The Cincinnati Reds COULD be in the playoffs this year. The National League is a scrum with wild card spots generally changing based on who’s been the hottest in the last week. But there are obvious issues with the team. The point of this article is to look at the team as it stands now and try to make a reasonable assessment of what might be done about it.

What Doesn’t Need Fixing?

The pitching staff.

Any way you slice it, the Reds have been above-average both in terms of the rotation and the bullpen. Nearly every pitcher on the staff has an ERA that is above average. The only current exceptions are Frankie Montas (who is just very slightly below-average), Alexis Diaz, and Justin Wilson. Diaz started disastrously, but has been good for about six weeks now (look at the numbers). Relievers are famously unpredictable and throw so few innings that one bad outing can wreck a season, but the Reds have generally gotten excellent relief pitching and excellent starting pitching. It’s unlikely they’ll find significant upgrades on the trade market.

What Might be Internally Fixable?

The Infield.

Despite the pre-season detractors, Elly De La Cruz is 3rd in the National League in WAR (Fangraphs version) as I type this and has made himself an MVP candidate. Jonathan India and Jeimer Candelario have been entirely solid (especially given the recent hot streaks for both of them, a good reminder for us all about making judgments based on too few plate appearances).

Quick Side Note: Measuring defense is hard. It’s generally accepted that you need a couple of seasons of defensive data before you can make a good determination about a player’s ability. So half a season of data is not great. Right now, among these three guys: Baseball Reference thinks they all stink at defense. Baseball Savant and FanGraphs both love De La Cruz and think India has been pretty good. Everyone thinks Candelario has had a glove of stone. So, depending on where you look, your mileage may vary.

Tyler Stephenson has been back to what we hoped he would be, making last year look like it was all about injury recovery.

With Noelvi Marte and (maybe) Matt McLain coming back this season, you can (hopefully) put together a good infield pretty soon. Yes, both of those guys are question marks, but we’re looking at where the Reds should focus improvement. Right now, that’s not the infield.

What’s a Mess that Needs to Be Fixed?

Outfield and Designated Hitter.

Thankfully, Spencer Steer exists, or this would be even worse. His consistently solid bat and willingness to play wherever have been huge for the Reds. But, he’s been the lone bright spot in the OF/DH mix this year, and some of his time has been at first out of necessity.

I really, really like Will Benson. He seems like a great guy. But man, he is just lost right now. TJ Friedl has been hurt all season, poor guy. Fraley has enough history that we can feel confident that this is not the real version of Jake Fraley the baseball player, but he is having an understandably off year which might call for a slightly diminished role on a team that was otherwise healthy. Stuart Fairchild continues to look exactly like a 4th outfielder.

Another Aside: Miss me with the hot Jake Fraley takes. He’s a human being. He doesn’t need to be disciplined or any of that nonsense. He’s not a dumb kid who needs a knot jerked in his tail (as my mom would say) when he makes a mistake. He’s a person dealing with too much who likely needs understanding more than anything else.

So yeah. The Reds need a bat who can play the outfield. IF (giant, giant, giant IF) everyone gets healthy and performs on the infield, India or Candelario will likely see some time in the designated hitter mix, but the outfield is still a mess without some help.

There is not help in the minors. There just isn’t. Generally speaking, if a guy hasn’t established himself in the big leagues by the time he’s 26, there’s a reason that involves a weakness in his game. Coaches and scouts should be relied on for a lot of this stuff. We should all have learned by now that a 29 year old mashing Triple-A pitching is not a sign that he can hit MLB pitching. Yeah, there are rare exceptions. Counting on an exception is a bad idea.

So the Reds need to trade. There are likely to be some outfielders on the market. We all know the names. There’s also going to be a lot of competition for them. Since the Reds aren’t likely to trade anyone on the active roster, they are going to need to look to prospects.

Legit Prospects.

Pick a list of your choosing. Like Doug’s, for instance. If you aren’t willing to part with at least two guys from the top 10 (and probably one from really near the top of the list), you aren’t getting someone who is likely to be a difference maker. General Managers are (mostly) not stupid and aren’t going to trade a legit player for a minor league guy who had a hot streak.

What Else Can You Do?

Fire the manager.

Yeah, I’m at least a little serious, but not for the reasons you think. I don’t have any huge takes on David Bell. A certain kind of fan likes to blame the manager because most of what he does isn’t generally visible outside the clubhouse. He’s an easy scapegoat. Organizations have been firing managers for years to cover for the two things that actually make baseball teams bad: 1. Ownership doing a bad job of acquiring players who are good enough to win and 2. Players not playing well.

That said, there’s some data that firing the manager gives a brief boost. Of course, sometimes, that backfires. Blah, blah, blah. The last time Cincinnati was consistently good, Dusty Baker ran the show. I remember how the fanbase felt about him (I was part of that, but I like to think I’ve grown in my understanding of how things work since then).

Last Thoughts

The playoffs are greatly expanded now. As such, the odds of winning a World Series are a lot better for everyone except, ironically, teams that are good every year. Those teams now have to deal with a bunch of extra playoff series, which are generally not far off of coin flips. Sucks for them. Great for everyone else. The Reds need to start spending a bit more money, though. You can’t always rely on players to overperform their scouting reports. Might wanna dump a truck of money on Elly De La Cruz’s porch while you’re at it.

119 Responses

  1. Anthony

    Easy answer…MANAGER! Start there..the rest will magically start to correct itself and pretty quickly.

    • Aaron

      What manager would you hire that makes this team as it exsists now a playoff team? Stop saying he needs to be fired without thinking through your entire scenario

      • Justin T

        So the argument is there is noone better so keep him? This and “the manager doesnt matter” is the only argument I hear for him. Both are factually wrong.

        The part all the “firing the manager makes no sense” crowd isnt coming to grips with is that the manager has had a few different rosters to work with. Nearly the same results with all. With a good roster (2020, 2021) he is near .500 and with a bad one he loses 100 games. This isn’t simply about THIS YEAR. He has been consistently bad from day one and actually has regressed in my opinion.

