Flu season arrives every fall, its microbial soldiers infecting the body and mind of the unfortunate deep into the winter months. Like flu season, the baseball off-season has its own infectious narrative, the hot stove incubating parasitic virions of the mind, turning average fans into trade-crazy hosts, passing on the contagion from one comment section to another, acting as carriers from social media node to seeded podcast.

Welcome to Lindor Fever.

Francisco Lindor is a star of the first magnitude, only the gravity of his own talent keeping his too too solid flesh from combusting, resolving itself into a dew. Averaging 5.5 WAR over his first 5 seasons in the big leagues, he’s a bona fide game-changer. He’s a natural fit for Cincinnati, playing a position of immediate need for the Reds.

As a result, the clamor to bring the Indians superstar reached a crescendo when Jim Bowden made a bold prediction:

“Lindor is traded from the Cleveland Indians to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for outfielder Nick Senzel, infielder Jonathan India, right-handed pitcher Tyler Mahle, and a player to be named.”

Bowden’s prediction folds together the Indians’ sin of covetousness for Senzel with many fans’ disappointment with three prospects who have failed to live up to early expectations. Many consider Senzel expendable, non-believers in his place in baseball’s celestial heavens, or his ability to remain healthy—or both.

Now, with the signing of Nick Castellanos, the fever has spiked again. Right now, you’re saying to yourself, “Blake, that outfield is crowded.” You’d be right. But, there are all kinds of reasons to think a crowded outfield will sort itself out and a versatile Senzel with 6 years of control is a better bet going forward than two years of Lindor.

When folks aren’t talking about one player drafted #2 overall by the Reds, they are talking about the expendability of another #2—Hunter Greene. The California phenom possess that trifecta of particulars that make him very tradable to some: (1) he’s a high velocity pitcher with all the attendant high-risk that comes with that explosive trait; (2) drafted at the age of 17, he’s a few years away from becoming an impact player inside the walls of GABP; and (3) Tommy John surgery has pushed back that date another 18 months and possibly added to the risk he already carries.

If you see prospects as little more than chess pieces to be sacrificed, as unreliable frauds that too often bring heartbreak instead of heroics, it’s easy to dismiss him, to undervalue him. Still, his ceiling may be higher than any Reds player since Johnny Bench.

Just a smidge over 30 years ago, on June 2, 1987, baseball in the Pacific Northwest hit the mother lode. When the roulette wheel ball dropped and settled into the pocket marked “Seattle,” the rest of baseball turned Mariner green with envy. You didn’t have to be Nostradamus to see that Ken Griffey, Jr. was going to be a generational talent. It was merely a question of how long the incubation period would be before he came roaring out of the egg.

Griffey, Jr.’s legacy would grow, not just on the field, but off. In 1994, he was named Make-a-Wish Foundation Celebrity Wish-Granter of the Year. For three straight years, he won the Mariners’ Roberto Clemente Award for outstanding community service. As a member of the board of governors for the Boys & Girls Club of America, The Kid personally monitored report cards and rewarded high achievers with trips to Disney World and all-star baseball camps as a way of keeping kids motivated.

He would grow up, marry, eschewing the partying, preferring home and hearth over ducats and drama. You wouldn’t find Junior out clubbing or his name on a police blotter. No sir.

Selecting a prep pitcher with a first-round pick is fraught with the kind of possibilities that tighten the posterior of every GM. If seeing that pick develop into a top-of-the-rotation starter feels as rare as a male calico cat, that’s because it is. Think Todd Van Poppel. Or, ask recently deposed Jeff Luhnow about Mark Appel — then prepare to duck. Although not a high schooler when drafted, the Stanford product is still a cautionary tale of the risk inherent in betting on pitchers and their fickle appendages with a high first-round pick.

Still, the selection of Hunter Greene — made possible only when the Minnesota Twins passed on the young hurler — was really the only choice for a team that hasn’t seen a home-grown prospect mature into a stud starter for a long time. This newest Johnny come lately, this new kid in town, is poised to become the first since another Johnny first toed the rubber in 2008, assuming the Reds hold on to him and let a new pitching development regime work their magic.

