Thursday night saw the Cincinnati Reds suffer one of those losses you hope to forget about quickly, but probably will remember five years from now. The team was holding a 4-2 lead entering the bottom of the 9th inning in St. Louis before failing to record an out in a series of “how is this even possible” plays as they watched the Cardinals score three runs to win the game. Reds Manager David Bell was asked about how you manage following that, tough losses, and he provided some interesting thoughts on the matter.

“It’s not easy, losing. It’s not fun. There’s nothing to like about it,” said Bell. “Today (Friday) is one of those days you’re very grateful for the sport of baseball. It’s kind of an old adage, but it’s so true – you get to come out and play today. I think that’s really important after a game like last night. And it’s really all about how you respond to it. I’m human, and I hate to lose. But I also do know that in order to have success and for us to have the success that we’re going to have, it’s all about how you handle that and how you respond to it and how you keep getting better from it. There’s no other choice. Nothing else works. Knowing that doesn’t make it easier. But it gives me a direction and it gives our team a direction, it gives us a path to that success. Sometimes it’s harder than others to stay on that and to trust that.”

On shaking up the roster and lineup

During the zoom call with the local media, David Bell was also asked about if they were at the point of potentially looking at changing things up with the roster or lineup given some of the struggles of some guys on the team.

“You know, it’s a good question because in any normal season it wouldn’t be fair at all to evaluate on 10-20-30 at-bats, 20 games. That’s just not the way baseball works,” Bell said.  “To your point, there’s just not time. At some point you need to take some risks and do what you think is best for the team. With our roster, we’re comfortable with where we are. We’re happy with it. There’s less playing time for the guys on the bench this year with the DH. I mean that’s really how it’s played out. We haven’t really gotten into the flow with our schedule due to the time off. And we haven’t faced a lot of left-handed pitching, which would get some of our bench players – the guys that are typically on the bench against right-handers into the game. So there really hasn’t been a good flow yet. I know we have a long stretch of games now, which is actually a really good thing for us. We’re looking forward to that and really getting guys playing time and really seeing where we are. It’s always something we’re looking at. We have great depth over at Prasco. We have young players that are getting very close to being able to help us. We’re always looking at that and evaluating what’s best for our team.”

On Josh VanMeter’s struggles

To note, this question was asked prior to the game on Friday, but the question and answer don’t really change much based on that specific game. Bell was asked what he was seeing there, while the question noted that VanMeter’s exit velocity was high – second highest on the team – but that the results just weren’t there.

“That’s exactly it. We know he can hit. He knows he can hit,” said Bell. “He wants it to happen. He wants to get three hits every at-bat. And that becomes a problem. And at some point you’ve got to let go of that and trust it. There’s pressure that we deal with at this level. We know the results immediately. We know how good we are. Everyone in the world knows how good we are. And it’s a beautiful challenge, a beautiful privilege to perform at that level. But that fear of failure is something we all have to deal with. And you need to get to the point where you trust all the preparation, all the hard work, trust your approach at the plate and be able to live with what happens. That’s a big part of what we talk about. A big part of my challenge, a big part of what I feel like I can bring because I’ve experienced that. In the end, it wouldn’t surprise me if we get to that point as a team and that’s what gets us there.”

34 Responses

  1. Vada

    Definition of insanity is doing the SAME THING over and over expecting different results. Does this definition describe Bell?

    Bell would make an excellent little league manager since they think alike: “everyone plays, even the worst player.”

    The fans on this forum need to hear the thoughts of the GM and the owners themselves. Apparently they love to dangle before the fans the proverbial “carrot on a stick” while keeping their eyes on their bank accounts.

    Perhaps that’s why the players are keeping their eyes on their bank accounts instead of improving their baseball skills.

    If sneaking into the 2020 playoffs is the team’s goal then it is a meaningless goal. I was under the impression that BIG BUCKS were spent this off season to think BEYOND that.

    Already on this forum is talk of several players going for free agency at season’s end. Another rebuild in the way in 2021 looks likely. Rebuild: a synonym for shuffling one’s bank account for maximum payout.

    Let’s go back to the 1960s mindset and just enjoy the game as it was meant to be played – TO HAVE FUN, so the fans can have fun. After all, having fun can be CONTAGIOUS.

    • Sean D

      Agree but also disagree. If he took that approach with winker we’d be in an even worse spot. Vanmeter isn’t winker but same premise. It hard to see him in the lineup all the time although I certainly rather have him against a righty than Aquino (who some have lobbied for). Maybe I’m just super down on Aquino. I think it’s pretty obvious sneaking into the playoffs isn’t the goal, that’s what they might have to settle for but no one is trying to just do that.

