Fangraphs David Laurila has an outstanding interview with Cincinnati Reds General Manager Dick Williams. There’s some really good information in there, so go read the entire article. A lot of things jump out to me that really tell you just how far the organization has come since the team decided to move forward and away from Walt Jocketty. Here’s something that of interest to me, but I promise there’s some other really good stuff in there worth checking out:

“It’s obviously a different environment in the minor leagues, where you can effectively tell guys what you want them to do. In the major leagues, it’s typically more of a voluntary exercise – although we prefer when they opt in. For example, this year, when we opened camp, on the very first day we talked to them about sleeping, and the different products we can make available to them to monitor their sleeping. We can evaluate ways to help them improve it, if it’s an area of concern. That’s something we’ll implement in the minor leagues. We’re tracking their sleeping, especially when it comes to the bus rides and the scheduling, trying to optimize performance based on rest-and-recovery principles.

“We’ve put a lot of money into nutrition. This something we’ve done more and more of in recent years, but this year was kind of a quantum leap with the amount of money we’re spending on pre- and post-game meals at all of our minor-league affiliates.

Better nutrition. Better sleeping habits and rest. It seems so easy, and yet it’s 2017 and teams are just getting to the point of making it a priority. The Reds are hardly the only ones getting things done on this front at this point in time, but they certainly aren’t the last.

Bryan Price doesn’t have the final say on the roster, but he certainly has plenty of input along with the General Manager. Price believes that the team is going to go with two catchers according to a report by Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Things come down to Devin Mesoraco for Price. If he’s healthy, he and Tucker Barnhart are the catchers on the team. However, if he’s not fully healthy, then Price thinks he should be placed on the disabled list and go with Barnhart and another option while Mesoraco rehabs and gets ready in Louisville.

That may not be entirely up to Bryan Price. The front office may want to keep Stuart Turner regardless of whether Devin Mesoraco is healthy and that’s likely going to mean keeping him on the 25-man roster. There’s always a chance they could work out a trade in order to send Turner to the minor leagues, though it seems that all offseason we heard that it wasn’t likely as the Twins would prefer to have him back.

Speaking of Bryan Price, he told C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer that the first round of cuts would be after the off-day on Thursday.

25 Responses

  1. Simon Cowell

    I think the safe way to go about it is Keeping Barnhardt and Turner. Send Mesoraco down on the DL for a rehab assignment see how he does in AAA. If he tears it up we trade Turner or dump him. Sounds like a logical plan at least. Of course I don’t see an issue with going with 3 catchers either.

    • The Duke

      Barnhart and Turner seem most likely to me as well. Mesoraco pretty clearly isn’t right yet, or at the very least is still a ways from game shape. Start him on the DL and don’t let him back until he is capable of catching 9 out of 15 games without issue.

      • RFM

        Although I like the idea of starting Mesoraco on the DL and a minor league rehab assignment, can they put him on the DL without an immediate injury? Can someone healthy enough to play go on the DL because a team is trying to slowly ease them back into games? Can he be put on the DL for injuries he’s already recovered from, just because they want him to get more playing time before he’s activated?

      • Simon Cowell

        @RFM I think since Mesoraco ended the season on the 60 day DL that he can start the season on the DL as well. I could be wrong but seems like they do this all the time especially with pitchers but Mesoraco’s injuries are so serious that it would be justified.

  2. Wes

    So much for Walt jockety 2.0. Doubt progressive sports science was a conversation he ever had. Keep the course Dick!

    • The Duke

      Nepotism may have got Williams his way into the organization, but I’ve really liked the direction he’s taken the front office in a very short amount of time.

      • Jordan Barhorst

        ^ I agree with this sentiment whole heartedly. It was easy to be a little discouraged when Dick was hired – hiring a shareholder’s son as the General Manager has Cincinnati Reds written all over it – but it just so happens that it looks like this shareholder’s son knows a thing or two about how to think about baseball in a way that doesn’t involve going to get every guy from the last good team you’ve worked with a decade ago.

  3. Norwood Nate

    I read that article last night, great read and great insights into the Reds operation. I’m coming fully around on Dick Williams. I wasn’t a fan of the way he was brought in (nepotism), transitioned (who was actually in charge), or his lack of experience. But it may be that experience in other fields that have allowed him to be a progressive and refreshing voice in the organization.

    On Turner, I’ve also done a bit of a 180. In general I don’t like the idea of limiting the bench by carrying three catchers. But Turner has impressed so far and the Reds have a lack of quality options for depth in the upper minors. With Mesoraco’s health concerns, it be nice to have a quality option. With the flexibility of guys like Irribarren, Peraza, Renda, Kivlehan, Alcantara, Dixon….the Reds should still be able to cover their bases and carry three catchers.

