Fleeting is our love. When it falls, it falls hard, the weight of it insurmountable in our understanding. Then, in a moment it flies away, taken by the wind as if it weighed but a feather.

Taking recency bias to new heights is the new game in town, really the only game in town if we’re being honest. As I watched Nick Senzel lie motionless on the warning track on Tuesday evening, a ballpark sat disinterested, having already turned its lonely eyes to another suitor. TJ Friedl, anyone?

I could remind you that Senzel hit the baseball very well everywhere on his way to the Ballpark Down By the River. I could remind you that it took Dansby Swanson more than a couple of thousand trips to home plate to remind everyone why he was drafted so high. I could remind you that you just don’t turn your back on a very athletic player who was drafted No. 2 overall just because he has so far had all the durability of a chandelier. I’ll just note that once we were in love with the promise of Nick Senzel. Then we gave up on him, only to see him begin to hit a little bit late in the summer, rekindling our desire to see him in some future lineup. Now, we’ve walked away once more, heading for a late night Chalupa Supreme, if those Taco Bell commercials are an accurate depiction of young romantic life today.

We’ve moved on to more shiny objects of our desire. That could be Friedl. Or it could be Jose Barrero.

Oh, wait.

Remember our infatuation with Jose? Remember the cries to hang David Bell by his ankles for showing too much clubhouse bonhomie to Kyle Farmer. “Let the kids play,” we demanded. Now? Uh, not so much. Barrero hasn’t figured out major league pitching yet, like the many before him who have gone on to productive big league careers. You see, the thing is, while Jose was landing like a thud offensively, the Reds were trading for bushel and a peck-full of shortstop prospects—and some of them are hammering the baseball like Barrero and [whispers] Senzel once did between bus rides to the next minor league stop.

Hunter Greene has largely avoided our wrath. Although, if we’re being honest, we’ve come close to giving him the heave-ho, too. From the moment he pulled on the red wishbone C hat at the 2017 MLB draft, we’ve been reminded of the risk of drafting pitchers at the top of the draft. Then came the Tommy John Flu, followed by a chorus of “I told you so’s.” A new elbow and a container ship full of 100 mph fastballs later, and we were back on board. Well, we were, before that evening in Bernie Brewerland, when the evil opposition began launching pitch-after-pitch from Hunter into the stands. By the time Sam LeCure came on the air to deliver the epitaph, we wanted him sent back down from whence he came to learn how to pitch. Funny thing about 100mph fastballs, though. We love them so much. Greene is back from a shoulder strain and looking dominant again.

Then there’s—wait for it—The Punisher. Hoo boy. I need to ask my Twitter friend, Cam Miller, Reds filmmaker and historian extraordinaire, if there’s ever been a case of unrequited love quite like Aristides Aquino. Maybe “unrequited” isn’t the right word exactly, but it does feel as if he’s giving us the cold shoulder each time he trudges back to the dugout after going after a ball in the dirt. Oh, sure, he’ll tease us with the occasional laser throw from the warning track that nails the runner at third. But, really, if he loved us back the way we loved him during that series against Chicago three years ago—that whole glorious month really, when he fired the guns of August like few before him have—he’d return our affection by crushing the ball again on the regular. Still, I can’t quit you, Punisher. And I’m sure you, gentle reader, cannot either.

BTW, are we still in love with Spencer Steer? Has Buck Farmer and that other Farmer grown in our esteem? Or are we too busy swooning over Elly De La Cruz to notice what’s happening at GABP in September?

All I know is that this is the fashion of the day, this recency bias. It bends us to its will like a palm tree in a hurricane, an arch of the eye from Sterling Archer, or a wink from Jessica Rabbit.

Tonight it’s Hunter Greene. We love you, Hunter. We love you not. He pitches again against the Brew Crew.

Bring your daisies.

31 Responses

  1. Jim Walker

    CBJ fall camp opened this morning. I’ll be spending my daisies there for the next ~6 months or so.

    • MadMike

      Jim, that’s awesome! You mentioned hockey alot but wasn’t sure which team you followed. It’s going to be exciting to see with Gaudreau in the fold. I went to see a Flyers/Caps game in college with a buddy and have been hooked ever since.
      Nothing better to be at than an NHL game with a lively crowd … Though I guess World Cup soccer matches are probably close.

