What will the Reds do for 2023?

By Hal McCoy

The season to forget for the Cincinnati Reds is over, something to be hidden in the attic like a Nehru suit or platform shoes.

For the second time in franchise history, the Reds lost 100 games and deservedly so. Management dumped veteran players overboard last off-season and at the trade deadline like pirates raiding a brigantine.

They rid themselves of starting pitchers Sonny Gray, Wade Miley and Luis Castillo. They sent away position players Nick Castellanos, Eugenio Suarez, Jesse Winker, Tyler Naquin, Brandon Drury and Tommy Pham.

By trading Suarez, Winker and Castillo to Seattle, they helped the Mariners qualify for post-season play for the first time in 21 years.

So what do the Reds do for 2023, other than stuff a sock in Phil Castellini’s mouth? Do they work toward making the team competitive or do they continue dumping, although there isn’t much quality material left to dump.

Don’t expect much help from within the organization. There was nothing left at Class AAA Louisville to make an impact next season. Most of the deals general manager Nick Krall made brought the team prospects/suspects. But they were all in Class A and Class AA and are not ready for prime time.

It is most likely the never-ending rebuild mode will remain in place for 2023. To construct a competitive team next year, the club would have to deal prospects for major league ready players.

What teams would want much from the Reds’ 2022 roster that was filled mostly with utility and back-up players on most other teams.
After dealing most of their recognizable players, the team spent the year with a parade of auditions, 66 different players, 35 different pitchers not counting position players who pitched in blowouts.

If they want to be competitive next season, and indications are that they don’t, they need to blow up the bullpen. The only keeper probably is Alexis Diaz, who has the stuff to be a closer. There is some hope that Lucas Sims and Tejay Antone come off the injured list and produce.

Productive hitters must be found. The offense was as weak as carnival beer. The bottom of the order was a morass. Shortstop Jose Barrero played day after day after day and displayed no concepts of a major league hitter.

After catcher Tyler Stephenson got hurt, the Reds tried seven different catchers, always batting them ninth. None hit much above .200 and most below .200. Austin Romine and Chuckie Robinson alternated games late in the season and neither contributed much.

To save Stephenson’s health and well-being as perhaps the team’s best hitter, he probably should be moved to first base. That would enable the team to make 40-year-old Joey Votto a permanent designated hitter.

For that to happen, the Reds would have to acquire a solid major league catcher from another team or through free agency (Willson Contreras?) because they obviously have none in their system.

While Kyle Farmer appears to be the team’s Swiss army knife, usable everywhere, he should replace Barrero at shortstop while Barrero tries Triple-A to see of he can find some magic.

As for the infield, the team should dump injury-prone and non-productive Mike Moustakas. That isn’t feasible because they would owe him $18 million for next season and a $4 million buyout for 2024. And it isn’t likely he is tradeable.

Jonathan India played third base in college and it might be useful to move him there. He went through a disastrous defensive year at second base, suffering through a myriad of injuries and perhaps the sophomore jinx after winning the 2021 National League Rookie of the Year.

Nick Senzel is not a natural outfielder. Like India, he played infield in college. The Reds could move Senzel to second base, where he would quit injuring himself by running into walls or rolling in the grass on his shoulders.

The outfield? It’s a mess that needs a complete overhaul. Start with Aristides Aquino, another player given ample opportunity to become a viable component. Instead, like Barrero, he is a strikeout waiting to happen, especially with runners on base.

The Reds need to search the free agent pantry for outfielders who can hit at least a little bit and can be signed for $8 million to $15 million a year.

The strength of next year’s team should be the starting rotation, but even that spot needs some help.

Nick Lodolo is for real. Hunter Greene is for real. Graham Ashcraft looks as if he might be for real. Those three young guns showed they can be strong rotation occupants.

But they still need a couple more. Maybe Luis Cessa. Maybe Connor Overton. Certainly not Mike Minor. There are a few candidates and the club will use spring training to shake that out.

And a fourth and fifth starter shouldn’t be difficult to acquire through free agency or trade. How useful would it be to have Castillo, Gray and Miley filling out the rotation as good veteran pitchers and mentors for Lodolo, Greene and Ashcraft?

The Reds are a long, long way from being competitive after fielding the worst or next-to-worst team in club history. There are far too many gaping holes.

They have neither the money, the pieces to trade or the wherewithal to make a giant step in one year.

And so the rebuild continues.

6 thoughts on “What will the Reds do for 2023?”

