This is likely going to make a few of you mad, but the National League has adopted the designated hitter. The position itself has evolved over time in how it’s been used by teams. At one time there was essentially one guy who was the designated hitter for a team, but more recently teams have gotten away from that. Teams began doing more mixing and matching based on the pitcher on the mound – perhaps as a result of how bullpens and starting pitchers are used these days compared to when starters were relied on far more.

While the National League has had some experience with the designated hitter since interleague play began, and then in 2020 when it was implemented for the 60-game season, a full year is going to be a bit different. For the Cincinnati Reds it may be a blessing in disguise, so to speak. A month ago we wrote about who makes the most sense as a designated hitter for the Reds.

At the time we leaned on the idea that Mike Moustakas was the candidate to get most of the designated hitter time. He is sort of the odd man out with all of the positions he plays – second base, third base, and first base – all being played by others. While we still think he’ll likely get more time at designated hitter than anyone else will, the Reds don’t plan on having just one guy as the designated hitter day in and day out.

“We’ll use it to our advantage,” said Reds manager David Bell. “We don’t have any players that I consider DH. We don’t have any players that I want to be a full time DH either. That’s just not how they’re wired. At the same time I do think given the makeup of our team we can use it to our advantage. It might be more rotational in terms of who is DH’ing. I think we can do it in a way that keeps guys fresh, keeps guys on the field, gets another bat in the lineup we otherwise wouldn’t have. Actually it really serves our team well. For our team I really like it.”

Mike Moustakas has played several positions in the last few years. He’s spent time at third base. And he’s seen action at second base. There’s even been a little bit of action over at first base. As noted above, all of those spots are taken currently. But with the designated hitter role there every day, it could allow him to slide into one of those spots once a week and have the regular starter slide into the designated hitter role to get a little rest but also keep their bat in the lineup.

“That’s one of the benefits of having the DH,” Bell said. “I haven’t talked to Mike yet, I haven’t seen him (as of early Sunday afternoon). I know he’s not going to want to be a full time DH. And we will not have to approach it that way – he may get some time there, but given that he’s played multiple positions it’s going to work itself out.”

Tyler Stephenson also mentioned that he was looking forward to more playing time this year, mentioning the designated hitter role as a way that could allow him to get some additional playing time. Almost no one catches 140+ games a year anymore, even if they are generally considered healthy for the full year by catcher standards. While the backup catcher has yet to be determined for 2022, whoever it is will get a few starts each week to give Stephenson some time off when he needs it. But with a good hitter in Stephenson the team does have the option to put him in there as a designated hitter some days while also giving his body a bit of a rest from the rigors of catching.

Update:

Less than 2 hours after this article was published the Reds traded both Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suárez to the Seattle Mariners and negated a lot of this information.

72 Responses

  1. Alan Horn

    Exactly what with? Right now they can’t even field a solid starting OF much less have enough capable talent left over for a DH. Moose is over the hill and Senzel is a injury waiting to soon happen. They might put Suarez at DH and play Farmer at 3B. That would work until there is an injury and they have no bench players other than Schrock. I think Lopez could help but it doesn’t appear the Reds do. He is still unproven long term at the ML level. More moves have to happen for the Reds to even consider contending.

    • LDS

      Awfully optimistic. Do you believe the Reds have any intention of contending?

      • Alan Horn

        Reds just gave Winker and Suarez away to the Mariners. I am done as a Reds fan after 65 years. I will follow the Braves from this point on. Total incompetence by the Reds ownership/management.

      • Colorado Red

        But what they getting in return.
        Have you heard yet.
        So far, on mlbtrade rumors, not much on what they got.

      • LDS

        Dumping Suarez was probably ok. He’s unlikely to regain his game in Cincinnati. Winker? On the same day Bell is touting him in the outfield? Shows a lot about Bell’s duplicity. The real question at this point is which team loses more games: Oakland, Cincinnati, or Pittsburgh?

  2. LDS

    Not a fan of the DH as I’ve said before. But if one good thing does come out of it, it may cut down on Bell’s inane double-switches.

