MOOOOOSSSEEEE. December 5th, 2019 the Reds surprised many with a splash signing. And by big, I mean BIG. The largest free agent deal in club history. 4 years at $64 million for Moose to come in and fill the hole at second. When he signed, many in the baseball world thought the Reds were making a mistake. A 32 year old player who doesn’t hit for a high average but hits for power coming in to solidify the middle of the Reds lineup.
So far, the deal has not worked out for the Reds. He has battled injuries and has been limited to 84 at bats through 23 games the slugger has struggled to find his grove. A career .214/.310/.439 hitter, Moose is hitting .214/.333/.314 so far this season. After hitting 35 homers last season, his total sits at 2 in 2020. No one expected him to be a gold glove fielder at second, but he hasn’t made an error so far this season.
So what should the Reds do with Moose in 2020?
The short answer, nothing. You don’t invest this much money into a free agent and make drastic decisions on him after 84 at bats. I don’t think anyone is calling for him to get benched, but frustration and worry is growing. Moose simply needs to get in a rhythm. The options to fill in for Moose at second are not exactly upgrades. Farmer, Galvis, Blandino, and Robel Garcia are the 40 man roster options. What about Nick Senzel?!?!? Senzel was thought to be the 2B of the future, but to the surprise of many made the change to CF last season. In spring training he saw time in CF and nowhere else. He is currently injured, again, but moving him to second would leave a huge hole in center, as we are seeing right now.
The future for Moose?
Let’s start with the contract
2021- 32 yrs old – $14 mil
2022- 33 – $16 mil
2023- 34 – $18 mil
2024- 35 $20 mil ($20 mil is a team option, $4 mil is the buyout)
One thing we all know is that Reds fans get UPSET when older players are making big money. I would be beyond surprised if we see Moose playing second into his mid 30’s. I see two likely scenarios; DH or 1B. Votto turns 37 on September 10th and his days are numbered. He too has a $20 mil team option in 2024 and a $7 mil buyout but I find it hard to believe he is still around then. Moose could easily slide to first. He’s already seen time there in 2020 and has logged 65 innings at first in his career. The Reds lack first base depth and it’s common to see subpar defenders make the move there.
Will the Reds regret the deal?
Too early to tell. However, Cincy had to overpay on the back end for this deal. We all knew that from day 1. Moose was tired of taking one year deals. Cincy hasn’t been a good team recently. Want to know how to attract players to teams that are unproven? Giv3e them money and term. Being in a win now mode means making moves that make sense for the current team life cycle, but might hurt in the long run. That’s the cost of winning. The issue with this right now is…..well….the Reds aren’t doing much of that “winning” thing.
Predicting the Final Stretch
Let’s take a look at what’s left for the Reds in the 2020 Regular Season and what they need to do to make it to the Playoffs
September 18th, the weather is cooling down, football is starting (Bengals 0-2), every restaurant is putting pumpkin in everything, and the Reds have playoff hopes……wait what?! Yes, that’s right. The Reds are alive in September. Usually, these are the days of expanded roster players eating up innings as the season drags to the end. Not this year. Your Cincinnati Reds are playing for postseason baseball.
We all knew the Reds needed to get the four-game sweep of the Pirates. 4 games against one of the worst teams with so much on the line. Well, the Reds got it done. A clean sweep. This sweep, combined with the Cardinals losing a few games, leaves the Reds in sole possession of second place in the central. Now, I wouldn’t assume they will be there come September 27th. The Cardinals do have doubleheaders today (Friday) and next Friday and we know it can be hard to win twice in a day. They also play the Pirates (15-34), Royals (23-26), and Brewers (21-29) to finish the season. Favorable to say the least. The Reds have the White Sox (33-17), Brewers (21-29), and Twins (31-21).
The White Sox might be my favorite team to watch this year. A mixture of young studs and all-star vets, this team has a ton of offense. Tim Anderson might win back to back batting titles. I don’t want to sound like a southside fan, but let’s be honest, this team is likable. It’s going to be tough to win this series. They did recently clinch a playoff spot, but don’t confuse that with them “resting” starters. Reds pitching will have to be damn near flawless and the offense probably needs to give them 4 runs for a win. Prediction: Take 1 of 3 (Reds: 26-28)
We all know the Brewers. A team that has been solid the past few years lost some key players and Yelich is hitting .208. They aren’t what they thought they would be, but they won’t just fold. They will not give up on their postseason hopes until they are officially eliminated. The Reds are 4-3 vs the Brew Crew this year. An important 3 game series, the Reds could pick up ground here. We have seen how they have played the Brewers to a nearly .500 record this year, so I doubt a sweep happens. Prediction: Take 2 of 3. (Reds 28-29)
The Twins are right behind the White Sox. 1 and 2 in their division. However, I don’t find them as “scary” as the White Sox. Like the White Sox, the Twins are in the same division as the Indians, who Trevor Bauer pitched for before the Reds. Bauer will know some of these Batters and that alone could help him steal a win (assuming he pitches in the series.) The Reds will have their backs against the wall with their playoff hopes on the line. However, the Twins have a better lineup. Prediction: Take 1 of 3 (Reds 29-31).
