Well, the Cincinnati Reds just traded literally everyone they could. Some people are happy about it because general manager Nick Krall really did net some excellent prospects. Some people are not. I’m in the “not” club. In a vacuum, I have no problem with the trades. They make sense given the current state of the team. But Shakespeare told us “past is prologue.” And that, readers, is why these trades stink.

The larger Reds argument this year has been whether small market teams are even a thing. They aren’t. TV deals and revenue sharing mean the Reds make a profit before they sell a ticket. That’s simply math and you can find all the relevant numbers online pretty easily. Tangential to this argument, however, has been something along the lines of “A lot of the guys they got rid of haven’t been good anyway.” This is true, but it’s also a problematic argument because, no one would have predicted Jesse Winker and Nick Castellanos playing like they have (though I do count myself in the minority who correctly guessed that Eugenio Suarez was gonna bounce back). Wade Miley, yeah, that was predictable, but so it goes. And Sonny Gray has been excellent, of course. There was no good reason for the Reds to not enter this year with a lineup that looked something like this:

  • Tyler Stephenson – Catcher
  • Joey Votto – 1st Base
  • Jonathan India – 2nd Base
  • Kyle Farmer – Shortstop
  • Eugenio Suarez – 3rd Base
  • Jesse Winker – Left Field
  • Tyler Naquin/Nick Senzel – Center Field
  • Nick Castellanos – Right Field

The Starting Rotation could have looked something like this:

  • Luis Castillo
  • Sonny Gray
  • Tyler Mahle
  • Nick Lodolo/Hunter Greene/Graham Ashcraft

That’s a playoff caliber lineup and rotation at the start of the season. Especially with the 12-team format. And listen, in the 25 season of wild-card era baseball that were not artificially shortened, a team winning 90 or fewer games has won the World Series 5 times. That’s 20% of the time. So yes, you get to the playoffs and you have a real shot at a championship.

Now, concerning the group of players discussed above: Did a bunch of guys get hurt? Yes. Would the Reds actually have made the playoffs with that team? No, probably not.

But that is not the point. The point is they CHOSE not to compete this year when they had other options. They CHOSE to punt. If this season had gone south (as it likely would have) with a good roster and then you trade Castillo and Mahle for that haul, I wouldn’t be thrilled, but I would get it. We tried, it didn’t work out, let’s get some prospects.

Shakespeare told us that “Past is prologue,” which means everything that’s happened before frames how we experience the world now. There is a huge difference between trading a player in a year when things went wrong and trading a player in a year when you made an active effort to field a bad team. And that is exactly what ownership did this year. Right before telling fans they didn’t care on Opening Day. Trying matters.

So yeah, I’m mad about the Castillo trade. He is a great pitcher and I want to continue to watch a great pitcher pitch for my favorite team. I’m mad about the Castillo trade (and the Mahle trade) because while the Reds (36th largest media market) are crying poor, the Brewers (35th) are running away the division, the Padres (28th) just landed Juan Soto, and the Cardinals (21st) are having their one millionth winning season in a row.

I’m mad about the Castillo trade because the entire Reds organization right now is the classic, “Capitalist when we win, socialist when we lose” pro-sports nonsense. Crying, “Come to games so we can afford players!!!111!!!” isn’t convincing unless you wanna start writing checks to fans when times are good. You want us to watch? Put a product on the field worth watching. You had that last year and you decided to scrap it because this way makes you more money. You can’t treat the team like a business and not expect the fans to treat it the same way.

In fact, I hear the Mariners are running a special on trying-to-win. Maybe I’ll walk a few channels over and see what they have to offer. Feel like I’ve seen a lot of those guys somewhere before.

114 Responses

  1. SultanofSwaff

    Well said. And the whole notion of losing money is laughable. The valuation of their franchise has quadrupled, so even an operating ‘loss’ of 10/20/50 million year over year means nothing……unless maximizing profit is your primary objective……which runs contrary to their stated mission when they acquired the team.

  2. LDS

    Good to see a writer acknowledge that “small market” isn’t a thing anymore. Good article.

  3. AllTheHype

    And where does that lukewarm ’22 lineup (that the writer admits doesn’t make the playoffs) leave the lineup in ’24? Minus Winker, minus Castillo, minus Gray, minus Mahle, minus Naquin, minus about 10 really good prospects obtained and lastly, minus being competitive, but PLUS+++++ a VERY LONG rebuild.

    Some of us can see past a lukewarm, non-playoff ’22 team to ’24 and don’t want to rebuild in ’24 for 6 years with no good prospects to source the next team from, AGAIN.

    • Jim Walker

      South of the border and with Reds rebuilds, “mañana” never comes. What else is there to say? Nothing until the Reds get different ownership.

      • AllTheHype

        There is a lot of owner bashing here but I don’t have a problem with Reds ownership. They are at least willing to spend when the competitive window opens. Now, you could def say Reds’ past GMs haven’t always given it to the right players (see Bailey, Moustakas, Akiyama). If anything, blame them.

        Do other teams with markets as small as Cincy spend like this? Hardly. If you get new owners, it may be, or probably will be, worse.

        Votto $225M
        Bailey $105M
        Moustakas $64M
        Castellanos $64M (opted out after two yrs)
        Cordero $46M

      • doofus

        ” They are at least willing to spend when the competitive window opens.” The competitive window WAS OPEN this offseason and Bob Castellini slammed it shut with the offseason sell-off! WHY?!

        Good owners create their own competitive window.

        Bob Castellini IS the Cincinnati Reds problem. He needs to sell his principal share.

  4. michael

    Holy Crap it’s Jason!!! Nice write up.

  5. Steve

    wade Miley has been out all year Sonny Gray has been out half of the year. Winker and Suarez hit less home runs combined then Drury in the first half. Castelanos left and he has not been worth what the Reds were paying at even less then he is getting right now. With the lineup posted the Reds would still be below 500 and paying millions to players that are hurt or under performing.

  6. greenmtred

    I’m asking because I don’t have the answer: Does having a guaranteed profit as a MLB team mean you also have ample money to extend good players and sign FA’s? I don’t contest that the Reds make money, or that the Castellinis are cheap, but I don’t know that they can compete against wealthier teams for high-value players.

    • Chris

      They can’t. Sometimes emotions affect critical thinking. This is not to say I agree with what the Reds did, but to suggest that small market teams don’t have issues compared to larger market teams is just silly. Large market teams can throw a bundle of cash at a player, and said player can be a bust, and it won’t hurt future spending to the large market team as say it would for a small market team. That’s just a FACT.

    • VegasRed

      Green man you use your straw man argument often: reds ownership can’t spend as much as the big market teams, essentially.

      Well who says the have to do that to be competitive? The subject article and similar ones are critical of the reds for not trying to win! And you are not? Aren’t you a fan of the reds, not the castellini’s?

      This owner group has stunk for 16 years. No discernible consistent plan by the owners at all. Constant meddling by Bob who is clueless how to operate an MLB team.

      And don’t forget the BIG LIE he lead off with.

      I tire of your apology tour for these owners.

      Support your position that just because of market the Reds can’t be winners, or expect to get challenged.

