While in my Chevy truck today, I stumbled onto Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 on the radio which was replayed from March of 1972.

I always connect where I was at and what I was doing when I hear those shows and then, out of habit, think about the Cincinnati Reds that year.

March 1972 was Joe Morgan’s first spring training as a Red. Sparky Anderson was pushing his team hard after the disaster of 1971. A Sports Illustrated cover featured a grimacing Johnny Bench firing a ball to second base under the headline ‘Redemption for the Reds.’

And 1972 was just that. The Reds came within one game of a World Series championship.

One hour later I read an interview Reds General Manager Nick Krall had given. Along with $4.50 gasoline, that added to my depression and frustration. He never directly answered a single question. Asked about Nick Senzel playing centerfield, his one-word answer was “Yes.”

Well, that solves that issue — doesn’t it?

Oh, he talked about scouting and drafting athletic players and players that can run the bases and building from the bottom up and not having peaks and valleys but I never heard Bob Howsam talk like that. Or Wayne Krivsky or Murray Cook or even Jim Bowden, for that matter. Like David Bell, he talks a lot and says absolutely nothing.

And then later, I got a text from my brother that the Reds had traded Sonny Gray for …. for Chase Petty.

Nothing against Chase Petty, who is just 18 and pitched a total of 5 innings for the Twins last season in the minors and is their 7th ranked prospect. Yes, their 7th ranked prospect. Maybe I can watch him pitch for Dayton this season, if I’m lucky. Maybe he’s the second coming of Don Gullett rather than the second coming of Bruce Berenyi.

Sorry for the sarcasm but like many of you in The Nation, I’ve been beaten up by the Reds for the last several years. For you young guys that are Reds fans, you have my admiration. Many of you have never even seen a Reds championship team. That’s a sad fact. I salute you for sticking with the Reds.

I wasn’t surprised they are not trying to keep Nick Castellanos. I wasn’t surprised they traded Sonny Gray. I wasn’t surprised they jettisoned both Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suárez the very next day, although their return, I must say, wasn’t that impressive.

But hey, there’s a fourth player to be named coming from Seattle. Just wait for that one!

The Bengals aggressively addressed their offensive line this week in free agency and sent a big message to anyone that cared to notice. I’m sure Joe Burrow did. Their AFC North division rivals probably noticed, too. I know that Bengals fans did. My phone blew up.

But for us Reds, well, it was just another sell off day.

MLB can brag about their contract settlement and the Reds front office can send out all the optimistic tweets they want and they can dish out their free bobbleheads and post game fireworks but this is going to be business as usual for the Reds ownership, with a DH to boot and bigger bases.

It’s another rebuild, plain and simple. And remember how well Walt Jocketty’s went.

I’m sick of it. I’m tired of it. We can’t catch a break.

57 Responses

  1. realist

    Is their a worse major league baseball team to be a fan of right now? My son is a Dodgers fan and that is the post season team that we follow, i want to buy tickets for when they come to town but I feel guilty doing it cause I am giving the reds money.

    • Allan Chandler

      buy tickets on the secondary market and bring food into the game. Don’t spend money in Banana Bob’s house

  2. Bill J

    John, maybe Big BOB follows an old saying I heard years ago, “to be the smartest person, hire people dumber than you”.

  3. Gonzo Reds

    Glad the national media is starting to take notice of our plight. Adam Schein had an epic rant on radio this morning. Of course, lambasting the cheapskate owner probably does no good, I mean has it with the Pirates owner?

    • SultanofSwaff

      Yeah, the Reds deserve the scorn being heaped on them, but there are teams out there who try even less. I’d hate to be a fan of the Orioles, Marlins, Pirates, or Rockies. The players did themselves a disservice by not insisting on a payroll floor.

      • Gonzo Reds

        Yes but the Rockies just spent $182M on Kris Bryant…

  4. Gpod

    i remember when the Reds fired Dusty Baker because, supposedly, the team demanded to be better, “higher standards” ….that is what I told my kids who I had turned into reds (& bengal) fans, as I am….Now it’s another rebuild (fire sale) and a 100 loss season is not out of the question….Where are the “higher standards” that the reds are seeking…now my kids get to experience the same “crap” as I have had to put up with year after year. When they brought Bell back again, i should have known it was just the beginning of the end. Just change the name to the Cincinnati Rebuilders and be done.

