Reds Hot Takes and Hotcakes

As I mentioned in my first column, I want this to be a thing you read with your feet up on a weekend morning. Maybe you have a cup of coffee, maybe you have a little something stronger, or, maybe, this particular weekend morning finds you with some pancakes/hotcakes.

Dropping the Hammer

This sucks, not going to lie. Exiting the All-Star break, there was a real since around our Redlegs that they weren’t that far off of contention for a playoff spot in 2019. Four-straight losses to the Cubs and Cardinals, as well as a dropped series to the Rockies, has all but assured the exact opposite is true. Few expected a playoff team on Opening Day, but many hoped, which reminds me of a tweet I saw:

Dangerous, indeed. Especially when the results are nowhere near what was hoped for. In a game, I will not rehash, on Friday night, the Reds found rock bottom in 2019. They are now nine games under-.500 and are 2-10 since pulling within three games of that .500 mark. It is now looking more and more like the Reds will, once again, be watching the playoff proceedings from the comforts of their own homes, come October.

I’m here to tell you something you don’t want to hear: that’s ok.

It’s ok that the Reds don’t make the playoffs in 2019. This year needed to be the stepping stone from the bad years to the contending years. It is a rare thing, indeed, for a team to go from 90-plus losses, to playoff contention. Heck, even the Astros, who are recent world champions, spent six-straight years losing a ton. Their last season, before contention, they had Dallas Keuchel, Jose Altuve, and George Springer all contributing major playing time…and lost 92 games. This leads me to my next point…

The Reds will make the playoffs in 2020

It’s in writing now, I firmly believe it, I’m planting my flag in this thought. Hear me out.

The front office has shown that they can be trusted. Not just with the moves they’ve made in acquiring the likes of Luis Castillo, but also their new thinking in cutting bait on guys who aren’t producing, like Matt Kemp (remember him?) and Zach Duke. They’ve tossed out the whole idea of how they evaluate in favor of a less-subjective, more analytic point of view. Due to this, their team building has improved, and will continue to evolve through this next offseason.

The payroll is about to be opened back up, too. Something like $65 million is coming off the books, after 2019. With ownership showing a willingness to set payroll records in 2019, I have to believe Dick Williams and Nick Krall will be presenting a strong argument for stretching that number, a bit more, next year.

With that financial flexibility comes the ability to sign some guys who have shown their quality in a Reds uniform, this year, as well as go outside the organization. That gives a lot of wiggle room in trades. That also is the most important factor to a team in a smaller market, the ability to outbid the other teams that are in the small market areas.

Speaking of trades…

The Reds should be looking to sell of their expiring contracts

The fellows on the Hunt For Reds October podcast made a great point, on this week’s show. Sure, the Reds have no idea what they will get for these contracts that are ending, after the season, but that should not cripple the front office from even negotiating. If that were the case, would Alfredo Simon have ever been dealt for Eugenio Suarez?

Unload these one-year guys and try to get some lottery picks. In doing so, the Reds join the teams on the upside of this seller’s market and position themselves, enviably, to build for 2020 and beyond. Isn’t that what we’ve been wanting them to do, anyway?

The front office needs to officially begin their plans for the 2020 offseason, right now.

Trade Tanner Roark and slot Alex Wood into his spot. See what you have with him, if it’s decent, maybe he signs a cost-effective deal so as to avoid the strangeness that is the new MLB free agency landscape. Trade Jose Iglesias and slot Jose Peraza back into the everyday shortstop role. These are just some spitball ideas.

The future remains bright

The Reds are 14-19 in one-run games, in 2019. That is 19 games that, with one swing of the bat, could be completely different. The Reds are also 14-9 in blowout (5+ run difference) games. That tells me (beyond the fact I’ve seen most of them) that the Redlegs are competitive in every single game, and that’s with a lineup that lugs a .240 batting average and .725 OPS from ballpark to ballpark.

There are some gaps on this team, but not gaping holes. The front office has shown it is capable of making the right decisions to fill those gaps which will put the Reds in the perfect position to contend, with the window opening in 2020.

106 Responses

  1. Alex Whitehead

    Put me down for absolutely no chance they make the playoffs next year. Look at the stats of the top five prospects, not an 800 ops among them and Santillan regressed big time. The number 1 prospect isn’t even at .700. The best season among them is being had by Josiah Gray, except he was traded to get rid of Bailey’s contract. Cause that’s what that really was, a salary dump. The reds FO has shown an ability to work like a hedgefund and cut costs to maximize profits and value for the owner even tho the team is bad.

    The idea FA will come here has no historical basis in fact. As we just saw two top level guys, including a reds target, sit out half the season until they got to a team they wanted. A record payroll for the reds is barely top 20 in the league and big Bob will go no higher.

    This team is dependent on producing players and they just fundamentally lack talent at all levels of the farm system. We can gush over Josh van meter if we want but the talent isn’t there for this franchise. You look at year five of a rebuild, a roster mostly built of players 28 and older, the rest of the National League, and if you are being honest, the reds are as close to starting over as contending.

    • David

      Alex, I think you are pretty much spot on. No, the Reds will not likely be contenders next year. THEY COULD BE, if the right personnel moves were made, but then again, that’s not going to happen either. This is a poorly managed franchise, from top to bottom. Congratuale ownership. Congratulations!!
      Come 2030, and baseball will want to expand into Mexico. The Monterrey Rojos has kind of ring to it, doesn’t it? When Big Bob passes on, his family will sell the team for the inherent value it has.

      • Tv

        Do you follow baseball or just make things up to have something to whine about

    • BigRedMike

      Well stated.