      • Bill

        I don’t see anywhere where he said they can’t be competitive. He just said they can’t afford to outbid the larger market teams for players. I don’t think there is any reasonable person who thinks the Reds will win a bidding war. They have to spend their money wisely and develop players to compete. Having a $300 million payroll like the Yankees and Dodgers just isn’t realistic

      • greenmtred

        Thanks, Bill. VegasRed: I’ve never apologized for the owners. If you reread the comment, you’ll note that I called them cheap, and in other comments I’ve noted that their refusal to spend doomed this season, since the best real predictor of a winning team is good players, and the owners announced, in effect, that they would not be in the market for any of those. I did question whether they have as much money to spend as, say, the Yankees. Do you believe that they do? And can you support that position? I also get accused of being a Bell apologist–LDS is fond of hinting darkly that I must be getting paid for this–and that is also inaccurate, but less so. My point is, and always has been, that it’s about the players.

  7. Klugo

    I’m still angry, too. And I probably will be until we field a good team.

  8. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I don’t get what you are trying to say. So, we should have traded Castillo, Drury, and Mahle even before the season started? Or, last season? Their trade value wouldn’t have been as great as it is now.

    What you may need to get use to is this. . .there may be even another 2-3 “cleaning houses” in the near future for the Reds. Expecially if they get another one-year-contract-wonder like Drury was.

    For me, I remember the Castellinis talking about “bringing winning baseball here” when they bought the club. Maybe not a WS every year, but playoff baseball, at least 500 baseball. Then, this past offseason moves, and we hear, “The team is in a better position.” Period, nothing else. Better position? For what? Definitely not winning.

    And, yet, these players are still playing like overachievers. They are actually averaging more runs per game right now than the 90 WS Reds did. The only difference has been the pitching. Especially the relief core. But, you aren’t going to get much better than the Nasty Boys anyhow.

    With me, in regards to the running of the franchise, I don’t like the transparency and/or switches the owners/execs have done. Rebuild here, rebuild there, bring in Moose, Nick C, etc. It simply seemed wishy washy, nothing steady.

    Hopefully now, they are getting steady. After last off season, I was confident they are looking to try to do a Tampa Bay Rays 2.0 type of organization, which would be fine with me.

    Which, though, also mean, in reference to the trades, I like the trades made. I just don’t believe we are going to see nothing of much significance from them till 2025, 2024 at the earliest. I’m talking more than just 1 game but players actually winning positions on the big club. I would have liked to have seen more “major league ready” players come back to us.

    But, I can hold on till 2025. No problem there. And, like I said, we may even see another 2-3 “fire sales” before that. I hope not. After next season, I believe all the bad contracts should be off the books (though Votto’s was a good contract once he signed it. It’s just he hasn’t been a $25 million player for the last several years. Thus, a bad contract now). And, I believe we are still paying off Junior.

    • Pete Blowers

      Very good points and I agree completely. Tampa reminds me much more of how the Duke Blue Devils run their basketball program then how the Yankees run a major league ball club.

      Expect the turnover to always be heavy but hopefully always regenerating with new and hopefully better talent. For the first time in a long time I am optimistic for the franchise’s future as a whole if not necessarily the current team. I’m looking at the Reds now as an overall franchise rather than just the major league version of it. I’m following the farm system daily and loving it.

      • Michael Petry

        Tampa is just a gift to cheap owners everywhere. They cut payroll and try to mitigate the fan blowback with, “oh no we’re just following the Tampa model.”
        The problem is that model hasn’t proven itself to work outside of Tampa. The better model to follow is St. Louis. They draft and develop some, sign some from other orgs, and make strange deals with the devil that allow them to rob poorly run franchises of their best players. Okay maybe that’s not applicable outside of StL either.

      • Optimist

        Tampa is a business model, StL is a cultural model. Perhaps Tampa will build a culture around its methods, but its success, like the Athletics, is a balance sheet/analytics approach. The Cardinals have, for nearly a century, built an organizational strength which carries on outside of the financial imperatives.

        Consider how each organization, and the As, lost their most recent successful field managers.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Michael, I have to agree with Optimist. For, St. L is still selling out games. their “business model” has been set in stone for years. Thus, they can do exactly what you are describing. Tamps simply hasn’t taken it to the point of getting the high priced FA because they don’t have the fan-base St. L has. But, bottom line, they do win.

        The Tampa method has “begun” rebuilding in cities quite well. It’s just the clubs don’t keep it up. The Cubs sold everything off, build the prospects, developed them, peppered a couple of FA’s, and won a WS. They simply didn’t keep the Rays method up, decided to try to extend the stars, didn’t keep the minors developing, and went back down, like now.

        Astros did the same, losing 100+ games 3 seasons in a row if I recall correctly, selling everything off. I believe I remember a story where they didn’t have enough innings in the minors for all of their pitching prospects. So far, they are still up high.

        The Marlins did it. Twice, I believe. Won the WS, then sold it all off. Where the Rays have “held the line”, the Marlins would go high and low, high then low.

        So, it hasn’t happened outside Tampa wouldn’t quite be right, to its fullest extent. But, then, that’s why I said Tampa 2.0. If it worked once, why couldn’t it work again? No reason why it couldn’t.

  9. Jim Walker

    Thanks, Jason for adding your voice to what many of us believe and try to express here.

  10. ClevelandRedsFan

    I understand that I may be in the minority here, but I want to see the Reds be consistently relevant instead of an “all in year” once or twice a decade.

    I’d rather the Reds become the Guardians than the Rays. The G-men have had 9 winning seasons in the last 10 years and made the playoffs 5 times. They are always relevant and fun to watch. Where as the Rays have only had 6 winning seasons in the last 10 years and made the playoffs 4 times.

    The Guardians focus on building a strong farm system and frequently trade their star players in year 4 or 5 for a haul of prospects. They compete with better, young talent instead of payroll.

    The Reds are one of the smallest markets in MLB. They can’t consistently spend as much as Dodgers, Yankees, Mets, Cubs, and even the Cardinals. Could the Reds spend 200 million each year? Maybe, but then big market teams will spend 250 million to field a better team and then 300 million.

    The actual numbers are moot, because the big market teams will always be able to spend more. It doesn’t matter if it’s 100 million or 200 million.

    • Mark Moore

      The Rays model (at least what it used to be) won’t work because of the FO and lack of a stellar on-field manager. We might see hints of it if Greene and/or Lodolo and/or Ashcraft move to the bullpen for the rest of this season to keep them active and protect their arms. But there is still a void in the dugout IMO. DTBell isn’t Joe Maddon and never will be. And the FO is making money and really doesn’t care what we fans think.

    • SteveO

      I totally agree. Let’s learn something from our neighbors in Goodyear. From the time Jocketty fired Dusty Baker, I’ve been saying that a good managerial hire would have been Mike Sarbaugh, the current 3rd base coach of the Guardians. For those unfamiliar, please look up info on him. He’s just a proven winner. Played, coached and managed in their organization. As a minor league manager, he managed at all levels in their organization with a winning record in all 9 years he managed. He was a championship manager at 3 levels and won championships 4 of his 9 years. The timing was perfect at that time as it coincided with the hiring of Francona by the then Indians. But, instead the Reds hired Price and Sarbaugh was brought on by Francona to be the 3rd base coach. The Reds can still hire him and he wouldn’t break the bank as a first time MLB manager. I think that we have a good chance at a playoff run from ‘24. Replace Bell for the ‘23 season and let the new manager get a year evaluating the players that he will go to battle with in ‘24. He will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience about how things are done in that organization and lines up perfectly with the new business model. I say give him a 4 year contract initially and if he proves that he can turn things around, extend him at that time. He’s now 55 and has a successful career as a player, coach and manager. Would be a perfect fit for the future of the Reds imo.

