Here’s my latest piece for Cincinnati Magazine. You’ve all heard the curious statement by Reds’ president of baseball operations Dick Williams about the “winning culture” around the Reds. I have a little different response to that quote, and that’s the focus of this week’s column. Here’s the conclusion:

And management needs to be doing everything necessary to ensure that the right pieces are in place for that culture to surround a team that can compete for a playoff spot next year and for the foreseeable future.

Should we give this current ownership/management team the benefit of the doubt? Not necessarily, and I’ve been very vocal in my criticisms when I think they’ve blundered. But Williams is correct: This is a team that can compete with the best teams going forward. A winning culture is beginning to creep into the clubhouse, onto the field, and into the stands.

And the Reds just told you that you should expect nothing less than winning baseball in the future. Now they need to deliver.

Read the entire piece.

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Join the conversation! 57 Comments

  1. Good thoughts, as usual. I tend to agree that:
    1. Williams is right, the culture has shifted.
    2. Certain people/writers created a kind of straw man argument by taking that statement and creating all different kinds of theories about what it means.

    The one thing I will disagree with, though, is that this team can be a playoff contender for the long term. Next year? Possibly. But the Reds lack the players with top-of-the rotation talent that it takes to consistently be good. I think the only way they acquire that talent is by trading Iglesias. If you have to package him with Scooter, Hamilton, or whoever and throw in some money to offset their contract.

    Many have argued that the Reds should sign a top-end FA SP or two. But why would someone like Patrick Corbin, Dallas Kuechel, or whoever the proposed FA sign in Cincinnati when they can most likely get more money elsewhere and, more importantly, play in a ballpark that is more pitcher-friendly?

    • Who is going to trade starting pitching talent for a relief pitcher given the importance of SPs?

      The Reds have a pitcher with top of the rotation talent: Raisel Iglesias.
      I’d take 5 or 6 innings of Iglesias over 32 starts vs. the way he’s been used in his Reds career. If 160 to 190 innings is too much of a strain then use him for 2 or 3 innings at a time in 60 ballgames, mostly one run games or tied situations.

      • Alex Colome (Andrew Moore), Craig Kimbrel (Logan Allen #87) and Andrew Miller (Justus Sheffield #27) trades, to name a couple off the top of my head. All of these trades involved other decent prospects, as well. There are at least a few others I don’t feel like looking up. Iglesias is as good as these guys.

        My guess is that the Reds feel they can compete for the playoffs next year and don’t want to give up their closer.

  2. The Reds have some talent. But I don’t think they have enough talent to climb out of the hole that Walt Jocketty and Bob Castellini dug for them in the period when the Reds were actually winning (2010-2013). There were not enough players in the pipeline (minor leagues) that were groomed and promoted to keep the team good. All their pitchers in the rotation became free agents around the same time; Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Matt Latos. But the Reds cleverly signed Homer, who has been pretty much a disaster. And Devin Mesoraco….ditto.
    I also give you…..Skip Schumacher, and some other notable “veteran presence” players from that era.

    Having said all that, the Reds do not have the talent in their system to climb out of this hole. Votto is declining, a blind man can see that. Billy Hamilton with his microscopic OPS of around .601 is really not a major league offensive player. Peraza, etc. We all get the picture.

    And really, the main bugaboo is still and remaines starting pitching. After the last few years of “sorting”, I don’t think the Reds are any closer to actually forming a solid “winning” rotation. There are some promising arms, but nobody, and I mean nobody, has really stepped up and proven that they can be solid starters and winners in the rotation.
    To compete, the Reds will HAVE to go out and sign a significant amount of talent. And trading Raisel Iglesias alone will not bring in that talent. Again, Reds fans over estimate his value on the market for “closers”.

    Anything can happen, but I don’t honestly see the Reds being competitive for the foreseeable future. It is too steep a hill to climb.

