The Cincinnati Reds haven’t won a playoff series since 1995. That’s the longest active streak of not advancing in the playoffs among the big four professional sports in America. It’s not a streak you want to be the leader in. The Reds are also currently in last place in the National League Central while sitting at 2-11 over their last 13 games. Things are not going well in 2024 for the club that is in their third rebuild in the last 12 years.

This season the Reds have certainly dealt with some injuries. Matt McLain, who was arguably their best player in 2023, hasn’t play a game and if he does get on the field it’ll likely only be for the final month of the season. Brandon Williamson just began a rehab stint this week and hasn’t pitched since the middle of March. TJ Friedl has played a handful of games after a broken wrist in the spring and in the last week a broken thumb placing him back on the injured list. And then there was the failed PED test by Noelvi Marte that’s led to an 80-game suspension.

It’s fair to say that the club isn’t near, or anywhere near what the front office felt would be full strength over the first six weeks of the season.

It’s also fair to say that among the guys on the team that most of them have not played well, or relatively close to it. Two every day players are hitting at an above-average rate – Elly De La Cruz and Spencer Steer. Two other guys who play semi-regularly are also hitting above-average with Tyler Stephenson and Jake Fraley both having an OPS+ over 100.

Free agent signee Jeimer Candelario got out to a poor start, but he’s picked things up in May and his OPS+ is nearly up to league average. But once you get beyond there, it’s a lot of real bad hitting.

Will Benson, who got out to a slow start in 2023 and was sent back to the minors before figuring it out and crushing the ball over the final four-and-a-half months is back out to a slow start this season. He’s hitting .194 with a .287 on-base percentage. His strikeout rate of 40.1% is far and away the worst in Major League Baseball this season. No one else is even at 35% who currently qualifies for the batting title. Jonathan India is getting on base some, but he’s hitting .228 with no power. Santiago Espinal, Stuart Fairchild, Nick Martini, Luke Maile, Mike Ford, and the now on the injured list Christian Encarnacion-Strand have all failed to reach the .600 OPS mark.

To be frank – this offense has been terrible. They are 29th in batting average, 25th in on-base percentage, 24th in slugging percentage, and 28th in OPS+. They’ve been the best team on the bases this season, though, and that has helped them score more runs than their pure hitting stats would suggest. They’re still below-average when it comes to scoring runs, but they aren’t near the bottom of the league.

But it’s not just offensive problems that the team has run into this season. Closer Alexis Diaz has an ERA of 6.75 and hasn’t been able to throw strikes for nearly four consecutive months of baseball. Justin Wilson’s ERA is 6.10. Lucas Sims has an ERA of 5.84. Emilio Pagan and Fernando Cruz have been inconsistent at best and have ERA’s of 4.67 and 4.50. Overall the bullpen has been about league average when it comes to runs allowed, but when the offense has struggled every run they’ve allowed has felt more impactful because the offense hasn’t been able to get it done.

With the team in a spiral of sorts, are changes needed? I think the easy answer is: Of course.

The more difficult answer is that of a question of what the changes would be. The players simply need to start playing better. How they is accomplished is a far more difficult thing. Teams will sometimes fire the manager to try and set expectations that “this isn’t acceptable”. That seems unlikely given that David Bell is still under contract for multiple years. Maybe someone(s) on the coaching staff will be let go if things don’t turn around quickly as a “this isn’t acceptable” situation.

Offensively, some players could be optioned back to the minor leagues. Will Benson has options left. So does Jonathan India. Some of the guys on the bench do, too. But who do you call up in their place? Most of the guys in Triple-A that are hitting well are in their late 20’s and early 30’s. While possible those guys could be late bloomers or even just guys who could have one of those strange magical seasons, it’s unlikely. And for the most part, they aren’t on the 40-man roster, either.

Livan Soto is 23-years-old and he’s hitting .324/.412/.465 with Louisville. He’s played both shortstop, second base, and third base over the bulk of his minor league career. He’s having a good run in his first 18 games in the organization, but he’s also a career .248/.342/.338 career hitter in the minor leagues – though to be fair he has gotten better as he’s gotten older, but he’s never really been good at any stop he’s spent a real amount of time at, either. Is he really going to be an upgrade at this point?

It just seems that at this moment there isn’t much to look at in the minor leagues as a potential near-term answer to the offensive issues the club needs to fix. When it comes to the bullpen it almost feels like it doesn’t matter. When push came to shove two weeks ago, the Reds optioned Sam Moll to the minor leagues despite having allowed two earned runs since being acquired at last year’s trade deadline. He was the player who had options and they decided that sending down someone who had gotten the job done was a better plan than exposing someone else to waivers. Unless someone gets hurt it doesn’t seem like the club plans to explore calling up someone from the minors to pitch in relief.

There may not really be any answers other than “wait it out and hope guys play to the back of their baseball cards”, so to speak. The Bats don’t seem to have any bats that should be expected to step in and be starting caliber bats right now. Not that the Reds are flush with those at the big league level, either, but they’ll stick with what they’ve got if there’s not an obvious answer. And they’ve tied their own hands with regards to the bullpen, too. The only guys with options are Sam Moll, and then the guys they use as their closer and set up guy. They’re not getting sent down.

With all of that said – at least publicly – you have to wonder what the front office and manager are thinking about all of the losing right now. David Bell has repeatedly said in the last two weeks despite winning all of two games that the team is playing well. Nick Krall, the President of Baseball Operations didn’t seem like he was pressed too much about the losing when speaking with Mark Sheldon of yesterday.

