My son is about to turn 6, and suddenly, he’s a baseball addict.
For his first five-plus years, I fought a losing battle against his apathy toward all sports; suddenly, this year, he’s gotten excited about playing first basketball, and now baseball. At 6, of course, the games largely consist of a coach feeding a ball into a machine for a kid to swing and miss; the coach moving closer and lobbing a pitch for the kid to swing and miss; and the coach finally resigning himself to setting the ball on a tee for the kid to hack at until contact is established. But it has my son excited about baseball, so I’m all in.

My goal now is to help him learn a few of the rules and strategies of baseball; to that end, we’ve subscribed to MLB.tv. Unfortunately, we live in the Reds blackout area, so my strategy was to pick an American League team and watch them throughout the season. The White Sox were the closest to us, but I quickly realized that watching the White Sox could lead to my son actually rooting for the White Sox, so that was out.

Ultimately, we settled on the Kansas City Royals.

IMG_1515Three weeks into this (a bit too successful) experiment, I have to admit … I love watching the Royals play. Brawling epidemic aside, there’s a fire in that team – a scrappiness – that’s fun to watch. They pitch well; their bullpen is fantastic. They play solid defense, they get each other’s backs, and they have the uncanny ability to string hits together. You get a sense watching them that they expect to win; that, when a player comes up with two on and two out, the whole team isn’t just hoping he’ll come up with the big hit. They’re expecting it.

I don’t feel that way when I watch (or, most of the time, listen to) the Reds. Votto aside, if a Reds player comes up with two on and two out, I find myself wondering if we’re about to see a strikeout or a pop-up. And maybe that’s a little harsh. But watching the Royals has reminded me of seeing that same thing in our Reds – in 2010, in 2012. Heck – I remember when Jay Bruce came up as the winning run against the Giants in that awful Game 5, and a part of me actually expected Bruce to park one in the upper deck, because that’s who that Reds team was (or, to paraphrase Brandon Phillips, “That was how we did it in Cincinnati!”).

But if watching other teams this year has taught me anything (and I’ve watched a lot of them – if the Royals aren’t on, Evan will watch anyone at this point), it’s that our Redlegs don’t have that scrap – that swagger. They don’t have the look of a winning team. More importantly, they don’t have the talent of a winning team.

Which brings me to the question: At what point does my love for the Cincinnati Reds mean that I should be rooting against them?

I’m not talking about rooting against individual players. I want to see Joey Votto hit .375, crush 35 home runs, and get into the MVP race. I want to see Anthony DeSclafani continue to be the pitcher he’s looked like so far this season. And I’d love to see Billy Hamilton get on base at a .350 clip and steal 100 bases.

But right now, I’m starting to hope that they do all of those things while losing more games than they win. Because this season is something of a critical juncture for our team: As we all know, Johnny Cueto’s contract is about up. Mike Leake’s contract is about up. Aroldis Chapman is down to his option year, and Bryan Price stands on uncertain footing at best. What happens over the next few months will have a large say in the Reds’ future success (or lack thereof), and frankly, I would rather see the groundwork laid for a strong 2016 and 2017 than watch the Reds muddle near contention in 2015. And the only way that is going to happen is if our favorite team starts to lose, and lose in bunches.

Marlon Byrd and Jason Marquis on the Opening Day roster showed us that we aren’t going all-in to win this year. Johnny Cueto on the same roster showed us that aren’t committing a rebuild. Instead, we’re floating in an amorphous middle ground, claiming commitment to winning consistently while illustrating commitment neither to winning now or later.

But losing … losing could change all of that. Losing early and often probably puts Johnny Cueto (and maybe Mike Leake) on the trading block at a time when we can get a good return (ready or near-ready prospects to take over LF and 2B spring to mind). And make no mistake about it: If the Reds aren’t in contention – and I don’t mean “hovering around .500” contention, but “have a legitimate shot at getting to and making noise in the playoffs” contention – then Johnny Cueto is a golden ticket that Walt Jocketty needs to cash. We can hash and rehash the Greatest Hits of Jocketty’s mistakes as GM; mismanaging Cueto between now and July 31 would immediately become his “Free Bird.” Unless we start losing now, I suspect that is exactly what will happen.

Of course, that’s not the only benefit to losing. Losing probably kicks Bryan Price to the curb – and in spite of my adamant defense of Price last season, his management this year (capped by his profanity-laced, “I’m in so far over my head, I don’t know which way is up anymore” rant) has convinced me he’s not the man for this job. Losing might even put Chapman on the block, get Marquis off the roster, and bring some Major League seasoning to guys like Michael Lorenzen, Raisel Iglesias, or Jon Moscot.

All of these things would bode well for the Reds’ future. So at what point does rooting for losses become acceptable? When can we, as fans, start saying, “This isn’t going to be our year, but it’s a critical year, and it needs to be managed right – which means we need to lose?”

I don’t claim to know the answer to that; I’m not precisely sure where the fine line lives between “Giving Up” and “Protecting Our Long-Term Best Interests.”

But I feel like it’s coming soon.

111 Responses

  1. Jeff Gilbert

    Rooting for losses is not what a good fan does. You hope they make good decisions if they do lose, but you don’t root for losses. Expecting personnel changes to magically bring wins is dreaming. Good trades happen, but not often to fans’ expectations. Fans too often expect their team to get more than is possible for their star players. Whether it’s Cueto or Chapman, you will never get a player of their caliber. The sum of what you get is rarely even equal to the star in his prime that you let go. If you can pull off that deal when their decline begins, go for it. Otherwise keep the guys that give you a legitimate shot at winning.

    • i71_Exile

      Totally agree. Baseball is not the NFL where a team can tank a year and then make the playoffs with a strong draft. The maturation process is too long and the health dice are too random.

    • charlottencredsfan

      We can’t/won’t win this year so it’s a real simple question: what do you want to get for Cueto & Leake? Unless Bob blows up the current budget; these guys are leaving Cincinnati, one way or the other. Anything else is a false choice, a mirage. The choice isn’t keeping these guys or something else.

    • charlottencredsfan

      No magic by the way. It will be a grueling process either way. We are at least 2 years out. The sooner we get started, the sooner we will be finished.

    • jdx19

      Except those guys (Cueto/Chapman, specifically) do not give the Reds a legitimate shot of winning. They do not play often enough to tilt the scales. So, looking to the future and trading current value for future value seems like a good strategy. And you are right, you don’t get the same current value for your star, but you could get a lot of future value. Look at the Samardzija trade last year. Addison Russell likely has a ton more future value than Samardzija, so the Cubs got MORE value for their ace in a trade. You just have to be intelligent about it. If the Reds have to lose to make that happen, then losses aren’t so bad.

