It may begin with the sound of a crack or even something as innocuously hollow as a “whump” or a dull thud. Or the trigger may be a sudden change in the weather. The ingredients are a weak layer—also known as the failure layer—within the snowpack and a sloped surface. If the weak layer is deep enough in the snow, you risk something experts call a slab avalanche.

Ninety percent of avalanches are triggered by humans. If you were listening closely, that hollow sound could be heard in the form of the sudden waiver of Wade Miley. That “whump” sound came in the form of Phil Castellini and his “where else you gonna go” tone-deaf gaffe. Just as the weak layer is often deep in the snow, the weakest layer would prove to be the organization’s deepest layer—ownership.

The change in weather, epitomized by the Sonny Gray, Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez moves begat the slab that began an unstoppable slide downhill. Thus, there really was no other way for this season to end. Once it began, it became an unstoppable event, game after game, series after series, month after month. Injuries all season long were book-ended by the gutting of half the team before Opening Day, followed by a final purge in the form of Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle and Brandon Drury. All of it presaged a slow motion collapse that made 100 losses not merely possible, but almost inevitable. Game 162 and a 15-2 loss to the Stupid Cubs was a fitting metaphor for a season. And metaphors are all around the ballpark if you care to look.

Next season offers no guarantee of better days. Much of the treasure that was obtained in the fire sale is at least another year or more away. Returning players from injury are huge question marks. Can two-time Tommy John surgery patient Tejay Antone defy the considerable odds against him and return to relevance? Will Tony Santillan continue to develop? Does Lucas Sims have a future in the Reds’ bullpen? Does Joey have one more memorable season inside him?

There are signposts ahead that might point the way. If a couple of key future pieces of the franchise are not signed to long-term deals, it will be a major red flag telling the fanbase that ownership might never spend. If Kyle Farmer is still holding down an infield position in 2023, another red flag will be planted deep into the infield dirt. If the outfield remains a perpetual tryout camp for Aristides Aquino, if Mike Moustakas is still a Red, well …

Despite the howling of the social media masses, Nick Krall proved to be up to the task. But if ownership is intent on competing on the cheap and only the cheap, kicking the can down the road for yet another season, Krall, his manager, and the coaches will get buried in the next wave of winter weather. You want David Bell gone? Just remember the son’s unintentionally prescient words: “be careful what you wish for.”

In an unintended irony, meager attendance aligned perfectly with payroll. The Reds are on the verge of becoming baseball’s version of the self-licking ice cream cone, existing only to perpetuate a never-ending rebuild that rakes in TV money and little else.

Upon my arrival for my first game of the season, it’s my ritual to walk to the medallion painted on the floor at the entrance to GABP and plant my feet, to feel at one with the promise of a new season. Before I leave for the last time, I do the same, this time to take a moment to come to terms with the silence of bats and gloves, the approach of winter, the barren concrete of Crosley Terrace, the absence of this game of ball.

Walking across the eastern plaza to my car one final time in 2022, I turned back to look inside the windows of what was once the Machine Room. Its insides have been stripped bare as it awaits a new look, probably a new name, most certainly a new purpose, one more in tune with whatever the powers that be believe will generate more revenue. It’s another metaphor not just for the season past, but for what’s to come.

At the end of the slide, the snow comes to a stop, turning into ice and setting up like concrete. As the experts say, this is what makes avalanches so dangerous to skiers, who cannot hope to dig themselves out of harm’s way and can only wait for rescue.

Who will rescue a fanbase that has suffered through this avalanche of a season, the worst in decades? This season desperately needed a sherpa. Instead, it got a dilettante, the failure layer. Born on Third and Heading for Home.

We have a long winter to contemplate.

55 Responses

  1. Pablo

    Will Opening Day 2023 even sell out? Why go and pretend the club will be a contender? Will used car salesman Phil be there in his red sport coat popping off with more of his arrogance? Having lived through 30 years of Bengal futility, this feeling is all too familiar and sad.

