Well, color me surprised. Even a couple of days ago, I was ready to be angry as the Cincinnati Reds trotted out an Opening Day roster with too many guys no one wanted and not enough of the young players we’re supposed to get excited about. And then they cut loose a couple of players who needed to be cut loose. And now, well, I have a hard time getting upset about what I’m seeing.

As of this moment, there seems to be one position player spot up for grabs as the Reds figure out who to have up when Joey Votto starts the year on rehab, but the talk seems to indicate that we might see Stuart Fairchild back up on the team. And I was lobbying for that anyway.

On the position player side of the Roster, the Reds are set to field team where the only members of the 30 and over club will be: A Hall of Famer, gone by August (Wil Myers), a backup shortstop, and two backup catchers. And that is absolutely completely 100 percent fine. Jose Barrero Barrero is gonna get a real shot and looks ready for it. That’s fun. We’ll see what Will Benson, Jake Fraley, TJ Friedl, and Spencer Steer can really do. That’s also fun!

Three games out of every five, there’s going to be a pitcher on the mound you want to watch and all three of them are plenty young. Heck the eighth and ninth innings might even be okay this year.

Now listen. I’m happy, but I’m not necessarily totally optimistic. While I’m glad that eleventy-billion 20-somethings are gonna get real at bats, there is also not a single player position player on this team who’s going to take the field without a serious question mark by his name. Some of them will give us the answers we want. Others, very much will not. But at least we can finally begin the process of knowing and start to move past last year’s heinous disassembly.

And yes, a lot of the bullpen and 40 person of the starting rotation (assuming the big 3 stay healthy) is going to be very tough to watch. But relievers are capricious anyway, so really, who the heck knows?

Is this team going to be great? Nope. That would be real miracle. But are they giving us something worth paying attention to, including, based on his quotes, a very determined Joey Votto? Yes. They are.

Given the Reds unwillingness to spend like they should, I find myself unable to argue with what they’ve done with the resources on hand. And that is a small thing to feel good about as the season begins.

114 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    Encouraging news all around. Hope truly does spring eternal … for now, at least.

    • Dennis Westrick

      Yep! We’re tied for 1st in the NL Central Division as of today!

      • TR

        It usually doesn’t last long but we’ll soon see how things go with the new balanced schedule.

  2. David

    I think that Nick Krall and the rest of the Reds front office, AND…David Bell and his coaching staff…have made the best out of limited budget situation. I think they should get some applause from the fans.

    If Nick had been able to have a payroll of about $20 mil more, they might have gotten a good veteran starter (Johnny Cueto?) and a couple good right handed relievers. Or something like that.
    But they have to live with the limitations that Top Management has laid on them.

    And yes, as for the rest, let the young guys play and find out what they have. And there are some more talented young guys down in AA and AAA. Maybe next year, Nick Krall will be able to spend more, with Moustakas salary and Votto’s salary coming off the payroll.
    I think this team COULD surprise some people. We may be greatly disappointed, but then again, could be pleasantly surprised.
    Go Reds!

    • Tom Reeves

      That’s what happens when a team loses $60m over 3 years and their TV contract company files for bankruptcy. We should be glad it’s not worse. Krall’s done an amazing job with shoe string and I hope David Bell can match him.

      • Dean Rock

        Team loses $60m over 3 years?! You believe that?
        Don’t you think the value of the franchise has increased more than $60m the past 3 years, even if the daily operations MIGHT have lost $60m?
        No MLB owner is going to get less money for their team than what they purchased it for if they choose to sell their team now or in the future.
        That is the key thing to remember.
        Operational losses mean nothing when the value of the franchise escalates an unGodly amount annually.

      • Colorado Red

        I get cash flow is NOT negative 60 mil over the last 3 years.
        Accounting magic.
        Trust me, I lost a lot over the last year (stocks, house, etc)
        Does not matter, as I have not sold anything yet.
        Do not trust Cheap Bob

      • Tom Reeves

        Yeah, it means the ownership group makes a lot of money when they sell. But that estimated value is worth nothing until a liquidating event.

        So, the club loses $60m over 3 years (that’s what Forbes is reporting). Now the team is losing its TV contract. The team has survived since covid on a line of credit. There is a possibility of bankruptcy. If the team were to file for bankruptcy, it could dissolve the stadium contract. That would actually raise the value of the club because then a new owner could move the team to a faster growing market. I don’t think the Castellanis will ever move the team. But the next owners very well want to and there’s a path to get there.

      • Luke J

        The amount of people who can’t seem to comprehend that just because the value of a franchise increases, the team doesn’t magically have more revenue to spend is staggering.

      • BK

        There is one trusted source that doesn’t keep the majority of their analysis behind a subscriber firewall, Forbes. Forbes shows an operating loss of $60M over the last three years. That operating loss excludes depreciation, amortization, interest, and taxes–all expenses. Tax laws limit the amount of depreciation or amortization a team can expense in a year, but they are legitimate expenses. Interest and Taxes are negative cashflow expenses. In other words, the Reds have lost more than $60M.

