It was rough. It was painful. The day-to-day losing was, at times, soul crushing. From 2015-2018 the Cincinnati Reds lost a lot of baseball games. The losing began, not as rebuilding, but as a “reboot” or a “retool”, but definitely not a “rebuild”. And it seems like that was actually the plan. The team made trades with the near-term future in mind. Several of those trades that were made, however, didn’t work out for one reason or another.

That reboot quickly turned into a full-on rebuild. The team looked to look into the future rather than into the present. And it led to a whole heck of a lot of pain for the fan base who sat through it. But fast forward to today and we are starting to see some of that losing pay off. And perhaps the biggest part of that was on display on Friday night in San Francisco.

With all due respect to Dan Straily, had the Reds been trying to win – truly trying to win – then they would not likely have picked him up on waivers to begin the 2016 season. But that isn’t quite what the Reds were trying to do at the time. And they had room in their rotation for a guy like Straily. The move worked out as the right-hander pitched better than anyone could have expected him to in 2016 when he posted a 3.76 ERA over 191.1 innings for the Reds. After the season was over he was traded to the Miami Marlins in a move that was looking towards the future. Cincinnati acquired three players in return for Straily: Reliever Austin Brice, minor league outfielder Zeek White, and minor league pitcher Luis Castillo.

The losing. The looking forward rather than the trying to win in the moment. That led to Luis Castillo becoming a Cincinnati Red. And here we are nine starts into the 2019 season and Castillo is 56.1 innings into the year with a 1.76 ERA and looking like he might be the best pitcher on the planet. While it’s quite unlikely that he’ll continue at the current rate, it’s clear that he’s taken steps forward this season. His change up has gone from among the better pitches in baseball to the best pitch in baseball.

Finding an ace, a top of the rotation pitcher, a stopper, it’s not an easy task in Major League Baseball. For the Cincinnati Reds history, it’s been even tougher. They have been few and far between for the franchise. Johnny Cueto was the last one that they had. Prior to him you had to go back to Jose Rijo. Prior to that it was arguably Mario Soto for two seasons in the early 80’s. Right now it sure looks like the Reds are close to having someone they can call that guy.

It was seven months prior to acquiring Luis Castillo that some of the losing paid off. With the Reds having gone 64-98 in 2015 it led to Cincinnati having the #2 overall pick in the 2016 draft. They used that pick to select Tennessee third baseman Nick Senzel. While the timeline to get him to Cincinnati wasn’t as quick as anyone wanted it to be for a whole variety of reasons, Senzel is in the Major Leagues now. And he’s already showing that he’s got a chance to be a difference maker for this team.

At least for the time being he’s playing well in center field. Whether he stays there after this season is unknown, but right now that’s where he’s at. And thus far the range has looked good. At the plate, he showing plenty. He’s working the count in nearly every single trip to the plate, showing power, and a good ability on the bases.

There were some real missteps along the way of the Cincinnati Reds rebuild. The losing killed a lot of fandom in Redleg Nation. But not every move turned out poorly. all of the losing wasn’t for nothing. And we are starting to finally see some of that pain make it to the field in a beneficial way for the Reds. More work has to be done, and hopefully more things from all of that losing start to help out and show up on the field. For now watching Luis Castillo every fifth day, and seeing Nick Senzel in center field and in the lineup instead of Billy Hamilton and Scott Schebler is enough of a start.

60 Responses

  1. Black Red Dog

    Well if it takes 4 years of losing to replace 2 of your worst players this organization is going nowhere. What happens when nick crashes into a wall or when Luis elbow starts hurting. This team might have a chance, but they need a experienced bench coach asap because they won’t fire the manager.

    • Dewey Roberts

      With all due respect to Doug, I think there are only a few returns from all the losing. Suárez, DeSclafani, and Castillo. Scooter was signed after he was let go by the Brewers. For all the losing the Reds have done over the past 18 years there is very little to show for it. The trades of our best players have produced zilch—unless a certain left handed minor leaguer gets his act together. The Reds dismantled and would still be wandering if they hadn’t temporarily ditched the rebuild. This is the worst rebuild I have ever seen.

      • Doug Gray

        I didn’t include Suarez or DeSclafani, as they were both acquired before the Reds seemed to actually go into a rebuild/losing mode. Saurez and DeSclafani both became Reds in 2014.

      • Old-school

        This is true. Not negativity. The former front FO chased AAAA low ceiling guys and cut it’s losses on Chapman when the Cincinnati corporare community demanded it and then messed up on Bruce… They had a great player in Nimmo and then didn’t..

        Joey Votto can’t maintain his 5 WAR productivity long enough to marry it with Senzel and Trammell and Suarez and Castillo and the next generation… Sad and unfortunate but not on the players.

