In early February the Cincinnati Reds traded for outfielder Will Benson. The 24-year-old had struggled in the big leagues, but had found a lot of success in 2022 in Triple-A where he posted a .948 OPS with 16 steals in 20 attempts.

Benson got out to a hot start in spring training before cooling off a bit, but he still hit well enough to earn a spot on the opening day roster. When the regular season began he was ice cold. Over the first two weeks of the season he went 1-20 with a walk and 12 strikeouts. Cincinnati optioned him back to Triple-A at that point.

For the first two weeks in Triple-A things didn’t get much better. He would go just 4-38 (.105) in 12 games through the end of the month. He struck out 21 times in 49 plate appearances, though he also walked 11 times. Benson wasn’t expanding the zone a lot in that stretch but he also couldn’t do much of anything in the strikezone during that time, either.

When May began things started to click for Benson in Triple-A. In the first game of the month he went 2-5 with a home run. Two days later he picked up another home run. Through May 19th he went 14-54. That’s a .259 average and while that isn’t something to write home about, it was a big step forward. In that same time frame he also walked 21 times and struck out just 13 times in 79 plate appearances. He was making significantly more contact, and he was starting to do damage, too – slugging .556 in that span.

Needing an outfielder, Cincinnati recalled him from Triple-A. Benson played in two games during that call up, going 0-5 with two strikeouts before being sent back to Louisville. He would go 2-6 with two doubles against Syracuse but an injury opened up a spot with the Reds and he was back on a plane the next day to join the team in Chicago. Benson has been with the team ever since. Over a little more than two weeks he has now played in 13 games and is hitting .361/.425/.500. In those 40 plate appearances since he’s walked four times and struck out just six times. More contact, more power, hitting well across the board.

The sample size in the big leagues is small here. But it also looks like nothing he’s ever done in the big leagues before, too. In 2022 he had three walks and 19 strikeouts in 61 plate appearances with Cleveland. In his first go-around with Cincinnati in April…. well, those numbers are above and were even worse. What he’s done since the start of May in Triple-A has now somewhat carried forward for a few weeks in the big leagues.

Benson has hit well in Triple-A before. In limited action he has not been able to carry that forward to the highest level prior to the last two weeks. Always an incredibly athletic player, are we seeing him figure things out against big leaguers in real time? We’re probably not going to know for sure for a while, but right now he’s doing things he’s never done before in the big leagues.

106 Responses

  1. HoF-13

    Benson reminds me of a left handed Glenn Braggs. I still remember Braggs breaking his bat over his back. Hopefully Benson has a better overall career than Braggs — of course Braggs came to the Reds in ’90 so maybe Benson can bring a WS with him.

  2. JB WV

    I know this much. I’m glad Benson was in right field to make that game-ending catch yesterday instead of Myers.

    • Jim Walker

      It was refreshing to see the Reds have 3 natural OF in at the same time during the StLouis series. Both the corner guys made plays the “regular” corner guys wouldn’t have made, some for outs and others to save bases. Those plays came up important in both wins.

    • Max

      Myers has not done ANYTHING in Triple A and should stay in LVILLE until he figures it out.

  3. Jim t

    He definitely has some skills. Hopefully he can start applying some consistency. The reds have a lot of physically talented players.

    I keep thinking the reason CES isn’t in Cincinnati is because he will be used to acquire a starting pitcher. It is more than apparent we have offensive capabilities, what we need is starting pitching. With a improved rotation we can win this division. Give me a front line starter and add a lefty for the bull pen to go with Young and I like our chances.

    • DW

      I sure hope not. Sure would hate to see CES go. That kind of production doesn’t come along often. There will be plenty of room for him in the near future as the primary DH and part time 1B. There are other options to get quality starting pitching.

      • 2024WSChamps

        CES is the first baseman of the future. With Votto likely retiring after this year, that will be his job to use. Reds have no other plans at 1B. Steer is best used as a LF and Utility IF. By the start of next season, Newman, Myers, Votto, and probably also Senzel will be gone.

