Thoughts about a few current events:

The Votto-Cueto Moment

Last year it was Todd Frazier’s heart-pounding win in the Home Run Derby – the highlight of an otherwise dreary season for Reds fans. Joey Votto’s second at bat against Johnny Cueto last night wasn’t on that grand of a stage. But at least to this fan, it shared the same resonance. I’ll be surprised if that moment doesn’t end up near or at the head of every “Top Moments of the 2016 Reds Season” list. Maybe that entire 6-run inning qualifies. An oasis of victory in a sea of defeat.

The May 2 game was part of my season package, but I’d have purchased a ticket to watch that match up regardless. When Cueto took the mound for the first time, I stood up and cheered. But after that, I wanted the Reds to beat him. Even more, the raw energy of Cueto’s man-on-man challenge with Votto was discernible. Cueto had struck out Votto quite neatly in the first inning. But the second round took place with two runners on and the Reds down 3-1. Votto’s towering, hair-raising home run put the Reds ahead. What was especially crazy was that Votto did it with a two-strike count. That means Joey Votto hit the ball far over the center field fence choked up like a Little Leaguer. As Mike Maffie wrote last year, Joey Votto is dangerous until he’s left the batter’s box.

Devin Mesoraco and Injuries

The club didn’t make a mistake with the timing of Devin Mesoraco’s surgery last year. There is zero evidence that delaying his surgery by a few weeks affected his return this year. Any such assertion is rank speculation born of understandable frustration with the team’s tidal wave of injuries. Mesoraco was having trouble at the plate but that was due to facing major league pitching for the first time in a year (plus the shoulder injury). It wasn’t due to a late rehab period from delaying his hip surgery. The Pirates have kept their starting shortstop Jung Ho Kang on an extended stay in AAA to let him get used to playing every day again. He was sidelined mid-season last year. Mesoraco barely hit last year.

Devin Mesoraco was as physically ready as possible for spring training and the start of the season. Every expert (remember, he received surgical care from a New York specialist) said the timing of his surgery would allow full rehab. Mesoraco reported that as well, as spring training started. Difficulty arrived when the tough starting pitching appeared. Moving his surgery up a month would not have moved facing opposing starting pitching up a month. A rough start in April was likely no matter whether the surgery had happened in May or June. The only mistake the Reds made with Mesoraco last year was having him test his hip right before a string of AL-city games where he could have been the designated hitter. But that hurt the team, not Mesoraco’s long-term health. There’s no connection between his hip injury last year and labrum tear this year.

The Reds have no reason to delay Mesoraco’s labrum surgery, other than Devin’s state of mind. And that’s a valid consideration, but in the short term at most. I think most of us would respond like Mesoraco has – asking how can I still help my team? Give the situation a couple days to play out. Back-to-back season-ending injuries sandwiching a long rehab process isn’t easy to process.

Meanwhile, complaints about the Reds medical staff are misplaced. That’s not to say they are beyond criticism. But there is no unifying theme among these injuries. Other teams have them, too. Tommy John injuries are called an “epidemic” for a reason. If you follow other major league teams closely (or even a fantasy team) you know that injuries and rehab set-backs are common with other teams. We just feel them more because of how closely we follow the Reds. Remember 2012, when the Reds used only five starting pitchers for 161 of the 162 of their games? In 2013, three pitchers (Bailey, Latos and Arroyo) threw 200+ innings. If you’re tempted to blame the Reds staff for all the injuries and setbacks, you ought to bring some data with you that shows the local guys have done worse than elsewhere.

Bullpen Chernobyl 

The 2016 Reds bullpen is exactly what one looks like when a team doesn’t care about it for a year. That, plus an organization-wide rash of injuries. It’s not like Walt Jocketty doesn’t know the expensive, multi-year contract-for-relief pitcher move. That’s his move. Think Burke Badenhop, Manny Parra and Logan Ondrusek. Think $21 million for Broxton. If anything, Jocketty is a serial offender at overpaying for past bullpen performance.

But instead, the Reds’ approach to the bullpen this year has been sound. That’s right, sound.

I get the pain. The head says one thing, but the heart still aches. Last night, when J.C. Ramirez gave up two base runners in the seventh, I bolted from GABP. I knew what was coming and didn’t care to see it. The Reds had a three-run lead when I left the park and were behind by two by the time I turned on my car radio.