Greene throws the kind of “easy gas” that sends a thrill down the leg of a scout. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s good enough to have been drafted in the first round as a position player, so good-grief-gifted is the kid. He was throwing the ball 93 mph when he was 14 years old and has already pulled alongside Aroldis Chapman in the fast lane, rolling down the window to say “Hi” with a fastball clocked at 102, before taking the off-ramp to his high school graduation in Sherman Oaks, California. Young Hunter provides juice to an organization that has long been in desperate need of juice.

Make no mistake, the Reds pushed a large stack of chips to the center of the table when they chose Hunter Greene with the second pick in the 2017 MLB draft. Given that his elbow is freshly removed from the surgeon’s knife, the river card likely will not be turned over for two or three years, and only adds to the enormity of the bet.

While the Reds see him first and foremost as a pitcher, it’s somewhat amazing to realize that while his comp as a pitcher may be Noah Syndergaard, his comp as a position player has incredibly been said to be Alex Rodriguez. He has a precocious talent, the kind that had him working out with 12-year olds — when he was 7.

The ability to throw a baseball on a string the length of a football field is both gobsmacking and frightening in the same moment:

“There are concerns over travel ball in warm-weather locales — burnout and overuse top the list — and many fears are well-founded. But Greene strove to be a specialized counterpoint, logging an estimated 70 games a year, and preparing his arm for each one with [Alan] Jaeger’s prescribed regimen of band work and long toss. “You’re never totally comfortable drafting a high-schooler first,” says a major league scouting director. “But you’re more comfortable with this one because of how long and how carefully he’s tracked toward it.” — Lee Jenkins, Sports Illustrated

I came to Foley’s NY Pub and Restaurant to meet Shaun Clancy, proprietor and all-around good guy. Foley’s sits in the shadow of the Empire State Building, part Irish pub, part baseball museum, 100 percent welcoming waterhole. Over 3,000 autographed baseballs adorn the walls at Foley’s. I was there the day after the Reds drafted Greene, eager to have Shaun show me the place where Hunter’s signature ball rested, nestled in alongside legends. Celebrity signatures like Tom Cruise and Cate Blanchett mingle enviously with Hall of Famers like Sparky Anderson and Derek Jeter. If you’re lounging at the bar and if you’re lucky, you might bump up against a sportswriter, manager or even an umpire in the flesh (if that’s your thing).

What Shaun shared with me about young Hunter should excite every Reds fan who understands that the password for entry to a World Series appearance is “gr8pitching” in the form of a #1 starter who can dominate hitters for 2 and potentially 3 games in a 7-game series. Someone like Madison Bumgarner.

As Grant Brisbee wrote in The Athletic, it’s easy to see how the pitching-rich and offense-poor Giants might give up on drafting a pitcher with their first-round pick in 2007 when they had an 82 team OPS+. It’s easy to see them trading that prospect two years later in 2009 for… Dan Uggla:

“Now consider the era that Bumgarner was a prospect. The 2009 Giants needed hitting. Oh, mercy, how they needed hitting. They were having what was the worst offensive season in San Francisco history at the time, and it was happening the same time they were having the best pitching season in San Francisco history. Do you see how freaky that is? The worst hitting season and the best pitching season in the same year? And one of Giants’ best prospects was a pitcher. Like they needed another pitcher.

It took such admirable restraint for the Giants to stare at the 2007 roster and pitching-heavy farm system in the face and draft a high-school pitcher who wouldn’t be ready for years.”

Most impressive to Clancy was the New Kid’s maturity; and his impressive family. They know where they have been and where they are going. The gifted prospect has been humbled by a sister bravely battling leukemia. He is centered by parents who tend to his development, both athletic and spiritual. As far as Shaun is concerned, Hunter Greene is the perfect man for the Reds to build a franchise around. In his words he is “can’t miss!”

Some see the comparison to a young Doc Gooden, but I cannot help but think a better comparison is Junior. Community service efforts in Los Angeles have won him awards. At 8-years old, he delivered a speech to promote youth baseball. Major League Baseball will market the heck out of him, knowing he can potentially do what The Kid once did: inject a needed shot of youth and fun into a game seen as dated by many, plodding and downright boring by a younger generation weaned on soccer.

