The Cincinnati Reds just had a winning season. After a 100-loss season. No, they didn’t make the playoffs, but this year was a huge step forward. For most of us, the only question left is, “what comes next?” This feels like a team ready to take the next step. What does that mean? Let’s take a look.

The Lineup

(Before we get going, I’m going to talk about Joey Votto, in some depth, later in the article. I’m also gonna write about him in a bigger picture sense later this week.)

Right now, under team control, the Reds have the following players who seem likely to command regular spots in the lineup next year:

C – Tyler Stephenson

1B/3B – Christian Encarnacion-Strand

2B – Jonathan India

2B/SS – Matt McLain

SS/3B – Elly De L Cruz

3B/SS – Noelvi Marte

LF/RF – Will Benson

CF – TJ Friedl

RF/LF – Jake Fraley

1B/3B/2B/OF – Spencer Steer

That is a fairly stacked lineup, especially when we note that only Tyler Stephenson and Elly De La Cruz were below average hitters for their positions last year. Stephenson was only slightly below average for a catcher (85 wRC+ for Stephenson vs. 89 for catchers on average). Meanwhile, De La Cruz is obviously not going anywhere and most of us assume that he will eventually become the consistently great player we saw inconsistent flashes of this year.

You could make a case for keeping that group together and seeing what they can do. However, there are two specific places where improvement could be had. Jonathan India is the only player on that list who only played one position in the field this year. Depending on your thoughts on Spencer Steer, he is also either the 4th or 5th best defensive infielder in the group. Among those who can play second base and/or shortstop, he’s also likely the 5th best hitter (assuming De La Cruz improves). It’s awfully hard to see where this team is the best version of itself with India in the lineup most every day. And he would, you’d think, be able to bring back something solid in a trade.

(Aside: Yes, I know all the noise about India being a “leader.” I read a lot about the Reds, and the person I’ve heard talk about that the most is India. He does not seem to come up a lot with the other players unless he is directly asked about.)

But what if India were packaged with another fairly valuable piece? Like, say, Jake Fraley.

Fraley and India are both good major league players. I like watching both of them play. However, they are both limited. India doesn’t really have a spot on the field and Fraley absolutely cannot hit lefties at all. Though Benson and Friedl were also frequently platooned, they don’t have profiles that indicate that as a necessity the way Fraley does. So, let’s say the Reds trade both. The daily lineup could then be:

C- Tyler Stephenson

1B – Christian Encarnacion-Strand

2B – Matt McLain

SS – Elly De La Cruz

3B – Noelvi Marte

LF – Spencer Steer

CF – TJ Friedl

RF – Will Benson

I had it suggested to me by everyone’s favorite stat guy, Joel Luckhaupt, that the Reds could use a 30+ HR guy in the lineup. There’s room for one now. Maybe he’s a free agent. Maybe he comes via a trade for the two guys mentioned above and/or some prospects.

I could also see keeping Fraley, who would then give you a buffer in case of injury. But a new power hitter could provide that as well. But in no case does Jonathan India make sense on this team as an everyday player. I suspect he’ll be traded one way or another.

So what does the position player roster look like. Assume India is gone. Assume you have Fraley/new guy who hits homers. That’s a good starting nine. Truly. I have no issues with that lineup.

Now, let’s talk about the bench.

Backup Catcher – Luke Maile, one assumes. I doubt they carry a third catcher next year.

Utility – Nick Senzel is the only guy who maybe has an inside track? Maybe, I guess. He also seems like good tradebait. I’m about as lukewarm on him as I can be. Yes, he killed lefties this year, but that was a departure from the rest of his career, when he’d been basically fine against them. Also, as good as he was against lefties, he was somehow worse against righties where he was so bad (in more plate appearancess than he had against left-handed pitching this season, I might add), that you wonder if he should ever face right-handed pitching. He’s basically reverse Fraley at this point, and I’m honestly not sure if that’s enough to justify a spot for him.

Utility – Stuart Fairchild and Nick Martini are the two players who saw any kind of actual playing time who hit the best this year. But really, the last two spots on this bench are probably not getting a ton of plate appearances over the course of the year and are as likely to be shaped by who’s healthy at the moment as anything else.

And what about Joey Votto?

I do not know. No one, including Joey seems to. He’s old. He hit just about league average this year coming off major surgery that required a second injured list stint for rest. His BABIP was crazy low, but he was also hitting a lot of groundballs, which will get you a low BABIP. It’s pretty hard to know what, in terms of performance, the Reds could get from him.

That said, Will Benson and TJ Friedl have both talked about Joey helping them as hitters. Christian Encarnacion-Strand noted that Joey helped him in the field. I watched Elly De La Cruz go sit with him after an at-bat to go over what happened. Matt McLain and Votto clearly have a bond. Joey seems like the clubhouse leader everyone has always wanted him to be, but he isn’t noisy about it. If the Reds want a veteran presence who is already part of the culture, there’s a case for keeping Joey. If they were lucky, more recovery time would yield someone who could split 1B and DH with Encarnacion-Strand. Or maybe he’s just power off the bench and some starts against righties. I don’t know, and I think you can make a case for either option.

If Joey were willing, I think, even if I weren’t a fan, I’d want to keep him around for one more year to be the team’s Crash Davis/Scott Rolen and get the kids all grown up.

And Pitching, Too

Hooboy. There were some growing pains with the pitching staff this year. And the Reds REALLY didn’t get the pitching when they should have. That said, you can squint, and make a case for standing pat. It’s not a good case, and the Reds will be idiots if they do, but it’s a case that can be made. It goes like this:

SP1 – Hunter Greene

SP2 – Nick Lodolo

SP3 – Graham Ashcraft

SP4 – Andrew Abbott

SP5 – Brandon Williamson

SP6 (waiting in Louisville) – Connor Phillips

Swing Man – Ben Lively

CL – Alexis Diaz

RP – Lucas Sims

RP – Buck Farmer

RP – Ian Gibaut

RP – Sam Moll

RP – Alex Young

RP – Derek Law or Fernando Cruz, etc.

Sure, if no one gets hurt, that’ll probably get it done. But someone is going to get hurt. And someone else is going to have growing pains. And after Phillips, the cupboard is bare. The Reds need to get at least one established starting pitcher and at least one bullpen arm that didn’t have 250 appearances in 2023.

I actually think this is where India is most likely to be used as a trade chip. I could see some package including him bringing legitimate relief help or an innings-eating, but non-elite starter. The Reds could also go to the free agency well (Hello again, Sonny Gray?). I’m not sure what they’ll do, but they absolutely have to do something. 199 pitchers had at least 40 innings pitched as a starter in MLB in 2023. In short, if you don’t have at least seven starting pitchers who can handle major league batters, you are going to find yourself in some unfortunate situations.

The bullpen did a great job covering for what the starters didn’t do this year, but that’s going to take a toll. I wouldn’t be surprised if at least half of the group listed above came up hurt next season. The Reds have to be ready for that.

So What?

The Reds called up Matt McLain on May 15. That’s when they started trying to win. From then on, they played at an 85-win pace, even with a pitching rotation that had no starter healthy and/or good enough to qualify for the ERA title.

They need a starter, some relievers, and maybe a power hitter.

They have a payroll that would barely cover a kid’s school lunches for a year and two years of talk about how they had a plan. The plan is all here.

Go spend money, win 95 games, and get to the playoffs every year for the next five years. You have what you need to do it. Go do it.

187 Responses

  1. steve

    Wow, best written column I have read on here about the future. I 100 percent agree with your take on next year!

    • Ted Alfred

      Doug you absolutely crushed it. I agree with every single thing you said to a T…well done. And I’m with you on Votto. I hope something can be worked out where he gives them a team friendly deal and stays around because I do think his chemistry with all the guys is good and he would be a good veteran presence on a very young team, which at times will be needed. Plus it’ll just be a great way for him to end his career assuming we can make the playoffs….he deserves it.

      • Ted Alfred

        Oops, just realized Jason wrote this article, not Doug. So well done Jason

    • Mike W

      Great, all inclusive column. I sent it to my 34 year old son and he agrees! I think of 2024 differently than all the posts I’ve read. I think our problem for the last 4 years has been Bell’s poor management. And by that I mean his poor batting order choices, his poor player choices, his poor player and pitching substitutions, and his disrespect for the players in general. Why his contract was extended instead of his being fired after a 100 loss season is incomprehensible. Any other team would have showed him the door, but when the GM, now President of Baseball Operation’s “SPECIAL Advisor” is Bell’s Dad, do you really think he “advised” his son be fired? We have the players on the payroll to make the playoffs next year. We just need Bell to play the best 9 all the time — like championship teams have always done. No HOF’er was ever substituted for cuz he didn’t hit lefties as well as he hit righties. And stop disrespecting the players! For example: don’t hit Benson 9th to insure he gets the fewest ABs. He is a selective hitter, who makes contact, gets on base and can steal. Let starters finish (at least) 5 innings to have a chance at a W, and not be stressed they’ll be pulled if they put a guy or two on in the 4th, or are at 95 pitches. That makes our SPs think about stuff other than their next pitch and is why our RP staff was abused. Our starters averaged the fewest innings per start and our RPs averaged the most appearances. That’s all on Bell. Let RP’s pitch full innings and ignore lefty righty concerns (the best of which hit .300, which means they make an out 70% of the time), bring Diaz in in Save situations only (bringing him in in non save is disrespecting the 7 other RPs telling them they’re not good enough to hold a lead) — and for God’s sake teach EVERYONE how to bunt, and let them know each and everyone of them may be called on to sacrifice bunt no matter who they are if that gives our team the best chance to win!

