Unless you have been living under a rock then you surely remember the blowup just before the Cincinnati Reds home opener when Phil Castellini went on a little bit of a tirade at the thought that there were some fans that believed his family should sell the team to someone who would be willing to spend money to put a winning baseball club on the field. He would later apologize, and over the last eight months has been about as silent as humanly possible in the public space.

The spending habits of teams has seemingly changed in the last year-and-a-half, with a few teams being the leaders. The New York Mets have gone wild under Steve Cohen. As things sit today, the Mets luxury tax penalty for the 2023 season is more than multiple teams have in payroll (which could change on both ends – as teams spend more, but also if the Mets spend more). But it’s not just the big market owner disrupting things. The San Diego Padres, who are in one of the smaller television markets in all of baseball, have been spending at levels of just about any non-Mets team in the game over the last two years. The Philadelphia Phillies have also gone from the upper middle tier of spending to the upper level of spending.

At The Athletic on Monday we saw Ken Rosenthal write about all of this, and perhaps the most well known baseball reporter on the planet laid into teams that aren’t spending money. Rosenthal specifically called out three teams that need a change in ownership because of how they run their clubs.

This is a new breed of owner, operating under a new collective-bargaining agreement that reflects the union’s success in raising the luxury-tax thresholds and staving off harsher penalties. Cohen took over the Mets in late 2020. Seidler became the Padres’ control person not long after that. Middleton became a 48 percent shareholder in the Phillies in 2014 and their control person in 2016. With any luck, the Nationals and Angels, both currently for sale, will be bought by like-minded individuals or groups, and the turnover will continue with the Reds, A’s and Pirates, to name three clubs that need a change.

There are plenty of notes that follow that, of course, don’t say these teams should be expected to operate at the same level as the Mets or Padres for a multitude of reasons. But the fact is that Rosenthal believes there’s no reason whatsoever that the teams at the bottom of the payroll ledger are operating the way in which they are.

Cincinnati’s current payroll is right around the $73M mark. That’s about half of what it was two years ago. It’s about the same as it was at the end of the Carl Lindner era of Reds baseball. This is also the third rebuild in the ownership of the current group and it’s an organization who last won a playoff series in 1995. A club that needs a change, indeed.

151 Responses

  1. Melvin

    Hard to argue with that. Bring on the new owner! :)…..PLEASE

      • Kinsm

        No need to worry, even if the team is sold in the near future, they’ll be here for at least 15 more years. If they were to attempt to leave with their current lease at GABP they’d be sued and lose hundreds of millions of $.

    • Rocky

      We need a change in ownership. Tired of rebuilding.

  2. old-school

    Castellini’s wont sell but as the pressure mounts and now with fans and national media calling for the sale of the team, Castellini will respond.

    Krall is doing a nice job considering the parameters he’s working under but will become Wayne Krivsky all over again and be scapegoated and fired later this year. David Bell will ultimately be elevated to a Front office position and the Castellini’s will dig deeper with their inner circle running and controlling things. Firing Krall, elevating Bell and getting a new manager will be the smokescreens later this year to take the heat off.

    “Krall’s plan just wasnt working” will be the talking points and we need a new direction and new leadership. The only question is does this happen in May after a bad losing skid or when the Reds are 19 games out in July or in October after 98 losses.

    • Jim Walker

      I do not agree that the Castellini syndicate will not sell the Reds. Actions speak louder than words; and, their every action is indicative of clearing the decks for a change of ownership.

      The most likely alternative to selling is that the team operation is being configured as a money laundering operation to put as much as possible of the team’s essentially guaranteed revenues into the pockets of the owners. In this case, why bother with the risks and hassles of actually running the team if they can reap a windfall from selling?

      Just as the free agent player market languishes every offseason until the market is set by a high level signing, a team sale needs to be completed to set the market.

      One thing that is certain is that the current Reds ownership has no interest in expending the effort or money to run a competitive team to which I say, the sooner the better, good riddance.

      • old-school

        Phil C said in April of 2022 there is “absolutely zero chance” the Reds will be sold. The ownership group is a list of Cincinnati business magnates with deep family roots to the city of Cincinnati. The Williams’ run a Cincinnati based real estate company, Lindner is a business icon in the city as is Sheakley and Wyler. Harry fath donated $50 million to the zoo and St X high school. And on and on.

        This investor group is a who’s who of Cincinnati and they arent selling. Could BC take a step back and cede managing control to someone else in that investor group, perhaps. But, the notion the Reds will be sold en bloc to an outside group and all these legacy business families rooted to the city will as a group sell off to an outsider not deeply tied to the city is unrealistic.

      • Jim Walker

        Actions speak louder than words; and when money talks, people walk.

        Once the Votto and Moose contracts are off the books there are no known contractual obligations requiring outlay from the organization beyond putting the cheapest team possible on the field and going through the motions of being an MLB organization. That’s an organization configured for sale.

        As said above, if the goal is to maximize operating income for distribution to the equity owners (a select group of the entire list of “owners”), when a large enough offer becomes available, it is simpler, easier, and less risky to just cash out.

      • Gary

        Well said my friend. Well said. I’m not sure when the lease with the city/county will expire, nor do I think the team would ever be relocated, however, I feel there must be an investor(s) out there somewhere that WILL do what it takes to re-establish this once proud and great franchise.

      • Optimist

        Jim – what’s the difference between the “equity owners” and just “owners”? I thought the Reds were a partnership, with a managing partner and other partners, but don’t know further details of the arrangement or who has what powers.

        Doesn’t the question come down to either a new managing partner (traditionally from the current list of partners), or the partnership group completely selling all its respective interests to a new owner in whatever form that new owner takes?

      • Gary

        Jim Walker, think back to the 1970’s. Charley Finley, the late owner of the Oakland Athletics, was essentially doing the same thing as the Castellinis. Dumping large contracts through trades and attrition. Loading his ballclub up with just “average” baseball talents and salaries. Trading away one of the few remaining stud starter pitchers, Vida Blue, to the Reds for Dave Revering, a power-hitting minor-league first baseman at AAA Indianapolis AND $400,000 in cash. Excitement levels were through the roof over the thought of a 1-2 top of the rotation in Tom Seaver and Vida Blue. But hold the phone. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn intervened and vetoed the deal, saying he felt like Charley Finley was “liquidating” his A’s team preparing to sell out reaping huge, huge windfalls. That was the end of the Tom Seaver-Vida Blue dreams. People were, pardon my vernacular, pissed. And I was one of them. Jim, don’t you think what ownership is doing at this time is essentially the same thing Finley was doing then? And if that’s true why hasn’t Robert Manfred stepped in an voiced an opinion on this? And here’s the crazy thing, about a year later, the San Francisco Giants and the Athletics agreed on a trade centered around Vida Blue. I’d have to dig in
        and research this decidedly to speak with certainty, but this time that deal was for about 6 or 7 Giants’ players and/or farm hands PLUS, PLUS I say, more than twice the amount in cash paid to the A’s. Why did Kuhn let that trade go through? Apparently the only two people who knew the answer, Bowie Kuhn and Charley Finley, are long deceased.

      • Erik the Red

        Gary you have a good memory and to this day I think the Bowie Kuhn veto of Vida Blue might have cost the Reds another World Series.

      • Jim Walker

        @optimist>>> re: equity and nonequity owners. To borrow a phrase from Marty B, I doesn’t know (with certainty). I saw the term nonequity owners used in I believe a Cincinnati.com (Enquirer) article online sometime in the last year or so, although it might have been on another similar site. The article had a list of Reds known “owners” and commented that some of them were not believed to be “equity owners” but that information was not publicly available.

        My thought is that someone who is not an equity owner does not have a seat at the table or vote at formal business meetings and may or may not share in dividend distributions.

        Typically a company may issue nonvoting shares to raise capital without diluting the control of Prior existing ownership. In these instances dividends would be the reason individuals or companies would buy the stock.

