Late in September we found out that Art Warren had undergone UCL repair. The reliever didn’t have Tommy John surgery, though. The expectation with UCL repair instead of Tommy John surgery is that you can return sooner in many cases. It was not specified exactly what kind of repair he had, though it is almost assuredly that he had an internal brace put in along with a repair. Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported this week that Warren would miss all of the 2023 season. On Monday, Jim Walker took a look at Warren, as well as many other relievers to predict who could be non-tendered. Walker leaned toward non-tendering Warren before it was known he would miss all of next season.

With Warren out for 2023, and without knowing if he’ll even be a Red in 2023, it led to the thinking about other relievers who were injured in 2022 but are expected to return in 2023. Tejay Antone missed all of 2022 after having Tommy John surgery, but he is expected to be ready to pitch next season. Both Lucas Sims and Tony Santillan dealt with back injuries last season. While they both did pitch last year they were also both out for an extended period of time to end the season.

Cincinnati’s bullpen was basically Alexis Diaz and a whole lot of question marks throughout the season. It’s an area that the team needs to address, but even in doing so, there’s going to be plenty of question marks coming into the season. Antone, Sims, and Santillan have all been very good relievers in the past. But Antone is coming back from a second Tommy John surgery and there’s not a very long list of guys who have done that. Sims underwent surgery for a herniated disc in his back. And Santillan’s back injury cost him the final 101 games of the 2023 season. Back injuries can be long term issues for some people. It certainly puts the Reds in a situation where they are going to have to hope for the best here but also kind of have to rely on those guys for 2023.

One guy who isn’t likely going to be in the conversation is Ryan Hendrix. He was designated for assignment and cleared waivers this past week. He opted to head to free agency rather than accept an outright to Triple-A.

Jesse Winker…..

Back in March when the lockout ended the Cincinnati Reds made several trades and one of those deals sent outfielder Jesse Winker to Seattle. The Mariners would go on to make the playoffs, but Winker was injured late in the season and was placed on the injured list during the final week due to an issue with his neck.

The Mariners would lose in the playoffs, being swept by the Houston Astros in three games in the first round. Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times was on the Brock and Salk Podcast shared his opinions on Winker and he basically called Winker lazy and not willing to put in the work to get better. Divish didn’t say he had heard any of the things he called Winker out on from others, but continuously said he noticed these things on a day-to-day basis while covering the team. He even speculated that the team may just move on.

Jerry Dipoto, the Mariners President of Baseball Operations, noted yesterday that Winker had surgery on his knee and will be having a procedure on his neck. He also noted that he in confident that Winker’s offensive production will return to form in 2023.

While he was in Cincinnati there were no public complaints about Jesse Winker’s work ethic. And at times we heard about the work that he did put in to improve both on his defense and one offseason, his speed.

Checking in on the prospects in fall ball

Things are going well for a few of the Cincinnati Reds prospects in fall and winter league baseball. But it’s pretty extreme in terms of how things are going overall. The players who are doing well are really doing well, but the players who aren’t doing well are performing about as poorly as one could imagine.

On the good side of things are Elly De La Cruz, Sam Benschoter, and Isiah Gilliam.

Down in the Dominican Winter League the Reds top prospect, Elly De La Cruz, announced his presence in LIDOM (Liga de Beisbol Professional de la Dominicana) in the first week of the season. In his debut with Licey he’s hit .444/.524/.667 with two stolen bases, seven RBI, and three walks in five games played (four starts, one pinch hit appearance). That performance was strong enough to earn him the Most Valuable Player of the Week among position players award.

Isiah Gilliam, a switch hitter who signed a minor league deal with the Reds as a free agent prior to the 2022 season, has been hitting well in the Mexican Winter League over the first week-and-a-half. Last night saw him hit an extra-innings grand slam to give his team the lead and he stayed back and watched it for a while, too.

He’s now hitting .300/.432/.500 with more walks (7) than strikeouts (6) in eight games played for Culiacan. In the regular season this year he split time between Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville where he hit .274/.361/.496 with 18 home runs and 13 stolen bases in 14 attempts.

