Game 162: Reds at Pirates

Bourgeois 8
Suarez 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Frazier 5
Bruce 9
Duvall 7
Pena 2
Smith 1

Thanks for following along all season. It certainly has not been a year for the time capsule but many of you kept coming back. I’m not sure how much blogging will happen in the offseason. As always, follow along on reds.com for all your winter Reds news. You can also follow me on Twitter @m_sheldon or like my Facebook page by clicking here: https://www.facebook.com/marksheldonmlb

75 Comments

Thanks Mark for your posts and information that you put on here. That is much appreciated by me for one. Don’t be a stranger on here this winter, once again thanks

You do a great job!! Looking forward to next year!

Thanks Mark. I can’t get to the comments on reds .com. Do you know why?

Only thing I can think of … did you register a profile so you can comment?

I did. and could comment ar one time. I’ll try redoing it.

Thanks Mark for your blog! Have a great off-season…

And if I won the billionaire lottery – I would buy the team and ask Votto to be player/manager – that would be way fun. He would prob. do it for the same salary.

Thanks Mark. Here’s to a big turnaround in 2016. Thanks again

It’s crazy, but I’m going to miss the Reds – love the rhythm of the season, night after night. I don’t think there’ll be a ‘big turnaround in 2016;’ on the other hand, I’m the guy who before this season said I would bet anything but cash money that the Reds would finish ahead of the Cubs. Oh, well … Mark, thanks for your work. After your post-season duties, find us takers for Bruce and Chapman, a left fielder not named Mesoraco, and a bat whisperer to teach Hamilton to hit. Heat up the stove!

The advent begins.

Thanks for all the effort you put in Mark. Enjoy the offseason.

First of all, thank you Mark for providing us with a platform to voice our opinions about
baseball and the Reds. Second, here are the final MLB rankings; to remain with the same management and then turnaround and blame the coaches is ludicrous, imo. We need only remember each game as they unfolded and see that decisions by Price on lineup, pitching changes, days off, etc. were all his decisions and several influenced each and every game. If the coaches were bad, why not change them as they were identified; I am certainly not blaming the change, however. Price is thought by all of MLB as being in the bottom percentile; think they are wrong? Make another guess.
Here’s the ranking; guess that’s wrong too, eh…

1 Top run differential in baseball. Tied with the Cubs for the fewest losses since the beginning of August. David Price and now Marcus Stroman fronting the rotation. Yes, the Blue Jays are the World Series favorites. (1)
2 They’re 15-16 since the beginning of September. We’ll see if they can flip the proverbial switch now. Adam Wainwright as an X-factor weapon in October is a great storyline. (2)
3 Heading into the season, if you had told the Pirates they were going to win 98 games, they’d have thrown to party for getting to finally skip the wild card game. Instead, they’ll host for the third straight year. (3)
4 Times the Cubs have won more than 97 games — as they did this season — since their last World Series appearance in 1945? Zero. This is insane. (4)
5 They close on a five-game winning streak, pushing the Royals to 95 wins and home-field advantage throughout the entire postseason. (5)
6 They close on a five-game winning streak, pushing the Royals to 95 wins and home-field advantage throughout the entire postseason. 1(7)
7 A deep playoff run might be more plausible next season, but you never know. I wouldn’t count these guys out. 1(6)
8 It’s hard to pin down the single most surprising playoff team, but I’ll go with the Rangers — just barely over the Astros. 3(11)
9 It’s hard to pick the best playoff story when compared to the recent past and preseason expectations, but it’s probably the Astros, though Cubs and Blue Jays are definitely in the ballpark. 1(10)
10 Yes, the worst playoff team. Still a playoff team, though. 2(8)
11 Before this season, only one Angels player had ever hit 40 homers in a season. Mike Trout and Albert Pujols both did so this season. 2(9)
12 2016 World Series champs. 1(13)
13 Despite missing the playoffs, this was an incredibly successful season in Minnesota. Paul Molitor’s troops are up and comers. 1(12)
14 Laughable performance. 4(18)
15 In 2013 they were 11-13 in April. Last season, they were 11-17 through April. This year: 7-14. They had a winning record all three times, but it’s pretty clear they can’t keep digging this kind of a hole for themselves. 1(14)
16 Chris Davis ends with 47 homers and 117 RBI. Two years ago it was 53 and 138. Seeing what kind of contract he gets in free agency is going to be interesting. 1(17)
17 I’d say winning 80 games with so many pitching injuries makes this a successful season. 2(15)
18 How many thought they’d win 79 games? Very good year in Arizona. Now get some pitching to go with that stellar offense. 1(19)
19 A four-game losing streak to close the year, but they were 32-22 in August and September. 3(16)
20 They play in a homer-friendly park and only Jose Abreu hit more than 15 homers this year. The White Sox ranked last in the AL in home runs, too. This is a problem that needs to be fixed in order to contend. 3(23)
21 Mariners who have ever hit more homers than the 44 Nelson Cruz hit this year: Ken Griffey Jr. Five times. That’s it. 1(22)
22 Trying to contend before Miguel Cabrera’s past his prime is going to be a tall order. This will be a fun team to watch this coming offseason. 2(20)
23 The 74-88 record is the worst since 2011. 2(21)
24 Dee Gordon is the first NL player since Jackie Robinson to win the batting title and lead the league in steals. Pretty humbling company, I’m sure. (24)
25 Here’s how you head into an offseason with a great memory: The Rockies trailed the Giants 3-0 heading into the ninth inning on Sunday and then scored seven runs to win the game. This game was in AT&T Park, not Coors Field. (25)
26 Answer: Carlos Gonzalez, Chris Davis, Jose Bautista, Nelson Cruz, Yoenis Cespedes, David Ortiz. Question: Who are the only players with more second-half homers than Khris Davis (21). (26)
27 The 94 losses are the most since 1997, which is the season that prompted the club to hire Billy Beane as GM. (27)
28 The 95 losses are the most for the Braves since 1990. They followed that up with the historic run of 14 straight NL East championships. 1(29)
29 They’ve done it. They have avoided 100 losses, thanks to a 34-37 record since the All-Star break. Good for those kids to fight this season all the way through. 1(30)
30 They close the season with 14 losses in their last 15 games. 2(28)

Cute, they block out the name of the teams…here is the link:
http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/powerrankings

And, here is ESPN’S ranking…
#29 Reds 64-98
Last Week: 28 Two years ago, the Reds won 90 games and made the playoffs. In 2015, Cincinnati lost nearly 100 games and finished in last place. A precipitous decline for which GM Walt Jocketty must take the lion’s share of the blame. — Chad Dotson (@dotsonc), Redleg Nation.

