Following Sunday’s 5-3 win over the Cleveland Guardians, Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell announced that Frankie Montas was going to be the team’s starting pitcher for Opening Day.

That may come as a surprise to some, but maybe not to others. Hunter Greene appeared to be the other pitcher in the conversation. He had started Opening Day for Cincinnati in 2023 and signed an extension with the Reds last season. Among the starting pitchers on the club, Frankie Montas has a resume that as of today, no one else can match.

The next time that Montas takes the mound in a big league game as a starter it will mark his 100th career start. Early in his career he worked in both a starting and relief role, but has been a starter for much of his big league time. Over the course of his 99 starts he’s posted a 3.77 ERA and thrown 551.0 innings while striking out 565 batters. For Montas, it will be his 3rd start on Opening Day. When he was with Oakland he made the first start for the club in both 2020 and 2022.

Cincinnati brought him in on a 2-year deal. He’s guaranteed at least $16,000,000 from the Reds. His contract in 2024 is for $14,000,000 and there’s a $20,000,000 mutual option for 2025 that includes a $2,000,000 buyout.

This spring has seen Frankie Montas make two starts so far. He threw two perfect innings with two strikeouts in his first outing, but allowed four runs on seven hits and a walk – including two home runs – in his last start against the Royals. His next start is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon against San Francisco.

The last time a pitcher made the Opening Day start for Cincinnati after joining the team during the offseason was back in 2017. That’s when Scott Feldman got the nod for the Reds. Cincinnati went on to lose that game 4-3 to the Philadelphia Phillies. For Feldman, it would be his final year in the big leagues. He made 21 starts for the Reds that season and went on the injured list in August and didn’t return.

117 Responses

  1. RedBB

    Interesting…but I’m kind of glad it wasn’t Greene. Hunter needs to earn it instead of being handed to him.. I would have been good with Martinez too.

  2. Melvin

    “Hunter needs to earn it instead of being handed to him.”

    Yeah. He may need to expect more out of himself. Competition is a good thing.

  3. Tony C.

    This isn’t necessarily the wrong move but I don’t think it was a decision that needed to be made right now. One of my main criticisms of Bell is the timing of his decisions. There is a rythym to things in life when done the right way and frequently Bell seems to be out of rythym.

    • David

      Bell’s announcement, such as it is, may indicate how he plans to schedule his presumptive “starters” the rest of the way in Spring Training.
      Maybe it came from the Front Office, after they signed Montas to a free agent contract and want to showcase him.
      Although Lodolo appeared to pitch well today, he may not have built up enough arm strength, etc., by the beginning of the season. This is his first start. Most of the other expected starters will be doing their third start this week. He may well end up staying in Arizona for an “extended” Spring training.

    • mac624

      Based on spring training results, it should be anyone but Abbott. But Spring Training means very little except for the 13th man in my opinion. Personally, I like moving Greene down and having him pitch against non #1s for a bit. Hopefully that gets him some good results and gets his confidence rolling. Besides it’s not how you start the year, but how you finish and then the playoffs.

  4. DaveCT

    “Hunter needs to earn it instead of being handed to him …”

    This is pretty insulting to Hunter Green. Why would anyone assume he has not earned what’s he gleaned of his abilities and talent? By all accounts, Hunter Green is an extremely hard worker, makes a considerable effort to contribute to his community, comes from a fantastic family and is a very solid citizen. Yet, if he were named opening day this year, he hasn’t earned it? He of the #2 overall pick, big bonus, SI cover in high school, major leagues at age 21, even after TJ surgery. But he hasn’t earned it. I’ve seen this over and over. Sure his production has been up and down. But why does no one say things like this about Ashcraft, Abbott, Lodolo, Williamson, etc?

    • Harry Stoner

      Well….like Quasimodo, I’ve got a hunch….

      • Daytonnati

        I wish we had “like” buttons.

      • Dirty447

        “Hunter Green is an extremely hard worker, makes a considerable effort to contribute to his community, comes from a fantastic family and is a very solid citizen. Yet, if he were named opening day this year, he hasn’t earned it? He of the #2 overall pick, big bonus, SI cover in high school, major leagues at age 21, even after TJ surgery.”

        All are admirable qualities and accomplishments, but none have anything to do with being the opening day starter. It all comes down to the on-field performance resume. While hunter has shown flashes, he has not demonstated anything resembling consistency, or being an obvious choice as the number 1 starter.

      • greenmtred

        The Reds don’t have a #1 starter. They have young guys who may attain that status and they have Montas who, if his health holds up, could fill that role for the Reds.

