If there was any good news that came after the Cincinnati Reds were swept by the Baltimore Orioles over the weekend it’s that the club will be getting Frankie Montas back when they take the field next.

The Reds are off on Monday, but they get back on the field on Tuesday evening against the Arizona Diamondbacks. When they do, it’s going to be Frankie Montas taking the mound for Cincinnati, as reported by Mark Sheldon of Reds.com. Graham Ashcraft and Hunter Greene will follow him for Wednesday and Thursday’s games.

Montas will be returning to the mound for the first time since he was placed on the injured list on April 22nd after exiting his start on the day prior when he was hit by a comebacker in the forearm. In his 19.1 innings over his five starts (he exited his last start in the 1st inning) he’s posted a 4.19 ERA.

While nothing’s been officially announced yet, this almost assuredly means that Nick Martinez will be moving back into the bullpen after filling in for Montas in the rotation while he was out. The move to activate Montas and move Martinez to the bullpen is going to mean someone currently in the bullpen is going to be heading out. Who that happens to be is where things get interesting. The three players with the worst ERA of the group are Alexis Diaz, Lucas Sims, and Emilio Pagan. They’re not going to option their closer. Both Sims and Pagan are out of options. It seems unlikely that they’d designate either for assignment.

TJ Friedl’s Rehab

On Sunday TJ Friedl played in his 4th rehab game with the Louisville Bats. He’s working his way back from a broken wrist suffered while diving for a ball during spring training. He picked up two hits in the afternoon – a single and a double.

In his 16 at-bats with Louisville, Friedl had four hits (.250) with three doubles, two walks, and three strikeouts. He’s been hitting the ball with some authority over the week he was with the Bats. His average exit velocity on his 13 batted balls is 89.4 MPH. Last season his exit velocity on non-bunts was 86.7 MPH.

Manager David Bell said before the game on Sunday that after the game he was going to talk to TJ Friedl and see how things are going with the hope that he may be able to return on Tuesday. Both the Reds and Bats have Monday off.

If Cincinnati is going to activate Friedl on Tuesday it would mean four roster moves that are being made to go along with the one for Montas. The likely options for the Reds on this side would be Nick Martini or Bubba Thompson. They both have options available and could be sent to the minor leagues without being designated for assignment.

71 Responses

    • Tom Reeves

      Friedl can hit.

      Man, it’s hard for me to pick between Martini and Bubba for who needs to go. But either way, Friedl is a huge upgrade on either one. Hopefully Montas is back to his beginning of season form.

    • TR

      It could be that Frankie is a good hitting pitcher who could get things going as a DH.

    • MK

      If hecan pitch well they won’t need to hit much.

      • TR

        If Montas pitches a shutout, the Reds will need at least one run.

  1. Melvin

    Here’s hoping Montas pitches like he did at the beginning of the year which was pretty good.

  2. Melvin

    Bubba is down when Friedl comes back in my view. I also would have liked Harrison Ford for Martini. Can’t everything I guess. 😉

    • Jason T.

      I still down know why we didn’t give Ford a chance. Why not bring him up and see what he could have done, especially in a home series, in a hitter friendly ballpark. Well, hitter friendly to some, but you get what I’m saying.
      Hitting, not hitting, you’ve got to make changes and shake things up, even in the short term. Staying status quo isn’t the answer. Why is it so hard for the Reds to take action? If you’re serious about winning and want fans to show up then give them a reason to.
      I certainly hope Montas is the first 2 games version but then we’ve got to score runs to win and I’m seriously questioning our ability to do so given our current extended drought.

      • Melvin

        Some say the Ford thing is not that big of deal. In the long run I probably agree. However in the short term his hot bat could have possibly made the difference in a few of the close scoring games lately. If you remember that two games was the difference in not making the playoffs last year then not bringing up Ford could have been a much bigger deal than some think. Every game matters.

      • Mike Mooney

        I would have liked to see Ford by sending Martini down. Ford gets a few big league ABs and Martini gets consistent ABs playing every day.

    • Jason T.

      You’re right, every game matters. Ford had mlb experience and definitely had some pop to his bat. At a ballpark where fly balls can make it out of the park I’m not sure why he wasn’t given a chance. Even if he was called up and failed I would be much happier knowing this team, manager and GM, were trying something to improve the club and spark some positive energy.