And here is Fox Sports ranking of the Reds…
#29 Reds
CINCINNATI REDS (64-98) HIGH: 24 / LOW: 29
0.0% … Given one movie to sum up this Reds season, I’d probably go with “Daylight.”

Season summation by Mark…
Reds fall back, can’t recover in tough 2015
Votto, Frazier and Phillips have strong seasons, but club unable to put it all together
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com | @m_sheldon | October 5th, 2015
CINCINNATI — Just three years removed from being National League Central division winners and two years since they were a Wild Card team, the Reds really saw how the other half lived in 2015. In a landscape dominated by the rival Cardinals, Pirates and surprising Cubs, Cincinnati quickly found itself unable to keep up.
It certainly made for a long, challenging season.
“It’s very frustrating being in a clubhouse that hasn’t played meaningful games in what seems like months,” Reds first baseman Joey Votto said. “We haven’t played a game where we felt like we were headed in a playoff direction. You can smell it as a team. You try your hardest to be optimistic, to look towards getting to the playoffs and being a champion. But you see the competition, and you need to get better. You need to get better as an organization.
• Is Votto #AwardWorthy? Vote now for Best Major Leaguer
“The players we currently have, each and every one of us to a man, needs to be better at doing their jobs, doing all the small things that other teams are beating us at — myself included.”
The Reds often seemed shorthanded in nearly every aspect of the game. While Votto, Todd Frazier and Brandon Phillips had strong seasons, the supporting portions of the lineup struggled to contribute. The leadoff spot sported an on-base percentage below .300 again, and the entire lineup was the Major Leagues’ worst team batting with runners in scoring position.
There weren’t innings provided to back up veteran starters Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake in the rotation, and the bridge to the back end of the bullpen to J.J. Hoover and Aroldis Chapman was rickety.
“The ups and downs — we had a lot more downs than ups, truthfully,” Frazier said. “We didn’t put much together. One day pitching did well, and one day hitting did well. But the most frustrating part was we didn’t put pitching and hitting together.”
A lack of depth was exposed, and injuries to key players also sabotaged the efforts. Homer Bailey made only two starts before he needed season-ending elbow surgery. Devin Mesoraco’s left hip injury left him unable to catch after the season’s first week, and he was done for the year by May. Zack Cozart suffered a grisly right knee injury in June that ended his year.
By the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, Cueto and Leake were dealt to contenders, and the Reds turned to an all-rookie rotation. A franchise-record nine different rookies made 110 starts, including the final 64 games in a row — smashing a 113-year-old Major League record.
Those rookies did at least get opportunity and exposure while gaining valuable experience at the big league level. Several of them, including Anthony DeSclafani and Raisel Iglesias, are expected to be part of the 2016 rotation after having nice outings throughout this season.
“I think it’s definitely important,” DeSclafani said. “A lot of these guys got their feet wet, and it was awesome that I got a full year under my belt. It was really nice. Last year [with the Marlins], I got a small sample of the big leagues and was up and down. The stats didn’t show I could pitch up here. I knew I could. Getting my feet wet was important last year, to see what I had to learn to pitch up here.”
Record: 64-98, fifth place in NL Central
Defining moment: The Reds had been treading water around the .500 mark the first six weeks of the season until May 15, when a season-high nine-game losing streak put the club out of orbit for good. Another nine-game losing streak came in August as well.
What went right: Following a steady but not superlative first half, Votto made some adjustments and returned to the form of his 2010 MVP season. After the All-Star break, he was the leader or among leaders in hitting, on-base percentage, slugging and walks.
Frazier, who won the All-Star Home Run Derby in thrilling fashion, etched his name in the Reds’ elite offensive annals, as he became only the second player in team history (after Frank Robinson) to have at least 35 homers, 40 doubles and 10 steals in a season. He was also only the third Reds third baseman with at least 30 homers in a season.
Frazier’s 35th homer
9/19/15: Todd Frazier crushes a two-run homer, his 35th of the year, to reduce the Reds’ deficit to 6-5 in the top of the 6th inning
In good health most of the season, Phillips had a steady offensive season while batting in a variety of lineup spots. His defense remained a showstopper as well.
Hoover, who went 1-10 with a 4.88 ERA in 2014, rebounded with a strong 2015 while re-establishing himself as a reliable eighth-inning setup man.
What went wrong: Center fielder Billy Hamilton made improvements in stealing and played strong defense, but he took a step backwards offensively. Hamilton batted .226/.274/.289 with 57 steals in 65 attempts. By mid-May, he was moved out of the leadoff spot and spent most of the season batting ninth behind the pitcher.
A lack of health was again a huge factor as manager Bryan Price was only able to start his projected regular eight players 17 times the past two seasons, including five times in 2015. Bailey, Mesoraco and Cozart were among the six players who spent the bulk of the season on the 60-day disabled list.
Middle relief between the rotation and the back end of Hoover and Chapman was roughed up quite a bit. Reds relievers were among the NL leaders in losses, and the group’s ERA would look vastly different without Chapman’s numbers.
Biggest surprise: Shortstop Eugenio Suarez not only filled in nicely for Cozart, he exceeded all expectations with his offense and projected to hit around 20 homers had he played a whole year in the big leagues. Suarez was error-prone at times but proved capable of some exceptional defensive plays. How the team finds room for both players next season is a big offseason question.
Suarez’s all-around game
Suarez’s all-around game
8/13/15: Eugenio Suarez is strong on offense and in the field in the win, notching four RBIs and making a great stop to start a double play
Hitter of the Year: Votto not only put the left leg injuries that marred his 2014 season behind him, he re-established himself as one of the game’s best hitters. He reached safely more than any other batter in the Major Leagues.
Pitcher of the Year: Chapman became the first pitcher in Major League history to produce four consecutive seasons with at least 30 saves and 100 strikeouts. He reached 500 career strikeouts in 292 innings, which was faster than any pitcher in history as well.
Chapman’s 30th save
9/12/15: Aroldis Chapman strikes out three to seal the 4-2 win and earn his 30th save of the season
Rookie of the Year: DeSclafani was the only Reds starting pitcher to make every start of the season, and he was best among NL rookies in several categories. He was also the first Reds rookie to make 30 starts since Cueto in 2008.

