Dick Williams resigned as the Cincinnati Reds President of Baseball Operations this past week. He had been either the General Manager or President of Baseball Operations since 2016, though he took the full reigns following that year from Walt Jocketty. On Saturday we looked at the best moves made by the Cincinnati Reds in the Dick Williams era (2017-2020). Today we’re going to go in the opposite direction and look at the worst moves.

Just like the list on Saturday, we’re going to list the potential worst moves in chronological order.

In February of 2017 the Reds signed Bronson Arroyo. Earlier in his career, Arroyo probably wasn’t given the credit he deserved by some of the more “sabermetric friendly” internet writers (including yours truly) for what he brought to the team. But this version of Arroyo was not that version. When signed, it had been 2.5 years since he last pitched in the Major Leagues. He came out in spring training throwing in the low-to-mid 80’s with his fastball and everything you would expect to happen to a pitcher who threw in the low-to-mid 80’s happened. He somehow got 14 starts with a 7.35 ERA and gave up 23 home runs in just 71.0 innings pitched. The money and length of the deal wasn’t much. But allowing 14 starts with that performance was tough to see.

If your memories of Dylan Floro as a Cincinnati Reds reliever aren’t exactly there, don’t blame yourself. He pitched in 25 games for the Reds in 2018 before being traded on July 4th. He entered the season with just 15 career games in the Major Leagues and a 5.11 ERA as a 27-year-old. After a strong first half with a 2.72 ERA, he was traded along with Zach Neal to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a move where it seemed that the Reds were trying to flip an older reliever without much track record for some youth, bringing in two prospects in James Marinan and Aneurys Zabala. While there’s still some time for the prospects to make strides, neither is currently a Top 30 prospect in the organization, but since leaving Cincinnati, Floro has thrown 98.2 innings over 2.5 seasons for the Dodgers with a 3.10 ERA.

In December of 2018 the Reds decided that “The Rebuild (TM)” was over and that it was time to move towards “winning now”. The first big move of that new part of the plan was to acquire some outfielders, a quality starting pitcher, and a solid utility man. Cincinnati traded for Alex Wood, Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, and Kyle Farmer. On paper, that should have certainly helped improve the Reds quite a bit in 2019. But things don’t go as planned every so often. Wood was injured most of the year, Puig put together his worst offensive season of his life, and Matt Kemp’s bat ceased to exist. If the price of acquisition wasn’t much, you could write that one off a little easier, but it wasn’t a cheap move to make. While the Reds were able to move Homer Bailey in the deal – his salary was offset by that of Kemp – they traded Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray int he deal. While history has yet to be written on their careers, they are both top 100 prospects now and were upside, quality prospects at the time, too. Trading the future for “now” isn’t always a problem, but you need the “now” to work in those cases, and it simply didn’t due to injury and lack of performance.

There wasn’t a lot of “bad” as I rolled through the transactions. On Sunday I reached out to twitter to see what everyone else thought since I wasn’t coming up with much. There were a lot of moves people mentioned – but almost none of them were actually in the Dick Williams era from 2017-2020 when he was the top decision maker.

What there were a few mentions of were moves that weren’t made. And those things certainly can make or break a franchise. Not trading for Christian Yelich was brought up. Having Yelich would be huge, and the Reds were very much rumored to be in those sweepstakes. It’s tough to cite these kinds of things in these articles, though. We’re only dealing with rumors and speculation – we don’t know what was really on the table, if anything ever was.

There were a few mentions of the signings from this offseason, too. For me, all of those are far too early, and in the kind of year that 2020 was, just not possible to put them into a “worst move” list. Your mileage, of course, may vary.

81 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    Several that were marginal to bad. Not really sure any of them would rate “awful” for me. We needed to unload Bailey in the LA trade, so that ended up as a positive for me.

    I think some of the trades that didn’t happen may lead the list for me. Yellich certainly tops that list. Mucking around with Puig for too long. Holding on to Iggy when others were salivating for a new “closer” comes to mind.

    Bottom line for me is that we had a shot this year, and that came after being ready to throw it all in. Memories will fade. What we want is a winning team and a full season to play. Now that has to come under someone else.

  2. Klugo

    Extending Barnhart. That’s all I can really come up with. I think DW did a good job with what he had.