        Elly is an MVP candidate lol. Do you stare at numbers or watch the games? If you watch the games youll see him make nearly one back-breaking boneheaded play a game: either getting thrown out on the bases, picked off the bases, or an error at the most important position on the field. That isnt how MVPs usually perform. Look, I like Elly but noone that has watched the games this year thinks he is the most valuable player in the National League this season. Thats laughable. He leads his position in errors and has been thrown out on the bases more than anyone. He has hit .220 most of the year. Come on man.

    • MuddyCleats

      I think Bell needs to be replaced, but the issue is the Young Reds continue to find ways to lose close games! Every aspect is inconsistent at times; is there a Mgr who can correct all that??

    • jmb

      So you believe in magic, do you? Just think: many were upset when Obama said this wasn’t a Christian nation!

  2. Steven Ross

    Good article Jason. I like Benson a lot too. However, he’s hurting the team offensively. The numbers paint an ugly picture. Needs to be sent down and yes, Krall needs to make a trade for an OF. I wouldn’t expect much from Marte or even McLain this season.

    Reds won’t fire Bell with two years left on his deal. They should but won’t. Still say Terry Francona would be a great hire IF he wants the gig. Has a Reds connection from the past. We need a proven winner in the dugout.

    I’ve given up on the Reds based on current management.

    • Ted Alfred

      Francona would be a gigantic upgrade if his health would allow it. And maybe he would be up for one more bite at the Apple with the Reds…maybe a 4-year deal now that he’s had a year off to get his body healed up after having a couple more surgeries done.

      • Mauired

        One of the biggest mistakes of this franchise in the last decade or so was the missed opportunity to bring Francona to Cincinnati after the 2012 postseason disaster.

        A lot of people on here revere Dusty so I’m sure I will get heat for this. But he should have been fired when Reds only needed ONE win at home and lost 3 straight to Giants. That might have been the best Reds team since 1990.

        They chose to sign him to a two year extension and then fired him a year later after another collapse, while Francona was available and went to Cleveland. Francona did take Cleveland all the way to game 7 of the World Series later. I would happily take that as a Reds fan.

      • DaveCT

        Maui, i am definitely not in the Dusty Baker parade, though for a different reason. And that reason is Aroldis Chapman.

        Baker altered the future of the Reds starting pitching staff for a generation by selfishly converting Chapman to closer. Baker wanted a closer, and subverted the organization’s best interests by taking its best starting pitching prospect and counseling him into becoming a closer.

        That, to me, was and remains unforgivable. Who gives a 25 million dollar bonus to a reliever? Not contract, bonus. Who throws away an organization’s 25 million dollars? Baker was insubordinate and should have been fired for that alone.

        And let’s not forget what he did in Chicago to Mark Prior and Kerry Wood, two other young arms he refused to develop judiciously.

      • Mauired

        I agree. Chapman should have been left as a starting pitcher. It was said that he would not have success because he only had two pitchs. It seemed to work out ok for another tall lefty that threw mostly just a nasty slider and triple digit fastball named Randy Johnson. He ended up winning 300 games and going to the Hall of Fame.

      • DaveCT

        For a small market team, to squander that was infuriating. Still is.

      • reaganspad

        I echo all the dusty is the wrong guy at the wrong time every time posts.

        He sure is loved, i will give him that. Lots of Marquee jobs with the Giants, Cubs, Nats, Reds and the planet Houstons.

        That says something about the man to be hired 5 times.

        but he is no Bruce Bochy or Sparky Anderson regardless of how much love he gets on this board.

        Chapman…..dang

      • Justin T

        @DaveCT

        Dusty is a hall of famer who forgot more about baseball than you’ll ever know. How dare he upset you? Maybe youll find it in your heart to forgive him. Good grief. Luckily for you he left, and took winning baseball with him.

        No other team has made Chapman a starter once he was in their uniform. You know, the other 90% of his career? He has had a Hall of Fame career as a closer and it was probably Dusty Baker that allowed him to have that 15 year career. He would’ve fizzled out as a starter.

      • DaveCT

        Justin T,

        Are you a troll or just a joke?

        First. How dare I?

        Hahahahahshshshahahahahaha!!!

        Nice try.

        2. No one else made Chapman a starter?

        Dusty couldn’t make a complete sentence.

        Get a job.

  3. Pete

    Complaining about David Bell is like spitting into the wind. He’s with us and always will be with us. Personally unless I am blessed with abnormally long life it will not outlast his years manager of the Cincinnati Reds.

    It’s almost impossible to remember how high I was on the future of this team before that devastating day last year when they signed him to a three-year extension. All hope and dreams are now shot. At this point, fire Nick Krall and make Phil the GM.

    • Lrwade

      I totally agree with you, the day they extended Bell’s contract this team was doomed. I have rarely seen him do anything to win a game. The continue to make the same mistakes, he is clueless on pitching. I realize the teams has had tons of injuries but Bell just isnt the answer. He was cheap bottom line

  4. Will the Red

    Great article and 100% correct. Plus, a proven mlb bat is just that and prospects aren’t proven. There are at least a few outfielders, Luis Roberts and Jazz Chisholm to make 2, that would be great for the Reds. We’re gonna have a log jam in they infield as soon as next season if we don’t trade someone, so let’s start now!

    • JayTheRed

      Wonder if India having the extension and him having a decent year if he would be part of a trade. I personally love having India. Like his grittiness and even though he is not good defensively I feel like he is ok enough to stick around. I don’t know what it is when he bats leadoff he seems to kick in an extra gear.