      I’m not so sure the author actually means he wants to Reds to lose and will be upset if they win, it’s more that he’s found a silver lining to their losing, so it’s not necessarily the end of the world.

      • greenmtred

        I’m puzzled that you say that Cueto doesn’t give them a legitimate chance of winning. Pitchers aren’t everyday players, of course, but without decent pitchers there is no chance of winning at all. No one player can transform a bad team into a contender: a contender is a collection of (mostly) useful pieces. There are certainly times when it makes sense to trade a star for prospect(s), but prospects are just that: essentially unknown quantities. I don’t think that “likely” should be used in a discussion of prospects. I think that it’s too early to blow up a team that is playing nearly .500 ball.

      • jdx19

        It’s just my opinion. Nothing scientific or anything. Even with Cueto, I don’t think the Reds can contend this year. Too many offensive question marks.

        Now, with that said, I certainly think it is POSSIBLE for the Reds to compete, I just don’t think they will. Going into this season, a lot of things neeed to fall into place. One of those things was Frazier/Meso having good years. Frazier is hitting for power, but not much else, and Meso is hurt. Also, we needed Billy to get on base at a decent clip; he’s been terrible at the plate overall. Throw that in with Marlon Byrd starting out very, very slowly and you’ve got a bad baseball team. That doesn’t mean they can’t turn it around, but if by the All-Star break they aren’t in a place to compete, you need to get something for Cueto because he’s leaving. Really not sure why so many folks are against that. Expecting a .450 club to play .620 ball in the 2nd half and make the playoffs is pretty ridiculous. It COULD happen, but the odds are against it.

    • lwblogger2

      I fully agree with you. I want my team to win. If they aren’t good enough to do it, they aren’t good enough to do it. I can’t root against the win though. I’ve seen too many lousy rebuilding efforts to put stock in rebuilding, especially considering that Castellini isn’t exactly going to bring in a bunch of progressive baseball minds to do the effort. Even if he did, rebuilding can often take 3-5 years. The Astros and Cubs both have very progressive front-offices and while both are playing well this year, it has been a long time coming. It’s also still early in the season. Teams fade all the time and there’s a decent chance that one or both of the Cubs/Astros will do so through the dog days. Never root for a rebuild. A rebuild is what happens when hope is lost and it could be a long time before hope gets strong again.

      • Vicferrari

        Agree, I also think it is unrealistic that a rebuild will lead anywhere. The team that has a dubious strategy on MLB ready players is not going to all of a sudden get savvy with players 2 years away. Especially in finding a team dumb enough to trade their top prospects is even more unlikely and that player does not always pan out. If you feel your team is 2 years away then it is 2008 and a very lucky you get the run that the Reds had from 2010 to 2013, maybe one legit shot if a few things go your way.

      • charlottencredsfan

        What’s the plan then? The most optimistic Reds fan thought we might be able to compete “if” we stayed healthy. We lost our #2 starting pitcher and #4 hitter for the season, so much for that.. Yeah, yeah, I realize we aren’t sure on Mesoraco but come on, the guy is done for ’15 and maybe finished catching period. When do you cash out and go young? If not that, then what? What, please tell us, is the alternative? Lay it out, name names – the rebuild faction is.

        All I hear from the no-rebuild folks is, “stop, don’t do it, the team will be stuck in last place for our the rest of our lives, it will be the 1990s all over again”. Give me a break, your “no-plan” is the one that leads there. Spell it out, so we can be convinced because so far, no sale.

      • Big56dog

        Scout and draft players, hype them up so can you deal them at the trade deadline for a rent a player for your play-off runs. Oh where are the Dave Burba, Mark Portugals, and David Wells?
        Do not over pay 3 players to a point you cannot afford decent players and have to stock your bench with AAAA hitters. Where are the Jerome Walton’s and Mark Lewis’?
        Try to field the best team year end and year out so you can win about 55.5% of your games instead lose that amount.
        I just do not believe firesales really net much and to root for rebuilding is just an irrational reaction to when one ‘s team is not winning 3-game series. If the Reds are 10 games of the Wildcard toward the end of July and there are some great players who are ML ready being dangled for Cueto, by all means go for it; but just do not think this will pan out in 2 years. By 2017 you will get conditioned to the rebuilding process when the saviors you get in the Cueto deal, WInklers, Lorenzens , et al do not bring the team to any different level because they get hurt, do not pan out, or just are not surrounded with enough winners.

      • lwblogger2

        @Charlottencredsfan – Let me get back to you with my plan on how I’d play it. The executive summary is: It really comes down to performance though and my basic premise on that is as long as you’re realistically in the hunt, you go for the playoff birth. If that means adding a player or two at the deadline, you do it. If you’re under .500 though and the league is strong, it’s probably best to trade the resources that you don’t feel you can reasonably resign. You also try to move the larger contracts on your payroll that you feel you may be upside down on as far as production. Of course sometimes that isn’t possible so you have to deal with what you have. Very hard to do a total rebuild though with a lot of sunk costs already.

      • charlottencredsfan

        I understand a “complete” rebuild is not possible because of contracts that can’t be moved.

        Here is one scenario I’d like you to contemplate: if you could acquire a good prospect for BP, would it be worth sending some money along with him? Bailey and Votto are here to stay, I acknowledge that.

      • greenmtred

        You are making a lot of sense, LWBlogger. I have sounded as though I don’t favor trading anybody (not that what I think makes any difference at all), but that is all about the timing and my conviction that no path leads automatically to the promised land. If the Reds are hopelessly out of it after the all star break, they need to judiciously rebuild, and Cueto looks to be their most valuable chip. It’s too early now to give into gloom, regardless of what pundits and projection systems say. The game still holds surprises.

    • Joe Atkinson

      My apologies – I’ve been on the road all day, and have just now gotten to where I can respond to any comments. And before I’ve had the opportunity to do so, several people below have done a more than fair job of speaking to my intent. But to clarify:

      I want the Reds to win the World Series. This year. Every year. Period. That’s the fan in me. I watch this year’s team, though, and I know they won’t. That’s the realist.

      The same realist believes that, if the Reds are anywhere near contention in July, management will hang onto everyone. We still won’t win the World Series (or make the playoffs), but Byrd will keep playing and his option will vest; Cueto will walk and we’ll get a compensatory pick that may or may not turn into someone who can contribute … four years from now. And the 2016 version of the Reds will look far too much like this 2015 version – minus one of the game’s best pitchers (and, most likely, an extremely reliable one in Mike Leake … though I still hold onto hope that the Reds somehow keep Leake in the fold).

