Ahhhhhhhh finally Thanksgiving. Turkey, football, awkward distant family conversations, and naps. A top 3 holiday behind Christmas and Opening Day. I wanted to take a moment and say what Reds fans should be thankful for from 2019 (in no particular order).
Amir Garrett- What’s not to like? 78 strikeouts in 56 innings holding a 3.21 ERA and a 1.2 WAR. But numbers aside……HIS SWAG CANNOT BE TOUCHED. I love watching Amir pitch. The confidence coming out of the bullpen is much needed in the “baseball is boring” years. Fighting a bunch of punk Pirates? Check. Striking out Ohio native Kyle Schwarber and showing up the fake tough guy? Check.
The Punishers August- Name a more entertaining story to follow in the past few seasons? Aquino came on the scene and hit the cover off the ball. .320 avg. with *squints* 14 BOMBS and 33 RBI. Setting MLB records and giving fans a show. August was special because (slight) playoff hopes were alive, something we have not been able to say in recent years.
The Dodgers Trade- WE GOT MATT KEMP!!! Ok Ok sorry… BUT we did get Puig, Wood, and Farmer while getting rid of Christian Bale Homer Bailey. Man did Puig make Cincinnati buzz. His stint wasn’t long, but he provided the Reds with walk off hits, walk off runs, and taking on the entire punk Pirates team. Wood and Kemp didn’t provide much, however, Farmer did. Playing all over the field, and playing well, while also having several key pinch hits. Mostly thankful for Homer getting shipped out.
Starting pitching- Gray, Castillo, DeSclafani, Bauer. Castillo and Gray pitched at an all-star level and at times a Cy Young level. It was fun as hell to watch the movement on their pitches fool hitters all season. Disco had some great moments and I think we are excited for another offseason with the Reds pitching coaches. Bauer has tons of talent, let’s hope he can improve from last season and return to all-star form.
Suarez- What an easy player to love. One of the most underrated players in all of baseball provided some big pop in the Reds lineup. 49 dingers set a record for most of any Venezuelan player while coming up just short of the Reds season record. Signed through 2024 Suarez will be having fans smiling for years to come.
Those we might never see again- We all know that players change teams often. A look at previous year’s rosters always brings a smile to some names and PTSD to others. Two names that left an impression on the fanbase: Derek Dietrich and Jose Iglesias. Dietrich brought us early season memories delivering on Opening Day then pimping home runs and hitting 12 May home runs. Iglesias flashed silky smooth leather all season and hit well with 2 strikes. His career high 11 Homers wasn’t too shabby either. The last is @ObscureFormerRed Ryan Lavarnway! 18 at-bats with 5 hits and a 2 home run game. Brought on out of nowhere he came, he hit, he moved to another organization. But it was fun while it lasted.
Lastly- I want to thank you all. I want to thank Locked on Reds and Jeff. I have loved interacting on twitter and bouncing ideas off you all. Here’s to many more!
Thanksgiving Food Power Rankings:
Green Bean Casserole
Mac n cheese
Yuck: Pumpkin pie, stuffing, cranberry anything
The Moose Stops Here
The Reds have reportedly signed Mike Moustakas to a four-year deal, per Ken Rosenthal from The Athletic
How we looking, Reds fans? I, for one, can’t stop randomly yelling “YES!” in my apartment. My neighbors may be calling the cops as you read this.
Or maybe I should be yelling “Moooooooose!”
The Reds began their offseason of acquisitions by signing Mike Moustakas to the largest contract in franchise history. The Moose is coming to Cincinnati for four years, $64 million dollars. He compiled 3.2 bWAR last year and had a 113 WRC+.
The big key is that he will be the Reds second baseman. Per Baseball Reference, the group of players who combined to shoulder the second base duties in Cincinnati put together a -0.6 WAR. Clearly it was one of the most important positions to upgrade during the offseason and the Reds have done that.
There are two ancillary considerations from this move. One is that Nick Senzel will remain in center field in 2020. One can figure from this move that the Reds have complete faith in his ability to rehab his surgically repaired shoulder. The other is a possible Plan B at first base as Moose has shown an ability to play all infield positions with some degree of aptitude. Now, that’s not to say there are rumblings of Joey Votto retiring or going anywhere, but it does not hurt to have a plan B.