Out in Arizona it’s been Sam Benschoter that’s stood out among the Reds prospects in the Arizona Fall League. He’s thrown 8.0 scoreless innings, making two starts and one relief appearance so far. He has walked just one batter in that time and has struck out five hitters.

The three other pitchers in Arizona have WHIP’s of 2.36, 2.43, and 2.67 just to put it into perspective how much they’ve struggled in their limited action. The three position players that the Reds have sent to the fall league are hitting .167, .200, and .217. I went into more detail over at on these performances if you’re interested in further reading.

39 Responses

  1. DaveCT

    I watched the Mariner’s all season. Geno endeared himself to the Seattle fans, which should be no surprise. He is the real deal. Plus, not only did his power return well but it played well in that big stadium. He also was hitting with power to RF as in the past AND improved his defense, in joining a top defensive team. So good on Geno.

    Jesse has a laissez faire way about him. This Mariners team is far from that mode. I didn’t think his power would play in this stadium, but I did think he could pull off a more line drive approach. But he just didn’t adjust. I personally think he was devastated by the trade, after aligning himself as the next Bruce and Votto. He’s got a lot to prove. Seattle is rising and he may or may not be part of it.

    • TR

      I agree with what you say about Jesse Winker. He was coming into his own and, as a Red, was an All-Star in 2021. I don’t think it set well with Winker that he had to be included in the trade in order for the Red’s to get rid of Suarez.

    • TOM

      I totally agree. If Seattle lets him go, maybe the Reds would sign him on a team friendly contract. He has power & hits left handed which is a plus. But who knows.

      • JayTheRed

        If it didn’t sit well with him that he got traded, why would he come back to the Reds?

  2. Mark Moore

    What level of MiLB play does the DWL generally grade in at?

  3. Optimist

    I’m in Seattle and followed the Ms fairly closely. I did not hear Divish’s comments as noted, but there has been a tone of disappointment about Winker. Justifiable in some sense, but those critical comments seem pretty far afield unless he’s confusing quiet frustration with malingering.

    Unless Jesse himself wants out, I suspect management here is very much interested in keeping him – based on three items 1 – neck and back injuries are both endured by many players and also very debilitating – one can try to play thru them, unlike, say, fractures or arm troubles, but they can severely degrade performance. 2 – to the extent they are treated properly, performance can return, and peak Jesse is very valuable. 3 – look at Jesse’s analytics or secondary stats – he only trailed Julio in OBP, and still had a positive OPS+. Very similar numbers to Carlos Santana who, like Geno, was a fan favorite here.

    I was a bit surprised at how much Winker played – about 3/4 of the season. It seemed like less than 1/2.

    Yes, Geno was much more visible, and returned to form after his last 2 seasons, but he’s 2 years older and his talent and skills seem less susceptible to changing leagues/opponents than Jesse’s. Adam Frazier was the other Mariner who many considered below expectations, and he, like Winker, may have had league-changing issues.

    I expect a reversal of fortunes next season, and barring lingering physical problems, think Winker will provide an excellent, and easily overlooked, offensive performance. I think M’s management knows as much, and while Trader Jerry could do just what his nickname suggests, he didn’t get the nickname from selling low on players in their prime years.

  4. Troy

    What an absolutely wild thing to say for the beat writer of a team. Especially for a guy who was pretty clearly injured most of the year. His average and max exit velo were way down, he was coming off an oblique injury, and ended up having neck and knee surgeries. Those are pretty obvious indicators to me that he tried to play through too much. All his plate discipline stats stayed elite. If Seattle is dumb enough to let him go then good- maybe we can get him back. They won’t because the mariners org knows Jesse can rake which is why they traded for him in the first place.

    • MadMike

      Divish is an interesting cat; he speaks his mind. He grew up in a small Montana town, was a catcher through college, became a teacher, and then converted late to sports journalism (if my memory is correct), so his background is very different from the typical person working in sports. He can talk shop with the guys in the clubhouse.