  4. Michael Green

    I don’t see them carrying 3 catchers. Right now, he’s had 1 at bat in spring and caught part of one game.

    He’ll go on a rehab assignment and see how it goes from there.

    Turner should win the back up catcher spot because of his defense and the fact that he bats right-handed.

    Jennings and Alcantara will win bench spots, leaving 2 spots open.

  5. Jer-B

    I think Mes starts on the DL. Why not keep Turner around when he comes back? Both Mes and Barnhart could then pinch hit on off days. The bench is shaping up to be very versatile and ideal for the a situation like this.

  6. Arnold Ziffle

    Feeling better about Dick Williams. But he still has growing pains of his own to go through. Roster management will be interesting to watch to see how much it deviates from the Jocketty days.
    The situation with C Stuart Turner will also be interesting to watch unfold. I am going on the assumption that Mesoraco will be ready for Opening Day, what will unfold? I would go ahead and start trade talks with the Twins, and make it clear that Turner wouldn’t be returned. Turner’s spring performance may have driven the cost up some, but still would be very affordable in trade terms. The Twins lack pitching depth in their minors, and the Reds do not. So trade up a pitching prospect that both teams can agree on. Obtain the flexibility that will be needed to send Turner back o Louisville when needed. The Reds C depth in the minors isn’t very good, so this would also address another issue.

  7. JONATHAN LINN

    This is the quote that stuck out to me. I’m fascinated by corporate culture and group think theory.

    “Some things are only crazy if you approach them from the perspective of, ‘What was done before was totally sane.’ That makes the new stuff sound crazy, but maybe we should challenge the notion that everything we were doing before was sane. Maybe there are better ways to do certain things.””

    • HamFan

      That is some pretty deep stuff from a baseball gm, could almost be applied to everyday life haha

  8. MikeD

    Doug,

    You continue to grow this website with great information and insight. Since you don’t seem inclined to raise the monthly fee, I am going to figure out how to create another account. Thank you for your great work!

    MikeD

  9. sultanofswaff

    Very high marks for the new GM. I’m on board with everything in the article. The final test of his abilities will come later when it’s time to make the hard decisions about what talent we need to subtract from the roster and what talent to add via trade. That was one area where Jocketty excelled.

  10. MK

    I can attest they are taking the nutrition serious. Our Dragons boosters group provides team meals when the team leaves on a road trip, We received a several page directive on the type of food they can eat. No soft drinks, only 100% juice, only free range chicken or eggs from free range chicken, grass fed meat, cereals with less than 10 grams of sugar etc., etc. ‘I understand the concept but unless they increase the meal money on the road it will be impossible for them on their own.

    • Doug Gray

      Eating better half the time is better than not.

      But, if they are also stepping up the pre-game meals on the road at the ballpark, then that’s adding another quality meal.

  11. clammy

    I would think the Twins would be interested in Nick Hanson, he’s Minnesota kid. In another thread I suggested Brandon Dixon for Stuart Turner straight up.

    • Doug Gray

      There’s no way the Reds would trade Nick Hanson for Stuart Turner.

      • Arnold Ziffle

        Why wouldn’t they? Get rid of a 1st round bust and get a quality defensive C that is ML ready. A position that is at the shallow end of the depth pool. A low 1st rounder for a high 3rd rounder seems fair enough.

      • Doug Gray

        Well, Nick Hanson is a 19-year-old 3rd rounder who has thrown a handful of innings in his career. He’s also a guy the organization is rather high on, and he’s got a big time arm. There’s a bunch of upside there. You aren’t trading that kind of guy for a back up caliber catcher who isn’t proven. Heck, you probably aren’t trading it for a proven quality back up catcher.

      • Greenfield Red

        I agree Doug. Nick Hanson for Stuart Turner is laughable. Not only is that a poor talent for talent trade, why would the Reds trade a guy with real future potential for a guy the Reds may need this year… a year in which they will not compete?

  12. Steve

    Hope the Reds don’t go north with either Jennings or Raburn. Save that money and go aggressively for Luis Robert. Bench of Barnhart, Turner, Renda, Iribarren and Kivlehan. DFA Ogando, Walker or Alcantara and put Disco on the 60 day DL to create roster spots for the 3 NRIs. Turner can be returned to the Twins at any time during the year if necessary.

    • Doug Gray

      You can only go aggressive on Luis Robert if he’s available, and there’s no guarantee that he will be.