    • AllTheHype

      @Cleve Agree and well said and I don’t think you are in the minority at all. Probably the majority.

      Reds could take cues from all of Guardians, Rays, and Cards. They are all well run organizations in terms of sustainable competitiveness. Finally the Reds are taking those same steps. Hopefully 8 years from now we will all look back and see ’21 and ’22 as the turning point of the organization.

    • Stock

      Didn’t Cleveland adopt Tampa’s gameplan. Trade away players when they have value (Bauer, Kluber, and many others). Cleveland has the huge advantage over Cleveland in that they don’t play in the same division as the Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays. Instead they play in the least competitive division in baseball.

  11. Mark Moore

    Well written and solid points. I’m not as opposed to the trades as you are and I’m optimistic about how the prospect bonanza will unfold.

    Your posting of the “could have been line-up” for 2022 is interesting. But I’d like to point out that line-up (almost exactly) had a play-off spot “locked up” in 2021 and then frittered it away by not winning when the WLB’s went on a ripping tear and our guys couldn’t respond in kind. For me, that’s as deflating as the wretched, lopsided record that launched 2022. Maybe worse in some ways.

    Keep ’em coming, Nick. We’re all still in this together. And I’m definitely a Mariners fan for this year’s playoffs. Frankly, anybody but the WLB’s, NYC or Cali teams works for me in the absence of us making it.

    • VegasRed

      Mark you probably did t think bell should be extended for 2 years after that flop last year. Neither did I. But that just illustrates Bob’s incompetence and lack of winning desire.

      • Mark Moore

        DTBell should be shown the door immediately. Renewal never should have been an option. And you are absolutely correct about Bob (and Phil). They really don’t know or care about baseball.

        I’m reminded that the late George Steinbrenner was a complete @$$ who drove everybody nuts. But he had a passion for baseball that was unmatched. Is the the model we want to see for the Reds? No. But more passion would be a good start. Mark Cuban comes to mind …

  12. Bill

    We have all seen the argument about money a million times. What I have yet to see is proof the Reds have a few hundred million laying around to spend on free agents. Of course without seeing the books I have no clue where money is going, but just looking at info available online: 2021 revenue was $266 million, the MLB payroll for the same year was $153 million. That leaves $103 million after paying the MLB team. How much is spent on payroll for non-players? How much other money is spent on the minor leagues? What other operating expenses do the Reds incur? I don’t know the answer to any of those questions. The actual profit is likely well under $100 million and of course I am sure the owners, Castellani and others are going to expect some type of return on investment. They aren’t going to be ok with losing money. The value of the club is completely irrelevant to the discussion, being worth $2 billion is a lot different from having $2 billion

    Small market is definitely a thing. The Dodgers for example had a revenue of $565 million in 2021, almost $300 million more than the Reds during the same time period. Which explains why they could have a $310 million payroll.

    I’m not saying the Reds can’t pay more to players, but from a business standpoint I don’t think anyone is rolling in piles of money because they traded away Castillo

    • Bill

      correction $113 million after payroll

    • Chris

      You are right. Many people like to post or write articles to the tune of it’s okay to lose money because someday when you sell the team you will make a ton of money. That’s nice, except for it doesn’t pay the bills. Maybe look at it this way. I remember when Jack Kent Cook died and his kids inherited the Redskins, whoops the Commanders, or whatever it’s called now. The team was worth tons of money, but that didn’t pay the tax bill for the inheritance so the team had to be sold. Point being, like a stock, its worth nothing, and pays you nothing until it is sold.

      • Bob

        The actual issue at hand is that MLB teams are guaranteed to make money and the Reds actively decided to pay less for players to pocket more cash. That’s a business decision. I’m really glad you side with the owners that they should only make decisions good for them. So, I’ll be treating it like a business and won’t be going to games. The problem is, the team wants me to be a fan, thick and thin, and be okay when they make business decisions. That’s what the article is actually about.

  13. Bdh

    Castellanos backed out on his own. He had 2 years remaining and opted out, then rejected the reds qualifying offer after that. It’s perfectly fine with me because now instead of paying him 20+ million at age 35 like Moose the reds will likely be seeing Cam Collier up on the reds at that time. A player the reds wouldn’t have been able to get if not for the extra pool money they acquired from the extra draft pick from Castellanos leaving.

    In a way we should remember to thank Castellanos in a couple seasons for getting this rebuild (the one done right) started. If he sticks around then there’s a good chance the above roster scenario that Jason points out happens. Keeping everyone from last year to make another run for a .500 record give or take a few would’ve been a bad move.

    Compare these lists of prospects

    Jose Peraza (top 100)
    Scott Schebler
    Brandon Dixon
    Rookie Davis
    Tony Renda
    Caleb Cotham
    Eric Jagielo
    Brandon Finnegan
    Cody Reed (top 100)
    John Lamb
    Keury Mella
    Adam Duvall
    Dilson Herrera


    Noelvi Marte (top 100)
    Edwin Arroyo (top 100)
    Levi Stoudt
    Andrew Moore
    Victor Acosta
    Spencer Steer (top 100)
    Christian Encarnacion-Strand
    Steven Hajjar
    Jose Acuna
    Hector Rodriguez
    Brandon Williamson (top 100)
    Connor Phillips (top 100)
    Chase Petty
    Nick Quintana

    It’s night and day on the returns the reds got. More high end players and a focus on younger players with higher ceilings compared to close to the mlb players who turned out to mostly be AAAA type guys. And you can’t say the list of players the reds moved this time around are that much, if any, better than the players the reds traded this season. That’s the difference when you wait too long to move your assets.

    Now the farm system is in the best spot it’s been in since the group that had the playoff runs in the early 2010s were minor leagues. There’s also a young core on the MLB team that won’t need to be extended until 2027 and 2028 with zero bad contracts ahead of them preventing extensions. Krall has done a really good job in my opinion. Some are just too stubborn to admit it

    • Jim Walker

      Depending upon how service time is evaluated and granted for the 2020 pandemic season, Tyler Stephenson in all probability will either be arbitration eligible for the 2023 season (as a Super2) or no later than after the 2023 season. India is on line for after the 2023 season. Greene after 2024. Lodolo and Ashcraft could both be Super2 after the 2024 season or regular arb eligible after 2025. They all need to be extended well before “2027 and 2028” if they are to be around as the core the new talent is blended with.

      • Daytonnati

        Preach Jim! I suspect, like you, I see MY timeline with a much shorter horizon than many others here.

      • Hanawi

        Sure and the Reds would be wise to extend a few of those guys more. Like the Rays did with Franco and the Braves just did with Riley. Not sure how that is an argument against the rebuild. That’s just what good teams do.

      • Bdh

        Extended before that sure but not free agents before then. There isn’t a contract on the books so it’ll be no problem to extend them while the upcoming group of prospects is on the 6 years of control.

        They extended Votto, Phillips, Bruce, Cueto all at the same time they were paying Arroyo still. Also extended Homer and Mesoraco while those other extensions were still on the books so if this group is contending they’ll get it done.

