The Cincinnati Reds seem to have a plan that doesn’t involve signing free agents of note. While no one has ever expected them to be in the top of the market, going after players who are getting $300,000,000 contracts (though, why not? They felt they could pay Joey Votto $250,000,000 a decade ago and the team has a lot more revenue coming in today than they did then from non-ticket sales and the only reason they aren’t bringing in more from ticket sales today is that they aren’t putting a good product on the field), they should be able to be in the mid-tier free agent market. And maybe in the future they plan to, but it sure doesn’t sound like it based on the things that Nick Krall is saying in public.

Krall has repeatedly said that they need to focus on building their foundation “from our minor leagues and our player development system”.  Even if we ignore that the teams spending money on free agents are also trying their best to develop their minor league system in order to produce high-end big league players, it’s almost impossible for a team to get where you want to be on home-grown talent alone. Even when the Reds are able to point to the last time they had a home grown core that was very good they added high-end caliber players to that core. Mat Latos was a difference maker on the mound. Shin-Soo Choo was a difference maker at the plate. Aroldis Chapman, while technically coming up through the farm system was paid like a free agent for his time in Cincinnati because the rules for such signings were different then.

Those teams from 2010-2013 were good because the Reds had a strong core of home grown players AND they added in high-end talent in other ways – including spending some money. And maybe that’s a part of the plan if and when the “core from the minor leagues” ever shows up. But reading the public statements it sure doesn’t feel like that’s what is a part of it.

Last week Krall told Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer that the team was exploring trades for low cost and controllable players in the big leagues. Again, there’s nothing wrong with those kinds of moves. But if that’s the plan, there could be a problem…..

What if Jon Heyman is right and the trade market is dead? I know that some of you just laughed over saying Heyman could be right (especially after the whole Arson Judge fiasco), but he’s not the only person out there saying that the trade market has basically closed up shop for the time being.

If more and more teams are feeling like the cost of good players is too much, then they will be looking to do one of two things: Look to the trade market to acquire players, which will make the market much more “expensive” in terms of what you have to give up to acquire those players, or be a team that’s trying to trade players that teams want.

One front office executive said this to The Athletic’s Jayson Stark:

“We talk about this all the time. Are we hunting good deals? Or are we hunting good players? The whole idea is to hunt good players. There’s a cost to that. And we don’t always get to control that cost.”

And that’s absolutely right. An individual team doesn’t get to control that cost. Other teams have a say in it, and at some point just because you don’t like what that cost is doesn’t change the fact that it costs that much to play. As someone who has been shopping for a home in the last few years I can certainly relate to the feeling that “this shouldn’t cost this much”, but it’s not 2018 anymore.

Now, you could argue that if Cincinnati can become a team that can get maximum value as a team looking to trade away players that teams want because they can no longer be comfortable in the free agent market, that it’s a good thing. And on one hand it is. What the Reds were able to do at the trade deadline in 2022 felt like a big shift in what they were able to get versus perhaps what they were expected to get and in a good way for Cincinnati.

On one hand being able to do that seems like a good way to build a team. But on the other hand if you’re in the position to compete then you don’t want to be selling at the trade deadline in order to “maximize trade value” because that’s going to almost assuredly maximize your chances of missing the playoffs.

This offseason isn’t nearly over yet, but it has seemed to scare more than a handful of teams who severely misjudged what the going rate of good baseball players is. The market in free agency changed. And that could mean that the trade market has changed, too. What a team believed the plan could be moving forward when the 2022 season ended may no longer be something that can work with the new market forces. Cincinnati could find themselves in a tough position if their plan involves simply relying on drafting, developing, and trading.

96 Responses

  1. ryan

    Drafting, developing, and trading (to the Yankees or Dodgers) sure sounds like a plan.

  2. LuciusRuber

    sounds like Bob and little phil are content on staying on the hamster wheel

    • Votto4life

      It’s a hamster wheel to us, but not to them. Bob and Phil are winning at the game they are playing.

      • Michael E

        Yep, they’re winning and laughing uncontrollably at all the Reds fans doling out hard earned $$$ for tickets, parking, overpriced food, beverages and souveniers.

        We’re all chumps and deserve the ridicule.

        Fans, stop paying any money for ANYTHING related to the Reds and stop watching games until they get the message. Maybe even then they won’t care, if franchise value is still increasing even with all-time lows in revenues and profits.

  3. Bill J

    I wonder if player development could be a problem?

    • David

      It is an inexact process, with sometimes very disappointing outcomes. You’re dealing with young athletes, not robots.

