Michael Lorenzen is coming off of what has to be his worst season as a professional. The right-handed pitcher entered spring training with the hopes to take a spot in the Cincinnati Reds rotation, and for a while there it looked like it was going to happen. Even after his injury near the end of the spring didn’t seem to get in the way of that plan….. at least at first. What was initially believed to be a short term injury in which he could return in a few weeks turned into an injury that cost him the entire first half of the season and one in which when he did return, he did so as a reliever instead of heading to the minors to build up innings to try and start.

When Lorenzen returned he found plenty of success in the first seven weeks. He pitched in 15 games from July 17th through September 4th and allowed just four earned runs in 16.2 innings (2.16 ERA) and didn’t allow a home run, walked 8 batters, and he struck out 14. But things went south after that as he began to pitch more, making 12 appearances in the final four weeks of the season and allowed 14 earned runs in 12.1 innings (10.22 ERA) with 6 walks and 7 strikeouts. That stretch raised his ERA to 5.59 on the year.

Not all was well with Lorenzen when he returned, pitching with a strained hamstring during the season after coming back from his shoulder injury he suffered in spring training. The 30-year-old told Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he’s hoping to sign with a team that will give him the chance to be a starting pitcher. He also noted that he hasn’t ruled out re-signing with Cincinnati.

After starting as a rookie in 2015 he’s only made five starts in six seasons since then with the Reds. But even back in 2016, and all along the way, Lorenzen made it known that he hoped to return to the rotation.

Nick Castellanos, the Reds, and their options

The big headline with Nick Castellanos this offseason seems to be his option where he can opt out of his current contract and become a free agent. The overwhelming belief is that he will do just that as he is coming off of arguably his best season at the plate and could likely get a better deal than the 2-years and $32,000,000 he has remaining if he chooses to stay with the Reds.

If Castellanos does opt out, the Reds can try to get *something* in return for that by offering him a qualifying offer. Buster Olney of ESPN reported on Wednesday that this year that will be $18.4M (for 1 year). What kind of draft pick they would get in return if Castellanos were to turn that down would depend on the contract he signed as a free agent, and which team signed him.

Minor League notes

The Arizona Fall League begins this afternoon. The Cincinnati Reds will have seven prospects in the league this year and they will be on the Surprise Saguaros. You can read about all of them and some of the “interesting” rules that will be in play this year over at RedsMinorLeagues.com.

Minor League Baseball has some awards that are up for a vote. Only one Reds player made the list: Dauri Moreta is up for reliever of the year. Before joining Cincinnati for the final week of the year, the 25-year-old reliever went 6-0 with a 1.02 ERA in 53.0 innings between Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville. If voting online for people and things is your jam, here’s the link to stuff the digital ballot box.

The Louisville Bats are involved in another one of the awards, though, sort of. In the blooper of the year category Alfredo Rodriguez is tossed from the game, Pat Kelly comes out to argue, and in the process the home plate umpire’s belt breaks and he has to borrow a belt from another umpire before the game can continue.

38 Responses

  1. Rick Pearson Jr

    Well I hope Michael Lorenzen does not come back he is hurt more than he is healthy and I I have a feeling it a lot to do with all of his body building weight lifting I hope he doesn’t come back. Along with Amir Garrett and a couple of others down there in the bullpen.

    Reply
    • LDS

      I agree. Several others I’d like to see gone but that’s wishful thinking. If the Reds aren’t trying to cut a reasonable deal with Castellanos, I’d consider it FO malpractice. He seems to like Cincinnati. The park certainly helps his stats, etc. But then I don’t have much faith in the Reds management from the field to the ownership.

      Reply
      • DaveCT

        I’m done following Lorenzen as well. Have been for some time. Too much oxygen getting taken out of things with the start/relieve/position player discussion combined with injuries. Wishing him well in his next organization.

    • Reds4ever

      I hope Amir comes back. A lot of fans slander him. He was big for us before this year. I give him a year to bounce back.

      Reply
  2. Frankie Tomatoes

    This is a false statement. Michael pitched all of 2015. He missed half of 2016. Pitched all of 2017. Missed a month in 2018. Pitched all of 2019. Pitched all of 2020. Pitched half of 2021.

