For this week’s question we asked some of the writers from Redleg Nation what the one move they would like to see from the Cincinnati Reds for the rest of the season?
Question: What one move do you want to see the Reds make for the rest of the season?
Nick Carrington: I’d like to see the Reds commit to significant playing time for both Josh VanMeter and Aristides Aquino. This means playing VanMeter against left handers and Aquino against right handers. It doesn’t have to be every day but five days a week, I want them in the lineup.
The Reds need to know whether these guys are legitimate starting options for next season. If one or both are, they can use valuable resources to upgrade at other spots, such as shortstop, the bullpen, or catcher. The last fifty games won’t tell them all they need to know, but more information is better than less.
I’ve never been a huge Aquino guy because of the high strikeout numbers in the minors, but he’s talented enough that his swing changes could lead to genuine improvement. I’m close behind Doug Gray on the VanMeter bandwagon. The plate discipline, easy power, and smooth stroke look legit to me. One way or another, it’s time for the Reds to find out what they’ve got in these two.
Bill Lack: I’d like to see the Reds extend Castillo and buy out some of his FA years. They have plenty of money to spend and his is a great opportunity for them to cement the 1-2 starters in the rotation for the next several years. He appears to have nothing but upside moving forward. At worst, if he continues on the level he’s throwing this year, he’s an annual contender for the All-Star team; but if he matures and gets his walk rate down, he’s a true ace and one of the handful of true #1’s in baseball.
Steve Mancuso: I don’t have big complaints. I like how David Bell is using opportunity created by trading Yasiel Puig and Scooter Gennett to give young players more chances. I support his aggressive platooning. The Reds are getting a look at Phillip Ervin, Josh VanMeter and Aristides Aquino. They seem determined to play Jose Peraza at SS and 2B. Even though I’m pessimistic about what they’ll learn, it’s important to get data on Peraza, so I support playing him over Jose Iglesias. It looks like shortstop will be a huge position of need in the organization and, beside catcher, should be the top target in the offseason.
The pitching side seems clear-cut. Tyler Mahle’s return will create a decision, and I hope they give Mahle all his starts. He’s had a much more promising season than most people realize. If they aren’t going to offer Alex Wood an extension, I’d move him to the bullpen when Mahle returns. I suppose if anything, I wish they’d find playing time for Michael Lorenzen to start a few games in the OF. And they should trade for Mike Trout.
Jason Linden: I mean, it’s really just a matter of playing the right guys. Aquino and VanMeter and Peraza (yes, really) need to play everyday. Because as much as I’m hoping the #sneakonin, it’s really about next year right now. I know people aren’t sold on Peraza – and I get why – but barring some blockbuster trade, there really aren’t a lot of options at short. Same goes for the bullpen. Lots of guys are about to run out of options, so let’s figure out who to keep and who to let go.
Doug Gray: I’ve been beating the “Play Josh VanMeter every single” day drum since he was called up last. The idea that he’s sitting against lefties drives me insane. Yes, he’s a lefty, but he’s also a lefty who had an OPS of 1.209 against lefties in Triple-A this year. In most situations, I get platooning lefties against lefties. This guy? Not until he shows he can’t do it. But they aren’t giving him the chance to do it right now and I just can’t figure out how a team that clearly is going with such an analytical approach is ignoring the data on this one. That he can play left field, right field, second base, and first base makes it easy to play him every day or really close to it.