Tomorrow has become a dirty word around some corners of Redleg Nation. All the Tomorrows on the horizon eventually turn into Todays, but it’s each Today that all anyone cares about. Get it now. It’s the famous Stanford Marshmallow Test in action. Offer a child a marshmallow to eat right now, or offer them two if they wait 15 minutes—and see who makes the better choice.

A day on social media as the trade deadline wound down saw the adult version of The Marshmallow Test play out. As the sand poured through the hourglass, the angst and recriminations rose, the GET SOMEBODY argument revolved around this idea:

“This opportunity, this season, may never come around again.”

Alas, they are of a Shakespearian mind, their tomorrows and tomorrows creeping in its petty gameday pace from game to dusty game, to the last recorded out. And all those yesterdays, promised by bud-lighted fools, those prospect huggers strutting and fretting across another squandered baseball season’s stage, are fandom’s idiots, full of tweets and comments, signifying nothing but another lost handful of magic beans. Tomorrow is but a dream. Today is all.

I’m not here to make fun of this sentiment, but rather to point out it exists, and by recognizing it, understanding its genesis. For these are our fellow Reds fans. We all ache for the same outcome.

This philosophy is born of years of losing and failed rebuilds. It’s viewpoint shared by fans who have never seen a playoff series win. And even if they were alive when Todd Benzinger drifted into both foul territory and Reds history, they were likely wearing pajamas with the feet in them, happy to be up past their bedtime.

For many, prospects are just players who have never done anything on the mainstage. They are tools for acquiring proven major league talent. Matt McLain, Elly De La Cruz, and Andrew Abbott have quieted that widely-held proclamation a bit, but it has the ring of truth to it in the right context. For the Dodgers, prospects are more easily relinquished than they are for teams forced to build not just their core, but a substantial part of the their rosters on cheap, controllable home-grown talent.

Teams with unlimited bank can have it both ways, as the New York Mets are doing right now. They’ve traded from their farm, spent ungodly sums on stars who haven’t thus far paid owner Steve Cohen back for his generosity—and now they are replenishing their system by paying a ridiculous amount of Justin Verlander’s contract in return for valuable prospect ducats.

Having it both ways indeed; and doing it all with—you guessed it—money. Lots of it.

Thus, the Panic Philosophy, the belief the Reds need to take the shot that may never come round again, is exactly the strategy the big market front offices are hoping their little brothers adopt. Take your shot. We’ll take your young talent. And when you cannot re-sign that rental, we’ll buy him back in the off-season. We’ll take everything. That’s what the Yankees did when they traded Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs for coveted prospect Gleyber Torres, then re-signed free-agent Chappy for $80M. Yes, the Cubs did get their WS rings, but New York used a down season to measurably improve themselves in both current and future talent without costing themselves anything but $$$.

We have forgotten this began as a serious rebuilding season. And while the ball has indeed been bouncing their way, the one- and two-run wins being pushed to the Reds’ side of the abacus, their third order win percentage suggests they are likely to regress. And while some will wave off run differential as meaningless, I would respectfully disagree. Moreover, they are a poor defensive team. Projections had this team winning fewer than 70 games this season, yet another indication the Reds may be playing somewhat over their heads. This is an awful thing to suggest, especially at the very moment they sit in first place. It may anger some. But it must be contemplated.

There’s a belief out there that just getting that Golden Ticket to October gives you a chance at getting to a World Series and maybe winning it all. And it certainly does. But how much of a chance may be the better question. The 2010 team was a year early and by all measure a better lineup and pitching staff top to bottom. Yet, they were summarily and embarrassingly bounced by the Phillies. In 2011 they fell back dramatically, but rebounded in terrific fashion in 2012, giving the lie to the claim that a season like this may never come again. Still, 2012 and 2013 bought the Reds early exits again. All this should be a reminder just how tough it can be to advance and that surely must be measured against what you may have to give up to get your ticket stamped for one or two chances at the big, stuffed animal at the fair.

For some, the Reds front office can do no right. Ownership has poisoned the well to the point that nothing is good enough. And while the failure to bring in help was likely a function of 70% of the league’s front offices being within striking distance of a wildcard spot on August 1st and a dearth of difference-makers available—fans just don’t want to hear it. The Reds front office has long been criticized for not having a plan; and now that they have one and are sticking to it, it remains too little for a playoff starved fan base to swallow.

Mo makes a point echoed by many. The issue for me is just how much pitching help the Reds need. My guess is the front office decided that the kind of help that would seriously move the needle for both the rotation and the bullpen and make more than a brief postseason appearance would indeed substantially harm prospect depth, if not torpedo it. The last recent Reds postseason team had no depth. The Reds are finally developing depth and they just might need every bit of it. If stars such as former MVP Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich can go into seasons-long funks, is it unreasonable to want to have insurance for the young, unproven stars the Reds have produced. Is Christian Encarnacion-Strand a sure thing? Will Jonathan India live up to his rookie year going forward? Will there be injuries? Of course, there will. Meanwhile, holes are being filled by platooning because the Reds don’t have enough established players to hit from both sides of the plate.

Meanwhile, a fan base turned its playoff starved eyes to Nick Krall and his front office and were rebuffed in favor of Tomorrow. Don’t they understand that Today is all?

106 Responses

  1. Klugo

    Stay the course. Spend the money in the off-season. (Yeah, I know – fat chance, but that’s what they should do. Free agency, not trade deadlines.

    • J

      The problem, at least for fans like me, is that it’s not an either/or situation. They could easily have done both. They could have made a trade for a relatively inexpensive young pitcher (and had him for a few years at relatively little cost) or an expensive rental who’s off the books at the end of the year. Either way, they could also afford to sign a big name free agent to a multi-year deal. There’s no reason to think in terms of “we can only do one thing to improve the team.”

