Someone asked me the other day what the Reds lineup will look like in 2018. Obviously, this person was confusing me with the Amazing Kreskin, or perhaps Miss Cleo.
But I'm always good to venture an answer to most anything. So my answer was this: Votto, Hamilton, Duvall, Gennett and then your guess is as good as mine.
Immediately it starts raining sabermetrics. What about Eugenio Suarez???? He has a better OPS than half the league's third basemen. Well, OK.
What about Scott Schebler? Well, OK.
But you and I both know, this team is not OK. It's on pace to finish dead last in the National League Central Division, on pace to lose 97 games (three games worse than last season), on pace to finish more than 20 games out of first place. Is it Schebler's fault, or Suarez or anyone other than the four players I think they should keep? No, but that's not the point.
The Reds need pitching -- particularly starting pitching -- badly. You acquire strong starting pitching several ways. You can draft starting pitching and develop it as quickly as possible to be effective at the Major League level. Can't check that one off for the old Redlegs, can we?
You can buy great starting pitching, similar to what the Cubs have done, but that takes hundreds of millions of dollars. Can't plan on that happening around the 'Nati anytime soon, can we?
Or, you could trade and hope you get starting pitching that way. Voila.
To get anything in a trade, you have to give up something. Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook and whatever social medium of the moment seems to think it's possible to get Clayton Kershaw for a bucket of bolts and a box of jock straps. Sure, there are general managers just waiting to send starting pitching to Cincinnati for the players the Reds don't want. Makes sense to me!
Schebler and Suarez should be prime trade chips. Both are relatively inexpensive and both have put up solid numbers. In Suarez' case, the Reds have "over-recruited" the position. They drafted Nick Senzel in the first round, the high first round, of the 2016 draft. In Schebler's case, there is Jesse Winker, whom the Reds drafted in the first round of the 2012 draft.
The discussion shouldn't be about 2018. One look at the Reds and their historically bad starting pitching should tell you the future is well beyond that. By 2019, Suarez will be into his second year of arbitration. Adam Duvall will be arbitration-eligible for the first time. Michael Lorenzen, Tucker Barnhart, Billy Hamilton and Scooter Gennett will all be into their second year of arbitration eligibility. You can't pay everyone and go out and start buying free agent pitchers.
The fallout from the free fall the Reds have been in for the past four seasons has brought them to this place -- and this place isn't very good. The economics of baseball in a market the size of Cincinnati dictate that someone has to go, not just for financial reasons but to find quality starting pitching.
The most basic mistake Reds management has made since 2012 is that it's held onto players it could ultimately not afford far too long. Because of that, they've received less value in return. It's a history they need to change in order to get better. If Suarez and/or Schebler help them get there, bon voyage.
I'm not as worked up as some are over the tackle Vontaze Burfict put on Gio Bernard in practice Tuesday. Was it dumb? Yeah, Burfict should be more aware of who's carrying the ball and how much money he can help Burfict make if the Bengals find their way to the post season. But to think it was intentional is just ludicrous. Do you think anyone who plays for the Steelers won't go low on Bernard this season?
I have to laugh at the breathless tweets from training camps around the NFL. "(insert name) just ripped off a really strong run." Or "(insert name) just beat (insert name) for a long touchdown catch down the sideline" STOP IT.
This is training camp, intra-squad drills. These players know each other inside and out. You'd be better served saving all of that nonsense for exhibition games, which of course are nonsense in and of themselves. Mark your calendars -- opening weekend is still more than five weeks away...
No NFL team is signing Colin Kaepernick because it doesn't want to take on the blow back it will get from a segment of its fan base and the police that work game security. Why can't these teams just be honest about it?...
I don't think the Cleveland Browns will be as bad as they were last season. But then I read stories like this, and I'm not so sure...
Former Bengals backup quarterback John Reaves died Wednesday.I vaguely remember him from his early days in Cincinnati. He actually started four games in that dreadful 1978 season after Ken Anderson broke his finger in the final preseason game. But where Reaves really made his mark was in the United States Football League, with the Tampa Bay Bandits.
I was working in Tampa when Reaves and the Bandits burst onto the scene. At the time, the NFL's Buccaneers were abysmal and the Bandits fired up the football fan base. In the Bandits' first season in 1984, Reaves threw 28 touchdown passes. In 1985, he threw 25, but also threw 29 interceptions.
Even after the USFL folded, Reaves got another shot at the NFL and actually quarterbacked the Bucs to a win in 1987. He was always congenial, liked to talk about how religion had saved his life. Reaves battled addictions before and after his USFL days. He died from, as of yet, unknown causes. He was 67...
And Ara Parseghian is gone as well. Everyone who has any knowledge of Parseghian's days at Notre Dame knows the legacy he left that football program. In 11 seasons at South Bend, Parseghian coached the Irish to 95 wins. But long before that, he was the head coach at Miami University in Oxford. He's remembered there with a statue of his likeness...
It hit the streets 30 years ago today -- Def Leppard's iconic album "Hysteria." It went on to sell 20 million copies worldwide and this is one of the reasons why.
It took over three years to make this album. The biggest reason for that is Def Leppard's drummer, Rick Allen, lost his left arm in a car accident. Allen returned, with a reworked drum kit to accommodate his loss, earning him the nickname "Thunder God."
As with most of Def Leppard's work, Joe Elliott takes the lead with vocals. Elliott just turned 58 earlier this week. Not long after this album dropped, Elliott took the song to No. 1 in the USA.