The rebuild-reboot has created plenty of opportunity for criticism, particularly in the area of position players. But it would have been sheer folly for the Reds to have spent anything on the 2016 bullpen. And they didn’t, despite their well worn trigger finger. In fact, the Reds didn’t sign free agents of any kind this year. Of all the types of players out there, because of how volatile their performances are from year to year, relievers are the last player you would have wanted the Reds to have signed in 2016 to keep around for 2017 and beyond.

If the downpour of pitching injuries ever stops, the bullpen will receive needed arms – ones that will be around for several years. Not every pitcher in the system who is a starter can remain one. A starting rotation of Homer Bailey, Raisel Iglesias, Anthony DeSclafani, Robert Stephenson and Cody Reed – and that’s pretty realistic for August – leaves Michael Lorenzen, Brandon Finnegan, Jon Moscot and John Lamb, among others, for the relief corps. Then think about the next wave currently thriving in Pensacola. That’s a world of home grown difference coming to a pitching mound near you.

Don’t worry, this off-season the Reds will get back to chasing ephemeral bullpen stats in the free agent market. Who-hoo!

60 Responses

  1. redmountain

    just look at the arms headed to the majors and anybody on the roster right now should fear for their job in the bullpen. Reds are handling it right

  2. Chuck Schick

    Step 1: Determine who can pitch

    Step 2: Align those who can pitch with the role that best fits their ability/ emotional composition

    Step 3: Trade excess pitching for bats

    Step 4: trade guys who won’t be here in 2018 for something

    Step 5: Draft well

    Step 6: Think long term with service time and super 2

    Step 7: Treat every game as an opportunity to determine who can help in 2018.

    • Patrick Jeter

      Yep. This is about perfect in my eyes.

  3. ohiojimw

    My reaction to last night’s game mirrors Steve’s except I was at home watching on TV. When the 2nd man reached on Ramirez, I left the sports TV room (aka known as the spare bedroom). Several minutes later I saw a Tweet about Ramirez allowing “a run” and allowed myself to be deluded into thinking he had somehow escaped the inning with just 1 run across. I arrived back at the TV in time to see the Belt AB in progress. I took one look at the screen to catch the tactical situation then turned and left the room muttering under my breath that a 3 run HR seemed likely. Unfortunately my premonition was correct.

  4. ohiojimw

    The Louisville Bats PR (@louisvillebats) put up a Tweet a couple hours ago about the Bats Staff ERA. As of April 23 the Bats staff era was 4.19, 12th, in their league. However over the last 9-10 days that has been reduced to 2.93, 4th their league. Over this period Bats pitchers have allowed 13ER in 90 innings for an ERA of 1.30.

    The most recent starts of Stephenson and Reed certainly contributed to this positive change in the Bats staff ERA but they did not throw complete games. The bullpen has also getting people out.

    Three of the bullpen guys involved in the combined staff shut out thrown by the Bats last have yet to throw a pitch for the Reds this season. Given what goes on nightly with the Reds, why not?

    • ohiojimw

      The 3 guys I am referring to are Layne Somsen, Dayan Diaz, and Chad Rogers. It is the 27yo season for all three. There would seemingly be no service time or super 2 ramifications for any of them. Somsen is on the 40 man roster and thus a simple recall away. The other two are not on the 40 man; but given the performance of the Reds pen, who would be likely to be lost to waivers if DFAed to make room for them?

      • Big56dog

        Drew Hayes had some good numbers until this season, Jumbo Diaz is tearing it up down there. The sad part is that Price first options are AAA pitchers who are nothing more than replacement players- just like the players you name. It is so bleak for me as a fan to think there are any realistic answers. I have no idea why Hayes is first choice to bail out your AAA reliever who is about to blow the lead but I have no idea why he is on the roster . Should have sent him down before the Mets series, Left Somsen up and had a position player take Bruce’s spot when he was on paternity leave. I really do not know why Hoover is not in AAA if Jumbo is, but I am not sure if Sunday’s game made so many unavailable but I thought relief pitchers can pitch 2 innings and then make an appearance the next day

      • ohiojimw

        Understand what you are saying and do not really disagree.
        Just asking why not keep on shuffling.

        I think a lot of folks believe the long term (late 2016-12017) answers are Finnegan and Lorenzen for the high leverage and a filler or two (Moscot? Lamb? Adelman?) to get them to those two.
        But darn if that Finnegan isn’t busting his backside to look like a real starter.

      • Andy

        I think Finnegan has earned a chance. Not sure where he fits ( unless the injury parade continues forever.) Maybe Bailey should come back in the pen, ease back into things, then takeover as a starter when someone gets hurt or runs into an innings limit?