    • RedBB

      How has he earned it? What does hard work have to do with anything? What does community service have to do with anything? What do his stats say? 4.62 career ERA…that what it says.

      • DaveCT

        Swing and a miss. Sit down.

        That you can’t see your assumptions about Green in contrast to others of similar or equal “production” says plenty.

        Answer this. Why do you and others speak about Green differently than you do of the others, that he hasn’t earned it and that it’s just being handed to him.

        If Ashcraft was named opening day starter, would you state he hadn’t earned it or it was just being handed to him? No, you would not.

    • Indy Red Man

      Why was Senzel still talked about forever? He was a high pick and in HGs case he can throw it 102 mph on a good day. High pick, big arm, big expectations. Personally he got on my bad side when he thought he could make it happen with 2 pitches as a MLB starting pitcher, but he’s young and 100 mph works in the minors so he’s got to learn the hard way evidently.

      • Old Big Ed

        Look up what Jacob deGrom had accomplished in baseball at Hunter Greene’s age. Or Randy Johnson. Greene is pretty much at the same place with his development as was Sandy Koufax at that age.

        That doesn’t mean that Greene is a better option than Montas for Opening Day, but I do not now and never will understand why people so fervidly dislike Hunter Greene. He’s just coming into his age 24 season, and he’s under contract for 6 more seasons under a team-friendly deal. Every single team in baseball would love to have him under those terms.

      • Old-school

        Hunter gave interviews all winter about progressing to throwing more strikes and pitching to contact and going deeper in games and saving the bullpen and being a top of the rotation guy that throws a 3rd pitch

        He committed to all of that which he hasnt done yet in
        Mid march after a month of committing to being a different pitcher

      • Tony C.

        Time will tell if it’s a team friendly deal. Right now Greene is winning the deal and that will continue until it doesn’t.

      • DW

        Well said Old Big Ed. There is such a lack of patience for young players to develop these days.

    • RedBB

      “He of the #2 overall pick, big bonus, SI cover in high school, major leagues at age 21, even after TJ surgery. ”

      Thank you for clearly making my point…

      • Dirty447

        DaveCT, NONE of those things have ANYTHING to do with his performance on the field…

    • RedBB

      Oh my dear God DaveCT…I just can’t argue with illogical. My brain hurts thanks to u….

    • Chris

      @Dave, not sure what you are getting at, but the obvious answer to that question is, THEY WEREN’T EVEN IN THE RUNNING. Please don’t insult anyone by trying to make it a racial issue.

      • DaveCT

        Insult? Haha, ok. Calling out bias, be it against bonus babies or because ya’ll just don’t like someone or be it race, or all of the above, is not an insult. It’s being about something unfair. Those who feel insulted by honesty ought to check their biases.

        There has been bias here against bonus babies for years. And I’ve called that out, as well as racism here when I’ve seen it. For instance, some poster nicknaming Billy Hamilton, “Ol’ Smilin’ Billy,” years ago drew my attention. Wide eyed and flashing those pearly whites, right? Talk about insulting. Please. I suggest anyone thinking Hunter Green has had his achievements just handed to him and that he hasn’t earned them say that to his face.

        And don’t bother accusing me of playing a race card. It’s a plausible source of the bias, as noted by others above, against Green, as is his bonus baby status. So, again, honesty. I’m not here to make friends.

        This type of thing is like alcoholism. It’s not up to me to decide if someone has a drinking problem, it’s up to them. But how will they know if it’s never brought up?

      • Frankie Tomatoes

        Dave if we are going to look at the resume of the pitchers on the roster then Hunter Greene has the third best resume. Frankie Montas is better than everyone else. He has 100 starts in his career and has three times had an ERA+ better than 100 while throwing 90+ innings. His best season saw him throw 187 innings and had a 3.37 ERA. Andrew Abbott is the next best resume guy. He threw 109 innings last year with an ERA+ of 118. Hunter Greene has never had a season with an ERA+ of 100. If the opening day start is being handed out on merit then two other guys should have been considered before him because they have pitched better than he has in the past. If Greene got the start then it would have been fine as well. He has the upside the others probably do not have and when he is in a groove he can pitch with anyone. To insinuate all that you did without acknowledging that perhaps other guys just pitched better and were maybe more deserving based on that seems weird. Bringing up his draft spot or the SI cover or getting to the major leagues at 21 has nothing to do with earning the opening day spot. Two of those things happened before he ever got paid to play baseball. The other one simply puts him in the same category as Yorman Rodriguez and should have nothing to do with a decision made three years later. I do more reading here than commenting but I have also seen plenty of chatter about the up and down of Ashcraft and Abbott who both pitched very good and then not good for a stretch last year. It is less so with Lodolo because when he has pitched bad we now know that he was pitching while on a busted up leg. I hope whoever pitches on opening day throws seven shutout innings. I hope the same for the guy who pitches two days later. And three days later. And four days later. We all want that or we would not be here.