      He has a podcast and there are some funny stories in there, and he’s particularly brutal about catchers that have bad mechanics (funny that)

      Post-Covid, his access to the team is undoubtably less than what he was accustomed to, but even if you disagree with it, his perspective is valuable because it is different from everyone else.

      • Optimist

        All true, and similar to the Cowboy who is not shy about pointing out technical flaws and mental miscues. Going after attitude and motivation is another category though, and while a catcher does have a unique take on that, particularly since it involves both side of the clubhouse – pitchers and hitters, Divish is not the Ms catcher.

        Scott Servais was also a catcher, and, of course, the manager in every sense of the team’s culture, so I’d expect his word will guide the front office in handling Winker during the off season. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t bounce back, perhaps into contention for the comeback award.

      • MadMike

        On a human level, I definitely can give Winker a pass on having a subpar season after being so abruptly traded, that’s something many people can identify with.

        Seattle has too many outfielders; someone[s] got to move this offseason. Winker’s return might depend on Haniger? I think the Mets were sniffing around on Winker earlier in the season? I have no idea where Winker is going to end up next April, but at least give him more than a couple weeks notice.

  5. Rednat

    this is an interesting topic of discussion regarding Winker. He came up with the reds during the Price era. the reds were not exactly known for their hustle during this time. I Felt after Rolen retired there was an opportunity for Votto to really take the leadership role of the team and he really never did. Brandon Phillips took over as team leader and while he was a great player he was known to be a “hot dog” out there and would lollygag around the bases especially towards the end of his time here. I felt that probably rubbed off negatively on guys like Winker, Suarez and Cozaart. It would sicken me to see those guys just jog the bases at times. And Price did NOTHING!

    At least Riggleman and Bell have tried to change that culture to an extent. But i could see both SUarez and Winker being labeled as “lazy” coming from the reds and going to the american league where the intensity level is a little higher from what i have seen

    • Jim Walker

      The guy that changed the culture of the Reds, to the degree it changed, was Nick Castellanos. He lit the fire in Winker to put in the time on reconditioning between the 2020-21 seasons and took on the task of mentoring Jonathan India through his rookie season in ‘21.

      It is ironic that separated from NC and weighed down by injuries both struggled through 2021.

      I did not see Winker in 2021; but, India’s zeal was in no way minimised. In fact he could have used a veteran leader getting in his ear telling him at several points that for the good of the good of the team and himself, he needed to sit out.

      • Optimist

        Correct about NC on the atmospherics, but the injuries were the cause of the drop off for both India and Winker – Troy’s comments apply to India as well, the underlying stats didn’t falter, the sag was due to the injuries.

        The only way the Ms move on from Winker is if they think it’s a chemistry issue – that’s a bit of a luxury position, but they’ve been building for a few years, and they’re at the stage when they can consider that in filling a roster. Winker may be lower key than they want, but it’s not a question of being lazy or not making the effort. Just an issue of fine tuning what they have. Still, I doubt it – he’s a highly skilled piece that’s not easily replaceable.

      • Jim Walker

        oops! Too late at night/ early morning!

        Above should have read:
        “both struggled though 2022″

        “I did not see Winker in 2022″

      • LDS

        And yet Castellanos wasn’t worth a conversation prior to the season.

      • Redsvol

        Bring Winket back! But I don’t think he is as valuable as he once was. He’s a clear platoon player now. I proposed trading Matt McLain for winter and half his ‘23 salary over on Doug’s other site. I stand by that and think it might be enough to tempt Jerry dipoto.

        McLain is not an mlb shortstop and we now have plenty of middle infielders that deserve a shot but have no outfielders close to helping mlb club from the minors. Jesse’s a terrible fielder but it can be masked if he’s put next to a string center fielder. Plus I think he would be a good first base option so Votto can DH more.

  6. RedFuture

    The Mariners did NOT lose in the first round! They beat the Toronto Blue Jays, then of course went on to lose to the Astros in the next round.

  7. Rut

    Winker not going anywhere.