        The Ownership group has done very well since buying the team in 2006; however, both Forbes and Sportac (another reliable source for analysis, but most of their product is subscriber-only) report franchise value as stagnant. The current franchise value is a “paper gain” not realized until an owner sells their share. It does not reflect cashflow that can be poured into the team.

        Some may argue that Forbes or Sportac are inaccurate. They are indeed estimates, but financial analysts provide these types of forecasts across industries and are very accurate. Forbes explains their methodology–it is sound. You may notice that national news outlets cite their estimates–they do so because they meet editorial standards for a reliable source. I haven’t found a reliable source that disputes Forbes’s annual analytical products for the major professional sports in America.

    • TR

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the Reds finish 2023 not too far from .500, say 76-86. I like the way Nick Krall is overall managing things with the current ownership.

    • Redsvol

      I think you’re right @David, and fabulous and well-timed article Doug! Based on what they’ve been given, the trades, the roster construction, the management of health all deserve kudos. We may lose 90 games but we will be a much more interesting team to watch this year and I absolutely believe they will get better as the season goes – assuming health of the big 3, G-L-A!

      My biggest concern has been the bullpen since spring training began and I continue to be concerned with it. But, when good relievers received 7-12$M per year this off season the die was cast that we would have to rely mostly on the guys from 2nd half of last year. Wasn’t long ago that $3M would get you a good setup reliever.

      If our top prospects perform well in the minors, they will be up in June/July and then this team may become really fun to watch and be a part of. Let go REDS!

      • Ryan

        Coming off a rebuild they had 128 mil payroll, good for 15th in the league in 2019. 2020 they had a record 143 mil payroll, ahead of the Mets and Red Sox and a 2 mil behind the Giants. They routinely punch above their market size when under Bob C and they are competitive. Something tells me them likely losing 50+ mil over the last couple years and that money all but certainly shared only amongst the Castellini’s, has had major impact.

        They have a market size from anywhere in the bottom 3, to #25. You can argue all day long that they have spent quite a bit money unwisely(Shogo, Moose, Bailey), or that their current CEO is complete and utter buffoon.

        “Given the Reds unwillingness to spend like they should”, is pretty much predicated on “Covid didn’t matter or something something something The Padres”. The reality is the Reds are being run financially as the circumstances have dictated. They have likely been run at or near a breakeven point for years, almost certainly not even remotely close to something resembling an operation bringing in windfall profits.

      • Mike Adams

        Redsvol, I think you attributed the article to the wrong writer. Jason Linden wrote this piece—-I figured you would want to know.

    • DK072257

      Need to start testing some of the minor league infielders how to play outfield as the major league clubs outfielders suck.

  3. LDS

    Certainly, the team will be better with some of the dinosaurs gone. Assuming Bell doesn’t subject us to a steady diet of Newman, et al, the team will be moving forward. Doesn’t mean they’ll win more, but they’ll be more fun.

    • Harry Stoner

      If Barreo makes it to the ASG without injury from roaming CF I’ll finish off the rest of the crow dinner I started to celebrate Pinder and Strickland being cut from the 26.

      Of course, now it seems my Strickland dyspepsia could well return by then, too.

      • LDS

        Sadly, you maybe right. No reason to have kept Strickland, though clearly it made Bell happy (based on his comments in the Enquirer)

      • Kevin H

        @LDS, Strickland had to agree to the minor leagues, had nothing to do with David Bell. Man, your distain for Bell is at a all time high isn’t it.

      • IndyRedsFan

        I’m really surprised that so many of you are worried that Barrero is only going to play CF.

        It’s pretty clear to me that the plan (at least in the short term) is to play him in CF against LH pitchers as a way to get another RH bat (Newman) into the line-up since there are currently no RH hitting CFs on the team.

        By the way….some of my fellow oldtimers might remember that this is exactly what Sparky did in 1971 after Bobby Tolan was hurt
        Davey Concepcion moved to CF against LH’ers with Woody Woodward playing SS on those days. It didn’t spoil Davey’s careeer, and I expect it won’t spoil Barrero’s either.

  4. J

    The Newman hating is bizarre. A legit shortstop who’s still under 30, hit .274 last season, had a very good year in 2019, hit .289/.333 in spring training with three steals and just six K’s in 48 plate appearances (and zero errors) — and somehow this is the guy who’s going to make our lives miserable? He’s obviously not an all-star, or even a star, but people are acting like he’s another Moose or Moran, and he’s clearly not. He can field and run and put the ball in play, and it’s quite possible his best years are ahead of him. Be nice to Newman!

    • LDS

      Kevin Newman has a career 79 OPS+, well below MLB average. He has had one good season. He’ll be 30 shortly. There’s absolutely nothing to suggest that he’s suddenly going to be a decent starter. His ceiling is far below Barrero.

      • DaveCT

        Even then, Newman is a veteran who should understand his role, right/ And help teach Barrero more about the position. His salary is pennies on the dollar, and should Barrero fall flat on his fave, we have somebody who can catch the ball, which I tend tho think is important with young pitchers who will lose more games than they win. Having one of these is fine. having 3 or 4 is beyond the pale. And, for the record, Barrero is an electric talent who I hope can takes bigs steps forward this year. Should he not start five games a week at short, Houston, we have a problem.

