For this week’s question we asked some of the writers from Redleg Nation what the one move they would like to see from the Cincinnati Reds for the rest of the season?

Question: What one move do you want to see the Reds make for the rest of the season?

Nick Carrington: I’d like to see the Reds commit to significant playing time for both Josh VanMeter and Aristides Aquino. This means playing VanMeter against left handers and Aquino against right handers. It doesn’t have to be every day but five days a week, I want them in the lineup.

The Reds need to know whether these guys are legitimate starting options for next season. If one or both are, they can use valuable resources to upgrade at other spots, such as shortstop, the bullpen, or catcher. The last fifty games won’t tell them all they need to know, but more information is better than less.

I’ve never been a huge Aquino guy because of the high strikeout numbers in the minors, but he’s talented enough that his swing changes could lead to genuine improvement. I’m close behind Doug Gray on the VanMeter bandwagon. The plate discipline, easy power, and smooth stroke look legit to me. One way or another, it’s time for the Reds to find out what they’ve got in these two.

Bill Lack: I’d like to see the Reds extend Castillo and buy out some of his FA years. They have plenty of money to spend and his is a great opportunity for them to cement the 1-2 starters in the rotation for the next several years. He appears to have nothing but upside moving forward. At worst, if he continues on the level he’s throwing this year, he’s an annual contender for the All-Star team; but if he matures and gets his walk rate down, he’s a true ace and one of the handful of true #1’s in baseball.

Steve Mancuso: I don’t have big complaints. I like how David Bell is using opportunity created by trading Yasiel Puig and Scooter Gennett to give young players more chances. I support his aggressive platooning. The Reds are getting a look at Phillip Ervin, Josh VanMeter and Aristides Aquino. They seem determined to play Jose Peraza at SS and 2B. Even though I’m pessimistic about what they’ll learn, it’s important to get data on Peraza, so I support playing him over Jose Iglesias. It looks like shortstop will be a huge position of need in the organization and, beside catcher, should be the top target in the offseason.

The pitching side seems clear-cut. Tyler Mahle’s return will create a decision, and I hope they give Mahle all his starts. He’s had a much more promising season than most people realize. If they aren’t going to offer Alex Wood an extension, I’d move him to the bullpen when Mahle returns. I suppose if anything, I wish they’d find playing time for Michael Lorenzen to start a few games in the OF. And they should trade for Mike Trout.

Jason Linden: I mean, it’s really just a matter of playing the right guys. Aquino and VanMeter and Peraza (yes, really) need to play everyday. Because as much as I’m hoping the #sneakonin, it’s really about next year right now. I know people aren’t sold on Peraza – and I get why – but barring some blockbuster trade, there really aren’t a lot of options at short. Same goes for the bullpen. Lots of guys are about to run out of options, so let’s figure out who to keep and who to let go.

Doug Gray: I’ve been beating the “Play Josh VanMeter every single” day drum since he was called up last. The idea that he’s sitting against lefties drives me insane. Yes, he’s a lefty, but he’s also a lefty who had an OPS of 1.209 against lefties in Triple-A this year. In most situations, I get platooning lefties against lefties. This guy? Not until he shows he can’t do it. But they aren’t giving him the chance to do it right now and I just can’t figure out how a team that clearly is going with such an analytical approach is ignoring the data on this one. That he can play left field, right field, second base, and first base makes it easy to play him every day or really close to it.

34 Responses

  1. RichS

    I would like to find more playing time for Lorenzen as well…in the minors!

    • MikeB

      come on , this is the same ML that struck out Mike Trout twice last week. Not sure how much this weekend has to do with familiarity the Cubs have with him or how much was just a bad weekend, and I will give you he has been somewhat inconsistent with control this season, but not to the extent of demotion. IF this team has a run in them , this year OR next, they need Mikey Biceps to be confident and effective in the high leverage spots

    • Rick Pearson

      I want them to sign Iglesias at shortstop to a long-term deal I think he has deserved that right I also think Michael Lorenzen is not a closer that is Iglesias job Lorenzen lost that game last night no if and or buts about it

    • Don

      Wait on Wood to see if last start was just a dead arm as I think or something else is wrong. His velocity is down 2MPH compared to 2017.

      Farmer is still under Team control for 2020 and then Arbitration in 2021. Unless team wants to buy out arbitration years of someone whom is a part time player and had 97 Plate Appearances before this season does not make sense. Not the type of player to buy out arbitration years.

