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.
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.
Remembering Reds: Corky Miller
Among the Reds’ fan favorites is a man not known for his statistical achievements, but for simply how awesome he was.
Morgan, Bench, Robinson, Larkin, and Miller. All names that Reds fans recog…wait, Miller? As in Corky Miller? Absolutely. Corky Miller, the minor league catcher with 539 career MLB at bats. The Miller that holds a career .193/.277/.306 53 OPS+ and a 0.0 WAR, yet everyone knows his name. And adores him. His stats won’t jump off the page, but his laid back attitude and fu Manchu leave a mark on your memory.
Signed by the Reds in 1998, Miller did not reach the show until 2001. In his 11 year career spanning from 2001-2013 (didn’t appear in 2011/2012) Miller never played more than 39 games in one season. So how did he become a household name? Well, probably because he looks more like your fun uncle than your favorite team’s catcher. Now don’t get me wrong, Corky brought value to the teams he was on. He was as much as a coach/mentor as he was a ballplayer. You will still find him in the Reds organization helping the young catchers develop. Let’s take a look at some of Corky’s highlights.
Corky steals home
When you think about baseball players stealing home you might immediately think about the great Jackie Robinson sliding in against the Yankees as Yogi Berra losses his mind at the “safe” call. Hell, you might even think about Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez pulling off the impossible feat in the last scene of the Sandlot. Well, Corky Miller joined this elite group on September 27th, 2001. As Omar Daal of the Phillies threw to first Miller showed off his wheels as his much slimmer self had a perfect slide under the tag. Miller walked back to the dugout as if he’s done this 1,000 times. Incredible swagger.
The Dancing KING
Fast forward to late June 2013. Miller finds himself back in a Reds uniform for the first time since 2010. Looking more like the Corky we know and love, sporting the fu Manchu, Miller shows off his quick footwork. Juan Uribe flies out to Jay Bruce who’s throw home took Corky off to the left of home. Hanley Ramirez, not the best baserunner himself, runs past home, retreats, dances around the grounded Miller only to be tagged on the third attempt while flailing towards home. This is so ugly that it is absolutely beautiful.
The Next Cy Young
Corky was more than a catcher and fan favorite. He was an elite pitcher. Well, maybe not elite. Over his career in the minors he pitched 7.2 innings and surrendered 14 hits, 13 earned runs and struck out 2. But in 2012 while playing for the Louisville Bats he pitched a scoreless inning. Down 13-0 in the bottom of the 8th, Miller came in to throw some rainbows in the general direction of home plate. A fly out to left, a pop out to first, and a fly out to right Miller put down the Columbus batters in order.
While his career might not stand out, Miller’s impact has. One of the beloved players in the clubhouse, he has mentored many young catchers along the way. Here’s to many more great years to Corky!
How a Shortened Season can Help and Hurt the Reds
step back and attempt to look at the way the Reds can benefit from a possible shortened season and how it could hurt them.
The world is in an obscure and unsure place. Today we were supposed to be watching a parade and cheering on the Redlegs. Instead, we are confused about the future of the 2020 season as we watch the 7th straight episode of a Netflix series, perfecting social distancing. How the 2020 season will be played has yet to be determined. I want to take a step back and attempt to look at the way the Reds can benefit from a possible shortened season and how it could hurt them.
Each day that passes without baseball is a day closer to a season without 162 games. For the sake of argument, let’s say the season is somewhere between 75-100 games. What ways can that benefit the Reds?
1. They can get healthy. Suarez, Senzel, and Galvis (amongst others) have battled some spring injuries. Extra time off only helps their recovery and could lead to a 100% healthy “Opening Day” lineup. Although Galvis is not a top ten talent at short, he is much better than the current back up options. Luckily, he should be ready to go and 100%.
2. The rotation can be a great strength. We all know how strong the current rotation is. The Reds could adjust the strategy because you won’t be worried about getting starters 32 starts and 200ish innings. With a compact season, you could let starters go deeper in games, or even go to a shorter rotation because you won’t be trying to strength out the innings over several months. Bauer and Disco are both on contract years and will be laser-focused on making the most of their fewer starts to prove their value come next offseason. If the league goes heavy on doubleheaders, Mahle and a few others could step up into the expanded rotation and stronger than many team’s depth starters.
3. How a shorten season benefits Votto? As Joey ages, he will need more days off, especially if the decline is steady. If Joey does not have to prepare himself for 162 games, it could lead to better results as he would be fresher. We all know he can get off to slow starts and avoiding that would be crucial in a shortened season.
How can the shortened season hurt the Reds?
1. David Bell is still a new manager. Fresh, unproven, inexperienced. At times in 2019, he cost the Reds some games. There is little to no margin for error in a short season. Each game means more and the lineup experimenting with playing players out of position won’t fly. Managerial experience will be extremely important in 2020 and hopefully Bell has improved after year one.
2. Lack of important experience for prospects. Tyler Stephenson, Jose Garcia, Jonathan India, and many other prospects are missing out on developmental time. This one really stings. A couple of the Reds top prospects are projected to be on the 2021 roster but needed some time in higher levels of the minors to learn and iron out a few things. You can train and work with coaches during this time, but the actual game experience cannot be overlooked.
3. Pressure. Obviously, every game counts each season. But a shortened season stresses the importance of each game. The Reds cannot afford to go on a losing streak as they did at the beginning of 2019. The expectations for 2020 remain high, and the pressure to perform is building. The adjustment to the MLB for Shogo must happen fast. Senzel has to stay healthy. The margin of error shrinks and pressure goes up. Iglesias cannot struggle to close out games or he’ll be replaced.
The 2020 season won’t be ideal. No one wants it to be this way. Watching 162 games a year is a joy and I will miss the routine of watching the Reds every night. Let’s hope this shortened season feels and plays like a playoff series where every aspect of the game is emphasized and more important. Here’s to everyone staying safe and healthy, and the Reds winning the pennant.