It was quietly mandated by the fanbase that the Reds go “ALL IN” this year. It started last year the night before the trade deadline. I wrote an article saying to trust the front office after the Reds traded away Yasiel Puig and Taylor Trammell for Trevor Bauer which at the time didn’t seem great on the surface. Since that trade for Bauer, Dick Williams and Nick Krall have been busy.
The middle infield was the glaring need of this team. First big splash this offseason was Mike Moustakas for 4 yrs/$64million. While the Reds will have him playing second base, he was considered the best free agent available at that position this offseason. Moose posted a 3.2 WAR (Baseball Reference), wRC+ 113 (Fangraphs), and OPS+ 114 (Baseball Reference) for the 2019 season while making the All Star team. Much welcomed stats for a team that struggled mightily to bring in runs last year.
Their next big splash shored up there starting rotation as the best in the NL Central, and one of the best in the MLB, with the signing of Wade Miley for 2yrs/$15 Million. Miley provided the Astros with 167.1 innings, 116 ERA+, and 4.51 FIP in 2019 according to Baseball Reference. I might add Miley will be reunited with Derek Johnson who he played under for the Brewers in 2018. In 2018 Miley provided the Brewers a 159 ERA+ and 3.59 FIP in a half year of work. This means the Reds starting rotation would consist of Gray, Castillo, Bauer, Disco and Miley. A projected 20.2 fWAR as a starting rotation ranking fourth in the National League. We have all seen what Johnson was able to do with Gray and Castillo last season. Will Miley be the next chapter of Johnson’s miracle work once they are reunited? More insane is the complete 180 the pitching staff has become in just one year. If Miley had signed in 2017 or 2018 there’s a real chance he might have been the Opening Day starter. Now he’s the 4th or 5th guy in a loaded starting rotation.
Finally, we come to the most recent signing in Shogo Akiyama for 3 yrs/$21 million. Shogo was the top free agent from Japan sought after by many clubs, including the Cubs. Playing at the highest level of Japanese baseball Shogo slashed .302/.392/.471 in 2019. For the most part his OBP has stayed around the .390 mark in recent years. OBP is probably one of the best stats that carries over from Japanese baseball which is promising for the Reds. Per the Reds front office they seem him as being able to play anywhere in the outfield as well. Probably the biggest concern with Shogo is that he is already 31 years old. Hopefully the Reds can get some amazing value out of this deal with Shogo in his prime.
This totals over $100 million spent, already, through free agency this season for the Reds. Our closest competition ranks among the lowest spending in free agency this offseason. The Cubs and Pirates have committed NOTHING in serious free agency contracts. The Cubs are looking to dump payroll and possibly trade Kris Bryant. The Pirates are a proverbial dumpster fire in rebuild mode. The Cardinals have their fan base banking on a trade for Arenado to be there savior this season. That won’t come cheap since Arenado is one of the elite third basemen in the league. Not to mention he is owed roughly $234 million through 2026. The Brewers have now lost Moustakas, Grandal, Thames, or 13 of the 25 players on their 2019 playoff roster. The Reds are absolutely seizing the day when it comes to taking advantage of the economic situation the rest of the division is in.
Many believe the biggest surprises are yet to come. Freddy Galvis is the projected starting shortstop for the Reds as of right now. In my personal opinion that is unacceptable with the current roster. Dick Williams addressed this issue a few weeks ago when he was on with Lance McAlister. He stated their openness to possibly moving Senzel, Suarez, or a potential player acquired through trade to that position. Any hopes of getting Lindor Correa or Story through trade have cooled in recent weeks. The Reds have been attached to Corey Seager, superstar shortstop with the Dodgers in trade rumors. Seager could come at a steal of a price for a player who has posted 4 WAR in his three full seasons and two years of contract control. There is a lot of history of the two teams trading, as well. Adding even more fuel to the fire is that the Reds are still attached to possibly signing Nicholas Castellanos to an already overcrowded outfield with Senzel, Winker, Aquino, Shogo, and Ervin. Castellanos has expressed interest in being a part of a team going after a championship, being a leader in the clubhouse, and in recent years he’s been hitting his stride. For the past two seasons he’s had an OPS+ greater than 120 and just shy of a 3 WAR according to Baseball Reference. At the very least the Reds could sign him to an Ozuna-like deal for one year overpriced. You sacrifice none of your prospect capital if this is the only move till Opening Day. Something the Reds have been pretty damn good at in recent years all things considered.
