With the Cincinnati Reds going on a big time run of winning baseball games over the last month, the talk of calling up Christian Encarnacion-Strand has calmed down a little bit. A little of that had to do with a short slump that he went into, but with the big league club winning a lot more frequently than they were losing, fewer people are looking for solutions to problems. But on Saturday night in Toledo, Encarnacion-Strand made sure to remind everyone that he’s still trying to kick the door down to the big leagues as he crushed his 19th and 20th home runs of the season in just his 64th game of the year.

His first home run of the night was a solo shot that went 443 feet to dead center and it came off of the bat at 108.5 MPH. His second homer came two innings later and it was somehow more impressive. Coming off of the bat at 110.6 MPH, his second solo home run of the day also went to dead center. This one cleared the batters eye, going 467 feet. Two home runs, 910 feet.

From June 14th through June 28th, Christian Encarnacion-Strand went into a slump. He had just seven hits, going 7-43 in 11 games played with just one extra-base hit. He would hit .163/.245/.186 during that 2-week stretch for Louisville.

On June 29th he picked up two hits, including a walk and a triple. He’s played in 10 games since then and he has had hits in eight of them. He’s turned things back around and has hit .302/.375/.605 since then. Encarnacion-Strand is hitting .320/.392/.624 on the season at this point. He now has 20 home runs, 17 doubles, and two triples in 64 games played.

With the designated hitter role in the National League now, it seems like with a little bit of thinking ahead, the Cincinnati Reds could get Christian Encarnacion-Strand into the lineup regularly. He can play third base, first base, and of course, DH. While it would be tougher to get him time at third, a start there once a week could make sense. Then he could see time at first and DH another four or five times a week depending on match ups. To do that, Cincinnati would need to abandon the three catcher thing and limit Tyler Stephenson to being a catcher a majority of the time instead of splitting time behind the plate and as the teams designated hitter – but that doesn’t seem like the worst idea, either.

But maybe the team just leaves things as they are and will wait around and see what happens.

Update: July 17th

The Cincinnati Reds have called Christian Encarnacion-Strand up. You can read all about it here.

116 Responses

  1. 2024WSChamps

    I see CES as a late season call up, either after a trade, or because they don’t mind asking TySteve to catch 4 days a week once it’s the home stretch. Then CES can platoon with Votto, and also play DH and a little 3B when we want to give India a rest. Could be a fantastic spark plug for August and beyond, with Maile getting the DFA (most likely).

    • Ted Alfred

      Don’t think it would be or should be Maile. They need to bring CES up now, play him exactly the way Doug laid in the article and dump Casali

      • Melvin

        He’d be starting today instead of Newman. That’s for sure. Maybe that’s part of the problem.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      With how Votto is batting, why platoon Votto for a minor leaguer?

      I think CES will be a call-up. But not till then.

      • wkuchad

        Votto batting so good because he’s mainly facing righties, just like Fraley. Keep it that way.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Still has an OBP of almost 400 against LH.

    • SteveAReno

      India doesn’t need the rest but it makes more sense to give Votto a little of the rest to keep him in good shape for the whole long brutal season.

    • RedBB

      Only pitcher I’d trade him for is Cease.

    • bug

      Please do not trade him!!! CES is a major star in the making.

  2. Tim

    Ty Steve would out hit most catchers in the league. He doesn’t outhit most DH. We give him up as an advantage when he doesn’t catch. Another 15 or so homers and a 300 BA in the lineup the second half would be invaluable.

    • Bill

      This is why I was always against the idea of moving him to 1B. His bat is great for a C, not as impressive at 1B or DH. If he can’t handle playing C half the time, he loses a ton of value.

      Of course there are considerations to make with injury risk, defensive skill, and handling of the pitching staff. However, if any of those factors lead to a decision that Stephenson is not an everyday catcher he is the guy I am trying to trade for pitching. He isn’t getting a start at 1B with Votto there, Steer is probably option 2 at 1B, then you have guys in AAA who are making strong case to be called up.

      The three C idea made sense when Votto wasn’t playing, Steer had yet to prove himself, Mclain, Elly and CES were unproven prospects. At that time Stephenson was potentially the best hitter on the roster and finding ways to keep him in the lineup and healthy was important. Now you have four rookies hitting like All Stars, and Votto with an OPS over 1. Now the best way to keep his bat in the lineup is at C. The pitching staff isn’t getting the Reds to the playoffs. They are going to need every bit of offense they can find. My opinion is Stephenson is at C 4 times a week, CES gets a shot at DH, and Casali is unfortunately out of a job.

      • JayTheRed

        The only thing I am not sure about is, do the Reds keep Maile or Casali. They both have their advantages over each other.

