How’s it going? I’m the new guy. You may have heard me say words about the Cincinnati Reds on the Locked On Reds podcast. Now, I will be writing some words about the wonderful Cincinnati professional baseball team, here on the greatest website to cover said team. My hope is you are enjoying these words with a cup of coffee, maybe a mimosa/bloody mary and a good bit of brunch. Let’s get to it.

Change is going to come…no, not that change

A lot of words on Redleg Nation, over the next few weeks, will be devoted to the trade deadline. What I am talking about, right now, is the (hopeful) improvement in the performance lineup. There is a vast gulf that exists between the back of these Reds’ hitters’ baseball cards and their performances in the first half of 2019. Let’s look at some possible second half performances that will bring these guys back close to their career norms.

Tucker Barnhart

He’s been less than stellar at the plate, so far. Add to that he’s spent time on the IL, dude has something to prove in this second half. Let’s pretend the Redlegs backstop is just going to double his at-bats, in the second half. If he is to get back to his career average of .248, he’s going to have to accumulate around 50 hits. Considering his BABIP is about 50 points lower than his career average, he is due. Also, and who knows if this will take off, but he is way off his typical doubles pace. He averages 22 two-baggers a year (since 2016) but he has just five, right now. Will he hit close to 17 doubles the rest of the way? You tell me.

Eugenio Suarez

He’s not had a terribly unproductive first half, for our Cincinnati Reds, but his .248 average is lower than his career clip of .262. From 2016 through 2018, Suarez has averaged 542 at-bats. Lets say he’s right at that amount in 2019, he needs 142 total hits for the year to reach his career average. That would mean he goes 62-for-220, the rest of the way. If we expand the target to just double his first half at-bat totals, then he has to pile up 88 hits, or eight more than he got in the first half. He’s not that far off, compared to some other guys in this lineup.

Yasiel Puig

He really got going as the Reds entered the All Star break, but here’s something interesting about your friend, Puig. If he doubles his at-bats and plate appearances, then he would set career highs in both. He’s averaged just over 412 at-bats in his last three, full seasons. If that were to continue to hold true, we’re only going to see 108 more awesome ABs. I personally don’t see that trend holding and believe we will see much more of the Wild Horse (provided he isn’t traded). Using the benchmark of 500 at-bats, Puig can reach his career average of .276 by adding 60 hits, the rest of the way. The other thing that needs work is his on-base skills. He’s currently 40 points lower than normal. If he is to get back to his career .347 OBP, and we say he’s got 570 plate appearances, then he’s going to get on base 96 more times, which would be a .398 second half OBP.

Speaking of that change

With 18 days left until the hard and fast July 31st trade deadline, there are a few interesting names out there to monitor. One was discussed by Matthew Habel, here are a few more:

Tony Watson

Mentioned as a possible target by Mark Sheldon, he’s a very solid left-handed reliever from the San Francisco Giants, he would be a welcome addition, though not a controllable one. That last bit flies in the face of something everyone keeps harping on, that the Reds need controllable talent, but he does have a player option for 2020. Maybe the Reds trade a mid-level guy for him and convince him to pick up that option? Then they’ve got two of the more solid lefty relievers in the game. Watson has a 2.71 career ERA, not to mention lefties hit .225 against him with just a .588 OPS (on-base plus slugging).

Mallex Smith

You’re at first going to notice that he is 26 and not a free agent until 2023. The Mariners centerfielder is entering arbitration, after this year, and could be a player who doesn’t require a lot to acquire. He’s been traded four times, already, but he sports a career .336 on-base percentage who could be a solid defensive, bottom-of-the-order, centerfielder for the Reds and move Nick Senzel back to second base.

Whit Merrifield

You’re going to say “He’s 30!” but he didn’t make it to the majors until he was 27 and has been a very good hitter, ever since. He was an All Star, this year, and is cost controlled through 2023. In three and a half seasons, he has accumulated 13.6 bWAR and would take a decent group of prospects to acquire. There are very little, if any, rumblings about moving Merrifield away from Kansas City, and this may just be wishful thinking on my part, but I would love to add his talent to the Cincinnati Reds lineup, especially at the low-risk cost that accompanies him.

Off the top of my head

The All Star break, and really anytime away from GABP, gets me craving Frybox.


If you haven’t had the goodness that is Frybox you’re either health-conscious (and therefore something I am not) or you are missing out.

