When David Bell declared Kyle Farmer the starting shortstop before the season began, insisting that José Barrero was going to have to “force the issue” and take the job away from Farmer, everyone knew what this was about. Farmer’s reputation of being a clubhouse leader—Scott Rolen-lite, if you will—has been repeated in quote after quote, story after story.

“We’ve been forced a little bit to stay together, and Farm is a huge part of that,” Reds manager David Bell said. “Even when things aren’t going well for him, he finds a way to make it good for everyone else around him.” India said it simply: “He’s the heart and soul of this team.”

“He’s a big part of our team, and he makes us better in ways you can’t quantify,” manager David Bell said.

This is not the first time the organization has put its finger on the scale in favor of clubhouse bonhomie when deciding who plays and who sits. Every manager the Reds have hired the past few years has valued a tight knit clubhouse the way Ron Washington loved to [bleeping] bunt.

Which is why one has to wonder if Tommy Pham has outlived his usefulness in Cincinnati.

Just like you don’t have to be Carl Sagan to find the moon at night, you didn’t have to be Nostradamus to surmise that maybe Pham wasn’t going to be the best teammate.

“I’m playing to get some numbers, I don’t care about anything else,” Pham said. “I got to look out for me. At the end of the day baseball is going to move on without me. I got to get mine right now.”

How all occasions do inform against me
And spur my dull revenge.

Rightly to be great
Is not to stir without great argument,
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
When honor’s at the stake.

Athletes are famous for wearing the petty on their sleeves. They channel their inner Hamlet, searching their souls for so much as a morsel of perceived disrespect, the smallest scrap of disparagement in their opponent’s behavior to fuel the puffery of their ambitions.

“The Slap” was another childish playground confrontation that ballplayers are famous for, with a twist. It had nothing to do with events on the field. It wasn’t about bat flips and disrespect. It wasn’t about pitches thrown up-and-in or trotting around the bases in too much of a laggardly, unmannerly fashion. This was a fantasy football beef.

Good grief.

The end result? The Reds play without Pham for three games because the player can’t control himself emotionally over something that had nothing to do with his job between the white lines; then misses an additional game with “injury.”

Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer wrote an article titled “How intangibles helped the Cincinnati Reds turn a corner this season.” In it, Kyle Farmer was quoted:

“When you learn about a player off the field, you respect what he has been through,” Farmer said. “Then when he gets on the field, you know his tendencies, what he can and can’t do well, and maybe you can make up for that. You get to know people as a player, as a person, and figure out what their lifestyle is. You can find similarities. That grows team camaraderie.”

What did Farmer and the rest of his teammates just learn about Tommy Pham off the field? Are there others in the clubhouse that find similarities in their own lifestyles that would lend to a sense of camaraderie with the ex-Padre? And what must they think of his continued Twitter-buffoonery:

From the outside, it’s impossible to know how other players feel about this incident. Maybe a clubhouse can collectively slip easily into that tried and true “it’s us against the world” trope that athletes routinely fall back on to supercharge their already competitive natures.

But missing games and promoting distraction doesn’t feel like one of the building blocks to a productive season. With all the young players the Reds are bringing into their clubhouse, is this the example they want to set for their future? Everyone talks about the maturity of Hunter Greene. Pham’s is polar opposite.

Whatever one thinks of David Bell, you have to give him his due when it comes to how he’s managed to keep this clubhouse together throughout this tempest-tossed season of injuries, popular players sent off downriver on a barge, with hand-me-down replacements in their stead. In the infamous words of former manager Bryan Price, “How is that good for the Reds?”

Pham told the media “the hand is good” the other day. Cute. The hand he’s dealt the Reds now is not so good. And now they have to decide if Tommy Pham is a distraction they can continue to afford, if that 1.3 WAR and the occasional home run are worth the pursuit of his dull revenge tour.

The Reds not only need to talk to the hand, they need to tell the hand and the player attached to it to find another dugout to ply his tiresome trade.

71 Responses

  1. Bill J

    Great article Richard! Sometimes the manager or the coaches aren’t the ones to hold the team together, it can be one or two players that have the nature and ability to calm down a situation before it blows up. Maybe Farmer is that type of player, the Reds may need Farmer more than we realize.

    • Oldtimer

      We saw that in 1977 when Driessen replaced Perez at 1B. Their numbers were similar in 1977 but Perez was a leader of the BRM. His presence was sorely missed.

