As the 2022 season comes to a close, Redleg Nation diehards know all too well that we spent the past six months watching one of the worst teams ever assembled in the long history of the Cincinnati Reds franchise.

Creating a consistent player pipeline from the minors to the big-league team, along with payroll savings, are the clear objectives of the front office. Winning? Not so much, at least in the short run.

My objective for this article is to lay out a plan for 2023 that:

  1. Does not deter from the objective of developing players for the major league level
  2. Takes advantage of a very modest current payroll commitment for 2023
  3. Gives loyal Reds fans something better to watch

Key points to keep in mind:

  1. None of the team’s top position-player or pitching prospects is clearly ready to make the step from Class AAA Louisville. There are numerous top prospects at Class AA Chattanooga and below, but the jump from Class AA to the bigs is very rare. So there is at least a full year before the pipeline will be producing as is hoped.
  2. Cincinnati has only $46.5 million in major league payroll currently committed for 2023.
  3. The major-league pitching staff has guys who appear — as a group — to be able to do their part to keep the team competitive. The rest of the team — absolutely not.

40-man roster

Let’s start by building the pre-winter meetings 40-man roster, which will need to be finalized in November (prior to the Rule 5 draft at the Winter Meetings).

Nine players among Cincinnati’s top prospects will become eligible to be selected in this fall’s Rule 5 draft (according to Fangraphs) if they are not placed on the major-league 40-man roster before then:

Infielders:

  • Noelvi Marte
  • Elly De La Cruz
  • Ivan Johnson
  • Nick Northcut (the Class AA first baseman who came from Boston in the Tommy Pham trade. He’s coming off a 30-homer, 75 RBI season in the Red Sox system.)

Pitchers:

  • Brandon Williamson
  • Levi Stoudt
  • Lyon Richardson

Also, outfielder TJ Hopkins and catcher Daniel Vellojin.

(Names of top prospects you don’t see in this list are not eligible for Rule 5 selection until at least late 2023.)

Because the organizational priority is developing the pipeline from minor leagues to the big-league roster, we’ll start here. That’s nine of the 40 roster spots:

  • Pitchers: 3
  • Catchers: 1
  • Infielders: 4
  • Outfielders 1

Next, let’s add the pretty obvious choices: players under contract for 2023 and players already on the 40-man roster with team control remaining:

Pitchers:

  • Tejay Antone: 3 options, 3 contract control years remaining
  • Graham Ashcraft: 3, 6
  • Luis Cessa: 0, 1
  • Fernando Cruz: 3, 6
  • Alexis Diaz: 3, 5
  • Daniel Duarte: 3, 5
  • Justin Dunn: 3, 3
  • Buck Farmer, 0, 1
  • Hunter Greene: 3, 5
  • Jeff Hoffman: 0, 2
  • Derek Law: 0, 3
  • Nick Lodolo: 3, 6
  • Dauri Moreta: 2, 6
  • Connor Overton: 3, 5
  • Reiver Sanmartin: 2, 6
  • Tony Santillan: 1, 5
  • Lucas Sims: 0, 2
  • Jared Solomon: 2, 6

(Vladimir Gutierrez starts the year on the 60-day IL after his Tommy John surgery. Ian Gibaut, Ryan Hendrix, Joel Kuhnel and Art Warren do not make our 40-man roster.)

Catchers:

  • Tyler Stephenson: 2, 4

(None of the other five catchers on the current 40-man roster make ours.)

Infielders:

  • Jose Barrero: 2, 5
  • Kyle Farmer
  • Jonathan India
  • Mike Moustakas
  • Spencer Steer: 3, 6
  • Joey Votto

(Neither Alejo Lopez nor Matt Reynolds makes our 40-man roster.)

Outfielders:

  • Allan Cerda: 3, 6
  • Stuart Fairchild: 2, 6
  • Jake Fraley: 2, 4
  • TJ Friedl: 2, 6
  • Nick Senzel: 3, 3
  • Michael Siani: 3, 6

(Aristides Aquino does not make our 40-man roster. We chose to protect Hopkins from the Rule 5 draft after a 21-homer, 80-RBI season at Chattanooga and Louisville combined, instead of Aquino.)

Updated 40-man roster totals:

  • Pitchers: 21
  • Catchers: 2
  • Infielders: 10
  • Outfielders: 7

Essentially, this is the same cast of characters that has produced one of the worst records in franchise history.

Priorities for 2023 major-league improvement

1) Improve offense however possible. Aggressively pursue any major league player with an above-average batting record at the big-league level. The major league roster is populated with what are essentially a bunch of platoon position players. Focus on the outfield, in particular.

2) Improve infield defense. I’d move India to third base, where he played in college. He’s been brutal at second base this year. I’d prioritize acquiring a starting shortstop and second baseman (who are on short-term contracts). If they can’t get a second baseman, move Senzel there to lower the chances of him banging into outfield walls.

3) Stephenson is your catcher and probably best hitter. But he needs a competent backup. There has to be someone available who can be a better backup catcher (both defensively and offensively) than the motley crew we’ve witnessed this year.

This team’s pitching staff has the potential to be able to hold up their end of the deal with at-least average production. But the position players are nowhere near able to do that. The farm system is still years away from filling out a starting lineup with major-league caliber players.

In September, the Reds’ team batting slash was .211/.283/.358/.641. Essentially, a team of Billy Hamiltons with the bat. Will that improve with a return to health of many of the walking wounded? Certainly. But not enough to be even close to competitive.

If you run a team of Billy Hamiltons out there again in support of a starting pitching staff that appears to have great potential of three young studs, aren’t you actually “wasting” those pitchers’ years under team control? Much as the team has “wasted” most of Joey Votto’s career by not providing him adequate support?

With that in mind, here’s a plan for what can be done before Opening Day for noticeable improvement.

Starting Rotation

It appears somewhat safe to slot Greene, Lodolo and Ashcraft as the first three in the rotation. The hope, of course, is that they will show even more improvement with a full year of valuable experience behind them. Then, you fill out the rotation from a gaggle of guys you tell in training camp that they have a chance to compete for starting spots: Overton, Dunn, and Cessa to start with. Then you start working the phones with the agents of the many free agents and other veterans who are let go. You want at least five or six guys in that battle for the final two spots.

We also know from very sad history that we should plan for at least one of the starters we’re counting on to get hurt. This is another good reason to bring in as many live arms as are willing to show up.

