Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (5-5) 1 6 1
St. Louis Cardinals (6-3) 6 7 2
W: Wacha (2-0) L: Cueto (0-2)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good
–Not much to say here. Joey Votto was 2-3 with his fourth homer and a walk. Zack Cozart went 3-4, which always seems like a reason to celebrate.

The Bad
–Marlon Byrd’s introduction to Cincinnati has been, well, less than inspired. Tonight, Byrd was 0-4 with three strikeouts, plus a very poor defensive effort in the seventh inning that contributed to the one bad inning Johnny Cueto suffered tonight. On the season, Byrd’s slash line is .132/.132/.158. That’s not good.

–Another classic Bryan Price move tonight. In the bottom of the 7th, with the game tied at 1, Price walked John Jay intentionally to load the bases for Yadier Molina. You can guess how that worked out. Molina doubled in three runs. Game over.

–JJ Hoover wasn’t great, but he wasn’t helped by an error from Brandon Phillips at second base.

Not-So-Random Thoughts
–Rerun. I think we’ve seen this exact same game against the Cardinals no fewer than fifteen times in the last five years.

–Cueto was great for six innings before he stumbled a bit in the seventh (and he wasn’t helped by Byrd’s defense and Price’s decision-making). On the night, Cueto allowed four earned runs on six hits in seven innings. Cueto struck out ten Cardinal batters. He deserved better.

–That was just the third time in his last 23 starts that Cueto gave up four earned runs in a game.

–Please, Bryan Price: stop with the bunts and the intentional walks and the silly bullpen management. (Note: nothing wrong with Price’s management of the bullpen tonight.)

–The Reds have lost five of their last six games since starting the season 4-0.

–Homer Bailey makes his season debut tomorrow. Looking forward to that.

–First appearance of Milton in 2015? We all love you, Milton, but…go away and don’t come back:

Milton was unhappy with Cincinnati's performance tonight.

Milton was unhappy with Cincinnati’s performance tonight.

83 Responses

  1. BDogg

    (Posted on the game thread also)

    The Cardinals continue to own the Reds. They continue to have productive at bats with runners on base. Cards force the Reds to play a perfect game in every phase. Matheny’s high demand of game preparation allows them to play with confidence all the time.

    The lack of leadership from the long time core Reds player and Bryan Price are continuing problems. The lack of upgrades at LF and in the bullpen in the off-season by Jocketty are going to be season-long problems. As long as Bob Castellini continues to try to squeeze a weak roster with a cheap “small market”-of-an-excuse payroll, we will not win this year.

    The organization has to make a choice: Trade high salary vets or commit money to better upgrades. Since the Reds continue to want to control payroll, going youth is only solution. Years of iffy vets and so-so young talent will continue to have a catch-22 cycle of average seasons. It’s getting old.

    • docmike

      It’s not a lack of leadership from anyone. It’s a lack of scoring runs from the offense. 1 run total in the last two games = 2 losses.

      Hamilton and Frazier have gone ice cold after the opening week. Byrd is an embarassment. Mes started cold and is now hurt. Bruce is getting on base but not much else. Phillips is getting singles and not much else.

    • Jeremy Forbes

      The Reds are 14th in payroll this year, and were 12th last year. So it’s not like the money hasn’t been spent. It has just been spent on really poor decisions.

      They are currently paying $27.25m for Marquis/Gregg/Boesch/Ludwick/Hannahan/Byrd/Marshall/Schumaker/Parra. Three of those guys aren’t even playing for the Reds anymore (I went ahead and put Marshall on that list), and none of the other six are good, or even replacement level players.

      Not to mention they’re paying $8.05m for a guy who can ONLY pitch in the 9th inning and only then if there’s a save scenario.

      So you can’t blame Bob for any perceived payroll issues, but you CAN blame him for letting the wrong guy work with that payroll and continuing to let him do so.

