“Now I think we’re at the point where we’ve got a 40-man roster full of young exciting players. … You’re using young players you think are going to be part of your future. … Instead of doing what we were doing last year, where you’re trying to plug in with … the guys who were really just here a short period of time, as warm bodies. … Now we’re figuring out which of these young guys will be part of the next core. To find that out, we’ve got to let them play.”

– Dick Williams, Redleg Nation Podcast #165 (at 9:56)

Cincinnati Reds 3 • Pittsburgh Pirates 12 || MLB || FG || Statcast

Scott Feldman, spotted a 3-0 lead, gave up seven runs in four innings. He struck out three and walked two. The damage would have been worse were it not for a heads up play by Zack Cozart to cut down a Pirate runner at third base. Feldman’s ERA is now 4.83.

Feldman’s mediocrity should not be a surprise to anyone who can read a FanGraphs player page. He started four games last year before the Houston Astros moved him to the pen. None of those was as bad as Feldman’s start tonight.

If 34-year-old Scott Feldman doesn’t meet Dick Williams’ definition of warm body, it’s hard to imagine why.

Blake Wood entered the game with two outs in the 7th inning, relieving Robert Stephenson. Wood walked the first three batters he faced, including the Pirates’ #8 and #9 hitters, the latter of whom was a pitcher. Wood threw two wild pitches (one, that bounced in the dirt, was scored a passed ball out of pity for Wood) that each allowed a run to score. Wood also did a lousy job covering home plate, for the record.

Wood, at age 31, comes awfully close to falling into the warm body category. He is one of the many Reds with a double-digit walk rate. His ERA is 5.06 despite the hard-to-believe fact that he didn’t give up an earned run of his own tonight.

It’s May and Bronson Arroyo, Tim Adleman and Feldman remain in the Reds rotation. None of the three are part of the club’s future.

If Dick Williams meant what he said, Cody Reed, Robert Stephenson and Michael Lorenzen would be starting regularly, like Amir Garrett. Players like Barrett Astin, Ariel Hernandez, Lisalverto Bonilla, Rookie Davis and others would also be receiving opportunity.

Can they do the job at the major league level?

“To find that out, we’ve got to let them play.”

Meanwhile, Joey Votto murdered a baseball. Votto’s first-inning homer plated three runs after Billy Hamilton and Zack Cozart had walked.

Unfortunately, after that blast the Reds bats went quiet against Pirates pitching.

37 Responses

  1. RedAlert

    Dick Williams ….. blah, blah , blah , blah ….. same old same old. Lip service at its finest !!!

    • RedAlert

      Wonder where he learned that from???????

  2. Chuck Schick

    You still need warm bodies. If you went all
    ” young guys” then you’d have no one to pitch in September when they reach their innings limits. Why put yourself in a position where you’re potentially forced to overuse guys in what will likely be a 90 loss season? Arroyo, Feldman and Wood aren’t long term solutions…nor will the young guys be if overused while they’re sorting things out.

    • Kurt Frost

      I agree… Have to keep the innings down for the young guys then let them loose later in the summer.

    • kmartin

      Actually we have so many young pitchers (especially if Disco and Finnegan return) that I am sure a rotation could be developed that would not require any of the young pitchers to exceed an innings limit.

      • Chuck Schick

        If/when Finnegan, Disco and Bailey return then it’s likely that Arroyo, Feldman and Wood’s usage declines…or is even eliminated. However, until that happens then they need to be used to avoid a true September to Remember.

    • Big56dog

      Not sure if this is the reason but it seems logical, I tried to make this point and people seem to counter Stephenson and Wood can pitch 200 innings for some reason. I really do not know if it is related but it seemed they pushed Disco 2 years ago and Finnegan last season when they could have cut back & shut them down like Leake in 2010 & 2011.
      Why do people want to see awful start after awful start from pitchers who are not ready? Why not bring up Mahle or Castillo using the same logic?
      if innings limits are not an issue then I get to not have Feldman or Arroyo, but why can’t Adleman be here in 2021 at age 34 or whatever just like Ramono or Rookie Davis?

  3. james garrett

    Saying one thing and doing another won’t cut it with the fans.I don’t know if or when Homer,Disco or Finny will return but right now is the time to find who will be part of the future.Warm bodies is exactly what we are running out there and it makes no sense.Also didn’t understand the quick hook with Stephenson.Game was lost so let him pitch and if he gets hammered let him get hammered.Matter of fact he should have been told he had the last 5 innings even if his arm fell off.He may have withered and crawled back to the dugout or he may have competed till his arm did fall off.At any rate you find out what he is made of.