You don’t have to go all Ron Washington on a player(s) in the media. Those things can be discussed in the clubhouse and managers office or on the field before the game or even in the dugout during the game. And maybe they are. But what the spokesmen for the club are telling the public during a tailspin doesn’t seem to be sitting all that well with the public. And when it’s coming from a franchise that hasn’t advanced in the playoffs in nearly 30 years, even if these particular people haven’t been around for all of it, the vibes as the kids say, are off.

105 Responses

  1. Rut

    The FO response to current Reds roster is to basically go all Kevin Bacon in Animal House:

    “Remain calm, all is well!”, even when it is an obvious dumpster fire.

    That stated, other than trade(s), not a lot can be done here to make it better… and nobody really knows what trades are available and what it would take to get someone like Brent Rooker or Bryan DLC

    • Nelson

      The Reds are 3 – 15 in their last 18 games. Third worst record in the NL.
      It is getting out of control fast. They have talent but coaches are not getting the results they should. A shake up is needed if some kind.

  2. jessecuster44

    The easy answer is to use some prospect capital and make a trade (maybe overpay) for a RH bat that can hit.

    But we all know that the Reds are loathe to move their prospects, even though history shows that many prospects don’t pan out.

    The idea is to win. And if the approach to winning hasn’t worked for a long time, then it’s time to change the approach.

    The folks in the FO don’t understand this idea and I don’t think that they ever will.

    • Jeff

      The answer has to be to out and trade for a guy to help until guys get healthy. Isaac paredes would be a great get from Tampa Bay. They are struggling, always like to trade when guys get raises (he went from 800k to 3.4 million this year) he’s hitting .302 with 8 home runs and 23 RBIs. Speculation is they don’t want to pay him, also randy arozarena is on their block but he’s struggled more this year. You have to show these guys you are committed to winning.

    • Rob

      You couldn’t be more right! Krall can spin the idea of trades all he wants but the reality is that we need 1-2 (much) better players than we currently have. I honestly don’t think this 26 man roster – Hurtebise, Capel, Ford, India, Espinal, and Benson – can stay with the likes of the Cubs, Brewers, Padres, Phils, and Dbacks. We are going to have to beat out at least 2-3 of those teams to make the playoffs. Krall’s responses sound like he feels our 26 can hang in there. Accepting that, the question that begs asking is when do you admit you have misjudged the situation? I originally thought 6-8 games behind the Brewers and Cubs was the threshold. Seems like he is willing to accept a bigger deficit ….maybe 10 games!

      No you don’t have to make a trade for trade sakes. I got it. But you must get better players in here. I am not advocating Acuna or Soto, but you need a difference maker. A RH power hitting CF should be Move 1. There are guys on the White Sox and Marlins who meet this criteria. And don’t tell me they wouldn’t cherish a haul of Phillips, Arroyo, and Williamson. This isn’t about winning or losing a trade. This is about enabling the 2024 team to have a chance. And you might also take a look at a secondary piece like Drury to beef up your 2B. This team is not a contender without some better players.

      • JayTheRed

        Really like y our ideas Rob .. Nice post thanks.

  3. Hanginwithem

    Ownership must change. The Reds are a proud franchise that represents a city and a fan base that, quite frankly, deserve the very best efforts to bring championships back to Cincinnati, as was promised when the current ownership group assumed control. Now, we get lectures about franchises, the vast majority, that begin seasons not expecting to compete. The Reds are, and should be, a crown jewel for the city, not an investment for a select few in their portfolio.

    • scotly50

      This is the answer. But it is not going to happen. What really needs to happen is for Baseball to lose their anti-trust status and open up the books like all other organizations. Their deeds would be evident to all.

    • Tom Reeves

      Who’s the billionaire that buys this team and keeps it in Cincinnati? The DeWitts are in Ohio but they already own StL. Anyone who has the cash to buy the team will probably want to move to a profitable market.

      • Doug Gray

        Teams have been using this excuse for 50 years and one team has moved. Oakland still claims they are moving but they still don’t know where.

      • Tom Reeves

        The A’s are moving to outside Sacramento and then to Vegas. The one thing is certain is that they’re not staying in Oakland.

        The Castellanis have never threatened to move the team.

      • Nicole Cushing

        The franchise is the baseball equivalent of a zombie. Not really alive, but somehow still shambling and shuffling their way through each season. Sometimes they almost make it up to jogging speed, only to collapse soon afterward.

        I know I’m in the minority, but I personally would help them pack.

  4. Richard D Fitch

    The Reds young impact players are already here. You wait it out because anything else is just fussing around the margins for all the reasons you already mention, Doug.

    This will quickly devolve into another Bell Bashing because this is just fan mentality everywhere, not just in this comment section. Still, you’d like to think people could rationally evaluate the situation and focus on what could make a real difference:

    Spend money in a competitive manner.

    I’ll have more to say about that next week. In the meantime, have it.

    • greenmtred

      I agree with you, Richard. But this stopped being entertaining a few weeks ago.

    • Jessecuster44

      We were told at the deadline last year that the teams goal was playoffs in 2024. No one could have foreseen the injuries/suspension, but the response to them has been on brand, and below tepid.

      No urgency. No reactive impact moves. Questionable roster decisions.

      This FO is always about the future and never about the now. The future never arrives. They are bamboozling the dwindling percentage of fans that think a Pennant winner is just around the corner.

      • Richard Fitch

        Yes. The response has been on brand. What is that brand? Austerity. That doesn’t come from the FO. It comes from ownership. It always has.

      • Melvin

        “This FO is always about the future and never about the now.”

        This organization just continues to “play” the fans. i don’t know about the rest of you guys but I’m sick and tired of it.

      • Daytonnati

        Richard, I am always interested in your POV. I am curious if you think David Bell is the guy?

    • Doug Hart

      If by “impact players” you mean impacting this teams ability to win by not following the fundamentals of baseball, I’m right with you, otherwise, you might want to rephrase that first sentence.

