The winter meetings came to a close on Wednesday evening and the Cincinnati Reds, a team who lost 100 games last year, exited things having made four moves. They signed three minor league players to minor league contracts, and they selected a player in the Rule 5 draft for another team in exchange for cash and a player to be named later.

While other teams were out there trying to win baseball games by signing proven big league players to massively long and high-dollar contracts, one of the worst teams in baseball did basically nothing. They signed no one to a big league deal. They traded for no one except a guy that will be named in the future who is very likely going to be a minor leaguer without distinction.

The winter meetings only last a few days. And they don’t mean that the offseason is over and teams can no longer make moves. But the optics of a team that has a payroll half as high as it was two years ago doing absolutely nothing coming off of a season in which they lost 100 games isn’t great.

Nick Krall, the Reds general manager, told Mark Sheldon of Reds.com that they essentially need to build through the farm system and need to focus on that. He would later say that he felt that the Reds laid the groundwork “with a lot of different things”.

While the San Diego Padres are breaking the brains of some other front offices who are confused as to how a literal billionaire can “afford” to pay outstanding baseball players despite being a small market team, the Reds are looking at a payroll of $71M right now and saying they “have a little money”. That’s about half as much as the payroll was two years ago.

One thing seems painfully obvious: The Cincinnati Reds aren’t even pretending to be in the market for players in free agency that are going to be considered good. Maybe they’ll be in the market for guys who were ok-ish, such as Andrew McCutchen, who may be willing to sign a short-term deal for a lower dollar amount.

What’s not obvious, though, is what the next steps are. Is Cincinnati’s “groundwork” from the winter meetings going to lead to the acquisition of established big leaguers in trades? Krall told Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer that “Making a trade doesn’t mean you have to just trade a big prospect for a (veteran) player. You can make prospect trades. You can make trades for lower cost, more controllable players in the big leagues. I think there are a lot of those conversations going on.”

Notice a theme there? The team wants to acquire players who make as little money as possible. The Reds have a strong farm system, though it has some weaknesses, too. It’s thin on outfielders, catchers, and pitching and deep with middle infielders and third basemen. Utilizing that infield depth in trades could be beneficial. The farm system isn’t only about having guys to come up and join your organization – sometimes it’s value can be had in making trades to fill gaps that your organization has in other areas.

The Reds are asking their fans for a lot of faith and for a lot of patience. Have faith that this time it will work out. Give it time for things to play out. Hang in there with us while we wait around for a future that we hope will come. It’s a tough pill to take from a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff series in nearly 30 years.

90 Responses

  1. Luke J

    “Other teams are out there trying to wingames by signing proven big league players to massively long and high dollar contracts.”

    Those contracts you are referring to are TERRIBLE for those teams and will significantly hamper the team’s ability to win in a few years. Massively long and high dollar deals virtually never end well for the team in the long run.

    I’m glad the Reds aren’t doing that. We may need to have faith the Reds are building the right way, and maybe that’s not warranted, but doubt in their plan does not mean to do it the wrong way.

    • AMDG

      Overpaying with bad contracts won’t necessarily affect the teams who can afford to move on from bad signings.

      The Reds, on the other hand…

      They are still claiming to be cash strapped due to the awful Moose & Shogo signings, not to mention the unnecessarily long Votto contract.

    • redfanorbust

      Your logic is sound although mostly the usual teams continue to make these kinds of deals year in and out. It is the cost of trying to win a championship in baseball. These owners value winning over dollars. Having your stadium filled most days helps along with playoff season dollars. Now for any team like the Reds is surely would be disastrous. Look all the trouble a contract like Moustakas’s is causing the Reds and it was peanuts compared to what’s being tossed about out there. Baseball is broken and year after year it’s the same 4-6 teams that are in on the best talent. Everyone else can only dream.

      • BK

        They also have significantly more resources than the Reds. The Padres are media darlings and fan favorites today. Let’s see how their approach ages with time.

      • Michael E

        “These owners value winning over dollars”

        I’d say they value both. Most of these teams will recoup those costs plus some. You have a product worth watching/viewing/travelling to see, the revenue will be there.

        Now, the Reds best-case-scenario revenue (great team, winning it all, sold out, new TV deal, etc) would still be half of a normal Yankees or Dodger year. So I can see why, even if Castellini and fellow owners threw caution to the wind, the Reds truly can’t compete at the top level for any extended period of time before having to blow it up and sell off everything (think Marlins a few times).