    • VaRedsFan

      That is not going to happen. I never say never…but not a chance. 1st of all the pitcher would need to be a Hunter Greene like prospect. 2nd, teams aren’t trading any pitcher with that type of potential. High ceiling pitchers are like unicorns, if you have one you don’t trade it away.

  4. Mark A Verticchio

    They have a lot of trade chips but I would hold on to and bring CES up. He brings the one thing this offense needs, pure power.

    • Jim t

      @Mark I think he would help the offense but I believe starting pitching is what we need most and I think a trade is the only way we get a starting pitcher. Good FA pitchers aren’t lining up to come here.

      If you want something of value you have to give up something of value.

      • MFG

        Have to bring CES up first to see what he can do.
        If they are looking to trade him then they need to showcase him.
        I personally would prefer to trade Senzel.

      • RedBB

        Agree with MFG…I would try to move Senzel and/or Benson for a 4th/5th starter (provided Senzel comeback healthy of course). Maybe even add a Gibault or Farmer for a midline starter as I think both are pitching above their level currently.

        Always gotta sell high…

      • Jim t

        @MFG bringing him up is not necessary and creates a risk. If he starts slowly you may reduce his value.

        I like many posting really would hate to trade him but we need starters in the rotation. We have a very good chance to win this division this year if we can land a quality starter

      • Harry Stoner

        Reckless to trade CES.

        Nutty to keep him in AAA.

        The Votto / Myers logjam is short lived.

        The Reds won’t get a quality starter in trade for CES.

        Certainly something less than what they gave up for him.

        You can’t package him with a Senzel or Newman to get something better.

        CES in the lineup will provide more runs and wins than some ‘innings eater’ / MOR starter.

        Stick with the program, build a potent offense and work to develop Williamson, Abbott, Petty, Connors.

      • Votto4life

        Apparently, Marte is worth a number one starter. I would prefer they trade him than CES.

      • jmb

        Yes, trading CES would be silly, to say the least. Marte could be traded, though. He doesn’t have very good defensive numbers. With EDLC, Senzel, India, Steer, Newman, Reynolds, Lopez, and CES with experience at third, Marte would have to be tried in the outfield, anyway. He has trade value and could bring a good piece. Whether that would be a starter or not, I’m not sure. Phillips last start at AA: 7 innings, one hit, one walk, 10 strike outs–the type of start Greene gets all kinds of kudos for. (Greene’s start on Sunday: mediocre, though he’s been ailing and had to take some extra days off.) I wonder if Phillips could be pressed into service, if necessary. Not ideal, of course. I imagine he’ll be moved to AAA soon. And Petty, who’s pitching lights out, will be moved to AA.

      • Doc

        We have quality starting pitching. We just need to be patient until they get healthy and develop. We are not in a must win in 2023 or 2024 situation so don’t break the personnel bank by buying somebody who is not happy where he is, or someone whose team is not happy with him, or the pitching equivalent of take the money and split Castellanos.

      • Oldtimer

        (Howsam said) You can’t a bucket of ashes for a bucket of coal.

        Howsam and DeWitt made some good (or great) trades and some bad ones.

        Traded Tony Gonzalez in 1960. Claude Osteen in 1961. Cookie Rojas in 1962. Mike Cuellar in 1963. Cesar Tovar in 1964. To name a few by DeWitt.

        Traded Hal McRae to KC in 1972. Milt Wilcox in 1971. Steve Mingori in 1970. Joaquin Andujar in 1975. Ross Grimsley in 1973.

    • Redsvol

      I’m on the side of keeping CES. He is major league ready – and teams typically don’t trade major league ready prospects. If we trade CES it would have to be for a fairly hood starter – which probably aren’t available.

      It took 4 prospects – 3 of which highly ranked- for the mariners to get Castillo from us last year. If the available pitchers are #4/5 starters then it’s not going to change our wins above replacement by more than 1 or 2 wins so why trade a major league prospect like CES?

