I recently helped some friends move into their new home. Loading a moving truck is often a delicate process. You need to put everything in the right place, stacking items appropriately to optimally use the space of the truck. As we loaded items into the truck, we made quick decisions about where items would go based on the idea that we had plenty of space for the amount of furniture, appliances, and other things we needed to load.

About halfway through the loading process, we realized we had more stuff than we had thought. We also realized how big the remaining items were. Thus, we had come to a crossroads: we could continue down the same path and maybe everything would turn out okay, or we could tweak our approach and improve our chances of succeeding in fitting all of my friend’s stuff in the truck.

The Reds have hit a similar crossroads: continue on the same path with the same roster pieces and hope for the best or make some small tweaks now to try and improve immediately. They clearly have a flawed roster. While the Reds hoped for the best out of Spring Training, a common strategy for them these days, they must have serious doubts that the current roster can contend. The team is struggling, but they have not exhausted their internal resources to maximize their play on the field. In fact, I think they can make some moves right now without trading anyone to immediately improve the team. Here are some suggestions if anyone is listening.

Drop Jason Marquis from the rotation and insert Lorenzen/Iglesias

Marquis is a ticking time bomb. While he has struck out more batters than anyone expected thus far, his stuff isn’t scaring anyone. Marquis is averaging less than 88 MPH on his fastball. Since 2010, he has produced -0.6 WAR. In his last healthy season (2013), Marquis struck out 13.9% of batters. Compare that to Johnny Cueto who struck out 25.2% of batters in 2014. Obviously, comparing anyone to Johnny Cueto isn’t fair, but Marquis’ strikeout numbers are likely an aberration. Quite frankly, the Reds have better options.

As Doug Gray has previously suggested, I think the Reds should find a way to use both Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen as starters this year. This likely means that one goes into the rotation immediately, and the other goes into the Reds bullpen. In mid July or so, the two would switch roles. In this scenario, both players build up arm strength to go into the rotation next season while improving the Reds rotation this season. Marquis could go to the bullpen, but the Reds should probably cut bait right now. After watching several soft tossing guys (Gregg, Badenhop) work out of the bullpen early this season, do you really want to see Marquis chucking 89-90 MPH fastballs out of the pen?

Drop Kevin Gregg from the team

Isn’t this move obvious at this point? Honestly, I’m astonished that Gregg is still on the team. The Reds jumped ship on Trevor Bell in 2014 after 2/3 of an inning. In 2015, they seem unwilling to admit they made a mistake in keeping Kevin Gregg, a pitcher who hasn’t had a positive WAR season since 2010. He never should have made the team and now is the time to replace him with either Lorenzen or Iglesias.

Bryan Price could do himself a favor and pitch Hoover, Cingrani, Diaz, and Chapman in all high-leverage situations. Those four have the pure stuff to succeed. With Lorenzen or Iglesias, the Reds would add another bullpen pitcher with excellent stuff. Price appears to have seen the light with Cingrani; Hopefully, the light has dimmed on Kevin Gregg’s Reds career.

Platoon Marlon Byrd with a lefty

The .143/.154/.222 slash line is worrisome but not nearly as worrisome as the process that has caused Byrd to struggle so mightily early in the season. Byrd has struck out in almost 34% of his plate appearances. And he hasn’t walked once. Not once. He has only had two three ball counts this season. He has swung at nearly half the pitches thrown to him that were outside of the strike zone (47%). Yikes!

Unfortunately, the Reds have a depth problem. They don’t have anyone to step in and produce on an everyday basis. The next best thing is to platoon Byrd with a lefty. For now, that platoon partner is probably Brennan Boesch. Boesch starts against righties; Byrd starts against lefties. I put Jesse Winker on notice that if he has substantial success in the first half of the season, he will get a chance to produce at GABP. Winker has an advanced approach at the plate and that skill usually transfers well to the majors. Quite frankly, the Reds need anyone who can get on base in any form or fashion right now.

Decide what to do with Devin Mesoraco

If he can’t catch in the next few days, put him on the DL. If he needs surgery, end his season. The Reds can’t afford to continue to carry a player who bats once every few days and has no potential for anything else. Ideally, Mesoraco would return to the lineup in the cleanup spot and push Brandon Phillips back to the 7th spot where his on base and power deficiencies aren’t so pronounced. But, as Steve outlined last week, Mesoraco’s return to the everyday lineup isn’t likely.

If Mesoraco can’t return to the lineup, the Reds should call up Ivan De Jesus Jr. The 27-year-old infielder hit .400/.475/.600 during Spring Training. I’ve never seen a player hit as well as De Jesus Jr. did during Spring Training and have absolutely nobody (outside of minor league guru Doug Gray) notice. Since going to AAA, De Jesus Jr. has hit .345/.410/.473 in Louisville. He would likely improve the Reds bench immediately and could spell Phillips from time to time.

