Did Cincinnati third baseman Eugenio Suárez’s final month of the season give us a sign of things to come, or was it merely a mirage? Bobby Nightengale of The Cincinnati Enquirer asked that very question in his most recent article.

In the 2021 season the Reds third baseman hit .198/.286/.428. In no month other than September (and October) did he post an OPS higher than .691, and that .691 OPS came back in May and was the only other month he topped the .650 mark.

But in September/October, Eugenio Suárez hit .370 with a .460 on-base percentage, and he slugged .808. His OPS on the month was 1.268 and he was one of the best hitters in baseball during that stretch.

There are a lot of reasons that the struggles for Suárez has gone through. Perhaps his shoulder injury before the 2020 season had lasting effects on his swing. And his strikeout rate jumped up to career highs.

But what seems quite obvious is that there’s been a massive shift in what’s happening when he makes contact. From 2014-2019, every single season saw Suárez post a batting average on balls in play (BABIP) between .304 and .341. The league average in that time was .299. In the last two years that’s dropped to .292 – so we are seeing the pitching and defensive combination get better results everywhere when contact is being made and the fielders have an opportunity to make a play (basically when the ball doesn’t land in the seats).

While the league has watched the BABIP fall 7 points, Suárez has watched his BABIP fall to .214 in 2020 and .224 in 2021. He’s lost nearly 90 points from his career average in BABIP in that time by comparison.

When we look back at the 2021 season for Suárez his BABIP tells the story. It was .163 in April, .169 in March, .241 in June, .207 in July, .147 in August, and .432 in September. June seems to be the only month of the entire season with anything remotely close to a BABIP that could be expected in the long term from an actual big league caliber player.

Now, obviously when a player posts an OPS of 1.268 you are going to expect an outlier BABIP. Players simply aren’t THAT good over a long period of time unless they are Barry Bonds and there’s plenty of reason to believe he had some additional help to get there on top of being one of the best hitters ever.

So the answer to the question of was his September what we can expect moving forward is a resounding no. He’s not going to do that over the course of a season. That was simply a different level of baseball. But the next question is was there something in that month that we could see positives from that could lead to something a bit better than the guy who has struggled to hit at all for much of the past two years?

That answer seems to be a resounding yes. The power was there. In just 87 plate appearances we saw Suárez hit 8 doubles and 8 home runs. He also walked 11 times – the most he had in any month during the year. His strikeout rate was also the lowest he had in any month during the season.

The changes in output all combined for an incredible month at the plate. The question is can it carry forward? A higher walk rate, a lowered (but still high strikeout rate), and a lot of power goes a long way if your BABIP is closer to .300 than to .200. There were signs that real steps were taken in September at the plate for Suárez, but sometimes you’re simply seeing a hot streak as opposed to true changes. After nearly two years of not hitting, though, at least there’s some hope that maybe he figured something out and better days at the plate are ahead once again.

Quick Hits

MLB Clubs to pay for some minor league housing

One of the big stories that most haven’t paid as much attention to over the last few years is what’s happening at the minor league level. Teams were eliminated – in the Reds case, two teams no longer exist in the chain up to the big leagues. That happened for a lot of reasons, but the one that MLB wants you to believe is that it will allow them to take better care of the players that remain. They increased pay when that happened, though even the guys in Triple-A are still making less than $15,000 a year (unless they’ve reached free agency or have been placed on the 40-man roster), and the guys below them make even less.

But what some organizations had already been doing – supplying housing or a housing stipend – is going to happen with every organization. The plan is not yet finalized, but it’s another step in the right direction. Well, sort of. An official statement to Evan Drellich of The Athletic noted “the owners discussed the issue of player housing and unanimously agreed to begin providing housing to certain minor league players”. Without any further detail as to what “certain minor league players” means, we shouldn’t be throwing a party in celebration just yet.