@Neb. Missed your commenting the last few weeks although there wasn’t much to comment on. Also, if I’m not mistaken, didn’t Price personally pick his coaching staff. Last years 3rd base coach was let go because he couldn’t effectively coach 3rd base. Now the rest of the coaching staff is being hung out to dry. Just another example of Price not being a competent manager IMO.

Yes, you are right…nothing to talk about. It is really sad to watch each and every game and not understand that Price made mistakes throughout the year that cost
the team losses, yet the team doesn’t see it that way or they white wash Price by saying that the player play between the lines, not Price. Of course that is true, but when you set a lineup that is inept or does not function well over the entire 9 innings, when you leave in a reliever for a full inning because that is what you believe the should do, when you pinch hit with a .170 average player because you believe he should hit under any circumstances, and above all, when you never get in a players face and correct him, you really are not managing a team as the most successful have done over the years. Certainly these are only a handful of characteristics that Price has shown for 2 years now. And to be clear, I am not suggesting that the Reds could have or would have won the division with a new manager; of course not, but to play as they did, game after game is ludicrous. Good lord, they were the worst team in all of MLB…that’s right, all of MLB! They still had a great deal of talent yet could hardly push across one run in many, many games. There one run losses were equally ridiculous. Unfortunately, this season really revealed what we have for management;
Castellini, that is willing to allow a friend to GM the team regardless of his ineptness, and now he allows Price to play out his contract at the expense of the Reds having yet another dismal and poor season even thought the writing is on the wall. Every single sports announcer and sports writer has Price ranked at the bottom of MLB teams in terms of managing a MLB team. I thought we would make sharp and accurate decisions, now it’s a team with a management group that is milk-toast and buddy buddy, rather than putting winning at the top of their list. I am truly disappointed, and really tired of seeing Price in after game discussions saying the same thing night after night after night. This team needs a size 12 boot in the rear;
made by a get it done manager, not big brother Price. I have never seen a team with so much talent play less than their level for so long. We are in trouble throughout the minors and that unprepared influence permeates the Reds. Enough is enough; we’re down slightly in attendance this season and I would suggest that if I live in Cincinnati, I wouldn’t want to go to many games, I am sorry to say. Why, when the results are as predictable as the Reds play is? It’s downright disheartening.

Agree with all the points you made. My take on Price remaining as manager is rather simplistic. They know they are not going to be competitive(be in the hunt for the playoffs) regardless of who the manager is in 2016. I doubt they could get a top notch manager available that would be interested in managing this team in 2016. So they will keep Price for 2016, work on developing their young pitching staff, bring in some young talent(Winker for example) and work on developing them. Price will not be back in 2017, but with a young developed team, the Reds will be able to find a top line manager that would have the talent(Price doesn’t) to take the team forward and have us competing for the playoffs(maybe not making it in 2017) but have us back to being a team to be reckoned with in 2018 and in the playoffs.

No question about the Reds and how they are playing their hand relative to Price.
They are in a huge transition period for starting pitchers, as well as the bullpen. This
plays into Price’s wheelhouse. Unfortunately, he will continue to manage as he has done in the past and that will reflect in our W/L record this coming season. In one way I can’t really fault ‘softy’ and ‘milk toast’ in keeping ‘big brother’, but for the sake of the fans who go to the games, listen to the games and watch the games on screen…I think a new manager is necessary in order for the team to move forward, even by baby steps. Having a proven inept manager stay to permeate the team with his poor managing skills only reinforces the poor play. I know the team would miss Price and a round of kum-ba-ya would be heard through out the land, but nothing will change until the ‘managed’ portion of the game is changed.

I love all you guys and gals. Baseball passion this season is a bad case of the measles I guess. I’m picking Jays vs Cards. Not because they are birds either.
I think I’ve read they both have the best record against teams above 500 and right handed pitching so we’ll see how that rolls. Who gets the big hits and what no name becomes a star.

Cincinnati Reds: 4 Players Who Exceeded Expectations in 2015
by Matt Wilkes
Fansided
Coming into the 2015 season, the Cincinnati Reds didn’t have particularly high hopes for a return to the postseason. With little depth to speak of, most realized that everything had to go right and the team had to stay healthy to be competitive, especially in the NL Central, which figured to be one of the most competitive divisions in baseball.

Nearly everything went wrong from the very start for the Reds, as injuries ravaged their roster and their lack of depth came back to haunt them. The NL Central wound up boasting the top three teams in the league in the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs. The Reds wound up finishing in dead last in their division for the first time since 1983 (a stat I found pretty hard to believe considering how bad the Reds were in the first decade of the 2000’s) and their 64-98 record was good for the second-worst mark in baseball.

In spite of all the things that went wrong throughout 2015, there were still plenty of bright spots in the Reds season, and some players who exceeded expectations on an underachieving team. Here’s a look at four players who ended up being pleasant surprises in an otherwise dismal year.

Brandon Phillips

Coming into the season, the expectations for Phillips weren’t particularly high. The second baseman was coming off of two straight injury-filled years with decreasing production, and it appeared that he was declining as he entered his age-34 season. But Phillips did anything but decline in 2015. In 148 games, he had his best batting average (.294), OPS (.723) and fWAR (2.6) since 2012, while batting all up and down the lineup. His success at the dish seems to have stemmed from a cut-down in his swing, sacrificing power for contact. This was also reflected in his strikeout numbers, as he was fanned in only 10.9 percent of his plate appearances, a career-low. Phillips also lost some weight in the offseason, helping him to regain some of the speed he had in his younger days. That resulted in him stealing more bases (23) than he did in the previous three seasons combined (22).