      Nick Howard
      Nick Travieso
      Nick Senzel

      Clue to Reds: stop drafting players named Nick.

      Okay, you can keep Nick Lodolo.

      • Doug Gray

        The lesson here is: health matters. Howard and Travieso both had serious arm injuries and Senzel’s had injury after injury after injury.

      • redfanorbust

        Thank God you told us that just in the nick of time.

      • jon

        Healthy or not Howard could not hit the side of a barn with his fastball from day 1.

  4. Hanawi

    The longer it goes without signing any contracts beyond next year, the more it feels like they are setting up for a sale of the team. You would think they would at least try to extend some of the young guys.

    • David

      I think that it will be time to really “panic” is if March 1st rolls around and the Reds have done nothing to add to the team.
      I honestly doubt if Bob and Co. (the whole ownership group) would be selling the team NOW, based on present interest rates and the overall financial situation in the country, as this would not be an optimal time to sell and get the best return, unless they are desperate to get out.
      We all need to get out of the wishful thinking mode, that some brilliant billionaire (and that would be about what it would take), buys the Reds, keeps them in Cincy and fixes the team. That just isn’t going to happen.

      • OldOHMan

        The Mexico City Rojas ownership team will appreciate the lower prices and won’t have trouble with financing a deal. Would MLB allow it? Maybe, it’s a really big tv market and essentially would be Mexico’s team.

      • Chads Dad

        The idea of the team moving is very over blown. Research how many teams have actually moved since the 50s. They’ve added teams, shut a couple down and relocated Montreal back to Wash, but rarely have teams moved. Ask the A’s owner how easy it is. It’s not as simple as, new owner wants to move and gets his way. It needs other owners to sign off etc. I don’t see the other owners being foolish enough to vote to move MLBs first pro team. I think they understand optics more then Phil. I also don’t see them selling. For better or worse, we’re all stuck with each other until we stop caring or the free money dries up.

    • kypodman

      I stated this 2 or 3 times in the blogs during the season this past year based on the sources I have – no long term contracts, Votto and Moose contracts come off the books, team is sold!

      • Colorado Red

        and, as I have said 100 Time, they will move to Vegas.
        Is that what everyone wants?
        Bob is really, but the team is still in Cincinnati

      • Votto4life

        Phil, is that you??

        If the Castellini’s want to move to the Reds to Las Vegas, they are going about it the right way, they are destroying this market for MLB.

    • Steve A Reno

      If you want to sell you would want to make the organization more valuable. They are not doing that. They are maximizing their income side.

  5. Kerrick

    I just hope the Mets, Dodgers and Yankees payroll goes up to 500million so next time the collective bargaining agreement is up, there are enough teams that say “shut it down till there is a salary cap and floor”

    • Doug Gray

      The teams at the bottom don’t want a floor and the teams at the top don’t want a cap. There are probably like 5 teams that actually want a cap/floor and they are the teams spending like $150M right now.

      • Kerrick

        I have a hard time believing that’s right. Teams don’t want a floor without a cap. Where have you heard that teams wouldn’t want a floor if it came with a cap?

      • Doug Gray

        I dunno what to tell ya. Why would teams perfectly fine spending $75M vote for themselves to spend $125M? Why would teams spending $190M+ vote so they could only spend $185M?

        The teams that don’t spend love getting their free money on top of not having to spend tens of millions more. The teams that do spend money love being able to not compete against those teams. Very few teams fall in the middle of “we spend a good chunk of money and truly want to compete”. It’s that middle group that would be in favor of a floor/cap system. And that’s a small group of non-big spenders.

      • JayTheRed

        I am wondering how the NFL figured it out to max a salary cap but baseball seems to not have a clue on how to do it?

      • Doug Gray

        It’s a few things, but the biggest things are local tv deals versus one full NFL package, and a weak union versus a strong one. The NFL never had local media rights deals like MLB has had for 70+ years. They never had to navigate the situation of “the Packers have a deal that’s still valid for 10 years, while the Bills deal is up next year”, where as baseball has that issue. But the NFL union being far weaker than the MLB union also comes into play here.

      • Andy

        Interesting that MLS just pulled this off.. the entire league is now housed in the AppleTV deal with no teams having local TV rights. They have a long way to catch MLB in terms of cultural relevance, but are gaining and I think that deal gives them a big edge.

      • Andy

        Well , the deal structure gives them an edge. The $$ figures still pale in comparison to MLB. The structure gives them ability to mimic NFL and minimize the massive competitive imbalance that plagues baseball.