    • SultanofSwaff

      +1. Fewer double switches AND it might lessen his predisposition to start veterans over more talented younger players. The DH could make the defensive 8 stronger while still allowing Bell to play favorites. So yeah, I agree with the manager but for entirely different reasons.

  3. docproc

    Moose should DH against all but lefties. Against lefties he should ride pine. He is an old, overweight, and slow infielder who should never be on the diamond.

  4. RedsFan11

    If Votto wants any chance at a ring he needs to go to Bob and ask for a trade. He needs to be willing to restructure his deal, even perhaps take a pay cut. See if Toronto can work something out. Why Not?

    -Has multiple generational wealth
    -Will always be loved in Cincy no matter what
    -Has always talked about wanting to play for his home team
    -They actually have a good team with young talent

    • Mark Moore

      I wouldn’t begrudge him that shot at this point in his career.

  5. Tom Mitsoff

    Jesse Winker traded to Seattle, Jeff Passan reports.

  6. TR#1

    Adios Jesse Winker. We better get some good prospects back as his salary isn’t prohibitive. Well wait our owner is poor. Noooooooooo!!!!

  7. Hanawi

    Winker and Suarez? Wow. Complete tear down in place.

  8. Tom Mitsoff

    Reds receive Justin Dunn, Brandon Williamson and Jake Fraley for Winker AND Suarez.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      I have no idea who any of those guys are.

      • docproc

        Middle reliever, LH pitching prospect, garbage outfielder.
        This is an absolute fire sale–everything must go.

  9. Tom Mitsoff

    Dunn is a righthanded starter with 25 career starts and a ERA under 4.

  10. Tom Mitsoff

    Williamson is a righthanded starter who reached Class AA last year.

  11. burtgummer01

    100 losses
    Hopefully the fans stay away starting opening day

  12. Tom Mitsoff

    Fraley is a lefthanded batting outfielder with a .210 career average in 280 plate appearances.

  13. Mark Moore

    So in order to take on Geno’s contract, they required Winker. Happy Geno gets the change of scenery, but not so much with losing Da’ Wink.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      But what’s wrong with Geno’s contract? It’s very team-friendly.

      • Hanawi

        And Geno is also very popular. If they were dumping Moustakas, I could almost see this. Almost. Winker is too good to include in a salary dump, especially if the DH is coming.

      • Old Big Ed

        It’s very team friendly, except for Geno’s production.

      • Mark Moore

        What Ed said … it’s about his production as I see it. They probably tried to move Moose, but Seattle wouldn’t bite on that.

  14. Tom Mitsoff

    This team is going full Tampa Bay Rays — young players or bust.

    • Old Big Ed

      Correct. They finally have the development system to do that … well, at least try to do it.

      Winker will be 30 in 2024, when he is a free agent. The Rays would never resign him for his ages 31-34 years at 8 figures per year, and neither should/would the Reds. It’s a hard-knuckled way to run a team, but it is effective if done properly.

  15. Wayne Nabors

    51 years as a reds fan and this just may be it,can’t take no more

  16. JB

    Castillo and Mahle please report to the office. Please bring your jerseys.

    • KG

      Hahaha. I have to laugh to keep from crying.

    • Michael E

      Yeah, they’ll package them with Akiyama and Moose (dumps) and get back the normal underwhelming “prospect” package.

      Sigh.

  17. Old Big Ed

    Williamson is the key to the deal. He had 153 Ks in 98.1 IP at A+/AA last year.

    He is a lefty, at 6’6″.

    Dunn is not impossible, but he walks too many guys. Gotta hope that Derek Johnson can calm him down. He’s 6’2″, 185.

    • KG

      Speaking of keys. The Reds need to make sure the fan in attendance this year gets one, so he can turn out the lets on his way out.

      • Michael E

        he/she will also need to open up GABP gates, since they obviously can’t afford to pay any ticket agents, security or ticket takers.

        The concession stand will be Totino’s frozen pizza’s and rebuilt microwaves from circa 1980. BYOBeverage and charge you $5 per can/bottle. Don’t worry, no one there to take the money, so you wont have to pay it.

  18. Indyred

    Wow, just wow. If you’re aligning payroll with revenue then you can afford no one? Talk about killing your revenue because who is going to want to go watch this team? You can say You’re building for 2024 but we’ve heard your building toward this year over and over. Sell the team.