The Automated Strikezone

Ever since 2007 we’ve had the ability to track pitches in Major League Baseball. First it was with a triangulation of cameras in ballparks that gave us the Pitch F/X system that eventually we started seeing used in the Gameday portion of MLB.com and the Gameday App, as well as the stuff you would see on television. Then MLB transitioned to Trackman, a radar based ball tracking system that also tracked balls once they were hit. That happened in 2015 and lasted until the 2019 season. Over the last two seasons MLB has gone with Hawkeye, which like the Pitch F/X system, is based on cameras positioned around the ballpark. Hawkeye tracks nearly everything that moves on the field – the ball, the players, the umpires, the on-field coaches.

Fans have grown accustom to seeing the strikezone on TV in real time, and on their phones/computers as they follow the game and as such, complain when a pitch is/isn’t a strike but is called one/isn’t called one. The belief is that the zone they see is perfect, and that the system itself is, too.

Without getting into a lot of the stuff that needs to be discussed to have a truly good conversation about this all…. let’s just say that right now where the system has been tested out, it’s not exactly perfect, either. There are still mistakes, and some are painfully obvious mistakes.

Moving to full-time robo-strikezones may not be the best solution just yet. Of course, neither is running out known poor home plate umpires in the playoffs, but that isn’t stopping MLB from doing it, either.

81 Responses

  1. Alan Horn

    Who knows on Suarez . He was sure showing signs of it the last month. Since his contract is a little over half per year as that of Moose, he would be the one I would keep for next season. I would move Moose no matter the cost. If we could save a few million net, it would be worth it. Otherwise, he is just going to clog up the roster like he did this past season. Moose was a very good player in his day, but we jumped on him too late.

    • BK

      Moose had an OPS+ of more than 100 in 2020 and through May of 2021. It is very likely his injury led to his late season decline. With the DH likely coming in 2020, there are many reasons to focus on getting Moose healthy and using him as a DH and occasional 1B, 2B and 3B to spell starters.

      • MBS

        @BK Hopefully Moustakes come back healthy. I would use Moose exactly as you’re stating.

        I think Suarez will bounce back, It would be hard to believe he’d be below the Mendoza line again… but if not we can use a 30+ HR guy in the 7, 8 or 9 hole. Right handed power might be hard to find if both NC and ES were no longer Reds.

      • MK

        I hope Moose can handle first base. Though Votto’s bat recovered his defense was still below average so he should DH. Suarez still plays nice defense at third so if in the line-up he needs to play defense.

        I think the future playing time of Farmer and Barrero could be tied to Castellanos as Jose will be next up if no Nick, Jose in center, Farmer stays at short and Senzel becomes a utility guy along with Shrock.

    • Doug Gray

      No matter the cost?

      The only way you are moving Moustakas is to either take on an equally “bad” contract or to trade him along with a very good prospect for a Noe Ramirez type of move where someone else is basically going to buy Graham Ashcraft or Nick Lodolo from you.

      • MBS

        Swapping bad contracts with someone isn’t the worst idea. If you have a trading partner where there was a similar bad contract at a position of need, and they needed a 2B, 3B guy. Both teams could even out their rosters. However I am not familiar with the bad contracts strewn around the MLB.

      • Jim Walker

        Given where the Reds are with outfield bodies and in general also being heavy on LH bats, the “bad contract” route might not be such a poor route to go, depending on the specifics if they obtain a RH bat who could play some corner OF or 1B/ DH versus LH pitching. The Reds would still probably need to include a prospect but not a very top tier guy in such a deal given Moose’s salary price tag is $38m total.

      • Alan Horn

        Agree Jim. If Moose has value for us at DH, then hopefully he has value for some other team as DH. You are past hurdle one. Now as you mentioned, if someone has a bad contract player (less bad) at a position of need(RH corner of) and we include one or more middle tier prospects(and or cash), it is possible a trade could be struck. It would probably have to be a California or New York team. Teams where money isn’t as much a problem. They need a DH who could bounce back from injury and we need to off load a terrible contract(at least for a small market team).

  2. Jim Walker

    Ball and strike calls….

    Give the home plate up a signaling device from the robot ump software that relays the software’s suggested call but leave the final decision up to the human.

    Only the home plate ump would have access to the robot “suggested” call in real time. The standard for the human to call a pitch differently than the robot should be similar to the standard applied for the replay umps to overturn the real time umps.

    No sane ump (not even AH) is going to go against the robot except in cases where they truly believed the robot has blown call.