        I’d like to see them try. I knew it wouldn’t be this off-season. There is NO excuse by this time next year to not be ponying up a big FA deal or two. Maybe nothing totaling $400 million (over many years of course) like we’ve see this off-season, but they could very easily afford to sign two or three $25 – $35 million/yr FAs next off-season and still not hit their prior peak payroll. That’s what I think about. Find the best SP and OF or other position you can next off-season. Maybe even try to trade for a one year from FA star if FA pool is low and only make the deal if they’ll agree to a new contract.

        I hope this time next year, they have signed two top 10 FAs and maybe made a trade to fill the biggest hole in the starting lineup. They have several SS prospects. Other than EDLC, consider trading the top one with another top 8 prospect and get a top notch, mildly cost-controlled player to pair with some top FAs.

        The big trick will be getting any FA to even look at Cincy given the awful image Bob and Phil have cultivated over the past several years. To players, Cincy is a funny farm, insane asylum, clown show…at least until somoene of significance says, “I believe their trying to win the WS, I am in”

    • Chad Jones

      I hear this all the time. Name me some teams who have been hamstrung by bad contracts. No, it’s usually just bad management decisions. Like the Angels for instance. Pujols contract didn’t affect the Angels spending one bit. Just bad management. The Castellini’s are cheap, and if they aren’t going to try to be competitive sell the Reds.

    • Larry Brown

      Maybe the Reds should peak in on Clarke Schmidt P/New York Yankees. With the Yankees signing Rondon, the only place left for Schmidt is in long relief and an occasional fill in starter. He’s a first round pick that would make a good back end rotation for the Reds and or mid rotation. His brother also pitched in 2019 for The Dayton Dragons. I think he could be affordable and even if he didn’t crack the Reds rotation, the need for bullpen help would make him a great addition.

  2. Jeff Burt

    I have been a reds fan my entire life. Grew up with the big red machine this is the most embarrassing team ever. This team made 266 million last year 10 less then St. Louis and major profits. I felt for them during Covid but the two years before 18/19 profits. I hate the word competitive as only losing teams say that. Isn’t the goal to win a World Series for the great fans of Cincinnati. The first team in baseball deserves better then this. Joey Votto deserves better than this. Sad

  3. Chris

    Cincinnati has traded for prospects and burnt out veterans for 2 decades now minus a few that they intended on only having for 1 season. This organization is arguably the worst in baseball. The ownership has one goal in mind. Profit. They don’t care about competing or winning. Say what they want, Cincinnati is tired of hearing them speak at all.

  4. Klugo

    …and such a storied franchise. Such disrespect to the present fans and the long, fantastic history of this franchise.
    Seems like ownership is digging in and doubling down on their insistence that if the Reds fans want a winning team, they have to earn it by attending games and pumping more money into the machine first.
    Sell. The. Team. Bob.

  5. weigarp

    Most of your article could have been applied to about half the teams in MLB at the winter meetings. The big guns made moves, the rest stayed on the sidelines watching.

  6. redsfan4040

    Wonder what JD Martinez will cost? Hits lefties really well, should DH, but could play OF. Good flip candidate, too.

    • Doc

      And lefties pitch what percentage of the time? Something like 20-30%? But, as I recall, you still have to pay him for the 70% of the time he doesn’t play against or hit righties well.

      • redsfan4040

        Thats the thing though. Hes not bad against righties. Not spectacular, but OPS of 729 last season.

      • Tom Diesman

        Last season hitters had 72.6% of their PA against RHP and 27.4% of their PA against LHP. So for a single position the PA for a platoon would work out to about 489 PA for the hitter facing RHP and 185 PA for the hitter facing LHP. A hitter who does well against RHP is much more valuable.

  7. Hotto4Votto

    I honestly didn’t expect anything different than what has occurred this offseason. They’re not trying to compete in 23, so why spend to get better?

  8. William

    I am for the Reds winning a World Series. I have no interest in just being competitive with no real hope of a championship. Fact is the Reds will have a hard time paying $40 million a year for some of these superstars. They have the right approach to find “superstars” and “stars” in their minor league system, then at the right time (2024) supplement that with free agent additions. When a couple of contracts expire in 2024, they will spend some money. The system right now is totally rigged towards the Yankees, Dodgers, and other MLB teams who have much more money. Good news: Better days ahead (2024-2027).

