Raise your hand if you saw this coming. Service time, I guess. Although they can’t admit that. Will be interesting to see what they say. Something like: “We thought he would benefit from working on a few things down there” or some such malarky. Garrett has given up more than two runs one time in six games. He’s Clayton Kershaw on this staff.

Service time reminder: If a player accrues 172 days of service time, it’s a year. At 171 days, it isn’t. The season is about 183 games long. So if a player spends 11-12 days in the minor leagues, it adds up to an entire extra year of team control. If that’s what is going on here, you’re missing Garrett for two weeks to see him for another year.

This is probably the last chance to send him down for a few weeks before it becomes impossible to justify, as if it already isn’t. Garrett has to spend ten days in the minors before he can be called back up unless there is an injury. The Reds have a couple off days in the next week or so. They could get by with four starters if they want the next two times through.

If this demotion is purely driven by service time – and that’s almost certainly the case – it’s a brutally surgical move by the organization. One that’s looking at the long term, not today’s standings. And that’s a good thing.

44 Responses

  1. Ron

    This organization is just so incompetent. They deserve to lose. SMH

    • Playtowin

      Nothing incompetent about it. Smart management for the long term. Cubs did it with Bryant. As a Reds fan you want your team to manage the roster to maximize the years they can keep a good player.

  2. Classic Liberal (@Conservative58)

    This will be extremely impressive if it is timed around the off days. Also, if Reed scheduling is involved. More so, if they’re looking ahead 6-8 weeks and Finnegan, Bailey, Cingrani returns. Finally, if they’re setting up age shifting – moving on from Feldman/Storen/Wood – seeing if they can get anything in return for them around all-star break. I hope it reflects confidence in next year’s spring training and the current AA staff.

  3. Vicferrari

    How long does Garrett need to stay down for this move to save year of service time? – Based on what Steve said above 10-12 days.
    I still am not clear on Super 2, say Garrett comes back end of May/beginning of June and plays all next year. I would think he is eligible. But does this just mean he gets arbitration evaluation as a 2 year player or he is only under control 4 more seasons.

  4. ShowOPS

    I understand it, but I am sure AG is not amused. I guess Kris Bryant got over it…Hard to understand how the players’ union allowed that to continue. Oh well, if the Reds’ FO acts like the Cubs’, that’s probably a good thing.

    • Dewey Roberts

      I am not amused either. Tricks like this can mess with the mind of a young pitcher. I don’t like this move one bit.

    • da bear

      Bryant filed a grievance to have 2015 count for a service year, which is still being adjudicated as far as i know…

  5. Vicferrari

    Thinking the same thing about Stephenson, since he already threw 3 innongs last night

  6. Chuck_in_VA

    On appearance, this is insane. If management didn’t want him to accrue service time, then they shouldn’t have brought up a potential star to the majors at the beginning of the season (like the Cubs held back Kris Bryant). Without question, he has been their most consistent and best starter on the staff.

    The other part that I find difficult to understand is just how to fit this in with all the injuries we have to our starters. The team will become even more hard pressed to find enough pitchers who will be able to take a starter’s role. With Cody Reed being sent to AAA and Robert Stephenson being ineffective until his most recent outing, who is management thinking of starting? i would like them to give Michael Lorenzen a chance to start. However, based on their approach up to this point, I sincerely doubt that is their plan.

    In sending him to Louisville, there needs to be a clear plan with a goal on what is trying to be accomplished for Amir. Does he need to develop another pitch? Absent hearing this being voiced by management, it becomes evident that management has decided not to place all their effort in making their best showing this year, but to hold the cards for the future. Perhaps that is why we’ve not seen more of Jesse Winker on the big league club this season.

    • Red legs

      Another thing to consider is the number of innings they are limiting him to this year. With so many young pitchers, they need to limit their innings early so they don’t have to shut them all down in September! I think this move is brilliant!

      • Chuck_in_VA

        I bet he gets at least 2 starts in AAA, just like he would in the majors.