It is a box, with fries in it, and a variety of meats and toppings. Barbecue pulled pork, shredded buffalo chicken, or even Goetta and gravy. It will feed you and a few others…or just you.

I just had some Taco Bell and I am hungry again…

The best…

…walk-up music for a Cincinnati Reds player, in 2019, is Curt Casali’s tune. It is really hard to beat Greta Van Fleet.

37 Responses

  1. Jeff Carr

    Hey Pete, thanks for reading! I’ve thought about that. I don’t know if the shift to analytics shook this lineup more than anyone is willing to admit, but the fact they’ve done a complete 180 from what they were doing with the bats, last year, is concerning. I don’t know that they’ll move quickly to replace Turner Ward, though. They like him and the analytics is the key, nowadays, so they will probably give it more time to mellow.

    • TR

      I prefer hitting coaches like Tony Perez (see the ball, hit the ball) and Don Long during the Price/Riggleman regime.

    • MFG

      Jeff, do you really think veterans that have in the league for a few years really listen to their hitting coaches? I don’t think so but players like Senzel and Winker might? I believe it has less to do with our hitting coaches and more to do with some players just having a down year, the complete lack of fundamentals like moving runners over and scoring a runner from 3RD base with less than 2 outs. It has been both fun and frustrating watching this team. Some things never change like when you have 2 strikes, swing if it is close. Have you ever seen a team take more strike 3’s without swinging? Good article thoughJeff!

  2. Mason Red

    Enjoyed the read. The Reds are in a difficult position because they are still close in the standings despite their struggles. I think a lot of that is because even though the division is close with every team in it,that says more about the mediocrity instead of the strength of the division overall. Personally I don’t think they will extend Puig because the purpose of bringing him here was to trade him. If they do trade him it leaves a huge hole offensively with a offense that has plenty of holes. If the Reds aren’t serious about contending this year they should by all means trade him and maybe others as well. I’m not sure being buyers could fix all the problems on this team but as a fan I’m also tired of this endless rebuild. It’s quite the conundrum.

    • Mason Red

      Unfortunately the Reds aren’t very good at either.

  3. Ron Payne

    You hit the nail on the head. There are too many holes. One more bat or one more bullpen arm will not be enough to put this team over the hump.

  4. Burtgummer

    Why are the Reds even considering to be buyers?Most of the bullpen needs to be rebuilt,no one can hit
    Sell off the guys on the last year of their contracts and move on to next year

    • Mark Lang

      This. At this point it’s crystal clear this is a team that has more potential to lose 90 games than win 90 games – the “we’re in it” is an illusion created by so many teams with mediocre records.

      We’ve gotten so used to being mathematically eliminated at this time of year that if just seems like a sin to give up when we still have the 1 in a 1,000 shot at being a wild card.

    • Roger Garrett

      Count me in and lets see what the young position players can do.JVM,Senzel,Winker,Ervin and yes even Peraza need to be penciled in every day and as soon as possible lets get some more young guys up here and play them.No sense going into the spring of 2020 and wondering about any of these guys.Give them 200 or more at bats and lets play ball.Nothing about this costs anything other then a few wins and thats only a maybe.Iggy,Puig Roark,DD,Scooter and others when packaged together may get you something you can build with.Reds aren’t good enough to pass all the teams in their own division so lets move on.You can bet the other teams will make moves to improve as well.Lots of money to spend next year so at least lets find out who we can count on

  5. 44Reds

    How about Disco and change to the Friars for Renfro or Reyes. Thoughts?

    • Jeff Carr

      I’d be all over that, but I don’t think the Pads would. Reyes mashing at GABP would be awesome, and I like Renfro, but they’re in the same position, if not more taxing, than the Reds. They have no shot at catching the Dodgers (unless the unthinkable happens) and the Wild Card is so cluttered that it wouldn’t be enough of a difference adding Disco and subtracting one of those guys. If Dick Williams were to pull that off, though, we’ll, that’d be awesome

  6. Ron Payne

    Greta van Fleet would be better if they had a different lead singer. Jesse Winker would be better if he would get his head out of his butt.

  7. Don


    nice 1st article, I just started posting comments this year after just reading least year when I found the site.

    Been an on again off again out of town reds fan since I 1st starting knowing what baseball was at the age of 6 or 7 in the mid 70’s.

