Bryan Price’s lineup today (Mark Sheldon) features the starting eight players for the first time this spring. It contains a few big surprises [see update below]:

  1. Phillips 2B (.261/.306/.385)
  2. Frazier 3B
  3. Votto 1B
  4. Mesoraco C
  5. Byrd LF
  6. Bruce RF
  7. Hamilton CF (.253/.304/.356)
  8. Cozart SS
  9. DeSclafani P

There’s not as much difference in the 2015 projections (shown above) for Phillips and Hamilton as you might think. But Price has been watching Hamilton struggle this spring (.179/.233/.282) up close. The move down in the lineup is justified based on the numbers. Plus this lineup could take pressure off Hamilton at the start of the season. The numbers also say that base-running speed plays better in front of singles hitters than it does extra-base hitters.

If we’re loosening the assumption that Billy Hamilton has to bat first (hooray), I’d consider moving Brandon Phillips down to #6 and sliding up the rest of the lineup. Todd Frazier (.253/.320/.443) isn’t an ideal lead-off hitter, but promoting the #2-#6 hitters would increase plate appearances for the best hitters.

This lineup, while a step in the right direction, lays bare the weakness in the Reds offseason in not acquiring a LF or backup CF who could be a plausible candidate to lead off.

Update: Turns out Devin Mesoraco is sitting out today (hamstring little sore, John Fay). So new lineup. Brayan Peña takes over at catcher batting sixth, Jay Bruce slides up to fifth. The rest remains the same. Interesting glimpse into Price’s thinking (at least today).

110 Responses

  1. bohdi87

    When DatDude batted 4th he basically only concerned himself with RBIs. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but if Brandon is penciled in as Price’s leadoff hitter for any significant time, could there be a similar BP tunnel vision except, in this case, getting on base? It would obviously contradict the recent shenanigans about on base percentage but would he be so stubborn to not recognize the importance of OBP if he was batting first?

    • gaffer

      Great point, in the past I would have said BP adapts to the place he hits but in this case he has talking himself into a corner on the OBP thing.

      I hope he does not try to steal more (yikes!).

      • pinson343

        When batting leadoff, BP does what he can to get on base, including taking strikes. The problem is, he does try to steal bases.

        He says how Dusty was his mentor. When he bats 2nd, he proudly lays down sac bunts, even when the manager doesn’t want him to (he has ticked off both Dusty and Price by doing that).

      • pinson343

        BP does try to get on base more often when batting leadoff, but he wouldn’t talk himself into a corner on the OBP thing. He wouldn’t talk about it at all. I think it was in the context of his being put in the leadoff spot that led to CTrent’s tweet that led to BP’s screaming tirade.

      • pinson343

        PS CTrent’s tweet, of course, was about BP’s low OBP.

      • jdx19

        Yeah, and I think he compared Todd Frazier’s OBP (which was slightly higher) to BPs.

      • Bill Lack

        In ’14, BP’s OBP when leading off an inning was .289. So if he was trying to get on…he still was terrible.

      • lwblogger2

        That expressed worry of the possibility that he might steal more is exactly what I thought of.

    • jdx19

      Interesting thought. I bet Gaffer would be right. BP is just as likely to try and steal bases and lay down bunts for hits as he is to try and work extra walks.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      BP has said that’s what he concentrates on. But, that doesn’t show in the numbers. For, going by order, BP’s best position in relation to getting on base has been the 4 hole, 5 hole, and 7 hole. But, then, that’s for his career. If you consider the last season he got any kind of what you could call significant time leading off, 2012, when he had an OBP of 254.

      BP just isn’t the kind of offensive threat he was when he became a member of the 30/30 club. I can understand this move. However, I can’t help thinking it’s a wash. A older player who can’t get the job done anymore with the bat for a youngster who may have been feeling too much pressure to get the job done.

  2. ProspectCincy

    I’m not sure I understand the thought process behind this. Hamilton had a great spring last year and came out impossibly slow; so now he has a slow spring and we’re gonna dump him to 7th? All while putting Phillips at the top? The benefit of Hamilton is as an inning starter; and having the pitcher hit in-front of him gives him that ability more often than not.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t a 2 out single by Hamilton completely neutralize him? Teams will say “go ahead and take 2nd base) … at which point they can walk Cozart to pitch to the pitcher. Out of inning, Brandon Phillips leading off the next.