  5. Jon

    Thinking ahead to the coming winter…aside from selling the team and replacing Bell and Krall, what needs to be done with the offense to prevent a repeat of this in 2025? Assuming that India may very well be DFAed, Maile likely won’t be back, Fraley may be non-tendered…which veterans do you sign via free agency or trade for?

    Also…what to do about Montas? Assuming the Reds don’t trade him at this year’s deadline, do they sign him to an extension?

    • JB

      I would keep Fraley over Benson. Benson is a strikeout machine. Although I wouldn’t keep either of them and find another outfielder that can play every day.

  6. Klugo

    The problem is, what do you really expect from that list of Espinal, Fairchild, Martini, Maile and Ford? What’s the back of their baseball card? The pitching staff almost has to be elite to make up for the everyday bats we’re trotting out there and there isnt much you can do about it. So, is it all Benson and India’s fault?
    The change that needs to happen is ownership. They are apathetic about winning and losing and they settle for mediocrity on all levels and in every corner of the organization. Sell. The. Team.

    • Doug Gray

      The back of their baseball cards for Espinal, Fairchild, and Ford is all significantly better than they’ve performed to this point. Martini’s track record is too small, and Maile’s never really hit. Martini’s not with the team at this point, either – but I did feel it was worth mentioning him as a part of the struggles to this point in the season.

      • Klugo

        Yeah, I figured they havent been this abysmal their entire careers or they probably wouldnt be in The Show at all. Any improvement will be welcome. That’s for sure. Maybe that would be enough to hang around .500 until the expected stars shine like they need to. I’m not feeling too confident right now.

      • Justin T

        The back of their baseball cards arent very good either.

  7. Ksdavis

    Doug, I think one of the problems is that the Reds went all in on this rebuild and they are going to play it out until there is no return. Traded all their best players over the last two years and the Reds will do their best to see that they perform. By then the Reds may have another few years of mediocre results. The other thing is , I think the Recs over value their players. They could have made a trade but the answer is always it was an over ask. Well how do we know? We have to take the word of the GM.

  8. Redsvol

    I’m on the fence until June. If we aren’t playing .500 ball the next 2 weeks then I’ll have some concern. This is not a sure-fire playoff team in spring training and definitely isn’t now.

    I think a lot of us got fooled by last year. We weren’t supposed to be good until 24/25. Most of our best players are still pre-arb players – meaning very little mlb experience.

    It’s easy to get caught up by last year and think we’ve arrived. There was bound to be regression and the starting pitching is still mighty inexperienced.

    However, if we’re not playing .500 ball by June I think changes need to be made. Too much talent to be losing this many series in a row.

    • Doug Gray

      To get to .500 by June the team needs to go 11-3 the rest of the month.

      • JB

        I’ll bet everything I have they aren’t playing 11-3 in the next 14. Dodgers for 7 isn’t helping.

      • Melvin

        Will it snow several inches this month too? There’s about as much chance seemingly.

      • JB

        Melvin- no but it sure will rain. Good grief

      • Redsvol

        Sorry, I didn’t explain very well. I meant playing .500 ball starting next week. I know they won’t get to .500 anytime soon.

        I’m simply looking for this team to play .500 until the trade deadline. And then hopefully out the pedal down once we have Noelvi, McLain, frield, and Ces all back and somewhat healthy.

        I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the starting pitching the last 2 weeks. And the bullpen obviously needs a couple pieces but bullpens are always fixable on the fly. I’m not ready to give up if they can just tread water for 6 weeks.

      • Tom Reeves

        They won’t be .500 by June but they will be .500 in June.

    • JayTheRed

      I was fooled a little last season and so my preseason prediction was probably a bit high. If you go back and look at my posts during the early winter and last fall though, I truly believed this team would not be that good until the earliest of 2025. Maybe my original thoughts I should have stuck to. Both of my favorite teams are struggling mightily. Blue Jays are in last place too. Did Votto curse both teams or maybe I did and didn’t know it.

  9. Eddiek957

    I have been thinking about Belt. Just don’t know if signing this late would be ultra risky. I believe our record is about the same as last season. Teams take some time to jell. Three of our top relievers have been down Pagan is up and down. The offense has been disappointing the last three weeks. Possibly benson needs to go back to eighth or ninth. India obp has to be pretty decent. When healthy I like India leading off even over friedl. Still a young team I’m hoping they will get hot and let’s see how it shakes out. The last few games they are playing good enough to lose winnable games

    • greenmtred

      Half of the projected starting eight are injured or suspended. Since the near-ready minor league talent came to the Reds last season, it’s going to be very hard to overcome that, and wouldn’t it take a lot of trade chips to add players–plural, because one wouldn’t be enough– who could actually make a serious difference? Do the Reds actually have enough chips?

      • Doug Gray

        The Reds have more than enough prospects to make deals. They had more than enough last year, too, and decided to not do anything anyways. Don’t hold your breath.

      • Jessecuster44

        AUSTERITY. The way to win championships, said no one ever.

        Although, it was a way to survive being bombed by the Germans. Do you think this is what Banana Bob thinks is happening?

      • Dewey Roberts

        I agree with Doug. In the 60’s and 70’s, the Reds traded to upgrade their major league team. Now they trade to build a great farm. The new strategy ain’t working.