      • greenmtred

        I also don’t think that it’s necessarily either/or, but I’m not at all convinced that they had any real shot at trading for pitchers who would make a real difference, aside from Moll, who fills a real need and might. The problem I see with depleting the prospects is that we really don’t know who they are yet, even the ones upon whom the team’s unexpected success is built. The reason, I believe, that The Plan is what it is–acquire lots of very promising prospects–is that ownership wouldn’t spend enough money to build the team through free-agent acquisition and big trades for top players. So the Reds are sticking with The Plan, a gamble to be sure, but a gamble that has so far looked worth taking.

      • CI3J

        The problem is, both of those moves cost prospects, and there’s no guarantee they would make a difference.

        Let’s say you give up Marte and Collier to get someone like Verlander. Ok, great, the Reds make the playoffs, lose in the 1st round, then Verlander leaves and you still lost Marte and Collier. Was it worth it? Especially when the Reds are on track to make the playoffs even without Verlander?

        Trading for a young, controllable starting pitcher who is actually good would cost a king’s ransom in the middle of a season. The Reds already have a lot of in-house pitching talent that may yet pan out. Are you willing to decimate the farm system for a pitcher that may not be as good as what the Reds already have?

        The Reds have gotten to where they are by making shrewd trades and drafting and developing smartly. They take the prospect hauls, they don’t give up the prospect hauls. This strategy seems to be working, and I think the Reds should stick to it.

        If the Reds really think they need another starter (which, again, I’m not sure they do), there will be plenty of decent free agents to choose from in the offseason, and the Reds should have some money to play with due to Votto, Moose, and Griffey (finally!) coming off the books.

        This Reds team is still not quite ready. They are too young and inexperienced, and they seem to be cracking a bit under the pressure. But they are gaining valuable experience in the meantime. Next year these young players should be even better, and internal pitching options should be healthier.

        The target was always 2024. Believe in this team, they are not a flash in the pan. They are good, and they are going to continue to be good for the foreseeable future. Give them a little longer to reach their true potential.

      • Brian Rutherford

        @CI3J – Great post agree on most of what you said here

      • greenmtred

        Yes, Cl3J, great post, great summation.

      • J

        There’s no way I would agree with trading a top prospect for a two month rental if you’re the current Reds. That’s not the sort of deal I was ever advocating. I was in favor of the sort of deal that gets you a DECENT starting pitcher — not an rental ace — for two or three lower-level prospects. Say, your #10 and #17 and #28 prospects for a legit #4 starter with a year or two left on his contract. And I wanted it to happen a month ago, not a couple days ago.

        For example, the Reds traded Mahle (who was supposed to be more like a #2/3 starter for the Twins, not a #4/5) with a year left on his contract, and in return they got the Twins’ #7, #18, and #23 prospects. It so happens that two of the guys they got in that deal (especially #23) have been surprisingly good, and the Reds flipped the other guy for Benson, and Mahle obviously got hurt, but that’s the sort of gamble you have to take if you’re trying to make the playoffs. Sometimes you lose these kinds of trades, but it still makes sense to make them. The Reds should have traded their #10 and #18 and #28 prospects for a decent pitcher. (I have no idea who those prospects were at the time.) Even if they “lost” the deal, it wouldn’t be “mortgaging the future,” and it would have given this team a much better chance of making the playoffs and possibly advancing.

        I just can’t believe there wasn’t a single team in baseball that would have been willing to structure some sort of reasonable deal for a #4 starter. Not one team? For over a month? I just don’t believe the “prices were too high” stories. Sellers had incentives to sell, just as buyers had incentives to buy. Deals could have been made.

      • greenmtred

        Fair enough, J, and a good summation. I take your point.

      • Steve

        Who was going to do that? What team would trade quality controllable pitching for prospects. None

      • BK

        @J, which team made the trade you wanted the Reds to make?

      • Daniel Kals

        @CI3J Just going to play devil’s advocate here. You suggest Marte and Collier in your hypothetical. Okay. So, it’s Marte and Collier who are going to help us win the World Series in 2024, and are thus untouchable? If not 2024, which year would those two players make it to the big leagues, and help us win the World Series, and who will still be on the team then? Votto? India? Fraley? Gibaut? If they are gone, who are their replacements that are going to help us win the World Series in 2025 or 2026, or whatever year is the golden target?

        The question many of us who have been waiting patiently since 1990 have is: Which year is the year? Is it in fact 2024? If so, I don’t think Collier would be helping us then. Perhaps Marte, yes, but you have to give up something to get a Verlander or Dylan Cease.

        The Reds have an abundance of infield prospects in the organization. This is akin to a wealthy person having 10 million in their bank account, and deciding to take a 1 million dollar vacation this year instead of saving that million for a future year. Sometimes, you take the vacation. And yes, you lose the 1 million dollars if the vacation doesn’t turn out great. But what good is being wealthy… or infielder prospect rich… if you don’t ever use that wealth? I know you’re thinking, well, we can use that wealth on the actual field. But I ask again, which year will that be, who will be the players, and therefore who is totally untouchable?

        This is a discussion that obviously requires specifics, which Krall et al never really give. They say they have a plan, are sticking to the plan of growing homegrown talent… but they don’t ever say which names are untouchable. If Marte, Arroyo, Collier, Steer, McLain, De La Cruz, and CES are untouchable, then let’s have an actual discussion about how those specific players will fit in the infield in 202whatever. And how that is the superior choice… saving those guys and moving a number of them to the outfield… over trying to win this year by getting a staff ace for the playoff run.

      • Robert Thomas Reeves

        No pitcher that we’d wanted were 1) not going to agree to come to the Reds – or- 2) wanted top prospects who are likely part of the winning window of the next several years.

        Krall was a genius last year and he was a genius this year.

    • TJ

      @Klugo. Yep totally agree. Could the Reds have gone the rental route? Yes. Would that have guaranteed them a world series or playoff spot? No. Then you just gave up some of the Reds youth for nothing. Reds can sign free agents or even trade for players in the off-season. Stay the course. Reinforcements are on the way

      • Colorado Red

        Would not have minded the rental route for 2 or 3, lower level prospects. Lets say Allen and Acosta.
        Like the rest of us, do not want to see the farm.
        Still think we could have gotten a bit more relief help (Honeywell?)