      There are not that many impact Free Agents going forward to spend the money on.
      Looking at the Free Agent list, these seem possible??
      Didi at SS
      OF Ozuna?
      OF Castellanos

      For some reason the Reds just struggle at identifying and developing young position players. Senzel and Winker are bright spots.
      As noted, the Reds starting IF has no young players. Suarez is great, Votto is an issue. Iglesias is going to be 30 and is near the bottom in wRC+ and WAR at SS. Gennett is an example of what the Reds do, play bad players because fans like them. Dietrich is a role player that was hot for 2 months.
      The last 3 players are not a plan. Votto is just something they are going to have to figure out.
      The OF should be Senzel, Ervin, and Winker every day the rest of the season. Bring up some other young players. Need to get younger. Trade Puig as soon as possible.

      Also, I don’t see it when Reds fans say this team is talented. Who is talented on this team as a position player? Suarez, Senzel?

      Position player rankings in the NL wRC+
      Catcher
      Casali 9
      Barnhart 17

      First Base >250PA
      Votto 13

      Second Base
      Dietrich 3 . good, benched for Gennett and has been awful for 2 months

      Short Stop
      Iglesias 16 . not sure why the Reds would consider signing this player

      Third Base
      Suarez 10 . good player, loaded position

      Outfield
      Senzel 23
      Puig 29
      Winker 32
      At least all 3 have a wRC+ over 100

      The Reds have no elite position players. Those are in NL, image the rankings in all of MLB.

      To make it worse, the Reds have few prospects that have the potential to be elite.

      Trades seem the way to improve, just need to make the right decisions. The challenge is that the Reds have little to trade to obtain talent.

      • Tv

        You lost me at scooter is bad. Lol wtf? Then u pick our every bad stat. Lol

        Do not avoid the swear filter.

      • Pete

        Unfortunately what he is pointing out is facts. I do disagree that Scooter is a bad player, he is an injured player who is in an age bracket not fitting a Reds future – at least a realistic one.

        Mike is taking inventory and he left out the pitching in minors is also very poor. The first step is being honest with ourselves and far more important is ownership doing the same. In a word: train wreck.

      • Eric

        Puig should be traded now before his hot streak ends. Iglaseus goes so Perraza plays everyday. Trade Roark for team top 10 lefty prospect. Scooter, Detriek, Barnhart, for a starting catcher. We are lacking offensive production there. Tyler Stephenson is a long away prospect if ever capable of everyday success. Tyler Mahle could be packaged as well. He can’t keep the ball in the yard at GABP. My guess is Johnathon India will flop. I kringed when we picked him at number 5. He is struggling mightily at Billings. You simply cannot miss with these top draft picks, especially at top 5. Allow him to develop and improve at Chattanooga and trade him. He will not produce at the major league level. He had one good year at Florida after consecutive sub par seasons with the Gators. You can’t wait 4 or 5 years to bring up a number 5 pick drafted as a 3 year college prospect. As for the remainder of 2019. Pray we lose twice as many as we win to get back to the 3 to 5 pick. Get the best catcher in the draft, preferable a college refined offensive juggernaut no more than 2 years from major league ready.

  2. Don A

    I appreciate your optimism, but I do not share it. Time for wholesale changes from the Front Office to the roster…

  3. Mike Adams

    As I said in the Game Recap, I think the impetus for the recent losses is injuries.
    Give them a couple weeks to heal and maybe the Reds will play better.
    There are still 67 games left.

    • BigRedMike

      Whose injured?
      Garrett will help when he returns

      • greenmtred

        Both catchers, Garrett, Senzel, and Iglesias is on paternity leave. I agree, though, that even with everybody at full strength–unlikely for any team–the Reds don’t look like a legit contender.

  4. Klugo

    The leadership mantle needs to be passed. As much as I love Joey Votto, the player, I’m not buying Joey Votto the Captain, the leader. It’s time for him to pass the mantle. The only way to do that is to trade him. Along with Winker, and pretty much anyone on the MLB roster not named Senzel, Suarez or Gray. I’m not even fully convinced the Reds shouldn’t trade Castillo for a huge haul. Blow.It.Up.

    • Colorado Red

      Joey is due 100+ million over the next 4+ years.
      Who wants to trade for him, unless the Reds pay 90 million.

    • Doc

      Makes perfect sense that a FO that can’t evaluate talent well enough to not be stocked to the gills after four years of top draft picks should trade a Cy Young ace for a haul of players except, just who is going to evaluate and develop those players. I’d keep the known quantity in Castillo than think any unknown quantities we get for him would ever develop. He could win 100 more games before FA.

      • Schottzie

        Castillo would net 2-3 can’t miss guys that my little sister could evaluate. The issue isn’t evaluating talent as much as it is having the balls to sell high, ignore some of the fan chatter, and realize your current rebuild needs a step back to move correctly forward.

        This franchise doesn’t like to make tough decisions. That’s ultimately the problem.

      • doofus

        Those in charge “decide not to decide.”

    • doofus

      I would move Suarez in a heart beat for a decent return.

    • doofus

      Suarez is EXACTLY the type of player that the Reds should sell high on. Nice contract, productive, in his prime at 27. I would say keep him, if the Reds were a contender, but this team has too, too, many holes.

  5. JB

    I agree with everything you said . When I look at the other clubs that are coming out of rebuilds Braves, Padres and White Sox , I see young teams that are loaded with talented young prospects and farm systems full of talent The Reds have neither of these. The ability to draft and develop young talent is obviously missing , its time to clean house of our upper management and get knowledgeable baseball people to run this organization (John Hart) as an example , instead of a family member LOL . The big league club needs a housecleaning too. The lack of fundamental baseball and selfish play is unacceptable. It’s time to get the right people in place and start over again.