      A prospect package of Stewart, Acosta and Aguilar might get you a decent starter. Basically, it’s gonna hurt to get a decent starter with more than 3 months of control left and if it’s not a decent starter then why do it.

      Hopefully a reliever or two can be added and our starters hang on and develop and Lodolo or Ashcraft return to league averages.

  5. Jim t

    @Harry I guess we will have to agree to disagree.

    It would have to be a very good return for me to trade him. We also may have to add a lower level prospect to get the kind of difference making starter we need but we need pitching.

    Also if we are not going to trade him I think he should be brought up to major leagues.

    • Randy in Chatt

      A good, if not great, hitting minor leaguer is not going to bring in a ML starting pitcher. It would have to take way more than that. We love CES and drool about what he could bring to the Cincy lineup, but let’s look at this realistically. Say you are a GM. You have a pitching surplus (yeah, right, name a team that has that these days). Why would you trade a precious commodity for a hitter with limited defensive value who has only had 3 (albeit incredible) months in AAA? I just don’t see a ML team taking that chance.
      A ML starter would also add payroll. I just don’t see Big Bob wanting to add payroll. At least not yet.

      • Votto4life

        The Reds traded one of the best pitcher in baseball for Marte. So it is possible.

      • Randy in Chatt

        That was at the trade deadline and we got 4 players, not just one.

      • Chris

        In fairness, he has absolutely mashed in AA as well. He’s the real deal, but I would NOT trade him, even for a top starter.

    • Chris

      It almost NEVER makes sense to move a great impact bat for a starting pitcher. Frank Robinson deal showed us that. Josh Hamilton deal showed us that. CES looks to be a huge bat that could be used for years in the middle of this lineup. An impact starter is a big question mark, and now days starters get hurt all the time as well. Use money to bring the starter here, but don’t deal Josh Hamilton type hitters away.

      • Randy in Chatt

        That is exactly my point. I want to see CES in the middle of the Reds lineup yesterday. However, to get one of 5 a team’s starters, it would take more than CES to get that starter right now. Would Reds fans like to see, let’s say, CES, Hinds, Lyon Richardson and Karcher (for example) right now for rotation help. Probably not. I think they will stick with what we have and go from there.

      • Daniel Kals

        Agree. The Reds can kind of model the Bengals strategy here. The Bengals drafted their offense (Burrow, Chase, Higgins, Boyd, Mixon), and bought their defense (Reader, Hendrickson, Hilton, Awuzie).

        The Reds have drafted/traded for their position players and a couple pitchers, now they can buy 2 starting pitchers in the offseason. By next year they will have shed almost their entire payroll except for Greene and India’s arbitration figure. Sonny Gray, Aaron Nola, Blake Snell, Julio Urias (unlikely), there are some names out there that could help round out the rotation which, right now, is Greene and Abbott and maybe Lodolo and mayyyyybe Williamson.

  6. LDS

    For a team lacking HR power to even consider trading CES would be the height of stupidity. Trading Senzel, Myers, Newman, even Benson and Barrero make far more sense, assuming the pitching return is really good. And even though Benson is playing well and may have figured it out, as Doug noted, small sample size. And the Reds need OF’ers too. Senzel can’t play OF and stay healthy – that should be obvious to even Bell at this point. Barrero doesn’t play enough to get his hitting in shape (send him down). Counting on Friedl, Fraley (who can’t hit LH’ers and it’s not a small sample size), and Fairchild isn’t enough. Benson has to make it. And some of the IF’ers need to learn the OF. And we’ll see how bad it really is when Votto and Myers return. I’m not optimistic.

    • Jim t

      @LDS like you I would love to trade others instead of CES but it would be beyond stupid to think you would get the kind of starting pitcher for anyone on that list.
      I agree we need a thumper in the middle of the order but we also need a pitching very bad.

      • LDS

        Only because you’re trying to win this year. Trade those guys for decent pitching prospects. Forget winning this year. Stick with the rebuild. The division is weak but no reason to sacrifice the future for short term gain.