    • greenmtred

      Exactly, Dave. MLB is tough and it’s easy to forget that uneven performance from a young player is likely a reflection of that rather than a deficient work ethic.

      • Savage dude

        It’s not even about who starts, any game. It’s about who pitches 6th, 7th and 8th. That’s where you win. All starters should get you to the 6th with a chance to win. If not, the rest is immaterial.

    • MK

      I assume you are trying to make this a racial issue. I didn’t mention the earn it thought, but in the past the best returning starter from the previous year gets the honor of starting the following Opening Day. For me Abbott earned the designation as the most effective returning starter from the previous year. Don’t think race had anything to do with it at all.

  5. Indy Red Man

    Scott Feldman? Your season is officially hopeless when he’s your opening day starter.

    • Old Big Ed

      That was year 3 of a 4-year stretch of losing at least 94 games and finishing dead last in the division.

      That’s the main reason that I don’t complain about today’s talent or the direction of the farm system.

    • Mark Moore

      My left eye started twitching when I read that name … 😮

      • TR

        Somehow I don’t recall 2017 with Scott Feldman as a winning season.

      • Dennis Westrick

        Wasn’t Scott Feldman related to the actor Marty Feldman of Young Frankenstein fame? What a nightmare!

    • CI3J

      Remember the days when JIMMY HAYNES was the Opening Day starter?

      • TR

        Those days are not a part of the best Reds memories.

      • greenmtred

        I do indeed. Situations like that demand perseverance. Self-delusion can also be a useful tool.

    • Daytonnati

      Scott Feldman actually happened. I remember it. Still, we logged in and followed the games … perhaps RLN needs a psychiatrist? 🙂

  6. Tony C.

    There are a lot of opinions about whether Greene earned it or not. Bottom line is Hunter can’t consistently throw the baseball where he wants to. He’s gotten better at it but there is no evidence that he will ever have the command that is necessary to be a #1 starter. The hope is that will come but right now he’s not close to that.

    • David

      I think that is fair to say that Hunter Greene has not quite lived up to his hype and expectations. He may yet do so. He may pitch great the rest of Spring Training, or still struggle. He is working on his curve and splitter.
      On the other hand, just what has Frank Montas done to earn the opening day start? He pitched well in his first 2 inning appearance, not so well in his second, after pitching almost not-at-all in 2023. I hope he holds up, and is strong enough to get through the season, but I would also say that Frank may have serious arm fatigue issues as he gets toward 90-100 innings in 2024.
      I am not mad at Frank Montas or the Reds signing him, but he may not be everything he is hoped to be in 2024.

  7. MBS

    No surprise here at all. They signed Montas to hopefully lead their rotation. Where else do you put the leader of the rotation other than in the 1 spot.

    Now Bell can align Montas’s starts to opening day, and let the rest of the pack fill in behind him. It should be interesting to see who pitches where after Montas’s next start.

  8. Andrew Brewer

    The difference in our pitching last year was the bullpen, compared to 2022. And they had to step up because our starters rarely went 6, more like 4 or 5 innings seems to me. If the past is prologue, I wouldn’t expect our current cast of star pitchers to do much better. So, concentrate on guys that can pitch middle relief, because we still have our closer. With Pagan and Martinez, we have a couple of new arms, and the guys from last year were able to keep the lid on it. Gotta know when to pull ’em.
    So, yes, we are all hopeful. And we have players to call on from our farm system.
    I followed spring training for the first time this year. There’s no reason for this club to start off the season like they have the past two years. These guys are not behind the curve.

    • Andrew Brewer

      Lidolo is expected to be available a couple of weeks into the season.

  9. Jeremiah

    I think Montas is maybe being named the opening day starter because of how much money they are paying him. He’s making quite a bite more than any other starter so it kind of also looks good for the Reds to give him the nod. It does seem a little premature though, early in the spring to just hand it to Montas. I think the Reds also are wanting to try and have a veteran lead the young guys. Hopefully Greenes confidence isn’t hurt by not getting the opening day gig. It shouldn’t. So much talent on this team but I still don’t know what to expect from the rotation, whether it will be consistent or healthy. Abbott I worry a little may struggle a bit more this year. But again, lotnof potential to be a good rotation overall.