Get Jay Bruce back to his All Star form

I realize the Reds can’t make a phone call and cause this one to happen. But quite honestly, a healthy Mesoraco and 2010-2013 Bruce would improve the team more than all the previous moves combined. They need big years from the big four (Votto, Frazier, Mesoraco, and Bruce). Thus far, Votto has been Votto, and Frazier has played well enough. Mesoraco hasn’t played enough, and Bruce looks more lost than ever.

Bruce has always dealt with inconsistency. His hot streaks are legendary. So are his cold streaks. But going into Monday’s game, Bruce has struck out over 35% of the time. He has swung at around 34% of pitches thrown to him out of the zone. In his two best seasons (2010 and 2013), Bruce swung at less than 30% of pitches outside of the zone. He is struggling beyond one of his cold streaks, and the Reds need him right now.

Call to Action

At our crossroads in loading the moving truck, we continued on with the status quo. We would soon regret that decision. As we had three fourths of the truck filled, we realized that we couldn’t fit everything left into the truck. This problem called for desperate measures. One friend had to climb over a great deal of stuff to position himself toward the back of the truck. he began re-stacking items as we handed him new items to try and situate. We eventually succeeded but not without a lot of undue trouble.

The Reds can’t afford to wait until they become desperate to begin improving the team. This is a call to action for Walt and company because the status quo just isn’t good enough right now. The Reds have shown their flaws, but it is still early. They still have time to right the ship.

These four moves plus a Bruce rebound could go a long way toward improving the Reds immediately. Walt can’t continue to sit back and wait for a flawed roster to improve on its own. Now is the time to make some small moves with the hope that the big boys start bashing. What would you do, Nation?

91 Responses

  1. bohdi87

    Depending on the severity of his hip injury, moving Mez to LF could also be a consideration. I doubt he would be that big of a drop-off defensively from Byrd.

    Regardless, the Reds’ inability/refusal to do anything remotely out-side-the-box to make this team better is extremely frustrating. Everything mentioned above would notably improve this team and have minimal cost impact, yet the Reds’ front office seems content to sit back and cross their fingers.

    • gaffer

      Pretty sure he will be MUCH worse than Byrd out there. Also, how is that less pressure on his hip?

      • bohdi87

        Many (sometimes all) him impingement symptoms only become in issue or are aggravated by hip flexion and external/internal rotation (i.e. the bottom of a squat) due to how the femur approximates with the acetabulum.

        Byrd is bad defensively and really bad offensively. Mez would be a big upgrade overall.

      • gaffer

        I am not defending Byrd, and maybe Mes will be a LF in a few years but you cannot think that he has any idea how to play OF right now.

      • jdx19

        LF is significantly easier than catcher from both a mental standpoint and a physical standpoint. There is a reason it gets negative defense value adjustments in WAR calculations. Give him a few practices and he’d be able to play LF as well as Byrd, most likely. He’s a professional ball player.

      • jessecuster44

        Probably better than Yonder Alonzo….

      • Silence Dogood

        Although I’d love to see Mes and his bat in the lineup, I really doubt that he could be a serviceable left fielder. I remember leading the chorus of screams to put Yonder Alonso in left field. He was blocked by Votto, could obviously hit (why the heck did the Reds draft him in the 1st round?!) and ANYBODY can play LF. Well, Alonso was a disaster. I can’t remember if he played more than one game – but I recall the first game was in Wrigley Field and it was an absolute failure. Folks, we were stuck with Ludwig and we are now stuck with Byrd. I’m not ready to give up on him yet though. He has been a pretty productive hitter over the years — not a middle of the order guy – but OK production. I’m going to guess he turns it around a little bit.

      • jdx19

        Alonso is a terrible comp to Mesoraco.

        Did Alonso prove he could be an average-level defensive catcher at the MLB level? Mesoraco has. Fielding a position like LF, in my opinion, is more about mental accuity than physical prowess.

        Positioning, taking efficient paths to the ball, hitting your cut off men, knowing when to gun it home, etc. Those are all things that I believe Mesoraco could easily pick up because he’s already got a good baseball IQ from being a catcher. And, he’s at least as good of an athlete as Ludwick (likely much better) and might be equal to Byrd (although Byrd was a terrifiic athlete when younger).

        I just don’t get why folks thing Meso couldn’t play a serviceable left field.

  2. Tom Reed

    The editors, writers and posters to his blog have commented ad infinitum regarding your five points of a Call to Action. Unless the owner and front office take action, we can forget about the playoffs.