    • Mark Moore


      Forgot about that one. And I’m not saying don’t sign him at all. Just not for that long.

  3. CFD3000

    The LA trade turned out, essentially, to be sending Downs and Gray for Farmer. Kyle has been a nice utility piece, but the opportunity cost is high. What could the Reds have acquired for Downs and Gray from another team? It’s still a bit shocking to me that all three of the big names coming over from the Dodgers were such a bust. Kemp was immediately awful, Wood was never close to productive and rarely healthy (shades of Ryan Madsen), and Puig was at best an occasional tease. How did Williams and his team manage to miss so badly on all three of those guys? And yes, I know there’s some allowance to be made on the Wood injury. But still, that’s by far the worst and most disappointing move of the Williams administration.

    But this is old news. A much more interesting question is what’s next. Priorities include: resign Bauer – 2 years at $60 – $70M?, retain Castellanos, commit to Stephenson and decide between keeping Barnhart or Casali, figure out if Garcia is your 2021 answer at shortstop and, if not, fill that hole, and continue to prepare Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Tony Santillan and Jonathan India and then when they’re ready commit to playing them regularly. All of those decisions have high upside and hold a lot of promise for the next year or three. Who will make those decisions, and what will they do?

    • Mark Moore

      Castellanos is here, at least for 2021 I suspect. I still think someone will reel in Bauer at about $40M for a year. The unknown with the CBA just emphasizes that for me. I kind of smell a strike or at least another short season coming.

      I think Garcia needs 1-2 years to season. I’m not alone with that thought.

    • jim walker

      Money was at the heart of that whole Bailey/ Dodgers deal. The Dodgers were up against the wall facing significant CBT (Competitive Balance Tax) penalties, even for them. The Reds needed to get the Bailey pay down off their books.

      Bailey was due more out of pocket $$ than Kemp ($7M more if memory serves); but, had a lower contract average annual value which made his charge against the CBT significantly lower than Kemp’s. The Dodgers were happy to pay more real $$ to lower their CBThit. The Reds were happy to pay out $7M less to Kemp than to Bailey plus being spared the public relations situation of cutting Bailey for nothing,

      Following along, Wood and Puig would have cost about $8M-10M each against the CBT, Farmer a pittance. It is beyond the scope of this comment to figure out exactly how much the Dodgers net reduction on the CBT was by not having these 3 on their 2019 roster because we’d have to take a stab at who replaced them on the roster at what CBT hit. However, I’d wager at least 50% of the combined CBT charge from Wood and Puig was saved, in addition to what they saved on Kemp vs Bailey.

      So, yeah, I agree the Reds got played by including 2 high level guys like Downs and Gray in what was at its core a bean counting and shuffling exercise when the Dodgers most likely had considerable incentive to do the deal for less.

      • RojoBenjy

        “ So, yeah, I agree the Reds got played by including 2 high level guys like Downs and Gray in what was at its core a bean counting and shuffling exercise”

        Another amen, Jim!

    • doofus

      One has to admit that Puig taking on the Pirates was entertaining?

  4. centerfield

    The Reds worst move in the Dick Williams era was hiring David Bell. That was possibly more of an ownership move but the nepotism of the organization continues to drag it down.

    • Melvin

      I agree. Bell has by far been the worst move he’s made.

    • Sean D

      Lol ok, without bell we probably don’t get DJ which uh has turned out extraordinary well. Chill out about bell

  5. Daytonnati

    Not sure how much responsibility Williams deserves for the Aroldis Chapman for Rookie Davis trade, but that was an all-time dumb move and it was on his official watch, if memory serves me correctly. Granted, Jocketty should have moved Chapman at the deadline, but for whatever reason, he didn’t. After the domestic violence incident the Reds were desperate to unload him and the Yanks took advantage. The Reds should have kept him through spring training and looked to sell at the 2016 deadline.

    • Sean D

      Lol ok, without bell we probably don’t get DJ which uh has turned out extraordinary well. Chill out about bell

  6. RedsFanInFl

    Off subject but just saw a news feed that Joe Morgan has passed away. Sad day for redlegnation. I’m sure we will all have a chance to discuss what he meant to the Reds in a future posting.

  7. Sliotar

    2 signings are horrible … 1 and 1A.