    This system would also provide an outstanding feedback loop for both the robot developers and the human umps.

    • David

      Yeah, that sounds logical. Always give the human Ump the veto over the computer, if the cyber ump just absolutely blows the call. But how about the hitter (player) appealing to the cyber ump, if the human ump makes a bad call?

      Baseball is about human beings competing on the field. Everybody wants the right call, and when an ump blows a call (balls/strikes), it makes people sore. But I honestly don’t want a cybernetic umpire taking over the game, either.

      • Jim Walker

        A batter cannot appeal to the cyber ump in the system I was sketching. The human ump had the cyber ump opinion prior to making the call and clearly felt it was in error if he/ she called it the opposite of the cyber “suggestion” as per the guidelines I suggested be used to for calling opposite of the cyber ump.

    • greenmtred

      How could that not add–painfully–to the length of games? Two things that are fallible being involved on every ball and strike call might eliminate some bad ones, but at what cost?

      • Jim Walker

        Where does the delay happen? The signal from the cyber system is virtually instantaneous. The ump has already had their look in real time just like now. It shouldn’t be more than a second (if that) on any pitch.

        Bear in mind the rules stated were that the ump would be bound to go with the cyber call unless they clearly see it is incorrect. Thus they will only be looking for gross mistakes, not splitting hairs of an inch or 2. To borrow the Chris Welch line, the ump will only be concerned with pitches that never looked like they had a chance to be a strike being called strikes; or, as Doug mentioned, a pitch fully in the zone in all dimensions which gets called a ball.

        A most likely outcome I anticipate is that framing will go by the board, which to me seems like a good thing.

      • greenmtred

        Well, it might work. I could see umps taking a bit longer than a second to consider, but maybe not. But did anyone foresee challenges of umps’ calls bringing the game to a screaming 5-minute halt?

      • Luke J

        I’m pretty sure everyone foresaw video review bringing the game to a screeching halt for 5 minutes. That was literally the main complaint people had when it was being considered.

      • Bill J

        Let’s make it simple like it use to be, over the plate between the armpits and the knees.

    • Redsvol

      So 300-350 times a game an umpire is going to check the robo ump call before issuing his call. No offense Jim but the games are too long as it is. I think human umps are fine. They’ve fixed the aggregious calls on the field with replay, that’s as far as it needs to go. I like some human element to the game.

      I’d much rather mlb ban the shift and put the pitch clock on so we get more singles and doubles and get pitchers to stop trying to throw every pitch 100 miles per hour.

      • Jim Walker

        No the umpire wouldn’t have to “check” the robo umpire. The information passed is binary, either strike or ball. The software makes that decision and sends the result instantaneously.

        I have sort of presumed two separate and unmistakable tones would be sent to earbuds but it could just as easily be a worn harness that vibrates on one side of their body for a ball and the other for a strike. Or an optical signal built into their mask. Or it could be an optical signal built into the count indicator held in their hand. How long does it take to look down, see a red or green light?

  3. BK

    WRT Suarez, what’s really important is can the Reds identify what changed that led to the improved results in September. I’m optimistic as the results were so different there almost had to be a tangible reason. A productive Suarez at 3B would go a long way to helping the Reds offensively in 2022.

    • David

      I don’t think Suarez wanted to “fail” all year long, and let his teammates down. He has never been that kind of guy. He was willing to play shortstop, where he really looked bad, if it helped the team (Moustakas played 3rd). A lot of guys would have refused.

      It was suggested during the season that his shoulder still wasn’t right. Maybe he had bad days that it was stiff or sore. Maybe it was finally alright in September…every day.

      • Alan Horn

        One thing I noticed was that he was trying to pull everything. i.e. his head was coming off the ball. That is a basic hitting taboo. The last month it got better. I never figured out why it took all season to correct.
        That probably wasn’t the whole problem as it doesn’t explain the lack of contact.

      • greenmtred

        I noticed the same thing and was also puzzled about why he didn’t correct it. Of course, bad habits aren’t always easy to mend.

  4. Michael B. Green

    The key for Suarez (as is the case for almost all other players) is to have success against the fastball. His 8.1 wFB in Sep illustrates this point. Only Soto, Seager, Belt and Goldschmidt were better in Sep.