  2. Jeffrey Oakley

    Very nice piece. You summarized why the carneys Phil and Bob need to take their low rent carnival act the hell out of our city. They need to sell and sell it now. MLB is the hobby of the ultra rich nowadays. They need to sell to someone who realizes the value of a franchise comes in the form of enriching the brand not a yearly P and L statement. These two clowns are not wealthy enough to play in that realm. To prove my point about the brand being key look at what they bought the Reds for: approximately 350 million. Even though they have ran it into the ground it is worth a billion. A ultra rich owner sees that buying it for that and investing $$$ in a winner will make the brand grow exponentially while giving the fan something to get behind. It is a long term investment. They talk if “sustainability “, the Braves have invested in sustainability, the carneys Phil and Bob used the word to fool you and me for another year. Sooner or later if these clowns don’t sell, I hope MLB will step in and make them stop hurting one of the league’s most storied franchises. The silver lining is the Reds are just that and there is a future MLB owner out there just waiting to have it as his or her hobby. Where ya gonna go Phil? Hopefully for all of our sake out of our city .

  3. Oldtimer

    The Reds were terrible from 1945 to 1955. Eleven straight losing seasons.

    From 1956 through 1981 the Reds had the best W-L record in the NL. Five NL pennants. Arguably the best NL team(s) ever in 1975 and 1976.

    You never know.

    • RedsFanInFL

      The reds have had a few runs of success late 30s- early 40s; late 50s-60s, and of course 1970-81. They had the best record from 1956-1981 because they were SO MUCH better than everyone else from 1970-1981. Unfortunately, if you subtract the W-L record from 1970-81; then the franchise has an overall sub .500 record for the other 100+ years of MLB history

      • Oldtimer

        I don’t subtract or add anything. They were lousy Post WW2 then really good overall from 1956 to 1981. The Reds were very good in the 1960s, too. From 1961 to 1969, the Reds averaged 88 W.

        Long term from the 1880s until now, the Reds are a .500 W-L team.

  4. Klugo

    I like this article. This fanbase deserves better.

  5. Bryant

    Thank you for the wonderful writing! I wonder if there is any good faith clause in the TV contract that could be used against the Reds ownership, or, alternatively, if boycotting, the sponsors would be of any help. The situation also adds a new dimension to the anti-competitive nature of baseball.

  6. TJ

    Sad thing is….I was telling my friends a few weeks ago I was going to celebrate with champagne when the Reds lose less than 100 games. I was imagining the Biden administration popping bottles as inflation went up and the stock market was down over 1000 points in one day. I guess the best chance I had was a rainout or the sprinkler system malfunction.

  7. Steven Ross

    Until we get rid of the “Bell” connection in the dugout and in the ear of the GM, I don’t have much optimism for next year or even beyond. History is on my side that the Castellini’s have a clue how to build a proven winner.

    • Jim Smerbeck

      I think Bell is a below-average manager and would like decisions to be made based on merit and not whether you went to the right high school. But not even Casey Stengel or Sparky Anderson could have won with this team. It’s the lack of talent and ownership prioritizing profit above all else that leaves me pessimistic about at least 2023-25.

  8. Old-school

    Great read Richard and I was negligent in thanking you and Mary Beth as well for the great work again this year in Doug’s game 162 write up.

    Your signposts are all accurate but one of them is the granddaddy of them all, the Hollywood sign of signposts as it applies to the Reds. Namely, The ripple effects of the return of Mike Moustakis. The tender or non-tender of Farmer and a decision on Moose are going to need to be made in the next 6 weeks or so and long before any extensions or knowledge of return to health for so many on the IL are known. A non DFA of Moose means the Reds are giving away a roster spot on the 40 man to a young guy.

    If the Reds bring back Moose and his $22 million in exit fees, He’scoming back to be the DH against righties and Joey Votto will be the 1b against righties. Bell has never really employed an every day DH and that has given him flexibility to bring an everyday position player for a day to rest x hitting( India/Fraley/Stephenson ). With Moose Ensconsed at the DH, Votto at 1b, and Farmer at 3b/SS- that would be the signposts of ROute 66/Welcome to Las Vegas and Hollywood all wrapped up in one signaling 2023 will be 2022 all over again and the Reds are just running out the clock.