    1- Moustakas
    1A – Akiyama

    Williams was played …. badly … by Moustakas’ agent to coax a 4-year deal.
    The previous winter, Moustakas had tested the FA market, only to scurry back to Brewers on a 1-year deal.

    (Little interest in age 30 and over infielders … see Scooter Gennett).

    Reds were bidding against themselves … Williams not recognizing it was costly.
    Moustakas getting $18 million in 2023 will be an albatross on payroll … a heavy one.

    Akiyama … why? Reds feel guilty that they were only team never to have signed a Japanese player? Taking away at-bats from younger, cheaper OFs. Bad move.

    Signing two over-30s, earning $21 million in 2021, more in 2022 …. think that money could be useful now in an attempt to re-sign Bauer?

    • jim walker

      I agree that in the last year, the Reds have gone from looking like a young team on the rise to an over the hill gang trying to pull together one last successful roundup or bank job (gotta ride the horses too fast for a train job at this point). And you didn’t even mention the real elephant in the corner of the room, $82M (counting the 2024 option buyout) still due to Joey Votto.

      DW’s defense may be he was told to win now. Doing what he was told to do may have also influenced his decision to move on,

      • RedsMonk65

        Just an observation — not disputing anything anyone has said thus far. But most of the members of the Big Red Machine were “over the hill” at the height of their success. The youngest was Ken Griffey Sr. In 1975, he was 25. There were a couple who were 26 or 27 that year (including Johnny Bench). The rest of them — especially most of the infielders — were over 30. I think people tend to forget that. They were not youngsters.

        So age, while a factor to consider, is not the be-and-end-all. Skill is what counts. The BRM was old, but skilled.

      • jim walker

        In 1975, Rose was oldest at 34. Tony was 33, Joe 31. Everybody else in the regular 8 was LT 30 in 1975.

        Per Baseball Ref:
        Bench, Geronimo, Concepcion were 27
        Foster was 26, Grif Sr, 25.

        As in so many other ways they were also well balanced on the age spectrum too.

        In my comment, I was thinking largely of the opportunity cost and guys gone from the org for limited term and/ or skill return who just 18 months to 2 years ago were being hyped as core and contributing pieces. Gone are:
        Taylor Trammell, Shed Long, Josiah Gray, Jeter Downs, Scott Moss, Stuart Fairchild, Packy Naughton et al.

        The return for all these guys (plus Yasiel Puig, Josh VanMeter) is Sonny Gray thru at 2023, a big +++. But then it falls off. 1 season+ 2 months of Bauer (great skill but poor term). Archie Bradley thru ’21??? Brian Goodman thru 21??

        Along the way Jose Siri and Phillip Ervin were lost on waiver claim for no return except opening a roster spot for somebody else. Both were at the least serviceable 4th MLB OFs. Does the team have that now?

        This is what it cost the Reds to be the last team into an expanded playoff structure they couldn’t have anticipated would exist when most the moves were made. And it is hard to see how the remaining roster has its best days ahead of it sans some major moves.

      • RedsMonk65

        Jim — I agree with your points 100 percent. Trading away the future for older, more expensive players is not a smart tactic for a club in a market such as Cincinnati. I am especially concerned that Josiah Gray and Jeter Downs will come back to haunt us in big ways.

        More than anything, though, I was responding to the more general notion (not yours specifically) that “younger is better,” that the starting eight on the active roster should be mostly 22- to 24-year olds (I hear that a lot!). Rose, Morgan, and Perez (along with Bench) were the heart of those teams, and three of those four were over 30. Even guys like Bench and Foster were not “young” in the sense that many allude to these days. They were not 21-year-olds out there. They had been around.

        The BRM, I agree, had a good mix age-wise, but none of them were really all that young (in baseball terms, of course — in real life, they were all whipper-snappers!). More than that, they had the skills, drive, and the baseball IQ to make them what they were — Champions.

        Just feeling especially nostalgic today, with the loss of Joe Morgan.

      • Melvin

        The trades would most likely been much more profitable in terms of winning with a different manager. That is where the failure came.

      • RojoBenjy

        @jim walker

        A hearty “Amen” to your comment above.

        This is so insightful and very painful to realize:

        “ This is what it cost the Reds to be the last team into an expanded playoff structure they couldn’t have anticipated would exist when most the moves were made.”