  5. BridgeMan

    This is a good take on the Reds situation. Like you say, the pitching is not the problem. I think the biggest issue the Reds have faced is injuries and youth. I think you would have a hard time easily getting better players than Elly, Steer, Candelario, McClain, Friedl, Stephenson, and India. Plus throw in the unknown of Marte and CES and honestly I don’t think the Reds are in too bad of a spot. Maybe someone like India has to be willing to play some OF or we push Candelario to DH but I don’t realistically know what else you can do. Robert and Chisholm both have potential but neither has put up great numbers with any sort of consistency. I think we have gotten stuck giving our depth guys too many starts but injuries be injuries. I hate to say wait for next year…

  6. LDS

    If this were Bell’s first season, then yes, cut him some slack. It’s not. It’s his sixth. Regardless of the roster, the same problems persist. Bell is not the only problem. He’s just the easiest to correct. It only takes guts and a few bucks. We can reserve judgment on Krall for a few more weeks, but how he acts as the trade deadline approaches will determine how many of us view him. I thought he wasted his off season spending. Maybe he’ll do better this time around.

    • Kevin H

      Wow I actually agree with you. What the heck is going on? LOL

      Seriously after watching this season on TV I concur. Does Bell affect the games a argument could be made one way or another.

      A change is needed as well 6 years in and here we are same as it’s always been.

      • LDS

        @KevinH, don’t make it a habit. One or both of us will get confused.

    • Jim Walker

      Krall went just far enough in the off season to stoke hope into expectations but not far enough to deliver on the created expectations.

      If he had gone far enough either the additional guys he would have brought in or the guys now hurt would be playing instead of the guys now playing because of the injuries.

      And no, Votto has yet to take an MLB PA, so I am not talking about having him around.

    • JayTheRed

      I feel like Bell has had plenty of opportunities to grow as a manager. His ho hum approach drives me crazy. I will say he seems to be a bit better at running the rotation and bullpen this season. That could be because the Reds have better pitching this year. I have no major issue with Krall or the Current GM who I can never remember his name.

      I too wish the team was spending around another 40 million each season or so on quality players, but ownership has made it clear it is not willing to do that.

      Hoping our GM can make a one or two moves to shore the team up a bit more. I have said for the past 2 years I felt like 2025 would be the year that the team would be a potential winning team. Last year surprised me a bit. Injuries and suspensions is what hurt the team the most.

    • Justin T

      Agreed. The defense of David Bell is mind numbing. Denial is their defense. Contrarians who are “sick of hearing about it”

      The Reds are in the middle of (what history will remember) their worst era of management. From the top down. This group has been HISTORICALLY bad and the train is still moving. A metric to defend David Bell or the Castellini era of Reds baseball simply does not exist.

  7. Klugo

    Nothing matters until ownership spends. Spends on elite, comprehensive list of players, leadership, medical staff, scouting, coaching, you name it. We’re so far behind it’s a joke. It really feels pretty hopeless for Reds fans right now.

  8. Doc4uk

    Steer is the only OF that should be part of the long term plan. And he should likely be a fourth OF hitting consistently less than .250. Fairchild, Fraley, and especially Benson all barely hit .200 with less than 10 HR’s . This is crippling to a team and must be resolved. All three should be sent down but who replaces them. We can start with Elly to CF next season . Condon should be at 3B and Candy at 1B platooning with CES. McClain should be at 2B and Arroyo at SS. India and perhaps even CES can be traded along with some minor league prospects for a power hitting RF.

    Also when it is stated that we do not need pitching help I wonder about a fourth and fifth starter to complement the three proven starters we have . Definitely no one in the minors currently. Ash does not seem to have any consistency. Montas is on a one year contract which I do not see the Reds extending. Lowder seems to be lost. So who are our proven fourth and fifth starters in 2025?

    • earmbrister

      I’m sorry doc, but some context is needed. The average MLB BA in 2024 is .242.

      .242

      Some might reply that more offense should be expected from a LFr. There are only 20 LFrs that qualify in the ESPN rankings for LF (3.1 PA/G). And there are 30 teams in MLB. Of the top 20, Steer is #14 at (.239). The tenth ranked LFr is the great Alex Verdugo at (.247). Fun facts: Jesse Winker (.261) is #6 after two really poor seasons and Ian Happ (.227) is #16. Steer was 6th in the ROY voting last year. I think we can give him so time to adjust. And he’s a hot streak away from being in the top half of the rankings.

      As for the starting pitching, it’s been very good. It’s a luxury to have a Montas at the back end of your rotation. Ashcraft was roughly league average last year (96 ERA+) but has struggled more this year. If he gets back to last season’s form, he can be a decent #4 or #5 starter.

      Looking forward to 2025, in addition to a very good top 3, you have Ashcraft returning as well. Brandon Williamson had a solid rookie season and should be back. Spiers may prove to be back of the rotation worthy. How many teams have proven fourth and fifth starters in place for 2025? And how hard is it to find a back end starter in free agency? Not hard at all.

      I agree with the premise of the article. The focus should be on adding a proven OF bat at the deadline.

      • Doc4uk

        You make some excellent points but not sure the goal is to be league average which implies a .500 team. The goal is to be the next Baltimore Orioles and have their numbers. You mention also averages and I would say that power numbers come into play as well as averages. Outside of Steer the Reds outfield has very little power in a ball park that is set up for it. Our pitchers are victimized by home runs at GA Park ie just look at Pirates series.

        And traditionally outfielders are the players who have the most home runs along with corner infielders.

        That is why I did not include Friedl. Too often injured and our future center fielder is at SS currently

      • DaveCT

        Doc4uk, Baltimore (and Houston) tanked horribly for years to position themselves well in not just ‘the draft’ but in specific drafts where there was greater talent. Our first tanked year, we were able to draft Senzel. Bad luck or poor planning? Fortunately, we seemed to have gotten it right the second time with Greene.

        To your point, though — i believe you are quite correct that the goal is to be above average, and, perhaps, maybe, somehow, possibly, even … excel.

        This requires a certain amount of elite talent, at mid-market prices. Our elite talents are EDLC and Hunter Greene, while we have them, for they will depart the second they aren’t paid what they deserve. There are not really any other elite guys, although there are those who might fall into the “occasional all star” category, and successful teams have a solid number of these players. I’d list India, Candelaria, Mclain, Marte, Steer, Friedl and Stephenson, as well as Lodolo, Diaz and Ashcraft there.