    • LDS

      @OS, you paint one dismal picture for the upcoming season. I suspect you’re right, but we need a little offseason optimism – at least, until the end of the Winter meetings. By then, you’ll likely be shown as right and 2023 will be another wasted season.

      • Old-school

        Im not saying it will be dismal. Im just agreeing there are some signposts that signal things and Moose is a big canary in the mine. So far, Krall has stuck to the script and I do think there will be major roster turnover. I dont think it will be Moose though. With India and Steer at 2B/3B and Barrero at SS and Senzel being moved to a super-utility role, Farmer might be out. Hes not coming back to be a $5 million back up SS. I suspect Krall will go full steam ahead with young guys or cheap vets x for JV’s swan song which he has earned, and Moose.

    • Jim Walker

      We will see what we will see. This time last year who believed the Reds could move Barnhart and Miley without spending a cent in real money or even prospect capital? Yet, it happened.

      I still like the Allen Craig treatment for Moose. DFA him. Outright him when he is not picked on waivers. Unless there is a wiggle in his contract or the CBA, I’ve missed, he has to accept the outright or forfeit the remaining money in the contract.

      So, the Reds are off the hook for the $$$ (not likely) or he is on outright and off the 40 man saving the winter roster spot for the Reds (very probable). Then if Moose comes into camp healthy, in shape and can hit, he can always be put back on the MLB roster. Until that time he can go to AAA and play or sit on the MiLB IL and still not cost the Reds a roster spot.

      • wkuchad

        “he has to accept the outright or forfeit the remaining money in the contract”

        Moose would need options for this to be true, right?

      • Jim Walker

        No. Once a guy is DFA, option status is not a factor in his disposition. He is going to be traded or placed on waivers for purpose of release or outright assignment to the minors.

        If he is traded and has options left, the receiving team could option him but that does not affect the DFA process.

        If he is claimed on waivers, he goes to the team winning the claim on him; and all the contract obligations go with him. Again, if he has an option, the claiming team could subsequently option him.

        However, if he clears waivers, he will either be released or assigned outright to a minor league affiliate. Moose has enough service time to reject an assignment and become a free agent but if he does would forfeit his remaining contract.

      • Votto4life

        Personally, I don’t care if Moustakas stays or goes. Even if they were able to move Moose this winter, Reds won’t re-invest any money saved back into the team.

      • RedsGettingBetter

        Is it so easy? I think the Reds should pay the remaining money of the contract even if they DFA him… Is not similar to the Akiyama’s case? The Reds paid the remaining money despite the fact that he was DFA’d and further outrighted him but he refused to go to AAA … Am I wrong?

    • Rob

      Six months ago I said the Cubs rebuild would be a fair benchmark for the Reds to judge against. The Cubs cuts were probably deeper (Baez, Rizzo, Bryant, Kimbrel and close to$90M) but the remaining pieces were leaner or thinner than the Reds. We had 2 large contracts to weigh us down while theCubs had minimal. I conjectured at the time that the Cubs might have the more flexible, quicker rebound because of this but that the Reds might prevail in the long run (2024-2025). Not so sure today as the Cubs offensive replacements seem more developed and ready to go than the Reds. The Cubs have Wisdom, Morel, Ortega, Hoerner, Rivas, etc. vs the Reds Friedl, Fairchild, Aquino, Sinai, etc. Maybe I am making some misjudgments here and next year will turn me around. I guess my whole point was it sure would be interesting for somebody to take a deep dive here and evaluate Reds vs Cubs 2021 thru 2024. Who is going to be the more successful? Why? Farm System? Trades?

    • Richard Fitch

      Great point on the timing of the Moustakas decision.

  9. LDS

    Good article, Unlike the KC Royals, apparently the Reds will double down on mediocrity.

  10. David

    It is somewhat important to note that the Castellini clan (headed by the patriarch, Bob), while the managing partners, only hold something like 15% ownership stake.

