In my latest column over at Cincinnati Magazine, I tried to figure out how to summarize the 2018 Reds season. The sub-headline over there is a pretty good description of the column: “Despite another last place finish, the Reds actually improved this season -— but fan patience is hanging by a thread.”

I’m here to tell you that the Redlegs have made tangible progress over the last six months. Sure, on the surface, 2018 looks suspiciously similar to previous seasons in this never-ending mess of a rebuilding process. The Reds will finish in last place for the fourth consecutive season. Even worse, if they go 2-3 over the final 5 games, they’ll finish with a 68-94 record for the third straight year.

While that is an impressive level of consistency, you’re forgiven if you fail to be awed. After all, the point of a rebuilding process is to build the organization back into a winner, right?

Certainly, the Reds have made plenty of missteps on the road to recovery and the process has been much slower than anyone hoped or expected, but I’ve seen real progress over the course of this season. For example: Yes, the Reds are going to lose 90 games again, but these aren’t the same ol’ miserable Redlegs. Remember that 3-18 start to the season? How could you forget, right? Well, that terrible stretch of play, caused primarily by untimely injuries and the front office’s complete and utter refusal to put the franchise’s best 25 players on the big league roster (Nick Senzel, anyone?), masked what should have been a pretty good team.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

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! 78 Comments

  1. The Reds offense will be fine in 2019, assuming of course that everyone is healthy. A lineup of Winker, Votto, Suarez, Schebler, Senzel, Gennett, Peraza, and Barnhart/Casali will compete with any team in the league.

    The problem, as you mentioned in your article, is starting pitching. Slot Castillo, DeSclafani, and either Mahle or Reed into the rotation. That still leaves two large openings to be filled, hopefully from outside the organization. Whether that comes from a FA signing (Corbin? Keuchel?) or a trade (Syndergaard? deGrom? Snell?) is what will make this winter interesting. I would prefer to see the Reds go the free agent route, if at all possible. That way, the Reds still will have Senzel and Trammell. I would be okay with trading Greene or India, but it isn’t likely that either of those two players have much value this winter.

    • I agree, and add this: if Castillo and DeSclafani and Mahle are your 3 likely rotation hold overs, you need a #1 and #2 starter to challenge for a playoff spot, because those 3/4 pitchers are combined four games under with a 4.66 era this year (and a worse FIP). They COULD be good, but they’d better be the last 3 in the rotation.

      • BINGO! Many are talking about a few SP guys already filling in for 2019, but we have not a single SP that appears to be a near-term Ace, SP1 or SP2. We have a bunch of SP3- and SP4 types, barring an unexpected break-through. Given our franchises lack of pitching development, we can’t hold our breath.

        We need a high-ceiling SP. Yes, they don’t grow on trees and teams don’t give them away without a major haul coming back, but it CAN be done and has been, year after year.

        If trade and FA can’t get it done, then spend some freaking money to total gut and rebuild scouting and/or minor league instructors. Find those junior coaches or scouts in successful franchises and pay them to be the senior/lead coaches or scouts here. All I see are mild changes, seemingly lateral moves, from one mediocre coach/scout to another and nearly all within the (subpar) organization. Frustrating.

  2. This team was a dumpster fire. You could see before the season even started it was going to be a dumpster fire this year…. why? Because it was a dumpster fire the year before and was pretty much the same team (minus one of their best offensive/defensive players). It ain’t rocket science.

    • I know it and you know and a bunch of other people know it.The ownership did nothing to improve it nor will they do it in 2019.They are ok with losing period and so are the players because they have a job and will keep their job because well everybody just loves everybody.Its not all bad cause we get to see the circus every day.Now who do you know can say that?

      • The fans in Miami and look how their attendance pans out. There’s a reason all the big tops folded.