  2. Sliotar

    Castillo being a Reds player is a complete fluke, as he was originally traded to San Diego in July 2016, but returned to Miami when Colin Rea was injured in his first start, and the deal was voided.

    IMO, the Reds “window dressed” this year’s squad to avoid 90 losses for the 5th straight year, and in an anniversary season.

    The “rebuild” around young pitching was abandoned, and is/has been a shambles.
    A window may still come, but so little was actually done compared to other teams.

    Cubs and Astros were in the playoffs in Year 4 of their rebuilds
    White Sox got hauls for Eaton, Quintana and Sale starting their rebuild.

    Reds did not even try Lorenzen in different roles, even when winning wasn’t a priority.

    Having a bunch of 28 and older guys in 2019, some on expiring contracts, does not feel like a corner turned to me.

    • George

      Sliotar writes;
      “IMO, the Reds “window dressed” this year’s squad to avoid 90 losses for the 5th straight year, and in an anniversary season. Having a bunch of 28 and older guys in 2019, some on expiring contracts, does not feel like a corner turned to me.”

      The distraction of the continued use of the “tics” is an attempt to distract from this still only being a 75-78-win team. The front office is hoping that the fans will show up. When they are 20 games out and in last place, ownership will not re-sign many of the players that they currently have due to “reduced attendance”. If you are looking for a “tell” see what happens with Scooter 30 days after he comes back. Everybody is seeing “JV” slip and ownership will carry that decline over to Scooter. If Scooter gets hot in June and July they will try to trade him off before the trade deadline.
      Could be a very upsetting summer.

      • BigRedMike

        Fans watching Votto slow down should keep that in mind when they want Gennett to be extended. There is really no reason to extend another player reaching his decline stage, one that has had several injuries.

      • matthew hendley

        noone is asking for Scooter to be extended 10 years. Except maybe scooter. An extension through 2023 would keep him around until just under his age 34 season. To put that into context, Votto was having his near MVP season that year. Not saying, since i need to clarify, that Scooter will be an MVP, but he will not be useless either. Besides, there are no options behind him, unless you move Senzel, which then leaves center open with no heir there, (Tramell not being used as CF, Siri has big K issues.) or Peraza, (whose ineptitude will start costing real money when he hits arbitration next year.

      • BigRedMike

        Gennett is nowhere near as good of player as Votto has been. Comparing Gennett at age 34 to Votto is not relevant.

        The Reds signing older players with no market to contracts to their mid 30’s is just bad baseball.

        There are all kinds of options on the free agent market for middle infielders. Locking in an injury prone older middle infielder to a long term contract seems to go against what successful teams are doing. Which means an awful organization like the Reds will likely do it

      • matthew hendley

        Literally, Literally put a disclaimer saying that scooter wasn’t Votto. I was pointing out what they could do at said age.
        Funny how A player that has totaled a season and change worth of play in the last 2 is considered having freak injuries, and an individual that has had exactly 1 injury with the Reds is ‘injury prone’ Yes I am talking about Senzel.

        4 years is not Long term, unless you are defining ‘long term’ as anything over 1, and good luck signing quality free agents to 1 year deals.
        Not completely familiar with next years FA class but who else is there that can provide 4+WAR at 2B. I mean we could use Deitrich and kick the can down the road for a year. Peraza and have another hole in the lineup, or Senzel and then have to go find an outfielder. Besides that though there is nothing.
        Scooter is getting a multi year deal with someone after this season, whether its us or someone else. I would prefer it would be with us.
        But good job rewriting the narrative to suit you.

      • BigRedMike

        If a future HOF like Votto is declining, why would the Reds sign a middle infielder to a long term contract that is going to decline?
        Senzel is one of the top prospects in baseball and is a young player under team control. Gennett is an aging middle infielder coming into Free Agency, not even in the same discussion. Senzel will likely move back to 2B next year. That is what the Reds should do.
        Didn’t Gennett play the majority of last season injured or at least the second half. Now he is injured again.
        Gennett is going to produce 4 win seasons going forward? The Reds picked up two middle infielders this off season that are providing value. That is how it is done.
        Have you been paying attention to the Free Agent Market? Can you show me 30 year old middle infielders that are getting 4 year contracts?
        There is 1 2B over 30 in the current Top 10 in WAR at 2B, LeMahieu, and he has a 2 year contract. The rest are under 30 and several have 1 year contracts.
        Gennett is super special though. Wonder why the Reds FO has not signed him to an extension?

        What narrative is that? Every post you make is create some narrative that only you seem to understand.

