The Cincinnati Reds 2023 season is over. The club finished up the year with an 82-80 record and didn’t get eliminated from the playoff race until the last weekend of the season. There was ups and downs along the way.

The season began in a rough way, but once the club began to call up some prospects from Triple-A and move away from the “fill in the gaps until the young guys are ready” things started to turn around and the team went on a run. Matt McLain, Will Benson, Elly De La Cruz, Brandon Williamson, and Andrew Abbott were the first group of guys that came up to make a difference. Later in the summer Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Noelvi Marte joined the club and began making an impact, too.

The fans noticed and got excited. Despite the owners kid, who also happens to be the President and CEO once again put his foot in his mouth and noted that many teams are “out of contention” by Opening Day as he complained about how baseball isn’t fair to the Reds and how they want to operate their business. The information he used on that slide in the presentation doesn’t seem to be based in facts from what anyone at the time could find, but he still presented it.

Despite Castellini tying to cry poor and point out that “some teams” were already out of contention despite it having been January when he made his comments, the Reds were playing exciting and good baseball by the time the summer rolled around. Fans started showing up in good numbers, especially given that the team lost 100 games the season before. By the time the season was over attendance was up for Cincinnati by 46% and the club had topped 2,000,000 in attendance for the first time since 2015 (when they had 2,419,506).

Injuries to the starting pitchers started to catch up to the team mid-season as they were without Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo. Ben Lively then went down with an injury. After Greene returned later in the season, Graham Ashcraft wound up on the injured list. The offense seemed to go through a big funk after the trade deadline and the team struggled at times to score runs.

Still, the team hung around and hung around despite a bullpen that was beyond gassed due to the starting pitching issues throughout much of the season. Not everything was perfect. Inconsistency, slumps, questionable in-game moves at times, the lack of moves at the trade deadline to bolster a flawed roster that somehow found themselves in first place into August.

The summer of baseball was by-and-large fun. No publication or projection system gave the Reds even the slightest of chances to even be a so-so team, much less a winning team before the season began. Things didn’t end how most fans would have liked it to, but there were a lot of positives that took place.

With all of that said, we’d like to hear from you and what you took away from the season. Hit up the comments and share away.

150 Responses

  1. David

    First and foremost, thanks to Doug Gray for maintaining this forum and with cogent reporting on the team, and allowing us all to comment and vent and have fun with being Reds’ fans.

    Thanks to Doug!!

    Second, I think Nick Krall has done a great job in getting better young players, through trades, drafts and signings, to improve the victories by 20 games over 2022. 2022 ended as bad as it did, largely because some very good pitchers were traded away. This is part of the economics of baseball for a team with the market and revenue of Cincinnati. I think that by and large, Nick did a pretty good job, even though we also have some big questions about what he did not do….especially at the trade deadline in July.

    Third, I hope big mouth Phil Castellini learned a few lessons in humility this season, and starts to use his head instead of his big mouth and the money that his Daddy gave him to be a big mouth. Unfortunately, I expect the Top Men (the Castellini’s, mainly) to screw up this team in some yet unforeseen way, but the potential to be very good is out there.
    We have every reason to be very optimistic about 2024. The future may be about to arrive.

    And once again, thank you Doug, for all that you and your co-bloggers have done this season in writing and covering the Reds.
    And thanks to the many other commenters on here, who sometimes are quite insightful about this team that we are fans of.

    • West Larry

      Great comments. I totally agree.

    • Greenfield Red

      What did NK not do at the deadline that even now, with the benefit of hindsight, would have gotten them to the playoffs? I don’t understand that argument. All starting pitchers who were traded were terrible with their new teams. Some were DFA’d a month later.

      • David

        While there is a general truth to what you say, there may have been other, not revealed, opportunities that went by.

        I would just say that if the Reds had gotten ONE somewhat above league-average starter, then they might…MIGHT …be in the playoffs today. Or not. Hindsight is always 20-20.

        But as I would also say…if “if’s and but’s were candy and nuts, what a Merry Christmas we would all have”
        And yes, David Bell could have made some better decisions this season that MAY have cost us some games, but the past is the past.

        I am grateful that somehow (and it was not magic) the Reds exceeded a lot of our expectations for 2023

      • MBS

        @Green, 2 things,

        1 hindsight is not how decisions are made

        2 There were definitely players traded that could have helped them win 2 more games. Any of Chapman, Scherzer, or Verlander would have helped us win 2 or more games.

        That’s just off the top of my head, I don’t remember all the guys who were traded for, and there were people reportedly on the market who didn’t get dealt, but maybe could have also helped if a deal was reached.

      • Greenfield Red

        MBS, I was on the no trade bandwagon from the beginning, so I’m not asking for hindsight for myself. I’m offering it to all those who wanted the Reds to make a move.

        Chapman is not a starter, and I’d rather have Moll anyway. The other two were not traded, and there is no way of knowing their cost so not part of the issue.

      • Chris Francis

        Not getting aroldis chapman was a huge mistake – he easily would have been worth a few wins and didn’t cost the rangers much at all

      • MBS

        I didn’t see the “starting” pitcher part, but we could have traded for both Chapman and Moll. There is not a limit on the amount of trades you could make. Chapman would have been able to save games when Diaz wore down. I also really like Moll, that was a good trade for us.

        Astros receive: RHP Justin Verlander, $35 million (and $17.5 million more if his 2025 option vests)
        Mets receive: OF Drew Gilbert, OF Ryan Clifford

        Rangers receive: RHP Max Scherzer, cash considerations
        Mets receive: SS Luisangel Acuña

      • Melvin

        ” but we could have traded for both Chapman and Moll. There is not a limit on the amount of trades you could make. Chapman would have been able to save games when Diaz wore down.”

        Not getting Chapman was a big deal. It would seem as though we didn’t try all that hard considering what it took to get him. Just one more “IF” that didn’t happen which probably would have put us in the post season.

      • Greenfield Red

        Chapman was not a deadline deal. He was traded on June 30th.

        What pitcher traded at or near the deadline could have gotten the Reds to the playoffs?

        More crickets.

      • MBS

        @Green, how are you hearing crickets, I listed two starters, and the details of the trades.

        Chapman was the 1st (major) deadline deal, the term doesn’t only apply to the week of the trade deadline.

      • Greenfield Red

        Verlander had a no trade that would have kept him out of the deal. PS, need to look up how he did with his new team

        Chapman being June 30 is a big deal. He was off the table a month before the deadline… a time when the Reds were just coming off their winning steaks, and at that point the need for pitching wasn’t fully realized.

        There is an argument the Reds could have traded for him on June 25th, and I get that. And I agree with the old saying that you can never have too much pitching, but he was already in TX when the need was fully exposed.

      • Greenfield Red

        MBS… I just looked up MS. Good stats with TX. What was the date of the trade? Did he have a no trade clause? Status for next year? I don’t know any of those anawers… might be the one guy.

      • Old Big Ed

        MBS, what you are missing on Verlander and Scherzer is their no-trade clauses, which they both waived. I doubt that either one of them would have wanted to play in Cincinnati. Neither has any ties to Cincinnati, and Houston was especially appealing to Verlander. At the time, both Houston and Texas had a better shot at going to the World Series than the Reds. If nothing else, playing home games in Texas each full year would save them approximately $1.5 million in state and local income taxes.

        Greenfield Red is pretty much right. None of the other deadline starters really worked out. At the time, I didn’t really have much enthusiasm for any of them, given that the Reds realistically were still a year away, ala last year’s Orioles.

        Chapman was OK for the Rangers, but he walked 16 guys in 29 innings and managed to accumulate 3 losses, with a bWAR of 0.4. And Chapman is an odd duck. Meanwhile, the trade cost the Rangers LHP Cole Ragans, who was 5-2, 2.64 with the Royals, and had an ERA+ of 168 over 72 innings, with a bWAR of 2.6. (Plus the Rangers gave up a 17-year-old having a good year in the DSL.) The Rangers lost that trade.

        The time for the Reds to improve the team for the long haul is this off-season. They can sign a guy like Sonny Gray, who wants to be here, without having to give up any prospects. I think Michael Wacha may be a good guy to target.

      • MBS

        I was aware that they both had no trade clauses. I was looking all trade deadline at the guys who were reportedly available. Assuming they’d say no isn’t the same thing as them actually saying no. We don’t know if Krall got that far, or not.

        I like Sonny, and I like Snell. Either will cost $20M – $23M a year range. Sonny’s contract length is being estimated at 3Y, while Snell’s is being estimated at 5Y.

      • Greenfield Red

        MBS… Snell, Sonny, or Giolito could be the guy for Cincinnati. I’d like to see no more than 5 years for any. Prefer 3 years. I would offer annual op outs as an incentive and to maybe bring the price down a little.

        I believe the Reds can win the WS starting in 24 and going forward. A starting pitcher or outfield bat in free agency should be in the Reds budget now that all the dead money is gone… except JV’s 7 mil.

        As you know, I have been against almost all trades. These improvements can be done via free agency. Once someone stakes a claim to SS, ELDC hasn ‘t done that yet, and needs to cut down on strike outs to do so, maybe they could make Arroyo or Acosta available in the right trade to put them over the top.