    My reds thoughts this weekend.

    The off season pessimistic plan seemed to be to get some pitching and stock up experienced players with expiring contracts with a plan of getting to 73 wins (do not loose 90) in the 150 anniversary year, get more fans in the seats at the stadium and not finish in 5th place in the division.

    They are 41-47 (.466 winning). The team needs to go 32-42 the rest of the reason to accomplish this.

    If they play the same winning % so far for the rest of the year, they get 35 more wins for a 76 – 86. Which is just about the # of wins that I saw as the pre-season “expert” predictions for the Reds.

    The optimistic fan.
    Games so far that they should have won (ahead in the 8th or 9th or ahead > 5 at any time in the game)
    Dodgers April 15th
    Mets April 30th
    Giants May 3rd
    Giants May 5th
    Brewers May 22

    If those 5 games were won like they should have been, they would be 46-42 which wold be 2nd place in the division and 1 game behind Cubs and in the 2nd wild card spot.
    In this case, do whatever is necessary to sell the future and go for it in 2019.

    The realist.
    Because those 5 winnable games were lost, 10 other games that should not be won need to be won the rest of the year to make up for the 5 losses and win 5 to replace the should have won games.
    This means that they have to go 42-32 the rest of the year which is a .567 winning percentage.
    I doubt to many teams which have played 88 games @ .466 all of a sudden change to .567 with one or two players being added.

    I have mentioned a few times, get to 50-50 at the 100 (July 24) games mark, if yes, go for it, if no get whatever you can for expiring player contracts (no one without a signed contract for 2020 should be off the table) and start working, playing those on 40 man roster whom are under contract or control and could be part of a 2020 success. If those players cannot get to the team to 73 wins (32-42, .433 winning) the rest of 2019 then they will have proven that they should not be part the future plans.

    If the Reds management stands pat or does next to nothing before the trade deadline (which to me shows the plan is hope) and then lets the expiring contract players leave without getting anything in return they will have made 2019 a lost season. All the question marks as to whom may be able to contribute @ the MLB level will still exit into the 2020 season.

    The only thing worse than making a decision which ends up with bad results is not making a decision and hoping .

    Sorry for long comment but wanted to share my entire thought process. I am an engineer and we cannot help but be analytical.

    Deciding not to decide is a decision!

    • Don

      left out last nights game which started me looking at winnable games and would make the record 47-41(.534) today and in 1st place percentage point ahead of the cubs.

      • Lwblogger2

        I’ll point out what may already be obvious. If you are counting winnable games that they have let slip away you probably also need to look at games where they were the ones making the comeback. Not sure how many (less than 5) but sure there have been a couple.

    • George

      “The off season pessimistic”.
      Yep, dead on. Appreciate hearing from an “engineer”.
      In a previous life I found that the engineer’s approach presented facts, managements approach usually presented “costs/revenue” approach.
      The current ownership has not demonstrated the will or skill to compete on any level other than the financial line.

    • Don

      July 24th is probably to late, I picked that date before they played Texas, seeing it was the 100th game (nice round #) and needing to be at a .500 record and they needed to go 20-14 (.588 winning) at that time.

      To get to 50-50 they needed to go 9-4 out of the all star break, They must win all 4 series, 2-1,2-1,3-1,2-1.

      if they loose their 5th game after the break before July 25th, sell, sell,sell.

    • Jeff Carr

      Thanks for the thoughts, Don. I appreciate the thought you’ve put into that. I totally agree, hope is not a strategy and has, too often, been one employed by this club in the not-so-distant past. That being said, I’ve seen some different moves that show different thinking on their part, this year. The Reds of the last fifteen, or so, years would not have cut Matt Kemp or Zach Duke. They’d have pointed to the dollar amount on their checks and say “They deserve to play.” I’m glad that did not happen.

      I will say I label myself an optimist, but I do not think they should go all in this year. I really do not see 90 losses, or more, from this side, as it is in the process of turning a corner that will be completed next year when they are a playoff team. They do not need to be trading for rentals (though Watson may decline his player option and be just that) at the expense of the next few years. The window is opening, but it is not open…if that makes any sense.

      Anyway, thanks again!

      • don

        You are correct in letting Kemp and Duke go is something they would not have done in the last. This is at least a good change.