Some may want Williamson to have a shot. I say he has to go back to Louisville early next year and improve on his 6.02 walks per nine innings. If I’m Derek Johnson, I’m telling the entire organization that nobody who is walking more than four batters per nine innings will toe a major league mound. As of Saturday evening, Cincinnati pitching had walked the most batters in the big leagues for the year — and by a pretty wide margin. That just has to stop. Only 16 of the 37 pitchers who appeared for the Reds this year had walks-per-nine less than 4.00. Through Saturday, the team total for the season was 3.84 walks per nine.

Bullpen

This could very well turn out to be the strength of the team in 2023. Diaz appears ready to be slotted into the closer’s role, and veteran righties Farmer and Law were largely dependable as seventh and eighth-inning options. Lefty Sanmartin had a 2.74 ERA as a reliever, and that definitely will play. Another lefty would be ideal, and — as is the case with starting pitchers — there will be many veterans looking for opportunities come spring. The most intriguing aspect of the bullpen is the possible healthy return of Sims, Antone and Santillan. Antone is coming off his second Tommy John surgery, so please be aware that the success rate after two such procedures is very low. If even one of the three can come back and return to their top form, that would be amazing.

I very much liked what I saw from Fernando Cruz, but the sample size is admittedly very small. He, Hoffman, and Moreta look like depth options for when inevitable injuries strike. There are many variables at play in the bullpen, but many could develop positively.

Catcher

I’m of the opinion that Stephenson should be moved to first base or DH to protect what appears to be a dynamic hit tool from the constant injuries he has suffered as a catcher. But for that to happen, there has to be another catcher on the roster who can perform at least at an average major league level offensively and defensively. That person does not exist in the system currently. I’d at least approach free agent Tucker Barnhart to see what his interest is in returning as a backup.

Infield

Votto is expected back at first base after his shoulder surgery, but at what fraction of his peak performance? Impossible to say. I’m hoping for a great probable final year under contract for Votto, but not expecting that. He’s essentially a platoon player to be used against righties at this point. I like Donovan Solano as a righty bat to fill out that platoon if they can bring him back.

India would move to third base as the everyday starter, and I’d like to find established starters at second and shortstop who would sign short-term deals. The free agent market doesn’t appear to have much to offer on those terms. As mentioned, that would mean Senzel would move to second base, and likely Farmer at short. Farmer makes all the plays he can reach, but lacks range.

Ideally, Farmer would be best suited as a jack-of-all-trades guy who would start somewhere any time a lefty is pitching against the Reds. Against lefties this year, he’s batted .309/.380/.568/.948.

Barrero has not earned serious consideration based on his performance this year. He’ll have to return to Louisville next year and hit like Roy Hobbs to reopen decision-makers’ eyes.

Steer may fill the utility infielder position held this year by Reynolds.

Outfield

I’m looking to add some major-league talent from outside the organization here. We know the Reds won’t be in play at the top end of the free agent market, but some names who might be forced to consider shorter-term contracts include:

  • Aledmys Díaz (age 32)
  • Corey Dickerson (33)
  • Adam Duvall (33)
  • Wil Myers (32, Padres likely to decline club option)
  • Tyler Naquin (32)
  • David Peralta (35)

None of the current outfielders on the current big-league roster strikes me as being ready to hit productively as an everyday player. That may change with some additional minor league seasoning for some of them. They all have options left, and there should be no sacred cows. Play the guys who show they can hit and field the best. End of story.

It’s my belief that lefty batters Friedl and Fraley will be in the best position to succeed in platoons with righty batters Fairchild and perhaps Myers.

Designated hitter

As was the case this year, this will likely be someone different every day, based on matchups.

Trades

I expect Nick Krall to continue to trade with a focus on exchanging experienced players for prospects. But if I was his boss, I would tell him to keep his eyes open to available players in the $5-million to $10-million range with one or two years left on their contracts.

Outcome

  1. No minor leaguers truly ready for the majors will be blocked, meaning the pipeline development process continues.
  2. The major league team will be more entertaining to watch.
  3. If the injury epidemic can be reduced, this could be a team that is semi-competitive — maybe in the mid-70ish win range.

What do you think? Let’s talk about it below!

126 Responses

    • John Neiweem

      Sell and move the team and end the humiliation

      • Bill

        Amen. Never going to be competitive with this owner and this dribble of current talent. Nice guys but not even a competitive AAA roster. Not the least convinced that “player development” is even conceivable. This group as a whole is about as good as they are going to get. 60-102 is where they are going to stay. Dream on if you think this roster will ever play +500 baseball. Glad I don’t own season tickets and won’t in the foreseeable future. Changing managers won’t make much difference unless Jesus is available to coach, play, pitch and pinch hit

  1. Rut

    Sounds not all that different than this year.

    I mean, Reds FO can say they signed the veteran OF (Pham) and veteran SP (Minor) — the above list sure sounds similar to that.

    We are also likely to get the 2023 version of “we have Jack for that” when the FO points to veteran Moose and Joey and how they expect big things upon their return.

    Add in a few articles from Nightingale et al about how Stephenson is ready for a monster year and India has worked all off-season and is “in the best shape of his life”, and there you go. Just apply enough spin and some glossy lipstick on this pig of a franchise and this ownership group will smile, sit back, and say “see? We did our job”…

    • Jeffrey Oakley

      You are absolutely correct. The only thing missing is one of the Carneys, either Phil or Bob talking about the great food they will have, and the $300,000 changing room for the moms out there…and don’t forget the bobbleheads and rolling the old guys out for the Hall of Fame weekend.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      There is similarity in what happened this year. One of my main points is that, in my opinion, if they just put the same guys out there that we’re watching right now, there is a pretty decent chance of an all-time bad record. Get some established veterans who can give us a reason to watch and a chance to win a few games.

    • Kerrick

      Keep in mind, the Reds will want a couple open spots for the Rule 5 draft. They will pick 3-4. I see our roster being 38 at the highest by 2 weeks after the World Series.

      • Tomq

        I agree. I think they should dump Moose and Solomon, and maybe Aquino, but I would hold on to Lopez and let him have a shot at 2nd in the spring. I would hold on to Solano. None of the free agent outfielders you list is appealing. T

    • Kerrick

      Why is my comment awaiting moderation?

      • Doug Gray

        Because you used a different username with an email address you have used for another one, thus the system flagged you as a new user needing an approved comment.

  2. Jeffrey Oakley

    You lost me at no position player in the minors is ready. If that is the case then they have even more problems than they let on. You want me to care, bring up the kids and let them sink or swim like every other organization in baseball is doing nowadays. Cut bait with Senzel and send Barrero back. Forget this team ever trading or getting anything in Free agency. They also need to eat the Moose contract. When they do these things I will start caring. I went from four season tickets to going to the ballpark exactly one time this year…to watch highschool baseball. The carnival that is Phil and Bob will never get another dollar from me again.