  5. WVRedlegs

    One thing about all these injuries, it sure is providing an abundance of opportunities for the younger players. The bad thing is, not many are rising to the occasion. Barnhart, Finnegan, and Suarez in a new position have done well. Duvall has been OK.
    Straily has done fairly well with his new opportunity. But no one has really seized their opportunity and that has been a little disappointing.

    • Big56dog

      Situation most likely- no one is going to seize the opportunity they just will be above replacement level – which is how you build championships with a roster full of these type players with an occasional ace to pitch you to victory and a deep bullpen that does not blow leads

    • ohiojimw

      I would say that Barnhart was starting to look like an everyday catcher even before Meso’s latest problem. Question seems to be stamina and can he continue to hit as he as this season.

      • WVRedlegs

        I hope they don’t overuse Barnhart. Cabrera did fair last year. It might be time for the front office to be quietly shopping for another good young C to team with Barnhart. Not just for this year, but for the next few. Just to be on the safe side, completely take Mesoraco out of the current and future C equation.
        Maybe take a look at Milwaukee’s Jonathon Lucroy, we all know he is on the block. Lucroy has rebounded well so far this year from his injury filled 2015. He has a hit in 19 of the 22 games he has played in. He is a RH hitter and would team up nicely with Barnhart. However Lucroy will be 30 next month, so maybe a younger C would be a better fit. Doubtful but maybe.
        I doubt these younger GM’s would have the qualms and hesitations about inter-division transactions than the old guard GM’s do.

  6. Scott Carter

    Article is well timed. Last night I was watching on (live in Virginia) and as soon as Finnegan left the game I knew what was going to happen. It didn’t take an OT prophet to predict that the three run homer was coming. But the heart yearns for wins, for a respectable bullpen for some hope and it is very hard for the heart to listen to the head saying it is coming just give it a couple of years. It is obvious that the Reds hierarchy is playing 2016 to hoard back cash and try to get another top ten draft pick, maybe even the top pick next year. My only solace is that at least that is a good plan.

  7. WVRedlegs

    If anyone is trying to teach their kid how to hit, FSO and Chris Welsh’s Tech Talk had Lou Piniella on a couple of nights ago before the game. Lou was teaching a drill a player can do to shorten his swing. It was something a player can do by themselves too. It was really amazing. Lou stood about 18-24 inches from a chain link fence, and he had to swing the bat without hitting the fence. I stood there and stared at the TV, and said there’s no way. Lou got in his stance and it was swoosh, swoosh, swoosh with 3 quick swings and he didn’t hit the fence.
    It was a great drill for kids age 11-12 and up to learn. It all had to do with switching your weight from the back foot to the front foot earlier, keeping the hands in close to the body, and getting the bat through the zone quickly.
    I’d recommend that 3 minute video to anyone trying to teach kids and teenagers how to hit. Sweet Lou with a sweet batting tip.

    • CP

      That was a really standard hitting drill for me growing up. It is somewhat controversial now, however. Some hitting coaches think it is outdated and teaches bad mechanics (or, at the very least, has a tendency to create bat habits because young hitters cheat to avoid hitting the fence).

  8. ArtWayne

    Drafting Mesaroco in the 1st round in ’07, a high school Tommy John survivor, was a mistake. 2nd round OK. The Reds passed on Staunton in the 1st round with Miami claiming him in the 2nd. Hopefully, we will not draft an injured player again. There are seemingly a few injury prone players on the Reds’ current draft list. Beware!
    We’ve gotten one year of 1st round talent out of Mesaroco in 10 years. This was a terrible investment by our managing team at the time.

    • i71_Exile

      I’m not sure that Mes’s high school injury had anything to do with his subsequent injuries. Anthony Munoz had knee surgery in college which allowed him to drop to the Bengals. They went to two Super Bowls in no small part to The Eraser and his injury-free career.

      It’s pure, dumb luck.

  9. lwblogger2

    Assuming reasonable health, the pitching should be very good. I’m not sure any of those guys are #1 guys but there are a couple who have the potential in them and there are a whole handful of guys who look like solid MLB pitchers. The offense is more troubling. I don’t think the Reds are targeting the right kinds of players in trades with other teams. There is still no emphasis on plate discipline for example.

    So what it comes down to is my frustration stems from the fear that what we’re going to see is a repeat of the lost decade of 2000-2010. I just don’t think the front-office and baseball operations staff is as talented as those working for other MLB teams.