  3. I’m in complete agreement. Pitching has to be addressed and the current dugout manager really isn’t the guy to take us to the next level. I think our guys are gassed and a bit deflated at this point. At least that’s what I”m choosing to believe …

  4. I think with the benefit of hindsight Chad, you might want to reconsider your Senzel April callup wish when Suarez went down. Its likely the vertigo was on the radar in ST, and the last thing a smart organization (which most everyone wants the reds to behave like) is to bring up Senzel with a lingering medical issue, then needing to DL him while on the ML roster. For all the complaints about 25-best guys, being smart with service time is something the Reds have to do. 5 vs 6 years is big thing. The super 2 is not as big of a concern and barring a set back Senzel needs to be up with the big club by May 1st.

    I am glad also that he will be getting some time in the OF in Fall/Instructional league play. The fact that it is corner and not center does not bother me since in 2012 Choo moved from RF to center and played well enough to make it worth it with only ST action to make the move (he had not played center in years at the time as I recall ).

    Pitching wise, It has been good to see Castillo struggle this year and make the adjustments, that can only help going forward. Hopefully Mahle can mimic that next year. Reed looks like he might be turning a corner as well. We all expect growing pains from young pitchers, and these three have shown some growth. Unfortunately, Stephenson has been mostly just the pain part.

    • Vertigo doesn’t show warning signs. It could be caused from him diving, there is no way to predict when it is going to happen. Senzel was not on the 25 man, because the Reds had no plan for him. Blocked at 3B, so they moved him to 2B where he was also blocked, then gave him one start at SS. He could have been called up at any point after the service time considerations had passed

      • There was some chatter in May when he went on the AAA DL that the training staff and Senzel first started treating as ST wound down. May have been just rumor though. Though the way it worked out was about 3 weeks of time. If the bat plays, it’ll play. But they will play with the service time since that is the rules of the game until the next CBA.

  5. Step 1: Trade Hamilton for a bucket of balls or release him out right
    Step 2: make sure Hamilton is actually gone and I’m not imagining it
    Step 3: sign a dang pitcher

    • Second.

    • Hamilton way too valuable as a weapon off the bench. Step 1 is hiring a manager that uses Billy correctly (not as a fulltime starter).

      • Step 1 (and the requisite for any subsequent steps): Remove BC from any and all baseball ops decisions and influence, with the exclusive exception of setting a MLB budget and authorizing exceptions to that budget.

        If BC is not happy with the results produced by the PoBO, then fire him and hire a new PoBO (uh, good luck with that). This decision and management by committee (headed by BC) has to stop. If the PoBO and GM lack the backbone to make decisions completely independent of BC’s whims, they have no business sporting the titles that require such capability.

      • Really, just no. If Hamilton is on the squad, there will be the temptation and the pressure from management to PLAY HIM EVERYDAY IN CF. Especially if a new CF struggles a little at first.

        Billy is a nice guy, and well liked by his teamates, and popular with some of the fans. He is a great flycatcher in CF

        But I want him gone, because otherwise, there he is, in Centerfield again. With his microscopic OPS.

  6. Things i would like to see for next year;
    1. I would like to see Suarez loose about 20 lbs over the winter and get serious again about being an elite 3rd baseman again. if he is not interested then move him over to first base and he can weigh as much as he wants.
    2. Joey’s days as our number 3 batter are over. his walks would be more valuable to the team either as our leadoff guy or in the 8 hole.
    3. Snezel is the starting second baseman next year with Scooter as an important guy off the bench.
    4. we need to bring India up as soon as possible. especially if Suarez continues to decline at 3rd base.
    5. forget the Hunter Greene experiment at pitcher. lets see what the kid can do at shortstop.
    6. Ervin needs to go on a weight loss program too. he could be an everyday cf if he lost some poundage tooo.
    7. Mahle and Romano may be future reds star starting pitchers but for next year lets see what they can do in a full season out of the bullpen
    8 .i don’t want to see any lolly gagging next year on the base pads. on a base hit I want to see hustle down the line with wide turns around first. more steal attempts from Schebler, Billy and Peraza and Ervin. no jogging from second to third on hard hit singles.(I am talking to you Jessie Winker). at least make the outfielder make a throw to home.

    • I disagree with just about everything you wrote here…

      Scooter on the bench? Joey at the 8 spot in lineup? Hunter Greene stop pitching? Bring India up asap?