    Seems like a lose-lose scenario. Yes, I get increasing the AB’s of the other guys because their OBP’s are better than Hamilton’s last season, but isn’t this yet another overreaction to spring; in which stats are completely meaningless?

    • MrRed

      But isn’t Hamilton’s spring looking more like an extension of the 2nd half of last year? It does to me. In which case, moving him down in the order (not necessarily permanently) would be a good way to take some pressure off of him until he can figure things out. If he’s going to be in the lineup, it seems like the 7th spot is as good of a place as any right now.

      I wouldn’t worry about the scenarios you mention since they aren’t going to happen with a high frequency. Playing the odds, it’s better to just worry about the number of at bats a player will have vs. possible scenarios when they come to the plate.

      • ProspectCincy

        Over the years, you look at spring numbers and the never translate the way you think they will (or should). Kershaw is a guy who routinely has terrible springs, Moustakas terrific ones …

        It’s truly a practice round for guys to try new things, get healthy, and build stamina for the long MLB season. Look at Marquis line yesterday and you might think “I can live with that” … and then realize that he faced all of two regular starters, without Trout, Pujols etc and it’s nothing more than practice. You can hope good stats mean good things, but that’s simply not the case.

        And so, perhaps my reaction is an over-reaction in and of itself … but if you look at the line-up as a whole, I think it creates more problems than it fixes. On the + side, if this is the line-up … Jay Bruce should get many more free passes to 1B (but will strikeout more than ever).

      • Steve Mancuso

        You’re right about spring training. I’ve been preaching that all month. Success in ST doesn’t mean success in the regular season because hitters and pitchers are facing many second and third string players. Pitchers in spring are working on specific pitches, hitters are trying new stances etc. Fans can’t judge that. And a bad spring for a veteran player, or at least a player who has proven himself at the major league level, is also not a huge cause for concern. The point is that previous regular season stats are FAR more reliable of a predictor for future performance than ST stats. That’s the basis of my concern over Jason Marquis and Brennan Boesch.

        But Billy Hamilton hasn’t proven that he can hit major league pitching in the regular season. So to see him fail in spring training, even against second and third string pitchers, might confirm the regular season numbers. Price could legitimately come to the conclusion that Hamilton looks overmatched based on ST. So while you can’t extrapolate success in spring training, you might be able to make reasonable inferences for failure in some cases.

        That all said, nothing here – the lineup, Hamilton’s struggles – is etched in stone.

    • Jeremy Conley

      If this is a reaction to spring training alone, then yes, it’s possibly an over-reaction. But Hamilton didn’t hit nearly well enough to lead off last year, so there’s that to consider also.

      As for your two-out single scenario, that would still be really valuable. Cozart is basically an automatic out. If every time Billy gets on base and steals, the other team walks Cozart? That would be amazing.

      Sure a lot of the time the pitcher gets out, but the pitchers we have weren’t that much worse than Cozart in the first place and sometimes they won’t get out. Even if they do, you’ve already turned the lineup up over, and don’t have to deal with the pitcher leading off an inning.

      Any time a team walks the worst hitting starter in the majors, it is a huge gift. If that’s what Billy stealing with 2 outs leads to, that’s good with me.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Convoluted thinking but also true. If we end up with two weak sisters (Cozart & Hamilton) plus the pitchers spot, I think we are in serious danger of losing a 100 games. Giving away that many outs in a game is not sustainable. Negron may end up being the biggest bust of a player we have seen but they would then need to get a chance to replace one the sisters in the lineup.

      • Hotto4Votto

        It would likely result in the first time Cozart’s had an OBP out of the .280’s

  3. Randy

    great articles recently here and in Cincy mag. Keep it up

  4. chicksdigthelongball

    with the low OBP of Cozart, Hamilton and Phillips, I would not mind seeing Negron get some playing time. He may not be the full time answer, but he has been very good in Arizona. I would think that he would be an option in the lead off spot, at least while he is hot and the others are struggling.

    • jdx19

      He’s not “hot.” It is spring training. Last season’s 150 PA sample size means nothing, as well.

      He’s a below average minor leaguer. No reason to think he’ll be a better major leaguer given enough PAs.

