The Cincinnati Reds haven’t made a ton of roster moves that have brought talent in since the season ended. They have made a few that saw talent leave the organization, though. Trading away closer Raisel Iglesias and non-tendering reliever Archie Bradley certainly moves the needle in the wrong direction as far as projecting wins for the 2021 season goes had they opted to simply keep those players – something that was within their right to do, unlike losing players to free agency where the players can leave if they so choose.

But looking around the National League Central division, no one is doing much of anything when it comes to adding talent at the big league level. As I am typing this story, the largest free agent signing among all five teams in the division, and we’re nearly two whole months into free agency, has been for a large sum of $750,000. Yep. Two months of free agency and the five teams in the National League Central have combined for ZERO contracts handed out to free agents that have been worth a total of one million dollars over their lifespan.

The Reds did trade Iglesias, and the Chicago Cubs just moved their ace Yu Darvish, as well as catcher Victor Caratini to San Diego for Zach Davies and four prospects that rated outside of the Padres Top 10 list. The division is actively getting worse, and it doesn’t feel like anyone in the division is trying to win by improving, but more so hoping they get less bad than the other four teams during the offseason of cutting payroll.

There are still plenty of moves that will be made within the division. There might even be some big moves that push the projections for one team up quite a bit from where they are now. But as things sit right now, without many moves being made, things look similar to what they looked like heading into the 2020 season: Four teams being very close to the top, and then the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Mike Petriello of MLB.com wrote about the Padres and just how good they project to be after the signing of Ha-seong Kim and the trades to acquire Cy Young winner Blake Snell and 2-time Cy Young runner up Yu Darvish (2013 and 2020). Within that article he charted out the projected ZiPS WAR total for each team in Major League Baseball. The Dodgers and Padres are neck-and-neck at the top. The National League Central division is jumbled together in the middle of the league, with the Milwaukee Brewers leading the way. They, however, are following by the Cardinals and Cubs, who look to be 2 WAR lower, and then the Reds who are 3 WAR behind Milwaukee. When it comes to WAR, there are plenty of rounding errors along the way.

Essentially, the division is up for grabs if a team wants to go out and try. Does Cincinnati landing a shortstop make them the favorites? As we discussed earlier this week, that may depend on which shortstop they get. Marcus Semien, for example, projects for more than 4 WAR next season. He would put the Reds on top with no other moves made. Didi Gregorius and Andrelton Simmons are both in the 2.5 WAR range and would put them right on par with the Brewers.

Is anyone in the division going to try and take advantage of no one else trying to improve? I guess we’re all going to find out together. But what seems clear is that if someone does go out and try to improve, they would be the clear favorites heading into the season among the teams in the National League Central.

83 Responses

  1. Justin

    I have to think over a full season, we’ll see more of what we expected from RF and 2B. I also don’t think Suarez fell off a cliff. Shogo had the worst possible year to transition to the US (something that’s always talked about as tough). Senzel has been injured and we’re waiting to see if he can put together a good season.

    Kyle Boddy did a Q & A on Reddit. He gives lots of good inside info. It looks like he’s pretty excited about De Leon.

    • SultanofSwaff

      Agreed. Over the course of a longer season the Reds hitters would’ve come back to their norms. I truly believe the Reds would’ve easily won the division had they played another 100 games—-their pitching would’ve been a huge separator.

      I’d think by the time spring training rolls around the Reds will be the team to beat on paper. We have yet to add our SS while the Cubs still look to be subtracting. Not sure what the Cardinals and Brewers are up to.

  2. Steve Schoenbaechler

    Well, the Reds have made moves. But, they all have been minor, and probably sum to a negative overall.

    As of now, it looks like the Reds are going to go with what they had. Which was tied for second last season with an absolutely miserable offense. Replacing Bauer will be impossible with one person, essentially. So, if all the other pitchers, as a group, can pick up their game a bit, I believe we could be alright there.

    But, the offense, that has to change. It simply has to. In 2018, we were 4th in the NL in OBP. In 2019, 12th. In 2020, 13th, out of 15 teams. This is not a good progression. One player isn’t going to solve this. Every player has to make a concerted effort to improve their hitting.

  3. JB

    I really think teams are waiting to see what happens with covid and the vaccines. Last year was tough on teams with the short season and empty ballparks and they are waiting to see if it will be the same. Although the way San Diego is going in this off season makes me wonder about owners and how much they make every season. California will probably be the last state to let people in the ballparks this coming year and the Padres seem to care less. Reds hitters cannot be any worse than they were last year. Iglesias and Bradley can be easily replaced as there are plenty of relief pitchers on the market or maybe within the system. Lets stop acting like Iglesias was lights out the last 2 years. Everyone of us was on the edge of the couch with fingers and toes crossed everytime he came in to pitch. No way he was worth that big contract. No way you pay Iglesias and Bradley about 15 million combined to come out of your bullpen. I think within the next 2 or 3 weeks teams will be signing people and hopefully the Reds will get their shortstop.