        In the case of a business such as the Reds, nonequity ownership could also be a vanity advantage. A person or company could leverage “ownership” in the Reds to promote their business. Maybe some of the things we might think of as sponsorships are technically nonequity ownership that include perks like access behind the scenes or use of a private suites, signage. or use the Reds name/ trademark in advertisements et al

        We do know that Bob Castellini and the Williams brothers (Dick’s dad and an uncle) have been declared as principal owners. Castellini is CEO which would indicate he owns the managing partner share in his equity. One Williams is/ was Board Chair and the other Treasurer.

        My presumption is that the combined holdings of Castellini and the Williams brothers represent a large enough share of equity to block a supermajority that would be required to revoke the managing partner agreement. And wouldn’t we all love to know what sort of deal among the 3 guarantees they will stick together????

        .

    • Rob

      Why would this group sale they are making tons of money it seems obvious that is the only real plan in place to or am l wrong?

      • SteveAreno

        They make money because they cut payroll expenses and the team brand suffers due to excessive losses. When you want to sell a business, you make it seem more valuable and desirable. The owners have done the opposite. It’s a business to squeeze out the profit and not a business with any emotion to win.

      • Tim

        If your gonna sell a business, you want to sell when it is successful…earns you a higher valuation. No way they sell now, and they don’t seem to have any idea on how to rebuild! We are in for the long hall of a rebuild my friends! Buckle up!

      • Jim Walker

        @rob because there are risks and costs` involved in maintaining the value of the business to make money. As others point out if the business doesn’t do well it isn’t worth as much. Cut costs make money in the short term then get out with the big payday before the long haul when the buzzards are circling the emaciated remains because the cheapness is not sustainable.

  3. west larry

    Calling Mark Cuban, Buy the reds and keep them in Cincinnati,

    • MBS

      If we are dreaming of deep pockets let step it up a bit. Musk or Bezos.

      Star Link Stadium or Prime Ballpark

    • Mark Moore

      I’d definitely support Cuban over other names mentioned. He actually knows a little bit about running/owning a sports franchise. He’s got at least some regional ties, too.

      And, no, they won’t immediately depart for Vegas. I believe the stadium agreement keeps them in Cincinnati for over another decade at minimum. So it won’t be the “Vegas Red Aces” anytime soon.

      • JayTheRed

        Always used Red Diamonds in my fantasy baseball team names.
        Vegas Red Diamonds has a nice ring to it.

      • MBS

        Who cares what they know, they won’t be running it. They’ll have a GM to do that. Both are running way too much to be as hands on as many owners. I’d take the deepest pockets in the world as my #1 choice. If Cuban wants to buy the Reds, I would be happy as well, but he’d definitely fall behind those 2.

  4. redfanorbust

    Not sure this is news that these clubs need to be sold. Just glad a respected writer reminds us from time to time. One thing I never was quit sure of is Castillini is only something like 15% owner in the Reds. At that he is the majority owner and there are many other minor owners. Surely he does not make all the decisions? Is the not beholding to them and their wishes as well? Does he take all the blame when it should almost be equally shared? Thoughts?

    • Doug Gray

      The rumors are that Castellini has 15%, but that’s more than anyone else. But he is the decision maker. He’s said multiple times in the past that he’s never asked the other owners for money and he won’t do it in the future. So yeah, this is all on him.

      • Jim Walker

        Do you have any insights into whether the Williams brothers are still in or whether their money was cashed out with Dick? Estimates I have seen put their combined share at 20-25%; but, Castellini holds the managing/ general partner share.

    • Jim Walker

      @redsfanorbust>> information about the Reds ownership and management is hard to find because, under the hood, it is a closed LLC. Various reports have named Bob Castellini and the Williams brothers (Dick’s dad and uncle) as “principal owners”. The same reports have placed Castellini’s equity at 15% and the Williams brothers at 10-12% each.

      Dating back to the Schott and Linder ownership, it is believed there is a so called “supershare” which carries managing partner privilege. Presumably, Castellini’s equity is or contains this supershare.

      It was also known from the Lindner ownership that a supermajority of 67% or 75% of equity votes was required to override or break the managing partner agreement. Linder held or controlled 1% more equity than was required to block any votes against the managing partner authority.

      When the Castellini syndicate acquired all the equity shares not held by Lindner, it entered into negotiations with Linder (under threat of legal action as I recall) to close the deal. Linder handed over the managing partner share but retained a minority stake in the reorganization.

      Since the Williams brothers have been identified as principal owners, my personal presumption is that some combination of their equity stake combined with Castellini’s makes the managing partner arrangement bulletproof

      • Dean

        Good insights in your post. Banker Dick Williams as GM was nepotism at its worst. Far too important of a role for a non-baseball person, even with the “tutelage” of Walt J.

  5. J

    The team does need to be sold, but the way to fix baseball isn’t to make sure every team can spend zillions of dollars, it’s to limit the amounts that any team can spend (or charge for tickets). There would be no shortage of great players willing to play for “only” $15 million if salaries were capped at that amount. Ultimately, fans are the ones paying for all these ridiculous salaries, not the owners.

    • Colorado Red

      The players union, will not go for that ever.
      Not going to happen

      • J

        I think the union actually would accept some caps in return for other concessions. Most players probably aren’t too worried about being able to make $30 million. Most are probably more concerned about other things. I think the real problem is the big market owners that want to be able to outspend everyone else for the rest of time.

      • AllTheHype

        J – that is exactly opposite of what happened in last year’s CBA negotiations. The MLBPA wanted the luxury tax limit raised to exorbitant amounts, even as MLB tried to offer a salary floor to keep upper limits somewhat static and promote more competition among teams. But the MLBPA said no, forget the floor, forget competition, we want much higher limits and spending by the big market teams.

        The disparity in spending this offseason is EXACTLY what MLBPA bargained for and ultimately got.

        And I see it getting worse year over year going forward as the luxury cap continues to go higher and higher.

      • J

        AllTheHype,

        I understand the players are going to object to anything that sounds like their pay is limited, but I also understand that it’s illogical for most players to care ONLY about making sure there’s no limit. There are undoubtedly ways the owners can change the equation if they’re so inclined (and if they ever decide to negotiate in good faith), but the bottom line is that I don’t think many owners really care what the top salaries are. The rich teams like the competitive advantage it gives them, and the poor teams know they won’t be paying those extremely high salaries regardless, so I don’t think the owners are genuinely willing to give up much in return. I think some owners are absolutely delighted that there’s no salary cap even if they claim otherwise.

        Players want to make as much money as possible. That’s the society we live in. But this is true in every industry, and other industries also have unionized workers, and somehow they manage to work out labor agreements that don’t completely ruin their entire industry.

      • BK

        @J, MLBPA thrives because few players have even a basic understanding of MLB’s economics. MLBPA made a lot of noise about getting players paid earlier, but then prioritized raising CBT levels while accepting very modest improvements for the younger players. The system heavily favors elite, older players. Younger players are expected to “pay their dues.”

      • Colorado Red

        J,
        I do not disagree with you, but in my uniformed opinion, the union leadership will not go for it.
        They are concerned about the big boys.

      • BK

        The underlying CBA acknowledges the fact that there are small market teams in the league. Rosenthal’s article acknowledges that fact. MLBPA acknowledges that fact. It is, in fact, a fact bearing on how MLB operates.

        There is far more risk than just another pandemic. By law, public firms must publish a list of risk factors to their shareholders annually.
        Few firms prior to 2020 would have listed a pandemic. The pandemic provides an excellent example of how unforeseen risks are both real and impactful. In MLB, Owners bear the risks.

    • Rednat

      great comment J, I agree completely. the game is so flawed now. not just the owners fault

    • Westfester

      Anyone willing to work for a lot less pay please raise your hands…

      Thought so.