        In the end , we all want the Reds to win the WS, and I think they can. I’m glad NK didn’t give in to pressure to drag the Reds into the playoffs this year. He now has an amazing core of young guys at the ML level, a bunch of young guys pushing up from the bottom, and money to spend to fill in the gaps. He has done a remarkable job when considering the overall situation two years ago.

        Let’s see them win it all next year.

    • Stephen Belcher

      I know many would have liked more out of this season, but I am proud of the hustle and fight that this team showed right to the end. Kudos, especially, to the bullpen. They were as good this year as the previous group was bad.

  2. Tim

    The big story in all of this is that it reveals a fan base that is hungry for a be Big Red Machine and will support a team headed in that direction. It’s also a fan base that wants a return on investment with key acquisitions and a willingness by ownership to invest in a winner. The team has maneuvered itself into competitiveness and we were entertained all summer. Pleas shore up the rotation and bullpen and get a great bat in the lineup.

  3. Greenfield Red

    Surprised by 82 wins. Happy so many rookies carried the bulk of the load.

    I was always against a major trade at the deadline this year, and now the benefit of hindsight proved correct as all starters traded at the deadline were terrible and the Reds did not give up Arroyo, Collier, Petty, or any other big time prospects to get one of them.

    The Reds can win the WS next year. Add a good starter or right handed outfielder, and a couple of reliable relievers via free agency, and let it happen. They have money to spend and maybe tbey can draw 3 million fans next year.

    • Jimbo44CN

      Agree 100%. Amazing how well they did with so many rookies and hurdles to overcome. This team had fight in them, and that was so refreshing to see. Played as a team and for each other. Continue on like this next year and we have a chance not only to get in, but go far in the playoffs. Go Reds!

  4. Mark Moore

    My positive takeaway is the future possibilities. Regardless of the ownership’s perspective, the puzzling decisions HDTBell made more than a couple of times, the injuries (they happen, I get that), the bullpen that got stretched so thin we could see through them, and watching rookies learn on-the-fly … it was an exciting season with more hope than we’ve had in a long time.

    Bring on 2024!!

    • Jim Walker

      Worked for me. You can use the back arrow <– on your browser to get back here after you've had a look.

    • LDS

      Absolutely agree with those comments. Good post. And yes, Meisner’s version was better.

      • Jim Walker

        I heard Meiser live in Indy on the Hotel California tour and thought his performance that night was the show stopper, perhaps the best live performance I’ve ever heard anywhere by anyone of anything. However, I liked that Live in TX performance arrangement more, even if the audio quality wasn’t as good over the internet.

    • Rick

      Good stuff Jim. We had our year of sorting(Phil, will probably ask for a 2nd year). No excuses now, time for a very strategic baseball business model going into the 2024 season. They have resources in the form of milb & monetary capital to use in the form of trades and in free agency. We need competent major league talent added to our young core, most notably in the pitching staff. I also should hope that they will add on field leadership and a couple of players with some postseason success.

  5. Fanman

    Nick Krall did an outstanding job executing trades and combined with player development created a young, exciting team. That being said, ownership held this team back from reaching the postseason. I am so angry they didn’t help this team at the trade deadline. They deserved to have support from The Castellini’s!! What a total disservice. Again, concerned more about saving money than winning. Sell the team Bob!

    • colodrado Red

      We can say that all we want.
      Not going to happen.
      With all the other team moves, probably keep the team here.
      Ownership needs to spend some smart money this year.

  6. CFD3000

    1. Thank you Doug and all the RLN contributors. You work way too hard for not nearly enough appreciation. I am, again, grateful!

    2. The Reds team attitude, the energy, the come from behind wins and the 12 game streak were all a blast. Compared to so many recent years, this season was just fun!

    3. The final outcome with just missing the playoffs is really disappointing. A playoff spot was there for the taking but a combination of injuries and lack of depth just hammered the starting pitching, which also contributed to over use and wearing down of the bullpen. There were a LOT of other factors in missing the playoffs, including issues with the front office and standing pat at the trade deadline, and questionable in game management. But this team was somehow not nearly as good at home as on the road, and really stumbled at the last losing 8 of 12, and that spot slipped through their grasp. If you’d told me on Opening day the Reds would still be in playoff contention the last Saturday of the season I’d have been thrilled. If you’d told me the Reds were in first place and 10 games over in August and missed the playoffs – that’s disappointing and borderline unacceptable.

    4. I am excited for this offseason, to see how the Reds improve their lineup and especially the pitching staff. There should be plenty of money to spend, and lower level prospects to trade (I’m hoping they keep all or nearly all of the high level prospects). And the Reds are close – adding just two or three arms could be critical to a playoff berth and a deep postseason run – so no reason to wait.

    5. I am excited to see what the rookies and younger players can do next year with a bit more experience. Steer, EDLC, CES, Marte, McClain, Benson and Abbott are all legitimate major leaguers, and all have the potential to be well above average for a long time. Add in Friedl and Stephenson on offense, and Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft, Williamson, Diaz and several young relievers and there’s a really strong core. 2024 could be fantastic and better yet, so could 2025, 2026 and 2027 at the least!

    6. There are some hard decisions to make. It’s amazing to think, but it’s possible that India and Senzel and Jake Fraley are no longer among the 10 best offensive players on this team. Is their value maximized on the Reds roster? Or are they trade bait for upgrades in other places? I recommend the latter but it will be interesting to see what the FO thinks.

    7. And finally, there is the question of Joey Votto. As a fan, my best case scenario is that he gets five months to be stronger and 100% healthy and ready for Spring Training and Opening Day, and he’s back on a clever and mutually agreeable one year deal. With his veteran presence and examplary work ethic in the clubhouse he adds value before he steps to the plate. And with a still recovering shoulder he was basically a league average hitter in 2023. So I’d expect him to really contribute in 2024. BUT it all comes down to health for me. If he cannot get back to 100% then he needs to bow out of the lineup and find the spot he wants on the coaching staff or elsewhere in the organization. So I suppose I’m hoping that we continue to not know his status until next year when his health is clear, one way or the other.

    8. I’m an optimist, and I love major league baseball and my favorite team even when they’re bad. So unlike some of the commenters here, I have loved the Reds through these last long, losing years. But that’s not the same as being satisfied with the results on the field. For the first time in a long time I’m really excited about this Reds team and their prospects in the next few years. I honestly won’t mind this offseason because next year we get more of this exciting team. I’ll be expect the 2024 Reds to win the division and make a playoff run. So for now I’m rooting for the Orioles – the AL mirror Reds – and then I’ll be busy through the winter and content about baseball, knowing that the Reds will be back and they’ll be so much fun. Happy Offseason All!

    • Colroado Red

      In terms of Joey, I do NOT pick up the option. He is no longer worth.
      Old man catches up to all of us.
      If the Reds re-sign him, it much be for much less (2 – 3 mill).
      He would also need a reduced role, he will take too much playing time away from CES.

    • Greenfield Red

      The front Office did not stand pat at the deadline, and again, anybody tell me what starting pitcher who was traded at the dealine would have helped the Reds make the playoffs?


      • Jimbo44CN

        So true. they were all terrible.

      • Greenfield Red

        Jimbo, I’ll take it a step farther and pose this question (I don’t know for sure, but I suspect this is true): What trade that was made at the deadline benefitted the BUYER more than the Reds trade for Sam Moll? I don’t think there are any.

        So many on this board critisize NK on a daily basis. I don’t get it at all. If you look at all the dead wood he has had to cut away, look at his drafts, his International signings (and it appears this will continue into next year), and the trades he has made, I doubt any executive in baseball… maybe even all of professional Sport, has done a better job in the last two years.

        This is the Winter he needs to drive it home… and I think he will.

        Additionally, many here think he will have to overpay to get free agents to sign here. Maybe that used to be true, but I don’t think so any more. Free agents want the money first. But after that they want to win. They now now they can win here.

      • Doc

        And you have to look at the possible net effect. What if the Reds did acquire Verlander, but had to give up Marte and pick another. Would Verlander have been able to win those 2 extra games without Marte’s 16 game offensive explosion.

        Trades are not made in a vacuum. There is movement both ways. Addition can result in net subtraction.

        This team over-achieved what any of the prognosticating organizations thought they could achieve and they did it with smoke and mirrors, youth and great hustle. I doubt they could have won two more. And for every game someone can point out that they blew, there is a game somewhere they they won but could just have easily lost.

        This team set some MLB offensive records as chronicled in MLBTR, RLN and other articles, especially rookie records. It was a wonderful year but now begins the preparation to make sure it was not a one year wonder.

        Greene needs to make some significant strides moving into 2024. Lodolo needs to be back, both physically and performance wise. Ashcraft needs to be back. The list goes on. The foundation is there. The players’ confidence has been validated by results. Onward and upward.

        I said early this season that the fans would rather come out and see eager young players playing hard, even if they lose, than to see a pieced together bunch of veterans going through the motions and eeking out a few wins. Well, the young guys didn’t lose, but the fans turned out in huge numbers as soon as the youth movement started to roll in.

      • Jim Walker

        Anyone who took the time to count ahead of the deadline would have reached the conclusion the Reds did NOT have the arms to pitch the innings remaining in the season unless they brought in new arms or did some crazy quilt patchwork like they ended up doing which derailed the bullpen and cost them a spot in the playoffs.