      • bug

        Yes, Bill. Right on the money!!! Stephenson strikes out too much. He’s a very good hitter FOR A CATCHER, and that’s where he should play. Bring CES up to platoon with Joey at first base. Joey can hit left handers okay,..but I’m a firm believer in platooning him if and when you have CES at first going against southpaws. What a line-up that would be! Keep Stephenson behind the plate. And also,…have hit put the mitt in the middle of the strike zone now and then when we can’t afford to give up a base on balls,..i.e. extra tinnings or a tie game or whatever. This putting a target on the very edge of the zone with a pitcher who can barely throw a strike in the first place is NOT the way to go. I pitched for years. I liked the target in the center. Then if I wanted to go in or out or north or south, I still could do that. Our pitchers waste too many pitches trying to entice the batter to swing at a ball. Then, next thing you know, we walk him. Have faith in your pitches and throw strikes. That’s why I like Lively. He does not have much on his pitches,..but he throws strikes. There’s a lot to be said for that.

    • RedBB

      Exactly…..was dumb move from the start to have 3 Catchers. Reds management as usual are slow to correct their errors either from pride or something else.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        It was difficult. I mean, with the bat that Tyler showed last year, the FO, much less everyone else, wanted to get Tyler’s bat in the game more. The idea was doing that with Tyler getting time at first and DH. So, it wasn’t as bad an idea at the time.

        Bell was following through with that idea, through April. After that, Bell abandoned it. Why? Only Bell would know. But, with Bell abandoning it, the 3 C’s idea wouldn’t make sense.

  3. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I just read one person’s FB post where Benson should be sat to make room for CES. Benson, who for the last month actually leads the Reds in many offensive categories. What did Benson do to deserve a cut in playing time up here simply because a minor leaguer hits a couple of long home runs?

    The last I looked, CES’s fielding % at 3rd was 0.895. We don’t need another Edwin Encarnacion at third (we let him go because he couldn’t it the broad side of a barn with a thrown baseball at 90 feet, but he could hit HR’s.).

    Oh, we could find him playing time, but at the expense of who? Playing him at first? What has Votto done to have his playing time cut? He’s only leading the Reds in OPS+.

    Listen, it’s not that we can’t get him up here; we can. It’s not that we can’t find him playing time; we can. It’s that he would take time from others who haven’t deserved to have their playing time cut, even one day. Even if it was Newman, if we let Newman go for CES, then we lose flexibility and versatility in our players coming off the best. An IF who can play all positions vs an IF could can play first and “pretend” to play 3rd? I don’t believe that would be a good change.

    CES is (most likely) our first baseman next season (though if Votto keeps this up, he may give us reason to question that). Let him stay down there and play full-time. I would hope that CES is even up here when the rosters expand.

    One thing that does hurt CES’s potential work up here one could say was Bell (at least from the looks of it). I mean, the FO set the team up with 3 C’s so that Tyler could play first and do some DH-ing. Well, Tyler hasn’t been playing first, none since April 30th. And, it hasn’t been that Tyler’s defensive play at 1st has been lacking, 0.994 fielding % at first. I could only consider that Bell decided to abandon that aspect entirely. So, now, we do have 3 regular C.’s If, at the beginning of the season, the FO didn’t go with 3 C’s, I believe CES would be up here. And, then, he would have had a role up here, as the 1st baseman, at least till Votto got back, then we would see.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      Or, I will put it this way.

      Alright, Votto and CES split time between 1st and DH. With how Bell has been making the lineups, Newman would lose starting time at 1st. So what, his role on the team is a utility fielder anyhow. But, then, again, with how Bell has been making the defensive positioning/batting orders up, that would mean Tyler and Steer would lose time at DH.

      Well, Tyler can get more time at C. Then, you have one of the things I talked about above. Just get rid of one of the C’s. But, which one? Casali calls the better game. Maile’s defense is better. Tyler’s bat is better. Something has to go. Probably Maile or Casali. And, though, neither one has done much to lose their position, “it is what it is” with trying to carry 3 C’s.

      And, take DH time from Steer. What has Steer done to take his time away for a minor leaguer? Alright, give Steer more time in LF and 3rd, the other positions he’s been playing. Take more time from Benson? Why Benson? For the last month, Benson has been leading the Reds in most offensive categories. What has Benson done to have his time taken for a minor leaguer?

      Alright, have Steer get more time at 3rd. Take time away from Elly? What has Elly done to have time taken from him for a minor leaguer?

      “You just do 1-2 games each week at the other positions.” Then, Steer effectively becomes a utility fielder. So, again, what has Steer done to have his time taken by a minor leaguer?

      • Ted Alfred

        Doug already said that his fielding since the middle of last year is much better. Anybody who’s talking about Benson not playing is nuts, so that should just be discounted. Casali barely plays, his defense has noticeably dropped off and he doesn’t privide any offense…plus he is blocking a kid who should be up here…end of story. The reason the Reds are having a resurgence is their talented younger players coming up from AAA and getting their chance to show what they have… changing directions now is dumb when you have the talent CES has. I’m guessing he would much rather be up with the big club playing three or four times a week then playing six or seven games a week down on AAA and if you keep him down there for much longer it might start to negatively affect him towards this organization. If he bats .300 and hits 10+ HR in the 2nd half with the Reds that wouldn’t help this team. Not to mention he likely is the first baseman of the future when Votto does hang it up, so wouldn’t you want him around Joey Votto as much as you can… grooming him for 1st and just being around to soak up what Joey has to offer… and wouldn’t Joey probably enjoy being his mentor over the rezt if 2023, maybe into 2024 as he’s bidding farewell to the game and handimg 1st base off to the next generation? I think being around Votto, especially a rejuvenated energetic Votto who’s playing tgis well would be a great experience for CES and if he’s not up here he’ll never get that.