    • Redsvol

      bingo. I’ll miss Bradley but Iglesias is no big loss. I couldn’t bear to watch him pitch most nights. They tried mixing in Lorenzen at the beginning last year but he had a terrible start – otherwise he would have become the closer. Then Stephenson had yet another injury. Perhaps we can get Bradley back on a more reasonable or multi-year contract with more $ weighted to year 2?

    • Danny Elliott

      Wasn’t Senzel a shortstop at one time? I consider him an elete athlete that could be more valuable at SS and with experience there could transition back in a short period of time. We have an abundance of outfielders, would illiminate at least some of the need to trade one of them. Just a thought.

  4. Westfester

    The way the division is setting up 83 wins can quite possibly win the division. After coming off the emotions of the embarrassing way this team got bounced from the playoffs, I believe this team has a strong nucleus. Let’s not forget 2020 was only a 1/3 of a full season, not to mention the Reds had to deal with game postponements and reschedules due to COVID. Even elite teams get into funks over the course of a full season. I feel this lineup will return to performing like the back of their baseball cards.

  5. CFD3000

    I agree right now that the Reds should be competitive, though April is a long way off. I disagree that losing Raisel Iglesias clearly makes the team worse – he lost 12 (not a typo) games in the most recent full season. I’m not fretting that he’s gone. The Reds do need some offense from SS and better upgrade that spot. They do need someone to step up in the rotation – Gray and Castillo alone (assuming they’re still in Cincinnati) can’t carry the team. I’m confident that there’s talent in Mahle, Miley, Antone, Lorenzen, DeLeon, Lodolo and Santillan (and maybe Greene) but the Reds can’t afford 15 or 20 bad starts figuring it out. They need the Stephenson / Barnhart combo to stay healthy and not struggle, and they need the bats – Suarez, Winker, Castellanos, Votto, Moustakas, Senzel and Akiyama – to stay healthy, get on base, and… hit. And they will need two or three dependable late inning relievers to emerge from a list of capable contenders. That’s a lot to expect, but it’s all eminently doable. If those things happen, the Reds will be chasing a division title in September. If not, it could be a long, long season. Go Reds!

  6. SteveLV

    I’ve been arguing for the Reds to go into full rebuild mode, but I’ve been a Reds fan my whole life and that’s not going to change, so if they go in a different direction and try to win an obviously winnable division, I’ll root for that. If they can win the division (doubt a wild card comes out of this division) and go into the playoffs with Castillo and Gray at the top of the rotation, they have a punchers chance.

    Not on topic at all, but I’m sure looking forward to the return of minor league baseball. I missed watching how players developed and the added interest that brings to baseball season.

  7. ClevelandRedsFan

    The Reds really need to move on from the swing for the fences approach. They tried it and it was a failed experiment. Go back to giving professional at bats and making contact.

    • Melvin

      Yep. I change in hitting approach could win the division all by itself. As far as making moves to improve our team? The door is open. All ownership has to do is walk through it and have a good chance of winning like they promised. There may never be a better time.

    • MK

      That is the née analytical approach throughout baseball. I doubt it changes.

    • TR

      The Reds have three hitters that tend toward the go for the fences approach, Castellanos, Moose and Suarez and they’re the center of the offense. For that to change a new hitting coach is needed, and so far, I don’t see that happening for the coming season. If the Reds can keep their good starting pitching and perhaps land a good starting lefty, it would be a shame to continue the all (homerun) offensive approach or next to nothing.

  8. Sliotar

    The Snell and Darvish seem to indicate that few teams want to add to payroll for 2021 … and that the return for trading star players with above-average contracts is going to be minimal.

    Mike Chernoff is likely concerned on the return for 1 year of Lindor … and probably is expecting a call from Krall. Or hoping for a call.

    It is already a buyer’s market …. give it another month, and Chernoff and players un-signed will be panicking.

    Still a good chance the Reds end up with a decent SS and are right in mix for division.

    • Bob Purkey

      I was never on the “go get Lindor” boat, but now I seemingly am, considering the return that teams are getting in trading star pitchers like Snell and Darvish.

      Cleveland has lost a lot of leverage versus last year, and it should be apparent that he should have been traded last year to maximize the return. Garcia goes to AAA this year to get him ready while you take Lindor for 1 year and really shouldn’t have to give up as much as previously thought. SD now have Darvish and Snell for more 2-3 years and have more “total” value than Lindor for 1.