      • BDogg

        I disagree. Castellini wants to to win now with that apparent good payroll. This organization has never had a long-term philosophy in how to have a stable winning system. Other teams have drafted based on how their long-term goals were going to be. Be it getting players that hit w contact, as the Cards and Giants have done. Or a sabermetric philosophy in drafting players as many teams have done. Things changed when the steroid era ended. Most organizations adapted to that. Only thing the Reds have changed was looking for more pitching and defense. But, they have been overlooking high offensive-potential players in the high end of the draft i.e. Kris Bryant. That kind of player only come once every five or so years. I understand that. But, I mean that type of offensive upside player.

      • Robby20

        I think Bob has given approval to most of the work done by Jocketty so giving him a free ride isn’t quite right. And when the Reds have had needs at the trade deadline in July it seems to me that Bob has said no to adding payroll.

      • Jeremy Forbes

        Didn’t say give him a free ride, I said you can’t blame him for not spending money. I did say you could blame him for keeping Walt and not changing anything up.

    • greenmtred

      Don’t let frustration, justified though it is, cloud your vision: Last year was bad for reasons we’ve rehashed often, but the Reds have clearly been better than average for some time now. If winning the WS or going deep in the playoffs is the only measure of success, there’s an enormous amount of futility in MLB.

      • lwblogger2

        This is true. That said, this team this off-season and so far this season, has zero direction and has been grossly mismanaged at all levels.

  2. jessecuster44

    That 4-0 start? Frankly, 4 lucky wins. If this is how Price will manage for the rest of his tenure, and if Byrd plays like he does until Winker shows up… this team has no chance. The obvious strategy would be to trade Cueto and Chappy post haste, but you can’t count on Walt/Bob to be prudent.

    Bob’s not selling. Walt’s here for two more years. I fear that this franchise is in deep trouble.

    • docmike

      Those 4 wins were no more due to good luck, than the losses were due to bad luck. The Reds played well the first week, and have played badly this week. It’s as simple as that.

      • Robby20

        They’ve actually played abysmally since going on the road. Horrible fielding, bad base running, atrocious hitting and for the most part less than stellar starting pitching.

    • greenmtred

      We’ve heard the wisdom of trading pitching–a plentiful commodity and easy to replace. We did, and it turns out that it’s not so easy to replace. There are other factors, of course, but there’s no guarantee that trading the two best pitchers will ever make the Reds better.

      • charlottencredsfan

        No guarantees on anything.

      • Michael E

        Pitching isn’t really the problem, it’s still a hitting problem. Too many O-frer’s every night.

        Trading pitching they did…for more pitching. So the offense wasn’t improved, nor the offensive prospects in the minors. Had they traded pitcher(s) for some AA high A, or AAA hitting prospects that might have been nearly ready, we’d be better off, but the Latos trade looks like a win already. Simon trade won’t be known for two years or so, but likely will be a trade of nothingness for either side.

  3. Pooter

    Well first place tasted good while it lasted.

  4. Mutaman

    Reds are 14th in payroll, even with Cubs and St Louis. Lots of things to complain about, but willingness to spend $ is not one of them.

    • jessecuster44

      Willingness to spend money WISELY.

      • Mutaman

        Not really. Bob’s obviously willing to spend and I’m sure he thinks that every time he spends, its a wise move. The complaints here seem to be that they don’t spend more money period, and that’s not a reasonable complaint based on the record.

      • ohiojimw

        It is not about willingness wisely; it is about inability to spend wisely.

    • Robby20

      The Reds have spent the last four or five off seasons and mid season trade deadlines doing little to nothing to improve the roster and address weaknesses. Aside from the Latos and Choo deals they have done almost nothing. More often than not they have complained that they did not have the funds to make a splash in the free agent market or to make a major acquisition at the trade deadline. In my view small market teams only have a short period of time to go for the gold with a strong roster. Eventually the small market team will not be able to afford to keep that roster in tact. So when you have that opportunity to make a run at a World Series crown you need to make bold moves to strengthen a roster and not cry poor. The Reds may have the 14th highest payroll in baseball but it is also true that when it comes time to acquire talent to help take the team to the next level the Reds say they can’t afford to to do it.

      That’s why Marlon Byrd is in left and before him Ryan Ludwick. That’s why Kevin Gregg and Jason Marquis are on the roster. (Because the Reds say they can’t afford to acquire better players)

      The Reds blew there chance with this roster and now need to begin to reload for the next shot.

