A lot has happened since I last checked in. The Cincinnati Reds started to look like winners, then they lost three in a row to the Brewers over the weekend. Joey Votto started his rehab assignment in Triple-A Louisville and looks like he’s gonna be ready soon. Andrew Abbott is getting the call. Elly De La Cruz hit really well and then kept hitting really well and then did more amazing things and then some other stuff we’ve never seen ballplayers do. All for the Louisville Bats, the team for whom he continues to play. Also, Spencer Steer started going off pretty much the moment I said I wasn’t sure about him.

So yeah. A lot to dissect here. Let’s start with the big thing. It should be a lukewarm take, but I don’t know if it is in these parts where some always believe the Reds should be getting ready to win three years from now. Here it is: The Reds should try to win.

No, I do not mean it’s time to trade serious prospects. I mean it’s time to put the best 26 players on the team every day. You are not getting anything for Wil Myers or Kevin Newman that is more valuable to a franchise than a winning season. Same goes for Jose Barrero (though given his relative youth, he might be the most valuable chip who has a chance to bring a return). Any trades that are made should be the depth-for-depth variety. Get some starting and relief pitching you can store in Louisville because, let me tell you, with Abbott coming up, that cupboard is officially bare.

As for who the best 26 are, I don’t think the Reds can do much better with pitching right now. With the call up of Abbott, everyone is here, even if they aren’t all healthy. There will absolutely be growing pains (see Graham Ashcraft right now), but that’s to be expected. Let the guys learn and get better. They’re all ready.

As for the position players. This is also pretty easy. Here you go:

  • Catchers: Tyler Stephenson and Curt Casali
  • Infielders: Joey Votto, Jonathan India, Spencer Steer, Matt McClain, Elly De La Cruz, and Christian Encarnacion-Strand
  • Outfielders: TJ Friedl, Jake Fraley
  • Utility: Nick Senzel

That leaves two spots and I don’t think they matter that much except that the player needs to be able to play the outfield. I’d probably take Stuart Fairchild and either Henry Ramos, Jose Barrero, or T.J. Hopkins. I don’t see how there’s a place on this team for either Newman (who doesn’t play OF) or Myers (who is no longer good).

You might disagree with me here, but you would be wrong. The everyday lineup should be something like this (when everyone is healthy and ready):

  • TJ Friedl (OF)
  • Joey Votto (1B/DH)
  • Jonathan India (2B/somewhere)
  • Elly De La Cruz (SS/3B)
  • Matt McLain (2B/SS)
  • Christian Encarnacion-Strand (1B/DH/3B)
  • Spencer Steer (3B/1B)
  • Jake Fraley/Nick Senzel platoon (OF)
  • Tyler Stephenson (C and ONLY C)

We can fight about positions, I guess, but I don’t actually care. Someone who does not currently play in the outfield needs to. That’s it. It’s probably McLain, Steer, or India. Just play the best nine most every day. And YES, that includes Joey Votto. It’s absolutely silly to assume it doesn’t until he is back for a while and shows that he can’t hack it. For my part, I just watched his first rehab appearance and he looked much, much, much better than he did when I watched him here back in April. I genuinely do not know how someone could pay attention to the Reds and think he’s just trying to get a paycheck or whatever other nonsense. He’s perhaps the hardest working player we’ve ever seen.

If the Reds do this (and assuming health cooperates), we should actually get a preview of a good team next year. Maybe they surprise this year, but the goal should be to win more than they lose over the last four months. Beyond that, they finish where they finish.

Now, here’s a lesson to all of us that we needs to remember as we go: Pay attention to sample size. Especially in the big leagues.

I think ti’s pretty natural when your favorite team is basically all rookies (I exaggerate only slightly), but it’s important for us all to remember that 100 plate appearances at the big league level don’t matter much. Is Kevin Newman really a reason to not call someone up or is he just having a good two weeks? Is Spencer Steer really showing us that the scouting report was right and he’s pretty average OR does he need more time to prove himself? Is Tyler Stephenson bad at hitting? (Kevin Newman is NEVER a reason to keep someone in the minors and Spencer Steer needs more time, though I still don’t think he should play first much and Tyler Stephenson is not bad at hitting.)

Last season, we watched the Reds dismantle a team that would, at least, have been solid. Now, enough players are ready that the team should be either solid or good again. Given how stressed some folks get about pre-free agent years, the Reds might as well get going. The players aren’t giving them any reason to delay. So let’s get to it. It’s time to win. Or, at least, to try.