      • David

        Ford is a LH batter, and two of the three starting pitchers the Reds faced this “Lost Weekend” against the Orioles were lefties.

        Don’t know if that would have been any improvement. Remember, Ford just has about one season of playing in the ML.
        But Martini has just been…..turrible.

        But then just about all the Reds this weekend were…..turrible. This is going to be a very bad month for the team. They will likely be quite a bit under 0.500 by the end of the month, and also likely in last place.

        Extend David Bell now for another five years, before he gets to be too expensive. Sheesh.
        I honestly wonder what the Front Office people for other teams talk about when the subject of Cincinnati comes up.

      • Melvin

        I’m told Ford hit lefties pretty good.

      • Jim Walker

        “….I honestly wonder what the Front Office people for other teams talk about when the subject of Cincinnati comes up.”

        The baseball people at other organizations tell their owners to be certain to go out of their way at every opportunity to complement Castellini on extending Bell. 😉

      • TR

        I’m sure the Cubs owner compliments Castellini on extending Bell since he or she took one of baseball’s best managers from the Brewers.

      • DaveCT

        Ford is a guy who was let go by the team with which he had his career year last season because they wanted to be more focused on making contact and striking out less in 2024. And, in the emerging era of speed and stolen bases, this is a guy who is a base clogger. His defense at his one position is at best average, likely less. I never understood the Reds signing in the first place. Ford was a liability last year. For his career, he is 211/.309/.418 and strikes out a ton. The answer for a pathetic offense isn’t to get more pathetic. The guy is so slow getting to 1B out of the box that the defense could make the play twice and get two outs. Again, the Mariners did not bring him back after his career year because he doesn’t make enough contact, strikes out too much, isn’t athletic, plays only one position (and not well) and can’t run.

      • Doug Gray

        Is Mike Ford a better hitter than Bubba Thompson or Nick Martini? Everything in all three of their histories says yes. So I’d argue that the answer to improve a pathetic offense, even if it’s just by a little bit, would be to replace Martini or Thompson with someone who is better at offense.

      • Tom Diesman

        I’d like to see the everything says yes argument for Ford over Martini.

      • JB

        Ford wasn’t coming up just for this weekend. He is on the team for a bit. Maybe until Marte comes back. Martini had two good games this year. He has 14 hits in 79 at bats. Take out the two games of 2 and 3 hits and he is 9 for 70. That’s .128 average. Ouch.

      • DaveCT

        Well, Doug, there is some truth in that, of course. I’d argue that offense, especially in the Reds concept, has to include base running and putting pressure on defenses, forcing mistakes. Ford, if he gets on base and doesn’t K, doesn’t do that. On the contrary, he is a deficit. Bubba, if he gets on base and doesn’t K, does do that. Martini as well, just not at the same level. Add in defense and its tilted even further. And, given Friedl’s imminent return, it could be moot anyway. I mean, you could add Friedl and Ford, demote one of Martini and Thompson, DFA the other; you’d still have five OF and Fairchild becomes the new Bubba for base running. But for a one dimensional guy? Just don’t see it

      • Doug Hart

        According to David Bell this club doesn’t neep improving. This is what he had to say after the sweep yesterday:
        “It was a tough series, a tough little stretch for our team,” Reds manager David Bell said. “It’s going to turn around. It’s pretty much that simple. Not a whole lot to say.”
        “It’s easy for me because we have good players,” Bell said. “They do the right thing over and over again. They do things the right way. And that’s how you know it’s going to turn around. It’s not fun going through this or seeing guys struggle at all, even though it’s a very short stretch. We never want that. At the same time, I know it’s going to turn around because of who they are.”

        God help us, cause David Bell sure ain’t

      • Jeremiah

        I think Bubba Thompson has been kind of valuable coming in stealing bases playing defense. He’s kind of like Billy Hamilton from years past. The problem is they were starting to need him to actually start more. The Reds have a bunch of guys right now that would maybe be ok as like the 26th guy on your roster, but they have like 7 26th guys on their roster!

        I understand wanting to see Mike Ford get a chance….overall I think it’s more a symptom of how terrible offensively the Reds currently are overall rather than who is better for the for seeable future whether Ford, Martini, CES, etc.