    • redmountain

      Maybe he knows more about it than we do or think we do. But to throw some confusion into the argument Bailey is now on the DL. I think this puts a certain lefty in the starter group. The Reds brought up Contreras. While I think that Lorenzen should be brought up at some point, Iglesias is getting beaten up. Moscot might be good in an emergency for a start.

  3. Jake

    We’ll be 10+ games back before Father Time Jocketty makes any moves

  4. WVRedlegs

    Jesse Winker has hit a wall in AA. He is struggling mightily. Waldrop is struggling at AA. YorRod is struggling even more at AAA. I wouldn’t look to any of these 3 for help in 2015, nor even in 2016. Bit the bullet and go get a bat for LF.
    Lorenzen and Iglesias are getting shelled at AAA.
    Jon Moscot will be the one to call up and take Marquis’s spot.
    Call up Satin for Negron.
    Call up Carlos Contreras from AAA and Ben Klimesh from AA for the bullpen and release Gregg and Badenhop.

    • Nick Carrington

      Appreciate your thoughts but disagree with a lot of your statements. Winker is fine. Very low BABIP (.244). Not striking out a ton and walking plenty. He will hit.

      Lorenzen has a 2.84 ERA and in his one suspect start saw him strikeout 7 guys. Is Marquis really a better option?

      Iglesias hasn’t pitched as well (3.86 ERA), but his stuff is MUCH better than many of the pieces the Reds have.

      I like Contreras and Moscot. I don’t mind those ideas.

      • Jeremy Forbes

        I would keep an eye on Ervin before I thought about Winker this year. College player vs high school player. The only reason Ervin is still in A+ was because he struggled recovering from wrist surgery in 2013. Now he’s clearly healthy and picked right back up from before the surgery, hitting .323/.408/.597 in Daytona.

        Can’t imagine he’ll stay there much longer. I just hope he keeps hitting like that when he gets promoted.

      • jdx19

        I sure hope he gets at least half-a-season at AA this year and does well enough to start in AAA next year. Having him possibly ready for the big show by 2017 would do my heart good.

      • WVRedlegs

        Exactly right on Ervin. Not just college player, but MVP of the wood bat Cape Cod League for college players. Getting him back to what he was in his first year is very huge. A Christian Yellich type player, with a bit more power. The thing about Winker is that it might take him the same amount of time for him to recover from his wrist injury as it did for Ervin. Ervin started to come around in mid-summer last year and it might be mid-summer this year for Winker to get his stroke back. Hopefully not, but it can’t be overlooked. It isn’t a bad thing to have Winker and Ervin now seemingly on the same wave and could arrive together.

      • WVRedlegs

        I shouldn’t have said shelled. Lorenzen has had two great starts and one lousy start. Iglesias had one good start and one pretty bad start.
        No. Marquis is not a better option. Regarding Winker, wrist injury aside, he hasn’t done much at AA. I’m not worrying about him bouncing back, it will just take some time. Let’s not rush this guy just yet.

    • jdx19

      Iglesias has pitched 5 innings, unless FG lags behind on minor league stats. I think it’s likely unfair to say he’s getting shelled (2.65 FIP, 3.72 xFIP).

      Lorenzen has pitched 19 innings and is walking fewer guys than even . Seems like a decent sign to me.

      Winker is struggling a bit, but he’s still got a 98 wRC+ and only a .244 BABIP. I’d expect Winker to bounce back soon, but still unlikely to contribute at all this season.

  5. George Mirones

    “A call to action” requires somebody to answer the phone. Walt and senior Management have chosen the course of the team and have turned off the answering machine.
    Look at the structure of the 40 man rooster. Does this look like a forward looking Management approach to the future. These guys are the replacements when a frontline players goes down. The lack of Winkler’s name should be noted, if Reds Management shared the Fans opinion of Winkler (which at this point is more hope than reality) where is he.
    Do any of you , other than Doug Martin, know these guys.
    For a real treat, look up their numbers, recent and career.

    The current line-up is designed for only the current 25 man roster players to play. There is no plan “B” so that’s why there is no action on managements part.

    Remember player moves require waivers, DFA, 60-day DL, or outright release of somebody on the list.

    Position players;

    Eugenio Suarez *
    Jason Bourgeois 60-day DL **
    Yorman Rodriguez *
    Juan Duran *
    Chris Dominguez *
    Kyle Skipworth *

    PITCHERS

    Carlos Contreras *
    Amir Garrett *
    Keyvius Sampson *
    Josh Smith *
    Pedro Villarreal *
    Amir Garrett *
    David Holmberg *
    Raisel Iglesias *

    • George Mirones

      Oh I forgot Lutz on the position player list. There’s some positive thinking.

