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Cincinnati Reds

Back to The Reds Future

The Cincinnati Reds are ready to compete now and for the foreseeable future because of Dick Williams getting guys like Yasiel Puig without giving up the farm.

Dave Pemberton

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Outside of maybe the Phillies, I cannot think of a more talked about NL team than the Reds right now. The Reds front office have taken what looked like a failed rebuild and turned it into a possible contender for 2019. It will more than likely result in the best team we’ve seen since 2013. Many seemed to have hopped back onto the Redleg bandwagon before the season has started because of the excitement surrounding Yasiel Puig. Lots of people also seem to believe the team will be able to compete because for the first time in past five years they have what looks like on paper a serviceable starting rotation. That, combined with a formidable lineup, makes this team worth watching.

However there are still many doubters. They will tell you this is just a one year science experiment. That the experiment will ultimately fail. Then in the following 2020 season we will return to our 90 loss seasons with no signs of a promising future. I am here to tell you that is not going to happen.

The reasons why this team will remain competitive for the next several years are threefold: 1.) plenty of payroll space to extend and sign free agents, 2.) a loaded farm system, 3.) a front office that wants to win as soon as possible.

1) Plenty of Payroll Space to Extend Contracts and Sign Free Agents According to BaseballReference.com the 2020 Reds currently only have $57.9 million in guaranteed contracts. Granted, that number will ultimately end up being higher because of players with arbitration cases, however, this gives the Reds tremendous financial flexibility. They could probably offer reasonable extensions to Scooter Gennett, Puig, Alex Wood, Tanner Roark, and David Hernandez. By no means am I saying they should offer extensions to all of them. They could easily pick up the club option for $3 million on Jared Hughes. Even with those possible contract extensions they could be more aggressive in this off seasons free agency market. Rumor has it they are willing to get up into the $130’s for the total payroll.

2) Loaded Farm System According to MLB Pipeline the Reds have the 9th best farm system. What’s more important is that MLB Pipeline has 12 of their top 30 prospects arriving in the 2020 season. The Reds had Senzel, Trammell, Greene, and India all in the top 100 MLB prospects. This does not include other players such as Mahle, Tyler Stephenson, Siri, and Santillan who could be making an under the radar impact next season. This also gives the Reds more trade bait if they decide to go after a big fish in the short term.

3) The Front Office wants to Win Now If I told you at the end of the 2018 season the Reds would be a competitive and exciting next season you would have laughed in my face. Enter Dick Williams and Nick Krall. Or as I like to think of them as Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill in Moneyball. They executed perfectly in exploiting a huge flaw in baseball economics this season. Teams wanting to dump payroll to avoid the luxury tax while making room for huge free agency signings. Perhaps the most incredible part was that they were able to trade their way to a competitive team without giving away there top 5 prospects. When I got news of many of these trades I had to do a double take. Thinking there is no way we acquired this talent without giving up our top talent. However they were able to acquire Roark, Puig, Wood, Matt Kemp, and Sonny Gray without really giving up much at all. All of those players, except for Gray, are in a contract year. I am a firm believer that contract years more often than not result in career years for many players. Not to mention the free agent signings of Dietrich and Iglesias to minor league contracts. And the best part of it all: they were able to dump the biggest waste of a contract in Homer Bailey. Heaven forbid, this experiment does fail, when the trade deadline arrives, I am confident that the front office will move these players while getting decent returns for the 2020 season. If Williams and Krall were able to make that happen with what seemed like a hopeless future I am confident that they know better than any of us how to make this team a World Series champion again.

I am confident in the decision-making of our front office to provide us with an aggressiveness that shows they are ready to win over the next several seasons. The rebuild is over. Losing in the name of player development is no longer acceptable. This organization wants to win a World Series in the foreseeable future. I was 3 years old when the Reds won there last World Series in 1990. I now have a 3 year old son of my own. I hope he doesn’t have to wait much longer.

