The Cincinnati Reds rotation has taken a pretty big hit over the last two weeks. Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle were traded away and Hunter Greene was placed on the injured list. The team did have a short-lived 6-man rotation, so there was a little bit of wiggle room there but now they’ve also placed Robert Dugger on the injured list today with right shoulder pain. That leaves the rotation with just four current pitchers, and that’s including just called up today Justin Dunn, who will be pitching tonight for the first time in the majors since June of 2021.

Someone is going to have to pitch on Wednesday against the New York Mets. It’s possible that the team could go with a bit of a “bullpen day” on Wednesday afternoon. The Reds are off on both Friday this week and Thursday next week, giving them the slightest bit of wiggle room if they wanted to try something like that and buy some additional time to make a decision on who to call up from Triple-A.

And honestly, maybe they should take it because none of the options in Triple-A are particularly strong options right now. The current rotation in Louisville is Randy Wynne, Justin Nicolino, Deck McGuire, Brandon Williamson, and T.J. Zeuch.

Randy Wynne is 29-years-old and tops out around 91 MPH. His ERA this season is 4.86 and hitters have touched him up for 22 home runs while hitting .291/.332/.530 against him in 103.2 innings this year. Justin Nicolino was pitching indy ball earlier this year and has pitched in 12 games with Louisville now and the 30-year-old has a5.46 ERA while allowing 14 home runs in 56.0 innings. Deck McGuire is a 33-year-old with a 6.92 ERA in 40-.1 innings for the Bats.

Brandon Williamson is a good prospect, but he’s been inconsistent at best this year. The 24-year-old has now made six starts for Louisville after starting the year in Double-A Chattanooga. With the Bats he’s got a 4.10 ERA with 15 walks and 24 strikeouts in 26.1 innings. Then there’s 27-year-old T.J. Zeuch, who got released in May by the Cardinals after posting an ERA of 11.64 in five starts for their Triple-A affiliate. He eventually signed with the Reds and he’s made five starts in Louisville and had much better success, posting a 3.63 ERA in 22.1 innings. In his last start he struck out a career best 12 batters.

The pickings are slim. None of the pitchers are on the 40-man roster, so that won’t get someone the nod simply because they would avoid having to make a roster move.

Maybe the team goes with Brandon Williamson. He’s a real prospect, even if he’s not pitching like one who is ready to step into a big league rotation right this second. The team probably does have him in the plans for the future, which probably isn’t the case for anyone else in the rotation at Triple-A Louisville. Perhaps they’ll go with one of the other guys simply for the fact that if and when they need a roster spot they could designate that guy for assignment with a low likelihood that someone claims them (though some of those guys could opt for free agency if they are DFA’d).

Update:

It appears that the team could be going with T.J. Zeuch, who has joined the Reds in New York and is currently on the taxi squad.

81 Responses

  1. Jim Walker

    Rocks and hard places! Hopefully the post deadline waiver season hasn’t ended yet and the Reds can make a claim and be awarded some guy? But the time frame is tight.

    • SteveaReno

      A “bull pen” is good strategy. Many of them can go two or three innings.

  2. Michael B. Green

    Perfect opportunity for Zeuch who had 12 K’s in a game last week. Have to find a way to add him to the 40MR.

  3. KYPODMAN

    TJ, come on down, you are the next contestant on the Red’s starting rotation wheel! (PS – try not to get hurt)

  4. MBS

    I think Aquino could get you 4 or 5 innings, Jk but he’s got a cannon.

    It’s got to be Willimson, right? It also might not be the worst thing in the world, as he will likely be competing with Overton and Dunn for the last 2 spots in the rotation next spring. A dark horse could be Stoudt. I’d venture to say he’s as qualified as anyone in AAA.

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      I do not get the fascination with Connor Overton. He is a 29 year old with a handful of big league innings who struck out 10 batters in 24 innings this year. He should not be a consideration for the big league rotation unless it is an emergency situation.