    • greenmtred

      Harrison is really old, Melvin. I would imagine that almost anybody could throw a fastball by him.

      • Melvin

        “Our” Ford has a middle name. It’s Harrison. 😉

    • Chad A Donnell

      Totally agree. Ford was raking.

  3. LDS

    Good to have Montas and Friedl back though which Montas shows up is the question as is whether Friedl can replicate last season’s performance. Thompson should be gone. He’s the worst hitter on a team that can’t hit. And that’s bad. Lots of guys the parted ways with over the last couple of seasons are better than what wastes roster slots these days. Aquino hit better than Thompson by a wide margin and he wasn’t cutting it. Even Barrero hit ML pitching better than a big chunk of the Reds’ current 26 and the Reds dumped him inexplicably in ST. Guys like Martini, Maile, Thompson, and a few others bring very little to the team. Benevaides would be better than Bell in the short run until the Reds can find a good manager. How long before the Pirates overtake the Reds or even St. Louis does?

    • greenmtred

      Why yes, no doubt that Benevides would have put some of the hitting stars in the lineup who are currently languishing on the bench. What a difference that would have made!!

    • David

      Luke Maile is the backup catcher. He is valuable in that he can catch on days when Stephenson needs a day off. Which should not be this often.
      Pat Corrales was Johnny Bench’s backup for a couple of years, and HE was pretty bad too, and Maile is actually a better catcher than old Pat was.
      The rest of them? I dunno. Are they really THIS BAD, or is something else going on?

      I vote for 80% – something else is going on with this team, 20% – they are really this bad.

      • Jim Walker

        When everybody (except EDLC) is as bad simultaneously on offense (with some TOOTBLANs and poor team defense thrown in) it becomes increasingly difficult not to wonder what “something else” could be going on.

        Counting the manager and bullpen catchers, they have 14 listed coaches. That’s half as many coaches as players. What’s the old axion about too many cooks spoiling the broth??

        https://www.mlb.com/reds/roster/coaches

      • Oldtimer

        Both Corrales and Plummer had low BA most years.

  4. Rednat

    i wonder how much of a factor Votto was in the clubhouse last year? I have a feeling if he was still with the team the hitting wouldn’t be as bad

    • TR

      You make a good point. Maybe Joey is a future hitting coach for the Reds.

    • Westfester

      Well, he was on a lot of bad hitting teams during his time here so, no effect?

  5. LarkinPhillips

    Off topic, but just thought I would throw Joe Boyles stats for 2024 out as people were quick do that last year as he had a decent run of starts.

    27.2 IP, 25 hits allowed, 23 walks, for a WHIP of 1.73, 29 strike outs, opponents are hitting .245 against him and an ERA of 7.16.

    For the record, I am not rooting against Boyle. I hope he figures it out and becomes dominant. Just happened to look up his stats this morning and thought others might find them interesting as well.

  6. Scott

    Everyone on the roster is hitting below their career average by significant margin except for EDC and Fraley. They should bounce back some but I still don’t think this team is going anywhere. If you look at last year, they played on emotion and momentum. Every time they brought up a new face, he added a spark. There is no spark to add from the minors that will make that kind of impact this year. They have to win on talent and ability and not emotion and I don’t think they have that much talent.

  7. Indy Red Man

    He drove me nuts, but people go whacky when they age sometimes. Changed his stance 23 times and would go from from 6’2 230 trying to bloop a single to left-center or walk like Pete to never hitting it to left-center and trying to launch into the sun deck every time. Worst baserunner in NL and not just because he was slow. Absolutely masterful in his prime, but no thank you

    • Rednat

      i wasnt the biggest fan of his approach either but at least he had an approach that worked for him. if anything he may have been a guy that would ease the clubhouse atmosphere. looks to me the players are really pressing now.

    • David

      A lot of the commenters here are sure that…

      1) Joey Votto being here would make a difference. He’s magic, I guess.
      2) Just wait ’till Marte and McLain get back

      I think we have to face it that this team is JUST NOT THAT GOOD.
      Period. All the fans hopes (and mine too) have to be adjusted downward.
      It’s not Marte, it’s not McLain…it’s all of them.