    • keith ratliff

      McClain is your best SS. Elly needs to be in CF, use his speed and arm. India is a team leader, without him and Votto, you have no vet leadership, the team will suffer. There is always injuries and being flexable helps to overcome this. This team needs as much starting pitching as they can get.

      • MuddyCleats

        Tend to agree! Right now, Reds r looking to move someone to resolve the infield back log. IF team isn’t considering FA additions 4 the OF & wants more time 4 young guys to mesh & grow together, it would make a lot of sense to move Elly 2 the OF. He certainly has the speed & arm for it. And, McClain may in fact b a better SS?? I think Elly’s size may give him some problems fielding low ground balls??

    • keith ratliff

      EDLC needs to be in CF, use his speed and arm.

      • Tom

        Agree that de La Cruz should go to the outfield, keep India and stop trying to make room for Votto. He is, at best, a bench warmer and he has stated he wants to play regularly, if at all. If you have 13 pitchers, 2 catchers, 4 infielders, and 3 outfielders, you would have room for 4 utility players. If Steer, Marte, EDLC, Strand, McClain, Stephenson, Friedl, and India are everyday starters versus right-handed pitchers. The bench would include a catcher, another right handed inf/of and two left-handed hitters. Benson and Fraley are still there. This presumes no rookies making the team out of camp next year. If the Reds go about dismantling any part of the aforementioned players, in order to make room for Votto, then I will agree with those who question our will to win. Votto will be a free agent, let his agent find his best deal, and see if the Reds want to match it.

    • HoosierBadger

      Agree 100 percent. Great things are ahead with some wise investment and a little luck. Go Reds!

  2. Chris

    Outside of Moll Reds did not make a move for anyone at the trade deadline. I understand the reasons why, but the key is that a lot of folks seemed to look to this offseason as the true test of the Reds ability to actually make a good deal to help this team improve significantly.

    As the author said, then, that time is absolutely right now. The pressure is on the front office because this team is primed for a window of great opportunity that won’t last forever. If now is not the time to be aggressive and make something happen in the open market, then it will never happen.

    I believe the Reds can get it done and make deep playoff runs, but they need full commitment from the FO and from ownership.

    • JayTheRed

      Do we have Moll next year or is he a free agent? If he is, sign that man, he was lights out since we got him.

  3. Redsvol

    We simply need more pitchers with a track record of taking the ball every 5th day. It’s not a guarantee, but we have too many pitchers who simply aren’t available often enough. Sorry to Nick Lodolo but he might not be able to be a major league starting pitcher. Atlanta has had a couple young pitchers like this but they’ve had the development and depth to plug the gaps.

    Jason, yiu summed up the position player side perfectly. I don’t see a role for Senzel at the price a 4th year arbitration eligible player will make – not when every young player plays multiple positions well.

    A power hitter would be nice, but the free agent options are terrible this year. More at bats for Ces and jake Fraley are probably the best route. Every team would like a right handed power hitting DH. Barerro can hit the ball a long way when he connects.

    • John J

      Senzel is valuable as a lefty platoon, that can play lots of positions. I think while I would miss India and Fraley I am okay with trading for more talent and maybe one or the either in bullpen or power help.

      My thought process as mentioned Barrero is in that equation so its ether trading barrero or india. Barrero has a higher celling and cheaper.

      I look at Hinds and Dunn as guys that will fit into the OF mold somewhat in the future. Dunn seems almost MLB ready maybe makes the team out of spring.

      I would be fine with senzel on the team but since he has been vocal he wants to be a starter he can be traded. He is for me valuable but look he has to only hit lefties. I think a trade target will be hard unless its a rebuilding team looking to take a chance on that.

      My predicted lineup and bench

      CF TJ
      2b Mclain
      LF Steer
      SS Elly
      1B CES
      RF Benson
      3B Marte
      DH Votto/martini/Dunn/Fairchild (just an idea Im sure OF will sub OF for off days)
      C Ty Steve/ Maile

      Pretty solid team, Senzel plays against LHP if he stays.

      • Ted Alfred

        Like it in general, but would definitely have CES at #4 and Elly hitting somewhere around #7-8 unless he shows significant improvement at the plate. Marte should be in front of Elly until proven otherwise. What I would really like to see is a consistent batting order that makes sense versus what we too often watched last year, but I don’t know if that’s in Bell’s DNA. Maybe he’s learned a thing or two this year and will have a more sensible and stable batting order in 2024?

  4. John J

    Love the article. Lots to decide but I agree the main goals should be sign a veteran starter such as (Gray, Montgomery). Personally I would just look into Chapman and a high leverage pitcher.

    I love Fraley and India but we got the talented pieces and its not a rebuild senerio its aligning talent where it needs to be. It isn’t fair to say India your getting 60 starts maybe maximum. Fraley would have to essentially be the 4th outfielder.

    Senzel is valuable against lefties but seems like he expects a starter role when he has shown no ability to hit righties which is kinda important. My thoughts

    Package Senzel, India, Fraley like you said maybe get a power bat, and get a couple good prospects.

    I mean I think Votto is coming back and he can probably play some DH and occasional 1b against righties. The leadership is valuable.

    Martini and Votto seem like likely for roster spots

    Dunn is a sleeper he looks like he could brake camp. Really because of him in the system and Hinds I think its okay to trade fraley. Get ethier that power bat or bullpen help, and some prospects from your vets that are getting pricier and let the kids play.

    burns me that I am okay with trading fraley and india but its what needs to happen.

    I would say some bullpen guys don’t deserve a spot but all of them did phenominal with the workload. That explosion against the pirates was just an outlier.

    • Doc

      Curious statement that Dunn is a sleeper who looks like he could break camp. He hasn’t broken camp in the last two seasons and now he is recovering from anterior capsule shoulder surgery. Not exactly the set of credentials I would look for in someone for breaking camp the following spring.

      • PTBNL

        I think he is talking about Blake Dunn the OF, not Justin Dunn the pitcher…..heck maybe it is Adam Dunn. I’m down with that! 🙂

      • Eray

        Maybe he was talking about Blake Dunn, not Justin?

    • Ted Alfred

      I would love to see Sonny Gray and Aroldis Chapman both here next year. If they sign those two guys I would be extremely happy with those additions to the ballclub

  5. JB

    Could not agree more with everything you wrote. I am not 100% sure of their payroll numbers but from where they are at they will get 18 mil off from Moose, 5 mil from Votto, and like 7 mil from they right fielder we got who never played and nobody remembers. So we have money. Fans deserve a big off season and a contender. Great article.

  6. RedFuture

    Thanks for the article Jason! 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!

    • John J

      A lot is true, But CES was hurt to begin the year, but probably coulda been called up in May with mclain.

      Like you said

      1. Greene
      2. Lodolo (not completly sold but the talent was there this year)
      3. Ashcraft
      4. Abbott
      5. Phillips
      6. B Will

      If you can get 6/7 innings it could work but its also a lot to be expecting that ever game. I wouldn’t mind getting a veteran SP through free agency like Sonny Gray or Mongomery. The only problem is you probably have phillips in triple a. which wouldn’t be a bad thing to start the year you can have him up for the first guy injured.

      Just a lot riding on gotta go 6IP at least.

  7. Amarillo

    Sadly, “Daily Lineups” only exist in theory rather than practice. We only had 2 players who started more than 81 games at a position this year. TJ Friedl started 108 games in Center, and India started 103 games at 2nd. If you combine RF and LF then Benson started 82 games at a corner Outfield spot. The reality is that 20% or more of your roster will be injured at any given time. That means you need more than 9 “every day” players.
    Trading India would be a mistake and would leave a pretty big hole in the roster. The idea is he could bring back a good Starting Pitcher, but this Free Agent class is loaded with playable Starting Pitchers and our current payroll obligations are only around 50MM. We can get a good pitcher without subtracting from our lineup.
    We need to be adding to the roster, not just moving the weakness in our roster somewhere else.

    Even the Great Eight only played 63 games together over a 2 year period. There is no such thing as a logjam, and especially not with the DH.

    • Jason Linden

      I might agree if India were willing to play anywhere other than second. But he isn’t, so yeah. Bye. Also, Marte, CES, Elly, and Benson were all (mostly) healthy all year, just not in the bigs all year. Steer was healthy all year, but played everywhere. This team didn’t have a regular lineup because it was almost all rookies who were just coming up. Among the guys listed at the top, Fraley, India, and McLain missed significant time due to injuries.

      Remember, this is a team that had Wil Myers, Kevin Newman, and Jose Barrero as everyday players to start the year.

      • Amarillo

        “Fraley, India, and McLain missed significant time due to injuries.”
        This is exactly the key statement. Important players will always be injured, hence needing more than 9 capable of playing every day. We started the year with Myers Newman and Barrero, and we will end the year with players of that level if we simply trade away whoever we think is the 9th best starting player.

      • Luke J

        Has India himself said he isn’t willing to play anywhere other than second? I ask because I am not aware of such a statement. So if you are, I would like to see it. He came up as a 3rd baseman and only took over second because there was a need.

      • Ted Alfred

        I really, really like Jonathan India’s personality on this team, but there really isn’t a spot for him now and he is a huge liability defensively.

      • Tom Diesman

        It was reported back in June by Charlie Goldsmith that “Jonathan India is taking some grounders at third today during BP. He has done that a few times recently.”

