Jason Linden and I tackled the latest news surrounding the Cincinnati Reds — though that didn’t take very long — and then tried to assess where the Reds stand as we enter 2019…and where the Reds could go with just one more signing. Plus, an especially rousing edition of #ViewerMail.

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10 Responses

  1. Scott Gennett

    Regulars, assuming no more additions, should be Tucker/Casali C, Votto 1B, Scooter 2B, Suarez 3B, Peraza SS, Schebler RF/CF, Puig CF/RF, Kemp/Winker LF.

  2. Matt B

    I was a little underwhelmed by the names on the North leg of the caravan this year. Not a lot of star power there. I get it though. Nobody wants to come to Lima, Ohio. Except maybe for the wafer thin Kewpee hamburgers downtown.

  3. Mark Moore

    I’d still like to see another SP, but even at this point, this team has been improved to the point where they should win. I think Puig (and I’m generally not a fan) will do fine when he mans CF at GABP. I think he’ll hustle because it’s a contract year and he sees a pot of gold out there.

    Scooter stay or Scooter move … whatever happens, happens at this point and I’m done with the debate. Senzel will get worked into this line-up, likely after his year of control is confirmed at AAA.

    Bring on 2019!

  4. TR

    I’m encouraged by the acquisition of Puig and Kemp on offense, if only on a temporary basis. And the addition of Roark and Wood strengthens the starting pitching. But as it stands now, the Reds, without an ace pitcher, are not a contending team and will struggle to finish in 4th. place.

  5. Ron Payne

    I like what the Reds have done so far, but like everyone else, I still think they need to add a couple more players. I think they will. Actually, it wouldn’t make any sense for them to make the deals they’ve made and stand pat the rest of the way.
    I’ve never been a fan of free agency, but I think that might be the way to go. If they could sign Dallas Keuchel and A.J. Pollock, I would be very optimistic about their chances of being a contender in 2019.
    This would also allow them to hang on to their future stars. Senzel will be a major contributor this year IMO and the 2020 class should include Taylor Trammell, Jose Siri, Tony Santillan, Vladimir Guiterrez and Scott Moss.
    Free agents are always going to want too much money and too many years for their services, but sometimes they’re a necessary evil. Don’t know what it will take to get Keuchel and Pollock in a Reds uniform, but adding those two would make things very interesting and very exciting.
    It’s a huge risk, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take with somebody else’s money! ?

  6. Shchi Cossack

    We can not say with anything even approaching 100% certainty that the Reds have filled all the holes necessary to be fully competitive, but we also can not say that the Reds have any remaining holes to fill in order to be competitive. There are questions remaining, but answers to those questions will not be available until the 2019 season begins. External solutions to those questions may or may not be provided during this off season. The Old Cossack is completely comfortable and optimistic right now heading into spring training and the 2019 season.

    Questionable positions for the 2019 season:

    Top of the rotation starter…
    The starting rotation should be significantly improved and at least average with the external additions of Roark & Wood and improvement from Disco & Castillo with Reed, Lorenzen, Garrett & Stephenson vying for the 5th starter position. Do not overpay for Keuchel, Kluber, Bauer or Syndergaard. Any necessary over pay for a top of the rotation starter should be tabled for the 2019/2020 off season.

    Defensively adequate CF…
    The offensive black hole playing CF is gone. Schebler has demonstrated marginally adequate defensive capability playing CF in limited opportunities, significantly better than his corner OF defense and Puig has the physical tools (speed and arm) to play CF, but no real experience. Pollack could be an answer, but the Reds must not over pay for the injury-prone FA.

    Productive SS…
    Peraza’s 2nd half production in 2018 could portend really good news for the Reds going forward.
    Offense => .302/.335/.457 slash w/ .154 ISO & 110 wRC+ and only 19.6% soft contact.
    His defense at SS remains questionable, but his age and a consistent year playing SS in 2018 could lead to improved defense in 2019. No better SS option is available internally or externally for the 2019 season so the Reds will ride Peraza at SS for at least another year.

    Productive C…
    Barnhart is adequate offensively and defensively at the premier defensive position. His good plate discipline and historic success hitting in the #8 hole provide stability at the plate and on the field. Grandal could provide a significant offensive upgrade with comparable defense, if the Reds can pounce if/when his market deflates.