      The rebuild has failed….again. And after last year, when hopes were so high that this was going to be a good, competitive, team. Well, surprise to all of us.
      It isn’t.
      Wait out the year, some of these guys might bounce back after a bad month (this month, May, which will see the Reds plummet to last place). Then figure out what to do next. This season is likely toast for the Reds.
      Maybe tomorrow night starts a 10 game winning streak. Anything could happen, but the odds are strongly against it.

      • greenmtred

        You can face that if you like, David, but they were–despite the injuries–three games over .500 and only a handful of games out of first prior to the current five game losing streak. Slumps and losing streaks are not uncommon in the annals of baseball, the season is young, and injured players are returning. I get the angst: this last week has not been fun. But, objectively, neither the season nor the rebuild is cause for despair yet.

      • earmbrister

        Move away from the cliff David. All is not lost. It’s a long season and WAY TOO EARLY to declare anything about this season or the next few seasons.

        And we have a ton of pitching that can be traded for hitting in the future.

      • David

        I am not ready to jump off the cliff, at all.

        But in reviewing the whole of this season, there is honestly not much to be positive about. EDLC. Spencer Steer was hot for a couple of weeks early, now he has cooled off, although I do think he is a solid ML hitter. What am I missing here?
        The Reds Swept the Chisox, who are a lousy AAAA team in the majors this year. Let’s play those guys some more.
        They get CONSISTENTLY outplayed by teams over 0.500. That didn’t start this weekend against Baltimore.
        This is who they are, after 34 games. I could be more positive if a lot of these guys had proven themselves in previous seasons in the ML.
        But largely, they haven’t.
        Some of these guys will bounce back. The Reds will, at some point this season, play well for 3-4 weeks. But…it’s not enough.

        They have three straight games, at home, against the Diamondbacks, who are hardly setting the world on fire. Maybe the Reds sweep them. Maybe they get swept. Let’s see how they play against this kind of equally mediocre competition. Because the rest of the teams they are playing in May are not mediocre or poor.

  8. Mike W

    Bottom line:
    Castellini has the perfect opportunity right now to relieve Bell of his managerial duties and Red’s fans everywhere would applaud Bob for taking action before it was too late — meaning us having to play .600 ball to catch the NL Central leader(s) if they just played .500.
    !!! As it stands right now if our Reds played .600 ball over the next 50 games we’d be 46-38.
    !!! If the Brewers played .500 ball, they’d be 45-38.
    Tick tok.

    • David

      Bell is not going anywhere. They gave him a big contract (well, for the Reds it was big), and he is going to stay and earn it.

      A blind man could see it, but Bob Castellini and the rest of the management group are busy counting their money.

    • Chad A Donnell

      Nobody can win with this lineup hitting the way that they are.

      • greenmtred

        Ah! But if Bell had just batted those guys in a different order, they’d be tearing the cover off the ball.

    • Brian

      I can’t stand Bell as a manager. That being said, this has been by far his best year of in game decisions. He’s at his worst when everyone is healthy and he gets to choose who to sit. He will be sure to rest a guy who is tearing the cover off his of the ball and is in a hitting groove. He won’t lie a matchup and will break up that hitting streak. He pretty much has to play everyone now so it handcuffs his biggest weaknesses of double switching and the bull crap he likes to pull. He’s done well with pitching changes this year compared to the past.

  9. SultanofSwaff

    Let’s hope this marks the low point of the season. I think it could be, and here’s why–
    1. The early season bullpen sorting is mostly complete. Sims and Pagan need to be shifted to lower leverage roles, Moll and Farmer promoted….plus Santillan and Maxwell could be viable upgrades overall, but the front office would have to be as brave as they were last year in jettisoning underperforming veterans.
    2. Friedl’s presence will reduce the playing time of Fairchild and Espinal (if Steer shifts to 3B) most days. Certainly gives the offense a much needed shot in the arm.
    3. Starting pitching will be intact for the first time.
    4. CES, Benson, TySteve, Candy, will all revert to their career norms which means they’re all due to get hot. That paired with the reduction in AB’s for Stu and Espinal will retool a struggling offense.
    5. There is no dominant team in the division. Brewers are not gonna run away from the pack–their starting pitching is quite suspect after their top 2 guys. The Cubs have big time bullpen issues and Imanaga has never pitching a full major league season.