101 Responses

  1. Chas

    I’d watch that. May even just buy a tick-ut…tick-at…I forget the word.

  2. AllTheHype

    It’s one thing to think JV has a regular starting spot on this team, and another to think he should be 2nd in the lineup. Disagree.

    • Tar Heel Red

      In your article you said “it is time to put the best 26 players on the field.” But then you turn around and include Votto as one of the 26? Are you kidding? Not only is he not one of the best 26, at this point in his career he is not even worthy of being on the 40-man roster. The team must move on, even if it means releasing him if he doesn’t in fact retire as he promised.

      • 2024WSChamps

        Just blind Votto-hating ignorance. Votto finished last season with an 88 OPS+ and a .689 OPS. Not good, but he also was trying to play with a bum shoulder. The last week of the season he played through unbearable pain and went 0-22. Before that week? He had a .740 OPS and was roughly league average with an OPS+ of 101. In 2021, he was one of the best Offensive players in the NL still and was robbed of a silver slugger. There is no guarantee that Votto can return to form post-surgery, but the team legend deserves a chance to try. There is upside that he can be an .800+ OPS hitter again, he is not that far removed from it. Sometimes reading comments in here you would think Votto was completely awful last year, but he really wasn’t.

      • MK

        Champ he is still playing with a bum shoulder and it works worse so far this year than last. There is no cure for Father Time. He’s done put a fork in him. He is not helping himself or the team. He is a marginal Hall of Fame candidate and is becoming more marginal at this point.

      • Melvin

        “Sometimes reading comments in here you would think Votto was completely awful last year, but he really wasn’t.”

        Considering he was playing with one arm I’d say he was VERY GOOD. I doubt there’s many if any that could have done what he did last year.

    • Justin toles

      I agree with 97.5% of this but… Nothing is going to happen with the pitching we have right now. I believe our offence can compete but our pitching can’t win games

  3. SlippinJimmy

    “The Reds should try to win.”

    I’m sorry, but that type of toxic rhetoric is just unacceptable in Dr. Davidson “Taco” Bell’s clubhouse. (He likes the fluffy eggs and cheese in his breakfast)

  4. Redsvol

    I don’t disagree Jason. But if we aren’t good enough to make the playoffs this year – and we aren’t- then does 6 more weeks of the current team really matter.

    You stated the main problem- all the pitching is up. We simply don’t have enough pitching to make the playoffs. So bringing up more position player rookies isn’t changing that.

    My opinion is they need to start having the young guys try to play the outfield the next 6 weeks in Louisville. That way they aren’t doing it for the first time in the mlb. There simply aren’t enough dh and infield at bats to go around this year.

    The trade deadline in mid July will clear some of this up. Nick senzel will have some suitors as he is a good platoon against Left handed pitchers.

  5. Fred Johnson

    I am a Joey Votto fan but given your logic there’s no reason he should be in the lineup.

  6. Mario

    Hard to believe all of the hate for Joey on here. He is coming back and I think he will play well. With this weak hitting lineup, he might even have a chance to lead the team in HR’s. I personally rather him seeing hit zero homers and get that career batting average back over .300 but that’s not his game anymore. The man doesn’t play the game for stats.

    • Wayne Nabors

      Why do people associate hate with reality, no one here hates joey,it’s just time to move on

    • Tar Heel Red

      While it is fairly clear that I am not a Joey Votto fan, I don’t hate the man. I just contend that at this point in his career his skills have deteriorated to the point where he is of little to no value…and paired with the current state of the team he no longer belongs on the roster.

  7. Indy Red Man

    Since every other game in Louisville is 11 to 9 shouldn’t Votto do some damage there first?

    • Mario

      Of course. Definitely want to see Joey tear up some AAA pitching to give Reds fans some optimism.

      Idk, some folks reality is incorrect. We shall see.

    • Jim Walker

      I agree. Let’s see what Joey and CES look like in the same lineup facing the same pitching. That could tell us a lot about both of them.

      Fortunately, JV himself seems more grounded in reality than a lot of people around him. I believe he will tell the team if he thinks he still isn’t ready.

      • MFG

        Totally agree, Votto deserves a chance to prove he can still play.
        I disagree with the article a little about the cupboard being bare after Abbot. We have some pretty good young arms in the minors. Some are a year away and others a few years away. We also have a few arms on the IL right now as well. I have to believe there will be some trades as we approach the deadline. Newman, Meyer’s, Cassalli, (I like Maile).
        Our infield is crowded some a few players will have to switch to the outfield. Elly looks like he could be a good CF option because of his size. The future looks bright but its time to see what we have.