  2. Doug Gray

    I’m pretty sure based on the context of what you typed that you did not understand the quote from Bell in your reply.

    He was not talking about the team. He wasn’t even talking about a specific player. He was talking about how their job is publicly viewable, the feedback is immediate on a given play as to whether you succeeded, or failed, and that long run – the stats are going to play out and tell everyone in the world how good or bad you are.

    • Doug Gray

      Me explaining that I felt you didn’t understand what he was saying is not apologizing for him – it’s me saying that you seemed to misunderstand his quote and point. You, and many others seem to really confuse the idea of apologizing for someone, and saying “you know, he might not be the craziest, dumbest person on the planet and there is reasoning and rationale behind what he’s doing even if you don’t agree with the end results”.

      I’m not able to ask the questions. I can only relay what he said during the entire interview (which as far as I’ve been able to tell, you aren’t getting anywhere else).

  3. mudpuppie

    I wonder about Senzel. Really like the way he plays, but man he misses a lot of games. I would hate for the Reds to trade him because of that, but it may be a wise move. His injuries and ailments are so random and not related it is almost like he is snakebite or something. I like Barnhart, but it is time to move on. My fear if they would pull the trigger and call up Stephenson that he would replace Casalli and not Barnhart. In Bell’s eyes you cannot carry two right hand hitting catchers. So Casalli would get cut and Barnhart would still be playing everyday. It is the Bell system and I guess the Williams system too since he will not tell Bell to stop the madness. Put you best hitters out there and ride that horse. Stop with the left/right thing. The roster needs to be reduced so as to Bell proof it….

    • jim walker

      I agree it is time to make the difficult decision to move on from Barnhart. For me it is one of those heart vs head decisions; but, it is due.

      Additionally, from the baseball point of view maybe it is harder because they already have in Farmer a 3rd guy who can go behind the plate but who is also a RH hitter and provides a lot of positional utility Stephenson doesn’t.

  4. Roger Garrett

    I don’t care what Bell says about how close these young guys may be getting to helping,it ain’t going to happen because he will always say its not best for the team.You can script what the Reds will do and that is nothing.These young guys will not be given any more then a taste like Stephenson got earlier this year.Nobody regardless will get more till they turn 24 or 25 years old.Wink almost had to walk on water to get called up.

  5. jim walker

    I was wondering about JVM’s K rate. The 2020 figure is brutal and right at double his 2019 rate in 6x more PAs than he has gotten so far this season. His BB rate is also down over 2019 by about third give or take.

    This is a different kind of season. They don’t have the luxury of seeing if he comes back to the norm (or even what his norm might be based on his short MLB experience). If they had a better option at Prasco, he’d be up; and that might actually bode better for JVM’s future personally and with the Reds.
    PS, Wasn’t that a gut punch for CBJ worthy of the Reds in game 5 vs Tampa. Not to mention game 4 vs Toronto which really set the table for what happened in the Tampa series IMO. But hey, it was the playoffs for the 4th straight season.

  6. Jim

    It is difficult to understand when they continue to play VanMeter at all. they say he can hit but his average last year was below 230 and is average to below average defensively. There is a major difference in being able to play numerous positions and playing them well. Please advise me what position he can play well that exceeds MLB standards.
    Also you can not have three players in your lineup that are under a 280 BA and at least shuffle the lineup as Votto hasn’t exactly hit well leading off and Suarez cannot or refuses to adjust and drive the ball to right field. Last but no least Barnhart has not hit for average a couple of years now and eliminate the matchup scenarios that in the end usually handcuff late innig moves.
    Also no question the decision on Brennaman was correct and Jim Day is an asset to the broadcasting team but please bring in a play by play announcer that can describe the game.

  7. Melvin

    There are some articles today from Drew Koch from FanSided Daily. If you get a chance you should read them. One of the many points he makes is how we are using our DH spot in the order. Everyone knows how crazy it is to keep on using our worst hitters there. Several options would be better including Stephenson and Aquino. Another one of the many points he makes is how it’s time, or should I say past time to remove Jankowski from the active roster. I was under the impression that we have Janko for his speed mostly and that’s because he has “lightning speed”. However he makes the point that Janko’s sprint speed last year was 27.4 per second. Aquino was 28.7. I was under the impression that Janko was THE fastest but Aquino is actually faster. That takes having Janko being on the active roster instead of Aquino from insanity to super insanity. I don’t care if he is a LH hitter.

    • Doug Gray

      Jankowski was injured most of last year with a leg injury. That’s why he was “slow” last year – he was mostly playing while hobbled.