      • J

        There’s also nothing to suggest he can’t have a good season. His one good year wasn’t so long ago, his 2022 numbers were an improvement over 2021 and 2020 (suggesting he might be getting better, not worse), he’s had a solid spring offensively and defensively, and lots of guys hit their stride around his age. He’s the same age Drury was last year. Same age Naquin was when he had his best year. Same age Farmer was when he became a decent major league hitter. Am I guaranteeing he’ll have his best year? Nope. But I think he might.

        There’s just no reason to act as if he’s the same as playing Moose every day, who couldn’t field and couldn’t run, so when he stopped hitting he was a complete waste of a roster spot. Newman can play shortstop decently and runs decently, and seems to be making good contact at the plate. Why are we assuming he’s going to hit more like his two bad years than his one good year?

      • LDS

        Sorry @J, but by that argument they should have kept Aquino, whose OPS+ is higher and whose career WAR is within a point of Newman with half the plate appearances. He was a year younger as well. Everyone agreed he had reached the end. Senzel, for what’s it’s worth, has an even lower career WAR and OPS+ than either of these two and he’s still here. Not one of the three is a building block of a competitive. In fact, FanGraphs(and others) has Newman as the lowest rated starting SS in the projections. Why they project him as the starter over Barrero says a lot about the Reds.

      • J


        Um… AA and Newman had about the same number of plate appearances last season. Newman’s OPS+ was 94, AA’s was 63. And, might I point out, Newman plays shortstop, which is a position where you’re not usually expecting more offense than right field. (The Reds may be expecting it in years to come, but it’s obviously not been the norm for this or most other organizations.)

        And, lest you forget, AA’s career stats were largely boosted by one incredible MONTH, not one good season. Take away that incredible month, and he’s had a really dismal career. We all saw that he was simply not getting better at the plate last year. Newman, on the other hand, seemed to have gotten better at the plate last year.

        So, no, it’s not the same. It’s possible AA will suddenly figure out how to hit and Newman will be a complete bust, but it made far more sense to sign Newman.

      • LDS

        @J, if Newman is used like Darrel Chaney back in the day and Barrero is the starter all good. If Barrero is forced to CF so Newman can start, Bell and anyone else party to that decision should be fired immediately. Barrero is the best defensive SS in the organization. If he hits, and every year except his recovery year suggests he can, then guys like EDLC, Marte, and McLain should be learning new positions. Newman is utility and position insurance. He’s not a starter. And the Reds don’t become competitive by scarfing up the last place team’s castoffs.

      • J


        As tempting as it may be to assume this organization is as stupid as you’re suggesting, I find it a bit hard to believe they’ve decided it’s SO important to play Kevin Newman every day this year that they’re willing to force their promising young shortstop — a guy they’ve obviously been very excited about — to learn a new position just to accommodate Newman.

        I think a more sensible explanation is they don’t believe they have a legit center fielder who can hit lefties, and they think Barrero might be able to do it, and they’d like to find out. He’s a more valuable player if he can play both positions.

        When I see Stephenson at first base and DH, my thought isn’t “wow, Bell is really committed to making sure Curt Casali gets to catch most games — he’s willing to move Stephenson out of his best position just to get Casali into the lineup.” I’m able to think of other reasons why they might want to do something like that.

      • LDS

        I have zero confidence in Bell. He’s proven he can’t be trusted with too many mediocre players. Krall gives me slight hope but no the organization is particularly smart.

      • J

        The reasons I’m more optimistic about Bell this season:

        a) The organization has made it rather clear that they’re willing to abandon veterans in favor of younger guys. See the post titled “The Rational Moves of the Cincinnati Reds” for examples. I think Bell has probably figured this out.

        b) Newman isn’t being paid Moose money. Or even Pham money. Or even Farmer money. That puts a lot less pressure on Bell to play him regularly. If he’s bad, the organization isn’t admitting it made a big mistake if he winds up on the bench.

        c) When Bell was insisting on starting bad or mediocre veterans last year, it wasn’t as if he had a bunch of really promising young players on the bench who weren’t getting a chance to play. It may be different this year.

      • greenmtred

        LDS: I don’t know how good/bad Newman will be, but I’m surprised to see you use projections to support your argument; you’ve often said that they aren’t predictive.

      • LDS

        @GreenMTred – very good, you are correct, they are not. Go talk to a college statistics professor (I have). Regardless, I’m feeding back data from a source that many here thinks is the gospel.

      • greenmtred

        LDS: I actually agree with you that projections aren’t predictive–always have. They are often suggestive, but that’s not the same thing.

      • LDS

        @GreenMTred, come on man, the season is about to start. We cannot be agreeing with each other. It’ll disrupt the universe.

      • greenmtred

        LDS: maybe one consequence of disrupting the universe would be a pleasantly surprising season for our favorite team. Let the games begin!

      • 2020ball

        His defense is good enough to offset a 79 OPS+, thats all that matters for his style of player. He’s a bench guy, why are you expecting he’s trying to be used as a “decent starter”?