Just as lady luck smiled on the Seattle Mariners some 30 years ago, maybe the steel roulette wheel ball has landed on red this time, Cincinnati Pantone 200 red to be precise. Maybe the Redlegs have a Cincinnati Kid of their own.

The reward for all the losing of the past five years were the high first round picks that populated the prospect tree. If that fruit is plucked clean prematurely in service of today, where will the Reds be in three years? Maybe you think the Reds can quick-strike their way to the World Series the way the Royals did in 2014-15. But the Dodgers’ relentless slog to seven straight  division titles with no World Series trophy to show for it, and the seemingly forever window the Nationals held open before finding the mountaintop say otherwise. Even the Big Red Machine spent five years in the wilderness before that fateful night in Boston.

Championship teams are built in three distinct parts: prospects, via trade and free agency. One requires organizational infrastructure, another requires intelligent player evaluation and timing, and still another requires cold cash and luck.

Every team plays on a fairly level playing field regarding the first two, but not so much for the third. The San Francisco Giants had the forethought, the restraint, or just the dumb luck to hang on to Bumgarner. It’s hard to see them winning even one World Series without him, much less three. Yes, the Reds are flush with starting pitching this morning. But, they could learn from the Giants’ example. Yes, Luis Castillo was acquired by trade, but it’s hard to see that path repeated as teams today value their prospects more and more. The sticker price on Gerrit Cole and even a lessor talent like Zack Wheeler are stark reminders the Reds will not be acquiring top of the rotation pitching via the free agent pitching store. It will likely have to come from the tree.

 

56 Responses

  1. Cubano

    Cashing in prospects for value, in the form of proven MLB talent, is something that good baseball teams do- along with retaining players that are homegrown, cheap, and controllable. The real issue here is how the Reds have arguably fallen short in developing their prospects. The Athletic article yesterday speaks of “retooling” Trammel’s swing, which sparked his decline last year… bad coaching. Similarly- it points to Downs and Josiah Gray as improving more with the Dodgers than Reds coaches had anticipated. All this to say- expectations for future prospect performance laid out in this article don’t really take into consideration any of the organizational shortcomings that the Reds have had in the past- this farm system is not top 10. These prospects are barely making waves – even Stephenson is being ranked towards the bottom of 10 other prospect catchers. To their credit, the team has finally tried addressing their player development deficit, but Boddy, plus the new hitting coach- the changes will take time to have an impact.

    As far as a trade is concerned- I see the Reds lineup as being a shortstop away from possibly locking down a wild card spot. In Suarez, Castillo, Winker, Senzel, we have cheap and controllable- trading one of them isn’t a mark of selling out the future for today. In Galvis (and our largely unproven, inconsistent homegrown outfielders) we potentially have a very real weakness. I don’t think it’s selling the future to argue for the Reds to field the best team possible, while they work to morenconsistently develop great players – top 100 players. This shouldn’t be about one guy making or breaking the next 6 years. Every year is different, with different needs the team is supposed to address.

    I suggest our tendency is to over value these guys, simply because the development system has been fairly poor, and at the same time, the team has been unwilling to spend money to improve via free agency. It is also sad to think prospects end up getting a better shake elsewhere. Hopefully all that changes! Meanwhile, developing talent while making the team on the field as great as possible is the name of the game. An all-star shortstop (maybe not Lindor, but one with years of control) is much harder to come by than a .280, 20 homerun outfielder/utility player.

    • RojoBenjy

      Your comments indicate to me that a huge problem may be player development instead of talent acquisition. That makes a fan sad.

      • DrunkenViking

        Player development has recently been revamped from top down. Before players would be taught different things at every level and they were not progressing as well as they should.

        Now there is going to be a specific program for each player that will be followed at every level. This will help player development tremendously. It’s part of the changes being made throughout the entire organization along with sabermetrics etc.

