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Cincinnati Reds

Locked On Reds February Mailbag

You have questions, Clay has answers! Here is the February mailbag before the Reds head off to Goodyear

Clay Snowden

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Welcome back Reds fans. I plan on doing these mailbags about once a month. You can always direct message me questions on twitter or email me: [email protected] 

 

After 60 or so years that I can remember being a Reds fan, is it possible to remain a fan, but, just not care anymore? (@Win1SuperBowl)

This is actually a fair question. At what point is enough enough? I think it starts with expectations, then you have to ask “what do I want from this?”  Thinking a smaller market team will compete for World Series each year is a stretch. If all you want out of watching the Reds is to see them win a World Series….then you might be disappointed. Try to find joy in the smaller things in the game, and go from there. Set realistic goals, enjoy the ride, and maybe we will all celebrate a World Series together one day. 

 

Do you think an Amed Rosario trade is actually in the cards for the Reds? If so, what are some reasonable trade assets they could give up, seeing as he should be a cheap(er) option? (@ElijiahJohnson58)

A once top prospect now misfit in Cleveland, Rosario could very much be on the move. Cheap and young, two things Reds typically like. However, his career .268/.302/.403 are much closer to Freddy Galvis numbers than the numbers of a legit playoff caliber team’s shortstop. His defense is bad and acquiring him would be a roll of the dice hoping he can find what people once thought he could be. I doubt it would take a top 5 prospect. Read this great article about him for more details 

 

How realistic is a trade for Trevor Story? And who would the reds put in a trade package? (@MikeRKarl)

Story is interesting. His splits home/away are not great:

Home: .304/.370/.634 84 HR

Away: .250/.315/.445 50 HR

This is pretty common for many Rockies hitters. Now, don’t get me wrong, Story is better than any current Reds SS. I would be happy to take a chance here and see if he’s closer to his home numbers than away numbers. He’s on a one year deal, so it would be a stop gap until Garcia takes over. The price is what I am concerned about. A top 5 prospect and/or one of the top active players. (Think Senzel/Mahle/someone else you probably like too much to trade). IF the Reds acquire Story I will either be very happy or very sad….it depends on the Reds players going back to COL more than Story coming to the Reds. 

According to Baseball Trade Values, Story is a “33.7” value (if you will). To give you an idea what that means: 

Gray: 29.7   India: 15.4   Lodolo: 11.7   Winker: 27.8   Senzel: 26.1 

Go play around on their website. I would happily start with India, but I doubt he can be the main piece in a trade here. 

What’s the Reds opening day lineup? (@JoshHogan47)

C- Tucker

1B- Votto

2B- Moose

SS- Not currently on roster (I’ll guess Rosario is most likely of the rumors)

3B- Suarez

LF – Winker (Shogo if DH is there and Winker’s the DH)

CF – Senzel

RF – Castellanos

SP – Castillo

I know….zero hot takes

I’m assuming the Reds catching tandem will be Barnhart & Stephenson this season. Do you think Stephenson has a chance to come out on top as the season rolls on? (@flynnkj19)

I think Stephenson will eventually start to take over as the starter, although I think it will be close to 50-50. Tucker’s defense and familiarity with the pitching staff will get him plenty of playing time. Stephenson’s bat will hopefully earn him the full-time job by 2022.

The hope is that they both stay healthy. Once again, there isn’t a ton of depth here. Deivy Grullon was added and he’s a guy I like but wouldn’t want to have him getting a ton of playing time this year.

Who wins a foot race between Dusty Baker and Dave Miley? (@K_DeRoo)

Dusty is 71 and Dave is 58. Dusty stole 24 bases in 1973…..20 years before I was even born, so I’d say his speed is probably gone. It would be an ugly race but give me Dave.

Who is your favorite ninja turtle and why? (@DrduncN40)

I hate to admit it, but I had to google their names. I watched it as a kid but have not watched in 20 years. A quick google images search didn’t help much but give me Leonardo.