      In theory, they should be able to pay for 1 year of Lindor, after removing, Bradley, Iggy, Bauer and Cassali from the payroll. If the thought is that with the vaccine distribution well in process when MLB moves the start of the year back to May or so fans can return to the game, it is more than possible considering the return that has now been set.

      If not, Cleveland can hold on to him and get absolutely nothing.

      • Michael E

        I am okay with Lindor only IF we can get him without moving any of Lodolo, Greene or Ty Steph. I’d also like to see them keep the kid they drafted in round 1 in 2020, but I’d be more okay with him headlining than Lodolo, Greene or Ty Steph. I am fine with India, Santillan and a few 18 year old wildcards heading over. I’d also be okay if Senzel or Winker are shipped over, but either should lessen the prospect load sent if so.

    • Colorado Red

      Colorado appears to be in a sell off mode, like the Reds so far.
      I would think Trevor is cheaper then Lindor, and I think he is better.
      Not sure the Reds have the cash for either.

  9. Tom Reeves

    The Reds appear to be broken financially. Bob C is rich but he might not be wealthy enough to bail out the franchise.

    I think instead of worrying about the performance of the team, we need to begin to worry about the survival of the franchise in Cincinnati. The franchise will survive, but it may be in a larger market with different ownership. If the team loses another year of attendance revenue, that could be it. No wonder they’re trying to get the high fixed salaries off the books – at least below a break even point with the TV and radio revenue.

    As always, I say let the Bengals leave and save the Reds. But, that still might not be enough.

    • Michael E

      There aren’t exactly a lot of “larger” markets, without a team, that MLB owners and commish would approve a sale to if the Reds ARE hurting. I honestly don’t think they’re hurting, I do think they lost 8 figures in 2020. I also think the negative cash flow is not easily overcome by a wealthy owner with most of his assets NOT liquid (such as the Reds inherent value). It’s one thing to be rich in assets, but that doesn’t mean you’re rich in cash flow, nor does it mean you aren’t awash in debts.

      I am not one of these blow hards that say owners are swimming in cash and stingy, cheap and selfish. They’re selfish to the point that got them wealthy, true. I wish MORE citizens were like that so we didn’t have so many on welfare and entitlements.

      If I were owner, wealthy, but perhaps a bit thin in cash, I’d be shedding payroll too and I’d be willing to spar with any nimrod, wanna-be-rich peon that says I should spend all my money and take out a $50,000,000 loan so THERE home team can has a shot at a championship. Who is selfish in this scenario?

      I am hoping we get better talent, and maybe hoping they do spend more, but they did whip out the check book last year and results were less than desired.

      • Tom Reeves

        When Bob C arranged the owners group to buy the Reds – folks like Jeff Wyler – he made it clear this was a public service to the city and the owners will not be receiving dividends. The owners agreed to a break even formula for the team. If 2021 also includes little to no fans in the seats, an owner cash influx or taking a loan doesn’t make any kind of sense. There’s simply too much risk.

        The writing on the wall is that this team (and this division) got financially crushed by the 2020 season and there’s not a lot of faith the finances are changing in 2021. As an owner of a small business, I empathize with that sentiment.

        The best move might be to hunker down and cut costs to the bare minimum, get some prospects by shedding contracts, and prepare for an eventual recovery.

        Now, is it possible the owners are colluding to force concession in the CBA? Yep, that’s possible. But, Bob C has never had the reputation of that sort of business leader. In fact, he has the opposite reputation. So, yeah, it’s possible. But I’d be shocked if that’s what’s driving the Reds’ decisions.

        As for their not being bigger markets – that’s simply not true. Nashville and Charlotte are two fast growing markets and both are bigger than Cincinnati. Further, Reds fans simply don’t show up in the kind of numbers that give the team a financial advantage, like say in St Louis. I also wouldn’t expect MLB to care much about how long the Reds have been in Cincinnati.

        I think this is a time to be supportive of the team despite the tough choices they’re making. Because as much as we’d love a winner, we’d hate it more if there wasn’t a team at all on the riverfront.

      • doofus

        Nashville is in the Red’s market now. Why would MLB baseball divide Cincinnati’s market?

        They divided the Oriole’s market when they set the Nationals up in D.C., but it would seem that that was a bigger pie that was divided?

        When it comes down to it, nothing will surprise me with MLB, because it is run by a bunch of lawyers. I believe that they must take classes in law school that teaches them how to be devious.

