his AAA season, Stephenson has seemingly found his stride. In his last 14 starts through July 24, he has compiled an ERA/FIP of 3.09/3.53. Most importantly given Stephenson’s history, in this span, he has cut his walk rate to just under 10% while striking out 29.7% of the hitters he has faced. Throw in a WHIP of 1.14 and an HR/9 rate of less than 1; and, what is there not to like?

All that’s left to learn is how close Stephenson can come to matching these numbers at MLB. Based on his 2017 MLB starting experience it is not unreasonable to believe he could immediately emerge as at least a league average starter on the rise. The numbers say this is not a commodity currently found in the Reds 2018 rotation.

Are There Other Internal Rotation Options For 2019?

The answer here is probably not, at least at the season’s beginning. Amir Garrett has struggled trying to extend past an inning coming out of the Reds pen. Cody Reed has been unable to find consistency as a starter at AAA. Brandon Finnegan has converted to relieving at AAA and pitched inconsistently in that role. However one guy worth keeping a close eye on is Keury Mella, ranked #12 on the RedsMinorLeagues.com prospect list

Mella was seen as the original centerpiece in the same deal that also brought Adam Duvall to the Reds in return for Mike Leake. Duvall’s emergence at MLB has somewhat flipped that perspective; but, now  the 24 year old right hander appears to be on the rise and could eventually flip those perceptions back the other way. Mella who was recently promoted to AAA is on the Reds 40 man roster and in fact was called up over the weekend to serve as an emergency long man out of the Reds bullpen but has not seen action.  

Another pitcher to watch for perhaps as early as mid 2019 is right hander Tony Santillan, currently #4 on the RML prospect rankings linked above. Santillan was promoted to AA at about the same time Mella was moved up to AAA. Santillan (#49 overall pick June 2015), another rightie, is barely 21 years old; but, he blew through class A+ in half a season. If he can position himself to start 2019 at AAA, Santillan could conceivably make the big jump to MLB later in 2019. Or like Luis Castillo in 2017, Santillan might start 2019 in AA but get on a run and find himself promoted to MLB from AA.

The Wrap

Reds fans all  hope Dick Williams can deliver on his stated intent of upgrading the Reds starting pitching by bringing in a couple solid middle of the rotation or better starters for 2019. However should he be less than successful in these efforts, all need not be lost for the Reds in 2019. They appear to have two viable internal candidates who could step in from day 1 of 2019 and provide the same type of positive impact on the rotation and at least one other quality starting pitcher prospect who looks to be on path for a mid 2019 debut if needed. So, take a deep breath, sit back and dial into Twitter to see what happens between now and the trade deadline. That’s what I’ll be doing.

Data courtesy of Fangraphs.com and RedsMinorLeagues.com

 

 

 

 

93 Responses

  1. Colorado Red

    Until Robert can quit walking too many people at AAA, I am not sure he will be good in the majors.
    I am not bullish on the other options either.

    • Indy Red Man

      BobSteve’s last 50 innings he’s allowed 31 hits and 19 walks (1.00 whip). That’s pretty good! 3.4 walks per 9 isn’t great, but its not that bad either! He’s earned another shot! He’ll probably be a 5 inning guy with the walks and the pitch count, but half the big league pitchers are 5 inning guys now. He just needs to keep the ball in the park.

      • Jim Walker

        So much of this BobSteve debate comes down to what is luck related versus what is skill related. When he beats the outcome metrics to the good side time and again, at some point a person has to just say this guy is one of the blessed that has the stuff to do it and ride him until and unless he melts down.

    • Kap

      Feel like You and I are the only ones who believe that

  2. Bill

    The problem with all the what if scenarios is that has been the scenario for the last two years. This year it was if Bailey, Disco, Finnegan are healthy. If Stephenson or Reed finally figured it out. If Castillo becomes the ace of the rotation. if Mahle and Romano make the roster. If Lorenzen becomes a starter.

    We are right back where we started. The team could be really good if Bailey has finally recovered, although many have written him off. If Castillo, Mahle, and Romano have learned from this year and take a step forward. If DIsco continues to pitch well. If Stepehson gets a chance. Convert Lorenzen to a starter. If all that happens you have more than enough pitching even without signing a FA

    On the other hand if Baliey’s days of success are over, if the young guys repeat this years below average performance, if Stephenson can’t throw strikes, if Lorenzen is better as a reliever; the team will be a repeat of this year.

