If you ask 10 Cincinnati Reds fans what the biggest problem with the team has been in 2021 you will probably get a few different answers. Many will focus on third base. The others will probably mention the bullpen. With the bullpen issues, it’s not like the organization hasn’t tried to fix it. One can argue they didn’t try hard enough during the season – waiting until the trade deadline to bring in outside help, for example. But the team has used 29 pitchers out of the bullpen this season (and three position players on top of that). One guy that they haven’t tried is 25-year-old Dauri Moreta.

The right-handed reliever began the season in Double-A Chattanooga. Back in 2019 he posted a 2.35 ERA for then Advanced-A Daytona, but didn’t pitch in 2020 with the minor league season cancelled and he wasn’t invited to pitch at the teams alternate site. In 18 games this year with Chattanooga he allowed three earned runs in 26.2 innings with five walks and 37 strikeouts.

That earned him a promotion to Triple-A Louisville at the end of the first week of July. He’s also thrown 18 games with the Bats this season. He’s yet to allow an earned run in 20.2 innings. Moreta has given up just nine hits, walked just four batters, and he’s struck out 18 of the 76 batters he’s faced (24%) in his time in Triple-A.

To put it all together, he’s thrown 47.1 innings with a 0.76 ERA, a 0.74 WHIP, 26 hits allowed, nine walks, and 55 strikeouts. Those numbers are impressive on their own. But let me drop this stat on you: Dauri Moreta has allowed just 13 line drives all season. He’s gotten 17 infield fly balls in 2021.

The question remains: Why hasn’t he been called up? The easy answers would include things like “he’s not on the 40-man roster” and “if they called him up at certain points in the year they would have to DFA someone in the bullpen”. Of course that doesn’t hold a ton of water since they’ve called up or brought in other relievers that led to the team either adding them to the 40-man roster or trading for them with the result of having to DFA someone.

It’s also not as if Dauri Moreta is getting by with a weird pitch that might not work in the big leagues. He’s out there sitting 95-96 MPH and touching 98. He’s got a good breaking ball and a change up. Control problems? Nope. As noted above – he’s walked nine batters in 47.1 innings.

When rosters expanded in September it seemed that could be a good time to bring him up. You wouldn’t need to DFA anyone and he almost certainly would improve the team. Instead the team recalled Alejo Lopez and added Delino DeShields to the 40-man and called him up. Both of those players bring something useful to the Reds. Lopez can play a few positions, is a switch hitter who has had success from both sides of the plate in the minors this season, and has made tons of contact this year in the minors, too (though that hasn’t quite translated in his very limited playing time in the big leagues just yet). DeShields is probably the best center fielder on the team from a defensive standpoint now, and he’s a true threat on the bases.

Still, it was a bit surprising that a team with so many struggles in the bullpen opted to not call up a reliever who hasn’t allowed an earned run in two months in Triple-A.

Living in the Moment

Chad Dotson wrote about the Cincinnati Reds once again this week over at Cincinnati Magazine. The premise? Live in the moment and enjoy the playoff push while you can.

Only three times in the last two decades have Reds fans been able to enjoy their team in a pennant race. It’s an absolute crime … but when the Reds were competitive in those years, it was a great time to be a fan.

There’s one month of baseball left. Right now the Cincinnati Reds are holding a half-game lead for the second wild card spot over the San Diego Padres, a 2-game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies, and a 2.5-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals. The Reds also have the easiest schedule remaining in baseball. But the Phillies have the third easiest, too, so the advantage isn’t huge there. San Diego, though, has the toughest remaining schedule, and the Cardinals have the second toughest remaining schedule in the National League.

Sit back and enjoy the ride. Who knows when it’ll happen again.

29 Responses

  1. Alex Reds

    It’s an absolute crime and complete mismanagement by Krall that Asdrubal Cabrera is on the Reds roster and Dauri Moreta is not. Let’s just hope this level of insane decision making doesn’t cost the Reds a playoff spot. Hopefully this does not continue longer, every game matters and Cabrera shouldn’t play at all unless against a left handed pitcher. Cabrera should never have been picked up, and it cost them a good amount of money for nothing. The only possible reason was to prevent the Brewers from getting him, but the Brewers would have been worse if they had gotten him.

    • Doug Gray

      It cost them less than $300,000 to pick him up. And the crime is that he’s not playing against lefties, not that he was picked up.