  19. KG

    ….turn out the lights and lock the door on his way out.

    I’m too mad to type.

  20. Daytonnati

    Sheesh … poor Joey, destined to finish out his career on a bottom-feeder.

    • TR

      True, but he’s done well financially.

  21. SultanofSwaff

    Decent return at first blush when you consider how much salary Seattle is eating here. Williamson will pair with Lodolo to give us 2 quality lefty starters…..hopefully by mid-season. Dunn walks his share but he’s stingy with the HR ball…..looks like we have our 5th starter. Fraley is a warm body vs. RHP, a frozen cadaver vs. LHP.

    Looks like the 2022 season will be all about run prevention….assuming Mahle and Castillo hang around. This model could work (see Brewers) but you’ll be leaning heavily on Barrero, Stephenson, India, and Senzel to overperform.

    • SultanofSwaff

      Still, however astute these individual trades may be, they’re meaningless unless the owner extends the homegrown talent and accepts that payrolls north of $120million are the cost of doing business. He won’t however, which is why the team needs to be sold.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Respectfully, I don’t understand the reference to how much salary Seattle is eating. Seattle is getting two major-league caliber players, higher-end at their peak moments, for prospects.

      • Michael E

        Suarez hasn’t been MLB caliber for two plus years now Tom. He did have a shoulder injury and could positively regress back to league average, but it’s doubtful at this point.

    • RedsGal

      You also have Hunter Green to make the starting rotation. Need to keep Farmer’s bat in there, the Punisher needs to hold himself up to that name. And the last time the Reds started the season away they went wire to wire. So I’m disappointed sure, but the only one I’m writing off is stingy OLD BOB. He either need to sell the team to someone with money or get some new partners that want to win!

  22. wizeman

    Cognitive decline in the corner office

  23. gusnwally

    Hard to accept the fact that a team would give away, not trade, give away a player of Winkers statue. He hit 305 with 24 HR’s and made 3, yes 3 not 10 not 20 not 25 million dollars. He made 3 million dollars and that was too much. I like Alan Horn have been watching close to 70 years. But, I find it hard to believe I will have any interest in watching this year.

    • Indyred

      I’ll watch for Votto highlights, other than that my viewership will be 0

    • Old Big Ed

      Winker will be closer to $7 million this year, and even more next year. They weren’t dumping Winker’s salary; they were dumping Suarez’s contract.

      Williamson is a legitimate prospect, with 153 strikeouts in 98.1 IP last year, so they didn’t completely give Winker away.

      • citizen54

        Fangraphs has him as a 50FV. I like the trade. Reds were able to dump some salary and pick up some prospects. Winker is a good player but he would have been wasted sticking with the Reds who are clearly rebuilding. Castillo is probably next on the block.

    • Daytonnati

      They don’t want to pay the salary for a comparable player. Pure and simple.

    • TR

      I just renewed my MLB subscription. Why not, having been a baseball and Reds fan for over 80 years. Regardless of how they do, I’ll watch (with the mute on since i don’t need broadcasters telling me about the game) at least the first couple innings and the last few innings if it’s a good game. Then, there’s other things, like a good book, to send time on.

  24. Bryant

    Such a betrayal by ownership! I have never seen anything like this. I have followed the Reds since 1956.

  25. SultanofSwaff

    So much for the logjam at DH. 3B is all Moose now. I’d expect FarmDog to be the utility IF.

  26. Tom Mitsoff

    Guys, this is the Tampa Bay model — produce prospects from the farm system who produce in the bigs for three or four years, then move them on for more prospects.

    • Amarillo

      Except the guys we are getting back aren’t notable prospects.

    • LDS

      Except there’s no evidence that the Reds prospects can pull that off. Certainly, the Reds FO, player development, and on field management trails TB by a wide margin. Castillo and Mahle are likely gone before the season starts. So now the OF is Shogo, Senzel, and AA? With Schrock, Friedl, and Fraley to fill in. If I were Votto, I think I’d just retire. About the best that can be said for this week in Reds baseball is that it’s driving traffic to this website. Congrats for that Doug.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        I’m not saying that there is any evidence the Reds prospects can pull that off. I’m saying this can be the only strategy that makes sense based on what we’re watching unfold.