      • old-school

        The end of 2023 is the end of the Votto era and truly represents a new frontier in Reds baseball, with the Votto and Moose contracts off the books and no new money committed in 2024. Assuming India stays healthy, he would be my first linchpin to the new Reds era and I would buy out his 3 years of arbitration and 3 more years of FA and sign him to be the positional leader of the team from 2024-29.

      • Still a Red

        Brave’s extension of Riley, 10 years 200+ million. They already have a 10 year 200+ million in Olson. Then there’s a bunch more. St. Louis is carrying a $26 million per year contract in Goldschmidt and a $30+million/yr contract for Arenado. Everyone here is carping about the drag Votto’s salary is having, but that’s just one $20 million/yr salary.
        Extensions would be nice if you can get them cheap like Suarez or Barnhart. I don’t know if India’s or Stephenson’s, or Greene’s or Lodolo’s agents would advise it.

    • Greenfield Red

      This is exactly right, although some .ay mention India and Stephenson could be free agents after the 2026 season.

      They actually traded for high end talent rather than ‘major league ready’ talent. That was the kiss of death last time.

      • Jim Walker

        Chasing (or running from) the last bomb crater seldom if ever wins any wars.

        “Last time” as I recall, they were looking for a core of starting pitchers and position guys.

        What they have now is a core of strong starting pitching just beginning to rise at MLB and 2 outstanding core position guys. This is when they needed 1 or 2 can’t miss position players ready to pull their weight at MLB NLT 2024. Instead, they got a boatload of high potential guys for the most part too far away even if they work out.

    • AllTheHype

      @Bdh thanks for that compilation. That kinda puts it in perspective doesn’t it? …… the Jocketty method of holding onto assets past peak value then selling when they are mere rentals vs the Krall method of trading them a year earlier when value is closer to peak.

    • JB

      Love everything about this BDH. Krall has done an outstanding job with what he has to work with. I’m incredibly excited to see these young prospects fill out the major league roster in 2 years.

  14. doofus

    Sell the principal ownership share Bob. After 16-2/3 seasons you and your son Phil continually and clearly demonstrate to Cincinnati Reds fans and MLB that you DO NOT know how to build a championship team. Get out of the way!

  15. TR

    Other than the development of the prospects as they work to get to the Bigs, the other thing of primary concern to me, for the benefit of the Reds franchise, is change in principal ownership so frequent rebuilds can be avoided.

  16. Optimist

    Excellent case made by Jason, for the proverbial prosecution of ownership. Sad, in the sense of ending careers, but the telling move ownership could make this off season is to release Moose. Although not adding spending, it would signal a financial commitment to cutting losses and recognizing reality. It would also hint at the NFL Patriots way of bluntly moving on without fading talent. Finally, it would be a “no more excuses” statement that levels the ground going ahead.

    Still going to take a winning season or two to wash away “where are you going to go”.

  17. JB

    Blah. I’ve been a Reds fan for over 50 years and will be until I die. I for one won’t be flipping channels and changing teams like the Mariners. If that what your thinking then you were never a diehard fan. Trades are trades. Loved Lee May and I got over it quick. Rose, Perez etc. Some work some don’t. Everything in life isn’t perfect. If it was life would be boring. I for one am looking forward to all these young prospects. Like they say , you can’t get down the road looking in the rear view mirror.

  18. Amarillo

    I want to see a World Series in my lifetime. I was born in 91, so I haven’t had the chance to like many of the excellent posters here. What I saw the last 2 years was a team that was middle of the pack. We made it into the expanded playoffs in 2020, barely, and finished outside of the playoffs last year. If the team had stayed the course, and maybe tried to add a few Bullpen arms, would the team have suddenly been a lot better than the previous 2 years? I doubt it. My doubts have increased looking at the years a few players like Castellanos are having. I don’t remember a time we truly had a chance to win a World Series, maybe 2012? But, I do remember what happened in 2015 when we had the All-Star game here and what happened after that. Our ownership is incompetent, that isn’t an argument. They shouldn’t be crying poor, but if they massively increased spending to take a mediocre team to a slightly less mediocre team, I can only imagine what the years after this year would like.

    • Chris

      I disagree. The team’s need was a top notch bullpen. Amazing starting staff; amonst the best in both leagues, paired with a high octane offense. That team could have competed with anyone with a top notch bullpen.

      • Amarillo

        I’m not sure how they would have acquired a top-notch bullpen. Last year they had Cessa (2.05 era), Wilson (2.81 era), Warren (1.29 era), and Santillan (2.91 era). This year Cessa has a 6.47, Warren a 6.91, Wilson and Santillan are on the 60-day IL. Relievers are so random year to year, who knows whether any additions would have done well.

  19. SteveO

    I think that ownership finally realized this past offseason that you can put a competitive team on the field without having to spend a lot on payroll. The Rays and Guardians are teams that best come to mind and I believe that the Reds are trying to build the organization based on these teams. They have great player development and that’s how they are able to stay competitive with low payrolls. This year both teams are over .500 right now at 56-49 and 54-51 respectively and still in the playoff hunt with about a third of the season remaining. Rays payroll is $90.8M and the Guardians $67.8M. Unfortunately, the Orioles with the lowest payroll of $43.6M has also played well with a record of 54-51 and in the playoff hunt. These teams, in the playoff hunt, were not buyers at the deadline. They could have spent money to try to improve their chances of getting to the playoffs, but stuck to their business model and didn’t. I think the past success of fielding successful teams on low payrolls by the Rays and Guardians and current success of the Orioles have led management to also go in that direction. Yes, it isn’t about big market vs. small market, it’s about how much ownership is willing to spend. I wouldn’t be surprised if the ‘24 version of the Reds had a similar payroll to the Orioles this year. My feeling is that payroll will never be over $100M ever again under this ownership group. The writing was on the wall with the trades of Castillo and Mahle with what happened in the offseason. To me, fortunately we were able to get prospects back also from the expiring contracts of Drury, Pham and Naquin. In the end, there will always be fans that are happy and those that are not when these type of decisions are made by ownership. As true Reds fans, we just have to accept that this is how it’s going to be under the current ownership group and that nothing will change until new ownership comes into town.

    • Chris Holbert

      What great players have developed under this group of owners?

      • SteveO

        By great, do you mean Hall of Fame great?

      • Bill

        there have been plenty of All Stars, an MVP. Not sure what your point is here. If, as SteveO asked, you are looking for Hall of Famers, I am not sure anyone developed in the last 20 years is even eligible for the HoF

  20. Votto4life

    Jason this is Perfect! Couldn’t have said it better myself!!

  21. Oldtimer

    In 1966 the Reds lineup could have looked like this:

    C Johnny Edwards 1B Tony Perez 2B Tommy Helms SS Leo Cardenas 3B Deron Johnson LF Pete Rose CF Vada Pinson RF Tommy Harper SP Jim Maloney Milt Pappas Sammy Ellis Jim O’Toole CL Billy McCool.

    Several multi-year All-Stars. Two ROY. Some of the best SP in MLB during the early 1960s. Decent lineup. Just destined to have off years in 1966?

    Bob Howsam had other ideas. He swapped Edwards for Pat Corrales. Cardenas for Jim Merritt. Johnson for Mack Jones. Harper for George Culver. Ellis for Bill Kelso. O’Toole for Floyd Robinson. Pinson for Bobby Tolan and Wayne Granger.