    Hopefully it is somewhere in the middle where a few of those guys are ready to be above average, someone steps up to be the ace, and a veteran FA is signed to round things out

    • Jim Walker

      I do not strongly disagree with you. The organization has seemed reluctant to really go all in. They haven’t spent the resources on quality imports; but neither did they really tie their future to the young. Instead they frittered away the 2016 season on 4A career minor league starters until nearly the All Star break. Then even this year they put 60% of their rotation chips down on guys coming back from long term injuries until the injuries forced them to “move on”.

      We’ve seen a bit of the same thing on the position side. They been comparatively slow to bring on Winker. Then in the last 2-3 weeks we’ve seen in Ervin and now Williams they may have been sitting on OF talent which represents as good or better all around skills as any of the incumbents not named Winker. And by the way, remember the “other Herrera”, Rosell? He’s now playing OF every day for KC and OPSing at the mid 700 level as a rookie.

      • greenmtred

        I like Winker, Jim, but all around skills are not something I’d ever accuse him of having.

      • Jim Walker

        Understand what you are saying. Question is what overall skill set does team see having most value. Let’s just take Ervin v. Winker for example. Think nobody will argue against statement that Ervin runs bases better and is better in all facets of defense. Let’s say power/ slugging is wash between the 2; and Winker out OBP’s Ervin 410 to 365. Lefty/ righty bat aside, which one is the best all around player to have?

      • Ben

        Pop both players into 50 random “likely” lineups/roles, and each will come out ahead at least 20 times. They’re both probably good enough to hold their own in, but not carry, a 4-man outfield rotation. So it just comes down to who is in the other 7 positions.

        If Billy Hamilton is in center, I might prefer Winker. If Scott Schebler is in center, I might prefer Ervin.

      • greenmtred

        Interesting question, Jim, and the answer is TBD, but another factor is that Ervin can play all three outfield spots.

    • greenmtred

      Hard to disagree, but pitching in general and young pitchers in particular come with questions. The Reds have been playing well for awhile now, and the good stretch coincides with improved pitching (some of it, admittedly, from Harvey, who may be a lame duck). Castillo yesterday was using his change more effectively by keeping it in the strike zone (per Chris Welsh), and Romano has been better lately because he’s keeping the ball down. They’re still ifs, of course, because they haven’t sustained the improvement over many games, but the signs are encouraging.

      • da bear

        It helped Castillo the Phillies are a bunch of free swingers, they chased his change out of the strike zone. Perhaps Casalli calling the pitches instead of Barnhart also had something to do with Castillo’s success?

      • lwblogger2

        I found it interesting that Bailey was pitching to Casalli and not Barnhart for his last start.

      • Jim Walker

        To my eye Casali has been as good or even better receiver of late than Barnhart. part of it is his size. He is so stable back there yet covers all the areas that need to be covered, makes the blocks and scoops, gives the umps good looks without exaggerated framing efforts. Don’t recall seeing him throw though

      • lwblogger2

        He has a nice arm Jim. Not as good as Tucker’s in my opinion but strong and gets rid of the ball fairly quickly. Haven’t looked at Baseball Sevant’s POP numbers in a long time though and never looked up Casalli.

  3. Jbrat22

    Was looking at Cody reed’s numbers yesterday, and he seems to be steadily progressing. It seems like he’s been around forever, but he just turned 25 in May. Here is what I found:

    Cody Reed in AAA as a starter this year: 15 G, 87 IP, 41 ER, 85 SO, 28 BB. That’s a 4.24 ERA and over a 3:1 SO/BB ratio.

    Take out one disastrous outing where he gave up like 8 ER in the first inning, then settled down and you get 14 G, 80 IP, 33 ER, 77 SO and 25 BB (3.71 ERA, 8.66 SO/9 and 2.8 BB/9 – still over a 3:1 SO/BB ratio).

    Comparing his numbers to last year:
    2017 AAA: 106.1 IP, 4.31 xFIP, 8.63 K/9, 5.16 BB/9, .59 HR/9
    2018 AAA: 91 IP, 3.55 xFIP, 8.7 K/9, 2.87 BB/9, 1.29 HR/9

    I never understood the “Lorenzen as a starter” crowd, and how worked up people get over it. I guess I could be convinced, but the guy has carried a 1.3 WHIP and is giving up nearly 4.0 BB/9 over the past two years. He was a league-average reliever last year after a hot start

    • Indy Red Man

      Well Lorenzen’s ball has movement and he gets groundballs. This last outing were his first 2 HRs allowed of the season. He’s still a work in progress. Last year was frustrating because it looked like he was changing his mechanics every other outing? I’m still very high on as a pitcher & hitter!