      • Pete

        Mike, here is the dilemma as I see itcome next year the Reds may need new players at the following positions: first base, second base, catcher, and right field. If the Reds can sign Jose to a team friendly two year contract. That is to say pay him a utility players salary because worst-case that is exactly what he will be.

        Yes, the Reds have some interesting young players coming up and should have plenty of money to spend for free agents next year but I think keeping Jose around for another couple years would be a wise decision.

    • docmike

      Love how you call Castillo a “fluke” to avoid giving the front office any credit for that deal. So, you can blame them for deals that didn’t turn out well for the Reds, but don’t credit them for the good ones?

      Look, no one is saying that the rebuild has been perfect. There have been some great moves (Castillo & Suarez trades), others have been busts (Chapman fiasco), some are still up in the air. But every front office makes mistakes, and ours is not exempt from that. The only way for any GM to nail every trade is to possess a crystal ball.

      • Doc

        Also, appropriate to mention that the Reds had nothing to do with Castillo being returned to Miami because someone else in that deal was damaged goods. They took that playing field as they found it and landed Castillo. Good job by the Reds FO on that one.

    • earmbrister

      Sliotar, you state that the “Cubs and Astros were in the playoffs in Year 4 of their rebuilds”. Impressive if it were true, but it’s not.

      The Cubs were a sub .500 team for 5 straight years ending in 2014. The Astros were a sub .500 team in 7 of 8 years (losing the last 6 straight seasons), also ending in 2014. That would put each team in the playoffs in Year SIX and Year NINE (!) of their rebuilds. Quite a different picture.

      Notably, both of their rebuilds ended in 2014, which means the high draft choices “earned” by that losing were in the 2008 to 2015 drafts. Those picks have largely made their impact on those teams. The Reds started losing in 2014, which has us drafting in a high slot from 2015 – 2018. The Reds picks are JUST STARTING to make their impact on the major league club. Senzel (2016) is the first on the scene because he was a college player. The only other college player drafted in the first round was India in 2018. Dunno, if ANY other player drafted in 2018 has made it to MLB, but I doubt it. I do know that no one from the 2019 draft has made the big leagues.

      The point is that it will take a few more years to know what we’ve gotten from the 2015 to 2019 drafts, and see those players in MLB. I’m optimistic about Tyler Stephenson, Taylor Trammell, Nick Senzel, and Jonathan India, as well as some other high prospects. Heck, I’m even optimistic about Hunter Greene, who is all of 19 years old. Injuries have delayed some of these player’s progress, while a majority were drafted out of HS. I’d argue that it is harder to turn around an MLB team, than a professional team in just about any other sport. Prospects take a lot longer to make it to the “big leagues” in baseball.

      Some of the people posting on this article are acting like the angry town’s people in Frankenstein, swinging their pitchforks at Mr. Gray. Such temerity by Doug, having the nerve (!) to post positive thoughts. Relax people. Try being a Milwaukee Bucks fan, who has to remember back to 1971 for their one and only championship. BTW, FEAR THE DEER.

      As for “turning corners”, it’s fairly evident that this is a much better team this year. The pitching has been quite good, and that’s without any results thus far from acquiring Alex Woods (and the current starting 5 is mostly controlled for the foreseeable future, apart from Roark, with Disco being a FA in 2021). The Reds results to date this year are also with much of the lineup not yet hitting. Many of the quiet bats are showing signs of waking up.

      I feel quite optimistic about the direction the Reds are heading in. From the FO, to the coaching staff, to the state of the farm system: they all look to be in very good shape. Y’all want to bellyache, whine to your heart’s content. There are those here that choose to be much more positive in their outlook and in their actions.

      GO REDS!!!

      • matthew hendley

        just a minor issue with your post. Noone from the 2019 draft has made it to the majors, this is true. For them to have made it to the Majors, there needs to be a 2019 draft. Which will take place in roughly 3 weeks

      • Armo21

        Nice Post. I am in agreement with the direction of the team. Paraphrasing a Quote from RN: “The Reds are not all in with this team, they are just in. They kept the top prospects in the organization and exploited market conditions to trade and sign veterans that on paper have would compete in this division. The Dodger trade has not panned out the way most had hoped so far. Chances are they are a .500 team, but if they get some breaks, get hot and stay healthy they have a chance. Is it perfect? No, but it is better and they have guys moving through the system; Senzel, Trammel, India, Stephenson. Additionally, they have a FO and coaching staff that has invested in analytics (way overdue) that will continue to payoff in player development and hopefully wins at MLB level. A lot to be optimistic about.

        Doug Keep up the Great Work!

      • Earmbrister

        Matthew, as Robin Williams said in Good Will Hunting, I was being ironical. We’ve endured the losing in 2018, but haven’t gotten the high draft choice payoff in 2019 yet.