        I try to be a realist, I did not think playoffs are possible this year without a minor miracle. I do not think anyone but the dodgers are going to be far ahead, the rest of the NL teams are OK, none great, all have flaws. The worst NL team is only 12 back from wildcard. There are 5 AL teams farther back than the worst NL.

        I agree they should not go all in for 2019, to many teams to pass. I would hope that they start playing the players whom have “potential” in 2019 to know when they must have for 2020.

        The front office has to decide on the 2020 roster in the next 3 weeks. As many have said, pick whom to extend and try, if they will not extend now, they will not sign in off season. Trade them for anything, cash, draft picks, low A fliers, international money, draft pick money, anything that can be of value. If there are no trade offers now, then the team should not want to resign the player as other teams do not want the players or do not think they have value at all.

        A key to know if a teams roster has talent is to see when players are let go (non-tender, free agents, minor league service drafts) get signed by other teams. Until a team has a majority of its ex players signed by other teams the organization does not have the talent needed to compete at the highest level of Pro sports.
        Those are the hard facts. I do not see many ex-Reds in MLB being great (above average) somewhere else in the league. This alone shows the state of the franchise over the last 5 years.

        Franchises which are successful for the long run have ex-name the team players being successful on other teams. This is not a bad thing as it means the franchise had already replacement for the “name” player.

        The reds not doing this means that the management does not believe they have the MLB ready players at AAA and a low cost veteran noone else wanted is better than any younger player in the organization.

  8. Steven Ross

    A Greta Van Fleet mention! Very nice Jeff. Curt Casali scores a bonus point.

    Spin it or ruminate any which way you want on the Reds in the 2nd but until I see .500 or better, can’t get excited.

  9. Doc

    Commented a week ago that the first three series out of the break were critical. They get you to July 21, and last night was not a good start. Using Don’s analysis, losing any one of these series would be enough to sell and give the next tier a chance. The problem is, if you ride the Illusion Express past July 31, then you still don’t know what you have going into 2020. Ervin had a nice run last year and it earned him nothing; still don’t know if he can do it next year.

    Stephenson appears to have turned a corner. Unfortunately, that corner led him to a Bell dead end. Can he do it next year!

    Cody Reed had two excellent outings, and a good year last year. Welcome to the Louisville Express to AAA.

    We don’t know that we can be as good next year as we are this year, using a loose definition of good.

    • Rich H

      You do know Stephenson and Reed both got and or are hurt, right?

  10. Roger Garrett

    Front office is just hoping for a few more wins and thats about it.As fans we are good with that but we want to be able to see a plan unfolding going forward.Personally I think the Reds won’t do anything at the deadline.I think they will just play out the string and re-do it again next year but I sure wish they would play it out with younger guys.

  11. Jeff Carr

    Couldn’t agree more with the take on Puig…couldn’t agree less with the take on Greta Van Fleet. Music, however, is all through the ear of the beholder and I will never hold it against someone.

    • Lwblogger2

      I like them. Not very many good straight up rock bands anymore and they are one of the handful. Yes, ok, they are blatantly ripping Zeppelin but they are doing it fairly well.

  12. Jeff Carr

    I believe (with a few minor hiccups) David Bell has done a fine job this year. *Ducks behind the couch*

    • Scott C

      I think Bell has done a much better job than the two previous managers My biggest hangup with Bell is his apparent love affair with Peraza and Hernandez. Last year was good year for bot players but really have no other track record to warrant the extended playing time either is getting.

  13. Rich H

    I think it’s important to remember that teams aren’t paying very much for rentals any more, unless the player is elite. That changes how the Reds should look at the deadline. Outside of Puig and Roark, what are you getting back for anybody else? Probably next to nothing, in which case I would argue they provide more value by putting a better product on the field. Having a more enjoyable team DOES have value. With Puig, any loss is greatly mitigated by the fact that you will almost certainly either have him on an extended contract, or receive another high comp pick in the draft because he declined a qualifying offer. Roark is really the only guy you would clearly lose potential future value by not trading, in my opinion, and I’ve seen a decent amount of discussion as to just how much people would actually pay for him. I don’t know that the Reds are really in a position to be big sellers, even if they wanted to be.

    • Joe D.

      Rich H,

      Thank you for posting this comment.

