The Cincinnati Reds have two roster moves for their off day. They’ve sent outfielder TJ Friedl and left-handed reliever Alex Young to join the Triple-A Louisville Bats to begin rehab assignment.

TJ Friedl is coming back from a broken wrist that he suffered in spring training. He was attempting to make a diving catch on March 17th when the injury occurred. That puts things at just over six weeks since the injury.

Cincinnati’s offense has been struggling without Friedl – among others also missing. The Reds have the worst average in the National League at .218. Only he Marlins have a lower on-base percentage. The club is middle of the pack in slugging percentage, but still below the league average. Friedl, who hit .279/.352/.467 should help improve the offense, as well as upgrade the defense and speed on the bases. There’s always going to be the concern that coming off of a wrist injury that he could struggle at the plate, and while that’s true, power isn’t a huge part of his game – though he isn’t a slap hitter, either.

Alex Young has been dealing with low back disc degeneration. He, like Friedl, hasn’t played a regular season game this year. Young only pitched in one game during spring training and it went about as poorly as one could imagine as he allowed six runs (five earned) on four hits, a home run, and two walks, all while he didn’t record an out.

The left-handed reliever is coming off of a season with the Reds in 2023 where he threw 53.2 innings in 63 outings and posted a 3.86 ERA. That line came with 20 walks, 50 strikeouts, and 10 home runs allowed. Cincinnati’s bullpen has been middle of the road so far this season with regards to ERA. They currently have a 4.02 ERA, which ranks 18th in baseball. Toss in the Great American Ball Park factor and they’re probably pretty close to league average.

Given that Young basically had zero spring training, it’s likely that he will spend plenty of time with Louisville working his way back. Pitchers get up to 30 days on a rehab assignment, so he could be there for the entire month. Position players can only spend 20 days on a rehab assignment, so Friedl will have less time to complete his rehab – though it feels unlikely that he would require all 20 days.

50 Responses

  1. Rut

    I was at the Spring game when TJ broke his wrist. Was very worried it was going to be worse and he would be out until June or after… hoping we can get him back in 2 weeks or less

  2. Dennis Westrick

    Reds not only have the worst team BA in the NL, they have the highest total number of strikeouts with 306 SOs thru 31 games. For the mathematically-challenged out there, that is just under 10 SOs per game! That stat is embarrasing and inexcusible! If I was the batting coach/hitting instructor for this team I would be 1) Ashamed and 2) focused on turning that stat around!

    Combine the high SO rate with a lineup right now that has 4 to 5 batters hitting BELOW 200, runs AND wins are gonna be hard to come by!

    • Doc

      Inexcusable?

      How many of those batters would not even be on the 26 man were it not for injuries to McClain, Friedl, Marte (drugs, not injury), and whatever bug hit the clubhouse and took out Stephenson, India and others)? I know you are 71 and in a hurry for another title but at least you can show some realistic assessment of the actual situation.

      If you were the batting coach there is a very good, probably 99.9999% chance, that you could not do better with the hand that has been dealt.

      • Dennis Westrick

        Not expecting a hit every at bat! But balls put in play and productive outs would be nice!

      • Grand Salami

        WIthout looking it up – Benson, Elly, and Candy have combined for about 130 on their own. So I disagree that injuries being the primary issue here.

        Fairchild and Espinal have not hit but they have also not struck out much – probably 30 – 40 between the two of them.

        Dennis is right, it seems to be a philisophical approach and it is not paing dividends.

    • Jason T.

      Love the team but yes, that’s way, way too many strikeouts. And that collective team average, even with injuries is embarrassing.
      Injuries aside, many players just not hitting for much average. I still feel like they can play better, much better, but bringing up Ford, and another player or two could at least provide something positive to the lineup. Pitching has held this team together and the stolen bases have given the offense some life but things have to change for the better.

    • greenmtred

      It’s funny, Dennis, but I don’t feel any embarrassment at all about the Reds. All I do is follow them.