    • Jim Walker

      Reed’s last 2 performances have been among his best of the season. Prior to them he was on a run of 7 games where his FIP was greater than 5.
      I’m leery of xFIP where he is concerned because he basically broke the stat when during his MLB starting look in 2016 because his HR/FB rate was much above league average.

      • lwblogger2

        Right. I’m not a big fan of xFIP because it normalizes HR/FB rate. Well, maybe those numbers get inflated when you’re giving up lots of hard-hit fly-balls.

  4. Jeff Reed

    Lorenzen is a viable candidate for the starting staff who can probably manage at least five strong innings most outings. I think his real talent is as a hitter and outfielder, but that opportunity has probably passed. The question is can Stevenson hold down the walks? The Reds should bring him up to find out for the rest of the season.

    • bouwills

      I believe Lorenzen has settled into a niche role for the Reds where he goes in for a couple innings & an AB or 2. I don’t see him as a serious candidate for sp in 2019. I’d hope Stephenson would get a promotion into the Reds rotation as soon as this week. Reds starting pitching has made some headway this year & is becoming competitive (just ask the Phillies). I see no reason for the Reds to spend a lot of money or prospects on sp yet. Stay the course, let’s see what Castillo, Mahle, Romano, Stephenson, & DeSclafani can do (& what Bailey perhaps cannot do) the rest of this season. It would still be nice to find a lefty to add to the rotation though.

  5. RedsFanForLife

    Lorenzen as a starter means he gets 2, maybe 3 ABs every 5th day. Plus, he can pinch hit on the other days with regularity. Mella also pretty decent hitter. I’m hoping for ST 2019, the Reds pair up starters, so that there is great competition for regular season starting jobs. Bailey, Disco, Castillo, Mahle, Romano are probably in the lead and are paired up with Stephenson, Lorenzen, Reed, Mella and Davis or Lopez, maybe even Santillan. They rotate starting with the other finishing up games. Towards the end of ST, the 5 with the edge start at Goodyear Ballpark with the others starting in AAA games at the complex. Whoever loses the competition, fills bullpen roles or starts in Louisville to begin 2019. Maybe trade of Harvey, Duvall, BHam bring in starter prospect to add to the competition.

  6. Klugo

    Upgrading the staff without selling the farm would go a long ways towards creating a nice, sustainable winning culture for the immediate future. We have a nice crop of young prospects. Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to keep that mostly intact while still contending? Is it doable? Maybe. I hope so. But right now, I don’t think we have any top-shelf staring pitchers until you get all the way down to Greene. We have a lot of 3-5’s. I like Lorenzen as a starter, not only because I think he has the stuff, but because he’s good at the plate, too. But he’s a 3-5 caliber starter. So is Disco, Castillo, Mahle, BobSteve, and maybe Romano; although I envision Romano as a good bullpen piece. I don’t think Lorenzen will get a real shot at starting until the Reds move on from Bailey and/or one or more of the above. Of course, by taking Lorenzen out of the pen, you’re kinda stealing from the poor to give to the poor. But I think we have a lot of exciting prospects for an excellent pen, such as Reed, Finnegan, Garrett, Romano,along with maybe Iglesias.
    So, how do we get that #1 or #2 this team desperately needs to contend while keeping the farm healthy? I don’t know, but that’s why I don’t make the big bucks. But I’d start with Scooter, BHam, Duvall. Maybe Iglesias. And then use the FA market to my advantage.

    • greenmtred

      The Lorenzen-as-good-hitter narrative needs to be tempered by the fact that he has 14 plate appearances this year. He might be good, but nobody will know for awhile. Other teams probably don’t even have a very well-defined strategy for pitching to him, yet.

  7. Nick Carrington

    Nice, Jim. Stephenson’s command still concerns me, but he really has dominated AAA hitters the last few months. It’s time to see if he can use his filthy offspeed/breaking stuff to consistently get outs for the Reds.

