You read my mind, Joey Votto.

Votto has arrived at Cincinnati Reds spring training, and he spoke with the assembled media, as is customary. Besides making a joke about his off-season — “I tried to get fatter” — Votto expressed some thoughts about the ongoing Reds rebuild.

Votto has voiced patience with the rebuild in the past, but Sunday signaled a more urgent desire to start the clock on winning.

“I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball,” Votto said. “I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”

Go read Zach Buchanan’s entire piece, and especially watch the video of Votto. As always, his comments are measured and thoughtful.

Votto has certainly expressed my feelings with a certain accuracy. I’m really starting to get the point where I’m starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I know why it’s necessary, and I know that the hoped-for result of this stretch is a team that can be competitive over a longer stretch of time than the last time around.

But it’s getting tiresome. I’m ready to see some progress on the field. I’m ready to see the Reds winning more games. I don’t expect a playoff run this year…

…but something needs to start changing.


And just because I don’t know where to put this…Scooter Gennett says Winning Starts Now ™.

24 Responses

  1. Bob Sudduth

    Votto said what I think most of us in the Nation think. There’s certainly enough talent in the lineup to be dangerous, if it’s managed well. The pitching’s got a lot of potential, but had as many questions.

    Hopefully the team can put it together and start winning. I don’t expect a playoff run, but I do expect the Reds to be better. I can see this team winning 75-80 games.

    Two things really stood out to me as to how he views himself in relation to this club.

    He said that winning the MVP would’ve been slightly embarrassing on a last place team, and he said he wants to see some of the young guys become “marquee players in OUR city.”

    This is another way he shows me at least that he truly cares about this club and this city and he values winning over his own (prodigious) numbers.

  2. jeonymac

    How could a professional athlete ever feel like his team wont at least contend for the playoffs..Thats sounds like loser mentality..

    • jeonymac

      Well Im a person that believes that even if my team is not as great as your team, I can still find a way to beat you..

      • jeonymac

        They may as well cancel the season..why bother to even play the games since u don’t expect to be competitive..

      • jazzmanbbfan

        JEONYMAC: you might want to find a new sport, or team, to follow. Since you think they should just cancel the season, maybe you have already done that. Being realistic about your team’s chances and being a “loser” are not necessarily connected. When you look at what the Brewers and Cardinals did over the off season and what the Cubs already are, 4th place is a realistic goal for the Reds this season. If they do better, no one will be happier than the people following this site. A year ago no one thought the Twins would make the playoffs so it can happen but to expect it this year for the Reds is not realistic.

  3. David

    Yes, those stupid fans. What do they know? The teams don’t really need the fans. They will make plenty of money without them.

    And Votto: at the end of his interview, he should have said “Amen”. Because that’s what you say at the end of a prayer.

    Joey, sorry. Salad Shooter Bob isn’t listening. And he isn’t listening to the fans either. The losing will continue.

    • Bryan E

      Ownership & management’s job is to build a winning baseball team, not pander to the fans. Let the marketing team handle fan engagement, giveaways, and fireworks nights.

      The GM should be solely focused on doing whatever is necessary to win games. Because the best way to put butts in the seats is not Star Wars nights, Fireworks Fridays or magnetic calendars but winning games.

      Pandering to fans and their feelings is why Todd Frazier was not traded at the peak of his value. It’s why Billy Hamilton is still on the team. It’s why Raisel Iglesias has not been traded. Ownership is worried about how fans would feel.

      One need only look at the Cubs and Astros to see ownership willing to make the hard decisions needed to build a winning ballclub. Milwaukee is doing it right now.

      Worrying about fan feelings is partially why this rebuild has taken so long.

      • Aaron Bradley

        Except Castellini hired Jocketty out of loyalty and Jocketty killed the farm and over paid for ex-cardinals. So yea, fans having no confidence in management or ownership has been well earned.

      • Bryan E

        Aaron, I’m not saying the fans should have confidence in management. I am saying that ownership (BC) needs to get out of the day to day operations of running the team and player movements.

        DW should have enough clout to entertain trade offers/move players completely on his own unless they are named Votto, Senzel, or Greene. Castellini coming out and saying Hamilton should be part of the team for a long time to come is not a tactic to drive up his trade value, it’s just a silly comment from an owner trying to make the fans feel better.

