The offseason grades are out over at The Athletic and at first glance many were left shocked at the grade given to the Cincinnati Reds. C. Trent Rosecrans took on the grading for Cincinnati and he gave them a C+. After a second glance, many were still left a bit shocked.

The Reds are coming off of a 100-loss season. After four months of the season the team traded Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, Tyler Naquin, Tommy Pham, and Brandon Drury. Following the season the team also traded Kyle Farmer. That means heading into the offseason the Reds were a significantly worse team than the one that actually lost 100 games.

Their offseason has consisted of one trade to acquire a big leaguer. And their signings of big leaguers (to big league contracts) have been for two catchers who struggled to hit their way out of a wet paper bag in Luke Maile (career .582 OPS) and Curt Casali (.657 OPS over the last two seasons). They made a trade for Kevin Newman, who improved in 2022 at the plate but still posted a .687 OPS (after back-to-back seasons under the .600 mark). Then they signed Wil Myers, who missed half of the season but was an above-average hitter – and a well above-average one after returning from his injury. The most recent signing was of Luke Weaver, who posted a 6.56 ERA last season as a reliever (and has a 5.58 ERA over the last three seasons – which includes 26 starts and 25 relief appearances).

One signing of a player who doesn’t look like a bench guy or a pitcher who you aren’t sure if he should be in Triple-A or not. On a team that lost 100 games and traded away two quality starting pitchers, their two best hitters during the year, the team MVP and starting shortstop, as well as Tommy Pham.

So how does that offseason get you to a C+ grade? Well, Rosecrans admits with his first sentence that maybe he was feeling generous and that not much was expected from the team and they did “more than not much”. Talk about faint praise. He wraps his write up by noting that he’s grading what the front office did, not what they were asked to do by ownership (which is an F [his words]).

Even grading on a curve because of what was expected, a C+ feels like a stretch. The team signed guys four players and three of them, in my opinion, should have been guys getting minor league deals. The Wil Myers signing seems like a good bet and signing. But we shouldn’t exactly be grading on a curve. The Reds offseason has been very bad. They are one of the worst teams in baseball and it’s tough to see how the team heading into the season is as good as the one that took the field last July.

The farm system may change things a little bit if a lot of things go right (Elly De La Cruz coming up and being a quality big leaguer immediately, Christian Encarnacion-Strand coming up and hitting dingers into the bleachers every few days, the pitchers who struggled in Double-A and Triple-A last year figuring things out and coming up and performing well). But those things going right doesn’t change what the team did in the offseason, which was a whole lot of nothing combined with bringing in players that you’ve got to squint and hope for to be below-average (with the exception of Wil Myers).

While there’s not a grade low enough for ownership, they get an automatic failure for failing to show up. And while the front office is one-million percent hamstrung on what they are able to do because of what ownership has given them to work with, this is a zero sum game and they didn’t really improve the team from where it was last year. You could argue that even if you only grade the offseason, that the team got worse.

98 Responses

  1. Jedi Joey

    Wow! Seriously, C. Trent? No way they get a C+. This off-season is definitely an F. Maybe Will Myers gets it to a D- but even that is a stretch.

  2. Burtman

    Will Myers is a good signing and the back up catchers are an upgrade from last year but agree D at best. I have said this many times you could have added guys to help for about 15-20 million total and if it did not work out trade them in July for more young talent to get deeper and stronger in the minors which might help our future. Ownership is more worried about their pockets and don’t care if this team is good. No real plan here just hope and hope doesn’t win baseball games.

    • 2020ball

      Casali is an upgrade, Maile + less of Stephenson as a C is a huge downgrade. Apparently the Reds liked what they saw from their back-up catchers last year so much they wanted to keep that spot on the roster.

    • Stock

      The problem with this strategy is that if they don’t work out they have no trade value.

  3. Bdh

    “That means heading into the offseason the Reds were a significantly worse team than the one that actually lost 100 games.”

    Good lord you’re getting as bad as some of the people on Twitter.

    • Doug Gray

      So the Reds on October 5th were a better team than the one they ran out there all season despite trading away Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, Brandon Drury, Tommy Pham, and Tyler Naquin? Not to mention a handful of weeks later trading away Kyle Farmer? How? How was the team heading into the offseason better than the team they had during the year with all of those subtractions?

      • Bdh

        What you’re saying makes no sense then. The team on October 5th is the team that lost the 100th game. Had they kept their roster together it doesn’t lose 100 games even with the season ending injuries to the middle of the lineup. You know this but want to use both the 100 loss roster and the traded players on your side of the discussion. Doesn’t work that way

        The only move you listed that they made after the 100th loss was Farmer and they added Newman who had both a higher War and OPS+ on the same day

      • Doug Gray

        It makes a ton of sense. I don’t know how else to explain it to you.

      • Tim

        I’m beginning to think that Bdh is one of the owners. The Reds are a good minor league team. That’s what you are when you have minor league players.

      • Bdh

        First you say in your article

        “That means heading into the offseason the Reds were a significantly worse team than the one that actually lost 100 games.”

        Then you say in response to me

        “So the Reds on October 5th were a better team than the one they ran out there all season despite trading away Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, Brandon Drury, Tommy Pham, and Tyler Naquin?”

        Those are 2 completely different statements.

        I’ll say it again – You know good and well if the reds keep those players they don’t lose 100 games. Even without the middle of their lineup (Votto, Stephenson) they don’t lose 20 of their final 26 games to lose 100 exactly. It wasn’t the same team but in the article you sure try to make it seem that way.

        Then you want to throw this nugget in as well

        “Not to mention a handful of weeks later trading away Kyle Farmer?”

        Well that either means you’re not talking about the team on October 5th or originally you were talking about the team now not being as good the team was during its 100th loss which is what made me say what I did in my first post.

        And none of this has anything to do with a grade for the reds offseason which was supposed to be the point of the article.

      • 2020ball

        The team with those guys on it for a half a season lost 100 games, they wont have any of those guys for any of this season. Pretty sure thats all he’s trying to say.