    • Michael E

      If Castellini ponies up for a better trade negotiatior, then it could work. Right now, even with the obvious salary dump attached, we’re still getting hosed.

      I don’t completely hate this trade. Suarez needed to be sent to AAA for the year so he wouldn’t take up any AB’s on the Reds, this trade accomplishes that. Winker is a very good hitter, but lacks speed and defense and may not age well given his periodic core/oblique injuries.

      At least one of the return players has significant upside, so this beats that Chapman trade right there. It could have been worse (we’ve already seen worse).

  27. citizen54

    Reds just traded WInker and Suarez to the Mariners. They should have treid to unload Moustakas instead of Suarez.

    • Michael E

      They probably did try Moose first, who knows, or tried to add both.

  28. SOQ

    I really feel for the young kids that grew attached to the 2021 team (I’m sure there were a few) The team was fun to watch, had a great camaraderie with each other and were great with the fans. I have been a fan since I moved to Ohio in 1962. My basement is a tribute to the Reds teams of the 40, 50’s 60’s and 70’s (with a couple of Bobblehead nods to the Wire to Wire ’90 team) I just don’t get it. If you can’t afford to compete in today’s MLB, then sell the team — please

    • SOQ

      Had to proofread a couple of times to make sure I removed any “tootblands” 🙁

  29. Kevin Patrick

    I have to look more at the return of this trade, but I am not as outraged as many commenters here. Moving Suarez opens an infield spot and potentially makes it easier to commit to Barrero in the infield. Winker’s back is an ongoing concern. If you can’t bring back Castellanos, the offensive questions were going to be huge anyway. Do I have faith the Reds will compete this year? Very little… but there were already a tremendous amount of questions that need answered before adding the final pieces for a playoff team. Losing Gray is tough…but if his injury history continues, I can’t begrudge the Reds on that decision either. There are a ton of young guys on the pitching side of things that will need opportunity to display what they can at the majors. I honestly can’t wait to see the fifty thousand different positional and batting lineups this spring. Lower expectations…still plenty of fun.

    • Michael E

      I am not outraged or excited. I think given the Suarez dump (he’s sub average, below replacement level player), the return isn’t all that bad. Fraley looks better to me than he performed in MLB. His minor and college stats say quality high floor OF with limited upside. Has some speed and patience at the plate.

      If Bell can stick to playing some of these young guys 5 or 6 games a week, they might just reach some expectations. Yanking a guy after just two 0-4 nights is what really disappoints me. Let em run free…if they go 1-40, keep playing em. Give them a day off each week, fine, but make it clear they’re the starter and stop worrying about at bat to at bat and game to game and just focus on the bigger picture, improving and growing.

  30. LeRoy

    Suarez looked well the last month of last season and hit a lot of home runs. If he finally gets his swing and timing corrected even with his salary, he would make it a good trade for the Mariners. Throw in Winker and this could be a tremendous trade for the Mariners. Good fortunes to Winker and Suarez.

    • Michael E

      We all agree with that. It might have been a sign Suarez shoulder was finally fully healed up? Then again, it might have been a pressure off kind of resurgence. Who knows.

      I would not be shocked to see Suarez playing at league average or better, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see him regress even more either (hard to get worse than 80 OPS+)

  31. Oldtimer

    I believe the 2022 Reds may be a record setting team.

    The 101 L by the 1982 Reds is in jeopardy of being surpassed.

    It took eight years to rebuild back then. It may take longer now.

    • Michael E

      I don’t see them approaching that, unless Bell decides to play subpar vets over promising rookies, then we might. I see a new Prospect Promotion Incentive meaning a team gets an extra draft pick (assume end of first round) if they promote certain eligible prospects early (to try and reduce service time manipulations), so maybe we’ll see a couple make the team on opening day that would otherwise be sent down to AAA.

      Hey, maybe we’ll make the draft lottery, what is it now, top 6 teams? so we’ll lose that and draft 7th in 2023? I think it says first six picks assigned by lottery, no indication that teams can only fall so far back, so if that is the case, you could have worst record and draft 7th (highly unlikely, but its “Reds” possible).