        The narrative that the future would have been mortgaged to get a couple of mediocre arms at the deadline simply doesn’t hold water. Six rookies were already on the Reds MLB roster at the deadline and playing in a starting position player rotation. The future was already here, None of those guys needed to be traded for the level of pitching which would have sufficed for the Reds to have made the playoffs.

        The more accurate narrative is that Nick Krall bankrupted the future that was blossoming at the MLB level because he didn’t choose to trade some guys in the bottom half of his top 25 prospects list for a couple of short term mediocre arms. He then cried because nobody would make a blockbuster long term deal with him for guys higher up the foodchain.

        Can I names names, no, not beyond Lorenzen; but, I’m not the PoBO of an MLB organization with an army of scouts to find those guys at a second tier of ability who teams would part with from the backend of their rotation or similar to Ben Lively but still in AAA in turn for a lottery ticket like Joe Boyle.

      • Bill Newell

        None. Teams just don’t trade off quality pitchers. Unlike shortstops, they are hard to come by. The mistake was made when Sonny Gray and Louis Castillo, who finished #2 and #4 for best ERA in the American league ,were let go. Good teams don’t trade this kind of player, they build around them. Yes, we got some really good players in return and I think we can win it all next year. Hopefully, it all works out. I started listening to Waite Hoyt and the Reds in 1955. Gus Bell was the center fielder. Which brings up a question. David Bell comes from a baseball family and knows baseball. What is the reason he pulls a pitcher who has kept the team in the game after 5 innings? I remember fellows like Jim Maloney and Jim O’Toole and Warren Spahn and Robin Roberts and Sandy Kofax and many others frequently pitched complete games. The bullpen guys got days off, just like the starters. Did the Reds have even one complete game this year? I don’t think Bell manages the pitchers very well, but I would listen to an explanation with respect.

      • old-school

        Verlander had a no trade clause and wasnt coming to cincinnati


      • CFD3000

        Did I say the front office should have acquired more starting pitching? Nope. I’d have been happy with a couple more solid and sturdy bullpen arms. And yes, I understand that Sam Moll was a nice acquisition so no the FO didn’t entirely stand pat. And I have no doubt Krall was in search of even more help. But was Moll on anyone’s radar here? Certainly not mine. A couple more hidden gems like that would have been great. But that’s just one point from a long list of end of year thoughts. Go back and read the whole list. There was a lot to enjoy and there’s a lot to look forward to!

      • MBS

        @Stock you’re right, Old is just giving opinions, not facts. Typing opinions in a declarative way doesn’t turn them into facts.

        What’s this crickets response? If you hear an answer you disagree with you’re considering it the same as silence?

        Great season, could have been greater.

      • VegasRed

        Will you stop already greenfield? Talk about beating a dead horse! And you are wrong.

        You don’t know who might have been available in a trade. Neither do I and most if not all fans. All we know is we never got a starter or more than just the one reliever.

        And I was never I favor of trading Marte or other top near ready minor league talent either so quit assuming you own the block on that. I suspect not many of us wanted to miss out on break out production from the great young talent Krall brought in.

        There are hundreds of players in the majors and minors who may have been had in the right deal. And without a doubt more player trades were discussed than got done so enough with your crickets.

        We don’t owe you any answer and you haven’t made the point that your narrow thinking assumes you have.

        And good for you you love Bell. I don’t and there’s a lot more who feel likewise. Good for you you are happy with everything the reds org does. Really, that is swell for you.

        Some of us love the reds too but just want them to be the best they can be. That shouldn’t be so hard to understand.

      • Greenfield Red

        Vegas… never claimed to love David Bell as a Manager. Glad the Reds only made one trade. Now let Nick Krall go get what he needs to win it all next year.


      • Old Big Ed

        No, the fact of the matter was that there weren’t many good starting pitching options available at the trade deadline. The ones that were available got traded, and none of them worked out.

        The Mets were selling Verlander and Scherzer to a team (1) that would give them a top prospect, AND (2) that Scherzer wanted to play for. Verlander would have stayed in NYC, if presented with a chance to go to Cincinnati.

        Let’s thank Krall for not trading Noelvi Marte, who is going to be a star, for a fading Scherzer. That would have replaced Brock-for-Broglio and Jeff Bagwell-for-Larry Anderson as an all-time lopsided trade.

        There is no point in speculating about what deals were offered or proposed by Krall, because he isn’t going to tell us, and shouldn’t tell us.

        An 3-4 year overpay this off-season for Sonny Gray or Michael Wacha is worth the gamble. Wacha would have to opt out of his San Diego contract.

      • greenmtred

        Most of us recognized that the Reds did not have the arms to have more than a small outside shot at the playoffs. Perhaps one of the starters available would have made a two game difference and perhaps not, but does anybody really believe that the Reds would have made it as far as the NLCS? Would an early exit really have been worth, say, Marte? I know the argument that you can’t pick which year you compete and, allowing for lightning in a bottle, there’s partial truth to that, but going all in this season would have very likely compromised the team’s possibility of a more legitimate shot at the whole ball of was next year and beyond.

      • Still a Red

        I guess its natural for us to say the BP was gassed at season’s end given the number of innings pitched. And certainly some blown games at the end of the season would seem to verify that. But these are pros. Lorenzen in 2017 and 2019 pitches in 70+ games for the Reds. In 1973 Pedro Bourbon appeared in 80 games and pitched in 121 innings. At age 31, in 1972 Clay Carroll pitched in 65 games (96 innings). In 1968 Ted Abernathy pitched in 78 games. In 2010, Massett and Cordero pitched in 82 and 75 games respectively. In 2012, Marshall and Chapman pitched in 73 and 68 games respectively.
        After contributing to the blown Pittsburg game, Alex Diaz came back to get a hold in a 4-2 win the next day against Pittsburg.
        Could the Reds have picked up another Moll at the trade deadline for another Boyle-like prospect or two and won a couple more games. Maybe. Could the Reds have won 2 more games if Bell hadn’t made a couple of his ‘bonehead’ decisions. . Probably. Could we have won a couple more games if Steer hadn’t swung at a balls instead of taking them (never mind many times he took a ball and was called out on strikes). Could we have won a couple more games if EDLC or one of other speedsters hadn’t tried to score on a infield ground ball. Maybe. Could the Reds have gotten in if the Braves hadn’t given up 36 runs in 3 games to the Marlins. How many games did we win when Bell’s ‘bonehead’ moves got lucky or when one of speedsters ran home, or Steer hits one out that was out of the strike zone.
        Yes, disappointing to get so close but fall short for a ton of reasons. Job 1 for next year, lessons learned and keep improving.

      • greenmtred

        Bill: My parents and I were huge Waite Hoyt fans. He was the sound of summer. As for starters being pulled early, that is now standard practice in MLB. Starters average a bit more than 5 innings per start. The reasons for this include routinely higher velocity and emphasis on spin rates, both of which put more strain on arms and shoulders, and the reality of the increase in batters’ effectiveness the third time they see a pitcher, which often occurs before the sixth inning.

    • CFD3000

      Wow. I shared 8 thoughts on this season, my experience as a Reds fan and my expectations for the future. In one of those 8 I mentioned that one of LOTS of factors that kept the Reds out of the playoffs (and meant a disappointing end to a surprisingly good season) was the front office doing little to improve pitching depth. And that one piece of one observation has everyone’s undies in a twist? Where’s the Life of Brian guy?

      I didn’t even say they should have acquired some stud difference maker, I just said lack of pitching depth was a big factor in the pitching slump at the end of the year. Does anyone really think the Reds had plenty of pitching (starters and relievers)? I don’t. And if they had acquired a couple more arms maybe Abbott wouldn’t have been out of gas, maybe Diaz would have had more life in his fastball, maybe they could have won a couple more games. But okay, come at me for pointing out that the FO did contribute to the collapse by inaction.

      But more importantly let’s not miss the forest for the trees. This was a fun year. And the Reds had a winning season despite very low expectations. And a lot of rookies showed that they are and can be really good major leaguers. And the flip side of only one trade deadline deal is that the farm system is a little deeper going forward. And those are all really good news. I can enjoy 2023, be excited for 2024, and be disappointed that the Reds aren’t in the playoffs about to start, all at the same time. If you don’t like that one piece of that one observation, fine, but let’s not lose sight of the really positive Reds forest right now!

      • Greenfield Red

        Agree CFD. It was a great year, and I believe NK will aquire what is needed to be a WS threat in 24. We would all like that.

  7. Optimist

    Thanks to Doug and crew – and the bunch at RML as well – follow the links to Patreon to support them –!

    That said, yes a good to very good season, especially considering starting expectations.

    3 obvious, oft repeated goals for the off season –

    1 – get a good to great starter (Sonny?!?!), likely only via FA.
    2 – get a proven MLB power-hitting outfielder (may be available via trade)
    3 – get a new managing partner

    1 out of 3 should equal this season/wild card contention
    2 out of 3 gets into serious pennant contention
    3 out of 3 shows an impressive effort at winning the WS.


    • Colorado Red

      I think 1 or 2 is possible.
      Do not see 3 happening, not with Bob is control.