      None of that makes a lick of sense and none of that would make the Reds better.

      All for being creative and thinking outside the box, but those plans as you state them are nonsensical.

    • So if you move Suarez to 1B, Joey Votto goes….????? The bench?

      • I mean we have to come to the realization that Joey will not be a major factor in the reds next good team. likely more of a role player. same with scooter.

        we have to create space for India and Senzel in the infield and this move makes the most sense to me. Kind of like when the brm moved perez to first.

        • If Joey isn’t a part of the next good Reds team, that isn’t a function of him, it’s a function of the team screwing something up. He is under contract through 2024. I think it’s reasonable to expect a high level of productivity for another 3 years, which darn well better include some of the “next good” we’ve been clamoring for. Moving him to the 2 spot in the order is fine. Moving him out of the lineup at all anytime soon seems extreme. You don’t put someone with a .400 plus OBP in the 8 hole. He’s not even “mostly dead” yet.

        • Under this scenario, you’d have around 35+ million of your payroll committed to two role players. That makes no sense at all.

    • 1. No to Saurez at 1B
      2. Votto as 1 or 2 makes sense. Votto at 8 makes as much sense at Hamilton leading off
      3. Not happening. Benching a guy with an .850 OPS is not wise
      4. Not happening
      5. No. No. No. No. No
      6. You must be one of those 150 lb. guys. Why are you so obsessed with their weight?
      7. Mahle needs to start, Romano to the pen
      8. Yes to hustle, no to more SB attempts unless it is Hamilton as a pinch runner

      • Agree with all your responses there. Can you imagine Votto in the 8 hole right now? He might bat .000 on the season only because he would literally be walked every PA to get to the pitcher!

    • Phillip Ervin Bio Stats: 5′ 10″, 207. That isn’t fat…

      • Oh, and he has 156 career stolen bases between the majors and the minors. He’s not slow.

      • He doesn’t appear to be to me… Do want to mention though that rosters tend to lie about stuff like that. Rosters usually had me taller than I am by an inch or two and usually lighter than I was by at least 10 pounds aside from early HS roster.

  7. Chad, I think your last statement pretty much summed up the season: “the front office’s complete and utter refusal to put the franchise’s best 25 players on the big league roster (Nick Senzel, anyone?), masked what should have been a pretty good team.” That not only includes Senzel but also Winker (how long did it take to get him into an everyday role?) and perhaps even Stephenson and having the veteran backups for the infield.

  8. Anyone notice in the article about Riggs wanting the interim tag lifted that he says he’ll respect any decision the “ownership” makes. Isn’t it the GM’s job to hire the manager? I know the reality of the dysfunction we’re talking about here, but goodness gracious can Bob just stay in his lane for once and let the nephews he hired to their jobs?

    If Riggs is brought back I may be done with following the Reds.

    • What bothers me is that he is still in consideration, as lifeless as the Reds have been over the last month, you would think the would put a strong nix on rehiring him. I can not understand why so many pundits feel that he at least deserves a chance to be retained.

      • Lest I be accused of endorsing Riggleman as manager, I’m not. But he may be getting consideration based upon several months of unexpectedly good baseball. The starting pitching has been pretty awful all year, and two of the better hitters became unavailable (yes, I know that every team has injuries, but that doesn’t mean that injuries have no impact), so if you believe, as many of us appear to, that the manager makes a big difference, he’s got some credibility. There is also some reason to think that he was being directed in many decisions by the FO and, if true, this further clouds the issue. He’s probably responsible for the bunts, but if the pitching had been good, that would have been little more than an annoying sideshow. I’d like to see a lot of changes, starting with pitching and culminating with winning. An organization that was more open to modern analysis would probably help, and good players would definitely help.

    • I’m right there with you Hotto. The Old Cossack has been girding the old loins for the announced signing of Riggleman. If it happens, I can’t fathom complete disinterest in the Reds going forward, but certainly nothing coming even close to fanaticism, avid or even casual interest. I certainly won’t be attending any games, buying any endorsed apparel or even structuring my time to watch games. After well over half a decade of true fanaticism, my interest would probably degrade to checking box scores, checking in on Votto and Winker regularly and watching an occasional game when nothing else has my interest.