    • Randy W

      Winker doesn’t have enough service time yet that he needs to be added to the 40 man roster.

      • ohiojimw

        exactly. this is the case with all the high A and AA guys mentioned as guys to watch.

        Duran is the exception because the rules governing the signing of players not from the US allowed him to be signed at such a young age. However once signed he has 6 years to be on an MLB roster or be rule 5 eligible, the same as domestic players signed out of high school.

  6. George Mirones

    One other thought;
    The truck has been loaded and is now on the road, Do you just start throwing stuff off the truck as you go along to balance the load, or do you rearrange the stuff to continue the journey? Reds management will just rearrange the load.

  7. Randy W

    It’s 1:30 pm EDT and Marquis is still listed as tonight’s starter. Was hoping that with the rainout on Saturday they’d take the opportunity to skip his start. I shouldn’t be surprised that Price doesn’t roll like that.

    • Jeremy Forbes

      They said they’re using the postponed game to push Cueto and Bailey both back one day in order to give them extra rest.

      • gaffer

        Dont worry, they are not playing to win anyway.

      • lwblogger2

        Extra rest? Yikes. Ok, With all the pitches Cueto threw his last outing and with Bailey still recovering, I can sort of understand it. Just frustrating because the more innings Marquis gets, the less chance of this team winning.

      • Jeremy Forbes

        I’m right about there in my opinion too, LW. I guess I can understand it with the pitches and the injury, but I also see it as a game where you’re not giving yourself the best chance to win.

        Even more so against the Brewers, you need to basically ensure you feast on teams like them to build up your win total, because you know everyone else will be doing the same. A win against the Brewers counts just as much towards your record as a win against the Dodgers when Kershaw is pitching.

    • Jay King

      Marquis probably pitched himself another game or two tonight with his 8 innings of only 2 runs scored. I think he had 3 more strikeouts too. The bullpen almost blew it again tonight…

      You want immediate action….. there has to be some changes made to the bullpen. Call some guys up from AAA they can’t be any worse than what we have already going out there before we get to Chapman. I’m actually missing Broxton right now.

  8. gaffer

    The BEST solution, trade as many people that will not be here next year as possible as soon as possible.

  9. zaglamir

    I think another question that should be answered is… if Meso is done for the year, do you start conditioning him as an outfielder? That has to effect your planning for this year as well.

  10. big5ed

    While I agree that Jason Marquis is a longshot to be any good over the long haul, I don’t get all the hate. The Reds have won 2 of his 3 starts, so pitching Sandy Koufax in his spot would not have so far have mattered much.

    I think the thing missing in the Marquis hate is that he actually had a sore elbow for 3 years, before getting in fixed; his “last healthy year” was not 2013, but about 2009 or 2010 . It just isn’t useful to look at his stats since then. Plus, Dr. Kremchek did the TJ surgery, so the Reds had very good information on him.

    But his ball right now has very good downward movement, which is why his strikeout rate is 12.60. That will not be sustainable, but his BABIP is an unheard of .439. His FIP is 4.05, and his xFIP is 2.88. Small sample size, but his high ERA now is also a small sample size.

    It is not a stretch to me to have him normalize as a decent enough 5th starter, if he continues to have very good downward movement. He is definitely leaving some pitches up, where he will continue to get killed, but on the other hand he figures with some repetitions to be more consistent with his location.

    Jay Bruce, on the other hand, is finished. HIs strikeout rate has increased every year from 2009 (19.4%) to being an awful 35.7% now. He can’t hit elite fastballs, and with relievers throwing harder and harder, he just can’t win. He is a very nice young man, but he isn’t going to earn another big contract..

    • Nick Carrington

      I don’t hate Jason Marquis in the least. If you want to go back to 2009 and 2010, he had a very good year in 2009 and a very bad year in 2010. But that was five or six years ago. He has likely gotten worse as he has aged. In fact, his strikeout rate in 2013 (13.9%) was better than his strikeout rate in 2010 (11.2%). I hope he wins the CY Young; I just don’t think he is the Reds best option.

      Bruce’s last healthy season might have been his best (2013). At 28 years old, I’m not giving up on him after 3 weeks. I’m VERY concerned about his strikeout rate as you note, but let’s see where he stands at the end of May before we write his baseball playing eulogy.

      • Charles Wolf

        Wondering if we also don’t need a better batting instructor as well as making your mentioned moves. And maybe we need a fiery manager rather than another “player’s manager.” And you need to make these moves right now!!!

