The All-Star break has finally arrived with Cincinnati and the Reds at center stage. The festivities are a wonderful showcase for an organization and city that has put a huge amount of thought and effort into the planning and preparation. We know how to throw a party.

But it’s also an appropriate time to uncover our eyes after the last two games and analyze the first half of the Reds 2015 season and what direction the team should head.

In March, the conventional wisdom was that the Reds most of all needed Joey Votto and Jay Bruce to become and remain healthy. They did. Todd Frazier has hit better than ever. Johnny Cueto hasn’t dropped off at all from his Cy Young-class 2014 season. Yet, the 2015 season has been a tremendous disappointment.

That 39-47 record speaks for itself, at amplified volume.

So, what happened?

The third week of April happened.

That’s the week Devin Mesoraco was diagnosed with a hip impingement that meant he would need surgery and be out as the Reds catcher for the season. It was the week Homer Bailey debuted with low velocity, zero strikeouts and something obviously wrong.

The third week of April ended with Bryan Price putting the F in frustration six dozen times.

That the Reds were ill equipped to replace Mesoraco and Bailey is obvious.

In effect, Jason Marquis took Bailey’s spot in the rotation after the unlucky Texan hit the DL headed for Tommy John surgery. Michael Lorenzen would have replaced Marquis quickly had Bailey’s right elbow been healthy. Bailey’s ERA the last 12 starts of 2014 was 2.66. His strikeout rate, fastball velocity and groundball rate had all improved over his sparkling 2013 season. Marquis’ ended up with a 6.46 ERA and 5.20 FIP.

Reds catchers (including Mesoraco) have combined for an 87 OPS+ this year compared to Mesoraco’s 146 OPS+ last year. Reminder: OPS+ of 100 is league average. So production from the Reds catcher has plummeted from 46 percent better than league average to 13 percent below it. Throw in Mesoraco’s underrated defense and leadership and his loss was a crippling blow to the Reds.

When injuries are held up as an important factor in the Reds poor record, people rightly ask about the St. Louis Cardinals. Haven’t they had injuries as serious as the Reds, yet their best-in-MLB record stands at 56-33?

Here’s the hard and painful truth

Ernie Harwell, the late, legendary radio voice of the Detroit Tigers wrote: “Baseball is a spirited race of man against man, reflex against reflex. A game of inches. Every skill is measured. Every heroic, every failing is seen and cheered — or booed. And then becomes a statistic.”

It now becomes a thousand statistics. We can wish it weren’t so, but competence in analyzing data has become the currency of major league baseball, more so than payroll spending. The titanic struggle is over ideas and assimilating them into the game. It’s the race that has launched a thousand shifts.

Not much separates the Reds and Cardinals (and Pirates) in terms of resources. The fight for the inches that make the difference between winning and losing takes place not only on the field, but also in managers offices, dugouts, wherever general managers make decisions and, increasingly, in analytics departments.

The St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates are smarter, more analytic organizations than the Reds. They have been for a few years and the inches are piling up. Those organizations have become deeper in useful players and more wisely put to use the ones they have. Their players are better on the field and their clubs better able to withstand (and prevent) losses to their rosters due to injuries.

For St. Louis or Pittsburgh, you won’t find a washed up relief pitcher assigned to the 8th inning on Opening Day because that player recorded a few saves a couple years ago. You won’t find a pitcher with the track record of Jason Marquis in their starting rotation and a three-time reject like Brennan Boesch the top player on their bench the result of a two-week mirage in spring training.

Beside that ill-fated week in April, the second thing that happened to the Reds this year was horrendous judgment in the offseason, including in Goodyear, about personnel. This isn’t pure hindsight. Anyone who could read player pages at FanGraphs or the front page of Redleg Nation knew what to expect.

If healthy, the Reds had enough talented players to compete for the postseason (as they did in 2014). But after Mesoraco and Bailey’s great fall, with a roster structure as fragile as an egg, all the king’s men couldn’t put a successful team together again. Not against the Cardinals and Pirates, who are out-thinking the Reds for those inches.

And now?