    • KetteringRedsFan

      The cynic now speaks:

      MLB will absolutely frown on the Reds leaving Cinci for two reasons:

      Reason A: The fig leaf: The Reds are the -original- franchise. Letting them move would sort of be a blot on the copybook.

      Reason B: The -real-reason. Expect expansion to 32 clubs to come fairly soon, either within the CBA or just afterwards once some certainty about the future has been established. This means: Expan$ion Fee$, Money coming out the wazoo!!. Where are those fees likely to be highe$t? Well, Charlotte/NC – definitely a larger market, and, of course, the sleeper among all names mentioned, La$ Vega$. Even small town Portland would bring a bigger haul in expansion because of the likelihood of tapping West Coast mogul money – a transfer fee for the Reds would not come close.. The Lords of Baseball will not be amused if someone (current or a new Reds ownership) tries to poach one of these markets – especially since $$ for a replacement team in Cinci wouldn’t come anywhere close to that from other more visible markets.

      • KetteringRedsFan

        Tom:

        Mega ++.

        I’d add one additional point regarding Reds’ current ownership.

        Consider that there might be a systematic blind spot in the collective management – out of the best of intention – that cause us to act like, sy, the Phillies instead of like the Rays.

        On the positive side – an entertainment-like attitude to marketing. (Boy, is that poorly phrased…I’ll try again). Bob and Co. are intent on making the Reds a family entertainment (which, in and of itself is -not- a bad decision) – so, like fans and because -they- are fans, there is this occasional tendency to overpay for marquis baseball cards because of the image they present. Votto (not that he shouldn’t have been given a long-=term deal, but the lifetime arrangement was just too much), Bailey (who was promoted from the get-go as The Savior during a dark period), Griffey, Jr. , etc.

        On the negative side – the Ghost of the Big Red Machine combines with fan expectations to keep any -systematic- rebuild short-term because patience wanes and resources have to be splashed on the Next Big Baseball Card.. Add in a type of remorse – why do we look at adding a thirty-year old high value like Didi – because he turned out to be the one who got way and there is a tendency now to compound the error by bringing him back too late at a price we strategically can’t afford. Looking backward when we should look forward.

        Be like Tampa. We can even do a better job of it because (a) we have a -far- better facility than the dump Tampa is saddled with and can’t get away from (watch them attempt to be the next club to attempt a geographic jump….) and (b) we actually have fans. Those who show up and those who might come back. No matter -what- Tampa does, their attendance remains anemic – to the point where, on some days, some fans are likely to have their own -personal- hot dog and beer guys as well as a private section…….

        They do it because, literally, they have no other choice. Survival needs focus the mind We should do it simply because it’s a smarter course of action.

        And besides, Great American is probably a bit large for the Dayton Dragons to relocate to.

      • Bob Purkey

        1. The Reds are NOT leaving Cincinnati any time soon. Their lease is for 35 years. . .quite a long way to go before that ends. . .18 years!

    • Tom Reeves

      Because even in good years, Reds fans don’t attend games at a high enough frequency. Nashville wouldn’t divide the Reds market so much as it would increase the likelihood of attendance. Players would love it too because of no state income tax.

      I’m not advocating for Nashville – simply pointing out it’s an extremely viable option.

      I don’t think Bob C would move the team (though he has to be frustrated with attendances numbers after following the same formula they used in St Louis and having it not work). But, another ownership group might see a move as the best option.

  10. jim walker

    I don’t like what is going on with MLB baseball right now. I believe at this point the shenanigans are as much about positioning for the upcoming CBA negotiations as they are an adjustment to the COVID situation.

    However in a perverse way maybe this lack of effort to field the best teams they could (actually) afford will lead to more interesting baseball within divisions where all the teams play along with the scheme. If most of the time, we are watching five 4A teams battling things out in closely contested games, our senses may become dulled to the fact the absolute quality of play is often left lacking.

    Last night I watched a show (Bridgerton) on Netflix where a major plotline turned on a fixed boxing match. The guy set up to win didn’t know the other guy was throwing the match. At the time I could not help but wonder what if both the boxers unknown to each other were trying to lose but look good in the process.

    What we are seeing unfold in MLB appears a variation on this theme. They don’t really care if they win, they just want the process to look good.

    • SultanofSwaff

      Good points. Of course the player’s association will scream collusion……probably rightly.

      The CBA negotiations are going to get really ugly.

      • Michael E

        CBA negotiations are always ugly, just like elections are always annoying and last years and never end since the next election is “just around the corner”. I miss pre-internet days when it comes to news/elections.