    • Old-school

      I think both are correct

      Newman is a fabulous utility player at $2+ million . Hes great in that role

      Barrero could be fools gold but my gosh he checked every box in ST and looked different… more like 2021 JB

      Lets go.

      • SteveAreno

        I certainly appreciate and am pulling for Newman! The naysayers are few, but loud and persistent, as if he is not even a member of the team.
        Their mantra is to only play the youngest and least proven because the losses don’t matter but they will get experience and besides, they look showy from time to time. They want self-entertainment instead of increasing our chances of getting a win.

    • Harry Stoner

      I’m not hating on Newman…my concern more was in terms of how many mediocre utility players did Bell really need to have: Newman, Reynolds, Pinder, Vosler, Senzel.

      If Newman can fill in at 3rd when Bell has the itch, or maybe even 2nd, then I think he’s fine..particularly if he keeps Bell from clogging up the roster with more mediocre utility players.

      If he bumps Barrero into a high risk job in CF…JB started against a righty in CF the other night, then I think it will definitely be a problem and confirm even more about Bell.

      I’m willing to say “Hello” Newman at the moment.

      I thought they overpayed for him…as I think Moreta would be very welcome in the bullpen….he had a decent / good spring with Pittsburgh and I would have been more than happy with McLain in the role that Newman is in now in order to keep him.

      I’ll trade ‘youthful enthusiasm and productive energy’ for Bell’s ‘veteran presence’ just about any day.

      • DaveCT

        Moretta does seem like an overpay, still. However, we don’t know him as well as the Reds system does and, to give the benefit of the doubt, perhaps management decided that the Reynolds etc. of the world were less than desirable. Hence, a major leaguer, at a minimum, is better than the AAAA guys we’ve trotted out there. If Newman finds a home here, for pennies on the dollar, that could be a decent move. Keeping one veteran infielder around can make a certain amount of sense.

      • Redsvol

        Man, you know your fan base is tough when your 29 year old utility infielder with decent career stats and making a measly (in MLB terms) $2M is considered washed up and not youthful.

        The Mets, Yankees, and Braves just sent down to the minors many of their top prospects in the last 10 days in favor of keeping more experienced back-ups on the bench. Many teams value position flexibility, defense, and experience for their bench players.

      • J

        I probably dislike Bell as much as anyone who posts here, but if he has Barrero playing center, I’m not seeing the problem. First, I’m not sure it’s any riskier than having him play shortstop. Plenty of experienced shortstops get hurt every season. Second, the organization currently has about 27 “shortstops of the future.” It makes sense to start figuring out where else some of these guys can play, because they can’t all play short or third.

      • Harry Stoner

        As I said, I’m okay with Newman…

        Pennies on the dollar doesn’t really describe it what he’s making compared to say, Barrero, unless you count the huge bonus JB received which might motivate a commitment to him.

        The main issue remains learning to trust Bell and how he handles his roster.

        I disagree completely viz the risks in CF vs SS. Sure a player can get hurt stubbing his toe coming out of the dugout, or slipping in his swimming pool (Geno) or stumbling out of his boat (Finnegan.) But to comp SS and CF is a bit of a stretch. Ask Senzel his thoughts on that.

        SS is a position JB knows and likely has played most of his adult baseball life. Switching him to CF on the fly (a couple of ST games and then into regular season…) doesn’t seem like a good developmental strategy, particular when referenced against other SS in the works. He clearly is the best defensive SS…I’m excepting Arroyo who I haven’t seen play yet.

        If Newman hits and fights his way into more playing time, so be it.

        If he’s hitting .229 and Bell keeps shuffling JB around him, then we’ll have to pick up the conversation again then. 😉

      • greenmtred

        The mediocre veteran utility players have been there for some years because the organization wouldn’t spend enough money to build the roster with anybody else, and the young, talented guys either weren’t in the organization yet or were not nearly ready for MLB. The alternate explanation–that Bell made non-negotiable demands that he be given a multitude of mediocre/bad/old players–seems to be favored by some.

      • Jim Walker

        Excellent point on the opportunity cost of acquiring Newman (losing Moreta). The issue isn’t about whether Moreta was overpaying for Newman. The issue is if both play to expectation in 2023 which would be likely to make a more needed contribution to the overall team performance that might otherwise go missing.

        Looking at the Reds pen versus looking at the folks they had in house to fill a backup IF role, I’d say the scales would be in Moreta’s favor.

    • Tampa Red

      Say what you want about Newman, but he’s proven he’s a big leaguer on a solid-average level. Barrero has not even come close to doing that. I don’t get all the angst about Newman. In fact, I don’t get ANY angst about Newman. It’s just {redacted} to be {redacted}.

      Having said that, I’m thrilled that Barrero responded with a good spring and as a Reds fan since listening to the BRM on the radio in the 70’s, I hope like hell he turns into the next Barry Larkin. I think he has it in him, or something close, but he needs to actually do it.

      Until he does, Newman is the perfect backup plan. He would have a big league paycheck on probably 29 other teams, in some capacity. But of course, RLN has put a target on his back for no good reason.

      • Harry Stoner

        I think you’re overplaying the Newman Negativity here.