  5. SultanofSwaff

    What depresses me about this whole thing is that we collectively know that when this new core is due for extensions that ownership will jettison them, cry poor, and we repeat the cycle AGAIN. I mean, if Castillo and Mahle, both quality healthy pitchers aren’t worthy of extensions, then what is the point of it all?!? This more than anything is why the ownership group should step aside and let a new owner, one who recognizes payrolls in the top 15, are the only way to win SUSTAINABLY.

    • AllTheHype

      Bailey was worthy of an extension, and his albatross contract almost by itself precipitated a rebuild. Now, Suarez, Moustakas, and Akiyama are doing the same. The answer is NOT to extend existing talent, watch them become bad contracts, and perpetuate the rebuild cycles. The answer is to cash in at peak value, and get an influx of next wave talent back.

      That is what the Reds are SMARTLY doing here, and what the Rays have done for over a decade.

      • SultanofSwaff

        Just spitballing here, but maybe if you work on more than a shoestring budget you can absorb a deal here and there that doesn’t pan out (while remembering the deals that paid off handsomely—Cueto, Phillips, Votto). Doug has done a deep dive on this issue previously—the gist is that the Reds could easily be a higher payroll team given the influx of new money from the tv deal and other revenue streams. I’m not falling for their ‘poor me’ act when the franchise valuation has quadrupled on their watch.

      • AllTheHype

        The Padres did precisely what you suggest. They have a market size in the bottom half of MLB, slightly bigger than Cincy, and a payroll last year that was second in MLB. Yet, they won 4 less games than the Reds last year, because they handed out extensions and FA contracts like candy Yet it got them nowhere. Now they are handcuffed trying to improve their roster, by their own design.

        It rarely, if ever, works out for a small market club to spend beyond their means and tie up resources that could be better used when the competitive window opens.

  6. Matt WI

    Sobering stat of the day (that may drive you to drink): According to Spotract.com, if you click on the Reds current 2022 salary obligations, the number 6ish contract by value is Ken Griffey Jr! Listed as something like $3.2 mil in deferred compensation at the bottom of the list. Take that salt and instead of rubbing it in the wound, add it to the rim of a margarita glass. Afraid it’s going to be dark for awhile.

  7. AMDG

    Bengals Up, Reds Down

    Really shows the huge, gaping difference between the CBA in the NFL and the CBA in MLB.

    “Small market” teams like the Chiefs, Bills, Bengals and Packers don’t need to go on salary purges every couple years.

    And “big market” teams like the Jets, Chargers, Giants , and Bears don’t get to corner the market on the top free agents annually.

  8. Jimbo44CN

    After thinking about this, maybe Castellini is setting things up to sell the team. I think that would be the best thing to happen with this franchise right now. Krall is a dunderhead and the penultimate Yes man. Who else would say that they were excited about a PTBNL. What else can you say?

  9. BZ

    I admit it, I was bummed when I saw the Reds traded Jesse Winker. I was sad to see Sonny Gray go. I was upset they let Wade Miley go for nothing. Outside of those three players, it was all smart moves. I know the thing right now is to scream to the skies that the Reds will finish somewhere around 40-122 but that is not the case. They have a good team and they could still easily win the Central if the young players step up. A lineup/rotation consisting of the below is not a horrible team and far from what the monstrosity the Reds have rolled out there recently.

    1. India 2B
    2. Senzel CF
    3. Votto 1B
    4. Stephenson C
    5. Moustakas DH
    6. Barrero SS
    7. Naquin RF
    8. Farmer 3B
    9. Lopez LF

    1. Castillo
    2. Mahle
    3. Gutierrez
    4. Dunn
    5. Greene/Lodolo/Santillan/Williamson/Ashcroft

    Do I wish the Reds still had Winker? Yes. Do I wish they brought in a solid FA bat to play LF or RF or 3B? Yes. Do I think the bullpen needs help? Absolutely! But let’s not pretend like this team couldn’t still do some damage if guys like Senzel, Moustakas, and Barrero play up to their potential. But that all depends on the young guys getting a chance to play everyday and that is a whole different story…