      • DW

        I definitely agree with LDS. Patience folks. See the rebuild through. But you are correct that those players will not bring a quality starter. Two of those players plus a quality lower level SP and position player would likely do it. Similar to what the Mariners gave up to get Castillo or the Winker/Suarez trade.

      • Jim t

        @LDS at almost 70 years old I’m not about waiting anymore.

  7. AMDG

    It is easier to improve when you work hard at improving and you actually get consistent playing time.

    Hopefully Benson continues to trend in the right direction.

    Interestingly, Boyd (traded away for Benson) is currently hitting 0.154 in high-A ball (after hitting 0.183 in low-A last season).

    • jmb

      But Boyd was just the first piece the Reds sent in that trade. After Benson’s success during spring training, the Reds sent Hajjar as the player to be named later. He came to the Reds with Steer and CES from the Twins for Maile. Hajjar is, for now, the main piece that the Guardians got for Benson. At this point, he’s a solid pitching prospect.

      • Optimist

        Agreed – LHP is almost always the lead, or main, piece in deals like this. Boyd would be a big surprise, but the comparison to make in a few years is between Hajjar and Benson.

    • DaveCT

      Boyd has more or less just started playing after an injury. Hajar just started a game against the AZ Reds, also because of an injury. Boyd may turn out to be a fringe type of prospect, like Fairchild (whom I like). Hajar could very easily see his career derailed due to arm problems.

  8. Soto

    Harry, I totally agree with you. Nobody is giving up a starter worth having right now. Almost everyone needs more starting pitching. I am starting to be of the opinion that it is not worth it for small market teams like Cincy to spend too much on starting pitching. Too much risk. I would prefer that we invest in locking up our obviously very talented young players and focus on acquiring some young pitching with a lot of upside. CES needs to be the DH.
    Here is my best lineup for the second half of 2023.
    Freidl CF
    McClain SS
    India 2nd
    EDLC 3rd
    CES DH
    Fraley/Steer LF platoon
    Votto/Steer 1st platoon
    Stephenson C
    Benson Rf
    Senzel Utility
    Steer should be somewhere in the lineup on most days.

    • Jimbo44CN

      Out of all the lineups posted recently, this is the one I like the most.

    • Capnhook33

      I was recently having this exact conversation with a friend because of the situations with Strasburg, degrom, etc.

      I was saying of the top underperforming contracts only a couple were position players. I was also saying that arguably made Rendon’s contract worse than Strasburg. I’d imagine that contract is insured because of the risk of the position, but Rendon is basically forced to play when healthy at near replacement level for the next 4 years.

  9. Beaufort Red

    You’re right Harry. Stick with the program. The process got us this far which is farther than anyone thought it would be. We don’t need to be like drunken sailors and spending our new found wealth (minor league studs). They may be able to get a Sonny Gray ( Royal fire sale) and hopefully Ashcraft and Lodolo will make it back. Greene, Abbot, Lodolo, Ashcraft and a 5th isn’t bad. Don’t mess with the bullpen! Finally I love the aggressive station to station baseball, but we’re gonna need a big bat, CES , sooner than later.

    • jmb

      Yeah, with any luck the big 4 will pitch together within a month and pitch well. Weaver’s only had one or two good starts, though he generally eats innings. Lively’s last two starts were bad, after 3 good ones. Williamson is only out there due to injuries. Getting Gray back at the trade deadline would be amazing, but things would have to go very badly for the Twins in the meantime for them to trade their best starter. The Twins would probably be more likely to trade Maeda. But with so many pitchers going down with injuries, they would probably hold on to all they’ve got.

      • Votto4life

        Who exactly is this big four that you speak of? Right now I see only a big one and a half.

  10. Mark Moore

    We can hope what we see is him figuring it out. Challenge could be to keep him or the 14-year-old when Myers comes back. Logjams aren’t necessarily a bad thing. The KC series will be interesting to watch after we beat a good team and a team that has been more than a nemesis (in their own house, no less).

    Bring on the Royals and that picturesque park.

