Once again this season — in addition to my duties here at the Worldwide Leader for Reds Commentary and Analysis — I made a commitment to write about the Cincinnati Reds for Cincinnati Magazine.


Here’s an excerpt of my most recent piece for the Magazine:

What’s the plan here? Were they planning to call Senzel up to play third in Cincinnati, then changed their mind because he didn’t hit in a couple of games? Did they really change their mind that quickly and, if so, what does that say about their long-term planning?

Think about it this way: after fully two-and-a-half years of this rebuild, Reds management (and Williams hasn’t been in charge long enough to take all the blame here) has utterly failed to accumulate enough assets even to be able to withstand a few injuries within the first two weeks of the season. If they were going to be unwilling to play the kids in 2018—and early returns aren’t comforting—why did Williams and company sit on their hands all winter and decline to improve the team, while feeding fans a line that they expected improvement this season?

It’s almost like the front office didn’t seem to fully grasp how far away this team was from being successful when the season started, and how thin the roster looks when you exclude guys like Senzel and Blandino.

If you haven’t read it yet, give it a click and a read. Then come back here and tell me how dumb I am. Thanks, Nation!

41 Responses

  1. Chad Dotson


  2. Aaron Bradley

    Well in hindsight they should have kept Revere and jettisoned Pennington. Revere could have helped when Schebler went down. I don’t see what Pennington provides. I give Goss the slight nod for the home run and historically he is the better of the hitter, but having them both is obviously redundant it doesn’t take a genius to figure that out. Revere had some speed and history of batting avg in the west coast division .. a place where we go and wither… I would have given him more rope. What was the point of signing him anyhow? Seems like chaos in the FO.

    • Michael E

      Honestly, I think the Reds FO loves them some one-trick ponies and utility players that have no tricks. In other words, hey, the guy has power, nevermind he can’t actually hit, field or run. Or hey, the guy has speed, blazing, never mind he can’t hit and has the power of a 1 watt leaf blower. Or hey, they guy can do a little bit of everything… nevermind that he does it at the level of a AA journeyman.

      Sigh. We have so few solid fundamental hitters/players/pitchers. It’s pretty depressing.

      I am all the more depressed seeing the yanks called up SS Gleybar Torres. We have crap at SS and could have had Torress if our GM was anyone with balls (i.e. not Jocketty or Williams or any recent Reds GM) and Castellini kept his non-baseball mind away from interfering (forcing a Chapman trade at worst possible time/value).

      So many things have been done so poorly the past 5 years. It boggles the mind. True, we got Castillo and he still shows ace upside, recent struggles aside, but all in all, none of us posters on RLN could have botched this rebuild worse than Jocketty, Castellini and Co. It’s just sad.

      I am, just like last year, already rooting for the Reds to lose at this point. There is no upside, so hey, 103 losses would be a lock for #1 pick in 2019. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll finally get a can’t-miss stud and maybe, just maybe he’ll be trained and counseled correctly and be promoted smoothly and quickly and be a star hitter or pitcher at age 20 or 21.

    • kmartin

      I was worried they were going to keep Revere. He has a lifetime OBP of .319. In eight years he has seven home runs. Even without Schebler he might have taken at bats from Duvall or Winker. My worst nightmare would be Hamilton, Revere and Peraza in the lineup at the same time.

  3. Michael E

    I wouldn’t wish writing about my Reds on my worst enemy. Consider this bankable penance for any future transgressions you’ll willfully or unwittingly commit.

    • Aaron Bradley

      Actually as far as writing this is good material, very challenging, and opens the opportunity for heavy criticism. It’s being a fan that is tough.

      • Michael E

        Hmm, makes sense. I actually enjoy writing about how mad/sad/depressed I am at the current state of the Reds. I so want to just ignore them for 2 more years and check back in to see if the dumpster fire still rages uncontrollably or if a (new) sharp mind has managed, in just 18 months, to complete turn around a chaotically bad franchise. I just can’t keep from looking. I just can’t keep from typing redlegnation in my browser once or twice a week.

        Right now though, the only joy (in a very sadistic way) is the joy I get when I see we have the worst record in baseball. I know, how can a fan take joy from that, but my thinking is, if you’re going to be bad, be BAD. Get the top pick in the draft. Being only the 5th worst team and losing “only” 92 games doesn’t make things any better (worse actually) than being the worst team with 100+ losses. I’d rather they really stink so the national writers and pundits uncover and go after the Reds front office and system and we get a read that isn’t chocolate covered maggots that the Reds marketing team foists on us.