      • peter coulton

        well they might be better with simply removing road blocks to Strand and Cruz, interesting prospects can get called up at anytime because other then Will Myers I don’t see much MLB talent blocking them. If Votto gets out of the gate hot, would consider dealing him to a contender for HIM and the organization can get Encarnacion-Strand at 1B.
        I dont understand the Newman trade, Elly De La Cruz should be the starting SS if he earns it in the spring as a potential rookie of the year candidate. I am not a reds fan, mostly looking at this as a fantasy baseball guy and see the talent in the organization. With Lodolo and Greene in the rotation healthy that alone will make them better then 100 loses.

    • VegasRed

      ???? This reds team will be epically bad. What are you smoking bdh?

  4. JayTheRed

    But hey Catcher is so improved! With Myers I say D. There are a few bullpen guys that I am anxious to see what they can do.

  5. redfanorbust

    Yeah Reds get an F in the overall scheme of things for teams spending money to be competitive for playoffs. Everyone knew that they were not going to spend money going into this off season. Krall said as much. They are in a full rebuild mode. I would guess to make an more objective grade is to see what the majority of other teams who are going or have gone through a rebuild mode over the years are spending and compare. EVERYONE has long since know that Reds need new, more competent and less cheap/deeper pocket ownership. We just went through a coaching/training/ medical staff overhaul didn’t we? Maybe that was part of the problem? I don’t know. We did have a gaggle of injuries last year. We were supposed to be better off with switching to analytic based approach coupled with pitching coach phenom Derek Johnson. Anyway Reds have not been seriously relevant since 1990. Even the very few years they did manage to scrape themselves into the playoffs no one really expected them to get past the first round and they didn’t. My anger/dissatisfaction comes a lot more from that fact than the current mess we find ourselves in. I am sick and tired of ownership spending just enough to keep the team mediocre (at best) so as to placate the faithful. So for me I give this offseason an incomplete. I personally will wait for the results in 2024 when the young guys have a chance to mature and Reds have more money (minus Votto/Moose) contracts, to spend (IF they spend) on premium needle moving players.

    • Votto4life

      Just because they drastically slash payroll doesn’t mean they are in full re-build mode. I think they are in full “who cares if we win or not mode”. The Reds have never articulated any type of plan other than “ avoiding peaks and valleys”. They have certainly achieved the “avoiding peaks” part.

      • TR

        The least wealthy MLB owners, the Castellini family, were hit hard by the pandemic. Therefore, we had the resulting trading off of the teams assets and going to young players including the coming expiration of long term contracts. So we have the unsettled state of our favorite team. But never the less, another season is on the way with hope a ways off in 2024.

      • greenmtred

        As a Devil’s advocate I’ll say this: The Reds didn’t spend money, but neither did they trade away the prospects. This could be seen as indicative of a plan and a rebuild. Maybe they won’t follow through. Maybe the prospects won’t amount to much, but we won’t know for awhile. Maintaining or slightly improving a 100 loss team seems not worth the effort to me. As a surrogate Devil;, I’d rather roll the dice.

      • redfanorbust

        Well clearly you have a one sided opinion and having nothing good or constructive to say about our team so no point in chatting about the Reds with you. Have a nice day.

      • greenmtred

        Talking to me, redfan? If so, a couple of points: Please note that I identified my role in making the comment as that of the Devil’s advocate. Second: As I read the other opinions here, I think it safe to characterize them as one-sided; that’s usually what opinions are, isn’t it?

  6. Melvin

    It’s not Krall’s fault. It’s the fault of Big Bob & Son. However, even though he had no choice Krall still gets an F like ownership. That’s the price he pays for working for them.

    • Harold

      Hope for new ownership for this legendary team. Ownership – F / Front Office – F. Cincinnati deserves better than this!!! If we don’t get new ownership the rebuild will be constant. Hope I am wrong for the loyal fan’s sake. The Bengals are getting it right. This reminds me of the Mike Brown years!!! Will it take 30 years for the Reds to figure out that if you invest in the team the fans will show up and you will make money and have a good team. Let’s hope they give either “get it” or sell the team ownership that does.

  7. David

    I would have to day a “D”. Not quite failing, but pretty close.

    Just what was the Reds’ strategy this off-season? I mean I don’t really understand what they thought they were actually doing.
    Did anyone, in any kind of public way, discuss why they lost 100 games (besides, we’re a poor team, wah, and we just can’t afford to compete, wah)?
    And how 2023 will be better?
    And what were they going to try to do in the off-season besides sign players who are AAAA or other teams’ rejects? Because that’s all they did.

    Will Myers may turn out (at best) to be this year’s Brandon Drury, but then again, maybe not.
    Are all their chips on the Young Guys in the farm system? Then, really, they should have said so.
    The Reds “Top Management” treats their fans like stupid pre-schoolers.

    I’m almost expecting Phil Castellini to come out with some rant that starts with “The Truth? You can’t handle the truth!”

  8. MBS

    F is honestly the only grade I could give. How else can you grade a team Berlusconi spending half of what they spent 2 seasons prior? That’s a severe contraction in payroll.

  9. Gaffer

    The grade for making the Reds owners money? A plus
    The grade for making them competitive? F
    The grade for getting ready to compete in 2025? B minus. At least this time when we traded players we got actual prospects back! Remember the last firesale when we got basically AAAA caliber players for All Stars?

    • Gaffer

      Also this last draft could go down as incredible value, at least the payed up for talent in the draft.

      I still don’t see how ANY single free agent this off-season would have moved the needle on this team. In 4-5 years many teams will be regretting signing players that depend on speed and defense to provide value for 10 years (or more). If you are a 95 win team looking to put it over the top, sure to the risk. If you are a 95 loss team, it’s not worth the risk. I know Doug will say the Reds won’t spend more money if the save it now……but I KNOW they won’t spend it later if they have already wasted it now!

    • BK

      This a pretty fair assessment, although Ownership’s goal appears to be avoiding additional losses more than pocketing a windfall at the team’s competitive expense. That said, I don’t anticipate this team won’t be very competitive in 2023.

      I like the strategy the Reds appear to be following, but I think you are exactly right to give them a “B-” for 2025–they have a lot of work to do to develop their prospects and then plug the remaining holes.

    • Harold

      I think we need to wait and see how these young players develop. Maybe half will make it and then we can trade them for more prospects. New ownership needed.

