How about a little positivity in this realm of Reds? Things have been a bit bleak lately, so lets keep these Reds thoughts positive with the weekend morning coffee. After all baseball is fun.

The Reds are 17-13 in blowout games (run differential of 5+) this season. As much as the most recent blowout losses have stung, from 2014-2019 the Redlegs’ record in blowouts stood at 92-147. It’s a thin silver lining, I get that, but it’s just another small sign that the Reds are taking the small steps out of the rebuild and onto better things. Speaking of Reds positive signs, how about a player who came from nowhere to set all the home run records?

The Punisher

Watching Aristides Aquino punish the ever loving stuffing out of the ball never gets old…

There’s been a lot of “enjoy the ride” talk with Aquino, which is all well and good, but there’s real potential here. If you’ve read anything about The Punisher and how he has reinvented himself with the help of Donnie Ecker, he shows a real teachability and propensity to adapt – something other players could stand to imitate. His fielding ability, on top of his bat, shows the kind of raw talent that could possibly do some positive performing for the 2020 Reds. Something to keep an eye on for the remainder of the season is his slash line. If it’s around a .300/.440/.500 line, it would be hard to give anyone else the starting right field job come March 26, 2020.

Offseason posturing

Speaking of Opening Day next year, the Reds will have plenty to do this offseason to get ready for it. With names like Didi Gregorious and Yasmani Grandal being bandied about and no clear target, one thing is abundantly clear: if Francisco Cordero remains the Reds most prolific free agent signing after the 2019-20 offseason, the front office has failed. They’ve built a lot of trust with the moves they’ve already made but they can wipe that all out with an offseason of maintaining this roster instead of improving it.

It’s always Sonny…

Probably the most significantly positive Reds move the front office has made that has built that trust up is the acquisition of Sonny Gray. The mandate last December was “get the pitching” and Gray is the pitching. He has the 12th best ERA in baseball (2.98) in 132.2 innings pitched with a 4.2 bWAR. His strikeout rate is at a career-high of 10.4 and so is his ERA+ of 154. Much was made about him being a castoff from the Yankees, but he has shown to be the second part of the Reds one-two punch at the top of the rotation.

Castillo’s rough patch

Joining him at the top of that rotation is the man who just got shellacked by the Cardinals, Luis Castillo. Don’t let Friday night’s game sully your image of La Piedra because the dude is a stud. That was just the second instance all season in which he’s given up more than five earned runs. The other time was June 26 against the Rockies (six earned runs allowed). In 18 of his 25 starts, Castillo has allowed two earned runs, or less. His ERA now sits at 3.10, which is the highest it’s been all year. You can look at that one of two ways, but I choose to see it as he’s pitched really stinking good.

One final thing

This last bit has nothing to do with the first bits, but quick shoutout to Billy Hamilton. Say what you will, and I still firmly agree in the objectivity to let him go last year, but my fan heart misses him. I remember watching him in Double-A beating out grounders to second base. The excitement he brought was never something that would lead to championships, but it was darn good fun to watch. Here’s to hoping he lands on his feet as a bench player on a playoff team.

17 Responses

  1. TR

    The question is whether the Reds front office will add veterans to go one and done like KC did when they won in 2015, or will they go with the young guys to build a contending winning team for many years.

  2. Burtgummer

    A relief pitcher or two ??Understatement of the year.except for Garrett the whole bullpen needs to be rebuilt

    • Indy Red Man

      Colorado…wow wish I could be so optimistic. Iggy has a 4.01 era although he’s 24 of 27 in save opportunities. B- grade imo. Lorenzen about the same. Sometimes he’s lights out and sometimes he walks the park B-. Garrett is a B+. Now I like Stephenson, but the few times they’ve put him in high leverage he got bombed. I’d let him pitch the 8th the rest of the way and see what happens? “As good as anybody out there” though? No. Go look at Houston’s bullpen #s or Cleveland’s# or the Yankees. They’re 4-5 deep with potential closers. The Reds need 3-4 guys minimum. Another solid lefty is mandatory as well.