    • Joey

      That’s what happens when the front office does a reload instead of a rebuild. I seem to remember that phrase being thrown out a few years ago and the unwillingness to rip the band aid off then and accept the new for a total rebuild has set the franchise back even longer.

    • doofus

      What you say is should be on the front page of the Enquirer! Add Tampa Bay to your list. We all see what the Astros did.

      What do the Reds have to show for the trades of Chapman, Bruce, Cueto, Leake, et al? What homegrown talent can we be proud of since 2006, only Senzel?

      Those that herald the trades that brought in Castillo and Suarez are correct that these were good moves, but dagnammit there should be more talent on this team, if the FO/ownership had their brain-housing group wired correctly.

      I truly believe that there is nepotism in this organization. Look at the debacle that is the Orioles. They also have nepotism problems.

      The organization gained some goodwill, some, this offseason. So far they have blown it.

  6. Don

    Like you optimism for 2020. Team should start planning and putting the pieces in place now.

    I team which has lost many 1 and 2 run games and is close to the top on run differential is close. They need that key hit at the optimal time or that key defensive stop to keep that extra base from being taken or run being scored.

    A few key removals and additions which changes the attitude of the team is what is needed.

    I heard on a different pod cast that a Puig extension is most likely 5 years at 95 to 105 mil with a player option for Year 4 and 5. I do not think that would fit in the budget. Two players on long term deals with $45 mil in salary for the Reds just does not seem right. They were also saying on the podcast that Cleveland is looking to trade Bauer as Cleveland does not want to pay Bauer the about $20 mil he will get in arbitration for 2020. Bauer has also said he does not want a long term deal and only wants a year to year deal. Cleveland also wants expiring contracts so that they can get their salary lower for 2020.
    If Cleveland would make the trade (would probably need to send more than Puig since Bauer is a 5+ WAR pitcher and Puig is a 1-2 War player). Maybe Roark?? Trade the 2019 yearly rental for a 2020. Bauer would probably be better in the NL than the AL as well.

    • Seat101

      OK, I waited until I brewed my coffee.

      My expectation and help at the beginning of the season was that we would finish near 500.

      Because of that expectation I figured that buying/selling at the deadline could be problematical. I believe that the needs of this season are not as important as the needs of next season. So any buying or selling we do concerning this season needs to look at the Hippocratic oath: first do no harm.

      Our biggest holes for the rest of the season our bullpen and catcher. Our front office has a pretty good track record at acquiring relief pitchers in the off-season so I think will just have to limp through the rest of the season with what we have. Solving the catching problem is above my pay grade. It is both a short term and long term problem.

      It’s time to bench Dietrich, Iglesias, and Scooter. They don’t fit in our long-term plans and are not helping the team now. Only Iglesias would bring back anything in a trade. And that wouldn’t be much more than a single A lottery ticket

      The elephant in the room is Joey Votto. What do we do with him?

      • daytonnati

        I wonder if Votto, who professes a love for the city and the franchise, would consider restructuring his contract with deferred payments, a la Ken Griffey Jr? He has already made over $100,000,000 and is owed another $120,000,000 over the next five years. Would he be willing to lower the yearly tab to give the Reds some leeway in acquiring talent? Wouldn’t he rather play for a winner than going out there every night in front of 15K fans and grind for an also-ran? I don’t know much about the financial aspects of the game, but there comes a point where you have to decide why you do something? To play? Well, you’ve been a great player. To win? You’ve come close, but not quite yet. What is left?

      • Doug Gray

        Maybe the Reds ownership group, who is worth well over a billion dollars, should just spend some money instead of try to get Joey Votto to defer some money he’s owed?

      • Jack

        Joey is a sunk cost but there is no one to replace him now so may as well keep giving the majority of AB’s. Maybe bring Brian O’Grady up for some at bats to try and see if he is a product of AAA balls or there is something there. Votto is one of the smartest ball players around and while I think he is a victim of the aging curve to some extent I also think his new approach isn’t productive in this age of Home Runs and hope he goes back to the drawing board.

      • doofus

        There is wisdom in Doug Gray’s words.

        Bob “We will bring championship baseball to Cincinnati” Castellini needs to open up the vault!

      • doofus

        Really? If there are 15k fans at the GABP every night, 10K are fans of the opposition.

        It is sad.

    • doofus

      I do not see the Reds committing $20MM to Puig a non-homegrown player who will be 29 at the start of his extension.

  7. burtgummer

    The Reds will be awful next year with all the guys their gonna lose and more than likely be replaced with scrubs
    Well over 90 losses
    They will not make the playoffs until the Reds have new ownership that wants to win

    • Joe Farfsing

      Great analysis. Not reactionary or ill informed at all! Not sure how they’re going to spend the 70M coming off the books on scrubs to fill the roster though

  8. Jreis

    I think the more depressing aspect for the reds this year is that are top draft picks are not exactly lighting it up in the minors. I had such high Hopes for trammel, Siri, India,, Stephenson,,Clementina , Friedl, but they have all put up soft numbers this year. Our future is not as bright as I thought it was going into the season.

  9. Grand Salami

    A lot of pessimism. The Reds have players – Senzel, Winker, Ervin, Peraza, and Suarez – whose ages would indicate improvement in the coming years. Same goes for Mahle, Castillo, and perhaps Sims. The question is if they can develop into all star caliber players. Everyone seems to be looking for Tatis in the farm system and those are generational type talents.