    • WVRedlegs

      I share your fear and frustration about the hitting/offense. Even in 2010-2013 they seemed like always being one offensive player short of getting over the top. Even with Choo, something seemed missing. But they refused to do anything about it then when the big chips were down.
      That is why I mentioned above, with Mesoraco’s injury, about going out and getting Lucroy from the Brewers. Think long term with this move. He has rebounded to a .309/.371/.395 line so far in 22 games this year. However, since he has little power, if the Reds do this, they would have to lock up Bruce for a few years too. Both could be solid moves for 2017 and beyond.
      You as a catcher, would you like to see the Reds to pursue Lucroy now, go for a younger C, or go with what they have?

      • lwblogger2

        I like Barnhart and would like to see what he can do as pretty much the primary catcher. Let’s see if my fears about durability have any merit. If it turns out he holds up pretty well, I’d probably look for a RH hitting catcher to compliment him. I don’t know who in particular but thinking someone like a David Ross type.

    • eric3287

      I completely agree with that 2nd paragraph. What adds to the frustration is that they aren’t doing anything innovative that leads me to believe they are trying to find new ways to evaluate talent. Pittsburgh went all with shifts and cast off starting pitchers they could get that were ground ball pitchers and then had them pitch to the shift. There was an article recently about the Phillies teaching all of their pitchers a curve, even their free agent signings. Atlanta is looking for high ceiling young players and willing to take on bad short term contracts to get it. The Cubs use not just advanced metrics, but advanced data to reposition their CF to turn a below average defender into an above average defender.

      What are the Reds doing? Taking arguably Walt’s best trade (for Suarez) and reducing his value by moving him to 3B. He’s a top 6 offensive SS in the NL, and a middle of the pack offensive 3B in the NL. They target low ceiling guys in the high minors in trades, with the goal seeming to be an 80 game winner int he next year or two.

      The Reds have already wasted two years not acquiring good, young talent. Now they seem destined to waste a year or two not looking for new ways to evaluate or use talent.

      • greenmtred

        Being concerned with where the hitting comes from (short or third) seems a bit rigid and old-school (not that old-school is bad). Suarez might be a top-6 offensive shortstop (early to tell), but he is a distinctly sub-par defender at that position.

      • eric3287

        Maybe I wasn’t as clear as I meant to be, or maybe I’m just wrong. I didn’t mean to imply that offense has to come from certain select positions. I was speaking to overall value more than specific offensive numbers.

        For example, Carlos Correa had a 133 OPS+ last year. He was also a little below average defensively as a SS. That 133 OPS+ means much more, comparatively, at SS than at 3B or in the outfield. Joe Mauer is another example. As a catcher, he provided great value to the Twins with what he did offensively. As a DH/1B, not so much.

        Suarez struggled last year with errors and range.Most of those errors seem to have come in about a 2 week stretch. With better positioning, he may have been able to improve his range (see Fowler, Dexer). It seems like something that a club in a rebuilding year should find out before moving him to a new position. Take advantage of all the data they have access to in hopes they can improve him to an average or slightly below average defensive SS, where they could get the most bang for their buck. That they didn’t says to me that the front office does not use all of the tools at their disposal or have very much creativity.

      • greenmtred

        Suarez’s lack of range is less of an issue at third. He flashes bad hands at times, an issue anywhere. Right now, Cozart is providing value on offense and defense, and while I agree that he is unlikely to be the shortstop on the next good Reds team, the Reds could and should try to replace him in kind; Short is an important position, and since the Reds are evidently rebuilding around pitching, good defense is critical to maximizing that investment. They obviously, as every commenter here has seemingly said, need to aggresively try to upgrade their position-player talent at all levels, but the pitching will probably be a force before the hitting is.

  10. jessecuster44

    Could not disagree more about the injuries. Something is not right with how the organization approaches conditioning, injury diagnosis and injury treatment and rehab. The starting pitching may have been healthy in 2012, but there was Votto’s knee fiasco.

    Delaying surgery? Why? Get it done, because the sooner it happens the sooner the player is back healthy. Allowing big contracts to play through pain instead of getting the injury treated? That’s mismanaging a valuable resource.

    I refuse to believe that this all is just Bad Luck. When things go wrong for an extended period of time, it’s time to reevaluate how you do things.

    • Steve Mancuso

      I don’t think anyone is opposed to close scrutiny of the Reds methods related to injury. Price said the organization is taking a top-to-bottom look at what they’re doing.