  10. TheCoastMan

    Trent has lost his mind. You don’t get to hand out separate grades for the GM versus “I can’t afford a Big Mac” Bob and his “half-witted,” neanderthal son. It’s the FRONT OFFICE in its entirety. PERIOD!

    And, Doug; you said “a stretch?” Seriously, stretch? That could only apply if you are doing a Gumby stretch over the empire state building. They get an F, PERIOD! Because that’s exactly what they deserve.

  11. 2020ball

    The highest I’d go is a D. Myers and Casali look like decent signings, and Newman has a chance to look decent in a few years. Other than that the team was filled with depth pieces. If they were going to sign Maile and give Solak a spot, I’m not sure why they didnt just keep Sabol to fill those roles. Small fish though, they targeted questionable young players instead of doing sign and trades like last year w guys like Drury, I’d have liked to see them look for cheaper older players with some injury history etc. holding down their value to give them a chance to acquire more prospect capital at the deadline. They get a D from me only because they did better than last offseason’s dumpster fire, though maybe that shouldnt be a reason they get a boost at all.

  12. SteveLV

    So what does an F look like if not this? The only positive statement I could make about this off-season is they didn’t trade away top prospects.

  13. Tom

    F as long as the Castellini Family is in charge. Season #2 of not watching an inning forthcoming.

  14. JB

    I would say an A+. Krall was given a budget of $148.86 and a coupon for a free car wash. He went out and flashed those Grants and got himself some playa’s. We are a couple of weeks away from Pitchers and Catchers reporting and fine tuning the Dynasty we call the 2023 Cincinnati Reds!!! Krall has gone out and grabbed guys that we thought were out of baseball or we never heard of. That takes talent. Krall went out and got a guy with a 3.7 % base on ball rate. That’s not easy to find and yet Krall does and then gets him to come to Cincinnati. It’s literally impossible to find a guy who is 30 with that Base on Ball rate. But Krall did. Pitchers with 6or7 ERAs? Reds got them signed sealed and delivered. All this on a $148.86 budget.

    • Jedi Joey

      LOL!!! I truly did laugh out loud at this and then I was depressed when I realized it was the truth.

  15. LDS

    If my high school teachers graded me like this, I’d have graduated first in my class. The Reds were 40-61 (.396). They finished 22-39 (.361). Unless miracles happen, like Barrero hitting, Votto matching 2021, and Senzel finally living up to the hype, this team loses 100+. As for Krall? F, maybe a D for dumping Moustakas. As for doing what the owners want? If one has integrity, they don’t take a job where they are expected to fail.

    • Votto4life

      LDS, I don’t get it. A team loses 100 games, then does absolutely nothing to improve the roster and people here still heap praise on them. Makes no sense at all. If they are a fan of bad baseball, they’re in the right city I guess.

      • LDS

        Nor do I. But, keeping Bell should have been a clue. As for spending now? There were guys younger than 30, that were affordable, and could have helped the team in 2024-2025. I think lots of folks here suffer from Stockholm Syndrome.

  16. Greenfield Red

    If this were next off season, I would agree with all those calling for an F. This team would not win and compete for the World Series unless they spent a ton off additional money and replaced 5 or 6 starters, added at least 1 quality starting pitcher, and at least 3 quality relievers on top of already having $40m wasted on this year.

    There was simply no reason to spend a bunch of money on the 2023 roster. It’s going to be bad. It was always going to be bad.

    It all started with the Votto contract in 2014. Most on here say it’s been so great. I don’t agree. But even those who loved it have got to admit, the last 2 or 3 years were not likely to be productive at all… and here we are. $20 mil right there that was bad from the start.

    Then in 2015, all those trades for ML ready talent got the Reds exactly nothing… no high end young guys and all the good talent traded away from the ML team.

    Then came the extensions to the good young guys who remained(Bailey, Mesoroco, Geno) come to mind. There are probably others that don’t come to mind. And I will admit, I was for all of these at the time. But they all flopped.

    Then came 2020 free agency and an open check book. The only guy who did anything had a two-year opt out, which I agree with. It was the only way to get him here. The others were total disasters in every sense of the word.

    The chickens had to come home to roost, and they have.

    Nick Krall added a ton of young high end talent last summer. It needs time to grow. That time is now.

    2023 and 2023 were destined to be terrible for all the reasons stated above.

    Ownership and Nick Krall did nothing to interfere with the plan to bring all this young talent to the big leagues.

    So yes, a C+ or maybe even a B- for the 2023 off season.

    • DaveCT

      Greenfield, I agree with the opinion that the 23 team was always going to be bad, so why throw dollars after nothing. In other words, Krall’s restraint was a positive, especially when the goal is to develop talent for 24 and beyond, and creating space on the roster for young talent is the way to start that.

      I also believe ownership’s effort are a continued flail and fail, for the many reasons you list. It is a pathetically run team on the ownership level. It’s incompetent IMO. The most significant improvement that should have happened this off season is that Phil should have been fired or ‘reassigned.’ Instead … he shines on and is an insult to the fans. FAIL.

    • 2020ball

      I mean, I guess doing nothing is one way not to interfere with something two years down the road, but personally I’d have liked to see them go with a strategy that supplemented that plan. They signed a bunch of bench guys with little upside instead. Really would’ve liked to see more.

      • DaveCT

        I get that. It would help if players wanted to come here. But few want to join a rebuild with an ownership as sad as this. It’s good we can get guys like Myers and Casali who may have other reasons to join in, I will say. Where’d we be without them?

      • 2020ball

        Yeah more signings like Myers is what i wouldve pushed for, guys that arent getting much interest and looking for a place they can rebuild some value. There arent that many guys knocking on the door from the farm so it doesnt block anyone.

      • Greenfield Red

        Myers and Casalli may be awesome trade chips to throw 2 or 3 more logs on the fire this August.

      • DaveCT

        Thinking Casali sticks around and may be a managerial candidate before long. Both Giants and Mariners raved about him past year or two.

      • MBS

        @Dave, “It would help if players wanted to come here.” How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. 2024 isn’t going to be a magical year where FA’s want to sign here. If we made FA signings that improved the 23 team, and then FA signings that improved the 24 team, by 25 we might have a place where FA’s want to come.