      • I won’t go nearly that far but as far as buying tickets from the Reds and buying merchandise that will see money go to the Reds, that probably would be very limited. I’d still watch some games on TV but even this year I found myself flipping back and forth between the Reds game and another game. I also found myself checking out early in a lot of games and watching other teams. I love baseball and the Reds too much to walk all the way away but significant reduction in spending on the Reds would be very likely. I don’t want to go in on a ticket package for this team if I’m not even enjoying the games that much.

  9. Jesse Winker and Nick Senzel are part of the Reds, part of the parent team. Not for trade. They are two of the crucial building blocks. Along with Suarez.
    Prospect-wise only Santillan is an untouchable. New 2018 draftee RHP Josiah Gray may be the next closest to hold back. Everyone else is available in the right scenario.
    Winker and Schebler will be swapping corner OF spots next year. Interesting this is just happening now and Schebler hasn’t been playing some in LF before this.

  10. Reds record currently… 66-91
    Expected record, using Bill James’ accepted pythagorean theory…66-91.
    http://www.espn.com/mlb/stats/rpi

    Using same formula, Astros/Dodgers/Nationals -unlucky. Brewers/Rockies – lucky this year

    Chad is writing for a mainstream, casual fan audience at Cincinnati Magazine. But, posting that here is going to get pushback and rightfully so.

    Senzel had a bout of vertigo on May 3…so it’s not like the Reds “stashed” him in AAA all season. And, every team goes through things in 162 games…3-18 can happen, as can “untimely” injuries.

    The 2018 Reds are a bad baseball team. Their record reflects exactly who they are.

    Are we getting more “rebuilds near completion” articles this winter? I hope not. Because I still see a team well off the pace of the good teams in the National League.

    .

  11. Next year will need to be monumental progress for sure.

    I want us to trade for Brett Phillips. He has really good defensive metrics per fangraphs and baseball reference. He also hit really well in the minors. I don’t think it would require a large haul.

    Jesse Winker and Shed Long for Brett Phillips and Tim Hill (I have no idea whether these players would make this deal) But I’d be going all in to get Phillips.

  12. It’s pretty sad when it’s literally more fun to talk about what the Reds “should” than what they are actually doing.

  13. I see a number of solid to outstanding individual pieces, However it is not at all clear there is a plan to fit these pieces together to forge a winning team. It is even possible the pieces don’t fit together well enough.

    One or more players who are considered “core” pieces may need to be moved to resolve the situation and bolster the areas of need, CF and starting pitching.

    Figuring these things out is the task at hand for the front office.

    • Exactly Jim.We have to trade value to get value and I prefer it not be any prospects.Problem as I see it is we seem to overvalue our players to some degree or hang on to guys that we don’t need.For example why on earth do we need Iggy?We don’t need a closer on a team that has lost as much as this team.I can’t wait for the day to come when we do need a closer but its not now nor has it been like forever.

  14. 2020 needs to be the year the Reds target as the beginning of their next competitive window. Any move that is made should be made with an eye to 2020. I don’t care if it makes you better in 2019 but makes you worse in 2020. The Reds are likely to finish with 68 wins for the 3rd consecutive year. They have successfully managed to not lose 100 games during this extended rebuild, which is the only goal Bob has ever had. Instead of loading up the farm system with young players, the only influx in young talent has been through the draft, where the front office proceeds to slow walk these guys through the system. By 2020 those drafts should begin paying off.

    • I honestly hope so, but I would not hold my breath.

      There are still ways the front office fumblebums can screw this all up.

      There are certainly the makings of a good baseball team in Cincinnati at AA, AAA and ML level. But there is a requirement that the Front Office actually make some correct decisions, and maybe a major Free Agent signing or trade for a starter for the rotation. I am not worried about a #1 or however you might rate them. But I do want them to go out an find someone that can deliver on a multi-year contract, if given.