      • Luke J

        It’s not a fascination, but results are what matters. And strikeout totals mean nothing unless you keep the opponent from scoring. And Overston gave up just 5 runs in 4 starts. That puts him in the converstion of the starting rotation until he proves otherwise.

  5. Moses

    I had hoped the Reds would put a waiver claim in on Lamet, which they obviously didn’t. I know he’s now a reliever, but he could have put in some Wednesday work…

    • Gonzo Reds

      Was thinking the same thing… surprised they didn’t or does he have too much talent for us to take a chance like we have on so many other lost causes?

  6. LDS

    Go with Williamson regardless of the outcome. Quit messing around trying to make something out of guys like Duggar.

  7. Votto4life

    And it seems just like yesterday, when starting pitching was the club’s strength.

    • JB WV

      Never have enough. Almost anybody they bring up would be better than Minor.

  8. Old Big Ed

    I would guess Zeuch. He had a preposterously high BABIP (over .500) for the Cardinals AAA team, and it seems that he wasn’t responding to their coaching. The Cardinals DFA’d him in May, and the Reds got him and nursed him along in the bullpen in June in Arizona, pitching him only 4 innings. They then eased him into longer stints at Louisville, culminating in an his last off-the-charts start. He was a 1st-rounder for the Blue Jays in 2016, so at one point was thought to have a good arm.

    Zeuch seems to have done everything that the Reds have asked of him, so he probably deserves a shot. He last pitched on August 2, and did not pitch on August 7. If he isn’t listed as the Bats’ starter against the Iowa Cubs tomorrow night, then he likely is the man.

    The Mets have an OPS of .752 against RH pitching, and .712 against LH pitching. So, I’d have Sanmartin ready to go 2 innings in the middle of the game on Wednesday.

    • Earmbrister

      OBE, great info and it seems like you were right on target. Nicely done.

  9. Jim Walker

    Guys not on a 40 man roster can still be traded, correct? Perhaps there is an organization that has not burned through its depth as far as the Reds have which has a 4A guy who they are willing to part with.

  10. MBS

    I don’t remember who I read in the comments talking about the Reds needing to sign Cueto in 23, but days like this make me think he’s correct. We’ll have the 3 young starters HG, NL, and GA, and we’ll have the 3 hopefuls Dunn, Overton, and Williamson.

    That leaves us about 2 shy of being safe, so Cueto in the rotation, and another Ben Lively type in AAA would go a long way to shoring up the rotation.

    • Optimist

      I may have been who your recalling. I’ve been thinking about and beating the drum for Cueto since March when he was a FA. However, the risk he brings is the pickle they’re in right now – namely, injuries. When healthy he’s still a performer, unlike various unnamed others they’re tried the past few years. Alas, he may have priced himself out of the Reds budget this off season.

      As for this situation, Zeuch seems best for now. I’d consider Williamson in a few weeks, but no need to rush him since he’s not quite dominating yet in MiLB.

      • MBS

        Maybe we can get Arroyo, he was 200 innings year in and year out

      • Daytonnati

        I think Mike Leake has not officially retired?

  11. BK

    Williamson or Stoudt would seem like the logical choices. If my math is correct, both will have to be added to the 40-man roster NLT this offseason or exposed to the Rule 5 draft.

    Glad the Reds held onto Minor. Any updates on Conner Overton? Unless he had a setback, he should start a rehab assignment soon. Another potential option down the road could be Hoffman–he’s been our 2nd best reliever this year, so I would prefer to keep him in relief. It’s going to be a challenge to cover innings over the next couple of months. The waiver wire will be closely monitored.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      You’re correct on Williamson and Stoudt. Haven’t heard a word on Overton, which seems unusual. It was also unusual for him to wake up one morning with a stress fracture in his spine (please forgive me if that is incorrect, but that is my memory of what his injury was). If he can regain the effectiveness he had before this injury, he definitely figures into the plans for next year.

      • BK

        “Stress reaction in lower back” … he was throwing in AZ in early July, then crickets.

  12. Melvin

    The Reds are off on Friday? Isn’t that unusual?

    • old-school

      Iowa farm game thursday for 1 day then completed the Cubs series at home.