      I don’t believe we can win with the roster we have. I believe pretending that we can is doing nothing but hurting the team’s long-term prospects. And I don’t believe that this management team is going to stop pretending we can win this year – and make a commitment to building the best team we can so that we WILL contend in the near future – until it becomes painfully obvious that this year’s team is finished.

      Which is why the realist in me wants to see that happen.

  2. Dr. K

    Really good article. I remember thinking the same thing during Bruce’s AB in Game 5, for the same reasons you mentioned. That 2010 team did seem to have a certain feel to it that anyone could get the job done.

    I can’t bring my self to openly root against the Reds, but I do find myself resigned to the fact that spending my summer evenings on the back porch listening to Reds baseball is going to be an exercise in futility.

    The first thing the Reds need to do going forward is gain some objectivity about the capabilities of the current roster and decision makers throughout the organization.

    • Joe Atkinson

      Thank you – and I couldn’t agree with your last statement more. I’m like you, in that I can’t sit and listen to an individual game and root for the Reds to lose it … that’s now how I’m programmed, either. But realistically, I don’t see this management team making the right moves unless it’s painfully clear that we’re not going to the playoffs this year. So, big picture, I think that’s what needs to happen (because, as you said – there is an abject lack of objectivity about the capabilities of the current roster).

  3. doublenohitter

    Funny, I was just talking about this exact thing last night. How exciting the Astros (yes, the Astros) and the Royals are. These 2 teams, along with some others, play the game like they are kids again. Winning will do that.

    I hate to say it but this team needs to tank “big time” if you want the Reds front office to commit to a rebuild. Bob C. won’t give up too easily and it would take his blessing to do so.

    One thing I think they worry about is that if they commit to a rebuild, fans won’t come to the park. I don’t think that is totally true. A lot of people come to games because they just enjoy going not because the team is good. The diehards would be the ones who would stay away because of losing. I think that money and butts in the seats is their primary concern and they are afraid that the golden goose will fly away.

    By they way, has there been a worse bench in all of baseball in the last 20-30 years?
    I know that they are bench guys for a reason but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a worse bench.

    Negron .043/.185/.043
    Schumaker .167/.200/.208
    Boesch .190/.261/.238
    Mesoraco .083/.214/.083

    • jdx19

      Agreed about how bad the bench is, but it’s not really fair to lump Mesoraco in there. He had a bad week to start off the season and has been injured. If healthy, he’ll hit. The same cannot be said of the other 3 guys on the list!

    • Carl Sayre

      I cannot understand having a problem with that bench when our starting outfield isn’t any better at least those 4 only hurt us occasionally. I will sy this on a positive note the out come for Byrd, Hamilton and Bruce was only a little better in game 2 and 3 of the Braves series. Bruce and Hamiltons outs had a better feel to them nothing to really get excited about but just some better AB’s and some outs that were smoked. There is not enough Bourbon in Kentucky to make me feel good about Byrd as a ball player. WJ has made some moves that made me scratch my head but this one has turned out to be Byrd-brained.

    • Joe Atkinson

      First – you’re not kidding about the Astros. I got home tonight, and my son was watching them play the Rangers. Man, that’s a fun team to watch.

      I don’t know if fans will show up to watch a young team that isn’t contending. I do know that I would be more likely right now to go watch a game that Raisel Iglesias or Michael Lorenzen was starting than to go see Jason Marquis pitch (and that’s knowing full well that Marquis has strung together a few good games in a row). Honestly, unless Cueto is pitching, I’d be more excited to go see the Bats play right now and get a glimpse of the future than watch this year’s Reds team play. But I also recognize that I’m probably not a typical fan on that front (I was in Louisville earlier today, and passed the stadium on the way home – the lights were on, and if I hadn’t been gone a couple of days and been excited to get home and watch a game with my son, I probably would have stopped and bought a ticket on a whim!).

  4. i71_Exile

    I disagree that Walt and Brian Price need to go. They have made their mistakes certainly, but instability is the hallmark of a losing franchise. See Bowden, Jim.

    • jessecuster44

      OK – so Fire them both and hire some good people that will be around for a while. Neither Walt nor Price are good at their jobs – keeping them for “stability” isn’t a rational thought.

    • KhalVotto

      What instability is this? Walt has been with us roughly 8-9 years, Price 4+, granted Price only 2nd year as manager, but the writing on the wall is clear as day, Price is in WAY over his head.

  5. charlottencredsfan

    Joe, really insightful article – one of the best. I, like you, watch a lot of teams outside the Reds and it’s a revelation. Watching the Royals, Cubs, and Astros daily at the moment; those clubs put a bright light on what the Reds are missing. You spell it out perfectly. I think these three teams really have the whole management structure right and are on their way. I love the Reds but I love the game more. We need a lot of new blood and that tarts at the top. These teams are about the future of baseball, the Reds are the past.

    Milwaukee is looking at doing a total rebuild, that will be fascinating to watch

    • jdx19

      I also agree with Charlotte’s sentiment. I’ve been watching a lot of Astros (and Nationals, actually, because of their pitching) and boy are they fun to watch. We’ll see what happens when they stop winning 10-in-a-row, but it’s good times right now!

      • charlottencredsfan

        Would you prefer the Reds or Astros future as things stand today? No-brainer to this fan.

      • jdx19

        Astros, yeah. It’s not even close.

      • WVRedlegs

        The ironically so sad that it is funny thing is this, the Astros GM when he was named as an asst. GM with the Cards, helped with Jocketty getting pushed out the door in St. Louis. And the Reds get the sour milk, out-of-date, out-of-touch Jocketty.

    • Carl Sayre

      I had a feeling that when the Cubs with the young talent at the big league and chomping at the bit to get to the majors and make no mistake it has taken some time for them to aquire that talent but when they made the move to bring Madden in to handle those kids. That was an insightful move and it may blow up on them yet but i doubt it. I love making a move Madden thinks out of the box and the kids love playing for him because he is nuts it adds excitement. I would love to see Hamilton have success and get on base because because whe he he does it is electric

    • Joe Atkinson

      Thank you, Charlotte! This is the first year I’ve had the chance to watch a lot of other teams play; I’ve always kind of boycotted MLB.tv out of anger that the Reds were blacked out (even though I live more than three hours from Cincinnati). But I decided to give up my (completely pointless) protest this year so I could watch games with Evan, and it’s been eye-opening to see teams like the Royals, the Astros … I haven’t watched a lot of the Cubs … but they’ve been very exciting to watch. I want that back in Cincinnati.

  6. renbutler

    You never root against your team, period. Regardless of the potential strategic benefit. That applies to all sports.

