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Cincinnati Reds

Some Thoughts On The 25-Man Roster



The Reds made some key roster moves over the weekend and the 25-man roster is starting to come into focus. Players on the fringe like Phil Gosselin, Phillip Ervin, Cliff Pennington, Amir Garrett, and Kevin Quackenbush were all told they are making the major league roster. Here is my take on how things are shaking out:

The Starters (8)

C Tucker Barnhart, 1B Joey Votto, 2B Scooter Gennett, 3B Eugenio Suarez, SS Jose Peraza, LF Adam Duvall, CF Billy Hamilton, RF Scott Schebler

There really aren’t any surprises as to who the everyday starters will be to start the season. I expect that Jesse Winker will eventually take one of the starting spots in the outfield from either Duvall or Schebler. I am interested to see how long the Reds are willing to go with Peraza at short if he struggles.

He is still relatively young, but the club does have other options in Nick Senzel and Alex Blandino that can come up and replace him if necessary. I think I am most excited to see Tucker Barnhart build upon the gold glove year he had last year.

It really helps the rebuild when a player such as Barnhart, who wasn’t expected to be a key part of this team when the rebuild began, becomes an everyday starter and someone you can really rely on.

The Bench (5)

C Devin Mesoraco, SS Cliff Pennington, OF Phillip Ervin, IF/OF Phil Gosselin, and OF Jesse Winker

I considered Winker a bench player because I think the Reds will give Scott Schebler and Adam Duvall the chance to prove they should start before they add Winker to the everyday lineup. I am a little surprised that the Reds went with both Phil Gosselin and Cliff Pennington. Both can play the infield and both need added to the 40 man roster.

I was expecting them to go with either Brandon Dixon- who has had an outstanding spring and can play both the infield and corner outfield spots, or Alex Blandino- who has a solid bat and can play all over the infield. I’m also somewhat surprised to see Ervin make the team over Ben Revere. I was certain that Brian Price would go with Revere as the fifth outfielder due to his infatuation with veteran players.

What I really like to see is that the Reds aren’t carrying a third catcher. Price flirted with the idea of adding catcher Tony Cruz to the 25 man roster as recently as this past weekend, but ultimately decided against it.

The Rotation (4)

Homer Bailey, Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, Sal Romano

The Reds are only going with four starting pitchers to start the season due to not needing a fifth starter until April 9th or 10th. This will be another year where the rotation will be very fluid. By the end of the season we will most likely see Anthony Desclifani, Brandon Finnegan, Robert Stephenson, Cody Reed, Jackson Stephens, and Amir Garrett all make starts.

I also bet that at some point this season Jose Lopez makes the jump from AA to the big leagues – much like what Tyler Mahle and Luis Castillo did last year. I really hope that this is the last year that we see 10+ starting pitchers in one season.

If the same amount of pitchers are making starts next year it tells me that no one has asserted themselves into the rotation for good and the rebuild is not going as well as planned.

The Bullpen (8)

Raisel Iglesias, Jared Hughes, Kevin Quackenbush, Amir Garrett,

The four listed have already been told that they are making it. That leaves four more spots up for grabs. David Hernandez and Kevin Shackleford should make it, but both have minor injuries that might keep them out. Michael Lorenzen will start the year on the DL but will be added when healthy.

If Shackleford and Hernandez are healthy enough to start then the final two spots come down to Vance Worley, Zack Weiss, Austin Brice,and recently claimed Justin Nicolino. Justin Nicolino will have to be put back on waivers if he doesn’t make the bullpen. The Reds will only go with seven bullpen arms once the fifth starter is needed so someone will be sent back down soon after the season starts.

Much like the starting rotation, the bullpen will have a lot of turnover. I would like to see some of the younger players become a mainstay in the pen for the next competitive Reds team. I am specifically interested to see what starters become permanent relief pitchers.

It would be intersting to see if some of the younger starters can have success in the bullpen if they don’t claim a permanent spot in the rotation.

There are still a few days until Opening Day and the Reds still have time to claim a player from another team.

Ultimately, this needs to be the last year where we try and figure out what we have. 2018 should be a sink or swim year for a lot of different players. 2019 should be about awarding the effective players with everyday playing time, and filling holes in the roster with players outside the organization.

I am a lifelong Reds fan that grew up in St. Bernard. Currently live in Campbell County with my wife and two sons. My all time favorite player is Barry Larkin. I’m an Air Force veteran that served one tour in the Middle East. My Twitter handle is @syoung927.