      Playing a neutral game in a corn field creates some scheduling quirks.

      • Melvin

        Got it. Forgot about that. Makes sense. Thanks

      • Frankie Tomatoes

        Think of it like Opening Day. They want the make up day just in case because it’s a premium event.

      • Jim Walker

        A game in a cornfield makes zero sense to me no matter how they try to gussie it up into something special! This is probably because I spent some time in real corn fields when I was a kid. My recollection is they are hot, humid, stuffy, and itchy things/ stuff get all over a person. 😉

      • Doug Gray

        Does it make more sense to you knowing that they can sell tickets for thousands of dollars each? Lol

      • MBS

        I guess if you build it they will come.

      • Jim Walker

        @Doug, I guess 😉

        But if we had had thousands $$$, we wouldn’t have had to go into corn fields, etc to retrieve our ball that had been thrown or hit into the field. However we would have probably been in deep trouble if an abandoned ball gummed up some farm machinery 😉

    • Hunt4RedsOct

      I think it is a built in travel day due to the Field Of Dreams game in Iowa on Thursday.

    • BK

      They were also off on Memorial Day and have a scheduled off day on Labor Day. For a franchise struggling to fill the seats at GABP, these scheduling quirks don’t help.

      While attendance is no longer the biggest revenue driver for MLB, I think the Reds have tremendous untapped potential that only consistent winning will unlock. Consider attendance data from within our division:

      – Reds: average 18,346 per game
      – Brewers: average 30,437 per game
      – Cards: average 39,555 per game

      Based on a very conservative average revenue per fan of $40 (ticket, concessions, merchandise, parking) over an 81-game schedule:

      – Brewer’s revenue advantage due to attendance: ~$39M (6 playoff season, 6 losing seasons in the last 16 years; currently on track for their 6th consecutive winning season)
      – Card’s revenue advantage due to attendance: ~$68M (2 WS titles and 10 playoff appearances in the last 16 year; only 1 losing season)
      – Reds: 4 playoff appearance, 5 winning seasons in last 16 years

      They must still spend it wisely, but there’s a real opportunity in producing a consistently quality product. Hoping lessons have been learned.

      • Old Big Ed

        Agreed. Management has not marketed the team well over the past decade.

        Lower the ticket and concession prices. It will be easier to raise prices later, than it is now to get fans in the door at existing prices. They can’t raise money off an empty seat.

      • Jim Walker

        Also, don’t ignore their 60-90 minute market which is what put the attendance over the top back in the day.

      • Melvin

        Yep Jim. I live in Indy and have attended MANY more Reds games than Pacers and Colts games combined…..up until recently of course.

  13. Indy Red Man

    Figure it out so I can bet Nimmo to score in every game. He’s a nice player and somebody that Senzel should try to emulate

  14. old-school

    I will bet Zuech. He is a Cincinnati kid who is big.
    Would make for a good story, Home town kid gets called up to start for the Reds.

    • Doug Gray

      I want the video of him being the biggest loser on the planet where he called a reporter babe after refusing to answer her question, then the follow up after the ceremony where he said anyone who wasn’t born when an event happened should shut up and not talk about it while offering her 1000 autographed baseballs as an apology for being a prick.

      • Darrin

        I’ll never understand the infatuation people have with Pete Rose, dudes always been a total dbag. Does he belong in the hall, sure, should anybody give a s*** that he’s not, nope.

      • Doug Gray

        But he also doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame.

      • Gonzo Reds

        No proof and after 55 years you’re not getting any. Devil’s advocate argument… 16, what he said she was when it happened, was legal then and right or wrong still is in some states. Not saying his behavior was stellar but I believe in innocent until proven guilty.

        I agree Pete’s not the nicest person but there have been quite a few players that made the HOF that aren’t nice people, probably some that gambled against their own teams and made it (just didn’t get caught), and quite a few that took performance enhancers that made it. I hope to see Rose, Bonds, and Clemens all make the HOF, put the controversy on the plaques and move on.