If they they are able to make one of these moves before Opening Day your probably looking at a 90 win team. I feel like if the Reds could somehow pull off a trade for Seager and signing Castellanos it would be hard to argue that they didn’t go “All In” this offseason. They would be the clear cut front runner to win the NL Central and hopefully a serious playoff run. If so that would keep Dick Williams promise for a record Opening Day payroll.
What I found more newsworthy is that Dick Williams said, at a recent stop on the Reds Caravan that his objective this season was a World Series championship. I’m not going to try and argue that this team is a serious contender for the World Series. I would be lying to you if I did. Personally, I think the team as currently constructed will go 85-77. I think their ceiling is NL Central champions and there floor is 81 wins. However, if Dick Williams and Nick Krall, who have been honest with their promises to the fan base so far, can truly go “All In” we should see something in the near future that make our beloved Redlegs something to talk about all season.
Reds vs Brewers Series Preview
The Reds begin a pivotal series with the Brewers on Friday night. Let’s break it down.
The Reds just lost 13-0 to the Indians making their record 5-8 and 5.5 game back. The same team many of us thought would contend for the division has struggled early in this shortened season. The starting pitching has been incredible. Without them, this team would be in the basement. The offense has had spurts, but some of the big names have struggled. Suarez is hitting .091 while starters like Galvis, Winker, and Barnhart are at or below .200. Luckily, 34 of the next 38 games are against the NL Central and the Reds will have a better chance to climb the standings and see how they match up against divisional foes.
August 7th 8:10 Bauer vs. Lauer
BAUER LAUER matchup! The announcers will love that I’m sure. Bauer has been stellar. .68 ERA 20 K’s in 13.1 innings. He is looking like the pitcher the Reds thought he would be when they brought him over last year. Lauer is a good young pitcher who has only pitched 2.2 innings but struck out 6.
It will be interesting to see how Bell plays the lineup. In need of a spark, does he change the order? Lauer is a lefty so will Ervin play? He’s only hitting .067 (1-10 vs. LHP) but his track record versus LHP is great.
August 8th 7:10 DeSclanfani vs Anderson
Disco looked fantastic in his first and only start. 5 innings giving up 3 hits and striking out two. He was picked up where he left off at the end of last season. Anderson, another LHP, had his start ended early due to a ball off his foot. The veteran has always been a solid starter and facing a LHP two days in a row will likely be a similar lineup as the (vs) Lauer lineup. Feels like a series that Senzel can get going against LHP. He’s 1-8 against south paws this season and here’s an opportunity to get going against them.
August 9th 2:10 Gray vs Woodruff
Sonny Gray has been lights out. Cy Young level. 3-0 .96 ERA 28 K’s 8 hits in 18.2 innings holding batters to a .129 avg. We all know he’s going to bring it. Woodruff has been great in his 3 starts posting 21 K’s in 17.1 innings and carrying a 2.08 ERA. The first RHP the Brewers will start the lineup will have extra lefties in there. Although a small sample size, here’s how the Reds left handed bats have fared vs RHP:
Galvis (Switch) .259
So far this season has been frustrating. That start we imagined did not look like this. The offense has been struggling at times and the bullpen has been a mess. Facing NL Central teams will help us get a better idea of how the Reds matchup with the division. Hopefully facing pitchers the Reds have seen more often can help as well.
Tigers Reviews & Cubs Preview
Let’s put a bow on the weekend and look forward to the series with the Cubbies.
Friday night was incredible. After months of doom and gloom, we finally were able to sit back and watch the team that we all have been talking about for months. And they delivered. However, the following two games felt worse than your ex dating your best friend. Here is the recap and preview of the next series.
Friday: W 7-1 Vs. DET Saturday: L 4-6 Sunday: L 2-3
Friday was such a tease. The team looked determined, focused, and sharp. The bullpen went 3 hitless innings. The offense flexed its muscles for 7 runs. However, the rest of the series was painful. Disappointing. A reminder of the years Reds fans struggled to get through.
The starting pitching was second to none. Gray went 6 and had 9 K’s. Castillo went 6 with 11 K’s and Bauer went 6.1 with 13 K’s and only gave up 2 hits. Most teams that get starting pitching like that are looking at 3-0, not 1-2.
Let’s start with the bullpen. Brooks Raley, Nate Jones, and Lucas Simms did their job on Friday. Garrett and Strop came in and were effective. However, Lorenzen, Stephenson, and Iglesias all struggled, and it ultimately cost the Reds the game and series. These are the three guys you lean on to hold leads and close out games. Iglesias has not shown he can be trusted, and he should be on a short leash. Lorenzen did pick up some MPH on that fastball, but his pitches were simply too hittable.