    Good Lord.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Correct but it sure makes losing more palatable.

    • jdx19

      It’s a silver lining thing. Semantics. I actively root against the Cardinals; I was physically angry to see their 3-game sweep of PIT this weekend. That is “rooting against someone.”

      The author is simply saying he won’t mind so much if the Reds’ lose because it might lead to a better long-term outlook. Which, as Reds’ fans for life, we should priorotize long-term success over short-term success. To me, that’s a true fan.

      • lwblogger2

        The key word in all of this is “might” … I simply have seen way too many bad rebuilding efforts. So many teams with LONG stretches of rebuilding that went nowhere, including my Reds and my O’s.

      • jdx19

        Sure. there are never any guarantees in baseball. But, the idea of getting nothing for your leaving free agents is mismanagement. There’s no way you can logically argue against that. If the Reds get nothing for Cueto and don’t resign him (which they either can’t, or won’t, IMO) then it is gross mismanagement. Now, if they DO resign him, I’ll cheer my butt off for him. I love Johnny. It’s just I hate seeing a non-competitive team (which this team certainly is) waste their resources and hurt the future.

      • lwblogger2

        @JDX19 – You’re making the assumption that they aren’t competitive. You are probably correct that they aren’t but we simply don’t know. If you’re over .500 and within a handful of games at the deadline, you don’t rebuild. You have to go for it in that case. Making the playoffs gives you a chance. You always strive for getting in. The best team rarely wins the World Series.

        You definitely don’t rebuild before you’re pretty much out of the hunt. Below .500 at the deadline and/or more than a handful of games out of the wild-card, would be out of the hunt. Then I look to move Cueto and perhaps Chapman. I still try to resign Leake, if the deal is a good one for the team (4-years/$54-million would be about my ceiling).

    • jdx19

      It’s like tanking in the NFL for a draft pick. If you are Indy a few years ago, do you really want to try and go 3-13 and not get Andrew Luck? How is that somehow better than going 1-15 and getting Andrew Luck? I’d say you’d be a BAD fan if you wanted 3-13 over 1-15. Same idea here, just not as black and white, since baseball prospects turn out far, far, far less often than NFL prospects do.

      • lwblogger2

        But a high first-rounder in MLB generally takes longer to contribute and also has a higher chance of failure than an NFL early first-rounder. It’s not apples to apples.

      • jdx19

        Right, I get that. I said right above that baseball prospects turn out far, far, far less often. The general point I was attempting to make was that blindly wanting your team to win every single game regardless of the circumstance is just wrong.

      • renbutler

        I AM a big Colts fan, and season-ticket holder.

        And yes, I wanted the Colts to win that year. I was there for the game when the Colts were 1-14 and beat Houston on a last-second touchdown. The place was electric. The Colts didn’t tank. They just sucked. They had Curtis Painter running an offense designed for Peyton Manning, whom the Colts still thought would be playing until September rolled around.

        Yes, I absolutely understand what the losing season meant for the Colts. I get the silver lining. But I’m not going to root against the Colts. Period.

        You can’t call me a bad fan. I’ve been a Colts season-ticket holder for over a decade now. I rooted for the team through 1-15 and 2-14 and a slew of 3-13 seasons. I bleed blue.

    • Tom Reed

      +1. All teams lose more or less except the 1972 Dolphins. Baseball, as we all know, is a long season.

  7. greenmtred

    Thoughtful and well-written but, first, that exciting scrappiness is, I think, a by-product of a team unexpectedly discovering that it’s good. The Reds have been good for awhile now (last year excepted), and have some good players, so they don’t fit that mold. But it’s certainly true that they are neither fish nor fowl: not young and upcoming, but not old and over the hill en masse, either. I do agree with Jeff Gilbert–the chances of getting the 2nd coming of J. Cueto in exchange for the first coming of J. Cueto are small. A number of posters here at RLN seem to think that it makes sense to trade any of the Reds when they are playing well (Cozart is hitting–trade him NOW). It may be possible to add by subtracting, but this doesn’t seem like an instance of it, particularly when the season is so young. So many of us are throwing in the towel on a team that is only a game under .500 (and with some signs that underperforming players are coming around) that it makes me wonder whether we are spoiled, in this case by memories of decades-old glories.

    • charlottencredsfan

      On the other hand, some may be suffering from accepting the truth. There are no guarantees but hanging onto to guys you can not sign, to get peanuts, when you have an “opportunity” to enhance the rebuild process is calculated reasoning.

      • greenmtred

        Always enjoy your comments, CharlotteNC, even when I don’t agree. If we keep Cueto and let him walk, we get a draft pick–a prospect. If we trade him, we get a prospect, maybe more than one, but probably not more than one blue-chipper. The teams with interest in Johnny are contenders who are short of pitching, such as the Red Sox. They won’t weaken themselves much to get Johnny because that would just create another weakness in a year when they feel that they can contend. They’d trade prospects for him, probably, but would be reluctant to part with their really good ones. They didn’t become contenders by trashing their farm system. I understand that such a trade isn’t necessarily a disaster for the Reds, but I don’t think that its benefit can be assumed.

    • jdx19

      Every single baseball expert and projection system said the Reds were a sub-.500 team. So, far they’ve played like a sub-.500 team. To me, they look like a sub-.500 team. There is always a chance they outperform and I truly hope they do. But, if after the ASG, we are not in contention, it is borderline criminal to not trade Cueto, at a minimum, to get as big a return as possible, because the Reds can’t sign him for what he’s worth and expect it to turn out well.

      I think the difference in opinions here is based on some fans’ unbridled optimism about ‘not being out of it yet’ and some fans’ tempered realism about ‘yeah, maybe we’re not out of it yet, but it’s unlikely we compete all year with out paper-thin roster and I’d rather give up on this year rather than jeopardize more future years with paper-thin raosers and a depelted farm system.”

      • i71_Exile

        I am optimistic, but know that this is it for Cueto as a Red (and maybe Leake). Like most everyone here, I am for trading Cueto at the break if the Reds are out of it. I am not for cheering on the Reds to lose so that they will be out of it. I want them to win every game.

        I’m also not in the “Walt must go” or “Bryan Price must go” camp so I’m not looking for reasons (losses) to hurry that along. I DID want Dusty out, so I understand those who might want more silver linings than victories there.

      • jdx19

        I don’t think any person on this board, author included, is in the “cheering on the Reds to lose so that they will be out of it” camp. Everyone WANTS the Reds to win every game. However, once it becomes apparent that the Reds will not contend, it’s management’s duty to start thinking about how to maximize next season’s winning percentage.