  2. RedBB

    I noticed in the extra inning game when they showed the bench when we took the lead Almora was going crazy and everyone was cheering…except for Tommy Pham. That being said I think he is doing what a lot of bal players are he’s just being honest about it.

  3. Jimbo44CN

    No, he is just all in it for himself. If not he would have never said or did what he did. Time for him to be traded, hopefully for a good prospect or two.

  4. Mark Moore

    I’m over Pham and the type of player who forgets it’s a kids’ game for which they are paid handsomely to play. Deal him for what you can get. We’ve got others more committed to the Reds available (or will very soon). Heck, even the Moose/Manatee is more of a team guy.

  5. LDS

    I think Pham should be #1 on the trade list and well before the trade deadline. And Kyle Farmer is no Tony Perez. He’s a gamer for sure and probably the hottest hitter on the team but he needs to return to his utility role or be traded.

    • Jimbo44CN

      And play who instead of Farmer? You are right, he’s no Tony(who was my favorite player back in those long gone days) but we really don’t have a proven shortstop right now. Barrero? Maybe, but who knows how he will turn out. Farmer needs to keep playing for a lot of reasons.

      • MBS

        I’m ok with trading anyone if the deal is right. Farmer on his own wouldn’t bring back much. If for example the Yankee’s wanted Farmer added onto a deal with Castillo, and we were able to get the Very Good prospects we wanted, I’d make the trade.

      • LDS

        Since the Reds aren’t going anywhere this year, I’d start Barrero and see if there’s anything there. To find that out, he needs to play daily not occasionally as in the Bell little league system. Keep one of Drury and Farmer for 3rd for the rest of the year, trading whoever returns the most.

      • Chris

        Barrero has not earned a chance to play in the MLB as a starter, even on this Reds team. At this rate, I expect Barrero will be dealt because De la Cruz is going to surpass him anyway. Barrero seems to be another swing and miss guy, and that’s not what we need.

      • Chris Holbert

        How do they know if Barrero is capable unless he gets the opportunity?

      • Chris

        That is the question for any young player. You have to create your opportunities, as in force the team’s hand. Barrero is NOT doing that.

    • Chris

      “hottest hitter on the team”, but in your opinion he should be a utility player. LOL. So you want to have you hottest hitter sit the bench? I wasn’t a big believer in Farmer, but he’s proven that he is a starting MLB SS. PERIOD!!!

      • Hanawi

        He is but he’s pretty average and his defense is declining.

      • LDS

        Yes, but he had a streak last year and again settled in at an aOPS+ of 86. This year likely will be the same.

  6. Daytonnati

    Farmer is one of those players who will make a great coach or manager. If the Reds are interested in creating a “way”, like the “Cardinals Way”, it might behoove them to keep Farmer in the system. He is 31 and, let’s face it, has maybe 3? 4? more productive years left. Bell is already holding him out for fatigue issues. Perhaps sign him to a team-friendly deal with the understanding that he has a place in the organization after his playing days. He could be a Craig Counsell, David Ross, Aaron Boone-type guy at some point.

    • Ghostrunner_onthird

      This is absolutely spot-on. I was sitting just to the right of the dugout at Chase Field for all three games. Virtually the whole team gravitates to Farmer . . . it’s been awhile since we’ve had a gamer that everyone looks up to. Even in pre-game warm-ups a lot of guys came and got a Farmer fist-bump. No trade please – keep and groom and install as the bench coach within 2/3 years.

      Great article Richard – always enjoy and learn from the prose.

    • MK

      So he gets a day off like everyone else does and he is out for fatigue issues? If you trade Pham then Barrero gets a shot in left. He has not outhit or out defended Farmer at short in his two opportunities at this point. He might in the Future but will have to do it rather than the so-called experts saying he will.

      • Chris Holbert

        How does he prove he can SS from LF?

  7. Indy Red Man

    Tommy Pham has a .919 ops in June. I like that he plays hard and with a little attitude. Is he a bad teammate? Idk? Ronald Acuna didn’t like Freddie Freeman. Pete and Johnny had their issues. I only care about production on the field. Somebody on RLN compared his mental issues to Bauer the other day which is misguided to say the least. As long as he produces on the field and stays out of trouble off of it then other factors/personal motivations don’t really matter imo.

    • MBS

      Pham’s veteran presence, and aggressive play is exactly what’s missing from the bullpen this year. I’m not looking for role models, I’m looking for winners.