  4. Mason Red

    They bungled the rebuild from the get go. They started a year too late. Held on to players too long and definitely didn’t get enough in return.

    • Michael E

      Not acting swiftly on Fraziers topped out value post all-star game was mind-boggling incompetent. Acting at the exact wrong time to trade Chapman and manage to get nothing close to another teams top 2 prospect.

      All the moves had two charasteristics that still plague the Reds front office and indirectly punish us fans:

      1 – moves made to keep from upsetting the non-existent fan base that would be upset at trading away a “favorite” player or made to keep from upsetting the 3 fans that were angry at Chapman’s behavior and wanted him gone (nevermind the other 10s of thousands of fans were expecting a trade but to get a top prospect, a future star, back).

      2 – moves made to get someone, anyone that could be placed in an MLB Reds uniform immediately and pose as a passable, albeit low ceiling MLB player. Jocketty and Co feared risk and went safe, too safe, for known floor, no-ceiling “talent” (using that term loosely). The good GMs always go for upside and risk at the chance of hitting the jackpot.

      There will be no Trout or Harper or Kershaw in our future until we get an aggressive, risk-tolerant GM. Sadly, it’s too late for that for the next few years as we pissed away tradeable assets for AAAA players that other teams were VERY happy to send our way. “You want 3 mediocre players and not one of our top 3 prospects?” OKAY!!! Done and done! Love doing business with you Walt ole buddy!

      • Jack

        They should have moved Scooter this past winter as well. He won’t hit those numbers again. They should have taken what they could get for him. Duvall as well. You won’t get a player higher than A ball for him if you’re lucky.

      • Eric (@eric3287)

        Scooter and Duvall benefitted as much as any player in baseball from the “juiced” ball last year. It was so painfully obvious those guys would never match those numbers again. Instead of understanding what they could reasonably expect to get back in a trade the Reds acted like they were trying to trade Bryce Harper and Jose Altuve.

      • Eric (@eric3287)

        #2 absolutely hits the nail on the head. The Reds were so scared they’d trade a “fan favorite” for a group of minor leaguers that flame out that they prioritized guys they could send immediately to AAA at the worst, MLB at the best.

        If they would have spent 2015/2016 (and 2014, heaven-forbid the Reds actually act like a forward- thinking organization) and targeted A, A+ high ceilings talent, those guys would be in AAA now and there might actually be reason for optimism. Instead, the Reds do stuff like holding on to Cozart last year because no one would give up MLB ready talent. I mean, what organization in a pennant chase is going to trade a guy that can help the big league team that year and the next 5 for 1/2 a year of Cozart?

        So now, basically every asset the Reds recieved from the trade chips they begun this rebuild with are known quantities, and not a single one will be a contributing starter in the next year or two, and all of the Reds best minor league talent save Senzel and Long is in A+ or lower.

      • Todd Powers

        I agree about 2014. To me, that’s when the rebuild and sell-off should’ve started in earnest. They went all-in for 2012-13 and it didn’t workout. But it was obvious that even though our minor leagues were getting better, they still were not deep enough to help contend when injuries would inevitably occur. At the 2014 ASG break we were 7 over .550, 1.5 games back. We would finish 4 under .500, 14 GB in 4th place. It was a dismal second half and it seemed obvious that the window of opportunity was closing. That off season should’ve been spent getting rid of assets in a proper manner. Instead, we have nothing for Cueto, Chapman, and Bruce. We were basically forced to dump Phillips because of his contract, and Cozart was allowed to walk.

        Here’s something we did in 2014 off-season: we gave away Ben Lively. We traded him to the Phillies for Marlon Byrd. Then on August 20, 2015 we trade Byrd the the giants for a relief pitcher who is now out of baseball, Stephen Johnson. Lively, in 110 big league innings over 19 starts has a 4.34 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. He turned 26 in March. We have nothing to show for trading him away, either.

  5. Aaron Bradley

    The more I think about it, Jocketty is a mole. He def. still works for the Cardinals. It really explains a lot. Bob means for the best I never doubted he didn’t want the best for this team. DW seems earnest and certainly doesnt want to destroy his rep. The managers all wanted to succeed. But Jockstrap.. he is the wild card.. he knew he was riding off in the sunset, this was his last ride.. and look how he refuses to go away… and the way he left the Cards was always suspicious. He is an agent working for them, I’d bet on it at this point. I look at him and he just looks like a snake in the grass. Where is his allegiance to Cincinnati, why does he care about this town? Do you think he does? Does he even live nearby? What’s his deal? I don’t trust him at all. And every move he made was just to bring in ex-cardinals, he ran this place like a pasture for aging Cardinals. The blame for this mess falls firmly at his feet. And Bob for trusting him. And DW for allowing him to stay on and boss him around. And us for not raising more hell about it.

    • Michael E

      They’re isn’t a line of billionaires waiting to buy the Reds and keep them in Cincy, but I sure would like to see a complete, 100% change in ownership and then it would follow the FO would be gutted as well. Bob, Walt and Co are caretakers of mediocrity. Bob just wants enough fans to show up to turn a profit. Some say he wants to win so badly that he makes rash moves. I disagree. If he wanted to win, he would have sent Jocketty packing two or three years ago after a couple of WIDELY and STRONGLY panned trades. Bob is fine with all this. He really doesn’t care about the baseball side of the franchise, just the business side. It’s like bobble-heads and ballpark entertainment (non-baseball) are the REAL important things. He shows this by keeping the crap around that lead to this mess.

      Okay, ranting off, I am just so mad at the botched trades and how we just don’t have anything really exciting coming in the near future. Even the Yankees, who constantly traded away prospects up till a few years ago, had Judge last year, Severino and Sanchez the year before and now Torres. That’s four potentially (and likely) cornerstone franchise pieces, all under 25. We have nothing like that, and being a bad team rebuilding, we should have what the Yankees have and they should have a prospect pool like we have. Sigh. So easy to be a Yankees fan and so hard to be a Reds fan.

      • Aaron Bradley

        I disagree, I think they got Bob fooled. I think they give him bad advice and he agrees with it. For instance someone is in his ear saying Billy is the fastest man in the game, and we need him as leadoff hitter… and defensively we do need him vs west coast… we need the guy but no need to spout off and say he is a franchise player and locked into a role, that is craziness. He must earn it.

        Also I think they convinced him the young pitching was more formidable than it is. I think he listens to his advisors and they tell him this stuff and then he believes it, because he sure said it with earnest on the video I watched of the Reds Caravan.

      • jazzmanbbfan

        Didn’t Castellini let Wayne Krivsky go in favor of hiring Jocketty? I believe Krivsky had a lot to do with the formation of the roster of the 2010-2012 teams that actually competed for something.

      • Still a Red

        I’ve said it before, the Williams have been running the franchise since the 70s. Doesn’t matter who the principal owner is.

    • Jack

      Jocketty reminds me of the Cardinals hacking scandal against the Astros. Except we hire the guy and give him free reign.

  6. Mason Red

    Either they wanted to “tank” this year or they really believed the rebuild was on track which is scary if true.

  7. Joe k

    Pitiful pitiful. Been a reds fan since 1954. They are pitiful

  8. bouwills

    Any buyer for this franchise will be moving it to Las Vegas, Portland ,or someplace else.

  9. Keith

    Call me when Amir Garrett pitches more than 2 innings a week. Then maybe I’ll pay attention. Sure, maybe he’s best suited to the bullpen. Maybe he can’t cut it in the starting rotation. Who knows? It’s like Stephenson last season — they have young pitchers who may (or may not) be major-league caliber, and they give big-time innings to Kevin Quakenbush instead. Same stuff, different day.

    • Aaron Bradley

      Difficult to make sense of it.

  10. Jeff Reed

    This is the worst shape I’ve ever seen the Reds in, and my memories go back to the late 1940’s. It’s not good to see Jocketty sitting next to Williams. The Reds do not need co-GM’s, only one GM to get this rebuild forward and on to contention. It’s obvious the front office and ownership are in a state of confusion. How that works out, who knows. But any observant fan knows it’s going to take changes at the top before the Reds can compete in the NLC and beyond. Your article hits square on that the FO, in the offseason, did next to nothing to trade players who had some value, and there was no real sentiments that 2018 would be other than another lost season. ‘Angling Toward Apathy’ is a good title for your article and you wrote it at 3-13 and here we are at 3-18.

  11. Ernest

    The Reds tend to overvalue their own players and are too slow to trade. That said, the Reds have made some very good trades during this period. Getting basically nothing from Cueto and Champman is tough. At least Paraza is playing from the Frazier trade.

    As noted before, not sure how a team as bad as the Reds have basically nothing in waiting other than Winker. In addition, Iglesias is really the only trade chip to bring in a highish level prospect. Duvall, Gennett, and Hamilton will bring very little in return.

    Not much talent will be coming to the Reds via trade.

    Votto will decline as well

    Looking at the Free Agent class upcoming for Reds position of need

    SS Machado – yeah, not happening
    CF Nothing that would really help the Reds, problem is, Hamilton is getting expensive for what he brings. Upgrade at SS and Hamilton is fine at CF.

    Starting Pitching might be the place to add as the Reds have to improve in this aspect

    Patrick Corbin
    Dallas Keuchel wishful thinking
    There are several other pitchers, not sure they would make a huge impact and would likely be out of the Reds price range

    Maybe the Reds should try to build a super bullpen

    Trammel is looking promising at possibly CF in 2020
    Long at 2B, which is an issue considering the Reds top prospect may end there. Trade potential?
    Siri in CF, Trammel in RF and Winker in LF in 2020?

    • BigRedMachine

      “The Reds tend to overvalue their own players and are too slow to trade.”

      I said this in another comment but there is an eerie similarity between the Reds and the Bengals. With the Bengals the overvaluing is described as “loyal to a fault” or “trusting in veteran leadership”. With the Reds it is not understanding how a smaller market team needs to compete and holding on to players out of the delusion that they are just one or two players away from a dynasty.

      Neither situation leads to trading players when their value is high. In the case of the Bengals they never pull the trigger and then the players walk via free agency. The coveted compensation draft pick of Mike Brown–as if an extra late 4th or 5th round player can make up for not making a blockbuster trade.

      It was said here many times. If you are going to rebuild, you have to do it 100%. No holding on to Frasier past his high water mark. No waiting on trades because you want to look good for the cameras when hosting the all star game. No worrying about fans not attending games during the rebuild–they will always return to a winning team.

      Instead we are in the middle of a rambling rebuild. I swear there is something in the water in Cincinnati…

      • Still a Red

        Hmmmm. Something there. We traded bona fide MLBers for prospects, none of which seem to be panning out. Couldn’t we have made some one-to-one trades…a bona fide MLBer for a bona fide MLBer. You know, like Helms and May for Morgan and Billingham. When was the last time we did that?

    • Indy Red Man

      “Atleast Peraza is playing”….couldn’t get beyond that. Sorry:(

      • Wobaisnotyoda

        It’s ok, didn’t miss a thing.

      • Ernest

        When is your next Votto is terrible post?

      • Ernest

        Out of Cueto, Chapman, Bruce, and Frazier, Peraza is the only regular. I guess Finnegan has made some starts. Maybe Herrara could provide value if healthy. Those 4 trades have certainly not stocked the system with talent.

  12. Chad Dotson

    I LOVE the fact that you guys fill up the comments below a post in which we’re talking about apathy. This is why the Nation is simply the best.

    It’s like a mental illness. We just can’t help ourselves.

    • bouwills

      Your comment, while somewhat accurate, is perplexing. I can help myself. I’ve been anticipating through the winter meetings, the Rule 5 draft, & the FA signing period, & spring training for the Reds to seriously address their roster for 2018 &/ or beyond. Nothing of any consequence has happened besides extending Suarez. Apathy isn’t a cure but it’s becoming the best treatment for the condition until the Reds address their disease.

  13. Phil

    This front office reminds me of what Marge’s dogs left on the astroturf, only it smells worse.

  14. Indy Red Man

    Are there any 62 Mets left to interview when we break their record? I guess they’ll win atleast 38 more but it doesn’t feel like it now. Castillo was throwing 93 today? Thats 5 mph slower then last years normal heater. He now has 4th starter stuff! Can it get any worse?

  15. jveith1991

    As several commenters pointed out already, the Reds seem to overvalue/overestimate their prospects. It appears that the “plan” the Reds had all winter going into 2018 was to hope everybody stayed healthy and improved upon last season’s numbers. Then the best-case scenario for the Reds would have been a wildcard spot, much like what happened to teams like the Twins, Rockies, and Diamondbacks in 2017. Or perhaps not even a wildcard spot, but enough improvement this year to justify going all-in for 2019 (like the Cubs did after their 2014 season).

  16. Matt Esberger

    I get it that it is next to impossible to stay positive as a Reds fan but keep in mind the Houston Astros rebuild stretch from 2009-2014 and the main assets used in trades (Pence, Bourne, Berkman, Lee) yielded names such as Brett Oberholtzer, Jordan Schaefer, Jarred Cosart, Matt Domiguez, and Jonathan Singleton none of whom had any impact on the franchise. They also had and gave up on JD Martinez and Mark Melancon during that period. The key to the Reds rebuild is to bottom out so that the next George Springer and Carlos Correa falls on their lap in the upcoming drafts and Jose Peraza somehow follow Jose Altuve’s career path in year 3 and Garrett somehow turns into Kuechel. I know it is wishful thinking but you can only hope.