        Armo, thnx. Looking forward to sunnier day’s ahead.

  3. Old-school

    But 5 years of losing netted only Nick Senzel from the draft in 2019 who has a long way to go still.
    Joey Votto is a ship passing in the night. Great from 2014-18… When nothing mattered. But now becoming a $100 million dollar albatross from 2019-23. Don’t kill the messenger. Votto is done as an elite player and the Reds aren’t making the playoffs in 2019 or 20.

    Suarez and Castillo are gems but the Reds are still a last place team. The Reds are 3 weeks away from reboot #3. Hunter Greene injury is a major setback. The everyday 8 talent isnt there without a 5-6 WAR Joey Votto.

    • Ghettotrout1

      I concur Votto is no longer elite and honestly at this point is looking pretty bad

    • RedsFan11

      Got to agree with old school here. Think your article is unfortunately reach here Doug, even though I don’t want it to be. Castillo fell into our laps because the Marlins are the one organization ran worse than the Reds. Senzel should of been up here to begin the season but alas see above about the organization. When only 33% of your 25 man roster “home grown”, is that good? And only one of those players can be attributed to this horrid losing for better or worse. It’s just become so frustrating anymore

    • Tyler Harris

      And John India, Hunter Greene, and Trammel. 3 more players with Above Average tools.

    • Doc

      Votto has been quoted in the past as saying that when he feels he can no longer perform to expectations, he won’t continue playing the game. I don’t know whether he is done or not since he is a historically slow starter, something I would have hoped he had figured out how to correct in ST by now, but I can only hope he has more money than he could possibly spend and would retire when the time arrives and save the Reds some of that money. I guess I am hoping he is the one honorable player left in baseball.

  4. matthew hendley

    ‘begining to pay off?’ The Rebuld should be over by now.

    Castillo was a lucky fluke that had nothing to do with the rebuild. Same with Suarez. All the pieces from the Chapman trade are gone. Disco is about all that is left of the Latos trade. Dixon is smashing…. for the Tiger’s. That is the only legitimate piece from the Fraizer trade. Likewise, the Cueto trade seems to have netted us one LHRP.
    The Reds are legitimate due to making the hard choices and going out into Free agency and picking up players. Getting the One year players on trades. Some extensions and some trades need to take place to have any hope.
    Yes, senzel has impressed. Comes out of the minors and starts playing good baseball. But there is precious little behind him. Trammel is 2 years away, Tyler Stephenson is bordering on bust status, Greene will have a year delay, and India is impressing absolutely nobody in single A. The reds need to make some legitimately expensive choices. Extend scooter, Iggy (SS type) and possibly Puig. Retain DD. Trade Peraza. If a player has a hot start in AAA don’t bring them up to prove its a fluke, trade them off real fast to get a piece you need so they can bring them up to prove that its a fluke.
    This article is a straight Joke. The rebuild has failed. The only thing it successfully did was clear payroll space. Bob C needs to go and buy team that will win and a manager that A. Has some experience and B. Isnt a complete idiot. At least dusty would have provided a winning record with this team.

    • matthew hendley

      Speaking of Rebuilds though…. that kings landing is going to need a real massive one though.

      • Chris Miller

        You should be embarrassed with not just the original post above, but especially your reply to Doug. You cried like a baby in that response claiming personal insults, and then racist remarks, suggesting that is why Doug stopped reading your post. And let’s be clear. It was you that started your post (actually ended your first post above in response to this article) calling it a JOKE. You then cried when you got called out. Amazing how Castillo is a luck acquisition, but the bad acquisitions aren’t bad luck. Amazing how you touted Dixon, but then whined when you were called out on the fact that he’s no better in Detroit than he was in Cincy. If you want to trash an article, I’m sure all can accept that, but make sure when you do it, you have just the slightest bit of a brain to support your trashing of the article, otherwise you look like a whiny baby when you can’t support your argument, but instead cry about “so-called” personal assaults, or the typical reply of one who has no ability to support their points, by claiming racism. Geez!

      • matthew hendley

        I am not claiming racism in this article, but it has shown up within the last week on the comments sections. Not even comments that effect me persay, but when Doug, or any other moderator lets it slide and then gets on other people about their comments, then I am going to call them out on it. If you need help to look for it, look at some of the responses to the posts based around Rasiel Iglesias’s press conference. If you still cant find it, (and not blind at this point) then I will go ahead and spell it out for you. Additionally, Its not ‘claiming’ personal attacks when other commenters are allowed to directly call me a pile of manure. (and i am being kind for the actual moderation) Both of which happened before this article, before my response to it and lack any basis for a semi competent individual to catch it. The only reasonable explanation is that they let it slide.
        The Dixon comment was sacasm. Now of the three involved in the trade. I would say that he is doing the most, as one is in the minors, he is starting and the other is peraza.
        Castillo is a fluke because if Rea had not been returned he would have never made it to the reds. It was not a result of the 2014-16 tear down trades and it was not the result of a draft pick. Of those, Suarez, Senzel, Disco and a few others have been peices i would not consider flukes. A fluke occurrence, such as gennett going on waivers, the Rea trade backfiring, Straily etc. Outside of the normal process.