    • Chris Holbert

      Krall signed guys no one else wanted. Everyone on here knows DB will play those guys until their arms fall off, because they have never played so many games. Truly developing those “young guys” means letting them play, take their lumps, develop and lose, just like the young pitchers last year. They are not going to be good, so why waste the money on players no one else wants.

      • Greenfield Red

        Krall signed guys no one else wanted for a couple of reasons.

        First, nobody who is that great wants to come to play for a team that will likely lose at least 100 games this year. Sure these guys want the money, but most want to win as a secondary concern. That ain’t happening here this year.

        Second, because of the blocking factor, they should not have signed anyone to a two year or more contract anyway.

        After 2023, they should be able to sort out what they have. Starting in 24, it becomes an issue of what do they still need? The returning payroll should be about $40m going into the fall and will be cheap for years to come. That is the time to pounce on free agency.

        A reasonable budget going forward could be 120m for 24, 130m for 25, 140m for 26, and 150m for 27. They could force their way to the top of free agency by signing the two top available guys to fit needs at an annual rate of $40m for 4 years, and still add two or maybe three higher quality free agents at 4y/52m. All these young guys coming up, and now high quality free agents on top.

        They could be in the WS in 24 and beyond.

        There is no conceivable way to fix the 22 or 23 rosters for the reasons I mentioned in my original post on the subject.

  17. fan in St. Louis

    The question I would ask Doug Gray would be what grade would he give the Reds
    minor league system in comparison to other major league teams?

    and the second related question is are the Reds cheap in managing their minor league system as they are re the major league team?

  18. Votto4life

    I used to actually value C. Trent opinions.

    • MBS

      That’s was a mistake. He’s a bit too pompas for my taste. Any news person who makes himself a story isn’t a good news person imo.

    • David

      You know, I think C. Trent is a pretty smart guy, when it comes to baseball.

      But, he does have a flaw that is common to “sports correspondents”, etc., in that they kind of suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. They kind of find themselves over-identifying with the team (or teams, or sport) that they cover, and the lose most of their objectivity.
      There are probably some good guys the Reds signed this off-season. Maybe a couple or three of them will actually work out. Maybe the Reds will be better in 2023 than in 2022, and some of the new guys will work out this season.
      Hope is not a plan, though. This all seemed pretty hit and miss to me. Last off-season, I think Krall actually did ok, in retrospect. Drury, Solano worked out ok. Sonny Gray was a popular player, but probably better to trade him a year too soon than a year too late. Getting Pham and Minor, probably NOT good moves (probably? well….YES!).
      So, like many other fans, C. Trent really wants the Reds to do better in 2023, and wants to believe a lot of these moves will pay off. Sooner or later, the young talent will emerge from the minors, and I think THEN the Reds have a real chance to get better. But just about nothing the Reds did this off – season will really move the needle. Grade: D.

      The could have done absolutely nothing, and that would have been an F.

      • Kevin Patrick

        Ok… everyone needs to relax just a bit. I like Myers fine. I like Casali and Maile fine. I even like Newman. I like that they haven’t given up on Barrero and sold low. I like that they didn’t frivolously spend on bullpen arms. I wish they had used Moustakas as a means to acquire some team’s throwaway player. But if I’m being honest, Cueto would have been a more practical signing than Myers. I like they didn’t sell low on Senzel. I don’t have an opinion on Reynolds leaving. I like the idea in being able to see if any of these outfielders we have can stick. They will play enough. I look at the Padres…and wonder if they screwed themselves or not. I wonder if the Reds should have traded India for a premier minor league catching prospect or two.

  19. Daniel Kals

    If you’re grading the offseason only, on the positive side:

    – Signed Wil Myers, cut Aristides Aquino. Myers is a huge upgrade over Aquino. Myers has a .771 OPS for his career vs. .719 for Aquino and that’s Aquino’s best stat. Myers’ career OBP and batting average are 40+ points higher than Aquino.

    – Cut Moustakas and ate his $22 million salary. This has to be seen as a positive move because it allows younger players like Steer, or Encarnacion-Strand and others to get playing time – and they will most likely outperform Moustakas.

    – Signed Casali. This is a large upgrade because the backup catchers last year were horrific. Casali’s OPS+ the three years he was in Cincy: 115, 88, 123. He plays significantly better in Great American than elsewhere. Compare to Austin Romine’s OPS+ last year of… 19.

    On the wait-and-see side:

    – Signed Luke Weaver to likely be a starter. Now, compared to Mike Minor, he might actually be an upgrade. But you can’t say signing a guy with Weaver’s 2022 numbers is a positive. That said, if he can recapture his 2021 numbers (1.18 WHIP) instead of last year’s numbers (1.86 WHIP), then this becomes a positive vs. Mike Minor. In 2021 he went 13-13 with a 4.42 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. This is a flyer that could turn out way better than Minor.

    On the negative side:

    – Replaced Kyle Farmer with Kevin Newman. Farmer has a career WAR of 2.9 in 6 seasons, Newman has a career WAR of 3.1 in five seasons. Last year, Farmer had an OPS+ of 90 and Newman had an OPS+ of 94. However for their careers, Farmer’s OPS+ is 85 while Newman’s is 79. I think we can all agree that Farmer was a team captain and solid defender, so this is a slight downgrade. But I think we can also agree that we hope De La Cruz or someone else takes over the spot ASAP.

    Those are the main things that happened in the offseason. So I guess if you’re looking at C being “staying the same as your end-of-season roster,” then maybe I could, generously, see a C+ — IF you are only looking at the offseason.

  20. LuciusRuber

    F minus (the lowest possible F and nothing higher)-dirt is lower but there’s not a letter for it

  21. earmbrister

    The grade is fine with me. Grades are like opinions, which are like butt holes: everyone’s got one. However, I don’t get the certainty with which some here state that this team is worse than last year’s team.

    First and foremost, how many times have the Reds lost 100 games in a 162 game season? Twice in SIXTY ONE years (twice ever for that matter). Last year and 41 years ago (1982). It’s REALLY hard to lose 100 games, yet many here swear that they’ll lose 105, 110, I’ve even seen people predict 120. BTW, that 1982 season was a 101 loss season. History doesn’t support the sky is falling folks.