      • Klugo

        Oh good. I love Farmers versatility. Great bench piece.
        I don’t think velocity means as much with a pitcher like Wood. If we can get him on the cheap, he’d be a good #3 or 4.

  2. Pete

    Peraza, outside of SS, is a impediment to this team’s growth and success.

    The Votto question: I see none of the writers will bring it up or I’ll assume they don’t see it as a problem. We are 4 and half months into the season and Joey is carrying a wRC+ of 96. I can’t recall if he has seen the north side of 100 at any point this season It would be to the team’s short and long term benefit to see Winker (1B & LF), VanMeter (2B only), Ervin (LF & CF), Senzel (CF & 3B) and obviously Aquino (RF) every day.

    I get that Votto is the starting 1B even though a rational case is near impossible to make, at this point, if the single focus is winning but at minimum he should be able to share PT with Winker and to some extent Brian O’Grady. So like Doug banging, rightly so, the JVM drum I’ll be banging the Votto drum. Both cases are silly if we are being objective. This goes for today and 2020. I also recognize JV calls his own shots regarding at least PT and wouldn’t be surprised batting order placement. If they are going to play him every game, he should move down in the line up.

    I want to see more of Wood before seeing Mahle if there is a chance he could be offered a new contract. Reds could really use a LH starter or two, If not, start Mahle.

    But overriding everything is the sticking of heads in the sand regarding Joey Votto. He truly is bigger than the team, it’s wrong and sad.

    • CI3J

      Pete, you took the words out of my mouth. I was getting ready to write “I would like to see some acknowledgement that there needs to be a plan of succession at 1B in the near future.” I’ve been on this site for the past several years warning that Votto is aging and that you are playing with fire once he gets over age 33. I was always told that Votto’s skillset should age well (i.e. his bat may slow down, but his batting eye will still be there) and that Votto is a student of the game and keeps himself in awesome shape and on and on and on. But again, this was a gamble as the aging curves don’t lie. Maybe Votto was a good candidate to beat the trend, but what if he couldn’t?

      Well, looks like we have our answer. Votto still puts up a pretty decent OBP, but his offense simply doesn’t play at 1B. Especially with the window to compete supposedly opening next year, it’s very troubling that there seems to be no contingency plan at 1B.

      It seems the consensus is there needs to be another bat in the outfield, but WHAT ABOUT FIRST BASE? The Reds have the worst 1B of all the other NL Central teams, and it’s not even close. In fact, of the 1B with qualified stats, the only ones worse than Votto this year in terms of WAR have been Eric Hosmer and Brandon Belt. Let that sink in for a minute.

      I think the Reds’ outfield is fine for now. Let’s see what Winker/Senzel/Aquino/Ervin can do. But 1B is a pressing problem. Even if you expect Votto to “bounce back” next year (again, a huge gamble), just how much can you reasonably expect from him at this point? Even if he puts up 2 WAR next season, that’s still pathetic for a team that’s supposed to be contending.

      They need an answer at 1B. Votto is on his last legs, and it would be foolish to place your hopes on him to somehow turn back the clock. He’ll be 36 next month. I know people were hoping for a Jim Thome or Frank Thomas type ending to his career, where he could be productive into his late 30’s, but those guys were the exceptions, not the rules.

      • Pete

        Worrying about the outfield is a luxury the team can’t afford. The outfield is fine. Aquino is on the other side to me. He now has to prove it’s a fluke not the other way around. The Winker/Ervin platoon is money and if anything Senzel is the weakest link – so we have no immediate worries.

        Regarding AA, you can go to Statcast and see the guy is hitting fastballs, breaking balls and off-speed pitches with great effectiveness. If you are worried about him, you live a charmed life. He is going to K but I don’t see a guy who isn’t knowledgeable of the strike zone and sure seems to be able to hit anything within it. Now if they insist on batting Peraza behind him, he is going to expand his hitting zone and I want him to in this case. He will never be Joey Votto, Reds have indicated their objective with Aristides is Slugging Percentage and he is satisfying this objective.

        I guess if we feign concern over the likes of VanMeter, AA and Ervin; we don’t have to address a real concern – Joey Votto,

      • Doug Gray

        You guys can talk about it all you want, but the reality is this: Joey Votto’s the starting first baseman for a while moving forward unless he’s hurt or retires. Like it. Hate it. Doesn’t matter. They aren’t changing that.

      • Pete

        Doug, 100% correct but it’s a topic of interest nonetheless and has a bearing on the team’s success. No one is arguing your point. Joey will play until he decides he’s done, no question. I have no problem putting his uniform number on the ring of honor, right now while he is still active.