    • Nick in NKY

      I agree with this overall. Sometimes the stars align, and it’s everything breaks your way, and sometimes it’s nothing goes your way. A relatively minor personnel swap can have cascading effects, and with the combination of a little luck and an injection of confidence the train can be back on track real soon. We shall see.

    • MK

      If Steer moved to third how Is that going to reduce Fairchild’s playing tim?. it will make Stu the #1 right-handed hitting outfielder ahead of the only other Thompson, who might be gone when Friedl comes back.

    • Lars

      “Friedl’s presence will reduce the playing time of Fairchild and Espinal (if Steer shifts to 3B) most days. Certainly gives the offense a much needed shot in the arm.”

      Yeah, instead of 1 or 2 hits per game, now with Friedl to the rescue we might see 2 or 3 hits per game. A shot in the arm indeed.

  10. Mike W

    Bell’s “big” contract of a couple of million a year is about 15% of Candelario’s contract. Bob C should be more concerned about what can be done to help Candy (and the rest of the team) hit better and just eat the $3-4M left on Bell’s contract. Chalk it up to an inexpensive mistake, and look big picture. It takes money to make money. Come on Bob. You wont make the playoffs if you sit pat. And if you make the playoffs you’ll more than make up a couple of million dollar loss for having to pay two managers this year! You know that right?

  11. Mauired

    I’m curious who goes for Montas tomorrow. Like Doug pointed out, the 3 guys that deserve to go probably aren’t going anywhere unless Reds do something drastic and release Sims in the final year of his deal. Sidenote: Sims is the longest tenured Red. The only Red since last decade. I think Stephenson would take that spot if Sims is gone. Who has options other than Moll and Cruz? Moll had the longest scoreless streak in MLB and Cruz is the best reliever on the team so I don’t know how it would make sense to demoted them. I have seen Wilson stated as the obvious release candidate but he’s been very good this year and in his career. Going to be interesting. Good to see the bullpen this strong for once. They can’t find places for guys like Santillan and Young.

    • MBS

      I’d go Sims, but I don’t think the team will. It’s also hard to argue with his 2023 numbers, making it a bit harder for the GM to cut.

      Wilson’s value goes down a bit with a seeming healthy Young rehabbing in AAA, so the Wilson camp is probably right.

  12. Optimist

    Moll it is, which makes sense for the very short term. Be very surprised if he’s not back up within 6 weeks.

    • Jason T.

      I mean I get it with him having options remaining but still…

      • Mauired

        Yeah it’s seems crazy to me to demote the pitcher with the longest scoreless streak in MLB because others don’t have options but this is the Reds. Wouldn’t put it pass them. Hard to justify Santillan in minors the way Sims and Pagan are performing but front chose to give them pretty high salaries for some reason. I definitely thought Pagan was overkill. Never have thought of him as an elite arm worth 8 million a year.

  13. Rednat

    David(above) you are probably right to be honest. we couldn’t win in the Griffey era or Votto era. it is unlikely that we will win with a bunch of has been’ s and never will be’s . the only silver lining is that we have a ton of pitching up here and in the minors that could potentially be traded for more hitting prospects. now likely these prospects will be more the same like Billy Hamilton, Drew Stubbs, Aquino… etc , etc but maybe just maybe we will get lucky and a prospect or 2 will be actually able to hit major league pitching one day!

  14. LDS

    Moll? A guy with zero ERA and a WHIP of under 1.00. Yeah, that makes sense. They should have moved on from Pagan who was a bad signing in the first place. He’s known as a HR pitcher and at the moment, his HR/9 is 2.6 and an ERA+ of 74. Both numbers the worst of his career and quite possibly won’t improve pitching in GABP. Playing the options game instead of improving the team, again.

    • David

      I detect a sense of dissatisfaction with this decision by the TOP MEN of the Cincinnati Reds. Are you sure you are a….”Fan”? 😉

      In fairness, this is probably the correct short term decision. Moll should be back in whatever interval is specified by the MLPLA agreement. In the interim, perhaps somebody will bite the bullet and let go of some of the “less than good” members of the Cincy bullpen. Farmer, Pagan, Sims….any other takers?
      I wonder what they told Sam Moll when he was notified he was going…down?