      • Tomn

        He looks old and out of shape. Maybe he’s not out of shape, but I’d rather have Suarez/Moose playing. Not sure what added value Cabrera brings. Hope he proves me wrong.

        I’d much rather they have brought up the reliever from AAA discussed here in RL Nation. That would fit a need and he’s been excellent.

        Some of management’s moves make no sense at all. I’d rather have Barrera, if for nothing else than a late inning defensive replacement than have CAbrera.

      • Doug Gray

        The value he would bring would be that he’s the only third baseman on the roster who can hit left-handed pitching.

        Well, maybe Alejo Lopez, too. But either way, when a lefty is on the mound he is such a better option than Suarez or Moustakas that it’s painful to think about.

      • Jim Walker

        Sometimes on these personnel moves a person has to wonder if the left hand knows what the right hand is up to.

      • Indy Red Man

        I’ll take my chances with Suarez over fat Cabrera. Fatty hit a chopper the other day and I finished my dinner before he got to 1st. This isn’t golf. A professional athlete needs to manage his weight. Maybe Lance Lynn can get away with it, but not a position player. He’s 25-30 pounds overweight atleast. Adios!

      • Doug Gray

        This post sucks and you should be better than this.

        Can you succeed playing baseball? That’s the question that needs answering, not “does Indy Reds Fan think I’m fat?”

        I’m just going to sit over here thinking about how you would have cut later career Tony Gwynn or Prince Fielder or Cecil Fielder because they didn’t look like they could model jeans for Abercrombie.

    • burtgummer01

      Fatty? Wow what a prejudiced *&^$ you are

  2. Jim Walker

    Over the last week, the Reds frittered away a chance to take control if not outright command of the 2nd WC position by missing a chance to win both series not to mention the blown game in Milwaukee. Luckily they are still above water. However they need to start winning series again starting with Detroit at GABP this weekend,

    • wkuchad

      There’s going to be ups and downs. We’re not a 100 win team, but we’re a good team, and let’s hope we can ride an “up” into the playoffs.

  3. Jim Walker

    When it comes to Moreta the Reds organization is the blind squirrel which has found a blue ribbon acorn and can’t decide whether to spend it on a sight restoration operation or leave it on the mantle to enjoy the aroma,

  4. Redbb

    Been pounding the Moreta drums for awhile now. Krall is really showing his inexperience and ineptitude here IMO. What seems obvious to most Reds fans is not to him…

  5. LDS

    And today’s lineup is out with Suarez in the #5 slot again. I guess he’s “back” is the rallying cry now despite his .133 BA, .286 Slg Pct, and overall .521 OPS. So what if Cabrera hits .281 with a .783 OPS. Bell knows better. Got to take care of his pepper partner. After all, he only needs a little over one HR/remaining game to reach 50 HRs for the season.

    • DataDumpster

      The “old pepper game”. Good call but what Suarez really needs is a T-ball stand to get his eyes back trained back to the ball.

    • wkuchad

      What’s your complaint here? If it’s that he’s in the lineup, it’s understandable. If it’s that he’s hitting 5th, who cares. The best hitters are 1 through 4. The order of spots 5 through 8 matter little. Farmer and Aquino both struggling lately. And DeShields should be a late game defensive replacement.

    • greenmtred

      Didn’t see your comment in the game recap acknowledging Geno’s homer and walk in a 1 for 2 game.

  6. DataDumpster

    Nice article, quite impressive stats for Moreta. I am so impressed with the Red’s rookies (2B, catcher, 2 or 3 good pitchers, and a few others who really weren’t given enough playing time.)
    That is in stark contrast to all the veterans pulled off the waiver wire and such which seemed to have gotten many more chances and almost universally failed to make an impact. Once again, David Bell or the puppeteer pulling the strings brings a lot of head scratching regarding roster management.

  7. TJ

    Doug, I would have to assume the reason he’s not on the Red’s roster is that they don’t want to put him on the 40 man roster. The people in charge feel that they don’t want to lose some of the lesser talent. It’s not a money issue. It shouldn’t be a ” starting his clock early” issue. Do you know, has the front office addressed this? If so, what have they said?

  8. Doc

    How does a team get to having the fourth best record in the league, 12th best overall in the majors, with nobody having a clue what they are doing?