    • Beaufort Red

      Only pros Pham ain’t Rose, Bench, Acuna or Freeman. I say when Naquin is back , the outfield should be Almora. Senzel and Naquin. Schrock, Friedl and Solano to back .

      • LDS

        Kind of a weak OF isn’t it? Pham, Schrock, and Almora have relatively comparable L/R hitting splits. Naquin and Senzel can’t hit LH’ers. Senzel isn’t really hitting anyone at the moment. Solano and Pham are both 34. I’d dump Pham, Solano, Senzel, and Naquin and bring up the guys from Louisville, like Dawson, Cedrola, etc. Doesn’t matter if the team wins, they aren’t going to post season play regardless. Let’s see what the young guys can do.

    • Joe P.

      Pham’s defense has been solid and his offense has been good on a Reds team that often struggles to score.

      Some of Pham’s stats (and his team ranking)

      Games = 55 (1st), Drury and Farmer have been in 54 games
      ABs = 200 (1st-tied with Drury)
      Runs = 37 (2nd), leader Drury with 41
      HRs = 8 (2nd), leader Drury with 13
      RBI = 25 (4th), leader Farmer with 37
      BB = 31 (1st), next best Votto 27
      K = 57 (1st most), next worst Drury with 49
      SB = 5 (1st-t), tied with Friedl
      Total Bases = 83 (2nd-tied with Farmer), leader Drury 104
      OBP = .346 (2nd), Stephenson leads .361
      SLG = .415 (5th), Drury leads .520
      OPS = .761 (5th), Drury leads .858

      If Pham is traded, somebody needs to step up to help replace those numbers.

  8. TR

    I’m not surprised that Pham might have said that he has to get his money now. Didn’t most of us in our gainfully employed years feel the same way? Good players who didn’t make the greatest teammates have always been around. I’m more interested in his field performance rather than his off-field personality. He plays hard and has filled a team need after the outfield was decimated with the loss of Winker and Castellanos. Pham will probably be needed by another team.

  9. JohnnyTV

    I enjoy your Hamlet reference.
    You certainly haven’t exhausted the Bard memes with Pham.

    More from the Kingdom of Denmark:
    “Suarez-encrantz and Winker-stern are traded!”
    Not going to dislodge Bell from his analytical brooding.

    “My kingdom for a closer!” perhaps is too easy.
    But Richard III’s page might have reminded him about “aligning with resources” on the battlefield.

    A fair number of Iagos regularly whispering around RLN.

  10. Oldtimer

    Off topic. 44 years ago TODAY. June 16, 1978.

    Tom Seaver pitched his one and only no-hitter in MLB, beating St Louis at Riverfront, 4-0. Friday night game. Riverfront was packed house.

    • Jim Walker

      It makes me feel too old that this happened 44 years ago because I was pushing 30 at the time it happened.

  11. Votto4life

    At 23-40 what is really the difference?

    Bell has kept the clubhouse together? How so? I mean they are not killing each other I suppose, but they are still going to end up with the worst record in the team’s 143 year old history.

    As for Pham and Farmer again who cares? They are going to lose 100 games with or without them.

    • Votto4life

      The 1970 Oakland A’s won three consecutive world championship while hating each other, So it really doesn’t matter to me if David Bell is keeping the clubhouse together or not. That is icing on the cake when you are winning, it means nothing when you are 17 games under .500 and in last place.

  12. earmbrister

    Farmer is a keeper.

    He doesn’t necessarily need to be the starter at SS in the future, but for now he’s the best option. Those that are calling for Barrero to start now at SS ignore that he’s trying to come back from a broken hamate AND that he’s struggling to hit even minor league pitching. Let Jose find his rhythm in the minors until he starts to show some progress.

    When, and if, he is ready let Barrero start everyday at SS. Farmer can be moved to 3B and Drury can takeover in LF. Trade Pham before the deadline because, like all problem children, he is an accident waiting to happen. There WILL BE future problems with Pham, his attitude and history tell us so.

  13. Hanawi

    Lots of calls for Pham to be traded but I’m not sure who is eager to trade for him. And this article highlights some of the reasons why. The Reds signed him late in the offseason so every other team had their chance and passed.

    • Votto4life

      The Tommy Pham signing is on Nick Krall. This strife isn’t new with Tommy Pham he has long had a reputation as a hothead. He signed an all-star and fan favorite in Winker only to turn around and sign this troublemaker for $8 million dollars.

