The Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates play an exhibition game in Indianapolis at Victory Field at 1:35 p.m. The radio broadcast is on WLW-700.

Here is the Reds batting order:

  1. Zack Cozart SS
  2. Eugenio Suarez 3B
  3. Joey Votto 1B
  4. Brandon Phillips 2B
  5. Jay Bruce RF
  6. Devin Mesoraco C  Tucker Barnhart C
  7. Adam Duvall LF
  8. Scott Schebler DH
  9. Billy Hamilton CF

Eugenio Suarez / Photo: Cincinnati Enquirer

Lineup Thoughts

This looks pretty close to the lineup we can expect Monday. The Reds are facing a RH starter (Wilifredo Boscam) today and one (Jeremy Helickson) on Opening Day. Duvall may start Monday despite the platoon split, or Schebler may be there because he’s a lefty.

Sigh. Leadoff hitter with a .284 career OBP is a reminder you’re still watching Walt Jocketty’s Reds, in case that had slipped your mind. Jocketty doesn’t make the batting order, but he does supply the players. Jocketty’s indifference to acquiring OBP, despite lip service, is a signature move. Not sure why manager Bryan Price doesn’t move Cozart down to #7 or #8 and slide everyone else up. Eugenio Suarez’s career OBP is .315.

Batting Brandon Phillips ahead of Devin Mesoraco and in the clean-up spot is another Reds special. Projections clearly peg Mesoraco as a better hitter than Phillips this year, by a wide margin. Out of 141 major league players with a qualifying number of plate appearances last year, Phillips ranked #125 in power.

Reminder: Brandon Phillips is the Reds clean-up hitter because of RBIs.

Repeat after me: Lineups don’t matter … lineups don’t matter … lineups don’t matter …. lineups don’t matter … lineups don’t matter …. lineups don’t matter … lineups don’t matter …. lineups don’t matter … lineups don’t matter …. lineups don’t matter … lineups don’t matter …. lineups don’t matter … lineups don’t matter …. lineups don’t matter … lineups don’t matter …. lineups don’t matter … lineups don’t matter …. serenity now.

My dad was a successful football coach. When we watch football games together, he’ll point out examples where the defense can’t stop the play called “by alignment” which, to him, means poor design by the coaches. Lineups in baseball do matter a little bit. If the Reds go with a lousy on-base guy leading off and a lousy power guy batting clean-up, they are spotting the other team an edge by alignment.

Photo: Cincinnati Enquirer

Scott Schebler / Photo: Cincinnati Enquirer

News and Reading

• The Reds picked up pitcher Dan Straily (27) yesterday. Straily, who had been waived by the San Diego Padres, started three games for the Astros in 2015, but spent most of the season in AAA. He made major league 14 appearances in 2014 – half as a reliever for the Cubs and half as a starter for Oakland. The pitcher was part of the Addison Russell trade between those two teams, with Straily heading to Chicago.

Straily spent most of the 2016 spring training with the Houston Astros. He’d pitched OK. Keep in mind the twin caveats of spring training and small sample size. If you’re looking for reasons to get out of bed in the morning, Straily had 14 K and only 3 BB in 12 innings of work. Those numbers are consistent with his 124 K and 25 BB in 122.2 innings in AAA last year. There was also this article (August Fagerstrom, FanGraphs) from Wednesday with encouraging things to say about Straily’s fastball velocity. Wishful thinking: Straily puts in a solid two months with the Reds who can then trade him as a starter at the deadline. Dose of reality: Straily’s 4.71 career big league FIP.

Straily was out of options, which is why the Padres had to put him on waivers before they could send him to the minors. Feels like Straily was on the borderline of majors/minors for the Astros and Padres. That puts him squarely on the major league side in the Reds organization right now. He’s had experience starting and relieving, he could swing back and forth and serve as a long reliever in the bullpen. He’s young enough and with the raw stuff that this was a good choice for the Reds, all things (like injuries to the entire starting rotation) considered. He’s better than five of the pitchers who will make the Opening Day roster. Straily is no Jason Marquis.

Kudos to the front office for jumping on him.

• For those of you interested in the behind-the-scenes workings of a major league trade approval, Zack Buchanan (Cincinnati Enquirer) gives an interesting, in-depth look at the medical part of it.

Kremchek represents the last line of defense for the Reds when it comes to not getting ripped off in trades. He’s the one who gives the final medical opinion about whether prospective acquisitions are healthy enough to be worth the transaction. It was on his advice the Reds chose not to trade Jay Bruce to the Toronto Blue Jays in February.