    With Suarez, Moustakas, Senzel, Farmer, India, Barrero and Schrock all having 3B experience, we are good at 3B. I expect Suarez and Moustakas to compete for 3B with the loser sliding to the primary DH role (when they are not filling in at both 1B and 3B).

  5. Michael B. Green

    Wonder if Cueto would take a 1-year deal with a Year 2 club option and a realistic price? You bring him back to influence the youngsters. You let a great pitcher end his career back where he started. 2016 Bronson Arroyo as a decent comp in terms of salary (inflation-adjusted)?

    That allows you to decline the $10M option on Miley and perhaps non-tender Hoffman. You can use that combined savings to cover Castillo and Mahle in arbitration.

    The more I look at the success of Gray’s pitch types, the more I think you keep him. You decline his option next year. By then, you have Mahle and Castillo carrying you. 2023 definitely has Greene and Lodolo in the rotation with the possibility of Ashcraft.

    The other option is to ink Jon Gray. Not sure there is money to do so however. If you can land him for 2-3 years (with at least one year via club option), you could perhaps solidify your top 3 SP’s, allowing Gutierrez, Sanmartin, Greene, Lodolo and Ashcraft to cover the #4 and #5 rotation spots without any pressure.

    That kind of depth would surely put CIN in excellent position to contend in the NL Central.

    Here’s to the hope that MLB does not try to incorporate way too many changes, forcing a strike or lockout this winter. I’m so very tired of political posturing everywhere. The country needs baseball without debate, drama or foul play.

    • Old Big Ed

      No on Cueto. Great Red, but he will be 36 and he’s averaged 61 IP/year over the past 4 seasons. He might be a good influence on the younger pitchers, but so is Miley.

      $10 million is a good team price on Miley. Even if the Reds didn’t want him, they should spend the extra $9 million on the option, because somebody would pay good value for Miley @ $10 million. I’m not sure why so many people don’t want Miley resigned. He had a fabulous year, and he is the only LH starter that they have other than Sanmartin. I do think that Miley is a guy who ought to max out at about 26 starts, and that they need to skip a start with him about every month to save him for September.

      Sonny Gray to me was completely out of gas by about mid-August in 2021. He is another guy who could use the 10-day IL about 5 times/year to keep him fresh. Watching the playoffs this year, it seems like a whole lot of pitchers are running on empty after light workloads in 2020. I don’t think there is much more to Sonny’s poor end of the season than his being physically spent.

      Jon Gray was actually worse on the road last year than in Coors Field, which seems impossible. Much of it was his bizarre BABIP, which was .237 at home and .360 on the road. I don’t see the Reds having much interest in Jon Gray, though.

      I could see the 2022 Reds using a 6-man rotation, with maybe Sanmartin or Santillan being the swing guy at the start of the year. Castillo or Mahle may not need it, but the others probably do.

      • Ted Koopmann

        I do think that Miley is a guy who ought to max out at about 26 starts, and that they need to skip a start with him about every month to save him for September.
        I agree with this statement 1000%. His best year in Houston he struggled LATE in the year. He definitely needs rest but is extremely effective if not over-used which he almost had to be this year. The players LOVE him and you know you are getting the very best he has whenever he takes the mound. We NEED guys like this to stick around, not leave i.m.o.

  6. doofus

    Suarez was a strikeout machine before the shoulder injury. In September he feasted on Pirate and National pitchers. Not exactly top notch staffs.

    I do not believe the shoulder was the problem. His approach at the plate is the problem. No matter what the situation, he goes up there swinging like he his in a HR derby.

    • Old Big Ed

      I think that Suarez’s approach was qualitatively different in September. After his benching, he finally began hitting the ball where it was pitched and quit trying to pull everything. He still pulled the pull-able pitches in September, but he was content to get the single to center or right on pitches away.

      His season was doomed the minute he announced a goal of 50 home runs. He needs to understand that Max Eugenio is 32 homers and and .270/.350. His highest OPS+ was not 2019 when he hit 49 homers, but was 2018 when he had 34 homers and slashed .283/.366/.526. Much of that was because his 2018 strikeout rate was 23.4% and not 28.6% like in 2019 or 29.8% this year, with it being 25.3% in Sept/Oct.