        And with this lineup, unless Mesoraco starts playing LF and hitting again or unless everyone levels up and starts learning how to get on base at a .330 or better clip, the Reds do not have a chance to succeed this year.

      • jdx19

        Haha! Glad I didn’t misrepresent you! 🙂

      • lwblogger2

        None of them had the Royals and Giants this early last year either. You can’t go by standing projections this early on.

      • jdx19

        I give up.

        I just put $5K on the Reds to win the WS.

      • lwblogger2

        The odds are sooooo long that a c-note probably would have been fine 😉

      • Michael E

        JDX, should have bought $5000 in lottery tickets…better odds.

      • Michael E

        JDX, I agree and the other part is to get better you have to take a step back. We have to rebuild NOW or the pain gets worse and the so-so seasons continue off into the distance. These fans you describe as optimists are also ONLY about today, and today alone. They’ll be upset at not being good in a few years, but won’t remember they didn’t want to rebuild to GET GOOD.

        Having solid common sense, I want to go ALL IN on a rebuild (kind of what the Braves did this off-season). Oh, sure, we’ll be worse in the short team, but we aren’t good now, so not like we’re giving up a trophy. Maybe we’ll get into the top 8 in the draft next year as well and get our Kris Bryant that other teams let slide.

        Cueto, Chapman, Bruce, Byrd, Phillips, Cosart, Frazier, Votto, Leake and any others that another team shows solid interest in at the deadline should be moved. I fully expect 3 or 4 to be traded and for our farm system to be loaded heading into 2016 with some exciting young, CHEAP talent that is just about MLB ready.

        In two years, I expect to look like the Royals or Astros of today…winning games and on the cheap.

  8. jdx19

    You should probably consider this the “peak” of fun for watching KC. The BABIPs of the 7 qualified batters:

    .386
    .365
    .354
    .341
    .341
    .319
    .319

    Of course they are fun when the entire team is hitting like vintage Lou Gehrig.

    They are fine team, but nowhere near as good as they’ve looked. Same with Houston, but Houston is getting it done with unsustainable pitching rather than hitting.

    • charlottencredsfan

      In the case of KC, they are a team coming of age. Astros are a young team on the rise and coming much quicker than I anticipated. Royals will not maintain that BABIP pace but make no mistake that team can rake.

      Astros rely on Sabrmetrics without apology and it’s the right thing to do. The longer any team ignores this goldmine of information, is going to get stuck. Walt is not there unfortunately.

      • jdx19

        Yep, ceratainly agree with all you said.

        It really does amaze me how easily some people ignore mathematical truths!

      • jdx19

        Mike Moustakas is 2-4 bunting against the shift. I wonder if he can teach Jay how to do it!

      • jdx19

        Also very interesting is the fact that all 7 of the qualified hitters on KC have a line drive percentage above 20%. The Reds have 3 (Votto, Phillips, Cozart).

    • Joe Atkinson

      You know, I hadn’t looked at the BABIP for the Royals, but that doesn’t surprise me. They are on an amazing run at the plate. I mean, part of it is that the ball jumps off their bats – I think someone mentioned lower that their line drive rate is also ridiculous, which would contribute to the high BABIP. I expect they will be good and fun to watch all year – but not surprised to see that there are aspects of what they are doing that are completely unsustainable over a 162-game season.

      • Michael E

        and they make pitchers WORK to get them out…something we Reds fans can’t even dream about. It’s been 20 or 30 years since we had a team that wasn’t just hack-artists at the plate.

    • Michael E

      KC is becoming another quality team of professionals with ENERGY. They battle EVERY at bat. They don’t come up, take three massive hacks at anything in the dirt and walk back to the dugout smiling like our pathetic Reds bunch.

      KC is what I want our Reds team to be. Professional fielding, hitting and pitching and a TEAM with energy and desire. Instead we have zombies with a little league approach that really don’t appear to care about winning or losing… a bag of rotten air.

  9. WVRedlegs

    If you tear it down, you also have to know which pieces to keep and build around.
    The starting 8: Votto (1B), Frazier (3B), Cozart (2B), Mesoraco (LF), Bruce (RF).
    The starting P’s: Desclafani, Bailey (DL).
    The bullpen: Cingrani, Iglesias.
    The bench: Barnhart.

    Lots of work to do for a new GM.
    Extend Frazier one more year for 2017, his last arb. year. Sign Cozart to his last two arb. years through 2017. Go ahead and exercise the 2017 option on Bruce for $13M. There is now a core of 5 to build around. A top offensive SS prospect that is ML ready, a ML ready CF and possibly leadoff hitter, a new C, and a couple of ML ready SP’s that should be in the return of treasure from the Cueto, Leake, Chapman, Byrd, BHam, and Phillips trades ready to plug in.

    • ManuelT

      You want to extend White guys and trade all the Black guys (Leake excepted) . I’m not black but it sounds kind of funny to me.

      • docmike

        Don’t be ridiculous. Cueto, Leake, and Byrd will not be on the team next year anyway. Phillips is aging and in decline, any sane Reds fan would do cartwheels if the team was able to trade him for a good return. Yes, he did say to trade Chapman, but he also said to keep Iglesias, his fellow Cuban.

        The only issue I would have is keeping Cozart and trading Hamilton. I think WV is putting too much stock in the two players respective performances in 2015. But to imply that race played a factor in his roster choices is ludicrous.

        I don’t know WV personally, but from reading his past posts on here I’m pretty sure he’s like the rest of us, and wants ALL Reds players to do well, be they black, white, Latino, Asian, or whatever.

      • ManuelT

        Ridiculous for pointing out a self-evident fact based upon his statement? Why not trade Bruce or Cozart? The tipping point is when he says we should trade Hamilton and Chapman but not Bruce or Cozart. Hamilton still has many cheap years left so what would be the purpose?

        Honestly, if we followed his above advice, the team would be almost all-white. Maybe you don’t have a problem with that but I do. The Reds have a great tradition of being diverse, for me, going back to the Big Red Machine days.

        You may think ludicrous but others see the same thing I see on this blog from certain posters. It’s the only negative in what I see as a great blog.

    • lwblogger2

      Nobody is untradeable but Phillips comes about as close as anyone can with 10/5 rights and 2+ likely upside-down years, left on his contract.

      Byrd could probably be moved as a bench piece if he starts hitting at all. The return would be small though.

      Cueto and Chapman have a lot of value and could bring back good pieces.

      Leake has value but won’t bring back as much as the two big guys above. I also am not sure he isn’t extendable at a reasonable price.

