Every day I think the Reds have hit rock bottom. Then, at some point, I see that Willy Taveras is leading off or somesuch nonsense, and I realize that there’s a long way to go before the Reds really bottom out.

Consider a few numbers:

The Reds are currently 45-60 and in last place.

To reach .500 (we’re going to win now! says the owner), the Reds need to go 36-21. That’s a .632 winning percentage for the rest of the season.

To lose 100 games, the Reds would have to go 17-40 for the remainder of 2009. That’s a .298 “winning” percentage.

The Reds can’t play that poorly for the rest of the year. Can they?

Well, consider this: during July and August, so far, the Reds are 8-22. That’s a .267 percentage. During June, July, and August combined, the Reds winning percentage is just .327.

Yes, there isn’t a question in my mind that this team can lose 100 games. But Walt Jocketty says they’re going to be competitive next year! Be optimistic!

53 Responses

  1. Glenn

    Losing 100 games is very do-able for this team. I’m 51 years old and have been following the Reds all my life. There may have been a worse team during those years, but I can’t remember one.

  2. Y-City Jim

    As the saying goes – “If you always do what you have always done then you will always get what you have always got.”

    Is there a better descriptor of Dusty Baker?

    100 losses are a real possibility.

  3. jason1972

    I hope they do so that it forces Castellini to clean house.

  4. Matt WI

    Sad thing is, I’m not sure losing 100 games will prompt any change in plans already in process. At the current lag rate of reaction by the front office, they’ll starting reacting to the losing of this season by June 2010.

  5. Matt Steele

    I doubt that we will lose 100 games this year because we do get Bruce back in a couple weeks and september callups. While Dusty might be averse to playing “kids” I think there will be a front office directive to play them more in Sept.

  6. Deaner

    This is no doubt the worst team in baseball right now and the lineup is flat out embarrassing. The Pirates have traded something like 6 players from their opening day lineup and I think they are better than the Reds right now. This team can lose 100 games and I don’t see any reason why they won’t… Dusty certainly isn’t going to give an inspirational speeches.

  7. David

    Is it possible to lose 100, yes. Are they going to? No. The Reds would have to go 17-40. Okay, yeah so maybe…

  8. Rich

    The only bright spot of losing 100 games is that it will improve our position in the draft for next year.

  9. Travis G.

    I’m cross-posting this from last night’s game recap:

    The 40-man roster was top-heavy and unbalanced to start the season, and the team’s endured the struggles of young players learning the game and fringe veterans playing their way out of it. Injuries to several nominal starters has only magnified those weaknesses.

    I thought the Reds were overly optimistic to place the entire offensive load on Votto and Bruce (in their second and first full ML seasons). This team needed someone like Scott Rolen or Jermaine Dye in the lineup from the very start. I like what they’ve gotten out of Gomes and, to some extent, Nix, but those guys are making the most of their last chance. It’s not the same.

    This year’s roster was too thin too endure a 162-game season, but they’re not losing any key players next season (in fact, they’ve got the exact opposite of that problem). Looking forward, they need a CF, SS and LF on offense/defense, and another SP to take Volquez’s spot. There are some possible options in the minors, or they could trade some of those pieces for sure things. There are some intriguing buy-low options at SS, depending on who gets nontendered, and there are always veteran LF lying around.

    Things are quite as bleak as they seem right now.

  10. RiverCity Redleg

    I’d walk through hell in a gasoline suit and stay there to keep from watching this team play anymore.

  11. Matt WI

    RCR…. your job is to keep reminding the rest of us what decent managing looks like with Rick Sweet updates from time to time.

  12. RiverCity Redleg

    Free Rick Sweet… Bats won again last night, Sam LeCure has won 8 starts in a row and K’d 11. Stubbs and Bankston had 3 hits each. Through all of the call-ups, trades and turnover Louisville has had the best record in AAA for the 2nd straight year.

  13. RiverCity Redleg

    Sorry, LeCure won his 7th straight decision, not 8th. Heisey also added 2 hits and an RBI and Dorn hit a 2 run jack. Stubbs stole his league leading 42nd base. Travis Wood makes his 2nd start tonight.