    • redfanorbust

      I agree better days should be ahead and they had better be for the Reds. Once mostly dead weight dollars come off after next year (Votto/Moustakas’s contracts) Reds should be able to spend to augment their young players as the come of age in big show. As the writer noted we have not won a playoff series in 30 years and only been in the playoffs few times. As far as the system being rigged for the teams like Yankees, Dodgers etc right now, it has been rigged that way for a very long time.

    • Amarillo

      Completely agree, I don’t see a point in being an 80 win team. Out of all the free agents who have signed, I don’t think I would have wanted any of them at the number of years they signed for. Giving 10 years to a 30 year old shortstop when Shortstop is the strength of our farm system feels like bad roster construction.

  9. LDS

    Yes, some teams signed ludicrous long-term contracts, such as Judge & the Yankees, DeGrom, Verlander, Bogaerts, etc. What isn’t mentioned is the number of players, who are better than the current Reds, and cost about what Moose costs, and well less than Votto: Bellinger went for 1@$17.5 Contreras for 5@$17.5, Jansen 2@$16, Haniger 3@14.5, and others. In fact, the Reds could have signed all four of these guys and still not “break the bank”. It’s a choice not a limitation. The ownership group is raking in cash and not reinvesting, while we fans stupidly keep saying things like wait until Moose & Votto come off the books next year, wait until EDLC and company arrive, etc. We’re sheep. Castellini hasn’t delivered anything up to now. Why do we even pretend it’s going to change in 2024, 2025, or 2026.

    • Votto4life

      It’s amazing how many people try to justify Bob Castellini’s penny pinching. It has a cultish like feel to it.

      The Reds have made it clear for the past two years, that they are not going to spend money to improve this team. It won’t happen now, it won’t happen next year or in the future under Bob Castellini. Yet, his sycophants can’t wait to praise him at every single turn. Unbelievable.

      Even if the young players do emerge, the Reds won’t spend what is needed to put the team over the top (see 2020).

      The young players who emerge will be shipped off as soon as they make a nickel over league minimum.

      • LDS

        Agree completely. Fans better enjoy EDLC while they can. He won’t be around long. Nor will Greene, Stephenson, Marte, Collier, or any of the rest. Farmer was Bell’s favorite player and he’s gone once his salary looked to hit $5m. I think moving him was the right move. But I don’t agree with the reasons. And Newman or Reynolds as the starting SS is just cheap, not strategic. As for FA signings, based on public comments by former Reds, not to mention private communications, the Reds will likely have to outbid the competitors by a bunch to entice anyone to play for them.

      • BK

        I simply believe the approach the Reds are finally taking is the one most likely to lead to success. If you end up being correct and the Reds refuse to augment the roster in ’24 and beyond with additional payroll, I’ll join you in criticizing them. I don’t see any long-term benefit to adding payroll this year unless it brings in a player that fits long-term or one who can be flipped at the deadline.

        The Castellini Group has done a terrible job of leading this franchise. I hate the repeated teardowns. We need look no further than the Cardinal and Brewers in our own division, or to Cleveland in our own state to see there are better ways of running a small-market franchise. As of today, I like the trajectory, but believe aggressive spending would dampen that trajectory.

      • TR

        As a ‘forever’ Red’s fan, I will say no more about the Castellini controlling ownership until next year when the Votto and Moustakas salaries are off the books. At that time, I’m sure Big Bob, who’s in his eighties, will sell the Castellini interest for even more profit than what he has at present. In the meantime, I’ll look forward to another year of Reds baseball, regardless.

      • Melvin

        How many on here or anywhere else for that matter believe EDLC will still be on the Reds once he is eligible for free agency. We all know he most likely will be gone before that. I know Votto’s contract bothers many but I actually believe it’s one of the few things Big Bob has done correctly. Relatively speaking it’s not that big of a contract. Joey Votto may very well be THE LAST PLAYER EVER to play for the Reds his entire career. That still might not happen by the way. If somehow he’s completely healthy, has an unbelievable year and hits .320/.410/.600 with 45 HR and 130 RBI while taking home a GG AND winning the MVP and you can bet your last dollar Big Bob & Son still would not exercise his option. Votto would then finally go somewhere else. The truth is most, if not all, of the good ones will not make it through arbitration….unless of course we actually get an owner who cares more about the fans and winning than anything else. It’s not going to happen with these guys (owners).