    I’ve already written about the pros and cons of Lorenzen’s pitching career/season a few weeks ago. The walks are definitely a concern. But I found this interesting: Lorenzen has five appearances where he has gone more than two innings (16 2/3). In those appearances:

    3.24 ERA
    22% K%
    9% BB%

    Those are good numbers in extended outings.

    Two of those ER came on a ball that hit off of the heel of Billy Hamilton’s glove. One other run was given up after Lorenzen was removed from the game with 2 outs and a guy on 1st (Lorenzen had just given up his first hit on the 9th batter he faced, a ground ball single).

    Three of his six walks came against the the first three batters he faced in the appearance. Small sample but I wonder if his control settles in after facing a few guys.

    • Indy Red Man

      One thing about groundball pitchers too…is that they can be more effective as they tire a little bit. Lorenzen would come out of the pen firing 96+ last year and got smacked around pretty good. The ball sinks more when a little velocity is taken off of it.

  8. David

    As an aside, today or tomorrow we should see a trade of Matt Harvey for…..something.

    I am going to go out on a limb here and bet that Harvey DOES NOT get traded at the interleague trading deadline. I think the Reds will ask for too much, or not even try, and so nothing gets done.
    Riggleman gets to play out the string and “make some noise” in the Central Division with 56 games left.

    Ditto, no trade of David Hernandez or Jared Hughes. Or Iglesias. Or Duvall or Hamilton. Or Gennett.

    The Reds will essentially do nothing and stand pat. Is this good or bad?

    Imagination. The Reds have none.

    if they don’t trade Harvey, they will get nothing for him if he walks (I would if I were him). As a team that traded for him during the season, they can’t make a Qualifying Offer and get a compensation draft pick if they lose him. In many ways, this reminds us all of Zach Cozart, doesn’t it?

    • big5ed

      They will trade Harvey, at worst by August 31 but in all likelihood in the next 30 hours.

      I see no real point in trading Hernandez, Hughes or Iglesias, all of whom have favorable contracts. It isn’t complicated: if you have a player under a good contract, then keep the good contract, especially if you figure to compete within 1-2 years. Besides, H&H would not fetch anything more than a B-grade prospect; why trade a good MLB pitcher with a good contract for a B-level prospect? That is also pretty much true of Iglesias, but if a team like the Astros is willing to trade one of their top prospects for him and Hamilton, then maybe they should do it.

      Duvall has virtually no trade value. They would be lucky to get a minor-league batboy for him.

      Gennett has a bum shoulder, which every team already knows. He is a mediocre fielder at best; he can’t throw; he isn’t very fast; and his peripherals suggest that his offensive production will regress to the norm. He has very little trade value right now, and the Reds in my judgment are prudent to wait until the off-season for a sober evaluation of the future of Gennett and Senzel and Herrera.

      • David

        I agree that Duvall and Hamilton have no trade value.

        Gennett, because of his injury and poor fieidling prowess also does not have that much value.

        I would keep Iglesias anyways.

        But these have been constant memes by some commenters here regarding what the Reds should do at the Interleague trading deadline. I think there is a faction inside the Front Office that wants to keep Harvey, and try for the best possible ending to the season (wins/losses).

        I am just skeptical of the Reds pulling off a trade of Harvey, because they probably aren’t getting much offered for him. I guess we shall all see soon.

      • greenmtred

        A trade of Harvey, in the absence of assurance that he’d sign a contract with the Reds, makes sense. Trades of a few other guys, depending upon the return (and I disagree that Duvall and Hamilton have no value) would make sense, but it really isn’t time to clean house now. The Reds are good, and Hernandez and Hughes could certainly be contribtors to TNGRT (the next good reds team, with g standing for great as circumstance dictates). Trading for a couple of good starters would either strip the Reds of a good deal of the strength they now have, or deplete the farm for years to come. And that assumes that there are a couple of good starters–a valuable commodity–available. Free agents and emerging talent seem to offer the best solution.

      • David

        Honestly, no contending team that would take any of these players in a trade is going to give up a “good” starting pitcher. That is the most valuable commodity for a contending team. Nobody contending has an excess. The most you might get is a AAA pitcher that might be ready for the Majors, that is not given a chance because of the thick of the Pennant Race.
        The Reds will get highly rated prospects, at most, at mid season. Trading in the off season is different, because then teams are thinking about restructuring their rosters and payroll.