      There are some valuable trade parts in the minors that could be packaged to get what the Reds need (a really good starter). And they need a CF, unless they are willing to play the talent they have in the minors…AFTER Billy is gone. And likely as not, the Reds will hang on to Billy.

      Why? Because, that’s why.

    • I find it hard to measure the success of the Red’s extended rebuild by not losing 100 games. Slow-walking, so far, has been the trademark of the Red’s ownership/front office. Unless they accelerate their walking speed, fan indifference is going to increase which has been very apparent from the empty seats at GABP.

    • The other issue of 2019 is the salary commitments. If the Reds truly committed to 2020 and youth- then the Reds purge huge payroll numbers for 2019 and could focus on SP in 2020. Trade scooter and Hamilton and let Bailey’s contract go away. Including Bailey’s option, that’s $46 million more to spend- Plus and additional 30-$40 million from raising payroll to $130 million. The reds could have $75 million in payroll available 2020 to add to their core. Gerritt Cole? An elite lefty and extensions to core players and 1 mega trade to fill in the gaps.

      It gives more time to see Mahle and Reed and Ramono and Lorenzen. It gives Santillan and Senzel and Siri and Winker and Peraza and Trammell a year to plan who plays where in 2020-23. Yes Votto loses another year, but it’s now a 73% chance that the Cubs.brewers. and Cards all make the playoffs in 2018.

      Who are the Reds passing in 2019?

      • I think this makes a lot of strategic sense. In fact, it’s probably the best way to finish off the rebuild. That said, I think the fanbase’s noise along with Castellini getting antsy about wanting to appear competitive, means that the Reds may over-commit in 2019. I can see the reasoning in that. I mean, Votto’s clock is ticking, fans are grumbling, they’ve had 4 straight 90-loss seasons; the list goes on. So, I can see wanting to show the fans the Reds “want to win” in 2019. The thing is though, it has the potential to change the window from 2019 (maybe a .500 ballclub with the right moves), 2020 (wildcard contender / division outside change), 2021 (same as 2020, 2022 (window closing quickly), 2023 (window likely closed).

        Using your plan, the timeline may look something like this: 2019 (probably another poor team), 2020 (wildcard contender), 2021 (wildcard contender / division contender), 2022 (wildcard contender / division contender), 2023 (wildcard contender / division contender), 2024 (window closing, outside chance of being competitive).

        Waiting until 2020 may lead to a longer competitive window and better chance for a championship caliber team. The only real question is can the fanbase tolerate another 90-loss season? I’m not sure they can.

        • I agree, if they can’t get really aggressive in obtaining an SP1 type to augment the handful of moderately promising SP prospects in MLB/AAA/AA/high A, then they need to find ways to pawn of major 2019 payroll while (hopefully). This starts with NOT doing something dumb, like signing Harvey for 3 years and 30 million.

          Adding a high-ceiling prospect (or two) and a lottery pick 18 year old or two would make me content. Maybe one piece won’t get high-ceiling back, so trade a Gennett and a top 6 prospect for another teams’ #1 (or package like 5 top 20 prospects for a high-end prospect…the reverse of what the Reds trades have been).

  15. What to target this winter? Pitching of course.
    Offensively, what holes to fill needs to be determined first.
    These are 2018 stats to date, 5 games remaining. Hitting = top 2 places with PA’s.
    1. Jose Peraza, vs. LHP: .317/.342/.446 in 195 PA’s.
    vs. RHP: .278/.322/.405 in 465 PA’s.
    Hitting 1st: .296/.341/.433 in 220 PA’s; 2nd: .300/.324/.457 in 313 PA’s.

    2. Scott Schebler, vs. LHP: .314/.352/.483 in 125 PA’s.
    vs. RHP: .241/.336/.445 in 283 PA’s.
    Hitting 1st: .270/.344/.491 in 183 PA’s; 6th: .255/.373/.453 in 126 PA’s.