  6. Tar Heel Red

    I made the comment on another website that building a winning team by totally relying solely on prospects is a “fool’s errand”. There is a reason they are called prospects (a wise baseball man once said that “prospects are suspects until proven otherwise”). Some will become starters in the majors, some will become utility/journeymen and some will never make it all. Successful teams will sprinkle in veterans where holes exist and to provide leadership to the youngsters.

  7. bryant

    I could be wrong, but I don’t remember any Reds official saying it was a “rebuild.” They are just cutting expenses.

    • Votto4life

      This is what I have have been saying all along. We, as fans, want to believe it’s a re-build, because we have seen teams like the Astros follow this path back into contention. My feeling is there is no intention to compete. If it happens great, but it’s not the goal.

      Say what you want about the Reds, but they are not lying to us. At least about building a championship caliber team. We are lying to ourselves.

      Cost savings is not the means to an end. It’s the end itself.

      • jessecuster44

        They lied right from the start.

      • Votto4life

        @jessecutter44

        Lord knows I’m not a fan of the Castellinis and they did lie about about being interested in winning when Bob bought the team (or at least didn’t know what they were talking about) . But neither the Castellinis or Nick Krall have mentioned winning lately. Certainly not since the tear down began. Nick Krall has said plainly , that the goal is “aligning payroll with resources”. Where is winning mentioned?

        All this talk about a “plan” or rebuild is coming from discussion boards like this. If people would take a step back, they would see winning is not the plan.

  8. SultanofSwaff

    The three-way trade between Atlanta, Milwaukee, and Oakland today, seemed to breathe some life into the trade market and serve as a nice barometer for other team is looking to make deals.

    I agree with Doug that you still have to augment your build from within plan with outside talent… and that takes money. The crux of this rebuild lies entirely with ownership and their willingness to accept market forces.

  9. Dick Paterson

    Building from within alone is not enough in this age, but it will be 2024 until we realize how stuck the Reds are in that mode. They may do 2023 with young talent and then fill gaps with free agents in 2024. The combination of free agency and no legitimate salary cap has created have and have-not (will or will-not) teams. Not sustainable for MLB.

    • Rob

      Great conversation. I agree with many that the Reds have lost touch with the market. Since the trade deadline, the Reds have moved on from several solid players in the name of cost control: Castillo, Mahle, Naquin, Drury, Farmer, and Pham. On top of earlier departures of Nick, Wink, Geno, Sonny, and Tucker. News Flash for Krall: you are not going to replace those guys with waiver wire $5M wonders or Friedls, Fairchild, Fraley, Papierski,and Dunn. You can have a sprinkling of those guys in your lineup but you can’t have spots 5 thru 9 on a daily basis. Krall himself said last year was non competitive and unacceptable. No joke. You made all these trades and went from a pretty good 83 win team – like the Phils, Braves, Pads, And Brewers – to a total embarrassment. I truly don’t know how you are going to get back to 85 wins without spending SIGNIFICANT free agency money. You need 3-4 solid players and probably a couple pitchers. Yes, I think your farm system is promising for2-3 players by 2024 but you need a another 3-4-5. Not 1 year Andrew McCutchens. I am talking players the caliber of Geno, Nick, and Luis. Krall, you are the one who wouldn’t trade Santillan or Barerro or both to move Moose to a rebuilder. “No prospects.” Ok bonehead. You got 3-4 sharp looking young pitchers who won like 15 total games last year.There were several other rookie pitchers on other teams who won like10-12 each. These 3 guys are probably just a year away from having the potential ( terrible word) to win 15+ each. But it ain’t happening if you are expecting Friedl, Fairchild, Papierski, and Fraley to slug you there. It is going to be more like 8-9 wins each and not too far away from their own $15-25M contract. Sell the team if you don’t want to spend $125M to bring us a 85+ win team.

  10. Rednat

    i don’t blame reds ownership as much as others on this site. The problem with the reds is the problem which has been plaguing baseball really since the end of the steroid era, lack of good position players that can actually hit ( and as Doug said above stay healthy).
    There are so few good hitters in the league right now that the cost to purchase a hitter is getting quite ridiculous. At least baseball is trying to make some changes with the shift ban but so much more needs to be done to make good hitters more available and widespread throughout the league( moving the mound back and banning certain pitches is my idea).