    This is on all the ownership partners. The have all agreed to this strategy (or at least a majority), including the Wagner brothers (ie, scion of Dick Wagner, former executive who brought us Mike Moustakas, among others).

    I think the losing continues, although the next couple years may become interesting. A lot of young talent to arrive….soon.
    But it won’t be enough, really. Looking at the Astros rebuild, they also brought in some expensive outside talent (especially pitching).
    Ditto the Braves.
    The Dodgers have very deep pockets, as do the Yankees.
    It will be interesting to see what the Cubs do in the off-season. While not a powerhouse in the making, they are getting better. Do they go “all in” on trying to become a contender in the NL Central again? They have money to spend, too.

    The Reds ownership does not have deep pockets, and will likely not spend much on any free agents. Ever.
    Without adding several premium players to the roster that would fill out the team at the ML level (regardless of the minor league talent) at a key time (2024?), they really can’t contend with the teams that have money and are willing to spend it.
    See the Cardinals and Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt.

    Baseball has changed from the 60’s and 70’s. Bob Howsam wistfully remarked at the end of the 1976 season, after the World Series Championship, that this could be the last team built in such a way. Bob was a smart man, and saw the handwriting on the wall.
    Love or hate the end of the reserve clause and player free agency, the truth is always that Money Talks in sports; players want to get as much money as they can. The teams with Money will dominate the sport for the forseeable future, as they have (largely) in the recent past. The Reds ownership just doesn’t have the money to spend on making and keeping the Reds “winners”.

    • Jim Walker

      Just like I have at times. you crossed Dick Williams and Dick Wagner 😉

      Dick Wagner was the Reds GM in the early 1980s when Dick Williams’ grandfather William Williams and great uncle James Williams were Reds managing partners 🙂

      It is believed but not known because the Reds are a privately held LLC, that a supermajority of either 67% or 75% is required to override or set aside the managing partner authority; and to do so might trigger financial complications (think poison pill, golden parachute, etc.).

      The current Williams Sr generation (Dick’s dad and an uncle) have been listed along with Castellini as “Principal Owners” of the Reds. The belief is that their equity along with Castellini’s is sufficient to block any move against the managing partner.

      • David

        Wagner, Williams….what’s the difference? 🙂

        Yes, thanks for the correction. I knew it wasn’t right when I wrote it, but was having a brain freeze.

        And…I don’t know what happens at the Management meetings, but I would guess that they are all pretty much in agreement. Otherwise we might hear about some dissent in the direction of the club.

      • Jim Walker

        @David, Safe to say Castellini and whoever speaks for the Williams holding are at least enough in agreement that the Williams folks are not seriously interested in building a coalition to unseat the managing partner agreement.

        Then again one of my questions is whether the Williams are still in or whether they bailed in total when Dick walked away. Certainly, if Castellini was buying back some or all of the Williams share to maintain the ability to block a supermajority revolt, that would help explain the severe austerity program the organization has taken up.

  11. KYPODMAN

    Strickland received a 100K bonus on his contract for “finishing” the game yesterday. He had a bonus clause in his contract that if he “finished” 35 games he gets an extra 100K. WHO IS THE IDIOT IN THE FRONT OFFICE THAT PUT THAT IN A CONTRACT!!!! Nothing to do with saves, winning, nothing (though he did have 7 saves). He finished a game that the Reds were trailing by 13 RUNS. OMG and SMH!!!!

    • LDS

      And who is the genius that put him in game yesterday and the 34 previous times?

    • DataDumpster

      I hope you have your facts right on this because that is unbelievable. Remember that Strickland was tagged as the closer by David Bell until he failed badly and then the “no roles” became the mantra. Still, he was used in more games than anyone else in spite of his record being perhaps just a little bit better than previous Bell favorite failures like Doolittle, Hembree and so on.
      It has been my opinion the last several months that Bell’s reputation as a “player’s manager, loved by all” is mostly due to him spreading the MLB money around to players who have little or no chance to be called up anywhere else. Rest days, moves to the undisclosed “covid” IL, precautions, and soft tissue /stress injuries that linger way beyond normal contributed to that great “opportunity.”