      • Dennis Westrick

        Me too! Die-hard Reds fan since 1961

    • LDS

      You’re right Dennis. It’s the entire coaching staff that’s abysmal, not just the hitting coach. But, this is what the FO wants, who by the way are no great shakes themselves, according to their peers. Every year, we hear the personnel complaint, not enough of this or enough of that. Eventually, maybe the grownups will come in and acknowledge that the Reds are a dysfunctional organization. On the upside, I haven’t watched or followed an entire game all season, so I’m not going to be disappointed if the season is another letdown. I can only be pleasantly surprised. And I’m putting money on that.

      • wkuchad

        The front office wants the entire coaching staff to be abysmal??

      • LDS

        Not exactly what I said, but the Reds showed last summer that taking care of the insiders trumped building the team. Yes, they spent money in the offseason, but to questionable effect. Everyone here was pumped about Candelario, who had a league average OPS+ and a .230 BA. He’s worse than that this year. He’ll keep playing because he’s where the money was spent. Montas? IL with one really good game and several that weren’t. Martinez? Not successful as a starter. And so on. No everyday power hitting OF’er. The Reds gambled and thus far have lost. That’s just bad management, pure and simple. Same outcome, different year. The Reds haven’t had a decent batting average since Castellanos and Winker were there.

      • mac624

        ” On the upside, I haven’t watched or followed an entire game all season, so I’m not going to be disappointed if the season is another letdown.”

        Not that you care, but you just lost ALL credibility. You are simply admitting you troll this site to complain. I knew that to be the case, but thanks for stating it in your own words.

        This organization is neither dysfunctional, nor inept. I’d suggest you become an A’s fan or even an Atlanta Falcons football fan, which are the type of organizations that you suggest the Reds are.

        I’d go on, but I’d probably be banned, and I actually like talking with the grown-ups on this site about Reds baseball, good or bad.

      • Mauired

        Mac. I’m sorry but it’s hard to defend a team and say they aren’t dysfunctional when besides the covid playoffs 32-29 record. What a joke. Reds have not even made the playoffs since 2013. Reds have not advanced since 1995. Not just the longest streak in baseball but in all of sports.

        Still my favorite team but it’s not factually to say this is not a poorly run dysfunctional organization.

      • LDS

        It’s not trolling. It’s stating the obvious . I look at the stats, the game results, etc, etc. Every year of late we see the same things posted here, we didn’t have the personnel, the umpires were mean to us, etc. As Mauired noted, the Reds haven’t advanced in the playoffs since 1995, the longest streak not only in baseball but all of professional sports. 28+ years is a long time. It’s inexcusable.

      • reaganspad

        Castellanos would fit right in with his 181 batting average. About the same that Winker has had the past 2 years. But it did seem like we did better with the hitting coach who was just before the guy from the Dodgers who started us thing about lift and launch angle.

        But Speer is a great hitter with a great approach. TJ also. Elly is growing into a good hitter and those guys are all young. Marte can hit. Hitting is contagious just like slumps are.

        I differ with your take on pitching as our entire staff are kids. If you do not think they are getting good coaching, well we will just agree to be Reds fans and move on to your favorite announcers…

    • Oldtimer

      And yet, 16-14 versus some pretty good teams. Not all but some.

      Three projected starters missing. Three out of nine.

      Lineup should be 1B CES 2B McLain SS ELDC 3B Marte C Stephenson LF Steer CF Friedl RF Benson or Fraley DH Candelario or India

      • Grand Salami

        6-0 vs. White Sox and Angels. 10-15 vs. the rest.

        No softies to pad the win totals in the near future. The Reds are going to need to win series against winning teams to maintain. Phillies are the only series win against a winning team so far . . .

        Cubs are down 2 starting pitchers and doing great. The Brewers failed to restock after losing a lot of talent and seem to be fine. The Reds don’t have built in excuses – the IL is part of the game.