  3. As usual a very good article. I’m not as inclined to give Dick Williams and the Reds front office the benefit of doubt on this “winning culture”. Not yet anyhow. Show me something meaningful in improving the Reds lineup an roster. They may have turned a corner on an octagon, but certainly not a square. They have many corners yet to turn. The corner at this trade deadline they failed to negotiate and turn. They have a corner here in August to turn by attempting to trade Harvey. Harvey, most likely is still a Red come September 1st. If the Reds front office goes until mid-January and they still haven’t made a major move, then 2019 looks to be more like 2018. And 2017. And 2016.
    The Reds rebuild loyalists often cite the rebuilds of Chicago, Houston, Kansas City, and Philadelphia as ones to model. But those teams went out and acquired through trade or free agency top of the rotation pitchers. Houston got 2. The Reds have not even looked at doing that piece of the puzzle yet. The Pittsburgh Pirates went aggressive and made that move this year in obtaining Chris Archer from the TB Rays. The Reds let the market come to them and got nothing. The Reds are still doing the quantity over quality type of trades as evidenced by the recent Duvall trade. They settled on 3 pieces who will not be a part of the next great Braves team and will give them tryouts for the next Reds team. Instead of getting just one player of better stature that they could plug right in to an area of need.
    Teams with a “winning culture” go out and be aggressive to acquire their missing pieces at trade time. They don’t sit around coyly and let the market come to them, much like the Reds always do. This winter is the time to do the heavy lifting that will be required to get the Reds out of their 4 year stay in the NL Central’s basement. The bad thing is, Dick Williams with silver spoon in mouth, looks like he has never done a day of heavy lifting in his life. The heavy lifting and fate of the Reds rebuild rests in the soft, callous-free hands of a novice front office and an old crotchety guide named Walt.
    Heaven help us.
    On September 1st when Matt Harvey is still a Red, will we see a new article titled, “All Bets Are Off”?

    • WVREDLEGS, I agree with you post, as I almost always do. I guess it is because I spent 6 years in Dunbar, WV as a kid that we think so much alike!
      I would rather the Reds get one good player than three mediocre ones who will probably never do anything. The Reds seem to like numbers over quality. Their trades seem to be target less. Instead of identifying specific needs of the big league club and trying to fill those needs, they seem to be trying to get as many young players in the high minors as possible. Well, most players in AAA never make it to the majors except maybe for a cup of coffee.
      We need another Bob Howsam who understood how to build a team from the ground up. He made trades with a purpose.

      • Howsam did a great finishing job; but, don’t overlook the foundation laid by Bill DeWitt Sr. in the 1960’s. A number of the 1970’s contributors were with the Reds or on the cusp in the minors when BH arrived. I guess you could say that at the least, he was a better “sorter” than DW has been to date.

    • How can you be THIS down on this team/franchise? They’re playing winning baseball and are finally fun to watch for the first time in forever. Not trading Harvey is not going to break this rebuild. When they saw they weren’t going to get anything for Harvey, they immediately brought up Stephenson to get him ML innings.

      Very few teams in baseball are giving up their top prospects, especially young, controllable pitching. That is why the Reds “settled” for the package including Wisler and Sims.

      Votto is *might* be on the downswing, but is still a good player. Suarez is essentially taking his place as one of the most productive hitters in baseball, with Winker and Senzel hopefully coming on strong to replace some of the lost offense as well. Not to mention Peraza and Schebler, and other young pieces getting experience that might prove solid. Mahle, Castillo, Romano, Desclafani have all shown that they are capable, albeit inconsistent. The rebuild isn’t over yet, but it’s certainly on the upswing. There are just a few more pieces to put in place. They’ve made some shrewd moves and finally have some talent, with one of the best farm systems in baseball. All is not doom and gloom…

      • Votto is in decline. Period. He has hit nine home runs this year. Steve Mancuso stated his high +wRC the other day, but that makes him a $25 million dollar a year singles hitter, who plays a sub mediocre 1st base defensively. I don’t hate Joey or am angry, and he may rebound next year, but his best years are behind him. He had several really good years in a row, but the team was lousy, so…..so what?

        And we have NO pitchers that have stepped up. Desclafani is injury prone. Romano, Castillo, Mahle have looked good for stretches, then fallen back. You would think after this far into the rebuild, that management could point to one or two pitchers and say “They are a big part of the future!”. Nope, no one. We have hopes, but nothing more than that.

        Show me really, the shrewd moves in the last year. The signed a couple of relievers who are having good years, and signed Eugenio to a very team friendly contract. As stated above, why is Matt Harvey still a Red? Why didn’t they find a trade for him in July? Will they keep him and sign him to a contract?
        In essence, they traded Mesoraco for him and will retain nothing. Zero.
        Why is Billy still here and playing EVERY DAY?

        Sorry, no. This team is in a hole and can’t climb out, without spending a lot of free agent money. And that too is no guarantee. The so-called rebuild has been half-baked with no planning. It is an illusion spoken about in hushed tones to Reds fans, to keep the faithful waiting for a winner.
        And waiting it will be.