      With that said, I like Negron.

      • redmountain

        Some players get better as they move up. Carlton Fisk, according to his AA GM was not a good possibility of being anything in the majors. I am not saying that Negron will do this, but sometimes players get better as they move up. I am also not willing to call Hamilton the worst regular starter in the majors.

      • jdx19

        True, some guys get better. But a guy with 4 seasons of mediocrity in AAA is not a great candidate.

        That doesn’t mean he can’t contribute though. If he were a .250/.315/.380 sort of hitter of the bench that played good defense at a few positions, that’s a huge upgrade from anything else we have.

        I hope he gets a lot of playing time this year, but I just grow weary of all the talk about how he NEEDS TO START NOW and all that. Everything points at him being a below-average major league hitter if he’s given 600 PAs.

  5. charlottencredsfan

    Billy showed the best hitting form, in his last 2 ABs yesterday, than I have seen this Spring. Near perfect square stance and only lifted his foot one time, the contact looked mighty easy – no tap dancing. This was from the right side so who knows about what he’ll do from the left side but all 4 ABs were as a righty and he made a change after the first 2. I believe he is well aware of how bad he is stinking up the joint and he needs to make adjustments. He has been brutually bad at the plate this spring and turning the clock to the regular season isn’t going to magically make that disappear.

    IMO, his problem is not confidence but approach. He can have all the confidence in the world, but with that approach, he will not be a MLBer for long. If it continues, I’d send him to AAA and maybe working with a new instructor would help and wouldn’t be hurting the club. I would not hesitate installing Negron is CF or shortstop for that matter.

    • reaganspad

      Agreed Charlotte. I just think that Negron is going to stick with the club the way Frazier did. I thought it might be ss, but we may be watching Negron Wally Pipp the runner up rookie of the year.

      I think Billy would benefit spending time at AAA right now

      • redmountain

        Could, as was the case last year when he was hurt around AS break and ruined him in the second half, the shoulder he hurt this spring be starting to come around?

  6. Frogger

    Seems worth a try to me. The teams biggest problem is they have only one person they can count on to get on base. Votto can’t do everything for this team. Others have to do their part. Big failure of Reds to have not found a leadoff hitter in the past five years. Phillips should not be a leadoff hitter, but he is really the only alternative. Votto is too good to bat leadoff. Frazier, Mes, and Bruce are power hitters. Byrd is past the days of leading off. Hopefully Billy will grow into the role soon, and if BP can do the job one of them can bat second. Can’t have someone leading off with under .300 leadoff. Limits run production. I believe BP has the tools to be a respectable leadoff guy. Much more realistic to think you can get a .325 OBP out of him than a .475 slugging percentage in the 3 or 4 hole. Biggest obstacle I have seen in the offense is consistency. Biggest problem to consistency is guys getting on base at the top of the lineup. Not new to Reds. (Other than BP the one year and rental of Choo one year)

  7. Frogger

    Aggree. They should flip Bruce and Byrd. Bruce needs to get some protection to be effective. To bat a guy with 5 hr potential behind a 30+ hr potential is a problem.

    • jdx19

      I’m fairly certain “protection” has been proven to be a myth. Could be wrong, though.

      • JoshG

        absolutely false, every pitcher knows who is on deck and it does affect the way they pitch the current hitter.

      • lwblogger2

        Who’s on deck and who’s in the hole will make a difference. I don’t like putting runners on but I will have a pitcher work around a batter, or will call for breaking pitches when behind in the count much more often with a good hitter, followed by a poor hitter. This is true even when 1B isn’t open. This becomes even more the case with 2 outs.

      • jdx19

        “Absolutely false?” Pretty strong statement for someone bringing zero relevant data or argument.

        A quick search and perusal of articles doesn’t offer a definitive answer either way. So, I’ll go ahead and assert that your “absolutely false” is absolutely false.