    • Jackson

      I don’t think are outfield is unproven. Akiyama and Aquino we aren’t sure about. But I think we pretty much know the rest. Senzel, Castellanos, and Winker (at least against righties) can all hit, and hit well. We lost of 1 run games last year. My biggest concern is can we keep the starters in the game at least 6 innings. But other than that I feel as good about this team as it stands now as I did about the 2013 team.

    • Russ

      Unless the Reds signed FL at the time of the trade
      They would have to trade him after one yr. They don’t have the $ to sign a mammoth like Votto contract for another player. Giving ur best prospects up bcuz the media &fans are in a frenzy abt Lindor
      Is something the Reds Won’t do if they are smart.

  2. Bill

    It’s encouraging to look down the road three years and see a dominant starting rotation, and position players equally talented built by the Reds FO and developed through their own farm system. It’s easier to “stay the course” with the leadership now present.

    • sixpack2

      YEP! We have a very good team now, with 4/5 young guys coming along. Stay the course and do not put all your chips into two years. I would make the trade straight up but Cleveland would not. 6 years for two an is injury free.

  3. My Beloved Reds

    I guess I’m up first. I’d love to have Lindor. I’d be ok with trading Senzel and India, but that won’t net Lindor. The name if the game is pitching, which is something I do not think the Reds should be willing to trade very much of right now. It might be different if we had four or five pitchers in our MiLB system the likes of Greene and Lodolo, but we don’t. In fact, it is so thin that I think it wise to keep our hands on Mahle and Santillian as well. It’s all about pitching and while our MLB starting five is good today, that can change as fast as someone deciding to go swimming. Bauer and Disco are FAs after this year. It’s just so hard to develop starting pitching and way too expensive to get it on the open market. Keep what ya got and draft a bunch of it. It’s all about pitching.

    • Michael E

      I am fully with you on this. Greene and Lodolo should be nearly untouchable. The only way they get dealt is if some team crazily covets them and willing to take a bath on a trade to get one of them. I.E. the Reds make out like Bandits.

      I am fine with trading India and several other top 10 prospects if needed. I am also fine with trading Senzel IF the Reds don’t see full time duties ahead in 2021 and beyond. Get value back if you are not going to give him at least 500 PAs a year.

      I think Galvis is okay as SS. It would be a weak(er) link in the lineup, but he does have HR/2B pop and some speed. He is NOT Billy Hamilton bad at hitting. He is just slightly below average with above average pop (for an SS) and a good defensive player.

      If anything, I’d be pretty happy to see the Reds trade Senzel or India for another teams stud pitching prospect and keep our pitching hovering around top 5 MLB for an extended period of time. Having four good SPs is the absolute quickest way to contending, even if you’re lineup is mediocre. The Braves remained contender for the better part of 15 years from 1991 on just based on a top 5 MLB rotation year in and year out. They did have Chipper and one or two other good hitters, but the rest of their lineup was usually below average, albeit with some speed.

      I wonder if India and Santillan (or Mahle) might bring back a Mize from Detroit or some other top notch pitching prospect?

  4. Steve Schoenbaechler

    The Reds are carrying 10 OF on their major league roster right now. If Senzel isn’t expendable, someone is.

      • Tv

        No one is going to give anything for Scott schebler

      • RojoBenjy

        Agreed. I was only naming the expendable one.

      • Michael E

        If Schebler is hitting in spring, he could possibly fetch a high upside A or A+ ball prospect and that’d be good enough for me. someone that might slot into our top 10 prospect list.

  5. CFD3000

    If the argument Richard is that transformative players such as Hunter Greene and perhaps Nick Senzel are rare and to be hoarded and nurtured, not traded for a short term gamble, I agree. If the argument is that all prospects are precious then I do not. Especially when blocked for many years, their real value is often in return on a trade. But IMO it’s only Greene and Senzel that fit that rarified description. If other prospects offer the chance to complete a division winner for a year or two, pull the trigger. That said, Lindor and, say, Joe Morgan, are two very different cases and it comes down to contract years. If there’s a Sonny Gray type extension involved, Lindor makes a lot of sense almost regardless of prospect cost. Anything short of Hunter and Nick is fine by me. If no extension is possible, the price is almost certainly too high.