    Is this team the worst Reds team in 61 years? No, not even close. Do you all remember when Elmer Dessens, with his 102 ERA+, was the “ace” of the staff? Or when Paul Wilson and his 89 ERA+ was the best starter on the team? Or the years when it was Aaron Harang or Jose Rijo and then pray for four days of rain? For context, Nick Lodolo had a 122 ERA+ in his ROOKIE year. Hunter Greene posted a 101 ERA+, but was a much different pitcher after coming back from missing basically the month of August before he dominated the rest of the year. Ashcraft? Also like the other two in his rookie year put up a 92 in 19 starts. Greene topped the staff with 24 starts, while no one else had more than 19. Yes, 19 starts from Lodolo, Ashcraft, Mahle (with only a 102 ERA+), and Minor (74 ERA+). And the 2022 Reds only got 14 starts from Luis Castillo who only had a 4-4 record for his 157 ERA+. Castillo’s first start was May 7th and his last game for the Reds was July 27th. He gave us 85 IP.

    And that’s the thing. Just about all of the departures didn’t happen at year’s end, but at the end of July. And of those traded, only Drury (128 OPS+ for 385 PAs) was both healthy and productive for those 102 games before the deadline. Naquin, a league average hitter, gave us a 101 OPS+ over 204 ABs. Pham was well below average with a 88 OPS over 340 ABs. How are we EVER going to replace a 88 OPS? I dunno, Fraley 118 OPS+ over 247 PAs, Freidl 101 over 258, Fairchild 141 over 99 PAs, and Myers 108 over 286 (111 career OPS +) might be able to. All above average OPS+s; gotta imagine that one or two can replace Pham.

    And yes Farmer gave us 583 AB last year, as he was traded after the season. Those 583 ABs produced a 90 OPS+. Many here complained about his lack of production last year, so those same people can’t complain that we will miss his contributions.
    For context, Kevin Newman had a higher OPS+ (94) last year over 308 ABs. Will he have a better than 90 OPS+ in 2023? Maybe, maybe not, but he will provide better defense at SS than Farmer.

    So when we complain that we only have 3 certain starters, remember those years where we only had 1 decent starter. And remember that none of the rookies last year gave us a full year of starts (24, 19, and 19). Would it be safe to assume that at least two of the three will exceed their ’22 starts and their ’22 stats? Probably. Also remember that Castillo only gave us 85 IP. Heck, Mike Minor pitched 98 innings.

    Look at those 2022 stats and you realize that only ONE Reds player, the 90 OPS+ Farmer, had more than 431 PAs. That’s how utterly injured ravaged the Reds lineup was. I’d bet the over on Tyler Stephenson’s 183 PAs when it comes to 2023 (I’d bet the under on Moustakas’ 285 PAs, lol). And the pitching staff, particularly the BP, was also injury ravaged in 2022.

    Yes, the team in 2023 is probably better than the team that spent the majority of the time on the field for the Reds in 2022. And the C+ grade is helped by the lack of one year contract signings that would’ve blocked the youngsters from playing in 2023. Let the three F’s fight it out for playing time in the OF. Chances are that at least one will step forward and make the best of the opportunity. Let the 3B and SS competition play out as well. Who cares if we lose 5 more games because of it?

    And I’m willing to bet we won’t lose 100 games in 2023. History is on our side.

    • Rednat

      i kind of see your point, but the trend is not on our side. you really cannot compare 20th century reds with 21st century reds as the game (and league) seems to really be passing us by. From 1950- 2000 we had 2 90 loss seasons. this century so far we have already had 8!

      i don’t put all the blame on management, ownership. I am sure they are trying . But it is hard to imagine this team winning more than 60 games this year. It just seems like our young hitters are over matched at the plate. again, this has just the trend I have been noticing over the past few years with the young players. I think our pitching will be decent but is just hard to imagine players like Senzel, Barrero, Fairchild generating enough offense to win many games at all

      • earmbrister

        I’m a patient person so I’m more than fine with the investment in the young prospects. Winning 84 games does nothing for me, I would rather do everything possible to get back to the WS. Mediocrity is not the solution, we should embrace the suck. The Reds wisely traded away their top assets and have drafted well (Greene, India, Lodolo, Ty Steve, Collier, etc.). The Reds have THREE quality pitchers (two studs) coming off their rookie years: when did we ever have this much young quality pitching? The four Reds prospects that are in the MLB pipeline (for instance) top 100 are mostly top as well. Instead of getting “MLB ready” prospects as trade returns (which has all to often been AAAA players), they have gotten true top prospects. The Reds have remarkably made international scouting and signings a big part of their approach. EDLC, by all accounts, is a generational talent. The farm system is loaded with top prospects.

        The pitching should get better and better from here (and is already better than last year). I understand your concern about the offense, but the only meaningful batter lost from last year is Drury and his PAs. We got just 183 PAs from Tyler Stephenson last year, that black hole in the lineup has been filled. India is due for a bounce back and should be healthier as well. Naquin was just a league average hitter, while Farmer, Pham, Moustakas (74), and Aquino (63) all had OPS+s of 90 or less. The youngins are hardly replacing the ’27 Yankees, and shouldn’t struggle to exceed the 2022 production from what amounted to half the lineup. And I truly doubt that they could lose more games to injury than they did last year. It was an historic 100 year injury storm that we endured in 2022.

        Just don’t see a 100 loss season as being in the cards. Looking forward to watching the growth of this team.

    • CFD3000

      As someone who is eternally optimistic every spring I also find myself adjusting the baseline of expectations. This year I’m hoping for health (Stephenson, Votto, India on offense, Sims and Antone on the mound), development (Greene, Lodolo, and Ashcraft pitching, Barrero on offense), and arrivals (Steer and perhaps EDLC, and maybe a surprise or two). Is the Reds ROSTER better now than last May? Nope. But you do indeed have to look at the actual contributions that lead to 100 losses. So many injuries and struggles. I do expect more this year, even from this Castillo and Drury-less roster. If even moderately healthy then no, I don’t think the 2023 Reds flirt with 100 losses. If things go well on health and development, they could flirt with 80 wins. So I’m not nearly as pessimistic as many commenters. And I appreciate your take earmbrister.