  14. David

    LeCure is an interesting guy, as is Wood. I’d say the odds of any of Thompson, Ramirez, Maloney, Wood, LeCure could replace Arroyo are pretty good.

  15. RiverCity Redleg

    For that matter, I think Justin Lehr could be a long reliever/spot starter. I know he is 57 yrs old, but could be stop gap until one of the aforementioned are ready. Point being, don’t be afraid of trading Arroyo and/Harang for the right deal.

  16. shane

    The Reds would have to go 17-40
    Are you crazy???????? What makes you think they can win 17 more games?????

  17. Travis G.

    Lehr will come in handy when they shut down Cueto and Bailey for the year in about three weeks. They’ll do that, right???

  18. Steve

    Some Thoughts on our Starting Pitching

    Last year we were able to trade Adam Dunn after the July 31 trading deadline. I’ve heard many broadcasters use that example when explaining how the Reds could still trade Arroyo and Harang.

    Big difference. In Dunn’s case, the Diamondbacks only had to take on the rest of Dunn’s 2008 contract and then let him go off into the free agent market if they didn’t want to resign him. Meaning no additional financial commitment.

    In the case of Arroyo and Harang, a club taking either of them now would be on the hook for their 2010 contract as well. So, realistically, the Reds may have to spend some money to get them off their books.

    Maybe that isn’t any longer a goal because of the Volquez surgery yesterday. But it’s still difficult to imagine carrying two pitchers who are not #1 or #2 types who have to be paid that kind of money.

    To end on a positive note. I was thinking about Homer Bailey this morning and came to the conclusion, at least for now, that I was very optimistic about his future. He is still very young. He has shown incredible progress this year. Yes, Homer is still inconsistent – a common trait with young pitchers. Look at the year consensus phenom David Price is having for the Rays – and he’s older than Homer.

    But on the bright side:

    1. Homer has regained the velocity that he had when he was younger. He has consistently been pitching 95-96-97 this year, which is dramatically higher than previous years in his call ups. He is cutting down on his walks.

    2. Homer is starting to get command of some other pitches. His slider and curve have looked great at times. His new split-finger pitch, while still needing a lot of work, seems to have great potential, and he’s only been throwing it for two months.

    3. He has had solid – even excellent – stretches of pitching during this call up, including the games against the Cardinals, Phillies, Padres and recently the first three innings against Colorado. It’s a normal part of progression for pitchers learn to extend good starts into later parts of the game.

    I think he’s back on track toward developing into a front-of-the-rotation starter. Not a sure thing, by any means, but definitely looking much better.

    [The Reds won’t lose 100 games – they are soon going to get Bruce and Dickerson back, which should help enough to avoid that fate.]

  19. abcisme

    Re: Shane @ #19 LOL

    Re: Rich @ # 11 Great, so we get a top 2 or 3 draft pick, maybe who, again, we can’t AFFORD to sign and they decide to sit out and go to college. Yea. Good plan.

    The future looks so bright.

  20. pinson343

    (13) Great stuff, LOL.

    The addition of Rolen and the return of Bruce might limit us to say 96 losses. That’s my OPTIMISTIC guess right now.

    This team could certainly lose more than 100.

    Also this losing streak could go on MUCH longer, to the point where we’re on ESPN every nite.

  21. pinson343

    Steve (21) good post on Homer.
    I’ve had the same positive thoughts.

  22. Brian

    Are the Reds the only team in history that when trying to come back, like in last nights game, as soon as the lineup turns over the fans say to themselves, “crap – this games over” because are 1 and 2 hitters have sucked that bad all season long.

  23. Steve

    Brian(25) – great point. My friends and I have often made the comment this year when Taveras makes the last out in an inning that “at least the Reds turned the line up over.”

  24. Steve

    To return to Baker’s statement last night that he didn’t want to use Drew Sutton to pinch hit for Willy Taveras because “I’m not sending the kid up there in that situation”. Here’s what I wrote last night:

    1. All weekend, Baker seemed satisfied to send Sutton up to LEAD OFF a major league baseball game – 3 in a row, in fact. So Sutton can lead off three games but not pinch hit?