    • MBS

      2, Cody Bellinger? Spotrac has him at (5Y@$112.5M)

      I hope they spend money, but I agree #1 priority is the pitching.

  8. docproc

    I was delighted at how much playing time the rookies and youngsters got this year. At first I was worried they would get boxed out by the likes of Moose, Myers, Newman, Vosler, and yes Votto–but as the season went along, there were plenty of ABs for Steer, McLain, EDLC, CES, Marte, and Benson. Those guys had nothing left to prove at AAA, so I’m glad they got plenty of big-league experience this season.

    And that’s not to mention Abbott, Williamson, and all the young pitchers who got their feet wet in the bigs this year. It will only make us better for next season.

    The future is bright.

    • SultanofSwaff

      Agreed. What a sea change to have the front office be proactive and nimble, not just in jettisoning underperforming veterans, but also by racking up the mileage on the Louisville shuttle to keep the pitching staff ‘fresh’…..I thought that creativity did wonders in giving Bell the tools to compete on a nightly basis. To me the front office for the most part struck a nice balance of competing while also giving young players to play through their growing pains.

    • VaRedsFan

      As I saw it the veteran guys were still being played by Bell….even up until the last 2 weeks. Each and every time, Krall had to remove guys like Moose, Meyers, Vosler, and then Bader and Renfroe from the roster because Bell kept playing them to the detriment of the team, as well as possibly stunting better production from the rookies.

      • Old Big Ed

        The first problem with that theory is that Moustakas was released on January 5, 2023, and Bell never played him. Wil Myers got 127 ABs; Vosler got 62; Renfroe got 39, and Bader, 31.

        Meanwhile, Vosler and Myers played until the younger players proved to Krall that they were ready, and the veterans were DFA’d.

        The Reds did not overplay veterans this season. They had 5 rookie starters in the lineup before McLain’s injury, plus second-year Friedl and Benson played extensively, and they got 44 starts from Williamson and Abbott.

  9. Grand Salami

    Great seaon. .500 ball needs to become the expectation and not a celebration but this early it’s cause to celebrate! From the final game thread with edits:

    Way too early 2024 concerns:

    1. Pitching – it’s just a huge question mark and it needs to not be a liability next season. 4th most runs allowed in the NL behind only the Rockies, Nats and Cards. Starters barely made through 5 per. This is going to take more than one signing and hoping for health next season – fool me once, fool me twice and all that. But it definitely starts with the starting rotation.

    2. Leadership/Chemistry – Votto and India loom large as the ‘vets’. If they go, does the club ensure the lockeroom side of things is handled with Stephenson and perhaps Maile/Fraley? The ELDC/McClain/CES trio seem genuinely tight, but there are a lot of new faces together. Would a vet make sense?

    3. Divisional performance – tied with the Cards for dead last. Need to be .500 at worst to be playoff caliber.

    4. ELDC. He gets his own spot bc we are talking about potentially a generational player here. Reds want to be playoff caliber and put butts in the seats to the tune of 2.5 – 3 mill in total attendance? Then get this kid on track and ensure continued growth and development. No single player had an impact on attendance in this entire division more than Elly.
    Gotta monitor him closely in the offseason. #16 in jersey sales in basically half a season (tracked since opening day)! Ahead of Lindor and right behind Seager for the most purchased SS jersey in the league.
    This kid has star power that this team hasn’t seen since Jr came back to town. They can make the playoffs without him reaching full potential but they won’t dramatically change the profile of the team in terms of league-wide recognition without him. He could do what Acuna just did and more.

    5. GABP – Reds were the ONLY team in MLB with a .500+ record and losing home record. They are a good road team. Ownership needs to make changes to ensure that they are good home team too and much of the rest will fall into place. Pittsburgh had a better home record and the Reds tied the Angels and were only one game better than the Rockies for home records. That’s bad and it directly impacts that attendance number they want to push! Corrective measures need to be taken.

    • Rednat

      agree a million percent with #5. we will never be truly competitive in the cracker jack box of gabp. something needs to be done

      • TR

        GABP is not the smallest stadium in MLB. Based on fair territory in square feet, the following is the reality. GABP and Safeco (Seattle) are both 106,100 in fair territory square feet, followed by Progressive Field (Cleveland) 105,400, then Guaranteed Rate Field (White Sox) 105,300, and the smallest park in MLB is Citizens Bank (Philadelphia) at 105,000.

      • Grand Salami

        Doesn’t Philly have very high walls though?

      • Doc

        It’s how the stadium plays, not what the square footage says. GABP has always been considered a hitter’s park and balls get out more easily. I believe doing something to correct that is the best bang for the buck expenditure this off season.

    • CFD3000

      I’m struggling to understand the “fix the park” arguments. Doesn’t the visiting team pitch and hit in GABP when playing in Cincinnati? I’m not trying to be obtuse or brush off this argument, but I’m legitimately confused as to how the Reds are at a disadvantage at home. If the argument is that a big park gives the Reds more chances to leverage their speed – more triples, more first to third and scoring from second on singles – then that makes some sense. And fewer home runs allowed by Reds pitchers would be good, but of course that means opposing pitchers will serve up fewer as well. I’m just not convinced that the problem is somehow the dimensions of the park. And even if that might tilt things to the Reds favor a little, isn’t that a very short term upgrade as the personnel of the team changes over time? But I am open to being convinced. Help me better understand the nuances of this argument please.

  10. Rob

    Several of our relievers, Diaz on top, got killed by late innings walks and the stolen base which followed. I haven’t seen the numbers but it has to be deplorable and unacceptable. I would suggest at a minimum that we need to address the catcher position (defense in need) and a closer that can keep the runner at 1B at bay. Closing situations are tight games which can not afford free pass “doubles”. I truly believe the catching position would be vastly improved by a 225 hitting defensive catcher as opposed to a a 260 hitting weak defender.

    • VaRedsFan

      Great comment. Diaz was not the only guilty party when it came to holding runners on. SB’s were up this year, across the board, for everybody…but our pitchers didn’t give our catchers much of a chance, most of the time.

    • Jim Walker

      The Reds also hurt themselves defending against the running game by seeming to favor shifts against hitters over positioning fielders to hold players closer and get to the bag quicker to catch throws and make tags effectively.

      In particular, the Reds seem to often dare or invite teams to try and steal 3B by moving the 3r baseman all the way over into the standard SS area. The same is also true at times when runners are on 1B and the first baseman plays behind the runner 20-25 feet (or more) toward 2B.

    • greenmtred

      Maile may be the guy you’re talking about, but isn’t the issue more that some of the pitchers don’t pay enough attention to holding runners on? Part of what we’re seeing is the outcome of the rule changes that made the running game more attractive to all teams, but I wonder if some pitchers haven’t adjusted to this yet. And, above all, walks will haunt.

    • Rick

      I agreed with most of Chris Welsh’s year end comments yesterday(JV, stuff in that weird way), until he said something like,” the stolen bases have been controlled around MLB”?? Did I hear that correctly?
      I think some of that lack of attempting to control the running game was a DJ/Bell philosophical approach for some reason.

    • John D McPherson

      With the new rules about only being able to throw over to first so little, SBs were up across the board for every team both in terms of giving them up and in attempting them. Don’t see that changing much moving forward unless they change the rules again. And the bullpen was exhausted. Adding a legit SP and LRP make a ton of sense to not only get better but improve depth. With spin rates being the premium now, pitching injuries are going to happen.

      And I agree on a catcher. A power hitting .225 with a cannon arm makes much more sense than a .260 noodle.

  11. SR

    Thanks Doug and team for another great year for RLN fans.
    My biggest takeaway from 2023 is a winning record that defied expectations of even the most optimistic die hard Red fan.
    I would say our first order of business is to get major league coaches or assistant coaches who can help this talent group of Rookies understand and execute what it takes to pitch and hit consistently at the major league level. I heard a quote from Craig Counsel, like him or not, that hitters need to “earn” the percentage of fastballs they see at the plate. If they can’t hit off speed or breaking stuff, that’s what they will see until the do. Same way with pitching from our squad. Nothing but hard stuff means as a hitter,hang tough with Greene, for instance fouling pitches off until he hangs a slider or grooves a fastball. Even Hunter strikes him out, 8 to 10 pitches for K means an early exit. All of our pitchers should have a third pitch, preferably off speed,they can throw for a strike. We also need somebody studying film or our pitchers to see if they are tipping pitches too.
    I think we have to acknowledge Bell is going out to the mound when the pitch count hits 90ish. If we can’t get DJ to improve pitch economy, we need two pitchers who can go 2-3 innings twice a week, and save the one inning guys from burning up. Somebody who throws like Miley and can also provide leadership to pitchers and hitters about how pitchers think on the mound. We don’t have anybody like that on the roster now, and we need one.
    We also need to confirm our our Spanish lingual liaison actually understands baseball and is messaging effectively.

    Let’s hope we make the right choices with all the puzzle pieces and big a strong 26 in 2024.

    • VaRedsFan

      Nicely put.
      There are a lot of weaknesses to our pitching philosophy.
      1. Walks are an issue.
      2. Our pitching staff seems to endure a lot of injuries.
      3. Is pitching 2 innings every other day, more strenuos than pitching 1 inning on back to back days?
      4. Make your offspeed pitch in the 70’s (mph). It destroys a players timing.