      Now… that said, I’m with those who do not separate the transactions from the ownership and salary constraints. The only good things that happened this offseason are healing for the likes of Stephenson, Votto, Senzel, etc., not trading away prospects, and the stones to release Moustakas. Maybe the Myers acquisition and actual major league backup catchers keeps this from a complete fail. But C+ is not a stretch, it’s ridiculous. Until this franchise can stop the dumpster diving, bargain bin mentality there’s no way to be consistently competitive. Right now, not even close. And that’s sad. So I’ll be rooting for the 2023 Reds, and rooting that a better ownership group will eventually fund a return to competitiveness. It’s a solid D from me.

    • Tom Diesman

      Awesome post, this sheds the light on most of the reasons that a 100 loss season in 2023 is improbable.

  22. Shane

    Very generous grade..there’s alot of Scooby-Doo mystery surrounding this roster and unless alot of these guys absolutely trip were looking down the barrel of another long summer in Cincinnati..D seems more fitting for this dumpster fire.

  23. Oldtimer

    If the Reds avoid injuries to the level that happened last year.

    If the Reds young SP continue to develop into MLB caliber SP.

    If Votto recovers from his injury.

    If Stephenson and India return to form.

    If the bullpen injured guys recover from theirs.

    If one or two rookies develop faster than expected.

    If all that happens, the Reds might have 10 fewer L than last year.

  24. William

    I agree with Mr. Gray on the grading. Good article. I am hopeful that the young players can make good progress this year. I will be following Steer, De La Cruz, McClain, Marte, and others as they continue to develop with a hope for a better team in the years to come. I do not think the Reds will lose 100 games again this year, although there may be some times this year when it will looks like a possibility. I also hope Votto can rebound and have a better year. He is not the future, but he has been the most enjoyable player to watch in this organization for me, since Morgan, Rose, Bench, Perez, Davis, and Larkin. (I am sure I missed some others.) I would like to see Votto have a good year. I will be following him. I do not expect too much from the team this year.

  25. jj

    It’s going to be a long and disappointing season but hopefully the cream rises so we see a core of better players, and also that pitching staff makes further strides as a power group. Hope ‘24 is great year, as a longtime fan it’s not fun

  26. catcard202

    Let’ be honest…Myers was signed to give the OF some pop & to fill in at 1B when/if Joey needs days off. He was also signed, with the hope that he has a big 1st half & can be dealt for prospects at the deadline to a Big Market contender that view $9.5M contracts as chump change.

    Newman was acquired as a lower cost placeholder INF/SS to replace Farmer & compete for an INF/ULT role, until the farm delivers EDLC, CES & McClain (later in 2023)…With the hope that he can be dealt at the deadline/AUG for a top30ish (system – not top 100) prospect.

    The FO added lackluster AAA/AAAA arms & BU borderline AAA C’s…Hoping they show anything in the 1st half & can be dealt, as well…

    Is that C+ maneuvering??? Oh, hell no!! It’s the Major League version of the “Major League” Indians. It’s “who the F are these guys” worthy…It’s wish in one hand & S— in the other & see which fills first.

    It’s 100% “where you gonna go?” & “Be careful what you wish for, the next owner will want to move the team” worthy signings…But at this point…I don’t even care anymore…I’m not spending 1 red dime on the Reds in 2023.

    Phil can chase 40+ country club bar divorcees & throw back old fashions all season long…But not at my expense. That ship sailed last APR.

    Where ya gonna go??? Sure as hell ain’t GABP…Not anytime soon.

    Not until there’s a product worth dumping my cold hard earned cash on.
    Winning spins the turnstiles, sells merch & over priced ballpark parking/beers/dogs…..Losing doesn’t.

    If enough of Reds Country follows suit…Bob might get the message.

  27. Jim Walker

    What’s to be said that hasn’t been said? Strategically, the FO vision and plan (assuming they have either) is lower than the lowest F that could be given.

    Tactically, we don’t know exactly how much of a straitjacket Krall is in. I guess it isn’t too hard to give him a C for what he has done over the off season. However, we don’t know what kind of potential sunken cost he is incurred should several of these veterans coming camp on a MiLB deal stick around even at MiLB as organizational depth or make it to MLB. Might the money have been spent better pooling it for a larger buy on an established MLB player?

    For me, the real story here is apparently a mainline media guy isn’t supposed to question or include the strategic choices and direction chosen by ownership in his critique.

    • Kevin Patrick

      “For me, the real story here is apparently a mainline media guy isn’t supposed to question or include the strategic choices and direction chosen by ownership in his critique.”

      Bingo! Where is Hal McCoy?!

  28. Amarillo

    How many above average players would the Reds have had to bring in to make this team into a contender? 10? 15?
    My enjoyment of the team doesn’t increase at all if we lose only 90 games instead of 100. For the first time since the Votto/Bruce/Cueto/Bailey season we have several impact prospects in the upper minors. Sure I would have liked more Starting Pitching, but we have 3 young Outfielders who all had OPS+ over 100, and an entire infield worth of top ~150 Prospects in AA or higher (Steer, De La Cruz, Marte, McLain, Encarnacion-Strand) and I am happy that they are choosing to not block them to try to finish 3rd or 4th rather than 4th or 5th. I’d much rather watch a bunch of young players work hard to develop, than a bunch of proven players like Moustakas. I completely agree with earmbrister.

    • redfanorbust

      Agree with you Amarillo and earmbrister. Reds have been mediocre or worse team for 30 years. This is the first time I can remember Reds doing a full rebuild. I am happy to see it. I am sick of 70-80 win teams year after year after year. I want a team that has a real chance at going to the WS. Since we don’t have ownership that’s going to spend 150M or more this seems to be the only way.