    • Jim Walker

      It began with a solid starting pitching core they did not mess with for salary dump, be that design or luck of the draw. Gutierrez and Santillan were there to (more than) the bridge injury gap with this group. Antone and Sims were enough to keep the pen afloat as the team started its rise. The 2 cheap fillers, Brach and Hembree, were just enough to shore the pen when injuries struck and get it Lorenzen and a week or 2 later Givens et al.

      They struck unanticipated gold with India, Naquin., and Stephenson. Out of nowhere, Farmer turned out to be at least league average at SS. And consider, none of these 4 save perhaps TS are in anything resembling the role they were cast for coming into spring training.

      Meanwhile for whatever cause, supposed stalwarts such as Senzel, Moose, Akiyama, and Suárez have been virtually busts.

      Only Castellanos, Winker (till late injury), Votto, and to a degree Barnhart have been anything approaching or exceeding expectations.

      Finally, for all his maddening game management peccadillos, Bell turned out to be an effective long haul manager along the lines of Dusty Baker with a core of competitive motivated guys to work with.

      • doofus

        Jim,

        You ARE the Sensei of this site.

        Arigato!

    • Old Big Ed

      The Braves have the 4th best record in the National League, so ask them.

      But anybody in the baseball business who thinks that Asdrubal Cabrera is a better baseball player than Jose Barrero has no clue what they are doing. Give Barrero 3 games at any position in fair territory, and he would be better defensively — and a faster runner — than the guy the Reds have playing there now. And he likely has at least equal bat speed to anybody on the team. But no, let’s go find a 6’0″, 235-pound 35-year-old instead.

      Dick Williams was the genius who signed Mike Moustakas — he of the career OPS+ of 100 — to a $68 million contract. Krall was his right-hand man, and there is no evidence that Krall said, “Dick, that is a real dumb idea. Nobody else is offering him $30 million; he’s slow; he’s mediocre defensively; and he’s an average hitter. Why do we want a slow, left-handed hitting corner/DH guy for his age 31-34 years, when we have Votto and Jesse Winker already? Won’t we be WAY too left-handed and slow? Couldn’t that cause us to deconstruct our bullpen in a year or so to save money to pay for Moose’s contract?”

      The Rays don’t make these kinds of mistakes.

      • Old Big Ed

        Not that I won’t root for Cabrera to hit a 3-run pinch-hit homer tonight.

      • Jim Walker

        And I hate to say this but I believe perhaps the reason Barrero did not get that opportunity and before him, though not as much of a lock, Lopez, is because Bell preferred kicking the can down the road to dealing with benching any of his core guys, even for a day or 2 a week.

        Recall 2012 when Todd Frazier couldn’t get on the field until Votto was on the (then) DL only to return to the bench when Votto came back despite the rapidly fading Scott Rolen who called it a career at the end of the season.

    • greenmtred

      Because maybe, just maybe, they know more than we think they do. And maybe, just maybe, we’re a bunch of amateurs, ardent fans, and don’t know as much as we believe we do.

  9. Arthur

    I will hold fire on the whole Barrero / Cabrera thing – I have been solidly on Team “Play Barrero Now” for about 3 weeks – perhaps longer. But if they are gonna sign Cabrera, why in the world isn’t he starting tonight? This is exactly the situation he was brought in for.

    But this is about Moreta. I have also been posting that Moreta needed to be in Cincinnati for weeks. He didn’t even get the call when rosters expanded. I guess the fact that the Reds’ bullpen has been so dominant this season means that a kid who does nothing more than get out practically every batter he faces isn’t good enough to get a call-up. As for who would get sent down or DFA’d to make room for him – it can’t be that hard to find one guy in that bullpen who isn’t pulling his weight.

    Jim suggests that perhaps Bell is reluctant to sit down a veteran who has been on the club all season – that he prefers veterans over younger guys, a la Dusty Baker. Perhaps that is the case. If so, it is just another reason for me to conclude he isn’t a very good manager.

    • Jim Walker

      I usually shy away from conspiracy theories but as they say fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. And not once but twice Krall has brought up the hottest hitter at AAA at times when the team needed a boost, especially from the RH side, and both times the guy has sat until he lost his grove then been sent back.

  10. BK

    I don’t recall a season where the Reds have made this many puzzling moves/non-moves:

    – Moreta not on the 28-man roster
    – Barrero not on the 28-man roster and starting nearly everyday
    – Cabrerra sits against LHP

    These are the kind of moves I wish other teams would make.