      • Doug Gray

        Castillo isn’t a fluke. The Reds targeted a player in a trade that was available. And they nailed it. He wasn’t some no-name toss in that turned out to be the piece that no one saw coming. He was the target that carried that deal. That’s not a fluke.

      • matthew hendley

        I am not saying he is, I am saying the curcumstances that led to his trade were. That is wasn’t one of the planned rebuild trades. It required another trade to fall apart, a waiverwire pickup for the reds, and Miamis FO complete ineptness.

      • Doug Gray

        It absolutely WAS planned. The Reds acquired a player that was in another organization. You are trying to say that something that happened six months prior negates the Reds targeting and acquiring the player. The Cincinnati front office had nothing at all to do with what happened between the Marlins and Padres. What they did have everything to do with was looking into the Marlins organization, seeing a player they liked, and acquiring him. That’s not a fluke.

      • Chris Miller

        I maintain you are whining, and of course cherry-picking players to support a very weak argument. The Reds getting Castillo, whom they targeted has nothing to do with anything prior. Your argument is akin to suggesting that a trade would never have happened with a given team if that given team hadn’t have finished in last place and got a good draft position, thus getting a good player who could be traded to the Reds. You then go on an imply a player picked up of the waiver wire is a fluke. NO IT ISN’T, considering all other teams had the same or similar chance to pick up said player. Straily, Gennett, and even Iglesias and DD this past winter were all players that every other organization had an opportunity to vie for, but the Reds got them. Those aren’t flukes; those are great baseball decisions. If you hate this team, then fine, but be honest about it; don’t make stupid things up. #1 pitching in the NL going into yesterday’s game. THAT IS NO FLUKE!!!

      • matthew hendley

        your comment is based on a fallacy, while the reds did pick up both Iggy and Deitrich through FA and therefore gave everyone a chance to bid on them, it was certainly not true for Scooter or Straily. Waiver wire players are offered to the teams in the opposite order of their record. Or their record in the previous season which means if memory serves, 7 teams passed on Straily, and only one passed on Scooter. The Straily Trade was a good one for the Reds. But what I am saying is would the Padres do the same trade? What if the Padres sent back a diferent player. That is what I mean by fluke. Furthermore anyone trying to say that the Red’s FO has demonstrated any competence in trades since the Middle of the decade should look at the results. WVA has a post that effectively sums up the PLANNED rebuild trades. Almost all failures. That’s not whining, that’s fact.

    • Eric

      Aaaaaaand there it is.

      Had to wait until the bitter end, but there it is. Some fans…you keep ’em talking long enough, and eventually, you’ll get to:

      “But…but…muh DUSTY!!!

      Have you noticed that he’s no longer managing? I mean, if you’re going to pine for a former Reds skipper who’s no longer managing, how about one who’d actually won a World Series…either Sparky or Sweet Lou? I think either of them had a better sense of when to pull a pitcher. It’s not enough to win the division every year and crash out in the NLDS, is it? I mean, I know there’s a better-than-average chance that I’m also talking to a Bengals fan here, too, right? At what point do you say, “Y’know what…all this gettin’-to-the-playoffs stuff is nice and all, but I just checked, and the last Bengals owner to preside over a playoff game victory…has been DEAD since 1991. Maybe it’s time we stopped playing our slice and actually did something to fix it!”

      Sorry, man, but if you think “the rebuild has failed,” then I still think you’re criticizing the cuisine before it’s served. This manager, this batting coach and this pitching coach can’t drum *every* single thing they know into an existing club in 1/4 of a season. It already feels better enough to me that we’ve got this amount of passion and attention to detail that we’re this worked-up after a one-run loss, when our…what…#4 pitcher gives up four runs, fans eight and walks one, only to see the bullpen throw it away…again!

      Still games to be played.

      Still moves to be made.

      And that…ain’t a straight joke.