  10. RedsGettingBetter

    The question I wonder is: Is the Reds still a rebuilding team? If the answer is yes, so I should accept all the losses coming since the main object is develop the young sophomore guys who are playing right now and wait for others climbing thru the minors this year and the next ones, all merged with some vets to serve as mentors, however, this scenario means that winning isn’t matters.
    But if the answer is No, it isn’t, They were considered this year as a contender by the FO so it was completely necessary to have acquired additional quality players to give more depth and a reliable offense. They only landed pitching, which is very good , in fact, it is the one of the team’s strengths but that’s not enough to win consistently…

    • Doug Gray

      I mean I don’t think it’s a rebuilding team. Rebuilding teams have openings left and right in the lineup and rotation. The Reds, when healthy, don’t have that. There’s health that’s keeping them from having “what they want”, but the guys in the org now are the long-term guys with very few exceptions.

      • Ksdavis

        Doug , as you stated Soto at the Bats is currently having a good offensive year. But it appears he has not been very good defensively. Is that true?

  11. Michael Wilson

    Bottom line, the team is just not that good. The defense is bad, the hitting is bad, the closer is bad, base running is often bad, though their one strength is stealing bases. Starting pitching is the best it’s been in some time but they still need an ace to compete with the upper tier of teams. Last years performance made many of us think that we were close but it was false hope.

    • Doc

      Bottom line is that we haven’t seen the team. We’ve lost close to 50% of the expected playing time of those who were expected to be the starters, if not a bit more. Those starters who are playing have been ok. EDLC, Steer, Fraley, Stephenson are all league average or better per Doug. There are a couple, looking at you, Benson, India, who are not, but any team has a couple of players who are not performing. The problem is the missing players, and there is not a single player out there for whom the Reds could trade that would make up what they are missing from McLain, Marte, Friedl, CES…

      The pitching has been excellent and is showing signs of growing. Big forward steps by Greene. Abbott pitching well, avoiding the big sophomore slump so far.

      I don’t panic. I didn’t expect them to win the WS in 2024 anyway, so I don’t blow up the system for a freak year. I let the kids continue to grow, mature, learn the league better, and be ready for the 2025-2027 seasons.

      • Harry Stoner

        I think this is the real reason why we won’t be seeing a managerial change in the near future.

        One can easily imagination that at the organizational level any discussion of Bell or Krall’s performance is going to predicated start to finish with a listing of the missing personnel.

        Certainly it isn’t money, as Krall has jettisoned far bigger contracts than his own or Bell’s.

        A “Lost Season”? Maybe so.

        I find Bell excruciatingly dull and have little respect for his laissez faire attitude towards sloppy play coupled with his random micro management and poor situational awareness.

        But he is missing some key players. If the Reds were playing this poorly with McLain, Marte, a healthy Friedl and CES then I think the axes should start being ground sharp.

        He’s certainly not going to lead the team out of the morass they’re in.

        But for Bell to be fired, Krall is going to have to acknowledge his own role in the current mess, and that simply isn’t going to happen.

  12. Melvin

    “Do the Cincinnati Reds need to make changes?”

    That’s a loaded question. Good article.

    • Optimist

      And Doug’s answer of course, is, “of course”, as is obvious to all.

      Perhaps another question to ask those disparaging Bell is whether he would be a better manager with better ownership. (hint, that means better players, so, yes, he would be if you simply look at the W/L%)

      Priority #1 is change of managing partner, or entire new ownership group. That’s the constant involved here. Bell is a more recent variable, but, yes, 5 years is long enough to have done, or shown, or revealed, something; and it’s revealed that he’s managed the talent he has – don’t see that he’s elevated it, and don’t think he’s degraded it as much as some think. He’s proven average as a field manager. Would all new ownership retain him – of course not, but that’s just the way it works. Would DW returning as the managing partner retain him – probably not as field manager, but I think he has greater value elsewhere in the organization.

  13. Melvin

    The first thing that can be done if they want to show that they truly want to win (not holding my breath) is to replace the manager. Whether you like David Bell or not that’s what winning organizations do to at least show their fans that they truly care about winning. David Bell has been here more than enough time. A new voice is needed to start with.

    • JB

      It’s the only thing left that they can do. There are no more players left to replace the the players that have failed. They have tried everything . Bell or the hitting coach is all that’s left and firing the hitting coach isn’t going to move the needle or wake up the guys. Most teams would fire the manager but the Reds are a different breed. Season is over. I’ve already come to that realization. They don’t have a CES,Elly or McLain in the minors to bring up. I watch a game here and there. Maybe next year.

    • Ted Alfred

      “David Bell has repeatedly said in the last two weeks despite winning all of two games that the team is playing well”.

      I’ve watched all the games and I don’t think they’re playing very well at all other than in little spurts, but apparently their manager does. Can you imagine a manager telling his players they’re playing good while going 2-11 when everyone can clearly see it’s not true…kind of ridiculous. I may be wrong but maybe, just maybe, that’s not really the message the manager should be sending to his team the way they’re playing. There are usually at least two or three plays most games where the fans watching are wondering what the heck are they doing? The amount of really poor mental decisions on the bases consudering the game sitauations are kind of mind-boggling…let alone the consistently poor defense over this stretch…to say nothing of their pathetic offense.

      A lot of us were stunned when they extended David Bell’s contract last summer. And some of us predicted this 2024 trainwreck was coming with him at the helm, so I’m sure others like myself aren’t surprised at all by this season because he is a below average manager.

      Bell has had ALOT of say in how this team is currently contructed. He is the one who makes the decisions impacting the outcome of the games as to who plays, where they play, what the ever changing batting order is, the bullpen decisions etc. Who gets sent down, who gets brought up….etc.

      The bottom line he’s not a good manager. He’s fine if you are okay being a .500 ballclub with no real winning expectations. However, if you look at his track record it’s crystal clear: when expectations and the pressure to win increase his team’s implode. On August 22 2021, the Reds were 12 games above . 500 and in control of the second National League Wild Card spot. They proceeded to lose 18 of their next 27 games, fading from playoff contention in the process. Going into the All-Star break last year they were 50-41 and 1 game up on the Brewers in the division…2nd half was 32-39 to finish 82-80 and 10 games behind the Brewers. Then we have this year, alot of 2024 preseason expectations…but now likely completely out of postseason contention sometime in June. All three examples show when the expectations and pressure to win increases his team’s have totally collapsed. And if DBell and his teams can’t handle the pressure to win, then you really have no chance of a magical postseason…so what are we doing here?