        • Votto produced $50 million in value last year and was paid $22 million. This year, he’s already produced 3 WAR, which is about what $25 million in salary costs on the open market. He almost won the NL MVP last year. He hits a lot of doubles and walks over 100 times. His power is down this year, for sure. Votto has been positive on defensive contribution last year and this year. His skill at saving throws in the dirt is underappreciated. He’s actually had more Defensive Runs Saved than Billy Hamilton last year and this year.

          • I get you love Votto. He had an awesome offensive year last year. And yet the Reds won 68 games?

            The reds would be better off without Votto at $25MM a year, reallocating those resources toward acquiring better pitching. Won’t happen with Votto’s no trade and his desire to finish out his career in a small market town near Toronto.

            Why use WAR to arrive at a ‘market value’ without considering budget limitations? You can’t pay players big market salaries if you don’t have big market revenues. Suarez’s contract is ideal for a team of this market. He’s a huge bargain, and bargains are what small revenue teams need to compete with big revenue teams.

            Only those teams in New York Boston LA Chicago SF can afford or get away with making mistakes and overpaying for aging talent.

          • I don’t “love Votto” – I love the kind of player he is and what he does for the Reds. I’m defending him based on stats, not emotion.

            The Reds have the money to raise payroll. A lot. They could be spending $150 million/year on payroll. Don’t buy the spin fed by the front office and media on that.

            It’s also really hard to spend $25 million and get 4 WAR in the marketplace. Pitchers, even good ones, are a crap shoot. How many 4 WAR pitchers were available, how many of them are going to produce 4 WAR this year and into the future. If it’s so easy to just reallocate those resources to get better pitching, give some examples.

            Votto’s contract hasn’t been and isn’t a “mistake” – up to now it has been an amazing bargain. The last couple years of all these mega contracts often (always) look bad – so far Votto’s doesn’t.

          • Uh, if you use positional adjustments, per FanGraphs, it shows that Hamilton has the highest DEF rating among the regulars, and Votto has the lowest. I am all in favor of cherry-picking stats to support one’s favorite players, as I unabashedly do it myself. But I at least admit it, rather than pretending to be simply looking at unbiased numbers.

            Hamilton is rated by Baseball Savant to have the highest outs above average among all major league outfielders. He is objectively outstanding defensively. Votto is not outstanding defensively. I will grant you that he is pretty good at handling throws. He is awful at most everything else, including particularly his utter addiction to going after grounders to his right that the second baseman ought to field. He did it yesterday, but lucked into an out.

            Votto has been superb offensively until this year. His slugging percentage since the All-Star break is .327. For the season, he slashes .242/.375/.341 against lefties. Votto’s average exit velocity, per Baseball Savant, ranks 140th of 277 players, tied with Johan Camargo. (Suarez is 30th.) His hard-hit percentage is 162nd, between Jay Bruce and Greg Bird. (Hamilton is last.)

            Votto’s main skill (and he may be hurt) is drawing walks. My belief is that his ability to draw walks can be expected to decline soon. That belief is premised upon the fact that Votto’s stats against the NL Central are worse than against the league in general. The NL Central teams no longer fear Votto’s bat, and their approach to pitching to him is changing accordingly.

            The Reds are well-advised to begin to plan for Votto’s decline.

          • From 2013-2017, throwing out the 2014 season when Votto played in only 62 games, he averaged 6.25 oWAR a year. This year he will have to have a really good final 7-8 weeks of the season to make half of that. The reason is because of the drop off in his slugging/ power.

            Let’s change the narrative from whether he has been worth his contract (which he has) to something more constructive. What are the Reds doing or planning to do offset this likely age related decline in his production which should have been anticipated.

          • I do appreciate his digging throws out of the dirt, but the DRS is a product of his position. Put him in center and see how he does.

        • Baseball is the ultimate team sport. That Votto produced at an MVP level is even more amazing considering the players he had around him. He has very little control over how good the team is. Additionally, I’d like you to look up Votto’s numbers when the Reds were winning 90+ games. The fact that you’d insinuate that he has never done it on winning teams is laughable. He’s had a down year compared to what he has produced in the past. That doesn’t make him a bad player. As Steve mentioned, he’s already outproduced his contract, so bringing up his salary makes no sense.

