The title of this post is deliberately misleading. You’re all thinking of the cartoon and expecting a post about how oblivious the Reds are being. (Some clueless editor even added it as the featured image on the home page. Good work, Chad.)

Nope. Not today.

There’s a lot of hand-wringing around the internets, which is always accompanied by “I KNOW the Reds will/won’t do X and it means THEY WON’T COMPETE.”

Meh. I don’t know anything other than what’s happened and that baseball executives often say things for reasons that have nothing to do with telling the fanbase their intentions. Sometimes they want to mislead other teams. Sometimes they want to reassure players or coaches. We don’t know anything about what happens on the field until it does.

So here we go:

Part 1

What if Nick Senzel is playing second by June?

What if Jose Peraza – who is younger than those pitchers you all want to give another shot, who put up a .622 OPS at the same age that Davey Concepcion put up a .496 OPS, who made obvious changes in the second half, who was a highly-touted prospect for a reason, who has a reputation as a hard worker – progresses into being a decent hitter, just like Concepcion did?

What if Jesse Winker get 600 PAs?

What if the Reds decide the price for Christian Yelich is too high (and we don’t know what it is, but the Marlins would be smart to ask for the moon) and get by with Billy Hamilton and Phillip Ervin until Trammel is ready?

What if the lineup on June 15 is: Winker, Senzel, Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez, Scott Schebler, Tucker Barnhart, Peraza, Hamilton?

What if the Reds don’t sign more pitching? At this point, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t think Sal Romano and Robert Stephenson and Tyler Mahle all need to be given a shot after what they showed last year. Which means you just need two out of Homer Bailey, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Brandon Finnegan to be healthy. Given that, what if the pitching is fine?

Could you live with that? I think I could.


Part 2

What if Billy Hamilton is traded and brings back (one way or another) a shortstop?

What if prospects turn into Christian Yelich?

What if a genuine Major League Brand Starting Pitcher (TM) gets signed?

What if those things happen and most of the rest of Part 1 happens?

Could you live with that? I think I could.


Part 3

The point, over all, is this: the Reds have – by broad consensus – a VERY strong farm system. They’ve drafted well and are starting to see the results. It puts them in a position to be patient or, if they can make things match up, to push forward.

I know there are others who think the way the pitching was handled last year was a disaster. I disagree. I think too many guys were hurt and you can’t just send kids out there when they aren’t ready unless you want them to fail. Cody Reed is on record that it messed with his head. Amir Garrett was, apparently, not healthy for much of the year. Romano was hurt for part of the year. Stephenson wasn’t exactly lighting it up at Louisville until he finally figured it out late in the year. So I think they did the best they could with what they had in a year when they were unlikely to compete anyway.

So this year, let’s see. To start, at least, they have two possible paths. I’m fine with either. It’s what they do once things start to happen (either good or bad things) that I’ll be watching.