        A few folks call out his average to below average OPS but I actually think his SS / 3B (maybe 2B) versatility is much preferable to Pinder or Reynolds.

        My hunch is that there remains a lack of trust in Bell playing his younger players and Newman catches the heat for it rhetorically.

        I frankly don’t have much confidence in much of Bell’s decision making so that is going to influence my opinions here…which is exactly what they are: opinions. Nothing more or less.

        Personally, I would have preferred they keep Moreta, given the weak bullpen and stockpile of SSs, but that’s another story…I can’t fault Newman for being traded.

      • DaveCT

        Harry, I’ve seen Arroyo a couple of times this spring. He’s almost identical to Barrero. It’s kinda uncanny actually. That said, Jose is electric, and I’m all for plugging him in 5-6 days a week at short.

      • greenmtred

        Doug reported awhile ago that Barrero also played some centerfield in Cuba. There’s also this: if centerfielders really do get injured more often than shortstops (the limited data I could find suggest that they do, though both positions, along with catcher, are among the more-injured positions, all of which are dwarfed by injuries to pitchers) does this reasonably lead to putting one of your least valued players there? Somebody needs to play it–somebody good. Would you rather have EDLC there than Barrero?

    • Kevin H

      I agree he is a good major league ss and some on here think he is washed up. I don’t understand it either.

      • SteveAreno

        Like I pointed out before, there are plenty of above average shortstops on other teams that are 29 to 33 years old and they have won-loss records far better than the Reds. Some here have only one quality in mind for a player and he must be very young. It doesn’t bother them if the bat is not there yet. Just play flashy and bat .160 and they sing about their “excitement” and “potential”. They are big on hope.

  5. Reddawg2012

    I know this is super optimistic, but if the Reds had signed Cueto for the 4th spot in the rotation, I think they would have had an outside shot at that final wildcard, assuming reasonable health.

    • Dennis Westrick

      I loved Cueto when he was a Red. But, there has to be other options available from the other 29 MLB teams! Not opposed to a Cueto return but seems unlikely!

      • Reddawg2012

        There are definitely other options. I just thought that when you look at Cueto’s numbers from last season, and the contract he signed with the Marlins, they got some pretty good value there (he’s making less than Mike Minor made last season).

  6. Kevin Patrick

    I don’t know why, but I kind of like this team too. It probably has something to do with them actually finishing slightly above .500 for the spring. The soap opera (largely for men) that is known as Major League Baseball is best when there are lots of story lines. Anytime you have health, freedom with the roster, money, and character, then the overall product is compelling. The Reds have about half of those. I, for one, will be on pins and needles waiting to see if the overall records for Overton and Cessa are around .500 and around 5 2/3 innings per start. But if there were ever a time for a knuckleballer with a rubber arm…this would be it. If they carried another relief pitcher, had a 4 man rotation with a knuckleballer, Maile catches the knuckleballer, and it rained once in a while, then…. then…then we would have fun watching the games. 3 Days of gas and a 4th of comedy. I’d get the fanciest TV package.

    • Old Big Ed

      I’ve said for a few years now that modern hitters would look foolish flailing away at a top-flight knuckleball. Alas, I don’t even know if there is one in organized baseball these days.

      • Kevin Patrick

        …not to mention the faster pace due to pitch clock will be more evocative of the days in which knuckleballers were more prolific.

      • TR

        That brings back memories of the great knuckleballer, Sal Maglie, and the N.Y. Giants at Crosley Field.

      • greenmtred

        I’d forgotten that Maglie was a knuckleballer. I do remember that his nickname was “The Barber” because he brushed back anybody who crowded the plate.

      • TR

        Sal Maglie was a phenom for the Giants in the early fifties. Even from the upper deck you could see the crazy course of his knuckleball. It must have been tough hitting against him.

  7. Melvin

    “Three games out of every five, there’s going to be a pitcher on the mound you want to watch and all three of them are plenty young. Heck the eighth and ninth innings might even be okay this year.”

    I hope they all stay healthy and that’s true.

    • David

      In the next few months, Levi Stoudt or Brandon Williamson may emerge as starters.

      There are a few other guys that could emerge as relievers. As the season progresses, the Reds’ pitching MAY get better. But we are also supposing that Ashcraft, Lodolo and Greene will stay healthy and take every turn.
      And there are some really good players emerging, as we all know.
      McGarry as a first basemen, the amazing EDLC and CES..McClain, etc.

      The team that takes the field on Thursday may not be the same team that steps out on the field on July 1st or August 1st.
      The next couple of seasons could be really exciting for the fans, as new talent arrives at the Major League level. This reminds me of 1984-85, as Barry Larkin, Eric Davis, Paul O’Neil, Tom Browning, Tracy Jones and Kal Daniels reached the majors for the Reds.

      • Michael

        David, speaking of Paul O’Neill. I looked him up on baseball reference a while back. I didn’t realize he was a good AAA player for a number of years. It seems like he wasted a lot of time in AAA when he could have been helping the Reds. I hope the Reds don’t do the same to their AAA prospects.