      • greenmtred

        Is it because they can’t afford to pay better players, or is it because you don’t usually get better players without giving up some of your own better players?

  5. docmike

    Tonight was easily Hoover’s worst outing of the year. Still, only one run was earned, the other was directly a result of Phillips’ error. He still has a 1.69 ERA so far. Not bad.

  6. Robby20

    Embarrassing! Carpenter should have been out at the plate in the first. Byrd has to keep that ball in front of him and then Price can’t order an IBB to Jay to get to the Reds killer Molina who was due for a big hit. I didn’t blame Price when the Reds mailed it in after the All Star break last year. I blamed the injuries for the collapse but now I’m convinced he is part of the problem. Although when the team’s GM does almost nothing to address glaring weaknesses in the off season it is hard to put all the blame on the manager.

    Only the 10th game but one has to be concerned by the mistakes, strikeouts, pathetic bullpen and the lack of hitting by the middle of the line-up.

    There is no chance this team contends. And even if they unload Cueto, Chapman, Leake and Bruce for prospects I’m not sure there is enough talent in the system now to build a winner any time soon. (even if the aforementioned players bring a windfall of young prospects)

    • ohiojimw

      Not I that disagree with you on Byrd and the ball getting by but apparently Cueto liked the strategy of walking Jay. Cueto said the walk and going for a DP with Molina at the plate was the way to go; but he just didn’t get the pitch where it needed to be. Price pointed out in the postgame that Jay is a .400+ lifetime hitter versus JC and they weren’t going to let him beat them in that situation..

      I think it was just a lot of a rock and a hard place for the Reds at that juncture.

      I’m not quite ready to go along with your general comments. They swept the Pirates and were within an eyelash of winning the Cards series at home. They were resilient enough to being in a winning position in the first game in Chicago; and, it we presume the rest of the series going the same should have one that series,

      What I question is how deep the mental toughness is to keep getting up off the mat, The front office needs to move quickly on the bullpen situation or the team is going to be burned through; and you call likely right on,

      • Robby20

        I still would have pitched to Jay but acknowledge it is easy to say that now.

        There is no excuse for the inability to play better against the Cardinals. Make the play at the plate, keep the ball in left in front of the fielder and maybe the Reds win one to nothing. Good teams make the plays when they need to be made.

        The Reds are a mess. It’s a good thing the season is a long one. Lots of time to get better but I am not sure how much better this team will get with the current roster.

      • ohiojimw

        Current roster; and I think the current manager is also questionable. Price may well have been a guy to take this team further when it was (nearly) on top, However I think the team has fallen far (a lot of it based on personnel and not Price’s fault); and, I am not sure he is a guy to reorganize this team as they are constituted and lead them out of the wilderness to the greatest degree they could be so led.

  7. ohiojimw

    Do we need to add Mesoraco to the list of things to really worry about?

    I tuned in to the radio just in time to catch the last several sentences of Sheldon on the beat reporters’ 2nd inning sound byte and did not like what I heard one bit.I heard the word “impingement, just like a pitcher’s shoulder impingement” and somebody else saying you rest it and it heals itself or else it takes surgery to fix.

    So is this what they have diagnosed or were they just speculating???

      • Jake

        I read about that and that’s scary. I hope it is nothing serious. Meso has been getting banged up this year. We should consider putting him in LF to stop all the wear and tear from being a catcher

    • RedInInd

      On the TV side, I heard the word “labrum” mentioned and compared to the shoulder labrum.

      • ohiojimw

        Thanks. To me labrum is probably more scary even than impingement.

        Hopefully the situation corrects itself fairly swiftly.

  8. docmike

    The Reds batting stats so far this year:

    BA = .218 (NL avg .239)
    OBP = .282 (NL avg .305)
    SLG = .344 (NL avg .377)

    All of those stats are 11th-12th in the league.

    Cincy has only 22 extra-base hits this season, tied with the Mets for worst in the NL.

    Plain and simple, the team isn’t hitting.