    • Michael E

      There is no debating nearly every team lost its collective arse in 2020. If you don’t put fans in the stands and don’t play even half the games, and if you don’t have a great TV deal (most teams dont), you are going to carry a HEAVY debt load that wipes out any past years profits post-haste. I have no proof, but I’d have a hard time believing anyone that says only a few franchises are hurting. Many owners are wealthy, but not all have 100s of millions of petty cash lying around to piss away on payroll that isn’t returning revenue.

      I agree the CBA has impact, surely, we all want leverage in any contracts or deals, so I hold no grudge against the owners or players in this regard. I just don’t understand why so many think a wasted season of revenues, while still paying a big chunk of payroll and expenses, is only marginally impactful to future expenses. I’d be trimming the fat everywhere if I owned a team…save maybe the relatively cheap nerds in analytics dept. I’d make them work Saturdays and Sundays finding me cheap reclamation players.

    • AllTheHype

      It’s not shenanigans at all. It’s just business sense. In any business, why would you invest to make a product better if there is no possibility in increasing demand for said product?

      MLB teams will not increase gate revenue this year no matter how good their product. So spending many millions more in 2021, for very limited return, makes no business sense.

      Most teams are waiting til 2022, Reds included.

  11. Kevin Patrick

    Find me a good knuckleballer, keep all the rest of our players…and I’m ready to go with Blandino and Farmer at short. Lets play some ball. If you can’t find a good knuckleballer though, I want to trade for Lindor and resign Bauer. Lol. Seriously though… if the Reds developed a knuckle ball “community”, we Reds fans would be laughing at the best NL Central hitters getting out of sync every fifth day. I just read an article suggesting that the eventual advent of a robot strike zone might benefit knuckleballers because of umps missing the pitch low in the zone… and the way hitters are trying to focus on their launch angles these days… the idea of throwing a pitcher at them that would just mess with them sounds like a lot of fun.

  12. citizen54

    The Reds are still light years away from good NL teams like the Dodgers and Braves. I’m not sure why people think than winning the Central is going to amount to anything. The Central last year was bad and its probably going to be bad again this year. That probably why no one in the NL Central is in any kind of hurry to make any big improvments. It’s just going to be like the NFC East in football where you have a bunch of teams below .500 but one of them has to make the playoffs. That one team is probably going to lose in the first round of the playoffs just like the Reds did this year.

    The Reds need to make decisions with the future in mind rather than all these live for the now moves. Five years ago, teams like the White Sox and Padres that were in similar situations as the Reds went through proper rebuilds and look at them now. Meanwhile the Reds, with a series of short sighted moves traded their future for one long shot at the World Series. The aftermath: The Reds now have one position player projected to be above average next year. The window for the Reds has already closed. The sooner people accept this fact the sooner the Reds can start on a proper rebuild.

    https://blogs.fangraphs.com/zips-2021-projections-cincinnati-reds/

    • c

      Yes, but the 1990 Reds did not have the best team in baseball either, but got hot at the right time.
      It is harder to do now, but if you win the division, you still got a chance.

      • citizen54

        That 1990 team had 4 starting pitchers who were above average. Randy Meyers, a reliever, had 2 WAR. Three position players had 3 WAR or better. Hal Morris had 2.1 WAR. That team was a lot better than the current Reds team.

      • Stock

        I am with Citizen54. You are vastly under rating the 1990 Reds. The Reds won with a blueprint others try to copy. Make your opponent be leading after 6 innings. If not the Reds had the Nasty boys who just dominated. With the playoff format they could pitch just about every game. Myers and Dibble shared MVP honors vs. the Pirates.

        The team went wire to wire during the regular season and swept the A’s in the World Series. KC followed the Reds blueprint and went to consectitive worlds Series also.

      • Colorado Red

        They also had the worst record of all the division winners.
        still went nuts when they run

      • Michael E

        The 1990 Reds “got hot” in April, when they won like the first 13 games and got a big division lead. They played pretty well the rest of the year, but they did NOT just “get hot” at the right time. They got hot early, cooled a tad, but never got truly awful all season.

        The big difference in 1990 Reds to today’s is a manager that is firey, positive and doesn’t take crap AND played his stars ALOT. Now we have a manager that likes to platoon good players, look asleep in the dugout and has very little motivational abilities.

        Piniella had A LOT to do with that teams success. They need some fire lit under them and got it.

      • greenmtred

        I’ve been thinking about this for a few days: if the world series doesn’t decide which team is the best, what does?

    • jim walker

      Except if they end up with a truncated all Central Division(s) setup like last year, somebody will probably edge over up to or just over .500, like last year.