Raisel Iglesias

More From Editorials9/28 – Cincinnati Reds: A Look at the Impending Free Agents
9/14 – Cincinnati Reds: Where Will Joey Votto Finish in MVP Race?
9/4 – Cincinnati Reds: Who’s in Left Field in 2016?
9/3 – Joey Votto’s Stats Put Him in Elite Company
8/26 – Cincinnati Reds’ Next Manager Could Be Barry Larkin: Smart Move or Not?

The Reds probably couldn’t be happier with Iglesias’ development. Regarded by many scouts as a future reliever in the major leagues, the Reds signed him out of Cuba to be a starter and that choice has paid dividends thus far. Although the year didn’t start off so well for Iglesias, there was no better pitcher on the Reds’ staff in the second half of the season. In a seven-start span between Aug. 1 and Sept. 2, the rookie allowed only 12 earned runs (2.31 ERA), held opponents to an astounding WHIP of 0.77 and struck out 55 over 46.2 innings of work. For the year, Iglesias had a 3-7 record (that’ll happen when you play on an awful team) to go with a 4.15 ERA, 3.55 FIP and 1.14 WHIP. Right now, he looks like the only lock for next season’s rotation aside from Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani.

Zack Cozart

Before going down with a brutal knee injury in early June, Cozart was having a rather unexpected big season at the plate. He looked like an entirely different hitter in the first two months of the season, hitting nearly as many extra-base hits (20) as he did in all of 2014 (29). In addition to simply getting better contact on the ball, Cozart displayed better plate discipline, increasing his walk rate from 4.6 to 6.5 percent and lowering his strikeouts from 14.5 to 13.6 percent. All of that resulted in a .258/.310/.459 slash line, which was a vast improvement over the unsightly .221/.268/.300 line from the year before. Couple that offensive production with his typical stellar defense and Cozart was a legitimate All-Star candidate before he went down.

Eugenio Suarez

Performing admirably in Cozart’s stead was Suarez, who the Reds had acquired from the Detroit Tigers in a trade last offseason. He was the everyday shortstop from June 11 on out and was especially impressive with the bat, hitting .280/.315/.446 with 34 extra-base hits (13 homers) and 48 runs batted in. Suarez certainly still has work to do at the plate — his strikeouts were high and his walks were really low — and in the field (19 errors), but he definitely showed enough in his 97 games with the Reds to at least be a viable bench piece in 2016.

Reds LHP Aroldis Chapman threw 62 fastest pitches of ’15
Associated Press

NEW YORK — Cincinnati reliever Aroldis Chapman threw the 62 fastest pitches in the big leagues this season, according to Major League Baseball’s new Statcast computer system.

Chapman’s fastest pitches ranged from 103.92 mph to 102.36 mph, MLB said after Sunday’s regular-season finales. His fastest was fouled off by Minnesota’s Brian Dozier on June 29.

Nathan Eovaldi of the New York Yankees had the 63rd-fastest pitch at 102.35 mph, which Dozier took for a ball on Aug. 19.

Chapman had the highest average velocity for his fastball at 99.98 mph, followed by Miami’s Erik Cordier (98.39), Kansas City’s Kelvin Herrera (98.37), St. Louis’ Trevor Rosenthal (98.35) and Pittsburgh’s Arquimedes Caminero (98.25).

Kansas City’s Yordano Ventura had the highest velocity among starting pitchers who qualified for the ERA title at 96.79 mph. The Cardinals’ Carlos Martinez was next at 96.36 mph, followed by the New York Mets’ Matt Harvey (96.18), Chis Sale of the Chicago White Sox (96.14) and Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole (95.98).

Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs hit the longest home run, a 495-foot drive off Arizona’s Rubby De La Rosa at Wrigley Field on Sept. 6. Washington’s Michael Taylor was second with a 492-footer against Colorado’s Yohan Flande at Coors Field on Aug. 20. The distance is what the ball would have traveled had it landed at field level.

Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton had the three highest launch speeds of balls off the bat, ranging from 120.3 mph to 119.2 mph.

The end of the 2015 Cincinnati Reds
By Wick Terrell

MLB raked in a record $9 billion in revenue during the 2014 season, and as of March of 2015 the league and its franchises were valued at an estimated $36 billion as a whole. People drive to games, pay to park, pay for tickets, buy a hot dog, buy a shirt, buy ice cream in little helmets, drink overpriced beers from companies that pay big bucks to have their names prominently displayed on posters at the parks, and go home and talk about their team on MLB.com (and other less accountable places) to drive online ad-revenue through page clicks. They do it in droves across two countries and thousands of square miles, and they do it for nearly eight months out of the year.

In the tri-state area where southwest Ohio, northern Kentucky, and southeast Indiana run together, fans of the Cincinnati Reds continued to play their part in the 2015 season. Turnstiles saw 2,419,506 tickets sold to watch the Reds play last place baseball with largely unknown players, their attendance good for 18th among the 30 MLB franchises and ahead of teams with one-time legitimate postseason dreams such as the Minnesota Twins, Baltimore Orioles, and playoff-bound Houston Astros.

The 2010 Reds that won the NL Central title and went back to the playoffs for the first time in a decade and a half drew just 2,060,550 folks to their games, by the way. Based on this estimate of average ticket prices for Reds games, that’s a difference of nearly $14 million in revenue on ticket sales before even mentioning the parking, the hot dogs, the shirts, the ice creams and the little helmets, the overpriced beers, and the click, click, clicking.

The Reds shed millions in salary obligations by dumping Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, and Marlon Byrd for inexpensive youngsters during the middle of the 2015 season, and by finishing with the 2nd overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, they’ve received a larger pool of money with which to sign their next draft class (while also obviously getting to pick higher than they have since 1983). Shedding liabilities and being granted additional assets is, generally speaking, a boon to the pocketbooks and provides ample future opportunities.

The Reds have a new television contract to discuss over the course of the 2016 season, one that could land them an increase of some $25-30 million per year in revenue over what their previous deal has provided them – if negotiated correctly. As usual, the Cincinnati Reds have held steady as one of the most watched teams in their local market per-capita of any in the game.

Couple that with a career best bWAR (7.6) resurgence from Joey Votto, the player in whom the team has made its most significant investment, and from a bottom line perspective, 2015 has been a reasonably successful year for the Reds.