          I don’t know what to tell you about pitching. Obviously it hasn’t worked out the way everyone wanted it to, but all three of Romano, Mahle, and Castillo are 25 or younger. If you expect young SPs to pitch like Cy Young candidates and be consistent, you’re not being realistic.

          Matt Harvey is still a Red, has a 4.5 ERA, not great peripherals, has been inconsistent, and IS STILL TRADABLE.

          How many shrewd moves do you need? You just stated 3, two of which solidified one of the worst bullpens in the history of ML baseball for pennies on the dollar, and you forgot about the GG Catcher they signed to an extension and the 2B they got off the scrap heap that turned into an all-star as well.

          Billy is still here and playing every day because he’s providing value defensively to an OF dealing with injuries now. Prior to Winker and Schebler getting hurt, the Reds found a way for 4 OFers to be on pace for 450 ABs. Please tell me you aren’t one of the guys that wants to give journeyman AAAA OF Mason Williams a shot in CF. I’m not a Billy apologist, and would love to have seen the Reds trade him, but just because he can’t hit doesn’t mean he’s absolutely worthless.

      • Where is this “winning” baseball (and culture) of which you speak?

        • Well, they just beat a 1st-place team 2 out of 3, and have played well against good teams for most of the season. I grant you, it can’t be measured in wins after the awful start and the post ASG stumble, but don’t you see them playing hard, coming from behind and believing that they can win? They’re mostly fun to watch again and, had Winker and Schebler not been injured, they’d almost certainly be doing better yet.

          • I agree with you but they are still a 70-72 win team this year.They are better but so is the rest of the division and by a wide margin.They went out and got players while we watched.Our division has 4 teams over 500 and we can’t overlook that.Right now its possible that 3 teams from our division make the playoffs.

      • There is a lot of work still to be completed and the pace of that work is snail-like. Many tough decisions to be hashed out. Many decisions will affect other decisions to be made. Time is a wasting. Half the position player side is unsettled, 2B, SS, CF, and RF, or are in need of upgrades. Two rotation spots need upgrades. One more bullpen arm could be added this winter via free agency much like last winter. A couple of AAA bullpen arms may finally be ready also. The bench will be filled out and doesn’t look like a problem. The bench and bullpen need minimal attention this winter. The rotation and everyday 8 need questions answered soon.
        If Schebler goes to CF, then RF needs to be addressed.
        Scooter is no RF and Senzel needs to stay in the infield, so what gives? If Schebler stays in RF, then CF must be addressed.
        Cannot have Peraza and Billy Ham in the same lineup. Keep Peraza at SS and CF needs to be addressed. Keep Hamilton in CF and SS must be addressed.
        In addition to Senzel, another player will need to be added to this mix. And a few subtracted. Standing Pat just isn’t going to benefit the Reds this winter. The can has been kicked as far down the road as it can be before some tough decisions have to be made.
        And there is going to be that sticky mess of getting just the right man to manage the team in 2019 and beyond. The right man is probably not an internal option. The feel good options have 2 internal candidates and the Riggleman and Larkin camps are already jostling for position. The wrong choice really sets this rebuild back even further. The wrong decisions on player personnel also greatly hinder this process. The Reds have a GM and a President of Baseball Operations who are operating on training wheels, who are new in their positions, and thus requires the micro-managing of one Walter Jocketty and the close eye of the owner to do anything. The front office by committee.
        Yeah, there is nothing to worry about here.

    • In any sport the rebuild must never ever have a cry of we think we can we think we can until you record says it.In baseball every team has a stretch where you play well but you can’t let it confuse you as to who you really are.Maybe without the bad start this team is close to 500 but every team in our division is better so we still are looking up.Its almost as if DW and crew are in a vacuum and won’t look at the competition that continue to try and improve their teams.They are willing to stand pat and wait on the minor league guys who are always 2 or 3 years away.If this was a corporation regardless of the cash flow they would have been sold or bought out long ago.They obviously are ok with a 70 win club every year or they would do something about it.One thing you can bet on is that they won’t get fleeced by trading a player that has value because they don’t trade players like that until they don’t have any value left.

      • Their stretch of playing well this year is longer than their stretch of not playing well. The pitching is and has been the main problem, and it’s largely in the hands of young pitchers, so inconsistency shouldn’t be surprising. They need some dependable starters, certainly.