    • 2020ball

      Good lord, do you really care that much about money that isnt yours? Who cares. If I’m the manager and I can get a guy on my team an extra 100K in a lost season I do it.

  12. CI3J

    I know right now it’s hard to be positive given how the last season unfolded, but I’m actually fairly optimistic about the future, for the following reasons:

    1. The Reds have a young, immensely talented Big 3 pitching core in Lodolo, Ashcraft, and Greene. We take for granted that all three of them arrived in MLB and held their own, and they should only continue to improve as they get older, wiser, and gain more experience.

    2. Piggybacking on the first point, the Reds lost a lot of pitching talent to injuries this season. Gutierrez, Dunn, Antone, Santillan, Sims, and Hoffman are some of the names that can be expected back in 2023. Coupled with the already elite performance of Alexis Diaz, and the Reds’ pitching is only a few pieces away from being pretty darn good. There is still talent in the minors, so signing a bullpen arm or two should be enough.

    3. 2023 unfortunately means the return of Moustakas and Votto as both play out the final year of their contract. But that’s fine, because the Reds should not be expected to compete. Rather, 2023 should be a Season of Sorting for the Reds to find out what they have so they’ll know what they need to spend the Votto/Moustakas money on next offseason to fill the needs. India and Stephenson should be written on the lineup card in permanent marker, so the Reds need to come up with 7 more hitters. Senzel is apparently moving to a “super sub” role, so that leaves names like EDLC, Marte, Steer, Barrero, McClain, and Encarnacion-Strand to seize the opportunity. I also liked what I saw from Fraley and Fairchild this season and would like to see what they could do over a full season.

    4. All that said, the Reds do have two glaring problems:
    a. There is no obvious successor at 1B once Votto is gone. How the Reds managed to get in this position is beyond me. Everyone knew Votto’s contract was ending, the Reds should have had a few candidates lined up to replace him several seasons ago, especially after it became apparent Gavin LaValley was not going to be that guy.
    b. A total lack of left-handed hitting. Quick, without looking, how many left-handed hitters did the Reds have on their roster yesterday? Answer: 2, Fraley and Siani. EDLC is a switch hitter, but outside of him, there are no left handed hitters on the immediate horizon for the Reds.

    Given the logjam at SS, the Reds probably need to make a trade or two to address some of their issues. But they aren’t as hopeless as some seem to think, despite how this past season went. The biggest question remains: Will Bell actually play the kids and buy into the Season of Sorting? I sincerely hope the Reds don’t sign a bunch of journeymen on one year contracts this offseason to take ABs away from the kids that need to be playing.

    The questions going forward are:

    1. Who is the 1B of the future? Reds have no one, probably need a trade to address this. Fraley might be a good choice in the short term, but he has pretty extreme hitting splits and can’t really be counted on to be the every-day 1B.

    2. Who is the SS of the future? EDLC, Marte, McClain, Barrero, Arroyo, Acosta, Torres, Cabrera. That’s the list of SS the Reds have vying for the position. Personally, I’d like to see EDLC moved to CF to make full use of his athletic skills. Barrero I suspect never fully let his wrist injury heal this year, so I’m willing to give him one final shot in 2023. Also, one of these guys could be part of a trade package to help address the 1B issue.

    3. Who fills out the starting rotation? Lodolo, Greene, Ashcraft are locks. Gutierrez and Dunn would probably be fine as the #4 and #5 starters, but I wouldn’t be opposed to them signing an actual decent FA pitcher to a multi-year contract to fill one of those roles.

    All moves made from this day forward should be done with an eye on 2024. The Reds probably won’t be competitive in 2023, but they should be much better than 2022. Let the kids play, let’s see what they can do, then take that information and make the moves needed to make 2024 the beginning of a new competitive window.

    Like I said, I see some reason to be optimistic. The stage is set. But the Reds have to play their cards right for it to become reality.