★★★

For the most part, sports fans don’t give a damn about rich team owners getting richer. They care about the visceral reaction they get when the team they so irrationally love does what they do better than their counterparts and the pride that can be worn on sleeves in the wake.

In baseball, that’s borne by wins on the field, and the 2015 Cincinnati Reds provided next to none of those.

At 64-98, the team sputtered early, sputtered often, and collapsed late, dropping 14 of their final 15 games to finish with the second worst record in franchise history since MLB seasons were lengthened to 162 games some 53 years ago. They saw their two most recently extended former draftees go down with season-ending injuries before the heat of summer hit the forecasts, watched as their three most intimate division rivals won at least 97 games and made the post-season, and sat mystified as their inexperienced manager made a public ass of himself in a way few imagined survivable.

The 2015 Reds stunk, and it hurt. It hurt not just for how awful it was to endure on a daily basis, but also for how closely it followed the run that brought joy and fun and life back to being a fan of the franchise. 53 weeks ago, the Reds had a roster rife with the stars of the 2012 season, having consorted with them on the heels of a 98 win season that, ’til my death, will go down as one of the best and most dominant I’ll witness the Reds achieve.

But in game 162 yesterday, despite having expanded rosters and ample playing time available, just five of the twenty-five members of the 2012 Opening Day Reds roster remained active for Cincinnati’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

★★★

The proximity to prior success paired with the team’s management failing to read the tea leaves (or, at least, making an awful attempt at ignoring the obvious flaws in the team as such publicly) made it all sting. We knew Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake were likely gone once we watched Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon get shipped out the door. We’d waived goodbye to Jonathan Broxton, watched Sean Marshall’s arm explode, and seen the last of Ryan Ludwick, Jack Hannahan, and Miguel Cairo on the bench. There was no Dusty Baker, no Bronson Arroyo, and no Scott Rolen, since they’d all long since moved on.

In fact, while just Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Aroldis Chapman, Jay Bruce, and Walt Jocketty remain as central pieces from the 2012 season, the Reds themselves have been ripping those books from their shelves and selling them back at the woeful used, end-of-semester prices.

They’ve been rebooting for almost two full years. They’ve gutted their kitchen and been forced to eat TV dinners and Chinese take-out while they wait on the new one to get installed. And, all told, it’s exactly what they should be doing, even if you know you’re going to grimace when you pull back the cellophane on a Stouffer’s cream chipped beef and pop it in to zap-fry for the 64th consecutive time.

2015 stunk. It still stinks, and anyone who watched it from start to finish will reference the stench when any future season even has a glimmer of stinking. But with so few established names left that could be on the move, at least the gutting may well be coming to a close, the last vestiges of a winning era filed away in a separate folder than the expectations for the franchise going forward. Which is exactly what we all need, since while watching awful baseball is painful in itself, nothing’s as painful as watching awful baseball featuring a team that’s being dismantled from head to toe. The latter was 2015 to a T, one part disappointment on the field matched by one part anticipation of more things being torn away.

Here’s to hoping this, right now, at the end of the worst season I’ve ever been old enough to follow is rock bottom for the Reds. If so, there’s nowhere to go but up.

Matt Williams is manager of the Nationals, and has been for two years now.
He led the Nats to a 96-66 record in 2014 and was named Manager of the Year.
In this last season, the Nats were 83-79 but were picked to win their division
and eventually, the WS.
A great deal of speculation has him losing his job.

Was happy to see the Astros advance. One of the maligned teams for years. Along with Cubs they were whipping posts for the Reds. Now let’s see the Cubs beat the Pirates.

All the reasons for keeping Price is more horse hockey bs that this mgmt group wants us to believe. Team stinks bye bye GM and coach. Whats the old adage.
Can’t fire the players. Just like Price didn’t live with Cueto, Bailey and crew in 2008 and 2009. Then he got reap the benefits of Dick Pole. We stunk the 2nd half of 2014 so bad he should have been fired over that. We had all hands on deck then except Joey. So what’s the point. Cancel my ticket package I guess.

What I really never understood after August 1st is how many times he left the young guys in too long and blew a decent start and the game. Because if we remember the pitching was pretty good the first two weeks of August but the offense stunk. Then the wheels fell off.

Just saying… I’m pretty sure our good core of players we have or had were Dan Obrien and Wayne Krivsky’s picks. I can not say for sure if any of Walts picks have been true contributors. Some of his trades have been good though.

Somebody name me a Jocketty draft pick besides Chappie and iglesias who are the real mccoys. But then again those guys were not acquire thru the draft. Hamilton will never be more than a pinch runner or defensive sub.

Thanks for all your thoughts and insights. It’s good reading.

Why is it such a hard decision to make? When the season opens, open it with Hamilton in AAA. Make him work on his hitting until he gets it right. Having him on
the big team while flailing away at the plate is ridiculous. We will miss his glove and speed but when we get him back he may well hit .325 OBP. His has got to fix his
batting or we’ll see him in the 9 hole for the entire season with Price now coming back. Hitting .325> OBP, with his speed and glove…get outa town! This kid needs to score 100+ R per season or we are just wasting time.

I disagree. I think Hamilton has struggled and getting him better ABs helps out more to the club then if anyone else raised their OBP. His OBP was bad but not much worse to lose his glove too. Cozart last year was 268 compared to Hamiltons 274 this year and we left him out there. Let him continue to learn on the job but dont take away the leadoff. I would guess from watching the leadoff OBP was no different if Hamilton was in there or someone else. Price needs practice what he preaches when it comes to numbers. Pay attention and leave Hamilton in the leadoff, unless you are going to leadoff Votto no one else on this team is suited anyway. This may be the worst OBP team I have ever seen. No one should be below 320 let alone 300. Cozart, Frazier, Bruce, Hamilton, Mez, Byrd all starters under 310 OBP. You cant win games like that with 6 of your 8 position players under 310. The reds need to wake up and see the whole team needs work. if you cant get on base then take a seat on the bench and we will find someone who can. Who cares about salary we are dead last any way. That is why I would want a different manager someone who cares more about production than salary.