    He has been healthy far more than he has been injured.

    Reply
    • Frankie Tomatoes

      This was supposed to be a response to Rick Pearson Jr.

      Reply
  3. Old-school

    The Reds arent winning the World Series in 2022 or 2023.
    I would be in favor of trading Sonny Gray and more for a young controllable major league ready outfielder for the next 5 years.

    Lorenzen has said he is willing to gamble on himself and wants to start.

    Sign him to a 1 year $2 million deal as a 4/5 starter with $6 million in incentives for performance-starts/innings/ERA. If he gets hurt, the Reds arent out anything. IF he outperforms Sonny Gray for a big money team,( 50/50) the Reds win and save money.

    Reply
    • Mark Moore

      Low-risk crap shoot … I actually like the idea. Plus, then he’s under contract and if he really can’t hold up as a starter, you put him back in the pen or just let him go.

      Reply
    • Jim Walker

      Unless the CBA changes, they can’t base a bonus on ERA. Innings pitched, yes. Starts, Relief Appearances, Total Game Appearances, yes, if Cot’s contracts website is accurate. They can also have award bonuses for the likes of Gold Glove, Cy Young, MVP, Silver Slugger etc.

      Reply
    • DX

      If the Reds aren’t competing for the World Series in the next two years than the first player to go is Castillo. His next contract will be north off $25m (based on comps). He has very good trade value today. Gray does not have the same value. Reds Ownership won’t pay Castillo and probably won’t pay Mahle either. So if you are throwing in the towel trade the guys with value.

      Reply
      • Doc

        I prefer to keep players who have performance value, not get rid of them and keep players who have no trade value due to performance.

  4. Klugo

    The Reds FO has absolutely screwed the pooch on this “rebuild”. They are now just going to blow in the wind or going Rebuild: Take Two.

    Reply
    • Redsvol

      I’m not so sure they have. Seems like the young talent possibly came along quicker than anyone thought. Prognosticators did not think our Reds would finish very high in 2021, no-one thought India was going to be rookie of the year, no-one thought Guittierrez would pitch so well, and few thought Stephenson would have such a good 1st year. If young pitching comes along and Barrero is for real, Reds can compete for years at a high level with this offense (minus Castellanos).

      I know many expect big cost cutting but I’m not so sure it will be severe. Although they didn’t bring in some of the big fish (Bryant, Turner, Sherzer, etc.), the Reds didn’t behave like a team slashing payroll at the trade/waiver deadlines – committing to about 4.5$ million in added payroll (Givens, Wilson, Cessa, Cabrera, Deshields). I think they were very cautious in giving up the minor league talent to get the big fish, as opposed to avoiding adding payroll. I think they read the tea-leaves quite well in supporting the team while understanding the 2020 team wasn’t going far in the playoffs if they made it. It will be interesting to see….

      Reply
      • Greenfield Red

        Maybe you and I were watching different organizations. The one I watched got rid of proven bp talent before the year began, didn’t address SS, let quality coaches walk in season, and extended a manager who has no business in a ml dugout.

        I have no faith the organization I watched will do anything to make the team better in 2022.

      • Redsvol

        doesn’t change the fact that the team played above their projections for most of the season – even after experiencing tremendous bullpen injuries (top 3 relievers), significant offensive injuries and unpredicted non-performance (Garrett, Moose, Senzel, and Suarez). Along with the fact that it received a much needed youth infusion playing above average ball -making them exciting to watch until September.

      • Jim Walker

        I believe the front office fell into a positive situation they had only fantasized in their wildest daydreams when the team got on a roll after losing Moose, Senzel, Lorenzen, Antone, Sims, et al. A window of opportunity opened wide; but, the front office turned their eyes away from it.

        They responded by sitting on their hands aside from plugging in retread relievers while (presumably) hoping the team’s winning run would continue and that eventually the injured guys would be back in some form at least resembling their prior selves.

        It strains credibility to believe that 2+ months out from losing Moose and Senzel with the return date on both continually slipping back, that the team actually believed either of those guys were going to be back and in shape to have a significant positive impact.

