If there’s one thing the Reds aren’t going to be able to withstand, it’s the injury bug. Already, Edwin Encarnacion is out, and the Reds are going to need him back at full strength soon if they intend to compete. (Alex Gonzalez has been hurt, too, but that probably helps the Reds.)

Now, it’s Joey Votto and Nick Masset. Votto is going to undergo some more tests:

Joey Votto’s bout with dizziness continues to perplex the first baseman.

The latest recurrence of the ailment came Saturday night when Votto had to be removed from the game in the fourth inning — the second time in five days that the 25-year-old slugger was pulled from a contest.

After the team returns home following Sunday’s contest, Votto will undergo further examination to determine what exactly is causing the problems. In the meantime, his unavailability leaves the team short-handed.

In addition, Masset has a left oblique strain:

A left oblique strain has sidelined the right-hander since May 7, dealing the Reds’ bullpen a major blow, as Masset hadn’t allowed a run in any of his previous six appearances and has only surrendered one earned run all season.

Manager Dusty Baker and the front office evaluated Masset’s status on Sunday and opted against the disabled list, for now.

With upcoming series against Philadelphia and Cleveland, and a bullpen taxed by Saturday’s 16-inning contest, there may be no choice but to make a move.

I asked it earlier, and I ask again: is Walt Jocketty asleep at the switch? The Reds are intentionally playing with a smaller roster than every opponent they play. Masset has been out for over a week, and they’re waiting until they get home to bring up a pitcher (looks like it will be Pedro Viola)? Frankly, if it weren’t for the 16-inning game that taxed the ‘pen, Jocketty would probably not have felt like he needed to make a move.

Jocketty did the same thing with Gonzo; instead of placing him on the DL, they just played without a full team for a while. I’m worried that the same thing will happen with Votto, with the Reds taking a week to figure out what’s wrong with him and the Reds being short-handed in the meantime.

The Reds are already playing with a 24-man roster, since Darnell McDonald doesn’t help the team in any way. Why does Walt Jocketty insist on compounding that problem with his inaction?

This would be a good start: DL Masset, move Bill Bray off the 40-man roster and place him on the 60-day DL, call up Pedro Viola. Then designate McDonald for assignment and bring up Jonny Gomes to platoon with Laynce Nix in left field. If it turns out that Votto needs time to recover from whatever he has, that’s yet another reason to have Gomes on the roster (as he played 1B in spring training).

Whatever he does, Jocketty needs to make a move. His fear of making a move has kept McDonald on this roster for five weeks longer than he should have been. It’s time for Jocketty to try putting together the best roster for the Reds, something he has yet to do in 2009. Novel idea, huh?

32 Responses

  1. GRF

    With McDonald/Gomes and Masset and I am right there with you. With Gonzo and Votto, I still say it is hard to see anyone they could bring up from the 40 man that would be much help. The only position players on the 40 man are Alonso, Fransisco and the guy from Houston (whose name I have to learn at some point) and I am not sure any of them are a ML bat at this point. I think we can question the construction of the 40 man coming out of spring training on that front, but at this point the roster is just not well structured for calling up position players for short stretches.

  2. Glenn

    I’m with you Chad. I don’t see any rational reason for playing short handed the way this team does.

    Secondly, DFA’ing McDonald may not necessarily mean that Gomes will be the call up. McDonald’s replacement may be EE coming off the DL. I think Rosales will stay with the big club the rest of the year.

    Let’s just hope the docs get Votto figured out and that its nothing serious.

  3. Mr. Redlegs

    I’ve had the same feelings about Jocketty for a year. He did nothing to help the roster last May and June, when injuries piled up and, subsequently, the losses. They played two games with 22 players when Votto and Phillips were sick and they were still waiting around for Gozzalez to recover. They could have DLed Masset on the off-day last Thursday and brought up a pitcher for the San Diego series. It’s all just ridiculous.

    But I totally disagree on Gomes as a replacement for McDonald. Glenn is right: a spot has to be saved for when EE comes back, and swapping out one on the 40-man now (McDonald) means somebody will have to go in a couple of weeks. Overall, I think Hopper is the more suited replacement for McDonald but he’s so far in Baker’s doghouse I’d be shocked to see him in a Reds uniform.