      • Melvin

        Well I’m sure you know what you’re talking about but can he be THAT much faster? Aquino with 28.7 is still pretty fast. Senzel is the fastest on the team with 29.

      • Doug Gray

        Speed, particularly on the bases, is only a part of baserunning. Aquino is fast. Jankowski can actually use his fast. Aquino’s been playing professionally since 2011. He’s stolen more than 12 bases in a season once. Jankowski, who has played a whole lot less (because he’s struggled to stay healthy for almost the entirety of his professional career), has stolen 25+ bags four times, and only once did he ever play anything like a full season – and he stole 71 bases that year.

        I’m all aboard the idea that Aquino could be more useful to the roster than Jankowski. But if the argument is going to involve speed or the pinch running aspect – it doesn’t hold much water.

      • Doug Gray

        To add – Jankowski’s 90 foot split times, as well as his flat out “sprint speed” from his previous seasons would have easily been the best on the 2019 Reds.

      • Doug Gray

        And Jankowski’s also a center fielder. That’s another reason he’s on the team. That he hits from the left side has nothing to do with his being on the team I’d imagine. He’s on the team to be an outstanding defender at any of the three outfield spots and to pinch run. He’s not being asked to hit, ever, unless he’s the literal last option.

      • mudpuppie

        Doug, trouble is, when you switch him in too early, he does have to hit. That’s the bummer

      • Doug Gray

        He’s started three times this year, out of necessity pretty much. Remove those three games and he’s got nine whole at bats this year. In those non-start games the Reds are 9-3. In those 3 losses, Jankowski is 0-1. The game in which he went 0-1, the Reds lost 13-0.

  8. LDS

    Bell coaches like he’s a dad coaching his kids little league team – everyone plays, everyone is wonderful, etc. Too bad he’s not at least a competent high school coach – you know, “you suck so you don’t make the team”. I guess no one has told him that you don’t get a participation trophy in the majors.

  9. Melvin

    I’m sure you’re correct again. Still though don’t we have to ask ourselves what real value is Janko giving us? He’s never been involved as the runner on 2B during an extra inning game. The only time that happened we actually already had Senzel there and didn’t need him. The other times we were close to extra innings he was out of the game or already in the game at a different spot in the order. Of course speed is important as one of the “5 tools” of baseball. However if there’s one organization that should know better than to overvalue speed it should be the Reds. The seemingly endless Billy Hamilton experiment if nothing else should have taught them that.

    • Melvin

      I would also add that, IMO, Aquino is a pretty good defender too with a great arm. He was being used in Spring Training in CF and is able to play all three outfield positions.

      • Doug Gray

        Aquino is a center fielder in the way that they’ll let him play out there. Jankowski is a center fielder. Aquino has a great arm. As a fielder, though, he’s so-so.

    • Doug Gray

      I think there’s certainly some questions to be asked.

      Jankowski is like the 6th or 7th outfielder on the team. He’s only going to be used as a defender or pinch runner in nearly every case.

      Aquino would be like the 5th or 6th outfielder on the team. Like it or not, he’s probably not getting DH time too often because if a righty is on the mound the DH is going to be Winker in most scenarios. Right this second, with Senzel out, that changes a bit because Shogo moves to center from left in that situation, pushing Winker into left, and opening up the DH spot. Then you’re going to ask: Do we go with a lefty against a righty, or do we go with Aquino against a righty? If a lefty is on the mound, Aquino can get a start in left field with Matt Davidson working as the DH. But do you sit Winker with how he’s hitting even if a lefty is on the mound? I’m sure some would say that yes, you do. And I’m ok with that option.

      But when it comes to Aquino or Jankowski, I think that for the most part, it’s overblown, overreaction. Neither guy is going to play on the team if and when it’s healthy. Hate it or not, it’s just not going to be happening. Not with how the roster is constructed. He’s not playing over Senzel, Winker, Akiyama, or Castellanos in the outfield. And at DH, love it or hate it, he’s probably not playing over Davidson against lefties, and if righties are out there, should he play over Winker at DH?

      The situation sucks for Aquino. It really does. But I just look at the entire situation and just feel like there’s a lot of overreaction about why he’s not here, why he’s not playing, etc. If he were on the team he’d have about 20 at-bats right now. It’s not nothing. But unless he were 10-20, it’s not really changing much of anything this season, either. But that’s just my two cents from 10,000 feet.

      • Mark Moore

        Similar altitude and view here. AA caught some lightening in a bottle last August, but that’s no guarantee he’ll do it again. Riding Winker right now is the smart bet. And, as you noted, it’s a little different due to Senzel being out.