      Reds ownership screwed this up with the Bell extension, it’s up to them to realize the mistake and fix it.

      There wouldn’t be one other team in major league baseball that would consider hiring him as their manager if he was let go.

      It is what it is.

      • JayTheRed

        I agree Bell saying the team is playing well is a joke. There has been a little sign of life here and there but quit lying that’s your first step. I know a lot of these guys are quite young, but I expected a lot more out of Steer and a few others based on last year. Yes, the injuries have hurt badly so I can’t really judge this team’s potential until players are healthy. Is this a wash year due to the injuries. It’s just frustrating because going into spring training the Potential was off the charts. It’s hard watching this team play right now.

      • Jimbo44CN

        So friggin true. No one would even consider hiring him as a manager.

  14. JB

    Guys got hurt and most of the other guys haven’t stepped up. I’m not going to state what others have pointed out. I agree with greenmtred. One trade isn’t going to change this team. They need multiple players and they would have to trade a lot of prospects. I don’t see any in Louisville or Chattanooga that would get us decent players. Dunn and Hinds haven’t done anything and their right handed bats would help in the outfield. Players at Chattanooga are (unbelievably) hitting worst than what we got. It’s just one of those years where they need to find out what they have. Right now India isn’t worth keeping after the year . Maile isn’t either. Benson , Friedl,Fraley, Hurtubise,Capel are all left handed bats in the outfield. Friedl is the only one worth keeping. Steer is a Zobrist clone. He doesn’t have the arm to be an every day outfielder but can cover alot of positions and give days off. They need another outfielder that can play every day. Fairchild hits lefties well but .063 against Righties. He is 26 th man on roster that is being asked to play every day. Was last year just a freak year for Benson and the first year for Cleveland where he struck out 19 times in 61 at bats and this years nightmare the real Benson? He did strikeout 103 times last year in 329 PA’s. It’s a mess right now where a lot of youngsters are asked to do a lot . I haven’t even gotten to the bullpen.

  15. ChicagoRedLeg

    Life-long Reds fan. Watch every game. Live in Chicago, I have to pay to watch the Reds. I have to say, I really have zero faith in Bell. I just want him gone. It would at least be…well change. Everyone keeps speaking of change. Change the owners, change president of operations, change the manager, the players…owners aren’t going to change, manager probably wont change, and any player changes they make I don’t think will make any kind of an impact. I think the season is already done…it’s May 16th, and I’m pretty sure the season is done! I’m heartbroken. There are days, where all I have are my Reds, and this is what I get…I’m going back out to my garden…

  16. Laredo Slider

    At some point the Reds need to address their OF. Most contenders have outfielders who are or will be All Stars, Reds don’t have that. Steer is probably their best but he’s several notches below contending team’s outfielders. Really question the quality of the OF talent all through the organization.

    • Daytonnati

      When the Reds moved Rose from OF to 3rd base, opening up the OF for George Foster, the Big Red Machine went from very good to great. When the Reds move Elly De La Cruz to CF, with that speed and arm, they also open up SS for the return of Matt McLain. Steer can stay in left or move to 2nd. Marte will return and play 3rd – Collier is money in the bank as a player or trade chip. I will continue to ride with CES at first. His glove alone has been an upgrade over the declining Votto years (I loved Votto). I think we’re not that far from “good”. Very good will depend on the continued development/improvement of the pitching, starting and back end. I go back and forth on Bell. It’s obvious the players haven’t quit on the guy, but his “feel” for the game and game situations just seems off? Whatever the opposite of “instinctual” is, that is Bell. He doesn’t seem like he’s having any fun.

  17. Mike W

    Doug, I always like reading what you have to say, but was especially impressed by the opening paragraph and your closing paragraph. Spot on.
    If I’ve repeated anything it’s been “Bell has been here for 5 years and has a losing record. Sorry it didn’t work out, but obviously a change needs to be made. MLB is a high stakes business and you need to be replaced now. End of story.”

  18. Bernie

    Ownership doesn’t care about winning, only care about saving money and the GM doesn’t care about winning, only cares about pleasing ownership by saving money. I said this 2 years ago and it’s still true today. We will know when ownership is serious about trying to win, when they hire a competent manager. I think it’s 6 years and counting for a manager with a record under .500. SMH

  19. LDS

    Amazingly, some here are still excusing Bell’s performance. SMH. But, yes, the Reds need to make changes. And thanks Doug, this is the kind of questions the national media should be raising.

    • DW

      Yeah, replacing Bell would be the best move possible, but doesn’t actually seem to be possible.

    • JayTheRed

      I couldn’t believe he was asked to be an All Star coach. When I read it I simply shook my head.

      • Mauired

        I’ve never seen someone rewarded so much for so little. It’s like we have our own Paris Hilton as the Reds manager. Simply incredible.

      • Tom Reeves

        The All-Star nod had way more to do with David’s deceased brother and his ties to the D-Backs than his performance. It was a tremendous act of kindness to include him. He wasn’t rewarded – he was included. Be a human. Geez.

  20. DW

    In my opinion, the rebuild was going really well up until this last off-season. That was the time to add some significant pieces, even if that meant trading prospects. My hope was to add a middle of the order right-handed outfield bat, a top of the rotation starter, and a proven late inning reliever. These would have been nice moves to build on the exceeded expectations of last year’s young team. This next off-season will be very telling. I am hoping that the front office will finally take the locks off their pocket books, either through trade or free agency, but expecting the usual weak off-season that we always get.