  2. Rednat

    the “Ray’s way” system that the reds are engaged in now reminds me of the mid major college basketball programs of the 80’s and 90’s. we will have these young players for 4 years (give or take a year), then they graduate on to the yankees and redsox. And the newer crop of youngsters get their turn. the problem with this system is (like my Xavier Musketeers who can never make it past the elite 8) that it is nearly impossible to “go all the way”. you are always one or two players short.

    • greenmtred

      But 29 teams are every year(lacking enough good players to win the WS), and most of them try to succeed by acquiring established talent.

    • Steve

      But they play exiting competitive ball in both cases

  3. Jim Delaney

    Reds operate as a small market team and ownership considers they are a non profit. They havea surprising chance to win this season thanks to some rookies who won’t be here in 6 years because the Reds won’t pay them. Reds have a loaded farm system right now. They could have easily acquired a starter (Lance Lynn), and a long man like Ryan Yarborough and wouldn’t have destroyed there farm system. I know Lynn had a 6 plus ERA but he is a veteran who throws a lot of innings. He just got a win for Dodgers throwing 7 innings. Reds don’t have veteran long reliever. They currently are using 8 to 9 one
    inning short relievers. The front office was looking to acquire pitching that wasn’t rentals and looking to deal India and fringe prospects. Teams the Reds spoke to about trading non rental pitchers wanted a lot more than India and fringe. Now whether the GM was informed not to take on rental contracts because ownership wouldn’t agree to add to the payroll is a question ownership should be forced to answer. We are talking about an ownership group informing the Rosie Reds they are a non profit organization.. when the season is over and doesn’t include any post season. That is when the tough questions should be thrown at ownership and the GM.

    • Hanawi

      I mostly agree with you. But the lack of a long reliever seems more by choice rather than options. Just isn’t really Bell’s way.

    • VaRedsFan

      What evidence do you have that the Reds won’t pay their young player in 6 years?
      Which great prospects that thrived as a Red was turned away?

      So replacing the 7 ERA guy with a 6.47 ERA guy was your answer??

  4. Hanawi

    The Reds are counting on injured guys returning and not just Greene and Lodolo, but also potentially Antone and Guettierez to add to the bullpen. If they make the playoffs, it’s possible that they could use Abbott (if innings limited) and Williamson in the bullpen.

    • Daniel Kals

      Yes, when there is less than 1/5 of the season left, Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo will return and save the day. Lodolo will immediately be incredibly better than he was earlier in the season, after taking several months off for rehab. And Hunter Green will bring his less than 5 1/3 inning average to a team with a struggling bullpen. Meanwhile Andrew Abbott has already thrown more innings than he ever has. Now that I think about it, maybe the Reds knew they were going to fall out of the race even if they picked up a frontline starter…

  5. Indy Red Man

    Sims is wearing down and that was apparent in July. Farmer isn’t very good. The other guys have pitched a ton. They rarely blow somebody out so every reliever takes on more importance. They needed & deserved more then 1 shaky lefty. This isn’t really debatable in my mind? The season could be sunk before our 2 pitch #1 starter gets back. Maybe Antone & Moll can save the day? Maybe try Richardson for 2 inning spurts? Those maybe’s could’ve been probably’s and it wouldn’t have costed that much

    • Indy Red Man

      The Reds FO also could’ve just taken my free advice and signed Touki Toussaint. He got DFA’d by Cleveland I think? He’s put in some solid work for the White Sox so far with a 3.35 era. Former 1st rounder

  6. Doug Gray

    It’s nothing like the marshmallow test, though. You are guaranteeing me two marshmallows if I wait. You can’t guarantee anything in holding onto prospects and hoping they work out in the future. You’re handing me a lottery ticket that has a chance to win, but also a chance of being worth absolutely nothing.

    • Richard Fitch

      Well, no analogy is perfect, but I think it holds up pretty well. By your example it doesn’t, but that’s why holding on to more of your prospects makes that second marshmallow more likely to be real and not just a lottery ticket.

      • Tim

        Sooner or later all of those prospects will wash out, or move on. Those we can afford to keep once their current contracts are up will likely be mediocre at best. That’s pretty much the guaranteed two marshmallows. Keep saying it to yourself…1990, 1990, 1990. 1995 last playoff win. Dear God, we haven’t seen a marshmallow around here for 28 years…might want to grab one if it shows up.

        But with all due respect, your point is understood.

    • Indy Red Man

      Exactly. Brooks Raley is 35 so how much would he really have cost?

      • greenmtred

        Well, sure, but how much help would he really be? I can accept that the right trade would have made sense, whether before the season or just now, but I don’t know who, among pitchers, was available who would have made a substantive difference. Not that there isn’t anyone, just that I don’t know who it is. And before the season started, would the Reds or many of us targeted pitching? That was a perceived strength and the rookies were on the horizon.

    • Tim

      A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

    • Votto4life

      I agree it’s a flawed analogy. I can deal with delayed gratification and if I thought for one minute this team would extend McClain, Steer, Abbott and Elly, I would be all for “staying the course”. We all know the Reds MAY extend one or two of those players at best and the ones they extend will be the least valuable (read cheapest).

      This team is not going to be together for a decade or more. They will be together for three or four seasons tops. We just punted on one of those season. Reds fans deserve better.

      It also make me laugh when I hear people refer to as “the plan”. The only “plan” I have ever heard articulate by the Red’s front office was to “avoid peaks and valleys” whatever that means.

      • J

        Bingo. The organization is treating this season as if they’re the Yankees and can just safely assume they’ll have PLENTY of chances to play in the playoffs for the rest of time, because they can always just buy themselves a better team if need be, so there’s no reason to get too excited about this season. Because of The Plan.

      • greenmtred

        They didn’t articulate a plan but it is obvious, after years when the plan was clearly to keep buying bandaids, that Krall, perhaps by default, does have a plan: trade veterans for prospects rather than current MLB players or high floor/low ceiling guys who are “major league ready.” And it’s working, at least for now. I’m not qualified to judge whether it would have made sense to trade for such pitching help as might have been available, but time will tell us something. I do see merits in both positions.