    Unrelated, props for dropping virion in a baseball essay. Possibly a first.

    • RojoBenjy

      I would add Lodolo to your short list of no-trade-ems.

      Agreed, nice essay here.

      • Earmbrister

        Rojo, u beat me to it. Senzel, Greene, AND Lodolo should be nearly untouchable.

        Pass on Lindor: the playoffs are a crap shoot which you don’t burn top 10 draft picks for. Fool’s Gold.

    • Tv

      This is all great in theory but he completely ignored the reality of the situation. You can’t look at the data from prospects alone you have to look at the data from prospects that get traded. That data tells a completely different story. What it says is teams don’t trade good players. When a blockbuster trade happens a team trades guys they think have no future. Sure sometimes they hit on guys like the Reds what did was castiello but mostly they don’t. Look at the article if you can find it it’s worth the read. I mean how many times did we watch the Cardinals trade away players but continuously bring up good players? It’s because they only did trades when they knew they were getting the better end. I mean who cares if they trade number 5 Prospect in baseball if the guys in the system that trained him know there’s a flaw?

    • Richard Fitch

      I don’t believe in absolutes. I have no problem trading prospects. It’s this particular situation and the players involved that have me concerned.

      Imagine if the Reds had been able to pull the trigger on JT Realmuto, as fans were clamoring for them to do last year. Did anyone predict the offense would go in to a nosedive like it did. Did anyone know they would lose so many 1 run games. Realmuto’s impact would have replaced the offense they didn’t get from Scooter. But at what cost. A short time ago, the farm system was top 10 rated. Now it’s in the bottom half. The price of Realmuto’s would have pushed the farm system to the very bottom of MLB.

      And the Reds would have won what? 82 games instead of 78? And now he’d be a one-year player, then gone. And no one should delude themselves into thinking he could have been resigned. Stars like Lindor, JT and Betts are adamant about testing free agency. They certainly aren’t interested in taking less to play in Cincinnati.

      Someone on Twitter just said to me: “The future is now….30 years of waiting is long enough! You can rebuild again after a championship.”

      That fellow has a time machine. But, the rest of us don’t. So, I remain skeptical that Lindor can bring the Reds a WS appearance in 2 years. I’ve seen too much.

      • Michael E

        I don’t believe in absolutes either. What I want to see is the Reds adding pieces NOW and keeping an eye on the future to KEEP in contention as some leave for FA or retirement they have at least 3 or 4 promising young players on the verge of MLB starter every year. I am with you on Realmuto or nearly any other trade the past 4 years that would have gutted top talent for just a year or two of one great player. As you noted, it wouldn’t have changed anything (no playoffs) other than maybe losing out on Lodolo or Greene with slightly better records and worse draft picks.

        No, we DON’T have to “go for it” now and then be exposed to another 5 year long 90+ loss run. What we should want as fans is a chance to contend. We should ALSO want it to continue year in and year out, even through turnover and attrition and rise and falls of payroll.

        This is what I want, not a roller coaster of 1 or 2 years contending and 5 or 6 years of rebuilding. I’d rather have lots of solid/good teams than 1 or 2 years of really good and 5 years of no hope.

  6. Scott C

    The Reds have put themselves in contention for 2020 without sacrificing any prospect wealth. Williams and Krall have done a masterful job. A shortstop would be the icing on the cake. With that said I do not want to sacrifice Greene or Lodolo. Anyone else, I’m ok with.

    • Tvv

      If someone wants to give you good value for a guy coming off surgery with no real track record you have to. He wont be ready till the run is about over. You are right on lorddo. He is close and healthy. We need him to work. I would not give up any arms that will help the next 2 or 3 years of they are healthy

    • Hanawi

      Without sacrificing prospect wealth? They gave up 3 top 100 players, which is one more than they currently have remaining.

      • RojoBenjy

        Scott C may only be referring to this past off season, in which no prospects were traded away.