Actually, I was in your camp until the last half of this season. However, the Reds can ill afford a lead-off hitter that scored a paltry 56 R while playing 114 G and 412 AB; especially when he has, arguably, the fastest set of wheels in MLB, all time.
As for Cozart, well, he showed stronger seasons on both sides of 2014 and he doesn’t, nor should, be batting lead off. Cozart (9 HR/28 RBI-194 AB) also has far more power than Hamilton (4 HR/26 RBI-412 AB). At Hamilton’s age and mindset, he could well be one of the premiere lead-off hitters in all of baseball, but only when he adjust; he now is going on his 3rd season with little success thus far. Time to change and raise his OBP well over .300 or bat him farther down the line. If he didn’t have his incredible speed, he wouldn’t be playing full time based on his first two seasons. Harsh, yes…but I gave him two seasons to adjust; the Reds, as a team, are not very good when it comes to ‘change’. We can both look at Price and his attributes that speak to this issue.

How about letting him quit switch hitting since it is something he wants to do. Would help focus his concentration.

Is it just coincidence that Reds haven’t been competive since the departure of Choo ? That , my friends , is the responsibility of Jocketty . That and a full time left fielder .

Switch hitting has been discussed; the team likes the idea. The mechanics of his overall batting should be evaluated and adjusted, but only by a pro. Whether he buys it and goes along with it is another thing; he said he would do “whatever” it takes, so we shall see. His prompt surgery helps as he can start the process within the next 6-8 weeks or so. Also, he’s eager to start the process himself, so that’s a good sign. If he didn’t I would have been very discouraged.

“the team likes the idea”. This is the same team that has collapsed the last 2 years and definetly sucks at player development. Make starters out of relief pitchers, make relief pitchers out of starters, has a hitting philosophy that stinks or if it isn’t the philosophy thats wrong then they don’t have the ablity to teach it. Hope Hamilton seeks help outside of the Reds organization.

When Hamilton reached base, he literally disrupted the opposition…
………………………………..

Leadoff hitters must possess certain traits to be successful: they must reach base at a proficient on-base percentage rate and be able to steal bases. Sabermetric analysis has indicated that the ability to steal bases is often an overrated quality of leadoff hitters; however, the leadoff hitter should still take a large lead at first and draw a throw from the pitcher. This is useful because it shows the team the pitcher’s pick-off move. Many managers also wish their leadoff hitters to take a lot of pitches, to work high pitch counts, to give their teammates a feel for the opposing pitcher, as well as raising his pitch count. Another job, often unknown and unappreciated, is also the responsibility of the leadoff hitter. In the National League, after the pitcher bats (he usually drops a sacrifice bunt), the next hitter is usually the first man in the lineup. His responsibility is to take his time walking to the plate so the pitcher doesn’t have to run back to the dugout, which would waste energy and risk unwanted injury. Also, because the leadoff hitter is first in the lineup cycle of batters, he will usually be the player who at least ties for most plate appearances per game on his team.
Leadoff hitters tend to play defensively difficult positions, such as shortstop, second base, and center field. Rickey Henderson is widely regarded as the prototypical leadoff hitter.

Given how the majority of the team can’t get on base, who leads off?

Cubs in the NLDS. Wow. Wouldn’t a Cubs & Astros World Series blow the experts minds? I’ll be rooting for the Cubs over the Cardinals.

Choo is a template…
154 G
569 AB
107 R
112 BB
.423 OBP
.285 AVG
Hamilton is a work-in-progress, but not for years. If he can’t cut it
then we move him to the 7th or 8th position and move on. And if
a guy isn’t on any Cincinnati roster, we trade for one. Bottom line:
any successful team has got to have a reasonably successful
lead-off batter. Unfortunately for the Reds, there are other fires
to fight; SP, BP, LF and even a bench.
One last note…Hamilton isn’t that far off the mark. He hit .274 OBP overall, but
.293 OBP leading off. If he can adjust this off season, this discussion is moot.
Hopefully, he is our lead-off guy for years to come.

Opening day lineup:
Hamilton
Votto
Frazier
Mesoraco
Byrd
Bruce
Phillips
Cozart
…………………….
Closing day lineup:
Bourgeois 8
Suarez 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Frazier 5
Bruce 9
Duvall 7
Pena 2
……………………
Unfortunately, the opening day lineup lasted for only
5 games.

Kansas City starting pitcher Friday…
Mr. Cueto

I am having a hard time with the playoffs. It seems to me that a one game playoff is a bit unfair; playing at least a 3 game playoff would be more just, imo. The Pirates were (are) arguably one of the top teams to make the playoffs, yet they have been eliminated after 9 innings. Clearly, at least to me, the Cards, Pirates and Cubs are top clubs this season and to see one of them eliminated by another in a one game playoff seems a bit abrupt and unfair; unfair in a playoff structure sense. After 162 games of playing very good ball, one game decides whether they play on or go home. I’d like to see a 3 game playoff, even though it’s for the WC teams.

Agree. But need to go back to 154 game season to do it IMO.

ODDS TO WIN 2015 WORLD SERIES (11/1/15)

Toronto Blue Jays 3/1
Kansas City Royals 9/2
Los Angeles Dodgers 6/1
New York Mets 8/1
St. Louis Cardinals 8/1
Texas Rangers 8/1
Chicago Cubs 10/1
Houston Astros 12/1
Pittsburgh Pirates 14/1
ODDS TO WIN 2015 NATIONAL LEAGUE PENNANT (11/1/15)

St. Louis Cardinals 9/4
Los Angeles Dodgers 5/2
New York Mets 13/4
Chicago Cubs 9/2
Pittsburgh Pirates 6/1
ODDS TO WIN 2015 AMERICAN LEAGUE PENNANT (11/1/15)

Toronto Blue Jays 7/5
Kansas City Royals 2/1
Texas Rangers 7/2
Houston Astros 9/2

Cubs record:
8-11 Cards
3-4 Dodgers
7-0 Mets
10-10 AL teams
(13-6 Reds)
………………………
Cards record:
11-8 Cubs
5-2 Dodgers
4-3 Mets
11-9 AL teams
(12-7 Reds)

Thursday, October 8
MATCHUP TIME (PT) NAT TV PITCHING MATCHUP TICKETS
Texas Toronto 12:37 PM Yovani Gallardo vs David Price
ALDS – GAME 1
Houston Kansas City 4:37 PM Collin McHugh vs Yordano Ventura Buy on StubHub
ALDS – GAME 1

Hard to see how the Reds compete in a division containing Wainwright and Arrieta. Hard to see how they compete if they only score when someone hits a homerun. Hard to see how they compete when the team OB is too low to make the homeruns 2-run, 3-run and grand slams. So what do we need, leaving aside the pitching? A left-fielder (Suarez? Mesoraco?), a lead-off hitter (Votto?), a true clean-up hitter (Frazier?); or are we just listing the players already on a team that lost nearly 100 games this year? The real question is this: will the players the Reds have, Frazier, Hamilton, Bruce (he’s gone), Cozart, Mesoraco, etc. get better? If not, they’ll have to be replaced; and if that’s the case, why not now?