    • Soto

      Benson needs an extensive run of playing time and AB’s this year in order to show what he can do. His energy, speed, power and athleticism fits well with this team. I liked what I saw out of him in spring training but he looked lost and played with zero confidence early in the year. AAA seems to have done wonders for him. I didn’t give him much of a shot earlier in the year but he seems to be finding his groove. He may bomb out but if he gets a prolonged look the rest of the year, the reds should be able to make a sound decision on his role going forward. This is the year to find out.

  11. MBS

    It’s interesting to see how many people know the “program”. Isn’t it really our own perceptions of what the “program” is. I know I didn’t get the copy of the Nick Krall 23/24 program outline. Even if we did, every program needs to have flexibility in it to take advantage of unexpected opportunities.

    I do agree trading CES would be a mistake, and the return wouldn’t be as high as some might think. Marte, Collier, and Arroyo are the biggest trade chips, and I’m not keen on trading them away either. I would try to get a starter, but I’m not looking for a 1, 2, or a 3. I just want someone to stop the bleeding, a rental 4th or 5th starter would be ideal. In the offseason I’d like to get a difference maker like Urias.

    • Greenfield Red

      I got a copy from Nick Krall. I’m surprised you didn’t. It was to trade anything of value in 2022, aquire as many high end prospects as possible, draft and sign like never before, ride out the wasted payroll created previously, have plenty to spend in the winter of 23-24, win the WS a couple of times in the next 10 years.

      Directly from NK himself.

      • Votto4life

        And I always thought the plan was to “avoid peaks and valleys”

      • MBS

        LOL, can you get me on the email list?

      • Greenfield Red


        I have put you on the list. There’s only about 10 or 15 of us who are on it, but it’s a growing number!

      • DaveCT

        Greenfield, in the subsequent memo, Krall made a couple follow-up points to your excellent summary.

        Trust the process. This is a rebuilding year, a year to develop players as well as the team.. Nothing more, nothing less. The reason I say this in the face of the team playing relatively good baseball is that developing a style, such as the grit and hustle style we see, and, more importantly, learning how to win at the ML level are critical aspects of player development.

        Stick with the program. Trust the process. If, as expressed, there are unexpected opportunities, sure, fire away, such as sticking with Steer, promoting McClain, Abbott, TJ, earlier than it may have seemed last year.

        Oh, yeah, don’t mess with Elly. Direct quote.

      • Greenfield Red

        DaveCT, I know you’re on the list too.

  12. SultanofSwaff

    If the hit tool pans out to a league average level for a corner outfielder, Benson’s other abilities with the glove, arm, and on the basepaths would provide more value than Senzel, Fairchild, Fraley, and of course Myers, and relegate them to the bench most days–which is no slight, just appropriate for a team with intentions of building a legit playoff contender.

    • Optimist

      Correct – if Benson’s hitting stats get to league average, he becomes hugely valuable as the second cleanup hitter/#8 in the lineup with robust fielding/speed attributes.

    • Indy Red Man

      Benson looks really gifted, but I’m not sure why RLN seems to overlook Fraley? He rakes against righties and has power. Now a corner OF of Steer/Fraley is extremely shaky, but they can get away w Jake in LF in Gabps small OF. In fact Jake would be my choice to protect Elly and bat 5th vs rhp. He’s already won atleast 4-5 games w clutch hits

      • Votto4life

        I really like Jake Fraley. He plays really hard and is always hustling. Sometimes he is too aggressive, but I can live with him making aggressive outs. Obviously, he hits better against RH pitchers, but when they figure out a platoon partner for him, he will be just fine.

      • DaveCT

        Every team needs at least one Viking.

      • VaRedsFan

        As of now, Senzel is that platoon partner. He destroys leftys this year

  13. old-school

    Jake Fraley struggled mightily in his first 40-50 at bats in 2022 prior to an injury and then has been a completely different and productive hitter ( against righties) since then. Hopefully it clicks for Benson as having a long athletic fast OF is a good thing defensively as well as on the bases.