  8. Fanman

    Informative article. I too considered staying pat with rotation. Potentially elite. You are correct regarding depth. Would love to see Sonny Gray back. If that bumps Williamson to bullpen then 3 lefties isn’t bad either. A power hitter added would be good. Although, there will be several 30 potential homerun players already in the lineup. An electric arm in the bullpen would be welcome. I agree/disagree regarding India. McClain would be an ideal fit at second base. India brings intangibles that cannot be measured by analytics. De La Cruz needs to be in the middle of the field on defense. SS or CF.

  9. Klugo

    “Go spend money, win 95 games, and get to the playoffs every year for the next five years. You have what you need to do it. Go do it.”
    That’s it. There it is. There are a lot of options on how to go about improving the team, but we need the pitching. Go get it.

  10. Tar Heel Red

    Jason, your article assumes that the two free agents of note for the Reds will resign…Maile and Farmer. I would say that Maile is a given and has earned his spot, if the Reds so choose. Farmer, on the other hand, is probably gone and will be replaced by whoever they bring in for the BP

    Personally I would love to see India stay. Two names consistently come up when the players are asked about leadership on the team…India and Maile. Unfortunately, I think India will be dealt, though, along with Senzel and Fraley, both of whom, I feel, no longer have a role on this team.

    I would also not be opposed to see the Reds bring in another catcher. Stephenson just has not progressed defensively as I would have expected. I would like to see he and CES split time at 1B and DH.

    Of course, the biggest issue on this team going forward is pitching, pitching and pitching. As long as David Bell continues to yank starters as soon as they get to the third time through the order the Reds pitching, rotation and bullpen, will continue to suffer. I agree with a lot of the others on who they should target as free agents…Sonny Gray and/or Jordan Montgomery. I think the more likely scenario is that starting pitcher brought in will have been through trade…perhaps a Tyler Wells or Ryan Yarbrough type.

    Bullpen held can be had either through trade or free agency. I would target Jarlin Garcia or Aroldis Chapman, both free agent lefties.

    Of course, just because they may target some of these players doesn’t mean they can get them. Every other team in the league will be courting pitchers as well. But the Reds will have the financial means in ’24, they just have to commit to spending the money…which I think most of us assume will probably not happen.

  11. Moon

    The last two years have shown that it is not if the starters are going to be hurt, they will. It is a matter of how long. Nick Lodolo has spent more time in the training room getting treatment than on the mound. Hunter Greene has had long stints both years recovering from injury. Ashcraft has had injuries as well. Connor Overton made it about two games each year before he was out for the season. TJ Antone was just coming back from an extended injury recovery and pitched only a few games before hanging it up for the year. Etc. I think the Reds need to embrace this reality and increase the depth of the starting pitching staff with a couple of more “swing pitchers” as you have Lively labled. A guy that is good enough to step into the starting role but can also serve as a long reliever to help eat innings when a started gets pulled after a couple innings (help rest that bullpen)

    • Ted Alfred

      Speaking of Antone have we gotten any updates as to whether this is another long-term problem or if it was just general soreness or something unrelated to his 2nd TJ surgery?

      • Doug Gray

        From the way he spoke about it at the time he was put back on the injured list – it did not seem to be a “long term” thing, but at the same time – he missed two years, and had a setback in there after a second Tommy John, so I’d always be cautious to put any certainties on his elbow.

  12. wkuchad

    Great article Jason! Agree with most everything, especially on the pitching side.

    I like having 10 starters for 9 positions. Bell did a good job with this when it happened during the season, giving guys a day off, and it’s protection against injury. We have enough payroll flexibility that I keep 10 starting position players for 2024 while most of the guys are still so young.

    The one bench piece you didn’t mention is Barrero. He’s out of options and still has potential. We’re not getting much in trade for him, so I give him next year on the bench to see how he responds. And it’s a weapon to have a bench player that plays above average defense in both CF and SS, if he’s able to hit league average.

  13. Fred Johnson

    Trade India and Fraley. Fine. For who? Look at how well most of the trade deadline pitchers fared. Trading for other team’s problems doesn’t seem like a solution. There’s no real payroll money in the lineup so if the Reds are truly looking to improve the staff they’re going to have to cough up cash. That’s still no guarantee. Let’s hope the injury bug stays away in 2024.

    • Doc

      Agree. The track record the past few years has not been too good with players picked up in FA. Innings eater pitchers picked up did not eat innings. Power bats picked up did not produce power. Add them together and you get a string of losing seasons culminating in the 100 loss season last year. So, the Reds went a different way this year. They unloaded dead weight FA pickups and went with a youth movement and voila! They had a winning record. So what are people wanting to do? They want to resume the ways of the past 10 years that didn’t work.

      If the Reds have money to spend, then top priority is to spend it on an overhaul of their conditioning program. Too many injuries all across the board. It’s hard to buy that as acceptable when the Reds have lost more games to injuries at least two years running than most other teams.

      Second priority would be to see if there is a way to make GABP a bit less HR friendly. FA pickups have not been able to take advantage of GABP, opposition doesn’t seem to have a problem, so see what can be done to retrofit, especially since the young staff has potential to be a solid to dominant staff.

      • PTBNL

        the GABP problem…How about a 3′-6′ high plexiglass wall along the LF and RF gaps. Clear so front row fans can see the action but no interference homeruns like we have seen in the past. More hits off the wall, more doubles and, especially with Elly, more triples (which, frankly can be more exciting than a cheap home run). And boom, problem solved!

      • Votto4life

        it’s a fallacy to blame the Red’s problems on the ballpark. Our opponents don’t seem to have a problem playing in GABP.

  14. doc4uk

    Did not know Dunn had shoulder surgery. I thought he might be ready to take over CF. Hurtibise might also be someone who might break camp in the spring. I think one of those two.

    I am going to go against the grain and say it is time for Joey to retire with grace and assume role of Reds Hitting Coach. His leadership might be even more important as a coach. He seems very comfortable watching the game from the dug out.

    On the other hand I think Senzel, Fraley, India, and Fairchild should be traded . Time to give Barrero another look as a Senzel replacement. A free agent OF with pop would be nice or perhaps package the above to a team with an excess of OF. Also don’t sleep on Arroyo. He is almost ready and is now the Reds top prospect . He could push Elly to CF where he would seem a more natural fit.

    Pitching and strikeouts are our main issue . Pitching is going to be a little better if injured players return but at least one and perhaps two experienced pitchers are needed who can eat up innings and THROW STRIKES.

    The current starters who do not make the initial five can be bull pen pieces. They should all be able to pitch at least three innings. I suspect Lodolo and Abbott might both be candidates to fill this role with Ashcroft, Greene, Williamson, and two pitchers not currently on the forty be our starters.

    The Bull Pen will also need a couple of new pitchers who are obtained through trade or free agency

    So really the nucleus is there but time to finish the rebuild with at least 5 or 6 new pieces.

    • Pete

      I keep on thinking we are getting our Dunns confused. The hitter is in good shape as far as I’m aware, possibly a little wore out but otherwise I think he’s fine. The pitcher Dunn may very well not even have a career in the major leagues. If I missing something, please let me know.

      • SteveAReno

        Dunno why the Dunns are so confusing, but it could be because they are wearing the same uniform on the same team, and they are done playing for the season. There is potential there for Dunn, but which one? We dunno.

    • Randy

      I believe the Dunn referred to as to having surgery was Justin Dunn, the pitcher and not Blake Dunn, the outfielder.

      • Doc4uk

        Big relief I do not expect Jason Dunnto have a big league career. Shoulder injuries are now much tougher to resolve than Elbow issues

        So the CF Dunnmay well break camp with the reds in 2024

      • Pete

        Don’t be surprised if Blake Dunn ends up being the best a lot. At some pointI will break down his month by month evolution, and how each succeeding not month he did far better than the preceding month. It’s really quite amazing. He did far far better at AA than he did at A level for instance and right out of the gate.When I have 15 to 20 minutes to spare I’ll breakdown that month by month comparison we’ll see where we’re at. Do not be surprised if he comes to spring training like a house afire.

  15. SultanofSwaff

    The Reds have a truly unique opportunity to sit at the adult table and compete for some excellent Japanese pitching talent. Yamamoto is the best SP in the NPB and Matsui is a lockdown LH reliever. Let’s go get both and resolve the biggest weaknesses on the roster while preserving the minor league depth.

    • wkuchad

      I’ve wondered about Yamamoto. But after our last Japanese player not being able to make the transition to MLB, the Reds may want to go with more of a known MLB pitcher.

      • SultanofSwaff

        Senga, Ohtani, Maeda, Fujinami, Kikuchi, Darvish……all very solid.

  16. Votto4life

    “Go Spend the Money”

    I wonder what everyone’s expectations are for next season’s payroll?

    With Votto (assuming he is not brought back) and Moustakis’’ contracts coming off the books the payroll will be around $40 million dollars (if I Am not mistaken).

    I can’t see the front office reinvesting $25 million back into the team. So my guess is the 2024 opening day payroll will be around $65,000.0000.

    I am curious what others believe it will be.

    • wkuchad

      I believe the absolute minimum payroll in 2024 will be $80 million, but I’m expecting it to be higher.

      • E

        Reds previous payrolls:
        2019: $127m
        2020: $145m
        2021: $130m
        2022: $108m
        2023: $93m

        On the books for 2024: $41m

        All numbers from baseball prospectus.

        We had the best attendance last year since 2015 and have a young, cheap, talented, team. I want the reds opening day 2024 payroll to be $140m. Ideally overpaying for good SP on short contracts. Like 120m over 3 years for Snell. A man can dream.