      I am not sure why everyone is always willing to give Nick Krall a pass. He obviously went well beyond any salary cut mandates to sign Pham and Minor.

      • Votto4life

        * I meant Krall traded an all-star and fan favorite

      • earmbrister

        Yeah, I guess that the “Tommy Pham signing is on Nick Krall”.

        Was it a bad signing? Certainly there have been worse signings in baseball …

        He has an OPS+ of 103 in a small sample size of 234 PA. How many Reds are doing worse to this point? He has a career OPS+ of 118 and is a capable LFr.

        Such poorly run organizations as St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and San Diego have invested in Pham. Krall got a starting LFr for a relatively cheap $6MM. This was on the heels of the Suarez/Winker trade to the Mariners. Anybody looking to negate that trade? As much as I was upset about losing Winker, Jesse has an OPS+ of 89 in a slightly bigger sample size of 264 PAs. Will Winker turn it around? Maybe so. But will the Reds start to see some payoff on the THREE quality arms they got in return? Maybe more so. And with a significant payroll savings. Right now, without any of the prospects panning out, the Reds are on the winning side of that trade.

        It would seem that Krall figured on flipping Pham to a contender at the deadline. Betting on Pham keeping out of trouble for 3 or 4 months so that he could be traded for prospects/players is a solid bet. It’s a bet that other quality organizations have made on Pham.

        Yes, Pham is a hot head. Lou Pinella is a hot head, but both have managed to stay out of serious trouble (Pham to a lesser degree). Krall didn’t make a long term commitment to Pham, and lord knows that other GMs have committed to less stellar citizens for much longer terms with much worse results.

        Thanks Nick, for landing a flippable starting LFr for a mere $6MM.

      • Votto4life

        In a little over a month we will find out if Tommy Pham is “flipable” or a waste of 7.5 Million dollars.

      • Earmbrister

        Yes we will find out soon enough if he’s flippable. Even now, are you betting your ranch that he isn’t? In the meantime we have a slightly better than average LFr for a relatively cheap contract.

      • Votto4life

        I sure wouldn’t have bet $7.5 million dollars that he was flippable, especially since every other team but the Reds seems to have passed on him.

    • Mark Moore

      Are any of us somehow surprised?

    • JohnnyTV

      That article has a fairly sympathetic tone towards Pham amidst all the silliness.
      A lot of bravado on display that an $8M salary offers.
      The winner of his FFL was one of the key cheaters on the Astros…no remorse from that Sluggo.
      Three Reds missed three games because they wouldn’t get a vaccine to help contain the spread of a deadly disease.
      No choirboys.
      Pham sounds like a hard case, as well as a head case,but given his background that the article cites this may not be such a big deal.
      Two rich knuckleheads squabbling about their play date.
      Votto backs him up, and that’s enough to can this for me.
      Pham will be gone soon enough, and I can put up with him.
      Nick Krall will be around for some time and still has a lot of long term damage to do.

    • Old-school

      Great link VFL.
      But how do you come to the conclusion that Krall is to take responsibility for the Pham signing when the article says David bell went to bat for him back in their shared Cardinal days and said get him and Bob Castellini signed off on it.

      Enjoy your writing Richard, but this article with the angle on David bell’s prior relationship with Pham has to be included in the piece. I cant see how Pham is a Red were it not for David Bell. Bell also hired Turner Ward.

      After the season, Ward and Pham and 4 years of cumulative wins/losses and playoffs have to be entered into the calculus on David Bell’s 4 year managerial resume

      • Votto4life

        Oh believe I’m not absolving David Bell or Bob Castellini. There is blame enough to go around.

  14. Old-school

    I care about the Reds winning. Not this year anymore after 3-22 as that ship sailed. Arguing about whether Art Warren or Jeff Hoffman should have pitched is folly. Sorting….. Reds will lose 95 games this year+/- 4 games. The only reason to watch this team is to look for signs of hope and development of young players for a winning reset in 2023 and 2024.

    Is anyone going to be talking about Tommy Pham’s Reds career in 2024 except as the butt of joke? I dont care about Tommy Pham unless he gets a hot streak and brings back a good AA reliever. The Farmer clan is out in full force. Kyle is a great guy and plays hard. Is he part of winning in 2024? Heck no. I love Brandon Drury but he is journeyman utility player having a career year who is a FA in 4 months. SELL high!