All this is to say, I am excited. I also believe this is just the start. More to come from this front office that is clearly putting money to their words. For now, get ready to chant “Mooooose” all summer long!
Reds All-Decade Team: Everyday Eight
Introducing the blog post about the Locked On Reds All-Decade Team!
We are coming to the end of the 2000-teens. Weird, isn’t it? This decade started with a lot of success for our Redlegs and ended with lots of questions. Maybe they can regain their winning form as we head into the 2020’s, but for now let’s look at the players that made the past ten years what they were.
To set only a few parameters, this will be based on impact and not necessarily longevity. For example, based on their time on the Reds and performance, my thought on the best center fielder, for the past 10 years, is Shin-Soo Choo. Now, I get it, he was only here a year, but that what I mean when I’m looking at the All-Decade Reds. Who had the greatest impact during his tenure with the Reds from 2010-2019?
I also want this to be interactive. Comment, tweet (@lockedonreds), and call/text the Locked On Reds Line (513) 549-0159. This post will be finished on December 31, 2019.
I don’t know why anyone would argue this. He is the Reds Player of the Decade, and arguably the National League’s Player of the Decade. If you don’t believe me, look at this.
Dat Dude was electric at second and a constant stand-in as an argument to everyone’s favorite Red, at the time. I forgot to mention him as a lock on the first All-Decade podcast, so that’s a bit embarrassing, but no second baseman deserves it more. He could hit anywhere in the lineup, and perform well to boot. There was no other second baseman that was better from 2010-2019 in Cincinnati.
Few Reds have provided such iconic moments as was Clinchmas which got this past decade started off with a bang. Beyond that, Bruce was a constant force in the middle of the lineup. His arm was a lethal and gunned down anyone foolish enough to try and run on him. No outfielder eclipsed him and he is definitely a lock for this All-Decade team.
Cozart could do it all. He had a good bat, a great glove, and the ladies loved him. Find another Reds shortstop from this past decade and I’ll tell you why they aren’t as good as Cozart was.
Your first thought on this is going to be “but he only was a Red for a year?” Here’s the thing, no centerfielder had a better year. Does he get a bump because he may not have been here long enough to leave a bad taste in our mouthes? Sure. Did he absolutely kill it his one year and is still talked about? Absolutely. If I’m building an everyday eight that is the best of this past decade, he’s on that team.
The options at catcher are Tucker Barnhart, Ryan Hanigan, and Mez. Maybe you include Ramon Hernandez for the two halfway decent years at the start of the decade. This is a position that can be hotly debated, but I am throwing my hat in the ring for Mez. When he was healthy and got regular at-bats (2014) he was the best Reds catcher this decade. I’ll take those numbers he posted that year and pretend that he isn’t injured when named to the All-Decade Team. A healthy Mez was worth slotting 5th or 6th in the lineup. That’s not something I’ve never said about Tucker.
My rationale behind this is two-fold. Unless they were just absolutely amazing (like the next lean) then I’m looking at the playoff teams. Ludwick had a great first year as a Red. His final two years soured some fans to remembering him, but he was money in 2012. When faced with the options, I lean Ludwick.
This one took some thinking because I really liked Scott Rolen, but I think Suarez has outperformed him. He has the misfortune for playing on the bad Reds teams, but he has become the face of the franchise, heading into 2020. The thing that keeps him from being a lock, to me, is there is an argument for Rolen over Suarez…but I will argue Suarez is the Reds third baseman of the decade.
Reds All-Decade Team: The Pitching
Here’s the blog post accompanying the idea of the Reds All-Decade Team, the pitching side of things.
We got things started with a blog post about the everyday eight, now let’s start thee pitching. For this, we’ll do a starting five, a closer, and two relievers. I’m not sure we have any locks, but we have some really strong cases, here. Okay, maybe one lock. Johnny Cueto is a super lock for the rotation, maybe the Reds Pitcher of the Decade.
You know the drill, comment, tweet (@lockedonreds), and call/text (513) 549-0159. We’ll finalize it on December 31, 2019.