    I think of a player like Aquino. He would have definitely been an impact player in the 1980’s. but in today’s game , he is now out of the league. the pitching is just that dominant right now

  11. LDS

    Krall and company are spewing the line that they know the gullible fan base will buy or infer, eg the Tampa Bay model, etc. Right now, the Reds are just CHEAP. They haven’t aggressively tried to win in the Castellini era.

    • 2020ball

      The owners are whats brought this team down for years. They subtract from the team to save money and then their biggest holes that year are what they subtracted from. Its mind blowing.

  12. Votto4life

    Something changed in the 2020 season. Whether, it was Covid, dissatisfaction with Dick Williams or with their MLB partners. I don’t know what was, but I think it can all be traced back to 2020. After that season, the Reds changed direction.

    The Castellinis were never big spenders, but the austerity measures went into overdrive after the 2020 campaign. The new CBA seemed to make it worse.

    I also think it’s going ti get worse before it gets better.

  13. Old-school

    The Reds have a good core of young players at the MLB level in India, Stephenson, Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft and Diaz. The non-development of Barrero and Senzel damaged the Reds rebuild in 2022 as did the injuries to Santillan and Antone. Injuries happen though.

    But, a year from now I suspect some of EDLC, Marte, CES, and a few pitchers( Abbott?) will push through and be ready to join that crew at the MLB level.

    Bengals made huge strides through free agency- from the worst team in the league to a Super Bowl participant in 2 years by fixing the defense and now getting an O-line to add to their tremendous drafting and tanking, which netted elite young prospects. Reds seem to be ignoring the FA part that has to supplement the drafting and development part. If the Reds simply said we are going to add a proven OF bat in 2023 for 2 years , a good SP for 2 years, a good back up catcher, and 2 elite bullpen arms and start to build a winning core and momentum to wait for which prospects prove themselves for 2024….then you have some clarity next offseason on what finishing pieces you need in FA.

    We know some things for sure. Bullpen arms are going to get hurt. Prospects will hiccup at AAA and MLB. MLB players will get hurt. Reds never account for that and then have major deficits in roster construction that account for a terrible defense or terrible bullpen or no speed or no ability to manufacture runs….or no bat to ball skills or a combination of all. Krall deserves a $125 million budget or he’s just being set up as the scapegoat a year from now when Big Bob and Phil need to move in another direction after a 65-97 season.

    • Doug Gray

      The Bengals have several superstars. The Reds don’t even have an All-Star caliber player except for the guy who throws 65 innings a year. Maybe one of the guys you mentioned in the core can become an All-Star caliber guy in the future, but right now they aren’t there.

      • Old-school

        Im a huge believer in Tyler Stephenson. I think he can be a Paul Goldschmidt type hitter for the next 8-10 years if healthy and how the Reds help make that happen…I’m not going down that rabbit hole. I also believe in Jon India. A year ago he was the ROY and one of the best young players in the game. he got hurt.

        They’ve got to hit on EDLC and Marte and Lodolo and Greene…but that’s not far fetched. What is far fetched is this current outfield and bullpen and no FA investment in a big bat, good vet SP and 2 bullpen arms and a major league catcher.Ive been screaming for 3 yearsget a lefty bullpen arm….they wont do it.

  14. James

    Seems to me like the Reds are a profitable feeder team for the real contenders out there.

  15. Frankie Tomatoes

    I think the trade market will be fine and the Reds won’t need to adjust their plan. I don’t know if the plan will work at all and I have a feeling that it won’t but I don’t think the market forces as they say will change things so much that Krall will need to go in a different direction so quickly.

  16. Mark Moore

    We’re not Tampa (no matter what lip-service might be given to following that model). The “small market” whine just doesn’t stack up when you look at similar-sized markets that field good teams. As a fan, it’s frustrating. I actually looked into flights to Phoenix, but given the state of the Reds, I’m thinking that feels like a complete waste (and I have e-credits with Delta I need to use before 2023 ends).

    Maybe the comment about selling once 4M and Joey roll off is accurate. Maybe we’ll see a move that surprises us. Maybe later this evening monkeys will fly out my butt … 😀

    I won’t get my “free” subscription via the phone carrier this season, so I’ll have to decide when to buy the MLB.tv package. I may wait until Fathers’ Day when it goes on sale like always. Regardless, unless we catch lightening in a bottle, Reds games won’t be “appointment TV” for me this season.

    • Colorado Red

      Just a note, Military Veterans get 30% off.

      • Mark Moore

        Thanks, Colorado. I don’t qualify for that one.

    • west larry

      I think monkeys flying out of your butt is more likely than the reds being sold when Votto’s and Moose;s contracts are off the books….I wish they would sell the team after 2023, but I think that I am dreaming.