The Reds season isn’t over, but competing for the 2015 postseason or play-in game is. Going forward, take pleasure in the occasional well played game and individual performances. Watch the young pitchers and minor league outfielders develop.

You would think that conclusion was obvious. And in a sense, it is.

Objectively, the organization stands at the edge of a roster transition. If, as reported, ownership waited to see how the team finished prior to the All-Star break before deciding to sell off, they received a brutal and clear-cut sign. The Reds were swept by a total score of 25-5 by the last placed Milwaukee Brewers at home and lost a series to the Miami Marlins, a team without Giancarlo Stanton, by a score of 24-5. (The combined total of losing 49-10 sounds like a blowout from neighboring Paul Brown Stadium.)

It’s understandable that Mr. Castellini wanted to be sure it was necessary to take a step backward before moving forward. But his role also raises the very source of uncertainty about the Reds future.

Bob Castellini, as the Reds primary owner, offers the organization tremendous assets and treacherous liability, both of which are products of his laudatory competitiveness.

On the one hand, he has increased payroll from $81 million in 2011 to $114 million in 2014. That major financial commitment is likely the product of new national television and internet-based revenues coming on stream for all major league teams. And happily, the Reds will soon have more revenue — maybe $30 million/year — from a new local television contract.

On the other hand, Mr. Castellini’s competitive juices lead him to play a significant role in the organization’s baseball decision-making – something that is certainly his right. It’s becoming clear that his preferences cast a long shadow over the actions taken by the Reds front office.

People who know Bob Castellini say he has a profound sense of personal loyalty. That’s a positive attribute when it comes to making the Reds a first-class organization. But it’s a mixed blessing when it contaminates personnel decision-making. His long friendship with Walt Jocketty is a prime example.

We don’t know what, if any, trades Mr. Castellini will allow.

What should the Reds do?

Seven weeks ago, I outlined steps I felt the Reds should take to become a smarter, more effective organization. The advice started with replacing Walt Jocketty with a youngish assistant GM from another organization who places a high value on analytics and who has enthusiasm for modernizing. Someone who isn’t trying to figure out if math is a four-letter word. That person should be provided with a quality staff and resources to keep up with the quickly changing sport.

But it’s hard to imagine the Reds bringing in an outsider to run the organization right now, with the trade season having arrived. In the unlikely event that Mr. Castellini felt an urgent need to replace his general manager, the new guy would be in-house, probably Kevin Towers, and it’s far from clear he would be an improvement.

The good news is that even though the organization has been slow to reach the point of being willing to trade, it hasn’t cost the Reds opportunities. If they move now to trade the players who will walk away at the end of 2015 (Cueto, Mike Leake, Marlon Byrd, Manny Parra, maybe Brayan Peña), no harm will have resulted from waiting a couple weeks. In fact, by delaying the Reds have stumbled and bumbled into an extreme seller’s market, the opposite of what it was in the offseason.

Facing the world the morning after a party can be bracing and unpleasant. After the All-Star hoopla leaves town, the Reds will find themselves looking up at the two best teams in baseball, soon to be joined in that tier by the rapidly improving, and no-longer-stupid (just the opposite) Chicago Cubs.

And the Reds will be staring in the mirror at an organization that has given more innings to Jason Marquis than Aroldis Chapman.

They need to get to the business of winning those inches back before they suddenly find themselves miles behind.

56 Responses

  1. Redbuffs

    Thank you for almost always writing exactly what I feel needs to be said about our Redlegs. It means a lot to know I’m not alone out here. Not claiming I have the exact same insights as you. I just know I regularly feel like shouting “That right!” when I read your posts. I just hope someone who matters inside the regime is actually reading your posts too…

  2. Mark in NC

    “the Reds will be staring in the mirror at an organization that has given more innings to Jason Marquis than Aroldis Chapman”

    And this, good people, is all that we need to know about the 2015 Reds.

    If we keep the same folks in charge, why would 2016 or 2017 look any different? My distinct concern is that it won’t, and we will be stuck in a Groundhog Day scenario. But without Andi McDowell to keep us company…..