      Its refreshing to see someone have a realistic outlook on the current trade/FA market. I feel many people over hype the value of trading rentals for ‘prospects’, and have unrealistic expectations.

      While I have supported the Reds front office with the rebuild for the past half decade, I only renewed my MLBtv subscription when they made the trade with Dodgers. Did I expect the Reds to make it to the playoffs? No. But I felt as if they were putting a quality product on the field. And I really don’t feel they gave up too much to do it. I hope they take this same approach as the trade deadline approaches.

    • Lwblogger2

      That’s exactly how I see it too. Roark and Puig are the only valuable assets not around for 2020. Would the return on a Puig trade be worth the PR hit plus the comp pick for when he turns down the QO at the end of the season? If yes, than you move him. If the team feels that it isn’t then they shouldn’t. Roark got here by trading Tanner Rainey. So for half a year of Roark, basically 13 starts or so what should the Reds expect in return.

      For all the folks saying sell, sell, sell, who do the Reds have that will bring something back aside from those 2 guys? I’m assuming the Reds don’t want to part with Suarez ,Senzel, Castillo, Gray, Garrett, Winker or others under control through the next 2-3 years as I think they want them to contribute to a possible playoff run.

  14. Indy Red Man

    I’ll keep saying it….sign Puig and do it sooner then later! He’s an emotional guy rather then a rational one so use that to the Reds advantage! He’s never driven in 80 runs or hit 30 hrs. He shouldn’t cost $18/mil a year? He wasn’t that sought after coming into this season and he was horrible in April/May. Pay him and he will sign!!

    Otherwise….I’d trade Roark & Scooter. DD too if anyone wants him? He’ll be 45 before the Reds turn the corner at this rate! If Wood ever comes back then trade him too! Let Lorenzen or Stephenson start in Roark’s spot. They need to see that youth is served and give the young guys steady at-bats. Ervin? Platoon w/Winker, but also move Senzel around so Ervin can play some CF. For 2B I want to see alot of Van Meter! The kid approaches at-bats the right way! He’s not in a rush to get the at-bat over with and thats the kind of guys that these contending teams stock their lineup with! Ervin is the same way. He’ll take pitches! Senzel can also play 2B and JVM could play some 1st or 3rd. They know what Votto/Suarez are all about. Reds are not contending anytime soon. Thats obvious. I almost hope the Cubs stretch it to double digits by August just to put “contention” to rest once and for all. The Reds are what they are. They cannot hit and they cannot play fundamentally sound baseball on a daily basis.

    Whats going to happen? They’ll be 8.5 out in a couple of weeks (or less) and have 9 teams between them and the playoffs, but they’ll roll out the same nonsense they’ve been rolling out for years. Somehow hoping for something different. Farmer is probably the best hitter of the 3 catchers…why not give him some run?

    Having a 1-2 punch of Castillo/Sonny gives them a chance moving forward, but they need to blow some things up too! In the past they got Suarez for washed up Simon, Castillo for Straily, and Nick Masset for washed up Junior Griffey. Maybe they trade for a couple of youngsters that could help them compete in 2021? Thats their best…and probably only chance!

    • Roger Garrett

      I vote for all you said.Would give all fans something to cheer about.Young players are cheap and can be exciting to watch with upside.JVM is 24 years old and hit 350 at AAA.Its insane not to give him and Ervin at least 250 at bats for the rest of the year.Reds need hitters and young ones that will get better.Indy and Pete I am all in with playing the young guys.Needs to happen in a big way.

    • Lwblogger2

      I think you’re off on how far the Reds are from contention although would be open to moving rental players. Thing is though that the Reds only have a couple guys that can bring anything back and you want to sign one of them. If the Reds are as far away as you think, why keep Puig?

      The other thing I’ll note is that I have zero desire to see Farmer getting the majority of starts behind the plate. His defense is a bit better than I thought but he’s still a sub-par defensive catcher. He’d need to absolutely rake to justify the defensive dropoff.

  15. Bill J

    It seems as always they have waited to late to move.

  16. Arnolds Cox sr

    The problem is the reds players stand at plate and take way too many strikes it’s a known fact if the first pitch is a strike and they swing at it they are better hitters quit taking strikes .

  17. Lwblogger2

    That’s where I’m at. Reds may be able to extend him but it will be for close ro what he thinks he will get in free agency. May as well flip him and try to resign him a la the Yankees and Chapman.