    This will be a winning team next year and this team will have some good moments still this year. I just don’t want to see the wheels fall off.

    • Pete

      It’s not pessimism it’s realism. Out of the five players you identified, the only one I think is as near a sure-thing is Senzel who should be the defacto leader, Winker and Peraza have regressed, Ervin looks promising but is a bit long in the tooth to make a breakout at this point, Suarez looked to be a #3 or #4 hitter and now looks like a #5 hitter. Suarez appears to have fallen in love with the HR and he’s hitting them but it’s HR or bust, actually he would be a #6 hitter on a really good team.

      Any of the four mentioned could turn out to be very good major league players but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it. Play the kids as soon as possible including Aquino and that not such a kid (O’Grady – 27 years old). WE are in the data collection (evaluation) step of the next rebuild. Sooner we get started, sooner we will finish.

      • Doug Gray

        Has Jesse Winker regressed? Or did he simply have an absolutely brutal first week and a half of the season that was so bad that his numbers as a whole haven’t recovered yet? Because since April 9th he’s got a .275/.355/.494 line in 79 games and 282 plate appearances. That’s better than last year. It’s better than his career. He was just really, really, really, really bad for the first 9 games of the season, going 1-for the entire stretch.

      • Pete

        Doug, your point is good but we can’t erase the start of the season.

        Here is the kicker for me, fangraphs has JW’s oWAR at 9.3 for 2018, this year it’s -2.9. I hate to say but I do believe he’s regressed. Sophomore jinx or Turner Wards tutelage, injury, who knows, but it’s something. I hope Jesse starts ever game left and gets back to where he was.

      • Pete

        Doug, honestly it’s not better than last year, not by a long shot. Winker’s 2018 numbers:

        .299/.405/.431, wRC+ = 128 and 117 for your 2019 time frame. Yes his slugging is better during the time frame you show but the team needs to Jesse to be an on-base machine who can flat hit. He hasn’t been this player, IMO.

      • Doug Gray

        If you’re going to say he’s regressed, then it’s a statement about his skillset. He hasn’t regressed. He had an absolutely brutal 9 game stretch. He’s just as good as he was last year. Different in that there’s more power, less on-base – but he’s just as good.

        What this team needs is more people hitting like Jesse Winker has hit sans the first 9 games of the year. He’s been an above-average on-base guy in that span who can hit.

      • Pete

        Doug, no argument, the numbers don’t reflect it. If you see something that confirms your thoughts, okay but explain the oWAR to me if you want me to look at it objectively.

        Other troubling stats:

        BB%: 2018: 14.7%, 2019: 8.8%
        SO%: 2018: 13.8%, 16.6%
        GB/FB%: 2018: 1.24% 2019: 2.19%

        Outside of more HR’s I can’t find a single stat that backs up your claim.

      • Doug Gray

        He’s hitting .275/.355/.494 since April 9th. That’s my claim. He’s producing differently, but he’s producing at a well above-average rate.

        WAR is a guide. It’s not some be-all end-all. It’s not perfect. But, his -2.9 oWAR includes that terrible start to the year where he went 1 for a week and a half. Outside of that stretch, he’s been a pretty good hitter. A productive hitter. He had an atrocious start to the year, like a reliever giving up 12 earned runs in 4 games that spanned 2.2 innings and their ERA never recovers to show that they’ve actually been good for almost the entire season.

      • Doug Gray

        As to just how bad that first 9 game stretch was for Winker, his “offensive value” via Fangraphs since April 9th is +2.9. For the season it’s -2.9.

        That 2.9 since April 9th puts him there with Ryan Braun, Paul DeJong, Gary Sanchez, and Andrew Benintendi.

        The first 9 games he had were sooooooooo, sooooooo bad. And they are destroying his season numbers at this point, still, because of how bad they were. But for the last 79 games, he’s been a good, above-average hitter.

      • Hanawi

        I lean more toward your way of thinking Pete and Winker appears to me to be the poster boy for the Turner Ward era. More aggressive, trying to hit for more power, but that comes at a huge cost to OBP. And that comes at a cost to the team for being more consistent in scoring output. Both he and Suarez have regressed due to that. Votto has also fallen off big-time in OBP, though I have a hard time believing that he would change his approach for a new hitting coach. So that’s probably just age.

      • Pete

        Doug, appreciate the stats. For clarification, I’m not saying JW is not a good hitter but he’s regressed. How in the heck to you get to -2.9 from 9.3 without regressing? Nine games accounts for this slippage. He has slipped in all major categories except ISO/HR, that’s it.

        “He’s producing differently, but he’s producing at a well above-average rate.” Yes but he has regressed, I wasn’t making an argument since April 9th he hasn’t been above average.

        I’m done, let the readers decide, we are at an impasse.

      • doofus

        I strongly feel that Winker and Peraza’s troublesome season so far is due to the fact that they need to play everyday.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      Has Winker regressed? Sure. But, that’s one season. And, he was coming directly off the injury from last season, not having played the last half of last season. I’m definitely willing to give him another shot next year. If you want to see what kind of hitter he actually can be, I suggest you look at his minor league stats, similar to last year’s stats.

      Suarez has regressed, also. But, again, getting use to all the changes with the coaching, I’m willing to give him another season.

      Peraza has never hit well. Oh, he’s had his streaks. But, he’s just not a hitter.

      I wouldn’t be looking for “All Star” caliber players from a group. Maybe 1-2, but not all of them. I’d be happy if they all became what I call “serviceable” players. As in, they can hold there own with anyone out there.