      • Ted Alfred

        I think the unseen value Votto’s experience and stature has on younger players in the organization has really been evident in this bigger hyped series versus Milwaukee. I believe anytime you can get younger players around a player of Joey’s stature while he’s still producing has to be a good thing for their overall major league development is an under appreciated positive that can have lobg term benefits. Now add in that CES will likely play 1st/DH is entire career…same as Joey…and appears to be a very similar player to Votto as to limited defensively but a high average hitter with a lot of power and it seems to me getting him up here as soon as possible just to be around Joey is a huge advantage in developing CES specifically due to their similarities that is a bit different from the other young Reds players just due to position played and style of player…and this should be nurtured in the little time Joey as left playing the game. If the Reds are smart they’ll recognize this important intangible and take advantage of it.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Again, and I will put it this way, finding a way to get CES up here isn’t that much of a problem. It’s what is he going to do up here that’s the problem.

        I can respect your idea of Votto grooming CES for first. But, then, that just goes back to what I discussed, how Votto and CES could split time between first and DH. It’s going to take time from other players. What did they do so bad to have their time cut?

        Trying to be succinct with it, if you have Votto and CES split time at first and DH, then Steer loses time. Why should his time be cut? “Steer can get some extra time at 3rd and LF?” Why should Elly and Benson have their time cut effectively just for an minor leaguer? I mean, CES is going to be better than Elly? Benson for the last month is leading the Reds in many offensive categories. CES is going to be better than him right now?

        Again, getting CES up here is the easy part. I will even say finding him playing time would be the easy part; split time with Votto at DH and 1st. But, at the expense of the other players, they haven’t done anything that would warrant having their playing time cut for a minor leaguer.

        Now, if CES could play 2nd, you might have something. And, we could trade India off.

      • Jim Walker

        @SteveS> CES would fit in if India was traded. McLain would move to 2B, EDLC to SS. CES could play 3B or if his defense at 3B was seen as a problem, he would be DH/1B with Votto and Steer would take over at 3B.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Now, you are getting to something, Jim, if India was traded. But, then, if Votto was traded, then we would have an opening for CES, also.

        But, as is, there’s role for him up here right now. That’s the point. It would take something else for that to happen.

      • Daytonnati

        I think Benson is the overlooked piece in this puzzle. It could very well be that, long term, his ascension will be second only to Elly’s this season. He was a first round pick and the 14th pick overall. For whatever reason, it did not work for him in Cleveland and he finds himself here. The kid is very, very good. I think he is our right fielder for the future. He is only 25. The Reds are on the cusp of an extended run if they can figure out the pitching. And it appears India is probably the odd man out, which is a shame. He has helped create the current culture with his “intangibles”. And part of me remembers the Reds moving on from the present Tony Perez for the future Dan Driessan and how that worked out …

        I believe it was Joni Mitchell who sang, “don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you got till it’s gone …”

    • Reaganspad

      Look, if this is between Newman and CES, he can definitely take Newman’s DH starts. Flexibility at 3rd includes Steer, Senzel and EDLC. Newman is a 4th 3rd baseman and a 3rd SS. He has been pressed into service as a RH DH. CES would be an upgrade and you have coverage.

      Now Newman is a luxury, more than a 3rd catcher.

      I would be shopping Newman now to a team who has a hole. He has become Farmer without the power. Serviceable but at a position the Reds seem to have covered in the system.

      • wkuchad

        Newman serves a purpose on this team (multiple purposes). The third catcher no longer does.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Newman has only been DH 4 times, out of 90 games. You are going to move a minor leaguer to the majors for 4 games? It would be better for him to stay in the minors and keep his skills up.

        I already stated how if you have Votto and CES split time between 1st and DH, that would mean you are taking time from Steer. What has Steer done to have his time taken by a minor leaguer?

        So, play Steer more at LF and 3rd, the other places he’s been playing? Then, what has Benson and Elly done to have their time taken by a minor leaguer effectively.

        At best, you are talking about have Steer take Newman’s spot, though Steer hasn’t played 2nd nor SS since the minors. So, again, what has Steer done to have his time cut by a minor leaguer?

        It all comes down to the FO doing the 3 C deal. They were planning for Tyler to play some time at 1st and DH to get his bat into the lineup, thus needing 2 other C’s. Thus, I believe CES was the last one out of ST. But, then, Bell, being the one who decides who plays and where, seemingly abandoned that idea with Tyler. But, then, even if we go to 2 C’s now, with the emergence of Votto at first now, still leaves pretty much no role for CES to go into with this team. Oh, he can get playing time. But, any playing time will be taking time from others who don’t deserve to have their time cut.