    • SOQ

      I appreciate your optimism. They’re still a little thin with veteran experience (and injuries could be a disaster) I’ve always felt that you need a good mix of veterans and young guys for a winning formula. I love Joey, but my eyes see him as someone who is reluctant to take on a leadership role. Maybe, if Moose gets healthy and produces, he can be that leader. I’ve read that he is a good clubhouse guy

    • Kevin H

      They no longer have 3 of their top rbi guys. No longer have a gold glove catcher. No longer have leaders Gray, and Winker. It doesn’t matter if they “can” be good or not. It is the cycle of this organization. Gray, Winker Suarez were all under control. They could of picked up Miley and Barnhart options. No reason this team had to be “tore down” it is greed plain and simple

      • MBS

        RBI are a combination of opportunity and ability. I wouldn’t use that to judge a player. Obviously NC, JW were 2 very good players, and we will not find that production with what we have.

        Winker and Suarez were my 2 favorite players, so I will definitely miss watching them. We need a right hand bat added to this team. Stephenson playing as an everyday guy will definitely help, but another bat is needed, and we don’t have it in our organization.

    • SultanofSwaff

      This team has talent, but needs OF help big time to overcome the loss of Winker and Castellanos. Unfortunately, there’s nothing in the upper minors, so they’d better spend some money or leverage their talent surplus in the lower minors. Still, you reasonably have:

      ~4.5 WAR players–Castillo, Mahle, India
      ~3 WAR players–Votto, TySteve, Santillan, Vlad Gutierrez
      ~2 WAR players with high upside–Barrero, Greene
      2 WAR players—Dunn, Sims, Naquin

      Comfortably league average for their supporting roles:
      Friedl, Schrock, Cessa, Hoffman (middle relief), Farmer,

      where things could go sideways and put up negative WAR:
      Moose, Fraley, Senzel, Shogo, Aquino, Garrett

    • Votto4life

      BZ, that line up we get you a very solid 66 or so wins.

      I mean we have a miserable owner, we can’t control that, but why come on this page and mimic Nick Krall?

    • Alan Horn

      That looks good at first glance. But Senzel has to stay healthy, likewise for Naquin and he has to repeat last season’s stats. I don’t think Moose is still able to produce much offense. I do like giving Barreo and Lopez a chance to start. If both of them produce, it could go a long way. Schrock could be a factor also. There are a lot more ifs. Votto has to stay healthy and produce. Stephenson has to avoid injury. You didn’t mention the BP which is a weakness right now. The bench is almost non existent with that lineup.

    • Alex

      Aside from the health concerns of that lineup and complete lack of proven outfielders, I’d bet both Castillo and Mahle would be gone than that they both stay. It’s a Fire!!!!….. Sale!!!!!!! Oh it’s burning!!!!!

  10. Melvin

    Maybe we can talk Michael Jordan into buying our team like Magic Johnson did the Dodgers….. Well, I can hope can’t I? 🙂 One thing is for SURE, he’d want to WIN. 🙂

    • Gaffer

      You may not know that Jordan is one of the worst (and also cheapest) NBA owners.

  11. LDS

    Senzel, Moose, and Naquin are all fragile and unlikely to play a full season. Farmer is a good utility man but shouldn’t be starting. There’s no credible backup catcher. The success of the rotation is largely predicated on the breakout of AA & AAA players. Might happen, likely won’t. Optimism on the Reds performance this year is more wishful thinking than objective. Those expecting fewer than 75 wins are probably more aligned with reality.

    • greenmtred

      They are fragile. Of course, so are Winker, Suarez and Gray. I think a lot of the angst about these trades is coming from people who, understandably, want the Reds to go for it this season. I don’t believe that they were in a position to do that: Adding 36 year-old Andrew McCutcheon wouldn’t have done it. The Reds’ one strength is an impressive group of young players–a group that these trades have augmented. Some will be impact players and some will not, but few here have been happy with respectable near-contention or worse, and a serious rebuild is the antidote. Why not wait and see?

      • Old-school

        I agree GMR.It would have taken a $150 mil+ payroll plus additions/adjustments along the way to fill gaps for injuries or underperformance to be in that 85-90 win target. I also think India didnt take off until he knew he was playing every day and leading off even if he went 0-4 and had a 4-24 road trip.