      • citizen54

        Whether the Reds finish 2021 with 85 wins or 75 wins isn’t important. What is important is that they are 80 wins in terms of talent level. That’s simply not the talent level of team looking to make a serious run in the playoffs. Sure you could make a trade for a one year of Lindor and push the team to an 83-84 win team but what then? In 2022, they are going to be even worse with an even worse farm system. Williams made a lot of bad strategic decisions. Sooner or later you are going to have to pay the piper.

      • citizen54

        Actually, based on that chart that Doug references the Reds are only a 78 win team right now.

    • greenmtred

      Sums it up, Citizen54. The Reds are old and nearly one-dimensional. The Reds are boring to watch. It’s still December so, of course, it seems possible that they could be the Central’s lone playoff team and, somehow, creep through a round or two of the playoffs, but I don’t even care. What will they be in 2022 and after? Their philosophy seems to have little room for building sustained success or interesting teams.

      • Doc

        That’s why I’m glad my attendance is at ST games. The Reds regulars are obviously so good that they only need to play 4-5 innings in ST games, so I get to see a lot of young talent. Then when the season starts and we find out that 4-5 innings was not enough to be ready, Joey Votto anybody?, then its somebody else’s burden to watch an uninteresting old-timers game, or maybe that’s 80-160 uninteresting old-timers games.

    • MBS

      I agree they are behind those teams, but great pitching (Reds) showed it could stop great hitting (Braves). We also saw good pitching (Braves) will dominate bad hitting (Reds). Castillo and Gray will need to be that 1, 2 punch for the Reds in the post season. We need to add offense. Make the move Bob and Nick, your not far from the promised land. Get Lindor!

      • Doc

        One year of Lindor does not move the needle forward in 2021 enough, and it moves it backwards for the future at least as much as trades of the past couple years.

      • Michael E

        Unless they can get Lindor for something along the lines of the Darvish trade, and they maybe can. He is expensive and on an expiring deal. We should NOT have to give up any top 6 prospects. Maybe headline with Senzel or Winker and add a few prospects between 8 and 25.

        If it takes any of Lodolo, Greene, Ty Steph or Hendricks, walk way. Unless Cleveland wants to include Civale, then I’d be happy to part with one of those just listed.

      • MBS

        @Michael E. That is exactly what I think. Senzel, plus a prospect from the 8 – 15 range, and maybe another non top 30.

    • Redsvol

      actually the reds have had some pretty high draft picks since 2015 due to some terrible performance from the major league club. six 1st round draft picks taken 12th or higher since 2015. Those players are just now starting to arrive – with Stephenson and Senzel the first 2. Over the next 2 years, the 3 others look primed to join the big league club (India, Greene, Lodolo). On top of that, the shortstop Garcia should arrive.

      To me, the Reds are in good position to capitalize on their upcoming youth. I see no reason to wish for a rebuild. We just need to keep developing what we have and hope that 2 or 3 of them become All-star caliber players. This team can’ pay a Lindor or Story $25 million to play shortstop so what’s the point of sending your top prospects out for a 1 or 2 year rental. We are about to have sustained success in the NL Central. Lets enjoy it.

  13. Bob Purkey

    Yes, and the Mets beat the big Red Machine in playoffs in 7 games in 1974. And the Marlins won the WS as a wild card team. Once you get to the playoffs, anything can happen. Not saying you’re wrong, but winning the Central probably means you don’t face the Dodgers in round 1

    • citizen54

      Yes, once you make the playoffs you have a chance but in the Reds case it wouldn’t be a big one. Assuming the Reds have a 50% to win each playoff series, they would have a 12.5% chance of winning all three rounds or 6.25% of winning all four rounds depending on how ever many rounds there are in 2021.

      If the Reds have a 40% chance of winning each round, which is more likely, they would have a 6.4% chance of winning three rounds and a 2.56% chance of winning 4 rounds. Not sure it’s worth mortgaging the future for those kinds of odds.

    • jim walker

      Doesn’t change the main thought of your comment; but, it was in the 1973 NLCS when the Metz beat the Reds; and, it was best of 5 back then. Metz then lost the World Series to Athletics in 7 games 😉

      • Bob Purkey

        Absolutely correct, Jim. I was a freshman in college and should have known that date

      • jim walker

        I understand, It was a long time ago for both of us. I checked to just be sure my first impulse that it was ’73 was correct. 😉 I got caught up in a miserably long phone queue yesterday trying to get a mess with my 2021 health insurance squared away. Then I almost got kicked off because when they asked for my zip code, I spit out the code from 30 years ago and was so spacey I had to google for the correct one (and we’ve lived here 20 years).