      • Oldtimer

        You could be right. It depends on how many decent Reds major leaguers are left when the trading is all done.

        1982 Cincinnati Reds Statistics

        Record: 61-101-0, Finished 6th in NL_West (Schedule and Results)
        Managers: John McNamara (34-58) and Russ Nixon (27-43)

        General Manager: Dick Wagner

        Team Batting

        Rk Pos Name Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB

        1 C Alex Trevino 24 120 401 355 24 89 10 3 1 33 3 1 34 34 .251 .318 .304 .622 74 108 16 3 5 4 11

        2 1B Dan Driessen* 30 149 606 516 64 139 25 1 17 57 11 6 82 62 .269 .368 .421 .789 119 217 8 2 0 6 8

        3 2B Ron Oester# 26 151 595 549 63 143 19 4 9 47 5 6 35 82 .260 .303 .359 .662 84 197 16 0 8 3 8

        4 SS Dave Concepcion 34 147 623 572 48 164 25 4 5 53 13 6 45 61 .287 .337 .371 .707 97 212 20 0 2 4 4

        5 3B Johnny Bench 34 119 439 399 44 103 16 0 13 38 1 2 37 58 .258 .320 .396 .716 98 158 14 0 1 2 2

        6 LF Eddie Milner* 27 113 452 407 61 109 23 5 4 31 18 12 41 40 .268 .338 .378 .716 99 154 7 2 2 0 1

        7 CF Cesar Cedeno 31 138 543 492 52 142 35 1 8 57 16 11 41 41 .289 .346 .413 .758 110 203 15 4 2 4 2

        8 RF Paul Householder# 23 138 456 417 40 88 11 5 9 34 17 11 30 77 .211 .265 .326 .592 64 136 6 2 3 3 5

        Team Pitching

        Rk Pos Name Age W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF ERA+ FIP WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W

        1 SP Mario Soto 25 14 13 .519 2.79 35 34 1 13 2 0 257.2 202 88 80 19 71 3 274 4 1 6 1033 132 2.42 1.060 7.1 0.7 2.5 9.6 3.86

        2 SP Bruce Berenyi 27 9 18 .333 3.36 34 34 0 4 1 0 222.1 208 90 83 8 96 5 157 2 3 16 938 110 3.09 1.367 8.4 0.3 3.9 6.4 1.64

        3 SP Frank Pastore 24 8 13 .381 3.97 31 29 0 3 2 0 188.1 210 86 83 13 57 8 94 4 0 4 812 93 3.59 1.418 10.0 0.6 2.7 4.5 1.65

        4 SP Tom Seaver 37 5 13 .278 5.50 21 21 0 0 0 0 111.1 136 75 68 14 44 4 62 3 0 3 501 67 4.50 1.617 11.0 1.1 3.6 5.0 1.41

        Rk Pos Name Age W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF ERA+ FIP WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W

        5 CL Tom Hume 29 2 6 .250 3.11 46 0 37 0 0 17 63.2 57 24 22 2 21 8 22 1 0 0 263 119 3.47 1.225 8.1 0.3 3.0 3.1 1.05

        6 RP Bob Shirley* 28 8 13 .381 3.60 41 20 6 1 0 0 152.2 138 74 61 17 73 13 89 3 1 1 647 103 4.49 1.382 8.1 1.0 4.3 5.2 1.22

        7 RP Charlie Leibrandt* 25 5 7 .417 5.10 36 11 10 0 0 2 107.2 130 68 61 4 48 9 34 2 1 6 484 72 3.96 1.653 10.9 0.3 4.0 2.8 0.71

        8 RP Jim Kern 33 3 5 .375 2.84 50 0 26 0 0 2 76.0 61 27 24 3 48 14 43 2 2 9 335 130 4.07 1.434 7.2 0.4 5.7 5.1 0.90

  32. Eddie

    Well Suarez and winker are trading to mariners or the marlins something like that. Glad Suarez gone but hate the rebuild why this owner Bob voted no as long with tigers and 2 other teams.