    Dipoto is smart enough to not sell Wink at his absolute low point. The M’s would get a bag of balls for Wink at this point; much more sense to see if he can bounce back rather than toss him aside for nothing.

    • Jim Walker

      If I interpreted some tweets (with limited context) among M’s fans correctly, the M’s may have a prospect pushing for the same playing time and spots that Winker would be in. This could be a factor

  8. DataDumpster

    The Reds picked up Wandy Peralta in the 2009 amateur draft but then he was dealt to David Bell’s old team (SF) after Bell’s first season here (similar to Gausman, Casali, Disco). These players could not find a reasonable level of success under Bell but thrived with SF or other clubs soon after leaving the Reds. (Of course, Peralta is pitching in just about every game effectively for the Yanks in the playoffs after two pretty good regular seasons after the trades). So, the Reds had Peralta 10 years in the organization and couldn’t develop him. The song remains the same.

    The Reds picked up Winker in the amateur draft of 2012 and it became apparent last year of his tremendous hitting talent. The Reds didn’t spend much on Winker but left a lot of potential value on the table for basically a bridge to the Suarez salary dump (which may also turn out to be a mistake). Winker had a mediocre year in Seattle. Should the Reds take him back if offered? I don’t know but Winker did bad mouth the organization after the trade. He was probably right in his criticisms as were other players and coaches who marched out in the year after Bell was hired and Williams left. So, the Reds had Winker for almost 10 developing his talent only to see that he may be dealt again after only 1 year for the Mariners.

    Will he land back in Cincinnati? Extremely doubtful. The die has been cast on him and the others and the only person with possible options is Williams because he can buy his way back in.

    • Jim Walker

      One of the big questions for me about the Reds situation is whether Dick Williams’ dad and uncle are still principal owners or did they pull their money as part of the activity when Dick left?

      If the Williams cashed out that could be a significant factor in the severe austerity program that began after Dick left, as the LLC or Castellini may have exercised a purchase right of first refusal to keep control of the Williams share internal to the LLC.

      From what we know about the organizational structure, that 20-25% share thought to be owned by the Williams would be a great starting point toward assembling a stake or coalition to void the managing partner agreement.

      And if the Williams did not cash out. Dick would presumably be well positioned to find a monied partner and go after the managing partner agreement at some point should he choose to do so.

      • Optimist

        The Williams are still there, all of them, and it’s only a matter of time before Dick returns, likely as the next managing partner. Plenty of financing to work through, as well as another partner stepping into the managing partner role for a while, but really think Dick will be the managing partner sooner or later.

        To their credit, local money got spooked after Powell Crosley’s death, and Bill DeWitt moving on to St. Louis in the mid-60s, and the chance the franchise could be moved. Since then, the revolving local managing partners have been a set pattern. Doubtful that changes.

        I don’t know, and haven’t checked to see if there’s any Nippert or P&G stakes left, but there’s plenty of other money to keep the franchise local regardless of the “small-market” caterwauling.

      • TR

        The Williams Brothers and family have had a large ownership role in the Reds over the last forty years or so. I hope what you say comes true that, in all likelyhood, Dick Williams will return as managing partner. Change is desperately needed. DW’s previous tenure, a few years ago, was not perfect but who is? I felt he had a real intent to field a winning team and I thought he brought a positive spirit to the organization which, in my view, is at a low point.

  9. bryant

    I think Winker was well liked in Cincinnati, but earlier in his Reds career I think it was Votto who pointed out to him that he did not work on his defense. There was another occasion when an unnamed player (possibly also Votto) got on him about his effort. Winker i think said this himself.

  10. Votto4life

    I wouldn’t complain if Dick Williams returned as Managing Partner. He made a couple mistakes during his reign as GM, but they were at least aggressive mistakes, aiming to make the team better.

    I knew with Dick Williams resigned there were going to be some difficult days ahead.

    I would rather have an owner who tries to win and falls short, than an owner who in indifferent about winning.