  7. Shchi Cossack

    The overall defensive outlook for the 2019 season is certainly sub-optimal, but the offensive capability should by very good with no absolute holes in the lineup. The Reds will have 3 hitters with superior plate discipline and high production to fill the top of the lineup, 3 hitters with aggressive approaches and high production to fill the middle of the lineup and 2 hitters with marginal to average production at the bottom of the lineup.

    2017-2018 offensive results:
    Winker: .299/.397/.460 slash, 130 wRC+, .857 OPS, .162 ISO, 13.6% BB, 14.9% SO
    Suarez: .271/.367/.493 slash, 126 wRC+, .860 OPS, .221 ISO, 12.0% BB, 23.3% SO
    Votto: .303/.437/.503 slash, 148 wRC+, .940 OPS, .200 ISO, 18.2% BB, 13.8% SO
    Puig: .264/.338/.490 slash, 120 wRC+, .828 OPS, .226 ISO, 9.0% BB, 18.9% SO
    Gennett: .303/.351/.508 slash, 124 wRC+, .859 OPS, .205 ISO, 6.3% BB, 21.1% SO
    Schebler: .243/.320/.464 slash, 103 wRC+, .758 OPS, .222 ISO, 8.1% BB, 23.3% SO
    Peraza: .275/.313/.376 slash, 82wRC+, .690 OPS, .101 ISO, 4.1% BB, 12.1% SO
    Barnhart: .258/.336/.386 slash, 90 wRC+, .722 OPS, .128 ISO, 10.2% BB, 17.4% SO

    Kemp: .283/.328/.472 slash, 111 wRC+, .800 OPS, .189 ISO, 6.5% BB, 22.0% SO
    Ervin: .254/.323/.412 slash, 95 wRC+, .736 OPS, .159 ISO, 7.7% BB, 24.1% SO
    Blandino: .234/.324/.289 slash, 70 wRC+, .613 OPS, .055 ISO, 8.8% BB, 27.9% SO
    Casali: .295/.363/.463 slash, 121 wRC+, .826 OPS, .168 ISO, 8.9% BB, 20.7% SO

    The bench looks solid for utility OF and backup/platoon C, but utility IF could use a boost, especially if the Reds carry Joe as a rule 5 C for the season. The lineup obviously doesn’t include Senzel, who should get significant, regular playing time at the MLB level during the 2019 season. This might come as a starting OF or in a super utility role, but his bat will be a significant asset in any role at the MLB level.

  8. Shchi Cossack

    What could make the remaining off season even more interesting?

    The FA market for Keuchel, Pollack and/or Grandal collapses and the Reds find viable option(s) to seriously upgrade the MLB roster for 2019. That won’t happen until Harper and Machado sign FA contracts with some of the remaining FA finding a lack of suitors willing to pay high $$$/long-term contracts for FA with warts, but it could certainly happen.

    The Reds find a viable, willing trade partner that syncs up in needs and availability.

    One potential trade partner moving closer and closer to matching up with the Reds might be the Angels. Trout has 2 more seasons with the Angels under his current contract. His next contract will probably exceed Harper’s and Machado’s FA contracts, so the Angels are under pressure to win now. They desperately need premier RP and the current FA premier RP market is drying up quickly with the Angels missing out on every option so far, leaving only Kimbrel with his exorbitant demands and a declined QO available. The Angel’s options at 2B are also marginal and they need starting pitching as bad as the Reds. What might the Angels offer for Iglesias, Gennett and some of the young starters who are out of options (Stephenson, Wisler, Bowman, Finnegan)? The Angels have some interesting prospects the Reds might be able to pry away (Griffin Canning, 22 y.o. RHP; Brandon Marsh, 21 y.o. OF; Jose Suarez, 21 y.o. LHP; Luis Rengifo, 21 y.o. SS; Patrick Sandoval, 22 y.o. LHP). Losing Iggy would hurt the Reds bullpen, but with the young starters beginning to migrate from the rotation to the bullpen (Romano, Garrett, etc.), the bullpen should be able to absorb that loss without imploding. None of the Angel’s prospects are MLB ready, but they represent some high-end potential the Reds could use when the contracts on the current roster expire after the 2019 season.

    The bottom line, moves to date, including the coaching changes, provide valid reasons for optimism in the 2019 season and beyond, but there are still possible opportunities during this off season that could really swing that optimism pendulum in an even broader arc.