      • BK

        They extended Greene. It was widely reported that they were working on an extension with Lodolo when he was hurt. They’ve extended players in the past. Moreover, the team doesn’t have to be together for 10 seasons for the Reds to turn into a franchise that is competitive every year.

      • Tom Reeves

        There’s word they tried to extend India and he declined.

    • Melvin

      I’m not saying we should have dramatically overpaid this year at the deadline. Like I said before the guy I wish we would have tried a lot harder on was Chapman. However when you have a lot of really good young players already on your team but are still extremely worried about giving up prospects in the low minors, isn’t that kind of like admitting that you’re probably NOT going to sign these current guys when the actually start making money? That’s what is sounds like to me.

      • greenmtred

        Could be, Melvin. But it may instead be that they’re waiting to see which guys become good players, both for the Reds and as trade chips with more value than they now have. Krall may be a hoarder, as some have suggested, but he also may simply want a better idea of what they have.

  7. Frankie Tomatoes

    “The 2010 team was a year early and by all measure a better lineup and pitching staff top to bottom. Yet, they were summarily and embarrassingly bounced by the Phillies. In 2011 they fell back dramatically, but rebounded in terrific fashion in 2012, giving the lie to the claim that a season like this may never come again. Still, 2012 and 2013 bought the Reds early exits again. All this should be a reminder just how tough it can be to advance and that surely must be measured against what you may have to give up to get your ticket stamped for one or two chances at the big, stuffed animal at the fair.”

    Shouldn’t that be a reminder that teams that are “worse” on paper get to beat teams that are “better” on paper in the playoffs and that you shouldn’t sit on your hands?

    I am probably about your age Richard. We’ve both been around long enough to see a lot of “worse” teams win in the playoffs over better teams. I hope to see another playoff series win before I head to the big ball field in the sky. I was still young, or at least I felt like it (!) the last time that happened.

  8. Laredo Slider

    Brantley mentioned last night that the Reds have at least 5 pitchers who are looking at 70 appearances. That’ll take a huge toll on the staff and will catch up with them. Maybe already has.

  9. Greenfield Red

    It is a gamble either way. I’ll take the two marshmellows every time, but I do understand those who prefer one right now.

    The 2016 Cubs are one example of tbe single marshmellow plan working out in their favor.

    Are there many more? I don’t think many teams have gone all in and actually won the Series. Somebody help me here.

    • Doug

      Atlanta Braves 2021. Had a worse record than the Reds at the all star break, made moves at the trade deadline to help their team, while Reds did nothing. As I recall they won the World Series, while Reds collapsed..

      • Tom Reeves

        The Reds lost $47 million in 2020, made $400,000 in 2021 (basically broke even) and lost $13 million in 2022. So it makes a lot of sense why the real stood pat in 2021. Maybe I’m not greedy enough but I don’t expect the ownership group to lose money to win. I know they don’t take profits and that’s awesome. But expecting them to also covering losses is a bit much to ask.

  10. Protime

    M. Lorenzen 8 IP, 2 earned runs versus Marlins, winning pitcher. Krall ??? Ownership???

    • Greenfield Red

      It’s easy to find single game supporting evidence, but there is no guarantee with any of the available pitchers this year. There was no 2016 Chapman or 2022 Castillo available this year at any price.

      Should the Reds pick up JV’s option because he’s had a couple of good games in Chicago? No they shouldn’t and I hope they don’t.

      • Indy Red Man

        2022 Castillo? They just needed something better then 2023 Weaver & Lively.
        You know guys that aren’t tying negative pitching records from 1915

      • Greenfield Red

        That’s my point Indy. Castillo 22 or Chapman 16 were not available. There are no guaranteed upgrades this year. Why make move for someone who might be worse than you already have?

        I called Giletto last week. I read a report of an unwanted divorce. If so, it is beyond awful. You can’t push through like a professional if you can’t get out of bed.

        To think otherwise is absurd. I’ve been there.

    • Richard Fitch

      Yeah. And last night, I think new Angel Lucas Giolito got tagged for 9 runs and didn’t last 4 innings. Cherry-picking is fun, tho.

      • Indy Red Man

        Except Lorenzen could’ve been had for peanuts if they acted before he had a stellar July. Several of us were calling for him 5-6 weeks ago

      • Protime

        No cherry picking, very specific: M. Lorenzen, not
        L Giolito. Lorenzen, was the more affordable option, inclusive of the pre-trade deadline. Krall, and or ownership not willing to get it done.

      • Justin

        How about 36 runs in 2 games or is that cherry picking too? The obvious question becomes where do all of these “prospects” play here? You see well it works moving guys all over the diamond for (who knows) whatever reason. Where would a SS prospect play in Cincinnati in 2 or 3 year? You have young guys all over right now. Getting a decent veteran starter for a #8 type prospect couldve been done, we all seen it happen. The 2 backup catchers on the team maile and casali are the third and fourth highest paid players on the team this year. Attendance is up way over projections. This “holding pat” thing is nothing more than them being cheap and not having the know how to win in the short or long term. You think the Cards, Brewers and Cubs are going to lay down and accept that the Reds are the future? No way. They will go do what they need to do to improve their clubs while the Reds will wish they took advantage of a down year for the division. But hey, we will have a great farm system maybe that will count for something?

  11. Brad

    It really doesn’t matter if it’s one marshmallow now or two in fifteen minutes. With this ownership group and as us being long suffering Reds fans we know that there will be zero marshmallows no matter how we pick.

    • Doug

      CCR said it best: “Someday Never Comes” for this organization!