      What gets to me, as it should to all, is the offense. Just horrible this year. For example, the league average OBP is 322. We are at 312 as a team. Last season, we were 10 points above the average, 16 points higher than we are now. Why the fallout?

      I can’t help thinking it’s Turner Ward. I can understand changing the coaching staff. But, I can’t understand turning over the hitting coach. That person was working.

      I can understand using the stats and sabers. But, those are tools. Those don’t coach. Those who use stats and sabers to solely coach, I believe, are destined to fail. You use those to coach. For example, if you find a player can’t hit curveballs (stats and sabers), you work on (coach) him hitting curveballs. Because almost regardless of how well you plan “who” that player faces, he is going to eventually face a curveball if not a curveballer.

      I can’t help wondering just what is Ward working these guys on? I’m willing to give him one more season. But, if there isn’t a huge improvement next season, he needs to go.

      • Joe Farfsing

        In 2016 the Dodgers ranked 11th in the NL in OBP, 7th in SLG, and 8tg in OPS. In 2017 it was 3-4-5. In 2018 it was 2-1-1. Each year Ward was the hitting coach they improved and last year they were easily the best. Coaching helps but talent trumps all. Peraza is a streaky slap hitter who will be up and down his entire career. Suarez was great last year but that’s probably his ceiling. Dietrich and J Iglesias are guys who were out of jobs the week before the season, had great stretches, but have returned to who their baseball cards say they were. Puig and Winker are the converse. Senzel has been fine but not great (not that he’s been a problem at all). Every catcher has been brutal and is clear why the team was so hot to acquire Realmuto. And Votto is an enigma who’s solution might very well be just a steep age-related decline. Not sure what coaching has to do with anything. We, as a fanbase, had unrealistic expectations of the offensive talent.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        As you said, with the Dodgers, it could have been talent and not coaching.

        Suarez has been great the last 2 years.

        Iglesius’ strength has been hitting with runners in scoring position, over 300 for the season, and something this team has sorely missed in prior seasons.

        Realmuto would have been great. But, this year, Casali is holding his own with Realmuto’s numbers this year and actually doing worse than last season. Barnhardt has been poor since his breakout year.

        Puig and Winker are still below their baseball cards for the season. But, with Winker, given he doesn’t have much of a baseball card, his minor league stats could be a better tell.

        You never really did state what was the reason for the overall decline. When the decline is pretty much overall, you have to at minimum consider at the coaching. It could be unrealistic expectations. But, when the expecations were what we had the last 2 seasons, for example, OPS+ of 97 and 94, then this season so far of 85, essentially 10 pts less over 2 seasons, where you would expect the young studs like Winker and Senzel step up and veterans like Suarez and Votto to maintain, while bringing in someone like Puig to shore up some offense, expectations would be quite easy to make that we would at least be able to hold to the last 2 seasons.

        So, rather than fans having unrealistic expectations, it is vastly more likely, like you said, the talent simply didn’t produce.

      • Joe Farfsing

        Steve- Short of Votto and Puig who has really underachieved? Puig has been the best hitter in the game for 6 weeks and he’s likely to finish in line with his career norms anyhow. Schebler was awful, as was Kemp, but they were never going to be full time players. Suarez is still having a pretty good year despite being down from 2018. Peraza is who he is, someone who’s completely dependent on BABIP because of negligible power and really low walk rates. Dietrich has the same OPS+ (123) as Scooter had in 17 & 18. Iglesias is almost exactly at his career norms. Winker is down because he’s been awful with LHP but that’s mitigated with Ervin crushing LH of late. Where’s the huge non-Votto dropoff??

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Never said there was a huge non-Votto dropoff. But, then, you just listed I believe at least 5 batters who aren’t batting up to “their baseball card” for a majority of the season (Puig was nothing for over 2 months). It seems like to me you just answered your own question.

      • Joe Farfsing

        I think you missed my point. Who is really hitting that much worse than expected? Suarez has his OPS exactly where ZiPS projected. Barnhart has been bad but just a bit unlucky; if his BABIP were at his career norm he’d be where he was expected. Peraza isn’t far off his projection. Winker is right there. So is Puig but I’d bet he outperforms considering his current stretch. Votto is the only regular who’s truly unperforming real expectations. We expected Votto to return to MVP 2017 Votto. We thought Suarez would be 2018 great instead of just good. Gennett has been hurt/awful but Dietrich has made up the difference. We THOUGHT Winker would become Votto-lite but he’s instead a righty masher in line with the computers. Everyone is underperforming but not as much as we assumed they were.

      • doofus

        Peraza had 182 hits last season. That is not hitting well?

      • doofus

        Peraza does not “hit well”? He had 182 hits last season.

  10. Tv

    The single biggest problem they face is David Bell. Wont play winker . Plays a rental who got hot for 1 month because a 25 top 25 prospect had one bad month. Cant manager a pen to save his life. Dont give me that # on innings bs because it’s not the entire picture. They wont sell but if they did tanner and puig are who should go. Slot Ervin in and see what he has and let tyler learn. Derick and Iglesias are worthless to most teams.

  11. Pete

    One move the team could make in the short term is fire Turner Ward. Is this awful offense his responsibility? No but nearly every bat on this team has regressed and badly. Tell the players to go back to what got them here until a new coach can be hired. There is a chance, and it might be slight, Ward has played a big role in this fiasco. We have some time to find out, let’s use it. Baby and bathwater….