      I can’t defend how they handled the Votto injury. That was horrible. But I’ll defend every aspect of what they did with Mesoraco other than having him try out catching right before he was going to DH for a week. There was NO downside to delaying his surgery. It would not have gotten him back sooner playing for the Reds. They knew that any rehab would extend beyond last year’s regular season and as long as he had it by a certain date (and he had it months before that date) he would be ready for 2016. And he was. The Reds hadn’t given up on competing last year. When these decisions were being made about the timing of Devin’s surgery, the Reds were above .500. If he could help them for another month by hitting, it was worth trying to find out.

      The Reds may well have a problem in the way they handle injuries. But just looking at how many they have, without comparing it to other teams and figuring out if it is luck or something systemic, is just finger pointing with no basis. I can refuse to believe the Reds are going to finish below .500 this year, but that doesn’t make it so.

      • jessecuster44

        Ok – but how much did Devin actually play? They kept him on the roster and he didn’t do much at all, THEN he had the surgery. If the Reds were smart, they would have DL’ed Devin if they weren’t going to play him.

        There are plenty of other cases of injury where the Reds med staff has looked suspect. Broxton in 2013. Cueto’s oblique in 2013. Bruce’s knee in 2014. Sean Marshall. The beat goes on.

        I’ll try to do a little research on DL days for all MLB teams and see where the Reds stack up. The trouble is, that the Reds don’t use the DL very wisely.

      • Steve Mancuso

        He got 51 plate appearances from Opening Day to May 20, mostly as a pinch hitter. He started the first week and then four times as the DH. I remember thinking the Reds didn’t really have a better pinch hitter in AAA to take his place.

      • jessecuster44

        So how much did he help? He took up a roster spot and was used minimally. Regardless if anyone in AAA was better than an impinged Devin, the Reds didn’t use him. As they were still trying to win, that is classic mismanagement of the roster.

  11. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I just read an article about Homer being shutdown again. I still hold, but I also hope I am wrong, I said last year that we won’t see Homer on a major league mound by the All Star break.

  12. james garrett

    Pitching will not be our problem once all get healthy.This will be a brutal year but I can live with it.Stay true Reds fans because we will be back and maybe as early as 2017 or 2018.

  13. jimmaloney46

    2012 and 2013 are a long time ago. This is the Brian Price era. Since he took over, the Reds have been continuously and insanely decimated by injuries. Yeah, maybe it’s just flukey bad luck, but sometimes it’s a team that’s badly out of sync, led by a bad manager who runs his team cluelessly and with little feel. So far, a fair assessment of Price says he manages tentatively and with little continuity. He’s both lost and ill equipped for the job, actually. He had no experience coming in, and he hasn’t done anything to make me, or anyone else, think he has that special level of feel and smarts that seperates good managers from bad. Players pick up on this kind of ineptitude. They play a little less confidently. They get tentative and try to do too much to compensate sometimes. It’s not an obvious day to day thing, it’s more subtle and cumulative. I submit these injuries are far above average in severity and numbers, and he is the largest part of the issue. He has guys way out of sync. That’s when weird injuries start happening. He is Dave Shula in a Red uni.

    No need to talk about Mesoraco anymore. He may very well be done for good. He is extremely injury prone, and his hitting this year was making 2014 look like was an anomaly.. I wanted to keep Grandal all along. Mez was still bouncing throws to 2nd this year. Ugh. By the time he gets back, we better hope the Reds have themselves an everyday catcher, or we will have all these new prospect pitchers throwing to a sub level catcher calling sub level games. Who wants that? Branhart seems too little to catch more than 110 games without wearing down.

    • IndyRedMan

      Mesoraco is done! Gerrit Cole was one of the top 5-6 pitchers in mlb last year and makes $548K! You don’t have to pay guys a ton of money til you have to pay them a ton of money and they didn’t have to pay Mesoraco based off 350 atbats?

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Ones like Cole are few and far between. Once his first contract runs out, he will probably be going to the big ticket clubs, the same reason why we had to let Cueto go.

      • Patrick Jeter

        It’s a calculated risk to give players extensions based on a single good season, but it’s sometimes the only way you can get a guy to stay. If you always give players the minimum and always fight them in arbitration, no one will stay with the team past 6 seasons.

  14. eric3287

    I would also nit pick with the medical staff as well. Sure, maybe delaying surgery didn’t and won’t cause any long term issues. The hip bone is not connected to the shoulder bone and all that. But the way they handled Mesoraco last year was so amazingly short-sighted and ignorant it is hard to believe the decision makers in all of that have the brain cells necessary to make it as far as they have in life. 2015, like 2016, was a last place team going nowhere and looking to the future. Why even piddle around with anything other than getting the star catcher 100% as quick as possible. Maybe he had all the time he needed to rehab. Why even think about pushing it though?