I grew up engulfed in baseball. My grandfather had season tickets for the Reds from 1970 until 2002. I was raised in a neighborhood that was essentially the Sandlot set in the 1990's but with even more kids. We played from the minute we woke up until it was too dark to see the ball. Then we'd spend the night at someones house playing baseball video games, talking about baseball cards, or watching it on television. I idolized Barry Larkin as fielder, hitter, and leader. I was fortunate enough to play baseball through high school. Now I am a registered nurse, married way out of my league, and have two amazing kids that will exceed anything I ever do in this life. I am fortunate enough to have a Reds season ticket package with my close friends and family. The Reds ballpark is my second home. Baseball has provided me with some of my most treasured memories shared over four generations.

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Cincinnati Reds

The Cincinnati Reds and the 20 Pitch Limit

When it comes to quirky early Cactus League season games, there’s a lot to know. One this is the 20-pitch limit a manager can invoke on an inning his guy is getting clobbered in. The Cincinnati Reds have already done this.

Jeff

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This Spring has seen an interesting beginning in that teams have smaller rosters than normal (though still plenty of players to go around) and they can choose to play shorter games. One other added wrinkle of differentness is the ability of a manager to “throw in the towel” whenever his pitcher reaches 20 pitches in an inning. 

The Reds have already taken advantage of this twice, both during the beat down at the hands of the Athletics. Sal Romano got the curtain pulled on him in the fourth inning while Shane Carl heard the music in the fifth. These don’t necessarily paint a larger picture, as of yet, but it is interesting to note. 

Carle doesn’t factor into the equation that is the Opening Day roster, but Big Sal surely does. He is out of minor league options (meaning he’d have to clear waivers to be assigned a minor league team) and he has shown some flashes of talent in the past. He could be valuable depth for the Reds bullpen, so calling it quits after 20 tosses (which frankly were all a consequence of Nick Senzel misplaying a ball early in the inning) doesn’t mean he’s out, but it is something to watch. 

We’ll keep track here on the blog for more 20-pitch tap-outs. 

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Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds Roster Breakdown: Non Roster Invitees

Let’s take a look at the non-roster invitees trying to make the Cincinnati Reds roster during this Spring Training

Clay Snowden

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WELCOME BAAAAAAACK! The Reds kick off the 2021 season on Sunday with their first spring training game. As I do each spring training, I am going to take a look at the non roster invitees (NRI) and how they could impact the team this season.

Pitchers:

R.J. Alaniz, Matt Ball, Cam Bedrosian, Jesse Biddle, Shane Carle, Josh Osich, Branden Shipley, Bo Takahashi

You might recognize a couple of these names. Alaniz has been around the organization the past couple of years and pitched 11.2 innings with the Reds in 2019. Biddle was a guy who was around last year, but the others are new. Carle (76.1 in), Osich (206.1 in), Shipley (100 in) have experience in the show with moderate results. Cam Bedrosian is the name to know here. The fact that he was signed on with a minor league deal is surprising. 277.2 innings with a 3.70 ERA has been a solid MLB pitcher. 2019 batters hit .207/.283/.336 and in 2020 they hit .196/.276/.255. His spin rate is gritty darn good honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a minor league deal that really is a promise on the roster. Think Jose Iglesias who was also a NRI a couple years back. This allows the Reds to delay their decision on making a 40 man roster move.

For a team that lost Rasiel Iglesias, Bradley, maybe Antone and Lorenzen to the rotation, Bedrosian will have a chance to really earn a legit role with this team. You don’t have to squint too hard to see a scenario where Shipley or Carle get innings this year.

Bittle and Osich are lefties that would have battled for the other LHP spot in the pen, but the signing of Doolittle bumps them to depth roles.

 

Catchers:

Rocky Gale

A 33 year old catcher with 37 at bats and a career .108 avg. Id say that there is not much to see here. Stephenson and Tucker are the one two punch and the offseason addition of Deivy Grullon will provide a younger depth option with a higher upside than Gale.

 

Infielders:

Cheslor Cuthbert, Dee Strange-Gordon (not listed on Reds roster yet)

Cuthbert isn’t a household name, but he does have over 1,000 at bats in the MLB. He had a decent season in ’16 with the Royals batting .274/.318/.413 and 12 HR, but he hasn’t shown enough to be a full time MLB player. Corner infield depth.

