Over at MLB.com, Mark Sheldon has composed five questions that he says are facing the Cincinnati Reds in 2018. Conveniently, he also composed his answers to those questions; I encourage you to go read his thoughts.

I’m interested to know what your answers would be to these questions…

1. What will the rotation look like?

2. Is the time now for Nick Senzel, and where will he play?

3. Too many outfielders?

4. Can Jose Peraza fill Zack Cozart’s shoes?

5. Is this the year Billy Hamilton’s offense reaches its potential?

My brief answers:

1. Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, Homer Bailey, Sal Romano, Tyler Mahle
2. Yes. Second base.
3. No. But Jesse Winker needs to play every day.
4. No. But he can be adequate.
5. No. Sigh…

33 Responses

  1. Scotly

    1. Luis Castillo, Homer Bailey, Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan, Tyler Mahle
    2. No
    3. Yes, trade Duvall and Hamilton
    4. No, if not, move Suarez to ss and put Senzel at 3rd
    5. No, but in San Francisco

  2. Matt Brown

    Ok, here goes…
    1) Castillo, DeSclafani, Bailey, Mahle, and an as yet to be obtained Tim Adelman type innings eater.
    2) Yes, Senzel will play second after a short stint at Louisville.
    3) If (big IF) Price manages his people right, there’s room for everyone.
    4) Peraza will be a big dropoff defensively. On offense, I think we’ll see him continue to improve. Take the good with the not so good.
    5) Every year I keep hoping Billy can be at least a .270 type hitter, and every year I’m disappointed. I don’t see it being any different this yea

  3. Sliotar

    1. Price’s comments about 4 spots already being locked up not withstanding, would be nice to see Reds be flexible about scratching guys from a start, sneaking them onto 10-day DL and giving looks to others, when appropriate.
    (Like the Dodgers did all of last season)

    Jury still out on so many, including Brandon Finnegan (remember him?)

    2. If newly-signed Phil Gosselin does not make Reds Opening Day roster, let Gosselin mentor Senzel on playing 2B at Louisville.
    Bring Senzel up when ready, keeping in mind service time shenanigans.

    3. Too many OFs if no trades are struck this winter. Ervin is another in the shuffle. If he isn’t going to get a true shot here, deal him and try to get something for spending a first round pick, only to have him accumulate all of 68 MLB plate appearances. #WinkerMustPlayEveryday

    4.Peraza is no Cozart, but the Reds aren’t likely to contend in 2018, need to fish or cut bait on Jose. Let him play everyday.

    5. LOL. Good Ol’ Havoc!, he of the negative offensive WAR.

  4. JB WV

    1. Health a given: Disco, Bailey, Castillo, Stephenson, Finnegan
    2. No. Senzel will be given an opportunity at AAA to prove he can play either ss or 2b on a Ml level. Called up at some point in June/July
    3. Tough call. Hamilton will be traded, so it makes Price’s job easier.
    4. Yes. Peraza is still learning, and he hit .293 with a .361 OBP over the final 48 games of the season, almost a third. And although I love Zach, his shoes were only filled part of the time. His injuries will continue to haunt him. Peraza will turn into a fine fielder.
    5. Billy can’t hit.

  5. KDJ

    1. A revolving door of injuries. People question the role of Lorenzen. Homer is either lights out or very hittable. The young guys show flashes of brilliance followed by regression.
    2. Second base by mid-season.
    3. Yes, but injuries make it work out over the season.
    4.No, neither defensively nor offensively. The front office looks long and hard for an inexpensive backup who is worse both offensively and defensively.
    5. Billy shows a month or two of greatness surrounded by stretches of .210/.280 ave and obp. We wonder if he has reached his potential at the plate.

  6. Ron Payne

    1. Bailey, Castillo, DeSclafani, Finnegan and Stehenson (Start of the season). Bailey, Castillo, DeSclafani, Mahle and Romano (By the All-Star Break).
    2. Senzel will be ready. I look for him to play second base most of the time, while seeing occasional playing time in left field.
    3. The number of outfielders is not a problem. The problem is that it’s a bad mix of outfielders. Aside from Winker, there’s no consistency offensively. Duvall and Schebler have power but no on-base value. Hamilton has the speed with no on-base value. The Reds need another quality hitter either through trade or free agency.
    4. I think Peraza could improve slightly over last year, but he’s not Zack.
    5. Billy Hamilton will continue to be what he has been. He will give you regular ESPN highlights because of his great plays in the outfield, but he will never be a good OBP guy.