    Some of those trades worked out. Some didn’t. But in 1969 the Reds lineup looked like this:

    C Bench. 1B May. 2B Helms. SS Woodward. 3B Perez. LF Alex Johnson. CF Tolan. RF Rose. SP Merritt. Cloninger. Maloney. Nolan. CL Granger.

    • JB

      Loved Gary Nolan. Ahh what could have been.

      • Optimist

        True, but what was, was very, very good (just wanted to write that for the syntax fans among us). What could have been was also Gullett, 300 fewer ip than Nolan, and especially Wayne Simpson. Sure there was a little stupidity there, but almost all was due to medical ignorance. The list of individual careers lost is enormous, but those 3 pitching together through the 1970s would have been a unique group.

    • Jim Walker

      Important to note that to get a World Series team in 1970, three years prior Howsam traded for MLB players and not players for the most below AA.

      • Bill

        also important to note they couldn’t sign free agents, so it really makes little sense to compare building a team in the 1960’s to 2022

      • Oldtimer

        He did not trade for any MLB stars (at the time of the trades) until 1971. Except for Merritt, all the other names I listed were back-up players.

        The simple point is that Howsam could have to chosen to stick with the Reds players who were generally successful in the 1960s, hoping for bounceback years. He did not do that.

        Free agency has been around for 50 years. Howssam eschewed that route and used trades instead. He did sign the biggest name FA the Reds ever signed (Dave Parker in 1983).

    • Dewey Roberts

      Merritt did not come to the Reds until 1969. He was not there in 1966 or 67 or 68. He started great in 1970 then blew out his arm.

  22. Steven Ross

    There should be a clause in MLB Ownership/Governor, that if you don’t win a playoff game in 20 years, you have to sell the team. Castellini’s still have four years to figure it out. Good luck to us.

    However, I’ve been a Reds fan longer than most of you have been alive and I still watch every game. It’s been nice to watch the young pitchers mature before our eyes. Some positives in a sea of negativity. The biggest being Ownership. That’ll be tough to overcome.

  23. AMDG

    Over the past 2 seasons the Reds have been a 0.500 team (114-108), finishing 3rd each year.

    There were 2 realistic options for the 2023 season:

    1) “Keep the band together”

    Doing so, they would likely continue to be a 0.500 team, probably winning 80+ games, and finishing well behind the Padres or Braves for a wild card spot. Pending FA’s would eventually walk for little or no return, but they would win 80+ games instead of 60+ games in 2023.

    2) “Blow the thing up”

    Have enough insight to recognize they weren’t good enough to make the playoffs. Trade pending FA’s for max value, and attempt to rebuild something good enough to reach the playoffs and do damage when they get there.

    • Roger Garrett

      I agree but just like ownership we have as fans just settled for just a few more wins and a cry that we think we can we think we can.Finally Krall has set a direction that say we want to win and be there year after year.I am excited at what he has done but still am a little concerned.Reds have lost for so long so do they have the right people in place to change that.You can get rid of the players but what about the rest from the scouts to the coaches to the managers to the bus drivers to the bat boy.You can tell the bus driver to go a different way but will he do it or spend his time trying to prove his way is best.

  24. SFRedsFan

    I’m hedging my bets. I’m excited for the young core we are building, but am trying to anticipate the ways it will likely go south (though I do like what Krall is doing…as long as Bob doesn’t meddle).
    At the same time, I bought a Mariners hat and am going to cheer like hell for some of my favorite players to win it all. I might even go to a Seattle game if I can make it work. Of note, I could have seen the Reds play here in SF (like I do every year) and I skipped.

  25. Stoney

    Excellent article Jason. The Reds certainly choose to run their organization this way. Spend some money and compete! If you can’t sell the team to someone who will! The young guys obtained via the trades look promising but here we go again. Who knows.

    • citizen54

      After allowing Dick Williams to spend like a drunken sailor on shore leave in 2020, how can people complain about ownership being cheap?

      • Doug Gray

        How can people complain about ownership being cheap because the team shattered records by signing two different players to $16M a year contracts in a league where the best players are making $35-40M a year?

      • citizen54

        The Reds payroll in 2020 was $116 million. The lowest that year was $44 million. This year the Reds payroll is $112 million and the lowest is $44 million. It’s lower than the average payroll but it’s a far cry from being the lowest. Plus the Reds are a small market team so they can’t spend the way the Yankees and Dodgers can.

        Besides, spending a bunch of money on players who are in their late 20’s or the wrong side of thirty doesn’t make much sense since they are only going to get worse. For every signing that works out there are probably 2 or 3 Moustakas contracts. The way to build a team for sustained success is to develop a young core and then use free agecny to plug in the holes. The Reds never had that core so they were basically wasting money in free agency.

  26. Michael

    Maybe I missed the comments from ownership about being poor. You must be referring to Krall’s infamous line about aligning payroll to resources. Him and Phil badly need some PR classes. The owners are writing check’s (or authorizing EFT payments) to Moose, Votto, Akiyama, Minor, etc which destroyed the chances to compete this year. Blame the GM’s who made these deals. If the owners keep the payroll low in 2024 when Moose and Votto are off the rolls, then complain.

    • David

      I think the 2024 “payroll” might also include extending India, Stevenson, Greene (if he matures), Ashcraft (ditto), Lodolo (ditto, ditto), and that could eat up a fair amount of payroll.
      At the end of 2023 season, we might then have a clearer idea of where the Reds are going. If Krall does, indeed, have some kind of “plan” and is allowed to follow it, then maybe, just maybe, we see the Reds get significantly better, sooner.

      “Aligning payroll to resources” is something Bob Castellini probably said, and Nick Krall was echoing his boss’s instructions. What else was he supposed to do? Revolt and get fired?
      Really, the past 22 year have been a big disappointment to Reds’ fans. The last few teams that were exciting to watch was the 1999 team; again, the 2000 team COULD have been better, but the wrong moves were made (with perfect hindsight). The 2010 team was pretty good, as was the 2012 team, which was a YUGE disapointment in the sense they could and should have gone to the World Series (they should have beaten the Giants, what a choke). After that, it has been down hill. Weeeee! More of Bob Castellini’s massive BS. He has made repeated bad moves as the Managing Owner.
      Where the Reds’ are going is anybody’s guess. I would hope better days are ahead, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Despite what Nick Krall has done this year (good) under the circumstances, they could flush it all away next year or in 2024.

  27. MadMike

    Mariners also offer a cautionary tale in the value of prospects. About 10 yrs ago, just after griffey retired i think, they had amassed a large number of highly ranked prospects and had a top 5 farm system with a few can’t miss prospects. The team and media was all ga-ga over the up and comers. It got them butkis. The can’t miss prospects all missed, though a few of the young prospects got traded and ended up having good careers elsewhere.

  28. citizen54

    I don’t understand all this anger about breaking up a .500 team which maybe had a ceiling of a wild card spot. Not only that but said team was only going to get worse in 23 and by 24 it would probably be where the Reds are now but without all of the new prospects. Castillo and Mahle wouldn’t be getting back as much in return and you would be saddled with Castellanos’s contract.