    • docproc

      This. I get that none of the top prospects might break camp with the big-league team in March. But by April or May, when the team is off to another horrendous start, I will only have interest if guys named De La Cruz, Encarnacion-Strand, and McLain start getting called up. And yes, please cut bait on Senzel, Barrero, and most of all Moose.

      • Shawn

        A lot better f Barrero problems is because he was brought up to early. Can’t do the same thing again. We are not going to make the playoffs next season. No reason to rush them.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Jeffrey, my belief is that it would not be a good idea to break camp with De La Cruz or Encarnacion-Strand on the big-league roster or even as a starting player, no matter how well they perform in the spring. Neither has any Class AAA experience. Rushing players to the bigs is bad business. Let these guys do big-time damage at Louisville before bringing them up.

      • greenmtred

        absolutely, Tom. Your proposal differs from business as usual in that the thrust of it is protecting the good number of excellent prospects in the system. We’re all shell-shocked by how bad this season has been, but many of us recognized that the rebuild was unlikely to start paying dividends before 2024.

      • Jon Pierce

        Reds organization is an abject failure from top to bottom. It’s a reflection of the Castellini incompetence and greed.

      • greenmtred

        I’m pretty sure that Doug can tell you that the farm system is well-regarded.

      • Thomas

        Juan Soto, Acuna, Trout, Buxton all had either no or very minimal AAA experience. EDLC has a similar pedigree. If he shows he’s ready in ST, you go north with him.

        Take the best players and electrify the fanbase.

  3. Doc4uk

    I like bringing Senzel back into the Infield and moving India to 3B but that ignores how badly Farmer hit when playing SS vs any other position he played. I feel like there will be at least a couple of players who make the jump from AA to the Reds to start 2023. I also think one of the AA pitchers will make the jump. Guess we will see To me it is the only move that will put fans in the stands. Also agree with demoting Barrero. He seems clueless at the big league level and I have doubts he will ever hit more than .250 at that level.

    Still excellent summation of the 40. Now who will be dropped when FA’s are added?

      • MadMike

        Tom, excellent and well researched article!

        I think Cessa will get flipped this offseason, possibly before the 40 man gets finalized to free up a spot. He is in the last year of control, and shown enough to get something valuable back. He’s one of the few trade chips left.

  4. Hotto4Votto

    Ok. You put a lot of work into this, and with so many options and directions to choose from, rational minds may disagree.

    First: On who to protect. I would not protect Richardson. He’s not been healthy at all, and when he has he hasn’t exactly excelled or risen through the levels. The Reds have many other options rising up in the pitching corps. He’s left unprotected.

    Likewise, Vellojin hasn’t really hit much at all and isn’t so good defensively teams won’t care to select him and stash him. I’m also not sold on protecting Northcut because I think we have better options in McGarry and CES to play 1B.

    Ultimately I protect Williamson, Stoudt, Marte, ELDC, Gilliam, Johnson, and Hopkins.

    Then on the 40-man:
    Baseball reference says Buck Farmer had 5.018 days of service time coming into 2022 and is FA bound in 2023. So I don’t think he’s able to be protected as he should be a FA. So I’ll take him off and add Gibaut back. I’ll also remove Solomon in favor of Hendrix who I believe has more upside.

    Also, for the purposes of the 40-man, Gutierrez has to be on it until he can moved back to the 60-day (when the season starts?). So with Williamson and Stoudt that makes 21 pitchers.

    Agree that Stephenson is the only C I protect.

    INF: I eat Moose’s contract. I keep Lopez over him. In the OF I agree with the mix you have, although I’m adding both Gilliam and Hopkins to that group.

    So ultimately I have 21 pitchers, 1 Catcher, 9 INF, 8 OF’ers.

    That leaves one spot to add another C through FA or trade. Moving Gutierrez to the 60-day will open another spot for OD. There will probably be other injuries (unfortunately).

    I roll with Stephenson, Votto, India, Barrero, Steer, (Farmer DH vs LHP, TBD vs RHP), Fraley, Friedl, Fairchild as the everyday 9. Let them develop together.

    Rotation: Greene, Lodolo, Ashcroft, and two of Cessa/Dunn/Overton.
    Bullpen: TBD through ST with Diaz, Sims, Antone, SanMartin, Hoffman, Santillan having a leg up if healthy.

    Probably not worried about FA signings. Let the kids play. Bring up Williamson, Stoudt, Phillips, Abbott (etc) and EDLC, CES, McLain, (etc) when they’re knocking at the door. Hopefully about mid-season next year if they all handle AAA.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Regarding Buck Farmer, my understanding of his 5.018 years of service time is that he would have to have spent a full year on the big-league roster this year to reach six full years. He did not. He spent considerable time in Louisville. He has been probably the team’s second-best reliever over the last two-plus months, and I want the team to hold on to anyone who shows they can retire major league hitters.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Looking through game logs, you’re probably right and baseball reference is wrong about him becoming a FA in 2023. I have forgotten parts of this season (mercifully) and had thought he’d been up most, if not all of the season. He was down almost all of May and June. So unless those days were ML IL or re-hab days he was not up long enough. By a quick count he accumulated somewhere around 115 days of ST this season (though that’s sure to be off some just based on games played). So he’ll probably fall somewhere near the 5.135 days of service time falling short of being a FA.

        So yeah, if the Reds control him, keep him. Though I’d still also keep Gibeaut. Adding back Farmer brings my count to 40, with Gutierrez able to come off to add a C by OD.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        I’ve liked the fact that Gibaut throws strikes more often than most of the current relief staff. But I like what I’ve seen of Farmer’s and Law’s stuff better.

  5. Jim Walker

    Good and exhaustive work Tom. My only real divergence is relegating Fairchild to platoon status when he appears to be a slightly better than league average hitter versus RH pitching.

    Until a better option comes along, I don’t think the Reds should sit anyone who looks like a league average or better hitter against same side pitching just to accommodate a platoon.

    Get Fraley a 1B mitt and get him up to speed at 1B, Use him and Votto in the DH and 1B slots against RH pitching. Alternately, use Fairchild as the DH versus RH pitching with Fraley and Votto both in the field.

    Also, I don’t know that I would use the 40 man spot assigned to Hopkins for Aquino, but given a Rule 5 draftee has to stay on the drafting team’s active MLB roster all season or be offered for return, it is probably a waste of a spot to put Hopkins on the 40 man unless he grades out a guy an MLB team would carry in its 26rh spot as a superior defender.

    And I think it is time to wish Senzel all the best in the world somewhere else.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Jim, I hope you are right about Fairchild, that he hits so well that he can’t be kept out of the everyday lineup. But none of the outfielders on the current roster (or my proposed 40-man roster) strikes me as having that potential.