  3. Jim Walker

    I hope they leave TJ on rehab until he shows he is truly ready for the everyday grind. The team is doing OK on covering him defensively; and, if they hurry him back, he could just turn into another struggling offensive player and end up taking longer to get back to being what folks are expecting from him.

    • Dennis Westrick

      Ditto Jim! I broke both bones in my arm when I was 36 (playing softball) and it took 9 weeks to begin normal activities, let alone play professional baseball! I say let his wrist heal fully!

  4. Mark A Verticchio

    We can complain all we want about our 16 and 15 Reds, but the bottom line is the pitching, for the most part has been OK while the offense has been an embarrassment. The only saving grace is that we all must remember that this week this team played without 6 of what we all thought would be their top 11 players going into the season and no team can survive that. Hopefully this weekend Fraley, Stephenson and Strand return with Freidl soon to follow. The bad news is Marte is a long way off and worst of all the guy who I thought would make this team go, along with EDLC, may not be back this year.

  5. old-school

    Elly K rate is 31 %- still too high but tolerable with his good avg, great OBP, great slugging and electric speed. If he cuts the K rate, hes in the conversation for MVP.

    Benson at 39% is a huge issue. Low batting avg and low obp and high K rate is a killer high in the order. He is 2nd in baseball in K’s behind Schwarber with 48, an astounding number in early May. He cant be hitting in the top of the order with that hitting profile.

    Candelario has a K rate of 35%+ which is very bad. Hes in the top 10 in NL in K’s. Leave him in the 7 hole. He’s showing signs of emerging.

    Martini and CES have high -ish K rates but Jose Peraza level walk rates. CES needs to work through it. Martini isnt adding anything.

    Solutions?
    1.) Hit India with his solid OBP and low K rate leadoff. Keep Elly at 2 and Steer, fraley and Stephenson fill in at 3/4/5. Put CES ,Candy and Benson lower in the order.

    2.) Fairchild fits the profile of what Bubba is supposed to be. 26th man ,good late inning replacement for defense and occasional starter against lefties.
    3.) Replace Bubba and Martini. Conor Capel in AAA has more walks than K’s and a high OPS and defensive flexibility. Switch out Capel and Ford to improve the 26 man offensively.

    • Tom Diesman

      In regards to replacing Thompson/Martini with Capel/Ford on the 26 man roster. Both those players will require the Reds to clear a 40 man roster spot as well. What moves do you make to clear the 40 man spots for them?

      • old-school

        I dont think Thompson adds to this roster winning an NL Central title. I would move on and let Fairchild be the CF/RF against lefties and late inning speed/ defense replacement. Martini had his shot for a month and this Reds offense needs improvement.

        I would DFA both. Its may and the season is 20% complete and the offense needs to be better.

      • Mauired

        Gibaut can move to 60 day il for one spot. The Ford for Martini move makes too much sense. Ford leaves the organization tomorrow after opting out if he’s not promoted. He’s been hitting well while Martini has had about 2-3 good games. I’m starting to agree that Bubba even with his tremendous speed and d is essentially a poor man’s Fairchild and Fairchild is pretty poor besides his stellar d and speed. They are becoming redundant. But they can keep Bubba until Friedl comes back later. Not sure who would come off the 40 man. They could probably designate Legumina. He hasn’t shown much. Side note. That odd series of swaps of Farmer for Legumina and Newman for Moreta was a double failure. Not that those guys were huge losses though. And Krall has made more good trades than bad.

      • old-school

        @ maui- Moreta is out for the year and into 2025 after having Tommy John surgery…but point taken on Newman.

      • Mauired

        Yes he is out for the year but he still might be more valuable than Legumina. Just one year older and he proved last year that he’s a good ML pitcher with Pittsburgh. And Farmer is obviously better than Newman but almost everyone else is too.