        Yet the team did nothing at the trade deadline to strengthen the position player roster and eventually paid a huge price for it when Winker then Naquin went down and Farmer who was playing hurt bottomed out (not to mention that Akiyama had become the disappearing non-performing guy apparently at least in part due to a hamstring issue he had been nursing all year).

        The shoring of the bullpen at the deadline may not have been too little had it not come too late. However, it was a day late even if only $0.50 short.

        Such a lost and wasted opportunity!

      • Klugo

        Playing above expectations and still missing the playoffs, last (shortened) season barely squeaking into the playoffs, playing just above .500 ball after all the fanbase endured over the previous 5+ years and all the talk of the 2019/20 window and that’s what they have to hang their hat on. Someone should be fired, but I dont know who. Krall just started, but he definitely should be fired. Bell should be fired. Can ownership fire themselves? Remove Castellanos and do you think that the young talent is enough to deliver what the fanbase deserves for going into “rebuild” mode. I think not. The “window” keeps moving, y’all.

      • greenmtred

        The number of good young players in the organization , aside from anything else, argues persuasively that the “rebuild” hasn’t failed. Perhaps the Reds had some unexpected luck that allowed them to play better than anticipated–I speak here of India, Stephenson, Votto, Farmer, and so on–but they had plenty of unexpected bad luck, as well. The fix for everything? Simple, if we follow the comments: Fire Bell. Why? Because a group of fans commenting on RLN think he’s a bad manager.

      • Jim Walker

        @Klugo, GreenMtRed>> The Reds market position is such that they should be organized to hang in around .500 almost every year and be flexible enough to jump on opportunities that present along the way. They shouldn’t need to be alternately building for set windows then burning the team down to start anew.

        The talent they have coming of age at the MLB level and mid to lower farm system is capable of delivering on the proposition of being able to grab opportunity if it is given proper care, nurturing and tweaking. This talent is as much a legacy of the abruptly ended Williams era as the poor contracts he did to try and bump start the process.

        Now we see what happens next.

      • Klugo

        My point is that we were fed from the FO that the window for really competing for a CHAMPIONSHIP, after years of rebuild, was like 2018. Then it was 19, then 20, then 21. Now? If we dont keep or replace Castellanos with another comparable FA, we will not be good enough.

      • Hotto4Votto

        What’s the shelf life on a rebuild? Serious question. This current rebuild started in earnest in 2015. Prior to that season the Reds traded 40% of their returning rotation for younger players/prospects. Then traded away more at the deadline that year. So seven seasons of a rebuilding has led to one playoff appearance, that in any other season wouldn’t have resulted in a playoff appearance.
        What is a reasonable rate of return on a rebuild? We do have young talent in the system now. Some are near ready. Some are a direct result of the rebuild. Senzel, Greene, India, and Lodolo are direct results of non-competitive seasons. (Stephenson and Santillan were a result of the 2014 season in which they were still trying to be competitive, and Barrero and Gutierrez were IFA that could have happened regardless of rebuild). But most of the guys we traded our veterans for are gone. Suarez and Castillo remain.
        All in all, seems like we missed the window by not capitalizing on trading for prospects that would be ready near the same time our high draft picks would arrive. The fruits of trading off our veteran players in order to play retreads and replacement players will have all but dried up by the time this core group of young prospects is ready.
        For all those reasons, I’d say the rebuild failed to get Cincinnati competitive within a reasonable window or with any concrete plan as to when all the results of trades and high draft picks would align to form the nucleus of a competitive team for years to come.

      • Klugo

        Yes. That’s the way I see it too Hotto. You verbalized it better.
        I think it’s because they had one foot in and one foot out of the “re build”. They never committed to out.

      • Jim Walker

        @Klugo, Agree they just keep kicking the can down the road. There was a window were led to believe should have been opening about now based on Senzel, Stephenson, Shed Long, Taylor Trammell, Jose Siri, and others. Only Senzel and TS of this group are still with the Reds; and, none of the others have yet to make a mark elsewhere.

        Last week, I looked at that 2016 draft in which the Reds had 3 picks in the top 45. Only Senzel (#2 overall) of those 3 has any time with the Reds. Taylor Trammel (#35 overall) was at least in part responsible for getting Bauer to the Reds but has done even less than Senzel subsequently at the MLB level with San Diego and Seattle. Both have negative career WAR at this point.