  10. Jeremiah

    On Greene…he might eventually be a better bullpen guy, I’m curious if the Reds are mis using his talent. Him pitching 102-103 out of the bullpen may be more of a weapon for the future of the team then him being a plus 4 Era starter that maybe is injury prone.

    He’s got so much talent though I understand the hope he becomes a ace or number 2 type of guy.

    I don’t mind Greenes contract and still think he could be really good, he shows flashes.

    But I understand some fans that don’t get super excited about Greene yet too. It’s been such a long slow process kind of for Greene. If you could go back to 2017, and say in 7-8 years this number 1 superstar potential pick is going to pitch sporadically for 2 seasons with about a 4.50 Era, you’d probably think I’ll take some college star that can be ready in 1-2 years or so instead of Greene. Look at Rhett Lowder, he may be up in his first year. I sometimes wonder how often is taking the 18 year old supposed phenom really the best pick for teams

  11. LDS

    Simply a money play. Last year, I thought it should have been Lodolo. But Greene had his contract and was likely deemed a bigger draw. This year, Montas is the money man. Comeback player candidate maybe, but definitely an FA hype candidate. It’s about marketing and money, not winning games. And as someone above noted, bad timing on Bell’s part as usual. There are 14 games to go. Montas’ arm could blow out. Just like the wavier of Barrero, the Reds execution leaves much to be desired. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear the Reds announce CES will start in Louisville and either Harrison or Ford will be the starting 1B. Bell will always get his over the hill player. At least, he has up to now.

    • Melvin

      “I wouldn’t be surprised to hear the Reds announce CES will start in Louisville and either Harrison or Ford will be the starting 1B.”

      As long as it’s not Harrison Ford as someone else mentioned. Indiana Jones is much too old even for David Bell. 😀

      • LDS

        Indiana Jones? Don’t you mean Han Solo?

      • Doug Gray

        You might want to sit down before you continue scrolling, but I have some bad news for you…..

      • Capnhook33

        Honestly that’s too perfect Doug.

      • LDS

        That is hilarious, though cruel of his parents. The first Indy movie was alright. Never cared for Star Wars.

      • Melvin

        Never was a Star Wars fan either. Temple Of Doom was my favorite. I also like Air Force One a lot. He was a President Indiana Jones in an airplane. 🙂

    • VaRedsFan

      @LDS – how can the pitcher that starts opening day be a “money draw” as you labeled it? Opening day is a sellout no matter who starts.

      • LDS

        As I said, marketing. It involves more than just attendance – television, merchandise,etc.

      • greenmtred

        Marketing, like death and taxes, is always with us, but I can’t recall ever encountering marketing that focused on who started opening day. Perhaps there’s some other motivation for this conspiracy.

  12. Mike W

    The season hasn’t even started and Bell has already made 2 wrong moves, one of which was a repeat of what he did wrong several times last year. First of all, we are still a few weeks away from Opening Day. No starter needed to be named now. Secondly is the way he messes (aka plays mind games) on his pitchers, especially the young ones. Countless times last year Bell pulled our starter after 4.1 or 4.2 innings — insuring the pitcher couldn’t get a W. Also, preventing the pitcher from experiencing having to bear down to get out of a jam. Montas has done nothing spectacular in his 4-5 innings pitched. Hunter is the future. Hunter needed eh extra pressure of having to bear down and be the Opening day ace. Now the young man is possibly questioning his abilities because his manager showed no confidence in him by not having him pitch game #1. Come on Red’s management, replace Bell before another year and talent have been wasted. I don’t know Bell’s record with the Reds, but I’ve watched every game the last 5 years and we could have and should have been in the playoffs several times. I appreciate the fact he tried his best and 3-4 generations of Bells have been employed by the Reds, and I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but this is a business and winning teams make money and losing teams don’t. The people of Cincinnati want and deserve a consistently winning franchise and I’m sure the Red’s owners want to make money, instead of excuses.

    • LDS

      I absolutely agree with you. But the Reds doubled down on mediocre. We fans are stuck with that.

    • greenmtred

      It’s good to know that Bell pulled the starters early so they couldn’t get the win. I had assumed that it likely had to do with matchups or pitch counts but am relieved to know that it was actually nefarious. But somebody always gets credit for the win, right? So this is puzzling. It’s always good to know that commenters have access to so much inside information.