    The Reds were all in in 2020 and this is the hangover. The only reason the Reds were competive in 2021 was because a handful of players had career years and even then the Reds fell short. Now the Reds are trying to build a team which has chance at a 4-5 year deep playoff run rather than one which has a 1-2 year window for a shot at the Wild Card.

    • Still a Red

      Can’t forget the Reds choke in 2021 was coupled with a 20 game win streak by the Cards.

  29. Matt

    My question is why are we moving slow with our prospects!? Marte should’ve started at AA as soon as we traded for him. I’m saying we promote aggressively and be exciting in 2023!
    The way the young guys are playing, could give us an exciting team now, not has beens and place holders….image a team of something like this.

    Bench-Farmer,Steer, Garcia, 4th Outfielder

    Rotation- Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft, Dunn, Williamson

    Bullpen- Hoffman, Overton, Santillan, Stoudt, SanMartin, Diaz, Sims, Antone

    Maybe in the Off Season if Strand isn’t the plan at first, go after a guy that’s young and ready that doesn’t have a spot somewhere else. A Mark Vientos(Mets), Dustin Harris (Rangers), Mead or Aranda (Rays) trade, maybe an Outfielder like Alec Burleson (Cardinals). We have Farmer, Cessa , Hoffman, other prospects that could shore up the missing pieces to this young team that can compete now. Waiting until 2024/25 is ridiculous, our young core now will be the age of the players we are replacing now. Lose them and then it’s rebuild again! Just stupid!
    Stop being cheap and promoting our prospects so slow. Turn loose the young guys like other teams. Give the fans the excitement and hope they deserve! 2023 should be the beginning not waste 2 to 3 years with more has beens and place holders.
    Just think about it, Wouldn’t this be nice!? Thoughts guys?

  30. Frost Giant

    Yeesh. I do not consider .234 “bouncing back”. Is it an improvement, I guess.

  31. Michael

    I see some people carrying water for the Castellanies here and I have to ask why? I think it is fair to say the reds are in the same boat as the Guardians, Brewers, Cards, A’s, Rays and Twins. The reds have had 3 winning seasons in the last decade (including this year). The other teams have done this

    Guardians: 9 winning seasons and 5 playoff appearances.
    Brewers: 6 winning seasons and 4 playoff appearances
    Cards: 10 winning seasons and 6 playoff appearances
    A’s: 6 winning seasons and 5 playoff appearances
    Rays: 6 winning seasons and 4 playoff appearances
    Twins: 5 winning seasons and 3 playoff appearances

    Given somewhat similar tv deals and revenue these teams find ways to win more often and make the playoffs more often and in the case of Cleveland and St Louis a lot more often.

    • Hanawi

      I think that’s the point. The Reds are finally trying to build a team like the ones you mentioned. That includes selling high on some players. The complaints to me come from people that think the Reds should be spending like the Dodgers or Padres.

    • AllTheHype

      Nice info Michael. Now let’s add average payroll by team over that period. Clearly this table shows the real story about Reds’ ownership’s proclivity to spend. The Reds are actually fortunate to have an ownership group that will spend the same or more than its peers.

      Guardians: 9 winning seasons and 5 playoff appearances avg payroll: $88.1M
      Brewers: 6 winning seasons and 4 playoff appearances avg payroll: $90.5M
      Cards: 10 winning seasons and 6 playoff appearances avg payroll: $137.4M
      A’s: 6 winning seasons and 5 playoff appearances avg payroll: $72.2M
      Rays: 6 winning seasons and 4 playoff appearances avg payroll: $67.1M
      Twins: 5 winning seasons and 3 playoff appearances avg payroll: $104.7M
      Reds: 3 winning seasons and 2 playoff appearances avg payroll: $103.8M

  32. Votto4life

    If fans want to their faith in prospects, that’s fine tell yourself whatever you want to make yourself feel better.

    The prospects the Reds acquired this week seem to be highly regarded. We all hope they pan out and led the Reds to the promise land in a few years.

    But , I am not going to let myself believe the Reds have turned over a new leaf and are now, all of a sudden, dedicated to winning.

    There is no reason to believe when these latest prospects are “ready” that the Reds will pay what it will take to keep them in Cincinnati.

    In two years, the Reds will be looking to trade Jonathon India and Tyler Stephenson. The year after that Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo.

    If you don’t believe that will happen you are living in denial.

    For everyone who is excited about the Reds farm systems, according to fangraphs, the Reds farm system still trails The Pirates and Cubs along with sic other organizations. The Cardinals system is ranked just slightly behind the Reds.

    So how do you figure the Reds are going to going to win a championship in a couple of years when there are teams with better farm systems and some who have better farm systems and major league talent?

    Not that it matters of course, the team will never get that close, the ownership will rid themselves of anyone if it will save them a few dollars.

    • Jim Walker

      I’ve been trying to figure just how good the Seattle system supposedly was that 6 guys out of it over a 5 month period plus 2 others who are so far 4A fringe players are somehow outstanding return for combined the value represented by Winker, Suarez and Castillo????

      Don’t tell me the Suarez contract was a bad one, let alone so bad they had to “give away” Winker to get out from under it. Suarez had 14.1 bWAR through his age 29 season and represented a remaining sunken cost of $35m for 2022-24 plus the option buyout for 2025. After a poor season in 2021, he is back to a 120+ level OPS+.

      Winker, like Castillo, was set to be a FA after the 2023 season. He signed with the Ms through 2022-23 at $14.5m, an AAV of $7.25m. This for a player with a career OPS+ of 124.

      Then there Castillo. 18.6 bWAR in his age 29 season goes to the Ms with 1 and third seasons of control remaining.

      If one of the pitchers the Reds got back doesn’t match or better Castillo and two of the position guys don’t match Winker and Saurez, the Reds got it handed to them.

      • SteveO

        You’re thinking in the present. It’s all about the future

      • SteveO

        If you compare the stats of Suarez and Winker and the players that replaced them, Drury and Pham, you’ll find slight edge to Drury and basically a wash for Pham/Winker. But, the Reds saved over $10M in the difference of salaries. Geno and Winker- $17.25M vs. Drury and Pham- $6.9M. This savings covered the $8M owed to Shogo. So, financially a great move by the Reds. Plus, we had Castillo until last week, which saved the Reds $2.5 in remaining 2022 salary. That comes out to roughly $13M. Way too early to know what the return for Castillo will be, so just have to wait and see.

      • Jim Walker

        @Steve. Thanks for the compliment since mañana never comes. 😉

      • SteveO

        JW, continue to live the rest of your life happily in negativity!

      • Jim Walker

        Dury was signed after, not before the Suarez trade. There was no indication he could put together the season he has. Kudos to him for that but for Krall, he was a lucky rabbit pulled out of the hat.

        The Reds would have 2 more years of Suarez at the already fixed cost of $12m per year; and a 3rd at $15m if Saurez was worth it going into 2025. Now they are going to be looking to pull another rabbit out of the hat to replace that production in 2023-24. And even if by some turn it is Drury, he will be in a price range similar to Suarez not a bargain basement gem.

        The total sunken cost on the Pham contract is $7.5m counting the buyout for 2023. The Reds have dodged some of that bit we won’t know how much or little till we see the final settlement on the trade. Regardles, that$7.5m is just about Winker’s AAV; and unless Winker misses time before the end of the season, he’s going to have more WAR than Pham.