    This is also the same organization that let an obviously hobbled Joey Votto play in the 2012 ASG for reasons that still boggle the mind. The injury occurred in late June, and the organization had not bothered to even give the guy an MRI until after the ASG?!

    Now word is out that Mesoraco thought we was going into the lineup up until the point he had his own MRI (yesterday). Moscot, who until 3:00 was the scheduled starter, didn’t have his MRI until about 1:30. Why is this organization waiting so long to diagnosis injuries? Cozart, who was “available to play” yesterday, is out of the line up again. How long is he going to have to wait for his diagnosis? Until he blows out his knee again?

    • jessecuster44

      this. Why indeed does it take the Reds organization so long to see these injuries as potentially serious? Have they learned nothing from the past four seasons?

  15. Shchi Cossack

    The Old Cossack’s frustration and angst has nothing to do with the results on the field or the ineffectiveness of the bullpen or the Reds record or the TOOTBLANS or the injuries or the myriad of other issues with the players. This season is not about winning, although winning would be nice. This season is not about players having all-star seasons, although there isn’t a single player deserving all-star status right now. This season is all about prospect evaluation and preparation for the future. The Reds management seems to be approaching this season by making decisions with totally random disregard after a rash of injuries thwarted their initial plans. That has my tail feathers in a wad.

    Melville should NEVER have been on the roster and once he was on the roster he should never have been given multiple opportunities to prove he shouldn’t be on the roster. Hayes should also never have been on the roster and also shouldn’t have been given multiple opportunities to prove he shouldn’t be on the roster. Neither pitcher was ever effective at the minor league level, including this season, yet both were promoted to the major league level despite having no chance of success and having no prospect for contributing in the future.

    Jumbo failed miserably, yet he continued to pitch and continued to fail miserably. Jumbo is a 32-year-old pitcher who relies on a 98/99 mph fastball for success. He can no longer throw his fastball at 98/99 mph. He had a very narrow window of opportunity for success at the major league level and that window has closed. That became painfully obvious very quickly, but he did deserve one last look before making the decision to cut bait and move on. Hoover falls into the same category. Hoover deserved a chance but he’s had more than sufficient chances to prove that the 28-year-old reliever is not part of the future, yet he continues to receive opportunity after opportunity.

    Ohlendorf and Wood are not part of the Reds future, but they do provide some stabilizing benefit in the bullpen until some quality prospects step forward. Cotham and Cingrani might be part of a future Reds bullpen, so not only continuing, but emphasizing, to provide them with opportunities makes sense until they prove or disprove their future value.

    Ramirez showed some recent promise at the minor league level in 2014 & 2015 and was having a solid early season at the AAA level before being called up. That represented the first and only indication that the Reds management intended to use the opportunity in 2016 to honestly evaluate bullpen prospects for their future potential, but what about Somsen & D. Diaz? Why aren’t they in the Reds bullpen for evaluation along with Ramirez?

    The signing of Simon to a minimal contract, mirrored the signing of Wood. Simon represented a stabilizing benefit for the starting rotation, until he proved to be a non-stabilizing factor, yet the Reds continue to run him out to the mound. Claiming Straily off the waiver wire provided a pitcher who could not only provide some stabilizing capability for the bullpen and rotation, but might provide some future benefit. What did the Reds management do with him? They sat him down and ignored him while running Melville and Simon out to the mound repeatedly. Now Straily is working in the rotation effectively and Adleman has been promoted to the rotation, yet Simon continues to pitch in the rotation. Lamb could have easily been added to the rotation earlier after his splendid 3rd rehab start, but the Reds kept running Simon out to the mound. Now Moscot goes down with an injury and the Reds management cancels Lamb’s 4th rehab start and usher him to the rotation.

    The Reds management simply has no plan for effectively evaluating their prospects and without an effective evaluation for their prospects, his season truly is a lost season.

    • I-71_Exile

      Sometimes you just have to get through the games.

  16. Chuck Schick

    If you look at the 2012 Cubs roster there aren’t a lot of guys still around….actually there is only Rizzo. All of the pitchers are long gone. How many of the 1982 Reds were around in 1985? Not many.