      Suarez actually has a simple, smooth, repeatable swing. He just didn’t use it until September.

    • Doug Gray

      His strikeout rate before the shoulder injury and after the shoulder injury was an increase of 20% (as in it was 1/5th higher than where it was previously). So yeah, you can say he struck out a lot before, but he then saw a pretty big jump after.

    • greenmtred

      No opinion we have about Suarez’s shoulder is worth much: We don’t have the information. I agree with OBE’s take on this: His approach and swing were noticeably different in Sept. No knowing whether he’ll replicate that in 2022, but it’s a possibility. And those pitching staffs he was thumping may have been “weak,” but they did okay against most of the rest of the Reds.

    • MuddyCleats

      Exactly; he shows NO interest or ability to hit the ball the other way which would help control Ks & contribute productive outs if not more hits. It’s an approach problem which needs reworked b4 stepping into the box. Luv the guy, but he seems unwilling to make an adjustment ?

  7. LDS

    Let’s not forget that Suarez was also better in Sep/Oct 2020 though not as good as this year. If I’m wagering, I’m betting NO. Hype his recovery and find a trading partner. Don’t bet 2022 on his recovery.

  8. Jim Delaney

    Hopefully Reds front office and ownership can be creative this off season to add needed pieces while also trading away assets that you have replacements for. I would pickup Barnhardt option but trade him. His player option salary is moveable and numerous teams have a catching need. I would also move Suarez his contract is moveable, his value is likely low but should still be able to move him. Reds have many options at 3b for next season. Moustaskas, Farmer, Lopez, Shrock and by end of season McLain could be ready… Barrero needs to be Reds SS from game one on next season. Reds need to go all in to get CF Buxton from Twins. They need another right handed bat and CF is a huge position if need..Buxton will be on last year if deal, he has rejected numerous attempts by Twins to sign him long term. Twins are facing a rebuild square in the face…

    • doofus

      Why not add Senzel to your 3B mix, if you are going after Buxton.

    • Chris Holbert

      McClain played a little at Dayton. We are talking about the Reds, I would bet and probably win , McClain will not see the Reds in 22.

    • Luke J

      When Buxton is healthy, he’s awesome. Unfortunately, he’s had one single season in 7 big league years where he’s even played 100 games. I don’t really want to spend what needs to be spent to get that type of risk. We already have a talented player who is hurt a lot. At least that won’t come with a big payday.

      • Jonathan Linn

        sort of like Eric Davis…such awesome talent that couldn’t stay health for an entire season. unfortunately, Larkin was the same way.

  9. Mark Moore

    Good stuff here, Doug. This is the kind of article that keeps the juices pumping in our off season.

    Geno – It did appear to me that he had altered his approach. The numbers do indicate a change. Carry it forward? We can’t bank on that. I think the combination of injury recovery and the notion that he would “hit 50 HR’s” put him on a bad trajectory. I’ll wait and see like everybody else. I’m pretty well banking on him being the starting 3B guy if we play in 2022.

    Robo Zone – Anyone who has read my comments knows I’m more of a fan than not. Jim Walker’s suggestion about the HP umpire being able to veto a completely blown call is a good idea. Plus there could be review of the veto actions as well. The bigger thing from where I sit is that the MLB Umpires seem to have near zero accountability to improve their calls. That’s a very heavy lift given their union. But something does need to change.

    MiLB Housing – I have friends who house A-league players every year. These guys are scrapping for what they can, so any improvement along those lines are good IMO.

  10. Rednat

    what i like about Suarez is his durability and flexibility to play different positions. if he can play short stop than I am certain he can play left field. he could be a nice internal option to have for a back for injury prone Jessie Winker. I really hope they keep him!

    • doofus

      LF?! I almost fell out of my chair. He cannot play SS, so how could he play LF (according to your logic)?

      • Jim Walker

        Might well be if Senzel wasn’t so much worse. I posted details here last week but don’t have them at my finger tips right now. As I recall Winker has never made it to 120 game appearances in a full regular season (2018/19/21) at MLB.