      • SteveO

        Of course Drury was signed after Suarez was traded. We didn’t need a 3B until after the trade. What’s your point? Lucky or not, Drury’s performance on the field was better than Suarez until the time of trade. Obviously, management didn’t want to pay Suarez for the remaining years of the contract. That’s why he was packaged with Winker. How do you know that they won’t get the same production of Suarez within the organization? You don’t. Management was willing to take that chance to save on the payroll. Regardless of how much they saved from trading Pham, the fact that they were able to not pay whatever that amount will be, was good enough for them to trade him. The return will be a player or cash considerations. A win in the eyes of management. And to date, the Reds have only paid about $4M of Pham’s salary that we know about. Neither you or I know at this point what the final figure will be, but we have to go by what is factual right now. It only matters how Pham performed until he got traded to how Winker performed until that same point. WAR value for both of them is irrelevant at this point as they are now both ex-Reds. I could care less about the WAR that Pham will generate from now, he’s now a member of the Red Sox. Enough crying over spilt milk JW. What’s done is done. Love it or hate it, the current situation is what we have to deal with going forward. Live with it!

    • SteveO

      Championship? Most Reds fans right now just want a team that can compete year in and year out for the playoffs. Once in the playoffs, there’s always a chance to win it all. The Reds haven’t even come close to being NL champions to represent the NL in the WS since 1995 when they were swept in the NLCS by the Braves with 3 Hall of Famers.

  33. Rednat

    i blame the reds woes more on the state of baseball today more than incompetency or just being cheap. Law of supply and demand. Less youth baseball so less competition for these young players. many of these top prospects wouldn’t have even been the best player on their neighborhood block in the 60s/70s where you had so many kids playing.

    Many of these prospects don’t really have the hit tool to be major leaguers but their is no way to decipher this until they get to the majors. Aquino, Barrero, Friedl, Senzel,Fairchild are examples. it is much more pf a crap shoot now and we have run into some bad luck with some of these guys. not really ownership’s fault. I am not saying we should be world series champs every year with this ownership, but we shouldn’t be THIS BAD!!!!!

    maybe this batch of prospects will be better but I am not holding my breath. a lot of them will probably fizzle out as they move up the ladder.

  34. Hanawi

    I wouldn’t mind if they sold off India or Stephenson if the replacement is ready. They should try to extend a few of these young guys and buy out their arbitration years though. They need to use the rest of this year and next to decide which way to go with some of them.

  35. SteveO

    Lefty on the mound for the Brewers today, so I guess it’s our righty lineup. My guess, India, Senzel, Farmer, JV, Solano, Aquino, Almora, Barrero, Romine.

    • SteveO

      Almost nailed it. Papierski in and not Romine.

  36. MBS

    Why invest your time if you’re always upset with the team, and it’s decisions?

    I gave up the Bengals 6 years ago.

    I gave up UK basketball shortly after Coach Cal started his tenure.

    Now it’s the Reds on TV, and FC Cincinnati in person. I don’t want to lose either of these 2, but if it got me as upset as many posters on here, I would. Life is too short to be angry all the time.

    • SteveO

      Totally agree. If the ride gets too bumpy for you, hop off and find the next train to ride on.

  37. Stock

    Prior to right now the two best farm systems we ever had were the pre-2008 system with Bruce, Bailey, Votto, Cueto and Stubbs but little else and the pre-2018 system with Senzel, Greene, Trammell and a lot of depth.

    As is right now this group of prospects blows away both groups. Comparing the top of this prospect class to the top of the 2018 class.

    Top 10 players:
    2008: Bailey and Bruce were top 10 in at least one publication with Bruce #1.
    2022: Marte and De La Cruz were top 10 in at least one publication.
    Advantage 2008. #1 is better than #7.

    Top 50 players:
    2008: Votto and Cueto were in the 35-50 range.
    2022: Lodolo, Barrero and Collier have received top 50 ratings. Collier as high as 29.
    For the sake of argument assume Barrero is not a prospect. That makes this a push.

    50 – 75 players:
    2008: None
    2022: Arroyo
    Win for 2022.

    75-100 Players:
    2008: Stubbs
    2022: Steer
    Top 5 prospects: Advantage 2008. Bruce is about equal to De La Cruz and 2 Arroyo’s in my opinion.

    But the 2008 class is non-existant after the top 5. Frazier is the sixth ranked prospect and he was just completing rookie ball. He was the 34th player taken in the 2007 draft, similar to Sal Stewart (taken with the 32nd pick in the 2022 draft). My guess is Sal Stewart makes no top 10 Reds prospect list at this time.

    As for the 2018 class, the current class is much better at the top and has more depth.

  38. Stock

    For the first time the Reds have followed the Tampa Bay, Cleveland Gaurdians strategy of trading players with at least 2 playoff runs left. A problem Tampa Bay has it does not have room on their 40 man roster to accodomate their prospects and end up trading prospects to clear room.

    The Reds will soon be having this difficulty.
    This year end will not be a problem even though the Reds have at least 9 players to consider adding to the 40 man roster.

    Elly De La Cruz, Noelvi Marte, Spencer Steer, Brandon Williamson, Levi Stoudt, Mike Siani, Ivan Johnson, Daniel Vellojin, Nick Quintana

    My thought is that even though there is room you don’t need to add Johnson and Quintana this year. They are not good enough to keep on the 40 man for a year. Vellojin is a catcher so maybe someone could hide him. Siani provides great defense so maybe someone hides him and has him as a pinch runner and defensive replacement.

    The problems will begin after the 2023 season because the following 9 players become elgible:

    Joe Boyle, Connor Phillips, Bryce Bonnin, Rece Hinds, Jose Acuna, Alex McGarry, Christian Roa, Yerlin Confidan and Braylin Minier. This group is not nearly as impressive as the 2022 group but 4 – 6 will need to be protected.

    The 2024 class is a little easier to navigate with only 4 players.
    Matt McClain, Andrew Abbott, Steven Hajjar and Christian Encarncion-Strand. However if these 4 are not in the majors already they will all need to be added to the 40 man roster.

    The real problem comes in 2025. Your 40 man is already overloaded by this point and then you have a group of 10 players to consider:

    Edwin Arroyo, Jay Allen, Victor Acosta, Leonardo Balcazar, Carlos Jorge, Hector Rodriguez, Chase Petty, Ariel Almonte, Donovan Antonia and Malvin Valdez.

    Some of these players will be added to the 40 man prior to the end of the 2025 season, which further complicates the earlier decisions. Some of these players will not progress as hoped. But many of these players will need to be added to a 40 man roster with no room.

    This is a good problem to have and one small market teams need to negotiate.

    • Jim Walker

      Despite the rating of the guys previously in the Reds organization and the new guys being added, some are going to wash out and others will be traded. I can recall not that many years ago when the Reds “outfield of the future” was going to be Trammell, Siri, and somebody else; believe the prime contenders for the last spot were Beltre and Friedl. And it has turned out that only one of the “lesser” guys, Friedl, has ever played an MLB game with the Reds.

      Read the reports on Marte, Strand, and Arroyo. There are questions about each of them sticking at SS. Another guy that just came over is already at 3B. Cam Collier is a corner IF guy currently playing 3B. The big power kid at AA, McGarry, is going to have something to say about who ends up at 1B. And he is a left thrower so, it is 1B it OF for him.