      • Doc

        And pitchers need to learn how to throw to the bases. How many throwing errors did Reds pitchers have this year?

      • Old Big Ed

        I am confident that DJ does not espouse walking guys as part of his pitching philosophy. He pulls his hair out at leadoff walks, just like we do. The number of first-batter walks by relievers was maddening. The walks are a pain, no doubt, but it is a by-product of a very young staff.

        I think you will find that all teams have a lot of pitching injuries. The Dodgers are in trouble, for example. The odd thing about this year for the Reds was that the main injuries were not arm injuries. Greene had a hip issue. Lodolo had a stress reaction in his lower leg. Ashcraft got hit in the leg with a comebacker, and then had a toe injury.

        Amen on the 2-inning stints. My general theory is that if a pitcher is effective that day, then leave him in; don’t replace him at random with a pitcher who might not be any good that day.

      • Still a Red

        Seemingly alot of back injuries in 2022. Moving down the body, maybe next year no injuries. Should look at 2013 (?) when all 5 starters did not miss a game…what did we do right that year? Or is it so complex it just seems random.

  12. redfanorbust

    Thanks to Doug and the co writers for the great work all year long. I, like probably 99% of fans and professional prognosticators never saw 82-80 season and in the wild card discussion till near the end. For the last 30+ years Reds fans have had very little to cheer about in the way of playoff contending teams. That’s a very long time for fans to stay loyal. Speaking for myself a loyal fan since 1975 I feel my fanship was nearing the end until the Reds FINALLY doing a much overdue rebuild. Since ownership is or claims to be poor/small market and can not buy their championships like the Dodgers, Mets and Yankees of the world, rebuild is the only way to go. This offseason will be entertaining and telling. Reds need to trade, dfa or just keep in AAA players who are not going to move the needle towards winning just because they are cheap or hope to somehow magically catch lightning in a bottle. SERIOUS money needs to be spent on FA’s. Obvious needs are pitching and a big time HR hitting outfielder who can really take the much needed and much overdue advantage of GABP’s hitter friendly confines. No more extending current players until they have proven themselves a bit more. We still have years of control over most of our key players. While Hunter Greene may yet still be an ace he was far from it this year and his extension seems premature. A team like the Reds can ill afford to make any long term financial mistakes. Lastly I don’t know where Reds ranked in injuries with the rest of the league but I feel confident it was not good at all. I think if we had been able to keep our 1-2-3 SP’s healthy the Reds might have seen themselves as division winners. Lack of key/long term injuries is key for any team but especially a rebuilding/young one like the Reds. For the first time in a long time I am really looking forward to next year. Ownership knows it has no more excuses to hide behind. There is plenty of money in the coffers and the nucleus of the team is solid and controllable for years to come.
    Best to all.
    Go Reds!

  13. SultanofSwaff

    What an unexpectedly fun season… nice to be playing meaningful baseball until the end of the season. To have so many impactful rookies arrive in the same season…….truly historic. Too many franchise altering positives to take away, but suffice to say this team has but a few holes to fill, a ridiculously low payroll, and a competitive window that should be open for years. This new reality should inform the thinking of the fans and the front office. Winning is now the expectation moving forward and anything less than a division title (barring injuries) will be a failure.

    • CFD3000

      Concise summary. I can’t disagree with any of these points. It was a fun year and the future could (should) be great.

  14. Klugo

    It was a good season. The same result next season would not equate a good season.

  15. greenmtred

    I think that’s a fair assessment, Klugo.

    • Still a Red

      Reds bull pen ranked pretty high in percentage of saves (67%), significantly higher than Brewers. PGH and Dodgers had better percentage. Reds relievers were 5th in innings pitched, nearly 100 innings more than the Phillies who pitched the least. Reds relievers pitched 1 pitch more (NP) than the Dodgers relievers who pitched the least. While his deployment maybe questionable, it doesn’t seem like he necessarily was an outlier in total usage…a given the inconsistent and largely short-lived SP, he didn’t have much choice.

      • Still a Red

        That’s 1 pitch more per inning.

  16. CI3J

    My takeaways from the season are:

    1. David Bell continues to be a mediocre to poor manager, although I did actually see some progress from him this season. However, he still makes a lot of head-scratching moves which show little urgency to win, and he needs to learn to show some tough love to players in order to help them continue to improve. Bell does not seem to respond to the game in front of him, but seems to have a plan before every game that he sticks to no matter what actually happens on the field.

    2. The Reds, for the first time in a long time, are in the midst of a successful rebuild with almost all of the talent coming from within the system. Steer and McLain already look like established MLB players, CES and Marte showed a lot of promise, and EDLC has all the talent in the world, but is the most inconsistent of the bunch. Throw in Benson, and that is a solid young core of 25-or-younger position players that can handle themselves at the plate. If they continue to mature and improve, the team is going to be a true powerhouse as soon as next season.

    3. The starting pitching was very much a “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times” proposition. Green is the pitching version of EDLC, all the talent in the world, but wildly inconsistent. Ashcraft and Abbott looked like the real deal, except for when Ashcraft was dealing with losing his grandma, and when Abbott ran out of steam. Williams and Phillips could be serviceable #5 starters. That leaves Lodolo. Will he ever get healthy?

    4. The bullpen was a mess but still performed fairly well some of the time. That said, David Bell’s management of the bullpen was horrible and I put as much fault with him as I do with the pitchers for their failings. Note to Bell: If a bullpen pitcher is pitching well on a given night, LEAVE HIM IN THERE. There’s no telling if the next guy will be “on” or not, and I distinctly remember Bell inexplicably taking out pitchers who were pitching well for literally no reason at all only for the next guy to get lit up and give the game away.

    5. It should be obvious what holes the Reds need to fill. They need another starter (but not 34 year-old Sonny Gray, please), they need another outfield bat, and they need about 2 or 3 dependable bullpen arms (with Chapman being priority #1). The Reds have some pieces they could trade, if they want to go that route. Some combination of Barrero, India, Senzel, Arroyo, Williams, Phillips, Fairchild, Lowder, or other pieces could probably land the Reds a decent young starter and/or outfielder. The bullpen should be rebuilt through FA acquisitions only, but don’t skimp out. Get the best arms out there.

    6. Despite what I said about Bell being a mediocre to bad manager, I think the team has enough talent that they can win in spite of his poor decisions. Fill the remaining holes on the team, and you have made things Bell-proof. Krall has some tough decisions to make this offseason about who to move and who to acquire, but I believe his plan all along was to spend big this offseason to make this team a real contender in 2024.

    This hot stove season is going to be fascinating. I’m looking forward to seeing what Krall does.

    • CFD3000

      Two thoughts CI3J. First, I couldn’t agree with you more about Bell’s bullpen management. He was slightly better at times this year, but so often it feels like his in game strategy is to run each reliever out for one inning until he finds the guy who’s off that night. Drives me crazy. If he’s pitching well, let him come back out for inning 2! Second, I have changed my thinking on Bell slightly. I do think he’s way below average on in game management – questionable lineup construction, over reliance on lefty/righty matchups, weird substitutions, and maddeningly poor bullpen choices. But I have a funny feeling that he’s actually pretty good at the behind the scenes motivational stuff. These young guys were so energized, so motivated, never gave up, and helped the Reds lead the league (or almost?) in come from BP behind wins that I suspect at least part of that stems from Bell’s leadership. And of course we’ll never have enough info to really determine if that’s true or not. I think it might be. Is it worth it? No idea. Maybe Freddy Benavides can handle the in game decision and let Bell lead the team? My two cents.

      • greenmtred

        It’s interesting that the Reds’ pen–overused, gassed, mismanaged–still finished the season as one of the more effective such units in the game. It’s not like it was loaded with stars. It had no two or three-headed late inning monsters who came in and threw 100+ and left opponents with tears of frustration running down their faces. There must be a reason.

  17. kdavis

    My two cents:

    Infield of CES ,MM Marte, and Steer. All can play more than one position.

    Outfield of Benson , Freidle an EDLC. I know people don’t want to move EDLC off SS, but is Marte a better defender and hitter?

    Ty S. and Luke at catcher.

    Have to see what Hurtubis does in the AFL. Doug posted concerns today about exit velocity. If that is acceptable , and he has a good AFL, he should be given every chance to make the team in spring. He is a good defender, steals bases, and has a high OBP. Just doesn’t hit for power.

    Not sure beyond that who would fight as DH – but you need a left and a right handed player off the bench.

    Need a left and righty swing man out of the bullpen. I think Lively can be the right handed, not sure about the lefty.

    As far as needing another starter – I think a lot depends on the health of the injured pitchers.

    Lodolo, Greene, Ashcraft, Abbott when healthy provide you a solid 4. Who for the 5th? Don’t forget that Lowder pitched 120+ innings in college last year. I expect him to start at AA, move to AAA, and be ready for a call up when injuries take place.

    Bullpen – I think that there are three or four core decent bullpen arms – not sure who you keep , get rid of , or who is available. But I think some of the bullpen issues could be solved by the above mentioned long/swing guy to eat up innings.