    • redfanorbust

      Our teams has not really been seriously relevant for 30 years. I like you would love to have gotten Haniger and Contreras but we would probably have had to overpay like we did with Moustakas because, well it’s the Reds. It’s clear our ownerships can not or will not pay bigger bucks so I guess reality says we are relegated to just being “stupid” as you call those of us to waiting for our young guys to mature and the deadweight money to come off the books end of next year. Either that or find a new team to root for.

      • LDS

        We all look forward to the coming seasons and change. It just never seems to arrive. The off season arrives and some of us feel like Charlie Brown having played football with Lucy all season

  10. Redsvol

    I agree with everything said above. It’s both kind of silly to expect something different this year and disgraceful that such a proud franchise is so far out of contention and publicity.

    But this is where we are. Krall is charged with remaking the team. He has been very clear what he is going to do and able to do. I don’t like that we can’t play in the same Sandbox as Phillies, padres and rangers but it’s clear that most teams can’t either. Most of these contracts are horrible and will be proven so.

    Baseball needs a salary cap and floor. Maybe there will be enough teams interested in 5 years when the cba is expiring and these contacts look even more foolish. You can practically write in the playoff final 4 in Major League Baseball.

    • SultanofSwaff

      Sorry, these are CHOICES ownership groups are making. The Castellini’s have quadrupled the value of their franchise. If they want they could choose to operate at a ‘loss’ yearly but would still realize an obscene return on investment when the time comes to sell. The other owners who sign players to ‘horrible’ contracts likewise will still profit handsomely while putting a good product on the field. Many other ownership groups have fan bases convinced the only way to compete is to endure long cycles of losing……it’s a lazy, false narrative.

      • Redsvol

        @Sultan – they are absolutely choices. And Nick Krall hasn’t said anything that should lead any of us to think they will spend any significant $ this off-season. Quite the opposite.

        I’m hoping they will extend a couple players in February to create some positive momentum for Spring. But it seems they will keep their powder dry until next off-season when they know which young players – and therefore positions – have success and which ones they need help from free agency on. 2023 is all about seeing which young players can meet or exceed league average. If Fraley/Fairchild can be league average no need to pay $15 million per year for a left fielder. Spend it on a right fielder or first baseman.

  11. Pablo

    But be sure to secure your Pick-6 ticket packages for the 2023 season as advertised frequently on local radio. Getting back to fun again! Oi vey……….

  12. CFD3000

    Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft. Diaz, Antone, Sanmartin. Stephenson, India, Votto. EDLC, Marte, McLain and Barrero. The Reds could be good in 2023. But that’s not a whole team, and there’s no depth there except maybe in middle infielders. There’s easily $50M between current payroll and a modest major league payroll. That $120M would rank 24th among last year’s teams, and still another $50M below the median payroll. But ownership chooses not to be competitive. Another $50M or even $100M doesn’t keep you from pursuing strong players after 2023, especially since about $50M comes off the books with Votto and Moustakas after 2023.

    I’m still optimistic about the Reds outlook for the next five years, until the three starters are free agents. But this cost slashing, dumpster diving, choosing to be okay with lots of losing is insulting. If you can’t afford to own a major league team and money is what matters most, sell the team and take your massive profits. I love the Cincinnati Reds. Always have, always will. The team and its fans deserve better.

    • SultanofSwaff

      This. Ante up or go do something better with your time. I mean, are the Castellini’s even proud at this point to be owners during the darkest period of year over year losing this franchise has ever endured??? They flew the plane into the side of the mountain…..the hubris it takes to think we should trust them to fly us safely again….astonishing really.

      I too am optimistic about the new core that’s developing, but I can’t help but thinking the whole thing is doomed from the start because ownership won’t lay the groundwork to make this next cycle anything more than a two year window. 15-odd years of soul crushing losing isn’t worth it for a brief window of winning. The ONLY chance ownership has to regain my trust at this point is to start extending the core players BEFORE they even reach arbitration. Show me you actually trust your own player development process…that you trust these players (the ones you tout relentlessly to a dissatisfied fanbase)……that you’re willing to take risks that are a feature and not a bug of the business you chose to be in.