    • Robby20

      I’m shocked the Reds aren’t hitting after they hit so well last year and then bolstered the line-up with slugger Byrd. After all the talk by management last fall about the need to improve on base percentage and cut down on strikeouts what was done to improve things? Nothing other than adding another high strikeout low on base percentage guy Byrd.

      It’s too bad the Reds didn’t sell high on Bruce before last season.

      Just think what the offensive numbers would be without Votto.

    • Robby20

      And these numbers are after playing 6 of 10 games at GABP.

      • ohiojimw

        I saw a Tweet today by I forget exactly who but I like its sentiment. It said the had Reds an an elite starter, an elite closer, and an elite hitter yet let young middle of the road pitching prospects go for nothing while holding onto the likes of Gregg. It concluded the Reds seemed to be a very weird org.

      • Robby20

        One does have to wonder why Corcino was let go while Gregg stays on the big league roster.

      • lwblogger2

        Yeah, the roster management has been abyssal. I’m not dumb enough to say I know better than them but it’s not going out on a limb to say that other front-office people know a whole lot more and do a much better job than this off-season disaster.

    • Michael E

      Yeah, and some knuckleheads are complaining about the pitching. Sure the 8th inning and awful “veterans with moxy” in Gregg and Marquis have done them in, but overall pitching has been good enough to win 7 games or so. The hitting has been good enough to win about 3 games.

  9. BDogg

    The problem is Castellini wants to win now(all the time). But, Jocketty is hamstrung with salary restrictions Castellini gives him. That being said, Jocketty’s off-season choices were piss poor. But that’s also because he’s trying appease Castellini’s continuing win-now-w-a-weak-payroll demand. It’s an unrealistic way to have a winning organization.

    • Mutaman

      Once again. the Reds have exactly the same payroll as the Cards. facts are stubborn things.

      • BDogg

        So what if the Reds have the same payroll as the Cards! Jocketty chooses to get players that have no potential! Castellini and Jocketty insisted on keeping their core players intact. They have proven not to be the clutch players/leaders they were supposed to be! But, because Bob LIKES these guys so much, he refuses to understand their usefulness was in the past! Having the 14th payroll and being even with the Cards doesn’t mean they’re as good as the Cards in talent and understanding the correct way to play fundamental baseball!!!

      • Mutaman

        The issue was whether or not management is spending enough money, not whether the team has enough talent or plays a high enough level of fundamental baseball. If you want to discuss those issues, start another thread.

      • BDogg

        Mutaman, they both correlate with each other! We’re all talking about the same general subject! You’re trying to makes this into something that isn’t there! They both have the same apparent payroll. BUT, the Cards have utilized their payroll in a smarter way than the Reds! In doing so, the Cards’ 14th ranked payroll is playing better and smarter baseball with better personnel than the Reds 14th ranked payroll with their average and failing old core personnel! No need for a “new thread”! Let the moderators on this site make that judgement!

      • Robby20

        What’s the point? The fact is the Cardinals do a better job of allocating their available resources to cover payroll. How else do you explain the fact that whenever there is a glaring need for roster improvement the Cardinals jump and make the move while the Reds cry poor and do nothing?

        Check the moves made by the Cardinals over the last two years in the off season and at the trade deadline. Pretty impressive how aggressive they have been. Meanwhile the Reds do nothing and complain they don’t have the funds to support adding payroll. ( I know and understand the money machine that is Busch Stadium)

        There is a payroll issue in Cincinnati. They need to spend more money to improve the roster and/or stop making mistakes with how they allocate payroll. How much is Ludwick getting paid by the Reds this year?

      • BDogg

        Reds are paying Ludwick $4.5 million this year of dead money. He signed with the Texas Rangers for $1.75 million and was released on March 30th… That’s ugly!

      • ohiojimw

        The Cards traded Craig, Freese, and Miller when they felt they needed to in order to stay on top. Pick out the analogous players on the Reds and ask yourself if you can see the Reds org moving any of them at the point for the team and in the player’s career these guys were moved by the Cards.

        My answer is no. The Reds response is to double down and often get hung with too costly of contracts for what in the long run turns out to be slightly better than middle of the road talent.