      • Colorado Red

        Doubt that Harvey clears waivers after tomorrow.
        If they do not trade him in the 23 or so hours, we get zip again

      • Jim Walker

        He doesn’t have to make it all the way thru, just to somebody that really wants/ needs him. Then the Reds can cut their best deal with them versus pulling him back or letting him go for the waiver price. The worst case scenario is that somebody picks him as blocking maneuver and doesn’t have any interest in acquiring him.

  9. Indy Red Man

    Alex Blandino/knuckleball:) MLB always needs a few knuckleballers. Its fun!

    • greenmtred

      I might consider trying out, but my knuckler was straight as a string. Probably wouldn’t get MLB hitters out?

      • Okla REd

        My knuckleball and fast ball look eerily similar is the problem

  10. jreis

    the pitching situation for the reds has been so frustrating. over the past 3 years not ONE of the young pitchers has taken the bull by the horns and become an ace or even a solid number 2 pitcher.
    Think about it. this includes reed, Finnegan, Castillo, lamb, disco garret, Lorenzen, mahle, Romano, cingrani.

    if you think about it over the past 3 years our best pitchers have been veteran free agent/trade acquisitions in Strailey in 2016, Feldman in 2017 and Harvey in 2018.and maybe that is the direction we go. There are a lot of these veteran guys out there that we can go after for relatively cheap.

    Scary to think that over the past 40 years the reds have developed only two aces out of their farm system, Soto and Cueto

    • Indy Red Man

      Disco had a 3.28 era over 20 starts in 2016. Castillo was a solid #2 last year. Its not easy pitching in gabp. It can almost have the old Coors field effect!

      For example…the other night Disco gives up a 2 run HR about 6 inches over the short wall in right and then Suarez boots a ball (called it a hit?) that led to the 3rd run. Riggleman yanks him in the 5th?

      Bottom line though….they have no aces at this point. Maybe Castillo becomes a 2 and Disco/Mahle become 3s? They need someone (or 2-3) from outside the organization desperately! I think Zack Wheeler could be the guy if they stepped up and got him!

      • da bear

        From my point of view the Disco ‘HR’ given up was not a home run, the kid in the stands reached out and grabbed a ball that would have hit the wall. The review guys are hesitant to overrule but the trajectory of the ball was pretty clearly such that the ball wasn’t going over the wall. Should have been ruled a ground rule double due to fan interference.

      • Colorado Red

        DA,
        Saw the replay and the play.
        Did not think there would be enough to overturn.
        It looked real close.
        Never the less, you could be right.

      • VaRedsFan

        I believe it would have been a homer. As the ball hit the glove, the glove dropped several inches below the level of the wall, giving the illusion that it would have hit the wall. Definitely something that can’t be overruled.

      • Dewey Roberts

        Castillo won 3 games in 2017. That is not a solid #2. He has not done it yet, but he has shown flashes of brilliance.

      • lwblogger2

        I don’t know if I’d give too much for Wheeler. He’s another high-injury risk guy and the Reds would only have him the rest of this year and next year. I want more team control if I’m going to give up prospects for a pitcher.

  11. big5ed

    I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect one of Stephenson, Reed or Lorenzen to develop into a good starter next year. Stephenson has now done all he can do at AAA and is ready.

    I am higher on Reed than virtually anybody else on this board is. In his last two starts, interrupted by about 3 days in Cincinnati, he’s thrown 11.1 innings, with 1 BB and 16 Ks, giving up 8 hits and 2 runs. Tall lefties sometimes take longer to harness their stuff than others. The Reds have been patient with him, and I think it will pay off.

    As for Lorenzen, I think he needs to trust his athleticism and stuff, and be content with a repeatable 94-mph fastball. His mechanics start getting out of whack when he goes max-effort. I can also see the Reds’ deciding to keep him in the bullpen.

    And yes, I’d encourage Blandino to work on that knuckler once his knee starts to get better. Why not have some fun with it? The 3-true-outcome type of hitters would tie themselves in knots trying to hit a knuckleball.

    • Keith

      I agree that it’s not unreasonable, but they can’t develop into reliable starters without MLB experience, which the franchise seems currently unwilling to give them. I think we’ll be in the same spot this spring we were last spring — lots of candidates, but not many major league tested and proven. Personally, I’d shut down Mahle and Romano, trade Harvey, and let Reed & Bob Steve pitch every 5th day for the rest of the year to see if their success is legitimate. I’d do the same with Lorenzen, but I think the organization stays status quo on Lorenzen.