      • Jim Walker

        I got hooked on watching CBJ because they came on the same channel as the Reds at the end of the baseball season. I also watched some on ESPN back in the days of Gary Thorn and Bill Clement (Hands of Cement). Their calls probably kept me coming back as much as CBJ.

        Finally, one night CBJ blew a 2 goal lead to the Wings inside the last 3 minutes and didn’t even get the game to OT; and, I realized I was hooked when I caught myself about to hurl the remote at the TV 😉

        Having the hard cap in the NHL helps a team like CBJ some but still, the Reds front office needs to take a trip up i71 if they want to learn about rebuilding or reloading on the fly and how to be competitive as a “small market” team (which really matters much more in the NHL than MLB).

      • doofus

        You must sit along the boards, front row, when you have a chance, at least once. Spend the coin, it is well worth it.

        The game is soooo fast. I never realized since the first time I sat on the side glass with my sons.

        Last season we sat to the side of the net. Another perspective….I a lot of board action, and pain.

      • MadMike

        Doofus, thanks for that suggestion, I will definitely try that at some point!

        Did you see that Ohio State has an outdoors hockey game this winter? I think its in Cleveland, that should be a blast.

      • MadMike

        Jim, that’s a good idea. Maybe the main lesson the Reds should learn is to have ownership disappear and let the GM run the shop. NHL doesn’t have lucrative tv contracts or rev share like baseball does, so teams have to put an acceptable product on ice to sell tickets.

        Also, the commissioner seems to have power and runs a tight ship among the owners instead of being beholden to them. From what i’ve heard, he can and has forced lousy owners (cough, cough) to sell, and will threaten owners to shape up or else. If there was a “where are ya gonna go” incident in the NHL, someone from the league office probably would fly out to Cincinnati the next day, do crisis management and get the Castellinis to apologize immediately.

  2. Mark Moore

    First day of Fall … and my A/C is blowing cold here in my office. Current exterior temp at my house is 82 degrees with ONLY 69% humidity. Tomorrow looks like a significant drop with temps below 60 to start the day and remaining relatively low for a couple of days. It will feel good to kill the A/C and open the windows. Who knows … I may get crazy and flip on the little space heater tomorrow morning.

    As for the remainder of the season, whoever plays, plays. I’m not all out on Senzel, but I think we have better CF options (and they aren’t named Friedl). Until the bitter end, we ride out the storm and Clete when necessary. While I hate to see the WLB’s cruise into the playoffs, I’d still rather whip the Bernies than not in this next series.

    Next topics of any significance is who gets on the 40-man and who gets DFA’d. The rest is just window dressing.

    • Jim Walker

      Almost 90 here yesterday with humidity to match. Today there is an appropriate autumn feel to the air with a noon (EDT) temp of 63 and partly sunny.

      My wife insisted I call the HVAC folks to schedule the seasonal inspection and switchover (they send out a flyer for loyalty renewal which includes the switchovers and haven’t done so yet). The earliest available date for non trouble calls via the loyalty program was 27th of October. Guess maybe we will have to turn on the furnace humidifier and flip the air damper from “summer” to “winter” ourselves.

      It seems to be shaping up as an interesting early off season for the Reds. I believe they can formally nontender a player well ahead of the roster deadline for the Rule 5 draft. It will be interesting to see if and with whom they might follow that path versus DFA.

      The primary difference is that a player DFAed could be claimed on waivers and come under team control of the claiming team through his arbitration years versus players nontendered immediately becoming free agents. So, a team might try to work out a 2023 minor league deal w/ spring training invitation with a fringe player off the record then declare him nontendered and formalize onto the record.

      Why would a team do this? It saves a 40 man roster spot for the team and at the same time keeps them from losing a player who might be of use to them in the coming season at a known cost.

      Why would a player agree to such a deal? The deal guarantees him (typically) a low to middling 6 figure salary for the upcoming season and usually offers him walkaway opportunities during the 1st several months if he has not been put onto the MLB roster at a salary agreed to in the contract. That may be preferable to some players as opposed to the uncertainty of what would happen to them otherwise.

      Does it ever really happen? Kyle Farmer was nontendered between the 2020-21 seasons and less than an hour after his nontender was announced signed a minor league deal with the Reds. The rest, as they say is history.

  3. Stock

    Outside of Barrero and Senzel things are looking pretty bright.

    Has anyone noticed that Fairchild has an OPS north of .900 this year.