      • David

        It seems the Reds also had this other guy in RF, named Dave Parker, that they played there a lot prior to Paul O’Neill coming up. Parker really had an MVP type season in 1985, and pretty much carried the Reds to a (distant) 2nd place finish in the NL West.
        Funny, but outside of Larkin (who went to the Hall of Fame), O’Neill probably had the best career, and a lot of his best years were with the Yankees. Lou Pinella had this weight shift theory of hitting and hitting for power that he tried to get O’Neill to adopt, and O’Neill didn’t like it. O’Neill thought is screwed up his hitting for a while, which is part of the reason he got traded to the Yankees. Chris Sabo did adopt it though, and it worked for him…another guy whose career was injury prone.
        Kal (Kalvoski) Daniels was really touted as a great hitter, and he was until his knees went bad on him. He didn’t last.

        Eric Davis was so talented, but his body was just so fragile, and he kept getting hurt.

      • Michael

        Parker was one of my favs, got to meet him briefly. He wasn’t the only Reds OF blocking O’Neill. Pete gave plenty of AB’s to himself, Doggie, Max Venable, Tracy Jones, etc.

  8. MBS

    2 spots up for grab seems accurate. Vosler hasn’t been announced, and just before Ramos was optioned, he was assumed by many to be a lock.

  9. Rednat

    i appreciate the optimism. I am all in for the youth movement. But the risk is , what if none of these young guys can hit? Which is a distinct possibility in today’s pitching dominated world. Ownership does not seem willing to pay for top tier hitting talent so then where do we go from there? I guess we become the Detroit Pistons or Orlando magic of mlb

  10. AMDG

    I’m looking forward to a lot of K’s this year.

    Ever since Rob Dibble was able to achieve at least 12 K / 9 IP back in the early 1990’s, over the next 30 years Chapman was the only Red to match that feat (pitching at least a dozen innings).

    But over the past 4 seasons (with hitters more happy to swing hard and miss hard) the Reds have had at least 2 pitchers each season accomplish that.
    (4 of them did it in 2021)

    For 2023 I’d put the over/under on 2.5 pitchers tossing at least 12 IP and achieving 12 K / 9 IP.

  11. Hotto4Votto

    The roster overall is about as good as we can expect. I too am happy to see guys like Benson, Friedl, Barrero, and Steer get their opportunities. The bullpen should be slightly improved, and I’m glad to see no random fliers on washed-out journeymen (I mean kinda with Law and Farmer but those guys also produced solid results last season). If they bring Fairchild back up, that’s good, it’s who I wanted for the last spot and feel like he earned it with his play late last season and his ST was solid.

    Really it’s only the rotation that leaves one wanting. I’m fine with giving Cessa a shot as he proved last season it could be a fine back end option. I think the Reds can do a lot better than Overton in the last spot. He’s done nothing to earn it out of ST. Hit those waiver wires and see what comes up. Make some calls for trades. See if there’s a comparable Stephenson/Hoffman swap out there where a backend starter needs a change of scenery.

    Otherwise Krall has done a good job assembling an interesting roster with a lot of handcuffs placed on him that could be fun with a couple decent breaks. Get Votto healthy and enjoy his final lap around the bases. Hard to believe OD is around the corner.

  12. docproc

    The first six games are at home against the Pirates and Cubs and our big three are likely to be on the mound in 4 of those 6 games. Would love to see this young team get out to a 5-1 start to the season.

  13. Grand Salami

    Who is heading downtown tomorrow?

    Many Opening Days attended but it’s been a long time since I’ve headed down early for the parade. Any obvious tips?

    • Votto4life

      Avoid downtown (just joking)..Seriously the stresses are blocked off downtown and it’s hard to get around. I would park in Newport and take the shuttle bus ($1) too and from downtown Cincinnati. Enjoy!

      • Votto4life

        You can pick up the shuttle in front of Newport on the Levee

    • MBS

      I’m Ubering down tomorrow, and my new hat just got delivered today. Should be fun!

  14. Votto4life

    They do deserve credit for making do the best with what they have. It’s just too bad they didn’t spend another $20 million dollars for a Starter and a couple relievers.. had they done that, the team could have taken a big step forward this year. The thin rotation and bullpen will be their downfall in 2023.

    • MBS

      Very true, but where are you going to go? Really in my books they needed to put about $30M into the pitching if they wanted to be good this year. There are a lot of things that I am looking forward to this year, regardless of the lack of spending.

  15. Chris Holbert

    Looking over the beginning schedule, ESPN has Overton starting the fourth game and Cessa listed as the fifth. Are they thinking they are gong to need a lot of bullpen the first three days and they will need rest to back up Cessa? I would think based on ST they may need early bullpen on the fourth day.

    • Old Big Ed

      I think that Cessa is the “fourth starter,” but is pitching the fifth game purely because that is what his own personal schedule dictated after returning from the WBC. He didn’t get much time in the WBC, and when he got back, he needed 4 starts to get ready to pitch in the regular season. One of those was in a intrasquad/simulated game today in GABP.

      Overton is the worst starter (i.e., the “fifth” starter), but is pitching the fourth game of the season.

      I don’t think there was any grand strategery going on, other than that Cessa needed an extra day to be ready.