  7. Andy

    #1 is a crapshoot. Castillo is the only “lock” but he throws so hard he’ll have an arm injury someday.
    #2 see #4
    #3 (and #5) Reds have 3 decent corner outfielders, Duvall/Schebler look like good RF platoon to me, Winker needs to play everyday leading off and starting LF. Billy is now not the answer in CF, and the farm doesn’t have one either, better start talking to Cain or trading for Yelich. If Billy stays I actually love him as late game PR/ defensive replacement. If he PR’s in every game in 7th/8th inning he could end up with 100sb! Just don’t let him hit.
    #4 I think the bats of Senzel and Scooter make up for any defensive difference that Peraza brings. Please Reds give Suarez a chance at SS. I want Senzel in lineup everyday, and not at 2B… Reds already have good options there. Peraza is a utility guy, not a starter. He cannot come close to matching Cozart’s production. Senzel/Suarez/Scooter might match Cozart/Suarez/Scooter, but if you take one of those bats out for Peraza, now way.

    • Streamer88

      I am intrigued by the extreme of your BHam idea.

      If you pinch run a player in a high level situation late game 162 games in a year, this would make his OBP for the entire game likely higher than Billy’s would be if he started, but you get the benefit of choosing the spot.

      He came up a middle infielder so if he could fill in anywhere on the diamond with switches effectively you’d get BHams OBP into the lineup but from the bench… and he’d never swing a bat unless it was the 11+ inning. Amazing idea!

  8. Sandman

    (1) Don’t really care just as long as they’re good.
    (2) Maybe. Would like to see him take to SS so we could put Peraza on the bench or release him altogether while keeping Gennett at second.
    (3) Maybe. Not gonna lie though…I’d be ok with Hamilton gone. The reds seem to have a knack for finding good young talent. There’s gotta be someone fitting that description that’s a lot better offensively and decent defensively that the reds could find.
    (4) This question makes me laugh!😆 Emphatic NO! Adequate’s a step down and it baffles my mind that most of you would be ok with that.
    (5) This question also makes me laugh!😂 Heck naw, man!!! He ain’t never gonna get better offensively.

  9. Dave Bell

    (5) Billy’s offense reached its potential in 2014.

  10. big5ed


    Senzel (or even Sinzil) can’t hit, Greene can’t pitch, and Winker can’t play defense.

    That Bench guy they brought up in late 1967 only hit .163; should’ve traded him.

  11. DX

    1. Disco, Castillo, Finnegan, Bailey, Stephenson
    2. Senzel in RF or 2B. Depends on Herrera vs Schebler.
    3. Trady any OF(s) that you can get good value. The offense is not the Reds issue. Look at the years they won, it was PITCHING, stop worrying about the offense.
    4. Peraza gets his shot. If the Reds knew he was the guy, then they are idiots for not playing him there all of September after the Cozart trade deadline.
    5. Billy is amazing on defense. It would be great if the lineup was good enough for him to hit 8th.

    • Michael E

      Considering Hamilton is far and away the worst hitter on the team, I’d safe the lineup is good enough to hit 8th. Unfortunately, “Managing Baseball for Dummies” book says to place the guy with the most speed at the top of the lineup and Baker and now Price NEVER deviate from that.

  12. Streamer88

    1. I roll out a scheduled 6 man rotation. Manage Castillo innings, nurse Finnegan disco and bailey back, allows bob Steve and Mahle to mature. Bailey, Disco, Finnegan, Castillo, Stephenson, Mahle. (Also showcasing arms for a trade).

    2. Avoid Super 2, then 2B or 3B, entirely depends on how Peraza fields SS. If he fields , Suarez stays at 3B. Senzel at 2B. Dilson is tricky as a bench player given his limited role. This is the potential issue that will keep Senzel down all year.

    3. The Dodgers have too many outfielders. We do not.

    4. Last year Peraza would not fill last 3 years of Cozart shoes, no, but 4 years ago Cozart couldn’t fill last 3 years of Cozart shoes either. Let the kid play. I didn’t think Suarez would blossom at 3B, and he did.