  1. They have money. They just refuse to open thier books to prove they can’t afford anyone. When you get 100 million for revenue from MLB and that doesn’t count selling a ticket, I don’t believe a word the Front office says about the small market excuse. Another wasted year of baseball in 2022 to be followed by a repeat of 2023. Krall stating ” losing 100 games is unacceptable “, then right away saying they will come into 2023 in a Similar position. How in the heck can you say that and not fix anything? That tells me as a season ticket holder, I shoukd not bother going and buy tickets. Krall said the trades at the beginning of the 2022 season were not about a rebuild. Lie #1!!! So now fans get to see another long rebuild till its time to trade off Green, Stepenson and India to reallicate to thier resources. Why the heck keep Votto when you have no plans to Win anything before his contract runs out? Might as well eat half of his garaunteed contract and get something for him. Trade him to the Blue Jay’s or Mariners? Keep the Seattle Mariners(RedLegs) stocked with ex Reds?
    The Cardinals just got eliminated. One thing they won’t do like the Reds is go in full rebuild. They will go get help to fix thier failures. With both Puhols and now Molina retiring. I bet you Willson Contreras will be thier number 1 target to replace Molina!!. No way he comes here to loose. They have a yearly plan with a Yearly Goal to make the playoffs. Reds front office just tells fans ” Hope” and “Faith” but don’t expect any common sense fixes like the Cardinals.. the Cardinals also developed position players like crazy. This Reds development team can’t do it.. of course they will see promotions for failure in the front office ( They saved money to put in the ownerships bank accounts). Only reason you promote from within. Boycott Redsfest to send a message!!

  2. Another thing. You won’t see Bob admit to sucking again fir 2023. Yeah I hear how they want to be like the Astros, Rays etc to be consistent winners. The problem is they don’t hire front office, development types that use to be in those organizations to show them how to do it. Plus when it comes to needing to add in areas you truly need, I do not see them doing it. Just like back in 2013. Ludwick was hurt, they didnt trade to add and when Marlon Byrd was put on waivers with 20+ homers by the Mets, the Reds did Not claim him. Nope let him go to the Pirates. Who with his help swept the Reds the last 3 games of the season and the 1 game wild card. So till they prove they are ever serious about putting a Championship Baseball team on the field, I do not trust them. I never dreamed Bob would be a worse owner than Mike Brown, but it sure is happening. Also did Bell suggest letting 5 coaches go He hired? Throw them under the bus? Or did The Front Office tell him they are gone? Questions the fans want to know along with the true plan. If Krall said we know it’s unacceptable to be a loser, but the plan is bring up a few top rated prospects we feel can get thier feet wet like Steer. See where we need to improve thru trades of younger players so we can build a team the fans will be proud of fir years to come like the Astros, then we fans might believe they have a plan. But to day losing is unacceptable and right away state 2023 we will be in a similar situation Does Not set well with me as a fan. Another point. How can you even sell tickets knowing your sports team neighbor sold out thier season tickets??? Better cut ticket prices in half. Concessions in half. Because fans are showing Winning matters in Cincinnati by moving next door.

  3. Agree with Jim regarding the Reds not drafting and developing players in their own pipeline. Heck with trying to be like the Rays or Astros. Look at the Braves. Each and every young stud that comes thru their system is getting locked up to large contract extensions. Unfortunately for the Reds, they’ve not drafted those young studs that develop or get developed by their minor league system. They continue to draft wanna be hacks like Homer Bailey, Chad Mottola, etc. in front of Derek Jeter and Tim Lincecum. And the ones they trade off as a loss miraculously somehow start to develop in another system (see Jose Siri). Think Senzel or Barrero will go somewhere else and become stars, or even everyday players?

    The front office is a pathetic joke. Castellini continues to line his pockets and screw the fans. This fan won’t be participating in supporting his bank account.

  4. I refuse to go to a Red’s game while they field an Abor Aa players! They have totally turned me off! There constant shedding of good players because of money, has shown the club has no respect for their fans so why should we support them?

  5. But Hal, 4 of our top 5 prospects are shortstops. Either Krall just likes to collect them like Bobbleheads or they’re going to be trade bait for next season. They need starting pitchers and outfielders who can hit. De La Cruz should be untouchable…. Aquino is pathetic…. Minor should retire…. Bell is horrible and should be fired immediately…. Okay, rant over.

  6. Good comments! Great Article! 

    There are 2 things that I really want to start hearing more from fans & writers, and seeing online and in print.