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Cincinnati Reds

The Positives for the Cincinnati Reds of Keeping Nick Senzel in AAA

The Cincinnati Reds are telling us it is time to change our expectations of Nick Senzel, writes Clay Snowden



Things have not gone as planned. Nick Senzel was selected with the second overall pick in 2016 and was praised for his plus hit tool. Fast forward to now and Senzel is an often injured player who currently sits in AAA Louisville. I am not sure if I remember a player with as much frustration attached to his name, maybe Billy Hamilton? I am not writing Senzel off as a bust just yet, but things are trending that way. With him in AAA what should we make of this?

I think it is time to change expectations. Once thought of as a potential building block of the Reds rebuild and future, Senzel has proven he cannot be that. Injury after injury has limited his time on the field, but even when he has played he has not been very good. Definitely not second overall good. Hell he’s a negative WAR player. He’s still young(ish) and has not had enough at bats to really determine what he will become. If I was a betting man, I would bet he wouldn’t reach the potential we once though he had. A lot of the blame falls on….well….bad luck. Injuries stunting development is not something I like to blame on players. The organization has not exact made it easy on him. Changing his positions several times including a drastic change to center to fit team needs was not easy on Senzel. Changing his swing/stance during his rookie season was crazy. And here we sit on August 16th, 2021 with Senzel playing for the Louisville Bats. You can debate if it’s the right move or not, but its where we are. What positives can come from this move?


Let’s go back to expectations. It’s time to shift from all star build block to useful utility player. We can be mad about it all we want, but it won’t change anything. My hope is Senzel is used all over the field in Louisville. He’s played some SS down there which makes things interesting. We know he can play second, third, and center. Adding short to that resume makes him a very useful piece. If the plan is to transition him to a utility role, he could get plenty of starts at multiple positions, cover pinch running, defensive subs late in the game, and be a back up shortstop (especially in 2022).  


Bottom line, Senzel needs a role and they need to stick to that role. I think the utility role with more playing time than an average bench player is the best role for him. No, it’s not the role we all expected when the Reds selected him in 2016, but it could be the best role for him and the Reds going forward.

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Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds July Reds Mailbag

The Cincinnati Reds are battling to retake first place in the NL Central, here in July, and questions abound. Clay has some answers for you!



Here we are, a few days before the deadline and more than a couple spots outside of first place. The Reds are looking less and less like a playoff team, and have yet to make a move (7/27/21 2:24 pm). Let’s get to some questions.


Miguel Rojas and Yimi Garcia for Allen Cerda and Alejo Lopez?

These are the caliber of players the Reds seem likely to get. I think World Series contenders are more likely to overpay for some all star caliber players than the scratching and hoping for playoff Reds are. I do think the Reds will get someone, but not a splash move. I would love to add Rojas and Garcia. However, I think the Marlins say no to this. Lopez projects to a bench bat and Cerda has been good, but not a high profile prospect. I think the Marlins could get someone in the 8-11 range plus another top 30 from a team. OF course, each team ranking is different, but you get what I am saying.


What do you see in the future for Castllanos? Do you think the Reds will sign him to another deal?

I hate to say this, but I do not think Castellanos will be a Red next season. His agent, Scott Boras, is tough. An he loves to have his clients test the market. Castellanos will opt out, as he is worth more than the $16 million option. Once he hits free agency, another team will outbid the Reds. This isn’t me being some grouch, this is me being realistic. One of the best bats hits free agency at age 29, he will be looking to get locked up to a big money/term deal into his mid-late 30s.


Will Alejo Lopez get a chance? Does Jose Barrero get called up? What about Phil Diehl?

Lopez has been mostly up and down from Louisville and Cincinnati, and has received a spot start here and there but mostly has been a bench bat. I’d like to see him play some third and give Suarez time on the bench. However, that doesn’t seem likely. To me Diehl is a classic example of a AAAA player. I don’t expect him to come up and make an impact but with the way he’s pitched in Louisville and the current state of the bullpen, he’s earned a shot.

Jose Barrero has been outstanding this season. He was recently moved to the number 20 overall prospect for Baseball America. The deadline will determine the rest of his season. If a SS is acquired, he will stay down. If not I think he would be their “deadline addition”. For the record, I would keep him in AAA the rest of the year and go acquire a SS. Bringing him up as the answer is a lot of pressure. Also, he has less than 250 at bats above single A. If his lack of experience was the issue less than 12 months ago, 245 at bats isn’t a huge amount to prove otherwise. But the way he’s hitting…I would understand if he’s brought up.