      • Jeremy Conley

        We certainly need a better team-wide approach at the plate. Whether that starts at with the GM, manager, or hitting coach, I don’t know, but the Reds at the plate are the opposite of accountable.

        Someone actually needs to teach this entire organization what the word accountability means, because they clearly just don’t get it. The hitting coach should teach the players to take more walks, and if he can’t he should be fired. The manager should play the best players the most, and if he doesn’t, he should be fired.

      • tct

        Bryan Price not being fiery enough is not the problem. He’s been a bit too fiery lately, although his anger was directed at the wrong people. And I don’t think accountability is the problem, at least not in the clubhouse. The players want to win. They just don’t have enough talent. The top ten or twelve guys on the roster are solid, but the bottom half of the roster is embarrassingly bad.

        The only people who need to be held accountable are the people who are making decisions about the big league roster. The problems are that the Reds don’t have enough good players and the GM and manager make bad decisions. You can’t blame Kevin Gregg for being bad; I’m sure he doesn’t want to have an ERA with four numbers in it. The problem is the people who put him in a position to do a job that he doesn’t have the skills to do.

        Getting in people’s faces, throwing chairs, and being “fiery” won’t cure a lack of talent and bad decision making.

    • greenmtred

      Glad you think that there may be hope for Marquis–his velocity is as good as Bronson Arroyo’s was, and most of us would likely be glad to see Bronson(as he was when he was here) in the rotation. Marquis throws his pitches with a lot of movement, mostly sinking, and his bad numbers seem to me to come from innings when he was elevating pitches too much or, maybe, not getting as much sink on them. He didn’t pitch last year and has only had a few starts so far this year. It seems too early to give up on him. I have no optimism about Gregg, small sample size or no, and really hope you’re wrong about Bruce. He’s never good in April and he was hurt last year.

    • Matt WI

      I don’t think it’s much of a statement for a pitcher to say that the team provided enough run support in his starts that it didn’t require him being Sandy Koufax. He was “ok” in the win they got against the Cards, but in last game against the Brewers, he had a gamescore of 37 and a 33 the start in between. That’s bad. You start with 50 points just for getting your name signed into the lineup, and among other things, add a point per out recorded. He still went backwards.

  11. Jeremy Conley

    The Reds have at least 5 pitchers in AAA I would rather see than Gregg, Parra, or Marquis. Probably more than Hoover or Badenhop either.

    They also have at least 2 hitters than I’d rather see than Schumacker.

    The Reds just don’t care to have the best players play. I don’t know why, it doesn’t seem to make any logical sense, but it is pretty clearly their MO.

    • Charles Wolf

      Forgot,,, in LF use Boerse full time and use and use the present guy as a pinch hitter and extra outfielder .

  12. IndyRedMan

    We’ve had a hole in LF for how many years now and Jocketty signs a guy that literally has to be hit with the baseball to stop swinging and go to first base. Also in an age of 6-7 guys on every team throwing 95….Jocketty brings up Marquis, Gregg, and Badenhop who can barely hit 90 on a good day.

  13. Pooter

    I say can Bruce. They should shop him.

  14. IndyRedMan

    Houston was transitioning to the AL and had terrible attendance a few years ago. They would’ve traded for a Texas boy like Bruce but they’re not moving him now for anything but pennies on the dollar.

  15. Jeff

    I seriously can not imagine Byrd walking this year. I have watched his at bats and he refuses to be walked. The way he is hitting, I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t just throw it over the plate for him, what is there to fear? He looks like he is closing his eyes and swinging, or his bat speed is so slow and he knows it that he is swinging before he has any idea where the ball is going to be. Drop him and get some kind of defensive replacement whoever it is can’t be worse at the plate and it would be nice to not see singles turned into doubles and pop ups turned into singles because Byrd can’t move his fat carcass over to get the ball. All while tHom extols his defensive virtues.

    • lwblogger2

      Ok, I can’t believe I’m defending Byrd but to call him fat is more wrong than I can even begin to explain. The guy is a fitness fanatic. He’s no doubt slow but it isn’t because he’s fat.

      • Jeff

        I take the fat comment back. Maybe it’s the combination of being slow and the baggy uniform he wears.

  16. IndyRedMan

    And then there was BP. Can’t just publicly state that walking is for lame ass Canadians like Votto but then has to back (hack it up) on the field too. The cleanup hacker who only hits singles followed by Kruce and Kyrd

  17. Scot Lykins

    I don’t know about Bruce. I just don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel with him. We need to explore trade options or just cut him loose. The Reds just have too may nonexistent bats in the line-up to succeed. Its going to be a long year.unless of course they make a couple of big moves right now.