        As you point out, the OF power output is currently very lacking. Last year, less so. In my perfect Reds world, Steer is my second best RH power threat out there and Friedl is a nice third OF and no. two hitter with a little pop (realistically, he is likely a guy who is good for 120 games a year, which doesn’t suffice so we’ll need to upgrade in CF from afar until our Single A kids arrive to pull even with good teams). And foremost we’ll need to also find a big bat for RF for a no. one guy out there. And, no, Doc4uk, the answer is not EDLC.

    • Brad

      Reds have a window to win before they start losing some of Young players your all right they need a big time bat in the lineup they have changed hitting coaches almost every year since covid maybe bring back Votto

    • Justin T

      He hit .271 in almost 600 ABs last year. Spencer Steer is neither A. The problem or B. a fourth outfielder.

  9. Indy Red Man

    Back to open auditions. Now hiring all positions. Year after year we think we might a foundation to build on, but 3-4 guys doesn’t make a foundation. That’s around 10-12 solid performers that they know will be under contract and the Reds can’t seem to build that. Dominated by small market Milw and Pitt says it all. You’re already dominated financially by everyone else. Frankie will probably want out.

    I normally go by it’s never as good/bad as it seems, but this endless cycle seems to never end. We’re always 2-3 years away and when we feel 1 year away then all hope is quickly dashed

    How do they expect Marte to fare when he’s hitting .150 at AAA?

    • Jim Walker

      Maybe one of the Reds issues is that they are always trying to fit players into the team’s cookie cutter format instead of latching onto guys who represent a strong mix of needed skills and then figuring out how to blend them and where to play them.

      • Pete

        Maybe they just cannot develop talent? And/or identify it. Maybe the answer is as simple as this. If you think the parent club looks like it might be a disaster, whatever you do do not look at the farm system.

      • Jim Walker

        @Pete, Jesse Winker’s current overall 2024 OPS+ is 132 and Nick Senzel’s is 107. Both are playing as everyday players and not being platooned.

        Winker’s OPS vs LH pitching is .683 (~ 95 OPS+ of the league vs LHP)
        Senzel’s OPS+ vs RH pitching is .681 (~95 OPS+ of the league vs RHP)

        But if they were both still with the Reds, they would probably still be platooned, quite possibly matched with each other (and what would their offhand OPS/OPS+ look like then)

      • old-school

        @ Jim, Scooter Gennett was a guy who couldn’t hit lefties for the Brewers and was let go at the end of ST and came to the Reds and played everyday, hit lefties and was a folk hero for a few years.

        I remember when Scott Schebler had a huge may in AAA and won the IL player of the month( 2016 maybe?). Schebler had a good 2 years before shoulder injuries got him but I remember him saying when he was the everyday RF that ” I know Im going to be playing tomorrow even if i have an 0-4 or bad series.”

        Bell started Matt Davidson at DH OD 2020 and regularly against lefties when the Reds had a 60 game sprint and dug themselves a huge hole losing to the last place Tigers. Davidson had good lefty splits in a hitter friendly AAA league and was used over more competent established MLB hitters.

      • Jim Walker

        @OS And neither Scooter nor Schebler played any significant role in a Bell managed team, leaving the Reds during Bell’s 1st season. Hard to believe but per BBRef, both are still under 35 years old.

  10. Jim Walker

    I do not like Bell’s philosophy and the way he runs games. If he was winning games, I’d grit my teeth and live with it like the folks who didn’t like the way Dusty went about winning 90 or more games in 3 consecutive seasons.

    However, what I see night after and season after season under Bell’s (lack of) leadership are players who do not play as well individually and collectively as a team as up to the best versions of what they could be.

    This is why I believe the first step the Reds need to take to right their ship is a change in the manager’s office.

  11. Votto4life

    I agree David Bell is not a great manager, but it goes far beyond the manager. Baseball is just not that entertaining. I don’t know if it’s the dominant pitching, rule changes or over reliance on advanced data, but it’s just a different from the game I loved in the 1970s and 1980s.

    In the 1980s, Benson would have been a good player, Stephenson would have been a star and Steer would challenge for an MVP award. I know I am just old and things change.

    I have a long history with baseball, so I will continue to follow it. But, I’m not sure how baseball attracts any new fans.

    • Jim Walker

      They are hoping to attract new fans and keep existing fans in part via their partnership with legalized gambling by creating games within the games to keep people watching. For example, late in Wednesday’s baseball debacle, the update on the daily parlay was flashed on the screen; and, the announcer proclaimed that all 3 players involved were still active in the game making a payout on the parlay still possible.

      • Votto4life

        I suppose you’re right, gambling though is another reason the game is less attractive to me. I grew up when gambling of any sort was taboo in baseball. I remember when Willie Mays was suspended for working at a casino long after he retired from baseball. There was ZERO tolerance for gambling in baseball. Now they shove gambling in your face with the caveat of course that you should know your limits. Who would have guessed that bookies could be so caring?

      • Indy Red Man

        Gambling yeah. I made $157 on $50 bet Tuesday with Elly run scored and Over even though they got hammered. That’s a slippery slope though as gambling can ruin lives or accelerate divorces

      • doofus

        I hate MLB’s hypocrisy with all the (legal) gambling promotions.

      • LDS

        And yet Pete Rose will never be in the HoF because he gambled on baseball. Now they promote it. It’s the old “don’t do as I do, do as I tell you”.

      • Doug Gray

        They promote YOU being able to gamble on the game. Until it was federal law, MLB was against it. Then they realized it was going to happen with or without their approval, so they said we might as well get our cut. Players, managers, bat boys, minor league video interns, etc – they still can not bet on baseball games without facing the same penalties.

        So no, it’s not don’t do as I do, do as I tell you.

      • Chad A Donnell

        Yet no electronic strikezone………once they allowed and backed gambling this should have been a given.

      • Doug Gray

        The automated strikezone opens up it’s own issues with regards to “a gambling problem”. Someone has access to that information before it hits the public – even if it’s just a matter of a second or two. That could be gamed by a gambler.

        But also it could be hacked and altered for gambling purposes.