      • VaRedsFan

        You just ruined V4L’s narrative that the club doesn’t spend money.

      • Greenfield Red

        I hope/expect them to spend the saved 40 mil each year for the next 3 or 4 years. With that they can get a good starter for 4/100 with annual opt outs. The other 15 mil for 2 relievers at 3/21 each. Payroll stays roughly the same, and they can win it all.

      • Votto4life


        I would be interested in what you believe the 2024 opening day payroll will be?

        By the way, I think the Red’s philosophy, regarding spending, changed drastically after Dick Williams left. I think the post by E supports that conclusion.

        But, since you disagree with that assertion, please tell me what you think the Red’s 2024 opening day payroll will be or do you prefer just to criticize other people’s opinions?

      • VaRedsFan


        Your opinion has always been that the Castellinis don’t spend, so E’s post shows that to not be true.

        I’m really not concerned with the team’s payroll next year, or any year. It’s obviously going to be low because there are hardly any post-arb veterans on the team. I’d much rather have a squad of underpaid “hungry” guys playing hard for their next contract, then “established” guys that don’t try as hard because they already got their bag of money.

        Look at the Orioles payroll. It doesn’t take wild spending to be successful. (Yankees/Mets/Padres). Spending smartly is way more important than the amount they spend. More Greene-like contracts are much more welcome than a large 8 figure contract to me.

      • Votto4life


        If you took time to actually read my posts, you would realize that’s not what I said at all. Again, it is not my position that the Reds owners never have spent money. If you read my post in this thread or others, you would know I have stated there was a change in the Red’s approach to spending after Dick Williams stepped down. Again, E’s post supports this opinion.

      • VaRedsFan

        Further up you said you said Current team payroll without Votto was around 40 million, then you said you didn’t think they would invest the Votto/Moose savings back into the team.
        Then you guessed the team payroll would be 65 million.

        So it seems to me that you DO think they are going to invest it (25 mil) into the team.

        Further down below you said:

        The Castellinis value continuity and familiarity over all else, except of course, money.

        To me, you are talking about the Castellinis not willing to invest money, while the post charting the Reds payroll actually proves just the opposite.

    • BK

      $80M to $100M. While the Reds can go higher, they must maintain financial flexibility to plug holes at the deadline and in the out years.

      • Colorado Red

        This probably seems about right.
        Bob is still cheap.
        But, he see that winning can put butts in the stands.

    • Redsvol

      I’m expecting around 80$M. 15-20$m for starting pitcher, 10$m for late inning relief help and 5$m for a couple cheap veteran bench pieces.

      I really don’t expect more. Nick Krall wants to grow from within and add pieces at the deadline when he sees what team needs. I don’t expect him to push to spend huge $ on payroll. Krall strikes me as one that wants to leave flexibility to bring up a couple young pitchers and a couple young position guys each and every year. Can’t do that if you’re loaded with veterans.

      And I don’t think the Castellini bunch would go for a huge payroll splurge anyway.

    • MBS

      $65M – $85M is my guess, I’d be shocked if they added more than $45M in contracts in the offseason. I’d love to be shocked, so Krall feel free to spend it up.

    • Votto4life

      @VaRedsfan what do you think the 2024 opening day payroll will be?

      We will compare our guesses in April.

      • VaRedsFan

        Responded above.
        It’s more important to me that they spend smartly than whatever amount they spend.

      • Votto4life

        VARedsfan, you seemed to take exception with my opinion on the Red’s payroll in 2024 and yet you then post “it’s obviously going to be low”. Which was exactly my point. I am glad you agree with me.

      • BK

        I’m with VaRedsFan; I’m less concerned with how much they spend and that they spend wisely. For many, how much the Reds spend is a litmus test to measure Ownership’s commitment. This year in particular there is a lot of risk in spending too much and how it will affect seasons beyond 2024. I’m hoping the Reds break with their normal model of spend to break even and keep resources available for the future.

  17. Bubba Woo

    1. Trade India
    2. If Votto is willing to sign for 1 yr, 10 mil knowing that he is going to only play 60 games and mainly PH, I’m all for bringing him back.
    3. Need a proven veteran Starting Pitcher. Sonny Gray would be perfect. If not him, someone of that ilk. Lodolo cannot be counted on.
    4. Need at least 1 elite setup man. Maybe 2.
    5. Offer Abbott the Hunter Green contract.
    6. Try to extend McCain to buy up his arbitration years and a couple of FA ones.
    7. Trade Fraley if you keep Votto. Keep him if you don’t.
    8. Keep Senzel as a RH bat off the bench. If he’s not happy in that role, non tender him.

    • wkuchad

      1. I don’t trade India unless the return makes the 2024 team better. No prospects.
      2. Way too much, unless you’re factoring in the $7 million we owe to decline Votto’s option. Votto is my favorite Red. I’m torn on wanting him to return. There’s just not room. But if we do bring him back, it should only be for a few million on top of the $7 million buyout.
      3. This is far and away the #1 need of the offseason.
      4. Probably the #2 need.
      5. Unless the Reds are getting a great deal, I prefer to see how all our starters do in 2024 before offering extensions. I would focus any extensions on key young offensive players.
      6. See #5.
      7. No, they play different positions. We’re deep on the infield but not outfield. I only trade Fraley if we’re bringing in a legit outfielder.
      8. Senzel knows he’s not starting on this team next year. I keep both Senzel and Barrero as bench bats in 2024.

      • SultanofSwaff

        Agreed, trading India while offering Votto a contract is counterproductive. India will outperform Votto, so why not use Jonathon as 2b/DH/3b. Depth is also a major consideration too. There’s simply no reason to trade India when you’re not under financial stress and the DH exists.

  18. MBS

    India > Senzel, Fraley > Fairchild, I’d like the best 13 players we can have, keep the better players please. I do like the idea of adding a power hitter, although I think CES will be a 30 + HR guys.

  19. MBS

    No one has made me more of an India fan than EDLC. If we keep India, he’ll play 2B, and that will allow McLain to stay at SS (our best SS), and EDLC to remain at 3B (his best position).

    Marte backs up all 3, so there will be ample opportunities for all, it’s like EDLC, India, McLain and Marte are playing a 4 man outfield.

    • SultanofSwaff

      Marte put up the same WAR as Elly in 1/3 the at-bats. Why does he sit?

      • MBS

        He doesn’t sit, I’d run 2B, 3B, and SS with a 4 man rotation just like most outfields are run. They’d all play roughly the same, with exceptions for hot streaks, and injuries.

        2B India 7/9 Marte 2/9
        3B EDLC 7/9 Marte 2/9
        SS McLain 7/9 Marte 2/9

        Injuries are always likely, so when they do occur you still have 3 guys you want starting everyday available. If we trade away India for prospects, and an injury occurs we’d be plugin in Senzel at 3B, or 2B. Senzel is ok as a weakside platoon, but not as an everyday player.

        It’s a great thing to have depth, I don’t want to deplete it, I want to utilize it.

        We can do the same thing in the OF when Dunn comes up.

        RF Benson 7/9 Dunn 2/9
        CF Friedl 7/9 Dunn 2/9
        LF Steer 7/9 Dunn 2/9

        We can do the same thing with the slow positions

        C Maile 6/9 Stephenson 3/9
        DH Fraley 7/9 Stephenson 2/9
        1B CES 7/9 Stephenson 2/9

        We’d basically have 3 sets of 4 man rotations. Everyone plays a lot, and we have quality backups when the inevitable injuries occur.

      • BK

        I like the idea of rotating players. This weekend, EDLC showed why teams have traditionally played their best athletes at shortstop. He made three unbelievable plays. He doesn’t have physical limitations at SS, he simply needs to make the routine plays more routinely–exactly what one would expect from a 21-year-old.

      • BK

        One more comment … I expect the Reds to start Marte somewhere consistently in the hopes that he makes a strong run for Rookie of the Year next year–they have every incentive.

      • Ted Alfred

        Exactly…terrible idea. Elly is clearly the least likely to make it as a productive, consistent MLB player out of himself CES, McClain, Steer, Marte. It wasn’t only his hitting, his defense was really poor overall at SS since the allstar break. But, he also has huge upside, so it’s definitely a conundrum.

      • Pete

        Perhaps. But he should definitely come to spring training knowing that he need to show his stuff to secure a spot on the 26 man roster. Fair enough?

      • greenmtred

        Perhaps I’m too optimistic by nature (my family, however, would not concur) but it seems possible, based upon the small sample size of the last two(?) series, that Elly has made a needed adjustment. Chris Welch noted that he was, to paraphrase, more contained at the plate, keeping his head still, and that his swing was more compact and effective. His power returned, and he had already reduced his strikeouts somewhat. I. too, was discouraged about him, and he’s still a work in progress, both as a hitter and a fielder, but unless he looks awful in spring training, I wouldn’t send him down.