    • Colorado Red

      Assuming the Dodgers will the West, then a WC will face the dodgers.
      Probably face the 3 seed

  14. Stock

    I am with Citizen54. You are vastly under rating the 1990 Reds. The Reds won with a blueprint others try to copy. Make your opponent be leading after 6 innings. If not the Reds had the Nasty boys who just dominated. With the playoff format they could pitch just about every game. Myers and Dibble shared MVP honors vs. the Pirates.

    The team went wire to wire during the regular season and swept the A’s in the World Series. KC followed the Reds blueprint and went to consectitive worlds Series also.

  15. Stock

    Neither Hoffman nor De Leon have options. They will both be piching in Cincinnati next year.

    I think Tepera and Tropeano are the two sleepers in the FA RP market and would take either of them over Wilson, or Stanek. I would try to bring back Bradley at a cheaper price.

    Based upon Current Roster

    SP: Castillo, Gray, Miley, Mahle
    SP/RP: Hoffman, De Leon, Antone, Sims
    RP: Garrett, Ramirez
    If no one acquired: Romano, Hendrix, Garcia but would prefer Tepera, Tropeano and Bradley.

    • MBS

      Sims Romano Ramirez Hoffman De Leon are all out of options.

      Locks: Garrett (1) Sims (0) Antone (3) Ramirez (0)

      Probables because of options: De Leon (0) Hoffman (0) Romano (0)

      That leaves 1 spot for a RP with options to go back and forth. I’m also Assuming Lorenzen takes the 5th spot in the Rotation, but it could just as easily be Antone, but either way the math, and option game leaves the Reds in a though spot. I’d think you’d want a minimum of 2 spots that can be taxied between Cincy and Louisville, but I’d prefer 3. It will be interesting to see how the Reds play it. My guess is 1 of those guys in the probables will have an “injury” to start the season so the Reds have some roster flexibility.

  16. Klugo

    I would currently say…
    Cards
    Brewers
    Cubs
    Reds
    Pirates

    • Sliotar

      Let’s add some context to those rankings …..

      1) Cards – who knows … they either seem traumatized over Dexter Fowler FA contract … and/or convinced Tyler O’Neill/Harrison Bader is next great wave of OFs …

      Team wRC+ of 93 in 2020 … (Reds were 91)

      2) Brewers … what if …. Christian Yelich was a bullpen signal stealer? There were rumors and twitter clips … pre-Covid … Yelich’s K% in 2020 jumped to more than 30%

      Team wRC+ of 89

      3) Jed Hoyer just waived white flag today, saying team won’t be in on FAs. Bryant to be traded at deadline, if not earlier .. who knows on extensions for Rizzo/Baez.

      4) Pirates – 5 years away, if then

      • Redsvol

        lets add some more context. Cubs and Brewers team prospects ranking are both horrible – no help coming any time soon. Cardinal team prospects are ranked just a bit higher than the Reds. As long as the Reds don’t trade too much of their starting pitching away, they should be competitive in the NL central for the next 3 years.

  17. Sliotar

    But … somehow … because the 2021 Reds are nowhere as good as the 1990 Reds …. the team should pack it in for the coming season?

    Even though they are statistically in the mix … and may have a move or two to make?

    • greenmtred

      I think that the point about the ’90 Reds was that they were multi-faceted. Good hitting, decent starting pitching, great bullpen, great defense. The current team’s one realized strength is starting pitching, and that’s probably weaker than it was due to the loss of Bauer. Lots of us think the hitting is better than it showed last year, and it may be. But it also may be that 2020 wasn’t a mirage. We’ll see. Sorry to be negative, Sliotar. I get how tiresome that is. I just wish the Reds were better-rounded and, as a result, more entertaining.

  18. Sliotar

    I get the frustration of not scoring a run in the playoffs .. but the negativity around here is reaching the highest level I have seen in a long time.

    Like 2016-2017 … Deck McGuire, Scott Feldman Opening Day Starter level.

    There is a lot of Hot Stove left … and the Reds have a 1 in 3 chance to the NL Central in 2021.

    • citizen54

      It’s not being negative, it’s facing reality. The Reds are an aging team projected to win 78 games in 2021. Ya that might be good enough to win in the NL Central but it’s not good enough to have meaningful shot at winning the World Series.

      The worst place to be these days is where the Reds are right now, an aging team stuck around .500. You aren’t bad enough to get a top talent draft pick that could turn the franchise around and you aren’t good enough where one or two moves is going to put you in contention for the World Series. More tinkering is just going to prolong the inevitable.