    This is a weak year for trade deadline candidates and Castillo and Mahle and Drury are all over the national media lists as trade targets and all 3 are dominating at the right moment. See what things look like in a month. Big market teams with lots of money and prospects in first place competing against each other and no Manny Machado’s or Trae Turner’s or Max Scherzer’s available is good for Krall.

    It’s about winning in 2024.

    Tommy Pham and Ryan Ludwig… Ex cardinals who couldn’t get out of Cincinnati fast enough.

    • Votto4life

      Old School, I enjoy your posts and find myself agreeing with you a lot. You are absolutely right, we are arguing over players who shouldn’t matter in the long run. As long as Kyle Farmer is batting third and our starting shortstop we are probably no winning any pennants. As long as Tommy Pham is considered a big bat in the middle of our line up we are probably not winning any pennants.

      I like the way you think, I am just not convinced that is the way Bob Castellini or Nick Krall thinks. But I agree everything should be about 2024 and beyond.

      • Roger Garrett

        Amen and amen.Time to move on and look to 2024.No need to worry about wins this year or next

      • Joe P.

        I don’t get all this 2024 talk. What happened to 2023? Did I sleep through that like some kind of modern-day Rip Van Winkle!?

        As far I’m concerned, win now and win always.

        But if you must look ahead to 2023, why can’t they win right then? Sure, the Reds have to get the starting rotation in place (and we’re starting to see that form) and add a piece or two in the bullpen. Those steps alone will solve a major portion of the problem.

        This idea that they have to wait until 2024 when both the Moustakas and Votto contracts are off the books, as some kind of predicate for winning, is nonsense. Everything should be about winning as soon as possible, and as far as roster-building goes, that starts with looking squarely at 2023. If the Reds don’t set this roster to win more next year – at least from a pitching perspective – then I’ll be disappointed.

        The biggest problem this year’s team has had, is the injuries and uncertain pitching, particularly in the bullpen. You solve the pitching and have the players improve their conditioning to help avoid some of the tissue injuries and this team should be able to win next year. Both of those things are doable.

    • MBS

      @Old, you are right about the Reds this year. In the long term Pham, and Farmer and the likes don’t matter. The problem is we don’t have anyone to take their place in 22, or in 23. The only people not getting their shot so to speak right now is Lopez, Santana, Dawson, and Cedrola. These guys are all doing ok to good in AAA, but none are highly rated prospects. Personally I like the Lopez / Cedrola type of hitter, but the Reds clearly don’t. Santana would be more interesting if he played OF, but he plays 3B/1B and shows little power.

      Barrero needs an everyday spot when he returns healthy.

      McLain is the only top prospect that might be ready in 23, even that’s a stretch.

      I don’t know if 24 will be the year we’d hope it to be. It’s probably going to be a year of a lot of rookie position prospects, but hopefully it will be the start of something fun.

  15. Magnum 44

    Another off topic but did anyone see that Winker agreed to a 2 year extension man….. 14.5 a year upsets me he would of probably been cheaper to stay here. Thanks Bob I can’t believe I bought tickets for tomorrow.

    • Jonathan

      @ Magnum 44 – I would have loved to have Winker for that kind of deal. DH and LF….could have been a great fit.

  16. Redgoggles

    Winker is OPS-ing .634 and if I recall was a liability on the basepaths and in the field plus injury prone (has he ever played a full season?). Pham is OPS-ing .761 and is solid to plus on basepaths and in the field. They are being paid roughly the same.

    Now having said that, it seems like I would prefer to hang out with Winker much more than Pham. But I would prefer Castallanos’ production/intangibles to either. That’s on Bob.

    I’ve been somewhat impressed with what Krall has done considering what I am imagining his edict to be – CUT CUT CUT $$$$$. At pretty much every turn, he’s picked up cheaper players that are outperforming the replaced ones. I feel similarly with Bell, it’s not fair to judge him when he is competing with largely a AAAA roster.

    Blame Bob and his beloved son for having gaping roster talent holes that Krall and David Bell are taking the heat on. That is where the pressure should reside. I’ve not attended a single game this year after Phil’s “honesty”. I’ve watched 75% less than I’ve ever watched. I guess you could say I found “other places to go”. Horrible business management and yes, I’m still bitter.

    • earmbrister

      The Reds ownership is clueless. Krall and Bell aren’t the problem, ownership is.

    • Votto4life

      Nick Krall wasted $8 million on Mike Minor, he is definitely part of the problem.