  8. Sliotar

    Once season began, Williams did not maximize the Reds going “all-in” in 2020 … a huge missed opportunity, given Bauer’s free agent status and how good the SP was.

    The Reds had Jose Garcia taking an at-bat in the 13th inning of Game 1 vs. Braves.
    Garcia had a wRC+ of 3 …. 97% worse than league average … and a 38% K rate.

    SS was a black hole for Reds in 2020 … Williams did not get Jonathan Villar, obtained at trade deadline for Player To Be Named Later.

    CF wasn’t overly productive (Akiyama, Senzel) … Williams did not get Starling Marte, obtained by Marlins at deadline.

    Tommy LaStella can play 1B/2B/3B, power in bat … used to coming off bench … A’s got him at deadline, Williams didn’t.

  9. Sliotar

    The misses on upgrading offensively at trade deadline really stings …. because the Marlins were the NLDS opponent.

    It feels likely that, if the Reds had upgraded at trade deadline and gotten past the Braves …. it would be Game 1 of NLCS between the Reds and Dodgers.

  10. Melvin

    If Joe Morgan passing is true than he is the first of the “Great Eight” to go. Sad day. He was arguably the best second baseman of all time on the one of, if not the greatest team of all time.

  11. Charlie Waffles

    The December 2018 trade with the Dodgers will go down in infamy as one of the all time Reds worst trades.
    The hiring of David Bell as manager is a close second on this list. That has set back the organization with 3 lost years. The expectations have been high the last 2 seasons and Bell has managed well below expectations in both of them.

  12. DataDumpster

    David Bell. As much as the signing of Derek Johnson proved to be an immediate, unqualified success, Bell’s other moves demonstrated an overreach and lack of restraint to leave “good enough” alone. In 2018, the Reds were a very good hitting team in power and average but hired Turner Ward and his big slugging strategy to the Reds. Of course, the Dodgers had those kinds of hitters in spades and the Reds had just Suarez and several others like Gennett whose success was short lived. So, Turner Ward took the dive for doing what he was hired to do and Bell doubled down on the approach by bringing in one of his old buddies for hitting coach and supplementing the lineup with slow footed, overpaid power hitters like Nick and Moose. Once promising younger players like Ervin, Aquino, etc. regressed big time and the hitting was off the charts poor. The team defense, attitude, discipline and creativity are all severely lacking. Firing David Bell is the only way to redemption because the Reds now have most of their lineup under long term contracts with very little promising new talent.
    I also can’t understand why Jose Iglesis was released when they could have had him for half the salary of Galvis. A much better defender with significantly higher batting average apparently doesn’t fit in on this team.

    • RojoBenjy

      Hind sight is 20/20, but it sure would have been nice to have Jose I take those at bats that Galvis wasted in the playoffs— not to mention the mediocre to bad SS defense. Was that guy sleepwalking?

    • VaRedsFan

      Iglesias wasn’t released, he was a free agent, while Galvis was still under contract.
      I like Iggy better than Galvis.

      • DataDumpster

        But, the Orioles picked him up on a 1 year contact for $2.5 mill while Galvis somehow got paid about twice that I believe. So, maybe they already make their mistake. Iglesias hit .373 this year under somewhat limited playing time. Coincidently, Baltimore’s hitting coach from their respectable season after a wretched 2019 is the same guy that Bell let go to hire Turner Ward.

      • Swayback8

        Iggy was a free agent, but they could have non-tendered Galvis & payed Iggy. I don’t disagree with the FO plan to use the money to get some better bats, but I do think they under appreciated Iggy’s value.

  13. Jon

    The White Sox, a postseason team, just parted ways with their manager. From Ken Rosenthal on Twitter:

    “Some White Sox veterans felt Renteria needed to hold players more accountable, but this is the Cubs’ situation all over again. CWS moving on in large part because more proven candidates (Hinch, Cora) are becoming available. Can anyone seriously imagine them hiring someone else?“

    Why are the Reds sticking with a still-unproven manager in Bell? There was an article published on the Athletic yesterday about how players love playing for Dusty Baker. It included specific quotes from Votto. I’m willing to bet that when Bell is gone, he won’t receive the same praise from current and former players.

    • RojoBenjy

      “ I’m willing to bet that when Bell is gone, he won’t receive the same praise from current and former players.”