What David Bell did was “play the numbers”. Subbing players in and out depending on match up. When it works, he looks like a genius. But often it does not, and it leads to criticism and upset players. In my opinion, players need to get in a rhythm and gets reps as quickly as possible. Taking them out after 2 AB won’t do that. What if this leads to players always worrying about getting replaced, and they struggle because of it. Bell is far from a proven manager, and the only thing shorter than this season is the patience fans have with him.
Trending Up: Casali and Galvis. Both showed patience at the plate, took walks, made solid contact. Getting plus seasons from them could go a long way.
Trending Down: Suarez/Bullpen/Injury. Suarez is sitting at 0-11. Yikes. But he could go off at any moment. Concerned, but not scared. I touched on the bullpen. Moose, Senzel, and Davidson have all missed time. Injuries could derail this season quickly. Watch out for them.
Preview: Chicago Cubs (2-1)
7/27 Lester vs Miley 7/28 Mills vs Mahle 7/29 Hendricks vs Gray 7/30 Darvish vs Castillo
Enough of that American League BS, bring on the hated Cubs. The Cubs won their series versus the Brew crew (W 3-0 / L 3-8 / W 9-1). This four game series against a divisional rival could set the tone for the rest of the season. 36-year-old Jon Lester isn’t the same threat he was a few years back, but a solid #4. Miley will have a chance to show what him and DJ have been working on. Mills posted solid numbers last September in 9 games, but Mahle is out to prove that he belongs and is more than a depth option.
Wednesday is the day you circle on the calendar. Hendricks vs Gray. Hendricks is one of my favorite pitches to watch. He also had 9 K’s on Opening Day and gave up only 3 hits. That could be a HUGE game. Darvish Struggled in his first start allowing 3 runs and 6 hits. Castillo should be able to lead this team against the aging Darvish.
What to watch for:
1) Bullpen Bounce Back
2) Suarez getting on track
3) Bell’s managerial adjustments
4) Reds injuries/ Tucker’s return(?)
Reds Mailbag: 7/08/2020
Let’s brush up on a few burning questions before the season gets going
BASEBALL IS BACK. The 2020 Reds will finally get to see the field. Sure, it will be totally different than we expected, but I’ll take it. Let’s jump into some mailbag questions.
Who will end up being the Reds MVP?
I think you have to go pitcher here. Pitching will be crucial in a shortened season, so let’s go with Luis Castillo. We all know he has the stuff of a true ACE. However, someone like Bauer/another starter playing at an MVP level would be a bigger impact to add to Gray and Castillo. Offensive MVP = Castellanos.
Will the Reds make the NLCS?
Yes. I think the Reds are set up well for a 60 game season. As many have said, the team that remains the heathiest has a huge leg up. The Reds have the starting pitching to have a chance to win each day. The offense should be there as well. Staying healthy is the most important thing to success this season.
Who will the 4 extra players be on the 30 man?
Injuries and illness could cause roster changes, but as of today: Nate Jones, Mark Payton, Tejay Antone, Alex Blandino.
I could be seeing some as locks or part of the “26” that others might see as bubble. Payton must be kept on because of the rule 5 pick or sent back to Oakland, and he shows enough talent. Blandino is the best option as a back up short (defensively) that’s had MLB experience. Jones is great when healthy, and you can’t have too many good arms in the pen. Antone is a guy I have been high on, and his increased velo stands out. He’s a back of the end rotation/Long relief guy.
Will Castellanos play for the Reds past this season?
Yes. Owners are likely to be cheap this offseason. Going into the free agent market hoping to make more than the Reds are set to pay him could be tough. I think Castellanos will love playing in GABP. This ballpark gives him an opportunity to put up big offensive numbers. I expect him to have a huge season.
Any chance Jose Garcia is on the Opening Day roster?
It would take a major injury to Galvis. Even then, I am not sure he would. He is the best pure SS of the back up options, but he hasn’t played above AA. I think if Galvis went down, the Reds might do it. But if Galvis just needs a couple of days off, Blandino/Farmer/”other” could step in.
Don’t get me wrong, I cannot wait to see Garcia take over the everyday SS at bats, but only once they feel he is ready. Who knows, a trade could still happen.
If the Reds win the WS do you think everyone will give it the same respect as a normal season?
Why not? It might even be more difficult to win this year than any other. Strategy will play a larger roll this year than any other. Managers will have to show what they are worth. Someone has to win the World Series this year, might as well be the Reds.