    • lwblogger2

      Can’t cut him loose or you’re on the hook for his contract. You either play him or you try your best to trade him. I think if it came down to brass tacks, there is probably a team or two out there who think they can fix him.

      I’m not ready to give up on Bruce. He is hard to watch right now though.

    • RedsFaninPitt

      I don’t understand why so many are getting so worked up on this site so early in the season. Yes, they look awful right now. Yes, Bryan Price is not pulling the right strings. Yes, you have to question whether Castellini/Jocketty have given Price the talent and the depth to compete. (Many were questioning the bench before the season started.)

      However, the Reds have barely played 10% of their games and nearly everyone is ready to blow everything up and run everyone out of town. It’s pretty ridiculous and almost funny if you sit back and read these posts. Maybe in the case of the Brewers – just maybe you could begin drawing conclusions in late May if things continue as they are. But, I always say to wait until the middle of June before you can begin to draw any conclusions on how the season is probably going to play out. During May, Jay Bruce’s OPS averages .947 (2011-13). During April, Bruce’s OPS is .762 (2011-13 -aided by a .954 in 2012). So, he is having another bad April. Shouldn’t we expect this? The biggest concerns are the Reds bullpen and bench. Even though they have not pulled any of them up yet, the Reds do have some legitimate options in AAA and AA – Winker, Rodriguez, Suarez, Iglesias, Mascot, Lorenzen – possibly even Dejesus. Jr. These were options that we didn’t have last year so close to the major leagues.

      The Reds could get on a 6 or 7 game winning streak and turn this thing around and make all these posts look ridiculous.

      TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND LET THE REST OF APRIL AND MAY UNFOLD

      There’s no point any drawing any conclusions this early or making radical changes yet.

      • lwblogger2

        Nice perspective there and refreshing too. I think the big panic is that a lot of fans are seeing this as a continuation of the type of play this team showed the 2nd half last year. It is early in the season though and there is some room for patience. Nice post.

      • Nick Carrington

        For the record, I’m not panicking. This article isn’t about blowing up the team. It is about putting the best team together from what they already have. These are tweaks. No panic here. Just think the Reds aren’t maximizing their roster right now.

      • jdx19

        Also, this is a baseball blog. We have to talk about something in April! What a boring site it would be if the editors said “Meh, it’s April. Nothing matters this early. Let’s mail it in until mid-June.”

  18. Art Wayne Austin

    Bruces’s eyes are too far from the ball, perhaps a yard. Musial was a tall guy who had an unorthodox batting crouch, all of us know what a hitter he was, something like .330 lifetime. Bruce needs to get out of his Abner Doubleday, stiff-as-a-poker stance or be traded where we’ll be eating most of his 12 million dollar salary.

    • lwblogger2

      He’s moving his head a lot too which isn’t helping. I also wonder if he’s seeing the ball in the first place though. Maybe open up his stance so that he’s got both eyes on the pitcher’s hand? I’m sure Don Long and he have been working on it. Maybe he needs to hear a different voice? Maybe he needs glasses? Maybe it’s what some Bruce bashers say and that he doesn’t want to change? I have no idea. I just know that right now, he looks lost, lost and lost.

  19. jdx19

    Heeeey! Defensive adjustments are now live at FG for WAR. No more positional adjustments only.

    Marlon Byrd is a bigger problem than we thought. His low-range diving plays have pulled the wool over our eyes! After the newly minted defensive adjustments, Byrd is already at -1.1 WAR. Worst D on the team.

    Not surprisingly, Billy’s defense and baserunning have him at a spectacular 0.9 WAR already.

    Of concern is BP currently has a negative defensive adjustment. That’s not good for a guy with a sub-.300 slugging line.

    • Nick Carrington

      To Bruce’s credit, he has great defensive numbers this far. In fact, he has a higher WAR than Phillips even though people are complaining about Phillips less.

      • jdx19

        Yep! I meant to mention that but forgot after seeing what the numbers said about Byrd.

        Fifth-least valuable defender in MLB ahead of Nelson Cruz, Prince Fielder, Wil Myers (miscast as a CF by SD, poor guy), and Hanley Ramirez. Makes sense. I’ve seen all those guys play defense so far and they are terrible. As is Byrd. Wow.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Bruce is also providing value with walks and power even though he’s struggling with batting average.

      • lwblogger2

        He is taking his share of walks and is still showing power. That said, I don’t see how you can like what you’re seeing. I love Bruce and still think he looks miserable at the dish right now.

      • jdx19

        Agreed with both of your points. He looks miserable, but with a few walks and a few dingers, you have a larger margin for error, ore relaly more accurately, a longer leash.

        To be honest, if Bruce can provide decent defensive value in RF and hit somethign like .230/.310/.420, I’ll be content with the season from him. Not happy, but content. I think that would net him about 1.5ish WAR.