        A good canary in the coal mine to watch over the next year is Cozart. The Reds rode it out with him when most teams would have dumped him clear off the team for a song. Now he looks to maybe be having a better year. So the question becomes, do they remember the past and sell high on him or do they buy him out through arb and a year or two of possibly FA status and suffer the likely mediocrity for 4 years.

      • Mutaman

        The point is: complaining about not spending enough money is one thing, complaining about not spending it wisely is something altogether different. Its hard, but you have to be able to distinguish between two different concepts.

      • Robby20

        I never said the Reds don’t spend enough money. What I said is when you have most the pieces in place to make a run at a crown you may have to be willing to spend a little extra to get the final pieces.

        The Reds have not spent their money well but the issue I have is that when they had holes to fill to possibly make a run for the crown or at least a run past the first round of the playoffs they stood pat and said they had no money. How long have the Reds needed a left fielder?

    • Michael E

      The quicker Bruce, Phillips and Cozart are gone, the better. Sure, we might be worse off, but the way these guys keep regressing (especially at the plate, but also a bit in the field) you could replace them all with minor-league journeymen for minimum salary and not notice much impact.

  10. Mister D69

    Not two weeks into the season and it already feels like August: can’t win one for the ace, Bruce is hitting 200, the bullpen is a mess…

    • Michael E

      Bruce and about 5 other starters are not hitting…same thing as the past several years. Bruce is good for two, two-week tears, and then hits about .175 the rest of the season with about 5 HRs.

      Bruce, Phillips and Cozart need gone…and several others need to find a way to take a few more pitches and put one or two more balls in play each week.

      The Braves are winning (might fade), because every hitter in their lineup can put the ball in play and aren’t swinging for HRs every time they take the bat off their shoulders. Amazing what happens when you get rid of all-or-nothing sluggers like Upton(s) and give those spots to players willing to slap liners for singles and doubles.

      • Michael E

        …well Braves are putting the ball in play AND pitching great, but their hitting is heads and shoulders better than the Reds. Votto alone is standing out, Frazier solid/streaky and the rest have been awful. This lack of effort and effectiveness is embarrassing. They make millions to play worse than the AAA players. I say send about 3 of them down to the AAA team NOW…indefinitely…and bring up a couple and see what they got.

  11. jdx19

    The scariest thing to me is that Votto will eventually go cold for some period of time. If other guys don’t get hot, if Meso goes on the DL, if Byrd has literally no gas left in the tank… this could be a league-worst offense while Votto isn’t scorching hotto.

    It was all hinging on Votto (who is going to have a very good year), Bruce (jury is still out), Frazier (likely to bounce back and be ok), and Byrd (early returns look very worrying. He’s old.) We know BP is going to keep declining, although he’ll still get his knocks, and we know Mesoraco is likely to produce at a slightly above league average rate if he stays healthy (now in question).

    Too many question marks at this point to let me sleep well at night!

  12. CP

    Phillips and Byrd are quite the pair. Between them, they have 73 PAs, 1 BB, and 1 extra base hit.

  13. CBD

    If the reds don’t hit homers they don’t score. … simple as that

    • Eric the Red

      Or, Hamilton needs to get on base. And I’m starting to think Cozart should be hitting 6th while Mesoraco is out….

  14. Brian

    I have noticed a theme in this thread of people comparing the Reds and Cards payrolls, and the nature of how it is allocated. While the Reds and Cardinals ML roster payouts are close on a spreadsheet, the money that the Cards are generating as a franchise is astronomical, as compared to even the Reds. The Cardinals are also up for a new TV deal soon. Simply put, even though it is not their way…if the Cards wanted to sign a few big name Free Agents..it would not be a problem at all. With that said, I am not as bearish on the Reds right now as most. I believe they can be a team that when the bats start rolling, and they will, will be in contention in the NL Central.

  15. Eric the Red

    1) All this talk about Byrd’s “great defense” this year were based on him making a lot of desperate lunges that he ended up catching. Ignored was the fact that most of those desperate lunges were only necessary because he was so slow that he made routine plays look exciting.

    2) At GABP and small parks like Wrigley we might be able to survive that. But looking at Byrd in that big outfield in St. Louis, it’s obvious he’s just as much a liability in the field as he is at the plate and running him out there in most away stadiums is going to lead to disaster.