  20. Mike

    My thoughts on your article:
    – Mr. Votto: Others on here are calling to return him for another season so that he can occasionally pinch hit/DH/spot-start. You mentioned Mr. India is position-limited (2ndbase only). So is Votto – and neither are even average fielders. Moreover, Mr. Votto is becoming limited in that he can only hit right handers and even that is in decline. He does connect when he anticipates (guesses?) fastball and is able to start his swing early to compensate for his declining reflexes. Should he be offered a roster spot because he is a baseball savant/whisperer? Despite your anecdotal evidence on two players on the club, it’s unclear if he indeed offers value in this regard. Moreover, the Red’s have on-staff a hitting coach as well as an assistant. If your argument is these individuals aren’t meeting expectations, make your case, but I’m unaware of any criticisms of their performance. However, every team at the conclusion of the season conducts exit surveys and endeavors to address any shortfalls while developing a strategic vison for the next year(s).
    – I agree with your pronouncement on Mr. India and was surprised how many other readers shared this notion. Mr. India has demonstrated what he is – two to three long balls in a month per season, average footspeed/base-running, limited defense, yet will be oft-quoted (peddling self-promotion) by “journalists.” He will not bring back a starting pitcher in trade. He may be able to command a relief pitcher upgrade, however. He does have value to another club who believes he can contribute consistently for ~ 130 games per season.
    – Mr. Senzel is a useful role-player who adds value to the bench but it’s likely he views himself as more of an everyday contributor. Again, this likely means he should be a trade candidate. Perhaps the return will be a mid-level farm hand or another bullpen arm. But, it’s another way for the club to maintain payroll discipline by jettisoning him to another club.
    – Need for power-hitting outfielder. Not on board with this assertion. It’s likely the Reds already have this value organic to the team – see CES. Moreover, the Reds have more of a team that is not absolutely wedded to the long-ball. They have several who can bang it into the power alleys and speed around the bases. I might add that as this team of young players obtains more experience traits such as pitch recognition and plate discipline could improve and thus lowering strikeout totals (see Mr. Cruz).
    – Pitching – As much as I want to believe in Mr. Greene, I continue to harbor concerns about both his durability and consistency. Most-of-all, I wonder where he is at in developing a third pitch offering. The other starters must demonstrate a higher degree of availability and of course go longer into the game. I believe in Mr. Ashcraft they have a very fine pitcher who could emerge as the best on the staff. If attitude was a Cy Young award consideration, then I think Mr. Abbott would likely be a winner. I’m very impressed with his tenacity to compete. I think he is definitely a number three or four starter. Like others I am concerned about Mr. Lodolo. This is the one area on the club where I think they need outside the organization help – another starting pitcher who could be an innings eater and strong competitor (not necessarily a front of the rotation hurler) would be a big need heading into the next season.

  21. SultanofSwaff

    I don’t get the willingness to trade Jonathon India. Nico Hoerner is a Cubs cornerstone and all but untradeable in their eyes yet they are nearly identical offensively (India edge in OPS, Hoerner with ~30 more steals).

    The debate should more be about whether he’s worthy of starting reps. Thankfully, the Reds can hold up Spencer Steer as an example when telling India that for the good of the team he’ll need to become more positionally versatile in spring training.

    • Jim Walker

      The place for India if he sticks with the Reds is the power hitting LF. Steer goes to the swing man for an infield rotation. See my comment below.

    • Brian

      I don’t get the Votto and India support. They’re both obvious attention addicts, both slow, both really bad on defense and both not putting up enough offense to offset their shortcomings. If both were free agents, what teams would want them and for how much? Maybe a 1 year deal at 3 mil? 5 at the most? Reds fans get too attached. Granted, Votto was a stud but now he can’t offset his negatives. It is ok to move forward. Another thing that should move on is the childish Viking crap. India was laughing and smiling as the Reds were getting eliminated because someone hit a home run and it was Viking pose time. It’s something ten year old boys would do in the dugout. There’s some very good, young talent on the team, India is very low on that totem pole.

      • 2024WSChamps

        Hoerner was worth 5 WAR this year compared to India’s 1.4. India is a decent bat, slightly above average, but is an awful defender. Votto is worth keeping because 1. Experience and mentorship 2. He should come cheap 3. Still hits for Power, LHB. India is redundant as a RHB infielder and has significant value to other teams. Better to capitalize on excess goods in my opinion.

  22. J

    As I said in a comment a couple days ago, and as has been suggested above, these kinds of analyses always sound good on paper, but then when you get to the actual season and discover Marte and/or Elly and/or McLain won’t be able play for a couple months due to an injury, or someone you’re counting on just can’t hit major league pitching at all for the first month and needs to be sent down, you can suddenly find yourself wishing you had an India on the team. Counting on someone in the minors to be your backup plan is a problem, because they can’t always handle the majors. (Hopkins, for example, looked like a star in AAA but was awful with the Reds. And who knows what might happen if Barrero gets another shot.)

    This isn’t to say India and/or Fraley and/or someone else absolutely shouldn’t be traded for pitching and/or an everyday outfielder, but trading them just because you don’t see an obvious place for them to play every day is probably a mistake.

    For what it’s worth, I also don’t buy the “India is a leader” stuff. He was on the team when it played badly down the stretch, and if that’s the kind of leadership he provides, I can live without it. There’s a difference between being enthusiastic and being a leader. I think this team lacks leadership in general, from the manager to the coaching staff to the players. It might be worthwhile to try to make a trade for someone who genuinely is a leader even if their stats aren’t anything to write home about.

    • Still a Red

      Well, J, I finally found something to agree with, for the most part. ? Who in your memory is the kind of player/leader you would look for?

      • J

        I don’t really know who’s a good leader and who’s not, since this mostly happens in private. My sense was that Larkin was probably a good leader, but now that I’ve heard him regularly on TV, that’s sort of hard for me to believe.

        I just heard David Wells (whom I despise, but that’s irrelevant) talking about Posada getting in his face and yelling at him after a particularly bad outing, which he thought was a good thing, and something that a lot of players could benefit from. (That’s what he said, anyway.) I can’t really imagine any current Red doing anything like that.

  23. RedBB

    No way in heck should we go with the same young and inexperienced starting pitching staff. Need at least 1 but preferrably 2 Veteran starting pitchers. It’s the main reason why we didn’t make the playoffs, starting pitching that could not give quality innings and burned out the Bullpen.

    • Tom Diesman

      I’ll first note that the Reds publicly stated goal is long-term sustainable success by continuing to build through their player pipeline, player development and scouting.

      Given that, the Reds are currently looking into beginning the season next year with the following as their starting rotation:

      Name Age ERA GS
      Andrew Abbott* 24 3.87 21
      Brandon Williamson* 25 4.46 23
      Graham Ashcraft 25 4.76 26
      Hunter Greene 23 4.82 22
      Nick Lodolo* 25 6.29 7
      Totals Average of 24.4 4.62 99

      Reds SP last year sported a 5.43 ERA. The MLB Average SP in 2023 had a 4.45 ERA. Abbott was well above average, Williamson/Greene/Ashcraft were about average, and Lodolo was well below average. This all results in this group as a whole giving the Reds 99 GS of a 4.62 ERA which just barely below league average.

      That’s with the bumps in the road of a group of 5 guys whose average age is 24.4. Also consider that Lodolo for his career has a 4.31 ERA in 26 GS which is a 102 ERA+. I’m perfectly fine starting next season with these five SP in the rotation give their age and projectability. Most if not all of them have shown signs that if given the time to develop and mature that they can be at least #3 starters if not more.

      Given the Reds stated goal, I can see them maybe pursuing a mid tier FA SP to add some depth and experience, but I’ll be surprised if they do any more than that so they don’t block any of the young pitching talent.

      • Redsvol

        Tom – I absolutely can see the Reds decision makers thinking this. But I really hope there is someone on Nick Krall’s staff pounding the desk for a couple free agent inning eater starting pitchers.

        It would be a terrible waste of 2024 to rely once again on young pitchers who have proven they can’t handle a 162 game season and have no playoff experience. Sonny Gray Jordan Montgomery, Michael Wacha, someone – anyone – that normally takes the ball every 5th day and can pitch to league average or better results.

        Availability is the first ability!

  24. Jim Walker

    It is good that the young guys can play several positions. However, I believe the best interests of the team will be more fully served by attempting to have set pieces around the infield since team defense inevitably suffers when different combinations of guys are deployed next to each other, especially at 2B/ SS.

    What I recall from this season is that when McLain and EDLC were side by side as they had often been at 2B/ SS in AA and AAA , GIDP opportunities tended to get turned into completed GIDPs almost like clockwork. In fact, McLain’s injury first came to public notice when he whiffed on such a chance in a crucial situation.

    I agree with Jason that India either needs to move off 2B or be traded. For the short run, I’d like to see them settle on McLain at 2B and EDLC at SS with Steer the man to be plugged in at 2B when McLain or EDLC take a rest (McLain being the SS when EDLC is off with Steer at 2B).

    I’d also prefer to see a minimum of movement of Marte off of 3B and CES off of 1B. Steer would also come into play here as the corner IF super sub; and, just like that the Reds have an infield rotation that keeps guys fresh with a minimum of position swapping since only Steer and McLain when EDLC is out ever need to cover a 2nd spot.

    Bear in mind that while it may be fascinating and seem neat, guys bouncing around positions during a game and from game to game is most often a sign of a team covering a weakness either in their batting order or on defense. None of the 5 guys tagged here for infield require a platoon partner or late inning defensive backup.

    Go out and get an OF or 2 that also fit that profile or can be swapped among other OF for platoon work and free this team to reach its full potential.

  25. Optimist

    I’ve said this for a while now, on RLN and elsewhere – so I’ll just cut and paste it all winter –

    “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”

    A more intriguing idea – on the MLB Trade rumors summary for the A’s, they noted possible interest in Senzel – how about a Nick for Joe Boyle + something else trade!

    • Jim Walker

      If the A’s are “interested” in Senzel so quickly at the end of the season, that is probably an indication of where he might have been headed at the deadline in the deal that never happened.