    • Reaganspad

      I think Williamson came as far as any pitcher this year and would be happy with the 4 starters you mentioned plus him to start 2024. It will be fun to watch them all next year as I think they can make great strides.

      One guy I see pushing his way into this equation is Barrero. EDLC has now had a Barrero year, going from top prospect to someone who needs more time in the minors learning how to handle a curveball. And Barrero at minimum replaces Newman.

      Steer has been great at handling the curve all year. CES looked overmatched at first and now you don’t want to throw him one unless you bury it in the dirt. McLain has been great with the curve, often going the other way. Marte looked overmatched at first, and now looks like our best hitter.

      Rookies…got to love them. The best thing about freshman is they become sophomores.

      My only hope is that they do not lose that zeal they played with this year. They are America’s team and if McLain or Ashcraft stays healthy in the second half, we would be talking playoffs today. Or if we had Lodolo at all.

      Fun stuff for future.

      I think $13.0 million for Votto is a bargain. Not necessarily for the 2024 team, but for the Cincinnati Reds. Work out some kind of deal where he stays with the club as a hitting instructor

  18. Michael B. Green

    One of Krall’s worst trades: Raisel Iglesias for Noe Ramirez

    One of Krall’s best trades: Tyler Mahle for Spencer Steer, Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Steve Hajjar.

    The Dauri Moreta (for Kevin Newman) trade is starting to concern me too.

    The best thing Krall has done is not block our youngsters. The youngsters carried this year’s team.

    • RedBB

      To be fair trading Raisel trade was most likely a directive by the Ca$tellini’s to cut payroll.


      The good news is Raisel Iglesias was traded in 2020 and that was on Dick Williams watch.

    • greenmtred

      My memory is not what it used to be, but it tells me that prior to Iglesias’s trade, he had been frequently ineffective and was sulky and intractable about the bullpen role he as being asked to play.

  19. Donovan Wheeler

    After the first game of this year’s Colts campaign, I assembled a YouTube folder of all the games from the 2006 Super Bowl season. I’m not so much rewatching that season because I have already given up on the current iteration of the Colts. Rather, I’m watching that season over because that group’s team chemistry still inspires me. Watching Peyton Manning interact with his teammates on the sideline… Watching a group of people work together as friends… That stuff is not just inspiring, it’s addictive.
    This year’s Reds squad produced the same effect. The dugout chemistry fell somewhere between infectious and intoxicating. Watching a group of people truly enjoy the fact that they get to play baseball, and further watching them transfer that enthusiasm into their on-field performance was what brought me back to my iPad night after night.
    And let’s not forget Joey Votto’s “I have to be an add…” speech. I’m a high school educator, who is working his “retirement year.” This coming May, I can choose to “hang ’em up,” or I can keep at it. I already knew that I wasn’t going to quit, but Votto’s comments cemented the notion that approaching the final stretch of your career never justifies going through the motions. It’s a crazy thing. Every time, I feel all the years catching up me, I actually hear Votto’s voice in my head telling me to step up do my best.
    Baseball players can also be heroes to old men, it seems.

    • Jim Walker

      +1000. I made my retirement decision 7 months ahead of the actual date based on my private life situation and told the bosses immediately because I knew they were about to assign me the lead on a high profile project that was going to be midstream in 7 months.

      I told them I was willing to work part time beyond the 7 months to finish in progress projects; but, their response was that our contract was not set up to support PT seats. I said fine, no hard feelings on my end.

      Then 3 months later I unexpectedly received an out of cycle 3.5% raise and title promotion because a couple of projects had finished out very well but stuck to my guns and walked out the door on my schedule knowing I had done some of my best work at the end but also that when it is time, it is time.

  20. John

    A trade for Michael Lorenzen would of put us in the playoffs. He’s pitched pretty well for the Phillies. I think he pitched a no hitter his first game. If they showed the fans and the team there willing to do whatever it takes to win it would of went a long way. Very disappointing to me that they did nothing win or lose.

  21. Rednat

    lets get granular about this season. i think the season was lost during the “dog days” of July and august. after the allstar break until september, we only averaged 4 runs a game. that is not enough to win. the offense basically disappeared which i guess you would expect with a young team. to put it in perspective we averaged 5.25 runs in September and 5.5 runs in June.
    the question is why. usually the best players shine during the heat of the summer. i think of players like Dave Parker and Eric Davis who would basically carry the team while other players wilted away. So did these young reds just “hit the rookie wall” after the all start break or are they just run of the mill average players?

    i guess we will see next year. if we get shut out the first 4 games out of the all star break again i guess we will have our answer.

    • Rob

      I am not a pitching expert to start with. But we need some type of assessment around the expectations for Lodolo, Greene, and Ashcraft in 2024. For 2 years now, we have been hearing how great these guys were going to be. It hasn’t happened or come close to happening. Yeah, there have been strong games or spurts but there has not been sustained performance. Unless we are counting on 6 win 4.50 ERAs as a good thing. IMO, I think we need a hard look here or we are kidding ourselves about being a playoff level team in 2024. I am not advocating trading 1 of the 3 but I am not entitling the group either.Yes, we know all the guys who took 3 years to round into form. But we also know of the Walker Buehlers, Spencer Striders, etc who are 15 game winners in their early years. As I said I am not the talent evaluator or arm expert but I certainly wouldn’t be shutting the door on trading a young pitcher for a 180 innings guy. Plus we do not know that any of the 3 will not hit an innings limit ceiling at 120-130 innings even if healthy all year. We went down that road with another starter in 2023 and it did not turn out well.

  22. Bob Purkey

    I said on another thread that the Reds are well positioned to dominate the Central for quite some time. I think that the experience gained by Greene, Ashcraft, Abbott, Phillips, etc. will pay huge dividends. Add a veteran SP and a healthy Lodolo and the Reds have a real nice SP staff.

    Bullpen needed-guys that can throw strikes! As noted above – way too many freebees were passed out. Lively to long relief and a healthy Antone should help, but way too many guys who can’t find the plate consistently.

    Need a RH OF with some power. Not sure what to do with India, but not sure where he plays next year and I don’t see CES, McLain, Elly, Marte or Steer traded.

    As David noted above, virtually impossible to keep Phil Castellini’s mouth shut – not enough duck tape in the tri-county area available to accomplish that!

  23. RedsGettingBetter

    I wrote this in the last game resume yesterday:
    “The Reds had a pretty good season overall. Let’s see the sophomore season for the most of players how will be going on 2024.
    One of the homeworks to do is to improve the record against the Central division. the 21-31 doesn’t help in the hopes of claiming the NLCD title in 2024. Pitsburgh and St. Louis were bad this season however both beat the Reds in their particular series.
    There are high hopes too on Hunter Greene as a rotation ace but he should develop another pitch, at least, an average pitch really. He can’t do it in 2023 , I exepected him working hard on it during offseason.
    EDLC definetly should work hard on his discipline at the plate, less chasing balls…I pretty sure McLain, CES, Abbott and even Williamson will be good next year. Noelvi Marte finished in a very high note, he’ll be a very intriguing player to see… I expected TJ Friedl could keep the level he played all season as Fraley will be back healthy to hit well again. Benson should work on a better contact so he could be a very dangerous hitter…I can’t wait the return of Lodolo and Ashcraft both healthy next year… GO Reds!”

    I remember when Doug ask for the fans to project some kind of W-L record for this 2023 Reds , I put 76-86 or something like that, and I was afraid to be too much optimistic…well I fell short as the most did…
    Just hoping how much the ownership will spend in the offseason to get this team stronger with no gaps at all so they can heading to the 2024 World Series…

    • DW

      Yeah that was kind of a fun thread. I was trying to remember when that was. Seems like it was sometime around the beginning of preseason. That would be a fun one to go back and check out to see the guesses of all of us experts. Seems like one commenter had them just over .500. I can’t remember who though…maybe JB or MBS.

  24. Shel Keitel

    I wish I could tell Elly K laCruz never to swing at any pitch that looks like it’s going to be down around his knees because 50% of the time they end up down around his ankles and he whiffs.

    • Jim Walker

      Yes, the Reds need to break through against the Brewers. However the Reds missed the playoffs because they were 5-8 against the Pirates, 6-7 versus the Cardinals and 4-3 versus the Nationals that’s 15-18, a .455 winning % vs three teams with a combined .449 winning %. Teams which play down to the level of lesser competition typically lack strong leadership in their dugout.

      • Still a Red

        Hmmm, really? Where is the basis for this statement.

      • Still a Red

        Is playing up to level of higher competition a sign of strong leadership?

  25. LT

    It’s an interesting season. Overall Reds played quite well against top teams across MLB. 10-3 record against Brewers kept the team from making the playoff. Brewers are not going anywhere, so the Reds coaching staff and players need to really make some changes to turn the tide on this match up. It’s one of the keys to making the playoffs next year.

  26. BK

    This season would have only been better had the Reds squeaked into the playoffs. All of the key rookies showed strong potential. For the first time in a long time, the Reds have sufficient talent to compete with the best teams. Notably, the Reds have payroll space and a robust farm system to use to add to the strong core over the offseason. Areas that must improve:

    – Starting pitching. The Reds need a deeper staff going into 2024. The number of bullpen games had a compounding negative impact on the relief corps and cost games down the stretch. An ace would be nice, but it is not required. The Red’s ceiling will be limited if a couple of the current starters don’t step up in 2024.
    – Relief pitching. Diaz’s struggles in the second half should not be written off. The Reds need to acquire 1 to 2 high-leverage arms for the pen.