    1. IF the objective of the 2022 season was to shed payroll/cost cutting, save $$$??? How much was spent to bring in 60+ players? (Take that number and subtract it from how much was “saved” just on payroll.) It would seem to me that no matter what the contract was worth, with 60+ guys, there’s no way there was a savings–just another myth like the Reds being in a “small market!” (Even ESPN debunked that during the 10/8 Cleveland game!)

    2. Where are the “Silent 65%?” A successful business person does not sit quietly while a company they hold a share in tanks! Bob may “run” the Reds, but he’s not the only owner! And after months of this deafening silence? I think we need to hear why the Silent 65% is apparently good with the 2022 season?? OR is the place where we start great sports conspiracy theories?? After all? Bob has ALL those Cardinal connects that he dragged with him into the Reds organization! And, the Silent 65 appear to have a whole lot of ownership in FC Cincinnati–where are you going to go? How about Central Parkway and a winning sport?? They’ve got to pay off that stadium somehow! I guess only the Silent 65% can address these “theories!”
    I agree completely that there’s nothing in Louisville! After going to a lot of games there this season, I watched the revolving door and passed the Cincy shuttle going down and coming back home. On Sept 11th, they had set a new team record for number of guys on the team with 106 and they still had a couple of weeks to go in the season! Those with the Lookouts are not ready to be promoted! The Reds ARE NOT Cleveland! I watched a lot of those guys on the Cleveland team start as Lake County Captains and as Columbus Clippers–the Cleveland org has always understood player development (a Mike Hargrove legacy!) The Reds have ruined a host of players after they leave the Dragon’s level, and tried to turn them into things that they’re not! (Nick’s an outfielder, no he’s an infielder! Jesse was a power hitter and Phil Ervin was the consistent hitter–NOT! Michael Lorenzen may have thrown 9 innings in under 2 hours with the Bats, but we can’t have him start, or play outfield, let’s leave him to languish in the bullpen!) 
    Rather than lap up the Koolaid that the writers who work for the Reds put out and believe that there’s a REAL team that will somehow emerge from the bourbon barrels in Louisville? Fans really need to do themselves a favor and prepare for the reality that IF the Reds had a real player development program, the carnival hucksters who write for the Reds would be reporting how a player is developing and actually GO to the minor league games to watch these guys develop! (My personal favorites from 2023 were reports about players rehabbing! There were NO Reds writers at Luis’s rehabs with the Bats in Columbus, and before the game ended, they were broadcasting how great he looked and how he’d be back in the rotation before the end of the week. He looked HORRIBLE! and I was happy to tweet out to one of these writers a video I’d taken showing Luis giving up back to back hits. And guess what? Luis wasn’t back at the end of the week. Next up was Jonathan India rehabbing with the Bats. Just like Luis, he looked HORRIBLE! As I was walking to my car, I realized Indy was walking behind me, we talked about a bench clearing that had happened during the game–started by none other than Brandon Finnegan, who was playing for the Charlotte Knights. Indy was convinced that he was going to be up in Cincy in 2 days–I wasn’t sure what to say because I saw him play and knew he wasn’t ready. Well? It was reported he was ready and again, I said something about why he wasn’t and knew that the reporter was nowhere near Louisville. And Indy didn’t return that Sunday.) 
    Real Reds fans need to understand that what happened with the 2022 team has really hurt the minor league teams, too! Steal a player here, sign another over there and dump them on your club. Your fans are used to seeing players who are being promoted and guys who want to stay in the game–just not a whole team of guys wanting to stay in the game! And minor league fans didn’t show up this season either!   
    I really hope that fans of baseball will start driving up to Dayton to see the Dragons! (Call the box office! There ARE tickets!) Or doing a long weekend (and maybe a couple of stops on the Bourbon Trail!) in Louisville or drive over to Indy or up to Columbus and catch a Bats game! (You’ll be looking at the team the Bat’s are playing roster and thinking OMG! I can’t believe this guy is playing! I always loved that guy!) No excuses! These games cost a fraction of what a Reds game cost! They’re far more entertaining! The staff and front offices in the minors WANT you there and go out of their way to make you feel welcome! 
    2023 isn’t that far off….I’m an optimistic person, but I’m not holding out for a lot of positive change in the Reds organization and ownership. Since no one’s called me back to see if I want those 2022 tickets I “returned?” I think I’m going to again do a lot of Dragons and Bats games and enjoy games where guys want to play ball and owners who value fans! 

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