      • Jim Walker

        Fairchild’s current MLB OPS+ for the season (all MLB teams) is 112 (100PAs); with the Reds only> 132 (89PAs)

        Fraley’s OPS+ for the season is 122 (234PA)

        Friedl’s MLB OPS+ for the season is 100 even (256 PA)

        Freidl is treading water on league average OPS but Fraley is sure to finish above 100. Fairchild will too unless he hangs multiple game 0fers in the last 3 games.

        Frieldl’s OPB is tail dragging a little at .313 but Fraley is .348 and Fairchild is .360. So, it is not like they are boom or bust dependent on slugging.

      • Daytonnati

        I like the idea of bringing Barnhart back. Solid citizen, great D and TySteve could spell JV at first.

      • Tar Heel Red

        I agree with you Tom. IMO the team cannot go into next season with the current OF. They have to dip into the free agent market for at least one, and possibly two, OF’ers, preferably right-handed hitter. Fraley and Friedl could hold down one spot, but I don’t see any others contributing in ’23.

  6. DX

    Senzel to 2B? Seriously? You want the loyal Reds fans to have something better to watch yet Senzel at 2B? Have your read Senzel’s stat line. He can’t hit.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      The article said my preference is to acquire an established major-league veteran on a short-term contract to play second, but I looked at the list of pending free agents and didn’t see any that jumped out as good fits on a likely financial fit basis.

      • Harry Stoner

        I’d try Senzel at 2b. What have the Reds got to lose?

        If you look back over his tenure in Cincinnati, when he was playing second over a brief spell it was one of his more productive stints.

        I think the move to CF was not a good one despite what some folks here like to get worked up about that.

        Trading or shelling out for (yet another) SS or a 2nd basemen seems like diluting your availble Castellini bucks too thinly.

        Better in my mind to put it into the outfield and catcher.

        The Moose-Go-Round is going to continue for another year.

        He’d have to show up for ST overweight and out of shape and suffering repeated injuries before anyone thinks of dumping his salary.

        Wait…..

  7. Tyler Hartley

    Decent plan.

    Prove to the fans you actually want to go for it for once with a young core.

    India to 3rd, maybe Farmer to 2B, one big OF signing (Benintendi .. Nimmo) one big IF signing (Dansby…) one starting pitcher that is mid range or better (not minor bad to save money) and then prepare your guys to mix in within the year or year in a half. What they do with the minors guys matters most. Have an actual plan for Elly, Matt, Strand, Stroud, Williamson, and all of those guys and stick to it and make sure they are protested

    Just show us there is a PLAN

  8. Fanman

    I agree alot with your assessment Tom. Rotation looks very promising with the Big 3 rookies. Greene, Ashcraft and Lodolo. Then final 2 spots, open competition with Overton, Cessa, Dunn, Stoudt, Williamson, veteran free agents. Bullpen locks, Diaz, Sims, Cruz, Santillan. Sign an effective lefty. Open competition from there. C-Stephenson, veteran backup. Barnhart/free agent. 1B-Votto, Stephenson, Strand. 2b- India SS- Up until the last few weeks, I had Barrero here. Now, not ready to give up on him. Open competition. Barrero, DeLaCruz, McClain. Farmer there as insurance and hold it down until prospect ready. 3b-Senzel, Farmer, Steer. Lf-Free agent middle of the order bat. Cf- Siani, Senzel, Rf-Fraley, Aquino, DeLaCruz. Dh-Moose?, Stephenson, Strand?. Reserves…Solid veteran catcher F.A. IF-Steer, Farmer, Senzel, McClain. OF- Friedl, Fairchild, Senzel.

  9. LDS

    Well thought out Tom. Though we differ in some particulars, e.g., I’d rid myself of Farmer, Moustakas, and Fraley in favor of some affordable FAs. Certainly, I’d keep Lopez over Farmer. He’ll likely hit better. I’m not at all optimistic about Sims & Antone being effective. Votto deserves his farewell tour but shouldn’t be starting every day and almost never against a LH’er. Sadly, at this point, you may have put more effort into this than the Reds front office – if history is any indication.

    • Harry Stoner

      As much as I agree…I don’t think the Reds have the eggs to get rid of any of the three you mention.

      “Intangible” reasons to keep them all, all of which is part of the current stagnant thinking of the team.

      I would add Stephenson to the mix of “I’m not entirely optimistic” along with Sims and Antone. TS is coming back from a pretty serious injury to a complex area.

      I see his return to form as a big question mark and not to be prematurely banking on.

      Off loading Lopez so you could keep a Ryan Hendrix (or mercy, Reynolds) would be a big mistake.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        Regarding Lopez, the decision was Barrero and Steer over him. Lopez has a good contact bat, but really not much else — no power, not speedy, not good defensively. His likely career scenario will be as a “punch-and-judy” hitter (as I remember old-timers saying) 😉 I don’t think any team will select him Rule 5, because he isn’t likely to develop any more than what he currently is: Probably a .270 singles hitter. That’s not bad, but you need more than that to be a regular major league player.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      If it were up to me, Moustakas would be released. But I was trying to frame this exercise from a perspective that would reflect what we think the front office would be willing to do. Until they show that they will eat a $15-million contract, I’m not going to presume that it’s possible.

      If Elon Musk owned the Reds, I’d say they should go all-in on Aaron Judge. 😉 But that’s not where we are.

      • LDS

        It’s sad that I look at Lopez and see a .270 singles hitter as a major upgrade on this team.

  10. Rednat

    good stuff Tom. I think we reds fans just have to come to the sad but true realization that we are going to be bad for quite some time. Eventually the cardinals and brewers will ” come back to earth” when their veterans retire but until then there is simply no way we will be able to compete with them any time soon. to be honest even the cubs and pirates are light years ahead of us at this point.
    we would have to go out and basically get at least 5 veteran position players and a dh to be competitive and that ain’t going to happen.

    I think the key question for next year is honestly, what do you do with Greene, Lodolo, India and Stephenson? they are probably the only reds left with any trade value at all. Do we go ahead and break this thing down all the way to the nub for a rebuild? ethically, is it fair to keep these players trapped on a bad team for the rest of their contract? probably for the good of the league, they should be moved to a more competitive team.

    • Harry Stoner

      Trading Lodolo would be an act of organizational suicide.

      He’s headed towards a major, major career.

      Castillo was bogged down with a mediocre team for years but was able to cash in big with the Mariners.

      I’m not worried about the contractual ethics for Greene or Lodolo.

      They’re already doing fine for themselves and good health withstanding are set for major paydays in their lives be it with the Reds or someone else.