  12. Patrick O'Reilly

    Let’s be honest the Reds have enjoyed sold out games, and at the very least close to sold out games for the past 2 months. They have even gone as far as jacking up ticket prices mid season and not by a small margin. THAT is where I call BS. When you start doing things like that to your fan base – we expect something in return. The reds are hoarding prospects for what reason? 2 months ago they were concerned that they didn’t know who to send down from their current roster because there is already too much talent to field at the same time. I think they have identified the guys who they plan to be cornerstones for the next 3-5 years. They should have picked up GOOD starting pitching (what we currently have is OKAY on a good week). If the concern is only getting a rental then maybe it’s time for Castellini to open up the purse strings and invest in some solid additions to this team. The money is there outside the franchise and it’s now being pumped into the franchise. Has anyone here stood in one of the pro shop lines recently? What are they saving this for? Next year? Give me a break. They are jerking this loyal fan base around and it is incredibly frustrating. If they begin to flounder now they will likely lose a lot of good will they’ve built over the past few months. ESPECIALLY if the main cause is the fact that our starting pitching can barely make 5 innings. We celebrate when they actually get through 5-6 like it shouldn’t be expected. Bad hill to die on. The front office looks like even more of a joke and if it doesn’t pan out they’d better get ready to drop those ticket prices right back down.

  13. Doc

    I think it was Jim Walker a few days ago, if it were someone else then my apologies, who posted a very nice analysis that baseball has morphed but teams, and the Reds specifically, have not morphed with it. Hence we are stuck at the major league level with a bunch of 1 inning guys instead of several 3-4 inning guys, and some spot 1 inning guys. I enjoyed that perspective.

    In fact, it appears to me that is exactly what is happening in the lower Reds levels. I see a lot of 4-5 inning stints followed by a 4 inning stint, or maybe followed by two two inning stints. If for whatever reason baseball has morphed into a bunch of starting pitchers who are pretty much trained to go no more than 4-6 innings, then a 1 inning per pitcher, or less, BP is going to wear out. There is no getting around it because there is no time for rest when blowouts occur.

    Personally, I liked baseball when a manager who tried to remove Gibson or Ryan needed a suit of armor when going to the mound and a team could do quite nicely with three solid BP guys and a handful of place holders. I don’t like it as much now but I do hope some insightful organization, especially ours, quits doing what they are doing with all these 1 inning guys. Maybe pairing up pitchers for 4 inning stints would facilitate returning to four man (ie 2×4 man) rotations instead of every 5th day. Somebody has to blaze the trail because it’s not working as it is.

    • Rick

      Roger Clemens was one too.
      A healthy Lively would seem to be a long man if we had a stable 5 guys starting.

      Pitchers stretching routines, guys getting hot with15 to 20 pitches and then throwing roughly 15-25 pitches to go an inning is alot of wear & tear on using 3-4 relievers per night. Pulling starters even 1/3 – 1 inning(arbitrary of course) too early from the start of the season adds up over time.

    • VaRedsFan

      I can’t stand the 1 inning per pitcher philosophy.

      • Rick

        Me too. Get the arms conditioned and cutback the nibbling and trust your stuff enough. And, if a RP is on his game roll with the hot hand.
        And for my starters I condition them to pitch deeper into games contigent on effectiveness not 90-100 pitches. Going 6 innings is a big deal now days. Need an effective 4th pitch or, to mix it in enough on the 3rd time thru the batting order like the old days.

      • TR

        The 1 inning relief pitcher needs to warmup and be ready in a succession of 1 inning appearances. This takes energy. A starting pitcher takes a number of days to rest up, and a 1 inning pitcher also needs a rest or else the 1 inning bullpen result is often exhaustion. Our team is experiencing that now.

    • Tom Diesman

      I posted the following about a month ago, updated to include Phillips/Richardson since they’ve made it to AAA since:

      With the multitude of SP injuries, the maximum effort/spin rate trends, no SP allowed to see the order a 3rd time through, pitch count happy manager, and no Reds reliever allowed to perform as a long man out of the bullpen; should the Reds consider instituting the old Dan O’Brien four-day, eight-man tandem system for their SP pitching rotation?

      In this system the Reds would have 4 two man sets of SPs that would hopefully pitch 4 innings each every 4 days with probably a 70 pitch limit.

      This would leave you with 5 RP to finish out the final inning or two of each game.

      Haven’t thought it all the way through, but just seemed to make a lot of sense with direction of the game and way pitchers are now being used.

      Might look something like this in August:

      SP Greene/Williamson
      SP Lodolo/Richardson
      SP Ashcraft/Phillips
      SP Abbott/Stoudt

      RP Diaz
      RP Sims
      RP Young
      RP Farmer
      RP Gibaut

  14. greenmtred

    I’m enjoying this discussion, by the way: talking baseball and able to disagree without undue rancor. Thoughtful comments and food for thought.

    • stuckonthenorthshore

      Yes, it has been a pleasure to read as well. I actually read all of the comments. There were certainly some of the standard negative novelists missing that generally drive me away from the threads.

    • Dan

      Totally agree, greenmtred! A great, well-considered, and civil conversation.

  15. Cincinnatus Rex

    Here’s an interesting statistic to consider: On average, what percentage of prospects have their peak value in the Minor Leagues? Can such a thing be calculated objectively? Has someone tried to calculate it? And if so, what do the numbers show?

    I realize that this statistic is probably difficult to generate objectively. But if I were paying a bunch of number-crunching baseball experts to help out a baseball team, I would really want some insight on this number. If seventy-five percent of top-100 prospects have their peak value in the Minors, for example, then I am ABSOLUTELY trading away one solid prospect in a year like this (and maybe more than one). Each prospect has some question marks surrounding them, but what’s the average fate of those question marks?

    • Doug Gray

      Go look at every prospect list ever created. Reds. MLB. Whatever. Almost every prospect list is full of guys who were highly rated who never become even average big leaguers.

      • J

        “Absolutely crazy to give up Shed Long for Sonny Gray,” said many Reds fans at the time. He was the #7 prospect in the organization.

      • Tom Reeves

        If there was a Shed long for Sonny Gray trade available, you don’t think Krall would have taken it? The teams who had pitching to sell held all the cards.

    • Rednat

      or these prospects have a lot of success their rookie season and then the league “figures them out”, rendering them ineffective offensive threats. Hamilton, Aquino, Drew Stubbs. India may unfortunately be another example. Is it a player development issue or scouting issue, or just bad luck?