    2. Drew Sutton is a 26 year old “kid” (same age as Joey Votto).

    3. Willy Taveras was doomed to fail in that at bat, as he has done repeatedly all year.

    4. This “reasoning” (used loosely) exactly proves why Dusty Baker needs to be fired. He is unwilling to give our non-established players a real chance. That might have been fine thinking if the Reds were in contention. But not giving Sutton the EXPERIENCE in that situation, seems like missing an opportunity. How will we ever know if Sutton can come through as a clutch pinch hitter without trying it? Baker simply cannot be the kind of manager we need the rest of the year.

    5. Notice Baker didn’t say “I thought Willy would get the job done.”

    It was also pointed out (by pinson343) that Baker has, in fact, used Sutton to pinch hit in game-tying/deciding situations already this year. AND SUTTON GOT A HIT. Didn’t Baker have that written down in his notes?

    Also, does anyone else remember last year when Baker sent Paul Janish up at the end of a game in his FIRST major league game when it was tied with two outs??

    Baker is just amazing. He’ll say anything. He can get away with saying anything, too. The blogs hold him accountable, but the local press doesn’t. He just continues on with his ruinous managing and incoherent statements.

  25. Steve

    One more thing about “I’m not going to send the kid up there in that situation” (can’t get past it…ugh).

    Didn’t this thought work it’s way through Baker’s old head the night before when he sent 23-year-old Homer Bailey to the plate to bunt in a crucial, potentially game-winning, situation?

    Homer looked totally out of his depth trying to bunt. If we have to send a pitcher up, why not (non-kid) Aaron Harang who has more experience bunting. Homer doesn’t even have a single hit this year.

    The other problem with sending Homer up instead of a position player (or even a pitcher that could hit) is that because Homer represented ZERO threat to straighten up and swing the bat, the defenders could crash the plate like there was no tomorrow, making the job even more difficult for Homer.

    “I’m not going to send the kid up there in that situation.”

  26. al

    more from the wellsprings of dusty’s madness:

    “We played good baseball tonight. When you play good baseball, it increases your chances of winning.”

    first off, holy crap! second off, just because it was a low scoring game does not mean you played good baseball. getting shut down for 7 innings is bad baseball.

    i know it’s just a stupid line, and i even get what he thinks he’s trying to say. but i think this really gets to the root of some of dusty’s problems. i saw it coming out of spring training when he would make comments about how losing 2-1 was how the game was supposed to be played.

    dusty tries to fit the game into this image or ideal tha he has in his head of what pure baseball is, and somehow he’s let this nostalgia equate with winning. it doesn’t, it’s just a nice thought. old timey baseballers slapping singles and hustling in knee-highs.

    it’s like this phrase they all use: play the game the right way. these guys think that if you play the game “the right way” then the gods line up the final score for you, no matter what happened on the field. speedy slap hitters up front, lefty-righty matchups, veteral leaders.

    as far as i can tell, the right way to play the game is whatever you can do, within the rules, to win. usually that means having talent, skills, and abilities. not being a throw back who watched a lot of ken burns.

    excuse the rant.

  27. Steve Price

    Well, I like the Ken Burns videos, but I have little doubt that Dusty is being thrown back into his Dodger Stadium days when winning 4-3 was an offensive battle.

    No doubt, after being traded from Atlanta’s “Launching Pad” to Los Angeles’s death to pitchers, Tommy LaSorda preached that the Dodgers played real baseball.

  28. BigRedMike

    Dusty just needs to go away.

    Taveras has an OPS under .500 since the All Star Game.

    Harang is now 5-13.

    Will the Reds shut down Cueto soon?

  29. GregD

    Lehr will come in handy when they shut down Cueto and Bailey for the year in about three weeks. They’ll do that, right???

    Perhaps they should. Cueto and Volquez both played winter ball and the WBC. Dick Pole is quoted in Hal McCoy’s blog that he has found out after the fact that Volquez was throwing 99 pitches in a winter ball game while he was supposed to be cutoff at 50. He had a better relationship with Cueto’s coach who did keep him at 50 pitches.

    Still, the injury risk exists. Volquez went down with injury on June 1. Cueto pitched great through his June 14 start. He’s put up terrible numbers since June 20.

    13 starts through June 14 – 2.17 ERA, .216 opponent avg
    8 starts since June 14 – 8.24 ERA, .349 opponent avg

    Maybe they are both just worn down from pitching year round?