        Regardless of what you believe, this is an interesting read. Shows that Miguel Cabrera really hasn’t benefitted from being “protected” by the likes of Prince Fielder, who may be one of the most intimidating hitters out there, especially circa 2012.

        http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/what-would-lineup-protection-look-like/

      • Frogger

        If he is batting 6 followed by Hamilton, Cozart, and the pitcher no one will ever pitch to him. Either Bruce will learn to take a walk or strikeout much more than we have ever seen from him. No pitcher is going to risk giving him a pitch to drive with 3 automatic outs behind him. Protection is a myth if you have one good hitter followed by one more but scrubs behind that. Or if you have an MVP level player followed by a solid hitter. Or a pitcher knows if he pitchers to a vastly superior player who will punish him, but can reasonably expect to get the following batters out. I disagree that lineups have no impact. I am a stat driven guy, but I need to see the numbers to prove it. There is a reason you don’t bat Zach Cozart 3rd or 4th.

      • jdx19

        Lineups certainly have an effect. That is fact. However, their impact is less than people usually think. A few runs a year, which might be worth a single win.

        I think the reason lineups get so much talk is that it’s an easy thing to get correct, or close to correct. So if it’s easy to get correct, why muck it up so badly?

        For example, last 2 years Mesoraco has destroyed left handed pitching, but both Baker and Price haven’t shown any inclination to accommodate that. He should be in the lineup, hitting 3-4-5 against every lefty, every time. Let him get his rest against righties.

        But, if you went absolutely nutty, like if you had Cozart leading off and Votto hitting 9th, the net result might be a single win less. So, when you are much closer to optimal to begin with, like Cozart-Pitcher 8-9, then likely you don’t even get a win worth of play in your lineup.

        As much as we argue about where BP should hit, it really isn’t going to make an appreciable difference.

      • Frogger

        I agree with your thought process here JDX. I would not say a win, but maybe a couple of wins a year difference. However, that is important. That is the difference between Joey Votto and an above average player. We know a couple of wins can be huge.

        Interesting fangraphs article that I had not seen before. My first thought however is that this is a case study of one player over a short period of time. Certainly not enough to make a generalization across baseball. It also doesn’t address the extreme number of other variables that need to be included. Player health of those individuals. Pitch selection, execution, and perception of Miggy. Everyone pitched Miggy differently after his triple crown year. Teams most likely had a better book on him etc…. Perhaps Miggy didn’t had more questionable strike calls against him the following year. In short this study is interesting, but not enough to support the “protection is a myth” argument. IMO you are correct in a sense that you can’t really protect baseball truly elite at the top of their game, because you will never be able to match them with a strong enough deterrent behind them. Unless the Dodgers for example had 2 or 3 30mil players in a row or something. Comparing protecting Miggy to protecting Bruce can’t be done anyhow. Pitchers will go after Bruce if there is some deterrent behind him.

  8. Tom Reed

    I’m not pleased with Phillips in the leadoff position, but maybe this is management’s way of impressing on BP the importance of OBP by getting his pitch or a walk.

  9. Frogger

    I don’t buy the projections when it comes to players that have been injured. BP will outperform projections and so will Votto. If neither BP or Hamilton can hit the .325+OBP then move someone in like Negron etc…. Can’t have 3 singles hitters in the lineup with low OBP. That is the mark of a last place team. To me a .325 OBP is a bare minimum. Top of the order should be .340 OBP plus. Frazier needs to hit that too to stay second. Bottom line is this is a flawed lineup of similar hitters that can only be laid at the feet of management. Could have been fixed with a high OBP singles hitter with descent speed. Instead they went for a similar hitter yet again in Byrd. Giants got Aoki for a couple of mil. We traded a talented young starter for Byrd at 8Mil… Giants may know what they are doing… I know its easy to second guess, but we have the same lineup problem seemingly every year. Seems to be the same philosophy isn’t working. To me otherworldly pre-injury Votto made up for this. Reds management recognized this and paid him a record contract. Red’s offense will be better, but probably not as good as when Choo led off in 2013.

    It would be exciting to see a surprise this year. The most talented teams don’t always win. Reds will have take it to them and see where it goes.

    • redmountain

      Aoki is a fourth or fifth OF on that team.

      • Frogger

        and…. What does that have to do with our outfield or lineup problems? I will admit I am not completely sold on Aoki having a good year. However, there is the potential that he could have fixed a gaping hole in our lineup.