Absolutely spot on. Very talented group that can’t hit their notes anymore. That’s the very reason we need to replace the band leader. However, the Reds feel that by keeping him for another year, they can utilize his talent; working with pitchers. Unfortunately, for the fan, there is a great deal more to managing a ball game.

Part of Mark’s article on MLB.com…
Here is a look at where the Reds stand heading into the offseason:
Free agents: LHP Sean Marshall; LHP Manny Parra; catcher Brayan Pena; OF/INF Skip Schumaker ($2.5 million club option for 2016 with a $500,000 buyout); RHP Burke Badenhop ($4 million mutual option for 2016 with a $1.5 million buyout)
Arbitration-eligible: LHP Chapman (third year); SS Zack Cozart (second year); OF Brennan Boesch (third year); RHP Sam LeCure (third year); OF Jason Bourgeois (first year); RHP J.J. Hoover (first year); RHP Ryan Mattheus (first year)
Rotation: The future looks bright, but only Anthony DeSclafani and Raisel Iglesias appear to be locks for 2016. Homer Bailey could be the one veteran, assuming he comes back well from Tommy John surgery. Bailey is projected to be ready by early-to-mid-May. The remaining spots will be up for grabs among Michael Lorenzen, John Lamb, Brandon Finnegan, Jon Moscot and prospects like Robert Stephenson and Cody Reed, who did not reach the Majors this season. Adding another veteran that can eat innings shouldn’t be out of the question.
Bullpen: If Chapman isn’t moved, he and Hoover should again form the back end — with Chapman one of the best closers in the business. The rest of the spots should be wide open, as middle relief was a weakness in 2015. Some of the young starters who don’t make the rotation could also be bullpen options, especially someone with big league relieving experience like Finnegan.
Catcher: Mesoraco expects to be all the way back from hip surgery that repaired an impingement, but it will have to be proven on the field. The club needs his offensive contributions. Tucker Barnhart stepped up and formed a nice tandem with Pena. Assuming Pena departs as a free agent, Barnhart would likely backup Mesoraco. Ramon Cabrera, a first-time September callup, showed he could hit.
First base: Votto easily put his injury-filled 2014 behind him and showed during the second half that he is an elite hitter. If Votto has a full season like that, he would be a serious contender to win his second National League MVP Award. Next season is also when the really expensive portion of his 10-year contract kicks in. Votto will be making $20 million in ’16, up from $14 million.
Second base: Brandon Phillips, 34, has two years and $27 million remaining on his contract, with 10-and-5 rights that give him no-trade protection. Phillips had a resurgent 2015 season at the plate and finished strong through the second half.
Shortstop: Here is where some big intrigue lies this winter. Cozart was on his way to a very nice season before it was cut short by a terrible right knee injury. Cozart had surgery on his ACL and LCL in June, but is expected to be ready for camp in February. His replacement, Eugenio Suarez, filled in so well offensively that the Reds would like to have both bats in the lineup. Cozart has a better glove, but Suarez also made some nice plays and at 23, should only get better. Suarez is open to playing a different position, and second base would make a lot of sense if Phillips surprisingly accepted a trade.
Third base: Todd Frazier has two years remaining before free agency and via his performance in the Home Run Derby — and throughout the season — he became a face of the franchise. But it could bring a conundrum for the team. Should it trade Frazier when his value his highest, and before he can potentially wind up in the same walk-year scenario as Cueto and Leake? Frazier’s numbers certainly make him worthy of a longer-termed contract, but he will also be 30 when camp opens next year.
Outfield: Bruce called his 2015 season “embarrassing,” but after a slow start, it was a big step forward from his very poor ’14 campaign. Bruce let off a sigh of relief when he wasn’t traded at the July 31 Deadline, but the team was certainly listening to offers. Set to turn 29 in April, Bruce is headed into the final guaranteed year of his contract and will make $12.5 million. Bruce’s contract has a $13 million club option for ’17 with a $1 million buyout. It still makes him an attractive bat for some teams needing offense. Billy Hamilton had a rough year of hitting in ’15, and next season will be big for him to prove he can be a big league leadoff hitter. Once again, left field is an open question. Instead of a veteran free agent or trade acquisition, the Reds could look inward here. Suarez has never played the position, but it gets him in the lineup. Perhaps Yorman Rodriguez or top prospect Jesse Winker could earn the spots, as well.

“When ifs and buts are candy and nuts, we’ll have one hell of a Christmas!” Mark, you put a wonderfully positive spin on what looks like a terrible player-personnel situation. Nonetheless, it raises a question. Immediately after the trade deadline, as in the day after, Bruce went from superstar to hopeless at the plate, and I assumed (there’s that word!) it was because he was counting on being traded. Is the opposite true? If so, why the sudden slump? He tore it up in June and July.

Amazing…pitches in a cracker jack box and nearly leads the league overall, yet:
tonight, Cueto does this:
IP – 6
H – 7
ER – 4
BB – 3
K -5
Suggest he comes home on a very favorable contract.
(…and then I woke up…)

Nice dream. We get KC’s young talent. Cueto folds. Comes back to Cincy and is reborn as our ace. We don’t have to trade for a veteran SP. Aren’t fantasies a wonderful thing at times.

I have often pondered whether the AL is tougher than the NL when it comes to
hitting…here is another example that supports the proposition.

I’m sure the DH rule makes it tougher. I also see more batters going with a pitch and hitting it opposite field or in the gaps, hit and run, etc. Or maybe it’s just the Reds,in their crackerbox ball park swinging for the fences with great frequency that influenced my viewpoint.