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Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds Alternate Site Game: April 6, 2021

The Cincinnati Reds are currently playing some games with their alternate team against other alternate teams. Clay Snowden had a chance to attend one and gives a report.

Clay Snowden

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78 degrees with a few clouds in the sky was the perfect day for the perfect game of baseball. My first in person game since 2019. I never knew just how much I missed it until I experienced the sights of sounds of the game for what felt like the very first time (again). Enough about me, let’s talk about the game. The alternate site Reds (that’s what we will call them) took on the Royals on Tuesday night. I want to provide a recap of the pitching and hitting while highlighting a few players.

 

Pitchers:

Riley O’Brien started for the Reds. Acquired in the Cody Reed trade, O’Brien is an interesting pitcher with some obvious upside. He has a lot to like but can struggle to find the zone at times. He struck out Bobby Witt Jr (One of MLB top prospects) while causing him to whiff on back to back strikes. He also gave up 2 home runs, 4 hits 4 runs in 3 innings while striking out 5. At times he simply over powered hitters and at times they squared him up. I still like him as a possible bullpen guy at some point.

Claiborne Snowden on Twitter: “Riley O’Brien (@RileyyOBrienn ) striking out one of the best prospects in all of baseball Bobby Witt #Reds https://t.co/YVQOpuIKby” / Twitter

Brandon Finnegan, who came out of nowhere this spring and impressed, looked pretty solid tonight. Struck a guy out looking while allowing 1 hit in one inning. His breaking stuff had some life on it. Doolittle, Perez, and Garrett will make it tough for him to find innings, but if injuries happen he’s more than capable of filling in. What a great story his comeback is.

Finnegan was followed by uneventful innings from R.J. Alaniz, Edgar Garcia, Hector Perez, and Ryan Hendrix. Garcia was hit hard and hit often. Perez has a fastball that is noticeably faster than others, but the radar gun was not on. Hendrix really pops the catchers glove, but location was an issue.

Claiborne Snowden on Twitter: “Finnegan (thread) https://t.co/a8pYMq0JuI” / Twitter

Batters:

Mike Freeman, a utility infielder brought over from the Indians, provided the only real offense tonight with a home run off a LHP (Lynch) to right center. In my mind him, Blandino, and Schrock all are battling for the same “utility infielder” position. Schrock was quiet at the plate tonight.

Mark Payton had a decent night at the plate. I really like his eye for the strike zone and patience at the plate. He had a strong single up the middle and worked a count full on another at bat. He had a ton of balls hit to him in center and he covered a lot of territory well. One ball he tried to rob a HR and it hit off of him and went over the wall. From my vantage point it looked like he might have helped that ball go over.

Jose Garcia made solid contact in his two balls put into play. I am far from a swing expert, but his swing looked a little off tonight. Maybe a little slow? I don’t know. He also swung and missed several times. A full year in the minors will do him well.

Claiborne Snowden on Twitter: “@TooKold2 https://t.co/YJgnyWHl7Q” / Twitter

The last player that caught my eye was Alejo Lopez. The 24 year old switch hitting infielder just knows how to hit. He has logged over 1,000 minor league at bats and has a slash of .297/.367/.746. In his two at bats he made great contact one leading to a single up the middle and one a sharp lineout to end the game.

Claiborne Snowden on Twitter: “Alejo Lopez single. A player who isn’t listed as a super high prospect but has been producing https://t.co/FydDrk2kjd” / Twitter

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Cincinnati Reds

Eugenio Suarez at Shortstop Makes the Cincinnati Reds Very Interesting

The Cincinnati Reds have announced that Eugenio Suarez will start Tuesday’s game at shortstop which opens up so many possibilities that make the Reds lineup dangerous.

Jeff

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The Cincinnati Reds dropped a Geno-sized bomb on Reds Country and the result is mass excitement.

We are all aware of the swings-and-misses with free agent shortstops the Reds front office had this offseason. In fact they struck out, if you’re counting, as there were three bonafide shortstops who all went elsewhere. So we’ve spent all Spring Training squinting our eyes to see if we could maybe see the fringe possibility of someone on this roster playing shortstop. Then the Reds stopped pretending.