    • Scott C

      That is what I am saying Rojo. And regardless of how many prospects are or are not listed in the Top 100, we still have some decent prospects, Greene, Lodolo, India, Stephenson, Santillan, and Garcia. And although not technically prospects we also have a core of young guys like Senzel, Aquino, Mahle, Sims,, Romano, Bowman, Garrett and Winker. All of those are still Reds and we have picked up Castellanos, Moustakas, Miley, and Shogo along with other pieces. Again I applaud our new Front Office.

      • Hanawi

        Well, they the fact that only Bauer and a utility player remains from that sell-off makes it even worse.

        Some of those guys (Romano, Bowman) are more likely to be playing for a different team than the Reds this year.

  7. Tv

    A lot of these prospects success that make up these numbers are guys that have one good season. The reality is good players are hard to come by and even then you usually waiting for a guy to develop two or three years. So yeah if you can give me a guy that’s already developed with two or three years of control for a maybe. Gona do it. For every Mike Trout there’s a hundred Billy Hamilton’s. So let’s not Pretend We’re trading Mike Trout’s were usually trading Billy Hamilton’s. In addition they did a huge analysis this last year and teams don’t trade good prospects. They trade guys they think have no future but other teams believe they do. It’s in fact rare a star gets traded. Its also cost money to sign and develop these guys.

    • David

      Can you say Jose Peraza? Sure, I knew you could. Perfect example of the Reds over-valuing a player that other organizations (Braves and Dodgers) had already down-checked.

      And how many players do the Reds have from the Aroldis Chapman trade with the Yankees? Well, that’s right. None of them. They were all crap as potential major leaguers.

      • Amarillo

        We did get Cotham in the Chapman trade who has been instrumental to the success of the pitching staff last year.

      • DrunkenViking

        Reds were behind the times. They have overhauled their player development and scouting departments since then. Hopefully going forward this will pay off with better development and player evaluation. Most of trades except Geno and a couple others were just plain bad. Hopefully…

  8. Marcia Stroupe

    Reds are improved…period..let’s wait and see like all fans do…not wasting my time on how much a batting glove expands during a swing…..just wating on opening day

  9. Tom Mitsoff

    There is nobody I would trade Greene for except Mike Trout. The Reds must be sure that he will NOT reach that very high ceiling before they ever consider trading him.

    • jim walker

      And as Richard noted in passing, it is a double high ceiling since Greene was seen as a legitimate 1st round pick as a position player.

      2020 will be Greene’s age 20 season. If he doesn’t come together as a top flight pitcher for health or other reasons, there will still be time to reload and develop him as a position player/

      • RedNat

        I agree Jim and honestly if Greene becomes a starting pitcher for the REDS I would eat my dirty gym sock. if you told me in 3-4 years he is our starting shortstop I would have a much easier time believing you.

  10. Linkster

    If you can get Lindor, you do it…NOW! Senzel, India, Mahle and a lower level prospect or bench player is just fine. If you can switch Santillan for Mahle, even better. You will need Lodolo as Bauers replacement next year. You may need Mahle for DeSclafani as well next year.

  11. GhostRunner

    My guess is Cleveland wanted Senzel and Lodolo. If true I’m glad the trade never happened.

    • Michael E

      Senzel, okay, the positions are accounted for to the point that Senzel might struggle to find more than 300 PAs the next two years. I would not even think of adding Greene or Lodolo to ANY trade that doesn’t bring back 3 or 4 years of a stud player under reasonable cost control.

      I’d try Senzel, India and one of our excess OFs for Lindor or perhaps our best OF prospect behind those others, Siani or whomever.

  12. Gonzo Reds

    I’ve got the fever, or maybe it’s just an allergic reaction to Galvis starting at SS.

    I’m ok with trading Senzel, Greene (not Lodolo), and Mahle for Lindor. Sims can be the 5th starter if someone needs to miss a turn. Can we include Strop? He is “stupid”, not Puig.

    • Reaganspad

      No Greene, No Lodolo. Senzel if we have to. Mahle, fine, Winker, fine. India, fine.