    • Earmbrister

      I’m closer to Colorado’s thinking, than I am to Burt’s and Indy’s. While I agree Indy that Iggy and Lorenzen are just above average, while Garrett is excellent, none of them are going anywhere. Nor are Lucas Sims, Cody Reed, or Robert Stevenson. Add Kuhnel, depending on what he shows the rest of the way.

      Garrett (LH)
      Reed (LH)

      Even if you drop one of the above off the list, that’s 6 solid candidates for an 8 man BP. Yeah, adding one or two quality relievers should suffice.

  3. Slicc50

    Absolutely….I found myself getting caught up, until last Sunday, this team having a chance to make the playoffs. So I had to rethink things. When this season began, I expected a close to .500 season. They showed flashes at times to be a team that can make some noise if they could put it all together consistently and string some wins together. Now i see it differently. This front office has put together a really nice foundation for a winner in Cincinnati for the next few years. They just need to play this season out and gain some valuable experience for the younger players. Figure out who fits in going forward, and who doesn’t. I actually trust that the front office is going to be able to make the moves over the winter that will take this team to the next level. I haven’t been able to say that in quite a few years. Even in the Dusty years, I knew they had a solid foundation, but were never going to spend the money it would take to put the team over the top. It feels different to me now. It’s a nice time to be a Reds fan. No matter how the rest of this season plays out

  4. jbonireland

    I agree that optimism is higher then it has been, but I just don’t get Gregorius or Grandal. Didi seems to break down more and more each year. Grandal I believe is over rated, while he may hit some remember we drafted this guy and traded him, and he is now on his 4th team. Defensively I don’t see him as better then Barnhardt or Casali.

    As to free agents we will have money to spend, however I don’t want to see 6 or 7 year contracts for any player nor would I like to see over paying to bring in someone. I do believe that the current management team has shown that they will be able to sort this out and make the necessary adds.

    The biggest holdup I see in the Reds moving forward is the on field leadership of our Manager. After this year David Bell will continue his record of never managing a team to a winning record in either the minors or the majors. If you have to over pay a successful manager to come to Cincinnati this is where I would spend the money. My fear is that when the time comes to replace Bell we will continue to look only at in house options or former Reds players.

  5. Doc

    For credibility, when your plans include moving someone to 1B, Senzel in your post, then I believe you need to offer a credible and realistic disposition or role for Joey Votto. 1B is not an open position that can just be filled in the current situation. To not do so makes your 1B suggestion an unrealistic pipe dream. The Reds FO cannot just ignore Votto in their plans, and they have to manage within the confines of the contract, which includes the no trade clause. Unless/until Votto hangs them up or agrees to a trade, or becomes so bad that the Reds Kemp him, any realistic suggestion for future lineups that involve 1B need to involve a credible plan for Votto.

    • Rob

      Excellent! Must be figured in any overview of 2020. I think the boiled down question is where do you put a very slow 36 year old 1B/DH who will probably hit 250 and slug 400. No where would be the best team option. But realistically part time at 1B and batting 7th. No one seems to want to talk about this. Bell can’t possibly justify him batting second. How many runs has he scored? With Suarez 80 rbis , he probably should score 80+.

  6. Michael Smith


    I think you hold on to Siri. Guys turn into players at different times. Look at Aquino and Van Meter this year. Neither was a top prospect coming into the year but they put the work in (Siri is a hard worker from what I have read) and made major changes that changed their trajectory (van meter is over last 1.5 years, Aquino since end of last year)

    On the Free Agent front the pickings are slim. Didi is a huge upgrade over anyone on the roster. Grandel is a sizable upgrade. After that not much there.

  7. Indy Red Man

    Most of the free agents this offseason stink from what I can tell. There are a couple of guys I really like though that could really help this team.