      • citzen54

        Yup, Harvey needs to be moved so Stephenson and hopefully Reed can finally get some meaningful experience. The one reason I thought trading for Harvey was a bad move was because it hinders the development of high ceiling guys who are running out of options. At this point I don’t even care if the Reds get nothing back for Harvey.

      • sezwhom

        Harvey’s been our best SP since the trade. When Tucker says “I hope like hell that’s not the last time I catch him”, it tells me a lot.

      • lwblogger2

        I don’t think I’d shut down Mahle and Romano. Maybe Romano is better suited to the pen as a 2-pitch pitcher for the most part? Instead of a shutdown, see how he does out of the pen. Mahle I may eventually shut down but not yet. He has some innings room to work with. Not out of the question to send him down to AAA “to take some pressure” off him and let him work on what he needs to work on. It also would hold down service time some.

  12. Sliotar

    For better or worse, MBA-type analysis has taken over MLB, for the most part, just as it has many other industries.

    As such, someone inside the Reds front office should be asking this question:

    Assuming the offense produces the same next year, what percentage chance does a Bailey/DeSclafani/Mahle/Castillo/Lorenzen/Stephenson rotation (pick any 5 or try a 6-man setup) have of making the playoffs in 2019?

    IMO….maybe 25%, 1 in 3 at best.

    2 injury-prone dudes, negative WAR for both of them this season
    2 inconsistent but hopefully future stars
    2 newbies (basically) as regular rotation guys

    It probably is the better percentage play to try this and hope lightning strikes than to block some guys by overpaying for SP via free agency this winter.

    Then get farther up win curve next season, use Bailey $, post-buyout, to fill holes and start the window in 2020.

  13. Sliotar

    Additionally, using the “win curve” logic most MLB teams follow, the Reds are not in the same position as the Brewers and should not be positioning to go “all in” or similar.

    Milwaukee won 86 games last season, fully justifying signing Cain and trading for Yelich in the winter, as well as “going for it” with in-season trades now.

    Currently, IMO, the Reds are nowhere close to the trade-off of a Senzel or Greene, etc., to pick up 3-4 wins in 2019 vs. a clear window with much controllable talent starting in 2020 or 2021.

  14. Ron Payne

    The Reds need to use the rest of this season as an early spring training.
    This is the perfect time to see what you’ve got in players like Stephenson, Mella, Ervin, Herrera and Williams.
    If you have a better understanding of what you’ve got in-house by season’s end, then it becomes very clear what you need to do re: trades or free agency this winter.
    Stephenson deserves a shot and Ervin and Williams should get the majority of the playing time over Duvall and Hamilton.
    Don’t wait until March to try and figure things out.

    • VaRedsFan

      Didn’t BobSteve do this for like 13 starts at the end of last year? And he performed well, if I recall. But when you hand out free starts to Finnegan without him earning it, you stunt the growth of a better starter.

      • Jim Walker

        It was 10-11 starts late July through the end of the 2017 season.
        3.30 ERA; 4.22FIP That is essentially a league average FIP; but his xFIP was 4.98.

        The difference between FIP and xFIP is that FIP uses a pitcher’s actual HR/FB rate while xFIP substitutes the league average HR/FB rate. So, essentially a pitcher like RS who has a lower than average HR/FB rate is in a sense “penalized” for that on the assumption the number of fly balls that leave the park for HRs is essentially a matter of luck.

        Here is an xFIP explanation from MLB.com

        http://m.mlb.com/glossary/advanced-stats/expected-fielding-independent-pitching

  15. jim t

    Would not really have a issue with the reds signing Harvey to a one year bridge contract for next year. Really don’t think he will get a big multi year offer based off a half year production considering the health issues he is trying to overcome. If he would agree to a 1 year deal I would sign him up.

    Trade for Wheeler and the 5 starters could be:

    Wheeler
    Harvey
    Castillo
    Disco
    Mahle/Romano/Stephenson/Reed

    Bull Pen:
    Iggy
    Lorenzen
    Garrett
    Hernandez
    Hughes
    Peralta (if he can throw strikes)
    Add Romano if he doesn’t make the rotation.

    If we score like we have this year I believe this group could contend for the wild card next year.