    • Chuck Schick

      So using your plan, what warm bodies should they use after Labor Day when the young guys reach their innings limits or are injured? You do understand that they can use the warm bodies now and have flexibility for the rest of the season or they can be forced to go all warm bodies later in the year?

      • Chuck Schick

        Why would you rush Davis and Romano? Both can seemingly pitch so isn’t it in the Reds long term best interest to not potentially impede their development?

        I agree that Stephenson and Reed can be / should be stretched a bit, but history tells us they’ll be more injuries and they may be needed extensively at some point.

        At this point, in part because of Feldman, Arroyo and Wood, the Reds actually have a lot of flexibility in how/ when they can use guys. Ideally, Disco, Bailey and Finnigan return and you can go 100% real pitchers in the 2nd half. Until that happens, you’re painting yourself into a corner by not letting the warm bodies suck up some innings.

      • Jim Walker

        Agree 100% with Steve about Stephenson and Reed. The way they have been used to date in 2017 makes no sense in terms of their development which if they are seen as potentially major players in the future, it also makes no sense for the team.

      • Nick Carrington

        I think putting Davis and Romano in the rotation is rushing them. Romano had half a good season at AA (struggled mightily in the first half) and currently has a meager 14.5% K% in AAA. Davis is nowhere near ready. I wrote about it here: https://redlegnation.com/2017/04/18/slowing-things-down-with-rookie-davis/

        But it does seem like time to figure out what Reed and Stephenson have. Put those two and Lorenzen in the rotation along with Garrett and ONE of Adelman, Arroyo, and Feldman.

        The Reds starters currently have the worst ERA, WAR, and IP in all of baseball. Why do they have to lose?

      • Calfornia Red

        Steve, do you think Lorenzen starts this year?

      • PDunc

        I agree with what others have said regarding Lorenzen, Reed and Stephenson being in the rotation.
        As for the others you mentioned: Davis had 5 starts in AAA last year. Romano has 4 AAA starts this year. Castillo and Mahle haven’t yet made it to Louisville.
        Bring these guys up when they have earned that chance, not now because injuries have decimated the starting rotation.

  4. Jeff Morris

    As usual, spot on Steve. Great insight. I totally agree with You.

  5. Jeff Morris

    I believe another “Warm Body”, Adelman goes tommorrow night as the Starter. Any report on when Tony Cingrani will be back? Wonder if he will ever get a chance to start again…or just stay in the bullpen?

  6. Earl Nash

    It’s a long season, I’m sure as it goes on we will see others. That said, it’s kinda hard to make any statement about Robert Stephenson going to the rotation at this point, he shouldn’t even be in Cincy.

    • Jim Walker

      RS pitched well enough tonight to have recorded 3 scoreless innings if he gets typical Reds defense on the balls hit by the last two batters he faced. Both were plays Cozart makes much more often than not. Not sure why hen didn’t take a shot at the getting the guy on the INF hit. It was the catcher running; and; on the replay it looked like he had time to, reload and have a decent go at getting the guy.

      • big5ed

        Stephenson’s inability to throw strikes is not a fluke. His BB/9 is over 4.5 at both AA and AAA, and is at 5.5 for MLB. It took him 53 pitches to get 8 outs, against a Pirate lineup that was missing a couple of regulars.

        Stephenson has been a dud. If he were a 10th round pick, he would be in MILB where he belongs. I just don’t understand how he is in the majors, and Ariel Hernandez (wild but at least unhittable) is not. Nor do I understand why teams let their drafting decisions from X years ago define how players are given opportunities.

        Stephenson needs to get a lot better. He doesn’t deserve the opportunities he’s being given. If he goes down at age 24 and dominates AAA hitters, then give him another chance. Until then, he should be missing the strike zone in Pensacola or Louisville, not in Cincinnati.

      • big5ed

        I’m not. Hernandez last year gave up 29 hits in 62 innings last year, and only 5 hits in 13 innings this year, with 21 strikeouts. They can’t put the bat on the ball against him. I can deal with some walks, if they can’t hit him.

        Stephenson doesn’t have Hernandez’s stats or arm. He only has a higher draft status, so the Reds believe that they have to give it to him instead of making him earn it. He’s been OK at lower levels, but not dominant. If and when he can dominate even at AA, then promote him.

  7. Geoff

    I really don’t think this team will lose 90+
    Once we get healthy this should be a .500 team.