        2018- done for season on July 23
        2019-done for season on Aug 18
        2021- done for season on Aug 15 except for a 1 game cameo on Sept 17 after which he left with the same injury he had in August.

        A major difference between Winker and Senzel is that Winker has been very good offensively when he has been on the field (career OPS+ 128 vs 78 for Senzel)

      • Ted Koopmann

        Yes, Winker is injury prone. He just gave an interview and talked about that very thing. However, Suarez in left is not a good idea imo

  11. bug

    >>>Did Eugenio Suárez figure it out?

    Imho the answer is no. He does not make bat contact enough. Simple as that. When he first was with the Reds he was my favorite hitter,..always making contact and usually hitting the ball hard. Then he started being a HR hitter with the long swing. That’s when it all went south. He needs to cut down on his swing,..relearn to make contact,..and then go from there. Try a little butcherboy if he has to, and then increase his weing from there.

    • greenmtred

      What you’re describing is what he did in Sept. and Oct. No knowing at this point whether this signals a change going forward, but he was the best hitter on the team during the last part of the season, and a month and change is not a tiny sample size.

    • David

      Everybody have fun tonight
      Everybody weing chung tonight.


      • Randy in Chatt

        🙂 🙂 🙂
        Now that tune will be in my head all night tonight.

  12. LeRoy

    The automated strike zone’s biggest problem to me is the way the box is positioned up and down. I think they should have the batter stand straight up when he steps in the box and the automated zone should be determined from the bottom of the knees to under the arm pits regardless of the batter’s stance. This would probably be a plus for the pitcher but at least it would be consistent for everybody.

    From watching Suarez in the last 5 weeks or so. I believe his swing was smoother and he didn’t swing at as many unhittable pitches. I’m a Suarez fan and am a little biased, but I think he will hit much better with a little more power next year. I always believed his shoulder was the main problem causing him trying to compensate with his swing. I wish him good luck next year for his sake and for the Reds.

    • Doc

      I agree that the strike zone should be fixed to batter’s height, not to how he crouches. I, too, would go bottom of knees since the distance from ground to bottom of knees is hard to change. I like the bottom of the arm pit as that is essentially at the letters. Imagine that, having a strike zone that is the same as it was in the 50s and 60s when I was taking in games at Crosley Field.

      I would think that for a given height, that box would not change enough to be a difference. Measure every player with an ultrasound measuring device, assign the strike zone based on height, and go with it.

      Would Greg Maddux have been Greg Maddux if balls thrown 6” outside were actually called balls? Umpires have been inappropriately affecting the games, and the outcomes, for decades, if not for a century.

      • Mark Moore

        Inappropriately impacting games … exactly! And tech can easily handle the up/down standards like you propose or with a sensor in the uniforms. This really isn’t extraordinarily complicated.

        As I stated earlier, my biggest beef by far is the utter lack of accountability. That just pervades the mediocrity we see game after game.

      • Jim Walker

        The Maddux pitches were probably only 2-3 inches outside at the front corner of the plate, At least at the start of the game 😉

  13. Dave

    The reds at the begining of the year tried to make him the shortstop which messed him up at the plate If he would have played all the games at the end of a he year against lefties and rightie they would have been in the playoffs Check out his rbi totals for a he amount of playing time

  14. Old-school

    Who knows on Suarez.
    We do know he has little trade value and sometimes players have awful seasons. I dont think the Reds have any choice but to pencil him in at 3b in 2022 and hope he channels 2019 and September 2021

    Ive not seen this yet but our old friend Adam Duvall- good OF and power righty bat in GABp has had himself quite a 2021. He has a $7 million mutual option with the braves. He will reject that. With Castellanos leaving, bring back FA Adam Duvall as a power righty bat and good Of on a 2 year deal. Duvall was a trendsetter- power and K’s and low Obp

    But good defense.

    Winker Senzel Duvall Naquin is a credible OF if healthy and budget friendly.

    • Alan Horn

      Agree with everything you said. I mentioned Duvall as an option a while back. Right hand bat. Power hitter. Kind of like Suarez with the low average but maybe in the Red’s budget. The Braves are going to have a lot of outfielders next season if they sign Rosario. Duvall played at Louisville in college, so Cincinnati is close to home.