      • Justin T

        He does like pulling pitchers after 4.1 but I get more frustrated because it usually doesnt have much rhyme or reason and usually a byproduct of his tinkering. The 4th inning is way too early to be playing chess with your match-ups and he did it 3 times a week. Maybe he like checkers more. Plenty of times he said he felt they were tired or to their respective limit when another out or 2 gets a starter a win. There is a reason they had a winning record without a starter winning 10 games (pretty sure its the first time thats ever happened in history) and your CLOSER led the team in wins. So yes its a real thing.

        That being said i agree that he probably doesnt do it on purpose to screw a starter out of a win. I think its Bell being Bell.

      • greenmtred

        The 4th inning is early to pull starters, certainly by historical standards, but it isn’t very early by MLB practice for some years now: the average starter lasts little more than 5 innings. Some of this–for the Reds and other teams–may be driven by the third time through the batting order data, and some of it–in the Reds’ case–may have had to do with who was pitching: Weaver contributed to the numerous short outings, as did young pitchers who were not yet pitch-efficient. We can argue about this endlessly but I certainly don’t know enough about managing a MLB staff to have many answers.

      • greenmtred

        Addendum: we also need to consider who the starters were, after the injuries, in judging how few wins they had.

      • DW

        Agreed Justin T

        And I would add that the two main consequences that I see of the early tinkering are 1) you wear your bullpen out earlier in the season, and 2) your young starters never get to learn how to work through those “buckle down” situations. Neither consequence is immediate or comes about in the short term, so they aren’t as obvious. Getting through those “buckle down” situations can really build the confidence of a young starter. Failing in those situations is also a learning opportunity and part of the growth process.

    • Hunt4RedsOct

      Most teams try to set their rotation after the mid spring training off day. They announced the opening day starter so they could line up his work schedule for that day. Announcing it was unnecessary but informing Montas and Greene was. Either way, it is just game 1 of 162

  13. Frankie Tomatoes

    I figured that they would go with Hunter again this year. Surprised its Montas but he has been good in the past and if he is healthy there is no reason to think he won’t be good again. Now it just needs to hurry up and get here because I am tired of being able to only watch two games a week. This team is fun and young and exciting and I want to see it. I will be in 143 on opening day with a beer or three and some cheese coneys screaming my head off for about two innings before my body remembers that I was born before the big red machine and this old age kicks in and forces me to calm down.

  14. tim

    why not wait until there’s more information available? how do we know hunter greene didn’t request to not be the opening day pitcher, for whatever reason? why assume it’s a slap in the face or a kick in the butt from the evil bell?

    • wkuchad

      Well, it’s not a slap in the face no matter what the reason. Greene has been a good (but not great) pitcher. We simply don’t have a #1, and Greene hasn’t outperformed all of the other starting pitchers on the roster. Perhaps it could be seen as kick in the butt, but that’s not a bad thing IMO. Potential shouldn’t win you “opening day starter”.

      However, I think there’s zero chance that Greene requested to not be the opening day pitcher.

  15. Frostgiant80

    Guys. We didn’t cut Hunter Greene. He just gets to start game 2. He wasn’t cut, demoted, or traded. If he has the year some of you expect him to have, he will get to start opening day for the next several years.

    • greenmtred

      There are actually two distinct categories of complaint: 1). Bell’s horrible mistake in choosing Montas to start opening day and, 2). Hunter Greene who should already be a TOR starter and would be if he weren’t so entitled and unwilling to master more pitches and throw strikes. My reaction to the first complaint is so what? As usual, we don’t know what went into the decision, so this is simply business as usual. As for the second, Old Big Ed has patiently explained a number of times how difficult it is to master pitching in MLB and has provided sterling examples of great pitchers who had difficulties similar to Greene’s at similar ages. By all accounts (save for the expert accounts here), Hunter is a very hard worker and is eager to learn. We should also remember that he has had TJ surgery, and the down time and difficult recuperation could certainly be impacting him.

  16. LDS

    It’s an off day today. So maybe we’ll get a big block of roster moves. Two weeks to the opt out date. Let’s give the old guys a chance elsewhere and cut them loose today.

    • JayTheRed

      Is it me or do the Reds have more off days this spring than in recent years?

      • Doug Gray

        The Reds had 3 off days in 2023. They have 3 off days this spring (they play 14 games in the next 13 days before the end of the spring, plus the two Spring Breakout prospect games this week). I think it was just that this year they were packed much closer together. Last year they were spread out a bit more.

  17. old-school

    ESPN has its top 100 players and the Reds have a grand total of 1. No NL central team have one until Dansby Swanson checks in at 43. Elly checks in at 72. Christian Yellich is only at 96.

    The naysayers can rightly point to this list as a reason why the Reds wont win. The optimists will say wait till this list comes out next year based on the performance of a slew of young talented Reds this season in 2024.( CES is my pick to be on this list next year.)