    Fraley has an OPS north of .900 since his recall.

    Aquino has five HR this month.

    The second half Greene has an ERA of 0.98 with a 25/1 K/BB rate. More importantly he has an ISO of .015 (one double in 67 AB in these three games. His OPS is .408.

    Nick Lodolo has an ERA of 3.14 in the second half and in his last four starts his ERA is 2.84 and his K/BB ratio is 38/4.

    Diaz and Sanmartin are proving to be quality RP.

    • LDS

      Senzel playing CF does look like a failure. He keeps getting injured. Maybe his hitting comes around at DH. As for Barrero? He will hit. Far, far too soon to give up on a guy, that has only 137 AB this year. Fraley? Let him go. He’s a relatively poor defender and lousy against LH’ers. Though his sample size is likewise too small to be definitive, not hitting LH’ers has been consistent. Aquino, the oldest and most experienced, is only 28 and has roughly 700 plate appearances. So, fairness, none have proven to be MLB failures. The off season will bring some tough calls and some folks will be gone. Solano, K. Farmer, hopefully Moustakas & Minor, and a few others are likely out of here. Some cost too much, etc. Can’t wait for the season’s end to see how this all plays out.

      • Doc

        Barrero has only 137 MAJOR LEAGUE ABs this year. But he also has a bucket load of ABs at Louisville. He hasn’t hit well at either stop.

      • BK

        @ LDS, I don’t think the Reds have enough talent to “let go” a player hitting 17 percent better than the average player … wake me when they do (pun intended). Seriously, he just needs a platoon partner (Fairchild or Hopkins are potential fits) and he needs to play LF–his arm is challenged in the other spots more than his speed or fielding skill. Bell has done a great job of maximizing his elite hitting vs. RHP with 87 percent of his PAs coming in those situations.

        @ Doc, Barrero raked at AAA last year (.986 OPS). He was on a fantastic trajectory a year ago … I’m not sure his injury explains the drastic change in production. It will be interesting to see if he rebounds. He really hasn’t struggled after his first year as a pro (keep in mind the long layoff he had after leaving Cuba).

      • 2020ball

        You would let go of a guy with one of the highest OPS’s on the team? That might be one of the most shortsighted things I’ve ever read on here, and there’s a lot of that going on in these parts.

        ….just…wow. Absolutely insane.

      • LDS

        How many platoon players can a team of 13 support? They need some folks that can hit from either side and fewer platoon and utility players. Do they have that? Nope.

      • 2020ball

        Yeah you’re right they dont, so why in the world are we getting rid of guys who are actually producing? Your fantasy players that can hit from both sides and play one position aren’t available because they are in very high demand. Your solutions for this team are absolutely delusional, its time to get realistic.

    • LDS

      Doc, he hit .306 in Louisville last year – .306/.392/.594/.986. To say that he’s never hit is factually inaccurate. Again, far too soon to write off a 24 year old.

    • Redsvol

      I’ve noticed @Stock. The team isn’t winning – mostly because pitching has been put together with bailing wire- but there are some individual wins like you pointed out.

      I think we’re still a half season away from having enough at bats to make judgement on many of the inexperienced position players. But, in general I’ve like the progress from the law firm of Friedl, Fraley & Fairchild. I also think Lopez would make a good bench player.

      However, I think we’ve seen enough of Senzel and Aquino. I could see the team keeping both or moving on from both.

      No way do you give up on Barerro. He hit everywhere he’s been up until this year’s hamate injury. He will hit again. The injury really screwed him up.

  4. David

    I recall Nick Senzel was a man without a position when he arrived at GABP. Eugenio Suarez was the 3rd baseman. Moustakas was going to play 2nd base (well, was that a fantasy, or what?).
    Nick has had bad luck. I wish it were otherwise. He can run and is athletic, so the thinking was he could play CF, where there was a need. He hustled and worked hard, and tried his best.
    He should play 2nd or 3rd, but younger prospects may be moving in there; India is at 2nd, and probably should be at 3rd. And maybe ends up in left field. Who knows?

    The larger picture is that the Reds are not very good. 2021 not withstanding, this has not been a really good team (overall) for a long time. 2012, 2013? Sure , they “made the playoffs” in 2020. In a 60 game season.

    It’s not David Bell, it’s not Nick Senzel, it’s not Jose Barrrero, although these guys are often scapegoats.
    They are in fourth place for a reason, and it’s not that much to do with how we think David Bell uses the bullpen.
    Hope springs eternal; maybe next year.