      Moll moved to the Reds for Boyle straight up, and Boyle cost the A’s only 2 months of MLB minimum level salary. I’ll wager a guess the A’s wanted the Reds to eat a bunch of Senzel’s salary for a 1 up of him (and possibly also a lesser prospect than Boyle) for Moll but the Reds wouldn’t ante up.

      A person never likes to admit they didn’t have the money to do something, especially after they have openly said they did. However, I suspect that is exactly the situation Nick Krall unexpectedly found himself in across the board at the deadline.

      • Optimist

        Jim – that’s a lot of retrospective speculation, but there’s more than a kernel of truth there. Given the Reds willingness to cut others, I doubt Senzel’s salary played a factor – I suspect it was simply demanding more for him than for Boyle, which is understandable. Go find the summary, but it was almost a throwaway line – and likely the first of many. I’m sure they’ll pick up on Jason’s (and others) comments on trading India and Fraley.

        Point is that Senzel, Fraley and India are all worthy of such speculation since they’d command some sort of return above lottery pick types – they are each proven MLB talent to some degree.

      • Jim Walker

        OP>> It is silly season and almost all speculation till the WS ends 😉

        Per BBRef’s salary numbers, Senzel was a nudge under $2m on the season. Ballparking amounts and term, his money due from Aug 1 to season end was ~$667K. Mull was making $725K per year which ballparks to ~$240K for the 2 months, one or 2 annual ticks up the increment ladder from minimum.

        Additionally, Senzel is going to be a 3rd year arb guy, of 4 possible as a Super2, in 2024 while Moll won’t be arb eligible until the 2025 season (4 years of team control left).

        There is no way the Moneyball founding organization is making that deal without $$$ or prospect capital also coming their way with Senzel.

        As an aside, the fact that the A’s took Boyle straight up for Moll probably should have rang alarm bells with the Reds. Given what has transpired since with Moll and Boyle, the Reds must have been very wrong in their evaluation of Boyle or sadly misguided about their need for a reliever versus a potential spot starter to the end of the season,

      • BK

        Krall stated multiple times that the Reds had room to add payroll–a statement backed up by publicly available estimates of the Red’s yearly spending habits and financial condition. Also, Senzel’s contract is hardly an albatross.

      • Jim Walker

        What Krall said and what he did ended up not dovetailing though.

        When the time to show the money came he didn’t. As loud as he was about having the money to be a player, the most obvious reason for not being that player in the end is that he was told he could not spend the money he said he had access to send.

      • Optimist

        Jim – I’ve been a huge Boyle maven given Doug’s comments going back to last season. That said, it’s a tiny sample size so far, though the A’s may have unlocked something. Moll, meanwhile, seems a proven MLB LH RP, and yes, stocking the bullpen is always an exercise in probability. Still, he’s clearly a level ahead of a reclamation-project/injury-recovery/end-of-career spring training pickup.

        In short, they will get value from Moll – it just comes down to Boyle continuing to approach his (exgtremely high) ceiling.

        Finally, yes, if any franchise is squeakier about the budget than the Reds it’s the A’s, but I still don’t think the salary was an issue – if anything, I suspect they wanted a starter for Senzel, and the A’s wanted a full-time field player in return.

        For all the ownership criticism (so well deserved) they did get into the plus column by clearly letting Krall cut aggressively. Who knows if that was “part of the plan”, or if the rookies performance forced it, but they noticeably ate quite a bit of sunk cost going back to the Moose release.

      • BK

        @Jim, lots of reports indicated the Reds pursued adding payroll. The evidence is out there … just doesn’t fit your “theories.”

      • Tom Diesman

        It’s going to take a whole bunch more than 16 IP in the majors for me to believe that Boyle went from the guy in the minors with a 7.2 BB9 to the guy in the majors with 2.8 BB9.

      • Optimist

        Agree with Tom here – unlikely the A’s completely unlocked Boyle at his ceiling (All-Star rotation ace), and it’s an extremely small sample size, but it’s not nothing. They got an excellent combined 33ip out of him. They win the trade if he develops into a closer/leverage reliever. If he’s a starter it’s a lopsided win. Very worthwhile from their side, still worthwhile to the Reds.

      • doctorrockett

        Regarding the potential “unlocking” of Boyle’s talent, one has to consider the difference in organizational pitching philosophies.

  26. Still a Red

    If CES’s AAA numbers are indicative of his ceiling, then he might be the future RH masher, in which case the Reds need to replace the Votto/Bruce from the good old days on the left side.

  27. Amarillo

    I find it so strange when I see “There is no room” for a good player like India.

    We used 27 position players this year. There were 14 who had 200 Plate Appearances. There is always going to be room for good players, because there will always be injuries.

    • Jim Walker

      The guys coming off the bench are the guys who have to be able and willing to play multiple positions so that a team does not need to reinvent itself on defense when somebody goes down. As Jason said, there is no indication India is willing to be that versatile guy.

      • BK

        If the team has several players capable of handling more than one position, why must the “bench” player bring versatility?

      • Jim Walker

        See what I said above about defensive continuity.

        On a strong team, presumably every regular is the best on the team at his position. When a guy goes down and the defense has to be shuffled to accommodate the sub’s defensive capability, the team typically ends up weaker at several positions as guys are moved around.

        In addition, there is also a fall off in team defense from multiple players being deployed next to different players than they are used to playing beside.

      • MBS

        @Jim, Here’s the thing I’m considering when I’m imagining the best team, WWDBD What will David Bell do? Bell is not shy for using his bench, and playing matchups, especially handedness matchups.

        We’re not going to see an everyday 9 lineup with Bell. So why not cram the best 13 guys onto a roster that you can get? I understand your reasoning if Bell trotted out the same 9 guys on a routine basis, but he doesn’t. @OldSchool played a game of guess the David Bell lineup on a routine basis, and I don’t remember him ever guessing it correctly.

        Lets do what many on RLN are fond of saying, and “Bell Proof” the roster. The deeper we keep the roster the less Bellabilty there will be for David to mess it up. Keep role players for managers who use role players as role players.

      • MBS

        I messed up my word play, I should have said aBellity, instead of Bellability.

      • BK

        I agree with MBS.

        @Jim, I would agree if we had any hope of playing the same eight players (all position players except the catcher) 162 games straight. We have a couple of good players who are best suited for platoon roles. Also, injuries will happen. Lots of research shows that fatigued humans perform suboptimally and get injured more than rested ones. So, more than eight guys are going to play. Having quality, starter-caliber players on the bench is a must because nobody is playing all 162 games.

  28. Jason Linden

    In reference to some of the comments above, I don’t disagree that you’ll generally need 10-ish starters over the course of the year. The issue is that your 9th and 10th guys need to versatile. India is, right now, the 9th best non-catcher on the team. He is seemingly unwilling to play the OF, and he’s been a below average MLB player (all the defensive stats think he’s bad and he’s a tick below average as a hitter) for two seasons. If he’d play different spots like Steer, he’d have real value. But as a “leader” who will only play one position, which forces out a player who is likely better than him with both the bat and the glove to the bench, he’s just in the way.

    • Jim Walker

      our thought must have crossed in the ether 😉

    • Optimist

      India fits right in on the Scooter/Dietrich continuum, though he’s likely the most productive of the bunch. But, the defensive limitations certainly keep him boxed in.

    • BK

      The assumption that India won’t play another position is just an assumption. We are now in the offseason. This is the time that a player has time to work a position change or develop some versatility if that is needed. We need to test your theory.

  29. TR

    For me, EDLC is a natural in centerfield with his arm and speed, and it helps to thin out the infield a bit. I’d trade Senzel and Fraley to strengthen the bullpen. The outfield would be Elly, Benson, Friedl, Steer and Fairchild. I’m not aware of India not willing to play where needed. A roster spot should not be given to Votto, but a position as a special assistant to the Gm or hitting coach is another matter. A good veteran starting pitcher is needed to stabilize the young starting pitchers who hopefully will spend less time on the IL in 2024.

    • Jim Walker

      I think Votto as a manager, playing or otherwise, would be something to behold. My imagination is we’d see the focus and attention to detail he had for hitting be applied to the craft of managing to win games. And it would probably bring woe to players who were driven to succeed.

      • Jim Walker

        Oops. Of course above was supposed to say…. “And it would probably bring woe to players who were LESS driven to succeed”.

    • TJ

      @TR….I totally agree with you about Elly in centerfield. I don’t know if he could make the transition, but you have to think his athleticism would take over. Marte, CES, McClain, Steer, and India for the infield spots with Steer possibly holding down an outfield spot.

      • Tom Diesman

        While De La Cruz has not yet played a game in the OF, McLain has played 50 G in CF for UCLA before he was drafted. So there’s another option.

    • LDS

      I’m not sure I would do that. CES is 5 years younger and millions cheaper. His ceiling is unclear at this point. I think I’d rather see what CES can do on a full season and spend the money elsewhere. Alonso is a free agent after next season. Would not a good move by the Reds FO.

    • RedBB

      For a year of the Polar Bear? I wouldn’t do it. CES is going to MASH hundeds of HR’s in the next few years. He may very well hit more than Alonso next year…

      • TJ

        I don’t think you would just give the Mets CES for one year of the polar bear. You would do the trade with a future contract in place. I imagine Pete might be too expensive, but 40+ homers in GABP would be exciting

      • redfanorbust

        Agreed a no to that trade as mentioned because of the age difference but don’t think he will hit more HR’s than Alonso. Imagine what a guy like Alonso could do at GABP. I still think the Reds need to see if a big HR guy is avail in free agency and go after him hard.