        Let CES stay in the minors where he can play full-time, to keep his skills up. He will be fine.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Getting CES up here is no problem. Even finding him playing time would be no problem. At the expense of other players who haven’t done anything to have their time cut for a minor leaguer? That’s the problem.

      • bug

        Yes, wkuchad!!! You are correct. Jmo. We have no use for Casali. But Newman has played well with the Reds. It’s simple. Send Casali down and bring up CES. We are waiting too long to bring him up,..like we waited too long to bring up McLain, Elly and Abbott. If those three had been up all year instead of Myers, etc., then we would not be currently struggling to hold on to first place. No doubt about that. This is a whole new team with the youth. Each and evry game is important, and will be deciding factors whether we make the play-offs at the end of the year or not. Why delay any longer? Bring CES up. The fans knew that McLain and Elly and Abbott should have been brought up long before management realized it. Management did not think we could compete THIS YEAR,..that is, until after AFTER they brought them up and saw what they could do. We are also waiting too long to bring CES up. We could use some of his HRs up here that he is wasting down there. Again,..jmo. Go Reds!!!

  4. Doc

    Since the Reds’ 7-15 start they have played at a 99-100 win pace, yet people still think they know how to do better. Boggles the mind. Nothing Doug said in his article, except for the news of two HR, is anything that hasn’t been said ad nauseam for the last two months, yet the Reds just keep on winning. CES, no matter how good he is and assuming he transitions smoothly to MLB would not likely have made this team one win better. They have been miraculous despite a cobbled together pitching staff.

    Kudos to the entire Reds organization for a delightful and entertaining stretch of baseball leading to the AS break. Can’t wait for Greene and Lodolo to get back as their getting seasoning and experience is the next step toward a strong winning stretch in 2024 and beyond. Whatever the Reds do this year is gravy since this success was totally unexpected by essentially everyone on RLN, and probably in Cincinnati in general, judging by the attendance during the first 2-3 weeks of the season.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      With what you said, I will expand.

      Exactly. What the Reds priority needs to be is pitching. Getting CES up here simply isn’t necessary.

      • wkuchad

        I guess I agree it isn’t necessary, but why not do it if it makes the team better.

        Guys will need days off. This will give the opportunity for days off but still have no holes in the lineup.

      • Reaganspad

        Well, it wasn’t necessary to bring up McLain orEDLC using that logic because they had Newman.

        But each of those moves mad the team better.

        CES has had a better year at AAA than either of them. Yes he is one dimensional, but that is now a NL position

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        For WKU

        “Guys will need days off”

        Yes. But, then, that would make CES a part-timer. Plus, CES can only play DH and 1st. Meaning others are going to have to change positions, maybe positions they have never played, just for a minor leaguer. That may not necessarily make a team better.

        For Reagan

        “Well, it wasn’t necessary to bring up McLain orEDLC using that logic”

        It wasn’t necessary to call up McLain, in order to send Barrero down? That move didn’t make the Reds a better team? Really? So, Barrero didn’t deserve to have his time cut?

        With Senzel and Newman essentially platooning at 3rd base from late April through early June, they didn’t deserve to have their time cut? It wouldn’t have made the Reds a better team by bringing up Elly to take over 3rd? Really?

      • greenmtred

        Before the Reds brought McClain and EDLC up, they weren’t winning. They are winning now, and their Achilles’ heel is pitching, not hitting, so I see the argument against bringing him up. I also see the argument that he–and hopefully the Reds–will benefit from exposure to MLB. For all of his accomplishments at AAA, nobody knows with certainty that he can translate that success to MLB, and it would be good to get an inkling before too many bridges are burned. There’s a reason they haven’t brought him up yet and the success of the young players makes me suspect that Krall and co. know what they’re doing.

      • Indy Red Man

        You’re a 1 man law firm on CES. Is Newman paying you a fee? As great as Joey is feeling, he still had a pathetic at-bat vs a lefty yesterday or Friday?

        Our lineup is not maximized vs lefties. You’ll see it today and you’ll see it every time vs lhp until they call CES up. End of discussion

      • Indy Red Man

        Steer also gives Bell the flexibility to play CES vs righties whenever he wants. This isn’t really debatable, but you’ll write a book about it anyway

        CES>Newman
        CES>Stephenson as DH

        Friedl is also a little guy that regularly bangs into walls with Weaver & the scrub crew starters. He could rest quite a bit vs lhp with Senzel in CF

      • Indy Red Man

        Actually its not even Newman. Its CES vs Casali. Casali is so pointless I forget about him

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Again, getting CES up here isn’t the problem. Plenty of ways that can be handled. Finding CES playing time up here isn’t the problem. That can be done.

        The problem is, finding that playing time for CES is going to take time from others. Do they necessarily deserve to have their time cut just for a minor leaguer?

        “Everyone needs a day off here and there”. And, if CES could do that, I would think he would have been up here since day 1. But, he can’t play multiple positions. “So, make it work with the other players.” Why have other players have to take days off, having their time cut, for a minor leaguer, where as a result we may be playing guys out of position as well.