      • Mike

        Anyone here plays in MLB, makes millions of dollars already please raise your hands…

        Thought so

        Comparing MLB salaries to the rest of the public is laughable

      • J

        If my salary were $25 million, I’d be willing to work for a lot less. I’d be especially willing to work for less if it meant I’d have a better chance of working for an organization I actually liked, surrounded by people I actually liked, in a city I actually liked, rather than being forced to pick from just two or three organizations that could afford to hire me.

      • JayTheRed

        @Mike. If you compare other sports the contracts are way higher for top players. Some players making 20 million a year are barely All-Star level players. Yes, the top players should be paid well but these 30- and 40-million-dollar contracts are out of control.

      • Doug Gray

        Why are they out of control, Jay? Either the players get the money or the owners get the money.

      • Old-school

        1 word Doug. Risk.
        Owners accept all the risk on a contract and the players assume none. NFL is far riskier health wise and if Moose were in the NFL he would have been cut after 2021. Nowhere in society does someone get a guaranteed 4,5,10 year deal and if they cant perform they still get paid. The hospital scheduler or warehouse worker or Kroger cashier gets 12 weeks of FMLA and then if they have breast cancer or a bad car wreck and cant do their job after PTO or FMLA has been exhausted…they get let go. Moose and Homer bailey and Akiyama are the gifts that keep on giving and destroy small market budgets. Scott Boras is destroying baseball.

      • Doug Gray

        There is no such thing as a “small market” sports team. Scott Boras is great for the game of baseball.

        There’s absolutely no risk this side of another worldwide pandemic that is way worse than the last one. The Reds were purchased for $270M 17 years ago and are now worth roughly $1.1B, all while being a pretty bad franchise that hasn’t advanced once in the postseason. Where exactly is the risk? There’s no risk at all.

      • BK

        The underlying CBA acknowledges the fact that there are small market teams in the league. Rosenthal’s article acknowledges that fact. MLBPA acknowledges that fact. It is, in fact, a fact bearing on how MLB operates.

        There is far more risk than just another pandemic. By law, public firms must publish a list of risk factors to their shareholders annually.
        Few firms prior to 2020 would have listed a pandemic. The pandemic provides an excellent example of how unforeseen risks are both real and impactful. In MLB, Owners bear the risks.

  6. Votto4life

    As I said, something changed in 2020. There was a decision made around that time to slash payroll, trade anyone making more than $5 million dollars a year and stop investing in this team.

    I don’t believe for one second it was about a rebuild. Take a step and look at what is being done.

    Baseball owners sell their teams all the time. I don’t know why it is so unimaginable that Bob Castellini wants to sell. He won’t be around much longer. It’s easier to leave his family money than part ownership in a business.

    Let alone the fact, the Reds have been taking all the precise steps one takes when preparing to sell the team.

    If the plan truly is to sell the team, then please let it be done.

    • LDS

      I’d be more confident if they announced an intention to sell. Phil as the majority owner would make fans miss the days of Bob. Contrary to others here, it already looks like a money laundering scheme to me. And there were and are affordable options to improve the team without breaking the bank or jeopardizing a sale. But such signings wouldn’t maximize the Castellini’s profits.

      • Jim Walker

        Yeah, Reds are already functional as a money laundering operation. Perhaps I should have said they are tweaking and fine tuning it 😉

      • Votto4life

        Yes, I would feel better if they would announce their intentions too.

        I would love some insight on the palace intrigue between Bob and the other owners. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn there is some bad blood between them.

        Maybe the minority owners forced Dick Williams on the Castellinis. I wouldn’t be surprised then, if they made Williams’ life miserable until he resigned. We will probably never know.

        One thing we do know is, as soon as, Dick Williams resigned, the Reds went running in the opposite direction, which indicates to me the Castellinis were not thrilled with the direction Dick Williams was taking the team.

        I wonder if Ken Rosenthal’s article will be picked up by the local press or ignored.

      • RED THUNDER

        If they announced it, Reds fans win and Phil loses. We know Reds fans don’t win so the sale will come from left-field. Probably to another current managing partner or someone already having approval from those partners. The team worth still the same but the expenses have dropped, making it more attractive to new owner/s. If this isn’t the case, I have been watching and waiting for the improvement/spending in the minors, nothing has happen so far. The Reds want to build from within or so they say. The next core of players have to be major league caliber, which means they need top coaching to help with that. Don’t see that happening with current staffing at those levels. So this is why I believe the Reds will be sold in the next year. Not Ken Rosenthal, LOL

    • BK

      COVID is what happened. Perhaps a change in philosophy, too; but we won’t know unless the thriftiness continues after the prospects start to arrive. If they still have to cover their losses from 2020 and 2021, this is the season to do so.

  7. David

    Recalling those days of yore, in the 1990’s.
    As Doug mentioned, the 1995 team was the LAST Reds team to win a playoff game.

    At that, Marge Schott was pretty sore (and in a way, I can’t blame her) that the stadium was not filled to watch a playoff game. I can blame a lot of things, but the strike-shortened year of 1994 preyed on a lot of minds.
    After that, she sold off or traded most of the high-priced players. At the time, she claimed that she had lost over $60 million between 1991 and 1995. “Those baseball people !!!”
    Spending money is not a guarantee of winning, but getting better players sure improves the odds.
    My uneducated guess is that despite a lot of things the Castellini’s and others connected to the Reds have said, they are not willing to spend OVER their estimated annual cash flow to make the team better.
    And as others have remarked, the 2020 year was a watershed. I think (and I am guessing) that Dick Williams (the younger) had sold them on spending money to create a winning team, and fill the stands, etc.
    The Covid shortened season resulted in the Reds LOSING money that year (again, my guess). Maybe a lot of money. That really irked the Castellinis and probably some of the other ownership partners.
    Most businesses operate with a revolving line of credit. The Reds (and other ML teams) likely do this, to pay bills when the monthly revenue (from the gate, etc) is off, to make ends meet. Other months, they are flush and retire the credit and pay bills. My guess is 2020 left them in the red (literally!) and they had to make up the difference (pay off the credit line) with their own money, not the club earnings.
    And now, they are completely parsimonius with spending.

    Lastly, be careful what you wish for. A new owner might just take the Reds out of Cincy to a bigger market. There were numerous times in the last 20 years when it looked like the Bengals would leave.

    • TR

      A new controlling owner would not be able by him or her self to take the Reds out of Cincinnati.

      • Joe Farfsing

        Reds are bound, by lease, to GABP until 2036 I believe. That’s 25 years in the park. MLB is FAR more likely to expand before any team is going to be moved as expansion fees will reach $2B and relocation fees at about $1B. They’re not taking any market out of expansion race for half the money. And there are MULTIPLE teams that would take priority over the Reds if there was a push to relocate (Rays, As primarily). MLB has too much history in this city to allow a move anyway. This fear mongering about moving is just bullsh*t from the Castellinis or apologists for them.

      • Jim Walker

        They need to be taken out of Cincinnati proper and turned into a regional franchise. The ideal spot would be along the i275 northern arc, preferably between the i75 and i71.

      • Votto4life

        The one way to ensure the Reds leave town is to take the exact approach the Castellini have taken. A generation or more have grown up without seeing winning baseball in Cincinnati. The owner’s response is to make sure it never happens by slashing payroll.

        Bob Castellini has destroyed this market for MLB. Not unlike what is happening in Oakland. Let Bob keep this up for a few more years and the team will be forced to move with the blessing of Major League Baseball.

        I think a new owner is the only way this team survives.

      • LDS

        And as we’ve discussed on other threads, the Reds used to be the regional team. I grew up in Southern Indiana, went to Purdue, etc. and the Reds were the team, not Chicago, Cleveland, or St. Louis. The Reds. That ship has sailed. Until they field a quality product and try to engage the region, they will continue to be a “small market club”. Or to paraphrase a rather boring movie, “if you build it, they will come”.

      • TR

        Would the seven other charter members of the NL allow the historic Reds franchise to move from Cincinnati? I doubt it.