      They may be the only reasons to watch the team over the next few years.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        Harry, that was one of the motivators for doing this article. There’s a decent chance this team is going to have some standout starting pitching and completely waste it for the next two or three years. Get some veteran position players in here for the next year or two to help rebuild a culture that appears to be completely shattered based on what we’re seeing over the past month or so.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      @Rednat: I’m not sure how much more there is to break down. 😉

      • Rednat

        i just feel bad for these guys i guess. not sure how long their contracts are but how many 100 loss seasons like this one can these players take?psychologically this season I think really took a toll on India especially. he just doesn’t seem like the same player

      • greenmtred

        also, trade them for what? they’re relatively cheap and under team control for awhile–i include ashcraft in this–and may well be the foundation of strong staff for the reds.

  11. MBS

    Hoffman, Law, Sims, Richardson, Solomon, Senzel, Moustakas, K. Farmer, and Vellojin are not locks to me. I would add Lopez to my 40 man. If Free is also susceptible, I’d add him, I though he was eligible for the rule 5, but I could be wrong.

    If the Reds are to improve then these would be the names that I would sacrifice, to add in new blood.

  12. Optimist

    2 moves that would prove interesting are unloading Moose, and having a payroll in excess of 125m.

    The latter is extremely unlikely, but would mean they sign two serious FAs.

    The former is the real necessity – there are about 10 guys on your 40 man list to package with Moose in a salary dump/recoup costs move. Anything to get about 1/2 that salary off the books.

    That said, thanks for the summary and list – it’s what will make the winter interesting.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      They’ve already stated that they won’t package prospects with bad contracts. That was what Dick Williams did in the Homer Bailey trade.

      • Optimist

        Oh yes, to clarify, I was thinking of packaging those on the current 26 man roster – I suspect Fraley, Aquino, Friedl and some of the RPs have value in excess of their contracts – add those to Moose and see what they can get.

        Moose is owed, what – 18m for 2023? Get that down to 10-12 and make the deal. Would adding Senzel do that?

        Keep Siani and everyone else who has yet to appear in MLB.

    • Jim Walker

      The Reds could give Moose the Allen Craig treatment and allow him to decide for himself how much he wants the $24m (2023 salary+ 2024 option buyout) left on his contract.

      Allen Craig turned out to be one of the Cardinals contract mistakes. In March of 2013, the Cards signed him to a 5 year extension worth $31m guaranteed (including a $1m option buyout against $13m for 2018). At the trade deadline in 2014, the Cards sent him to Boston where he became a bust.

      In May of 2015, the BoSox optioned Craig to AAA then subsequently outrighted him off their 40 man roster. He chose to accept the outright rather than forfeit the remaining contract money. The Bosox later put Craig back onto their 40 man roster only to outright him again. And again, Craig accepted the outright. He spent all of 2016 on the Pawtucket AAA roster (injured much of the time) before eventually being released from the AAA roster by the BoSox in on June 30, 2017

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allen_Craig

      Moose is a sunken cost of $24m to the Reds. If the they can’t move him over the winter, they could outright him in the spring. If somebody bites on waivers, the Reds would be off the hook. If Moose rejected the outright, the Reds would be off the hook. The worst case scenario is that the Reds pay down the $24m with Moose at AAA until somebody is willing to take him in trade or he proves he can stay healthy and be a contributor with the Reds/

  13. Kerrick

    I liked your article. Couple changes I would make tho.

    I wouldn’t add Northcut to the roster. He only played 25 games at AA and had a 35% K rate for the season. No one would draft him. Lyon Richardson wouldn’t be drafted either. I would let Solomon walk. That saves 3 roster spots.

    You mentioned Gutierrez being on the DL. He still has to be on the 40 man roster 2 weeks after the World Series.

    I believe Buck Farmer is a FA but not sure

    I would protect Alejo Lopez

    If I were the Reds, I wouldn’t add any free agent pitchers. Lodolo, Greene, Ashcraft get 3 spots. Cessa, Overton, DunnWilliamson and Stoudt compete for the 4-5 starter spots. This season should be for seeing what we have. Same goes for relievers. Need to give the players we have in our system a chance so we know what we have for next season

    If the Reds spend money. It should be for a back up catcher and a corner outfielder that are more than one year filler.

    • Optimist

      MLB teams need 8-9 starters. Williamson and Stoudt could get late season callups for some of those, but you still need 300-500 ip from starters not currently in the organization.

    • Jim Walker

      BB_Reference and Cot’s contracts both indicate Buck Farmer will in fact be a free agent at the end of the 2022 season,

      • Doug Gray

        I can only speak to baseball reference here, but it says the earlier he could be a free agent is 2023, not that he will be. Had he spent the entire season in the big leagues I believe he would have qualified as a free agent, but he didn’t spend the entire season in the big leagues. I don’t believe he has enough service time to become a free agent if the Reds keep him on the 40-man.

      • Jim Walker

        Cot’s has him at 5.018 coming into 2022. BB_Ref does not show any MLB game appearances between May 8 and July 9. The bean counters are going to have to figure it out I guess but it looks you probably have it right he is short.

      • doofus

        Dude, has the best beard on the team.

  14. Mark Moore

    I’ll need to read this a couple more times, but I like that general direction. I would not have 3M on the 40, but I get why you didn’t head that direction. Too bad he can’t be optioned to AAA 😀

    My bigger wish aside from the C’s selling the team would be coaching staff changes, especially where hitting is concerned. I know they guys are all tired and frustrated, but the lack of plate discipline still gnaws at me (for obvious reasons). That has to be an opportunity to improve that would garner us a few more wins.

    Great stuff, Tom. Looking forward to the extended conversation as we wait out these last three (likely) miserable games.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Mark, my feeling is that if these guys were good hitters, they would be hitting. What I have been waiting for — for literally decades — is for a Reds prospect to completely dominate a league to the extent that there is no doubt that player belongs as a starter in the bigs. I want to see a minor-league all-star team develop at Louisville this year so that these guys come to the bigs with the confidence and even swagger that “bleep yeah I belong here.” None of the young players on this team currently have that background. Maybe I’m asking too much.

  15. BK

    Tom, thanks for thoughtfully laying all of this out. A couple of places I differ … neither Richardson nor Vellojin should be protected. Richardson last pitched in High A in 2021 to a 5.09 ERA and has been injured since the end of the 2021 season. Vellojin didn’t break the Mendoza line at AA. Even if another team picks one of these players, I’m not sure we should care.

    On your bullpen, I would drop Solomon. His performance at Louisville and with the Reds was abysmal. If the Reds like his potential, sign him as a MiLB FA. This is a route I would at least consider with Cruz and Law as well, although I believe the Reds have the 40-man roster spots to cover these two as of now.