    • David

      A one year deal would make a kind of sense. But I don’t think Harvey would go for that, unless it was 20 mill or more for one year, with some kind of mutual option for the following year. I don’t see the Reds or Harvey doing that.

      • Jim Walker

        I agree. To kick the can down the road for a year there would have to be a second year on option. The buyout probably has to get him to the AAV of the 2 years combined.

  16. WVRedlegs

    Nice work Jim. Here it is the end of July 2018 and the Reds are still sorting out their starting pitching. The process has been on-going since spring training of 2016. Many have been weeded out. But not much settled on. The waters are still as muddied as they have been.

  17. jim t

    One other thing. If I want to keep Gennet and he wants to stay here I do it after next year. I understand he will be a free agent but I truly believe you could still move him if you wanted at the deadline next year or still sign him as a unrestricted FA at the end of next year without giving up much value. As well as he is going there really isn’t a big market for him now.

    If I keep him, Senzel or Suarez has to play a corner outfield spot with Schebler playing CF with the corners being Winker and Suarez or Senzel in the one Winker isn’t playing. The one that doesn;’t play there goes to 3rd. if Gennet is moved Senzel plays 2nd. The following year if it appears we can not play Schebler in CF the better option between Siri and Trammel takes over.

    That means the team looks like this at the 8 position players

    Winker RF
    Votto 1b
    Suarez LF/3b
    Gennett 2B
    Senzel 3B/LF
    Schebler CF
    Peraza SS
    Barnhardt C

    • David

      I would think it would be more logical to play Senzel in the outfield, as he can run well, if that is the choice. I would not move Eugenio, plus he does not run as well. I think Senzel would probably make a good RF. He has a good arm. Winker is the weakest of the outfielders, and would play LF.

      But really, what do I know?

      • Ron Payne

        I agree with it. Senzel makes more sense than putting Suarez OR Scooter out there for the reasons you mentioned. Better speed than both and an arm equal to or better than Suarez and much better than Scooter.

      • lwblogger2

        I agree with everything except for maybe saying that Senzel’s arm is as good or better than Suarez’. The guy has a cannon. On the current team, as it stands right now, he probably has the best arm that isn’t taking the mound.

    • Ron Payne

      I like that lineup. Not much speed at the top, but a lot of good sticks.

  18. Mason Red

    My hope is the Reds open the cash box and bring in a couple of established starting pitchers. The track record of this franchise developing starting pitching isn’t very good.

    • Indy Red Man

      Zack Wheeler has a 3.20 era since June 1 over 70.3 ip with 23 walks and 63 Ks. He’s coming on pretty well. He’s the kind of guy that need! If they can’t develop an ace then build a staff of 3s with a very good offense/bullpen and they can compete!

      • Bill

        I have no doubt a team of number 3 starters can win with the current offense. I would just prefer that ace in the playoffs. Think back to Bumgarner against the Royals. Without him the Giants don’t win the WS.

  19. VaRedsFan

    Astros get their bullpen help from Toronto. Osuna. Toronto got Giles (yuck) and the Astros #10 prospect (yawn). I’m glad we kept our RP’s (so far). The returns have been mostly subpar…with Brad Hand bringing back the most.

    • lwblogger2

      Yeah, if that’s the kind of return that Iglesias could have brought back, I would say “no” … That said, he did serve a suspension and he isn’t quite as good as Iglesias.

  20. Old-school

    Glad to see India starting in Dayton. Greene has a had a nice year and Trammell has been outstanding. Friedl is doing well at AA and could be center field depth by 2020. Stay the course on youth position depth . Winker Schebler Senzel can get the job done. Trammell looks closer and Philip Ervin can a 3 position outfielder for depth.

    Hope the minors guys finish the last month + strong.

    • doofus

      India started at SS for his 3 games at Billings.

      • David

        All is proceeding as I have predicted. 😉

        Seriously, could you imagine India playing an adequate ML SS with his stick?

        Zowie!!

  21. bouwills

    Most of the teams that are anticipating post season play are looking for additional starting pitching. Practically all of the teams that will not make the playoffs do not have enough starting pitching now. The Reds are only locked into Bailey. They have options. They are not in dire straits when it comes to starters. Patience should be their ally.