  8. Doc

    Many decades ago my Colerain HS alma mater had a championship level basketball team. Unbeaten and playing an inferior team, we were rolling, jumping out to a big lead in the first half. After a time out, coach put in five fresh players and removed the five starters. We lost the momentum, never got it back, and lost the game. (Yes, Dennis, it was a shot.)

    I think an analogy applies to building the Reds. You don’t take a team that you have been working to build, then just suddenly replace a huge chunk of your position players with rookies and expect the team to make a sudden quantum leap up in performance. Baseball teams are built piece by piece and it takes time to not only develop and assess the pieces, but also to work the pieces into the puzzle without disrupting the plan and progress. MLBTR had an article a week os so ago which commented on several Reds young players. It was a lot more objective than the comments I see here, and not all the players being clamored for are going straight to the Hall of Fame.

    When this season began, the overwhelming majority of comments here were this was a rebuilding year, the Reds weren’t going to be very good, and the team should use this year to find out what it has. Then the Reds went on a small sample size run that did not even get them back to .500, and suddenly the conversation changed to the polar opposite, we can win now, mode. But nothing has really changed. This is still a rebuilding team, players need to be evaluated, and the team is not going to win this year.

    I applaud Nick Krall, who has spent a career in baseball having to make baseball decisions that actually matter, for developing a plan, implementing that plan, and sticking to that plan, and I place more faith in him than in those who write about the game, have never held a decision-making position of importance in the game, and have never had to make a baseball decision of any consequence to a team’s outcome.

    • Redsvol

      I tend to agree with you @Doc. This is not a year for “going for it”. Teams with trouble at 4/5th of the starting rotation are not in a position to go for it. This is a year for figuring out what we have and where they can play for the future.

      If that means you keep an exciting player down for another 6 weeks until you figure out what Matt McLain, Spencer Steer, Jake Fraley, Nick Senzel, Joey Votto and Will Myers will give you over 200 more at bats then so be it.

      We have many more problems to solve with the pitching staff than with the position players. Nick Krall deserves some trust and its clear he has a much longer view than us commenters on RLN.

    • Oldtimer

      That would be Dennis Bosse, Colerain ’67 and UC ’71, I presume.

      My former St Xavier ’69 classmate transferred to Colerain in 1967 and graduated Colerain ’69.

    • VaRedsFan

      @ Doc…What exactly are they “sorting” by playing Newman and Myers, before he was hurt, 80-90% of the time?

    • BK

      Well said @Doc. Service time considerations are in the past; even the fluid Super Two is likely in the rear-view mirror. Thus, Krall has every incentive to promote players when they are deemed “ready.”

      I’ve said all along that my biggest concern was whether the Reds would stick to their strategy. If they do, we’ll see an improving team this year that should be poised to compete for the Central Division next year.

      Many see the improving team as an opportunity. While I understand that perspective, the last decade has been marred by delaying inevitable rebuilds and trading prospects to jumpstart competitive windows. Let’s hope we don’t see the latter of those this year.

    • 2020ball

      Thank you for the simple, reasonable take +1

  9. Mark Moore

    I’m far more of an old-school fan than a stats-type fan. Those who know me from this forum recognize that. All I ultimately know is what I see and read. And my observations probably align with your premise of this article more than they don’t. Something has to change. The Sunday version looked beat down to their socks. Roster moves, line-up shuffling, managerial/coaching change … or some combination of those. Heck, Y’all know I’m always up for “sell the team, Bob” so that’s on the table for me.

    But something’s got to change. This week look brutal if it doesn’t.

  10. JB

    So far Votto doesn’t have a hit in the two games of his rehab. I’m thinking he needs a lot more time at Louisville. He may never hit again which I am starting to believe. Not sure why some people believe it’s hate when it’s just father time taking over.
    CES is a terrible fielder, but let’s put him at 3rd or 1st where we have great fielders. If there is a guy for the DH it’s CES.
    Reds will wait until they are 10-15 out until that lineup is real. They would rather get a player in a trade for Myers or Newman that will never make it to the show. So keep playing them.
    Reds front office will do everything possible to keep Phils belief alive that they were out of it since day one.

    • Mario

      Absolutely, CES for DH instead of Newman, Stephenson, etc. But Joey is probably going to DH quite a bit when he is activated off the IL, that’s why CES remains in AAA. If Senzel was hurt, CES would be up here and Steer would be back at 3B. Speaking of Stephenson. I think this is a recovery year for him, I expect big things from him in the future. He’s still an inexperienced player after all of his injuries. I think our expectations weren’t realistic.