      • JB

        Let’s not forget that besides the Reds being a regional team they well represented all over the country. I became a Reds fan in the 60s and others in the 50s and 70s. Why? Because they were winning and fun to watch. Plenty of Reds fans here in NY . But they are losing fans by the boat load and not picking up any new fans in the younger crowd because they don’t want to follow a constant loser. I grew up a Buffalo Braves fan in the NBA. When they moved I stopped watching. The way the Reds are being handled now , I’m getting to old to care. I’m just waiting until next winter after Votto and Moose are off the books. They don’t do anything I’m pretty much done.

      • AJ from Hamilton

        I’d like to touch on an issue that Jim raises, having to do with the Reds as a regional franchise. We all know the Cincinnati is a small market even if you include Dayton (and towns in between, like the one I was born and grew up in). But the market significantly expands when you add Indianapolis, Louisville, Columbus (at least a portion of it), and even Nashville (probably more a Braves city now, but that didn’t used to be true) and Wheeling. What are the Reds really doing to ensure that baseball fans in these areas mostly no more than 100 miles from GAPB see the Reds as their team? One thing for sure is that we have to hope MLB will never put a team in Indianapolis or Nashville. But ownership needs to get creative about drawing in fans from a greater distance. I don’t know about a new stadium in West Chester (or in that direction), but what about one series each year played in Indiana and Kentucky? I am 71 and haven’t lived in Ohio since 1969, so forgive me for any utterly erroneous conclusions. But I think some of what troubles us about current ownership is that they seem to be terrible businesspeople. They obviously don’t know when and how to delegate. And they certainly don’t seem to know how to fill the stands with hot dog-buying and beer-drinking fans. Appeal to younger people, appeal to more distant people, and the Reds ought to be able to draw two million fans a year even in their down years. And yes, it should have REGIONAL appeal.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      The 2012 Reds won two playoff games against San Francisco, but lost the series, 3-2.

      • Dean Rock

        Choke job. All at home, too. Dusty at his finest.

    • VegasRed

      N chance reds leave. Idle threat/fake news/BS.

  8. Chris Mo

    What if the team was sold, and moved? I would root for the Las Vegas Reds. I have not been to a game since Covid, although we used to go a couple of times a year. We watch all the games we want to on TV, we buy our licensed apparel from local stores (Dayton), etc. My wife and I have been to more concerts than baseball games at GABP (Billy Joel, Zac Brown). The financial machine that is MLB is not designed for the fan, or to win games. Ownership decides how they want to use the money generated by the machine, either try to win games or maximize profits. I would like an owner who cared more about winning, was a fan first, and is willing and ABLE to spend whatever it takes to be competitive. Someone who could afford to lose money and not need the baseball business to be profitable. I would also like to be younger, skinnier, and better looking. We can’t always get what we want!

  9. Redhaze

    Small market teams do not have to have small market owners.
    What I don’t understand is that the Reds acted like they could afford Votto ten years ago. Now they can’t???? What changed? Moose is your only sizeable deal left.
    It is sick that they would not give Votto something to make a playoff run with and are also willing to waste another year of Lodolo, Stephenson, Greene and India.
    I hope the Castellinis are willing to show up at the caravans and explain this to the fans.

    • David

      I think that Phil Castellini expressed his own and his father’s opinions quite clearly when he spoke out at the beginning of the 2022 season. Did Bob Castellini ever contradict a single word that Phil said?

      This is how they think. And frankly, they don’t think much of the Reds’ fans.

      I think the Reds thought they could afford Joey Votto years ago, because of the expectation of continued winning. When that did not happen, they had no other alternative except…well, hope that things got better. Because Walt Jocketty, Bob Castellini’s besty, really hurt this team (in the long run) from bad management of the farm system. No really good players came out…for years. Think of the really crappy return we got from Johnny Cueto, Aroldis Chapman, Todd Frazier (Well, we got Kyle Farmer as part of the Frazier trade). After 2013, it was all down hill, until 2019-2020, when Dick Wagner (the younger) tried to change direction. Then he was sent away…and…here we are. The team on the field is what the ownership wants, and you fans, you don’t have any choice about where to go.
      They told us that. How could it be much clearer?

      THEY. DON’T. CARE.
      Which is why this thread is here, because we are all hoping that in some miraculous way, somebody makes Bob and the rest of the “owners” some offer, and comes in and tries to fix the Reds.
      And that lease with the city and GABP? That’s why there are lawyers. Leases can be broken. If someone has a business plan, and spends a Billion Dollars (!) to buy the Reds with a plan to move them somewhere else, what’s a couple of million in legal fees and bribes to get the city to break the lease?

    • Redhaze

      Griffey Jr. may be the third biggest contract on this team right now. Look it up.

  10. west larry

    Let’s offer the snakes three or four of our prospects for Walker (not our first two
    rated prospects), He plays first and hit 36 homers last year,

  11. Don

    I sincerely don’t believe Bob is emotionally invested in the success of this team. The proof is in the pudding and there is a vat full of pudding to support this assertion. If he was deeply passionate about the success of the organization, and when the time comes when he does sell, he would look to sell the team to a prospective owner who not only is looking to gain financially but is also looking to position the organization for on the field success. In Bob’s case, I believe he is only looking to position it to someone who is willing to pay a certain price for financial benefit only. Vetting a prospective new owner in terms of his commitment to winning will not be a concern for Bob and I can say that based on his own lack of commitment to winning while he has owned the club.

    If you don’t care about winning, you don’t care about who buys as long as they can pay your asking price.

  12. MBS

    Why do so many people believe that the Reds would move to a new city? Honestly it boggles the mind. If Vegas, or Guadalajara gets a team, it will be an expansion team. Name me the last team that was moved, besides the Expos.

    • Jim Walker

      here you go……

      The team that is now the Minnesota Twins were the Washington Senators and moved to the Twin Cities sometime after the 1960 season (I attended a Senators home game in DC in 1960).

      The team that is now the Atlanta Braves moved from Milwaukee to Atlanta in 1966
      The team that is now the Oakland A’s moved to Oakland from Kansas City in 1968

      The team that is now the Milwaukee Brewers were a one year wonder as the Seattle Pilots in 1969 prior to moving to Milwaukee in 1970.

      To quell the uprising among the DC politicos when the previous Senators absconded for the Twin Cities, a new Senators team was created but in short order ended up in Texas as the Rangers in 1971.

      These moves along with the relocation of teams following Word War 2 and MLB expansion in the 1960s were a continuing response to the population shifts in the US largely driven by WW2 and the subsequent baby boom.

      The succeeding 50 years have seen a continuing shift of population southward and westward. I would not rule out another spate of MLB franchise movement based on this trend.

      • David

        To further what Jim said.
        I think the “Braves” were originally in Boston.
        The Dodgers and the Giants moved out of New York City (!) in the 1950’s to greener pastures in California.
        Hence, the expansion Mets in NY City in 1962.

        i think that three relatively weak financed franchises that could be moved are the Pirates, the Reds and the Athletics. And the Athletics were, at one time, in Philadelphia. And they were largely lousy then, too. I think they then moved to KC, and then to Oakland (bad choice).
        KC then got the expansion Royals, who have had their ups and downs.

        The present Commissioner of Baseball, is all for internationalizing the sport and broadening the appeal. I could see two teams moving to Mexico. Mexico City and maybe Monterrey (a big and growing city).
        Also a team could move to San Antonio, which is another big and growing city in Texas.

      • Jim Walker

        @MBS/ David, the one sleeper I haven’t seen mentioned yet is the that the team known as the StLouis Browns became the Baltimore Orioles in 1953/54. They had started life as an AL team in 1901 as the Milwaukee Brewer but after a year moved to StLouis. Another AL team called the Orioles had left Baltimore for NYC in 1903 and ended up being the Yankees.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baltimore_Orioles

        I originally got interested in MLB franchise movement at least 7-8 years (b/c I retired in the summer of 2015) due to a discussion at work.