      • greenmtred

        I think it’s likely that the young guys are in the middle of their learning curves. They arrived earlier and played better than expected and it was inevitable that, as you say, the league would figure them out. Now they have to figure the league out.

  16. J

    Sometimes it feels like fans are suffering from something akin to Stockholm syndrome. Krall says “there weren’t any good deals to make,” and instead of doubting it and wondering how it’s possible that no team in MLB was willing to make one reasonable deal for one halfway decent starting pitcher for the past month (with the Reds agreeing to pay that pitcher’s real salary), the response from many fans is to defend it in the strongest possible terms. “We can’t mortgage the future! The prices were too high! The other GMS are all being unreasonable! Honestly, he’s just trying to help us by doing nothing to increase our chances of winning this year! That would be a disaster!”

    • earmbrister

      J, question “how it’s possible that no team in MLB was willing to make one reasonable deal for one halfway decent starting pitcher for the past month”.

      Can you point to other reasonable deals for a decent starter that other clubs made? I can’t.

      Giolito (and Lopez) cost the LAA their #3 & #4 prospects. That’s a huge cost. The Angels might be willing to pay such a cost if they don’t believe they can re-sign Ohtani. Their window seems to be much smaller than the Reds.

      Michael Lorenzen, a free agent at year’s end, cost the Phillies their #5 prospect. That’s a steep price for a 2-3 month rental.

      What “reasonable deal” or deals did the Reds miss out on?

      • Doug Gray

        The player Michael Lorenzen was traded for would not have ranked as a Top 15 prospect in the Reds system (my rankings). I’d bet Cincinnati could have gotten him for someone outside of their Top 10.

      • earmbrister

        Rankings are subjective, and I respect yours and your knowledge. You certainly know more than I do. However, MLB Pipeline had Lee as the Phillies #5 prospect and now has him as the Tigers #6 prospect. Lee has a blended grade of 50, which is only bettered by 5 prospects on the Reds MLB prospect list, all of which who had a grade of 55. Only two Reds prospects are rated as a 50, which would have MLB Pipeline having Lee rated no worse than the Reds #8 prospect. Granted there is some fungibility of prospects in those middle slots, but # 8 vs #16+ is a fair amount of divergence.

        In the end, I’m not trading a decent prospect for a couple of months of Michael Lorenzen. He’s already matched his career high for IP at 113. Does he have another 60-70 innings left in him? Hmmmm, I don’t know. And is he better than Ashcraft or Abbott? Probably not. Is he better than Greene or Lodolo? Again, probably not. So the Reds would be trading a very good prospect for a guy who is hitting his innings limit and would probably be slotted as the #5 starter after a mere 5 or 6 starts.

        Not a compelling trade IMO, especially for a team that is at the very beginning of its competitive window. In the meantime, we probably will never know how much Krall was willing to give up to upgrade the end of season rotation, but he seemingly didn’t like the asking prices.

      • Doug Gray

        MLB Pipeline’s rankings are entirely useless right now. They haven’t been updated to reflect anything that’s happened this season.

        I mean take a look at their Reds list. It’s got Levi Stoudt as the Reds #10 prospect. He’s got as many walks as strikeouts in Triple A and an ERA over 5.00 while being 25-years-old. That guy isn’t a Top 25 prospect, much less #10. Bryce Hubbart at #15? He’s 22, in Low-A with an ERA of 4.50, and 37 walks in 36.0 innings.

        Those rankings are a joke.

      • earmbrister

        Ok Doug, fair point. So using your rankings I’d ask you this:

        Would you trade a Sal Stewart (your #11 prospect) for 2 maybe 3 months of Michael Lorenzen?

        Then’s there’s Rodriguez and Balcazar, who shot up your rankings to #12 and #13 (from #24 and #22, respectively) after having great years thus far. Would you ignore their 2023 production to acquire a ML rental? At #14 and #15 you have the Reds 2023 first round competitive balance pick and second round pick, so you’re not trading them.

        If you (or Krall) are not willing to trade the aforementioned players, does a player in the #16-20 range net you Lorenzen? Or would the Tigers have preferred Lee over any of these options?

        Would you agree that prices on starting pitching were steeper than ever this year, even on rentals?

      • Melvin

        “The player Michael Lorenzen was traded for would not have ranked as a Top 15 prospect in the Reds system (my rankings). I’d bet Cincinnati could have gotten him for someone outside of their Top 10.”

        It doesn’t seem like the Reds tried very hard for Lorenzen or Chapman. Both would have helped.

  17. Jim Delaney

    I am still of the opinion Reds trade discussions for pitching involved pitchers who could help them beyond this season. This means they weren’t talking to teams about Rentals. They talked to the White Sox, the Mariners and potentially others but were informed the asking price was more than India and fringe prospects. India was the bait as his name came out associated with Dylan Cease discussions. The question I would still like to hear answer on directly from Reds ownership, were they willing to add payroll to the current 2023 team? Ever since Castellini’s group has owned the team, outside of the Scott Rolen acquisition, they haven’t made a significant addition in player or salary during a season. I believe they annually set an initial budget and they don’t deviate from it. I don’t know of another franchise in the past 20 years who operates this way.. this has cost Reds in 2013, 2021, and likely 2023…. Meanwhile I guarantee Reds are making far more revenue this year then they expected and aren’t putting any of that profit revenue back into the 2023 team. If you are going to act like a non profit you would put the money back into the team. Unfortunately the Reds ownership is acting like a business and will bank the profits and owners will make money.. Reds ownership won’t answer this though because they won’t show the public there financial books…Keep telling us though you are a non profit Phil!!!!

    • Thomas Atwood

      Taking on payroll could have been a means of acquiring a player without giving up top prospects, but you could be right that ownership was not willing to do that.

      I hope that once they feel they have “recouped” their covid year losses, they are willing to spend again. They have added payroll before. They haven’t always operated like the Pirates (even though Phil has sounded a lot like them lately). Maybe it is wishful thinking on my part. But winning can be intoxicating. If they invest, I believe fans will reward them for it. Are they smart enough to give us what we want (and what they promised)?