  11. Votto4life

    Great article Jason. I would choose Maile over Casali but who is going to argue about a back up catcher.

    I hope the Reds follow your advice soon, because it is spot on. I do believe they will get there eventually, but probably not until mid-July at the earliest.

  12. Soto

    Thank you for this article. Couldn’t have said it better myself… oh, I think I have been beating the same drum for a few weeks. Seems obvious to me.
    CES should be the DH 80 % of the time. Nothing wrong with a player that is an awesome DH and really nothing else. Other people clan play the field. We need big time production from the DH.

    • 2020ball

      An awesome DH is great, but a player on the field is 10x more valuable. Then you can find another awesome DH.

  13. Soto

    From what I saw in spring training (very limited sample size). CES just might be the most productive hitter in the whole organization.

  14. MBS

    You got the right 9, I’m not sure I’d agree with the order. Your putting McLain in a power spot in the lineup when he’s been an on base machine. The last incarnation of JV that was any good was the 21 Votto, and that was a power hitter. What JV do we get in 23 is anyone’s guess, but a speedster JV is not very likely.


    We got some speed at the top of the order, then a bit of thunder in the middle, and a left right balance throughout the lineup.

    • Harold

      I like that lineup and think that’s the one we will eventually see as the everyday lineup. I just have never been sold on David Bell, juggling act. He will never be able to leave a good lineup alone when he gets one. Not sure we can ever win with Bell’s lineups and constant use of inferior players at key times. I like the lineup for next season with the addition of 1 or 2 new starters.

  15. LDS

    Good article but I think you’re really overly optimistic on Votto. You plugged some holes, but the roster still needs work. I agree with @SlippinJimmy here – not happening in Bell’s clubhouse.

  16. SultanofSwaff

    This is a franchise that literally can’t get out of its own way. Should have been a weekend of celebration, of building momentum both on the field and with the fan base. Instead, we’re treated to 2 innings of Fernando Cruz friday and Kevin Newman batting leadoff while EDLC and CES lay waste to AAA pitching.

    As we see with Ashcraft and have seen with Steer, Friedl, etc., player development isn’t linear (except for maybe McLain smh). EDLC and CES have nothing to prove anymore. Keeping them down to beat up marginal pitching doesn’t insulate you from the chance they might not be successful out of the gate or regress in a month when the league gets a book on them, but you have to start somewhere. I truly don’t understand ownership’s motivation here. You’d think they would be sick of the heat and just roll over, give the fans what they want, pad their wallets from the increased walk up attendance and let the team sink or swim with the youngsters. I guarantee you if they did that you wouldn’t hear a peep from me even if we lost 100 games. My only guess is that it’s about the Super 2 status or not wanting to eat salary. Either way, it’s about greed.

    • Jim Walker

      +10000, Coming in off that road trip with a huge crowd guaranteed on Friday by the concert, EDLC and CES should have been with the team. The weekend should have been a launching party, not a wake.

      And still, they had a chance to set the tone for the weekend on Friday; but, the king of micromanaging didn’t step up and pull out the stops to get the ghost in from 2B after his team denied the Brewers in the top of the 10th.

      • JB

        Both of you are so beyond correct it makes me cry. This series was so huge and the front office laid a big fat egg. I didn’t even watch yesterdays game because I’m just so fed up with the crap the front office pulls. The Kevin Newman batting first against right handers just speaks volume about the coach, Front office and team. Proud organization that has been laid to waist in the last years. It’s Louisville baseball every night for me.

      • Daniel Kals

        You are absolutely correct, Jim. I saw two things this weekend that highlighted the incessant “Win Later” mentality that permeates this team.

        1) Bell does not bunt the ghost runner to 3rd in the bottom of the 10th. The analytics show a clear advantage to attempting the bunt there. In fact, here are the numbers. If a team is tied OR DOWN 1 in the bottom of the 10th, they will win 76.9% of the time if they attempt a sac bunt. They will win 60.4% of the time when they swing away.

        2) Ashcraft is left in to give up 10 runs, when anyone with eyes can see he is not going to learn anything (or be able to go much deeper) by leaving him out there. The starter the previous night went into the 7th. Why are we trying to preserve two innings of reliever work, by leaving Ashcraft in two extra innings? If you take him out after 2nd inning (4 runs) we most likely win the game.