    • TR

      I think Turner Ward will stay, unfortunately, unless Puig is traded.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        I agree. I can understand giving Ward one more season. But, the team did take an obvious hit in offense this season. We were mid-level in the league the last couple of seasons. Now, we are close to the bottom, in many, if not most, if not all, positions. That could be affected by Bell, also, with platooning. I can understand platooning. But, I’ve never been a fan of it myself. I mean, not unless you have 2 players who can perform part-time, I always felt that it was easier to perform if players who they were going to be starting or on the bench by the time they get to the park that day, aka regular playing time.

    • Hanawi

      Should have read this comment before responding above. Agree completely.

    • doofus

      I can understand some platooning, if warranted, but the constant in-and-out of the lineup that has been David Bell’s lineups this season IS over managing. There are some good hitters on this team that have shown poorly. Winker and Peraza are two. They deserve more, steady time, in the lineup.

  12. vegastypo

    “This year needed to be the stepping stone from the bad years to the contending years.”

    If you’re considering this year’s team to be a “contender,” then maybe.

    But in reality, we have to hope that next year becomes the actual ‘stepping stone’ to contending. The Reds aren’t going to be willing to spend the money needed to jump into contention next season, and they don’t have the trade chips to fill holes that way. …. Would be glad to be proven wrong about this next season.

    • Joe Farfsing

      Reds last few promises – get the pitching for 2019. Done. Record high payroll in 2019. Done. Retain payroll level in 2020. TBD but to do so means spending roughly 70M in the off-season. Arbitration raises will eat up a little of that but, unless they plan on acquiring more Matt Kemp contracts, they’ll HAVE to sign and trade players with relatively sizeable deals. Trammell and Greene are top 25-ish prospects. India top 60 or so. They can trade R Iglesias for MORE prospect capital for more deals. I’m not going to vouch for a Bob Castellini team to spend wisely, however they have a sizeable chunk of cash to work with. Re-sign Puig, extend Castillo, offer Gerritt Cole a huge deal, trade prospects for a middle infielder and you’ll still have $ to find a catcher somewhere.

  13. DS

    TV has it right. The team has under performed all year. It’s a management issue not a talent issue. I’ve been a manager or decades. One of the things you had better learn early in your career, you can’t do it by numbers. Boone’s actions suggest he hasn’t learned that.

    • Doug Gray

      What Major League Baseball team do you manage?

      • Seth r

        I think we should take a look at Eduardo Nunez, has some playoff experience, can play around the diamond. Also, Dyson or Elias look like they could be had cheap to work out of the bullpen. Roark seems like a reasonable trade piece, with Sims and Wood to backfill. Last night hurt, but I still think we should be hunting for 2020 improvements.

      • doofus

        Come on Doug, “DS” said he has managed. He did not imply that he managed MLB teams.

        Since you have become Jefe Maximo on RLN your biting comments and sarcasm toward contributors on the board have drastically increased. As “Leader” of this board you should not be slamming contributors. You learn that in Leadership 101.

        We all must learn to temper our opinions.

      • Joe Farfsing

        @doofus- you’ve done nothing but post your idiotic opinions all morning/afternoon long so maybe you should start with yourself

      • doofus

        Mr. Farfsing, please tell me who I have personally attacked, so if warranted, I may address my transgressions?

        Given, that you have addressed my comments as “idiotic,” in your opinion, are you not being hypocritical?

        Thank you.

      • Joe Farfsing

        doofus- I’m not sure what I’m being hypocritical about. I was pointing out your hypocrisy about espousing opinions while giving opinions on nearly every single comment

      • doofus

        Mr. Farfsing, with all do respect, your comment does not make sense: “I was pointing out your hypocrisy about espousing opinions while giving opinions on nearly every single comment.”

        I respectfully, ask you to point out where I was directly disrespectful to a fellow Reds fan on this thread? You have yet to do so.

        When is it hypocritical for just espousing opinions?

        How many opinions are we limited to, in your opinion? When is it too many? And, if we go over that number, are we then on “Double-Secret Probation” Mr. Farfsing?

        According to you, why are mine and other Red’s fans comments yesterday and today “idiotic?” These are simple questions that I ask. I and others need to know the answers so we can become better fans in your eyes.

        Thank you!

      • Joe Farfsing

        Dude, you are completely wearing me out and this is my last remark on the matter. You chastised Doug for biting comments and sarcasm then recommended tempering opinions. You then proceed to give your opinion on roughly every single comment in the thread. If I tell you not to kick a baby then I proceed to kick a baby I’m being a hypocrite. If you tell Doug to hold his opinion then proceed to opine on every single post that makes you a…..? Class, any guesses? That’s right, a hypocrite. Don’t tell the person who runs this website how to have discourse with the commenters then get butthurt when you’re singled out. Oy ve!

    • Hanawi

      I appreciate the more data-driven approach that the Reds have been pushing for this year. It’s long past due. I think we’re seeing a rookie manager, though, who is still feeling his way around. The players are still human after all, so I think there needs to be a balance between the numbers and a manager’s feel for the team. I’m not sure Bell is there yet. I would not advocate firing him, though.

      It is interesting comparing the Reds with the Twins, who hired Baldelli, one of the other finalists. Could play a good what-if game between the two.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      I believe the management definitely did a better job this year. Just look at the pitching. We went from one of the worst of the league to one of the best in the league. You can’t look at 1-2 specific games that the bullpen is a let down.

      It’s been our offense all season. A huge letdown. That can be a talent issue or a coaching issue, or both.

      If the management can do for our offense what they did for our pitching, we should definitely be in the running next year.