  21. DW

    Great article and assessment of the current situation, Doug.

  22. Mark A Verticchio

    Putting EDLC in right or center would help a lot. The future outfield would be Steer, Freidl and EDLC with Benson as a 4th outfielder. The infield could have Marte, Mclain, Ces, possibly Arroyo and Cadelario. This group with a free agent or two along with Stephenson and a back up catcher and an improving pitching staff could contend as long as they had a manager not named Bell.

      • Mark A Verticchio

        Sadly I don’t see much of this happening. Instead they will continue to push that square peg into the round hole and struggles will continue.

  23. Mark Moore

    Yes to change … but not just for the “sake of change”. You all know where I stand on one David Bell (currently ranked #40 out of 30 MLB Field Managers by my reckoning, and sinking), but I’m afraid that change in the middle of what can best be described as a challenging season would look more like a knee-jerk change for the sake of change than a change of direction to right the ship.

    As other noted, the Ownership/FO Management just doesn’t seem to care about making a go of it. While I’ve defended Krall multiple times and I know he’s handcuffed by what the DaddySonOwnershipMonster dictates, there would seem to be others that can get things done. Perhaps, it’s an indication that FA’s don’t want to play in Cincy for the most part.

    It’s mid-May and I’m resigned that we won’t see the product we thought we would. Lots of reasons for that, but correcting it isn’t going to be the product of a minor tweak here and there or even getting an injured/sidelined player back.

    No baseball here tonight. 10:15 PM start is way too late on a “school night”. I did see we are absent India again. Migraines are tough to deal with.

    • Jim Walker

      I can’t imagine that any guy who has hit as many/ few as a dozen home runs in a season wouldn’t want to play in Cincinnati if the money was even borderline competitive because he would be a threat to hit 25-30 HR a season with likely a commensurate increase in 2B hits before he ever put on the Reds inform.

      So, yeah, maybe a guy like that would have to be signed to a deal like Castellanos (and others) have signed that would give him the option to walk in 2 years. But who would care because with the group already in place that guy could put the team over the top as a DH, corner OF, or corner IF.

      • Redsvol

        There were severs of us on here that said we needed to sign a veteran right handed outfielder. Many were available and many signed for cheap deals in late February/early March. A veteran was needed and we stood pat after signing severs relievers and 2 starter. I’ll never understand why another 2-3$ million wasn’t made available to get one of those guys. This team needed a little more veteran presence on the field and in the dugout.

        Instead we’ve given at bats to Bubba, martini, and Fairchild. And Benson should have been sent down about 2 weeks ago if we had any minor league outfield depth.

        I get not anticipating all the infielders’ injuries. But we should have anticipated needing some right handed outfield depth.

      • Harry Stoner

        I’m sure there are more Myers or Candelarios or Phams or Morans out there who fit that bill.

        They aren’t going to move the needle or satisfy the RLN faithful.

        It’s mid May. Besides making some desperation move, which Krall has never appeared very good at, what might this bring?

        The Reds 6 games out rather than 8 or 10.

        The horse is so far out of the barn, it’s sending postcards back home.

        I’m convinced Krall is thinking: ” My rep has been built on my accumulation of ‘prospects’. The return(s) of Friedl, CES, Marte and McLain are better than anything I can trade for. .”

        This season is going to sush, plain and simple.

        Watching for some growth from Greene and Lodolo and hopefully more from Williamson and Lowder might just have to be it.

        EDLC is already a hot mess. But given time and patience it might pay off with some conistent play. That’s worth watching for.

        An improved year from a health-ier Stephenson.

        Good health for Fraley’s daughter.

        I don’t want to be a Cassandra, but that’s going to be it, I’m afraid.

      • LDS

        I agree with Harry, it’s not happening. Though I would argue that prospects were secondary to cutting payroll – a task Krall is a superstar at performing.

      • Jim Walker

        @Harry>> If Krall is thinking as you suspect, and it would not surprise me, that part of his thinking is also probably to use this opportunity to rid himself of Bell for his own future’s sake.

        Even if Krall is on board with Bell strategically and tactically, he needs a better public frontman because he himself has to take his foot out of his mouth to speak; and, it finds its way back in before he finishes speaking.

    • Melvin

      “You all know where I stand on one David Bell (currently ranked #40 out of 30 MLB Field Managers by my reckoning, and sinking),”


  24. Jedi Joey

    Great article, Doug. As a 45 year old who has rooted for this team since the 1980s, I’m frustrated beyond belief. The Reds were my first love in sports and I don’t feel this organization has given the fans any love back in several years. Changes are needed. The Castellini era is a failure.

    • Longtimefan

      I think the front office is afraid to go after free agents. Look at their track record with free agent signing the last 4-5 yrs. They have been totally horrible. Not even mediocre but horrible. Whoever they have in the organization that rates talent is evidently not qualified to be in their positions. Even our young prospects that are deemed future stars so far aren’t living up to their expectations. Most of the little success that we have had outside the organization has come from other teams castoffs and those have been very short lived. We need to clean house in our scouting department.

      • JayTheRed

        There are a few good signings. Castellanos was pretty good. Drury, a few pitchers we signed had good years in the last 5 years.

        I am at a loss for what this team can do except to make a change at Manager or coaching level. I don’t think it will do much though.

        I think patience might be needed for a turn around but I just think the Reds will be too far down in the standings to recover by time injuries get better and we get Marte back. Which by the way he is a really young player too and only has a good 1/2 season to show also.