      • Moon

        You are welcome to your opinion but given the fan reception you are in the vast minority. There is a lot of love there for Pete. And he would have the same if not stronger reception in Cincinnati. He gave many memories and thrills to the Reds fans over the years. A part of World Series Championships, a 44 game hitting streak, breaking Ty Cobbs record, and on and on. I personally do not care that he may have been rude to a reporter. Really? He was interacting with hundreds of people a week and one gets sideways. But whatever, again I can respect your feelings but I just do not see things the same way.

      • Doug Gray

        I’m far less bothered by him being a jerk to a reporter than the question he didn’t want to answer and why it was asked in the first place.

        Shame on the Phillies for even inviting him. Shame on the Reds for still having his statue up outside of their ballpark and having him in their Hall of Fame. It’s a disgusting slap in the face to all of us.

      • Luke J

        No, shame on you, Doug. I would be pretty pissed if I was hounded by reporters over false allegations made decades after the fact. So he gets a pass for having an attitude. You would act the same way, I’m sure, if you were accused of something you know isn’t true on a day you were celebrating. It’s only reasonable.

        And Gonzo, 16 is still the legal age of consent in Ohio.

        I’m not supporting his adultery. But this criminalization of him based on these allegations is ridiculous. And if we spew such hatred for every athlete that has an affair, there would be no professional team to support. So let’s keep the focus on the field and not look to athletes for moral examples.

      • Doug Gray

        Luke, listen to yourself.

        No one is spewing hate because Pete had an affair.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Yep. All this. Good stuff Doug.

    • Daytonnati

      ” … and now, the rest of the story.” 🙂

      • Chipper34

        “His stats say he should be there”…. You think??

    • Tom

      Gonzo, respectfully I have to disagree with you. You say there is no proof, but he admitted sleeping with her, so there’s your proof. HE said she was 16. She said she was 14 or 15. I would put more stock in what she said than in what Rose said, since he has a huge history of flat-out lying. And if he really thought she was 16, that does NOT matter. It’s how old she really was. He, as the adult, had the responsibility. She also claimed to have slept with him in states other than Ohio despite what he said. Great player? Absolutely. Garbage human being? Also absolutely. I used to think he belonged in the Hall based solely on his performance as a player. But no more. And I’m sure there are probably quite a few inductees who are also garbage humans too. But we know what 14 did off the field, and that should keep him out of a place that is called “hallowed” by baseball fans.

      • Melvin

        Rose won’t make it in the Hall of Fame until after he’s dead even though his stats say he should be and there’s already things of his there. He’s got no one to blame but himself and even had his chances to “make it right” with MLB but chose not to. Being just plain arrogant and stupid makes him his own worst enemy. I personally don’t like his character, AT ALL, but i just try to remember him playing on arguably the best team ever. That was special. No matter what kind of man he was outside of baseball he did play the game the way it’s supposed to be played. I don’t see how anyone can truthfully deny that.

      • Votto4life

        He knowingly slept with a 16 year old when he was a grown man in his 30s. Regardless of state statutes, It’s really should be all anyone needs to know.

      • Luke J

        Tom, she only claims she was 15 more than 40 years after the fact. I have a tendency to be skeptical of allegations that old until some solid proof to the contrary is provided.

        We don’t have to like it, but the age of consent is 16 in Ohio. Was then and still is today. Whether you think it’s gross or not.

      • Doug Gray

        The solid proof, Luke, is that the woman involved said how old she was. Rather than take the word of the person you think that someone else has a better idea of how old that person was. The disconnect is unreal.

      • Earmbrister

        I started rooting for the Reds in 1970 as an adolescent, mostly due to Johnny Bench. What a year he had, enough to capture the imagination of a 10 yr old in NJ. That personal adulation quickly became one for the Reds. Bench, Perez, Morgan, Rose, Concepcion, Foster, Griffey Sr. etal, there were many perceived heroes to root for. However, with age comes wisdom and perspective.

        In time I realized that these “heroes “ were just guys who all had great skill in one thing in common: baseball. Some of them were seemingly great people, some quite ordinary, while one of them was a downright scumbag.