    • Jim Walker

      Duvall is also ready made as a 1B option against LH pitching. IMO, the Reds need to add at least 2 credible RH bats, presuming Castellanos is gone. They need one in the OF or DH as an everyday guy and another against most LH pitching to fill at 1B, OF or DH. Pick your poison but at least one (if not both) of Naquin or Winker (presumably DH in the Senzel/ Duvall/ Naquin scheme) needs to sit versus LH pitching.

      • Alan Horn

        I agree. It would be great if Castellanos does return. I will keep my hopes up until we know for sure he won’t be back. They have to prepare for both scenarios.

    • greenmtred

      I like Duvall a lot. The low OBP is an issue, but maybe the power and defense mitigate it? India, Votto, Winker and Stephenson are good at getting on base, so the question is whether that’s enough to justify another player who isn’t. Of course, the other question is who could they plausibly get who would be better than Duvall? Aside from Castellanos. Also, Duvall was a third baseman earlier in his career. Can’t have too many of those.

      • Alan Horn

        I like Garcia on the Brewers. I really like Chris Taylor on the Dodgers, but he will likely resign with LA or be too costly for the Reds. Taylor would fit right into CF for the Reds and could play most other positions.

    • Old Big Ed

      No on Duvall for me. He is 33 and slow, with a low OBP. The Reds already have plenty of old guys and slow guys: Votto, Moustakas, Winker, Suarez, Farmer. Even Naquin is slow for a centerfielder, and Stephenson is a catcher. They need more than two guys on the team who can outrun Clarence Thomas.

      The Reds’ biggest offensive needs are youth and speed, particularly in the outfield. A little situational hitting ability wouldn’t hurt, either.

      • indyDoug

        Nice reference to an aging Supreme Court Justice! Props!

      • Redsvol

        Ha! Clarence Thomas. That made me laugh out loud…….until I realized there were three guys in the starting 9 that probably can’t outrun him.

  15. 2020ball

    My biggest concern for robo-umps was always whether they can not make mistakes, because everyone will go nuts if they actually do have errors, something that was always going to happen anyway. I think they can be more accurrate than human umps and thats all they need to do anyway, but maybe theres a hybrid way they can do it where the ump gets the robo call and if its down the middle then they just call a strike regardless of what the robo zone says.

    Either way, I support robo-umps since I haven’t seen much to like from human umps, especially lately. I was expecting some kinks that needed to be worked out.

  16. TR

    I would prefer that Senzel be given a real opportunity at third base, but I’m sure Eugenio Suarez will be the regular third baseman next season because he seems to be a favorite of the manager.

    • greenmtred

      Wouldn’t it make sense to see whether Suarez continues hitting before we kick him off third? Of course he gets consideration from the manager: He has an excellent track record and he should. Remember that he did get benched.

    • Redsvol

      One reason he’s a favorite might be that he can play every day. I don’t know, if I was an mlb manager I’d probably like a guy for that versus someone that missed 3/4 of every season.

  17. RedFuture

    It seems to me that the 2nd system that shows how aggregious those few obvious robo-calls were could be used to overrule the strikes based on a confidence score. Regardless, it needs more testing time in additional minor leagues. As far as Suarez goes, it could be that the shoulder of his pre-surgery swing forced him to go to right field more often. It seemed to me that throughout his career he regularly had a stretch of going to right that got him going again. This year he didn’t start going to right until very late. Additionally the shift for RH hitters really began to be more often and more exaggerated in 2020 and 2021. That may have led Geno to believe he had to swing harder and with more loft, leading to his issues. At any rate, I like what he was purposely doing late and hope he remembers that next year. The hitting coaches should not let him return to pulling off the ball constantly. Speaking of the shift, that defense must be made illegal and the main reason is that it would lead to a more entertaining game. All other sports have illegal defenses, so should baseball. When it comes to Moustakas, I hope his injury woes will be over next year however plantar fasciitis plagued Pujols many years. Reds need to keep him if the DH is approved. Its amazing how quiet the support for Senzel had dwindled away. Does anyone know anything about his current and/or expected status. As much as I like Castellanos the Reds have to let him go after making sure they qualify for the compensatory draft choice. We have to put our trust in Senzel one more year and if he injures again we still have lefties Schrock/Friedl who could platoon with Farmer/Aquino. This assumes Winker/Naquin return to form. Bullpen???? another day.