      • CI3J

        Doug, I know Votto is going to play until he admits that he’s hurting the team more than he’s helping, but my post was more about: What comes next after Votto? We hear about all these great outfield and infield prospects in the minors, but there’s not much at 1B, which seems odd since Votto is 35 and already producing barely better than a replacement-level player.

      • Curt

        So Votto is immovable, got it. Doesn’t mean he needs to bat 2nd.

      • Gary S

        Who ever signed Votto to that ridiculous deal, should have their head examined

    • greenmtred

      I haven’t really given up on Peraza, but I’d say he’s an impediment at SS, too, from the standpoint of ability in the field. I’d consider extending Iglesias. He’s not a terrible hitter, and he’s an excfellent shortstop. This would buy a year or two to find the guy who would play there into the future, and would probably make the pitchers happy.

      • VaRedsFan

        Yes!! extend Iggy. Two years would be nice if he would do it. Everybody on a new contending team does not have to be 27 or younger. Stop throwing Peraza into the conversation because of his age.

  3. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I want to see Peraza play less. There is no reason why he should be 5th on this team in games played. I smell a Bell favorite for some reason.

  4. Pete

    Sorry this will be my last post on the topic unless I’m addressed a question.

    Unfortunately, guys like Peraza you have to trade. For whatever reason, the Reds have a blind spot when it comes to Jose. Much like David Hernandez whom they wouldn’t use as a long guy or a back of the bullpen arm so you have to cut him to prevent the team from misusing him, same with Peraza. They value him so much greater than is warranted. They batted him fifth behind Aquino! What are they thinking? For the most part I’m not real big on the importance of line ups but there are a few guidelines:
    * Bat the best on-base guys in front of the mashers
    * Don’t bat your weakest hitter directly behind your most powerful hitter

    Green, I agree Jose Iglesias would make a good stopgap until someone else develops, offer him a short term contract. He’s not going to hurt you and is beyond solid in the field but he should never bat higher than 7th.

    Okay, I’ll shut up now and let you fellows discuss.

    • VaRedsFan

      I going to copy/paste this into an email to the front office.
      What’s the email addy again?

    • Mike

      They made such ado about Peraza when they made the Frazier trade. They are now too embarrassed to admit that someone made a mistake in scouting.

    • Gary S

      I don’t understand half the moves Bell makes. He has cost them games this year

  5. Don

    Need to play JVM everyday at 2nd base with one day off every two weeks at the most until he gets at least 50 ABs vs left handed pitching.

    Last weeks Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday lineup against left handed starters which have a Jose (Iglesias or Peraza) batting 5th just does not seem to make sense.

    Ervin should be hitting 5th and JVM 6th vs Lefty starters with the catcher and one of the Jose’s hitting 7th and 8th. I prefer catcher at 7th and a Jose 8th so that the pitcher can bunt a faster runner to 2nd whom will then score on the Winker or Senzel hit at leadoff.

    Joey is not having a Joey type year but there are other areas of the team to improve first.
    Some numbers to back this up.

    Votto splits based on his batting position.
    Split GS BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip
    Batting 1st 15 0.161 0.288 0.286 0.574 0.194
    Batting 2nd 90 0.275 0.358 0.431 0.789 0.326

    Looking at Reds Stats by batting position and Votto has the vast majority of starts in 2nd position.
    2nd Position has 2nd highest BA, Hishest OBP, 4th in slugging, 2nd in BAbip.

    Split GS BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip
    Batting 1st 116 0.266 0.342 0.452 0.795 0.326
    Batting 2nd 116 0.272 0.352 0.446 0.799 0.318
    Batting 3rd 116 0.271 0.337 0.537 0.875 0.31
    Batting 4th 116 0.225 0.318 0.423 0.741 0.244
    Batting 5th 116 0.278 0.34 0.522 0.861 0.31
    Batting 6th 116 0.25 0.299 0.381 0.68 0.307
    Batting 7th 116 0.259 0.303 0.388 0.691 0.294
    Batting 8th 116 0.236 0.321 0.384 0.706 0.289
    Batting 9th 116 0.168 0.23 0.311 0.541 0.222

    Play JVM everyday is what I want to see.

  6. RojoBenjy

    Doug wrote regarding the Reds not playing Josh at 2B daily, “I just can’t figure out how a team that clearly is going with such an analytical approach is ignoring the data on this one.“

    This perfectly states the mystery. And it’s absurd.

