Barry Larkin was on MLB Network Radio on Saturday to talk about the future of the Cincinnati Reds. And he sounds like he’s a fan of last offseason’s pick ups of Nick Castellanos and Mike Moustakas after their first showing in Cincinnati.

“Those are some dudes. They are some great guys, with great attitudes,” said Larkin of the two pick ups from the last offseason.

“Of course there are going to have to be some tweaks that are going to have to be made, but I think the future’s going to be bright for Cincinnati,” said Larkin.

Larkin is not wrong that there need to be some tweaks that are going to have to be made. The offense couldn’t hit for anything resembling a decent average. They did draw plenty of walks, and they hit for power – but with a BABIP that was historically low, it led to historically low batting averages for a team as well as an reliance on home runs to produce runs as a whole. As we reported on Friday, President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams expects the entire coaching staff to return, so those tweaks are likely going to be coming from the same group that was around in 2020.

“It was frustrating this year because I think we expected that we were going to score runs, and we got the unexpected great pitching, and so hopefully there’s a combination of the two in the future.” Larkin said.

That’s an interesting comment given that while the offense certainly was expected to score runs (and a whole lot more than they did end up scoring), it was the pitching that was still expected to be the strength of the 2020 team with Sonny Gray, Luis Castillo, and Trevor Bauer headlining the rotation. Those three, as a group, probably did perform far better than expected – led by Bauer’s Cy Young caliber season.

One of the issues about the combination of the expected offense and the great pitching is that Trevor Bauer is not likely to come back – but even if he does, the odds that he can repeat the kind of season he had in 2020 are unlikely (and they’re unlikely to anyone to repeat given just how good the season was). Of course, the Reds also got very little from Wade Miley, who spent much of the season on the injured list, and also saw Anthony DeSclafani struggle for most of the season. Overall, the pitching staff could probably come back and perform to a similar ERA that the 2020 staff did.

Barry Larkin, a Hall of Famer, is a special assistant in player development with the organization. It’s a role he’s been in for years, though he wasn’t always given that specific title. In the 2-minute clip he mentioned a few prospects – Hunter Greene, Jose Garcia, and Tony Santillan. Cincinnati is going to need to start seeing some younger players stepping into the Majors. They have come out of “the rebuild” and heading into the 2021 season, Nick Senzel may be the only every day player or pitcher on the entire pitching staff that is under the age of 26 when the season begins. Perhaps Jose Garcia, Tyler Stephenson, Nick Lodolo, or Tony Santillan can break into the big leagues and join Senzel in that under-26 club, but right now the team isn’t exactly on the young side of the ledger.

28 Responses

  1. Melvin

    I’d vote for Larkin as manager if we’re unable to get a well established excellent winning manager.

    • RedBaron

      Ditto. This team needs leadership from the top and Bell isn’t that. I think this team would rally around a lifelong Red and HOF like Larkin. Too bad the front office is too myopic to see this

    • IndyRedsFan

      Completely disagree. Larkin has no managerial experience at all….save a few games in the world baseball tournament.

      Great players do not automatically make great managers. To the contrary, they very seldom make great managers.

      I don’t want to see Larkin as manager ending up getting the same treatment that Tony Perez got.

      • Melvin

        Yeah well compared to David Bell he’d most likely be a superstar manager. He’d be a motivator.

    • Scott W Schrauth

      Absolutely he will make a great manager after all he was a Lou Pinella Disciple, he is a hall of famer infielder, he knows the strategy of the game, and he always said he will surround himself with coaches he trust, Chris Sabo, Paul O Niell, Billy Hatcher as his bench coach and Jose Rijo as his Pitching coach

  2. Klugo

    One interesting and possible tell-tale will be Does David Bell get an extension this off-season? I believe he’ll be entering the last year if his contract.

  3. Tom

    The 60 game season of 2020 was not an aberration. The Reds offense in 2019 under performed too. When will the Reds get it through their thick skulls that strikeouts are an unproductive out and that walks don’t mean much when your team struggles to advance runners. Since Doug brought up the name of Nick Senzel, I hope the Reds are not counting on him going forward. The man is as fragile as they come and expecting him to play more than a third of the games is wishful thinking. I wish the Reds success going forward, but believe more lineup changes or a different hitting philosophy are needed to consistently play winning baseball.

    • TR

      I doubt that a different hitting philosophy is going to be forthcoming as long as Alan Zinter is the coach. This is a good time to move Barry Larkin up in the organization and make him the hitting coach for 2021.

      • Melvin

        Moving Larkin up to hitting coach would be cool. He’d be one step from manager. 🙂

      • TR

        In all the years of Barry Larkin’s great career, I never had the feeling his hitting focus was on the homerun.

      • Hoppy919

        Barry Larkin doesn’t need to instill HR. HR, &/or HR. Personally I think all this analytics is overblown. I believe a bunt, hit to the opposite field, hit & run would pay off in more runs & rallies than uppercut swing for the fences, & all the strikeouts that go with them. Just my .02 cents worth. But who am I?