What should the Reds do with Shogo? Does he stay or go?

He stays. Too much money with another year left for an older outfielder with zero (proven at MLB level) hit tool. I doubt there’s much of a market for that. Maybe he “needs more playing time” to get comfortable, but he has done nothing to earn that. I love Shogo, but it’s getting harder to justify playing him. Keep him on the roster for a defensive replacement/pinch runner.


Will the Reds do anything to strengthen the bullpen? Will the starters be stretched out to go 7 innings?

I think the Reds will add a bullpen arm. I don’t think it will be some all star closer, but an above average guy. Givens/Bard from Colorado come to mind.

The issue with a lot of these starters isn’t David Bell *not* letting them go deep, but instead, they are throwing too many pitches. It’s on them more than Bell most of the time. We need to advance past thinking every starter should go 7 or 7 plus innings.

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Cincinnati Reds

Positives of the Cincinnati Reds 2021 Season

The highs have been high, but man oh man the lows have been low. Clay Snowden checks in to highlight some of the positives from the first part of the Cincinnati Reds season.



The highs have been high, but man oh man the lows have been low. This season has entertained us with some big moments like sweeping the cardinals, Wade Miley’s no – no, and a couple of winning streaks. The low’s have been low. Like, lower than Geno’s batting average low. I still have nightmares about the west coast trip. And as of right now, the Reds are hovering around .500. To be frank, that’s about where they should be. A roster with this many flaws, fakes, and aches won’t win many divisions, even if it’s an easier one like the NL Central. I wanted to take today to highlight some of the positives from the first part of the season.


The Future is Bright

The Reds rookie class is shaping up to be more than a few contributing pieces, but a core a build around. Johnathan India started off scorching hot, cooled down, but has since blossomed into one of the integral parts of this team and the Reds future. The former 5th overall pick switched positions and has shown he can flash the leather at second. Slashing .262/.374/.396 on the year, he’s really turned it on in June slashing .303/.425/.455. The most important part…the Reds have found a leadoff hitter. Something they have struggled to find.

Tyler Stephenson has not only shown he can hit at the big league level, but that he can become one of the best hitting catchers. His ability to play first has been the cherry on top. Slashing .269/.378/.425 with 5 HR he’’s proving he needs to play every day.  I expect a big breakout in 2022. What Alejo Lopez has shown in the minors is promising as a future switch-hitting bench bat that puts the ball in play.

The rookie arms have shown flashes as well. Vladimir Gutierrez and Tony Santillan have not been perfect, but they have shown enough to have a role in the future. Even if they become 4 or 5 starters under cheap team control, that’s a plus for the Reds. The top two pitching prospects, Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene, have been battling for the title of “future ace”. Both have looked great, especially Lodolo. Greene is younger but developing quickly. Art Warren isn’t exactly a prospect but has pitched well enough to get a mention.

Internal MVP Race

No matter what the Reds do this summer, we will always have the summer of the MVP race. Jesse Winker has blossomed into one of the best pure hitters in the MLB while tapping into more power than he was every projected to have. Nicholas Castellanos had a frustrating covid season in 2020, where he showed power but chased too many bad pitches. Fast forward to 2021 and he’s a doubles machine. He’s hitting everything. Who knows how much longer he’ll be a Red, but what’s happening right now, two all star outfielders, doesn’t happen often. Enjoy it.


Reds Broadcast Team

I watch about 8 MLB games a night. Fantasy baseball has turned me into a monster, and MLB TV quad screen has been feeding that monster. I listen to games every time I’m in the car, and I can say with certainty the Reds have one of the best radio + TV groups. John Sadak has been energizing, positive, quirky, and unique. He’s been a breath of fresh air compared to the previous. Larkin was awful at the beginning of the season but has improved, and will continue to improve. Tommy Thrall is gold. He’s in his second year but has been amazing. Chris Welch brings intelligence of the game that makes us smarter each day and Cowboy is just fun as can be. It might seem small but trust me a bad team with bad announcers is unbearable. The Reds nailed this.


A baseball season is a roller coaster of emotions. 162 games is a long season. Sure, it’s frustrating that Bob won’t spend the money, but at the end of the day I am thankful I have a team to watch every day. Especially after last season, I will not take that for granted.

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