      • redfanorbust

        Agree SultanofSwaff. Extend some core players and prove you trust your player development. See how they do this year and once the big two contracts come off the books extend them and spend money on two or three genuine impact players, not cheap .210 hitters and hope and pray they magically hit .270.

    • Nick in NKY

      Your second paragraph really nails it. The team could easily project a strong focus on the future while still spending at a rate that allows them to flex somewhat and take a little risk. But nah, gotta even up the books this year or else, apparently.

  13. Mark Moore

    I was surprised Judge stayed in Pinstripes, but not shocked. I was shocked to see Xander got 11 years. I agree that these mega contracts that span a decade won’t age well. And I also agree that our Reds shouldn’t go that direction (again).

    It’s par for the course to hear little about what happened at the Winter Meetings. But this does feel different somehow. I agree with Doug’s headline. The silence this year from our front office was deafening.

    Sell the team. Players may “want to play here” but I doubt they want to play for Bob & Phil.

    • David

      Well, you should not be surprised that the Yankees signed Judge. Nobody else could afford to make that big a mistake in signing him for that much.
      He’s a big guy with a lot of HR power, but he also strikes out a lot. He has not shown that he is actually maturing as a hitter. But this is a very popular move with most Yankee fans.

      There are (in my opinion) two big reasons why the Reds have been so pathetic for most of the last 10 or so years.
      One: The way ML teams handle players, evaluate players, handle contracts, etc., has changed. The Reds thought that they were being smart in locking up Joey Votto to a long contract. And remember Homer Bailey; who could forget? Although Joey is a great guy and has had a great career, this was probably a mistake. But, the alternative would have been to lose him, and then what? No good answer. Getting Griffey Jr. and signing Larking to a big contract in 2000 also hurt the Reds, but that was not immediately obvious. And ownership then (Carl Linder) was loathe to spend beyond those guys. And they sometimes spent very badly. Eric Milton? There is a structural finance problem in baseball, that obviously favors richer teams (well, that’s a surprise, huh?) and which could be helped by smarter ownership/management, which leads us to…..

      Two: Bob Castellini and the ownership group really doesn’t know what they are doing. This goes beyond just spending more money. The franchise is just poorly run.
      Scouting, player evaluation, the minor leagues, training and development. Dick Williams (the younger) tried to change that, and that pesky 2020 season wrecked his ambitions and got him “fired”. But we still have the Mike Moustakas lodestone around our collective necks.

      So, here we are. Do any of us have a spare $200 million to buy an ownership share in the Reds and sit at the table and demand some changes?

      • Mark Moore

        David,

        I was thinking San Fran would get Judge. I know the market was very limited.

        I’m right with you on the inept practices of the current ownership group. I get pretty cheesed when they whine “small market” given what we see in similar and even smaller situations.

        As Ira Lowenstein said to Mr. Harvey (League of Their Own), “It’s a product. I have sold your other products and can sell this one.”

        Sadly, the Bob & Phil show is a cheap knock-off product. And they don’t even seem to be able to market and sell that.

        It’s just frustrating. Where’s Mark Cuban when you need him … 😀

  14. Steven Ross

    Cut and paste has-beens or reclamation projects are all we can expect for next season. IF Krall can get the Moose contract off the books, I’ll consider that a successful offseason. This once proud organization is now nothing more than an also ran.

    • TR

      It’s tough not to think ‘also ran’ when a season, not played yet, is called not important and probably will result in another 100 losses.

    • Old Big Ed

      Krall will have pulled off a major coup if he gets 10% of Moose’s contract off the Reds books.

  15. Roger Garrett

    Reds are just pretenders and have been for a long time.They may pick up a vet or two that nobody else wants just to fill out the roster and give the appearance to the fans they are trying to compete.We hope they reinvest the money that has come off the books this year and next but there is no guarantee that will happen.Hopefully Bob will sell but why should he if he is still making money?

  16. Daytonnati

    I was at the Bengals – Chiefs game Sunday. The atmosphere was electric from beginning to end. 66K+ in attendance. I remember attending just two or three seasons ago with the second deck half full. The city will support a winner. The Brown family seems to have finally figured it out (Katie and her daughters anyway), along with the astounding luck of having Joe Burrow fall into their lap.