    • lwblogger2

      The sample sizes are way too small right now. Defensive metrics aren’t very good anyway but are a disaster with small sample size. Of course Byrd is failing the eye test too sooooo….

      • jdx19

        Oh, certainly. Everything in April is garbage. But, as you allude to, most of the cases I’ve seen pass the eye test.

        Byrd Bad – Stats check, eye check
        Hamilton Good – Stats check, eye check
        Votto better than expected – Stats check, eye check.

        The one that confuses me is BP. He hasn’t really looked all that bad to me, but has negative values, largely from 3 errors, i think and what is manifesting as below-average range.

        How has BP looked to you guys, so far? I’ve missed a few games live due to work.

      • lwblogger2

        His range appears to have slipped slightly to me but it hasn’t fallen off a table. I’d call it still on the high side of average to above average. Still has a great arm. He could probably play a bit deeper with his arm and make up for some of the lost range. His errors are out of character. Could be the weather, could be concentration lapses, hard to know.

      • Jeff

        I thought BP looked like he had lost a step defensively, but I thought it was more him not dazzling like he has in the past. That play where he lost the ball and went towards the bag instead of toward the hole was very bad, and with the small sample size, it an a few other uncharacteristic plays are probably dragging him negative.

  20. Art Wayne Austin

    JDX, my offer of an even bet on the next ten games and Byrd vs Bruce is still available.

    • jdx19

      I wouldn’t take that bet, Art. Bruce is struggling. Anyone can see that. Struggling and giving up on a guy with a decent track record who happens to be 28 are two different things, though.

      See Nick’s post right above. Based on what the defensive experts are saying, he provided enough value in the field that he is still providing positive WAR (0.1). Third best defensive RF so far in MLB behund Ender Inciarte and Gregory Polanco.

    • jdx19

      Actually, what is the bet on? If it’s on total WAR accumulated over the next 10 games, I’ll take Bruce, sure.

  21. Jon

    Great article, ok now bear with me this will be long and in depth, but here is what I would do.

    Keeping in mind that this is predicated on wanting to win this, which as of late I am starting to question given the obvious moves that aren’t being made.

    Ok so first off the pitching staff, The starting rotation is 80% good, Marquis being the obvious exception.
    There are 3 guys in Louisville who would be better options and should be with this team, Lorenzen, Iglesias and Moscot. Only Iglesias is on the 40 man roster. The bullpen has 1 glaring weakness, Gregg, and a couple slightly less glaring in Parra and Badenhop. Now I have resigned myself to the fact that they aren’t going to do anything with Badenhop just like Schumaker, we are stuck with them for the foreseeable future. Parra has a 2.70 era but that is misleading, his 3.00 whip is way more telling. Potential RP replacements include LeCure and Contreras.

    So three spots for five candidates, honestly I don’t care much which three just so long as Marquis, Gregg and Parra are sent packing. My personal choice would be Moscot getting first shot in rotation. I say this for two reasons, first he is the one, of the three that we are the least sure on his future. Everyone projects Lorenzen and Iglesias to be with Reds next year. Second rather than having the other two share the spot and decrease both of their innings, bringing Moscot allows them both to get a good 140+ ip in this year, thus making for no or much less innings limit concerns next year.

    So obviously if I am leaving Lorenzen and Iglesias in Louisville then the other two are Contreras and LeCure.

    I personally would release the three thus making room on the 40 for Moscot and LeCure, Contreras is already on there.

    Now as far as the Position Players, You have to make a decision on Mesoraco this wait and see stuff is nonsense. I believe Byrd and Bruce are going to come around, it sucks but I say patience there. The bench is … well like I said I am sure we are stuck with Schumaker, and Boesch I would have on a thin leash. Catcher is the lone spot that is obvious it is either Mesoraco/Pena or Pena/Barnhart. Just leaves Negron who, after years and years of dismal play in minors, was half way decent last year. He got the call and played amazing which as I was afraid was nothing more than unsustainable SSS. Take his spot and as mentioned above replace him with Ivan De Jesus. On a side note this spot should belong to Rey Navarro who made MLB debut with Orioles this year and is hitting .333 so far.

    Ok so to recap:

    Reds drop Gregg, Marquis, Parra and Negron
    Reds add Contreras, Moscot, LeCure and De Jesus

    This gives them upgrades and if any of the three P don’t work out you still have two bullets, in Lorenzen and Iglesias. Of course, I am sure none of this will happen because well I don’t know why but it just seems to be the way.

    • Jay King

      I like your move ideas…. Here is another please get rid of Badenhop… I have a nickname for him of Suckenhop… Every game I have seen him in since the season started he has been terrible.