        It would end up literally being Calculus that I don’t think anyone would want to go through, players as well as the coaches.

      • Ted Alfred

        And again you’re undervaluing the mentorship value of Joey Votto on CES and and his development and Votto is only going to be here for a short while longer. I’m just going to vehemently agree to disagree on this

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        The value of Votto’s mentorship vs the sacrifice of playing time for other players who don’t deserve to have their playing time sacrificed for a minor leaguer. Hmmm. . .

      • bug

        I concur with everything you say here, Indy Red Man. All of it. Bring CES up,..send Casali down. Platoon. The sooner, the better. Jmo. Casali is the only weak link on the team. And CES is a major player. Simple as that.

      • Melvin

        Steve – You keep talking about others losing playing time. So “others” get a day off from starting every 9th game. What’s the big deal? David Bell basically does this anyway. With CES as an option he can afford to and probably should.

  5. Kevin Patrick

    It would be so interesting to be a fly on the wall in the front office. I’m sure there are trade scenarios that include one of our current infielders on the major league roster. We tend to think that those scenarios would only include Kevin Newman, Nick Senzel, or even India…perhaps a catcher. When a guy like Encarnacion-Strand lurks in the minors, I’m sure there are a lot of possible ways to get him up without destroying the club. Its the return that worries me. It is hard to imagine what could come back to the Reds that I would like…here’s the catch…when I already like everyone on the roster. Its easy to sit here and say trade depth for pitching. The likelihood of the return player being someone I like increases the likelihood the Reds traded somebody I really like to get him. If one starts imagining Steer, McClain, Stephenson, India, Benson on the table…things open up for Encarnacion Strand. I’m too chicken shit to take that kind of risk. The way Votto is hitting right now, I don’t want to see him with fewer opportunities to field and hit. What is happening now is frankly movie script kind of stuff. Those that have bigger coconuts than me may end up making a trade to make the room. In doing so, that person leaves themselves incredible vulnerable to criticism.

  6. Oldtimer

    Irony. The 2023 Reds are the hottest team in MLB right now, or close to it.

    2023 Reds have team OPS+ of 99 and team ERA+ of 98.

    Out of 12 Reds with most WAR this year, 7 are P.

    2023 Reds and 2023 Astros have the same 50-40 record now.

    The Reds have a homestand from July 14 to 24 after ASG. Can sprint further ahead in NL Central with those games,

  7. JaxDan

    What I see happening with Steer is AFTER the season India gets traded, Steer is FT 3B, Elly to SS, McLain to 2B , CES at 1B and Joey showing he can still play and be the DH in 24 against RH pitching and an unknown RH bat against lefties.

    Right now I would let Casali go and bring CES up and try to get him 10 at bats a week to ease him in playing multiple positions giving regulars a rest.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      I just wouldn’t do that. It could end up costing us a game defensively.

    • Oldtimer

      Most of the Reds ROY players got traded. Robinson 1956. NOT Rose 1963. Helms 1966. NOT Bench 1968. Zachry 1976. Sabo 1988. Williamson (I forget which year).

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      Oh, I’d definitely consider trading India. I wouldn’t consider moving CES all around to different positions just to get him playing time up here.

      • Oldtimer

        CES only plays two (1B and 3B) or three (DH) if you consider that a position. Reds have 13 players on roster who could play DH.

      • Bill Bittner

        The real problem here is that the only two starters that can play RF are Fraley and Benson, both left-handed bats. Looking at their splits in MLB as well as Milb, they both should be be getting a rest against left-handed pitching, creating a possibility to get CES more playing time at 1b or DH, but no other starter including Steer has played RF. The only other player that can play RF is Senzel. A soft-platoon the rest of the season would not be a horrible thing. Something would have to shake in the off-season: the trade of India. Stephenson and Maile share catching duty; No DH for Stephenson.

    • Ted Alfred

      Exactly as I see it also…well said

  8. west larry

    Need a left-handed reliever redleg nation. Amir Garrett was just dfa’d.

    • JB WV

      We need a good lefty reliever. Even when he was effective Garrett had control issues. Keep looking

    • Bill

      Keep Garrett far away from this team. I was a big fan at first, but after that Pirates fight he seemed to be more concerned with getting attention than playing baseball. People were throwing tantrums about Votto returning and ruining team chemistry, Garrett is exactly the type of guy the ruins team chemistry

      • MBS

        Gotta disagree, Garrett would fit in with this team very well. I never recalled 1 time where he was a clubhouse issue. He defended his team like no other, except for maybe Puig, but I never heard he was a cancer etc.