  15. RED THUNDER

    Just saw it is Moll going to Louisville

  16. Gpod

    I think one of the problems on this team is what player would you look at as being a vocal leader in the clubhouse. I think Candelario was brought in to be that veteran leader, but really, who is gonna listen to a guy who is batting .190…..he basically is a free-agent failure…..when he was coming to the plate on saturday in the 9th inning with the bases loaded, did anyone out there think he was gonna get a hit? It was a miserable at-bat: took strike one, swung at a pitch that was a foot off the plate, then flew out weakly on a pitch that was also way out of the strikezone. So with no player leadership in the locker-room, you have to look to the manager and there-in is your problem

  17. DaveCT

    Interesting Q/A’s in yesterday’s MLTR chat:

    Rookie Class of ’24
    Why are rookie hitters struggling more then they usually seem to?

    Mark P
    I forget where I saw this quote, but apparently in the view of most scouts and executives, the talent gap between the majors and minors has never been higher. Pitchers are so advanced these days and have so many tools are their disposal that it isn’t a surprise that young hitters are looking overmatched

    Red-haze
    Can David Bell get the Reds out of this atrocious hitting slump? Where will their veteran leadership come from?

    Mark P
    This is kind of the nightmare scenario Nick Krall somewhat warned us about when he kept getting asked about trading infield depth last winter. Krall’s point was basically that Cincy has so many young players that it’s erroneous to just assume all or even
    most will be good, given the learning curve and adjustments necessary for players getting used to the big leagues for the first time.

    https://live.jotcast.com/chat/mlbtr-live-chat-18309.html

  18. Indy Red Man

    Miami rumored to be moving Jazz Chisolm next. I thought he might be Eric Davis lite at one time. CF, 2B, and SS. That would shake things up. He would hit 30 in our park, but I thought CES would and Candy might so I’m grasping at straws. All I know is I have don’t have Reds baseball any longer and I’m obviously missing nothing

    • 2020ball

      And still here complaining about it anyway

    • Jeremiah

      Jazz Chisolm is a little bit of a prima donna I think, not sure he’d be the best addition to the Reds from a personality standpoint. I do wonder at what point do the Reds start to consider to trade their young talent for established MLB players, such as the Padres did getting Arraez. But for now I think the injuries and Marte suspension by them some time with fans and just in general.

  19. Rednat

    Yes DaveCT. The pitching is way too dominant now. I hope the reds petition the league to add more rules to favor the offense.

    • David

      i think there was a really “dilute” level of pitching last year, both at the Majors and in the high minors (AAA). For whatever the reason, after the first few weeks of the 2024 season, the pitching has become more dominant. Is everybody better? Is this just a temporary statistical fluctuation, and things (pitching) will regress to a norm?

      I don’t see David Bell being able to “fix” the Reds’ hitting problems (to date). Some guys are in a funk, some are in a slump, and some may be shown to be over-matched at the ML level.
      But it is also a FACT that the Reds have not done well (at all) with teams that have winning records in 2024, and who might be markedly better than Cincy. Is it pitching, is it coaching, too many fielding mistakes, no timely hitting, bullpen failures, a lousy starting pitching effort?
      At times it has been all of this, but that (to my eyes, as a fan) that the Reds just aren’t good enough. Some days they have had really good starting pitching (the starters were pretty good against the Texas Rangers). And with Montas out for two turns. Martinez just wasn’t that good.
      Hunter Greene has now had two good starts in a row (and the previous start he dealt zeros, but only for four innings, because his pitch count was up). Lodolo had several very good starts, but he did stink it up yesterday. Abbott and Ashcraft have both had good starts lately.
      But no hitting. It’s a mystery.

  20. Mike W

    Shouldn’t we have kept Moll and sent Bell down?

    Moll had given up zero runs in his 5 appearances.
    Bell has lost 5 games in his last 5 appearances.

    What am I missing?

  21. MK

    The fire Bell talk is exhausting day after day after day. He is not going to get fired as long as 1/3 of his starting line-up can’t play. The lineups are made up analytically and the players are chosen by the front office.