      I’ll not make that bet with you—i like my money to stay in my pocket!

    • Ken

      I agree about firing David Bell. But the trap that I frequently fall into is that I wrongly assume that this ownership group wants to win. The Reds organization does not prioritize winning. If winning was the number one priority their actions and decisions would look very different. This organization seeks profit not wins. … Saying this does not make me feel better. I’m life long fan and will always be a fan – i grew up just across the river in Covington. As a kid I would walk to Reds games. So to see what this ownership group is doing to a successful and historic franchise is sad.

      • Slicc50

        It feels that way, I agree with you. I can’t agree with you on “this organization seeks profit not wins.” We all know, the best cure for your organization making more profit is WINNING! If you win, all of the other things take care of themselves. I believe Bob wants to win. He is just not putting the right people in place to make this a winning organization. I think the Reds organization needs to clean house and get some REAL baseball people in there. Look at what the Marlins have done! Tampa Bay! The Braves have a monster team for many years and if they can put together a good pitching staff. Watch out!

        I look at the Reds prospects. Most of these guys never get to MLB until they are 25 years old. Even if they do, they never seem to be ready. To be a winning baseball team, you need big production from some of your young prospects. I think the biggest problem with the Cincinnati Reds is, they are not good at developing their young players? They are drafting the wrong players? I am not sure but it needs to change and it needs to change quickly.

      • Doug Gray

        When revenue was tied to ticket sales, profit was largely tied to winning. But that’s not exactly the case anymore.

  14. Ken

    IMO trades are not a good measurement for GM success. It takes two GMs to complete a trade. How do you qualify a good trade? … Is it one GM is more skillful? Or is it that the other GM was unlucky? A good GM would consistently complete trades that improves his ballclub over a large period of time. DW failed to do this. He hit on a couple but overall he did not help his team over the long haul using trades. The Gray deal fell in his lap. But I give more credit to Cashman for moving a player that wanted out of NY more than I give DW credit.

    Relying on FAs to improve a team is the easiest decision a front office has. The player has a big league track record. The scouting is mostly complete. He did okay with FAs.

    Drafting is the one decision that a front office makes on his own. No depending on the poor decisions of other GMs outside the org. DW has been awful at drafting. Might change in the future but it’s not looking good.

    Another area where DW whiffed on is Joe Girardi. The Reds need a complete change of culture. Hiring the son of an ex-Red and front office employee does not change the culture. Hiring Joe Girardi would’ve have been a complete overhaul of the clubhouse culture, which is badly, badly needed. He should’ve seen this and offered Girardi a truck load full of money!

    Ultimately, he was a bad GM. W/L record proves this. In no way has the team improved to a competitive one. They look good on paper but they remain a 3rd place team in a weak division. As it stands next year doesn’t look better – The bullpen needs a complete overhaul and there’s still uncertainty at SS! Perhaps the most important def pos on the field.

    The Reds organization has so many problems. I’m so tired of listening to 70 yr olds in the booth telling the same tired stories. I’m done with the uniforms that look like pajamas. I’m tired of the losing. The Reds need a complete brand overhaul. If the organization truly wants to win they would hire someone like Buck Showalter to manage and Dave Dombrowski as the GM. Until this happens the Reds are content with the way things are and have been for the last 8ish years. It’s sad cuz it was once a proud MLB orgainzation.

  15. RojoBenjy

    I think the comments up until now are a fair summary of the frustrating moves. I’ll add my ideas about moves he didn’t make that i wanted him to (as if it matters—but it’s therapeutic for me).

    – Not trading Iggy when the pitcher was at his higher value
    – Not realizing that with Senzel coming up to play 3B, he could shop Suárez and his very team-friendly contract to look to fill needs in CF so Nick wouldn’t have to change out of his natural position. Or if the reason was being too in love with Suárez to do it?—well that’s the difference between bad managing/ownership and great (see Cardinals—who did not extend Pujols, traded Matt Adams, Tommy Pham, David Friese, etc). Also India coming up the ranks to boot. And to preempt those that think trading Suárez would have been nuts—who really thought he would be part of the future successful Reds teams? He was lightning in a bottle that was really good in the lean years, but would not last until the Reds become relevant again (see one Votto, Joseph Daniel as exhibit A).
    – Not anticipating the decline of Joey Votto and beginning to fill the minors with potential successors (this is probably a stretch)
    – Not firing David Bell and Zintner before his resignation! (If only.)