      • Mark Moore

        Yeah, I’m afraid you are correct. Not sure why they want to keep it unless it really is a cash cow and they are milking it for all it’s worth.

  17. redfanorbust

    IMHO Reds ownership knows as well as most Reds fans that Reds will get nowhere with just prospects. I think the Reds will spend some money after Votto and Moustakas are gone. Now are we talking Yankee/Dodger dollars of course not but they will spend. They may go after an RH hitting OF this off season but it makes no sense to trade valuable prospects to get some OF who hits .240 and will give you 10-15 home runs. We already have those kinds of OF here now. Reds have a plethora of infielders and good ones. Reds need to make some noise with the OF they end up getting. Maybe say Jonathan India to Dodgers for say maybe Andy Pages. Anyway just spitballing with the trade but you get the idea.

    • Chris Holbert

      I am not seeing a plethora of good infielders.

  18. LDS

    I always get curious when folks here say the Reds will start spending in 2024, once Moose & Votto roll off. What in the history of the Reds under Castellini even begins to suggest that? While it’s still early in the off season, Votto has not announced this is his “last year”, suggesting that he hopes to be back for 2024. And I suspect Castellini and company would milk that last year for all the attendance it can drive. After all, how many tickets do the Reds need to sell to offset Votto’s $20m in 2024? So when do they spend? 2025? 2026? When are they again going to field a competitive team and draw 2.4-2.5m paying fans? Given how old some of us are here, will it be in our lifetimes? And my guess is Phil is cheaper than Bob. So, no, not likely.

    • Bill

      There have been many times Castellini has spent money. You can’t say “once Moose & Votto roll off” and follow that with nothing in the history shows he is willing to spend. Those were both large contracts, and neither was the only large contract at the time. Along with Moose was Shogo and Castellanos. The problem was two of the three were horrible, not that Bob wasn’t spending money. Then look back to the 2010-2013 run, Votto, Bruce, Phillips extensions , and trades for Rolen and Latos. Bailey and Mesaraco extensions in the following years, which both turned out bad. The Reds have shown a willingness to spend when they are trying to compete, but they have failed miserably at it since 2014.

      • LDS

        And Dick Williams was ousted for his efforts

      • Greenfield Red

        I have stated many times the Reds have spent a lot in the past and they will again only to be shouted down by the masses here.

        They won”t spend like the Yankees or Dodgers but I suspect the payroll to be 150 mil within 5 years. They are going to be bad in 23. The first 40 mil they spend will be non productive. Why would anyone throw unnessessary good money after bad money?

        I respect Doug a lot for all he does here. But I disagree with him and almost everyone else here. The Votto contract has been a massive failure. They paid him all that money and gave him a good supporting cast during his peak years. They got exactly 2 playoff wins during his entire career. He has been a poor team leader and did not perform well in the post season.

        Same goes for the Griffey contract before Votto. Both were paid to lead this team to the WS and were given good support. Neither came anywhere close

        And, LDS, I normally agree with much of what you say, but I disagree about Dick Williams. He signed 4M, NC, and Shogo. Once he saw what a miserable failure that was, and was told he had to flush out all the wasted money, he quit rather than face all the tough decisions and critisism Nick Krall has endured.

      • old-school

        @GR, the Votto contract was good and bad both at the same time. It was good, because Votto was worth it and based on his performance earned it and was the best hitter in the NL(maybe Buster Posey) for the decade of 2010-19. It was bad because the Reds didnt align it with a winning window after 2010-13 and wasted 2014-2019, 2020 was a lost year and blew up 2022 and 2023 as well. Small market teams cant pay 1 superstar $250 million and not surround him with good players for 7 years of the contract. But that’s a Reds problem, not a Votto problem.

        At this point , its water under the bridge and all Reds fans should align and root for a healthy great farewell season from Votto in 2023.

      • LDS

        @GR, I contend that with a decent manager, Moose & Shogo would have both performed better and Castellanos would have stayed. Bell has mismanaged personnel since his arrival.

      • Greenfield Red

        LDS, I agree that Bell is a bad Manager and should be gone . But Shogo proved to not be a MLB calibur talent and Moose was an out of shape over reach… a la Griffey, from the the minute he arrived in
        Cincinnati..

        I think the only reason Bell is still here is that he is one of the cheapest Managers in MLB. He should be gone after this year.