  30. LDS

    I agree with the idea of trading Fraley, India, and Senzel (and probably several others). The Reds need pitching. They need better outfielders. They need better management. DJ has to go. I don’t see any way that anyone could argue to keep him. Yeah, I think Bell needs to go but he’s an insider so that trumps winning.

    • RedBB

      I don’t disagree but you won’t get anything for Senzel worth anything. Maybe a no name minor league reliever. Fraley will get you a little more but not a ton, maybe a top 20-25 prospect in an organization. India will get you the most just based on what he did in his rookier year and 3 years of control. I wouldn’t trade him for anything less than a top 100ish overall prospect though, preferably a starter.

    • BK

      And the fact that his team improved in winning by 20 games year-over-year and has had winning records in 3 of his 5 seasons helps, too.

      • LDS

        Wrong benchmark – wins this year vs. last. The correct benchmark is where they were at extension/trade deadline and where did they finish. Or even, as Jim Walker pointed out, where were they with two weeks to go vs. where did they finish. By either measure, the team management failed. But, yes, you’re right, Castellini values “affordable “ sycophants over talent. Krall may have some skills but he is handicapped by cheap owners. Bell and company? Nope.

      • BK

        The fact is the team exceeded all expectations by a wide margin. Hence, Bell’s extension and Krall’s promotion/extension … performance-based decisions.

      • LDS

        Sorry @BK, but it’s not. That’s like rewarding your financial adviser for only losing 25% of your nest egg instead of 50%

      • BK

        @LDS, Bell developed a slew of players, putting the Reds in the best position they’ve been in for over a decade. This was the organization’s plan from the outset this year, and he executed it beyond expectations.

      • greenmtred

        The team’s record, absent the pertinent circumstances, is the wrong benchmark. Bell may have screwed up but a very obvious explanation for the late-season record is the starting rotation; it would be a pointless–because unprovable–bet, but I’d bet that no manager could have overcome what happened to the Reds’ starting pitching. Occam said it best.

      • BK

        @LDS, I’m not trying to be an antagonist. Two national-level stories have been written about the Reds season over the last two days. Both point to the surprisingly great season the Reds had.

        Second, I didn’t say, “But, yes, you’re right, Castellini values “affordable “ sycophants over talent.” It’s dishonest to attribute to me something I didn’t say. If there’s such good logic to underpin your position, why throw out red herrings in an attempt to discredit me, just like your “whatever” comment?

    • Votto4life

      I think DJ is as safe as Bell at this point. The Castellinis value continuity and familiarity over all else, except of course, money. The only way DJ isn’t brought back is if someone offers him more money and I don’t think that is likely to happen.

    • Tom Diesman

      We always like better, but do the Reds necessarily have a weakness in the OF? MLB OFs hit .251/.323/.422/.745 in 2023 and Reds OFs hit .255/.333/.435/.768 in 2023.

  31. Tim

    Reds had a negative HR differential of 25 which means opposing teams had a 12% advantage. That’s an automatic 25 runs not including the RBIs that resulted from the homers hit by opposing teams. I believe that this explains a lot about our season and the abysmal home win percentage. If you play in a small park you have to be set up to take maximum advantage. GABP was a disadvantage this year. I’m glad for one, that we didn’t live by the long ball this season. But, we have to have an RBI machine in the lineup. Preferably one who can hit 30+ to the cheap seats.

    • VaRedsFan

      They could change the ballpark to fit their speedy team. The team was at it’s best …IMO when it wasn’t hitting a lot of homers. But then the 12 game streak happened along with a 20+ game HR streak, and suddenly the rest of the season became HR or bust.

      • Jason Franklin

        I wonder what they have to do to make that happen? I know that Baltimore changed their left field and pushed it way back this year. Hurt Mountcastle power-wise but “maybe” helpe their pitchers more so.

    • greenmtred

      Interesting info, Tim, but unless I’m missing something–always a distinct possibility, home runs alone don’t give a full picture, since the alternative isn’t necessarily an out: it might be a double with men on base. The Reds also–my impression–started hitting more homers as the season progressed. They didn’t have anybody challenging for the league lead, but they had a lot of guys with double digits.

  32. Votto4life

    I will be surprised if any of the following players return in 2024:


    If any of the above players are back in 2024, my money is on Jonathan India, but I place that at no better than 50/50.

    • LDS

      I saw a Nightengale post earlier today confirming that the Reds weren’t picking up Votto’s option. Hopefully, Barrero brings a good return. I’m not sure the Reds should pass on him just yet.

      • Ted Alfred

        I’m not surprise they’re not picking up Votto’s option, but I could see them working out something else beyond the 7M buyout… resigning him to a very team friendly deal to keep him on the team uf he’s okay with a sunatantially reduced role being CES mentor, DH etc

    • wkuchad

      Minimum one of Senzel or Barrero will be on the bench next year. They play infield and outfield, and our “bench” could be very small next year if we keep 10 starting position players. That versatility will be needed.

      • LDS

        Go with Barrero. Tends to stay healthy. Younger and cheaper. Etc. I’ll not be surprised if Senzel’s public comments and Boras as his agent, expedites his departure from Cincinnati

      • MBS

        I’m not sure if this is true, Barrero has already been demoted to AAA, and passed over by 3 other SS’s. Senzel was optioned to AAA in August, but brought back up after another injury forced Krall’s hand. I think the shine is off of the 2 of them. Krall also just DFA’d Newman, and he was more productive than either of them. I think it’s new blood only in 24.

      • wkuchad

        MBS, new blood for the starting line-up agree. But Barrero can’t be sent to the minors (out of options) and is worth little for trade. So why not take a chance and make him a bench utility player. He backs up two key defensive positions – CF and SS – and he still has potential to be a viable offensive contributor.

      • Melvin

        Yeah. I don’t think it’s a good idea to give up on Barrero. He should have value on a good team.

      • MBS

        @WK, I won’t be mad if he makes it, I always liked Barrero. I just don’t think Krall, and Bell do.

  33. Melvin

    Arroyo hit good in AA. If he continues in AAA he could be up soon next year. If so it could potentially eliminate all platoons which would be a good thing. Something like this is what I have in mind for 2024.

    1B – CES
    2B – McLain
    3B – Marte
    SS – Arroyo
    LF – Friedl
    CF – EDLC
    RF – Steer
    C – Stephenson
    DH – Votto/Whoever ??

    • BK

      Did you see the three examples of EDLC using his speed at SS over the weekend? I’m sure he’d be great in CF, but I don’t think anyone in the league would have made those three gems. He’s 21, his defensive consistency will improve.

      • Melvin

        He would do things in CF that no one else in the league would do too. 😉

      • BK

        But those things don’t happen as often in CF; hence, the reason teams across all levels of baseball tend to play their best athletes at SS.

      • Melvin

        He’s 6’5″ and still growing I’m told. It’s hard for a guy that size to play the infield consistently over time. At least it’s harder than the outfield. Truly great centerfielders are hard to find too. We’ve got PLENTY of good SS but none that could play CF the way he could.

      • TR

        The Reds and EDLC have time to work out the question marks of his hitting technique and where he will contribute most defensively be it in the infield or outfield.

    • VegasRed

      Arroyo made a lot of errors. Did not set world on fire hitting. I don’t think he is ready in 2024.

    • redfanorbust

      Like it all but would take the “whoever” for the DH. That would be a hard no for me on Votto. Hopefully that “whoever” will be a big bopper acquired by trade or FA. I assume since no mention of India you feel he will be traded?

  34. Ted Alfred

    India is a liability defensively, especially throwing the ball for a 2nd baseman. So the idea of him playing anywhere but 2nd effectively is unlikely. A few on here have said 2nd base is actually Steer’s best position naturally, so if that’s the case I just think you have to trade India. If Elly is great at SS then McClain can play 2nd, but just as likely is Elly can’t cut it at SS and Steer plays 2nd with McClain at SS. Steer is never going to be anything more than barely adequate defensively playing outfield.

  35. Drew Hardesty

    Fire David Bell and have Votto be the player/manager.
    Keep India. The true lesson from Moneyball is not algorithm>human; it’s algorithm+human.
    Spend wise money on pitching. No Giolito, no Chapman.

    • TR

      Bob Castellini is going to approve the firing of David Bell after an 82-80 season? No way, especially since Bell is a member of a long standing Cincinnati ‘baseball family.’ I agree that Chapman will not be reacquired after the offseason garage incident that originally resulted in him going to the Cubs.

  36. Melvin

    “Go spend money, win 95 games, and get to the playoffs every year for the next five years. You have what you need to do it. Go do it.”

    Good idea. The most likely thing they’ll do though is spend just enough money to be mediocre and expect Reds fans to be thrilled to death we’re competitive and not in last place. A very good indication of that is the fact they extended Bell for three more years. He’s the poster boy for mediocrity…at best.

    • redfanorbust

      Well I am not going to touch the extremely well worn issue on RLN that is David Bell.
      It is my opinion that Reds management and fan base knows it will have no excuse not to spend significantly this off season. They will have a meager $34M team salary next year after Votto/Moose are off the books which ranks them about 27th of 30. League average is about $110M. Spend! They will make up for it in butts in the seats. Cincinnati and it’s fans are dying for something to seriously cheer about and have for a long, long time!

  37. old-school

    Whats next is a decision on Votto. This will be decided in the next 30 days. I suspect it already has. Krall has been laser-like in his execution of old expensive contracts. They DFA’d the last year of sunk money with Akiyama and they DFA’d the last year of Moose sunk money.