  3. i71_Exile

    I enjoyed the article, but could do without the cheap shots. I suspect that the Reds front office doesn’t see “math” as a four letter word and most team’s fifth starter has more innings than Aroldis. He’s never going to start for the Reds. It’s time to let that go.

    Jason Marquis was a tragic mistake, but he’s an easy target. You know who else the Reds signed—which was lauded on this site—Burke Badenhop.

    • PDunc

      Yes, most team’s 5th starters will pitch more innings than their relievers.

      An argument could be made though that if a team has depth issues in their starting rotation but also has the best relief pitcher in the game maybe you should try to find a way to that relief pitcher more innings.

      The real issue though is that Marquis made the team out of spring training at all. Apparently everyone other than the Reds decision makers predicted that Marquis would be bad before the regular season started. It took the Reds management until the end of May to come to that same conclusion and cut him. By that point, Marquis had pitched 47 innings in 9 starts with a 6.46 ERA.

      It’s not just that our 5th starter has more innings pitched than Chapman. It’s that a starter who only pitched for 2 months and was cut a month and a half ago (and was really bad while he was here) pitched more innings than the best relief pitcher in the game has over 3.5 months.

      • redmountain

        Seems to me that Marquis, was as was said, a guy that made the roster so that Lorenzen could replace him quickly.

        That said, I can agree with all that is being said on this site. A “new” thinking GM needs to be brought on board. It makes no sense to make that move right now,but at the end of the season. The guy should come from a winner and should be able to work without interference.

    • docmike

      Yes, we know Chapman will never start for the Reds. That ship sailed long ago.

      But if he is confined to the bullpen, at least a smarter organization would maximize his value by utilizing him more often. It has been very disappointing to see the Reds’ refusal to pitch their best bullpen guy in situations that don’t involve a 1-3 run lead in the 9th inning.

      If Price used Chapman for some 2-inning saves, let him come in to snuff out some fires in the 7th inning, and didn’t use garbage pitchers in extra innings while Chapman collected dust…

      It’s nice to dream.

      • Victor Vollhardt

        To DOCMIKE—You are correct in how Chapman should be used–and in his capacity as a relief pitcher he should log (even being the closer) around 130+ innings a year. Why worry about who will be available for tomorrow if we lost today..All out to win today’s game-and tomorrow will take care of itself Since when if a pitcher pitches to two batters today (or one full inning) he can’t come back the next day too.

    • greenmtred

      Also, Marquis WAS in the Cardinals rotation at one point, wasn’t he? I had to say that, but understand why it’s not a valid reaction to Steve’s well-reasoned and well-written analysis.

  4. Evan armstrong

    I think everything you said has merit to some degree. However if you look over sports franchises their success is tied directly to their owners above all else. I think you to see where our ownership is from and their view. I think weather we like it or not we are limited by Bob and his son and have to come to grips with that as complaining and such won’t change how they run their team.

    • Bryan E

      Evan is very much correct. In the same manner as the Bengals, the Reds are hamstrung by the will of ownership. If there is one thing Walt has been good at it has been strong trades. His boss is the one who had been holding onto the notion that this fundamentally flawed team would somehow become competitive. I still agree with turnover in the front office but if Bob wants to always “stay in it,” the Reds will quickly become the Phillies.

      • jessecuster44

        Walt hasn’t made a strong in-season trade since 2009.

      • docmike

        A good trade is a good trade, whether it was made in-season or during the off-season.

      • jessecuster44

        No doubt. But the Reds have needed some good in season trades for the past three years, and so far Walt hasn’t delivered.

    • PDunc

      I agree that complaining about the team on sites like this or radio call-in shows, etc. has no affect on how the ownership runs their team. The only way a fan-base can really have any effect on how the team is run is to stop giving money to the team. Hurt their bottom lines by hurting their attendance numbers, TV ratings, etc. and the ownership will get the message that we are unhappy with how the team & organization is running.

    • jessecuster44

      Just lie back and accept it.

      • Evan armstrong

        That is basically all fans can do.