      • Hanawi

        Agree with trading a combination of those four but not all of them for two years of Lindor. No to Greene or Lodolo

      • Michael E

        Same. I am not in love with Winker or Mahle or India at this point. All could be good, but have big warts. Winker is injury prone a VERY slow, which means poor range in the field, giving up runs in the field and on the basepaths. He may have a .850+ OPS, but it will play like .800 or .750 with his lack of speed. Let an AL team or a team with no 1B take that risk.

        Two of Senzel, India, Winker and one pitcher like Mahle or Santillan should be more than enough for ANY MLB player, short of maybe Trout, Acuna, Yelich or Bellinger.

  13. RedNat

    great piece Richard.

    I follow the Indiana pacers during the reds off season and I see some similarities now between the 2 front offices.

    the pacers ideology is

    1. use the draft and g league not necessarily to produce superstars but more to develop role players who can help the team win ( Xavier’s own Edmond Sumner)
    2. use free agency and trades again not to get superstars but to get undervalued players that have high upside and that are entering their prime, even if that means overpaying a bit (Malcom Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, TJ WARREN) this year for 2-3 year deals
    3. develop a crowd pleasing style that is both competitive and draws people to the arena. the pacers basically sell out their weekend games and are at about 75 % capacity during weekday games.

    I think the reds have made good moves with the signings of Shogo, Catellanos and Moustakas. they will be crowd pleasing players and we didn’t have to break the bank to get them. these moves also take pressure off Senzel to allow him be more of a role player this year and develop at his own pace.

    I except a lot of sellouts on weekend games this year and I am hoping the Tuesday night games with an attendance of 10,000 are a thing of the past as well.

  14. MIRedsman

    Well-written piece Richard – as is your norm.
    Always good to remember that fans on this site (myself included) are hungry for a winner in Cincy. We all dream of the days of the BRM and even the LRM (1990 era). And when we sense a competitive window, we go bonkers on this site. I consider us all GM wannabe’s. We can criticize without repercussion and prognosticate (with & without data) via our keyboard – it’s fun!
    And the site promotes that – talking, reading, learning about our team can be a full-time hobby.
    The reality of building an organization is something very few of us have or ever will do. And beyond that, to build a world-leading organization limits our numbers even further.
    But, even if we are only qualified to lead a troop of scouts or a church choir, to have watched the FO fumble & bumble basically the past 2.5 decades (save a 4 year window from 2010-2014), is maddening.
    So the “go-for-it” mentality is not without merit. Some of us want to win for Joey, knowing a WS ring most likely cements him a spot in Cooperstown. Some want to erase the memory of the 2012 playoff loss to SF. The futility weighs heavy and Franky Lindor leading off and stabilizing the left side with Eugenio would be oh-so fun to watch – even if only for two seasons.
    Is Franky worth “the price”? We all have differing opinions. And our opinion may even change as the season progresses. If we are atop the NL Central at mid-season, my answer may be entirely different than it is now.
    It’s exciting to talk playoff contender with my kids that have not experienced a playoff winner in Cincy in their lifetimes.

  15. Tom Reeves

    Frankly, I don’t think 2 years of Lindor are worth 6 years of Senzel. But, we’re not just talking about Lindor. We’re also talking about India, Green, et al. Basically, we’re being asked to sell the farm and place the next decade of Reds hopes into one guy staying healthy for 2 seasons.

    I’d rather have a super solid team for 6 years than a great team for 1-2. Frankly, be good enough to make the playoffs on a regular basis and you may skip through to a WS win. I mean St Louis has 11 of them by consistently putting the team in the playoffs and slipping through when the opportunity arises. I’d like to see the Reds do the same. Build around this core the team has control over and has signed for next several years. Keep growing the existing prospect talent. And add to the gaps with free agents.

    Oh, and sign Brock Holt right now.