    3) You can praise Matheny if you want, but stuff like leaving Siegrist in for over 30 pitches with a 4 run lead doesn’t spell “managerial genius” to me. He’s got way better parts in his bullpen than Price does, but I’m pretty sure the way he uses those parts is going to bite him at some point.

    • ohiojimw

      Agree somewhat. I thought the one catch the other day that looked so great was because he got a late break. However the one in the 8th inning of I believe opening day when Gregg was getting shelled (hard to distinguish those occasions from each other) where he made the leaping catch up in front of the wall was a legit outstanding play.

  16. Scot Lykins

    ” You can praise Matheny if you want, but stuff like leaving Siegrist in for over 30 pitches with a 4 run lead doesn’t spell “managerial genius” to me.”

    The sad part is, Matheny does not think he will need Siegrist. He thinks he can shut the Reds down with Martinez and Wainwright.

  17. charlottencredsfan

    I’m not a luck guy but if Billy finds himself on base today, that’s exactly what it will be. If you want to bummed out go look at his AB’s over the last 3-4 games. The bunt attempt last night was a real gas – what the heck was that?

    • lwblogger2

      His finger and therefore he hasn’t been right since that slide where he jammed it.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Didn’t he hit a double and HR in the very next game? Maybe it swelled up more after that game? Love that kid and he is going to be alright. Couple of things to work on but look what a difference he makes when he is on base. This club needs him and needs him to be a lead-off hitter.

        Good comment, LW.

      • lwblogger2

        I forgot about that game. Good call. Maybe it did swell up but you’re right and I did totally forget about that game.

    • charlottencredsfan

      I hear you and if we lose today, tomorrow will be,etc, etc………………..

  18. charlottencredsfan

    They need to get Mes a different glove and start working him out somewhere else. My vote is LF or 3B. If 3B, move Frazier to LF. I know, I know but what about TF’s D at 3rd? I get it but these guys can’t score, so what’s the difference?

    • stealyourbase

      How about Negron in left today?

    • ohiojimw

      If Bench couldn’t play 3B in the twilight of his career, I’m betting Meso couldn’t now because JB’s hands and hand/ eye coordination were still better at the end than Meso’s have ever been. As I recall JB’s issue at 3B was effective lateral movement because of his knee issues. I could see a bum hip playing out similarly.

      They’ve let Negrón sit so much in these first two weeks, it could take him several days to get to speed.

      • ohiojimw

        Meant to add if Meso can’t catch, I think he is a LF or more likely long term a career DH

  19. sezwhom

    I simply can’t watch the Reds when they play in St. Louis. Rerun is spot on. The honeymoon, whatever you want to call it, with Price is over for me. Walk Jay to get to Molina. I know Jay hits Cueto well but Molina is a Reds killer. I take my chances with Jay. Bruce is 0 for 16, now 19, versus Wacha. Yep, he’s due. No, he has no clue. We have other options on the bench. Hello? I’ll give Byrd few more mulligans but he looked awful last night. Same high pitch every time. Swing and a miss. Come on.

  20. Adam S.

    Price is just a terrible manager. I knew from day one it was a bad hire

  21. PETEROSE_HOF_NOW

    odds of Byrd in lienup this afternoon? 1 in 1?

  22. Shchi Cossack

    From the Old Cossack’s recliner, the lesson from the 2014-2015 off-season has become painfully evident. Traditionally poor management has been replaced with insightful, intelligent, progressive and creative Presidents and GM’s by big market and middle market teams, leaving the Reds in a real bind with archaic management and antiquated baseball philosophies. The Reds needed an OF to augment the top of the order and get on base, a lot, or augment the middle of the order to flourish with Votto’s superior, elite skills at the plate. What the Reds absolutely did not need was another free-swinging, high strike out bat. While the off-season dreams for the acquisition of a player like Yelich made for good copy, such an acquisition was simply not realistic, especially considering the proliferation of superior, modern-baseball management replacing the ineffective, archaic baseball management of so many big market and middle market teams. There were 3 realistic options available depending on the salary and commitment available by Reds management.