    Instead of getting worked up over Melville, Diaz and any other stiff they’re sending out there, we need to remember that those guys are a means to an end. They’re band aids. Someone has to pitch and they’re cheap and easy to discard when the time is right. The Reds did everything but fly a banner over the city that says ” we’re going to suck this year” to set the right expectations for 2016.

    I don’t understand the ongoing angst.

    • jessecuster44

      There’s sucking, and there’s what the Reds are doing. The bullpen situation literally could not have been handled any worse. We may be looking at the 2003 Detroit Tigers’ record.

  17. VaRedsFan

    Didn’t Mez sit out the first 3 weeks or so of Spring Training? So, obviously, he wasn’t ready at the start of ST 2016.

      • Chad Jones

        Coming into the year I knew we’d stink, but I was hoping to watch the young pitching develop. The injuries have killed that. In March I was hoping by now we’d have Iglesias, Finnegan, Lamb, Desclafani, Homer, and Lorenzen all pitching by this point. Instead we get this crap every night. Maybe by the All-Star break everyone will be back. I know teams have injuries, but this is absurd. The Reds really need to reevaluate their strength and throwing programs.

    • ohiojimw

      Listening over the years to professional athletes talk about returning to competition following injury, they always say that nothing can really prepare them to compete at game speed and intensity except playing in real games. In the specific case of MLB, add in the rigors of playing essentially every day plus on average getting on a plane and flying several hundred to a couple thousand miles once to twice a week; there is no way to simulate these factors.

      The docs, and trainers can certify that they look ready. The player can feel they are ready; but only the trial under fire can prove it. This is the process all the Reds returning players have been going through. All three of the position players have had some “barks” as they move through the process but the prior injuries seem to have been effectively dealt with.

      Except for perhaps a particular player just being predisposed to injury by body type of style of play, I do not see how an injured shoulder can be connected with a previously injured hip (Meso) or a jammed thumb can be caused by a previous (opposite) shoulder injury (Hamilton).

  18. Steve Schoenbaechler

    We need to remember, a rebuilding doesn’t happen in an off season. How many years were the Astros and Cubs the worst in the league? Again, how many “years”? Thus, I’m not so worried about their W-L record. I’m more worried about their development.

    On another note, I still can’t help thinking there is something going on with this medical/training staff. I am well aware they got “some” new staff in there. But, I wonder if they cleaned house of those sections and/or their procedures. I mean, we are seeing the same things again. Devin comes back from injury, he goes right back with another injury. Moscot comes back from injury, he goes right back with soreness to the same area. Same with Homer. Same with Votto back a couple of years. We didn’t see Masset, Burton, and essentially Marshall for 2 seasons. Cingrani spent 2 seasons, I believe, going on and off the DL several times. And, much of what I have seen has been with the pitchers. I mean, just consider the young studs we have, then consider how many just this season have spent some time injured. Lamb, Disco, Lorenzen, Moscot, Bailey, Raisel, Simon, Finnegan. That’s 1/3 of all the pitchers on the 40 man roster (24 pitchers). I can’t help thinking we’ve been in this state of flux since 2011. I can’t say it is something Price is doing. But, with the exception of his first year, 2010 (explainable; he probably didn’t want to do much with the system that was in place his first season), our pitchers have been a MASH unit with the exception of 2012. Oh, there have been injuries to the position players, but no where to the extent of the pitchers. Like I stated, we didn’t see Burton, Masset, and Marshall for 2 seasons essentially. None of the position players were out for that long.

  19. Tralfaz

    Well reasoned analysis. On the combination injury and bullpen problem Iglesias might also be a bullpen option. I’d prefer him as a starter but I’m concerned about his durability. He and Lorenzen both fall into this category. Talented, great stuff, but not sure they can withstand 175 to 200 innings a year. Now and not when they’re trying to compete is the time to answer that question.

  20. ManuelT

    Price reminds me of Tommy Lasorda with his disdain of pitch counts for young pitchers. Once Iglesias or Finnegan hit 100 they should be out of there. I don’t pay enough attention to MLB to compare our team with other in terms of injuries. What I do have is 44 years of being a Reds fan and the injury situation seems to be unprecedented. Not simply in terms of injuries but in terms of the way they are handled and how supposedly rehabilitated guys seem to relapse. I hate to think of my team this way but our management seems to be on the low side when it comes to compassion for our players. I know baseball is a business but isn’t it good business to do what can be done to avoid 2 trips to the DL and keep it to 1?

    • Patrick Jeter

      100 pitches is a completely arbitrary number not based in any medical science.