    Votto hardly played in Game 159/160/161 with the season on the line. He was then paraded out there in a meaningless game 162 hitting 3rd and playing 1b. If he didnt play in those games…how he is coming back for $20 million next year. Votto is gone and unfortunately…that is the right move. Reds need a power hitting lefty bat but JV isnt that guy.

    Votto is poor defensively. He is one of the worse base runners in MLB. He hit .203 combined the last 2 years and his calling card….on base ….is a combined .310 ish. His only MLB skill left is power and that tool has only been there for fits and starts due to a surgically repaired shoulder and then fatigue from the grind of every day mlbsaps it..Does power come back at age 40 after shoulder surgery? No it does not.

    The real issue with Joey Votto is the opportunity cost of his salary and his roster spot. What could the Reds do with $13 million for a younger better player?

    Look at the playoff Blue Jays and Brandon Belt. Age 35..part time lefty power bat. DH…19 HR OPS .859.

    1 year $9 million contract.

    Find next years Brandon Belt as productive part time lefty hammer who can DH and give CES a day or 2 off at first base a week. Maybe thats Jake Fraley at under a million.

    • J

      It would be insane to commit $13 million to a player with Votto’s stats and other liabilities. That said, a player with Votto’s stats, plus the “intangibles” he brings, for, say, $3 million? Would that be worth it? Offer him $10 million to return, perhaps with some additional incentives, and if he can’t hack it and needs to be forced into retirement, it’s not that big a financial loss.

      My biggest concern with bringing Votto back is the same concern most people have, which is that Bell will feel obligated to start him regularly, and won’t be willing to have him batting 8th or 9th. So, as much as I’d love to see him back for sentimental reasons, it’s probably best for the team if he’s not, because Bell can’t be trusted to use him appropriately.

      • Colorado Red

        Still do not think he is worth it.
        time to say goodbye.

      • redfanorbust

        Big NO to Votto. Love him but money spent aside we need every AB we can get for the young guys. Reds are now about the future and and we have not even seen who we will get during the off season in trades and FA’s. Much rather see him in the broadcast booth.

    • Jim Walker

      Fraley is 1st year arb eligible (3 years ST). I don’t see him under $1m. Senzel got 1.250m his first arb year as a Super2 and just a tad under $2m this year as a 3+ year player but 2nd year arb because of being Super2. I’ve not seen projections yet at MLBTR or anywhere else but I’d bet Fraley will come in at $1.75-2m.

  38. Indy Red Man

    Phillip Seymour Hoffman to Pena like Bell to Votto. Not no, but hades no!!! No David you can’t 1B/DH Votto because he’s not on the roster. Bringing Votto back is like going to see Rambo 6 Last Blood.

    India too. Why? Who are you going to block? You don’t keep young guys that can start on the bench as injury insurance. Get a big bat. HG & Lodolo as #1 #2 makes me want to make a drink. We need a solid starter and start referring to Ashcraft as 1 or 2. 2 relievers as well and playoffs easy peasy.

    • Colorado Red

      All I remember, is that the Reds had a terrible record with India on the IL.
      Maybe it random, but he does bring something.
      If you can get a solid return, I would take it.

  39. West Larry

    The reds need one additional very good starting pitcher, Sonny Gray fits. The reds need a co-closer, Chapman fits. Try to never use Diaz and Chapman in the same game. The two should not be burnt out by seasons end. If you are going to trade India and Fraley- I hate it-then trade for two quality additional relievers. If you have traded Fraley, a power hitting outfielder is a must. Don’t resign Votto, Bell would use him too often. Let the kids play. Go Reds!!


  40. Doc4uk

    Votto should replace hitting coach and can provide leadership in that role. His playing days should be over.

    India, Senzel, Fairchild, and Fraley all have cheaper and better options behind them. Marte has been a pleasant surprise but is almost certainly a future star. Our record really went south with McClain on injured list so hopefully this was a freak injury. EDLC must work all winter on identifying breaking pitches. Steer and CES have proven themselves as permanent fixtures. Your top prospect is knocking on the door as well. We need a power bat in the OF . We need two or three relief pitchers. Maybe the Chapman is lefty closer. No more Duarte or Young . Maybe Lodolo comes out of BP given his injury history. Farmer is a question mark as is Law

    Abbott and Phillips should start at Louisville. We need to add two solid starters. Gray and ???

    With the money we save from Joey, Moose, and Myers we should be able to afford all of them.

  41. CFD3000

    Really good article Jason. You can be the new Asst. GM. I might quibble around the margins but it’s a solid assessment with a good plan.

    After reading through 150+ comments and thinking it through, I agree that I’d like to see India, Senzel and Fraley traded. Barrero on the bench and playing quite a bit at SS, CF and anywhere else injuries dictate. Reynolds and Robinson and Dunn and perhaps Arroyo available from AAA for depth. Votto back on an incentive deal for one year. And a RH power bat added to the outfield mix.

    But waaay more important than that is pitching. Add two dependable starters, league average or better. Add two or three bullpen arms with at least some ability to get both righties and lefties out, and even better with low BB rates. No LOOGY or high K / BB guys. (Lack of) pitching depth was a killer this year. No matter how good the offense is, pitching depth will make or break this team next year. It would have been so much fun if the Reds had snuck into a wildcard spot this year, but does anyone think the rotation would have held up for a playoff run? I don’t. So priority one sounds hauntingly familiar: Get. The. Pitching.

    There’s a really exciting core of young hitters and pitchers to build around. There’s money to spend, and major league caliber players to trade. Let’s do this! I hope it’s a really gratifying offseason. When do pitchers and catchers report?

  42. redfanorbust

    “I had it suggested to me by everyone’s favorite stat guy, Joel Luckhaupt, that the Reds could use a 30+ HR guy in the lineup. There’s room for one now. Maybe he’s a free agent. Maybe he comes via a trade for the two guys mentioned above and/or some prospects”.
    YES!! Been hoping for that for a log time. Been such a waste not having someone like that at the cozy confines of GABP. We have mostly speedsters which lends itself obviously more to a larger park.

  43. capnhook33

    Some points here that probably are not talked about enough-

    1) India would not be traded by me unless we got a king’s ransom. Maybe you would, and maybe if you got a young controllable #3 starter or so I’d go for it. I think he’s going to be in the conversations they have this winter. But India is not to blame for what is really a perceived lack of production (spoiler alert, he’s much better than you think). Even with a downturn, he finished the year at exactly a league average hitter. Where he really shines, though, is as the leadoff hitter. For his career he is an .800 OPS leadoff hitter. Even this season, he finished the year at .785 with a .375 OBP. That is incredibly valuable. It’s even more valuable to this team because he hits righties very well and you have Friedl batting behind him as a perfect #2 hitter – great bunter, solid contact rate, good speed). The problem has been the Reds have not committed to hitting him leadoff. Which is baffling. He has proven it over 3 years that he can get it done leading off. He should not move off that spot unless absolutely necessary.

    2) India’s defense. True, he is worse than McClain. But I’m not so sure he’s the least valuable defender. Elly really struggled as the year went on, and Steer hasn’t quite found his footing there yet either. I’ll also point out that when making the argument based on dWAR, it very much does not pan out in the same way that it does when you look at things like Outs Above Average. People talk about defense in baseball like certain players are so bad they cost teams multiple games all by themselves. I think the player movement data shows that things like UZR, TZR, dWAR etc are very overblown. According to OAA – the very best players in baseball this year saved about 10 or 11 runs. In this current era roughly 9.5 runs = 1 WAR. So the very best players on defense in baseball are worth about 1 win more than any joe schmoe big leaguer. And if you look at success rate added, the very best are adding 2-4% over the course of the whole season. The fact is the differences on defense between players is much smaller than you think, and it is mitigated even more by scouting reports and ball data, allowing for player positional adjustments during batting that gives them that much more of a chance at a play. (In case you were wondering, Schwarber is the worst defensive player in baseball, with -19 OAA. That would put him at about -1.8 dWAR. His current dWAR is -2.8, so it probably even overvalues his badness using those metrics)

    3) Votto – They will decline the option. But I could see him coming back on the bench for a couple mil. He can still help.

    4) Fraley- Really good strong side of the platoon player. I am keeping him around too because depth is key and he’s cheap.

    5) Senzel- Gone. I am honestly shocked they brought him back this year. I don’t even know if they can trade him. He has virtually no value, you wouldn’t get back a major league player for him, and his arb3 pay will not be worth it a roster spot.

    6) Please add some pitching. 2 pen arms and a starter at least. That’s bare minimum.

  44. Melvin

    Haven’t read all of the comments but one “think outside the box” idea I had if the Reds really want to keep India with his limited range and arm. Move him to 1B, move CES to RF, and move Steer to 2B. India is 6’0″ tall so he can handle it. CES has a good arm and what little I’ve seen he has at least decent range and speed. Steer by his own comments says 2B is his best position.

    1B – India
    2B – Steer
    3B – Marte
    SS – McLain
    LF – Friedl
    CF – EDLC
    RF – CES
    C – Stephenson
    DH – Votto/Benson/Whoever

  45. JayTheRed

    Jason, the thing I love about your articles is that they are realistic. Your plan seems very legit to me, and I don’t think it would cost an arm and a leg to make it happen.
    I too hope they go for Sonny Gray. Loved his attitude and the guy is still a good quality pitcher. Heck maybe the kids can learn from him too. I really want us to have two options for closing out games in the 8th and 9th. Diaz is great but you could tell he was way overused and gassed out by the end of the season.

    I always look forward to reading your articles so please keep up the great work.