  18. Thomas Atwood

    I have wondered how other GMs view Krall after the trades he made last year. The Mariners and Twins may not be all that eager to trade with him again.

    Are they eager to return the favor? Were they looking at the Reds stash and holding to offers they knew were lopsided? (I’m talking jealousy here, not collusion.) We will never know, but human nature is another variable to consider in speculating why he couldn’t find a deal.

    • DataDumpster

      Among many other fine comments on this post, your observation rings true with me. Most people would admit that Krall got the fat end of those trades that paid dividends almost immediately (Steer for sure). The point I would like to make is that the team needs to finish this season before we really know what we have. At the beginning, it was all about the Big 3 and that didn’t turn out so well thus far. The India/Stephenson brigade has lost some muster, and without the “kids” glorious rise this team was headed to the consensus 72-74 win total. Expect the last few months to be just as unpredictable as ever. David Bell, pitching arms falling off, new guns getting a hand check, the reverberations from the Brewers and Cubs beatdowns, etc. I’ll trust The Bull to make the prudent offseason moves. Clearly opportunity was minimal with such a congested playoff picture. With the right moves, a four year window of extreme competitiveness could open in 2024. I’ll wait. This team might slide in to a spot this year but that’s the top side if that.

  19. Fred Johnson

    Votto was signed to a contract that most, me included, were screaming about the last few years. Brandon Phillips, Eugenio, Homer Bailey, Cueto,…all kept on the team and paid for more than a year or two. Haven’t they already started with Hunter Greene? Most of these contract concerns aren’t going to crop up for several years. No one’s screaming at the Bengals for not “going all in” two years ago ( or even last year for that matter ) and trading away their draft(s) for O-line or Defensive help. This year they had one big signing. Expectations should and will be different the next few years. I hope at least two, maybe three of the pitchers coming back can help this year. Please give up less than fifteen runs tonight.

    • Doug

      Bengals DID go all in on defense in free agency the year they went to the SuperBowl. They spent more in free agency that off season than any prior season before that

  20. Dan

    Both Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference have 8 NL teams (including the Reds) projected to finish with somewhere between 83 and 87 wins. That’s half the league!

    The Braves and Dodgers are going to make the playoffs. That leaves room for 4 more teams… so 4 out of those 8 teams likely to finish in the 83 to 87 win range are going to make the playoffs… and the other 4 will go home.

    My point is, for ALL 8 of those teams (Phillies, Marlins, Reds, Cubs, Brewers, Giants, D’backs, Padres), 1 or 2 wins here or there really could make the difference.

    Basically, the teams that can figure out a way to turn 84-78 into 86-76… those are the teams who are going to make it in.

    Given that, and the potential impact of 1 or 2 marginal wins, I really wanted to see another savvy move or two to address pitching depth. Not a Verlander… but maybe more like a Brent Suter… or a Ryan Yarbrough… or a Jordan Montgomery, or an Aaron Civale… guys that wouldn’t break the “prospect bank,” but could help.

    I sure hope these last 2 games haven’t been karma coming to get us, for not making another move like this! (Did our whole bullpen wait until 4 hours after the trade deadline to suddenly get arm fatigue?!)

    Also, to be clear, I liked the Sam Moll move – lefty, good K rate, good groundball rate. I just wanted more!

    • Melvin

      “Also, to be clear, I liked the Sam Moll move – lefty, good K rate, good groundball rate. I just wanted more!”

      At least they did SOMETHING. If signing David Bell to a three year extension was the only thing they accomplished at the deadline it would have been borderline depressing for me. 🙂

  21. Roger Garrett

    Cl3J’s post I really agree with especially about this team not being ready.There not ready but they are gaining so much experience to get them ready.Krall has done an excellent job in getting rid of high price vets that at best are average major league players and after this year there is money to spend and if Bob doesn’t it doesn’t even matter.No way I take on Verlander or Mad Max money or give up a top 5 prospect for 2 months of Lorenzen to help make the playoffs.This young team can’t hit good pitchers and thats what they will see in the playoffs.If they hit against a healthy Braves or Dodger or Brewer starter they may not even score.Now they hammer hard throwers cause these kids got here because they can hit a fastball but against pitchers and good ones they can’t.Reds probably will make the playoffs cause of the weak division but they are in no way ready to go deep in the play offs.Reds have some holes to fill and if Bob spends the money to fill them then look out

    • Doug

      I don’t think this team would agree with you there. They would take that as an insult, which is just what management is doing to this team by not believing in them this year

  22. Old Big Ed

    The Reds have little chance to advance in October, unless (1) Hunter Greene returns to pitch well, and (2) EDLC makes significant progress handling Major League breaking balls, primarily by laying off a lot more of them. The team is not dynamic enough without an excellent Hunter Greene and the brilliance of EDLC.

    This is true, regardless of whether the Reds had acquired a solid starter like Lorenzen or Flaherty, and another bullpen stud.

    I think people need to stop the pearl-clutching about not making a deal. The Orioles didn’t make a deal last year, under almost identical circumstances, and they are the best team in the AL this year. Actually, the Orioles did make a deal: to the great chagrin of the Baltimore pearl-clutchers, they traded their closer Jorge Lopez to the Twins for Yennier Cano (now an All-Star) and 3 minor league lefties.

    There is no point in whining about what the Reds could have done but didn’t. We can’t hook up our flux capacitors and go back in time for a do-over. We may as well whine about why they took Mike Leake and not Mike Trout in that draft.

    • Jim Walker

      I agree to a certain extent; but, given the tattered condition of the Reds rotation and pending implosion of the pen, not getting any help is courting long term damage to both the rotation and the pen. Somebody has to pitch the remaining innings of the season; and, the Reds are plum out of credible arms.

      So, what are they going to do? Force Phillips and Richardson? Overextend Ashcraft, Abbott, and/ or Williamson? Use Greene or Lodolo when they should be shutdown? Any of these moves could lead to significant long term damage. And what about Diaz, Sims, and Gibaut in the pen? Who takes the load off the overused relievers??