  22. WVRedlegs

    The trade market just seems to be different this year. Contenders holding onto their top 5 prospects. No real blockbusters to speak about.
    The Reds standing pat isn’t unexpected. Very disappointing, but not unexpected. Something meaningful could happen tomorrow, but I am not holding my breath. The Reds front office doesn’t seem aggressive to sell some surplus for obvious needs. I don’t think they can spin their inactivity to most of the fan base. Some will still buy into the Reds front office’s old and tired excuse of we just couldn’t find the right match.
    Not ever advocating making a trade for the sake of making a trade, but there were a couple of moves they could have been more aggressive about. But as usual, they chose the stand pat method.
    Doesn’t look like the fans are buying into the higher attendance first, moves second excuse. They are not going to buy in to standing pat either.

    • Jim Walker

      IMO, it is not making a trade for the sake of making a trade to move BHam or Duvall to open outfield time for the likes of Ervin and Williams. Same with the Harvey situation.

      • WVRedlegs

        I agree. There were some things that could have been done, but were not.

    • George

      WV;

      “Doesn’t look like the fans are buying into the higher attendance first, moves second excuse.”

      This is the second remark about attendance increasing before new players are acquired, that I have seen lately. Is this an actual statement from the front office or an interpretation (tea leaves) from RLN posters or writers?
      I have been out of pocket more than I like, did I miss a Dick Williams statement???

      Thanks,

      • lwblogger2

        I think Williams made the statement in regards to taking on payroll. It was something along the lines of seeing how well attendence does throughout the rest of the year and go on from there.

  23. BigRedMike

    Rays might trade Archer, Padres and Pirates names are coming up. Rays are asking for a lot. Might be something the Reds should look at.

    Reds are a last place team and appear to be content. As others have noted, the Reds need pitching which teams are not going to give up at the trade deadline.

  24. old-school

    Multiple reports that Johnny Cueto needs Tommy John. His best days were as a Red but also now in the rear view mirror. This sort of book-ends the Homer Odyssey as neither player excelled past their 2010 -2014 windows of great pitching as Redlegs. Let Homer’s contract and Hamilton’ s contract and Scooters contract expire. Don’t sign players past 30 for 8 figure contracts. Draft Develop and maximize the age 25-30 window. Go young and stay with the program and be smart in FA. Good luck to Cueto.

    • lwblogger2

      I agree. This is especially true of pitchers!

    • WVRedlegs

      Now this is a surprise. To The Braves for RHP Lucas Sims, RHP Matt Wisler, and OF Preston Tucker.
      They got pitching.

  25. Indy Red Man

    Lucas Sims is in the mix now! 2.84 era at AAA with 83 Ks in 73 innings. He’s only 24 and a 1st rd pick! Wisler isn’t that bad either….he had his moments a few years ago with the Braves. Thats more then I thought they’d get for Duvall!

  26. Indy Red Man

    I think they must’ve liked what they’ve seen from Ervin this time! I thought Duvall was a nice fit w/Winker. He was ok vs lefties and better defensively, but Ervin is younger and more athletic. He can also play CF! Hopefully they’ll play Scheber at leadoff every day and Ervin in there somewhere!

    Sims must have some talent being a former 1st rounder. It will be nice to see him in a Reds uniform!

  27. Grand Salami

    Love them beefing up pitching at AAA level with guys who have real potential. Duvall was the odd man out. At 30 and with durability issues due for a healthy arbitration – the timing wasn’t bad.

    They got a lot of potential for him.

    • Sliotar

      Agree, Salami.

      Feels like a haul for the Reds for moving a guy out who really did not fit into the contention window plans.

      Also, this feels like the backup plan of trying to acquire Zach Wheeler, pitching with future control, just from a different place.

      I am beginning to doubt the Reds do much with free agency SPs this winter. There is a lot of organizational value/investment in all the AAA guys that have to be “sorted” into a winning MLB rotation.

    • Indy Red Man

      Looking at some of the recent starts for Sims with Gwinnett at AAA. He got rocked on July 28, but had a 2.15 era coming in. He had back to back starts on July 3 & 8th with 7ip, No runs, 2 hits and no walks. 11 Ks on 7/3 and 8 Ks on 7/8. Thats pretty impressive. No walks for 14 straight innings! Thats not something BobSteve or any of the other young guys could pull off!

      • Jim Walker

        Including the ones at MLB. Competition is a great thing if managed well

  28. doofus

    Pitching quantity is nice, but is there real quality? Perhaps a gem will be found.

  29. wkuchad

    We need a Redlegnation trading deadline thread!