  4. I agree that this team has shown that it has a heartbeat, but as we all know it has missing pieces. I’ve read notable baseball pundits recently who point to BC’s meddling as a set back to the Reds improvement. Other teams do not see the Reds as a stable, willing trading partner.

    BC may mean well, but his demonstrable fondness (or in the case of Chapman impatience) for players has disrupted the timing or execution of many a deal. And, teams cannot be built through the draft alone. I don’t believe the Reds can really improve until BC backs off or relinquishes his control, ditto for WJ.

  5. This was in Jon Heyman’s weekly roundup of all 30 MLB teams today.
    “Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic made a good point about how the Pirates recent aggressiveness may be affected by the fans’ dissatisfaction with ownership, leading to a 40 percent decline in attendance in only a few years.”
    Reds ownership must not be affected by their 40% to 50% decline in attendance since 2014. Very little to no aggressiveness shown by Reds front office / ownership.
    Instead, POBO Dick Williams chides the Reds fan base to show up for games and maybe the Reds can then afford to do something. Something is amiss with this Reds approach.

    • This continues to be the trend from National media. Questions around what the Reds plan is and the lack of aggressiveness and over valuing of own players.

      Attendance is dwindling, ownership basing decisions based on popularity of players within in ownership, on the way to a 4th straight 90 loss season.

      There is one legit offensive threat, one great hitter aging/decline, 2 decent corner OF’s that seem to have injury issues.

      A couple decent young starters and the continuation of providing starts to over the hill 5 ERA starters with injured arms.

      In addition, the Reds are in a division where the teams are aggressive and attempting to compete with the Cubs and Cardinals.

    • Is it your opinion that the Pirates are a good team and in contention for the playoffs this year? Not really from what I can tell. The Pirates are 3 games over .500, which in the weak NL makes them mathematical contenders, but 5 games out a six teams to climb over in mid August isn’t really “in it” either.

      Second, I’d say one could honestly question if the Pirates are being really aggressive. An aggressive rebuild involves selling off all your big assets and bringing fresh prospects along through the minors. The Pirates still have a lot of their players from their last playoff appearance (Polanco, Harrison, Marte, others), while the Reds have all but Votto and Homer (well, I guess Hamilton and Barnhart too). To me, the Priates’ process looks closer to a “re-tooling” as opposed to a full on rebuild. And here is where I get to say that if it weren’t for the Reds’ 3-18 start, their record would be very close to the Pirates’.

      • Trading for Archer is not aggressive?

        Getting rid of a huge fan favorite is not the sign of a team understanding roster deployment?

        Pirates had a 5-16 stretch in May-June, should that be thrown out?

        The Pirates are above .500 and the Reds are 14 games below .500. Not sure that they are very close.

        • All good points. But the Reds traded our best pitcher, Cueto, and a (today) 3 WAR pitcher in Mike Leake. Plus, Chapman, Frazier, Cozart and Bruce. The only reason the Reds didn’t trade our best hitter the way the Pirates did was due to McCutcheon’s contract being only 6 years and Votto’s about 3 millennium (+/- a millennia). That’s pretty aggressive, if you ask me. It does, however, show some less than good management in that Votto is locked up forever rather than being able to trade him for value, and we all know how badly the Chapman trade went down. Meanwhile, the Pirates were able to make some deals without giving up a decent offensive core of Polanco and Marte, who have put up wRC+ of 118 and 112, respectively. I just don’t know if I buy the portrayal of the Pirates being more aggressive. Smarter, maybe.

          What’s the big deal about trading for Chris Archer? The guy is 30 years old in about a month and a half, and while he’s put up some great numbers in the past, this year he’s on pace just over a 2 WAR and xFIP approaching 4.0, which suggests decline. Yes, that’s better than any starting pitching we’ve got, but it remains to be seen if that was a good move for next year ($7.5 million) plus 2 option years.

          • I agree with the Archer comment…he has never had an ERA+ north of 121, and has been league average or worse since 2016. There’s certainly value in having reliable SP that take the ball every 5 days and give you a chance to win, but the Pirates gave up the equivalent of Tyler Mahle and Jesse Winker, plus for him.

            No thanks.

  6. I’m perplexed by this winning culture business. Winning should always be the point of the game. I think this ownership and front office gets too enamored of players and lets time go by when they are the most tradeable. The Reds have a good farm system but most prospects do not make the grade and after four years of the rebuild the starting pitching staff is still in flux. I think until there is new ownership that is more active and willing to spend money, the Reds will not be moving up in the standings.