  5. james garrett

    Great article Steve.You nailed it especially the comment about the sport changing.It will change again and again.Successful teams will change with it and I hope we get on board.

  6. doublenohitter

    Another excellent article, Steve. i just wish the Reds brass would learn how to use a computer/internet. Then, maybe, they would find a way to read this!

    Nice job.

    • Evan armstrong

      The Reds are put together by a number of men whom for whatever reasons don’t embrace the new numbers like other teams do. It has nothing to do with lack of knowledge but a mind set. It was best reflected in the movie Moneyball when Billy Beans long time scouts scoffed at his new way of putting a team together. The only way things change is by changing those in charge which we all know isn’t happening any time soon.

      • Victor Vollhardt

        Moneyball worked because of Zito-Mulder-Hudson

      • i71_Exile

        And the scouts ended up being right about Jeremy Brown of what that’s worth.

  7. ragekage83

    Saw this on a chat log on fangraphs. Just about sums it up..

    Comment From Johnson Nash
    Can we stop acting like the Reds NEED to sell? They are only 7 games back of the WC. This is a good team. Disassembling because of 7 games is ridiculous.

    Dan Szymborski: This is not a good team.

    Dan Szymborski: It’s a team that could only be good If Everything Magically Worked Out and Nothing Bad Happened Ever

    Dan Szymborski: *Only* 7 games back?

    Dan Szymborski: That’s a completely absurd statement

    Dan Szymborski: Here’s the list of what the REds have to do just to gain a coin flip playin to the “real” playoffs

    Dan Szymborski: Win 15 games/162 more than 2 of the 3 NL Central teams ahead of them.

    Dan Szymborski: AND be 13 games/162 better than the Mets

    Dan Szymborski: AND be 11 games/162 better than the Giants

    Dan Szymborski: AND be 5 games/162 better than the Diamondbacks

    Dan Szymborski: AND 3 better than the Braves/162. AND be better than the Padres. AND not be outplayed by the teams below them

    Dan Szymborski: *All* of these things have to be true…just for a wild card.

    Dan Szymborski: The Reds are not a good team. If you’re deluded enough to think a mediocre team that is *9th* among non-division leading teams *and* 7 1/2 games back isn’t a bleak division, well, you can imagine the punchline

    Dan Szymborski: Excuse me, 8th

    Dan Szymborski: ZiPS has Reds playoff probs at 0.2%. And ZiPS likes the REds more than Steamer does.

    Dan Szymborski: But maybe ZiPS is off. Maybe the REds are five times as likely to make the playoffs as ZiPS thinks. So they’re a 1-in-100 chance. Big @%#@% deal.

    • jdx19

      Yeah, I saw that. Funny stuff.

      Later, there was a hilarious comment:

      Things Dan S. Doesn’t Like: Hitler, Famine, Earthquakes

      Things Dan S. REALLY Doesn’t Like: People mentioning the Reds making the playoffs

  8. Creigh Deeds

    On the money. Grateful there are folks like you who can put the thought and work into this blog. Wish the Reds would hire you.

  9. Cyrus

    Steve, during the ESPN feature game last night, Schilling was talking about what the Reds might get in return for Cueto. I missed part of the conversation but the part I caught was that he unquestionably believes the Phils will get more for Hamels than the Reds will get for Cueto. Why do you think some out there would hold that view? Is it the additional years remaining in Hamel’s contract…which are fairly expensive? Or is there a possibility that the Phils may eat part of the contract in exchange for human resources?

    • Steve Mancuso

      Hamels contract has three more years of team control plus the rest of 2015. He’s got a high salary so his contract is right at market value. For the Phillies to get prospects in return, they will need to pay some of the remainder on Hamels salary. There’s a pretty well established formula for how much to pay for certain levels of prospects. The Phillies paid $4 million to get Lively from the Reds in the Byrd deal.

      Cueto and Hamels have about the same stats. Cueto is younger. But their trade market is completely different because the contracts are completely different. You don’t trade players, you trade contracts.