        This was the first place team. Doing the two things above differently could have easily won us both games and would have done nothing to “ruin the plan.” You know, there can be two plans. 1) Long term and 2) Short term. They don’t have to be at the expense of each other.

        And then, Bell comes out after Sunday’s game and says “We just got outplayed” in the 3 games, there’s nothing anyone could have done differently, everyone was trying. Hard to believe.

  17. Mark A Verticchio

    I disagree with Votto until he hits at AAA and I have no use for Fairchild. Hopkins and Barrero would be my choice.

    • Tom Diesman

      I believe that Fairchild is the best of the three players you listed there. Time will tell I suppose.

      • 2020ball

        I was thinking the same thing. Hopkins is more of an unknown and Barrero has the tools so indeed time will tell.

      • wkuchad

        Maybe I’m wrong, but Hopkins’ ceiling seems like a #5 outfielder on a major league team.

        He’s fine for depth, but I don’t want him starting over Fairchild or Barrero.

  18. Oldtimer

    “You might disagree with me here, but you would be wrong.”

    Or perhaps YOU are wrong. Opinions are different, not right or wrong.

    • DW

      I may be wrong, but I believe that was a satirical comment. At least that is how I read it.

    • 2020ball

      That was the most ridiculous part. Jason’s posts read like comments i see on here.

  19. Optimist

    They’ve just barely begun to get the offensive side of the team arranged (and still have serious defensive issues), we can see what the starting pitching may look like next season, but the bullpen, aside from Diaz, is still a mystery. Not saying they should trade Diaz, but he is both their most valuable trade chip AND the least necessary position on a non-contending team.

    There are likely better examples, but look at the Rays/Brewers Adames/RP trade a few years ago. Until the Reds devote those sort of resources to the bullpen (either trade or FA $$$) they’re not contending. Fixing the pen is the final and most necessary item on the move-to-contention list.

    • Buffalo Red

      If every time the Reds have the good fortune to see a prospect turn into a bonafide star they treat him as a trade chip they’ll always be a “non-contender,” won’t they?

  20. Bill J

    “Every experience, it’s our job to turn it into a good one and learn from it,” Reds manager David Bell said.
    Isn’t this his 5th year? What has he learned from every experience, he just keeps doing the same things over with the same results.

  21. KM72

    It is way passed the time for Bell to be shown the door. Newman batting leadoff is just unfathomable but here we are.

  22. Fred

    Who’s DHing and who r the 3 out fielders

  23. Jason Linden

    Some of you all, boy, I dunno.

    Here is the complete list of non-2020 seasons when Joey Votto would not have been one of the three best hitters on this team (minimum 150 PAs): 2019, 2022. That’s it.

    In 2019, he had a weird need to adjust year.
    In 2022, he was hurt.

    When he comes back, he’ll be ready. He’s basically having spring training right now. I’d expect at least 10 days in Louisville. Maybe as full 20. We’ll see.

    Also, in 2021, he was not just a power hitter. His. 375 OBP was still absolutely elite.

    Reminder about lineup construction if you feel like arguing over it. Best hitters hit first, second, and fourth (arrange by weighting OBP/SLG). Otherwise, descending order by your preferred catch all hitting stat. I did not think that hard about the lineup I put together. It was mostly about the names, not the order. Also, sometimes a player’s preference matters with where he hits in the lineup.

    • JB

      I hope Votto comes back and destroys it. But he is 40 and father time is undefeated. You probably aren’t old enough to see Willie Mays at the end of his career, he was a shell of himself and for me very hard to watch. My boyhood hero was old and I was slapped in the face with reality. It’s hard to accept but prepare yourself. It will happen to Votto.

    • MBS

      So… 3 of the last 4 seasons? I like Votto, but to say he’s going to be one of the best hitters on the team after a major surgery, while factoring in his age, and the trajectory of his career, seems a bit wishful imo.

      I will say I hope he is his the 2021 Votto, it would be an awesome way to end a great career.

      • Moon

        I like Votto too. But he will not be with this team next year. And he does not provide an upgrade over the guys currently on the team. He just doesn[t.That said, if the Reds continue to keep ELDC etc in the minors and continue to play guys like Meyers then absolutely play Votto. But that is not this article is about. Play the promising youngsters. Try to win now while continuing to build for next year.

    • Hanawi

      I’m with you Jason and the hate that a segment of the Reds’ fanbase has for Votto is crazy. Seems a not insignificant portion still revere the Charlie Hustle ethos and would prefer a team of Kyle Farmers, Kevin Newmans and Ryan Freels to paying for stars. Joey Votto is one of the top 3 hitters to ever play for this franchise and I feel lucky to have watched him.