  4. John

    I disagree with Gomes replacing McDonald as well. Gomes could replace three McDonalds…

  5. GregD

    Unfortunately, what will probably happen is that they’ll call up Castillo (because he can catch) and play Ramon Hernandez at 1st base, ignoring that Rosales has played quite a bit at 1st base.

  6. Matt WI

    Regardless of what moves (hopefully) get made, I can’t agree more about Jocketty being asleep at the switch. And GRF (#1), nice call about the construction of the 40 man in general. For all the importance teams place on having depth, it’s a little surreal to watch a team go without. And I think I’ve said it before, probably only Votto deserves to be waited on before deciding what to do about the dl… everybody else, I’d take the two weeks on the dl unless the docs could say “3 days or less”

  7. Kurt Frost

    I could tell there was something wrong with Votto during his last at bat the other night because he wasn’t going through his OCD rituals between every pitch. He would just stand there with the bat on his shoulder.

  8. Chris

    The calculus on this is pretty simple, when dealing with a nagging injury:

    1. You know the guy will be out for X days.
    2. There’s a chance he’ll be out for X+Y days.

    3. If you don’t disable him, you play short-handed for X+Y days.
    4. If you DO disable him, he’ll be out for 15 days. BUT, you’ll have a healthy player (of lesser ability to some degree) on the roster for the whole 15.

    5. If X+Y < 15, you’ll be “without” a “healthy” guy needlessly (though you’ll still have a full roster).

    The Reds are, IN EVERY INSTANCE, deciding that outcome #5 is worse than outcome #3. And/or, their estimates of “Y” are just horrible.

    To the Reds, 7+ days of a short-handed roster is better than <7 days of having Homer Bailey instead of Nick Masset. That’s highly questionable decision-making.

  9. Mr. Redlegs

    Castillo makes far more sense because of the 40-man roster situation. Look at it this way:

    They cut McDonald from the 40-man to create a space for Gomes, who has to be added. Then, in a couple of when, when EE returns, another move has to be made with a positional player. That will likely be Gomes because Dickerson is now they extra left-handed bat off the bench.

    Then, they have to remove Gomes and expose him to waivers, and there’s a good chance he is claimed. Maybe even by Tampa.

    By bringing up Castillo, who is already on the 25-man, they can easily ship him back without loss of a player. McDonald would likely clears waivers; Gomes, not so likely.

    These things historically are not done solely on merit, but roster status. And frankly, Gomes’s strikeouts and pitiful defense doesn’t automatically make him deserving.

  10. Dan

    I will grant that Gomes strikes out a ton, and from what I’ve heard he’s below average w/ the glove.

    But these numbers:

    Gomes (2009 overall) – .269/.346/.555
    Gomes (2009 vs. LHP) – .379/.486/.936
    Gomes (career MLB vs. LHP) – .266/.369/.510

    …tell me that he is very deserving of a spot on the 2009 Reds.

    To me, Hopper is just an older, not-quite-as-fast Taveras, so I don’t see what he’d add on this team.

    Gomes is a righty slugger – we don’t have that on the current roster (unless you count our 5th starter, that is). I really want to see what he can do as part of a platoon in LF. Even with his obvious flaws (K’s and defense) acknowledged.

  11. Dan

    The 40-man roster issue is a good one to bring up. Here’s the roster:

    http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/team/roster_40man.jsp?c_id=cin

    I think we agree that DFA’ing McDonald would be fine. That takes care of one move.

    Beyond that, if Bray is up for Tommy John surgery, he can be moved to the 60-man DL. That takes care of another spot.

    After that, can we really not afford to lose ANYONE off this roster? Is Craig Tatum that valuable? (Would he even be claimed?)

    I’m not too worried about it. As long as we wouldn’t run the risk of losing a good prospect, let’s make the right moves for the Reds.

  12. Bill Lack

    Here’s the RN view of the 40 man roster.