      • matthew hendley

        Dusty is taking tim to watch his kid play college baseball. He has earned enough money that he can undoubtedly take a few years off. Pretty sure Sparkys not managing the reds, Cause he’s Dead. Lou is not too far behind him. I am not saying that I want dusty back as a manager, I am however saying that with this roster with this set of injuries dusty would have produced more wins to date then Bell has. I am also of the Opinion that Dusty has been underrated, Look at WAS now. Seriously considering firing their manager. Horrendous record. And no its not just cause Bryce left. Being a Rookie manager is not an excuse. He is expected to come in and win games.
        For the record I am a bengals fan, and the reason that Marvin, and rightfully so was given so much rope is because he did turn a Joke team into a perennial playoff team. True he didn’t win, and ultimately in the end that did cost him his job but I do remember the 90’s, and that was garbage. SO if he was able to get us to the playoffs I was going to be ok with Paul Brown allowing him another opportunity to get a win. When it got to the point that they were not making the playoff they let him go, and I am ok with that as well.
        BLUF- with the roster as it is, David Bell should have won more games to this point. Simple as that.
        Other note you claim that 1/4 of a season is too short a time for the coaches to insert their changes. Except it has been enough time for the pitching coach to do so.

    • Doug Gray

      I stopped reading after Castillo was a lucky fluke, and then mentioning that Brandon Dixon is mashing. Dixon has 38 plate appearances, 1 walk, and 15 strikeouts. I imagine that everything that followed was equally a crazy take.

      • matthew hendley

        The rise of personal insults and racist comments on this site is a sign that you stopped reading comments a long time ago.

      • Doug Gray

        When you see personal insults or racist comments, email me.

        And yeah, many comments go unread by me – there’s only so much time in the day. Hundreds of comments come in per day.

        The Reds shutting off their comments on Reds dot com is the worst thing to happen to Reds internetdom in a long time. The floodgates opened that day.

      • matthew hendley

        I am on a lunch break right now, I will shoot you an email later in the day after work with some comments i am having issues with.

      • Pete

        Doug, Josh VanMeter looks to be buried on the bench. Can you give us your opinion of his upside (best case) and what you see as a realistic producer for the Reds? Next question: do the Reds have a right handed OF who may be of better use than JVM, given his lack of PT? Ervin stats are brutul, I wondering if there is another MiLB option.

    • BigRedMike

      Clearly, the way for the Reds to rebuild is to sign an oft injured 30 year old middle infielder to an extension.

      Interesting that you are claiming insults and bad comments, wonder if you ever read your posts. Surprised you are still allowed to post on this site

      Dusty Baker would have this team winning?

    • docmike

      Dusty? Seriously? That guy couldn’t manage his way out of a wet paper bag. Talk about a guy that still managed like he thought it was 1950. He took the most talented Reds team in many years (2012) and promptly blew a 2-0 series lead with a team that should have been in the World Series. Give David Bell that team and the sky would have been the limit.

  5. scotly50

    Everyone is buzzing about the hitting being below average’s for practically the entire team. The line-up will balance to career averages eventually.

    But the pitching is well above their career metrics. The Reds have one of the best staffs in baseball. They are playing well above their career averages. They will level out to their averages as well.

    Where these intersect is still up in the air at the moment. If the bats come alive and the staff does not fall off the table, the Reds may have a chance at respectability.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      There was an interesting article over the weekend, I think on, which quoted Lorenzen and one or two other pitchers about the amazing improvement in the analytics information the pitching staff is receiving on individual opposing hitters. This, along with Derek Johnson’s influence, and David Bell’s obvious strategy to not allow starters to get too far into the third time through the batting order, are among the reasons for the improvement in pitching results.

      We’re starting to see progress. Like most of you, it breaks my heart when they lose the close ones like yesterday. It seemed to me that after David Hernandez’s amazing performance Saturday, Bell was putting him right back in in the eighth inning Sunday to see if he could become the team’s “setup” reliever for Raisel Iglesias in the ninth. Amir Garrett has been too wild in recent outings to fill that role. Hernandez couldn’t do it two days in a row. So Bell and the coaching staff learned something.

      We’re learning what we have in Yasiel Puig, Jose Iglesias, Derek Dietrich, Kyle Farmer and other newcomers, just as the coaching staff is. Eugenio Suarez is showing flashes of his defensive excellence returning, along with consistent power at the plate. I wish my eyes weren’t telling me that pitchers aren’t afraid to challenge Joey Votto any longer, but that is the case in the first quarter of the season. Hopefully it’s just another of the very slow starts he’s had in recent years.

      I was very hopeful that this was going to be a breakthrough year, but that was probably emotion superseding reason.

      I very much like the Homer Bailey trade. It gives the Reds a chance to have an everyday look at Yasiel Puig and Alex Wood before deciding whether or not to sign them to contract extensions. Even though he is having success for Kansas City, Bailey was not going to be a piece of the next good Reds team. Some people will say the Reds gave up too much in prospects in Josiah Gray and Jeter Downs, but if you want a never-ending rebuild, just never trade any of your prospects and hope that they all develop as you believe they will. Because that will NOT happen.