    5. It is in fact based on aging curve etc. We all need to remember he is likely the most dynamic 8/9 hitter in baseball. He’s just being grossly misused in the lineup. I hope he gets traded, bats 8th for the rest of his career and wins 4 GGs.


  13. Mark Lang

    So, we’re headed into 2018 with pretty much the same roster that’s finished in last place the last 3 seasons only down our 2nd best offensive (and probably defensive) player and with the addition of a 30+ year old middle reliever who has been cut by his last two teams.

    You gotta love our shot at the title this year!

  14. IndyRedMan

    Same old…same old? I expect Senzel to hit .325 at Lville for most of the year and get 125 atbats like Winker did last year. Price has no idea how to manage a team. He would play Tucker vs lefties and then turn around and go with Mesoraco vs a righty? They also can’t go into another season with Billy and Peraza. 14th in runs scored and that’s with career seasons out of Cozart and Scooter. One cannot happen again and the other one most likely won’t. The pitching will be better, but its just another year of bringing brass knuckles to a gunfight again:(

    • james garrett

      Well put and accurate Indy and the reason is because Price is the manager and DW is still going to have his back.The pitching will be better but the offense for the reasons you gave will be worse which means a slight improvement in record.We will at least get to discuss our woeful hitting instead of our woeful pitching

  15. David

    5 questions? Only 5 questions?

    Seriously, with all the talk of the roster, line up , etc. the single biggest problem, the biggest hurdle between the Reds being a winning team and a losing team is starting pitching.

    I know this was the FIRST QUESTION of the five, but really, it’s the ONLY question.
    If the Reds’ starting pitching is league average or better, they could contend. If it is at the bottom of the league statisticall…AGAIN, then they will be below 0.500 and possibly be in last place again.
    It’s easy pickens’ to complain about Hamilton or Peraza, but the starting pitching is really the only thing that really matters.

  16. Bill

    As Mark Lang said almost the same roster as last year, so I guess we’re still sorting. If so again I say start the season with 6 young pitchers & sort. Senseless should start the season at 2nd. We need to trade an outfielder or 2. I hope Peraza works out but afraid he won’t. Again trade an outfielder, Hamilton for sure. But with all our hopes & wishes, most likely nothing will happen.

  17. scottya

    1. Castillo, Desclafani, Bailey, Finnegan and Romano. Desclafani and Finnegan’s innings need to be limited so Mahle and Stephenson will go back and forth from AAA getting all those starts + any from injuries that will occur.

    2. Not until later in the 2018 season; but it’s going to be a big time + for the Reds.

    3. Not really, but they need to be opportunistic with trades using one or two of the 4 (Ervin is a bench player) We need a better option for CF for 2019-2021

    4. No, even if he reaches 1 war as a SS and that will require quite a bit of improvements at the plate, that is not enough to warrant keeping him there for 19′ Remember it’s not just offense that makes a quality MLB SS; His defensive metrics at SS appear to be really bad. Cozart was a guaranteed 1.5+ war defensively before he ever did anything at the plate.

    5. Yes, but it’s too late we traded him to SF for Andrew Suarez and Brian Reynolds. That would be best for the Reds anyway I believe.

  18. TR

    If the injury bug lets up on Bailey, Finnegan and DeSclafani, the Reds could have average starting pitching. I have no idea when or where Senzel will appear at GABP but he’s certainly a positive for the Reds. My opinion is there are too many outfielders and I’d like to see Hamilton and/or Duvall included in a big trade which will probably not happen. Cozart’s shoes will not be filled by Peraza, but the guy is young and talented in his own way so let’s give him a chance. Unless traded, Hamilton’s offense will not improve unless the manager has him batting eighth.

  19. Scott Carter

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but Senzel overrated is hard to say just looking at his record so far. Over two minor league seasons he has a 315/393/908 slash line. Jessie Winker is Joey Votto. Over six minor league seasons he has a slash line of 298/398/846. Oh, and in 120 plus ABs in Cincinnati he hit 298/375/904. He has been Mr Consistency. Hunter Greene is not going to play SS for the Reds. It is not RLN readers or writers that have decided that it is the REDS management that has decided that he is better suited as a pitcher. And everyone would love a starter with a 100 mph fastball.

  20. Scott Carter

    1. I would like to see Castillo, Bailey, Descalfani Romano, and Stephenson.

    2. Senzel should come up this year after super 2 cut off.

    3. Jesse Winker should play. And as long as Price is managing they need to trade either Duval or Schebler. Shame because both seem like good guys to have around.