        And when I say fans, I’m talking the overwhelming majority of Reds fans. These are the fans who show up for Opening Day, forget about the team for a while and ask around the All Star break where they are in the standings. We as members of RN are the exception, not the rule.

      • Still a Red

        Hah…listen to the fans. Which fans? Just on this site there are a 1000 opinions…thoughtful all, but none fully informed. Its not that fans aren’t needed…nothing feeds on itself more than a stadium full of fans, but running a baseball team is really not a democracy.

    • Aaron Bradley

      Hiring Jocketty was not about winning, it was about bringing in his old buddy from St. Louis (this Reds ownership group are ex-Cardinals owners) and they have made a series of head scratching moves bringing in ex-Cardinals. So yea I do suspect there is more at play than building a winner. There is a ton of nepotism going on that brought us to this point. Jocketty is still a “special adviser”. Why is he involved in anything after what he has done?

  4. nicolecushing

    I like what Votto and Gennett are saying, but I’m wary of putting much stock in it. Baseball Prospectus is predicting the team goes 74-88 this year, largely due to their prediction that Reds pitching will give up more runs than any other staff in the National League. (Here’s the link for those of you who are interested. )

    The only solace I can take from that prediction is that young pitchers aren’t fully formed yet, and so we may see one or two take solid strides forward. Predicting how the Reds’ young pitchers will perform is a little like predicting what shoe size a thirteen year old boy will be wearing by the end of the year.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Even though there will be a degree of focus on Winker and Senzel, the 2018 Reds record is all about how the pitching does quality wise and health wise. Both are major questions as the season begins, and there is no way to predict accurately at this point how either will play out.

      • Streamer88

        Make sure everyone gets their rants ready when senzel stays in AAA or comes up and sits behind Gennett. Winker will get less ABs than we all want too. You know, veterans and whatnot.

        I think 74-88 is smack dead center between our 1SD either way. We could win 64; we could win 84.

  5. Sliotar

    The Votto reference to “when the time is right, the money will be spent” is interesting.

    We’ll see.

    Jeff Sullivan did a great piece at FanGraphs, estimating that if MLB had a salary floor, like the NBA, teams would have been required to spend at least $134 million in 2017.

    The Reds have never spent $134 million in any season, and haven’t had a Top 10 payroll in any season since 2000.

    A cynic could suggest Castellini does not want much to change, from Price’s third season as a lame duck manager, to hiring a family member of ownership with no experience as GM.

    Let us hope the young SPs do a moon shot over the next 2 years, and get the team so close, Castellini has to spend to save face during a contention cycle and Williams knows what he is doing with signings.

    The whole “we have no money to spend” is a sham by MLB clubs, and such an insult to people supporting a sport that is flush with cash like never before.

  6. DHud

    I’m not sure what Votto expects to change other than performance on the field. He’s right in the sense that the rebuild has run its course; the roster has been flipped and the pieces assembled for the next run. What needs to happen now is for those pieces to put it together and start performing. Romano and Bob Steve need to pitch like major leaguers; Peraza and Hamilton need to hit like every day players.

    If it looks like those things are happening, a “change” in the form of adding one or two key pieces, like they did with Choo and Latos, could be in order and may be what Votto means

    • Streamer88

      Tanking is also making it easier than ever to crawl into contention! I think we need to change our strategy and try to win 84 games every year.

  7. Aaron Bradley

    PREDICTION: Votto hits for more power this year.

  8. craig swafford

    Given how little was given up for Odirizzi, Kiermeier could be had for the right price. Dick Williams needs to be on the phone pronto. I’d offer Trammell and Romano.

    • Luke Bishop

      Huge overpay for a whose had over 500 ABS once. Great player sure, injury prone, absolutely, giving up a budding young SP and a top 50 prospect, I’d be disappointed.

  9. Bill

    We talk of Votto getting older, and I know each has their own opinion as to which is the most demanding sport, but just checked, in Jerry Rove’s age 40 season he caught 95 passes averaged 13.1 yards & had 7 TD. If Joey keeps in good condition he could still be playing at 40.

  10. Aaron Bradley

    3 years of losing and the team basically stands pat while everyone else in the division is making aggressive moves… yea its bad for morale and Votto is strongly hinting that they better make some moves soon. If they somehow surprise this year they should make some moves at the deadline. Otherwise next year for sure when some money comes off the books. But even with the money on the books this team is 10M under league average, give or take. They are wasting a HOF player in Votto with these budget constraints.