  7. “Dick Williams is a smart guy. Reds general manager Nick Krall is smart. There is no reason to believe they don’t understand the perils of short-term decision-making at this crucial moment in the rebuild. Whether their hands are being tied by ownership is another question entirely.”

    That’s where the discussion of a ‘winning culture’ begins and ends. BC & WJ are still controlling every significant decision made by baseball ops. As long as this continues, there will be no winning and without winning, there is no winning culture.

    As long as BC & WJ are making the baseball decisions, Hamilton will start in CF, Gennett will start at 2B (and be extended), Riggleman will be hired as the permanent manager without a comprehensive, Peraza will start at SS, Bailey will start every 5th game, etc…

    The Reds will probably break .500 and the Reds FO will proclaim the rebuild successful and complete. There will be no playoff series victories and probably no playoff appearances.

    Unfortunately BC & WJ are not going anywhere and as long as they are controlling the Reds organization, they will continue to dictate the baseball ops decisions.

  8. The farm system is rated #7. That’s good, but they just keep losing 90+ year after year with no end in sight? I don’t know how that’s a “winning” culture? Charlie Sheen was much more convincing!

    Its not only standing pat while small market division rivals add a Yelich, Cain, and Cory Dickerson, but they don’t have the vision to expend their search either? Anyone could’ve had Mikolas out of Japan. Hirano with Arizona has been really good. The Reds work with Asia in reverse of everyone else. Instead of adding good players from Japan or Korea that can help…they pickup scrubs that are so limited in ability that they have to play in Japan after the Reds finally let them go.

    Dilson in LF? Swell! That might happen 3 more times this year. Ervin is hitting it well! Swell, but not stealing any of Billy’s havoc. Same old s…diff year

    • Its just gives the appearance of trying something because they won’t do the right thing.Dilson just wants to play and would coach 3rd if he could just get on the field.No reason not to let Ervin play every day.As long as Billy is here he will play and the Reds will lose a bunch.Of course he is not why they lose its just he doesn’t help on offense enough to help them win.Only for the Reds would a player in year 5 that can’t hit or get on base play 145 games and my money is on him to do it again in year 6 at around 6 mil per year.I would smile a lot if I could get away with that.

    • The Reds made a pitch for Shohei Ohtani. They are aware of the Japanese market.

      • To be fair, being aware of Shohei Ohtani doesn’t mean you are aware of the Japanese market, it just means you can read a newspaper/blog/etc. It was also kind of amusing just how much time and effort the Reds put into that pitch just to have Ohtani lump Cincinnati into a basekt of like 27 teams to be eliminated immediately, followed by Dick Williams throwing a temper tantrum and basically refusing to admit they lost out. Like, they tried really hard and that’s supposed to count for something. It just kind of neatly summed up the entire Reds rebuild; thinking if they just really mean it when they say they want to win magically they will win.

      • I made a pitch for Godzilla when I was about 7! Blue Oyster Cult!!!

        They had both had the same chance of happening. A pitch for Ohtani from the Reds is like planning your budget on the lottery you’re going to win.

  9. I’ll trade a winning culture over a month or two for a team set up to win consistently. I see a team that got hot for a few months but still has a starting rotation full of question marks and a team playing checkers while the other teams in the division are playing chess.

  10. I like that checkers and chess thing.

  11. I agree with you 100% it’s time for the FO to deliver on their word. The core of players: Votto, Suarez, Barnhart, Castillo, Iglesias, Lorenzen makes up a great clubhouse and leadership. Gennett, Hamilton etc are hard working great teammates also. The clubhouse is developing a winning culture and the team has been winning over the past 80 games+-

    It’s time for the FO to push to playoff contention via free agent signings and possibly trades. The Reds need to make some bold and competent moves this offseason re: homer bailey, scooter gennett, billy hamilton, sal romano, robert stephenson, etc.

    There are going to be lots of players that move the needle by maybe 1 to 2 war that are available for cheap short term contracts this offseason: for example. Mid rotation SP’s: Nathan eovaldi, Jeremy Hellickson, Hyun Jin Ryu, Matt Harvey, Garrett Richards. Corner Outfielders: Michael Brantley, Marwin Gonzalez, Leonys martin, Stephen Pearce, Nick Markaikas

    If every advantage is taken this team can make the playoffs next year for about a 135 million dollar payroll.