      • Earmbrister

        Krall didn’t waste $100 MM on Castellenos.

        He didn’t waste $34 MM on Suarez.

        He traded Amir Garrett for a proven starter in the hope of a rebound. Minor’s peripherals we’re stronger than his simple ERA.

        Are you missing Amir Garrett? A Healthy Garrett has posted an ERA+ of 65 this year. An unhealthy Minor has posted an ERA+ of 65 this year.

        Sometimes players get injured, it’s part of the game. Even with the injury, Minor may yet prove useful. A healthy Garrett is not proving to be all that useful.

        Lastly, starters are generally more valuable than relievers. Particularly mediocre relievers.

        Yeah, trading for starting pitching depth is a terrible idea.

      • Redgoggles

        I think the jury may still be out on this one. If he is heathy and league average, he is a trade asset cutting the acquisition cost in half. They did dump Amir Garrett, who is sporting a 6+ ERA. That’s not nothing, considering AG was set to make $2m. I think MM was a hedge piece that gives them innings and allows them the opportunity to trade Mahle or Castillo for a haul if they get the right offer and help cover injuries and rookie walls. (Remember we all thought Gutierrez would be a solid 3-4.). Would they have been better off keeping Miley and AG? (At $12 m. And 4 starts to date.)

        It’s at least neutral, but just as likely to favor the Reds when it’s all said and done. (I don’t know how serious Miley’s injury is, but do remember he missed the first season of his 2 year Reds deal.)


        Krall may not be the problem. The folks who have limited his options/pocketbook are.

      • Redgoggles

        I do miss Sonny Gray, but Krall did at least get a 1st round draft pick for the $11m in payroll relief that he was probably ordered to do.

        Oh, and do you miss Tucker Barnhart’s 60 OPS+ for a cool $8m?

        Not seeing a miss yet by Krall. These moves aren’t a rebuild, it was dumping a ton of payroll and aging/ineffective players and getting a few lottery tickets too. We’ll see.

      • Votto4life

        Mike Minor had an era over 5.00 the past two years when he was healthy. Usually, 34 year old pitchers don’t get better .

  17. Magnum 44

    I completely agree with you statements about Bob and Phil C. Losing Winker and signing Pham for 8 or 10 million drives me nuts, but the deal was probably made to get Suarez off the books. This may end up being a good deal, but I was a huge Winker fan he is a guy you want to root for.

  18. JohnnyTV

    My hunch is that if there is a ‘package’ going out the trading door then Barrero is in it.
    Bell isn’t going to play him and Reynolds is the backup.
    I’d much prefer to have a vacuum cleaner at short even if he is light hitting.
    But with the Reds anemic hitting Farmer’s bat has been at times significant,
    which has offset his journeyman play at short.
    I don’t see McLain or De La Cruz as truly bankable SS either, but the Reds haven’t shown themselves really capable of sorting out their various position logjams.
    Move Farmer to 3rd and deal Drury?
    Reds are going to need a bigger bat at 3rd and Farmer for all his intangibles will be in the way over there, too.
    Can’t complain about Farmer / Drury this season, but it doesn’t look like more than a stop-gap plan.
    Again, with a better hitting outfield / 1B it might be viable.

    • Old Big Ed

      Bell will play Barrero at SS, because the Reds will fire him if he doesn’t. Barrero is the starting shortstop as soon as the end of the month.

      Barrero is 16 months younger than Jonathan India and has had better MiLB numbers than India. For those who haven’t seen Barrero live, he has elite defensive skills, and he will be the best athlete on the field for the Reds, by a large margin.

      The Reds in Barrero’s age 22 season (2020) called him up from Prasco, with his never having at even 1 AB above A+ ball, and having had exactly 0 live ABs in the prior 9 months. It was preposterous of the Reds to ask Barrero to produce under those circumstances.

      Barrero followed that up by being the Reds’ Minor League Player of the Year in 2021, including a .986 OPS in 200 PAs at AAA. The Reds rewarded him by giving him a measly 56 PAs in Cincinnati over 59 days after being called up. The Reds should have given him 200 PAs at the MLB level, but didn’t.

      The least of the Reds’ problems is Jose Barrero at shortstop. Kyle Farmer is a decent utility player, but he has very limited range at shortstop, and he is painfully slow. He turns 32 in August, and has a career OPS+ of 85.

      This is not a hard decision.