    • Rob

      I have somewhat the opposite view. I agree we have what appears to be 3 strong starting pitchers. I also agree that the bullpen could be much better next year. Where the sea parts is on the playing of young who had a lot of golden opportunity this year. We saw this act the last 2 months and it wasn’t pretty. And I am not convinced Votto and Moose would have been additive. Our 3 potentially strong starting pitchers need innings and wins in 2023, not 6 inning affairs where they leave behind 2-1. Geez, they won a total of 15 lousy games. I think they need to win at least 35 next year and I am not sure this can happen with Friedl, Fraley, Fairchild, and Moose. It didn’t this year so why all of a sudden is it going to happen in 2023? The best part of our season came with Castillo, Mahle, Drury, Naquin, and Pham. I understand the returns on these guys may not show up until 2024 it better be there and be darn strong.The Wink Suarez returns are due next year and I am not optimistic here either that they are going to be overwhelming. We have plenty of money to spend and plenty of prospects to trade so we have the capital. We just need to get it right.

    • David

      First Base: Alex McGarry, who finished the year at AAA, with 24 Hr. He is also left handed. I think he is also …..24 years old.
      I think he will get a shot at playing 1st base for the Reds.

      Also, as Jim Walker suggested in an earlier thread, the Reds should give Fraley a 1st basemen’s glove, and see if he can learn the position. He’s not a great outfielder. Or even a good outfielder.

      Noelvi Marte finished High A this year, so I would assume he moves on to AA in 2023. He might be “fast-tracked” to the majors, and could be up before the end of 2023. I think Barrero can do better, but the clock is running on his opportunity.

      Siani is a very fast CF. I wonder if EDLC plays right field? He says he DOES want to play SS in the majors, and Pittsburgh’s “tall” young shortstop (Taller than EDLC) makes him think it is possible.

  13. Rednat

    2 most upsetting things from this year

    1. players didn’t seem to care that they were awful. not even 1 team meeting (as far as i know). no fights in the clubhouse, no rants to the media. same old mundane responses in post game interviews

    2. i hated going to the games with the opposing teams fans running their mouth. some games i felt like i was the only reds fan there. I know they help the attendance numbers but it was quite ridiculous when the cheers are louder for the road team than the home team. i went to 62 games in the 1982 season with my 7 y/o son as I was going through a divorce that year and at least we could go through our sorrows alone, without 10, 000 cubs fans yelling let’s go cubbies.

    • Schneidlywhiplash

      I wondered about all the “injuries” – how is we have 60 some players rotating through the season… do they jump at the chance to go on IL or are they really hurt or is the training staff horrible… or a combination of all three

    • 2020ball

      “1. players didn’t seem to care that they were awful. not even 1 team meeting (as far as i know). no fights in the clubhouse, no rants to the media. same old mundane responses in post game interviews”

      How in the world do you know any of this? IF fights, etc., which are NOT what I want in a clubhouse, happened, then I’m glad they kept it under wraps. And why people watch Bell’s monotone interviews when they clearly dont like him is way beyond me. I dont think i can count on one hand how many postgames I watched this year. Why anyone would want their manager to “rant to the media” is crazy IMO.

      • TR

        I have never stayed around for a Bell interview. If I’ve watched the game and later turned on Redleg Nation, why would I want to hear Bell saying nothing I don’t already know.

      • Jim Walker

        @TR>>> After 5 to 6 years of John Tortorella post game pressers after Blue Jackets games, Bell lasted about 30 seconds with me 😉

        FSN OH/ Bally ran Torts at the very end of the 30 minute post game show because they realized folks stayed tuned in for a couple of minutes of him, win or lose. I can’t imagine Bell ever saying a guy played like a toilet bowl (and clearly inferring the stuff in a toilet bowl). Torts did that one night then stepped back and smiled while he took in the reaction.

  14. Schneidlywhiplash

    Unfortunately, all the trade parts will be reaching the majors about the time Greene, Lodolo and Ashcraft will be put on the trading block. So the next few years, we’ll have decent pitching and no offense or fielding. Then after that no pitching and decent offense..
    until MLB requires a minimum salary base the Reds, Pirates, Royals, etc are going to scratch by with cheap players and hope for lightning in a a bottle.