    This rotation will equal a repeat of 2017 and 2018 season’s:

    1. Luis Castillo
    2. Anthony Desclafani
    3. Tyler Mahle
    4. Robert Stephenson
    5. Homer Bailey

    The Reds FO needs to be bold and put together a rotation of something like:

    1. Patrick Corbin
    2. Charlie Morton
    3. Luis Castillo
    4. Anthony Desclafani
    5. Hyun Jin Ryu/Jeremy Hellickson/Nathan Eovaldi/Clay Bucholz/Matt Harvey

    This can be done and the payroll can end up around 135 million, if the right moves are made. Go do the math. Free up 20 million by trading Scooter and Billy and add a good bullpen piece. Add approximately 50 million to sign Corbin, Morton and ryu for example.

    Half measures are not acceptable. I think the Reds FO should sign 3 starting pitchers.

  12. Someone guessed the Reds would sign J A Happ over the winter.

    • That would be one smart step in the right direction, but not near enough by itself.

  13. The Reds have had too many chefs in the front office kitchen for 13 seasons now. Two of them: BC and WJ need to get out. It’s not going to happen; therefore, I seriously doubt the Reds sniff the playoffs until they do.

    There’s a reason that the Cardinals jettisoned Jocketty. They are an organization that knows when do get rid of old, worn out parts.

  14. Perhaps the Reds should leave the “winning culture” nonsense to teams that actually win more games than they lose. Not for 50 games or 60 games or 80 games but for 162 games. There seems to be an inverse correlation between a team’s winning percentage and how often they invoke selective endpoints. The Reds have the 4th worst record in the NL right now. Oh how we’d laugh if the Padres talked about their “winning culture,” and yet that’s essentially the kind of organization the Reds are on par with. A poor man’s San Diego Padres.

    The Reds will have to go 21-23 over their final 44 games to avoid a 4th consecutive 90 loss season. The belief that the 2019 Reds can even be an 80 win team let alone a playoff team relies almost entirely on wishful thinking. The starting pitching just HAS to be better (it doesn’t), Nick Senzel will be healthy and playing every day (probably in Louisville to learn yet another new position), Scooter Gennett will be May Scooter (1.139 OPS) and not April, June, July, or August Scooter (.757, .835, .787, .500 OPS).

    Sometimes to create a real winning culture you have to trade pieces that have value to both make room for younger players and just change the make up and identity of the team. The 2014 Chicago Cubs traded two starting pitchers and two regular starting and an above average starting pitcher. This is going to sound radical, I know, but to change a losing culture into a winning culture you need to change the players. The Reds are still at least 2 years away from seriously competing with Cubs/Brewers/Cards/Pirates for an entire 162 game season and not just 1 month of it.

  15. They’re 1-14 in Bailey’s starts. Winning 6% of the time does not promote a winning culture!

    If you want to impress me then cut him loose. If they don’t have 5 better then its a rebuild fail anyway?

  16. Winning culture? Methinks the Reds are actually entering into a long & very serious “power- outage calamity”. The Reds currently have hit 119 HR, while giving up 171 HR (most in the ML). To be playing in GABP & have the opposition hitting about a third more HR than you do is absolutely not part of a winning culture. The Reds will probably have less HR production next season with Winker in LF full time (not Duvall) & Votto with less HR production (it appears). Whether it’s Senzel or Scooter @ 2nd won’t appreciably increase Reds HR production. As long as it’s Hamilton, Peraza, & Barnhart in the middle Reds won’t get much help in the HR dept. there either. As for the starters, Mahle, Romano, & Castillo are all over 20 HR so far. DeSclafani, Harvey, & Bailey would also project 20+ HR to date (had they pitched the innings that Mahle, Romano, & Castillo have pitched). Stephenson has only pitched 4 innings this season in the ML, but career-wise he has allowed 21 HR in 125.2 IP. All 7 of those sp project about 30 HR over a 180 IP season. Williams has a roster for 2019 that will not likely have a winning record at home.

    • That’s why I keep bringing up Lorenzen over and over. He’s only given up 2 hrs so far. He’s been a little shaky lately, but 2.86 isn’t too bad considering he isn’t facing pitchers like the starters do. Its a given that he’d get more doubleplays then average and he can hit…so why not?

  17. Okay. Okay. I’ve read all of the comments, and my spirit is broken. I’ll stop being positiive. Maybe I’ll stop watching games, too, because I’m supposed to be furious and not enjoy them, and what’s the point of that?