        But, I contend the resources were there to win through 2020 and JV had been the face of the franchise for at least 10 years by then, and they didn’t win anything.. and it became clear to anyone who bothered to look objectivly, they would not win in the Votto era.

      • LDS

        @GR, Bell is there because he’s Buddy Bell’s son. Nepotism nothing more. A good manager would have benched Moose until he was in ML playing shape. Bell wouldn’t or couldn’t. Add Bell’s utility mindset and constant changes in lineups and Shogo never had a chance. He had 183 PAs in both 2020 and 2021. I’d argue that was insufficient time for him to make a transition. Regardless, water under bridge but expect the same prospect abuse to occur on the Reds rising stars.

    • Melvin

      As I posted previously, I don’t think Big Bob & Son will bring back Votto no matter what kind of awesome year he may have. I don’t think they care about fans or having them in the ballpark. They are just the WORST owners. lol

  19. Redhaze

    If the Reds do not try to put a winner on the field just be big enough and admit it to the fans that have stuck by this franchise through thick and thin. Idea – put a tarp in the upper deck and stop thinking thousands of fans are miraculously going to show up.
    Patchwork solution to compete for the division
    •Sign India, Stephenson, Lodolo, Diaz and Green to long term deals like the Braves have done.
    •Sign two of the following – Michael Brantley, Joey Gallo, Adam Duvall or Andrew McCutcheon.
    •Add two veteran arms to the bullpen to setup Diaz.
    • I would like to see the team look at Barry Larkin as their next manager.

    • LDS

      I would rather see the next manager come from outside the organization. Anyone associated with the current organization is immediately suspect in my mind. Larkin may one day be a good manager. Let him prove it elsewhere.

      • Melvin

        Anyone hired by Big Bob & Son is immediately suspect in my mind. I don’t trust em…at all. lol

      • Bill J

        Outside the organization, like Bell?

      • LDS

        @BillJ, Bell is nepotism. Maybe I should have said “qualified” candidates from outside the organization. Not that I think the Reds have a clue what qualified means.

    • Votto4life

      Barry Larkin is the same guy who wanted to sign Kyle Farmer to a long term deal. No thanks.

    • Greenfield Red

      Barry Larkin is less qualified to manage the Reds than David Bell was when he was hired.

  20. Optimist

    A few replies to the interesting comment thread here.

    1 – 2023 is absolutely a “rebuilding year” and they really need to manage it as such – notably, have a plan to feed in the MiLB prospect talent throughout the year. If Newman, Reynolds and the 3 Fs are getting lots of playing time in August that’s a bad indicator.

    2 – They’ll need at least 2 FA signings in 2024, in the 3-5 year 30/50m range, perhaps up to 80-100m. That’s a minimum and won’t get superstar level talent, and maybe just borderline all-start talent. It’s a minimum, since it presumes they’ll be up to 8-10 of the core MiLB/young talent producing at 2-3 WAR MLB level. It’s also a minimum since it just gets them to wild-card/bad division contention, but with pitching in short series post-season who knows.

    3 – If they need 4-5 FA signings they’re in bad shape – that won’t happen, and playoff contention is barely achievable. If the balance sheet is cleaned up, perhaps the much discussed sale or change in ownership occurs, yet new ownership would be looking at 100m+ as an initial move to improve.

    As Doug, and many others, have oft noted, they’re not even spending at their prior levels, let alone within 30-40 million of the league median. That would get a Benintendi level talent, and a non-closer bullpen talent. If they did that now, it would obviate the trade dilemma explained in this article, and move their timetable ahead a year, not to mention simply improving the team from last year. It would also leave the MiLB talent intact.

    Still plenty of time left in the off-season. Interesting to see if they do anything.

  21. Redsvol

    I guess I’m going to be an optimist for now. I really don’t think there is any other choice if I want to keep enjoying baseball. I don’t want to switch teams at this point in my life and I kind of like the underdog approach to winning in baseball.

    Don’t get me wrong, the Reds need to spend some $ to speed up the rebuild. And they should do it this season because the 2023/24 free agent market is horrible. But, I don’t think they will and I’m ok with it for now. I’m looking forward to seeing how the young guys develop.

    I also don’t think the Castellini’s will sell. I think they enjoy being among the aristocrats which Reds ownership allows for. If Bob had no-one in his family interested in the club it would be one thing (think Arte Moreno), but Phil has been involved and obviously is interested in running the business end of the club. So they won’t sell.

    • TR

      The fanbase will be pleased and more seats filled with Phil in charge?