        I have no use for Pete Rose. He’s the poster child for those with no morals. For those that say HOF induction should be based on what happens in the ballpark I’d respond that the betting prohibition was inscribed on the inside of every dugout. And does anyone doubt that he was jacked on “greenies” while playing? Add that to the off the field vile garbage = sorry, he’s not in my personal HOF: a wall of shame would be more appropriate.

        I hope he’s never “honored”, even postmortem, and I do consider myself a diehard Reds fan.

        Boil, lanced.

  15. Rednat

    i would give Snamartin another run at starter. i know that weakens the bull pen for the rest of the year but who cares. i think he has the stuff to be a good starter.

  16. MK

    Maybe it is time for Sanmartin to get another shot.

  17. DataDumpster

    I’m not going to offer an opinion on Pete Rose since I was briefly acquainted with him during his troubling times, but I wonder what MLB is doing to make sure that Rose’s misdeeds are not repeated. Has anyone noticed how easy it is to bet on baseball now and that one of the “tabs” on your MLB subscription is dedicated to betting tips and guidance. Somehow, I am to believe that no active MLB player, manager, trainer, etc. couldn’t use their inside info to their advantage?

    • Melvin

      MLB does what makes them money. That’s what drives them. Not what is best for the game necessarily.

    • Votto4life

      Not to mention MLB’s promotion of draft Kings and casinos (eg. Miami Valley Gaming)

      • Earmbrister

        I can’t stand pro sports selling out to “legal” gambling. It makes a mockery of the integrity of the game.

        I want to spit every time I see an advertisement with a picture of a suitcase of money with the inscription: Win $ xxx,xxx of (insert sellout athlete’s name) money.

        Apparently professional team owners decided they weren’t making enough money so they had to prostitute their sports for even more money.

        They can go screw. I’ll never visit a Draftkings, etal site. I’d rather support my local bookie.

  18. Jon

    Random thought regarding De La Cruz, who is raking at AA… The Reds under Krall have been aggressively promoting their top prospects to the major league roster (Stephenson and India last year; Greene, Lodolo, and Ashcraft this year). Seeing how well De La Cruz is hitting, is it possible he gets promoted to AAA before the end of the season and/or skips AAA entirely and begins 2023 on the Reds Opening Day roster? And continuing on that train of thought, does that make Senzel a non-tender candidate this winter? Or do they move Senzel to 3B and non-tender/trade Farmer? This all assumes that Barrero and De La Cruz are seen as the everyday CF and SS of the future.

    • BK

      I don’t expect the Reds to promote him to AAA after just 15 games. His K-rate is a bit high and his BB-rate is low. While he is a human highlight reel, both of the areas I cited are vulnerabilities which become more exposed in the majors. That said, he’s just 20 years-old. His trajectory is outstanding and I think we’ll see him with the Reds next year, but I would guess it will be closer to mid-season than opening day–especially if he changes positions.

      Senzel’s batting has improved all year–I don’t think he’s vulnerable this offseason unless it’s via a trade.

      Barrero has always looked great at SS. That said, he looked decent in CF last year, too. One of the main plot lines to watch for this offseason will be potential position changes. Lots of great athletes, it will be fun to watch as it plays out.

      • Jim Walker

        Senzel’s improvement is more relative to what he was doing prior than to what he needs to be doing to be an everyday OF on a good team.

        When he went on the COVID list (May 3), his OPS/wRC+ was .530/40 Since he returned from COVID (May 23), it is .658/84. However, since the All Star break, he is .592/65 for the same metrics.

        Basically, he had a very good month from mid June to the All Star break (.818/129) but has reverted in the last (not quite) month.

        He is making $1.25m which I believe puts him in danger if he doesn’t get his seasonal OPS/wRC+ to at least league average by the end of the season.