    • RojoBenjy

      Cincinnati Reds should trade Eugenio Suarez while he’s most valuable


      From the above 2018 article:
      “ Suarez only loses value as the Reds hold onto him. The Reds for their part need to keep moving forward. It’s moves like this that they have to make in order take the last step back to competitiveness.”

      This is before his 2019 40-HR season—but stop and think, how did 2019 Suárez help the Reds build a playoff contender? I’m not hating on Suárez, just looking at practical moves that could have improved the franchise.

    • jazzmanbbfan

      I pretty much agree with your comments but to be fair, the Cardinals did offer Pujols a boatload of money. The Angels just offered crazy money, which I think a lot of their fans now regret. At least my California friends and family thought it was foolish then and even more so now.

  16. Gaffer

    That one was bad before, during and after it was made. The dodgers had left Wood off the post season roster the year before and they had been looking to get rid of Puig for 2 years. Do I even need to mention Kemp? It was the mark of desperation and the dodgers took advantage.

    • RojoBenjy

      i expect the Dodgers knew about Wood’s back all along. Surprised that trade was allowed by the league. Throwing good after bad. Getting damaged goods in a trade. A few examples (not all from DW but it’s a disturbing pattern nonetheless):

      – Dilson Herrera (ragged shoulder that ended his career) Reds could have had Conforto or Zack Wheeler coming off of TJS in exchange for Bruce, according to rumors.
      – Archie Bradley (came with a sore arm which is why he didn’t pitch much for the Reds)
      – Jake (?) Lamb acquired in Cueto trade, with a back issue but a more ominous ganja problem.
      – I can’t remember the name, but Doug should remember, he may have come in the Bruce trade also—the pitcher that didn’t tell his team that his arm was hurting but them when he got to the Reds org he ceased up and went right to surgery.
      – i’ve likely overlooked some since there’s are just off the top of my memory. Please add more if you think of them.

    • RojoBenjy

      edit- Doug if you want to edit my OP feel free

      the pitcher that didn’t tell his team that his arm was hurting but then when he got to the Reds org he fessed up and went right to surgery.

  17. Frankie Tomatoes

    This is brilliant. Trading away long term players in their prime on team friendly deals is the way to build for the future. Let’s trade Sonny Gray for some prospects right now. That’s certainly going to benefit the Reds in 2027. Probs.

    • oklaRed

      + 1000. We always assume young talent will mature, but it has not worked out that way look at E rvin , Siri etc.

      • RojoBenjy

        this may be due to the Reds lack of ability to develop their talent as well. it’s worth consideration.

    • RojoBenjy

      The point is that Suárez’s prime was during the closed window for the Reds. Same thing now seems to be developing for Sonny Gray, too, now that you mention it.

  18. jim walker

    It is looking like Senzel may be bitten by the same bug as Eric Davis; injuries seem to find him. At least ED managed to put together some decent seasons and help lead the Reds to a World Series title. Maybe there is still hope Senzel can do the same but time is slipping through the hourglass as they say.

    • jazzmanbbfan

      To say Eric Davis managed to put together some decent seasons seems like a bit of an understatement. 1986: 97 runs scored, 27 HR 71 RBI 80 Stolen Bases, 1987: 120 runs scored, 37 HR, 100 RBI, 50 SB, 1988: 26 HR 93 RBI, 35 SB; 1989: 34 HR 101 RBI. Not to mention his 3 gold gloves in the field.

  19. John C.

    Obviously the trade with the Dodgers will likely turn out to be a bad trade, but at this point it is all speculation. Until the minor leaguers that were traded make it to the major leagues, there is no real proof that it was a bad trade. Yes, they have looked pretty good in the minors, but the minors ain’t the majors. Senzel is a perfect example of that. His numbers in the minors were good. That hasn’t translated to anything at the major league level.

    As much as people like to complain about their favorite team and the moves they have made, its not surprising what some of those on here say about Williams and his moves. The Yankees have send bazillions of dollars over the last decade and they have as many World Series championships as the Reds. Certainly they are more fun to watch, but in the end it is about championships. In the end, 29 teams go home unhappy again this year and we are one of them.