      • Bill

        Against the Pirates, yes he defended the team. After that he was constantly starting fights and his pitching declined. It was no longer defending the team it was more like a desperate cry for attention. Garrett was all about Garrett, this current group is about the team. I group Garrett with guys like Pham, not worth the trouble they bring. Yes they are willing to fight anyone at anytime, which is great if you are playing Clint Hurdle teams. Overall they are just a distraction who cause problems

    • Soto

      I refuse to resurrect the ‘dead horse’ but I will say this. Stats never tell the whole story but they also do not lie. The stats are pretty clear. Rotating your DH to rest players is a very inefficient use of the DH. Most every day position players do not hit that well on days that they are asked to DH. (This would be a great bit of statistics for Stock to dive into.) It’s just too weird and out of their normal routine. The Reds could gain a huge statistical advantage over other teams by doing what AL teams figured out a long time ago. You take a power hitter that is slow or a weak defender and you make him you everyday DH. (Think Edgar Martinez or Big Papi) You give guys true days off when you rotate your position players and also gain really good late game pinch hitting options to maximize match-ups. The Reds have enough positional flexibility that they could do that easily. I refuse to say his name until he is called up, but I will say this. DH.. DH… DH…. DH etc, etc, etc!!!

      • Jim Walker

        Amen and +10K. Nothing more to add.

    • Ted Alfred

      That could a good pickup. You can get him for nothing and he knows the Reds Clubhouse and a lot of the players. If he sucks you just let him go but not long ago he had really good stuff

  9. JB WV

    CES is a masher. Can’t wait to see him up. Great problem to have, who loses ABs? Front office has the AS break to take a deep breath and figure things out. I trust Krall

  10. Klugo

    No room for him up here. Votto is too important to this team right now. Best case scenario would probably be to trade Votto in the winter.

    • Pete

      I Newman is the DH in today. Enough said. Seems to me there is room. To make matters even more confusing, he is also leading off. Yes, I know they win in spite of him, but make no mistake it is certainly in spite of him. Miraculously, they also win in spite of Weaver to!

      • Soto

        I like Newman and I think he has value, but I agree 1000%. Stupid is what stupid does. Sometimes Bell just tries to outsmart himself.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Agreed. Remember that, “winning in spite of”, not “winning because of”.

      • greenmtred

        Anybody recall how many games the Reds have lost when Newman led off?

      • greenmtred

        Is that double he just hit in the “in spite of” category?

    • west larry

      Votto has a full no trade clause-ten years with the same team.

      • JB WV

        Yep. And besides that he’s finally playing on an exciting, can we say contending team? After a decade of more or less drudgery, he has a chance to go to the playoffs as a division champ. Joey aint goin nowhere.

    • Ted Alfred

      I think trading Votto would be an extreme disservice to a guy who’s been with this organization his whole life and now finally has a decent team to play on… AND is playing well. I hope he keeps playing great in the second half and they pay him the club option in 2024 and he goes out as he deserves…World Series Champion. And I’m confident he and CES can co-exist very productively for the team for 1.5 years.

  11. MBS

    It does get a bit trickier with Votto mashing, but there is still great playing time for CES up here.

    C Stephenson 6/9 Maile 3/9
    DH Votto 6/9 CES 2/9 India 1/9
    1B Steer 8/9 Votto 1/9
    2B India 7/9 McLain 2/9
    SS McLain 6/9 EDLC 3/9
    3B EDLC 5/9 CES 4/9
    RF Fraley 7/9 Fairchild 2/9
    CF Friedl 8/9 Fairchild 1/9
    LF Benson 7/9 Senzel 2/9

    All of your big boys in the infield get 8/9 or pacing a 144 game season, Votto would be 7/9 pacing a 126 game season CES 6/9 pacing 108 game season.

    You could also add OF play to CES/Steer at the expense of Fairchild or Senzel to bump up CES’s and Votto’s overall playing time, but I like better defenders in the OF.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      Again, CES isn’t going to play 3rd base up here. A fielding % of 0.895.

      To put it in perspective possibly, Edwin Encarnacion played 3rd for us for a while. He couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with a thrown baseball at 90 feet, much less first base. We would say “play him at first”, but we had Votto”. So, we traded him to Toronto. There, he found success as a DH and playing part-time first. His defensive play was a main reason we traded him. His 3rd base fielding %? Over 0.900 the entire time with the Reds. And, CES isn’t even up to that.

      • Soto

        The DH is now a position in baseball. Embrace it and it will improve your life. lol!

      • MBS

        I think your dissecting this too much. Put Steer at 3B for those games, Votto takes over Steers advocated 1B time, and CES grabs Votto’s advocates DH time.

        This isn’t a set in stone plan, just 1 way of many ways to show there is enough playing time to have your best players helping the club win.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        At the expense of who? “Put Steer at 3rd for those game”? What did Elly do to have his playing time cut, for a minor leaguer who can’t field 3rd base?

        Even DH, alright, that takes time from mostly Stephenson, Steer, and Votto it looks like. So, what did they do to deserve their playing time cut for a minor leaguer?

      • Ted Alfred

        And again I’m pretty sure Doug has said his felding percentage in effectiveness as an infielder has improved drastically since the middle of last year, which you keep not giving any credence to for some reason…gee I wonder why? Maybe because those facts do not bolster your argument?

        If I am not remembering Doug’s comments correctly then I will apologize in advance, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen that written somewhere in the last week or two as to what Doug said about CES fielding abilities or lack thereof

      • Tom Diesman

        What is an average minor league 3B FLD%? What is Encarnacion-Strand’s FLD% since his rough 55 G in A+ in 2022?