        Chris Okey (#42 overall), a highly touted college catcher looks to be a wipe out having been never made it onto the 40 man roster and clearly being passed by Mark Kolozsvary (#197 overall in 2017) in the pecking order this season.

        Nick Hanson (#79 overall) a high school pitcher has yet to progress above low Class A. Scott Moss, a college pitcher coming off TJ surgery who was supposedly a sleeper at #108 overall was also involved in the Bauer deal and has yet to make it to the majors.

        And finally, Ryan Hendrix (#138 overall) rounding out the top 5 picks, made his first MLB appearance with the Reds this season, and unless Senzel can stay on the field in the future may well be the top performer out of this entire ballyhooed draft class.

      • Redsvol

        Front office approved 164$ million in free agency spending to go for it in 2020- then this things called a pandemic occurred. The 2020 season was ruined from the start and it’s easy to see that in December of 2020 – when 2021 spending decisions are made – that a small market team like the reds weren’t sure what their 2021 revenue would be like. So they cut 2 good relievers, went after a couple shortstops but failed.

        When they played above their heads and had opportunity to bring in some horses at the deadline they made a business decision. It would have taken max sherzer and Kris Bryant and Craig kimbrel to have made the playoffs the way the cardinals came on. We would have had to give up 4 to 6 of our top 10 minor leaguers to make it happen- plus the added payroll. And we still probably wouldn’t have made it past the dodgers in the nlcs. And we would have lost sherzer & Bryant in free agency and been left with kimbrels option to deal with. (woohoo).

        I’ll admit it would have been a fun 8 weeks but 2023 thru 2028 would have been barren.

      • Mike V

        Agreed .. Let Krall run this operation for at least a couple of more years before passing judgement on him . I think he did a creditable job this season given the situation he inherited and the constraints on spending which is part of running a small market team .

  5. Kevin H

    Let’s face it this organization failed this year. Hindsight is 20/20 I know. Yet, bell had a bullpen of nonone basically that blew at least 5 games if not more. Then when they improved the pen, then injuries happened. Oh and let’s not forget our bench players or whatever consisted of Freeman, Payton, Heinniman, and Schrock. Yes, I know Schrock did great. My point is Bell’s hands were tied alot this year and he used who was available.

    Reply
    • VegasRed

      Great excuses here folks! There are many reds fans here and in reds nation who will buy whatever baloney the owners sell. A few have the temerity to insist the focus and outcome should be measured in wins.

      The apologists are simply enablers for the big fat liar bobby c and his now empty promises of championship baseball.

      My sense is that many, if not most fans are getting the results they deserve. Sucks for those of us who think the reds ought to at least try winning.

      Reply
  6. Cory

    Why wouldn’t Castellanos opt-out and at the minimum take the QO of 18.4M?

    Reply
  7. Klugo

    Cards fire Shildt. Reds extend Bell. There you have it. Cards want to win CHAMPIONSHIPS and act like it. Reds “rebuild” hoping to make the playoffs.

    Reply
    • burtgummer01

      And of course the much higher payroll than the Reds do,much better players slightly better farm and much better front office and ownership
      But yeah it’s all Bells fault

      Reply
      • Klugo

        Oh, it’s all of it. Including Bell. It’s the FO fault for accepting mediocrity and extending him. Mediocrity accepts mediocrity.

      • Kevin H

        That’s just how it is. Was like that on other blog sites. It was Bakers fault. It was Prices fault. Now it’s Bells fault.

        I mean no Manger would of won with the Reds bullpen this year and the “backs ups”. Yet some suggest otherwise

      • Klugo

        Oh, Krall should be the first to go. The ownership should sell, rather than skimping on managers, GMs, bullpens, shortstops, whatever. And Bell should go learn how to be a manager on a team trying to tank.

    • burtgummer01

      The Reds can’t and won’t be relevant without new ownership,you’d think people would figure this out after 16 years

      Reply
      • VegasRed

        Tinker and Krall are just puppets for Bobby c. No mind of their own but willing yes men.

        Anyone who doubts this should just look at the stupid comments by both men all year. I don’t respect either of them for spinning the fans with unbelievable garbage straight from the lying owners’ mouth.

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