Yes the Reds swing for the fences. The addition of the 5th wild card forces both wild card teams to burn their so called ace in the one game showdown. The winning team then is at a disadvantage when they move forward to the next round giving the winning division team an edge. This showdown game was put in place for two reasons. It creates or extends the relevancy of the season games but it gives the edge to division winners because wild card teams were having success getting to and winning world series. Thats how I see it.

Sitting here thinking we need to go get Travis Wood since he is now a bullpen guy. I’d love to know Cuetos stats against above 500 teams. It may shock us.

I disagree with john fays reasoning and price getting back involved with pitching. If he distanced himself from that, it’s his own dumb fault. What would have price done with our 2008 pitching staff, not much. Reds mgmt should have taken a stand after his f bomb tirade and fired him. I can only figure jocketty and price being gone after next year. Contracts won’t be extended and the new general manager will get to choose his manager. That’s the only reason Price is back. He’s a lame duck. Stick a fork in him he’s done. Might as well stink it up next year and get another high draft pick. We need them.

Hey Neb. I picture you as the father in the buster posey esurance commercial. Its funny.

Impressed by the appearance that you have to be able to execute a bunt effectively to play for Joe Madden and the CUBS. 2 safety squeeze plays back to back. Wow. They must actually teach bunting not just practice bunting like the Reds. Speaking of which the Cards had 3 solo HR’s and nothing else. Sound familiar. Go CUBS, Go ASTROS. I have a dream.

My dream lives for another day. Go Cubs.

What I would like to see is the local Reds beat writers ask a few tougher questions. How can other teams that expect to win, fire their managers and/or GMs but our manager can keep his job and zero accountability after losing badly? When the Cardinals and Pirates had injuries they didnt cry injury excuses. They went and got help our had depth in thier minor leauges they could count on to help. That is Walts responsibility and he failed the team and tye fans hopes.And if Bob told some season ticket holders this season was just a hiccup!!, that insults me as a fan. They have glaring holes, they have the wrong leadership as a manager and no fire the team up leaders on this team. Now the players have no fear for thier jobs because there is zero accountability. No adjustments to better themselves as a team. Former Red Dave Collins would be the perfect mentor for Hamilton. Leadoff hitter in his past, fast, a decent hitter too and a switchhitter. And George Foster would be a better hitting coach for the team or Kevin Mitchell. As they were clutch hitters. I sure hope the Reds dont replace the Cubs as ajoke of the NL, since they are replacing the Reds as a winning team for the next 5 years. While the Reds say they want to win and showno plan to even get back close to winning for along time. Which then revenue goes down from lack of ticket sales and then they blame the fans for not buying tickets as why they can never field a winner again!!! Also like to see Bob asked that question if he will do that for failing to bring what he promised about bringing World Championship baseball hack to Cincy, then watching the team suck for 5+ years and blaming the fans for it!!!. I dont want 50 bobble head nights. I want winning baseball teams for the city and fans. Not a yearly excuse why they cant get there!!!. I haven’t felt this bummed about a Reds team since 1983 and that year I just looked to see what Johnny Bench did in the box scores. Never attended a game. Sadly its looking like thattyoe of team is returning and ownership secretly is ok with it. I dont want tye beat writters afraid to ask tough questions in fear of losing there free food pass!!!

I agree with Jim M . Couldn’t have put any better on EVERY point he made !

Excellent Jim M. Collins and Geo. Love’em. Dave Collins was the first guy I heard mention Suarez in left next year. Two very credible guys. Instead we have Jeff Pico and Don Juan Long. Who the hell are and were those guys. More nobodys. Those guys probably came from Pittsburgh because alot of our crappy players had a stop in Pittsburgh. Jay Bell for example. Pittsburgh. Just saying………….
Bottom line though, we probably will suck for another 3 years.

Cubs vs Astros. Armpits of the National League does give us hope. TOW.

Dream still alive but being put on life support. Astros still kicking but barely. Go CUBBIES.

I said this the other day but it only makes sense to keep Jocketty and Price around together collectively because they both will be gone after 2016. Then the new GM will select his own manager. How about Larkin for GM and Ronnie O for field manager. The job he never got. That’s some smarts upstairs and fire down below in the dugout. Could be a good combo.

Cueto fans. Games not over yet. But look for Johnny C to be dealing Wednesday night in KC.

Want Cueto to win and get in playoffs, he deserves it. I’ll sacrifice my dream.

Excellent article on the Reds offseason decisions:
http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/cincinnati-reds

The dream lives on for another day. Cubbies to play for a trip to the World Series.. WOW.

I want to thank the Cubs for eliminating the Cardinals! I heard Lance M say on WLW last night that the Cubs had gotten something like 7 postseason homeruns from players 26 years old or younger. Said it bodes ill for the Reds in the division. So does the fact that the Reds don’t have *any* players at the major or minor league level who will hit a postseason homerun before their 27th birthdays!

Watching the playoff games causes me to realize just how bad of shape the Reds are in. I’m beginning to think it will be 3-5 years before we can seriously challenge for a trip to the big dance. The Reds don’t seem able to develop their young talent. They always seem to choose mediocre veterans over their young developing talent.

Reading that offseason article, its as if the Reds will be the deads forever. We need ball players. Lots of them. Not Schumakers, Pena’s, Holmberg’s and on and on. We should trade anyone and everyone who will take our guys. Our guys lost 98 games. I’m kinda wishing Toronto will take Joey off our hands and add him to their lineup. Acquire as many young guns as we can and lets lose with them. Its as if we need a 2003 house cleaning. Who is Theo Epsteins’s shadow and lets hire him.

You can trade everyone, perhaps, but you’ll only get in return the same value, which will produce similar results. There never has been in Cincy the needed talent to go far, even in the years when they got close. It has to be done patiently, from within, through scouting and wise drafting and even wiser minor league development. Theo, of course, knows how to do it, but he is a figure all his own that no one here could duplicate, mostly because he has at his disposal a huge market to build around and upon!

The entire Reds’organization is s joke . I don’t think any of us will be around to see the Reds break .500 again unless Castillini sells the team or fires Joketty .

My dream Astros/ Cubs WS dies, but Cueto lives. Not a bad trade off. New dream is Cubs/ Royals.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: