Isn’t it funny how quickly things can change? In the sports world, we fans have a tendency to put each game and each decision under a microscope. A bad month means the Reds are failing in their attempt to rebuild. Another loss and another weird decision lead us to question the organization and their leadership.

I wrote this piece about a month ago questioning the Reds and the rebuild:

Although we still may question some of the decisions made since the beginning of the season, you have to admit that the month of June was really fun. It was basically a complete 180 from what happened in April and part of May. The Reds offense played to their potential, the pitching improved, and dare I say it…there was progress seen in the rebuild.

It seems like a lot of the decisions that we questioned earlier in the year are working themselves out. Amir Garrett has found a home in the bullpen and may fulfill the Reds’ grand plan of moving him to closer if/when Raisel Iglesias is traded. Matt Harvey has been pitching lights out over his last few starts and has increased his trade value. Jesse Winker is playing (and playing well) every day. It’s becoming clear who should get the majority of playing time in the outfield. To put it simply – other than some kook on Twitter suggesting that the Reds bring back Jim Riggleman next year – there hasn’t really been a whole lot to complain about over the past month and a half.

Most important, though, is that for the first time since the rebuild started there have been real signs that things are progressing and that the pieces are being put into place. Sure, the winning helps, but this team wouldn’t be winning without some kind of improvement from their core group of players. You can finally visualize what the roster of the next winning Reds team could look like…and I don’t think you could have realistically done that until now. We are discovering that guys like Eugenio Suarez, Scott Schebler, Tucker Barnhart, and Scooter Gennett are good players and guys you can build around. We are finding out that Anthony Desclafani, Tyler Mahle, Luis Castillo, and (maybe) Sal Romano are all in some way or another parts of a decent starting rotation.

In no way is the rebuild over. The Reds still need pieces. They need to continue to look at ways to improve their front line starting rotation and outfield. They need to figure out what they are going to do with Nick Senzel and Scooter Gennett (which will dramatically improve the team, in my opinion), and they need to decide if Jose Peraza is the answer at shortstop. But this is the first time since the rebuild that I’ve actually been excited about the rebuild. It’s exciting to think what this team could look like in 2019 with a trade and a couple free agent signings. It’s the first time since the rebuild that I’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel.

Maybe I’m overreacting like I did a month ago, but the results of the past month seem sustainable. All of this happened in a little over a month, just think of what the next 30 days could have in store for us…

11 Responses

  1. seat101

    It HAS been a fun month. As you say, there are still many decisions to be made, yet I think we can feel more confident that the Reds’ brain trust can be, uh, trusted.

    Even though no one has asked here are some of my thoughts:

    Bring up Herrera, send down Blandino;

    Start stretching out Lorenzen and, by the end of the season we’ll k now if he’s able to go five innings at a time;

    Go to the four-man rotation;

    And ram it in to everyone’s brain at Great American Ball Park the only bunting that should be there is when we decorate the place for Opening Day and the playoff games;

    And get Jose Peraza a double flap helmet for when he is on base.

    Someone else can figure out what to tell the brain trust about trades and such.

  2. Shchi Cossack

    Jeff, you locked down the Old Cossack’s perspective nicely…the month of June was really fun…there was progress seen in the rebuild…for the first time since the rebuild started there have been real signs that things are progressing and that the pieces are being put into place.

    I’m certainly not ‘all in’ yet. The pending trade deadline and the coming off season is critical. The Reds management has to get those resolutions right; there is no other acceptable outcome, but there’s also options regarding how to get them right.

    Keeping Iggy as part of a lockdown bullpen will work. Trading Iggy for a windfall, high-quality return will work. Trading Iggy for less than top quality and less than full value will bust.

    Keeping Scooter as a 2B through his arbitration will work. Extending Scooter on a reasonable, team-friendly contract will work. Trading Scooter for an equitable, quality return befitting a 5+ WAR, all-star 2B with an additional season of team control will work. Trading Scooter for less than full value will bust.

    Keeping Hernandez and Hughes will work. Trading Hernandez and Hughes for reasonable return(s) will work. Trading Hernandez and/or Hughes for less than fair value will bust.

    Committing to Winker and Schebler for full time OF roles will work. Keeping a 4-man OF rotation through the end of the season will bust. Trading Hamilton and/or Duvall for any reasonable return will work. Keeping Hamilton and Duvall in anything other than a utility, reserve role will bust.

    Not defining a lockdown 2019 MLB role for Senzel and having 2-3 months to prepare for that role is a bust.

    Completing a thorough, comprehensive search for a manager capable of managing in a modern baseball environment will work. Hiring Riggleman or an old-school, rigid, by-the-book manager to appease BC and WJ will bust.

    Using the 2018 international bonus pool money to sign proper risk/reward based talent will work. Using the 2018 international bonus pool money to augment trades and increase the quality return in trades will work. Using the 2018 international bonus pool money to sign more no-hit, fast players will bust.

    Spending more significant money on no-hit, fast prospects will bust. Trading for more no-hit, fast prospects will bust. Drafting more relievers in the 1st round with the intent of converting them to starters will bust. Returning to the philosophy drafting pitching first and then trying to fill position players from later rounds will bust. Not expanding international presence and scouting and international signings will bust. Providing Nick Krall the freedom and authority to fully function as the GM will work. Keeping BC and WJ involved in any way with Baseball Operations decisions and planning will bust.

    We can only hope that the Reds get it right, because if they do, the Reds will be set up for a 10-year competitive window of opportunity with the possibility of managing the roster to extend that window of opportunity even farther.

    • Jeff Gangloff

      I agree with you. I think the trade deadline and this off season are by far the most important parts that the rebuild has seen thus far.

    • Jeff Gangloff

      I like most of your stances on it. What do you think about an outfield of Winker, Schebler, and Gennett while playing Senzel at 2B? I think Schebler can handle center.

  3. scottya

    Progress, I agree. A lot of this has been having a healthy roster. Add Desclafani and subtract Bailey and that may be a plus 5 wins or more in a full season. I still believe this roster as currently constructed is a 76 to 82 win team. Add a couple #2 or #3 type starters and we could be a 82 to 88 win team in 19′. (This can be done wisely through free agency). I prefer to sign some of the older FA SP’s to short term contracts of 2 to 3 years, so if there arm blows it’s not a devastating blow to the continuing climb of this Club. (JA Happ, Charlie Morton) or Gio Gonzales for maybe 4 years.

    The unexpected part, as far as I’m concerned, is Jose Peraza. During this stretch of winning he has been really good. For the 1/2 season he is at 1+ war and that would be a 2 war full season at SS. I’m still not 100% convinced, but if he can hit .280 and continue to develop a bit more defensively we have a 2.5 war SS and that is good enough. Peraza’s development would push the rebuild forward quite dramatically as it solves one of the main pieces needed to complete the rebuild (SS, CF and Starting Pitching).

    • Jeff Gangloff

      I still think this team needs a bonafide ace to really make some noise. A really good front end started in addition to Disco, Mahle, and Castillo could make for a really interesting rotation.

      • Jack

        I agree. Kuechel or even Harvey. Say at the trade deadline nobody wants to give the Reds anything for Harvey because he is a free agent after the season. Then I would ask him if he wants to stay. Hey you never know. Maybe he likes it here out of the spotlight. Would be worth the chance to give him 3or 4 year contract if he keeps this going. One thing the Reds have to do is not be taken . They don’t need to trade players for the sake of trading them. For once i think they are in the driver’s seat.

      • Jeff Reed

        Yes. A bonafide ace along with their offense and core of young pitchers is what the Reds need to get to the top of the NLC. With the plethora of trade opportunities coming up the end of this month, let’s hope it happens.

  4. Scott Carter

    I agree, June has been fun, but one little correction, that throws a little water on everything. Winker has not been playing everyday, at least not starting, which he should. Duvall should only start against left handed starters. I would like to buy in, but haven’t drunk the Kool-Aid yet. The questions about where Senzel plays, still is bothersome as is the glut of 2 basemen. (Gennett and Herrara can only play second, then you add Senzel and Long and Blandino) But still its looking better.

    • lost11found

      Regarding Duval/Hamilton/Gennet starting over Winker/Blandino(or D Herrera), its a real catch-22.

      If you want to trade them, you need to play them to avoid the easy reply from another team, “if they are so good, why arn’t they starting for you.” Its a charade argument, but will still get used

      On the other hand, most teams know what to expect from all three, no amount of ‘showcasing’ will help except for gennet as it makes the sample size larger.

      A real quandry, but one the FO needs to resolved in the next 1-2 months.