    As a sidenote, caught in the scrum leaving the stadium, I found myself standing next to Hunter Greene, who must have been in town for RedsFest. What a physical specimen! He was unrecognized and I did not want to single him out while surrounded by the mob. I was glad he saw the potential energy the city possesses.

    • TR

      The fanbase is there. A change in managing ownership that makes a real effort to win every year is needed.

    • David

      If ML Baseball had the kind of TV revenue sharing that the NFL had, and a salary cap, etc., the Reds might be in a better financial position to compete, if that was really the only problem.
      And the Browns (since Paul passed away) had a long run of managing the team …horribly.
      But within that is also a good lesson. Paul Brown was a very smart guy, regarding football. You may think other things of him, but he built up the Bengals on smart draft choices, and staying in a budget. Smart people, like Paul Brown, Bob Howsam, etc., know how to succeed. I posit that the present Reds’ ownership group is baseball DUMB, and does a lot of dumb things. It’s not just about spending money (or not).
      And…they will NOT hire smart people, because
      1) smart people in baseball know better than to work for the Reds
      2) Castellini and the group don’t want to look stupid by comparison

      • TR

        And Phil Castellini is the Red’s COO, Chief of Operations. Need we say more?

  17. DW

    Seems to me that Krall is trying to mimic the rebuild that the Astros underwent before their current prominence. They cleaned house, built the farm system up, fielded a AAAA roster at the major league level, and endured three straight 100 loss seasons. Eventually, the prospects developed into a core at the major league level, they signed big free agents to fill holes, and have sustained the winning culture since. (Cheating has to be mentioned here as well)

    I’m not giving my opinion on whether I agree with this approach or not, but it certainly looks the same to me (hopefully excluding the cheating part). We will see if the Reds can achieve and sustain this in a much smaller market than Houston.

    • Bill

      That is exactly what I see happening. The Astros traded anyone making above league minimum for prospects. They were the worst team in baseball for multiple years, but once those prospects made it to the majors the Astros had a really good team. The Reds have started the same process. I am constantly amazed that anyone expected the Reds to make an attempt to win games in 23. They will lose 100 games again and get another early draft pick. Unfortunately for them the new lottery awarded them with the 7th pick this year.

      The question becomes can the Reds identify and develop talent as well as Houston did. By 2024 there should be a farm system with talent at all levels. Depending on how that development goes the Reds will have a better idea of where they need to spend free agent money.

  18. Michael B. Green

    If you use the analogy of baseball and paper towels, the Reds have no interest in being Brawny. They are trying to make a profit by being Family Dollar. Still a paper towel but not anything that great.

    I also think that the Reds ownership do not really care about attendance. There is plenty of TV money, etc., that gets shelled out to them without any risk. The Reds have not cracked the Top 3 in NL attendance since 1991 – the year after their championship. They have not cracked the Top 10 in the NL since 2014. They have been one of the 5 worst NL teams – attendance wise – every single year since 2014.

    Developing a super star can change this. Attendance went from 8th in the NL to 2nd when Johnny Bench blossomed. The Red went from 8th in NL attendance to 4th when Eric Davis was doing Willie Mays things. And Barry Larkin helped the Reds attendance to stay in the NL Top 4 from 1990-1992.

    The key here is that CIN needs a Brawny, not a bunch of Family Dollars. Nobody is going to get excited about Family Dollar. They want Brawny. In CIN’s history, they want home grown Brawny – not free agent Brawny.

    So who currently has the potential of becoming the next Reds Brawny? I would argue: De La Cruz, Marte, Collier, Arroyo or McClain. De La Cruz certainly has the early buzz.

    I wonder if Enrique Bradford would become a Brawny? With speed becoming a focus next year, a flashy CF would likely excite fans one day.

    And with that, I rest with the first ever paper towel narrative in this blog. Let the paper towel responses begin!

    • David

      Coincident with Johnny Bench becoming one of the top baseball players in basefall (NL MVP in 1970 and 1972) was the overall “rise” in the Reds as a franchise. And in mid 1970, they moved out of little Crosley field (Which held about 29,000 people ) to Riverfront, which could hold 52,000 fans. That had a lot to do with the rising attendance at Reds’ games.
      But yes, put a winning and entertaining team on the field, and people will come to watch.