  14. MK

    Do the Reds have the starting pitching to win a World Serirs this year? Probably not. Do they have the starting pitching to compete and win a wild card or a weak division? They are doing that now. So if they add a Cy zyou g Award contender are their prospects of a Workd Series win any better? I wouldn’t over pay for anyone at this point. Let it play out, use what you’ve got, and finally stay the course of long term success rather than short term gratitude.

    • DaveCT

      Further, the lumps the young starters are taking (or will take) this year are important steps to learning to win at the ML level. I’d enjoy seeing what Greene, a healthy Lodolo and Abbott can do in a playoff race, or the playoffs, as that experience is valuable.

      As for Ashcraft, it could be worse (see Alex Manoah). Perhaps a brief stint in the bullpen to help him get squared away would be good.

  15. Protime

    CES is the missing piece in the batting order, perhaps, right behind EDLC. Delaying his call up, is insane. The answer is obvious in every game: The 7,8,9 hitters simply don’t deliver when it’s needed. In close games, inclusive of making a productive out— it’s the difference between winning and not being competitive. If you can’t start, continue, or extend a rally you will remain a subpar team.

  16. Melvin

    I’m glad too see anyone who figures it out. Hope he’s able to keep it up. As for trading CES – NO WAY…..unless some team makes an offer that can’t be refused. We could have three special players in McLain, EDLC, and CES.

    • wkuchad

      Four special players. Don’t forget Steer. He’s a rookie too, and one could argue the team MVP for the first few months of the season.

      • Melvin

        I like Steer too. He’s already special in my eyes. The other three could be REALLY special in my view. Sounds like Marte could add to that. He needs to learn the outfield.

  17. old-school

    Article up today at the Enquirer suggesting Senzel is targeting the Friday series in Houston and Fraley targeting his first day eligible to return being Sunday. Votto’s 20 days expires june 23 but Bell suggested his return could be before the Braves series June 23. So looks like Senzel,Fraley, and Votto could all be back on the 26 man roster for next Monday’s home series against the Rockies. No word on Myers.
    Roster Crunch.

    • wkuchad

      Yep, roster crunch, which is likely why CES hasn’t been called up.

      Hopkins is an easy choice to send down. After that, much tougher decisions. I’d like to drop one of the extra backup catchers, but they probably won’t.

    • Indy Red Man

      Hopkins, Barrero, 3rd catcher, and Fairchild. CES should be ahead of the others, but they’re stalling. I don’t know who would go for Myers? If he can’t kill AAA then I’d just cut him loose.

      Starting to think we could actually make the playoffs, but they need atleast a 4th starter from somewhere? On the flip side though HG gives up 3 in 5.1 and he’s our ace? Abbott will probably run out innings by late August. We’ll have to wait and see?

      • Harry Stoner


        If Myers hasn’t fixed his sub Mendoza batting during his rehab, what is the point to bringing him up?

        Even as a bat off the bench, how much is he providing.

        The competition will be between Benson and K-child and Senzel and Steer.

        Newman the odd man out, unless Bell plays him only against LH.

        No shade on Hello, but as folks have noted…more productive players are putting a crimp on the Bell shuffle.

        Put a couple HR hitters mid lineup (CES, maybe Votto) and it will make up for a lot of 5 inning starts and shaky bullpen.

        EDLC won’t see a fastball until they put someone serious behind him.

      • jmb

        Hopkins, Barrero, Maile, Fairchild, and Benson could all be sent down, as Senzel, Fraley, Votto, and Myers work their way back from the IL…and CES gets the call.

    • Jim Walker

      Thought it was interesting that neither Myers nor Ramos were mentioned, especially given Ramos has already done more offensively and looks the closest to being ready.

      If they were so inclined, they could bring Ramos up now, for Hopkins, then option him when somebody else was ready.

  18. RedsGettingBetter

    If Benson hits well consistently that will be welcome so the Reds could have a very good offense although home runs aren’t frequently as you would wish, there are 6 or 7 dangerous hitters in the lineup when Senzel is back or whether CES is called up…

  19. jmb

    While Benson’s average is up, he’s only got two extra base hits for the season.