    • Wayne Nabors

      I agree tom,I would not trade senzel at this time,and would much rather have a consistent winner,I live in the st.louis area and my friends treat it as a birth right that they make the playoffs

  16. AirborneJayJay

    The thing about Hunter Greene is he has to learn how to put some movement on his fastball. A 102 heater that comes in on the same level of plane is hittable. We witnessed that when Greene was at low-A Dayton. Low A hitters were tagging him.
    Post-surgery, Greene now has to learn how to be a pitcher, not just a hard thrower. If he can emulate Justin Verlander’s fastball that would be great. Fastballs with movement at 97, but he will crank it up to 100 when he wants. He doesn’t need to throw 17 consecutive pitches at 100+mph. That is what has got him in his current situation.
    His curve is said to be pretty good. Hone that more.
    Now if Greene can learn a Luis Castillo style change-up, the world will definitely be his oyster.

  17. Rod Andrews

    I’m a reds and Pacers fan, too. But thanks to dish net, and fox sports, I can’t watch them anymore. Hope things are better for you. Maybe things will change by april.

    • B-town fan

      I feel your pain Rod, I’m a Dish customer too, hopefully they get something worked out before Opening Day. This has been going on between Dish and the Regional Fox Sports channels since Sept it’s ridiculous. Well I should say between Dish and Micky Mouse since Disney bought Fox Sports a year ago or so. Fox didn’t do us fans any favors selling to Disney. There parks are ridiculously priced, and I’m sure the stunt they are pulling on Dish customers and a couple other cable systems at the moment, they are going to do to the other Sat and Cable systems when there contracts are up also. It might be bigger, but I don’t think Walt Disney him self would be to proud of the company with his name on it, if he was able to see it today.

  18. greenmtred

    To believe that it makes sense to give up what the Reds would have to in order to get Lindor, you have to believe that the Reds with Lindor but minus the players they’d have to give up for him are something approaching favorites to win the WS during the next two seasons. You might honestly believe that, but I don’t. I think that the Reds–right now–are competitive and have a fair shot at making the playoffs, but the things that could derail them–injuries, disappointing performances–could derail them with Lindor on the team, too. I know that prospects are unproven, by definition, but a team’s future is bleak without them.

    • Old-school

      DW uses the term winning arc. The reds need to have a short term abd long term winning arc. Not interested in being the Pirates in 2022. The reds spent money without spending prospects. Unlike a year ago. Senzel and Green get a year to re&establish their value. Stephenson and Lodolo are legit prospects abd The Reds get a high pick in June. If Castellanos has a monster year, they get a QO pick when he leaves.

  19. Dave Roemerman

    Richard, this might be, linguistically, the most fun piece you’ve written. Thanks for the good read. You ever want the first round at Foley’s paid and a thoughtful discussion on Reds baseball, hit me up!

  20. DRJ

    I think you give Senzel a chance at shortstop and if Suarez needs a day off put him on third. You let Galvis backup Senzel at shortstop and moose at second base. The point is you need to keep your best players on the field and give them as many at bats as possible. You have a player like Senzel under team control for the next 6 years for peanuts, why not play him in the infield where he belongs and save your money to resign Castile in a couple years or add another piece at the trade deadline this year.

    • VaRedsFan

      On a team that’s supposed to contend, you want to put a guy at the most important defensive position and let him learn on the job? Add to that, he is injury prone, coming off shoulder surgery, and is just barely playing soft toss right now.

  21. Old-school

    Dick Williams basically said the same thing. SS is most taxing on arm and coming off shoulder surgery, he’s not playing 3B or SS. He also said don’t want Senzel as plan A at SS in 2020.

    That said, the Reds don’t have a SS in 2021 and other than Cozart, have had 1 year rentals or fillers for a decade and a half: Aurilia/ Lopez/Keppinger/ A Gonzalez/O Cabrera/Renteria/Janish/ Peraza/Iglesias/Galvis.

    It’s time to have a plan at SS.

  22. da bear

    Richard, Love your writing, it’s consistently interesting and entertaining. One small (maybe not so small) quibble; the Giants still win the first of those three World Series titles without MadBum – he played a very small role on that team. They probably win the second of three too, MadBum was only the third fourth or fifth starter on that team.

    It’s their third of three titles when MadBum played a significant role. Let’s not forget however, how close KC came to winning game 7 versus MadBum. Aoki (?) hit a solid line drive the other way that would have won the game for KC had the left fielder not been positioned well and close enough to grab the line drive and live for another few innings until SF prevailed.