    Outfield and catching could also be improved, but neither area is critical. Stephenson should be improved in 2024 with more distance from his shoulder surgery. Benson and Fraley need platoon partners, but the Reds control Senzel, who shines in that role (but that must be his role).

    Whether Joey Votto should play next year will be a tough call and should be based on an objective evaluation of his post-surgery recovery. He’s clearly in great shape and is a positive influence.

    Some will view this team as having an excess of quality position players–I disagree; depth is needed over the long season, which means players, when everyone is healthy, will have scheduled days off, providing plenty of fodder for the daily lineup critics. The Reds were among baseball’s best when fielding lineups, with eight players having an OPS+ over 100.

  27. Brad

    Like a lot of people I was surprised how well this team played. They made mistakes like a young team does, but you can put up with that and call it a learning curve.
    What I cannot put up with is this front office. I understand that you do not want to trade your entire future away, when the prize is within grasp you go for it. You never know what the future holds. Maybe next year everything clicks, no injuries, and the bullpen is great, and the starters go more than five innigs, just don’t count on it. I have seen way too many teams sit pat and say “wait till next year and we will be better” and it doesn’t work out. You go for it every time you can, not just stick to the plan and hope it will work out next year.

    • Old Big Ed

      The “prize” wasn’t within grasp, though. At the deadline, the Reds had a complete piecemeal rotation, and were relegated to hoping that Greene and Lodolo would come back healthy and productive. They also had 4 rookies in the starting lineup, with a fifth (Marte) soon to come, and they would all be playing the end of a long season for the first time.

      If they had made the playoffs, it likely would have been as an exhausted road team in the wildcard round. That means either beating Milwaukee 2 of 3 against Burnes and Peralta, or else surviving the great Philadelphia post-season home advantage. If they won, then they would have had to beat the Dodgers and Braves to get to the World Series. they would have been 2-1 dogs to the Brewers, 5-2 to the Dodgers and 7-2 to the Braves, so their realistic chance to win the “prize” of getting to the Series was at least 30-1.

      The Orioles played it right last year, and even traded their closer at the deadline, instead of giving up prospects. The Reds were in a similar situation. It would have been nuts to give up Edwin Arroyo, for example, for 8 starts from Lucas Giolito.

      • greenmtred

        Great post, OBE. One among many.

  28. Brad

    Think about this. Owner bad mouths the team before the season (little Phil). Says that they are out of it before the season starts. Team play great after that. Almost makes playoffs. Hope that they weren’t peeling little stickers off of a poster of little P.

    • wkuchad

      That’s both hilarious and gross.

  29. Magnum 44

    Haven’t posted all year but I I always checked and read the comments it’s Oct 2 I watched 162 games interested it was a good season. If there is anything we have learned in the last 10 years is is not to rush a rebuild . I hope we stay the course don’t over pay for anyone the trade deadline next year is when moves should be made. Besides bullpen help. Castellini got me excited again I didn’t want to the future is bright.

  30. TJ

    I’m not disappointed by the 2023 Reds. I always consider putting money on the over under with the Reds and from what I remember that number was in the low 70s. I applaud Krall for the job he did overall. Would I have liked a healthy #3 pitcher? Hell yeah, but I don’t know the specifics of what it would’ve taken to get one. Loved how hard this team fought and how they really seemed to like and fight for each other. I think that David Bell did a good job overall especially with all the pitching injuries. The Reds made the playoffs in 2020 and didn’t score a run, but I was proud of that team. They pitched well until midway thru the second game. I kind of glad this team didn’t make the playoffs. They definitely didn’t have the pitching to hold up against a good team for two to three games. I just kept thinking they would have been an embarrassment by giving up a bunch of runs and not scoring many themselves. Looking forward to next year. The Reds have the money to spend. They need a starting pitcher or two. I wouldn’t mind seeing another bat. For some reason I see Nolan Jones from Colorado, a left handed hitter, who can play the outfield and infield going to the Reds in a trade. Let’s Go Reds!

    • CFD3000

      Love this comment. Simple. Self contained. And definitely not wrong!

  31. Scott C

    For a team that loss over 100 games in 2022 to a team that won 82 games in 2023, that is pretty good improvement. I am hoping that 2024 will see the team make more strides in 2024. Get a year experience under the belts of the young guys and bolster the pitching staff and who knows. They have been exciting to watch.

  32. mac624

    Great season and remember one thing. This board makes up a fraction of 1% of the entire Reds fanbase around the world. So those on here that complained all season about Bell are the extreme minority of the fan base. I know a couple hundred Reds fans well and none of them complained and took victory laps every time the Reds lost unlike every thread on this board. They just cheered the Reds again and were happy they could wear Reds attire in late September and not their favorite NFL team! Here’s to many more seasons of being able to wear Reds gear into late September and October!!

    Also, a shout out to Doug and staff for a great forum to come and support our team. Regardless of differing opinions, it’s still a fun place to come to daily.

  33. Indy Red Man

    Very good year overall, but disagree with the company men that the front office did all they could. Holding down CES hurt. Just getting Lorenzen would’ve meant 1 sure win and probably both of his first 2 starts covering 17 innings. The positive trickle down alone on the pen is hard to calculate. Moll was solid, but they needed more then that. I watched Arizona’s broadcast team on Friday and they talked about Sewald and how he allowed their pen to have a clear role. Miami got all kinds of guys at the deadline. Guess who made it and who didn’t?

    Overall though 2023 was positive, but this team wasn’t quite ready. Hopefully the FO will make more effort next time when they need it. They have the $

  34. LeRoy

    Thanks Doug for great coverage of the most exciting season for the Reds in many years.
    After a slow start to the season looking almost like last year, management did what I was hoping for–playing the rookies and seeing what they could do. Most of them exceeded expectations and played hard with enthusiasm unmatched in baseball this year. I’m looking forward to seeing if they can maintain and improve their results next season. Potential is abundant in the infield and pitching and catching is solid as is the outfield.
    This winter adding an experienced quality starting pitcher and a right handed hitting outfielder with power and defense could go a long way in making the Reds not only a contender again but a threat to advance far into the playoffs with a world championship a possibility.
    This season the bullpen overall did a good job but were used far too often and were tired before the end of the season. Next year they could use one more quality late inning reliever to help close the games. I personally would like to see the Reds bullpen have two designated long men on the roster picked from the abundance of total starters the Reds will have next year and let them be pitchers who can come in early and pitch 3 to 6 innings when necessary to take the strain off 5 or 6 relievers it would take to finish the games. If there is a period where the long men are not needed then use them as regular middle relievers for an inning or so to keep them sharp.
    These long men need to be quality pitchers who are major league ready and if a starter goes down they can step in and start. Phillips, Lively, and Richardson could possibly fill this role if they don’t win a starting role. This would allow the Reds to have a good starting five and use the next best 2 in this role and come September the bullpen should still be strong.
    Unlike most posters, I think Bell did a good job this year and when given the talented players he used them as well as he could. Everyone says the club house is very close and the players play with great energy and enthusiasm and I think Bell is the main factor in this. Bell is not a great manager but with this team, I think he will lead them to be one of the better teams, if not the best for years to come.

  35. Old-school

    Thanks Doug for a great forum for reds fans to post their views.

    Great debate with posters who love reds but also disagree. its important we are allowed to disagree.

    Shout out to GMR…tough year with historic snow in Spring training and historic floods in summer and I think a knee replacement somewhere. Didn’t like the contrarian view 4 years ago but listen always now and respect every post,.

    Not getting into X’s and O’s or roster construction in 2024 or trade deadline didn’t happens or Bell now. There’s the off-season for that and thats starts tomorrow probably.

    2023 was about enthusiasm for the Reds. My adult daughter is in a transition year from college to next year and we watched the Reds together every day. She said tonight… wow…it’s not on anymore…..

    Im going to miss sitting on the couch with her listening to her yell at the TV good or bad. She calls every Red by their first name as if they are her friends. Went to 3 games this year with 40000 fans including the Braves series which was great.

    Tyler!!! C’mon
    Jon???what was that?
    Let’s go Spence!
    Matty mac ! Way to go,

    Fun year. I will be back in GM roster construction mode soon. but grateful to Doug and RLN and the Reds for a fun year.

    Really good summer even if it ended sooner than we all wanted.

    • Melvin

      “its important we are allowed to disagree.”

      Part of being an American. 🙂

      • Harry Stoner

        From the writer Richard Sennett:

        “Cooperation: The Art of Living Together in Disagreement.”

      • greenmtred

        That’s an excellent quote, Harry. Thanks.

    • CFD3000

      Old-school I LOVE this. Regardless of our thoughts on lineups, the manager, the front office, the veterans and the rookies, this is what being a baseball fan, a Reds fan, should be about. I’m thrilled for you and your daughter that you shared this season in that way. What a wonderful gift. I hope her enthusiasm never fades, and she helps keep yours strong too. Thank you for sharing your 2023 experience. Go Reds!