    • Joe Farfsing

      Bob Boone was fired by the Reds 16 years ago. Aaron Boone manages the Yankees. Bret Boone last managed 4 games in a Canadian independent team in 2010. Ray and Daniel Boone are dead and Pat Boone hasn’t released an album in 10 years. Which Boone are you referring to?!?

      • doofus

        Methinks Mr. Farfsing doth provide too much snarkiness toward fellow commenters.

  14. doctor

    regardless if there is agreement Reds will contend or not in 2020, the post all-star fade has shown what “should” be the direction of reds management: sell off short term players as stated in the article by the author. Puig, Scooter, Roark, David Hernandez, Jared Hughes, Jose Iglesias. Possibly also include Desclafani and Dietrich who have one more year of arbitration left. Give any young minor leaguers(Reds system or from trades) who seem capable some time with big club to get exposure/experience to help front office needs for off-season.

    Key question is Senzel, is he permanent for OF or is it better to move him to 2B?

    • BK

      Well said Doc … I’m actually optimistic for next year, but the direction for this year’s trade deadline is crystal clear. I look forward to seeing our front office execute.

    • doofus

      Senzel should play on the dirt. He is a stop gap in CF, because the FO is incapable of making sure there is proper “continuity” on the roster.

  15. Vada

    It was asked, “what do we do with Votto?” The answer to that question is simple: since he has a no-trade clause send himdown to AAA or AA. While he is playing down there, hopefully, he will think about what his lousy attitude had caused on the Reds. Votto is DEAD WEIGHT and the Reds will NEVER establish a winning team when managers feel compelled to play Votto because of his HIGH salary. Maybe he will cancel his no-trade contract and agree to play for the American league where he can be a DH. Bryce Harper will end up the same as Votto, dead weight with a high salary.

    • Pete

      I don’t know what it is but such a small percentage of people can be objective about Joey Votto. It’s either he can do no wrong or he’s bum – zero middle ground. If JV is really in the waning days of his tremendous career, the Reds need to find a graceful way out. I don’t think they should attempt to deny him his money. Whatever you think of it’s value, the Reds and Votto signed it, it’s over.

      These are the options I see if Joey is near the end of his career:
      1) Keep him and play him the next 4 years no matter what. Two questions: would Joey even want to play? Second, what would it do to the team’s fortunes on the field? Can you have that big a hole at 1B?
      2) Try to trade him if he agrees to it. He probably has scant value in the market and if traded, the Reds will have the pick up near the entirety of his contract anyway. But you have opened the door to an upgrade at 1B.
      3) Cut or demote him to AAA. This would be the harshest of moves and so disrespectful to a great player – at least once great player. But you could upgrade 1B.
      4) Ask him to bow out gracefully and retire. The Reds send him off just like the Yankees did with Jeter. Everyone wins: JV is respected and honored, the fans get to see one of the all-time great Reds go out in style and grace, the Reds as a team look great from a PR standpoint because they did the right thing and did it first-class. I would almost guarantee Votto is the 2020 starting 1st baseman but if the trajectory of his production continues downward, he could be a part-time player whose main mission is that of a ph. Only for the balance of the 2020 which also becomes his retirement celebration season.

      I can’t think of any other options, maybe you can.

      • scotly50

        The sooner the Reds are shed of Votto the better.

      • Pete

        Objectively, you’re probably right. As a practical matter, this will be a drawn out process more than likely. If Votto was your average Joey, it would be a no brainer but he isn’t and the Reds have to think this through. In September if things continue as is, it would be valuable to see Winker and O’Grady get work in at 1B.

      • TR

        Since this is Marty’s retirement year and the fact Joey seems very adept in talking up opposition runners at first base, and when interviewed Votto has a pleasing personality, the Reds could come to an agreement with him that next year is his retirement year and in 2021 he’ll move to the broadcast booth doing commentary and interviews. What Votto is owed could be spread out over many years and in a few years he becomes the voice of the Reds.

    • Jack

      I am interested in how often you meet with Votto. Tell me all the things he says that show this bad attitude. We are so lucky we have someone like you to tell us how Votto feels.

      • jazzmanbbfan

        @Jack: I was wondering the same thing. I don’t know where the stuff about Votto having a “bad attitude” is coming from other than the writer’s imagination. He’s not having a good year. That’s different than having a bad attitude. Homer Bailey gave me the impression the last year or two that he may have had a “bad attitude” but honestly, I have no idea if that’s true and I’m guessing no one else on this site does either.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      The thing with Votto is, we are going to have to move on from him at some point in time. The Reds have gotten this much better, and Votto hasn’t been that much of a part of things. So, “can” we do better? I think we “can”, doing it for cheaper, also. But, will we? That’s one part of the trick. The other part, do we do it on Votto’s terms, or our terms?

      I will say one thing, don’t extend Votto. He wouldn’t be worth it.

      I think someone said they are looking for India to take his place, eventually.

      • TR

        This is the first I’ve heard about extending Votto. All I’ve heard and continue to hear are ways to de-extend him.

    • Colorado Red

      Cannot send him down.
      Your would have to DFA him, and he can then say, give me my 107 million left, and I will go away.

    • docmike

      Even if Votto never gets on base a single time the next 4 years, he has already earned every penny of his contract. He was VASTLY underpaid for the first several years of his contract. Even if he is significantly overpaid between now and 2023, it will still not erase the tremendous value the club received from Votto from 2012-2018. It’s not his fault the upper management surrounded him with crappy teams most of those years.

  16. Steven Ross

    Wish I could drink your Reds will make the Playoffs next year Kool-Aid but I’m not touching it. No they won’t.