        AA isn’t going to do more than spell Castellanos in RF. He’s at least 5th on the depth chart for CF (counting Senzel as the #1 option). And he’s not even high enough on the list to DH regularly were he on the MLB roster.

        I’m no fan of Bell, but where AA is concerned, he’s just organizational depth at the moment. That’s just how it plays out.

      • seadog

        I agree with most of what you say. But, one point you is. I don’t feel it is overblown in such a short season. Every win matters. Every at bat matters even more. Point being. Even if it is just 2-3 times a week I would much prefer he comes off the bench to bat no matter if the pitcher is left or right

      • mudpuppie

        I think what has folks upset is you have VanMeter as a dh only because he hits lefthanded. People think Aquino, even though he hits righthanded would be a much better option.

      • Melvin

        Yes. I understand about the situation. At the very least though it would be good to have him on the active roster instead of Jankowski. As others have said it’s really irritating to see guys like VanMeter (now gone) and Jankowski get ABs instead of him especially when our offense has been SO BAD. If Payton works out then great but if he doesn’t soon then the same thing for him. I don’t believe we would give up very much defense. But hey…we don’t get to make the decisions do we? 🙂 There is one other thing to consider. His presence just might add a spark. This team definitely needs that from somewhere…anywhere.

  10. Genius like Kanye

    I think Bell should step down and let Derek Johnson take over the manger before he gets a managerial job next season w the Mets or something.

  11. Mark Moore

    Off topic for this thread, but it is the most current, so …

    Just saw where Strasburg is out with carpal tunnel. That’s a huge blow to the Nats, especially given the nature of that particular problem. Despite what many will try to make you think, surgery isn’t a guarantee of return to function, let alone at the high level a pitcher would need to compete in MLB. I’m a desk jockey who has to deal with it in some form often and I’ll put off the surgical “fix” as long as I can … perhaps longer by treating it therapeutically. But that’s me and my work … not like Strasburg and his particular craft.

    Too bad for him … reinforces to me why these mega-contracts don’t age well.

    • RojoBenjy

      Get the surgery before you have irreversible nerve damage.

      You can get atrophy of hand muscles that will never quite be back to normal. Today they can do it endoscopically it’s an easier recovery than the open procedure.

      • Mark Moore

        Well, thanks for the suggestion, but my symptoms are minor and transient. So I’ll pass and continue to take a therapeutic approach.

        Mr. Strasburg probably doesn’t have that luxury … and no promise of full function once it’s done. That was my point. My livelihood goes on. His could come to a screeching halt.

  12. Kevin Patrick

    I think a lot of us are really downplaying the quality of pitching the Reds batters have faced this year. I think also going back, most of us here understood the Reds needed more of an offensively dangerous catcher. The Reds have 3 or 4 guys that can do the job, but nobody that scares anyone. Moose and Senzel have both missed a lot of time… I’m not convinced (knowing really nothing about it) that Lorenzen’s offseason workout regimen was conducive to consistent pitching. More importantly, the nature of this season has meant that the relievers aren’t getting regular work. When they come in, they aren’t mentally or physically loose. I think we are learning that Iglesias needs regularly worked. 7 inning complete game shutouts or double headers don’t get the relievers in. Has anybody dwelled on the disappointment Wade Miley has been? I would argue that his performance has been more of a negative impact than that of Van Meter. Also, as we found out last year, this team’s success seems to correlate with the performance of Eugenio Suarez…who just doesn’t seem to have put it together yet…offensively or defensively. Let’s face it… Castillo hasn’t exactly been dominant. And yet… I think we may be seeing the coming of age of Mr. Winker. I think Sims has found an important niche. We are seeing performances out of Sonny Gray that I don’t think anyone could have reasonably hoped for when he was acquired. Managerial decisions?…The only outfielder I wish I saw more of is Akiyama…Apparently, Davidson should also be the permanent DH the rest of the year…Kyle Farmer should play second whenever Moose can’t… and I’d look at Farmer being the one to spell Votto at first occasionally against tough lefties. Votto looks stiff in the field…I think my long time hero is getting a bit…awkward out there.

  13. jim m

    Votto has gone back to his first half 2019 version. So ridiculous, half check swing warm ups, chokeing up and crotching down instead of his 2016 version of hands high and a fluid swing and not choking up, and noway in the world i let him lead off. Bell just doesnt show me as a fan he could motivate anybody. This hitting coach was the wrong one hired, they should have hired the guy who helped Aquino last year instead of letting him walk away to anpther team!!