    • Indy Red Man

      Nice story OS. Thats what its all about. Making memories

    • greenmtred

      Really nice comment, OS, and not just because of the kind shout-out.

  36. Indy Red Man

    ‘Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm’

    Can’t wait til next year!

      • MBS

        It looks like @PennsylvaniaRed also hit it on the Head, a couple more were 1 game off.

  37. J

    I’ve been reading some Cubs’ fans reactions and listening to a bit of the CHGO Cubs Podcast, and I’ve learned a lot of interesting things about David Ross:

    a) He’s a nice guy, and the players love playing for him, but he’s very bad at strategy.
    b) He prefers giving playing time to less talented veterans than talented rookies.
    c) He insists on giving guys days off even when they’re in the middle of hot streaks.
    d) He claims to be an analytics guy, but often does things that reduce the Cubs’ odds of winning.
    e) He kept relying on the same lineup even when it was clearly not working, and it took him forever to make some obvious changes. Then when the offense started sputtering again, he didn’t make any changes.
    f) He kept using Leiter in high leverage situations even when it was clear Leiter couldn’t consistently get guys out anymore.
    g) He’s buddies with the Ricketts family so he probably won’t lose his job even though his mistakes probably kept the Cubs out of the playoffs, but he’s probably only going to get one more year to turn things around, because they won’t tolerate another disappointing season.

    • greenmtred

      Is your point that fans elsewhere also have strident opinions despite lacking a fair amount of basic information? Seems out of character, J.

      • J

        My main point is that it’s just uncanny how similar the complaints are.

        My secondary point is that it seems quite likely that all these fans happen to be wrong in all the same ways. I think a lot of managers make a lot of blatant mistakes, and for some reason a lot of fans seem to think “but other managers do the same thing” is a good defense. Perhaps it’s time to take the blinders off and recognize that a lot of decisions in baseball aren’t as rational as many people would like to assume they must be.

        My third point is that the Cubs didn’t announce Ross would be getting an extension in the middle of the season for no apparent reason, and even the people who assume he’ll keep his job don’t believe he’ll be getting a three year deal even though his record (both overall and in 2023) is slightly better than Bell’s. I believe other organizations take winning a little more seriously than this one, and a lot of their fans wouldn’t tolerate a three year extension for a manager with an overall losing record whose team collapsed at the end of the season and missed the playoffs.

      • J

        *seems quite UNlikely that all these fans happen to be wrong in all the same ways.

      • greenmtred

        I certainly got the point, but beg to differ in one important regard: given that fans everywhere largely lack the same information, it’s highly likely that they are prone to having opinions that are not accurate. Please note that I’m not saying the opinions are always wrong or that the various managers who are being criticized are always right: I’m just saying that information matters.

    • Old Big Ed

      That’s pretty funny.

      My theory on managers’ always seeming to prefer veteran grit, instead of young guys, is that they themselves were pretty much all mediocre/fringe players who were replaced by “unproven” young guys. The managers believe that old guys still have something left — despite all evidence to the contrary — and keep running them out there. I hope this season got that out of Bell.

      • J

        My theory is that they’re risk averse. Playing veterans seems less risky to them because these are guys who are supposed to know what they’re doing, and these are the guys getting paid the big bucks for their experience. If you’re putting a rookie out there and sitting a veteran (say, if Bell had sat Votto and India and gone with McLain and CES every day with India and Votto in strictly reserve roles), then you’re basically taking full responsibility for what happens. You’re sticking your neck out and saying “I know CES is a better player than Joey Votto.” If CES fails, how will that look? Plus, Votto may not be too thrilled. But if you stick Votto out there and he fails, that’s Votto’s fault, and nobody really can say CES would have been any better.

  38. TR

    Last year I had a different view of what the 2023 season would bring other than a repeat of another 100 game loss season. That turned out to be true with the emergence of an exciting young team that has stimulated the fanbase and caused the Reds to lead the major leagues in attendance gain. Quite an achievement in 2023 in a year, at best, when most fans expected a pass-through to better days in 2024 and beyond. Last year I looked forward to a change in manager after 5 years of David Bell, but that was not to be. I don’t expect change in current dugout management to happen until there’s new principal ownership. Adjustments with this core of young players will come in this offseason. The future looks good and the Reds, as a competitive team is back.

  39. RedFuture

    Thanks for all your work this season Doug! This year we got to witness a great wave of talent arriving together which followed the simultaneous arrival last year of Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft, Diaz and Friedl. I especially enjoyed Steer, McLain, CES and Marte! While EDLC gave me the highest highs of exuberance, unfortunately he gave me the lowest lows of reality too. He simply strikes out too much and I have doubts that he will improve the strikeout rate significantly (I hope I have to eat my words). I know that ELDC will hit a ton in spring training with the lack of breaking balls there, but with the regular season I think the same problems will become obvious. I don’t know what to do with EDLC considering that the Reds already have a great all rookie infield going into 2024 and they still have Arroyo coming fast! EDLC would probably provide the most value playing CF, so it might be best to give him more AAA time to adjust to CF and improve pitch recognition and thus walk rate. As for pitching the Reds should go to a 6 man rotation with R, L, R, L, R, L but set the average pitch count to 110 since they have extra rest between starts. The 6-man reduces the bullpen from 8 to 7 arms so the starters need to average an inning more per game. Please go with 2 catchers of Stephenson & Maile. I think the decision to go with 3 catchers this year was the mostly costly one in terms of not making the playoffs. Without the 3rd catcher, CES would have had a roster spot causing TS to take Casali’s starts. They put too much on TS to start the season for sure and I think caused him get into bad habits. Good Luck in 2024!

    • Tom Planchet

      I’m thinking – if everyone is healthy – Abbot, Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft with either Williamson or Connor Phillips as the fifth. Keep the second guy as long relief. The Reds didn’t have ANY long relief this year. That second guy will likely get several starts when one of the other starters is injured.

  40. bug

    Thanks for the site, Doug! I give you all kinds of kudos for how you maintain and manage it. I’m very disapointed in Bell and management (and so many dumb moves they made, especially early in the season),… but I’m optomistic when it comes to the youth and the future. Again,..thank you for what you do. Go Reds!!!

  41. Still a Red

    Is playing up to level of higher competition a sign of strong leadership?

  42. Still a Red

    ooops meant for above discussion

  43. Tom Planchet

    The season was a wonderfully pleasant surprise, especially after a 7-15 start. The team never had the starting pitching, the batters – and especially Elly – went through a devastating slump around the All-Star break.

    De La Cruz’s slump hurt the most as he was the “extra” ingredient to the great play of Steer, McLain and company.

    Abbot, despite his slow finish, where it seemed he was just out of gas, kept the team in contention as the “stopper” when other starters were hurt and some were hopelessly outmatched (see Stoudt, Levi and Weaver, Luke).

    If ELDC can be more like June’s ELDC than the late season version. If at least 2 of 3 of Lodolo, Greene and Ashcraft can stay healthy. If they can add some more reliable bullpen arms (having said that, the pen saved this team this year).

    If, if, if – but a lineup that includes Friedl, Fraley, McLain, Steer, India, CES, ELDC and Marte is a solid one indeed.

    Stephenson is a better bat than Maile, but his production was down and damn, he can’t seem to throw out any baserunner.

    All-in-all a positive season. Few regrets (outside of the blown 9-run lead to Pitt) and, remember, if this team had only played .500 ball after the All-Star break, they’d still be playing.

  44. Fanman

    I stand by my previous thread ownership cost Reds postseason. If Krall wasn’t comfortable with available starters at deadline then get a couple of veteran relief pitchers. Have bullpen starts/games. It would have took stress off workload of current bullpen. Better than sending out AA pitchers in heat of playoff chase. See loss to Pirates after leading 9-0. Abbott was really good but ran out of gas. He was still good for 3-4 innings down the stretch. Should have done something/anything. Not saying mortgage the future or being in a weak starter just for sake of making a deal. Missed playoffs by 2 games. Do not let Castellini’s off the hook by making excuses. This team deserved help and got zero support.

    • Pete

      Unfortunately, we are probably going to witness how a trade deadline deal can go not as planned. I’m talking about the trade for Sam Moll. I have been watching Joe Boyle pitch and he is not the Reds version. He has altered his delivery where he now incorporates a pause at the top of his motion. The A’s color man believes this gives him time to reset his delivery and get it under control before he offers his pitches – I agree with this analysis.

      Boyle has pitched far better at higher levels (AAA & MLB) than he ever did at lower levels with the Reds and not by just a little bit. Unless he can’t stay healthy, starting pitchers that throw 100 mph tend to be injury prone, he will probably be a stud for Oakland. Now I’m seeing the same suspects at RLN who are still heartbroken over the lack of deals at the trade deadline complaining the Reds were taken to the cleaners..and maybe they were. Who did we expect to lose in these coveted trade line deals? Loser, no talent, no future prospects? Give us a beak. IMO, Moll was the most effective relief pitcher acquired at the deadline so we at least received a decent return if not necessarily equitable. Nick Krall knows exactly what he is doing – the armchair GMs we have roaming these whereabouts I’m not so certain – let’s move on. We are blessed to have the organization run by one the best, if not the very best, in the business.