  10. preacherj

    It has been proven time and time again that lineups do not matter much, so I try not to get too caught up in it. Maybe I’m oversimplifying things, but does a hitter really change his approach based on where in the order he is at? I would think it is the manager’s responsibility to make a lineup out based on the skill sets you have available. Does Brandon really change his approach based on if he’s hitting clean up or leadoff? And more importantly, should he? I would think that (with the exception of some tweaks) one would do what they have always done to be successful. One advantage, I suppose, of DatDude hitting leadoff is that it should cut down on the DP opportunities.

    • jdx19

      I truly think BP is the kind of guy to vary his approach given his spot in the lineup because he thinks different spots need different approaches, rather than the tried-and-true approach of “don’t get out.”

      • lwblogger2

        Actually BP has said he changes his approach based on where he’s hitting in the order.

      • jdx19

        Also a good reason why I truly think he does… he said it!

    • Craig Z

      I’ve thought that as well. It seems to me that you should have the same approach no matter where you bat.

  11. preacherj

    Oh, and even if some lineups are really important, one made on March 30th certainly isn’t one of them.

  12. gaffer

    I just like that performance is actually going to be at least a minor factor in choosing the batting order!

    • gaffer

      Bruce so low and no one even comments.

      • Frogger

        The one thing the Byrd acquisition does do is lengthen our lineup of sluggers. He should be behind Bruce. If Bruce is healthy he should hit two spots behind Votto. No matter where that is in the lineup.

      • jdx19

        Bruce should bat 7th against lefties and 4th against righties. That’s my opinion on the subject!

  13. John smith jr

    Look I’m a die hard reds fan.
    So here is just a idea trade for Trumbo unload joey to who ever I love him but he is killing the team to sign Johnny. Lock up Johnny long term. Trumbo is a beast.

    • charlottencredsfan

      The issue with Joey is the large contract. I agree that at some point, when the perceived value is there, the Reds trade Votto but not to end up with the same problem we have to begin with. So you are suggesting relieving the team with one and replace it with another? I don’t get your rationale.

    • jdx19

      Cueto has far, far less value than Votto over the remaining 10 years (or whatever) of Votto’s contract. Bad idea.

      Even at 38-40 years old, Votto can still put up something like .260/.370/.380 and be a positive WAR player. It is likely Cueto won’t even be pitching at 38.

    • redmountain

      So you take a guy who is one of the two or three best hitters in baseball, get a guy who strikes out a lot and also block Waldrop and Lutz? That makes no sense. Besides, there is one thing the Reds minor league have lots of: pitching. I am out

  14. WVRedlegs

    The Texas Rangers are in dire need of starting pitching. Seems like the Reds could put out a package that starts with Holmberg or Axelrod for 2B/OF Delino DeShields, Jr.

    • jdx19

      I’d be all over that, but I doubt Texas does that. A good upside player with a pedigree is harder to get than Holmberg/Axelrod + filler.

      • WVRedlegs

        I’d make it worth Texas’s while to make it. But DeShields was picked up by Texas in that Rule V draft, so I don’t know the rules on Texas’s ability to trade him.

    • Jeff

      If he could have found a way to have played previously for the Cardinals, he might have had a shot.

    • lwblogger2

      Probably let go to see if he can catch on with another team. This means he likely didn’t have an out clause in his contract.

      • Jeff

        They cut him before his out. I read that he had an out on April 1. Must have figured he was going to use it so why delay the inevitable. Not a fan of his at all, but he seemed like the better option than Marquis. Other than having the pre-requisite of being a former Cardinal.

  15. Ryan Lykins (@ryan_lykins)

    I actually am okay with this lineup just for the fact that as much as I like Billy Hamilton he hasn’t shown much at the plate since the middle of last season. That us quite a long time really. Obviously Brandon Phillips isn’t the answer at leadoff but there is nobody on this team save Votto that is capable of getting on base consistently so why not try it. At least Price is willing to play around with the lineup a bit and maybe he isn’t so set on Hamilton leading off. I know it’s only spring training but to me that speaks volumes of Price that he’s seen that Hamilton hasn’t hit well and is at least toying with having someone else leadoff. Yes Hamilton will probably hit first all through the regular season but it is a hint of optimism in my opinion that Price is at least not 100% sure of it. Maybe more like 99% but hey I’ll take it.