    You will need a 40-man spot for Vladimir Gutierrez for the offseason. He can’t go to the 60-day IL until spring training starts. For this reason, he may lose his spot this winter and receive a MiLB FA offer.

    Lastly, I would continue playing Steer at either 2B, 3B, or corner OF. Bringing in a ML FA to replace Steer works against the rebuild and violates one of the guiding principles you laid out at the start of the article–all of which I agree with. He went through an adjustment period at AAA and was mashing at the end of 71 games there. It’s simply too early to relegate him to a utility role.

    I would add Conforto to your list of potential FA outfielders. GABP could be an attractive place for him to rebuild value after missing this season.

    Thanks again for putting this together.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      BK, thanks for the kind words. You and others have pointed out the error with Gutierrez. And I think Conforto would be a good target, but many other teams probably feel the same. My listings focused on guys in their 30s who have already gotten their “big” contract and who are now unlikely to get another big contract due to age and-or lack of high-level performance.

  16. Amarillo

    I don’t think any of Johnson, Vellojin, Northcut, or Richardson get drafted if they are unprotected, and Cerda is so far away from being ML ready that I expect him to be DFA’d and retained. A couple of putfielders I go after and try to high roll include Cody Bellinger amd Michael Conforto.
    Great post, the only thing I disagree with is the specific players to protect which is an extreme nitpick. Might also be worth mentioning that Elly, Encarnacion-strand, Williamson and Stoudt are likely midseason callups and Marte/McLain/Abbott/Roa could be potential late season callups.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Mine is only one opinion. 🙂 One of the purposes of this post was to generate other thoughts and opinions.

    • Doug Gray

      I will be absolutely beyond shocked if they don’t protect Richardson (unless they know something about his recovery that the rest of us don’t).

      • Amarillo

        Even though he hasn’t pitched this year and most recently pitched at High-A? I concede to your expertise, but that feels like a player who wouldn’t be drafted. I could be wrong of course.

      • Doug Gray

        He’s a former 2nd round draft pick who has thrown in the upper 90’s and doesn’t walk guys. Someone would probably take him. Level for pitchers matters far less than for position players with regards to the Rule 5. Teams can and do hide a guy in the bullpen to keep them around and try to develop them at the big league level. A lot tougher to do with a position player.

        Gotta think back to two years ago: Someone took Mac Sceroler.

      • BK

        They also eventually returned Sceroler; he wasn’t ready and underperformed on a very bad Baltimore Orioles team. I’m not sure we should be worried about losing Richardson.

      • Doug Gray

        Sure, they returned him. But he never had the stuff that Richardson does, either. And a team still took a chance on him (even though no one seemed to understand why outside of the Orioles).

      • BK

        I’m looking forward to your analysis on RML when we get closer to the end of November.

  17. Votto4life

    We plan, Bob Castellini laughs.

    You put a lot of thought into this Tom and I appreciate the effort.

    The Castellini obviously don’t care about winning. They don’t care about making the Reds competitive. They don’t care about making the Reds interesting. The Castellinis only care about keeping the payroll low.

    Tyler Stephenson and Jonathon India will be the next to go. Nick Lodolo and Hunter Green after that. I really think one or more will be moved this winter to dump Moustakas’ contract.

    The good news is despite what little Phil says, I think the Castellini are planning to sell the team. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      I think they care about winning, but not as much as they care about what their financial statements say.

      • Votto4life

        Sorry I disagree. The Castellini have done nothing the past two seasons to show they have even a slight interest in winning.

      • Daytonnati

        You know, watching the Cardinals coordinate that curtain call for Pujols, Wainwright, and Yadi was a thing of beauty. As much as I’ve hated those guys over the years, you have to stand and applaud. The Cardinals get it! Smart enough to jettison Albert on the downside of this arc and bring him back in time to cash in on the 700 chase. In the metaverse, maybe we could have had something similar with Joey, Cueto, and Bruce??

    • doofus

      Why would the Castellini’s sell? They have a sure revenue stream from TV contracts, etc. whether the team wins or not. This is why prospective owners fall all over themselves bidding to snag any franchise that is up for sale, even losing franchises.

      • Votto4life

        Doofus, as I said it’s probably wishful thinking on my part. But, Bob Castellini is old and probably won’t be with us all that much longer. I am hoping Little Phil will want to cash out when his father is gone.

        Only time will tell, but the Castellinis haven’t taking any steps in the past couple of years to ensure Major League Baseball strives in this market, quite the opposite. They have been taking steps that owners generally take when they getting ready to sell.

        Again, it’s likely wishful thinking on my part, but the Castellinis selling the team, is all the hope I have left for this franchise.

    • TR

      The Castellini’s are undoubtedly a success in the wholesale produce business and whatever other business they have an interest in. But they, obviously, are not a success as ML baseball controlling owners. Drastically cutting payroll and reverting to another rebuild is not the answer. They promised another World Series in Cincinnati 17 years ago and the team has not come close since. It’s time for them to go. New principal ownership is needed. I appreciate the work done to analyze the players needed and their positions on the field. But winning begins at the top and that area is the #1 need for the Reds to be turned around after this disastrous season.

      • Votto4life

        TR, this is by far the best comment in this entire thread. The Reds will not be on the road to recovery until the Castellinis are long gone.

        We can discuss what should be done, but none of it will matter until the Reds have an owner who cares about winning.

        I do believe the Castellinis will sell the team within the next five years. My opinion is based solely on a guess, perhaps it’s just wishful thinking.

        For the the past couple of years, the Castellinis have taken the steps that are generally taken before an owner sells a team. Not only have they cut payroll, but they have done their best to avoid future contractual obligations.

        They have also shown an indifference towards losing. After all, the Reds refused to fire their manager even after the 3-22 start.

        I think these are all signs the Castellini’s are looking to sell soon.

        Again, it may just be wishful thinking on my part, But I truly do hope it happens soon before the Castellinis completely destroy Major League Baseball in this market.

      • Big Bob's Burner

        You might be overrating their current success. The Williams and Castellinis families are in increasingly obsolete businesses. Dick left the GM role to aid the families commercial real estate biz that COVID and WFH wrecked. The Castellini riches were largely a lucky moment in time, as the only option farmers had to market 100 years ago, they raised rates. They are currently laying off workers in an attempt to consolidate and update the business model. It’s entirely possible both families are broke and intend to run the team with payrolls similar to the pirates and take the guaranteed revenue each year.

        Depends on your mileage, if you were a recently broke trust fund baby, would you take the guaranteed, but somewhat small in comparison, yearly revenue? Or would you take the lump sum and sell?