    Time to get this show on the road!

    • VaRedsFan

      That’s fine by me. They can come into the season flying under the radar, and prove the doubters wrong. I’d rather have a bunch of guys hungry, and playing for their 1st big contract, than players that already have a bag of money, and might not be as incentivized to give it their all.
      Write down Spencer Steer for me, to make that next jump!

      • Justin T

        I think Spencer made that jump last year and this year maybe he gets into all-star conversation. He just seems like the kind of player that will be solid for the next 10 years. Maybe never elite but solid. Those are the guys you build around. Never complains and just goes out and plays hard, Ill take 9 of him on my team.

    • greenmtred

      Old-School: It’s interesting that Elly was the only Red on the list: if actual performance was the criterion, Benson, Steer, McLain, Friedl, among others, should have made the cut ahead of him. It makes me wonder whether a TV network’s actual criterion was ratings and they chose players most likely to get people to tune in?

  18. docmike

    The Reds, as currently set up, do not have a true #1 starter. One could even argue that they don’t have a #2 starter either. What they do have is a collection of #3 starters, who may struggle to beat the truly “elite” pitchers across the league, but should be able to win a lot of games when matched up against other teams’ #4 and #5 starters. And the potential is there for some of those #3 guys to develop into more, maybe even an “ace”.

    My point is that as of now, none of these can make a legitimate claim to be the rightful Opening Day starter. Hopefully Greene will be that guy someday. Perhaps Lodolo or Ashcraft gets there too. But not yet. In the end, selecting the veteran who has the most experience is probably the right call for Opening Day. In the end, it’s just 1 game out of 162.

  19. DHud

    Rough crowd in here, geez

    Reds like to align their rotation with the calendar – not simply rack and stack 1-5. Naming the starter now allows them to backwards plan from opening day, and Lodolo’s availability two weeks into the season can also be plugged into the plan now

    Secondly, bottom line is Montas has actually pitched at a Cy Young caliber in the big leagues. Hunter Greene, even for alllll of the other *insert any variable you want, has not. The Reds have seen enough to believe they paid $16mil for the healthy version of Montas who has by far the best resume on the staff

    • DHud

      And to clarify, I’m not trying to dig at Greene. I constantly have to remind myself how young and inexperienced he is, and though his lack of progression or success is frustrating, I do still believe he can be a TOR starter

      But for right now, this season, in the today and now – I like Montas getting the nod

  20. Ken

    I’m very pleased. I watched Frankie pitch for Oakland and was disgusted when he ended up in NY. So glad he took their money while he was still rehabbing and now joins Cincinnati as a healthy, hard-throwing, top-of-the-rotation hurler.

    • David

      I just hope that we get that Frank Montas. Healed up from shoulder surgery, and will not get arm fatigue this season.

      I have my doubts, and that has nothing to do with whether Frank is a good guy (or not). Maybe he will do a Sonny Gray, and turn a big corner with the Reds in 2024.

  21. Indy Red Man

    Here’s an analogy that occured to me. Indiana University used to be a college basketball powerhouse in the 1970s-80s, but fell on hard times. Then we heard about a kid from New Albany named Romeo Langford that was going to be the next LeBron. Fast forward he played at IU one year, couldn’t shoot, and was a massive disappointment. It’s not really the kids fault, but he took the brunt of the fand frustrations. Same with HG. He threw 100+ and was so good he could be ARod at SS in his spare time supposedly. So of course expectations were sky high. Not the kids fault per se, but understandable. Maybe his team should’ve passed on the Sports Illustrated cover ?

  22. docmike

    Will be interesting to see who ends up being in the rotation to start the year. It looks like the first two spots will be Montas then Greene, but after that? Who knows. I would rank the rest of the candidates from most likely to start the season in the rotation to least likely:

    – Ashcraft = Outside of that several week stretch in May/June when he looked terrible, he was probably our most consistent starter in 2023. I think he’s pretty close to being a lock.

    – Martinez = As others have mentioned, he’s being paid an awful lot of money to be just a bullpen setup guy. I’d say he also signed with some assurances of being given a chance to start, too. I think he’s in barring a last-minute surprise.

    – Abbott = A few weeks ago, I’d have said he was definitely in, if Lodolo was not ready. But with his spring performance so far, he may end up missing out even if Lodolo can’t go.

    – Lodolo = In an ideal world, Lodolo is healthy and ready to begin the season in the rotation. If so, move him up and bump Abbott down to AAA to start the season. But with the first game in 2 1/2 weeks, and yesterday being his first start, I don’t know if there’s enough time.