  16. Pooter

    Why not bat Votto as leadoff? He’s got the OBP…

    I am not a fan of not having Hamilton be the leadoff hitter by default. There’s a lot more to a leadoff man than speed. IMO, speed is like icing on the cake for a leadoff guy, not the cake itself (to use the words of Jonathan Gomes)

    • jdx19

      Because we want Votto hitting with men on base, if possible.

      The problem is this… Votto is the best leadoff hitter the Reds have. He’s also the best 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 the Reds have.

  17. Jeremy Conley

    Hamilton is a better option to lead off than Phillips, since neither is going to get on base at an average rate, and Hamilton can at least distract the pitcher when he is on base.

    That said, it’s so weird to me that managers, players, and reporters go so far down the rabbit hole looking for a “leadoff hitter,” when the solution is so much simpler than that.

    Step 1) figure out if if you have a prototypical leadoff hitter on your team. That is, a player with extreme on-base skills with limited slugging. If yes, bat him leadoff. If no, go to step 2.

    Step 2) put your best hitters first so they get the most ABs and your worst hitters last so they get the least. If that lineup looks good, you are done. If you end up with some very high SLG hitters leading off, go to step 3.

    Step 3) Make small adjustments for high SLG players so they hit with guys on base. Finished.

    For the Reds, this would look something like this:

    Step 1) No prototypical leadoff hitter.

    Step 2) Votto, Mesoraco, Frazier, Bruce, Byrd, Phillips, Hamilton, Cozart

    Step 3) I’d actually go with that, but you could flip Frazier and Mesoraco if you wanted.

    • gaffer

      We dont have a real leadoff hitter and few that have good OPB in general, so we have to make due. But at least Price is suggesting that how you perform matters. Remember that the purpose of a lineup is much more about giving your best players more at bats, and less the order they hit per se.

      • jdx19

        Zing! I like your methodology, Jeremy. I wouldn’t bat Votto leadoff, though, even if he is the best choice (which he is).

  18. Davis Stuns Goliath

    I drove to AZ last night and got to Goodyear around 9:30, just as Jay Bell was in the midst of a profanity-filled tirade toward the position players about the batting order. (I liked him immediately.) “You hit where you’re told to hit,” he said. Service time doesn’t matter. It’s about what’s good for the team. I hadn’t checked Twitter so I was unaware of the context, but now it makes sense.

      • lwblogger2

        They could do worse than Jay Bell. I think he’ll make a fine manager for somebody.

  19. Jeremy R Howdyshell

    Just going to say that it is an awfully small sample size as we all know. .179 sounds horrible, but he has only had 39 ABs if he happens to have a 4/5 day today he will instantly be at .250 and in essence an average batter. 5/5 and he will be at .272. When you’re talking about stats based off of fewer than 100 of something than those stats don’t often equate to too much because they can change in drastically in a heartbeat.

    • jdx19

      You are extremely correct about the sample size, but at this point in his career, Billy hasn’t shown that he has the ability to be even an average major league hitter. Giving him the chance to prove that without giving him the most ABs on the team is a fair strategy, I’d say.

      With BP, he has far less upside than Billy, as I’m sure most would agree, but he also has a higher floor. If BP bats leadoff, I don’t think he would ever go below .300 over the long-haul, whereas I could easily see Billy putting up a .270 OBP.

      • jdx19

        Due to nothing other than curiosity…if you add in Votto’s minor league game appearance, which is really no different than an early ST game, he’s batting .310/.512/.517 so far.

  20. pinson343

    I could see it coming that Price would bump Hamilton way down in the order. I think BHam he should stay there, even when (if ?) he starts to hit.

    As a base stealer (especially one who doesn’t get on base often), batting 7th is a better spot for him. At the top of the order, when he’s caught stealing, it really hurts. Plus for example with Votto up he messes up Joey’s complex hitting algorithm. But if he’s on in front of Cozart and the pitcher, then run Billy, run, because it’s the only way he’s going to score.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Hey Pinson, good to see you my friend.

      I agree, if BHam can not be an actual MLB quality lead-off man, he either sits or bats down in the order. With his speed, he is my preference but job #1 is getting on base. My perfect order would have BHam batting 1st and JV 3rd but that is if everyone is hitting on all cylinders. That takes for granted that Billy has a lot more success in snatching bases.