  23. Ron

    The Reds didn’t need to pick up a big name pitcher. All they needed was a pitcher that could go 6 innings and keep the Reds in the game. They could have got that without giving up someone like Marte or Arroyo. Pitching help was needed. They passed.

  24. Amarillo

    It’s takes 2 to make a trade.
    Verlander, Scherzer, Civale, Giolito, Lorenzon, Flaherty, Montgomery, Lance Lynn.

    That’s the entire list of Starting Pitchers that got traded at the deadline. 4 of those pitchers cost a top 100 Prospect or more. 2 were Cardinals, 1 is nearly as bad as Weaver this year.

    Those 4th starters that can give you 6 Innings who would cost only a mid level prospect simply didn’t exist at this deadline.

    • Ron

      All big names. Most of them rentals. There are 2nd tier pitchers, all of whom would have helped and been controllable for at least another year.

      • Amarillo

        The fact that none of those 2nd tier pitchers were traded means they weren’t on the market. The Reds weren’t the only team looking for Starting Pitching.

    • Doug

      Are you kidding? Top 100? How many out of those 100 will become major leaguers? 10-15 tops. Reds have a SURPLUS of minor league talent. The entire point of a deep farm system is the ability to build a core for your future team. The rest are pieces to trade in this very situation to fill needs for your current team when they are on the cusp of the playoffs. They could have made another move without jeopardizing “The Plan”.

      • Amarillo

        Have you ever looked at a top 100 list? Only 10 to 15 will become major leaguers?

        I just quickly opened a past top 100 list and counted. From Baseball America’s 2013 list, 97 out of 100 became Major Leaguers and 63 played for 6 years or more.

      • Old Big Ed

        Amarillo, don’t get bogged down with facts. Opinions matter more.

    • Tom Reeves

      At least Two of those pitchers had no trade clauses and would not come to the Reds. The big two, in fact.

      It would be the cubs complaining their team can’t trade for Votto because he still bangs in Wrigley. It doesn’t matter what the Cubs offer, Votto ain’t headed to the north side.

    • Earmbrister

      Amarillo, thank you for taking the time to point out the few starting pitchers that actually got traded at the deadline. And the steep cost of acquiring them.

      It was widely reported that the asking price is for starting pitchers were obscene. That proved to be the reality. And several pitchers that were expected to be traded were not.

      If there was a rental that was available for a reasonable price, I’m confident that Krall would’ve pursued it. There wasn’t.

      • Amarillo

        Exactly, I don’t believe the Reds just passed on acquiring a starter. I think other teams just weren’t offering those mid tier starters people are upset we didn’t get.

        I wonder how much we could have gotten for Lively at this deadline.

  25. Mark Moore

    OK, Weaver got us through the 2nd. Nice glove work on the left side.

  26. Mark Moore

    I could have sworn Hoerner tipped that for a foul ball. Then again, I’m watching on my phone, so the screen is pretty small.

  27. Chris Garber

    Interesting that you bring up the 2016 Cubs, because I’ve been thinking about them.

    Do you think they would rather have had Gleyber Torres or the flag?

    But more importantly, they DID keep that collection of incredible young talent together for four more years. . . and won exactly one more playoff series.

    Tomorrow is more than just a day away.

    • Richard Fitch

      This wasn’t about the Cubs. The point I was making was about the Yankees (and the Mets) and how they use the system and their money not only to buy players, but to replenish their farm systems after they trade prospects. They don’t necessarily have to tear things down to replenish the farm like most organizations do.

      But I had to mention the Cubs won the WS because it was obvious everyone would jump all over it.

      (Nice b’way musical ref. I actually had “the sun will come out tomorrow” as a draft headline.

    • Amarillo

      For every case of it working out there is another case of it not working out. The other Chicago team in that 2016 season traded one of their top prospects for starting pitching help. James Shields stunk for the White Sox and they finished 4th. The prospect they traded was Fernando Tatis Jr.

  28. TMS

    I think one reason why fans will NEVER be in agreement is that no one can agree on what trade target would have been a legitimate upgrade, and what trade bait prospect ought to be kept rather than traded.

    It is true that the vast majority of prospects will flame out before they reach the majors. But it is also true that 99.99% of the major league players who we wanted to trade for were prospects themselves. Not all prospects flame out.

    I was never against trading prospects. I just weighed the potential future value of the Reds top ten prospects against the questionable value of the trade targets in most of the rumors floating around and decided that I would rather keep the prospects.

    I was never a fan of Michael Lorenzen’s pitching the first time he was here. I certainly wouldn’t want to see him again a second time.

  29. Jeremiah

    Interesting article…I don’t think Castellini and crew are among the best Ownership group in the league, and Phil Castellini, his comments from before last season still I think were hurtful to Reds fans, and made you really question this ownership group.

    But…I look at the Phillies…after their World Series run in 08-09 and good teams up until 2011…they then had 10 seasons where they had 7 losing seasons, 2 seasons at 81-81, and one season at 82-80. A franchise that was on top of the world had 10 seasons after that that were nondescript, uninspiring, etc…

    It’s really hard to win, and every other franchise (besides Oakland right now ha!) is trying to win. So much competition some teams/franchises are bound to struggle. Castellini led the Reds back to respectability, but the real struggle was from about 2013-2019 they failed on trading their veteran stars for good prospects, and their farm system didn’t produce well for whatever reason.

    I understand not trading and maybe it wouldn’t have made a difference…but I think it would have been good for the fans to see them get even a mediocre Starting Pitcher, and maybe sent a little message to Milwaukee or Chicago. Maybe not…the Reds starters were doing pretty good recently up until the Cubs series…maybe the Cubs are really good, and just getting hot now kind of like the Cardinals did a few years back?

    NL Central looks like it’s going to be pretty interesting the next couple years…I think the Cards think they are just going to bounce back to respectability but I don’t know. At some point the Brewers you would think would have a couple down years.