*Keep in mind I do not have pitching matchups*
Will that be good enough to make the playoffs? Hard to tell. Many have said 30 wins gets you in. Maybe another team falls apart down the stretch. We are in the time of scoreboard watching. In that time of year where we stay up late to watch a west coast game and cheer hard for a Diamondbacks win (or some other “random” team). I love it. I love the intensity and game on the line feeling. Each win feels monumental.
Enjoy the ride.
Dugout Mugs Chat with Pete Rose September 15 at 9 PM
Join our friends from Dugout Mugs Tuesday night as they chat with Pete Rose
Our friends from Dugout Mugs are having a chat with Reds legend Pete Rose tomorrow night, September 15th, at 9:00 PM EST. They will be promoting their new line of mugs which feature the Hit King (and look good, too) as well as holding an “ask me anything” type segment where fans are encouraged to submit questions here.
Though embroiled in controversy off the field, Rose was one of the best to ever play on the field. I’m not sure we will ever see anyone approach 4256 career hits mostly because I’m not sure we will ever see a player put together a 24-year career with a 162-game average of 194 hits. It’s not just longevity but also the consistency with which Rose played for the length that he played.
Most Reds fans would agree he is one of the best to ever wear a Reds uniform and you will have a chance to drop Rose a question that they will talk about on the Dugout Mugs Facebook live event. Make sure to also tune in at 9:00 PM!
You’ve got questions, Clay has answers!
If Reds miss playoffs does Castellanos stay?
what are the odds that Castellanos/Bauer are Reds in 2021?
Will they resign Bauer?
Bauer and Castellanos have been two bright spots for the Reds. Bauer is a free agent after the season and Castellanos has a player option ($16 million). I do not think both will be back, sadly. Gut feeling is Castellanos is back, Bauer gets big bucks elsewhere.
(Insert several questions about should Bell be fired)
I have been critical of Bell. His lineups at times have been awful (Remember Ervin leading off?) and his overmanaging and constant LHP/RHP match up plays have not often paid off. However, I would be surprised if he’s not back. I think the only way he is not back is if the Reds miss the playoff, or get swept in round one.
How is Hunter Green doing this year?
Hard to say. I know everyone was excited to see the former #2 overall pick return to play this season. Covid cancelled the minors and most likely eliminated any chance to seeing Greene pitch this season. Keep in mind, he just turned 21 years old. He’s still very young and with missing a season due to injury, we all need to be patient with his development.
What are your thoughts on the lineup; especially with the addition of Goodwin who I feel should be placed into the lineup as the Leadoff hitter?
I didn’t expect non-roster invitee Matt Davidson hitting third. OR Ervin Leadoff. Or Colon get 23 at bats. To summarize, I haven’t liked the lineups. Bell has recently been putting together better lineups and willing to mover players up and down more compared to the beginning of the year. I like Goodwin and I think he will get plenty of playing time with Senzel out. He’s an upgrade from Jankowski/Ervin/Payton and maybe Aquino(?). Offensively he’s been better this year than Shogo. The Reds don’t have a great answer for the leadoff spot but Votto is there for now.
What suggestions do you have for a baseball only fan who will be putting their Reds gear until next year?
Watch playoff hockey and get ready for NFL
Will the Reds make the playoffs?
It is going to be close. Here’s how the rest of the season looks:
Pirates (10-24) : 8 games … 1-1
Cubs (22-14): 3 games…3-4
Cardinals(14-14) : 3 games…. 2-6
White Sox (22-15): 3 games
Brewers (17-19): 3 games …4-3
Twins (22-16) : 3 games
The Reds record vs Pirates is 1-1, Cubs is 3-4, Cardinals is 2-6, Brewers is 4-3. The White Sox and Twins are both looking good. The Reds will have to be better than they have shown to this point. Moose needs to come around, Senzel needs to get back, Winker needs to continue to be hot. I will say that they sneak in, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they just miss out, too.
Obviously not this year, but when do you think Lodolo & Greene will get their shot or be truly ML Ready?
Next season. Bauer and Disco will be free agents at seasons end. Wade Miley is not a lock if you as me. Antone, Mahle, Santillan, Greene, Lodolo will all be battling for a spot in the rotation. The Reds could bring back Disco and/or Bauer, or add another veteran starter, but I think Lodolo and Greene get a look at some point next year. I’d bet Lodolo will get a shot before Green, but that’s just a guess.
Why didn’t we sign John Lamb to a big contract?
If you are saying “who’s John Lamb?” He was one of the three LHP acquired from the Royals in the Cueto trade (Reed & Finnegan). With the Reds, Lamb put up a 6.17 ERA in 24 starts 119.2 innings allowing 142 hits, 22 HR, 50 BB resulting in a 1.604 WHIP. He last pitched in 2018 for the Angles.