        Play the young guys and give them regular starts and at bats.

  12. Magnum 44

    Mike Brown is cheap but what I respect is he stays cheap but he picks his spots when there is a chance he spends. Bobby Bananas decided to make a push then Covid hit lost money got scared. He made the push put a Williams in charge we get Moustakas and Shogo you reap what you sow but we suffer why he trades away assets because of screw ups.

  13. LDS

    Wow, it’s after 5:00 EDT and Krall hasn’t given away anyone yet today. I guess that makes it a good day to be a Reds fan.

    • Votto4life

      I think the Reds front office has received enough bad press for one week.

      Mahle and Castillo aren’t making much money. I don’t suspect they will be dealt until the trading deadline. Unless a team steps forward and offers to assume Moose’s contract. Which could happen.

  14. Magnum 44

    That’s funny I sense sarcasm but the day isn’t over and Castillo or Mahle are still here

    • LDS

      Yep and if I remember correctly, Winker was traded shortly after Sheldon tweeted about he and Suarez arriving in camp. He tweeted about Castillo a little while ago.

      • MBS

        If the team has zero desire to lock either up, then i hope they do trade both of them. LC and TM will be gone in 2 years, it’s full rebuild mode, might as well get the best return you can for the assets you have. Let’s not let them turn into Cueto moves.

      • LDS

        If they were actually getting decent returns. My guess is they’ll package Moose with one and Shogo with the other and get a couple of medium prospects with potential. JV should just retire and walk away from this fiasco.

      • JB

        Might as well keep Shogo now since it’s his last year and they aren’t getting anything for him. Good year to play AA and see if he is any good , which I doubt. But since it’s Bell he will play guys that have no chance in being here in 2 years. Reds will pick up a couple of nobody’s off of the scrap heap and play them in the outfield. Not to mention they will pick up a catcher who can’t hit and play him 50 % of the time.

  15. Gaffer

    After being a die-hard Reds fan for almost 50 years, it’s finally enough. I know people say this a lot but I simply have been forced by MLB in general and this team in particular to not care anymore. It’s not just the fire sale being the final straw, it’s the fact that this game has been broken so long and is just not interesting anymore. Its no longer worth staying interested hoping a few mediocre 18-20 year prospects might be good 5-10 years from now knowing that they won’t be here anymore.
    When you know your team has next to no chance year in and year out it’s disappointing but it’s not even fun to watch ANY MLB game now. There is so many better ways to “pass the time” than 20 years ago, why watch disinterested players stand around for 3 hours. MLB now has frankly become boring (something I always defended when others said my whole life). The players and owners should be worried, very worried if someone like me no longer cares because it’s only gonna get worse from here. I know almost no one under 30 that even follows MLB.

    • SOQ

      I’ve been a Reds fan for going on 60 years and not sure I can stomach another rebuild. My sons (age 27 and 31) are huge soccer fans. I’ve attended a few FCC games and I can tell you, there’s no players standing around on the pitch. And every touch of the ball has the crowd roaring. Our local Futbol team has some growing to so, but their games are are very exciting to sit through. You might want to check them out sometime.

    • Indyred

      Exactly this, baseball in general is alienating the fans who have been here for many many years. There’s no one to replace them when their gone. The game is boring now, no action except a HR every now and then. To much else to stream to watch a perpetual rebuild, the younger fan has no memory of the 90 wire to wire team. They have nothing to build any attachment to the team

    • Oldtimer

      I’ve been a Reds fan since the 1950s and will be a Reds fan throughout the 2020s (and 2030s, I hope).

      The Reds almost moved to San Diego in the mid 1960s. I’m glad (and we’re lucky) they are still in Cincinnati.

      • Jim t

        Old timer like you I have been a fan since the late 50’s. Baseball to me is much more then then the current team on the field. It’s my Dad and I going to the games. It’s my friends attending many opening days sitting in the Sun Deck at Crosley Field. It’s planning my leave from my military commitment to see opening Day. Don’t like the state of the team but I will always be a Reds Fan.

    • Votto4life

      Gaffer, I feel you. I enjoy the history of the game, which I can still enjoy without following today’s game.