        It represents the same kind of issue that an umpire could have for “swinging things in ones favor”, just in a different kind of manner.

      • Harry Stoner

        @LDS Come on. Don’t bring Rose into this argument, which is specious enough already.

        I haven’t been to that many casinos, but I don’t recall ever seeing the dealer, the croupier, or the routlette ball wizard sitting in with some bets.

        Rose’s gambling at the racetrack didn’t get him in trouble.

        Betting on MLB games….and Reds’ games got him in trouble.

        For those who still believe Rose didn’t bet against the Reds, just bear in mind just how many lies he told and how many he was caught in.

        The investigation seemed to stop just in time to avoid a cataclysmic PR problem for MLB.

        Not dissimilar to the Ohtani sandbag job this season.

        Rose deserved (and deserves) everything he got.

        And more.

        Self-immolation

        No one can talk about ‘integrity’ and find any way to excuse Rose or to leverage him in relationship to some other bit of moral relativism.

      • LDS

        Not saying Rose didn’t bet on baseball. But, I would not surprised to find that such actions are common throughout the majors. Frankly, it’s naive to think otherwise.

  12. SultanofSwaff

    In essence we’re likely shopping for just a right fielder, but there’s not much supply. My first preference is to simply add salary to a payroll that could easily add at least $40mil w/o flinching, but I’m also open to trading any prospect not named Petty/Marte/Lowder. That still leaves some top 100 talent to dangle plus a lot of intriguing pieces that could be packaged to land a legit cost controlled bat. Luis Robert makes too much sense, but I like under the radar stabilizing additions like Taylor Ward, Starling Marte, or Gavin Sheets.

    Or, you just hope Marte and McLain will fix the offense enough so you can win with pitching……and thus double down in that regard. Garrett Crochet would absolutely be a difference maker in any role.

    • Jim Walker

      For me, the entire OF is probably in play. Friedl may be a part of a winning team that goes deep in the playoffs but not as a CF. Steer is likely at his ceiling which makes him an attractive trade piece for the deal that brings back an uber level RF or CF. Also depending on how things shake out with player development, injuries, and trades, Steer could also end up as a corner man on the dirt if he is not traded.

  13. Rednat

    I think its more impotrant at this time to focus on developing a winning culture. We havent really had that since the 1990s.
    Its more important to develop a winning style, a reds way, shall we call it.
    Even if it causes us to lose more games then we win the next couple of years i think it will pay dividends down the road

    1. For the offense the mantra should be working the count, going the other way, fouling off pitches, advancing the runners, small ball
    2. For the base running- intellegent aggressiveness, always hustling, wide turns around girst base on singles. Putting pressure on the defense in a smart non haphazard way
    3. For the defense- focusing on fundamentals, hitting cutoff men, working as a unit. ( we are the only team that i have seen this year that doesnt throw the ball around the horn after a strikeout)
    4. I actually think the pitching is fine and liitle change has to be made.

    I really dont think it matters who is out there for now.as long as we are developing that winning culture. Then down the road i think more top of the line free agents will want to come. Especially those with local ties.

    • doofus

      To have a winning style or culture it is necessary to have TALENTED BALLPLAYERS. Mantras and catchy phrases tacked to the wall cannot hit for average or home runs or pitch shutouts.

  14. Indy Red Man

    I know Baltimore almost immediately turned their sad sack decade+ trajectory around by moving the fences back 40+ feet. It protects your pitchers from cheap HRs and allows more hits to fall in a bigger OF at the same time.

    The Reds aren’t really built for Gabp. Either move back the fences or start giving up speed for power. It’s like a bigger physical power running football team on turf in a dome. Bad combination that doesn’t play to their strengths

    • Rednat

      Plus one million. I wish they would blow up gabp. ( like yesterday )Play in dayton or lousville and build a new field wit huge dimensions

      • Jim Walker

        Recall the GABP site was called the wedge or slice et al because there was barely room to build it between Riverfront/ Cinergy Stadium and the Coliseum. With all the development that has gone on since in the prior stadium area, they would be looking at the same issues, maybe even worse. And I shudder to think of the political ruckus it would take to get a new stadium at a different spot. That would probably only happen if a new very deep pocketed owner came in and said he/ she was building a self funded stadium elsewhere.

      • MBS

        I’d rather the Stadium get moved to another location. Moving the stadium to an area of the city that could be revived seems like a good idea for the city and the team. Good for the team because the land is cheep, and they could really build out a first class campus. Good for the city because it could help spur economic development in an underutilized area.

        I’d go OTR on the north side of Liberty, and east side of Sycamore. That could be the catalyst to add business and rehab the housing stock in the north side of OTR. Liberty would also connect FCC, the Reds, and the Casino together.

        It would also create an excellent addition to the streetcar line. Connect to the existing streetcar line on Liberty and Race, then add a stop at the Reds, and the casino, and finally loop it back west along Central where it meets up in a few blocks with the Central and Main track. That’s about 1.3 miles of new track, and we’ve created a triangle of sports venues in the city that all connected to the streetcar.

      • Jim Walker

        @MBS. My bias as a Dayton area resident would be to make the 3rd time a charm for the Blue Ash or some other area along the 275 not far from the 75 intersection. Bringing back the northern fans who were a key demographic in filling Riverfront in the 1970s-1990s would be a big step in making the Reds once again a legitimately regional team.

    • doofus

      If you have a stadium that is easy to hit a HR in players without a lot of power can hit one out, correct?

      • Doug Gray

        It’s not that easy. Being easier to hit home runs in doesn’t make it easy. You’re talking about a matter of like 2-5 additional feet being the difference between a GABP homer and a ball off of the wall in other parks. It’s not turning non-power guys into power guys.

  15. doofus

    OF Targets: Robert, Chisholm, Kjerstad, J Lowe.

    C: Dillon Dingler

    RP: Jason Foley, Hunter Harvey, Kopech.