        As I think about more of the ramifications, I better understand doing the logic for service time. But I think management knew they would do this at some point. I think it is better for Garrett’s mind to have done it out of Spring Training rather than now.

      • Joe McManus

        They just mentioned in the pregame show that he will not be pitching in any games while down there and Price said he’ll be back up in short order.

    • Chuck Schick

      It was evident to anyone who could read or hear that they weren’t interested in making their best showing this year. They’ve constantly stressed 2018.

      • Kevin

        As Red Legs mentioned this move isn’t based solely on service time and getting the extra year, although that is a big part of it. AG will be on about a 180-190 innings limit this year. With the off days coming, it’s a perfect opportunity to send him down to get the service time situation taken care of as well as take them time off so that he can get the experience of pitching in September. Who will pitch in his place is moot because of the off days they can go to a 4-man rotation until they call him back up.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      I read everything a little more closely, and I can at least understand the thought of taking advantage of two off-days in the next 10 days, from the front office’s perspective. But even if that’s the case, it really sends the wrong message: “Amir, you’re our best starting pitcher, and we’re in first place, but we’re going to send you down to try to cut into your service time and hold onto you for an extra year.” I just hope this doesn’t diminish the confidence he seemed to have established.

      • Chuck_in_VA

        I agree. The timing of this move is totally bungled for his psyche.

      • Chuck Schick

        If 2 weeks in the minors creates an irreversible confidence crisis then he’s too emotionally fragile to succeed long term anyway. He’s being sent to Louisville for 2 weeks to play baseball, not Siberia to break rocks or Guantanamo Bay.

      • da bear

        Just because one understands doesn’t mean it won’t absolutely piss one off. Bryant is pissed, Amir will likely be pissed off too. For anyone who thinks there is a correlation between performance and how one is treated or reimbursed, it stinks, though reality is human interaction is full of such reverse correlations.

    • Still a Red

      I get the service time and this moment in the schedule…and I’m not so concerned with his pschye…but it just seems like this is throwing a bunch of cold water on him and the team at this moment in time…this is(or shouldn’t be) about limiting his innings (at least not yet)…there’s plenty of time for that at the end of the season, especially after we get Disco, Finnigan, and maybe Bailey back. i know this is not supposed to be the breakout year, but why throw away a good run. Hope it doesn’t backfire.

  7. enfueago

    I get the manipulation of service time. If I am a young reds player though the message is to play out your six (or seven depending) and go free agent no matter what because the organization would rather lose than pay market value. I can’t think of many better ways to demoralize young players then to let their success be a reason to screw them over. And unlike the cubs, the reds can’t pay a little more to smooth things over and they can’t gain loyalty through an expectation of being winners year in and year out.

    • Chuck Schick

      It still comes down to money. If the Reds offer the most Garret will stay and if they don’t he won’t.

      • Dewey Roberts

        How often has that ever happened? The Reds either trade or let them walk in most instances

      • Chuck Schick

        They offered Votto, Bailey and Phillips market rate deals and they accepted. They traded Cueto, Leake and Chapman. Those trades are looking better and better.

        Frazier and Bruce were largely traded because they aren’t particularly good and weren’t worth market rates.

      • Kevin

        About as often as any small market team.

        I still don’t understand why the MLB doesn’t have some form of a salary cap like every other professional league in America.

  8. Chuck Schick

    A brilliant move that is perfectly cold and rationale. In the past, they would’ve cared too much about PR to do something like this.

    Tom Ricketts and Bill DeWitt don’t care what the stupid fans think and the Reds finally seem to be heading in that direction.

  9. J

    “We’re so optimistic about you that we’re willing to potentially lose a couple games this season to make sure you’re a Red for an extra year. Keep up the good work.” If this is going to mess him up, then imagine what would have happened if they’d just left him in the minors to begin with.