    • Chris Holbert

      IMO, with Db managing, the young guys will not get the chance. As of right now you have Votto, Moose, Newman, Reynolds, and three or four marginal AAA/AAAA OFs, probably all slated to start. Bell will be concerned about “winning” and he thinks vets are better at that and will help save his “legacy” as Reds manager. Saying that, as Reds fans we are hoping, and that is exactly what the FO and ownership are doing. Hope is not a plan.

    • Rob

      I am reading more and more on what I believe to be realistic views of the depth of our talent shortage. We were what 17 games under 500 at the trade deadline when we showed Luis, Tyler, Brandon, Naquin and Pham the door. True, only one of these guys was a stud but the others were certainly average or average plus. Then the roof fell in and we finished another 20 games under 500 in 2 months!! That is a rate which we would reach 110 losses over a season. Pathetic.

      Yes, I think we need 4-5 $15M additions via free agency. Better than average players/pitchers. The first half of 2022 showed that Phams and Drurys and Naquins and Mahle are only going to get you 70+ wins in a season. You need more than 4-5 above average players to be competitive. I didn’t say NL champs! To win 80 games you probably need about 7-8 above average guys and another 6-7 near average guys like Naquin and Farmer and Descalfani. It is not too much of a stretch to say that our current starting nine consists of 6 below average players. That equates to 55-65 wins. Our farm system should bump this a few notches in a couple years but we still will be drastically short of a competitive team.

  22. citizen54

    The Reds don’t even have enough of core to build around. Overpaying for some free agents isn’t going to change the needle. It’s funny how people are complaining about Moustakas in one breath and then complaining about the Reds not signing free agents in the next. Contrary to the belief around here, you don’t sign big ticket free agents when you are a 60-70 win team.

  23. DataDumpster

    Does anyone realize that doing very little to nothing is to the benefit of everyone basically (if patient enough)? Castellini (not to mention 19 other “entities”) would like to have an option for a team sale after next season (also good for the fans with 12 years lease agreements in place). Bull Krall was stuck in a very uncertain stretch until his prospect haul most likely gives him a bridge to the culmination of those trades. David Bell, with the latest favor to former team SF and others, seems looking for some other Buddies since probably he himself has realized that a nice career in baseball operations is very possible even though his manager aspirations are finished. Castellini the younger, probably just wants to get off the hook. Cincinnati is not a place that forgets an insult of the kind he delivered.
    So, count on one more year of watching to see who breaks through, who stays healthy, and whether enough honey has been collected to make one last stand for the current ownership.
    I am willing to accept this path and believe that there will be some substantive outcome however the next season develops. The principals here have options next year that we fans don’t, but a competent management group could usher in a new level of spending by next year at this time assuming the Bull’s work has started to yield the dividends worthy of that effort. If not, the result may still be the same (new ownership, which is also good).

    • SultanofSwaff

      I’d gladly swallow another last place finish if it ensured the team would be sold. Yeah, that would be a win-win for ownership and fans alike.

  24. Oldtimer

    Absolutely none – ZERO – of the Reds most successful teams in my lifetime were built on internal development only.

    • Earmbrister

      Which is why this sudden fear that the Reds will never again invest in somewhat expensive FAs is ridiculous. The Reds spent substantially in free agency just a few years ago. They’ll do it again, but maybe not as quickly as some would like.

      And talk of trading now suddenly being dead, after a century to the contrary, reminds me of the proclamations of “the new economy” where inflation can no longer exist.

    • Michael

      Old timer are you talking about 75-76? Morgan, Geranimo and Foster (i guess you can say he was internal despite over 100 abs with Giants) all came over with MLB experience from other teams.

      On the Starter side Billingham, Norman, and Kirby was not internal,

      • Oldtimer

        I was born in 1951. The Reds were successful in 1956, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1979, 1981, mid 1980s, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2020. Each of those teams had players developed internally and players from trades or signed as free agents.

      • Oldtimer

        You misread what I said. Read it again, please.

      • Michael

        My bad Old Timer I miss read your post.

      • Oldtimer

        I sometimes misread my own posts. No worries. I agree with you.

  25. MBS

    Why is it called overspending when the Reds sign a FA, but outspending when the Yankees get a FA? Whoever signs a player outspent the competition 99 out of 100 times, that’s why they sign with whichever team they end up signing with. It just seems like an built it complaint from the “small market” fan base.

  26. west larry

    Can we keep up with the pirates? they just signed another pitcher for a little more than 3 million,

  27. MBS

    “Will the Cincinnati Reds have to change their rebuilding plan?”