      • TR

        Votto4life: Thank you for the compliment. We’re on the same wave length regarding the future of our favorite ML team. Those of us who have a work history know that achievement in an organization starts at the top. I go back to the days of owner Warren Giles and GM Gabe Paul. They kept the Reds in the action, were enthusiastic, and good crowds showed up at Crosley. That’s missing today. I hope it won’t take five years for the Castellinis, especially the COO, the Chief Operating Officer, to be gone. Until the Reds have positive change at the top of the organization, nothing of real importance is going to happen.

  18. TJ

    No way the Reds eat Moose’s contract. Unless he retires, I don’t think the Reds would pay Moose not to play, until after the all-star break.
    I live in Southern Illinois so I don’t see a ton of Red’s games, but I see my share. How is India’s defense lacking? I’m sure I’ve seen some errors here and there, but I’m not able to see his short comings on a consistent basis (some would say that’s a good thing). Just asking…..Does he have bad range, inaccurate or weak arm, makes bad decisions? Thanks.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Fangraphs says India is the second-worst defensive second baseman out of 153 players rated this year, with a defensive runs saved rating of -6.5. The eye test tells me he is not at all smooth at second. I suspect a switch back to his college position can’t be any worse.

      • Doc

        India has only one spot worse he can get defensively, and as many as 150+ spots he can get better. What is to lose moving him to 3B since we haven’t been able to establish a regular 3B this year?

        Moving Senzel to 2B would be interesting. It would be admitting having made a huge mistake trying to make an outfielder out of him. I’d give him a one year shot at 2B with India at 3B. If his hitting doesn’t come around, then I hope he invested his signing bonus well.

        I’d like to see a young, dynamic new manager. Tucker Barnhart could manage as well as what we’ve experienced the last three years.

    • Rednat

      i think it is more psychological with India. it just doesn’t seem like his heart is in it right now. he is playing with “one foot out of the door” like he is expecting a trade. I agree with Votto for life above, I don’t think the sell off is quite over yet.

  19. Mike McSorley

    Great column! I like your thinking but can’t agree with all you choices, but, hey, what’s baseball without arguments (or legitimate discourse). I like the thought of pursuing veterans in the 5-10 million range. One that springs to mind is Jose Iglesias, who had a $5 mil, one-year contract with Colorado. Oh yeah he hit around .300 all year and played excellent shortstop. It probably won’t happen though because the Reds let him go several seasons ago when he was making $3 mil … if he had stayed, shortstop would not have become a black hole. Well, “if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”

    • Tom Mitsoff

      I absolutely loved Iglesias when he was with the Reds. He would be an ideal stopgap player at shortstop for a year while Barrero and De La Cruz figure things out at Louisville. That would allow Farmer to fill his ideal role, playing one of many positions each time the Reds face a lefty.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        And Iglesias will be available. He’s finishing out a one-year, $5-million contract with Colorado.

    • ryan

      Marty once called him “the best defensive shortstop he’d seen” obviously forgetting Ozzie Smith

  20. Oldtimer

    I have no idea who makes the 40 man roster but if history repeats, the following may be relevant:

    1982 (101 L). 1983 (88 L) and 1984 (92 L). 1985 competitive again with new manager in late 1984.

    2022 (99 L and counting). 2023 and 2024 below .500 W-L. 2025 competitive gain with new manager (not David Bell).

  21. KYPODMAN

    There will only be 1 year FA signings for next year if anything. After next season, when the contracts for Voto and Moose are off the books the team will be sold to new owners who can then build the team back with a clean slate and no players tied to multi-year contracts.

    • Rednat

      this makes the most logical sense to me. let’s just get through next year. no need for major managerial changes or big signings. we are going to stink. it will be a sentimental year for Joey. It will be the end of an era and then start fresh with 2024. I think the big question do you keep anybody at all from this team? can these young players psychologically recover from what will probably be two 100 loss seasons in a row or do you just cut bait and start totally fresh

      • Doc

        Maybe, given the surgical repair, Joey pulls off a Pujols year.

      • KYPODMAN

        some are back, some not
        catchers – Stephenson, Barnhart (FA)
        infielders – Votto, Mouse, Solano, Senzel, India, Farmer
        outfielders – W. Myers (FA), Naquin (FA), Friedl, Fairchild, Fraley
        starters – Lodolo, Ashcraft, Greene, Overton, Cessa
        bullpen – Sanmartin (LH), Law, Cruz, Diaz, Farmer, Sims, Santillan, LH (FA)

  22. Klugo

    Wake me up when ownership holds up their end. I dont even care at this point anymore.

    • Doc

      Just the fact that you commented shows that you care!

  23. Joe

    Does Lodolo really have 6 years left? I thought he did then someone brought up he may have come up too early for that. He may not have spent enough time in AAA this year

    • Tom Mitsoff

      As I remember, he was optioned to Louisville after spring training, and then brought back to the Reds after only a few days. I’m not familiar enough with how those service time years are calculated to know for sure if he still has six years left or only five.

      • Joe

        Thanks for the reply. I’m sure the weird delay to the season will not make it easy to calculate.

      • Doug Gray

        He has 5 as of now. If he is optioned to the minors again that could change the math.

      • Jim Walker

        Could they get him under 172 for 2022 by optioning him now?

        If somebody didn’t see this coming in a 100 loss season, I’m skeptical they are going to option him for the ~3 weeks in 2023.

    • BK

      Lodolo’s contract was purchased on April 13–that’s the start date for his service time. He’s accrued service time every day after that. As of Wednesday, the last day of the season, he’ll have 176 days of MLB service. 172 days constitutes a full year of service time.

      https://www.mlb.com/glossary/transactions/service-time

      • Shawn

        It was dumb to bring Greene and Lodolo up to start the season. There were legit reasons to keep them down. Now we lose them a year early.

      • Doug Gray

        No, there really weren’t. When the season began the Reds had both Luis Castillo and Mike Minor on the injured list. They gave a rotation spot to Reiver Sanmartin for crying out loud. They didn’t have options to give starts to other players when the season began.

    • Kerrick

      We will also lose Greene a year earlier than we had to because we didn’t keep him down a couple weeks.

  24. old-school

    Practically speaking, I dont think the Reds will have India change positions. They will keep him at 2b and batting lead-off/2 hole.. Spencer Steer by all reports is a good defensive 3b . He has nothing to prove at AAA after his 2022 year and he was a headliner in the Tyler Mahle trade. If you trade Mahle, quitting on 2023, you don’t not play the 25 yo top 100 prospect you got in return for him. Steer should be starting at 3b and get 600 at bats.