    The only thing approaching equal absurdity was batting Peraza 5th behind Aquino. That one is inexplicable—even though JP bats .450 against Lester.

    • JB

      Play JVM and Aquino everyday give Winker and Ervin chances beside in a platoon , sign Igelesias . I feel Peraza has had enough time in the starting lineup , to many Mental and physical mistakes. Joey needs a few days off every week (Let O’Grady play) and a different spot in the batting order .

  7. Beard

    It seems like to me the pieces are all there for the Reds outside of an offensive upgrade at shortstop. All the other pieces appear to be available within the organization. The outfield looks young and promising with Winker, Ervin, Senzel, and Aquino with small but exciting major league sample sizes. Add in Siri in the minors and VanMeter’s position flexibility and OF is solid. 2B surely will be manned by VanMeter or Senzel or India who would appear to be about one year away from being ready. The question at 1B is also pretty easily filled from within. If Votto is no longer league average (and I’d like to see the rest of this year and half of next before making that call), then the answer is probably Jonathan India. Now maybe he plays 3B and Suarez plays 1B with Votto kicking to the bench. Or whatever option with the position flexibility from India, Suarez, Senzel, and VanMeter.

  8. VaRedsFan

    Regarding Votto…
    I was encouraged with the new batting stance since the all star break. Less checkswings, less of the bent arm action, ect. He’s getting good extension on his swing, and pulling the ball with authority at times. I can give him the rest of the year to fine tune this stance. He can even bat in the 2 hole, vs. righties only. Bat him 6th, or give him a day off vs. lefties. Angel Hernandez notwithstanding, the amount of called 3rd strikes is maddening.

  9. SultanofSwaff

    Between last year and this year, Peraza will have ~1000 major league at-bats. He will likely end up with fewer than 60 walks and 25 home runs in that span. He swings like they’re playing in the dead ball era. Quite simply, for this team to progress they have to move on from this guy. Not that he’s the answer either, but would anyone argue that Kyle Farmer isn’t at least Peraza’s equal as a defender with possibly more offensive upside because of his power? Point is, both are replacement level….nothing more to see here!

    There’s a lot to like about extending Jose Iglesias, even if the intention is just to play him as a backup. On a good hitting team, he’d fit in great at the bottom of the order because he’s an excellent situational hitter. The Brewers can mash and yet they’re carrying Orlando Arcia and his .653 OPS. Iglesias is a much better hitter, he’s not part of the problem, especially at his salary.

    I agree with Steve that Mahle has been much better than people seem to think. If the Reds fall out of contention, maybe you move Wood in a waiver deal or go with a 6 man rotation in September to save arms.

    I also want to see India and Tyler Stephenson in the Arizona fall league to complete their seasoning so that both can be the first call-ups in May 2020.

    • BigRedMike

      Good point about Peraza. There is potential to develop being a younger player. As noted, a player with that many plate appearances and so few walks is a player that will likely never be a good hitter. Just empty production from a player that is not that great defensively.

      Votto is going to be an interesting dynamic. As players age, it is just going to lead to decrease in performance. If the OF and SS can produce power and production, Votto might be able to continue at this level for a few years and not hurt the team. If not, the production from Votto will likely be an issue at first base.

    • Colorado Red

      No waiver deals this year.
      Just 1 hard and fast deadline.
      You can DFA a player, and give him away for free, but if he is on a Major League contract you cannot trade him, till the off season.

  10. TR

    Play the young guys, hit with at least a .260 average to get runners in from scoring position, and finish the season at .500 or above.

  11. Roger Garrett

    Just play and pitch the young guys as much as possible even if it means the vets like Joey and Suarez get some extra days off.No need to play anybody that isn’t going to be here next year.The Reds know who that is so bench em or send them down and get young guys some innings or at bats.Its evalution time and audition time.

  12. doofus

    I want to see a ball club that has a pulse, that it has the motivation and Grit to come from behind against ANY team to win a game when it is behind. This will reveal if this is a squad that is close to being a contender, to take the next step into the playoffs next year with the help from an infusion of talent. We all know what positions need to be filled this offseason.

  13. Eric

    “And they should trade for Mike Trout.”

    *chuckle* Good one, Steve.

  14. Centerfield

    So who goes to clear room for Galvis? I believe he is a switch-hitter. Garrett starts his suspension today, so I suppose Kyle Farmer is in the bullpen since he appeared to be effective against lefties.