  17. Vada

    Stats, stats, stats, stats, stats !!! I am fed up with them all. PASSION, LOYALTY, and DEDICATION wins games and championships. Can anyone name just 2 Reds that fit this description? I can’t think of 1. And I don’t see any in AAA or AA either.

    • daytonnati

      I don’t think anyone reaches the Major Leagues or the highest level of any professional sport without passion and dedication. Loyalty, however, is a two-way street. Zach Duke seemed to love being a Red, but no matter how passionate or dedicated he was, he isn’t. I believe you left TALENT out of your list of qualities. I think Tucker Barnhard, Nick Senzel, Jesse Winker, Jose Peraza, Kyle Farmer, Scooter Gennett and Michael Lorenzen bring it every single day. Puig also plays with fire, but I’m not sure if it is because of this being a contract year or not 🙂

    • Joe Farfsing

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA this may be the most “GET OFF MY LAWN” thing I’ve read in a long time. Maybe if they had a team of Chris Heisey, Ryan Freel, Skip Schumaker, Rob Oester, and Chris Sabo they would win a championship. Puuuuuuuure grit. Crappy stats, but lots of character. Lots of dedication. Gimme a break dude. There are 7.7 BILLION people in this world. Do you have any freaking clue how much work and dedication each and every player in MLB has out in to be one of the best 750 in the world? 0.0000000972% of people in the world can say they are the best ballplayers. That’s 1/10,292,000 people. My god that’s just idiotic. Sorry to rant but holy smokes dude.

      • doofus

        Again. Why Mr. Farfsing do you call fellow Red’s fan’s comments “Idiotic.” You have done it several times yesterday and today on this thread.

        Can you please elaborate why you feel Red’s fans comments on this board are “idiotic?” Are you a troll? Are you a Cardinal’s fan?

        Is “idiotic” the only adjective you know?

        Thank you for your considerate feed back.

        Yours truly,
        doofus
        Reds fan for 56 years…and counting!

    • docmike

      I really hope this post was made tongue-in-cheek. If not, then it just proves that some segments of our fan base are still hopelessly stuck in the 1950’s. Passion, loyalty, and dedication will get you nowhere without talent.

      Yes, a team full of gritty, hard-working players with minimal talent will win games. About 50, to be exact. They’ll lose the other 100+ games.

      • doofus

        Why is a Red’s fan who believes in Passion, Loyalty and Dedication being denigrated on this board?

        Please have some respect for other’s opinions. If you do not agree, you need not comment.

    • greenmtred

      Talent wins games, and you’ve provided no information to back your assertions about passion, loyalty and dedication. I’m frustrated, too, by the way. It has been quite a while since the Reds were more than sporadically fun to watch.

  18. Mary Beth Ellis

    I am honored to be a part of this happy little ray of hope 🙂

    • Pete

      Ah..you are the ray of hope – start raying. MB tell us it’s all okay and just a bad dream

      • Mary Beth Ellis

        awwww, thanks. I’m working on the Game Thread right now and it has kittens. Does that help?

      • Pete

        It can’t hurt. If anyone can raise the collective spirits, it would be you. Maybe something like, “hey gang, look on the bright side we are closing in on the end, beyond the halfway point….” Just spitballing, you would be better off on your own.

      • Mary Beth Ellis

        well now I have pressure!

        No worries. I appreciate the vote of confidence 🙂

  19. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I would bet that our offense will do better next season. Especially two key pieces in Winker and Senzel, even if you think they were good hitters now, they have shown in the minors they are better hitters.

    I wouldn’t slot Wood in, though. The guy is still injured. We haven’t seen him all year. There’s no guarantee he will even pitch next year yet.

    We might be able to find another “Roark” on the FA list. But, given we’ve been trying to find one for a while, I will go ahead and extend Roark. I try to extend Roark, Iglasius, and Puig by trade deadline. If we can’t, try to trade them.

    I don’t slot Peraza in and trade Jose. If we do that, we are banking that Peraza is going to be able to hit better. I just don’t think that will happen.

    I can see trades being made, for anyone. But, those are going to be more position-for-position, I believe. Like Winker for a corner OF. For, we just aren’t stocked anywhere, where we have pieces we can let go.

    I let Scooter and Wood go. I may offer Wood a low base and high results. I really wouldn’t have a problem trading Barnhardt and giving Casali and Farmer the job.

    I do believe Ervin deserves another look. I mean, he has the best OPS+ on the team right now by 16 pts, beating Votto. And, we need offense. Putting him in the OF and Senzel at 2nd might be an easy way to get some more offense.

    In short, I believe we become sellers. I would lock up what pieces have worked for us this year, like Iglesius, Roark, and Puig.

  20. Jon

    You have to think that with Bob Castellini getting up there in age, he’s probably getting more than a little impatient with the never-ending rebuild. It wouldn’t surprise me if he instructed Dick Williams and Company to truly go “all-in” for 2020. That would mean increasing the payroll to at least $150 million. It also would mean that no prospect or player in the system would be untouchable in trade talks this winter. If a team wants to offer a top major league ready shortstop, catcher, and number-three starting pitcher for Castillo, the Reds should pull the trigger. The Brewers nearly made it to the World Series last year with a mediocre rotation and an outstanding offense and bullpen. The Reds need to follow that model for 2020. Build an offense based around Senzel, Suarez, and Winker. Build a rotation starting with Gray, DeSclafani, and whoever else Derek Johnson can turn into a serviceable pitcher. If Chapman opts out of his Yankees deal this winter, sign him to a four year, $60 million deal to anchor the bullpen.

  21. doofus

    Mr. Farfsing,

    I see that you do not allow facts to get in the way of your musings.