  10. james garrett

    Six years of control vs 7 years of control I find very interesting as the real reason he was sent down.I guess it makes sense but who knows what may take place with him over the next 6 years.Would make more sense to me if we were talking 2 vs 3 years but what do I know.Maybe its because we have a couple of off days over the next week or maybe we feel we may need that extra bullpen arm since maybe Stephensen will take a start or two or we expect short outings by our starters which have been known to happen.Guess I see 6 vs 7 and think that’s a long time and do teams really concern themselves with that far out in the future?

  11. TR

    A strange move at a time when Amir Garrett has been developing as the Reds ace. But this young man seems to possess a calm and collected demeanor so it should all work out ok.

    • Kevin

      The timing is all bout the off days and being able to go to a 4-man rotation. I do agree that out of all the young pitchers it’s less likely to affect AG than anyone else. He really seems to have an outstanding demeanor and doesn’t let things affect him.

  12. Scott Carter

    I does seem odd, seeing how Garrett has been the best and most consistent starter. But I understand the service time concerns. The issue I see is that with all the talk of getting the young guys experience right now our four starters over the next two weeks is going to include only one of those young arms and clearly not the one with the highest ceiling.

    • Streamer88

      This x 100.

      So if we limit his innings, use his options, get other young arms some innings we also as a benefit get to keep him a full year before free agency?

      This is the easiest decision to make in franchise history.

    • Chuck Schick

      It’s just easier to assume that Williams is a stooge and any move that doesn’t have a positive impact within the next 2 innings must be stupid.

  13. james garrett

    It does make some sense because I thought he would continue to pitch as a starter in Louisville.

  14. bouwills

    This is all part of Williams master plan. The one variable that he couldn’t account for is that the Reds would be tied for first place plus Garrett is arguably the Reds best sp so far. Amir’s being in Louisville for a couple weeks will NOT be the difference between the Reds making the playoffs or not. Perhaps there’s something brewing that we don’t know yet. Suffice it to say that our new GM has made some good moves this year & probably deserves a little faith.

  15. bouwills

    Since late Sept. last year, some of Williams “claimed off waivers” pickups: Patrick Kivelahan ( 9/26/2016,dfa by San Diego); Arismendy Alcantara (10/6/2016, dfa by Oakland Athletics); Gabriel Guererro ( 11/28/2016 dfa by Arizona Diamondbacks);Stuart Turner (12/8/2016, rule 5 pick from Minnesota Twins); Josh Van Meter ( 12/9/2016,from San Diego, actually compensation for 1st round Rule 5 selection); Scooter Gennett ( 3/26/2017 dfa by Milwaukee Brewers); & Tyler Goeddel(4/5/17, dfa by Phils). The guy has earned a little respect, I’d say.

  16. Michael Taormina (@mrtaormina)

    Here are a couple of aspects to consider. With two off days coming up and the long road trip over the next two weeks, Amir will probably not miss a start at GABP in front of the home fans. Also, don’t just think of the extra control year as another year with the Reds. Assuming Amir is performing well and if the Reds need to pull the trigger, the extra year of team control adds to Amir’s value in a trade. It is a business and Dick Williams seems to be keeping the emotion out of it and is sticking to his plan. Tending to smaller details like this are necessary for smaller market teams to not only compete with the big boys for a year, but they help sustain success.

  17. Andy

    Comments over at Doug’s site suggesting he has to stay down 20 days for Reds to earn the extra year (it would have been 12 if he started year in AAA, but since he was on Opening Day roster it changed to 20.) Not sure if this is true. Hope it’s not.

    • joshtrum

      They’ll probably shut him down at the end for the year too, so get ten now and ten then when rosters expand in September is my guess.

  18. Simon Cowell

    Baseball is a business for the the team and the players. Nobody is out there playing for the love of the game. If I were the Reds I would never resign a player after service time expires. Also for each pitcher I would make sure that they pitch 300 innings their last year in the uniform.

  19. sixpacktwo

    It is not only service time. He pitched 145 innings last year and will not pitch more the 170/180 this year, so giving him a week off 3/4 times this year should do it. Also Reed, (down) and Stephenson. Part of this is what Price said and it makes sense to me..

  20. Kevin

    Skipping a start or 2 is not the same thing as irregular work.