      • JohnnyTV

        “Bell will play Barrero at SS, because the Reds will fire him if he doesn’t. Barrero is the starting shortstop as soon as the end of the month.”

        If only that were the case. Barrero starting at the end of June?
        I’ll believe that when I see it.

        “……For those who haven’t seen Barrero live, he has elite defensive skills, and he will be the best athlete on the field for the Reds, by a large margin.”

        Agreed. That’s why I want him at shortstop and not in the outfield.
        A ridiculous move guaranteed to provoke unnecessary injury.

        “The Reds in Barrero’s age 22 season (2020) called him up from Prasco, …… It was preposterous of the Reds to ask Barrero to produce under those circumstances.”

        Agreed. We’ve seen this all too often from the Reds and Bell.

        “Barrero followed that up by being the Reds’ Minor League Player of the Year in 2021, including a .986 OPS in 200 PAs at AAA. The Reds rewarded him by giving him a measly 56 PAs in Cincinnati over 59 days after being called up. The Reds should have given him 200 PAs at the MLB level, but didn’t.”

        Agreed, but what makes you think 2022 is going to be any different?
        Or 2023 for that matter?

        “The least of the Reds’ problems is Jose Barrero at shortstop.”

        Maybe from a conceptual point of view. From a strategic point of view, just imagine the double plays that will get turned with a Barrero / India mid field.

        “Kyle Farmer is a decent utility player, but he has very limited range at shortstop, and he is painfully slow. He turns 32 in August, and has a career OPS+ of 85.”

        So Bell is likely to play him until his legs or arms fall off.

        “This is not a hard decision.”

        For the Reds management? A painfully hard decision.

      • Chris Holbert

        DB only plays young players when he has no other options….He continued to play DFA Reynolds over him at 2B, and they are basically the same player, but, Lopez is much younger, just one example. Famer v Barrero is exactly the same. The Reds are not winning with Farmer at SS and he will not be a key player on the next good team…Young players cannot prove they can play with an occasional AB and playing defensively in a position they have not played since they 12

  19. DataDumpster

    Keep Farmer for versatility, leadership and a possible long term position in the organization. Everyone else except the “core” is expendable. So far, the core is India, Stephenson, and the young pitching prospects. Everyone else needs to be evaluated against their trade value and 2024 plan when Votto and sunk cost Moose get off the books. Give Krall a chance to make some trades. His efforts for this year’s team and the mid season relievers last year was not bad. Why they couldn’t keep Givens or use Lorenzen properly is beyond me. Put forth a contending team to allow the opportunity to jettison Bell for a playoff capable manager.

  20. Jim Walker

    The Reds need someone who plays with the fire and spirit of Pham.

    They don’t need a guy who picks fights and slaps people in the pregame for issues not even relating to baseball.

    Tolerate the bad Pham with the good Pham or trade him but in the process bring in someone who is only the right type of fire starter.

    IMO, Farmer is more of the good cop type. The Reds need a bad cop. Names like Greg Vaughn and Kevin Mitchell come to mind as guys from the past who provide a profile of what the bad cop might act like.

    PS. For the younger folks bringing up Tony Perez, it was said he jabbed with a sharp needle in the clubhouse but got away with it because of his smiling personality and because he jabbed nobody harder or deeper than himself when deserved.

    Also, I’ve read more than once that Joe Morgan may have actually been the glue guy (Farmer’s role?) back then. That was quite a job given not only the age range but also the ethnic diversity of the group. Consider that of the “Regular 8” there was only one totally white bread guy in the group, Pete Rose.

      • Jim Walker

        He was known on the field as “General” (not always meant as a compliment) because he ran the game from behind the plate.

        Or perhaps ethnically? JB has always proudly recognized his significant (about 1/8) Native American lineage.

      • Dewey Roberts

        Bench is part Native American. So am I, but I have always considers myself as pure white anyway.

  21. old-school

    Outstanding article by Charlie Goldsmith today on Hunter Greene and his April struggles with fatigue and sustaining velocity. Long story short, Greene has never pitched a full season and didnt have a good plan between starts to keep his strength over the long haul. Credit Greene and Derek Johnson and the Reds training staff for giving him a new routine as a power pitcher.

    Old routine was Pilates and Greene said that of a finesse pitcher. Greene now says I am a 6’5 230 pound power pitcher and between starts I need to prepare to be that.

    He’s doing more aggressive long tossing, lifting heavier and ala Johnny Cueto doing long runs. Good for him taking that next step to be a pro.