  30. KY Chip

    While I can’t see the Reds losing 100 games this season, it wouldn’t be out of the question. Losing 90 is certainly do-able.

    We all knew at the start of the season that this “house of cards” team was an injury or two away from a collapse. When those injuries came, that’s exactly what happened.

    Sadly, I can’t see much more being different next year unless some real shake-ups occur in the off-season, beginning with the coaching staff.

  31. Travis G.

    I would think about moving Cueto to the bullpen now and giving his remaining starts to Lehr and Kip Wells. Bailey should be okay until rosters expand, at which time they should just shut him down for the season.

  32. Matt WI

    Good call(s) on shutting down Cueto. I hadn’t thought about it before, but what’s the point of risking anything with his health too?

  33. Dan

    Totally agree!!

    The 2 most important things for the Reds last 57 games are:

    –Keep the pitchers healthy.

    –Try some things you’ve been wondering about so that you have that info before spring training gets here. (I’m mainly thinking of Phillips at SS, but this could be a lot of things.)

  34. preach

    “dusty tries to fit the game into this image or ideal tha he has in his head of what pure baseball is, and somehow he’s let this nostalgia equate with winning. it doesn’t, it’s just a nice thought. old timey baseballers slapping singles and hustling in knee-highs.”

    First off, I’m a little ol’ school myself, so I appreciate that brand of baseball, along with the long ball. But with that being said, you would think that someone who talks so much about playing with the greatest homerun hitter ever would appreciate that part of the game as well. Even Dusty would have to admit that Aaron won more games for Atlanta than Garr. Although Garr getting on base and causing (real)havoc was important as well.

  35. Steve Price

    Dusty came up with the Braves, but he bleeds Dodger blue. The Louisville Slugger Museum was updated this summer, and Dusty is a big part of the opening video. He talks about he and his brother winning games for the Dodgers and how his brother does a great Vin Scully impression…and then the video skips to Dusty hitting a game winning home run for the Dodgers.

    He grew up in Riverside, California, spent eight full seasons with the Dodgers, four full and four partial seasons with the Braves.

  36. David

    Travis – CF, SS and LF were the holes at the beginning of the year. Funny how they are still holes. We don’t have anyone in house to play SS, which is why I have advocated a move like the Harang for Hardy rumor. In CF/LF we have Stubbs, Heisey and Frazier almost ready. I’m really worried about catcher to be honest. Why? Because the organization doesn’t have faith in Hanigan. Why do I feel like the Reds’ next catcher will be Benji Molina and his .268 OBP?

    Greg – I just don’t understand allowing your players to play in winter ball or the WBC. There has got to be a contractual way to control your assets’ offseason work.

  37. Travis G.

    I’ll cross-post this from the recap thread, where I’m arguing with myself:

    If the Reds buy out Hernandez and Gonzalez, which they most certainly will, next year’s payroll is already $12 million less than this year’s.

    They’ve got to choose a backup for Hanigan from the likes of Brian Schenider, Yorvit Torrealba or Bengie Molina. I’m fine with those options.

    They’ll need to select a starting SS from the likes of Orlando Cabrera (too costly), Marco Scutaro (likely way to costly), Bobby Crosby (possibly too risky), Jack Wilson (getting warmer) or Clint Barmes, if he’s non-tendered. Not sure who’d be available via trade, but they’ll probably cost an arm and a leg. (Brandon Wood was off-limits for even Roy Halladay, so we can stop talking about him now.)

    They can’t afford Jason Bay or Matt Holliday, but they should absolutely check into dealing for Carl Crawford and his $10 million option. He’s a terrific defender, and would give this offense exactly what it needs. He would be worth raising the payroll, if that’s what it took. Otherwise, your FA options are Xavier Nady, Rick Ankiel, Mike Cameron or Chone Figgins. It’s hard to gauge how much those guys would cost, but there’s some intriguing names there.

    The open market for SP is pretty thin, but we do have some young pitchers who might be able to step in and help out. I know, I know — Stewart and Roenicke — but Stewart was still building up arm strength, so he wouldn’t make much impact on next year’s ML rotation, and they’re not slated to lose anyone from this year’s bullpen until 2011.