    It’s a good question that we will never have the answer to. We didn’t exactly get an outline of the plan, which is why so many of us have our own opinions of what they will do over the next several season.

    What they should do is another question. I commented in the Cabrera article on redsminorleagues.com that I liked that we signed the #3 international prospect more than I liked the prospect himself, no matter how good he ends up being. It feels like a the Reds only dabbled in this arena before. I think the Reds need to prioritize international signings if they want to be a competitive organization.

    We should be signing Duno this year, and he’s reportedly one of the top prospects available.

  28. Pablo

    Several posters have correctly pointed out that this isn’t a rebuild but rather a tear down. Banana Bob and Spaulding will be seeing lots more empty seats this season.

    • Mark Moore

      Absolutely LOVE the “Spaulding” reference!! 😀

      “Fifty bucks says the Smails kid picks his nose.”

  29. Tom Mitsoff

    I think the history of the current plan can be summarized this way:

    The rebuild of the 2010s was botched by trades that brought prospects who didn’t pan out.

    The Castellinis and Krall might also contend that the rebuild was short-circuited by Dick Williams signing free agents such as Castellanos, Moustakas, Miley and Akiyama. Because that’s not the way Houston’s rebuild went. They “toughed it out” for three full seasons with 100-plus losses to get the Bergmans, Springers and Correas of the world in the draft.

    I fully expect the front office to come nowhere near trying to attempt to acquire any player who has less than four seasons of team control, and this could be the case for years to come.

    The reported attempts to acquire an outfielder will not be for a major-league-ready outfielder. What team would trade a major-league-ready outfielder for a shortstop who is years away? The only way that sort of trade makes sense in the current mindset of the Reds is for Cincinnati to offer a Class A or AA shortstop for a Class A or AA outfielder. Both teams in the swap would be trading lottery tickets with minimal risk. Of course the Reds are not going to trade de la Cruz. But almost any other shortstop prospect in the system could conceivably be considered.

    My frustration with this process is complete. I’ve maintained that signing some players with major league experience for the 2023 Reds won’t hamper the rebuild in any way. NONE of the position players in the minors should be brought to the bigs, in my opinion, until they dominate Class AAA. That hasn’t happened yet for any of them.

    I surely hope de la Cruz is what the reports say he is. I have not watched minor league games like Doug and some others here do, so I don’t share the frame of reference of his astounding potential. I say to everyone that none of that matters until he first dominates Class AAA and then shows he can hit at the big-league level. The Reds already have one Barrero for shortstop.

    Sorry, guys, I haven’t vented in awhile. 😉

    Long story short, this rebuild will probably have one or more additional 100-loss seasons, and it just doesn’t need to be that way. There is no guarantee that will produce desired results.

    • Melvin

      “Long story short, this rebuild will probably have one or more additional 100-loss seasons, and it just doesn’t need to be that way. There is no guarantee that will produce desired results.”

      To quote Micheal Jordan again when talking about the Bulls management considering a rebuild and not giving the current team a chance for a seventh NBA crown, “The Cubs have rebuilding for forty years”. You’re correct Tom. Rebuilds often just don’t work out and then the whole process starts all over again….and it doesn’t need to be that way. As we all know, since the Bulls and MJ finally separated for a rebuild, it hasn’t worked out too well has it? How many years since the last Bulls championship? I’m in Indy and a Pacer fan by the way. 🙂 They’ve been rebuilding since the ABA championships. lol

      • Tom Mitsoff

        I will continue to maintain that there is nothing wrong with the idea of building from within. In fact, every team should strive to do so. But that absolutely does not mean that you have to have a major league roster filled with guys who were meh in the minors. We saw this past year what that was like.

        I would rather watch Brandon Drury any day of the week than a guy who has a record of struggling in the minors. Having Drury or a guy like him on the major league team or even starting in no way inhibits the rebuild, unless he is playing a position where one of the prospects is dominating at Class AAA. If so, bring up the prospect and move Drury to DH or some other spot. This all seems logical to me and I don’t understand why the concept is apparently so alien to some.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        And I’m referencing Drury because he was such a terrific example of the benefits of signing experienced big-league players with the idea that they will be placeholders. There are numerous players out there (including Drury 😉 ) who could play similar roles for the 2023 Reds.

      • Melvin

        I agree. Any/every organization should always be striving to rebuild from within but that doesn’t mean that they have to tear everything completely down and not be competitive while doing so. Striving always to win is extremely important both for the organization and the fans. Watching last years team was painful to say the least.