      • greenmtred

        Good grief, Steve. You keep trotting out his fielding pct. after multiple people have pointed out that he has dramatically improved. Players–particularly young players–can learn and get better. EDLC was terrible for awhile when he first arrived in AAA.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      CES in the OF makes even less sense. It would make more sense to play Steer and Senzel in the OF.

      • MBS

        I don’t disagree that’s why I said “ but I like better defenders in the OF.” I only added that caveat to show that you could push up extra starts for CES and Votto if needed.

  12. Soto

    Oh, and in case anyone forgot. In spring training one of the Reds hit 556 and slugged 1.192, that’s slugging, not ops. I understand service time manipulation, but I have always been a believer in meritocracy. If you perform on the field and in practice you earn opportunities. It makes me wonder what the Reds front office knows that we don’t… Attitude, work ethic, personality, health? There has to be something because the lack of a promotion paired with the in game performance doesn’t match-up. It’s illogical.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      Now, that is a definite argument. Out of ST, I felt that CES deserved a spot on the team. But, the FO decided to go with 3 C’s, in order to get Tyler’s bat in the lineup some more, by playing some first base. That I could agree with. I believe Tyler’s bat was the best returning bat we had.

      Bell kept with that for one month, then abandoned it. Was that the FO’s fault? I wouldn’t say so. At worst, one could say it was the FO’s fault because Tyler was trying to keep 1st base, C, and DH separate.

      • Soto

        I agree that it was logical to try to protect an important cog like Stephenson out of Spring Training, but it is well past time to move on from the three catchers experiment. It’s simply not worth it. No need to over think it. Just put your best roster out there and roll onto a central division championship.

    • greenmtred

      Spring training stats should be taken with more salt–much more salt–than your doctor would think wise. He was batting against AAAA pitchers and MLB pitchers who were getting into pitching shape and not bearing down. Still impressive, yes, but it didn’t mean that he had nothing to work on.

      • Soto

        But so was everyone else. He hit better than anyone in all of baseball in spring training. Yes, it was spring training, but it was the same pitchers that everyone else was hitting against. Was there anyone else in all of baseball that slugged 1.192 and hit 556?

  13. Steve Schoenbaechler

    The Reds lineups just came out (no pitcher posted yet). I will give you one guess who’s leading off with a Miley on the mound? And, I will give you one guess who is in the 9 hole?

  14. Eddiek957

    Royals DFA’d Amir Garrett. He’s left handed and can’t be worse than most of the relievers in Louisville. His control has been getting worse since the trade to Kansas City. You never know when a reliever will have a revival. He passes through waivers I’d like to see the Reds offer a minor league contract

    • Jim Walker

      Reds have an open 40 man slot. Yesterday’s reliever de jour, Michael Mariot, has been DFA to open a 26 man slot for today’s starting pitcher, Ben Lively.

  15. MBS

    Amir Garrett DFA’d by KC, I say trade for him and Barlow to add to our pen. Barlow is a closer, and would be huge, plus we need another Lefty.

    • Oldtimer

      Trade who? It would take two or three good prospects for their closer.

      Reds already have a closer. You don’t need two.

  16. Eddiek957

    I think there is a good possibility Amir would pass through waivers. He losses appeal to me if it would cost us a prospect plus we would have to pick up his remaining salary which is like 1.35 million

    • Jim Walker

      The Reds decision probably comes down to whether they have a strong feeling Garrett is likely to be a positive addition to their pen.

      The Royals are looking at getting nothing in return and paying out the ~$1.35m if he clears waivers. It shouldn’t take much of a lottery choice “prospect” to pry him away from them. For the $1.35m off their books, KC might even throw in a return lottery class choice.

  17. Votto4life

    Joey Votto’s career with the Reds is likely to end in about 100 days. CES will hopefully be with the Reds another 5 or 6 years. It will all work out.

    • Stock

      I think Joey Votto will be a Red in 2024.

  18. Hanawi

    CES for Newman is an obvious move. They play basically the same positions and Newman’s flexibility to play SS is no longer needed.

    • Stock

      Flipping the Roles of CES and Newman is not an option.

      1. Newman has an OPS of .897 vs. LHP so you don’t gain much with CES.
      2. You don’t bring up a prospect to be a short side platoon.

      • Hanawi

        And yet Newman still has 50 more at bats against righties than lefties.

      • Stock

        Let me clarify my second statement. Newman has not started a game vs. a RHSP for the last three weeks. I agree that when the heart of the lineup was Newman, Vossler, Senzel, Barrero and Myers Newman did play everyday.

        But things have changed in the last month. The Reds promoted EDLC a month ago. Then Joey Votto joined the team 3 weeks ago. In the last three weeks Newman has not started a game vs. a RHP. He just doesn’t do it. If you don’t start a single game vs. a RHSP in 3 weeks you are a short side platoon player. You and oldschool can play with full year stats all you want.