      • DaveCT

        Maui, keep your eye on Legumina at AAA this year, as he’s actually throwing petty well down there (ERA 3.38 G 8 IP 13.1. H 11. BB 3 K 16). We got him after his AA season and last year was his first one at AAA, so, given a 60 grade fastball and slider, he’ll get a lot more chances to make his mark. Still, he’s not likely closer material, but as we got him for only Kyle Farmer, that still could be a plus trade. If/when we move on from B Farmer, Gibeault, Sims, Legumina may be ready.

      • Mauired

        That’s not bad. Maybe I put too much stock in his game is Cincy. He was topping out around 93. Couldn’t really find the strike zone and gave up a 3 run bomb. But it was only one game. They could probably designate one of their waiver pickups Livan Soto or Peyton Burdick if Legumina is a keeper.

    • Old Big Ed

      From April 8 forward, Elly has struck out 22 times in 89 PAs, or just below 25%.

      I pretty much like all these suggestions, but bear in mind that Friedl will replace Bubba within a week or so, anyway.

      Some of the guys have just been slumping, and not helped by the bad bug that several of them had. CES and Candelario in particular seem to be good candidates to start hitting better with warmer weather and better health.

  6. Mike W

    I like your thinking OldSchool. Problem is — and has been for one reason or another — is our management at all levels — isn’t very creative. Whether it’s unexplainable batting orders — having EDLC hitting 6th most of the games so far this year, or lack of having us bunt at the manager level, or lack of keeping known entities like Sonny Gray on our team vs paying $15M a year for a statistically mediocre Candelario. I admit to being a Red’s fan for 60 years and having a wildly popular “Sell the Team Bob” shirt for a couple of years, and laughed out loud at the billboards that used to be throughout Cincinnati saying the same, but the reality is we’ve been a non playoff team that wasn’t willing to spend $’s for quite a while, yet I’m sure I’ve seen every inning of 490 of their last 500 games. Yes, I and the 6’ bobble head of Mr. Red in my foyer are diehard Super Fans (and I’ve been to their World Series games since the early 70’s and invited Johnny Bench to our wedding in 1980). Could you imagine a Red’s team with an owner willing to spend 50%+ more than now and a new manager? I wonder if Joey would be interested in being our manager? I think that would be pretty cool to see! ? Hang in there Red’s players. Help is coming and if our manager will put you in the right place and leave you there, we will make the playoffs. Too much skill not to.

    • Mauired

      Best possible outcome for Reds’ fans is they make the playoffs and advance, Elly wins MVP, value of franchise goes up, and Castellini sells to a local with more money. They need a Powell Crosley size upgrade. While I’m sure we would all love to be worth $400 million like Castellini, it makes him the poorest owner in baseball. There are 4 billionaires from Cincinnati including Steven Spielberg but I have no idea if any of them are baseball fans.

  7. Dennis Westrick

    Anybody know the status of Frankie Montas?

    • old-school

      on schedule to start Tuesday per Jim day yesterday. He throws a bullpen today.

      • Dennis Westrick

        Thanks! Now just need TJ, Ty Steve & CES back!

  8. Mark Moore

    This may be the bestest Thursday news we’ve heard in a while. Just hope we don’t rush TJ. Wrist fractures are tricky. He would, if anything close to form, add a component we really need right now.

  9. Mauired

    Friedl coming back hopefully healthy is a lot bigger than many people realize. He’s basically 1,2,3 in every Reds offensive category last year. Reds don’t have a leadoff hitter with him and McLain out.

    Spencer Steer gets credit as the MVP of the Reds last year but Friedl is arguably better. Friedl was ONE point behind Steer in OPS. He’s a much better defender and basestealer. And he gets extra credit as the best bunter in MLB. 17 bunt hits is incredible and that skill could help him get on base again as he recovers from broken wrist.

    BTW Steer and Friedl ranked 32 and 33 in baseball last year in OPS. Some big names behind them rounding out the top 50 included Julio Rodriguez, Kyle Scwarbar, Christian Yelich, Gunnar Henderson, Bobby Witt JR, Adley Rutchman, Paul Goldschmidt, Francisco Lindor, and Alex Bregman. Not a bad group to be ahead of in offensive production.