  11. CI3J

    Isiah Gilliam is already 26 years old, and will turn 27 in July of 2023. He put up some decent numbers in the minors this year, but he’s close to the age of “If you haven’t made it yet, you ain’t never gonna make it”.

    He’s an OF, so if the Reds decide to move on from Aquino, maybe they could just stick Gilliam in the outfield and see what he can do at the MLB level. What have they got to lose, besides 100 games?

    • MBS

      If the Reds don’t get any FA OF like many think, I’d say Gilliam could get a chance at some point in the season.

      Fraley, Friedl, and Siani should be 40 man locks
      Senzel, Aquino seem like possible DFA candidates
      Fairchild, Hopkins, and Gilliam seem like 40 man bubble guys depending on if the DFA candidates are kept or not.

      • Harry Stoner

        I can’t possibly imagine Senzel getting DFAed this winter.

        Folks may be frustrated with him, but I would be stunned if that happened.

  12. RedBB

    Two offseason surgeries including a neck is no joke. Hope he returns but the odds are against Winker. His D has also always blunted his bat as well. O/U bWAR should be about 1.0 next year and even that may be too high…

    • CI3J

      I have for years said Winker should.have moved to first base. He could have been Votto’s successor. I certainly think doing so would have put less wear and tear on his body. He has the perfect build to be a first baseman, and he’s always been a subpar outfielder anyway.

      Wonder if that’s still an option for him. A lot of poor outfielders moved to first base late in their career, wonder if Winker would move now in order to save his career.

  13. Kevin Patrick

    I’m rooting for Drury, Castellanos, and Dusty. I can’t lose. Well…I might lose Art Warren.

  14. Rob

    I think there would be a mutual interest in Winker NOT returning to the Reds. However I do think he would be a favorable risk at $7M ….with a team other than the Reds.

    I don’t know what it would cost to get Winker from the Mariners. This seems like a delicate matter in itself. I would guess the Proof Year for the previous trade would be 2023. Williamson making it to majors and being productive. Dunn being a 4 or 5 starter. Fraley being a solid platoon player. We really gave up a lot in run production to get the above 3 guys.

    • west larry

      I would take the risk and bring Winker back. What if we send one of the shortstop prospects that we received for Castillo and Seattle paid six million of Winker’s contract? The reds could afford the remaining two million.

  15. Mark Moore

    Well, the boys of NOVEMBER contest is set. Man, that sounds weird in my head as I type it.

    Still casually following. I would have far preferred to see the Braves get a shot to repeat and either the Mariners or the Guardrails represent the junior circuit. Oh well. I can take some solace in the absence of the Trolley Dodgers and the D-Yankees.

    Now to see which uniform Aaron Judge wears for the next decade. I’m still thinking it isn’t pinstripes.

    • Grand Salami

      Teams I leasted wanted to see in the WS by order:
      1. Cards
      2. Yankees
      3. Dodgers
      4. Astros
      5. Braves
      6. Phillies

      I was pulling for the Mets/Padres vs. Mariners but alas

      One thing is for sure, Kyle Schwarber is a human rabbit’s foot.

  16. Steven Ross

    Texas Rangers have hired Bruce Bochy as their new Manager. I mentioned when we were 3 & 22, he would be good hire. I said it again a few times during the year. I said it one more time at the end of the year. He was available! Now he’s gone. This man is a proven winner. Kudos to the Rangers. They’ll be better. Not sure the Reds will be though.

    • David

      Bruce Bochy has proven that he can lead a team to winning, given the right talent.

      The problem with the Reds, and a lot of baseball professionals like Bochy know it, is that ownership has a lukewarm commitment to winning. They have a strong commitment to the bottom line.

      I don’t think Bochy would have come to work for the Reds, unless he was willing to work for this type of management (Which I doubt) and probably wanted more money as a Field Manager than the Reds are willing to pay.

  17. Jon

    Glad it’s going to be the Phillies vs the Astros, though I obviously would have preferred the Mariners. Hoping for Castellanos and the Phillies to win, but would also be okay if the Astros won and earned Dusty that elusive World Series title.