    • Chuck Schick

      With the exception of about 3 weeks last July, this group has never been healthy.

    • Jim Walker

      What’s healthy and when is soon enough? Was said on the radio tonight during the beat reporter sound byte that Bailey projects as late June/ early July. Disco at earliest mid to late July. I’ve heard nothing on Finnegan.

  8. Simon Cowell

    Though I don’t agree with all their moves there is much to a roster at the MLB level that I do not have knowledge of. Perhaps some of these pitchers are there for just a month or two to limit the total innings on the young arms? I don’t know but I’m ok with the Reds rolling out the codger squad from time to time if it is to reduce the risk of injury to our delicate pitchers.

    • RedAlert

      Problem is they have been rolling this “Codger squad” out far too long ( and I don’t mean for just this year either.) I’d rather see an army of young guys pitching instead of the train wrecks they are currently running out there. We’ve already seen a few glimpses … show us some more. Their innings can still be managed and limited by the sheer number of young arms available.

      • bouwills

        Actually post-ASB 2015,when the Reds went with all young starters, progress towards a young rotation was made. DeSclafani had 14 starts, Iglesias 11, K. Sampson 12, Lamb 10, Lorenzen 8, Holmberg 6, Finnegan 4, & J. Smith 4. But then Iglesias & Lorenzen were taken out of the rotation, plus the injury to DeSclafani & very little progress was made on assembling a rotation in 2016. I don’t see the point in Reds baseball (2017) if not to find a young effective 5 man rotation to build on. If Reed & Stephenson can’t hack it as sp- let’s find out now. I’d rather see Lorenzen get another shot now than after DeSclafano & Finnegan return. I’m not afraid of the Reds running out of sp prospects this year, but I do wonder if the Reds are a bit afraid of running their sp prospects out there.

  9. spaulson50@gmail.com

    As I said when Bailey, DeSclafani and Finnegan and went down: we’re asking an awful lot from young pitchers and retreads. Problem remains that our two best pitchers, Bailey and Disco, can’t be counted for a few months at best.

  10. Scott Carter

    Use the young guys. Stephenson and Reed should start. What’s the worse that you;d happen we get beat 12-3. Wait we did that last night with one of the warm bodies. Both Reed and Stephenson may struggle but at leas we will know forward what we have. And it is May already why would anyone be talking about inning limits?

  11. IndyRedMan

    I see no reason why they can’t put Lorenzen back in the rotation but if not then go with the following: Garrett, Feldman, Reed, Romano, and Bob Steve. Promote Mahle and Castillo to AAA and send Rookie back to Lville as well.

    • IndyRedMan

      Peralta was also a starter in 2015. They didn’t expect much out of Duvall but he looks like he might be productive for a while. Try to click on a few guys with an actual future for a change!

    • IndyRedMan

      Didn’t hear that but its par for the course.

  12. james garrett

    Stephensen and Reed should be starting every 5th day.Lets see if they can cut it the rest of the year.Along with these two and Garrett add whoever you want to get to a five man rotation.If all 3 guys that are injured make it back then they pitch some too.We have plenty of guys to throw out there and as it was already mentioned lets worry about an innings limit when we actually reach it.Look at our rotation right now and tell me we are planning for the future.We aren’t when 3 of the 5 are just warm bodies and you could argue Davis has less stuff then guys here or in the minors.Get real Dick Williams Feldman,Bronson and Adelman are not part of this team’s future.Lets fish or cut bait with the future not the past.

  13. IndyRedMan

    Why not Tyler Mahle? Amir & Rookie barely pitched AAA! These other scrubs we have couldn’t throw a perfect game against a high school team.

    • Jim Walker

      In Rookie’s case, it is looking fairly certain he isn’t ready. Amir is older (turns 25 today in fact). Mahle is still 100+ days short of his 23rd birthday. I would think that at the least they’ll want to see him be ultra successful at AAA for several months before they push him this year or maybe even next..

  14. james garrett

    The Reds are very very fortunate to have all the power arms but not using them to find out what they can or can’t do is just insane.The Hernandez kid that threw the other night is an example.It is well documented about his control issues but would he be worse then what Wood showed last night.Maybe he would be and if he is so what.We are not going to compete for the playoffs this year and as is often mentioned on here what is a few more losses if you find out about a player,I see nothing wrong with shutting guys down the last month of the season if you are worried about innings as long as when we do we give others a shot.Who cares what there stats in the minors are just give them a chance.Tearing it up in the minors gets you a shot but doesn’t mean you will have success,