  19. Kove

    I know this will not happen, but the fans should completely boycott watching Reds games both at the stadium and on TV. It’s a slap in the face to fans to expect them to pay the prices for these games and not put out a quality product on the field. If the current ownership won’t spend the money, then sell to a motivated owner that will. The Reds are nothing more than a glorified minor league team and probably wouldn’t fare that well against the upper echelon of the Triple A teams.

  20. Rob

    “The Reds have a strong farm system, though it has some weaknesses, too. It’s thin on outfielders, catchers, and pitching and deep with middle infielders and third basemen.”

    The Reds simply DO NOT have a strong farm system. If they’re thin on outfielders, catching and pitching, that means the system is weak at five of the nine positions.

    Other than first-round draft choices, the Reds are woefully incompetent at recognizing and developing talent, and getting that talent to the big leagues.

    Yet again, we’re being told that the cavalry of young players will eventually arrive, and then — yes, then — the Reds will be competitive!!

    As a Reds fan for more than 60 years, I say: Don’t believe it.

    • Votto4life

      Rob I agree. It’s hard to claim you have a strong farm system with that many weaknesses. People complain how poorly constructed the 2021 Reds were, I think the same can be said about the emerging team as well.

      However, it also scares me when Nick Krall starts talking about “trading prospects for prospects”. I have the feeling the Reds will get hosed in those type of transactions. A team will simply trade the Reds an inferior prospect by throwing in a little cash.

  21. old-school

    The real question is what does Krall do a year from now when the Moose and Votto contracts are off the books. Is the payroll $85 million in 2024/25 or $125/135 million in 2024/25?

    I would have liked to have seen some 2-3 year deals and $30-40 million targeted on vets in areas of need(OF, SP, C, bullpen) as a bridge to 2024/25 to start building a winner in 2023 but that’s not happening. The other area however would be to add young proven MLB’ers with team control for 3 years+ from teams that dont want to pay arbitration raises. It doesnt make sense to pay arbitration to Kyle Farmer at $ 6 million but it would make sense to add some young arms from other tanking teams( A’s, Tigers,Royals)

    it will be a long cold slow winter for Reds fans.

    • JB

      Same as last winter. The fans aren’t going to show up this season either. If they don’t make a few moves next winter, then what fans are left will really find something else to do.

    • TR

      The deafening silence is here for the next year when, with no more long term contracts and a maturing farm system, change will be in the air.

  22. MK

    A few years didn’t the Lagos deal happen a couple weeks after the Winter Meetings? It was the ground work laid at the meeting so they said.

  23. TheCoastMan

    I broke the news in another thread, but I might as well share it here as well. Bob and Phil just got approved for their pan handlers license. I guess they’ll be spending the holiday parked out in front of Great American with their tin cups.

    • Daytonnati

      CoastMan, where were you all season? I assume making better use of your time than the rest of us? 🙂

      • TheCoastMan

        Well I’ve been lurking, checking the boxes every night. And as always, checking in on you guys and the Redleg Nation stories pretty regularly. It was just to painful to get deeply involved again with posts or spending too much time dwelling on the pain.

  24. JB

    We all knew they wouldn’t sign anybody this off-season. Same as last year. Next year will be the winter they better be active because they will have a chunk of change off the books. If not , seats will be empty again. Oh well another year of ” Where you going to go”?

    • Melvin

      One could argue they have a “chunk of change” to spend this year already.

  25. Jim t

    This year is about developing the youngsters and saying good bye to Joey. I don’t think they will cut Moose.

  26. Kevin H

    So in order to root for a mlb team one has to root for a “big market ” as a “small market” team can’t compete. Blah, Blah, Blah I call a spade a spade. No such thing as big market and small market it’s the reds don’t want to spend the money. I didn’t go to a game last year nor will I this year.

    I won’t support this organization anymore. If you put a winner on the field, fans will come. Ask the Bengals how they are doing since they started spending money.

    Shame on the Reds organization.

  27. Redhaze

    Will the Reds be smart and sign Greene, Lodolo, Stephenson, and India to long term deals past their arbitration years? The Braves did it.

    • Greenfield Red

      The Reds did it with Mesorocco, Bailey, and Suarez. It didn’t work out so well.

      • Votto4life

        I think the Suarez and Bailey extensions were the right moves at the time. They just didn’t pan out because if injuries.