      Baseball was once a great game with such colorful characters. The players took the bus or subway to the park. They had jobs in the off season. They were like real people. Just like the people in the stands.

      I don’t begrudge the players their salaries. They should get paid. But someone like Max Scherzer has more in common with Jeff Bezos than he does with someone like me.

      I miss the hit and run, bunts and the stolen base. I like true double headers and triples!

      Today’s game makes even the home run seem boring. The game you and I grew up with is now gone. It has been gone for some time.

      I feel bad that the game we loved is no longer around. But at least we were able to once enjoy it. The kids today don’t even know what they are missing.

      • Droslovinia

        I hear you and mostly agree, but the gap between us and Scherzer is a bare fraction of the gap between Scherzer and Bezos. The owners have put a lot into their hopes that we can’t figure out the difference between a billion and a million, and that is part of the problem.

        Still, most of the good stuff in Baseball is gone, and changing the rules to make it easier to just flail away at the plate instead of learning how to hit doesn’t help. Given that gambling interests have bought out the sport, it’s all just one big outdoor casino anyway, and we’ve become the chumps losing money to prop it up.

    • Vada

      Gaffer, I am on your 6. Right on it. I’ve been a Reds fan for 51 years. What you said is how I feel. The decline started with Free Agency after players complained the owners were treating them like slaves. The Reds will NEVER attain the greatness of 75 and 76. NEVER ! I won’t be paying for MLB tv anymore either. I cut cable for an attic antenna. Baseball is now looking like a rearview mirror image in my life. Even the great memories of old are fading. Habits CAN be broken. I refuse to allow the GREEDY attitudes ruin my Golden Years. Younger fans can continue airing out their thoughts but EVENTUALLY they too will follow our lead out of this cyclical madness. As I always say, “everything happens for a reason.” I, for one, would hate to die today having spent my final hours on earth being concerned about this BUSINESS that used to be a FUN GAME to watch. Thanks Gaffer for your thoughts, now I don’t feel so alone. Eventually, the younger fans will get fed up as well and find that there IS life outside baseball.

  16. Bill J

    Baseball has gotten to the place it’s like a hockey player said about basketball, “I’d just as soon watch a man fish”

  17. LDS

    This headline could apply just as well to the Reds and the Cubs. They have certainly been aggressive this off season.

  18. JB

    Votto, Moose and Shogo are due 49 million this year. That’s 64 % of the payroll. Payroll is 76 million. If they somehow get somebody to take those 3 contracts they would have a payroll of 27 million. Bob would be smiling all the way to the bank.

  19. Mark Verticchio

    I think this team might surprise people. They are much more athletic than last years 83 win team. Plus, as I recall lasts years team had a lot of problems with batters 5 – 8. Not backing management but let’s see what these young kids can do. Remember last year at this time nobody was talking about India being Rookie of the year.

    • Old Big Ed

      I agree with you on the athleticism part. Winker was a great talent against RH pitching, but he is slow and not very good defensively. Suarez isn’t very twitchy, either, although they may actually lose athleticism at 3B, if they play Moustakas there.

      Putting Senzel at third, and finding some speed in CF, makes this team a lot faster and better defensively. And Barrero is much, much more explosive than Farmer is.

      That doesn’t make up for what figures a putrid outfield offensively this year, but when the younger bats like McLain, De La Cruz, Allen, Hinds and others become ready (maybe for McLain, anyway, as soon as late this year), the Reds will be long past its station-to-station days.

  20. Hanawi

    Reds trade Garrett to Royals for Mike Minor. Guess that’s the Miley replacement.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Trade of two lefthanders who had poor seasons, but the Reds add $8.5 million in salary??? How does that make any sense with what already has been happening?

      • Tom Mitsoff

        Me neither. Minor has a $1 million buyout next year of a $13M contract, so he won’t be around longer than this year.

        Still waiting for some addition of right-handed-hitting starting-caliber outfielders, backup catcher.

        Right now, it feels like the front office is throwing darts at baseball cards taped to the wall to determine who they are going to try to acquire.

      • Melvin

        Correct me if I’m wrong but they could have kept Miley for $10 million. smh

  21. Melvin

    I think they’re in banana land. At least they act like it.