    FWIW, I’d hang on to Tatum before I’d hang on to Castillo, being versatile isn’t that important when you aren’t good at any of the positions you play. Tatum’s outstanding defensively, but the argument could be made that he has not future in the organization, assuming Mesoraco progresses.

    The other one I’d think about taking off the 40 would be Sutton…he’s Jeff Keppinger lite, easily replaceable, IMO.

  13. Dan

    I too am no Wilkin Castillo fan, Bill. Good point. Versatility is great, but doesn’t matter if you are going to hit .250 with no walks and no power.

  14. Travis G.

    I would DFA McDonald and bring up Gomes, and then I would consider sending Dickerson to AAA when EdE is able to return (assuming there are no other injuries and the Nix/Gomes platoon is successful).

    I actually don’t have a problem with the wait-and-see approach with a replacement for Masset, because I’d be wary of messing with Bailey as a reliever and none of the other arms on the 40-man are deserving of a promotion. With Arroyo’s performance yesterday and today’s off day, the bullpen could remain fresh until Masset is able to come back. But, if the need arises, why not give Maloney a shot?

  15. GregD

    From Fay’s Enquirer Notebook:

    At that time, he’ll likely be placed on the 60-day 60-man disabled list. That would make room for Pedro Viola, who likely Baker hinted is going to be called up for the Philadelphia series, Baker hinted. Right-hander Nick Masset (oblique strain) is likely to go on the DL.

    Why would they add yet another pitcher on the 40-man roster? They’ve got 8 guys pitching in Louisville on the 40-man roster.

    Looks like maybe the best option would be former starter, now long reliever Carlos Fisher.

  16. pinson343

    I agree with Dan (11) about the 40 man roster, I too mentioned Bray and Tatum wrt that the other day.

    People are talking about EE coming off the DL “any day now,” but I’m not sure what that means. Even when he is ready to return, won’t he need to rehab at AAA a few days ?

    We’re about to play a series with the Phillies, facing Cole Hamels and Jamie Moyer in the first 2 games. With Votto and EE out, this lineup is weak. Gomez’ bat against these and other lefties could give us a much needed lift. I say DFA McDonald (noone agruing against that) and bring up Gomes. Let’s see what he can do against major league lefties.

    Jocketty seems to have become a “gentleman” GM, like a senior profesor on tenure. He is not hungry for this team to win.

  17. pinson343

    I like giving either Carlos Fisher or Maloney a shot. For one thing, they’re pitching better than anyone else at Louisville.

  18. Dan

    Holy crap – Wilkin Castillo has 76 AB’s at Louisville so far this season. He has a grand total of 5 extra base hits and ONE walk.

    That’s .237/.256/.342.

    Last year, in 428 AB, all at the AAA level, he batted .248/.297/.341.

    In what way is this guy a major-league caliber talent?

  19. mike

    Dan you ask the right question

    Castillo is NOT a prospect and has done NOTHING recently to show he’s major-league caliber

  20. pinson343

    Right so we’ll probably see Castillo brought up soon.

  21. Steve Price

    Well, what’s the point of using up major league ability to sit on the bench? What will a player learn there?

    (sarcasm firmly in place)

    The same applies about a minor league “starter” pitching in a big league bullpen. It won’t hurt anything over a short term, or even a season.

  22. mike

    ha ha…you’re probably right pinson

    I also agree with you about Fisher/Maloney the key is the Reds don’t need a pitcher, well we might for Massett but we could use a bat more.

    I read they are pushing up Harang’s next start to cover for Owings. I bet the Reds could survive with one less pitcher but an extra bat

    baseballprospectus.com also mentioned Votto and Volquez in their health reports (by the way has anyone heard ANY news on EE?)

    from BP…
    Edinson Volquez (0 DXL)
    One of the medhead guidelines should be that “fatigue shows up in different ways.” That holds true for Volquez, who left his Saturday start, which is not to say that this is anything more than the ‘mild back spasms’ that the team is saying he had, or that he’ll miss any time. It’s just that we have to consider the possibilities whenever we have a pitcher that had his kind of jump in workload. Volquez’s jump also came with an increase in quality of performance, so it’s hard to argue with the usage, but we have to be wary. At this point it doesn’t appear to be anything serious, but the Reds are relying on their pitching staff’s health this season. Homer Bailey may be pitching well in Louisville, but an injury to any of the Reds ‘big three’ would sink their hopes.