    • jdx19

      Over at FG last week they had a Cueto v Hamels article. They concluded they are basically the same. Johnny is a bit younger, probably a slight bit better, but will be more expensive over the long run and has some injury concerns. Hamels has a better contract if you’re looking to compete for the next 3 years and he’s got less injury risk (in the writer’s opinion).

      It was a 6-one-way half-dozen-the-other type of question.

      And, Curt Schilling is not a smart man, in my opinion. I haven’t heard much from his mouth that makes me think he’s qualified to discuss baseball on national TV. Him and Harold Reynolds should start a show.

  10. FLA Red

    “And the Reds will be staring in the mirror at an organization that has given more innings to Jason Marquis than Aroldis Chapman.”

    I hate to read that. Nice recap, Steve.

  11. ohiojimw

    There have been too many games this year like Saturday and Sunday. In the Saturday type games, the meager resources they have are misused. In the Sunday type games, the players perform in fundamentally unsound ways. To the Castellinis, WJ, and B.Price I say, Fool you once shame on the fooler. Fool you twice, shame on you.

    Hopefully shortly after the ASG ends, we will at least hear that the Reds will have new on field leadership for the remainder of the season. Will that really fix anything any time soon? Probably not on its own; but, at least it will show somebody in the organization really does believe in and understand accountability.

  12. vegastypo

    As always, very well said. Thanks for that, Steve.

    If John Heyman is to be believed — I should add that he is not one of the ‘insiders’ who I put a lot of faith in — then Jay Bruce is a big item on the trade market. I wouldn’t have thought Castellini would allow a trade of a home grown player who is not in his walk year. …… But if Bruce could be traded, maybe ownership has seen the light about needing to make changes. We can only hold our breath to see what Walt gets for him.

    • ohiojimw

      There is a vantage point here which might not bode well for the Reds.

      Bruce is relatively young, under team team control through 2017 on a very team favorable basis (low salary with 2017 being a team option). He has strong career metrics and has been hotter than hot for the most part for a month. The Reds have supposedly been shopping him for several weeks. Yet apparently no deal is close to at hand.

      Perhaps the Reds are being unrealistic in their expectations. Or, perhaps the nature of the races is simply that no one is willing to give what the Reds consider fair market value at mid season. It may also indicate the Reds are holding out for MLB and near MLB ready talent as opposed to “prospects” projected at 2 or 3 years away.

      I have suggested previously that truly productive trades returning MLB and near Mlb ready talent may have to wait until the off season. This makes little to no difference in terms of players remaining under team control beyond 2015 such as Bruce, Frazier, Chapman et al. With the season down the tubes, the Reds should not feel under the gun to move them now just to get it done.

      However in the cases of Cueto and Leake who will become free agents at the end of 2015, it might make a huge difference in what come comes back to the Reds.

  13. seat101

    Jeepers! By waiting a couple of weeks players became much more valuable.

    Stupid front office!!!!!!

    • CP

      Truth is, some players probably gain value, some decline. I think the key issue is that GMs don’t like potentially be left out there exposed. You trade a key piece like Cueto in June for X, Y, and Z prospects, you’re potentially setting the market price for everyone else…or your trade sticks out like a sore thumb when another pitcher is traded for better prospects. The buying teams all have to worry about trading key prospects for a pitcher and then not making the playoffs, which creates incentive to be more conservative early on.

      All GMs, both Buyers and Sellers,have a vested interest in letting the market price solidify.

  14. RedsFanEd (@RedsFanEd)

    IMO if a team called with a “knock you down” deal, no one should be sacred at this point. Not even Frazier. Time for a strip mine rebuild. This team is going no where any time soon with the current structure and will be drafting in the top 5 for the next few years.
    Bob would be a fool not to listen and let the baseball operations make the decisions. No matter who is the GM. Can’t let the emotions blur your judgement.

    • greenmtred

      What would be the advantage of trading Frazier? A sensible rebuild, which I agree is necessary,addresses the weaknesses and keeps the strengths.

  15. Art Wayne Austin

    The team just wasn’t in shape for a pennant run. They gave Hamilton another chance at leading off and he failed, the other two outfielders were slow out of the box, giving a couple of has-been pitchers the ball until the end of May, Mesoraco’s injury, Brandon still being a leader that no one will follow and the All-Star game upstaging the regular season. Wait ’til next year.