        I was born after WW2 but ahead of 1950. The Dodgers and Giants happened within my direct memory. I was vaguely aware of the Braves and A’s but I’d never I knew there had been a team called the StLouis Browns but had not the slightest clue the team now known as the Orioles was the same team as the Browns

      • TR

        The St. Louis Brown Stockings were the original professional baseball team in St. Louis. They and the Cincinnati Red Stockings, along with Louisville and others, were charter members of the American Association from 1881 to 1889. The Brown Stockings won 4 straight AA pennants during that period. In 1890, the Reds and Cardinals became charter members of the NL. The Browns franchise was revived in the American League, in 1902, when Milwaukee moved to St.Louis. The complicated history of professional baseball in St. Louis is spelled out in a fascinating book by Peter Golenbock, ‘The Spirit of St. Louis.’

    • Still a Red

      OK…relevant I think to this conversation is that when a team moves, the fans are left with nothing unless a new team comes to town. I doubt many Washingtonians rooted for the Twins. Or people in Montreal root for the Nationals. In the NFL, I doubt Clevelanders rooted for the Ravens, or Baltimorians rooted for Indianapolis. The exception is probably New Yorkers that continued to root for the Dodgers or Giants. Maybe the Reds lease agreement keeps them in town for the next 10-15 years. So what. My point..there will be no fun in rooting for the Vegas Red Diamonds…or for that matter the Indianapolis, Louisville, or Nashville, or Charlotte Reds. Now would the rest of the league allow the Reds to move? That would certainly be the end of the oldest franchise in history…but I’d hate to have to rely on the rest of the league to keep the Reds in Cincinnati. An out-of-towner could decide to keep the team in Cincinnati, may even see the historical and marketing value of keeping the team in Cincinnati. But I’d hate to rely on that too. Maybe if you went way way out of town, and someone from Dubai or Shanghai or someone else who has more money than they know what to do with and is too far away to move the team. I,m afraid that Cincinnati area’s wealthy families have been tapped out. So, I’m hoping this is an effort by the current management to figure out a way to compete w/o paying the huge multi-year mega-salaries (cause that ain’t gonna happen). I can see a reason to push the restart button given the current make-up of the team. I think we need to see if Stephenson and India can have a good 2023, 2024, and our young pitchers prove themselves, if they get offered extensions. That will be the signal.

  13. Moonmadness

    If the Reds current payroll is about 73 M, do I have it right that approximately 43 M of that is for just two players? Votto and Moose? Two players that really have not added much to the Reds over that last few years. Votto is 39 and well down the other side of the hill. Moose is 34 and plays like he is older than Votto. He is certainly fatter. I dunno, what would you be willing to pay either of these guys if they were availabe as FA’s right now instead of under contract? What I am trying to say is that 73 M payroll is deceptive and the Front Office is spending at a much lower level in terms of bringing in talent that allows you to win ballgames. Of course what do I know? I may be all wet here.

    • Votto4life

      “Players who did not add much to the Reds the past few years”. Huh?

      You must have missed the 2021 baseball season, when Joey Votto hit 36 Home Runs and had 99 RBIs??

      • Moon

        Now lets talk about last year where he hit .205 with 11 home runs. He is a mediocre at base runner and below average on defense. Again he is 39 years old. He will not be with the Reds nexr year as a player. So what would you pay him if he was available as FA? I am guessing not much. And you are missing the point entirely which is the Reds may have a payroll of 78 million but that is a very misleading figure and they are actually spending much less on the guys they have besides the two boat anchors

      • LDS

        @V4L, even in 2021, Votto wasn’t much against lefties, hitting .215 with .389 slg pct, a far cry from his 2017 performance. In my view, he, like so many others, didn’t recognize when the time came to walk away.

      • Harry Stoner

        Walking away from MLB after JV’s 2021 season would be like walking away from a job were you excelled over 75% of the time you were asked to perform.

        I know there are folks here that imagine themselves as having the perspective of uber-managers demanding performance….but if I had a manager working for me who was looking to retire an employee after a “season” such as JV had in 2021, it would be the manager that I would push into retirement.

        I don’t need that kind of mistaken sense of evaluation working for me.

      • Votto4life

        @Moon,

        Joey Votto was Injured last season. Joey Votto was a bargain when the Reds signed him. The Reds could have signed him for fewer years, but that would have meant their cheapskate owner would have had to pay more money upfront. It was the Reds idea to backload the Contract, not Joey Votto’s.

        Joey Votto has more than earned his salary. It never seems to amaze me how people are so bitter about Joey’s contract.

        What is even more ridiculous is people calling for Joey walk away from $25 million dollars (it’s actually more).

        No one in this forum would walk away from $25 million dollars. The money is owed to Joey, because it’s part of his overall compensation package when he signed the deal.

        For arguments sake, let’s say Votto announces tomorrow he is retiring immediately. Other than Joey not getting the send off he so richly deserves. what would Bob Castellini do with the $25 Million dollars?

        Do you really think Reds ownership would use that money to pursue expensive free agents?

        Actually, we don’t need to guess what Bob Castellini would do in that situation, because we are in a similar situation right now. We only need to look at what the Reds have done each time an expensive contract has came off their book in the past two years.

        The fact is the Reds have been slashing payroll. By my count, they have traded or failed to resign the following : Trevor Bauer, Iglesias, Sonny Gray, Wade Miley, Tucker Barnhart, Nick Castellanos, Eugenio Suarez, Jessie Winker, Tyler Mahler, Luis Castillo, Shogo, Brandon Drury, Donovan Solano, Tommy Pham Mike Minor and Kyle Farmer.

        What did the Reds do with all the money they saved? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. They haven’t sign med any notable free agents and they haven’t extended players like India, Stephenson, Greene or Lodolo with the money.

        People who think that the Reds are going to spend money once Moose and Votto’s contracts come off the books, are living in a fantasy world.

        If Joey Votto would retire tomorrow, all it would do is put more money in Bob Castellini’s pockets.

        Bob Castellini is one of the cheapest owners in sports, The Reds have a field manger who is way over his head. We have an organization that has cut payroll in half in the past two seasons. But yeah, by all means, let’s blame it all on Joey Votto.

      • Bill

        Votto4life,

        Your list is full of guys who the Reds made the correct decision on.
        Trevor Bauer – probably never plays again
        Iglesias – this one was a clear mistake
        Sonny Gray
        Wade Miley – has he played since?
        Tucker Barnhart – good guy, but hasn’t produced much
        Nick Castellanos – he chose to leave
        Eugenio Suarez huge mistake in my opinion
        Jessie Winker – had a horrible year and Seattle trade him as fast as possible
        Tyler Mahler
        Luis Castillo – big loss for the Reds
        Shogo released because he couldn’t hit, not in MLB anymore
        Brandon Drury
        Donovan Solano
        Tommy Pham – the only thing he is known for is slapping people in the outfield
        Mike Minor – the guy was horrible
        Kyle Farmer another good guy, but isn’t making a huge difference on the current team.

        Castellini has a long list of reasons why he isn’t good, but there are very few players on that list that you can honestly say you wished he had kept

      • Votto4life

        @Bill.

        You really missed the point entirely. It’s not about rather letting those players go was the right thing or the wrong thing.

        What I am saying is the Reds saved a ton of money when they traded or failed to re-sign all of those players. They didn’t invest a nickel of that savings back into the team. So, why should we believe they will reinvest money back into the team when Moose and Votto come off the books?

      • Bill

        You are correct I have no clue what your point is. The team has repeatedly shown a willingness to spend money when they thought they could compete. They even wasted money on guys like Pham and Minor last season. Do you want them to just throw money away on washed up players to prove to you they will spend money. They clearly have no intention on competing this year.