    If we hit just one sacrifice fly in game one of the NLDS and have Gray going in game 3, who knows what would have happened. Would we still be complaining then?

  20. jim walker

    And Oh yeah, I still have times when I think about Householder and wonder how that didn’t ever come together. Then there is Brandon Larson. I still think he might have at least been a serviceable player if his manager hadn’t been the dad of a guy on the team who needed to play 3B to stick in the majors.

  21. Hanawi

    Most of the trades were bad. The Dodgers trade was an all-time terrible one at the time and looks even worse now. The Bauer trade made no sense and the Reds lost a lot in opportunity cost with Trammell, even if they didn’t believe in him. Throwing Moss into the deal on top of it was even worse. Both trades during the season this year were bad. Fairchild might be a future regular CF, he was really starting to come into his own last year and apparently at Prasco. And giving up two young LHP for Goodwin may end up being the worst of all of them.

    The Moustakas contract is the other pretty obvious one to me. No one would even give him a multi-year deal and then the Reds came in with a huge 4-year contract for no reason. That one is going to look really bad when we have him and Votto patrolling one side of the diamond in two years. What pitcher would want to go in front of that?

    Way more wrong than right and the Reds are in a rough spot now. They should try to go for it with FAs next year because after that, it’s going to be rebuild time.

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      All time terrible and looks worse now?

      It’s possible that down the road that trade is going to look really, really bad. Right now? The three players traded to the Dodgers in that deal have provided zero to the Dodgers. Bailey was flat out released. Gray looks great, but hasn’t pitched in the big leagues yet. Downs was moved in the Mookie Betts trade. Maybe you can tie in something there. Feels insane to say that was an all-time terrible trade though when the three players Cincinnati moved in the deal are two guys still in the minors and a player the Dodgers literally released within 24 hours of the deal being finalized. In a decade maybe the discussion on where it ranks in the all-time scorebook can be had. Right now it’s not even in the “save drafts for later” queue.

      • Doug Gray


        This is a deal that could, and we need to stress could, look real bad in a decade. But right now it’s the Stretch Armstrong of stretches to say it’s an all-time bad trade.

      • Swayback8

        I agree completely. I think that Downs was going to end up traded at some point. Puig was a large part of getting Bauer, while some people may not like the length we got him for he was still a successful pick up. Gray is the one that may end up hurting the most. He looks as though he could end up being very successful in the future. Right now the trade seems bad, but I agree that time will tell.

    • citizen54

      Agree completely. Anyone with any sort of common sense could have foreseen that the Reds were not going to go anywhere with the talent the had on the roster yet Williams charged right on ahead with the Dodgers fiasco and the Bauer disaster. After all that wheeling and dealing the Reds now have Kyle Farmer and a 2 game playoff run to show for 3 Top 100 prospects. And who the heck gives up talent for a fourth outfielder? Mind you this is after overpaying for two outfielders in free agency in the same year.

      People like to credit Williams for finally bringing analytics to the Reds but what good are analytics when the Reds overpay for average free agents and allow other teams to pluck good prospects for next to nothing. Kind of curious what kind of data Williams was looking at that told him it was a good idea to overpay both in years and dollars for Castellanos and Moustakas. It’s going to be fun debating in a couple of years which signing was worse. And wow the Reds hired Kyle Boddy. What good is hiring Kyle Boddy when you throw away your young talent for one long shot chance at the World Series?

      Bottom line is after all these trades and free agents signings the Reds are now an old team with medicore talent and little to no help coming from the minors. Hardly the situation you want to be in after years in the cellar. Well guess what? This is going to be the team for the next couple of years. The only hope is if Senzel and Stephenson turn into all stars and even then doubtful they could compete with teams like the Dodgers or Braves.

      • oklaRed

        I think the anyone you speak of picked Reds to go deep into playoffs before this season started pretty unanimously in pre season prognostication pieces

    • Jimbo44CN

      I agree on Moustakas and Goodwin. I like Moose, but he is a little long in the tooth for a four year deal. ON Goodwin I see nothing. Sorry, I just dont see any fire or desire. Average AAA outfielder.

  22. Steve Schoenbaechler

    With Williams, I don’t believe any move was necessary a good or bad move. Like with many moves, things happen.