        I am excited about the current team. Not a team in which Vossler was getting everyday AB. You can avoid the truth on here and throw out full season stats. However, the true Reds fans know the truth. Anyone who follows this team closely (and that includes everyone who is on this site) know that Senzel and Newman have become short side platoon players and only start when a LHP starts.

      • Hanawi

        I’m on here every day. Newman and Senzel are short-side platoon players because neither can hit righties at all. There’s no reason to play them against RHP, but both have gotten plenty of at bats against RHP relievers the last couple of weeks. If you can replace them with someone that can hit both RHP and LHP, then your argument makes no sense. And it keeps the Reds from getting into unfavorable matchups with their platoon-only players at the end of games, which has happened multiple times lately.

  19. Eddiek957

    I don’t think CES to Newman is valid. Newman is a vet and for him to assume a bench role is easier than it would be for a younger player. Nice problem to have good players in our upper minors

    • Hanawi

      Keeping worse players on your roster weakens your team. They can find regular at bats for CES just like they do for Newman.

      • Stock

        Newman has 14 AB the last 2 weeks. I would not call that regular at bats. He only starts when a LHP starts.

      • Hanawi

        They could certainly get CES more. Newman is not good, so no need to get him more at bats. There would be incentive to get CES at bats. I don’t have a lot of faith in Bell to do that, but there is no reason whatsoever to keep Newman on the team anymore.

  20. Stock

    I am with Steve 100%. Great posts Steve. I will add the following.

    1. We don’t know if CES’s success in AAA will translate to the majors. It did for McLain, EDLC and Steer. It took a try last year with Cleveland and another with Cincinnati this year before it worked for Benson in his third attempt. It did not work with Barrero. It took time to work Fraley and Friedl. It never worked for Aquino (except one super human month). This team is in the playoff hunt. Why take AB from those performing for a prospect we don’t know about.

    2. As Steve points out finding a roster spot is not a problem. Finding playing time is a problem and he needs to play at least 4 or 5 days a week if he is called up.

    3. Players who are better than CES and should not be benched to give CES playing time. Vs. RHP: Votto, Steer, McLain, EDLC, Fraley, Friedl, Benson. Vs. LHP Steer, McLain, EDLC, Senzel, Friedl, Newman. Players you can’t bench even though CES may have a better bat: India. This leaves the potential for one spot as a LH platoon. You don’t bring up a prospect to be a short side platoon.

    4. Should the Reds go with MBS’s strategy and bench EDLC, McLain, Steer, India and Friedl once every week and a half to give CES enough AB to make it worthwhile? I say no. India has played every game this year. Maybe double that. 1 game off every three weeks is plenty. and suddenly CES is playing so infrequently that he is better off to develop in AAA.

    5. Does CES benefit from playing on the same team as Votto? Yes but not as much as playing every day in AAA.

    An injury will happen and at that time CES should be brought up.

    • Hanawi

      Newman had a .673 OPS in June despite mostly playing against LHP. He’s hit 3 HRs on the year. Not sure why people are assuming he is better than CES, even against LHP. And he still ends up facing a bunch of righties. CES has almost no split difference in AAA right now.

      Just a game ago, the Reds had to use Senzel as a PH with 2 out and the bases loaded against an elite RHP closer. The result was unsurprising.

      • MBS

        @Han, exactly, Newman is fine, but CES is great, albeit in AAA, and team could use another bat. The arguments against promoting CES are weak. I haven’t heard one that amounts to anything of substance.

        @Stock’s biggest beef is players get 18 days off a year instead of 12. That’s a big nothing burger, don’t promote your best AAA player because over the corse of a season your other players get an extra day off a month?

    • MBS

      The Reds are already basically doing a similar plan. India is the most glaring exception to getting time off, that’s probably 1 of the reasons he’s not doing as well as the others. Fraley, Benson, and Friedl are all rotating. Elly covers SS when McLain covers 2B. The biggest difference between what I have and what the Reds have, is CES takes over Newmans playing time.

      1 day off out of 9 games is a 144 games a year, only 18 days off. That is not only an acceptable amount of playing time, but an ideal amount of playing time. Guys get hit by fastballs, slide into and get slid into, guys bounce off outfield walls, or dive into the stands like Elly did the other day. Young or not their bodies need time to recover over a long season.

  21. Ron

    C Stephenson (Maile gets spot starts)
    1B Votto
    2B India (Newman gets spot starts)
    SS McLain
    3B De La Cruz
    LF Benson (Steer against lefties)
    CF Friedl
    RF Fraley (Senzel against lefties)
    DH Steer (CES starts at DH against lefty starters with Steer moving to LF) CES comes off the bench against lefty relievers. Casali released.

    Don’t see why this can’t work.

    • MK

      Defense is better with Steer at first m, Votto at DH.

  22. MK

    Amir Garrett DFAed today. Would like to see Reds take a chance on him, try to stretch him out at Louisville to see if he can help as a starter. Would be a low risk move for a guy with a great arm. Can always use another lefty in pen for stretch drive if starting doesn’t work.