 

Here’s where I stand on Dee….If he is here to battle for a utility role, that’s fine with me. If he is here to be some variation of an answer at SS, we are in trouble. A 32 year old poor defender (who on the Reds isn’t at this point) who doesn’t have any power and doesn’t get on base. Yeah, he has stolen some bases. We all know speed is one of the first things to go when you age, and he still has some jump, but I don’t think it’s game changing speed at this point, and it’s useless unless he’s on base. I’m not high on Strange Gordan making an impact.

 

Outfielders:

Nicky Delmonico, Tyler Naquin, Dwight Smith

I was worried about the Reds outfield depth. It’s a sneaky need, especially of Aquino doesn’t bounce back. This group of NRI is a group I am excited about. All have MLB experience and have had their moments. Delmonico had a nice (small sample size) rookie year with the White Sox in 2017, but has been worse each year since then. It’s the other two that catch my eye.

Dwight Smith has shown he has some pop in his bat. He is the type of player that you want to have in AAA ready to fill in if needed. Tyler Naquin is a guy I think could actually contribute to this team. We know 2020 was a small sample size, but look at the hard hit and exit velo. And his outfield jump/Outs above avg. fit in well with the team that doesn’t seem to care about defense.

 

 

He had a great rookie year in ’16, and has had moments since. .288/.325/.467 10 HR 19 2B in 2019 would be a good bench bat. The question is…is he better than Aquino/Heineman/Payton? Him and Payton are the two leftieis of the group. At the very least, I think he is great organizational depth, and I think his floor is a higher floor than the group listed above (maybe Aquino can make me eat crow there)

 

This list is different than most years. Not as many players listed, and no prospects. The number of players at Spring Training will be smaller than years past. Overall, I think theres 2-3 guys who could earn a role on the Reds 2021 roster.

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Cincinnati Reds

Monday Morning Manager: The Snell Effect

David Bell has many things he needs to go right in order to win games and get a contract extension. One thing he can control is a decision-making process that should not be made entirely analytically.

Jeff

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In case you lived under a rock last year (and that might be Truer than in any other year) then you know how the World Series went down with the Rays falling to the Dodgers. You may even know about Blake Snell’s improbable removal from Game Six when he was absolutely on fire. This is something David Bell cannot mess up in 2021.

Ok, so in the grand scheme of things, I’m talking about the correct managing of the bullpen and rotation in pressure situations. Most people will look at the Game Six managing of Kevin Cash and see two things: a man sticking to his system that got him there and a man over-thinking things. Neither thoughts are incorrect.

In this day and age of baseball, most people understand statistical evaluations on pitchers favoring removing a starter before they pitch to the opposing lineup for the third time in a game. Well, maybe, because the numbers are a bit different in 2020, small sample size, and all. In fact, the Reds pitching staff held opponents to a .599 OPS in 253 plate appearances the third time through the order, last year. That may be a smoke screen, though, as the 2019 Reds pitching staff (largely similar to 2020) allowed an OPS of .892 in 799 PA. That’s a bit of a more reliable sample size, which would leave me to believe a starter pitching a third time through the order isn’t the most favorable idea.

Also something David Bell must consider is the overthinking aspect. In this Player’s Tribune post by the man, Blake Snell, himself, he points out the immense effect that simply seeing someone warming up in the bullpen had on him. Now, you can say “Well, that shouldn’t have been an issue, he should have sucked it up and pitched!” The dude is a human being. If you saw the person management was likely to replace you with if you messed something up at your job, are you going to just keep on keeping on with no thought to look over your shoulder? If you are, you might be a Jedi. Most of us mere mortals have problems with worrying about what might happen if things fall apart. Baseball players are not totally immune to this, either.

In order for Bell to garner a contract extension, he will have to adeptly manage a pitching staff that has talent, but also has human egos. Just because the numbers say that a decision should go one way, the human element must also be factored in. Last I checked, theres no button for that on a calculator, which leaves it up to his own decision-making skill.

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