      Someone would want Hamilton but I’m not sure who the Reds would have in CF. I really don’t think Y. Rodriguez is going to be the answer. It would probably have to be Ervin or somebody they get back in a trade. Ervin wouldn’t be ready by next year either. Honestly, I love Jay Bruce but if I’m rebuilding, he’s probably the guy I’d try to move. We have guys who should be able to play the corners marginally well.

      • charlottencredsfan

        I’d give Jay to the end of the year. Not a lot of upside in a trade right now so waiting it out shouldn’t hurt. Billy really needs to go back to AAA and work on his hitting fundamentals without the pressure and maybe a new voice will help. I believe Long has taken him as far as he can. Still has tremendous upside. I would be willing to trade Frazier but it would have to be one heck of a deal. Everybody else should be available outside of JV & Homer. Even if it cost $ to move BP. If we could cash in on Zack’s tremendous start, I’d do that.

  10. Jeremy Conley

    The sad thing is that a team should never put it’s fans in this position; of thinking that losing is the best way to get the management’s attention to deal with the problems that the fans can already see, and have seen for a while.

    If the Reds had gone out and made real moves to make the 2015 better, then we could all be rooting for the Reds to win it all.

    If the Reds had started the rebuild this offseason, we could be watching a new young team, and rooting for them to win even if we knew it would be a year or two before they could realistically contend.

    It is only the fact that the Reds as a team seem generally clueless/or paralyzed that the fans even have to consider thoughts like “I wonder if it would be better for my team to lose right now.” I had that thought many times with Dusty. Now it’s continuing with Price and Jocketty.

    • CaliforniaRed

      Perfectly stated, Jeremy. Sad and true.

    • i71_Exile

      That’s just it, the Reds DID make real moves given their circumstances: one last roll with these players before letting Cueto walk (or trading him at the deadline) and keeping the payroll the same. They just haven’t worked out yet (and may not).

      I wanted the Reds to get Heyward or Kemp instead of Byrd, but that didn’t happen and Heyward hasn’t performed the way I thought he might at the plate. Kemp has been a excellent player for $3 million out of the Padres pocket, but the Dodgers liked Grandal better than Barnhart and the Padres have him for four more years. With the outfield depth the Reds have in Ervin, Winker, and Waldorp they were right to go with a placeholder. Marquis has been fine as a fifth starter. He’s a fifth starter. We wouldn’t even be talking about him if Bailey hadn’t blown up.

      • Jeremy Conley

        I just disagree with your assessment of what constitutes a move made to win. It happens that articles on fangraphs, espn, and sprots illustrated happen to agree with me, but hey, maybe we’re all wrong.

        The thing is, the Reds had a terrible left fielder last year, and they got a 37 year old guy on the cheap that couldn’t be expected to put up more than an average season. Not a real move made to win now.

        The Reds had a good starting rotation last year, and they traded two guys who gave them 300 innings at a 3.36 ERA mostly for prospects. They replaced them with Jason Marquis and a rookie that could not be expected to reproduce that production. Again, not a real move made to win now.

        The Reds had a terrible bullpen last year, and they made one move to shore it up. It hasn’t worked out with Badenhop yet, but I don’t hate that move overall. That said, Badenhop alone wasn’t going to be enough to turn the pen around. Adding Kevin Gregg, who has always been bad, was a step in the wrong direction.

        So I just don’t see it. If you think that those were all the moves that were available to them, then they should have sold, which was my point. One way or the other would have been better.

      • jdx19

        Agreed. The Reds moves point towards the “one foot in, one foot out” narrative that has been mentioned in countless places. They didn’t commit to winning, but didn’t commit to rebuilding either. Limbo is not a productive place to be.

      • i71_Exile

        The Reds had to keep payroll the same. Where was the LF upgrade for less money than Ludwig? Latos’s salary was replaced with arbitration raises.

        The Reds started their rebuild with the Simon and Latos deals. Many thought that Simon over performed last year and was due for a correction and couldn’t ship him out soon enough. (I agree with that sentiment.) Some projections had Latos and Disco as about a wash for this year (slight edge to Latos). If you replace Simon with Bailey, the rotation was solid except for the fifth starter who just needed to be average. A healthy Votto and Bruce and the Reds had enough offense to contend. LF was a hole, but cheap help was on the way (just a year too late) so Byrd was signed as a placeholder. I contend that the Reds had enough to contend if they stayed healthy. Sadly, they haven’t and it’s only May. I believe they are trying a rebuild while contending strategy (like the Cardinals) but they just aren’t as good as the Cardinals at doing it or as fortunate at catching lightning in a bottle with aging players like Carlos Beltran for the exact time that they contracted him.

        I would add that Meso’s and Bailey’s injuries have certainly made the Reds half win/half rebuild offseason decisions look horrible. Losing their offensive difference-maker at catcher was devastating—and would be for most any team.

        Also, look at some of the names we were lusting after in the off-season and where they are now Ben Zobrist and Christian Yelich, Sure, they’ll be back, but you need luck to contend too and the Reds haven’t had it.

      • Jeremy Conley

        First, you can’t keep mentioning payroll as an excuse. If they didn’t have the money to add enough quality players to a losing team to really contend, then they shouldn’t have tried to contend this year. You keep talking about payroll as if I’ve insisted that the Reds needed to do more to win this year, but I haven’t. If they didn’t have it, that’s fine, then rebuild.

        Second, I agree that the Cardinals have had better luck than the Reds, but mostly they just don’t hamstring themselves with unproductive contracts like Bailey and Phillips. They let Pujols leave when he was an MVP candidate. They consistently have a team of mostly homegrown players in their primes, and they don’t overextend players.

        Sure, if Mesoraco and Bailey hadn’t gone down, the Reds would look better. But that’s the thing, that happens to every team. Wainright’s out for the season, do you see anyone talking about the Cardinals being out of it? The Reds had zero depth and zero margin of error for these types of injuries. Which is just another thing supporting the idea that this wasn’t a good year for them to try to contend.

      • I-71_Exile

        I don’t want to put words in your mouth, so please correct me if I am misrepresenting your argument. Your contention is that the Reds should have committed to a full rebuild this past off-season once it became clear that they weren’t going to contend with the money they had to spend. They were a “losing team” and needed to pick another year at some indeterminate time in the future to contend? Is that a fair assessment?

        If so, I disagree. Teams don’t get to pick the years that they contend. Too many things can go wrong (or right) health or production-wise. The Reds under Jocketty have tried to build a contender EVERY year. They are trying to keep the window of contention open for as long as possible. That is the Cardinal way and what Bob/Walt are trying to do in Cincinnati. They are not the Marlins who make a run and then rebuild with a whole new team. This Reds offseason was right in line with how they think.