      • BK

        Jim, thanks–all good points. I think we agree, he must improve even over the best he’s done this year to secure a spot in the Red’s long-term plans. His performance won’t generate a big raise and the Reds should have a good amount of payroll flex. I see those factors getting him another year. I don’t anticipate they’ll be as patient with him next year. My best guess is ELDC will be getting CF reps–he’s got the speed, arm and athleticism to be a sensational CF. I see him pushing Senzel off of CF at some point. The question is will Senzel hit enough to land in another spot or fall into a utility role?

    • SultanofSwaff

      I had that same thought—EDLC’s ascendancy could make him expendable. Switching Senzel to LF (not enough power?) or utility guy makes the most sense, but the Reds have always been about the veteran privilege….to me it’s the last deeply embedded stuctural hurdle the franchise will have to leap in order to properly navigate this rebuild.

      Honestly, I don’t see a downside to calling EDLC up in September. The kid is uber-confident….even if he has a poor showing, he’ll use it as motivation.

    • Michael

      I think they need OF’s bad so doubt Senzel would be a non tender candidate. Farmer is well liked and respected so he won’t be non tendered either. They plan to keep Elly at SS until he proves otherwise. Barrero might be a better defensive SS so that may push Elly to 3rd (if Barrero hits). Elly is the real deal and the Reds will have a difficult time keeping him in AAA next season. I predict he is a May-June call up.

    • Earmbrister

      I see EDLC as an elite RFr (speed, arm, bat). Leave Senzel in CF for now. I get the sense that Senzel is not completely healthy (who would’ve thought …) but he’s not coming off the field unless an ambulance is involved.

      All 3 OF spots are up for grabs, should be quite the competition.

  19. LDS

    I keep seeing folks posting about the Reds being 16-9 in their last 25 games. If Bell & Strickland hadn’t blown 4 saves in that stretch (the Reds won yesterday regardless), the Reds would be, at least, 19-6 (.780). That would be something to talk about. 16-9 looks good compared to 3-22 but nothing to get overly excited about. The Enquirer article (Nightengale this time) about moving Strickland from closer is the usual Reds PR piece with inane Bell comments “They’ve done a really nice job. Even Strick, he’s going to be all right. That’s a tough job. He’s going to be fine and a big part of us the rest of the way.” And people here think I’m too hard on Bell. SMH.

    • Earmbrister

      What’s Bell going to say? Strickland blows, but I don’t have any better options?

      Strickland is pitching himself off the only team that matters: the future Reds.

      • LDS

        It’s not that he should trash Strickland. It’s that he shouldn’t blow smoke either. It’s the same line he used with Doolittle, Hernandez, Hughes in the end, etc. It’s also why I don’t believe the stories about how much the team likes playing for Bell. All teams, sports or otherwise, know when an individual isn’t pulling their weight. And when the manager continues to act as if the individual is doing fine, the rest of the team comes to resent it. We’ve seen this with Bell over and over.

  20. docproc

    Williamson is 24, a top prospect, and played some college ball (w/Nick Lodolo). Let’s see what he can do.

  21. Tom Mitsoff

    Bobby Nightengale reports on Twitter that Zeuch is in NY with the Reds and expected to start Wednesday.

      • Doug Gray

        *whispers*

        So does this article at the bottom.

  22. Michael E

    Call up a highly rated (relatively speaking) 19 or 20 year old from A ball for one start knowing they’ll be sent back down. Why not? Tell the pitcher just give it your best, get a taste of MLB hitters and sock it away for off-season training/learning.

    Sure, they might get lit up, but so did Greg Maddux and many other HOF pitchers in their first 20 or 30 starts. Better to get that first taste and use it for improvement. Maybe they think they don’t need a third pitch or that their off-speed pitch is “good enough”? Seeing MLB hitters knocking them around will open their minds to adding to the arsenal or improving it.

    • BK

      That young prospect would then have to stick on the 40-man roster, perhaps a couple of years away from the ideal time to promote them to the big leagues. Given the new depth in the Red’s minor leagues, this could result in the Reds losing a good prospect in the Rule 5 draft. They have a good prospect at both AAA and AA that will both have to be protected on the 40-man roster this fall. I don’t think it’s out of the question we’ll see them start games before the season is over.