      • VaRedsFan

        Where are all of the posts saying that they hate Votto. You’re making things up to fit your narrative. The fans don’t hate Votto, they are just skeptical of what value he is contributing for the future of the team. Hopefully, he can come back, and go out on a good note.

      • Hanawi

        There are plenty of Votto haters on this board and they have been very vocal about it the last few years.

      • Votto4life

        You are correct Hanawi. Some here even criticize Joey after he has had a good game. I have a suspicion what it is about, but there is no way to ever know for sure. Joey Votto will be missed when he is gone, even if he is not missed by most people here.

      • Mario

        I agree that most Reds fans do not actually hate Votto, just doubtful he can contribute. This is wordsmith. Does anyone remember the XFL guy who wore HE HATE ME on his jersey? Hate kind of means anyone who is crapping on your performance. Looking at it that way, Votto has plenty of haters. There are plenty other Reds fans who are unappreciative of his contributions thinking he walked too much, didn’t drive in enough runs, salary caused the team to lose (none of these are true). I think he will prove the haters wrong.

      • JB

        Hate? I don’t think anybody hates Joey Votto. I don’t why people keep saying that. It’s called reality. It happens to every ball player and if you can’t grasp that then I don’t know what to tell ya.

    • Jim Walker

      I hope you are correct about Votto’s potential for 2023′; but count me as skeptical. He was not 40 and not coming off of major shoulder and upper arm surgery in those previous seasons.

      I see Tyler Stephenson who is 15 years younger and had much less complex work done on his shoulder struggling mightily at the plate to be more than a shadow of what he was before the surgery at roughly 2-3 months further beyond surgery than Joey.

      In the end, time is on the side of Stephenson. I don’t think it is for Votto. These next 2-3 weeks of rehab will likely give us an answer. Let’s hope it is positive.

    • Optimist

      Joey’s a HOFer, and apparently great in the clubhouse and just basically. That said, with all respect, it’s a business – he comes back this season, plays quite a bit (5 days a week), and gets his $7m buyout. There’s almost nil chance of a performance worth a $20m extension next season. I have no doubt both sides understand that, and likely understood it 5 or more years ago – it’s just how the contract works. Inflation has not been such to make it worthwhile.

      Now, if Joey wants to return anywhere, the Reds obviously would not meet most other offers he could get. Unless he completely collapses on his return, it’s easy to foresee a contender making him a Matt Carpenter sort of offer.

      • 2020ball

        Why can’t the Reds make that kind of offer?

  24. CI3J


    Now is the time for the Reds to be patient. This was supposed to be the season of sorting, and they need to stick to it.

    That means Newman and Myers need to be off the team, and CES and EDLC need to be up. If adding them to the roster leads to more winning, ok, great, but it’s unrealistic to expect the Reds to compete this year. They are simply too inexperienced.

    That said, they should commit to playing the kids, come rain or shine, no matter how they do. Even if the Reds keep losing, at least the kids are getting experience and growing. I can accept losing if the kids are learning from it.

    2024 was always the target for the window to compete. A lot of big money contracts come off the books this offseason, among them Griffey and Votto. The idea is to use 2023 to see what holes the Reds still have and to fill those holes in the offseason. Obviously, they need another starting pitcher, possibly two more. They may need a catcher, depending on how you feel about Stephenson. It might also not be a bad idea to add another outfielder.

    Once the Reds are locked and loaded, 2024 should be all systems go. If they aren’t making the moves to win this offseason, I might just give up on the Reds for good until Bob sells the team.

    • Hanawi

      Absolutely. Reds need to find out who is part of the future and what position they are going to play. Now that may end up with better results anyway by replacing dead weight like Myers and Newman. But they still need two full time outfielders and at least one maybe two more starters. And they’ll have the money to get them this offseason.

    • Rednat

      i tend to agree. I am going to give the reds 1 more shot to get things right for next year. I’M not saying that have to win the world series but at least have a winning record at home please. If they don’t I may just start hanging out at the zoo during my weekends in cincinnati

    • Optimist

      Mostly agree with this, and will certainly do so in a month. That’s when the Newman and Myers decisions must be made, and that’s about the extent of the patience reasonably expected. CES apparently has plenty of fielding work/experience remaining, and they shouldn’t box him into a DH-only slot, so his arrival is not so urgent other than it must be this season. EDLC is baffling – thought he’d be here for this series. Don’t know what they’re waiting on there. Also want to see Marte as one of the two September callups.