    Travis D’Arnaud. He’ll be 31 next spring. Had a .878 ops in June and a 1.136 ops in July as a full-time catcher. No cheap HRs in Tampa either. Have the Reds had a frontline catcher put up a 1.136 ops month since Bench?

    Dellin Betances. He’ll be 32 in the spring. If this guys right then the Yankees probably keep him, but they have an absolute ton of young guys to pay down the road. He’s been one of the top setup men for years now. 381 innings 228 hits with a career 1.04 whip & 2.36 era. I don’t know what a top setup man gets, but I’d give him 3 years if he’s healthy. We have all these young guys that aren’t making squat.

    • Earmbrister

      Problem with D’Arnaud is how many months is he going to give you. The man can’t stay on the field.

      • LWblogger2

        Agree 100%. He’s always been a tantalizing player. The guys is defensively solid and he can really hit. His issue, throughout his entire career, has been with staying healthy. I don’t sign him.

  8. Earmbrister

    Senzel is NOT a SS. And that leaves you with no credible CF. With that move you’ve considerably weakened two key defensive positions.

  9. CFD3000

    A few thoughts. Whoever said this team’s struggles have been primarily offense early and bullpen late is spot on. With the arrival / emergence of Senzel (who does seem to be wearing down), JVM, Aquino, Ervin, and a rejuvenated Barnhart, and even a “signs of returning to form” Votto I’m pretty comfortable with the offense. But the bullpen is still a big area of need. The Reds need to go into 2020 with now weak links and at least one more shut down set-up man. But amazingly I have confidence a) that the FO is aware of this priority and b) will take smart steps to resolve it.

    Pete, I think you may be onto something with Donnie Ecker. I don’t think there are many Turner Ward fans at RLN but Ecker has shown great insight and ability with Aquino, JVM and Barnhart. Time for him to get a bigger role with the big club?

    Finally, losing 5 of 6 has ended my dreams of a playoff run, but I’m still hoping to see this team creep back to .500 in the next 6 weeks. If Wood continues to improve and Bauer finds his sea legs that feels achievable. And between that chase and a spoiler role I’m planning to really enjoy the preview of the 2020 playoff Reds.

  10. Chris

    What does the board think of Senzel’s offensive season thus far? His numbers aren’t really even much, if any, above average are they?

    I’ve heard Acquino compared to an Adam Duvall, I sure hope not!! Yes, he was an all star 1-2 years, but that should be taken with grain of salt. There are many great players left off each year and several marginal players put on team… that’s only representative of just over half the season. Duvall had 2 pretty quality years for us, but then he was terrible pretty abruptly and since was traded and spent more time in minors than majors. If we only get 2 good years of 30+ homers out of Acquino I would think that would be a grave disappointment? No?

  11. Don

    Just say no to any 30+ year old position Free Agents.

    Galvis (assuming hits next 6 weeks like 1st 5 games) should be 2020 starting SS. Will be 30 in 2020 which will be his 8th MLB year. Good veteran add.
    JVM should be starting 2B without any question getting one or two days off a month.
    A backup whom can play both and will be happy with starting 4 to 5 days a month and pitch hitting (not Peraza).

    If the team gets a 28 to 30 Year old OF to be a 5th outfielder whom can push the OF of Senzel, Aquino, Winker & Ervin

    Off season needs are a # 2 or #3 starter to be the #4 starter on this staff. A lefty would be great and 2 relievers whom can be 80-90% successful in high leverage situations.

    Rest of the 2020 – 26 man roster should hold overs from current roster.

  12. LWblogger2

    The Reds were pretty clear in stating that Senzel could probably handle SS in a pinch and short term, but they don’t think he has the defensive chops to start there regularly. They did not make such statements about him playing the OF. Senzel isn’t a good fit at SS according to the Reds. I trust them on this one. 3B and 2B he could certainly handle but he’s actually looking pretty good in CF and he’s getting better there.