      Why don’t warm-up pitches before the game and between innings count, either? Every pitcher who throws 100 pitches in a game probably throws something like 160-170 pitches if you include ALL the pitches thrown.

      • ManuelT

        Arbitrary to you. Some coaches swear by it. But it’s probably well beyond what Finnegan and Iglesias are accustomed to pitching. You say it’s arbitrary but some ML coaches use it as a guidepost. There was a young Dodgers pitcher who recently had a no-hitter going and was promptly yanked once he hit 100. I’d rather have a coach like that one then one who leaves young pitchers in when they’re obviously tiring.

      • Patrick Jeter

        Coaches swearing by a number doesn’t cause it to not be arbitrary.

      • ManuelT

        I don’t understand the point about the 160-170 pitches. If EVERYONE throws 60-70 warming up, then it’s a wash and proper to focus on the in-game pitches. I don’t think you’d deny there is a proper limit.

      • greenmtred

        Realistically, the limit would differ from pitcher to pitcher. A knuckleballer can throw a lot of pitches. Chapman probably could not. And that’s before you even consider the physiological differences between any two pitchers.There was a time when starters threw many more than 100 pitches on a regular basis. Probably pitchers throwing 95mph aren’t great candidates for that kind of workload, but, again, that would vary from case to case.

      • Patrick Jeter

        Right, there’s a limit. And it’s likely different for every person. Also, I’m sure every pitcher throws a different amount of warm-up and between inning pitches. So a guy getting pulled at 100 pitches may have only thrown 130 that day. Maybe he’s thrown 180. Hence, my contention that 100 is arbitrary.

      • ohiojimw

        All pitches are not created equally. Warm up tosses aren’t competitive pitches. Situational leverage is a big key. Pitch count within individual innings matters at the margin.

        My guess would be that 100 competitive pitches per game isn’t as arbitrary as just simply being the triple digit barrier; but also not precisely defined as a danger zone. It would be the point where it is prudent to start closely watching the typical pitcher for signs he is running on fumes.

  21. Steve Schoenbaechler

    Sorry, can’t state what seems to be a common theme is with the injuries then just dismiss it. Others have injuries, sure. But, this often? Not. 2011, how many teams have to reach down to their AA teams to simply get pitchers to cover some innings. One of the radio announcers recently talked about how the Reds have had 9 different starters already this season; no other team has had more than 7. 1/3 of the pitchers on the 40 man roster have seen injury time just this season. Latos even talked down about the medical/training staff here. And, especially, none of this occurred with our pitchers before Price got here. 2010 could easily be explained; Price didn’t want to change anything his first season. 2012 was a great season for the pitchers. But, then, if you remember, what was one thing that killed us in the post season that season? Cueto’s injury.

    4 of the last 5 seasons, this many injuries, affecting so many pitchers? With nothing like this for as long as most anyone could remember in the history of the Reds, including the immediate history prior to 2011? Coincidence? Not likely. Other teams affected with injuries, also? Sure. Like this? Not likely.

  22. doofus

    Why are excuses always being made to cover Walt Jocketty and the Scouting and Player development department’s collective ineptness at building and maintaining a roster? Winning organizations do what needs to be done to maintain a competitive ball club. Sure there will be ups and downs, but successful organizations do not stray far from their normal trend lines.

    Jocketty made no moves to bolster a roster at the trade deadlines when they were in playoff contention. He does nothing to solve roster weaknesses during off seasons. A successful general manager is a proactive manager of the roster. He gets players to plug in to replace unsignable and under performing players. He builds positional depth to stave off injuries. He ensures that players are being properly developed down on the farm. All we get are excuses from the front office and ownership. And the fans should be patient?

    All teams must deal with injuries.

    The Scouting department finds and the front office wastes 1st round picks on relief pitchers? But, be patient Red’s fans! In 2012, Nick Travieso is the 14th selection in the 1st round. Lucas Giolito (16), Cory Seager (18), Michael Wacha (19), Marcus Stroman (22) follow him. Ask yourself how can the Reds be so inept with their analysis? Look up other recent drafts. You can see the same pattern.

    Patience is not the cure. The front office needs to be cleaned out. Red’s fans deserve results, not to be told they need to be patient.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      I have to agree on that. Though a long term effect, Jocketty is the one who builds the roster each year and, thus, put the quality of the talent of the pitching to what we have now. Back then, he should have seen how 4 of our starters’ contracts were up in back to back years and probably should have planned on keeping some. Not to mention, does every good pitcher we have, do they have to end up being a starter?