    If salary and commitment were available, Kemp was an ideal target. Kemp provided an elite RH OF bat to hit in the #3 hole behind Votto and the Dodgers were willing to kick in $30MM+ to defray his salary. Kemp’s elite offensive capability (career .350 OBP, .203 ISO and 128 OPS+) would have provided the OBP needed at the top of the order and the solid middle of the order bat. A.J. Preller got it done but Walt Jocketty couldn’t get it done. The early returns…a 146 OPS+ for Kemp through 11 games in 2015.

    If the salary and commitment needed, for an elite bat such as Kemp, were not available, Fowler was also an ideal target. Fowler provided a superior switch-hitting OF bat to hit at the top of the order in front of Votto. Fowler’s elite on-base skills (career .366 OBP and 12.4% BB%) would have perfectly filled the Reds desperate need for a top of the order hitter and cost the Cubs $9.5MM in salary for 2015, a 29 year old IF with a career 88 OPS and a 26 year old starting pitcher with a career 85 ERA+ and 4.71 FIP. In addition, Fowler may very well produce a 2016 comp pick for a rejected qualifying offer after the 2015 season. Theo Epstien and Jed Hoyer got it done but Walt Jocketty couldn’t get it done. The early returns…a 141 OPS+ for Fowler through 9 games in 2015.

    If the minimal salary and commitment needed for Fowler was not available, Aoki was also an appealing option. Aoki was not ideal as a slap-hitting LH OF with no power and a league average BB% but he did have elite on-base skills (career .355 OBP and 8.1% SO%) to provide the OBP the Reds desperately needed at the top of the order and Aoki cost the Giants only $4MM in salary for 2015 with a $700K buyout on a $5.5MM option in 2016. Brian Sabean got it done but Walt Jocketty couldn’t get it done. The early returns…a .404 OBP through 12 games in 2015.

    What Walt Jocketty did get done was acquiring and old RH OF who had a career season 2 years ago but a career 102 OPS+, below average BB%, above average SO% and to top it off a dramatically increasing SO%. This cost the Reds $4MM in salary for 2015, a 23 year old AA starting pitching prospect and an $8MM salary option in 2016 that vests with 550 PA. This is what Walt Jocketty got done. The early returns…a -18 OPS+ (yes that’s a negative OPS+), 13 SO and 0 BB in 38 PA and a league worst .132 OBP through 10 games. In addition, Byrd is 7% of the way towards his 2016 contract vesting after 7% of the season and the Reds have no other viable options available for LF.

    • Adam S.

      Reds had no money for Kemp, Fowler or Aoki. They got what they could afford.

      • Shchi Cossack

        Adam, that’s simply not true. Money almost certainly would have been a factor in any consideration for Kemp, but it would have been future money, not 2015 money. Kemp’s 2015 salary for the Padres is just over $3MM since the Dodgers are kicking in $18MM toward his 2015 salary, less than the $4MM the Reds are paying Byrd. The $9.5MM for Fowler may have been beyond the Reds 2015 budget, but for the extra $4.5MM in salary the Reds wiould have had a good shot at an additional comp pick in 2016 or been able to flip him before the trade deadline, saving salary and gaining some young, quality future contributors from a playoff contender if they were out of the hunt. Aoki is making the exact same salary, $4MM, in 2015 that Byrd is costing the Reds in 2015 and that is where the no maey aurgument falls flat..

      • charlottencredsfan

        Kemp not a serious option. After the 2015, he has 4 years remaining at $21.75M/year with the Dodgers picking up $3.5M annually. So starting next year, here is what 3 players salaries are going to cost the Reds, names: Votto, Bailey & Kemp:
        2016: $56.25M
        2017: $59.25M
        2018: $64.25M
        2019: $66.25M

        That my friends would take down the Reds to perennial basement dwellers for the rest of decade. No thanks. Just because Byrd was an obvious mistake, there was no reason to make one far greater.

      • lwblogger2

        What? Aoki cost pretty much what Byrd is costing them without giving up a prospect. I agree on Kemp and Fowler but your argument on Aoki doesn’t hold water.