CINCINNATI -- I was part of a panel Thursday night at the Green Diamond Gallery to primarily discuss our Hall of Fame votes, but we touched on the Reds as well.
We were asked to assess the current state of the rebuild. Suffice it to say none of us think the work is done. My answer differed from the others in that I think the Reds need to do something in free agency to hasten the results. I think this is a critical year for two reasons:
Fans are tired of losing to the point that apathy is setting in;
If a cultural losing mindset sets in the clubhouse, it’s difficult to turn that around.
I covered 130 games or so during the nine-year streak of losing seasons. When players start to expect to lose, they usually do.
The official departure of Zack Cozart leaves the Reds with exactly four players on the roster who ever played on a winning Reds team — Joey Votto, Homer Bailey, Devin Mesoraco and Billy Hamilton.
That’s troubling to me.
Back to the point I made at the Green Diamond. I think the Reds should look at signing a pitcher along the lines of Lance Lynn. A guy like that would solidify the rotation, put less pressure on the young pitchers and give the Reds a fighting chance at a good start to the season.
The other five writers on the panel all disagreed. They think the Reds have to stay the course and build they way they have been — patiently through the draft and development. I respect their opinion. But I was only one of the six who grew up here. I think I have a better gauge of the pulse of the fan base. The base isn’t tired of the rebuild. I think the Reds have to show progress this year or Great American Ball Park will be a ghost town by midsummer.
The Green Diamond Gallery is unbelievable. It has to be the best collection of baseball memorabilia west of Cooperstown. If you ever get a chance to go, jump at it. Bob Crotty has done a great job collecting pieces of baseball history, and the displays are gorgeous.
That said, it made no sense for the Reds to pay that kind of money to keep him.
The Bengals are sure to consider special teams coach Darrin Simmons and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther to replace Marvin Lewis.
But the franchise has done better to look outside for a head coach. Forrest Gregg comes to mind.
One outside-the-box call to make: Urban Meyer. What could it hurt?
UC got its signature pre-conference win by going to Los Angeles and beating UCLA at Pauley Pavilion. The reemergence of Kyle Washington after going AWOL for two games helps, as does Jacob Evans III's willingness to carry the offense.
NICE WIN II
Xavier’s win over East Tennessee State was a nice one also. There are going to be days when you don’t play well. Pulling out wins on those days is key, particularly in March.