    He was also a top 25 in batting average leader in baseball last year which this lineup could desperately use as well. Also top 25 in baseball in steals which will take the MLB leading Reds to another level. A cool thing to note: he tied Ohtani, Benson, and Amd Rosario for top 5 in triples with 8. Incredibly Elly was right behind them with 7 in about half a season.

    Basically when Friedl is right he improves the Reds in every way possible.

    • TR

      We need Friedl batting second because he can lay down a bunt with Elly on first as a result of getting a walk or a hit with his improved pitch recognition. The Elly/Friedl combination followed by Steer should provide a headache for the opposition early in the game and many times following.

      • David

        It usually helps to have a left handed batter at the plate when a base stealer is on first. It makes it harder for the catcher to see and throw to first. So yeah, if TJ Friedl is back in 14 days and in good shape, he should bat second.

      • Grand Salami

        There is NO WAY Bell moves Elly to leadoff and Friedl to 2nd! I’m not saying it’s a bad idea. I just can’t imagine Bell being that creative. He’ll play it safe and keep them reversed in those spots of the order.

        Imagine the havoc a quick, bunting hitter could wreak with Elly on the bases already . . .

  10. GreatRedLegsFan

    The bottomline is that, paired with the key absences of Friedl, McClain and Marte, the offseason signings have been meaningless, so another tough season lies ahead.

    • TR

      Time will tell. I, for one, will take a game at a time.

  11. RedBB

    Need him ASAP. I think we had 6 guys in the lineup last night hitting .220 or lower and 5 below the Mendoza line

  12. Laredo Slider

    One local cable system in East TN has dumped Bally so no more Reds TV games this summer.

    • Jason Franklin

      Comcast? Sorry about that, Laredo.

      • Laredo Slider

        Yes Jason Franklin, Comcast.

  13. Optimist

    The don’t need Young yet, and while they need TJ they also need to take their time with him. I’ll be mildly surprised if either is back before June. As bad as the offense has been, they may need TJ slightly more for CF defense to allow the others to return to better suited defensive spots – small change may have a big effect.

    If the staff is 6 starters and 7 relievers, Young is currently about the 9th RP – so barring an injury soon (or Wilson not returning soon) there’s more time for him to return, and while very useful TJ is far more important.

  14. Mike W

    I think all of you guys are fair and spot on.
    Still, let’s figure out a way to take 2 of 3 from first place Baltimore IN Cinn. If we use the same starting 9 tomorrow that we did today, their combined BA — including Elly’s .280 — is .209.
    We need great pitching from Hunter, like the 7 innings of 1 hit, 0 runs of his last start, and….
    We need management to:
    1. Submit a lineup card that makes sense, no matter whose feelings it hurts.
    2. Make sure our manager directs speedsters to look for bunting opportunities early in the count if open side or the other of the infield is shifted over — ‘cuz 2/3rds of our current starters aren’t getting hits 1 out of every 5 ABs.
    3. Make sure players are directed to take pitches, foul off pitches and realize a BB, with our team speed, is more likely to lead to a run than swinging the hickory!
    Baltimore is probably overestimating their prowess and chances for a win tomorrow. But they’ve come into OUR home, and OUR guys have too much pride to go down without a real fight. Let’s see emotion. Let’s see support and interest FROM every one of our guys FOR everyone of our guys while they’re at the plate. Let’s go Reds!

    • Mark Moore

      I’m thinking I need to take a quick trip to Canada (or Mexico) tomorrow afternoon. But I’ll still be online watching the game 😀

      • Jim Walker

        Since I signed up to take trips the MLB site always asks me to verify I am a human. Do you get the same treatment?

      • Grand Salami

        That quite a varience! IRL or are we talking about a VPN so you can avoid the blackout restrictions?

        I need to do the same, if so.