    • Optimist

      I haven’t looked, but this is why secondary analytic stats are useful. What is his hard hit %, his BABIP, etc.? I think Doug just tweeted his chase rate/zone % are very noticeably changed for the better, but all of this is with very small sample sizes. Still, all trending correctly.

  20. Ron

    Unless Myers is released or traded, I think it will be a platoon of Benson and Myers in RF. Then probably Fraley and Senzel in LF.

    Bring up CES and make him the everyday DH.

    As for finding a 4th or 5th starter, would Zack Greinke be a possibility? He’s on a one year deal and probably has about 4.5 mil remaining. Or what’s Madison Bumgarner doing these days? Or did he retire?

    Think our best infield would be:
    1B Steer
    2B McLain
    3B India
    SS De La Cruz
    (Could Noelvi Marte play outfield?)

    • Jim Walker

      @Ron. I think there is a very good chance you are correct about the coming double platoon in the OF. This said I think it is a mistake. The point when injuries forced Bell out of his comfort zone of automatic platooning is just about when the team started consistently playing better baseball despite arguably having a lesser talented team on the field on many occasions. Perhaps continuity counts for something.

      • wkuchad

        Fraley should 100% be part of a platoon. Put Fraley and Senzel together, you have a well above average offensive weapon in LF.

        I’d prefer to move on from Myers and give Benson a shot. BUT if Myers must play, I’d rather he platoon with Benson vs getting most of the starts in RF.

  21. Kindell

    Someone would have to blow them away to trade for an SP this year. They have been patient, there is no reason to make a desperate move to chase the division for just this year. If you want a good example of what not to do, look no further than the Twins.

    We also have the 7th overall pick and could take a college arm that could help sooner than later. A quick turnaround will be determined by the health of Lodolo and if Ashcraft can figure it out. If you get them back on track, with the addition of Abbott, we aren’t as far away as we think.

  22. Zach

    Anyone saying to trade CES is insane. He’s obviously going to fill the gap that Votto will leave at first base following this season.

    Pitching depth in the minors can be addressed in the draft. Petty and Phillips could be in the rotation in 2024. Perhaps one veteran could be added via FA too. It won’t come cheap, but again, the payroll in 2024 is much lower than previous years- there’s room to spend if the Reds want to win in 2024.

    • Votto4life

      Yeah, I mean ideally CES will play the same role as Tony Perez. The Reds need to protect EDLC. I think CES is their best option unless they are going to spend a fortune on a middle of the line up bat this off season. I just don’t see the Reds doing that.

      • Jim t

        @Votto4life playing the role of Tony Perez is a tough act to follow. In my day he was mister clutch.

  23. RedlegScott

    Sure hope so re Benson. Could always use a good lefty stick plus good D in the outfield.

  24. Bob Purkey

    Agree with the sentiment NOT to trade CES. He has 10+ years of cleanup hitter potential. . . plus I have him stashed on my fantasy at an incredibly low price! 😉

  25. Jim t

    Boy CES has had a good beginning to the season in AAA. Like many on here I hope when he is given the opportunity he delivers. But let’s all remember AAA is a far cry from the ML.

    • Pete

      EDLC and Matt McLain would like to have a word with you…. If you watch enough of CES, you could argue he is the best pure hitter of the thee.

      To trade Stran would be criminal and there’s no way in the world Krall would do that. At this point, I will want to see the Nick Krall is top of the heap of MLBgeneral managers. There I said it. In fact, of anyone associated with the Cincinnati Reds, players or otherwise, he is the one you would hate to lose the most. By far.

    • Old-school


      Going to throw you a lifeline. C trent linked a baseball america article on CES by JJ Cooper and it has a paywall so i couldnt read it . It did have interesting graphic on CES swing selection and suggested hes the best bad ball hitter anywhere. C trent opined thats maybe why hes in AAA.

      If anyone read the BA article on CES, chime in.