    For instance, as explained here, if Puig had a regular offensive year here and if Wood wasn’t injured most of the year, I believe the move was a very sound move. But, how many could have foreseen those two aspects happening, much less at the same time?

    Or, Shogo. I don’t think anyone saw the difficulty he would have had in adjusting to baseball here, which during the season was COVID still could be somewhat explainable.

    I believe every move Williams made was sound, at that time. As with all moves, the players still need to follow through. You can only see that once the players get here and attempt to produce. I mean, Williams didn’t trade away any all-time-cheap but perrenial All-Star for a low level minor leaguer, as well as vice versa. I believe he made sound moves at the times the Reds needed them.

    Could he have done more? Sure, probably. But, when you make moves, you need someone to make the move with. So, just because he didn’t make a move, that doesn’t mean he didn’t want to make a move. That could easily mean no one else was out there to make the move with, or that could mean the other party wasn’t giving enough to the move or felt they were giving too much for the move.

    • GT

      You forgot about the signing of Yovanni Gallargo at the beginning of 2018 for a 1MILL guaranteed contract when he had been release by the Orioles and Brewers in 4 months time. He started 2 games, Williams got “kicked upstairs” to President, and Yovanni was released

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        The thing is, many could have thought that or similar of Gray, also. But, having the coaching difference helped Gray, having not done much with the Yankees. Reason that wouldn’t have worked with Gallargo?

  23. Mudpuppy

    No question about it. The hiring of yDavid Bell, and allowing him to hire a hitting coach was the worst move of the Williams era. Nothing else even close.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      The thing is, many could have thought that or similar of Gray, also. But, having the coaching difference helped Gray, having not done much with the Yankees. Reason that wouldn’t have worked with Gallargo?

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Sorry, belonged on previous remark.

    • DataDumpster

      Absolutely, some things (like management) are far more consequential and predictable than trades with such uncertain outcomes. The David Bell decision AND the hiring of another hitting coach should have been obvious to any fair minded baseball exec. The ramifications of those two moves alone have ruined any chance of a Reds resurgence. As of now, all we have to look forward to is an post game unshaven man with his hat pulled down low explaining in monotone drivel nothing in another loss.

      • Jimbo44CN

        OMG funny but so true. Like an emotionless robot. !

  24. TR

    Dick Williams is an authentic member of the Red’s Family, and I think his worst move was not going outside the Red’s Family but instead
    hired David Bell, a member of the Red’sFamily, as manager.

  25. BigRedMike

    Trade for Gray was great, helped that the Yankees wanted him gone. Suarez extension.

    The Reds were one of the worst organizations record wise during the Williams era. At the end of that era, the Reds have no farm system and are now an old average team. The drafts are really poor.
    The past offseason was a mistake that will limit the Reds the next few seasons. They signings of Moustakas, Castellanos, and Akiyama were really not needed.

    As others have noted, the Reds need a complete reboot in the front office. Someone completely outside the organization. New viewpoints.

    Did Williams actually have a plan? Went from farm system build, to trades, to free agency.

    I was laughing during the last podcast, front office is a disaster, but, keeping Krall, who has been with the organization for a long time seems ok. He is a nice guy.

    • citizen54

      I’m going to say the Bauer trade was the worst move by Williams and here’s why: Without that boneheaded trade, the Reds aren’t desperate to go all in this year. Williams needed to Reds to be competitive this year or else it would have been obvious how bad that trade was. I mean what last place team gives up a top 50 prospect for a guy with 1.25 years of control left? So Williams goes out and locks the Reds into multiyear deals for average players like Moustakas and Castellanos when no other team was willing to come anywhere close to that. So now the Reds are saddled with two bloated contracts of guys who are going to below average in a couple of years, if not sooner. To make matters worse since those two are going to be making a lot of money there is no way they are going to be benched for a better younger player if one happens to come along. Ya I know wishful thinking there.

      I guess you could argue it’s a toss up between the Dodgers trade and the Bauer trade. Both of them are going to cripple the Reds in the coming years.

  26. DaveCT

    Best move? Suspending Thom Brennaman.

    Worst move: Not firing Thom Brennaman.

    • RojoBenjy

      Was that DW or Castellini that makes that call?

    • DataDumpster

      Worst Move: Not firing David Bell.

      Best Move? There is still time for correction.