    SP: Crochet

    Would I move Marte, Lowder, Petty, Collier…in a heartbeat for the right player(s). Also, Steer, Benson, Ashcraft, Fraley, Friedl, Williamson (I know he’s hurt), Stephenson, Arroyo. Ah, heck no one is untouchable.

    I do not see any Paul Skenes type prospects down on the farm worth protecting.

    • Jim Walker

      Ah, heck no one is untouchable

      And no one should be for the proper level of quality and quantity of return. But right now with up to 5 more seasons of EDLC still under their control, it would take a huge return to move him.

    • Rob

      My OF candidates would include Robert and possibly Chisholm, but I wouldn’t rule out big bobbers on fringe teams like the Astros (Tucker) and Red Sox (ONeill). Robert is just so perfect in my mind ….cheap ($20M), multiple years with team options, big power, and strong CF. Yeah, he has an injury history but so does Lodolo and we are not throwing him out with the trash. 130 games with a 900 OPS for $20M ….count me in. The Tucker kid with the Astros would also be a great get if the Astros think they are too far out. None of these prospects are untouchable in my mind……especially the SS and 3B guys. Remember Krall cried on the Phillips for Scherzer possibility last year. That is called not wanting to win. And the Mets were paying Scherzer salary for 2023. The Rangers didn’t have any problem trading top prospects for a key piece.

      • Votto4life

        Krall was so smug refusing to trade any prospect. Why over pay 2023 when we will be in the driver seat in 2024? There were a lot of people here who approved of the Reds standing pat last summer. Some people still think Krall is a genius.

      • earmbrister

        Robert has exactly ONE full season under his belt. He would be a huge force in a lineup if he stays healthy and cuts down on his huge K% and his really high chase rate on balls out of the zone. I’d take the gamble, but it could blow up in our faces.

      • Tom Diesman

        Luis Robert averaged 104 G with a .842 OPS from 2021-2023. He will play at most 107 G this year. So who is this 130 G with a .900 OPS guy we are talking about?

      • Rob

        Tom, sorry for the over statement. Thought Robert was better than that. We actually may need someone even better (and more expensive.) But I like Robert, his CF abilities, his 38 HRs of 2023, his 842 career OPS, and most of all his contract. Multi year with a couple of years of team options, and only $20M. Think it is close to our sweet spot. But no I won’t contest that we may need a $25-30M 900 OPS guy.

        His injury history is a risk but a small risk imo again considering his contract. Barring a career ender, we should always be able to get back the prospect capital we put into this. And I think the comparison with Lodolo is fair. His injury history is just as jagged and he has high trade value. I certainly would think twice before acquiring 2-3 prospects for him. You never know on these things and injury history is a valid data point. But with Robert, you are getting alot of talent (near all star) with a reasonable contract cost, and 2 years of team options. Ideal for the cheap low risk buyer whoever that may be. No, he is not a savior, nor any guarantee, but he is a big step in the right direction for multiple years. But I won’t quibble that maybe we need somebody even better.

  16. James Phillips

    Unfortunately, nothing matters until the Castellinis decide they want to try to win.

  17. mac624

    Still think they need a good RH OF bat. Not just for this season, but for seasons ahead. Will cost them prospects of course, but the capital is there to get it done.
    Firing Bell probably moves the needle up some, but not enough to make a big difference in my mind. Anyone they put in that spot will be hamstrung with the current roster due to injuries.

  18. Fanman

    Reds need a legit power hitting OF. If they have to over pay so be it. Not just a rental but a player that can bat in the middle of the order next year as well. Give up top prospects and/or take on payroll to make it happen.. ownership needs to FINALLY step up and make a legitimate effort!

    • TR

      Yes, the Reds need a big bopper in the middle of the batting order. The ‘Bernies’ of Milwaukee never seem to be without a strong 3rd., 4th. and 5th. hitter. The old expression was the meat of the batting order. To get that, the Reds are going to have to give up some talent. There’s a limit on how long a ML team can wait for young talent to develop.

  19. Mark Moore

    Some good analysis here and I’m generally inline with it. Despite the expanded “Wild-Card Lottery” I don’t think we’ve got more than a snowball’s chance in hades based on what I’m seeing. And that includes if we make some of the suggested moves. I’m on record as not being a fan of our #70 of 30 Field Manager, but a mid-season dismissal or “promotion to the FO” leaves us with Freddie B. at the helm. Nice guy, but he’s not the one we need.

    I find myself far less invested in games at this point. Spending a wad on a trip to DC to see them play in person is down to about a 10% probability (hotel prices are ridiculous). I’m thinking given India’s performance of late, teams will be knocking on Krall’s door about his availability. That would make me a bit sad, but it could be reality.

    TJ’s injuries are concerning to say the least. CES and MattyMc are out for the season. Candy appears to have some nagging issues and I’m in the crowd that rates his glove as questionable either at 3B or 1B. TySteve does look more like what we were promised and that’s a positive.

    A change of ownership, however unlikely that may be, remains on my Christmas Wish List. The “small market” red herring reeks by now.

    • Votto4life

      You are spot on about hotel prices. I am going to Boston for four days next month. Hotel is well over $1,000 for four days. But, I am going to my first game at Fenway, so I am looking forward to that!

      • TR

        Have a great time at Fenway. A historic ballpark in a fascinating city.

    • LuciusRuber

      I concur-getting difficult to remain optimistic with negligent ownership and a manager over his head

    • doofus

      Stay in Arlington. Cheaper hotels. Ride the Metro to the ball park (1/2 hour).

  20. Laredo Slider

    OF has to be rebuilt, just not enough ML talent there. Even Reds MiLB OF talent’s lacking. Start with Brian Reynolds.

  21. MK

    Analytics proves that players have a tendency to digress in their second season. Tyler Stephenson and Jonathon India are both recent examples of that. Back in the day Pete Rose was benched his second year, replaced by Bobby Klaus, because Pete was down.

    Steer is down, CES is way down, Maile is down, and McLain and Marte are down through non-on field reasons. Benson is down but obviously not the only one , but seems to be the easiest to blame. Not all these guys were technically rookies but we’re all in their first years.