      Still, the pitching . . .

  25. redfanorbust

    It is a forgone conclusion that the Reds will call EDLC and CES up probably this year. Exactly when is unknown. Most of us want it yesterday. Us longtime fans deserve big time, a playoff contending team soon and eventually a world series contending team in the next few years. Votto, Newman and Myers are all sideshow things that will be resolved sometime before years end. For me the most important/concerning things are the Reds have had rotten luck with health for I don’t know how many years now, that and letting pitching retreads pitch needs to stop. Pitching wins games. Want to build all our new rookie hitters confidence up after they arrive? Don’t let us be down four runs after the first inning or know if the starter keeps us in the game the bullpen can be counted on in most instances to hold the lead or tie. Ownership needs to step up to the plate in 24 and SPEND.

    • David

      The Reds still have significant roster issues to resolve.

      Joey Votto is now on rehab assignment for the Reds, in Louisville. 18 days and counting.
      If Joey hits and is in good shape, he will be on the 26 man roster and in the lineup, either playing first or DH.
      Wil Myers is on the DL, and cannot be “DFA’d” until he is an active player again. A week, two weeks? And even then, they will hold on to him, and not DFA Myers.
      The third catcher. Will Casali or Maile be let go?

      These are the roster spots that keep EDLC and CES in AAA. The Reds are already short on outfielders, so while a lot of people want Fairchild/Benson sent down, we just don’t have any spares out there (Friedl is on the DL). Barrero could go back to AAA to make room for EDLC, also. Which means that they hold on to Kevin Newman longer. Barrero is also kind of a backup CF.
      Until the Joey Votto, Wil Myers and the catcher issue is resolved, or Kevin Newman gets traded to someone, EDLC and CES will remain at AAA.
      And sure, I could be totally wrong about this. I think we will see Henry Ramos back before we see either EDLC or CES.

  26. Mike

    You are ignoring the elephant in the room. Bell has to go. He continually leaves pitchers in too long. Ten runs last week in just one game. Not a confidence builder. His lineups also suck. Play the best kids. Bell will lose at least 15 games this year just on pitching decisions alone. It is not going to get better. 15 games put you in the wildcard. No mlb manager, college, high school manager would leave a guy in to give up ten runs. He has done this numerous times. Hire Joe Madden.perfect for this team of young stars. Bell has to go or there is no chance of getting better. These kids are fun to watch. Give them a real mlb manager!

    • Doug Gray

      I would just like to point out that there’s nothing Bell can do right, because nearly every game there are multiple complaints that Bell didn’t leave someone in the game longer – whether it’s a starter who “should have gone longer” or a reliever who “should throw multiple innings”.

    • Kevin H

      Unless the bullpen was spent. Guys were unavailable to pitch. We don’t know the ends and outs each day in the training room or clubhouse. Some say I am a David Bell supporter, and they would be wrong. I do however realize it’s not all on David Bell.

      Use to be Dusty Baker has to go, and he was winning at the time. Just believe some put way to much emphasis on the manager. As players play, pitch, field, run, steal, etc.. A manager can only do so muchm

      • Jim Walker

        I don’t agree with a lot of Bell’s strategies; but, he’s the manager; and, they are his prerogative.

        The manager also sets the tone and expectations for the team. A team can play sound fundamental baseball whether or not they have the skills to play the game with the best teams.

        I see too many mental errors being physically expressed by the Reds on the field, the little things that add up and turn games. That’s why I have come to believe Bell is not the guy to lead the Reds next good team.

    • 2020ball

      No thanks on Madden. You’re at least dropping a name which is waaaaay more than every other arm chair manager on here. But no, please not Madden.

  27. TR

    I find it next to impossible that any player or management person who makes it to the major leagues does not want to win. The use of personnel and management choices and style are other issues.

  28. Dennis Westrick

    I agree with your assesment! After losing 3 in a row AT HOME against the Division-leading Bernies, it’s time to bring up the rest of “the kids” and get a look at what the future holds for this team! Reds still not out of the race for the Central division or one of the 3 Wild Card spots but a change is warranted based upon the results to date!