    3. Jesse Winker, vs. LHP: .211/.357/.333 in 71 PA’s.
    vs. RHP: .321/.418/.455 in 263 PA’s.
    Hitting 1st: .265/.373/.346 in 161 PA’s; 6th: .308/.443/.500 in 98 PA’s.

    4. Geno Suarez, vs. LHP: .327/.434/.605 in 175 PA’s.
    vs. RHP: .267/.341/.490 in 413 PA’s.
    Hitting 4th: .264/.350/.508 in 294 PA’s; 5th: .322/.401/.548 in 232 PA’s.

    5. Joey Votto, vs. LHP: .251/.376/.371 in 210 PA’s.
    vs. RHP: .302/.440/.450 in 393 PA’s.
    Hitting 3rd: .291/.421/.436 in 560 PA’s.; 2nd: .222/.389/.259 in 36 PA’s.

    6. Scooter Gennett, vs. LHP: .302/.344/.451 in 197 PA’s.
    vs. RHP: .321/.372/.517 N 428 PA’s.
    Hitting 4th: .331/.373/.518 in 333 PA’s; 3rd: .337/.381/.506 in 97 PA’s;
    5th: .287/.354/.402 in 96 PA’s; 2nd: .293/.341/.560 in 82 PA’s.

    7. Billy Hamilton, vs. LHP: .216/.279/.338 in 154 PA’s.
    vs. RHP: .239/.301/.313 in 386 PA’s.
    Hitting 1st: .205/.258/328 in 133 PA’s; 9th: .244/.307/.321 in 398 PA’s.

    Which of these is not like the others?

    • The Catchers make a nice tandem and don’t appear to be an issue for 2019.
      This makes the call for an extension with Scooter a legitimate one. That is a huge hole to fill if he were to be traded.
      At no time should Billy Hamilton ever lead off. Maybe Senzel should be working in CF.
      Votto needs to work on his hitting vs. LHP this winter, a severe drop off this year.
      Winker needs to sit vs. some LHP, but should get about140 starts and hit 5th or 6th.

      • Catching is an area where they could potentially deal from strength. Barnhart should have value and is on a team friendly deal. They found Casali in the middle of the season. They should be able to find a LH hitting guy to pair with him if need be.

        My larger point is that on a team which has lost 90+ games for the 4th straight year, I’m not sure there should be a single “untouchable”. If it takes a particular guy to get a top line starting pitcher with multiple seasons of team control, make the deal and then backfill because all this position talent isn’t moving them up the standings.

        • No one should be untouchable. Not Winker, not Suarez, not Senzel, not Greene…no one. If they could add a DeGrom then trade an MLB regular and two of our top 6 prospects. I am sure one of those would need to be either Senzel, Trammell or Greene…fine, do it. Greene, if any team finds him elite and center-piece of a deal, do it. The Reds can’t develop pitching and they RARELY promote young guys quickly up to MLB. I can’t imagine a Trout or a Kershaw being MLB starters with the Reds at age 22, much less age 19 or 20.

  16. I think it is interesting how the offense really tanked after we traded Duvall. I was never a huge fan of his but he was really our only situational hitter we had. true rbi machine!

    • JREIS he is killing it with Atlanta. Literally killing his career.

    • What they lost when Duvall departed was a RH bat which could change a game with 1 swing 20+ times a season. Not sure he was that efficient, especially this year; but, that second RH bat with that possible impact to go along with Suarez was a bigger deal than realized I think.

      I still believe moving Duvall was a “right” move. It is just that they need to replace the RH power bat he represented. Like with Nick Senzel perhaps (snark alert flashing).

      • Dilson Herrera was the righthanded bat I wanted to be given a real chance this season, but he was not given consistent playing time and does not seem to figure in the Red’s future.

    • I’m sure the drop off had nothing to do with losing Winker and Schebler at about the same time. The team OPS dropped a whole .017 points between July and August. Slugging actually went up .005 the month following the trade and OBP dropped .022. That definitely was the result of the the loss of Duvall’s .271 OBP skills leaving the team not Winkers .405 or Scheblers .341

    • The Reds offense did not tank when Duvall was traded. It tanked when Winker and Schebler got hurt.