Adam Duvall / Photo: Cincinnati Enquirer

• Reds general manager Dick Williams met with C. Trent Rosecrans to lay out the long-term plan for rebuilding the Reds. If you’ve been paying attention, there isn’t much specific or new here. Short version: Trade expensive players who won’t be around in two years, spend the money saved on other stuff for a while, then on players when closer to contention. Keep pounding the amateur draft and international signings.

That money saved last year and in other trades? It’s in a war chest, ready for when the team needs reinforcements.

The Cubs unleashed their savings from their reduced payroll this offseason, adding $289.95 million in future payroll in big-league signings with Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist, John Lackey, Dexter Fowler, Trevor Cahill and Andury Acevedo. …

These teams did what the Reds plan to do – save money and then spend it when young talent becomes more expensive or the team needs to add to the roster to make a playoff run, like the Royals did last season.

Even if the Reds execute this plan to perfection, its success still depends on the judgment of what kind of players to pursue. If the front office holds to the paradigm that the players to acquire are the ones with speed and defense, all the money won’t help.

34 Responses

  1. I-71_Exile

    Steve, saying your dad was a successful football coach is like saying Vin Scully was a successful announcer. Vikings football has never been the same.

    Oh, lineups don’t matter. 🙂

  2. doofus

    Bryan Price, like Walt Jocketty, comes from the square peg in the round hole school of management.

    • sezwhom

      I would agree. The lineup can’t be that tough but every year, it is a head scratcher.

  3. Hotto4Votto

    I can’t understand any rationale for batting Cozart first. At this point Price doing stuff like this is a severe disservice to the fan base. Maybe he can come over later and take a whiz in my Cheerios.

    Strailey does appear to be a solid pick up. If anything he’s likely better than sending Melville out there or starting service clocks for our young guys.

  4. vegastypo

    A Pirates pitcher hit a Reds batter with a pitch. So that one was not intentional. But if it had been the other way around …………..

    • I-71_Exile

      Yeah. The Pirates are a bunch of tough guys.

  5. Patrick Jeter

    Ive come to terms that we’re going to have close to worst-case lineups all year.

    It has to come from a place of ignorance, even though it seems insane that someone who makes millions to coach baseball doesn’t understand that putting your worst hitters 1st is a bad thing.

  6. Shchi Cossack

    So was Mesoraco actually scratched from the lineup today?

    Cozart is 0-3 today to 2 more SO. I think that’s 7 SO in his last 3 games. Again, I like Cozart and I hope he plays well this season coming off that catastrophic knee injury, but he’s no leadoff hitter by anyone’s yardstick, uh anyone will any baseball sense that is.

    • vegastypo

      Yes, they said on the broadcast that he was in the original lineup. No reason given. Hope it’s just because it’s apparently quite a cool day.

    • hof13

      I heard he had hip tightness …. whatever that means. Could be they didn’t want him to catch in bad weather. What it does is guarantee the Reds will carry 3 catchers.

  7. Shchi Cossack

    Knee surgery for Brayan Pena. Sorry to hear bad news for one of the good guys in baseball.

  8. renbutler

    MISERABLE weather for the game up here in Indy today.

    Sustained winds of 40 mph, with gusts closer to 60. Temps in the 40s, and we even had a couple bursts of ice pellets just north of the city.

    The Reds’ bats certainly aren’t cold though…

  9. Shchi Cossack

    Another hit for Mejias-Brean this spring. He’s had a nice aquital of himself in his first camp. He certainly doesn’t had the pop of a classic 3B, but he plays really good defense and has very good plate discipline. He might make a nice career for himself as a utlity IF. I would mind him getting a shot at a starting position, hitting at the top of the lineup, but he needs to show more this season than he did last season to make that a serious consideration.

    • Hotto4Votto

      I was pretty high on SMB until he seemingly stalled out at the AA level the last year and a half. I do think you’re right about him being a nice bench piece down the line. He certainly has shown well this spring.

    • MikeWV

      Maybe that should read “I would ‘not’ mind”

  10. Carl Sayre

    I am a big Cozart fan ……………..because of his glove but putting him in the lead off spot is criminally stupid. The only thing that keeps Cozart from being the 9 hole hitter in that line up is Billy Hamilton. I would prefer BP hitting lead off that fixes two STUPID moves it get Cozart out of the lead off and next to no power out of the clean up spot. Did I mention that I think hitting Cozart in the lead off spot was stupid?

  11. Jonathan Morgan

    Following the game on game day. How is Jake Cave up to bat? Has a trade been worked out? Just today on the pregame show Bryan Price said they couldn’t work out a trade for Cave or O’Grady.