  15. Indy Red Man

    Well the Astros lost 100+ from 2011-13 and they turned it around. They put Tattoo from Fantasy Island on 2B and started banging trash cans for a slider away and the rest is history. What am I suggesting?

    I’m suggesting nothing. I’m imploring the Reds to cheat. Bug the other teams dugout. Switch out the juiced baseballs when the Reds bat like Brady used deflated footballs when NE was on offense.
    The Reds will get on Sportscenter one way or the other.

    • Old-school

      Deshields makes sense. He was the baserunning and infield defense coach. Zinter makes sense as well.

      Bullpen coach? Glad Lee Tunnell is gone. Reds bullpen will turn this thing around now with out him messing things up.( sarcasm font on, now back off ).

    • Daytonnati

      Hopefully, people will see Bell is as secure as those statues outside the ballpark.

  16. J

    I can’t believe Bell apparently still has his job as of 4:30pm on October 6. This doesn’t fill me with optimism about what the front office is likely to do in the off-season. Even if they were to spend some money and put together a reasonably talented team, if they’re going to be led by someone who thinks it’s a good idea to have guys like Pham hitting third every single day (no matter who’s in the lineup, who’s pitching, or who’s hot/cold), to play guys like Moose solely because of how much they’re being paid, or to repeatedly insert guys like Strickland into close games, that talent is going to be wasted. It would be one thing if Bell had ever demonstrated any ability to develop young players, but that doesn’t seem to be the case at all. For every player who’s improved, we can probably name two who’ve regressed or never lived up to anyone’s expectations. For all the people who love to say “Bell isn’t the problem,” fine, he’s not THE problem, but he is A problem, and he’s one of the easiest problems to fix. That’s where the organization should start, and then begin to address the harder ones.

    • David

      I think that’s a good way to put it.

      David Bell is not THE problem, but he is part of the problem. And I don’t think he ever becomes part of the solution.
      There are a plethora of younger baseball guys that work as coaches for other ML teams, or present Minor League managers that would LEAP at the chance to coach an ML team, even if it is the Reds (and their 100 losses).

      And although I like Barry Larkin, he would NOT be my choice to manage the Reds. I don’t think he would make the right moves as manager. And he knows plenty of baseball, it’s just I don’t think he is the right guy.
      His attribute would be that he is a Hall of Famer (isn’t he?) and would demand better playing, effort, and hustle from his team, and probably would not tolerate all the fundamental errors that this team has, that don’t show up in the box score.
      I think he is also fluent in Spanish, which would also be a plus. I just don’t think he is the right guy.

  17. Joey Red

    The Reds have zero interest in winning. It’s unfortunate but that’s just how it is. I admire anyone who still has faith. Sadly they ripped my heart out years ago. I can’t follow a team that’s in perpetual rebuild mode.

  18. Mark Moore

    “Game 162 and a 15-2 loss to the Stupid Cubs was a fitting metaphor for a season.”

    That’s an apt statement and summary. In “the end” I still love baseball and will be a Reds fan. My subscription to MLB.tv may be delayed next year (I switched from T-Mobile so I have to pay for it again), but I’ll still end up getting it at some point and watching with all of you on this forum.

    Unless we see a World Series of Braves vs. Mariners, I’m not sure I’ll watch many post-season games. I really have no dog in this fight at all.

    Changes already in progress are good, but until we get a new ownership group who is as committed to the product as they are over in St. Louis, they will only be minor changes. We’ll have to count on catching a whole lot of “lightening in a bottle” in order to see significant improvement. Even with a weak NLC division that should be there for the taking over the next couple years again.

    2022 is over … and we went out with a whimper at best.

  19. Old-school

    So Tunnell was DJ guy in Milwaukee.
    Zinter was Bell guy after turner Ward was Bell guy too.

    Who hired the last 2 hitting coaches?

    Krall is getting in Bell’s grill.