  16. Redsvol

    I think I’d be all over the young lefty reliever the cardinals just designated for assignment – Anthony misiewicz. Can’t have too many young lefties and he did pretty well last year.

  17. old-school

    Mark sheldon has some info on Barrero and maybe the coaching changes the Reds made will pay some dividends. Joel McKeithan visited Barrero last off-season and really worked on some mechanical things and approach. Sheldon notes Barrero has been carrying an IPAD every day and videos all his swings in practice and watches all his swings in the games and is becoming a student of hitting. Barrero was quoted as thanking the hitting coach and Reds staff for making him see all this things he needs to see for his career to blossom and feels comfortable with everything. A break out year from Barrero would be huge.

  18. LDS

    Sounds like Krall is working on something. Nightingale is reporting that Fairchild is back but the Reds are a position player short. Bell says the roster won’t be finalized until tomorrow. Any rumors?

    • Jim Walker

      Pache was just announced as traded to the Phillies, so scratch him.

      Vosler and Fairchild are probably both on pins and needles right now because who the Reds might pick up may decide which stays for opening day and which is shuffling on down to Nashville to open the season with the AAA Bats on Friday.

      • Old Big Ed

        Probably worth about $25,000 (pre-tax) a week more to be in MLB as opposed to AAA. These guys on the brink really do have a lot at stake.

      • Jim Walker

        OBE>> The MLB minimum for 2023 is $720K when on the MLB active roster/ IL. As nearly as can decipher, as a 40 man roster guy with prior MLB service time, Fairchild would make $117.4K while on option to the minors. So, yeah for a 26 week season, that’s -$23.2K per week and that’s if Fairchild did not get an incremental annual raise

        As for Vosler, he signed a MiLB deal as a free agent and is not on the 40 man until/ unless elevated. Who knows what the difference is for him; but I’d guess at least as much plus not the security and fringes that go with being on a 40 man roster.

        Another thing to consider is that Fairchild got a $1.8m signing bonus as the 38th overall pick (round 2/ pick 2) in the 2017 draft. Meanwhile, Vosler was pick 469 (16th round) in 2014 and probably didn’t get beans as a signing bonus. So, much bigger for him I’d guess.

    • MBS

      I’ve been pulling up MLB trade rumors for the last few day looking for a juicy rumor, but nothing yet. As much as I like our budget OF, there isn’t a guy on there that couldn’t be improved upon.

      Obviously the 4th, and 5th starters are a problem, and even if they perform like we would hope instead of how we fear, we are still not deep if an injury occurs.

      • Jim Walker

        I think if the Reds are going to improve their pitching at this juncture, it is going to be a trade. Given the guy(s) leaving are likely to be position guys, the entire roster situation could be very fluid at the last minute if somebody from the projected 26 man roster in the trade.

        Just for fun as an example, what if a contender was deep on pitching but seriously needed an RH bat? Would you trade Myers for a guy who looked like a solid back end rotation grinder? Or even a guy with Williamson’s perceived potential but who had demonstrated the ability to throw strikes?

  19. LDS

    Yes, I wouldn’t want to be either of them.

    • Jim Walker

      IDK, if I was Fairchild, I might be pleased to be traded to an organization that told me they believed the validity of my cumulative AAA record and what I did with the Reds in 2022 enough that a MLB starting job was mine to lose from day 1.

      • LDS

        For some reason, his performance doesn’t count for much. His splits are better than Fraley, Friedl, or Myers.

      • Jim Walker

        LDS>> Have you seen Benson’s MLB numbers from 2022? The MLB sample sizes are small but they are brutal. OBP/SLG/OPS, .255/200/.455 = 33 OPS+ in 61 PAs. 55 of his 61 PAs were versus RH pitching which makes the OPS even more concerning if a team is seeing him as an every day versus platoon player.

        I’m not sure how much slack being 14th overall in the draft 6 years ago should buy a guy based on an outstanding AAA year (OPB/SLG/OPS of 426/.522/.948) in his age 24 season. Hoping for the best from him but hardly holding my breath.

      • Old-school


        Benson had a spectacular year in AAA. He was brought up in the middle of a pennant race and became a 26 th guy of sorts with no regular playing time. Young players need to play every day- they arent built for getting 5 at bats a week as a bench guy. Reds made huge investment in prospect capital for Benson. Hes going to get a long look.

        Tito Francona openly stated he was put in a bad spot and role at the MLB level but we were in a pennant race.

      • LDS

        @OS, I agree but coming to the Reds doesn’t lead young guys to regular ABs

      • Old-school

        @ LDS

        Lets see how april goes

        I think Steer Barrero and Benson will get lots of opportunities

        Never been accused of being optimist so Ill be with you railing against Bell if Barrero and Steer arent getting 85% of Reps at 3b/SS and benson 70% reps in cf/of

      • Jim Walker

        OS>> And I hope Benson succeeds beyond what the Reds expect.

        However imagine a Powerball ticket matching the 1st four balls drawn but with the last two still to be drawn. That’s Benson right now.