  4. Julie

    To Red Nation. I have an original 1969 Reds scorecard my father had and the Red’s were playing Los Angeles at home. The cover contains original signatures of Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Tony Perez and Darryl Chaney. Pete Rose is on the cover in his #14 uniform. I never lived in Ohio. Does anyone know of anyone or organization who may be interested in this gem? Please email me if you know. Thank you!

    • Albert Taylor

      I would be interest at the right price. What are you asking for it?

    • Bob Buehler

      Julie,

      Wow, what an awesome scorecard! That is truly amazing. I am sure you could sell it, but if you wanted to donate it (or sell to the Foundation)I will check with my niece, Jenny, who leads the Denny Buehler Memorial Foundation. They do fundraising in honor of my deceased brother (Jenny’s Dad). A major part of their fundraising is an annual softball tournament, held every year (except 2020!) for the past 40 years. The proceeds from the tournament go to a local family in need in the Greenhills/Forest Park area just north of Cincinnati. That scorecard could be a FABULOUS auction item (or some other mechanism for fundraising) for their 2021 giving plan.

      If you are interested in this as a potential option, send me an e mail.

  5. Marc187

    I agree with Tom theres way too many K’s in the lineup and a new hitting approach should be implemented .
    Reds need more players getting on base and willing to take walks.
    Hitting solo HRs wont get it done.

  6. Chris

    Turner Ward may not have been an effective hitting coach, but the Reds looked worse under Zinter. Waiting for homeruns is dumb baseball and encourages bad hitting habits. The Mendoza Line should not be a team’s aspiration. The pitching saved the Reds this year, period, and I hate to disagree with Barry Larkin, but this team doesn’t inspire confidence.

    • Melvin

      Maybe Larkin is making an underlying point about the potential of the talent on this team IF properly motivated from a good manager…….maybe himself.

  7. Charlie Waffles

    Tweaks ==New Manager and Hitting Coaches.

    • Greg

      I agree! The Reds need leadership both on and off the field. You cannot expect to win when you don’t score runs, and just playing station to station baseball waiting for the big home run. They need a legitimate leadoff hitter that can hit for average, steal bases, and a solid defense up the middle. Not only do they need to change the hitting coach and the manager, they need to change their entire philosophy to doing whatever it takes to be a winning team from the top down. Barry Larkin would be a good start in the right direction. My hope is that they see the need and fill it.

  8. Chris

    “My mom says I’m cool”

    -Millhouse

  9. Rob

    I read the articles about the Reds low leverage trade bait. I do mostly agree but I also think we have pieces that would command well above average talent on the market. I think the trade value of Winker, Senzel, Barnhart, and Bob Steve have declined. The more valuable pieces are probably Gray, Lorenzen, and Garrett. If we are not willing to part with some of these guys, I really can’t see much of an offensive difference. I just don’t expect Garcia and Stephenson to be offensive threats in 2021. I think we know rebuilding is not an option so it will be interesting how they move to improve this team.

    • Doc

      I saw a couple of ST games before things shut down. Garcia looked very good, including 1 HR that cleared the fence that is behind the walkway that is behind the bullpen that is behind the LF fence. I suspect that a full ST will bring results. T Stephenson wasn’t too shabby in limited action. His AAA season was good offensively.

      I hope a couple of youngsters get a solid chance, and the pre-draft scouting gets better. With already losing Bauer and Disco, I’m not trading pitching. More emphasis on winning and evolving the team and less on squeezing an extra year of control.

  10. Johnnie Sparks

    The front office has old high price vets an players with 4 yr of experience or lower. F O has no idea just expect 90-95 L’s next yr with this current roster.

  11. Charlie Waffles

    This is a perfect example thst there is no accountability in the Reds front office. None. Dick Williams is in denial about the problems the team and organization have. To change managers or hitting coaches they would have to admit they made colossal mistakes in hiring these bums. They just cannot bring themselves to do that. They want to prove that they made right decisions when the evidence contradicts their point of view. They won’t and can’t make those admissions probably because of ego. With no changes, the 2021 season will be a mirror image of 2019 and 2020.
    Is Bell going to change the way he manages a game in 2021?? No.
    Is Zinter going to change his hitting philosophy he imparts on the players? No.
    So why keep them in charge? Front office ego. They can’t admit to their own collosal mistakes.

  12. Ken Mullen

    I totally agree with a coaching change. It was so frustrating to see starting pitching to pitch until the 5th or 6th inning while holding the other team to nothing with 70 to 80 pitches. Then being replaced and see the whole game change. These guys should be good to at least 100
    Pitches.
    Ken.

  13. Shawn

    Tweets should be a SS, at least 1 LH relief pitcher, and an upgrade in the corner outfield if the DH is utilized next year. Don’t offer Goodwin arbitration. Winker can be the DH, no way the Reds should hand the SS position to Garcia next year. He was overmatched by major league pitching this year.