    Joey Votto (NA)
    Flu-like symptoms (FLS) is one thing; having them’s no fun, and it can certainly debilitate a player, even one as gifted as Votto, but add dehydration to the mix, and things become much worse, as he discovered last week. He became dizzy and nearly fainted due to a combination of physical circumstances. Despite prompt care, he still hasn’t gotten past this, continuing to have symptoms and making the Reds wonder if something more could be going on. While there’s been some speculation, from plausible (mono) to ridiculous (concussion), this is one of those instances that causes a collective shrug and reminds us that even the simplest things can end up confusing even the best doctors and trainers. The Reds are sending Votto to one of their internal specialists—each team has an extensive list of doctors beyond the core team physicians, both in their hometown and minor league sites—to try to figure out exactly what’s going on. It’s impossible to know how long Votto might be out, or if he’ll miss any time at all.

  23. GregD

    1 – I hope Votto is OK. He did take 2? more days than Phillips to come back from the “flu” the first time. Either it just hit him harder or it has coupled with something else that is going on with him.

    2 – I think Castillo could be removed from the 40-man without being claimed by other teams.

    3 – I would also think Sutton should be ahead of him on the depth chart.

    4 – Harang may be moving up but he’ll still be pitching on normal rest. With the offday Thursday and Monday, the Reds can “reset” their rotation and not need a #5 starter until Saturday…assuming Volquez is OK.

  24. Y-City Jim

    If Gomes replaced McDonald then wouldn’t Janish likely be sent down by Encarnación’s activation? You then have Encarnación, Phillips, Gonzalez, Rosales, Hairston, and Votto all as infielders. Yes, Janish is the best defensive infielder of all of them but since when did that mean anything? Besides he should be playing everyday.

  25. Bill Lack

    I believe that John Fay said Friday night that it’ll still be awhile on EE and then he’ll likely be sent out for some rehab time. This was right before he said, “The Reds haven’t lost 3 in a row all season”, to which my wife replied…”Don’t say that!!!”

  26. Travis G.

    Per Rob Butcher:

    Tomorrow the Reds are expected to disable RHP Nick Masset (strained left oblique muscle), retroactive to May 11, and recall from Louisville RHP Ramon Ramirez.

    Masset went 1-0, 1.23 in 11 relief apps for the Reds.

    Ramirez (#58) went 0-3, 5.08 in 7 starts for the Bats (39ip, 37h, 27r, 22er, 17bb, 28k, 4hr).

  27. mike

    Ramirez seems to be an odd callup.

    Instead of LeCure, Maloney, or Manuel?

  28. pinson343

    Ramirez is being brought up as the long man in the bullpen, currently they don’t have one. It was presumed that Masset would play that role, but he pitched so well he was used for short relief in close games.

    Why not someone more talented than Ramirez ? Right or wrong, the Reds have been consistent about not assigning a “prospect” to this role.

  29. mhopp

    Gomes is 2 for 2 in game 1 today with his 9th HR…perhaps he needs to come up and send McDonald down…or does that make too much sense?

  30. mhopp

    Make that 3 for 3 for Gomes in game 1

  31. Dan

    I’ll continue to post these numbers, with some confusion and frustration, daily:

    Gomes (2009 overall) – .280/.353/.584
    Gomes (2009 vs. LHP) – .379/.486/.931
    Gomes (career MLB vs. LHP) – .266/.369/.510

    I’ll also add this:

    Gomes (career minors): .271/.395/.531
    Gomes (career majors): .235/.329/.455

    McDonald (career minors): .269/.331/.394
    McDonald (career majors): .173/.225/.213

    How can someone look at these numbers and decide the right thing is to have McDonald in Cincinnati and Gomes in Louisville? I’m really flummoxed.