    • greenmtred

      I’m not fond of the shift either, but mightn’t it be hard to regulate? When is a shortstop shifting illegally versus playing a left-handed batter to pull?

      • Alan Horn

        I would like to see more hitters learn to beat the shift. Bunting and backing off the plate as much as possible wile the pitcher is in his windup would both work. Of course, the hitters would need to learn to swing late and hit the ball the other way. Execution of the above and the shift would be a thing of the past. Two things I see across the major leagues.
        In general, no one can bunt or throw out the base stealer. Catchers get to the ML throwing a sidearm fading throw to 2B which takes longer to get there and usually fades off target. You would think they would be taught to make a short arm overhand throw by the ear with a backspin that sails or carries. Tucker sidearms it as well as the Dodgers catcher. The Braves catcher also.

  18. Roger Garrett

    Eugenio if on the team in 2022 will start at third.Bell was brought back because he was in lock step with the front office.Only way Eugenio and others don’t start such as Tuck and Farmer is if they aren’t on the team.Look for more of the same next year and it has nothing to do with performance its just the way it is.Reds have a history of just settling and for a long time they had no better players and had to settle but thats not the case now.

  19. AllTheHype

    I think there is literally 0 chance Suarez is traded. His contract is under water and the last thing the FO wants is to trade him, kick in money, and have the late season version of Suarez be the norm again. Talk about egg on face and potentially trading someone at bottom value. Not happening.

    Moose would be traded only in a bad contract swap -AND- if NL does not go with DH. Reds will surely wait out that CBA DH decision before entertaining anything related to Moose. Even then, if no DH, I don’t see a trade happening. Moose provides injury/underperformance insurance plus LHB at 1B, 2B, 3B and still has a strong likelihood of overperforming his 2021. What other bad contract is going to provide that sort of value and potential improvement?

    The way I see it, the Reds just need both Nicks, one to resign and the other to be healthy and good.

    • Jim

      Seems like you all are saying, we should trade one or two of our slow and aging high salaried middle of the lineup players, but because of their high priced contracts, and no trade options the next two years, we can not!! Not a good position to be in if we are looking to add good youth and speed. Can’t see how we can make the post season with the same slow middle of the lineup high priced players using up so much of the money allotted! I am disappointed with our contract negotiations, throughout the past years. Especially Moose & Votto.

      • Alan Horn

        I especially agree with your last sentence. Who knows at this point what will happen. The ball is in the Red’s court in a big way. It remains to be seen what moves they make(if any tangible ones).

    • AllTheHype

      Reds have gotten tremendous value from the Votto contract. 2021 was just a bonus, as is any future production they get in the remainder of the contract.

      • Jim

        I was it referring to the next two years 50m . Just think what we could do with 50m to build a new young team.
        Sure he was well worth his pre 2019 years.

    • Redsvol

      I actually think Suarez is a trade able contract. I just don’t believe the reds want to trade him because they think he will return to form and then it becomes a very good contract. But if I were them I would trade him just as a salary dump. Moose’s contract is untradeable and the two of them are interchangeable except handedness. Saves 11$million

      Then we must trade one of the starting pitchers- either Castillo or gray – to free salary and create room for Greene, santillan, San Martin, lodollo, Gutierrez and Ashcraft. Time to see what we have in them. You’d still have 3 veterans to lead the starting pitchers and maybe bring in 1-2 veteran innings eater type pitcher as plan C. Saves 10-12$ million.

      Bring in 1 good right handed outfielder. To replace nick. I think the market will be in our favor this year for outfielders. Costs 10-12$million.

      And obviously the bullpen must be addressed. 2 veterans with at least 1 left handed and 1 with closing experience. Must be done. Costs $8-10 million.

  20. TR

    I’m sure Eugenio Suarez will be back at third base next season. By the All Star break we’ll know if he’s figured it out.