    Farmer is the one I wonder about. He has great versatility and hits lefties.But, he will garner ~$5 million + in arbitration, isnt part of the future and the Reds don’t have a good history of re-upping players once they start getting expensive and pushing north of 4-5 million, either by arbitration or picking up team options on them or trading them away.

    Billy Hamilton-non-tendered final arb year
    Jose Peraza-non-tendered final arb year
    Archie Bradley-non-tendered final arb year
    Wade Miley-Waivers
    Tucker Barnhart-salary dump trade
    Amir Garrett- traded to get out of 2 years of arbitration
    Raisel Iglesias- salary dump to avoid $9 million

    It wouldn’t shock me if the Reds went with Barrero at SS and Matt Reynolds as a much cheaper version of Farmer as a utility player, back up SS and righty bat.

    • BK

      I agree with you. Steer gives the Reds options on the infield. India injured his hamstring in May. He was above average defensively at 2B last year. Was last year or this year anomalous? The Reds simply need to figure out what their best defensive alignment looks like and plan for it coming out of ST.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        If there are no significant additions, I would agree with that last statement. If you’re going to have no offense, you might as well do the best you can to support the young pitching with at least average defense.

  25. KG

    It’s obvious after reading this article that our absolute best option is to hire Tom Mitsoff as our Vice President and General Manager!

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Thanks for the kind words, but I am not on the short or very long list. 😉

  26. JaxDan

    I do not know what it would cost but Toronto has 3 MLB caliber starting catchers. Would love to get any of the 3 so Stephenson would play 1b, dh and get some days off.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Nick Krall would have to find out what Toronto is looking for and if the Reds have anything they’d be interested in. This would be a good trade to explore, because the catchers considered prospects are still way, way down in the farm system.

  27. Optimist

    I wonder about Aquino and Lopez both getting released/DFAed. That may be one of the final choices the Reds make in the list shown above. As Tom notes, Lopez is a solid, one-dimensional, .275 no-power bat without defensive distinction. Aquino is almost the exact opposite – power PH force, very good pinch runner, fabulous defensive skills, and a gaping hole in a daily lineup.

    Someone would claim Lopez, and one of the perennial contenders would like scoop up Aquino. Ergo – Aquino has far more trade value.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Respectfully, I would suggest that Aquino has next to zero trade value. Over portions of five seasons, his record is what it is. He’s terrific defensively, but he really can’t hit anything that is offspeed or that curves. He has about as much value as Albert Almora, Jr.

  28. Jim t

    Didn’t Aquino already clear waivers once?

    • BK

      Twice actually, November 2018 and late April this season.

      • Jim Walker

        And because AA has been already been previously outrighted, despite being short on service time he can declare free agency if outrighted.

        He really holds all the cards. If the Reds want to retain him, they are going to have to spend a 40 man spot on him.

  29. Forgotten Reds Fans

    Sounds good, on paper. The Reds organization hasn’t shown that they care about winning or the fans. They just want to collect the TV revenue and put it in their pocket.

  30. Datdudejs

    This is what I would personally do, if anyone cares.
    No trades! Unless it’s a no brainer like someone taking moose for a good prospect and all his salary. But keep the farm and only add to it

    Go hard after bogarts or Correa, whichever you can get that’s not a ridiculously long contract. Swansby would be ok too. Just don’t sit back and hope they fall to you. 3-4 years would be ok with me.

    Get a catcher. Willson Contreras would be perfect. Tell Farmer he’s the back up catcher, have him work all offseason. Or if someone is available for cheap that shouldn’t have been, grab them too. Move Stephenson to 1b.

    Benintendi. Self explanatory. I’d also go after a cheaper option as well. We have no depth in the outfield.

    Cueto and Chapman, but only if you can get them on short term deals

    C- Contreras, farmer, Stephenson in emergencies
    DH- Votto, solano, moose, etc. I guess
    1b-Stephenson
    2b-Senzel
    3b- India
    SS-Correa
    LF-Duvall/steer
    CF-Fraley
    RF-Benintendi

    Bench
    Moose
    Solano
    Farmer
    Steer
    Friedl

    Lodolo
    Ashcraft
    Greene
    Cueto
    Dunn/Overton/Cessa/etc

    Diaz
    Chapman
    Sanmartin
    Farmer/Law
    Sims/Antone/Santillan

    Barrero starts in AAA, the rest of the top prospects I’d be willing to move fast. I would also not hesitate to play them at other positions. De la Cruz would get CF time for me, and 2B. Take one of those spots from Senzel/Fraley asap. I’d also sign a ton of minor leave free agents. Anyone who I know will help every level win even if they are old for the level and probably not major leaguers. Just fill in where you don’t have guys that you feel are top prospects. Time to start winning at the minor leagues to build that culture so when young guys come up they are used to winning and want to win

  31. Michael B. Green

    I think CIN should look at either Austin Hedges or Curt Casali as their #2 catcher and that #2 will play a good deal so that CIN can use care with Stephenson’s health. I would not move Stephenson to 1B though.

    I think it is a mistake to sign Barnhart, Plawecki or Romine as their defensive metrics over the last 2 years are not as good as the above-listed two. Granted Barnhart has won a few gold gloves.

    I think the key is to manage young pitchers and Hedges and Casali both check the box on that quality.

  32. Jim Delaney

    The bigger issue with the Reds is not looking at the players it is looking at ownership, the front office and the Manager. The Reds are in a division they should be competing in an annual basis. Unfortunately the current ownership doesn’t care about winning. The GM seems over his head. The Manager seems asleep at the switch and been mailing it in.. the talent is bad but the poor relief pitching during most of the season outside of Diaz cost team numerous games. Bell since he has been Reds manager hasn’t been able to handle a bullpen…
    Unfortunately the Castellini/Williams will still own the Reds, Phil Castellini will be the COO, Nick Krall will be the GM and David Bell will be the Manager. All of them have accepted a losing mentality… Until the mentality changes, losing will continue…

  33. Dan North

    I like the thoughts, but after this year, I think I’m done as long as the Castellini’s run the franchise. I’ve watched the Reds for a long, long time, and this season just took the fun out of watching the Reds. I’m wondering if a season or two away may help get me back on the train…

  34. Thomas

    Why protect Senzel? He literally has NO VALUE. I get wanting to move on from Aquino, but he can at least provide pop and defense. Senzel can only provide reviews of Dr. office waiting rooms. He’s made of glass, but even when healthy he can’t hit, throw or play CF.

  35. William

    This is clearly an excellent article. I respectfully disagree on Stephenson. I think he should remain at catcher. There needs to be a good backup catcher as well. Also, I think Alejo Lopez should make the 40 man roster. I will look at this article a few more times because it is interesting.