  38. GregD

    I don’t think Wood was the centerpiece of the proposed Halladay deal, and unfortunately, we didn’t get a good gauge to what the Angels thought his individual value is. From mlbtraderumors:

    Halladay is looking unlikely for the Angels, who shot down a Toronto proposal that included Joe Saunders, Erick Aybar, and Brandon Wood.

    Sounds like it wasn’t limited to those three. All 3 named players are on the major league roster, Saunders in the rotation and Aybar the starting SS.

  39. al

    “First off, I’m a little ol’ school myself, so I appreciate that brand of baseball…”

    i like that brand of baseball too, the old timers were great, and the game was more interesting than the it was during the steroid era, that’s for sure. but my point is that it can’t be about liking a brand of baseball if you want to win.

    you can’t just pick a style of play, or a mode of doing things, and expect it to work out. ‘brands’ of baseball don’t win ballgames, talent does.

    dusty routinely plays less talented players to conform to his ‘brand’ of baseball, and it’s that mentality, the mentality that says if you’re losing 4-2 you’re on the right track, that has to go if this team is going to dig itself out of this hole.

    we’re fans, we’re allowed to be nostalgic for the different ways the game has been played. he’s not a fan, he’s the manager. or at least that’s what it says on his pay stub.

  40. REDS1

    Seriously, how does anyone with a brain think it is conceivable this team only loses 90 games?! I GUARANTEE this team loses more than 90 games. If they lose less than 90 games I will renounce my Reds fan status.

  41. John

    I predicted 100 losses before this season started after Walt had failed to get any real offense in here to go with middling pitching. It’s one of those predictions I’d rather not see, because being right does not balance the feeling of rooting for a team going nowhere.

  42. Dan

    When you think about cutting payroll by ditching Hernandez and Gonzalez, don’t forget all the built-in raises. Those almost always eat up most or all of the savings.

    Here’s a real quick survey of Cot’s baseball contracts. these are the raises I see…

    Harang – 09:$11M, 10:$12.5M

    Arroyo – 09:$9.5M, 10:$11M

    Phillips – 09:$4.75M, 10:$6.75M

    Taveras (ugh) – 09:$2.25M, 10:$4M

    Lincoln (ugh again) – 09:$1.5M, 10:$2.5M

    That’s $7.75M in raises, and I see $1.9M in buyouts (Hernandez, Gonzalez, Weathers). That’s $9.65M of increase right there.

    I really don’t think we’re going to have much room to expand payroll at all… Unless we happen to unload one of the big contract in August (Arroyo, Harang, Cordero). But I doubt we’ll see that.

  43. Travis G.

    There’s also arbitration, but I don’t have time right now to look at which players will be eligible. It could get ugly, for sure, but you’ve got to hope Lincoln can rebound (he was hurt, after all), and Harang and Arroyo are both more attractive as offseason deals than as impact arms for the pennant race.

    What I’m really hoping for is a devastating injury to Brad Lidge, so maybe Philadelphia will give up Michael Taylor for CoCo. But seriously, I think they’ll move one of those big contracts before next season begins one way or another.

  44. GregD

    Off the top of my head, I think Gomes is arbitration eligible.

    A lot of the rest of the guys w/o big contracts have only been in the majors for a year or two. Owings or Volquez maybe have enough playing time? I don’t know how the Volquez arbitration, if eligible, would work if he’s supposed to be out all year.

  45. Travis G.

    Just skimming Cot’s, it would appear Gomes, Nix, Bray, Owings and Masset could all be hitting arbitration for the first time. I doubt all of them will, and those that do will likely get raises into the $1.2 million to $2 million range.

  46. Matt WI

    Four million to Willy T next year! Good gracious. Mothers, let your babies grow up to be track stars.

  47. Dan

    Masset? Does he have that much service time? I didn’t think so. (Don’t you need to be in MLB for 3 years before you hit arbitration?)

  48. Dan

    Yeah, the Taveras and Lincoln signings were mind-numbingly awful, and a lot of us were saying that even before this season started.

  49. Cliff

    It is hard to believe the Reds are in this situation.A lot has to change before a fan can get excited about the Reds hopes for the playoffs again.