        The Reds were a good team last year had they experienced good health—but a losing team without. The Reds thought they could contend this year if things went right. They have not, catastrophically so. I’m not going to fault Walt for taking that chance.

        I don’t even think he had that much to work with anyway. Yes, this is his own doing.

        Which Reds contracts could we have realistically expectrd him to more for a decent return this past off-season? Phillips? Heh. Cozart? Double heh. Votto? Selling low. Bruce? Same. Bailey? Ditto. Mesoraco? That’s what the Reds are trying to find, not sell. Cueto’s value looked to be the same in the off-season as it will be at this year’s AS break if I recall Steve’s winter article clearly enough. Walt moved the assets he had to move. He could have traded Frazier and maybe Hamilton (had he not collapsed into sell low territory). Pitching-wise, Walt dealt his two most valuable/expendable assets: Simon and Latos. Most people (myself included) thought that he did well in moving Simon for an exciting prospect who has turned out to be not so exciting and poorly in getting just Disco for Latos. Hindsight is making the Disco trade look better for the moment.

        I appreciate the civil discourse. We can certainly agree to disagree. I don’t mind the Reds “middle way” of aiming to always be good. Winning builds value and that’s what the Reds really need.

      • greenmtred

        Just for the sake of discussion: Acquiring Byrd–a placeholder–is really a different way of doing what most commenters here seem to want: Making room for young prospects.

      • jessecuster44

        Just when will these supermen – Winker, Waldorp, and Ervin show up? Will they be here to capitalize on the excellent pitching staff that the Reds had last year? Or to help Johnny Cueto win a pennant? Good grief.

      • I-71_Exile

        Not unless they can travel through time, but I have a feeling you and your straw man argument already know that. Johnny Cueto is going to have to win his pennant elsewhere. They may be here in time to win a pennant for Anthony DeSclafani.

      • jessecuster44

        Disco and who else? I wanted a pennant with this crew.

        Those three OFs may very well help the team, but to argue that Byrd should have been signed to hold LF until… when we don’t really know when those three will make it up… That’s a bad argument.

        Walt/Bob traded for Byrd because they waited around too long – just like always.

      • charlottencredsfan

        We all did. Water under the bridge. Where do you suggest we go from here, that is the relevant.question. The rest is rehash, beating a dead horse.

      • jessecuster44

        Yup – I’ll probably beat the horse for a while – I’m pretty angry, because chances like 2010-2014 don’t come along often.

        Where do we go? Doesn’t really matter, because Walt ain’t taking us in that direction.

        I’d like to see the Reds TRY to win, not just hope to win. Fix the bullpen. Release Gregg. Make a trade or two. There’s plenty of young pitching in the minors so that you can deal on or two arms and not lose too much depth.

        DL Meso and get his surgery done – or send him to A ball on a “rehab” so that he can learn how to play the OF. Bring up Dan Johnson, De Jesus, or someone else who can hit.

        Use all 25 roster spots.

        Barring actually winning, FIX this roster. Trade valuable assets or big contracts when the right deal comes along. If you have a chance to move BP, do it. FIX the 40 man roster, so that it doesn’t have to be so grossly mismanaged every single year.

        When it comes to pitching, given the choice between a regressing vet, and a young arm, go with the young guy.

        Fire the med staff and bring in some trainers who have new ideas about keeping players healthy.

        Fire Price and get Jack McKeon back here.

        Do not deal Votto. Make efforts to surround him with hitters that make it unattractive to walk him.

        There. That’s how I’d move forward.

    • lwblogger2

      And Dusty is gone. How much better off are we? We’re not. That’s the issue with all this.

      • jessecuster44

        No no no. The issue is that the roster is terrible. Dusty would have these Reds in the same place as Price, probably. However, I don’t believe that Dusty would have been able to manage a healthy 2014 roster to a playoff series win, so I’m happy he is tending to his garden.

  11. Barry Heisler

    If you want the team to lose, getting rid of Cueto, Leake and Chapman should do the trick. Realistically, there’s no way the Reds can pay Cueto 200 million, nor should they, nor should anyone, yet he’ll get it. Leake could be another Greg Maddux. The Reds might be able to keep him and who knows about Chapman. I’ve read a lot of comments suggesting you just somehow throw him into some trade with Cueto or some such nonsense. Chapman is by far the Reds best relief pitcher and if they can’t retain him they need to get a couple of quality players for him.

    • jdx19

      I’ve seen national writers suggest packaging Cueto and Chapman together to go to a team like Boston or LA that are contenders and have deep farm systems. It’s really not nonsense. Adding a Top 10 starter and a Top 2 reliever is a great way to win a World Series if you already have a good team.

  12. Joe Atkinson

    Completely agree with your sentiment – a great start would have been wonderful. A terrible start would have gotten the ball rolling the other way. This hovering around .500 stuff is the worst.

  13. ElPasoRed

    Loved your article, Joe! I think you are spot on with 99% of your comments… I just can’t bring myself to sit through 3 hours of baseball every night and root for the boys to lose, however.

    • Joe Atkinson

      Thank you! And I don’t know that I can root for them to lose individual games. More of a big picture outlook; because I don’t trust management to be realistic unless it’s forced on them by losing. But any time I sit and listen to an individual game, I’m rooting for a W – I can’t help that, even if I try.

  14. jdx19

    I hate the Cardinals. A bunch of bloops and ground balls score them a bunch of runs.

    Down 5-0 to start the FIRST INNING… leading 10-8 now. Unbelievable, really.

    • jessecuster44

      Look who they are playing. The name on the jersey is still “Cubs.”

    • Scott

      since when was a grand slam a bloop?

      • jdx19

        I was referring to what happened in the 7th (?) when they scored 4 runs with a bunch of garbage. They were down 8-6 at that point, I think. I was typing it in real time. Sorry, didnt’ timestamp it.

  15. jessecuster44

    You never root for the Reds to lose. I sat through 2001-2009 (and 1982-84) and really want nothing like that again.

    For the people who want a rebuild – would you like Walt to be the architect of said rebuild? He’d screw it up.

    I’d rather have those clowns who took over for Jim Bowden in 2003 running this team.

    I’m absolutely disgusted at how far this organization has fallen since 2012. How is it acceptable to trade for a 37 year old for the LF bat, and cry poverty with a $120 million payroll?

    And to think that in 2013, all they really needed to do was make an early trade – package two young players for a bat with pop in LF, and this story might have a different ending.

    But now we have to wait for Walt to be fired, or Bob to sell the team. Or some other such miracle. Not happening anytime soon.