    Williamson = A few weeks ago, I would’ve put his chances at very slim. I still think it’s unlikely, but if Lodolo is not ready and Abbott continues to look shaky, he may get a crack at it.

  23. Capnhook33

    Well after seeing giolito, Cabrera and Cole with varying degrees of trouble today you just think the goal with pitching is make it to the end of the season. I’d have to think at some point the explosion of pitcher injuries is gonna depress the market a bit. I know it’s scarce but paying a guy 25-30MM+ per year to not play is devastating to a lot of teams.

  24. LWBlogger

    So far, 9 teams have named their opening day SPs, not counting the Dodgers and Friars, who kick off the season early. Is it too early for Bell to have done so? Maybe it is. Thinking it through though, it could be a matter of just trying to get his starting pitchers on their schedules; or at least his top 3 guys to start the season. As a former Catcher, I can tell you that pitchers are incredibly regimented and routine oriented for the most part.

    • Melvin

      Pitching, especially these days, is always a big risk.

    • JayTheRed

      Hey, guess what, that can happen to any pitcher on any team after any pitch. Nothing to see here.

    • Greenfield Red

      I admit to being on that bandwagon for a while this Winter. Now glad he didn’t sign here. Wish it had been the Yankees or Dodgers.

  25. Mike

    100 is a round number.
    Not a scientific number.
    Not a magical number.
    100 is a lot of pitches for some guys.
    120 pitches is easy for other guys.
    Have them throw 2 less pitches warming up in the bullpen.
    Have them throw 1 less pitch between innings.
    The savings is 10 pitches over 5 innings.
    Voila! All of a sudden they can go 6 innings.
    Not rocket science.
    Starters used to have 40 starts (4 man rotation).
    Now starters only have 32 starters (5 man rotation).
    They used to 7-8 innings 40 times a year.
    Now 6 innings is a quality start 32 times a year.
    Hot weather is different than cold weather.
    Let our starters go 5 innings Bell. Don’t have them worrying about being pulled any minute. And for God’s sake, when the Starter gets a ground ball to SS and the SS commits an error, DON’T PULL THE SP AS IF HE GAVE UP A HIT! Play ball! Go Reds!

    • greenmtred

      Supposedly, pitchers are trained and conditioned to throw fewer pitches than they were years ago, and to maximize spin and velocity. And don’t ignore the evidence of hitters’ performance the third time they see the same pitcher in a game: that likely motivates the trend to shorter outings for starters.

  26. JayTheRed

    Just going to say I am glad the veteran is getting the start over Greene. I like others feel he needs to earn that opening day start. Besides does it really matter in the end. It’s one game only.

  27. Rick

    Can’t argue the Montas resume & the postive numbers that his body of work yielded from those. Now Hunter must take his performance resume numbers yielded date along with usage & his WHIP average plus his era. It should motivate him to bare down and work on being pitch efficient, and get serious about having a useful and effective 3rd pitch to use at an efficient rate to both be efficient and effective in any count. That’s what good #1 pitchers do. It also will help relieve Hunter of the pressure of being a #1 starter and the accompanying pressure that comes with that responsible. Elevate that graphic trend line.

  28. Amarillo

    People complaining about pulling guys early is a complaint with modern baseball, not about Bell. Blake Snell won the Cy Young and averaged 5 and 2/3 innings per start. No one goes 6 innings regularly anymore. The Reds start length last year was very close to leage average which means Bell leaves his starters in even longer than some managers do.

    • David

      Don’t bother us with reality and statistics, when it is more important to criticize David Bell. 😉

      After all, there is something more going on here, and all these managers of baseball teams seem to be following each other around and doing the same thing, for some weird reason. Is is a conspiracy of limiting pitcher’s innings?

      • DHud

        I went to only my second hockey game last week and was amazed at the frequency of line shifts. Hockey players go all out for 30-60 secs and then come off for a breather. Then go all out for another 30-60 secs and so on and so forth

        Think that’s what baseball pitching is going to. Give me everything for 5+ innings instead of pitching 80-90% and stretching to 7. On one hand I get it; get your best pitchers best stuff to play up, but as we saw the last 2 years you better have a rock solid and DEEP bullpen to get through 162 that way

  29. Will Henry

    It’s inevitable that a starter will fail to get through 5 innings. If the Reds go with a 5-man rotation, they should have 3 longmen to go 2-3 innings to bridge to the 5 bullpen pitchers. These longmen should be able to throw 45+ every 3rd/4th day and save the BP for the last 2 innings only – please, no BP games. Maximizing velo & spin with a lower pitch count should help performance and minimize injury & burnout.
    If average pitcher throws 25 to warm up, 7-8 per inning, 105 game pitches = 175 for 6 innings x 32 starts = 5800 per year.
    If SP only throws 65 times at max effort, +25 pregame, +30 for 4 inning warmups = 120 x 40 games = 4800 per year. You’ve saved their arms a 1000 pitches, no 3rd time through lineup, could alternate RH/LH to counter stacked lineups earlier in the game, and save bullpen. A SP would get at least 3 days rest between throwing 120 pitches (with 8 SP), and have 5 relievers for crucial outs/closing.