        You could be correct and they will go with a $40 million payroll in 2024, but the chance of that is about 0. The MLBPLA would be all over them. I’m willing to bet that spending will increase by 2025. Of course all of that is dependent on how the prospects develop or fail to develop. I would put money down that the payroll goes back above $100 million.

      • Votto4life

        Bill, so you think major league teams consult the MLBPA when they set their annual operating budget? OK gotcha.

      • Bill

        Why do you always act like an five year old when you don’t get your way. The MLBPLA files grievances. This isn’t really that hard to understand. I’m not sure why your entire self worth is tied to the record of Reds. You can’t say the Reds don’t spend money and then bring up Votto and Moustakas who both got paid in the same sentence.

        We all get it you don’t like Castellini and you don’t like the rebuild. You have made your point clear. Get over it. Stop constantly crying about not getting your way. You should be embarrassed of your behavior

      • Bill

        Again, if you are so confident the Reds are going into 24 with a $40 million payroll put some money on it.

      • Votto4life

        OK Bill, I am ending my part of this conversation. If I would continue to participate in it,
        I would probably end up violating RLN’s “Commenting Guidelines”. So, I am just going to leave it at that…Have a nice evening.

    • LDS

      I didn’t say the manager should retire him. It’s a choice he should have made for himself. The manager’s was to say Joey you aren’t hitting lefties so you aren’t starting every game. Bell didn’t. It’s Votto. He starts and bats cleanup regardless.

      • Votto4life

        LDS if you told me you would walk away from that much money, I would assume you would be lying.

        The Reds are going to have a very hard time attracting free agents when the team decides to spend. Free agents are not blind. They see how poorly this organization has been managed.

        Who would want to play here if they had any other choice? Now, humiliate a franchise player like Joey Votto, who has spent his whole career with the Reds. A player who is well liked by players across the league. Word gets around about how players are treated by their organizations. No free agent would sign here.

        So when Nick Krall says “Moose is on the roster”, other players see that and they know this organization will throw you under the bus in a heartbeat. No body would want to work for that organization.

      • LDS

        Would I walk away from $25m? No. But I did walk away from a healthy salary by taking early retirement, because I no longer agreed with the direction of the company. Votto isn’t doing himself any favors and I’d argue that he has insured that he won’t be a first ballot HOF’er. He’ll likely get in, but recency bias is real. As far as players wanting to play for the Reds, on that we agree. As I said earlier this week, the public comments by former players are condemning enough. Imagine the private conversations between players, not to mention the agent/owner talk. After all, Krall’s sales pitch about coming to Cincinnati and rebuilding one’s career isn’t a winner. And reading the morning sports, the Reds signing Jake Wong hardly resonates with what the rest of the division is doing. Even the Pirates. Last place here we come.

    • Grover

      That is as much a reflection of how little they spend on the rest of the team than an indictment of Votto. No reason whatsoever for a 73 million dollar roster other than they don’t want to spend the money. Votto’s contract like all longterm contracts looks bad at the end but even so his contract isn’t all that large in the game today.

  14. William

    I would not trust Mark Cuban with the Reds. The number one thing is for the Reds to stay in Cincinnati, if they lose all 162 games.

    • Votto4life

      The Reds took a giant step towards 0-162 last season. They are in a great position to improve in that quest in 2023. So, keep the faith, you may get your wish.

  15. William

    The Reds will win the World Series again. Hopefully, it will be in our lifetime.

  16. Votto4life

    Reds acquired Jack Wong from the Giants as the PTBNL. Looks to be another stellar addition.

    • Moon

      26 year old still in single A ball that posted a 4.52 ERA last year…but he did have Tommy John Surgery in 2021 so perhaps there is some potential there to contribute at big league level in a few years, Lets keep out fingers crossed

      • Vottolife

        If loving him is Wong, I don’t want to be right.

  17. BK

    I read Rosenthal’s article in its entirety. He understands that teams like the Reds, Pirates, and A’s operate at a structural disadvantage. However, when league economics come up, he doesn’t offer solutions to address the problem, he blames the disadvantaged teams. Nor will he press player reps or the union for why they continue to insist on CBAs that codify additional years of disfunction. It’s a very NYC perspective!

    • DataDumpster

      Agree, Rosenthal hasn’t really offered anything substantive here, it’s pretty obvious who is tanking and which teams have attracted the billionaire class. The only takeaway I got was I didn’t know that two MLB teams are currently for sale. The eventual result of those gambits will have a much greater factor in what happens with the Reds than the what the bow tie and other speculators think.
      I would bet that a new controlling partner will take over from Bob after next season, David Bell will move to the front office, Krall will stay but inherit Williams former position (not be the GM), and the 2036 lease expiration will be retained. Oops, why did I say that as my opinion has no factual basis either?

    • Vottolife

      Ken Rosenthal is a baseball writer. His job is to report news and provide his readers with information and share his thoughts.

      Ken Rosenthal is not the Baseball Commissioner. He isn’t a player representative or labor negotiator. He is not a baseball owner. He is not a player.

      It’s not Ken Rosenthal’s job to offer solutions or to solve baseball’s multitude of problems. He reports the facts and gives his opinion. His only ability to effect Major League Baseball is through his pen, and frankly I am happy he wrote this article. You won’t see any local reporters bring it up.

      I am scared to even ask what you mean by “NYC perspective”.

      • BK

        @V4L, the reason we’re having this conversation is because Rosenthal offered a solution for the Reds, Pirates and A’s. The article is largely him opining, not reporting. In spite of the fact that there is much speculation about a Reds ownership change here on a daily basis, there have actually been zero credible reports that the Castellinis are contemplating a sale. Mets and Yankees are #1 and #2 in payroll. His local teams benefit greatly from the current dysfunctional system that is his perspective as a New Yorker which is only problematic because it bleeds into his work as a national writer.

      • Redsvol

        If you go back and look at kens reporting during the lockout, he was always in favor of the players getting what they want. Ken Rosenthal relies on players and their agents giving him information for his articles. He is never going to endorse or call for a change to the current mlb team payroll disparity and how that affects the health of the league. That would damage his access to the sources he relies on.

        MLB is a mess. The nfl, nba and nhl continue gaining in popularity. In the mlb, unless you’re a fan of one of 12 teams you really only have an outside chance of the wild card spots – and really no shot at the World Series. I had hoped the last cba would address this disparity but alas, they chose the path more traveled.

      • Votto4life

        @BK

        Actions speak louder than words. There is more evidence that Castellini is planning to sell the team, than there is the Reds are going to invest money in free agents next year and yet we read about that “plan” here every, single day.

  18. Nicole Cushing

    The Reds are being run as an exhibition team. (What else can you call an organization that resists competing?) If you pay to go to GABP, you’re paying to see a fading star, a handful of mediocrities, and a lot of scrubs take on actual MLB teams. You go for the “gameday experience”, maybe. You go to take your small children so they can meet Gapper and Mr. Redlegs.

    But you’re not going to see competitive baseball. That’s why I didn’t bother going last year, and why I’m done with the team for the foreseeable future. I feel like the Reds have strung me along during all these rebuilds. Enough is enough.

  19. KG

    You have to go back to 1998 to find the last time the Yankees payroll was under $73-million (the Reds current payroll heading into 2023).

  20. Old-school

    Correa goes for 13 years??????
    350 million?

    Signing players for past age 35 for 150 mil + is insanity and waters the Reds cant and should not swim in. Let the big markets out compete themselves and then turn into the Nationals and Angels.

    Krall is sticking to the plan and I applaud him for his discipline. Reds have spent foolishly in prior years(see Moose and Akiyama) and now stopped and are wisely tea-totaling while the sailors on leave go crazy. Reds need India and Stephenson and Greene and Lodolo and Diaz to take steps forward to being a healthy consistent good core and EDLC and Marte and Santillan and CES and Abbott to join them by late 2023 and thats a pretty good young core of position players, bullpen arms, and SP to build around.