      The point of all of this is that even though there have been disappointments so far in 2019, there are reasons for hope and optimism.

      • RojoBenjy

        Tom- well said.

        You have helped calm my anxiety about the team. I suppose the fact I have anxiety about how the team does, instead of apathy, is an indication that the team has improved to the point that fans expect to win more often this year.

      • Scott in Texas

        I appreciate the positive post. The Comments on this site have been drowning us with negativity. Not sure if the trolls have found this wonderful blog, or if the vocal minority are just more active than those of us who don’t have a lot to say, but are generally positive and optimistic about the Reds’ direction. Regardless, there are four or five consistent commentors that I really wish I could block and not be forced to read their ridiculous takes.

  6. jreis

    interesting points Doug. Obviously the failure of the Cueto trade to deliver really ruined our chances of rebuilding quicker the we fans would have liked but now I think we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    I also agree with Sliotar that this year ownership has kind of given the fans a “break” from the rebuild with the veteran signings like Puig and Roarke but lets face it, we really deserve it.

    I am not giving up on this season yet but I think what you see is what you get with this club and I think we are going to play .500 baseball the rest of the year winding up with about 75 wins which actually I would be happy with.

    I am hoping the double A players continue to develop and are ready by 2020 and by then we will have a young, athletic, dynamic offense with excellent base running defense and pitching!!!

  7. Mike Kelsch

    Things are better, the pitching is vastly improved. Home grown and through trades. I do wish they would have been more active in free agency, but that’s the Reds. Hang on people!

  8. vegastypo

    “More work has to be done, and hopefully more things from all of that losing start to help out and show up on the field. For now watching Luis Castillo every fifth day, and seeing Nick Senzel in center field and in the lineup instead of Billy Hamilton and Scott Schebler is enough of a start.”


    If that’s another way of saying the rebuild goes on, I agree. The rebuild began under one regime (Jocketty) and upon its failure, it re-started under another (Dick Williams). When the Astros and Cubs decided to tank, er, I mean, rebuild, they had one focus the whole time.

    We can grouse all we want now, but I’m going to really judge Dick Williams based on what happens at this trading deadline and in the offseason. More money off the books, this season to continue to see what the current players can do.

    To have expected this team to contend this season was always “ambitious,” to put it mildly. If we somehow do finagle our way back into wild card contention (which I doubt), I’d be concerned that Williams would have to slow down his bigger-picture thinking.

    Enjoy what we can of this season, but keep expectations realistic. If things are no better off by next season, I’ll be a lot more pessimistic.

  9. David Rutherford

    Good article Doug. I like what I see from the team so far as well. Castillo, Suarez, Winker, and some of the other guys make it worth following. They are in almost every game and if the get the late game bullpen figured out they could be in the mix this season.
    I have been an avid reader of this site for many years and I hate to say it but the fan comments have become just brutal. Never a good word for the team and the same ole yadda yadda about what the team should have done or should be doing instead of just trying to enjoy the game and have hope for the team’s future. If people are that miserable watching the games, why are they still watching? Just so they can comment on your site and point their literary fingers and say “I told you so!”

    I don’t understand it. Personally I think you are doing a bang up job and hope you keep at it. I hope the team gets things figured out and proves all of the people (fans?) griping all the time, wrong.

    • Greg

      “I have been an avid reader of this site for many years … but the fan comments have become just brutal. Never a good word for the team and the same ole yadda yadda about what the team should have done or should be doing instead of just trying to enjoy the game and have hope for the team’s future. ”


  10. Jer-B

    So much doom and gloom. I am actually excited about this team. Sure, there have been some bad trades through the rebuild, but in all reality acquiring and identifying talent is a crapshoot. The more talent you acquire the better the odds are on hitting on someone like Castillo.

    The hitting has to improve, there is no way everyone can sustain career low numbers across the board. One of the worst pitching staffs over the last few years is now one of the better ones. Guys like Suarez, Winker, & Senzel give a fun nucleus to watch over the next few years. Castillo is a straight up ACE! Mahle, Gray, Stephenson, Garrett & crew give a strong foundation for the staff.

    Sure, it’s been a rocky road and there is still a lot of work to do, but there is a lot to be excited about. The Reds have some good young pieces and a lot of salary space next year, to help turn the corner.