      • Without looking to precisely nail it, my recollection is the offense swooned when all three LH hitters, Winker, Schebler and Votto were out in mid to late August. Schebler went down on 14 July and did not return until 25 August. Votto went down on 15 August and did not return until 30 August.

        From shortly after Schebler went down until roughly the time Votto went down, Ervin was white hot and doing as much as either Winker or Schebler might have done.

        Votto joined Schebler on the sidelines. Ervin cooled and they haven’t been the same since even when Schebler and Votto both returned.

  17. “Gammons: Baseball’s system for developing pitchers is broken, and it’s hurting the game”

    https://theathletic.com/539450/2018/09/24/gammons-baseballs-system-for-developing-pitchers-is-broken-and-its-hurting-the-game/

    • It’s pretty rare when I agree with Peter Gammons but I think he’s onto something here.

  18. Here lately the Reds other hitters seem to be studying from,”The Billy Hamilton Guide To Offensive Baseball”.

    • And they”ve been neglecting the same author’s guide to fielding.

      • Ikr! I mean, what’s up with the left side of the infield, especially? Saurez was doing so great over at 3rd defensively and now he’s been committing errors left and right. Then…all we heard about Peraza was how he was a “glove first” (at least I’m pretty sure I heard that about him) and all he did was commit errors all season long. With Peraza, I really hope it’s not a case of where he’s worked so hard on his offense that his defense has suffered. There’s got to be a balance between the two and I hope he finds it.

  19. We didn’t see a lot of Peraza at 2nd, but he seemed competent there. Suarez mystifies me. Maybe his doppleganger is playing defense in his place.

  20. Lots of rebuilds go awry. More fail than succeed. Some franchises are perpetually rebuilding, partially due to financial limitations (real or fabricated by cheap owner groups), partially due to inept front offices/scouts/coaches/intangibles.

    What gets me is seeing a team like the recently moribund Braves, having such a quick turnaround. So many pitching prospects that appear to be meeting expectations (so few with the Reds) and a few high-ceiling hitters and a very deep farm system with quality depth. The Reds system in turn looks like a high tier 2 prospect in Senzel with some concern (Vertigo could return any time), a very far off Hunter Greene (can he navigate a few years without serious injury?), and a couple of good prospects below that. It just seems like the Reds have no impact prospects. No Acuna, no Albies. The Braves have a full high-end potential rotation in AAA and AA. We have a partial and middling MLB rotation growing there.

    Sigh, yeah, the Braves rebuild looks like one in ten, and unlikely, but it still makes the Reds rebuild look like another rebuild is inevitable. Add in the lack of creativity to procure a high-end starting pitcher, an SP2+ or budding Ace and I see more storm clouds on the horizon.

    I don’t want to waste limited payroll on a Matt Harvey, SP4- type, that has trouble completing 5 innings in 100 pitches. The hitting is likely good enough to contend, especially if Billy Hamilton is traded/cut or relegated to late-inning PR and defensive duties, but we need a REAL rotation, one with one high-end starter (top 25 in MLB at worst, hopefully top 15).

    I am hoping for a surprising signing or trade (or both) that changes the entire face of the rotation for 2019. I am fine with trading several prospects to get there, provided we aren’t selling the farm for 35 year olds. While it might not move the 2019 needle, I am not against trading three or four of our top 10 prospects for one BETTER starting pitching prospect or a top CF/hitting prospect. I no longer have any faith the Reds franchise can make their well-thought-of-prospects better or lead them to exceeding expectations. Years and years and years of mostly poor drafting, poor development have left me cynical.

    I suppose, there is a small chance, if everything is left alone that suddenly an extra year of age/experience will make 3 or 4 of our struggling MLB/AAA bouncing prospects actually MLB solid and consistent, but we’ve been banking on that for three years now.

    I should just pack it in a be a Braves fan, living in metro Atlanta, but I would find that kind of hollow.

    Lets hope something exceptional breaks through this off-season.

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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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2018 Reds

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