        When the Reds signed Homer Bailey he already had two no hitters under his belt. Suarez signed a club friendly extension and was productive before he injured his shoulder in his swimming pool. They Reds traded Geno before he was completely healed.

        If the Reds are using the Bailey and Suarez extensions as a excuse not to extend young players (and I think they are to an extent) then we really are in for a very long period of losing.

    • Votto4life

      @Redhaze, I agree if the Reds would extend India, Stephenson, Lodolo and Greene it would restore some of my faith in the Reds front office.

      I would be more patient and understanding while waiting for the prospects to make
      their way up the ladder.

      This is the off season for making this happen, since the Reds will be doing little in way of improving the team.

      To my knowledge, there hasn’t even been a rumor of the Reds extending these players. Extending a least a couple of these guys (Stephenson and Lodolo?) would go a long way of reestablishing credibility with the fan base.

      I don’t think it will happen though. I think contract extensions and multi-year contracts are a thing of the past with this ownership group.

  28. Votto4life

    Off topic but Anyone following the story about MLB using different types of baseballs?

    • Old-school

      Votto said the ball was dead last year. Stats support it. Maybe with the shift gone and a livelier ball there is hope for a Senzel bounce back and India bounce back and a Stephenson eruption and Fraley a few steps forward and a Votto strong final lap around the track. All 5 have plate discipline. Barrero Im not holding my breath.

      • Votto4life

        From what I saw on TikTok (not a great source I know) the league used a livelier ball at the All-Star game, post season games and at least some Yankee games.

        Again, I am not vouching for the veracity of the story, but if true, you have to wonder why it was permitted at Yankee games.

    • Redsvol

      I did 2 minutes of research, that is not a credible source Votto. Hearsay.

  29. William

    My favorite team is the Reds. They are my favorite team in all of sports. It started in childhood and has never changed. I understand they will not be good every year. So, have a second favorite team every year, depending on the players. Next year, it is the Texas Rangers. Last year, I followed the Reds and watched them lose 100 games. My second favorite team was the Dodgers. I watched them win a 100 games. Where will I go if the Reds are bad. I will follow a winner!!! So, I try to figure out how my childhood team (Reds) can also be a winner. Unfortunately, the rebuild is a must until the system changes.

  30. Andy

    OMG Nimmo just got $162M. For a 16hr/65Rbi guy. I know, counting stats. LOOK AT THAT CONTRACT! He’s never even been an all-star! Pretty soon Reds won’t even be willing to pay 1st year ARB salaries.

  31. Jon

    If ownership or management actually came out and revealed that they have a plan past this season, that would be one thing. However, they have never done that and every move since the end of the 2020 season has been to slash payroll. Why should we think anything will be different in 2024? Will payroll (due to drop to below $30 million with Votto and Moose gone) all of a sudden shoot back up to around $150 million next winter? The simple fact is that Bob Castellini is the worst owner in the sport and cannot be trusted. He is too poor to own a MLB franchise and must sell the team.

    • Bill

      They have made it very clear what the plan is. You just don’t like the plan. The plan is to slash payroll, acquire young cheap talent, and not even attempt to win right now. That is exactly what they have been doing. Obviously they aren’t going to come out and say they aren’t spending money and tanking, because that would incur a formal complaint from the MLBPLA. Instead they make comments about realignment of resources and we have a little money to spend.

  32. William

    The ball was dead and Judge hit 62 home runs. I love Votto but think he should retire after this year. I believe he is hurting his Hall of Fame credentials. Bench had the wisdom to retire when he went down the hill.. The ball was not dead last year. It was dead in the early 1900’s, but not last year.

    • Scot Lykins

      The only way to fix baseball is to remove the exemption and open the books. No more Krall rhetoric.

    • Doug Gray

      But the ball the Yankees got wasn’t dead.

  33. old-school

    How bout Brandon Nimmo and his 8 year 162 million.
    Jocketty had Jay Bruce to the Mets and Nimmo to the Reds until an injury came up with one of the peripheral players, so Jocketty changed at the last minute to upgrade to Dilson Herrera. Nice move Walt.

  34. Steve

    Hot Stove used to be somewhat engaging. Not so much, lately.

  35. Redhaze

    Come on Reds. Michael Brantley and Joey Gallo. These are players you can flip at the trade deadline. India, Brantley, Stephenson, Gallo, Votto, Fraley, Steer, Moustakas and Barrero. Could be worse.