    • Mark Moore

      I know it’s the “trend” for the mega-teams and the mega-stars, but I cannot imagine a world where any of these contracts age well for anyone (other than the players and Boras).

      I don’t expect the Reds (or the majority of teams) to do this stuff. But competing doesn’t require these contracts anyway. I mean, how many playoff games did the Angels or Giants win this year?

      • Jim Walker

        I think the contracts have to be looked at over their entire term. For several years Joey Votto hasn’t appeared to be worth in a particular year what he was paid in that year. However, over the combined entire term of his contract, he has produced more value than the money he has been paid in total for doing it.

        Yes, there will probably be an injury or other early flameout among some of these players; but, in the end, most of their contracts will turn out to be like Votto’s, reasonable to very good deals for the team as a whole. Since Christmas is approaching, just think of them in terms of reverse layaway. Teams and fans get the performance up front and pay off the balance due at the back end

    • Bill

      In 8-10 years there are going to be a lot of bad contracts out there. It will be interesting to see what impacts that has to these teams. In the short term they are limiting the luxury tax implications by stretching the contracts out. On the backend there are going to be a lot of guys making 20-30 million who aren’t on the team anymore

      • Kinsm

        In ten years the luxury cap will probably be 50M$ higher through 2 new CBA’s and 25M$ is going to look like 15M$ today.

      • Bill

        That is what makes it interesting, maybe the cap is high enough to absorb it no problem or maybe a team is in a bad position with a $30 million bill and nothing to show for it

    • Moon

      I am going to agree here. I think you are either trying to compete to make playoffs or you are rebuilding. But you have to avoid getting caught in the trap where you are between the two. The team does not spend enough to be competitive yet does not commit to the painful rebuild because it means losing a lot of games. It appears to me, and I could be wrong, that the Reds have decided to get out of the middle and are in rebuilding mode. If so, I would expect them so start spending building a competitive roster after the clear the books this year with the young pitchers they currently have, the guys coming up through the minors, and a handful of FA’s to plug the holes. But we will see. In the meantime this will probably be another 100 lose season. They will have decent starting pitching, an improved bullpen, but a punchless offense.

  21. Hotto4Votto

    I wish Bob would sell, then maybe the franchise could actually take steps forward. It’s what I’ve been asking for several years running. Glad that national media is seeing it too and calling him out.

  22. Flick

    The real question is how many people will actually go see the team play this year?
    Only game I went to last year was opening day, down from the 10-15 I normally go to. The Attendance was down 23% for the reds. I don’t see that getting any better between what the reds are putting on the field, the new rules for baseball and no salary cap in site.

  23. Michael B. Green

    This is our growth year. If we see the young pitchers blossom and a few of the hitters, CIN ownership will have no excuse going cheap for 2024. Moustakas and Votto will come off the Books (excluding their buyouts) and CIN should be in position to win a division if not more.

    If the growth stalls in 2023, then 2024 is potentially another growth year.

    If CIN replicates what PIT did for decades (always rebuilding as an excuse, but in reality was just pocketing profits), then MLB needs to step in and do something.

    • DX

      You are exactly right. Griffey will be off the books too. In 2019 the Reds spent some money and came up with an average team. The Reds did the right thing and did a much needed rebuild. I am not sure how much money I would invest this year or more importantly who it would be on. Doug has addressed this and said they could sign OF and pitching. I think signing a Benintendi instead of a Tommy Pham makes sense. I don’t know who he has in mind for OF & pitching but they do need to start winning some games and changing the culture

      • VegasRed

        Benintendi and any other highly sought, highly marketable FA is not signing in Cincy! Not to play for these loser owners!

        Not that Castellini would spend the money but even at a premium salary nobody is coming to Cincy who doesn’t have to!

      • TR

        Those were not Kyle Farmer’s parting words.

    • Justin

      The problem is there is overwhelming evidence this organization had no clue how to rebuild. David Bell has the personality and charisma of a bat donut. He inspires noone. Young players start their careers here but do not finish them here. History says that Greene and Lodolo will be gone the minute they start making money. Who the heck can blame them either.

  24. Old-school

    Lots of talk the Reds need to spend money in 2023. The Reds traded Winker,Gray,Suarez,Castillo, and Mahle in 2022 to stockpile young talent. Once they did that, there was no commitment to winning in 2023. Reading Nightengale quotes from Bell, it also makes no sense to sign vets like Pham or keep Farmer to block guys who need to play.

    Bell said Spencer Steer is going to get a long look at 3b and India is the 2b and Votto is the 1b assuming health and Stephenson is going to play every day and they signed a back up catcher. Reds also now have 3 shortstops to compete in ST in Reynolds, Barrero and Newman with the best prospect since Jay Bruce lurking in AAA. There’s no reason to spend money at C/3b/SS/2b or first base. The Reds are running through scenarios if Votto isnt ready but hes apparently ahead of schedule.

    They need a bat and will get one to play OF/DH/1b( Myers, gallo) or even carry a third catcher for DH and freeing up Stephenson to rest at DH(Sanchez.) Fraley is your every day LF against righties and you have a bunch of AAA guys that cant be blocked if they declare themselves(EDLC,Siani,CES,McLain).

    The other issue is Krall is pretty clear he’s not spending money on multi-year contracts so the pool of players are now down to 1 year guys. That eliminates a ton of free agents. Krall has said they have a little money to spend so Im assuming the budget is about $85 mil or so in 2023. Your now looking at 1 year rentals in the SP market and bullpen and pillow contracts for guys who want to re-establish their market.

    Kudos to @OBE who stated months ago the Reds understand Moose is dead money and he will be let go. Nightengale indicated its not clear he will be back as no conversations with Bell or Krall have him in the conversation for a role in 2023.

    I will go watch a team that has Steer/India/Votto/Stephenson/Fraley/ Greene/Lodolo/Ashcraft/Cessa/Diaz/Santillan/Antone and a veteran high character FA hitter with pop trying to use GABP to re-create his career value that doesnt play fantasy football.

    • DataDumpster

      Very good summary to lay out that there is a coherent plan in place. I’m more interested in whether the management staff and farm system have what it takes to shepherd most of the key players mentioned to what seems like outstanding potential. 2023 will afford the clear opportunity to evaluate everything about the team’s future and probably pay back all the losses sustained in the shortened season. Excitement about the success of this strategy and expanding financial commitments (or a team sale/manager change if the effort falters) should come to fore and that’s the best we can hope for.

      • Bill

        I understand the frustration of fans sitting back and watching a 100 loss team remain the same exact team, but it has been made extremely clear there was going to be zero effort to compete this your or last. Everyone keeps stating there is no plan, but the plan is very easy to see. Trade anyone that isn’t under long term control, stockpile prospects, lose 100 again, get rid of the last two large contracts, and try again in 2024. You can disagree with that plan, but it is a plan. The same people crying about not spending are the ones mad that the Reds spent on Votto, Moose, Shogo, Minor, and others. Do we really want to extend Kyle Farmer? sign a star for 13 years at $30 million a year? What does any of that accomplish toward reaching the goal of a World Series?

    • Roger Garrett

      I certainly agree that no need to block any of the young guys but I ain’t buying thats what Bell will do.Votto,Moose and Newman will play as will Reynolds and if a vet is signed to be the DH along with an outfielder we are right back to where we were at in 2022.I get it about Joey and Moose because of the money but the others depending on how many will only take away at bats from younger players that need a look see.Bell will play vets if he has them and there is no doubt about it.Don’t be surprised to see Reynolds or even Barrero in the outfield as well.Not trying to be negative at all just pointing out what Bell has always done and I can’t see him changing.

      • Chris Holbert

        +1000 DB has to consider his “legacy” and his future. HE will still try to win as much as possible with the vets. He has proved it time and again. Young players do not develop under him as Manager because he does not give them enough rope and time to succeed or fail. They get going and they sit for 4 games, so “everyone can stay fresh.” He has to be told to play someone consistently, like Barrero last year, or he will not do it.