  20. Redpackman

    I’ve been a Reds fan seven years before Pete Rose showed up AND the closest I’ve ever lived to Cincinnati was Green Bay. I’ve listened to WLW nightly with Nuxie and Marty when I lived in South Dakota in the 70’s. I listened LIVE to the WLW broadcast of Browning’s perfect game while living in Willmar, MN. I get MLB and suffered through this year….again, with the Reds.

    Like someone said above, they either have credible hitting and no pitching or pretty good pitching and can’t hit a lick. This year the problem was largely hitting and the bull pen. You don’t have them in order and you don’t have many wins. There are hitters and then there are sluggers. Too many are trying to be the latter. Swinging for the fences, even in a smaller stadium is a thrill when the ball sails over the fence and you cash in two or three runs or so, but how many times this year have the Reds struck out ten or more times?

    We need players with the attitude of hitters and fewer trying to be sluggers. Make contact, get on base, put the ball in play, learn how to bunt the guys on first and second over instead of striking out or another 7-4-3 DP. Level out the swings rather than the blasted upper cut trying to be a slugger. News flash to 95% of the team, you aren’t a slugger, instead you have 8 home runs for the year and are batting .235 with 32 RBI’s.

    Then there’s long relief and the bull pen. How many of the opponent’s runs this year were scored in innings 6-9. I’d guess a LOT more than were scored in 1-5. How many times did we go into the 6th ahead 2-1 or behind 2-1 and lose 7 to 2, or worse?

    But what can you do when management trades away solid players for “prospects,” most of whom will either never make the majors or if they do will be the guy who bats .235 for the year? Bell’s decisions this year, particularly with the choices late in the game coming out of the bull pen were A problem for the Reds, but THE problem has been the unwillingness of the management to hold onto the Cueto’s, the Castillos, Grays, Suarez and Winker’s….and more. And then if, IF one of those prospects makes it big, they play out their contract and are on their way to New York, LA or now…..Seattle.

  21. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I know many will and even justify it. I just can’t judge the success of the season by a 100 loss season. Because the debacle at the beginning of the season, I believe, was simply bad luck. And, after the trade deadline, I knew we were going to lose more games we wouldn’t normally lose had we kept those players.

    I judge it by things like, if those 22 losses at the beginning of the season had just been 11-11, we go 73-89, right about where I believe most had the Reds getting this season.

    At trade deadline, we were averaging about the same number of runs the 1990 WS Champs were averaging. The difference? Pitching, of course.

    Needed for next season (besides new ownership, etc.):

    – healthy players – get them healthy and keep them healthy
    – pitchers

    I’d like to see some of those prospects we got either turn to the OF or let’s flip them for equivalent OF prospects.

    • TR

      A tidbit of ML history is the winningist pitcher when their team lost at least 100 games is Ned Garver who won 20 games in 1951 when the St. Louis Browns lost 102. Steve Carlton won 27 in 1972 but the Phillies only lost 97.

  22. Rob

    With the offense this team showed post trade deadline, I don’t believe strong healthy pitchers would have gotten us near 500. Yeah, we might have been 5-10 games better in the last 2 months but gosh that is only half the deficit. I recognize we didn’t have Stephenson, but we did have Moose, Votto, India, Farmer,and Senzel for some or most of this period. That is a major portion of our purported 2023 starting lineup. IMO, we need to come to grips with the fact that our offense and depth is inadequate to believe this team will compete in 2023. Dunn, Fraley, and Williamson are not going to provide the performance of Suarez and Winker. It is still too early to tell but can Steer or Barerro match the offensive output of Farmer or India? And do we believe Votto and Moose are going to return to hit 260+ and each drive in 80 rbis. We both saw August and September with AAA players all over the place and it wasn’t pretty. If this is what we rollout in 2023, with no Drurys, Naquin, Phams, or the like, I see no way this team will come close to “competing”. You have to bop HRs and score runs at GABP. 230 hitters with no pop isn’t the ticket.

  23. KathyB

    I gave up a while ago. Got tired of learning new names. The general plan seemed to be to keep the bus warmed up. If ownership is that broke, time to sell the whole team.

    Enjoyed watching Seattle Reds in wild card series against Toronto, what little attention I watched. Looking forward to watching some more.