    • Jack

      Must be no other team picked him up on waivers and Yanks declined to take him back.

  12. TR

    Placing Cozart, who’s coming back from major surgery, in the lead-off position makes no sense. I hope our new GM, who’s easing into the corner office, will keep the rebuild/reboot going by not extending the manager’s contract.

    • Jack

      I would rather have Bruce in the 4 hole with Mes in the 5 to protect him. I think Bruce would get more fastballs to hit. Anything but Phillips in the 4 hole.

  13. Moses

    OK, here’s the line-up that the Reds should employ:

    1. Phillips (because he’s going to hit somewhere)
    2. Votto
    3. Mesoraco
    4. Bruce
    5. Suarez
    6. LF Tandem
    7. Cozart
    8. Pitcher
    9. Hamilton

    And there might be days against particular right and left-handed pitching that you’d want to switch around 4, 5, and 6, but this would be a solid start, even if line-ups don’t matter much. And, I think Phillips and Votto would appreciate the occasional time that Hamilton is on base ahead of them to reduce their GIDP numbers.

    Got it, Mr. Price?

    • Indy RedMan

      This is fine too although I’d love to see what pitches Schebler could get at leadoff w/Votto behind him? He does have some speed and good obp in the minors. As long as Votto is in the 2 hole!! A 1 out walk is much much more likely to end up with scoring than a 2 out walk!! That’s common sense plus you need a patient hitter in the 2 hole when lighting strikes and Hamilton is actually on base running around!

    • Carl Sayre

      Moses you should submit your resume’ for consideration with that line up on the cover page. That line up makes you 75 percent better qualified than Price.

  14. Shchi Cossack

    Spring training 2016 is in the books. Under the context of good first impressions…

    Phillip Ervin (age 23 – notched 7 PA last spring, but 1st serious look)
    .391/.417/.696 in 24 PA w/ 1-2B, 2-HR, 1-BB, 6-SO, 1-SB & 1-CS
    Played A+/AA in 2015 w/ combined .241/.346/.379 in 541 PA

    Seth Mejias-Brean (age 25)
    .471/.526/.471 in 19 PA w/ 2-BB & 2-SO
    Played AA in 2015 w/ .247/.352/.360 in 475 PA

    Blake Trahan (age 22)
    .429/.409/.571 in 22 PA w/ 3-2B, 2-SO, 1-SB & 1-CS
    Played ROK/A+ in 2015 w/ .281/.363/.357 in 252 PA

    Congrats to the newbs on their success this spring. We’ll hopefully see them again soon.

    Not much to comment on regarding the pitching results.

  15. Indy RedMan

    Vs Righties:

    7- Schebler
    3 – Votto
    5 – Suarez
    2 – Mesoraco
    9 – Bruce
    4 – BP
    6 – Cozart
    8 – Hamilton

    Vs Lefties:


    You can bat Peraza leadoff when he starts and when Meso sits then bat Barnhart 7th and Bruce can bat cleanup vs righties w/Duvall vs lefties. Batting a guy coming off knee surgery leadoff is insane? Batting BP ahead of Mesoraco is insane? If you bat Schebler or Duvall ahead of only the pitcher or Hamilton then you take the bat out of their hands to a certain extent? Hopefully Price isn’t this stupid? I know this season is for experimentation anyway but this isn’t experimentation? This is peeing on an electrical fence and wondering what will happen? This is Marquis/Gregg part two? Oh by the way Somsen (and prob Drew Hayes too) is better that atleast 3 relievers on our staff?

    • gaffer

      NONE of this mater for this year. The real question is who they keep for 2017 and 2018. I hope for:

      1. Peraza -SS (learns to take a walk)
      2. Winker -LF
      3. Votto -1B
      4. Mesoraco (with a hip please) – C
      5. Schebler/Duvall (combined 25 HR) – RF
      6. Suarez -3B
      7. Blandino -2B
      8. NEW CF please!!!!

      • Scotlykins

        Along with new coach, and bullpen.

  16. redsfan06

    Appears as though Price learned line-up construction from Dusty.Since the CF is batting 9th, the SS has to lead off.

    Liked the article on Straily. He looks like a good pick up.

  17. Den

    I think baseball managing is the only job in America that people with little to no actual hands on experience believe they can just by reading numbers. There is more to managing a team then plugging in numbers. Thier are egos to massage, injuries to work with, issues with the front office and so on.

  18. greenmtred

    Steve: I can’t imagine that you are suggesting that the Reds be on the lookout for players who can’t run or field.