        If the 5th ball matches, the ticket is worth at least $1m; and, then if the 6th (PowerBall) matches it is truly a jackpot. But if the ticket misses the 5th and gets the 6th the value drops to $50K Should the ticket miss both the 5th and 6th the value is only $100.

        There are a couple of caution flags in Benson’s 2022 AAA numbers. They featured a .426 OBP rate made possible by a 19% BB rate and .340 BABIP despite having a K% of 22.7%. The BB% is prime Barry Bonds territory while the BABIP is prime Votto. Benson is not likely to come close to matching both of those simultaneously at MLB. The question is how far does his BABIP tail off; and, do even 5% of those BBs turn into Ks?

      • Old-school


        I dont know . But this is certainly a year to take a flier on an elite athlete with a strong pedigree who had a great 2022 year. Reds OF has been slow and offense statuon to station and no speed or stolen bases
        Elite CF defense mitigates some offense. Benson was going to Duke and walk on the basketball team

        Thats a unique skill set

        But lets see how April and May play out. I suspect we will be wringing our hands on Memorial Day about pitching depth. I am more optimistic now than a year ago

      • 2020ball

        Fairchild has a spot on a 40 man roster in the big leagues and not much competition in front of him. Only the Reds and Giants have been willing to do that for him. He’s doing nothing wrong to this point, and he’s gonna play this year I promise you that.

    • 2020ball

      I’d be very happy to be either them, making good money playing a game we’ve all grew up loving.

  20. Old-school

    Without votto, Reds have zero infielders or catchers who hit left handed. I have to think they are looking for a lefty bat. Old friend Tyler Naquin is available and could give depth at DH and OF against righties with myers flexing to 1b

    • docproc

      But they have plenty of lefty outfielders–Fraley, Friedl, Benson. No need for Naquin.

      • Old-school

        Yes they do.
        But theres a DH and Myers can play First base.

        Starting 6 RH hitters and only 3 lefties against a RH pitcher isnt ideal

        The DH would make it 5/4 until Votto gets back

        The only reason vosler is still
        On the roster is precisely for that reason. The question then becomes is there an upgrade out there?

  21. doofus

    The Red’s did something “rational?” Uh, did I miss something? Have the Castellini’s given up control?

    A good read Jason. Well done!

  22. BK

    Per the Red’s Transaction page, SS Richie Martin was released.

    • Harry Stoner

      Not sure what the whole Richie Martin experience was all about in the first place.

      Backup for Newman if Barrero was a washout?

      In more ex Red news, Pinder signed a MiLB deal with Washington.

  23. Roger Garrett

    I felt from the get go that Newman would be the starter at short but it was because nobody said he wasn’t or that Barrero was and with money tight why would you spend 2.7 for a back up infielder.We shall see but I hope both have great years regardless.

    • Old-school

      Farmer was making $6 mil so Newman is $4 million cheaper and better defensively and willing to be a utility guy

      Barrero is the starting SS 5 days a week . If he’s not… Ill gladly join the frustrated play the young guys group Ive been on for 6 years.

      I truly think 2023 is different .
      Cutting Moose and trading Farmer says as much.

      • David

        I do agree that cutting Moustakas was a big deal. I did not expect that from the Reds, and I was surprised. Moustakas may have a big year with the Rockies, but I actually expect him to get hurt (again) soon, and be on and off the DL. Because he has not worked hard to stay in shape at his (older) baseball age.
        Farmer really was a good guy, who worked hard to be the player he was, which was honestly just a little above a replacement level player at his position. He was NOT the reason why the Reds lost 100 games last year. They had pretty crummy pitching. Mike Minor and the rest…with three young guys getting their lumps. That was why the Reds were lousy in 2022.

      • Harry Stoner

        Spotrac (and other web sources) has Farmer’s 2022 salary at $3.1M. The Twins are paying him $5.5M this year.

        Granted, the money going to Newman is less, but I’m wondering where the $6M figure that is bouncing around these comps is coming from.

      • 2020ball

        If Moose was in camp, he’d be a fine stopgap right now for Votto being hurt. Only guy he would cut off the roster is Vosler or Reynolds, so it wouldn’t bother me. Maybe it was injuries, I’m not saying anything because I dont really know, but I dont think he was necessarily out of shape, he’s always looked like that. If he plays well enough as a bench player this year, then the Reds eat crow 100% IMO. I never advocated for them to keep him, but just sayin’.

  24. Redsvol

    @Jason – I just realized i credited Doug with your article. My apologies, great and well-timed article.

  25. DHud

    Reds Facebook posted a video of Fairchild hitting a HR in today’s intersquad game

  26. 2020ball

    Not sure if this was mentioned already, but Newman is 29. That isn’t that old, he might look like a very shrewd trade in a few years. Once injuries hit you’ll see what I mean.

  27. DK072257

    Well we heard a lot of BS when current ownership first bought the majority about love of baseball and bring championship back to Cincy. Then last year a dumb comment about them packing up and moving. Point blank, when you make stupid moves, it wrecks havoc on your budget. Think Griffey Jr, is the 3rd highest player on the team this year. Moose was a total disaster, Senzel will never be on the field for 100 games, players in their twilight years dont produce. It’s a management strategy doomed to failure.