    • MuddyCleats

      Good Pt. Might b too early to abandon ship w/ Benson & Fraley?

  22. Randoxu1

    Nothing is going to happen but I will throw my thoughts into the ring. First Benson should be sent to AAA. I would ask the nats what they want for Winker. He’s had a great year, he’s a free agent and wouldn’t cost much. He also believe it or not has 13 sb’s. Ask Oakland what they want for Rooker. Sometimes you have to give up prospects, I know Krall is totally against that but you have no choice if you want to try and win now. They also need to get rid of Sims and Diaz in a package and bring up Santillan and Alex young. I would do it soon, if you wait till the end of July then don’t even bother. I know none of this will ever happen but I can at least think outside of the reds narrow mind of thinking.

  23. BuzzKutter

    I hate to even think about becoming a seller but would it be the worst thing? Not many teams are going to be selling so it could be a good year for it. If Indy keeps hitting, Candy, even a pitcher or 2 could land some great pieces. Maybe 1 or 2 untouchables but that’s about it.

    • Hanawi

      I think they should be sellers. Agree that there is limited supply for teams that really want to go for it. They could give up Candy or a number of bullpen pieces with Marte coming back and Santillan in AAA.

    • MBS

      I think they should be improvers. So I’m ok with trading away guys like Sims, Wilson, Farmer, who are all FA’s next year. Plus guys who also may or may not be Reds next year like Montas, Martinez, and Pagan.

      I would trade any of that 1st set for prospects/money/big league help because I believe what we have in AAA to replace them Spiers, Young, Santillan, Legumina, and Zuleta are just as good. I added Spiers to AAA because if all are healthy he’s likely to be sent back.

      Montas, and Martinez I would only trade if it helped bring back a bat that could help us win games in 2024.

      I’d keep all the bats I have, unless it helped bring in a better bat in return.

    • Rob

      I don’t think you are going to get a big bat unless you give up young talent. Yes I think you can get a Tommy Pham like producer for a couple desirable bullpen pieces. But that doesn’t move the dial imo. To improve the team in 2024 and 2025, we need a big time OF bat. Think batting 2nd or 3rd and not 6th. Demonstrated 850-900 OPs. Wasting your time imo to trade for Tommy Edman. We need Bellinger or the like.

  24. redfanorbust

    Firing Bell seems to be a lot of fans first answer to the problems. While he makes
    mistakes, all managers do and hear tell from those many Reds fans, Bell makes more than most. However if Bell is such a bad manager then the fault lies not with Bell but the people who hire him, sign him to extensions and sign his checks. People love to blame the symptom but rarely blame the disease. It’s so much easier that way, much like politics. Same issue with our hitting right now. Most if not all teams would be struggling just like we are if they lost so many key starters for extended
    periods of time. Yet what too many do is complain about our weak offense.
    If all our players were relatively healthy and playing up to their potential the criticisms would be few and far between as IMHO we would be in first place in the
    division and playoff bound.

  25. Redgoggles

    I’d prefer better players to a better manager. My biggest issue with firing the manager would be that it relieves the pressure to the ownership group to make the appropriate investment into better players. I still reserve some optimism for the second half if we can get healthier. I mean they’ve basically been without McClain, CES, Marte, Freidl for the entire first half. You may as well throw Benson/Fraley in there too due to their performance. That’s 5 out of 9 key regulars they were counting on. Last year it was the pitching in tatters, this year it’s the O. Maybe next year?

  26. Jeremiah

    The Reds should study Milwaukee, Cleveland, Tampa Bay and see what has led to their success. Smaller market teams that have largely been successful.

    On a simplistic view level though, there’s only 32 MLB franchises, in a super competitive business, so 5-6 of those franchises are going to be consistently not one of the better ones. Someone’s going to be bad overall, and not have good results…unfortunately the Reds are just one of those franchises since about 2013 I’d say, and some could argue back to 1995 their last playoff series win I believe?

    I don’t think it’s really a matter of not spending money. They spent this offseason. They just aren’t developing high level talent consistently, can’t keep them healthy, aren’t winning the close games (this year), etc. If you count the Covid year, they’ve been over .500 3 of the last 4 years, so in the Reds minds, they’re on the verge of breaking out to be like the Orioles. Not sure that will happen or not, but it could.

    A case can definitely be made for removing Bell based not necessarily on in game moves night to night I think, but just the general mediocrity in his tenure, the teams not finishing well in 2021, 23, the postgame comments that seem overly positive instead of balanced with accountability when the team is playing bad. But as the article mentioned, I get that maybe it’s mostly the moves made by the GM, lack of talent, etc. that would lead to releasing Bell instead of his management. It’s maybe somewhere in the middle.

    They have a potential Super Star in De La Cruz though. I think how long also do you wait for the guys around him to develop, or when do you start trading some of the young talent like Collier, Stewart, etc. to put established every day guys around De La Cruz. Hopefully it’s not a Trout situation where you have a superstar with not a good team around him.

    I don’t think the season is over. It’d be fun to see if they could hang around .500 and at least trade for an everyday outfielder and try to make a run. I’d start to think about moving Friedl to Left Field maybe for the long term. He’s too injury prone to depend on as a main guy for a top position I think.

    • MuddyCleats

      Possibly; & EDLC to CF! Now there’s room for Marte, McClain & Arroyo n the INF!! Next move is a legitimate power hitting First Base. Is that Steer, or does he go to 3rd? Still feel Reds need a solid LH Bat who can play First or RF. Too much mixing, platooning & hoping the Mgr can make all the right lineup changes for them 2 b successful. Reds need a another legitimate LH bat to build around.

    • doofus

      Mil and TB have never won a World Series, why should they be studied?

  27. DHud

    Kick the tires on literally any and every RH OF

    Randy Arozarena is having an awful year from a BA standpoint but is still hitting for some power (10 HRs) and has a .303 OBP. Maybe an interesting buy low candidate

  28. DHud

    Also something to consider is that (if) everyone every gets back healthy, India was looking at getting some time in the OF this year

    A healthy McClain at 2B could put him in a corner with Steer

    • Rob

      India was not good in the OF in spring training. Not likely in 2024. Maybe a second run next year.