  29. Jim Delaney

    The C+ grade is a joke, the grade is no better than a D, I have it as an F from standpoint you know the team isn’t contending in 2023 and likely heading to another 100 loss season.
    The off season started as an F, when David Bell wasn’t sent packing. You have a manager who accepts losing, has no idea how to handle a bullpen and doesn’t inspire players to even play hard.
    The Ownership group has decided they are running a NON profit organization and can’t compete because of the system.. meanwhile another team in the state is showing everyone that is BS. Castellini’s and Williams need to sell the team or bring in a President of baseball operations and then allow that person to do what is needed to put a competitive product on the field.
    The GM has brought in a few retreads to help the losing continue.
    I will give the team credit for eating Moustakis contract. I didn’t expect that to take place.
    Another 100 loss season with David Bell as Manager and the current ownership group is on its way and it is just so disheartening…

  30. AMDG

    Clearly Rosecrans is of the mindset everybody deserves a participation trophy?

    The team enters Spring Training with only 3 of 5 starting pitcher spots supposedly locked up, and that to a trio of pitchers who barely have a total of 60 major league starts under their belts. And all 3 suffered injuries last season.

    That in itself is a failure of preparing the team for the season.

    Not to mention, their projected 2023 starting lineup compiled a collectively weak OPS+ of 88 last year, with a paltry 210/310/370 slash line.

  31. Old-school

    It’s February which means pitchers and catchers report in 2 weeks and on field baseball is coming soon. Clearly, Covid, the Bally RSN financial struggles, bad contracts and bad ownership have created a bad situation. Never been accused of being an optimist , but I do think the Reds are in a much better situation moving forward than they were this time last year or even in 2021.

    Looking forward to seeing if any players break through into good major leaguers this year(Steer, Barrero, CES, EDLC) and which established big leaguers grow into MLB stars who can carry the franchise for years to come(India, Stephenson,Greene, Lodolo). I think all 4 of those guys can be AS caliber players in 2023.

    Im ready for spring training. Go Reds.

  32. Jeremy

    I don’t know what you people expect. We are running a nonprofit here. Sacrifices need to be made. Besides, where else ya gonna go?

  33. Stock

    Greenfield Red and DaveCT got it right. Grade of C+ is good. For those of you who thought the Reds had a chance to be competitive in 2023 then a grade of an F is fair. I am in the camp that the Reds have a better chance of losing 100 than winning 80. The Reds were not going to compete in 2023 so any move they make should look to the future.

    Be critical of the catchers the Reds acquired if you want but their offense in 2023 was not a priority. The Reds signed catchers who will help Greene, Lodolo and Ashcraft be better pitchers in 2025 and beyond. Well thought out and they deserve an A for this thinking.

    The Reds signed Naquin after he was DFA’d and his value went up thanks to GABP. The Reds signed Castellanos and likewise he value soared and he became a FA. Last year they signed Drury. Again his value soared and the Reds are better now because of it. These three players while no longer with the Reds have brought in Sal Stewart, Hector Rodriguez, Jose Acuna and Victor Acosta. This year the Reds sign Myers who could very well bring in a better player then the four above come July. This is a fantastic move for 2024 and beyond. If Myers stinks then there is no impact financially for 2025 and beyond.

    They get rid of Farmer to ensure Barrero gets another chance and acquire a high ceiling RP in return. I wasn’t very happy with the Newman trade but he is coming from an extreme pitcher’s park to GABP. Maybe he will have trade value come July.

    They make sure this team stinks in 2023 which will give them a quality draft pick in 2024.

    They traded away all their assets (except Stephenson and India and both would be sell low targets now) in July so they could not really build for the future much.

    Again if you felt going into the offseason that the Reds had a chance to compete in 2023 I feel your pain and an F is a fair grade.

    But if you are looking to 2025 and beyond a grade of C+ is probably too harsh.

    • Greenfield Red

      Thanks Stock. It’s easy to blame the Manager or the General Manager or even the owner. For all those who don’t look deeper into the issues at hand, just a quick F- couldn’t be lower and move on.

      With the moves made starting in 2014 and continuing through 2020, there was just no way to field a winner at some point. That point turned out to be 2022 and 2023. Starting 2024, all that money falls off the books, and all that young talent is here or at least 1 year closer to here.

      What I’d like to see in 2023 is another 100 loss major league season (maybe have better luck in the draft lottery), a couple of more trades at the deadline to add more young talent, and I would like to see winning teams at the minor league level to go with big time development by all these youngsters.

      I would rather they lose 100 than lose 80 this year. Luke warm is the enemy of great.

  34. Stock

    One more thing to consider. This winter was not a great year to be in the FA market. Teams had a lot of room to play with thanks to the increase in the salary cap. Because of this many overspent. A player with an .810 career OPS receives $280 million. The smart teams were sitting out this winter. This is especially true for a team like the Reds who had zero chance in 2023. The Dodger’s have been critized for sitting out this winter, but come next winter when they sign Ohtani and someone else they will look like geniuses.

    I like what the Reds did this winter. My only fault with them is I wish they would have locked up Stephenson, Greene and Lodolo long term.

  35. Pablo

    Maybe C. Trent is showing off his satire skills hoping to land a job with The Onion?

    • Votto4life

      I don’t get why it took “stones” (as someone here put it ) to release Moose. It has been clear for three years now, that he can no longer contribute to a major league team. The Reds have to pay him either way this year, so why was it so “courageous” in telling him “don’t bother showing up this Spring.”

      If the Reds made that call with Moose in the Spring of 2021, then yeah, that would have taken some guts. But to release him in the final year of his contract, when he hasn’t produced in forever, is not particularly a profile in courage.

  36. docproc

    The biggest move the Reds made this offseason was cutting Moose. Didn’t think they had the guts to do it. I’m hoping that will open doors for younger players to play 3rd, 1st, and DH.

    • Stock

      Good point Doc. Yet another solid move this offseason

    • Optimist

      Yes – Addition by subtraction – that move alone gets them to C-. The Myers signing may get them to C+. They also still have 2 late spring signings to make from DFAs, late transactions – another starter, and another veteran bat.

      Barring an early injury wave I think they hit bottom before June, and can see who stays and plays, and who goes over the rest of the summer.

      I don’t see another 3-22 start, and while it’s hard to lose 100, only losing 90-95 is no consolation.

      • Kevin H

        They will lose 110 games. This team isn’t a c- or c+ they are a f.. prospects =suspect until they prove themselves. They have no bullpen or a 4th or 5th starter. No starting pitching depth.