Coming into camp, Eugenio Suarez just looked different. He was way more fit, trim, cut, whatever word for in-shape you want to use. You could say he was in the best shape of his life (many have). Geno planned for this, and management noticed. They’re reportedly been giving him more practice reps at shortstop and getting him comfortable fielding back there again. You don’t do that just for kicks, they were on to something.

Then Jose Garcia showed a continued lack of confidence at the plate, Dee Strange-Gordon proved there was a reason he hasn’t played shortstop, exclusively, in eight years, and Kyle Holder showed some skills but ultimately proved he needs more seasoning. Kyle Farmer has shown promise at the plate but the defense isn’t any sort of revolutionary development and he still shows more value as the do-everything guy off the bench. Insert Suarez.

Immediately some of you are thinking “Isn’t there a reason they moved him away from shortstop in the first place?” You could go that route, but let me answer your question with a question “Is there really a good reason to keep Jonathan India, or dare I say Nick Senzel (when Shogo Aliyama is healthy) out of the starting lineup for Kyle Farmer, or any of the other options they’ve tried at shortstop?”

This is the Reds thinking outside the box! This opens up so many possibilities with the lineup. With injuries, this is what the Opening Day lineup could look like:

CF Nick Senzel
LF Jesse Winker
SS Eugenio Suarez
3B Mike Moustakas
RF Nicholas Castellanos
2B Jonathan India
C Tyler Stephenson
1B Tucker Barnhart
Pitcher

I like that lineup. Now, there’s more than a chance that someone else plays first base and Tucker is the catcher on Opening Day, but this is the optimal lineup with Joey Votto on the COVID shelf. Once he is back, this lineup just looks dangerous:

CF Nick Senzel
LF Jesse Winker
SS Eugenio Suarez
3B Mike Moustakas
RF Nicholas Castellanos
1B Joey Votto
2B Jonathan India
C Tyler Stephenson
Pitcher

Here’s hoping the Eugenio Shortstop experience lots all year long!

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Cincinnati Reds

Monday Morning Manager: The Cincinnati Reds and Things Being What They Are

David Bell has too many outfielders, or does he? An injury to Shogo Akiyama could make lineup decisions easier, but could hurt the overall team potential.

Jeff

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Today on the Monday Not-Morning Manager I want to look at how the chips fall. There’s a line of thinking in sports that pertains to rosters. If you’ve got four players for three spots and it’s hard to differentiate between them, something always works out. Something beyond the making of a lineup card happens that makes making the lineup card slightly easier (so far as filling the three spots). One wonders if this is what has happened with centerfield for the Cincinnati Reds. 

Shogo Akiyama had an encouraging September, last year. He got on base roughly 46% of the time and became the leadoff hitter that Reds fans felt he’d be when he signed. He showed his prowess in the outfield and sound fundamentals that lead you to believe he can be a defensive asset. He looked to be showing he could bring value to the lineup. 

Nick Senzel has had a heck of a Spring. Hitting the ball all over the field, taking what the pitcher gives him, and making solid, powerful contact. He’s overcome some early spring mishaps on defense and is back to his athletic range in centerfield. When healthy he has shown to be an asset for the team. Barring some creative decision-making on the part of David Bell, he’s going to play in the outfield, come he’ll or high water. 

So what then? Shogo and Senzel cannot both start of Nicholas Castellanos and Jesse Winker man the corners. How does David Bell figure this out? That may be taken off his plate. 

Today (Monday) Shogo is getting his left hamstring examined. He left Saturday’s game after just one at-bat. If he is to miss any amount of time, the decision who the Opening Day centerfielder will be will be easy, but this isn’t a statement of relief. The best version of the Cincinnati Reds lineup includes all of Shogo, Senzel, Castellanos, and Winker and you’ll have a hard time convincing me otherwise. I want Bell and the Reds managerial staff to find ways to get all four of them in the lineup as much as possible. Hopefully, Shogo is fine and Bell will begin the 2021 with too many players rather than too few.

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