  21. WVRedlegs

    It appears as though there is virtually no way the Reds are going to get Cueto to sign an extension. The Reds really have to handle this in the best of ways and not squander it. Assuming the Reds don’t trade him early and wait until late July if they trade him at all.
    Fast forward to about July 20. What brings the best value back to the Reds in regards to Cueto? Does a package of one or more players in July outweigh what Cueto would pitch for the Reds in August and September and then later get the compensation pick in the 2016 draft? The compensation pick will be after the fist round and in the #30-#40 overall range.
    Unless the Reds are in 1st place, make the trade in July. Get a bidding war started between the Dodgers, Cubs, and RedSox, with maybe SD and the Mets included. The return the Reds would get in July would be much better than thet could get with that draft pick, I think. The Reds could set themselves up at SS for the next decade with Corey Seager or Addison Russell or Xander Bogaerts.

  22. jdx19

    I’d trade Cueto in a heartbeat for any of the 3 players you listed.

    Ultimately, I think it will come down to which teams are buyers in July. If all the teams will good farm systems and/or deep pockers are either locked in or long shots, we may not be able to get much. If those same teams are in tight races, they may give the Reds the keys to the castle.

  23. Matt WI

    Oh dear. Thom B, on bemoaning Votto’s lack of “doing damage on the pitches you should do damage on”….(his words).

    “Steroids or not, allegations or not, Barry Bonds maybe got one pitch to hit and he always did it.” (pretty close to his words)

    Thom would prefer Barry Bonds.

    He also said that it should be “enough already” in terms of debting Votto’s approach right before he said all that. Um, tell that to your father.

    • Jeremy Conley

      Yeah, i heard that too, it was a weird segment. First he said, we all need to let the Votto thing go, and then launches into more about Votto not being good. Then he ends up with saying that he needs to be more like Barry Bonds, steroids or not.

      First off, Barry Bonds was the greatest hitter in the history of baseball. So yes, everyone should be more like him. Second, he was *as he has admitted* cheating for a large portion of his career, so you can’t just say “steroids or not.” There is no, or not. It was steroids.

      Talk about having some high standards for Votto: Basically, be mroe like Barry Bonds was when he was on steroids, but don’t do steroids. Got it, Thom, no problem.

      • Matt WI

        So, basically, Thom is in good form and ready for the season as usual.

      • jdx19

        Yet another reason not to listen to any member of the Brenneman family!

    • jdx19

      I like how anecdotal most announcers seem to be. Bonds “always” did it. Yeah, for those 3 years where he was ‘roided out of his mind he “did it” probably 50% of the time; that is “always.” Comparing anyone to Bonds is folly. Stats from the end of his career are unlikely ever to be matched.

      • earmbrister

        Yeah, Bonds probably batted:

        1.000 er, definitely (right Thom? He always hit that one pitch per AB)
        0.500 or at least
        0.400 well, maybe not .400 but at least
        0.300 close, ever so close

        he batted .298 lifetime
        Barry Bonds was also the all time MLB walk leader (a bit ironic to compare Votto to the all time walks leader, albeit also the all time IBB leader as well).

        Way to clean up your father’s mess. The Brennamans would criticize Ted Williams as well; they have it all figured out ..

        Ignoramus comments like these by our beloved broadcasters are why God invented a volume control. Bob C., you could do better with a couple of college communication majors at the mike.

    • JoshG

      the difference is Bonds only had strikes called on him when the pitches were in a tiny little box about half the size of the actual strike zone, kinda like Maddux and Glavine could throw a pitch an inch outside and get it called a strike

      • Frogger

        Very true!! Drove me crazy watching the Reds play against the roid machine, and you basically had to put it on a tee.

      • ohiojimw

        There is a pretty good body of work that suggests that Barry Bonds had already put up a HOF caliber career years before he was juicing.

      • Frogger

        He was definitely a hall of famer prior to steroids. Don’t think anyone said he wasn’t. He was also no where near the hitter prior to using that he was later in his career.

      • jdx19

        Absolutely, OhioJim! I’ve always contested Bonds would have been a first-ballot HOFer without any wrong-doing. Instead, he wanted to be the GOAT! Greatest of All-Time! Statistically speaking, he’s there. But, the stigma will never go away. The BBWAA keeping him out of the Hall might be his punishment, since he never received a punishment while he played.