  25. Bryant

    I have never seen a team incur injuries like this. Thus far, for example, with the exception of EDC the entire intended starting infield and the centerfielder have been hurt, sick, or suspended for most of the season. Closer has blown up. This will stop any team in its tracks. Krall et al did a great job of putting this together and it is still a potentially very good team. No, the season is not going to be what we had thought, but hard to blame Bell or Krall.

  26. SultanofSwaff

    For me the question is ‘can they dig themselves out of this hole’ from July thru September when the roster issues will largely be resolved? Enough to get a little over .500 to challenge for a playoff berth? Yes, I do. In the same way this unhealthy team can lose 11 of 12 I believe a healthy team could replicate that on the winning side and get you back in the race given the less challenging schedule in the 2nd half.

  27. Jason T.

    The strikeouts, the lack of patience at the plate, is inexcusable and if the hitting coach can’t affect this for the better then he needs to go.
    That’s where I’d start. We’ve made a lot of pitchers look way better than they actually are. We’ve got a lot of young players. The last thing any of us want is bad habits or bad mechanics. I don’t think we are that lacking in talent but rather a lack of good coaching and managing.

  28. Brian

    Benson has 63 strikeouts in 139 at bats, think about that for a minute. He’s also not hitting Dave Kingman style home runs. He is hurting the team and his development, he doesn’t belong on the team right now.

    The players that are missing this year just don’t have any lengthy mlb track record to even say that things would be better if they were here. More than likely, they would be but who’s to say that they wouldn’t have regressed too? I’m just saying that this excuse is just that. Other teams also have some injuries. Their teams probably improvise better than the Reds do during those times.

    Basically, this ownership group is terrible.

  29. Mark A Verticchio

    You can say that Bell has been dealt a tough hand, he has, but some of his moves make no sense like tonight, batting a guy hitting .190 and leading the world in strike outs lead off.

  30. citizen54

    The Reds are where I thought they would be. Their record is being dragged down by some bad luck in run one games where they are 1-10. With a some average luck the Reds could easily be three games better or close to .500 with normal luck. Pythag suggests they should be 22-23.

    The hitting is bad but not sure what people were expecting with their top two producers from last year being out. De La Cruz looks to be an above average regular, if not all star, going forward. Steer and Stephenson look solid. If you take out the three worst three hitters and put in McLain, Friedl and Marte, the line up looks a lot better.

    The starting pitching has been very good. The BP has been bad but their aren’t many options for Bell on the roster. This is probably the one area the Reds could make some cheap short term improvements. All in all the Reds aren’t as in as bad a shape as some people are making it out to be.

  31. Laredo Slider

    Bell family is Reds Royalty. Kick DB upstairs into one of those phony/bogus “advisory” roles and hire a manager, that should be an off-season priority. Doubt they’ll do any such thing in-season.

  32. DaveCT

    One move they can make is to promote a minor league coach (or coaches) with a track record of success. That specific coach is Daryl Ward at AA.

    In 2023, Ward coached Rece Hinds to his best pro performance, Marte to a promotion to AAA, and Dunn to a career year. This year, he has coached up Tyler Callihan and Allan Cerda.

    Analysis: Very few teams can absorb the injuries (and suspension) of starting 2B, 3B and CF, as well as other lesser absences.

    The Reds hit the wall last season when also dealing with injuries to key players (McLain, Fraley).

    This lead, IMO, to signing Candelario and extending India, as a measure to bulk up against inconsistencies among youngsters and the likelihood of injuries.

    Given the budget (ownership), there was no much more they could have done.

    When healthy, in 2023 David Bell managed the players to good performances, utilizing his mix and match approach, better stated as putting players in the best situations to succeed.

    The players on the roster are 1) underperforming for their role (India, Candelario); 2) over-exposed for their skill level/role (Fairchild, Benson, Fraley, Thompson, Martini, Espinal); and otherwise flailing (CES, Hurtubise).

    One of the most noticeable problems is the most obvious: Strikeouts. Batters receive scouting reports and recommended in-game strategies. One game, it may be “swing at first (and only) fastball you see,” or “whatever. The coaching and game planning here is failing.

    Options: Pursuit of a blockbuster trade will require a massive buy in from ownership. Ie trading for Luis Robert AND extending him. Is ownership capable of doing this? They might be, having made lesser advised, public relations moves before (Votto, Bailey). Will they? Hahaha, nah.

    So, what to do? Let’s take our best and brightest coach(es) and see if they can succeed where the current offensive crew isn’t, remember, cos he’s are on ‘prospects lists,’ too.

    • Rob

      No one in the Reds management chain is saying anything other than things are fine and will turnaround. It is being treated as a dry spell not a 70-75 win season. I agree with you that I think it is more than that but I do question whether management can abandon and leave the young talent on this team without a life vest. Certainly doesn’t foster “rally reds”. In fact it probably fosters some poor defeated attitudes.

      I don’t agree with you that the expense of trying to salvage this season is overwhelming. We have prospects out the kazoo, some of which do not have a future spot reserved for them. And some of these guys are top 5 ish. We don’t need redundant pitching, SS, and 3B prospects. That is not an overwhelming give to get a big RH bat. Maybe uncomfortable because they may turn out to be strong major leaguers. But they need to get over his. The season is awash and the psyche of our younger players is in balance. It won’t hurt a thing to have Luis Robert manning CF n 2025 or 2026.Benson certainly hasn’t shown that he has the position nailed down.

      • DaveCT

        Great response, thank you.

        To clarify, where I believe ownership would fail would be in committing the funds to acquire a top shelf player (as opposed to a more or less rental).