  29. Oldtimer

    Reds fired Birdie Tebbetts in 1958 and got better with Jimmy Dykes.

    Mayo Smith and Fred Hutchinson in 1959.

    Don Heffner and Dave Bristol in 1966.

    To name a few of many (fire the manager, get better) changes in my lifetime, born 1951.

    Most recently, fire Price in 2018, hire Riggleman. Got better.

    • Rednat

      I really liked Riggleman for the few months he was here. He really focused on the fundementals and you are right, the reds played decent when he was here. I wonded if he is still available?

    • MuddyCleats

      By far, the easiest move IMO. Not sure who best candidate is though?

  30. RICHARD CARTER

    As always, what they should do and what they will actually do are two vastly different things.

  31. Optimist

    MLB Rumors is starting their upcoming FA rankings (i.e. deadline rental targets) and the obvious Reds targets seem to be Teoscar and Kepler. Doubt the Reds and Dodgers have common interests, but the Twins may be up for a deal, as recent history indicates.

    Aside from all the other understandable and justifiable comments, it couldn’t get worse, and given they have 3 FA relievers, it also may not cost anything, or minimal, in terms of prospects.

    • SultanofSwaff

      Relief pitching is always in high demand at the trade deadline. Yes, the Reds could possible move Sims, Pagan, Farmer, or Wilson and actually get the same or better production with Santillan, Maxwell, Young…..and maybe Williamson. The key would be to package multiple players so you’re not receiving lottery ticket prospects.

  32. LDS

    In the previous 5 seasons, Bell’s Reds have had one winning August and one winning September. Expecting the 2nd half to be better this year is probably a pipedream. The Reds are 10.5 games out and need no less than three of the games against St. Louis, preferably a sweep. That’s not real likely. Stranger things have happened, but I wouldn’t put money on it. And if St L takes 3 or 4 of the series, the Reds likely become sellers.

    • Rob

      Can’t imagine the Reds being sellers. What does that accomplish? We are not rebuilders looking for 2026 prospects. We are not looking to acquire another Jake Fraley or Santiago Espinal. We are not looking for a journeyman starting pitcher. I can in no way see selling equating to improving this team for 2025. Now if you are talking cutting costs and giving up on the season, that is a whole different matter. But that flies in the face of all of Krall wintertime spending spree and Bells constant preaching that we are fine. It would not be well received. But as I said previously if you want to trade Wilson and Fraley for the one legged Giancarlo Stanton, that would probably improve the team.

      • LDS

        I’ve pretty much given up on thinking the Reds even vaguely care about winning, now or in the future. The failure to make a substantive move at last year’s trade deadline, extending Bell, ignoring the fact that they needed an everyday OFer this past offseason, Bell’s constant refrain that the team is ok, and Krall’s feigned cluelessness on the team’s current state, none of these say let’s build a winner.

      • Rob

        LDS, agreed. If the Reds become cost-cutting sellers at the deadline, it would pretty much confirm the view that ownership doesn’t care about winning.

  33. Roger Garrett

    Reds should look to acquire a bat for sure but firing Bell and replacing him with an experienced guy would be the smartest thing right now.A new voice is needed.Continung to say the same things over and over to the media is reason enough to do so. I don’t believe throwing guys under the bus is the right thing to do but neither is expecting your audience to buy into what they see isn’t happening.All see the same team that we have seen for so long and not to even acknowledge the team strikes out too much,gives away outs on the bases and gives the other team outs on defense not to mention the lack of just basic basic baseball IQ doesn’t work.Before the circus can get better you have to fire the ring master.He has had 6 years to get better and he just hasn’t.Throw in he sends Lodolo to the mound with a blister,leaves Hunter out there while he vomits both literally and figuratively all over the mound,insanely continues to play Benson and throws away games with his get a way game lineups demands he be fired.

    • Jimbo44CN

      Sounds very accurate to me. As far as replacements go. What about Joe Girardi, or David Ross, or even Don Mattingly. Any of those three would certainly be better than Mr. Monotone.

  34. GSF

    Francona would be a wonderful manager for the Reds. I think that player attitudes are important and someone with the same approach as Lou Piniella (1990-92) would be good if the Reds are willing to spend some money on it.

  35. Jimbo44CN

    I really don’t think Francona wants to manage anymore, and am not high on Maddon. Yes he won a series, but I listen to him occasionally on MLBN and he has some weird takes on some things, but that being said, will take him anyday over Bell.

  36. Jimmy

    Krall is not the problem.
    What if we had our current starting pitchers & RP’s who most agree are good? That’s right we do & Krall assembled that group internally & with signings. You can argue who was overpaid, but they are good.
    What if we had CES, McLain, de la Cruz & Marte in IF with Steer, Friedl, India and others in Of & Candy at DH. That sounds pretty good to me with a small market budget. But we don’t. Injury bug bit us big this year.
    What if the plan is for Arroyo to be SS next year because he is at another level defensively & then move Elly to OF when that time comes..
    Injuries happen & hurt Reds bad this year. But I believe this team was built to develop & compete this year. I believe they are being built to win next year. And those are the trades that the Reds will look for.

  37. jmb

    The thing to do is move EDLC to right field. That big frame is going to fill out, and he’ll be too big to play short. Soto and Espinal can man the position until McLain returns, whenever that is. India seems to be doing sufficiently well at second for the near future–he only has one error this season so far. Freidl will return. Fraley is only a bench player. Martini and Benson need to go. A platoon of Fraley and Fairchild in left is okay, I guess, if the organization does not feel it can find an acceptable trade. Candy and Steer can be DH and first, being that CES is gone for the season. I think moving EDLC to right will change this team the way moving Rose to third did for the Reds in the 70s. It allows other pieces to fall into place.

    • jmb

      Tatis Jr.moved to right, and he became a gold-glove caliber defensive player there. At short, EDLC has strokes of genius but is a liability on a daily basis.