      • TR

        Nothing will change until ownership change happens next year or beyond.

    • Justin

      With all due respect, there are nothing but question marks in your lineup. India looked nothing like he did his rookie year. Jake Fraley and someone from AAA in the outfield? Thats funny. Jake Fraley looks like a backup at best. I look at the back of his bubble gum card and it agrees. Hunter Greene has battled injuries almost every year of his professional baseball career. Lodolo looked promising, but is far from a lock. Ashcraft started strong but second time around the league he did not. Berarra (sp) looks completely overmatched. Newman is a backuputility guy. Steer has no resume to speak of, just hopes and prayers. Antone coming off major surgery and didnt play at all last year. I feel bad for lifelong fans who have come to expect mediocrity and/or hope for alot of luck to come our way. Its really unfortunate but it is what it is. The fact that even our best hope of a lineup in 23 or even 24 is filled w question marks shows the state of the Cincinnati Reds.

  25. Mark Moore

    Mikey Biceps is a Detroit Tiger

    • Jim Walker

      Yep. I’ve been mostly avoiding discussing actual player moves and possible moves because I have had it with the Reds gaming with them to basically just manipulate fans.

      However this one struck me as most likely a legitimate opportunity lost for the Reds.

      Under $9m for one year. Veteran starter. Deadline flip material. Potential RH bat with pop off the bench when he isn’t the starting pitcher while even given his age still probably would have been the best defensive OF on the team make him fit as a late game sub. All sorts of positives.

      • Mark Moore

        Yep. And you know he really wants to do as much 2-way playing as possible. Missed opportunity indeed.

      • Jim Walker

        It will be interesting to see how the Tigers use ML. Keep in mind that unless enough organizations throw a big enough hissy fits about it, active rosters in 2023 will (finally) be limited to 13 pitchers.

        However a team like the Tigers (or Reds) that doesn’t figure to be competitive anyway could use a guy like Lorezen as DH on days when he isn’t the starting pitcher and eventually qualify him as a 2 way player which means he would be permitted to pitch but would not count against the 13 pitcher roster limit.

        BTW, for anyone wondering, there is nothing in the rules which prohibits a guy counted against the 13 pitcher roster limit from batting or playing in the field. The rule only limits who may pitch in a competitive game to designated pitchers and qualified 2 way players.

      • LDS

        Exactly, fan manipulation. Like interested in a reunion with Barnhart, signed Maile instead. Today, it’s the Cueto rumor. We’ll probably get another Wong. Until someone signs on the dotted line, it’s just rumors to fans about previously popular players coming back. No intent. No integrity. Too many affordable and useful players have signed elsewhere already for less than the Reds are paying Moustakas. Rumors are just that. Sign the check and then we’ll believe it.

    • old-school

      fresh rumors of a potential Cueto reunion. He doesn’t strike guys out anymore but does induce weak contact and would be valuable as a resource to the young pitching staff with his knowledge and work ethic. Loved the old stories of Cueto getting his long runs in when Dusty was manager in between starts.

      He made 4.5 mil last year. I would think a 1 year contract with escalators for starts and innings would be a win/win for all. he’s not likely to get a multi-year deal at his age.

      • TR

        It would be good for the fanbase and the young pitching staff if Cueto came back.

  26. Dean Rock

    It’s hard to care about this franchise anymore. Rebuilds get us to .500 and then back to scratch. I can’t get excited about an organization that is so poorly run and disinterested in competing. The product they put on the field is not worth my time or money.
    I used to NEVER go to sleep not knowing if the Reds won or list. This past season I tuned out after 10 games.
    It is depressing. I used to love the Reds and baseball. Now I feel apathy toward both.
    Terrible team in a flawed league.

  27. Michael B. Green

    Sign Cueto and McCutchen/Myers. Then add minor league contract players with invites to ST to round out depth.

    Focus on the conditioning routine. Way, way too many injuries to our pitchers.

    • MBS

      I wouldn’t be upset with those 2 signing. It’s not going to move the proverbial needle.

      I’d much rather get a piece or 2 that could be around for 3 – 4 years. We’ve got a lot of room right now to spend if they chose to. If we assume 120M is the low end of doable, and 150 is the high end of doable. Then we have anywhere from 45M – 70M available in 23, with another 43M freeing up in 24.

      With that kind of room you could sign anyone on the market. I’m not endorsing exorbitant contracts in 23, but I’d do 2 sub 20M deals this year. Give the fans something to watch, and also signal to FA’s that in 24 they could be competitive and willing to spend money again.

      The crown jewel in all of baseball will be available in 24, and I’d spend 45M AAV on him in a heartbeat. OTHANI

  28. MBS

    There is an interesting article on MLB about “Electric Elly”. Of note was his opinions on playing different positions. I’m still holding out hope for Barrero, it would be a shame if he goes the way of Senzel. If we get a productive Barrero, his glove at SS is very good, it’ll change the dynamic of the team over the next couple of years.

  29. Jim t

    Jeter Downs was just released by Red Sox.

    • MBS

      And still people will continue to complain about that trade.

      • Harry Stoner

        Worth looking at this in a couple ways:

        At the time of the trade, a 17 year old Downs was receiving almost EDLC level of hype. Power bat plus speed plus “we can play him anywhere” hype.

        Downs went on to show he couldn’t hit AAA pitching or MLB either.

        He’s still only 24.

        LA took on the Bailey contract and off loaded a lot of OTH, oddball or soon-to-be injured players. And Kyle Farmer.

        And year of decent hitting from Puig and then a year of mediocre and a year of great pitching from Bauer.

        Josiah Gray is a workhorse who at 24 could continue to develop into a solid starter.

        Wood’s injury and non productivity is ignored while the trading a to-be-injured Gray, Winker and Mahle and release of Miley is seen as a sign of trading prescience if not brilliance.

        So a year of Puig, one from Bauer, some average workhorse production from the throw-in Farmer for unloading Bailey’s contract and the risk of losing out on Downs and Gray.

        Can’t see that as anything more than a wash at best.

        On the other hand:

        The Reds traded their away a range of far more productive veterans than LA did for a bevy of AA, A or younger “prospects” that could just as easily turn out to be the next Jeter Downs.

        Bull Krall is now touted here as a trading genius.

        Time will tell once again.

        And hindsight will continue to be 20 / 20 or better.

      • Frankie Tomatoes

        Jeter Downs was not receiving the kind of hype that Elly De La Cruz is. And Downs was 20 when he was traded, not 17.

  30. MBS

    Also you extended the trade out to Bauer, which I wouldn’t, but since you did we received our 1st CY Young ever. We got a player who saved us from a season of Suarez as our SS. Plus a bat licking, punch throwing entertainer.

    We gave up a never was, a still haven’t, a cancer on the team.

    Hindsight is not 20/20 it would seem, it still carries our biases, both yours and mine.

    • Harry Stoner

      Extending the trade out to what it eventually brought the team only makes sense, since so key principals amounted to nothing.

      To claim Farmer saved the team from Suarez at shortstop is to ignore the bad move that it was in the first place.

      He’s never been much more than a fill in there given the Reds impatience with Rodriguez.

      The hindsight you rely on should include blasting the trade for Moustakis that shifted Suarez off third in the first place, a distraction that was softened by the unexpected emergence of India.

      The “Bailey was a cancer” shibboleth has cemented into “fact” around here while the criminal that is Bauer is touted for his Cy Young and not the discord he brought to the clubhouse.

      Nobody in my memory as a Reds fan has received the kind of hype that EDLC has. So comping his hype with Downs, Bruce or even Davis doesn’t undo the type of prospect Downs was predicted to be for Reds fans and Dodgers as well.

      You’re right, biases underly most of the opinions around here, they certainly do mine.

      Hindsight is coupled with the certainty of prescience.

      To suggest Downs was a “never was” when he was traded pretty much underscores my point.

      And yes, Downs was 20 when traded to the Dodgers.