      I don’t agree with the decisions taken over the last 18 months which put the Reds into fire sale mode. I do acknowledge they have rounded up a lot of talent. Now the question becomes are they capable of organizing and sorting it, then developing the guys they keep and flipping the others to fill holes. The job has barely begun,

      • BK

        BA has Arroyo with a 65 for fielding as a SS. Barrero and ELDC are also rated above average for fielding. Marte, Steer and McLain are rated as average. Encarnacion-Strand is a corner infielder. So, that’s six guys projected as ML average or better as SS.

        For the prospect gurus that see Marte sticking at SS, he’s in their top 20s. The Reds are going to need some of these guys to move.

        I really like the group we brought in. They are capable of playing the highest value position. If they don’t stick at SS, they have the speed/arm to man the next toughest positions. They also have good K/BB ratios.

        That said, I really do understand the “competitive” cycle was far too short. I don’t have a time machine to fix that or the ability to undo COVID that produced losses that came at the worst possible time for the Reds. I’m hoping that Phil understands his dad’s meddling set up back multiple times. I also hope he actually prepares for his next public interview–only the son of the CEO keeps his job after insulting his customer base.

      • Jim Walker

        What I’ve seen on Marte at SS is concern about his body type and size because he is still growing and filling out/ in. I’d think there would be similar concern about EDLC but he is a tall string bean while apparently Marte is looking to maybe be too full bodied for SS.

  39. WillDCat

    The notion that there are no small market teams is misguided. While there is some revenue sharing, there is much more that isn’t, and the larger markets definitely benefit from that. The salary cap model is the one baseball needs (like football & basketball have) where small market teams routinely play in the post -season, and frequently win championships. Parity is real for those 2 leagues. The author is correct in that other small market teams (St. Louis, Milwaukee, Tampa) find ways to compete, but they have ownership who actually care about winning, versus Reds owners who only sometimes try to give the appearance they want to win – but they always first & foremost want to make money. Phil Castellini’s comments before the season when faced with backlash from fans were the most telling for anyone who doubts the current owners’ lack of commitment to having a winning franchise.
    Will loading the farm system with talent guarantee winning? No, but at least it is a strategy that makes it possible. I don’t like seeing Castillo in a Mariners uniform, anymore than I liked seeing Geno & Wink there. Don’t like Mahle going to the Twins either, anymore than I liked Sonny going there. But seeing the farm system loaded with talent at least offers some hope of the team being competitive down the road. Exciting young players give fans a reason to come to the ballpark.

    • MBS

      I agree that baseball needs to go adopt the NFL model. Floors are just as important to the sport as Caps.

      Apple TV owns the streaming rights to the MLS starting in 23. Baseball needs to find a similar setup, maybe Disney+ or Prime could buy up all the existing contracts, and stream all of the games on their service. That would even up things quite a bit, no teams with $2 billion contracts and others with $334 million contracts.

      • Jim Walker

        They are going to have to figure out the differences between wired access and streaming access. Apparently some existing contracts cover both and some cover only wired. But no team which owns/ controls its wired access via a cable channel is going to give it away for free. Yet most of those cable ops can stream it to their subscribers versus moving it only on their wired media.

        And while the Reds take no doubt isn’t in the same class as Yanks and others, the Reds supposedly got an equity stake (in then Foxsports Ohio) when they signed their most recent TV deal.

      • BK

        Teams have acquired equity stakes to give them a “chance” to get more money. In other words, it’s a method for the cable provider to share risk rather than guarantee cashflow. I believe the upside is modest and largely dependent on the Reds bringing in more subscribers as they are largely dependent of Red’s content for revenue. I don’t see them as advantageous. I see it more as an admission that BSO had hit the limit on what they would guarantee.

      • MBS

        I agree, and no team should have to give up anything for free. Contracts would need to be bought out and paid to the clubs. Cable is dying, and Streaming is growing. RSN’s will be dead soon. Under 40’s people don’t have cable, in 20 years I doubt there will be too many households with cable. If you want to get young fans you need to be where they are, and they are not on cable.

      • Jim Walker

        @MBS>> Young folks?!? I rarely watch either the Reds or the Blue Jackets via wired cable. I use the Spectrum stream vs the Bally app b/c it is the least cantankerous of the two. I use a browser on my PC/ laptop and the Spectrum app on my tablet.

        MLB and NHL can’t get in market direct streaming too soon for me. I’d be glad to pay Spectrum for the physical internet connection and the $20 bucks a month Bally was supposedly looking at charging in a couple of markets where the contracts work for them to direct stream.

      • Jim Walker

        @BK, back in the day a decade (and probably more) ago, the Bluejackets supposedly bought the time block for their games on whatever FSO was called then. As I heard it, FSO did all the production and sold the time and CBJ guaranteed a minimum revenue flow. Not sure how the revenue above and the beyond the guaranteed was divvied up.

  40. 2020ball

    Good article. I think the trades were timed properly for the direction the franchise seemed to be going. That said, I also think the FO forced its hand with its questionable approach as a “small market team” and generally penny pinching moves during this competitive window. Dumping Iglesias and then watching the pen stuggle all year as the Reds glaring weakness was hard to watch at times, and deeply confusing from my perspective. Then used Covid as an excuse to sell off their fringy assets which would’ve looked far better if they were just honest about it. Then Phil opens his fat caviar dumpster, validating in my mind every criticism I’ve had over the years. The general idea I was getting is the main goal was to keep all the investors fat and happy. Sad to see Votto’s window closed simply because the franchise wasnt willing to ever swing it open.

    There isn’t going to be new ownership anytime soon, and I’m somewhat skeptical someone new would even change anything tangible anyway, so my hope is this FO turns over a new leaf and chooses a better direction. Just making the playoffs is fine as a baseline goal, as mentioned in the article thats produced a title a fair amount of times, but hopefully we have some prospect luck with the new look farm that finds a few stars and they can supplement that into a division winner.

  41. JayTheRed

    I am with you on this Jason. Best article I have seen on this sight in weeks. The team could have been great and trying is way better than telling your fans “Whatcha ya going to do” or talking about your GM and being great when really, he did very little to help the team for the start of 2022.

    Will the Reds be better with all of these new prospects Perhaps but only if they sign the good players we did keep.

    I hate having to wait 3 or 4 years for the major league team to be decent to good. How can the Brewers and Cardinals be contenders year after year? I hope I am wrong.

  42. Charles_M

    It’s all so sad really. Cincinnati is such a great baseball town. I went to LA for the All Star Game and was really shocked to see how little LA cared about the Dodgers; the city barely did anything for the event. I came back with an appreciation for the 2015 series which really felt like a celebration of the Reds and Cincinnati.

    Baseball seems to be the only place where you can outright tell your customer the product will be poor and still make a profit. If Skyline told you that they were giving you 1/4 of a coney for the same price, they would most likely have to close. Baseball doesn’t realize that the current strategy is bad for the game. Try to find a diehard Pirates fan in Pittsburg; it’s almost impossible. Same in Denver, Arizona and Baltimore. Baseball should really combine revenue sharing with proof that you’re trying to put a quality product on the field. Injuries and bad luck play a part but it’s easy to spot those team that are here for the free money.

    Fans will come back! Look at Houston, San Diego, and Seattle. Teams long mismanaged suddenly relevant again and it’s been a boon for the fans and the city.