      Gregg needs to go fast and the Brewers didn’t resign Parra cause he was terrible with them. We got lucky with him for 1 season when he was pretty good.

      I know I am going to get stoned here for this next comment but I have honestly been ok with Marquis. He had a nice game tonight too.

      Bring back Iggy he had a decent start to replace the re-injured Bailey. From day 1 I have said that deal for Bailey was terrible. It should have been for around 80 – 85 million for that time period. He is a good #3 guy at best.

      Its sad that Chappy had to be brought into the game to close the door on the Brewers. There has to be at least 1 or 2 more decent guys out there. Jumbo and Hoover have been ok so far. We need at least 1 more decent pitcher out there though.

  22. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I just read that Bailey is on the DL again. I don’t care what the stat guru wannabees have to say, that contract was just a stupid contract. First, especially giving it to him while he was on the DL, simply stupid. Not to mention all the money we threw at a pitcher who, take out one good season and one decent season, he’s been a career of options and DL’s. We should have let this guy walk and extended Leake if either of the two. Homer might be a great guy, but as far as being a good active pitcher, he simply hasn’t been. And, now, after this season, the dude averages $20 million per, I believe. Seriously?

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      I will also come back again to say we’ve got to get to this medical/training stuff. This can’t be the norm. I mean, for so many recent seasons now, so many guys going to the DL/coming back/going right back to the DL, seemingly for the exact same thing. In 2011, so many injuries that occurred to so many pitchers. I won’t say it’s Price anymore, for it could very well be someone in the training staff and/or medical staff, as well. But, something needs to be assessed. This is getting ridiculous to me. And, if I was Castelini, throwing this kind of money out there, I would be furious.

    • jdx19

      Making judgments based on after-the-fact information is ignorant.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        I was saying this as soon as we made the extension. You can keep your snide comment.

      • jessecuster44

        Sooo… Can you say with a straight face that this med staff is “competent?” Too many injuries, too many re-injuries. These guys suck at the prevention and treatment part of their jobs – which is just about all of it.

        And, this thing with Mez’ hip? It doesn’t just show up overnight. Maybe a little due diligence should have been done before the big contract extension.

        A pox on the Reds’ med staff. They are a bunch of clowns.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        I can also admit that the players need to take responsibility for their bodies, also. But, in this day in age, i.e. in football, where the entire drive is to prevent injuries, injury prevention, like Jesse says, and not only do we still have these injuries but they are still recurring? This is ridiculous. I saw it back in 2011 myself when we not only had so many injuries but a vast majority of them were to the pitching staff. I can understand the “outliers” exist. But, how many teams actually have to reach down to their AA teams to get pitchers to cover some innings?

  23. Mark Miller

    Think the difference between Bell and Gregg could be the difference between $400,000
    and $1.5 million?

  24. cfd3000

    First things first. The Reds are playing with a 22 man roster (accounting for the non-starting catcher as emergency use only). How do you compete long term against teams with a full bench? Mesoraco should be shut down and replaced. Perhaps Dejesus. And when does Cingrani get back from his extended vacation? If he’s hurt, replace him, get him to the DL, and get him healthy. If Price just doesn’t trust him, get him innings at AAA or trade him. But the bullpen is struggling enough, running short handed doesn’t make it any easier. Marquis did well last night but the 9th inning debacle was ridiculous. Definitely time to adjust the load in the Reds’ truck.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      Entirely agreed, CFD. It looks like Price has been drinking some of the Baker-ade, “We have to get him going.” Why do we have to get Gregg going? Or any of the vets? And, why don’t we need to get Cingrani going? Cingrani is the future of this club. Let’s use him and get him some numbers before he gets too expensive for us (even while not playing, given the contract processes in the league) and we lose him.

  25. Vanessa Galagnara

    Here is what I think. If the Reds do not call up Lorenzen or any other top prospect the Reds front office is essentially throwing in the towel and saying that they are not going to start the service clock on their future stars because this season is not worth it.

    Is there any other logic to come to any other conclusions?

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      I wouldn’t say they’ve thrown in the towel, yet, Vanessa. However, if they get one more injury in addition to what they have now, I would have to consider it, trade what you can, and either play out with some callups, seeing what they have, or let them get time down in the minors, to develop “properly” and “throw the next log on the fire”, aka who’s the next unsigned FA to step in for us.

  26. VaRedsFan

    Nick, Please send this column, via registered mail, to Walt. Seriously, can that be done?

    • Nick Carrington

      Walt has thus far ignored all my attempts to contact him. But I’m available to chat if you’re reading, Mr. Jocketty!