      • preacherj

        Barry Bonds was also the product of some awesome genetics. His father Bobby, while a real strikeout king, was the epitome of speed and power. He did things on the field that were only matched at that point by Willie Mays. In addition, he had an uncle that played in the NFL and an aunt who won Olympic medals in track and field. Add some chemistry to his pedigree, throw in an ever shrinking strike zone, and you end up with something that becomes virtually impossible to duplicate and therefore very unfair to compare.

      • lwblogger2

        Good points all around Preach… Honestly, I’ve never seen anything like Bonds when he was juicing and in that offensive era.

      • preacherj

        Correction: His Aunt Rosie competed in the Olympics and won some heats, but failed to medal. The memory ain’t what it used to be.

  24. Jeremy Conley

    I think I just figured out this whole lineup thing though. I think this is about Frazier.

    Frazier has been hitting lower in the order, and I think Price wanted to get him into the 2 hole. But if Frazier hits two, then Votto hits three, and that’s where Phillips hits. So Phillips would then go down to 7th, and that would set off a big media frenzy, so Price decides to take a little heat off of Phillips for a day or two and moves Hamilton.

    But my bet would be that come next Monday, the lineup posted at the top of this thread is exactly what we’ll see, except Hamilton and Phillips will be swapped.

    Hamilton, Frazier, Votto, Mesoraco, Byrd, Bruce, Phillips, Cozart, Cueto

  25. Matt WI

    4th inning… Second and Third, no outs. No runs across. Lineups really don’t matter 😉

    • jdx19

      Your sample size of 1 has convinced me!

  26. old-school

    You can’t steal first base. Hamilton is overmatched. He is a weaker but faster Eddie Milner.

    • lwblogger2

      Doesn’t have Eddie’s arm. Guy had a cannon. Too bad the drugs ruined his career.

  27. Carl Sayre

    I am trying to figure out if you are going to move Hamiltons anemic BA out of the leadoff position. Why would you replace him with a broke down old man that is old enough to be his father for a 20 or 25 point increase? I am not happy with Hamiltons OBP but if he does get on chances are he steals second. BP gets on, anything hit on the ground by Votto is a DP. They mismanaged bringing Hamilton up at least a year to soon so now they either have to live with it or blow this team the rest of the way up and start over.

    • jdx19

      I hope they make him go back to whatever his natural batting side is. I’m pretty sure he “learned” how to switch hit in the minors, so maybe just making him more comfortable by going au natural would be beneficial?

  28. ohiojimw

    As things currently stand, per the Enquirer, the Reds have 27 “healthy” players in camp with 25 to make the opening day roster. The eyebrow raiser is that there are 5 non roster guys among the 27 and 4 of them (Boesch, Dominguez, Gregg and Marquis) look like locks to make the team unless there are additions from outside the org.

    How are the Reds going to create room on the 40 man roster for the non roster guys making the team out of ST? Sean Marshall figures to head to the 60 day DL which creates one 40 man spot but what of the other three? The situation almost screams that there are likely to be one or more trades between now and opening day versus having at least three guys outrighted.

    If the Reds do make one or more trades in the coming days, will they be essentially player dumps returning minor leaguers and/ or cash? Or might they trade several guys off their 40 man roster in hopes of acquiring a player for their 25 man roster, in the process dumping one or more of the non roster guys who now look to be on the team for opening day?

    • JMO

      Marshall and Bourgeois to the 60 day DL
      DFA Villarreal and Dennick
      That opens up 4 spots for Boesch, Marquis, Gregg and C Dominguez. I will assume Lorenzen starts in AAA. Roster is set

    • jdx19

      Never heard of Dominguez before this year. Looks to have maybe “put it together” the last 2 years in AAA:

      .284/.321/462 over the last 2 years in over 1000 PAs.

      However, if you add in 2012 in AA/AA where he wasn’t great, he’s more like .269/.297

      He certainly first the Reds’ profile. Doesn’t walk.

      • jdx19

        More on that… using his last 2 years in AAA, if he were qualified last year in MLB rather than AAA, he’d have the 3rd worst BB/K ratio in all of baseball, just being slightly better than Adam Jones and Chris Johnson and one spot ahead of our new friend Marlon Byrd.

      • lwblogger2

        You’re not making me feel better 😉