    Summer time has come and gone, my oh my…..

  5. old-school

    We are looking for hope Richard, squinting at the horizon for a time when the Reds have good SP, good relievers, good defense and a balanced offense that isnt out of it by Memorial Day. Good baserunning, speed, timely hitting and nice bullpen mgmt would be appreciated as well. Young players give hope but the Moose Final lap around the track in 2023 doesn’t quite qualify, nor does another reliever du jour playing for his 5th team in 7 years at age 33 or another Reds back up catcher hitting .159.

    The Big 3 and Diaz have given us some hope. Others have not. Mike Siani is in the lineup in CF tonight so next prospect up. By all reports, he is truly a good defensive CF.

    • Mark Moore

      +10,000 for “squinting at the horizon”

  6. Chas_Mac

    We definitely could keep going….Remember Bob-Steve? We hung our hopes on him until Deshields labeled him “unteachable”. Then there was Billy and Uncle Phil, Mesoraco and Blandino.

  7. Brian Rutherford

    I just wanted to say somewhere on here that Joey Votto is just an awesome dude and I consider myself lucky to have enjoyed his career as a member of my favorite team for his entire career. His fan engagement last night in the ballpark was phenomenal and should be applauded.

    I wanted to post this here because Reds twitter had someone with the handle “Old School” taking this opportunity to drag him down some more and throw shade at his accomplishments which I have seen from posters on here too many times to count.

    I wanted to stand up for the guy because I think he has brought way more value to the Reds and us as fans than the monetary value of his contract. To me he is the epitome of class and has been a great ambassador for the franchise and the sport.

    Thanks Joey. This fan appreciates your efforts and I hope you heal well and have a great year next year so you can shut people up.

    • 2020ball

      Those fans too have thrown shade all while there is no one ready to take first base over from him, no one even close in fact. Its blown my mind for years.

    • Old-school

      Joey Votto is my 2nd favorite Red of all time. Not sure what was on Reds Twitter as Im not on twitter or facebook or Tik Tok or instagram or whatever else is out there…. If the inference is overlap. Tweeting in the twitter-verse is most certainly not old-school. My most prized baseball card is a Joey signed Votto rookie card and I have a signed framed 2009 Votto picture on a wall.

      • Brian Rutherford

        @Old-school Not a direct comment towards you or the other person here who comments under a similar username. The twitter handle reminded me of this site and how much I used to enjoy it but for the mean-spirited ad hominem style comments that have become the norm.

        I mean no disrespect to you. It was a general comment on the state of the blog.

        The primary purpose was to applaud Joey Votto and say thanks to him. Thanks again Joey.

  8. Indy Red Man

    Well written Richard! Yeah thats the thing about prospects….they might look good for a while or here and there. Remember when Josh Van Meter hit 11 HRs or whatever it was in Louisville one April then the Reds called him up and he had a nice May for our Reds! He has a nice swing and seemed to be selective and I thought he might be a guy that could atleast platoon and be a positive in the lineup. Didn’t pan out and they usually don’t.

    Turns out professional sports are hard. I think they’re finally doing the right thing by stockpiling young talent. Its a numbers game like almost everything else in life.
    Sometimes you hit a HR with a prospect and they’re a no-doubt positive for your organization, but thats not that common

  9. indydoug

    Excellent article. Very much enjoy your writing style

  10. Redsvol

    Nice article Richard. The bias is a sign of the times. Humans in 21st century are all about the newest “shiny object”. Patience is gone in society and in sports.

    It took xander bogaerts over 600 mlb at bats to get to leave average. It took Jose Altuve about 1400 at bats to begin hitting. Even mike trout took 200 at bats to get comfortable. Bunch of players would have never made it if their managers and front offices gave up on them after few hundred at bats and 2 part time seasons. Some just want to give up after 200 at bats and bring up someone from Louisville that is barely at .700 ops.

    Reds can afford some patience. We aren’t going anywhere soon. Enjoy the journey.

    • Indy Red Man

      Senzel and Barrero though? It was posted here yesterday that Senzel was the 6th worst hitter in the NL (or MLB?) and Barrero is much worse. Yes patience is a virtue so if they want to make Senzel a utility player and run Aquino out there too then whats the difference? The light might come on for one of those guys.