  37. Kevin H

    Someone mentioned Bell being manager. Winning with this roster is not realistic. Losing 110 games seems like a possibility

  38. Jim Walker

    Some years ago, I spent a week to 10 days south of the border (down Mexico way) for the wedding of a niece of my wife. We (the bride’s parents, my wife, and I) were essentially on our own. Our support group and lifeline was the ex-pat community the groom’s grandparents had been a part of for a couple of decades until several years prior to the wedding when mortality had caught up to both of them.

    As we started locking down final plans and details for the wedding, one of the first things our mentors made clear to us was that while in Spanish, mañana literally means tomorrow (or in the morning), in a practical sense, it really means “not today” abut (maybe, hopefully) at some soon but indeterminate point in the future. Thus, they told us, when we asked a question and the reply was “mañana”, it was up to us to nail down definite details.

    Most folks who have read this far have probably surmised what I am going to say next; but, for the record, here goes. For any number of years, the Reds have been telling us mañana is when they will be competitive. However, something always seems to get in the way of mañana actually arriving. Now the Reds have changed up a bit by admitting that the next mañana will not be this year or probably even the next.

    This brings to mind another truism from south of the border, “mañana nunca llega” which also applies to the Reds, tomorrow never comes.

    I am the only one tired of waiting and hoping while trying to rationalize and fantasize that this time is THE time for the Reds to catch up to mañana?

    • MBS

      @Jim, no you’re not the only one. The current ownership has done nothing to earn the benefit of the doubt. Every rebuild has failed to bear fruit. They have nearly cut the payroll in half over a couple of offseasons.

      It’s an abusive relationship the Castellini’s have with their fan base. They slap you around a bit, then ask you “where you going to go”, then they slap you around a bit more, and show you a chart explaining why they had to do it to you.

      There is nothing wrong with being optimistic about the youth, I am. There is a problem with being optimistic about the organization direction. There are old proverbs about knowing you by your fruit, and I believe what I see more than what I hear, etc, etc, ect…

  39. LDS

    The Reds signed another minor league contract today, Jason Vosler, another 30’ish, never was ball player. But he has position flexibility, another Bell type signing.

    • Melvin

      I’ll be glad to play anywhere the Reds want for less money than these guys are getting if all they’re looking for is cheap. lol

    • 2020ball

      Arent most guys in the league 30ish? He’s pre-arb, so if he works out they have control and if he doesnt they cut ties. Really dont understand why everyone around here complains about depth signings after a year filled w injuries.

  40. Old Big Ed

    There is something to be said for not doing something completely stupid, or even medium-stupid, which Krall managed to avoid. He didn’t sign a Moustakas for $68 million; he kept all his prospects; and he didn’t sign an iffy veteran who would block a prospect or a player who needed a more extensive trial in the majors.

    I think that they can reasonably expect better offensive production in 2023 than they got in 2022 from at least 6 positions: catcher, first base, second base, left field, right field and DH. They should at least be close in production at the other 3 positions, including specifically CF. The Reds were impossibly slow last year, and at every position they mostly played a defensively below-average fielder, if not well below average defensively. They are going to be younger, faster and more athletic, not even counting the potential rookies who will debut in 2023.

    When they rebuilt 10 years ago or so, they waited too long, got nothing for some of the veterans, and resigned the wrong guy in Bailey. Most recently, they fumble-bummed $80 million away on Moose and Akiyama. They seem to have a plan, which they have stuck to now for a couple of years, that hinges on their having a much better farm system and a much better presence in Latin America.

    They are unlikely to be good this year, but they will be a heckuva lot less painful to watch than the slow bunch of strange-gloves that they were last year, before they turned over much of the roster. And we will regularly get to see Greene and Lodolo, now past their rookie learning curves.

    Unless they start 3-22.

    • Melvin

      What do think the odds are that if they get off to another slow, even extremely slow start again (3-22 like), that David Bell keeps his job…again? As stated before, whether we believe it’s his fault or not no other manager would keep his job under those conditions. We’ll see I guess. I am looking forward to seeing several individual players this year hopefully including EDLC.

    • Tom Diesman

      The Reds should easily improve their offense in 2023 at 7 of the 9 positions. Nobody should be surprised if Steer (.259/.354/.479/.834 in 336 PA at AAA) matches the production at 3B. Surprisingly, DH is the only position they will be hard pressed to match from last season.

      Reds 2022 BA OBP SLG OPS
      as DH 0.286 0.352 0.471 0.823
      as 3B 0.257 0.322 0.418 0.740
      as LF 0.244 0.323 0.385 0.708
      MLB AVG Hitter 0.243 0.312 0.396 0.707
      as 2B 0.253 0.322 0.375 0.697
      as 1B 0.213 0.304 0.366 0.670
      as RF 0.213 0.271 0.385 0.656
      as CF 0.232 0.290 0.328 0.617
      as SS 0.209 0.274 0.308 0.582
      as C 0.210 0.258 0.322 0.580

    • Redsvol

      I like this thinking OBE. The offense should definitely improve just because of youth and speed. The defense should improve for the same reason plus the subtraction of many poor to average defensive players (Moose, Votto (he will DH), Farmer, Solano, Senzel).

      However, I do fear the pitching may take a step back. Not easy to replace those starts by Castillo and Mahle. There weren’t; a lot of them but both turned in some very good starts.

  41. A Former West Sider

    For my part I agree with the grade.
    They at least stuck to the plan.
    Could they have signed a couple more vets to raise the early season expectations and play, sure. And then turned them into a couple of potential prospects…sure…

    But the path is laid out, given the constraints of ownership they weren’t going to buy their way to a good team this year.

    I’m going to suffer through this year, hope for .500 plus financial freedom in 24 then truly contend in 25, 26, 27, 28!

    Stick to the plan – but they need to execute draft, intl signings, and player development.

  42. Doug

    Wake me up when football season starts

  43. greenmtred

    One of my comments got removed after moderation, I assume because I used a common phrase about faint praise which, as most of us know, contains a word that might not pass muster at RLN. Fair enough. But I noticed in other comments on this thread that “hell” (the place you’d go if you were subject to the action my word describes) and “butt hole” we’re evidently okay. Seems strange.