  16. james garrett

    I agree things would have had to go perfectl for the Reds to make a run this year in the central.Let’s face it the Cards,Bucs and Cubs all got better which many said they would. We have a lot of catching up to do.Let’s get started.

  17. Michael E

    Trade Cueto, Bruce, Parra, Leake, Chapman, Byrd and Pena. Restock the farm with 6 or 7 prospects that immediately slide into our top 10 (in addition to those good prospects sliding back). The extra plus is we could have a REAL shot at the 2nd pick in 2016 draft (Phillies have #1 locked down). That is the same pick that got the lucky Cubs Bryant (first team was too cheap). There may not be a Bryant, but THE top pitching or hitting prospect would be wonderful.

    • Michael E

      I was checking how far back we are from the wild-card, and then noticed we’re closer to being the second worst team in baseball than we are to the playoffs. Only the Phillies are truly awful. I am all for trading all I noted, playing lots of AAA, AA and high A players for MLB experience, AND then getting a top 3 draft pick in 2016. Sure, baseball drafting is more pot luck, even with good scouting, but a top 5 pick is much closer to a sure thing than pick 10 or 20 is.

  18. kmartin

    Reading this post made me recall a statement by Bill Gates in Newsweek back in 1992.
    “There are many points in the early history of a firm where winning one order or being a little ahead of somebody can make these very nonlinear differences.” Unfortunately I fear Steve is correct and that without the use of analytics the Reds are not going to win the “extra order.”

  19. Steve Schoenbaechler

    First, “Not much separates the Reds and Cardinals (and Pirates) in terms of resources”. There is a world of difference in resources between the Reds and Cards. And, that is organizational depth. I mean, the Cards lost Wainwright for the year, lost Chris Carpenter and Pujols several years ago, and look where they are still. They haven’t lost a beat. How? Why? Not as much analytics but they have the organizational depth to replace people. They have a “plan B”. Some analytics may have assisted them in identifying who to sign for that organizational depth, though.

    But, we don’t. People talk how the Reds should make trades? If we do, who do we look to replace those people we trade off, even if it’s just to finish the season? For instance, if we trade Bruce, who finishes the season in LF, much less for next season? If we trade Frazier, who finishes the season at 3rd, much less for next season? When it comes to trades, the best we can hope for is probably going to be a package of trades. As in, not specifically this but as an example, trading Bruce for a starting pitcher “and” trading Cueto for a RF. Making two or more trades, each trade to shore of the other position.

    And, why? Because we have no depth. The closest to depth we have right now would be at catcher. But, one of them is injured, and that one we are looking to play LF next season. Starting pitching is definitely not a strong point for us anymore. And, we don’t have the excess of minor league prospects we can use now, like we had when we had players like Frazier, Devin, Alonso, and others in the minors. Oh, we may have a couple coming up, but they still aren’t ready for this level yet, still possibly at least a season away still.

    Krivsky and Obrien had correct plan, build from the minors. And, Walt incorrectly didn’t keep that up.

    Now, from there, trade for what? If we do something like go ahead and trade Cueto and Leake for prospects, we then have one of two choices : 1) We relegate ourselves to hitting the FA market for starting pitching next season, for a rotation of Homer (won’t be ready at the beginning of the season), Lorenzen, Disco, Moscot, and Iglesias isn’t going to do the job. A staff consisting of a #2 and a bunch of 4-5 guys isn’t going to be able to do the job. Or, 2), We might as well go ahead a firesale everything and do an Astro plan of three straight 100+ loss seasons, while the fans wait for the prospects to develop. And, then, even doing this doesn’t necessarily mean we improve organizational depth. That simply means we have a bunch of prospects in the minors developing. We had that just a couple of years ago. We don’t have that now. Keeping organizational depth takes a longer term commitment.

    I can understand whichever way we go. I just hope we keep fielding a team that will built to be a 500 team give/take anyhow. I don’t want to have to live through something like three straight 100+ seasons.