    • Being positive is a great thing, there just needs to be legitimate analysis of the roster and the teams they are competing with.

      4 seasons of terrible baseball is an indicator that things are not on the right path.

    • Sorry, GTR, I’m an eternal optimist when it comes to the Reds but this “winning culture” is just another in a long line of company PR without any substance at all. They rolled this BS out because, once again, they failed to accomplish what they needed to get done by the trading deadline. In no way was the Reds re-build designed to find young players whose talents fit this ballpark- or sometimes- even this league. I’d say 3 position players do well here in Votto, Suarez, & Barnhart. On the pitching side, only relievers. Hughes, Hernandez, & Lorenzen have combined for about 150 innings while allowing only 7 HR total. Beyond that, where’s the plan? A bunch of talented flyball pitchers in a small park? Some high OBP guys, short on baserunning & defense? Not a winning culture in my book.

  18. Action speak louder than words. You can say you have a winning culture, but it doesn’t mean you actually have it. A couple of months (June & July) of +.500 record is nice adjustment, but far from the formation of a “culture”; it is not even a turnaround yet as August is a losing month so far.

    It is not even the record so much, but it is the mindset & effort to field a winning ballclub with offseason acquistions, lineup decisions, and farm development.

    – Farm development: promising winning culture (Senzel, Trammell, Greene, Santillan); jury is still deliberating

    – Lineup decisions: overall not reflective of a winning culture; RLN has rightly called out management on this; not inserting Winker everyday, inserting Hamilton everyday, not placing your best BA/OBP guys at the top of the lineup; not playing younger players more often to see if they’re part of the future

    – Offseason acquisitions: this is the area that has frustrated me the most as a fan, and, IMO, the winning culture has not been thoroughly proven. I have to agree with others who have pointed out that the ownership has not opened their wallets beyond a couple of long-term signings to fulfill their promise to the fans to strive to be a winning team, year in year out. I know it is a for-profit business, but it is an entertainment business at the heart of it. Management is called to put out a product that entertains the fans with wins. It has been suggested that it is better for the team to sign one quality FA player than multiple mediocre ones. I agree. Also to pull the trigger on trading unproven prospects for young, proven stars.

    This offseason will be telling to see if the team really has or is on the way to having a winning culture.

  19. I know a winning culture when I see one but for the past few years, all I see is a last place team.

  20. I’m a life-long (40+yrs) REDS fan. Will continue to be…winning culture or not.

    On a different note, one of the reasons that I love baseball is the stats. I love the stats, reading the boxscores, etc. So in recent years I have so appreciated the expansion of baseball sabermetrics to the game. Thanks to RLN, I am being educated constantly. So, I have a question for Steve Mancuso, Chad Dotson, etc.

    It seems that analytics data about a player contribution and value (wRC+ or FIP) is evaluated in isolation. Are there any sabermetrics data about a player’s value when combined or in relation with other players’ contribution? Basketball coaches is analyzes this when considering putting together certain lineups on the court (e.g. +/- when players ABC play together vs ABD). I hope my question is clear enough.

    Appreciate it!

  21. I’m actually ok with a team that strives to be around .500 every year, contrary to the modern thinking on building winning teams (boom and bust cycle). The Cardinals have kind of adopted this model in their building. Basically, you get the team you want, preferably a potential division winner. Maybe you have to blow things up and do a rebuild first to get that team. Then you maintain. The idea is you target the guys you want to extend and you let go the guys who you don’t think are going to be good bets going forward. You’re also fairly conservative in free-agent spending, generally not going too long as far as years but maybe being ok with a high-AAV if the guy fits a specific need in short supply. You use your farm system primarily to feed the MLB roster, both bench players and regulars. You are careful in trading away prospects for veterans but will trade from areas of depth to bring the right player in. You are generally conservative at the trade deadline unless you are fairly certain your team is making a playoff run.

    A team like this generally will fluctuate fairly close to and generally above the .500 mark ,and a bad year (injuries, poor performance, both) can make the team pretty bad. Good fortune on the injury front and on performance from your players push you towards an excellent team and those teams are generally going to be division contenders or winners. Most years you’re going to have teams that are in the hunt for the division or the wildcard. Your fans generally remain interested as you tend to win more often than not and you don’t go through long rebuilds very often at all.

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About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

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