    4. I don’t mind Peraza playing short if they trade Billy and get another bat for the lineup. He is still young and may develop into a better hitter (We can only hope)

    5. I don’t mind Billy in center if they trade Peraza and get a better option at short. Billy is amazing to watch in CF. But we can not afford to have three holes in the lineup. An please bat him 8’th)

    • cfd3000

      With the exception of the pitchers I don’t even need to add my post – agree fully, especially on the need to move Peraza or Hamilton OUT of the lineup (preferably both). I’d put Mahle ahead of Romano and Stephenson, and would love to see at least one lefty. Surely Finnegan, Garrett or Reed can step up. How about Castillo, Bailey, Disco, Mahle and a lefty?

  21. Satchmo

    I posit a question: Why not play Senzel at short?

    +His bat is good enough to be in the lineup at an spot
    +His bat at shortstop is WAY above league average
    +He can play infield and he seems to adjust well to change
    +He’s an undervalued athlete with above average quickness and speed
    +If he has the arm for third, he has the arm for short

    Here is, I suppose the point where someone tells me he doesn’t have the range to play short. My reply to that is that we were (as most teams would be) willing to play Cozart at short for half a year on a bum leg, do we believe Senzel has LESS range than a gimpy Cozart? If we were willing to play him at short to get his bat in the lineup, logic dictates that we do the same for Senzel.

    • cfd3000

      I just asked the same question in response to Jim Walker above. I don’t think Senzel should be the answer at short – it’s THE key glove position – but I do think he’s a better answer than Peraza. Starting pitching will dictate how far the Reds do or don’t go this year, but SS will I predict be the critical question on defense and in the lineup.

      • Satchmo

        1B: Votto
        2B: Gennett / Herrara platoon
        3B: Suarez
        SS: Senzel

        Peraza –> Utility Infielder / outfielder, gets 400 at bats.

  22. cfd3000

    This does raise an interesting question Jim. If Peraza is going to be mediocre at short, wouldn’t it be better to let Senzel play short and at least hit really well? I’m rooting hard for Peraza but seriously doubt he’s major league average or better on either side of the ball.

  23. red larry

    1. Castillo, Bailey, Disco Mahle and Ramono. Stevenson for replacing the first pitcher that gets hurt or innings limited. Finnagan to the bullpen. He has good stuff, and is likely to last longer as a reliever than as a starter.
    2.Stenzel at second once he gets past the super two status. He’ll hate the additional two months in the minors, but they would be crazy to start him in the majors in april or may and give up a year of control.
    3.Winkler needs to start.
    4. Play Paraza at short and hope he’s the offensive guy on the last part of 2017. His defense will be okay, but not Cozart like.
    5. I’m afraid Billy has reached his offensive zenith with the reds. Maybe he will get traded, platooned correctly, and improve his obp.

  24. Carl Sayre

    The answer left out do the Reds have a staff that can maintain a sub 2.00 ERA? That is the only way a lineup with Hamilton and Prrazza in it will be competitive! I think Hamilton can be justified at the bottom of the order. I saw nothing from Prrazza to justify that automatic out! The other 6 cannot carry both of them! There is not a decent alternative to Prrazza unless Senzrl is ready and move Saurez back to SS! I hammered his defense when he was at SS but even then I thought It was nerves!!! He has the tools to play SS!

  25. james garrett

    We played from behind in a lot and I mean a lot of games last year which meant we got lots of good pitches to hit.Won’t happen as often this year and minus Cozy and Scooter’s break out year our offense will be exposed.Don’t think for a minute opposing pitchers won’t find Billy and Peraza in this lineup not to mention pitching around Tucker to get to the pitcher.

    • Streamer88

      Could you imagine the opposing teams strategy conundrum of batting BHam eighth? If you walk him to get to the pitcher he could steal two bags each time. Prolly won’t lead to as many runs but the guy could end up with 200 steals!! Of course getting thrown out at 3rd with 2 outs and the pitcher hitting is taboo. But I doubt it would slow him down.

  26. Steven Ross

    1) Bailey and Castillo. Then conjecture. Too many “ifs” after.

    2) Doubtful. Next year.

    3) Yes

    4) Yes

    5) Probably not