    I love Joey Votto. I like Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, Dat Dude, and Cozart. I hate to see their window close. Personally, I’d like the Reds to keep Cueto, Leake, and Chappy for as long as they can, because it’s great to see them pitch in a Reds uniform. If/When they are dealt, I have no faith that the players Walt would get in return would amount to much.

    The Reds are in limbo. Root all you want for whatever ending you wish, but you probably won’t get it.

    • lwblogger2

      Right… The thing is, with Bob C running the team, you probably aren’t going to get in the type of baseball people to conduct a successful rebuild in today’s game. Bob C also hates the word “rebuild”. It really isn’t in his vocabulary. He is unlikely to want the team dismantled to the point it would need to be for a full rebuild to be successful.

      • Jeremy Conley

        The hope that I have about ownership, is that despite obviously being very loyal to Jocketty, Castellini is a businessman at the end of the day. When you have two consecutive losing years and a huge payroll, something’s got to give.

        I guess this will be the test. If the Reds tank for a second year with a $110+M payroll, and Castellini keeps Jocketty, then we’ll really be screwed.

  16. Deltaxray468

    Well, the Astos committed to rebuilding and that seems to be working. Same for the Cubs. I agree – I don’t see the fire or passion. The sad thing is that I don’t see it from Frazier. Other than a few key folks, this team is going through the motions. The Reds need the attendance for revenue – so I see us keeping Cueto until after the ASG. But he and Leake can reposition the Reds prospect situation to a top 5 level – I hope.

  17. Steve Schoenbaechler

    “I love watching the Royals play. Brawling epidemic aside, there’s a fire in that team – a scrappiness – that’s fun to watch. . . .I don’t feel that way when I watch (or, most of the time, listen to) the Reds.”

    Joe, I’ve been saying this now for about 3-4 years now. But, most people just respond I don’t know what I’m talking about. I saw a little bit of it last season, but not as much of it this season. Like, with Baker, they would wait for the other team to make a mistake pitch or something, then try to jump on that to win the game. The thing is, good teams don’t wait for the other team to make a mistake. Good teams make the other team make mistakes. Good teams don’t wait for the other team to lose a game; good teams go out and win games. With Baker, I saw us waiting. Under Price last year, I saw more, at least what I will call, more sincere efforts to win games. But, not so much this year.

    I can understand the wanting to pace yourself through the season. However, when that pace is 500 ball, you have to be able to pick up that pace and sustain that increased pace through the season. You are going to look to make the adjustments necessary for you to become better as an individual, for the team, not for yourself.

  18. George Mirones

    I watched the Cubs and Cards last night. very exciting game. I don’t think the Reds could have participated in it.
    AS of this posting, of the 30 teams in MLB, 6 are in 1st place, 7 are at 500 or better and 17 are below .500. That means 43% of the teams have non-losing records and 57% have losing records. MLB is defining “Parity”. The “rooting to lose” is not valid as the Reds as many other teams , for whatever reason, can do that (losing) without any help.
    When you scan the teams in 1st place and + 500,(the flawed eye-ball test) IMO it looks like they also had pro-active senior management over the winter.
    Reds management can’t have it both ways, Cueto, Votto, Chapman are the only real value that the Reds have that any other team would want to acquire. Those 3 can’t carry the team even in a best of 5 series. The Reds have not impressed in the post season with them so Why place such a high sentimental value on them now. The Reds senior management is like a car stuck on the RR tracks and the train is coming. The driver of the car is trying their best to move the car but a plethora of broken parts keeps stopping progress. There comes a time when you must just sacrifice the car and call the insurance Company and start over.
    Just some random thoughts,

    • charlottencredsfan

      There is a big difference between rooting to lose and thinking that losing may not be the worse that can happen and I believe Joe does a nice job with the argument.

      Not directed at you, George, I realize this is what you’re getting at but I wanted to make that clear. Great post by the way. Cubs are getting closer, a couple more arms and the Cards should be worried about remaining on their perch.

      • George Mirones

        Charlotte;
        Joe expresses the inner thoughts that Reds fan suppress. I guess my approach, as it has been, is that senior management is selling false hope (if healthy, wait and see, Etc.) and many Reds fans are buying it. The Bruce, Hamilton, and yes even the Heisey supporters???, refuse to accept that they are role players and they can’t carry a team with a flawed bullpen, a starting 5 that has 3 big question marks, and a manager who is busting his butt not to give up (the rant betrayed him). Yeah I know that it is the big 162 but ownerships ego and legacy issues should not be the over riding factor. I didn’t mention the “budget”, as all too often, that is the fall back position because most Reds fans eyes glaze over when there are lots of zeros involved.
        Do I want the team to lose, no I am , like many others, believe in happy endings, but reality is a hard teacher.
        So how is the weather!

  19. desertred

    The 2015 Reds are turning out to be as big a scam as the Pacquiao-Mayweather fiasco. Management trots out athletes past their prime in the hope you’ll pay for one last burst of mediocrity, since they have neither the ability to improve the team, or rebuild it. And like Pacquiao and Mayweather, it’s all about the money, not the product.

    • greenmtred

      Not all of the Reds are past their primes, of course. Pacquiao and Mayweather are (though it might not be wise to tell that to either of them in person), but given their respective styles, I doubt that the fight would have been very different 10 years ago.

  20. Michael E

    Houston has been rebuilding…for longer than they should have, but right now they look like they could be set to be a front-running contender for several years if not the next decade. The Reds have not been a front-running contender, even when making the playoffs a time or two, since 1990. We keep staying in not-too-bad, not-real-good space, year after year, decade after decade.

    There is nothing wrong with a full rebuild. I agree we wait and see what July looks like, but by all-star break, if we aren’t looking like a contender, regardless if were only 6 or 8 games back of a wild-card, Walt should be on the horn with every GM in the game, finding out who may be interested in:

    Cueto (no-brainer, find a team willing to part with a couple of top 8 prospects).
    Leake
    Chapman
    Byrd (if he is hitting decently, pawn him off to get a mild prospect and avoid the option)
    Bruce (can’t hit the baseball, power might get more back than he is worth)
    Phillips (good fielder, singles hitter, aging exponentially, too expensive)
    Pena
    any reliever another desperate team likes (hey, we kept Gregg, maybe some moron will trade a rookie ball prospect for him).

    I know several of the above won’t bring back much (older middling prospect or young, far away from MLB low A prospect), but it is still win-win…dump the player and get a player, AND clear that roster spot for possibilities in 2016.

    Those that don’t think trade should be made, are you fine with how good the Reds have been since 1990? I think we have by and large stunk since then, just not been bad enough to do the necessary full rebuilds (really just lacked a GM and ownership with nerves, confidence and foresight).