  11. Scott C

    Hope Springs eternal. At least I thought it did. After reading some of the litany of negative comments I am beginning to doubt it. I watch and follow baseball as a distraction and entertainment. I follow the Reds because of the location of my birth and that I chose to attend graduate school in Cincinnati. I continue to follow them because, well I love baseball and I get attached to players. This year watching guys like Winker and Puig enjoying the game, watching Castillo develop as a pitcher and the anticipation and fulfillment of Senzel getting to the bigs. I loved your article Doug and I think we can look forward to some better days. Maybe I’m just a naive kid at heart but again it is a kid’s game.

  12. WVRedlegs

    Doug, I think you have a case of premature estimation. Sure, the Reds got a couple of gems. However, it is a crying shame, and almost criminal in nature, that you don’t have more players to talk about in this vein.
    The Aroldis Chapman trade of 2015 netted the Reds 0 major players on today’s 25 man or 40 man rosters.
    The Johnny Cueto trade netted the Reds 0 major players on today’s 25 man and 40 man rosters. Hopeful Reed can make it 1.
    The Mike Leake trade netted the Reds 0 major players on today’s 25 man and 40 man rosters. *But the Duval trade of 2018 might have 1.
    The Todd Frazier trade of 2015 netted the Reds 0 major players on today’s 25 man and 40 man rosters. Peraza and Schebler are not major players and neither may be around for 2020.
    The Jay Bruce trade of 2016 netted the Reds 0 major players on today’s 25 man and 40 man rosters.
    Missteps? Missteps of gargantuan proportions indeed.
    It was utterly amazing what the Reds got in return for the bloated corpse of Alfredo Simon, the dangling right arm of Mat Latos, and a waiver wire pickup in Dan Straily. And it is utterly amazing just how they failed miserably to get anything in return for their own established players. The trade of a .172 hitting Adam Duvall in 2018 could very well be a better return than what the Reds got combined for Chapman, Leake, Bruce, and Cueto.
    There is going to be a lot of turnover of this 2019 team going into 2020 with all the one year left players. That isn’t good for a team that just exited a rebuild.
    Just how many of Scooter, Puig, Roark, Wood, Hernandez, Hughes, Dietrich, Zach Duke and Jose Iglesias are going to be back in 2020?? Hughes has an option for 2020 and Dietrich has one year of arbitration left. Duke won’t be back. That is 9 players who’s spots are more than likely going to be turned over before the 2020 season. Exceptions are J. Iglesias and Dietrich that should be coming back. That is a rebuild in itself within a rebuild. That is a lot of holes to fill for a completed rebuild.

    • Scott C

      Reed is on the 40 man roster. Peraza and Schebler are on the 40 man roster. It is not fair to say Peraza or Schebler is not a MLB player. I agree that they both have issues but Peraza is playing in the majors and Schebler was, that is the definition of a MLB player. There is no magic talent line.

      • Lwblogger2

        I agree with this. While I generally agree with a lot of WV’s gripes, one can’t arbitrarily decide that a player isn’t an MLB player. Peraza contributed quite a bit last year. Just because I don’t care for him and I typically am not a fan of the type of player he is doesn’t mean he hasn’t been successful. Nor does it mean Peraza won’t have future success with the Reds. Lord knows he works hard.
        Schebler has been a very good player who had a 30 HR season and was overall an above average offense player going into this season. Yes he’s been brutal in 2019 but he’s provided past value. I’d also bet he’ll provide future value as a 4th OF for some team.

  13. Sanantonefan

    I always read and rarely comment, but the doom and gloom is getting crazy. The Reds have made some good deals and some bad ones. I was happy that they did something this off-season instead of sit on their hands as many other teams did. They upgraded the pitching staff and got some bats (who obviously are not hitting) without having to part with their best prospects. Many of these acquisitions are in the last year of their deals (Puig, Wood, Roark). They can try to resign them, trade them at the deadline, or jettison their salaries after this year, leaving them money to play in free agency next year. Also, I am not going to call Joey Votto an over the hill bum or say the season is over at the 25% mark of the season.

  14. BigRedMike

    Gloom and Doom is close to realistic impartial analysis for a team once again with one of the worst records in the NL.
    The trade for Gray was great. Getting Roark was a smart decision as well. The Dodger trade worked since the Reds had a piece to match with the Dodgers dumping players they did not need.
    Have 25% of the roster turnover each year and a number of 1 year contracts is a good plan. The Reds just need to find a core of young position players.
    As noted, the results of the trades made over the past few years has hurt.

    • PhP

      To piggyback off your comment, something I dont see mentioned enough about the Dodgers trade are the potential draft picks via qualifying offers being turned down.

      I felt with both Puig and Wood (injury not withstanding) that it was a win-win-win. If they play great a lead is to the post season = win. If we’re not in contention we flip them at the deadline = win. And if we’re in the middle of the road, extend them a qualifying offer and net the draft pick or have 1 extra year of team control over a solid player = win. Either way I still like the trade