    Now, past organizational depth (again, a longer commitment), the weaknesses of this team (shorter term fixes), I believe are obvious, are the medical/training staff and the bullpen. The bullpen is obvious, but we don’t want to make that a money pit again like we did with Marshall/Broxton/Chapman unsuccessfully. Good bullpens are almost a shot in the dark, anyhow. As in, you find the the best quality arms you can find as cheap as you can find them, put them out there, and hope they work. And, if they don’t, you rebuild it the next season. The bullpen isn’t a place to put a lot of money into.

    But, the medical/training staff is a different story. I can understand injuries happening. But, it seems like there are simply too many players who immediately get reinjured right after coming back or never seem 100% coming back. How long did it take for Votto to come back? Bruce played hurt last season supposedly. Cingrani hurt again. Devin on the DL twice last season. We haven’t seen Marshall for essentially 2 years. We didn’t see Masset for two seasons. We didn’t see Burton for 2 seasons, I believe. Latos did call them out, as well. Frankly, I may be interested in taking bids on Homer not coming back until next AS break.if not 2017. I really don’t have any trust in the medical/training staff right now.

    • Steve Mancuso

      In your zeal to disagree, I think you entirely missed the point. Organization depth, avoiding injuries – these are things that smart, modern organizations are better at than others.

      • davidmp2

        I don’t necessarily disagree.

        There are two problems I see. Not knowing when to trade a player/let them walk, and going “all in” on trades for other players.

        The Reds made ridiculous decisions to sign long term extensions with Votto, Phillips and Bailey rather than trade them or let them walk. The Cards had a stance on Pujols and let him walk. Great decision. The Reds could have done the same with Votto, Phillips and Bailey, but failed to do so, opting instead to significantly overpay them. This created a major issue in payroll flexibility and will be problematic for years.

        I never like the “all in” trades. The Latos deal killed the Reds from an organizational depth stand point, and was a terrible overpay. While that may be a bit of hindsight, how much would Grandal and Boxberger help the Reds right now?

      • CP

        Yes it would be nice to have a backup catcher as good as Yasmani Grandal, but also incredibly unrealistic. Watching Dusty Baker try to figure out to keep Mesoraco and Grandal on the same roster under Ryan Hanigan would have been pretty mind blowing.

      • David Potteiger

        Except, Grandal is making $693,000 this year. If the “problem” is not getting Mesoraco and Grandal enough at bats, I’m okay with that.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        So, then, it sounds like you agree with me, that there is a world of difference between the Reds and Cards.

  20. Jesse Forry

    The Reds need to get rid of their” Do Nothing” general manager & manager who should have never been hired in the 1st place as manager.
    If it keeps going like it is , the Reds & Cincinnati will be as bad as Cleveland sport teams.

  21. WVRedlegs

    I heard Marty Brenneman on MLB Network radio this morning with Steve Phillips and Todd Hollandsworth. Boy, Marty did not mince any words with them on what direction the Reds should take. He did not give GM Walt Jocketty any vote of confidence when asked if Bryan Price might be let go. He defended Price a bit saying he is only playing the cards he was dealt. He said Jocketty was responsible for putting this team together, not Price. It was refreshing to hear that from Marty.
    The next 16-17 days will show us all what kind of GM that Walt Jocketty really is.

  22. Playtowin

    The problem is the lack of a productive farm system. This a Jocketty responsibility. Reds traded a young Encanacion for 2 years of Rolen. Reds traded Boxberger, Alonso, Grandl for 2 years of Latos. Reds drafted Alonso #1 when Votto’s was a rookie. They drafted Grandl #1 with Msoraco another #1 pick almost major league ready. Reds think Hamilton will hit? Reds have not had a left fielder since ….? Who was the last productive center fielder? The problem is talent. That’s Jocketty’s responsibility.

  23. Anthony

    Great article. I could not have said it better. The relationship of Castellini and jocketty is disaster for this club. Say what you want about dusty, I loved him, but a better owner would have fired jocketty for the lack of help he provided dusty. Not fire the guy who somehow motivated guys to believe they can win.

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