  29. Melvin

    I believe too that the Reds should “go for it” in a sense that they should have their best players up at the big league level trying to win. They certainly are not doing that right now. First place was on the line this past weekend. smh Yes to me, when he’s ready, that does include Joey Votto until he proves he can’t. I think he’s the best judge of that and will tell us. By the way in my view 40 for Joey Votto is not the same for most any other player. I would not be surprised at all that he would be able to hit well. There is no other baseball player that I know of that works as hard or is as smart when it comes to hitting as Votto. Now do I think we should “go for it” in terms of trading away prospects to fill holes with veterans. No way. Now is not the time for that. Trading infield prospects for outfield prospects maybe. If it’s the right trade. Personally I’d be very careful about doing that. I believe we have several guys who could transition to outfield without hurting their performance at the plate.

    • 2020ball

      I think we have a lot of guys like that. Way too much is made of position switches affecting offensive performance.

    • Wayne Nabors

      But yet after a great 2017 he completely changed his stance and approach to hitting,I have definitely seen smarter hitters,if it ain’t broke don’t fix it

      • 2020ball

        He changed it when it was broken and wasnt working, and then had one of his best seasons. What were you watching?

  30. MBS

    Question for the room, which Reds executive said 2023 was about sorting? Hopefully that’s never what a season is about.

    • Indy Red Man

      You want fans speak or the truth?

    • wkuchad

      What was the 2022 season about? It certainly wasn’t about attempting to win.

    • 2020ball

      Agreed, you should always be trying to win. The caveat is you need to be winning over the long term also, not just the short term which is all the fans care about. There’s no reason you can’t do both either.

    • Wayne Nabors

      2020ball he changed it after 2017,what were u watching,he plum stunk in 2018

      • 2020ball

        130 wRC+ is bad? Not sure what universe you are in right now. His power declined that year, tends to happen as you get older, and he still performed anyway.

      • 2020ball

        I misread your year earlier BTW, and was thinking you meant the 2020 changes. Comments still stand, the only truly bad year I see from Votto was last year, and he was mired by injuries.

  31. Indy Red Man

    Ok Hopkins you got your 1 start batting 9th now grab some pine.

    How hard would it be to put Senzel at 3B and play the kid Hopkins again? I get worn out with the constant Bell griping, but there is alot of truth there. Newman isn’t a bad ballplayer, but cmon? He’s nothing special and shouldn’t be leading off or even starting.

    Fraley was actually leading off and is scratched. Of course one of their hottest guys can’t go

    • Wayne Nabors

      @2020ball,most of that resurgent was after he went back to 2017 stance,don’t want to argue with you just stated smart hitters don’t change stance or approach after almost winning and should have won mvp

      • 2020ball

        Um, no. His batting stance and approach is completely different, with him now preferring to stand up instead of being the crouch hitter he always was. Smart hitters are constantly adjusting, and I’ve actually never seen a guy make that drastic of changes and have a suddenly resurgent season. Say he isn’t a smart hitter all you want, but accurate information about his stance changes would help. He’s been an excellent player his entire career, Im not seeing these supposed down seasons you keep wanting to refer to.

  32. William

    It is time for the Reds to try to win. Good article. The Brewers are in first, and they are beatable. It is time to hold this manager accountable as well. His job should not be a gift. His team needs to beat the Brewers. He needs to put the best players on the field.

    • Wayne Nabors

      Good God 2020ball,u don’t need a good memory look at 20 and 22,avg way down in 21 to,actually lost his life time 300 avg

  33. Tim

    The reason baseball exists is for the fans. All the talk about metrics, sample size, and win now vs win later is secondary to the entertainment aspect. Every team should ask themselves about the names on the back of fan jerseys. Votto needs to play because the fans want to give him his moment as he rides off into the sunset. If I could buy a EDLC or CES jersey right now I would. When India came up I went to see him play and bought every rookie card I could. Please don’t let a clearance rack player take the spot of a potential fan favorite. Folks have long gone to see mediocre teams because of a great player. Ie I still wear my Griffey Jr jersey and I sat through some pretty lame games to watch his greatness

  34. Fanman

    This team is fun, exciting and frustrating. They have a chance in weak division. Bullpen has improved. Need another reliable lefty or two. Rotation is best farm has produced that I can ever remember, since 1970. They may be a year away but let’s enjoy the ride. Of course, must include ownership willing to add to this group financially anyway they can. I want to support this team and get behind them anyway I can. Only thing stopping me are Castellini’s. Bell has team playing hard, take starter out before he surrenders 10, 11, 12 runs. To be fair, lack of depth, several AAA pitchers at back end of bullpen has some effect. Votto deserves chance to contribute to this team if he can get healthy. Doesn’t mean he plays everyday at top of lineup. Where are we gonna go?