  33. Moon

    I do not think there is much the Reds can do this year. The cake is already baked. Perhaps you can change the frosting but I just don’t think it is going to make a big difference or make major improvements in what they have. You play the hand that was dealt to you and hope the guys start playing at the level expected. But playoffs appear to be a pipe dream. So perhaps you start looking for the future and fill needs that can help you next year, not this year. Maybe there will be some shoppers at the trade deadline, teams that need some help for a stretch run, that will be willing to make some trades that will help this club in the future. They certainly need to figure out the closer role for example. They probably need to find a catcher than can hit above the .150 BA Maile carries. Management said they were going to try to build from within the organization. Perhaps the answer is there or maybe the guys they have will step up. But right now it does not look like that is going to be the case. But is your strategy is to build the team from draft and player development through your farm system then you need to give that strategy a chance. It is a bigger problem to change strategies and focus every few years.

    • Mark Moore

      +1,000 for “the cake is baked” and “perhaps you can change the frosting”

      I’ll add maybe you can add sprinkles and hide the flaws with candles and decorations, but when you cut into it and take a bite, it doesn’t taste like we thought it would.

      Perhaps that’s what Bell means when he says “we aren’t going to change who we are” … 😮

      • Moon

        ha, yes. Right now that cake tastes like liver and onions.

  34. Anthony

    Kudos to all the posted opinions that the manager must go. The rest of the excuses are window dressing. The first change required is to fire and hire a new voice new perspective and someone that won’t bat 7 different guys in 8 different spots every night then wonder why we’re not scoring runs.

  35. MBS

    They didn’t make a WS contender in the offseason. They did make a wild card team / divisional contender.

    We look to be falling short of that because of our poor luck in the health department again this year.

    I doubt the Reds do an early trade to improve the hitting side of things, so we’ll have to wait until near the deadline to see if it makes sense to improve the roster, hold pat, or deal from depth.

    Personally I’d opt for improve the roster by getting what we should have got in the offseason, and that’s an OF power bat, preferably RH, but a bat from either side would be welcome.

    Hold pat is the safest move. We are likely to graduate a couple more useful prospects to join the roster, and a healthier version of our team could compete for a wild card team.

    Deal from depth is the most controversial of the 3, but depending on where we sit by the deadline it could be the smart move. We acquired several veteran arms that teams would want at the deadline.

  36. Oldtimer

    Mid season deals that changed the outcome of the season. Not many. Not many at all. Here are a couple.

    1961 Reds acquired 2B Don Blasingame for All-Star C Ed Bailey. Reds called up C Johnny Edwards to replace Bailey. Reds acquired SP Ken Johnson to solidify the starting rotation. Reds acquired C Darrell Johnson late. Blazer was a big improvement over Jim Baumer. Edwards and Darrell Johnson filled in for Bailey. Ken Johnson was solid SP.

    That’s one. Acquiring Seaver in 1977 improved the season but not enough.

    1968 trade for Carroll, Cloninger, and Woodward for Pappas and two others made the Reds better but didn’t the results much that year. Each of those three were important cogs on the 1970s Reds.

    1971 trading Frank Duffy for George Foster paid little dividends that year but Foster was a HUGE part if BRM success in the mid 1970s. No impact in 1971 although Foster was decent CF.

    I think there were some mid season acquisitions in 1990 that solidified the Reds lineup. The Reds were in first all season but those trades helped keep the Reds there and win the WS eventually.

    Acquiring HOF 3B Scott Rolen mid season about 15 years ago was a big impact that helped the Reds win the division title.

  37. Justin T

    Great read and I agree 100%. All of our frustration can spill over sometimes. Im a middle aged man now and the Reds are a huge part of my childhood. To see what this group has done to this franchise is sad. We have become one of the worst 2 or 3 franchises in MLB and its not arguable.

    I also think it’s unfortunate that so many fans are still all in with Krall. It prolongs the inevitable. Having a bad team for 10 years tends to lower the fan’s baseball IQ too. Every time i hear him speak it just gives a bad vibe. You can tell he isnt from here and didnt grow up a Reds fan. You can also tell he is no savant in building a baseball team. The arrogance he answered Sheldon’s questions didnt sit right with me and I will not be attending anymore games moving forward. Thats penalizing me and my 2 young sons but enough is enough. Im not gonna be a sucker.

  38. Nicole Cushing

    The Reds move about as fast as Jabba the Hutt on Valium. So, I predict they’ll make no positive changes this year.

    The front office will blame the losing on injuries, and if the team is able to crawl back to within a country mile of .500 they’ll declare moral victory.

    If things get *really* ugly, I can totally see Castellini moving Elly Delacruz. *Real* MLB teams competing for a World Series title could use him. I’d be surprised if they haven’t already gotten an offer or two.

  39. Redhaze

    It is interesting that Bally Sports has a commercial dedicated to how much the players like to play for David Bell. I don’t ever remember seeing that with any other manager.

    • Melvin

      Haha Being an election year I’m programmed to think when I hear that, “I’m David Bell and I approved this message”. 😀

  40. Votto4life

    I haven’t visited here in awhile. I see the David Bell discussions haven’t abated. I haven’t followed the team this year. But I have checked out the box scores from time to time. Looks like another disappointing season. I’m sorry, I know most here care deeply about the team and wish they played better if only for members of this group if for no other reason.

    My wife (a Brit) and myself decided to invest in FC Cincinnati season tickets this year and boy we haven’t been disappointed. It’s such an exciting sport and FCC are playing so well. They are currently in second place in their 14 team conference. Just one point behind Lionel Messi and Miami.

    We are having such a great time following FC Cincinnati. Something I haven’t experienced with the Reds in years. I don’t know how long it will last, but right now it’s a lot of fun.

    I do hope the Reds are able to turn it around. They have a nice core of young players. This year may be lost, but they do have hope next year or in 2026

    Anyway, just dropped in to say hello. I Hope you all enjoy the second half!


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