      Take a look at the farm system and it’s pretty depressing. Just look at the Top 3. You have Garcia, who has good d but may not be able to hit. You have Lodolo who is expected to top out as a #4. You have Greene who who can hit 100 but has a lot of other question marks.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Yep. And as Red’s fans this is our “reward” for sitting through those losing years and awful teams awaiting the promised rebuild. We get an aging mediocre team that was pretty average through a 60 game season and wouldn’t have even been a playoff team without expanded post season. On top of that we get a bottom tier farm system and a FO trying to sell everything not nailed down just to expedite another rebuild.
        Really what reason do Reds fans have to be optimistic?

  19. DataDumpster

    Yes, the division is very weak and it seems like a repeat of nearly every hitter flatlining (like last year) is very unlikely. So, they could easily win the division. But, their manager is still David Bell.

    They may not get a flashy new SS but I hope they have a plan B if David Bell doesn’t improve substantially. They still can send him down river to the Louisville Bats to reunite with many of the players they traded for recently.

    NOTE: Bell also compiled a 51-93 record for the Bats in 2012 (his last hurrah for the Reds after 4 progressively worsening losing seasons as manager).

    • TOM

      The only way the Reds have a chance at winning the division is by keeping Grey & Castillo. If they tade either one then all is lost. Let the rebuild begin.

  20. Hotto4Votto

    After the 2019 season I said the additions made to the team probably put us near .500 at best. I did not think we’d compete for the division though many others argued we would. That turned out largely accurate.
    After last off season I said we had improved but we’re a SS upgrade away from being a true contender. I did not think we were ahead of either the Cards or Cubs and about even with Milwaukee. With all four pretty evenly grouped. That turned out to be correct.
    At this point in the offseason there’s no question the roster has taken a step back. Especially in the rotation, but also in the bullpen, and to be honest I think we may miss Cassali as well. (Though I do believe in T. Stephenson). Still too many moves left to be made across the division. But at this point I’d say we’re behind the Cardinals and probably slightly behind the Brewers, slightly ahead of the Cubs.

  21. rednat

    Really great comments this evening. I think the most important goal for the reds in 2021 is getting fans back into gabp. The actual product is a distant second. The smartest thing the reds can do is assume this virus will be here indefinitely, assume indefinite social distancing, masks etc. Make gabp a cdc respiratory virus safe zone that can seat at least 30k safely. This is going to cost a lot of money but it is well worth it. From my perspective I would rather be able to attend a reds game safely with Kyle Farmer at shortstop than have to watch the reds on TV with Gregorious at shortstop.
    Speaking of the 90 reds, is riverfront stadium not the perfect pandemic socially distanced stadium? Twelve separate gates, 55 k capacity. We should have never torn that sucker down.

    • doofus

      The actual product is very important to getting fans back to the GABP.

      The reason attendance was poor prior to 2020 was due to not winning, because of a poor team (product).

    • doofus

      How will the Reds get fans back to the GABP without improving the roster, triple the number of Bobble Head giveaways? Build more beer venues at the GABP?

  22. gusnwally

    It would seem to me that any team who considers all star players at 10 million a year too expensive, needs new ownership.

    • Jim

      My 2cents worth is that the Reds are going to win the Central next year, if they somehow work out an improvement at short and pick up another starting pitcher to compliment Castillo and Grey, then look out, everything could fall in place because of the deflation of the other teams.

  23. Alex

    I think this is a new milestone in the private equity era of ownership. An entire division not trying at the same time. I wish they could all go 0-162.

    Sidenote, I work in grocery supply chain, everyone is up 15% growth for the year. Castellini Enterprises has made more money then it ever has this year.

    • gusnwally

      Thank you Alex. That is as good a piece if info that we have had in a long time.

    • Aaron B.

      I don’t want to offer excuses for these rich guys, but it has been pointed out before on this blog that it is an ownership group. So who knows if they benefit from agricultural sales outside of Castellini. Are we privy to that info? LOL, no, I doubt it. Bob over spent last year we can’t really ask him to do that 2 years in a row and take on debt for his group, so really the best we can hope for is they saved some bucks and can get a SS… I think this guy on the A’s is pretty good, maybe he had a down year but he is younger than DIDI and Oakland is a pitcher’s park, I think he would definitely benefit from the GABP bandbox.

  24. Michael E

    One thing Padres GM got right? He understood that trades would be cheap if a team can absorb salaries. Too bad Reds went FA heavy last year. One more year and maybe jettisoning a veteran or two last year and it could have been the Reds getting good players for prospects in the teens.

    Man, our fans, team, GM and owner, we can catch or make the right breaks.

  25. GreatRedLegsFan

    If the plan is to cut cost, I’d go for it the next three seasons until Votto’s contract is offloaded. Then they can think again about bold roster moves. Meanwhile, Moustakas, Castellanos, Suarez and Grey all can make for good deals.