      • DaveCT

        The article looked at swinging at pitches outside of the strike zone, and discussed CES’ extreme tendency, 41% of swings at pitches well out of the zone.*

        In general, there are very few recent ML players with similar practices of swinging at pitches out of the zone, and Pablo Sandoval is the best of the lot. There are a few others mentioned, with two pretty darn good hitters, Altuve and Ichiro.

        *Doug made a point about wanting to see the most recent information, given CES’ drop in K’s and increase in BB’s.

      • DaveCT

        … very few successful recent ML players

  26. AMDG

    Benson’s batting averages in the minors:

    2016 … 0.209
    2017 … 0.238
    2018 … 0.180
    2019 … 0.230
    2020 … n/a
    2021 … 0.206
    2022 … 0.279
    2023 … 0.206

    Given that Benson has struggled to hit at just about every level & every year in the minors (outside of 2022), I think we need a larger sample size before we officially declare that what he has done over the past 2 weeks is an indication that he has “figured it out”.

    Hopefully he has figured it out. But with such a long track record of not hitting, I think a larger sample size of success is warranted.

    • CI3J

      Now let’s talk about his OBP:

      2016 … 0.321
      2017 … 0.348
      2018 … 0.324
      2019 … 0.331
      2020 … 0.324
      2021 … 0.349
      2022 … 0.426
      2023 … 0.406

      His calling card is he knows how to get on base while also having decent pop and speed, combined with stellar defense and a strong arm.

      OBP is a much better predictor of success than AVG. As Steve Mancuso used to say, if you had a team where everyone walked every AB, they would score infinite runs. I’m not as big of a believer in OBP as Mancuso is, but I do know it matters a lot more than AVG.

      • AMDG

        I guess it depends on who you ask.

        Dunn carried a 0.380 OBP as a Red, and many fans weren’t disappointed when his tenure in Cincy was over

      • greenmtred

        I agree with C13J. Fans being disappointed? I wasn’t a big Dunn fan because he was a terrible fielder and struck out a lot. But between strikeouts he was walking and hitting mammoth homers. Generally, there’s a strong correlation between winning and getting on base. Those Reds teams didn’t win much, but they had terrible pitching. There’s a strong correlation between good pitching and winning.

  27. redfanorbust

    All the talk of trading is fun and interesting but not likely. IF we were to make a trade IMO it should be India over CES. Trading India will get the above average pitching we need. CES will not. Our infield is crowded with substantial infield talent to play 2B. It’s better to trade from depth. CES is what this club needs and has needed since Votto was last a serious power threat when ever that was. Not having a legit home run hitter is such a waste at GABP. We really should be taking advantage of our park offensively as it is such a detriment to our pitching staff as is and we need to balance it out.

  28. Harold Morse

    I would make strand hit every day one way or another, I think he will be bigger then cruz

  29. gusnwally

    I asked a question a few days ago. Only Vega Red replied. But, I still think packaging Barrero and Senzel, plus maybe a minor leaguer could bring a decent pitcher. maybe not a bonafide ace, but a 4or5 type starter. Neither Senzel or Barrero is important to this team. There was a million ideas and lineups mentioned above. No body had Barrero starting anywhere. And we have enough OF’s that are equal to or better than Senzel.He is in year 5 here. And he has had two great weeks earlier this year. That’s it.5 years 24 HR’s and 270 is probably as much as can be hoped for.

    • Melvin

      I think the question I would as is, If you were another team with a 4 or 5 type starter would you make that trade? Pitching seems to be scarce right now.

    • Melvin

      I think the question I would ask is, if you were another team with a 4 or 5 type starter would you make that trade? Pitching seems to be scarce right now.

      • gusnwally

        Mel, thanks for the reply. I see people on this site constantly saying they think Senzel and Barrero should be starting every day. Other teams should be thinking the same. And even tho I disagree I am looking for a piece not a stud.

      • Melvin

        gusnwally – If we could somehow get a pretty decent starter for them I’d take it. I’d make that trade for Chapman too if KC would do it. I think he would help just as much as a starter at this point.