  30. Mike W

    LOTS of really interesting comments and suggestions. Here’s a few more to add to this discussion:
    Since Manager Bell’s 5 season career managerial record is 333 wins and 375 losses (.470) — and Red’s management felt that performance was worthy of a contract extension — I’d suggest making a few changes with this year’s team and talent.
    First, comes bunting. Bell should insist everyone takes daily bunting practice in case they are called upon to do so in a game.
    If the defense is aligning so as to give a decent bunter a base hit, direct the player to bunt. I’m sure half our guys could steal a base successfully 75% of the time. Bunt and SB = runner in scoring position. Sure it will take work, but that’s what good teams do. .470 winning percentage doesn’t make the playoffs. .570 does
    The #1 priority is getting on base — especially with the speed half our guys have! — and you can’t score runs without baserunners, and you can’t have baserunners if you don’t get on base.
    Next comes base stealing. Bell should insist everyone who gets on base wear an “oven glove” style sliding glove so as to minimize hand injuries AND to deke out the opposing player trying to apply the tag by going in with one hand and tagging the base with the other. Our guys did that several times last year with a very high success ratio — and no hand injuries that I can recall.
    This will increase successful steal attempts and reduce injuries, thereby allowing our starters to play more games.
    Lastly (for now) is pitching. Everyone seems to be convinced teat modern pitchers weren’t conditioned during their path to the Majors to pitch 7 innings and throw 120 pitches. I think that’s sad, but if true we should adjust accordingly. Should we go to a 6 man starting rotation? Will the extra day of rest allow our starters to go 7? This would result in less wear and tear on our BP. If not 6 starters, then as was mentioned above, we should get a couple of guys who can go 2-3 innings every few days.
    I don’t know the exact pitching solution, but it’s certainly to reduce the total initial warmup and between innings warmup pitches 15-20. Then they can still go 6 innings instead of 5 on a regular basis — and not have thrown more pitches that day than they did last year!
    As we all know: “Insanity is doing the same thing year over year and experiencing different results.” In basketball, if they have a great offensive center they call plays that utilize their advantages. They don’t ignore it or simply play the way other teams do. In football, if you have a running QB you call plays that could utilize that advantage (and keep the D guessing). Or, if your O line and RB are exceptional and your QB average, you run more.
    Right now the Red’s seem to have a roster of average pitching and average batting averages. So a couple of bunt hits and SBs, could well make the difference between winning 5-4 and losing 5-4, which could make the difference between playing .470 and .570 — and that’s the difference between watching the playoffs on TV and being in the playoffs.

    • Melvin

      “The #1 priority is getting on base ”

      The philosophy of Joey Votto most of his career. I agree it’s the #1 priority and the hardest thing to do consistently in baseball. It’s one of the biggest reasons Joey Votto should be in the Hall Of Fame some day. All of these younger guys could learn from that and according to what Doug wrote earlier today have been paying attention to.

  31. greenmtred

    I think a lot of teams may be influenced by the significantly higher opponent BA the third time they face the pitcher. OPS+ goes from 91 to 117, and ERA increases by nearly 50 points. Applying that knowledge obviously requires bolstering and possibly rethinking the bullpen, but not applying is risking having a lot of runs scored against you in the middle of the game. Bunting? I like bunting, particularly by guys like Friedl who can bunt for hits. Sac bunts are fun, too, but they’ve been shown over and over to actually reduce the probable runs scored. And finally, a team that can’t field an excellent lineup isn’t going to have a great winning percentage, no matter who the manager is. I won’t bother with examples because I’ve done that so often that even I am bored with it.

    • Old-school


      I think Sparky lost 100 games once with the tigers

      Need to check my facts

      • greenmtred

        103, Old-School. I’d forgotten. Thanks for reminding me.

  32. Mike W

    I admit to being “Hunter biased” — and not just be cause I have so many of his rookie and autographed cards, and none of Montas’ — but Frankie better get his act together before Opening Day. Ouch!